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I Saw the Signs

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Burt sits at the kitchen table, flipping through the morning paper. There’s already a review of McKinley’s production of West Side Story in the arts section. Admittedly, Burt would normally pull this area out of the paper without reading it and set it aside for Kurt, but on this particular morning, there’s a big, grainy picture of Blaine and Rachel at the top of the column. The columnist gushes relentlessly about the perfect casting, particularly spotlighting the “incredibly talented” romantic leads and musing about their possible real-life connection. Burt can’t help but feel a swell of pride, here; Rachel and Blaine are family, and watching them already doing well in their chosen field is a real treat.

He muses, just for a moment, with a wistful little grin on his face, that those two will be legal family someday, if his sons get their way.

Burt looks up at the sound of soft footsteps padding down the stairs. It’s Kurt, looking a bit more disheveled than Burt’s used to seeing him in the mornings; his hair is a mess, and instead of his usual muted pajamas, he’s in a bright red Dalton Athletics t-shirt that’s pretty snug on him.

Huh.

“G’morning, Kurt,” Burt says, raising his coffee cup.

Kurt doesn’t answer, instead staring into the middle distance with a tiny smile on his face as he shuffles into the kitchen.

“Good morning, Kurt,” Burt tries again, a little louder, and Kurt snaps his head up in surprise, jumping a little, as though he hadn’t actually realized he wasn’t alone.

“Good morning, Dad,” Kurt answers. He’s beaming, though it’s small, visually contained even as his face seems to be bursting from within. He looks away quickly, his arms wrapped around himself as he approaches the full coffeemaker on the kitchen counter. He sighs when he fixes his cup, sticking his thumb in his mouth when a little coffee creamer splashes onto it.

Burt sets his newspaper down, watching him curiously. He seems tired, but not hungover, which is a relief. Burt trusts his sons but he knows how these kids get down from time to time. “How was the afterparty?”

Kurt shrugs one shoulder. “It was lovely.”

“At Breadstix, right?”

“Uh-huh.” Kurt absentmindedly tugs at the neckline of his too-small t-shirt, his fingers slipping underneath it, lingering on his neck. He’s not looking at Burt, again.

That shirt isn’t just snug on him. It’s not his size.

Kurt can’t stop touching himself.

Ah.

Burt takes a deep breath as sirens start going off in his head, trying to prepare himself for what he’s about to ask. It’s so much scarier than the first (and last) time they discussed this, knowing Kurt has gone and done it; this is the real test of whether or not Burt’s getting through to him.

“You kids -- I mean. You, uh. You and Blaine. You’re being safe?”

Kurt almost drops his coffee, quickly going red in his ears and cheeks as he struggles to look his dad in the eye. “What do you mean?” he asks, his voice tight and his posture suddenly tense.

Burt clears his throat. “Kurt, I’m gonna ignore that you lied about the afterparty, but I need you to be straight with me on this. I know this sucks, but I gotta know. You’re being safe?”

He visibly swallows, his eyes flicking up to Burt’s for just a moment before he looks at his socks and nods.

“I know things get, ya know... kinda. Uh. Hot, in the moment, so you forget things like that or they seem less important, but--”

“We used protection, Dad,” Kurt says, finally forcing himself to look at him. “I promise. I get it. We both get it. Okay?”

“Okay. But, uh...” Kurt groans when Burt starts his next sentence, closing his eyes in an agonized expression while Burt barrels on, “You’re feeling okay? I mean, you -- you know, enjoyed yourself?”

“Dad!”

“Alright, alright,” Burt chuckles; he already knows the answer to that question from the way Kurt’s behaved this morning. And he doesn’t want to push, honestly. He doesn’t need or want actual details. But that look on Kurt’s face, the blissful, secretive look he had before this embarrassed one took over, couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. “Just wanna make sure we can have open conversations about this if you ever need to.”

“Yeah... Thanks, Dad.”

“Next time, just... no sex in the family room, you got it? I saw the blankets you left on the floor.”

Kurt lowers his hand away from his eyes and says, “We did it at Blaine’s. What are you talking about?” 

Burt stares, lips pursed. 

He cocks a hip and continues, “Do you honestly think I would sleep with my boyfriend for the first time on the floor, and then just leave the blankets there?”

Just then, Finn bounds down the stairs two at a time, cheerfully calling, “Good morning!” as he enters the kitchen. He, too, looks extra rumpled, which is saying something considering how he usually looks in the morning. “Hey Kurt,” he says, easily reaching into the cabinet above Kurt’s head to retrieve a cereal box. He thinks he’s whispering when he asks, “How was the afterparty?”

“The real afterparty, or Kurt’s afterparty?” Burt asks, now glancing back and forth between the living room and Finn with one eyebrow arched. 

“Whoa, what? Dude, where’d you have another party? I was home all night.”

Kurt narrows his eyes at his father for a moment before he glares at Finn and hisses, “Except when you took Rachel home, right?”

“She drove herself here,” Finn says, grinning because he finds the idea so flattering before he realizes what he’s said. “I mean. Um. She--she stopped by, because I, I left something at school, so...” Finn, as bad a liar as he’s ever been, cuts himself off and glances nervously at Burt as he clutches the cereal box against his chest.

Burt rolls his eyes. “Christ, did you guys coordinate or something? You’re not in trouble, it’s just... I gotta get it through my head that you’re not little boys anymore.”

Finn looks back and forth between Burt and Kurt for a few seconds before it suddenly clicks. He still thinks he’s whispering when he asks, “Kurt, did you...?” He nudges Kurt with his elbow when Kurt just sips his coffee and says nothing, as though Kurt didn’t hear him. “Like, you and Blaine?”

Kurt scoffs. “Who else?” 

Finn holds his hand out for a high five, which Kurt reluctantly returns as he adds, with a sideways glance at Burt, “You’re relaxed about this.” 

“I thought I got a girl pregnant for half a year. Everybody thought I did, including my mom. I’m over that, you know? If I’m not in trouble, I’m just glad I did it for real this time.”

At Kurt’s bewildered, and frankly, alarmed expression, Finn rushes to add, “I did sex -- I mean, I had sex, for real this time! Not the pregnant part. No. We used condoms, I swear! Not that this is my first real time since then, but like, the first time it mattered. Santana didn’t really count.” Finn’s smile drops as he considers something else. “Or, do you mean like, relaxed about you and Blaine doing it? I’m over that, too. I’ve grown up. Gay guys do butt stuff, it’s whatever.” 

The agonized look is back on Kurt’s face as he struggles to respond to anything Finn’s just said, his coffee cup hovering in front of his re-reddening face as Burt guffaws loudly from the kitchen table. 

“Hey, as long as you’re being responsible and treating your partners right, I got nothin’,” Burt says. “I’m here if you need anything, alright? Just, stay safe.”

Both boys nod. 

“I’m taking my coffee to my room,” Kurt announces, avoiding their glances as he leaves. He turns at the foot of the stairs and adds, “Thanks, Dad. And Finn, despite the, um... crude way that you said it, I -- it’s nice to know. I do appreciate it.” 

Finn shrugs. “It’s nothing, bro. I’m just not being a dick.” 

Burt picks his newspaper back up, grinning at the picture of Blaine and Rachel staring into each other’s eyes. “Our protagonists, in love and on the verge of adulthood, are so convincing in their charming young romance that one might think they had real-life experience to draw from!”

That columnist has no idea.