Author: Misty Flores
Teaser: It’s not just a pair of glasses that keeps Brittany S. Pierce from noticing that her hapless best friend and colleague is actually the superhero of her dreams.
Genre: Glee, Brittany/Santana
Prompt: Brittany keeps falling off buildings.
Rating: T for now, M eventually
Wordcount: Aproximately 7000 for this chapter
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three
Chapter Four. Kryptonite
There are two things that immediately pop into Santana’s head when she finally meets the infamous Sebastian Smythe face-to-face.One: For a person with a highly attuned sense of smell, the amount of cologne that he’s currently drenched himself in is enough to make that person choke.
Two: If a cartoon version of Sebastian was ever drawn, it would resemble a weasel.A third observation comes immediately afterwards, when Sebastian rakes his eyes up and down her body in an actual leer that’s highly inappropriate and more than a little disturbing considering who it’s coming from:
For a gay playboy, he’s awfully interested in her breasts.
Maybe he’s just jealous.
With a firm and confident handshake, he lets the touch linger as he finally focuses on her face. “You’re right, Ms. Lopez,” he answers easily. “I don’t believe we have met.” The smile on his face reveals teeth that are almost blindingly white. “Care to tell me why we’re meeting now, Four Eyes?”
Oh, he’s bitchy.
Santana has to bite her lip to keep from laughing. Bitchy she can do. Bitchy comes way too easily, especially when she’s not dressed in spandex.
“Oh, I couldn’t help myself,” she drawls, drawing her hand back and squaring her shoulders. “Considering that absolutely fabulous wisdom you were spewing just now. I’m surprised Gloria Steinem hasn’t personally reached out to you and offered you a place in her Think Tank.”
The dapper men around him all murmur, caught between little scoffs and laughter. It’s a direct challenge, and she can tell that Sebastian Smythe doesn’t know whether to lower himself to engage himself or squash her like the girl bug that she is.
In the end, his pride wins out. The grin on his face widens to Cheshire Cat proportion. He actually lifts his hands and smoothes it against his shellacked hair like he’s some 90’s sitcom villain.
“Well I’m honored, Ms. Lopez, that you were eavesdropping in a conversation and felt compelled to interrupt it just to tell me that.”
He’s trying to paint her as pathetic. His friends hoot, smirking at her and snapping their jaws like a pack of over-dressed hyenas. Santana only just resist rolling her eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry? Was this a conversation?” she asks, pretending to look horrifyingly apologetic. “I could have sworn I saw a soap box.”
The confident smile stalls, but to his credit, just barely. “Everyone is allowed to have opinions, Ms. Lopez. For example,” he continues in a conversational tone, waving his hand toward her dress. “I’m allowed to think that that dress makes you look like an over-the-hill, sausage tucked Demi Lovato.” His eyes sparkle. “With inflated boobs.”
It’s a cheap and easy insult. Santana isn’t impressed. “And I’m allowed to think that your obsession with my tits is some inverted form of Penis Envy,” she tosses back just as sweetly.
There’s a very audible guffaw, and though Sebastian’s confident smile does not waver, he does seem to miss the humor of it. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“Santana Lopez,” she repeats, and decides to take the mask off, at least metaphorically. From her cleavage, she pulls a business card. It’s creepy that he follows the movement with as much interest as he does. “Reporter for the Daily Planet.”
He takes the card, studies it. “Ah,” he exclaims, clicking the white card against his teeth. “Now I know why the name is familiar. Wasn’t your last piece about a cat show?” He arches a disdainful brow. “Riveting work.”
“I can imagine why you’d think so,” she replies just as easily.
“And what on earth do you think I have in common with a bunch of whiny, bratty feline bitches, Ms. Lopez?” he says, before he immediately blanches at the easy joke he’s set up for himself and lifts up his arm, waving off his friends. “Wait, stop. I take that one back…” It doesn’t seem to come and he panics. “Something about your boobs!”
Santana shakes her head, an unwilling smirk floating onto her lips. “Really?”
“I’ve had more than a drink or two,” he admits, flushing. “Just give me a minute, and I can get my mojo back.”
“How about I buy you a drink and we continue this in private without your boytoy audience?” she asks instead, arching a brow to his band of minions who are watching this conversation like they’re at the US Open.
“Don’t swing that way,” he answers, with enough bitchy confidence to make any gay boy proud. “But flattered.”
“Not into dick,” she snaps. “But no problem.”
It takes a moment for that to settle in, but when it does, she’s rewarded with a smile that seems just a little softer than the others she’s received. “Well in this group, you’d be the only one,” he answers and suddenly glances at the stage. “It appears I’m being summoned. It was a pleasure, Ms. Lopez.”
