Santana sat in on Blaine's first session pretty much in awe. Not because he was so composed, but because he was so honest. Her first session with Dr. Wilson, she had been fifteen and pissed off. She had refused to answer any of Dr. Wilson's questions.

The next time, her mom sat in on the session with her and talked mostly to each other and Dr. Wilson had moderated, much the same way she had for Santana and her dad recently, after Santana ran away. It made it easier for her to have a third party there to keep things calm and focused, while Blaine seemed to thrive on the freedom to say whatever he felt. A privacy that only came when he was away from his parents.

"What would you like to talk about tonight?" Dr. Wilson asked Blaine. She had already given him the rundown about keeping his feet planted on the ground and maintaining eye contact, all while reminding him that this was a safe space. It made Santana vaguely uncomfortable because she had heard the same thing herself so many times, and she never liked feeling vulnerable, or corrected.

"I destroyed my brother's room..." he admitted, dropping his head like he was ashamed.

"Blaine? I need to see your eyes. I need you to see my face when you're speaking, so that you can know that I'm listening to you and I'm not judging you. So that you can be reminded that you're safe in here. What did you hear me say?"

Santana watched, intrigued, as Blaine didn't answer, but instead locked his gaze with Dr. Wilson's. It was hard as hell for Santana to keep her mouth shut and not jump in and explain to Blaine how this worked. She watched as Dr. Wilson looked back calmly. After a minute, she spoke.

"When I explain something to you and ask you what you heard me say, it's because I care about what you heard me say. I'm not looking for how fast you can follow commands."

Blaine smiled reflexively, in the way that always pissed Santana off before she knew him well. Before she got that it was a defense mechanism. It wasn't lost on her that Blaine still hadn't answered Dr. Wilson's question.

"Okay. That's okay. We're going to respect your hesitance about that. You look wherever it is you're comfortable." Dr. Wilson reassured as Blaine's gaze drifted away from her and toward Santana. "You destroyed your brother's room. What feelings were you having when you did that?"

"I'm sorry?" he asked, glancing at Dr. Wilson in surprise.

"How were you feeling when you destroyed your brother's room?" Dr. Wilson repeated patiently.

Santana totally got Blaine's confusion. So many times when they brought up an issue in family therapy, Santana expected the first question to be why. But Dr. Wilson always asked about how she was feeling when she did a certain thing.

"I think I was panicking," Blaine allowed.

A pause. "And what was underneath the panic? Were you happy, sad, or angry?"

"I was angry," Blaine said without hesitating. "I was angry because it wasn't his room anymore. My parents redecorated so it looked like this nice, inviting place, and not the place where my brother died..."

"So you had a difficult time with the fact that your parents covered up the truth of the place where your brother's life ended by making it look like nothing happened there."

Blaine nodded.

"What would you have liked to see happen there?" Dr. Wilson probed gently.

"Close the door and never go in again," Blaine admitted softly. "They already cleaned it out, they didn't need to make it seem like he was never there. I hate that they covered it up."

"Talk to me about covering up."

"It's what my parents do. It's what we, as a family, did until I met Santana and realized I didn't have to keep lying. To my parents, appearances are everything. So anything that might reflect badly on them? They pretend it doesn't exist. They used to make me play along...but I just can't anymore."

"I want you to stay with your feelings. Stop. And take some slow, deep breaths."

Santana watched as Blaine did.

"Now. Do you want to talk to me about what, specifically, your parents covered up? Or are you not comfortable?"

"No, I want to. That's why I've been struggling so much. Because I've wanted to discuss it, but my parents won't. My brother died of a drug overdose last May. My parents refused to see there was anything wrong, even when I tried to tell them. Afterward – the same morning it happened – they sat down with me and told me that if anyone asked, to just say it was respiratory arrest, and an unknown cause."

"You weren't comfortable with that?"

"No, I wasn't. Because it was all about protecting him...when they never once made it a priority to protect me."

"From what? Or from whom?"

"Him. My brother. He used to hurt me and scare me when he was using, but my parents always made excuses for him, and never listened to me."

"Would it be fair to say that what you really needed from your parents is for them to hear you? And believe you?"

"Yes." Now, Blaine was looking Dr. Wilson right in the eyes.

"You needed them to protect you, rather than continue protecting the person who hurt you."

Blaine nodded.

