Title: Nothing She'd Ever Wanted
Author: Tristian Makhai
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 30 June 2011
Word Count: 3600, I think is what Word tells me
Summary: A steampunk!Brittana AU, this being a smaller snapshot of a possible larger exploration. Oneshot, however.
Spoilers: Only if you somehow don't know who Beth is.
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Disclaimer: Anything you recognise from Fox's Glee remains the property of its creators and the actors portraying the characters featured in this. The story and setting, however, are mine.
Author's Notes: What's Steampunk? Wiki it. It's not straight up steampunk, however so those who know the genre, hopefully won't kill me over that fact. Anyways, someone on Tumblr mentioned they were trying to draw Steampunk!Brittana and liking both elements, I declared that if someone could draw it, I'd write it. I'm still waiting to see it, but I kept up my part of things. :p I'm also still pretty much new to Glee (which I won't live down) and this has been edited only by myself, so all mistakes, yeah, sorry about them. Hope they aren't too glaring, but if they are, please let me know.
Five years ago and the list of things Santana Lopez would've required to be happy would've run for a considerable amount of pages. It wasn't that she was fussy -she was, extraordinarily so- but in those days, it had been a lot harder to simply appreciate what was around her. What she already had. Of course, that probably came from the fact that five years ago, she had none of 'this.' Once, the former Air Navy Commander might've wished for the days when nothing had changed. Life was decidedly different -that much she would freely admit- but not once did Santana regret what she'd done. Regrets were for pussies and pansies alike, but there definitely had been days where she'd wished she could slug Fabray. Days that had been absent as of late as each last piece of their motley crew fell into place.
The combination of Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez had been dangerous at best, even when reigned in under the governing of superior officers. Brash and abrasive, the pair were like steel and flint showering sparks upon a powder keg, bursting life and igniting everything around them in a blaze of talent, passion, and outrage. When Quinn had unceremoniously been discharged under circumstances the Navy tried to keep quiet, Santana summarily declared the Brass at the hearing every manner of stupid her considerable range of languages could afford. Almost a year later when Quinn was ready to re-join the skies, Lopez was at her side, her loyalty given to the blonde many years before.
It had not been any manner of easy, lifting their dreams from the ground to the skies they both so desperately longed for. With financial backing from a family she barely spoke to, it had been Quinn to suggest a private airship venture, and with Santana's much more enthusiastic parents willing to help, the deal was struck. Old friends and shipmates gravitated to the pair, a few having left service to their countries and others of questionable repute, but of sound enough character able to fill a gap. Early days had been trying though, and more than once, Santana expected the ship to bust up from both the beating it took in the skies and within its frame.
Anger had been raw back then between Santana and Quinn, and in great supply. Anger and hurt, and just too much of both of them. When Puck had joined them, tempers where shorter, tension thick, and it all felt seconds away from bursting apart. Hudson and Evans tried to keep things on an even keel, but most days, they simply stirred everything up all the more, caught up in both girls. Santana would never admit it, at least not without the threat of absolute mortal danger or the like, but it had been the introduction of Rachel Berry into their merry band of misfits that acted to stabilise the crew of the /Sentido Novo./ More often than not, she acted as a catalyst and sparked off one manner of trouble or the other, but finally, the crew took fledgling steps towards cohesion. Later, as Mercedes and Tina rounded their mob, counter-weights began to keep each other in check.
It was as though with each addition, the chemistry of the mix changed until finally, albeit tentatively, a balance was struck between them all. She wasn't delusional enough to think everything was perfect -it was far from it- and they were as rough around the edges as a rag-tag bunch could get, but for all their sharp angles and misaligned gears, theirs was a machine that /worked./ A couple years later, they'd proved as much, earning Santana's respect and loyalty with the ferocity they'd displayed in Quinn's darkest hour. They were her crew, but she loved them as fiercely as family; they were the finest crew Santana could ask for -even if she hadn't in a few cases, and not that she'd openly admit.
In the five years that had passed since parting ways with the Navy, life had been decidedly unexpected and undeniably crazy. All things considered, in that moment, life was good. They were safe, locked securely into a friendly port with no one trying to kill them -an occurrence Santana would /really/ like to stop being so damned frequent. The bankroll from their last couple of hauls was good, enough to not just refit, but also upgrade a few systems that had been earmarked for some time. More than that though, there was the opportunity to spend that hard-earned currency on themselves and get in some shore leave to spend that cash. The Navy might not approve and other Airships may not run under the same practice, but Lopez knew from early experience, a happy crew was a damn /fine/ crew, and the more freedom she gave them, the closer they'd listen when she needed them to. Give a little to get a little. Basic rule of /every/ investment, and while she'd not inherited his cool calm, she was her father's daughter when it came to possessing a keen mind for business.
