Word Count: 3,500
Spoilers: through 2x16 "Original Song"
Summary: Everything's easy when you never have to choose -- or, Brittany's side of the story.
Author's Note: Here I am, welcoming Glee's hiatus with a bunch of extremely self-indulgent fanfic! This was meant to be short and got way too long and is sort of just a mess of feelings and way too easy happily ever afters. Hooray?
Also, I wholeheartedly apologize for referencing Friday, but one of my friends was cruel enough to introduce me to it, and all I could imagine as I watched the music video was a Glee version. Get on that, Rachel Berry!
Everything’s easy when you never have to choose
(Passion Pit, ‘Folds in Your Hands’)
Two names that don’t really sound the same, you know, at all: Artie and Santana.
Brittany did not just say Artie.
It does not do wonders for this makeout session.
“What?” Artie says, pulling away.
“Santana,” Brittany repeats. Then she frowns. “Except, I didn’t say that.”
“Yeah you did,” he reminds her.
“Yeah I did,” Brittany agrees.
They stare at each other. For a long time, Brittany’s iPod dock is the only thing making any noise. He doesn’t really get why her playlists have so much Melissa Etheridge on them lately. When he asked about it, Brittany said it was because in a Seventeen interview Ke$Ha listed Melissa Etheridge and feral tigers as her two biggest musical influences.
“So,” Artie says. “Um. Why?”
“Because Santana is sexy,” Brittany says matter-of-factly. “So when sexy things are happening, I think about her. Don’t worry. It’s a compliment.” She leans back in to kiss him again.
Artie is starting to think there might be an expiration date on this relationship.
Here’s a secret: Brittany knows that Santana lied. It’s still cheating. Plumbing doesn’t matter. Only one person should be allowed to put their hands on her faucet handles.
Artie is nice, and he really cares about her, and Brittany likes to think that she would just be happy for him if things were the other way around and he wanted to get all up in Finn’s pipes. (Pipe? Brittany’s not sure. Metaphors are confusing.) But she’s never told him about Santana, and not just because he hasn’t asked. She knows he would be upset. She knows she’d never be able to say it right, what Santana means to her. She’s tried to think of how to tell him but it’s like the words haven’t been invented. At least not in English. She should probably google some better languages. But then it’s like, Artie doesn’t speak them, so.
What she means is: Santana is always there, closer than anybody else. The three days they didn’t speak after Brittany started dating Artie felt like three days without food, only Brittany can go three days without food – all the Cheerios did when Coach Sylvester was trying them out on that helium and gravel diet – and she just gets dizzy and stomachachey. (But she can talk like a baby chipmunk.) So maybe three days without Santana isn’t like anything. It’s just sad.
It was really easy to make up. They were at lunch in the cafeteria, sitting on either side of Quinn, and Quinn got up to get another soda and left this Quinn-sized space in between them. And it’s like, Quinn is pretty small, but that space was still too big.
“I’m sorry,” Brittany said.
“Bathroom,” Santana said, not looking at her.
They spent all of fourth period kissing in one of the stalls, and it’s like God wanted it to happen because not one person came in the whole time. It was just the two of them, and Santana laughed instead of getting pissed off when Brittany accidentally almost knocked her into the toilet. She seemed so happy. Then the bell rang and Santana straightened out her ponytail and redid her makeup and said, “That didn’t happen. In case anybody asks.”
Which is funny, because when they started kissing, having people watch was the whole point. Somewhere along the line it turned into something that was just theirs.
“I should tell him,” Brittany said once, “but I’m afraid he won’t get it.”
“It’s not a big deal,” Santana said. “Boys don’t get anything.”
“What if he finds out and he thinks I’m just slutty?”
“Then I’ll kick his ass.”
“You can’t reach it,” Brittany pointed out. “It’s in the chair.”
“Then I’ll kick his wheels.”
“You’re bad,” Brittany said, only it sounded more like ‘you’re amazing.’
“So, so bad,” Santana purred.
Bad with Santana always meant good. Until now.
In glee they sing “Friday” because Rachel says that it’s important to display a sense of humor and subtle but pointed mockery at the inanities of current pop phenomena. Brittany doesn’t really get what that means but she’s glad they get to do the song. She thinks that Rebecca Black is probably a genius. In English Mrs. Kitchner keeps saying that Ernest Hemingway is a genius because his writing was so simple but there’s a lot underneath. Hills Like White Elephants doesn’t even have any elephants in it. Just sad people who aren’t really supposed to be together but are anyway. So singing about catching the bus could mean a lot of things. Maybe when you catch the bus you miss something else.
