A/N So, this story is so old now I had to dust the cobwebs off it and re-read it (cringe!) and I must admit I considered deleting the whole thing or at the very least re-writing huge sections before I decided to just go ahead and end it. I've learnt so much writing this fic (mostly about how not to write!) and I hope you have enjoyed it despite its many imperfections. Thank you for sticking with me. RE
Real clothes feel like heaven after two weeks confined to pyjamas, even the silk ones Mercedes had bought him to replace the scratchy polyester hospital gown he'd grown to despise.
He's been here so long now it's hard to imagine life beyond the four walls of his room, let alone the Great Outdoors, and the thought of imminent freedom is making him impatient.
Apparently his dad feels the same.
"Home cooking Kurt! No more hospital slop. And our couch and big TV! We can order pizza!"
Kurt rolls his eyes and tries to bite back the grin that wants to form on his face. He longs for home.
"Yeah, yeah cholesterol, schmolesterol. I've had enough hospital food to last me a lifetime. Actually I've had enough of hospitals to last a lifetime. Haven't been this excited to leave anyplace since the day your mom and I took you home after you were born."
"From here?" Kurt asks although he already knows the answer.
"From here." Burt confirms and his eyes look far away, "Those mirrored doors at the exit? They were there back then too. I remember catching sight of our reflection. Saw myself carrying you in your carseat all wrapped up, the other arm around your mom who was just about glowing with happiness. Three Hummels against the world. First time I really understood what family was all about."
He glances at his son who is rapt with attention.
"… I ever tell you about the day you were born?"
Kurt shakes his head.
"Your mom had been in labour for almost three days before you showed up. They took you away so your mom could get some rest. She fell asleep smiling. It was only when it was quiet that I realized all I knew about my baby was that he was a boy, he was healthy and he had a fine set of lungs on him. Your mom always said you'd end up singing opera like that fat man on the Volvo commercial!"
Kurt smiles at his dad but stays quiet, not wanting to break the spell.
"A nurse took me down to the nursery. It was around midnight and the lighting in the nursery was just bright enough to see the rows of sleeping babies. I picked you out straight away, wrapped up in a blanket so only your face was showing. I only meant to come and look but as soon as I saw you I had to hold you. Nurse nearly had a fit when I tried to pick you up like a baseball! Wasn't naturally good with babies like your mom was. She sat me in the chair next to your crib and put you in my arms. She showed me how to hold you so your head didn't flop around and then left us together."
His dad's voice has been getting softer and softer and it trails off altogether.
"Dad?" Kurt puts a tentative hand on his arm and Burt looks up.
"She left us together Kurt, just you and me. And I looked at you, really looked at you for the first time and, Kurt, you opened your eyes and you looked at me too. Your mom never believed me, said newborns' vision is crummy, but I swear son you looked at me and it was like we'd always known each other. And in that moment I loved you more than I ever believed it was possible to love anyone or anything and I never, ever wanted to let you go, wanted to hold you close forever. 'Course, next thing I know, the nurse was taking you out of my arms and telling me to shake ass because my snoring was waking the babies!"
"You always were a loud snorer Dad." Kurt smiles and feels it reach his eyes.
"The reason I'm telling you all this son is because that feeling? That love that felt impossible? It never changed. It never will change. And I'm sorry that I ever made you doubt that. I thought you knew."
"I'm so sorry. I did know. I do know. I was just being selfish and jealous and…"
"Let's make a deal. To stop beating ourselves up over things we can't change."
Kurt smiles, "Good plan."
They both flinch at the loud crash outside the door. There is a muffled curse before Finn enters the room backwards, pulling a wheelchair in with him.
"Hey Kurt, need a ride?"
Kurt and his dad share a look.
"That depends. Do you have a licence to drive that thing? Or anything for that matter?"
"I'm a great driver." Finn says distractedly, manoeuvring the chair round the bed and crashing into the, thankfully unconnected, IV stand. He lunges forward and catches it before it hits the wall. "See? Great reactions."
"Uh. That's ok, I think I'll walk."
"Uh-uh, hospital policy. Nurse Elizabeth said so."
Finn gestures to the chair, smiling expectantly.
"Stupid Nurse Elizabeth, I thought she liked me." Kurt mutters, casting a desperate glance towards his father who shrugs.
"Sorry son, I'd push you myself but…" He nods towards his heavily bandaged shoulder and arm in a sling.
"Fine." Kurt huffs and shuffles towards the edge of the bed.
Finn helps his carefully into the chair and secures a blanket across his knees, a look of intense concentration on his face.
Kurt looks from the blanket up to Finn, "Seriously? A grandma blanket? In tartan?"
"Dude it's cold out there!" Finn tells him, checking Kurt is secure before carefully wheeling the chair backwards towards the door.
Turns out Finn is actually a pretty good driver once he has an almost-stepbrother as a passenger and, once he cools it on the muscle car noises, Kurt gradually relaxes as he is wheeled through the myriad of corridors towards the hospital exit.
Carole meets them at the doors, a matching wheelchair in tow.
"Who's that for?" Burt asks, his tone suspicious.
"You, sweetie." Carole tells him firmly, winking at Kurt, "Nurse Elizabeth's orders."
"Damn Nurse Elizabeth, I thought she liked me." Burt grumbles but sits down anyway, wincing as the movement aggravates his shoulder.
Kurt catches Finn's eye and grins.
As they're wheeled towards the exit, Kurt catches site of the four of them reflected in the door. Two Hudsons, two Hummels, all four looking fierce in their determination to heal and protect. And, Kurt thinks, isn't that what family is all about?
A/N That's a wrap folks. A final thank you to all of you who read and who reviewed – I can honestly say I would never have finished this without the encouragement I had from you guys and I'm very grateful.