Fic: Brave

This is a prompt fill for the Klaine Prompt Project!

Title: Brave

Rating: PG (language/slurs)

Genre(s): Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Romance?

Word Count: 3,536

Characters/Pairing(s): Kurt/Blaine

Warning(s): Slurs/Language

Original Prompt: The Andersons have an annual dinner party for family and friends, it could be a Christmas party or some other occasion…His mom insists he attends, though, and Blaine only agrees if he can take Kurt. His mom gives in, Kurt can come with him but not as his date, fearing this business partner gets scared away…Kurt stands up for Blaine or Blaine stands up for himself finally, totally up to the writer, but the point should be that they won’t stand for Blaine’s parents not accepting the fact they are dating anymore. #proudboyfriends (cut a bit because it was long). 

Notes: I moved up Kurt’s dad being a congressman by a few months, even though this is set in the summer right after season 2. 

Summary: Blaine hated family dinners. Especially ones with his grandparents. He also hates business dinners his father insists on having. So when these two things happen on the same night, he knows he needs Kurt there for support, even if he has to just insist they are only friends. 

 The biggest difference between the Hummel-Hudsons and the Andersons’ family dinners was Blaine’s comfort level during them. He’d only been to two dinners at the Hummel-Hudson house so far since dating Kurt, but the nerves preceding the event couldn’t even compare to how he felt throughout dinner at his own house. The nerves wore off at Kurt’s house as soon as Burt gave him a non-threatening smile and asked him about football. From then on – Blaine knew he was welcomed and that Burt had probably decided to forget all about the sex talk he’d brought up just a few weeks before.

At Blaine’s house, though, there was stilled silences. Only the sounds of knives and forks on plates, or a etiquette correction on behalf of his mother, echoed through the room. Sometimes his dad would ask him about school, though obviously not wanting to hear his answer as soon as he began to talk about the Warblers or his friends; it was the academia he cared most of.

But the Hummels – that was rowdy laughter, voices layering over each other and no one getting too upset about it. It was also letting each person have the floor and a piece of the conversation, with genuine looks of intrigue all the while slurping up soup or cutting steak in the wrong way.  It’s informal and feels comfortable.

At least Blaine’s family dinners are a little rare. It all depends on his father’s schedule, really, and he’s out of the house more often than not on business. When it’s just him and his mother, they forgo the formal dining room that’s really too big for three people anyway, and fend for themselves. Sometimes Blaine makes dinner for both of them, leaving a casserole or dish on the counter for his mother as he takes his own plate to the living room or his room to eat.

Even more than family dinners, Blaine dreads his dad’s business ones. He ends up bringing one or two important balding men in suits, wanting to impressed them with his beautiful, small wife who breaks out pearls for the occasion and perfect, 4.0 earning son. When Cooper had been around for these dinners, he’d even been forced into ties and told to use it as an acting exercise. Surprisingly, Blaine remembers him being pretty good at acting like a model son.

Then, even worse than either the small family or business dinners is the big, all out extended family dinners. The ones that were necessary for Christmas or some other holiday. Blaine’s grandparents, on his father’s side, always came out and spent the week at the house. Those dinners were huge, too much food that they couldn’t possibly eat, nice dresses and suits, stilled conversation though there were two more people added to the mix and probably the worst part – his highly conservative grandfather’s rants (though Anderson gentlemen never ranted) about gun control, the president, the homosexuals and general state of the nation.

It was exhausting.

It was only a cruel twist of fate that the two dinners he hated most happened at the same time.

His grandparents were the first ones announced by his mother one night at their own family dinner. They would be there the next weekend. Though there wasn’t any formal holidays coming up, it was summer and they felt like they wanted to come down from Connecticut for a visit. Blaine stopped his groan in his throat and nodded politely. He knew what his grandparents coming down meant more than anything: the unspoken rule that they were not to tell them that Blaine was gay. Blaine was pretty sure it was half for his own benefit; his mother didn’t want him written out of their will and be left without money. But really, even if they gave all the money to Cooper (because even though he didn’t become a lawyer like they wanted, Cooper was still a favorite of his grandmother), Blaine was pretty sure Cooper would give him his share anyway.

Then only two days before the day his grandparents arrived, his dad looked completely stressed out at the dinner table.

“I really need to seal the deal with Mr. Bryans,” he says, not even touching his salad. “I need him to come over this weekend for a dinner – you know how those work.”

“But your parents will be here, dear,” says his mother, a small frown on her face.

“They’ll understand,” says his dad. “And really, I’m sure Mr. Bryans will be impressed. He’s a family man, after all.”

“Of course, dear,” says his mother. “Adding another plate is no problem.”

