Disclaimer: Anything you recognize is not mine.

Note: This fic is one of (hopefully) many in a series created by myself and prettypaintedlady, all about Kurt and Blaine trying to survive being in a long distance relationship for the year they're apart.

After his mom died, Kurt Hummel assumed her responsibility of keeping track of the family calendar.

Okay, so maybe for the first couple years, it was mostly just him reminding his dad to fill in the dates, but once he had a basic grasp of spelling, Kurt took control. Every doctor and dentist appointment was on it, along with school functions and when the shop was supposed to get shipments in.

When Carole and Finn joined the house, Kurt delighted in spending an entire weekend designing a new, color-coded version of the family calendar. It lives in the kitchen, taking up a space on the side of the fridge roughly the same size of the microwave. Right now, the only two dates circled in red (for life-changing events) are May 10th and July 23rd.

The date boxes, filled by Carole's neat cursive, (Kurt taught her the calendar system over spring break, after realizing that it was his senior year and he wouldn't be around to fill it in anymore.) read: "Finn and Kurt graduate!" and "Kurt goes to NYC".

And even though he has to flip two pages to look between the dates, Kurt feels giddy and nauseous as he realizes that, in a span of two months, he'll not only leave McKinley High forever, but he'll be on his way to NYADA and Broadway and all his other dreams.

As senior class president, Brittany is the one to deliver the final speech of the night.

Kurt is squeezed between Finn and one of the girls' lacrosse players, clutching his diploma tightly and telling himself that he absolutely will not cry as Brittany promises that she'll always want to come back to their "fun times" at McKinley when her time machine was done. This place has been a hell more than anything for all the time he's spent here and Kurt shouldn't be crying.

Except, whenever he looks over to the bleachers, he can't help but tear up. His family is there, of course; Carole sniffling as she clutches her camera and Kurt's dad has her pulled to his chest, looking so sharp in one of his 'Congressman' suits. ("It's a damned monkey suit," Burt grumbled, more than once upon coming home.) Kurt wishes his mom could be here to see this, but knows he still has two parents who love completely in the stands.

Next to them were all the non-graduating members of glee club, in various degrees of completely losing it. Tina, for example, was reduced to tears as soon as the seniors started to walk in. Meanwhile, Artie kept his composure long enough to yell 'Get some!' when Kurt went up to get his diploma. Kurt thinks about all the time he's spent with these people in the past three years that glee club has existed for and the lump in his throat triples in size.

Finally, there's Blaine. Blaine, whose wearing the same outfit as his first day of McKinley and yelled "That's my boyfriend and I love him!" when Kurt got announced as one of the top in his class. He hasn't stopped smiling since this morning, when he showed up for breakfast at the house and to help Kurt pick out the perfect graduation outfit. (Never mind the fact that everyone had to wear hideous robes for the actual ceremony).

It's a combination of Blaine's stupid, beautiful grin and the end of Brittany's speech ("I love all of you, even if you've been mean to me or my friends. Because, sometimes, the people who are mean need love the most.") that make Kurt completely lose it. He's ugly-crying, with blotchy skin and everything as his class rises. Finn squeezes his shoulder tightly and he's crying a little too, though Kurt is sure he'll deny it later.

"We made it, bro," Finn whispers, "We really made it."

And, even though he's crying harder than ever, Kurt still tosses his cap as high as possible with everyone else.

Blaine's parents have a summer home out by Lake Michigan.

Kurt only knows this, because Blaine mentioned how his family stopped going the year after the Sadie Hawkins dance. And Kurt had leaned in and kissed his boyfriend as soon as the words tumbled from his lips, because that's what you do when you're in love.

Now, Kurt and Blaine are kissing again. Except it's on the little pier behind the Anderson vacation home: tongues moving slow and lazy, with Kurt running his hands through Blaine's still wet hair and the sun warming his skin. (Underneath a protective layer of SPF 50, of course). Things just start to get good, with their hips lining up and the familiar press of Blaine's hard on in his thigh, when Kurt is suddenly doused in cold water.

Shrieking, Blaine and Kurt spring apart, both sporting tents in their swim shorts. At the other end of the pier, Finn and Mike both hold empty buckets and laugh. After a moment of wheezing, Mike explains, "We figured this would be more effective than telling you two get a room."

