Title: I'll Be There (6/6)
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.
Final chapter! Sorry it's been so long in coming! I hope you like it! I may do more sometime in the future. There's so much possible! But, for right now this is it! Thank you so much to everyone who has stuck with this. Happy reading! Please leave a comment if you have a moment!
Summary: A fluffy interconnected series of one shots mostly about the relationship between Burt and Kurt Hummel.
Word Count: ~4,000
There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
Burt Hummel smiled down at his newest grandbaby, the first girl, where her head rested on his shoulder as he sang to her quietly and rocked her back and forth, back and forth. She was the most fussy baby he had ever seen in his life, that included both Kurt and Teeny, neither of whom had been exactly low maintenance. But, they all supposed that she had the right. She had fought so hard for her life in the first weeks after her birth and there had been so many times when they weren't certain that she was going to make it at all that none of them could get angry when she was fussy and cranky. Just having her there was a relief. And she was so beautiful when she was sleeping calmly and peacefully, like she was now. Her skin was a pretty golden caramel, her hair a true black that had darkened from the deep brown it had been at her birth. So far her eyes hadn't changed from their cloudy blue, but he was betting that they darkened to green or grey before she was a year old. Carole thought that they might stay blue. He wasn't sure which he'd like more. As long as his little Blackbird stayed healthy he was sure that her eyes would be the most beautiful he had ever seen. She made a little distressed noise from her position on his shoulder and he cooed gently before humming another verse to get her to settle into deeper sleep again. She sighed as heavily as a baby could and fell still after putting her fist in her mouth and suckling. She would wake up hungry. That was good. He smiled and pressed a kiss to her smooth sweet smelling skin. He liked being one of the only ones who had the magic touch when it came to her. He liked that there were only three people in the world that she quieted for and that he was one of them.
She really did need this nap, especially with everyone else coming over later for their big winter holiday dinner, but he was kind of loathe to put her down. He so very rarely got to see her. But, he realized with a sigh, he had to. He knew that the timer was about to go off on Carole's pies and if she was anywhere near it when it did he would never get her back down. It was going to be hard enough to keep her calm with so many people in the house. If she was tired, too, he'd be sentencing her parents to a night of pacing and cranky crying. He kind of loved his kids too much to do that. He measured his steps very carefully as he first climbed the stairs, then walked down the hall to place her in the crib set at the edge of her parents' bed. She began to murmur in distress again when he laid her down, but a couple of minutes of humming and rubbing her back got her to settle back down. He turned on the smooth classical music that was always to be played while she was sleeping and quietly slipped out of the room. He made it downstairs and into the kitchen just in time to turn the timer off just before it sounded and slipped Carole's pies out of the oven and onto the cooling rack. He was tempted to sneak a piece, but he knew that Carole would kill him, so he distracted himself by going into the front room and looking out the window when he heard the cars pull up.
He grinned as everyone he considered his family began to pour out of the minivan that Finn and Rachel had purchased earlier in the year and Miri made fun of relentlessly every time they were home and the large SUV that Noah and Kurt had rented at the airport when they flew in just a couple of days ago. As he watched Finn swooped ten year old Teeny off of her feet and tossed her over his shoulder. She was kicking, but he could see the smile on her red cheeks. Carole and Beks were, at the same time, scolding him, telling him to put the girl down before she lost all of the hot chocolate she had consumed at the skating pond down his back. Scott, the man Beks had married nearly ten years before, told them both to stop worrying. Burt had a tendency to agree with him. Rachel smiled at all of them as she helped the eight year old twins, perfect little blends of herself and Finn, out of the van and cautioned them not to run up the slick walk. Miri was just coming around the SUV, Rachel and Finn's youngest, just three, on her hip. Her boyfriend Josef, probably going to be her husband someday soon if he ever worked up the balls to just ask her already (He'd bought the ring months before.), met her there and kissed her quickly before he pulled the hat more snugly over the little boy's ears. She grinned up at him and linked their hands together before they began moving up the drive.
He didn't even see Kurt and Noah until the door had opened and his clan was trouping in, shaking snow from their hair and generally making a ruckus. He listened for the telltale cries that they were going to have a very fussy Mahina on their hands for the rest of the night, but it seemed that the music and the floor between her and them was enough to keep her from waking. He couldn't help the soft smile that came to his face when he looked back to the window and saw Kurt and Noah taking a moment for themselves as everyone else headed in. Noah was leaning against the side of the SUV, his legs spread just wide enough that Kurt was resting comfortably between them. His hands were on Noah's chest, Noah's thumbs were hooked into the belt loops of Kurt's ridiculously expensive jeans. They were smiling at each other, talking quietly, looking more exhausted and happier than he had ever seen either of them.
