Santana's jaw drops when she sees those two players tackle Brittany to the turf. The crunch of bodies colliding is engrained in her memory and pulls an audible gasp deep from within the brunette. Santana knows that Brittany wears all sorts of padding and protection under her uniform but when she sees the quarterback motionless on the ground, her heart plummets.

The next thing Santana knows, she throws down her pompoms and runs for her life out onto the field.

Santana can faintly hear Quinn calling after her but it doesn't slow her down one bit. She has heard stories about concussed players and broken ribs and punctured lungs and whatever else could go wrong on the field. She can't just stand on the sidelines and watch this happen in front of her eyes; she has to get to Brittany, she has to make sure she's okay for herself.

She's bound to be breaking some kind of rule, but she doesn't give a shit about that – not when Brittany's just lying there.

There's already a crowd of players gathering around the quarterback and Santana pushes past Puck and Karofsky before sinking down to her knees next to Brittany's head. The blonde's eyes are closed and there's this pained expression on her face. Santana is so used to seeing Brittany as this invincible, gorgeous girl that it breaks her heart even further to see Brittany hurting like this.

She leans over the quarterback, trying to blink away the tears starting to well in her eyes.

"Brittany," Santana urges, awaiting some kind of movement, "Are you okay?"

Santana can feel someone trying to pull her away but she blindly pushes them off of her.

"Santana, let the Trainer look her over."

The voice belongs to Quinn, but Santana's not moving until she sees the blues of Brittany's eyes again, even if that means one of these assholes has to throw her tiny body over their shoulder and haul her away.

She's not moving until Brittany does too.

The Trainer crouches down on the opposite side and Santana eyes him up and down.

"Do you know what you're doing?" Santana questions bitterly.

The Trainer looks surprised by the question, "This isn't my first rodeo, kid."

"That doesn't mean you know what you're doing," Santana bristles.

"Santana," Quinn chastises with another tug on the brunette's arm, "Let him do his job."

"What?" Santana huffs, "Who knows what kind of medical experience he has? He could be a drop out for all we know!"

The Trainer scowls at her, "I'm right here."

"And?"

The Trainer shakes his head and continues his examination.

The longer Brittany keeps her eyes squeezed shut, the more worried Santana becomes.

She thinks about every moment, every word she has said to Brittany over the past couple of days, and she doesn't want them to be the last Brittany hears. She doesn't know if she's being dramatic here or what, but in this moment it feels like her whole world is falling apart.

"Britt," Santana begs, her voice cracking as she does, "Come on."

This time, Brittany's slow to blink but her eyes open nonetheless. She looks to the Trainer before she settles on Santana. There's a surprised and confused look on her face before it turns into a sly smile.

"Did you just call me Britt?"

Santana's lips part for the right thing to say but she fails to find the words. She's just relieved that Brittany's eyes are open and she's talking. The Trainer takes over and Santana pushes to stand before she rounds on the players that surround them.

"She forgot her name!" Santana yells at them, "She forgot her goddamn name!"

"Wait, what?" Finn looks from Santana to the Trainer, "That can't be true."

The Trainer glares at Santana, "It's not."

The Titans look a mix of confused and worried and scared while Santana continues to fume.

"You have to get off the field," The Ref says. Coach Beiste isn't too far behind either.

"I'm not leaving until I know she's okay!"

Azimio shakes his head at Santana, "This is exactly why girls shouldn't be playing this kind of sport. They ain't strong enough, ain't as athletic for a game like this!"

"Shut the hell up!" Santana growls, "You sound as stupid as you look."

Azimio looks at her like she has lost her mind.

"Santana, we need to get back to the sidelines," Quinn tries, "We shouldn't be out here."

Santana doesn't budge as she looks to every Titan surrounding them, "Which one of you imbeciles was meant to guard her?!"

No one makes a sound; the players just shift side to side and look around at each other.

Karofsky seems the guiltiest, "Shouldn't be playing if she can't take a hit."

Santana looks shocked by his comment as she pushes Quinn's hands off of her. Despite being the smallest on the field, Santana steps up to Karofsky like she's ten feet tall.

"You shouldn't be playing if you can't do your goddamn job."