Her thoughts keep going really deep lately. That’s supposed to happen to heartbroken people. She’s only half heartbroken, though: the Santana half. The Artie half is just fine. She wishes she could feel the Artie half more. Maybe it’s paralyzed. That would make sense.
Everyone’s laughing and hugging and dancing together by the end of the song. Santana’s hanging off of Sam’s arm, looking at Brittany. She’s not smiling at all. When Brittany looks back, Santana doesn’t stop looking at her, but her eyes get mean. Brittany’s not used to Santana looking at her like that. The way she looks at everyone else. Santana kisses Sam’s neck. She looks like a vampire, and not the nice Twilight ones. When she gets to Sam’s earlobe she bites it.
“Um,” Mr. Schue says over the sound of Finn rapping about school buses (or trying. Finn is the most un-gangsta person alive), “not really appropriate classroom behavior, Santana.”
“Ow!” says Sam. Brittany feels sorry for him. She thinks Santana might eat him alive.
“You’re such a wuss,” Santana snarls at him.
“Am I bleeding?” Sam asks. Mike Chang checks.
“Wuss,” Santana says again, her eyes on Brittany’s.
Everyone else is still singing. Brittany tries to focus on the song. Partyin’, partyin’. Partyin’, partyin’. Fun, fun, fun, fun.
A few days later, Santana actually picks up when Brittany calls her. Brittany’s so used to her calls getting ignored that for a few seconds she thinks Santana’s voicemail has come alive, like Frankenstein.
“Not all robots have to be mean,” she tells the voicemail. More robots would probably grow up to be good if people were nice to them when they were kids.
“What?” Santana snaps.
“Oh,” Brittany says, “it’s you.”
“Duh, bitch, it’s my phone number.”
“Don’t talk to me like that.”
“Why the hell shouldn’t I?”
“Because I’m the person you don’t talk to like that.”
“Yeah, and that just worked out great for me, didn’t it, Brittany? That worked out awesome.”
“I don’t get why you’re so mad at me. You know how much I love you.”
“Yeah, I do. Enough that you’ll look at me like I’m the best thing that ever happened to you during kumbaya sing-along time, but when it all comes down to it you’d rather bump uglies with Harry Potter and Thomas the Tank Engine’s loser love child.”
“That wouldn’t work,” Brittany says, because it’s the easier problem to answer. “Humans and trains don’t have sex the same way. Also, they’re both boys. They’d have to adopt.”
“Or get a surrogate.”
“I really fucking hate you sometimes,” Santana says, and even though Brittany knows she’s just mad, it still hurts.
“No you don’t,” Brittany says.
“Yes, I do,” Santana says. She’s not even talking in her scary bitch voice. This is just her voice. It makes it so much worse. “Right now I do.”
Brittany stares at herself in her mirror. She looks the same as she always does. She wonders if life would be easier or harder if you could see your feelings, the way you see your nose. “I can’t just break his heart.”
“But me, that’s no big deal.”
“That’s not it, you know it’s not—”
“No, whatever, you know. I’m over it. You had your chance. Sucks to be you. I’m with Sam now and we’re very happy.”
“He’s had a bandaid on his ear all week.”
“It’s a hot bandaid. He’s starting a trend.”
“Right ear or left ear?” Brittany asks. It’s automatic. It’s just the way her brain works.
Santana makes her God I can’t believe you noise.
“You said you weren’t ready,” Brittany reminds her. “You said you were scared. I don’t want you to be scared because of me.”
It’s quiet. Then, click.
Brittany dials again. Santana picks up. Brittany can tell; she hears her breathing.
“You didn’t say bye,” Brittany says.
“Bye,” Santana says.
“Bye,” Brittany says.
“Songs about the future,” Mr. Schuester says. Their latest assignment. “Your futures. You guys are young. The possibilities for your lives are endless. And don’t limit yourselves to a few months from now. Sure, we’ve got Nationals on the horizon, but go even bigger. What do you want to be doing five years from now? Ten? Find a song that describes that – that life you can’t wait to be living someday.”
He’s way more cheerful about this kind of stuff now that he’s boffing Ms. Holliday.
Rachel looks like she’s going to explode from excitement.
Brittany looks at Santana. Well, the back of her head; that’s all she can see. She barely even notices Artie reaching over to squeeze her hand. It’s like her fingers are asleep.
Brittany clicks on iTunes. She scrolls through her music, looking for good future songs. She types in ‘onerepublic’ because sometimes she thinks she might want to be a dancer. All the Right Moves.
It’s A Shame.
Stop And Stare.
Made For You.
Something’s Not Right Here.
Maybe her iTunes library is psychic. It’s psychic and it knows everything is wrong with Santana and it’s really upset because without Santana Brittany never would have figured out how to download music for free in the first place.
