a/n: wow. it's been a long time, hasn't it? I'm really sorry. It's been a complicated while since I've updated this. So, basically, I'm a horrible person but I want to make it up for you guys and update this fic. I know I've been terrible about this. I promise I'll do my very best to not take almost-year-long breaks this time around.

"Sebastian." Santana's voice drops an octave as the rest of the Warblers file out. "What aren't you telling me?" She shifts herself on the couch so that her head is level with his. Sebastian stands from his crouch and lightly seats himself next to her bent knees.

"I…wow, a lot, actually." He lets out a bitter chuckle, eyes cast downward for a brief moment. Santana can sense the imbalance in the room, and reaches out a hand, which lands harmlessly on his arm. He flinches almost imperceptibly at her touch, but then relaxes and takes a slow breath. "You have to promise to hear me out, San." She nods, a nervous feeling filling her gut. What if he's a serial killer? Or a rapist? Or—oh god! "Promise me. I just need to hear you say it."

"I promise," She repeats, but there's an audible tremor in her voice. Sebastian takes notice of it, and looks her in the eyes.

"Thank you." He gives her a relieved smile, if only for a second, and then it fades as he starts to talk. "Obviously, you know, you've seen us in 'action'." He puts finger quotes around action, and she half-smiles. "The most important thing you can know, right now, is that we're good. There's nothing about us that should scare you, because I—we, we would never hurt you. We're almost like…police officers…well, minus the ridiculous uniforms and stupid cars with sirens. But there's a catch.

No one knows about us. No one can, and no one ever will. It's really necessary that you don't tell anyone about us, Santana. Because no one in Westerville knows that I'm part of this. I'm the king's son. If the people knew their prince was running around, arresting people, how do you think they'd take it? Plus, my parents don't even know I'm here. We do what my parents request. They know the Warblers exist—they just don't know I'm leading them. Because honestly, I've tried castle life, and it sucks. I can't do anything, and all my parents need me for is ridiculous dinner parties and engagements that I can't stay awake through. This life…it's not exactly something I thought I would be doing, but it keeps me happy. It keeps me from going nuts at home. And before you just—freak out, because I can see it on your face, San, and there's more to this—you need to understand. What you saw back there was something that will happen every now and again. Granted, I handled the case itself terribly, but it's going to be like that sometimes. And if you can't…I can't have you around us, Santana, because there's a chance you could get hurt somewhere along the line and I can't deal with that kind of pressure—"

"Okay, shut up for a minute and let me think this through, Twink." Santana interrupts, putting her hand to his mouth to quiet him. His mouth moves a moment longer beneath her warm, delicate fingers, but then he closes it and lets her talk it out. "So you're telling me, that you're a cop. But you're not really a cop, because no one knows what you do or who you are. And you basically handle the shit the palace asks you to take care of? Like what? No, wait, before you answer that, let me tell you something. I'm going to kick your sorry ass if you think I can't handle shit like this. Do you think that was really my first brawl? Really? I'm from Lima, you stupid twig. You've said it yourself. We're the worst part of this region. Why are you so concerned with protecting me when I can hold my own?"

"You call what happened ten minutes ago holding your own? Christ, I had no idea how different terminology over there really is."

"They caught me off guard, you dick!"

"Santana, I can't have you doing this if you're not ready! You're not trained like we are. You don't know the moves or the motions and teaching you would mean you would have to join the Warblers, which you definitely can't do. I'm not going to let your stupidly inflated ego get in the way of your life!" Sebastian spits the words, anger seeping through his attempt at a calm face. "I'm trying to fucking save you, you narcissistic bitch! Why can't you just get it through your impossibly thick head that you're not cut out to do this! Fuck, Santana, I found you painting in the woods bordering Lima, and you couldn't even hide yourself then. What's changed?" He's furious, now. Furious that she won't take the hint, that he can't let her get any closer because it could be dangerous, it could kill her and he can't have that kind of blood on his hands. He doesn't want her to go—fuck, no, of course he doesn't—but she's safer when she's away from him. That's how it is.

"I…" She's speechless.

"You can't do this. I won't let you. You can stay here and heal up from the concussion you've probably got, but after that you need to go. I can't have you here. You can't be in harm's way like this."

"I'm not five, you asshole!" Santana finds her voice again, surging from her seat. The room spins a little, but she ignores it and shoves him off of the couch. She stands, her dark hair framing her face. "I can take care of myself, and you and your stupid little friends can suck eachother's cocks until your faces are fucking blue!" Santana strides out the broken down front door, leaving a speechless Sebastian standing alone in the messy living room.

"Wow, man, you're good with words." David sighs sarcastically, and Sebastian shoots him a glare that could actually kill someone. He stalks off and disappears out the front door, walking in the opposite direction of the Lima native. Derrick slips from the pack of Warblers, too, and follows Santana's path away from the penthouse. He's silent, as always.

"Santana!" He shouts, and the Latina turns her head in confusion. He jogs up beside her, and her pace falters. "Santana, listen to me, can we talk? Please." He doesn't get to actually talk to her, though, because in the next moment she's crying, unable to stop herself from the shuddering breaths that overtake her.

"Derrick, I'm hanging out with a group of serial killers and I'm so scared and I don't get why Sebastian would do something like that and oh, god, what's wrong with me?" She loses control of her filters at that point. "It's not even that I'm scared for my life, but I'm terrified because in a week I've gotten closer to him than I've gotten to anyone ever, and the fact that he—he does this and he puts himself in danger is just…" She breaks off, breathing in deep for a moment before realizing that she basically just confessed her crush. She turns a deep red, wiping her eyes quickly.

"Santana, you know he only said those things so you wouldn't get hurt. He really…he cares about you. And you can't say that about just anyone when it comes to Sebastian. He's got his dick all tied in a knot about this kind of stuff, and he's terrible with words. Believe me, I've seen some pretty pathetic moments from him in my time. He really likes you. He just doesn't want you to get caught up in the life like…well, like his ex-girlfriend did. He doesn't want to see it happen to you."

"But…he told me that she broke up with him for some guy from Lima. Why would…? What happened?"

"Well, Santana, you know that we're dangerous to be around. Imagine the worst thing you could possibly think of happening, and then add the person you care about the most in the world and multiply the event by one hundred. That's what happened." The breeze carries the words away, but Santana is confused and curious, and she forgets all about her breakdown earlier. "Her name was Julianne."