A/N: Here it is, guys, the final chapter! When I wrote the first two chapters as a GKM fill for the sexy secret Santa project, I didn't think I'd follow up with another 20 chapters. But it was so fun, and so many people seemed to like it, I'm glad I did.
I got a lot of messages and reviews from people who were confused about why Quinn was talking about releasing Brittany, since Sue was the one who made Brittany a vampire. In chapter 21, Sue said that she would release Brittany to Quinn's care as soon as she was turned, thus putting Quinn in charge of Brittany and giving her Maker status. Easy to forget after a few days, so it's understandable that people were confused.
Oh! And be sure to read my new story "Wherever the Dandelion Falls"!
Chapter 23: Moonlight
Quinn led Santana down a strange corridor that was lined with emerald and royal purple tapestries. Santana took in her surroundings, feeling as though she was in a medieval castle. Considering Sue was a dozen centuries old, Santana supposed the Queen had chosen her favorite decorative era and furnished her castle accordingly.
As they turned up a different corridor, it occurred to Santana that Quinn seemed to know where she was going.
"Have you been here before?" Santana whispered.
Quinn gave her a solemn nod.
"Often enough," Quinn whispered.
Santana chilled at that. How had she not known that Quinn was close to the Queen? What if Quinn was part of some plot to do harm to Brittany's family? Santana grew more anxious still at the realization that Quinn would become Brittany's Maker the second the Queen turned her over. Although she knew Quinn was genuine in her remorse for the way she'd raised Santana, Santana couldn't help but be suspicious now. What if things were only going to get worse? What if she and Brittany were pawns in a setup that would only yield pain and bloodshed and agony?
"Are you and Queen Sylvester... close?" Santana asked, swallowing.
Quinn looked straight ahead, a fatigued smile gracing her face. "No," she said. "But she gets bored. Sometimes she likes to hear my political opinions."
Santana wasn't comforted by Quinn bringing up politics.
"She finds my pacifist leanings humorous. Thinks I'm foolish. If she didn't respect my medical practice, she'd have nothing to do with me. But she says they balance each other out, so she keeps me around."
"Pacifist leanings?" Santana asked. She felt like an echo chamber for Quinn's words and the pounding of her aching heart.
Quinn stopped at the corner of a hallway. "Surely you know," Quinn said. "I don't wish humans any harm. I like humans."
Santana swallowed again, her throat still aching as she felt still more foolish for not realizing that Quinn was a pacifist. An integrationist, even.
"Brittany is a gift to me," Quinn shrugged. "For healing Sue's niece when she got bludgeoned by a troll last year." Quinn started walking again, then said in a low voice, "And probably because you staked Finn. She was never fond of him."
"Neither were you," Santana pointed out.
Quinn shrugged, an uncharacteristically muted reaction to talking about Finn. Santana supposed Quinn was trying to be respectful of the recently departed Sheriff of their district.
"He was an asshat," Santana said, trying to bait Quinn in launching into a full-fledged rant about what an incompetent moron he was.
Quinn pursed her lips. "Now that neither of us have a Maker, we don't have to worry about people dragging us into their politics. You especially."
Santana frowned. "What do you mean?"
Quinn looked surprised. "You know I would never put you or Brittany in any kind of danger, right? I wouldn't have demanded you report back to me about her family unless I had been commanded to."
Santana's feet slowed, realizing, as if for the first time, that Quinn had often been commanded to do things she didn't want to do too. Finn had used Quinn as a tool in his political vendettas in a way that was far more sinister than the pithy tasks Quinn had demanded of Santana. She felt even more pity and compassion for Quinn. It had never occurred to her that there were times when Quinn felt as powerless as she usually did.
Quinn slowed too and looked at Santana, raising her eyebrows. Santana realized she hadn't responded to what Quinn had said, and shook her head to clear it. "Yeah," she said. "Of course. Of course you wouldn't."
