Rating: PG (for language)
Characters: Burt and Blaine
Word Count: 2450
Summary: Burt Hummel wasn't so easily surprised by much anymore. Until Blaine that is. Blaine surprised the hell out of him.
Author's Notes: AU. Part of the Genie!Blaine 'verse, which is set in Season 2. I wasn’t planning on adding more to this story and yet 2000 words later...This particular fic is set between 203 (Grilled Cheesus) and 208 (Furt). So, it’s more serious than the previous drabbles, which are located here.
Burt Hummel was a roll with the punches kind of guy. After the unexpected and early death of his wife, he learned that life threw you the occasional (heart- and gut-wrenching) curveball and there was nothing you could do, but step up, take a swing, and see what happened. So, when he stopped to grab a parts catalog he'd forgotten at home, he was more curious than surprised when he heard singing coming from Kurt's bedroom. Kurt who was supposed to be in school at this hour, but from the sound of it was clearly not. The closer he approached the basement door, however, he realized it wasn't his kid singing (because Kurt’s voice was unmistakable). Hackles raised, Burt doubled back to the hall closet, grabbed the rarely used baseball bat, and slowly eased Kurt's door open.
Almost immediately an unfamiliar and extremely upbeat tune filled the air.
"It's a blacked out blur But I'm pretty sure it ruled"
As Burt quietly descended the stairs—making sure to bypass the squeaky step—he had to give the robber some credit. He was no expert, but even he could tell how good he sounded. Still, it didn't negate the fact that he was in his home, doing God knows what in his kid's room.
Finally reaching the last step that would still be obscured by the stairwell wall, Burt peered cautiously around the corner and was in for the surprise of his life.
It wasn't the boy that was dancing aimlessly around Kurt's room, a magazine in his hands, and singing at the top of his lungs that surprised Burt (okay, that's a lie. It wasn't THE most surprising thing he saw). It was the myriad of cleaners, feather dusters, and cloths flying around the room and washing any visible surface that shocked the hell out of him.
Burt mechanically took the last few steps into the room, the bat he held falling limply to his side, and shouted, "What the hell is going on here?"
Two things happened in quick succession.
First, everything froze—in mid air for chrissakes—and the dark-haired boy stared at him with eyes wide as saucers.
Second, everything—including the damn kid—suddenly disappeared, with the exception of the magazine he held, which plopped onto the floor in a crumpled heap.
Barely a second later, the kid reappeared, picked up the magazine, and smoothed it out carefully on Kurt's bed before disappearing again with an audible poof.
Burt took a moment to scrub his eyes in disbelief before slowly scanning the room. "Okay," he said not really expecting an answer, but felt the need to say something. He stood there for a while longer until the shock was eventually overridden by his need to know what the hell was going on.
"Look," he said to the room at large, "You and I both know I didn't imagine that, and since it seems all you were doing was cleaning my son's room, I'm assuming you're not here to harm anything but dust mites."
Silence was his only response and Burt sighed. "Is it the bat? Here, look, I'm putting it down." Burt rested said object against the nearest wall before taking a few steps away from it. "I'm not going to hurt you," he added just to be clear. "Just wondering what's going on. You have to admit seeing a complete stranger in my supposedly empty house is a cause for concern, right?"
Burt waited, but was met with more silence for his efforts. "Are you one of those cleaning elves?" he tried instead, injecting some humor into his voice. "Because if you're up to it, my attic's seen better days."
Burt was damned sure that would merit some kind of response, a small chuckle even, but received nothing of the sort. “Look, I can wait here all day.” Burt’s voice was frank now as he crossed the floor and settled himself on the edge of Kurt’s bed. “I once sat through ten straight hours of Project Runway with Kurt, who had something to say about every outfit sewn. So, I know how to be patient.”
He crossed his arms and waited the kid out.
Finally, a very hesitant and timid voice said, "Um, no, Sir. I'm not an elf."
Burt released a low breath, happy that he was finally getting somewhere and equally relieved that he wasn't, in fact, going crazy. "Okay. Well, that's a little disappointing."
"Sorry to disappoint you, Sir," was the immediate response and it caused Burt to frown.
“There's no need to apologize,” he said. “Though if you’re not an elf, would you mind telling me who you are? It's not every day a man sees someone disappear and reappear without the use of smoke or mirrors."
