Disclaimer: Anything you recognize is not mine.

Note: Five times Blaine sent Kurt a "courage" text and one time he received one.


1. Right before 'Born This Way'

Coming back to McKinley had been the right choice and nothing, not even how fiercely he misses Blaine, will change Kurt Hummel's mind about that.

But as he stands alone in the boy's dressing room, just staring at his reflection in the mirror, he's worried. His performance outfit is simple: jeans, a cardigan he's had forever, and the shirts that Ms. Pillsbury made them all. The shirt is what bugs him and not just because it's a polyblend.

"Likes boys," Kurt says dazedly, like he hadn't picked out the slogan himself.

He does like boys. Hell, Kurt's pretty sure he's falling in love with a boy. And while the shirt in combination with the song choice exhilarates Kurt and feels like he's telling off anyone who ever tossed him in the dumpsters or hissed fag at him in the halls, he's still terrified.

Because this isn't Dalton, where there's a zero-tolerance policy to keep him safe, even if Karofsky swears that he's changed. This is McKinley; where, after Blaine and the Warblers had left, he'd found 'get out, homo' scrawled on his locker in big black letters.

And Kurt is about to tear off the shirt or tell Mr. Shue he's come down with sudden laryngitis or something when his phone buzzes twice in rapid succession. Both texts are from Blaine, who should be heading to his World Civ class right now.

If the picture Blaine sent is anything to go by, Kurt's boyfriend skipped class in favor of posing in the bathroom, blazer and button-up pulled back to reveal a shirt that says (in Blaine's handwriting) 'likes boys'. It makes Kurt smile even as his eyes water, but the second text convinces him to head out on stage.

From: Blaine Warbler:)
thought you might need a little courage for your first performance, wish i could see it. xoxo


2. Morning of Nationals

Kurt's done the breakfast at Tiffany's and the big talk with Rachel about future plans. New Directions has finally figured out what their set list will be and, for the first hour at the Sectionals venue, Kurt had panicked and convinced Rachel to do vocal warm ups with him. (Which says something, because as much as he loves the girl, Rachel tries to out diva everyone. Even if all the singing involved is running through the scales.)

So, after being kicked out of the dressing rooms for fussing with everyone's costumes, Kurt is left to wander around the venue space. He's trying to find some wifi, because he's got two eBay bids to worry about in addition to Nationals in less than an hour. It doesn't help that whenever he settles in somewhere, some group of kids swoop in and invade his territory. (Why, Kurt thinks as a group in shirts that say 'Teenage Scream' invade his staircase, do choir kids have to travel in perfectly harmonized packs?)

When he finally thinks of sneaking up into the catwalks, Kurt can't help but congratulate himself on his own brilliance. It may be a little hot with the techies running through the different light cues, but at least it's quiet and his iPhone is cooperating. Checking on his bids, Kurt's glad to see that he's won the first over gently used Burberry coat.

The second one, over a necklace he's been eying for Carole's birthday, isn't going as well. He's been in a bidding war with the same person for a week and they've just upped the ante by five bucks.

"Amateur," Kurt scoffs, matching the bid and then raising it by ten.

Once he's sure that the other person isn't going to bid again anytime soon, Kurt checks the time and decides that it wouldn't be completely inappropriate to text Blaine in order to calm his nerves.

To: Blaine:)
You haven't secretly come to New York for Nationals have you?

From: Blaine:)
i wish. stuck in study hall, missing you ): why?

To: Blaine:)
Because my stomach is full of butterflies. That usually means you're around.

From: Blaine:)
pfff. you're cheesy as cheddar, kurt hummel.

To: Blaine:)
If by "cheesy" you mean "terrified", then yes.

From: Blaine:)
please, we all know you'll find your courage at the last minute, completely wow the judges, and then i can brag to everyone that i get to make out with a national champion.

Even though he's alone in the catwalks, Kurt can't help but blush. He's not ashamed by what he and Blaine do, but it's still a bit scandalous to see it there in little black letters. A slow burn spreads throughout his whole being and, silly as it seems, the butterflies seem to calm down.

From: Blaine:)
still there?

And with a grin still on his face, Kurt proceeds to text his boyfriend until the butterflies are gone and the competition is ready to start.


