December 19th, 2012

One-Shot: You’ve Now Reached Your Destination (You Were There All Along)

Title: You’ve Now Reached Your Destination (You Were There All Along)

Pairing: Brittana romance, glee club friendship

Word Count: ~5,300

Summary:The truth is that the glee kids are super lame, but they’re also surprisingly decent… They’re always kind of just around, being okay to people.”

Author’s Note: This story is for my bestie Han, in honor of her birthday, which was yesterday. Han is my favourite human. I wish her happiness, success, and all sorts of fictional lesbian storylines to watch in the upcoming year. I love you, bb!

This story is set during the summer between Seasons Two and Three.

___________________

Somehow, Santana didn’t even realize that Mike Chang had a birthday, much less that he would have a birthday party, and especially not a birthday party that she could potentially be invited to.

And, okay, so maybe Santana and Brittany have gone to the same school as Mike since kindergarten or something, but it’s not as if Santana has ever said more than two words to the kid, really, so why should she know anything about him at all, let alone when in the hell he was born?

Besides, as it turns out, Mike’s birthday is in the middle of June, which is usually when Santana and Brittany drop off the radar, as far as hanging out with people from school goes. They like to have the last part of June and all of July to themselves, and the beginning of August, too—you know, just so they can fit in a break before all the “Last Chance Summer Bash” parties start up or whatever.

It’s not a big deal and Santana’s not a total jackass. She just didn’t know that Mike Chang had a birthday. She has her reasons.

So sue.

"Just because you didn’t know about Mike’s birthday doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to his party," Brittany singsongs, walking her fingertips along Santana’s spine as she and Santana lay sprawled in Santana’s bed.

"But, Britt," Santana whines, "what about… stuff?"

Santana knows what she means by stuff and Brittany does, too, but neither one of them has talked about it yet and Santana thinks that if they start now, she might pass out or something, even though she’s already lying down.

They don’t start talking about it.

Instead, Brittany just looks at Santana, dead serious. “It’ll be fun,” Brittany assures her. “And Tina specifically said I should bring you.”

Santana sits up slightly off the bed, leaning on her elbows. She quirks an eyebrow. “She did?”

Brittany just nods and dances her fingers over Santana’s camisole. “Duh,” she says, “‘cause, like, she knows that if Puck’s not coming, you and I are the only ones who can help this party meet its cool quota.”

Santana can’t help it, she smiles big. “She said those exact words, huh?” She rolls onto her side and reaches up to tickle Brittany's ribs. “We're going to have to 'help this party meet its cool quota'?”

Brittany shrieks and starts to laugh in that perfect way she has—happiness brimming over from her, like she feels too much of it to keep in. “Maybe I paraphrased,” Brittany admits, giggling and squirming away.

Santana just tickles her harder.

XXXXXXXXXX

Santana could have been okay with going to Mike Chang’s birthday party in and of itself, but she has no patience for this whole “helping Tina Cohen-Chang plan the world’s lamest surprise party” part of things, and especially not as it involves meeting up with other will-be partygoers like a week before the actual shindig happens.

No, not just meeting with them—being seen in public with them—and, like, being seen in public with them before she and Brittany have even figured out all their stuff.

Just thinking about all the variables puts Santana on edge before she and Brittany even step inside the Lima Bean, and especially because she’s about one-hundred percent sure that nobody even really wants her at this meeting aside from Brittany anyway.

After all, it’s not like Tina invited the whole glee club—just certain people.

Puck, Kurt, and Lauren Zizes weren’t invited and Finn only was on Rachel’s account. Thankfully, Finn won’t be able to make it to either the meeting or the party because Burt Hummel has him scheduled to work in the tire shop from like now until he dies. Artie can’t come because his family is on vacation in Columbus or something.

Santana fidgets as Brittany pulls the car into an open space outside the Lima Bean. She mutters something about how maybe she could just wait out here while Brittany goes inside.