"I want to take us back to when you first came in tonight. You told me you felt small and unimportant. Do you remember?"

"Yes."

"Do you feel that your parents putting theirs and your brother's reputation above your safety caused you to feel small and unimportant?"

"Absolutely. It made me feel powerless."

Another pause, where Blaine breathed and made sure he was grounded. Santana could see him gradually relax as the session went on. This was so good for him. She hoped he would decide to keep coming back.

"Can I make an observation?" Dr. Wilson asked.

Another nod.

"By destroying your brother's room, as you put it, you were saying this is not okay with me, is that right? This continual game of covering up truths and feelings. In that moment, tonight, you took back your power. Now, I am not advocating the destruction of property as a way to deal with your emotions. But it seems to me like you were asking for help."

Blaine swallowed.

"And you got it," Dr. Wilson nodded. "Your mother and Santana brought you to see me. And I promise to do everything I can to help you. That includes talking to your mother about getting you here on a regular basis. I'm going to ask your mother to join us in a minute, but first I'd like to ask you if you'd be okay with me asking Santana if she would be willing to help you with some homework I've got for you."

Blaine smiled. "Of course. Of course, I'll take her help."

"I want you to practice, not only feeling your feelings this week, but acknowledging them as they come up. This way, you won't be in a situation where you feel panicked or angry to the extent that you want to destroy a room. Make a safe space for yourself wherever you are. If you don't feel safe at home, have a plan B on standby. I want you to write about them. Doesn't have to be much. Just what you're feeling and how you acknowledged it."

"Okay," Blaine nodded.

Santana nodded, too. Then, she excused herself to go wait in the waiting room, while Blaine's mom went in and they had some private words between themselves for the last ten minutes or so.

When they came out, Santana didn't ask what they'd discussed, she just walked beside them to her car and drove them home.

Santana didn't see much of Blaine for the next few days, but early on Tuesday morning she got up and could not go back to sleep. She couldn't figure out why until it hit her. Today was the one year anniversary of Cooper's death.

She had no idea if Blaine had plans to go to school or not. She hoped so since it was going to be the last week of Sue's Kids, but she knew he had to do whatever was best for him, and she couldn't pressure him in any way about this.

The house felt stifling and too quiet, so Santana threw on a light jacket, and just drove. She was thinking of her mom, and missing her. She had their journal on the seat beside her, but she couldn't open it. She couldn't breathe in the stuffy car.

Santana was so distracted thinking of a good place to get out and read that she almost missed it.

McKinley.

It was lame to be at school early, but Santana had it on good authority that the courtyard was one of the most amazing places when the sun set at night. It would make sense that it would look just as amazing in the morning. At least, she hoped it would.

She parked and walked around the school. The courtyard, unlike the cemetery, was open at all hours, and she slowly began climbing the concrete steps to give herself the highest vantage point. She was about halfway up when she felt that creepy feeling of somebody watching her and stopped.

Turning, she squinted, and just made out a figure at one of the tables. As she got closer, she felt sure she knew who it was.

Blaine.

"Can't sleep either?" she asked quietly, hoping she didn't startle him.

"...It's not exactly my favorite day..." he muttered darkly.

"No, I know it's not. Is there something I can do?" she asked. It felt cruel to ask how he was feeling because honestly? Days like this? Those questions just made everything ten million times worse. So did offering unsolicited advice.

He shrugged.

"I seem to remember promising you we'd watch a sunrise together sometime," she offered, unsure of what else to say. But the sky was getting pink and they were both here. It made sense. But only if Blaine wanted to.

He turned, looking surprised, and she extended a hand. This time, they climbed the steps together and stood side by side in silence. Santana was surprised when he took her hand and gripped it tightly.

She turned, a question in her eyes.

"I can't be there this morning... I just can't..." he managed, his voice thick. His eyes bright with unshed tears.

Even though it wasn't Santana's usual way of doing things, she wrapped her arms around him and held on tight. She knew from experience that often, people did for others what they wished was done for them. And she remembered that night after Sue's Kids, when he found her in the parking lot, falling apart. She remembered how he had tried to hug her.

Not the right move for her, but maybe for him...

