PEZBERRY WEEK 2016 - DAY 6: Arranged Marriage

Summary: Santana's brother goes and gets hitched out of the blue, leaving her to clean up his mess and fulfill his part in the arranged marriage her family insists she take part in.

Pairing: Santana/Rachel

"Are you fucking serious?" Santana raged, pacing her room as her parents watched on. "You have to be fucking kidding me!"

"I'm afraid it's the truth, mija. Now calm down, there is nothing to be done about it now that he's made a bonding pact already." Her mother Maribel asserted, stepping forward and stilling Santana to the spot. "You are the only child of ours left unbonded, so you are to take up the responsibility, and that is final."

Honestly, it was all she could do to restrain the laughter her sheer disbelief inspired inside of her. It was a fucking farce, and of course her brother had to weasel his way out of it like he did everything that came his way that he didn't like. And, as always, the responsibility fell upon her to do what he couldn't.

"Fucking Marco will pay for this." Santana grit out, not at all surprised when her father shot a glare in her direction.

"Do not speak of your brother that way, he is family, mija. You will leave your brother out of this, there is no sense clinging the past. This is your duty, now." Her father argued, which was absolute bullshit, since her brother got away with shit all the time, never harming his relationship with their parents. But if she ever failed or even struggled to bear the weight of his responsibilities, hellfire would rain down on her.

"His selfishness is the reason my life is over! He went off and got hitched, breaking his oath, and now I have to meet the conditions of the arranged marriage you set up? What's stopping me from grabbing a random and making a bonding pact of my own, huh?" Santana asked, watching the faces of her parents darken.

"Our house would fall into turmoil, Santana. This marriage is vital to the continuation of our house and our standing within the Court. Unless you want to be tread upon by your peers this time next month, polishing their boots and doing their bidding for the rest of your existence, I suggest you take hold of the maturity you love to avoid, and do as is expected of you." Her mother stated firmly, turning on her heel and leaving her room, San's father in tow.

Santana slumped down onto her bed, cursing the gods that she was so damn unlucky. She'd always been the runt of the litter; her family were mesmers on her mother's side, and elementals on her father's, but somehow, she'd pulled from her great aunt's genes and found herself a goddamn gemini.

Her mother and her brother could control people's bodies. Her father and sister could commune with and control the elements. Santana could make a double of herself, a temporary double, sometimes more if she over-exerted herself. No special abilities past that, no real utility; it was the only thing that separated her from being human, and it was the main reason that geminis were frowned upon. It'd long soured her in her extended family's eyes, and she was pretty sure it was the reason why her brother got away with so much, because he was still valuable, and strong, and like them, whereas Santana was less useful.

In a family high up on the Court hierarchy solely due to the power of their genes, she'd always been a glaring weakness.

Every bone in her body had her wanting to rebel, to go against the commands of her family, but she knew the Fabray household was itching to strike at any weakness they showed, and those damn frosty motherfuckers would freeze her goddamn ass off if given the chance. Especially her former best friend, Quinn, who wasted no opportunity to point out that she was head cheerleader, that she had the power. Losing status would make her way too vulnerable to the self-described ice queen's whims. The rest of her family could probably survive the hit, but she'd get left out in the cold, for sure.

"So fucking unfair...and I don't even know anything about the person." Santana grumbled to herself, knowing it'd all been super hush-hush. Whatever, or whoever she was set to enter a bonding pact with, it had to be pretty serious. "Just great...another opportunity to disappoint someone else. Fan-fucking-tastic."

It was hard enough being the outcast within her family, the perennial disappointment. Santana knew she could be strong in her own way, she knew she had value, but what good was that if no one else believed it?

She shook her head and closed her eyes, willing herself to duplicate, her double quickly splitting away and wrapping Santana up in her arms. She could go back to being her usual snarky, badass self tomorrow morning, but for now, she could let herself be sad and feel comforted. Hugs couldn't make anything better, not really, but they could offer a brief reprieve from the realities of her world.

It was just about all her talents were good for these days, anyway.

By the time she strolled back into school the next morning, Santana was back to her usual self. She blitzed her way through cheer practice, and by the time lunch rolled around, she was even starting to feel a little confident.

At least, until she sat down at the table with the other cheerleaders, and the whole group went silent.

Santana hardened her gaze and skimmed it across the squad. "If you got something to say, then spit it out."

"Eloquent as always." Quinn quipped from across the table, looking immensely pleased, which had Santana on edge. "We were all just talking about your future engagement now that your brother's off the hook."

Santana swallowed hard, but otherwise refused to let her annoyance show. She would not give Quinn the gratification of seeing her flinch. "What about it?"

"Well, most arranged marriages between houses are publicly announced. It's usually only when a major house is indebted to a smaller one that they keep it under wraps... to try and keep the shame to a minimum, of course." Quinn stated airily, eye brow cocking in question as she tilted her head. "I used to think that's what it was, but then I realized something."

Santana took a slow, steadying breath as she held Quinn's gaze. "And what's that, blondie?"

"The other side's keeping it closed for the shame of marrying into your house. Your sister bonded with a water nymph, your brother ran off and...the flake that he is...married a low-born. And then there's you...what even are you?" Quinn asked, voice dripping with condescension.

Not that Santana regretted her parents' decision to keep her abilities under wraps. Geminis weren't well thought of, and a lot of fae teens could get through high school without making their abilities known. It was the combination of her high standing that had drawn some suspicion, however, and had pushed Quinn away from her when their abilities awoke at puberty. Ever since she refused to tell Q what she was, the blonde had seemed to make it her mission to torment her.

Entitled bitch. Didn't help that fae girls were forced onto the cheer team as cover, so she couldn't just leave without penalties from the local Court.

"Your family's always made you keep it under wraps, and I know they'd have championed you like your brother or sister if you were anything like them, but you're not. So your little marriage will be a blind one...all because really...who would ever choose you when your own parents are ashamed of you?" Quinn asked with a laugh, prompting laughter around the table. Not that Santana took it too seriously, knowing most hated Quinn and were just playing along so they wouldn't be targeted, but it still didn't make the experience any less mortifying. "My bet's on you marrying...a doonie. I wouldn't put it past your family, stooping to the level of roadside assistance and marrying the help."

Santana grit her teeth and shook her head. "You know, for all his oafish, pyramid-nipple qualities, Finn's gotta be hella patient. I've heard guys call you 'the cooler' touch them, get too close, and suddenly they're just not feeling it anymore. But hey, I guess blue balls are a thing for partners of frosties like you."

The fury in Quinn's eyes was totally worth it. "Bottom of the pyramid next practice, Lopez."

"As if you weren't putting me there, anyways. Fact is, I'm finishing my senior year and I'm getting married. You, in all your Aryan glory, haven't even been served a proposal. But maybe that has to do with what happened sophomore year..." Santana let out, deciding to finally pull the trump card that she'd been holding onto for years.

The utter shock and rage on Quinn's face was worth the price of admission. "Don't you even think..."