"But, honey," Brittany says and Santana melts a little, “Tina specifically told me that you were invited. She wants you here.” Brittany rubs her hand over Santana’s knee and Santana wishes she could soften to the touch, but she can’t.

Not yet.

"But she’s probably like the only one who does," Santana mumbles, checking in the rearview and side mirrors, just to make sure that nobody is creeping on her and Brittany in the car together or anything weird like that.

"She’s not, though," Brittany says. “Like, Quinn will be way happy you’re here. And Sam will be happy to see you, too. And Mike’s gonna like having you at his party next week so, so much. Everybody’s gonna like it, I swear. And if they don’t, I’ll leave in protest.”

"You will not," Santana says, only now she definitely softens a little.

"Come on," Brittany says, taking her hand away from Santana’s kneecap to unbutton her own safety belt. She kills the car engine. “If you come peacefully, I’ll buy you an iced tiramisu mocha with double whipped cream and a shot of vanilla.”

Santana hesitates for a second, even with the promise of Brittany buying her God’s gift to frozen coffee to spur her on.

She and Brittany still have a lot of stuff to talk about and she kind of wishes they could talk about it before socializing with the glee losers, or with anyone, really. See, she and Brittany have kind of been hanging out a lot since they got back from New York, which isn’t unusual for them, Santana guesses. It’s just that this summer their hanging out feels kind of different than it used to, and, well, Brittany knows how Santana feels about stuff and Brittany said she feels the same way and then Brittany keeps doing things like calling Santana “honey” and offering to buy Santana mochas in front of other people.

It’s enough to make Santana dizzy.

Brittany pauses before she gets out of the car. She fixes Santana with a look. “I will buy you the world’s biggest iced tiramisu mocha with double whipped cream and a shot of vanilla,” she says seriously. “It’ll be so big they don’t even have the size on the menu—like how do you say ‘seventy’ in Spanish?”

"Setenta."

"I will guy you a setenta tiramisu mocha with double whipped cream and a shot of vanilla," Brittany promises. “All you have to do is get out of this car and come into the Lima Bean to help me and Tina and everybody else plan a totally awesome birthday party for Mike.”

And, okay, so maybe Santana caves after that, but only because Brittany is like pretty much perfect or whatever and frozen coffee is awesome.

They can talk about stuff later, after Santana has had a setenta-sized frozen coffee.

The glee kids probably won’t even notice stuff at all because, hello, when do they ever pay positive attention to Santana and Brittany anyway?

XXXXXXXXXX

So the glee kids notice stuff right away and Santana’s pretty sure that her heart is going to explode from too much freaking pressure or something because of it.

It’s, like, physics.

Really, Santana has to hand it to them: the glee kids are nothing if not chronically lame, which is probably why they think it’s normal human behavior to wave at people you know when you see them standing in line ordering their drinks as if everything is all retro and 1950s or something.

"Oh god," Santana groans.

Brittany just shrugs, “They’re glad to see us.”

The truth is that Santana wouldn’t actually mind the waving—maybe—if it didn’t mean that the glee kids then sat around and watched while Brittany paid for her iced tiramisu mocha with double whipped cream and a shot of vanilla.

Vultures.

"Vultures."

"Santana, they can probably hear you, you know."

If they can hear her, nobody says anything of it. They just smile as Santana and Brittany slide into their booth, giant-ass frozen coffees in hand.

"Cool," Sam says, squishing in to make room for them. "Bri-ana Lo-pierce are here. Now we can start planning."

Mercedes sits beside Sam in the booth. She laughs and smacks him on the shoulder. “That’s not how you’d mash up their names,” she corrects him.

And, okay, so maybe Santana kind of freezes, but only for a second.

The thing is that Santana would totally be lying if she said she hadn’t thought up what hers and Brittany's couple name should be because, duh, all of the couples in glee have them, and, well.

But she would also totally be lying if she said it didn’t make her just the slightest bit faint to hear Sam trying out a couple name on her and Brittany before they even have any of their stuff sorted out.

