Authors note: So, I am a horrible person for not updating. But I went back to college a few weeks ago and have just been horrendously busy and uninspired (not a great combination), anyway I hope that this update can make up a little for my absence. Thanks for all the reviews etc, sorry for not replying to them this time but I thought you'd prefer an update, and then I hope to go and get some writing done.
A noise woke me up sometime later, and I struggled to identify what it was as I blinked open my eyes and tried to wake up. The room was full of bright sunshine that irritated my headache a little, but felt too good on my skin to shut out.
The noise reached my ears again and this time I could clearly tell that it was giggle, specifically my son giggling. But I couldn't see him on the bed, and so I carefully rolled myself onto my side so I could look around the room a bit better. I took a second to adjust to the new position wincing a little at the discomfort in my ribs and well just pretty much general discomfort in my whole body. I hated this lack of movement, it reminded me too much of being confined to my room as a child, and I resented the limitations my own body had given me. I missed dancing. I missed Santana. Fuck I missed dancing with Santana a lot.
Another giggle and now I could clearly see the dark hair of my son bobbing around behind a…um was that a mattress fort?
A smile tugged at the corner of my lips when Cody and the source of his giggles came into view. He was riding on Santana's back like a baby chimpanzee, his arms were around her neck and his little legs were wrapped around her waist as she crawled about the floor on her hands and knees. I smothered my own tiny giggle with the back of my hand when I heard Santana make the chimpanzee noises that were making Cody giggle.
God they were so good together.
I'd robbed them of this.
I'd taken away the chance for them to do this all along.
For Cody to have two parents to play with and love, and for Santana to be able to see her son grow up. I took away the option for her to witness her own son being born.
A wave of guilt crashed into me, and I wasn't even aware of the sob that was ripped out of my throat from it until Santana quickly made her way over to me on the bed and rocked me in her arms. Cody wrapped his arms around me too, and tried to rub my back like I did with him.
"I'm sorry." I repeated over and over as they both held me in their arms.
"Please Britt can you tell me what's wrong?" Santana asked a minute or so later when I still couldn't stop myself from crying.
"Mommy sad." Cody said and pressed his face against my neck placing a sloppy kiss there.
My breath came out in little shuddering gasps and hiccups as I tried to control myself. Eventually stopping and returning to normal although I was unable to look Santana in the eye and tell her why I was crying in the first place.
"Hey Cody can you get mommy a cup of water and some tissues from the bathroom?" Santana asked. I opened my mouth to say something as Cody hurried to help, but Santana automatically knew what it was and said, "I made sure all the cups were plastic so he couldn't get hurt." And then she gently cupped my face in her hands, her thumbs brushed away my tears and she asked very gently. "What's wrong?"
I had to take a deep breath before I could speak because I knew I might start crying again, how could she not hate me?
"Please babe. Tell me." Santana whispered as she pressed a kiss to the top of me head and then looked at me, I could tell she was searching my face for answers.
"I'm s-sorry I k-kept you from your s-son." I said stuttering over a few of my words in my apology.
"Oh Brittany." Santana said with a small sigh, sitting back and away from me a little so I could see her face better. "You're here now and that's all that matters to me."
"All that matters." She repeated firmly cutting off my apology, and leaving me with no doubt that she meant what she was saying.
Cody walked back in carefully carrying a half full cup of water in both of his hands and a collection of toilet paper which he had stuffed into the pockets of his shorts, he had a proud little smile on his face. He handed them both to me and then looked at Santana and said "Up Tana." Giggling when she swooped him up onto the bed between us.
"Thanks baby." I said pressing a kiss to the side of Cody's face after I drank the water in two mouthfuls and wiped my face with the tissue. He smiled at me and I smiled back before wiggling my eyebrows and making him giggle once more.
A face pulling battle commenced with all three of us trying to outdo the person before, but really all of us ended up winning because by the end we were laughing so much
Cody nestled against my chest for a few minutes after the laughter had ended before becoming restless and shifting away so he could look at me. "I play Beth?" He asked with a hopeful looking smile on his face.
"Is Quinn still here?" I asked. I hadn't seen Quinn since the plane ride and I can't believe I didn't ask how she and Beth were.
"Yes, I moved her into the guest house by the pool with Noah when you were in the hospital. I thought you'd want her to stay close by, and I know Cody and Beth get along well."
"Pool?" Cody picked up on the one word and started bouncing on the bed excitedly. Each jump was a little jarring for me, but I loved how happy he was, he seemed to smile and laugh all the time now, and that made me in turn unbelievably happy because as a parents, wanting your child to be happy is your number one priority, or it should be.
I gently ran my hand through Cody's dark hair, it was maybe a shade lighter than Santana's, the same way his eyes were a shade lighter. Sometimes in the past I had wished he had looked more like me so strangers wouldn't feel the need to comment that he must look like his dad. That and sometimes having him so physically resemble someone that I missed so much hurt. But now seeing them side by side I was grateful that they looked so much alike. Of course then a mischievous expression crossed their faces at the same time and I knew I was in trouble.
"Mommy we go Beth." Cody said with a small pout.
"Pwease." Santana said with a pout too and I couldn't prevent the eye roll I gave her for encouraging our son.
"Please mommy." Cody pleaded, and blinked his chocolate brown eyes for good measure.
"Ok, but I want kisses from both of you before you go." I said, and this time I pouted.
"Yay!" Cody shouted and quickly pressed several kisses to me face before climbing off the body and starting to take off his clothes so he could put his swim stuff on.