"My business is my business, Quinnie. You point your pasty gossipy ass in another direction and let me handle my arrangements, and maybe I don't air out your exhaustingly filthy laundry." Santana threatened, perhaps pushing her luck a little bit, but she really didn't want her personal life becoming the talk of the school. Quinn could shut it down, and it was worth a bit of mortification if it meant Q would indeed veto it as a topic of discussion.

Quinn shot a deathly glare her way, but Santana just met it, holding it until the blonde let out a growl. "Melissa, go tell the others that Santana's business is out of bounds."

Satisfied with her minor victory, Santana dug into her lunch, knowing she at least bought a little time for herself.

Glee, as per usual, was a mixed bag. The music was always fun and freeing, but sometimes the people were just a total mess. It was a private school pretty saturated with fae, but not entirely, so some gossip was kept on the down-low, but even still, she could tell some gossip-mongers were running with her personal crisis.

Namely Kurt, the muse, and Mercedes, the pombero. Both more annoying than they were worth.

Still, rules were rules, and she couldn't physically harm them, but she'd figure something out. She was damned sure of that as soon as she stepped out of the choir room and headed down the hall to her locker.

Except, a certain distinct pitter-patter of feet were following her, which had Santana smirking as she increased her own pace. The dramatic huff destroyed any uncertainty as to who it was.

"Got places to be, Berry, but you can talk while I'm on my way." Santana called out, prompting the diva to actually jog up alongside her.

"Santana, I just wanted to say that I heard about your predicament, and I wanted to express my deepest sympa..." Rachel began, her apologetic rambling stilling Santana's heart as she aimlessly kept her pace down the hall, brain too fixed on how a human came to stumble on fae news to be concerned about where her locker was or what other words were spilling out of Berry's mouth.

It was only a hand gently grasping her wrist that brought her to a stop. "Santana...your locker is back that way."

Wordlessly, Santana gauged where she was and made her way to her locker, trying to formulate a plan. It was above her pay grade to deal with a human breaching the veil, but there was still a sense of responsibility, and of course it'd probably fall on her as a first responder, with her luck.

She quickly made the exchanges she needed at her locker and shut the door before scanning the area. Glee had run long, so the halls were empty. Good.

"Berry, come with me." Santana ordered, deciding that with Coach Sue out at a doctor's appointment, that the Cheerio locker room would be a good place to talk.

"You didn't actually hear a word I said, did you? Santana, I know you're perfectly capable of multitasking, and I think it's important for anyone to be focus on improving their senses when possible. If you do think you're lagging in a particular area, I'm sure I can find some cognitive tests I could pass your way, so long as..." Rachel rambled again, not making a damn lick of sense. Santana could sense shit perfectly well. It was dealing with a breach after explicitly threatening Quinn to clam up that made it all a little convenient.

As soon as they were both inside, Santana turned on her heel, silencing whatever had been coming out of the diva's mouth. "Tell me what you know about my situation. In detail."

Rachel bit her lip and averted her eyes, but nodded nonetheless, walking over to a bench to take a seat. "I heard from Kurt this afternoon that you were forced into an arranged marriage by your parents. As someone else with a precarious, uncertain future of my own, I would like to think I know the feeling, and I wanted to offer my sympathies and let you know that if you need anyone to talk to, that I'm here for you."

Santana knew she was probably staring at Rachel like the diva had two heads, but there was no way Kurt was that sloppy. Not even if he was feeding off Berry. "Why would Kurt tell you that?"

Rachel just shrugged. A monumental fuck-up, a veil-breaking mistake, and all Berry could offer was a shrug. "Why does Kurt gossip about anything? I suppose it's his way of feeling a sense of power, being able to critique others from a distance, potentially control their narrative through word of mouth, influence others..."

"No, I mean why would Kurt tell YOU that? What are you, his personal diary? Dear Barbra?" Santana specified with a bit of a bite, and finally there was a dawning of realization in Berry's eyes.

"Oh! Well, as powerful as Quinn might be, she hardly has a leash on Kurt's tongue. She's a descendant of frost giants, not a succubus. She can't literally stop him, and it didn't seem like she had any plans to." Rachel stated casually, as if that sort of information was just average everyday info for a human.

Unless...Rachel's not human... Santana mused, a possibility clicking into place. Well...that's just odd. Everyone treats her like a human, last I checked...

Still, it raised the possibility that her other captain was fae as well. A scenario which would maybe work out to her benefit, given how hostilities between them had mostly ceased across the past year. Santana just needed a bit more information to be sure.

"Fair enough. So tell know all about us, but why so barely any of us know about you?" Santana asked, moving closer to stand in front of the diminutive diva.

"Well, Kurt feeds off humans specifically. Any fae that feeds like that, or has a heightened sense of smell, knows I'm not human, unless I try to mask my scent, which I usually do. Thankfully, there are only a few of attending here who've found me out." Rachel noted with a sigh, soft mocha eyes fixing Santana with a curious stare. "And yet, you're high profile and no one knows what you are, either. We're an interesting pair, Santana."

Santana let out a huff, but Berry was right. They both had secrets to keep, had their own business, their own issues. She found herself seated beside Rachel before she even realized she'd moved closer. Now, Berry had always been a bit annoying, and a little overbearing within the confines of glee club, but it wasn't often anyone reached out to her. The last person to do that was Britt a few years back, and B's parents moved not too long afterward, taking the bubbly blonde with them.

Rachel wasn't Britt, but aside from the stripper remark, she'd always been pretty damn nice to her. Rachel had believed in her, and with the diva considering glee club a family, seemed to deem Santana as somene firmly entrenched within that group. As minor as it might have been, Glee was her favourite part of her day, and being wanted and welcomed? Kind of great.

It was hard being alone. And after a hellaciously exhausting twenty-four hours, maybe she let her guard down a tiny bit. "My brother's a selfish prick and isn't worth the sweat off a goddamn hot, wet monkey's ass."

"So I've heard." Rachel agreed with a simple nod. It was barely anything really, but the fact that it wasn't a counterargument or criticism reflected back towards her? It was refreshing as hell.

"Almost all his life, he was promised in this arranged marriage. Years and years, he prepared, and then...he fucking ditches it and marries a random girl he met on spring break? And my family's welcoming him back with open arms, and putting his responsibilities on my shoulders as if that's even fair, and..." Santana ranted before letting out a heavy sigh, knowing Berry probably didn't want to hear about her whine and complain. She was Santana Lopez, it wasn't something someone like her was supposed to be capable of.

"It's not easy being promised to a stranger, I know the feeling as well. But...your brother had to know that if he broke his responsibility, it would be passed to you. And that would be just as unfair as his own predicament. You shouldn't be forced into this, Santana. Your parents should be supporting you, and trying to find a way to get you out of it, if it's not a good fit for you." Rachel added on, shocking Santana that the girl was actually engaging in her spiel, that Rachel was agreeing with her. Sympathizing.