Santana hates that it kinda was.
She lets him go, eyes following him as he heads with his entourage through the ballroom and toward the stage, just as Mercedes introduces him as ‘Sebastian Smythe and the Warblers’.
At least he kept her card.
She’s tapped on the shoulder.
Santana inhales, and knows immediately from the familiar scent who it is who has somehow managed to sneak up behind her.
Santana’s chest goes tight as she turns to discover her work colleague in the slinkiest, sexiest ball gown Santana has ever seen. Brittany’s dress frames her curvy body in such a way it leaves nearly nothing to the imagination and yet somehow accentuates her beauty like a bold ribbon on a present.
A present that Santana would very much like to unwrap.
Santana has never had much patience for Christmas wrapping.
Brittany, who has been standing in front of her gaping stupid ass this entire time, seems to think it’s hilarious. “Who are you and what have you done with my date?” she jokes with a twinkle in her eye and a smile playing at her lips.
God Damn. Santana tries to respond. Really, she does.
She goes stupid instead.
The thing is, Santana is gay. She’s as gay as a gay female alien can be, and she’s also a little bit in love with this human woman, who has that hour glass figure that Santana never will and finds so very attractive, along with crystal blue eyes that without any ounce of effort, seem to shine brighter than any diamonds.
Santana has had encounters with kryptonite before. Chloe, the crazy freak that she is, insisted on it. Over and over again she’s said that Santana’s only weakness needs to be controlled. She's also developed this insane theory that repeated exposure will lessen the effects, like some sort of flu shot.
Eventually, Chloe hopes it will make Santana immune.
Santana gets it, she does. Chloe only has her best interests at heart. But Santana fucking HATES those sessions. She can’t stand how a little rock can suck the strength right out of her. It brings her to her knees, paralyzes her, and the pain... fuck she's being poisoned from the inside out. Never has Santana been so frightened as when that familiar feeling takes her over and leaves her completely at the mercy of whatever person is holding the meteorite.
Santana is Superwoman. Superwoman is supposed to be a bad ass. She should be at no one's mercy.
But right now Brittany may as well be holding that stupid green rock.
Brittany's a human and she’s flawed. She lives in a different world than the rest of the Metropolis, maybe than the rest of the world. She’s flirtatious and oblivious and brave and a little bit selfish.
She's manipulative, but she isn't malicious about it.
With just a smile, she can strike Santana breathless and bring her to her very knees.
And God-damn it, she does.
“Woah!” Brittany yelps when Santana loses her strength. She's caught hold of her, a picture of concern. “Santana!”
Brittany’s strong. It’s silly that that’s the first thing that comes to mind when the other woman keeps her against her, arms locked around her waist, making sure she’s stable, but it is.
For a human woman, Brittany’s pretty damn strong.
It’s fucking sexy.
“Sorry,” Santana says, and it’s nearly all she can manage. “I tripped.”
Because that’s what Santana does when she’s around Brittany Pierce. It doesn’t matter if she’s in a red dress meant to kill, or wearing a perfectly made up face. When she’s around Brittany… she’s this… idiot.
When she finally gets the nerve to look up, Brittany's expression is a mixture of disbelief and actual amusement. “Did you just trip on your own feet?” There’s laughter at the back of her throat.
It’s mortifying, but it’s better than Santana trying to explain that Brittany and all her sexiness made her alien ass literally swoon. “It happens."
Brittany’s brow goes up, nearly disappearing into her perfectly coifed hair until she lets out a happy giggle that feels like a relief.
The music blares up in a crescendo, and Santana uses it to regain her sanity. With a smile, she pushes herself up and out of Brittany’s distracting embrace. “Thanks for catching me.”
That gorgeous smile widens. “It’s kind of my thing,” she quips, and fuck, it makes Santana’s heart ache.
It’s not. It’s actually Superwoman’s thing, and it’s also a very telling reminder that that’s not who Santana is to this woman. “Guess it is,” she mumbles.
Maybe Brittany senses her sadness. Her smile fades, and she blinks, as if unsure what caused the shift.
Desperate for some kind of relief from her own weakness and emotion, Santana looks toward the stage to Sebastian Smythe: Bigot Playboy, and his dancing Warblers.
It’s disappointing that they’re actually talented. Their harmonies are right on, and there is something to be said for those matching ties and thrusting hips. Their version of ‘Hollywood’ by Michael Buble has been given an arrangement that actually improves it.
