It takes Madam Pince two hours and 34 minutes to kick them out of the library, and when they collapse giggling against the wall in a third floor corridor, Brittany grins at her and says, “I think that’s a personal best.”
A/N: Written for Brittana Week Day Two: Harry Potter/Hogwarts. Title from Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.
There are more people on the train than Santana has ever seen in her life, and she pushes through the crowds slowly, looking for a less crowded compartment. She dodges the animals and the trunks and heads further back down the train, away from the seventh and sixth and fifth years and towards increasingly nervous looking children her own age. She glances in every compartment but they’re mostly full, and when she finally finds a free seat she almost keeps walking, just by habit, before her brain catches up with her feet.
She slides the door open slowly and watches as the three girls in the compartment turn to smile at her nervously. “Hello,” she says as she steps inside and forces herself to stand up straight. “Do you mind if I sit there?”
Two of the girls shake their heads silently, but the one nearest Santana shuffles over in her seat to make room and grins at her, and Santana has just enough time to think how pretty the girl is before she’s reaching for Santana’s hand and tugging her down next to her.
“My name’s Brittany,” she says, “What’s yours?”
Brittany sits close to her in the boat across the lake, closer than anyone has ever sat to her before, so she can feel how she’s shivering a little bit and whimpering quietly, so only Santana can hear.
“I don’t like boats,” Brittany whispers to her when they’re halfway across the lake. “You know muggles travel like this just for fun?” The way she says it makes Santana want to laugh, but she heard two other first years talking about the Sorting when they were waiting for the boats and she’s so nervous herself that she barely hears her.
The boat lurches suddenly underneath them and Brittany grabs for her hand, and all Santana can think about it how warm Brittany’s hand feels in hers. “Are you okay?” She asks softly, so the other boy and girl in their boat can’t hear. “I think we’re nearly there now.”
“Just don’t let go of my hand?” Brittany says, eyeing the side of the boat with distrust and scooting a little closer. “In case I fall in.”
Santana nods and laces their fingers more tightly together.
“Do you know what house you’ll be in?” Santana asks when they’re waiting outside the Great Hall and waiting to be called in.
Brittany shakes her head, “My mum was in Ravenclaw.” She pauses for a second then adds, “My dad’s a muggle.” She shrugs a little like it’s no big deal, “Any house is fine by me.”
“My dad was in Slytherin,” Santana whispers, like it’s a secret, and she watches the way her new friend’s eyes narrow a little with suspicion. “But my mum,” she lowers her voice even further and leans in a little, making sure no one else can hear, “My mum was in Ravenclaw.”
Brittany eyes get wide again, and then she smiles and loops her arm through Santana’s, “So we might both be in the same house then!”
“It doesn’t always run in families,” a red headed girl behind them says, but when they file into the hall there are three red headed boys sitting at the Gryffindor table and Santana watches them grin when they see the girl find her place in line.
The Hat sits on her head for what feels like forever, and she listens to it mumble in her ear as if it’s coming from far away. She stares at the inside of the hat and thinks about Brittany saying how houses run in families, and she doesn’t really hear anything but the last word it shouts–”Gryffindor!”–before she stumbles to the table in a daze.
She snaps back to herself long enough to hear ‘Pierce, Brittany!’ be Sorted into Ravenclaw, and she doesn’t understand why she feels so sad when Brittany waves at her across the gap between their tables.
Even though Ginny stays in the common room and complains the whole time about her brothers getting to go to Hogsmeade, Santana’s actually kind of glad they can’t go, just so she doesn’t have to go past the Dementors at the gate. They give her the creeps, and she hates the cold miserable feeling she gets whenever they get close.
(On the train, she’d held onto Brittany’s hand so tightly she thought their hands might end up stuck together, and she’d never be able to let go.)
