Title: Tender Years
Word Count: 9,700 (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.
Kurt had seen fireworks displays that weren’t quite as dynamic as Maya Anderson.
The beautiful young girl added a bright, shimmering spark of color to Kurt and Elliot’s normally placid routine. Whereas the father and son often exchanged words with just their gazes, Maya vocalized every thought, wish and observation in an unfiltered stream of chatter.
“I’m hungry,” she announced abruptly as Kurt led the kids to Washington Square Park once the parade had finished marching through. They needed to work off the energy they’d stored up after standing in one place for hours, he decided; otherwise they’d never make it through Blaine’s show without some kind of meltdown.
“Elliot has snacks in his bag,” Kurt told her. “There’s carrots and raisins and cheese crackers.”
Kurt watched her eye a street vendor selling soft pretzels. “O-kay,” she said with a heavy sigh that contradicted her spoken word.
The three perched themselves on the concrete ledge of the fountain as the remnants of the parade crowd streamed around them, mixing and mingling with college students and street performers that infused their own unique hues into the colorful rabble.
The weather that day had turned out as perfect as Kurt could ever imagine. He turned his face upward, gazing at the clear, deep blue sky; a gorgeous azure through the tint of his sunglasses. They’d have to move to the shade soon, before he and Elliot turned red as boiled lobsters. But for one brief moment, Kurt let himself revel in the feel of warm, crisp rays of sunshine against his skin, burning away the clouds of stress and doubt that always hovered just over his shoulder.
Because today was a day for happiness. Of that, somehow, he was sure.
“Here, Maya. Do you want a carrot?” Elliot offered her a single baby carrot he’d pulled from a small plastic bag. The gesture seemed to win Maya over on Kurt’s snack options. She grinned at him, plucking the proffered veggie from his hand and crunching down on it as loudly as she could, eliciting a laugh from Elliot.
They were adorable, the two of them together; still too close to babies for their “relationship” to be anything more than a sweet exchange of snacks and giggles and games. Their conversation ran the gamut from favorite books and movies to Maya’s gymnastics to Elliot’s love of drumming – “My Uncle Finn taught me. One time, he let me play with his band…it was so cool!” – and with the meal and the chitchat and their romantic spot in the park, it really was like a date.
Glad one of us has an active love life, anyway.
“Mister Hummel?” Maya spoke politely.
“Where did Elly’s mommy go?”
Kurt startled at her question. His gaze immediately darted toward Elliot, who was staring into the spray of the fountain in front of them. “She lives in Ohio,” Kurt answered cautiously, still keeping his eyes trained on his son’s blank face.
Maya perked up at that. “That’s where Gram and Pop-Pop live!”
“Are those Bl–your dad’s parents?”
“Uh huh! We went there for Christmas! It snowed a lot. We went sledding on a big hill–” one hand came up and zoomed through the air for emphasis “–like, reallyreally fast, and it was awesome! And then we had a snowball fight, and I won.” She nodded once – an emphatic punctuation mark on her jubilant burst of memories.
“Hmmm.” Kurt’s mind flashed back to the snowy previous Christmas he and Elliot had spent at his parents’ house in western Ohio. They’d baked dozens of cookies together; promptly darting back to the warm, fire-lit living room with each finished batch and curling together under piles of blankets to hide from the icy cold.
Was Blaine from Ohio, too? Had he and Maya been close by – strangers passing, unknown; not yet scheduled to meet on this wild, unpredictable train of life?
“I never met anybody else who just has a daddy until I met Elly,” Maya told him. “Well, I have a mommy. But she doesn’t live around here. I haven’t seen her since before I can even remember.”
Kurt always kept his focus grounded in the present and trained on the future, rather than glancing in the rearview at his past. That part of his life was unchangeable; permanently etched into time. But Maya’s words filled him with an insatiable curiosity. He was dying to know – what was Blaine’s back story? Was it possibly similar to his own: a closeted kid who took his cover up one gigantic, irreversible step too far?
How hard was it for Blaine, Kurt wondered, raising a daughter without a partner? Did he have family nearby? Close friends? Neighbors who took Maya in for evenings while he escaped to the stage, pursuing his passions and pretending to be somebody else for a few blessed hours?
