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Fic: Dreams, Rainbows, and the Idiots Who Chase Them (GLEE)
glee pinkies
dealanexmachina
Title: Dreams, Rainbows, and the Idiots Who Chase Them
Author: dealan311
Word count: ~6700
Rating: PG for language and references to sex
Pairing: Santana/Brittany, references to Brittany/Artie
Spoilers: 2x22- New York
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction - all events and actions are completely made up. Absolutely nothing in this story should be taken as fact. This original work of fan fiction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License; attribution should include a link to this Livejournal post.

Summary: Santana understands the rules of school. Brittany understands the rules of life.

Author's note: Thanks to Lynne, Kait, Ailie and Emma who all looked at this and helped me with it at one point or another.



***

1. Everything needs to have a reason (except when they don't).

Brittany loves going to school.

At home, she only has a baby sister to play with, and babies are kind of boring. They're not half as much fun as the kids in her class who show her all these cool things. Just the other day, Noah and Mike showed her a bunch of worms that are living in the playground, which is kind of gross but also kind of cool how they squiggle around like that. Mike even did this thing with his shoulders that made him look like he has no bones, just like the worms.

Of course out of all of them, Santana is the best. Santana is her bestest, favoritest person in the whole wide world, except for maybe her mom and dad. She shows her the coolest things, like how to blow bubbles bigger than her face and how to braid pretty friendship bracelets, which is way cooler than worms. The fact that she gets to see Santana every day at school is reason enough to love it.

But hands down, the best thing about school? Is the fact that she gets to play pretend all the time. It's practically a rule, because Mrs. McGann always says that every day is a new adventure, and even though she's not sure what an adventure is, Brittany's pretty sure it's another word for fun.

*

Brittany crouches behind the slide and quickly scans the playground for any signs of danger. In the dark, foggy night, shadows creep in the darkness, but with her super awesome night vision, she can see anything. She breathes a sigh of relief when nothing unusual sticks out. The few people wandering the sidewalks show none of the warning signs. Everyone look normal. For now.

"What are you doing?" a voice calls out from above.

Brittany jumps up and puts her fists in the air, pulling back at the last second when she realizes that it's Santana looking down at her from her perch at the top of the slide's ladder.

"I've been looking all over for you," her friend says loudly. "Why are you hiding?"

Brittany's eyes widen at how unaware Santana is of the danger she's in. "Get down!" she hisses, pulling the dark haired girl down and under the slide for protection. "We have to hide!"

Santana scrunches her face in confusion. "From what?"

"Zombies," Brittany whispers. "They're attacking our school. They came with the aliens that landed two nights ago. The aliens were tired of having them on their planet, so they dumped them here, and now they're here to eat our brains."

"There's no such thing as zombies," Santana says firmly. "Or aliens."

And just like that, the magic fades away, and it's just a regular day at recess. The sun shines brightly, and the shouts and laughter of their classmates are depressingly normal.

Brittany sighs. "I know, San. But we're playing pretend."

"Why zombies?"

"Because they're cool, but kind of scary because they eat brains." Brittany growls a little and playfully bites at Santana's head.

Santana giggles as she ducks, leaving Brittany with a mouthful of black curls. "But aliens *and* zombies? That doesn't even make sense."

Brittany makes a face as she pulls Santana's hair from her mouth. "It doesn't have to make sense."

"Everything needs to have a reason, Brittany," she says solemnly.

Brittany frowns in response.

Santana is super smart. She's a lot smarter than Brittany is, because while Brittany understands the important rules - like share everything, don't hit people, and when you go out, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together - she doesn't always get what Mrs. McGann is talking about when she starts writing letters and numbers on the board.

Santana does. She knows everything, like why clouds are in the sky and the names of all kinds of animals and flowers, and she doesn't even get mad when she has to help Brittany out.

But she thinks that maybe Santana might be wrong about this.

"I don't think it does. Not when we're playing pretend. That's what Mrs. McGann told us. Playing pretend means that anything is possible, like your brain is stretchy like gum. But the kind of gum that doesn't get in your hair and stuff, because that would be bad."

Santana rolls her eyes. "Mrs. McGann is dumb."

