Title: I'll Be There
Rating: K+, PG
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Burt, Kurt. Puck/Kurt in later chapters. Burt/Carole, Finn/Rachel
Spoilers: Anything up to the end of season one is fair game, though I'm not sure there's anything really.
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee. I make no profit from this.
Author Notes: This small series was inspired by six songs. They are as follows: "I'll Be There" as performed by The Jackson Five, "Lullaby" as performed by Billy Joel, "Breeze Off the River" from the musical The Full Monty, "When You Come Back Down" as performed by Nicklecreek, "Child of Mine" as performed by Carol King, and "All You Need is Love" as performed by The Beatles. I hope you enjoy it! Please review if you have a moment.
Summary: A fluffy interconnected series of one shots mostly about the relationship between Burt and Kurt Hummel.
Word Count: ~2,500
Kurt was two weeks away from his forth birthday when Burt came to a realization that literally left him speechless and gaping as he watched his beautiful wife and young son look at the shoes against the wall in JC Penney. His son Kurt, the apple of his eye and his every hope for the future, was…gay.
It had started innocently enough with a simple question as he and Connie swung Kurt between them in the wide aisle of the department store.
"So, Kurtie, what do you want for your birthday?"
"Shoes!" Kurt said with a wide, toothy smile on his angelic face as he looked up at Burt and his heart melted all over again at seeing the little boy he and the woman he loved had made. Kurt looked so much like Connie sometimes it was scary. But, his mile wide stubborn streak and his certainty that he was always right were pure Hummel. No man was ever more proud of his son.
"What kind of shoes, baby?" Connie laughed and followed Kurt over to the heels when he dashed away from them.
He just stared as Connie explained the difference between sensible shoes and fun shoes to Kurt and they both giggled as they tried on heels together and their boy attempted to walk in them and fell unsteadily into Connie's waiting arms. Burt's knees were weak as he made his way to the little stool set out to aid in the trying on of shoes. He sat heavily and Connie looked over at him and he could see in her eyes that she already knew and that they'd talk about it later. Her eyes warned him that it wasn't the time and if he did anything to spoil the way their little boy was giggling and twirling she'd lock him out of their room and he'd be on the couch until kingdom come. He swallowed hard and looked at Kurt again.
Sure, Kurt had always been a little bit…prissy was the only word to describe it. Even at two when most kids, not just little boys, were more than ready and willing to get dirty, Kurt refused to get in the sandbox at the playground. He just screaming his head off when Burt tried to put him down. And he'd always preferred the Barbie dolls sweet little Brittany brought over to the teenaged mutant ninja turtles and G.I. Joes that Burt bought him when he started playing with multiple characters and making up stories for them. And what the hell type of three year old asked his mama to dress him in complimentary colors and threw a fit when his clothes wrinkled?
A gay one. It wasn't any easier to think the second time than the first. He tried to forget about, tried to smile at his boy's sweet enjoyment of the feminine shoes, but he couldn't and it ruined the afternoon for all of them. The trip home in the car was tense and silent. Even Kurt, who normally chattered away about anything and everything, simply sat in his booster and played quietly with, Burt winced when he looked in the rearview mirror, one the Barbie dolls Brittany left at their house.
"Baby doll, can you give Mommy and Daddy a minute?" Connie said quietly when they got home.
Kurt nodded, his big, bright eyes wide and confused as they flicked back and forth between his parents. He hugged the Barbie close to his chest and shuffled off, ridiculously silent still.
"Burt…" Connie whispered when Kurt had been gone at least thirty seconds.
"He's a fag, Connie! Why the hell didn't I see it before? Our son's a fucking fag!"
The punch, when it came, was shocking as the pain hit him like lightning right across his cheek. Through that he felt a jolt of pride. No insulting slaps, not from his girl. No, his wife had a mean right hook.
