Title: Hummel Men
Characters: Burt Hummel, Kurt Hummel, Blaine Anderson, Sam Evans
Pairing: Kurt/Blaine weaves throughout and appears specifically in Part 3, but there's some Blam friendship in Part 1 and references to Kadam in Part 2.
Summary: Burt Hummel loves his sons—all four of them (or: how Burt deals with Klaine and Kadam during Season 4).
Spoilers: Assumed through 4x12 "Naked", with one very broad, generic reference to 4x14/15 (seriously, it's so generic that you'll probably miss it if you've been avoiding spoilers).
Warning(s): brief references to Kadam, if that's not your thing (it's not mine either, though, so...), also pretty dialogue heavy, with a lot of Burt internal monologue.
Word Count: 2735
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Ryan Murphy, FOX, et al.
Author's Note: I love Burt (who doesn't?), and I love Blam, and I choose to believe that Sam is still living with Burt and Carole, and it occurred to me that this new friendship has probably meant Blaine has been spending time at the Hudmel house even though Kurt isn't there anymore (which might explain how he found out about Burt's cancer). And then this happened.
- o – o – o -
He looks up from his newspaper at Sam, who's being ushered into a seat and having breakfast thrust upon him by Carole.
"Can I bring a friend over after school today?"
Burt frowns. Sam's never asked to have a friend over before, he's never had to, because his friends have always been Finn's and Kurt's friends, and the whole lot of them usually just came and went as they pleased.
"Is this friend a girl?" He and Carole aren't going to be home until close to dinner and Finn said something about staying late at McKinley to work on something for Sectionals. Sam may not be his son biologically, but the same rules apply while Sam's living under his roof, and he knows Sam's parents agree. Once he goes off to college he can do whatever he wants. Until then...
"No, sir." Sam shakes his head and swallows what looks like a whole bacon rasher in one go. He chews fast, swallows and then, looking a bit hesitant, he says, "It's Blaine."
Burt's frown deepens. Honestly, he's a little confused. Blaine has racked up a lot of hours under his roof since he and Kurt met, but he never really seemed to pay much attention to Sam, even after Sam moved in with them last year. Usually Kurt and Blaine would do their thing, and Finn and Sam would do something else, and then they'd all sort of come together to argue over what they were going to eat for dinner.
Sam obviously takes his frown the wrong way because he sets down his cutlery and reaches out his hands like he has to stop Burt from jumping up and bellowing that Blaine will never be allowed back in his house.
"I know things might be weird, because of what happened with Kurt, but Blaine's really...he's just really getting down on himself about everything, like everything, and he's just really alone, and did you know he was gonna transfer back to Dalton but—?"
"Sam! Stop!" This time it's Burt who holds his hands up; it's all too much information at once. "It's not that. I just didn't realise you and Blaine were friends."
"Oh." Sam nods, like that's acceptable and goes back to his breakfast. "We weren't really. But now we are, I guess."
"Yeah and now I feel kinda bad about it, you know? 'Cause he's actually pretty cool but last year none of us really bothered getting to know him properly. He was always just there, like an extension of Kurt. But then Kurt left and they broke up and I don't think Blaine really has any friends."
Burt nods in understanding. He had made no secret of his disapproval last year when Kurt was pestering Blaine into transferring, for all the good it had done. He understood what it was like, being young and in love and wanting to spend every minute together. But Kurt lacked the adult understanding of consequences; in his youth, he was more concerned about what would make him happy now, and hadn't stopped to consider what would happen to Blaine when he left for college.
"So...can Blaine come over?" Sam asks.
Burt nods again and turns the page of his newspaper. "Sure. Tell him he can stay for dinner if he wants."
Blaine is in the kitchen rinsing out a glass when Burt gets home. Judging by the music upstairs, Sam is still in his room.
Burt waits until Blaine has set the glass down on the dish rack before he clears his throat.
Blaine jumps and spins around to face him. His hands grip the edge of the counter behind him and he meets Burt's eyes for a split second before they drop to the floor.
"Hey, Blaine." He's not trying to put him on edge, but there's really no way this meeting was going to be less than awkward. Better to just get that awkwardness out of the way as soon as possible so they can move on.
"Hi, Mr Hummel."
He's given up trying to get this kid to call him Burt; he's pretty sure it's never gonna happen.