Empathizing, really, since Rachel seemed to be promised to someone as well; someone who would be getting a future starlet with a major ego and a big heart. It'd been so long since Santana had been offered any sort of support aside from empty platitudes.

Hell, it was the first time in years anyone had ever done anything like that for her, and maybe she felt a little teary-eyed, but just for, like, a fraction of a second or whatever.

"I know, and I do want out. God, I just want my life back, but...I can't help but think whoever's set to be with me...what would happen to them? Besides, my family said if it doesn't go through, the house will pretty much fall, and as much as I sort of hate my parents, I still love them, and I'm a good daughter. I'm loyal. It's just a fucked up situation, you know?" Santana said with a grimace at the notion of going through with the plan, of marrying some random. Like, she was a lesbian, but could end up forced to date a guy. That would easily be among the worst fates she could imagine for herself, really.

"You've never met this other person, Santana. Please don't feel obligated to them." Rachel insisted, an odd response from the girl who for all her selfishness seemed to hate when people were left out in the cold.

"That's just it, though. If me not doing this marriage will topple my whole house...then what kind of shit will that person have to go through? Like, it's not a hundred percent my problem, but I'm not heartless. I get the feeling a kill order would be the first thing the Court would issue." Santana stated, nodding along as she put the pieces to her particular puzzle together. "God, what the fuck must have happened to set this shit up?"

Rachel was quiet beside her for seconds stretching on towards a minute, which was more than unusual, but Santana knew the girl could sometimes take time to formulate a long speech in her head. Gods, I hope she's not doing that...

"So you're going to go through with it?" Rachel asked, simple and direct. Not at all what Santana had expected, but no less difficult to answer with anything less than a yes or no.

She knew it could be atrocious and miserable, but she was loyal. And she wouldn't let someone vulnerable die because she wanted full agency in her life. If it was a disaster, she'd find a way out, she'd make the arrangement be flexible, but for now, the answer was clear. "I will. Yeah, I'll get married. I'll perform the bonding pact."

Rachel swallowed hard beside her and nodded. "If...if you need anyone to talk to, or vent to, or yell at...I'm here for you, Santana. You're very brave, doing this. Whoever's marrying you is a very lucky person."

Now, she could easily handle the offer of an ear or a shoulder, that was pretty simple given they'd been talking for a few minutes now. Doing it again wouldn't be anything at all. But she couldn't help but flinch at being called brave, or at the assertion that someone was lucky to be tied to her.

"Not so sure about that, but I'll come to you if I need a sounding board, Berry." Santana stated, hoping the diva would be pleased with that. Berry had, after all, been really sweet with her, and maybe Santana could admit that she, or most anyone, would be pretty damn lucky to get paired up with Rachel.

Judging by the confused scowl on Rachel's face, 'pleased' didn't seem to be an apt descriptor. "Not sure about what? That you're brave, or that your future partner is lucky?"

Santana shrugged. "Either, I guess." She stated, holding up a hand when the diva went to respond, probably with a long spiel about self confidence and self worth. She'd had enough empty platitudes in her life, she didn't need more. "Look, whatever reasons you have for being a big mystery, they're not mine. My family's powerful. If I was anything to brag about, I'd be bragged about. The fact that they made me promise not to tell anyone what I am? Yeah...that's shame, Rachel. That's humiliation. And when I walk down the aisle and bond myself to this stranger, and they find out? Fuck, it probably won't be pretty. And I'm not brave for doing what I need to do to stay alive. Without my house's power, I wouldn't last a week through the power vacuum politics and treachery. I'd be just as dead as the random I'm set to marry."

The gentle pressure of a hand on her thigh brought her attention away from her pity party and back to Rachel, who was looking up at her with these fucking soulrendingly sad eyes. It wasn't fair how emotive the girl could be without even saying a damn word, or how the warmth of those brown eyes was sometimes enough by itself to have her hovering closer to the diva.

"Santana, don't give up hope just yet. Even if your family doesn't accept you, even if the fae world looks down on you, there are those whose worlds you light up anyway. There are those who look to you and see someone of great worth, and won't be swayed by a bit of extra knowledge. It's not about the kind of fae you's about your heart. It's not about strength from abilities, it's about the strength of your character. You're wanted, Santana. Please remember that."

Honestly, it all sounded like a lovely dream, one where she could be happy, where she wouldn't have to be an island apart from everything and everyone else just to keep herself safe. A lovely dream, but still just a dream.

"Sure, Rachel. Sounds good." Santana noted with a hard swallow, lightly patting the diva's hand before standing up from the bench. "Anyway, I have to go. I'll see you around."

She made sure to walk out fast enough that even Berry's words couldn't chase her quickly or loudly enough to take root, knowing the diva sometimes, somewhere in the long-winded multi-paragraph responses, could have a way with words. Words she knew would follow her own dismissive retort, and she just wasn't ready to hear them.

Dreams didn't come true for people like her. She was born high enough to see them, to watch them unfold for the fortunate, and the occasionally lucky soul, but they may as well have been galaxies away for how out of reach they were for her.

I'm getting married to a goddamn stranger, for gods' sakes. Shiny light of great worth, my ass... Santana thought to herself, frustration brewing once more over her predicament. She'd go through with it, but like hell if she was going to be happy about it.

The next week was tense, but surprisingly not an utter disaster. Her parents still refused to tell her when the ceremony would be, but at least they weren't harassing her about the whole thing, either. McKinley's gossip mill had veered away from her for the most part, thankfully, but as days ticked by, Santana became aware of the new public enemy number one. Or well, public enemy redux, given their target had found herself at the bottom of the totem pole a bunch of times over the years.

It would have been easy to just let it go on, really. The first three years of their time at McKinley together, Santana had only stepped in to defend Rachel a handful of times, and nearly all of those times were more to defend the glee club and help save her own hide as well. So really, it would have been tremendously easy to keep her head up and ignore what was going on and focus on herself.

But when she witnessed a slushie waterfall on the diminutive diva that had Berry letting out an agonizing cry, Santana's legs propelled her down the hall at a fast clip, knowing she couldn't be selfish like her brother had been, that she couldn't betray someone who had offered her kindness when she had no one. She couldn't let her captain down.

By the time she reached the scene, Rachel was on her knees, hissing in breaths and exhaling whimpers. It only took a cursory whiff to realize that corn syrup, dye, and flavouring wasn't all that had been in the drink. Fuck, is that...I'm smelling oshá that rue? Shit...

Santana quickly grabbed Rachel, letting out a growl at the corrosive drink mix burning away at her skin, and hauled the girl down the hall to the Cheerio locker room. She knew Sue would be in her office next door, but none of that mattered to her as she rushed the diva inside and to the shower, turning on a warm spray to unbond the herbal mix from Berry's skin. It wouldn't undo the damage, but it'd at least allow the mix to wash away with a bit of effort.

Rachel let out a pained squeal at the immediate rush of water, body blindly trying to get away, but Santana held her in place. I don't have enough hands for this...I need to wipe away the slushie and clean it off of her, but I need to keep her still, and I need to go mix a poultice for her wounds, and...fuck. Fuck!