At that reassurance, Quinn reached out and took Santana's hand. She squeezed it and continued down the hall. A playful smile crossed her face as she swung their hands together said, "I would never willingly put one of my babies in danger."
Santana gave her a wincing laugh, all too nervous about how Quinn's newest "baby" was faring.
"If I could, I would end this war between vampires and humans for good. But..." She sighed. "I don't have any political clout." She sounded sad, as though she had once aspired to be powerful like Sue or Finn.
Santana nodded, willing her aching legs to keep up with Quinn. She felt slower than usual. "You could, you know," she said.
Quinn pursed her lips again, then tried to shrug the idea off. But Santana wasn't convinced.
"I'm a doctor," Quinn sighed. "Medicine is my thing, not politics."
Santana saw the way Quinn was pushing her feelings aside with rational excuses. "You probably have time to explore other careers, you know," she said, as though it was funny.
Eternal life meant they both had infinite time to explore careers that appealed to them. Santana knew her time for being retired was coming to a close soon. As far as she knew, Quinn had never retired. She'd been a doctor forever. Santana made a note to ask her about how medicine had grown and changed over the past eighty years sometime.
Quinn's brow crinkled for a moment, as though the idea of switching careers had never occurred to her. "I suppose I could," she said, intrigued.
Their conversation was brought to a halt when Quinn stopped before a large marble arch at the end of the hall. At the top of the arch the words Hall of Eternal Life loomed overhead, taunting Santana. She knew it wasn't really eternal life. It was eternal existence or eternal death. Life was pulsing and glowing and fragile. Vampires were anything but.
But then she stopped to consider. Were vampires really indestructible? Not physically. They could be burned by silver the same way humans were by fire. They could catch diseases and hold grudges. They could be terminated by a simple piece of wood. They could even, Santana had discovered, feel. Her hybridism wasn't to blame. After all, Quinn was completely dead, her organs still for almost a hundred years. And yet Quinn had feelings. She felt loneliness and hunger and hurt. She felt pride and she felt shame and she felt inspired. Quinn had as many feelings as Santana did, they were just cased differently. Santana supposed that casing didn't matter so much. After all, she would love Brittany no matter what she was made of or how her organs worked. She would love her simply because of her heart, beating or still. There was an essence to Brittany that Santana prayed hadn't been sucked away.
Eager to see that Brittany was unharmed, Santana reached for the door handle. But Quinn moved her hand away gently. In days past, Quinn would have swatted it away with a disapproving glare. But Quinn was gentle now.
"We wait for them," she murmured.
Santana swallowed and studied the door, as though if she looked hard enough, she would be able to see through it.
Quinn reached into a small faux leather shoulder bag Santana hadn't noticed she'd been carrying. She pulled out a canteen and held it in her hands, worrying the cap with her fingers.
"What's that? Santana asked, nodding towards the canteen.
"Blood. Brittany's going to be thirsty."
Santana felt foolish for not anticipating Quinn's response. Quinn was thorough in everything she did. Of course she would bring blood for her newborn.
"You can't smell it?" Quinn whispered.
Santana shook her head, feeling ashamed. "Sometimes my senses are dulled. It's part of the bond."
Quinn gave her a slow nod. "You're slower too," she said, and Santana detected a hint of amusement in her words. Santana stiffened at that, and Quinn backed down. "Only physically. Your mind is still lightening-quick."
Santana gave a quick nod of forgiveness and refocused on the door. She couldn't concentrate for long on anything, though. Not when she was minutes away from seeing her girlfriend reborn dead.
It was eerily quiet around the palace. Santana was glad she had the power to still her heart, otherwise it would have been pounding loud enough to attract the attention of every vampire on the premises.
After what felt like an hour, Santana heard footsteps behind the door. One pair was stately and measured, the other spritely and curious, darting towards them with determined, graceful force. Santana heard a latch click and the door before them swung open, revealing Brittany, radiant as ever.
