Santana Lopez hated hospitals. A more accurate word was probably 'loathed', but whatever. She hated how they smelled of disinfectant and death, she hated the harsh fluorescent lighting that gave her headaches. She hated the white walls that made every room so empty-looking and void of life, as if they were new and weren't host to hundreds of injuries and deaths, as if worried, scared families hadn't sat down in those chairs they replaced every six months to reduce the wear and tear, to make people think that everything in the room was temporary. But it was all messed up. Those rooms held memories that couldn't be washed away, and no matter how white they repainted the walls, how new the bed-sheets and chairs were, and how much they tried to hide it, hurt lived in those small, suffocating spaces.
So fuck hospitals. Her dad was a doctor; he'd work seventy to eighty hours a week in those places, whether shift-work in Columbus or on call in Lima. He invested his life in his work, he was a good man trying to do good things, and it wore him down. She saw it over the years; she was never too young to see the sparkle vanish from her daddy's eyes, and no matter what she did to try and bring it back, it wouldn't. It was gone, lost somewhere in the halls of one of those fucking buildings. The sick thing was he always brought Santana hiking and everything because it started to become the only thing that made sense to him. It was the only way he coped with all the death, to go out where the circle of life just happened, things just died, and no one cared. Her dad was a good man, he just cared too much about too many people. It's a big reason why Santana never really wanted a lot of friends. She didn't want to lose that vital piece of herself like her father did.
And when her dad discovered that he had cancer, that was just the biggest fucking slap in the face. A doctor who operates on hearts gets surprise cancer and nothing can be done about it? If she'd ever believed in God, she stopped when her father was bed-ridden in Lima General. He'd just worked through it. No treatments, no exams, nothing. Santana and her mother had found out when he had weeks left, after he'd collapsed and fell down the stairs. He'd known for a year and a half that he was terminal and still went to work for those same fucking seventy to eighty hours a week, because all those other people's lives over in Columbus were more important than his own family's, and she hated him for it. But she couldn't stop loving him either, because her made her understand that sometimes people had to hurt so a lot more could be happy. It was simple logistics. It didn't have to make sense, it didn't have to be 'right', it just was how things were.
Hospitals reminded her of all of that; every bit of pain, every second of loss she felt at others' expenses, every reminder that her grief was never as important as other people's lives, because she could function without her father, at least physically, and that's generally all that people really cared about. Hospitals made people function again, or declared them dead; it was an easy binary with end results that it helped people digest. That, after all, was why she was laying in a bed, after having had some surgery done. They'd fixed up her body, or put things in place so her body would heal properly and be able to function again. The worry Rachel felt for her in that room when she visited an hour and forty minutes ago wouldn't easily be forgotten, because that didn't necessarily heal. There was nothing physical to fix, so it was the individual's problem to solve, usually alone. They didn't care about that, and when they pretended to, they'd send some pastor or whatever, because apparently the only way to fix the feelings and emotional damage someone's suffered is to be told that everything happens for a reason, that the person they lost went to a better place, and that there's some dude in the clouds who was powerful enough to stop it, but figured it was a strong enough trial to build their character. That it'll be dealt with and be all better when they, too, die. Santana wanted to feel alright while she lived, she'd hurt enough in life, and so had her friends. She wouldn't wait her whole life, or let them wait, to get better.
So Santana waited in her bed, scanning through old pointless text messages and missed call alerts, hoping Rachel would return soon, because that's all that mattered at the moment. Seeing Rachel healthy and happy would make her feel a little better, and since she already knew the diva had been seen to by the doctors, she was already feeling pretty nice. It let her know the pain was worth it. That the few people she cared about in the world would sleep safe and sound that night. She knew she wasn't like her father, she never had the capacity to care for everyone, because most of the time, people annoyed the hell out of her. Especially after he died. So she stuck with a few, and that way when she lost one, it would hurt badly, but it would be rare. And when her people got hurt, she'd get upset, but if she had anything to say about it, those would be rare too. The last time was Quinn giving birth, and the time before that was in seventh grade when Britt was beat up by some high-schoolers and had to spend a day and a half in Lima General. Both broke her heart, but at least with Britt, she was able to get her a big stuffed duck to cheer her up, lift her spirits. Quinn just needed to know she was still loved, that she wasn't broken or used goods, which was a bitch of a thing to prove to a person as insecure as her. But both were eventually okay where it counted, where hospitals couldn't help.
And Santana knew she would be too, soon enough. Her body would heal slower than her soul, for a lack of a better term. She just kind of really wanted Rachel to be in her room, but they didn't allow cell phones in there. So really, she just waited impatiently; when she last saw the girl, Rachel more or less was a blubbering mess, and had left quickly, saying she was going to call people. Strange as it was, she kind of really wanted to hear her determinedly make a slew of phone calls and go on adorably long-winded rants about the turmoil they'd gone through or whatever. Worse, Santana hadn't had the opportunity to thank her, tell her how proud of her she was, how badass the diva had been. All her life, she'd been the one protecting her friends; she protected Britt and Lucy from bullies, and she protected Quinn from usurpers who'd threaten to take her friend's spot as head cheerleader. She'd never really had anyone put themselves on the line for her before, and it was kind of really amazing to experience a five foot two diva scare away a six foot tall dude and two rabies-infested hellhounds. It was almost too insane to believe.
And then there was the song she sang, which just kind of reminded her of how much she'd lost herself, and even if Rachel never really went into detail on why she sang it, it was far too emotional of a performance for her to not have struggled the same way. Rachel had always been stronger than her emotionally, the girl flat out refused to let insults tear her down. Santana needed someone like that to help her get back on track. She needed her friend to help her. It was strange, and rare for such a thing, but it was true enough. She'd rarely ever needed anything from her friends except their time and their love, but she knew if she wanted to be alright after high school, she'd need some help.
Of course, she'd love being helped out of the backwater hospital she was stuck in, but apparently it was too much to ask for. So she waited in the disgustingly white, silent room until Rachel peeked her head in about an hour later, instantly curing her loneliness. She just needed someone by her side; she wasn't a big people person, but she liked being in other people's company. Especially in hospitals; when her dad still worked in one and she got injured, he'd never take the rest of his shift off. Sure, he'd take her as his patient sometimes, and stop in every hour or so for a minute. It was never as good as how she felt it would be if he'd just sat there with her the whole time. Her mother, Maribel, was a nice woman, just really weak-hearted and self-deprecating. Any time Santana got hurt, the woman would lock herself in her room with a bottle of tequila and drink herself to sleep, maybe cry herself to sleep. Her mother blamed herself for any bad thing that impacted their family, especially medical incidents like injuries, so it was always much too difficult for her to come visit her hurting daughter. Even when Santana needed her parents. Even when she just needed someone, no one ever stayed. I wonder if it's sad that, outside of Sunday morning when Rach said all that shit to me, this time alone had been the most painful experience of the weekend… she mused to herself as she gave Rachel a giddy smile. I mean, the wolf really sucked, and if we hadn't kind of hamstrung it, it probably would have torn my throat out, but… everything turned out fine. Rachel is safe, I'm alive, and everything's fine. I'll be at full health in a few months…it sucks that I probably won't be able to swim for a while, but I'll find something to do.
