Fic: New York (Brittana, PG-13)
Pairing: Brittany/Santana, Unholy Trinity friendship
Summary: Missing moments from the finale.
Word Count: 2500
Author’s Note: Written for a writing meme I’m doing over on tumblr. Also works as a prequel to Summer, if you are so inclined.
On the plane to New York Brittany sits next to her and it isn’t much but it’s a start. Artie sits across the aisle and every now and then Santana catches him staring across at them, but when the plane takes off it’s Santana’s shoulder that Brittany buries her head in, and after that he doesn’t look any more.
She still isn’t sure why Mr Schue thought it was a good idea to arrive in New York with nothing but a rhyming dictionary and a blank piece of paper, but no one else seems overly concerned so she keeps her mouth shut and hopes they can pull this off a second time. Brittany sits on the floor in front of her and leans back against her legs occasionally, and Santana finds it hard to think, never mind concentrate on writing a song. She flips through the rhyming dictionary distractedly as Brittany sneaks glances up at her and fiddles with the plastic cup in her hands, and she shifts her foot closer to Brittany unconsciously and presses her leg into Brittany’s side.
She’s not really aware of doing it, but she starts to write and after a moment Brittany’s hand comes down to grip her foot while she chews on her cup absentmindedly, and Santana shivers a little in spite of herself. Brittany’s hand squeezes once and then lets go, moving up to hold her cup as she traces round the bottom and then leans over to scribble something in the circle she’s drawn.
Santana glances down at her paper and then at Brittany, hunched over her work, and retraces the words she’s written, making them count.
‘..now it’s time to make a move and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Brittany, Artie and Puck have been gone for half an hour, and she can’t tear her eyes away from the door. They’d left with Puck and his guitar, which was reassuring, but Santana is still in a bad enough mood to snap at Tina when she leans over to ask what Santana is writing. She flips a piece of paper over to cover the words in front of her and pulls away, insisting it’s nothing, but she leans too far and bumps into Quinn, who snatches the paper and hands it off to Rachel on her other side with something like an apology in her eyes. Santana shoves her, suddenly very aware of what she’s been writing and trying to get the paper back before anyone can see it but Quinn shoves her back and glares, and Sam’s arms come between them quickly to stop the fight before it breaks out.
She glares past him at Rachel, already reading the page avidly, and feels like she’s going to be sick. “It’s nothing, alright? Just give it back.” She reaches again, but Sam’s arms are still there and she can’t move. She watches as Kurt leans over Rachel’s shoulder and it’s suddenly more than she can stand. “Please,” she adds. She hates the way her voice breaks on the word.
After a silence that feels like it lasts forever, Rachel looks up to meet her eyes, “Santana this is really good,” she says quietly, and that more than anything brings the anger back to her. Of course it was good. If she had to put up with all these feelings, she was at least going to get a good song out of it.
Kurt nods behind Rachel, “We could sing this. This could be the group number.”
Rachel hands the writing pad to Finn next to her, and Mercedes leans over to look as well.
“No,” Santana hisses. “We all know you two are probably writing an awesome duet,” she gestures at Rachel and Finn and manages to put something of her old sneer into her voice, but it sounds like a weak imitation even to her, “And I thought New York would take care of the rest.” She crosses the room and snatches the pad back, clutching it close to her chest, glaring at Rachel.
“No!” It’s just too much, and she needs to get out, now, before anyone else can read her stupid words that are so obviously about Brittany she wonders what ever made her write them down. She reaches the door as it opens from the other side, and she’s suddenly staring up into shining blue eyes she knows so well.
“San! I wrote a song!” Brittany bounces on the balls of her feet lightly and reaches for Santana’s free hand, and she looks so happy that Santana can’t help but smile weakly in return. “Come listen!”
Santana resists for about three seconds before she gives in and lets herself be pulled back into the room. Brittany lets her go when they reach the beds, and she sits down next to Tina who eyes her sidelong and moves a little closer to Mike. Santana watches Brittany whispering to Puck and Artie and grips her pad tightly in one hand.