It was so hard to have them so far from home. He was so proud of them. After Noah came home they worked hard to get to know each other again as the men they had become in the four years since they had been able to be together for any extended period of time. It had been hard on them and there had been more than one fight that Kurt had called them after, just needing to hear Carole and himself tell him that fighting was a natural part of any relationship. But, things had gotten better after they moved into an apartment in New York City (That had made Burt sigh, but the boys wanted to be there.) and Noah had started culinary school. It wasn't something that any of them, including Noah, had ever thought he would want. But, after they had moved in together he'd found that his greatest joy and stress relief was in cooking elaborate meals for Kurt to come home to after a long day at the high end boutique he and two of his friends from his design program had just started. Six hard, work filled years later Kurt's business was finally turning a noticeable profit, not just barely keeping up with the bills and Noah had been offered the position of sous chef at an established five star restaurant with the promise of being made head and executive chef when the current chef retired, which he had been threatening to do for years as soon as he knew that his kitchen would be taken care of. Only six months after Noah signed on the other chef had happily moved to Florida and Noah had the job of his dreams.
There's nothing you can make that can't me made
No one you can save that can't be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
"Daddy!" His Teeny, his little ball of energy, threw herself at him and he caught her on the fly, well used to her behavior. He was sad that it couldn't last forever, but he knew that in the next year or so she would probably decide that it was below her teenaged self to throw herself at her old dad for hugs.
"Teeny girl," he smiled down at her rosy cheeks and bright eyes. She puckered up for a kiss and he leaned down to oblige her, "Did you have a good time?"
"Great," She giggled, "Finn can't skate! He kept falling down! And Rachel taught me how to skate backwards and Joe…"
"Hold it, half pint," Miri put her hand over Teeny's mouth, "That's my line." Burt caught the flash on her finger and felt his eyes tear up. He hadn't seen his tomboy so unsure since her first co-ed dance. She was shifting back and forth and not meeting his eyes.
"Teeny, you let your dad and Miri talk a bit. There's cookies in the kitchen. Better come get some of the star ones before the boys eat them all." Carole blew Burt a kiss and mouthed "Be nice," before she held out a hand for Teeny. Miri made a face when Teeny licked her hand, and let the kid go. Burt smiled at his wife and daughter before turning back to Miri, who was wringing her hands.
"So…Miri…what's up, kiddo?"
"Daddy B, Joe asked me to marry him. But, I…I won't do it unless you think that he's the right one. I mean, you're the best man I've ever known and you mean so much to me…"
"Miri," Burt sighed, then moved so that he could sit in his chair. He opened his arms and chuckled a little when she threw herself into them and curled up on his lap. She had gone through her phase, too, when it wasn't cool to curl up with Daddy, but it had passed. She was his little girl as much as Teeny and he was so happy for her.
"Daddy B…" She looked up at him with such hope in her eyes.
"You love him, Miri?"
"Yes." No hesitation.
"He love you?"
"Yes." No hesitation again. If there had been a single moment Burt would have chased Josef from the house and never let him come back.
"You know, he asked me if he could ask you months ago…" She looked up at him with surprise and he cupped her pretty face in his hand, "Do you really think I would have told him he could if I didn't think he was the best thing for you?"
"Nope," Miri smiled and the tears spilled over.
"Aw, baby, don't do that. That's not fair." He hugged her close, setting his chin on the top of her head, feeling the tears come into his own eyes.
"Woah…" Finn stepped into the room, "Everything okay?"
"Everything's great," Burt said, "Joe and Miri are getting married."
"Yeah, I know." Finn grinned, "He asked her at the pond. It's pretty great, right?"
"Yeah, it's pretty great," Burt agreed, kissing Miri's hair again, "Kids getting cookies?"
"Yep, Mom's loading them with sugar. Rachel and I are going to take off for a while if that's okay. You know…have some coffee."
"Escape from the sugar high," Miri laughed.
"Yep," Finn grinned, "You can deal with it, Aunt Miri, Grandpa. After the crash they'll all probably go down for a nap. Probably a good thing so that they'll be good for dinner. Hey…" He took three big strides to where Burt and Miri were curled up on the armchair and leaned down to kiss Miri firmly. She returned the lavish kiss with a happy giggle, "Congrats again, Twerp."
"Thanks, Jerkface." She leaned back into Burt as Finn left, "You'll walk me down the aisle, Daddy B?"
"You don't want Noah to do it, sweetheart?"
