Notes: Like the other bits and pieces in the Papa Bear 'verse, this snippet stands alone. This story takes place some time after season one of Glee.
Summary: When you're half-bear like Kurt Hummel not everything is easy, especially not getting a boyfriend. And that goes double for keeping him.
What you need to know:
Burt Hummel is literally a bear. His wife was human. Ergo, Kurt is half-bear.
Bearglish is the spoken language of bears. Humans can understand it (mostly) but have a lot of trouble speaking it.
Up to this point in his life Kurt Hummel hadn't exactly had it easy. Not the easy that his life looked like from the outside anyway. Kurt was sixteen going on seventeen, fashion savvy, a cheerleader. He had a small group of real friends, the best and most brilliant bff in the world, and a family who accepted him for who he was without question. He was gay, he was out of the closet, and most of the bullying he'd suffered through was ignorable.
On the outside Kurt was the perfectly popular, confident gay youth. He was someone to look up to, someone you kind of wished you wanted to be. Someone that Sam wanted to be with.
Sam was new at McKinley. In fact, he was new in Lima. His mother had moved him to Lima after the divorce, gone back to live with a mother she hadn't spoken to in person since before Sam could remember. It was strange, going from a big city to a small town like this one. He'd expected it to be different, had expected to hate it and its tiny little mall and lack of pretty much anything to do.
Then on his first day at McKinley High he'd seen Kurt Hummel walking down the hall with his best friend and two things had happened. He had revised his idea of Lima being a hick town - because no hick town could tolerate a guy like that and not suffer some kind of meltdown. And he'd found himself in the middle of a tiny little gay freak-out.
It had taken him weeks to sort himself out. To figure out that yes, he liked Kurt Hummel. And yes, he was kind of ok with actually going out on a limb and asking him out. Because Sam was fairly smart, he had just made the football team, his grandparents were old money, and he was from a city with more than one shopping centre. All of which made him more than cool enough to date a guy like Kurt, who was moneyed up and fabulous.
He got up the courage to ask Kurt out on a Thursday, and it was also the first time he'd ever spoken to the other boy alone. "Hey," Sam had said, "you know we've never actually had the chance to talk one on one before. I'm Sam. Orchard."
"I know," Kurt replied, smiling at him, "Finn told me about you, you're the new player on the football team."
"I hear they suck," Sam joked, and took a step forward to bring himself right to the edge of Kurt's personal space, "so I can't mess up too badly... You're on the cheerleading team. You're really good, I saw you practicing the other day."
"Thanks." Kurt's smile got wider, and he raised a hand to nervously brush his hair away from his forehead. "The Cheerios have never sucked, by the way. So don't get any ideas about flattery."
"Do you want to go out with me?" Sam asked. He grinned when he realised he'd just blurted it out, not about to take it back or pretend like he hadn't meant it. Confidence was key, right? He wanted Kurt to think he was confident enough to handle him.
Kurt blinked for a moment. His cheeks turned pink. "Sure!" He said finally, and then reached out to straighten Sam's jacket collar. "You can pick me up tomorrow at eight. I'll give you my address." Kurt's fingers lingered against the fabric of Sam's jacket.
Sam took another step forward and, taking a change, leaned down for his very first kiss with a boy. It was strikingly similar to kissing a girl. Kurt had soft lips that were just a little sticky with some kind of gloss and tasted a little like cherry. Sam didn't know that it was Kurt's first kiss. He thought Kurt kept his lips closed because he wasn't the kind of boy who went fast, not because he was too surprised to do more than just stand there and let Sam kiss him.
Sam backed off a little, his lips sticky with Kurt's gloss. "So I'll see you tomorrow?"
Kurt was still blushing a little, but the way he fluttered his eyelashes was nothing short of flirtatious. "You could walk me to my car," he suggested. "Before we say goodbye for today."
On the short walk to Kurt's car Sam found out that the other boy lived just two streets over from his house, had loved music since forever, and preferred sushi to steak. Sam mentally scratched 'steakhouse' off the list of potential place to take Kurt on their date tomorrow and instead decided to see if there was actually a sushi bar in Lima.