“Is that Sebastian Smythe?” Brittany asks, suddenly much closer than she was a moment ago. The words push breath directly in her ear, tickling already sensitive skin and sending a shudder through Santana’s body. Santana’s eyes flutter closed at the contact, but she takes in a breath that she honestly shouldn’t need, and nods carefully.
“The Asshole himself.”
Brittany shifts, seems to actually move even closer, and watches the performance. “He’s good,” she says after a moment, with an insecurity that Santana isn’t used to hearing from the cocky reporter.
It’s only then that she remembers her extremely idiotic behavior when it came to Brittany’s own stellar performance.
“He doesn’t hold a candle to you,” she says honestly, and forces a happy, admiring grin on her face as she turns back to her friend. “Seriously, you were amazing.”
Brittany flushes, and it’s adorable. “You’re just saying that.”
“Have you ever known me to just say anything?”
“Good point,” Brittany admits, and flashes a pretty smile that is much more reminiscent of her Brittany. And that’s good. Santana needs that. She needs to remember exactly who they are, instead of who she wants them to be.
“I had no idea you could do more in heels than pitch yourself off of rooftops,” she finds herself teasing.
It’s a good move. Brittany’s smile widens. “Well then we’re even,” she answers softly. “Because I had no idea you could find a dress that fits.” There’s no mistaking her appreciation. Brittany has never been anything less of an open book, but the way her eyes seem to drag along Santana’s figure, from the four inch heels to the bold red dress with the slit on the side…
It’s not helping with Santana’s weak knees or her painfully ignored libido.
Santana knows she looks good. She’s gorgeous. Superwoman is fucking hot and so is Santana Lopez, at least when she’s not playing at being a mild-mannered reporter with cunning wit. And even then, she’s gotten her fair share of attention because this mild-manner reporter still has a killer rack.
But the way Brittany is looking at her…
It feels like the beginning of something, and that’s dangerous.
It makes Santana want to bargain with herself. Just like she plays a part at Superwoman, what’s wrong with putting on another mask? What’s wrong with pretending, just for tonight, that Brittany’s just any other girl? If she can pretend, then she can forget, and if she can forget… then Santana can turn on some of that college player charm and seduce that dress off that woman.
That’s the whole point of tonight, isn’t it? It’s the point of the dress and the cleavage and the slit in the dress that shows the sliver of toned, tan thigh.
She wants to seduce Brittany, to force her to take her stupid metaphorical glasses off and SEE Santana for the bombshell she could be.
That’s the damn point.
Santana is a professional pretender. She fights against her true self all the time.
But maybe that’s the problem.
Maybe she’s just tired of fighting.
Maybe she doesn’t want to pretend with Brittany.
Maybe she just doesn’t want to wear another mask.
Santana swallows away the cheap, empty feeling. “I guess there’s a lot we don’t know about each other, Britt.”
Blue eyes stare at her.
Someone jostles her, bumping up against her shoulder and nearly upsetting Brittany’s drink. The angry retort that’s already on her lips is swallowed when she realizes that the intruder is none other than Quinn Fabray. She doesn’t stop, but she does linger. She catches Santana’s eyes meaningfully and squeezes hard against her elbow as she apologizes prettily before moving further into the crowd currently appreciating the Warblers’ performance.
It’s impossible not to understand what has just happened.
It’s Quinn, in her own way, knocking some sense into her… literally.
Be careful, Santana remembers, as she turns her head and watches her friend disappear.
“I’m beginning to realize that.” Brittany says. Santana sucks in a haggard breath, turns back. The smile on the other woman’s face has faded; the sparkle in her eyes has dimmed. “You look…” Brittany sighs as she seems to take her in, oddly losing strength in her words. “…really amazing, Santana. I almost didn’t recognize you.”
The words rush out of Brittany’s lips in a harried breath, like she can’t quite believe it, and maybe she can’t. Brittany is used to seeing Santana a certain way – sexless, loyal… a friend and a partner.
One night in a beautiful dress shouldn’t change that, no matter what Chloe thinks. No matter what Santana wants.
Brittany’s looking at her now like she doesn’t know her, and she doesn’t look pleased about it.
Her heart feels heavy, but Santana makes certain that her smile doesn’t show it. “Thanks,” she answers carefully, and then nods back toward the stage. “So I already introduced myself to Sebastian Smythe.”
Brittany’s shocked. “Wait, Really?”
It should be insulting that Brittany’s so surprised. “Yeah. I had some time to kill while I was waiting for you and… well, that’s why I’m here, isn’t it?”
She’s here as her colleague. Her work partner. She’s here because Brittany’s date cancelled.
