P. 1


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Published by: tamih1893 on Jul 25, 2010
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-Remarkably, Santana's able to keep her hormones under control for a good three hours after that and

she should be given a fucking medal for it too because Brittany spends the whole damn time with the same amount of clothes on and constantly within four feet of Santana's presence. Then Brittany gets a phone call. From Tina. "Hey, T," Brittany answers and every muscle in Santana's body tenses as she strains to hear the conversation from the kitchen table. Brittany's on the opposite side of the room, sitting on their kitchen counter, legs swaying back and forth in the air as she talks. Her heels thud dully against the cabinet below them. "Mmm I'm at Santana's, actually," Santana hears her say and she thinks there's something that sounds like guilt packed in the tone. She fingers her lighter in her left hand, flicking it open and closed in a distracted manner as she keeps one ear on Brittany's conversation and her eyes locked on the table in front of her. The back of her throat aches rebelliously for nicotine. "Oh you are?" She can feel Brittany's eyes lock on her profile for a moment before turning back away. "Well," she pauses, glancing quickly at Santana again. "I

can't exactly leave." Santana can almost imagine the other side of the conversation and her nails bite into the palm of her right hand where her fist rests on her thigh. There's files spread across the table in front of her that a uniform dropped off an hour ago but the images all go fuzzy and she can't really focus on anything. All she can think about is Tina on the phone with Brittany and how Tina gets to care about her and say things to her and ask her to come home and all those things Santana can't do. "Yeah." Brittany's voice goes soft and she turns her head to face away from Santana. "I miss you too," she lets out in a near-whisper. It's that that snaps Santana's control and before she has time to think about it she's standing in front of Brittany grabbing the phone out of her fingers and closing it shut. "Santana!" Brittany exclaims, surprise and confusion bleeding through the name. She realizes far too late what she just did and that she has absolutely no answer to give Brittany for why. All she knows is she just needed the other girl to stop talking to Tina. To stop talking to her like that. Especially in this damn apartment with Brittany in her underwear and her voice all breathy like that. A

decade of being together and six months apart and Santana still doesn't know how to share Brittany. She doesn't think she'll ever learn how. "What did you do that for?" Brittany asks, snatching back her phone from Santana's grasp. The blonde girl flips it open and starts punching buttons, presumably to call Tina back. Santana's hand reaches out again without thinking. "Santana!" Brittany repeats. "You can't talk to anyone, it's not safe," she says, cringing inwardly at how lame the excuse sounds. "I'm blonde, not stupid," Brittany replies. She reaches out to grab the phone again but Santana tugs it out of her reach. "Give me my phone." "No." "Give it back," Brittany tries again, reaching across Santana's body. She opens her mouth to say "No" again but all at once she becomes aware of how close Brittany is, of how her hand feels hot where it's scrambling up Santana's arm for the phone and how their breath is mingling together between them. Brittany seems to notice it at the same time too because now they're staring at each other, not moving, not speaking.

Then Brittany presses her forehead against Santana's and she can see the intent in the blonde girl's eyes, can see where this is leading and it hits her in the pit of her stomach like punch. She can't do this, it's a terrible idea. If she thought Brittany leaving again would hurt before, letting Brittany lean the few inches forward and press their lips together will probably kill her. But Brittany must see the fear spread across Santana's face, see the decision to run before Santana can put it into action, because she brings both her hands up to cup Santana's cheeks, holding her there with a shaky breath. "Don't think about it," she whispers. "Britt," Santana gulps, the hands on her face heavy and hot. "Please," Brittany pleads as she slides down from the counter. It's her downfall really. Because Brittany presses their bodies together and the feeling of it surges through Santana like a spark. She feels tears start to fill up her eyes and it pisses her off. Pisses her off that Brittany thinks this is fucking okay. That she can just walk out of their life, take their dog, show back up unexpected, sit in her damn kitchen half-naked talking to fucking

Tina and then plead with Santana to kiss her. How is this okay? "Stop it," she entreats, wanting Brittany to stop but unable to pull away. All the feelings mingle up into her head like a potent cocktail - the pain of losing Brittany, the fear of it happening again, the familiar feeling of warm skin pressed up against hers and the hint of vanilla she can smell wafting up from Brittany's skin. "I can't," Brittany says, so soft Santana almost doesn't catch it, but she can see the tears start to fall on Brittany's face, mirroring her own. Their eyes are locked and Santana screams at her body to move away but it doesn't listen and before she knows it Brittany is brushing soft lips against hers, soft, sweet and hesitant. The moment feels electric, like they're both going to explode at any second and all of a sudden Santana is pissed again. Pissed at Brittany, pissed at Roger Pike, pissed at herself. Pissed. The fingers on Brittany's right hand stroke up and down her cheek softly, running over the still bruised skin there and Santana loses it, presses her lips against Brittany's so hard the other girl gasps into the kiss and a welcome ache shoots through her own lips. Distantly, she hears the thud of Brittany's phone hitting the floor.

Santana backs up into the her, closing what space was left between them and presses Brittany into the counter roughly, pulling a strangled moan out of the blonde girl. Brittany tastes like tears and broken promises and it makes Santana want to hurt someone, hurt herself, hurt them. Her hands travel down to Brittany's ass, pulling their hips together as her lips break from their kiss and move down to the long slope of Brittany's neck. She feels herself crying, unable to stop the flow of tears as she scrapes her teeth under Brittany's jaw and feels the other girl's hands grip into her hair. It's familiar and new at the same time and Santana feels something break inside her, an old wound split wide open. When Brittany's hands undo her shoulder harness with practiced ease and drop her gun on the counter behind her she feels the motion like a brand on her skin. -Brittany was waiting for her when she stepped through the door, hands on her hips."Where have you been?" "Work," Santana answered, tugging at the strap to her

holster. "It's 3AM," Brittany replied, annoyed, but walking over to help Santana with the harness. "Criminals don't sleep, babe. What do you want me to do?" -Santana feels her shoulders start to shake and her knees start to buckle and anger sweeps through her again, pushing away the pain and focusing on Brittany. They're kissing again, hot and open mouthed and Brittany's hands are splayed across her back, the heat from her palms searing through the thin material of Santana's shirt. She bites down on Brittany's lower lip, hard enough to draw blood and feels a thread of bitter satisfaction float through her at the way the other girl whimpers against the pain. But Brittany retaliates, moves her hands again to pull at Santana's shirt, popping the buttons open in succession as she bites back into their kiss, sharp pain shooting through Santana's face. Santana's heart starts to pound, feeling heavy against her ribcage, as Brittany tugs her shirt off, bringing a hand back up to twist around Santana's neck while the other makes quick work of her bra, snapping it open with nimble fingers.

It's a vulnerable feeling, standing suddenly shirtless in front of Brittany again, but she doesn't have time to dwell on it because Brittany pulls her head away, fingers traveling down to the edge of her own tank top before she pulls it swiftly over her head, blonde hair flowing around her shoulders with the motion. Then it's skin to skin, bare chest to bare chest, and Santana is all too aware of the way Brittany's hips feel, pressed tight into her's. She kisses Brittany again, like she can't get enough of it, but her fingers dig into the soft skin of Brittany's ass, her nails leaving small indents in the skin. Brittany's hands take a path down Santana's chest, coming to a stop at the buckle of Santana's belt before fumbling between them to pull it open, never breaking their kiss. "Bed," Brittany mumbles against Santana's lips. -"We were supposed to have dinner with my parents tonight." Santana slapped a hand on her forehead. "Oh shit, I forgot." "Yeah," Brittany said, obviously unimpressed with that answer. "I can't exactly plan when people get murdered, Britt,"

she said with an eye roll. "You have a phone, don't you?" -Her pants are around her ankles by the time she throws Brittany on their bed and settles on top of her, so she kicks them off with her feet. For a moment she's overwhelmed with the feeling of being back here, of lying in this bed with Brittany under her in way she never thought she would again. Then, quick like summer rain, she's mad again, hurt slicing through her when she thinks about how fleeting this encounter is, crashing together like this when she knows in the depth of her soul Brittany will walk out again. Nothing's changed. All those reasons, that fight, the one that made Brittany walk out the door. It's all the same. It all leads to the same conclusion. Brittany will leave. Unaware of the emotional turmoil in Santana's head, Brittany rolls them over and pushes her way between Santana's thighs, kissing a path down her chest. Santana stares up at the ceiling and fights the sob caught in her throat, desperately trying to push the pain and the fear down, knowing she needs to cling to this moment if it's all she's going to get. --

"My job is important, Brittany," she explained for the seventh time that night. Same fight, different night. "So are my parents, Santana." "I know they are, but I have a responsibility to this city." "You have a responsibility to me too, are you saying your job is more important than that?" And because she was sick and tired of this stupid argument she couldn't stop herself. "Yes." -It takes a good minute of Brittany's tongue tracing aimless patterns on her stomach for her to get a grip on her emotions, but she does it. She feels a calm wash over her and her brain invests itself in the moment, in the feel of Brittany's body against hers and the smell of Brittany on the sheets around her. Santana tugs her up so they're face to face and rolls them back over so she's on top again, letting a small sad smile cross her lips before she kisses the other girl.

Her fingers travel softly over Brittany's hip bones, tracing the top of Brittany's underwear before dipping slowly beneath them. When the blonde lets out a small gasp into Santana's mouth a need floods through her, half aroused and half territorial. Their kiss grows heated again, teeth biting and breathing becoming rapid and harsh as Santana tugs the material off of Brittany's legs, trusting the other girl to kick them the rest of the way off. She presses a firm thigh in between Brittany's legs and a rush goes through her at the moan the blonde lets out. -"You knew this was how it was going to be," Santana jabbed a finger in Brittany's direction. "You knew." "That doesn't mean I have to like it," she said. Santana took a deep angry breath and turned away from Brittany. "You liked it just fine before." "Well maybe I'm done liking it now." -As her hand finds its way between Brittany's legs, sliding through wet heat, Santana feels dizzy like she's spinning out of control. Her chest is light and

empty and her stomach turns over, equal parts arousal and pain. Brittany's mouth is dropped open, her eyes shut tight and Santana can make out the tracks of tears down the other girl's cheeks. She runs her thumb over Brittany's bottom lip and winces. She's still so stupid in love with this girl. She hates it. Brittany inhales sharply, eyes opening as Santana enters her and she catches herself mesmerized by the other girl's expression, sinking into it until all she's aware of is blonde hair, blue eyes and the slickness beneath her fingers. She presses her forehead tightly against Brittany's shoulder, ignoring the pain that shoots through the bruises on her face and closes her eyes, listens to Brittany's breathing increase in her ear, the sound ragged and off-pace. She focuses on this one thing, this one thing she can give Brittany right now, the one thing she can hold onto when it's all over. The other girl arches upward, her hips moving with Santana's rhythm and her body tensing. Santana pushes back, brings her thumb up to circle Brittany's clit and presses her lips against Brittany's neck, biting the skin there until it's red and Brittany's crying out under her. When she feels Brittany's lips brush across her ear and a soft, lazy sigh comes out she smiles brokenly into a silent sob.

-"So what, now you're just done? Done with us?" "I'm not saying that!" Brittany cried. "I just can't keep going on like this, don't you get it?" "No," Santana answered. "You know what, Brittany? I don't fucking get it. It's my goddamn job, get over it." "Why are you being like this?" Santana threw her hands up in the air. "You want to leave? Fucking leave." -Before she can recover, before she can scramble off of Brittany and run out of the room, the other girl flips them over with a strength Santana always forgets Brittany has and starts kissing down Santana's neck, her hands running down Santana's sides to grip the edges of her underwear and tug it off. Part of her wants to stop her, part of her wants to pull Brittany up by her hair and shrug her off. She's not ready for this, not ready for the kissing, or the crying or any of it. But her body has different ideas and it's been six months since the last time someone touched her, six months since Brittany touched her. A flush scorches

through her skin and she feels herself start to sweat with anticipation, every part of her responding to Brittany in a way that makes her gasp for air, bring a shaky hand to her forehead to try and calm herself. Brittany's lips make their way down her chest until she gets to a small star-shaped scar by her shoulder. The blonde girl presses a hard kiss there, almost reverent and Santana can feel the way Brittany's face scrunches up against her skin as if holding back tears. It's still for a moment and Santana can almost hear the sound of her watch where her hand is still pressed to her forehead, ticking away mockingly at her as the seconds with Brittany pass by. It's not the first time it's happened, months after she'd been shot Brittany would do the same thing, pause to kiss the red skin, clinging to Santana as if she were going to disappear in the next few seconds. She almost chuckles at the thought. She should have been the one worried, not Brittany. -"Where are you going?" Santana screamed, watching Brittany stuff clothing into a duffel bag. "Leaving," Brittany replied through tears. "Like you said."

"Fucking great, Britt. Where exactly do you think you're going to go at this time of night?" "Stop yelling at me," Brittany begged. "I'm not yelling," Santana yelled, her hands in the air. Brittany raised an eyebrow at her. -She stops thinking altogether when Brittany presses a wet kiss between her legs and strokes her tongue through the folds there. She's embarrassingly turned on, the room feeling hotter by the second and her lungs seeming incapable of being satisfied with the amount of oxygen she's putting in them. A pressure is building at the base of her spine and she's so close to coming she can feel it in the backs of her eyes. It's all happening too hot and too fast, a low groan bursting out of her as Brittany slides two fingers deep within her. Her eyes snap shut at the sensations and she fights to make it last longer, pissed that she only gets this one moment and her body isn't going to let it last longer than minutes. Then Brittany curls her fingers expertly, bites down softly and Santana's eyes roll back into her head painfully. Her orgasm punches out of her and she has

to bite her finger to keep from screaming out, her other hand gripping in Brittany's hair in instinct. -Santana woke up, groggy and disoriented. "Morning, sleepyhead," said Quinn, appearing next to her. "What the fuck?" "Yeah, that's what I thought," the blonde girl replied with a chuckle, handing Santana a glass of water and two aspirin. "What am I doing here?" "You showed up last night, drunk and depressed." She popped the pills into her mouth and took a long gulp of water. "Attractive," she commented. "Yeah," Quinn agreed. "Bad fight with Britt or something? You wouldn't say last night." And then it all came back to her. -It takes her long minutes to catch her breath and get

her body to stop shaking and by the time she finally thinks she has a grip on herself Brittany has already curled up next to her, small hands gripping Santana's bicep and eyes closed in post-coital exhaustion. Brittany was always like that, nodding off so quickly after sex and Santana always found it both amusing and adorable. She strokes a hand over a lock of hair that had fallen across Brittany's face and lets her eyes roam over the other girl trying to process what just happened. Gently, she disengages Brittany's hands from her bicep and sits up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and resting her elbows on her knees, dropping her head into her hands. Shit. She checks her watch. 1PM. Still five hours until Puck gets here. She looks over her shoulder, swallowing thickly at the sight of Brittany naked, tangled in the sheets. It hits her like a bucket of water over her head. She just fucking slept with Brittany. Of all the stupid things she's done in her life, this has to be top ten at least. Her legs are weak as she stands up but she's able to find her pants where she kicked them and tugs them on, walking out of the bedroom without waking the blonde girl in her bed. Brittany was always a pretty deep sleeper anyway. She finds her phone on the kitchen table and flips it open, dialing a number by memory while she shrugs her shirt back on.

"Meet me at Rick's," she says when the other person picks up the phone. -Santana rushed into their apartment, desperate to get to Brittany after the memories of last night came back to her. "Britt?" She called out as she walked through the rooms but there was no sign of her. No sign of their dog either. "Britt?" She tried again. Suspicion flowed through her and she felt a fear grip her chest as she walked into their bedroom. She stared at the closet intently as if just looking at it would make last night go away, but after a few seconds her hand reached out and turned the knob, opening the door and confirming her worst fears. All of Brittany's clothes were gone. -She steps out of the apartment and into the rain making her way to the squad car parked down the block and rapping her knuckles on the window. The uniform inside rolls it down.

"Detective," he greets. "Put a guy at my door," she demands without preamble. "Yes, ma'am," he says, looking at her face and not asking questions. "Now," Santana says, firmly. "Yeah, yeah," he repeats rapidly, nudging his partner out of the door as he makes a call on his radio. "Thanks," she says, walking away. The rain is almost torrential and she hears a distant crack of thunder as she makes her way down the block. It soaks through her shirt and her hair but she welcomes it, hoping it will wash away the tears still left on her cheeks and the feel of Brittany's fingers all around her and inside her. She lets her coat flap open and stops in the first market she passes, buying a soft pack and ignoring the way the cashier looks at her, like she's a crazy person. She can imagine how she looks right now, soaked through to the bone, eyes red, bruises all over her face and a hardness to her expression she perfected years ago when she had to intimidate all those that didn't respect her badge.

The first cigarette is done in nearly three drags and she's not even halfway to the bar yet. She pulls the next one out and lights it, sheltering it against a street lamp. The rain makes it harder but she's determined and four flicks of her thumb get it lit. Half the pack is gone by the time she walks into Rick's. -"Answer your goddamn phone, Brittany. Where are you?" It was the fifteenth message she'd left that day, some of them angry, some of them desperate, all of them scared. She felt pathetic as she hung up and her head still hurt from the liquor store she drank last night, but more than that, adrenaline was coursing through her body, unable to accept the fact that Brittany had left her. That she actually left and Santana had been the one to push her out the door. She was out there, somewhere and Santana didn't know where, couldn't find her to apologize, to convince her to come back, to protect her. Paranoia and fear made her head swim. Her fingers dialed a familiar number for the sixteenth time.

-Santana rolls her forehead back and forth on the dirty table, a cigarette burning in her right hand and a stout glass of scotch next to her left. The booth makes a squeaking noise as a body slides in beside her and picks the glass up, bringing it to their lips. "Glenrothes? Springing for the good stuff now, S?" "Fuck you, Q," she says, angrily, the words muffled into the wood of the table. The need to lash out at anyone, at anything, is clawing at her brain. "Whoa," Quinn says, holding her hands up defensively. "What the hell happened?" "Nothing," Santana groaned, picking her head up and leaning back against the booth. "I just need a drink and drinking alone makes me look like an alcoholic." Quinn points down to Santana's drink as she eyes the bartender before holding up two fingers in the air and nodding. Then she eyes the cigarette, burning to ash in Santana's hand. "You sure you're okay? Because you look like shit," Quinn intones, taking in the bruises on Santana's face. "Who beat the shit out of you?"

"Puck and I broke up a bar fight. Kid got a couple money shots to the face." Quinn humms an affirmative sound and then just kind of observes Santana. "Holy shit," Quinn says, her eyes growing wide in realization as she looks back at Santana's right hand. Santana follows her gaze and looks at the cigarette as if she just remembered it was there. She takes a long drag. "What?" "You didn't sleep with her or anything stupid like that, did you?" Santana chokes at the question, hunches over the table and tries to get her lungs to work properly. "No," she denies, but Quinn doesn't buy it. "Santana," she chides. "What the hell did you do that for? Are you back together?" She looks away, her hand spinning her glass of scotch on the table, her eyes tracing the lines in the wood. "No," she answers. "Then why did you fuck her, you moron," Quinn hisses, keeping her voice low as their server drops two more tumblers of scotch at the table.

"Listen," Santana retorts, throwing back what's left of her drink before turning to face Quinn. "What I need right now is to get drunk. So either you start drinking and catch up or get the hell out of here. But either way, the fucking questions stop. Right now." Quinn raises an eyebrow and they stare at each other for a little bit, locked in a battle of wills. For a moment she's disappointed that Quinn's going to lecture her more, but the eye brow drops and her friend shakes her head back and forth disapprovingly, pursing her lips. Then she thinks maybe Quinn is just going to up and leave but the blonde girl stares at her drink for a few seconds before making a decision. Quinn grabs the glass in front of her, throwing the scotch back in one gulp, wincing as she swallows and pulling the second glass towards her. She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and holds out her other one in Santana's direction. "Give me a cigarette." Santana smiles and lets out a grateful breath. -"So what, she just left?" "It's all gone, her clothes, the dog," Santana took a long pull of her beer, leaning her elbows on the bar and staring straight ahead. "She won't answer her phone or anything."

"Shit," Quinn said, taking a drink of her own beer. "Yeah." "What are you going to do?" Quinn asked after a minute. "What do you mean?" "I mean, aren't you going to try and find her?" Quinn's brow furrowed as she turned on her stool and observed Santana, realizing the answer before her friend could say anything. "Santana," she chastised. "She fucking left, Fabray," Santana fought to get the words out, convinced she had shed all the tears she could in the last few days but not trusting herself enough not to cry in public. "She fucking left," she repeated. -Quinn stubs her cigarette in the ash tray on the table and breathes out the smoke in a long stream over Santana's head. "So, how long are we going to sit here?" "Until I forget about it," Santana answers, her voice holding a comfortable slur.

"How long do you think that's going to take?" Santana shrugs. "Right, well I need to call Rach and tell her I'm going to be getting trashed with you in the middle of the day." "Tell her I said hello," she mumbles, the scotch finally going to her head. Quinn looks at her sideways as she slides out of the booth. "Yeah, I'll do that," she responds. The blonde attorney steps away from the booth and towards the bathrooms, ducking into a small alcove there before bringing her phone out. Santana watches silently as Quinn talks, gesturing with her hands and smiling ever so often. It hits her then that calling Quinn was probably a bad idea. Because Quinn has Rachel and they're like the fucking perfect couple, always smiling and laughing and making out in the kitchen. They're the couple she and Brittany used to be and the constant reminder isn't going to help Santana forget what just happened any quicker. She scratches the scar on her shoulder and swallows, trying to get the now-recent memory of Brittany's lips off her skin. Quinn's laugh carries over

to the booth and Santana narrows her eyes at her friend, cursing her lack of foresight. She should have called Puck. Then again, Puck is working and only slightly more responsible these days than Santana so he probably wouldn't approve of her current activities. Plus, she needs him on the damn case since she's doing a piss poor job of it herself. Sleeping with Brittany. What the fuck was she thinking? The image of Brittany in her bed flashes across her brain again and she winces against it, grabs her scotch and takes a sip. Quinn slides back into the booth next to her, pocketing her phone right as the bartender comes by their table and eyes Santana suspiciously. "Another one, Joe," Santana says, happy with how sober her voice sounds. Joe looks like he's going to protest, but Quinn glares at him and makes a gesture towards the bar. He sighs but turns back and goes to pour another drink. Santana lets her head press against the back of the booth and blinks lazily, enjoying the buzz settling in between her ears. She can feel Quinn shift to look at her and takes a deep breath, wondering what lecture she's about to get now.

Then Santana's phone lets out a low buzz from where it's sitting on the table. She makes a grab for it but misses, knocks over a bowl of peanuts on the way, so Quinn plucks it up and flips it open, looking at Santana wryly as she answers it. "Santana Lopez's phone," Quinn says, ignoring Santana's glare. "Oh hey, Puck. What?" The attorney's body goes still and she looks away from Santana. "We're at Rick's, but I don't think she's in any shape to move." Santana makes a grab for the phone, but Quinn evades her easily. "Just come by here first," the blonde girl demands before hanging up. "Puck's on his way," she says to Santana, uselessly. "You got another envelope." For the first time since Brittany left six months ago, Santana wishes she were sober. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Six] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part

Five] -The world is all blurry around the edges and her mouth feels thick but part of Santana is happy about it. It makes everything feel kind of surreal and floaty, like she doesn't have this sharp, in-focus, painful reality to deal with. In the middle of her haze she hears the sound of a door slam open and shut and hears a voice yell out "Hey, Puck." It sounds kind of like Joe, the bartender, but Santana can't be bothered to put that much effort into figuring it out. Next to her, Quinn is alternating between propping Santana up on her shoulder and shouting at Joe for refills on their peanuts bowl. Earlier, when Quinn told her Puck was coming by, Santana thought it would be a good idea to put food in her stomach to try and counteract all the scotch she poured in it earlier. Unfortunately peanuts were the best they could do under current circumstances. Puck, drops into the seat across from them and Santana squints as she tries to make him out, her vision refusing to clear. He shakes his head around and flaps the ends of his leather jacket, water droplets spraying across the table as he does it. "Fucking pouring out there," he comments.

"Hi," she greets, her mouth feeling like it's full of peanut butter. "Wow," Puck responds, looking at Quinn. The blonde girl chuckles, shifts her shoulder again as Santana's body threatens to fall over. "I know, right?" Quinn shakes her head bemusedly at Puck as she says it. "What the fuck happened to you?" Puck asks, leaning against the table towards Santana. "You know it's the middle of the afternoon, right? On a work day. When a fucking psycho ex-mafia member is out for your girl?" Santana winces at the questions, feeling the words "your girl" slice right through her and a sharp pain cuts through her face. She needs a fucking ice pack. And maybe a sandwich. "Seriously," Puck continues. "What the fuck?" "She slept with Brittany," Quinn supplies, pushing a glass of water in Santana's direction as she says it. Puck's eyes go wide and he stares at Santana incredulously. "No way!" Then, as he processes the implications, the disbelief on his face fades to happiness. "Score!" He exclaims, bringing his fist up

in Santana's direction. Santana just glares at him until he drops his arm back on the table. "Okay, no score. So we're not happy about this?" Puck eyes the ashtray in the middle of the table, overflowing with cigarette butts. "Not happy, check." "What did you find out?" Quinn snaps, bringing them all back on topic. "You said you had another envelope from Pike." "Right?" Puck jumps in his seat as if just remembering why he was there. He pulls a white envelope out of his jacket. "It's actually good that you're here," he says to Quinn. He slides the envelope across the table and Santana can make out the familiar scrawl of her name on the front of it. She reaches a hand out to grab it but misses by inches, hitting the glass of water in front of her and causing it to slosh across the table. Quinn shoves her gently aside and picks the envelope up off the table, opening it up and tugging out its contents. It's a picture, Santana can tell that much, and there's writing on the back just like the last one, but an expression of fury crosses Quinn's face and she has a

hard time imagining why. "It's old," Puck explains and Santana's squinting at him again trying to get her brain to work correctly and figure out what the hell is going on. Why was drinking a good idea again? "I see that," Quinn bites out, her voice snappy and angered. What the hell is Quinn pissed about? "He must have had someone watching her for a long fucking time," Puck adds. Quinn just keeps staring at the photo, her eyes roaming it slowly and Santana gets a little impatient, taps her foot up and down on the floor. "He's after Britt, Fabray," Puck continues. "We know that for sure." "No we don't," Quinn snaps at him. "Yes we do," he argues, firmly and with confidence. Santana eyes the two of them and tries to sit up. She takes a long drink of water before she attempts speech. "What is it?" The question comes out slowly as she tries to make sure each word is recognizable.

Quinn flips the picture over and holds it close to Santana's face, her eyes going cross-eyed and even more fuzzy as she tries to focus on the images. It's black and white, like the other one, and Santana can just barely make out what's on the photograph. It's Brittany, which she expected, walking down the street and there's a shorter girl next to her, arms linked with Brittany's and laughing at something. Santana sees darker hair next to Brittany's blonde locks but for some reason her brain can't put it all together, the face is familiar and she's pretty sure she shouldn't be having this hard a time figuring it out but she can't get her eyes to focus enough. Then she takes a look at Quinn's face and is finally able to figure it all out despite her hazy vision. The other girl is Rachel. -Quinn checks her phone for the eighteenth time as they're standing outside Rick's, waiting for Puck to bring his car around. "Stop fucking worrying," Santana mumbles, propping her body up against the brick wall and watching the rain drip off the overhang above them. "She's on his radar, this is my problem now too," Quinn argues, flipping her phone around in her hand.

"If he so much as touches her," Quinn says under her breath. "She's only in the picture because Brittany was dumb enough to want to hang out with her," Santana says. "Shut the hell up, Lopez. This isn't a damn joke," Quinn half-yells at her, shifting to stand in front of Santana. A clap of thunder resounds in the distance. "He's not going to go after Rachel fucking Berry," Santana says, sagging deeper into the wall. She knows better than to get into it with Quinn when the attorney is worked up but she can't help herself. She's pissed and hurt and drunk and she just wants this all to be a memory. "Who would want to kidnap her anyway, she'd annoy the shit out of him," she pauses to chuckle bitterly. "Hell, he'd be doing you a favor if-" She doesn't get to finish because Quinn's palm comes swift and hard against her cheek, snapping her head to the side and sending searing pain through the bruises on her face. "Christ! I already have a damn black eye, Fabray," she yells. "I get that this is hard for you, that you slept with Brittany and she's in your apartment and that's hard. I get it." Quinn shifts closer, a finger jabbed in Santana's direction and her cheeks flushed in anger.

"I get that you're drunk and depressed but let me tell you something. Get over it. Fuck her, kill her, marry her finally. I don't care. Figure it out," Quinn continues. She grabs the lapels of Santana's coat and pulls her up, their faces so close together that Santana nearly head butts the other girl. Quinn's voice is low and fevered as she talks. "So you slept together. So fucking what. It's probably because that girl is still just as in love with you as you are with her but you're being too much of a dumbass to do anything about it." Santana tries to fight Quinn's grasp but the girl just grips her tighter and continues her tirade. "Figure it out, Santana. And stop taking it out on everyone else. Or I'm going to stop cleaning up the pieces and then you'll really be shit out of luck." The words hang between them as they stare at each other, both of them breathing harshly and refusing to break first. Quinn out of anger, Santana out of pride. "Are you guys going to makeout? Because if so, I'd like to grab my camera," Puck interrupts, stepping up next to them and eying their position. Santana drunkenly shoves Quinn's hands off her and glares, taking a deep breath but not saying anything. She shoulders Quinn out of the way and grabs Puck by the arm. "Let's go," she demands, gripping onto him tightly as she tries to make her way to the car.

Quinn turns in the other direction and walks into the rain. -"I can't believe you're married," Santana observed, plopping down on Quinn's couch and putting her feet up. Quinn laughed as she came around to sit next to her friend, the sound making Santana grin. "I thought you didn't consider it a real marriage." "Well it's not," Santana agreed with a smile. "But Brittany insists I refer to you guys as married so..." "And what Brittany wants," Quinn started. "Brittany gets," Santana finished, with a nod and a laugh. "Yup." "So when are you guys going to tie the knot?" Quinn asked, crossing her legs and bringing her right arm up to rest on the back of the couch. Santana made a disgusted expression. "Try never." "Come on, S," Quinn said with mirth, but Santana's face didn't change. Quinn stared at her with surprise. "You're serious."

"Like a heart attack. Marriage is for losers that need a stupid ring to convince themselves they won't break up. I don't need Britt to marry me." "It's the idea behind it, San. Eternal commitment, love, all that." Santana watched as Quinn fingered the ring on her hand absently. "Yeah, I think I'll leave that to you and that midget freakshow you shack up with, thank you very much." Quinn smacked Santana on the back of her head with the hand on the couch. "That's my wife you're talking about, asshole." "That was your poor decision making, not mine." Quinn rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to say something else when they heard the front door open and close. "Hey, baby," Quinn greeted as Rachel stepped into the room. "Hi," Rachel replied, leaning over the couch to press a kiss to Quinn's lips. "Santana," she greeted as she disengaged from the kiss. "Manhands," Santana said with a nod.

Rachel smirked at her but instead of retaliating just leaned back to Quinn and kissed the blonde girl again, ignoring Santana for long, awkward moments. "Still in the room," Santana announced, after torturous minutes of watching her two friends make out. Quinn reached her arms up and grabbed Rachel by the waist, a loud shriek bursting out of the smaller girl as Quinn pulled her over the back of the couch and into her lap. They laughed and kept kissing until Rachel turned to look at her. "We're newlyweds, Santana. Leave," she demanded, giggling as Quinn kissed down her neck. Santana shifted her feet off the coffee table and stood up, rolling her eyes at the couple on the couch before turning out of the room to leave. She had her hand on the doorknob when she heard Quinn's voice float out from the living room. "Marry that girl, Santana. You'll regret it." -Puck manhandles her through the door, her feet working correctly but her will to actually walk, depleted. She glares when the uniform guarding her door chuckles under his breath.

"Come on, Lopez, just get in the damn apartment," he grunts. "I'm not going to fucking carry you." She shoves him off of her as they step inside and is about to make some scathing remark about his workout routine when she hears laughter from her kitchen. Light, gorgeous laughter she knows belongs to Brittany followed by a more masculine sound she can't identify. She's suspicious immediately and the alcohol in her system pushes her forward into the other room, stumbling slightly but making it all the way without falling. "What the fuck?" It's Brittany, of course, standing in the kitchen in the same outfit as earlier that day. God, didn't Brittany bring any other clothing besides underwear and tanktops? She's standing by the counter, arms crossed over her chest, hair pulled back messily and sexy in a way Santana used to love, a constant reminder of exactly what they spent the afternoon doing. If she wasn't so broken up about it and still buzzed from all the scotch in her stomach, she'd be kind of turned on. Actually, on second thought, she is turned on. But she can't really appreciate it at the moment because standing in front of the blonde girl is one gigantic Finn Hudson and to their right is his partner, Matt Rutherford. Finn's laughing like a fucking idiot at

whatever Brittany must have said before Santana entered and seriously, Santana's never wanted to punch someone so much in her life. First, Brittany is whispering on the phone with Tina and now she's fucking giggling with Finn Hudson. "Santana!" Brittany exclaims, shock and relief in her expression. Finn turns towards her too. "Detective Lopez. Good to see you again," he greets politely. It makes Santana hate him more. "Get out of my apartment," she snaps out, hoping the words are understandable. Finn looks taken aback. Good, he understood her. "Santana," Brittany chastises, glancing guiltily at Finn and Matt. "They're here about the case." "I don't care," she says. "Get out." Puck takes a step towards her. "Dude," Puck whispers from her right shoulder. "Chill out. I called them." "Why the fuck did you call them?" She says, voice raised as she whirls around to look at Puck. She loses her footing a little bit, but grabs the counter in what she hopes is a subtle, graceful manner. From the way Puck's looking at her she's not so sure she succeeded.

He grabs her by the elbow and pulls her closer to him. "You're a fucking mess, San. Pull it together," he commands, swallowing. "We need them on this case with us," he pauses, staring straight into her eyes and dropping his voice even softer. "We talked about this. Earlier. Think about Britt." So she does exactly that. She thinks about Brittany. She thinks about how the other girl is standing behind her in her underwear next to a guy who not days before told Santana "I think I have a chance with her." She thinks about all these things but forces her face to remain impassive, pours calm serenity into every muscle in her body and gives Puck a nod that says yeah, totally, I understand. It works. Puck lets go of her arm and steps back and Santana's shocked into inaction for a moment because they've known each other for years. Years. And really, Puck should know her better than to buy that little act she just performed. She's not calm, she's not serene, there's five glasses of scotch and a pack of cigarettes in her system and a guy trying to get into Brittany's pants in her kitchen. She's furious. She twirls back around and observes the scene for a second. Everyone is still in their places, Brittany by the counter, Finn in front of her and Matt to the side. All three of them not moving or talking, just waiting. For a second, literally a second, she considers

walking out before she does something stupid. But then she takes a good look at Finn. Or rather she takes a good look at where Finn's eyes are looking. Brittany's staring straight at her, worry all over her face, but Finn? Finn is looking at Brittany and he's about seconds away from needing a napkin to wipe up his drool. She loses it, springs forward before anyone can stop her and shoves Finn in the chest, hard. "Get out," she spits, enjoying Finn's shocked expression and the way he rubs at his chest in pain. Her fist clenches as the desire to strike out doesn't fade. Brittany catches the motion just as it coils back up into Santana's arms and grabs her around the waist before she can shove Finn again. She's breathing hard, trying to ignore the way her body reacts to Brittany's arm, wrapped tight around her waist and the hot breath in her ear when the blonde girl whispers, "Calm down." "What the hell, Lopez?" Matt sputters, stepping in front of his partner. His fist clenches at his side and Santana thinks he might throw a punch at her. Part of her wants him to. Gently, she wraps her fingers around Brittany's wrist and tries to pull it from her waist, slackening her body in a way she hopes Brittany reads as meaning she's

done shoving people, but Brittany knows her pretty much better than anyone. Better than Quinn. Better than Puck. Brittany knows her well enough to feel a trick coming when Santana plays one so the blonde girl just tightens her grip around Santana and repeats herself. The words are hushed and warm against Santana's cheek. "You need to calm down." Puck recovers at that point and puts his body in front of Santana's, standing close to Matt. "Sorry, dude," he says. "Why don't we step outside, go over a few things?" Matt takes a look over Puck's shoulder at Santana, restrained by Brittany but shooting daggers at Finn. He nods and says, "Yeah, okay." He grabs Finn by the sleeve and tugs him out of the kitchen, Puck following. "We'll be back in a few hours," Puck calls as he walks out the door. It's quiet then, except for the sound of Santana breathing, ragged and forced as it beats out of her mouth, and the answering sounds of Brittany's breath in her ear, calmer and steady. Their bodies are tight together and Santana's head goes fuzzy again, half the liquor and half Brittany. She shoves out of Brittany's embrace and stumbles across the kitchen floor, leaning heavily against the sink when she gets there.

Her stomach turns over and she sends a quick prayer that she doesn't vomit. At least she made it to the sink. "Where did you go? You were gone when I woke up." "Out," Santana grumbles. "You're drunk," Brittany comments. "Yeah." "You've been doing a lot of that lately." "Yeah." Santana keeps her back to Brittany, just stares down into the sink and lets her vision go in and out of focus on the drain there. "Are we going to talk about this?" "Talk about what?" "We had sex," Brittany stage whispers as if it's a big secret. "We did," Santana agrees. "So what?" "What do you mean so what?!" At that, Santana turns around, leans back against the

counter and crosses her arms. "It was a mistake." "A mistake." "Couples have breakup sex all the time, it was bound to happen," she argues, pleased with herself for being able to hold this conversation despite alcohol and adrenaline mingling in her brain. "Then why did you just shove Finn?" Santana rolls her eyes. Leave it to Brittany to understand exactly what was going on there. "He's ugly," she lies. "He was stinking up my kitchen." Brittany shakes her head and turns her gaze to the floor. Santana can tell she's starting to cry. "It wasn't a mistake to me. I'm still in love with you," Brittany admits, her foot tracing circles on the kitchen floor. The words are quiet and hesitant and they punch Santana in the chest. It's too much to deal with and it feels too much like some stupid dream that she's going to wake up from, hungover, pissed and probably on Quinn's couch. "I'm drunk," she says, unwilling to trust any other words. She doesn't want to do this now. This conversation with Brittany. She's not sober enough to believe any of it.

Brittany snaps her head up and looks at Santana, studies her for a quiet moment before walking up and grabbing her hand, tugging her around the corner out of the kitchen. They walk into the bedroom where Santana notices that the sheets are still a complete and total mess from earlier. Brittany pushes her on the bed and bends down to take Santana's shoes off. Her head hits the pillow as she shifts further onto the bed and she feels like she's floating in jello, seconds from falling asleep. The bed dips and Brittany settles next to her, her hand traveling down Santana's arm to tangle their fingers together. It feels good and terrible at the same time, salvation intertwined with destruction and her throat hurts as she says the next words, turning her head to look at the girl next to her, "You left me." Brittany shifts her head closer to Santana's and they're staring at each other. "You didn't chase me." Santana struggles to stay awake, something telling her this is a critical moment, but her brain loses it's grip on reality and her head presses hard into her pillow. "Tired," she mumbles. "I know. Go to sleep," Brittany gently commands.

So she does. -"I believe this belongs to you," Puck said wryly, propping Santana up again in the door jamb. She sends a smile to Brittany that she hopes is charming. Okay so maybe after-work drinks with Quinn wasn't a good idea. At least Puck was like the most awesome reliable designated driver ever. Her girlfriend looked both annoyed and amused so Santana thought maybe her smile was working. "Thanks, Puck," Brittany replied, moving to grab Santana's arm and pull her across the threshold. She stumbled the steps in, colliding with Brittany and grateful for the strong arm the other girl wrapped around her. "Anytime, Britt," he said with a wink, turning to leave and shutting the door. Santana leaned heavily against her girlfriend, enjoying the stillness for a minute as they stood in the entryway. "Come on, drunky, let's go," Brittany said, shifting to the side and hauling Santana down the hall to their bedroom.

"Tired," she said. "Yeah, I know," Brittany answered. "That's why you shouldn't get drunk in public," the other girl continued, chuckling. "It always makes you fall asleep." "Missed you," Santana whispered as she dropped onto their bed. "Then you should have come home," Brittany chided. "Yeah," Santana agreed, kicking her shoes off and flopping her head onto her pillow. "Quinn was sad," she explained. Brittany nodded. "Rachel's out of town." "Yeah, pathetic," Santana said, starting to laugh and then unable to control herself, the laughter increasing in both volume and frequency. "What's so funny?" Brittany asked, crawling across Santana to lay next to her. "I don't know," Santana whispered between giggles. "You're a good friend," Brittany observed, bringing her fingers up to stroke hair off Santana's forehead as the giggling trailed off and quiet resumed. "Huh?" Sleep was pulling her under and she struggled

to focus on Brittany's words. "Going out with Quinn because she's missing Rachel." Santana licked her lips against the taste of cheap beer and shut her eyes, hoping Brittany wouldn't be pissed when she dropped off. "She'd do the same for me," she responded, glad she got the sentence out before her body gave in to sleep. "Mmm, you need to get drunk when you're missing me?" She turned her head on the pillow and opened her eyes. "Yeah," she said. "Well then I'll have to make sure you don't miss me that much," Brittany answered, grinning. "Thanks, babe," she said, smiling widely before it all went dark and sleep claimed her. -It's sunlight filtering into her eyes that wakes her up, so foreign she almost thinks she's still asleep. It hasn't been sunny in this city for months, cloudy and rainy is the perpetual forecast and frankly, Santana likes it that way. Sun in her eyes with the way her head feels? Not awesome.

But there's a curious warmth in her hand and when she turns her head she gets a mouthful of blonde hair. Brittany. Her previous actions come back to her and she almost slaps herself in the forehead. She doesn't though, because her face has taken enough of a beating thank you very much, so she settles for rolling her eyes at herself. Except that kind of hurts too. She still needs that damn ice pack. Also a glass of water. Her mouth feels like she ate cotton for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She reminds herself to both smack and apologize to Quinn when she sees her next but for now she needs to cure her hangover and do some damage control with Hudson and Rutherford. Leave it to her to go into a drunken jealous rage in the middle of her kitchen. Idiot. Then the rest of it comes back to her, the way Brittany looked, small and hesitant and the way she said "I'm still in love with you," the memory spreading something like hope fluttering up through her stomach. The fingers intertwined with hers are soft and tight and she feels herself gripping on to them as if the small action could make Brittany stay and never leave again. Brittany shifts next to her and earlier words float

across Santana's consciousness. "You didn't chase after me." What the hell did she mean by that? That, what, Brittany would have come back if Santana went after her? She fucking left. Took their dog and walked out. That was Brittany's decision. If she wanted to come back, why the hell didn't she? "Hey," Brittany says, lifting her head and looking at Santana with sleep-filled eyes. "How do you feel?" "Did I really shove Finn?" Brittany laughs and Santana grins. "Yeah, you did. That was mean." "Yeah," Santana agrees, unapologetically. Silence falls around them before Santana clears her throat again. "Did you mean what you said, in the kitchen?" "Which part?" Brittany asks, looking confused. Santana doesn't want to spell it out for her, unable to actually say the words, but thankfully Brittany comes to the realization. "That I'm still in love with you?"

Santana nods. Brittany chuckles and looks away. "Yeah, of course." She gives Santana a curious look. "Did you think I just stopped?" "You left," Santana explains, feeling lame. Brittany purses her lips. "And you let me." It's the same argument from before and it kind of pisses Santana off, makes her head throb even harder. She sits up in bed and untangles her hand from Brittany's, her palm feeling ice cold instantly. "What the hell does that even mean, I let you?" "Why didn't you come after me?" Brittany asks, sounding small and timid, like Santana's the one that left. It's all so screwed up. Santana stands up and strides across the room, leaning her back against the far wall and rubbing her eyes. Fuck, her head hurts. "I called you twenty-six times that night, Brittany." "You did?" "Yeah, of course I did!" Santana yelled. "You left me! What the hell else would I do?"

Brittany tugs the sheets off her legs and stands up, moving in front of Santana. "I lost my phone." "What?" It comes out on a long exhale, filled with disbelief. "That night, when I left," Brittany explains. "I dropped my phone down a sewer grate because it was raining and well I was holding a lot of stuff and crying and it just flew out of my hand and down the street." "You lost your phone," Santana repeats, not believing what she's hearing. There's no way she spent six months being miserable over a goddamn misunderstanding and a lost cell phone. "Yeah, and then I didn't get a new one for a few weeks because I didn't have time," she says. Santana swallows. "So, what are you saying? If I had found you and shown up at your apartment, told you to come home, you would have?" Brittany nods. "It's what I was waiting for," she says, clear and succinct. "Six months is a long time to keep a girl waiting, Santana Lopez." "Why didn't you just come back?" Santana asks, still suspicious. "I thought," Brittany gulps and looks away, crosses

her arms over her chest and taps her foot up and down. "I thought the reason you didn't come after me was because you were glad I left." "Glad?!" Santana stammers out. "Glad?! Why the hell would I be glad?!" "You didn't come after me," Brittany repeats again as if that was the ultimate answer to all their problems. Santana thinks it probably is. "You told me to leave." She pinches the bridge of her nose and takes a deep breath, trying to sort out all her feelings and all of Brittany's feelings and figure out what the hell this means. Then it hits her, blindsides her and takes all the air out of her lungs. Brittany's still in love with her. Brittany's in love with her and she wants to come home. A huge grin spreads across her face despite her hangover and the ache in her cheek and the fear she has that this is all a terrible dream. She looks Brittany straight in the eye. "Britt," she starts. "Yeah?" The other girl bites her lips nervously and furrows her brow at Santana's expression. "I'm still in love with you too." Her throat closes and she almost doesn't get the words out, but she

manages it, lets it out like a breath she's been holding in for too long. Tears threaten to fall from her eyes and she curses herself. She needs to stop fucking crying. It's getting embarrassing. Brittany smiles, scrunches her nose up adorably. "Yeah, S. I can tell." Santana pushes off the wall and takes a step towards the blonde girl, wraps her arms around her and pulls her into a hug. She feels Brittany's lips graze her neck as she burrows into her shoulder and Santana takes a long inhale against Brittany's hair. "I missed you," she hears, muffled into the skin of her collabone. "Yeah, me too," Santana replies. The doorbell rings before they can say anything else. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Seven] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] --

Santana lets go of Brittany, pulling back and glaring out the door of their bedroom. She considers ignoring the doorbell for a whole 15 seconds, Brittany wiping at her eyes in front of her, before she remembers that there's actually things going on right now, like crazy stalker people and mysterious white envelopes and a best friend that was probably going to punch her the next time they saw each other. And her headache. She needs a gatorade, like yesterday. But she wants to ignore it all, stand here with Brittany and keep hugging her because there's something that feels like uncertainty sitting between them. They're still in love and Santana's actually happy that Brittany stayed away because she lost her stupid phone and not for some more substantial reason, but she's unsure of where they stand, of what all this means. Are they back together? Is Brittany moving back? She needs answers and she needs to keep touching Brittany because she thinks maybe she's allowed to do that now but she's been a cop for a decade and that part of her brain is yelling at her to focus. There's a threat that has to be eliminated. Nemo barks loudly from the entryway, his nails scratching at the door and Santana forces her head to reorganize its priorities. So she shoots a smile to Brittany and walks to the door, putting her eye up against the peephole and

rolling her eyes when she sees Puck standing in front of her, shifting back and forth on his feet nervously. She swings the door open, holding Nemo back with her leg and stares at him. "Yes?" "Can I come in or are you still in a shoving mood?" She pushes the door open further and steps to the side, raising an eyebrow at him and fighting to suppress a grin at the chuckle Brittany lets out from behind her. Puck walks in and heads to the kitchen table, pulling out a file from under his jacket and throwing it on the table. Santana's eyes follows the motion and her body moves to sit next to him when she sees Brittany, staring at her from the kitchen doorway and she's torn again, knowing she has to work, but wanting to grab Brittany and lock her in the bedroom, not leaving until all her questions have answers. Brittany seems to see the indecision and the conflict because she steps up to Santana and makes the choice for both of them, squeezing her hand and pressing a reassuring kiss against her lips. "I have some phone calls to make," Brittany whispers, letting go of Santana's hand and stepping back. Santana nods, has to stop herself form asking who exactly Brittany needs to call. She's not sure that's the

kind of question she actually wants the answer to, not willing to hear names like Tina when whatever is fixed between them is still so fragile. So she smiles at the blonde girl and turns to sit next to Puck at the kitchen table, surveying the documents he has spread across it. Puck turns to watch Brittany leave the room as Santana sits. "Did she just kiss you?" He asks, a gleam in his eye. Santana rolls her eyes and keeps looking at the photos but her stomach is doing flip flops because, yeah, Brittany totally just kissed her like it was the most normal thing in the world and six months had just reversed themselves. "Dude, she totally just kissed you," he hisses, leaning across the table. He brings his fist up just like he did at Rick's earlier and bounces his head up in down. "Score!" Santana swats his hand away but allows herself a small grin. "Focus," she commands. "Yeah," he responds, grinning at her like a little kid. "Sure." He traces his hands over the pieces of paper and grabs the picture Santana recognizes from the bar, the one of Brittany and Rachel, the one that had

Quinn in a rage. "I don't know what to make of this," he says, sliding it over to her. "I mean, I know I told Quinn that he's only after Britt, but I mean, look at the fucking message." He flips the picture over. In red chicken scratch the words it will ALL crumble are written across the glossy paper. "I wouldn't think anything of it but why put it on a picture of her and Berry, why capitalize ALL?" Santana nods, studying the words and turning the picture back over, this time actually making out the image in clear, distinct form. She rubs her temple absently, a headache still pounding under her forehead. Her cheek stings as her fingers pass over it and she winces at the memory of Quinn slapping her. She really needs to stop drinking. And talking while drunk. Both of those things. "I should probably go talk to Quinn," she comments. Puck laughs and lets out a low whistle. "Man was she pissed, what the hell did you say to her?" "I was drunk," Santana says instead of answering. "Yeah, you were," Puck agrees.

Santana drops her forehead into her hands, her elbows propped up on the table. "I gotta go over there," she lets out. "Probably," Puck answers, grabbing the photo from Santana's hands and studying it for a moment. "I don't get it," he says to himself. Santana looks at her watch, back at Puck and then out into her apartment, barely able to see the form of Brittany pacing in their bedroom down the hall, phone pressed to one ear. She doesn't want to leave, it's easily the last thing she wants to do, but she needs Quinn on her side and she knows what happens to wounds left untended. Plus, Quinn has a point. Rachel is on Pike's radar and none of them know why. Quinn is a part of this now whether she wants to be or not. "Listen, can you stay here? Keep an eye on Britt?" Puck nods, still staring at the picture, his hand playing with the edge of the file folder on the table. "Yeah, dude. No problem." "Thanks," she says, squeezing his shoulder briefly. She stands up from the table and walks back towards the bedroom, catching the tail end of Brittany's conversation.

"No, it's fine. I'll call you later," the blonde girl says into the phone. "Bye, Mike." "Hey," Santana interjects as Brittany closes the phone. "Hey," Brittany repeats. "So I have to go out for a bit," she starts, watching Brittany's face fall. "I kind of need to talk to Quinn." "Oh?" "Yeah," she says, not willing to divulge the details of that particular conversation. "But I won't be gone long and Puck's going to stay here with you." Brittany nods but Santana can tell she's unhappy and to be fair, Santana's not so happy about leaving either, but there's an itch in the back of her brain that tells her she needs to get to Quinn's. She needs to talk to her friend, straighten out this one thing so she can focus on the case, so she can focus on Brittany. Brittany, who's currently looking hesitant and unsure and Santana, as happy as she is that they had their little moment, minutes ago, hates the awkwardness that's settling around them. She's afraid if she let's it solidify she won't be able to cut back through it. "Hey," she says softly, stepping forward and wrapping a hand around Brittany's wrist. "I know we have stuff

to like, talk about or whatever." Brittany bites her lip, nodding softly and Santana nearly faints with the urge to kiss her. Then she realizes she doesn't have to, Brittany already kissed her first. She presses a soft kiss to Brittany's lips, tugging the wrist in her hand forward so their bodies collide. "I'm glad you're here," she says when they break apart. "Me too," Brittany answers, finally smiling. "Good luck with Quinn." -She buys a gatorade and about six aspirin at the market down the street from her building. She eyes the cigarettes but resists the desire to add them to the list. She's chugging on the gatorade, taking long grateful pulls as she walks down the street and squints into the sun, unused to seeing it and glaring at the way it scratches at her headache. Relief floods through her when she pats her pockets and pulls out a rarely used pair of aviators, sliding them on her face and shielding her eyes from the bright light. Her mind goes over the argument with Quinn from earlier and her brain starts to flash the pictures from Pike across her consciousness, adding words and facts as she does it. It doesn't make sense. She

knows Pike is after her, after Brittany, the guy pretty much told her he was, but there's something in the pit of her stomach telling her Rachel plays a part in all this, that Quinn plays a part and she can't shake it. When she gets to the building, not long later, her gatorade is empty and she's left staring up at the steps to Quinn and Rachel's apartment. God, she hopes Berry isn't home, because dealing with that on top of Quinn being mad at her and her lingering hangover would just be too much. She takes her sunglasses off and raps her knuckles against the wood. And because God has some vendetta against her these days, Rachel answers the door after three knocks and immediately narrows her eyes at the sight of Santana. "What did you do to Quinn?" Then Rachel seems to actually like notice Santana and gasps. "What did you do to your face?!" "Can I come in, Berry?" Santana asks, feeling a twinge of guilt trace through her for the way she talked about the shorter girl earlier, but not really up for getting lectured by her. "Yeah, of course," Rachel says, standing aside to let Santana in and studying her curiously. "Quinn's in the study."

