Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.
Kurt shifted his weight and stifled a sigh. The wedding rehearsal had been underway for an hour, and Jesse and Rachel were still bickering about which bridesmaid needed to walk in with which groomsman.
"Daddy," Gabriel whispered loudly, cupping his hands around his mouth. "Daddy, I have to go potty."
Kurt beckoned him over. "Come on, sweetie, let's go," he said.
"Wait!" Rachel screeched, flapping her hands hysterically. "You can't move! I need to figure out where to place everyone!"
"But I have a five-year-old who needs to pee," Kurt said, taking Gabriel's hand.
"I'm six now, Daddy," Gabriel retorted.
"I'm sorry," Kurt said, and Gabriel nodded solemnly. "All right, let's go find the bathroom." They walked out of the hotel ballroom and down the quiet hall, and when the bathroom door came in sight, Gabriel zipped off. "Don't run! I'll be waiting right outside for you."
He sighed heavily and leaned against the wall opposite the bathroom door to wait for his son. If he'd had his way, he wouldn't have come to the rehearsal at all, but Rachel had insisted- and Gabriel had insisted when he learned there would be ice cream at the dinner.
He stared idly down at his fingernails, picking aimlessly at a ragged cuticle, and suddenly someone slammed into him, nearly knocking him over. "Ow," he said, surprised.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," a voice said. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, you just startled me," Kurt said, glancing over his shoulder. He paused and blinked. "Oh!"
The handsome florist smiled at him. "Hey," he said, the corners of his hazel eyes crinkling up. "It's Kurt, right? With a K?"
"Kurt with a K, yeah," Kurt stammered. He felt the back of his neck heating up. "And you're…" He paused. "God, I'm sorry, I don't remember your name."
"Blaine," he said, holding out his hand. "Blaine Anderson."
Kurt shook his hand. "I'm Kurt Hu- oh, god, you already knew that," he said. He felt the blush creeping up from his neck to his cheeks. "Sorry. I spend most of my time behind a computer screen. My people skills are a bit rusty."
Blaine laughed, but it sounded warm and friendly, not mocking. "Your people skills seem just fine to me," he said. "Your writing skills are definitely fabulous too."
Kurt was sure now- his cheeks and ears had to be absolutely red at this point. "You, um, read my articles?" he said.
"You're the only Kurt who writes for Vogue, so after your friends mentioned it, it was pretty easy to google you," Blaine said. He grinned a little sheepishly. "That's a little creepy, isn't it?"
"Oh, well, it's not that creepy, I think, at least in this day and age, I mean..." Kurt stammered. He twisted his fingers and glanced down. Somehow he'd ripped his cuticle and his thumb was bleeding. Quickly he hid his hand behind his back. "I mean…it's not creepy."
Blaine cleared his throat. "So…when you were at the shop for the florist appointment…I couldn't help but overhear a little bit," he said. "You need a date for the wedding?"
There was a peculiar roaring sound in his ears. It almost sounded like Blaine was asking him out on a date.
"Are you all right?" Blaine asked curiously, leaning in a little closer. Kurt could see every fleck of green in his amber eyes. "You just got really white for a second."
"I mean…I just…a date?" Kurt stammered. His tongue felt thick. "You want me for a date? I mean…you want to ask me out on a date?" He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "I'm so sorry. I'm making an idiot out of myself."
"No, you're not," Blaine said, smiling at him. "I just thought…well, I don't have much going on, and if you're single, maybe it might be nice if we spent some time together?" He paused. "Unless you're not single, in which case I've just made an ass of myself."
"No, no, I'm single," Kurt said.
Blaine's eyes widened. "Oh god, are you straight?" he said. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"No, no, I'm gay," Kurt said. "Gay and single, it's just-" He hesitated. "It's just that…"
The bathroom door swung open and Gabriel hopped out. "All finished, Daddy," he said cheerfully, wiping his damp hands on his vest. "I washed my hands and everything!"
"Good job, sweetie," Kurt said, holding out his hand. Gabriel latched onto his fingers and Kurt gripped tightly, taking comfort in the soft warmth of his son's little hand. He didn't look up at Blaine.
But Gabriel noticed Blaine, and his big blue eyes lit up. "Mr. Flower Man!" he shrieked. He dropped Kurt's hand and ran over to Blaine, hugging him around his waist. "Hi, Mr. Flower Man!"
Kurt grabbed his son's shoulder and pulled him back. "Gabriel Adam, no sir," he scolded, hugging Gabriel around his chest. "I'm sorry. This is my son, and he's usually really shy around strangers..."
