His name was Peter Stransky. He was the number one target in the school to get picked on. Back then, we didn't have any slushies so we'd get creative. We'd knock his bagged lunch to the ground, we'd spraypaint his locker, we'd dump water on him in the bathroom. He was a vegetarian, so once we filled his locker with meat. The hallway smelled terrible for days, but he never acknowledged it. It was so much fun to pick on him, watch his face deflate, watch as he tried not to cry in front of the football team. After we finished with him, we would bump into his shoulder… kick him while he was down. We were horrible to this kid, and for only one reason.
He was the gay kid.
"Dad?" Kurt said, walking up the stairs. His eyes were half closed and his hair was pulled back. "Dad, what are you doing up so late?"
Burt sat on the computer late at night on his newly-made facebook. Some guys at the shop had talked him into getting a facebook. He didn't see the point because he was never on the computer anyway.
"I'm going to bed soon, Kurt."
"Alright." Kurt said, trying to keep himself from rubbing his eyes. "Just… alright." Kurt was too tired to try and force his dad to go to sleep, so he walked back down the stairs. Burt turned back to the letter he was writing.
I know it might be weird hearing from me, but I'd like it if you could stop by Lima some time for a lunch. I'd really like to talk to you.
Burt had no idea if it would work, or if Peter would even hear him out, but he knew he had to try.
Burt sat at the little corner bistro called Ramona's and waited. Peter had replied and said that he would stop by if he had the time. Burt suggested Ramona's because he knew that Peter liked Ramona's. When they were in grade school, Peter's best friend's father had owned this little bistro. It was under new management now, but Burt didn't think that mattered. It was right down the street from their house, but Burt had taken the car anyway because Kurt had told him that he didn't want to strain his heart. Burt didn't tell Kurt why he was going there, but he had the sneaking suspicion that Kurt had a sneaking suspicion that Burt was meeting someone. Finally, Peter walked through the door and Burt stood to greet him. He looked almost the same- curly locks that cupped his ears, long limbs, icy blue eyes, a tight lipped suspicious look that was tattooed onto his expression. Burt knew that he had contributed to the permanent look of disbelief that Peter had.
"Hummel." Peter said when his eyes fell upon Burt. He walked swiftly up to the table and put his hands on the chair that was for him. "I don't know what sort of shit you're up to. But I thought you'd grow up."
Burt couldn't say that he didn't expect it. He sighed, sat down and looked up at Peter. The world had hardened him, much more than he had been when he was a freshman in high school. Burt remembered trying to wipe that optimistic look off of his face every day.
"Please, sit." It came out much more tired than he had expected it to. Peter clenched his jaw and sat rigid in his char. "You look good. How's life?"
"Please stop with the civility and get the beating over with." Peter's eyes flashed. His long fingers straightened out the knives. "Where's the rest of the football team?"
Burt smiled sadly. "Demetri moved to Kentucky, Stan's an alcoholic, Trevor's in jail for domestic violence-"
"-not surprised in the least," Peter mumbled.
"-and Ken died in a car accident." Burt said. "It's really just me." Just then, the waitress walked up to them and asked for their order. Burt was amused to hear that Peter was still a vegetarian and ordered a broccoli soup. Burt ordered a ham sandwich. He couldn't remember if Peter had the morals of a vegetarian or if he did it for the health aspect.
"Look. I got in contact with you because I found you on face book, actually. It got me thinking about High School and…" Burt paused and sipped at the coffee that he had ordered previous. "I wanted to say that I'm- I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything. I'm sorry for every name I've ever called you, every time I helped throw you in a dumpster every- every time I laughed at you, every time I bumped into you." Burt closed his eyes. "I'm sorry. I'm really and truly- you don't even understand how badly I feel now."
Peter's eyes were saucers. He couldn't believe it. He wouldn't believe it. All of those years and he would apologize now? Peter smirked.
"Bullshit, Burt." He crossed his legs. "You hated me. You were one of them."
"Believe me, Peter. If I could go back and punch every one of my teammates in the face, I would do it. I swear to God I would." Burt sighed and put down his coffee. "What I did to you was unfair. I did it because… I don't know why it made me feel better to see you upset…"
"I don't believe you. I don't believe you in the least bit."
"Alright. You don't have to. I think eventually you will, but…" Burt shrugged. "Until then, why don't we catch up? You always struck me as the type of guy to make it big."
"What do you mean?" Peter glared. It was really getting old, the 'I hate you, you scarred me for life' act, but Burt couldn't deny that he deserved to play that role.
"You were… What did you even like to do? I don't know… you just had this diva essence. You were the one who I thought was going to make it out of Lima. Maybe that's where I was a little jealous of you. You had that star quality that all of us lacked, and you made it out of here."