"I'll, uh, I'll just get out of your way..." Blaine says quietly and turns to dry his hands.
"Who said anything about you being in the way?"
Blaine shrugs and, yeah, that's new, the way he stands sort of hunched over, shoulders almost up around his ears. Blaine always had great posture—Kurt commented on it once—Burt always figured it had something to do with all that private schooling.
"I just...don't want to make you uncomfortable," Blaine says. "Because of..."
"Because of what happened with Kurt?"
Blaine sighs and his shoulders slump. "Yeah."
Burt rubs a hand over the back of his neck. "Listen, kid, Kurt told me what happened and, I won't lie, I'm pretty disappointed. But I'm disappointed in both of you. There are two sides to every story and I figure he wasn't entirely blameless."
"That doesn't make what I did right."
"No, but you can't carry it around with you forever either, like it's all on you. That's not fair."
Blaine turns around to face him, wringing the dishcloth in his hands. "Do you think he'll ever speak to me again?"
This is dangerous territory; he's not going to betray Kurt's confidences, but Blaine has been like another son to him these last couple of years and he doesn't want to give him false hope. Still...
"It's Kurt," he says. "He's one of the most compassionate people I know. You told me the same thing once. And you two were best friends. I think you just need to give him time and space."
"And then he'll talk to me again?"
It makes Burt sad, how desperate this boy is for even just the slightest sliver of affection; it doesn't surprise him all that much that he turned to someone else when Kurt disappeared.
"I think he will, yes."
Blaine lets out a rush of breath in a huge sigh and a smile twitches up the corner of his mouth.
"You better get back upstairs," Burt says, "before Sam wonders if you got sucked down the drain or something."
Blaine laughs, not quite like he used to, but close enough to give Burt a bit of hope that he'll get there.
"Yeah, thanks, Mr Hummel."
"You staying for dinner? I'm sure Carole would love to see you."
"Oh, no, I don't want to—"
Burt waves a hand. "Don't give me that. You're always welcome here, Blaine. I told you that a long time ago and it hasn't changed."
Blaine's smile widens and he nods. "O-Okay. Yeah. I'd like that."
- o – o – o -
"So, are you gonna tell me about him?"
Obviously he can't see it through the phone, but he knows Kurt is doing that wide-eyed blink he does when he's caught off guard and doesn't quite know what to say.
He settles on, "Who?"
Burt rolls his eyes—Kurt comes by it honestly—and says, "Whichever guy it is that you're interested in and possibly dating right now."
Kurt is quiet for a long moment; down the line he hears what sounds like a glass being set on a table. "Have you been talking to Rachel?"
"Then...what makes you think there's a guy?"
"Kurt, I can be dumb, but I'm not stupid. And I'm your father. I know these things."
"Right." Kurt sighs and gives in. "His name is Adam. He's a member of the show choir here. He's a senior. He's...nice."
Burt's face is blank, he can feel it, and it's not because he disapproves of Kurt dating—Kurt will always be his baby, but Burt has had to accept that he's also a young man now, with a life that he has to live—Kurt's description is just so...
"Nice?" Burt parrots back.
"Yes. He's very nice."
What Burt wants to say is, "The day you met Blaine, you came home and wouldn't stop talking about him for four hours and at that point you'd only spoken to him long enough to get his name and number," and,
"Do you remember when Blaine dropped you off home after your Senior Prom and you were so giddy that you couldn't sit still for hours and then, instead of saying goodnight to me, you went all quiet and then said that you never really understood what love was until Blaine came along?" and,
"After Blaine was gone, but before we left for the airport, you told me to look out for him, because you were going to marry him one day."
He wants to say all those things but none of them would do anyone any good. Kurt and Blaine have to figure things out between themselves and he trusts that they will, whatever that entails.
So instead all he says is, "I see." And then, "Are you gonna tell Blaine?"
He can imagine, if they were in the same room, that this would be the point where Kurt would turn away and try to busy his hands with something and then ultimately go still.
"Do you think I should?" His voice is quiet, uncertain, a child looking for advice.
Burt shrugs because he knows Kurt is sitting in New York imagining his mannerisms too. "Not up to me, kiddo."
"I just...I don't want to hurt him. Not now that we're talking again."