"No, she's not. She's the teacher. That means she must be right. She wouldn't lie."

"But she might be wrong."

"I don't think she is. Pretend things don't have to make sense. They're not even there. Only real things have to make sense."

Santana pouts her lip out in thought. "Maybe."

Brittany nods in encouragement. "C'mon, San. Just pretend with me! Pleeeeease? It will be fun." She watches her friend think quietly to herself, for like, ages. More and more it's look like she won't want to play, and Brittany sulks in disappointment. "Fine," she says, walking out from under the slide. "We can go do something else."

"Brittany, wait! You can't step there!" Santana cries, pulling her back.

Now it's Brittany's turn to scrunch her face in confusion. "Why?"

"Because," Santana says, "the volcano just erupted and covered it with lava!"

Brittany grins widely and closes her eyes. When she opens them, she sees that the entire playground, from the swings to the jungle gym, is covered with lava with only small pieces of rock that are nearly impossible to jump to.

"Coooooooool." She turns to Santana because Santana always has a plan. "So what do we do? We're kinda trapped here and the zombies are coming once they figure out how to operate the alien spaceship that got left behind."

"We should get over to the swings so we can fly away."

"How?"

"Well, my shoes have...um, wings on them. And the bottoms have super cooling rubber, but I can't stay long or it'll burn away, so I have to walk really fast or jump."

"Oooh, I want a pair of those."

Santana shakes her head. "Can't. These are the only ones in the entire world."

"So you're just going to leave me here?" Brittany asks, suddenly very worried and more than a little hurt.

"Of course not. Jump on my back."

Brittany squeals as she climbs up the ladder and jumps onto her friend's back. Santana holds her legs securely to her and Brittany fastens her grip on Santana's shoulders tightly.

"You're the best, San," she says, mouth close to Santana's ear.

"We're best friends. I'd never leave you behind."

"Pinky swear?" she asks, holding out her finger.

Santana shifts her weight and links their pinkies. "Pinky swear. Now let's go. That Berry girl is looking at us funny. She might be a zombie too."

Santana grips her legs tighter as she barrels past Finn towards the swings, and Brittany giggles as she sticks her hands out like a plane and pretends to fly.

Yup. Kindergarten is the best.

***

2. Being mean is cool (except when it isn't).

Brittany doesn't get middle school. It has all these rules that make no sense.

In grade school, everyone had to be included, even that creepy Jewish kid with the afro. They definitely made a big deal about it when that one kid got into an accident and they were told that he had to be in a wheelchair from now on. They had a whole special class meeting about it and everything. (Puck says that the doctors fixed him by making him part robot. She's not sure if that's true or not, but she doesn't look him straight in the eye in case he has laser eyes that will hypnotize her and make her his slave.) Anyway, the point is, she got to be friends with everyone. Nobody said anything about being cool.

Now it's like the only thing people care about.

As far as she can tell, being cool means that no one messes with you, so she gets why it's important, but she doesn't get how it works, because in order to be cool, you have to be a little mean, and her mom always said you shouldn't hurt people. And how does being mean to other people stop them from being mean back at you?

It's all very confusing.

And there are all these rules about what she can do and how she can dress. Santana says they should wear skirts and dresses and her hair needs to be up from now on. She says it’s because the boys like it better when they wear skirts, which okay, yeah that's true. But the hair thing is because of something to do with impressing the cheerleading coach in high school. Apparently all the popular girls in high school are on the cheerleading squad and they all wear their hair in pony tails. Santana says if they want to be top dogs, they have to start now. They have to be noticed early on to stand out in the crowd.

Brittany doesn't want to be a horse or a dog since she thinks Lord Tubbington might fight with her if she does, but Santana mentioned that she'll get to dance, and Brittany loves dancing, so she does it anyway. Plus, it's important to Santana, and she doesn't want to be left behind.

Things don't get much clearer when they get to high school. She and Santana and the new girl they’ve made friends with, Quinn, all make the cheerleading squad, so that's good, but Coach is really mean and shouts a lot. (Not as much at her because it turns out she's a LOT better at dancing than everyone else, but Coach is really kind of scary with that bullhorn she carries everywhere). Everyone is meaner in high school, and the day that someone slushies Rachel Berry for the first time, Brittany is really glad that Santana forced her to do all that stuff in middle school. Popular kids don't get slushied. They throw the slushies.

