A/N: It's always strange getting back into a story.


Eventually, they'd shuffled back onto the bed. With Rachel tucked close into her side, cheek pressed into her chest and the odd tear leaking out now and then, Santana was softly stroking her hair. Part of her was relaxed and calm, completely focused on the girl in her arm. The other part was still screaming at her, rattling inside her brain and making her free hand at her side tremble.

Santana closed her eyes. Why couldn't her mind shut up?

Rachel sighed, her warm breath seeping into Santana's shirt, making Santana shiver. "San," the small girl's voice was thin and tired, quiet, "What went wrong?"

"With?"

The feeling of Rachel's body changed. Or maybe it was Santana's expectation of a response that made her feel it. Either way, it didn't help the tightness of her chest. She really didn't want to talk about this.

"San…"

"Reality happened," Santana thrust out, cutting her off. Staring up at her ceiling, her fingers curled in Rachel's hair, above her ear, "And nothing will change that."

Rachel's hand slipped up Santana's side, sliding across her stomach. It was unexpected, and it left a trail of awareness behind it. Santana did her best to ignore it.

When Rachel spoke again, her voice was lower, jagged again, like how her fingernails were digging through Santana's shirt, "So after today, this never happened? I should just expect the abuse and callousness and betrayal – "

"Berry. Shut up!" Santana snapped, hand slapping over Rachel's, her arm squeezing her body involuntarily, "That wasn't what I said at all. Jesus, Rachel." Shifting, rolling to face her, Santana didn't care that her arm was now pinned; she glared at Rachel, knocking their legs together and so close she couldn't avoid her dark, shuttered gaze, "What have I been telling you?" She sucked in a deep, ragged breath, "God! I screwed up, Rachel. Okay? I know you know it. But nothing I can do now will erase the past. That's what I said. Just… Just get that, dammit." By the end, her voice was a harsh whisper, trailing off.

Rachel swallowed, tongue darting out to wet her upper lip before closing her teeth on it, slowly letting it go. Finally, she blinked, bobbing her head, the hand forgotten in Santana's rotating to wrap around her wrist, small and soft. "This is crazy," she whispered, meeting Santana's eyes again, "I… I'm still so hurt and angry at you…"

Thickness invaded the space around Santana's heart, expanding to become a vice grip around her whole chest.

"But I still remember what we once had, and how you could always cheer me up. And there's no denying that you've been holding me and are, just, well, here, but… Santana." She looked down, then looked back up, quickly meeting Santana's eyes and forcing a resolved expression on her face, "San. What am I… How am I…?"

Santana closed her eyes again. She growled, "Just say it, Rachel."

"How do you honestly believe that I can believe this?"

"I don't." It was like an all-stop. Santana shrugged. Her voice hadn't wavered, coming out almost emotionless, and suddenly, that was all she could feel. She was tired. She was done. What more did Rachel want from her? Tensing her muscles, she pulled back, shuffling off of the bed and depositing Rachel fully back onto the mattress.

Rachel matched her movements by sitting up, picking one of Santana's pillows to hug into her lap, like a stuffed animal. Her eyes were big, curious, even as shades of weariness still lurked in the corners.

Santana sharpened her voice, "I don't. But you know how nice it would be if you, for once, stopped thinking this is all about and only about you?"

"I don't – "

"You do. You are." Santana wasn't surprised by Rachel's instinctual protest. Shaking her head, she took a seat on the side of the bed, echoing what she had done earlier that day, and pinned Rachel's gaze to her own. "So why don't we get into this?"

Rachel's mouth was opening again, but Santana didn't want to hear it, couldn't hear it, and forged ahead. She started as if she was ticking off a list with her fingers.

"I slept with your boyfriend when he wasn't your boyfriend, but you still hold me accountable for him not telling you.

"I stopped talking to you the summer before high school, and I'm pretty sure you think that was all my fault, too."

Rachel's grip on the pillow tightened, and she shook it, shaking her head furiously in tandem. "It was! You went off to Cheerleader Camp! You left, and you, you never came back, Santana! I didn't know who you were."

"I was me, Rachel!" Santana yelled. It echoed in the room, crackling through the air. She gave up any pretense of counting anymore. "I was me, and you didn't care!"

Rachel shook her head again. "What does that even mean?"

"It means," Santana stood up again, words and hurts and feelings and energies splintering and tumbling, surging out, "That as soon as I found something to concentrate on that wasn't you and your voice, your dreams, you stopped giving back to me." She ground her teeth, throwing her hair out of her face before whirling on Rachel again; she was going to get this out, and she was going to get this out now, "How many times did you tell me how stupid and shallow cheerleading was as soon as it became clear I wanted to pursue it into high school? Not once did you support me, Rachel. Not once. And yet I always always always always supported you." She looked away, voice dropping, rasping with angry, deeply scarred disappointment before her throat closed itself off, "You and your fucking Broadway voice."

The confession left Santana with ears hot and ringing, limbs swirling with energy, and heavy, rough breathing. Dammit, why was she letting Rachel get to her like this?

At least, she thought, trying to push her feelings back into the corner of her mind, to get herself under control again, at least maybe Rachel could believe that to be entirely true. To be the entire reason their friendship had ended. Please. That was all Santana could handle. Please.

But it wasn't until Rachel's quiet, slow, heartbroken, "I didn't want to lose my best friend to the beautiful popular girls," that Santana realized, eyes snapping to meet wet, red eyes, that Rachel already knew.