He held on tight and didn't let go. It felt totally weird inadvertently following through on something that they talked about when they were just names on a screen to each other. And doing it on today of all days was probably not the best plan. Emotion closed her throat as she heard her mom's voice in her head:

"If you're ever up early enough to see a sunrise, watch it. It's miraculous to think that total darkness can turn to light before our eyes. Watch it, and know that I am watching, too. Know that I can't watch the miracle of a sunrise without thinking of you."

She had thought doing this would help. Would heal something. But instead, it only hurt. It only made her miss her mom that much more.

"I can't believe I used to be so idealistic about these things," Blaine commented bitterly. "I was so naive. Like a sunrise can really make everything better... Nothing can make a day like this better."

Santana nodded, and rested her head on his shoulder.


"Sue's Kids," Ms. Sylvester announced that afternoon. "This will be your last assignment."

A cheer went up around the room, but it was all Blaine could do to focus at all. He was not scheduled to see Dr. Wilson the end of the week. Both himself and his mother this time. She seemed receptive in the few minutes she was involved in the session. So far, his father still knew nothing, and Blaine knew his mother planned to keep it that way as long as possible, to give Blaine a chance to start healing and become stronger before there was any kind of repercussions from his father.

"As you are now champions, and I'm about to burst with child, your final assignment is up to you. Any song, any arrangement, solo, duet, anything. You have all earned the right to do what feels right to you. Feel free to use the remaining two hours to work out your arrangements. Brad and the band will be here. You're also free to go, if you work better outside of the classroom."

Blaine stood and nodded at Santana. She'd been good all day about texting him, and checking in. About asking what he needed. Half the time Blaine didn't know. He did, however, know music.

"Can we go to your house?" he asked. "I have an idea for a song."

A half an hour later, they were both sitting at the piano in Santana's living room. "...Were you going to send it to me telepathically?" she asked, and Blaine cracked a smile. "Also, while I'm glad you picked a song for yourself, you think you could help me pick one, too? I pretty much hated everything Coach Sue assigned me, but I suck with open ended stuff."

Softly, Blaine began to play. "This song isn't just for me. It's for us. I thought we could do it as a duet."

"What is it?" she asked, cocking her head as if she were trying to place it.

"I heard it on TV..." Blaine hedged. Then, he started singing, "Nothing goes as planned... Everything will break... People say goodbye... In their own special way..."

By the chorus, Santana had jumped in, too, and Blaine could only assume that she had seen the same season finale he had as a freshman. He was a sucker for those medical shows. And this song had leaped out at him...before Dalton, before McKinley...because life with Cooper had still been very much the same.

They sat and he played, finding harmonies and each taking different lines at different times, until they found something that felt right for both of them. Blaine couldn't imagine doing a piece this revealing by himself, but with Santana, he felt like, perhaps, there was a chance.

The end of the year was coming. Santana was going to graduate. Things were changing and they could both feel it. And even though Blaine was starting to feel more confident in the fact that he would be okay even if Santana left, it felt important to acknowledge the shift and the leaving. And also, of course, to find a way to say goodbye to Cooper, and Santana's mom, too. He and Santana had both been searching, for months, for ways to put the memory of their loved ones to rest. And this, finally, felt like it could be something. No one else had to get it. No one else had to understand it. It was just for them. Glancing beside him, and seeing Santana wipe tears from her face, Blaine felt sure she felt the same.

"I don't think we need to do much with this..." Blaine confessed, after they had stopped, and were silent a while. "I mean, one of us can start and the other can follow. We could just take turns. Feel it out."

Santana nodded. "That works for me." She paused. "Will it piss you off if I ask you how you're doing?"

"No," Blaine smiled. "I'm actually sort of happy. Music is something that always really connected Cooper and me. Like this?" he said, and began playing Hanson's MmmBop. "Or this?" Backstreet Boys' As Long As You Love Me. "I mean, memories come flooding back. That trip where I told you I thought the clouds were a place? Coop recorded all the Hanson and Backstreet Boys songs onto audio tapes so we could share headphones and listen on one walkman. I was happy the whole flight. When we got where we were going, if I ever got bored, Coop would teach me a dance that went with one of the songs. Or he'd do these amazing art projects with me. He used to be really into that. Now, I think, all of it's gone."

