Exclusively - and lovingly - for JJ.
When they were thirteen, Brittany wanted to see Santana the way blind people see.
Close your eyes, she said, and they did, in unison.
Brittany’s fingertips began at the axes of Santana’s temples. She mapped the surface: the hollows and planes and crests. Santana trembled with inchoate fear and longing.
You’re beautiful, she said. Santana’s face flushed with bashful pleasure. Brittany had told her she was pretty - in a new dress, or when she painted Santana’s lips scarlet. But never like this: in a hushed, worshipful way. As though - eyes shut - she was seeing Santana for the very first time.
Now, years later, Brittany maps her face again: this time, with her lips. Again, they close their eyes. Her mouth brushes Santana’s skin like a careful butterfly. Over her cheekbones, the bridge of her nose, her chin, her temples, her brow, and - most delicately of all - her eyelids, where she lingers as though drawing nectar.
You’re beautiful, she whispers, over and over. You are so, so beautiful.
Brittany’s freckles fade in the winter, disappearing into her blue pallor just as stars are swallowed in the haze of city light.
Santana traces the few that remain, precious and sparse, drawing invisible links between them the way Brittany outlines the summer constellations.
She names the shapes her fingers follow in the firmament of Brittany’s face. A diamond. An arrow. A crescent moon.
And then she finds her north star, her constant: the one that never fades, ever, since Santana saw her for the first time when they were ten years old. Just below the inner corner of her right eye, so that to kiss it Santana must lean just-so, and soften her lips so she can’t possibly bruise the impossibly translucent skin where it nests.
The sky sets and fades and changes like a stage set. Like the snow that melts to grass that dies beneath the snow. And still Brittany is there beside her: perfect, immutable.