Kyle was good at angry.
Stan knew that full well. Back when they were children, the boy had generally been logical and calm. He had this way about him that just screamed I know what I'm talking about. Usually, Stan found himself relating it to how Wendy talked, but Kyle was somehow less condescending. Whenever a problem came out, the boy was excellent at laying out the situation and coming up with a solution without feeling the need to involve emotions.
But he would go off sometimes when whatever it was managed to tip him over the edge. Usually, it was Cartman who managed to push Kyle to that point. Stan had learned to have a healthy amount of fear for the boy's anger, but it had always been a sight to see. Kyle with that green trapper's hat and emerald green eyes to match, getting red in the face as he screamed at Eric Cartman for pick-your-dickish-move. Fucking asshole deserved it of course, but you almost had to pity him.
Because Kyle got really angry, pissed.
It would always start with him asking a rhetorical question, like he couldn't believe he was being forced to deal with this shit. Then he'd get progressively more and more furious. The pressure would build behind that precise ivory face, and you could practically see it, the way all of the stopgaps in place to keep him from getting too angry were blown to pieces. Once it got to be too much, he'd explode and words would come tumbling out his mouth, always so concise and precise and cutting. Kyle's anger burned hot and bright and left whatever was in its path nothing but ash.
Stan sometimes got angry too, but never like Kyle, he didn't know anyone who got angry like Kyle. Most people fled from the boy's ire, wanted to put as much distance between themselves and the redhead's rage as possible. Of course, that was most people. For Stan, it was the kind of rage that made you want to get closer to it, like some sort of magnetism that he had never understood. On those occasions where he'd truly pissed Kyle off, Stan could remember the gravity that Kyle would suddenly develop that pulled him in.
It hadn't always been like that. When they were children, Stan had always hated it when Kyle blew up. He'd do practically anything to diffuse a situation when it arose and when he hadn't been able to do anything, he'd generally been careful not to get caught in the crosshairs. But as they'd got older, something had fundamentally changed in him, something he didn't understand.
He'd stopped running from Kyle's anger and instead, he'd started to crave it in some strange unhealthy way like an adrenaline junky craved a thrill.
It was just an intense desire really, a irresistible pull to just grab ahold of that anger and bring it closer, close enough to burn. Stan wanted to touch that anger, use it, make it into something else. The boy had enough of it to spare after all, Kyle was nothing if not a ticking time bomb, counting off the moments before he exploded and everyone ended up faced with his wrath again.
How many times had Stan had to bring him back down from that peak of madness? He couldn't count anymore, but he could remember those times, grabbing Kyle's wrists and staring at him in those green eyes and resisting the urge to do something else, some unnamable thing that scared him. Just to bring Kyle back down, just to remind him that not everyone in the world was a total asshole.
That being said, Stan could be an asshole himself and Kyle blew up at him too. Curly red hair would frame Kyle's face like fire as he screamed at Stan, letting go of whatever was on his mind in a somehow eloquent soliloquy that overwhelmed the mind. Kyle never held anything back, even when it was him, even when Stan hadn't meant to piss him off. He treated everyone the same once they'd angered him, like they were a target he was intent on destroying. It hurt like hell because the boy was his closest friend, but in the end, they always came back together. Once again, Stan would remind himself that no matter how alluring Kyle's rage was, it was still dangerous.
When they were younger, Kyle angry had been a force of nature.
And it still was, it really still was.
"Dude, I'm not fucking going, alright," Stan growled glaring at the ceiling of his room as he clenched his phone hard enough to break it. "It's a dumb party and I don't care." He did sort of care, usually, he loved going to the crazy parties the cheer girls threw, but today he just wasn't.
"Come on," Kenny wheedled from the other end of the line. "It's gonna be at the Trap house so you know it's gonna be lit. I'm already there setting up! Everyone's going Marsh, you can't just not go!" Actually, he could, and that's what Stan was planning on doing.
"I already told you," Stan said, closing his eyes and running his hands through his dark, ebony hair. "I'm not interested, go pick on some other unfortunate asshole." Twisting his head, Stan found himself staring at Kyle's familiar green hat once more and he fought the urge to groan. God, why did he have to leave it here?
