The weeks following Santana's rejection of Brittany were the most intense weeks of both women's lives. Any conversation was avoided, Brittany skittering around Santana like a timid new-born kitten every time they were in the same room. She came to dread her Media Studies class, entering the room with her head down, eyes glued to the floor, not saying a word throughout the hour-long lesson. Her friends worried about this sudden personality change, but when they asked her about it, Brittany simply shrugged them off, until in the end they just gave up and stopped pushing her for answers. The blonde would often find her mind wandering to thoughts of Santana, in the middle of class or when she was taking a shower or even when she was performing mundane tasks like grocery shopping. No matter how much she tried to filter out thoughts of the intoxicating brunette, the memories just kept seeping in, infecting her mind until she could think of nothing else.
Often she would simply curl up into a ball on her bed and sob, wishing she could feel Santana's comforting strong arms around her; she always felt safe in Santana's warm embrace. But she couldn't feel it anymore; it had been snatched away from her, and she felt herself plunging into a downward spiral of grief, the pain becoming less tolerable by the day.
The tension and distance from Brittany took its toll on Santana too, even though it was almost self-inflicted. She found herself watching Brittany at indiscriminate moments during their lessons together, a yearning ache settling in her heart. Although she knew that this was all down to herself, it didn't make the pain of having to stay away from Brittany any less raw. Santana soon found herself pining for Brittany, wishing there was some way, a loophole of any kind that would allow them to be together without her risking her job. But nothing came to mind. Her eyes often followed Brittany as she walked around campus, mocha eyes fixed upon blonde hair, through crevices or small windows.
On one of these occasions, Brittany was perched on a table outside in the quad with her group of friends that she was always with, laughing at something Artie had said. Santana's heart clenched as she watched the blonde, head tilted back, eyes bright with jubilation. But Santana could see the slight pain, the quiet guardedness that had settled behind Brittany's bright exterior demeanour as her laughter died in her throat moments later. And she was the cause of that. Without fully realising what she was doing, Santana reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. Within seconds, she had Brittany's number up on the screen, her thumb hovering over that little green button. But just as she was about to press Call, she stopped herself.
'What exactly do you think is going to happen if you call her? That she's magically not going to be mad at you anymore, and she's going to come running right back into your arms?'
She shook her head, forcing herself to acknowledge the painful truth while holding back the tears that were threatening to spring forth at any moment. Even if there was a way for them to be together, who knew if Brittany would even want that? Santana had seen the betrayal, the pain in her eyes the day she had told Brittany that they couldn't see each other anymore. And she had a feeling that the blonde wouldn't forgive her too easily for breaking her heart so suddenly; she wasn't even sure if she could forgive herself for hurting the person she cared about the most in such a harsh, undeserving way.
Quinn had quickly noticed that Santana hadn't been her usual self a few weeks after her argument with Brittany, so cornered the brunette one Saturday morning as they were having a late breakfast.
"So, are you going to tell me why you've been moping around the apartment like a sad clown for the past few weeks?"
Santana merely glanced up at Quinn, giving her a slight shrug before returning to her eggs. Quinn huffed in annoyance, yanking the plate away until it was out of Santana's reach.
"Hey!" Santana exclaimed, brow furrowed in frustration. "Quinn, please give me my food back."
"Nu-uh. Not until you tell me why you look sadder than Rachel did the time she thought she lost her vintage Barbra Streisand doll."
Santana sighed, straightening up and resting her chin on her hands.
"Brittany and I, sort of, broke up."
Quinn's eyebrows shot up, her eyes narrowing, jaw clenched.
"What did she do? I swear, if she did anything to hurt you Santana I'll-"
"No. It was me. I ended it."
Quinn simply stared at Santana, mouth agape, eyes wide with shock.
"What? But you- I thought you really liked her?" Quinn's tone was a mixture of surprise and genuine curiosity.
"I did. I mean, I do."
"Then why break up with her?"
"She's one of my new students at Northwestern."
Quinn then proceeded to choke on her mouthful of banana.
"Are you serious?"
Santana nodded glumly, dropping her hands onto the table with a heavy sigh.
"Damn S. What are the odds of that happening?" Quinn mused, shaking her head in bewilderment.
"No idea Q. And it kills me to have to see her every day, knowing how I made her feel, but I thought I was doing the right thing, ending things with her."
"Well, I think you need to re-evaluate your definition of right and wrong, San. Because something that's right shouldn't cause you to feel this wrong."
Santana raised her head, gazing at Quinn in wonder.
"So… you think I should, I don't know, talk to her?"
"Look San. I know the whole teacher-student-relationship thing may be frowned upon, but at the end of the day, she's nineteen. She's not underage, and it's not like she's a naïve high school student. She's in college; she knows what she's doing."
"You think so?"
Quinn nodded, a comforting smile flitting across her lips.