Ginny asks her if she wants to play Wizard Chess, but she’s not very good at it (Brittany always beats her when they play) and besides, she always spends her Saturdays in the library with Brittany, telling stories and giggling over their homework until Madam Pince forces them to leave, so she shoves her parchment and books into her bag and scrambles through the portrait hole.
When she gets there, Brittany already had her homework spread out over a table, and she waves as Santana sits down next to her with a sigh and reaches for her Potions essay.
It takes Madam Pince two hours and 34 minutes to kick them out of the library, and when they collapse giggling against the wall in a third floor corridor, Brittany grins at her and says, “I think that’s a personal best.”
It takes Brittany two seconds to find her when they’re all forced out of bed and into the Great Hall, and they find two sleeping bags next to each other, and then shuffle closer when everyone else starts to fall asleep.
“Do you think Sirius Black really broke into the castle?” Santana asks, keeping her voice low so the teachers can’t hear them.
“If Professor Dumbledore says so,” Brittany nods and shuffles closer. “We’re safe now, San.”
“I know,” Santana says quickly, because she does, and she’s a Gryffindor so she’s not supposed to be scared of anything.
(She does get scared though, sometimes.)
“I think muggles have sleepovers like this,” Brittany whispers after a moment, tugging at her sleeping bag. “Do you think we’d still be best friends if we were muggles?”
“Of course, Britt,” Santana holds her pinky finger out, waiting for Brittany to take it. “Always and forever.”
She can never answer the riddles that let her into Ravenclaw tower, so she ends up telling Brittany the passwords to give the Fat Lady instead, and after the first couple of times, the Fat Lady doesn’t even blink when Brittany shows up by her portrait and asks to be let in.
The only days they don’t sit together at breakfast are Quidditch days, and Santana sits next to Ginny and picks at her toast listlessly, sneaking glances over at Brittany when she thinks no one is looking. Since the Cup was cancelled the year before, this is the first time Gryffindor and Ravenclaw have played against each other, and Santana tugs at her red and gold scarf like it’s choking her, wondering why it feels so weird all of a sudden and why she wants to take it off.
Brittany finishes her breakfast first and heads off to the Quidditch pitch with Luna, and Ginny has to ask her three times if she wants to go down to the pitch before she hears her. She lets herself be pulled along and ignores Ginny murmuring, “You two are so weird,” next to her.
Gryffindor win, and she doesn’t know what to say to Brittany when she runs in to her on the way back to the castle. She opens her mouth a couple of times but no words come out, and then Brittany tugs the red and gold scarf from her neck and wraps it around her own, before she grins and pulls her back to school.
Brittany’s sitting at the Gryffindor table when the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive, and she giggles with Ginny and points out Viktor Krum excitedly, in a way that makes Santana’s stomach twist.
She sees the way Ginny’s brother is staring at the pretty girl from Beauxbatons, and swallows quickly, picking up her fork and attacking her food in a way she hopes looks casual, before anyone can notice that she was staring at her too.
They don’t get invited to the Yule Ball, but Santana doesn’t care, because they sneak down and sit on the staircase, listening to the music and watching people come in and out. All the teachers are too busy keeping an eye on the couples who keep trying to creep away from the Ball to pay attention to them, and Brittany leans her head against Santana’s shoulder and sighs happily. “Do you think there’ll be a Ball next year?”
“Depends if there’s a Tournament,” Santana says softly, hardly daring move in case Brittany does too, savouring the warmth of her all down her side. “Why Britt Britt?”
“We should go together, if there is,” Brittany says. “We’d have more fun together.”
“Okay,” Santana says, trying not to sound as excited as she feels.
“Really?” Brittany turns her head to grin at her, and Santana blinks at how close the movement has brought her, so her lips are only inches away.
“Of course,” Santana says softly. After a moment she brings her arm up to wrap around her shoulders, slowly, as though Brittany might startle, and when Brittany sighs and snuggles closer, Santana hides her grin against blonde hair.