The not-an-elf was quiet again for some time. "...I'm not at liberty to say, Sir,” he said at length. “Perhaps when Mas—um, Kurt returns, he can tell you? If it so pleases him, of course."
Burt narrowed his eyes at the choice of words and made a mental note to have several conversations with Kurt this afternoon regardless of what this kid suggested. The topmost conversation being how he thought he could hide a boy in his room for God knew how long and thinking he could get away with it. Kurt was going to get an earful.
That was later though. Right now Burt had to figure out who, or what, this kid was.
"You mind if we continue this conversation face-to-face?" Burt asked. "I'm not sure which direction to speak to, and I think it's only polite."
Without delay, the kid popped back into the room a few feet from Burt, eyes trained to the floor and hands nervously twisting the hem of his navy sweater. There was no mistaking how uncomfortable the other was and being as he was responsible for the behavior, Burt felt the need to put him at ease. He supposed it was the inherent dad in him.
"Hey," he said as non-threatening as possible, "I'm not mad. My name’s Burt Hummel.” He extended his hand out. “’Mind letting me know who I’m speaking to at least?”
The boy, who upon closer inspection looked no older than Kurt, lifted his eyes, straightened his back, and reached out to shake Burt’s hand. “Blaine, Sir.” At Burt’s raised eyebrows, Blaine said, “Just Blaine, Sir. It’s—it’s a pleasure to meet you. Kurt has told me so many wonderful things about you.”
“He has, huh?” Burt replied tone amused as he released Blaine’s hand.
Blaine nodded the stiffness in his shoulders gradually relaxing. "Yes,” he said, the edges of his lips curling up into a small smile, “You’re an exceptional father, Mr. Hummel.”
The frankness and sincerity of the statement gave Burt reason to pause. Perhaps it was the way Blaine’s fingers curled as if wanting to form fists when he delivered the words or the solemn look in his eyes that belied the smile on his lips. Regardless, Burt had a strong feeling there was more to the compliment than what was on the surface.
“That’s some hefty praise,” Burt finally said, quelling his curiosity for the time being as he was afraid he'd spook the kid into silence again. “I’ll give you some credit, Kid. You sure know how to swell a guy’s head.”
The teasing tone extracted the reaction Burt was aiming for. Blaine smiled a more carefree one now and he ducked his head in apparent embarrassment.
“So, do you live around here?” Burt asked, hoping to get at least a few of the simpler questions squared away.
“At the moment, yes,” Blaine replied with an inscrutable smile.
“At the moment,” Burt echoed and scratched the side of his head. “Your family move around a lot?”
Blaine shook his head. “No, Sir. I...I’ve been on my own for a while now.”
Burt frowned. “How old are you exactly?” he asked, leaning forward to scrutinize him more closely.
Blaine tilted his head to the side as if contemplating the answer before finally settling on, “Older than I look.”
Burt’s frown deepened. “Are you ever going to give me a straight answer?”
Blaine bit his lip to prevent a smile from forming, but Burt saw it anyway. “Probably not, Sir.”
Burt sat back again and eyed the other warily. “I don’t suppose you talk to Kurt like this, do you? Because I can’t see him liking it.”
“No, Sir,” Blaine was quick to deny. “I would never—Kurt’s...” Blaine trailed off and he lowered his eyes to the floor. He then inhaled a deep breath and let it out slowly before meeting Burt’s eyes. “Would it be all right if we postponed this conversation until Kurt returns home?”
Burt thought it over, taking this moment to really study Blaine. Despite all the non answers he received, Blaine seemed like a good kid overall and with manners to spare. There was nothing screaming at him that Blaine was trouble either. So, he agreed, but on one condition.
“Answer this one question truthfully and I won’t bug you with anything else until Kurt gets back.” Burt held out his hand. “Deal?”
Blaine looked down at his hand then back at Burt. “May I ask what the question is first?”
Burt dropped his hand back to his knee, eyes still trained on Blaine. “All right,” he said. “Do you and Kurt talk a lot?”
Blaine visibly relaxed upon hearing the question, and inclined his head once. “Yes. Every day," he replied and looked like he was about to say more, but in the end kept his mouth shut.
