Pairing: Brittany/Santana with mentions of Brittany/Artie
Summary: Brittany can feel the rhythm in everything but when Santana stops talking to her she loses the beat.
Spoilers: Up to 2.15 “Sexy”
Brittany rocks on the balls of her feet when she’s nervous. Santana pointed it out to her once, and she’d stood still for all of five minutes before she’d started up again. Then Santana had taken her hand and held her as still as she could while Coach Sylvester prowled up and down the line of cheerleaders trying to find things to make fun of. Her mom says it’s because she wishes she was dancing, and has so much energy that she has to get rid of it, but Brittany doesn’t think it is. Why would she feel nervous when she’s dancing? It doesn’t make sense. Dancing is her favourite thing besides Santana and favourite things aren’t supposed to make you nervous. A lot of things adults say don’t make sense, and Brittany has given up trying to understand them all.
Santana makes sense. Brittany always knows where she is with Santana. Or, she had until this whole kissing thing started. Practicing for boys was one thing but she’s pretty sure that’s something that only happens in old movies, even in Ohio, and it’s been a pretty long time since they could trot out that excuse. Then she started thinking that maybe Artie made sense, but actually he didn’t at all and when she was with Artie she wasn’t with Santana so.
Sometimes when she’s alone she listens to Melissa Etheridge and Ani Difranco. Santana hates them. She came over once and caught Brittany listening to ‘Both Hands’ and after she’d finished rolling her eyes she’d spent several minutes on the edge of the bed talking about labels and clothes. Brittany thought about how metaphors are hard and why do you have to compare stuff to other stuff anyway? She’d tried to compare Artie and Santana once; she’d made up a chart on a piece of blank paper and got as far as writing ‘Santana is…’ before her phone rang and the answer turned out to be ‘Santana is on the phone.’ She still has that piece of paper somewhere, hidden away in the back of a drawer.
One day when they were making out Brittany queued up some songs in itunes and they got halfway through ‘So Jealous’ before Santana had narrowed her eyes and demanded to know who was singing.
“It sounds like vagina music.”
Brittany wasn’t sure what that was but she quickly fumbled for the computer and switched to Jessie J instead.
You think I can’t get her like you, you motherfucker…
“I love this song.” Santana mumbled against her neck, and then she was slipping her fingers under Brittany’s shirt and Brittany forgot to listen to the rest of the song.
Brittany hears the beat in everything. Artie had caught her stomping along behind his chair in time with the swishing noise his wheels made against his hands once and asked what she was doing. Brittany shrugged and sped up, swinging her hands by her side every time he spun his wheels. Santana never asked. She just fell into step beside her or tapped her foot against hers in the choir room. It wasn’t Artie’s fault he didn’t always hear the beat, she and Santana had just had a lot more practice was all. He’d get it eventually.
Sometimes she feels like her heart could change rhythm to whatever song she’s listening to, and she gets worried when fast songs come on. When she has to dance to fast songs she moves on every other beat or on odd ones that she picks out at random. Once, Rachel had asked her where she had studied syncopation and polyrhythms because she was looking for a new dance teacher and Brittany had shrugged, “Santana syncs my itunes library. What’s a polyrhythm?”
Rachel looks like she’s about to say something but stops herself when Santana comes up behind Brittany. “You’re really a very good dancer,” she says instead and walks away.
Puck grabs a guitar from one of those band guys who’s always hanging around and starts playing some old rock song that she recognises from the radio. She feels Santana at her back and then they’re swaying in time and spinning around laughing as everyone else starts to sing.
She likes Santana’s singing voice. She didn’t even know Santana could sing before glee club. She’d heard her singing drunkenly along to Katy Perry once when they’d sneaked into Santana’s mom’s drinks cabinet and stolen a bottle of something Brittany would rather forget. Santana thought Brittany was asleep and couldn’t hear her singing to herself, but Brittany felt Santana’s hand brush against her back when she got to the chorus – I kissed a girl – and she rolled over with her eyes shut tight and snuggled under the other girl’s arm.
