|Seize The Day
Author: Hot Monkey Brain PM
Ike returns to South Park after a near ten-year absence, looking for answers. But he might not like what he finds. Slash, complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Tragedy - Ike B. - Chapters: 14 - Words: 72,223 - Reviews: 78 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 20 - Updated: 06-26-10 - Published: 02-15-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5749601
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author Note: Huge thanks go out to ketamine. methanol, xxSay, let's point out the obvious, J.E. McCormickGal and D McVetty for the reviews! With the major climax of the story occurring, I was a little nervous about screwing it up and I'm so glad that it worked out okay.
And here it is, the epilogue. I can't believe I actually wrote this story, and I hope that you all enjoyed it. I got a whole lot out of writing it, it's been quite the experience and I hope this final part satisfies. I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed and favourited throughout the story, you guys are the best and considering how nervous I was about the threesome part, I'm glad that it went down as well as it did. I'm gonna miss this story so much – but if you liked, there's also other stories of mine lurking around FF! Okay, I'll stop the blatant self-promotion now.
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth, "Rip down all hate," I screamed.
Lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers, foundationed deep somehow –
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
On Sunday morning, Ike makes the decision to go to Tweek's place, knowing he must look like shit. He hasn't slept. He had called Keiran and he had arrived only minutes later, not bitching about the lack of sex while Ike had a minor emotional breakdown. He had still been there this morning. But Ike has asked Keiran to leave him to it while he cleaned up the loose ends of his visit, of which Tweek is definitely one.
Ike drives past Tweek's house, planning to tell him that it is all over. That the person who killed Kyle is in jail and he does not have to worry, it is a long time past and all those people, the ones who made life hellish for Tweek, are gone. He wants to reassure the man that there is a life outside of those walls.
But when he pulls up outside the Tweak house, he sees two people on the step, half in the door. Tweek is one of them, his eyes screwed shut and his body shaking, but as close to the outside as he has been in years. He leans into the other person. Craig.
Craig looks up at Ike and gives a faint smile, waving at him in a way that says he has seen him, but does not want him to intrude right then. Ike waves back, does not get out of the car. Instead, he drives away and silently, wishes them all the luck in the world. They both did a kindness to his brother by keeping their information to themselves and no matter what the scene on the step means, what happens to them in the future, they both deserve it.
This time, when he rings the buzzer to Kenny's apartment, the blonde is actually there and lets Ike in without comment. Kenny looks like Ike feels; tired, hair sticking up, almost shell-shocked. But he has changed clothes and oddly seems more at peace than he had done the day before, in spite of the shock. The apartment has a new addition to it; Ike is not at all surprised to see Stan Marsh sat on the couch, his cane within easy reach. Stan is still wearing the clothes he was dressed in the night before and it is clear that he has been there all night, although Ike doubts that there was anything sexual occurring. Then again, what does he know? He does not wish to speculate far on that particular issue… but he does hope that there has been some progress with their relationship, such as it is. That the two men could get over what has happened in the past now that they have answers and maybe find some way to move forward together.
It is what Kyle would have wanted.
Ike takes the far end of the couch, Kenny drops onto the seat in the centre after offering Ike a drink, which he refuses. They sit in silence for a moment and Ike has time to reflect that he is not their third, merely a poor excuse for a stand-in, when Stan suddenly speaks. "The police came round once today already."
"Yeah?" Ike is a little surprised, it's quite early, but once this news get out there is going to be a shit-storm and no doubt they want to let Kenny and Stan in on a few things before the rumours begin and become exaggerated. "What did they say?"
Stan looks at Kenny, who shrugs. "Cartman didn't deny a thing. Told the whole story all over again. I think you were right last night, when you said he wanted to make sure we knew he outsmarted all of us – and Kyle. That's what was most important to him. He's been arrested and charged, but when it comes to trial…" Another shrug. "They think he'll take a plea bargain. He was a juvenile at the time and with the accident thing in there – he might not do much time at all."
Ike finds this bitterly unfair, the emotion reflected in the eyes of the other two men. What about their time served, the ten years of not knowing, the lifetime without Kyle? What about Kyle's life, the future he had stolen from him? Cartman deserves to suffer for this and he intends to do all in his power to make sure that happens.
