AN: Happy final, (sigh), NBLTC Friday! Nothing to say this time cause I'm anxious to know what you guys think of the final chapter.
Enjoy! I'll talk to you at the end.
Disclaimer: Fuck it! Sometimes Glee sucks and I don't so I don't even want to take credit for it anymore. Nothing Burns Like The Cold is mine though, thank goodness, even though Santana and Brittany aren't, unfortunately.
Big thank you to my beta, BrittanaFan25 again! You're the best! And thank you to everyone reading and enjoying this story! Love you all!
Chapter 6- Not Cold Anymore
Two days later at a hospital in West Virginia
"Oh, she's beautiful," Brittany grinned from her hospital bed, looking at the picture of her new niece on the screen of her dad's phone. She really was gorgeous, all peach fuzz hair and blue eyes. They looked like the perfect, happy family, Brittany thought.
Brittany's dad was noticeably beaming as he watched his youngest daughter's eyes light up for the first time at seeing his first grandchild. He was thankful that all his girls were healthy and safe, but looking at Brittany right now you could tell something was off. He knew what it was and as a dad it hurt to not be able to take his baby's pain away. He couldn't believe what his two daughters had been through over the last couple days. One had to endure a complicated childbirth; the other had to survive a blizzard in order to save her best friend. He knew his daughters were strong, but boy, nothing prepared him for the day's events that opened his eyes to just how strong they actually were.
"They look so happy," Brittany said enviously, smile starting to waver as she passed the phone back to her dad.
"They are. All three of them are good," he said, referring to Brittany's sister, the new baby and his son-in-law. "They're very happy. Things were a little dodgy at times, but your sister did great. She's a champ! It must run in the family," he said, smiling at his daughter and hoping the compliment would land on Brittany and lighten her somber mood.
"I guess," she said, trailing off and looking to the side to stare pensively out the window. She noticed the sun was finally peaking out behind the clouds. It almost made her squint since she wasn't prepared for it. She thought back, trying to remember how many days it had been, I think four. Had it really only been four days since she'd seen the sun? It seemed longer.
Brittany tried to move her focus back to her sister after turning away from the sun's glare. She knew what a big deal her niece was to her sister and brother-in-law and she was happy for them, she really was. She should focus on that. They'd been waiting for this day for a long time, but all things considered, she couldn't manage much more than a short half-hearted smile, at least not right now.
Brittany's dad noticed the sad look in his baby's usually shining blue eyes and it broke his heart. He didn't blame her one bit. His heart was suffering in that respect as well. Santana was like a daughter to him. He loved her like one of his own and the fact that she was in such poor shape was hard to comprehend. What should have been a beautiful, happy time for his family with the new addition had a dark cloud hanging over it and he knew it would remain that way until they all knew that Santana was going to be okay.
"Daddy, do you think you can take me down to Santana's room? I just want to sit with her," Brittany asked, already starting to remove the blankets to get out of bed.
"You need your rest, Kiddo," he replied in that concerned fatherly tone that normally had his girls doing exactly what he asked, but this time he knew he was fighting a losing battle.
Santana's condition had pretty much remained unchanged since both she and Brittany had been flown in yesterday by helicopter. According to the information he'd managed to learn from Santana's father, Orlando Lopez, Santana had sustained a concussion and broken ribs from the car crash and developed pneumonia after due to prolonged exposure and the difficulty she was having breathing. Brittany had been lucky, only suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia. It could have been much worse, he thought, thanking the Lord that it wasn't. He just wished that Santana would get better, especially for his daughter's sake.
In his eyes, Brittany was a hero. He couldn't imagine what she'd been through and he didn't want to pressure her for every detail right now, not when she was still so weak and everything was still raw. He knew enough for the time being from what the paramedics, doctors, and what little bits and pieces Brittany had managed to explain. He didn't want to push her and risk upsetting her and making matters worse.
"I'm not tired," Brittany announced, swinging her legs off the side of the bed, ready to get up. "I just want to see Santana."
Witnessing his daughter's level of sadness and devotion, Thomas Pierce smiled pitifully and sighed, "I'll get the wheelchair."
Brittany was sitting next to Santana's bed with her head drooping in her hand and the other wrapped securely around Santana's delicate fingers. She'd been sitting there for so long that the sounds of all the monitors had ceased being bothersome and started to sound more like a lullaby guiding her to sleep.
