Pairing: Brittany Pierce/Santana Lopez (Glee)
Word Count: 3,514
Rating: MA for coarse language and sexual themes
Summary: "The first time you meet her, you're not exactly at your best. In fact, this particular moment in time probably ranks somewhere in your top three worst days ever. Like, ever ever."
Disclaimer: Glee and all related characters are owned by Fox Networks. No profit has been made through the publishing of this work of fiction; it was created for entertainment purposes only.
The first time you meet her, you're not exactly at your best. In fact, this particular moment in time probably ranks somewhere in your top three worst days ever. Like, ever ever. You're mad and embarrassed and pretty sure your lip is split from where some jerk elbowed you as you were trying to leave the party, which is just great- and now you've been arrested. Or you are being arrested. Whatever. You don't even know whose house you're at, just that what was supposed to be a small gathering somehow turned into a huge party-slash-fight thing that you really didn't want to be a part of.
Your shoulders ache from being pulled behind you in an unnatural position and it only serves to fuel your frustration. You're a dancer, for goodness' sake; you've woken up with your limbs twisted in far more awkward positions than they're in right now, knees against your chest, knuckles scraping against the sidewalk under your backside. The red and blue flashes have synced up with the pounding in your head, or maybe your headache is matching the rhythm of the pulsing lights, but either way it really hurts. You've been sitting here for what feels like hours, and you're pretty sure you're the only one left here who was actually still in the house when the police arrived.
You shiver in the cold air and wish that you'd gone with your skinny jeans and v-neck sweater like you'd originally planned. Of course, when you'd picked out your outfit for tonight, you couldn't have known that you'd end up sitting on the curb at one am in the morning, shaking in your cut-offs and sparkly 'What the duck?' t-shirt. At least your heels are only three inches instead of the five inch stilettos you'd first picked out.
An officer approaches you quietly, squatting in the gutter where you sit on the curb and you sneak a couple glances at her out of the corner of your eye. Her raven hair is pulled into a severe knot at the base of her skull, and her cap sits with military precision over her eyes. She looks you over consideringly, like she's trying to decide what to do with you.
When she asks you politely, far more politely than she probably has to, to please stand and come with her, you shake your head and ignore her. It's rude and childish, you know, but you're tired and sore and still so mad about this whole miserable excuse for a Friday night, you just want to go home and forget it all.
A hand fists your collar and jerks you roughly to your feet, causing you to yelp in surprise, then gurgle when your shirt tightens against your windpipe. The same hand then smashes you against the side of a police car and you see stars when your head collides with the door.
"Hudson! What the actual fuck?! Jesus, she's not a fucking rabid dog. She wasn't even resisting."
"She's a criminal, Lopez. Only one way to treat criminals."
"You fu- Officer Hudson. Just because she was here when you arrived on scene doesn't mean she's guilty. Just...go canvas or something, Christ."
"But this is my arrest."
"I got this, Hudson. Just go."
The hand, Officer Hudson's you guess, disappears from between your shoulder blades. You turn your head just in time to see a tall, round faced man in uniform trundle off. A light touch at your elbow draws your attention down to your shoulder where the first officer is standing now. If you weren't just shoved up against a police car with a raging headache and a now-sore throat, you'd probably think it was really cute how she manages to be so impressive even though the top of her head only reaches as high as your nose. As it is, you're just dizzy and even madder than before.
"Are you alright?"
Her voice is soft now, unlike the sharp tone she used with her fellow officer. Despite the kindness you jerk your arm away, pressing yourself further into the car.
"Don't touch me."
The words come out of you in a hiss, and you're a little shocked at the venom they hold. You don't know why you did that. The officer snaps her hand back as if expecting you to bite her, and something like hurt flickers across her face before she schools it into an impassive mask. Your tummy roils a little and you can't quite tell if it's guilt or the bad Mexican food from earlier that's making it stir.
"Fine. I'm just doing my job."
She peels you off the car and opens the back passenger door, jerking her chin to get you moving. Her voice is low and strained when she reads you your rights. As you clamber awkwardly in, her hand cups the back of your head to usher it under the frame, and the gentleness of her touch only makes your tummy lurch harder. Definitely guilt.
By the time the car pulls into the police station, all the fight has drained from your body, and with it went the last of your energy. You stumble your way through the booking process numbly, speaking only when someone asks you a question, and allowing the booking officer to manipulate your hand like a puppet master when he takes your prints.
After your picture is taken - an experience that leaves you feeling slightly violated in this cold and unfriendly place - you're pressed back into cuffs and shoved into your arresting officer's arms. You trip over your own feet and crash against her. When she catches and steadies you, you lift your eyes to apologize and thank her. You meet dark eyes and are struck dumb by the unexpected beauty of them. You're not sure how long you stare at her, but you think it's probably longer than is entirely usual. Not that you're one for being usual in the first place, but still.
Her gaze, which was soft when it first met yours, hardens again. You're not sure what you did to upset her this time, but it makes your head droop to your chest. You just want this awful night to be over.
