It’s a damn good thing he likes that Anderson kid.
It was touch-and-go in the beginning. After all, he first met Blaine when the kid was hungover, mostly still asleep, and in Kurt’s bed without Burt’s permission. Not that Burt would have given permission, not in this lifetime nor in any other that Kurt and Blaine may have had together, but it would have been nice to have been asked.
And after that fiasco, there was that talk in the garage, about how he doesn’t understand Kurt; that was totally uncalled for, especially from someone who really didn’t know Kurt yet, let alone knowing Burt himself. But Blaine ended up proving himself. And by being right, damn him. And, if Burt is honest with himself, it’s nice to be needed as a father by more than just Kurt. Don’t get him wrong; he adores Kurt with every fiber of his being. But Blaine is a different kind of son to him, and, truthfully, Blaine needed -- still needs, Burt firmly believes -- someone like Burt in his life.
So Blaine became a part of Kurt’s universe, and by extension part of Burt’s, and Burt had to stand back and watch him pull his head out of his ass more than once when it came to Kurt. It wasn’t an easy path for either of them, getting to where they are now.
Burt looks up and down the hallway. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least, to get this place and time. Part of him thinks he should thank Karofsky; if it weren’t for him, this whole thing wouldn’t have started.
Part of him thinks he should slug Karofsky; if it weren’t for him, this whole thing wouldn’t have started.
But in his heart of hearts, he knows this is the right path for the boys. His boys, very soon to both actually be his boys.
Someone appears in the very periphery of his vision, and Burt turns.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I know, though Kurt thinks it’s all ridiculous and is only doing it ‘so Dad won’t flip out on me,’” Blaine says, grinning. He’s wearing an old Dalton Fight Club T-shirt and his Cheerios workout sweats, so Burt knows he won’t be hanging around the hallway for too long.
“He’s wrong about it being ridiculous, but he’s not wrong that I’d flip if the two of you see each other. I mean, we’ve been through enough bad luck, wouldn’t you say?” Burt hears the roughness in his voice for that split second before he clears his throat. He had promised Carole -- only happy tears today. There have been enough of the other kind in his and Kurt’s life to last the rest of their collective days.
Blaine nods. “Kurt couldn’t find his favorite cufflinks this morning, and he had me searching high and low in the apartment. He eventually found them at the bottom of his overnight bag, but I thought he was going to completely lose it. That was more than enough bad luck for the day.” Burt chuckles, making Blaine grin, as well. “But, seriously. I needed to see you, and I knew you’d be lurking here.”
“My boy kicked me out. He’s got ‘his swans’ in there with him, and they’re doing God only knows what with all the tubes and pots and what-have-you. He said I was making him twitch, so I left. What did you want, Anderson?”
“I just wanted to thank you. I know… I know you had doubts, and I know you had moments that you wanted to slug me, especially while Kurt and I were broken up, but you’ve been there for me, for us, more than anyone else, and without judgement.”
“Oh, there was plenty of judgement,” Burt says with a grin.
“Yeah, there probably was,” Blaine concedes. “But even if you judged and disagreed with what I was doing or Kurt was doing, you didn’t stand in our way.”
“You’re both adults, Blaine. I trust you to not make criminally stupid mistakes. Or, if you do make them, to own up to them and serve your penalty.”
“Well, I just wanted to thank you. For being a second dad voice when I couldn’t -- OK, wouldn’t -- talk to my own dad, and for being such a wonderful dad to Kurt. He’s the man he is because you’re the man you are.”
“You’re pushing it, Anderson,” Burt says, and it’s clear that he’s holding back tears. “Now, remember, I’ll be all over your ass if you hurt my boy.”
“Trust me; I know.” Blaine engulfs Burt in a tight hug and then turns back toward where he came from. “I’ve got to go back to the guys. Sam’s probably organizing a search party right this minute. If you get a chance to talk to Kurt, can you give him a message? That wouldn’t court bad luck, would it?”
“Depends on the message,” Burt says, but he’s joking.
“Just tell him I love him and I’ll see him at the end of the aisle. I’m… I’m gonna go get dressed.” Blaine gives Burt a hug and then pauses for one more second before heading down the hall, and Burt watches until Blaine has moved out of sight.
He loses track of how long he’s standing out in the hallway. Eventually he gets tired of just standing around and reaches into the artfully concealed pocket in his jacket to pull out his phone. That was a bit of genius custom tailoring by Kurt, who knew Burt wouldn’t get through the whole day without Angry Birds but who also had threatened to beat Burt with his own phone if said phone made any sort of unsightly bulge in his tuxedo.