The thing is, though? Brittany kinda sucks at being mean. She tries and Santana helps, but she's kind of really terrible at it. She is good at drawing, though, which is why taking a sharpie and decorating the yearbook is one of her favorite mean girl things to do.

*

"My stupid what?" she reads aloud.

The boy turns and yelps in surprise when he sees Brittany hovering over his shoulder. "Oh shit!" He almost falls out of his chair, and Brittany has to smile a little at the way his ears turn red. She thinks he might be one of the new freshman football players.

"You wrote, 'your stupid.' I just learned that two days ago. What's mine that's stupid?" she asks curiously.

"Um. Nothing! Nothing of yours is stupid. The arrow's pointing at Mike, see?" he squeaks. The librarian glares in their direction and shushes them. Brittany looks on as the boy frantically rushes to grab his books and stands up to leave. One of the books flies out of his hands and lands on the ground next to her. It's so amusing how boys get all flustery around her. Her Cheerio uniform is awesome.

"Look, I was just messing around," he explains lamely as she picks it up and hands it back to him. "The guys on football team said I had to do it. Payback for Mike quitting the team before."

"Oh." Brittany shrugs. Makes sense. She looks more closely at the picture and frowns a bit. "Who drew on Santana? She's not going to like that."

"Yeah well, she deserves it," the boy snorts. Brittany raises an eyebrow. "Not that I did it of course!" he says hastily. "But you have to admit, the devil horns are pretty fitting."

Brittany thinks back to all the fun stuff they did in her bedroom the night before. She loves Santana's sweet lady kisses, but last night she did that thing again where she wouldn't let Brittany come for forever, until she was practically crying. "Yeah, she can be kinda evil sometimes," she agrees.

"You won't tell her I said that, will you?" he asks, worriedly.

Brittany smiles. "Promise. It'll be our secret."

The boy sighs in relief and grabs his bags. "Hey, wait," she says before he hurries away. "How come no one's drawn on me?"

"Because!" he calls out over his shoulder. "You're too nice for that!"

The librarian looks really angry now, so Brittany decides to leave too, but the boy's comment sticks with her for the rest of the day.

Not for the first time, Brittany thinks to herself that the rules in high school make no sense.

*

A few days later, Brittany finds a very agitated Santana pacing in the choir room.

"They're dead," she mutters darkly. "They're dead."

Brittany frowns. Uh-oh. Angry Santana is never a good thing. "Who's dead?" she asks calmly, hoping the feeling will spread.

"I don't know yet, but I'm going to find out who did this, and they're gonna pay."

"What's going on, San?"

"This," she spits out angrily, reaching around the piano and pulling open the yearbook to the vandalized Glee picture.

“Oh.” Brittany glances down at the picture and then at Santana, taking in the fury in her glare. Yup, she was right. ”I don't know who drew on your face."

"I don't care that people drew on my face; I'm pissed because someone didn't get the memo and drew on you! I explicitly told all of those meatheads that no one is to mess with you. I'm going to kill whoever did this," she growls, slamming the book closed.

"Wait, don't kill me!" Brittany blurts out. "I don't want to die."

Santana stops in her tracks. "What?"

She looks down and shuffles her feet. "I was the one who drew on myself."

“Why would you do that?"

Brittany tilts her head in surprise. "Because. That's what cool kids do."

"We do not draw on our own faces, Britt-Britt," she huffs.

"But, you always said that being cool means we have to act mean, right?" Santana nods her head and opens her mouth to argue, but Brittany cuts her off. "And Glee isn't cool. You said so yourself."

"Right, but--"

"And we always draw on the unpopular kids' faces," she finishes, secure in her logic.

Santana shakes her head. "But the whole point of being cool is so that no one messes with you."

"Exactly. And no one did."

"But--"

"If being popular means no one messes with you, but being uncool means you get messed with, then that means if you're in Glee, you should draw on yourself. That's the way the rules of high school work, right?"