Along with a heavier purse, the recent job had been honest and gone smoothly enough, even in spite of Berry's natural and infallible ability to attract calamity and a shitstorm. Most gigs were on the level, but like any Airship not in Her Majesty's Air Navy and looking to make a living, jobs of the less than legitimate variety were part and parcel of the territory. The last one had been all right though, and despite those few hiccups -men like Hudson and Puckerman just added to Berry's propensity for trouble- left them all pleasantly relaxed and proud. Repairs had also been minimal, something the Captain was more thankful of than anything else, not simply because she hated her ship in anything less than perfect order, but because it freed her engineer and sometimes helmsman from the infernal depths of the ship.
The yell drew her attention from where she stood on deck watching the gently dipping horizon to the open doorway of the galley, purposely propped open despite the chill of the air and warmth of the room. They might chafe at each other frequently -strong personalities tended to do that- but the gesture of inclusion was no less sweet, if a little excessive, and coaxed a smile from her nonetheless. Glancing over her shoulder, she could see the gathered crew in the warm glow of both fire and bottled lightning. A handful played cards, Artie and Finn seemed intent on hashing out one design or the other, while the others drifted from conversation to conversation, taken in their own pursuits.
"Stop your damn brooding, woman, and get your ass in here!" Her quartermaster barely had time to give her a typical Puck smirk before he was recoiling from the small blonde at his side. "OW! What the hell Qui-OW!"
"Language, Noah!" The words were snapped from across the table where Rachel sat with Kurt, the ship's still-new sky-artist.
Unable to smoother a laugh entirely, the young captain found herself momentarily drawn from her musing and back to the people around her. She shifted her body, resting both elbows upon the railing as she reclined against it, facing the open door to watch the unravelling scene. Puck rubbed furiously at his shoulder, glaring at her childhood friend and first mate, while Quinn returned the dark look even more fiercely despite the sandy blonde hair partially obscuring her gaze, dislodged from the force she'd put into the swing.
"Rachel's right," the slender woman hissed, raising a hand to sweep through the short locks and brush the hair back from her face. "Watch your mouth around Beth."
For all his bluster, the young man had enough manners to wince and duck his head, contrite. "Jeez, you coulda said so instead of slugging me," Puck complained. "What about not teaching her violence is bad?" He then asked with a half mocking tone and glance tossed towards Rachel.
Santana snorted from where she'd remained outside. "Like that's going to happen on this boat," she tossed over her shoulder as she turned back to her view.
"And you're still moping!" Puck retorted.
"I'm not brooding or moping, Puckerman. It's called 'thinking;' no surprise it's such a mystery to you," Lopez snapped back with a quirk of her lips the crew couldn't see. Her forearms found the patch she'd previously warmed, and linking her gloved fingers, rested her weight upon the deck rail, letting her eyes wander over the dark expanse.
"Yeah, well, it's cold and you could shut the da-darn door." She could hear Puck's distaste in having to shift his vocabulary to avoid another punch to the arm. He willingly made every effort where Beth was concerned, but self-censorship did *not* come easily.
"Not a chance," Quinn interrupted, undoubtedly giving the crewman a baleful look, the growled words audibly brooking no argument. "Not until she comes inside does that door get shut."
"Okay, Jesus. Over-protective much?" Puck's chair scraped as he hastily moved, presumably dodging another fist, provoking more than a few chuckles from those around him.
"Considering how close a call it was to losing Santana?" Rachel piped up. "It's completely understandable Quinn is overcompensating with overbearing protective instincts."
"Thank you Rachel, but shut up." The tone was nowhere near as hostile as it had been in the earliest days of Rachel's tenancy on-board ship, but Quinn's tone always contained an edge when it came to their radio officer. A very brief glance over her shoulder, however, confirmed her oldest friend had softened any bite with a quick, quiet smile to the small brunette. Theirs was a very strange relationship and Santana wasn't even going to try to figure that mess out.
"If anyone's overbearing, it's you, Rachel; self-projection much?" Kurt offered to the conversation, glancing up from the charts he traced over with delicate fingertips. The smirk accompanying his words colouring the quip as more playful than sharp. He was as dangerous with his words as Quinn and at the same time, a similar mix of affectionate and hostile with the small woman. Kurt and Rachel's relationship was a hell of a lot easier to figure out, though, Santana thought with a wry shake of her head.
