Disclaimer: I (quite obviously) do not own Glee or any of its characters
This fiction follows canon up to episode 307 (the disaster that was I Kissed a Girl)
[She looked down at the stack of papers on her lap. Her head was slightly cocked to the left, so that she couldn't really make out any of the typed words or sentences. Some of the papers were blotched with coffee stains, others curled slightly at the corners. She knew some of the phrases of by heart though. Sometimes at night she would recite it to herself. At other times, as she walked through the grocery aisle, a sentence would randomly pop into her head and she would stop, never for longer than a millisecond, and she would remember. And then she would walk on. Walk on and forget.
Santana didn't really notice when the plane started descending. Nor did she notice the marks that her fingers were starting to leave on the papers in her lap. She waited mechanically for the plane to come to a complete standstill before she got up. She didn't turn around to glare at the small boy who had spent the entire flight kicking the back of her seat. She didn't tell his overweight mother that she ought to consider trading the boy for a six-pack of diet Coke and two Kit-Kats. She didn't tell the old couple who pushed in front of her on their way to the exit about her idea for an entree to heaven facility. She just looked down as she climbed down the little steps of the airplane, walked down the narrow aisle. When Santana looked up again, she saw the gates in front of her.]
Santana pushed the front door open and almost immediately tripped over an extension cord that led to a large record player that stood in the small lobby not two steps from the door. Behind the record player stood what looked like pieces of hardboard that were cut and painted to look like clouds. She let out a groan of frustration as she untangled her foot from the cord and reached back to close the door.
"Oh my god, Rachel, could you just fucking move your shit out of the fucking lobby?" she yelled once she'd closed the door and turned around (this time jumping to avoid the extension cord). Although it was silent at the moment, she could see the soundtrack of The Sound of Music in the record player, and on the floor next to it she saw the sheet music for Climb Every Mountain.
"Why the hell would you even have a record player? The colonial era has long past; we now have ipods and vaccines against polio. So put the fucking thing in your room, or throw it out or something!" she yelled into the apartment, "It's bad enough that I live in a god damned shoebox, keep your shit tidy," Santana continued, conveniently ignoring that fact that at this very moment several of her own magazines (including an August copy of Playboy, two old Rolling Stone magazines and, strangely, the previous quarter's American Ethnographer) was scattered on the living room floor; that she had neglected to clear her breakfast dishes that morning; and that one half of a pair black strappy shoe had somehow made its way onto the balcony.
"Santana, calm down," Santana could hear Rachel make her way towards the living room where Santana had now thrown herself onto a chair. "It is a well known fact that no-one has ever been able to create a device that is able to capture a quality of music as well as the long player could. And I for one see no need to dispose of this piece of musical history, as Mrs. Carey was about to do, just because we live in a time where digital music has become the status quo," Rachel said as she appeared around the corner.
Santana creased her brow slightly as she took in Rachel's attire. She was dressed in a type of bright yellow costume suit which made her look like she could have been the mascot for some water polo team from the South of New Mexico. As a matter of fact, Santana thought to herself, she was sure that if one of the Tellytubbies were to ever breed with a sunflower, their offspring might look an awful lot like the thing (she still wasn't sure if it was suppose to be the sun or some kind of flower) in front of her. The fact that the suit made it impossible for her to bend her arms and she was thus forced to keep her arms stretched out in front of her only enhanced the feeling that Santana was trapped in some kind of children's horror movie. She supposed that she should have been used to Rachel walking around the apartment in only the most horrible of theatre costumes, but alas, some things, Santana thought to herself, were simply to horrific to ever get use to. She thus simply frowned and kept quiet.
"So I've been thinking and asking around a little," Rachel said while wobbling closer as if it were perfectly normal to greet one's roommate in full costume, "and don't thank me now, but I've found the perfect solution to our financial problems."
Santana kicked off her shoes and put her feet up on the coffee table.
"First of all, could you please either take off the giant, blinding suit of horror that you're wearing or go and find me a piece of smoked glass so that I can look at you without causing permanent damage to my corneas. And second of all, I don't have financial problems, Rachel. You have financial problems."