"Brittany, honey," she heard a familiar female voice say, shaking her out of her half-sleeping state. "You should eat something. I brought you a sandwich from the cafeteria."
Brittany looked at the face of Mrs. Lopez and then down to the sandwich she was offering in her hand. "Thanks," Brittany said, wiping the sleep out of her eyes.
"You're welcome dear," Maribel replied, wrapping her arm around Brittany's shoulder after handing over the sandwich.
"How's my baby doing?" Maribel asked, looking at her daughter who had oxygen tubes running under her nose and an IV connected at the bend of her arm. Looking at Santana now, if you disregarded all the hospital garb, she just looked like an angel that was sleeping peacefully. Maribel thought that she looked exactly like the same little girl she used to read bedtime stories to and tuck in a night. She was still her little girl and it was killing her that she was in this state.
"Same…" Brittany drawled, shifting her loving gaze away from Santana and looking at the sandwich in her hand. It didn't look even remotely appealing right now, in fact no food seemed appetizing to her at the moment, but she took a bite anyway just to appease Mrs. Lopez who, Brittany thought, was probably on a mission for her dad. He kept trying to get her to eat more or rest more or both. She knew he meant well, and she knew she should probably be doing more of both, but the only thing she wanted to do was stay with Santana. She hated that the police and paramedics that found her out in the snow two days ago refused to take her back to the cabin and to Santana. She basically felt like she'd lied to Santana because she hadn't brought the help to Santana herself like she said she would, so now that they were together she was going to be there for her. She was going to stay there next to Santana until she woke up. Because… she was going to wake up, Brittany was sure.
"How are you holding up, dear?" Maribel asked, tenderly gripping her shoulder in a show of comfort.
Brittany looked up at Mrs. Lopez from under her blonde lashes and sighed exhaustedly. "I'm okay."
"Honey- don't you know by now you can't lie to me?"
Brittany breathed out heavily again, and looked back to the girl she loved lying in the bed. If Mrs. Lopez only knew how many times Santana had lied to her over the last few years she probably wouldn't be saying that, but then again, Brittany was always the weak link in their lies. Whenever she and Santana got busted doing something wrong, all Mrs. Lopez had to do was ask her and the jig was up. Santana always managed to get away with things when Mrs. Lopez didn't have her around as her human lie detector and now was not different. Mrs. Lopez could see right through her.
"I'm tired," Brittany mused, setting her sandwich down after only the one bite.
"You should go get some sleep, honey. I'll have someone come get you when Santana wakes up."
"No- thanks," Brittany replied, looking back to Santana's face and reaching forward to tenderly tuck some hair behind her ear, not that it was out of place or anything, Brittany just needed to occasionally touch her to remind herself that Santana was still there. "I wanna be here when she wakes up. I don't want her to be scared. If she wakes up and I'm not here she'd get worried and I don't want her to worry or be scared. I'm okay, really."
Maribel smiled sadly at Brittany, thankful that her daughter had found someone who cared so much. "My daughter's lucky to have you Brittany."
Brittany looked longingly back at Santana. "I'm the lucky one."
One day later
"Brittany," her dad said, announcing himself and knocking on the frame of the door. "Some of your friends are here."
When he noticed the confused look on her face, he elaborated, "The Glee Club took a little detour on their way back to Lima. Oh and…" he paused, unsure if he should continue, "Sam's here. He's been really worried about you sweetie. Do you want me to send them up?"
Brittany stiffened. "Or I could tell them you're sleeping if you want," he said, noticing her discomfort.
Brittany thought for a moment, despite the difficulties thinking required on practically no sleep. She'd hoped to not have to deal with Sam or that whole mess until later, but if he was here it would have to be dealt with. She didn't think she could handle him hugging her with Santana lying in that bed nearby, at least not with him under the misguided assumption that nothing had changed. He deserved her honesty.
"Yeah, send them up. But only a few. Just the people who really know Santana. Too many people might be overwhelming."
"Okay, pumpkin," her dad said softly, turning back around the corner to go get them.