"I'm already the best man, Dad," Noah smiled as he walked into the room, a couple of open beers in his hands. He handed one over to Burt, then took a deep pull of his own before handing it to Miri, "I don't need to be pulling double duty."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Miri kissed Burt, then got up, "I better go get some of those cookies before they're all gone." She took a pull from the beer, then handed it back to Noah.
There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
"Kurt up checking on Mahina?" Burt asked as Noah settled in on the couch.
"Yeah. How was she?" Burt watched him lean his head back and would have been concerned at just how dark the smudges under his eyes were, just how gaunt he looked, if he hadn't known himself what it was like to take care of a very fussy baby. He and Connie had done it. He and Carole had done it. Sure, they'd looked like zombies for the better part of six months, but they'd survived and Kurt was an adult now while Teeny was well on her way to becoming one. They would all be fine.
"Good as gold. She fell right asleep. Long as everyone keeps it down and the music keeps on in the room I'm sure she'll be great for tonight."
"Oh, good," Noah sighed, "No one ever tells you how tired you're going to be."
"Shit, kid, it's because it's all worth it after a while. You swear you're never going to do it again, never going to put yourself through it again, and all of the sudden they're waist high and talking and you forget everything bad that comes with it. You only remember the good stuff."
"Can't wait for that." He was more asleep than awake, Burt realized. He smiled and got up, pulling the beer from Noah's loose fingers before he set it on the table.
"Come on, kid. Lay down right or you'll wake up with a crick in your neck."
Noah was pliable as a doll as Burt tugged his shoulder just a little and helped him to lay down. He tucked a pillow under Noah's head and pulled the blanket from the top of the couch to cover his shoulders.
"Thanks, Dad," Noah sighed.
"You're welcome, kid." Burt couldn't help the smile that came to his face as he ran his hand over Noah's hair. He'd let it grow out on the past few years and Burt was hard pressed to remember the Mohawked kid who had given him grief when he looked at the man whose hair was just a little too long. Because the man had married his son. The man was successful and happy and helped make his son the same. The man was a father to his only granddaughter. The man was someone he respected and loved very much. He looked around a second to make sure that he was alone and that Noah was truly asleep before he pressed a brief kiss to Noah's temple. It was harder getting back to his feet from his knees than it had been a couple of years ago, but he figured it was something of a battle scar to be proud of. Getting old was nothing to be ashamed of. At least that was what Carole told him and he figured if he told himself the same every day he might actually start to believe it.
He laughed as he passed through the controlled chaos that was the kitchen. Beks and Scott were pretending that no one else was there and making out like a couple of teenagers under the mistletoe that Carole had hung. He bumped them gently on his way and they didn't even look ashamed as they looked over at him. He just grinned and was glad. They had no reason what-so-ever to be ashamed. Miri and Joe were laughing as they played cards with the twins and Teeny. It wouldn't last much longer, he was sure. All of the kids had had too much sugar. In another few minutes Chris and Jake would probably take off and need to do something. Teeny would be a little calmer, but she would want to tear around with the boys and with enough encouragement she would do so. He wondered if he could convince Miri and Joe to take the three of them to a movie or something. It would be best to keep them out of the house as much as possible or they would wake Mahina and Caleb when he went down. He turned to look at his wife, swaying softly with Caleb on her hip. She was singing softly in his ear and he was falling asleep on her shoulder. He would have a good nap. Burt moved into the room and kissed his wife before stroking his hair over Caleb's dark hair.
"Noah's down for a bit," he said quietly, "Try to keep the kids out of the living room."
"I'll see if Miri and Joe or Beks and Scott wouldn't mind taking the older kids to a movie," She nodded and smiled at him.
"Sweetheart," He kissed her again, "You read my mind."
He moved up the stairs and quietly opened the door to the room Kurt and Noah were staying in. His sleek, stylish son had never looked more wrecked as he cried quietly over his daughter's crib.
"Kurt?" He asked, panic rising in his throat, "Everything okay?"
"Dad," Kurt turned. He held a finger up to his lips. His voice was low, "Everything's fine. She's great. I was just…I couldn't help but…She looks so much like Leilani sometimes…"
"Aw, Kurt," Burt moved into the room and pulled Kurt close to him, letting his son grip the fabric of his shirt and cry silent tears into it.
Leilani had been Kurt's closest friend at school and one of the two women he had opened his shop with. They had been close. So close that when Noah and Kurt had decided that they were ready to have a baby Leilani had offered to be their surrogate. It was supposed to be an open adoption in a way. Kurt and Noah would be Mahina's parents, but she would always know that Leilani was her mother and Leilani would be welcome to see her anytime and spend as much time with her as she wanted. But, it hadn't happened that way. Leilani had been hit by a drunk driver while she was crossing the street one night while she was pregnant with Mahina. She had held on at the hospital just long enough for them to get Mahina out and make sure that she was safe before she died. Mahina's birth had been too early, she'd been too small. And Kurt and Noah had had to deal with their grief over the loss of their friend at the same time as they worried over their baby, in an incubator, tubes and wires all around her, where they could barely touch her. The doctors had told them not to get their hopes up.
