The summary is misleading; this story is actually het through and through. It's more about Kyle wishing he had some friends that weren't stupid than boy love. I broke up my OTPs to make the plot work - hey, I'm nothing if not flexible.

I'm pretty impartial to Cartman/Kyle; don't like it, don't dislike it. It's just - why doesn't anyone write the pairing humorously? I don't understand. It's such a fucking funny couple.

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The problem with Stan and Wendy - or, at least, one of the problems - was that they could never stay away from each other. So they broke up, several times, and got back together, several times. And for someone who was always saying "I've learned something today," it seemed to Kyle that Stan never really learned his lesson.

Stan tried to explain the complexities of love to him, once. Kyle thought it sounded a lot like stupidity. Kenny might have chimed in to say the two were one and the same, but Kenny was dead while they were having that particular conversation. Stan eventually got fed up and told Kyle, "You just don't understand." Which was a valid point, Kyle supposed, because at that point he'd become entirely disillusioned with girls and was seriously considering turning asexual. Still, Stan didn't have to be such an asshole about it.

The most recent break up in the Stan/Wendy saga had resulted with Stan turning goth again. Kyle, completely fed up, had decided that if he couldn't talk Stan out of his funk, he'd try a more direct approach and turned goth with him. In a less than a week not only had Stan left the group, but the rest of the goths as well. They said that Kyle had been a little too enthusiastic about the idea of pushing people in front of cars (to his defense, it was mostly Kenny), quoting Poe, and was generally bringing them down.

Kyle had returned to normal just in time to take his date to the back-to-school dance while Stan stayed home and moped. The evening had been a flop, however. Kyle had discovered his date was only with him because she'd been hoping to make a pass at his father. And so his general apathy regarding dating was born.

The senior prom was fast approaching. Stan and Kyle, both dateless, decided to stay home and order City Wok and mock old movies. Stan figured it would make a better evening than watching Wendy on the arm of the guy she'd been bragging about to her friends, loudly, whenever he was within hearing distance. Kyle felt anything had to make for a better evening than desperately rummaging through a medicine cabinet, trying to find something that would take the images his date put in his head back out. They'd both just sprawl out on the couch and take it easy.

Of course, things are never easy in South Park.

--

Precisely one week before the prom, Cartman knocked on the Broflovski's front door. It was the evening, and Sheila let him in.

"Eric?" she said, bemused. "What do you want with Kyle this late?"

"Actually," he said, adjusting his tie. "I came to talk to you and your husband, Mrs. Broflovski."

Sheila's eyebrows rose. She looked across the room at Gerald, who had been seated on the couch, reading the newspaper. He'd set it down, however, and his eyebrows had also risen. Sheila's and Gerald's eyes met. Their eyebrows danced around a little.

"Okay, Eric," Gerald said. "What is it?"

"I came to formally notify you of my intentions regarding your son and, hopefully, gain your blessing."

Sheila and Gerald did the eye-meet-brow-dance thing again. Sheila finally said, "... and that would be?"

"I am hopelessly infatuated with that stringy, bitchy little Jew. I intend to pursue a romantic relationship with him and eventually run away to Manhattan where we will have a house with a white-picket fence, a dog, and 2.5 kids. And he will bake me pies."

Silence. Deafening, all-consuming silence.

"Um, Kyle?" Gerald called up the stairs. "Could you come down here real quick?"

He eventually did, grumbling about never having any time to himself. "Yeah, what?" he asked, and then he noticed Cartman.

"Fatass? What're you doing here?" A pause. "And what's with the suit?"

"Love bunny!" Cartman greeted brightly.

More silence. Kyle had the look of someone who'd spent their entire life believing they were a man, and then woke up one morning with breasts.

"... Right, Cartman," he said at last, sharing a confused look with his parents. "I'm going to go back upstairs and finishing my homework now. You let me know when you want to make sense."

He climbed the stairs, ignoring the exaggerated, melodramatic way Cartman screamed, "HEARTBREAKER!" When he got to his bedroom, however, he'd only just sat down at his desk before he heard the song "In Your Eyes." Bemused, he got up and looked out the window.