"Can I come in?" Rachel asked cautiously, a question that very likely could have been the stupidest she'd heard the girl ask in her entire life.
"Of course, you dork. Come here." Santana said, chuckling as she opened her arms; she knew for a fact that Rachel Berry would never turn down a friendly hug, and her stomach did a bit of a flip as the girl practically bounced over and into her arms. This…this is just what I needed…she thought to herself as she smiled and held the other girl close. Sure, she MAY have held on for longer than most would deem appropriate, but whatever. She needed some contact, some affection, like any human being. Rachel was willing to give her some, which she was thankful for, given her bed-ridden state. She smells really nice…
Santana immediately gently ended the embrace and looked Rachel over, noticing her in a change of clothes. She'd been aware the girl had a spare change of clothing, but Rachel had opted not to use it all trip long; Santana had to admit, she looked really good, and she smelled really good. She showered…lucky…
"You smell like berries." Santana said with a wry smile, finding the girl's chosen scent delightfully amusing. "Get a hold of anyone important, Xena?"
Rachel laughed a little at the reference, even if she was clearly confused about it, before pulling Santana into another hug. So what if she melted into it? She deserved hugs, she fought off a wolf. She was a badass. "I called my fathers, and while they were adamant about coming here to pick me up, I insisted that it wasn't necessary. However, they have sent police to check out the car wreck, they're going to get back to me when they know more about it." Rachel rambled cheerfully as Santana paid rapt attention to when exactly the diva would need to take a breath. The girl's lungs were impressive, and even if her mind was slightly in the gutter, it was still something interesting to find out. "And I got a hold of Mr. Schuester…glee was actually about a half hour down the highway when they got the call. He had the whole club turn around and come here, so they should be here in a few minutes, I guess. And…I called Quinn and Brittany? I…I didn't get much of a response. Or any response. Quinn hung up the phone."
Santana laughed, knowing it was classic Quinn behaviour. "I bet you twenty dollars that Quinn's probably hysterical and will approach me like I'm some sort of ghost, and Britt will be openly weeping until she hugs me. I guarantee that's how it'll go." She noted confidently, trying not to laugh too hard because apparently she also had some bruised ribs from when the wolf hit her. But even if it hurt, it was good to laugh.
"So…what do you want to tell them when they get in?" Rachel asked, pulling away enough to look Santana in the eyes. She could tell Rachel was really hopeful that she'd be super friendly to her. She deserved that kind of treatment after their last leg of the trip, it was the least she could do for the badass diva.
"Well, we'll have to tell them about your vehicular gymnastics innovation…Sue Sylvester will at the very least be interested. She'll probably re-enact the triple axel you did during one of the performances, maybe for nationals in senior year." Santana deadpanned, earning a playful slap to the shoulder from the diva. "And of course I'll have to tell them we killed a wolf, too."
"You killed a wolf, I only helped a little." Rachel noted with confusion, her eyes challenging Santana to disagree. Whatever. If Rachel wanted her to take all the credit, that was cool. She knew how it really went down, and that was all that mattered.
"Alright, but you fought off two angry mastiffs and a friggin' shotgun wielding asshole. You get badass points too, Rachel, you were awesome back there." Santana said, her tone growing softer as she went, hoping Rachel would understand she wasn't joking, that she was serious. The girl's blush was all the answer she really needed to know she'd done her job; it was a light rosy tint, and Santana couldn't help but feel like every time she saw Rachel blush, the fonder she was of her. It was on one hand kind of scary for things to be happening so quickly like that, but Rachel Berry lived in a bubble of high-end dramatics, and she'd been caught in it all weekend long. It was inevitable, she supposed, even if it was kind of fruitless, the girl being entirely straight. It made sense; she'd once crushed on Lucy/Quinn, and she was straight. She'd fallen for Britt, who solved her bi-curiosity and decided she was straight. And Rachel was straight. I have to stop feeling shit for straight girls…maybe I'll move to a lesbian colony…beh, it's okay, she'll just be a straight friend that I'm really close to or something…not like I'm going to fall for her like I did Britt, or even crush on her or whatever. She's Berry, and she's cool. Whatever… "You came through in the clutch when I needed you. I don't know if you understand what that means to me."
Rachel simply blushed harder and averted her gaze downward where she'd taken Santana's hands in her own, soft ones. Honestly, she couldn't understand how she'd ever called the diva 'man hands'; it was so, so inaccurate. Rachel had, like, the softest, most feminine hands, and they were smaller than her own at least. Sure, she'd apologized earlier in the weekend, but she felt she'd have to honestly show the girl that she and Quinn had been wrong. "You told me I'd never lose you…after you…you were attacked. I just…I couldn't let anything happen to you. Because…" Rachel took a steadying breath as she regained the composure that her words had quickly undermined. "Because you're not going to lose me either, Santana. And I needed to show you that this isn't a one way thing."
Santana could only smile admiringly at the sincerity in Rachel's words as she tried to write that moment into memory. She knew she probably would only rarely rely on Rachel again, but it was nice for someone to have stuck up for her with no hope of personal gain. It was nice, more than nice, and she was about to talk, to try and find words when the door to her room opened.
"Miss Lopez? There's a group of people in the waiting room who wish to see you. Is it alright to send some in?" a random nurse asked, the question breaking Santana out of her happy bubble with Rachel. Glee club was there.
"Ummm…can you give us like, ten more minutes, then send Brittany Pierce and Quinn Fabray in?" she asked cautiously, hoping the nurse would adhere to her request. The woman simply nodded her head and closed the door behind her.
Rachel immediately seemed to go into something of a minor meltdown, which truly confused her; there was no reason for a meltdown, it just kind of sucked that she'd likely have to see Finn, Zizes, Artie, and Puck. She really didn't feel like hearing anything they had to say, but she'd deal. More importantly, though, Rachel was freaking out, and she needed the girl to be calm and happy, because she was starting to worry.
"Rach, I need you to sit down on the bed here beside me, alright?" she asked, scooting over and making room for the diva, wincing a bit as her sprained leg painfully reminded her of her injury. Rachel seemed to almost be hyperventilating, but managed to do as she asked, cautiously sliding in right beside her, letting Santana's arm pull her closer by the waist. "Okay, just take deep breaths okay? Good. You're fine, I'm fine, and if any of the glee kids hassle you, I'll give them an old fashioned head-butt or something. Or call the nurse to kick them out, I guess, if you want a pacifist option. Whatever you prefer."
Rachel just took a minute or two to even out her breathing, Santana doing her best in her limited capacity to make the girl feel better. "What am I supposed to do with Quinn?" Rachel asked, her voice barely louder than a whisper as the diva's eyes locked onto the door ahead of them, as if the blondes would march in at any second.
"You're scared of what they'll be like." Santana stated, hoping Rachel would confirm her assumption. The diva just turned her head away slightly, which Santana frowned at; she wanted to see her face. "Hey, look at me, alright? Please, Rach?" she asked softly, her wish eventually granted as Rachel turned back toward her, looking entirely shy and anxious.