But, Mahina had defied all the odds. She was a fighter and Kurt and Noah's daughter through and through. Still…it was hard. Especially at this time of year. This time last year they had all been gathered around the table, Leilani included, sharing what they were thankful for. Kurt, Noah, and Leilani had said each other and their baby. This year they were supposed to have been able to say the same thing. It was still hard for all of them. Burt looked at the little table next to the crib. No matter where they went there would always be a picture of Leilani for Mahina. They would always honor her mother. Burt and Carole had the same picture of her, looking over her shoulder, smiling like she knew all of the world's secrets, next to the pictures of Chris and Connie they had on their dresser. There were happier ones downstairs, a series of three that never failed to make him smile. The three of them were on a park bench, Leilani's belly large with Mahina as she sat in between the guys. In the first Kurt and Noah were kissing her cheeks at the same time and she was laughing. In the second her arms were around their shoulders as they pressed kisses to her belly. In the third the three of them were smiling at the camera straight on, their hands linked on Leilani's lap. They all missed her. The same three pictures were in Finn and Rachel's home, Beks and Scott's home and Miri and Joe's apartment.
"It's okay, bud," Burt rubbed Kurt's back, "I know. Just let it all out."
"It's just…hard. She always said that her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. I miss her so much sometimes, Dad. I loved her so much."
"She was one of your best friends, Kurt. It's okay to love her and it's okay to miss her. She gave us everything by making sure she held on until Mahina was born. We're all going to miss her. Every day."
Kurt buried his face and sobbed harder. He kept quiet, but Burt could feel his body shaking like a leaf. He kept whispering to him, nonsense words that he wasn't sure even he understood. But, the content didn't matter so much as the intent did. And the intent was to comfort. He held Kurt as he sobbed and let a few tears slip himself, remembering coming into the room last year and finding Kurt, Noah, and Mahina sharing the bed. Noah had been spooning Kurt as Mahina faced them and the three of them giggled as they pictured what their baby would look like. When Burt had cleared his throat, they'd just pulled him onto the bed with them and they'd all laughed as they made as ridiculous of suggestions for names as they could think of. He'd hardly known her and he missed her like hell. He could only imagine what it was like for Kurt. He rubbed his back until the shaking stopped, but kept his arms around Kurt until he pulled away. As quickly as his emotional storm had come on it dissipated and Kurt was wiping his face with the back of his hand. Burt had always envied him the ability to do that.
"I love you, Dad," He smiled though his eyes were still a little watery, "Thanks."
"Anytime, Kurt," Burt smiled, "I love you, too. What are you doing up here all alone? There's cookies in the kitchen. The kids are actually behaving themselves. For now."
"I just…I like to make sure that I can see her when she's sleeping. I…"
"Set two fingers to her tiny little back to make sure that she's still breathing." Burt felt his lips tug up at the corners.
"I…" Kurt ran a hand through his hair, "Yeah. I do. How did you know?"
"I did the same thing with you the first month you were home. I'd get up twenty times a night just to put my hand on your back and make sure. Got so bad your mom told me to just bring you into the bed with us."
"Noah says the same thing." Kurt laughed and hugged his elbows, "He's downstairs?"
"Yeah, taking a nap on the couch."
"No, he was taking a nap on the couch," Noah's voice was rough with sleep and grump, "The monsters got him up. Miri and Joe are taking them all to a movie while Mom and Mama C finish up Thanksgiving dinner. So…we're taking a nap up here. Right now."
He swooped into the room, picked Mahina up gently and moved to the bed without saying anything. Mahina didn't even make a peep as he laid down and put her on his chest. He looked up at Kurt with an eyebrow raised and held out his hand. Kurt smiled indulgently and looked back at Burt.
"Come get us if the moms need help with anything."
"You three just take a nap," Burt ruffled Kurt's hair and laughed softly when his son glared at him, just like Connie, "I'll come wake you up in a little bit."
He turned around at the door just in time to see Kurt settling in, laying his head on Noah's shoulder before they linked hands just under Mahina's tiny little feet and Noah kissed Kurt's forehead. He shut the door and began to hum quietly. From inside the bedroom he could hear Kurt echoing him, using the words. He smiled and headed toward the stairs. Maybe he could charm his wife out of a piece of pie early. It was worth a shot.
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need