Title: Put Your Arms Around Me and I'm Home
Summary: It takes less than two months before Santana is outed to her college teammates. Their reaction isn't what she hoped for. Oneshot.
Author's Note: Based on a conversation with faithlessfate about Santana going to Kentucky, not the most liberal state, for college.
Warning: Physical assault.
The trees are orange, yellow, and red blurs as they whip by at 70 miles per hour. There's the occasional bump in the road, the white line sways just a little bit. Santana sighs as she sees the sign on the interstate: “Now Entering Lima, Ohio”. The entire drive from Louisville has been quiet, save for the talk radio her mother has playing quietly in the background. It's not that Santana is in trouble, by any means. She just...doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Not right now.
“Mija, you know everything will be just fine, si?”
“I know, Mami.”
“You can work in Papi's clinic like we talked about and take some night classes for a while...”
“I know,” Santana whispers. “Can you take me to Britt's?”
“Of course, mija.”
It hurts when she gets out of the car. Her ribs are wrapped tight and her head throbs a little when she stands; Santana brings her fingers up to touch the stitches above her right eye – the vision in her left is still a little blurry. Brittany is at the door before Santana even gets to the front porch and it's all Santana needs to break down. She's barely aware of being scooped up in to her girlfriend's arms and carried to Brittany's bedroom and set gently on the bed.
“I'm sorry,” Brittany murmurs, pulling Santana into her arms. “I'm so sorry.”
“This wasn't your fault, baby.” Santana relaxes in to Brittany's arms, feeling more at home than she has in the last month.
“I sent you there.”
“You didn't do this to me.”
“Are you okay?” Brittany gently kisses the stitches, Santana's eyes, and the various small scrapes healing on her face.
“I thought it would be different, B. I thought I might be able to tell them sometime...they found out and they still hated me.” The tears begin to fall as Santana buries her face in to Brittany's chest, finally letting the pain loose.
“It's their loss,” Brittany states. “You're so awesome San...I love you. I love you more than anything and we're gonna find some place where everyone loves you and sees how awesome you are.”
Brittany only hums and rubs Santana's back. They lay in silence for a few minutes until Brittany chuckles.
“Coach is pissed,” Brittany says.
“Britt, that doesn't really help-”
“Not at you, silly. As soon as I told her what happened she got on the phone and started yelling at the coach in Kentucky. I think I heard crying.”
For the first time in weeks, Santana smiles. She tries not to laugh, her ribs still sore. They will be for a few weeks more; it's what happens when five of them break clean through and one punctures a lung.
“What happened, San?” Brittany whispers. There's a quiver in her voice and when Santana looks up, Brittany's baby blues are filled with tears. Santana knew after it happened she would have to tell Brittany. She pictured the entire scenario in her head and it was exactly the situation she found herself in. Despite not wanting to, Santana knows she won't get out of it. After all, Brittany is the one who saved her.
The first month at Louisville was alright. Classes sucked, of course, but Santana was almost a celebrity in the cheer squad after they found out she had been captain for Sue Sylvester. Instead of being thrown to the bottom of the pyramid with the rest of the freshmen, she was immediately promoted to second tier with sophomores.
Santana didn't go in to school out and proud, rainbow flag flying. She knew better. It was Kentucky. If she had been in San Francisco or New York or Boston it would have been different. But not here. Lucky for Santana, she had a single occupancy dorm room which meant she could keep pictures of Brittany out. What she didn't expect was freshman hazing.
It was two in the morning when Santana was awoken by a group bursting in to her dorm room, the lights flipping on and a dozen senior cheerleaders ready to grab her. Until they saw the picture on her nightstand. Brittany had insisted on taking it before they left. They were kissing. And Brittany had photoshopped it in to a heart shape.
“Oh my god,” one of the cheerleaders snarled. “She's a fucking dyke!”
Santana was almost sick at the word. She couldn't move, the stares of the other seniors were piercing right through her. Paralyzing her. When she moved to speak she was only met with groans and words of disgust before the seniors retreated out into the hallway.
“Fuck,” Santana whispered.
She wasn't shocked when the captain handed her a letter and petition all of the squad had signed demanding Santana quit. There was no other choice if she wanted to get out in one piece, the captain made that clear. They could easily miss the toss that had been practiced for that week's game.
What did shock her was finding her car torn to pieces and spraypainted with insults. As did the group of faceless girls who jumped her as she bent down to pick up the busted sideview mirror. There were at least half a dozen of them, Santana wasn't sure. All of them had ski masks but none spoke. She was held back by two of them,despite how hard she fought. Another took a 2x4 to her stomach and Santana swore she could feel the ribs break with the blows.
Before she hit the ground, Santana managed to get a few swings in at the ring leader. Her fist connected a few times before she was pulled back. The girl she had hit chuckled, wiping blood from her lip. The girl's fist connected with Santana's left eye but a well placed kick from Santana to the girl's stomach sent her flying back and, even though it hurt, Santana laughed. It was a bad move and she knew it, the last thing she saw was the 2x4 coming toward her face and that was it.
When Santana woke she was still outside, the gravel of the parking lot sharp against her skin. It was pitch black outside and starting to get cold. She could hear the ringtone of her phone in her pocket and somehow managed to pull it out. Brittany's picture was on the screen.
“San, I've been trying to call you.”
“Britt...I...I need help,” Santana gasped. She wasn't sure how Brittany could help her all the way from Lima but it was all she could say. There was too much pain to think coherently.
There was a pause on the other line and a rustle before Brittany responded, voice full of concern. “What's wrong?”
“Help,” Santana choked. “I-I'm by the library. P-please, B.”