"My mom and I were just starting to take salsa lessons when she was diagnosed. So it didn't last long, but she seemed to really like it. And once I got over being so self-conscious about how I was doing or who was watching me, it was pretty fun. My mom was a terrible singer. Like, awful. But she loved to do it. And when I graduated the fifth grade, they had this little ceremony, and my mom cried. Afterward, I laughed at her about it and she was really upset. Now, it feels awful that I did that, you know? How was I supposed to know that was going to be the only real graduation she'd get to see? I wasn't okay enough to walk in the kindergarten graduation, and we didn't have one for eighth grade."

"Exactly. You didn't know," Blaine echoed.

"I've got homework to do, and finals to study for...so I don't mean to be an ass, but..."

"I understand," Blaine nodded. "Hey, at least you've got one squared away, right?"

"Whatever," she laughed. "Hey, if you need me? Come back."

"I will."

While Blaine had every intention of studying for his finals like Santana, he found himself distracted. It was still the 22nd, the longest day ever, if you asked him. His parents were out, though his mother had texted him several times that day, just to check in, which was kind of her. Blaine was on his way to his room, which meant, he passed the guest room on the way. The door stood ajar, and Blaine was shocked to see that neither one of his parents had rushed to clean it up. Blaine hesitated in the doorway and then stepped inside, carefully picking through broken things and throwing away what could not be saved.

Blaine had opened the closet door to put back a box he couldn't remember taking out, when something caught his eye. Up on the top shelf, rolled up was a piece of paper with a rubber band around it. If Blaine stretched, he could just barely knock it down. Hesitantly, Blaine unrolled it, not knowing whether he'd see evidence of the last ten years of Cooper's life, or of the precious time before that.

But what he saw took his breath. The whole page was covered with pictures of him and Cooper together. Hadn't Blaine had the thought that there were not as many photos of him as there were of Cooper? And here was evidence to the contrary. It was a collage of the two of them. Of Blaine, from birth to age seven, and Coop, from age eight to fifteen. Blaine felt his eyes mist, and instead of pushing the feeling down, he let it come. It was unnerving, giving his feelings breath and space, but he was slowly getting used to it.

Blaine took his time, studying each and every picture. These were all prints he had never seen. Or maybe he had but was too young to remember seeing them. This had to be for a high school art project. Blaine had thought the last real piece of Cooper had existed in that eighth grade autobiography, but flipping this one over, he saw proof he had hung on beyond that.

He flipped it over and checked the back. Cooper had done it in tenth grade. It was titled simply: What Matters and had received an A+. In the corner, in messy pencil script that Blaine easily recognized as Cooper's, he had written: save for Blaine.

Whether he had done so intentionally or not, Blaine had no way of knowing. But all the rest of Cooper's art projects had disappeared in the last few years, as Cooper struggled. Blaine felt so relieved to have this one thing. This proof that he had been loved. Carefully, Blaine rolled it back up, knowing he'd have to find a frame for it.

That night, after a long afternoon cleaning up the mess left behind in the guest room, Blaine drove to Santana's. Julio was in the living room watching TV, and Blaine assumed Santana was in her room. He didn't normally just invite himself into places, but both Santana and Julio had assured him that he was family, and that as such, he was free to come in whenever he was in the neighborhood.

After saying hello to Julio, Blaine stopped by Santana's room and knocked on the door.

"Hey. Are you okay?" Santana asked, taking in his disheveled appearance.

"Can I come in?" he asked.

"Yeah, of course. What's up?"

"I found this," he said, reaching into his shoulder bag and gently pulling out the rolled paper. "I was cleaning up the guest room, and it was just, stuck on the top shelf of the closet. I don't want to keep it at home, because I keep thinking, what if my dad finds it and wants to throw it out or something because it's too painful?"

"Holy shit. Did he make this?" Santana asked, incredulous. "Your brother?"

"Tenth grade art, apparently. I swear to you, everything else of any value was gone. He didn't have anything left. He got rid of all of his art. And I'm not naive enough to think that he intentionally kept this for me. I mean, it probably just got shoved back in his closet and he didn't see it, right? I don't even know what to do with it. I mean, I want to get a frame or something for it, but in the meantime, I want to make sure it's safe. I was wondering...can I leave it over here?"

"Yeah...of course. This is amazing..." Santana breathed. "You know what this means, don't you? You know he loves you, right?" she asked seriously.

Blaine could have hugged her for saying loves, present tense, because it kept Cooper's memory so alive. And it made Blaine believe that maybe he was still around, just making sure Blaine found what had been saved for him.