She was paler, but she didn't look sickly. Instead she held a hint of the moon's glow, which shone in the blueness of her eyes and the cool blonde of her hair. Her eyes locked on Santana before her dry, pink lips spread in a smile that was both playful and predatory. Santana was frozen to the ground as Brittany darted forward, flinging the door all the way open and her arms around Santana's neck.
Santana felt the air knocked out of her still lungs at the force of Brittany's embrace. She had thought of hundreds of things she wanted to say to Brittany, but was so overwhelmed with gratitude that Brittany was okay, she couldn't speak. As she could do was wrap her arms around her and feel how solid and lively she was. She held her there for a full minute in grateful silence as she heard Queen Sylvester mutter to Quinn, "She's all yours, Fabray. I release her to you. Good luck." The Queen seemed alarmed and frustrated by something as she swiftly walked away, but Santana didn't care what it was. She just held Brittany, smelling her hair and skin and a new scent that coursed through her veins. There was something powerful to the scent, but still maintained Brittany's usual bouquet of comfort and allure. Santana was relieved to discover that her body didn't react any different to Brittany now that Brittany was immortal. She was still warmer and calmer as she pressed against her, as though cloaked in something that could shield her from the harshness of the rest of the world. Santana had previously thought that cloak was Brittany's humanity, and was elated to discover it wasn't. It must have been Brittany's essence.
When Brittany moved to pull back, Santana tightened her grasp, not ready to let go. But Brittany was so strong, Santana was pried off her and found herself captivated by Brittany's moonlit eyes for a moment before Brittany kissed her. Her lips were determined and hungry, and just as Santana slid her lip up between Brittany's, she felt something sharp pierce it. Her eyebrows jumped up and she squeaked, but Brittany's lips smiled against Santana's as Santana's blood started pooling in her mouth. Santana was frozen, unsure how she felt about Brittany biting her before they'd even said a word to each other. But as Brittany began to suck, Santana felt herself tingling as warmth centered between her legs. She hummed as her knees slackened, and Brittany's sucking grew more intent.
Santana was startled by Quinn quietly clearing her throat next to them. Santana opened her eyes and was relieved when Brittany let go of her lips and took a small step back.
"Hi," Brittany murmured to Santana, wrinkling her nose as she nuzzled Santana's affectionately.
"Hi," Santana managed, licking her bottom lip to wipe up some of the blood.
Brittany smiled at her for a moment before turning to look at Quinn. "Hi," she said, lifting her hand from behind Santana's neck to wave.
"Hi," Quinn said. "It's good to see everything went well."
Brittany gave a happy nod. "Everything went perfect," she said. "But god, am I itchy!" She wriggled her shoulders and stomach, and Santana took a moment to scan Brittany's body for where the discomfort lay. She found it was the same itch she had experienced as a newborn. It didn't lie under skin, but rather in her muscles and stomach and chest. It felt insatiable, and she tensed as Brittany's itch seeped into her.
Quinn gave her a gentle smile. "Yeah, that happens. It'll go away quickly if you drink this, though." She held up the canteen of blood and Brittany's eyes went wide with hunger.
"That smells so good," she said, breaking away from Santana to grab the canteen with both hands. She lifted it to her lips and started chugging the contents, her eyes and limbs relaxing with every gulp. When she was done, she let out a satisfied ahhh and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, smearing blood across her chin. "Got any more?" she asked anxiously.
Quinn smiled at her and shook her head. "Not with me. But it's easy to get. O positive is the most common blood type in the world."
"Thank god," Brittany gasped, tipping the canteen up again to catch any leftover drops in her mouth. "It's so delicious. I could eat that every day."
Behind her, Santana was grinning like a fool, and Quinn was smiling back at her.
"I'm O positive," Santana said with a shy smile.