"Rachel Berry, would you like tips on handling Quinn Fabray? I'll even do it in point form, since you love lists so much." Santana said with an admittedly goofy grin, hoping to put the smaller girl at ease. Rachel stared back, still looking worried, but also slightly interested, as if she was about to reveal some ancient truth. "First off, Quinn is a huge bookworm. Seriously, she reads at home, like, nonstop. If you look in her purse, there is a library card. Never mention the library card, she'll strangle you."
Rachel gulped and nodded, her attention fully focused on Santana, which was a nice feeling; she didn't want her to be scared or nervous around her other friends, and she'd do her best to get them to get along. "And I guess the second part of that first point is that she will talk your ear off about Harry Potter and the Great Gatsby. She loves Harry Potter, but she hated the movies, so if you've seen those and raise a dissenting point about them, she'll be too riled up in her fury over the films to realize she's taking your side in something. And she HATES all the characters in Gatsby. Hates them all, so if you've read it, say something like how you hated having to read it because the characters were all terrible, but never insult the author, because she loves F. Scott Fitzgerald to bits. She just hates books where she can't like a single character. So if you can work anything like that casually and seamlessly into a conversation, you'll probably be her go-to literature rant person, because she hates having to go to me. I rile her up on purpose, and then bribe her with cake when she reaches peak fury. She's like, the funniest looking person when she's raging, but too busy eating cake to speak, and too angry at me to show she likes the cake." Santana explained, Rachel nodding at every detail, the gears in the diva's mind clearly working on building a strategy in approaching Quinn. "Second point is, and Quinn doesn't know that I know this, but she gets thirsty when she's sad. Usually craves lemonade too, so if they come in here and dog-pile me for a minute, check the hospital cafeteria to see if there's any lemonade, and bring us all lemonade. That way it won't seem suspicious, and if this place is like most hospitals I've been in, they have this organic stuff. Say something like 'Santana needs an appropriate amount of hydration and nutrients, and lemonade is a satisfactory beverage to ingest' or whatever you figure would be good. Honestly, that will get her in a better mood immediately, and you'll be doing me a favour."
Rachel nodded slowly, her lips curling somewhat at the ends into a smile, which Santana found relieving and a little cute. She was just happy the diva had her confidence back. "And thirdly, she's going to be a mess when she gets here. You need to let me speak, and let her speak, and only really talk when spoken to. She'll need to get everything out of her system right away, and she likes when people give her space. She'll be happy you had the courtesy to call her, and that you were out there to help me, and she'll show that after she airs all her shit out in the open, alright? So just weather Hurricane Quinn and you'll be fine, I promise."
Rachel nestled into her side momentarily, being entirely careful enough to not hurt her slightly bruised ribs while gently hugging her arm across Santana's body. "Thank you, I just get worried. Quinn's always kind of scared me." Rachel noted shyly, and Santana didn't need to see the diva's face to know she was blushing. "They'll be let in two minutes from now, should I go get drinks?"
"That would probably be for the best. Britt and Quinn probably wouldn't even notice you in time if you stayed here, and you'd probably get hurt." Santana nodded, planting a brief kiss to Rachel's crown as the girl started moving out of the bed. She was pretty aware that Rachel liked affection, so she didn't think twice about it, and the small smile on the girl's face let her know it was appreciated. Not like it was a kiss on the lips or anything.
Santana tried not to be sad when Rachel left, she tried to be more excited to see her two other friends, it was just that she was a little worried. If Artie followed Britt in, or if Britt waited until she and Artie could both come in, she'd probably flip her shit, and she didn't want that. She loved her friends dearly, they were her everything, but it was hard that the first time they'd legitimately be hanging out in weeks would be in a hospital bed. She didn't want them feeling guilty about anything, like they'd made some mistake for having lives. She didn't want apologies from them, even though she was sure she'd get them eventually. She didn't want them to be sorry, she just wanted them to be better. That was it, and she hoped they already knew that.
When the door finally opened, perhaps a bit too abruptly for the average person's liking, it was as if time stood still. As she'd predicted, Quinn was wide-eyed looking like she'd seen a ghost, even paler than her ivory white ass usually was, and her lower lip was trembling something fierce. Britt was classic Britt, weeping up a storm, one hand rubbing the heavy torrents of tears from her eyes. The both of them rushed in, Britt faster than Quinn as the dancer basically dove onto the bed and crushed Santana in a vice-like hug that had her wheezing for air and wincing in pain. Quinn quickly tapped Britt's shoulder, signaling for her to ease up a little, having noticed the darker girl was in pain; the short haired blonde hovered cautiously over to the headboard of the bed and looked down at Santana. She could see Quinn was really close to just openly sobbing, and Quinn hated showing her emotion like that, so Santana used her free hand to gesture her closer, knowing Quinn would appreciate her not being the instigator of affection. She'd always hated Russell Fabray for making her uncomfortable with that; Lucy had been a secret fan of hugs back in seventh grade, and while she'd rarely ask for them or really visibly show she liked them, the blonde took a lot of comfort in the act. So when Quinn cradled her head and cried into her hair, she just reached up and pulled Quinn as close as she could.
"Shh…I'm going to be okay, you goofballs." She whispered to them as both clutched onto her for dear life. She would have called it embarrassing and lame if she'd walked in on a random trio in the same position, but her friends needed it. Even if she was the physically injured person, she knew her friends were hurting more than she was, and they took precedence. "I'm sorry I scared you, girls. I'm really sorry."
Quinn just nodded slightly, her nose rubbing on the top of her head. She'd need a shower later to get the tears and snot out, but she already needed a shower anyway. Britt looked up from her position, spread out on top of Santana, and met her eyes just as Rachel silently crept into the room with a tray of bottled drinks. "Are you going to need a cast anywhere?" Britt asked quietly, her worried blue eyes piercing her own. She knew that casts were surprisingly tangible to the blonde, and that it helped her understand that something was hurt, and being protected, and that she could add her decorations for moral support.
"I'm not sure Britt. My left leg's sprained, so I might need a splint for a while. But if I don't need one, I promise you can give me facepaint and help with my leg's rehab, okay sweetheart?" she asked, earning a cheerful nod from her best friend, who was immediately in a better mood. Britt was always pretty easy like that; so long as she knew Santana would get better, and that she could help, Britt was all smiles. Quinn was much harder.
Removing her other arm from around Britt, she slowly turned onto her side and pulled Quinn closer to her into a slightly awkward hug, given their respective positions. "Quinn, thank you for getting preggers." She whispered, drawing something that sounded like both a sob and a laugh from the head cheerleader. "Seriously, just listen and don't slap me, alright? Sue put me through wilderness and combat training because you got knocked up." She spoke softly into the girl's ear, knowing Quinn needed some reassurance that nothing was her fault, that she helped in some sort of way.