Gabriel wriggled in Kurt's grip. "He's not a stranger, Daddy, he's my flower man," he said happily. "He gave me the flowers to give to you."
"Oh," Kurt said. "Oh!" He looked slowly up at Blaine. "You're the florist?"
"You're Gabriel's daddy?" Blaine said.
They stared at each other. Gabriel looked from one to the other, smiling brightly. Kurt's heart began to sink. The first time he'd been asked out in six years, and he could already see it written all over Blaine's face- no one was going to want to date a twenty-five-year-old guy with a little kid. He hadn't even really allowed himself to think about dating, but now that he was faced with it, he felt…disappointed.
He scooped Gabriel up and set him on his hip. "Come on, honey," he said. "We'd better get back to the rehearsal before Aunt Rachel explodes."
Gabriel looked up at him. "Can I see my flower man later?" he asked.
"Maybe," Kurt said, forcing his voice to sound light. He kissed Gabriel's cheek, not daring to look up at Blaine. "Come on."
He carried Gabriel down the hall to the ballroom. "Honey," he said quietly. "You know I love you, right?"
"Uh-huh," Gabriel said, in a voice that clearly said "duh, Daddy."
Kurt set him down outside the ballroom door, then knelt and kissed Gabriel's forehead. "All that matters is that you're happy," he said. "You're happy, right?"
Gabriel smiled at him. "Don't worry, Daddy, I'm happy," he said. He grabbed Kurt's wrist and tugged him into the ballroom. "Let's go, we're late."
They went back into the rehearsal to find Jesse and Rachel still trying to decide if Jesse's cousin needed to walk in with Quinn or with Mercedes. Kurt walked Gabriel back to his spot beside the flower girl before going back to his own place.
The rehearsal dragged on for forever. Kurt almost wished that Gabriel needed another bathroom break just to have an excuse to leave. His mind wandered while he stood there, and he started wondering what would happen if he did tell Blaine he was interested in going on a date. All the different scenarios started popping up in his head- Blaine telling him off because he didn't want to date a guy with a kid, Blaine stammering about how now wasn't a good time…Blaine accepting with a smile and asking when and where they ought to meet.
Kurt shook his head. You don't deserve to be in a relationship, he told himself sternly. And besides, Gabriel is what's important. He needs to be happy, and you won't be able to take care of him if you're dating again.
"…okay, and Gabriel, you're going to walk in after the last bridesmaid and groomsman, okay?" Jesse said, beckoning the little boy forward. "And then Annabel is going to walk in after you and throw rose petals, and then Rachel will walk in, escorted by her fathers."
Rachel beamed at Jesse and the little flower girl smiled smugly, but Gabriel looked around nervously. "I walk in by myself?" he said.
"Sure, sweetie, with the ring bearer pillow," Rachel said.
"No, not ring bearer," Gabriel corrected. "Ringbear. I'm the ringbear."
"No, you're the ring bearer," Jesse said. He crouched down to talk to Gabriel. "You're going to carry a little pillow with the rings on it, and you'll walk in all by yourself."
"Is everybody gonna look at me?" Gabriel asked, his blue eyes big.
"Of course," Jesse said, puzzled.
"But they won't know it's me 'cause I'm in a bear suit, right?" Gabriel said.
"Oh, but honey, you're not going to be in a bear suit, you're going to wear a nice little tux that looks just like your daddy's," Rachel said.
Gabriel's lower lip quavered. "I was gonna be a bear," he said. Kurt sighed deeply and rubbed his forehead. "And I don't wanna walk by myself."
"You'll be fine," Jesse reassured him. He held out his hand. "Come on, I'll walk with you and we can practice."
"No!" Gabriel said, backing away and shaking his head. "No! Noooo! I wanna be a bear and I don't wanna walk with myself!"
He had all the signs of an impending temper tantrum. Kurt glanced down at his watch. It was long past the time that Gabriel usually ate dinner- no wonder he was on the verge of a meltdown. "Let me take him," he told Rachel quietly, who nodded eagerly.
"I don't wanna walk by myself," Gabriel shrieked.
"I know, baby," Kurt soothed. He bent and scooped him up. "Let's go outside for a little bit, okay?"
Gabriel latched onto him, wrapping his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist. "It's okay," Kurt said, rubbing his back. "Daddy's right here. You're fine."
Gabriel bawled into his shoulder, clinging to his shirt. Kurt carried him down the hall and found a couch tucked under a stairwell. He sat down carefully, balancing his little boy on his lap. Gabriel sobbed into his chest. "I don't wanna walk by myself," he wailed. "I wanna walk with you."