Brittany’s kind though. She could tease, offer a ‘Damn Straight’ or ‘Duh’ – a typical Reporter Brittany response. Instead, her friend’s bright smile fades once again, and she offers instead a nervous frown that wouldn’t be adorable if it weren’t for the way she’s chewing on her lower lip and says something that absolutely floors her. “You know that’s not the only reason, right?”
Santana doesn’t really know what she can say to that.
Mercedes’ words continue to ring in her head, and Brittany kind of hates her for it. Had Mercedes not been so blunt, Brittany could have handled this. She could have approached Santana and ignored the figure-hugging dress, the red kissable lips, the long lashes that shine behind those glasses and it would just be Santana: beautiful, clumsy Santana that she knows so very well, loyal and a little cowardly but also so very brave and a little mean in her own special way.
Backstage Brittany had a sense of perspective. Out here? Out here it’s confusing. Santana smells so good right now, and she’s making Brittany breathless just by standing there. The things Santana normally does that just make Brittany smile at how adorable she is now make her kind of want to swoon and it’s not FAIR.
Brittany doesn’t need this right now.
Santana is the person who Brittany thinks may be destined to be her best friend. She’s the one who sticks pills in Lord Tubbington’s ass and calls Brittany a partner. She makes Brittany feel like a genius.
She doesn’t want to look at Santana and actually ACHE at her beauty. She doesn’t want to feel so stupid that she somehow didn’t see it before. She doesn’t want to look at someone like Quinn Fabray and feel jealous and insecure because of how Santana’s looking back at Quinn.
That’s not how they work. That’s not how THIS works.
Even Santana seems to see it, because she’s trying to talk to Brittany about work and instead all Brittany can think of is that Santana thinks Brittany only brought her here as a last resort and she’s only here to work and it’s…
Quinn Fabray is right there, giving Santana these big doe eyes that may as well say ‘Fuck Me In the Coat Closet’ –
And now she really wants to fuck Santana in a coat closet.
And Brittany’s really, really wet over it. She’s getting even wetter because Santana’s dress shows a lot of cleavage and there are perfect boobs that need to be worshiped and –
God, Mercedes ruined EVERYTHING.
“Who are you right now?” she blurts to herself, and it’s completely the wrong thing to say. Santana stares at her like she’s gone and grown a second head, and then she looks like Brittany’s made her feel like shit, and so Brittany feels like shit and it just sucks. “Sorry,” she breathes as quick as she can, lunging forward so she can grab hold of Santana before she can flee. “I’m not used to…” she doesn’t know how to even begin to explain it. This feels like when she’s writing a story, but she can’t find the words. Her tongue feels thick and her fingers ache for her Silly Putty. “You know you’re different… right?”
Santana’s dark brown eyes take her in, absorbing that statement. She finally smiles, but it looks almost bittersweet. Her fingers squeeze carefully back. “I’m exactly the same person that I’ve always been, Britt-Britt.”
And she is. She totally is. Santana is still the same kind, acid-tongued reporter she knows. She sees it in her eyes.
Yes it’s Santana.
But the way she’s making her feel…
Santana’s thumb strokes against her wrist, soft and reassuring.
A jolt springs that makes Brittany’s breath catch and her toes tingle. Her heart pounds. It feels so achingly familiar. It’s almost like-
She stops herself, dizzy with her thoughts. Stupid, she reminds herself. That’s stupid. “I’m glad,” she answers, stronger and jollier in her tone.
“So don't go higher for desire,” Sebastian voice floats above the room, filling it with his catchy tune. “Put it in your head, baby, Hollywood is dead, you can find it in yourself.”
Santana is distracted again, glancing back toward the Bigoted Weiner and his Gay Chorus. Brittany’s a little unsettled to notice that he actually looks back, catching Santana’s eye with a grin and a wink.
And God, really? It’s bad enough that she has to worry about closeted debutante lesbians, but now Santana’s got out gay playboys flirting with her too?
“I think Sebastian likes you,” she muses, and finds herself less than pleased with the thought.
“Sebastian is gay,” Santana tells her, which is common knowledge so… duh. Brittany resists the urge to roll her eyes.
“Not everything is about sex,” she says, even though she’s totally thinking about sex right now.
Her cheeks burn, but she forces her gaze to stay on Sebastian as Santana suddenly looks at her, studying her closely.
“I guess,” she hears after a moment. Brittany’s jaw ticks, uneasy until she feels Santana turn back toward the stage. The song finishes; the crowd erupts in applause. “Anyway, I think we have a chance of scoring an interview if I keep working him.”
She can feel Santana drifting, ready to follow Sebastian as he heads off the stage.
It’s the smart thing to do. They’re here for work.