Brittany watches Santana become speechless in the face of her totally correct and awesome argument. She kinda actually looks like a fish, the way her mouth keeps opening and closing and her eyes keep blinking like that. A really cute fish. With really pretty hair and really nice boobs. After a moment of tension, Santana finally closes her eyes and starts to laugh, and Brittany relaxes.

She smiles as Santana swoops her arm around her waist and pulls her into a hug, breathing laughter into the crook of her neck. She's glad that Santana won't be killing anyone anytime soon. She'd hate to have to visit her in jail.

"You're a little insane, you know that?"

"You're only saying that because I'm right and you don't like losing."

"Yeah, B. You're right."

"Besides," she pouts lightly, "I was feeling left out."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, everyone else had a drawing on them. I don't like it when we don't match."

Santana squeezes Brittany tighter into their hug. "Only you would say that."

"You know, this freshman who was drawing on Mike said no one drew on me because I was nice."

"Well, you are nice."

"But nice people aren't cool."

"You can be the exception."

"I can?"

"Yeah. Just don't be too nice to everyone, okay, B? Some people really deserve it."

"Okay."

For the record, Brittany still doesn't get how that works, but if Santana says it's okay and she won’t get slushied for it, then it must be true. It'll be nice not to have to be mean all the time. Maybe high school won't be so bad after all.

***

3. Dreams are stupid and irrelevant (except when they aren't).

Brittany doesn’t know why people worry about the future all the time.

Everyone keeps telling her that she needs to start thinking about her future. Which is silly, really because she thinks about the future all the time. Like how many packets of Skittles she can sneak without Coach finding out (so far her record is seventeen), and what she wants for her birthday this year (a pet koala, because a puppy might fight with her cats, and a penguin might be EATEN by her cats, but she's pretty sure koalas and cats won't fight because koalas are bigger than cats, but they eat trees.).

But anytime she tries to talk about the future, they always say she's not doing it right. They keep saying she’s not concentrating hard enough on her grades- although she doesn’t know how algebra is going to help her become a dancer- and that she’s not reaching far enough, even though she’s totally more flexible than most of the people she meets. She's probably the most flexible person she knows, including Mike.

She tries really hard, but everyone always says she keeps doing it wrong. And that’s why the day that Mr. Ryan comes to Glee, she doesn’t know what to put when he asks them to write down their dreams on a pieces of paper.

Not that it matters much. Mr. Ryan doesn’t seem to think that dreams are worth much anyway.

*

"San, what did he mean that our dreams won't come true?"

"He meant that dreams are basically silly things that don't matter. He's kind of right. Everyone in this damn club thinks they're going to make it in Hollywood or Broadway, which, whatever. Not everyone is gonna grow up to be a rockstar. Dreams are nice and all, but it's better to have goals."

Santana shrugs like it’s no big deal, but Brittany can tell that she’s a little bothered by what just happened in the choir room. "What's the difference?" she asks lightly.

"Well, goals are realistic. You can complete them. They're concrete."

"They're roads?"

"No, I mean, they're real, and you can have a plan to work it out so that you can get to that goal."

"Like my perfect record?"

"Exactly. Goals are like us winning Nationals this year or Mr. Schue buying every sweater vest in the state of Ohio. They're probably going to happen if you work hard enough. Dreams are things that you want to happen but might not come true no matter what you do. Sometimes they don't even make sense, but you want it so badly you delude yourself into thinking it's a real possibility."

"So it doesn't have to make sense to anyone?"

"Well it has to make sense to you."

"Oh okay. But it's okay to have dreams?"

"Yeah, Britt. It's okay to have dreams. Just have goals too, okay?"

“Definitely.”

*

The more Brittany thinks about it, though, the harder it is to come up with a dream.

She tried asking advice from her parents and uncle at dinner, but they weren’t much help. Her uncle just kept rambling on and on about how she should shoot for her dreams, but that isn't nice. Who would want to shoot at dreams? He's probably not the best person ask, now that she thinks about it. Uncle Jon is a nice guy, but whenever he talks about not wasting the opportunities she has, he keeps mentioning carp.

