A/N: AU Brittanay, one-shot. All characters and all that jazz belong to their owners (not me, sadly).

The recesses of the half-open curtains did let the golden glimmer of mid-afternoon sunlight into the room. Bright roads where flecks of dust flew, fluttering in a circular dance, over the scene that was unfolding in that room, where a blonde, blue-eyed woman, sitting on the floor in the Indian style, reviewed belongings and junk surrounded by cardboard boxes and souvenirs.

Brittany, 29, struggled to focus on the mechanical task of pick-examine-save/throw-repeat, trying not to think about why she had to do it, or the consequences of recognizing the reality that lived in the form of memories between those papers. Her aunt Stephany, the woman who had raised her after her parents' death, had passed away after a long and painful illness; and it was Brittany's job, as the only family she had left, to take over her belongings; the one who had the job of determining what was going to the trash and what was left, in the form of a memory, to torment her.

Cleaning was, however, the least important thing. Once finished, the boxes would return to the storage room from which they should have never left and Brittany would try again to live in the new reality that the death of her aunt had created: an empty apartment, a lounge without an armchair under the spring sun (she had found her sitting there, already corpse, a few weeks ago very early in the morning; after her aunt, that chair was the next victim), and, ultimately, a new life marked by loneliness and a house too big for a single woman and so many memories of other times; if not happier, at least more in company.

Brittany was not what what we could define was extrovert, no: in her 29 years she had managed to gather a brilliant record of friendly failures, some failed attempts of romance; and a noble but sensitive heart that had to cover itself with a thick cloak to emerge more or less unscathed from the life that she was told to live. Brittany, however, was pragmatic: she did not disdain good company when she had the opportunity to take advantage of it; it was simply that the blonde had more appetite for a quiet afternoon with a good book or playing cards with her aunt than for nights full of bustle, strobe lights and sharp screams, meaningless exchanges and empty conversations. It was not isolation, it was ... well, maybe it was, she sighed inwardly, closing the box on which she was working, already full of unnecessary papers, but which she had decided to keep nontherless; and moving on to the next one.

This introversion had not been a problem for his professional career; On the contrary: Brittany was good at what she did, whatever it was, because she took each job with passion and dedication, and her desire to do it well, whether it was washing dishes, serving tables or correcting manuscripts; That ended up by attracting the attention of her bosses and guaranteeing her good job prospects. "Whatever you do, do it well", her aunt always told her. She allowed herself a small smile as she opened the last box, but quickly busied herself erasing it from her face and concentrating on the content of the last pitfall between her and the empty room next door. Seeing its content, however, she could not prevent the smile from returning to her face, and this time she did not fight against it.

In that cardboard box her aunt had kept her collection of comics: Batman, Spiderman, X-Patrol, you name it; all the comics her aunt bought for her every and other week, as a reward for her good behavior. Brittany loved to review those old pages, full of characters so familiar to her, but at the same time so old, much more than her; and it comforted her to think that she somehow connected with other worlds while she navigated between their pages, thinking of all the boys, now men; who they had also laughed and cried with the adventures of their favorite heroes.

Following this impulse, her hands went unconsciously to the first section that she always read as a child: correspondence. Tradition today disappeared, these old youth magazines were accompanied by a section where their young readers could send letters, poems, riddles or little jokes to be published in the section; and Brittany was sure that many of them still kept, with secret pride, that particular comic book where their small contribution was published.

Her favorite part of this section was always the exchange of letters: a piece of paper, an address and an universe of possibilities available to anyone's pen. At that moment, Brittany sighed. She had never been encouraged to write to any of the addresses that appeared in her comics, either because she never connected with any of the letters that were published there; or in some other case, out of shame, and fear to express her illusions of finding a related soul in a paper and that the letter would return unopened. Or worse, to never get a response.

Remembering those doubts, which made her debate in front of blank sheets of paper that eventually never took the form of a letter, Brittany noticed one of the columns of the magazine in front of her. There, one Marvin W. Hodges wrote to the world to offer his friendship to everyone who shared his passions for Batman (the best detective in the world), videogames and reading. Being fifteen years old at the time (Brittany verified that the publication date of the magazine was 1985, right now that Marvin was already a man about her own age), the letter and its contents were quite the use of a teenager in general; but it was the last phrases that caught the attention of the blonde beyond her memories: "Although I like to read everything and give any story a chance to conquer me, I never read or read better or bigger phrase than" In my world, Great Expectations only live between the pages of a book. ' A literature lesson in the heart of a few letters. "

Brittany was not ten years old anymore, shame was the least of her worries now. But the death of her aunt Stephany had left her in a state of emptiness, of emotions contained by the thickest of walls to keep her from falling into utter despair. That phrase, well known to Brittany as a young woman and even as an adult, got what her aunt's advice had not achieved during all the previous years: that those feelings of modesty before the rejection of a stranger seemed the biggest nonsense . Recognizing in other letters the words of one of the lines of her favorite book, Brittany thought that she had finally achieved the impossible until now: find someone like her, with whom she could connect through some letters, or some notes, or the simplest nonsenses that the brain invents. Someone like her aunt. Someone she knew it was out there, but who insisted on not letting herself be found. Until now?