"Well…" Peter said, smiling softly. "I do have an incredible job."
"As what?" Burt asked. The waitress arrived with their food rather quickly and Peter didn't touch his.
"I help pick out colors for a Fashion Designer that you've probably never heard of." Peter said smugly.
"That's interesting, I guess. Fun." Burt picked up his sandwich. Before he took a bite he asked, "So are you seeing anybody? Are you happy?"
Peter looked at Burt, utterly perplexed. "Why do you… what the hell does it matter to you?" Peter said, shaking his head. He was no longer upset, just incredibly confused. "Why are you apologizing now?"
"Can't I just apologize? Is that so bad? I've felt bad for years, but I've never had the opportunity to truly apologize. And I wanted to do it face to face. You know. You deserve that much."
Peter shook his head and crossed his arms across his chest. He brushed the blonde curls out of his face.
"No. There's a reason. A blatant homophobe like you wouldn't just apologize after years of hate-"
"I was never a homophobe-"
"Dad!" Kurt said, running through Ramona's like there was a dog on his heels. It was obvious that he had walked here, excited about something. "Dad, Dad- Mercedes's mom said that she had an extra ticket to go see Les Miserables in New York." His eyes were wild and his breathing heavy.
"Kurt, now? I'm having a conversation." Burt said, smirking at his son's excitement. Out of the corner of his eye, Burt watched as understanding dawned on Peter.
"Dad, you don't understand." Kurt said, pulling a chair over to his father. He glanced at Peter, who had the largest smile on his face. "Sorry, he's occupied at the moment." Kurt turned back to Burt. "Please. Please can I go?"
"Yes, you can go." Burt said, frowning. "Why are you begging? You know I'd say yes to something like that."
"But… It's in New York City." Kurt urged. Peter started to eat his broccoli soup while watching them.
"Yeah you said that." Burt said. Kurt leaned towards him as though Burt was missing something obvious. "What?" Kurt sighed dramatically.
"What else is in New York?" Kurt spoke as though Burt were three years old. When Burt gave him a blank look, Kurt threw his arms up. "Shopping! Shopping, dad." Burt put his head in his hands and sighed. He looked up at Peter who seemed to be watching as though it were his favorite show. "I'm sorry, Peter. Kurt, can we have this conversation later?"
"I'll work in the garage for a month-"
"Please dad! It's Les Miserables on Broadway!" Kurt begged. "I can't come home from New York City without any new clothes!"
"Are you interested in Alexander McQueen?" Peter interjected. Both Burt and Kurt looked up at him.
"If by interested you mean enamored, then absolutely." Kurt said. "Why?"
"I work with Alexander. I'm his consultant on casual wear." Peter said, smiling. Kurt's jaw dropped.
"Can I kiss the ground you walk on?" Kurt exclaimed, facing Peter, smiling from ear to ear. "That knit sweater from the fall collection last season was fashion genius, if I say so myself. The one with the folded cuffs."
"Really?" Peter said, his icy eyes melting. "You really think so? I actually designed that one! Alexander saw it in my sketchbook and he edited it, but it was essentially my design."
"I have it in my closet right now under lock and key. I only wear it whenever I want to look my best."
"I'll tell you what." Peter said, beaming. "I'll go with you to see Les Miserables and I'll take you to the store and you can pick from the rejects. Well, not the rejects, the ones that are too small for our models. I think they'd fit you. They haven't been approved for sale yet, but they've been Alexander approved."
Kurt looked as though he could cry. "You are a God in human form, and I don't even know your name."
Peter held out his hand. "Peter Stransky."
"Kurt Hummel." Kurt said, shaking his hand. "Thank you so much, you don't understand how much this means to me."
"Least I can do for Burt Hummel's kid." Peter said, his eyes flashing to Burt. Burt had been watching the interaction with a smile on his face.
"Dad, can I borrow the car really quickly? I'll pick you up on my way home from Mercedes's." Burt fished the keys out of his pocket and handed them over.
"I might just walk home, It'll strengthen my heart."
"Alright. Bye dad."
"I love you, Kurt." Burt said as Kurt walked away.
"Dad, you don't have to say that every time I leave, I'm not going to die or anything." Kurt almost left before he said, "But I love you too." The door swung shut and Peter and Burt were two men sitting at a table. Kurt had aged the both of them very quickly. There was a silence in which Burt ate half of his sandwich and Peter just stared at Burt, his hands folded on his lap.
"So." Peter half whispered. "That's why."
"What?" Burt said, lifting his coffee.
"I don't want to assume. Is he gay?" Peter uncrossed his legs and ate more soup.
"Yeah." Burt said, his mouth dry. "The only one at his school." He looked away and sighed. "He comes home with slushie stains in his clothes that he loves so much. Sometimes he leaves for school so excited and comes home so dejected that it makes me want to punch a hole in the wall."