“My mommy’s name is Santana,” Maya continued without pause. “What’s Elly’s mommy’s name?”
Kurt didn’t answer right away. He didn’t want to talk about this – not now, not ever again, really, but especially not here, on this beautiful day with the summer sun melting away all his worries.
“Brittany,” he finally replied, only because the silence had stretched too long.
“Does Elly ever see her?”
Both Kurt and Elliot responded in unison. “No.”
She smiled at Elliot, and they shared a glance Kurt recognized as one of unity – finally finding someone who was just like you after a long, hard search. He knew it because he’d seen the same look staring back at him from one Blaine Anderson just two short hours ago.
Maya was quiet for only a moment. “Santana ran away to Europe,” she sighed dramatically, sounding eerily like an adult trapped in a seven year old’s body. “I don’t think Daddy likes her very much. But Daddy doesn’t like any girls. He likes other boys.” She shot Kurt a grin, and instantly the spirited little girl was back beside him. “Like you!” she whispered loudly, giggling like it was the most amusing joke ever told.
“Ooo-kay, guys,” Kurt sang, clapping his hands once to halt Maya’s endless stream of too-much-information in its tracks. His cheeks felt flushed; whether it was from the sun or the final, glorious confirmation that Blaine is actually gay, thank god, Kurt couldn’t tell. “I’m gonna move this pow-wow to that bench over there in the shade. Why don’t you two run around for a little while before we have to get going?”
“Okay!” Maya bolted up first, skipping on long, tanned legs toward the bench. Elliot hung back, slowly gathering the remnants of their snacks and returning them to his backpack. Kurt waited for him to finish cleaning up before joining his lazy pace toward where Maya was sitting.
“Hey.” He nudged Elliot’s shoulder with his hip, trying to get his son to smile. “You okay?”
He nodded. “Uh huh.”
“You know I love you.”
A shrug. “I know.”
“As much as two parents in one body.”
A minute twitch at one corner of his lips. “I know.”
“Maybe as much as three parents. Four! Ten! A hundred!”
Elliot giggled then, and Kurt breathed a tiny sigh of relief. Elliot knew his story; knew he was enveloped in love and support from his family: Kurt, Finn and Rachel, even Kurt’s parents, five hundred miles away. But still. He was only seven. Still so young, and prone to confusion and bouts of sulkiness.
Kurt gave his shoulders a gentle push. “Go have fun with your girlfriend. It’s almost time to go.” And he laughed in spite of himself as Elliot promptly began chasing after Maya, whose long, dark curls flowed out from under the hat she’d stolen from his head and placed atop her own.
On their way out of the park twenty minutes later, Kurt caved and bought them a smoky, steaming hot pretzel to share before he hailed a cab. Kurt considered himself somewhat fearless, but even he wasn’t going to attempt subway travel with two seven year olds in tow.
True to his word, Blaine had sent Kurt a text message with the address of the theatre. “One thirty-one West Fifty-fifth,” Kurt recited to the cabbie, and they were off: slowly crawling, then speeding, then crawling, then speeding toward their destination.
Kurt Hummel: Thanks! On our way!
Blaine Anderson: She behave ok?
Kurt started typing out a response, but quickly deleted it; instead snapping a picture of the two kids beside him in the backseat, wearing matching hammy grins and clutching each side of what remained of their pretzel.
Kurt Hummel: See for yourself! She’s wonderful. We had a great time
Blaine Anderson: Thx, I owe you one
Kurt Hummel: No you don’t. But if you insist, that’s a debt I’d be happy to collect
Blaine Anderson: ;)
Anticipation drummed a steady beat in Kurt’s throat by the time they finally reached the theatre. He couldn’t wait to see Blaine again – and on stage, completely transformed from the man he’d met on the street that morning. Was he a good actor? What part did he play? Could he sing? Oh god, what if he sings? That would be like icing on the cake – if Blaine could possibly be any sweeter, any more mouth-watering.
“I love this show!” Maya announced as they made their way inside. “It’s my favorite one Daddy’s ever been in. And I’ve seen them all.”
“What part does he play?” Kurt asked as he handed their tickets to an usher.