In Charms, they’re supposed to be making teddy bears stand up and dance, and Brittany’s the first one to get her bear to move in a sort of shuffling two step. Everyone else’s bears are lurching to life but Brittany is already way ahead of them, and when Santana makes hers start to move, Brittany’s bear takes it’s hands and starts to guide it through a jerky waltz.
Santana tries to make her bear dance while Brittany grins at her, well pleased, and she’s so flustered that she makes it fly across the room, so hard it nearly takes out Professor Flitwick before exploding against the wall in a flurry of stuffing, and he’s forced to take five points from Gryffindor.
The Third Task is almost impossible to watch, and kind of boring until Harry appears sobbing with Cedric and the Cup, and then Brittany buries her head in Santana’s shoulder as Santana gapes at Ginny and Hermione and feels dread settle in the pit of her stomach.
At the feast for Cedric, Santana sits with the Ravenclaws, and Brittany holds her hand under the table all through Professor Dumbledore’s speech about You Know Who coming back, until Santana’s hand is numb, and Brittany’s hand is shaking with the effort.
She gets the feeling that Professor Umbridge is following them around, and whenever they get too close to each other she does that stupid little cough until they turn to stare at her, confused.
It happens again when Santana’s walking Brittany to her Defense Against the Dark Arts Class when she has a free period, and Umbridge appears in the doorway just as Brittany’s fingers are brushing against hers and she’s about to say something.
“Hem hem. Hello girls!” She smiles weakly and then narrows her eyes, “I don’t think that’s appropriate school behaviour do you?”
“Um,” Brittany says, forehead scrunching up in confusion as she glances at Santana, ‘What isn’t?”
“Inside quickly, Miss Pierce,” Umbridge says instead, glancing down at their hands again. “I’m sure Miss Lopez has somewhere to be.”
“Yes, Professor,” Santana intones dully. “See you later, Britt.”
“Hmm,” Umbridge says, fighting hard to keep a smile on her face. “Goodbye Miss Lopez,” and then she shuts the door in her face.
At dinner, Umbridge appears behind them just as Santana is about to sit down at the Ravenclaw table and says, “Hem hem. Gryffindors at the Gryffindor table, Miss Lopez,” looking at her pointedly until Santana stands up and goes to sit next to Ginny.
Ginny tells them about the meeting in the Hogs Head, and they tag along to hear what Harry has to say. It takes them about two seconds to decide to sign up, and they sign their names on Hermione’s parchment right under Ginny’s.
When Harry teaches them the Patronus Charm, Santana has trouble thinking of a happy memory, until Brittany casts the spell for the first time and turns to grin at her as a lynx jumps about at her feet, and then Santana’s gripping her wand and staring at Brittany as she says the spell and a silver rabbit appears next to Brittany’s lynx.
“He’s cute!” Brittany giggles, beaming at her again, and Santana isn’t sure if she imagines it, but she swears her patronus gets brighter.
They both get a little carried away when they’re practicing disarming, and they dodge between the other DA members and throw the spell over their shoulders, laughing wildly as they try to hit each other.
“Hey, stop it!” Harry shouts, but Santana ignores him and casts the spell again, and this time it hits Brittany and catches her off balance, sending her wand spinning away and causing her to land in a heap on the floor.
Santana’s by her side in a second as Brittany groans and looks up at her, dazed. “I’m so sorry, Britt,” Santana says, reaching to touch her face and then stopping herself when she realises people are looking. “Are you okay?”
Brittany blinks again and stares up at her, and then she shakes her head to clear it and nods, breaking into a grin, “Nice disarming spell,” and then Santana’s grinning back and pulling her to her feet.
“You know how Umbridge is always following us around?” Brittany says, looking up from the book she’s reading and shading her eyes against the sun. Her eyes play over Santana’s face as she swallows. “I think I worked out why.”
“Why, Britt?” Santana says, dropping her book into the grass next to her, “What did we do?”
Brittany swallows again, and then she’s on her knees and leaning forward, coming closer until Santana’s blinking quickly and trying to make sense of the situation.
