That's it; it's over.
Sorry about making y'all wait two weeks. End-of-school projects, end-of-fic blues, you know how it goes. This chapter gave me such hell, but I'm really very pleased with it. I think it's a logical, Cartman sort of conclusion. A thank you to all you readers/reviewers - I seriously didn't think a Cartman/Wendy fic would get much notice in such a slash-heavy fandom. And I must say I'm incredibly pleased that there's more fic for these two popping up. My OTP, and all.
I've got several other Cartman/Wendy and Stan/Kyle fics on the horizon, and even some other pairings. Pip/Damien, anyone? Or how about some good ol' Ned/Jimbo? And more het, of course. XD
Wendy walked toward the room shop class was taught in, dragging her feet. As glad as she was to finally be back in school, the fact that she wasn't returning to journalism was truly depressing.
When she entered the room, everyone gawked at her. Bebe had told her that, in her absence, the story of how she hit Cassidy had evolved into an elaborate tale where she flew across the room at her in a rage and started beating the ever-loving shit out of her. She avoided their stares and edged toward the teacher.
"Um... I've been transferred from-"
"Yes, of course, Miss Testaburger. I've already been informed," he said, and Wendy winced. She could tell just by his tone that she had been the topic of many a teacher's lounge discussion. And she'd worked so hard to be a teacher's pet, too. She'd been shooting for valedictorian but that, like all of her work for the school newspaper, had gone straight to hell the moment she'd slugged Cassidy.
Everything she'd ever worked for had been yanked away from her, and for what? An unrequited crush on the world's most terrible person.
"Take a seat," the teacher told her, and Wendy glanced around the room. The shop room had many stools around a few large tables instead of desks like the rest of the classrooms. When she looked around everyone immediately rested their feet on any empty stool near them, or put their bag down, or shoved the free stool toward a different table. Obviously, no one was keen on sitting next to Wendy The Maniac.
"Oo, Wendy! Over here!" She blinked at Kenny, who was sitting at a table by himself next to the buzz saw, waving brightly at her. She blinked again, then smiled a little at him, glad he'd saved her from standing there at the front of the room looking like an idiot, and joined him at the table.
During her suspension her parents had initially tried to come up with a way to punish her, but they'd quickly realized that, to their overachieving daughter, suspension was the ultimate punishment already. Wendy had allowed herself to wallow on her couch for an hour after the Oreo ad, and then she'd began pulling herself back together. So, she decided, Cartman didn't like her. Well... she couldn't do anything about that. But she could do something about being suspended. Lying about on the furniture like a depressed slug lamenting her problems wasn't going to help her in the slightest and, what's more, it wasn't like her. She needed to get out of this Cartman-induced funk.
So she'd called up Bebe and told her to come over directly after school. Bebe had, bouncing on her toes and demanding information about the Cassidy Incident. Wendy had finally told her just to get her to shut up, which meant she also had to explain what had happened at the baseball diamond, and consequently had to confess to Bebe that, yes, she really did like Cartman.
She'd expected Bebe to gush in that bubbly way she did, but Bebe'd just ran a hand over the back of her head sympathetically and asked her what she'd wanted her to come over for. Wendy really did constantly undervalue what a good best friend Bebe was.
When she'd outlined her plan, Bebe had sighed and shaken her head. "I swear I don't understand you, girl. You get two weeks off school, and what's the first thing on your mind? Homework."
"Just do it," Wendy had commanded, holding the tape recorder out to her. It was rather lucky that, save journalism, they had all the same classes.
So for the next two weeks Bebe'd had a tape recorder on her desk, recording every class period, then dropping them off with Wendy after school. Wendy had been immensely pleased with her idea, and was able to stay completely on top of her classes because of it. Unfortunately, Bebe had taken advantage of the opportunity to gossip into the recorder while the teacher lectured, so that Wendy had no way of skipping over it without missing what the teacher was saying.
Mostly, Bebe had talked about Kenny. Apparently, without Wendy around, she'd resorted to hanging out with him instead of her fellow cheerleaders. She'd explained that she really did enjoy his company, even though he wasn't even trying to conceal the fact he was hoping to get inside her pants. "I think that sort of honesty is refreshing from a guy, don't you?" she'd chirped.