"He's sick," adds Kenny flatly. "I don't just mean sick in the head; I mean that he's got serious health issues. Judge might take that into account too. He might not have long to go and then he'll be dead." But not forgotten, Ike knows this too.
Stan shakes his head. "All this time I thought – well, I thought he'd been lured up there and had an accident. Turns out I was almost right. I should have known Cartman was involved in this, I should have."
"No." Kenny reaches out a hand, takes Stan's. "He covered his ass too well and no matter what we thought, we didn't know anything. And even knowing wouldn't have changed all that much – because Kyle's still just as dead."
"Knowing gave me a little peace though," says Stan, looking back at Kenny with warmth in his eyes that Ike finds almost uncomfortable to witness.
"It gave me some too," agrees Kenny, holding the gaze for a moment before looking over at Ike. "How about you?"
Ike shrugs. "I don't know how I feel. I'm glad Cartman's locked up and we know what went on now, but… I don't know. It's like I just got someone to focus all the anger on. Knowing hasn't actually changed anything… it didn't bring him back. Kyle's still gone. I mean, I knew he would be, but..." He trails off, not knowing how to say just what he is feeling.
Stan looks mildly worried by this assertion, but Kenny seems to understand, because he nods his head in slow acknowledgement. "How much longer are you staying?"
"I'm not," says Ike. "That's what I came to tell you guys. That I'm leaving town today. I gotta – well, I need to go speak to Mom and Dad, although I think they'll have already had a call from the cops themselves. They need to know how it happened… they deserve some peace too."
Stan tilts his head. "Are you gonna tell them everything?"
"Yeah." Ike looks back at them stoically. "I know you probably won't believe me, but once they get over the shock of Kyle being with both of you, they'll just be glad he was happy. And that they have some answers now." He hesitates a moment. "I'll see you at the trial I guess, if there is one. If he pleads guilty, then probably not…"
"But we all know how much Cartman likes a circus," finishes Kenny grimly and Ike nods. Dragging them through a long trial would make Cartman very happy, prolong the misery and Ike knows that should the plea bargain not be to Cartman's liking, then he would be pleased to put them all through that. All their secrets out in the open, Cartman the centre of attention.
"Can we take your number?" asks Stan, almost shyly. "Maybe call you once in a while, touch base?"
Ike nods again, having realised that Stan would ask this and that the two men would like to know how he is doing out of some obligation or because he is a link to Kyle – but should things go right, then they will have each other as a link to Kyle. And although the path runs both ways and they are Ike's link to Kyle too, he is not sure that he should be hanging on to Kyle's memory like the talisman it has been to him for the last ten years. He does not think that the three of them will fall entirely out of touch, but he believes contact will dwindle to the occasional card or e-mail and perhaps it is better that way. Perhaps it will be better for him to let Kyle finally recede into memory.
They exchange numbers and hugs and then Ike leaves, noticing that Stan remains behind. Maybe they can make a go of things, maybe. Maybe Kenny will finally leave this town with Stan and they can get on with a life together, as it should have been, because there is nothing left here for either of them now. For any of them. Ike does not intend to set foot in South Park again, as long as he lives. He has grown to hate the town where his brother was killed.
Although there is one thing, or rather one person, that he will miss.
He returns to the motel, packs up his things. He has left a contact number with the police should they need to speak to him, but they will have to come to him to do so. The trial, should there be one, will be in Denver and that is the closest he will ever be to the quiet little mountain town again. Things gathered, he turns in his key at the desk, Henrietta giving him an emotionless farewell, but her expression is thoughtful. Ike can feel the weight of her stare as he walks from the building.
He knows where Keiran lives, with his mother in the house he grew up in. He drives there without having to think about directions, the recall that has come to him about the town startles him on occasion – but it will never have to again. He will never have reason to walk or ride these streets and that fills him with a sense of relief. And Keiran is the one to answer when he knocks, a grin starting on his face that withers when he looks behind Ike and sees the car.