Determined, she squeezed the magazine between her hands and lifted her chin, a resolution gleaming in her cerulean eyes that had not been there since the morning of Stephany's death. Why not? The worst that can happen is that nobody answers, she told herself as she got up effortlessly from the floor, still holding the magazine, and went to the desk under the window to start a new adventure. Which, she hoped, distracted her from the pain of Stephany's absence for a while, before she had to get used to living without her.


The sound of the closing door echoed through the walls of the empty apartment. With a sigh, the brunette woman left her keys on entrance's table and balanced herself to remove her coat without releasing what she was carrying in her hands. If she left the bag full of groceries on the floor, she knew that she would end up dragging them through the floor to the kitchen later. Practice makes perfect, and she managed to keep the bag and the correspondence that she had just picked up from the mailbox in one hand still stable, while with the other she hung the coat on the coat rack; and went to the kitchen to release ballast.

Once she had crossed the threshold, she carefully placed the bag on the table and went to the other side of the counter, where the only window in the room was, to quickly review the contents of the mailbox. The placement responded to a double motive: March in Lima was beginning to behave as usual, and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon the storm could be chewed in the air. The dark clouds obscured the little light that the twilight already left on the city, and the kitchen was almost in complete darkness; but the brunette refused to spend energy on the five minutes that would take to verify that the letters were either advertising or bills. After this, she would throw them into the trash can that she had right under her eyes, the #2 for her placement in the kitchen. Review-wrinkle/save -repeat, simple. Then, since it was still early, she would have a good shower and then dinner.

Thinking about whether the aubergines would not be too heavy for the last meal of the day, she left the last cable bill on the countertop to keep it in place with the others later and then noticed the next letter, one of the two they had to look. Suddenly, she forgot about the shower and the aubergines when she opened the envelope and took out the cardboard card, broken white color and full of printed pink ribbons, that was addressed to her in printing calligraphic typography and exaggerated italics. To Santana Lopez / +1.

Unconsciously, she rolled her eyes before finishing reading the invitation to the wedding. Right now she did not remember who she was exactly, but the name tickled her memory, they were classmates at some time in the past. Middle school? High school? It couldn't have been at college, I would remember ... or not? I can't put a face to the name either... it can not be that chubby girl...? She whispered, to herself, while reading that Mindy and Hugh were happy to invite her to celebrate with them the happiest day of their lives, and urged her to be at the Lima Presbyterian Church on Sunday, May 5 at 11:00 o'clock in the morning. to be a witness to their liaison, and later attend the meal that will take place to commemorate such a great event for the couple, relatives and various friends. Many greetings from Mindy and Hugh. RSVP.

She had a few seconds of hesitation, she had to admit it. But finally the impulse got the better of her and she broke the card in four before throwing it away. Maybe it was the remorse, or simply that the day invited to melancholy, but she remained for a long time looking at the broken cardboard, which seemed to shine against the black plastic bag. She could not explain why, but that invitation had given her a good kick in the ass. She had even left her for a while without air in her lungs. Why? If she did not even remember that girl anymore, she did not care at all if she got married or pierced her nipples. Then why? Having answered no to the invitation would have been enough. May you be very happy and all that, and we will see each other in the next life. At that moment, Santana sighed. Without wanting to do it, she had found the why.

Wish you happiness. May it go well for you, I wish you a prosperous and happy marriage. Blah blah blah. And after the parade, back home, alone. To work; to decide if the aubergines are good at night. If she should turn on the light or not for ten minutes she'll be in the kitchen. To live with a lot of room in the closet and a bottle of pills in the first drawer of her nightstand to close her eyes and not feel trapped in a life that no longer recognizes as her own..

When is that you get used to be accustomed to life? It is a question that Santana asked herself many times. When does you stop believing in the stories of the books, full of decisions and consequences? Full of something, period? And when you get used to the fact that life really is a succession of days, with its nights, in which the emotion of decisions and mistakes come out of yourself, instead from coming from the outside? Where the hell was that succesion from which everyone leaves and enters at will around her? College, work, house, marriage, children, grandchildren? And the weekends out? And the retirement in Florida? I had the college degree, I had the job, I had the house, and I had a succession of minutes and hours as my life, nothing more. What it's left for me to do?

Sighing, she allowed herself one more moment of tribulation before moving on to the next letter, the last one; to throw it away, whatever it says, to start your shower plan, dinner and we will see next. Strong emotions, indeed. What Santana still did not know, while opening an envelope that she had not noticed too much, was that this letter was not for her. And that, even so, it was going to give her what she had been asking for so long in silence.

