A/N: Here we go :) A/N's for this story will be short and sweet :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2014 be everything you all wish for and more :)

I apologise for the long wait. I hope this makes it all worth it ;) It's a short prologue to the first major arc of the story, which follows on from ADL's last chapter. For those joining the Brittanella fold for the first time, it is advised that you read A Different Life before this :)

Still rated M ;)

Enjoy!

Onwards and up!

-H

Disclaimer: I do not own Glee :(


CHAPTER 1

"I'm pregnant."

Brittany froze at her own admission. Internally, she berated herself for letting that information slip.

But those eyes…

Santana's dark brown eyes bore into hers and for long moments, neither of them said anything. Then, slowly, almost as though she was dreaming, Santana stood up and Brittany's heart rate increased tenfold. She couldn't remember the last time they'd stood so close to each other, so close that she could feel the familiar warmth radiating from her wife. The Latina always ran hot and it sent a shiver through Brittany.

"Really?" Santana whispered, her eyes curious and disbelieving.

Brittany sighed and nodded. Santana didn't believe her. She didn't-

The blonde's thought were wiped the second her wife put her arms around her waist and pulled her close. She couldn't stop the gasp that escaped her lips.

Santana was holding her. Voluntarily holding her. They were hugging. Brittany hated how tears of joy sprang to her eyes immediately. Automatically – her body was hard wired to Santana's – she wrapped her own arms around Santana and reciprocated the embrace.

It was familiar, but at the same time uncomfortable. Brittany could tell that she still didn't have her Santana back. Well, not completely. She could feel the nervous tremors running through her wife's hands as they gently rested on the small of her back. Her Santana would have no nervousness when hugging her. It was natural. Their bodies just melted into one another.

Brittany squeezed her eyes as more tears rolled down her face. She was happy and sad and relieved and angry and frustrated and confused. She didn't know which emotion was stronger. She knew that she should focus on appreciating what Santana was giving her, but a big part of her wanted so much more. She wanted to be selfish and shake Santana until the woman she married – the girl she fell in love with – came back to her. She wanted to hug the crap out of her and kiss her endlessly and spend hours and hours feeling her glorious skin.

God, it had been so long since she'd held Santana, let alone kissed her. She grimaced internally at the last time they'd kissed. Or when Brittany had kissed Santana. It had hurt so much when she'd felt no response. She couldn't even remember any time before that, when she'd kissed Santana and the Latina hadn't responded. Even in high school, when they were still just best friends who had sex, it would take Santana no more than two kisses to greedily respond. Brittany had always felt a little pride – okay, a lot – when Santana reacted like that to her. She knew no one else had ever elicited that kind of reaction.

She wanted to be selfish so badly.

She hated that she couldn't. She almost hated that she loved Santana so damn much that she would always wait for her. No matter how long it took, being in her wife's arms again – no matter how uncomfortable it was – was her home. It was where she belonged. She wouldn't be happy anywhere else. Not truly happy, anyway.

Sometimes it really sucked how much she loved her wife.

But then there were other times when it was the most wonderful thing in the world and, thankfully, those times outweighed any bad times they'd endured. The good times were what Brittany focused on. They were what got her through the bad days. They were what made her get up every morning and just stare at her virtually comatose wife. They were what ensured her love would always remain.

She knew it had to end eventually. Santana pulled back slightly and Brittany kept her head down, trying to will the tears to stop. She still needed to be strong. She had no idea how long Santana's mood would last. It had happened before; sporadic moments of affection, but before Brittany could truly savour them, her Santana was gone and she was left hurt. Again.

"Britt?"

The blonde couldn't stop her head lifting at Santana's gentle murmur of her name. Oh, how she had ached for that sound, for the sound of her wife saying her name with the love she remembered. It set her heart alight.

"Britt, please don't cry," Santana whispered, her hand lifting from Brittany's back to her cheek.

She couldn't help but burst into tears at the sensation of Santana willingly touching her in such a caring way. She had missed it so much, and actually feeling it after so long was overwhelming. Plus, hormones.

"Are you sad?" Santana asked.

Brittany rapidly blinked away the tears. She desperately wanted to stare into the eyes that she'd been dreaming about for seven weeks. She wanted to see the sparkle she remembered. She didn't want to see emptiness. She wanted to see life.

