Title: Tender Years
Word Count: 6,500 (so far)
Warnings: Intense amounts of fluff
Summary: AU. Kurt and Blaine are single dads to seven year olds in New York City. When Kurt’s son invites Blaine’s daughter out on a date, it kicks off a day that Kurt and Blaine will never forget.
A/N: This fic is inspired by this Humans of New York Tumblr photo of two incredibly adorable kids in NYC. I wrote a little ficlet, lots of people flailed and demanded more, and so…here it is! Title is nabbed from lyrics from the song “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which kind of embodies my vision of Kurt and Blaine as kickass parents.
Now posted on Scarves & Coffee!
“Dad,” Elliot began, his voice solemn and far too adult-like for a cherub-faced boy of seven years old. “I have something important to tell you.”
Kurt put his fork down beside his plate, dabbing a napkin at the corner of his mouth before speaking. “Okay. What’s up, Ell?”
Elliot drew in a deep breath; his chest puffing up like a balloon before his words rushed out on an exhale. “Ihaveagirlfriend.”
“There she is!” Elliot exclaimed, shattering Kurt’s cool demeanor and causing him to jump with surprise. Before Kurt could react, Elliot yanked his hand away and took off, leaving Kurt scrambling after him.
“Elliot! Wait!” But Elliot didn’t stop for a moment. The straps of his backpack bounced against his shoulders as he dove into the thick, noisy street crowd.
Blaine couldn’t help himself. He blinked at Kurt in surprise, just as he’d reacted when the man had introduced himself as Elliot’s father. His father. This lovely, effortlessly sophisticated man who’d stood out like a beam of light among a nameless mass of thousands was a young dad, just like Blaine.
He was also – unquestionably – flirting with him.
Blaine wasn’t a stranger to romantic attention. He was a performer, after all, and met his fair share of eligible men through the theatre – men who promptly turned on their heels and darted in the opposite direction when they found out he had a child.
That minor detail wasn’t a turnoff here. Rather, it was the thread that tied him and Kurt together: strong, meaningful, immediate, with delicious dollops of attraction heaped on top.
Blaine offered Kurt the most dazzling grin he could manage. He made a point, then, to rake his gaze rather conspicuously down Kurt’s chest, taking in his crisp black waistcoat, dotted with a dozen tiny buttons down the center and topped off with a feather brooch soaked in a rainbow of saturated colors.
“Elliot looks like he’s a chip off the old block,” Blaine remarked as he flicked his gaze back up to Kurt’s face. What color were his eyes, hidden behind those shades? Green, or maybe blue?
He leaned in closer, edging past the boundaries of Kurt’s personal space for just a moment, and lowered his voice to a stage whisper. “Don’t tell Maya I said this, but he’s the most well-dressed kid I’ve ever seen.”
“Well, I would hope so,” Kurt huffed good-naturedly; a playful smirk still painted on his lips. “It’d be quite embarrassing for a fashion writer to have a frumpy kid.”
“Is that what you do?” Something akin to a hungry craving tumbled in Blaine’s gut as he asked the question. He wanted to learn more – everything about Kurt Hummel. How did he spend his days? Where had he been hiding all this time, just out of Blaine’s sight?
Kurt nodded. “I write for InStyle? The magazine.”
“Hmmm.” Blaine made a mental note to add the magazine to his subscriptions when he got home that night. “That sounds interesting.”
“It is. I fancied myself at Vogue for the longest time, but where I am now offers a lot of flexibility. I get to work from home sometimes, that sort of thing, so I can spend more time with Ell.” His voice turned wry. “Isn’t it funny how fast your dreams change when you have a kid? The publication on my business card doesn’t matter nearly as much as which employer has the best comp time policy.”
Blaine laughed in agreement. “You’re lucky. Our schedule is crazy, at best. What I wouldn’t give to have more free evenings with Maya. But that’s when people go to the theatre, so…”
Kurt’s eyebrows lifted a little, seemingly interested. “You’re what, an…an actor?”
Blaine nodded. “I actually have a matinee this afternoon, right after this.” He chuckled and rolled his eyes skyward, as if he could see his own frizzy curls sitting atop his head. “Gosh, I must look like such a mess next to you. I never bother fixing myself up before my shows.” Not that he’d had time this morning even if he’d wanted to, what with Maya dragging him by his belt loops out the door.
He swiped a hand through his hair in a vain attempt to tame the unruly mess. “I wish Maya would have told me we were meeting up with the most stylish father and son duo in New York,” he said, pairing the flattery with a coquettish smile aimed straight at Kurt.
“Blaine.” Kurt’s use of his name sent a quick, sudden shock up Blaine’s spine. “We are at the pride march. I’m just glad you don’t have a bleach-blond mohawk.” But Blaine didn’t miss the unmistakably pleased expression written all over his face.