Cartman was standing in his front yard, holding a boom box above his head. Kyle stared for a while, his brain trying desperately to process the image before it until it lost the will to fight and simply gave up, collapsing.

Kyle groaned. Great, it was going to be one of those weeks. And now, on top of it all, he had a headache. With that dispiriting thought, he went back downstairs to turn on the sprinklers.

--

When Kyle didn't hear from Cartman all weekend, he'd dared to hope the thing had blown over.

Then Monday came. Kyle marched to Stark's Pond after school, irritable.

"Okay, Cartman, what is this about?" Kyle said, waving a letter at him. "Why'd you tape this to my locker? 'I respectfully request your unchaperoned presence at the lake this afternoon.'? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? And why," he added dubiously, "are you wearing a suit and standing in a boat? You're not trying to start some sort of cult, are you?"

"Ah!" Cartman said brightly. "Then you accepted my invitation!"

"You haven't answered any of my questions."

"We," Cartman said with a grand sweep of the arm, "are going to go for a boat ride. And I am going to row while I inquire about your parent's health."

"... Uh-huh," Kyle said. "I'm going home now."

"Wha-what? Aw..." Cartman said behind him while he walked off. He scrambled after him, cursing when he stumbled out of the boat and got his pant leg wet, and then fell into step beside him.

"May I hold you hand as I escort you home?" he asked.

"NO!" Kyle cried, yanking not only his hand, but his entire arm out of Cartman's reach.

"You're right," Cartman said quickly. "That was too forward of me. May I offer you my sincerest apologies?"

"Damn it, what's wrong with you?" Kyle asked, frowning at him. "Did you hit your head or something?"

"No," he said. "But it makes me so happy to know you are concerned about my health."

"Ugh," Kyle said, sped-walked the last block to his house, and slammed the door in Cartman's face.

--

Some time later, the doorbell rang. Unsuspecting (though, looking back, he realizes he should have been), Kyle opened the door.

He sighed. "What now, Cartman?"

"I realize," the fat boy said, "that I have perhaps been too forceful in my pursuit of you. After all, your modesty has yet to be compromised, and I was insensitive to how overwhelming you must find the interests of a man."

Kyle stared at him. He thought - but he wasn't sure - that Cartman had just mocked him for being a virgin.

"SO!" Cartman went on, "I brought you a gift to show my sincere regret and perhaps win your favor. I thought to myself, 'What does Kyle need more than anything?' And the answer was, of course, obvious."

Cartman wiped something out that he'd been carrying behind his back. "A two-pound bag of kosher salt!" he declared, sounding immensely pleased with himself.

Kyle stared. Then, without a word, he closed the door. Because, really, how was someone supposed to respond to that?

"Aw, come on!" Cartman cried, pounding on the door. "Look! It even says 'for koshering' right here on the bag!"

Kyle turned on the TV to drown him out.

--

On Tuesday, Kyle complained about it to Kenny.

"It's driving me insane. Cartman's always been creative when it came to finding knew ways to piss me off, but this is especially low."

"Well, maybe he's being serious this time."

"Yeah, right. Every time I think he's being serious it turns out he's pulling everyone's chain again. Like that Hell-fearing cult... and the stem cell research... and that stupid hand puppet... and Family Guy... and-"

"All right, I get your point," Kenny said, holding up a hand. Then he grinned a little. "You said he's acting like some Southern gentleman courting the daughter of a plantation owner?"

"Yeah," Kyle growled. "He's even got the accent down."

"Well, if you really think he's pulling your chain, why don't you mess with his head and act the part? Put on a corset and throw a handkerchief at him and have a fainting spell."

"No, Kenny."

"But-"

"I'm not putting on a dress for your sick amusement, asshole. Go to hell."

"But I just got back," Kenny whined.

--

On Wednesday, Kyle complained about it to Stan.

"It makes me want to beat my head against a wall until I lose consciousness."