Reluctantly, she released Santana, not moving away from her, and lifted her hands to her eyes, rubbing them clear of tears. Taking a deep breath, her gaze lifted to meet Santana's and her breath caught. Santana was looking at her with the most tender concern. It made her want to cry again.

"I…I…don't know," she eventually replied in a choked voice. "I don't know if this is even real."

Santana swallowed and dropped her eyes guiltily.

"Is this real?" Brittany persisted.

The Latina nodded slowly. "I hope so. I don't want to go back there, Britt. I'm so sorry. I…I let you down."

Brittany didn't respond. She couldn't lie. Santana had let her down. She'd let both her and Bella down.

"Can you forgive me?" Santana whispered.

"I…" She faltered and bit her lip. Santana's hand against her cheek started shaking subtly. Her body reacting before she could stop it, she put her hand over her wife's and their eyes met once more. Brittany could see the deep regret in the dark orbs she loved so much. She swallowed. "I think that we can work towards that, San," she eventually whispered.

"Really?"

Brittany nodded slowly. "But you can't disappear on us again. Seven weeks without you is just…"

"Seven weeks?" Santana whispered, her mouth dropping open. "Was it that long?"

The blonde frowned. "You didn't know?"

"I, uh…I guess I didn't really care." She sighed sadly, her eyes falling downwards. "I'm so sorry, Brittany."

"Santana, look at me, please."

The Latina did so.

"I need you to look me in the eye and promise me that you're going to try really hard not to go back to wherever it is you've been for the last seven weeks. Besides the fact that it hurt Bella and me really badly, you can't just quit living because something bad happened."

Santana nodded. "I know that, I do. I think that part of me knew that this whole time, but the voice…he was just really convincing."

"Voice?" Brittany asked in alarm. Santana was hearing voices?

"Yeah, it was like the devil on my shoulder. You were the angel, but the devil kinda snuffed you out. Or I let him."

"So you let this devil kill me off in our subconscience?"

"Um…shit, I think so? I really don't know, Britt. It's all one big blur. I just…I hated being away from you and Bella, but I was so afraid you'd be mad at me for going away in the first place and the voice made it seem like I would just be better off ignoring you."

Brittany sighed in frustration. "Santana, you've got to understand how ridiculous that sounds. When have I ever not been there for you when you needed me? You know that I would never leave you."

"I know!" Santana cried, breaking away from Brittany and walking towards the dresser. "I know how absolutely unreasonable it sounds, but you have to understand that, in my mind, I felt like I was doing the right thing at the time."

Brittany took a step towards her wife. "Santana, what did the counsellor say to you?"

She saw Santana freeze and her fists went white with how tightly she was clenching them. The blonde nodded to herself. She'd discovered the catalyst for Santana's disappearance or depression or whatever the hell she was going through.

"You don't have to tell me now," Brittany murmured, "but I do expect you to at some point."

"Do you…" Santana was shaking again and Brittany wasted no time in walking right up to her and hugging her from behind. It caused a sob to escape from Santana. "Do you still love me, Britt?"

"Are you seriously asking me that?" Brittany grumbled in irritation.

"Are you still in love with me?" Santana whispered instead.

The blonde paused. She understood why Santana was asking the question that way. She would always love Santana, that much was cast in stone. A lot had happened that could constitute her falling out of love with her and just loving her as a best friend.

But she was Santana.

"Yes, Santana," she said quietly. "I am still in love with you."

Santana turned quickly in her arms and crashed their lips together desperately. Brittany was taken completely by surprise, but it didn't take long for her body to automatically react to her wife's onslaught. Her arms wrapped around Santana's tiny waist – it was a lot smaller than it had been seven weeks ago – and held her tight against her body. God, it felt exhilarating to have Santana's warmth against her again. Their lips moved easily against one another's, but there was still an element of nervousness, from both women. So much had happened, but the physical need for them to feel each other was dominating both their minds at that moment.

Brittany stepped forward, pressing Santana against the dresser, ensuring that their bodies were flush with each other. The sensation ripped a moan from her throat and Santana's tongue was quick to coax another one from her.

