"What happens when blue reflects blue?"
Brittany asked the question out of nowhere, sitting on the edge of a fountain with a sandwich in her lap. It was one of their favorite New York spots, near the park, sunny and warm in the spring, perfect for picnics and people-watching. In the four months Santana had been in the city they had yet to find a better eating place. Santana looked over her own sub, a great deal of which was in her mouth, and quirked a brow. Brittany waited while she chewed the enormous mouthful of food, swallowed, and took a breath before speaking. For as small as she was, Brittany had never seen anyone else shove as much food in their mouth at one time as Santana did. It was like watching a hamster accommodate an entire baby carrot in its vast, puffy cheeks. Brittany smiled at the idea.
"What now?" Santana asked. Brittany turned and leaned over slightly, looking down at the rippling water beside them. She always felt a little wet after they ate there, but she never minded. Especially not now that the clouds were finally moving on and the sun hung higher in the afternoon. It felt downright pleasant.
"What happens," she repeated slowly, "when blue reflects blue?"
"I don't know what you're asking," Santana said, taking a sip of her drink. Brittany did not look up at her, but kept her cat eyes trained on the water.
"What I'm asking…" She paused and thought about how to word it before she continued, leaving Santana to wait, which she did, patiently. She always had patience for Brittany. She was maybe the only person in the world Santana was ever patient with, because it didn't feel like patience—it felt like the way you love someone when you know the curve of their cheek, and your breath catches as you watch and wait for it, like a sunrise. When you feel your own heart get bigger as it breaks the surface. That kind of love, that was Santana waiting for Brittany to speak.
"What I'm asking," Brittany repeated, turning her eyes to Santana, "is, when something blue reflects something else blue, what happens? Like, water is blue, it looks blue. And the sky is blue. The water reflects the sky, and what happens?"
"I don't follow," Santana said carefully. She furrowed her brows and looked down into the fountain, as if Brittany were describing some lost secret hidden among the pennies.
"Well, I guess I'm asking, is water blue because it's blue, or blue because the sky is, and it reflects it? Or is the sky blue because of the water? Maybe the water's blue because it's really clear, but it's water, and the sky is so big, so it reflects the sky. Or maybe the sky is really black, but during the day when the sun is bright, it reflects the water, and looks blue. Or maybe they're both blue, I don't know. So does the water get bluer from the sky, or the sky get bluer from the water, or do they even make each other blue at all?"
Santana simply sat and listened as Brittany continued to think out loud. People thought she was stupid, but they were wrong—they just didn't understand the way her brain worked. While they were absorbed in the trivial, meaningless things in front of their eyes, Brittany was discovering the world, over and over again. Maybe, Santana thought, everyone else is stupid. Actually, she knew that wasn't a maybe at all.
"I don't know, Britt," she finally said when Brittany had fallen silent and was thoroughly engrossed with watching the ripples on the surface bounce off each other. She leaned in and kissed her cheek, bringing her attention back to the conversation. "But I love the way you think." Brittany smiled her funny sideways grin at her, the kind that always made her look up to something. She slowly closed the gap between them and kissed Santana softly on the mouth, smiling into it and taking her sweet time before she drew back. Something seemed to occur to her, and Santana gave her a raised-eyebrow look, as if to ask what. Brittany looked back down at the water.
"Sometimes I wonder if people are the same way," she said.
"What do you mean?" Santana asked. Brittany took a half-beat longer to answer than she normally would have, cueing Santana to walk her fingers three steps across the stone ledge and tickle the top of Brittany's hand, which she turned over as if by instinct, letting Santana slip her fingers against her palm to hold onto.
"With reflections," she elaborated. "I wonder if people are the same way—that you don't know whether one is one or the other because they just reflect what they see."
"Like the way people treat me stupid because they think I'm stupid," Brittany said in one long, quiet sigh.
"Hey," Santana said, kind but firm, drawing Brittany's attention up to her face. "They're wrong, okay? They're not… when they act stupid, it's not some reflection of you. It's just them being stupid, the end. Sabes que, maybe they think you're not smart because they're not smart and they don't understand you… ever think about that, hmm?" she asked, gripping Brittany's hand tighter and nodding her head a little, as if to confirm her own point. "Maybe they're the ones reflecting their own stupid on you."
Brittany seemed to consider the point for a moment, smiled, and then smiled bigger. She ran the tip of her tongue along her lower lip and made a hem-haw motion with her head.
"I guess that could be, too," she admitted, and Santana grinned.
"Exactly," she said. "And it's their loss. You're the smartest person I know, Brittany."
"Even after you went to college for a semester?" she asked. Santana reached out and pulled her into a tight hug and murmured into her hair.
"Especially since I went to college for a semester." She held onto her for a while, only letting her go when she felt the tension fully melt out of her shoulders and back. Brittany pressed down on the corners of her eyes with her thumb and forefinger and nodded.
"Thanks, San," she said. Santana stood up, taking her coke in one hand and holding out the pinkie of her free one.
"Anytime," she said. "Let's go home. We can watch Animal Planet and you can drop more knowledge on me." Brittany grinned and took Santana's offered pinkie in hers, because she knew she meant it.
A/N: Thanks for reading! This piece came from a prompt that I gave my friend Mar (willowtreemuse), to listen to the song "Fountain" by Sara Lov and write something inspired by it. We both did, this was mine. (The title is a line from said song as well.) Review and let me know what you think! :)