3. After the final dress rehearsal

Ever since all the drama at Scandals, Blaine has been avoided Kurt like the plague. He skipped glee today and, if he wasn't Tony, Kurt is sure he would have ditched the final dress rehearsal too. Feeling worse than he was even at the lowest parts of junior year, Kurt locks himself in his bedroom once he gets home and plugs into his iPod.

He doesn't regret telling Blaine 'no' in the parking lot and Kurt definitely doesn't regret how picked Blaine up from a random bus station that night, forcing him to sleep on the couch in the Hudson-Hummel living room. Instead, he wishes that Blaine hadn't left early the next morning or how other than a tense talk at Kurt's locker, they haven't discussed what happened.

He loves Blaine more than anything in the world. (Even his dad, though this is a secret that scares Kurt so much, he would never dare to admit it). Losing him would just add to the train wreck that his senior year is shaping up to be and, as much as it would suck to get dumped, Kurt the idea of not having his best friend is even worse.

Because if they break up, Kurt can't see any way that Blaine would want to stay friends. They live an hour apart. It would be a reason to go back to Dalton. And, of course, Sebastian would be waiting with open arms. (And other parts of his slimy little self, Kurt's sure.)

The downward spiral of his thoughts combined with the fact 'Without Love' has just appeared on his shuffle means that Kurt, cliché of all clichés, crying when his phone goes off on the table. The caller ID just reads 'Blaine', because in his original fit of rage and despair after Scandals, Kurt had taken away the smiley face to prepare for the worst.

From: Blaine
hey. no matter what happens between us, i want you to know that you're gonna be absolutely amazing tomorrow night and steal the show. because you are fantastic and talented and really deserve a part much better than you got. and i know you sometimes you get nervous before performances, so i wanted to remind you that you'll always find your courage at the last minute and be the best officer krupke there's ever been. and i love you even though i don't deserve to.

Kurt's chest twists sharply and his crying only gets worse. This is so much worse than the silence, because he can just picture Blaine (who has always been so lonely and has sacrificed so much) in the same miserable state, all the way in Westerville with his parents gone on some family emergency until next week.

What he did will never be okay, but Kurt isn't ready to lose this yet. His hands shake so badly that it takes three attempts for him to send Blaine a legible response.

To: Blaine
I love you too. But we need to talk.


4. As Kurt stares down an unopened letter from NYADA

To: Blaine;)
It's here.

It being the single most important letter Kurt will ever receive in his life. He'd sent out his early application forms to NYADA weeks ago and, ever since, he's been dying to get any kind of response. Now that the cream colored envelope sits on his kitchen table, with the school's address in the right-hand corner and a wax seal closing it, Kurt wishes he had more time.

From: Blaine;)
have you opened it yet?

To: Blaine;)
I can't. Not yet.

Because even though he's applied to two more schools in New York and one in Ohio as a last minute back up, NYADA is almost perfect. There's the good things: being in the city, a future in Broadway, and getting the hell out of Lima. But leaving Lima means leaving his family, most of his friends, and Blaine.

Blaine, who is the love of his life. Who loves him and slow danced with him at prom. Who abandoned the safety of Dalton for him, as much as he denies it. He's the one who means the world to Kurt, the whole universe even. And Kurt would be lying if he didn't find the idea of being away from Blaine for a year downright depressing.

From: Blaine;)
you've dealt with stuff like my hair in the morning and planning finn's wardrobe but you can't open up the letter?

From: Blaine;)
look into your flawless self and find your courage, kurt hummel!

From: Blaine;)
or else you'll go from 'honey bear' to 'cowardly lion' in my phone. :/

Kurt, who has seen the ridiculousness that is Blaine's contact list, knows that the threat is valid. And, even though anything seems better than 'honey bear' when it comes to a musical reference/nickname, Kurt sends Blaine a text saying that he'll call in a minute, takes a deep breath, and cuts open the seal.


5. Night before graduation

Kurt thinks it's stupid that he and Blaine have to sleep in different rooms the night before graduation. While he knows it has to do with his dad trying to prove that, even if Kurt is out of high school, there's still rules in the house but still. They (probably) wouldn't try to have sex when everyone was asleep.

All Kurt wants to do is hold his boyfriend before one of the biggest days of his life to date. And he knows that Rachel has already snuck out of the guest room and into Finn's bed, she passed him on the stairs when Kurt was sneaking down for a "drink of water". (Code for: snuggling with Blaine until Burt called down and asked where his son was).

