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It was early in the morning–far too early, in Burt's opinion, for a Saturday–when he heard someone knocking at the front door. Casting a mournful glance at the sports broadcast that he had been fervently watching for the past forty minutes, he took a long moment to debate the merits of simply ignoring whoever was outside. After all, it wasn't even eight in the morning yet, and if it was really that important then they would come back later, right?

The knocking started up again a moment later, this time much louder. Burt sighed and stood, knowing that if he didn't answer the door soon, then the sound would wake Carole. "Hold on a second," he called out, and almost immediately the knocking stopped. Burt scowled slightly and slowly dragged himself over to the door, grumbling angrily the entire way.

If this was a salesman of some sort, then Burt would not be responsible for his actions.

"Look," Burt said loudly as he opened the door. "Whatever you're selling, I'm not–Blaine?"

Blaine shifted uncomfortably on the doorstep, one gloved hand tugging nervously at the heavy woolen scarf wrapped snugly around his neck and the other shoved deep into one of the pockets of his dark gray winter coat. He froze when he finally realized that someone had answered the door. "Hi Burt," he said quietly. "I know that it's early, but can I come inside?"

Burt nodded and moved to the side. Blaine smiled slightly at him and moved to step inside the house, the snow on the front porch crunching loudly beneath his boots as he moved. Burt made a mental note to clear the porch off later–he hadn't realized that it had snowed so much the night before.

"What are you doing here?" Burt asked, closing the door behind him once Blaine was inside. Then something terrible occurred to him, "Kurt is okay, right?"

Blaine nodded as he took off his gloves. "Yeah," he said. "Nothing is wrong, I promise. I just needed to talk to you about something private."

"You came all the way to Lima to talk to me?" Burt asked, frowning.

Kurt and Blaine had moved to New York City almost immediately after their high school graduation, getting an apartment with Finn and Rachel in the city. No one had really thought that their relationship would survive; yes, everyone thought that they were a cute couple, but few believed that it was little more than a high school romance. In fact, at first Burt had been one of them; he had been absolutely convinced that the curly-haired boy would somehow break Kurt's heart.

He had been right.

Just a year later, the two of them had gotten into some large fight, and Blaine had called it quits. What followed was a tumultuous and unpleasant three-month period in which they spent every spare moment either shouting at one another, or going out of their way to avoid each other; much to Finn and Rachel's displeasure, no one could move out because of their lease. Near the end of the third month after their breakup, the two had somehow–and Burt still had no idea what had happened to cause it–gotten back together.

Things had then been good for about another year and a half when, suddenly and unexpectedly, Kurt had ended their relationship for a second time. At first, everyone had been extremely confused, because they thought that things had been going well for the couple. However, after a trip home to Lima for the holidays and enough shots of vodka, Kurt had spilled the truth to a horrified Finn; apparently Kurt had gotten drunk at a college party one evening–which Blaine had chosen not to attend in order to study for an exam–and slept with another man.

He had confessed everything to Blaine the next morning and, rightfully so, the curly-haired boy had been furious. However, in what Burt privately considered a rather surprising twist, Blaine had been willing to try and work things out between them. Kurt, however, had been so horrified and upset by his own actions that he had broken things off with his boyfriend, claiming that he obviously wasn't good for Blaine.

With that, everyone had assumed that the entity that was Kurt-and-Blaine was completely and forever finished.

Of course, being Kurt and Blaine, nothing was ever that easy.

Three years later, they had literally run into each other in a small coffee shop in Brooklyn. At twenty-three, both were much more mature than they had been at seventeen and, not wanting to rush into anything this time around, they had mutually agreed to try and rekindle–at the very least–their friendship.

Two years later, in a hidden alcove at Rachel and Finn's wedding rehearsal, Kurt had hesitantly kissed Blaine. Later that very night, the two had agreed to give dating one final shot, both knowing full well that if it ended badly that time around, it would be over between them for good.

Perhaps their relationship had survived the second time around because they had been so much older. Or perhaps it was because of the full-honesty, no-secrets-whatsoever policy that they had agreed upon; it was a well-known fact to anyone who knew them that if you told Kurt something, you were essentially telling Blaine, and vice versa, because they told each other everything.

Whatever it was, the fact remained that seven years later, at the age of thirty-two, they were still going strong.

"I want to ask you something," Blaine said, walking into the living room and collapsing onto the couch. He paused for a moment before quickly adding, "You have to promise me not to tell Kurt, though."

Burt frowned at him. "I thought that you two didn't keep secrets?"

"We don't normally," Blaine said. "This…is an exception to the rule. Kurt doesn't know that I'm here. He went to visit Mercedes this weekend, and he thinks that I'm with Santana and Brittany in Portland."

When Blaine had transferred to McKinley for his senior year, everyone had expected him to immediately become best friends with Kurt's two best friends. And while Blaine did like Rachel and Mercedes well enough, he wasn't very close to either of them.

