Half a Dozen Better Men
"So, what do you want for your birthday, kid?" he asks, not sure if he'll get the same response as last year. Yeah, that was weird – pretty much proved all suspicions he's not exactly ruler-like – but Kurt seemed so hurt when he said no. Burt feels kind of guilty.
Kurt begins listing things which a creepy amount of eloquence for a four year old, but he ends on "...and a pair of sensible heels."
Burt blinks. Kurt blinks right back.
"Look, I know you said no last year, but this is something I really want and Mommy said she's okay with it, so I'm not why you're..."
Burt sighs. Well, the kid is nothing if not persistent – Burt feels a swell of pride, even if he has no idea how he is meant to buy heels then explain they're for his son.
The hospital freaks him out. Or maybe that's just because his wife has just died there.
For a few seconds, he can't piece it together. Dead. He holds the word up against her image in his mind and it just doesn't mesh. Then finally, it sinks into place – Kat is gone and she is never coming back. Then he gets mad – he wants to scream and punch and kick and burn this place to the ground.
But Kurt is still sitting there, silently crying, so he can't. Bad example and all.
So instead he sits down by his son, the weight heavy on his shoulders. Every tear Kurt sheds makes the whole situation feel more real, more permanent, but that's not Kurt's fault. The situation is real and permanent, after all.
Burt collapses into tears; wracking, regular sobs that make his body quake with the effort. He buries his head in his hands. He feels a small hand on his forearm, stroking and trying to soothe him. "It' okay, it's okay," Kurt whispers in a broken voice, even though it's painfully obvious to them both that it's not.
"She's dead," Burt spits out. "How is that okay, kid?"
Kurt doesn't answer, just curls into Burt's side as they both cry. "It's okay, it's okay."
Burt feels guilty, because he really thinks he should be the one comforting Kurt in this situation, but he just can't right now. He guesses he's proud his son – the kid is eight freaking years old – can step up to the plate when needed.
"Kurt, I'm not sure this is a good idea. You've told me all about the Glee kids; don't they get hit by like, sodas and stuff?"
"Slushies. Which will probably be terrible for my figure, but that's not the point," Kurt says. "Dad, I love singing. I always have. I never joined before just because Sandy Ryerson was creepier than a Transylvanian castle at night, but that's over now. This is what I want to do, and if everyone will throw ice drinks at me for it? Bring. It. On."
Burt sighs and nods. "Of course. I forgot how stubborn you can be."
"That's not a compliment."
"It's is from me. You even realize how much stronger than me you are?"
Kurt laughs. "Of course I do, dad. It's not hard."
"Hey, watch your mouth kid," but they're both grinning.
"I'm... I'm gay," Kurt says.
"I know," is Burt's only response. "I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels."
It seems a little anti-climactic, to tell you the truth.
"I can't say I'm in love with the idea, but if that's who you are, well, there's nothing I can do about it. And I don't love you any less for it," he clamps a hand down on Kurt's shoulder, who looks like he might just cry. Burt hopes that's from relief or something, because he's really trying to be good about this.
"Thanks for telling me," he says, and envelops Kurt in a hug. He thinks about how hard this must have been – he's not the kind of guy that would seem accepting to a confused kid, he knows that. If it wasn't for Kurt, he probably wouldn't be. He feels proud, because when he thinks about it, if he was Kurt's son and the gay one and the whole situation was generally reversed? He would have just lingered in that closet forever.
"No you can't," Kurt bluntly tells him. Burt doesn't want to admit it's true, but it kind of is. "Not about this. I saw you after you got that phone call, and you were... so hurt. And so upset. It just killed me," and it breaks his voice on that word. Burt just feels terrible for being the motivation for Kurt hiding again.
"That phone call was just the beginning, and it's only going to get worse if I go up in front of a thousand people to sing a girl's song," Kurt says. "I'm not saying I'm going to hide in the closet... I'm just saying, I love you more than I love being a star."
Burt is suitably touched – teary eyed and everything. He asks Kurt to help him with the car, and Kurt runs off to change, citing something about some guy and his sweater. Burt doesn't get it, but oh well.
Burt realizes something.
If the roles were reversed? He doesn't think he could be like Kurt and be selfless. He's not even sure he'd think of that. He'd probably do the selfish thing, be the star – after all, Kurt wanted this so much, and tried so hard. Burt doesn't think he could put that much work in and give it up, but Kurt could. Burt doesn't know how exactly he raised this incredible kid.
"What the hell is this?" he barks, holding the card and it's fucking stupid color coordination up high, where Kurt can see it. Kurt kind of looks like a baby gazelle when his eyes are all wide and scared like that.
"Let me read it for you, huh? 'Plan to Get Finn Hudson to Live With You via Introducing Parents and Making Them Date,'" he says, and that 'I am so screwed' expression settles over Kurt's face.
"I know, it was stupid, I just–"
"Stupid? It's insane, immoral, and pretty much outright stalking; what the hell is wrong with you?"
"I'm sixteen, dad. Didn't you ever like someone so much you went crazy back then?"
Burt shakes his head. "Not like this. Yeah, I pulled some stupid crap on some girls in high school, but this? This is just wrong." There are tears forming in Kurt's eyes, and Burt shakes his head. "Oh, hell no. You are not trying to play the victim here."
"I'm not doing it on purpose!" Kurt snaps, desperately trying to wipe his tears away. "And in case you don't remember, the whole plan? Didn't work out so well for me!"
"Hey, he's still in your bedroom, and according to this plan thing, that was the end goal – what the hell is with that actual freaking report anyway; what, you thought if you somehow got him, you'd want to see every step of progress?"
Kurt shakes his head. "No, I'm just... organized," he says. Finn pops his head up from the stairs leading to the basement.
"Kurt, Burt? What's going on? I heard yelling?" he asks, drawing himself out and looking worried.
"Nothing kid, just my son obsessively stalking you," Burt says, thrusting the card toward Finn.
Finn stares at the card for a few seconds. "Dude!" he eventually calls out, looking at Kurt, aghast (not that Finn would know what aghast means).
Kurt sniffles. "Finn, I'm sorry," he says, and Finn nods like he can't quite understand. Burt shakes his head.
"Hell no. You do not just get to try apologizing and then pretending nothing ever happened; I won't let you."
Finn grabs his arm. "Burt, please calm down–"
"And why in the hell are you so calm, huh? After all, aren't you the one he was actually stalking?"
Finn looks uncomfortable. "Well, yeah, but I kind of suspected that all along and have moved on by now. You must chill."
Burt keeps shaking his head. "No. I won't not about this."
"Hey, actually the victim here! If I can get over it, so can you."
"You can get over it because you're an idiot and too damn nice to do anything," Burt dismisses him, and turns back to Kurt. "I thought you were so much better than this, son."
"Dad, I am so sorry."
Burt just stares at him. "Who are you?" he asks.
Kurt looks away. "I'm not that sure," he admits.