Quinn hugged her tightly for a few moments before pulling away a little bit, enough for Santana to see the tissues Rachel had set up, which she gestured toward. The blonde quickly plucked one from its box and dabbed at her eyes, desperately trying to compose herself. "What…happened?" the girl asked, her voice strained and choked from her wealth of emotions.
"I got hurt, but I'm alright now. Rachel patched me up and got me here in time." Santana noted, figuring the girls didn't need the full story quite yet; that could wait for later, when emotions weren't running so high. It had been a while since she'd seen Quinn so upset, and she was pretty sure if she unleashed Hurricane Quinn, there would probably be fatalities."I'll tell you later, just…I want to just spend some time with my favourite girls." She noted happily, cheering internally when she caught the briefest flash of a smile on Quinn's lips. Her eyes strayed momentarily to Rachel, who looked a little downcast as she flickered her attention between the door and everyone piled around the hospital bed.
"That includes you, Rachel. Don't think you can plot a ten step escape plan all the way over there. Come here, and bring whatever the hell your vegan ass decided to buy, I'm thirsty and I know you can't drink all that." She noted playfully, hoping the brunette wouldn't take offense, and that she'd take the opportunity to be nice to Quinn.
Thankfully Rachel smiled that thousand watt smile and grabbed the tray of drinks, bringing it over to the bedside. "As you haven't had the same opportunity to re-hydrate traditionally as I have, and since you were lacking vital nutrients and natural sugars this weekend, I thought it would be proper to ingest some organically produced lemonade. It is, after all, close enough to summer, and this is a time for celebration." Rachel ranted happily, passing out the glass bottles of lemonade to everyone; Santana's having already been opened and equipped with a straw, which she felt was really thoughtful.
"Thanks, Rachel!" Brittany said as she guzzled her drink down as if it were some competition.
Quinn just gave a hesitant smirk to the brunette, which Santana felt was definitely better than nothing. "Yeah…thanks, Berry." The other blonde noted, taking a greedy sip from the drink, her smirk widening into a relieved grin momentarily. "But you WILL tell me what happened later, Santana."
Santana laughed lightly at her friend's persistence. "Of course, Quinn. I just apparently have to send in the clowns soon or whatever…I guess I have to deal with a full glee club looking for gossip about me after everything and all. I'll tell you later or something, but my meds are starting to make me kind of sleepy, and if I can have an excuse to fall asleep while Finn or Schue are blabbering, I'm going to take it." She remarked with a pleased smirk. "But I want to know how what we missed out on first…I'm sure you have stories."
Rachel woke to the sound of feet shuffling around her, and the muffled, tinny sounds of Billy Idol playing from someone's headphones nearby. She stretched her body across the oddly comfortable padded bench before sitting up and gathering her wits; she found herself in the waiting room, seated across from a sleeping Brittany, bringing back memories of the previous night.
The glee members were ravenous for information, especially Kurt and Mercedes who almost had to be escorted out after Santana repeatedly refused to give details. Both she and Santana had remained silent on the details to everyone, which had unsurprisingly irked some of the rest of them as well. Not that she didn't thank everyone graciously on Santana's behalf, it was only polite; it didn't hurt that she'd at least stated that the two of them would regale them with the tale in glee when they returned on Wednesday. Also unsurprisingly, she had to endure Finn's advances yet again, which she brushed aside quickly and concisely, telling him it simply hadn't been an appropriate time. It hadn't been appropriate when he'd tried to kiss her either, but luckily she was agile, and Santana's imaginatively violent threats had him backing off quickly. After enduring the trip, she'd come to the conclusion that Finn wasn't a good fit for her romantically, and she'd refrain from any such relations with him going forward. She deserved someone better.
Eventually, the majority of glee went on their way home, an hour or two later than planned, while Rachel , Santana, Brittany and Quinn remained behind. Quinn had really relaxed by the end of it, and seemed to be in a better mood; she even asked if Rachel would get her another lemonade, and had thanked her when she returned with it. Brittany had even hugged her a few times as they all sat around and talked in the small hospital room until Santana fell asleep. Afterward, Quinn had been insistent that she rent a car and drive them all home when Santana was released the next morning, and Rachel had forfeited the cot she'd planned on using, allowing Quinn a proper sleep as she would be the one driving the whole way back. It had been different, waking up in the waiting room; the bench had been softer than the forest floor their tent rested upon, but there was an utter lack of Santana.
Rachel felt more than a little foolish, clinging to her favourite moments of their weekend together; she should have understood that it wouldn't be a normal thing at all, that it would be a rare occurrence. It just wasn't the same, waking up without someone's arms around her; it had quickly become a moment of clarity, understanding why people would sleep in the same bed. As an only child, she loved the freedom to roll about in her bed, and she was an active sleeper usually, often splayed out across the bed in awkward ways when she woke. It was a freedom she'd never really understood was less important than the security one could feel by another adding their warmth, their touch, their presence. She missed Santana, and she was only just a few hours separated from her and down the hall. She couldn't imagine how Santana's parents felt, or at least how she thought they should have felt; Santana had called home that night shortly before the rest of glee visited her, and all the girl said afterward was that no one was coming. She wasn't sure whether to be infuriated or heartbroken , but the latter soon won over as she saw the girl fighting to conceal her disappointment. Well, I suppose she at least has the three of us…maybe that's good enough…
Rachel checked her phone and, seeing it was five after six in the morning, decided to be proactive. A good healthy breakfast was important, and while she was rather certain they wouldn't be able to find one in the hospital, she hoped that they could find one within an hour's drive. It was lovely to have Google back.
As she searched, she kept an eye on the time, knowing Santana would be discharged around eight; Quinn had left shortly after she'd woken up, offering a small wave on her way out to pick up the rental car. It was funny to see how well Santana knew her friends; she'd honestly never bet against the girl whenever it came down to predicting the blonde's behaviour. Rachel did wonder, though, exactly how many times Santana had been hospitalized, and how many times the two blondes had sat in hospital waiting rooms, wondering if their friend was okay. She hadn't even told them how Santana had gotten injured, and they'd been in tears; she'd ask the girl another time, perhaps.
The next few hours passed in a haze; Santana's mother had faxed her paperwork in, letting them discharge her daughter, Quinn had returned with the SUV she'd rented, and they'd managed to get Santana and her crutches into the vehicle by quarter after eight. Surprisingly, at least to Rachel, the other three voted to wait for breakfast until they found somewhere decent off the highway, so Rachel had endured the hour-long trek before they'd stopped at a cozy little diner.
The meds Santana took during the meal kicked in quickly, and much of the ride home had been silent leading up to the Michigan/Ohio border, outside of Britt giving Quinn directions every once in a while. It was kind of hard to believe that they were all going home; it had been her goal since the car crash, basically, and with all they'd gone through, it just seemed like this far off goal. Now that they were actually close, it felt both relieving and sad. It hadn't been the most conventional outing, or especially the safest, but she'd enjoyed her time with the snoozing girl beside her. She wouldn't get to see her as often when they returned to their regular lives.