"I have a date!" Kurt squealed as soon as he got in the door.
"With who?" Finn asked, poking his head out of the kitchen to look at his almost-stepbrother.
"With Sam!" Kurt exclaimed. "The new guy. The very cute new guy who is so totally into me that he kissed me and walked me to my car. I think we're going to get sushi." Kurt paused, looking thoughtful, and girlier (not that he'd ever tell him that) than Finn had ever seen him look before. "Does this mean we're dating? Do I have a boyfriend?"
"Sam?" Finn repeated, just a little bit surprised. "Ok. Uh... I guess it depends on how he acts tomorrow."
"You're right," Kurt agreed, and breezed through into the kitchen to pluck a bottle of mineral water from the fridge. "I shouldn't get ahead of myself." He took a deep, calming breath, uncapped the bottle of water, and nodded at Finn. "We can get to know each other a little better tomorrow, and then I can worry about semantics."
"Does he know about Burt?" Finn asked, hoping that came out more sensitive than when he thought it. Obviously, from the sharp look that Kurt shot his way, it hadn't. "I just mean, you know, your dad can be kind of protective. You should warn Sam in case he's standing outside and Burt's the one who opens the door. So he doesn't freak out over the protective dad act."
"Hm. You may be right about that." Kurt tapped a finger against his bottom lip. "I'll let him know tomorrow." He flashed Finn another smile. "Right now I have to call Mercedes and tell her the news!"
Finn watched his almost-brother scurry off to the basement. He frowned as he went back to making the sandwich he'd abandoned when Kurt came in. The truth was that Finn hadn't meant Burt's protective steak when he said Kurt should warn Sam. He'd meant that Sam should be warned about Burt in general. About Burt being a bear.
Finn wasn't stupid. Sam was a city-boy who came from old money. His opinions on bears were bound to be old fashioned. Before Finn got to know Burt he hadn't liked the idea of his mother dating a bear. Even if Sam himself was cool with Kurt's parentage no doubt his family would have some issues. Personally he thought Kurt should hold out for someone who already knew and didn't care about it. If only that someone, he thought to himself, would get off their ass and actually make a move.
If Sam wound up hurting Kurt because he was half-bear then Finn was going to kick Puck's ass.
Kurt showed up to the gleek table with Sam on his arm, both of them smiling and talking. They looked at ease with one another, perfectly confident on the outside while Finn knew, just knew, that Kurt would have been vibrating with nerves on the inside. This, he thought to himself as he watched Kurt introduce Sam to the table without batting an eyelid, is why he always wins at poker.
Puck on the other hand...
Puck was a thundercloud on Finn's right, crackling with electricity. Finn had to kick him under the table to get him to say a terse 'hi' when Kurt said his name. Puck always wore his emotions in plain view, so even if you didn't know what was wrong (and most of the table didn't) you knew he was pissed about something.
"Suck it up," Finn muttered under his breath, barely loud enough for his friend to hear. "That's what you get for being a chicken."
"Screw you, Hudson," Puck muttered back. Venomously. He then stood, loudly pushing his chair away from the table, and stomped off, scaring freshmen with nothing more than the look on his face.
Finn watched him go, then turned back to the rest of the table, shaking his head.
"Did you two have a fight?" Kurt asked, catching Finn's eye.
"No," Finn replied, though he knew it would mean a serious ass-kicking if Puck ever found out he'd said it, "it's just that time of the month, you know?"
Kurt pursed his lips, looked like he was about to say something else, then was promptly distracted by Sam asking a question. The smiling poker face showed up again, a mask of confidence that hid any possible insecurities or worries that Sam would back out at the last second. It seemed unlikely, Finn admitted grudgingly, Sam seemed like a nice guy.
"My dad can be kind of overprotective," Kurt stated, walking hand in hand with Sam to class. "But he's really just a big teddybear, so don't let him intimidate you if you see him tonight."
"I think I can handle your dad," Sam replied. He gave Kurt's hand a soft, reassuring squeeze. The father of a gay teen couldn't be any worse than the father of a teenage girl, and the worst Sam had ever faced was the father of a Catholic girl who'd threatened him with hellfire if he so much as laid a hand on his baby girl. After all, it's not as if Kurt could get pregnant... Though, to be honest, Sam wasn't even thinking about sex yet. It was one thing to admit to liking a guy, to wanting to date a guy. It was another thing entirely to admit you maybe wanted to sleep with him.
