"I think we should sit this one out."
She knows it's bad when Brittany's the one telling her no. Brittany never tells her no when it comes to chasing storms. That's usually Quinn's job. But it's Santana's job to collect data. And since this type of information tends to save lives, that's exactly what she's going to do. "Brittany, you designed this vehicle yourself," she says in an attempt to convince her girlfriend to change her mind. "You know it can withstand 200 mile an hour winds."
Sure, Brittany built the Catmobile 2 from scratch, but after what happened to the original Catmobile, she'd rather not take any chances. "I don't want to lose you like we lost Mike." She begins to tear up. "I can't lose you at all."
Santana feels her heart break all over again. "Hey," she whispers, pulling Brittany close and pressing a kiss to her lips. "It's okay." She's never been the best at comforting people, even the people she cares about the most, so she's not exactly sure how to break the news to her slightly hysterical girlfriend that she's going to track this hurricane whether or not Brittany says she can. "You can skip this one if you want."
Brittany sniffles, her eyes red from crying. "If you're going, I'm going. Especially if we… go."
"Go?" Santana asks unsurely.
She does know. Before Mike, there was Will. And before Will, there was Jesse, Finn, and Matt. "So if I go, you go, huh?"
Brittany wipes a tear from her eye. "Something like that."
"Well, that day is not today," Santana promises, although she really can't promise anything. There are no guarantees in this business. She can only predict what might happen and those predictions don't always come true. It's enough to make Brittany smile for now though.
The thing about Brittany Pierce is that she is the smartest person Santana's ever met. She wanted to be an Imagineer growing up, but Disney wasn't quite ready for Brittany's particular brand of genius, so she became an engineer instead. At the age of fourteen. Now she has half a dozen degrees hanging on the wall of an office she never goes inside.
Brittany once told Santana she'd rather be happy than smart, but she just so happened to be both.
Brittany's kind of been Santana's whole world ever since.
She brushes a strand of Brittany's hair back while Brittany sinks even further into her embrace. "I love you," she murmurs. "What happened to Mike wasn't anybody's fault, okay?"
"I know. Love you too," Brittany says quietly.
"Sorry to interrupt," Quinn says from the garage door and the two women break apart. "But if we want to get good footage, we're going to need to leave soon." Frankly, Santana's surprised Quinn wants to go near the eye of the storm. She's almost always in favor of staying in and watching the Weather Channel instead. "Besides," Quinn adds, "I brought someone."
Santana blinks. "You brought a date?"
Quinn steps into the garage, pulling Rachel Berry with her.
"We're not taking the weather girl," Santana says flatly.
"Hey! I'm a meteorologist!" Rachel replies.
"Congratulations, you can stand in front of a green screen," Santana says, rolling her eyes. "Do you know what it's like to be blown off the road by gale force winds? Have you ever seen hail the size of softballs pelting your car? Did you ever lose a limb–"
"Santana," Quinn warns.
"She needs to know what she's in for," Santana says. In all honesty, scaring the girl is preparing the girl. She glances over at Brittany who's inspecting Catmobile 2. Brittany hadn't known what to expect her first time either, but Santana held her hand the entire time. Quinn deserves a similar experience. Santana turns to Rachel. "Look, you can come, but if we tell you to do something, do it without hesitation. We don't exactly have the best track record around here."
The words hang heavily in the air until Rachel says, "Got it," a few moments later. Quinn takes her back inside the office to grab the camera equipment.
"Cat 2 needs fuel, but otherwise it's locked and loaded," Brittany reports, giving Santana a wink. "What were you saying about losing a limb?"
"That was from a movie… I just wanted to scare her."
"I think it worked."
"Are you going to be okay driving?" Santana asks.
Brittany shrugs. "It can't be any worse than the time that tornado split into five baby twisters."
Santana remembers. That had been a nightmare come true, but Brittany managed to get them out of it.
Quinn comes back a moment later with her camera in one hand and Rachel's hand in the other. "Tina and Sugar are going to be our spotters," she tells Rachel. She points to the van. "They'll be in there."
"Where will we be?" Rachel asks.
Quinn leads her over to Catmobile 2. "In here."
Rachel relaxes. "We'll be in an armored car? That makes me feel a little better."
"Yeah, but we'll be driving headfirst into a storm," Brittany grins, climbing into the driver's seat. "It's pretty cool as long as it doesn't suck us up. Even then… it's still pretty cool."
"We sell the footage to the news networks," Quinn continues, helping Rachel into the back. "The equipment is more for our own research. We take the data we collect and, well, I'm sure you know the rest."
From the passenger seat, Santana adds, "Don't forget to buckle up, Green Screen Queen."
Brittany stops for gas ten miles down the road. She fills the tank while Santana watches the storm's progress on her phone. Quinn dashes inside the store, leaving Rachel in the backseat.
"So what's your problem with me?"
Santana sighs. She should've known this was coming. "I don't have a problem with you. I have a problem with your profession."
"But why? Aren't you a meteorologist too?"
"What you and I do is completely different," Santana argues. "You're a television personality. I'm a researcher. You read off a teleprompter. I risk my life in order to understand why Mother Nature's such a bitch."
Rachel's silent for a moment. "Oh my God," she says after a while. "I remember you!"
"What?" Santana asks.
"I remember you– from Channel 71 News."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Santana says a little too defensively.
"They used to make you do the weather in your bikini, didn't they? I thought you looked familiar."
Brittany pokes her head in the window. "That's how we met, actually. I used to write her fan mail." She grins. "I even sent her pictures of myself in a bathing suit since I didn't think it was fair I got to see hers, but she couldn't see mine."
"That is just adorable," Rachel gushes.
"I was a broke in college, okay?" Santana says. "They hired me for my looks and I quit after graduation."
"Then she called me and demanded that I take her out on a date," Brittany says. "Even though we'd never met in person. She just wanted me for my body. Little did she know that–"
"I'd be stuck with you for eternity," Santana sighs, only pretending to be upset.
"She read all my letters," Brittany brags. "That's how she knew my phone number by heart."
"Did not!" Santana denies, although it was true. She only had a handful of female admirers and it wasn't like her segment had the greatest time slot to begin with.
"Okay," Quinn says, carrying a bag in one hand and a large drink in the other. "I got everybody's usual." She hands Brittany a pack of Dots and Santana the Twizzlers. "Rachel, I wasn't sure what you liked so I got you this Slushie."
Santana eyes it warily. "That thing is huge, Quinn! She'll have to pee every five minutes and we can't waste any time. Toss it."
Quinn looks at her date and back at Santana who is not pleased. She looks back at Rachel again. "Sorry," she tells Rachel before throwing it in the trashcan. She digs into the bag again. "The Pringles are for me, but I guess we can share. I also got these Corn Nuts for…"
It goes without saying. Then again, maybe it's gone without saying for too long. Maybe it's time they talked about it. "Mike," Santana says, taking the snack and placing it on the dashboard. "This one's for Mike."
"For Mike," Brittany echoes, turning on Catmobile 2.
Santana smiles at her girlfriend. "You know," she says, "if I had to choose between you and chasing storms, I'd choose you every time."
"Well," Brittany replies, squeezing Santana's hand, "It just so happens that you get to have both."