Brittany took a deep breath while she waited to center herself. This was going to be hard. There was no getting around it. Sam was a good man and he wasn't expecting this, although, it might not come as a complete surprise, considering. But she still didn't want to hurt him. He'd been so great all year. She hoped that they could still be friends. She needed his friendship. She thought that if her and Artie had managed to stay friends after she'd cheated on him, there was certainly hope for her and Sam considering she managed to not cheat. She couldn't think of any real reason for him to dislike her other than just plain sadness after a breakup. Actually, had she cheated? Now that she was thinking about it, she wasn't sure. She didn't think she had, but remembering all the little kisses she placed on Santana in the heat of the moment made her doubt herself. Those didn't count as cheating, did they? All she was trying to do was comfort Santana- it just so happened that in the process of that comfort, she realized she was still in love with her; she couldn't help that, could she? She hadn't even really kissed her yet, even though she was anxiously awaiting the moment when she could. That would have been cheating. She quickly decided those little whispered pecks didn't count. I didn't cheat. I'll end things with Sam and then I'll kiss her for real.
"Knock, knock," Finn said, peaking around the door, before slowly entering when Brittany looked up. He walked straight towards Brittany after being acknowledged and wrapped her in a big 'Finn style' hug. "God, we're glad you're okay," he said, pulling back to an arm's length to look at her as everyone else trailed in behind him. She noticed out the corner of her eye that Sam was last, which was weird, she thought. She expected him to be the first through the door; to practically come running in like a bull in Pamplona. It was odd.
"How's she doing?" Blaine asked, nodding towards Santana after everyone had filtered in around her bed. He was genuinely concerned for Santana's wellbeing which was nice. Not everyone got Santana, but Blaine always seemed to rise above. Sam on the other hand continued to stand off to the side and had yet to address Brittany or anyone else. Maybe he did suspect something after all? There was no other explanation for that type of distance.
"She's hangin' in," she replied, looking down and lovingly taking Santana's hand. Well, if he didn't suspect before he probably does now, she thought, tracing patterns with her thumb over Santana's fingers. "Doctors say she's getting better by the day."
Brittany noticed everyone's facial expressions seemed to rise, but they still showed doubt. She didn't like that they were weary of Santana's recovery so she continued, needing to stick up for her, "She's a fighter. She's gonna wake up soon. It won't be long"
"I'm sure," Tina acknowledged, with a polite nod.
Minutes later, the group conversation where everyone asked her what felt like a million questions was over and everyone had paired off and were talking in small groups. Sugar was talking in Santana's ear about suing the weather man for dumping too much snow, and she was being her normal loud self. Weren't people supposed to talk quietly in hospitals? Everyone else seemed to be talking quietly, especially when anyone would address her. It seemed like they were afraid she might break.
Listening to Sugar, Brittany was sure that if Santana were actually awake right now she would have grabbed Sugar by her ear and held tight until Sugar begged for mercy, topping it all off with a little Lima Heights attitude. It made Brittany smile thinking about it. Finn and Blaine on the other hand were discussing a possible song to sing that would be 'healing' in Blaine's words, and Artie and Tina were chatting about something that Brittany didn't care enough about to listen. This was the perfect opportunity to pull Sam out into the hallway to talk. She was even getting curious as to why he was being so quiet; although a part of her was scared of the pain he might be in and felt better not actually hearing him say it. Ignorance is bliss and all. But she guessed that was part of her problem and why she had gotten in this mess from the beginning. She needed to work on communicating better with everyone so she walked over to Sam and asked if they could talk.
As she was dragging him out into the hallway, before reaching the door, Sugar leaped away from the bed and practically crushed her in a suffocating hug.
"Sorry, Aspergers," she said after a moment, releasing her and pulling away.
Brittany chuckled for probably the first time since the accident. She watched Sugar bounce back to the bed and smiled at her friend who had already sat back down. It was Sugar's way of saying I'm glad you're okay. She loved Sugar. Sugar was simple and she was grateful that there seemed to be one person who wasn't treating her with kid gloves. But now was not the time to be thinking about Sugar's awesome qualities, she needed to deal with Sam so she reached again for Sam's hand and continued to pull him outside so they had some privacy.
They stood in the hallway for a moment, neither wanting to be the first to start.
"So…" Sam finally said, fidgeting in his spot. "How are you doing? I haven't heard from you."
Brittany paused, glancing back through the open doorway like Santana might choose now to wake up and get pissed that she was with Sam. "I'm sorry, Sam. I've just been trying to keep it together. It's been hard."
Sam seemed to think about that and nodded in acceptance.
They stood there for another minute in silence. The sounds of the hospital could barely be heard over their racing thoughts. Sam's hands were nervously stuffed in his pockets and Brittany was trying to avoid looking into his eyes so she was staring off in the distance at anything other than Sam. Her eyes briefly landed on the nurses station down the hall and found one of Santana's nurses signing some papers. She wondered if they were about Santana. Santana… she sighed.Just the thought of Santana somehow helped Brittany find the strength and words to start the conversation that would end her relationship with Sam, even though it was still difficult.