Around her, gorgeous people are dancing. Mercedes is cuddling with Sam near the stage, ready to go on and introduce the next act, ever the dutiful hostess. At any other one of these parties, Brittany would be ready to leave by now with a date that is salivating over her. She’d get a night of sex, and the next morning she’d have a clear head, mind back on work.
She’d head to the office and the first person she’d look for, the first person she’d want to see, the first person to even pop into her head would be Santana Lopez.
But she doesn’t have to go anywhere tonight. Santana is here with her, and somehow that’s just the most amazing thing in the world.
And that’s including that one time she found out that you could buy all marshmallow boxes of Lucky Charms on the internet instead of having to go through the trouble to manipulate horny Irish boys to make one for her.
Brittany has always been impulsive, but she stuns even herself when she says, “You know what? I don’t want to talk to him tonight.”
Santana’s confusion is evident. “Brittany, he took my card, but tonight may be the only night we get to-“ It’s really, really sexy how concerned she is about Brittany’s story.
Like, super charming.
“It’s just a story, Santana.” She shrugs, smiling. It’s just a story and this could be the rest of her life. It doesn’t even compare. It’s so obvious it may as well be written in black and white and printed in a newspaper. If Brittany wrote this like a story, it would win her another Pulitzer. “And honestly? Not even a very good one.”
Santana doesn’t get it. Not yet. She can be really slow sometimes. It must come from living on a farm. “Brittany,” she says, slowly and carefully. “You said that this was important. The stuff he said about Superwoman-“
Yeah, Superwoman. Brittany swallows against her hesitation, because Superwoman is supposed to be her ideal.
But she can’t really bring herself to care. Maybe she needs a new ideal. “Yeah,” she admits. “That’s important. But so is scoring the hottest date in the room.”
It’s so easy to say, because it’s true. And you know what? She should be proud. She IS proud.
Santana Lopez is here for her, looking like the hottest girl nerd on the planet, for her. She’s also looking at Brittany like she’s nuts, but seriously, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it feels like Brittany’s won the lottery, and what kind of stupid is she if she doesn’t try to cash in her winning ticket?
So she’s doing this.
Maybe Santana is destined to be her best friend, but maybe she’s also destined to be more than that.
Maybe she’s also destined to be in Brittany’s bed tonight, with her legs clamped hard around Brittany’s ears.
She’d make her keep the heels on. And the glasses.
The thoughts must show on her face; Santana’s cheeks go as red as her dress.
She’s staring at Brittany like that one time Brittany forgot and spoke to her in her own special middle school language.
“I didn’t think that ethnic people blushed,” she says, smile widening as Santana’s cheeks go even redder. “It’s adorable.”
“I… shut up!”
It’s all Santana can say, and Brittany figures it’s good enough.
“If I ask you to dance,” she begins, delicately as she can as she reaches forward and thumbs a touch against Santana’s wrist. “Do you think you’ll trip again?”
“God, I hope not,” Santana breathes, and Brittany laughs. She feels dizzy and suddenly winded.
Santana’s skin is impossibly smooth, and Brittany can’t wait to touch more of it.
She’ll kiss Santana tonight. Santana’s mouth is lush and full and perfect for kissing. Already, she’s imagining it, and she thinks Santana is too, because those deep dark eyes are on her lips.
It strikes a twinge of something in Brittany that’s exhilarating and amazing.
It feels like she’s falling in love.
“This next performer is better known for her charity work than her pipes,” she hears dimly, but it doesn’t actually register that its Mercedes speaking until she hears, “Quinn Fabray!”
A flush of cold rushes down Brittany’s spine when Santana whirls and catches sight of the debutante that is now smiling prettily at the polite applause.
Whatever spell they were both caught in, it’s just been broken.
Mercedes ruined everything. Again.
As if reading her mind, Mercedes searches the crowd and catches her eye. When Brittany’s brow arches in annoyance, the other woman merely shrugs. “Sorry,” she mouths and Brittany huffs in irritation.
On stage, Quinn laughs in her trademark sexy, gravely tone as she leans into the microphone and says, “So, I was going to sing ‘I’ve Told Every Little Star’ by Linda Scott today.” Brittany rolls her eyes. Of course she would. I’ve Told Every Little Star is bubblegum oldies pop, and it’s exactly the type of song Quinn, with her forgettable tenor, would sing. “But I’ve run into an old friend from college tonight, and the nostalgia’s got me looking to do something with a little more bite.” Hazel eyes move over the crowd until they’re on Brittany’s companion. “But I may need some help.”
She’s looking straight at Santana.
Santana is looking right back.