"So…what exactly happened out there, Rachel?" she heard Quinn ask quietly, surprising Rachel as they were honestly the only words the blonde had spoken since they'd left the diner. "I…I'm sure Santana will exaggerate and maybe omit things when I ask her, so…if you could just tell me the truth, I'd really appreciate it."
Rachel sighed, feeling mixed emotions about giving a retelling of what happened. She wasn't quite certain she could do any of it justice, honestly, and she didn't want either of the girls in the front seats to worry. "You…if it's perfectly alright, I would feel much more comfortable if you pulled over." She requested softly, hoping the girl would understand why. Quinn gave a simple nod as she gently pulled the vehicle to the shoulder and rolled to a gentle stop, put the vehicle in park, tossed its four ways on, and shut it off.
"You probably remember the rainstorm on the way up…I'd ignored Santana's requests to get gas along the highway for a few hours, and eventually had to get off the highway and travel a few miles to a small, isolated gas station when I realized I would soon run out. On our way back, we were caught in a downpour…I'm not comfortable driving in such storms, and the road was a mess of potholes and broken asphalt. I hit a pothole and I suppose I panicked a little, and the car slid off the road and down a moderately large hill. Santana will tell you that the car did a triple axel, but I wouldn't believe her if I were you." She explained, adding that last bit in hopes of lightening the mood, but Quinn and Brittany just stared expressionless at her anyway. Right then… "Anyway, Santana came to first, and gave us both first aid. We waited for the rain to stop before we went to the gas station…neither of us had any service, and we figured there would be a landline there. On the way, I saw a truck coming up the road and flagged it down. I…I was feeling desperate, I was scared of Santana, I was hurt, and I just wanted to either get to where you all were, or get home, and I wasn't thinking straight. I thought they were trustworthy. They weren't."
Rachel tried not to let her emotions get to the best of her as her memories of the event flashed through her mind; she'd been so scared and confused. "They…they tried to take us somewhere, and at least wanted the equipment we had. I didn't even know what was happening, I panicked when they attacked us and Santana fought them off with her hatchet…she hurt one of them and made them go away." Rachel said softly, trying not to feel guilty over Quinn's wide-eyed stare. She knew that she'd been the one to drive them off the road, she flagged the men down, she got them into the mess, and she knew Quinn would blame her. Rightfully so, even if Santana had been adamant that she hadn't been at fault. "We kept going toward the gas station, but the men in the truck…them and their friends came back and started looking for us, just as we were getting close. Santana said we could wait them out, or go to the town, and I felt the town was safer, even if it would take longer to get there. Which is why it took us so long to get a hold of you all. Santana led us deep into the forest and did her best to cover our tracks in case we were being followed. We didn't see them again, so they either didn't look harder, or she lost them."
Rachel swallowed, wondering how to explain much of the rest of their trip. A lot happened at the start and end, but much of the middle portion was simply bonding. "We…we mostly just traveled for much of the weekend, and got to know each other. Santana was so sweet…she always put my needs before her own, it was really kind of her."
Finally, Quinn's expression softened a little bit, a small wistful smile forming on her lips. "That's how San gets when she decides to actually help. She gets stubborn as hell, and there's no arguing with her on her plans or anything…I can't imagine that was easy for you."
Rachel shook her head and shrugged. "I…honestly, there weren't many times where I argued. She made it clear that she knew how to handle the situation better than I did, so I followed her lead. We rarely argued, and that was only when things got…emotional, I suppose." She stated, trying not to give too much details; she wanted to be honest, not entirely transparent.
"But you, like, argue all the time in glee." Britt noted confusedly, looking entirely bewildered at the thought of her remaining cooperative and quiet.
"I was just really scared and confused, and when I wasn't having minor panic attacks, Santana was keeping me off-balance. You know, jokes, absurd conversations…she distracted me to the point where I wasn't ever really able to think about anything too hard before she managed to ease my worries." Rachel explained, smiling as she recalled how affectionate Santana had been that first night. Quinn, however, raised her left eyebrow in amused suspicion.
"San's really good at distracting me when I'm sad or scared. Did you share a tent? Did she give you sweet lady kisses?" Brittany asked excitedly, and Rachel had to remember that the girl was much like her in that she had no filter, but she couldn't help but blush.
"We…we didn't do anything of the sort. I…um…I merely had some understandable insecurities about our situation, and Santana helped me through them." She stammered out nervously; she wasn't sure what she had to be nervous about, but the way Brittany and Quinn were staring at her made her feel like she was being interrogated by her fathers about the birds and the bees, albeit if one of her fathers was overly excited about the prospect.
"Such as?" Quinn asked, smirking as her eyes narrowed, clearly taking some enjoyment over how much of a squirming mess Rachel was at the moment.
"Wh…while Santana and I have come to share a bond as close friends, and I trust Santana completely, I'm not sure that trust automatically extends to you two." Rachel said, trying to sound full of conviction and confident, but she failed miserably. Quinn still scared the heck out of her, and she was looking at her as if she were a tasty meal or something.
Quinn unbuckled her seat-belt and reached her arm toward Rachel, her hand resting on her lower thigh. "Rachel…you're Santana's friend now. That means that if I were to ever hurt you, I'd be hurting Santana, and that's not going to happen. She hasn't made any friends since seventh grade, and while I kind of never saw her ever wanting you to be her friend, that's what happened, and I'm really happy for her. So if you make her happy, if she trusts you like I know she does, then that's all I need to trust you and think of you as a friend, okay? So just…keep going. Please." The blonde spoke softly, her hazel eyes peering right into Rachel's own brown ones reassuringly. She considered the logic for a few moments, and found it similar enough to how Santana was with Brittany, so she just nodded sheepishly, earning a smile from both blondes.
"It was my first night camping anywhere, and I was…terrified of bears attacking us, so Santana stayed awake while I slept. I felt horrible about it, and I ensured she made up for her lack of sleep the rest of Saturday, I promise." She spoke quickly at the end, hoping that her words would reassure the blondes that she hadn't caused Santana any harm willingly.
Brittany just gave her a goofy smile and bounced in her seat. "Awww, San does that all the time for me and Lord Tubbington when we watch horror movies. We're not allowed to watch them on Sundays, though, because she always needs sleep for Cheerios practice." Brittany noted happily, falling deep into thought about something as she finished speaking. Rachel smiled at the thought of Santana lovingly keeping watch on a bed with Brittany and her obese cat asleep and entirely under the covers; it was a sweet gesture, doing that despite knowing there was absolutely no threat.
"You two were out there from Friday night until Monday evening, though…that's three days, three nights." Quinn noted with another raised, questioning eyebrow. Rachel wished she had the muscle control in her eyebrows to do that. She felt it would add to her acting abilities, being able to add a little extra dramatic flair.
"Those were mostly spent traveling. We…we walked on Saturday. She taught me how to throw a hatchet that day…I'd walked off while she'd been napping and I guess that worried her a little when she woke up, so she thought it best that I know how to use such a tool." Rachel stated calmly, leaving out the part that she screamed bloody murder and Santana flipped out on her. "Sunday…I angered her tremendously by accident on Sunday morning and she basically death marched me into the ground until mid-afternoon when I got hurt and we…we aired our grievances, and came to an understanding. The rest of the day was much better…relaxing, even."