"If I ever hear that word come from your lips again, Burtram Hummel, I swear that I will take Kurt and move back in with my parents and you will never see us again." She was hissing and her eyes were flashing and she'd never been more beautiful or more honest. She'd do exactly what she said. Pain, stronger than the punch, struck him in the gut. It took him a minute to realize that she was still talking, "I know that this isn't exactly what you were hoping for from Kurt, Hummel," She was using his last name. Those were the big guns. It was the only thing she had called him when they were dating, "But, God, look at him! He's not even four! If there's a better argument for some people are just born this way, I can't find one! And he's still our baby! We still created him together. He's still the little one you brought into our bed every night the first month he was home because you couldn't sleep without being able to just open your eyes and see that he was breathing! Do you remember that, Hummel? Because I do. I've never been more in love with you."
He remembered. He remembered like it was yesterday The first night they tried to put Kurt in a crib in the nursery he'd gotten up twenty times to lay two fingers on Kurt's tiny little back just to make sure that he was breathing. Eventually Connie just moaned at him to bring Kurt back to bed with him if he was going to get up twice as often as Kurt even cried. Connie said she was never more in love with him. He'd never been more in love either, with her of course, but also with a kid. It was something he'd never expected. He'd fallen in love with Kurt the moment he was born, collapsing in a chair against the wall and burying his face in his hands. Kurt's birth had shaken him to his core. When Kurt had been just minutes old Burt had been ready to kill or die for him. It had only gotten stronger as Kurt got older.
"Connie…" His voice was shaky.
"Burt, I want you to take a drive," Connie whispered, turning away, hands gripping her elbows as if she were hugging herself, "I want you to think long and hard. I know this is going to be hard for you, but I want you to think about how you felt the minute Kurt was born and about how you felt that whole month when you couldn't bear to have him out of your sight. I want you to think about what your life would be like without Kurt in it. More important…I want you to think about what Kurt's life would be like without you in it. Take as long as you need. We'll still be here, promise." She turned back to him and the tears running down her face cut him to the bone. She took two strides to him and lifted herself up on her toes to press her lips to his cheek gently, "If this is a factor…know that I love you, but if I have to choose between you and Kurt…"
"You'd choose him," Burt finished for her. He hugged her close, "I wouldn't love you if you didn't. I'll be back soon."
It was hard to admit that he had to think about it, but he did. His family…they'd never been accepting. A gay man was a fag. A lesbian was a dyke. He wanted to say that it wasn't fair that Connie was making him confront his prejudices and asking him to let them go but, it was fair. If it was about their baby, everything was fair. He drove for hours, stopping to fill up once and did what Connie asked. He thought about it. He thought about how he had always loved Kurt and how he still loved him. He pictured his life without Kurt and Connie. He was still young enough, he had a good job. He could probably have another girlfriend in a couple of months. He could be married again before the next two years were out. But, when he tried to think of waking up next to anyone but Connie, when he thought about not being able to just walk down the hall and find Kurt sleeping peacefully and happily, his gut clenched. Then he did the other thing she had asked of him and tried to picture Kurt's life without him. He couldn't really see Kurt grown, even in his mind, but he didn't imagine that teenaged boys would be any different when Kurt was their age than when he had been. And in his mind he could definitely picture the blood when Kurt was hit, he could hear him cry out in pain and fear, crying for his father. And there was no one there. He pulled his truck over, pushed the door open, and fell to his knees in the dirt, gagging and heaving. Anger curled in his chest as he thought about those who would potentially hurt his baby boy and anger at himself for having to take time at all.
He wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt, got back in the truck, and began the long drive home. When he passed the mall, he made a pit-stop and begged the sales lady to let him in, just for five minutes. She smiled and he watched her eyes go misty when he told her what he needed. She told him that she had a little boy, too and that she knew what it was like to just have to get something. She raised an eyebrow at his purchase, but he just shrugged and she smiled again. He thanked her a million times as they made their way to their cars together and was home in record time.