In fact, she’s pretty sure that this is what having a coronary feels like.

Santana knows that sometimes the best of glee club friends, like Hummelberry and Artcedes, go by mash up names, just like the couples do, and maybe that’s what Sam meant. After all, Sam is harmless and she and Brittany have done the whole “She’s my best friend” thing to death ever since they joined glee club.

It’s just that Santana isn’t sure if that’s what she wants Sam to mean or not.

Like, sometimes she thinks it would just be easier if people did just assume certain stuff.

Santana glances over at Brittany, just to see if what Sam said is maybe even just a teensy bit okay by her. Brittany just smiles and reaches for Sam’s sugar packets, stealing a pink one. “We weren’t even late, Sam,” she says placidly, tearing open a corner and dumping all the contents into her coffee without ceremony.

Santana can’t help but notice that Brittany doesn’t scold Sam for using a couple name, which, yeah, okay, there’s that.

She just wishes that figuring everything out didn’t have to be so hard.

XXXXXXXXXX

Santana still isn’t sure what she’s doing at this meeting. She has nothing to contribute—or at least nothing that anyone really wants to hear anyway.

Snark is her thing. Helpful suggestions? Not so much.

Tina goes on and on about how eighteen is a big birthday and how she wants Mike to remember it forever. She even gets a little bit teary, which isn’t surprising at this point, just obnoxious. She wants to surprise Mike, but she needs help figuring out how to do it.

"We can’t have his party at my house," she explains, "because my parents will want to supervise. We can’t have it at Mike’s house—"

"—because his dad is even more uptight than Judy," Quinn says knowingly.

Tina nods. “I’m not asking anyone to offer up their houses,” she says quickly. “I was just wondering if any of you guys had an idea about where we could go. I was thinking maybe we could have a bonfire somewhere.”

"What about at the Lima Reservoir?” Sam suggests. He wags his eyebrows, “We could go swimming and then finish out the night on the beach.”

Everyone makes noises of agreement and a smile blooms over Tina’s face. Even Santana has to admit that Sam’s idea sounds decidedly less than sucky.

"Good," she says, reaching for her purse and starting to get to her feet. Thank god for short meetings, right?

Except it isn’t a short meeting.

Brittany sets a hand on Santana’s leg, keeping Santana in her chair. “So who’s bringing what?” she asks the group.

Apparently, there’s more to talk about.

Quinn offers to bring chips and Tina decides that she’ll make sandwiches. Sam says he can pitch in a few pizzas from his job later in the evening and Rachel volunteers to bring a badminton set, which, god—Santana isn’t even going to touch that one, okay? Sometimes Rachel just makes things too easy.

As everyone else divvies up assignments, Santana feels herself starting to retreat inside her own head. It isn’t that she hates the glee kids or whatever. It’s just that she was right—there is absolutely no reason for her to be at this lameass meeting aside from the fact that Brittany wanted her here. Nobody else cares that she’s around at all.

"Be right back," Brittany whispers in her ear. “Restroom.”

She slides over Santana and out of the booth and Santana immediately feels lonely without her. “Okay,” she says helplessly, willing Brittany to return soon. She watches Brittany walk away and then watches the door to the bathroom, waiting.

She’s not pathetic or anything.

"What’re you and Brittany going to bring, Santana?"

Tina’s voice snaps Santana out of her reverie.

"What?"

Tina repeats herself, “Everybody else’s signed up to bring something. What are you and Brittany bringing?”

And there’s that whole “exploding heart” feeling again.

"Who says we’re bringing something together?" Santana snaps, which, oops.

She doesn’t mean to bite people’s heads off whenever they ask things about her and Brittany, okay? It’s just that she’s had years of practice snapping at people whenever they get too close to the truth and it’s kind of hard to break the habit now after all this time. She means to be more easygoing, but it’s hard when everyone keeps looking at her like they know some secret that she doesn’t.

She and Brittany haven’t even talked about stuff yet so there’s nothing to know.

