Authors note: Wow, thank everyone for the awesome amount of reviews and I really enjoy reading them and seeing what you think. This is the end of the daily updates, but hopefully the next part won't take too long to finish up. Enjoy!
I stayed in the hospital a week before I was allowed to leave, as long as I followed strict instructions, which were to get plenty of rest, and take it incredibly easy. I had two limbs in various types of casts so I was hardly about to go out dancing. In fact I could barely move without wanting to cry, I just couldn't stand the hospital room for another minute and was going stir crazy, so I begged Santana to get me out of there. I might have even pouted a little to get my own way, but seriously have you ever spent any significant time in a hospital bed? If you have then you know it sucks. The food is awful, the bed is lumpy, and the place is fucking noisy. Not to mention there's no privacy anywhere and strange people were always walking into the room and making me nervous.
I was happy to get back in an actual comfy bed, and have my son curled up next to me. Cody had been allowed to visit me every day in the hospital, but I had still missed him. I decided after the first night that I really hated being apart from him, and we had both cried when Santana had parted us that first night. He had visitedRight now though he was chattering on happily about his day, nestled in my arms where he belongs. He seemed happily unaffected by the ordeal he had gone through. Apparently Mike had looked after him a lot, and even saved him at the end, throwing himself over my sons' little body and taking a bullet to the thigh that was intended for him. Cody had just thought it was all kinds of cool, I don't think it had felt real to him. Santana had been furious, and had actually called in a hit by Kurt 'Porcelain' Hummel, on Rachel 'The Mouth' Berry, we knew it was successful when a porcelain figure of a little boy was delivered to the house two days after the hit was called.
I was glad that I would never have to see her smiling face again.
It was one less thing to worry about.
I hadn't bounced back unfortunately as well as my son. I had nightmares that would leave me crying and shaking in pools of my own sweat. I couldn't stand to have stranger around me, particularly strange men. And I still hurt. A lot. I kept having flashbacks, not just to what had happened in the room, but back even further to when I was a stripper and before.
"Mommy?" Cody asked and I blinked to try to focus on my son once more.
"Sorry baby, what is it?" I asked trying to pay attention again.
Santana had gone to pick her father up at the airport; he had delayed his flight and was now due to arrive today instead. I had insisted that Santana go and pick him up, in the hope that we would set off on the right foot and he would be happy.
"She had to go out baby. But she should be back soon. Do you want to watch some television until then?" I smiled when he bounced excitedly up and down on the bed, even though it hurt, it made me happy to see him happy.
Within a few minutes of the television playing I could feel his body getting heavy against mine, I watched his face as he slept against me, it was so peaceful and innocent it made my heart hurt.
I can't even remember if I was that innocent ever. Even as a kid I had moments that I made my parents so very angry with me, they always told me I was stupid, and never thought about my actions.
It was easy to lose innocence quickly with that kind of life.
"Brittany, get your backside in this room right this second." My mother yelled from somewhere downstairs.
I wanted to stay curled up in my bed. Maybe If I hid behind all of my stuffed toys she wouldn't find me? But she had before, and the memory of her literally dragging me out of the bed made me reluctantly move.
When I shuffled into the living room and saw the broken pieces of one of my mother's favorite vases sitting on the coffee table in front of her I knew I was in trouble.
My lip trembled, and I clenched my hands into fists at my sides so they wouldn't shake.
"How did you do this?" My mother said, her voice raised and angry.
I poked my big toe into the carpet and didn't look at her.
She wasn't going to like this.
"Uh…" My voice trailed off.
"Speak up Brittany." She shouted and I flinched at the noise.
I had been dancing along with the radio to my favorite song, twirling around and around when the blanket I had been holding must have caught where the vase was on a shelf because it fell to the floor and broke. I tried really hard to fix it but my glue stick wouldn't hold the pieces together. In the end I had shakily hidden it behind some books and hoped that no one noticed.
The slap to my face made my lip tremble and bleed where I bit it.
I was sent up to my room for the rest of the day without dinner, and not allowed to dance for a month.
I was eight years old.
The bedroom door shut with a click bringing me thankfully back to the present, and I smiled when I saw Santana walking towards me.