"Thanks," she says, walking past the small brunette and heading straight back through the apartment. She walks into the office without knocking and the blonde attorney is at her desk as expected, glasses on and papers all over its surface. Quinn has a picture in one hand, the same one Santana was looking at earlier and she realizes Puck must have made her a copy. "Hey," she announces, walking into the room and plopping in one of Quinn's chairs. Quinn doesn't even look up to acknowledge her presence. "What do you want?" Santana takes a deep breath. "I was drunk." "I was there," Quinn answers still refusing to look up. "Look, I was in a bad place. I shouldn't have said that." This time Quinn does look at her. "No," she says. "You shouldn't have." Santana nods but doesn't say anything else. "That's it?" Quinn asks, leaning back in her chair and sliding her glasses off, throwing them on the desk in

front of her. Santana shrugs. "You suck at apologies," Quinn says, this time with a small resigned laugh. "I'm sorry," Santana grumbles. Quinn stares at her, exasperated before she says, "Remind me next time to smack you with my left hand." Santana's brow furrows. "Why?" Quinn holds her hand up, light reflecting off the giant ring on her finger and Santana nods. "Right, fair enough. So we're good?" "We're fine. If I gave up on you every time you were a complete and total insensitive bitch, we would have stopped being friends a long time ago." "True story," Santana jokes, but a long exhale escapes her in gratitude. They sit there for a minute, in companionable silence, letting their friendship mend for a moment before Santana leans forward. She decides to plunge forward part of her needing to restore some normalcy and the other part genuinely concerned about the new

development in the case. Pointing at the picture in Quinn's hand, she gives her friend a curious look. "So, what did Berry say about the picture?" Quinn looks back down at her desk, opening her mouth to answer but no words coming out. The answer shouldn't be that hard, Rachel Berry always has words to say about just anything you ask her to talk about so Quinn shouldn't be having problems recalling the other girl's feelings. Then it hits her. "You haven't told her," Santana realizes, the words coming out like a surprised accusation. "No," Quinn admits. "Q, I know Berry. She won't like that." "Yeah, probably not," Quinn agrees with a small grin, half affectionate, half worried. "Tell me what?" Rachel says from the doorway. "What won't I like?" Quinn jumps in surprise and then looks at Santana failing to come up with a better answer than, "Nothing." Rachel eyes them suspiciously. "What are you hiding?"

Quinn looks to Santana again but the other girl just shrugs her shoulders, not really sure how Quinn thinks she could help. "Quinn Fabray," Rachel intones drawing the name out, low and menacing. "Tell me." Santana almost laughs because Quinn looks completely scared of the look on Rachel's face and for the first time ever Santana thinks she might have underestimated this girl. Quinn slides the picture of Brittany and Rachel across her desk and gestures for Rachel to pick it up. "Pike's been following you," Quinn swallows hard. "Well he's been following Brittany and you. And we don't know why." Rachel tilts her head to the side and furrows her brow as she studies the picture before looking up to address Quinn. Santana almost expects the brunette to make some comment about how he didn't capture her at the right angle or the lighting makes her nose look bad but instead Rachel quirks her lips and asks, "You have seen my legs, right?" She points to the picture as she says it, indicating long legs left uncovered by the ridiculously short skirt the girl had on that day.

This time, Santana does laugh and it brings a lightness to the moment that wasn't there before. "Rachel," Quinn says, with a light chuckle. "I'm being serious." "And so am I," Rachel argues. "This is a picture of me and Brittany. There's been no other proof that he's singled me out, right?" This question directed at Santana who shakes her head in denial. "Right, so he was watching Brittany and saw her associating with her wealthy, successful and highly attractive friend, Rachel Berry, who happens to be married to the equally successful and famous attorney, Quinn Fabray. What self-respecting photographer wouldn't take the picture? Even stalkers have standards," Rachel continues, looking at Quinn like this point is entirely obvious and it's a waste of her precious time to have to explain it to both of them. "As much as it pains me to admit, and I assure you it does, I highly doubt he's actually after me." Santana shrugs, an amused grin spreading on her face despite the situation. "She has a point," she says to Quinn, the words tasting funny in her mouth as she says them. Quinn sighs. "Still, we don't know for sure and until then we have to be on our guard."

Rachel rolls her eyes, clearly unimpressed by Quinn's concern and walks over around the desk to perch at Quinn's elbow. "It's cute that you're worried about me," she says softly, a finger reaching out to trace an eyebrow. Santana opens her mouth to take some jab at the display of affection as she would usually do but Quinn seems to sense it and glares right at her before she can open her mouth. Normally it wouldn't deter her, but the sting in her cheek reminds her she should probably lay off the Rachel jokes for a little bit. "Rach, this guy is serious," Quinn says, turning back to the girl on her desk. "I don't want to take any chances, not with you." Rachel sighs. "Fine, but I have a very busy schedule to maintain. We're starting up full rehearsals this week and I can't have your little stalker paranoia interfering with the show's production." "Awesome priorities," Santana mumbles under her breath, unable to help herself. "Just be extra careful," Quinn says, knowing it's useless to ask for much else. Santana can see the way Quinn's fists clench and knows her friend well enough to realize she's seconds away from grabbing Rachel, strapping her in a chair and locking her in a closet, just to keep her safe. If Santana wasn't so

disgusted by the whole thing, she thinks it might be kind of cute. "I will," Rachel agrees, leaning over to press a kiss to Quinn's forehead. "I'm going to go make some food. I hope you two have hashed out whatever it is that had you at each other's throats today. It's very unseemly for such close friends to be at odds with each other." "We're fine, Rach," Quinn says as the shorter girl slides of the desk and walks back around it. "Any requests for food?" "Roast turkey," Santana says, turning her head and smiling. "And blueberry pie." Rachel rolls her eyes and exits. -"I got a promotion today," Quinn said, offhandedly. Santana nearly spit the peanuts out of her mouth. "No shit," she said, turning to her friend and smiling. "Yeah," Quinn answered, grinning. "Youngest junior partner in the firm ever." "Q," Santana started. "That's awesome. That's totally awesome," she paused. "Look at us," she said,

pointing between them. "A couple of successful, functioning adults." Quinn chuckled. "I wouldn't take it that far." "Yeah good point," Santana agreed, popping more peanuts in her mouth. Quinn nodded. "I think I'm going to ask Rachel to move in with me," she said after a minute. This time Santana actually did spit the peanuts out of her mouth, Quinn cringing and jumping back as it happened. "Why?" Santana asked, looking at her friend like she just told her she wanted to shave her head. "What do you mean, why?" Quinn laughed. "It's," Santana shook her head, trying to find words to state the obvious. "It's Rachel Berry. That's like," Santana brought her hands up to gesture around her head. "A lot of person. In a really small space. All the fucking time." "I know," Quinn responded, looking down at the table, her expression uncharacteristically shy. "That's the best part." Santana rolled her eyes, but signaled Joe to bring them celebratory shots of tequila.

-"Look," Santana says. "Why don't you guys just come stay with me and Britt for awhile." She doesn't want to offer it because the idea of Rachel in her apartment all the time makes her want to claw her eyes out but she can see the concern seeping out of Quinn and there's a small part of her heart that wants to make it all better, desperate in a way she doesn't feel for most people. Plus, Quinn's a brilliant deductive reasoner, her skills would be helpful with the case but she'd be useless if she's worrying about Rachel all the time. Moving them all to one location was a smart strategic move. Quinn looks at her, shocked by the offer. "Stay with you?" "Yeah, I mean. I've got a squad car out front and guys at my door and I can't justify that kind of security at your place. It'll make you sleep easier." Quinn muses over the suggestion, stares at Santana as if she's trying to figure out a really hard puzzle, but rocks back in her chair after awhile. "Okay, sure. Thanks, S." Santana shrugs the gratitude off and stands up. "So get your sidekick and let's go, I told Brittany I wouldn't be gone that long."

"Okay," she says, standing up and stepping around her desk. They both make their way out of the study and into the hallway. "How's that going by the way?" "S'fine, I guess," Santana rubs the back of her neck as they walk into the living room. "You guess?" "I don't know," she admits, not looking Quinn in the eye. "But it's better. She's," she gulps, having trouble forming the words as if speaking them would somehow make them untrue. "She's still in love with me." "S, that's great," Quinn responds, her face brightening with happiness for her friends. "So you guys figured it all out?" Santana shrugs. "We're working on it," Santana answers. Quinn accepts that, nods and pats a hand reassuringly on Santana's shoulder. "Good," she says as they walk into the kitchen. Santana twirls around in the open space when they get there, finding no sign of Rachel. "I thought she was cooking."

"Rachel?" Quinn yells into the apartment. An extended silence greets the call and Quinn's eyes widen in sudden fear. Santana looks around, opening cabinets as if Rachel was hiding in them. "Rach? Baby, where are you?" Quinn tries again, her voice growing more frantic. "What part of 'on our guard' was confusing to her?" Quinn mumbles. Quinn's halfway out of the kitchen, heading to the bedroom when Santana notices a note on the table. "Hey," she calls out, pointing at it when Quinn comes back in. She picks it up and reads it, Quinn doing the same over her shoulder. Q, it reads. Ran to O'Malley's to buy fruit. Be back in 15. Love you. XOXO R As if timed to perfection, a screeching of tires blares through the open window in the kitchen and a woman's yell pierces their ears. Quinn nearly falls over at the sound before she's running out of the kitchen and out the front door, Santana hot on her heels. -It's a horrific scene. Blood all over the pavement and Rachel's body limp on the ground. Quinn lets out a

tortured groan as she takes it all in, running to where Rachel is and dropping to her knees beside her. Santana flips her phone open and dials 911. Her eyes search the area as her phone connects, looking for any signs as to what happened. "We need an ambulance. 29th and Archer. Now," she demands, giving the dispatcher her name and badge number. She walks up behind Quinn and squats down next to her, feeling a bizarre twinge of worry for the lifeless brunette as she takes in Rachel's still form. "It's going to be okay, Q," she says in a whisper. "She'll be okay." Quinn doesn't respond, just stares at Rachel in shock, tears running down her face, but her jaw clenched in silent rage. -"She's your best friend, San," Brittany argued, pulling her shirt off as they stood by the bed. "Yeah, I know. That's what I'm saying. She's my best friend." Santana laid back on their bed, staring at the ceiling and plotting ways to rid her life of the plague named Rachel Berry.

"You can't hate your best friend's girlfriend," Brittany said, climbing onto the bed and on top of Santana, legs straddling her hips. "Who says?" Brittany brings her hands up to trail across Santana's chest. "It's a rule." "It is not," Santana denied, rubbing her hands up Brittany's legs. "I like Rachel." "You like everyone." "Santana," Brittany started, sounding exasperated. "I don't like her, what's the big deal? She's annoying," Santana said. "And short. Quinn needs to accept these things." Brittany shifted her hips, pressing into Santana and distracting the other girl from their conversation. "What if Quinn didn't like me?" "Quinn likes you, Britt," she answered, distracted. "I'm saying what if," Brittany continued. "I'd smack her," Santana said without thinking, too

preoccupied with the way Brittany's skin felt under her palms. She wrapped her arm around the girl's waist and sat up, bringing her lips to Brittany's neck. "Exactly," Brittany said, arching her neck to the side and smiling. Santana tried to pay attention to what was being said but Brittany smelled like that new perfume she bought last week and her skin felt soft and warm and the last thing she wanted to think about was Rachel Berry. Brittany, however, felt the conversation was much more important than Santana did. She pushed against Santana's shoulders and leaned back. "You need to give her a chance. For Quinn," Brittany demanded. "Fine, whatever, I'll give her a chance," Santana agreed, desperate to decrease the space between her lips and Brittany's neck. "Promise?" "Promise," Santana repeated. Brittany smiled, wrapped her arms around Santana's neck. "Awesome," she breathed. "You'll see, Rachel's great. She'll grow on you."

Santana rolled her eyes but wisely kept her mouth shut, grateful when Brittany finally shut up and pressed their lips together. They didn't talk about Rachel the rest of the night. -"It was a car?" "That's what the witnesses say," Santana answers, standing outside the hospital room where Rachel had been placed. She looks into the room and observes her friends, the blonde attorney sitting still in a chair next to the bed, one hand outstretched to grip Rachel's. Puck ran a hand over his head and blew out a long breath. "Damn, I don't get it. Why go after Berry? Why a hit-and-run?" "I don't either. Maybe it's a coincidence," she offers. Puck gives her a disbelieving look. "Yeah, I don't believe that either," she admits. "This is so messed up," Puck comments. "Yeah," she agrees. Santana shakes her head, glances over to where Brittany's funneling in money to the vending machine down the hall. "Thanks for

bringing Brittany." "Of course," Puck answers, looking over at the blonde girl too. "I'm glad you guys are like, figuring it out whatever," Puck whispers, punching Santana in the arm softly. "Me too," Santana says with a small grin. She's happy to have Brittany there, a balance to the terrified look in Quinn's face and the image of Rachel bleeding in the street. It's all still so uncertain, her relationship with her ex-girlfriend and she doesn't really know what's going on between them but she knows she wants Brittany next to her, is grateful for the support. She spent so many years leaning on Brittany, having it back at such a crucial time is like a strange dream she's going to wake up from at any moment. Brittany comes up to the group and hands Santana a can of coke before twisting their arms together. She can read the fear all throughout Brittany's body, can feel it in the shaky fingers on her arm, so she turns her head towards the other girl and lets her lips graze her temple. "It's going to be okay, babe," she says. Brittany smiles at her and nods before resting her head on Santana's shoulder, eyes locked on the room in front of them where Quinn sits, staring at Rachel. Then, without warning, Quinn gets up and walks out of the room, staring at the three of them for a long

minute before turning to her left and walking down the hallway. "Where are you going?" Santana shouts out, worried about her friend. Quinn turns back to look at her. "Taking a walk," she answers and Santana knows that's best friend code for doing something idiotic. "Fabray," Santana starts, disengaging from Brittany and taking a step towards the attorney. "No, Santana." Quinn puts up a hand to stop her. "I really am just going to take a walk. I could use the air." Santana doesn't like it, every instinct in her is telling her to stop Quinn but she reads the honesty in the other girl's face so she nods, steps backwards and grabs Brittany's hand. "Okay." "Could you just," Quinn waves her hand towards the room she just exited, swallowing audibly. "Watch Rachel please?" "Yeah," Brittany responds before Santana can. She watches Quinn stomp away silently and

disappear around the corner until Brittany tugs her into the hospital room. -"It's a bad idea," Santana said, rolling her eyes and propping her feet up on Quinn's desk. "What is?" Quinn asked, swatting Santana's feet off with her hand. "Proposing," Santana deadpans like it's obvious. Quinn shook her head. "Whatever." "You know what marriage is, right? It's like, forever. Forever, Fabray. With Rachel. Berry." "Thanks, moron. I know what it means," Quinn answered. "You're the one that said it's not even legitimate anyway so what do you care?" "I care because you're my best friend and if you get saddled with her I'm going to have to put up with her too," Santana replied. "Well, build up a tolerance," Quinn said, flipping a small black box in her right hand and smiling evilly at Santana. --

"You okay, babe?" Santana asks, sitting down next to Brittany and handing her a fresh bottle of grape juice. She stares at Rachel on the bed and not for the first time feels a large wave of guilt flow through her. She looks at her watch as she leans back in the chair. It's been an hour since Quinn left. "Yeah," Brittany responds, twisting the cap off. "Hungry though. Do they have food here that isn't processed?" "No," Santana laughs, turning away from Rachel to observe her girlfriend. "But I can grab you a Snickers out of the machine." Brittany smiles at her and her stomach growls. "Yes, please." Santana nods and gets up, exiting the room. Maybe she should go look for Quinn while she's out here. She's about ten feet out of Rachel's room, just past the nurse's station when Quinn comes from around the corner, hair in disarray and eyes bloodshot. She sees Santana and her jaw clenches, her face showing a determination Santana can't figure out. She opens her mouth to yell at Quinn about where the hell she went and what the hell she was doing, but all of a sudden Quinn is in front of her, grabbing her arm and hauling her bodily into the stairwell, the sound of the

door slamming shut echoing loudly in the small space. The attorney turns to the small window on the door, glancing out of it with a sudden paranoia that Santana doesn't know what to make of. "What the hell, Q?" Quinn takes a deep breath before whirling around to face Santana, grabbing the collar of her shirt and slamming the other girl against the wall. "You find this guy," she commands in a low whisper. "You find him and you kill him. Slowly and with a great deal of pain. I don't care how, just do it." Quinn's face is shadowed and menacing, intimidating in a way Santana nearly envies. "Promise me he'll feel it, promise me you'll end it." It's a desperate request and Santana can see the pain around Quinn's eyes, sees the need for revenge as surely as she feels it answering in her own veins. It's the reason Quinn pulled her into the stairwell, the reason Quinn keeps her voice low and close to Santana's face. This isn't a demand that Santana do her job, this isn't a righteous defense of justice, this is just her best friend, with the woman she loves in a hospital room and the need to even the scales bleeding out of her like an open wound. And because Santana gets it, because she understands Quinn on a fundamental, primal level and because above all that, Santana loves Quinn, she

nods, puts both of her hands on Quinn's cheeks and looks her right in the eye. "I promise." Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Eight] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] -"I promise," Santana repeats, shaking Quinn's head in her hands firmly, willing the words to get through to the blonde girl. They're staring at each other, their breathing loud in the emptiness of the stairwell and Santana's afraid Quinn is going to break, collapse right there in Santana's hands and she has no idea how to stop it. So she just keeps her eyes locked with Quinn's, pumping confidence and calm through her gaze in hopes Quinn won't shatter. It takes about thirty four seconds, Santana counting the heartbeats against her ribs, before Quinn deflates, the tense desperation whooshing right out of her.

Santana watches as her friend's face crumples, scrunches up in a pained expression and Santana feels her eyes go wide as she realizes Quinn's about to cry. Quinn Fabray, who almost never breaks, never, is about to start sobbing, right in front of Santana. "Pull it together," she commands, bringing her hands down to grip Quinn's, still clinging to Santana's shirt. "You have to pull it together." Quinn shakes her head, losing the battle with tears and whispering a broken, "I can't, I can't." Santana tugs the girl closer, grabs harder onto Quinn's hands. "You have to, Fabray. How pissed is Berry going to be when she wakes up and you're a fucking mess?" Quinn breaks out of Santana's hold roughly, spins around and puts her hands on the opposite wall, her head hanging down between them and Santana watches the other girl's shoulders move up and down with each deep breath Quinn takes. "Q, Rachel wouldn't want," Santana starts, but the words get caught in her throat as Quinn spins back around again, staring at Santana with undisguised rage. Santana exhales in relief. This emotion? This emotion Santana understands.

"Get it out now," Santana says, putting her hands up at her sides. "Kick me, punch me, scream at me, whatever, but get it out now, before we go back out there. Because you're no good to anyone like this." It's a testament to their friendship really, that Santana knows with a calm certainty that Quinn will throw a punch, that Quinn needs to punch something and that Santana wants her to, wants to give this to her friend. She juts her chin out and curls her fingers back and forth in midair, "Come on Q. Let it out," she says. Quinn takes a step forward, squeezes her hand into a fist and clenches her jaw, staring at Santana as if she's seeing someone else. "Hit me," Santana demands. Quinn swings, smacking Santana right in the cheek and spearing pain all through Santana's face as the scab near her eye bursts open. She coughs against the feeling as her head is snapped to the side but straightens herself quickly, looking at Quinn to see if she's going to throw another punch. Quinn does, but this time Santana ducks and Quinn stumbles forward with the momentum, spinning until her back is to Santana. She grabs Quinn around the waist and holds her tight as the other girl struggles to break the hold.

"Are you done yet?" Santana asks, working her jaw around the words painfully. "Let me go," Quinn hisses. Santana obeys, drops her arms and Quinn twirls around to face her, grabbing the collar of Santana's shirt again and pushing them both until Santana's back is up against the wall. "This again?" Santana says, baiting her friend. Quinn looks like she wants to say something but she's just breathing through the anger again and it's like a repeat of the previous scene, Santana against the wall and Quinn in front of her fighting against emotions too strong to contain. Quinn makes a face like she's going to start crying for the second time and Santana feels her chest tighten up. She tries to get through to her again, bringing her hands up to grab Quinn's for the second time. "You need to get a hold of yourself, Fabray. I'm supposed to be the mess. You're the stable one," she jokes softly. But Quinn can't get a hold on her emotions and Santana feels her slipping, forcing her to let go of Quinn's hands to catch the blonde girl around her waist, sliding down the wall as she falls to the ground with her friend.

It's kind of awkward because Quinn is her best friend, and they've touched and hugged and kissed but they don't really do this. This, leaning heavily into each other and sliding down walls together. New experience. It is happening. Santana grabs her, pulls her so the other girl is practically in her lap and hugs her, unable to do anything else as Quinn lets out a deep sob into Santana's neck. For a moment, Santana wishes Brittany were here, the other girl always more capable with this part of the emotional struggle, the kind of struggle that required hugging at least. Then Quinn stops crying and her breathing evens out but neither of them move, Quinn's head on Santana's shoulder and her arms around the blonde girl, sitting on the dusty floor in a hospital stairwell. They sit there for long minutes before Quinn can finally get up. -"I need a drink," Quinn announced, taking the stool next to Santana. "That is why we're in a bar, Q," Santana said, making an amused sound.

Joe came up to them, wiping a cloth over a glass and lifted an eyebrow at Quinn, silently asking for her order. "Tequila," she said, in clipped tones. "Top shelf." Santana turned to her friend surprised. "What happened?" "Rachel, happened," Quinn answered bitterly, eyes on the bar top. Santana barked out a laugh. "I told you." "Shut up, Lopez." "Jeez, what exactly did shortbus do this time?" Santana asked, twirling her bottle of beer on the table as she observed her friend. Quinn shook her head and threw her arms up in the air before dropping them back down, her palms thudding dully on the counter. "She just drives me nuts!" "Yeah, well," Santana said, leaning towards her friend conspiratorially. "She's Rachel Berry. I thought you knew that before you married her." Quinn watched Joe pour a shot of tequila into a glass and looked at the man as she grabbed it. "Leave the

bottle," she said. Santana eyed her friend curiously. "I'm the borderline alcoholic, Fabray. You're the responsible one." "She got an offer for a new role," Quinn said, ignoring Santana's comment. "And?" "It's at some theater off of Addison." Santana let out a low whistle. "Bad neighborhood." "Yeah," Quinn agreed. "Why are you telling me this story?" "She wants to take it," Quinn said, looking at Santana like the problem was obvious. "Good for her." Quinn threw back another shot of tequila. "Good for her? It's a bad neighborhood. You just said!" "Yeah, so what?" "So, she works the show, gets out of the theater at some god awful hour and who knows what?" Quinn's voice got louder as she spoke. "How is that good?"

Santana made an affirmative sound from the back of her throat. Quinn had a fair point, they would always get assault and robbery calls from that area. Not that Santana gave two shits about what happened to Rachel Berry. At all. "Tell her not to take it," Santana offered, with a shrug, not really understanding why Quinn would be this worked up. Annoyed maybe, not pissed. "I tell her it's probably not the safest choice ever and she accuses me of trying to stifle her career." Santana laughed. "It's not funny, S," Quinn said, in a low voice. "It is though. You all worked up over Berry," Santana argued, tipping her beer back at her lips. "Shit's hilarious." "I just," Quinn started, turning back to the bottle of tequila on the counter and picking at the label with her nail. "I can't have anything happen to her. I just can't." -"How's she doing?" Santana asks as she walks back into the room, Quinn just steps behind her. Brittany jumps at her voice and stands up, walking over to

them. "Same but she's moving around a little. The doctor says that's a good sign," she answers, tangling her fingers with Santana's and giving Quinn a hopeful expression. Quinn's face lightens and she moves past them to stand by the bed, her hand grabbing Rachel's and staring down at the other girl. "Rach," Quinn whispers, and the brunette stirs, shifts minutely under the covers, her head turning unconsciously towards Quinn. It seems to be enough for the attorney, who takes a deep shaky and breath and bends over, pressing a kiss to Rachel's forehead and whispering words Santana can't make out. Santana turns to look at Brittany and the taller girl gets a good view of the reopened wound on her face. She gasps softly and brings her fingers up to Santana's brow. "What happened?" "Nothing, don't worry about it," she answers quickly, knowing that telling Brittany that Quinn clocked her in the face wouldn't be constructive at all right now. A worried expression shadows Brittany's face as she keeps staring at Santana's yellowing features, running soft fingertips over the bruises. "I'll tell you later," she

whispers and Brittany nods, accepting that. Puck enters the room and clears his throat from behind Santana. She turns to look at him and he raises an eyebrow at her, nodding his head back out the door. "I'll be right back," she says to Brittany before tugging away and following Puck back into the hallway. "Jesus, Lopez," he says when they're standing in front of each other. "Do we need to buy you a face mask?" She fingers her cheek, wiping away the trickle of warm blood coming out of the cut. "It'll heal," she says. Puck hmms and nods skeptically like he's actually considering buying her a face guard but he just shakes his head and moves on. "What do you want to do?" Santana looks back into the room, Quinn's words reverberating in her head. She needs to find this guy. Before Rachel's image becomes Brittany's and before Quinn has a complete breakdown and tries to go after the guy herself. "Call Hudson and Rutherford," she gets out. "Get a conference room. We could use them, we can use all the help we can get at this point. We need to get this bastard. Soon."

"I thought you wanted to do shit out of your apartment." She did. She does. It'd be easier, keeping Brittany there, she could probably convince Quinn too, and it's easy to guard, but she feels raw, vulnerable, and the idea of Finn Hudson back in her apartment again, with things between her and Brittany strange and new feels like too much, she doesn't think she can handle it. Her feet shift back and forth and she looks at them, the indecision warring inside her brain. Duty to Quinn to get this guy, duty to herself to protect Brittany, duty to the city to do her job. Her personal life and her responsibilities at odds with each other, just like always. Brittany is important. Fixing it with Brittany, resolving their issues, dealing with their problems. It's important. Santana thinks, when she searches deep down inside herself, takes good look at what's in her heart, it's the most important thing. More important than all this other shit, more important than Quinn, more important than Rachel, more important than Pike, but she was never one that let her heart do the decision-making. "I do," she says. "You're right. Tell them to meet at the apartment."

"Tomorrow morning," Puck adds. She throws him a look. "Tonight." "Hell no," Puck says. "Who are you kidding? Go home, get a good night's sleep, maybe throw a fucking slab of meat on your goddamn mess of a face. We won't get anything done tonight." "We don't have time to just laze around, Puckerman," she says, angry that he would think they have time for trivial things like sleep. "Look," he says, lowering her voice as he glances in the hospital room briefly. "Captain wants to yank you off this case. He told me today." "What?!" The question bursts out of her in surprise, half-yelled, and echoing loudly in the hallway. Brittany jumps from inside the room and looks in their direction curiously so Puck grabs her elbow and tugs her down the hallway away from the door. "He wants to take you off," he starts again. "You're way too close to this. First Britt now Rachel and Quinn. He doesn't think you can do it." "I can fucking do my job," Santana argues, taking a menacing step towards Puck as if he was the one that wanted to pull her off.

"I know that," he says, not budging. "I convinced him not to do it, but there's no way he'll believe me if you start doing stupid shit like not sleeping and getting punched out by Quinn in hospital stairwells." She tilts her head to the side sharply, startled. "How did you-" "You're not the only detective here, asshole," he says with a chuckle. "Who knew Fabray could fucking pack a punch, eh?" She laughs briefly, fingering her cheek again and hissing at the contact. "Yeah." "So listen." He gets serious again. "Go home and sleep for a few hours. We'll come by in the morning, fresh, have like sixteen fucking cups of coffee and figure this thing out." She wants to argue, wants to shove him off and tell him that she won't sleep anyway because all she's going to do is dream about the way Rachel looked on the pavement, laying in her own pool of blood, and the look on Quinn's face in the stairwell, like everything was falling around them and Quinn couldn't hold herself up anymore. She's only going to see those things and she won't be able to sleep. She needs to work, needs to feel like she's doing something constructive.

But then she thinks about Brittany. About how when she goes home, Brittany is coming with her and that they can fall asleep in the same bed and she doesn't have to reach for that bottle of whiskey in her cabinet and she can hold Brittany's hand on the ride home. She thinks about these things and realizes maybe recharging her brain might be a good idea. "Yeah," she says finally. "Okay." -"Dude, why are you still here?" Santana shuffled some papers around on her desk, not looking up at Puck as he walked around to her desk. "Working." "Thanks, that much is obvious. I meant why are you still here at fucking 4AM?" "You're here," she commented, now raising her head to stare at him. "Yeah, well," he said, buffing his nails against his shoulder. "Just got off a date, stopped by to grab some stuff I forgot." "Well then, grab it and leave. I've got work to do," she said, going back to the file open in front of her.

"Lopez, go home. You look like shit." Santana rolled her eyes. She didn't want to go back to her place. What the hell was the point? She'd just lay on her couch going over the case anyway. "No," she said. "Why not?" "I have work," she explained, flipping through the file. Puck grabbed the file out of her hands and looked at it, giving her a skeptical look. "This isn't our case." She reached out and snatched the papers back. "So? It still needs to get done." "Go. Home. You need to sleep." Her shoulders sagged forward and she felt an irrational wave of anger roll through her. She couldn't go back to the damn empty apartment right now. Didn't he get that? She wanted to yell at him for not understanding, for not getting that sleep wouldn't come at her apartment and that she couldn't get the image of Brittany walking out the door out of her brain. Why didn't he get that?

Before she could open her mouth to yell at him for not understanding he put a hand on her shoulder and leaned close. "You can stay with me," he offered. -"Fabray," she says gently as she puts a hand on Quinn's shoulder. "Let's go." Quinn whips her head up to look at her friend incredulously. "What?" "Come on, you can stay at my apartment." "I'm not leaving," Quinn denies. "You're going to sleep in that chair all night?" Santana asks, glancing at Rachel's sleeping form. "I need to be here when she decides to wake up." "You need to not be a mess when she decides to wake up," Santana argues. Quinn stands up and looks at Santana, her expression still and calm. "I'm staying, S. That's my wife in that bed and I'm staying." "Fine," Santana says. "Then I'm staying too."

"No." The attorney shakes her head. "I need you to go home," she starts, her voice at a whisper as she glances at Brittany over Santana's shoulder. "I need you to fix things with Brittany. I need you to sleep. I need you to eat a decent meal. And I need you to get your head on straight," she continues. "Because I need you to catch this guy. Because I can't think right now and I need you to do it for me." Santana wants to argue, hating the idea of leaving Quinn unprotected in the hospital but she's been friends with Quinn for decades and she's won an argument with the blonde girl maybe twice in their entire friendship, so she just nods, squeezes Quinn's arm briefly as a goodbye gesture and turns around. "Fine." Brittany smiles at her when Santana turns to walk out and head towards Quinn, hugging their friend tightly. Quinn looks kind of shocked at the gesture, but she brings her arms up around Brittany and squeezes her back. Santana can just make out the words Brittany says as she hugs Quinn. "It's going to be okay, Q. Rachel will wake up soon." Quinn smiles and buries her head in Brittany's shoulder and Santana's never been more grateful to have the dancer back in her life than at that moment. She hears Quinn whisper, "I know" as Brittany breaks

the hug and steps back. Santana nods one last time at her friend before grabbing Brittany's hand and exiting the room, making their way out of the hospital in silence. When they step outside the sliding doors of the hospital it's dark and it's fucking raining again. Santana feels the strangest urge to stare upward and ask "Really?" but she stifles it as she tugs Brittany into her side and walks quickly to the subway station. -Thirty minutes later they arrive back at the apartment and there's still a uniform standing outside her door. She thinks it's kind of funny because he's guarding an empty apartment so she gives him an amused nod as a greeting before unlocking the door and pulling Brittany inside. The two of them get into the apartment and head back into the bedroom, running on automatic. Santana almost stops for a second because it feels weird to be doing this, to be walking down her hallway to the bedroom as if she's actually going to sleep in her bed. With Brittany. But she doesn't want to say anything, afraid that if they start talking about it it will all fall down and she'll be back on the couch and Brittany will be in the bed and she'll be back to dating her liquor cabinet.

She sits down on the bed to tug her shoes off when Brittany comes to stand in front of her, putting a finger under her chin and tugging her face up. The look on the blonde's face is concerned but Santana can detect a small hint of anger just beneath the surface as blue eyes roam her face. "I'm going to get you some ice," Brittany says after a minute, letting Santana's chin go and walking out of the room. Words of protest are halfway out of her mouth because she hates being taken care of, hates it more than anything, but she stops herself because this is Brittany and she's back, worried about Santana's wellbeing, wanting to make her feel better and it feels so good that she doesn't want to do anything to stop it. Brittany comes back with a ziploc full of ice and a washcloth after a few minutes and Santana's still sitting on the edge of the bed, shoes and pants off, but unable to do much else beside stare at the wall. The blonde girl walks back over in front of her and sets the bag on the bed next to her, tilting Santana's face up again and pressing the washcloth softly against Santana's cheek, wiping the blood off. "What happened?" Brittany asks softly. "Quinn's fist," she finally admits.

Brittany's eyes go comically wide. "What?!" "She needed to get some anger out. I didn't have a punching bag on hand." "So you let her hit you?" Brittany's voice hardens on the question and Santana just needs her to understand. "She needed it, Britt. She's my best friend," she says. "Don't be mad at her." "I'm not mad at her," Brittany argues. "I'm mad at you." "What, why?" She isn't sure she can handle Brittany being mad at her right now. "For letting her hit you!" Brittany exclaims like it's obvious. Which, Santana supposes, it kind of is. Brittany shifts in front of her, setting the now bloody washcloth on her table and picking up the ice and pressing it to Santana's face. She lets out a low hiss at the cold feeling on her cheek. "Can we not talk right now?" Santana asks, not wanting to argue about Quinn or talk about anything else really. She just wants to sit there, in the quiet, with Brittany in front of her and pretend like her world

isn't tilting off its axis. She feels like she's swimming, just able to keep her head above water. One good thing happens and something just as bad comes to even it out. She can't seem to get herself on level footing and she just wants to enjoy one night of stillness. If they start talking she's afraid it will end badly, that whatever is back between her and Brittany will snap and fall to pieces. "Okay," Brittany says after a minute, readjusting her grip on the ice pack. "We won't talk." The ice feels cold on her face but when she looks back up at Brittany, realizes they're alone, close together, in the bed they shared for over a decade, her body gets hot. She gulps against the arousal the hits her in the stomach and feels guilty for a second. Guilty because there's a crazy person out there that just ran over Rachel, that's still after Brittany and all she can think about right now is the little piece of skin showing between Brittany's jeans and tank top. Brittany sees it in her face, the way only Brittany ever could and she sets the ice back on the table next to the washcloth, turns back to Santana and moves to straddle her hips, her arms linking behind Santana's neck. "Britt," Santana starts, thinking that sex is probably counterproductive to fixing their problems but not really wanting to stop it.

"We'll talk tomorrow," Brittany says, her eyes hooded as she stares down at Santana. "Right now. No talking." Santana can't do anything but nod before Brittany's kissing her, and the light flush that had covered her body moments ago, flares up all over her skin, her hands moving to grip Brittany's ass and tugs her closer. It's different than before, when they kissed in the kitchen and all that sat between them was anger and pain and jealousy. This is different, less painful and Santana lets herself enjoy the familiarity of it all, the way Brittany's lips still taste the same as they did six months ago and the way her body still fits against Santana's the same way as before. It feels amazing, so out of context from the last few hours and Santana lets Brittany's kisses wash the thoughts of Rachel and Quinn and Pike right out of her brain. She feels like she might start crying again but for a completely different reason. Brittany pushes them back on the bed and Santana rolls with the motion, moving to lay on top of the blonde girl, pressed in between her thighs. Brittany's hands grip the back of Santana's shirt and tug it upward, breaking their kiss briefly to pull it all the way off before bringing her fingers move down to do the

same to her bra. Then Santana's nearly naked, except for her underwear, and it comes to her attention that Brittany is wearing far too many clothes. She runs her left hand up Brittany's side, kissing down her long neck as she brings Brittany's tank top up with the motion, shifting so she can take it off the blonde girl and moving away for a minute so she can just look at Brittany. She's seen this woman naked hundreds of times, thousands, but she doesn't ever think she'll get enough it, especially now when she knows what it's like to have it taken away. Her eyes travel down the body under her, over tight abs and soft skin and she swallows thickly as arousal sends a shiver down her spine. "You're so hot," she whispers, as she's said millions of times, in the exact same context. Brittany smiles, brings her hands up to grip Santana's hair and tugs her back down to press their lips together. "Less talking, remember?" The blonde girl mumbles against her mouth. Santana nods minutely and goes back to kissing, pressing her hips into Brittany's and letting her fingers trace over her body. Brittany arches upward, pushing against Santana and rolling them back over before breaking their kiss and sitting up, still straddling her. Santana brings her hands up to rest on denim covered thighs and watches with interest as Brittany

reaches back to undo her bra, sliding it down her arms and smiling down at Santana seductively. It rips the breath right out of her and she sits up, her hands sliding up Brittany's bare back and her lips following a path down Brittany's collarbone, her tongue spearing out to circle a pink nipple. Brittany grabs her hair again as she does it, presses Santana's head hard into her chest and squirms her hips down in Santana's lap, the jeans rubbing roughly against Santana's thighs. Santana stands up, Brittany's legs wrapped around her waist and turns around in front of the bed, setting a knee back down on the mattress before throwing Brittany back down, further onto the bed. She crawls back on top of the girl, her fingers going straight to the button on Brittany's jeans and popping it open, hands sliding inside and pulling the material down, pants and underwear together. She throws the clothing somewhere over her shoulder and hears it land behind her with a thud. Then she's on top of Brittany again, skin pressing against bare skin and the other girl's hands travel down her back, pushing her underwear down when she gets there and Santana kicks them off. Santana wants to go slow, wants to savor the reconnection badly but Brittany has different ideas and the blonde girl never had a problem getting Santana's body to agree with her.

They're kissing hotly, Santana's thigh going to press in between Brittany's legs when Brittany runs her nails down Santana's back and arches up into her body. It's a calculated move, one Santana recognizes because the motions never fail to go right to her groin. Brittany's done it countless times to get Santana to stop teasing her and get on with the multiple orgasms. She almost laughs as it happens but her head has a problem processing the humor because Brittany's doing it again, running nails down her back and grinding up into Santana's thigh. For a second she thinks about fighting the arousal and drawing it out despite Brittany's obvious desire to speed things up but her body reacts without listening to her brain and all of a sudden she's kissing down Brittany's body, settling between her thighs and groaning at a taste she thought she'd never have in her mouth again. Brittany's hands are in her hair again, clenching and releasing with the motions of Santana's tongue and the thighs on either side of Santana's head are starting to shake. It's over fast and hot and Brittany's back is arching off the bed, a loud gasp bursting out of her mouth and Santana's smiling into heated flesh before kissing her way back up Brittany's body. She settles back on top of the girl enjoying the way Brittany mewls into her ear as she presses her hips into sensitive areas and lets Brittany catch her breath

for long moments. It all sweeps through Santana again. The fact that they're back in their bed and Brittany's naked underneath her and she feels the damn tears prick at her eyes for the second time. She thinks maybe happiness is settling in her gut but she struggles to stamp it down, unable to truly accept that this moment is anything other than two people, reaching out to each other in a time of uncertainty and fear. But then Brittany recovers and rubs her palms down Santana's back, her legs wrapping around Santana's hips tightly before turning her lips to her ear. When Brittany whispers, "I love you," before turning them over and shifting down the bed, Santana lets the tears fall and loses the fight against her feelings. -"I think we should have sex," Brittany said, out of the blue. Santana choked on the slushie she was inhaling. "What?!" "Sex. I think we should have it." "Okay," Santana said, drawing the word out as she tried to process what her girlfriend was saying.

"Don't you want to?" They were fifteen, sitting in Brittany's room, the afternoon sunlight filtering in through the window and she had her shoulder pressed up against the blonde girl. Santana didn't really know how to answer that question. Did she want to have sex? Well yeah. She was fifteen, her body was pretty much a mess of hormones and her girlfriend was smokin' hot. Sex was definitely on her to-do list. But they were fifteen and Santana hadn't had sex yet and she couldn't fight the wave of fear that she wouldn't be any good at it. So she just sort of stared at Brittany for a little bit, trying to find a way to answer the question. "Are you okay?" Brittany asked after a minute. "Yeah!" Santana croaked, cursing the way her voice cracked like a twelve year old boy. Brittany shifted closer, grabbed the cup Santana was holding and set it on the bedside table. "What are you afraid of?" "I'm not," she denied. "You are," Brittany argued. "I can see it right here." She traced a line down Santana's cheek.

"What if I'm bad at it?" The question is whispered and nervous and Santana swallows hard as she gets it out. Brittany giggled and shifted closer to Santana, moving her legs into her lap and putting her lips close to her ear. "Stop worrying," she said, breath hot against Santana's cheek. "I love you." Calm poured through her at the words and Santana smiled, turned her head, and pressed her lips to Brittany's. -She wakes up feeling comfortable and rested for the first time in months and when she stretches her body out the soreness there makes her smile. Brittany is draped over her entire body, anchoring her to the bed just like she used to do when they lived together. She grins at the sight and makes a move to kiss Brittany's head, seriously considering a repeat of the night before as a nice wakeup call. They need to talk, but touching Brittany was grounding her in a way she didn't know she needed until last night. But then her phone rings loudly from the bedside table and she grabs at it quickly before the sound wakes Brittany up. "Yeah?" She says, watching as Brittany shifts beside

her but doesn't wake up. "She's awake," Puck says. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Nine] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] -Santana sits up in bed, gently rolling Brittany's body off of her and swings her legs over the side. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes and presses her phone into her ear, trying to kick start her brain. "And?" Anxiety bleeding into her tone against her will. "And she's talking. Come by the hospital. I told Hudson and Rutherford to meet at the apartment around 10," Puck says. "We've got a good two hours." She hangs the phone up and sets it back on the table, debating whether or not to wake Brittany up. She runs her hands through her hair and tries unsuccessfully to rub the smile off of her face. It's tough because Brittany is naked in her bed and her blonde hair is

like, everywhere on her pillow, and she feels like she can smell Brittany all over her. There's a lightness in her chest that wasn't there hours ago because things feel like they have a chance at mending, despite the fact that deep unresolved issues still lay around them. But Rachel isn't dead which is a plus because it means Quinn won't be a fucking mess today so she feels a shred of happiness for the first time in a long while. Santana takes a deep breath and stands up. She's halfway to the bathroom when she hears the rustling of sheets behind her as Brittany calls out a sleepy, "Where are you going?" So she walks back to the bed and sits down, reaching over to stroke the hair out of Brittany's squinting eyes. "Rachel's awake," she informs her. "Awesome," Brittany breathes, lifting her head up to smile at Santana before dropping it back down on the pillow and closing her eyes. Santana laughs. Brittany was always impossible to wake up in the mornings, more prone to hitting the snooze button fifteen times than getting up when the alarm went off. She slides back down into bed, laying on her side and propping her head up in her hand. "Hey," she says gently, as she runs her hand through Brittany's hair again and then down to trail over the

smooth skin of her shoulder. "I'm going to the hospital. I need you to stay here." Brittany wakes up a bit more, but still seems incapable of anything more than squinting at Santana as she starts to pout. "I want to come," she replies. "Rachel's my friend." "I'd feel better if you stayed here. It was a risk having you at the hospital yesterday. I'd rather not repeat the mistake today." The blonde girl shifts in bed, sliding to her back and Santana feels herself get distracted by the dropping sheet on Brittany's chest. She may have thought sex was fine instead of talking last night but she needs to reorganize her priorities soon before sex is all they're doing and none of the talking that needs to happen gets done. It's hard though because she really likes the sex part and Brittany is still the most attractive woman Santana has ever known and right now, she's naked in her bed. Despite floating in a sleepy haze, Brittany seems to sense where Santana's brain has gone and she scoots closer, runs her palm down Santana's side until it gets to her hip where Santana grabs it, holding in in place there before it can do any damage. "We can't," Santana says, despite her body wanting exactly the opposite.

"Why not?" Santana swallows as she looks at Brittany, now more awake and wider eyed and staring at Santana like Brittany's going to seduce her no matter how Santana feels about it. It's kind of hot. No, scratch that. It's really hot. "Britt," Santana starts before getting cut off. "You're hot, I'm hot. You love me, I love you. You're naked, I'm naked," Brittany lists off, stroking her finger under Santana's hand with each reason. "We have stuff to talk about," Santana explains. "And I have to get to the hospital." "What stuff?" Brittany asks absently, as she shifts even closer to Santana and presses her lips to her neck. Santana struggles to focus, struggles to hang onto the reasons why this is a bad idea. Because it is. It was terrible idea the first time, it was terrible idea the second time, it's still a terrible idea the third time. They have issues. Sex won't solve any of them. Or, well. Sex won't solve all of them. "Nothing's changed," Santana gets out, moving away from Brittany's lips and picking Brittany's hand up off

her hip to sit between them. "You left me." She sees Brittany's protest and keeps talking before it can get out. "Yeah, you stayed away because you dropped your damn cell phone down a sewer, but you still left." "You told me to," Brittany challenges, looking hurt. "You wanted to leave. You wouldn't have left if you didn't want to," Santana argues, feeling her chest squeeze as all the feelings of abandonment come back to her. "I didn't want to leave," Brittany denies. "Then why did you? Because my words were 'if you want to leave, leave.' And then you did." Brittany doesn't have an answer for that, she just pulls her hand out of Santana's and rolls over onto her back, looking away. It sends fear straight through Santana's gut and she just needs to make Brittany understand. She closes the space between them and puts her lips to Brittany's shoulder, closing her eyes as she inhales the scent of Brittany's skin. "I love you," she whispers. "I love you so fucking much it's ridiculous. When you left it killed me. And nothing's changed," she explains. "My job, my life. It's all the same. So if you're going to

leave again, I need you to tell me. I need you to do it now." Desperation creeps into her voice and Santana clenches her jaw for a moment against the feeling. "I won't be able to handle it again so I need to know now instead of later." Brittany swallows audibly and opens her mouth to answer but Santana stops her. She actually does need to get the hospital soon and they really don't have time to have this conversation. As much as she wants to get it all out, as much as she wants to take it back and sink into Brittany's body and forget their problems for a few more hours, she can't. They don't have time. And more importantly, she has responsibilities and a good friend in the hospital and she needs to leave before she has a seriously emotionally draining discussion with a gorgeous, naked woman whom she's in love with in their bed. "Just think about it, okay?" Santana says, moving to get up. "We'll talk about it later we just need to stop," she shifts her eyes over the bed. "We need to stop doing this," she says, gesturing towards the crumpled sheets. Brittany nods. "Okay." "Okay," Santana responds, making her way again to the bathroom and getting ready. --

It's thirty minutes later and she's standing in the kitchen, Brittany somewhat reasonably dressed (as much as Brittany normally wears, which isn't much), surveying the contents of Santana's refrigerator. "Don't leave for any reason," Santana is saying. "I'm serious, Britt. If you need something call me, or ask the guy at the door. Do not leave." "What about our dog, San? He needs to be walked." Nemo looks up at Santana and wags his tail as Brittany says the words. "I'll take him out when I get back. He'll be fine," Santana says, crossing her arms and staring the other girl down. "Brittany, promise me." "I promise," Brittany says, amused affection in her voice. "Okay, I have to go. I should be there already." Brittany walks over, opening a yogurt as she moves. "It's great that Rachel's awake," she comments as Santana grabs her badge and gun, getting ready to leave. "Yeah," Santana breathes, genuinely. "Really good." Brittany cocks her head to the side. "You were

worried about her," she states. "No," Santana denies, staring at the girl like she's crazy to suggest such a thing. "Mmmm," Brittany replies, getting a spoon out of the drawer and dipping it into her yogurt. She stares at Santana with a knowing grin. "She's Quinn's wife," Santana explains, shrugging. "Yeah, she is," Brittany agrees. Santana rolls her eyes. "Whatever," she says, turning to leave. "Don't go outside, Britt," she commands one last time, opening the door. "I won't," Brittany calls back. She has to resist the urge to yell "I love you" on instinct, too afraid of how attached she'll get to the familiarity of the exchange. She shuts her door and makes her way outside, tugging her jacket closer against the rain and focuses her brain away from tall, blonde ex-girlfriends. She looks at her watch and thinks about Rachel in that hospital bed, the way she looked, bleeding out on the pavement, and Quinn's broken expression in the stairwell. She runs the rest of the way to the subway station.

-"I'm going to go get us drinks," Rachel said, standing up from the booth and observing her three companions. "Beer," Santana answered, wrapping an arm through Brittany's, and tangling her foot around the blonde's ankle. "And a vodka cranberry." Rachel put her hands on her hips. "Yes, I know Santana. You both order the same thing every time we go out." "Why are you still at the table then?" Quinn reached across the table and smacked Santana on the arm. "She's doing you a favor, you ass." Rachel smirked at Santana, pleased with the way Quinn came to her defense, as always. "Thank you, Quinn. I'll be right back." The brunette walked away from the table and Santana watched as Quinn's eyes stayed glued to the girl the whole way. "Wow," she said. "Obvious, much?" Brittany giggled and Santana smiled at the sound, but

Quinn cut a glare at the other girl. "You realize you're practically in Britt's lap, right?" "Whatever," Santana responded, wiping the smile right off her face, but unwilling to move. Brittany grinned at both of them before going back to drawing flowers all over the napkin on the table. It pulled a laugh out of Quinn who stood up at that moment and moved out of the booth. "I'm going to the bathroom. Tell Rachel, okay?" "Sure," Brittany answered when Santana just rolled her eyes. They sat there then, alone, with Brittany still doodling and Santana watching her. Just as she was about to suggest that this was a perfect makeout opportunity her eyes spotted Rachel at the bar where two large men were surrounding her. She watched the scene for a minute, trying to judge the situation, when she saw the man on the left grip Rachel's bicep and tug her closer. She disentangled herself from her girlfriend and stood up immediately. "Be right back, babe," she said to Brittany as she moved towards the bar. When she approached Rachel she could see the uncomfortable set of the girl's shoulders and the glaze in the eyes of the two guys next to her. She budged in

between Rachel and the guy holding her, knocking his arm away in the process. "Hi, Rach," she greeted, smiling and ignoring the other two as she put her back to the bar. Rachel jumped in surprise but let out an exhale as she recognized Santana. "Hey," she said, shifting closer to the other girl. Santana raised an eyebrow at the two guys staring at them. "Can I help you?" "You got a friend, baby? She can come too," the guy on the other side of Rachel said, moving in closer. "Why don't you step back, buddy," Santana answered, leaning her elbows back behind her on the bar and surveying both guys. "She's not interested." "Aw, don't be like that, sweetheart. We're just looking for a good time here." "What part of not interested is confusing to you?" "Listen, girly," the guy closest to Santana started. She turned toward him and affected a disgusted expression. "I said step off, loser. We're way out of your league."

The guy on the other side of Santana made an offended sound and took a step towards her, anger radiating off him. She contemplated baiting him again, trying to get him to swing a punch because it had been awhile since she was in a good bar fight and she could see the way Brittany was watching her with interest from the booth. She wasn't above trying to impress her girlfriend with her mad skills. But Rachel actually looked like, afraid and Santana felt a strange wave of protectiveness sweep over her. Rachel was annoying, sure, but Quinn was kind of attached to the girl and somehow that made it Santana's problem, made her feel protective of Rachel in a way she only really felt for three other people. So instead of letting out the brilliant insult she had on the tip of her tongue, she stuck her hand in her back pocket, fingered her badge and pulled it out. The lights of the bar reflected off the shiny gold shield and she smirked when she saw the way both guys reacted to it, recognition and fear flashing across their faces. The guy to her right stuck a hand in his pocket in a defensive gesture and Santana almost laughed at the ammunition he just gave her. "Why don't you just walk away right now before I pull that little baggy out of your jacket pocket and bust you both right here." It was a guess, but she was a detective and she got paid to notice stuff like that so she'd lay odds she hit her mark.

Both guys just stood there, alternating their gazes between her badge and her face, before the one on Rachel's other side took a step back, putting his hands up in front of him. "Come on, Alex. This chick isn't worth it." His buddy seemed to agree with that assessment and turned with his friend, disappearing into the crowd of people in the bar. Santana laughed, pleased with the outcome, before spinning back around to lean forward against the bar next to Rachel. "Thanks, Santana," Rachel said after a moment, nudging her shoulder into Santana's. "Whatever, Berry," she replied, rolling her eyes and looking down the bar to try and find the bartender. "Are you going to buy me my drink or not?" Rachel just smiled knowingly. -"How is she?" Santana asks, bursting around the corner of Rachel's hallway. Four people are standing there, outside the door. Quinn, Puck, a nurse and the doctor. All four of them whip their heads around to stare at her. "What?" Quinn says first.