"I can see that..." Blaine murmured. "Anyway," he said, tearing his attention away from the collage. "Sorry for taking you away from your studying. I can leave."

"Actually..." Santana hedged. "Could you stay?"

Blaine blinked. "I can stay, of course," he managed, feeling awkward as he registered the open bedroom door at their backs.

"I wouldn't normally make such a big deal out of it but...my dad gave me this after you left. He said my mom wanted me to have it for my graduation. And I just...I don't know if I can open it alone." She held an envelope in a shaky hand.

Blaine came and stood near her, while she opened the envelope and slid out the card. It was, in so many ways, generic. A store-bought card. But Blaine could see, over Santana's shoulder, that after the verse inside, it was signed.

I am so proud of you.

Love,

Mom


"Oh, that's so nice," Blaine remarked as Santana's throat swelled with emotion.

This wasn't fair. Her mom was supposed to be here for this. And all the rest of her life, too, until she was really old, and Santana was a real adult and knew how to handle it when a parent died.

"Yeah," Santana managed, and Blaine turned, surprised at her tears. "It is. She has notes for everything. I think she covered every single life moment she could think of, so I'd be able to connect to her... It's just...not the same as having her here."

Blaine sat quietly beside her, holding Cooper's art and listening. He looked like he could listen to her talk all day. Like he could hear about her grief, even in the face of his own, and keep listening. It was because of his silence that Santana felt like she could share more. Explain why the grad card had been so hard to open.

She took a shaky breath. "I...I don't like goodbyes. And graduation feels like a goodbye. It reminds me of that day," she said, knowing Blaine would understand. They both had a day like that. A day they couldn't really talk about, because it was so terrible. "After... Well... I was in shock or something, and I went to, like, make the bed, because my mom hated to have the bed unmade. And I found this piece of paper under her pillow..."

Santana got up and reached into the box underneath her bed, where she kept all her Mom stuff. The paper was stuck between the last page and the back cover. There was no way she could sum it up and she sure as hell couldn't read it out loud, so she handed it to Blaine, who took it as if he was accepting something breakable.

She'd read it so many times, she didn't even need to look at it to know what it said. She knew every word, and had memorized every tear stain:

May 13, 2011

10:28 p.m.

Dearest Santana,

Thank you for giving me the honor of being my daughter and for letting me be your mother. You are, and always will be my heart. My deepest regret is what my death will mean to you. Please know that I tried... I tried so hard to stay with you. I fought with everything I had. When I die, I hope to be a guardian angel to watch over you. I know it's not the same thing as having a Mom, and I am so, so sorry about that. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Forever and ever,

Mom

Carefully, Blaine handed the paper back to Santana, wiping his eyes. "I can see why you don't like goodbyes..." he managed. "But we'll stay in touch, right? No matter where you go?"

Santana swallowed and nodded, tucking the letter back in its box. "I've never shown anyone that letter. Not even my dad knows about it."

"You felt okay telling me, though, right?" Blaine asked. "I mean, you didn't feel pressured to, given that I just brought something from Cooper over..."

"Yeah," Santana reassured. "I felt okay telling you. I trust you. I feel safe with you. All that. And I promise I'll keep your brother's art safe over here until you come back for it. Do you want to...I don't know...pick a spot for it before you go?" she asked, remembering a thing her mom used to do back when she was insecure about everything, including food. Her mom always let her keep some that wouldn't spoil in a special place Santana picked. Somewhere nobody else would touch it.

"Is it weird to want to just keep it on your desk?" he asked, smiling nervously.

She shook her head. "Put it wherever you want," Santana invited.

He carefully set it out of the way on the top of the desk and then turned to her again. "And is it weird if I admit that you're my safe place?"

Santana's eyes widened. "You mean, like, when Dr. Wilson asked you to create a safe space for yourself wherever you go? ...I mean, I'm flattered and everything...but you can't take me with you."

"But I can take what you've taught me, and what you've been to me. Just like I do with Cooper, and like you do with your mom."

Santana blinked back fresh tears. "You've gotta stop saying stuff like that. You're too nice. You know that?" She grasped his hand and squeezed it. "God, I wish time could stop right now. I don't want it to end..."

Blaine smiled beguilingly. "But, I mean, what about our performance for Sue's Kids? We have to move forward...at least to Thursday..." he encouraged.

"We're gonna kick ass, right?" Santana asked seriously.