Everyone crashes around 2am, but Santana can’t sleep. She sits on the floor against the beds, legs drawn up to her chin with Brittany asleep next to her, warm against her hip. She can’t drop her guard long enough to sleep, so she rests her head on her knees and listens to the sounds of everyone’s deep, even breathing around her. She’s convinced that if she lies down next to Brittany, she’ll end up wrapping herself around the blond girl in her sleep and then wake in the morning to half a dozen pairs of accusing eyes staring down at her, and she can’t deal with that, she just can’t. Not yet.
She climbs to her feet quietly, hoping no one will notice. Brittany does, though. She pouts, half awake, and one sleepy hand reaches out blindly, searching for her. Santana stands rooted to the spot, feeling like her heart is physically hurting her in a way she didn’t think was possible, watching until Brittany makes a noise that sounds an awful lot like “humpf” and rolls over, pulling her hands up to act as a pillow under her head.
It takes everything Santana has not to sink to her knees beside Brittany and pull her into her arms. Instead, she grabs her writing pad and a hoodie she’s fairly sure is Tina’s and heads for the door, feeling like she’s suffocating.
Brittany finds her tucked into an alcove a little way down the hallway, nodding off over her writing pad.
“When I woke up, you weren’t there,” she explains simply, and Santana just stares at her, unsure what to say.
After a moment, Brittany crosses her ankles and sinks to the floor next to her. She hooks her arm through Santana’s and leans her head on her shoulder, and Santana closes her eyes, savouring the warmth. “I don’t like it when you’re not there.”
“I know,” Santana gets out past the lump in her throat.
They sit in silence for a while, until Brittany starts to trace patterns over the back of Santana’s hand with the tips of her fingers, and Santana loses the grip on her writing pad because she can’t stop her hand from trembling. It falls to the floor, and Brittany’s eyes settle on it inquisitively, “What’s that?”
Santana tries to shrug, but Brittany’s already reaching for it, and she could never fight Brittany the way she did everyone else. Her eyes scan down the page and after a moment they come up to look at her, and her hand tightens round Santana’s, “Is this a song?”
Santana nods, and looks away, “I think, I...” She trails off and looks back, searching for Brittany’s eyes. “I could sing it to you,” she whispers.
Brittany smiles and nods so Santana swallows to clear her throat and starts to sing quietly. When she’s finished, Brittany’s eyes are shining and Santana looks away, embarrassed. “It’s only a verse and chorus,” she explains, “But it’s what I have so far.”
Brittany bites her lip and looks down, “So are you gonna do what the song says?”
Santana looks away, “Dance in the dark?”
Brittany shakes her head and moves closer. “Make a move,” she whispers like it’s a dare, and then their lips are pressed together, and Brittany’s hand comes up to tangle in her hair, and Santana thinks maybe she should have taken this song writing thing up earlier.
After a moment, Brittany pulls back and rests her forehead against Santana’s. “No more dancing in the dark,” she says sternly, and Santana exhales noisily and nods once.
In the morning, Kurt shakes them awake. Brittany is nestled into Santana’s side, and Santana’s arms are wrapped around her tightly, so Santana just glares at Kurt until he leaves, heading for the girls’ room.
It takes Santana a minute to find the scissors, and then she stands in front of Quinn while Brittany glances nervously backwards and forwards between, as though she’s ready for Santana to snap and lunge at their former best friend at any second.
They’ve known each for a long time, so Santana can see the fear in Quinn’s eyes. She glances sideways at Brittany and then back, and she softens, “I’m not going to cut all your hair off, Quinn, I swear.”
Quinn nods, and Santana is sure she’s remembering that time in the second grade when they all cut out chunks of each other’s hair to make friendship bracelets with, and yeah it might be a little bit creepy thinking back, but they got in so much trouble with their parents that it just ended up being hilarious.
