(AN: I've been wanting to write this for ages and I just…hadn't, so this potentially-legit spoiler re: Blaine's age forced me into it before it becomes even less canon than it already is! But since I've been plotting it for so long and yet still didn't write it until after the s3 premiere, it's got a weird little mishmash of my old head canon and the new actual canon, in terms of members and their ages, so forgive me for that. Not letting pesky details get in the way of the story I want to tell!)

Welcome to the First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Kurt takes a moment thinking about how the McKinley High alma mater is possibly the worst school song ever. He then thinks that maybe just about every student thinks his or her school song is the worst one ever, but honestly, there can't possibly be too many that are this absolutely musically miserable, and then he takes a moment thanking his lucky stars that Figgins had pawned this one off on the concert band instead of glee club so at least they were all spared the lyrics to the worst song ever, and oh, thank god, by the time that moment's over, the trumpets are petering off and the song is done. He sweeps his hands across the back of his hips to make sure his gown is laying straight and then sits down, crossing his legs with a pop and accidentally kicking the chair in front of him. The girl sitting in it shoots him a scathing look over her shoulder - it's some Cheerio or other, he vaguely remembers from his brief time on the squad. He frowns, politely as he can, right back.

This is his absolute last day at William McKinley High School, and Kurt Hummel is not apologizing to anyone.

Their principal sets in to a slow, uninteresting speech and even his accent can't hold Kurt's attention. He zones out, staring around at the April Rhodes Civic Pavilion with a wry smile, and is just about to maybe have a breakthrough on the second thoughts he'd been having regarding decorating schemes for his apartment with Rachel in New York (secret secret secret! a little voice in his head hisses, and he clamps it down with a not for long) when, from two seats to his right, a big clumsy hand claps him awkwardly on the shoulder, and his stepbrother whispers, "Dude, can you even believe we're here right now?"

Kurt turns to shoot Finn a look over the head of Jennifer Hughes, the one person who falls between them alphabetically - he's still amazed that literally the tallest and shortest people in the whole 2012 graduating class managed to be side-by-side, though he supposes it makes for a wonderful indicator for her family when they're trying to find her in the sea of shiny and painfully cheap red and white polyester. He thought he'd cautioned Finn against this kind of maudlin reminiscing and warned him to leave Kurt out of it. Apparently he was wrong.

Oh, and damnit, now Kurt is just screwed.

Because if he really thinks about it, no, he can't believe it. Kurt cannot believe he spent four whole years (well, like three-point-seven but who's counting really) trapped in this hellhole of an excuse for an academic institution and that he's made it out alive. He lived through freshman year, eating lunch in the library as he pored through their back-issues of the greatest fashion magazines and trying not to get too many detentions for skipping gym class. He made it to sophomore year and Will Schuester's New Directions, barfing on Mrs. Pillsbury-Schuester's nice shoes, falling in love for the first time, joining the football team, the cheerleading squad, and the world outside the closet. His whole horrendous tumultuous junior year with the scare of losing family and the weird, amazing joy of gaining it, the horrible boy that pushed him to leave (two rows behind him and far off to the right) and the beautiful boy that helped him come back (five rows ahead of him in a seat nearly in line with his own). Falling in love for the second time, junior year, and winning prom queen of all things but losing nationals and never getting a solo but my god, not needing to. And the weirdness of senior year, with the new people in their little New Directions family (hovering in the audience with a glitter-encrusted congratulatory sign), and losing the run for senior class president to the girl with literally the worst voice he's ever heard (three rows behind him and to the right) but winningnationals, finally - even if Jack did fall off the stage and break his arm - this stupid perfect capstone to this stupid...perfect?...high school career.

And wow, he really can feel where every single one of them is, buried in the jam-packed auditorium. Two in the front row. One in the second with the lights glinting off her bedazzled mortarboard. Two in the third row, shooting each other pained looks across a chunk of the Cs, his foot kicking at something under his chair and her lip caught between her teeth to stave off the tears. One in the row in front of him, situated out of alphabetical order so that she can be on the end to get up and give her valedictorian speech. His row. The row behind him way off to the right. The row behind that less far to the right. The row of Ps, smiling and frowning. The very, very back of the whole alphabet.

Oh. That's. Wow. From Abrams to Zizes, they've literally got the first and last seats in the house.