"Oh, totally," Blaine assured.

Before Santana knew it, Wednesday had flown by and Thursday night was at hand. They had all received notices during school on Thursday that their performances would take place in the auditorium, after an initial meeting in the choir room. They were told to come prepared. Santana and Blaine stopped in after school, just to check it out, and make sure the piano could easily be moved to the stage.

"Tonight," Coach Sue announced in a somber voice. "Final performances will take place in the auditorium, one at a time. Your audience will consist of me and my unborn daughter, because we are the only two who really matter. The rest of you who are not performing should be using this time to prepare yourselves. Just because you're national champions does not mean that this final performance doesn't hold significance. I am your leader, and I won't hesitate to fail you if you come in and give me less than one-hundred percent of your focus, attention and effort. Understood?"

Santana listened as the murmur of assent rose around her.

"When you have performed, you're free to go. It's been a pleasure being your teacher."

They were allowed to pick their own performance order, and with the promise of early dismissal there was a clamor for who wanted to go first, second and so on. Though they were told to use the time they waited to prepare, no one did. Everybody was talking. Tina was crying because glee club was almost over for the year. And it made it damn hard to concentrate.

"You want to step outside?" Blaine asked. "We can practice outside the auditorium. It has great acoustics."

But Santana couldn't bring herself to open her mouth. This was for her mom, and she couldn't sing it without it meaning something. So she let Blaine practice, following along in her head, and noting which lines he took and where he went for the harmony line instead of the melody.

People came and went way faster than on a normal Sue's Kids day, because there was no competition to prepare for. Before Santana knew it, it was their turn. It had to be their turn, because everybody else had already gone.

They took the stage and Blaine sat at the piano, closest to the microphone. "We are Blaine Anderson and Santana Lopez, and we'll be singing In My Veins by Andrew Belle and featuring Erin McCarley."

Blaine began to play and the band joined in. He started singing, and Santana still couldn't. She hoped Coach Sue and her baby couldn't tell that they had barely practiced and it was coming back to bite them in the ass. But as the song went on, Santana felt like it was right to give Blaine the entire first verse and chorus.

Finally, at the second verse, Santana was able to sing.

"Everything will change. Nothing stays the same. Nobody here's perfect. Oh, but everyone's to blame..."

Santana didn't know about Blaine but she felt these lyrics. She felt them all the way into her soul. She didn't have to worry about remembering pitch or words or anything. Because she knew the song. Because their experience mirrored the song. Blaine was silent beside her, just accompanying her on piano. She took the entire second chorus, too. It was like an out of body experience. Like any really good performance, when Santana could count on getting off stage and not remembering a thing.

By the third verse, they had fully synced up with each other, and that's when they began going back and forth each singing a line. It was like magic singing with Blaine, because both of them wanted the same thing, and were coming from a similar place. Because Blaine worked his ass off to make sure he didn't let her down, and she trusted her gut not to let him down either.

The last chorus, they sang together. Blaine took the melody and Santana took harmony. It wasn't how they planned it, but everything felt like it had happened as it should have. For several seconds, both of them sat there, afraid to break whatever spell the music had put on them.

It did register that when they were done, Coach Sue didn't clap. In fact, by the time Santana and Blaine's eyes adjusted and they looked toward the seat where she had been, it sat empty.

Santana sent Blaine a confused look. What if Coach Sue thought it sucked? What if she walked out in protest?

But it was Blaine and his eye for detail that cleared the matter up. He jumped down off the stage and walked to Coach Sue's table. There, he picked up something from its surface and headed back toward Santana.

He was smiling as he held out the piece of Cheerios stationary for them both to see:

As you can see, I have left the building. I would blame the hormones, but that would be a disservice to two of my students who (for once in their lives) did exactly as I commanded, and were honest. You moved me. I felt this performance, and you owned the work.

Both of you have come incredibly far since September and I want you to know that one Sue Sylvester knows the pain of losing a family member. It isn't something you ever get over, but with time, the agony can become less acute. Keep music as your outlet, and keep friends like each other in your lives and you will be okay.

Best of luck in the future.

I'll be watching.

Sue Sylvester

Santana raised her eyebrows at Blaine, who was still smiling. She turned slowly, taking in every detail of the auditorium. Then, she nodded at him, and they walked out side by side, prepared to face the last few days of high school, with Coach Sue's advice in their hearts, and each other always close at hand.