When the door to Kurt’s suite opens, Burt is startled, but he recovers quickly.
“He wants you,” Mercedes says.
“Oh, he does, does he?” Burt asks.
“Daaad!” Kurt yells from within, and Burt will never be able to resist that plaintive cry, regardless of what spurred it.
“OK, OK, I’m coming,” Burt calls back. As they walk into the suite, Burt leans in to whisper to Mercedes. “Tell me truthfully. On a scale of Sarah Bernhardt to Aretha Franklin, how is Kurt?”
“I... I'm not sure who the first one is, but Kurt's actually pretty calm right now. We've been working hard to keep him as mellow as possible."
"I'm not sure I want to know," Burt said, his tone wry.
"Don't worry, Mr. H. Nothing illegal or immoral. Fattening, maybe, but that’s only because of Kurt’s stress baking."
“I know he brought at least one pan of those hot cross buns that just melt in your mouth. And he baked a couple dozen chocolate chip cookies over the past couple of days; I don’t know what happened with those.”
“You’re forgetting the Italian wedding cookies and the rugelach,” Tina adds.
“And the spinach things with the feta cheese? ‘For when you want savory instead of sweet,’ Kurt says. Those ended up being breakfast,” Mercedes says.
“So where is he?” Burt says, looking around the sitting room and clearly not seeing his son.
“He’s in the bedroom with Santana and Rachel for some last-minute pinning and tucking, I believe,” Quinn says from her spot on the loveseat.
“Dad?” Burt hears from beyond the bedroom door.
“Yeah, I’m here, bud,” he calls back.
“I’ll be out in a minute,” Kurt says. “I just needed to do a couple of quick adjustments.”
Burt knows it’s futile to suggest that Kurt has assistants who could help with the final alterations on his attendants’ dresses. He looks around the room at the literal rainbow of dresses: Quinn in blue, Tina in green, Brittany in orange, and Mercedes in purple, with Rachel in yellow and Santana in red to round out the set. Blaine’s attendants parallel the girls, Burt knows, with Sam in a purple bowtie and vest, Puck in blue, Mike in green, Trent in red, and Artie in orange. Burt himself got the honor of the yellow tie and vest, which Carole assures him looks great. She’s got it easy -- Kurt designed her dress in a floral print that both looks magnificent on her and complements the yellow that Burt is wearing.
Finally the bedroom door opens and Kurt comes out, followed by Santana and Rachel. He’s in his dress pants and shirt, but his vest, tie, and morning jacket are still hanging in the garment bag on the back of the closet door.
“You look lovely, ladies,” Burt says to the room at large. “Bud? You doing OK?”
“I’m fine, Dad. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“No reason. It’s just that there’s a tape measure around your neck and a seam ripper behind your ear, and I didn’t think they matched with the overall…” Burt tries to remember the industry term Kurt always uses, but with everything else on his mind it doesn’t come to him immediately, so he just gestures to the whole outfit Kurt is wearing. Kurt freezes in place and then turns and scurries back to the bedroom. He emerges a minute later without his sewing supplies, smoothing down the front of his shirt.
“I see you found your cufflinks,” Burt says, grinning at Kurt.
“Did Blaine talk to you?”
“Of course. He came by while I was banished to the hallway. He says he loves you and he’ll see you at the end of the aisle.”
“Was he dressed yet?”
“Well, he wasn’t in the hallway in his altogether, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Da-aad!” Kurt may be an adult now, but Burt still knows what gets Kurt riled up.
“He was in his sweats and a T-shirt. He was about to go get dressed. Don’t worry; Sam and Trent have him covered. You don’t need to go help him dress. Trust me.” Burt holds up his hand. “Kurt, he’ll be fine. You’ll see him in the ballroom in half an hour.”
“I’m… I should text him, make sure he has everything he needs.”
“I brought the whole ensemble--” that was the word he’d been missing before -- “in my car. It was all in the garment bag the way you packed it back at the studio last night. Nothing got lost. Yes, the shoes and the hat box came in, too,” Burt says, seeing Kurt’s wild-eyed look. He decides to relent, finally, if only to keep his son from having a complete meltdown on his wedding day. “If you’re worried, fire off a text. But trust me, he’s fine.”
Kurt whips out his phone from his pocket and starts typing. “And, no, Dad. My phone is staying in Mercedes’ purse during the ceremony, so don’t even think I’m going to let you have yours in your pocket, even in the hidden one. Give it to Carole to hold; she’s got space in her clutch. I made sure.”
“I wasn’t going to say anything,” Burt protests, but it’s weak. Kurt knows him too well.