The anger that rumbles through Brittany’s chest feels downright animalistic. She’s not one for misogyny but she totally understands now why cavemen thought it was totally okay to grab their women and like, throw them over their shoulders and live with them in a cave. It’s kinda exactly what she wants to do with Santana, especially now that the entire room is staring at her in the exact same way Quinn is.
Santana herself looks overwhelmed. Her face is almost as red as the dress.
“What do you say, Ms. Lopez?” Quinn asks gaily, eyes twinkling with mirth as she crooks her fingers. “For old times’ sake?”
Across the ballroom, Sebastian Smythe erupts in hoots and holler, which prompts his stupid band of Warblers to do the same, which lights up the entire room. Everyone but Brittany is now clapping for Santana to join Quinn onstage.
It’s the worst case of peer pressure ever.
Santana’s head shakes so quickly it reminds Brittany of some sort of seizure.
Quinn doesn’t seem to care. “Come on!” She moves her finger like Santana’s being naughty and starts down the stage. The crowd parts for her like she’s Grace Kelly as she comes for Brittany’s date, arm outstretched regally.
Brittany wants to smack her. “You don’t have to,” she says immediately. She honestly can’t think of anything more horrendous to ask of Santana, who usually goes out of her way to stay away from any sort of limelight, to get up there.
A strained sort of laughter chokes its way out of Santana’s throat. “It’s okay,” she says, and offers Brittany this small, shy smile. “Quinn and I used to sing…”
The realization hits Brittany like a sucker punch.
She wants to.
Santana Lopez, mild-mannered reporter, is totally fine with this.
“Oh,” Brittany swallows, glance darting from the woman at her side to the other woman coming forward. “Then you should go.”
There’s a sparkle in Santana’s eyes. It catches Brittany right in her chest, a special sort of heart burn. “Save me that dance,” she says, and then she’s letting go of Brittany’s hand and taking hold of Quinn’s. There’s a brief moment where Quinn’s eyes meet Brittany’s.
Brittany looks right back. She knows her expression is stony, and she wonders if Gay Fabray even remembers what happened between them, because she absolutely has to.
Quinn dismisses her as quickly as she sees her. She only has eyes for Santana, who lets herself be dragged through the crowd and up onstage. Meanwhile, the crowd just continues to applause, because all they see is this totally hot Latin brunette and don’t have any idea who the hell Santana Lopez really is.
For some reason, that one thing annoys the hell out of her.
But no one seems to care. Mercedes just smiles at Santana and hands her a microphone. Santana Lopez just takes it, looking gorgeous in her beautiful dress and perfect figure, like it’s a totally normal thing to be dragged on stage to perform in front of some of Metropolis’ most influential people.
And Brittany hates how beautiful Quinn is. She despises it. Quinn is absolutely gorgeous, and when Santana stands next to her, they’re gorgeous together. They’re a perfect contrast of blonde and brunette, pale and bronze, gorgeous and sultry.
It’s infuriating that Brittany can do nothing at all.
Santana stares at Quinn and a familiar smirk plays across her lips, like Quinn’s been some mischievous child. Quinn’s arm slips around Santana without any sort of hesitation, and draws her in close to whisper in Santana’s ear.
Quinn’s lips brush the outer shell of Santana’s ear. Whatever Quinn says, it makes the other woman smile and nod.
Brittany’s cheeks burn.
The applause dies down as Quinn finally faces them. “Let’s get ready to dance,” she says, and the orchestra obeys, trumpets launching jauntily into an intro that’s all Latin dance. It’s meant to get feet tapping, hands clapping. Santana falls into the rhythm easily, hips swaying to the beat.
Oh, God. It’s ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ by Mya.
Brittany loves this song.
“Funny thing is when I look into your eyes-” Quinn’s fingers reach out and take hold of Santana’s wrist, dancing along beside her as she winks. “I sense something so sincere in your disguise - You whisper secrets I hear only in my dreams - Then I wake up to your tele-smoke screen-“
Brittany hates this song.
But she can’t look away. She’s helpless as she stares, eyes pinned on her colleague, her date, lift the bedazzled microphone to her mouth and take the second verse. “I wait patiently while you play your game-“ A rich, velvet voice floats out of Santana’s mouth with perfect pitch.
Brittany’s eyes flutter closed.
Santana can sing.
“'Cause in the end, I'll be the winner all the same, You'll see clearly when the song comes to a stop - I'll be the one blowing kisses from the top-“
Santana can really, really sing.
She can sing like Mercedes can sing.
Why the hell didn’t Brittany know that?