"Okay, sweetie, okay," Kurt soothed.
He rocked him gently, humming under his breath. Gabriel slowly began to calm down, his sobbing quieting down to small whimpers. Kurt leaned back, adjusting Gabriel's weight in his arms, and waited out the temper tantrum. It wasn't even really a tantrum- he could tell it was just a combination of nerves and being hungry.
He felt someone's eyes on him and he looked up under his lashes. Blaine was standing there with a glass vase of ivory roses in his arms. He started when he caught Kurt looking at him and smiled at him, sheepish but charming.
Gabriel sniffled, wiping his wet cheek on Kurt's shirt, and Kurt looked away from Blaine. "Better, baby?" he asked. Gabriel nodded, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. Kurt stood up and set him on his hip. "Let's go get you cleaned up, okay?"
Blaine was already gone. Kurt shifted Gabriel's weight and carried him to the bathroom. "Daddy, I didn't know it was going to be scary to be the ringbear," Gabriel said.
Kurt ran a paper towel under the faucet. "What makes it scary?" he asked.
Gabriel bit his lip, pondering. "I don't want everybody looking at me," he said at last.
Kurt wiped the snot and tears gently away from his blotchy cheeks. "Why not, sweetie?" he asked.
"I don't know, I just don't want them thinking I'm silly," Gabriel said, wriggling away from the wet paper towel.
"No one will think you're silly," Kurt reassured him. "They're just going to think you're very handsome." He threw the paper towel away and tucked a loose strand of golden hair away from his son's face, smiling at him. "And do you know what you should say if anyone thinks you're silly?" Gabriel shook his head. "You should say that 'nobody pushes the Hummels around,' and you should just not even pay them any attention because you know they're wrong."
Gabriel smiled at him, revealing the deep dimples in his cheeks. Kurt cupped his face in his hands and kissed his forehead. "Let's go find you something to eat, okay?" he said. "I think it's dinner time."
"Okay!" Gabriel said, brightening. He grabbed Kurt's hand and trotted alongside him down the hall. "Daddy? Is the wedding going to be boring like this?"
"No, it should be more exciting," Kurt promised. "Remember when Uncle Finn and Aunt Lucy got married?"
Gabriel laughed and wrinkled his nose. "No, Daddy, I was a baby," he said.
Kurt tugged playfully on his hand. "You were two, you can probably remember a little bit," he teased. "You had a lot of fun. You ate a lot of cake."
"I like cake," Gabriel admitted.
"We'll have cake tomorrow," Kurt promised. "Aunt Rachel picked out a really good one, you'll like it."
He walked into the hotel's restaurant, already filled with various members of the Berry and St. James families. "Oh my god, Kurt, there you are," Rachel said, running over them. "I hadn't even realized how late it was. No wonder Gabriel was so cranky." She knelt down and hugged Gabriel. "I'm so sorry, sweetie. Are you hungry?"
"Daddy was talking about cake and now I want some," Gabriel reported.
"There's no cake, but there's ice cream," Rachel said, holding out her hand. He took it eagerly and walked with her over to the ice cream sundae bar.
"Don't let him eat dessert before dinner, Rachel Berry," Kurt called.
Quinn sidled up to him. "Thank god he had a meltdown when he did, or Jesse and Rachel would have never ended that rehearsal," she said. She tucked her arm through his. "And I have a question. What on earth are you wearing?"
"Clothes," he said, blinking.
Quinn sighed. "Oh, Kurt Hummel," she said, leading him forcibly over to a table and making him sit down. "If the Kurt I knew in high school knew what you were wearing, he'd be ashamed."
"The Kurt Hummel you knew in high school hasn't existed in years," Kurt said dryly.
She rested her chin in his hand and studied him, arching an eyebrow. "I always meant to keep in better contact with you when I graduated, but I really dropped the ball, and then all of a sudden you had a baby and you weren't leaving your house anymore," she said. She tilted her head. "What happened?"
Kurt shrugged uncomfortably. "Life," he said shortly.
"No, but I mean…even before we graduated," she said. "Senior year, you were so quiet. You just seemed to lose some of that fire."
He gazed across the room and spotted Gabriel's golden head. "There was a lot going on," he said. "Bullying, mostly." He glanced back at her. "I thought about transferring schools, but we just couldn't afford it."
She took his hand. "I'm sorry," she said, squeezing his fingers. "You never said anything."
"I didn't really talk about it," he said. "I didn't expect you to notice."