(“Please,” Santana snorted, when Brittany pointed out that the CIA might get mad at them, and it’s a bad idea to make somebody mad when they have that many wigs. You’d never recognize them. “I’m not paying 99 cents for a song unless it’s amazing, and neither are you.”
Brittany bought Landslide, after.)
She means to move on to something else, but instead she listens to All This Time. It makes her cry. This is her real choice. She wants a kickass fabulous life, but more than that she wants Santana there in it. Then even if it sucks it won’t be so bad. As long as they get back to each other.
She knows Santana wouldn’t want her to sing it, though. Not in front of everyone.
She realizes she’s crying loud when her mom knocks on the door. “Brittany?”
“It’s homework,” Brittany says. It seems like a good excuse. Homework is really hard sometimes.
Her mom seems to understand. She just says “Oh, honey” and gives Brittany a hug, and even though most of the time these days she feels too old for parents, today she doesn’t.
Brittany thinks about Santana, whose mom never gives good hugs. Who never really got any, until Brittany. She hopes Sam is a good hugger. Maybe she should give him lessons.
“Hug lessons?” Sam repeats.
“I’m just saying,” Brittany says, trying to sound casual. “It’s a really helpful skill. If you get good you can put it on your college applications.”
Sam stares at her for a long time. It makes her nervous. He laughs a little – Brittany doesn’t really get what’s funny, but it’s not really that kind of laugh anyway. Finally, he says, “What’s going on with you two?”
“Nothing,” Brittany says. It’s not even a lie.
Santana sings “Blah Blah Blah.” Mr. Schue makes her stay after class so they can talk. Even Mr. Schue can’t really let it slide when his students are singing ‘Don’t be a little bitch with your chit-chat, just show me where your dick’s at,’ Brittany guesses. Ke$Ha manages to keep it classy, but not everyone has Ke$Ha powers.
Brittany promises Artie she’ll catch up to him at his locker. Then she stands outside the classroom; the door got left partway open. If anyone asks, her shoe is untied.
Which is true. If your shoes have no laces they can’t be tied.
“I’m worried about you, Santana,” Mr. Schue says.
“Yeah, well, you shouldn’t be,” Santana says. “You asked us to sing about our future. Can I help it if my future will inevitably involve a lot of hot guys who want to get on this?”
“Again,” Mr. Schue says, sighing, “not really appropriate for school—”
“When’s Ms. Holliday coming back? You sure didn’t have a problem with the sexy content in our song choices when—”
“Ms. Holliday’s not the topic of discussion here. You are.”
“And I have nothing to say about it. Sorry. Next time I’ll pick something by a Disney tween. Can I go now?”
“Santana. Is Brittany … ?”
Brittany jumps a little at the sound of her name. She kind of forgot she existed.
Maybe Santana jumps too. But jumping is really hard to hear. “What about Brittany?”
“I’ve noticed you two aren’t sitting together anymore.”
“Brittany’s with Artie. And she’s a girl. So, like. Why would that even have anything to do with me?”
“Brittany’s with Artie right now. It’s high school. Usually, high school involves dating a lot of different people. Just because the two of them are seeing each other now doesn’t mean they’re always going to be. You’ve got so much possibility ahead of you. Both of you.”
“Says the guy who married his high school girlfriend and, hey, still hangs out every day at the high school.”
“I’ve seen a lot of high school romances. It’s not rare for kids to be crazy about each other. Hormones flying—”
“Um, can you not talk about hormones?”
“Sorry. Uh. The point is, it’s easy to be crazy about someone when you’re young. But the two of you, you always really seemed to have something special.”
“She’s my best friend. Was my best friend. Whatever.”
“And those are the relationships that usually last.”
“You and your wife weren’t friends?”
“Not really. I wish we had been. Maybe it would have been different. I think sometimes when you love someone a lot, it’s scary. What a powerful feeling it is. How much you depend on them, and trust them. It can get to be so scary that you make them into an enemy without even realizing you’re doing it. You think they’ve got so much power over you that you’ve either got to rule them, or they’ll be the one to enslave you. And that’s not the way love really is. When it’s real, you both feel free.”
Brittany bites her lip. Santana is quiet.
“You really, really want to write a self-help book, don’t you?” she says at last.
“Think about it,” Mr. Schue says. “And, maybe.”
“Don’t,” Santana says. “Coach Sylvester would have ammo against you for life.”
“Good point,” says Mr. Schue.
Brittany makes sure she’s gone by the time Santana leaves the classroom. Brittany’s a fast walker.
“Do you feel like my slave?” Brittany asks Artie.
