Scars of a Love Gone Wrong (part one), Kurt & Burt (mentions of past Klaine, future Kadam), 1600 words
Summary: Post- Glee, Actually. This is the conversation Burt and Kurt should have had. Kurt finally tells someone most of the full story and Burt makes some unsettling realizations about his son’s previous relationship. (TW: abuse: while neither Kurt or Burt ever use the word, Burt recognizes the signs in Kurt’s demeanor when he speaks of his relationship with Blaine. Victim-blaming is vaguely referenced as well.)
This will not be Klaine friendly.
Blaine leaves with bright eyes and smiles, passing off their offer to send him off at the airport with a wave. He launches forward, dragging Kurt into a stiff-backed hug and if Burt could ignore the awkward the night before, the harsh light of day makes it certain.
Still, he’s got some form of manners still tucked away in the corner of his mind, and he knows to wait until they’re alone again to bring it up.
He suspects Kurt’s feeling the drag of his first Christmas away from home. He doesn’t expect to see the hard, telltale lines of wounded fury in the set of his shoulders.
"Kurt," he says, reaching out to turn him around. "You want to talk about that?"
Kurt visibly grits his teeth, breath punching out of him in a hard sigh. “What could we possibly have to say about any of this?”
"Of course I’m angry," Kurt says, pulling away from his hold. "After how we lost mom, you tell me you have cancer and bring my ex-boyfriend to console me?”
"He’s your friend," Burt says, head spinning at the way Kurt’s hands shake. "You said it yourself just last week. I’d thought that maybe now was a good time to-"
"To tell me that life is short? To cherish the people I have?" Kurt shakes his head, looking dazed. "This is all just a waiting game to you guys. Are you taking bets on when I’ll give in and take him back too?”
"Hey-where is this coming from?" Burt rubs a rough hand over the top of his head, genuinely stumped. "Are you really that mad about the bet? It was a joke."
"I’m angry that you think I’m so fickle, so childish that I’d end my relationship with Blaine on a whim." He stalks back towards the kitchen counter. "I’m not Finn or Rachel or Quinn or-“
Burt hooks his elbow with a firm grip, swinging Kurt back around to face him. “I know you’re not- you’re my son. No one- no one even knows what happened between the two of you. You came here, Blaine left Lima one weekend and come morning you’d changed your facebook thing. Was it the distance? I mean, you weren’t even gone that long.”
Kurt sucks in a shaking breath, bringing his palms up to press hard against his closed eyes. His exhale is too close to a sob for Burt to take.
"Come here," he says, reeling him in for a tight hug. "Whatever it is, you’ve got to talk about it some time. It’s eating you up, buddy."
Kurt’s hand fist in the back of his flannel shirt as he presses his cheek against Burt’s shoulder. “I didn’t give up, Dad. Blaine cheated.”
Burt’s arms tighten, shock making his throat ache. “Wait a minute- what?”
Kurt sniffles hard, pulling back to wipe away his tears with quick, nimble fingers. “All he had to do was hold out for two weeks- I skyped with him whenever I could, we talked constantly and instead he went out and slept with another person.”
Sympathetic anger burns it’s way up Burt’s throat. “That little son of a-“
"Instead of telling me he was unhappy, instead of coming to me, he cheats and flies out with flowers and sings that song and tells me he was ‘with someone’.” Kurt visibly trembles at the memory, cheeks red.
"Jesus, Kurt," he says, still stunned. "I had no clue- why didn’t you tell anyone?"
"I shouldn’t have to tell anyone anything. You should have been on my side no matter what.”
"Hey, I’m on your side- don’t ever doubt that," Burt says, even as Kurt ignores him and pushes him gently back to sit on the couch. "I never would have brought him here if I’d known. I thought the two of you were just having trouble with being apart."
"But that’s just it," Kurt says obviously exasperated. "What if I had gotten into NYADA in June? I would have been here longer, I would have left sooner. He said I wasn’t there when he needed me but he told me to go!"
"Okay that’s it- sit," Burt says pointing at the couch cushion to his right. Kurt immediately drops down beside him, hands claps and fingers tangling anxiously. Looking at him now, Burt kind of can’t believe he missed all the signs that his kid was hiding a deeper hurt. "Talk to me. Tell me- everything."
Kurt glances at the clock. “We don’t have time for everything before your flight.”
"I’ll walk back to Ohio-“
"You will not-“
"Kurt." Burt takes his hand, squeezing tight. Their hands have histories, shared and different. Burt knows his hands are rough, calloused from working on temperamental cars, rough from throwing a football. Kurt’s are smooth and soft, always clean because he takes pride in taking care of himself. Kurt squeezes back like he always does; when Burt took his hand after the funeral, when Burt had woken up in the hospital.
"I always think my inevitable move to New York bothered Blaine," Kurt says quietly. "We had a huge fight over it just days before my audition. He decided to practice what living without me would be like- without telling me."
Burt tries hard to keep the anger off his face. “That’s unfair.”
Kurt stills, eyes wide, like he’s waiting for Burt to tell him he’s wrong..