Santana shook her head, knowing there was for sure one way she could make it work. A way that would effectively break the promise she made to her parents when she first 'came into bloom' as so many referred to the damn awakening and shit.

But gazing down at the brunette in her arms, crying in agony from the attack, she had a feeling Rachel would do the same sacrifice for her. And with her future basically gone to shit, and control having basically been stripped away from her, Santana knew this was one thing she did have a choice over.

"It'll be okay, Berry. I've got you, you're gonna be okay, I promise." She murmured, holding the diva close, hoping she could get done what she needed.

Santana closed her eyes and focused, knowing she'd only ever done this a few times before, feeling herself split once, and then again. It was always a little strange navigating her bodies when she was tripled, and she could immediately feel the exhaustion from the process, knowing it wasn't supposed to be used for anything but emergencies, but after a second or two of feeling her way through it, her doubles went to work.

Santana quickly made for her locker and pulled out towels and changes of clothes before grabbing some face-cloths and all of her shower products, hauling them over to the showers, while her other duplicated self rushed to Sue's storage room and put in the elder fae's three unlock codes. If there was anything she felt fortunate for, it was Sue's paranoia, and her need to have a solution to any sabotage an enemy could thrust upon her team.

It didn't take long to find the ingredients for the poultice, and she quickly assembled them into the bowl and took her lighter out to heat the underside of it. It was a little makeshift and crude, but it'd do.

"I assume you'll be restocking what you're using, Lopez?" Sue's voice called out from behind her, the older blonde just staring at her with a disgruntled expression. "Oh don't give me that look, I've known you're a gemini since you bloomed. As if there's anything in this locker room that goes on without me knowing."

Santana schooled her features and gave her coach a nod. "I have everything at home. I'll deliver it to the storage room after school's over."

Sue stared at her long and hard before offered the smallest of nods. "Make sure to clear out of here as soon as you can. I don't want Streisand's aura to infest these facilities."

At that, Coach walked off, passing the other two Santana s and Rachel on her way out, just as Santana had finished getting all the slushie mix and herbs off of the diva and doing a quick cleaning of her hair and the affected skin. Her double rushed off to bring the clothes and towels nearer before being subsumed back into Santana, giving her back a little energy, and making it a bit easier to process the steps in creating the poultice properly.

"Hurts..." Rachel groaned with a shaking voice, almost trembling in her arms. The sensation had Santana freezing for a moment as something at the edge of her brain tried to force its way to the forefront. Out of instinct, she shifted a hand up to Rachel's forehead and flinched.

"You've got a fever, but I'll help get it down, just hold on, okay?" She asked, willing her other half to work faster as she scooting the both of them closer to the tap and shifted the water to cold. Rachel recoiled again under the spray as it came into contact with her raw skin, but Santana held her beneath it, knowing she had to buy time. Whatever dose had been put into the slushies had been concentrated enough to be potentially fatal, so she had to cool Berry off and keep the fever down by whatever means necessary.

"Cold...too cold...hurts..." Rachel complained weakly, her struggling no longer anywhere near effective.

"I know, I'm sorry, but you need to get through this." Santana urged, her voice seeming to stir something in Rachel this time around, tearful mocha eyes fluttering open to stare up at her.

"San?" She wasn't sure if the shortened version of her name was by choice, or from lack of energy from how weakly it came out. It didn't matter, though, not with how Rachel seemed a little more alert and determined just by seeing her, for whatever reason. Even with burns all over her face and neck, the girl looked oddly vibrant. "You're here."

The strangest thing about Rachel's words were that the diva didn't sound surprised. No the diva sounded relieved. As if Santana's presence was special. As if severything would be okay, now that she was here. Which, well, was true because she was going to fix her captain's pretty little head back to good, but still, it felt like déjà vu. It felt like she was back at sectionals, with Rachel's warm, mocha eyes taking her at face value, the diva saying she believed in Santana.

And maybe she felt tears prick at the edges of her eyes again. Maybe she felt her heart beat a little harder, a little faster, and maybe she smiled down a little brighter at Rachel.

"Took time out of my busy schedule, guess you owe me, huh?" Santana asked, hoping a bit of lightheartedness could help ease the mood while her other half mixed in the bark of willow tree and mandrake root into the mix, nearing completion. "Maybe Breadstix, your treat?"

"Thought you had...busy...schedule..." Rachel murmured tiredly, even if her grin was damn near blindingly bright, as if she hadn't been burned and poisoned a few minutes ago.

Santana just laughed and flipped her wet hair over her shoulder. "Well, of course. You make a reservation for sometime this evening and if I can't find anyone hotter to spend it with, maybe I'll show up."

Rachel's weak laugh was wonderful, and if anything, the diva seemed a little stronger than she had a half minute before. A good sign, with her other half waiting for the poultice to finish heating before declaring it ready enough.

"Just a few seconds longer, Rachel. It'll be over soon, okay? Just gotta close your eyes for me, alright?" Santana asked, knowing her request wouldn't be complied with when Rachel just stared up at her with concern.

"Why do you need my eyes closed?" Rachel asked, voice hardly stronger than a whisper, though the diva clearly wanted a reason, and didn't look like she was going to cooperate without one. "I like...I need someone to focus on or it hurts too much. You're very nice to focus on." The diva added for clarity, which maybe made a bit of sense, even if it had Santana blushing like a second-grader.

Her other half dipped a pinky finger into the hot poultice and pulled it out quickly, knowing it was ready, signaling the half with Berry to get ready. "I know, tiny, but it's just gonna take a second. It got on your eyelids, too, and I need to treat them." She insisted, scooting them out of the range of the shower spray.

"'ve been holding me this whole time. How are you going to..." Rachel started to argue, which would seriously take way too long, and Santana wasn't going to run the risk of the fever gaining strength, knowing Berry was overheated enough.

"Just shut your fucking eyes, baby girl, okay? For me?" Santana blurted out, thinking that maybe providing another distraction of sorts could maybe help if Rachel wouldn't have anyone to look at. It definitely wasn't because the term of endearment had been on her tongue for the past five minutes or anything, just waiting to slip free. Not even.

Rachel's eyes grew wide before softening, fluttering to a close seconds later, prompting Santana's other half to rush over. "This is going to hurt like hell for a few seconds, but I'll be here with you the whole time, and you'll be good as new in no time, okay?" Santana asked, barely waiting for the brief nod before her other half began applying the hot, gritty paste across Rachel's head, neck and shoulders.

It wasn't her first time applying it, so the violent screams that tore out of Rachel were expected even if they tore at her heart like a damn chainsaw. Santana just held on and murmured whatever comforting and reassuring words she could think of as her other half worked away at covering all the affected areas, knowing leaving any behind could be dangerous and result in permanent damage.

Rachel thrashed in her arms with renewed strength, but just as she expected, after about fifteen seconds, the fight left the diva, a sigh escaping Rachel maybe five seconds after that.