She doesn't really get what seizing the fish has anything to do with it.

*

The answer dawns on her one night in the dark, perhaps influenced by the sleepy haze of post-orgasm bliss she’s experiencing.

"Santana," she whispers, prodding her in the ribs slightly.

"What?" Santana mumbles, already half asleep with her head buried in her pillow.

"I figured out what I want my dream to be."

"Wonderful. Go back to bed and get back to your dream."

"No, not that dream. My big dream. You know, the one that Mr. Ryan said that everyone has."

Santana exhales loudly and turns to look at her. "Okay, what is it?"

"I want everyone to be happy, like the way those deaf kids sang it."

"Britt, that's not the kind of dream he was talking about. Everyone wants that. World peace and all that shit. He meant something you want for yourself, and not like some stranger down the street."

Brittany frowns. "Okay."

"Okay great. Go back to sleep," she says flopping back into her pillow.

But soon an idea wiggles in the back of her mind like worm, demanding to be voiced, so Brittany pokes Santana in the ribs again. "San."

"WHAT?"

"Can my dream be that your dream comes true?"

"Britt, it doesn't work that way."

"Why not? You said that dreams had to be something that you want but might not come true. I already know I’m going to be a dancer. So that’s not a dream, that’s a goal."

"Yeah--"

"And you said dreams don’t have to make sense to anyone but me. Well, this is what I want, and it totally makes sense to me."

A comfortable silence settles around them, and a yawn escapes her lips. A drowsy feeling starts to creep into her limbs. Great sex always makes her sleepy.

"You have one dream, and you choose it base it on me?" Santana asks quietly.

"Well, yeah. You’re my best friend,” she says sleepily. “I go where you go. We're always gonna be together, so as long as you're happy, I'm happy. That's the way it works, right?"

She looks up at Santana for confirmation but the shadows hide her face. Her eyes are glittering in the dark, though. Brittany doesn’t know why.

“Right,” Santana finally breathes, and Brittany snuggles happily into Santana’s side.

“Sweet dreams,” she manages to say before sleep swallows her whole.


***

4. You should only believe in things you can see (except when you can’t).

Sometimes Brittany doesn’t know what to believe. It’s kinda hard to tell whom she should trust when people tell her different things.

Take religion, for example. It says in the Bible that God created the world in seven days, but in school, she learned about explosions and monkeys, and even though Darwin was killed by a sting ray and all, she's pretty sure that they wouldn't be studying his stuff unless he wasn't totally right about animals.

Sometimes she thinks that maybe she’s not getting it because people are talking in metaphors. (Rachel says those are important.) Like she knows that babies come from sex, but she also knows that her parents wouldn't lie to her, so she thinks that maybe when they told her storks bring babies, they meant that it's sort of like the Angel Gabriel coming down to announce a baby’s arrival. A sign of things to come, like those birds they drop down caves and stuff.

Or maybe storks really are angels in disguise. They both have wings, after all.

It makes her wonder if things can be more than one thing, if they can be two things at once.

But most of all, it makes her wonder if maybe things are happening all around her, and she just can’t see it.

*

“Brittany. Why are there dolls staring at me from your bookshelf?”

Santana’s question doesn’t register until the soothing strokes on her scalp stop, fingers halted midway, still threaded in her hair. Brittany lifts her head from Santana’s chest and glances over at the Barbie dolls sitting on her shelf.

“Oh! I thought they might be lonely, so I brought them out to play last night.”

Santana shudders underneath her. “It's creepy.”

“I can turn them around if you want. Or make them promise not to watch.”

Santana rolls her eyes. “You're seriously killing my post-orgasm buzz right now.”

“Why? If I tell them not to, they won’t look.”

“No,” she replies, sliding Brittany off her body as she sits up in bed. “You know it creeps me out when you talk about them like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like you actually believe that toys come to life. I knew I shouldn't have given you that DVD for Christmas.”

“But Toy Story 3 was a good movie!” Brittany insists.

“Yeah, but ever since then you've been acting all strange.”

Santana looks at her with that expression on her face, the one where she does that thing with her eyebrows that her mom says will give her wrinkles. It’s a look that Brittany has come to dread.