“Right here, Dad?” Kurt turned his attention to Elliot as Blaine gave his hair one last self-conscious pat. The kids had found a clear spot against the guardrail separating the crowd from the street, and were already settling down onto a brightly colored beach towel Elliot had pulled from his backpack.
“Perfect!” Kurt smiled fondly at his son before turning to look at Blaine again. “I’ve made Ell carry a backpack with all his stuff since he was two. He thought I was letting him be such a big kid but really, I just didn’t feel like carrying around his damn diapers anymore.”
The image of Maya’s bulging, sparkly magenta bag hooked around his arm during countless errands and day trips flashed in Blaine’s mind. “That’s brilliant.”
“Isn’t it?” They both watched as Elliot reached into his backpack and pulled out two miniature rainbow flags, timidly offering one to Maya.
He’d barely known the man a half-hour, but Blaine could already tell Kurt was one of those parents he envied: a cool, collected package tied up with a crisp, fashionable bow. Nothing like Blaine’s harried demeanor during his daily sprint between meals and musicals and meeting the nanny ten minutes late to drop Maya off.
“You’ll need to teach me more of your tricks,” Blaine murmured without thinking. His mouth promptly fell agape when his own words – well intentioned, but delivered like a terrible pickup line – reached his ears. He snapped his head to the side and came face-to-face with Kurt’s incredulous stare. Silence hung between them for one long, frozen moment until they both simultaneously dissolved into laughter.
“Sorry,” Blaine choked out. “I swear I didn’t mean it like that.”
The lulls that punctuated their conversation after that were no longer awkward; instead filled with comfort and contemplation. They kept a sliver of distance between themselves and the kids beside them – still close enough to watch, but offering ample privacy so they could continue their flirty banter in peace.
“Elly,” Kurt remarked with a chuckle after Maya shrieked Elliot’s name for the hundredth time that morning. “He doesn’t ever let me call him that. Not anymore, anyway.” Kurt’s voice turned soft, faraway. “I used to, when he was a baby. That was my mother’s name – Ellie. Well, Elizabeth. That’s where I got Elliot from.”
Blaine pursed his lips, pausing to glance over at Maya before deciding to share his own story. “I remember, I was reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in English class when we found out…” He trailed off as memories of that day flooded his vision – Santana’s panicked phone call that sent him bolting out the front doors of his school at ten-thirty in the morning; the ice-cold fear that set in his stomach when six separate pregnancy tests turned positive, one after another after another, right before their tear-filled eyes. “Maya Angelou had a baby when she was seventeen, too.”
Kurt nodded once: gracefully jutting his chin out, then lowering it down; his lips curved in the barest hint of a knowing smile. Still he stayed turned away, seemingly focused on the kids as they chattered and giggled.
“I was eighteen,” he finally said, raising his face to look directly at Blaine. His voice was silky and intimate – a light sound that melded with the breeze and countered beautifully against the boisterous crowd. Blaine wanted to wrap himself in it, like a blanket that offered peaceful solace from worry and loneliness and the frantic pace of life.
Most days, Blaine thought he must be the only other single, twenty-something gay dad in all of New York City – hell, in the entire world. But now here was Kurt, out of nowhere: dropped from the sky like some kind of angel and smiling at Blaine like he’d just found his own hidden treasure. What were the chances?
The first booming, vibrant cheers suddenly rang out from the crowd, signaling the impending arrival of the parade. Kurt and Blaine slid closer to Maya and Elliot, caging their children safely between their legs and the metal barricade. Prickly waves of heat poured over Blaine’s body as Kurt’s shoulder pressed snugly against his own and stayed there: warm and solid and unyielding, like an anchor he could lean in to and hang on to to keep himself grounded.
“I’ve never actually been to this before,” Blaine confessed as a large roar went up around them when the mayor marched past.
Kurt hummed in response. “There might be a bit of…nudity,” he warned lamely.
Blaine’s gaze trailed after a man in a full-body mesh rainbow suit. “She saw me in Cabaret last year.” He shrugged. “I’m not that worried.” They spent half their life in the theatre, after all. Maya was as used to seeing two men together as she was two women or a man and a woman. And the costumes…well, it was safe to assume she had an excellent grasp on human anatomy for a girl of her early age.
“I like bringing Ell here,” Kurt said absently as he watched parade-marchers stream past. “I don’t know that he really gets it all yet, but it’s still a good experience, I think. I want him to see real people. People who probably struggle a heck of a lot more than we do. Show him that he should be proud we’re different. Or maybe that we’re not so different after all,” he added with a reflective tilt of his head.
Blaine felt Maya tug on the hem of his t-shirt. “Daddy, Daddy!”
“What?” He crouched down to better hear her over the racket.
Maya pointed a finger between the metal spokes of the guardrail, in the direction of a ecstatic-looking teenage girl wearing a sparkly purple gown and walking hand-in-hand with another dolled-up girl her age. “That’s the same girl that was in the New York Times this morning! Because she couldn’t go to her…what’s it called? Where she gets to wear a pretty dress like that to school?”