Karofsky waves her off, "How about you just head on back to where you came from and keep waving those pom – "

It surprises everyone when Santana lunges at him fist first.

She's not sure where she's aiming because the guy still has his helmet on but she doesn't care at this point. She's so angry by the lack of concern for Brittany that all she sees is red. If you're running your mouth to her right now, you're going to get punched.

"Get off the field!" The Ref orders.

"What about him?" Santana challenges while Quinn holds her back, "He should be thrown out or cancelled or whatever you call it!"

"Ejected?" Sam offers.

"Whatever!" Santana yells, "He did this to her! Throw one of your little yellow flags at him, I don't give a shit. He's the one that needs to go!"

"Santana, stop!" Quinn tries harder.

"Get off me, Fabray! I'm going to end him! He had one fucking job: protect her! He couldn't even do that so now I'm going to go ALL LIMA HEIGHTS on his sorry ass!"

Everyone starts to get restless the angrier Santana becomes. Mike and Sam try to help Quinn with wrangling Santana while Puck's looking curiously at Karofsky. He starts to see Santana's point and steps up to him.

"You let that Linebacker get the jump on you. Didn't you?" Puck accuses before looking to Azimio, "You both did!"

"Prove it," Karofsky mocks while still avoiding Santana, "You can't."

"I was the only one blocking for her!" Puck argues, "I was the only one there! Where the hell were both of you?"

Karofsky brushes him off and glares at Santana, "Get the lesbo out of here so we can play some real football! I've over this!"

"That's right!" Azimio adds, "Too many damn emotions out here."

Quinn loosens her grip on Santana at that, "On second thought, I'll help you."

The pair of them go to tag team Karofsky and Azimio while Mike and Sam try to break it up. Puck's going after Azimio with Quinn and Finn's just looking back and forth trying to make sense of everything. Coach Beiste is trying to help break up the fighting while Coach Sue looks on at her Co-Captains with a satisfied smile on her face.

Everyone's so wrapped up in the commotion that they don't see Brittany sitting up with the help of the Trainer.

\\\\\

Brittany's nodding to every question the Trainer asks about how she feels and other routine questions that could spot a possible concussion. In all honesty, it's not the hardest she's ever been hit but it has been awhile so she can see why she's a little slow to recover.

Hearing Santana call out her name so many times really helped though.

"I'm good," Brittany assures the Trainer, "Just a hard hit."

The Trainer seems satisfied with Brittany's responses so he helps her get back on her feet.

Brittany wiggles out the slight soreness but she feels good – she can keep playing, no need for a Concussion Protocol. What she doesn't expect to see is Santana and Quinn trying to take on her Right and Left Guards. Actually, she doesn't expect to see all the arguing going on between everyone.

Crawford County is just staring at them while the officials and coaches try to get everyone under control. It might be the rowdiest game this stadium has ever seen and that's including the game against Carmel High where Puck was ejected for swinging at a player.

Santana's the feistiest one there and it doesn't look like she's backing down any time soon.

Brittany doesn't understand why she's here though – well, she does and she doesn't. Santana was the one who said there were no feelings here; if that was really the case then what's the explanation for this? Because despite everything she said that day in the locker room, Santana is once again showing the opposite of what she truly feels.

There's no time to sit and overthink it though, there's still a game Brittany needs to win.

She thanks the Trainer for checking on her before jogging over to the feuding players.

"We don't discriminate based on gender!" Coach Beiste shouts as she pushes Karofsky back after something he said. Her face is beet red as she says, "What's the matter with you?"

Brittany raises a brow at that but Karofsky isn't her main focus, Santana is and the girl is still trying her hardest to fight through Mike in order to get to Azimio. Santana doesn't falter in her advances until Brittany makes her presence known by standing in her way.

"Santana, stop," Brittany tells her calmly with her hands on the Co-Captain's waist. The touch seems to surprise Santana and she instantly relents enough that Brittany can guide her back even further.

The more distance Brittany can put between the team and Santana right now, the better.

Santana only stares blankly at Brittany like she has just seen a ghost.

"Should you be up?" She asks worriedly, "You need to sit out or something?"

"I'm fine," Brittany assures her, "I need to finish the game."