"How about I take Cody to go and play with Beth and Quinn, and I'll have Noah stand guard over him. Then I can come back and we can talk and cuddle, I told my papa we wouldn't see him till dinner so we have all afternoon." Santana said as she gently ran her fingers through my hair, and pressed a kiss to the side of my head.
"Mmm that sounds great." I said shyly. I was almost afraid to spend time alone with Santana, and that was just stupid because I know she wouldn't hurt me like he did ever. But she might expect some level of intimacy that I'm just not ready for at all, and I don't mean physical intimacy because I know Santana wouldn't try anything when I'm hurt, but what if she wanted to talk about it? What would I say? So far we had both avoided the topic, but I'm naïve enough to believe it would stay that way forever.
I was pulled out of my thoughts when I felt a kiss pressed to the top of my head and watched as the two people I love most in my life left the room hand in hand.
Hardly any time passed before Santana came back in the room, in fact if I had to guess by the way she was breathing she must have jogged or ran back. Still, she came into the bedroom and made her way to the bed where she kicked off her shoes and sat down beside me. "Are you comfortable?" She asked, and I shook my head before we both scooted down the bed a little further and then Santana lay back, opened her arms with a half shy-half loving smile and I settled down on my side in her arms. Her arms came lightly around me and again I marveled at how safe she made me feel, my head pressed against her shoulder so I could breath her scent in and out, and immerse myself in her.
I gave a happy little sigh.
"Better?" She asked, there was a smile in her voice and I knew she already knew the answer but I confirmed it anyway.
"Yep." I said making my p pop and causing her to chuckle.
"It's been a long time since you were here last like this." Santana said in a quiet voice, and I tensed slightly knowing that the talk had begun.
We hadn't laid like this curled up in bed since before I had run, and a wave of guilt washed over me again for taking her away from her son, and not trusting her enough to keep me safe. "We've missed out on a lot." I said, my voice just as quiet and I pressed my face into the curve of her neck letting the scent of her calm me.
"Can we ask each other questions for a bit?" Santana sounded so unsure, so I placed a small kiss on the bare skin of her neck hoping it reassured her, and nodded my head. "Mmm ok I'll go first. Can you tell me about Cody's birth?"
Yet again Santana surprised me with what she wanted to talk about, although I guess it shouldn't as she already has quite a strong connection to her son.
"He's going to turn three soon, on the tenth of June. I went into labor early. He was thirty-five weeks; so a bit premature, although he hasn't had any complications really other than he wasn't turned properly so that part was tricky. He weighed five pounds and three ounces and was tall at twenty and a half inches. He was beautiful. He's still beautiful…" My voice trailed off as I remembered the day and how much I had wanted Santana beside me like she was now, although I had thought at the time running from her was the right thing to do.
"I wish I was there." Santana voiced what I was thinking. "God Brittany, you're the bravest person I know."
I shook my head in denial and I know she felt it because she immediately started talking again discarding my protest. "You are. You left me and that must have been terrifying because you thought your life was in danger. I know it can't have been easy raising him alone. And I know you must have been scared the whole time about being found, but you still did the most amazing job, because our son is amazing Brittany, and that's because of you."
"But I shouldn't have been scared. I'm not brave. If I was brave I wouldn't have run." I said denying all the good things she had said about me, refusing to see myself how she saw me.
"Maybe you shouldn't have run, maybe that's right. But you did what you thought was right, and you kept yourself and our son safe."
"I didn't keep myself safe." I said in little more than a whisper, and suddenly we had shifted to a whole different, and far more scarier topic.
"You did everything in your power to stay with me. Nothing that happened was your fault. If I'd have just told you about Ricky…"
"What about Ricky?" I interrupted.
I felt her arms tighten around me and her breaths were become shaky. "It was my fucking fault you were taken ok!" The words came out in one harsh sentence and I would have cringed away from her but her arms held me close. She released a sigh and said "Sorry." When she must have felt my body tense up before she continued trying to explain herself. "Ricky was my chauffer for the past five years. I trusted him, but then I heard that he had been seen talking to The prophet."
I couldn't control the way my body trembled at the sound of his name in fear and repulsion.
"It's ok baby, I promise you're safe, he can't hurt you any more." Santana cooed taking a minute to gently rock me in her arms until I had relaxed a little again.
"If I'd told you that we just had to promote someone new to the job, and if I'd told you what he confessed to…that he was ordered to take you to him…then you never would have got in the fucking car knowing that someone was after you."
"It's not your fault." I said, knowing that Santana blamed herself for what had happened to me.
"I should have kept you fucking safe Brittany. He hurt you. He hurt you in the worst possible way, and I couldn't stop it happening."
Ah, the real problem.
I knew we'd get here eventually.
"You can't always keep me safe San." I whispered into her neck, I could feel her start to cry and wanted to turn so that I could hold her in my arms, but my body wasn't going to co-operate if I tried to move. "And he." I stopped because I didn't really want to talk about him, but she deserved to know the truth. "He knew me from before."
Her crying stopped suddenly.
In fact everything went silent like the air was suddenly too thick to even breathe.
It all felt heavy.
"Before?" She asked. The one word came out sounding like a horrible mix between nervous and furious.
"I'd had to dance for him." I felt the shame at what I had been forced to do to just survive burn my cheeks.
You can't escape the past apparently.
"I really killed him too fast." Santana growled, "He was one of the men that hurt you."
Santana had held me after enough nightmares early on in our relationship that she knew a lot about my past. I confirmed it with a small nod of my head.
"Well then it makes sense why he's always been so interested. He never forgot you."
"And why Mike was in Ohio if he worked for him." I said trying to piece things together in my head.
"Mike Chang?" Santana asked sounding confused all of a sudden.
"He doesn't work for The Prophet, he never has. He works for my papa."