"Finn, I hate you," Kurt whispers under Figgins's never-ending commencement address, and Finn just grins at him.

"No you don't, man," he says. "You say that so much that it just doesn't even mean anything any more. I can't remember the last time you hated any of us."

Kurt does hate him, for always being right.

He really does have to start tuning out after that. Because, see, Kurt has promised himself that he wouldn't cry at this thing. He wants to graduate so badly he can feel it in his skins cells, vibrating and itching (though that may be the stupid polyester) and straining to burst free, out into New York (secret secret secret!) and the real world where, at least if he has to fight for his life and livelihood, the fight may actually feel worthwhile. The fact of the matter is that no matter how much he's loved individual bright and shining slivers of the experience, Kurt Hummel has hated high school. He's pretty sure if you make it through high school without hating it, you're doing something wrong. But Lucy Quinn Fabray is addressing the senior class and their families and friends and faculty, and will every once in a while use a phrase like embracing the unexpected or finding things exactly where you're not looking or Beth, and when she closes the speech with a line about moving in a new direction and he can even hear Puckerman sniffling a little, Kurt just loses it.

"Oh god damnit," he whimpers, burying his nose in his shiny red sleeve, and Finn's hand finds his shoulder again while the ocean of people around them claps for Quinn.

"Yeah, me too, dude," he says. "Shhh, just take it easy. Don't wanna look all blotchy for the pictures, right?"

"Right, right," says Kurt, laughing a little that Finn would even think to mention that - they really do know each other so well now, so far from a sixteen-year-old's shouting match.

"Besides," says Finn, letting it hang, and that snaps Kurt out of it even further. Oh, yes.

"When I call your name," says Figgins, "please approach the podium to accept your diploma. Parents and guests, we ask that you please refrain from applause until the last name has been called so that we can move as quickly as possible. This is our largest senior class in years!"

"Lucky us," says Kurt, and he's back to groaning and sagging in his seat, as the whole first row stands and prepares to move save one.

"Arthur Isaiah Abrams!" Figgins announces, and Artie rolls as best he can down the narrow lane of stage still afforded in the front what with all the chairs. Kurt can't really see him very well what with all the people between them, but with the way the audience laughs and the noise he hears Sue make as she passes his diploma over, he figures Artie probably flashed some kind of gang sign into the camera. Kurt actually kind of admires the way that Artie, at least, doesn't seem to have changed a bit.

"Camille Rashida Ackerman!" comes next and then, oh joy, "Azimio Ambrose Adams!" Kurt turns to Finn and mouths "Ambrose?" and Finn responds with "I know, right?" They wince and stifle their giggles through the next couple of students, trying to crane their necks to see people pass, girls Kurt doesn't even recognize. How are there still people he went to school with for three-point-seven years that he completely doesn't recognize?

And then -

"Blaine Benjamin Anderson!"

The audience began disregarding Figgins's instructions not to clap starting pretty much at Artie (Kurt definitely heard Bonnie and Angelee whooping for him in the front row with their glitter sign) and if the audience gets to clap for his boyfriend, then in the name of Anna Wintour so does he. It's all he can do to keep from shooting to his feet as he cheers out way in the upper chunk of his register, and Bonnie and Angelee and even Jack join in again, and as Blaine shuffles across the stage in his red robe and stupid hat that somehow manage to look good on him, the bastard, he dares to shoot a backward glance toward the rest of the chairs behind him and he catches Kurt's eye. And Kurt melts into his hazel-brown all over again, like he's wearing a poorly-fitted blazer and singing Teenage Dream. And Kurt can't even feel the lump of dread from the secret secret secret well up like it usually does - not in this moment. They've made it, and they've made it together.

There's a few more Andersons, the rest of the As down through the Ayres twins and then the B section and Rachel Maria Ruth Berry and the two of them back in the H row clapping and shouting so hard their hands hurt and Kurt swears Jennifer Hughes rolls her eyes under the low-hanging set of her mortarboard. There's Chang, and Cohen-Chang, and Lucy Quinn Fabray, and then their row has been given the signal to stand and there they are. Kurt finds that he and Finn can't stop looking at each other, and his brain has already rolled full circle back to how is this even possible. How did he hate this guy/love this guy/care for this guy like a brother, all through the past four years? How are the past four years really, seriously over?