"Well," Stan said, shrugging a little, "whatcha gonna do?"

Kyle seemed to consider this. Then he rolled off his couch and sat up.

"All right, come on - let's go see Cartman."

"Why do I have to come?"

"Because I'm going to kill him, and I'm going to need somebody to help me drag his deadweight to the woods. Actually, now that I think of it, we'd better get Kenny to help, too. And a tow truck."

"Don't you think murder's a tad extreme?"

Kyle's eyes flashed. "No."

--

It occurred to Kyle that both Kenny and Stan found his situation humorous. Cartman was making his life crappy and Kenny and Stan were sitting around snickering about it.

So he punched them both. It didn't improve his situation, but it sure made him feel better.

The really annoying thing about all this was that Cartman was being very, very vocal about his undying, everlasting love. At school. In front of girls that Kyle had actually hoped to one day sleep with. Now, thanks to Cartman's absurd idea that they were Meant To Be, capital letters and all, he'd never get laid. He was going to die a virgin, like Ms. Crabtree - mutilated and left to die in a ditch, but still unviolated. He might as well name his hand Natasha and buy a ring and propose to her, because that was all the action he was ever going to get now that Cartman had convinced half the school he was some sort of ultra-femmy queer.

Life was so unfair.

--

On Thursday, things went from bad to worse.

Kyle went into his math class after school to copy the homework off the board and saw Wendy sitting in one of the desks, crying. He tried to edge out of the classroom without being seen, but to no avail.

"Kyle!" Wendy gasped, sitting up straight and wiping quickly at her face.

"Sorry," he said. "I'll just be going-"

"I suppose," she said, sniffling dramatically, "that you want to know why I'm crying."

"Er, no. Really no. I just wanted to leave-"

"It's the prom," Wendy said, ignoring him. She started to tear up again.

Kyle sighed. He supposed there was no way out of this; she was going to tell him whether he wanted to hear it or not. "What about the prom?"

"I don't have a date!" she burst out, flopping forward into her desk and crying into her arms. Kyle gave her a bemused look. He couldn't help but think she was seriously overreacting. But then, it was the prom, and she was a chick. Maybe it just meant more to girls.

"Um, there, there? ... Wait." Kyle frowned at her. "You've been going on for weeks about how you've got some wonderful, secret date. I know because that's all Stan will talk about."

"I was trying to make him jealous!"

"Ah."

"I miss him; I... I wanted to get back together so I made it up, but he didn't ask me and the prom's tomorrow and I'm going to be completely humiliated in front of everyone!"

"Yeah, that's a bitch," Kyle agreed. "Well, I'll be going now..."

"What I really need is a nice guy... someone smart, fun, single... someone who'd make Stan really jealous..."

"No," Kyle said. "Wendy, no. I'm not going to the prom with you."

Wendy looked at him, her face streaked with tears. Her lip trembled, and Kyle's resolve crumbled.

"God damn it."

--

Stan took the news rather well.

If you counted screaming "What the HELL, man? You're ditching me for Wendy? WENDY? What sort of back-stabbing asshole are you?" and slamming the front door on his way out as well.

For a moment Kyle thought his ears were ringing, but then he realized it was the doorbell. He looked dubiously at the door Stan had stormed out of moments ago, then opened it.

"Christ, what's up Stan's ass?"

Should've known.

"What do you want, Cartman?" Kyle asked, exasperated, and leaned his forehead against the edge of the door.

"I came to ask you if you would give me the extreme pleasure of escorting you to the senior-"

"I'm going to the prom with Wendy, fatass."

Cartman looked alarmed. "What? Why?"

"Because she was crying and- Wait. Why am I explaining myself to you? It's none of your business."

"But our love is written in the stars! I must hold you until the end of time!"

"Go away."

--

Cartman went to drown his sorrows at Raisins.

"You gonna order anything besides water, honey?" Lexus (who was his personal waitress for the evening) asked.

"No," Cartman grumbled. "I'm not going to leave a tip, either."