There was a shuffle and Brittany's voice again, this time waking up her parents. The next voice Santana heard wasn't Brittany's but Brittany's mother.
“Santana, honey what's wrong?”
“It hurts,” Santana choked. “Th-they jumped me...I can't – I can't move.”
“Where are you, sweetie?”
“Okay, stay on the phone with me Santana. We're calling campus police right now, alright? Just stay with me.”
The pain was increasing with every second as Santana's nerves began registering more and more. It became too much and there was the distinct taste of blood when Santana vomited. Another sharp pain went through her chest and it was all of a sudden nearly impossible to breathe.
“Santana, are you there?”
Nothing would come out except for desperate gasps of air. Brittany's mother kept talking, begging Santana to say something...but Santana could only panic. Just as she saw red and blue flashing lights, her vision began to narrow and blackness surrounded her once again.
The next time Santana woke she was where she expected to be. The walls and sheets were white and the sound of a heart monitor registered faintly in the background. The gown was scratchy against her skin but at least she wasn't still in a parking lot. Voices murmured around her, one unfamiliar and two belonging to her parents.
“Oh thank God!”
Santana opened her eyes to meet her mother's, her father right next to her. In to her line of sight came who she assumed was her doctor with his gray eyebrows furrowed.
“How are you feeling, Santana?”
“Pain,” Santana murmured.
“We'll get you something for that in a little bit. Can you focus for a minute?”
All Santana could muster was an affirmative noise as she gripped onto the blanket to work herself through the pain.
“You punctured a lung-”
“I didn't puncture shit,” Santana growled. “Those bitches-”
“Santana, language,” her father said softly. “We'll talk about that later.”
The doctor sighed and began again. “The blows to your chest broke five ribs. Talking to Mrs. Pierce, it sounds like when you woke up and tried to move it dislodged one of the ribs further which caused it to puncture a lung. We had to do surgery to repair the perforation. You've got seventeen stitches in your head and a black eye but no brain or corneal damage. We're going to keep you for about a week to make sure everything begins to heal properly.”
“The police want to talk to you whenever you're ready,” Santana heard her father say. “We're filing assault and property damage charges.”
“They were wearing masks.”
“Two of them came forward,” he said. “One had to go to the hospital herself. Sounds like you got a few good licks in.”
“You taught me well, Papi.”
“Si, mija. Te amo.”
Santana sighed comfortably at the sensation of her mother's fingers running through her hair. The sensation lulled her to almost sleep and the overwhelming power of morphine did her in. She was allowed to get up and walk around the next day; it was painful but she did it and was determined to go as far as she was allowed.
The police came in to talk the day after Santana woke up and she gave every single detail for the first time. It was her Papi who spoke up when one of the officers grimaced at Santana's confession as to exactly why she was assaulted.
“This was a hate crime against my daughter,” he growled. “You will treat it as such and you will treat her with respect.”
Most of the phone calls Santana made over the next few days were to the Louisville lawyer her parents had hired on recommendation from their attorney in Lima. She was a gay rights activist and had promised results but warned that the case could blow on a national level. Santana was prepared.
Her Papi went back to Lima after a few days, her Mami staying with her at the hospital. They talked about what Santana was going to do after she was discharged, about whether she would be going back to university or going home. The decision was made for her when the university Dean of Students made a visit.
“There are a lot of rumors and speculation about what happened,” he said. “The alleged assailants have a lot of support, Ms. Lopez. We fear for your safety if you return. The university is willing to reimburse you for any monies spent.”
“Are you expelling me?” Santana gasped.
“Not in the least...we just don't want any of our students put into a position of danger and we can't provide round the clock security for just one student. As I said, we're willing to reimburse any expenses.”
Santana could only growl.
“I'm not sure I want my daughter at an establishment that isn't willing to do anything to protect their students. We'll meet with you about that reimbursement.”
“We'll be in touch. I think it's best if you leave.”
On the day Santana was discharged, a giant bouquet of red roses and a stuffed bear appeared in her room after she went for her walk. The card was signed simply: Love, Britt. It didn't make Santana smile, she would have preferred the girl herself but she knew Brittany was in school. She would be seeing her soon, though.
It took two days to pack and gather all the tuition statements and receipts involving Santana's move and university purchases. The university made good on their promise and cut a check before Santana left to go back to Lima with her mother.
“Baby,” Brittany chokes, sobbing as she pulls Santana in and holds her tight. “I promise you,” she sniffles, “I promise I'm never going to let anyone hurt you again. Ever.”
“Never, ever. I'm buying you mace and we're going to kickboxing and you're never going to get hurt again.”
“Britt...you're kind of hurting me right now.”
Brittany's grip loosens and Santana smiles again, pressing a kiss against Brittany's neck.
“As soon as I graduate, we're going somewhere awesome. Maybe New York with Rachel and Kurt and Finn. Blaine's going, too.”
“Baby,” Santana sighs. “As long as I'm with you, I don't care where we are.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too, Britt.”
“Coach also said if you want to come coach with her you can. It'd be pretty cool, you could come help at practice and stuff.”
Santana hums, not really giving an answer. She's content to just be with Brittany. One thing does make its way out of her mouth, though. And Brittany is the first one she's dared to share the thought with.
“Do you think I could be a counselor?” she asks. “Maybe help kids?”
“Yeah. And gay kids. You know, make sure they don't hurt themselves and stuff.”
“I think you'd be awesome at whatever you do.”
“As long as you're with me.”
“You know I will be.”
With that, Santana smiles and relaxes again in Brittany's arms. She's home and nothing hurts.
- Put Your Arms Around Me and I'm Home.