Lately she and Santana haven’t been the way they used to. It's not just the fact that she has a boyfriend now. They used to be on the same wavelength, but these days it’s like hot and cold with her. One moment it’s like being in a nice bath, comfortable and warm, and then suddenly, without warning, Santana will get mad and it feels like a cold bucket of ice water has been splashed in her face. Whenever Santana has the look she has on right now, Brittany braces herself for impact.

“I’ve always been a little weird. You used to like it.”

“That’s not what I mean and you know it,” Santana snaps. “Ever since you've been dating that handicapped parking pass, it's like you're another person. You're playing with dolls, believing in magic combs--"

"I thought it was magic like rabbit feet!"

"-- and suddenly you believe in Santa again when I know you stopped believing in him that year we found the bike in your garage two weeks before Christmas. He's not real. You know he's not real.”

Brittany sits quietly, as Santana waits expectantly for a response.

“Did you know Santa Claus was a real person?” she finally offers up. “I looked it up in a book. He's a saint named Nicholas, which is why the song's called Old Saint Nick.”

“That was a long time ago.”

“Yeah, but Jesus lived a long time ago too. So maybe the Santa suit is like when God talks through church clothes and stuff.”

“That’s not the same thing, Britt.”

“Well, how do you know?”

“Because, Santa is something that's made up for kids. No one really believes in it.”

“But Kurt doesn’t believe in God. Does that mean God isn’t real?”

Santana shakes her head in frustration. “Wait, why are we even talking about religion? This is about you acting like a little kid when you know better.”

“Maybe I was wrong.” Brittany plays idly with the frayed hole in her comforter. “I don’t see what the big deal is. What’s wrong with believing in the possibility that it might be real when it’s not hurting anyone? When it actually makes someone act really nice and give walking machines for the boyfriends of their best friends?” she finishes with a pointed look.

Santana throws her hands up in denial. “That wasn’t me.”

“Your dad is a doctor, Santana, and he’s the kind that does operations. You might not have bought it, but I know you had something to do with it. I know you helped Santa find the right machine.”

Santana looks away too quickly for Brittany to read her reaction, so she can’t tell if the guess she just made was true or not.

An awkward silence settles between them. Those have been happening a lot more these days. Brittany doesn’t like it. Normally she would fix it with a link of her pinkie, but she doesn’t think that will work right now.

So instead she reaches over and starts to trace light patterns on the inside of Santana’s wrist with her fingertips.

“Just because we can’t see it or touch it doesn’t mean it isn’t real,” she says softly.

Santana exhales in resignation. “Okay fine,” she replies, “but you’re a year from graduating from high school. You can’t keep playing with toys, and you can’t take them with you to college. Even Andy gave up his toys in the end, remember?”

“But who do I give it to? I can’t give it to my sister. She’s given up on Barbies because she says they’re not cool anymore.”

Santana taps her chin in thought. “Why don’t you give it to my cousin, Carmen?" she suggests finally. "She has a daughter who’s five who would love to have your dolls and she'd take good care of them.”

“Can I play with her and introduce them to her like Andy did with Bonnie?”

Santana cracks a genuine smile, and Brittany feels a weight lift in her chest. “Absolutely. I’ll call Carmen later tonight and arrange a time for you to meet.”

Santana doesn’t believe in Santa. She doesn’t believe that dolls come to life, and Brittany’s pretty sure that she doesn’t really think about God too much either. But Santana is willing to believe Brittany as much as Brittany believes her, and maybe that’s enough to get them through the day.

***

5. Sex isn’t dating (except when it is).

Brittany is not the smartest person in the world.

She knows that. She’s not like her mom who works with astronauts or her dad who has a photogenic memory. There are lots of things she gets mixed up and even more that she forgets. She still has a lot to learn about the world.

But she knows the important things that most people forget:

Believe in things you can’t see.

Dreams are never irrelevant.

Being kind is better than being mean.

Not everything has to have a reason.

Especially when the thing in question has to do with love.

*

The late setting sun paints the skies in stripes of red and orange that are perfect for their 4th of July barbeque.