And Kurt can't even think of a good comeback, because once he looks over at Blaine's hurt puppy face, he bursts out with his own set of giggles. His boyfriend then takes the opportunity to throw himself at Kurt, sending them both off the pier and into the freezing lake water. Even as he gasps at the temperature change, Kurt still laughs and presses a sloppy kiss to Blaine's cheek.

This is what he wants all the time. Kurt longs for the two of them being able to kiss and tease each other without worrying about what someone else will do. Summer is good to them, he decides, because between the long days and the privacy of the lake house, there's nothing to stop them from being like any other couple.

"I never want this to end," Kurt sighs, wrapping his arms around Blaine's shoulders so he doesn't have to put any effort into staying afloat.

"We have until July," Blaine points out, kissing his boyfriend's neck leisurely.

And, simple as that, Kurt's heart sinks. It's not that he doesn't want to go to New York anymore, he's ecstatic to have the apartment with Rachel and go to Time's Square whenever he wants. The fact that he has to leave Blaine behind seems too much like torture when Kurt has his boyfriend just how he wants: close and happy and making his stomach flutter with butterflies and lower regions flutter with something else.

"Shit, I didn't mean to make you sad. No sad faces on vacation. It's basically a rule, Kurt."

Kurt attempts a weak smile, but it's not enough for Blaine, who decides to blow a loud, disgusting raspberry on Kurt's neck. Smiling for real this time, Kurt points out that there's better things to do with mouths, if only they were in the shallows. Blaine eyes the area under the pier, where the water meets sand and they're out of sight unless someone was underneath it with them.

Grinning wickedly, Kurt adds, "Sex on the beach is something on my bucket list, y'know."

And, well, Blaine's a seventeen year old guy with a hot boyfriend. He doesn't need anymore convincing.

Kurt's not sure how his life came to spending the nights of his summer vacation on the floor with Blaine.

Scratch that. He knows exactly how that happened.

Brittany begged to be in the same room as him and Blaine, since they were her "favorite unicorn and dolphin couple". And it had been alright until the first night at the Anderson's lake house, when Santana told them to get out.

"Me and Britt wants to gets our lady cuddles on," She had said, in a matter-of-fact voice that didn't even hint at the pure malevolence that she had planned.

When Kurt and Blaine refused to leave and kept getting ready for bed, Santana and Brittany started to have sex. Loudly. Less than four feet away from them and barely covered by a blanket. Kurt and Blaine had no choice but to flee to the second bedroom, where the other couples with them (Tina and Mike, Finn and Rachel) had already decided on beds. They either had to sleep on the floor or in the kitchen.

"Santana is seriously evil reincarnated," Kurt grumbles.

This was supposed to be his magical senior vacation. His last hurrah before going on to adulthood. It was not supposed to involve him in a musty old sleeping bag, while Finn snoring makes the entire room shake. And while he loves Blaine dearly, Kurt is hot enough without his boyfriend clinging to his back like a koala bear.

"Kurt," Blaine whispers, not sounding close sleep, "I love you."

"I love you, too," Kurt replies, annoyed but never once doubting it as a fact.

There's a moment of quiet, then Blaine presses a kiss between his shoulder blades. All it does is remind Kurt how sweaty and gross and completely unsexy he feels right now. Then, as he's contemplating the possibility of the itch on the bridge of his nose turning into sunburn, Blaine asks, "Is it hot in here or is it just you?"

Oh god. From the way his boyfriend grins into his neck with his entire body shaking, Kurt knows that Blaine has entered one of his final stages of exhaustion. He's going to be slap happy and thinking he's the funniest person in the world for about ten minutes, then he'll pass out and leave Kurt alone on the floor, steaming to death.

"Do you work for UPS? Because I saw you checking out my package."

Kurt can't help it, he let's out a loud snort of laughter, twisting so he can swat Blaine on the shoulder. They giggle together in the dim moonlight that floats in through the window. Above them, Finn's snoring stutters and, in a desperate attempt to quiet them both, Kurt rolls on top of Blaine and kisses him.

It's not a deep kiss, because that would be weird with all their friends in the room. Instead, it's a series of little opened mouth pecks, Kurt swallowing Blaine's laughter like it's the sweetest thing he's ever tasted. Blaine's hands skate over the line of Kurt's back, tickling his sides lightly and smiling in the kiss.