Blaine really doesn’t know how he’s going to get through both a family and business dinner at once. He automatically wishes he could have Kurt beside him to get him through it – and then, he thinks, why not?

“Mom, can I bring Kurt to dinner?” he asks suddenly, before thinking it through. Both is mom and dad turn to look at him, almost identical expressions of surprise on their features.

“Kurt?” his mother asks, voice almost confused. “Honey…you know your grandfather….”

“I know,” says Blaine. “But just – think about it. Kurt can…he can just be my friend.” Even as he says it, it feels wrong. Kurt is his boyfriend.  Saying anything less feels like lying. But then, Kurt is his best friend, too. “Kurt is – he is impressive, really. He can dress the part and his father is a congressman. I’m sure Mr. Bryans would be impressed that your son is interacting with a friend like that.”

His dad looks thoughtful, actually, then nods. “Yes, okay. Fine. But he’s just your friend,” he says pointedly. Blaine nods and can hardly wait for dinner to end so he can run up and invite Kurt.

Like Blaine predicted, Kurt comes over dressed sharply in a pair of clean cut black slacks, a matching black collared shirt and a forest green blazer. Blaine is wearing a bowtie himself, though one of his plain black ones with a sweatervest and slacks as well.

“You look amazing,” says Blaine, sneaking a kiss to his cheek. Kurt preens and says the same to him. He’d been a little put out when he’d been briefed that they would be only friends at this dinner, but understood after being told about his grandparents’ views.

Blaine leads him to the living room. His grandparents had arrived yesterday, insisting that he would be hitting his growth spurt any day now and would soon be as tall and strong looking as his father and Cooper. Blaine had smiled through it, nodding along like they were right.

“Grandpa, grandmother, this is Kurt Hummel,” Blaine says for introductions. “He’s a friend from Dalton. I hope you don’t mind. Kurt is pretty interested in dad’s line of work and wanted to be here for the dinner tonight.” That’s another cover story his dad came up with, suitable for him to be here. It was quite the kiss up move, but Blaine couldn’t really argue with it. It mean Kurt could be sitting next to him at the dinner table, after all.

“Well then, aren’t you an enthusiastic young man,” says his grandmother. “Call me Elle, dear.”

“Hello, ma’am,” says Kurt, keeping it formal. His grandfather shakes his hand, as well, telling him to call him Edmund. Blaine is impressed by Kurt’s ability not to laugh at his grandfather’s name.

Mr. Bryans arrives a few minutes later, looking thoroughly impressed when he sees the whole family and obviously flattered by Kurt’s introduction and zealous greeting. Kurt amazed Blaine in the same way that Cooper used to amaze him with his acting skills. If Blaine didn’t know better, it would appear that Kurt is just really passionate about being a lawyer one day.

They all sit down, conversation running pretty constant because when a business person is there for his dad, he likes to keep the night flowing smoothly. Awkward silences are deadly, he says. Kurt is very polite to his mother as she serves them, complimenting her on the pea soup. He engages both Mr. Bryans and his grandfather, which gets Mr. Bryans talking quite passionately about his firm.

Then, after the first course has been taken away and the main one in front of them, Mr. Bryans turns to Blaine with a friendly smile. “So, Blaine, are you also interested in following after your father’s footsteps?”

“Oh,” says Blaine, his face feeling hot. “I haven’t quite decided yet?” He looks over to Kurt for a moment, feeling panicked. He feels Kurt’s hand slip onto his knee, a comforting gesture. “I…like music a lot, actually. I have thrown around the idea of being a music teacher, if I end up not being cut out for preforming.”

Mr. Bryans looks a little surprised, but quickly recovers. “Well, that’s a – noble profession, Blaine. My wife is a teacher and the fact that she’s shaping young minds every day is really quite inspiring. Would you college or –“

“Maybe,” says Blaine. “I really think I would be happy with any sort of age group, honestly. Teaching kids the first thing they ever learn about music would be…amazing, but helping people who are majoring in it get better and better would be a dream, too.”

His dad, which had at first looked nervous when the subject had been brought up, relaxed.

“You know, Blaine, I wish my daughter was dating someone like you,” says Mr. Bryans, a laugh following. “You seem like a nice boy with a good head on your shoulders. Not that Jill has brought home a boy with a leather jacket quiet yet – but you see, it’s always a father’s fear!” The table laughs with him, but Blaine feels Kurt stiffen beside him. Blaine places his hand on Kurt’s and squeezes. He gives Mr. Bryans a polite smile and doesn’t comment.

“Kurt, are you interested in law for any particular reason?” asks his grandfather, picking up the conversation. “Anyone in the family involved?”

“No sir,” says Kurt, lowering his fork.