She could still feel Santana. She was kissing her wife, something she had definitely not expected to happen when she'd woken up that morning, but she wasn't complaining. She gave into her selfishness and greedily tangled her tongue with Santana's. It felt like she was alive again. Her body had a million electrical impulses firing everywhere. She was tingling from her toes to her ears and her heart was humming, it was beating so fast.

Oh, God. I can't go this long without her again. She feels amazing.

She loved Santana. She loved her so fucking much and she wanted so desperately to show her just how much. But she couldn't. They weren't ready. Not yet. Brittany tried to slow their kisses down, but Santana just took control, pushing Brittany back to the bed and the blonde groaned at the feeling of her wife's full weight on top of her again. She'd missed it terribly.

Santana's kisses started leaving a trail of blazing heat down her neck and to her collarbone. Brittany involuntarily arched her body, her innate need for Santana almost overwhelming her. Santana's body was gone for a second and then it was back. And what Brittany felt when she pressed against her was almost enough to make her come. Her hands flew across her wife's naked back and sides, desperate to feel as much as possible as quickly as possible. She was still so afraid that everything was a dream and she'd be woken up at any moment.

Santana coaxed yet another moan from Brittany's throat as her hands slipped underneath her shirt, her intimate touch sending shivers rocketing throughout the blonde's body. Her mind didn't really register Santana gripping the bottom of her shirt until she felt the deliciousness of their naked skin against each other.

"Fuck," she moaned.

Santana just kissed her again. Brittany clung to her desperately, squeezing her eyes closed, feeling tears creeping down the sides of the face. It was so overwhelming. She felt amazing, but so scared at the same time. She couldn't go so long without feeling such intense love and passion for someone. She would die if Santana disappeared again. But how could she prevent that from happening again? She'd been trying so hard for seven weeks to draw Santana out of the dark place she'd been in and she had no idea how to keep her from going back. Was sex the answer? Feeling their souls entwined once more? Would it re-establish that connection that had been sorely missing?

Two more tears streamed down Brittany's face as she knew that she had to stop them. It wasn't right. They weren't ready to be so intimate with each other after being physically, emotionally and mentally apart for so long. That bridge needed to be properly repaired before they could fully appreciate the feeling of being together once more.

She didn't want to stop. God, especially when Santana curled her tongue just like that. But they had to.

"Santana," she breathed, trying to push her back. Her body was fighting her, though. Her body, like her heart and soul, wanted nothing more than to hold her wife close and never let her go. Her heart wanted to feel the pleasure and the passion and the love that she'd had to go without for what felt like years.

"Santana," she said again, more forcefully.

"Did I hurt you?" Santana asked in alarm, sitting up a bit.

"N-no," Brittany stammered, trying hard not to let the sight of an aroused and tousled Santana deter her from what needed to happen. "Um, we shouldn't…we c-can't do this now."

She swallowed hard at the hurt look that crossed her wife's eyes before Santana lifted herself from Brittany completely.

"O-of course." Santana grabbed her shirt and pulled it on hurriedly. "I-I mean, I don't blame you, I suppose."

"What are you talking about?"

"I know that you love me. I felt that. But it's okay if you're not attracted to me anymore. I mean, why would you be? We got married and then I disappeared. It's-"

"Santana, shut up!" Brittany snapped. She climbed off the bed and grabbed another shirt from the floor, pulling it on roughly. "God, this pity party has to stop right now. It's fucking annoying. You have nothing to feel sorry for. You made a mistake and we acknowledge that. But if you continue thinking that I'm not going to forgive you or that I don't love you or want you, then you're just giving that voice inside your head more ammunition to draw you back to wherever you were." She sighed. "If you weren't able to tell how much I still want you by what just happened, then I don't know if we can ever get back to the way we were. Santana, I need you back. I can't do this by myself. Well, I mean, I suppose I could if I had to, but that's not why we decided to have a baby. We wanted a baby. The two of us, together, as a couple. I still want to share this amazing experience with you. With my wife. But if you're not going to try and lift yourself out of this depression, then I don't know if raising a baby around someone so…fragile would be the best decision. I hate that I have to think about things like that because you're supposed to be at my side while we do this together, but considering the last few weeks, I have to. I have to think about what's best for Bella and this little one." She rested her hand on her still flat stomach and rubbed it tenderly. "So the question is, Santana, are you willing to try?"


A/N: Following chapters will be standard length. Should have another one posted tomorrow :)

-H

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