"Stan, Wendy's out of town," Kenny said, his voice only mildly less flippant. "I get it, you're bummed out. But let's be real here, you two are always doing this shit and you're always moping about it so get off your ass and-"
"It's not about fucking Wendy," Stan spat, rubbing his forehead and mumbling words of murder under his breath. And it wasn't, he could less of a shit about that. So they'd broken up. Again. So fucking what? That wasn't what was on his mind right now and Kenny could just stop prodding. Besides, it wasn't like he hadn't been yelled at enough about the whole thing…
"Dude, for the love of god, don't be like this," Kenny said, sighing deeply. "Kyle's probably going to be here! You can cry on his shoulder about whatever it is or something. Do whatever floats your boat just get out of that house before you suffocate."
At the mention of the redhead's name, Stan let out an involuntary groan. No, Kyle was the last person he wanted to see, shouldn't Kenny just know that? "No, I'm not going." Another glance at the hat, another roll of his stomach. God, I'm a mess.
"You had a fight, didn't you?" It was funny how Kenny sounded so serious about this when if it was something about Wendy, he hardly bothered at all. There was a long sigh from the other end of the line and Stan could picture the blond rubbing his face tiredly. "Well man, I'd love to say I can help but I can only do so much. Damn, what was it this time?"
"Wendy," Stan bit out. He could still see it, Kyle standing in front of him, his hands spread wide and his face red and angry. I'm sick and tired of your shit, Stan! he'd yelled, his usual eloquence gone, nothing but pure, unadulterated rage. Why are you with her? Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you doing this to me!?
To you?! Stan had shouted right back, his misery temporarily forgotten as he faced his furious best friend. That urge to reach forward and drag the boy closer just so he could feel that rage wash over him was strong, Stan could hardly resist it. What the hell have I ever done to you, Kyle? What does any of this have to do you? I came to you because Wendy just-
She always breaks up with you Stan, because, in the end, you two aren't good for each other! Kyle had spat, advancing on him. His red hair had been everywhere, his hat having been lost at some point. That curly mess looked like fire, just like the words coming out of his mouth. Do you have any idea what I have to put up with every time you two decide to take a break? I have to deal with you being a miserable mess. I have to deal with you when you get back together with her! I HAVE TO WATCH MY BEST FRIEND GET TRAMPLED WILLINGLY AND I CAN'T DO A DAMN THING!
Stan had wanted nothing more than to bury his fingers in that hair, listen to Kyle hiss and spit while they were nose to nose. He had felt that desire rise up like some unholy monster and it had scared him. I LOVE HER! Is what he'd screamed instead, reacting to Kyle's anger. Why can't you see that?! Stop yelling at me Kyle, you don't need to get pissed over this!
NO! You know what? Fuck you, dude. I'm done with this shit. He'd pointed at Stan and all the boy had seen was pain in those emerald eyes. You are the single most blind and selfish asshole I've ever met, and I know Cartman. Go fucking cry over Wendy, I'm not putting up with it anymore. I'm done putting up with you. Then he'd stormed off, leaving Stan alone and frustrated, close to what felt like tears.
Kenny hissed through his teeth. "Duuuude, you should just leave that skank already. That bitch has got you wrapped around her damn finger and she causes more trouble than she's worth." Letting out a sigh, Stan glanced over towards Kyle's hat once more and found himself swinging his legs off of his bed and getting to his feet.
In the end, it wasn't the whole thing with Wendy that was making him miserable, it was just Kyle. They hadn't spoken in days, they hadn't texted and Kyle hadn't called. He was frustrated and confused and tired. All he wanted was his best friend to talk to him again.
"You're probably right," Stan muttered, slowly wandered towards the chair that held Kyle's hat. Grabbing for the worn green fabric, Stan rubbed it between his fingers before tightening his hand into a fist. "Fuck it, I'll come to the party."
Kenny let out a whoop. "HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD! Stan, you will not regret this. I'll make sure I've got Kyle properly drunk before he sees you so he doesn't go off on you again, deal?"
Stan rolled his eyes. "You know Kyle never gets drunk." The idea sounded funny though. He couldn't help but wonder if Kyle would be one of those giggly drunks. After all, the idea of his friend clinging to his arm, in tears of ridiculous and gasping laughter instead of being his usual, stiffer self, sounded appealing.
"Trust your ol' Kenny," The poor boy cackled, his voice practically dripping with delight. "He's got a few tricks up his sleeves yet." Stan rolled his eyes, but set Kyle's hat down anyway.
"Whatever, I'll see you in a few hours, asshole," Stan told him.
"Oh boy," Kenny crooned, "This is gonna be fun."