"So why don't you just sleep with him?" Wendy had asked one afternoon, annoyed after having had to listen to Bebe talk about her sex life while the teacher explained z scores in the background.
Bebe had shrugged. "I dunno. It would feel sort of like necrophilia. Know what I mean?"
Wendy smiled at Kenny, now, as she pulled up a stool. "How are you?"
"Well, I'm alive, so I've been worse," he said, giving her a lopsided smile.
"I didn't know you were taking shop."
"I like tempting fate."
"Why're you at a table all by yourself?"
"Ah, took a little dive in popularity after that hose-down at Butters'. So, how was your vacation?" he asked, starting up the saw as the teacher told the class to get to work. Wendy frowned.
"Aren't you going to wearing safety goggles?"
"Look, if God wants me to loose an eye, some regulation plastic isn't going to stop Him," he said, slicing boards. Wendy tugged her own on quickly and frowned at him, and he smirked back. "So? Two-week suspension?" he prompted.
"It sucked ass," she informed him, then hesitated. "... I didn't want to come back."
"Bummed out about Cartman?"
"He told you?" she cried, outraged and mortified.
"Not really, but what he did with the newspaper last week shed a lot of light on the situation." Wendy frowned. She was about to ask him what Cartman had done, but he went on before she could say anything. "So you like the guy, huh?"
Wendy sighed and leaned against her fist. "I don't know what's wrong with me. He wasn't even... All the nice things in those notes. It was all fake."
"Well... yeah," Kenny said. "And you got screwed big-time by that Cassidy chick, and I sympathize. But, you know, just because Cartman wasn't writing those letters doesn't nullify all the nice things he did do for you - drive you home from the party, stick around after school to help you with the paper..."
She frowned at him. "How is it any of your business, anyway?"
Kenny pushed a hand through his shaggy hair. "Well, he's my sorta-kinda-not-really best friend."
"Sorta-kinda-not-really," Wendy repeated flatly.
"Yeah," Kenny said. "I mean. I feel sorry for the guy. And no one else in town really does - not that I blame them. It's just, you know, Cartman has a manifold of Issues. Capitalized, even. I don't want him to get anymore unhinged than he already is."
Wendy's expression hovered between a frown and a scowl. "So... what? You think I'm going to screw him up or I'm not right for him or something because I don't have any pity for him?"
"Oh, God no," Kenny said, waving his hands in front of himself, his fingers spread. "Hell no. Any relationship that starts out with one of them pitying the other is fucked from the beginning. I just mean, you know... when it comes to Cartman, tread softly but firmly."
"Hmm," Wendy said, and smiled a little. "You know, you're a pretty good guy, Kenny. I can see why Bebe considers you a friend instead of just another hunk of guy flesh to screw."
"You think I'd get more pussy if I started acting like an asshole?" Kenny asked thoughtfully, rubbing his chin in consideration. Wendy sighed and shook her head at him. A pretty good guy, yes - but still very much a guy.
"Miss Testaburger," the teacher said, and she jumped to attention. She'd have to work doubly hard to win the teachers back over. Wendy gave him a winning smile, and his beard twitched in response.
"As you are the only one not current involved in a project, would you deliver the attendance to the office?" he said, holding it out to her. She took it with a cheerful "Of course!" and left the classroom with a speedy, professional pace. Once the door closed behind her she slackened her speed to a leisurely walk through the empty hallways, flipping through the roster absently. Her name had been penciled in at the bottom, underneath Vanderloo, Mark. She sighed, letting her eyes glaze over. Shop class was going to be so... boring. All of her clothes were probably going to get bloodstains on them, too, as long as she sat next to Kenny.
Her eyes skimmed over the roster lazily, and then she froze when they got up to Cartman, Eric Theodore.
Cart... man...? He was on the roster? Then, he was in the class?
But... that didn't make any sense. He hadn't been in the room. He was in journalism.
She was so absorbed in puzzling over it that she was thoroughly startled when she turned a corner and stumbled across two other people.
They were many advantages to dating your best friend that Kyle, while wangsting and getting advice from a big, gay man, had not really considered. For instance, they could settle any disagreement with a good old-fashioned fist fight. And if that didn't work, they could always dry-hump on his living room couch.