"I heard what you did," Brittany said quietly with a hesitant smile.
Sam didn't seem to know what she was talking about judging from his facial expression so she kept going.
"My dad said you helped the police find us," she said, looking back to Sam's eyes. "You're really smart, Sam. The police said without your help they wouldn't have known where to start looking for us. It would have taken them a lot longer to find us if you hadn't shared the text about us getting off the highway because of that accident. Thank you."
Sam shook his head as if he were saying, it's nothing.
Brittany's kind words actually started to sink in and it gave him a little bit of courage to believe the sky might not actually fall today, so he let go and the emotions he'd been bottling up and feeling over the last couple days finally came out.
"Britt, I was so worried about you," he said reaching out to take her hands. Brittany flinched a little when she realized what he'd done, but didn't pull away. It was all really innocent, she thought, as he gently held her hands out between them. "When you hadn't called or texted again I got really worried that something happened so I called the police. Thank God, you're okay," he sighed.
"Well, Santana didn't end up quite so lucky," Brittany murmured, shoulders rolling forward in grief for both Santana's condition and for the fact that she was about to hurt a really great guy.
Sam looked at her with so much concern it hurt. "Britt…" Sam said, starting to lean in to hug her.
Brittany took a quick step back, not able to accept his comfort.
"Sam, wait," Brittany said, dropping one of Sam's hands and using hers to stop his forward momentum.
Sam stopped immediately, feeling the pressure of Brittany's hand on his chest and seeing the way she physically stiffened.
"I have to tell you something," she said, dropping her hand.
For the next couple minutes Brittany explained the situation to Sam. She deliberately left out specifics on how she re-discovered her love for Santana. She didn't think he needed or wanted to know the details, but she made sure he firmly understood who her feelings were truly for. In the beginning he fought against what she was saying, he even tried to work his magic on her with an impression of Keanu Reeves saying that relationships that start under intense circumstances never work, but in the end he realized it was a losing battle. He always knew there was more than just friendship between Santana and Brittany. You had to be blind to miss it, but selfishly he hoped that circumstance would have been enough for Brittany to realize that long distance was just too hard. He just wanted to be the one she cared for. He really liked her and was hopeful things were going to work out differently. But guess not.
He understood Brittany about as well as anyone could and he could tell that this wasn't just about an intense situation bringing two people closer together. It certainly helped, he thought, grimacing, but he knew there were greater feelings beyond the intensity of a life or death situation for these two. Unfortunately for him, it was about two people who probably weren't supposed to be apart in the first place. He might not agree with her decision, but he wasn't going to stand in her way if he wasn't the one she wanted anymore. He wasn't that type of guy even though it really hurt to let her go.
"Are you okay?" Brittany asked nervously when he'd grown silent.
He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed dejectedly.
"No. Not really. It sucks in all honesty."
"I'm sorry, Sam," Brittany said, feeling like a monster. She felt like she'd been playing him and using him, (inadvertently, mind you) all along. When she didn't graduate she felt like everyone she really cared about was moving on and leaving her behind so she took comfort in Sam because he was nice and cute in a way that could distract her from everything that was bad in her life. She shouldn't have taken advantage of that, he was too good.
"Don't apologize," he said sweetly, moving to sit down in one of the chairs that were along the opposite wall. Brittany slowly followed and took the seat next to him. Sam took in a deep, thoughtful breath, rubbing his hands together to work up the strength to communicate clearly (which was a struggle for him sometimes). "I knew what I was getting myself into. You were honest with me about Santana. I just decided to ignore it and go all in regardless. I went bust," he said with finality. "It happens. I guess that's the risk you take."
"Sam you have to know…I do care about you. Please, know that! If things were different-"
"Don't!" he interrupted, cutting her off. He didn't want her to finish that sentence because things weren't different. There was no use talking about what might have been. What might have been was too painful to think about because he knew they could have worked out under different circumstances. "I don't want to know about what could have happened if... It just didn't work out, that's all."
"Okay…" Brittany trailed off, succumbing once again to awkward silence and Sam's stern tone.
"Go ahead back in to Santana," Sam said, lifting his head up, but continuing to stare at the opposite wall avoiding Brittany's direction. "I'll be fine. I'm just gonna sit here a little longer."