"Rachel. Is she okay?" Santana repeats. "She woke up right?" Quinn looks taken aback and sort of stares at Santana for a little bit. The attorney's eyes are still bloodshot, her face betraying the fact that Quinn probably hadn't slept last night but a flicker of amusement lights up her features. "Oh my god," she says after a bit. "What?" Santana says, trying to catch her breath. She ran most of the way between subway stations. "Oh my god." "Quinn," Santana starts, annoyed with the way no one is giving her a fucking answer. "You're worried," Quinn realizes, shock evident in her voice. "You're worried about Rachel." "I am not," Santana denies when she realizes how she sounded. First Brittany thinking she's gone soft on the girl and now Quinn. Not good. "You totally are," Quinn argues, actually smiling at this point. Then the blonde girl lets out a long stream of laughter, bending at the waist as she struggles to breathe. "You're worried about Rachel," she gasps like this was the funniest thing that had ever

happened. "Shut up," Santana intones, a flush creeping into her face as she tries to find an excuse for her concerned. "She's a witness, it's better for everyone if she's like alive and shit. She's a good shot at finding this guy. That's all." Quinn just keeps laughing, tears streaming down her face and a massive smile spread across her lips, looking completely unconvinced by Santana's explanation. She puts a hand on Santana's shoulder as straightens back up and beams at the other girl. "Thanks, S," she says when she can finally form words without giggling. "I really needed that." Santana rolls her eyes, annoyed with the way everyone was reading her. Yeah, she's a little concerned for Rachel, so what? Quinn is her best friend and she's married to Rachel. It's concern by proxy. Worrying about Quinn requires worrying about Rachel. It's obligatory feelings. She glances in the hospital room and sees Rachel, asleep on the bed inside, before turning back to Quinn. "Well?" "She's fine," Quinn says, laughter still lingering in her voice. "A few cracked ribs and a nasty headache but other than that scar on her forehead that she'll complain about for months, she's going to be fine."

Santana lets out an exhale, but tries to hide how much of a relief that news is. If Rachel wasn't going to be okay, Quinn wouldn't be okay. And if Quinn isn't okay, Santana isn't okay. It's simple facts of life. Santana needs Rachel if only because Santana needs Quinn. That much she's accepted over the years. Plus, Rachel's annoying as hell. Most annoying person Santana has ever met actually, but there's a part of Santana, a deep, small very insignificant part that she would never admit to that kind of likes that about the shorter girl. If Rachel wasn't around to annoy Santana, she feels like her life would be incomplete, missing a big piece and she wouldn't be able to run on full strength. She shrugs, feigning disinterest. "Whatever." The blonde girl chuckles again and even Puck has a little smirk on his face. The nurse and doctor, however, look mostly confused. Quinn takes a step forward and wraps her arms around Santana's neck, whispers quickly into her ear before releasing her. "I love you." Santana rolls her eyes again and pretends like she could really give a shit about what is happening right now but a warmth shoots through her stomach and

she feels part of her world balance out. She knows Quinn can tell the eye roll really means I love you too. "I'm going to go talk to her," Santana says after a minute. "See if she saw anything." This is said to Puck. "Yeah," he replies. "I'm going to just finish up with Dr. Roberts here before he checks on her again," he explains, pointing at the doctor standing next to him. "Okay." She nods at everyone, ignoring the way Quinn is still smiling at her and walks into Rachel's room. -"What happened?" Quinn asked, walking up to where Santana was sitting, Rachel's hand clasped tightly in hers. "What are you guys doing here?" Santana asked, jumping in surprise and running a shaky hand through her hair. "We heard Britt got hurt, we came right over," Rachel explained. Santana rolled her eyes. "She slipped on some ice outside our building. She's fine. Just a broken wrist and a bruised tail bone."

Quinn's lips twitched into a grin and Santana could see the urge to sue someone forming in her friend's brain. "I'm going to go talk to the doctor," Quinn said, releasing Rachel with a kiss to the temple and walking over to the counter. Rachel took a seat next to Santana and looked over at her. "Are you okay?" "I'm fine, Berry," Santana said but her voice betrayed her feelings. Brittany was fine. Her brain understood that. But seeing her girlfriend lose her footing, take the dive and hearing the sickening crack of a bone breaking shook something inside her and she still hadn't recovered. Her heart was still pounding and she couldn't get her damn hands to stop shaking. Rachel just sat there for a minute until she put her hand on Santana's thigh in silence. She wanted to snap at the girl, swat the hand away and deliver a particularly nasty insult but something stopped her and she felt a stillness creep into her joints that wasn't there before, starting at the warmth on her thigh under Rachel's palm. They sat there while Quinn interrogated Brittany's doctor and didn't say a word. --

"Did you see the car before it hit you?" Rachel blinks. "Yes," she says. "Well," Santana replies, looking at her expectantly. "Well what?" "Well what did it look like?" "Oh, right," Rachel says, shaking her head a little bit and then gasping in pain at the motion. "Sorry, things are kind of," she pauses and waggles her hand around. "Do you remember or not, Berry?" Santana asked, sticking her hip out and plastering on a bored expression. "Santana, as my extensive training in musical theater should indicate to you I have an impeccable memory," Rachel replies, glancing over as Quinn and Puck reenter the room. "She's fine," Santana observes dryly to her friends. Quinn chuckles and comes by the side of the bed, smiling at Rachel affectionately. "Did she see the car?" Puck asks, walking up beside Santana.

"We were just getting to that," Santana answers, raising an eyebrow at Rachel. "Yes, right," Rachel replies. "It was black." "Black," Santana repeats. "Yes, oh and it was old. A four-door I believe because I noticed it as I was crossing the street," Rachel continues. "I thought it odd obviously because, well, Quinn and I reside on an affluent street as you well know and it's quite rare for a car in that, shall we say, condition to be parked there." "You didn't happen to catch the license plate did you?" Puck ventured. "Oh!" Rachel exclaims. "I did." Santana nearly falls over in shock. There's no way they caught this kind of break. "Like I said, I have a mind like a steel trap and as I memorize pages and pages of lines and lyrics nearly daily it wasn't that hard for me-" "Berry," Santana interrupts. "Just tell me the plate." Quinn glares at her, but Rachel forges ahead. "Right yes, of course. It was a Kansas license plate, which I

also thought was strange, but that's neither here nor there I suppose." Santana nods encouragingly and tries to bite back the frustrated get on with it that's dying to be spat out. "It read," Rachel tilts her gaze to the ceiling as if the answer is stored there. "KAZ 2Y5." Puck writes the plate number on a small pad of paper and nods to Santana that he got it. "Thanks, Berry," she says, nodding at her two friends before grabbing Puck and dragging him out into the hallway. "Well that's something," he comments as they walk together down the hall towards the exit. "Yeah, it is," she says flipping open her phone and dialing a number. "Calling Abrams?" She nods affirmatively and grabs the pad of paper Puck's holding as the phone connects. "Artie, it's Lopez. I need you to run a plate for me," she says. "Yeah I've got it right here." She looks down at Puck's chicken scratch and chuckles. "Kansas plates, kangaroo alpha zeta two yellow five. Got it?

Thanks, call me back when you get something." She hangs up as they're walking out of the hospital and back into the rain. "It's probably stolen," she says, looking sideways at Puck. "Yeah," he agrees. "But it's a start." "Yeah," she replies, blinking up into the rain and taking a deep breath before walking the rest of the way to Puck's car. -Finn Hudson and Matt Rutherford are standing in front of her building when they pull up and a sneer crosses her face involuntarily. Puck catches it as he's putting the car into park. "Be nice," he warns. "We need them." "I am nice," she answers ignoring the way he finds that statement completely hilarious. "Hudson, Rutherford," she greets as they step up to the doors. They both nod warily at her and while she considers apologizing to the taller guy for like a second, she remembers quickly the way he was staring at Brittany and feels absolutely zero remorse

for shoving him, literally, out of her apartment. She points her arm towards the doors. "Shall we?" They're silent the rest of the way to Santana's apartment. When they get to the door, the uniform there nods at her as they walk in. "Britt?" She calls out, needing some kind of confirmation that Brittany's there and safe and she didn't leave again. The blonde comes down the hallway and spots the four of them in the entryway. "Hey!" She says brightly. Santana's relieved to see the girl actually decided to put on clothes today, if only sweatpants and a shirt Santana recognizes as one of her own. Finn smiles wide at the greeting and Santana reminds herself over and over again that she has a job to do but then Brittany slides over to Santana side and kisses her on the cheek. "Hey," Brittany says, softer this time, only addressing Santana. She watches with warm satisfaction at the confused look Finn sends their way. "Hi," she replies, smiling at the blonde before walking further into the apartment.

"Come on, we can set up in the kitchen." Brittany scoots away from then at that point throwing a "I'll be in the bedroom" over her shoulder. Santana's stomach flips over and her brain derails at the casual statement. For a second she curses whatever mature part of her decided to tell Brittany they should stop having sex until they fix all their issues. Puck laughs at the expression on her face and puts a hand on her shoulder steering her into a seat at the kitchen table. "Okay," Puck says, as they all sit down. "What's the plan?" He asks, setting a stack of files on the table and spreading them out. Finn and Matt each grab at them, flipping them open and going over the information contained within. Santana's eyes roam the pictures of Brittany, the studio, her apartment, Rachel, the splatter of blood on the pavement outside Quinn's building. She swallows, takes a deep breath and looks at the three guys at her table. "Well Rachel gave us the plate numbers of the car that hit her," she informs Finn and Matt. "We're waiting on those. I think we should go back over the dance studio, Brittany's apartment and the street where Berry was hit. There has to be something there that the first sweep missed."

Puck nods, agreeing with her. "Can you think of a reason why he'd go after Rachel? I mean, I thought this was about you. Everyone that has ears knows exactly how you feel about Berry. Britt makes sense," he explains, cocking a thumb over his shoulder in the direction the girl went. "That's about you. Rachel? That's about Quinn." "Yeah," Santana replies, only half-agreeing with the reasoning. Yeah, hitting Rachel was a little more about Quinn than Santana but it was still about her, there was still a connection, if only through Quinn. But Pike was focused when he talked to her, he wanted Brittany, the pictures were of Brittany. The dance studio, the apartment. All about Brittany. About getting back at Santana. Then what, he changed his mind and went after Rachel? It didn't make sense. "There's something we're missing," Santana says after a minute. "Some connection. Some reason. Go over Quinn's cases. See if she's connected to Pike in any way, to any of his family, friends, known associates. Maybe it's not just about me anymore." Matt nods across from her and flips his phone open. "Finn and I can do that. We'll stop by the dance studio too if you guys want to take the apartment." "Sure," Santana answers, grateful that she doesn't have to think about Finn in Brittany's little apartment

for whatever the reason. "That works. Pull all the files we have on Pike from earlier too, anything even remotely related to him. I want to know him better than his mother does by the time we're done." "Why don't we meet up again later then. Here, around 6? We can order take out," Puck offers. Finn and Matt stand up from the table, both of them nodding in agreement. "Great," Finn says. "Come on, Matt. Let's do this. They're just out of the kitchen, turning the knob on the door when Finn turns back to Santana. "Hey, say goodbye to Brittany for me, will you?" "Sure thing," Santana responds even though she has absolutely no plan to do that. Puck starts laughing once they're gone and Santana just glares at him until her phone rings loudly from her pocket. "Lopez," she answers, her face growing serious when she hears the voice on the other end. She hangs up after a minute with a quick, "Thanks." "We got a hit off the plates," she says to Puck, standing. "Place over on 82nd." Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason

[Part Ten] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] -"Let me just say goodbye to Britt and then we can head out," Santana says, walking around the kitchen table as Puck does the same. "Yeah, I'll go start the car," Puck replies, a smirk on his face that she has the urge to smack off. But instead of giving in and clocking him in the cheek she just throws him a look as he leaves, before walking down the hallway to the bedroom. Brittany's sitting in bed when she gets there, the television across the room playing some morning cartoon and Santana is reminded once again how hot Brittany looks wearing Santana's clothes, sitting in their bed. "Hey," Brittany says when she sees her. "How's Rach?" "Cracked a few ribs and marred her face but she's good. She's back to the motormouth Rachel Berry we

all know and love," Santana answers, sarcasm dripping off her voice. Brittany nods, smiling. "I should call Quinn." "I'm sure they'll come by here once she gets out, don't worry about it." Santana walks over to sit on the bed next to Brittany and is about to inform her that she's heading out again when the other girl beats her to the punch. "I know you probably have to go somewhere right now, but I thought about what you said." Santana swallows, isn't sure she can handle clear, explicit answers to what she asked Brittany. In a way, she prefers the ambiguity. It may not mean that Brittany's back for good, but it sure as hell doesn't mean she's leaving. "Britt," she starts, all ready to give her now overused excuse of we don't have time. "You have to go," Brittany interrupts. "I know. You're going to say we don't have time for this talk but I don't care." Brittany sets her jaw in a determined manner and it'd be really cute if Santana wasn't so worried about what that look meant. "There's never going to be enough time. There's a creepy guy out there that just hit Rach with a car and I need to have this talk with you." Brittany pauses and wipes at her eyes, turning away. "Life is crazy, and I need for us not to

be." Santana's not really sure what that means, but Brittany hasn't said stuff like you're right I'm leaving you again so she's able to keep breathing. "Okay," she draws out, trying to encourage the other girl to keep talking. "You were the most important thing in my life," Brittany says and Santana closes her eyes briefly at the were. "More important than dancing. More important than ducks. More important than everything." "Britt," Santana interjects, not totally positive she wants to hear the rest of this argument. "No, I just need," Brittany gets out before stopping and looking straight at Santana. "You asked why I left." Santana nods, tenses her body as if she's going to be hit. "You were the most important thing. And then you said," Brittany swallows. "Then you said that your job was more important than me and then you were yelling at me to leave so I did. I went away. I thought that's what you wanted. When you didn't come after me, I just...," she trails off and Santana can see her blinking against tears.

"Britt," Santana says, reaching over to wipe a tear away with her thumb. She feels like punching someone as the memory of that night comes back to her, slicing through her gut and taking the air out of her lungs. If she'd just fucking kept her mouth shut. "I was tired and mad and my job is important. It's really important. But not as important as you. I shouldn't have said that it was." "We were together for fifteen years," Brittany whispers. "I figured maybe you had just gotten bored with me or something." Santana shakes her head, her throat closing. "Never," she says, in a low whisper, intensity flowing through the word. "You're it for me. You're it. I thought you knew that." "I want to come home," Brittany says softly, so softly Santana almost doesn't catch it over the thudding of her heart. When she registers what Brittany said, what it means, Santana feels like she's going to faint. Like she legitimately is going to fall over. Probably on to the floor. Embarrassingly. "What?" She asks, if only to buy time to balance herself and avoid keeling over.

"Is that okay?" Brittany asks in a small voice. Santana's eyes go wide and she just stares at Brittany, her breathing increasing with the beat of her heart and her vision blurring with what she thinks are tears. She tries to get the words fuck yes it's okay out of her mouth but all she can manage is rapid head nodding. "Yeah?" Brittany asks, her eyes bright and glossy. Santana just nods again, feeling like an incoherent idiot but not trusting her voice to actually form words over the lump in her throat. Brittany grins, wide and infectious before tackling Santana off the bed, her back hitting the floor with a dull thump. If Santana wasn't so preoccupied with being happy she'd think it's hilarious that she actually did end up falling on the floor embarrassingly. But Brittany presses her mouth to hers, her tongue demanding entrance and Santana can't do anything but pay attention to Brittany's body on top of hers. It takes her a second to start kissing back but when she does, warmth shoots straight through to her stomach and her hands come up to Brittany's back, holding the other girl against her and groaning into the feeling. Brittany breaks away and kisses a trail down Santana's neck, teeth scraping over a pulse point and

the actions shooting heat through her, like a punch to Santana's groin. When Brittany bites down on the skin beneath Santana's jaw, her hips jerk upward into the blonde girl and she can hear Brittany giggling at the reaction. Not one to allow Brittany the upper hand that easily, Santana pulls her away from her neck until they're kissing again, hotly and with intent because Santana feels the need to get off hit her hard in the gut. Six months is a long ass time. Seriously. Especially when you're Santana and Brittany. Santana can't remember a time when they went three days without having sex much less months. Once they finally had it and Santana realized she was actually pretty adept at the act, they didn't go very often without. The three times they ended up naked together recently were not nearly enough to make up for all the time they lost. Then it dawns on her. They're like, back together. She's pretty sure their conversation makes Brittany her girlfriend again and things like six month long sex droughts can be a thing of the past. And then she has another thought. Better than sex. Brittany's coming home. Suddenly, the sex part isn't as important. Though, let's be clear, it's still pretty damn important. But now all she can think about is not sleeping on her couch anymore and getting lectured for smoking and eating waffles on Wednesday mornings and taking her dog

for a walk. Santana lets what just happened wash over her, thinking she could probably keep kissing Brittany for ages, content to do only that forever, here on their bedroom floor with Puck waiting downstairs in his car. Shit, Puck. Santana rolls them over without breaking apart and settles her weight on top of Brittany. She let's it go on for a few more minutes because even though she just remembered she has to like, go catch a criminal or whatever, Brittany's got her hands tangled in Santana's hair now and she's running her nails over Santana's scalp. "I gotta go, babe," she finally mumbles against Brittany's lips, trying to ignore the way she can taste Brittany on her tongue and the way Brittany's wrapped her leg around Santana's calf. Brittany nods, her breath coming out in a pant and when Santana sees the flush in Brittany's cheeks she almost reconsiders leaving. Pike can't hurt either of them if they just stay locked in the bedroom, right? Santana thinks this is seriously a sound strategy but she can acknowledge its flaws. She pulls away from the other girl and stands up, reaching down to help Brittany off the floor.

"I'll be back later. Don't go anywhere," she commands, her hand settling on Brittany's hip as she steps close to her. "I won't," Brittany answers, stepping even closer to Santana and staring at her. "Be careful." "Always," Santana replies with a smirk before kissing her and turning to walk away. "I love you," Brittany calls out and Santana nearly slams into the door frame at the words. She catches herself before she does it and turns around, gulping at the open expression on Brittany's face. "I love you too," she croaks, the words tasting familiar and strange in her mouth. She says it again, because she can, and walks back over to Brittany, kissing her for long moments before finally leaving. -When she finally gets out of the apartment and into Puck's car her partner is shaking his head at her disapprovingly. "What kind of goodbye takes a half hour?" Santana kind of wants to smack him again, or destroy his self esteem with her brilliant wit but all her body wants to do for some reason is smile.

"Holy crap is that a hickey?!" Puck exclaims. Then her body seems to catch up to her brain and she actually does smack him. "Drive." -"Dude, are you guys in a fight or something?" Puck asked, low and out of the side of his mouth. They were sitting at Santana's kitchen table, Puck there to pick her up for work and Brittany on the opposite side of the room, sitting at the counter, and glaring at Santana as she scooped cereal into her mouth. Santana just rolled her eyes. "She's mad about last night. Even though I told her I was working." The last part was said louder and aimed at Brittany. Brittany rolled her eyes right back at Santana and plopped her spoon in her bowl loudly before standing up and walking out of the kitchen. Santana watched as her girlfriend made her way back into the bedroom. "Wow, she's pissed." "Whatever, I fucking told her I had to work. What was I supposed to do? Tell the criminals 'hey sorry, I have to go to some stupid office party with my girlfriend,'"

she says. Puck shrugged but leaned over the table and looked her in the eye. "Look, I don't pretend to understand girl drama but I do know you and most likely whatever happened is your fault. I don't want to deal with you being all pissy today so could you just go fucking fix it and make up so we can get on with it? We got shit to do." Santana leaned towards him so she could slug him in the arm, hard, but he dodged her reach and made a beeline for the door. "I'll be in the car. Fix it," he commanded, pointing at her with a glare before bolting out of the apartment. She sighed. Truthfully, she hated it when Brittany was mad about something. It felt weird and unsettling and she knew she'd be a complete pain in the ass all day if she didn't fix it. So she walked back into the bedroom. Any other argument, any other day, if she had more time and didn't have to leave for work or anything, she'd try and prove her point, convince Brittany that she was right and that her girlfriend shouldn't have been mad in the first place and they'd run circles around each other for hours. The fight would get heated and there'd probably be yelling (mostly on Santana's part),but it'd end in her apologizing and awesome makeup sex for an extended period of time.

Sometimes Santana started fights just for these reasons. This time, however, in the interest of time, Santana cut to the chase. "I'm sorry," she said as she walked into their bedroom and sat on the bed next to Brittany. The blonde snapped her head to look at Santana, surprise all across her face. "What?" She asked, clearly confused. "I'm sorry. About last night." Brittany opened and closed her mouth for a minute as if incapable of comprehending Santana's quick apology. But then, as Brittany seemed to process that Santana was actually apologizing instead of arguing a brilliant smile crossed her lips. "Okay," her girlfriend said, enthusiastically. "Okay?" Santana asked, a tad skeptical that it was really just that easy. "Yeah, fine," Brittany said, leaning over to press her lips to Santana's. "Britt," Santana started.

But Brittany shushed her and continued with the kissing, tugging Santana closer on the bed. "Less talking, more sexing," Brittany mumbled. "Puck's waiting for me downstairs," Santana argued halfheartedly. Brittany pulled back and raised an eyebrow at Santana. "So?" "So, I have to go to work today." "We had a fight. I was mad at you." Santana blinked. "Yeah." "So now I'm not anymore," Brittany commented, running a finger down Santana's neck. "Good," Santana gulped. "Yeah, and now it's time for make up sex." When Brittany stroked her hand down Santana's chest, she forgot why it was so important that Puck was waiting in the first place. -An hour later Santana climbed into the front seat of Puck's car and ignored the glare she was getting from

her partner. Puck reached over and tugged the collar of her jacket down, his finger poking a sore spot on her neck before she swatted the hand away and put her back to the door, glaring right back at him. "If I get fired," Puck said as he started the car and pulled away from the curb. "I'm blaming your libido." -Puck pulls up to the address Santana gave him and they both let their eyes take in the building in front of them. It's an old warehouse and judging by the decaying paint and broken windows, it's abandoned. Santana laughs, getting a weird look from Puck. She gestures out the car window to explain herself. "I mean come on. Creepy abandoned warehouse? Talk about unoriginal." It gets Puck to laugh with her as they open the doors and step out into the rain. Santana sticks her left hand in her jacket, gripping her gun tightly as she walks towards the building and keeping her eyes alert. The sound of her boots splashing in the puddles on the ground sounds deafening even over the pounding of the rain around them, and she has to wipe water out of her eyes with her right hand just to see clearly. "Think it's just a fake address?" Puck asks as he comes up next to her, squinting up at the roof of the

building. "I mean, what are the chances he's here or something?" "Probably," Santana agrees. "But I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope he was." Puck humms affirmatively and shrugs his jacket aside, letting his fingers rest on the grip of his gun. "Yeah, that'd be fucking fantastic. End this shit right here right now." "For good," Santana adds, solemnly, as she walks up to a set of double doors on the side of the building and eyes the broken lock there. Puck glances at her for a moment as if trying to read her tone before saying, "For good?" "Yeah," Santana replies, distracted. She reaches out to tug the lock off and pushes the door open with the tips of her fingers, shielding her body to the side as she does it. It's empty inside, a large open room with abandoned furniture spread across the floor. "Lopez, tell me you're not after this guy to kill him or some fucked up shit like that," Puck says. "They'll have your badge." She looks over at him as they glide inside the entrance. "Okay, I'm not," she says, her voice low.

Puck opens his mouth to argue but seems to finally realize walking into a dangerous situation having this conversation is not the smartest thing to do. They walk in slowly, Puck scanning high and to his right and Santana looking low and to her left. From the looks of it Pike's not there, not that she expected him to be. There's not a lot of hiding spots, the place is literally one big open space, so it only takes her a minute to determine he's probably not there. In fact, there's not a lot there period. She thinks there might have been rooms at one time, maybe even more floors judging by the spattering of broken concrete on the floor, but now it's just a massive space, devoid of anything other than debris. Then she spots it, a table in the back corner, the wall above it plastered in papers. She hits Puck's arm and points to the table. When they get there Santana actually rolls her eyes at what they find because if a creepy abandoned warehouse is unoriginal than a creepy stalker shrine is definitely unoriginal. "Wow," Puck comments, eyes roaming over the papers there. "When did our life become a cheesy procedural drama?" "I know, right?" Santana says, fingering the nearest picture. It's a newspaper clipping from years ago, the small grainy picture is of her and Quinn standing on the steps of the police station. She remembers the

day, they had just taken down a small drug ring in the Cain operation, a local mafia family that was on the up and up in the business. They got fifteen people indicted that day. The smiles Quinn and Santana are wearing in the picture reflect how proud she felt. It was one of her first big operations. It's not the only picture of the two of them, most of the pictures in fact include both of them. More newspaper clippings of Quinn's bigger trials and of Santana's more famous collars. There's even some reviews of Rachel's performances that ran in the paper and more than a few photos of the four of them, Quinn, Rachel, Santana, and Brittany, together. Santana eyes the collection trying to figure out the connection, the common thread, the theme but her brain can't seem to connect the dots. She settles for a low, "What the fuck?" "Well it's clearly not just about you," Puck says, turning away from the table to look back out over the room. "Yeah, well then what the fuck is it about? These are of all four of us," Santana continues. "What is he, pissed because I'm a cop or something? That Quinn's a lawyer?" "He's a criminal. I hear they get kind of upset about our line of work."

"You're a cop," Santana says. "Where's your picture?" "Good fucking point. What, am I not pretty enough?" Puck jokes. Santana laughs but can't suppress the sickening feeling the pictures give her. He's been stalking all four of them, following them for fucking years. She feels like she's missing something, missing the big picture even though it's staring her right in the eyes. A clipping captures her attention, it's the newspaper coverage of one of Santana's busts, the one where she arrested Pike's wife and got her 25 years in federal prison. The clipping isn't in a prominent position, just tossed next to the rest of them and it irks Santana because she thought this was what it was all about. Santana arrests Pike's wife, Pike goes after Brittany in retaliation. That made sense to Santana. Eye for an eye and all that jazz. But going after Rachel? She didn't even like Rachel. "This is messed up. Get a team in here to collect this shit." "Yeah," Puck answers. "Let's get out of here. This place gives me the creeps," he adds, opening his phone to call for a unit.

They make their way back out of the warehouse, eyes darting left and right at the shadows and Santana fingers the grip of her gun again, something making her want to pull it out into her hand. She feels an itch at the back of her head, like someone's watching them and she can't seem to shake it. So she stops, just outside the entrance to the building and looks around. The street is pretty much empty, there aren't many other buildings around, just a rusted out set of railroad tracks about thirty yards away and an open field across the street. Still, something feels off and since she basically built a career on trusting her instincts she just keeps surveying her surroundings, hoping to catch something. "What is it?" Puck asks, stuffing his phone back in his pocket a few feet in front of where she stopped. "Do you get the feeling we're being watched?" Puck spins, lets his gaze roam over the building and down the street, before shrugging at her and lifting his hands up. "This place would make anyone paranoid," he comments, turning back around and walking back to his car. But Santana still can't get the feeling to go away so she just stands there, watches as Puck takes his keys out of his pocket and moves to unlock the doors.

A flash of suspicion bursts through her like a shock and she's yelling at Puck before she can stop herself. "Puck, wait!" She shouts, starting to run forward, her hand outstretched. But it's too late. Puck turns as she yells it, but his thumb hits the button on his keys, the doors unlocking with a beep and seconds later the car explodes, a rush of flame punching out of it and sending Santana flying backwards, her back hitting the brick wall of the warehouse. Pain sears through her spine before everything goes black. -They were at Rick's after a long day at work, nursing beers in their corner booth. They weren't drunk, but they were getting there and Santana felt a pleasant buzz enter her brain and lower her inhibitions. It was the only reason she asked the next question. "You'd take a bullet for me?" Santana asked, glancing sideways at Puck. He looked at her like she just asked the stupidest question he'd ever heard. "In a fucking heartbeat." She took a long pull of her beer as she thought about the answer. "Me too," she responded after she swallowed.

"I know," Puck said, kicking her leg affectionately under the table. "I know." -When she comes to, rain is pouring down into her eyes and her head is pounding like the worst hangover she's ever had. A minute passes before she realizes that she's not having a hangover and the memory of Puck's car exploding flashes through her brain. "Shit," she groans as she tries to move. Great, fucking great. She's sore all over but her limbs seem to be in working order and if the ground around her is any indication she's not bleeding out. She blinks slowly to get her vision to focus and wipes the rain out of her eyes. Puck's car is still on fire, its charred remains crackling sickeningly from across the street and when she looks a little further she can see Puck's still form not too far away. Pain flushes through her as she scrambles to stand but she ignores it in place of the burning need to make sure Puck's okay. He's not moving, but when she presses her ear to his chest she can make out a faint heartbeat and the tell tale signs of air creeping in and out of his lungs. His

face is a mess, burnt and scrapped from his flight over the pavement but he's alive for now. Just as she's flipping her phone open to call for an ambulance, their evidence team pulls up next to her and four guys jump out. She exhales in relief and calls out to them, her head starting to swim again with pain and adrenaline. "Get him to a hospital," she barks out when the first guy gets near them. -"I'm sorry," Puck said, soft and under his breath as they drove down Lincoln Ave. "For what?" Santana asked. He gripped his fingers harder around the steering wheel, his knuckles going white. "I should have gotten there sooner," he said after a moment. Puck didn't have to explain what he meant by that, Santana knew. "If you had gotten there sooner we'd both be shot and then I'd probably be dead," Santana argued. "If I had gotten there sooner I could have offed that guy before he shot you."

Santana thought about that. Thought about what it would have been like if Puck had arrived minutes earlier, when the guy pulled his gun out. But all she could see was both of them going down, of Puck never showing up and Santana bleeding out in the street, dying. "You don't know that." "I should have gotten there sooner," Puck repeated, convinced. "You got there when you got there," Santana said, turning in the passenger seat to face him. "And it saved my life." -It's late in the afternoon by the time she leaves the hospital. It strikes her as she's walking down the hallway that she's got three people in her life holed up in this place, three important, central people. Rachel, Quinn and Puck. As if stalking Brittany alone wasn't reason enough to want Pike dead. She sees Quinn as she's leaving, standing at the nurses station signing papers and tells her friend to come by the apartment when she gets Rachel discharged. She needs them in her apartment, where it's safe, and where she can make sure of it herself. She needs to get her damn life back on its axis. The lobby is quiet when she gets back to her building

and she takes the elevator ride in silence, grateful to be still for the first time in awhile but wincing against the way her ears are still ringing. She closes her eyes against the annoying feeling but snaps them right back open when the image of Puck's car exploding replays in her head. When she steps out onto her floor she makes her way slowly to her apartment, trying to walk off the aching soreness that still lingers in her joints. Thrown into a building by an exploding car. Brittany is going to love this. Then again, the fact that when she walks into the apartment Brittany is going to be there, that Brittany is going to be worried about her, makes her happier than she feels she should be allowed to be at the moment. At least one thing is good in her life. She goes to unlock her door, nodding at the uniform guarding it when she notices something that makes her blood boil. He's asleep. He's fucking asleep. Anger snaps through her and her hand lashes out, the back of it slapping across his face with a resounding smack. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" She shouts out as his eyes open. The guy falls over with the hit, yelping as it jolts him awake and he looks at her with shock and fear in his eyes. "There is a goddamn criminal on the loose," she continues now that she has his attention. "And he's gunning for my fucking girlfriend, who is inside this

apartment and you're out here taking a goddamn snooze. What the fuck is wrong with you?" He opens his mouth and Santana feels her draw drop open. He's going to argue with her. He's going to try and fucking justify sleeping on the job. She closes the space between them and grabs the stiff collar of his shirt, hunching over as she pulls his face closer to his. "No, you shut the fuck up and go find your replacement. Now," she demands, releasing him. He scrambles out of her reach and stands up, giving her one more look before bolting down the hallway to the elevator. She watches him disappear, rage still simmering beneath her skin before turning to enter her apartment when the elevator doors slide closed. "Britt?" Santana calls out when she crosses the threshold, sliding the locks into place after closing the door. "Britt?" She tries again when she gets no answer. It's like the same damn itch is back again, the one from the warehouse and her heart drops straight into her stomach when only silence greets her calls. Panic seeps into her body and she tries to fight the rise of bile creeping up her throat. There's no way this is happening. There's no way Puck gets a fucking explosion to the face and then Brittany is gone. There's no way.

She races through the apartment, searching every room and calling out for her girlfriend. She can't accept that her life is turning out this way. That the morning could start so amazing, that she finally felt like her life was getting back on track just to have it all crumple to pieces, to have everything holding her up stripped away. By the time she's in the bedroom, staring at an empty bed she accepts what's staring her in the face. Brittany's gone. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Eleven] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: just under 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] -Her brain stops functioning around the same time as her lungs do and her vision starts to go black again, the edges going fuzzy as she blinks against the pain. This is a nightmare. It has to be. She's going to wake up, hungover, on Quinn's couch. Rachel will be wearing too little clothes in the kitchen, singing

annoyingly, Puck will be calling her every five minutes to figure out where she is and Brittany. Brittany will be somewhere. Somewhere safe. She sees red. She should probably be thinking about calling Hudson or Rutherford, or racing outside to try and find Brittany, try to find Pike, but right now all she can focus on is killing that damn sleeping rookie. She is going to slit his fucking throat. She gets her feet to move her out of the bedroom and she's running on automatic, not feeling anything but the need to lash out, to hurt something. Anger and pain meshing in her bloodstream and she just wants someone to feel it too. The door swings open when she gets there but she can't stop moving, too intent upon her destination and not paying attention to much else, so she just barrels forward, walking straight into the person on the other side and knocking them both to the ground. A dog yelps loudly as it happens and all of a sudden she registers the sound, feels the body under hers and it cuts right through her vengeful haze. It's Brittany. And Nemo. What the fuck? She gets to her feet quickly, staring down at where her girlfriend is sprawled on the ground, an adorable

scrunch to Brittany's face that indicates the fall didn't feel so good. Santana's forgetting how to breathe again and now she thinks maybe she passed out earlier, when she realized Brittany was gone. Relief is trying to find its way through her as her brain processes what she's seeing. That Brittany is on the floor in front of her now and not dying in some skeevy warehouse with Pike. But anger is right on its heels, white, blinding anger that has her joints shaking with the effort to contain it. "What the hell, Brittany?" She shouts, grabbing the other girl's wrist and tugging upwards until Brittany is on her feet. "Where the hell were you? Do you have any idea what I thought?" She pulls the blonde inside, waiting until Nemo bounds through the door before shutting it behind them, sliding all the locks into place. If she had been thinking clearly earlier she would have realized Nemo's absence in the apartment was pretty damn suspicious. Brittany's rubbing at her back where she landed on the ground and pouting at Santana but it's not doing anything to cool the anger. Those were long minutes of thinking Pike had gotten to Brittany. Long minutes of thinking Pike had won, that he had broken her completely. She's pissed. "Mrs. Reynolds called, you know, from the 16th floor," Brittany points at the ceiling as she says it. "She heard I was back in the building and asked if I could

stop by. She used to love playing with Nemo so I brought him with. Her lemon cakes are the best." Santana pinches the bridge of her nose and takes long deep breaths trying to get herself to calm down before she punches a wall, or worse, punches Mrs. Reynolds. "I told you not to leave," she says, in a low voice. "I didn't. I was in the building the whole time," Brittany replies, looking confused. "The apartment, Brittany. I told you not to leave the fucking apartment," she barks. "Sorry," Brittany mumbles. "Jay was really tired, so I told him to take a quick nap while I was gone, because, well guarding an empty apartment is kind of silly and I was only going up 9 floors and really, nothing was going to happen." "You don't know that," Santana hisses, residual fear still pumping through her body. "S, I'm fine," Brittany says. It snaps something inside of her and Santana can't stop it, all this emotion and she just needs to let it the fuck out, so she slams her hand into the wall next to Brittany's head, pushes her body forward so her girlfriend's back is against the wall and closes her

eyes, forehead pressed tightly to Brittany's. "That's not the point," she whispers. "I thought you...," she can't finish, her body still shaking with fear and adrenaline. Brittany gasps as her back hits the wall and furrows her brow at Santana's expression, bringing her hands up to cup Santana's cheeks and tilt her head back so they can look at each other. "Hey," she coos, as if soothing a wounded animal. "What happened?" Santana swallows thickly, her eyes opening to dart around Brittany's face. "Puck's car exploded. He's in the hospital," she manages to say, voice hoarse. And I thought Pike got you too is left unsaid. "Oh my gosh!" Brittany exclaims, her eyes widening. "Are you okay?" Santana breathes in and out, feels her heart pounding against her chest and tries to forget the way it felt when she saw the car explode, tries to force the lingering scent of burning flesh out of her nostrils and squash the memory of heat rushing over her face. "No," she admits finally. "I'm not." Brittany wraps a hand around the back of her neck and pulls Santana's head into her shoulder, pressing their bodies together in a firm hug as Santana lets out a shaky breath. "Fuck," she groans, trying to fight anger and fear as she buries her face into Brittany's

neck. She wraps her arms around Brittany's body, fingers gripping the back of her girlfriend's shirt. Nemo brushes against the backs of Santana's legs as they stand there, whimpering from his spot on the floor. It takes a few minutes until Santana feels like she's not falling anymore, like her world isn't crumbling and she thinks she can actually function without wanting to hit something or break down into tears. It hurts to swallow and her back feels like she slept in a car for a week, every motion shooting hot pain through her spine. But Brittany's body is warm in front of her and solid, representing everything that matters in Santana's life and just being pressed against her is settling her nerves. Eventually, Santana pulls away, a deep breath escaping her mouth as she shakes her head in an attempt to restart her brain. Brittany grabs her by the cheeks again, stopping the motion and looks into Santana's eyes. "Your face looks better," Brittany comments, her fingers stroking the fading bruises on Santana's cheeks. Santana humms affirmatively and her eyelids start to droop closed with the calming motions of Brittany's fingers. "You should take a nap," Brittany suggests.

"No," Santana disagrees. "I have work to do." "Sleep is good for you." "I need to call Rutherford and Quinn is going to be here later," Santana argues. "I don't have time." Brittany shakes her head side to side. "You need to sleep." "Britt," she starts, knowing that even if she were to lay down right now, she wouldn't sleep. She wouldn't want to, not with the way she feels right now. Not with seeing Puck's car explode or remembering those few moments where she thought Brittany was gone. Sleep is not on her agenda. But it seems her mouth isn't catching up to her brain because she can't get the words out before Brittany is tugging her by the wrist down the hallway to their bedroom and pushing her down on the bed. Brittany pulls Santana's jacket off her back followed by her shoes and nimble fingers reach around her to pull her gun holster off and drop it on the table by the bed. By the time Santana's shoulders hit the mattress she finds that she doesn't have the strength to get back up again. It actually feels good, just to be still and the lack of movement stops the shooting pains in her back and her head.

When Brittany moves to walk away, Santana reaches out to grab her arm. Being still feels good but she's not ready to have Brittany out of a two foot radius of her person. "Stay," she murmurs, trying not to sound as lame as she feels and unwilling to say what she's really feeling. You can't leave me. Brittany seems to get it, which shouldn't surprise Santana. They've known each other practically their whole lives. Brittany understands Santana on a level that doesn't require verbal communication. So her girlfriend just smiles before crawling over Santana to settle down on the other side of her. She lets her eyes close when she feels Brittany's hand travel down her arm to tangle their fingers together the way she had done nearly every night for over a decade. It feels, all of a sudden, like she's finally coming home and her chest tightens up but it isn't the painful clenching from before. She can breathe this time and her head swims but it's pleasant. Brittany's breath blows over her shoulder and she can't fight the small smile that finds its way to her face despite all the dark and twisty thoughts floating in her brain. Brittany presses a warm kiss to the side of her neck and just the small gesture shoots arousal straight through Santana's stomach. But even though her

heart is definitely willing, she knows her body isn't up for it. At least not the way they do it. Sex with Brittany is like running a marathon sometimes and she doesn't even think she could run to the bathroom at this point. Not moving is high on her list of things to do at the moment. So she just sinks into the feeling of soft lips ghosting across her neck and Brittany's warm palm against hers. She can feel sleep coming on and she wants to stop it, wants to stay awake because she needs the constant visual reminder that Brittany's alive, and here, and in love with her. She doesn't want to stare at the backs of her eyelids and think about her partner in a hospital or her best friend in pain. But the trials of the day overwhelm her and before she can turn her head to look at Brittany she's asleep. -"Why are you still awake?" Brittany asked, sleep making her voice sound scratchy and appealing. "Just getting some work done, babe. Go back to bed," Santana answered, not looking up from the file in front of her. She brought the coffee cup near her left hand to her lips and took a sip, making a face when the cold liquid hit her lips. "Ick," she sputtered. Brittany padded over to her, squinting at the light in the kitchen and plucked the cup out of Santana's

grasp, walking with it over to the sink and pouring it out. Santana watched while her girlfriend moved it back to the coffee maker and began to start a new pot. "B, go back to bed. It's late," Santana said, half out of her chair. "I can do that." But Brittany held a hand up towards Santana, ordering her silently to stay put while she made the coffee. She normally lost arguments with her girlfriend in the middle of the day, she knew there was little chance she'd win one in the middle of the night with Brittany only running on half of her cylinders. For whatever reason, the loopier Brittany was feeling, the better she was at winning arguments with Santana. It was a strange state of affairs but it only took a few years for Santana to realize this about the blonde girl and she mostly found it extremely amusing rather than annoying. The coffee maker sounded loud in the silence of their kitchen as it signaled its finish and poured hot black liquid into the pot. Brittany poured a cup and Santana watched the steam swirl upwards into their ceiling, letting her bloodshot eyes enjoy the view of Brittany barefoot and in pajamas. "Here," Brittany said, setting the cup down and kissing Santana on the cheek.

"Thanks," Santana replied with a smile, twisting the cup around so the handle faced her. She took a tentative sip and nearly moaned as the warm liquid hit the back of her throat and settled in her stomach. Brittany leaned into her side, her body sleep-warmed against Santana's skin, and surveyed the open files spread across the table. Santana felt her girlfriend tilt her head to the side as she recognized the pictures and words. "Your parents' case?" Santana nodded, feeling kind of stupid, but knowing if anyone would understand, it'd be Brittany. "I just," Santana started. "I feel like I'm missing something. It's too clean, too precise," she said, running her fingers over the photos. "It was a car crash," Brittany commented, picking up the nearest photo of the totaled vehicle, car parts and blood all across the scene. "It wasn't very clean." Santana wrapped an arm around her girlfriend's waist and stroked her fingers over a hip bone absently while she kept looking at the file. "I don't mean clean like it wasn't dirty or messy or anything, just..," she trailed off trying to find the words to express her suspicion. It had always helped though, to talk through things with Brittany. Brittany who often offered strange and bizarre insight but it was just that kind of randomness

that helped Santana sort her own thoughts out. She shuffled some papers and tugged the list of witness statements over in front of her, trailing fingertips over the words as Brittany wrapped an arm around her neck. "The witness statements," she explained. "They sound, I don't know, practiced, robotic." Brittany squinted at the words but remained silent so Santana continued. "I can't explain it. It just all feels off," she said, leaning her head against Brittany's side. "They were your parents, San. It's normal to feel weird about it," Brittany said. Santana shrugged. Yeah, they were her parents but she hadn't spoken to them for years before they died. They felt more like strange abstract concepts than actual parents, at least not parents in the way Brittany knew. Brittany's parents always felt more like parents to Santana than her own flesh and blood ans Santana practically grew up as a part of Brittany's family. "I know, I just," she paused. "I can't shake the feeling that there's more to it than just an accident." "You think it was on purpose?" Brittany turned to look down at Santana, eyebrows pushed together.

"I don't know, maybe. I don't know what to think," she answered as she rubbed her eyes, her brain fried from thinking about it all night. Brittany's fingers found their way to the back of her neck and pressed hard into the flesh there, massaging tense muscles and lulling Santana into a comfortable haze. "Come back to bed," Brittany commanded softly. "There are better reasons to be up in the middle of the night than staring at gross photos." Santana chuckled and stood up, keeping an arm around Brittany's waist and tugging their hips into each other. "Okay," she said, before kissing her. It throughly distracted her because despite all intentions to move this show to the bedroom, once she put her lips against Brittany's she forgot how to move her feet in that direction. They made out for long, hot moments in their kitchen, Brittany's hands moving to twist around Santana's neck, bringing their chests flush up against each other. One of them moaned, Santana's not entirely sure which one it was, but just like that she could care less about that little inkling about her parents' death. All she cared about was the girl standing in the kitchen kissing her. Brittany tugged on Santana's bottom lip with her teeth and she felt her knees start to shake with arousal. Then her brain clicked back on and she

found the ability to get them the hell out of their kitchen before Santana fell over. An adorable squeal left Brittany's lips as Santana threw the blonde girl over her shoulder and walked them both back to bed. -The doorbell ringing shocks Santana out of sleep and she has to blink rapidly to wake her brain up. Brittany is still snuggled up to her side and she can make out Nemo's curled up form at the foot of the bed. Her muscles protest as she sits up but she feels infinitely better than she did before her nap and there's a strong part of her that doesn't want to get out of bed, content to snuggle back down with her girlfriend and succumb to darkness for long hours. The doorbell rings again and Santana swings her legs over the side of the bed, waiting to see if the movement woke Brittany up before reaching to the side table and grabbing her gun out of her holster. She slips it into the back of her pants as she makes her way to answer the door, checking the peephole when she gets there and letting out a sigh when she sees Quinn on the other side. She opens the door, throwing her friend a tired smile, but letting her eyes look over Quinn's shoulder, paranoia now ever-present in her head. She keeps a

hand on the gun at her back the whole time. "Hey," Quinn greets, standing in the hallway in uncharacteristic jeans and a sweatshirt, her glasses on and her hair up in a messy ponytail. Santana can't remember the last time she saw Quinn out of her power suit. The blonde attorney has an arm around Rachel, who's dressed similarly in sweats and a t-shirt and Santana suspects Quinn's arm is the only thing holding the brunette up. They look wasted and worn and Santana feels the desire to kill Pike bubble up in her again. "Hi," Santana answers, opening the door wider to let them both in. She notices the guard next to her door and bites back against the urge to make sure it's not the sleeping idiot from before. "How you doing?" Quinn asks, as they walk further into the apartment and Santana locks the door behind her. "Fine," she replies, walking in with her friends to the living room. Quinn moves to the couch with Rachel, settling her down gently and Santana watches as the shorter girl winces with every movement. "Should you be out of the hospital?" Santana asks, thinking maybe a place with lots of awesome pain medication would be a better fit for her friend.

"Quinn thought it was safer to be here right now," Rachel says, her voice soft and pained as she settles back against the cushions. Santana knows what cracked ribs feel like and she doesn't envy the pain Rachel's in right now. Quinn shrugs her shoulders at Rachel's words but doesn't say anything to dispute the comment, just kisses Rachel on the forehead and strokes the hair off her brow before walking around the couch and into the kitchen. Santana follows her, throwing a small smile to Rachel. "How are you doing?" Santana asks as she gets to the kitchen. Quinn is opening her liquor cabinet and pulling out a bottle of scotch from the back. Santana grabs a tumbler from the cabinet next to her and hands it to her best friend. "Thanks," Quinn says, setting the glass down and pouring out two fingers of amber liquid. Santana watches with eyebrows raised as Quinn throws the scotch back and pours another drink. "Q," Santana starts, thinking maybe this is a bad time to get drunk, but Quinn holds a hand up to stop the words. "I'm fine, I'm just a little," Quinn waves a hand in

midair. "Shaky." And, really, Santana understands that better than anyone, so she settles her hip against the kitchen counter and keeps her friend company for a few minutes, watching another drink disappear and another one poured. "I'm sorry I smacked you," Quinn says softly, breaking the silence. Santana gives her a strange look. "What?!" "In the stairwell, I'm sorry." "No you're not," Santana denies. "S," Quinn starts. "You're Quinn Fabray," Santana explains, turning to face her friend head on and not blinking. "You're my best friend and that means you're not sorry. So let's not do this, okay?" Quinn chuckles, shakes her head but utters a low, grateful, "Okay." "How's Berry doing?" Quinn takes another drink. "She's hurt," she says. "But it's not critical or anything and I feel a lot better

now that we're out of that hospital." "Yeah, fair enough." "Puck's doing okay," Quinn says. Santana breathes a sigh of relief. "Good," she says. "I need to get back over there." But honestly, she can't stand the thought of leaving, not with what she returned to earlier. She needs to be by Brittany, know she's alive, know she's safe, more than she needs to check on her partner. A wave of guilt washes over her but she can't stop herself from feeling that way. Puck is her partner, her better half in ways that few people can understand, but Brittany is a piece of her, a central piece that keeps her heart beating and her lungs breathing and she just needs to make sure she's okay right now. "You wouldn't be any good to him over there right now," Quinn says. "He's still asleep. They've got him on about fifty-five pain medications." Santana nods. "Good, he'll love that," she says with a chuckle. "Yeah," Quinn agrees. The doorbell rings again before the conversation can continue and Santana's hand goes automatically to

the gun at her back as she walks to the door. She looks through the peephole and sees Finn and Matt, standing in her entryway holding two large boxes. She opens the door and nods at them as they shuffle in, heading for the kitchen and dropping the boxes on the table. "Ms. Fabray," Finn says, noticing Quinn in the kitchen. Quinn nods and smiles at him in greeting. "Detective," she answers, nodding at Matt as well when he enters. "How's Puckerman doing?" Matt asks as Santana walks over and pulls the top off the first box. "He's alive," she replies, inspecting the box's contents. "These are all the cases Pike was involved in, mentioned, knew someone involved in, whatever, going back 20 years," Finn comments, taking the lid off the second box. "Oh, and the stuff form the warehouse." Quinn walks over and arches an eyebrow at the files. "Boy's been busy," she adds. Santana nods and picks up the first file on top. "Yeah," she agrees. "We went by the studio," Matt says, sitting down at the

table and taking some files out. "But we didn't find anything. Not at the apartment either." Santana's head snaps up and she opens her mouth but he keeps talking before she can interrupt. "When we heard about the explosion we went over there. We figured you wouldn't be doing it yourselves." It bothers her, that they were in Brittany's apartment, but she knows she needs to start separating her personal life from her professional one. Without Puck next to her she'd have a much harder time convincing the Captain that she's got her head on straight when it comes to this case. So she scrambles for any mature part of her she can find and says, "Thanks." Matt looks kind of startled but he wisely remains silent and just smiles at her before opening a file and studying its pages. "Well," she says. "We better get started on these. Q, you want to help?" Quinn gives her a duh look and comes around to sit next to her. "Let's do this." -"My parents are coming in for the weekend," Quinn said, blowing out a breath with the words and taking a sip of her beer. "They're staying with us."

Santana made a disgusted look as she looked over at her friend. "Sucks," she replied. Quinn nodded. "Yeah, it will be interesting." "God, I haven't seen your parents in forever," Santana added, her thumb running over the starter on her lighter. "They're almost worse than mine.' "Yeah," Quinn agreed. "But yours are dead. Rest in peace." Santana held her beer bottle up and clinked it against Quinn's. "Amen." "Rachel thinks I'm just not trying hard enough," Quinn continued. "This from the girl that nearly bitchslapped your dad over that family dinner," Santana added, amused. Quinn's parents weren't the most loving of folks and even Santana's absentee parents looked like the Cleavers compared to the Fabrays. Every time they were together they openly disapproved of nearly everything Quinn did, especially her relationship with Rachel and her choice of occupations. Apparently criminal prosecutor didn't make enough money to satisfy them. "I know, right? I guess she had a change of heart after

we got married." Quinn tipped her bottle against her lips quickly before continuing. "Something about the importance of family and a good relationship with the in-laws, I don't even really know." "Well not all of us are so over the moon about our two gay dads," Santana replied, imitating Rachel's voice as she said it. . "True," Quinn said, her bottle clinking loudly as she set it back on the table. "What are they here for?" Santana asked. Quinn shook her head and furrowed her brow, thinking about the answer. "They didn't say." -Hours later, Nemo comes scrambling into the kitchen, bumping into the back of Santana's chair and barking at her. Brittany is three steps behind him and Santana smiles at her girlfriend, eying the red crease on Brittany's cheek from the pillow. "Hey, babe," she says softly. "You didn't wake me up," Brittany pouts. "Hi, Quinn," the blonde says when she notices the attorney, coming over to kiss Quinn hello on the cheek.