Fuck she looked sexy.
Tight black pants that left little to the imagination. A white silk shirt that had the top few buttons undone, and a black leather jacket completed the look. She sat gently down on the bed beside me and lent over pressing a barely there kiss to my forehead, before gently ruffling Cody's dark hair with her hand, her fingers lingering in the dark strands a few seconds extra, I knew she was still relieved that we were both ok. Both back beside her. She had hardly left our sides since we had been reunited, only her father coming into town, and my insistence she greet him and forced her to leave this time.
Her feet came up and rested on the comforter, and I would have complained that she really should take her boots off first before resting them on our bed, but honestly that required more energy than I had right now. So instead I leant carefully towards her, smiling when her arm automatically lifted up and she helped me get comfortable before resting it back down around me.
Her fingers brushed against the back of my neck alternating between playing with the short baby soft hairs there, and running her thumbnail up and down. Eventually her hand settled in my hair, I know she loves to play with it, God I love it when she plays with it too. Sometimes it can be exciting, but today…in fact for the past few days it had only ever been comforting. Its one of the few things she can do without unconsciously triggering something in me that makes me flinch away from her. Both of us hate when that happens, and it hurts us both. I hate that he still hurts me, and that I let him hurt her. I hate that I have nightmares about what he did to me whenever I close my eyes, and sometimes when they are wide open too.
Sometimes I think the hate will eat me alive if I let it.
"Britt? Come back to me babe." Santana said quietly by my ear breaking me from my cycle of depression. I thanked her by pressing myself tighter to her body, and took comfort from her arm tightening fractionally around me.
We sat in silence for a few minutes, and I could feel my body relaxing and getting heavy with sleep again, but instead of sinking into it I fought to stay awake, stay with Santana. "San, can you tell me a story?" I asked, my voice coming out at barely a whisper, but I know she heard me when she chuckled. In the past I used to make her tell me stories whenever I had woken up from a bad dream, there had been a lot at the beginning although they had faded away as my life with Santana replaced the time before her. Now they were back with a vengeance though, and I was scared to close my eyes and be drawn into them again.
"Sure." She placed a kiss on the top of my head and held me even tighter, sighing when she felt me body tremble and instantly loosening her grip. "Uh ok, once upon a time there was this little girl and she was really special, but she didn't know she was special because no one ever told her that. No one loved her enough to show her how magical and wonderful she was."
"This is a really depressing story." I said pressing closer to Santana's side again.
How was this supposed to cheer me up?
"Hush you, and let me continue." Santana said, and pressed another kiss to the top of my head. "Anyway, one day when the little girl was all grown up she met someone. Someone who could show her how special she was. Someone that loved her, more than she had ever loved anything else before."
I felt my breath catch in my throat.
But the story continued, even as my brain buzzed around trying to catch up. "She tried to show the other girl how special she was, but the other girl didn't always believe it." Santana said, " I guess the years of constantly being put down had taken their toll, but that didn't stop her trying. She would buy her flowers because she noticed how it made the other girl smile when she would hold them close to her face and breathe them in. She would hold her close, kiss her, touch her gently, and tell her that she made her the happiest person in the whole wide world. Because she did…she does. And she would take her dancing because the other girl loved to dance above everything else, and when she was dancing she looked happy and free."
"You got that part wrong." I interrupted when Santana paused to take a breath.
"Really?" Santana asked the trace of a smile evident in her voice.
"Uh huh, the girl loved the other girl above everything else, and that made her the happiest." I said with a small smile.
"Then why did you really leave?"
I tried to work out how we had gotten from me saying I loved her, to why I left. I thought I had already told her that. I was scared and so I ran. When did this become about me? What happened to just a story to cheer me up, take my mind away from my horrific nightmares so I could rest.
I sat up and moved away from Santana on the bed, being careful not to move into where Cody was still fast asleep. I would have moved further but shit I forgot how much trying to make my body move hurts, and also because she grabbed hold of one of my hands and held it to her chest. I could feel her heartbeat pounding against it and I knew that she was nervous.