“If she does,” Brittany adds, reaching out a hand for Quinn, “I’ll cut all mine off too so you’re not alone.” Santana can’t help but smile at that, and Quinn’s eyes flicker between them quickly before she smiles at Brittany and then she nods at Santana again. Santana takes a deep breath and steps forward to bring the scissors up.
They walk into the room like they did when they were cheerleaders, Quinn in the middle with Brittany and Santana flanking her, only now it kind of feels like they’re shielding Quinn from everyone else. Everyone goes silent when they enter, and for a second it feels like a year ago when Brittany stole the set list and Santana steps a little bit closer to Quinn and glances past her to Brittany.
“What did you do to your hair?” It’s Finn, of course, and Santana would roll her eyes if she even cared about the revolving door of QuinnFinnRachel, but she got bored with that a long time ago so she narrows her eyes at Finn and bristles at Quinn’s side.
“Quinn got a haircut, what’s it to you?” Santana snaps, and folds her arms over her chest.
Finn glances at Rachel and looks away, and Santana’s grateful that her bitchface still works sometimes, when she needs it to.
Quinn sits down on the floor and Brittany goes to sit next to her immediately. Santana moves away from them and sits on a chair in the corner, where she can keep an eye on everyone.
“I think you should sing your song to everyone. We’d totally win if we could sing your song,” Brittany’s eyes are soft, and her fingers brush against Santana’s wrist as she speaks.
Santana glances down at the writing pad in her lap, and swallows hard. She still hasn’t written anything beyond the first verse and chorus, just endlessly traced over the words again and again until they’re the blackest black against the white of the page. “I don’t know, Britt.”
Brittany leans over to tap her finger against one line that Santana’s doodles have underlined, time to make a move, and when she looks up there’s a challenge in her eyes.
She can’t believe she’s about to go on stage and sing a song that she’s written about being in love with her best friend. She just can’t. At least she doesn’t know anyone in New York so this won’t get back home. Unless Rachel or Quinn start talking. She wonders briefly if she could bribe them somehow, and then pushes the thought away. She’s pretty sure they don’t know what the song is about. Or at least, she hopes they don’t.
They all stand in the wings and watch Rachel and Finn singing, and Santana finds it extremely hard to care. She makes it to the first chorus before she rolls her eyes and steps away from the stage and starts pacing around, trying to force herself to take deep breaths.
She takes another half a dozen steps and then Brittany’s hand is in hers, pulling her into a tight hug. “Just remember to breath.” The blond whispers into her hair, and Santana nods, her arms coming up to clutch at Brittany’s back.
Before she steps away, she stands on her tiptoes and presses her nose into Brittany’s hair, close to her ear, “I wrote the song for you.”
Brittany smiles as they find their places in the wings. “I know,” she mouths, and then the lights come up and they step out in front of the crowd.
Afterwards, Santana’s the last one off the stage and Brittany is waiting for her in the wings, and as everyone runs off ahead of them they grin at each other, breathing hard.
Santana isn’t even sure what she’s saying, but she’s ranting in Spanish and that’s never good, or particularly controlled, and Brittany watches her the whole time with sad eyes. She doesn’t know who’s holding her back or who’s staring at her in horror, but the words keep coming out of her, harsher and harsher, her anger urging her on and twisting her words until she’s not even sure if it’s Spanish anymore, or just a vague collection of sounds.
Brittany bites her lip worriedly and then she’s on her feet moving closer and Santana feels all the fight go out of her at once. She practically deflates into Brittany’s arms, and she lets Brittany walk her out of the silent room with her arms around her, and for a second she allows herself to feel loved.
As soon as they’re out in the hallway, she bursts into hot, angry tears, and sobs into Brittany’s neck, noisily. Brittany holds her in silence, one hand working calming circles into her back, and the other buried in her hair.
“I just wanted to win. We sang my song and I wanted to win.”
Brittany presses a kiss to the side of her head and pulls her closer, “I know, honey, I know.”
On the plane back to Lima, Brittany sits next to her and holds her hand, and it isn’t much but it’s a start.