“Is this, like, a sex thing?” Artie says, looking a little nervous. “Because I kind of liked how we were doing it before. Without any … weird stuff. You don’t have a whip, do you? And besides, aren’t we in the Celibacy Club? Although, if you want to quit, I’m down—”
“No,” Brittany says. “I mean, like—” She doesn’t really know what she means. Artie doesn’t seem bothered by it, though. He’s used to being around her. “—like, do you feel like my slave?”
“Well, no,” Artie says. “You usually carry my books for me. Thanks, by the way.”
“You’re welcome,” Brittany says.
Speaking of sex things:
She thinks about Santana a lot, now that she doesn’t have her around. She’s slept with a lot of boys and she guesses she’ll probably sleep with a lot more and it’s not that she doesn’t like it. But when she’s alone it’s Santana that she thinks about. It drives her a good kind of crazy, or at least it used to be a good kind. Now that she doesn’t know if they’ll ever touch each other again it’s sort of like being tortured.
Sam breaks up with Santana. It’s right in the middle of glee club. It’s hard to tell what starts it, but all of a sudden, he’s pushing her off of him and yelling that he can’t do it anymore. That her mind games are driving him straight up Gollum crazy. That his lips aren’t that big and guess what, he’s not having them surgically altered no matter how many offensive and bizarrely sexual songs she writes making fun of them.
Santana slaps him across the face (“Fight!” Puck yells, but it doesn’t catch on) and storms out.
“Bitches be crazy, man,” Artie says ruefully, offering his fist to Sam.
And even though Santana is acting crazy, Brittany feels like she’s the one that just got slapped, and it wasn’t Santana doing the slapping, it was Artie. Artie is pretty much always nice to her and Artie would never slap someone for dumping him and maybe if you made one of those pie charts showing who’s the better person, Artie would be most of the pie and Santana would be the tiny little sliver that a girl with an eating disorder allows herself when she’s out to dinner with friends and then pukes up as soon as she’s alone.
Brittany doesn’t get pie charts.
But Santana is Brittany’s, or Brittany is Santana’s, or maybe they both mean the same thing. Santana’s the one who came over on December 26th and told her the No Santa truth and didn’t even make fun of her when she cried. (“Who needs some old fat guy creeping down chimneys to give us what we want in life?” she said, fingers in Brittany’s hair. “We’re too fierce for that. We’ll go out and get it ourselves.”)
Brittany stands up, and she kicks Artie. Right in the wheel. She doesn’t even feel bad, even though she knows she will later. Her conscience always catches up to her. You can’t stop crickets in top hats. She doesn’t care so much.
“Um,” Artie says, staring at her like he’s afraid she caught Santana’s Crazy Bitch disease, “Brittany, what the—”
“Fight!” Puck yells again. He’s really determined.
“Don’t talk about her like that,” Brittany says, and goes after her best friend.
Santana is out in the empty hallway, walking back and forth like a tiger at the zoo, muttering to herself in angry Spanish. Brittany hates Spanish class but she loves listening to Santana speak it; the words come out so fast, like talking is as easy as thinking, or breathing. It’s a word avalanche, but a nice one. She wouldn’t mind being buried in it. She doesn’t think she’d freeze.
“Are you okay?” Brittany says, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m so fucking tired of getting dumped,” Santana says; she backs away like Brittany’s fingers are electric. “Don’t you come near me. The only person I want to see less than you is Platypus Lips back there. I will end him, by the way. This shit just got real. This is war—”
“If you keep telling me you don’t want to see me then you’re never going to see me,” Brittany says.
“Um,” Santana says, “duh. That’s why I—”
“So stop,” Brittany interrupts. “Please, please, please stop.”
All the way: she stops tiger-pacing. She stops scowling. Her eyes are bright like she’s going to cry. Brittany thinks she might cry too.
“What are you doing here?” Santana asks, wrapping her arms around herself. Her voice wavers, just barely. Brittany hears it; she always notices the Santana details. “Why aren’t you in there with them?”
“I’m with you first,” Brittany says.
Santana looks up at the ceiling. “Artie …?”
“It’s not fair to him.”
“You said that already,” Santana says, swiping a tear away impatiently. “Before.”
“It’s not fair to him because I’m with you first,” Brittany finishes. “I realized. I didn’t know before. I can’t stay with him if …”
“I don’t really know what to say. I’m tired of trying to figure out how to say stuff. I just love you.”
“Please don’t be fucking with me,” Santana says, with this watery laugh that’s the saddest, sweetest thing Brittany’s ever heard.
“I’m not,” Brittany says, “I’m so not,” and then there’s nothing in between them anymore.