The crowd loves it. It’s all rich idiots who can salsa, and they’re all showing off now, weaving in and out of each other’s arms as the duo of Quinn and Santana kill the Mya song.
Even Mercedes is goofing off with Sam, enjoying the music and laughing as her husband does that stupid hip-thrusting thing he learned in the strip club and never forgot.
She feels alone and forgotten, and it’s an ugly feeling.
“ Stop, you're surrounded, Love all around ya, One wrong move and I'll down ya- and that'll end ya - you should surrender - You'll never win - Unless you give in – So won't you give our love a chance?”
They must have performed this exact song before sometime in those mysterious college days, because Quinn and Santana are doing actual choreography. It’s sexy and it’s feminine, meant to turn on a room.
“Or do you only wanna dance?”
A very nice young man smiles at Brittany. “Excuse me, would you like to dance?”
“No,” she snaps, ignoring him and watching Santana.
Her colleague, the person she has known for more nearly a year, shimmies across the stage with the delicate grace of a woman who knows how to use her body in every possible way. Every trace of clumsiness seems to have vanished and in its place is a strong, agile performer with strong lungs and so much confidence she oozes sex appeal.
“You put your lips very closely to my face, and then you run away and so begins the chase – I'll be the hunter, but boy, you better pray - 'Cause when I want ya, I'll get you anyway-“
It’s not the same Santana Lopez who broke a heel just this morning or spilled coffee all over herself.
But it is. That same woman delicately leads Quinn around her as they harmonize perfectly, hips swiveling in a coordinated dance that’s complex and stunningly sexy.
The Santana Lopez who nervous pushes her glasses up her nose, closes her eyes and wails this ridiculously gorgeous glory note that is so haunting it fills the room with astounded cheers and sends chills down Brittany’s spine.
Brittany’s body is so heated she’s sweating. She feels flushed and exhausted, because all her emotion and energy that just minutes ago was singularly focused on falling in love with this person she believed that she knew distorts into a different kind of angry emotion because clearly Santana is not who she pretended to be.
“If you take my hands, and follow my lead I'll make you dance-“
And it makes her think she never knew Santana at all.
She feels like a fool.
Santana catches her eye, smiles in her direction. Winks. It’s seductive and gorgeous, this beautiful Santana who is putting on a show.
Wounded in a way she can’t quite explain, Brittany can barely smile back.
“You'll never win unless you give in so won't you give our love a chance?”
She endures the song. She claps politely as it ends and the crowd erupts in hoots and hollers. That forced smile that’s pasted on her face doesn’t fade as Santana and Quinn fall into their intimate embrace.
She watches with eyes of a reporter, noting the way there is no personal boundaries, the way Quinn and Santana’s palms are open as they loosely lock their hands around each other’s waists, keeping each other close, hips to hips, chest to chest.
It’s an absolute truth that once upon a time, Santana and Quinn were lovers.
She was jealous before.
She was furious just a moment ago.
Now, as Quinn leans forward to quietly say something that’s means for Santana’s ears only, and Brittany watches as Santana laughs this gorgeous, beautiful laugh that she’s never heard before, she’s just kinda sad.
Santana disentangles herself from Quinn’s hold and bows once again. She makes her way through the crowd, thanking the guests who stop her and congratulate her on her hidden talent, making her way back to Brittany’s side.
As she approaches, Brittany steels herself. She sucks in her breath and when Santana’s shining eyes lock with hers, she does her best to smile back.
“Wow,” she begins, and Santana flushes, shrugging like this is no big deal. “You were great.”
“Thanks,” Santana breathes. She looks so bright and ALIVE. It makes the Santana that she’s used to, in her drab, ill-fitting clothes and messy hair and broken heels, feel black and white in comparison.
“I didn’t know you could sing,” Brittany says. It’s hard to make it sound like she’s happy about it. Brittany kinda wants to cry.
For once, Santana doesn’t seem to notice Brittany’s odd mood. Maybe she’s too high on her own success. People keep knocking into her and commenting on her voice, and Brittany has to wait until Santana thanks each one politely before the other woman can actually respond. “I didn’t know you could dance!” she says, bright and happy. “I guess we’re finding out a lot about each other.”
The smile is meant to be sweet and charming. This new Santana, the one she doesn’t know, is confident and sweet and she’s teasing her… maybe even flirting with her. Brittany wants to smile back. She tries. It’s hard when she’s staring so hard at Santana, trying to reconcile who she saw on stage with who she thinks she knows. “I guess we are. So… how do you know Quinn?”
Santana’s smile stalls, and Brittany understands why. Her tone… it’s not as friendly as it could be.
“We went to college together,” Santana answers, which… duh.