Lexus plopped down into the bar stool next to him and crossed her legs so that her foot was resting comfortably against his thigh. "Why don't you tell me about it, sweetie."

"I know we're supposed to be together," Cartman said. "Know it right down in my very big bones. But the God damn asshole isn't cooperating."

"It sounds to me like he doesn't deserve you. If you want my advice, you should find someone who really appreciates you," she said, sliding her foot up his thigh. Cartman didn't seem to notice, and drained his glass.

"Like hell am I going to let him screw up this relationship over something so trivial as him not liking me," he declared. "I'll beat him until he agrees to love me forever." He stood and left the restaurant without a second glance. Lexus sighed, her shoulders slumping, and leaned against the bar.

She really admired Eric Cartman. She only wished she could extort people with the ease and grace he managed. He made it look so easy.

And he was rather attractive, too. In a rather unattractive way.

--

Kyle was on his way to pick Wendy up when he noticed a bright spot of orange flagging him down.

"What, Kenny?" he asked, bringing his dad's car to a stop.

"Are you on your way to pick up Wendy?"

Kyle gave him a 'Well, duh,' sort of look.

"Okay, look, if you're doing this to prove your masculinity or something..."

Kyle would have protested and explained that Wendy had been crying and he'd fallen for the oldest trick in the Girl's Guide to Manipulating Men handbook, but Kenny pushed on before he could get a word in.

"... I've got a confession to make. I'm the one that convinced Cartman he was secretly in love with you, and the best way to woo you would be to treat you like a tender virgin flower."

Kyle was silent following this confession. People seemed to be confessing a lot of silence-worthy things to him lately.

"Why?"

"It was some seriously funny shit."

Kyle didn't know if it was the punch to the face that killed Kenny. He didn't know if it was the crack his head made when it hit the pavement that killed Kenny. He didn't know if the it was tumble down the snow drift that killed Kenny. He didn't stick around to find out. He just started his engine and drove the rest of the way to Wendy's in silence.

--

It was incredibly easy to get Stan on his side.

Of course, at first Stan pouted like a bitch and said things like "Screw them" and "They can fuck for all I care." But all it took was a little prodding from Cartman, and then he was driving him over to where the prom was being held, intent on breaking the two of them up and dividing the pieces.

Unfortunately Cartman had forgotten what an unbelievable pussy Stan was, and he no sooner saw the two of them by the punch bowl that his resolve crumbled.

"I can't do it."

"You God damn tree hugger," Cartman said, grabbing his arm and dragging him over. "Yes you can!"

"No, really!" Stan said. And then, "God, why her? Why him?"

"Stay focused!" Cartman said, and punched him.

"OW! Asshole!"

"We're here on a mission," Cartman snarled, "and I am NOT going to let you come between my and Kyle's love just because you're too much of a wuss to go break up their rendezvous."

Stan scowled at him and rubbed his jaw. "I don't think there's a whole lot of love between you and Kyle, Cartman."

"Bah! Our love defies convention! And if Kyle doesn't agree, I'll kick him in the nuts!"

Stan just glared.

"Wendy said you're lousy in bed and Kyle's much bigger," Cartman said, which was a rather bad attempt at manipulation even for himself, but, fuck it, it worked.

"That asshole!" Stan cried and stormed over. "Kyle, what the hell!"

Kyle looked up from his glass of punch at Stan, then groaned. "Fuck." Could his evening get any worse?

Yes, his question was quickly answered, it most definitely could.

"Kyle!" Cartman said loudly, manifesting at Stan's elbow like a fungus, "there you are, my kosher chew toy!"

"I'm out of here," Kyle said, standing and putting his untouched cup down, then made his toward the gym doors.

"Hey-!" Stan said, starting after him, but Wendy grabbed him by the back of his coat.

"Stan, what the hell?" she demanded. "Why are you being such an ass to Kyle?"