Technically speaking this might not have been entirely true. In the preceding months Santana had increasingly found herself with little or no money towards the end on each month. She didn't really understand why. It was as if her money simply kept disappearing (mostly these disappearing acts occurred at the shoe stores on 7th and sometimes at the Irish bar a few blocks down). Still, she kept telling herself, she was a graduate student and graduate students never have money. And it wasn't like she was being hunted down by loan sharks or, as was the case with a certain dark haired dwarf diva, had to phone home every Tuesday to "borrow" a few dollars. Sure, she had two jobs as research assistant in two different departments and another as a tutor, but at least she didn't have to do something ghastly like waitressing or be like her friend Andy who worked as a promotional Oreo mascot in front of Wal-Mart on Saturdays.
One day soon, she kept telling herself, she'd get a real job, take out live insurance and move into a small place of her own. Without any 1960's musical soundtracks, without impromptu performances (that sometimes included tap dancing) on the breakfast nook first thing in the morning, without any nagging about the difficulties of breaking into "the industry", and - thank fuck – without any more midnight hysteria about a fish-faced whale who, for reasons unknown to Santana, after seven years still manages to promptly break Rachel's heart twice a year (usually just before Santana's birthday in March and then again somewhere in September or October).
"Be that as it may, it is still true that both of us could use a little financial support and I have found the perfect way to create said support," Rachel calmly said with her arms outstretched. It struck Santana that, while Rachel could barely move her arms, she still made overly dramatic gestures with hands, flicking her wrists theatrically.
"The suit?" Santana asked Rachel, pointing to her own eyes with one hand.
"Uhm," Rachel said hesitantly, "I can't take it off right now. The zipper got stuck in some lace and Kurt needs to remove the entire zipper for me to take it off without damaging my sun costume."
Santana nodded slightly. So it was a sun. Before she could answer however, Rachel continued
"But that's not the point. So, our financial situation. I don't mean to meddle in your personal business, Santana, but you can't deny that things have been tough lately. And while I find that these tough times provide me with some priceless emotional repertoire should I ever be cast as Mimi in La bohème or perhaps even Eva Peron in Evita, you have to agree with me that it has not been easy having to cut back from three to two ply toilet paper. And last week, I had to take the bus to rehearsal. Therefore, I think that you will agree with me that a few pennies extra will harm nobody."
"Elaborate, Suzie Orman?" Santana said sighing, while picking at her fingernails. She desperately needed a manicure. Perhaps a few dollars extra wouldn't do any harm. And she knew that Rachel needed money more desperately than she would ever let on.
"Alright. So I was talking to Kurt this morning while he was making some small alterations to my costume," she said, gesturing to Kurt, who Santana only now noticed was standing in the door behind Rachel with a huge pair of scissors in his one hand and several yellow bows in the other. He had some gold glitter on his left cheek and chin. He waved the scissor through the air as to say hello.
"This was before the zipper got stuck. And he happened to mention that of old friend of a friend of his was looking for some part time accommodation in the city for a few months. Only on weekends," Rachel quickly said.
"For a few months. Only on the weekends," Kurt parroted.
"You ought to consider it, Santana," he then said, "If I wasn't living in a bachelors' pad where the kitchen was actually in the bathroom, I totally would have her stay with me. I could really do with the money. I was saying to Lexie the other day; there is no place for our profession anymore in this economy. It's terrible."
"That's because you scissor for a living, Miss Hummel," Santana said.
"Make fun of me all you want, Santana, but costume making and design are crucial parts of keeping the entertainment industry alive. If only the entertainment industry would realise that," he sighed. "But seriously, uhm, just consider it. It could be kind of cool. Only on the weekends."
Santana looked suspiciously from Rachel to Kurt and then back to Rachel again. They both looked kind of nervous.
"Right, Berry, as much as I would love for us to be able to do something to rake in a little more dough, I feel obligated to remind you that we live in an apartment the size of a shoebox. And while I'm sure that that is fine for midget species such as yourself, us regular folk struggle with having no space to breath, let alone live in.
"But," Rachel started.