Brittany turned around and her smile only grew as she met Santana's. "Figures," she giggled. Then her eyes went dark and she stalked towards Santana, staring intently at Santana's neck. For the first time, Santana was wary around Brittany. She could feel how jumpy and unpredictable Brittany was, and didn't want to be the target of any force Brittany hadn't learned to control yet.
"Easy, Brittany," Quinn said, her words warm but warning. "Don't drink from Santana when you're hungry. I command you not to."
Brittany's body froze and her face fell. She turned around to look at Quinn as her lip quivered with sadness. "Ever?" she asked, her voice small and pitiful, as though she had just been told she could never eat cupcakes again. Which, of course, she couldn't, but she hadn't realized that yet.
Quinn gave her an apologetic smile and walked toward her, putting her hand on her shoulder. "Some day. Probably sooner than you expect. But I want to make sure both of you are safe, especially since you're living together. I want that house to be happy and healthy for centuries to come, understand? No drinking from Santana when you're hungry."
Brittany nodded obediently, though Santana could tell she was disappointed. After all, she'd wanted to taste Santana's blood before they even spoke about Brittany's transformation.
Quinn continued. "I also command you not to drink directly from humans for the time being. You'll eat the same way Santana does."
Brittany tilted her head, brow creasing. Santana could tell Brittany didn't like being restricted, since her immortal freedom was so new. But she nodded again.
"Am I allowed to stay at our house?" she asked, reaching back for Santana's hand.
"Of course," Quinn said, relieved to give her newborn good news. "You're an adult. I'm just going to help you learn to manage your hunger and strength until you're ready to be released. Whatever else you choose to do with yourself is up to you."
Brittany nodded and bit her lip, and immediately winced when she accidentally bit into it with one of her fangs. Quinn gave her an adoring smile as Brittany raised her hand to her mouth, touching the blood and wrinkling her nose. "I didn't mean to do that," she mumbled. "I guess I have some stuff to get used to."
Quinn rubbed her shoulder again and said quietly, "You have plenty of time. I'll help you."
Brittany gave her a thankful nod and looked back at Santana. "Can we go get some blood? I'm so thirsty."
Santana nodded and laced her fingers between Brittany's. "Of course. I have plenty of O positive at home." Brittany quirked an eyebrow and Santana amended what she's said with, "Human O positive."
Brittany's playfulness faded and she looked back at Quinn. "Am I free to go?" she asked, hopeful.
"Yeah," Quinn said. "Call me if you're still uncomfortable in a few hours. I have a few tricks." She gave Brittany a kind wink and turned around, glancing behind her at Santana and Brittany only once. As she walked away, Santana was again dumbfounded by Quinn's kindness. Quinn was already following through on her promise to be a gentler Maker to Brittany.
Brittany, on the other hand, was too excited to notice the shift between Santana and Quinn. "Ready?" she asked, bouncing on her heels.
Santana flipped her attention back to Brittany and nodded.
"Good," Brittany chirped, taking Santana's hand and yanking her down the hall in the opposite direction of Quinn.
"Where are we going?" Santana asked, feeling out of breath as she tried to keep up with Brittany's speed that was fueled by newborn hunger and her usual curiosity.
"Home!" Brittany grinned.
Santana struggled to keep up for a few more turns through the palace halls before she asked, "Do you even know where you're going?"
Brittany nodded and said, "The exit is this way!"
"How do you know?"
Brittany shrugged and called back, "I just do!"
Santana was doubtful until she realized they had arrived in the entryway of the palace. There, Brittany slowed to a walk and bowed her head to the guards that flanked the door. "Have a nice night," she said, as though she left the palace like this every night. Santana followed quietly and relished the coolness of the water on either side of the walkway that resembled a modern-day drawbridge. She remained a few paces back from Brittany, linked by her hand. When they crossed the walkway and were standing in the almost-deserted parking lot, Brittany turned around and smiled wickedly at Santana. "Want to see a trick?" she asked.