Santana laughs in disbelief, "Seriously? You were hit hard, Britt, I don't think – "

"So I wasn't hearing things."

Santana frowns, "What?"

"You called me Britt."

Santana softens and Brittany swears she sees a hint of a blush, "That's your name, isn't it?"

Brittany starts to grin despite wanting to keep her expressions to herself, "Just the first time you've ever said it."

Santana crosses her arms and her brows furrow as she says, "You shouldn't play through an injury, you'll only make it worse. I can call my dad and have you checked out by an actual doctor – not this guy who probably learned everything from episodes of Grey's Anatomy."

"I told you. I'm fine," Brittany insists before she knocks on her side, "See? Rib protector; the pads took the brunt of the hit. I barely felt a thing."

"Then why'd you look like you were in so much pain?"

"Reflex," Brittany shrugs, "You try being hit by two Linebackers who weigh twice as much as I do. It's not fun."

Santana looks warily but nods in the end, "Just…be more careful, okay?"

Brittany quirks her brow at that; such a change in Santana's tune compared to the other day. She really doesn't sound like someone who isn't capable of having feelings for someone else and she's dying to know if Santana can see that too. Brittany doesn't point it out though; not while they're still on the field. Besides, she thinks it's kind of nice how much Santana cares, whether she wants to admit it or not.

"I don't know," Brittany tries to joke instead, "Seeing you run out here trying to fight the whole team in my honor? Kind of cool."

"I wasn't trying to fi –"

"Alright Rocky, let's go," Coach Beiste interrupts as she and Quinn walk up, "We have a game to get back to."

Santana looks at them and nods before turning back to Brittany, "Win this thing, Britt."

Hearing Santana say her name gives Brittany another endorphins boost. She liked when Santana called her Pierce, it was their thing, but this hits differently. Brittany can't help but think about what they could be if Santana would just give them a chance. She'll take her little wins instead though because to have Santana checking on her like this, in front of everyone, and they're sober? That's big.

But, one thing at a time. It's one play at a time, one touchdown, one win.

Brittany only winks before Coach Beiste starts to escort the Co-Captains off of the field.

\\

A few minutes later, the teams are brought back together to continue the game. There are no penalties for the interruption since Santana isn't a Titan and they're able to pick up where they left off.

After Brittany's sack, the Titans are now on their fourth and final down.

That means it's their last try to make something happen this drive before the ball is given back to Crawford County. They either play it safe and have the special teams come out to punt it away or go for it and at the very least get enough yardage for a new set of downs.

It's a tough call because they're about three yards away from a first down.

If the Titans can turn this into something, that'll be amazing. If they can't, it puts Crawford County in really great field position and with just six minutes left on the clock and the Titans only leading by 3 points, no one wants that.

There's also the issue of Karofsky and Azimio and what the hell happened that last play. With how fast she was taken down, it really makes her wonder whether or not they let the defenders slip by on purpose. It all happened so fast though, it would be hard to tell. Still, if she can't trust the guys meant to protect her then it really throws a wrench in the overall confidence she has in her teammates.

She can't get hit like that again either, once was enough, but she needs to make a decision: go for it or play it safe?

"I can get three yards," Puck says confidently as if he could sense the QB's dilemma.

Azimio shakes his head and Puck shoves at him.

"I don't need you to do it either," Puck barks, "You and Karofsky might as well play for the other team!"

"What?" Karofsky looks to Puck and gasps, "I'm not gay."

"I meant literally, dumbass."

"Enough!" Brittany orders, "I'm over the arguing. Let's just win the game first and deal with this later."

The Running Back doesn't waver though as he squares his shoulders off with Karofsky. He's the one looking for a fight now, but Brittany can't take any more interruptions.

"Puckerman!" Brittany urges, "Focus."

"Alright," Puck flinches at Karofsky and Azimio one last time before turning to Brittany.

"I know the perfect play," The quarterback says, "We haven't practiced it much but I don't think they'll expect it."

"Okay," Puck nods resolutely, "I'm down for whatever, Cap. Just give me the ball."

\\

Brittany has Mike and Sam get into position on the far left side of the field and their defenders mirror them. Puck's situated behind Brittany hoping to get a running start once he's handed the ball.