Kathy Hoya, Kathryn Alexandria Hoya is moving and that is Finn's cue to head out and Kurt sees it in his eyes the instant he realizes he's not ready. He shoots his hand out and gives Finn's a quick squeeze, and lifts the other to smooth his tassel back so it's not dangling straight into his eye.

"Take it easy," he echoes, and Finn swallows and nods, and stumbles to the front of the stage.

"Finn Christopher Hudson!" says Figgins, and Kurt screams, and so do Rachel and Puck and Blaine and Carole and Burt and Will Schuester from the faculty section and Angelee in the front row with her hand over her heart like she's at a Beatles concert and she's about to faint. And that great smile, the one that Kurt maybe kind of fell in love with once, flickers back onto Finn's face, and he takes his diploma from Sue, and waves a little to their parents before looping back around to shuffle to his seat again as Jennifer starts to walk and ohh, wow, then it's Kurt's turn. And Finn's not there to calm him down.

Well. Kurt Hummel certainly does not need calming down when the only thing he has to do on a stage is walk across it.

"Kurt Eli Hummel!" says Figgins, and he smooths his hands down the front of this godawful red shiny crap, gives a close-mouthed smile and a little pageant wave out to the (screaming, wow, screaming, even louder than they had for his star-quarterback stepbrother and oh my god please do not cry) audience, and walks into the rest of his life.

"Love you," whispers Blaine as he walks past him.

"Don't trip," says Artie.

"Congratulations, Porcelain," says Sue Sylvester, elbowing Figgins out of the way to shake his hand herself. "You're not a fuckup, and now the world knows it."

Kurt doesn't think he could have said it better himself.

There are about fifteen thousand Joneses and Kurt almost misses Mercedes Renee. There is definitely only one Karofsky. David William walks across the stage just like everyone else. He does not look at Kurt. Kurt is okay with it. There is Santana Esperanza Lopez, somehow managing to make even a white shapeless robe look sinful, and Sugar Grace Motta, still feigning Asperger's as a way to get out of having to give a speech as senior class president (seriously, she can have it, Kurt barely even wants it any more). Brittany Susan Pierce can't help but skip a little with excitement at actually getting a diploma. Noah MarionPuckerman has Finn and Kurt laughing so hard they struggle to breathe. ("All this time you've been friends with him and you never knew?" "No way! We've always just called him Puck!")

Lauren Elizabeth Zizes, possessor of some of the world's most unfortunate initials, swaggers across the stage like she owns the place, and takes her diploma before blowing a kiss to the audience. Kurt stiffens a little in his seat, shoots a glance to Finn, leans back and catches Mercedes's eye as well. Lauren's paused, and Figgins makes a perplexed face at her, and then she kind of cocks her head and gestures at him and the podium until she gives him the microphone, the greenish look of glee-club dread already beginning to wash over his face.

"As the caboose-end of the McKinley High class of 2012," says Lauren, "I just wanted to make a small announcement. I know, I know, we're going off script a little here, just bear with me."

The audience, it seems, bears with her. Lauren takes a deep breath.

"Okay, so, believe me when I say I mean this in the nicest way possible, but..."

Kurt scratches at his arm. Mike fidgets in his seat, kicking at the floor. Rachel's glinting mortarboard is going crazy.

"You all suck."

The entire New Directions glee club, save one like always, launches to their feet as one and squirms out of their assigned rows for the commencement. Mike Chang hefts the ghettoblaster out from under his chair and flicks the button on the top of it, and their music blares out as loud as it can on its own until he makes it to the front and Artie and Lauren plug it into the hijacked speakers, flashing each other a secret A/V club handshake. As soon as Kurt makes it to the front, he gets one hand in Rachel's and another in Blaine's. Finn elbows past Figgins with a soft sorry!, snatches the mic, and begins to sing.

"Welcome to the real world she said to me,
Condescendingly,
Take a seat,
Take your life - "

Artie and Santana join him with some harmony - "Plot it out in black and white."

Tina sings, "Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings,"
takes Mike's hand, "and the drama queens."

"I'd like to think the best of me," sings Quinn,
"Is still hiding up my sleeve..."

(It's their cue to shuck their hideous robes in unison, under which they're all wearing - wildly inappropriately - nothing but black and green underwear, in the exact counterpoint to their red and white oppression. That had been Brittany's idea. Kurt, somehow, didn't even think to fight it.)