Is there?

Tina recoils, as does everyone else around the table. “You don’t have to bring something together,” Tina says quickly. “I just thought that maybe you might want to.”

And, okay, so maybe Santana relaxes a little bit at that, but only because Tina seems so incredibly genuine. Tina’s got that whole retro 1950s thing going on again. Everybody at the booth does. They’re all looking at Santana wearing these concerned, weirdly earnest expressions, like they can’t imagine what Tina might have said wrong.

They’re just so damn sincere.

"We can maybe bring something together," Santana mumbles, "if Britt wants to."

"Okay," Tina says happily, typing something in on her iPhone.

She doesn’t push Santana to say exactly what it is that she and Brittany will bring, which, whatever. In hindsight, maybe the lack of specificity could be a problem, but, at the moment, Santana is just glad that Tina knows when to back the hell off.

"Did I miss anything?" Brittany asks, returning to the table just as everyone starts to pack up for realsies, set with a plan to meet at the reservoir at two o’clock next Friday afternoon.

Santana just shrugs.

Somehow, she kind of thinks that Brittany did miss something, but she’s not sure what.

When Tina waves goodbye to her and Brittany in the parking lot, Santana waves back, but only because it’s the polite thing to do or whatever, or it would have been the polite thing to do way back when the Andy Griffith Show was still on the air and dinosaurs roamed the earth, which is apparently when all the glee losers learned their freaking manners.

"I told them we’d bring something," Santana blurts out as soon as she and Brittany slide into Brittany's car. “Like, I told them we'd bring something to the party together, if that's okay with you.”

Brittany just grins at Santana in the rearview mirror and slips on her sunglasses. “Cool,” she says. “What’d you tell them we’d bring?”

Santana shrugs. “I didn’t tell them we’d bring something specific,” she admits.

Brittany's whole face lights up. “So you mean we get to bring a surprise to Mike's surprise party?” she gasps.

And, okay, so maybe the whole lame meeting was just a little bit worth it to see that look on Brittany's face—not that Santana would ever say so out loud to any of the glee kids or anything.

XXXXXXXXXX

Santana had kind of imagined that she and Brittany would show up to the party with a couple of six-packs and a bottle of something harder and count that as their big contribution to helping Mike on his way to having many happy returns on his special day.

No such luck, though.

On Tuesday, Rachel sends out a mass text about how she read an article in the Lima News detailing a sheriff’s department crackdown on “teen shenanigans” at the reservoir this summer and suddenly no one wants to drink anymore.

So on Wednesday? Brittany and Santana end up in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, surrounded by screaming children and mothers who look like the end of summer vacation can’t come quickly enough.

Normally, Santana would be complaining like crazy about a) being around so many kids, and, b) being in a Wal-Mart, but today she can’t help but be quietly in awe of her gir—well, of Brittany—who has had what is probably the single most genius idea about what she and Santana should bring to Mike’s party in the history of ideas, pretty much.

"Should we get one foam noodle and one water gun for everyone, or limit it to five of each so that not everyone can be both armed and protected at once?" Brittany asks seriously, examining a pink plastic pistol on the one hand and a purple tube on the other.

"You know that Sam and Mike are going to turn this into some geeky zombie-hunting game, don’t you?" Santana asks, only she can’t help but sound more amused than annoyed.

"Don’t worry. I’ll protect you," Brittany promises, tossing both the water pistol and the foam noodle into the cart at once, which, that’s not what Santana was worried about, but okay. Santana’s not going to refuse Brittany holding on tight to her while they’re both wearing bikinis because duh.

Only.

"Holy shit! Brittany, it’s Mike!" Santana says, pointing down to the end of the aisle, where, sure enough, none other than the birthday-boy-to-be has appeared from around the corner.

Brittany gasps and steps in front of the cart, but it’s too late.

Mike sees.

Brittany? Santana? What are you guys doing here?” he asks, scrunching up his face.