Although Santana and Quinn are the ones who have pools, they all agree to have the party at Finn and Kurt’s house, mostly because Mr. Hummel cooks an awesome hamburger and their backyard has open space to play around in.

Kurt clearly was in charge of the decorations, judging by the dainty lights that are strung above one corner of the yard marking a makeshift dance floor, and Brittany spends most of the party whirling around with Mike and Tina, sometimes even pulling Santana into the mix.

By the time the sun dips below the horizon, pretty much everyone is dancing, except for Puck and Sam, who are throwing the football around, and Quinn, whom Brittany spies out of the corner of her eye, sitting by herself on the garden swing seat.

Brittany twirls her way out of the dancing crowd and plops down next to Quinn, breathless and grinning.

“Too much dancing?” Quinn asks with an amused smile.

“No such thing,” she insists, shaking her head firmly. “I just want to catch my breath before I drag you to the dance floor too.”

“No thanks, I’m fine right here.”

“C'moooooooon, Quinn,” she whines. “Even Finn is dancing.”

Which is kinda true. She’s not really sure if what Finn is doing counts as dancing, but at least he’s having fun. Santana lets loose a glorious laugh at his poor attempts, and a warm feeling of contentment fills Brittany’s chest. She can’t help but beam at the pure joy in Santana’s laughter.

“What’s the deal with you and Santana?”

Brittany looks at her quizzically, tearing her eyes away from the scene in front of her.

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t tell if you’re together or not. Are you two sleeping together?”

“Sex isn’t dating.” The answer is immediate, like a reflex. “But no, we’re not,” she adds for good measure.

“Are you dating?”

Brittany hesitates and considers how much she should say.

“I won’t tell, Britt,” Quinn says reassuringly. “I just want to know.”

“Why? Because if this is going to turn out like Santana’s summer surgery with you blabbing secrets out to hurt her so you can be popular again…” Brittany trails off. Quinn never did apologize for that, and Santana was really hurt. She doesn’t want to make the same mistake.

Quinn bristles at her comment. “Things are different now. We’re not on the Cheerios anymore and…”

A shriek in the distance grabs their attention, and Brittany watches Quinn’s face as Puck and Sam break up the dancing, tearing into their friends with water guns. Rachel screeches in protest, Kurt keeps shouting about the lights, and Santana starts cursing in Spanish as she runs towards the side of the house.

“I just want my friends to be happy,” she says distantly.

Brittany giggles to herself when Santana appears again, pulling on a garden hose and spraying the boys in retaliation. “We are happy.”

“Really? Because it doesn’t look like it." It doesn’t sound like the accusation it is. Brittany waits for Quinn to explain. "Everyone looks at you two and thinks that everything is okay. But I’ve known you longer. Better. I see the way you look at her.”

Brittany shifts uncomfortably. “We’re best friends.”

“But you want it to be more,” Quinn finishes plainly. Brittany stares at her like maybe she might be a psychotic and can read minds the way Rachel claims she can, but Quinn just shrugs as if it’s common knowledge.

“Why do you stay with her when all she does is hurt you?” Quinn asks suddenly.

Brittany never thought about it like that. She knows Santana has hurt her, but she hurt Santana too. The look on her face when she chose Artie is something she can never forget. It’s something she wishes she could do over, go back in time like in Harry Potter. She'd chase after Santana and tell her that she picks her instead, that it was always her.

But she can’t, so she does the best she can to undo what she did.

“I just do,” she finally says, not knowing what else to say.

Quinn looks at her like that’s not a good enough answer, but it’s the best thing she’s got. She loves Santana. She doesn’t know how else to explain it, because that should be enough.

Santana bounds up to them, pulling the conversation to a stop by grabbing both their hands.

“Come on,” she orders, dragging them into the house. “It’s Cheerios versus football players, and Hummel says that there are some balloons somewhere in his basement. Those pinheads actually think they can win.”

In the end, the combination of Quinn, Brittany, Santana, Mercedes, Kurt (plus Blaine), and the training they’ve had at the hands of Coach Sylvester proves to be too much for the rest of them who have foolishly taken sides with the football players.