And for all that this is a happy day, and for all that Burt loves Blaine and knows how happy he makes Kurt, there’s a small pang in his chest at the idea that his relationship with Kurt is going to inevitably change. It’s been changing for years, Burt knows, as Kurt became an adult, came out, met Blaine, found himself, all the changes in his life. But there’s always been a certain aspect to the relationship, and Burt hopes that that, the kernel, will never change.
To clear his heading-toward-melancholy thoughts, Burt pointedly looks at his watch. “OK, you’ve got about half an hour before this whole thing gets underway. What’s the plan?”
“The girls need to go for last checking of hair and makeup and then attendant photos. Carole will meet them there, and then you will have to go and be in photos with Carole, but until then…” Kurt’s voice fades off, and then he almost-whispers, “can you stay?”
“Of course I’ll stay,” Burt answers.
As the rainbow of women heads out to attend to their last-minute preparations, Burt settles on the sofa and pats the cushion next to him. “C’mon, bud. Join me.”
“That’s twice you’ve done that,” Kurt says as he comes to sit next to Burt.
“Called me ‘bud.’ You haven’t done that in a long time.”
Burt thinks about it for a minute. He hadn’t even realized he’d slipped back into using Kurt’s old nickname. “I guess… it reminds me that you’re still my kid, regardless of the man you’ve clearly grown to be.”
“I told you a while ago, but I’ll tell you again if you need the reminder -- I am the man you raised me to be.”
“Well, I’m proud of you. You and I, we took this journey together. Not necessarily the journey we expected, and parts of it not the journey we wanted, but we’ve always had each other’s backs.”
“Wow, Dad. That’s pretty profound.”
“Yeah, well.” Burt ducks his head a bit, knowing he’s blushing just a little. “Carole helped me with it. You’ll hear a similar version of it in a couple of hours in my toast.”
They sit in companionable silence for a bit, each lost in their own thoughts, until Kurt starts to fidget. “Is it time yet?” he asks. “I promised I wouldn’t wear my watch today.”
Burt looks at his watch and says, “Yeah, it’s time. Let’s head over.”
They get up and head out the suite’s door toward the ballroom where they know all the guests are getting seated.
They peek into the ballroom where Shannon Beiste is standing at the front of the room. Burt still wasn’t convinced she was the right officiant, but Kurt and Blaine had assured him that she was, out of a large list of possibilities, the best choice.
Burt knows the minute she spots them, because she hustles down the aisle toward them and gestures them back out into the hallway. “Punkin’, you’ve got a couple of minutes. Is there anything else I need to know before we get started?” she asks Kurt.
“No,” Kurt responds. “I think we’re all set.”
“Great. ‘Cause in just a minute Blaine’s gonna be comin’ through that door,” and at this she points to the door at the opposite side of the ballroom, where Anderson Sr. is standing with his wife, “ and then it’s gonna be showtime.”
“Thanks, Coach,” Kurt says, and it amuses Burt no end that that there is someone in his son’s life that answers to “Coach.”
Beiste returns to her place at the front of the room, and Kurt lets the door close in front of him. As Burt and Kurt stand there, taking a moment to think, Kurt’s rainbow of girls comes back.
“Come on, circle up,” Rachel says.
Burt hears Kurt grumble under his breath, but at the same time the kid is moving into position between Rachel and Santana. Kurt gestures to Burt, who walks over to the circle but doesn’t join it.
“Can you peek in for me and tell me if the band is set?”
Burt opens the door and pokes his head in. As he does so, the violinists who have been tuning up in the corner start the opening notes of Bach’s “Air” and the far door opens for Blaine to walk in. Burt sees Blaine enter and stand beside the door as his attendants and his brother gather to begin their walk down the aisle.
“Forty-five seconds,” Burt whispers, pulling the door open and propping it. He knows that the women will walk in and pair up with their color-match from Blaine’s attendants; he and Rachel will walk in together as the last to enter before Kurt.
“C’mon, huddle up,” Mercedes stage-whispers. The girls -- “Women!” Burt hears in his head, and if he’s not mistaken it’s in Carole’s voice -- and Kurt all put their hands into the middle of the circle, as Burt saw them do many times before. Santana says, “Hummel, there were times I thought this was never gonna happen. But now we’re here, and you and the Hobbit--” and Burt grins at the sharply whispered chorus of “Santana!!” -- “You and Blaine are about to get hitched. I’d make some sort of lame ‘fabulous’ joke, but instead, I’ll just say, you and he are going to be…”
She stopped, and all of them, including Burt, chorused, “Aaaa-mazing!”