They both settle down, curled together in spite of the heat, because Kurt realizes that he'll miss this during the New York winters. He's nearly asleep, head tucked against Blaine's chest, when he's jostled awake.

"Hey, Kurt," Blaine whispers, voice low and sexy, "There's a party in my pants and you're the guest of honor."

When Kurt laughs this time, it's so loud and wild that Tina, upon waking, threatens to send him back to deal with Santana and Brittany.

Okay, so when they wrote up the agenda for the day, neither Kurt nor Rachel put "complete emotional breakdown in the linen department" on the list.

No, the list is both extensive and exact in the day's plans. After Blaine and Rachel arrive at the Hudson-Hummel home for a late breakfast, they buy their respective boyfriends coffee at the Lima Bean before heading out of town to get the essentials that Kurt and Rachel would need for their New York apartment.

Target is the first real stop of the day, because Kurt had discovered some amazing coupons for cookware online. He passes them out to everyone in the car, giving careful instructions on what to look for. Stainless steel or bust, essentially. Rachel nods along, adding, "Remember that we'll need two sets of a lot of things. Someone doesn't want a kitchen not founded on animal abuse."

The jib leads to Kurt and Rachel arguing about his refusal to go completely vegan as they walk from the car to the store. Trailing behind, Blaine and Finn exchange a look of what-insanity-have-we-agreed-to, but neither dare to interrupt.

Once inside, Kurt feels all his annoyance disappear and he squeezes Rachel's hand. Here they were, shopping for things that would furnish their future. If their lives were a movie, this would be the part with a shopping montage. (And god, Kurt has always wanted one of those.)

"You boys get a head start on the pots and pans," Rachel orders, pulling out a cart, "Kurt and I have to have a discussion on the bed sheet fibers, since we will be sharing a washer and I'm not comfortable with the idea of animal byproducts even when I'm asleep."

She really didn't need to explain, Kurt thought. As soon as the word "discussion" was said, Finn and Blaine were ready to bolt. Still, he and Rachel had already agreed on pure cotton sheets, since they would be vegan and, more importantly, affordable for two (soon-to-be) poor college students.

"I just wanted to have some alone time with you," Rachel admits as they head to the right section, "You know I love Finn and Blaine, but this is still our thing."

Kurt smiles and, silly as it seems, his chest aches a bit. As much as they fought, he loves Rachel Berry and all her 's why she's the first one he was going to share his life with in New York. Kurt tells her all this as they compared different thread counts, confessing that she is his best friend in the whole world (excluding Blaine, but there was no reason to mention it when they were having a moment).

"Oh, Kurt," Rachel gushes before pulling him into a tight hug, "I love you so much!"

Kurt hugs back of course, a little mortified not by the fact that Rachel is sobbing noisily in his ear, but rather that his own eyes are rapidly filling with tears. They must look ridiculous, embracing and crying with a package of sheets stuck between them, but he can't help it. Ever since graduating, it seems like he can cry at the drop of a hat.

"Are you two okay? We weren't sure about the difference between a sautee pan and a skillet."

Finn is the one who speaks after suddenly appearing at the end of the aisle. Blaine is a little ways behind him, with a cart full of every type of cookware that vaguely resembled a frying pan. They both look completely bewildered, unsure of what the friend/boyfriend/step-brother protocol is in this kind of situation.

"Kurt and I are going to New York," Rachel manages to choke out, sending herself and her future roommate into a series of even more violent sobs.

Kurt pulls away from Rachel slightly in order to wave the other two over. Blaine wastes no time pressing his face into the crook of Kurt's neck, murmuring encouragements and (maybe) crying a little himself. Awkwardly, Finn manages to wrap his arms around all of them before burying his nose in Rachel's hair and, in a move that Kurt would later find unhygienic, sniffling loudly.

After they all settle down, the four look down at the now destroyed set of sheets that had been stuck between them. Beyond the ruined packaging, the fabric has smudges of make up and tears all over.

Discretely, Kurt tucks it behind a display and explains, "I'm all for emotional release, but it's no reason to have ugly bed linens."

The summer goes on.

Every Friday is still set aside for the Hudson-Hummel dinners, now featuring fresh salads and heart conscious barbecue. They watch more home movies together, teasing about how Finn used to be the smallest in his class or laughing as a four year old Kurt has a total meltdown on his first picture day. And, while he's livid that evidence of him singing Singin' in the Rain bare naked exists, Kurt can't help but think this feels like family.