"There we go...there we go...just gotta rest up like this a bit longer, chiclet. Let your body regenerate." Santana whispered as Berry's grip on her relaxed and had the diva nestling closer. Her other half triple checked the last of her work before Santana subsumed it, her full focus returning to her in a burst of clarity.

In that moment she felt thankful for her older cousin, who had taught her how to make medicines, potions, poisons, and so much more. Sure, she'd been overcompensating due to learning what she was way back when, but it made her feel valuable and useful. And it might have saved Rachel's life, so she'd be sure to call Olivia later on to thank her again for her teachings.

But in that moment of clarity she felt something else that kept her anchored to Rachel despite how fast her heart was racing, how comforted she was by having the diva in her arms, how much she yearned for Berry to be healed up so she could maybe kiss that nose of hers all better. And try as she might, and she certainly did, Santana couldn't quite tamp down on those feelings. She needed a distraction.

For the next ten or so minutes, Santana waited it out, knowing the poultice would be hard at work reconstructing the damaged flesh and nerves, and that all she had to do was be patient. Those ten minutes gave her plenty of time to think about who was at fault for the attack, though, and her mind more or less settled on one Quinn Fabray.

And while Rachel's temperature fell as the fever dissipated, her anger rose, knowing Q had at least aimed to maim Berry, if not kill her. A decision that Quinn did not have the power to make, and one that she would pay dearly for.

"San?" Rachel's voice was quiet, but soft, lacking any hint of the agony she'd endured.

Honestly, Santana never thought she'd feel like celebrating at the sound of Rachel Barbra Berry's voice, but like hell if she didn't feel like celebrating the diva's health. If not for the fact that Berry was still curled up against her, she probably would have at least fist pumped, but as it was, her arms had more important roles in ensuring Rachel felt safe and secure.

"Yeah, chiclet?" She asked in return, her voice mirroring the diva's, hoping it'd make the girl feel more at ease.

"I...I think it's done. I don't feel anything happening." Berry noted, letting out a huff from behind the caked on mask of the poultice. "And my nose itches."

Santana let out a laugh at the sheer annoyance in the diva's voice. "Yeah, alright. You okay if I get up to warm the water up?"

"I'm...yes, I'll be fine, Santana. Thank you." Rachel let out after an initial stumble over her words. Santana carefully detangled the two of them, watching and listening carefully for any sign that maybe something was left unhealed. After a quick check, Santana made her way to the shower and heated the water up. "I suppose the school won't be too pleased about the water running for so long."

Santana shrugged. "Eh, some Cheerios take half hour hot showers here. We've been...probably not even twenty, so I doubt anyone would care. Besides, it was totally necessary... I wasn't gonna leave you out in the hall to burn away down to your bones." She asserted, hand out to test the water. Once it was good, she returned to the diva's side. "Hey, let's get you cleaned off."

She guided Rachel over to the spray of the shower and felt relief when Rachel only let out a happy sigh. Her work done, Santana turned back to the pile of towels and changes of clothes and brought Rachel's share closer along with her hair care products, placing them on a nearby ledge. "Here's a towel and a change of clothes. You can use my shampoo and conditioner, too."

Rachel offered a thankful smile as she kept wiping the poultice off, though the diva stilled as Santana stepped away. "Wait, where are you going?"

"Just gonna go change, tiny. My extra uniform is back home, but I'll be back in a bit. But if I'm longer than, like, fifteen minutes, just go home. You're not safe here, not until we figure out what's going on." Santana stated, feeling a bit of guilt for lying to Rachel, but it was a white lie. Rachel needed to be out of danger, and she'd make it happen.

Rachel hesitated before offering her another nod. "Please come right back, okay?"

Santana felt that guilt stir up until a storm in her stomach, but she nodded anyways, wanting Rachel to at least feel at ease.

As she stepped out of the locker room, Santana knew that whatever happened, she felt like she was as in control of her life as she'd ever been. With that confidence in mind, she grabbed her phone and sent out a message to Quinn.

Hey herd Berry burned up p bad. Was told Karofsky makin a push. We gotta plan shit out. No room 4 nother powrplay. Meet me in the aud nxt period

Satisfied that her lure would do its job and have blondie underestimating her, Santana headed out to prep for their 'talk', knowing that Q had study hall next, and would wait until class was over to meet up with her.

Santana waited by the curtain to the backstage area, leaning up against the wall, foot tapping incessantly from the nerves rushing through her body. Her plan was crude and half-thought out, but either way, she'd be getting an answer out of Q over what she did. She'd seen the cheerios slushying Rachel; there was only one person aside from herself who had the power to make that sort of order.

"Santana?" Quinn called out from the side entrance to the left of her. Perfect, just as predicted.

"Over here." Santana called out impatiently, knowing if she didn't sound annoyed of waiting for Q's pasty ass to show up seven full minutes late, it'd be clearly out of character.

Quinn's low laugh was proof she was right on the damn money. "So tell me about this attack. You said Karofsky did it?" The blonde asked just as she rounded the front portion of the stage and strolled towards her.

Santana gave a hard scowl, but shrugged. "What I was told, he and some other football jock laced some slushies with something and it burned her up real bad. Now, I don't know what kind of fae Berry is, and i don't really care, but that kind of shit could have easily escalated to death. And that would be even more of a serious play. His house has always been a tier below ours, and with his dad's health fading, I could see him trying to make a statement."

"And who told you this, exactly?" Quinn prodded with a far too innocent smile.

Santana laughed and rolled her eyes. "What, and tell you all of my sources at school? Please. I mean, I had it from three out of four that Karofsky did it."

Lure set out, Santana waited to see if blondie took the bait. Quinn slowly strolled to her side, stopping right in front of the curtains leading to the back area. "And the fourth one?"

Santana shook her head dismissively. "Said it was three cheerios. But I didn't get the memo, and after we butted heads, there was no way you'd attack our glee captain. Only reason I could see would be to make me cry uncle and let you focus back on my shit instead of killing her, but I mean, I'd still have the blackmail material on you, so that'd be useless. No reason to think you'd attack Berry...or am I wrong, Q?"

"There could be another explanation. Not saying I did it, of course...this is purely hypothetical...but as Head Cheerio it's my duty to protect my squad, and if Berry threatened you or your would be my duty to snuff that out. But that's purely hypothetical." Quinn stated airily, watchful blue eyes glimmering with curiosity. "But you didn't need me to tell you that. I have a feeling you knew it wasn't Karofsky from the start."

Her ruse clearly blown, Santana offered a simple shrug. "I might have seen it happen."

Quinn let out a heavy breath as she stepped closer. "Then you need to know..."

"Don't tell me you did this for my own good when you've been making my life hell for years." Santana interrupted with a snarl, knowing she was close to her boiling point, and that she had to keep herself in check.

"I know how to get you out of your marriage, Santana, that's what I was trying to do." Quinn claimed with a lift of her chin, as if she had any right to feel superior. If Santana was whole and focused, she would have been able to contain herself, but that wasn't the case.