Quinn just nodded, giving her a strange knowing look, one which Rachel wasn't quite certain how to take. "And…Monday?"
Rachel let out a long breath of air, trying to calm herself. It was difficult to believe it had been over twenty four hours since the attack. "Monday morning, we were attacked by a wolf." She spoke, prompting Brittany to spin back around in her seat, hiding away, while all of the air was expelled from Quinn's body as the girl slumped forward a little.
"What?" Quinn choked out, her voice to quiet and strained, Rachel could barely hear it.
"We were walking and…she stopped me. I wasn't sure what was going on, but she told me to be really calm, which just made me nervous. When I saw it, it was big and I started freaking out, and she told me I had to walk backward and climb up a tree, but as soon as I did, it started coming toward us." She spoke, trying to simplify the story for the girls. She knew there wouldn't be any easy way to narrate the attack. "I made my way to the tree, but as soon as I did, it looked like it was about to lunge at Santana, so I…I threw my hatchet. I just reacted, and as soon as I saw it had hit it, I scurried up the tree. I…I was a coward."
She looked for some indication from either girl for her to continue, but Quinn's thousand yard stare was directed right through Santana, and Brittany was curled up in the front passenger seat, her arms hugging her knees against her chest. "The wolf just stalked after Santana, circling her. It started after her once, and Santana threw her hatchet at it like I did, but…well, it hit the wolf, but it lunged at her right after." Rachel spoke quietly, closing her eyes, trying to will away the images of the aftermath. "There was so much blood. It was on her for three, maybe four seconds, but there was just so much of it. She…she slit its throat wide open with her hunting knife while it bit and clawed at her. I climbed down when…when the wolf collapsed off of her, and I tried to just help her. It took ten minutes, and they were the most terrifying minutes of my entire life. Losing my voice was nothing…nothing when I saw her just lying there, on the ground. I still don't really know what to think about it, I'm not sure it's hit me yet, but… I'm just so happy that I was able to get her to town, through an altercation with a rather inhospitable homeowner, and to the hospital. That…that was Monday."
She wasn't sure when Quinn had left the front seat, but her door swung open and in a single motion Quinn undid her seat-belt and pulled Rachel out of the SUV and into a bone-crushing hug. They were both silent as cars whizzed past them a few metres away, Quinn clutching onto her tightly as Rachel just rubbed the other girl's back slowly. Eventually, she decided it was safe enough to speak. "Quinn…she's safe. She's in the car, you're taking her home…she's safe." Rachel whispered soothingly, hoping to reassure the girl. "The best thing you could do for her…is just be there for her. Tell her you want to have a movie marathon on Saturday, she'll be so happy."
"Movie night? But…she…she hasn't had one in months." Quinn mumbled sadly into Rachel's hair. Rachel did her best to pull away enough to look Quinn in the face, knowing that she could very well get slapped, or just end up hurting Quinn more than she already was. "She's wanted to. I know it's not my place to say, but Santana won't, so…she misses you two so much. She's scared both of you don't care about her anymore, and she especially needs Brittany to spend some time with her again. If you don't talk to Artie about him not letting her see Santana, I will. The whole reason Santana went on this trip was because she was lonely and she wanted a friend to spend time with, and she thought if you two weren't willing, I was forgiving and nice enough to be a decent substitute."
"God…" Quinn breathed out, staring up at the sky in anguish. "I've…I haven't been trying to avoid her, I just…there's this new book series I found, and I didn't want to bore her, and I've been trying to patch things up with my mom and…she always promised me she was fine. Why didn't she tell me? She should have told me!"
Rachel gave Quinn a gentle squeeze around her waist, leaning into the girl in hopes she'd maybe feel better. "She thinks the world of you two. She…I get the distinct feeling that she doesn't think her needs are important so long as you two are happy, but you know better than I do why she wouldn't tell you. Just…I doubt she blames you two for anything, and I know she wouldn't want you feeling guilty, so just be there for her. Read those books in her room with her, maybe. Show that you want to spend some of your free time with her. Show her you care, because the only reason she ever gave me a chance this weekend was because she was scared that no one did. You have plenty of opportunities to re-connect with the summer coming up."
Quinn left the embrace and lazily staggered off to the driver's side of the SUV, leaning up against it for support. "Berry, you're going to have to drive the rest of the way. Let B stay in the back with Santana, she needs to be there right now." The blonde said, and Rachel had to wonder when exactly Brittany found her way to the backseat, where she was huddled up beside the sleeping girl.
"Sure." She noted softly, prompting Quinn to move to the passenger seat. Rachel got in and adjusted her seat before starting up the vehicle and pulling it back onto the highway. "I'm sorry if I upset either of you. I just…you asked for honesty, and you deserved it. I fully understand if I receive a slushie facial when I return to school as retribution, just please don't let it be strawberry."
"Berry, shut up." She heard Quinn protest beside her as the girl looked out the side window, her voice soft and slightly strained still. "You're not going to get slushied, and we're going to keep you safe at school. Just…how close did you and Santana get, anyway? How…how did you know all that?"
Rachel swallowed and gripped the wheel hard, focusing on the road as she formulated a plan of attack, so to speak. "She was nice to me all weekend. Literally unbelievably nice, at least up until Sunday morning. I…said some things that deeply upset her, because I thought she wasn't being genuine. She…more or less her temper flared and she corrected me during a rather lengthy, emotional outburst. It…I will admit it wasn't the only outburst I provoked that day. I learned that she was a vastly different person than I once thought her to be. That who she appeared to be all weekend was closer to who she was than who I saw at school."
"So what do you think about her now?" Quinn asked in the same tone, still staring out the window at the passing wilderness.
"She…Santana's a wonderful flawed person. I would say that maybe she cares too much about those closest to her, and too little about everyone else and herself. That said, I find it remarkable how much she can care for a person, and how easily she can make me feel happy and safe. I'd say that if ever I was in trouble, she would be the first person I'd call for help. I'd say that I want to help her through her insecurities, because she deserves to feel confident about her own future as much as she is about ours." Rachel answered, hoping her answer was satisfactory, considering she could list off dozens more things about the sleeping girl.
Quinn was quiet for a few minutes as they passed into Ohio, almost long enough for Rachel to feel confident that the conversation was over. Apparently, it just allowed Quinn to think up more questions. "She helped you that first night…did she stay awake for the others too?" Quinn asked; Rachel had to check that Brittany was sleeping before she felt comfortable giving her answer.
"No…she helped me with other things, but after the first night I trusted that I'd be safe from any wild animals." Rachel answered, not sure if she made it vague so that Quinn would move on, or so that Quinn would mill away at her for details. She kind of really wanted to talk about Santana, but she wasn't sure if it would be appropriate with the blonde next to her.