He glances at the sign at the top of the aisle—Toys 12: Seasonal, Party Favors, Misc.—and then at Brittany and Santana, hovering around their cart. Santana doesn’t think she has ever seen Mike look more thoroughly bewildered about anything, including Finn Hudson’s almost supernaturally bad dance moves.

She takes his confusion for her advantage.

"We’re babysitting," she says quickly. "We were supposed to be watching Britt’s little sister, but the pipsqueak ran off once we hit the toy section. You haven’t seen her, have you?"

Mike shakes his head. “No,” he says earnestly, which, god, what is it with these glee kids? “Do you want me to help you look for her?”

Brittany shakes her head. “Nah,” she says. “She’s probably just in the doll aisle talking to Ken about how it’s not fair of him to use Midge as a rebound now that he and Barbie have broken up. We’ll find her in a second.” She pauses. “What are you doing in the toy aisle, Mike?”

Now it’s Mike’s turn to squirm.

"I, uh… I was looking at the Legos," he says sheepishly, staring at the toes of his sneakers.

"Don’t tell me they made a Step Up II kit,” Santana deadpans.

Mike laughs, amiable as always. “Just good old fashioned Star Wars, actually,” he says. He shoves his hands into his pockets and gives an apologetic shrug. “I guess I was just feeling nostalgic about growing up.”

And, okay, way to wax weirdly philosophical in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, Boy Chang.

Santana should probably say something snarky to him.

Except.

"It’s so weird that we’re all graduating this year," she says, realizing for the first time that she’s known Mike since they were like five and that if he’s old everyone else is too.

It’s like the lyrics to the song she sang to Brittany last year and all that.

"It is," Mike agrees. He glances between Santana and Brittany, but doesn’t say anything about them, even though he seems like he maybe wants to. Instead, he just smiles. "I should probably go find my mom. I left her waiting at the pharmacy," he says. "I’ll see you guys around."

And, okay, so maybe Mike is kind of a decent guy and maybe it’s oddly comforting to Santana that she’s known Mike for forever and that he’s always just been that way.

He’s reliable or something.

"Do you think he noticed the water guns?" Brittany asks.

Santana shakes her head. “Not a chance,” she says, pleased with hers and Brittany's work.

XXXXXXXXX

Of all the parties that Santana and Brittany have gone to together over the years, they’ve never actually gone to a party together before, and Santana may or may not be freaking out a little bit right now because this could really be it—it could be their first together-together party—and it’s going to involve pool floaties and glee kids, which, well.

The good news is that the WebMD smartphone app features a really accurate description of what heart palpitations feel like.

"You know that they like you, right?" Brittany says, turning onto Highway 81. She checks Santana in the rearview.

"They like you," Santana says because it’s true.

The glee kids like Brittany a lot, and, duh, who wouldn’t? Brittany is nice and sociable and easily the best human being in this or any century. Sometimes it actually amazes Santana that everyone in the world isn’t in love with Brittany in the same way she is.

"And they like you as much as you let them like you," Brittany says simply.

Santana just fidgets where she sits because what the hell is that even supposed to mean, though? It’s not like she doesn’t want the glee kids to like her. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite of that—not that she’d ever say so out loud.

The truth is that the glee kids are super lame, but they’re also surprisingly decent.

Sure, they were weird with Quinn when she got herself knocked up, but they also saved her seat in the choir room all the way through her first, second, and third trimesters and then went to see her in the hospital after she popped the brat out. And when Kurt Hummel surprised absolutely no one by announcing that he was gay? They treated him pretty much the same as usual afterwards.

They’re always kind of just around, being okay to people.

It’s just that sometimes Santana wonders if they’ll always save a seat for her once they know her deal, too.

Like, will they treat her differently? Because she isn’t Quinn, who went from bitchy to sorry to just plain sad during the whole Beth trauma before finally settling somewhere around hopeless in the aftermath, and she isn’t Kurt Hummel, either, because her secret is still mostly a secret—or at least she’s pretty sure that it is.