"Love to tell you stay in side the lines," he sings through the screaming, scandalized audience. His eyes flick to Blaine's and find them staring right back for their line of duet.

"But something's better on the other side."

Finn takes the solo again on the chorus, and they all fall in place behind him and Rachel, fronting everything in their matching boxers and teddy. It's absurd, and probably the most blatant rule-breaking Kurt's ever undergone, even with all the curfew-missing he's done to spend time in the back of Blaine's car this semester, even with that miserable stint involving the "Glist." He wonders, in the back of his head as he fills his voice in where it's needed, if anyone's ever flashmobbed their own graduation before. He tells himself to look that up on YouTube later, and wonders why he didn't think to beforehand. He watches Finn and Rachel do that downstage-cross-spin-googoo-eyes maneuver he's watched seven or eight hundred times before, and he realizes Finn's pretty much right. As awful as they all are, Kurt realizes it's been a long, long time since he really hated any of them.

He reaches down to help Blaine tug Bonnie onstage to join them, and sings I am invincible, as long as I'm alive.

-xxx-

They all, miraculously, are still given their diplomas and allowed to graduate unhindered. Kurt suspects this has a lot to do with Sue Sylvester, who really has become totally incapable of pretending that she doesn't like the glee club at least a little bit. He, Lauren, and Santana vow to figure out which kind of flowers she is least allergic to or revulsed by and send some to her, along with the signed track jacket they're giving her as a group. It's the least they can do.

Carole can't stop shouting at them about how appalled she is that they would pull some crazy stunt like this when really, this is their last day and they're meant to be adults now, going out into the real world, but she can't hide the impressed laughter in her voice and Burt is suspiciously silent with a likewise unmistakable smirk. He does make sure that Kurt and Rachel are the very first two people whose robes get forced back on, though. Eventually he manages to leave Angelee with them - that girl could talk the pants right off a member of the Queen's Guard and make him think it was his idea - so they can get away and put some real clothes on. Kurt rolls his sleeves primly up to his elbows and straightens out the fine chain looping down from the side of his vest - much better. Good lord, couldn't someone have invented nicer-looking graduation regalia by now?

His car quickly fills with Mercedes, Lauren, Rachel and Bonnie for the drive to Jack's insanely huge house where his parents, saints that they must be, are allowing him to host the New Directions graduation party.

"Oh my god," pipes Bonnie from the back seat. "That was - amazing! I think that's the craziest thing I've ever done in my life."

"Not at all shocking coming from you," says Rachel, and Kurt agrees - a few months ago, wearing a performance dress with sequins on it was the craziest thing Bonnie had ever done. "But in this instance, I'm actually tempted to agree. I just sang in front of Principal Figgins in my underwear!"

"Does it beat that grody lip-lock at nationals last year?" asks Lauren, poking her in the side.

"Does it beat 'Push It'?" counters Mercedes, flashing Kurt back to the twilight zone of sophomore year.

"Oh god, that was our first performance as the New Directions!" Rachel wails, and she's tearing up again.

"You slapped my ass during that!" Kurt cries, and Mercedes howls with laughter.

"Someone's got to have that on video," she says.

"If Rachel Berry was in it in a sexual capacity, Jacob Ben Creepster has got it on file at A/V club." Lauren hooks an arm around Rachel and noogies her thoroughly. "See! You really are leaving McKinley a legacy!"

"Oh my god," says Bonnie again.

They pull in to the Horowitzes' drive just behind Jack's own car, which is spilling out Angelee, Tina, and Mike. Quinn's car, as well as Puck's monstrosity of a station wagon which Kurt and Mercedes have taken to not-so-affectionately calling "the boy car," isn't there yet.

"They probably had to pry Shane away from the claws of Mrs. D," she says. "I swear to you I have never met a bigger momma's boy in my life."

"And that's the man you say you're going to marry?" says Kurt, raising an eyebrow at her as he checks his phone (no word from their boyfriends) and clicks his car locked with the remote.

"Honey, believe me, if I could help it, I would."

"I know your pain," says Rachel, laying a hand over her heart and closing her eyes very seriously. "My love for Finn is a strange and complicated animal, and while I'm glad it's giving me plenty of inner romantic turmoil to use as fuel for my craft, I can't help but wonder - "

"Crank dat shit, Mr. DJ!" yells Santana, the upper half of her sticking all the way out of Quinn's sunroof as the car rolls up behind them. "Auntie Tana's here and now the party can officially start!"