"I think any girl who can cause you to feel this much pain just from not being with her, is worth a little risk."
Santana smiled a little, whispering a quiet "Thanks" to Quinn, her voice cracking as she tried to hold in her tears, to no avail. The blonde smiled in return, reaching over and placing her hand over Santana's, which was trembling.
"Hey, shh." Quinn soothed, standing up and walking around the table until she was next to Santana. She pulled her best friend's quivering body towards hers, cradling Santana against her chest, the Latina's sobs coming out in small, broken yelps.
"It's going to be okay, San. You'll see. It's all going to be okay."
Santana remained quiet for the next few days, going over different ideas in her head for how she should try to win back Brittany's heart. She went over countless extravagant gestures and displays of affection, from a flock of doves to a personalised fireworks display. But in the end, she followed the advice Quinn had given her a few days prior, and simply listened to her heart.
Brittany walked over to her locker, her face adopting that painstakingly proverbial dejected expression that she had become accustomed to over the previous weeks. It was Tuesday, which meant that her next class was Media Studies with Santana. That all-too-familiar burn descended over her heart, enveloping her whole being until it felt as though she was being torn apart from the inside. But she was momentarily distracted from the pain when she opened her locker and a small pink note fluttered out, landing silently on the linoleum floor. She frowned, wondering who would put a note in her locker; but then her curiosity got the better of her and she bent down to retrieve it, opening it eagerly. On it were written a few simple sentences:
We need to talk. No matter what you might think, I feel awful for the way I handled things, and I still care about you. If you want to talk, meet me in my room at the end of the day, 4pm.
Brittany spent the remainder of the day enduring an inner battle of wills, all the while avoiding eye contact with Santana during her next lesson, which all made it increasingly difficult for her to concentrate on anything. On the one hand, she wanted nothing better than to sort things out with Santana and get back to the way they were before. But a small part of her kept reminding her of how easily Santana had seemed to dismiss their relationship, and Brittany couldn't help but wonder if Santana was as committed to them being together as she was. But in the end, her desire to talk to the brunette won over any worries she had, and she found herself outside the classroom at 3:58, gulping in deep breaths in an attempt to steady her heart, which was pounding harder than a herd of elephants trampling through the undergrowth.
She finally plucked up the courage to reach out and place her hand on the door handle, exhaling deeply one more time before pushing down, the door slowly swinging open with a soft creak. She was met with the sight of Santana standing at the front of the room, blocking some writing that was currently on the board. Brittany took a few steps into the dusky room, closing the door behind her, her breath ghosting across her lips in short, sharp puffs. Santana locked eyes with the blonde, the faintest of smiles darting across her face. She then stepped to the side revealing the writing behind her.
Brittany felt tears welling up in her eyes and ducked her head, sniffling quietly. She heard the soft sound of boots clicking as they moved, and a few seconds later, her vision of the floor was obstructed by a pair of tan legs.
"Britt?" Santana said, so soft it was almost a whisper.
Brittany raised her head a little, fighting the urge to look at Santana; she knew that if she made eye contact with her, her resolve would shatter and any resistance she had left would disappear instantly. But, try as she might, she couldn't hold her gaze away for long. She lifted her head slowly.
Eyes locked, reminding them of past memories; their eyes meeting across the dance floor for the first time, and then that fateful day when they had exchanged a look similar to this when Santana had walked into Brittany's class, temporarily shattering their hopes.
"Britt, I'm so sorry." Santana's voice shook, and Brittany could see how she was trying to hold it together, to be strong for the both of them.
Brittany tried to respond, opening her mouth, but her throat had closed up and she couldn't seem to force any words out.
"I miss you." Santana said softly.
"I… I miss you too." Brittany whispered.
"Do you think- is there any chance, any at all, that you might forgive me for making such a stupid mistake in letting you go?"
Brittany's face scrunched in confusion.
"But Santana… why- I mean, how- what made you change your mind? That day, you seemed so sure, so certain that we couldn't be together. And now…"
Santana smiled a little, grasping Brittany's hand in hers.
"Because I realised that I was absolutely miserable without you, and that letting you go would officially make me the most foolish, idiotic dork in the whole world."
And with that, she leaned in, pressing her lips softly onto Brittany's. The blonde let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding in, melting into Santana's embrace. They broke apart seconds later, gazing into each other's eyes.
"Well, even if you are a dork, you're a cute dork. And, more importantly, you're my dork." Brittany smiled.
"So, Miss Pierce, what do you say to me taking you out for a meal, then heading back to mine for a movie and ice cream?"
"I'd say that sounds like a perfect night, with my perfect girl."
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed/alerted/favourited this story, and I hope you all enjoyed this little mini-fic.
Also, sorry for naming the chapters so late, I only just realised that I forgot to edit the names before I uploaded them. Silly me.