They don’t talk about feelings but she and Artie do. Sometimes he says ‘I love you’ and “I’m glad we’re together.” Brittany says “I like the colours on your wheels” and “I’m hungry.” Artie asks her if she feels anything else. Brittany shrugs and looks at Santana across the room. “I love you.” When she looks back at Artie he’s grinning like his face is about split in two (is that a metaphor? It’s really gross) and then he takes her hand and they go to the cafeteria.
After Santana tells Brittany that she loves her, she skips school for three days. She comes in eventually and spends all of glee on the other side of the room, staring fixedly at Mr Schue with a scowl on her face. Brittany doesn’t understand. She tries to talk to her but Santana just ignores her and stays in her chair with her arms folded when they practice some new songs and everyone starts dancing. Brittany looks at Artie looking at Santana and dances on her own, but she loses the beat and Mike shoots her confused glances whenever she steps out of time.
She feels like her heart is about to burst which is weird because it’s a pretty slow song and she hasn’t even worked up a sweat. Her eyes fix on Santana’s foot which is tapping along with the beat despite itself and she tries to follow along even though she can’t hear the noise its making. Artie rolls over to her and spins around a couple of times and she tries to smile at him. They’re about halfway through the song when Santana storms out and everyone stops and stares.
“What’s wrong with her?” Half the room swivels round to look at Sam but Quinn, Rachel and Mercedes look at Brittany instead and she can feel herself starting to rock backwards and forwards.
“Brittany?” Mr Schue swings his gaze from Sam to her and she rocks a little harder, but the rhythm’s off and she can’t stop herself from almost over balancing. Everyone is exchanging glances now and Brittany wishes Santana was there to root her to the spot. Artie rolls away from her a little with a hurt look on his face, and she doesn’t know what she’s done to upset him either.
“She’s sick.” Brittany lies. “I’ll go find her.”
She follows a steady dull beat until she finds Santana kicking the bottom of her locker over and over again and she almost immediately slows her steps so that she’s walking in time. Santana sees her coming and tries to turn away but she speeds up and catches her before she can.
“What?” Santana hisses, “I’m not going back to that stupid room.”
“OK,” Brittany nods, once. “Where do you want to go?”
“Nowhere,” Santana won’t meet her eyes, “Not with you.” She turns and walks away and Brittany falls into step, half a beat behind her. After half a dozen steps, Santana stops but won’t turn around. “Go away.” Brittany watches her go.
Even the kissing has stopped. If Brittany had known that day in Santana’s room would have been the last she would have done something to try and remember it better. Maybe she should try that brain training thing her parents had bought her for Christmas. She’d forgotten it completely when Santana had turned up late Christmas night, drunk and dressed in red. Santana was a lot more fun to undress than some stupid box.
She asks her mom why it isn’t possible to go back and do things differently and her mom says that hindsight is always 20/20. She doesn’t know how she would cope if there were 20 of Santana, but her heart feels funny at the thought and now she’s getting really worried because Tori Amos songs are really slow and that’s all she’s been listening to lately. She didn’t think heartbreak was a real thing, but maybe she’d misunderstood again, and her heart really was splitting in two and that’s why she couldn’t feel the rhythm anymore.
She sits next to Artie in glee and sways with him instead of dancing. If anyone asks, she says she’s doing it for him but Santana meets her eyes from where she’s leaning against the piano and Brittany thinks she really knows why she isn’t dancing. Santana doesn’t sing much anymore. Not the way she had started to before. Mr Schue asks them if they want to go over some old numbers and when he suggests ‘Valerie’ they both shake their head mutely and stare at the floor until he suggests something else.
Everyone knows they don’t really speak anymore. It’s weird how quickly that’s accepted. She tries to talk to Artie but it’s hard to find the right words and in the end she ends up asking him if he thinks it’s weird that puzzle pieces only fit with one other piece in the right way, even if it looks like it might fit pretty well with another if you just smoosh it a little bit. He just shrugs and asks if that’s supposed to be some kind of metaphor but Brittany’s never been good at metaphors. He rolls off to talk to Sam and Santana sighs behind her.