Santana grew cautious. She didn't want Brittany testing her new powers without knowing their limits. "Maybe we should wait until you can practice with Quinn," she said, trying not to dampen Brittany's enthusiasm too harshly.
Brittany shook her head. "I can't practice with Quinn. She doesn't know how."
Santana grew more worried. "Britt, what are you talking-"
"Just hold my hands," Brittany said, gripping Santana's firmly. "Don't let go."
Santana stuttered, "I- I won't, but Britt, what are you-"
Her words were cut off by a shriek as Brittany propelled them straight up into the cold night air, blasting towards the moon until they were fifty yards above the palace.
Santana's feet scrambled to find something to stand on, but found nothing besides Brittany's ankles to knock against.
"Put me down!" Santana shrieked. "Holy shit, put me down!"
Brittany's playful smile fell when she saw how scared Santana was. She doubled her grip on Santana's hands and they plummeted toward the earth, earning another terrified scream from Santana during their freefall. When they were ten yards above the ground, Brittany slowed, landing them with only a small jolt.
"Jesus Christ, Brittany, never do that again!" Santana panted, yanking her hands away from Brittany's and covering her face, which was white as a sheet.
"I'm sorry," Brittany cooed, reaching forward to comfort Santana. "I didn't mean to scare you. I just wanted to show off my new skills."
"Yeah," Santana gasped, "Those are some intense skills..." She panted for a few more seconds before she said, "You gotta warn me before you try stuff like that, okay?"
"Okay. I'm sorry," Brittany said, looking sheepish.
Santana took a deep breath and straightened up, then looked Brittany in the eye. Brittany looked so concerned and embarrassed, she wanted to comfort her. "It is pretty cool though," Santana said. "I don't know many vamps who can fly."
Brittany's smile turned smug and Santana looked at her with sudden curiosity.
"How did you know you could do that?" Santana asked.
Brittany shrugged. "I just knew," she said. "The same way you know how to release and retract your fangs. Which... I haven't learned how to do yet," she said, moonlight glinting off the pointy tips that were visible through her lips.
"You'll learn quickly," Santana assured her. "Quinn is a good teacher. As long as you actually pay attention," she said, remembering how often she'd shirked her lessons.
"I will," Brittany said, as though she were eager to start her vampire lessons. "Do you think if I show her what a good student I am, she can help me get into veterinary school?"
Santana's heart gave a pleasant squeeze at how unchanged Brittany was. She was almost indistinguishable from her human self. Aside from her newfound bloodthirst, speed, and powers of flight, of course.
"Probably," Santana said. "She has lots of connections to important people in medicine. And now that you're a vampire, you could go to supernatural veterinary school and learn to take care of magical and non-magical creatures."
Brittany's eyes widened in delight and she let out a squeal of excitement. "That's so awesome!"
Santana giggled, heart fluttering with joy. She hadn't imagined that Brittany being a vampire would be so delightful.
"I want to try again," Brittany said, reaching for Santana's hands. "But - I'll go slow, I promise. No more than ten feet in the air."
Santana held her hands back, cautious to let Brittany fling her into the air again. "No more than ten feet?" she echoed.
"Promise," Brittany said.
Anxiously, Santana let Brittany take her hands.
This time, Santana hardly noticed her feet leaving the ground. Apart from the light breeze that was already playing in her hair, she felt no difference between standing and flying. As they lifted gracefully into the air, Santana relaxed. Brittany was already proving that she could master her powers quickly.
When they were ten feet up, Brittany said, "Better?"
"Much," Santana said. "It helps when I know what's coming."
Brittany lifted Santana's hands one at a time to her lips and kissed them. "Can I take you home now?" she asked, voice tender and warm.
Santana nodded, faltering for just a moment as Brittany let go of one of her hands. But Brittany held firm to the other as she slowly leaned to the side, until their bodies were almost parallel to the ground.
Then, like a car slowly accelerating, Brittany moved them in the direction of their house. She didn't go too fast, and Santana was fascinated as she watched the ground move below them.