“He’s Conrad Birdie!” she exclaimed, and Kurt lifted an eyebrow in surprise. He hadn’t expected Blaine would play such a significant role. “All the girls love him and sing to him.” A silly laugh bubbled up from deep in her chest. “It’s funny because he actually loves boys.”
Well, at least she can already appreciate irony.
As they settled into their seats, Kurt flipped through his Playbill, quickly finding the actor bios page. His mouth immediately curved into a happy grin when his eyes fell on Blaine’s picture. He was just so damn handsome. Even in the tiny, black-and-white photo, Blaine’s eyes, his smile looked so warm and welcoming – like a man Kurt would dream of, if he ever let himself dream about those sorts of things.
Kurt’s gaze dipped down to devour the bio printed under his picture.
Blaine is thrilled to join the cast of Bye Bye Birdie in the title role of Conrad Birdie. Prior to this role, Blaine appeared in productions of Cabaret, Rent, Hairspray and more. Blaine is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received his B.F.A. in Theatre. He’d like to dedicate his performance to the love of his life, Maya, who inspires him every day to be a better man.
If Kurt thought he’d been in danger of melting earlier, his heart was now little more than an incinerated pile of dust.
Kurt had seen the musical before, of course. But there was no way he could have prepared himself for the sight of Blaine when he appeared in the center of the stage, bathed in the spotlight and clothed from head to toe in a shiny, skin-tight gold suit – a suit that, Kurt realized as Blaine started thrusting his hips in time with the music, left nothing to the imagination.
Kurt snapped his jaws shut, hoping nobody had noticed him gaping like a fish out of water. He swallowed hard, trying to clear away the dry lump that had suddenly formed in his throat. But the inside of his mouth still tingled – oh god, he was actually salivating at the sight of Blaine, with his formerly untamed hair now smoothed and styled into a perfect, shiny pompadour. He smirked wickedly as he belted out the rollicking fifties tune – and oh, his voice. It was smooth and pleasing as honey, with a smattering of sexy growls scattered throughout.
“That’s my Daddy!” Kurt heard Maya whisper to Elliot.
Shit. It was a slap of a reminder that he was sitting next to children – his child, Blaine’s child. Stop gawking!
Kurt ducked his head and turned his wide-eyed gaze toward Elliot and Maya, both sitting to his left. They were completely engrossed in the scene, grinning brightly as they watched the mass of shrieking, swooning high school girls dance around Blaine while he sang his silly song.
Elliot’s eyes briefly veered over to Kurt. “Why are you staring at me?” he murmured loudly.
“Just…making sure you’re enjoying the show,” Kurt croaked.
Somehow, he made it through to the end of the musical – only to go weak in the knees once again when Blaine caught his gaze during the final curtain call and threw him a wink.
The text came barely a minute after the stage had cleared.
Blaine Anderson: I’ll only b 15 min!
Kurt Hummel: We’ll be here!
Kurt couldn’t stop the warm smile that spread over his face when, exactly fifteen minutes later, Blaine burst into the theatre from a side door and hoisted a squealing Maya up in his arms. “Hi, baby,” Kurt heard him say as he crushed her in a tight embrace – just the same way his soft, loving voice gently squeezed around Kurt’s heart.
It clenched impossibly tighter when Blaine reached down to ruffle Elliot’s hair. “Hey, Ell,” Blaine greeted him amiably, as if he hadn’t just met the boy that morning. “Where’d your hat go?”
“It’s on my seat. Dad said I couldn’t wear it during the show.”
“Ah.” Blaine finally fixed his gaze on Kurt, then, and grinned so hugely that Kurt wanted to sink down into his seat and sigh. Blaine set Maya back on her feet before closing the distance between them, plopping into the seat she had occupied during the show.
“Blue,” Blaine said, quite randomly; his mouth still set in a lingering smile. He grabbed Elliot’s hat from the empty seat between them and twirled it in his hands.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Your eyes.” Blaine placed the hat atop his damp, dark hair, which he’d neatly parted and gelled so it lay flat over his head. “They’re blue.”
A sudden punch of prickly, anxious heat shot up from Kurt’s stomach and exploded in the center of his chest. “They are.”