“This,” Brittany says, right before she closes the distance between them and kisses her, and Santana feels herself melt into the touch, and then try to follow when Brittany pulls back.
“Oh,” Santana says, as she reaches for Brittany’s hand to pull her back, “Was that all?”
“What the hell is a Slug Club?” Santana asks, flopping down in one of the armchairs by the fire, “And why wasn’t I invited?”
“It’s rubbish, I don’t know why you’d want to go.” Ginny rolls her eyes, “You’re worse than Ron.”
“Brittany got an invite,” Santana says sullenly, kicking out at one of the chairs by the fire.
“Brittany’s ridiculously good at Charms. And honestly, Santana,” Ginny says, rolling up her homework and shoving it in her bag, like she’s trying to get away from her craziness, “The invitation says plus one.”
They go to the party together, but it’s really not that much fun. Brittany tries to drag her onto the dance floor a couple of times but Santana shakes her head, suddenly aware of just how many people are around them.
“Santana,” Brittany says softly, when they’re standing by the wall watching other people dance. “Did you even want to come to this with me?”
Santana nods and grabs her hand quickly, half shielding their joined hands with her body, “I’m sorry, Britt. Do you want to go somewhere else?”
Brittany looks at her for a long moment before she says yes, and then they end up kissing in one of the secret passageways on the fourth floor, until Mrs Norris appears and stares at them, and then they run, laughing all the way up to Ravenclaw tower.
Every day at breakfast it feels like someone else’s parents go missing, and Brittany scans the Prophet every morning before she eats in case her mum and dad are included in the lists.
Santana presses her feet to Brittany’s under the table and waits until she’s finished, and treasures the relief she sees in Brittany’s eyes when their names aren’t there.
They have their O.W.L.s at the end of the year, and they spend more and more time in the library, pouring over old books and looking up jinxes they’ve long forgotten. They try to get into the Room of Requirement to practice them (they got thrown out of the library when Brittany’s whispered tickling spell had hit Santana and she hadn’t been able to stop laughing) but the Room won’t open, and they walk past a first year girl at the end of the corridor who stares at them the whole time they’re trying to get in.
She wakes up to Ginny leaning over her and telling her to wake up in this fierce voice she only usually uses when she’s playing Quidditch. “What’s wrong?” Santana asks groggily, running a hand over her face.
“Harry said we have to–” she shakes her head and trails off, holding out the galleon Santana recognises from the DA the year before instead. Santana throws the covers off her bed and climbs to her feet.
“What does he need us to do?”
She, Brittany and Luna stand guard at one end of the seventh floor corridor while Ron, Hermione and Ginny stay at the other, and Santana paces backwards and forwards quickly, wand grasped tightly in her hand. After a few seconds, Brittany shoots her hand out to grip her shoulder and stop her from moving, and she shrugs out from under the touch and twists her wand nervously in her fingers instead.
“Are you scared, Santana?” Luna asks, in the completely guileless way she has, and Santana shakes her head because Gryffindors aren’t scared of anything.
“I don’t like waiting,” she says instead, even though it’s only half true, and Brittany nods next to her side before reaching out for her shoulder instead.
“At least you’ve got us to wait with,” Luna says happily, peering back down the corridor towards the blank wall where they know the Room is.
Santana meets Brittany’s eyes as she smiles weakly, “At least we’re together.”
She’s never fought a Death Eater before, never fought someone who actually counts, and she reacts purely on instinct, throwing curses and jinxes at anyone she sees, dodging the spells tossed back at her. Brittany disarms one of them and manages to petrify them, and she’s so busy looking for Santana that she almost misses the killing curse one of the Death Eaters casts, and Santana throws herself at Brittany and knocks her out of the way without thinking.