“Oh, what is your father’s line of work, then?”

“Well, up until a few months ago he was a mechanic,” answers Kurt, looks of visual shock coming across the faces of his grandparents and Mr. Bryans. “He owns his own shop, which he started just before marrying my mother. And he still owns it, now, but he was just elected congressman. He has his business partner run it now, since he’s mostly in D.C.”

“Oh wow,” says his grandfather, obviously impressed. “See, that’s the American dream right there. Pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and making your life better.”

It’s when his grandfather begins to talk like this that Blaine is reminded of the Great Gatsby – all this talk of the American dream, but with a lot more hypocrisy, seeing as he’s old money.

“What was his name, Kurt?” asks Mr. Bryans.

“Burt Hummel, sir.”

“Oh yes, that does ring a bell,” he says. “Wasn’t he running on the platform for the arts in schools?”

“Yes,” says Kurt, obviously happy to brag about his father. “I’m in glee club at school and there always seems to be a threat wanting to take it away. Usually money. So my dad ran on that platform, among other things. He’s doing a lot of good things in Washington. My family and I are very proud.”

“Quite a valiant man, by the sounds of it,” agrees Mr. Bryans. “Wasn’t he also lobbying for marriage equality? I remember thinking that he might have some difficulty with that, in a place like Ohio. But obviously he was a popular candidate – and really, I think change has been an involving thing, even here.”

When the words “marriage equality” come up, Blaine can see his grandfather’s lips thin and his posture stiffen. He sets down his utensils and Blaine can see the beginning of a rant forming in his mind.

“All this change is utterly ridiculous,” he says, turning to Mr. Bryans.

“Dad –“ Blaine’s own father starts, eyes widening.

“It’s unnatural. Marriage is plainly between a man and a woman and any other thought is just – utterly repulsive.”

“Now there, Mr. Anderson,” starts Mr. Bryans. “While I don’t necessary agree with the lifestyle, and can’t exactly say for sure if I think it’s a sin or not, I think that marriage is just the natural step for them. And think of how much lawyers would benefit,” he says with a small laugh. “Twice as many divorces.”

Blaine and Kurt both look between Blaine’s grandfather and Mr. Bryans like they are watching a uncomfortable tennis match. It always hurts Blaine when he hears his grandfather say these sorts of things, but he’s grown used to it; Kurt, however, hasn’t heard this sort of intense bigotry from anyone in his family. His mom and dad might be distant, but they care about him and Blaine knows they care about his happiness in the long run. Just as they wanted Cooper to follow his dreams of happiness in acting, though they didn’t think it was that sensible. Blaine makes sure to put a comforting hand on Kurt’s knee.

“With Obama in office, this country has taken a turn for the worse,” insists his grandfather. “A president formally indorsing gay marriage? I can only hope it hurts him for reelection.”

“Excuse me,” says Kurt, his voice icy. “But my father, as Mr. Bryans pointed out, also indorses gay marriage and has been making quite a few strides in congress with it. It would also help your argument if you use a point stronger than – ‘it’s utterly repulsive’.”

God, the look on his grandfather’s face makes Blaine want to kiss Kurt. He’s never seen anyone stand up to his grandfather like that. It’s obviously that his grandfather hasn’t, either.

“I don’t agree with your father’s politics, young man,” he says snappishly. “If he really knew the kind of problems the gays would bring to the sanctity of marriage, he wouldn’t so ardently indorse it. Only trouble would come – like divorces. It might be good for the pocketbooks of lawyers, but would throw the whole system into disarray.”

“I was under the impression that right now the current divorce rate was at 50%,” continues Kurt, undeterred. “And that’s with only a handful of states allowing gay marriage, which obviously means the majority of people getting divorces are heterosexuals. It’s shown in studies that homosexual couples are no more likely to break up than heterosexual ones. In fact, many studies show they are more devoted to their partners, since they don’t all have the chances at a formal union and have to devote their own sort of bond.”

“Listen here –“ says his grandfather, though Blaine knows he is at a loss for words.

“No, you listen,” says Kurt, positively shaking with anger. “You are a bigot, sir, nothing more. Are you saying that I shouldn’t have the right to marry who I love? Because that’s what you’re saying when you say these things. Because I’m gay.” The look of shock on his grandparent’s face is actually priceless, in a way. “Yes, the nice young boy you’ve been fawning over all night, who, up until a few seconds ago, you obviously admired, is gay. Does that change anything about me? No, it doesn’t.”

His grandfather gapes like a fish for a few seconds, floundering. Then he turns to Blaine’s father. “Steven – you – you let your son associate himself with people like this?”