"Hey, Britt," Quinn greets. "What are you guys doing?" "Going over some cases involving Pike," Santana answers, her head rolling forward when Brittany walks up behind her and starts massaging her shoulders. She spares a glance at Finn and feels warm satisfaction settle in her gut at his open staring. Take that, Hudson. "Want me to order some food? Pizza?" Brittany asks, her thumbs tracing firm lines up Santana's neck. Santana observes her companions, all of them looking agreeable to the suggestion, before answering, "That'd be great." "Cool," Brittany replied, walking away from Santana. She squeezes Matt's shoulder as she passes and then smiles at Finn who smiles in that dopey way he has right back at her. Santana wants to do something barbaric like smack him again or dip Brittany into a hot kiss but Quinn kicks her shin under the table and she jumps right out of those thoughts. It's dumb anyway, because Finn is one of those too-nice kind of guys and while it's pretty annoying to Santana she knows doing something like shoving him is only hot in Brittany's eyes so many times. Then, Santana turns to look at Brittany, about to

suggest fifteen toppings that she'd like on her pizza in order to stop thinking about hitting a guy that's being generally helpful, when she notices that the blonde is standing right over Finn's shoulder, staring at a file in front of him with a quizzical look. Santana watches as her girlfriend stares at the photo and then looks at Quinn, then looking back again. "Britt?" Santana says, trying to see for herself what is so interesting. Finn turns to look over his shoulder and nearly jumps out of his chair when he sees how close Brittany is to him. He recovers though and sees her line of sight, picking up the photo and inspecting it closer. "You recognize something?" Brittany tilts her head to the side, and then to the other side as if she can't figure out what she's looking at. Then she points to a fuzzy image in the corner of the picture Finn was studying. "It just looked like Mr. Fabray for a second," she comments. Quinn's head snaps up and her eyes go straight to the glossy paper in front of Finn. Santana notices the way all the blood drains out of her friend's face as her eyes go wide. The attorney reaches across the table and snatches the photo, studying it for herself. "It's probably not him," Brittany continues. "It just

looked weird for a second." But Quinn isn't responding, just staring at the crime scene photo and swallowing hard. Santana leans over to look for herself. It's a murder scene, a covered body in the foreground of the picture and a few cops scattered around. There's a barricade with a crowd of people behind it and to the very right of the photo, behind the barricade, a tall man, the spitting image of Quinn's father, dressed in what appears to be a black leather jacket and jeans. Santana sees it light as day. "Santana," Quinn starts, her face alight with shock and fear. "What the hell?" Santana just stares at the photo some more, her brain trying to put the pieces together. She grabs the file from Finn and studies the facts of the case, but nothing makes sense. Quinn's parents live on the other side of the country, this crime was in the city. It's dated only a few years ago and it just doesn't make sense. What the hell was Quinn's father doing in the damn picture? With something involving Pike she's too paranoid to claim it a coincidence. "I don't know, Q," Santana says. "I don't know." Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Twelve]

Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little over 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] -Thunder claps in the distance as Santana makes her way down the street, the rain feeling cold and biting against her face. She hates that she had to leave her apartment but she needs to talk to Puck. She needs to talk to her partner because that's what she does. She solves crimes, but she always does it with Puck and she's having trouble thinking clearly without him sitting beside her. Quinn was a mess when she left, shock and fear all over her face as she kept staring at the picture of her father. Eventually Santana just grabbed the photo out of her hands, handed her a stiff drink, and sat her on the couch next to a sleeping Rachel Berry. She told Brittany to make sure Quinn didn't do anything stupid. Not the most sound plan she ever had, but it would have to do. She wouldn't have even left if Finn and Matt hadn't agreed to stay. Well, actually, she almost didn't leave because they agreed to stay. Possessiveness is part

of her personality, she can't control it, and leaving Brittany under Finn's protection ate at her. But two cops in the apartment, one outside the door and two in a car on the street was reassuring enough that she felt she could leave, despite the fear from finding Brittany gone earlier still lingering in the back of her brain. She had to leave because she had to talk to Puck. Had to tell him about the new development and had to talk it all through with him. It's the only thing she could think of doing right now. So here she is, walking briskly through the rain to the subway, her hands in the pockets of her trench coat and her hair plastered to the sides of her face, soaked from the rain. For whatever reason, she's hyper aware of the gun under her right arm, the way it presses into her side and they way she can feel the heat from her skin warming the grip. It's paranoia. She knows it is, but it doesn't stop her from wanting to grab at the weapon, hold it out in her hand, safety off and ready to shoot at anyone that threatened her. She takes a deep breath and keeps her hands in her pockets as she takes the steps underground and out of the rain. The station is relatively empty when she gets there, just a few late-night commuters and some homeless people lingering in the station's dry warmth. Compared to the zoo this place becomes at rush hour, it's practically deserted. The lights are dim and

the place smells like old rain-soaked sewage. She kind of loves it, finds it comforting even as her nose wrinkles up at the stench. Warm air blasts from the subway tunnel and washes over her face as she strokes wet hair off her forehead, shaking her coat out, trying to get dry. The sound of her boots stomping on the ground is loud and a sleeping hobo in the corner jumps up from his newspaper blanket, an empty liquor bottle rolling out from underneath it. She almost doesn't notice him. Almost. But paying attention to her surroundings, noticing small details, picking out criminals from a crowd are all skills she lists on her resume. It's what makes her a great detective, what made her the youngest one on the force. The lights in the station flicker as she steps up to the platform to wait for the next train, the toes of her shoes creeping up to the yellow warning strip on the edge. It's like the itch from before, the one starting at the back of her neck and creeping down her spine. Her whole body tenses as she feels it and her shoulders creep upwards as she realizes what it means. She forces nonchalance through her muscles, keeps her body still and wills herself not to spin around wildly. Instead, she pulls her phone out of her pocket with her right hand, flips it open and presses a few buttons at random before putting it to her ear. Her left

hand clenches and releases, desire to palm her gun racing through her. She spins then, as if trying to find shelter to make a quiet phone call and walks up to a board displaying all the train times. Her eyes dart around the station casually, trying to place the source of her sudden itch. That's when she spots him, standing on the other edge of the platform and staring right at her, a maniacal smile on his lips. Pike. Her phone nearly drops out of her fingers as her eyes go wide and her stomach turns over, but she manages to shut it quickly and put it in her pocket, reaching for her gun with her other hand at the same time and turning towards Roger Pike, a shout about to leave her lips. He lets out a barking laugh before she can yell at him, the sound echoing loudly across the station before he turns and bolts, straight up the stairs and out of the station. She only hesitates a second before her hand is taking out her gun and she's running right after him, sprinting up the stairs and back out into the rain. Her coat flaps open as she reaches the top of the stairs and the rain is obscuring her vision as she tries to find him on the dark street. She twirls around, her eyes squinting against the rain until she makes out a

dark figure, running north down the road. She takes off again, her legs pumping hard and fast, her hand tight around the grip of her gun. Three blocks later, she sees him take a right down an alley up ahead and she follows, desperate to catch him, the air beating hard in her lungs and her feet pounding on the pavement, rain water splashing up against her pants. Bastard is fast. She spins around the corner into the alley expecting to see him on the other side, turning the corner or climbing a fire escape but he's nowhere that she can see. She races forward to the where the alley lets out into another street and slides around the corner, looking left and right to see if he's on the street. But he's nowhere to be seen. She lost him. Her gun feels heavy where it's hanging at her side. She readjusts her grip, her fingers slick from the rain. She turns around and glances up, eyes roaming the wire ladders on the sides of the alley, trying to make out a figure climbing them but there's nothing, just rain in her eyes and the flickering of a street light to her left, illuminating a small space in the alley. Both of her hands grab her gun as she walks slowly down the sidewalk, eying the few cars on the street to see if he's in one or behind one, but it's to no avail. He's gone. She walks back into the alley and frustration floods through her.

Her back hits the brick wall behind her and she sags into it, trying to catch her breath and calm her nerves. She fucking lost him. She pushes off the wall and spins around, kicking out violently against the bricks in frustration as tears nearly leave her eyes. Her chance to end it and she fucking lost him. God dammit. She puts her gun back under her arm and wipes a wet hand against her eyes. Fuck. Her legs ache from the short chase but it's nothing against the pain in her chest knowing she just fucking lost the bad guy. Santana pulls her phone back out and dials a number, glancing around the alley as she heads back the way she came, breath coming out of her mouth in a pant. Dispatch picks up the phone on the other line and she reports what just happened, orders a squad car to patrol the area in a five mile radius and gives the dispatcher a description of what Pike was wearing. The walk back to the station is long and cold. -She's wet and pissed when she finally gets to the hospital, the adrenaline still sifting through her bones and frustration putting a permanent sneer on her face. She's so preoccupied with beating herself up that she can't even enjoy the way the night guard recoils at the

look on her face. Puck is awake when she gets to his room, flipping through channels on the small TV mounted on the wall. His face breaks into a wide smile when he notices her but it's quickly replaced by a furrow in his brow and concern all over his features. "What the hell happened to you?" "Pike was at the damn subway station by my building," she responds. Puck sits up straighter in bed and turns off the TV. "What?!" "I chased him three blocks and down an alley and then I fucking lost him," she continues, kicking out at a chair placed by his bed. "Why didn't you shoot him?" Puck asks, anger clouding his features. Her head snaps up, surprised at the question. "What?" "You should have fucking shot him when you saw him." "I was in a subway station."

He blinks. "So?" "So there were people there, I can't just fucking shoot at someone with civilians all over the place," she answers, incredulity replacing frustration. Wasn't Puck just telling her how stupid it was to try and kill this guy? "It's late, there's like five people at your station at this time of night." "What the hell is wrong with you?" Santana asks, now concerned that maybe they gave her partner too many drugs, or that the explosion gave him serious brain damage. "Dude, the guy fucking blew up my car," he says, his jaw tense as he forces the words out. "He almost destroyed my fucking face and I'm going to have this monster scar on my forearm. He deserves a bullet between his eyes. As if you needed any more reasons to kill him." It's then that she remembers why she's here and that her partner is laid up in a hospital bed with burns all over his body. "Your face doesn't look that bad," she says, finally noticing him. He brings up his fingers to his cheek before replying. "Yeah, some genius plastic surgeon was on call when I came in. Did pretty good work. They say I'll look just

like my gorgeous self when I get out of here." He holds his forearm out for her to inspect. "This is the only damn reminder I'll have of the whole thing," he adds. She sees the bandage on his arm, blood seeping through in a thin line and wonders how it happened. Probably scraped it on something when he slid across the street. The whole scene races back through her brain and she swallows thickly against the memory. "Chicks dig scars," she comments, willing her voice to stay even. "I know, right?" A smug smile takes residence on his face and she can't do anything but grin in return. "You would know." Her hand reaches up automatically, rubbing the space near her shoulder where a bullet nearly killed her. "Well mine's way cooler." "Are you kidding me? A fucking car exploded. In front of me. I am way more badass than you now," he argues. "Oh yeah, that giant bandage on your arm is such a turn on," she mocks, even though she basically told him as much seconds before. "And that hospital gown," she continues. "I don't know how I'm not just mounting you right now."

He laughs, loud and deep right from the belly and she feels light for the first time in an hour, happy to see her partner alive and well and cracking jokes from his hospital bed. It does a lot to get her head on straight. "So why are you really here?" He asks, when the laughter stops. She knows she should probably say to make sure you're okay but her brain shifts straight to business and the anger she carried before about losing Pike in the street snaps right back into place. She pulls a file out from the back of her pants, tucked under her shirt to keep it dry. She's pleased she kind of succeeded considering she kept the thing there throughout the whole chase and didn't end up losing it as well. The file makes a wet thumping sound as she throws it on the meal table, projecting over Puck's bed. He looks at her curiously before reaching out and opening it, pulling out the photo that shocked Quinn earlier. She doesn't say anything, just lets him look at the photo and figure it out for himself. He's met Quinn's dad enough to recognize him; Quinn was always dragging both of them along to family dinners saying she'd need police protection to stop either her or Rachel from committing homicide at some point during the meal. Both Quinn and Rachel had hot and

quick tempers that tended to be exacerbated around Quinn's parents and their open disapproval of their relationship. Realization crosses Puck's face as his eyes scan the photo. He sets it down and picks up the case notes that Santana brought with it, a low "What the hell?" escaping his lips. "It can't just be a coincidence," Santana finally says. Puck shakes his head, agreeing. "What was he doing here?" "Quinn can't remember. She doesn't know if she knew he was here or anything." "Well if he's involved, it all makes more sense now," Puck says. "It does?" "Hitting Rachel?" Puck turns to look at her, putting the papers back in the file. "Yeah." Santana thinks about that. If Mr. Fabray was involved in this whole Pike mess then she guesses it would make sense that Quinn and Rachel would be involved. But he's her father. Would he really be a part of something this dark, this terrible?

She doesn't really know what to say so she settles for, "Quinn won't like that." "No," Puck agrees. "But we can't disregard this. We should look through all the files on the Cain family, Pike's old crew, and ask Quinn to jot down any times she can remember her parents being in the city." "Yeah, good idea," she answers. "Someone needs to talk to him eventually," Puck adds. "That's what I'm concerned about," she admits. "Quinn can't know. She'll want to to do it herself and that will all go to hell." "True, but it should be you," he says. "He knows you, it could work to your advantage. If he's involved with this thing, anyway." Santana shakes her head. "This is so screwed up. You realize what this means?" "That if Fabray's dad is involved that it probably means he's part of the Cain operation? Yeah," Puck says, solemnly. "Q's gonna flip." "Well then we need to nail this guy and fast. Before

she has time to figure it out." "By 'we' you mean 'me'." She points at herself as she says it. "No, I mean you and me." "Puck, you're on your back in a hospital bed," she starts. "I can fucking read. Maybe I can't run a mile or shoot my gun but I can fucking read, Lopez," he interjects. "Bring me the files. I can still be useful" She nods, an affectionate laugh escaping her at his determination. "Tomorrow morning," he adds. "Tonight you should go home and get some more sleep. Let that hot girl of yours lick your wounds," Puck says, a leer on his face that makes her roll her eyes. She walks up to the bed, her hand reaching down to rest on top of his. "I'm glad you're okay," she says softly. "Thanks," he whispers. -"Why aren't you ready?" Santana asked as she

walked into the bedroom and saw Brittany laying in their bed in just her sweatpants. "I don't want to go," Brittany said. "What do you mean you don't want to go? We have to go." "Quinn's dad gives me the creeps," Brittany whispered, turning to her side and watching Santana as she stepped up to the closet. "He's always given me the creeps." "Which is why we have to go. Quinn needs us there." "I don't get why he comes anyway," Brittany said, standing and walking up behind Santana. She wrapped her arms around Santana's waist and rested her chin on her shoulder. "He just spends the whole dinner getting mad at Quinn and talking mysterious phone calls," Brittany explained. Santana nodded distractedly, searching their closet in order to find Brittany some clothes. "We won't stay very long." Brittany hummed in her ear before sweeping Santana's hair aside and pressing a lingering kiss on the side of her neck. Santana blinked slowly and tried to focus on the task at hand, knowing if they didn't leave soon they'd be late and Quinn would probably

scratch her eyes out. But then Brittany traced her fingertips across Santana's stomach and kissed a path along her jaw and any responsibility to being punctual she might have been feeling rushed right out of her. She felt Brittany chuckle, the sound making her girlfriend's chest shake against her back and Santana shook her head at how easy she was to seduce. It was embarrassing. She turned in Brittany's embrace and pressed her hips forward, forcing the taller girl to step backwards towards the bed. "We can be late," Santana said as she pushed a laughing Brittany down into the mattress. -The smell of hot pizza hits her as she walks back into her apartment and she hears laughter coming from her kitchen. She expects to see five people sitting at the counter but when she gets there she sees only three. "Where are Hudson and Rutherford?" Santana asks, shrugging her jacket off as she walks up to them and feeling her mouth water as she eyes the open pizza box.

"They went home. Said they'd call you tomorrow morning about meeting back up," Quinn answers, lifting a slice of pepperoni into her mouth. Rachel is sitting next to her, head bowed and focused intently on picking up a piece of mangled pizza from her plate. Santana reflects, not for the first time, on just how weird Rachel Berry is. She remembers the time they first had pizza together and Santana had watched with horror as the other girl scraped off all the cheese from the slice before eating it. Seriously. Weirdest girl ever. The cheese is the best part. "Probably for the best anyway," Santana comments. Brittany looks up at her, Santana smiling hello and just like that her girlfriend is out of her chair and in front of her, hands gripping her cheeks and concerned eyes taking in her expression. "Why are you upset?" Brittany asks. The question startles her, so unused to having someone who reads her so effectively back in her life, so it takes her a few beats to respond. "I'm not," she denies, even though she knows it's useless. But she can't talk about seeing Pike at the station right now. Not in front of Quinn. She eyes the glass by her best friend's hand and the bottle of Glenlivet on the counter. She definitely cannot tell Quinn. Brittany opens her mouth and Santana can tell that her girlfriend is about to call bullshit so she widens her

eyes and just stares at Brittany, willing the other girl to understand that she can't talk about it right now. She brings a hand up to squeeze the blonde's hip. It was always their silent signal, the one that says, I promise to explain it all later. It works. Brittany nods and kisses Santana softly before turning back to the counter and grabbing a slice of pizza and dangling it above Santana's mouth. She chuckles, ignoring the eye roll Quinn gives the display, and lets Brittany feed her the pizza. She looks at Rachel as she's chewing, the shorter girl sitting stiffly at the counter and eating her pizza slowly. "How you doing, Berry? They give you any fun pain meds?" Rachel just grimaces and nods, picking up her pizza and taking a small bite. Quinn reaches over to tuck a piece of hair behind Rachel's ear. "Tired?" She asks softly. "I've been sleeping all afternoon," Rachel complains, putting her pizza back down on the plate. "You got hit by a car," Quinn deadpans. "Two days ago," Rachel bites back. A low laugh escapes Santana and she has to turn away from the counter to avoid Quinn's death glare.

Santana slides an arm around Brittany's waist as her girlfriend snuggles into her side and Brittany lets out a small giggle, turning to Santana and whispering softly in her ear. "She sounds like you." Santana pulls back at the words, an offended expression shadowing her face. "Did you actually just compare me to Berry?" She squeaks out, loudly. "I think that's the meanest thing you've ever said to me." "I'm right here," Rachel says, dryly and unamused. Santana just laughs and feels like, for a moment, everything's okay in the world. -"Santana!" Brittany exclaimed, coming into the living room. "You're not supposed to be up." "I've been sitting around all day. I'm fine." Brittany put both hands on her hips as she observed her from across the room. "You were shot." "Two weeks ago!" She said as she tried to get up off the couch, forcing herself not to acknowledge the unpleasant ache in her shoulder at the motion. Brittany came over and put her hands gently on

Santana's shoulders, being careful not to disturb the healing wound on her chest. "Lay back down," Brittany commanded. Santana thought about arguing, even opened her mouth to do so, but one look at Brittany's face, her don't-even-dare-argue-with-me-I-am-not-amused face, and Santana decided shutting up would be the best course of action. -"You guys can take the bed," Santana offers when she sees Rachel move to lay back down on the couch. She knows that couch intimately. As much as she doesn't want to give up her bed, she just got it back after all, she's seen the way Rachel tried to mask her pain the whole evening. She'd probably be a lot more comfortable in the bed and plus, sleeping on that couch with two people? It's always an interesting experience. One she wouldn't mind reacquainting herself with when it came to Brittany. Quinn looks like she's going to accept the offer but Rachel's voice comes from the couch. "I'm not moving." "Rach, I think the bed would be more comfortable," Quinn argues, leaning over the back of the couch to look at Rachel and raising an eyebrow.

"I'm not moving, Quinn. I just got here," Rachel repeats, reaching out to grab a bottle of pills on the coffee table. Quinn just kept staring at her. "I'm serious," Rachel continues. "I'm not moving. Put your ass on this floor." Quinn puts her hands up and shrugs her shoulders, turning to look at Santana with an amused smile. "Thanks, anyway." Brittany laughs at their friends before tugging Santana's wrist and dragging her to the bedroom. "Extra pillows and shit in the hall closet," she yells out over her shoulder. Quinn waves her away. When they get to the bedroom Brittany takes a seat on the bed while Santana walks into the bathroom, throwing her gun on the beside table and stripping her shirt off along the way. "So what happened?" Brittany asks, leaning back on the mattress. Santana turns in the bathroom doorway, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning her shoulder into the side of the doorway. "Pike was at the train station." Brittany jumps up from where she's sitting. "What?!" Santana nods. "Yeah. I chased him three fucking blocks before I lost him." The shame of it all pours

back into her and she closes her eyes, shaking her head at the thought. "Are you okay?" She looks back up. "Pissed that I lost him, but yeah. I'm fine." "Wow," Brittany says, staring at Santana. "Yeah," she agrees before turning back around to the sink. They don't say anything else, but Brittany comes into the bathroom, leans her back against the wall behind Santana and just stands there. It's comfortable and Santana feels the warmth of the moment do wonders for relaxing her muscles. Then she sees it. It's small and insignificant but it feels huge to Santana, like it represents her whole world and it reminds her of something she hasn't had time to process. Brittany's toothbrush. In the holder next to her's. For a moment she tries to figure out how she didn't notice it before. Maybe it wasn't there, or maybe her brain just wasn't ready to see it, but now she does, now it looks like the brightest object in the whole room and she feels her breath hitch at the sight of it. She lifts her eyes up and meets Brittany's in the mirror. The blonde girl is looking at her curiously,

having noticed the way Santana was sort of just staring at the toothbrushes instead of doing the normal thing, like picking one up and using it for its intended purpose. A wave of irritation passes over her because Brittany's back, she's her girlfriend again and she's moving her stuff back into her apartment and fucking Roger Pike is ruining it all for her. She hasn't had time to be happy about it, to allow her brain to come to terms with it and it pisses her off. She stamps the feeling down though, because Brittany is still looking at her and Santana's just kind of standing there like a moron, staring at her and failing to brush her teeth or anything. Brittany probably thinks she's having a mental breakdown or something. So she does the only logical thing to do when she realizes after six months of complete depression the love of her life is standing behind her, still in love with her, and a part of her life again. She turns around, walks forward, and kisses Brittany, pushing her back into the wall. Brittany lets out a surprised gasp at the assault, but recovers quickly, her hands grabbing in Santana's hair as her chest arches up off the wall. Arousal strikes through her, quick like lighting as she brings her hands to grasp the bottom of Brittany's shirt,

tugging upwards. She breaks the kiss briefly to pull the material off the other girl before pressing back in, groaning at the feel of Brittany's bare stomach flush against her own. Santana drags her palm up Brittany's side, the skin underneath it radiating heat against her hand. Brittany's chest arches upward again when Santana palms her breast, lets her thumb circle over a nipple before pinching lightly. Brittany's tongue strokes inside her mouth, curling around teeth and their breath mingles hotly between them. It sends another jolt through Santana and she feels desperation creep up through her stomach. She lets her hand move in between them, traveling over tight abs that make her mouth water and under the waistband of Brittany's pants, not bothering to take them off in her hurry. This is about reconnection, about realizing that she can actually do this now, she can take Brittany up against their bathroom wall, or in their shower, or in their kitchen and it's real, true. It's not some fleeting dream that she'll wake up from in an hour. Brittany's nails scratch against the back of her neck as Santana lets her fingers trail through hot, wet flesh, tugging on Brittany's bottom lip with her teeth as she does it. She feels her girlfriend's knees give out and her back sink into the wall as Santana enters her slowly, softly, two fingers finding purchase inside her

while her thumb wanders further north. Santana presses closer, letting her arm sneak between the wall and Brittany's waist, keeping the other girl upright. She pulls away from Brittany's lips to kiss down her neck, biting softly at the skin beneath her jaw as her hand thrusts between them, Brittany's gasps of pleasure hot in her ear. She spares a fleeting thought to her two friends in the other room, trying to decide if they can hear what's going on. She's not really modest and neither is her girlfriend but she knows her two friends need sleep, and loud sex noises would probably keep the pair awake. But when Brittany's hands scratch down her back and her hips cant hard against Santana's hand, she stops caring altogether. Brittany's legs start to buckle again, strong thighs shaking with the strain of staying upright. Her breath grows ragged and Santana can tell she's close, can feel it in the way Brittany's heart beats against her own chest. She bites down on the flesh beneath Brittany's ear and presses her thumb hard into Brittany's clit before flicking against it back and forth. Air rushes out of Brittany's mouth and Santana pulls back to watch it happen, the blonde's eyes wide open in wonder, her jaw slack as her orgasm rushes through her and Santana feels it all around her fingers, closes her eyes with how good it all feels. It's hot and gorgeous and when she opens her eyes

to take in Brittany's expression, it makes Santana's vision swarm with arousal. Then, Brittany's legs actually do give out completely and Santana has to readjust the grip she has around her girlfriend's waist, pulling out of her with her other hand and enjoying the way Brittany licks her lips at the sensation. She kisses Brittany, slow and lazy and the blonde runs soft fingertips across the tops of Santana's shoulders. Then Brittany pulls away, her head thumping against the wall and she blinks slowly at Santana. "What was that for?" She says, her voice hoarse. Santana smiles. "I love you." Happiness settles across Brittany's face and she grins widely at Santana, her fingers tracing lines along her cheek bones. "You're pretty," Brittany whispers after a few moments of just standing there. Santana's smile turns into a smirk. "I know." Brittany laughs, deep and throatily and it makes Santana's stomach flip over at the sound of it. The blonde brings her mouth to Santana's ear, her lips brushing across her jaw along the way. "What do you say," Brittany says, the feeling of her warm breath causing Santana's eyes to close again. "We take this party to the bed?"

Santana thinks that's about the best plan she's heard today. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Thirteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little over 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] -When Santana wakes up the next morning it's to the smell of waffles drifting into the bedroom and the distant sound of music. It takes her a full thirty seconds to blink her eyes awake and figure out where she is. Then she hears the music turn to a soft jazzy tune, the sound of Rachel's voice absently singing along trailing after it and the memories of last night come back to her. Right, Quinn and Rachel are there and from the sounds coming from the kitchen, Brittany's making them waffles. She presses the back of her head into the pillow under her and rubs a hand over her face, pleased when the action doesn't produce the expected pain like it had for the past few days. At least something's healing.

The sheets next to her are cold to the touch and she's shocked for a minute because Brittany almost never beats her out of bed, at least not to the point where the sheets get cold. It's practically unheard of. She's not sure what it means, but she thinks it probably has something to do with how much sleep she needed and she can't deny how rested she actually feels. Her muscles ache as she stretches her body and lets out a loud yawn, her jaw cracking as she does it. The room is warm and there's the lingering scent of Brittany on the pillow next to her so she puts serious consideration into not getting out of bed at all right now. She has about zero interest in leaving her bedroom because doing so means the day officially starts and she has to deal with reality and psychotic criminals and the thunderstorm she can see creeping over the city from outside her window. Nope, staying in bed and pretending like everything is perfectly okay in her world seems like a much better option. But then she hears the familiar sound of socked feet sliding across the hardwood floor of the hallway and footsteps making their way to the bedroom, the soft thudding settling in her chest like an ache. Brittany bounces in seconds later and smiles widely when she notices Santana, her blonde hair still a tangled, attractive mess on her head. "You're awake!" Brittany exclaims, hopping over to the

bed and draping her body on top of Santana's. "I made waffles," she announces before kissing Santana. "I smell that," Santana comments, smiling against Brittany's lips. Her girlfriend tastes like coffee and maple syrup and Santana finds her hands creeping up the back of Brittany's shirt before she can even think about it. "Rachel's high on her pills," she whispers, wiggling her hips into Santana's distractingly. Santana shifts her legs so Brittany drops between them. "Yeah?" "It's funny," Brittany replies, nodding and giggling. Santana kisses her just because she can, blocking out thoughts of the real world for long moments. Then, all of a sudden, Brittany jumps up off of Santana until she's standing by their bed, her arm darting out to grab Santana's wrist and pull her out as well. "Come on, S. Your waffles are getting cold." Santana lets herself get dragged off the mattress and stands up, shrugging on a pair of police-issue sweatpants and a t-shirt before following Brittany out into the kitchen. It's altogether surreal, to walk into her kitchen with Brittany and see it in complete disarray bowls and silverware across the counter tops, coffee

warming in the pot on the stove, the milk still sitting out by the fridge. And Quinn and Rachel, making out by her sink. Of course. "God," Santana says as the couple comes into view. "I get enough of this when I stay at your place, do you really have to infect my apartment with it too?" Brittany laughs as she reaches into a cabinet to grab a coffee mug, walking over to the coffee pot and pouring the liquid into the cup. Rachel just holds her hand up, palm facing Santana in a talk to the hand gesture, and fails to disengage her lips from Quinn's. Not one to be deterred by Rachel Berry, Santana makes a gagging noise as she passes her friends and takes the freshly poured coffee from Brittany with a grateful smile. "Aren't you an invalid, Berry? Isn't it like irresponsible for Quinn to be all up against you like that?" She takes a seat as she says it, mouth watering at the plate of waffles set in front of her. Brittany comes around the counter to sit next to her. This time, Rachel does pull back, turns to Santana and slaps a grin on her face that Santana thinks might actually break the girl's cheekbones. Quinn, on the other hand, looks completely gobsmacked, eyes wide and her focus failing to leave Rachel's face. If Santana weren't so busy trying to rile Rachel, she'd be laughing pretty hard at Quinn.

"I feel much better. Thank you, Santana," Rachel says, her voice way too loud for the early hour and the expression on her face entirely too happy for someone with cracked ribs. "The medication I was prescribed has done wonders for alleviating the pain in my ribs." Santana raises both her eyebrows and turns to Brittany. "Wow," she comments. "You weren't kidding." Brittany's nose scrunches up as she smiles, lips pursed together. Before anyone else can say anything though, the music playing in the kitchen shifts songs and Rachel starts singing. Loudly. Quinn jumps back as the sound hits her at close range. "Rach," Quinn says, trying to grab the other girl's wrists. "You should lie down." Rachel somehow manages to look completely horrified and exasperated at the same time as she turns towards her wife, her singing trailing off. "Quinn," Rachel starts, raising both eyebrows and leaning towards the blonde girl. Santana almost gets out of her chair at the way Rachel is standing, positive the shorter girl is about to take a nose dive into an unsuspecting Quinn Fabray, but Rachel manages to stay upright and continue talking. "The pills are very effective. I'm fine. See?!"

This time Santana does get up out of her chair as she sees Rachel move her hands out in front of her, looking like she's preparing to slam them onto her ribs, a gesture, Santana assumes, meant to prove to Quinn she's feeling no pain. Thankfully, Quinn recognizes the motion as well and darts her hands out to wrap around Rachel's wrists, stopping the motion before she can do any damage. "Rach," the blonde attorney says, her voice calm and low, like she's talking to a small child. "Your ribs are not healed. Just because they don't hurt right now, doesn't mean they're better." Rachel's lips smack together as she stares at Quinn dubiously, her eyes fluttering open and closed. Santana laughs as she sits back down and lifts her fork up, eyes roaming her plate of waffles to find the best area of attack. Brittany chuckles next to her and knocks her toes against Santana's calf. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Rachel step forward, and her fork clatters back to the table as she realizes the brunette has gone back to the making out portion of her high. Not that Quinn looks like she's minding this side effect. At all. "Oh my God," Santana blurts out. "I'm trying to freakin' eat here!" Rachel pulls away again, Quinn's hands still wrapped

around her wrists, and blinks slowly at Santana. "Maybe I should lie down." Brittany giggles from her place next to Santana and Quinn makes an answering sound. Santana just shakes her head and goes back to her waffles. -Santana woke up slowly as the light from her bedroom window hit her eyes. She quickly squeezed her eyes back closed and tried to figure out how the hell she forgot to close her blinds last night. Then she became aware of the heavy arm across her stomach and the warm breath, beating hotly against the back of her neck. Right. Brittany was the reason she forgot to close her blinds. Her blonde girlfriend was easily the most distracting person Santana had ever met and when they got back from that party last night, closing the blinds had been the last thing Santana was thinking about. Now, awake at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, she was wishing she hadn't been so distracted last night. She moved to get out of bed and cross the floor to the window but when she went to remove Brittany's arm from her waist, the blonde girl only tightened her grip, mumbling incoherently into Santana's hair and snuggling deeper into her back.

"Britt," she whispered, tapping the arm around her lightly and looking over her shoulder. "I gotta get up." Brittany shook her head lightly. "Saturday. No school." Santana chuckled. "I know, babe. I gotta close the blinds." The taller girl pulled back a little, her arm sliding across Santana's abs, and squinted at Santana's face grumpily, eyes snapping shut as they slid towards the window. "Oh," she said, as she rolled all the way over onto her back and flung her arm over her eyes. Santana stood up and padded across the carpet towards the window, tugging the string on the right to pull the blinds over the glass. She was halfway back to bed when she heard the loud bang of a door slamming shut downstairs and two sets of footsteps pound into the house. Brittany's arm flew off her face as she sat up, startled by the sound. "I thought your parents were gone for the weekend," she said to Santana. "Me too," she answered, walking cautiously to the door. Her heart started to beat faster as she heard the footsteps come up the stairs, the wood creaking loudly as whoever it was made their way to the upper level. She gave Brittany a wide eyed look.

Her parents were gone for the weekend - some threeday convention for her father's business. It was a common occurrence, her mother almost always accompanied him on these trips, and Santana got used to staying home alone from an early age. These days though, she was with Brittany every waking and non-waking moment of her life, so it really didn't matter as much. But now here she was, home alone with her girlfriend, and some intruder was making their way up to her bedroom. She grabbed the baseball bat leaning against the wall by her desk and wrapped her hands around the wooden handle. Her dad would probably skin her alive for getting blood on the bat - it was a birthday gift, signed by Ernie Banks in 1977 - but it was the only thing on hand she could use as a weapon. Brittany jumped out of bed and scrambled to stand behind her, hands gripping the back of Santana's tank top as they both kept their eyes on the door. Her palms started to sweat as she readjusted her grip on the bat and swallowed thickly against fear. The footsteps stopped in front of her door and Santana felt her eyes open even wider as the door knob turned and Brittany's grip tightened in her shirt, the fabric pulling taut across her stomach. The door slid open and she heard Brittany gasp softly

from behind her, the sound causing the hairs on the back of her neck to stand up. Santana raised the bat over her shoulder, prepared to deliver a mean strike to whoever was about to attack them. That is, until she realized the intruder was in fact her father, looking between the bat and her with a blank expression. She just barely pulled her swing back as she recognized the large body in her doorway. "Papi!" She exclaimed, her breath coming out in relieved pants. Brittany's fingers released her shirt as the other girl realized what was going on. "Your mother and I are home," he announced in a gruff voice and Santana fought against rolling her eyes at the obviousness of his statement. She let her arms fall down to her side, the bat loosely gripped in her left hand. "Why?" Her parents had never come home early from a work-weekend. In fact, they were more likely to extend their stay than shorten it. She can't remember the last Saturday her parents were actually home and the way her father looked made her uneasy as he stood there in the same clothes she had seen him in yesterday, his hair a scruffy mess and his eyes bloodshoot. He stared her down before answering the question, a weariness settling in around his eyes that she couldn't place. "That's irrelevant," he answered, his tone

leaving no room for questions. She could hear Brittany shifting around behind her, could imagine the way her girlfriend's eyes were downcast and the way she was probably biting her lip. She didn't really want to make Brittany witness a frosty stand off between her and her father. So instead of questioning him further she just nodded. "Okay." "You're on your own for dinner," he said, before shutting the door. She turned back to Brittany, setting the bat back down by her desk and tugging her girlfriend by the wrist back to the bed. "Come on, let's go back to sleep," she said. "That was weird," Brittany commented in a soft voice as they settled back into the bed. She shuffled over until her side was against Santana's and Santana let her back sink into the mattress, enjoying the way Brittany's breath hit the side of her neck. "Yeah," Santana replied. She stared at her ceiling for the next hour, Brittany snoring softly into her shoulder. Her parents die in a car crash a week later. --

"It could just be a coincidence," Quinn says, holding a coffee cup with both hands as she stands next to Santana. They're facing the living room window, Rachel passed out on the couch behind them and Santana can hear Brittany cleaning up the kitchen. "I mean, I freaked out at first, but it could totally be a coincidence." Santana shifts her feet back and forth, one arm crossed over her chest and the other bringing her own cup of coffee to her lips. "Could be," she agrees. She peeks a glance over her shoulder to the couch and watches Quinn follow her line of sight. "But we don't have much to go on right now. It couldn't hurt to eliminate the possibility." Quinn purses her lips and takes a long look at where Rachel's sleeping, a bottle of pills resting on the table next to her. "Yeah," she lets out finally. "Okay, what do you need from me?" "Can you think of any reason, any reason at all, that he'd be in the city?" The attorney shakes her head, sipping her coffee before answering. "I told you. The only reason that they were ever here, was to come see me. A few weekends here and there and that's it." Quinn blows out a long breath, the air momentarily steaming up the glass window in front of her. "I mean, he's an investment banker. He does most of his work from

home. It's not like he'd be up here on business." Santana nods, her eyes roaming the buildings outside her window. "Okay, well. I'm going to call him and ask." "I can call him," Quinn says, looking sideways at Santana. "No, it's better coming from me." "Santana, he's my father." Quinn sets her coffee cup on a table and props her fists on her hips, turning to face Santana with a stony expression. The rain beats against the window, a constant thumping sounding flowing over their conversation and Santana lets her eyes focus in and out on the droplets. "And this is my case," she says. "Let me do my job. You do yours." Quinn rolls her eyes. "Oh and what exactly is my job in all this, sit here and wait?" Santana turns to look at her, unblinking. "I made a promise. I have to go to work so I can catch this guy and end it," she whispers, glancing towards the kitchen as she hears Brittany talking to Nemo. "You know what your job is." Quinn looks in the direction of the kitchen too, staring

for a long moment before turning her eyes back to Santana. "Yeah," she says. "Okay." -Santana watched with wide eyes as Rachel Berry let out a long string of expletives at the bartender. She turned to Quinn. "What's wrong with her?" Quinn popped a peanut in her mouth and shrugged, shaking her head with a soft smile. "My parents cancelled on dinner tonight," Quinn answered. "And she's mad?" Santana looked back at Rachel again as the shorter girl blurted out a loud, indignant yelp and leaned further over the bar top. "Apparently," Quinn replied. "Something about how they're not making a substantial enough effort, or not giving us enough notice about cancelling." Quinn shakes her head again. "I don't know, she changes what she's mad about every five minutes. I think it's more about not having another chance to convince my parents how legitimate our marriage is." Santana chuckled and watched as Rachel made a particularly wild gesture at the poor guy tending bar. "A year ago she would have been thrilled about not having to sit through that." "Things change," Quinn said.

"I didn't know your parents were in town," Santana replied, picking her nail against the top of her beer bottle and glancing at her friend. "Just to visit I guess," Quinn responded before taking a long pull of her beer. "It was really last minute too," she continued after she swallowed. "Called me on Thursday to tell me they were coming in. I guess my father had some other friends in the area he wanted to visit, I don't know." Santana shrugged in response. It wasn't totally unusual for Quinn's parents to show up out of the blue, they were always coming to the city on random weekends, catching dinner with Quinn and critiquing her life choices for a full three days. "Well, I'm sure they'll find some free time to come tell you what a failure you are." Quinn laughed and raised her bottle to Santana. "True." Rachel, now seemingly finished berating the bartender, came back to where they were standing, sliding her arm around Quinn's waist and reaching for the attorney's beer, taking a long swig before putting it down on the bar top. She looked between Quinn and Santana, noting the surprised amusement on both their faces.

"What?" Rachel asked, a defiant expression on her face as if she was just waiting for another reason to yell at someone. Santana rolled her eyes. "Nothing." Quinn smiled and pressed a kiss to Rachel's temple, sliding an arm over her shoulder and pulling the girl further into her side. "You're hot when you're mad." Rachel smiled and tucked her head into Quinn's neck before looking at Santana. "Where's Brittany?" "Bathroom," Santana replied in a bored tone. She eyed the shelf of liquor behind the bar and tried to decide what shots they should do next. Lemon drop maybe? Dead Nazi? -She kisses Brittany goodbye in the doorway, swallowing hard as her girlfriend's hands slide inside her jacket and scratch lightly at the small of her back. "I'll be back this afternoon," she says softly, kissing her one more time. Brittany smiles, squeezing her hips before releasing her. "Be careful." "Always," Santana responds with a wink before turning and heading out the door.

She nods at the uniform stationed in her hallway and walks quickly to the elevator, taking the ride down and striding through the front doors, out into the rain. The storm clouds blanket the city in darkness, even at the early hour, and Santana shivers against the chill in the air, pulling up the collar of her trench coat and ducking her head down. The ride to the station takes about twenty minutes and when she walks to her desk, shaking the water off her coat as she enters the bullpen, Finn and Matt are already there waiting for her. "Morning," she greets. They both nod at her and it's then that she notices the hesitant expressions on both their faces. Her eyes dart between them as she throws her coat over her chair. There's a file folder clutched tightly in Finn's hand but neither of them seem like they're going to actually like, speak to her. "What?" Santana asks, grabbing the pink slips of messages on the top of her desk and shuffling through them. Finn glances quickly at Matt and swallows before answering. "We went through Pike's visitor logs from prison."

Her head snaps up and she looks at them with interest. "And?" "And, well, we almost didn't catch it, but he had a visitor about a month before he was released," Finn continues. Santana watches his adam's apple bob up and down as the taller man swallows and shifts his eyes to Matt again. She snaps her fingers in front of them, making them both jump. "Get to the point, Hudson." "Right," he says, exhaling and nodding rapidly. "Well he used a fake name and everything, but the security camera footage was included and well," Finn takes a deep breath again, pausing. "After everyone's reaction to it last night, I recognized him." Matt nods next to him and Santana feels dread punch her in the stomach. She already knows who they're talking about before she even sees the picture. "Russell Fabray," she breathes out, opening the file Finn hands her. So much for it being a coincidence. -"So how's work, Santana?" Mrs. Fabray asked, practiced politeness in her voice.

Santana glanced up at Quinn across the table. "It's good, thanks for asking," she answered, a tight smile across her lips. "That's nice. Catch any interesting criminals lately? I do love a good true crime story." The older woman leans forward over the table, an interested expression on her face as she reaches for her martini. "No, not really," Santana denied, not up for talking about work at the dinner table. Especially this dinner table. "Santana caught a big bad guy today," Brittany offered from her seat next to Santana. She shot a look at her girlfriend, but Brittany just shrugged. "You did," she whispered to Santana. Quinn's mom tilted her head at Brittany with a smile and Santana could hear Quinn laugh under her breath. "Oh?" Santana nodded, resigned. "Yeah, a guy named Roger Pike," she explained. "He's one of the hired guns for a local organized crime family." "I didn't know organized crime was that bad in the city," Quinn's dad responded, speaking for the first time that evening. Santana turned to the other end of the table to watch him tip a glass of scotch against this lips.

"It's not," Quinn commented. "Organized crime is down 20% this year from last." Russell Fabray shot his eyebrows up quickly in acknowledgement but didn't say anything else, just smiled tightly at his daughter and went back to sipping his drink. They didn't discuss the topic the rest of the meal but Santana couldn't fight the way she felt Mr. Fabray's eyes on her the whole dinner. -Puck is sitting up in bed when she walks into his hospital room and she chuckles loudly as she watches him scoop jello into his mouth unhappily. He whips his head towards her at the sound and narrows his eyes until he notices the white bag she has clutched in her left hand and his nose twitches. "You are my favorite," he says, reaching out towards the bag. She pulls it away. "Who said it was for you?" "Fuck you, Lopez," he growls. "Give me that damn burrito." Santana rolls her eyes but chucks the bag onto the

table in front of him, watching with a disgusted expression as he rips open the tin foil package inside and stuffs a corner of it the burrito into his mouth. The box she was carrying with it hits the ground beside his bed with a dull thud. "How's it going?" Puck gets out around the food in his mouth. "Quinn's dad visited Pike in the hospital," Santana says, wanting to get it out there so they can start figuring this thing out. Puck chokes on his burrito, beating a fist against his chest before he can speak. "Shit," he intones, setting the food on his tray and staring at her. "Yeah," she agrees, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. "See if you can have him tailed," Puck commands, wiping his hands against each other. Santana nods. "I was going to. Thought I'd run it all by you first." "Have him tailed," Puck repeats. He reaches out to grab her jacket, pulling her in close to the bed and reaching into her pocket. Her phone is in her hand before she can yell at him for

manhandling her. When she doesn't flip her phone open and dial right away he looks at her with a confused expression. "What are you doing?" She looks away from him, eyes darting outside his window where the rain is falling down in sheets. Lightning cracks against the dark sky, illuminating the buildings across the city. She doesn't want to say it, but it comes out anyway. "He's my best friend's dad," she whispers. And because Puck understands how much she hates that she feels this way, hates that she cares about it at all, he plucks the phone out of her hand wordlessly and dials the number, pressing the phone to his own ear as it connects. -"I think I want to be a cop." Santana whispered, staring at the ceiling in Brittany's bedroom. She felt her girlfriend roll over to her stomach next to her, lifting up on her elbows and staring down at Santana's face. "A cop?" "Yeah," Santana said, swallowing. She hadn't told anyone yet but she'd been thinking about it for awhile. College wasn't really something on her radar after

high school and being a cop always kind of interested her. Especially after her parents died. "Cool," Brittany breathed, tracing a line across Santana's shoulder. Santana rolled her head to the side to look at the blonde next to her. "You think so?" Brittany nodded, smiling. "Cops are hot," she said, biting her lower lip. Then, Brittany tilted her head and frowned. "What?" Santana asked, when Brittany didn't say anything. "If I got in trouble, would you have to arrest me?" Brittany asked. "Because I tend to get in trouble whether I want to or not." "B," Santana said, rubbing her thumb over the furrow in her girlfriend's brow. "If you're in trouble, chances are I am too." A wide grin spread across Brittany's face, replacing the worry there seconds before. "Good point," Brittany said before kissing her. Brittany rolled on top of her, her hands traveling down Santana's sides and her tongue stroking into Santana's mouth. A whimper escaped her

involuntarily when Brittany abruptly pulled away, frowning again. "Wait, how is that good?" Santana rolled her eyes before wrapping her arms around Brittany's neck, pulling the other girl back down. "Don't worry about it." Brittany smiled in response, worry wiped from her face. -She leaves Puck thumbing through old case files on Pike in his hospital bed and heads back to her building, intent on sitting in her apartment with Brittany while she waited for news from the guys she dispatched to locate Russell Fabray. On the way to the subway she sees a small market and stops in without thinking about it. Before she realizes what she's doing, she's buying a pack of cigarettes and walking back out of the store. The third thwack of the pack against her palm shocks recognition into her and she pauses, eyes the trash can near the curb and considers for a moment throwing them out. But they were expensive, and even without lighting a stick, she can already taste the smoke against the back of her throat.

She stands there for a long moment, the rain beating down on her head, the pack of cigarettes held tight against her palm and the brick wall behind her digging into her shoulder blades. Brittany's face flashes across her brain and she makes her decision, chucking the full pack into the can in front of her and listening to it hit the bottom. She stares at it for a minute, a part of her actually thinking about digging it back up, but she forces herself to turn on her heal and keep walking. Her phone rings from her pocket and she pulls it out and puts it to her ear, stepping into an alley up ahead and finding some shelter from the rain under a fire escape as she answers. "Lopez," she says in a clipped tone. "Detective," she hears a man's voice say, sounding smug. "How are you today?" She narrows her eyes in suspicion, cold creeping up her spine as she looks around the empty alley. "Who is this?" "Oh," the voice says with a chuckle. "I think you know." It's like getting a bucket of ice water poured over her already soaked head. "Pike," she seethes wishing she was at the station, or next to Puck. Somewhere,

anywhere but alone on an empty side street. Pike laughs and the sound makes her fist clench. "Very good," he commends. "What do you want?" Santana asks, her heart beating fast against her ribcage. "Well, detective. I'm calling to tell you that I have something of your's. Something I think you might want back." Her stomach turns over and bile rises in her throat. "What?" "Here," Pike says, amusement still coating his tone. "I'll let you talk to her." Her knees give out as a familiar voice comes across the line and she hits the ground hard. "Santana?" Rain water seeps through her pants and the palm of her right hand digs into the coarse pavement under it, but she can't get her throat to work, can't get words to come out. Fear and disbelief grip her by the neck and her vision starts to go black. Brittany. The sound of rustling comes down the line and a yelp of pain Santana recognizes as her girlfriend. The sounds shock her voice back into function. "Pike, you so much as touch her," she threatens.

"Oh, Lopez," Pike interrupts, clucking his tongue. "You know that's not how this works." "I swear to God," she continues. "We'll be in touch," he says, and then all she can hear is a dial tone. Her phone slips out of her hand, dropping heavily onto the street under her, but she doesn't notice, too focused on breathing in and out as she stares at the rain falling into puddles of the pavement. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Fourteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 6k this part Notes in Part One SPECIAL NOTE: As we are nearing the end of this story and I am going to try and get the last few chapters out pretty quickly, I won't be posting this to any of the communities I have been until the very end. I don't want to spam those comms or any flist that follows all of them, so instead I'll just make a master post after the last chapter and post it at the end. So! That's just a heads up that when you're looking for the next few chapter I'll only be posting it here. For those that have friended me, you obviously don't care

about this message, but anyone that waits for comms to post will need to check back here for the next chapters. Unless you're fine waiting until it's all finished. In that case, disregard this notice. Thanks for reading, guys! Tell your friends! [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] -It takes her a good ten minutes before she feels like she can get off the ground without vomiting, the rain beating hard against her back, dripping down her face into her eyes. Her legs are shaky when she stands and even when she tries to leave the alley she stumbles the first few steps before her legs start functioning and she's running down the block. Later, when all is said and done, she won't remember her trip back to the apartment. She won't remember the way her legs burned from sprinting the entire way, or how she tripped over that sewer grate on 5th street. She won't remember that trash can she tipped sideways by the subway station or the couple she pushed over two blocks from her building. No, Santana won't remember any of that. But she'll never forget the sight of seven squad cars on the street in front of her apartment, their lights

flashing blue and red across the darkened street. It will take her years to forget the way the cops on the sidewalk turned horrified eyes to her as she burst past the police tape. A black body bag on a stretcher rolling out of her front door will haunt her dreams for months and she'll never forget the look on Finn Hudson's face when she burst into her apartment. "He's got her," she pants out, desperate eyes turned on the taller cop. "Pike's got Brittany." Finn nods and walks up to her, putting a hand on her arm and bending over to look at her. "We know," he says in a low voice. Matt looks up from his place across the room briefly before looking away, returning to his inspection of her living room couch. "Where are Quinn and Rachel? Are they okay? How did you get here? How did you know?" The questions come out rapid fire, the words bleeding together almost incoherently but Santana can't get her brain to stop racing and slow down, can barely get her vision to stop blurring enough to focus on the apartment. If she could get her eyesight to clear she'd notice the broken dishes on the floor and the blood smeared across the carpet near the couch. Finn takes a deep breath and pulls her towards the door, back out into the hallway, succeeding only because she's too stunned to shrug him off. Santana feels her stomach start to turn over again and the

urge to vomit is back as she processes the look on Finn's face. Whatever he's about to say it's not going to be good. Fuck. "Quinn and Rachel are in the hospital," he starts and as he says it her eyes glance towards the wall near her doorway, another swash of blood spread across it. Holy shit. She swallows and turns back to look at him. "The hospital?" "Yeah, from what we can tell and what Rachel was able to tell us, he shot the guy at your door before kicking it down," Finn nods his head towards the blood. "They were all in the living room when he came in and when he went to grab Brittany, Quinn reacted." The taller man looks away from her but she doesn't really need him to say anything else, she knows what happened. "He shot her," she breathes out. "He shot Quinn." Finn nods as he turns back to her and she feels herself stumble backwards, her back hitting the wall behind her with a loud thud, her eyes dart around the floor of the hallway as she tries to keep conscious. Then her head snaps up to look at him. "Rachel?" "She's fine. Totally drugged out and confused," Finn answers. "Hysterical really, but he didn't shoot her.

She managed to call it in. If she hadn't...," he trails off but she can hear the Quinn would be dead that he doesn't say. Her head starts to pound but she forces the pain away and tries to focus, afraid she's going to lose it soon. "How the fuck did he get past the street unit?" Finn rubs the back of his head and looks away, frustration evident in his posture. "He was dressed as a delivery guy. The guys in the car didn't think twice about him." "He fucking walked out with her," she snaps out, trying not to think about Pike with his hands on Brittany. The image alone was going to make her puke all over Finn. "How did they miss his exit?" "We're not sure," Finn answers, scuffing the tip of his boot against the floor and looking back up at her. "They didn't see him at all." "He left from another door?" Santana asks, straightening up against the wall. "Security cameras in the lobby have him leaving out the front door. I don't know how our guys missed him? It's fucking," Finn pauses on the word, looking away and clenching his jaw. "It's fucked up, I don't know how it happened."

"I was just gone for a few hours," Santana mumbles, closing her eyes tightly. Before Finn can say anything else, the elevator doors ding open and a tall, scruffy looking man comes walking down the hallway towards them. They both turn to him, backs ramrod straight. "Captain," Finn greets as the man comes to a stop in front of them. He nods at Finn before turning to look at Santana. "As of right now you're on leave, Lopez," he says in a gruff voice, holding his hand out, palm up towards her. "Badge and gun." "No," she bites out, her fist clenching as she steps forward. "You can't take me off this case. Not now," she argues even though she should have seen this coming. "I can and I just did," he responds, not backing down. "Listen, your partner is in the hospital, your girlfriend is missing, all because of this guy. You're way too close to this," he explains, uncharacteristically gentle. "You're off the case. Stay out of everyone's way so we can get this done and catch him." Every bone in Santana's body wants to resist and she even thinks about shooting both men in front of her and making a break for it. Thankfully, some rational

part of her kicks in and prevents her from being reckless. They can take her badge away, but it can't stop her from doing what she needs to do. She made a promise and now it's more important than ever. So she takes out her gun and tugs her badge off her belt, handing them over without another word. She can hear Finn breathe a sigh of relief next to her. "I'm going to the hospital," she announces, brushing past both of them and back towards the elevator. She doesn't wait for a response. -After Brittany left and Santana realized her girlfriend wasn't coming back, she took a week off of work. She spent the first day filling her body with as much alcohol and nicotine as she possibly could without passing out. She spent the second day doing the same. The third day, Quinn showed up. "What do you want, Fabray?" Santana spat out, leaving the girl in the open doorway as she stumbled back to the couch. Her hand knocked over an empty bottle of Jack Daniels as she reached for the handle of tequila she had sitting there. She sank back into the cushions with a grateful sigh, the smell of alcohol sifting to her nose as she unscrewed the bottle and brought it to her lips.