Laughing softly to herself, she let her attention drift again, gazing out over the open sky and dark sea the port hovered over. The wind /was/ cold, but after the icy waters of an ocean she'd unexpectedly found herself in a few days before, the wisps of air teasing and tugging at her hair and clothes soothed something unsettled deep within. Her father had offered her business, her other encouraged medicine -Quinn's forte, not hers- but all a young Santana Lopez dreamt of was the wide open sky, a ship to call her own, and the boundless freedom flight could give her. If she could fly, there was nothing that could stop her, nothing that could keep her from what she loved. No matter what that might be.
It had been a close call and the storm they'd been chasing bad. Being out on deck had been sheer suicide, but someone had to do the job or they'd all could have died and there was no way in hell she would've stood by and let one of her crew put their necks on the line. Her head still occasionally throbbed from the glancing blow when the rigging broke free and knocked her from the craft, but it was the cold that lingered. Shivering deeper into the heavy coat over her shoulders and scarf wrapped around her neck, Santana wondered if she'd ever fully shake the chill, because even if she were in the galley, next to the fire, she knew she'd be just as cold.
A warm exhale of breath ghosted across her cheek before Lopez even registered anyone stood beside her. She drew a sharp gasp of cold air, tearing her gaze away from the rising moon to eyes crystalline blue. Just as quickly as she'd startled, Santana relaxed, smiling ruefully at Pierce, her ship's engineer. The woman either created a commotion wherever she was, rebounding off surfaces in her excitement or she was still, unnatural grace.
There was no real middle ground and in the time she'd known her, Santana came to understand Britt was only loud and a klutz upon intention. All tapping hands and dancing feet out of consideration for those around her, making noise so they'd startle less and she seemed more normal. Her natural state that came instinctively and the habit she fell into was that feline quiet of sinewy movement and lazily coiled power. Santana wasn't exactly very happy about having the spirits scared out of her, but she knew it wasn't exactly intentional and she'd simply grown accustomed to the trait and resigned herself with little more than a wry smirk. "Hey," she offered, soft smile turning shy. "All done?"
Those pale eyes continued to carefully watch her, curious in their regard even as a return smile was quirked and the blonde head bobbed in a nod. "For now. The rest'll keep." The mechanic responded, taking a shallow step closer as she inhaled deeply, eyes falling half-closed as she seemed to savour the breath.
Santana tilted her head as her own breath quickened, needing the shift to look up at the taller woman. There had barely been any space between them by the time Brittany made her presence known and with that small step, they were all but flush. With the engineer pressed firmly up against her side, Santana felt the warmth flood her body, unsure if it was from the persistently mysterious woman or lingering heat of the engine bay. Whatever it was, she was glad for it; Brittany seemed to be the only thing able to ward the cold from her bones and skin.
"Oh," she breathed out. "Good." Jesus, did her voice have to break on a single, simple word? Santana's head dropped for a moment, letting a curtain of dark hair fall over her features as she swallowed thickly at the swell burning through her chest and sliding through her veins. Before she could gather her wits, fingers brushed the hair back from Santana's face tenderly, tips dancing down the curve of her cheek until the backs could brush the underside of her chin. Everything in Santana's body tensed, tightening with a coiled need that teased every nerve in her body. The gentle pressure under her chin tipped her head up, lifting her gaze to Brittany's, her eyes flicking from the light aquamarine to pink lips, lingering as her own parted. The exhale was shaky from the flutter of breath in her lungs, air tripping over the quick in her heartbeat.
The engineer's fingers lingered on her skin as the blonde head dipped down, close, until her nose brushed against Santana's. The gesture was playful and Santana found herself smiling without any restraint or concern, her entire awareness narrowed down to Brittany as her nose nudged at Santana's again, giving her time to pull back. Inhaling deeply, Britt breathed the smell of Santana's skin in, nostrils flaring slightly as her lungs filled with the scent of the other woman. She held it, savouring the taste as her chest expanded, filling until all there was on her tongue was Santana.
Her eyes falling shut for a moment at the gesture, Santana's brow creased briefly, the spike of feeling becoming a touch too sharp. It was all still new, this great, terrifying thing between them. Too much, too quick, far too strong, and there was nothing Santana could do to stop it. Nothing she wanted to do, but if she was entirely honest, it did scare the shit out of her. In spite of the nerves trembling, as she turned and lifted up onto her toes, pressing a kiss that was quick and firm, but still somehow shy to Brittany's mouth, all at once the mix of boldness and bashfulness Santana exhibited when they were alone. The brash courage the woman lived her life by was there, though the moment they parted, a deep flush coloured her tanned cheeks.