They emerge victorious, and it’s almost as good a feeling as winning Nationals last year, only Brittany doesn’t get pantsed this time. Maybe that was what was missing.

*

By the time the fireworks are set off, they’re all mostly dry, but Brittany’s shirt is still a little damp when she climbs into Santana’s car and her shoes squish with every step. As Santana peels out of the driveway, Brittany eyes Santana’s hand across the console, and her hand itches to reach over and hold it.

Instead, she rolls down the window and sticks her hand out. The cool air streams through her fingers as Santana drives them home, and she thinks about Quinn’s questions again.

Santana always said that sex isn’t dating, and in the beginning, Brittany believed her. For a while, she was convinced that the whole “sex is dating” was something that only existed in the movies like unicorns and magic, because the movies tell you sex is dating all the time, but Quinn dated Finn and never had sex with him, and she had sex with Puck but never dated him. And Santana slept with Finn but didn’t date him but Finn dated Rachel and didn’t have sex with her. So it couldn’t be true.

But then there’s Mike and Tina who are totally having sex and are dating and are so in love, she's sure they're going to marry each other one day. Puck brags about having sex with Lauren all the time. And while she and Artie were going out, they had sex.

So she figures maybe the couple just decides when sex is or isn’t dating. Or maybe sex isn’t dating only when it involves Finn.

She knows without a shred of doubt in her mind that she wants sex to be dating with Santana.

She knows because there were times when she was having sex with Santana that she felt like they are dating. There were times that she wasn’t having sex with Santana that she felt like they were dating.

She knows because there were times when she was dating Artie but she would have sex with Santana, and technically she knew it was cheating, but it never felt like it because being physical with each other was just something they always did. Because Santana had her first, and best friends get to do things other people can’t. It didn’t count because they’re both girls. It was like when they used to make out in front of boys for free dinners. It was just a best friends thing.

It was only when Santana wanted to date Brittany that she stopped having sex with her, because she didn’t want to cheat on Artie.

And she knows that even though Santana says she loves Brittany but wouldn’t go to prom with her, even though they aren’t dating, they aren’t having sex, they aren’t even kissing, she knows Santana wants to do all those things too.

So she waits until Santana’s ready to make her move.

And yeah, people might she's dreaming, that she's an idiot for sticking around for the off chance that Santana might kiss her in broad daylight like she means it, but she knows Santana better than anyone else.

Because Santana was wrong when she said she was a lizard. She knows Santana loves her, because she can feel it, even though Santana tries to hide it, and it is more real than anything she’s ever known.

And she knows that more than anything, Santana isn't afraid of being gay, of being different, or even afraid of all her feelings for Brittany.

She's afraid of what people will say because she’s afraid of being left behind.

Santana's forgotten the first thing they learned in Ms. McGann's class all those years ago: when you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. That they promised never to leave each other behind.

But it's okay. Because Brittany remembers enough for both of them. And that’s how she knows they’re going to be all right in the end.

Santana pulls up to her house and kills the engine. She turns to Brittany with a nervous smile. Her gaze drifts from Brittany’s eyes to her lips, and it feels a little like the end of the first date she ever had, with Todd Wilkinson in the seventh grade when he walked her home and wasn’t sure if he should kiss her goodnight or not.

Taking pity on Santana, she links their pinkies together with a calm smile and leans over to kiss her on the cheek, but Santana moves at the last second and her lips catch the corner of Santana’s mouth.

Brittany lets her pinkie slip out of Santana’s grasp and cups her face with both hands. She kisses her again, this time with purpose and deliberately on the mouth, nipping at her top lip. Santana’s eyes flutter closed as the tips of their noses brush slightly, but before she can deepen the kiss, Brittany catches herself and pulls away reluctantly.

“Sorry,” she says breathlessly. “I couldn’t help myself.” She traces Santana’s cheek gently before gathering her bag and climbing out of the car. “Goodnight, Santana.”

As she walks towards her house, she thinks quietly to herself about how she’s willing to wait until Santana is ready for sex to be dating.

That doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a kiss or two here and there in the meantime.

After all, there aren’t any rules about kissing.


[finis.]

  • 1
Reading it all together makes it so much better. This is wonderful.

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