Brittany hesitated. She wanted to go back into Santana's room, but something was stopping her from taking Sam's easy exit right away. He looked so sad and Brittany hated that she was the cause. She didn't want to lose his friendship. She had to make sure that he was going to be okay.
Sam must have sensed Brittany's struggle.
"Brittany, really, it's okay. Go back inside," he encouraged. He looked up a second later and their eyes met. "Give Santana my best," he said, smiling sadly.
With those words Brittany knew they were going to be okay. He was her friend first and foremost. He was telling her with his eyes and with what he wasn't saying that they'd be fine. He just need a little time which Brittany could give him.
"Thank you, Sam."
He nodded with a tight lipped, sad smile and Brittany turned back to Santana's room.
Everyone hung out for a couple more minutes before Finn announced that they needed to get on their way if they were going to make it home by dark. She thanked everyone for coming and for their well wishes and told them she'd see them soon. She hoped... She knew she wasn't going to leave this hospital unless Santana was leaving too so if she actually got to see her friends soon than that would mean Santana had woken up and was fine. So she really hoped she'd get to see them soon.
Another day later
Brittany had just finished signing her discharge papers as she sat down in the chair next to Santana's bed. Before she sat down she noticed the shape of the chair. It looked like it had a Brittany-shaped butt print on the bottom cushion. She didn't like that reminder. Santana had been unconscious much longer than anyone thought or wanted. It even seemed like the doctors were starting to worry about why it was taking so long for her to wake up. In the beginning the doctors just kept saying, 'Be patient. This is normal. It's the body's way of healing itself. A short bout of unconsciousness is not uncommon when someone goes through something this traumatic.' At least that's what they had been saying a day or two ago. Now when a doctor came in and checked her chart, their foreheads would crinkle and they looked confused, like this was the strangest thing they'd ever seen. Then they would explain that all her vitals looked fine and walk away only to come back and do the exact same thing again a few hours later. It was frustrating to hear that everything was okay, if not improving. If things were improving then why was Santana still showing no sign of waking up? The uncertainty of not knowing when or if, how or why was making her head hurt and her entire body and heart ache.
Brittany went to the bathroom after another frustrating doctor left, more out of a need to clear her head and walk around than an actual need to use the bathroom, and when she came back everything was just as she left it. The monitors were still subtly beeping, the IV was still silently dripping, and Santana was still lying there unresponsive.
Sighing, she sat back down, her butt slipping into the mold of the chair like a glove.
She looked at Santana and noticed her pillow was sagging. She adjusted it with a delicate touch and ended up keeping one hand near Santana's head to play gently with the fine hairs at her temple. She found it comforting.
"Can you hear me, San?" Brittany asked softly, stroking her hair. The strands of Santana's hair slid easily through Brittany's fingers and she marveled at the softness against her fingertips. She'd missed doing this over the last few months; she only wished that Santana was awake right now to tell her or sigh at how good it felt.
"I know you can…" she encouraged with a gentle, cheeky smile. Who she was encouraging was another question. Was it Santana or herself? She wanted to believe that Santana could hear her, both for her own sake and for Santana's. She had to believe that Santana was still in there trying to get back to her because if she lost that hope then she didn't know where she'd be.
"You know… you got a new neighbor this morning," Brittany said, trying to think of things to talk about when she remembered the old woman who had been admitted next door. "She's really cute. And so is her husband. Anything she needs he hops right to it as quickly as an old man can. He was actually brushing her hair when I walked by earlier. He was doing it like it was nothing and it looked like he was honored to do it. It was so cute."
Brittany paused for a second, feeling her throat tightening while picturing two different people doing that exact same thing many years down the line.
"You would have hated it," she said, chuckling sadly to try and loosen the strain. "But I thought it was cute," she said pointedly. "I think that's how we're gonna end up one day," she thought out loud, dreamily. "I would gladly brush your hair if you were somehow unable. It would be my greatest achievement in life if you would let me love you unconditionally like that forever. I would be so proud to be with you."
The thoughts that were now dancing in her head were like the greatest waltz imaginable. "I picture you graduating college and I'm sitting in the audience smiling and clapping louder than anyone. When you get your first real job I'll toast you and kiss you because I know you worked really hard. When I propose…" she said trailing off in thought, picturing an awake Santana cocking her head in mock insult. "What? You know I'm gonna be the one to propose," she said like she were actually conversing with Santana. "I promise to have a tissue for you when it happens because I know you're gonna cry. And a few years later when I tell you I'm pregnant, my goodness," Brittany giggled, picturing it as clear as day. "I can't wait to see your face for real that day, it's gonna be priceless. You'll look so scared in that moment, but I'll hug you with everything I have and tell you that you're going to be an amazing mom because I know you are."