Kyle was really starting to love that couch.
The first thing they'd done after turning off The Brady Brunch was head down to J-mart so that Stan could quit. He'd made a quite dramatic exit. Things had broken. People had cried. Mothers had ushered their children to safety.
"It feels so good to be a consumer again," Stan had said on the hike back to his house, so that they could grab Sparky as an excuse to go to the very secluded bike trail for a 'walk.' "But I'm going to miss the paychecks."
"Yeah, but what were you going to buy with them? Auditing?"
Stan's shoved him, and Kyle'd grabbed his arm and pulled him flush against him, grinning when Stan balked.
Over the past two weeks, Kyle had discovered several new things about his best friend: a) Stan was a biter, b) Stan was a hair-puller, c) Stan had some sort of fetish for abdomens. For someone who'd been bleating their straightness to the sky for weeks, he'd certainly gotten into the whole gay make-out thing very, very quickly. And though he was far from ready to don a pink triangle and march in some pride parade, he seemed to find the threat on being caught a tremendous turn-on.
Which would explain why Stan'd caught him on his way back from the bathroom and backed him up against some poor unfortunate's locker in the deserted hallway, and was currently gripping a fistful of his hair so hard that his scalp tingled with one hand while his other hand had slipped up under his jacket. And that's why he was biting his collar bone, and sliding his tongue into the hollow of his throat, andohholygodYES.
And that's about the time that a very girlie voice screamed.
Stan jumped away and Kyle's mind tried valiantly to come out of its Stan-haze. He finally focused on Wendy, who was staring at them with her mouth hanging open, the papers she'd been carrying at her feet.
"Oh, God," said Stan. "God no."
"Oh. It's just Wendy," Kyle said at about the same time.
"JUST Wendy!" Stan yelped, glaring at him. "Are you insane? Now Cartman's going to find out!"
"Dude, I'm pretty sure Cartman already knows."
"Who says I'm going to tell Cartman?" Wendy demanded, her annoyance momentarily overcoming her mortification. And then it was back. "I didn't see anything!" she said hastily, bending over, grabbing the roster, and scurrying away.
God, I hate it when Cartman's right, she thought as she hurried away, biting her lip. Because the sight she'd just seen had been nearly identical to that photo he'd doctored months ago.
Stan and Kyle watched her as she all but ran away, and then Stan turned around and said, "This is all your fault."
"How do you figure that?"
"It's all because of how your ass looks in those jeans," Stan said irritably.
"You're blaming this on my pants?"
"I'm going back to class," Stan grumbled, starting off, and Kyle sped after him.
"I've been gone for like twenty minutes," Kyle mused. "The class is either going to think I have to worst diarrhea ever, or I fell in."
"No one's going to care about that. They're all just going to want to know if the Raisins chicks really do cut PE and have lesbian orgies."
"... In the guys' bathroom?"
Stan shrugged. "Since when have lesbian fantasies been realistic?"
This was not Wendy's day.
Because when she'd finally gotten to the attendance office there was Cartman, standing by his mother as she excused his tardiness. He'd been glaring at the clock, but his eyes jumped to her when she entered the room; she froze and stared back - two weeks she had successfully avoided him after making a complete love-struck dumbass out of herself in front of him. She should have known it was too good to last.
She dumped the shop class roster on the desk just as Mrs. Cartman finished writing her signature and picked up her purse to go. Wendy spun on her heel and headed full-speed toward the girls' bathroom, wondering if she would even be safe in there. Cartman seemed like the kind of guy who would walk into the girls' bathroom without shame.
"Ey! Wait up, ho!" she heard him call down the hallway. Wendy sped up. Cartman did as well, breaking into an all-out run until he got in front of her, where he turned around to face her and came to an abrupt stop. She tried to go around him, but he shot his arm out, blocking her path. Wendy realized she was trapped. Blocking people was one of Cartman's specialties, after all.
"There you are, bitch," he wheezed out, then grabbed his knees and leaned forward as he gasped for air.
Wendy sucked in a breath and hugged herself as a sort of barrier between the two of them. She narrowed her eyes and demanded, "What are you doing coming in late?"