"Rachel and I are worried about you," Quinn said, closing the door and walking into the living room. The attorney surveyed the table full of empty liquor bottles and cigarette packs with a raised eyebrow as she sat on the chair next to the sofa. Santana rolled her eyes at Quinn and scoffed, tipping the tequila bottle back and letting the liquid pour down her throat. At this point, she could barely taste it. "Okay," Quinn admitted. "Rachel is worried about you. I, on the other hand," Quinn continued, leaning back into the chair and crossing her legs. "Told her this was typical Santana Lopez behavior. You'll spend a week getting blitzed and acting like a moron and the next you'll be back at work, insulting and offending everyone within ear shot." Santana ignored her, propped her feet up against the coffee table and continued to drink her tequila. Quinn, however, remained undeterred. "What exactly is this accomplishing?" "Well," Santana finally answered, lifting the bottle in her hands before her face. She let her eyes blur in and out on the label. "It's getting me pretty drunk." Quinn rolled her eyes and stood up. "You're useless. Sitting around here, feeling sorry for yourself. No wonder Brittany left."

It punched her square in the chest, the alcohol and pain all mixed together in the pit of her stomach. Before she knew it she was on her feet, throwing the half-full tequila bottle against the far wall and hearing it make contact with a satisfying wet crash. Quinn didn't even flinch. "She'll come back," Santana said, low and almost too soft to hear. "Not if you don't go and get her," Quinn replied, turning on her heel and leaving the apartment. -Compared to her apartment building, the hospital is dead quiet, no sirens, or curious neighbors milling about. Just a few nurses on a smoke break outside the entrance and a family sitting huddled together in the waiting area. Santana's hand is at her belt, prepared to show the front desk her badge when she realizes she doesn't fucking have it anymore. It makes her feel even more vulnerable all of a sudden, more aware of the empty space under her arm and the lack of weight attached to her than anything else. Fortunately, she must look about as good as she feels because she doesn't have any problem getting information about Quinn despite lacking her normal methods of investigation. When she gets to Quinn's

hallway, however, she loses the restraint she had against throwing up. Thankfully, she makes it to the bathroom before embarrassing herself. She doesn't know how long she stands there, water dripping off her face over the sink, but it must be a long while because eventually the door creaks open and out of nowhere Puck is standing next to her in sweatpants and a t-shirt, a white bandage stark against the skin of his arm. He sets a small bottle of mouthwash on the lip of the sink. "This is the women's bathroom," she says, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Puck shrugs, ignores the comment and grabs her around the shoulders, pulling her into his chest and holding her there, despite her struggling to be released. "I heard about Britt," he says, his hand warm and firm where it's splayed across her back. "Quinn's hurt, but she's okay. He only got her in the leg. She's in surgery right now." At that, her body gives up the fight and she feels her face scrunch up against tears, the events of the last hour overwhelming her. Strangely, she's glad Puck is holding her because she's pretty sure her knees are seconds from failing her again. He's solid and strong and he feels familiar in a way she desperately needs right now. So she gives in to his hug, lets her eyes close against his chest and takes deep breaths trying

to collect herself. She needs to get her head on straight because she needs to solve this, needs to find Brittany, needs to kill Roger Pike. She can't do that if she's a fucking mess. "How'd you know I was in here?" Santana asks, after a few minutes. "I was walking out of Quinn's room when I saw you spring into the bathroom," he responds, his chin digging into the top of her head. His arms drop from around her and he steps back, grabs the bottle of mouthwash and holds it out to her. "When you didn't come out I figured you were losing your breakfast," he continues as she grabs the bottle and unscrews it. "I came prepared." "Thanks," Santana responds after swishing the liquid in her mouth and spitting it out. "Should you be out of bed?" Puck leans a hip against one of the sinks and raises an eyebrow at her. "Bitch, please. I discharged myself when Hudson called me about Britt," he replies. "You think I'd fucking leave you without backup right now?" Despite the circumstances she finds herself smiling, staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. She shakes her head and looks back down at the sink drain, the smile fading from her face. "Captain took

my badge," she croaks, hating the way the words make it all real. "Involuntary leave." He nods. "I figured," he says, his right shoulder shrugging up and down. "So what?" Santana snaps her head towards him. "What do you mean so what?" "So I know you," he responds. "You're going fucking rogue on this joint and I'm in. What's our next move?" Both her eyebrows rise up above her eyes. "Puck," she starts. "This is my fight too," he interrupts, his feet spread apart and arms still crossed around his chest. His eyes are hard as they glare at her, leaving no room for argument. "So, go deal with Rachel because she's a damn mess. Tell her Q's going to be fine. Make her believe it." He points towards the bathroom door before recrossing his arms. "Then let's go fucking destroy this bastard." In that moment, in the women's bathroom of the county hospital, with her whole world in ruins around her, she doesn't think she's ever loved Noah Puckerman more. --

When she finally gets out of the bathroom and Puck walks down the hall to make a phone call, she sees Rachel. The shorter girl is huddled in a hard plastic chair outside, her leg bouncing up and down erratically as she chews on the pad of her thumb. It's a combination of drugs, adrenaline and fear and Santana can make out the shudders wracking Rachel's back - she's never seen Rachel look so broken. Santana's worried about Quinn, it's churning her guts and making her hands shake, but the image of Rachel Berry looking so small in a hospital hallway pushes all the worry for Quinn aside for the moment. It goes against all her instincts, against years of hating and harassing this girl but there's always been something between her and Rachel, something deep and fundamental that sort of floats under the surface of their arguments, that ties them together despite their animosity. And at the moment, that something is lying in an operating room with a bullet lodged in her leg. So even though Santana never saw herself doing something like this, she takes the empty seat next to Rachel and puts her arm around her shoulders, pulling her tight against her side, but cautious of her recently cracked ribs. Her other arm wraps around Rachel's front as Santana shifts to face the girl, resting her lips against brown hair and murmuring, "It's going to be okay. Quinn's going to be okay and I'm going to kill this asshole. It's going to be okay." Rachel takes a few shaky breaths against Santana's

chest and brings her hand up to squeeze the arm Santana has around her chest. They sit there for a good minute before Santana says, "But I still hate you." It gets a small chuckle out of the smaller girl who whispers back, "I still hate you too." It's as close to an I love you as they'll ever get. -"My dad offered me a job," Quinn said, looking tired and weary across the table from Santana. It was finals week and the first time Quinn had been free in a month. Santana thought maybe the blonde should have spent this time sleeping. "You know, for after I graduate." Santana twirled her coffee cup around in circles on the table. "Yeah?" Quinn nodded. "It's one of those 'he knows a guy who knows a guy' things." "You gonna take it?" Santana asked, picking up her cup and sipping at the liquid. She glanced towards the window and watched the umbrellas of morning commuters pass by. "I don't know," Quinn answered, shrugging. "It pays

well, it's good private practice experience. It's just," she trailed off, eyes moving down to stare at her own cup of coffee. "It's your dad," Santana provided. "Yeah," Quinn breathed out. "There's strings, but I haven't figured it out yet." Santana thought about that, thought about her own parents, and her own job and the swanky apartment she and Brittany lived in. "Well, you might as well take it until you figure it out. Money's money," she said after a bit. "It's not like job offers grow on trees." Quinn laughed at that, but it sounded off to Santana, like there was something she was missing. "True," Quinn responded, a smile plastered on her face that didn't reach her eyes. -After Puck finishes his phone call, he steps back in front of them, taking in Santana and Rachel's embrace with a smirk and an eyebrow. Santana rolls her eyes at him and stands, dropping her arms from around Rachel. "I called Matt," he says. "They didn't find anything at your apartment."

She nods, willing her brain to turn off her emotions and turn on her ability to do her damn job. It takes a few seconds but she closes her eyes and lets it all click into place. Her partner eyes Rachel before continuing on. "Did you hear back about the guys we sent after daddy Fabray?" Santana shakes her head. "I haven't heard anything, no. But that was only a few hours ago." "We need something," Puck says, frustration bleeding into his voice. "We need to talk to Quinn after she gets out of surgery." Puck nods, twirls his cell phone between his index finger and thumb. "You think she knows something." "It's all I can think of right now. Her dad visits Pike in prison. Pike shoots Quinn," Santana explains, forcing herself not to react to the sob it brings out of Rachel next to her. She tugs Puck by the shirt down the hallway and out of earshot before continuing. "He takes Brittany and he leaves Rachel unharmed." "He ran over her with a car," Puck argues. "He shoots Quinn in the leg. Doesn't that seem weird

to you?" Puck shrugs, pocketing his phone. "He has shit aim," he offers. She crosses her arms across her chest, bites her bottom lip and looks down the hallway, watches doctors and nurses walking in and out of rooms while she thinks it over. "Could be," she admits. "But if his goal was Brittany, if it was me," Santana manages to say, happy with the way the feelings are duller than they were an hour ago. "If that's his endgame, the rest of it doesn't make sense. Quinn, Rach, you. All hurt, none dead." "Fuck," Puck lets out, scratching the back of his neck and finding something of interest on the tile beneath his feet. "He called me," Santana says suddenly, nearly smacking herself for not saying this sooner. Puck whips his head up. "He what?" "He called me, after I left here earlier. That's how I knew he had her." "What did he say?" "Just that he had Brittany and that he'd be in touch."

Puck whirls around and kicks out at the wall. "So we have to fucking wait?" Her eyes dart around the hallway as she shakes her head, trying to get her brain to put all the pieces together. She's missing something, she knows it. It's right there, in the back of her mind and she can't fucking see it. But it seems that Roger Pike has some bizarre psychic timing because at that exact moment, with Puck's back to her and Rachel sobbing in a chair down the hall, her phone rings. -"I'm quitting my job," Quinn blurt out, leaning against the brick wall of Santana's apartment building. "I'm going to take a position at the prosecutor's office next month." Santana pushed off the wall and turned to look at her friend, flicking her cigarette on the ground and stomping it out with her foot. "What?" She asked, a stream of smoke escaping with the question. "I'm quitting," the attorney repeated. "Yeah, I caught that part of it," Santana said. "Why? You fucking love your job."

Quinn shook her head and looked down the dark street. The streetlight behind them flickered on and off. "I found out what the strings are," Quinn replied finally, turning back to Santana, jaw clenched. "Well?" Santana asked, putting her hands out questioningly. "What are they?" Suspicion and concern flowed through her. Quinn had been working for her father for nearly two years, everything had seem idyllic. A rain drop splattered suddenly onto her forehead and she looked upward as she rubbed it away, hoping it didn't start raining. Quinn kicked her heel against the brick and bit her lip, looking down the street again before turning back. "You don't want to know," she said on a deep exhale. Santana was about to press the issue, worried by the look on Quinn's face and the way her posture radiated defeat and resignation, but Brittany and Rachel came bursting out the front door, their laughter ringing loudly across the empty street. -"Pike," she bites out as she flips her phone open. Puck spins around, looking at her with wide eyes and taking a step forward. She puts her hand up to stop him and presses the phone harder against her ear. "Detective," Pike says. "How's your day going?"

Her teeth press tightly together. "Where are you?" She hears Pike cluck over the line. "Now, now, Lopez. You should know." "Why don't you tell me anyway?" Puck pulls his phone out and flips it open and closed anxiously as he stares at her. "How's your lawyer friend doing?" Pike asks, humor in his voice. "Pity I had to shoot her, she's a real looker." Santana's vision goes fuzzy but she manages to clear it before asking, "What do you want, Pike?" "Oh, well, Lopez. That should be obvious," he answers. "I want you. What do you think this whole thing is about?" Laughter comes through the phone and it makes her fist clench tightly, her nails digging into her palm painfully. "Well why don't you tell me where you are, Roger?" Santana gets out, thankful her voice stays calm and even. "And then we can have a little chat." The guy is laughing again and Santana thinks, with dark, calm realization, that she's going to enjoy putting a bullet in this guy. "Well now I'm disappointed, Detective."

"Why's that?" Santana watches Puck wipe a hand over his face and glance at Rachel. She turns to follow his gaze and sees her staring at them, her posture worried and alert, clearly having noticed the phone call. Pike sighs. "I sent you the invitation ages ago," he answers. "Really, I'm getting impatient. Can we not do this Murder She Wrote bit for days? I'm not too keen on waiting around for you to figure it out." Everything in her goes still, her brain racing to decipher his words. "Invitation?" "Yes," Pike continues. "Well, I guess I sent it to your girl here. She's a pretty one too. But I'm sure you already know that, don't you, Lopez?" Puck grabs her arm when she starts to sway but she summons whatever emotional barriers she can find inside herself and forces her heart to turn off, to not think about Brittany in danger, to focus on the task at hand. "What do you mean, you sent it to her?" But Pike just clucks at her again. "I'm afraid this little conversation is getting tiring. I'm a busy man," he says. "You know how it is. Do tell me if you find the invitation. I'd really love to see you, Lopez. And soon."

And then all she can hear again is dial tone. -"Good collar today," Quinn congratulated, walking up to Santana and setting a drink on the high top next to her. Santana glanced over at her friend's approach before turning back to the board in front of her and throwing her dart. "Please," she said, making a disgruntled face as her dart hit a double 15 and busted her score. "I could do that in my sleep." Quinn laughed and twirled the straw around in her cocktail. "It feels good though," she commented, walking towards the dart board and resetting the game. The blonde picked up three darts and walked back to stand next to Santana. "What does?" Santana asked, leaning her elbows on the high top to watch Quinn make her first throw. "You know," Quinn said, eying the board and lining up her shot. "Catching bad guys, saving the city, that kind of thing." Santana chuckled, took a sip of martini and laughed when Quinn's dart shot wide and to the left. "Yeah, sure. That's me. Santana Lopez, fucking hero."

Quinn shook her head and walked to the table as Santana took her place and prepared to shoot. "I'm just saying. After my last job, this feels good." There was something in the way Quinn said it, something in the set of the girl's shoulders and the way she gulped at the cocktail in her hand. Santana dropped her hand to her side and turned to face her friend. "You okay?" Quinn quirked an eyebrow at her. "Excuse me?" "You're acting weird." "Shoot your darts, Santana," Quinn demanded. Santana rolled her eyes. "Fine, be weird if you want to," Santana said, lining her shot back up and throwing. "But Berry is going to be all over you about that shit and you're going to wish you had unloaded on me." Quinn just sighed loudly and looked off across the bar. "Unless it's like, about Berry," Santana said, turning around again before she threw her last shot. "In which case, thank you. I so do not want to hear about that right now."

Quinn laughed genuinely and turned back to look at Santana. "Throw," the blonde commanded. -"Well?" Puck asks as she hung up the phone. "Fuck did he say?" Santana runs a shaky hand through her hair and lets out a long breath, dropping her phone into her coat pocket. Her eyebrows scrunch together as she goes over what Pike just said. "He told me that he already sent an invitation," she informs Puck. "That I should know where he is." "And that means...," Puck replies, his eyes narrowing in thought. A low breath escapes her lips. "I have no idea." "Think, think," Puck says, palming the top of his head as he walks in short repetitive paces in front of her. "Invitation, note, card, mail, envelope, maybe it's the pictures he sent? All those white envelopes." Santana shakes her head and licks her lips, going over all the things it could mean when suddenly it clicks, it all fits together right in front of her. Not the solution, not the entire puzzle, but one piece, a shot, a lead.

"Envelope," she says lowly. "He said he sent it to Brittany." Puck nods slowly and stares at her but doesn't say anything, gives her the silence to work through her thoughts. "Brittany kept getting mail after she left," Santana continues. "I was too fucking depressed to pay attention to it, I just threw it all in a drawer in the kitchen." Puck's eyes go wide and he reaches out to grab her elbow, tugging her down the hall. "Let's go," he intones. Santana bobs her head up and down determinedly, but spares a brief glance over her shoulder where Rachel is still watching them. She gives the girl a brief nod, and watches as Rachel takes a deep breath and swallows hard, fists clenched at her sides, before nodding hard and fast back at Santana. Her eyes telling Santana all she needs to know. Get this guy. -When the doorbell rang, Santana shot a glare at Quinn before glancing down to her shoulder to make sure Brittany was still asleep.

Quinn rolled her eyes in response as she caught the glare. "What?" She asked as she got up to get the door. "Why'd you invite Berry anyway?" Santana asked, keeping her voice soft. "She's my girlfriend, S," Quinn hissed. Santana put on a bored expression and went back to watching the movie playing from Quinn's television. "Whatever." Quinn walked out of the room to answer the door and Brittany shifted on her shoulder, mumbling a "Be nice," into the skin there. Santana smiled and turned her head, her hand skimming down to grip Brittany's thigh. "I am nice," she whispered back. Brittany shook her head but Santana could make out the smile on her girlfriend's face. Five minutes later, Brittany back asleep and drooling onto the cotton of Santana's t-shirt, she realized Quinn still hadn't come back from answering the door and Rachel's annoying voice had yet to violate her ears. She supposed they could be doing something disgusting like making out in the entryway but Quinn

usually liked to shove that in Santana's face, knowing how much it annoyed her. It was unlike her friend to miss out on such a fine opportunity. She reached for the remote on the arm of the couch and turned the volume down, trying to make out any telltale signs from the outer room. It was quiet, but Santana could just barely hear low voices, one of them Quinn's, one of them sounding more masculine, neither of them happy. Gently, she dislodged Brittany's head from where it rested and laid the girl down across the couch, creeping out of the living room to the front door. She got there just as Quinn was shutting the door, jumping when she turned around and saw Santana. "Jesus!" "Was that Berry?" Santana asked curiously. Quinn shook her head and moved to walk past Santana. "No." Santana grabbed Quinn by the elbow before the girl could get away. "Who was it?" Quinn didn't look happy. In fact, she looked somewhere between pissed and scared. It wasn't a normal look for her friend and Santana didn't like it. She didn't like it at all. "A friend of my father's," Quinn answered, knowing

Santana wouldn't back down. Santana looked back at the door, her eyes narrowed in confusion before looking back to her friend. "What did he want?" "Nothing," Quinn responded, shrugging her arm out of Santana's grasp. "You don't look like he wanted nothing." "Look this isn't a fucking case, Santana. Drop it," Quinn demanded. Her eyes went wide with surprise but before she could retort the doorbell rang again and Rachel Berry's voice rang loud through the heavy wood. Quinn sighed and moved past Santana to answer it. By the time Santana left the apartment with Brittany, hours later, she had forgotten all about the encounter. -They take the subway back to the stop by her building and walk the two blocks to her apartment in the rain. Santana barely notices it anymore. Not the rain, not the ache in her legs, not the tightness in her chest, or the emptiness in her stomach. She only feels one thing right now. Cold, hard, rage. She rubs her thumb hard against the starter on her lighter, feels it grate

back and forth in her pocket. "What if they're still there?" Santana asks, rounding the corner to her street. "It's your apartment," he murmurs. "And they're not. Matt told me they were checking out Quinn and Rachel's place. They think it's a lead." Santana breathes out through her nose and feels relief flood through her at the absence of squad cars in front of her building. The lobby is quiet when they get in and the silence of the elevator ride helps her put her thoughts together. There's still blood on the wall by her door and she nearly trips at the sight of it but Puck pushes her forward, tugs the police tape off her front door and holds his hand out for her key. They get inside and Santana isn't sure she can handle it anymore. She thought she had a grip on her feelings, but there's blood on the floor by the couch and the kitchen is in complete disarray from breakfast and the whole goddamn place still smells like Brittany. Magnified by her recent return. She squeezes her eyes shut and feels her breathing increase as it all assaults her. "Where's the drawer?" Puck asks, his voice low and commanding, snapping Santana out of her haze. She points towards a drawer in the kitchen, all the

way on the edge of the counter towards the door. It was originally their junk drawer, where they'd put random junk like business cards and take-out menus, extra pens or pads of paper. When Brittany left it was where Santana threw anything that belonged to Brittany that she could fit in it, the most common item being all the mail that still came to the apartment, addressed to her ex-girlfriend. She was too much of a chickenshit to ever actually forward it. Part of her knows spite had something to do with it too. Puck opens the drawer and his eyebrows shoot up at the amount of crap in it. He pulls out a stack of mail and throws it on the table. That's when Santana sees it, feels her mouth go dry when she notices it, remembers getting it. She darts a shaky hand out and picks it up from the top of the pile. A single white envelope with Brittany's name scrawled across the front. It was the envelope she picked up the night she heard about the robbery, the one that made her want to pick the case up. She hadn't thought anything of it before, too caught up in memories, and pain. All she had thought then was about getting rid of the memory of Brittany, of putting it out of sight and out of mind. "Open it," Puck whispers, staring at her when all she was doing was holding it out in front of her like a moron.

She swallows thickly and exhales in soft pant before pulling back the flap and tugging out its contents. It's a picture, black and white, of an open field and Santana can make out what looks like old train tracks in the distance. Her eyes roam the photo, willing her brain to recognize anything but coming up with nothing. Puck ducks down to look at the back, reading the note allowed. "I"m watching you," he says. "How is this an invitation?" Santana flips it over and looks at the writing, then back again to look at the landscape. Puck reaches forward to grab at the picture, the long bandage on his arm catching her eye. She lets him hold the photo and looks up at him, the memories of the past few days flashing through her brain as she takes in the bandages on Puck's face. Her eyes go wide and Puck seems to sense it. His head whips up towards hers and he drops the photo on the table. "What?" He asks. "I know where he is," Santana says. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Fifteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 5k this part Notes in Part One

[Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] -It's raining. Santana shifts her feet back and forth as she waits for Puck, standing under an awning outside the station, trying to stay as dry as she can. Her lighter flicks open and closed in her left hand, the motions agitated and anxious and the clicking sound ringing loud across the street. Where the hell is Puck? She blinks up into the rain, watches it pour down and drip off the small roof above her, falling into puddles and cracks on the sidewalk with a splash. Some of the drops land on her face but she doesn't wipe them off, just looks back at the double doors of the station and sighs, tugging the collar of her trench coat up against her neck. Fleetingly, she thinks of the pack of cigarettes she threw in the trash hours ago, wishes they were in her pocket right now instead of soaking in the bottom of a tin can. Her fingers tap restlessly against her side as she looks up and down the empty street. What is taking Puck so long? It's dark now, the last of the afternoon light creeping

down into the horizon and Santana feels the time bleeding away in her veins, can't stop the heavy thud of her heart against her ribs ever since she realized where Pike was. Puck's taking too long and she has half a mind to leave without him, steal one of the empty cars parked on the street and speed all the way to where Pike has Brittany stored. She takes about two steps into the rain, about to do just that, when the doors to the station slam open and Puck comes bounding down the front steps holding a black duffel bag. "What the hell took so long?" Santana pockets her lighter and walks towards him, grabbing the duffel from him and slinging it over her shoulder. "Dude, you can't rush my skills. You think it's a walk in the park to sweet talk your way into the weapons locker?" He starts walking down the street and she follows, turning left around the station and heading towards the back parking lot. "Especially considering it was that chick, what's-her-name, working tonight. You know, the one that gives me the evil eye all the time." Santana rolls her eyes. "They all give you the evil eye, you moron." Puck laughs as he makes his way to an unmarked car at the far end of the lot and pulls out a set of keys

from the pockets of his jeans. When Santana figured out the location from the picture her first instinct was to bolt out of the apartment and race straight there, the desire so strong she nearly ran straight into her front door. But Puck somehow became the more level headed of the two of them and grabbed her firmly by the waist, hauling her back into the apartment and stopping her. He was right to do so, of course. She didn't have her gun, or a car, or backup and rushing over there, halfcocked would probably get her killed. And Brittany. So despite her initial protesting that if Puck didn't let her go she'd castrate him with a rusty spoon, she finally calmed down, took a deep breath and tried to think of a plan. It was only her badge and gun that was taken away, but Puck wasn't armed from his stay in the hospital. So their first stop was the station to see if he could get issued a weapon and possibly some transportation since his car wasn't currently in working order. It was risky, obviously, to suit up with police-issued gear, but they didn't have a ton of choices. Santana had her offduty weapon stored in her apartment, which was fine, but neither of them felt comfortable heading over there with just one gun. They could have gone to Puck's, sure, and found his own gun but the station was closer, was easier to access and had a better armory. Plus, they needed a car and Puck needed the change of clothes he had stored in the locker.

All of it is a good, sound plan but it's all taking way too long for Santana and it's like she can feel the seconds tick away loudly in her head like a painful throbbing in her brain. "Nemo's with Mike," Puck comments as he pops the trunk of the car and throws the duffel in the back there, the bag thudding loudly among the other gear stored there - medical kit, riot gear, traffic gun. "How'd you find that out?" She turns to face him, hands in her pockets. When Nemo wasn't in the apartment she only spent a few seconds worried about him, too focused on Brittany and Quinn and Rachel and Roger fucking Pike. She's grateful Puck knows her well enough to know that worry was still simmering beneath the surface. "Asked some rookie in evidence if he knew what happened to him. Apparently Hudson knew Mike was a friend and had the dog sent over there." Puck eyes her like she's not going to like this information, but really, she's just glad her damn dog is alive. She could care less where he is or how he got there. "Good," she replies, wiping a hand across her forehead to slick away the rain. "Thought you'd feel better going into this knowing that," Puck mumbles, walking around to the driver's

side of the door. Santana makes her way to the other side of the car and slides in, Puck settling in the front seat next to her and she feels a calm wash over her at the familiarity of it all, of the way she feels like she has a real shot at ending this right now, at saving Brittany, at surviving. She closes her eyes at the sound of Puck clicking the ignition on and rolling the car out of the spot, warm air blasting out of the vents and over her wet face. Her fists clench where they rest on the wet denim of her thighs and she forces her mind to still, to focus, to get herself ready for what comes next. The car shoots down the street away from the station and after a minute of driving Santana rolls her head to side, her cheek resting on the scratchy fabric of the head rest. Puck's jaw is tight and the bandages on his face and neck stand out in the darkness, the skin around his eyes tight with weariness. "You sure you want to do this? We'll probably both be fired." She turns to look back out the front window, watches the wipers fling the rain away. "If we survive, that is," she mumbles darkly. His hands squeeze the steering wheel, the knuckles going white before he glances at her briefly. "I'm with you to the end." --

It was late by the time she got back to the apartment and the place was shrouded in darkness, only the noise of Nemo's dog tags clinking against each other breaking the silence. He blinked sleepily at her from his bed in the living room before licking his lips and putting his head back down. She smiled briefly at the sight before flipping the light on in the kitchen and heading to the fridge. She threw her hat on the counter, her keys, phone and wallets following. Her head rolled back on her neck as she tugged a finger in her uniform collar and opened the fridge, eyes roaming over its contents for what she was looking for. The beer was cold in her palm and the sound of the cap twisting off made her sigh involuntarily. She took a long sip and felt the liquid settle in her stomach as she leaned back against the edge of the counter. Her hand rested instinctively on the gun at her hip but when the cold metal grazed her wrist she jerked upwards, nearly choking on her beer. She mentally chastised herself for being such a pansy, but set her beer on the counter, rested both her hands on cool marble and took a deep breath trying not to think of what had happened that night. But the memory wouldn't leave her and she knew even the beer wasn't going to help. So she abandoned the kitchen and headed back to the

bedroom, popping the buttons on her starched uniform shirt as she walked. Brittany was in bed when she got there, spread out on her stomach, her hand palm down on sheets of Santana's side. She expected the sight to calm her, to put her at ease, to help her breathe easy but for some reason it did the opposite, made it harder to force air out of her lungs and squeezed her heart to the point of pain. She felt tainted, and dirty and the last thing she wanted to do was slide between the sheets next to Brittany. She undressed anyway but couldn't seem to move her feet in the direction of the bed, just ended up standing beside it staring down at blonde hair, spread out in all directions on the pillow. Brittany must have sensed her presence on some subconscious level because after a few minutes of just staring, the blonde turned over onto her back and opened sleepy eyes to see Santana. "What are you doing?" Brittany blinked up at her and licked her lips, reaching a hand out in invitation. Santana took a deep breath and forced herself to slide in beside her girlfriend, tugging the sheets over both of them and burying herself deep into the pillow. But Brittany was pretty much an expert at all things Santana Lopez so instead of snuggling into her side

and falling back into sleep, Brittany pulled Santana over by her arm until she was basically on top of her girlfriend, her face in Brittany's collar bone and Brittany's hands stroking down Santana's back. "What's wrong?" Brittany whispered into the darkness. Santana ran her teeth over her bottom lip before answering. She wanted to lie, denial was right there on the tip of her tongue. But she didn't really like to lie to Brittany, didn't like how it felt. Brittany would know, or course, right away, that she was lying, but the blonde girl wouldn't say anything about it, wouldn't push Santana if she felt something was seriously wrong. And that, really, was the worse part - Brittany's awareness that she was lying. It always made her feel like such an asshole and she didn't think she could handle that tonight. So the truth came out instead. "I shot someone tonight." The words came out low and under her breath, spoken into the soft skin of Brittany's neck. Brittany didn't say anything, but Santana knew her girlfriend heard her, could feel the reaction in the tense muscles underneath her. Fear gripped her by the throat and she could still feel the recoil of her gun in the muscles of her arms, could still see the way the other guy flew back with the bullet, how blood poured out of his chest and she could still feel the way his life bled out of him under the palms of her hands. If

Brittany was ever going to walk away from her, it'd be now. It was the first time she had ever shot her gun outside the range, first time she had watched a bullet pierce someone's chest, the first time she had killed someone. Most cops go their whole career without discharging their weapon, most cops never shoot a criminal much less actually kill them and here she was, only two years on the job, still wet behind the ears according to most of the veterans on the force and she had blood all over hands. Before Santana's thoughts spiraled out of control, Brittany turned to face her and pressed her lips onto Santana's head, whispering, "I love you" into her hair. It pierced through her, right into her gut and all of a sudden, pain, guilt, sadness blended together and turned to anger. "How can you even say that?" Santana hissed. "I killed someone tonight." She moved to get up out of bed, head out to Rick's maybe, get mad wasted and forget all about tonight. But Brittany wrapped strong arms around her and held her down, pressed their bodies together and merely repeated the words. "I love you." Santana sagged into the body under her and cried. --

They arrive at their destination and Puck parks about a block away, idling the car as both of them just stare out at the building. There's a few streetlights illuminating the road but the light is dim, the whole area looking abandoned and desolate, but Santana knows they're in the right place, can feel it in her bones. Puck cuts the engine off and pockets his keys. "You really think he's there?" Santana nods, eying the warehouse ahead of them before opening the car door and stepping back into the rain. She had recognized the open field from the picture almost immediately, the train tracks that ran through them and just the sight of it brought the memory of hot flames licking across her face and the way her back hit the brick wall when Puck's car exploded. Puck jumps out too and walks around to the trunk, popping it open and unzipping the duffel inside before reaching in. He pulls out his handgun and tucks it into the back of his pants, handing another to Santana and waiting until she does the same before handing her another gun. The gun makes loud, mechanical noises as she checks the ammo and grabs a few more magazines from the duffel bag, stuffing them in the pockets of her coat. Honestly, she doesn't expect a gun fight or anything, but she wouldn't mind

unloading about 15 clips into this guy. When they're both satisfied, Puck closes the trunk and nods at her, shifting his grip on his gun where it dangles in his hand. "Last chance," she says, the rain dripping into her eyes. Thunder claps in the distance and a cold breeze brushes past them. Puck brings his jaw up and looks at her, a small smirk on his lips. "Fuck you," he replies, turning to walk towards the warehouse, his gun drawn in front of him but pointed down. She smiles and shakes her head before taking a deep breath and blowing it out, shifting her mind to the task at hand. She catches up to Puck as they both get closer to the double doored entrance to the warehouse. The same rusty lock from before is dangling off the handle and Santana eyes the broken windows all around the building. "Go see if there's a back way in. I'll go in first." She gestures around the building with her free hand. He follows the order without another word. When she gets to the door she doesn't feel fear, she doesn't feel anxiety, she doesn't feel anything but a cold calm, a certainty that Pike is inside and that she's going to end this thing here and now. She puts her

back up against the wall next to the door and presses her palm against its surface, pushing slowly and letting the finger of her other hand rest on the trigger of her gun. She's inching her feet forward, trying to see around the door into the open space when she hears, "Just come in, Detective. You were invited after all," calling loudly from inside. Pike's voice spurs her into action and she spins through the door, gun raised as she searches to find him. He's over by the far wall, a gun in one hand and Brittany, hunched on the ground by his feet, her hands bound behind her. Her finger nearly pulls the trigger at the sight, but Pike must sense it happening because he moves to stand behind Brittany, squatting down and shielding himself behind the blonde girl. She swallows against the rage, knowing she needs to get him the hell away from Brittany in order to get a clean shot. She allows herself a brief moment of crippling relief at the sight of Brittany, looking afraid but unharmed and still very much alive. Their eyes connect before she looks back at Pike, hiding behind the blonde. "Step away from her, Pike," she commands, her voice level. Pike looks down at Brittany, shifting his gun around in

his hand before looking back at Santana. "I'm good, thanks." "Come on, Pike," Santana tries. "Why don't you leave her be? It's me you want anyway." He nods, bounces a little from his position and chuckles. "True." "So why don't you stop hiding behind a girl and come out to finish it? Leave her out of this," she bargains. Out of the corner of her eye she catches movement at a back window, out of Pike's line of sight. It's Puck, observing the scene inside with wide eyes. She spares him a glance, hoping he knows better than to announce his presence right now. The last thing she needs is to put Pike on the defense. "It's me you want dead," she says, trying to get him to focus on her and not anyone else, not Brittany, not Puck. "Not her." "Oh, come now, Detective. You're smarter than that," he says, pointing his gun to his temple and then back at her. "I don't want to kill you, it was never about killing you." "Then what, Pike? What is this whole charade - Just a sick little game of yours to pass the time?" She readjusted her grasp on her gun, swallowing hard as she forced her heart beat to slow. One shot. She just needs one shot. He has to move. He has to move away from Brittany.

"Think about it, Lopez. You can figure it out," he shuffles closer behind Brittany and grabs her hair, pulling her up as he stands. Santana twitches forward involuntarily, stumbling a few steps before stopping, her jaw clenching almost painfully with the effort to control herself. "The dance studio, the apartment. The pictures. I did it all for you." "I hit that pretty little brunette singer. She flew off the hood of my car like a damn fish out of water, a thing of beauty really." He shrugs, observing Brittany with a raised eyebrow. "Pity you couldn't have seen it, but I was in a hurry," he explains, looking back at her. "You understand. I'm not one to play around, it bores me. Which is why, of course, you're here now. Anyway." He rolls his eyes at himself. "First, I hit that short brunette of yours," he starts again. "Then your partner. I mean." He chuckles and the sound of it makes Santana want to punch something. "Well you handed that one to me didn't you? Showing up at the warehouse, leaving that car unattended. I thought about killing him, waiting until he got in the car. But I couldn't risk you getting hit too now could I? And besides, you, watching him lying injured in a hospital bed is so much more fun." "Then you left." He turns wide, surprised eyes at her and she shifts forward again, trying to walk around him for a clean shot. "I mean, you actually left. Talk

about a gift. I thought we'd be having some grand, epic showdown in your apartment. I prefer this setting though, don't you? It's almost poetic." Pike shrugs, lets our a loud exhale and kicks up an overturned chair so it faces her, pushes Brittany towards it, pointing his gun at Brittany's back. Santana feels her index finger twitch on the trigger and her jaw clench even tighter. She forces herself to relax, to focus. "I had to shoot your lawyer friend. Quinn, was it? Her daddy might be a little peeved about that, but she's alive," he continues, almost to himself. "He'll survive." She jerks back, forgotten suspicions slamming back into her with force. "What does Quinn's dad have to do with this?" Pike snaps his head up to her, his eyes wide as if he's shocked he revealed too much. "Let's focus, shall we?" Santana takes a few steps forward towards the pair, her gun tight in her grasp. She can almost hit him now, could maybe clip his chest from her current position but the risk of hitting Brittany is too high. "How do you know Russell Fabray?" "Lopez," Pike bites out. "Big picture, here. You, me, this girl of yours. That's what this is about."

She sees Puck outside, moving along the back wall, eyes trained on Pike, but she can tell he doesn't have a clean shot. "So what, that's all it is?" Santana asks. "Getting revenge? Hurting people?" "Well," Pike answers, shoving his gun into Brittany's back and pushing her forward. Brittany's eyes are wide and focused on Santana, but she can't think about that right now, can't look at Brittany or it will all unravel. "You're going to have to ask your friend about that one. For me, it's mostly just for fun. Oh, and pissing you off. Which, well, that is fun. So yeah, this whole thing with your friends has been mostly amusement, passing the time, chipping away at your foundation and watching you break." He drops Brittany into the chair, hunching over before Santana has a clear shot to his chest. "But this," he continues, cocking his gun and lifting it up. "Well this is the main event. This is when I break the last pillar, the last thing holding you up, and destroy you. Just like you tried to destroy me. And guess what?" Pike asks, smiling at her. "The best part. The very best part of all of this is that you get to watch," he ends, letting out a long peal of laughter and bringing his gun up to Brittany's temple and standing upright as he does it. Everything stops. Everything. And it's straight out of a movie scene, the way Santana feels time slow down around her. It's weird, because in that moment she doesn't think about the normal things. Like the fear all

over Brittany's face, Pike's maniacal laughter next to her or the way the grip of her gun feels heavy in her palm. She doesn't think about Puck, pulling his gun up towards Pike from outside, or the sound of Pike clicking the safety off on his own gun. She doesn't think about Rachel's broken sobbing in the hospital or Quinn's frantic pleading for Santana to kill this bastard. Even the bead of sweat dripping down her temple doesn't cross her mind and she doesn't give a second thought to that itch at the small of her back. She doesn't think about how she's going to lose her job, about how Puck probably will too. She doesn't think about how they're all alone out here, or about how it was really stupid not to call for backup. She doesn't think about all the missed opportunities, about how unfair life is or how fifteen years wasn't nearly enough time with Brittany. She doesn't think about earlier that morning when she kissed Brittany goodbye, or days before when she thought she'd never kiss Brittany again. None of those things. No, when it all slows down and she's standing, gun pointed in Roger Pike's direction and one eye on her girlfriend, she thinks about her dog. -"I want a puppy," Brittany said over morning waffles.

"You want a what?" Santana put her coffee back down on the table, convinced she just hallucinated the last question. "A puppy. I want one." "Where the hell did you get that idea?" "Rachel and I were talking-" "You need to stop hanging out with Berry," she intoned, picking her coffee up again. "Rachel and I were talking," Brittany repeated firmly, glaring adorably at Santana's eye roll. "And I've decided we should get a puppy." Santana narrowed her eyes and made a mental note to smack Rachel Berry. "A puppy." "Yes." "Babe, we barely have enough time to take the garbage out once a week," Santana argued. "How do you think we're going to take care of a puppy?" "Rachel, wants a baby," Brittany stated, throwing the conversation off-track. "What?" Santana shook her head to try and process the comment.

"She wants a baby, but she hasn't told Quinn yet." Santana looked at her pointedly, "And you're telling me this because?" "Because Rachel wants a baby but they don't have time for it either," Brittany continued. Santana rolled her eyes. "Yeah, no shit. Quinn works worse hours than me sometimes." "Right, so she's afraid to tell Quinn about it." "Good, the last thing Quinn needs to worry about is Berry on some new baby-making crusade." Brittany ran her fork through the syrup on her plate. "I told her she should tell Quinn." "What?" Santana leaned back in her chair and observed her girlfriend incredulously. "Why?" "She wants a baby. She should tell her." "No she shouldn't." Brittany nodded. "That's what Rachel said and then I told her I didn't get it." "What do you mean you didn't get it? If she tells

Quinn then they'll definitely have a baby and then it will all go to hell because Quinn will get even less sleep and be more pissed off and probably come to court with some gross baby fluid on her suit. Bad idea. They don't have time for a baby. She shouldn't tell her," Santana said, definitively. "I know all that," Brittany replied. "I meant I didn't get why Rachel wouldn't at least tell Quinn." "Britt, I just said why." "I want a puppy," Brittany said again, sticking her fork in her mouth and sucking on it. Santana pinched the bridge of her nose. "Too many conversations. Can't keep track," she mumbled to herself. "I want a puppy so I told you." "You did," Santana agreed. "And I said no." That seemed to confuse Brittany. "You did?" "It was implied," Santana stated. "Oh," Brittany said, looking forlorn. "Well the point is I told you. I don't know why Rachel doesn't tell Quinn. I tell you stuff like that."

"You want a puppy, Britt. A baby is like an entirely new ball game." "What's the difference?" Brittany asked, earnestly. "A puppy is a baby dog." "I know I don't need to explain how that's different, B." "Rachel wants to start a family with Quinn. I think it's cute," Brittany said, stabbing a bite of waffles before stuffing it in her mouth and chewing. Santana scoffed at that. "More like gross. Rachel Berry spawn," she shuddered. "Gross." "It's like saying 'I love you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, let's have a family.' It's cute." "Whatever," Santana said, still preoccupied with Rachel Berry miniatures running around in her head. She winced when they started putting on a miniature production of Miss Saigon. Brittany ignored her. "I want to start one with you too. Only I just want a puppy." Santana's body went still as the words went through her and she stared at Brittany. "You want to what?" "I want to start a family with you. You know, like the ads on TV," she cocked a thumb in the direction of

their living room. "I want us to have a puppy together." It was like she just realized exactly what Brittany was saying, or what she was trying to say, because this incredible warmth flowed through her and she latched on to only a few words. "You want to spend the rest of your life with me?" Brittany tilted her head to the side, amused that that's what Santana was focused on. "Duh." -"That one!" Brittany pointed excitedly at the computer screen. She squirmed around happily in Santana's lap. "Calm down, you can't just pick the first one," Santana said, scrolling down the screen slowly. "Why not?" "Why not?" Santana sputtered. "Because you just don't do that, that's not how you do it." "I don't think there are rules to this." "Yes there are. You can't just pick the first one." Brittany pouted. "You just made that up."

Santana rolled her eyes. "Fine, but at least look at the rest." "Okay," Brittany agreed, with a mischievous smile on her face. "But that's the one I want." -They picked up their new puppy, the one Brittany originally wanted, later that afternoon, driving over three hours to meet the breeder. "He's so cute!" Brittany cooed for the hundredth time since they got back. "He can walk you know," Santana deadpanned, observing the way Brittany hadn't let the puppy out of her arms once since getting home. "Aw, Santana's so grumpy," Brittany said to the puppy like she was speaking to a child. "I'm just tired. Put the puppy down and let's go to bed," she said. "Come on, San," Brittany entreated. "Look at him, he's our's! We're a family.You, me, Quinn, Rachel, Puck and now Nemo!" Santana looked at her then, saw the joy and the light in Brittany's face and felt her own break out into a

happy smile. "Yeah," she agreed, allowing Brittany the moment of happiness. "He is," she said, swallowing thickly. "We are." Brittany walked over and pressed the sweetest kiss to her lips, the puppy cuddling against Santana's chest between them. -With that in her head, and Pike's laugh breaking through her memory, time starts up again and she pulls the trigger. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Sixteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] -Santana has heard and seen guns go off all the time, in all kind of scenarios. The sound of it at the range, muffled by her earphones, the pop pop of a revolver on an empty street, or the way it sounds on the

screen of her TV. The first time she ever shot a gun her shoulders recoiled so badly she almost fell over. It took weeks before the rest of the cops stopped giving her shit for that. The first time she shot someone, legitimately shot them, she cried for hours into Brittany's shoulder. The first time she got shot herself, it was the most painful thing that's ever happened and it took months for her to stop flinching whenever a gun went off. But guns are kind of, part and parcel with her job, shooting them, cleaning them, getting shot. It's all part of her life, something she's grown used to over the past decade. The feel of the gun under her arm is comforting, so much a part of her that she's barely able to function correctly without it. So sometime between when she shot someone for the first time and when she took a bullet in her shoulder, she decided being a pretty decent marksman would be really beneficial to her job. Puck was all for it - the guy loves guns, weapons of any kind really. He has a whole closet in his apartment dedicated to different kinds of weapons, not just guns. Puck's sort of a weird collector and she remembers with fondness the time he showed her his collection, gushing like a little kid. Once Santana decided they needed to spend more time at the shooting range it became a sort of bizarre tradition. They'd spend hours on their time off shooting together at targets, making up mini-games and placing bets,

the loser responsible for buying beer when they were done. So it's pretty safe to say, Santana Lopez knows her way around a gun. She's a pretty decent shot and certainly doesn't flinch at the sight of one being pointed at her. Guns are just a part of her life. She's used using them under all kinds of pressure; shooting with Puck's laughter in her ear, her captain watching with an evaluating eye over her shoulder or pulling her gun out at a crazy person, lifting a knife in her direction and intent on killing her. After ten years on this job, in this city, she prides herself on staying calm, cool, collected, steady. Even now, with Brittany on a dirty chair and Pike pointing a gun at her blonde head she isn't feeling anything but the gun in her hand and her finger on the trigger. When she curls her finger inward and feels the gun kick back through her arm she doesn't move, doesn't flinch, just aims and shoots. She isn't the least bit surprised when she hits her mark and Pike goes flying backwards, his gun flinging from his hand as he grabs at his shoulder. Brittany falls to the side as the gun goes off, tipping the chair over and scrabbling away as fast as she can with her arms bound behind her back. But Santana doesn't pay her any mind, can't focus on her girlfriend when Pike is still breathing, writhing on his back in pain.

Santana crosses the distance between her and Pike quickly, kicking his gun even further away before she presses the heel of her shoe against his bullet wound, the sharp yell of pain he lets out flowing through her with satisfaction. She brings her gun up again, breathes deep and points it at his thigh. Her breath blows out in a gust as she pulls the trigger again and he the bullet slices right through the flesh in his leg. "That's for Quinn," she whispers, pushing her boot harder into his shoulder. Movement catches her eye and she glances up to see Puck bursting in through an open window, his gun pointed at Pike as he makes his way over. Puck keeps his gun level with Pike, eying Santana as he creeps closer to Brittany and helps her stand up. She hears rustling behind her as Puck unties the binds on Brittany's wrists but she can't take her eyes off of Pike. The back of her throat is dry and her heart is beating hard and heavy inside her chest as she stares at him, her index finger nearly twitching with the urge to shoot him again. Her eyes roam his body as her brain tries to decide where to shoot next, where she can put another bullet without killing him. She lingers on his forehead because putting a bullet between his eyes would be so satisfying, but she lets that urge pass, looks past his face towards his chest and brings her

gun around to his other shoulder. But before she can pull the trigger again Brittany gasps behind her and the sound cuts right through her haze, her finger twitching and straining as she tries to restrain herself from shooting. Blood is dripping out of Pike's mouth as he stares up at her, pain and disgust all over his face. Her heel digs in harder and she watches Pike's head snap backwards, jaw clenched in agony. She wants to shoot him again, wants to keep shooting him until she runs out of bullets, until her arm hurts and there's no way he can ever touch her life ever again. Puck walks up to her, his gun pointed at Pike's chest and she knows her partner wants it too. For a moment she thinks they might even get away with it. They're alone, in this abandoned warehouse with only Brittany as a witness. Brittany, who would never tell a soul, would take this secret to the grave if Santana asked her to. She looks at Puck, anger all over his face as he wavers the barrel of his gun over Pike's chest. They're both breathing heavily, adrenaline rushing through their limbs and when their eyes connect Santana feels it between them, the urge to snuff out a life, to feel it bleed out underneath them. It's a scary feeling the way she's so ready to do it, to pull the trigger and watch Pike stop breathing, to know Puck feels the same way.

She swallows thickly and spares a glance at Brittany, off to the side and staring at them all with wide eyes. Brittany stares at her, but doesn't make a sound and Santana thinks she feels acceptance from her girlfriend, like if she shoots Pike right now that's okay, Brittany will still love her. It's a green light and Santana feels it punch through her, her palm sweating where it's holding her gun. Pike groans in pain again as she digs her heel in one more time before stepping off him and shuffling a few steps away, keeping her gun aimed at his chest. Puck looks at her, realizing she's not going to shoot him anytime soon, and brings his own gun up to Pike's other shoulder. Santana sees the tensing of his bicep as he's about to shoot and takes a step forward to stop him. "Puck, wait," she says, low and coarse. Puck jerks forward, snapping his head up to look at her. "What?" Santana ignores him and focuses on Pike, whipping the toe of her shoe forward to kick at the bullet she lodged in his thigh. "How do you know, Russell Fabray?" Pike grabs his thigh in pain and juts his chin towards her defiantly. "Just kill me, Lopez."

Puck delivers a swift kick to Pike's ribs and Santana jumps back as Pike curls up with the motion. "Answer the question," Puck bites out. "Go to hell," Pike answers. At that, Puck grabs Pike by the short hairs of his head, pulling him up and motioning for Santana to get the chair Brittany had been sitting in. When she gets the chair upright and closer to them, Puck drops Pike into it and puts his gun against Pike's temple. Santana grabs the ropes from the ground and binds Pike's hands behind him before returning to face him. "Answer the question," Puck repeats. Pike looks straight at Santana and of all things, starts laughing. "You don't get it, do you?" Pike smiles at her, waggles his eyebrows up and down. "You've already lost, my job is done." "What does Russell Fabray have to do with this? What was your job?" Santana tries again, forces herself to ignore Brittany shifting next to her even though every instinct in her body is telling her to wrap her girlfriend up and get as far away from here as she can. "Ask his daughter," Pike answers, through his laughter. "Oh wait, I shot her didn't I? Probably not available for questioning right now."

It makes Santana's blood boil, makes her hand grip against her gun harder and her vision start to fade. She steps in front of Pike and puts her gun against his knee, pressing into the bone there hard. "Why don't you tell me instead?" Pike lifts his chin up again and stares straight into Santana's eyes. "Fuck you," he replies. Her finger tenses and pulls back on the trigger, shattering his kneecap as he lets out a loud howl of pain. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Brittany jump back at the sound, a hand over her mouth. Puck laughs and presses his gun harder into Pike's temple. It feels overwhelming all of a sudden, the whole fucked up situation and her breath is coming hard, pushing out of her in loud pants. She's going to kill this guy, she can feel it race through her. It's won't be the first time she's killed someone and fleetingly she thinks it probably won't be the last, but it will be the first time she makes a conscious decision to do it, the first time Brittany will watch her do it and hesitation pours over her. The desire is there, the sound of Quinn's pleading in her brain and the sight of Brittany bound and hunched on the floor fueling the flames. But there's something sickening about knowing Brittany's watching it

happen, seeing Santana put bullets in a man that can't even fight back, to watch his life ebb away and know she was the one who caused it. Puck must see her hesitation because he's staring at her now, his eyes wide in a fucking do something expression. She takes a deep breath because she promised Quinn she'd end this, because despite how much she hates that Brittany's standing right next to her, she hates the idea of him out there alive even more. With cool determination she lifts her gun back up and aims it for his forehead, stares straight at him and forces calm through her body. "Last chance, Pike. How do you know Russell Fabray?" Pike's head sags around slightly on his shoulders, Puck's gun still pressed into his temple. "Detective," he admonishes with a smirk. "You know I'm not going to tell you." Part of her is really glad he gives her a reason to pull the trigger. The other part feels Brittany still standing behind her. -Quinn came rushing into the diner, hair in a messy bun on top of her head and glasses sliding off her nose. She slammed a heavy stack of books on the

table as she slid into the booth across from Santana and sprayed water across the table as she shook her head out. "Sorry I'm late, class went long." Santana eyed the flush in Quinn's cheeks and the way her hair was sticking out in all directions from her bun. "Oh my God, Fabray." Quinn reached over and grabbed Santana's coffee. "What?" She took a sip, brushing falling hair out of her eyes with her free hand. "You just met this girl and you're already ditching me to make out with her?" Santana gave her friend a disgusted expression as she grabbed her coffee back. "I don't know what you're talking about," Quinn denied. She made eye contact with their waitress and pointed at Santana's coffee. Santana rolled her eyes and picked up her sandwich, taking a large bite as she watched Quinn wipe rain water off the tops of her books. "Thanks for waiting for me, ass," Quinn said, eying Santana's food. Their waitress came over and set a cup of coffee in front of Quinn, pulling a a napkin out of her apron and

a picking a pen up to write Quinn's order down. Santana zoned the sound out as she ate her own corned beef on rye and observed the rest of the people in the diner absently. "So," Quinn said, grabbing Santana's attention back. "We had this crazy case today in crim." Criminal law was Quinn's favorite class and nearly every time they met up for lunch the blonde law student would spend most of the meal going on and on about whatever case they studied that day. It was actually pretty interesting to compare insights Santana's perspective as a cop and Quinn's legal perspective. "Yeah?" Santana asked around a french fry. Quinn took a sip of her coffee and leaned back in the booth. "Yeah, massive drug ring busted like twenty years ago. The whole freakin' family was involved can you believe that? I mean like, down to the kids." Santana shrugged and pushed more fries around in her ketchup. "That's usually how it goes with stuff like that." Their waitress came back and set a plate in front of Quinn. "I know, but I just can't imagine what that'd be like, you know?"