Brittany gets up close to her Center and gets her hands ready for the snap.

"Down," She calls out as she eyes the defense's movement. She stomps her left foot and Matt comes rushing across from the right side, "Down…HUT!"

She grips the ball tightly as she spins around and hands the ball off to Puck who is already running to the left side of the field. The handoff is smooth and Puck's able to bring the ball in to his chest, his arms blocking the defenders from punching it out to force a fumble.

All Brittany can do is hang back and watch the play unfold.

Puck continues to run fast and hard, bouncing off a defender, then slipping through the break in the defense that Mike and Sam are able to create – something that Karofsky and Azimio haven't been able to do all night!

The receivers stay with Puck and offer some protection as he continues to up field, leaving Crawford County in his dust. The Titans only needed three yards for the first down and Puck's just crossing over for five!

Brittany's jumping up and down, pumping her fist, as she watches him haul ass. Mike gets tripped up as he throws his body in the way of a defender that nearly got his hands on Puck, so now it's just Sam that's chasing after him. Two Crawford County players are closing in on Puck but the endzone is just a few yards away now.

He could go all the way!

Suddenly, one of the defenders leaps forward and gets his arm around Puck's waist and soon his heels are digging into the turf to slow him down. Puck keeps fighting though and he's able to get an extra yard until Sam and the other defender collide into him.

"Hell yeah!" Brittany cheers as she runs up to meet the rest of her team. She jumps up in time to bump shoulders with Puck and when they land to the ground in time, she slaps him on the helmet, "Way to step up, Puck!"

Puck tosses the ball to the Ref before turning to Karofsky and Azimio with this smug grin on his face, "Told you I didn't need you."

"Quit it," Brittany chastises although she's also pretty proud that they were able to pull off that play without relying on her guards.

Now not only did they get the first down, they're also just yards away from the endzone!

A great turn of events for the Titans, but she can't let that get to their heads just yet. It wouldn't be the first time they've been able to get this far and not come away with a touchdown. They need to be more focused than ever – especially with the game clock still ticking away.

"Alright let's keep the momentum going," Brittany says in the quick huddle, "We made it this far, let's have something to show for it. Okay? Titans on three. One…two…three!"

"Titans!"

\\

Brittany sets her mouthguard back in place before rubbing the towel that dangles from her waistband between her bare fingers to wick away the sweat. Her heart races in anticipation for being this close to the endzone but she inhales deeply to try and slow it down. It's important that she remains cool and composed because stress on the field right now is like blood in the water and Crawford County are the sharks.

This next play was meant to be a simple run up the guts by Puckerman but Brittany reads the defense's formation like an open book. They're going to blitz – not good. Defenders are going to rush at them from all angles at full speed to flush out any possible run game, so Brittany has to opt for Plan B: a slant route.

"Alert! Alert!" The quarterback yells down the line in both directions to warn the team that she's going with Plan B. From the corner of her eye, she sees #89 creep towards the gap in her O-Line and quickly points it out, "Watch #89!"

Matt adjusts his position so that he can block the defender before Brittany's calling for the snap.

The ball is hiked and Brittany secures it in her hands. Within seconds, she quickly fires it at Mike, but his defender is able to bat it down before the receiver can bring it in for a catch. Mike looks to the turf and shakes his head as he jogs back to the line of scrimmage.

Brittany brushes it off though and they reset for the second down.

"Shake it off," She tells her team as she readies herself for the snap.

This time Brittany fakes the handoff to Puck before running in the opposite direction. No one is open though and the defense is quickly closing in on her. She looks left. She looks right. Still no one can get open. To avoid a second sack of the game or a possible interception, Brittany throws the ball over the heads of Sam and his defender out of bounds.

She starts to feel the pressure as the Titans head into their third down.

Brittany of course still has hope that they'll make something happen. If anything, she can always bring out Kurt and the special teams for a field goal instead. That's 3 extra points on the board, but being this close to the endzone? Brittany has to do everything she can to bring in a touchdown.

"This is it, boys," Brittany says to her team in the huddle, "This is the moment Coach was talking about. There's only a couple minutes left of this game and it's looking good for us, but we can make it look even better."

The guys look battered and bruised but they all nod along with Brittany.