“Now hold on a moment,” says Mr. Bryans. “Kurt here has made valid points. It’s no wonder he wants to be a lawyer, really. And Mr. Anderson, he is correct in saying that he hasn’t changed in my eyes based on his…most recent admission. He’s obviously a smart boy.”

“That doesn’t matter,” hisses his grandfather. “Steven, if Blaine keeps hanging out with these sorts of people he’s going to become a fag.”

The word drops like a bomb, the table instantly going silent. Kurt pushes himself up from the table, chair scraping on the ground under him. He’s looking down at Blaine’s grandfather, a look of pure anger on his face. Blaine – Blaine has never felt so small. He’s exposed his boyfriend to all this, after all.

“I pity people like you, Mr. Anderson,” says Kurt, voice quiet and full of rage. “Because you’ll never see how good change is for this world.”

Kurt moves to walk away, but Blaine reaches out and grabs his hand, stopping him. Kurt looks down, eyes wide and glassy. “Blaine?”

“Grandfather, I want you to apologize to Kurt for using that word in front of him,” says Blaine, trying to keep his voice firm. He hesitates. “And in front of me.”

“Blaine,” his mother says, speaking up for the first time. “Sweetie.”

“Because I’m gay too,” says Blaine. It sounds like his voice comes from underwater, his voice small. “And Kurt – Kurt’s my boyfriend. So when you say that word – it’s a slur. It’s hateful and it’s not right.”

Blaine has never seen the expression on his grandfather’s face before. It’s a mix of disappointment and disgust and it’s directed right at him.

“You’re not gay,” he says sharply.

“I am,” says Blaine. “I’ve been dating Kurt for months and – I love him. And if we still feel this way in a few years, I’m going to marry him. Because the world will change one day and –“

No.” His grandfather slams his hands on the table, making Blaine jump. “No one in our family is going to be gay. You were raised better. You most certainly aren’t going to be married to this twink. You are a man, Blaine. You will not disappoint me in this way.”

Blaine feels the world closing in on him. There had been times in his life when he thought that maybe, he would tell his grandparents the truth and they would accept him. That it wouldn’t be as bad as his parents had thought it would be. But he was so, so wrong.

“Stop this,” says Kurt, his voice firm. “This is your grandson. He’s your flesh and blood – surely him loving can’t be wrong. Why can’t you see that? He’s gay and he’s happy – he’s happy with me.”

“I won’t stand for it,” says his grandfather. “I think it’s best you left now.”

“No, dad.” Blaine looks up, over to his father. “I think it’s time you left. If you can’t – if you can’t treat my son or his boyfriend with the respect they deserve…then you should leave.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am.”

His grandfather looks ready to argue, but his grandmother puts a hand on his forearm to stop him. They leave, only just grabbing their bags and sparing Blaine no parting words. He sits at the dining room table, staring down at his half eaten plate and tries not to be sick. Kurt is rubbing smoothing circles on his back.

“I’m sorry,” says Mr. Bryans, suddenly, from the end of the table.

“It’s not your fault, Mr. Bryans, ” says Kurt sounding exhausted.  

“I did bring up the topic,” he says. “But really, you handled that as well as you could. I’ve run into a lot of people like your grandfather, Blaine. You can’t change their minds, no matter what you say. Even if you’re a skilled lawyer.”

“Are you okay, honey?” asks his mother when his dad comes back to the dining room.

“I – maybe,” says Blaine. He takes a long pause. “I’m not going to be in the will anymore, am I?”

 “Probably not,” says his dad. “But that doesn’t matter. What matters is – we shouldn’t have kept it from them for so long. I’m…I’m sorry, Blaine.”

And Blaine knows his dad means it. He is sorry for all the times he told Blaine to keep quiet about his sexuality when talking to family members.

“It’s okay,” says Blaine.

“Is it okay if Blaine and I – maybe leave? I think Blaine needs some mint chocolate chip ice cream right now,” Kurt says, joking a little, but it not quite meeting his eyes.

“Of course,” says his dad. He pulls out his wallet, handing Kurt a twenty dollar bill. “It’s on me tonight. Come back by curfew.”

Kurt and Blaine say goodbye to Mr. Bryans. He was a nice guy, in the end. And as they leave, Blaine hears him say to his dad, “So, Steven, about that promotion – I think the firm could benefit from a man like you having some more responsibility…”

Kurt drives them to get ice cream and asks him if he wants to talk about it. Blaine says not now, maybe tomorrow and that he just really, really wants to be with him right now. They hold hands and Kurt tells him how proud he was of his bravery, despite the way it turned out. Blaine doesn’t exactly feel brave; he thinks that was all Kurt, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he feels lucky to have Kurt beside him, who’s always ready to defend him. 

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