What no one had expected was that Blaine and Santana would strike up an odd friendship. After stumbling across a sobbing and slushie-covered Brittany in the choir room one September afternoon, Santana and Blaine had taken it upon themselves to seek vengeance for the girl. After spending an entire day together plotting and executing said revenge against the football team, the two had immediately become best friends. Eventually, it had become common knowledge that if Santana and Blaine were not with their significant others, then they were most likely with one another. They had stayed close over the years, talking on the phone every night and visiting one another as often as possible.

Burt raised an eyebrow at that, but did not say anything. Instead, he took a seat in his recliner and waited patiently for Blaine to speak.

Blaine stared intently at the coffee table for awhile, clearly trying to sort out his thoughts. After a few moments, he suddenly spoke. "I want to ask your permission to marry Kurt," he said quickly, looking slightly as though he thought that Burt would suddenly pull out a shotgun and murder him on the spot.

"You want to marry my son?" Burt repeated, staring intently at the young man. Same-sex marriage had been legalized three years earlier in the United States, but neither Kurt nor Blaine had ever said, or done, anything to make Burt think that they were interested.

"Yes," Blaine said nervously, running a hand through his curly hair. "I mean, that is, if Kurt agrees."

Burt couldn't help but laugh at that. "He will," he assured Blaine. "The boy has been head-over-heels for you since the moment that you met."

Blaine smiled. "Does this mean that I have your permission?"

"For a long time, I honestly wasn't sure if you two would make it," Burt said in a rather blunt manner, leaning back in his chair. He surveyed Blaine for a long moment, secretly enjoying the way the younger man squirmed slightly under the scrutiny. He then continued in an equally blunt manner, "When you first broke Kurt's heart, Blaine, I wanted to break your face."

The younger man flinched.

Burt, however, wasn't quite finished. "Then you got back together, and the second time around, Kurt broke your heart; and that time, Blaine, I wanted to slap Kurt upside the head for hurting you," he said, noting Blaine's flabbergasted look. "I thought that you two would never get back together…but then you proved me, and everyone else, wrong. I may not be the smartest guy out there, kid, but I do know that you have to love someone a lot to be able to put those things behind you for a new future."

Blaine blinked at him, clearly unsure of what to make of that. "Sir?"

"Follow me," Burt said suddenly, standing. He walked out of the room and up the stairs, not bothering to check if Blaine was following; he knew that the young man would.

He stopped outside of his bedroom and motioned for Blaine to stay in the hall. Blaine, although clearly confused, nodded in understanding. Burt quietly pushed the door open and snuck inside, careful not to wake his wife, who was still buried until a pile of comforters and blankets. He stopped by the dresser and fished around for a moment, pushing shirts out of the way until his fingers wrapped tightly around a small black box.

Grinning triumphantly, he snuck back out into the hallway and closed the door quietly behind him. He then turned to Blaine and held the box out. "Take this," he said.

Blaine hesitantly reached out for the box, his eyes wide. Once Blaine had a firm grasp on the box, he flipped the lid open and stared in awe at the small ring nestled inside, a simple silver band. He stared a Burt, astounded. "Is this…?"

"Yes, this was his mother's wedding ring," Burt said quietly. "I know that it isn't much, and it isn't very flashy, but–"

"It's perfect," Blaine murmured, looking at it again. A second later his head snapped up, as though something had just occurred to him. "I can't just take this from you, Burt."

The older man shook his head. "Yes, you can," he said. "I've held onto it long enough…I want you to give it to Kurt when you propose. He doesn't have many things that belonged to his mother, Blaine, and I want him to have this. It will mean a lot to both of us."

Blaine stared at the ring for another long moment before giving Burt a smile. "It means a lot to me, too," he said. "That you would entrust this to me, I mean."

"You love him," Burt said softly, shrugging. "And you always have, despite everything that has happened between the two of you. And that's more than good enough for me."

Blaine smiled widely at him. "Thank you so much, Burt."

The older man simply nodded, a bit uncomfortable at the awed look Blaine was giving him. "Just promise me that you'll take care of him?"

"I will," Blaine assured him.

Burt nodded in satisfaction. "Come on, Blaine. Let's go back downstairs before we wake Carole."

Blaine, who was still staring at the ring with an incredulous expression, nodded. They walked back into the living room and sat down at the couch. "When are you planning to ask him?" Burt asked curiously.

"Christmas morning," Blaine said, blushing slightly. "I know it's a bit cliché, but…yeah."

Burt smiled. "He'll like that–you know that's only a week away, right?"

"Yeah," Blaine said. "That's why Santana offered to cover for me…I knew that if I didn't come here this weekend, I would have to wait."

"When do you have to be back in New York?"

Blaine stared at him. "My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon."

"Do you have a hotel room?" asked Burt.

"No, not yet," Blaine said, shaking his head. He put the small box into his jacket and added that, "My flight landed really early this morning, and I came straight here. I didn't want to risk not catching you this weekend."

Burt stood. "Let's go get your bags out of your car," he said. "You can stay here tonight. I know Carole will want to hear everything. And if Kurt happens to call, then I'll cover for you, too."

"Thanks," Blaine said quietly as he stood, casting Burt a small smile.

Burt shrugged and held the door open for the younger man. "You're family, kid," he said, as though that explained everything.

And it did.