"Big Wheels," The quarterback calls before looking to Mike and Sam, "Run fast, get open and I'll find you."

Mike and Sam knock their fists together and nod.

Brittany then looks to Karofsky and Azimio. She heard Santana and Puck's claims about them while the Trainer was looking her over. Honestly, she's never been in this kind of situation where there's a possibility that her own teammates would purposely let her get hit.

She looks at them with her jaw tightened, "Now's the time to prove to everyone on this team – including me – that you deserve to be here."

"What –"

"Don't," Brittany stops them, "Show. Don't tell."

The guards look taken aback but the rest of the team sides with Brittany on this. It's one thing to be an asshole, but to upset the balance of the team on purpose like they've allegedly done? It doesn't sit well with anyone.

"Let's go Titans!" Brittany claps before everyone walks out of the huddle and into position.

Big Wheels is a passing play, that means Brittany has to sit in the pocket long enough for her receivers to get into position up field then it becomes a jump ball. She launches it to whoever she thinks has the best chance at jumping up and catching it despite their coverage.

Usually, the play is used for Hail Mary situations – for when they're so far away from the endzone or first down that Brittany just has to chuck it and see if it's caught. It's a ballsy play, especially if coverage is tight but Brittany has faith in her receivers.

After all, they won their first game against Crawford County with this exact play. It's kind of fitting that they do it again.

\\

The Titans walk up to the line of scrimmage and the energy in the stadium spikes. Time is quickly ticking away and this could potentially be their last play of the entire game. The Cheerios are shouting Go! Fight! Win! and the spectators pump their fist in time with each word.

Brittany looks to Santana in what feels like the first time since she left the field earlier. She's the only one not cheering along with the squad, but instead anxiously awaiting the Titans' next move. The incoming play relies heavily on Karofsky and Azimio doing their job correctly so it can buy Brittany some time in the pocket.

If Santana knew that was Brittany's plan, the blonde can probably guess that she wouldn't be too pleased with her – especially if she's meant to be careful. This isn't a careful sport though and Brittany can't live in her fears. For the overall success of the team, she has to put herself in risky positions sometimes.

But it's endearing to see Santana worry about her, so Brittany gives the Co-Captain a thumbs up before readying herself for the snap.

"Down…hut. Down...hut," Brittany calls out coolly before leaning in again, "HUT!"

The ball is instantly in the quarterback's hands and she drops back, keeping an eye on the defenders trying to squeeze their way through her O-Line as well as her receivers crossing into the endzone. She's able to avoid a defender's arm as he tries to slap the ball from her hands before Azimio pushes him back.

It's that move that gives Brittany enough room to step up in the pocket and fire the ball towards Sam. He and his defender both jump up in the air, arms outstretched towards the incoming ball. Brittany watches with her breath held as the ball is juggled then caught and the two land in a tangled mess in the endzone.

She isn't able to breathe again until the Sam pops up from the ground with the game winning ball in his hand just as the Ref signals the touchdown is good!

\\

Crawford County gets the ball back with just over two minutes left in the game and they are unsuccessful in scoring against the invigorated Titans defense.

The McKinley Titans end up winning the game: 38 – 28.

They're off to the Championships along with Carmel High for the first time in who knows how many years and they couldn't be more excited! The Titans shake hands with the opposing team before returning to their sidelines to celebrate. They're spraying each other with drink bottles and dancing to the music that's blasting through the stadium speakers.

Brittany steps back and takes it all in with a proud smile on her face.

The sights and sounds and this feeling that can't be replicated; it's like no other and she soaks it up. Her family is chanting her name from the stands and it makes her laugh when she sees Pete with his entire face painted red and white. Her little brother is something else, it warms her heart to see him cheer for her so passionately. It reminds her a little of their dad and she's glad that Pete's carrying on his legacy.

Then there's Santana who stares at her with this quiet kind of content. Her face is relaxed of any expression, but a storm cloud looms over her as she watches Brittany stand alone on the field.

Those on the team that have girlfriends are being hugged and kissed and congratulated, but not Brittany.

She just looks at Santana, waiting and willing her to do something – will she surprise her even more than she already has tonight? Will she finally blow off whatever anyone has to say about her or them and just do what feels right? Will she just come over here and kiss her already?