Dear Marvin:

I hope you do not get scared when you receive a letter today, after so many years, but it was precisely today when I found an old copy of the #35 Detective Comics where your address came from; and when reading your letter to the magazine I have needed to write you these words. I do not even know if you will receive them, maybe you are dead, or you no longer live there... but I had to try. Because in fifteen years it has been passed, your letter has managed to encourage me to write to other people, something that fills me with fear, but at the same time it moves me, thinking about all the possibilities that this can entail; and why did you end your letter quoting one of my favorite writers, David Martín; and, by its mouth, the great Zafón, in The Angel's Game. Marvin, my great expectations also live between the pages of that book, and I only hope that this letter, in some way, reaches you; and feel the same thing that I felt when reading your words: that, somehow, having found us, even if only through an old magazine, we could get to exchange some thoughts or ideas, to try to get those hopes from between the pages and bring them to the real world.

Again, I'm sorry if this catches you outright, and I understand if you do not want to answer; Even so, I wish you all the best, and I hope you have found some hope, however small, outside the books.

Take care,

Brittany

After reading the letter, Santana blinked slowly. Once. Twice. One more time. I still did not understand very well what I had just read. Disconcerted, she took the envelope from the counter and searched for the sender. That was it, she had opened the envelope without realizing it, and that letter was not for her. Marvin W. Hodges. 154 S Metcalf Street Lima OH 45804. She had been living in that apartment for at least five years, and she knew from the real estate agency that it was been in the market for so long, so that Marvin must have lived among those walls more than twenty years ago.

To think that she had a personal handwritten letter in her hands, after years of not receiving any (although this one had not been for her either, really? Would this be a crime?), that stirred something inside her chest. A rare ... emotion? Yes, to think that someone had been rummaging through some old magazines and had found something that had turned her insides up so much, to take her to write to a stranger ... It was something new, something she would never have expected. Something that removed her insides too.

But what caught her attention the most, that managed to put a sincere smile on her face, was the literary reference. God, how many years had passed since I read that book ... It featured one of her favorite characters, which she counted among her most intimate friends, and she continued to identify strongly with her, her strong will and the courage she displayed throughout the series to pursue her destiny. Although, Santana thought with some bitterness, imitating her with fifteen years seemed easier than now with 30. Distracted by her thoughts, she went to the living room without paying much attention to the shopping bag she was waiting for her at the kitchen table. She had more important things to do. How to get rid of the idea of answering that letter that was not addressed to her. Or convince herself to sit at the table, take the paper she had and the first pen available and vomit over the paper all her thoughts: that this stranger had achieved, with just one letter, stir all the sadness that had kept inside her chest for years. She did not really know which of the two she would choose at the end.


Dear Brittany:

I apologize for my audacity in answering this letter that is not addressed to me, but seeing the effort you have put into your words, I felt responsible in some way, so I have decided to answer you. Marvin Hodges no longer lives here. I do not know what happened to him, because I came to this apartment five years ago, and from what I know of from the real estate people, it took a long time between rentals, so I guess it would have been the house of his parents at some point, which Marvin left after putting your contact address in the magazine. I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but the truth is that I can not say the same. Brittany, reading your words has been like opening the window to a new world that I thought was buried in my memories. I have also read Zafón's books many times, and many others later, but Great Expectations quote is still the best for me, because it is still the one I identify with the most.

I apologize for this diatribe, in which a bored thirty-something years old complains about life is going and going around her, while she remains stuck in her memories of other happier times, but somehow I know that you will forgive me and, I hope that, somehow, you understand my desire to start living and stop surviving.

I know I'm not Marvin, and we really do not know each other and surely this will seem crazy, but I think that even with all this, we could try to catch some of those great expectations from those pages and try to mash them together, see if is there is something worthy in them for us.

Again, thank you for your letter ("your letter." Anyway, I hope you are ok with this, wherever you are, Marvin), and I sincerely hope to read you soon.

Sincerely,

Santana Lopez.


Three years later…

Brittany was busy closing the last boxes. She still had to collect half of the bookshelf, pack the rest of the books and take down the boxes, so that tomorrow they moving guys would pick them. Taking a breath, she passed her forearm across her sweat-beaded forehead and sighed, tired. The summer sun fell on her because it was coming in full force through the windows, sans curtains anymore. It had been the first thing she had packed, and now she was paying for it suffering the heat.

After hearing the front door close, the noise echoing through the walls of the almost empty apartment, she got up quickly and went to the bookshelf to finish emptying it. While placing ordered by size and weight the volumes on the floor, next to the box where they tended to fit; she took one in her hands which she had not read in a long time. Standing there, she smiled nostalgic. It had always been one of his favorite books, but for almost three years now it had another meaning, much deeper than her teenage readings and the memories of distant days that those pages brought her.

Keeping her smile, she turned with the book still in her hand when she felt a presence behind her. There, at the door, Santana was waiting, leaning against the frame, with one hand holding her six months bump. She could not help but smile when she saw her wife, it was automatic since that distant afternoon when she received the first letter and Brittany disarmed her for the first time. But now the smile widened when she saw what she had in her hands.

No words were needed. Many had already been said. Brittany simply put the book back on the shelf and approached her wife to kiss her gently on the lips, and caress her belly with one of her hands, which entwined it with her wife's at the bottom of her belly.

It had been years since their Great Expectations no longer lived among books' pages.

fin.