Brittany sniffled now, trying to keep all the big emotions that were being brought to the surface under control.
"You know… when our kids go off to college I know it's gonna be a tough day for you. Don't worry… just so you know, I won't think you look old. To me you'll always be beautiful. The most beautiful girl I've ever seen. But you know what else, no matter what happens that day or any other, I'll be there for you when you cry. I'll hold you and put you back together. You're so strong, Santana, but I know sometimes you just need a little reminder of that. I know you're gonna miss the kids, but it's not gonna be all bad that day," she thought, trying to lighten the mood. It was getting tougher and tougher to hold it together. Their future was just that beautiful, so she paused again, feeling like she was losing the battle with her emotions. "I'm gonna be smirking back at you when you're done crying because I'll be thinking that now with no kids around I can make love to you and make you scream as loud and as long as possible because we won't have to be quiet anymore. It could be like the old days."
Brittany shut her eyes picturing all the beautiful things they could do together. These were all so painfully beautiful thoughts and she wanted so badly to have the chance to experience them.
"But you know the biggest part to all this?" Brittany said, moving to take Santana's hand in both of hers, bringing it up to her lips to place a kiss on her knuckles. "You! None of that works without you."
By this point Brittany's lips and chin were trembling as she kept Santana's hand against her face while the tears that had brimmed minutes ago slowly slid down her cheeks. It was true; her life didn't work without Santana. All the things that she pictured from the time she was a little girl meant nothing if she didn't have her best friend and love of her life beside her to share it with.
Brittany was crying now and the heart rate monitor connected to her was beeping and picking up pace in the background. She took a deep breath and wiped her tears on the shoulder of her shirt to try and get herself together.
What a minute… she thought, tuning into the beeping sound. I don't have a heart monitor.
Realization dawned as she looked down at Santana.
"San…" Brittany said, nervously, afraid to get too hopeful. Could it be true? Was Santana starting to wake up?
"San, can you hear me? Please, open your eyes," Brittany pleaded, clutching her hand and praying it would move on it own.
"I love you so much, Santana. Please…" she said, scanning her body rapidly for any indication that would confirm what she felt in her gut.
And then it happened. It started out as a small flutter of an eyelid and then a weak, but noticeable pressure placed on her hand.
"Santana…" Brittany said like a prayer.
She waited with baited breath until she saw the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen- Santana's droopy open eyes.
"Hey…" Brittany said quietly, with the happiest grin plastered across her face and happy tears sliding down her cheeks. All she wanted to do right now was layer kisses all over Santana's face, but she held back afraid to overwhelm or hurt her.
"You're awake," she said caressing her warm cheek. "How do you feel?"
Santana clenched her eyelids shut, wincing at the brightness in the room and groaning.
Brittany waited anxiously for Santana to say something, but it was taking so long- or maybe it wasn't, she was just so excited. Was Santana in pain?
"I'm gonna go get the doctor," Brittany said, rising quickly from her chair.
"No…" Santana rasped, her voice scratchier than normal. "Stay." She reached out, taking Brittany's hands.
"Always. I'm never leaving you again," Brittany lovingly replied, sitting back down and basking in the warm knowledge that Santana was going to be okay and believing with renewed faith that the spectacular picture she'd painted in her head of a bright future with Santana was finally going to happen.
5 Days Later
"You got everything?" Brittany asked, sitting on Santana's hospital bed and watching her stuff the last of her toiletries into her bag. She's so cute, Brittany thought before Santana could respond, unable to wipe the smile off her face. Just watching Santana do stupid stuff like pack a bag made Brittany giddy. She was just so happy to be leaving this hospital, hand and hand with Santana. They'd been through so much over the last several days and they'd come so far. In fact, she never felt better about their relationship, which was saying a lot.
"Just about…" Santana said, zipping the bag and then looking adoringly at Brittany. She took her hand gently, pulling her to her feet and off the bed. "Now I do."
Brittany grinned and broke into a fit of laughter. She was just bursting with happiness right now and couldn't contain it. "You're such a cheese ball," she teased.