The glee kids will accept anyone, even Rachel Berry who has the world’s worst personality.

It would just kind of really suck if they couldn’t accept Santana—like if their decency stopped just short of reaching her. She hasn’t been very nice to them over the years.

She’s not like Brittany.

Just.

"I can’t promise I won’t make mouth jokes about Sam," Santana mumbles, shifting in the passenger seat. "And I’ll probably tell Rachel to shut up like at least once tonight."

"Everyone would probably be upset if you didn’t," Brittany says honestly, shifting onto the frontage road that will take them to the reservoir.

When Brittany's car trundle up the dirt path to the beach and they find everyone but Mike and Tina there waiting for them, waving from the parking lot, Santana just groans.

"I still think we should have brought booze."

XXXXXXXXXX

The surprise part of the party goes off without a hitch.

Everyone helps to set up the badminton net and the picnic on the beach and then hides in the woods until Tina shows up with Mike. When they jump out to yell “Surprise!,” Mike looks—just for a second—like the little boy Santana remembers from kindergarten, with his eyes wide and his face bright. He lets out a delighted whoop and rushes over to tackle Sam to the ground.

When he thanks everyone for coming, he sounds impossibly earnest, to the point where Santana can almost maybe believe that he’s happy see her when he tells her he is.

"I’m glad you could make it," he says, shaking her hand like he’s straight out of Leave It to Beaver or something.

Santana shrugs. “Somebody had to bring the water guns,” she says, feeling weirdly wanted.

Mike’s whole face lights up again. “There are water guns?”

Did Santana mention the part where her gir—well, where Brittany is brilliant?

XXXXXXXXXX

Santana isn’t sure quite how she ended up sitting on Brittany’s shoulders, a foam noodle in one hand, a water gun in the other, and Sam Evans using both Rachel Berry and Mercedes Jones as human shields in front of him as he slow-motion runs through the water, trying desperately to reach his own discarded foam noodle before the tide takes it away.

She is sure that she has probably never laughed so hard in her life, though.

Like, she can’t even breathe, let alone snark.

"Jesus, Trouty," she laughs, trying and failing to aim her water gun at him before he escapes her range.

"Jesus could walk on water, though," Brittany interjects, taking slow, careful steps through the water in comparison to Sam’s haphazard ones.

It’s almost too easy to overtake Sam, whose swimsuit keeps threatening to slide down his ass. Mercedes smacks his arm and jerks away. Rachel protests that it’s not fair of him, taking hostages to delay the inevitable.

"Listen to Berry, Trouty!” Santana calls, taking aim at him with her water gun.

Everyone on the beach cheers for her and for a second she feels a swell of something that’s almost like what she feels whenever she’s with Brittany, except without all the I want to kiss you and hold you and marry you and have your babies stuff attached to it.

Mercedes moves out of the way to let Santana and Brittany through to Sam, and, at the last second, Rachel dodges out of Sam’s hold, just as he snatches up his foam noodle. Mike, Tina, and Quinn boo him from the beachfront.

Sam puts on what he obviously thinks is an awesome Sean Connery accent.

"So we meet again, San-tany Piercepez," he says, brandishing his foam noodle like a shield.

Santana just rolls her eyes from atop Brittany's shoulders and tries to keep her balance as she lowers her water gun into firing position.

"You did not just use your big-ass clown lips to compare me and my—me and Brittany to a Bond villain, fish face," she threatens.

Sam just grins. “It wasn’t Bond,” he assures her.

She quirks an eyebrow. “I swear to god, Trouty, if that was Dragonheart, I am going to cry due to your extreme lameness.”

"It was Dragonheart.”

"Oh my god, just soak him, Santana!" Mercedes calls from the shallows.

Rachel cheers, “Hear! Hear!”

Santana just smirks and motions to her adoring public to quiet down so she can shoot. Brittany grips more tightly to Santana’s legs, holding her steady for the shot. “Say your prayers, Trouty,” she warns.