Quinn just laughed lightly, and turned her gaze toward Rachel. "You stayed in the same tent, so I'm going to guess that she cuddled with you." Rachel blushed at the girl's words, which just widened the smirk on Quinn's face. "It's okay. Santana's the most tactile person I know. Ever seen her and Britt at school? They used to almost always be touching in some way. Holding pinkies, holding hands, sitting shoulder to shoulder or thigh to thigh, playing footsie, and sometimes they'd rest their head on the other's shoulder. Britt was always cool with that, which is why she's such a good person for San to be around. It calms her, I guess. She's a big softie like that."
"It...I just…I have astraphobia, and on the second night, she helped me from having a panic attack, that's all. And…I asked her to hold me the next night, just to see if she'd be okay with it, and she let me, probably because she thought I'd be a zombie in the morning if she didn't. But…that's pretty much it." Rachel stammered out, trying to explain that Santana wasn't like Brittany with her, she certainly wasn't. She knew what the two of them had gotten into before, and even loosely linking her to such things with Santana made her feel like she had to explain the behavior away.
"Look, Rachel. She fought off a bunch of dudes for you. She fought off a wolf to keep you safe. She held you when you were scared. I'd say that it wouldn't be a stretch to think she looks at you differently than she used to, alright?" Quinn noted softly, patting one of Rachel's hands on the wheel. "And it's either 'it' or you still have more details, and I'm pretty sure there's more, and I want to hear it. We have an hour to go until Lima, and I can tell you want to ramble on about something."
Rachel really, really didn't know if she could trust Quinn, but outside of her fathers, she had no one to talk to, and she really wanted a girl her age to talk to; Santana seemed like a good listener, but she wasn't sure she could talk to Santana ABOUT Santana. So she took a risk, with a little bit of tactics. "She was sincere. She…complimented me when there was nothing in it for her. She helped me when there was nothing for her to gain. She convinced me that you were partially right about Finn…that I didn't belong with him…but also that neither did you. She…she…if I weren't straight, I'm pretty sure I'd have a huge crush on her." And it was true. Rachel's heart beat faster around Santana, her heart did flips, and her stomach got all funny. She wanted to be near her all the time, and was a bit morose when they were apart. She'd find herself smiling inexplicably sometimes when she'd catch herself staring at the cheerleader, and on top of wholly appreciating the girl's breath-taking beauty, Santana made her feel things. She was straight, though, so it couldn't be a real crush, but perhaps a friend sort of crush. Even if she'd never heard of such a thing in its existence, it had to be true. She'd Google it sometime.
"She made you feel special." Quinn noted thoughtfully, a small smile on her face as she seemed to consider something for a few moments. "Did she kiss you?"
If Rachel had been drinking anything at that moment, it would have made for a gloriously high quality spit take. Instead, she felt her head throbbing from all the blood rushing to her face, and her eyes went wide from shock over Quinn not pulling any punches. "She…only on the forehead…and cheek…and the top of my head, maybe? Maybe the neck too, but that could have just been her face making accidental contact when she was holding me." she answered nervously as Quinn's hazel eyes bore into her skull.
"And did you kiss her back after she got hurt?" Quinn asked quickly, likely believing her speed of delivery would hide the emotion in her voice from that last word. Rachel shook her head, unable to answer, though she felt it was a good question. Santana had been casual with her affection, so maybe it wouldn't have been bad to return some. "No? It would have been appropriate. She would have really liked it. Just saying."
"I…I thought if I did anything, it'd scare her off. I didn't want to lose her as a friend." Rachel noted sadly, feeling kind of silly now that she'd heard all about how Santana was quite willingly touchy-feely.
Quinn just chuckled lightly. "Rachel, if you're alone with her, or it's just us, she's always free game." The girl noted, nudging Rachel playfully, which more or less helped cheer her up. While she couldn't say she was close friends with Quinn Fabray, she was starting to get more comfortable with her.
"I'll take that into consideration, Quinn, thank you. One other thing I wish was free game this year were the books we were assigned to read in English. I honestly cannot wait for AP English next year so that I can choose a book that has at least one likeable character." Rachel stated with conviction, smiling internally as she could see the fire light in Quinn's eyes out of her periphery.
"I KNOW! Were you assigned The Great Gatsby too? I swear, the author's wonderful, but is it really worth reading a novel where every character has a regrettable personality and existence?" Quinn started, quickly spiraling into a wild rant on literature, and the importance of connecting with an audience, not just making a thematic or conceptual point. Rachel mostly listened, adding in a few words about authors and books she enjoyed as Quinn mostly unleashed her fury. It made for a fun final fifty minutes of their trip home.
Stairs were not Santana Lopez's friend. The main floor bathroom, in turn, was the staircase's sneaky, underhanded accomplice. Truly, she missed her upstairs shower, but her staircase had always been steep, and the other girls hadn't felt comfortable bringing her up there, so she was in the downstairs washroom, facing off with her mortal enemy. Her mother had a thing for strange, antique looking bathtubs, and the one she was standing in was peculiarly narrow, with rounded walls so that there was a very narrow area for her to stand in when she took a shower. It was, ideally, a tub to bathe in; she knew that much, yet it was the only shower she had access to, and she needed a good shower. So there she was, swearing at the tub beneath her that was as frictionless as a ken doll, but with a larger potential to cause tremendous pain.
After her thirty minute battle to remain upright during her attempt at cleaning the grime off of herself, she escaped victorious. Technically, they had all missed school that day, so she really didn't have anywhere to go; thus, she more or less decided to let her hair air-dry and toweled herself off, slipping on a pair of shorts and an oversized cheerios t-shirt to lounge in. It had been tricky to put the plastic covering over her wounds, even trickier to shower without harming herself, but she felt she did an admirable job, and she wasn't about to expend any extra energy that day.
When she stepped out of the washroom, in the duck slippers Britt had bought her three Christmases ago, she found herself in a mostly silent house. She was fairly sure that her mother was upstairs passed out drunk, or drinking herself to that result, but she'd also expected to hear the voices of the three friends that brought her home. Admittedly, she kind of worried that they'd left already, despite likely having free schedules.
Santana wandered through her main floor on her crutches, finding no one in the kitchen, the back yard, the living room or the lobby. She slowly made her way to the den and found the door slightly ajar; curious, she pushed it open with one of her metal supports and moseyed on in, finding Rachel making her bed. Her bed that was supposed to be in her room, but was sitting in the middle of the den, by the fireplace and the large shelf of her dad's old books. It was weird. Nice, but weird.
"What's up?" she asked, taking in the scene, wondering where the blondes scampered off to.
"Oh, Santana! I didn't know you were out of the shower. I…may have suggested that Brittany and Quinn help me bring your bed down here. I didn't want you sleeping on a couch if you couldn't go upstairs, and I noticed all of the bedrooms were upstairs, so…we brought it here. Is that okay?" Rachel asked at her nervous mile-a-minute pace, obviously worried that she'd overstepped her bounds. Santana hadn't ever really been fond of the room, but she didn't hate it either. It just wasn't her room. That said, if she couldn't have her room, it was nice to have something from it.
"It's cool, thanks for bringing it down. It isn't the same as my room, but it's nice anyway. I appreciate it." She said, hobbling over to it and propping herself gingerly down onto the end of it, where Rachel soon joined her.