"I could ask you the same thing."
"I wasn't late, I was delivering the roster to the attendance office," she said, lifting her chin a little. "Shouldn't you be in journalism right now?"
"No," Cartman said matter-of-factly. "And if you've got the shop class roster you should already know that, ho."
Wendy's eyes narrowed a little bit more and she tried to edge around him. Cartman blocked her escape route.
"Hold on," he said, and didn't tack on an insult for once. Wendy frowned at him.
"Why are you in shop class?"
"Heh," he said, smirking. "I knew you'd snoop through the attendance list." She glared and he said, "They transferred me back to shop class."
That's right, she remembered. He'd transferred into journalism from shop, that first horrible day of school. "But why?"
Cartman's smirk faded, and he scowled and crossed his arms. He seemed to be deliberating his next words very carefully.
"Look, I know I say I hate everyone, but I don't actually," he finally said.
"Uh-huh," Wendy said, crossing her arms as well.
"Serioushlay," Cartman said. "Well. Except hippies. And Jews. And gingers... dog trainers..."
Wendy sighed and turned away.
"Will you let me finish?" Cartman snapped, yanking her back around by her shoulder. "My point is, I just like seeing people suffer. It doesn't mean I hate them. I don't hate Stan and Kenny, I'd just rather see them miserable than happy."
"What about Kyle?"
Cartman's expression darkened. "Kyle's a Jew."
"Right," she said, running a hand through her hair. "And I'm a hippie, so I'm on your exclusive hate-list too, right? That's what you're trying to say, isn't it?"
"You're... not a hippie," Cartman mumbled. "You're an environmentalist." Wendy lifted an eyebrow and he scowled. "Would you quite interrupting me? I'm trying to explain myself here."
Wendy sighed. "All right."
"Other people's misery makes me happy," he said. "Except... yours." He scowled and kicked a trash can violently. "And it's really starting to piss me off!" Wendy gave him a surprised look, and Cartman made a frustrated noise.
"So I thought... while you were gone..." Cartman grit his teeth. Words, his most useful resource when it came to getting his way, were failing him. Fed up, he dug into his backpack, unbent a newspaper, and passed it to her.
Wendy drew the newspaper toward herself, staring down at the headline: "Senior Involved in Fetish Pornography." Below the bold letters was a full-page photo of Cassidy Brooking in a most indecent situation with a zebra. She blinked several times, completely thrown; this was about the last thing she'd expected to see today.
"You... doctored this picture?"
Cartman shook his head. "It's real."
She stared at him. "Bullshit."
"I am so for seriously! You know... I got blackmail on everyone in journalism to stop your bitching about how no one ever showed up."
"I guessed as much," Wendy said.
"Well when I was digging through that whore Cassidy's past, I uncovered something very interesting she had done to try and win Scott Tenorman over. She did this," he said, tapping the photo, "because she heard he was into bestiality." An evil smirk was beginning to inch onto his face. "Because she heard this crazy rumor that he got a blow job from a pony..."
"How in the world did you get this printed?"
Cartman snorted. "God, it was so easy. I can see why you like Ms. Dieterle so much; that hippie bitch is such a fucking pushover. After they kicked you out it took me four minutes to get her to make me the editor."
"So... you published this, and they kicked you out of paper and put you back in shop class," she summarized, processing the situation slowly. Cartman, however, snorted.
"I know how to cover my tracks, bitch, what do you take me for? I blamed it on that ratty looking kid."
"... Travis?" Wendy asked.
"What did he ever do to you!"
"Ey, don't get all defensive, ho! If you knew what I'd been blackmailing him with, you'd think he deserved it."
She frowned a little at him. "Well, if you didn't get kicked out of journalism, why are you in shop class now?"
He rolled his eyes. "You think I want to stay in that fucking lame newspaper?"
"The newspaper is not 'fucking lame'-!"
"I don't have a reason to stay in it anymore," he said, steamrolling over her instinctive defense of the newspaper. She stared at him, bit her lip, and looked back down at the paper in her hands.
"Cartman, this was..." she looked down at the picture, traced it with her finger, and then shook her head.
"... a horrible thing to do."