"No 'but', Rachel, we are living in a tiny two bedroom loft as it is. So unless you are planning to go all hobo for a few months in order to get your paws on Lady Lips' friend's cash, I really don't see that happening. Honestly, I already have issues keeping my shit straight having to live with you. What if this friend is another musical freak and you stage a musical theatre coup and I'm left having to endure several renditions of 'I Feel Pretty' or 'A Few of my Favourite Things' for months on end?" Santana stood up and moved to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of water. Sometimes she just couldn't with Rachel. She just couldn't and the worst thing is that she knew that she would eventually give in and give Rachel her way. But if she resisted a little more though, she thought while taking a sip of water, and pretended that this time she might not give Rachel her way, she could maybe blackmail Rachel into making her breakfast for the rest of the week when Santana eventually gave in.
Rachel turned to face Santana who was now standing behind the breakfast nook in the small kitchenette.
"I have it all figured out," she said confidently, seemingly untouched by the string of insults that Santana had just thrown her way. A few years ago she would have ignored these types of insults because she either wouldn't have realised that she was being insulted or because she would've been too scared to retort. After having lived with Santana for almost four years though, she now ignored her insults because she had realised that if she had to respond to every single insult Santana threw her way, they would spend the rest of their lives standing in their kitchen arguing. She also ignored it, because sometimes, when a very drunk Santana came home in the early hours of the morning, she would wake Rachel to tell her that she kinda loved her.
"And what I was thinking," Rachel continued, "is that we could empty out the closet under the stairs. So then she could put her stuff in there – it's more the big enough – and she could sleep on the sleeper couch out here in the living room. I mean, she would only be here Friday to Sunday and she would practically only sleep here. And of course we wouldn't split the rent in three; we'd only ask her a minimal fee which we could then use to lower our own payments towards the rent a little."
"Okay, I have several problems with that," Santana said, throwing both hands in the air, "because, firstly, I have huge ethical issues with forcing people to stay in the closet. Huge. And second of all, is this friend coming to us via platform 9 and three quarters? Because who the hell is going to want to live in a closet?"
"Well, you see, Santana," Kurt spoke up for the first time, "She's going to be working on a show here and needs to be in New York on the weekends for rehearsals. She's kinda been out of the business and so she doesn't really have the funds to get a full time place of stay in a hotel every weekend." He looked somewhat jittery as he spoke, waving the scissors through the air.
"Okay, whatever, I'll think about it. Wait. This isn't your friend, Colleen the weird cross dresser, is it?" Santana asked Kurt. She knew that she was on the verge of giving in. "Because I never know which pronoun to use when I speak about it and then it always starts crying and I never know what to do.
"That is incredibly offensive, Santana!" Rachel chastised, "One would think that someone who does not conform to the heteronormative society that we live in would be a little more sensitive to those who choose to explore and live out their true identity."
"See, that is exactly what I mean," Santana replied, "I offend without even intending to. So who is this friend anyway?"
Kurt looked down at the scissors in his hand immediately. He pointed his one foot in front of him and bit his lip. Rachel looked as though she wanted to wipe her brow only to realise that her costume didn't allow her hand to reach up to her forehead.
"Okaydon'tfreakoutbutitisBrittanyPier cefromhighschoolyourememberh erdon'tyou?" Rachel said so quickly that Santana had to take a few seconds to replay and decipher what Rachel had said in her head.
Once Santana had manage to figure out what Rachel had just said to her, she slowly turned around and tool a step to put her glass down on the opposite counter. As she stepped and turned back to face Kurt and Rachel she briefly internally congratulated herself for the fact that she had put the glass out of her own reach and thereby possibly saved the lives of both of the people in front of her.
"What did you just say?" She asked. Her voice was dark and low and stripped of the hint of playfulness that usually accompanied her sarcastic banter with Rachel and Kurt.
Rachel took a deep breath.
"I said that it is Brittany. You know Brittany, right?"
"Do I know Brittany? Are you fucking insane? Seriously? Have you fucking lost your tiny midget fucking mind? Brittany. You mean Brittany whose heart I was forced to break into a million pieces and leave behind and then spent several years crying myself to sleep every fucking night? Brittany who I spent a year of my life drunk dialling every Friday night? You mean Brittany who, when I last saw her, was hysterical and who I told that I never wanted to see her again?" Somehow Santana felt is if though her heart wasn't just beating faster, but was trying to escape from her chest. As if it was clawing its way through her throat to escape through her mouth and get the fuck out.