"How long have you known?" Peter asked.
"How long has he been different?" Burt laughed. "He's always been different. He would put on dresses, he'd wear his mommy's heels, he'd sing. He's always hated sports, no matter what I tried. I stopped trying to change him at 5. I'd have tea parties with him after Jeanette died. I love him. He came out to me last year, and it just really confirmed what I feel like I already knew. It made me think… think about what your parents thought of me."
Peter laughed harshly. "My dad would've joined you." Peter looked away. "He hated who I was. And… now I see you… and you used to remind me of my dad. I'm surprised that you're so accepting."
"He's my son. Regardless of his sexuality, I love him. And I feel terrible that I was those bullies. I was an asshole and I don't even deserve to be here with you."
"You've redeemed yourself. When I left school, I went home where there was hell also. Your son… Kurt gets to come home to someone who loves him. If there is no one else in the world who is on his side, he can come home and you will be there for him, even if you have to make an effort for it." Peter looked as though he were about to cry. "I forgive you Burt Hummel. I more than forgive you. I respect you."
Burt had to fight the urge to cry. It was more than he had expected to happen. It was better, much better than he had anticipated.
"Peter, you don't know how much that means to me." Burt breathed. "All these years… all I could think about is you…about how he was you…"
"It's alright, I'm doing well for myself. I have a great job and a loving boyfriend. I've been successful and happy ever since I left Lima. Kurt seems stronger than I ever was, though. He burst in here talking about plays, fashion and shopping. I mean, I attempted suicide twice in high school. I hated who I was." Peter blushed deeply. Burt put his head down on the table.
"I don't deserve it." Burt shook his head. "I don't deserve to do this. I'm an asshole."
"You were an asshole. Now you're a concerned loving parent." Peter smiled. "I'm trying to say that Kurt doesn't seem as though he's at risk for suicide. He's happy. You're a great father." Peter shot him a knowing smile and Burt tried to accept it without getting too overly emotional.
"You know," Burt chuckled. "You really saved me quite a bit of money by offering that McQueen spree."
"It's no problem. They would've just gathered dust anyway." Peter brushed off. "If you'd like me to have the talk with him, so you don't have to go through with it-"
"It's fine." Burt said. "It's a father/son thing that I have to do with him eventually. I don't think he's even kissed a guy yet." Burt tried to accept that image in his head, but found it was difficult to do. It was even more difficult to picture him happily with a girl, though.
"Alright." Peter's cellphone started to ring. He picked it up. "Hello? Yes… no… I'm- I'm at lunch. Babe… no… babe….Of course, I'll be right there, alright? Love you too." He hung up the phone.
"Sorry, that was Richard." Peter started to pack up. "I've got to go, he's a doctor and he was just paged in, and I can't leave the baby at home alone…" He pulled out his wallet when Burt stopped him.
"I'm picking this up, don't worry." Burt said. Peter smiled. "Don't you live in New York City?" "Just outside, actually…" Peter said. "He's leaving Tyler with a friend, but… he doesn't really trust our friends." Burt wondered where this man had come from. He only had seen Peter at situations where he was incredibly upset. It was nice seeing the good side of people. Burt figured that Peter was wondering the same thing just about now.
"I'm glad I came." Peter said, standing. Burt stood also. "I'll call you about when Les Miserables is so I can go with Kurt and whoever Lexus is."
"Mercedes." Burt said, laughing. "She's Kurt's best friend." He shook Peter's hand firmly. "Thank you Peter. I'm glad I got to talk to you."
"I'm glad also." Peter grinned. His pocket rang again and he rolled his eyes. He silenced it and looked back up to Burt. "I'm sorry. I'll see you later Burt. Thanks."
Burt watched as Peter left. He seemed to be a different man, to himself and to Burt. He was less harsh, understanding… and Burt really needed to see that. He felt better about himself and about Kurt's future. Hell, Peter made it farther than any of the football guys did. It felt like closure. He felt freer than he had ever felt in his entire life.
He smiled and sipped his coffee. What he did wrong by Peter, he would do right by Kurt.
First Glee fic. I love anything that has to do with Kurt. I wanted to examine his father's past- he sort of seems like he would be a Puck, but without the Glee club to get him to see things in a different light. I've had about three more Kurt-centric fics on my computer… maybe they're mosey their way on up to FF. I doubt it though.
This is just a oneshot. :)
And I know that Alexander McQueen died in February, so this wouldn't exactly be accurate. I don't really pay attention to the news, so I hadn't heard about it until you guys brought it to my attention. I hope it didn't affect the flow of the story. If it does, please tell me, and I'll just go in there and replace the designer.
Reviews are something that is witty at telling you what reviews are. :D