Brittany's eyes never left Santana's as her hand dropped to seek and find the other woman's on the railing, smiling all the while, as though she knew just how fiercely her proximity caused the airship captain to come undone. Her fingers crept over the back of the brunette's hand to slide under her sleeve, seeking skin. Blunt nails scratched lightly over the inside of Santana's wrist as her warm fingers curled around the fine musculature, pressing at the soft skin there until she felt the telltale quick tattoo beat against the pad of her thumb. "Hi," she finally murmured, eyes smiling as much as her mouth did as she leant forward.
Brittany's lips were as warm as the rest of her, but as her tongue swept into Santana's mouth with entry granted on a gasp, a heat almost unbearable slid through the smaller woman's body. Her right hand not held in Britt's grasp rose to skim over a bare bicep and shoulder, fisting the engineer's collar and pulling her closer as the most undignified but achingly honest noise escaped her throat. She felt Brittany smile against her mouth, tasted the rumble that was half purr and chuckle on her tongue. Fingers nimble and quicker than she could track had her coat unfastened and parted, arm sliding around Santana's waist until her palm and fingers can splay at the small of her back. The move was bold, almost possessive and nothing Santana can find it in her to protest, especially not when her fingers released Brittany's collar to slide up around her neck.
Half-dizzy, Santana returned her weight to her heels, the hand curled around the nape of Brittany's neck pulling the blonde with her. Santana deepened the kiss with a velvet textured hum and rasping stroke of her tongue to the roof off Brittany's mouth, drawing that purr from the blonde again, much to the captain's unabashed delight. The warm fingers still curled around her wrist slid back to cover her hand, as the taller woman's pressed her back slightly, dipping her back the smallest of amounts. Long moments passing unnoticed between the press of Brittany's body against her own and the protective, secure curl of her arm low across her back until Santana finally leant back, smiling as Britt chased her mouth and pressed another, quicker kiss there before allowing the retreat.
Her forehead fell against Santana's to rest there a moment, simply breathing in the warmth and scent of the other woman, earthy curled in cinnamon and thrumming passion. Reluctantly, Brittany straightened, intending to direct them both inside and Santana closer to the warmth. Gloved knuckles reached up before she could step away, presumably brushing a smear of black from her warm skin. Britt's eyes sparkled with a light and mirth Santana could only question at, her eyes narrowed but before she could ask after the look, the engineer stepped back, wrapped her fingers tighter around Santana's and pulled her into the cabin.
Life was a lot simpler and a hell of a lot more complicated now than it had been five years ago for Airship Captain Santana Lopez. The things she required though were all around her. The hand gripping hers and tugging her back inside the warmth of a well-lit galley filled with friends turned family was becoming the most important. Just as much as the smaller fingers that pulled one of her gloves off, belonging to a sunny, adorable Beth Fabray. A happy, haunted child who'd upset everything in Santana's life both with her conception and then again three years later in events she and the rest of the crew carried close in their nightmares.
The closing of the door and banishment of the cold drew a cheer from the assembled crew and in turn, provoked an eye-roll from their Captain. Chatter and firelight fill the room, and something whispered to Santana that these are her happiest moments, surrounded by a group who are admittedly the last she'd ever expected to want near her. Sure, strong hands help her free of the heavy coat, but leave the soft scarf looped around her neck before turning and pushing her into the room more. Kurt's eyes light up at the appearance of her companion, the pair closer in terms of family than perhaps everyone bar Quinn and Santana. He scooted over from where he sat beside Quinn, offering them a space close to the merry little fire his knowing gaze and Brittany's hand at her back instruct Santana to take. From anyone else, such coddling would've made the dark woman bristle, but these two are different in ways Santana can't articulate yet.
When they finally join the others, Quinn teases her as if she knew the flush to Santana's cheeks had less to do with the cold and everything to do with the woman whose body is curled towards her even as Britt divides her attention between Kurt and little Beth. The four-year-old is pressed against Santana's other side, animatedly chattering about things only children and Brittany seem to manage. This was nothing she'd ever expected to want in life, but as Santana found herself surrounded by friends, she would ask for nothing else. Strong arms wrapped around her, banishing the last of a cold, she knows this is what she's searched the skies for.
War brews on the horizon and instinct tells her Brittany and Kurt -the newest of her crew- will lose some of that mystery when the fighting breaks out and a past tied to the coming conflict comes out. Until then though, she'll cherish the good days and when the darkness comes -it always does- she and her well-oiled crew will be there to fight it back.