"You love me…" Santana flirted back, pecking Brittany on the lips before starting to pull her out of the room that she'd be more than happy to never see again.
Brittany did love her. So much.
They were now at the airport, on their way back to Lima and about to be dropped off by Mr. Pierce. Both of their parents declared as soon as they got word that Santana was about to be discharged that neither of them were allowed to drive in the snow ever again, so their parents bought them plane tickets to fly home.
Santana was still moving pretty gingerly as she climbed out of the car with a little help from the hand of a pretty blonde. "Thanks babe," Santana said with a grin.
Brittany grinned back, wordlessly saying it's my pleasure.
"You girls have everything?" Mr. Pierce asked, after removing their bags and shutting the trunk.
"Yup," Brittany chirped, throwing both hers and Santana's backpacks over her shoulder. The Lopez's had gladly taken the rest of both of their belongings back to Lima when they left to drive home earlier that day so thankfully they wouldn't have to check any bags.
"Your sister's going to pick you two up when you land so be prepared to be baby wowed."
"Got it," Brittany giggled, leaning in to give him a one armed hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks dad."
Mr. Pierce did the same thing with Santana only with both arms this time and with as much care as he held within him not to hurt her before saying, "Travel safe," and waving goodbye.
The flight attendants were in the aisle going through their normal pre-take-off spiel so basically everyone in their seats who had flown more than twice before had already tuned them out. Brittany was one of them. She was paging through the Sky Mall catalog, occasionally pointing out to Santana a few of the more 'interesting' items like the Bling String to bedazzle your hair or the Beer Beeper that alerted you when your beer was cold. She thought they were both really good ideas.
"Hey, Britt," Santana said, out of the blue, getting Brittany's attention.
"Hmm," Brittany hummed, encouraging her to go on as she turned to the next page that had a day of the week clock. That's brilliant, she thought tearing the page out so she could order it later. Some days it was just too tough to remember what day it was considering she always had so much going on in her head. It was hard to keep some things straight. The clock would help.
"I think I'm gonna leave Louisville."
That got Brittany's attention. "You are… Why?" Brittany asked a little stunned, but hopeful.
"Well…" Santana paused, turning to look at Brittany. "This whole ordeal really got me thinking about what I want to do with my life."
Brittany thought for a second about what she was saying- she definitely wasn't alone there. It certainly forced her to re-evaluate a few of her choices as well.
"I just don't think Louisville's the place for me." She paused, trying to string the rest of her thoughts together into a puzzle that made sense.
Brittany was looking at her with a mixed look of patience and curiosity as she waited for her to continue.
"I just… I don't really know what I want to do, but I know I'm not gonna figure it out doing round offs and beer bongs in Louisville. I think I want to go to New York," she finished.
Brittany was thrilled. "Santana, that's great! I always secretly hoped you would choose New York."
"Secretly…" Santana questioned knowingly, cocking her eyebrow sarcastically.
"Ok…" Brittany conceded, in fake annoyance, "maybe not so secretly, but either way I'm really glad and happy for you."
"Yeah," Santana said, feeling relieved that it had been that easy. Not that she thought that Brittany wouldn't support her decision; she knew she would, but it was a big deal, and a big decision, one that Santana hadn't entered into lightly. "I just got to thinking when I went to New York a couple weeks ago for Rachel's naked intervention-"
"Wait," Brittany said, interrupting her in shock. "What?!"
Santana chuckled at Brittany's cute apparent jealousy. "It's not what you think," she said, pecking her on the cheek. "I'll tell you about it later."
"Okay…" Brittany said uneasily, but still trusting that Santana wasn't lying.
"I just think that maybe I can figure out what I want to do in New York."
"You will," Brittany said easily, having complete faith in Santana. "I always thought you should be in a place as big and hot as you are."
Santana shyly chuckled and smiled. "Thanks, Britt," she said, her smile firmly set in place.
One Month Later
Once again, Brittany was lying in bed watching Santana pack. She still thought Santana looked just as cute as last time, but this times she couldn't help being a little sad.
"I can't believe you're leaving today," she murmured, showing off her award winning pout.
"Brittany…" Santana said, awed, before moving over to kiss Brittany lightly. She didn't want to make this any harder than it had to be. "I'm only gonna be gone a week. I'll be back on Thursday for Mr. Schue's wedding."
"I know…" she said, continuing to pout, "I'm just gonna miss you. It's been nice having you around everyday."