Fuck it. She thought, as Santana's body double behind the curtain leaped out, striking the blonde in the head with a baseball bat as her other self rushed forward and took advantage of Quinn's shock to wrest an arm behind her back and apply pressure to the wrist.

Quinn yelled out in agony, but those pale hands immediately turned frigid, and even with some elemental blood in her that gave her some minor tolerance of extreme temperatures, she knew her grip wouldn't last long. Q using her flexible body to elbow her and throw the both of them to the ground didn't help.

It forced her grip to slacken enough for Quinn to slip free, but the blonde ate a bat to her knees for her effort, and a diving elbow to the face for good measure right after. Santana knew she'd eventually make good use of her combat training one day, but didn't think it'd literally be on a stage, raining down blows on a poorly covering up former best friend.

Quinn wasn't helpless, and proved it when she opened guard and grabbed Santana's left arm, churning all her frosty fuckery into it before twisting it, her limb shattering into fragments up to near her elbow.

The pain was excruciating, but Santana pushed through it to slam an elbow into the blonde's face, dazing her. With that brief opportunity, Santana flipped the blonde and once again wrenched that wrist back behind her, putting the rest of her body into it.

With as much force as she could muster, Santana contorted the blonde's wrist, releasing alongside a satisfied sigh when she heard it break. Her other self followed through with a downward swing that crashed against her captain's admirably dense skull, shutting up her pained yells for a few hard choking coughs as the blonde spat out blood and Santana rolled away, moving to stand and establish distance.

She'd never imagined Q to be much of a fighter, so when the blonde's uninjured hand crashed down and broke the stage floor, maybe she got concerned. And when the blonde picked up a shard of wood that was immediately frozen, and tossed it her way with incredible strength and accuracy, maybe she just barely subsumed that half of herself before the flying frosty stake could impale her.

Santana barely wasted a second of time being whole to split again, knowing that Quinn could be deadly with her abilities. All of her arms were present, but damn if both of her lefts tingled and were hella sluggish. It was splitting in front of Quinn that drew the blonde's attention and had her captain halting any attacks, at least for the moment. "You''re a gemini?"

"Damn right I am. Not that I need four fists to beat the hell out of you, but it can come in handy." Santana shot back with a bit of false bravado, which Q seemed to actually take at face value for once in her goddamn life.

"But...fuck, San, I thought...why didn't you tell me?" Quinn asked, sounding more pained than anything, which Santana chose to believe was a result of breaking her captain's wrist. "I was your best friend! THAT was the secret that made you choose your asshole family over me for?"

Now, Santana was no stranger to their tumultuous history, or the long friendship beforehand that both of their houses seemed to despise. But hearing Quinn take her decision personally like that was a bit much, even if it twisted her heart a tiny little bit.

"Q, you openly mocked geminis. You made a point to mock my great aunt who was a gemini. You expected thirteen year old me to rush to you when I had my awakening, to let you know I was something you literally hated and mocked? Yeah, that's fucking reasonable." Santana grit out, waving her hand dismissively when Quinn went to interject.

"No, no, fuck you. One day. You knew I'd bloomed or whatever, and you waited one day of me not telling you what I was before jumping on the Hate Santana train. Maybe I wanted to ease you into knowing, Q. Maybe I wanted to test the waters to see if it was safe. Maybe I trusted the seven years of being best friends to continue long enough for me to figure out how to tell you what I was. Maybe I was stressing about breaking the pact my parents forced on me that would have exiled me to another territory if what I was became public before I was wed? Fuck, Quinn, you know my parents, my family. And you were the first to put my feet to the fire." Santana raged, chest heaving as she wiped away tears. "Just like that, you abandoned me. Just like them."

Santana had expected to fight Quinn on the stage, potentially to the goddamn death for all her life was worth these days, but if anything, her words seemed to be sharper and more painful than any of her physical attacks so far.

"I don't...I were my person, Santana. I needed to know you. I thought you were pushing me away, I thought you thought you were better than me, or that you were going to hate me like your parents hated me, I didn't...I thought..." Quinn rambled, choking on a sob before actually seeming to choke on some of her own blood, the blonde eventually spitting a large gob out onto the stage floor.

Santana shook off the grossness of the saliva-slash-blood mixture and shook her head at all the assumptions her captain had made. "You told me you were my best friend forever, Q. You're like, fucking immortal, so that's a long-ass time. I'm supposed to be the impatient one, but you were the one to cut me off. I was...I was fucking scared, Quinn." She let out with a tired sigh, hating the realization that her and Quinn's string of conflicts since that day could have all been avoided. "I was scared and I needed you, and you what...threw me away like trash before I could hypothetically leave you? Really?"

"I'm sorry, Santana! Gods, I'm...I really am. I was scared, too. And...and I'm scared now." Quinn apologized, voice falling to a murmur at the end there, Santana having to strain to hear.

It was sort of confusing and incensing, and she wasn't sure which emotion she was supposed to prioritize. A few seconds later, and her cursed goddamn heart choosing the easier option, Santana took a step closer. "You're not scared of me killing you. I can see that. Not that I came here to do that...just beat some sense out of you, really, and force you to apologize to Rachel."

Quinn's eyes had been dipping with exhaustion, but immediately shot wide open. "Berry's still alive?! Santana, you need to listen to me..."

Santana wasn't a fan of Q's suddenly serious tone, not one fucking bit. "No, you listen to me! She's off-limits! She's...fuck, I don't even think we're actually friends, officially, but she's been nice to me. She was there when I needed her most, right after I got the damn news. So I'm drawing a line...I saved her from the attack, and you're not going to hurt her again."

"Santana..." Quinn grit out urgently, but Santana pointed her goddamn finger at the blonde.

"No! I fucking mean it, Q!" Santana raged, startling momentarily when Quinn got up to her feet.

"Even if it'd cancel your wedding?" Quinn asked, almost pleaded, really. As if she'd actually been trying to do her a favour by killing Rachel.

"What, you'll perform a blood sacrifice to prevent it or some shit? No. She's a good person, she's safe." Santana shot back with a scowl, shaking her head at the mere thought that killing Rachel was at all reasonable.

Quinn just stared at her as if she had two heads. "A good enough person for you to marry?" Quinn asked, stealing the air from Santana's lungs, and drawing a gasp from elsewhere in the auditorium. "Because she's it. She's the one you're promised to, I got the news straight from a contact working the Court's archives. Not sure why the secrecy, all it gave was a listing for an arranged marriage between the Lopez and Berry houses. Still, if she wasn't alive, then whatever deal was brokered would be void, and you wouldn't have to marry her, and your house would be fine. I told you...I was trying to help you."

Now, Santana was as level-headed and rational as anyone, but even she needed to subsume her other half so she could focus properly, and even then, it was hard. It didn't make sense. Sure, the whole notion filled her with hope, but her family would never let a low house without rank in the Court marry into theirs. "I'm supposed to marry Rachel?"