"Oh whatever, Ke$ha!" shouts Angelee back at her from where they're loitering around Jack as he unlocks the front door. "Bring it!"

"Oh, youz best believe it has been brung," Santana retorts as she Cheerio-hoists herself straight onto the roof, a suspicious two-handled brown paper shopping bag following after her with a distinct clink.

"Wait," says Brittany as she folds leggily out of the passenger side, "I thought I was Ke$ha."

"You are, B," says Santana, kissing her incongruously sweetly on the forehead. "You totally are."

She takes Santana's hand and helps her down, and Kurt's about to glance over and share a skull-rattling eyeroll with Quinn as the Santangelee bickering starts back up again when the boy car is suddenly rounding the corner. Kurt stares at it, stupidly transfixed, and his body thrums with the secret secret secret. For pete's sakes, he just saw Blaine fifteen minutes ago.

"Should we leave you two alone?" says Lauren with a smirk.

Blaine emerges from the car almost before it's parked, and he looks absolutely flawless, a crisp indigo-purple shirt with the buttons undone around the tanned skin of his throat and some of the tightest designer jeans Kurt has ever seen him wear, his hair shaggy and loose (he'd mentioned being afraid to wear it with the gel under the mortarboard in case it left more of a lasting impression than he'd have liked) and every part of him looking phenomenally kissable. He's staring at Kurt with what Kurt recognizes as a similar kind of admiration, and while Puck and Finn and Shane are bustling past like normal people and heading toward the door to Jack's house, he falls straight into Blaine's arms there on the sidewalk, burying his face in the delicious-smelling curve of his neck into his shoulder and letting his hands fan out across the smooth solid plane of Blaine's back. Blaine laughs into his hair and clutches him back just as tightly.

"We made it," Kurt breathes.

"We made it," echoes Blaine, before kissing him, deep and slick, their hearts beating at one another where their chests are pressed together and his tongue snaking past Kurt's lips in a way that absolutely undoes him, even as it carries on it the desperate little pulse of the secret secret secret in their blood.

"Come on," he says, "let's go inside. I'm terrified to leave Santana unsupervised with Bonnie when there's alcohol involved."

"Oh god," says Kurt, "you're right."

This is still a New Directions party, after all.

-xxx-

Artie shows up late, struggling with the logistics of putting clothes back on and driving out to the suburbs in his usual Artie equipment. It's probably for the best because Kurt's pretty sure he and Shane still aren't speaking to each other after that argument about hip-hop artists had disintegrated into something way more personal and politically incorrect a couple weeks ago, and at least this way Shane's got a drink in him first to calm him down. Kurt really hopes they'll apologize sooner or later because it's freaking annoying. Sugar Motta shows up even later, and ends up, very unsurprisingly, attached to Puckerman at the mouth after less than an hour in. Bonnie does her first ever shot off Jack's cast. Kurt finds himself wondering vaguely, yet again, where on Earth it is that Jack's parents always seem to be that isn't in their freakishly enormous suburban house.

"Never have I ever dyed my hair," says Blaine smoothly, his hand stroking warm at the inside of Kurt's knee, and Tina, Quinn, Lauren, Mercedes, Brittany, Angelee and Mike groan and knock it back.

"For real?" Shane says, and Mike just kind of shrugs.

"It was so hot," says Tina.

"Pour me another, please," says Brittany, who can't reach because Santana is sitting squarely in her lap. Mercedes leans over and obliges.

"Never have I ever dated someone whose name rhymes with the name of the person my best friend is dating," says Angelee very pointedly.

"Oh my god, seriously?" says Kurt, turning on her with a full on bitchface in place. "That joke hasn't stopped being funny to you yet?"

"Blaine and Shane," she cackles. "It will never stop being funny. Besides, you haven't had to do one yet." Kurt and Mercedes drink up and Shane leans over and gives his girlfriend a long, somewhat inappropriate kiss in apology.

"Don't expect me to follow suit," Blaine whispers low against him. "That's for later."

"Oooh," says Kurt. "See me shiver with antici..." He pauses, like you're supposed to, but he never ends up getting the last two syllables out.