She rubbed her thumb over his knuckles. "Still," she said. "I wish I had done something. If not in high school, then in college, after your boyfriend died. I felt like I should have gotten in touch with you after that. All those pictures started popping up on Facebook, of you at parties, drunk out of your mind…"
He drew his hand back. "I've grown up a lot," he said. "And I've got my job and my little boy. I'm fine. I don't need anyone to worry about me."
She didn't say anything, but she squeezed his arm lightly. He bit back a sigh as he watched Gabriel bounce around, his crying fit already forgotten.
That was the point, right? To make sure Gabriel was okay, that he grew up happy and healthy and cared for? That he could go to a good school, get a good job…not make the same mistakes his father made. And Kurt was doing everything for that. He worked from home to spend more time with Gabriel and he took on extra freelance jobs to save for Gabriel's college fund. Everything was for Gabriel. It had to be.
It was his mistakes that brought Gabriel into this world. He had better do everything he could to make his life as good as possible.
Gabriel darted across the restaurant and leaped onto Kurt's lap. "Aunt Rachel's getting me mac and cheese before I get my ice cream," he said. "Hi, Aunt Quinn!"
"Hi, sugarplum," she said, leaning over to rub her nose against his. He giggled. "Feeling better?"
"Uh-huh," he said. He twisted around on Kurt's lap. "Oh, and Daddy, Aunt Rachel said you can walk with me down the aisle so I won't be scared." He frowned. "But I still can't be a ringbear. I just have to carry a pillow."
"Okay, honey," Kurt laughed.
Someone reached over Kurt's shoulder. "Sorry, I'm just fixing the flowers, they're a little…"
Kurt glanced up to see Blaine grinning down at him. "Hi," he stammered.
"Hi," Blaine said. He looked out of place with the nicely dressed guests, his green polo with the flower shop logo stretched over his biceps and his dark curls rumpled.
"Hi, Flower Man!" Gabriel said, kneeling on his chair to wave.
"You can call me Blaine, kiddo," he said with a wide grin.
"Okay, Mr. Blaine," Gabriel said.
Kurt tugged on his belt loop. "Sit down on your bottom," he said. Gabriel stuck out his lower lip, clearly not wanting to obey, but a waiter walked by with a bowl of macaroni and cheese, but he let out a happy squeal and plunked down. Kurt could still sense Blaine looking at him, but he didn't look up as he got out Gabriel's utensils and scooted his chair closer to the table.
"He's gone, Kurt, you can stop pretending he's not there," Quinn said.
"Hm?" Kurt said, glancing up innocently.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "God, Kurt, you're like a camper who ran into a bear in the woods," she said. "You can't just play dead and wait for him to go away."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kurt said. He turned to Gabriel. "Sweetie, do you need a napkin?"
"He thinks you're cute, I can tell," Quinn said. "You should ask him out."
"Oh, he already asked me out," Kurt said without thinking, and instantly regretted it when Quinn smiled broadly.
"And you said…" she prompted, waving her hand.
"I haven't answered," Kurt said. "But it's probably a no. Gabriel, nah-uh, don't eat with your fingers."
"Are you serious?" Quinn said. "Kurt. He's gorgeous. He seems incredibly nice. And it's a just a little date. It can't hurt anything."
"I'm not really in a place for a relationship," he said., wiping a noodle off Gabriel's cheek.
Quinn laughed, not unkindly. "It's not a relationship, Kurt, it's one date," she said. "It's not even a real thing. He's keeping you company at a wedding." She held up her index finger, smiling playfully. "One little date."
Gabriel looked up. "Daddy, you're going on a date?" he said, waving his fork around in excitement.
"Oh, sweetie, careful, you're going to throw your dinner at Aunt Quinn," Kurt said, lowering his hand.
"Daddy, are you going to go on a date with my flower man?" Gabriel asked eagerly.
"Just eat your dinner," Kurt said, exasperated.
"That's not a no," Quinn pointed out.
"Daddy, you should go on a date with my flower man," Gabriel pressed.
Kurt threw up his hands. "I swear to God, the next person to say anything about me going on a date is going to get a glass of water in their face," he said. He looked at Gabriel. "Or have their TV privileges taken away." Gabriel pouted, but turned his attention back to his dinner. Quinn just rolled her eyes.
The dinner devolved into toasts to the bride and groom, each one longer than the next, especially when Rachel's teary-eyed fathers took their turns. Kurt was starting to feel antsy and bored; Quinn busied herself with tearing up her cocktail napkin into tiny pieces. Gabriel, done with his macaroni and cheese, started shifting around, climbing on his chair to Kurt's lap and then Quinn's lap. From there he started whining, not even placated by the small cup of vanilla ice cream he was given. The clock rolled on to eleven- long past Gabriel's bedtime.