“Of him,” Burt shakes their joined hands. “Kurt, you’re allowed to want things for yourself. You’re allowed to have hopes and dreams that don’t fit with Blaine’s- or anyone’s.”
Kurt takes his hand back, visibly irritated. “I know that- I’m not- I don’t need you to tell me that.”
Burt raises his hands in defeat. He knows better than to press the issue right now. Not when Kurt’s too angry to hear it.
"So what happened that weekend?"
Kurt shrugs, motions jerky with annoyance. “You know how busy I was when I worked for Isabelle. It was never your typical nine to five job- sometimes I stayed late, went in early. I was her personal assistant.”
Burt remembers worrying that Kurt was going to wear himself out before Thanksgiving but he’d thrived under the constant pressure, the never-ending work load. Phone calls had been a bit shorter, a bit further apart but Kurt’s happiness had been damn near been a physical thing.
Burt knows Kurt had needed the validation that he was still good at something after his rejection letter.
"I missed a few calls," he admits softly. "I tried my best to make up for them at work but no personal calls was one of the few rules Isabelle had and I didn’t want to let her down."
Burt nods. “That’s understandable. I mean, we all knew that if you got into NYADA come December that this would just be a temp job.”
Kurt stays silent for a long time, biting his lip as he stares down at the coffee table. Burt waits him out, eager to know the full story and dreading it all the same.
"I’d just spoken to him the morning before, confirmed that we would see each other soon, that we’d get through being so far apart. I thought everything was fine." Kurt sighs, scratching a nail against the knee of his pants. "He showed up that night, looking tired and desperate. I’m not sure that he would have even told me if I didn’t confront him about his odd behaviour."
"You know it wasn’t your fault, right?" Burt says, unsure how to make this make any sense. "Faithfulness and communication are the foundation of a healthy long-distance relationship.”
Kurt doesn’t immediately agree, pulling a face and shaking his head when Burt makes a questioning noise.
"Just remembering something he told me when we fought, about telling him if I’m unhappy. Apparently, I’m just supposed to know."
Burt scoffs, disgust lurking in the curl of his lip. “Do you know who-“
"I thought it might have been Sebastian but he wouldn’t tell me. All that mattered was that I wasn’t there when he needed me." Kurt looks small when he speaks, rolling his eyes self-consciously. As if Burt will ever, ever agree that someone else’s short-comings are Kurt’s fault.
“Sebastian? That kid who nearly blinded him that one time?”
"Yeah, that might have been more of a jealousy thing than a glee club rivalry gone wrong," Kurt says. He tries for an awkward laugh. "He wasn’t secretive about his intentions with Blaine."
It sits wrong within him, in his chest like the memory of the ache of losing his wife, the way Kurt talks about his relationship with Blaine. The way he takes the blame for the choices he’s never made and the sharp hint of shame in his voice.
He’s taken it for granted, Burt realizes suddenly, the idea that having a son meant he didn’t have to tell him that sometimes the people you loved were bad for you. Burt remembers the cold sweat on the back of his neck at even talking to Kurt about sex, the bright smile of the receptionist when he’d grabbed a handful of those pamphlets and telling Kurt to take it at his own pace because he mattered when it came to sex.
He never seems to think to tell him he just matters. That if a relationship is taking more than it’s putting out, it’s harmful.
Burt feels sick, right at the core, looking at Kurt now. It’s easier to see he’s not calmed and grounded like he’s always assumed. He’s quieted, subdued so slowly and surely, Burt knows that not even Kurt can tell the difference anymore.
His skin itches with the too-small feeling of guilt- that he didn’t notice, didn’t see it sooner.His hands ache to fix it, to make Kurt better and brighter again.
"I’ll make sure you never have to deal with him," Burt promises, his voice gravel-cracked with the effort it takes to keep his composure. "Just say that word."
Kurt leans against him, looking too tired for someone so young. “You just focus on getting better. I’ll be- I am fine.”
Burt hugs him tight and never been so sure it’s a lie.
I’m 900% sure this isn’t the fic everyone wants. The one were Burt explains to Kurt that this way of thinking, this conditioning, is unhealthy and Kurt spills his guts about every little thing Blaine did wrong and there’s death threats and tears and screaming.
For one, Kurt would never do that. Especially after receiving the news that his father is battling cancer. He never wants to feel like he’s a burden. At this point in the show and story, Kurt doesn’t even see what was always wrong- just that he’d been cheated on.
Which brings me to my next point- Burt recognizes that his son’s relationship with Blaine was or became unhealthy BECAUSE he doesn’t know everything. It’s a really tragic catch-22 where Burt’s able to be the partially objective party and recognize that this is a toxic relationship because he doesn’t know everything and him not knowing enough caused him to miss the early signs that something was wrong.
Why doesn’t he tell Kurt? I think Burt Hummel’s the kind of guy who knows when to push someone and when he needs to back the hell off. Kurt gets irritated with him when he thinks Burt’s trying to preach about living his own life- he knows that if Kurt doesn’t recognize it was unhealthy himself, pushing him into it isn’t going to work. It has to be a self-realization; not a surprise party.
Kadam starts in the next part.