Graduation parties are sprinkled all over June, from the formal garden party for Mike to Santana and Brittany's joint party, from which Kurt is sure his liver will never recover. The music is always fantastic at these things and, as Puck and Quinn sing an acoustic cover Thnks fr th Mmrs, Kurt is not only transported back to a time when he found Pete Wentz attractive, but starts to believe that these may be the best years of his life.

Every moment not filled with friends or family or Kurt working in the shop to save money for the next year is, naturally, spent with Blaine. There's a pool where Blaine is a life guard a few days a week in Westerville and he managed to get Kurt one of the free passes (usually reserved for staff members' families). He doesn't swim, but Kurt is more than happy to slather on sunscreen and flip through magazines, watching as his boyfriend jokes around with little kids and gains an effortless tan after only a week.

When Blaine's shift ends, it's usually around four and they head out to dinner together. They laugh and flirt easily in Westerville, which is still Ohio but a light years ahead of Lima when it comes to tolerance. Kurt isn't afraid to hold Blaine's hand when they wait in line for ice cream here or kiss him long and slow during movies (though they still sit the secluded corner of the back row).

The best thing though is when they get to spend the night at each other's houses. It was expressly forbidden during the school year, but now Blaine has made himself familiar with the pull out couch in the guest room. Kurt resents not being able to have Blaine sleep with him at home, but keeps quiet about it, because the only arguing point he has is that the Andersons set up an (always unused) inflatable mattress in Blaine's room.

Out of all the summers he's had so far, Kurt wholeheartedly believes that this has been his best. There's no drama over babies or bitterness over Nationals. Instead, there's waking up early to cook breakfast with Carole and spending the night with Mercedes and Tina like it's sophomore year again and talking to Blaine until sunrise over Skype, about their plans for the next day or year or lifetime.

It all ends too soon.

It's six thirty in the morning, which is too early to have his heart breaking, but Kurt is still standing in the middle of the check in center of the Port Columbus International Airport. He's squeezed between his dad and Finn, smile wavering as Carole takes picture after picture to properly preserve the day. Next to her, Blaine holds Kurt's bags, smiling.

"Burt and Finn, clear out so Kurt can get a photo with Blaine."

Normally, Kurt would put up a fight. His boyfriend is in chinos and a polo shirt, looking ready for a round of golf at the country club. Meanwhile, Kurt is wearing yoga pants and one of Blaine's Dalton hoodies, which is just a little too small for him in the shoulders. The combination of most of his clothes being in transit to New York and feeling completely burned out by his emotions these days has left Kurt focusing more on comfort and less on being a fierce fashionista. (For his flight, at least).

Sloppy outfits be damned, Kurt hugs Blaine tightly for the camera. The way his boyfriend's hands can easily glide under the hoodie and find warm skin waiting makes Kurt realize that it would not be hard to have a last minute hook up in the bathroom. Sure, airport quickies are cliche, but he's never not in a ton of layers and it's their last chance until November and-

"All passengers whose planned leave time is eight-thirty, please begin your check-in if you have not already done so. This is for your own comfort and convenience. Thank you," The overhead announcement ended with static.

Carole lets out a distressed noise and hurries over to Kurt, with Blaine side-stepping to get out of her way. She pulls her step-son into a tight hug, kissing him on the forehead.

"Call as soon as you land, alright? I know you're all grown up and going to college in the city, but that doesn't mean your dad and I won't worry ourselves sick if we don't hear from you. And I remember that you can always call me if you need anything."

"I know, Carole. And thank you," Kurt says, whispering to keep his voice from cracking, "You've been like a mom to me ever since you married my dad and I really appreciate it."

Without meaning to, Kurt makes Carole burst into tears as she holds him even closer. A warm hand settles on his shoulder and, looking up, Kurt sees that his dad's eyes are watery too. And, oh god, if his dad starts to cry he's definitely going to lose it and then he'll look insane when he has to go through security.

"I'm proud of you, kid, and your mom would be too. She always said that you were gonna do something amazing with yourself."