It's like Brittany's giving her this unspoken second chance and it really does look like Santana wants to do everything Brittany's hoping she would. The Co-Captain is looking around at Quinn and Mike, Sugar and Sam, even Puck is making googly eyes at some random Cheerio. They're both surrounded by everything they wish they could be, but Santana never makes a move.

Instead, she deflates – as if to say I can't – before leaving with her head hung low and that just about answers Brittany's questions.

\\

Despite the win under her belt, Brittany's spirits never get quite as high as her teammates'. She wishes they would, anything to make this sinking feeling go away, but it never does. Brittany can only watch as Santana and the other Cheerios leave the field and the stands begin to empty.

This is the place Brittany blooms, right here on this field, but for the first time ever that doesn't happen. She doesn't feel whole even after the win and she hates that she knows why that is. She just saw the reason walk away from her and there's nothing she can do about it.

She just looks up at the bright stadium lights and wishes on them as if they were stars. She wishes that things would right themselves. She wishes for courage and strength, but not for herself. She wishes for things to get better because she doesn't know how to make that happen on her own.

Brittany keeps wishing because in the place she used to feel so sure of herself, she has never felt so lost in the lights.

\\

After finally going over to see her family and listening in on Coach Beiste's post-game speech, Brittany makes her way to the girls' locker room to get changed. She's starting to feel those couple of hard hits she took during the game as she sets down her scuffed helmet and gets to work shedding her pads.

Brittany's muscles are tight and her throwing arm is a little sore but it's a nice relief once she gets her shoulder pads off. She strips down to her leggings and sports bra as she wanders over to the showers to get the water going. For once, she's grateful she is the only one there because that means she won't have to compete for hot water.

Brittany's setting down a change of clothes on the bench by the shower stall when the locker room door creaks open. Brittany looks up and is stunned by who she sees creeping in.

"Hi," Santana greets, her voice quiet as she closes the door behind her. She looks like a meek little mouse with her hands hidden in the pockets of her Cheerios jacket.

Brittany swallows dryly. She didn't expect to see her here after the look they shared on the field, but Brittany greets her nonetheless.

"Hey. What are you doing here?"

Santana takes a couple timid steps closer, "Just wanted to say great game."

"Thanks," Brittany nods before turning back to hang her towel on the hook. She has to keep busy so she doesn't try to turn this into something bigger than it is, "Have you been hanging around just to tell me that?"

"Kind of."

"Could've texted me," Brittany shrugs but Santana only nods.

"I didn't want to. I…I also wanted to apologize about running on the field," Santana adds to Brittany's surprise, "I don't know what I was thinking."

"You were worried."

Santana lets loose a nervous chuckle, "No, I was – "

Brittany sends her a tired look and it has Santana stopping in her tracks. She looks as if she's just been scolded although Brittany didn't even say a word.

"Okay," Santana relents, "I was worried. You weren't moving and I just…I thought the absolute worst."

Brittany sucks in a shaky breath and watches as Santana carefully takes another few steps closer, "And that made you run out on the field?"

"Well yeah," Santana says easily, "I couldn't just stand there and watch you like that. What if it was serious? You never know it's the last time until it is and I didn't want that. I don't want that."

Santana's words strike a sensitive nerve within Brittany, but the quarterback continues to stand there with this look of indifference. She's not sure whether Santana's still talking about the game or what and it frustrates her.

"You don't want that?" Brittany lets out a bitter laugh, "I don't get you, Santana."

Santana's shoulders fall slightly, but she moves closer again. Now that they're just an arm's length away it overwhelms Brittany to have her so near, but she stays focused.

"Your words and your actions don't add up," Brittany continues, "You say you don't have feelings but you rush the field when you think I've been hurt? You can see how I'm struggling to make sense of that, right?"

Brittany can see Santana trying to form the words but she moves too slowly.

"I don't know what to think anymore," Brittany adds, "I don't know how you feel about me and it's confusing and I don't like it. I don't like these kind of games. I don't want to guess, Santana. I shouldn't have to. If you don't really like me then spare me the heartache and the runaround and just tell – "

Santana's lips are on hers in an instant.