"I'm supposed to marry you?" Rachel's voice immediately turned Santana's feet to cinder blocks, stopping her on the spot as she turned to look in the diva's direction. Her eyes scanned the singer for any sign of insincerity, but it seemed Berry was just as surprised as she was, and looked hopeful of all things. " dads never told me, but from eavesdropping over the years, I'd thought I was set to marry Blaine Anderson."

"Gay warbler? No fucking way he'd deserve you." Santana grumbled reflexively, not at all pleased with the notion of Blaine and Rachel being together. It was just wrong.

"Santana, his house holds a position in the court. Mine...mine transferred into this territory years ago and holds no power. They would have been doing my dads a favour, arranging it." Rachel argued, applying logic to a totally stupid and ridiculous situation.

"Which is why I suggested killing her. No hard feelings, Berry. Not personal. Whatever you could offer wouldn't be worth Santana's future." Quinn stated plainly, drawing a harsh glare from the diva.

"I agree that Santana should have control over her future, as I told her before. I'm certain there are other solutions to the problem, though." Rachel insisted, before tilting her head a little to the side, looking the blonde over. "Would you like your wounds tended to? I know you have regeneration, but it'd take hours, Quinn."

Quinn let out a pained laugh, which descended into another choking cough. "I...don't see a first aid kit, or any herbs."

Rachel stepped closer and moved to a kneel before the blonde, a risk that Santana wasn't happy about at all, given Q's attempts on Rachel's life and all.

Still, Rachel just took in a deep breath and let out a low, rolling whistle that had Quinn's eyes rolling into the back of her head, but also the visible damage healing up pretty quickly. The diva held the tune for a while before it shifted to a sharper burst, Rachel's arm shooting out as the blonde fell unconscious, carefully laying Quinn down to rest.

It was all a bit much to process, but the scene had Santana only able to draw a single conclusion. "You're a siren?" She asked, admittedly in clear disbelief. Sirens were just about things of legends; like gemini, they had been hunted to near extinction, but because the houses hosting them would have access to immense power, power that other houses would rarely allow to stand. Only one bloodline remained, the Corcorans, and they had to hole themselves up somewhere in Europe in some defensible fort, and mate with humans instead of fae, in order to keep heat off of them. Those who left that compound tended to have hits put out on them for fears of them causing another power struggle.

A struggle her family was well-equipped to resist, largely made up of mesmers and elementals. But still, whatever happened, she'd protect the diva.

Rachel's simple, shy nod only spurred her on further, Santana closing the distance between them quickly. " healed...AND you knocked her out?"

"As much as folklore likes to assert that sirens have gendered abilities, it's mostly just normative roles being enforced, and a lack of a proper training partner to utilize the full set of skills inside us. But...well, I can explain, it's just...can we trust her?" Rachel asked, all wide-eyed and biting her lip like there was no tomorrow.

Santana spared a glance at the unconscious blonde and let out a sigh. Fuck, I'm too soft for this shit some days...

"Come on, let's take her with us." Santana stated, moving closer to lift Quinn up, only to still when Rachel hadn't moved, and was just giving her one of the most confused expressions she'd ever witnessed. "We's be goin' to Breadstix."

Rachel's face twisted at the assertion, but even if Berry was hella confused, the diva did help lift Quinn onto Santana's shoulders. "I hope you know what you're doing, Santana."

So do I... She mused to herself, not wanting the day to end in disaster.

Maybe it was a little absurd but Santana couldn't help but be pleased about how easily the three of them had made it to a booth in Breadstix. Rachel had woken Q's groggy, hazy ass up once they got to the restaurant, and Santana's fierce reputation at the place was enough to have the staff disregard any issues they could find when them hauling a half-awake, miserable looking Quinn in with them.

To make matters better, they were in the corner booth at the back, which provided a nice bit of privacy given a half wall a few feet away more or less cut off sightlines to the booth for most places in the restaurant.

"While I'm certain you have a plan, especially having known Quinn as long as you have, I do have to raise concern with the potential fallout of this decision. As we both know, Quinn is in a powerful house, and abducting her even as much as we have could put us both in a precarious position, especially since she knows about us and what's planned for us." Rachel finally rambled, letting loose the words that had been building up from the auditorium all the way to the restaurant.

"I think I have it handled." Santana noted, shooting the diva across the table a smirk before nudging the dazed blonde. Once she had Q's attention, she reached into her bag and grabbed her small container of smelling salts, placing it a bit underneath the girl's nose. "Breathe in through your nose for me, blondie."

Quinn huffed, but did as she was asked, her expression immediately shifting, eyes widening, as she was propelled out of her half-asleep haziness. "What the heck? Santana...!"

"Quiet. I need you to listen to me, Q. For once, just listen." Santana started, holding the blonde's gaze until Quinn finally rolled her eyes and let out a sigh, which was as clear of a cue to proceed as any. "You wanted to do a favor for me, I get that. I'm pretty awesome, and you told me you were scared about something, so I think we can work whatever this is out. Okay?"

Quinn's expression hardened. "I'm not scared."

"Quinn, it's alright to be scared. If I was pregnant, I know I would be." Rachel noted softly, leaning across the table, but damn if she could pay attention to the diva being sweet when her former BFF was preggers.

Santana watched Quinn's face crumble, and couldn't help but sweep her captain up into her arms. Quinn may have abandoned her in the past, and tormented her over a misunderstanding, but a part of her still felt for the icy blonde, and she knew that she could use it to her advantage politically as well. If she could get her old best friend back, as well as save her and Rachel from exile or death, then that was a call she was more than willing to make.

"Q, you got a bun in the oven?" She murmured, a wave of determination falling over her when the blonde in her arms just sobbed and nodded. "Alright. Okay, we can handle this, you know we can."

"I can't...can't tell my parents..." Quinn choked out as she clutched at Santana, burying her face in San's neck.

"Yeah, I remember, blondie. Premarital sex is a major no-no for them. But you're almost legal the time you start to really show, you'll be eighteen, they won't have control over you." Santana stated, hoping her words would calm the blonde a little.

Thankfully, Q's sobs faded into just straight up crying, but she still didn't like seeing the blonde sad and upset. It just didn't seem right, or whatever. "Look, Marco's going to be moving out in a few weeks. Iris just left to live in Sacramento. Two open rooms at my place, and I know I can force my family to let you stay. It won't be a problem. You'll have a roof over your head, you'll have food for two, you're gonna be okay."

"I agree Quinn. And if for some reason Santana's plan falls through, my parents would gladly let you use the guest room at our home for however long you need." Rachel chimed in, and Santana could only smile at the generosity. Q had nearly killed Rachel, and the diva was offering her hospitality in return? Wild.

Berry's words seemed to shake Quinn from her woe enough to lean out of Santana's hold and stare at the diva. "I almost killed you. I threatened to kill you once I learned you didn't die the first time."