Burt hums and then says, "Well, you say this Adam guy is nice, right?"
He gets the feeling that Kurt is hanging on his every word, like it's gospel or something, which makes him kind of uncomfortable, because Burt is a practical, down to earth sort of guy, not some love guru.
"So, maybe you could just tell him that you made a new friend, for now. And if it gets more serious then...well, then you gotta tell him the truth. Doesn't matter what he did or how you hurt each other. You two were best friends a long time before you were boyfriends, and you owe him that much, Kurt."
Kurt sighs again, and it's too heavy for someone his age. "I know."
"...It might not come to that," Burt can't help adding. "Maybe this Adam guy will end up just being a friend, you know? Just take it one day at a time and don't try to force feelings that might not be there just because you think they should be."
Yeah, he's a straight shooting kind of man, but even he can be subtle sometimes, and he knows Kurt will have read the subtext well enough: that you can't force away feelings you already have either, even if you don't want them to be there.
- o – o – o -
Burt is downstairs getting a glass of water when the front door opens. Carole, Finn and Sam are asleep upstairs so there's no one else it could be but Kurt. He's been a bit...off—quiet, contemplative—, since the wedding a few days ago so, yeah it's late, but it's as good a time as any to have this talk.
Only when he steps out of the kitchen to meet him, Burt sees that Kurt isn't alone; Blaine is following a step behind.
It's Blaine who sees him first and he freezes, eyes wide; Kurt is half turned away, dropping his keys in the dish on the table and shrugging out of his coat.
Burt...doesn't know what to do, because it's just occurred to him that whatever Kurt's mood has been lately, it probably has something to do with Blaine. And right now they're sneaking into the house at midnight—sneaking might not be the right word; they're being quiet, sure, but who wouldn't be entering a house full of sleeping people?—and Blaine is obviously going to be spending the night.
Before Burt can decide if he should make his presence known or back away quietly, Kurt turns and spots him too.
He jumps a little, hand flying up to rest against his heart. "Dad, what are you doing down here? Are you okay?" He doesn't seem concerned about being "caught" with Blaine at all, like whatever it might potentially be is so much of a non-issue that it isn't even worth mentioning.
Burt holds up his glass. "Just getting some water." He gestures between the two of them. "Is, uh, is Blaine staying?"
Blaine is studying the floor, inching further behind Kurt, looking like he'd really just like to disappear, and it's that, more than anything, that tells Burt exactly what Kurt and Blaine were thinking about doing while the rest of the family slept.
As much as he doesn't like to think about it, Burt knows that Kurt and Blaine have had sex. Possibly—probably—more than once. No one ever had to say anything, but there were subtle changes in the way they were around each other that clued him in. So yeah, he's known for a while, and he has a feeling that Kurt knows that he knows, even if Blaine probably doesn't.
Maybe that's why Kurt doesn't lie about what's going on right now.
"Yes, we were planning on it, but if that bothers you then..."
On one of their first dates, he and Carole had bemoaned parenting and how it's like constantly feeling out of your depth. Burt's feeling that especially hard right now because, on one hand, Kurt and Blaine haven't gotten back together—he would have heard about it if they had—and sex or making out with an ex you're still in love with is far from healthy, especially if one is leaving the state in a few days. On the other hand, he knows that these two have to figure things out on their own and that includes making and learning from their own mistakes. Some might argue that they've made enough of those recently and that Burt should put his foot down but he trusts them to know what they're doing, even if they don't share that trust themselves.
So Burt clears his throat and says, "No, no. Just...you know...be safe."
Trust only goes so far and the father in him is reminding him that Kurt may have been Blaine's first, but he's not his only anymore. Hell, maybe the same could be said for Kurt; Burt really doesn't want to know.
Blaine flushes but Kurt smirks. "Now that we know you're awake it probably won't get that far."
Blaine flushes harder and he ducks his head. Burt isn't sure but he thinks it comes to rest on the back of Kurt's shoulder.
Kurt reaches back and grabs one of Blaine's hands to draw him down the hall and up the stairs. As they pass, Blaine manages to glance up and say, "Good night, Mr Hummel."
As they're going up the stairs he hears Kurt say, "You should really start calling him Burt, you know. You're going to be around for a while."
Burt smiles and takes a sip of water.