Meanwhile, having not been stopped by Wendy, Cartman was bursting out the gym door and searching the plot device garden for his Jewish love muffin. He headed for the benches, but was caught by a stray, buffed hand. Cartman turned around to see none other than Lexus, looking stunning in her prom dress. She withdrew her hand and smiled a little at him.

"You didn't pay for your meal, you know."

"Come again?"

"I noticed," she said, raising her hand up to his cheek and smiling a little wider. "After you left. Do you realize no boy has ever been able to distract me so much before that I didn't notice how much money they left. Ever," she said, stressing the word.

"So?"

"I like you," she said abruptly. "Lord all mighty, you can do to me what I do to boys all the time. You can get the best of me. Do you have any idea what a turn-on that is?"

"Kyle," Cartman said distractedly. "Kenny said - and it made a lot of sense-"

"I'm sure," Lexus said, and kissed him. She was good at it, too. Practice makes perfect, and all that.

"... I feel I should warn you," Cartman said. "I'm gay."

"That's nice, sweetie," she said. She reached for his belt, and they proceeded to do non-gay things for the rest of the evening.

--

Kyle was sitting on one of the benches, his legs stretched out in front of him, trying to figure out why God hated him so much. Was it because he'd lied about getting his period? Because he was a Jew, and wouldn't eat his Jesus-crackers? Because he had assisted in leading Jesus to his (second) death? Or was it because he just lived in South Park? God certainly seemed to have it out for the town.

Maybe he was being paranoid. It was pretty vain to assume God hated him, really.

"Kyle!" he heard Stan shout, stomping through the bushes, and Kyle sighed.

No, God really did hate him.

Kyle climbed wearily to his feet and glared when Stan emerged. "What?"

"Um," Stan said, and rubbed his arm. He looked down at his feet. "Um - Wendy. Wendy told me why you were taking her to the prom."

Kyle crossed his arms.

"I'm sor-"

"Nah, forget about it."

Stan blinked. "That's it?"

"I'm not going to make you grovel for my forgiveness, man. I'm not a chick." Kyle made a face. "God, this entire week has sucked. You know Kenny was the one telling Cartman how to 'court' me?"

"Really? Why?"

"I dunno. He has some sort of twisted desire to see me in drag." He expelled a long-held breath and smiled. "So, you want to go back to my house and vegetate on my couch like we planned? Or," he added, "we could drive down to the cemetery and knock over Kenny's gravestones. I know it would cheer me up."

"Um, actually," Stan said, rubbing his neck and looking both embarrassed and pleased. Kyle looked behind Stan and noticed for the first time that Wendy was standing there, waiting patiently.

Kyle rolled his eyes. "My God, you two are hopeless. Fine, go dance and play nice until you break up over dish soap again."

"Thanks, man," Stan said brightly, and escorted Wendy back inside. Kyle shook his head a little, wishing his friends were a little less stupid, when he heard a twig snap.

"If you're trying to spy on me," he said loudly, "you're doing a crappy-ass job."

Kenny emerged from a rose bush, doing a little dance to free himself from the horns, then grinned and raised a hand in greeting. "Hey, man."

Kyle lifted an eyebrow. "Weren't you dead?"

"Yeah, but Damien got me through the express check out line as a special favor. All I had to do in return is promise to watch Full House with him next time I died." Kenny grinned. "Joke's on him, I'm planning on converting to Mormonism tomorrow and ripping it up in heaven."

Kenny quite frequently said things that made absolutely no sense.

"Anyway," he went on, "I tripped over Cartman and Lexus on my way over here, so it looks like everything worked out, huh? Want to go down to Benny's and see if they can recognize you as one of their 'banned for life' customers if you're not wearing your goth clothes?"

"Yeah..." Kyle said, walking off with him. "I guess everything did work out." He scowled. "Except, you know, I'm never going to get laid."

"Oh, cheer up," Kenny said brightly, slapping him on the back. "Tell ya what, if you're still a virgin when you're thirty, I'll-"

"What? Sleep with me?"

"What? God no. I was going to say, 'Shoot you and put you out of your misery.'"

--

End