“You were wearing sunglasses earlier, so I couldn’t see them. I guessed they might be green, but…” Blaine leaned into the armrest and propped his chin on the heel of his hand. Deliberately, he paused to stare into Kurt’s eyes – deeply, as if he were looking beyond Kurt’s face, far past the color, all the way to his soul. “They’re blue.”
“Oh.” Can. Not. Breathe. Kurt couldn’t even move – he just sat there, rigid, frozen with disbelief that Blaine was real and this was actually happening.
“So, how’d you like the show?”
The indelible, positively glorious image of Blaine in his gold suit immediately flashed in front of Kurt’s vision. “Good,” he squeaked as a bright, hot flush of color rose high in his cheeks. He cleared his throat before continuing. “I was impressed with your…performance.” Oh, god.
Blaine laughed. “I know, it’s kind of a silly show. But it’s cool to do something that’s a little more family-friendly.” He watched Kurt for one more long moment before suddenly reaching over and placing his free hand on Kurt’s arm. “Hey, come out with us to eat. We always go for an early dinner between the two shows before Maya’s nanny picks her up to bring her home.”
“Oh…oh, no,” Kurt answered automatically, shaking his head. “I…we’ve already taken up your entire day. I don’t want to intrude…”
“Kurt.” Blaine gave him a look: his hat-capped head hung, and dark eyes peering up through long, feathery lashes. “Come on.”
He was irresistible. “Okay,” Kurt agreed.
They got up and corralled the kids, then led them out of the theatre back to the sunny world outside.
“So, random question,” Kurt began, slipping on his sunglasses as they walked down the bustling sidewalk. “Are you by any chance from Ohio?”
Blaine shot him a surprised glance. “Yeah?”
Kurt smiled at him. “I grew up in Lima.”
“Seriously,” he repeated with a single nod of his head.
Blaine grinned at him, open-mouthed and incredulous. “I’m from Westerville!”
Not even two hours away. Where had this man been all Kurt’s life?
“Maya said you guys visited your parents there for Christmas last year. So I’ve sort of been wondering all afternoon.”
Blaine’s brow creased with confusion. “Why was she talking about that?”
“Oh. Well…” Kurt took a deep breath; suddenly nervous to reveal a part of himself he’d left far, far behind. He kept his voice low so the kids wouldn’t overhear. “She was asking about Ell’s mom, and I told her how she lives in Ohio. And it sort of just flowed from there.”
“Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry.” Blaine’s eyes were wide and apologetic – and gold, so gold, glowing in the sun like they had life of their own. “She shouldn’t have been prying like that. I’ll make sure to talk to her later–”
“No, no, it’s okay. She’s certainly not the first to ask!” Kurt pursed his lips, pausing for a moment as he wondered whether or not to press on. “I think it’s good, actually,” he finally decided to say. “For them to spend time together, and learn about each other. It’s hard to be the only one who…” Kurt trailed off when it hit him that he wasn’t just talking about Elliot and Maya.
The look he and Blaine shared at that moment brought Kurt straight back to the park, to his spot in the sun, where he’d sat with their children and watched them connect in a way Kurt had never been confident he and Elliot would ever do.
Kurt pierced the ripe silence with a light, nervous laugh. “Although it did make me curious. About…about you.”
Blaine’s gaze darted toward Maya, who was walking with Elliot just a few steps ahead of them. He opened his mouth to speak, glancing back at Kurt before finally letting his words spill out. “Um, so, I have to get back to the theatre after this for the evening show. But maybe when I’m done, you might want to meet me somewhere? We could, like, talk a little more.” A pause. “You know, without the kids around.”
He just asked me out on a date. Didn’t he. Didn’t he?
“Y-yeah, yeah.” Kurt stumbled over the words in his rush to accept. “That sounds great. I’ll just…I’ll have to find someone to watch Ell, though.” His mind was already racing to come up with a babysitter.
“Oh, right.” Blaine’s whole face creased with a frown. “It’s okay if you can’t. We could, maybe, do it some other time or something…”
“No! No.” Kurt waved his hands in front of him. “I have someone. He’ll do it. It’s…it’s okay. Tonight is okay. Perfect,” he immediately corrected himself, then grinned, mirroring Blaine’s happy expression.
“Perfect,” Blaine echoed.
reblogged from thesemakeme-very-happy
originally posted by leepbc14
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