"Santana…it…well…it's almost time for my dad to get home from work, and I really, really want to stay here with you, but they're worried sick. I promise I'll call you later, alright?" Rachel asked, smiling brightly at her. How could she say no to that? She couldn't.
"Rachel, I told you I'd get you home safe and sound, back to your parents. If that didn't happen, I'd be breaking my promise. So go home, I'll be alright. I promise." Santana sad softly, taking Rachel's hand and giving it a light squeeze.
Rachel just smiled even brighter and wrapped her arms around Santana's neck, gently of course, and pulled her into a brief hug. "I'll see you tomorrow morning, if you're still planning on going to school? You know you can take the week off. Any doctor would let you."
"I'll be okay, and I need to show off that I fought a wolf and only came away with a sprained leg and some flesh wounds. Thanks, by the way, for leaving the blood on the hatchets. There's wolf fur stuck to the dried blood, and it'll really sell people on what happened. No one's going to ever give me shit, and people will think you're a badass too. It's a win-win." Santana explained, hoping her logic made sense to Rachel. She didn't want the girl to worry about school, she'd have them covered.
"Okay, if you say so Santana. Brittany and Quinn are just out getting food…Quinn misses having movie night, and she was thinking you'd be alright with having one with them?" Rachel asked her, and Santana really, really tried not to be too ecstatic. Even if Rachel wasn't there, and she DID want Rachel there too, she really wanted to just spend some fun time with the blondes. It had been months since she'd done anything like it. And she knew by the glimmer in the diva's eye that maybe Quinn wasn't the person that thought the idea up, but she liked knowing her friends wanted to be there with her, and were taking initiative.
"That sounds great, Rach. I wish you could be here too, but…can I hold you to Saturday? I was thinking of doing a TV series marathon of something, and…I mean you don't have to come, I know you're busy." Santana rambled a little, feeling a little nervous. She always was when she asked anything of her friends.
"I'll be there at 4pm sharp, Santana. Is that okay?" the diva asked, earning a quick nod. It was more than okay. "Excellent. Well, have a wonderful night with Quinn and Brittany. I'll call you around ten o'clock." Rachel finished leaning in again for what Santana thought would be a hug. Instead, a pair of soft, full lips pressed onto her cheek, dangerously close to her mouth, and lingered for a second. And then Rachel was skipping out of the room. And then Britt and Q came back with food. And then they started watching Ferngully. And Rachel Berry kissed me…
Honestly, she had an amazing time with her two oldest friends, laughing and singing along to the silly animated movies Britt had picked out to watch. It felt like home, being with them again, smiling with them, and laying side by side with them on her bed again. It was amazing.
But through it all, that kiss lingered. And while she tried to force her thoughts to the back burner, she couldn't help but mull it over. It had lasted a second and a half, maybe two seconds tops; the diva's lips had been so ridiculously soft. She hadn't even seen the girl put on chap-stick during the whole weekend or at the hospital, yet they were like, magically soft. She didn't understand how something so soft could make her skin feel like it was on fire; a good fire, of course. A great fire. A really great fire that made her body tingle and her stomach do that same Olympic-grade uneven bar routine.
Santana would be the first to admit that it was really nice, waking up with her those mornings in the tent, and that the girl's body just fit with hers. She was really soft and her hair was nice, and her eyes were always really vibrant and expressive, and she was so enthusiastic and adorably curious, and she was just really cute, and she had a crush on Rachel Berry.
It was kind of weird. But kind of okay.
So when she was returning from the kitchen with a glass of water at eleven fifteen, and her phone started vibrating, she was kind of worried. Rachel had called her at ten, and they'd said a few words, but nothing substantial. Just standard fare, like 'sweet dreams' and all that. Finding the two blondes asleep on the right side of the bed, Santana slid into the left and answered the call.
"Rach, what's up?" she asked softly, not wanting to wake the other two, and also wanting to show the girl she was worried. It was an hour past Rachel's standard bedtime, and she knew the diva didn't like losing sleep anymore than she did.
"I…I had a…the wolf…there was so much blood, and…I needed to hear you, and…" Rachel choked out as she sobbed into the phone; Santana quickly deduced that the girl had had something of a nightmare about the incident, and she couldn't help but wince. She'd hoped it wouldn't happen. She really didn't want Rachel to be upset at all, and at that moment she really just wanted to be with the diva, holding her, telling her it was okay. Santana cursed her weakened body for not letting her run to wherever the hell Rachel lived so she could comfort her. She'd have to eventually get the girl's address again, when she went for the party earlier in the year, Quinn had driven her and she hadn't paid attention.
"Estrella, please listen, alright? I'm safe, I'm alright, the wolf is gone." She said in her best soothing voice she could manage. "Just work on your breathing alright? Why don't I tell you my boring plans for the rest of the week, and you just focus on my voice and relax, okay?"
As she listed out each day's plans, from meals to activities, to her predictions on how badly her bathtub will abuse her, she listened intently to Rachel's slowly quieting sobs. Eventually, as she was deep into Friday's plans, she heard arguably the best sound of the night; that soft little snore Rachel owned when she was asleep and content.
She left her phone on and placed it beside her, knowing she had evenings free on her phone plan, and she assumed Rachel did too. She wanted to be there if the girl had another attack, and she'd grown used to the little snore over the weekend. She'd simply grown used to Rachel.
Santana shrugged and pulled up the covers, feeling entirely content with her situation. Sure, she'd gotten in a car crash, mauled by a wolf, and basically abandoned yet again by her mother, but things weren't all bad. She gained a new friend, she had her old friends back, she was home in her bed, and Rachel Berry had kissed her; straight or not, she wasn't about to let that go unrewarded. She'd at least see if she could have anything with the pint-sized diva she'd grown to care about.
Things were looking up.
A/N: And it's done! Finished! The end!
I know it probably wasn't the most satisfying conclusion. My goal when starting this fic was to have Santana and Rachel develop a friendship and some feelings, but I never really considered them acting on them so much. Besides, it was like, a weekend. Rachel still has some things to work out, and so does Santana, but I wanted the seeds of romance to be planted by the end. And truly, they were. And, well, as Quinn stated, Santana is a bit stubborn when she decides on something. :P Perhaps the sequel I'm working on will involve something along those lines… ;) It could be fun. There might be antics. It's out now, called 'Mirrorball' if any of you are interested.
Thank you all for your tremendous support. Seriously, this has been a really awesome month. I think I've shaken my writer's block for the most part, and that's really exciting for me, because I missed writing, and this got me out of my funk, so it'll remain a really special story in my heart. Thank you for being here for it, and for reading it. And to those of you who have joined late, thank you for giving my story a chance, I hoped you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Guest14(a): Yeah, I always wanted Rachel to show some growth in her confidence and courage out in the wild, taking a page from Santana. This story's over, but another will begin soon enough :) And thank you for the compliments, and for reading!
Guest14(b): Haha, I suppose anything longer than 12 hours is an unacceptable delay :P
red: Glad you liked it, hope you liked the finish :)