She takes your arm just above your elbow and steers you down a hallway lined with cells. She stops at one in the middle and begins to unlock the door. Somewhere behind you, someone makes an obscene noise. You glance over your shoulder to see a man sporting a mohawk and wearing a dirty wife beater and loose black shorts staring at you hungrily. He makes the noise again and flicks his tongue at you, and you can't help the shudder that runs down your spine.
You fight the tears that sting your eyes and jerk your head forward again. You're pretty sure crying won't make anything better. The only thing you know for sure about prison is not to drop the soap, although that seems like something you should try not to do no matter where you are, so you're not sure why prison is so special. Besides which, you don't think they even have soap in these cells.
The sound of the cell door clanging shut again draws your attention. The policewoman - Lopez, you think the other officers called her - tugs your arm again and walks you further down the hallway. You watch her cautiously, unsure of what's happening. Is she not going to put you in jail? Does she have to interrogate you first? Because you don't know much about anything really, except for dancing and maybe cat diseases, but you don't think she'll be very interested in either of those. She stops at the last cell and unlocks it, then unlocks your cuffs as well. You rub your wrists absentmindedly and step into the cell. It's empty, and there's at least three cells between you and Mohawk Man now. You whip your gaze back to Officer Lopez and she shrugs neutrally.
"Puckerman is a fuckin' animal. You don't need that shit."
She slams the door shut, spins on her heel, and stalks away without another word. When she reaches Mohawk Man's cell, he reaches out and taps her backside as she passes. Faster than lightning she grabs his wrist and yanks it towards her viciously. His forehead smacks against the bars with a hollow clang. As he sprawls back onto the floor of the cell with a groan, she leans in and speaks to him with a poisonously sweet voice.
"Try that again and I'll rip that dead ferret right off your head, you lowlife."
Her gaze flickers back to you once, and then she's back through door leading out into the station. With a heavy sigh, you let yourself collapse on the bench bolted into the back wall. You close your eyes and do your best to block out the low moans emanating from a few yards away. You don't like violence, but he kind of deserved that.
You jerk suddenly when the door to your cell is dragged open again. You must have fallen asleep without realizing it. A round man with beady eyes and a uniform that looks a size too small points a stubby finger at you. Another officer, a tiny woman with a too-bright smile stands just behind him, clutching a clipboard to her chest. You don't like her smile. It looks fake. And mean. And just a little bit scary.
"You. Up. Now. Let's go."
You lurch to your feet and turn your back on the man when he holds up a pair of handcuffs. You want to tell him they're not necessary, you have every intention of cooperating, but his expression tells you it won't make a difference. He looks at you the way your cat does anytime you try to put him on a diet. It's not a pleasant expression, on either creature.
He grabs you roughly by the arm and half-pushes, half-pulls you down the hall. The tiny officer trails behind you, still smiling with too many teeth. She kind of looks like a really pretty shark, but pretty or not sharks are dangerous so you don't like that she's walking behind you where you can't see her. You nearly trip again when fat officer stops suddenly in front of the cell Officer Lopez had originally intended to put you in. He fumbles with the keys at his belt until he finds the right one, and unlocks the door. Mohawk Man is back to staring at you, and it makes your tummy clench once more, this time in fear.
Just as the overweight officer is about to shove you in, a familiar voice rasps down the hallway.
"Sir? What's going on?"
The man's beefy hand stops where it's pressed against your shoulder as he looks down the hall.
"Lopez. Why the hell was your arrest all the way down at the other end of the holding block?"
Her chin jerks up and you can see her jaw clench as she approaches, swift and deadly.
"Puckerman was harassing her. It seemed prudent to remove her from possible conflict."
Her words are sharp and precise, as if she's biting each one off individually. A wheedling voice pipes in behind you.
"That's hardly protocol, Officer Lopez. We must all do-"
"Can it, dwarf. Go tattle on someone else for a change."
The tiny officer brushes past with a huff, and you note that she's only about an inch shorter than Lopez. You bite your lip to hide your smile. Now is hardly the time. Just as she reaches the door, she turns her head over her shoulder.
"No matter how beautiful the woman is, I would have expected an officer of your standing to act with more professionalism. Regardless of your...proclivities."
You watch the color drain from Lopez' face until her skin looks ghostly under its natural olive complexion. She catches you watching her and immediately breaks eye-contact, but not before you see the sadness and fear flit across her face. Then her eyes turn black with rage and the sight makes you swallow and drop your own your eyes. She whips around to face the retreating form of the other woman, fists clenched at her sides.
"Lopez," the man barks.
Her eyes flash dangerously when she turns back, but she snaps to attention anyway. You're kind of impressed in spite of yourself. You know you wouldn't be able to be that professional if you ever got as angry as she is right now.
"Officer Berry is right. We have protocols for this kind of thing. I don't care what kind of feminist crap your dyke sensibilities are feeding you, you follow that protocol, or you answer to me. We clear on that?"