Burt rubbed his hand tiredly across his head and nodded vaguely a few times. “That’s good. I...I'm not looking for you to break any confidences. It’s just, I know something’s going on with Kurt that’s he’s not telling me," he laid out bluntly. "And if he’s not willing to share what’s bothering him with me, I feel a whole lot better knowing he at least has someone he can talk to.” Burt released a tired sigh, eyes straying to a photograph of Kurt, Ann, and himself on the far dresser. Kurt was about three in that photo, and it was taken during their first outing together to the park. He recalled how sunny it was that day and how there were enough smiles and laughter to rival any comedy club on a given night.
There weren’t many smiles from Kurt lately and even less so in regards to laughter. Something was up with him, but whenever he asked, Kurt would just say everything was fine. With the stiff way he held himself around the house, Kurt was anything but fine.
“Ever since my heart attack," Burt continued to explain, "the kid’s been one giant knot of worry, but it’s something more than that. I...” Burt released a frustrated breath and shook his head. “Like I said, it’s good to know he’s talking to someone, and I would appreciate it if you continue listening to him and to let me know if he's ever in any serious trouble."
“I would never let anything happen to him, Mr. Hummel,” Blaine stated vehemently, the very air seeming to crackle around him and caused Burt’s attention to snap back to the teen. “Never.” Blaine emphasized the word tightly, hands clenched, and Burt couldn't help but take him seriously. The dark clouds that rolled across Kurt’s ceiling certainly helped too.
A smile tugged onto Burt's face. “Good to know,” he said and tipped his head up to the ceiling. “You mind getting rid of the storm clouds though? It’s a little unsettling seeing them indoors.”
Blaine’s tight expression smoothed into one of confusion and he glanced up. His eyes widened at what he saw. “I’m sorry!” he gasped out, clearly flustered as he waved his arms frantically until the black clouds faded away.
Burt laughed and whatever misgivings he felt towards Blaine was wiped out in that moment. This kid was okay. Magic or no magic (what other explanation could there be?), it looked as though he and Kurt were good friends. Knowing that was a tremendous relief.
Still, it didn’t mean he couldn’t rag on him a little bit. “That’s an interesting parlor trick you got there, Blaine,” Burt said, his eyebrows high on his forehead.
Blaine bit his lip uncertainly in response, but in the face of Burt’s encouraging look, a sheepish grin eventually grew across his face. “Thank you,” he said simply.
Burt pushed himself off Kurt’s bed and clapped Blaine once on the shoulder. “Come on. You must be bored hanging out in here. Why don’t I take you out to lunch?”
Blaine raised both of his hands in front of him—palms facing outward—and was already shaking his head no. “Oh, no, no. I’m fine, Mr. Hummel. I’m not bored at all.”
“You’d be doing me a favor,” Burt said, nudging Blaine until he turned around and then proceeded to frog-march him across the floor and up the stairs. “I’ve been meaning to try out this new burger joint by my garage.”
Blaine gasped (which was a little overdramatic if you asked him) and began to drag his feet at this new bit of information. “B-But your diet, Mr. Hummel. Kurt would kill me!”
“Huh. Kurt told you about that?” Burt replied thoughtfully as he grabbed his car keys and jacket, the latter of which he pressed into Blaine’s hands. “Well, it’s just this once. I’ll even skip the fries—”
“As you should!” Blaine squeaked as he was shuffled out the front door and to the pick-up truck parked on the driveway.
“Don’t be a stick in the mud, Blaine,” Burt ribbed as he unlocked the car doors and stepped into the driver’s side.
Blaine reluctantly got in as well when Burt started the engine and folded the loaned jacket neatly over his lap. He then turned a very suspicious look in Burt’s direction. “Just the one burger, right?”
Burt humored him, knowing full well why he was so concerned. Kurt was a force to be reckoned with, and you never wanted to be on his bad side. “Scout’s honor,” he promised.
Blaine’s intense stare didn’t diminish in the least. “And no french fries?”
“No french fries,” Burt parroted.
Blaine nodded, finally relaxing into his seat, and Burt took that as his cue to back out of the driveway and onto the main road. They traveled in silence for a few minutes.
“Do you think they have strawberry milkshakes?” Blaine asked tentatively at the next red traffic light, and Burt smiled.
"They sure do, Kid."
Blaine grinned before catching himself and declared gravely, "Just this once though."
Burt snorted, but agreed. "Sure, Kid. Just this once."
End Note: Blaine was singing Last Friday Night - Katy Perry
Next Part: The Hummels Plus Blaine