"STOP!" shouts Bonnie suddenly, and the volume and force of her exclamation alone is so strange and startling that they all freeze and turn to look. "Before everyone gets too drunk! Which ummm, I might be already! Okay! We have something that we are doing."

Angelee's face breaks into a broad, strangely genuine smile, and Jack re-emerges from the kitchen where he's been trying to find the best snacks in their massive pantry. "Ohh, are we doing this now?"

"Yes, come on!" says Bonnie excitedly in a stage-whisper. "I don't know how to work your thing, you do it."

Jack comes over to awkwardly "work the thing," which turns out to be the complicated stereo chunk of their entertainment system. As he stops the music that was already playing, Angelee is pulling a CD-R in a paper sleeve out of her enormous tacky handbag, and she passes it to Bonnie, who passes it to Jack, and then there's a microphone that looks like it goes with a karaoke machine and Bonnie holds it a little too close to her mouth and oh. They're going to sing.

"This is the way you left me,
I'm not pretending,
No hope, no love, no glory,
No happy ending."

Angelee joins in with a flawless harmony, of course. "This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever,
Then live the rest of our lives,
But not together."

And then it's just Angelee, doing the first verse on her own, sharp and clear as honey even though she's taken six or seven shots at least already. Jack adds in around this is the hardest story that I have ever told. Rachel has already burst into tears again, and Bonnie is not far behind her. Eventually, it gets them all.

"I love you so much, bro," says Jack, clapping Finn fiercely on the back with his one good arm. Artie wheels over to them next and soon they're a big dogpile of guys, hugging and manly-crying and making Jack swear to them that he'll get Rory to stick around for good next year and even Lucas, he's got to join, they need dudes, dude. Meanwhile, Santana and Brittany and Angelee and Sugar are a sloppy sobbing mess in the middle of the floor. Santana keeps blurting out "A lotta bit of love, a lotta bit," and clutching Angelee's face into her boobs.

Bonnie comes forward and stands right in front of Blaine, Rachel and Kurt. "I'm g-going to miss the three of you the most of all," she says, and it's so sincere that Kurt actually feels his heart breaking a little, and holds her tight, even as she nearly towers over him with her skinny insect legs. He remembers the day that Bonnie worked up the courage to audition, remembers her sweet little voice mousing out 'Save the People' from Godspell and how hard it was to bring her to a place where her voice had power but how great it was when they did, all the Broadway Across America shows they talked her mom into letting her come see with them, how great she's been for Rachel when Blaine and Kurt have needed to be doing their own thing. They all fall apart to hugging and crying, and Kurt wonders a little if this is what you have to do to be an adult, is to hurt like this sometimes, hurt even when good things are happening. He's so, so used to hurting when it's bad, and he was never expecting for this to be so different.

"Enough of this, it's disgusting!" says Lauren, and they all agree as emphatically as they can, and Jack skips the CD ahead to a loud, loud a cappella cover of Katy Perry's 'E.T.' and Blaine's mouths no way, craning his neck toward the speakers, listening out for specific voices.

"You know, I don't think they ever recovered from losing the two of us," he says, smiling fondly even as he wipes the leftover tears from his cheeks.

"And who would?" says Kurt, straining for haughty and almost getting there. "They're really not bad, though. I never knew Nick could rap."

"It's not something he shares with many," says Blaine with a stupid giggle.

His eyes catch on Kurt's and they stop, their hands hooked together in the small space between them. The game of Never Have I Ever is reforming on the floor, with Bonnie and Sugar in the fray this time, but something thrums inside of Kurt as he stares into his boyfriend's beautiful eyes, thinks the words never recovered from losing us, thinks the terrifying lyrics no happy ending. They're turning the page now, that takes them to the next enormous chapter of their lives. The time for secrets, secret secret secrets is up. He has to know.

"I have to know," he whispers, and Blaine, to his credit, totally understands. They skirt the ring of people on the floor and make their way into the empty kitchen, and Jeff Galvin sings kuh-kuh-kiss me on the sound system and Kurt really, really wants to kiss Blaine here in Jack Horowitz's gaudy house but now is not the time.

"On three," he says, choking up again.