Ike bites his lip, wishing again for a hoop through it like the one Keiran wears. "I'm getting out of town," he says, looking the other straight in the eye. "I found out what I needed to and – I can't stay. Not another day, not when you know how it's gonna be once the gossips find out."
Silently, Keiran pulls the door wider so that Ike can enter and he does so, not wanting to draw out the goodbyes any longer than he has to – but not wanting to leave Keiran behind either. That is the one thing about leaving he truly will regret.
So do something about it says Kyle and Ike gives a slightly rueful smile. He had almost assumed that the Kyle-voice in his head would vanish once the truth was out. Apparently, his subconscious doesn't work like that.
The living room is decorated in neutral beige; Keiran's black clothes and colourful arms look completely out of place. The man stuffs his hands in his pockets, looks at Ike, takes a breath. Looks away. "I was hoping you'd stay a little longer, but – I get it. I know why you can't. Where are you going, back home?"
"Not right away," says Ike. "I'm going to go visit my parents first. Some grim version of a road trip. Hang around there a couple days, then probably go on home from there." He pauses. "I'll miss you though. It's been great being around you. You've been the only high spot of this whole trip."
Keiran nods and Ike can see the way the gears are working in his head. "You know, thinking about what happened to Kyle and everything, and how things were with him and those other guys before he died – it got me wondering. Carpe Diem, y'know? Seize the day. That's what makes a life worth living I guess, and I keep saying that I do that, but I don't. I still live with my mom for fucks sake. I never take any real risks." His eyes meet Ike's. "When I asked if there could be something between us while you were here, that's the bravest thing I ever did in my life. Having my dick pierced doesn't compare."
Ike lets out an unexpected snort of laughter at the comment. But Keiran is nervous and rambling; he isn't sure what the hell the man is trying to say to him.
"And I guess the worst thing that can happen is that I get horribly embarrassed and even that won't matter, because you won't be here much longer. So uh…" Keiran runs his tongue over his lip ring, his words coming out in a rush. "You want some company on your road trip? I know it's not like a holiday, but I thought it'd be cool for us to spend some more time together. Perhaps find out if there's something between us that might work out and y'know. If not I can come home and let you go on home too, but if there is…" He runs out of words and simply stands there, already looking embarrassed.
Ike is impressed and shocked in equal measures. Impressed because saying that, even thinking that, took a lot of balls. That Keiran is willing to uproot his life for a man he met two days before touches him. But there is shock, because that would mean Keiran leaving the safety of what he knows – and Ike too would be taking a chance.
"What about work?" he asks, the first thing to come into his mind and, when he thinks about it, completely stupid. That is the least of the issues to come up with this suggestion.
Keiran gives him an amused, anxious look. "I can pull a sickie. I'm not talking about taking off with you for the rest of my life, Ike. I just wanna prolong things for a couple of days. After that, we can talk about what happens next. For now, I just – I think there's something real between us, more than just friendship or sex or whatever. I'd like to chance finding that out."
It's a risk. Ike knows it's a risk. But it's just a couple of days really, someone to talk to while he drives to his parents, someone to share time with, stories, maybe a room when the exhaustion gets the better of him and he checks into a hotel. If things don't go right, then he has lost nothing – but if he refuses, plays it safe and leaves alone, then he might have lost something. He simply doesn't know.
Take a chance, says Kyle. It's better to regret the things you did than the things you didn't.
Ike takes a deep breath, wondering what he is going to say.
"You'd better pack a bag in a hurry then. I'm leaving in fifteen minutes."
Keiran looks slightly stunned and disbelieving, as if braced for a blow that never came. Then his smile breaks out again, the one he never used as a child but that Ike seems to see a lot. "I'll be ready in ten," he promises, darting over to Ike to give him a hard but chaste kiss right on his lips and then hurries from the room and up the stairs.
"You'd better not be getting me into trouble, Kyle," murmurs Ike, but Kyle is silent on the subject this time, as if he has said all that he needs to on the matter. Ike sits, waiting for Keiran, hearing the other move around upstairs, wondering what he will do if the Kyle in his head gives way to his own voice speaking back to him. He supposes that he will cope. And he thinks that maybe, now he knows what really happened to his brother that night, he really can move on to whatever else lies in store.