It's like that same sigh of relief and Brittany hates how she relaxes into it out of habit. Santana cradles Brittany's face in her hands so gently and she kisses her like her whole life depends on it. She kisses Brittany impatiently, like she's trying to put everything she can't say out loud behind it – but that's what's wrong with them, isn't it?

Sometimes this isn't enough, sometimes people need to hear it for themselves too.

When Brittany reluctantly pulls away from Santana, her whole body is a buzz. Her heart tells her to get back in there, to press Santana against the wall and kiss her hard, but her head says no. She can't go back on her stance, she needs a real explanation – not a kiss that can be interpreted however the heart wants.

"This isn't an answer," Brittany says with her lips still tingling from the searing kiss.

"I know it isn't," Santana sighs. She sounds desperate as she drops her hands from Brittany's cheeks to rest on her hips. Her thumbs smooth over Brittany's bare skin, "But it's all I've been thinking about doing as soon as you opened your eyes after that hit."

Santana starts to lean in again and Brittany lets her, because she'd be lying if she said she wasn't thinking about doing the same thing too.

"I wasn't brave enough to do it out there," Santana husks; her eyes are steady on Brittany's, "I'm sorry. I wish I could be the kind of person you deserve to be with but I don't think I am…not yet."

Brittany bites the corner of her lip in thought. It's the worst idea because she can taste just a hint of Santana's lip gloss there and it distracts her for a moment from taking Santana's words in. It's the first time she's hearing Santana be honest about her feelings and it breaks her heart a little to think Santana doesn't see what Brittany sees in her.

"I want to be though," Santana adds, "I want to be brave enough to hold your hand when we walk down the hall together. I want to take you out on dates and buy you all the flowers that make me think of you, but most importantly I want to be able to kiss you whenever and wherever. Whether it's between classes or out on that field in front of everyone after you've won the big game, I want to be brave enough to do it…I just don't know how to do that."

"I can help you," Brittany offers, "You don't have to do this alone."

The tears welling in Santana's eyes are unexpected, but the Co-Captain blinks them away as smile graces her lips, "So I've heard."

"It's true, Santana."

"I know," Santana replies, "It's just taken awhile for me to believe it. You came here and everything changed, I changed. But it isn't enough. You deserve someone who isn't afraid to show you that they…that they like you. A lot. I want to be that someone someday."

Brittany's so moved by Santana words that she surprises herself by being the one to lean in first. She inhales sharply as their mouths crash together once again. It's everything that Brittany has been trying to pull out of Santana and now that she finally heard it, she doesn't know what to do but kiss her long and hard.

Santana's hands are gripping Brittany's sides while the blonde frowns at not be able to feel more of Santana too. As if Santana could read Brittany's mind, she starts to shrug out of her Cheerios jacket. Brittany helps with pulling it all the way off before it's tossed to the floor. Neither of them are thinking too clearly about where this is going, but the shower steam is filling the room like a sauna and it's make their clothes feel too tight.

"Fuck," Santana whines when Brittany nips at her lower lip.

"Take this off," Brittany groans as she tugs on Santana's top. The brunette's hands have been all over Brittany and it just isn't fair that she can't feel Santana too.

Santana obliges without a second thought and the top falls to join her jacket on the floor.

Brittany gulps when she sees Santana's lacy, black bra while her hands move on their own to roam. Her breath hitches though when Santana hooks her fingers into the waistband of her tights.

"These too," Santana whispers against Brittany's swollen lips.

Brittany quickly sheds them, trying her hardest to keep from breaking the kiss but it's nearly impossible to do. They giggle when Brittany hobbles around on one foot trying to pull the last of the tights from around her ankle, but then it's not so funny.

She's standing there in just her bra and boy shorts while Santana mirrors her doing the same. The Cheerios skirt is the last layer Santana has on and it falls to pool around her ankles.

They're equal now and Brittany's chest is heaving at the sight. Her head is begging to know is this really happening but she's pressed snooze on it for the time being. In this moment, she can't help but follow her heart and it's telling her to go for it.

Whatever it means.

"I've never," Santana whispers a second later.

Brittany's heart pounds but her voice comes out surprisingly even, "Ever?"