"Can I go a little higher so it's easier to avoid traffic lights and buildings?" Brittany asked.
"Yeah," Santana breathed, still entranced by her first experience of flight.
Brittany angled up, and they rose another fifteen yards, giving them a comfortable distance from the ground. She didn't pick up speed, just continued steering them gracefully toward their house. Santana marvelled at the way the town looked from this angle. She could see the layout of the streets and patterns of lights, but also the details of the buildings and cars and people below. She knew that flying with Brittany was going to be one of her favorite things, once she got used to it.
When they drew close to the wealthy part of town, Santana spotted the Pierce house. She grew sad, knowing Brittany could never return there.
"What are you going to do about your parents, Britt?" Santana asked in a hushed, sad voice.
Brittany was quiet for a moment as air rushed around them, tangling their hair and drying their eyes. Santana felt a pit of sadness start to form in her stomach.
"I'm not sure," she said. "I don't want to cut them off completely. I can keep doing phone and email. It's not like they're home very often to see me in person anyway..."
Santana felt the urge to comfort Brittany. She knew that losing her family was the one part of being a vampire that Brittany didn't like.
"Maybe this war won't last forever," Santana said. "Quinn was saying she might go into politics. She's an integrationist, you know."
"I know," Brittany said, as though it was common knowledge.
"You do?" Santana asked, surprised.
"Yeah," Brittany shrugged. "I wouldn't have asked her to help us that time she glamoured me if I hadn't known."
"Oh..." Santana said, feeling foolish. How had she not known Quinn was an integrationist until tonight?
"I'll figure it out," Brittany said. "I have time. And most importantly, I have you," she said, tugging on Santana's hand.
Santana took the hint and let the subject go for the time being. Brittany was right. They had time to figure out what to do about Brittany's family.
As they drew nearer to their house, Brittany rose higher to avoid being hit by trees. She picked up speed, though not too quickly for Santana's liking, and they soared closer to home. Santana remembered the dreams she had had about flying over the forest with Brittany. In the dreams, she had been as relieved and happy as she felt now.
When at last they saw the roof of their house, Brittany slowed and lowered their ankles as she descended, until they landed gracefully on the front porch.
"Looks like we'll be saving money on gas," Santana said, winking at Brittany. "You're pretty good at that."
Brittany gave her a look that would have been accompanied by a blush, if blood had been moving through her veins. "Just show me where the O positive is."
Santana went to the refrigerator and took out three bags of O positive. She heated them and served two to Brittany, drinking the remaining one herself. Brittany drank voraciously, and when she was finished, Santana felt the last hints of itchiness leave her chest and muscles. Brittany was calm now.
Brittany looked at Santana across the table, unaware of the small trickle of blood that had seeped down her chin.
"Hey, are you still a hybrid?" Brittany asked, as though it had just occurred to her that Santana might have changed when she did.
Santana nodded. She had felt her heart beat and her lungs ache for air since Brittany's heart and lungs had stopped. But now it occurred to Santana that her hybridism wasn't a result of her stealing life force from Brittany. It could only be a result of learning to love the way a human could. And although Brittany's heart no longer beat, Santana knew, the same way Brittany had known she could fly, that it would again. Brittany's heart would beat someday soon, and they would live the rest of their existence together, straddling both the human and vampire worlds.
"Are you gonna miss me being human?" Brittany asked.
Santana wrinkled her nose playfully, thinking about how she wouldn't be able to overpower Brittany in a playful way or impress her with her strength and speed. "A little bit. But... I have a feeling you're going to be a pretty badass vampire."
Brittany's face broke into a grin. "We are so lucky."
Santana tilted her head with a curious look. "Why?"
Brittany stood up and knelt next to Santana, giving her a soft kiss on the lips before drawing back and staring deep into her eyes. "Because we get to spend forever falling in love with each other over and over again."