"What do you mean?" "Growing up that way, involved in stuff like that," Quinn picked up her sandwich and held it up, her elbows propped up on the table. "These kids were basically raised to be organized crime lords." Santana nodded. "Well, when you don't know any better." Quinn took a bite of her sandwich before continuing. "Oh come on, S. On some level, you have to know. Even kids." "I don't know," Santana replied. "I mean, if my parents raised me that way, who knows?" Quinn seemed to consider the possibility."Maybe. I just feel like if it were my parents, my family, I'd get myself out of it." "That's because you hate your parents," Santana suggested. "For a lot of people, family is family. End of story." "Fair point, but still." Santana shook her head. "You don't think there's something, I don't know, higher than the law?" Quinn raised an eyebrow in her direction. "When did

you get all philosophical?" "Shut up," Santana answered. "You're the one that started this." "Wow, Santana Lopez, all grown up," Quinn teased before sipping at her coffee. "Fuck off, I just see a lot of it in this city," Santana continued. "People doing all kinds of stupid shit in the name of family." She took the last bite of her sandwich as she leaned back and wiped her hands off. "Would you?" Quinn asked, leaning forward over the table. "Would I what?" "Do something stupid for your family?" Santana rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "My family is six feet under, moron." "Family doesn't end with blood," Quinn argued. "I'm saying, if Britt got in trouble, do you think you'd turn her in? If I was in trouble? Puck? If we were all in the mafia or something." "If you got in trouble I'd laugh," Santana answered with a smirk.

Quinn shook her head and chuckled. "You're such a bitch." "Eat your sandwich," Santana commanded. -"Santana," Brittany says, sharply. The sound nearly makes Santana jump, nanoseconds away from shooting Roger Pike right in between his eyes. She clenches her jaw and looks towards her girlfriend. "What?" Brittany opens her mouth to say something when the doors to the warehouse slam open and Santana finally notices the flashing red and blue lights breaking through the windows of the building. Finn Hudson and Matt Rutherford storm through the entrance and take in the scene with wide eyes. Of all the things happening in this situation, this was not one she had considered. She turns back to Puck who's looking at the two newcomers with shock on his face. They all kind of just stand there, the five of them staring at each other and not talking when Pike's laughter breaks through the silence. "Is this Christmas?" Pike asks, chuckling like a maniac.

Santana swallows against the urge to shoot him, regardless of Finn and Matt but she keeps her cool as the other two detectives make their way over. Matt walking towards her and Finn stopping near Brittany, smiling at her softly. Matt just looks at Puck and then at Santana, eying the guns in both their hands before looking at Pike, half laughing half groaning and full of three bullet holes, his blood in smears all over the floor. Then he looks towards Brittany, who's face looks worried and scared and he lets out a low breath, his cheeks puffing out as he puts his hands in his pockets. "Call an ambulance," he orders his partner. Matt looks back at her, shaking his head as Finn pulls his phone out. "Get out of here," he says in a low voice. "Leave the guns and get out of here." Shock pours through her as she realizes what he's doing. He's giving her an out, giving Puck an out. The guy doesn't even know her and he's giving her an out. So she has to ask. "What?" "I said get out," Matt snaps. "Before I change my mind and before the ambulance gets here."

She's about to argue again because really, she gave up on keeping her job hours ago when she realized Brittany had been taken and the captain pulled her off the case. Part of her could care less right now that Matt Rutherford is watching because Pike is still breathing and that's just not acceptable. But then Puck makes the decision for her, walks from around Pike and hands Matt his gun before grabbing Santana's out of her hand and doing the same with her's. "Let's get out of here," he whispers to her when he walks back and grabs her elbow. He glances over his shoulder at Pike, bleeding in the chair. "He's as good as dead anyway." She looks at Pike too, realizes the truth of the situation and that she wasn't going to get answers from him anyway. So she nods at Puck, swallows and walk towards Brittany. "Hey," she says, when she gets there. Brittany's eyes go wide and glossy and Santana can feel the tearfest that's about to come on. But they can't do this here, not with Matt and Finn watching them and Pike dying behind them and the ambulance on its way, more witnesses to this whole mess. She wraps an arm around Brittany's waist and tugs her into her side, walking towards the exit of the warehouse with Puck behind them. "Come on, we need to go."

-"If Brittany killed someone, would you turn her in?" Quinn asked out of the blue. They were out to dinner, the four of them, at some Italian joint by Rachel and Quinn's building and after a couple of bottles of wine they were all in a pretty good mood. Quinn it seemed, was having a better time than all of them. "Quinn!" Rachel exclaimed, as if the name alone was sufficient admonishment. Quinn turned toward the brunette. "What? I'm just curious." "I wouldn't kill anyone," Brittany added, her face open and concerned. She looked towards Santana. "Why would I kill someone?" "She knows that, B," Santana said, glaring at Quinn while running her fingertips over Brittany's thigh. "She's saying what if." "Of course Santana would turn her in. It's murder," Rachel argued. "Oh yeah?" Quinn said, with more anger in her voice than Santana thought was necessary. "So what, you'd turn me in if I killed someone?" Rachel turned to Quinn and eyed her curiously,

picking up on the extra harshness in her voice. "Quinn," she started. "Because you should know," the attorney interjected and Santana tried to count how many glasses of wine her friend had consumed. "I wouldn't do that to you. But if you want to go ahead and just betray me and send me to some shithole prison for the rest of my life, so be it!" Rachel blinked at Quinn before grabbing the blonde's face with both her hands and making eye contact. "What's wrong? Did something happen with the case today?" "No," Quinn denied, pulling her face out of Rachel's grasp. "Sorry if I'm upset with how easily you'd throw me to the wolves." Santana observed her two friends with a raised eyebrow. The couple almost never fought. Never. It was sickening how little they got into arguments, at least public arguments (they're Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray, Santana is sure they get into a significant amount of private arguments). Quinn was the master of propriety, more concerned with putting out a flawless front than almost anyone Santana had ever met. To see Quinn get this emotional, with Rachel, in public. It was unnerving. "It's not like you have to worry about it, Q," she said,

pulling Quinn and Rachel's attention to her. "If anyone's going to go postal, we all know it's Berry." It got a giggle out of Brittany beside her and a deep laugh out of Rachel even as the brunette attempted to plaster on an indignant expression. Santana eyed her best friend and after a second, not long enough for anyone to really notice, but long enough for Santana to, Quinn chuckled as well, put on a smile and lets the subject go. "Good point, S," Quinn joked and Rachel smacked her on the arm, laughing. -Santana spends the entire ride to the hospital half in shock and the other half incapable of letting Brittany out of her reach. They sit in the back of the car as Puck drives and Santana puts her hands all over Brittany, hugging her and running her palms up and down the other girl's arms. Brittany's shaking and crying and Santana thinks she might be too but there's a part of her that hasn't really processed everything. When the get back to the hospital and this time Santana is sure she's spending way too much time here, she checks Brittany in, needing some kind of professional affirmation that her girlfriend is here, alive, and fine. She's hesitant though, because getting

Brittany checked out means she has to actually let her out of her sight and right now she feels way too raw to do that. From the look on Brittany's face, she's not to keen on the idea either. But the professional part of her, the part that realized in the warehouse that they're dealing with some bigger than just Roger Pike getting his rocks off on hurting people, that part needs to talk to Quinn. Now. So she puts determination into her stance and kisses her girlfriend, long and hard, before letting her go. "I have to talk to Quinn, I'll be here when you're done," she whispers against Brittany's lips. The blonde nods and squeezes a hand on Santana's hips before walking away with a nurse. Puck's leaning against the wall when she turns around. "I'm in shock," he says to her. She nods. "Yeah." "Rutherford let us walk. Why did he do that?" Yeah," Santana repeats. "I need to talk to Quinn." Puck pushes off the wall. "You want me in there too?" She shakes her head. No, this she has to do alone. "I got this," she replies, waving him off as she walks towards Quinn's room.

When she walks in the room Quinn's in, Rachel whirls on her with fury in her eyes and Santana takes a step backwards at the sight. "What is wrong with you?" Santana asks, stepping into the room but staying as far from Rachel as she can. Rachel realizes it's Santana and her anger deflates, but the agitation remains, her hands twisting together anxiously. Santana raises an eyebrow at the sight but turns her attention to her friend in the hospital bed, blonde hair over the pillow and her leg propped up on a foam padding. "He shot me in the leg," Quinn says, irritably. "The leg," she repeats as if this fact is of grave importance. Rachel scoffs from her place on the other side of the bed. Santana nods and walks up beside her, putting her hand on the railing near Quinn's leg. "Yeah, he did." "Bastard," Quinn bites out. Then she seems to remember what that all meant. "He got Brittany," she whispers. "Shit, S. I'm so sorry. He got Brittany." She shakes her head and tries to stop herself from reliving the moment when she realized Brittany was gone, realizing that Quinn had been shot. "We got

him," she replies. "He had Brittany in that warehouse over on 82nd and we got him." Quinn lets out a deep breath of relief and lets her head fall backwards onto the pillow. "Oh thank God." Then, after a few seconds, her head shoots back up off the pillow and Santana eyes the bag of clear liquid hanging near the bed. Great, a serious investigation and her two friends are both stoned on pain meds. "Is he dead?" Quinn asks. "I don't know," Santana answers. "I shot him a few times, but he could survive. Finn and Matt are taking him in." A nurse walks in before Santana can continue and the anger Santana saw in Rachel before is right back again. The brunette turns on the woman and glares at her, never taking her gaze away the entire time the nurse is the room. It's awkward for a minute as Santana and Quinn just watch the nurse fiddle with the controls to all of the equipment surrounding Quinn's bed and Rachel just glares, fists clenched at her sides. Finally, the nurse leaves. "What's wrong with her?" Santana asks in a whisper directed at Quinn. "Long story," Quinn answers on a chuckle. Santana rolls her eyes because any story involving

Rachel Berry is a long one but she turns her attention back to her friend and takes deep breath. "We need to talk," she says. Quinn raises an eyebrow at her. "Okay," she replies in a low drawl. "What about?" "Your father," Santana answers. Dread creeps into her stomach as she watches all the blood drain out of Quinn's face and the way Rachel tenses from across the room. Not for the first time since this happened Santana feels like she's in way over her head. -"Do you ever miss your parents?" Quinn asked. Santana snapped her head to look at her friend. "What?" "Your parents," Quinn repeated. "Do you miss them?" "I barely knew my parents," Santana answered, looking at her friend curiously. She picked her scotch up off the bar and took a sip. "Everyone knows their parents," Quinn argued, pushing her own glass back and forth on the bar top.

"Not my parents," Santana denied, throwing back the rest of her glass. "We didn't exactly have a loving relationship. You were there. You know what it was like." "Your parents loved you," Quinn replied, turning to look at Santana. She laughed. "No they didn't. And whatever," Santana continued. "Fuck them. Who cares?" Quinn shook her head and stared at her glass again, pouring the rest of it down her throat and slamming it back down on the wood. "They loved you," she repeated, not looking at Santana. -"What about my father?" Quinn asks. Rachel walks up to the bed and brings her hand down to tangle with Quinn's, the metal of Rachel's wedding ring reflecting in the lights of the room. "You tell me," Santana says, low and forceful. She can't tiptoe around this, Quinn knows something, she feels it deep in her gut. She's known something for years and Santana was too oblivious to see the signs. "I don't know what you're talking about, Santana," Quinn tries, but Santana doesn't buy it.

"Cut the shit, Q. Your father is connected to this. In a big way." Rachel bristles and Santana sees her open her mouth, probably about to lecture Santana about God knows what so she puts a hand up to stop the shorter girl. "I'm not saying you have a hand in this," she starts. "I'm saying you know something. Something you're not telling me and you need to tell me now." Quinn shakes her head and Santana can read the denial all over her best friends face so she goes for broke, takes out the only weapon she thinks has a chance at winning. "Q," she croaks, letting her emotions flood to her face for the first time that night. She feels moisture prick her eyes. "Please," she whispers. "He went after Britt. He hit Rachel. You have to," she chokes on the words. "You have to tell me, please." When she sees the answering emotion on Quinn's face, the way it scrunches up against tears, and the hand holding Rachel squeezes tighter, she knows she's won. "Okay," Quinn says. "You're right. There's something I haven't told you." Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason

[Part Seventeen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little over 5k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] [Part Sixteen] -Santana's shoes squeak loudly against the title floor, the sound harsh against the heavy silence in the hospital room. Quinn's rubbing her hand over her face, the other hand clutched tightly in Rachel's while Santana observes her friend with an expectant look. Thunder reverberates through the room and Santana glances briefly towards the window, observes the storm with a causal eye before returning to her friend. "Well?" Santana asks after a minute. Her heart hurts in her chest where it beats against her ribs and part of her almost doesn't want Quinn to say anything, too worried about what's going to be revealed. "Quinn," Rachel adds. "You don't have to-" "No," Quinn interrupts, pursing her lips at the brunette in a tight smile. "It's okay," she whispers.

Rachel shakes her head, focuses her full attention on Quinn and Santana has to resist the urge to tap her foot impatiently, her thigh twitches with the effort. "Quinn," Rachel repeats, but the blonde stops her again. "Rach, it's fine," she intones, her voice deep. The couple stares at each other for a little bit in this weird nonverbal battle of wills and seconds tick away with the sound of rain against the window. Then Santana loses the battle with her impatience. "Fucking tell me," she demands, anxiety pulsing through her. Quinn takes a deep breath before turning to Santana. "I didn't know he had anything to do with Pike," she starts. "I swear." Santana nods tightly. On a gut level, she believes that. "But you knew he was up to something," she provides. And this is where things get sticky. "Yeah," Quinn answers, moving her head up and down slowly and averting her gaze from Santana's. "I guess you could say that." It's moving too slowly for Santana, she just wants to rip the bandage off, to hear the worst of it and get past it so she can move on and deal with everything. But Quinn just keeps staring at a spot on the wall, not

saying anything and Rachel has her brow furrowed in Quinn's direction, her expression making Santana more worried than anything else. "Spit it out!" She shouts, making both Quinn and Rachel jump. Rachel moves closer to the bed, jutting her chin out towards Santana but Quinn speaks before Rachel can do anything else. "My father does investments for Edward Cain," she says, solemnly. The declaration sits between them heavily, no one speaking for a long minute as Santana processes the information. "Edward Cain," Santana repeats, nodding slowly. Anger thrums through her and she puts her hands on her hips, turning to face the hospital window. The city is dark outside, the buildings illuminated only by the frequent spark of lightning breaking through the dark and twisty storm clouds, but Santana doesn't really notice. "Edward Cain. Tell me there's some other fucking Edward Cain that you're talking about and not the Edward Cain that practically fucking runs organized crime in this city." Quinn just stares at her, and Santana knows the answer hangs in her silence. "Fuck," she lets out, her breath fogging up the window

in front of her. "So your dad does his investing." "Yeah," Quinn breathes out. "He handles his money. Among other things." Santana spins around. "Other things?" Quinn's jaw clenches and her eyes narrow and Santana wants to slap her. Quinn has no right to be angry at anyone right now. "I don't need to fucking spell it out for you." "You know what, Fabray?" Santana says, walking back towards the bed and leaning forward. "You fucking do." Rachel leans over the bed towards Santana, anger all over her features. "Back off, Santana," she commands in a low voice. "Go to hell, Berry," Santana barks, turning her eyes towards the shorter girl. "You don't know if this has anything to do with Pike, Santana," Rachel shoots back. "Leave it alone." "It has something to do with it all, so you can just shut the hell up," she spits out, leaning even closer towards Rachel. "Both of you!" Quinn interjects, pushing Santana's

shoulder away and tugging Rachel's arm to pull her away from Santana. "Rach, why don't you wait outside for a minute?" "What?!" Rachel turns wide, affronted eyes on Quinn. "No!" "Rachel," Quinn says, her voice commanding in a way Santana isn't used to outside a courtroom. "Wait outside." Rachel's eyes flash and Santana can see the resistance all throughout her body, but after a few seconds Rachel deflates. "Fine," she says, sounded dejected. "I'll go get some coffee." "Decaf," Quinn calls out as the brunette turns to leave. Rachel waves her off and exits the room, sending a last minute glare towards Santana. She turns back to her friend, the wet denim against her thighs feeling cold for the first time that night and an empty ache in her stomach that she's having trouble ignoring. Her coat feels heavy and her jeans rub roughly against her legs as she backs up and leans against the wall, crossing her arms over her chest and stares at Quinn. "So, your dad and Cain. What does that mean?" Quinn turns cold eyes to her. "It means, he worked for

the Cain family." "Worked?" Santana asked, quirking an eyebrow. "A few years ago he decided to branch out." Quinn fingers the edge of her blanket and her pillow crinkles as her head presses harder into the bed. Santana knows what that means, that daddy Fabray decided to make a name for himself in the organized crime business, and then all of a sudden she realizes what that means for Quinn, what it probably means. "You?" The question comes out on a disbelieving gasp because of all the scenarios she came up with for today, her best friend involved in the mob was really not one of them. Quinn picks her head up and shakes it rapidly, letting out a desperate and hurried, "No," in Santana's direction. "I couldn't, I wouldn't...," she trails off and squeezes her eyes shut, bringing her hand up to her eyes. Santana can't speak, can't seem to get words out because while she had expected Quinn's dad to be up to something terrible, she really can't contemplate the bigger implications here, or how it's all connected. Brittany, Pike, Quinn, Russell Fabray. It's coming together but it still doesn't make sense. "And Pike?" She finally gets out, pushing off the wall

and bringing a hand up to pinch the bridge of her nose. "I don't know, S," Quinn breathes. "My dad, he's...he's into some shady stuff but Pike? I'm as confused as you are. Why do you even think it's all connected?" "He visited Pike in prison. Pike mentioned him in the warehouse before I shot him. They're connected. I'm sure of it," Santana replies. "Well, I don't know about Pike," Quinn continues. "Just that my father got involved with the Cain family awhile ago but now he's on his own." Santana turns back around and props her hands on her hips, paces forward away from the bed and looks down, exhaling through her nose. "When did you find out?" There's rustling behind her but she doesn't turn around to look at Quinn, just studies the white tile under her feet and hears the patter of rain dropping on the window next to her. She feels their friendship hanging in the space between them, like a string tying them together and she's desperately praying it doesn't snap. "My job," Quinn answers softly. At that, Santana does turn around and narrows her

eyes at her friend. "Your job?" "The one my dad got me. It was...I told you there were strings." Santana nods. "Yeah." And then it dawns on her. "Shit, Q." It's like the last two decades of her life all come rushing back to her, flashing through her mind like a movie in fast forward and all those little things she ignored, all those weird quirks that she pushed aside about Quinn take root back in her brain and the puzzle shifts, builds a new picture. -Rachel opened the door to the apartment and Santana's mood shifted from bad to worse. "Where's Quinn?" "She's not here," Rachel responded. "She's golfing." "Golfing?" Santana asked because Quinn was a lot of things, but a golfer was not one of them. "That's what I said," Rachel answered. "Well when will she be back?" Rachel rolled her eyes. "When she's done."

Santana opened her mouth to let out some scathing reply about how unhelpful Rachel is to her life in general but then the elevator dinged behind her and Quinn walked out, carrying a bag of golf clubs and looking tired. "Hey," Quinn greeted, surprised to see Santana. "Hi," Santana said, seeing Quinn with golf clubs more shocking than just hearing she was golfing. She pointed to the clubs. "Since when do you golf?" Quinn walked past Santana and into the apartment, dropping a kiss on Rachel's forehead as she entered. "I hit balls with a guy in the mayor's office today." "Why?" Santana asked, following her friend in and glaring at Rachel as she passed. "Apparently it's good business practice," Quinn replied, shrugging her shoulders and setting her golf clubs on the floor. "What are you doing here?" Santana put her hands up and gave her friend her best are you shitting me? expression. "We were supposed to meet for drinks." Rachel moved past them, grabbing Quinn's coat from her shoulders and walking back into the apartment, leaving them alone. Shock spread on Quinn's face

before she rubbed her palm over it. "Damn, I forgot." "Yeah," Santana agreed. "I'm sorry there's just, a lot going on right now," Quinn replied. "What, like working on your swing?" Sarcasm coating her tone. "God, who are you, a fifty year old man?" Quinn chuckled. "I'm a twenty-five year old lawyer. It's practically the same thing." "Whatever," Santana said, but she was laughing a little now too. She walked forward and headed for the kitchen. "I'm drinking your liquor." "Surprise, surprise," Quinn mumbled as she turned and followed. "So?" Santana said, after finding a bottle of vodka in the freezer. She unscrewed the cap and waited for Quinn to grab glasses and ice. Quinn walked over to a cabinet and opened it, raising an eyebrow at Santana. She pulls out two glasses and closes the cabinet. "So what?" "How was golfing?" Santana asked, mockery entering her voice on the last word.

But Quinn's face got serious for a second and she stared out the kitchen window, watching rain pour down in sheets. "I think I'm in the wrong business," Quinn answered, before shaking her head and placing two glasses in front of Santana. Santana watched the clear liquid shift the ice around against the glass as she poured. "What?" "I don't know what made me decide to become a lawyer," Quinn said, grabbing a glass and leaning a hip against the counter. "The $400 an hour, bitch," Santana provided. The vodka was cold as it slid down her throat and Santana closed her eyes against the sensation briefly. "Is that worth it though?" Quinn looked up at Santana, an open expression on her face and all of a sudden Santana realized just how serious Quinn had gotten. "Did something happen?" She felt like she was stepping on eggshells, not really sure how to proceed because Quinn was looking at her strangely and there was something right beneath the surface of this conversation she couldn't seem to grasp. But all Quinn did was stare at her for a long, heavy moment before taking a deep breath and laughing. "I

suck at golfing." And Santana was glad for the laughter because serious emotional conversations with Quinn? That's more Rachel's department. She loves Quinn, would take a bullet for her without a second's hesitation, but she couldn't deal with the lost look in her friend's eyes, the way her voice wavered as she spoke. She didn't know how to fix it and she was enough of an asshole not to try anyway. "Yeah you do," she said, chuckling along with her and taking a sip of her drink. Rachel came back into the kitchen and Quinn's mood shifted noticeably, brightening and relaxing. Santana exhaled in relief, poured herself some more vodka and spent the rest of the evening thinking up the best ways to insult and offend Rachel. -"So what, all this was because you didn't want to be daddy's little girl anymore?" Santana asks, her heart beating fast and her brain trying to process all the information she's getting. "I don't know what this is about, Santana. I told you that," Quinn answers. "I'm just telling you what I do know."

Santana points an angry finger at her. "You should have told me years ago." "What was I supposed to say?" Quinn flings her hands in the air and raises her eyebrows at Santana. "Hey, S. By the way, my dad wants me to be his very own mob lawyer and he wants to know if you want a cut too?" "Yes," Santana says, eyes locked on Quinn's. "And then what? You go and arrest him?" "He's a fucking criminal!" Santana shouts. "He's my father!" Quinn shouts back. "I'm your best friend," Santana says, her voice lower. "You should have fucking told me." "I dealt with it," Quinn responds, deflated. She looks towards the door and blinks slowly. "I thought I dealt with it." "Well clearly," Santana answers and anger hums back into her body. "You didn't." She thinks about Brittany, how she was watched and hunted and stolen from her by Pike. She thinks about the way Brittany looked in the warehouse with a gun at her head and afterwards staring at Santana as she

pointed her own at Pike. She thinks about those things and then she thinks about Quinn. Thinks about how she fucking kept this secret for years, how she kept it the past few days and all Santana wants to do is throw things. It's like a knife to the heart and for a second she can't breathe. "Does Berry know?" Santana asks, pointing at the door and narrowing her eyes. "Of course Rachel knows," Quinn spits out, eyes turning back to Santana's. "She's my wife." That pierces right through Santana's gut because Rachel fucking Berry knew and she didn't. She's known Quinn since they were in grade school, grew up with her just as much as she did Brittany and for the first time, all those years of friendship seem insignificant, inconsequential. "So you trust Berry, but not me?" She doesn't want to say it, doesn't want it to come out sounding the way it does, betrayed and broken, but she can't hold it back. "I wanted to tell you, S," Quinn starts, her voice sounding calm and reassuring but it only fuels Santana's anger and all her pain boils over into something closer to rage. "Then why the hell didn't you?!"

"I couldn't!" Quinn bellows, before slamming her head further into her pillow and bringing her hands to her face, pressing her palms hard against her eyes. Then Santana sees it, like something tangible right in front of her and her anger ebbs away slightly at the realization. There's more to this and Quinn's wavering on the edge of telling her. There's more to this and Santana thinks it's going to break her, whatever it is. Break them. There's more to this and she wants to know but at the same time never wants to hear it, wants to rewind the last few days and find herself back in a booth with Quinn nursing a bottle of tequila and kicking her ass at darts. Laughing, having fun, not this. Not this dark, twisty, tormented thing between them. But her job, her life, it's about the truth. It's about knowing. And she's certain that she has to know this. "Tell me the rest," she commands, stepping closer to the bed. -Of the two of them, Santana was the drinker. Quinn was good company and never refused to sit on the stool next to Santana at the bar but the person most likely to show up at the other's door, drunk off their ass? Santana. Which is why when it was Quinn standing at her door, swaying unsteadily and reeking

of aged scotch, Santana was stunned. "Hey," she said, watching Quinn blink at her slowly and taking in the red rims of her eyes. "What's up with you?" Quinn just stared at her, one hand coming forward to prop herself up against the wall near the door and squinting at Santana. "Hi," she drawled out. "Hi," Santana repeated. She turned around to see Brittany observing the scene, peering over the edge of the couch, brow furrowed in curiosity. She shrugged at her girlfriend before turning back to Quinn. "I'm sorry," Quinn mumbled, looking away for a second. Santana ran through the past few days and tried to think of a reason Quinn could possibly be apologizing. "Um, okay," Santana replied, drawing the word out. "I'm so sorry," Quinn repeated, swaying forward before catching herself and standing upright. "Quinn," Santana started, but then her friend swayed forward again and Santana had to dart forward to catch her, holding her up by her biceps. "I think I'm going to fall over," Quinn said after a

moment. Santana rolled her eyes and pulled Quinn across the threshold. "Where's Berry?" Quinn shook her head. "Work," she answered before nearly stumbling back over as Santana tried to maneuver her to the couch. Brittany got up from the couch to help her and grabbed one side of Quinn, pulling her down so the blonde could sink into the cushions. Santana watched as her girlfriend pushed the hair off Quinn’s forehead, looking down at her with open concern. She twisted her hands together uncertain what to do. “Fabray, what’s with the liquor store smell?” Quinn shook her head and let it fall back against the couch. Santana looked to Brittany with wide eyes, at a loss of what to do and hoping her girlfriend had some good ideas. This seemed like one of those times where hugging and reassuring words was going to be the best medicine. Santana was more prone to prescribing a bottle of tequila for emotional ills and it was clear that the last thing Quinn needed was any more alcohol. The taller girl gave Santana a reassuring smile before walking towards her, squeezing her arm and kissing her on the cheek. “I’ll call Rach,” she whispered in

Santana’s ear. Santana nodded. As much as she hated to admit it, because she certainly hated thinking that Rachel fucking Berry was better at comforting her best friend than she was, it was still a good idea. Brittany moved into the kitchen to get the phone and Santana watched her go before turning to observe her friend again, draped haphazardly over her couch. Quinn licked her lips slowly and blinked up at Santana. “I’m sorry,” she said again. “What the hell are you sorry for?” Santana asked, beyond confused. But Quinn didn’t seem to want to share, just shook her head back and forth again and repeated the apology. So Santana took a seat next to her friend, Quinn dropping to the side to rest her head on Santana's shoulder and she let the blonde mumble apologies into the fabric of her shirt. Rachel showed up thirty minutes later to collect Quinn, passed out by that point, and Santana never really figured out what the hell Quinn was so sorry about. Quinn quit her job three days later.

-“Do you remember when I quit my job?” Quinn asks, her voice soft and her eyes focused on the ceiling. Santana nods. “Yeah, when you got the offer at the DA’s office. Quinn purses her lips and looks at Santana, chuckles a little bit. “That was when I found out about my father.” "Okay," Santana draws out. "What does that mean?" "There's this guy," Quinn starts, her voice hesitant. "He works for my father. He handles the more discreet jobs." Discreet jobs. Which is code for all the most heinous illegal activities mobsters get involved in, the one's they can't have connected to them in anyway. "And?" Quinn swallows and Santana pushes her hands into her jacket pockets, fingering her cell phone absently. "And he got into some trouble a few years back. The case came across my desk. Looking back I guess it was a test of some sort. My first real involvement in whatever my father was doing."

"So what? This guy spilled the beans about daddy?" Santana asks. The attorney shakes her head. "No, not exactly." "Then what? Jesus, Quinn, can you get to the fucking point?" Santana shifts on her feet, back and forth, and swallows dryly, trying to ignore the burn in the backs of her eyes. Her left hand feels the lighter stored in her pocket next to her phone and she runs a nail over it. "It didn't take long for me to figure out what he did. A few meetings, some research into the case and some really unsubtle comments from the other partners in the firm and I figured it out." Quinn tugs the sheet around the foam propping her leg up, rearranging it as she talks. "I didn't confront my father or anything, because there wasn't a lot of hard proof, just a bunch of speculation," Quinn says. "Rachel thought I was just paranoid," she continues, a bitter laugh escaping her on the words. "Paranoid," Quinn repeats, looking at Santana. "But you weren't," Santana supplies, watching the pieces fall together in her mind's eye. "No," Quinn agrees. "I finally brought it to my father. Big confrontation, very dramatic, Rachel would have loved it."

Santana nods, rapidly, knowing that what's coming next, that's the bomb, the thing that's got Quinn so messed up. "And he denied it?" Quinn shakes her head and laughs again, but the sound comes out almost awed, like she can't believe what she's saying. "He confessed. To everything." "And he offered you the deal," Santana provides, hoping that this is the worst of it. The job offer, the family business, Quinn stuck between duty and family. "I said no, of course," Quinn says, looking away and towards the door. "I expected him to threaten me. Bodily harm to all those I care about, blah, blah. You know the drill. But then he told me something else." "What?" Quinn's eyes widen and her face scrunches up and Santana feels the breath leave her lungs again. "About your parents." -"Hey," Brittany greeted as she walked into the door of Santana's bedroom. Santana felt the bed dip under her as Brittany slid into bed, coming to press against her back and sliding a strong arm across her

stomach. "How are you doing?" Santana swallowed thickly, but was grateful that she wasn't crying anymore. "Fine," she croaked, watching the sunlight stream in through her window. "Quinn's downstairs," Brittany said, the words ghosting over the back of Santana's neck. Santana just nodded. She should probably get up and say hello to her friend but she couldn't muster up the effort to move, Brittany's body was warming her back and the bed was soft and it was easier to escape reality here in the four walls of her bedroom than downstairs in her living room. "Her dad too," her girlfriend continued, her lips pressing against the skin of Santana's neck. Santana rolled over slightly to face Brittany, looking at her with a confused expression. "Mr. Fabray is here?" Brittany nodded, pressing a kiss to the corner of Santana's mouth. "Why?" Santana asked. "I don't know," Brittany answered, shrugging her shoulders slightly and pressing another kiss to Santana's cheek. "He brought flowers."

"He didn't even know my parents," Santana said, enjoying the distracting feeling of Brittany's lips. It was exactly what she needed. There were too many things that were confusing in her life right now but Brittany was always something Santana was so sure about, something that grounded her in a way nothing else ever could. "I guess he did," Brittany provided. "I don't know. He's here with Quinn. I can tell them to leave if you want," Brittany finished, the last part a whisper. Santana shook her head and stared at Brittany, letting her eyes roam familiar features before bringing her hand up to trace over Brittany's arm. She pressed a long, lingering kiss on Brittany's lips. "Thanks for being here," she said. Brittany gave her the funniest look in return. "Where else would I be?" -Santana's head starts to swim and her vision starts to go a little hazy. She can feel herself start to sway so she backs up a few steps until her back hits the wall and she puts both palms against it to hold herself up. Everything she thought she knew about her life, about her parents, about her best friend is all breaking apart in front of her and it's like nothing makes sense

anymore. "Why?" Santana asks, trying to focus on Quinn's face. "Why?" Quinn shakes her head and Santana thinks maybe her friend is crying but she can't get the image to clear enough to figure it out for sure. "Your parents got involved with my dad somehow. With the Cain organization. They wanted out." There's so much she wants to say, most of it shouted and angry, but the words get stuck somewhere in her throat and nothing comes out, so Quinn goes on. "That's not how it works though. You know that better than anyone. There's no such thing as out. So my father gave them an ultimatum." Santana doesn't need to hear the rest, she can figure it out well enough. Can see her parent's case file spread out in front of her, the pictures, the witness statements, everything that ever felt off about the car crash flooding through her conscious. "My dad wanted to use you. Thought if he could groom my best friend it'd make it easier to get me in on it too," Quinn continues. "Your parents refused, they wanted something better for you." Quinn chuckles under her breath. "They wanted something better for you," she repeats.

That part of it all makes sense. What she knows about organized crime, about the Cain family, about the Fabray family, about her childhood and her parents. She knows, on an intellectual level that it makes sense, the cop in her understands it. But the girl, the daughter, the best friend, becomes consumed by denial. "No," she bites out, stepping up from the wall. "You're lying." "Santana," Quinn entreats, sitting up in bed. "I'm not lying." "Why the fuck are you even telling me this?" Santana shouts. "What the fuck, Quinn? This has nothing to do with fucking Pike and your dad and fuck you. My parents were a lot of things, but they weren't criminals." "Santana," Quinn repeats. "I'm not finished. There's more to the-" "No," she interrupts. "Just shut the fuck up. I don't want to hear anymore." She makes her way to the door and ignores the way Quinn calls out for her. Rachel is walking towards the room at the same time, a tray of coffee in her hands and Santana almost knocks her over on her way out.

Rachel gasps and fumbles the tray but before she can snap at Santana for running into her she looks up at her face and Santana hates the wave of concern that emanates from the shorter girl. She wants to sneer at her, to tell her to mind her own fucking business, and a part of her even wants to hit her. Rachel is so much a part of Quinn that she thinks it might be a fair substitute, just as satisfying. She didn't think to hit Quinn but she could hit Rachel. A part of her wants to, in anger and in pain, but she just closes her eyes and pushes forward. Ignores Rachel's calling out her name the same way she did with Quinn. -She makes it down the hallway and around the corner but she's not really paying attention to where she's headed. Memories swarm up into her head and all mingle together to the point where Santana's not thinking about anything, just pushing her body forward, heading somewhere but unsure where. She's so wrapped up in her own head that she doesn't even see Brittany at the other end of the hall until she's in front of her. Long arms wrap around her body and normally she'd push them off in self-defense, an instinctual reaction more than anything else, but her body recognizes the touch almost immediately. Brittany pulls her to the side and opens a utility closet, shoving them both

inside and wrapping her up in a hug again, pressing Santana's face into her neck. It's like they're in high school again, hiding away in a hall closet between classes except Santana can't even pause to appreciate the nostalgia. She's fighting tears, pushing her nails hard into the palms of her hand, but Brittany just squeezes her tightly and she feels it all break out of her, her body sagging hard into her girlfriend's, hands coming up to grip the back of Brittany's shirt and she doesn't even care. The last few days, the last six months, she can't handle it anymore, doesn't want to. Her body, her mind, it all breaks down and she isn't aware of anything but Brittany holding her up and the taste of tears on the back of her throat. She hears Brittany whisper into her hair, soft "It's going to be okay"s and she shakes her head into Brittany's collarbone because it's not going to be okay, it's never going to be okay. Everything's so screwed up and she doesn't have the strength to deal with it anymore, doesn't know who she is or who everyone else is or what it all means and she doesn't even want to figure it out. Is so sick of trying to put all the pieces together that she'd rather just shove them off the table, throw them at the wall and forget about them. In fact, right now, she'd be fine never leaving this spot, this closet, her head pressed tight into Brittany's neck and her hands clenched in the fabric at

her girlfriend's back. But then Brittany shifts backwards, grabs Santana's cheeks with both hands and pulls Santana's head up so they're looking at each other. Brittany's thumbs run under Santana's eyes, wiping away tears as Santana fights to catch her breath against the sobbing. "I'm right here," Brittany whispers and Santana can tell her girlfriend is confused, unsure of where all this emotion is coming from but Brittany remains steady. "I'm not going anywhere and it's going to be okay." Santana takes a deep breath, the tears not stopping but the air coming easier as she stares into Brittany's clear blue eyes. Her world feels like it's ripping apart at the seams, like reality is playing one big joke on her, like she's falling and falling and there's no bottom in sight, but with Brittany cradling her face in her hands and staring at Santana steadily she feels a little bit of ground reappear under her feet and her knees stop shaking. "I'm right here," Brittany repeats softly, her palms hot against Santana's face. She feels the words between them, something that wasn't true a week ago but is now. She feels them lay there and her heart reaches out, grabs on to them and forces herself to believe in what they mean.

Swallows against pain and uncertainty and stares right back at Brittany feeling the connection prop her up and pump strength back into her muscles. "I love you," her girlfriend whispers, her thumbs stroking her cheekbones again. Her heart slows down to a steady rhythm and her throat stops hurting and she takes a deep, painless breath. Part Eighteen Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Eighteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 5k this part Notes in Part One NOTE: Because everyone likes to stare at this *points upward to the beyond pretty banner* you should all go look at this done by a different artist and proof that my readers are THE BEST AT LIFE. SO GUYZ, go stare at that for awhile. I'm going to put together an art post with better credit and the rest of the art I've been giving because some of the stuff for this fic is too epic to try and post right here. Seriously, I am so impressed it's unreal. SO LOOK FOR IT IN THE MASTER. Or follow me on Tumblr because a lot of awesome art gets thrown around there. YEAH, SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION. I JUST DID IT

THERE. [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] [Part Sixteen] [Part Seventeen] -Santana doesn't know how long they stand there in that utility closet, her head held in Brittany's hands and their eyes locked together. There's a low buzzing from the light on the ceiling and she can make out the sound of a wheelchair being rolled down the hallway outside. But she doesn't move, just stands there and lets herself calm down, lets all the emotion pass through her until only this remains. This here with Brittany, the only thing that makes sense right now. She swallows. Breathes. Blinks. "Are you okay?" Brittany asks in a whisper. Tears prick her eyes again and she shakes her head, pursing her lips. She's not okay. She's not. And Brittany's hands are the only things holding her up right now. So Brittany just keeps talking. "What happened?"

The words are right there, on the tip of her tongue, begging to come out. She wants to unload, to yell about Quinn and Rachel and betrayal and how the world is so messed up and what did she ever do to deserve this but nothing comes out. She wants to hit herself, punch herself right in the face, because here she is, angrier at Quinn than she's ever been, hurt more than she's ever been hurt and she can't bring herself to tell Brittany. Can't talk bad about her best friend. She's protecting her even when she wants to punch her. It's so stupid and she feels anger rush through her so fast it nearly makes her fall over again. She stares at Brittany, her jaw dropped open but no words coming out. On a gut level, when she really searches inside herself, she trusts Brittany. More than anyone. Even after six months of despair she still trusts her with everything, but there's a part of her, a small part, that trusts Quinn more. Her whole life it's always been Quinn and Brittany. When she was young, they were always there. When her parents died, it was just the three of them. When she moved to the city, it was together. Quinn is as much a part of her as her own flesh and blood and for the first time in her entire life she feels like she can't trust her, like everything they've ever been together is a lie and for some reason those feelings, the sharp stab of betrayal, is tainting Brittany too. Because Brittany left. She left. Brittany left and Quinn never did. And now Brittany's back and Santana feels

like Quinn is leaving and she's just so sick of people leaving her. So instead of telling Brittany the truth, instead of letting more emotion pour out of her like a leaky faucet, she closes up, shuts down and forces herself to be steady. She looks right into Brittany's eyes as she straightens and grabs Brittany's hands from her face. "I have to talk to Puck," she lets out, her throat hurting as the words come out. Hurt flashes across Brittany's face, her brow furrowing quickly and her mouth dropping open in surprise. Hesitation floods through Santana because even through anger and pain and chaos she doesn't want to hurt Brittany, can't stand the thought that she has. It's even worse because she can see the white bandage spread across Brittany's forehead, the one on her wrist and the way her hair is still a tangled mess from the warehouse. Her girlfriend was kidnapped. Kidnapped. Their roles should be reversed right now, Santana comforting Brittany, urging her to talk about it, holding her through the fear and instead it's Brittany holding Santana together, keeping her upright. She feels like such an asshole, a self-absorbed, useless asshole. And even beyond that she wants to tell Brittany, and that's the worst part, but she's so confused, so

messed up inside her own head that the only person she thinks that can unwind her is Puck. Puck who cuts through emotion like a pro, who is better at beating her back into shape than almost anyone. That's what she needs right now, not comfort but attitude. "Santana," Brittany starts, moving her hands out of Santana's grasp to pull their hips together. "What happened?" She tries not to let the warmth of Brittany's body affect her, or the strong hands tracing her hipbones; she tries to resist it, tries not let it lull her into false security but she was never very good at doing that and it seems she still isn't. So when Brittany slides a hand into her jacket and around to her back, the warmth of her palm bleeding through her shirt, Santana's jaw falls open and the words all come rushing out. -"Hey, B," Santana yawned as she walked in the apartment after a night shift. She threw her hat, keys, wallets, and phone on the table in the entryway and walked into the kitchen. Brittany was at the counter, mixing waffle batter and the place was a mess, flour covering half the

surfaces, milk spilled in places, bowls and spoons spread across the counters. Santana chuckled, walking up to her girlfriend and dropping a kiss on her bare shoulder before sliding over to the carafe of coffee sitting next to her and grabbing a mug already waiting for her. "Morning," Brittany greeted, a wide, happy light to her face. "Any of those waffles for me?" Santana asked, eying the stack Brittany had on a plate next to her. "You didn't eat anything with Quinn?" Santana shrugged, bringing her coffee to her lips and turning to lean her butt against the counter. She didn't eat anything with Quinn because her best friend fucking ditched her. Ditched her to go to some crazy new breakfast place with her crazy new girlfriend. Santana shook her head at the memory of Quinn's message, tried not to let it bother her the way she knew it did. Brittany stopped stirring the batter in her bowl to observe Santana. "What happened?" It made her feel worse too, to know that she was visibly upset about the whole damn thing because, god, how old is she, ten? She felt more like a loser than she ever had so she pushed away from the

counter and set her coffee down. "Nothing happened," she denied, walking out of the kitchen and unbuttoning her shirt. "I'm going to go change." She got to the bedroom, stripped out of her uniform and pulled on a tank top, standing in the middle of the room in only her underwear. A sigh blew out of her and she eyed the bed. She wasn't really tired yet, and she was hungry, but she felt stupid and that was making her want to fall into bed more than anything. She debated the merits of sleeping versus eating for a few minutes but didn't get the chance to make a decision before Brittany was bounding into the room, coming up behind her and sliding her arms around Santana's waist. "What's the matter?" Brittany asked again, honing in on Santana's mood accurately, a skill she'd been using since they were kids. "Did Quinn do something at breakfast?" Santana shook her head and pulled out of Brittany's embrace. "I said nothing happened. I'm just tired." She winced as the words came out because she knew that Brittany was well aware that I'm just tired was totally code for my day was terrible. She moved past her girlfriend and tried to make her

way back to the kitchen but Brittany grabbed her wrist, tugged her backwards and spun her, backing Santana up until she hit the wall near their door. "What happened at breakfast?" Brittany asked, her hips pushing into Santana's and her hands falling to rest on her hips. "I told you-," Santana tried once more, but Brittany stopped her with a squeeze to her hipbone. "You lied to me," Brittany interrupted. The blonde slid one of the hands resting on Santana's hip around to her back, traveling up the back of her tank top to palm bare skin. The warmth of it shot through Santana and her post-work plan shifted. Sex, then waffles and then sleep. She could work with this. Instead of answering Brittany's question, instead of denying that nothing happened at breakfast or admitting that breakfast never actually happened, she sagged further into the wall behind her, brought her arms around Brittany's back to pull her in closer and lifted her chin up to press her mouth to the blonde's, their lips inches apart. They stood there for long, hot minutes, blocking the world out as their lips slanted against each other's, but when Santana slid a hand up Brittany's back to

snap her bra off, the blonde girl pulled back and gave her an admonishing smile. Brittany brought a hand back to grab Santana's and pull it back around and she hated the way she could feel her lip jutting out at being denied. She was halfway through a what the hell when Brittany pushed her hips forward and stole the breath right out of Santana's words. "Tell me what happened," Brittany repeated for the billionth time this morning. Their lips were still close together, the scent of hot waffles, syrup and coffee lingering between them and Santana felt her eyelids flutter at the sensation. But she held her resolve and shook her head. "Nothing happened," she denied again. Brittany smirked in a way that to most people would look completely innocent but Santana knew her girlfriend better than she knew herself and that look was anything but innocent. That look meant Brittany wanted something and she was going to get it. A sharp breath left her and her thighs trembled when Brittany leaned forward and pressed kisses down her jawbone, the hand on her back sliding upward and the other finding its place on her hipbone and tracing the waistband of her underwear there.

"What's wrong?" Brittany asked again, the question a hot, whispered breath in her ear. "You're playing dirty," Santana managed to gasp out, choking on the words when sharp teeth pulled at the skin below her ear. She felt Brittany nod against her neck, and a smile spread against her skin there. "I am," Brittany agreed and it made Santana chuckle a little bit. Normally, she'd be peeved at being handled this way, at Brittany trying to force her to talk about her feelings, but she kind of wanted to tell her anyway. She hated the way it all made her feel, that was still true, but if she could tell anyone it would Brittany, if anyone would make her feel a little less stupid, it would be Brittany. So when Brittany's hand traveled up her shirt to cup her breast her jaw dropped open and the words fell out. "Quinn ditched me." Movement stopped and Brittany lifted her head to look into Santana's eyes. Her expression wasn't full of concern or sad or pitying the way Santana half expected it to be, it was more blank that anything, as Brittany heard the words and processed what they meant. Santana didn't have to say more, she knew Brittany

would hear all the layers of meaning packed into the three words so she just waited, tried to ignore the urge to cant her hips forward and pull Brittany's hand from her chest to a location more south. After about a minute, 52 seconds to be exact, Brittany pursed her lips and smiled tightly, nodding a little bit before resuming her trek down Santana's collarbone with her lips. "What are you doing?" Santana asked, the question rushing out of her and into Brittany's hair. She didn't expect to have to explain anything to her girlfriend, but she half expected Brittany to give her a semi-long lecture on how it's okay that Quinn has new friends and that she still loves Santana and blah, blah, blah. Santana knew this Rachel Berry character was going to ruin their lives. Brittany chuckled. "Making you feel better. Then I'm going to make you waffles," she answered, lifting her head up again so they could look at each other. "Is that okay?" Santana nodded rapidly and sighed in relief as Brittany ducked back down and her hand started to trail down her abs. Yeah, that was more than okay. That was perfect. --

It takes about ten minutes for Santana to get all the words out, to say them all without it making her want to punch out at the wall, but she does it and takes a moment of satisfaction at Brittany's appalled expression. At least now she feels like someone's on her side. The blonde girl doesn't say anything, but Santana knows what she's thinking. "Yeah, I know," she says. Brittany blinks, runs her thumbs up Santana's sides. "Wow." "Yeah." "What are you going to do?" Santana blows a heavy breath out and looks around the small closet, shifts her feet a little, bringing her closer into Brittany. This is the hard part. Where to go from here. "I'm going to talk to Puck," she answers finally. "I can't," she pauses. Because actually, this is the hard part. The part where she admits she's way too close to this thing, that she can't see the forest for the trees anymore and she's lost all ability to do her job. Not that she actually has a job anymore. But she doesn't need to say the words because Brittany must see them written all over her face. "You need to talk to Puck," her girlfriend repeats.

Santana nods and Brittany smiles. -When they exit the closet, Puck is leaning against the wall across the hallway with a leer spread across his face and a waggle of his eyebrows to greet them. Santana rolls her eyes at the sight and reaches down to tangle her fingers with Brittany's, pulling the other girl close to her side. Her partner pushes off the wall and walks toward her and she crosses the hall in his direction. "How'd it go with Quinn?" He asks, stopping to stand in front of her. Her fingers squeeze Brittany's hard before answering. She lets her thoughts reorganize, explaining it all to Brittany having actually helped her sort some things out. Things beyond the devastation over her parents and her best friends and things more connected to the task at hand. Pike, Mr. Fabray, the Cain organization. "It's more complicated than we originally thought." "Okay," Puck replies, his brow scrunches up as he looks down at her. "What does that mean?" "It means I need you to go talk to her now. I don't think," she swallows and looks down the hall for a minute, hating what she's about to say. "I don't think I can handle it anymore."

Puck's surprised. Shocked even. It's clear as day all over his face - the way his eyes go big and his shoulders pull back and the fast, sharp exhale he lets out through his nose. "You can't handle it anymore," he repeats, as if saying the words will help them make sense. "I just can't talk to her right now," Santana says, not looking at Puck or Brittany. "I think it would be better if you did it." She looks up at him then, makes eye contact and hopes he gets it, hopes he doesn't press it because if she has to talk about it, explain it, she'll just throw the whole plan out the window and take it all back. As a cop, she knows she's way past too emotional. She left too emotional somewhere back two days ago, but she hates the idea that she can't do her job. It makes her feel like she's lost, like the bad guys won. Puck looks her up and down and then at Brittany who gives him a wide grin he can't help but return. "Okay," he says, with a small smile for Santana. He reaches forward and claps his hand on her shoulder, squeezing briefly before releasing and turning to walk down the hallway and around the corner towards Quinn's room. Santana stands there for a minute, staring at the corner Puck disappeared around until Brittany tugs

gently on her hand. "What now?" She turns to look at her girlfriend and shrugs. "Now we wait." -Ten minutes later and Puck is still talking to Quinn. Santana and Brittany are parked on a hospital bench, hands clasped tightly together and Santana rolls the back of her head against the wall as Brittany snuggles deeper into her shoulder. Her leg bobs up and down and she can feel herself getting anxious. Part of her wants to go back and talk to Quinn, the initial emotion has left her and she's still hurt and pissed and kind of wants to slap the blonde off Quinn's pretty little head but she can remember Quinn's last words, the way she said there was more to it and now all of a sudden Santana needs to hear the rest. Feels a small shred of hope that the last bit is redeeming, that maybe she doesn't have to lose both the memory of her parents and her best friend today. Brittany slides her free hand down Santana's thigh and squeezes it near the knee. "Just go talk to her," she whispers into the collar of Santana's coat. Her teeth come down on her lower lip and she turns to look down the hallway, eyes zeroing in on the door she knows is Quinn's. She stares at it for a minute,

indecision warring with curiosity in her system before Brittany lets her hand go and stands up. "I'll go get coffee," she announces but just as she's turning to leave, silent encouragement for Santana to go talk to Quinn, she darts her hand out and grabs Brittany's again. "Come with," she commands, not looking Brittany in the eyes. She doesn't need to look up to see the smile because Brittany just tugs her up and out of the chair and leads them down the hallway to Quinn's room. -The disadvantage to working in criminal law was that Quinn had to deal with all the crazies. Mostly Santana found this hilarious considering her best friend's last job, but then it stopped being funny all of a sudden because a particular criminal got particularly angry with the DA's office one day and decided to take it out on its employees. Santana got the call during lunch, halfway through one of Puck's new sandwich experiments that was actually tasting pretty delicious - not that she'd ever tell him that. Ever. She didn't hear much past DA, Fabray and attack before she was racing out of the bullpen, her sandwich left forgotten on her desk.

It all happened long before Santana was made aware of it so she ends up racing to the hospital, calling Brittany on the way and not stopping until she skidded to a halt outside the room with her best friend. Rachel came out the door right as Santana got there, her eyes red and puffy and wearing the most ridiculous costume Santana had ever seen. Which was saying something. Any other day the costume would be prime ammunition for insults. It'd be like Christmas in May because Rachel would have set herself up so beautifully, but Santana couldn't focus on that right now, instead she looked right over Rachel's shoulder into the room. Rachel reached a hand out and grabbed Santana's arm. "She's going to be okay," she said, smiling quickly. "What happened?" Santana croaked, looking down at the brunette. "Some guy got a razor into the courtroom and wasn't too happy about his guilty verdict," Rachel explained, her words thick and full of tears. Santana nodded and clenched her fists at her side. "Who?" Santana asked.

Rachel shook her head. "They didn't say," she answered. "She's working on that prostitution ring case," Santana whispered absently. "Fuck, I knew that shit was bad news." She turned around and paced away from the door, running her hand up through her hair. "So did she, that's her job," Rachel said to Santana's back. "Yeah, that's her job," Santana agreed turning to face Rachel again. "She did her job and I didn't do mine." Rachel opened her mouth in confusion but Santana brushed past her before she had a chance to ask for an explanation. Not that Santana really had one to give. -Santana bursts into the hospital room and three heads whip up to look at her. Puck looking confused, Rachel looking pissed and Quinn looking at her with the saddest expression Santana thinks she's ever seen, and she spends most of her time with Brittany and Rachel, that's saying something.