You watch her from beneath your lashes as she seems to battle within herself. You've never seen any person look so tense and so angry in your whole life, and it's breathtaking, in a terrifying sort of way. You glare at the Lieutenant and his rude words as discreetly as you can. Why would he be so nasty to her when she was only trying to be kind? Besides, you're fairly certain that that word is a word only bullies use, and police officers are supposed to stop bullies, not be bullies.
When she finally speaks, her voice is so low you have to strain to hear it, but even her quietness doesn't hide the cold fury in her tone.
"I don't want to hear it, Lopez."
His sharp push takes you by surprise and you drop heavily to your knees with a small cry. Thick hands grab at your wrists and the jerky motion wrenches your right shoulder painfully, tearing another choked sob from your throat. You let out a tiny gasp of relief when the cuffs are removed, and immediately rub at your tortured joint. He's totally a bully.
Just as the cell door begins to slide shut behind you, a shout sounds through the hall.
"Wait, Lieutenant Tanaka!"
Officer Shark Smile is back. You turn just in time to see her approach the Lieutenant, making sure to keep as much space between herself and the glowering Officer Lopez as humanly possible. You kind of wish she would do the same thing to Officer Shark Smile that she did to Mohawk Man, except then she'd probably get in trouble for hurting a coworker, so maybe not. The tiny officer whispers something to Lieutenant Bully, casting a sidelong glance at Lopez as she does. Lieutenant Bully glares at Officer Shark Smile irritatedly once she's finished.
"Who the hell is Brittany S. Pierce and why the hell do I care if she's innocent?"
She nods once at you and for the first time tonight you feel your heart lift as something like hope fills you.
"Well why the hell is she here in the first place?"
Lopez steps closer, drawing the Lieutenant's attention. Officer Shark Smile automatically takes a step back, and you duck your head to hide your smile.
"She was at the scene of that domestic disturbance call we answered earlier this evening, sir. She was brought in with the other three who were booked tonight."
"Well if she wasn't a part of it, why the hell is she here?"
"Your orders, sir. You told the responding officers to bring in everyone involved. Hudson pulled her out of the house where the party was happening and cuffed her. He- he decided to canvas the neighborhood for witnesses, so I brought her in. The rest you know. Sir."
Her words are completely professional, but even you can hear the disdain dripping from every syllable. Again, you're impressed with just how much emotion she can express using so very little.
Lieutenant Bully growls under his breath.
"Fine. Get her out of here. I don't have time for this crap, I'll be in my office."
He passes his ring of keys to Lopez and stomps off. Officer Shark Smile cowers behind her clipboard, seemingly frozen in place. She squeaks when Lopez makes to lunge at her, and tears down the hallway after the Lieutenant. Lopez chuckles lowly and pulls the door the rest of the way back open.
Her eyes meet yours and for a second they're kind and warm and remind you of melted chocolate. For a minute you think about naming her Lovely Lopez in your head. Then suddenly her expression changes and stiffens. She squares her shoulders resolutely and thrusts out a hand to you. You take it and pull yourself up, a small part of your mind marveling at how smooth and soft her skin is.
She walks you back to the front of the station and rattles off a series of letters and numbers to the officer behind the window. He steps away from the glass and returns a few moments later with a plastic baggie full of your belongings - your keys, your cell phone, your wallet, and your hoop earrings. You pocket everything and turn to woman beside you, intending to thank her for her earlier kindness. You feel bad that she was given such a hard time just for being nice to you.
You open your mouth to speak, but she cuts you off before you can get anything out. Her face is still stiff, but her eyes are full of anger, hurt, and...fear, again. You wonder what she could possibly have to fear from you.
"Save it. Just...just stay away from places like that from now on, okay? You don't belong in a place like that. Or like this, for that matter."
She turns smartly and disappears behind the booking station before you have time to do more than blink.
You step outside and take a deep breath in the cool night air. You tug your cell phone out of your pocket and call Quinn. She of course freaks when she hears where you want her to pick you up from, but agrees immediately.
You hang up and drop down onto the bench just beside the station house door to wait for her to arrive. You go over the events of the night and vow to never accept an invite to any 'little shindigs' from Sugar Motta again, no matter how pink and sparkly the card may be. She's very nice and all, but it's just not worth the pain and embarrassment. Plus there were so many people crammed into the house, you hardly had any room to dance. Lame.
Your mind drifts back to Officer Lopez and her dark, mysterious eyes. You've never seen anyone display such a vast array of strong emotions in such a short period of time. You think that must be why they look like they're lit from within. Passionate people live life like they're on fire, fast and bright and hot. You're sad when you think of how that fire seemed to go dim in the face of her fellow officers and their mean words. You wonder how someone can be so kind and so angry at the same time. It must feel like an endless fight, and you can't help but hope that the kind always wins out. Someone who's that nice to a total stranger - one that they're arresting, no less - shouldn't have to fight so much.
Quinn pulls up to the station and honks for you, pulling you from your thoughts. You shake your head to clear it and walk up to the car. Just before you get in, you cast one last glance behind you, just in case she's reappeared again, and sigh disappointedly when she's still nowhere to be seen.
You know next to nothing about her, and yet...
You make a silent wish that maybe someday you'll meet her again, under better circumstances.