Dear Santana,

I'm so sorry I haven't been in touch much since my senior year started. It's been crazy around here, with everyone vying for top position in glee, new kids arriving and all the relationship drama.

As Ms. Sylvester has officially extended her maternity leave past the summer months and into Robin's entire first year, we have been without a glee club director for a while. Principal Figgins let Mr. Schue come back as interim director, but he left, too, earlier this month to go fight for arts education in DC. Long story short, you'll never guess who has stepped in to help us... Finn.

He's actually doing really well at leading us, though it was a bit rough at first. This week, he's given us a superhero lesson and Sam and I are singing a duet to Heroes. It's not the same as when we performed together, but nothing can compare to that.

How is NYC? I miss you, but I am so glad that you're out there, doing what you love. I hope it's not too stressful or crowded living with Rachel and Kurt. It's nice that you know some familiar faces there, though.

Things are going all right for me, personally. I am still seeing Dr. Wilson weekly and that helps so much. She really helps keep me focused on what's truly important. On her most recent advice, I have finally framed and hung Cooper's collage in my room. My mother loves it, and my father is slowly starting to come around and talk to us. He knows I go talk to someone each week, and he hasn't hassled me about it, which is about as great an endorsement as one can hope to expect from him.

I still miss Cooper very much. There is nothing that can fill the space he left in my life. I know you understand the sentiment. Oh, and I wanted to make sure you knew, I've been looking in on your mom when I go visit Cooper. I keep her updated on all the latest happenings and what you're up to. I hope that's okay.

Well, I should wrap this up. We're preparing for Sectionals and it's nowhere near as structured as it was with Ms. Sylvester. I'll let you know how it goes. But between you and me, a few good thoughts sent our way wouldn't be too bad an idea.

Take care and write soon,

Blaine

Sent on 11/22/12 at 5:38 p.m.

Blaine-

The noise I made when I heard my phone go off telling me I had Hope & Healing mail was totally embarrassing. Wow. It's been a long time. I can't believe the last time we really talked was in August before school started for you.

Glee club sounds so different now. And I never would have pegged Finn as the guy to come back and lead, but I'm glad it's going okay. How's it going with the new blood? Are they awful? Did Mr. Schue make anybody cry at auditions or turn a bunch of kids away? Brittany mentioned that there was lots of interest this year. Winning Nationals does have its perks.

NY is so busy it's unbelievable. I thought I was used to fast paced living, but I was so, so wrong. Rachel and Kurt have gotten used to it, but as I'm the most recent transplant, it's taking me the longest to adjust. It is SO crowded, and I have yet to build up my Rachel and Kurt tolerance to endure them for more than a few hours at most. But I'm glad to be here. Even though I seriously have no idea what I'm doing. My dad says it's okay not to know, and to figure it out as I go, but I'm not so sure. And, God, I miss you, too. Please say you'll come out here ASAP when you graduate, it's so not the same without you.

Glad you're still keeping it real with Dr. Wilson. We mostly call each other now, and it's usually just if some big issue comes up. That's awesome that you hung Cooper's art! I was so glad I remembered to get that back to you before I left. And I'm so glad your parents are starting to come around more and more. You deserve that.

Of course you miss him. That's totally normal. I miss my mom every second of every day too, and it's making me tear up to know that you stop in to talk to her when you see your brother. Thank you so much for that. Honestly, that has been the hardest part about being away. Being physically away from my mom and dad. Dad says he's fine, but he sounds lonely. Last time I talked to him, he mentioned maybe getting a dog. I think one would be good for him, especially since he's cutting back his hours at work and doing a lot more fishing and hanging out with some of his friends. I'm happy for him.

I'm sending you guys tons of good vibes, and if that doesn't work? Tell them that Auntie Snix will arrive on the Bitchtown Express and go all Lima Heights if they don't win. The newbies won't get it, but you glee club veterans will no doubt get the reference.

Anyway, I gotta go to sleep. It's after 4 AM but this is the only time I have to write you. I miss you so much, and I really wish you were here with me, but I guess we have to find our own ways for a little while, right?

Take care, and I've meant to tell you this forever, but you have always been my safe place, too.

I'm here whenever you need me. Seriously.

The door's always open.

Love,

Santana

Sent on 11/23/12 at 4:02 a.m.