Blaine nods. "One, two, three - "

"Tisch - "

"NYU - "

"Oh my god!" Kurt clutches to Blaine so hard he's pretty sure both of them are bruising their ribs and he's doing some kind of embarrassing disgusting hybrid of laughing and sobbing and trying to kiss every inch of Blaine's skin he can reach. Their terrified promise, to pick schools because they really wanted those schools and not base it on where the other was going, be that New York or California or here in miserable Ohio, had always been in place in case the opposite of this happened, in case Blaine decided he had to go and do what Jesse St. James couldn't at UCLA and Kurt decided that the Big Apple really was the one true love of his life. Even in uncertainty and secrecy, Kurt had already set himself up for disappointment and the strained ache of long-distance or even the sharp stab of an unavoidable split. This, four more years of having each other at every possible moment, is more than he has ever allowed himself to dream of.

"Blaine," he hears his voice blurt out pitifully, and it's all he is apparently capable of saying, his mouth making just one word while his brain whirls with only two. New York. Chosen independently, fates laid in all on their own, and yet they're together in New York. "Blaine. Blaine."

"I love you so much." Blaine's eyes are wide and shimmering, and he speaks so slowly and deliberately that Kurt aches. He takes the two sides of Kurt's face in his hands and seals their lips tight and strong together, kissing into him like he's pouring every drop of his emotion down Kurt's throat. Kurt's hands grasp at his sides and his hair and everywhere, restless and desperate to have all of him, tasting New York on his lips. His tongue is sure and solid even against Kurt's mess of a face and they kiss and kiss and kiss, like a promise, a guarantee of what they'll do when they have all the time in the world together.

"If you two are getting freaky in the kitchen at the Hor-house I'm gonna be so proud," says Santana pointedly from the next room, and Kurt laughs against Blaine's mouth, resting their foreheads together and clutching close. When they go to finally give each other a little space, the chain of his vest is caught on one of Blaine's shirt buttons and they laugh even more. They make it back into the living room with only the barest attempt at decorum about them.

"Damn, I was kidding." Santana whistles and Angelee cackles and Bonnie blushes an almost frightening scarlet, and everything, for this one little moment, is back to normal.

Kurt buries himself in the mass of people playing their drinking games and insists on going ahead with only Diet Coke in his shotglass because he's DDing for the night. He admits to all of them that he does know how to ride a bicycle (unlike Brittany, Lauren and Bonnie), and that he has engaged in sex and/or masturbation with a Lady Gaga song playing (and so have Santana, Angelee, Sugar, Mike, Tina, Puck, and - obviously - Blaine). He tells these people things he'd probably never tell anyone else, because for the past four sickening years, they've been some kind of weird, hateful, incestuous family to one another, and they're all about to get an order of empty nest syndrome for twelve. They are cheerleaders and football players and wrestlers, prom queens and senior class presidents and valedictorians, lead vocalists and lead guitarists, A/V club geeks and academic decathlon nerds. National Show Choir championship winners, and losers. Gay and straight and black and white and lots of shades in between. As Finn Hudson, star quarterback and first-ever love of his life (snort) and his stepbrother, for crying out loud, pours him another shot of soda with a wide unsteady hand, Kurt totally lets himself give in to maudlin reminiscing. Just a little. After all the emotional ups and downs of the past five hours, he seriously deserves it.

"True fact," says Santana: "I am still wearing my green graduation panties." When she's met with a couple of puzzled faces, she kind of gestures her glass at them. "Go on, go on! If you're not doing it you have to take a shot!"

Bonnie, Sugar, Shane, Angelee and Jack have to go for it because they never had any to begin with. Lauren and Rachel Kurt knows for a fact changed their underwear back to regular, and they chug, too. Puck and Mike go for it as well. After a moment, Kurt relents, and downs his Diet Coke.

"They were chafing a little," he says, and shrugs.

"Aww, you changed?" says Blaine, soft so the others don't hear. "I liked yours a lot."

Kurt smiles at him, but also mostly to himself. "I said I took the green and black ones off," he points out. "I never said I changed into new ones."

He can feel the weight of Blaine's stare as it drops to his ass, and then he groans out a sad little noise and buries his face into Kurt's shoulder. Kurt just clinks their glasses together, lets himself feel the heat of a slightly-tipsy Blaine seeping into him, and files it all away for later.

First he's looking up if anyone else has ever flashmobbed their graduation.

Then he's starting the rest of his life.