"Daddy, I'm bored," he whispered loudly. "I wanna go home."
Kurt ran his hand through his hair for the millionth time, messing it up horribly. "Just a little bit longer," he whispered back. "Sit still."
Gabriel obeyed for maybe forty-five seconds before wriggling off Kurt's lap and reaching for the floral centerpiece in the middle of the table. "No, sir," Kurt said, tugging his hand back.
"I wanna go home," he whined again, kicking his heel against the leg of his chair.
"Gabriel Adam," Kurt warned, catching his small wrist. "No, sir."
"I'm bored," Gabriel wailed, his voice rising. Kurt stood up, wrapped an arm around Gabriel's waist, and hoisted him up.
"Tell Rachel I'm sorry, but I had to get him home," he whispered to Quinn, who nodded
He carried him out of the hotel restaurant, despite Gabriel shrieking and kicking at him. "Noooo!" he shouted. "I wanna walk! I can walk!"
Kurt paused. "Are you going to run away from me?" he asked. Gabriel shook his head. Kurt set him down, and the second his shoes hit the floor Gabriel tried to bolt. Kurt caught him quickly. "No, sir."
"Nooooo!" Gabriel bellowed, wriggling in his grip. "No, put me down, Daddy, put me down!" He struggled mightily against Kurt's grip. "I'm telling Grampa!"
Kurt bit back a sigh and readjusted his hold. "Grampa will back me up," he said. "Trust me."
He was halfway through the parking lot, Gabriel still when he heard his name. "Kurt! Hey, wait a second!"
He paused, struggling to hold onto his wiggling, shrieking son. "What?" he asked, exasperated.
The green florist van was parked in the space across from his car. Of course it was. And Blaine was standing there, smiling hesitantly. "I just…you never gave me an answer," he said.
Kurt blinked. "You still want to take me out?" he said.
Blaine nodded. "I've been trying to catch you to hear if it was a yes or a no," he said. "And there was never a good time, and…well, this still isn't a good time, but you're about to leave, so…"
Kurt's whole body ached. His head hurt. His six-year-old son was screaming and struggling in his grip. His button-up shirt was badly wrinkled and half-untucked, his hair was falling over his forehead, and he couldn't remember if he'd put on cologne before he left for the rehearsal. And for the first time since Adam died, someone was asking him out on a date.
"Do you know what?" he said. "Yes."
Blaine blinked. "Yes?"
"Yes," Kurt said. "Do you want to be my date to the wedding tomorrow? I can just meet you here."
"Sure," Blaine stammered. "Sure! I'd love to."
"Fantastic," Kurt said. He wrapped both arms around Gabriel's waist to keep him from running away. "I'll meet you here, then. Tomorrow."
"Tomorrow," Blaine said, pleased.
Kurt offered him a half smile and wrestled around in his pocket for the keys to the truck. "All right, Gabriel, let's go home," he said.
"No," Gabriel sobbed, shaking his head and trying to squirm away. Kurt sat him down in his booster seat, holding him gently but firmly in place as he buckled him in. "No, Daddy."
"Go to sleep," Kurt said firmly. "Calm down and go to sleep."
He got into the driver's seat and backed out of his space; Gabriel's sobs were already beginning to die down. By the time he was on the interstate, Gabriel had gone completely quiet, and he reached around to the backseat to squeeze his knee. "You okay, sweetie?" he asked softly.
Gabriel didn't say anything, but he squeezed his small hand around Kurt's fingers. Kurt smiled, and even though it made his arm fall asleep, he held his son's hand like that the whole way home.
KURT AND BLAINE HAVE GOT THEMSELVES A REAL DATE! HURRAY!
And also Kurt is a sweet daddy, but for GOD'S SAKE, SON, CUT YOURSELF A LITTLE SLACK. Blaine has got to step in and give the poor darling a self-esteem boost.
i hope you enjoyed this nice big update! I'm in the middle of some chaos- I'm moving into my new apartment on Monday, and my darling husband will be here on Wednesday! I haven't seen him in three months, so I'm SO excited. AND I WILL HAVE MY KITTEN BABY BACK TOO! But all that to say that I am probably going to be all over the place for he next week or so!
So in the next update, Kurt and Blaine will be at the wedding as dates! Give me your predictions! What do you think will happen on the date? What do you want to see happen on the date? And what shenanigans do you think baby Gabriel will get into?
And don't forget, I'm also posting my other bigbang, Sweeter Than Heaven, Hotter Than Hell, too, so go read that one and leave some feedback!