"I know…" Santana said sitting down next to Brittany and taking her hand. "I've enjoyed it too."
After another sweet kiss that turned into five, they pulled apart, still leaning into each other, seeking and savoring the others closeness. "How long do we have?" Brittany breathed onto Santana lips.
"Mmm…" Santana hummed, savoring the sweetness of having Brittany pressed against her. She clenched eyes after a second, knowing there wasn't much time left. "I think like twenty minutes."
"That doesn't seem long enough," Brittany said, dropping her shoulders in despair.
Santana immediately sought to comfort her girlfriend, rubbing up and down Brittany's arms. Santana was certainly excited to head to New York, but she was equally sad to be leaving Brittany. She hoped that Brittany didn't feel like she was leaving her behind again. That was the last thing she was doing.
"Brittany…" Santana paused, trying to broach the sensitive topic, "are you gonna be okay with this? I don't want you to feel like you felt last time. I need you to know that I'm not leaving you."
"I know. It's different this time," Brittany stated, confidently. Everything was different this time, but in the best possible way. "I'm just sad is all."
"Me too, Britt-Britt," she said, reaching up to cup Brittany's cheek and holding her there for another kiss.
They pulled away with a quiet, wet pop and Brittany sighed. "I guess I should give you this now if we don't have much time," she said, reaching into her back pocket to pull out a folded plain envelope.
"What's this?" Santana questioned like Brittany was just going to tell her.
"Open it silly," Brittany teased.
Santana slowly ripped the flap open, being careful not to get a paper cut on her freshly manicured hands. When she got it completely open, she pulled out what looked like plane tickets. She studied the first of the three tickets and noticed the date.
Brittany could see the wheels turning in Santana's head and decided not to let her wonder any longer. "It's a ticket for you to come back to Lima for my graduation," Brittany said with a nervous smile.
"Brittany…" Santana said, making it sound more like an 'aww.' She knew this was a really big deal for Brittany. Brittany was always really self conscious about school and her grades and the fact that she was giving this to her must mean that she actually felt good about where she stood academically right now. Santana was so proud of her. She really had put in a lot of work this year and it was paying off with a steadily rising GPA and she even mentioned a few days ago that she felt pretty good about how her SAT's turned out, although she wouldn't be getting those scores for at least another month.
"Looks like the second time is gonna be the charm, I guess" Brittany said trying to joke her way through her past failure before quickly moving on to the next two tickets. "But there's more," Brittany said, breaking Santana out of her love sick trance and motioning for her to continue going through the tickets. She was really excited for Santana to get to the last one.
Santana looked at the next ticket and it was clearly for the flight back to New York for a few days after graduation. She smiled a grateful smile and then continued to the last one. She froze immediately. The last ticket was for the same day as Santana's flight back to New York, but this one didn't have Santana's name on it, it had Brittany's. "What's this?" Santana asked, trying to swallow the lump in her throat.
Brittany took the ticket out of Santana's shaky hand and sheepishly smiled. "It's a one way ticket to New York for me."
Brittany watched Santana as her chin started to shake and tears started to brim in her beautiful brown eyes.
"Those are happy tears, right?" Brittany asked, wiping at Santana's cheek as a few tears dropped free from Santana's glassy eyes.
"They're very happy tears," Santana replied, stunned that Brittany had done all this. She'd actually made plans, and not just any plans, plans to move to New York and start their life together. "I love you, so much."
"I love you too," Brittany said, hugging Santana with all that she had
"I can't wait to begin our life together," Brittany said happily.
"I think we already have," Santana replied, leaning in and kissing her words onto Brittany's lips like a promise. Wrapped up in each other they both felt toasty warm now, bathed in the others love. There was no longer a reason to feel cold.
AN: Well, well, well… we've reached the finish line. I hope this was the ending you all wanted. Somehow it turned out much fluffier than I initially intended. I guess that's just what is destined to happen for this couple. :) Let me know your thoughts one final time. I hope you've all enjoyed this story as much as I have. Oh and one more thing… don't de-alert this story yet. I'm contemplating writing a little didn't happen-Wemma wedding one shot that I will just add to the end of this now that I've officially righted the Brittana canon world and Santana can have the wedding sex she should have had in the first place. Sorry Quinn, I guess you'll have to find another lady to satisfy your lady lovin' curiosity. Let me know if you'd like some Wemma wedding Brittana smut.
Take care! Thanks for reading! Love you all!