“Yeah! Her prom. They wouldn’t let her go with that girl.”
“Oh. Well that’s not very fair of them, is it?”
“No!” Maya threw an arm around Elliot’s shoulder. “Can I bring Elly to my prom?”
Blaine sighed. He was so not ready to think about seventeen-year-old Maya, towering over him in high heels as she kissed him goodbye and whisked out the door on the arm of a boy.
“You can go to your prom with whoever you want, Maya,” he replied in a weary voice.
She seemed satisfied with Blaine’s simple answer; keeping her arm wrapped securely around Elliot’s shoulders as she watched more people flit by.
As he straightened back up, Blaine happened to catch the sunlight glint against the silver hands of his watch. How was it eleven already? He groaned to himself at the thought of leaving – abandoning this delightful morning, this safe cocoon within the buzzing crowd. Dragging his blissful daughter away from her friend – boyfriend, whatever. And leaving Kurt behind.
“I really need to get going to work here in a few,” Blaine said apologetically to Kurt.
“Oh.” Kurt’s mouth set in a small frown. “What show are you in, anyway?”
“Bye Bye Birdie?”
Kurt’s eyebrows arched gracefully over the top of his sunglasses. “Off Broadway?”
“Yeah. You know it?”
“Yes! We keep up with all the shows that are running. Ell and I love going to the theatre.”
Blaine barely thought for a second before the words were spilling out of his mouth. “Well, I happen to know someone with connections who can get you into this afternoon’s show, if you’re interested.”
Kurt’s lips curled upward in a sly smile. “Do you, now?”
Blaine edged even closer, dropping his face downward and peering up at Kurt through his eyelashes. “Believe it or not, I have that kind of pull.”
Kurt burst with happy laughter, fueling an aching bruise in Blaine’s heart that he hadn’t been conscious of until that very morning. “That sounds wonderful, Blaine. Thank you.” Kurt paused for a moment to look down at the kids. “Why don’t you let me repay you by watching Maya? She can stay here with us till the parade’s over. Then we’ll all go up to your show.”
Blaine’s facial expression must have looked nothing short of astonished. “Seriously? You want to do that?”
“Of course! I mean, if you’re comfortable with it. I’d hate to pull them apart when they’re having so much fun.”
“Yeah, but…she can be a bit of a handful,” Blaine cautioned.
Kurt waved a dismissive hand. “Nonsense. She’s behaved wonderfully all morning. Ell and I will keep her in check. Really, it’s not a problem.”
With one last wary glance in Kurt’s direction, Blaine squatted down again to reach his daughter’s ear. “Hey, Maya? If I let you stay here with Elliot while I go to work, will you be on your best behavior?”
Her eyes positively lit up with joy. “Yes! Yes, Daddy! I promise, the best!”
“Okay. When the parade’s over, Mister Hummel is gonna bring you guys to the theatre so you can all watch my show.”
Blaine pointed a finger up at Kurt, keeping his firm gaze locked on Maya’s. “Mister Hummel is in charge. You have to listen to everything he says. No fast moves like before, got it?”
She nodded once, firmly, before parroting, “Got it!”
“Because he’s going to have my number, and if you do anything wrong–”
Blaine shot her a small frown. “And keep your sass in check, too. Kiss,” he ordered. Maya turned her face, but not her eyes, away from the parade for the briefest moment to smack a wet kiss against his cheek. Blaine returned it, then another, and another, reveling in the feel of his lips against her impossibly soft skin. “Bye, baby.”
“Bye,” she said faintly, too engrossed in the parade to pay him a speck more attention.
Blaine stood back up to face Kurt; one hand still gripping Maya’s shoulder. “Um. Let me…let me give you my number. So you can get in touch with me in case…”
“Yeah. Yeah sure,” Kurt stammered, reaching into his back pocket. Moments after Blaine rattled off his number and Kurt tapped out the digits, Blaine’s phone buzzed in his pocket.
“That’s me,” Kurt said, smiling lightly as Blaine pulled out his phone.
“Great.” Blaine swallowed hard as he stared at the tiny digits on the screen; a foreign flutter of nerves winding around his lungs and coiling in his throat, leaving him breathing in shallow pants. “Show starts at two. It’s on West Fifty-fifth, but I’ll text you the exact address?”
“Sure. See you then. Break a leg,” Kurt tacked on, tossing Blaine a wave and one last beaming smile as he started to weave his way through the crowd.
Kurt Hummel. Blaine typed the name into his contacts as he strode toward the subway station wearing a goofy grin. His anxious breath escaped his body in a whoop of glee when he realized it’d only be a few hours before he’d finally discover the mystery color of Kurt’s eyes.
reblogged from fabrandersons
originally posted by leepbc14
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