“Puzzle pieces are made for each other.” She brushes past Brittany and doesn’t look at her as she says it but Brittany recognises the patience that Santana only ever saves for her and smiles in spite of herself. It’s the first thing Santana has said to her for weeks and later on she dances with Mike and Tina while everyone else sings ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’
Her mom asks her why Santana doesn’t come over anymore and Brittany shrugs. “Well why don’t you go over there, honey? You should get out of the house.” She wonders if her mum is getting sick of hearing Tori Amos songs through her bedroom door. She’s kind of getting sick of listening to her too but nothing else goes with her mood these days. And at least no one asks her why she isn’t dancing when she listens to Tori Amos. It’s not really music for dancing.
It’s a nice day out so she walks over to Santana’s lost in thought. Santana’s mom answers the door and turns to yell something in Spanish before inviting Brittany inside. Brittany stands by the door and waits. She’d normally head straight for Santana’s room but she doesn’t think she can now. She hears the door open and the beat of some song blasts out for a moment before the door shuts again. She starts to rock backwards and forwards in time with the muffled beat and then catches herself and tries to stop. She never could stop.
Santana steps into the hallway with her arms wrapped around her middle and stops before she gets too close. They stare at each other and Brittany’s aware that she’s rocking, rocking, rocking, but she just can’t stop.
“I miss you.” Brittany blurts it out before she can stop herself.
Santana closes her eyes for a moment before she steps closer and grabs Brittany’s hands to stop her rocking. “Stop it. Jesus.”
“I miss you.” Brittany says it again just in case Santana didn’t hear her the first time. She’d say it over and over again for the rest of her life or at least until Santana’s mom came to check she wasn’t stuck in some sort of loop like a broken robot. She wonders if robots can dance if they don’t have kneecaps, or maybe robots do have kneecaps and she just hasn’t seen them. Either way she wonders if robots have hearts and if not how their parts work together. Maybe they’re just built to feel the beat. She used to think she was too.
“You shouldn’t have chosen roller boy over me then should you.” Santana’s hurt voice pulls her out of her thoughts and they’re still standing close together. Brittany reverses her grip and entwines her fingers with Santana’s to pull her closer.
“Don’t.” Brittany tugs a little harder and Santana takes a step to keep from over balancing. It brings them even closer together and Santana looks up at her and swallows.
Brittany takes a deep breath and meets Santana’s eyes. She remembers the other day in the choir room and how afterwards she’d found Artie and told him they had to stop smooshing. He’d accepted what she told him in silence then asked her why she didn’t speak to Santana anymore. She’d just shrugged and asked why he didn’t speak to Tina.
He smiled sadly. “Girls,” he said.
“Girls,” she’d agreed and watched him roll away. She’d realised after a moment that her foot was tapping along with the scrape of his wheels against the floor.
She still wasn’t entirely sure if it was girls or if it was Santana but either way she’d made up her mind to do something about it. “You’re my puzzle piece.” She holds up their hands and shows Santana their fingers. “See?”
“Everyone holds everyone’s hands, Britt.” She looks away, “You hold his hand.”
“It’s not right though. It doesn’t fit.” Santana turned her gaze back to her. “He was too low down and the angle was weird and it made my hand hurt,” she added. “You don’t make my hand hurt.”
“You’ve really broken up with him?” Brittany doesn’t think she’s ever heard Santana sound unsure before. Even when she gets answers wrong in class she just acts like she’s right and no one else has realised it yet.
Santana’s eyes shoot down the hall way the way her mom disappeared and then she pulls Brittany to her room. The beat that Brittany heard earlier blasts out again and as soon as she hears it clearly her body falls into the rhythm so when Santana kisses her and they fall onto the bed it’s all in time and Brittany feels like her heart is working again for the first time in weeks.
In glee that week they dance together like there’s no one else watching and when the song finishes they laugh and fall into each others’ arms.