I started this story with a short section from Burt's POV, so I decided to return to that for the final chapter. Thank you all so much for all the supportive – and at times hilarious – feedback. Over 100 comments, most of them starting with the word, "Aww". Score! LOL
Burt hummed a little tune under his breath as he and Carole finished washing up the breakfast dishes. They moved about the kitchen in easy syncopation, almost as if they had been doing things like this for years rather than months. He had not felt so comfortable with anyone since his wife died and performing such a mundane task together gave him a warm, secure feeling deep inside.
Carole had not told him much about what happened when she was putting Kurt to bed last night, but he could tell that something about it had touched her deeply. He had wanted to ask; almost had asked, several times, but his son was a very private person in many ways and if Carole was guarding Kurt's trust, then he had to respect that even if it killed him.
His musings were interrupted by Finn, who stuck his head in the room and said, "Kurt's up. He looks a lot better today."
Wiping his hands on the towel, Burt put an arm around Carole and walked with her into the living room. Kurt was sitting on the sofa, not bothering with the heavy blankets he had used yesterday, and as he smiled up at them, it was obvious that he was feeling a great deal healthier. He had taken a shower, parted and combed his hair and shaved away the stubble that had looked so out of place on his typically immaculate young face. He had even made an effort at fashion, pairing his baby blue flannel pajamas with black moccasin slippers and a black silk dressing gown adorned with silver piping around the cuffs and collar. Burt privately thought the robe looked like something one might steal out of Hugh Hefner's closet, but he wasn't about to say so.
"Well, it looks like somebody has rejoined the land of the living!" Burt greeted him, smiling as he laid a hand against Kurt's forehead. They had a thermometer around the house somewhere, but he had never bothered to figure out where it had disappeared to. Even without it, however, he could tell that his son's temperature was much closer to normal. He still felt a little warm, but no longer worrisome. "How do you feel?"
Kurt made a so-so gesture with his hand.
"Throat sore again?"
He nodded, coughing a little, and Carole made a sympathetic clucking noise. "I'll go fix you some more medicine," she offered, starting to leave the room.
Burt stopped her with a hand on her arm. "I got it covered. You gotta get to work and I'm pretty sure you promised Finn a ride to school."
Finn was the only member of the household who did not own his own car, a situation that Burt and Carole had already discussed remedying come Finn's next birthday, Kurt aiding and abetting the notion by dropping hints as subtle as nuclear bombs every time he was forced to attend one of Finn's sporting events after school in order to give his friend a ride home. A situation that somehow always ended up with Kurt playing chauffeur to Puck, Matt, Mike and any other stragglers who happened to be loitering around the baseball field.
"Oh, you're right," Carole said, looking exasperated with herself. Glancing at Finn, she said, "I'm sorry, honey, I forgot."
He shrugged. "You've been kinda busy," he said, looking pointedly at Kurt. Then a crafty little smile worked its way across Finn's lips and he crouched down, flashing his best pleading look at his friend. "Hey, maybe, since you're going to be home all day anyway and it's just sitting in the garage, maybe I could borrow your SUV."
Kurt's eyes widened.
"I mean, you do kind of owe me a favor," Finn continued, his sad-puppy look impossibly becoming even more pathetic. "You were so congested last night that you were snoring all night. And I do mean all night. Loud. I could hardly get any sleep at all. Plus, didn't I get up in the middle of the night and pound on your back when you started coughing? Then went upstairs and made you some hot tea . . . with honey . . . and lemon?"
"Fine! Okay! You win! You can borrow the Navigator," Kurt caved. "But you get one scratch on my baby and you are toast."
To Kurt's great embarrassment, both Finn and his father burst out laughing. They just could not help it. The cold had settled in his chest, making his voice about an octave deeper than it should have been, giving away the main reason he had been unwilling to speak.
"Congratulations, Kurt," Burt teased, patting his shoulder. "I think your voice has finally changed!"
Kurt gave him a sour smile, clearly not thinking that was funny at all.
Carole smacked him on the chest. "Be nice." Addressing Kurt, she asked, "Are you hungry?"
A surprised look came over Kurt's face and he rubbed a hand across his stomach. "Starving."
Burt winked at him. "Glad to hear it! Chef Hummel is on the job."
"Nothing too heavy," Carole worried.
"Honey, I've been feeding the kid for sixteen years. I know what he likes." Looking at Kurt, he recited, "Scrambled eggs, no runny parts, crispy bacon with no fat curls or burned stuff, and English muffins with butter and organic honey. Apple juice, but only if it's not made from concentrate, and a glass of ice-cold 1% milk on the side. Right?"
Kurt looked happy. "Exactly right."
Carole smiled warmly at them both. "Sounds like you're in good hands. And your dad went out and bought some more ice cream last night after you went to bed, so you boys are all set."
"I got the keys, Mom," Finn interrupted, appearing from the kitchen where he had gone to fetch Kurt's spare set off the hook where they were kept. He grinned hugely. "Want a ride?"
She looked pleased, hugging her son's arm. "Thank you, I would love one."
Kurt's eyes narrowed. "See why I don't trust him with my car, Dad? He's had possession for less than two minutes and he's already picking up hot women."
This time it was Carole who burst out laughing. She struck a vampy pose, patting her hair. "Why, thank you."
Burt gave his smiling son a hand up, pulling him close with an elbow around his neck. "You trying to steal my girl?"
"Maybe," he teased back. Stepping out of his dad's hold, Kurt wrapped his arms around Carole and hugged her tightly. "Have a good day, Carole. Thanks again for taking such good care of me yesterday."
"You're welcome, sweetie. You take it easy today."
Finn waved goodbye with that broad grin still plastering his face, ushering his mother out the door quickly as though fearing that Kurt would find some reason to change his mind about the vehicle if they lingered.
Kurt's gaze stayed on the door for a few seconds after it had closed; a strange little smile on his face. "We really are lucky, aren't we?"
That warm, secure feeling swept over Burt even stronger than before. Kurt had been the catalyst for his relationship with Carole, but until now he had never seemed personally interested in her as anything more than a casual friend and shopping partner. As much a project as a person. He had certainly never engaged in such casual affection with her before.
Suddenly, Burt no longer cared if he never found out the details of what had gone on yesterday between Carole and Kurt. The result was more than enough for him.
Looping his arm back around Kurt's shoulders, he gave him a tug toward the kitchen. "We sure are, son. We sure are."