They land in a heap, Brittany underneath her but still wonderfully alive, and it takes Santana a second to get her wand back up as she looks for where the next spell is coming from. She blocks another curse as she climbs to her feet and reaches blindly behind her to pull Brittany up too, and then Brittany is shouting spells next to her, and she dives back into the fight.
They end up fighting back to back in the middle of the corridor, spinning around and casting spells as quickly as they can, dodging Ginny and Luna and Neville and aiming for every Death Eater they can see. Santana can’t hear anything but shouted spells, can’t see anything except the bolts of light flying from the ends of wands, but she can feel Brittany behind her, alive and fighting and pressed into her back, and she concentrates on the feel of it as she casts spell after spell after spell.
She holds Brittany’s hand all through the funeral, and when she turns to bury her head in Santana’s shoulder to hide her sobs, Santana wraps both arms around her and presses kisses to her forehead, not caring who can see.
Three days after they get back to school, it’s in the Daily Prophet that Brittany’s parents are missing, presumed dead, and Santana sneaks into Ravenclaw tower and holds her while she cries, great noisy sobs that force their way out of her throat and wrack her whole body.
“I’m so sorry, Britty,” she whispers against her forehead, over and over again, wishing she knew how to make it better.
She sees Neville and Ginny hunched over in a corner whispering on their fifth night back, and she crosses the room to them quickly, glances round to make sure nobody is listening, then says, “Whatever you’re doing, count me in.”
The first time the Carrows use the Cruciatus curse on Brittany, something inside Santana snaps and she starts shouting every curse she can remember at them until Snape disarms her and tells a couple of Slytherins restrain her. She thinks she hit them, because he has a bloody nose and she’s doubled over clutching her stomach, and she feels a sense of satisfaction even as a Slytherin seventh year is twisting her arms behind her back until she’s seeing stars and her bones are creaking in her sockets.
She can see Brittany curled into a ball on the floor, sobbing noisily, and she forces herself to meet her eyes and mouth I’m okay, I’m okay over and over again until the Carrows round on her and she blacks out from the pain.
It’s not often they have the Room to themselves, but Santana comes in and finds it empty except for Brittany, sitting hunched up against a corner with her wand clutched loosely in her hand almost like she doesn’t want to let it go.
Santana drops to her knees next to her and pulls her into her arms without thinking, and Brittany’s eyes slide all over her face before she reaches up to wipe at the blood slowly oozing from the gash on her forehead. “The Carrows?”
Santana nods and pulls her closer, “It doesn’t hurt much now.” She winces when Brittany’s fingers find a bruise from days before on her shoulder, and then again when she brushes them against her ribs.
“You’re falling apart,” Brittany murmurs quietly, leaning in to press a kiss to her jaw, then her neck, softly so that Santana can hardly feel it.
“I’ve got you to put me back together,” Santana whispers hoarsely, fingers tangling into Brittany’s hair as she turns to find her mouth. “I’ve always got you.”
“Always,” Brittany echoes, as she presses desperate kisses to her lips, over and over again.
She loses track of her in the battle, and she knows it’s dangerous but she keeps looking around for signs of blonde hair, until a stray curse nearly catches her and she’s forced to pay more attention.
She battles Death Eaters and monsters desperately, firing curse after curse at them, twisting and dodging everything they throw at her, but it’s never enough and there are always more, and she tries to ignore the sounds of people dying all around her, hoping with everything she has that they aren’t Brittany.
She finds her in what used to be the Great Hall after, and her aching feet can’t carry her to her fast enough. She’s crouched down next to a second year, wrapping a bandage around her arm and ignoring her own wounds, which makes Santana’s chest ache in a way she can’t really explain.
Brittany sees her coming and straightens up, and they stare at each other for a long moment, hardly daring move. They both say, “Are you okay?” at the same time, and then they’re reaching for each other with shaking fingers, Brittany’s hands palming Santana’s face as her thumbs trace her cheekbones desperately, and Santana stands up on her tiptoes to press their lips together hard, over and over again, like she never wants to stop.
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