Santana gives her a look that makes Brittany want to laugh. It's the perfect way to break up such a nerve racking moment.

"With a guy, yes. With a girl…no."

"Well I figured considering I was your first girl kiss," Brittany jokes and it has Santana smiling bashfully. Brittany softens, "We don't have to do anything you're not ready for."

Santana steps closer and her eyes flicker between Brittany's piercing blues.

Then Santana leans in and the kiss that follows is softer than the ones before. It's slow and methodical and Brittany melts into her yet again, but it doesn't last for too long. The kiss turns needy and before Brittany knows it, she's stepping backwards into the shower. She can't tell if she's the one doing the guiding or if it's Santana, maybe it's just a mutual thing, but when the warm water hits their bodies they pull each other closer.

They still have their bras and underwear on and the water is starting to soak through, but they don't seem to notice as they continue to trade hungry kisses beneath the spray. After such a rough game in the freezing cold, this is the perfect way to warm up. It's like Brittany can feel everything and it would be so overwhelming if she didn't love every second of it.

Her hands smooth over all of this newly exposed skin, memorizing each and every curve of Santana's body as if she was never going to see it again. Who knows, maybe she won't? It's one thing at a time and right now that one thing is showing Santana how great they could be together.

"Good thing you picked this one," Santana mumbles breathlessly about the stall.

Brittany shakes away the daze of her thoughts, "What?"

"I pay the janitor to deep clean it twice a week," Santana smirks, "No one else is meant to use it but me."

"Whoops," Brittany snickers, "I wondered why it was always so clean. There's always really nice smelling body wash in here too."

"You're welcome."

Brittany and Santana giggle as they share one more kiss, but this one isn't like the others. It's sweet and chaste and happens almost out of reflex.

Santana's the first to break it this time, "So are you going to like…wash yourself or?"

Brittany quirks a brow, "You saying I stink?"

Santana gives her a look and Brittany sends it right back.

"Why else would I be in the shower, Santana?" Brittany teases, "There are many walls in here that I could've pinned you against other than this very clean one."

"Smart ass," Santana smirks as she grabs the shampoo, "Turn around. I'll do your hair."

"Really?" Brittany grins but Santana just shrugs. The blonde turns and lets Santana get to work washing her hair like it's the most natural thing in the world for them.

"I've never showered with my clothes on," Brittany admits.

"You can lose them if you want."

Brittany looks over her shoulder at Santana to find her with this smug grin on her face.

"I doubt you could handle that," Brittany flirts.

"You're probably right."

The blonde feels that same familiar sense of floating that she's been so desperately missing the past couple of days as Santana scratches at her scalp. Even if they're not doing anything too risky, this is much more intimate than they've ever been. It's a nice change and it almost makes up for the last couple of days they've been apart.

\\

Once Santana rinses Brittany's hair, they go back to kissing lazily. They shift back and forth from hungry and needy to soft and slow, but their last layer of clothes is never shed. Despite their bras and bottoms being a sopping wet mess, no one crosses that barrier. They just stand beneath the spray like that until the water starts to lose its warmth.

Brittany finally feels like herself again, like maybe things will be okay but there's an odd moment of clarity and it has her pressing pause.

"We should still talk about things," Brittany reminds Santana, "This doesn't count."

Santana pulls away and looks Brittany in the eye again, "I know."

"Okay."

Santana gives her a shy smile, "Soon."

Brittany nods before Santana steals another kiss. She has high hopes, because that's just who she is. She always searches for the best in people, she always gives third and fourth chances. Whether or not that's her greatest trait or her biggest downfall, she'll never know. But when it comes to Santana, she just has to keep her head up.

Santana said they'll talk soon, so she's going to hold her to that.


A/N - Alrighty guys, we're shifting into possibly longer breaks between chapters now that I'm back to work. I was just sussing it during my first week back to see if I could squeeze in some writing but it's looking like I'll have to wait until my days off which are always changing. If you aren't following this, maybe start now incase I can't make it to Friday.

Thanks for being patient tho, I really appreciate it.

PS - Check out the AWESOME artwork Haru-Snixx on Tumblr made for this story. Show them luv bc it's so amazing and I'm still trying to get over how great it is!