"You're important to Santana, and...and my mother was put in a similar situation. I don't want what happened to her to happen to you, Quinn. You and your child, assuming you're keeping it, will be taken care of." Rachel insisted with one of those sweet, reassuring smiles that always managed to make Santana's heart bloom just a little. Even more since Rachel first reached out to her, really.

"And if Rachel and I get hitched, I'm gonna need a maid of honour." Santana let out airily, shrugging when Quinn's head snapped around to stare at her, eyes bugging out. "What? It won't be my sister, that's for fucking sure."

Quinn shook her head. "No, you''re actually thinking of getting married?"

"Maybe this discussion might be better held elsewhere?" Rachel asked, uncertainty in her eyes as she glanced around them. It made sense to be worried about eavesdroppers, but Santana knew the staff at the restaurant were all human, and they were currently giving them all the space they could want. It wasn't even four o'clock, the place was pretty deserted.

"Nah, we're good here. I love Breadstix!" Santana shot back with a smile, blindly pulling Quinn closer as she kept her gaze on the diva across the table. "Look, it's not romantic, but I'm...I want to do it. The marriage, or bonding pact, or whatever. I want to."

Rachel's jaw dropped as a smile twitched at her lips, those soft mocha eyes glimmering ever so slightly as Berry held her gaze. "You do?"

Santana reached an arm across the table, Rachel immediately taking hold of her hand and entwining their fingers. "I've got a good feeling about us. I mean, I was upset when I thought it'd be a random strange dude that I'd be forced to marry,'re Rachel. You're...shit, you're kind, and you're caring, and you're cute, and you have great legs..."

"Santana!" Rachel exclaimed, a deep blush blooming in her cheeks as Quinn laughed into Santana's neck.

But fuck, she was serious. She was ready to dive into a future with the diva, and even if it might not have been the romantic proposal Rachel might have hoped for, the words had piled up at the back of her throat, and they needed airing out.

"What I'm saying is I really like you. And I feel something there, between us. I want to be closer to you, and I love seeing you smile, especially if it's because of something I did. Add that to the fact that it'd also help keep the both of us safe, and would make sure Quinn had a place to be safe, too, yeah. And I can't give you a ring right now, my parents have it under lock and key back home, but rings are just symbols of commitment, and I promise I'm in it for the long run. I want to marry you... if you'll have me." Santana claimed, hoping her nerves were showing across her face as she shot a smile at the diva, the girl she was apparently betrothed to.

Rachel tucked a lock of hair behind her ear as she slipped out of the booth and slowly...achingly slowly...rounded the table and scooted into Santana's side, the diva shifting over until she was practically nestled into Santana's side, Quinn snuggled up on the other.

"Ask me again?" Rachel asked, teeth gnawing on the lower lip, soft mocha eyes gazing up at her.

It was honestly all she could do to keep from kissing her, but if Rachel wanted her to ask again, she'd damn well ask again. Just, well, not a third time, she wasn't whipped or anything.

"Rachel Barbra Berry...will you marry me?"

Despite being in a single body, the next minute or so was a serious blur. Rachel saying yes. Rachel launching into her arms and kissing the fucking hell out of Santana with her talented-ass mouth. Santana toppling over from the force of the kiss. Quinn being crushed by the both of them and angrily yelling at them to get off of her. Santana holding onto Rachel like she never wanted to let go.

Because she realized that she really, seriously didn't. Santana pushed Quinn's yelling and ineffective struggling to the back of her mind as she looking up at the diva leaning over her, that thousand watt smile beaming down on her.

Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't skin Marco alive for ditching the arranged marriage when it had landed her Rachel, and had her feeling like she could be hopeful about her future for the first time in forever, with a future wife to go along with getting her best friend back, even if she would have to have a lengthier chat with Q.

"Oh my gods, you two are gross, get off me!" Quinn complained with a loud huff. "Seriously, even crushed underneath San, I can see the heart-eyes. You need to get off me, and get a room."

Santana smiled up at her fiancee before easing her and Rachel up to a seated position again, knees touching, letting Quinn finally get back up. "I think Q's thinking about our honeymoon, Rachel." Santana noted with a smirk, knowing that Q had a very active imagination, with very little filtering it.

"I did n...I did NOT imagine your...damn it Santana! You swore you wouldn't do that kind of stuff to me again!" Quinn complained, the grumpy blonde crossing her arms and sending the two of them a fierce glare even as she turned bright red.

"That was made in sixth grade, and besides, you owe me a few harmless shots here or there." She retorted with a smirk in the blonde's direction. "Oh, by the way, Q...I can split myself into three or four bodies. Can you imagine that many hands? That many mouths? That ma..."

"OH MY GODS SANTANA STOP IT." Quinn yelled flatly, covering her ears and rocking back and forth, her face dangerously red. It was a nice bit of retaliation for the last few years. Perfectly harmless, just a little mortifying.

"Santana, I think it's about time we ordered. do realize that since you chose the engagement venue, likely to get us unlimited breadsticks and a free dessert, that I'll have a significant say in some of the wedding preparations, or at least the honeymoon destination?" Rachel asked, drawing an easy laugh from Santana over the diva's love of planning and preparing.

"Of course, mi querida. I'll get you in touch with my mom, and tell her to take a backseat. We have leverage now." Santana stated happily, just ready to start a new chapter in life. "And you totally get to choose the dessert, so long as we share."

Quinn's groan once again filled the air, bringing a grin to both her and Rachel's faces. "If this is what being around you two is going to be like, maybe I should just take my chances with exile. You're ridiculously adorable, and it's not right."

Santana bristled a little at being called adorable as she glared at Quinn, but the feel of soft lips pressing against her cheek settled any hostility she felt. "Shut up, Q, or I won't buy you a dessert."

Immediately, Q's face went red, the blonde gnawing away at her lower lip in apparent indecision. "I...but...ugh. Can it be the chocolate lava cake? I'm feeling a craving for chocolate." Quinn noted sheepishly as Rachel waved the staff over to their booth.

"Sure thing Q." Santana noted, smiling at her old friend before turning her focus to their server for the evening.

It didn't take long to order, the staff promising them all free desserts due to the momentous occasion, which made Quinn more than pleased, the blonde intensely checking out the dessert menu.

Which left her and Rachel basically alone. "So...we can do this, right?" She asked her fiancée, knowing that she'd go through with it even with some uncertainty, but that she could use Rachel's ever-present confidence.

The diva lifted a hand to cup her cheek, thumb stroking across her cheekbone. "We can, and we will. I have a good feeling about this." Rachel spoke before pulling her in for another kiss so sweet and full of joy that she couldn't help but feel more confident by the second.

It took two full minutes for Quinn to catch on and make gagging noises. Some bridesmaid.

A/N: Well, this one was late, but I wanted to end it a bit more lighthearted than how I started it, and I ran out of time last weekend. Figured better late than never.

This one was a sort of Lost Girl AU-ish with some modifications to lore. I tried to merge the chosen themes with other prompts as I went through each entry in pezberry week, and this one was 'arranged marriage' and 'mythological creatures AU'.

Anywho, I hope you enjoyed!