Huffing, Kurt yanked his phone off of the charger.

To: Blaine3
Come upstairs already. I miss you and, since it's after two, no one will be waking up.

The reply was instant, even though Blaine should have been asleep. They have a full day planned tomorrow: quiche for breakfast, a day filled with home movies and yearbooks, and then graduation before a dinner at Breadstix with all their friends.

From: Blaine3
i'm afraid of your dad.

To: Blaine 3
Well, I'm afraid of graduation, but I still bought the cap and gown.

As soon as he hit 'send', Kurt regretted the text. Even with a floor separating them, Kurt could sense Blaine's forehead creasing in a way that could only cause wrinkles and his eyes going wide. Maybe his voice would even catch like it did when he was overcome by his feelings or that time in the back of Blaine's car, when they snuck out during a glee performance and-

The pleasant train of thought/fantasy was cut short by Blaine's next message.

From: Blaine3
why are you afraid?

To: Blaine3
Because after four years of hell, I'm not convinced that a cap and a gown will keep them from tossing me in a dumpster for old time's sake.

After a moment of silence, there's a creak on the stairs and Blaine appears in his doorway. His hair has been reduced to messy curls from tossing on the downstairs couch and he's got bags under his eyes from cramming for finals and AP exams, but nothing could make Kurt think of Blaine as anything but beautiful as he crawled into Kurt's bed.

"I love you," Blaine whispered, pressing himself against Kurt's side, "And I won't let them ruin your graduation. Even if it means I get tossed in the dumpster in your place. You deserve to have this be special, because you're special."

"Any other sweet, inspirational speeches before we can start to make out?" Kurt teases, his hand curling around Blaine's hip.

"Mmm. Check your phone."

Kurt grabs it from the night stand, reading quickly as Blaine peppers kisses on his neck and chest. Once he's done, it gets tossed to the end of the bed, where it remains neglected as Kurt and Blaine kiss and whisper until they fall asleep.

From: Blaine3
here's my proposition: you be my courage to sneak upstairs and I'll be your courage to march at graduation.


+1. Blaine's first day without Kurt

To: My Teenage Dream
how's your first day in the city going?

From: My Teenage Dream
Hectic. I spent an hour trying to find my toothbrush this morning.

And though he'd never admit it, Blaine really wishes he could have been there to kiss his boyfriend despite the morning breath and yelling that probably happened once Kurt realized his morning supplies were missing. Even if they didn't spend every day together in the past two years that they've known each other, Blaine never had to deal with the knowledge that he couldn't see Kurt if he really wanted to.

Not even twenty-four hours into their separation, Blaine feels desperate to jump on a plane or drive half-way across the country in order to see Kurt. Hell, to use all his senses and none of them and just sit in quiet together like they did so many times last year, studying or reading and not appreciating how glorious it was just to be in the same space.

From: My Teenage Dream
I will admit, I miss you terribly. Rachel's screeching over her mishandled Barbra Streisand collection is a lot more unpleasant when I compare it to your ringtone.

They've got custom ringtones for each other and have had them since they started dating. While each of them skipped around for a while during the first few weeks, Kurt finally settled with Gaga's You & I while Blaine chose the more classical Your Song.

To: My Teenage Dream
while we're admitting things to each other: i'm not looking forward to going back to you alma mater come september.

The decision to stay at McKinley was both easy and hard. Easy; because he didn't want to abandon the few members of New Directions left there nor admit to his father that the only reason he transferred was for Kurt. Hard; because he was really, really sick of getting slushied in the hall or having to ignore things like 'queer' or 'fags burn in hell' when they get painted on his locker.

From: My Teenage Dream
I'm going to share with you a piece of wisdom that was given to me years ago by the smartest person I know.

From: My Teenage Dream
Courage, Blaine.

From: My Teenage Dream
All you have to do is survive one more semester at that hell hole and then you're in New York for the spring semester. And, seeing as you're the bravest and most amazing human being I've ever been blessed with meeting, I know you can do this.

To: My Teenage Dream
but what if i can't?

From: My Teenage Dream
That's when you text your fabulous college boyfriend and have him remind you exactly why you CAN. We love each other and that's all we need to get through this, okay?

And, even if the ache in his heart hasn't disappeared completely and he still won't see Kurt until Christmas, Blaine is a little more confident that he can do this long distance thing without going insane. (For a little while, anyway).