Puck takes a step towards her. "Lopez," he starts, but she holds a hand up. "Listen," she says, and she looks towards Quinn. "I don't know what to think right now. I don't know what to think about you or about me or about anything else but I do know one thing." She pauses and looks around. Rachel smirks and Santana rolls her eyes because she's about to lay a big sappy speech on all of them and of course Rachel would be happy about that. "This is about all of us right now and we can't afford to be messed up. We need to figure this shit out. Together. All of us." It's a short speech, but Santana isn't much for words and Brittany interlocks their fingers together so she doesn't really care all that much. "You already got Pike," Quinn says. Puck nods. "Matt and Finn just got him to the hospital." Santana shakes her head. "I'm not talking about Pike. Pike is old news. I'm talking about your father," she says to Quinn. Quinn swallows and narrows her eyes. "Santana,"

Quinn starts. "There's more to this whole story and you're going to tell me. You're going to tell me and then we're going to put our brains together and go after him." Rachel drifts a hand down her stomach and takes a step towards Santana, her mouth dropping open to speak. "No," Santana says before the brunette can make a sound. "You tell me the rest and then we go after him. That's the deal." A chuckle breaks past Rachel's lips and Santana throws an incredulous glance her way. "I was going to say I agree with you." Shock runs through her and it must be clear on her face because the whole room laughs and the tension eases slightly. "Okay," Santana says after glaring at every laughing person in the room. "Spill." Quinn takes a deep breath and swallows before talking. -"What would you do if Brittany wanted you to do

something you didn't want to do?" Quinn asked, spinning a bowl of pretzels on the counter. "Brittany's gone," Santana replied, anger and pain rolling through her, fresh but dulled slightly by time. "What did you do then?" "Are you drunk?" She wasn't above punching her friend for being an insensitive bitch, but there's a near empty bottle of tequila on the table between them and she doesn't feel like breaking a nail today. "I need you to answer the question," Quinn said and something in her voice, in the way she avoided eye contact made Santana comply. "I do what I want, fool," Santana answered. Quinn rolled her eyes and popped a pretzel in her mouth. "I mean when Brittany wanted Nemo, you said no, right?" Santana glanced around the bar and clenched her jaw. It was pretty empty for a Friday night, but she liked it that way. It was quiet except for the clanking of glasses and the hushed murmurs from some of the booths. "I thought we agreed some topics were off the table."

"We never agreed to that," Quinn denied. "It was an implied contract." "That's really where you want to take this argument?" Quinn asked, raising an eyebrow in challenge. "Don't talk about Brittany," Santana said, hoping that would be enough. "I'm not," Quinn denied. "I'm talking about your dog." It punched her right through the gut because her dog was gone and so was her girlfriend but she let the alcohol rub the edges of memory to a hazy state and tried to resist the urge to bolt from the table. "I love my dog," Santana replied, evading the question. "But you didn't want one." "What's this about?" She stared at her friend with narrowed eyes. "Nothing, I'm just curious." Then it dawned on Santana. "What does Rachel want?" Quinn shook her head rapidly. Too rapidly to be

believable. "Nothing." "Oh shit, what does she want? A house? An autographed bust of Streisand for your foyer? A baby?" Santana started to laugh thankful for the distraction away from thoughts of Brittany and her dog and depression. But the blood runs out of Quinn's face and Santana jerks backwards as she takes in Quinn's expression. "Q?" "Nevermind, I have to go," Quinn said, standing abruptly and racing out of the bar before Santana could stop her. -Santana listens as Quinn and Puck discuss her father, discuss the situation in a way she knows is trying to avoid talking about any of the real issues. Like Santana's parents or whatever it was that Quinn hadn't told her yet. She knows enough right now. She knows enough to know that Russell Fabray had to be taken out, had to be arrested or murdered or beaten to a pulp so that his reign of terror ended. It was the first time she didn't really care about the why of it all. Didn't want to know what his motivation was or why he waited so long to do it or how he found Roger Pike.

Right now all Santana cares about is pain. The pain she's feeling, the pain Brittany's feeling, the pain Quinn's feeling, the pain Pike inflicted, the pain her parents felt and the pain she's going to deliver. Nothing else. "So do you have any proof at all about what your dad was doing?" Puck asks, crossing his arms over his chest. Santana walks over to the window and surveys the city outside, hears the sheets of Quinn's bed rustle and watches the rain drip down the glass. "The files at my old job would be the best, if they're still there, but I don't have access to them anymore." Santana spins around. "You don't have anything at your place? Nothing?" Quinn looks up at the ceiling as if the answers are stored there. "I mean, there might be something. I'd have to look." "I can look," Santana offers, taking a step towards the bed. But Quinn shakes her head. "You wouldn't know what you're looking for and you can't get in." Out of the corner of her eye Santana sees Brittany

take a seat on one of the chairs scattered about. "Well, you can't exactly get up." Then Rachel pipes up, moves away from Quinn and towards Santana. "I know what to look for. I can go with Santana." Quinn sits up abruptly before flinging back just as fast, grabbing her leg in pain and yelping out in surprise. "Quinn!" Rachel exclaims moving closer to the bed. "You're not going," Quinn gets out past clenched teeth. Santana stands at the foot of the bed, her hands on the railing there as Brittany stands up and Puck moves closer too, all concerned with the way Quinn's face looks, twisted in pain. "I know what to look for, just as well as you do," Rachel argues, stroking hair off Quinn's forehead and looking somewhere between concerned and determined. "Not safe," Quinn denies, shaking her head. "I'll be fine," Rachel whispers, leaning over and pressing a kiss to the attorney's temple. "We have to end this and you're in no shape to move. I'm the only one that could possibly help them." Santana hates it. Hates it because she has to rely on

Rachel Berry to finish this thing. Rachel Berry who's basically been a thorn in her side since they day they met, who represents everything that's eating away at her about Quinn right now. Looking at Rachel, all she can think about is how Quinn told her first, about how she told Rachel all about her parents and Santana just wants to lash out at something. But she stamps down on the emotion with force, swallows against the bitter taste in her mouth. She hates this plan but it's a good one. They can't take Quinn back to the apartment, and Rachel is their next best bet, their only next bet. All this other crap, their friendship, and her childhood, all her emotions. There will be time later to deal with that, time after she deals with the present issue, finding the bad guy, taking him down. Even if he is her best friend's dad. She needs to do this to feel like something is right in the world. She needs to do this to focus. She needs to do this. "She's right," she says after a few seconds. "Berry's right. She'll come with us." Quinn looks like she's about to protest, angrily, and Santana anticipates the fight with a certain amount of glee, but Puck's phone rings before any words can come out and he turns his back to them to answer, speaking in short, clipped tones while they all stare at him.

When he turns back around his expression is blank, flipping his phone closed and shoving it into the pocket of his leather jacket. "That was Rutherford," he announces. "Pike's dead." Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Nineteen] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: little under 7k this part Notes in Part One [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] [Part Sixteen] [Part Seventeen] [Part Eighteen] -When Quinn had asked Rachel to move in with her, they ended up buying a new place together. It had ticked Santana off, at first because the new building was much farther from Santana’s and much farther from Rick’s but on the upside, it put Rachel Berry that much farther from Santana and she would never complain about that. The place is nice, befitting a successful attorney and a famous actress, and relatively impressive when you

look up the stairs of the entryway. Santana hesitates there, the rain pouring down onto her face as Rachel makes her way to the front door. Puck stayed at the hospital with Quinn and Brittany but right now, looking up at the ominous doors to her best friend’s apartment, she kind of wishes he were here. Especially with the face he made at her after she told him to stay back - he was pretty upset she was taking Rachel when he was perfectly capable of breaking into an apartment. But more than that, she feels vulnerable and exposed and she’s having trouble putting one foot in front of the other, unsure of what she’s going to find when she actually gets inside. She’d like backup, someone next to her that knows what’s going on and that she knows has her back. It’s not that she thinks Rachel is malicious or up to no good. It’s just that Puck is the only one she thinks is distant from the situation, on the outside but firmly on Santana’s side. She doesn’t know where Quinn stands, but she knows that wherever that is, Rachel is there with her and even though Brittany has pretty much proven she’s on Santana’s side, she doesn’t want her any more near to this whole mess than she already is. If she had her way she’d wrap Brittany up in wool and lock her inside the apartment forever. Rachel turns to look at her from the top step, fumbling

a keychain out of her front pocket and wincing slightly as she stares at Santana. “It’s raining, Santana,” she says as she turns back and fits the key into the lock. “I’d rather not stand out here too long, I can’t afford to catch a cold.” Santana rolls her eyes and wipes the water off her forehead as she starts up the steps, pulling the collar of her jacket up against her neck. Santana Lopez and Rachel Berry fighting crime together. The apocalypse is nigh. They step inside the lobby, and the cold wash of air conditioning makes Santana shiver as it hits her wet skin. Rachel leads the way to an elevator bank and they’re blissfully silent on the ride up. In fact, Santana can’t remember a time Rachel Berry has been quiet for this long. Then again, considering the last few days, she supposes she shouldn’t be surprised. The apartment is dark when they walk in but immediately Santana feels something wrong, something not right. She’s spent a significant amount of time at this apartment, on the couch in their living room, in the kitchen, back in Quinn’s study. And right when she crosses the threshold, she knows something is off. Rachel’s shoulders tense in front of her and she can tell the other girl feels it too. She palms the gun tucked into the back of her pants,

the one Puck handed her before she left, and pulls Rachel by the bicep to stand behind her. The light flips on with a soft click as Rachel hits the switch and the apartment is suddenly illuminated, making Santana squint her eyes against the change. The shorter girl makes a move to walk around Santana but she manages to grab her bicep again before Rachel can get very far. “Hey!” Rachel yelps, indignant at being pulled again. “Get behind me,” Santana hisses and when Rachel practically cowers at her expression Santana allows herself a brief moment of satisfaction as she watches the brunette comply with her order. Yeah, still got it. There’s nothing out of order at first glance. Everything looks to be in its place, but the inkling won’t go away and she feels Rachel’s hands grab the back of her jacket as she presses closer and Santana pulls her gun out, holding it in front of her as they walk forward and her eyes dart around the room. Rachel annoys her more than anyone in the world, but getting her injured would probably make Quinn flip her shit and gun shot wound or no gun shot wound, Santana would rather that not happen. Their friendship is already strained enough at this point. It takes them a few minutes, walking slowly through

the first few rooms of the apartment before Santana is at least satisfied that there’s no one actually there, that whatever is causing her spidey sense to ding is not related to an intruder or the like. She straightens up a little and makes her way to the office, still pulling Rachel along, small hands clenched tight onto her jacket. The study is dark and warm, so Rachel lets go of Santana’s jacket to flip the light switch, pouring light over the big mahogany desk against the back wall and the shelves and shelves of books that line the room. It’s a lawyer’s office, full of papers and books and a nice collection of crystal glassware in the corner. Santana’s always liked the space, always felt like it was perfect for Quinn, but right now, it doesn’t feel like Quinn to her, it feels foreign and weird and she has to shake out her free hand to get the feeling to pass. Rachel walks in and goes straight for Quinn’s desk, sitting in the chair behind it and shuffling her hand around underneath. Santana looks at her funny as the girl fumbles around. “What are you doing?” “Quinn keeps a key under here,” Rachel answers,

wincing again as she bends over. Here she is with Rachel Berry – cracked ribs and drugged up. Awesome. “For her locked drawers.” “That’s a shit hiding space,” Santana replies, raising an eyebrow at Rachel briefly before surveying the rest of the room. “I know,” the brunette says and she sounds genuinely exasperated. “That’s what I keep telling Quinn.” Rachel makes a face and stops moving her arm around under the desk, sitting up and glancing around, her brow furrowed. “Find it?” Santana asks. “It’s not here,” Rachel replies, shaking her head and looking confused. “Maybe Quinn moved it,” she suggests, walking towards the far wall and observing the bookcase. “Quinn didn’t move it,” Rachel responds, irritation dripping off her tone. “She doesn’t move things.” Santana shakes her head as she peruses the titles on the shelves, most of them sounding dry and boring and of absolute zero interest to her. “Well maybe she did this time,” she suggests, glancing to where Rachel is now standing, behind the desk with her hands on

her hips. “She didn’t,” Rachel argues. “Someone else moved it. Someone else was here.” Rachel’s voice goes from annoyed to shocked and scared at the last sentence. It’s what Santana suspects herself, it’s what she thinks is causing the tingling at the back of her neck but she doesn’t want that to be true, it’s just another thing she has to worry about today that she doesn’t want to. “Just keep looking,” Santana says, turning around and walking to the desk. “Maybe she just left it lying around or something.” Rachel takes a deep breath and stares at Santana. “She doesn’t just leave things lying around, Santana.” She opens her mouth to keep arguing because, frankly, right now, the banter is more comforting than anything else tonight but then Rachel seems to get an idea and makes a break for the office doors. “Where are you going?” Santana asks, spinning to watch the shorter girl walk out. “To get something,” Rachel throws over her shoulder as she leaves. Santana moves around to the desk chair and sits

down, opens a few of the unlocked drawers and studies their contents. It’s nothing interesting and nothing she hasn’t seen before. A few case files Santana recognizes, pens and post-it notes. Nothing looks shuffled around or out of order the way she half expects it to be. A minute later Rachel returns, twisting a small bobby pin around in her hand. “What the hell is that for?” Santana asks, standing up as Rachel comes around the desk. “A key,” Rachel answers before kneeling down and sticking the small pin into the lock on the bottom drawer. Santana watches in shock as Rachel wiggles the pin around expertly and a small click resounds through the room signaling the latch unlocking. The drawer slides open easily and Rachel stands back up, smiling triumphantly at Santana. “Where,” Santana starts, her eyes wide as saucers. “Did you learn that?” “From Brittany,” Rachel supplies, shoving the mangled bobby pin into her pocket. Santana jerks back and blinks slowly. “What the fuck do you mean you learned it from Brittany?”

She’s sputtering and it’s probably half embarrassing but she’s just realized Rachel Berry fucking picked a lock right in front of her and things like embarrassment are a little off her radar at the moment. A lot off her radar, considering her girlfriend has apparently been picking locks too. They’ve been out. Picking locks. Like you do. “She learned it from Puck, I think,” Rachel explains, as if that makes it better. “He’s the one that taught us both how to break into cars. A very useful skill for someone like Brittany, who constantly locks herself out of vehicles and the like. Well, you would know.” As if her worldview hasn’t been shifted, tilted, thrown off its axis enough tonight. Now she’s got to worry about Rachel, Puck and Brittany out boosting cars for fun. Her life is a circus. “I’m surrounded by criminals,” she breathes out, watching as Rachel pulls out a large stack of files and sets them on the desk. “That’s inappropriate,” Rachel responds, flipping open the first file and sliding a few towards Santana. Santana grabs the first folder in front of her and scans the title, opening it up and looking at the contents. Anything that will link all the facts flitting through her brain. “But true.”

-She actually didn’t think it was possible to be this happy. Especially over something as lame as a job, but here she was, whistling, on her way home, practically skipping down the sidewalk. All because just a few hours ago she found out she passed the test and in a few days she was going to be a cop. A real, uniformed, gun-toting police officer. The grin on her face was so wide it almost hurt, but she couldn’t stop smiling. It was hot outside, almost too hot for Santana and she could feel sweat drip down her back and the side of her face. She pushed her aviators up on her nose as they slid down and rolled her head on her shoulders as she walked, pulling the material of her shirt away from her skin and flapping it briefly. It was a fifteen minute trip from the station to her apartment building and normally even that would be too long in this heat, but she only barely felt it today, just strolled along in the hot sun and smiled at all the people, poured out onto the street to soak up some rays and get out of their even warmer apartments – not all the buildings on this street had working A/C. Since she was in such a fantastic mood she bypassed the front doors to her building despite their promise of cool air conditioning and a comfy bed upstairs.

Instead, she took the next right around her block and headed down the route that would take her to Brittany’s dance studio. Celebrating was only so much fun on her own. It took her another twenty minutes to get to the studio, a little quicker than usual with how eager she was to get there. The place was relatively nondescript, an almost seedy looking building hidden between an old Chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon and a laundromat. The Chinese next door was actually pretty delicious, the laundromat, however, was about the sketchiest place in their neighborhood. In fact, Santana’s pretty sure it was raided last week for an underground prostitution ring. The bell hanging off the front door of the studio chimed as she opened it but the loud beat of dance music boomed towards her, muffling the tin sound of the bell. Cold air blasted over her face and she sighed gratefully at being out of the heat, sliding the sunglasses off her face and pushing them up through her hair on the top of her head. Mike and Brittany were in the middle of a big, wooden floor, and by the looks of it, engaged in some epic dance contest that Santana was not even close to surprised to see. Brittany was in the middle of a long peel of laughter as Mike performed an elaborate dance move involving his entire body.

Neither of them noticed Santana as she walked in, so she sauntered to the front counter where their office manager, Amanda, was standing by a cash register, laughing at the display as well. “Hey,” Santana greeted as she got to the counter and leaned her elbows on it, watching as Brittany attempted to mimic Mike’s moves and nearly fell over. “Hey there, Santana,” the tall girl drawled out in reply, turning to face her. Santana cocked her head towards Mike and Brittany. “How long has this been going on?” , Amanda chuckled. “Since lunch,” she answered. “Their 2 o’clock class got canceled and Ken let them use the space for the afternoon.” Santana’s eyebrows went straight upward on her forehead. It was 3:30 now. “So she’s clear for the day?” Brittany had four classes a day - three in the morning, one in the afternoon and then she usually hung around the studio until around 5 when Santana got back from class. If her afternoon class was cancelled it usually meant she was done for the day. “She’s good to go,” Amanda said.

“Good.” Santana pushed off the counter and walked closer to the pair. They were still dancing and giggling, oblivious to pretty much anyone but themselves, so she lingered in their periphery and waited for one of them to notice her. Brittany pulled off some crazy, flailing spin move that put her legs at some completely unnatural angle as Mike clapped at her, letting out a whooping sound. Santana raised an eyebrow at the move because, really, falling in love with a dancer was one of her best decisions. It had its perks. Brittany finished the move, made a challenging gesture in the form of a chest thrust in Mike’s direction before laughing loudly and finally noticing Santana as she bent over in mirth. Brittany’s eyes widened and the blonde girl straightened up, bouncing over towards her. “S!” Brittany yelped as she made her way over. Mike waved from behind her and Santana smiled back at him. Turning her attention back to her girlfriend, Santana was able to see the action before it happened and thank God, because if she hadn’t it could have gotten messy. But she saw it, tensed her thighs and managed not to fall over as Brittany got close and leaped upwards towards Santana, wrapping her legs around Santana’s waist and twisting her arms behind

her neck, held up partly by Santana’s hands gripping under her thighs. It was an absurd move because Brittany was taller than her and it mostly made them look entirely ridiculous but they’d been doing it to each other since they were kids. Especially when they were much younger and there were a few years there where Santana was actually taller than Brittany, if only by a few centimeters. While Santana had mostly stopped jumping on top of her girlfriend, it wasn’t a habit Brittany seemed at all likely to drop any time soon. So there she was standing in the middle of a dance studio with Brittany attached to her at the hips and a thudding bass beat thumping around them. Brittany smiled down at her and pressed a quick kiss to her lips. “What are you doing here?” Brittany breathed out, pulling back and tugging Santana’s aviators off her head. Santana chuckled as she watched her girlfriend put the sunglasses on her own face and attempt a stern look. “I passed the test,” Santana answered, readjusting her grip on her girlfriend. A surprised gasp shot out of Brittany’s mouth and

Santana could feel her girlfriend’s thighs squeeze her hips tighter. “We have to celebrate!” Santana nodded her head up and down, but couldn’t get any more words out as Brittany pressed their mouths together again, the hands behind her head tugging gently on her hair in a motion that was entirely arousing. It felt good, really good. Better than hearing she had actually passed, that she was graduating and better than the massive hug Puck gave her before she left the station. She could hear Mike laughing behind them, the sound mingling with the music still beating through the room and she thought maybe Amanda was clapping but all that got pushed aside as Brittany ran her tongue over Santana’s lips and her nails scratched against Santana’s scalp. Then Brittany pulled away and slid off her, kissing her once more, quick and hard before stepping away. “Let me get my stuff!” The blonde scampered away, giving a running, jumping, high five to Mike as she disappeared into the back room where they kept lockers and a break room. Santana smiled widely, the way she had been all afternoon and leaned against the wall as she waited

for her girlfriend. Amanda smirked at her and shook her head before turning back to the desk calendar on the front counter and looking it over. Mike gave her the same affectionately knowing look before turning back to the mirrored wall and continuing his dancing. Not more than two minutes later, Brittany returned, duffel slung over her shoulders and Santana’s aviators still over her eyes. She nodded goodbye to Mike and Amanda as Brittany wound her arm through Santana’s. “You going to give me my sunglasses back?” “It’s sunny outside,” Brittany responded with a grin, which Santana knew meant no, she wasn’t getting those back anytime soon. The blonde led her out of the studio and turned them to the right, stopping in front of the door to the Chinese restaurant. “What are we doing?” Santana asked, untangling their arms to grip Brittany’s hand in hers. Her girlfriend swung their joined arms back and forth between them and grinned. “We’re going to get some Chinese takeout, then some champagne from that liquor store at the corner and then,” Brittany trailed off as she stepped closer and pressed her mouth against Santana’s ear.

“And then we’re going to have hot, sweaty celebration sex and I’m going to make you come harder than you ever have in your life.” Santana gulped as her girlfriend pulled away, their hands still joined. She blinked slowly as she took in the wicked expression on her girlfriend’s face and tried to get her words to work around her thick tongue. “That okay?” Brittany asked, leaning back in again and ghosting her lips over Santana’s. All she could do was nod. -She officially graduates a week later. It’s a big, glamorous, affair, everyone in formal dress and a big speech and presentation. And it’s cool, one of the cooler moments of her life but years later when she looks back on becoming a cop, for real, she’ll think about a sketchy dance studio, Brittany with her legs wrapped around her, and Mike and Amanda cheering in the background. She’ll think about boxes of ginger chicken and $10 champagne and the best orgasm of her life. -“Find anything?” Santana asks as she closes the red

file she was looking through. “Nope,” Rachel responds, closing a file as well and throwing it on top of a growing pile. Santana rolls her head around her shoulders, hears it crack uncomfortably with the motion. Rachel makes a disgusted expression in her direction but Santana just smirks. “I need a drink,” she says. “We’re getting nowhere.” “No one needs a drink, Santana.” She purses her lips at the other girl. “Well I do, Rachel,” she replies, mockery falling all over the name. “We’ll find something soon; we just have to keep looking. Perseverance will win out,” Rachel says with a determined head bob at the end. Santana looks at her skeptically. “Yeah, sure, whatever.” The pile in front of her is getting bigger and bigger and they’re getting nowhere, none of the cases have an even remote connection between Pike and Russell Fabray and none of them have anything incriminating to say about either of them separately. This is useless. She looks around the office and eyes the collection of

crystal glassware in the corner just out of her reach. She’d have to stand up to get to it and she lets her head fall back against the bookshelf just thinking about it. The less effort, the better. Then she spots Quinn’s briefcase leaned up against her desk, an arm’s reach away and she can hear her own voice exclaim “Score!” in her head. Her foot reaches out and she tips the briefcase towards her, pulling it along the floor with her toe until she can get her hands on it. “What are you doing?!” Rachel shouts at her as she gets the front buckle undone on the case. “Getting a drink,” Santana answers as if it’s obvious. Which, it should be. “That’s Quinn’s briefcase,” the other girl responds. “Yeah, thanks genius. I know that.” Rachel rolls her eyes and throws another file on the ground. “Why do you think there is going to be liquor in Quinn’s briefcase?” Seriously, just when she thinks Rachel Berry couldn’t annoy her more. “Is that a serious question?” Rachel doesn’t respond so Santana just opens the

briefcase up anyway. “She’s a lawyer,” she explains even though that answer should be completely clear. An offended sound comes out of the other girl but Santana could really care less because her fingers are closing on the cool metal of a flask and she smirks in victory, pulling it out and twisting the top off. The harsh burn of vodka goes down her throat as she throws it back fast before twisting the top back on the flask and closing her eyes at the warmth flooding into her stomach. She’s not an alcoholic, she’s not. She just knows that the relaxant will do her wonders right now, stuck in a room with Rachel freakin’ Berry, trying to find incriminating evidence on her best friend’s father. She’s entitled to a drink. The flask rests on her thigh and when she opens her eyes, she gets a good look at the thing. She kind of wishes she hadn’t. No, amend, she definitely wishes she hadn’t. “Are you kidding me?” It bursts out of her and her face scrunches up as she looks at the engraving on the side of the metal flask. There’s a star etched on to the top portion, colored a yellow-gold and there are words underneath it in an elegant scrawl all down the rest of the flask. Just slip me on / I’ll be your blanket.

“What?” Rachel asks from her position a few feet away from Santana. She can almost hear the smirk in the girl’s tone. “Why are the entire lyrics to “I’ll Cover You” written on Quinn’s flask?” “It’s not the every lyric, just the pertinent ones and Santana, I must say I’m impressed that you even recognize the song.” “How could this song be pertinent? It is about two gay guys with AIDS. The whole damn musical is about AIDS,” Santana continues. “Gay. AIDS.” “Aside from the fact that that is both offensive and completely missing the point of RENT, I’m shocked you’re even cultured enough to be aware the musical exists, much less know the lyrics to a particular song.” Santana scoffed, unscrewed the flask and took another hit of the liquor. “Yeah, well, when Q started dating you she dragged me around on fucking Broadway 101 for weeks just so she’d have something to talk to you about.” It comes out before she can stop it, probably because thinking about times when things were good with Quinn is helping her psyche right now, but she cringes when she realizes what she had just given away.

The extremely girlish, lovestruck sigh that comes out of Rachel in response makes her want to gag. “I didn’t know that,” Rachel says. “That’s so romantic.” “This is seriously ruining any chance of a buzz,” Santana deadpans. “Just shut up and keep working.” She eyes the flask again and considers taking another sip, but decides against it, pulling the briefcase back open to slide the flask back in. There’s a glossy picture inside, tucked among some other files and Santana almost doesn’t pay it any mind but it’s so strange looking that she can’t look away. The thing is black and white and fuzzy and there are some numbers in the corner and her eyes widen when she thinks she knows what it is. She looks at Rachel, then back at the briefcase, then back at Rachel. Swallows. Shakes her head. But before she can say anything, Rachel practically jumps up from the floor. “Found it!” Santana’s brain switches gears swiftly as she closes Quinn’s briefcase and scrambles off the floor to grab Rachel’s file. --

“When do you find out?” Brittany asked, her voice sounding loud in the dark silence of the room. “I don’t know,” Santana replied, shrugging one shoulder upward and pressing her cheek further into Brittany’s chest. “Paperwork has to go through and everything, my field evaluation, all that stuff. I guess a few months.” “That’s exciting,” Brittany said softly, running a finger down Santana’s bare shoulder. “Yeah,” she agreed, blinking and focusing on the streetlight she could make out from their bedroom window. A low honking resounded across the room from outside. “You’ll be like the people on TV.” Santana laughed quietly. “Yeah, babe. Like on TV.” “I like Law and Order,” Brittany continued. “I know you do.” “No more late nights?” Santana swallowed. “I can’t promise you that.” Brittany’s nails scratched up her back, lingering at her neck. “You get a new badge?”

“Yup, new detective’s badge.” “Cool.” They were silent for long moments, the sounds of cars rushing past their building was the only noise filtering in through the open window. Santana felt her eyes start to droop closed as sleep threatened to overtake her. She had a stomach full of Chinese takeout, a head full of wine and Brittany was tracing aimless patterns on the bare skin of her back. That, plus the ridiculous orgasm Brittany gave her a few minutes ago, and she was pretty shocked either of them was still awake and coherent. “I’m proud of you,” Brittany whispered into her hair. “Nemo is too.” Their dog yelped at the sound of his name, cuddled near their bedroom door where Brittany had slid his bed earlier that evening. Santana smiled widely into the skin of Brittany’s collarbone. “I love you,” she whispered. Brittany repeated the sentiment and it was the last thing Santana heard before nodding off.

-A week later, Brittany leaves. -Santana loves her job. It’s one of the only comforting things in her life. After Brittany left it was the comforting thing in her life. She loves her job. But right now, staring down at a case file she knows puts Russell Fabray right in the spotlight, she hates her job. Hates it. Then again, she doesn’t even have a job, and that’s something she needs to take care of soon. She might hate what this whole case is doing to her friends, to the only family she’s ever really known, and even to the dead one, her parents, six feet under, but she knows she has to see it through to the end. And they’ve gotten to the part where going rogue was only going to get her killed. Get Puck killed. She needs her badge back and she needs it now. “You’re sure?” Santana asks, walking down the hospital corridor with Rachel. Rachel turns narrowed eyes at her. “Of course I’m sure. That’s the guy Quinn was talking about. The last case before she quit her job.”

“Yeah the one she fucking hid from me for years,” Santana responds, the words leaving her before she can think about it, bitterness and pain stabbing at her. The shorter girl grabs her arm and tugs her to a halt in the hallway, turning Santana to face her before letting go of her arm. “She thought she was protecting you. Protecting us. She didn’t want to get you involved.” “I can watch out for myself,” she hisses, leaning closer to Rachel’s face. She’s not angry with Rachel, she knows that on some level. Rachel is annoying but she didn’t do anything, didn’t betray Santana. But Rachel is Quinn and being mad at Quinn means being mad at Rachel. She’s learned that much over the years. “She loves you,” Rachel says, stepping closer and not backing down. “She loves you,” she says again. “Sometimes I think she loves you more than me.” It makes Santana jerk back and the breath get caught in her throat. Denial is right there shooting out of her, but her No she doesn’t gets cut off by Rachel’s continuing tirade. “Not like that,” Rachel denies, shaking her head. “I know she loves me,” she’s explains, taking a breath. “She’s everything to me, the love of my life, we’re…” she trails off for a moment before collecting herself.

“You’re her family, Santana. In a way I can’t be. You were there from the beginning. You and Brittany. I can’t ever have that, I can’t ever be that for Quinn. That’s you. Just you.” Santana closes her eyes quickly and forces herself not to breakdown. It’s one thing in a closet with Brittany. It’s a whole ‘nother thing under the harsh lights of a hospital hallway with Rachel Berry. Rachel reaches out and grips Santana’s arm again and she doesn’t think to shrug it off, the warmth of the small hand bleeding through her cold skin. “Family does some terrible things to each other. I think you know that better than anyone,” Rachel says, staring straight into her eyes. “So does Quinn. Maybe she should have told you.” Santana opens her mouth to speak because yeah, no shit Quinn should have told her but Rachel darts her other hand out to clasp over Santana’s mouth, wincing as she does it. “She should have told you. But she had her reasons. Reasons I can’t tell you, but she had them. She loves you, Santana,” Rachel repeats. “Please don’t forget that.” Santana feels her chest cracking as she stares into Rachel’s brown eyes and her face screws up in pain as the other girl brings her hand down.

She gets it, down in the pit of her gut. Quinn is…well. Quinn is Quinn. And Santana is Santana. And at the end of it all they’re still Santana and Quinn. There’s still pain and anger mixing around in her head because she hates that they have secrets, that there were secrets between them when Santana didn’t have any. It’s part pride and part insecurity and she just wants it to go away. But beyond that, she does love Quinn. It’s the only reason she’s still here. The only reason she’s concerned with the way Rachel keeps wincing all the time. The only reason why it hurts to know she’s about to launch an investigation into Quinn’s father and the only reason she wants to cry every time she thinks about the blonde attorney. And yeah, learning about her parents hurt. She feels like she never got to know her real family, like growing up was just one big lie. Losing her parents is something she doesn’t think she’ll ever get over, no matter how absent they were or how she never felt like they gave two shits about her life. She may not have had her report cards on the refrigerator or heard how proud her papi was when she won all-state in track, but they were her parents and living in a world without them was strange and terrible.

Losing Quinn. Losing Brittany. She thinks maybe that’s worse, at least on some level. Hell, she doesn’t think she could handle losing Puck or Rachel either. She could just barely handle losing her damn dog. It’s the one part of this whole mess she thinks she might be able to understand, Quinn’s messed up loyalty to her dad. She understands it and at the same time doesn’t understand it at all. Quinn is her family, in way that her parents never really were. She’s family and hearing her protect someone else above Santana was like taking a bullet all over again. It hurts, she hates it, but she gets it. She gets it. And she accepts what she knew the moment Quinn spoke the words out loud, told Santana all about the lies and secrets. She forgives Quinn. She forgives Quinn because Rachel’s right. They’re family. Rachel must recognize the decision on Santana’s face because the brunette smiles up at her and nods, turning to continue down the hallway, tugging Santana along. Santana shakes her head. Her family is so dysfunctional. --

When Santana thought about this moment, the moment she was officially promoted to detective, she thought about too much Chinese takeout and some cheap champagne. She thought about victory sex with Brittany and victory waffles in the morning (Brittany would put sprinkles and whipped cream on them for special occasions). But, despite all those plans, here she was, twisting on a stool at Rick’s as she clunked her new shiny badge up and down on the bar top. The whisky burned her throat on the way down as she threw it back and slid the empty shot glass forward on the counter, catching Joe’s eye. A body plopped down beside her and a shock of blonde hair caught her eye as the other person leaned across the table and threw up two fingers in Joe’s direction. “Starting early, S?” Santana just stared at her new badge, watches the lights reflect off it. “How’d you know I was here?” “Puck told me,” Quinn said, turning to face her. Santana felt her friend’s body start in surprise. “Holy shit, you made detective?!”

A long breath escaped her and she threw her badge down, sitting up and grabbing the shot Joe slid across the counter towards her. “Yup,” she said. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me?” Santana shrugged. “I dunno.” “When did it all go through?” Quinn grabbed her shot and tipped it back against her lips, smacking the empty glass back onto the wood. “A few days ago,” Santana answered. “A few days…” Quinn started, before changing tracks and whipping out her cell phone. “We need to throw a party. Rachel’s been chomping at the bit to throw a party.” “No,” Santana blurted, throwing a hand out to grab Quinn’s arm. “No parties.” The attorney eyed her suspiciously, eyebrow raised, before pocketing her phone. “Okay, no parties.” Santana exhaled. “Good.” “Well we have to celebrate,” Quinn said, fingering her empty shot glass. “What do you want to do?” Santana eyed the bottles of liquor lined up behind the

bar, lingering on the label of strawberry vodka Brittany had always favored. “I want to sit here, and drink strawberry vodka.” Quinn laughed. “Remember that time you took state in track and we brought that bottle of Stoli’s and a box of pizza out to the Anderson farm?” Of course Santana remembered. Quinn spilled pizza sauce all over her favorite sweatshirt and Brittany made her these ridiculous duck shaped cookies. She remembered with clarity the way her girlfriend had kissed her later that night, when Quinn was passed out in the back of Santana’s truck. The way Brittany had tasted like sugar and strawberries and the memory of it is like a heavy fist in her throat. So because she was getting pissed and because Quinn was a bitch for bringing up Brittany right now, no matter if it was intentionally or not, she snapped back at her best friend and said the only thing she could think of. Unfortunately the only things she could think of at the moment were petty and lame. “Remember that time I got picked for head cheerleader over you?” It got the reaction Santana was looking for, Quinn’s laughter cutting off abruptly and her head whipping to face Santana. A beat passed before the other girl said anything.

“You know,” Quinn said. “I was a jealous, competitive bitch back then.” It’s not what Santana expected, though it was still true. Santana was the same way. It’s one of the reasons they were such good yet dysfunctional best friends. They were ultra-competitive, bitchy and spent most of high school trying to one-up each other. “Yeah,” Santana admitted, anger flowing out of her. “Me too.” “I never told you I was proud of you,” Quinn continued and it made Santana glance towards her, a confused expression flashing over her face. “Who are you, my mom?” Quinn shook her head but kept their eyes connected and stared, not blinking, at Santana. “I never told you I was proud of you, but I was. I am. Proud of you.” Santana turned away, broke the gaze and rested her eyes on the wall behind the bar again. “Whatever,” she let out after a second. A hand came up to her shoulder and squeezed briefly before letting go. “You’re going to be an awesome detective, San,” Quinn whispered. “Congratulations.”

Tears started to pool in Santana’s eyes but she kept her gaze trained ahead of her, forced herself not to react, not to fall apart. “Thanks,” she got out after a beat. -Puck is sitting outside the door to Quinn’s room, legs kicked out in front of him and head tipped against the wall. Santana kicks his feet out as she approaches him and Rachel turns to enter the room, squeezing Santana’s bicep as she passes. “Well, well. You didn’t off each other,” Puck comments, standing up. “I’m impressed with your restraint.” Santana rolls her eyes but hands him the file. “We’ve got enough for a warrant,” she says. Puck’s eyes go wide before he turns to look at the file, flipping it open and reading the inside. “The guy Quinn was talking about?” “Yep, it’s a platform at least,” she says. “Enough to bring him in.” A grin breaks out on Puck’s face and he snaps the file shut.

“Well, what now, boss?” “Call the captain,” Santana says, turning to glance into the hospital room. She can see Brittany laughing at something Rachel is saying and she needs to update her friends on the situation before they head out. “What for?” Puck asks. “We could do this shit you and me no problem.” “I want my fucking badge back,” Santana answers, smirking at him. “Call him,” she commands in a stern voice. “Then we go after this guy and bring him down. We end it. Tonight.” She turns then, walks into the hospital room with a light-heartedness she didn’t feel hours ago and smiles at Puck’s laughter behind her. The, “Fuck, I love you,” he shouts at her makes her stomach flip over and when Brittany grins, wide and easy as she walks towards her, her chest loosens its grip on her heart. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Part Twenty] Word Count: around 9k this part Rating: NC-17 Notes in Part One

[Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] [Part Sixteen] [Part Seventeen] [Part Eighteen] [Part Nineteen] -Over the past few days, Santana has learned a lot about herself. She’s learned that she needs to duct tape a cell phone to Brittany’s hand. She’s learned that her parents kept a lot more from her than affection. She’s learned that Rachel is apparently a secret jewel thief that picks locks with bobby pins and she’s learned that she really, really hates hospitals. Especially this hospital room. It’s stark white walls and white bedding, the beeping of machines and the solitary window showing off the rain-washed skyline. And her best friend, in a small bed, with her leg wrapped in gauze. Rachel is whispering to Quinn, leaning over her bed with their hands clasped together in a scene almost too sweet for her to handle when Santana walks in and Brittany gives her a large, infectious grin as she strolls towards her. “Hey,” Brittany whispers, leaning in to kiss her hello.

“Hi,” Santana greets, keeping her voice low. “How did it go?” Brittany hooks a pinky around Santana’s and swings their arms back and forth in a short arc. “We found something,” Santana responds. “Puck is calling the captain.” “That’s good,” Brittany lets out. “Yeah,” Santana agrees. Then she glances over to their other two friends, engaged in a heated kiss on the other side of the room and rolls her eyes. She tugs Brittany’s hand towards the door. “Let’s talk outside for a second.” Puck is talking on his phone in the hallway, running a hand over his head as he talks. He gives Santana a small smile and a thumbs up when he notices her before wandering farther down the hallway and out of earshot. Santana turns Brittany around to face her. “I need you to stay in the hospital with Quinn,” she starts. Brittany cocks her head to the side but doesn’t argue. “Okay.” “I have to go deal with this thing and I’ll feel better if you stay here and don’t go anywhere,” Santana

continues. “I know,’ Brittany replies. “ I said okay.” “Just don’t leave the room,” Santana reiterates. Brittany chuckles. “We went over this before.” Santana shakes her head, the confidence she was feeling earlier slowly ebbing away because here’s Brittany. A whole different issue separate from all the bullshit she’s dealing with Quinn, an issue she feels like she hasn’t fully resolved and she needs to know for certain Brittany’s going to be there when she gets back. Desperation floods through her and she can’t put a stop on it no matter how irrational she knows it is. “Just don’t leave,” she repeats, feeling lame but not knowing how to stop it. “I won’t,” Brittany says again, and her girlfriend reaches forward with both hands to grab the sides of Santana’s coat and pull them closer together. “Don’t,” Santana gets out. Brittany doesn’t respond, just shapes her lips into a thin line and tugs Santana even closer before kissing her. Really kissing her. She kisses her in a way that makes Santana wish they weren’t standing in the

middle of a hospital, that she could actually do something about the way the kiss shoots right through her and settles like warm brandy in her stomach. Just when Santana recovers enough to pick her arms up and bring them to Brittany’s hips, the blonde girl pulls away, dropping slow, lazy kisses on Santana’s lips like they have all the time in the world. “I’m not going anywhere,” Brittany whispers into the space between their mouths. “Promise.” The rational part of her brain, and if she’s honest, a big part of her heart, doesn’t believe it, can’t believe it. It’s too soon and that trust that Brittany would never leave her, that Brittany was permanent and constant was broken six months ago, broken on a stormy night with Brittany’s cell phone falling down a sewer. She’s not ready to let herself trust that again, to just assume Brittany is back for good but she wants to, knows how easy it would be to just sink into that and let it consume her again. So because she can feel her knees start to shake and fear replace arousal in her system, and she knows, all of a sudden, that she can’t tell Brittany that she believes her, can’t smile or hug her or give her any indication that the words got through. Instead, she looks into Brittany’s eyes, lets herself study the way they crinkle as confusion creeps in at Santana’s silence and she says the only thing she can get out

without her voice cracking. “We’re taking a vacation after this. To a beach. With mai tais.” “Can we bring Nemo?” Brittany asks, laughter bubbling out of her. “Yes,” Santana replies definitively, stroking a light finger over the bandage on Brittany’s forehead. “We’ll bring the dog.” Brittany’s eyes brighten with excitement and Santana’s relieved and happy to see that the dark events of the past few days hasn’t seemed to affect her girlfriend at all. Though she should have expected it, Brittany was always that way, rolling past all the bad stuff without a second thought. “Yay,” the blonde exclaims. “Family vacay!” Santana is halfway through an answering laugh, feeling a bit of her desperation bleed out of her when the memory of the contents of Quinn’s briefcase strikes her from earlier. Her eyes narrow and Brittany’s excitement cuts off as she notices the expression. “I think Rachel’s pregnant,” she whispers, the words sounding even more absurd and unnatural now that they’ve been spoken aloud.

Confusion sweeps over Brittany’s face and she tilts her head to the side. “Well, yeah.” Santana jerks back. “What do you mean yeah?” “It’s kinda obvious,” Brittany continues, tugging lightly on Santana’s jacket. Before they can say anything else, the subject of their conversation interrupts them, walking out of the room and into Santana’s peripheral vision. “What do you want, Berry?” “She wants to talk to you before you go,” Rachel says as Brittany pulls away and bounds over to the shorter girl. Santana rolls her eyes at Rachel and Brittany loops her arm through the brunette’s, beaming at Santana and cuddling up to Rachel. “I’ll hang with Rachel,” Brittany says, winking at Santana conspiratorially. Santana sighs and turns to enter the hospital room, preparing herself to face her best friend. --

Brittany kissed Santana for the first time when they were thirteen. It was sweet and innocent and Brittany tasted like bubblegum chapstick and red Starburst. It wasn’t awkward like Santana thought it might be, it was just another extension of their friendship, as natural as linking arms at school or hugging goodbye before class. All in all, she was just really happy. A little scared, but mostly happy. It was new and kind of life-changing but she found out she really liked kissing Brittany. Like, really liked it. Regardless, it took her a week to tell Quinn. “You what?!” Quinn exclaimed, almost dropping the slushy she was holding. “I kissed Brittany,” Santana hissed out, looking around to see if anyone was watching them. It was a Saturday afternoon and they were sitting at a local park, swinging on the swings and sipping at green apple slushies they grabbed at the Qwik Stop earlier. Normally Brittany would be there, usually feeding ducks over at the pond, but she was out of town this weekend with her family, which cut their unit down to two. “You kissed Brittany,” Quinn repeated, staring with wide eyes at the gravel below them.

“Well, actually, she kissed me,” Santana said, some of her nervousness fading with the memory. “She kissed you,” Quinn parroted. “Brittany kissed you.” “Yup,” Santana replied, swinging her legs back and forth and sipping at her straw. Quinn was silent then, for long minutes and Santana felt her leg start to shake as they sat there. “Say something,” she eventually snapped. “You can’t kiss Brittany,” Quinn bit out. “You can’t kiss a girl.” It’s what Santana had been thinking the whole week long, a sneaking suspicion that the entire thing was wrong because Brittany was a girl. Feelings of dread and worry were mixed up along with happiness and the tingly way Brittany’s lips made her feel and she found herself utterly confused about the situation. But she liked Brittany, she liked kissing Brittany and a selfish part of her didn’t want to stop. So fear turned into anger. At Quinn. “Who says?” Santana retorted, stopping her swing from moving by planting her toes in the gravel and turning to face Quinn with narrowed eyes.

“Everyone,” Quinn replied, stopping her swing too and jumping off. “It’s just wrong. You can’t do it.” Santana rolled her eyes and sipped her slushy, barely feeling the cold liquid pouring down her throat. Her stomach turned over at the look in Quinn’s eyes. “Whatever.” Quinn scoffed at her, shook her head and turned to leave. They didn’t talk for another week. -Quinn showed up at Santana’s house the following Saturday. Her parents were gone and she was sprawled on the couch with Brittany, an old Friends episode on the screen and a half eaten pizza on the coffee table. She spent the week twisting over Quinn’s avoidance, snapping at people more than usual and in a particularly dark moment considered telling Brittany they had to stop whatever it was they were doing just so Quinn would talk to her again. She hated how unnatural it felt not to have Quinn around. At the moment, Brittany had her head on Santana’s lap, drooling into the cotton of her shorts while

Santana had her feet propped up on the table, a slice of pizza dangling above her mouth. The doorbell rang just as Phoebe started singing Smelly Cat on screen. Brittany mumbled in protest as Santana got up to move, but she was able to rearrange the blonde girl without waking her up. She threw her slice of pizza back in the box and wiped her hands as she made her way to the door, trying to figure out who would be coming over on a weekend. Her stomach dropped when she saw Quinn standing on the stoop. Warm air blasted in through the entryway as Santana swung the door open and just stared at her friend, not inviting her in but not telling her to go away either. Quinn shifted on the front step, crossing her arms over her chest and stared right back at Santana, her bottom lip tucked under her teeth. “What?” Santana said, her tone hard. Quinn looked away, back into Santana’s house and then to both sides of the door before turning back to Santana. “Can I hang out with you guys?” It wasn’t an apology, but Santana didn’t expect one. Even at thirteen, Quinn Fabray did not apologize. So, it wasn’t an apology but Santana still saw it there,

read it in the way Quinn was standing there, the way Quinn looked worried about Santana’s answer in a way she hadn’t seen before. “Yeah, sure,” Santana replied, stepping aside to let Quinn in. “Loser.” Quinn ignored the insult with a shake of her head as she stepped past Santana and let a grateful, relieved smile start to form on her lips. Santana walked back into the living room with Quinn trailing behind her and Brittany sat up as they entered, blinking sleepily at them as they got around to the couch. “Quinn,” Brittany croaked, her voice hoarse from her impromptu nap. “Hey, Britt,” Quinn greeted. A long arm reached out and grasped Quinn by the wrist, pulling her towards the couch and the blonde was helpless to do anything other than follow the tug, falling into the cushions and into Brittany. Studio laughter shot out of the TV as Santana watched Brittany rearrange Quinn on the couch so the two blondes were tangled together, stretched out and facing the television. Santana threw her hands up in the air and looked at Brittany with raised eyebrows. “And where am I

supposed to sit?” Brittany glared at her over Quinn’s shoulder. “There are other chairs in this room.” It got a chuckle out of Quinn. “I’ll move.” But Santana saw Brittany tighten her arms around Quinn and hold her to the couch. “No,” she said, sternly. “Santana can sit on the floor. I haven’t seen you in a week. You owe me cuddling.” Santana rolled her eyes but Brittany kept glaring at her, silently telling her to get over it. “I missed you,” the blonde whispered to Quinn. “Don’t go away again.” Quinn didn’t say anything, but Santana noticed the way she swallowed and blinked her eyes slowly, burrowing farther back into Brittany. She didn’t know what to make of it, didn’t know why Quinn didn’t talk to her for a week but was now seemingly okay with everything. She didn’t know why Quinn looked so desperately relieved to be snuggling with Brittany or why she looked on the verge of tears but it was a Saturday and Saturdays were no-thinking days. So she plopped down on the floor next to the couch

and leaned back against it, her head hitting Quinn’s thigh and staying there. The warmth of it bled through the back of her head and she felt Quinn’s fingertips lightly brush against her shoulder. In that moment, with Brittany spooning Quinn and Santana sprawled on the floor and the Friends theme playing in the background, Santana was just glad things were back to normal. When Quinn and Brittany burst out laughing at the same time, a particularly amusing scene on screen, Santana smiled, large and wide, as she pressed her head further into Quinn’s thigh, felt the answering push against her hair. She would have given Brittany up to keep the three of them intact. She knew she would have. Knowing she didn’t have to, knowing that that moment was a silent acceptance from Quinn, well. She didn’t think she could ever love Quinn Fabray more. -When Santana walks back into her friend’s room, the blonde is staring out the window, watching the rain come down, her expression blank, but her eyes rimmed with red. Santana feels her heart skip a beat with the unnatural awkwardness that lingers between them. She wants to cut through it, throw it all away, and just be normal again. Wants it more than she’s

wanted anything. Her shoes make a scuffing sound as she gets closer to the bed and it draws Quinn’s attention to her, her gaze shifting but her expression remaining the same, only the fine lines by Quinn’s eyes giving away the pain underneath. Santana can see it clear as day and the urge to make it all better sweeps through her like a tsunami, strong and overwhelming. “Rachel says you found something,” Quinn starts. “The case I was telling you about.” “Yeah,” Santana agrees, nodding. “We did. Puck is calling the captain. We’re going to bring him in tonight.” She purposefully avoids saying your dad, unsure of how the words will feel between them. Quinn looks back out to the window and this time her expression does change, her nose scrunching up and her eyebrows coming together before wiping it away and turning back to Santana. “Rachel’s pregnant,” Quinn states without any preamble. It blindsides her, even though she already sort of knew, but hearing Quinn actually confirm it, say the dreaded words feels way too real, way too serious. She has to force herself not to roll her eyes or turn her nose up at the news.

Still, denial is her knee jerk response. “No, she’s not.” Quinn raises an eyebrow at her. “Yes, she is.” Her brain rushes for evidence, it’s not hard since she’s been running over the past few days in her head anyway. “She was drinking at that party.” “No she wasn’t,” Quinn denies, narrowing her eyes. “What are you talking about?” “That party last week, at your apartment, she had her drunk face on.” Quinn furrows her brow in thought before clearing her face and laughs a little, her eyes picking a point on the ceiling as if she’s remembering something. “Oh,” she says. “Rachel hasn’t had a drink in over six months. That was not a drunk face.” As Santana realizes Quinn’s meaning, she makes a grossed out expression in her friend’s direction before continuing her denial. “She was hit by a car.” A dark flash of pain crosses Quinn’s face at the memory, and Santana feels bad for about a second but Quinn recovers pretty fast. “Santana, she’s pregnant. Accept it, move on.” She pauses, purses her lips together and they stare

at each other. Santana’s pretty sure Rachel Berry spawning children is on the top of her list of things she has nightmares about but she can see the way Quinn’s face looks when she says the words, sifts through her memories and thinks about the way Quinn’s been staring at Rachel the past few days. The disgust, the refusal to believe, is partly how Santana feels and partly just playing the role she has to play, injecting their lives with as much normalcy as she possibly can because this part she can do. The part where Quinn talks about Rachel and Santana gives her shit about it. This part makes sense. It’s the next part, the part where Santana asks what relevance Rachel’s breeding has to do with anything that she thinks she can’t handle. But she has to. “Okay,” Santana drawls out. “What does that have to do with anything?” “It’s the only thing I haven’t told you,” Quinn explains, fingers picking at the bedding. “Well, I didn’t really know, but it’s one of the reasons I quit my job.” “You said you quit your job because of your dad,” Santana says. “Because of my parents.” “I did say that,” Quinn agrees. “That was part of it. The other part was Rachel. She wanted a baby.” “That was two years ago.”

Quinn looks away again and Santana hates the pain she can see take hold of her friend, hates the feeling that she missed out on this huge part of her best friend’s life, that she was just cut out, not included. “Well I said no,” Quinn finally replies. “I told her no.” “She’s pregnant,” Santana responds. “Clearly, that message didn’t get across.” Quinn shakes her head. “I said no at first.” She pauses and laughs a little, her face brightening slightly for a moment. “She had seriously bad timing. I found out about my dad, about the whole mess of things and a day later she’s telling me she wants a baby.” “Nice,” Santana replies. “Yeah,” Quinn agrees. “It was a big fight, a terrible argument. Went on for days. And then I quit my job and I wouldn’t tell her why and we were fighting some more and it was just a big mess.” Santana nods. This, she vaguely remembers. The way Quinn was so broken up for a few weeks and the way Rachel would look at her when they were out in public. The couple was never one to let their fights bleed into their social lives, they were too put together to allow that to happen, but Santana had been around

them since the beginning and she could detect a frosty atmosphere right away. At the time, she’d just figure it was because Quinn was quitting. “Eventually, I told her,” Quinn continues. “Thought that would, you know, stop the fighting,” she says, chuckling for a second. “I was wrong. Way wrong.” “Shocker,” Santana deadpans. Quinn glares at her. “Shut up.” Santana throws her hands up defensively before Quinn starts talking again. “We spent the next few weeks fighting about turning my dad in, about telling you.” Quinn swallows. “She thought you should know, that I should arrest my father and put the whole thing behind me.” It’s weird feeling grateful for Rachel Berry. It’s not the first time she’s felt it, but knowing the shorter girl defended Santana in front of Quinn, it shoots a surge of warmth into her heart and she lets out a small smile. Maybe the sides aren’t so clearly divided as Santana had thought earlier. Quinn looks away again and Santana steps forward, gripping her hand around the bar by the side of Quinn’s bed. “So why didn’t you?”