Cartman's expression twisted. "Well, fine, you ungrateful bitch!" he burst out quickly, turning his back on her and crossing his arms. "I just won't bother then!"
Wendy sighed and placed a hand on his shoulder, and noticed how stiff he was. "Now you're the one who's not letting me finish," she said briskly. When he didn't turn around she maneuvered herself in front of him. He glared at her and she sighed, removed her hand from his shoulder, and steepled her fingers around her nose, pushing her face into her hands.
"It's horrible. It's... down right nasty. And, Lord, all I can think is 'This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me'." Cartman's eyebrows rose and she bit her lip. "I'm... such a terrible person, to find this flattering. But, Cartman, I think that I might actually like..."
She trailed off, and then she frowned at his ankles, shook her head, and removed her hands from her mouth so that she could do this properly. "I actually love you."
The expression on his face was almost comical. It was the same one he'd had when she'd apologized to him after acting surprised that he'd done his report, and when she'd told him his band had deserved to go platinum. He looked genuinely happy and horribly confused, as if he were completely out of his element and had no idea how to react when people were kind to him.
So, as he did what he'd done before: snap at her.
"I'm not saying it back!"
Wendy almost laughed out loud. "You just destroyed a girl's reputation for me," she said instead. "I don't think you could say it any clearer, Cartman."
He was going to kiss her. Boys, Wendy had come to find, always had some sort of tell when they were about to kiss a girl (Stan's had been the bright green color he turned). She tipped her head up to meet him and... he kissed her chin.
They stayed like that for approximately five seconds, frozen in place by the horribly awkward, unintentional chin-kiss, and then Cartman made a frustrated, rage-filled noise and backed off.
"God damn it," he swore. "I am going to do this fucking right. So stop twitching," Cartman commanded. He cupped her face, presumably to stop the involuntary muscle spasms she was apparently subject to, and kissed her again, this time on the lips. Wendy couldn't honestly say it was a mind-blowing kiss, because Cartman was far from experienced, but he more than made up for it with enthusiasm. But just as it was getting really good (because God hated her), someone shouted very loudly, "OH MY GOD!"
Cartman and Wendy jumped apart quickly and turned to find that Kyle and Stan were staring at them. Stan was of a definite greenish tinge, and Kyle, who'd been the one who'd shouted, had his hands over his eyes and was saying, "Get me a power drill, Stan, quick! Must! Make! The mental images! Stop!"
"You... you GOD DAMN FAGS!" Cartman snarled, and flipped them off. "Oh GOD I am going to get you butt pirates for this!"
"Go ahead," Kyle said, finally dropping his hands and latching onto Stan by the elbow. "The last time you 'got us' it worked out fantastically in our favor, so by all means, do your worst," he went on, as he dragged Stan off. Stan and Kyle's voices faded down the hall ("DUDE!"; "What, Stan, I told you he already knew.") and they were left alone again. Wendy glanced at Cartman, who was fuming.
"Those... fags," he snapped, apparently feeling uncreative with insults at the moment. "If I'd known it was true I'd never have written that article; I'd have written one that said they were raping baby animals, or something."
Wendy made a face at him. "Ugh, Cartman."
"Bet you I could make a case for it in ten minutes. Remember when Stan ran off and joined PETA-"
"He didn't run away, he was banished," Wendy pointed out.
"Not in my article he won't be. And then Kyle got all overemotional about that stupid whale, most likely because he had to be parted with his love..."
"Why'd you come in late?" she asked, hoping to throw him off this rather disturbing topic of conversation.
"I was busy this morning setting Cassidy's house on fire."
Wendy blinked. "... You burned down Cassidy's house, too?"
"Don't you think that's a little excessive?"
"No," Wendy said. "Bitch had it coming," she continued, and Cartman smirked at her. She smirked back, and then she reached out and grabbed his hand. "Let's get back to shop class. We can see if Kenny's still alive."
"That asshole better be, he's supposed to be making my birdhouse for me," Cartman said, though his voice lacked his usual rancor. He was distracted by Wendy's hand, which was clutching his own, and he had that look on his face again. Wendy was coming to find she liked that look on him.
And she really liked the fact that she was the one who put it there.