Carole slips away and Burt hugs his son, just as tight and warm as when Kurt was little. He flashes back to when he was eight, finding out his mom had died and then back to eighteen, on the cusp of chasing after his future in New York. In both instances, his dad cries more than a little and Kurt wipes furiously at his eyes, because one of them has to be strong. (Except not, because now there's Carole and Finn to be the strong when the rest of their family can't.)

"I'll call at least once a week," Kurt promises, "You can put me on speaker and we can still do family dinners on Fridays."

"I'll hold you to it," Burt says gruffly, pulling his hankerchief out to wipe his eyes.

It has an oil stain in one corner and an argyle pattern embroidered opposite of that, which Kurt did by hand when he was twelve and just learning how to sew. He didn't know that his dad had kept it over the years and loves Burt fiercely for that.

Finn comes up shyly, like he's afraid to ruin the father-son moment, but Burt only ruffles his hair before heading back to Carole. He looks at Kurt for a minute with wide eyes, then yanks his step-brother into a bone crushing hug. And as the air is forced from his lungs, Kurt still smiles, because things are so different from a few years ago when Finn would slushie him in the halls or help toss Kurt into dumpsters.

"I'm gonna miss you, little bro," Finn says, sounding scared, "You keep me from doing really stupid stuff a lot of the time."

"For one, you're more than smart enough to keep yourself out of trouble, Finn. Secondly, I'm older than you by a few months, making you the little brother."

Finn laughs loudly and that makes Kurt smile. They stop hugging, but still stand close together. Awkwardly, Finn pats him on the back a few times and Kurt tries not to notice how red his eyes are. Last night, he had walked in on Finn crying and, after some prodding, managed to discover that he and Rachel had a semi-mutual break up, fearing distance would ruin them.

(Kurt had swallowed his own fears about the nearly 600 miles seperating Lima and New York, instead offering that they could watch Brian's Song together, giving Finn an alibi for crying if anyone asked).

"I know you can handle yourself, Kurt. You're like, the most grown up non-grown up I've ever met," Finn cast his eyes down, voice cracking, "But take care of, Rachel, okay? Because I think she'll need help but not know how to ask."

And if it was anyone else, Kurt would point out that worrying about the other person post-break up can only make things worse, but this is Finn. He may be insensitive and an idiot sometimes, but still has such a big heart at the end of the day. Kurt nods, hugging him again, and says, "But of course. She's my brother's girl after all."

Finn mumbles something that could either be "thank you" or "love you", but Kurt knows better than to ask about it. He pulls out of the hug and now there's only one person left waiting. The lump in Kurt's throat only grows when Blaine just throws himself at Kurt, crying in a way he's avoided all summer.

"I love you," Kurt says, voice low and honest, "I love you so much, Blaine and none of this would have happened without you and I'll never be able to thank you for everything."

Everything is singing Teenage Dream and stealing the heart of a boy he barely knew. And transferring to McKinely and giving up the only place he'd ever been safe, because Blaine could only be happy if Kurt was there. And dancing with his Prom Queen of a boyfriend, pretending not to care who saw, even though his last school dance ended with broken ribs and a concussion.

And suddenly, Kurt doesn't care who sees either and kisses Blaine. He kisses the other boy hard and long, like being gentle will cause Blaine to dissipate into the air. Their teeth clack painfully and, when they open their mouths, all they can taste is each other's tears: salty and bitter and still perfect for the moment. The thought makes Kurt pull back and he says, urgently, "I meant it every time we sang Perfect in the car. Every time."

And Blaine nods furiously and manages to say, "I love you, Kurt. More than you could ever know."

They hold each other, then. Kurt marvels at how seamlessly they fit together (my missing puzzle piece, just like the song). The crying stops and the moment stretches on forever and is still so short, because another announcement comes up, encouraging Kurt to pass through the gates and check in already.

He kisses Blaine again, soft and on the mouth. This kiss is going to be their last one for a while, (Carole already has it on the calendar, December 20th: Kurt comes home) but it feels like the first, with Blaine presses forward and Kurt cradling his cheek. It's a kiss filled with all kinds of hope and possibilities with their future together. It's a kiss that's all about love.

"Looks like I saved the best goodbye for last," Kurt jokes weakly as the rest of his family surges forward to pass off his bags and get one last hug.

It's not until he's shouldered his bag and turns to head into the check in line that Kurt hears (but pretends he didn't) Blaine whisper, "What happened to never saying goodbye?"