“I was sure I’d lose all of you.” Quinn chokes out and Santana hears the tears there, hates the way the sound, so foreign on Quinn’s voice. “All of us,” Santana repeats. “I’d lose my father. Whatever little I had of him,” Quinn explains, turning back. “And I was sure I’d lose you and as much as you might deny it, if I lost you, I’d lose Brittany. I just…” The blonde stops again, swallows and stares straight at Santana. “I was too chickenshit to take that risk. I thought if I handled it myself, you’d never have to know.” Santana crosses her arms, stares right back at her friend. “How the hell did you handle it?” Quinn laughs, bitterly. “Why do you think we were so good at what we did?” “What?” Confusion crashes over her. “You and me, a couple of kids, really, taking down organized crime like it was nothing. Like we were just playing a game. Was a lead ever wrong, did I ever lose a trial?” “You were getting information?” This is worse, way worse than she imagined. Now her whole damn job has been a lie?

“No,” Quinn denies, sitting up a little in bed. “I wasn’t a mole or anything, don’t,” she stops and shakes her head. “I swear it was by the book. I just remembered cases, names, things I had seen at my old job. It helped, and I took my best shots at the business, at taking Cain down. I was a threat to my father and then, a few months ago, I made it clear to him.” “Made what clear?” “That I could take him down, that I had all the proof I needed, and that I would use it. Soon.” “What the fuck changed a few months ago?” Quinn chuckles and looks towards the door. “Rachel brought it up again.” “The baby,” Santana lets out with distaste coating her words. “Yeah,” Quinn says, nodding and smiling. “I couldn’t… I couldn’t start a family with her, bring a kid into this world where my father was still looming over my head. I couldn’t do that to my kid. I didn’t want them to have the same kind of life I did, to be exposed to that.” “They wouldn’t be,” Santana argues. “They’d be with you, they’d be safe.”

Quinn shakes her head and looks at Santana. “Just the idea that it could happen…the fact that it’s part of my life, that it still is there, in my past…I couldn’t bring a baby into that. But I couldn’t just destroy my father either, he’s…he’s my dad. So I did the only thing I could think of to stop him, I tried blackmail. I thought it was working. Apparently he took it as a challenge. Decided to show me who had the upper hand.” And then the timeline starts to make sense to Santana. “When did Rachel tell you? When did you talk to your father?” Quinn’s lips form a tight, thin line. “About six months ago, around when Brittany left.” The pain of the memory still stabs at Santana, but she’s able to look at it now like a distant memory, and trudges through the conversation, uncrossing her arms and putting her hand back on the metal railing. “When Brittany left,” she repeats. It makes sense with what she knows, when Mr. Fabray visited Pike in prison, when he got out, how this whole thing got started. He would have been planning it for a while, stalking the four of them for years, but the Pike element, the throwing Santana off his scent, Quinn triggered that. “She started bringing it up a little before Britt left, but it was Brittany’s leaving that convinced us to try,” she

says, with a small smile. Santana tilts her head to the side, not really understanding what that meant. “Okay,” she drags out. Quinn smiles, brings her hand up and puts it on top of Santana’s, holds it there for a long moment, their skin pressing together. “You weren’t the only one that lost something that day, San.” Warmth bleeds through the top of her hand as an understanding passes heavily between them and Santana realizes with an unwavering certainty something she wasn’t totally sure of moments before. She and Quinn are going to be just fine. -Santana met Rachel for the first time, officially as Quinn’s girlfriend, on a Tuesday. It took her precisely five minutes, 34 seconds to figure out how annoying the girl was. It took exactly the same time for Brittany to decide she liked her. They were at a restaurant on the opposite side of town. It took three subway transfers to get there and a five block walk after that and Santana was pretty positive that that was way too much effort for a girl Quinn originally thought would just be a one night

stand. “So how long have you two been together?” Rachel asked, raising a wine glass to her lips and observing Santana and Brittany. Quinn answered for them. “Santana and Brittany are high school sweethearts.” Rachel smiled in a way that instantly annoyed Santana. “Wasn’t that hard?” Rachel asked, looking at Quinn. “Why would that be hard?” Santana spat out. Rachel turned to her. “I mean, weird. For Quinn.” Santana felt Brittany tilt her head to the side in confusion. “Why would it be weird for Quinn?” She asked. “Why is it weird?” She repeated to Santana. “It’s not weird,” Santana answered, glaring at Quinn. “It wasn’t weird.” “You didn’t feel like a third wheel?” Rachel asked and Santana saw the way Quinn’s eyebrow twitched at the question. “It wasn’t like that,” Santana replied, rapidly and before Quinn could say otherwise.

“Yeah,” Brittany agreed, stroking a finger down Santana’s thigh under the table. “We’re the, what’s it called,” the blonde paused and turned to Santana. “What’s it called again?” Quinn answered from across the table. “The unholy trinity.” “Yes!” Brittany exclaimed, jumping a little in excitement. “The unholy trinity,” she said to Rachel. Santana felt a smirk cross her face at the old nickname. Rachel chuckled and turned to Quinn. “The unholy trinity. Where does that name come from?” It got a deep, engaging laugh out of Quinn. “That’s more of a hundredth date story.” “I look forward to hearing it then,” Rachel replied, smiling in a way that irked Santana because Quinn was making the same face right back at the brunette. “It’s a good story, Rach,” Brittany said, bumping her shoulder into Santana’s. “You should definitely stick around for it.” Santana rolled her eyes and stuffed more salad in her mouth. A month tops and Rachel Berry would be gone. She was sure of it.

-She walks out of Quinn’s room and takes a deep, steadying breath, getting her head together to face what’s before her. Puck is waiting for her in the hallway, leaned up against the wall next to a row of chairs, Brittany perched on the one closest to him, Rachel next to her. “Time to go,” she says to Puck. “I’ll be back in a few hours, hopefully, babe.” Brittany smiles, stands and kisses Santana, pulls her bottom lip in between her teeth as she pulls away and makes Santana wish this whole thing was over and they were on a beach. Preferably in bikinis. Small ones. “Be careful,” Brittany whispers. “Always,” Santana whispers back. Brittany smiles and lets her go, moving to hug Puck goodbye as Rachel stands up. They observe each other without saying anything for long moments before Rachel smiles, a small smile curving of her lips and walks forward, wrapping her arms around Santana briefly and squeezing. Santana looks down at brown hair and raises both her eyebrows, failing to bring her arms up to return the hug and even though Brittany is looking at her like she should definitely be doing just that and Puck is

pretty much laughing she isn’t able to move before Rachel pulls back. The shorter girl smiles again at Santana and reaches out to grab Brittany’s wrist, pulling the blonde towards Quinn’s hospital room and leaving Santana standing there with Puck. It feels final, this moment when she leaves her three closest friends in a hospital, where she goes off to take down the final boss and she’s said her piece to Brittany, said it to Quinn, and for whatever reason she feels like she needs to say it to Rachel. “Hey, Berry,” she calls out, before Rachel crosses the threshold to the room. The brunette stops and twirls, faces Santana with an expectant look as Brittany does the same. Santana eyes her up and down, lingers for a second on her stomach before looking at her in the eye. “Congratulations.” It takes Rachel a long moment of confusion to figure out what she’s talking about but she lets out a loud bark of laughter when she does, Brittany grinning at Santana beside her. “Don’t say things you don’t mean, Santana,” Rachel jokes, turning once again to pull Brittany into the room.

Puck comes up to her laughing, slings an arm around her shoulder and all Santana can do is shake her head and smile. She feels her world righting indescribably, feels like the obstacles aren’t as insurmountable as they felt before. “I think I’m going to buy a motorcycle,” Puck comments as they watch Rachel and Brittany walk into Quinn’s room. Santana jerks to the side and looks at him. “What?” “A fucking motorcycle. Bastard Pike blew up my car,” Puck explains. She laughs at him as he steers her away from the room and walks them down the hallway, his arm still heavy on her shoulders and the leather of his jacket warm against her cheek. “Yeah?” “Badass, right?” “Totally,” Santana agrees, thoroughly amused. “That’s what I thought,” he replies, his fingers drumming against her shoulder. She looks up at him. “What did the captain have to say?”

Puck pulls her in closer to his side as they walk, footsteps in sync with each other. “You’re back on the job, babe.” Exhilaration shoots through her and she looks up at him with wide eyes. He laughs at her expression and turns them towards the exit. “Let’s fucking finish this,” he says. Santana swallows, wraps her arm around his waist takes a deep breath. “Best offer I’ve heard all night,” she says, with confidence. -Santana met Noah “Puck” Puckerman on a Thursday on her first day at the police academy. He spent the first five days of knowing her trying unsuccessfully to get into her pants, he met Brittany on the sixth day and on the seventh they got completely and totally plastered together. “I like this bar,” Puck said. “S’nice.” Which wasn’t totally true. It was near the station, which was good, and it was full of cops, which made it comfortable, but it was dark and smoky and nice wasn’t really what Santana would use to describe it. Nonetheless, she agreed with the sentiment.

Santana nodded, or at least tried to, but her head was moving in directions she wasn’t totally in control of. “Me too,” she slurred out. “I like you,” he added. “You’re awesome.” “Girlfriend,” she managed to say, hoping he understood the message in the word. It was the same thing she had been telling him all week. She thought meeting Brittany would have stopped his barrage of pick up attempts. Puck shook his head, the leather draped over his shoulders moving with the action as she swayed on his stool. “No, no,” he denied. “You’re like a dude,” he explained. “You’re like a bro. We should be bros.” She raised an eyebrow at him and pointed a finger at her chest. “Chick,” she stated. “Like a dude,” he repeated, propping his head on his fist. “That bangs a piece of supremely hot ass. We have that in common. Got to fucking stick together.” He swayed his head forward in back. “But I would never refuse a fucking threesome. Your girl is hot,” he said, his voice rising an octave on the last word as he drew it out. She tried to swat him on the arm, actually got her

hand to move forward but she lost the motivation halfway through the motion and ended up just resting her hand on his bicep, leaning forward towards him. “You’re disgusting,” she accused. “I’ll grow on you. Give it time.” He grinned, wide and open in a way Santana was sure he used on all kinds of girls to get what he wanted. She shook her head. “We are so not ever going to be friends.” He laughed, loud and from the belly, throwing his head back before clapping her drunkenly on the shoulder. “Oh babe. We so fucking are.” -Santana remembers the Fabray residence vividly. It was her best friend’s house, she spent a lot of time there, but looking at it now, a gun in one hand and five squad cars surrounding her, it doesn’t feel like a childhood memory. She shrugs slightly, pulling at the Kevlar draped over her shoulders. It’s heavy and kind of constricting but she takes comfort in what it means, in the word police emblazoned across her chest and her badge clipped onto her belt once more. She feels protected and strong and for the first time, totally prepared for what

she’s walking into. Puck comes up beside her, checking his ammo and reloading his gun, Hudson and Rutherford are behind him. She nods at them both in greeting, giving a Matt a smile she hopes he understands. From the way he smiles back, nods and stares right at her, she thinks he does. The four of them turn to face the house, a small swat team in full gear in front of them, ready to go. Maybe it was a little too much firepower, but Santana was able to convince the captain it was necessary, that Russell Fabray should be presumed armed and dangerous and that any other organized crime hit would constitute the same precautions. A brief conversation with the local Pennsylvania police force in the Fabray’s jurisdiction and it wasn’t hard to convince them of the same. In fact, they were almost eager to hand the operation over to them, unwilling to get involved with something as messy as the big city mafia. Santana clenches her jaw, squeezes her hand around the grip of her gun and nods at Puck. “Let’s do this.” A wide eager grin lights up his face as he nods back, lifting his head in Finn’s direction and signaling the swat team to make their approach.

When Santana gets to the front door of the big house she tries not to think about anything but the mission at hand. She blocks out all other thoughts – that her old house is only blocks away, that Brittany’s is too, that once she does this, she can never look back and the fleeting fear that even this won’t end it all, that she can’t end it all. She takes a deep breath, steadies herself, and knocks on the door. -Technically, Santana met Brittany the day she was born. Their mothers delivered only half a day apart and for a few hours they sat in bassinets right next to each other. But they didn’t officially, actually meet until they were six, on the first day of first grade. It’s actually the day Santana met Quinn too. Even at six, Quinn was a leader, a standout without question. Years later, Santana still won’t understand this moment, won’t get why it happened, or what she did to cause it, but it did. Quinn chose her. Chose her right out of the blue, with twenty-two other firstgraders to choose from Quinn picked Santana Lopez. Just decided they were friends with absolutely zero reason and made it so.

She picked Santana first, and then Brittany happened, by complete and total happenstance. Which, Santana will muse years later, is kind of fitting. The cafeteria was big, enormous to a first-grader’s eyes and Santana observed all the kids with a wary eye. People were scary. She saw an open table in the corner and clenched her fist around her lunch box, headed that way with plans to spend lunch alone, minding her own business. That was until a blonde girl about her height stepped right in front of her. “Hello,” the girl greeted. “I’m Quinn Fabray,” she said, sticking out her hand. Santana looked down at the hand and back up, and furrowed her brows together in confusion. “Hi,” she said. “You’re supposed to shake,” Quinn said, nodding downward to her hand. Santana lifted her hand slowly and grabbed Quinn’s, the blonde shaking their joined hands up and down enthusiastically. “Now we’ve met!” Quinn exclaimed. “Come eat with me.”

Quinn didn’t let go of her hand, just tugged her towards an empty table and sat her down. Just as Santana sat down too, another blonde joined them, plopped down in the seat next to Santana and smiled widely at both of them. “Hello!” The newcomer greeted brightly. “My name is Brittany!” Santana jerked back at the enthusiasm but Quinn seemed completely comfortable with it. “Hello!” Quinn parroted, extending her hand across the table. “I’m Quinn Fabray.” Brittany looked down at Quinn’s hand and tilted her head to the side. Santana felt grateful that the girl looked just as confused as she had felt earlier. “You’re supposed to shake,” Quinn said, just as she had explained to Santana. “Why?” Brittany asked, looking back up at Quinn. Quinn didn’t answer just pulled her hand back and put them in her lap. “Never mind.” Brittany turned to Santana. “What’s your name?” She whispered.

“Santana,” she answered. “Santana,” Quinn and Brittany repeated simultaneously. Santana observed them with wide eyes before turning to her lunch box and opening it. Maybe if she ate, lunch would end soon. But Quinn leaned across the table and looked at them both, eyes darting around the cafeteria quickly. “Okay, we’re friends,” she said. Brittany nodded but Santana just felt confused. They were? “No one else is allowed,” Quinn continued. Brittany shook her head in agreement. “Three,” she said, holding out three fingers. “That’s what my mom says,” Quinn explained, nodding like this was extremely important. “Choose your friends wisely,” the blonde continued in a high, breathy voice as she straightened her shoulders. “Choose them right away.” “What does that mean?” Brittany asked. Quinn shrugged. “I dunno. I pick you guys.”

Santana fingered her lunch box and spoke for the first time. “Why?” Quinn raised an eyebrow at her, a scary look on a six year old. “Don’t you want to be friends?” Santana felt Brittany nod rapidly next to her. “For sure,” the other blonde said. They both looked to Santana who couldn’t do anything but stare blankly back at them. “Okay,” she said, not really sure what was happening. Quinn and Brittany seem satisfied by that and they both turned towards their lunches opening them up and pulling out little baggies of food. Minutes later when Brittany divided her cookies up between the three of them and whispered because we’re friends at Santana’s questioning look and Quinn nodded slowly in agreement, Santana realized this whole friends thing might not be so bad. -A week later Santana got pushed over on the playground by a third-grader demanding a turn on the tire swing. She was more than capable of defending herself, completely prepared to kick the other kid in the shins but before she could act, Quinn was

standing in front of her facing her attacker and Brittany was kneeling down next to Santana to help her up. When Quinn pushed the other kid right back and demanded he apologize, Santana was too stunned to do anything else, barely heard the low apology the boy uttered as he cowered under Quinn’s clenched fists. Brittany stood next to Quinn after helping Santana off the ground and the two blondes continued to stare down the third-grader until he ran off. Minutes later when Santana looked at Quinn strangely and Brittany kneeled down to inspect Santana’s knees for cuts, Quinn just looked right back at her, mimicking her expression. “What?” Quinn asked, putting her hands on her hips. “You pushed that boy,” Santana said. “He pushed you,” Quinn answered and Brittany nodded from her perch on the ground. Santana looked at the two of them, so quick to defend her in a way she had never seen before and while she didn’t understand what made Quinn pick her on that day, she was really happy she had. --

Santana knows the layout of the Fabray home almost as well as her own. She’d been having sleepovers there since she was seven and she knew all the rooms, which ones she could go in and which one’s she couldn’t. Which meant she knew exactly where to head first, the most likely place to find one Russell Fabray. His office. The swat team scatters as the burst in the door, having received no answer to their initial knocking, but Santana heads straight for the back of the house, signals Puck to follow and takes a first right down a long corridor, eyeing the double mahogany doors ahead of her. She pulls at the neck of her vest, tugging it away from her collarbone as she approaches the door, swallowing and pointing her gun at it. Puck goes for the handle and she blinks, once, twice, before nodding at him open it. The door comes open to reveal a grandiose study, a room she had only been in once, when she and Quinn had gotten in trouble for a particularly disastrous baking attempt when they were twelve. She bursts in and sweeps her gun across the room as Puck follows suit, covering the opposite direction.

She hears the sound of the rest of the team in her ear piece, their rapid fire clear shooting through her brain in succession. The room is empty, devoid of human life and Santana feels her eyebrows come together. The all clear rings in her head and she walks around the room, stands behind a massive desk and opens the first drawer she reaches. Empty. Her head snaps up and she walks briskly out of the room, Puck watching her go with confusion. She presses a hand to her ear and speaks into her tiny microphone. “Check the closets,” she snaps out. “Check the closets. Tell me if there’s clothing in them.” It takes a moment, as she walks back through the house to the entryway, her captain standing there next to Matt and Finn before her ear piece crackles and she gets an answer. “Empty, all empty.” Her heart drops into her stomach and she bites down in anger. He fled. The coward fucking fled. He was gone. --

Quinn graduated from law school on a Sunday, the skies were dark and the rain made a constant beating sound against the roof of the school auditorium. Santana pulled the hem of her dress down and shifted her heels back and forth on the linoleum tile as some old guy droned on and on about legal justice and ethics. Her leg twitched and she yawned before Rachel slapped her in the arm from her seat next to her. “Stop fidgeting,” the other girl hissed. “This is boring as shit,” Santana responded, glaring at Quinn’s girlfriend. She heard Brittany giggle next to her and Puck make an answering snort. “It’s almost over, you can last a few more minutes,” Rachel chastised. She rolled her eyes but settled back into the metal chair and sighed. Brittany crossed her legs next to her and set her hand on Santana’s thigh and that was helpful because she spent the rest of the ceremony staring at the muscles in Brittany’s calves and the way her long fingers played with the skin near Santana’s knee. The next thing she knew Rachel was hitting her again and Brittany was laughing, squeezing her thigh as she stood up.

“What?” She asked, looking around. It was then she realized the talking was over and everyone was getting out of their chairs. “It’s over, Santana,” Rachel said. “I need to call the caterers, can you tell Quinn I’ll be right there?” Santana shook her head to clear the cobwebs from zoning out for so long and stood up, grabbing Brittany’s hand. “Yeah, sure.” She searched the crowd for Quinn and just as she spotted her, across the room, talking to an old guy in a tweed suit, Brittany disengaged her hand and stepped away. “Puck and I are going to go get some drinks,” Brittany said, smiling at Santana and looping her arm through Puck’s. Her partner adjusted the knot of his tie and waggled his eyebrows at her. “This isn’t high school,” Santana warned her girlfriend. “Don’t let him convince you that spiking the punch is a good idea.” “Oh please,” Puck replied. “As if I would need to convince her.” The two of them laughed as they turned away and Santana rolled her eyes. Those two were going to get

her in trouble one of these days. She watched them walk away before looking again to where she noticed Quinn and making her way over in that direction. Just as she approached, the man Quinn was talking to said his goodbyes and walked away. Quinn turned and noticed her, a smile on her lips as she stepped forward to hug Santana. “Way to go,” she said. “Now it’s just passing that impossible test in a few months and you’re a real lawyer.” “Thanks, bitch,” Quinn replied, chuckling and slugging Santana lightly in the shoulder as she stepped back. “Nice gown,” Santana commented, looking her friend up and down. “Nice dress,” Quinn threw back. They laughed at each other for a bit before it tapered off and they stood there together in silence, both watching the rain come down in sheets out the big glass windows at the front of the auditorium. “Didn’t see your parents yet,” Santana said, just to make conversation.

Quinn inhaled sharply and shook her head. “That’s because they didn’t come.” It surprised Santana, not because Quinn and her parents had a particularly loving relationship, but because of all the things to miss she didn’t think they’d miss this, their only child graduating from law school. Then again, Santana’s the last person to be called an expert on child-parent relationships. “Well, that’s their loss. It was a nice ceremony.” A loud stream of laughter expelled out of Quinn. “Don’t act like you were paying attention. I know you.” “Oh shut up,” Santana said. “I can fucking pay attention if I want to.” Quinn shook her head and smiled, bemused at Santana. “Twenty bucks says you spent the whole time thinking inappropriate thoughts about Brittany.” Her mouth dropped open and her nostrils flared at being caught. “Whatever, I did not.” Quinn kept laughing, but reached out and ran her hand down Santana’s arm, squeezing her forearm before releasing it. “Thanks for coming.” Santana rolled her eyes. “Like I’d be anywhere else.”

Quinn just smiled at that, stared at Santana for a long moment before Puck and Brittany appeared, Brittany practically jumping on Quinn and Puck sliding an arm around Santana’s shoulders, uttering his congratulations towards the graduate. -Santana kicks a foot out and connects with the side of Russell Fabray’s large oak desk. Frustration pumps through her blood stream and she lets out a long exhale as she tries not to completely lose it. The rest of the team was currently sweeping the house, looking for any clues as to where they had fled to and Puck is currently going through the desk drawers even though Santana’s certain they’re empty. “Why’d he run, what tipped him off?” She asks, running a hand over the back of her neck and staring at Puck. Puck shrugs his shoulders and bites his lip as he pulls at a jammed drawer. “I dunno. Probably the car we sent after him, the guy’s a pro. He sees that, he jumps ship. Makes sense.” Her foot shoots out and kicks the desk again. “Dammit.” Puck finally jimmies the drawer open and jerks back

as it slides toward him. “Finally,” he lets out as he pulls out the contents. “Bitch thinks a false bottom can fool me. Puh-leeze.” Santana walks behind the desk and looks at the papers Puck pulled out, the only things they’ve found so far, left in the desk. “What the hell?” Santana breathes, her stomach turning over. “We gotta tell Quinn,” Puck says. “Yeah,” Santana agrees. “Let’s get out of here.” Puck nods. “We’ll find him, San.” “We better,” Santana says, walking out of the office and back out into the rain. -She walks back into the hospital feeling dejected, defeated, utterly and completely useless. The big epic showdown, the finale, the curtain call, and it all was for nothing. The bad guy was gone. The princess was in another castle. Her footsteps slow as she gets closer to her destination, papers clutched in one hand, her chest now devoid of the bulletproof vest she had on earlier.

Quinn is laughing when she gets to the room, as is Rachel and Brittany and the happiness is palpable around them, the way she thinks they should be. A lie is right there, ready to come bursting out. A lie that won’t stop their laughing, that will start their celebrating, that will end all this angst between her and Quinn and will make Brittany kiss her in jubilation. But the truth is in her hand, in the memory of the big empty house and her defeat must be written all over her face because all three of them grow silent as she knocks on the door frame. “S?” Quinn asks, just one letter but full of question. She shakes her head and looks down. “He was gone.” It gets a disbelieving gasp out of Rachel and Brittany but Quinn’s voice cuts, sharp, through the sound. “What do you mean he was gone?” “I mean the place was fucking empty, your parents nowhere to be found, all their clothes out of the closets. A team is sweeping the place, but I don’t think they’ll find anything.” Quinn’s jaw clenches and Santana watches her throat bob in a hard swallow before the blonde’s eyes flicker down to her hand.

“What did you find?” Thunder claps through the room, lightning illuminating outside and Santana spares a glance at Brittany before looking at Rachel and then back to Quinn. There was a time, Santana thinks, that she wouldn’t have cared about any of this, it wouldn’t have affected her. The stupid worried look on Rachel’s face and the pain etched out on Quinn’s. She was Santana Lopez and she didn’t give a shit about people’s feelings. She tries to remember what that was like, tries to remember a time when her natural distaste for basically all humanity was more than just a front but the memory is hazy and distant and she feels her heart crack as she looks at her three friends. They all seriously need a vacation. The papers make a wet thud as they hit the tray by Quinn’s bed and the blonde looks down, gathers them up and studies them, her expression shifting to angry realization and Santana watches the truth replace denial in Quinn's face. “What the fuck?” Rachel leans forward and turns her head to make out the words. “What is it?”

It’s exactly what they need, exactly what would bring down Russell Fabray, exactly the answers they could no longer pull from Roger Pike and exactly what Quinn was probably hoping they wouldn’t find. How Quinn’s dad forgot this in his haste to get out of the house she doesn’t know, how he would leave this crucial pile of evidence behind she can’t figure out, but she’s not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Quinn flipped through the various pages. Money transfers to different bank accounts, the purchase of a junk car matching the description of the one that hit Rachel, the addresses of different places around the city – Brittany’s dance studio, her apartment, Santana’s apartment, Quinn and Rachel’s apartment – a list of all the major mob operations Quinn had brought down, it went on and on. Then the last picture, the same picture Santana had seen earlier in Quinn’s briefcase. It made her stomach turn over violently and she couldn't fight the feeling that a tiny target hovered over Rachel, over Quinn's happiness. Russell Fabray knew about his own grandkid and he still sent a car to hit Rachel. Rachel lets out another gasp as she recognizes it. “So that’s where your key went,” she breathes out. Quinn turns narrowed eyes to her wife. “What?”

“The key to your locked drawers, it was missing,” Rachel explains. “I was wondering what felt off about the place. I assume that’s where you kept a copy of this,” she says, fingering the picture. “He was in our fucking apartment?” Quinn bellows, sitting up in bed abruptly before jerking back in pain. “Fuck!” Brittany rushes forward with Rachel and the two of them press Quinn back into the mattress. Santana shifts back and forth on her feet and watches her friend in pain. “Get me discharged,” Quinn hisses out, staring at Santana. “Get me discharged, now, I’m going to kill him, get me out of here - ” Quinn tries to move again, pressing up against Rachel and Brittany’s hands and levering herself into a sitting position and trying to shove Brittany off of her to get out. “Get off me, get me out," Quinn continues and Santana feels her desperation as if it were her own. "He tried to kill you, all of you, he knows about the baby, he knew, just get me out!” Rachel leans down and grasps either side of Quinn’s face, knocking their foreheads together, and starts whispering words Santana can’t hear, words she’s not meant to hear, and as Quinn’s eyes close and she grabs Rachel’s hands on her face and listens,

breathing hard and tears sliding out of her clenched eyes, Santana knows she shouldn’t be here anyway. She holds out a hand to Brittany, who takes it and the two of them walk out of the room, leaving their friends alone. Brittany steps in close to Santana’s side, intertwining their fingers as they walk. “What now?” The blonde asks in a soft, worried voice. “Now, I get Quinn out of here,” Santana answers. “Then we’re going to call Mike.” “Mike?” Brittany repeats. “Mike,” Santana parrots. “What for?” “To get our damn dog back,” Santana answers. “Then we’re going to regroup, catch this guy and you and I are going to book a weeklong trip to some foreign island where it never rains and we can sip those little drinks with umbrellas.” “You’ll catch him, S,” Brittany says, her voice low and reassuring. “You think?” At the moment it doesn’t feel like she’ll ever get ahead. Even though they have what they

need, even though all the weapons she needs to bring the bad guy down are in front of her, she still doesn’t feel like she’s going to come out victorious. But Brittany nods rapidly and tugs her to a halt, smirking down at Santana in way that warmed her from her head to her toes. “How do you know?” Santana asks. “The same way I knew you’d come for me in the warehouse,” Brittany answers. A heartbeat pounds against her chest and her throat goes dry. “You knew?” Brittany nods again. “You catch the bad guys, San. It’s what you do.” “Yeah,” Santana says, swallowing against a lump in her throat. “It is.” She leans over and presses a long kiss to her girlfriend’s lips as they start walking down the hallway again, headed for the nurse’s desk. Title: They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason [Epilogue] Rating: NC-17 Word Count: around 2k this part Notes in Part One Special Note: This was revised from my original

posting as it was cut down to size by LJ's character limits and I felt the desire to add a flashback to its original content. Other than that, this is nothing new, just giving it its separate post for the sake of space. [Part One] [Part Two] [Part Three] [Part Four] [Part Five] [Part Six] [Part Seven] [Part Eight] [Part Nine] [Part Ten] [Part Eleven] [Part Twelve] [Part Thirteen] [Part Fourteen] [Part Fifteen] [Part Sixteen] [Part Seventeen] [Part Eighteen] [Part Nineteen] [Part Twenty] -One month later Santana shifts her umbrella in one hand as it blocks out the rain above her, Rachel is standing next to her, bundled in a raincoat and huddled under the umbrella. Santana entertains herself by minutely moving it to expose the shorter girl to the rain. Puck, standing next to her, but exposed entirely to the rain, laughs every time Rachel squirms. Quinn’s standing not too far away, leaning heavily on a silver cane, but dressed impeccably in a gunmetal grey suit, dark trench coat on her shoulders to ward off the rain. A podium stands before her and assorted members of the press are scattered on the steps of the

courthouse, waiting for DA Quinn Fabray to address the public. Santana can make out Brittany’s bundled form at the bottom of the steps near a hot dog cart, standing under an umbrella of her own next to Mike, Nemo on a leash in front of her. She sends a quick smile at the pair before turning to look at her friend. Then, through the rain and the rush of cars passing on the street, Quinn’s voice cuts across the noise, clear and succinct and determined. “As you all may know, the police have recently apprehended my father, Russell Fabray, as a part of a long term investigation into suspected mob-related criminal activities that occurred over a month ago.” A hushed sound of interest ripples across the crowd as microphones strain forward in the rain to catch Quinn’s speech. “Obviously, there has been some question as to my ability to try this case, to work towards sending my own father to prison but I assure you, my professionalism should stand for itself.” Quinn gestures to a group of people behind her, dressed in suits and standing under their own black umbrellas. “A team of attorneys have been assigned to this case and steps have been taken to ensure the highest standards of professional ethics are observed.”

The rain beats loudly against the umbrella above Santana’s head and Rachel shifts closer to her as Quinn readjusts her grip on her cane, the only evidence of any residual pain. “Let me be clear,” Quinn says. “I may share a name with this man, I may share blood, but my attachment to him ends there.” Her voice is hard and unwavering and Santana can almost feel the way it affects the crowd, the way they all stand up straighter, lean even closer and no one makes a sound. “He systematically attacked my family, and was ruthless in his pursuit to destroy those closest to me. Russell Fabray is a criminal,” she continues, emphasizing the last word firmly. “And I will do my very best to see that our legal system brings him to justice.” Quinn takes a deep breath and stares out at the crowd. “Organized crime is a dark stain upon this city. A battle we all fight daily. All of us. We must remain vigilant, we must stand strong.” Santana feels Rachel move next to her and she looks down, watches the brunette stare transfixed at her wife, her head bobbing up and down slightly and a low almost silent tune bubbling out of her lips.

She rolls her eyes and looks away. Freakshow is probably humming the end theme to freakin’ Batman right now. Pregnancy hormones. They go to the brain. Five more months of Rachel’s special brand of crazy and she’s going to end up cutting someone. Probably Quinn for sticking her with this problem in the first place. Quinn’s voice cuts her out of her thoughts and Santana tries to stop herself from hearing some epic end theme in her head too. But there’s Quinn, standing in front of her, a healing wound in her leg and a determined posture radiating forth and she can’t stop herself. She remembers the moment she finally caught Quinn’s dad, she remembers calling Quinn with the news, and remembers the celebratory beer she shared with Puck. She remembers the victory hug Brittany gave her afterward, standing in their new apartment, the apartment they bought together and she remembers the waffles with whipped cream and sprinkles she had in the morning. She remembers Rachel's relief at hearing Santana tell the story and the proud slap on the back she got from the captain. She doesn't think she'll ever forget it. Any of it. --

It took a month of chasing shadows, of constantly feeling one step behind, of coming close to admitting defeat before Santana actually caught Russell Fabray. And he was hiding in plain sight. When she found him, when Puck called her with the lead and they geared up for the search, she didn't know whether to slap herself or laugh. She settled for loading her gun and slipping a vest over her shoulders, padding the velcro down and watching Puck do the same. He hadn't gone far, some big summer home about an hour out of the city. Santana didn't get it, why he didn't high tail it to the other side of the country, or for that matter cross the border. He was clearly on the run, clearly knew they were after him, and he hid right under her nose. There he was, in a house Santana vaguely remembered from her childhood, that she had played in one long summer weekend a lifetime ago. It was a house she thought the Fabray's sold over a decade ago, that she had completely forgotten about when they went over known addresses. The old Fabray summer mansion was a plantation style home with a long front yard and big white pillars on the porch and it felt so strange to drive up to it, knowing the criminal it housed inside.

For that very reason, because things felt weird and strange and so unlike the last twenty times they had pulled up to houses and buildings, Santana knew they had him, that this was it. "He's here," she whispered to Puck. "Let's get him," her partner replied. -He was in his office when their team burst inside, and the scene felt like it should have, the way she imagined it the first time. He was behind his desk, a tumbler of scotch in one hand and phone in the other. The look on his face when she leveled her gun on his chest, when Puck did the same, was more satisfying than any arrest Santana had ever made. She could hear Quinn's mother let out a horrified gasp behind her, restrained by another officer and Santana swallowed against the buzzing in her ears. This was it, it was over. She had him. Her jaw clenched, her thigh threatened to shake but her aim remained steady. "Russell Fabray, you're under arrest for conspiracy to commit crimes, for the attempted murder of Rachel Berry," she started as she walked forward with Puck, flanking him. It was like a heavy weight off her chest

as she listed off his sins, felt it shoot out of her like lead out of the barrel of her gun. When she had finished and she was next to him, reaching back with one hand for her handcuffs, but keeping her gaze and gun pointed straight at him, he threw his phone down on the desk next to his abandoned scotch and turned towards her. "This isn't over, detective. No matter what you and my daughter may think," he said, looking at her with undisguised contempt. She smirked up at him, holstered her gun and twirled her handcuffs on one finger. "Oh it so is." "What do you think this really accomplishes?" He continued, as she clapped the cuffs on his wrists with a satisfying clank. "Oh this?" Santana asked, the anger and pain of memory rushing through her, the hurt this man caused everyone pushing forward in her brain. "This puts you in a damp, dank, nasty cell with a large inmate named Bob where you won't see the light of day for many years." "You really think I'm going to prison?" He threw back, laughing as she passed him to Puck who pulled him forward. "Me? Prison? You clearly don't know how this works, what I do, who I know."

"You forget, Mr. Fabray," Santana said, a smirk pulling at her lips and fake politeness dripping over her tone. "I have an in with the DA. I know people too." As anger crashed over his features and Puck knocked him forward out of the house Santana winked at him and let herself feel victorious for the first time in months. -The hug Quinn gave her when they finally saw each other afterward, the way her fingers clenched into Santana's back and her face burrowed into her shoulder, was more comforting than just about any other hug she had ever received. They hung on to each other for long moments, let the past flow over them and their pain ebb away. The picture in the next day's paper was of the two of them, arms linked and smiling widely. The pride on Quinn's face as she looked at Santana made her feel more powerful than just about anything else. The headline felt like it was ripped straight out of a comic, made them both look like superheroes and Santana let herself take a deep easy breath as Brittany cut the article out and pasted it to their fridge. CRIME FIGHTING DUO FABRAY AND LOPEZ

EXPOSE UNDERGROUND CRIME BOSS. RESPECTED BANKER RUSSELL FABRAY FACING 25 YEARS IN PRISON. -Her memory burns away and as she watches Quinn speak to the crowd about justice and honor and determination, well, she kind of feels like superhero. Quinn certainly looks the part. “Russell Fabray is but one piece of this puzzle. This war is not over and we must keep on fighting its battles. Thank you.” The blonde steps down from the podium and turns away, ignoring the questions blurted out from the press as a colleague takes her place and fields the inquiries. She walks up to where Santana is standing, Rachel stepping out into the rain to loop her arm through Quinn’s, the one not holding the cane. “Let’s go home,” Quinn whispers out, looking at both Puck and Santana. Santana’s eyes drift over Quinn’s shoulder to where Brittany is walking forward, Nemo in front of her and Mike lingering behind.

“Let’s go to Tahiti,” Santana suggests as Brittany comes within earshot. “Family vacation!” The blonde claps, but keeps her voice low as to not interrupt the press conference still happening. The group moves to walk away, back down the stairs and away from the crowd. Rachel moves up to where Brittany is walking, greeting Nemo and talking, rapidfire to the blonde girl about god knows what. Santana swears, if that midget gives Brittany any funny ideas about reproducing she is going to push her down a flight of stairs. Quinn lingers behind, walking slowly, her limp much less noticeable than it was weeks before. Santana comes up next to her as Puck walks down to greet Mike, clapping him on the back and pointing to a shiny new motorcycle parked by the curb. “Thanks,” Quinn comments, looking upward as Santana positions the umbrella above them and blocks out the rain. “You did good,” Santana replies. “Of course I did,” Quinn throws back, scoffing but smiling at her.

“We make a good team,” Santana continues, watching Brittany laugh at something Rachel is saying. She feels complete, whole, fixed. “We’re Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez,” Quinn says, turning to look at Santana. “What did you expect?” Santana laughs, really laughs, deep and hard and it cuts right across the group of them. “Good point,” she says, nodding at her friend. “Good fucking point.” She watches Puck grab Rachel around the waist and carry her out into the rain, the brunette squealing at the attack as Mike and Brittany laugh, bumping their shoulders into each other. “Hey,” Santana says and Quinn raises an eyebrow at her in question. “I never said congratulations,” she continues as they turn down the block and head for a well-known diner down the street. “For what?” Quinn asks, tucking her hair behind her ear. Santana cocks her head towards Rachel, now with soaking hair and lecturing Puck about catching a cold and immaturity and a bunch of other things Santana doesn’t care about.

Quinn looks over and a smile crosses her face, wide and easy and Santana doesn’t think she’s ever seen Quinn look so happy. “Thanks, S.” “You sure you’re ready for this?” Santana jokes, watching Brittany restrain Rachel from punching Puck in the arm. She lets out a little chuckle at the display and the terrified look on Mike’s face. Nemo barks at all of them. “Are you?” Santana jerks to look at her. “What?” “Well it’s your godchild, after all,” Quinn explains, tilting her head as if Santana should have realized this ages ago. Santana stares at her friends, watches Puck hold his hands out defensively as Rachel finally calms down and Brittany lets her go. She looks back to Quinn who’s still staring at her in amusement. “Me?” She points to herself in disbelief as her steps slow and Brittany breaks off from the group ahead to join them, handing her umbrella to Rachel. Quinn laughs and walks in front of her, towards where Rachel is waiting. “Who else?” Quinn throws over her shoulder.

Brittany smiles as she gets close, loops her arm through Santana’s, and tugs her faster towards the diner. “You okay?” Santana blinks up at her girlfriend, studies the flush in her cheeks and the lightness in her eyes and lets the warmth of her press into her side. Nemo walks ahead of them and yaps, pulling Brittany’s arm forward in his haste. She looks to where her friends are disappearing inside the diner and grabs the leash out of Brittany’s hand and smiles. Feels a stillness pass through her that hasn’t been there in months. “I’m perfect,” she answers. “Absolutely perfect.” -Fic: I Tried To Give You Up, But I'm Addicted Title: I Tried To Give You Up, But I'm Addicted Fandom: Glee Pairing: Quinn/Rachel Rating: PG-13 Word Count: little over 2k Summary: "I haven’t had sex with my wife in over 48 hours. Do you know how long that is? It’s over two days. That’s a long time. Now, I realize your sex life

may not be very active, but we lead a very healthy sex life and two days is quite a gulf for us.” Spoilers: None, this is AU. Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue. Notes: This is an outtake from around Parts 15-16 of "They Say Bad Things Happen For A Reason" in which Quinn and Rachel are in the hospital. You kind of have to read that to get what's going on, but kind of not. But kind of. A little bit. You should read it anyway. I DON'T KNOW. This is dedicated to [info]mooosicaldreamz who yelled at me about this. SO HERE YOU GO, GIRL.

-When the nurse wheels Quinn into the hospital room the blonde is sitting up, wide eyed and awake and Rachel is kind of surprised. She expected a more catatonic Quinn with pale features while a single tear rolls down Rachel’s face as she observes it. More drama. Instead, Quinn is smiling at her as the nurse makes sure all the wires are connected correctly and bedding is all set. “Hey, baby!” Quinn greets, way too happy for someone recently shot.

“Hey,” Rachel greets, standing up and walking to her bedside. She strokes a hand over Quinn’s forehead, tucking blonde hair behind her ear. “How are you feeling.” “Awesome,” Quinn breathes. “Totally awesome.” “Yeah?” Rachel smiles reflexively, the look on Quinn’s face too hard to resist especially after the last few hours of fear and worry and utter bleakness. The nurse walks out, smiling briefly at both of them and Quinn searches the side of her bed for the controls. “Make this thing go down,” she demands. Rachel peers around the side of the bed for the remote Quinn’s looking for and finds it but there are a ton of buttons on it and a lot of pictures she can’t figure out and really, she just wishes she had maybe delayed that last pain pill a little bit. She blinks her eyes to focus better and starts pressing buttons at random. It takes her three tries to get it right, the first bringing Quinn more upright, the second flipping the lights off on and on, before she finally gets the bed to get more horizontal. Quinn sighs in relief when the bed finally goes down and shoots a crooked smile up at Rachel. “Thanks,”

she says. Rachel puts the remote back down and leans down to kiss Quinn on the lips. Her face scrunches up at the taste. “Ew,” she comments when she pulls away. “You taste like hospital.” “We’re in a hospital,” Quinn deadpans. “I got shot,” she continues, gesturing towards her leg. Rachel turns on her heel. “That’s no reason to forgo personal hygiene, Quinn.” She walks up to a small cupboard in the corner and opens it, pleased to find a small assortment of toiletries stored within. She walks back and hands her wife a small bottle of mouth wash. “Swish,” she commands. Quinn raises an eyebrow, but grabs the bottle anyway. “You’re bossy,” she says. “You love it,” Rachel responds. Quinn just keeps her eyebrow raised and a small smirk on her face as she sits up and swishes the liquid around in her mouth, spitting it out in a small dish by her bedside. “Good,” Rachel says when it’s done.

Quinn darts a hand out to wrap around Rachel’s hip and tugs her towards the bed. “Get in here.” “Quinn,” Rachel starts. “Get in here,” Quinn repeats, her eyes narrowed. “You’re bossy,” Rachel teases, but she sits down on the edge of Quinn’s bed, facing her. “You love it,” Quinn agrees, laughing. “You married me.” “Yeah,” Rachel says, tilting her head upwards. “Why did I do that again?” “Because my proposal was too charming to resist,” Quinn answers with confidence. A long burst of laughter comes out of Rachel, half actual amusement, half really good pain medication kicking in. “Yeah, telling me you accidentally told some partners at your firm that we were married and we needed to make it official to save face was super charming.” Quinn gives her an offended look. “I did not say that,” she denies. “Yes you did,” Rachel argues, her head moving up

and down slowly. “Whatever, you can’t resist me, stop trying to deny it.” Rachel chuckles, shaking her head but leans down towards Quinn, bumping their noses together. “I’m not,” she whispers before pressing their lips together. It gets serious for a minute because when her lips connect with Quinn’s she thinks about the moment Pike burst through the apartment door, the way he pulled his gun out and the hazy memory of Quinn flying backwards, her hands grabbing her leg. Desperation surges through her and she presses in closer to her wife, her hands coming up to tangle in blonde hair as she slants her lips over Quinn’s. It’s totally inappropriate and wrong and kind of dangerous but arousal shoots through her and it nearly knocks her over with its intensity. She knows it’s partly the drugs in her system because really, attempting sex in a hospital bed with cracked ribs and a bullet wound is probably not the smartest idea she’s ever had but she can’t stamp the desire down, can’t stop herself from stroking her tongue inside Quinn’s mouth and she knows she doesn’t imagine the soft whimper it pulls out of the other girl. Quinn’s hand is still on her hip, squeezing it intermittently and when Rachel pulls back Quinn’s

eyes are dark and stormy, more sexy than anything Rachel’s ever seen. They just kind of stare at each other for a few minutes, the minty scent of mouth wash mingling in between them from Quinn’s mouth before Rachel swallows thickly, Quinn’s eyes darting down to Rachel’s mouth. “We’re in a hospital,” Quinn whispers. “We are,” Rachel agrees, equally soft. “I got shot,” Quinn continues. “You did.” Quinn brings a hand up around Rachel’s neck and brings her back down to press their lips together. Deciding that their positioning is not really ideal for the crazy, dangerous sex they’re about to attempt, Rachel breaks the kiss again and eyes the bed, trying to figure out how to get on it without like, causing Quinn severe pain. That’d kind of be a mood killer. Quinn seems to understand what’s going on and shifts her good leg over a little bit. “Put your other knee here,” she says, patting the bed on the other side of her hip.

Rachel eyes the spot warily, not sure if she’s feeling dexterous enough to get her knee over there without hitting something critical or kneeing Quinn in the stomach. She saw that little cringe Quinn let cross her face when she moved her leg over, this is really a very irresponsible idea. But Quinn doesn’t seem to care much about responsibility. Not that Rachel’s surprised. “Rachel,” Quinn barks. “Get over here.” Rachel purses her lips, a natural resistance to being ordered around, but this is Quinn and really, that narrowed stare and clenched jaw is more hot than annoying. So, as carefully as she can, she gets her knee on the other side of Quinn, straddling her wife and leaning over, her palms on the rough material of the bed next to Quinn’s head. “Hi,” Rachel says softly, her hair falling down into Quinn’s face. Distantly she feels an ache in her ribs, but she ignores it, happy with how effectively her medication is working. Quinn trails her fingers up Rachel’s thighs until they stop at her stomach, lingering there and scratching softly. The sweetest smile is on Quinn’s lips as she lifts her torso up and repeats the greeting against Rachel’s lips.

It stays that way for long moments, their lips tangled together, Quinn’s fingers on her stomach and the faint sound of beeping from the machines by the bed. Then Quinn’s fingers travel up and under her shirt, tracing over her abs and then downwards, fingering the waistband of her pants. It hits her, through her haze of arousal and drugs that being naked right now would probably be awesome and a good step towards the whole orgasm thing her body is aching for. She brings one palm up to trace over Quinn when she realizes the other girl isn’t wearing normal clothes. She’s in a hospital gown, which, okay, she supposes that’s appropriate, but Rachel doesn’t have much experience in sexily disrobing girls of hospital gowns. Fleetingly, she thinks that’s maybe a skill she needs to work on and wonders if the theater has any spare hospital costumes. Quinn breaks their kiss just as Rachel is about to do the same. They need to discuss the quickest way to get Quinn out of her gown because Rachel isn’t sure she can do it without reinjuring both of them. “Take your shirt off,” Quinn gasps. That works too. Rachel nods in agreement and brings

her hands up to do just that when that distant pain becomes way more present. She winces and drops her hands back down. “You okay?” Quinn brings up both hands to grab Rachel’s biceps and hold her steady. “Ribs,” Rachel breathes out. “Fuck, Rach,” she responds, her face full of concern. “I’ll get a nurse.” “No!” Rachel exclaims, grabbing Quinn before she can call the nurse. “No,” she repeats. “Rachel,” Quinn starts, her voice deep in a way Rachel knows means Quinn’s determined not to waver on this point. That’s okay though, because if anyone is good at convincing Quinn Fabray to do whatever she wants, it’s Rachel Berry. “Quinn,” she starts, leaning back over and breathing through her pain. “We haven’t had sex in nearly two days. I’m about to explode. I am going to die. Literally, die. Do you want that to happen? Do you want me to die because you’re worried about some measly cracked ribs?” Laughter pours out of Quinn. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Come on, baby,” Rachel entreats, leaning back over and brushing her lips over Quinn’s and down her jawbone. “I’m fine.” Just as Rachel is sure Quinn’s convinced, just as she feels her wife’s hands drop from her arms and settle back on her thighs, the stupid nurse comes in anyway. Rachel hears the woman gasp loudly from the doorway and she’s not sure if it’s because Rachel’s straddling a gun shot victim or because Rachel’s straddling a woman. She’s pretty sure she’s pissed about either reason. She turns to look at the nurse, sitting up but not moving from the bed. “Yes?” “You can’t be there,” the nurse stutters. “This is highly improper. She’s just out of surgery.” “I can be where ever I want to be, thank you very much,” Rachel argues. “Get off!” The nurse commands, walking up closer to the bed. “You get off,” Rachel repeats, her voice raising. If she had her head on a little straighter she would have smacked herself for the lack of intelligence in that

response. Quinn chuckles softly under her but taps lightly on Rachel’s thigh. “Rach,” she says softly. Rachel turns back to Quinn and glares at her. “What?” Quinn cocks her head to the side of the bed and Rachel rolls her eyes but gets the message. However, removing herself from Quinn turns out to be much more difficult than getting on top of her because her foot gets caught in the bedding and before she can catch herself she’s landing on the cold tile of the floor next to the bed. Pain sears through her ribs and tears prick at her eyes but she’s able to stand up, rubbing her back as she does it and eying Quinn who looks like she’s in equal amounts of pain. The nurse is glaring at her and readjusting the foam by Quinn’s leg. Rachel must have knocked it when she fell off. “What are you two thinking, attempting that in a hospital bed of all places?” The nurse starts and Rachel knows a good lecture about to start as well as the next expert lecturer. She can see it in the way the nurse puts her hands on her hips and takes a deep breath and oh hell no. If anyone is going to be giving a lecture in this room it’s Rachel Berry-Fabray.

“Listen, lady,” she starts out. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Quinn whip her head to look at her but she focuses on the nurse, narrowing her eyes and mirroring her pose, hands now in fists on her hips. “I haven’t had sex with my wife in over 48 hours. Do you know how long that is? It’s over two days. That’s a long time. Now, I realize your sex life may not be very active, but we lead a very healthy sex life and two days is quite a gulf for us.” She takes a quick breath. “Not to mention, orgasms create endorphins and can be very beneficial to the healing process. Are you trying to tell me that you’re going to stifle any avenue of healing for your patients? I’ll have you know that my wife is a lawyer.” Rachel points at Quinn with a steady finger. “And if you do not allow us the privacy to copulate in this room she will sue you.” Quinn nods at the nurse and presses her lips together. “It’s true, I can sue you,” she comments. The nurse’s eyes are wide and afraid and Rachel feels deep satisfaction go through her at the sight. She takes a deep breath and stares her down, her eyes narrowed and stance defiant. A smile breaks out on her face when the woman just glances at both of them before throwing her hands up

in the air and turning around, exiting the room and leaving them alone. Quinn starts laughing uncontrollably and Rachel feels herself answering in kind. She walks back over to sit on the bed as she was before, perched on the edge. “Come here,” Quinn says, triumphantly through laughter. Rachel grins before leaning back over and resuming their kissing. Long minutes later she’s back to forgetting about her aching ribs and thinking of ways to divest Quinn of her hospital gown. The nurse returns. Rachel pulls back from Quinn’s lips and whips angered eyes at the woman. “I thought I told you...,” she trails off when she realizes the nurse brought backup in the form of hospital security. She moves off the bed, standing up next to it and glaring at the nurse the whole time. Quinn starts laughing again, her arm curling around Rachel’s waist and keeping her in place, her fingers rubbing absently at the skin of Rachel’s hip. “Get the short, feisty one some more pain medication will you?” Quinn asks the nurse as she walks up to

the bed. “She’s easier to handle when she’s passed out.” Rachel scoffs indignantly. “Quinn!” But it has the desired affect and the nurse lets out a little chuckle at the display, the atmosphere warming despite Rachel’s continued glare. “We’re going to be here for awhile, baby,” Quinn says, turning to Rachel. “She can’t watch us the entire time. Rachel’s not so sure Quinn’s right about that, but there’s nothing she can do about it right now, not with the security guard eying her warily and the nurse puttering around with Quinn’s bed. But the nurses change shifts in about three hours, she knows from her last stay here, and maybe she can sneak a quickie past their night nurse. She eyes Quinn, hair a mess, leg propped up in foam and blankets, but still the most attractive person Rachel has ever met. Yeah, she’ll find a way. She’s got all night.

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