“You look close.” Santana just shrugs again.
“We were close.”
That’s it. That’s all she’s giving her. A stab of anger flushes through Brittany at Santana’s deliberate evasion. “How close?”
Santana isn’t smiling anymore. “What’s this about, Brittany?” she asks, soft and concerned, like Brittany the one that’s acting weird.
“I’m just curious.”
Santana presses her lips together. Her posture goes stiff. “I said Quinn and I are friends.”
God, there it is again. Half-truths. “Just friends?” she asks pointedly.
But Santana doesn’t answer. Her eyebrows furrow. “Brittany,” she starts, voice now quiet and suspicious. “What’s the matter?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re interrogating me like I’m a story.”
Yeah. She is. Brittany can’t exactly deny it.
“I’m just saying. Quinn has a reputation of getting ‘close’ with a lot of people.”
It’s petty. She’s basically called Santana’s friend a slut.
Brittany knows it’s a low blow and Santana knows it too, because the other woman stops looking soft and concerned and starts looking angry. “She’s not the only person here with a reputation, Brittany.”
It’s a pointed remark; it sounds exactly like Santana’s directing that at her. “What does that mean?”
Santana just looks at her.
“Nothing.” Santana’s eyes close for a moment, then open again. She looks at Brittany with an expression that’s impossible to decipher. Another secret locked away from Brittany Pierce. “I’m sorry,” she says and she sounds like she means it.
If she means it, if she’s apologizing to her, that means she was talking about her.
Brittany sucks in her breath hard. It takes actual effort now, to tamp down her emotion, the sudden urge to feel ashamed and the immediate anger that follows because she shouldn’t be. She SHOULDN’T be.
It shouldn’t matter what people say about her.
It does matter what Santana thinks about her.
It matters a lot.
This whole party, meant to be a fun distraction, an easy way to get a story and maybe protect a gorgeous superhero who doesn’t exactly need protecting, has gone to hell. Brittany was supposed to go with one of her best friends and instead she’s here with a stranger. A beautiful stranger that she wishes desperately she actually knew, because as amazing as her Santana is, this one seems…
There’ s an itch, a thought that germinates at the back of Brittany’s brain that feels like a tickle. It means something, she knows it does. It’s the piece of the puzzle and it is exactly the missing piece.
She’s distracted with a touch, soft and gentle, as a slender finger lifts her chin and once again Brittany is caught by those gorgeous brown eyes behind those glasses.
The tickle flees in the face of Santana’s smile. “Hey,” Santana’s voice is soft and careful. “Quinn asked me to sing. That’s all.”
Yes, logically, rationally, that’s exactly what happened.
“I don’t think that’s all she wants, Santana,” she admits, and with a hitched breath realizes that she’s pressed her own palm on top of Santana’s, keeping the other woman’s fingers intimately pressed against her cheek.
Embarrassed, she tries to let go, but Santana’s palm just turns, until their palms are pressed flat against each other and the digits have intertwined together.
They’re tangled up in each other, skin to skin.
Brittany’s heart pounds; she wonders suddenly if Santana can feel it through her fingertips.
Her eyes lift from their entwined fingers to Santana and her sweet, sweet smile. “It doesn’t matter what she wants, Brittany,” says her clumsy and yet graceful reporter with an apparent double life. “I’m here with you.”
God, she’s beautiful.
She’s beautiful and she’s here, holding Brittany’s hand, looking at her like Brittany’s beautiful too.
She doesn’t know Santana as well as she should. Maybe that’s okay.
Maybe she has the rest of the night to discover just how much more amazing she can be.
Music swells around them, a slow waltz that has many couples dancing, but few dancing well.
Brittany decides it’s a sign.
“I think you owe me a dance, Santana,” she says, fully aware of how husky her voice gets.
Santana’s throat bobs in response. Brittany wants to suck on that exact spot. “I think I do.”
Brittany’s smile is shy. She doesn’t want to let go, so she leads Santana away from the bar and towards the dance floor, feeling like a besotted gentleman courting a lady.
It’s a delicate, precious moment, until Santana abruptly stops moving. Their hands hang between them, but the smile is gone from Santana’s face.
Santana blinks and suddenly looks at her, like she’s forgotten Brittany was even in the room. Her head bobs back behind her. “… Actually, I’m sorry. Can you hold that thought?”
Brittany doesn’t understand. “What?”
“I’ll be right back.”
And just like that, Santana breaks her hold on her and moves away, ducking through the crowd and speeding toward the exit.
Brittany can only watch in disbelief.
Her frazzled emotions can no longer take the strain. She feels like her entire body has just short-circuited.