When he pulled up in the drive he was surprised to see that the lights were still on in the house. He could hear music coming from the living room and made his way there as quickly as he possibly could. When he got there he had to lean against the door frame and just smile as his heart stuttered a little. Connie was twirling around the room with Kurt in her arms, leaning back, his hair flying out as he giggled and Connie sang along in that sweet voice of hers. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him in the room.
"Hummel?" She asked. He hated the fear in her voice.
He just smiled and looked at his little boy in the dinosaur pajamas looking at him with a question and trepidation in his eyes that cut into Burt's heart. He called out Kurt's name softly and smiled when Kurt climbed down from his mom's arms. Burt crouched and looked him in the eye.
"Baby…" He pulled the box out from behind his back, "I know that your birthday isn't for a couple of weeks, but I thought that you deserved this for…just for being you, okay?"
"Okay!" Kurt parroted and smiled wide, holding out his little arms. When he tore into the package, Burt had never felt more proud of himself than when Kurt squealed and threw his arms around Burt's neck, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
"What did you do, Hummel?" Connie asked. Her voice was back to normal and he could finally breathe right again.
"Mommy, they're just like yours! Sens'ble! Just like you said!" Kurt squealed, plopping down on his butt and practically trembling as he tried to put the little heels on. They were black patent leather with a bow on the buckle. Just one look at them and Burt knew that they were for Kurt. He took one from Kurt and helped him put it on while Kurt just kept chattering and Connie covered her mouth and let a couple of happy tears fall from her eyes. He couldn't look at her because he knew that if he did he would start to cry, too. And the day had already been difficult enough. He helped Kurt to his feet and grinned so hard his face felt like it was going to split when Kurt began to twirl, lifting his arms above his head and closing his eyes.
How did he even have to think? He never would…never could…leave this. He wanted to be there for every moment, no matter how uncomfortable some things made him. Because he knew they would. He wasn't stupid enough to believe that his choice was going to be easy. But, he also knew that it was the best one of his life.
"Hey, I know this one!" Burt said when the song changed. He picked his boy up and had to swallow hard when Kurt wrapped his little arms around Burt's neck again buried his cold little nose in Burt's neck. They swayed for a moment to the song and Burt hummed the melody brokenly in Kurt's ear. Connie wrapped her arms around Burt from behind and rested her hands on Kurt's legs. He'd never felt more complete. Why did he even have to think?
"Daddy," Kurt whispered after a while, "Will you marry me?"
Burt had to stifle his laugh when Connie whispered, "He asked me the same thing before you came home. I think he saw it on the tv this afternoon."
"You know what, buddy?" Burt pressed a kiss to Kurt's hair, "I'm already married to your mom. But, someday you're going to find some…" He had to swallow hard, but he got it out, "…guy who you love like I love your mom and you're going to want to marry him. And I am going to fight like hell to make sure that you're allowed to do that, baby. I swear."
Connie made a noise from the back of her throat and he knew he'd said the right thing.
"Daddy, you said a bad word!" Kurt scolded, leaning back in his arms, his serious eyes wide and scandalized.
"Yeah, I guess I did," Burt kissed his forehead, "Sorry, buddy."
"S'okay," Kurt sighed sleepily and laid his head against Burt's shoulder again, "Love you, Daddy."
"Love you, too, Kurtie. Love you so much."
"You're a good man, Hummel," Connie whispered and placed a kiss to the back of his neck before laying her cheek to his back again.
He closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of his family surrounding him. This…this was right. This was home. He cracked one eye open and looked at the little girl's heel on his son's foot. He sighed deeply. He could just used to that.
"Daddy, sing," Kurt mumbled sleepily. Connie chuckled behind him.
"Our boy doesn't have much of a discerning ear," she murmured.
"Shut up, Hummel," He shot back at her quietly, then began to rock them gently as he closed his eyes and did what his boy asked.
Don't you know, baby, yeah yeah
I'll be there
I'll be there
Whenever you need me
I'll be there