"You loved me Brittany, and I know you still love me. And I know as well that my father scared you, but why didn't you wait and talk to me, why did you just go?" Her voice was soft and gentle, I think if I had heard any sort of judgment in her tone then I wouldn't have tried to answer, but there was none there and so I searched my heart for an answer for her.
It was easy really to find.
And just as scary to face today as it was all that time ago.
"I'm not special."
"But you are." She started to argue and I cut her off.
"I'm not Santana, and you're the only one that can't see that. And one day you will see that. You'll see that I don't deserve you. That you could do better than me. That I'm not worth your love or anything else because, well, I'm not worth anything."
I wanted to cry. To curl up into a ball and just sob because it was all true. I wasn't anything. I squeezed my eyes closed so that I couldn't see her face.
"Your father was right, I'm not worth possibly getting hurt over."
"Stop!" Santana said through gritted teeth. "You've got to stop this and look at me Brittany." She sounded angry and immediately my body started to shake, I know she wouldn't hurt me but the anger was heavy in the air and I just couldn't control my body's reaction when faced with it. "It's ok my love." She said, her voice sounding immediately softer as she gently pressed kisses to the top of my head again. "But please look at me babe, we need to talk about this. You have to understand ok?"
I forced myself to take a deep breath, it came out a little shaky but that was alright. Then I blinked my eyes open and turned a little so that I could look at her. She smiled as soon as our eyes made contact, and I couldn't help but smile back. My hand was still pressed to her chest and she started to slowly stroke my fingers, before she very slowly picked it up and pressed a kiss to the center of my palm. Our hands then twined together and moved down until they rested between us on the mattress.
"The first time I saw you I knew that I needed you in my life. You were just standing beside the bar, your hands were nervously playing with a straw in your drink and I watched you blow bubbles in it. I thought you were adorable. And then I saw you up close and you took my breath away with your beauty. Your eyes that first night were so unsure, but so trusting of me. You knew that I wouldn't hurt you didn't you?"
I nodded, my mouth was probably hanging open from her words, but at least I responded.
She smiled at me and continued.
"And that night you brought me more joy than I ever thought was possible. I had been so nervous that you would reject me, and I don't know what I would have done then because honestly I think I was made just for you."
A tear dripped down my face, and I rubbed my face on my shoulder to try and brush it away.
"I'd never been with anyone before."
Ok my jaw definitely dropped at those words because I was sure Santana had some experience before me, she had been so confident, and so sure.
She chuckled at the expression on my face and I felt myself blush. "It's true. I think secretly I was waiting for you. Like I wouldn't be able to trust someone enough to be with them before you. Because something in you Brittany calls to me, it makes me braver, and smarter. It's my reason for living. You're my reason for living. And I know that you don't think the same about yourself as I do, but that just tells me that I need to try harder show you everyday how special you really are Britt, because I love you, and I'll never leave you…and I never want you to leave me again either."
We were both crying by the end of the speech, Santana brushed her tears away with the back of her hand before gently using her thumb to brush mine aside.
I know I should respond to what she said but I had an overwhelming urge going through me right now so I acted on that first. My hand untangled from hers, raised itself from the mattress and gripped onto the white silk shirt she was wearing. I tugged her forward until we were only a fraction apart and gasped, "Kiss me." against her lips.
When Santana just blinked and looked at me slightly startled I decided to take matters further into my own hands, and so with another gentle tug of her shirt I pulled her that fraction closer until our lips connected. It was soft, gentle, and I knew she was trying to be respectful and not freak me out, but damn it, it wasn't enough, and so with a needy sort of groan that would have embarrassed me if I was more aware of making it I opened my mouth and brushed the tip of my tongue against her lips. With a sigh her lips immediately parted and I happily sunk into the kiss, making it deeper, more, until I got lost in the feel of only her.
I don't know how long we spent kissing until we finally pulled apart panting slightly, our foreheads rested together, and we gazed into each others flushed faces. I blushed when I felt Cody shift against me, and was thankful that he could sleep through pretty much anything. I remembered Santana's beautiful speech to me, and I realized I had a promise I wanted to make to her too. So I made sure I was looking right into her eyes when I said.
"I promise never to leave you again."