"Good," Kurt told him, and stood on tiptoes outside the classroom door to give him a peck on the cheek. "Because I don't' want you being scared off."
Kurt came home from school and went straight downstairs to the basement, where he immediately locked himself in the tiny bathroom and took a half hour long shower. He dried off, applied moisturising lotion to his skin, and shrugged into a fluffy white robe that belted around the waist. Matching slippers on his feet, he down at his desk and did homework – a necessary nuisance to avoid academic trouble - until his father got home at six-thirty, which was his cue to start getting ready for his date.
He went for elegant and hip rather than over the top, figuring it would be better for the both of them if he didn't aim to attract too much attention on their first date.
Skinny jeans, sneakers, and a graphic tee. That was downright casual. He threw a dinner jacket on over the top for a bit of personal flair and spent the next few minutes fixing his hair. By the time he was done, and applying vanilla flavoured chapstick, he could hear the doorbell ring upstairs.
Not wanting to appear too eager, Kurt took his time finding his wallet and house keys before he trotted up the stairs. He got there just in time to see Sam backing away from the front door, wide eyed and staring at Kurt's father, who had obviously just opened the door.
"Sam?" Kurt asked, not sure what was going on but not putting it past his father to have pulled the 'get him home by eleven or else' speech that Kurt always saw being aired on sitcoms. "What's wrong?"
Sam didn't answer, just shook his head.
"Dad?" Kurt turned to his father.
'Now don't get the wrong idea,' Burt replied, with the same tone of voice he reserved for the uneducated few who thought bears had the volatile tempers that outdated cartoons painted them with. The soothing rumble reminded Kurt of being comforted during thunderstorms or tucked into bed. 'I only just opened the door.'
"Sam?" Kurt tried again, squeezing past his father to get out the front door. "I told you, he's just a teddybear. Even Finn said –"
"Your dad is a bear." Sam blurted, eyes flicking back and forth from Kurt to his father. "You're half bear?"
"Well... yes." Kurt frowned. He was used to the reaction, even from some of the people on his father's side of the family. "Is that a problem? I thought you knew... Everyone knows."
Sam shook his head, and for just a moment Kurt thought that meant he knew he'd had an overreaction – that everything was fine, they could get on with their evening now. Then Sam turned tail and ran. Literally ran. He practically dove into his car, and was gone before Kurt could blink.
Devastated, humiliated, and never having expected that Sam would react that way, Kurt just stood in the doorway. He had to blink back tears when a large, warm paw gently landed on his shoulder. 'Come on,' Burt suggested. 'Lets get you fixed up with a smoothie and one of those girly shows you like.'
Kurt didn't protest. He let his father lead him to the living room and sat down on one of their very comfortable couches. A few minutes later he was shoeless, jacketless, leaning against his father's side with a fruit smoothie in front of him on the coffee table.
'There will be other boys,' Burt assured him, as awkwardly as only a heterosexual male can be.
"Yeah," Kurt agreed, leaning his head against his father's shoulder and taking comfort from the clean scent of Burt's fur. "But I liked this one."
Maybe he should have expected this. Should have stuck to his whole (semi-involuntary) plan of not dating until college, where it was supposedly easier to find boys who weren't racist jerks or stuck firmly in the closet. He should have expected that someone from Sam's background - white, southern, old money - would take one look at his dad and totally dismiss him. Kurt knew he didn't look half-bear. He looked totally human, even under close scrutiny. The parts of his physiognomy that came from his father's side were all things that could only be revealed by x-ray or very personal examination. He never spoke Bearglish because it made him sound ridiculously young when spoken with his already-unique voice. His diet was more varied than the average bear's, though he had an obvious preference for fresh food and especially fish.
Kurt sighed. He didn't want to become one of those people who lied about their parentage in order to fit in. He was proud of his father, he would never in a million years wish for Burt to be any different. He just wished everyone else could see it that way too.