Sam lets up a girlie scream that someone should record to use as future blackmail.

Santana just smiles.

She’s totally got this.

XXXXXXXXXX

Somewhere in-between the water war and nightfall, they get to telling embarrassing stories from elementary school—or trying to do that anyway.

"Mike Chang has no embarrassing stories," Santana says, exasperated. "Like, he didn’t start talking until last year, I’m pretty sure, and he’s always been like this model freaking citizen."

"Our kindergarten teacher wanted to adopt him, I think," Brittany agrees, smiling a bit when Mike blushes.

Tina leans back against Mike’s legs. “Wow,” she says, “it’s so cool that you guys have all known each other for so long.”

And, okay, so maybe it is, but just a little bit.

"Santana and Brittany once made me cry because they wouldn’t let me play house with them during free time," Rachel announces, pleased with herself for contributing to the conversation.

Santana just rolls her eyes. “That’s not even how this game works,” Santana says. “You’re not supposed to volunteer embarrassing facts about yourself.”

Rachel falters, but only for a second. “Well, after I started crying, Brittany worried that I might tell the teacher on you two for being mean and she started crying,” she offers. “And then you told me I could be the family dog, Santana.”

And, oh god, that just made things awkward.

Everyone laughs and heat rises to Santana’s cheeks, but, surprisingly, Santana doesn’t feel like she’s having a heart attack. Instead, she just feels a normal kind of embarrassment—the kind that’s just part of the game.

Mercedes laughs. “Now that’s embarrassing! Even at age five?” she says, miming a whip crack.

Santana glances at Brittany, just to check if everything’s still cool.

Brittany shrugs and makes a guilty face, like Well, what can I say?

And, all right, usually Santana would kill Rachel for telling a story like that one and deny the whole whipped thing with every ounce of fight in her body, but she’s trying to work on the whole “copping to how she feels about Brittany” deal, and, well.

"Yeah, yeah, you got me," she admits, rolling her eyes again.

Everyone just laughs harder.

Brittany actually beams.

XXXXXXXXXX

And, okay, so maybe Santana and Brittany still haven’t talked about stuff yet and maybe it’s not like the glee kids think that Santana is the best person in the world or anything, but as everyone sits on the beachfront around a bonfire of Rachel’s making—somehow she has more wilderness survival knowledge than former Boy Scouts Mike and Sam do combined—Santana can’t help but feel strangely contented.

She likes hanging out with her friends.

You heard her.

See, for as lame as the glee kids are about waving and handshakes and movie references, they’re actually pretty chill about all the big things in life, which is probably why Santana feels comfortable resting her head on Brittany’s shoulder while she waits for their marshmallows to roast.

"Did you have a good time tonight?" Brittany asks her, low enough that only she can hear.

Santana just nods because, yeah, she really did.

"Do you think I could get Sam’s trouty head mounted on a plaque?" she asks. "I need a trophy commemorating my awesome victory today."

If Brittany rolls her eyes, Santana can’t see her do it. “No,” she says placidly, “but I could buy you one of those singing bass things from Wal-Mart.”

"No more Wal-Mart," Santana mumbles.

"No more Wal-Mart," Brittany agrees.

Later on, Rachel leads everyone in a four part rendition of the birthday song and Tina produces an elaborately decorated cake from the back of her car. Mike blows out all his candles in one shot because dancing as hard as he does makes for awesome lung capacity.

Afterwards, Quinn struggles to prop up her iPhone on the picnic table to take a timed picture of the whole group standing in front of the bonfire, Sam and Mike kneeling in the sand and the girls all in back, huddled together.

Santana didn’t know that Mike Chang had a birthday before, but she doesn’t mind knowing that he has a birthday now.

"Okay, on the count of three," Quinn warns, squeezing in between Santana and Brittany.

"One!" the glee kids count. "Two! Three!"

When the camera flashes, Santana’s smile isn’t even fake or forced at all. 

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