"So it seems that you do remember her?" Kurt asked with a nervous chuckle. If he was trying to lighten Santana's mood he certainly wasn't succeeding.
"I will cut you, Kurt Hummel," Santana said, turning to Kurt.
He flinched ever so slightly and stepped back a little, but continued none the less.
"Look Santana, I feel for you, I really do. I get it. Your puppy love didn't work out. Your eighteen year old heart was broken and that feeling that you had, that you thought would never ever go away or be replaced, was ripped away from you. I get it. Because guess what? The same thing happened to me. And to Rachel. It actually happened to Rachel several times. And to a million other people out there. But that was almost seven freaking years ago. So if you could just stopped being a self-centred little girl for one second and look around, you'd see that your friend, Rachel, needs your help right now. Because while you spend your days drifting around campus, sleeping in, and being an eternal student, Rachel here works her butt off to make ends meet by taking on whatever parts she can get," Kurt said, gesturing towards Rachel who was lightly swaying in her bright yellow ensemble, looking at her feet.
Santana frowned and looked out the window. While it certainly wasn't true that Santana sat around all day doing nothing (she thought that one could certainly tell that Kurt had never dabbled in graduate education), it was also true that Rachel had it pretty bad. Despite Rachel's dreams of becoming a Broadway sensation, she spent most of her time doing children's theatre nowadays. And despite the fact that Rachel maintained that she firmly believed that she would be called up to Broadway any day now, they all knew that she would most likely spend the rest of her life starring as Sandy Sun in a preschool version of Four Clouds and a Raindrop and, to Santana's great joy, Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Santana knew this. She knew that Rachel, like herself, was desperately trying to live independently. She also knew that Rachel owed her dads an obscene amount of money. She owed Kurt $497 and she owed Finn $184 at that very moment. She also owed Santana $4 (she had forgotten her wallet and wanted ice-cream) and a new curling iron. The previous week Santana had walked past Rachel's room and saw that she had broken open the ridiculous piggy bank that she kept beside her bed. She knew all of this just like she knew that she shouldn't be worried about Brittany's presence on their couch and in their closet. She had told Brittany years before, after all, that she wanted her to be happy and would do whatever it took to ensure that Brittany was happy and looked after.
"So are you really that selfish?" Kurt broke her trail of thought, "Are you really so selfish that you can't help not one, but two of your friends? This is a really nice break for Brittany, Santana. And while you may have spent the last couple of years in your self-absorbed little world of whatever, I actually spent a lot of time talking to Britt. And you know what? It took her forever to take this leap and audition to do this. You think she'd want to do this? To live here? With you? But she'll do it in anyway. Because unlike you," he said pointing his scissors towards Santana, "she is willing to go through a little discomfort to achieve her dreams."
Both Santana and Rachel stared at Kurt for a moment.
"Tough love, bitch," he said while touching a stand of hair that had fallen out of place, "tough love."
Santana stared at Rachel and Kurt for another second before taking a deep breath.
"Fuck you both," she said, turning around and walking out the front door.
Thirty seconds later, before Rachel and Kurt could do much more than exchange a look; she opened the door and stormed inside again. She huffed as she passed Kurt and Rachel into the kitchen. She pulled out a chair and climbed onto the kitchen counter. She reached up to the cabinet above the microwave and frowned as she used her hand to reach for something that was seemingly out of her reach.
"What are you doing?" Kurt asked puzzled.
"Uhm, Santana," Rachel asked cautiously, "are you going to jump? Please don't jump, it's not worth it!"
"Oh, for god's sake, Rachel!" Kurt exclaimed, "It's a kitchen counter, it's barely three feet high!"
"It's the idea!" Rachel retorted.
Pulling something out of the cabinet Santana climbed back onto the chair and stepped into the floor. "I need a fucking cigarette," she said while pulling a cigarette from the packet that she had just retrieved from the kitchen. "Don't look at me like that," she added, "and stop with the emotional blackmail. She's not going to come fucking stay here. No fucking way."
With that, not waiting before she was even out on the balcony before lighting the cigarette, she turned around and left Kurt and Rachel standing in the living room.