I confess, I only wrote this story so that I could use the title. And this is a Stan/Kyle and Cartman/Wendy fic. What can I say, I like the pairings. It was going to be a one shot, but when I got up to 25 pages and wasn't done I said to myself, better break it up into chunks. So it'll be four chapters long.

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During the middle of sixth grade, every single one of Wendy's girl friends stopping hanging out with her. They didn't do it for a spiteful, stupid reason, however. They did it for their own safety.

Because in sixth grade, Wendy became Eric Cartman's best friend.

Now, if anyone had told Wendy in fourth grade that in two years Cartman would be her closest friend, she would laughed herself into a coma. Cartman? The world's most spiteful, twisted human being? But it was true. They were best friends. And though he still had Kyle, Stan, and Kenny, he steadfastly refused to admit they were his friends. She was the only person he would call that in public.

It had happened in drama class. Wendy was appointed stage manager, and Cartman became the curtain boy. This was something he complained about, very loudly, interrupting rehearsals, so she argued back just as loudly, and they both ended up in many detentions together. When the night of the play rolled around, their Antony fell off the stage, and their Cleopatra freaked out when they brought out the snake for the final act. If it hadn't been for Cartman's quick curtain pulling abilities, the play would have been a complete ruin.

Feeling strangely grateful, Wendy had started spending more time with him. She found he was surprisingly easy to get along with, once one stopped being offended by the things he said and the things he did. He was actually a rather amusing person, really. He did impressions that kept her in stitches, and he snarked like a pro.

The older they got, the better friends they became. They'd go down to the mall and not do anything all day, and she would still enjoy herself. Cartman would hover over the donation cans they kept at ever register, holding onto a twenty, not taking his fingers off of it, his face screwed up as if in deep consideration as he said, "Save a life, take a life? Save a life, take a life?..." and slid his twenty bucks in and out of the slot accordingly.

It was horrible. It was terrible. But the way he did it was so funny that Wendy had to hold onto the counter to stop herself from falling over, she was laughing so hard. Eventually an irritable cashier would snap at him, and Cartman would give him an offended look, fold the money back up, and march away, saying that if they were going to be like that, he would take his business elsewhere. He would then add, "Who wants to help that kid, anyway? He's only got one arm. What good is that? He can't work in a sweatshop and make my shoes if he only has one arm."

And there were benefits to having Cartman as a best friend, too. Having Cartman as an ally was a much sweeter deal than having Cartman as an enemy, after all. It meant he was on your side. It meant you were always guaranteed a seat in the getaway car.

Now, if anyone had told Wendy in fourth grade - or, hell, if they'd even told Wendy in sixth grade - that, come the summer before eleventh grade, she would develop a monstrous, all-consuming crush on her best friend, she would have put them in a coma. But it was true. Wendy had it bad for Cartman, and therein lay the problem. Because Cartman didn't see her as date material. He just saw her as a friend. His only friend, but still.

Wendy had resigned herself to suffering in silence, until it came time to plan the back-to-school dance, and Cartman dropped the biggest bomb of all: he had a date.

--

Kyle liked slutty girls.

It was, apparently, his 'type.' His first real girlfriend had been none other than Rebecca Cutswald, back in freshman year. They'd taken to making out rather nastily against his locker, which was a bother, because Stan was sharing one with him. Their hair, mixed together, was the fizziest mess he'd ever seen in his life. It was like Cousin Itt had been horribly betrayed by his conditioner. Stan feared reaching his hand into all that to put his books away, so he carried them all in his backpack, straining his back.

Kyle had laughed and prodded him and said, "You know what they say about back problems..." Stan had not found this amusing.

Luckily, Rebecca didn't last long. Kyle ultimately decided climbing trees to escape getting his ass kicked by Mark just wasn't worth it and broke up with her. She didn't seem too fazed by this, and the next morning she was pressed up against some other boy's locker.

Good riddance, Kyle said.

Kyle's next girlfriend was Bebe Stevens. They rather enthusiastically groped each other during lunch, then ate everyone else's food, because they'd all lost their appetites. It lasted even shorter than his relationship with Rebecca had, however, because Cartman ate lunch with Kyle, Stan, and Kenny, and Wendy ate lunch with Cartman, and the two girls didn't quite know what to say to each other.

Kyle's current girlfriend was Porschea, the ex-Raisin's girl. She was the dimmest so far, and never sat in a chair if Kyle's lap was available. She wore a hat just like Stan's, except hers was black, and didn't have a poofball, and... she'd continue on speaking like that forever if no one ever shut her up. Kyle always shut her up, however, in a manner that was both a relief to the ears and stomach-turning to watch.

Stan had a serious problem with Kyle's choice in women. After putting up with not using his locker and never eating lunch for years, he finally snapped one day and got into an argument with Kyle about it.

"God, do you really want a girlfriend you can't even have a discussion with?"

"Hey, that's not fair," Kyle said defensively. "Bebe's smart, she could have carried on a conversation if she wanted to. She just didn't want to."

"Doesn't it bother you that the entirety of your relationship is sex?" Stan demanded.

"Oh, come on, man. Look, all that soul mate shit you're supposed to feel with chicks, I've already got that with you. The only void I need filled is the one my libido is creating."

Stan stared at him for a while, running completely out of steam. Then he finally said, "God, could you make that sound any gayer?"

"Who knows?" Kyle said. He seemed to take this as a personal challenge, because he slipped his arm around his back and tugged him into a one-armed hug, bumped hips, and said, "Aw, you know I love you best. But if you want my undivided attention, you're going to have to start putting out."

"Knock it off," Stan grumbled, and brushed him off.

Stan had to admit that he found Kyle's occasional, joking flirtations to be utterly confusing. Because Stan was gay, and Kyle knew this. Very, very gay. So gay his father and uncle took him on monthly hunting trips to try and wring some heterosexuality out of him. The only thing they exceeded in doing was giving him night terrors about killing bunnies, which made his boyfriend laugh at him for being a 'beetch.'

Christophe was a short, scruffy, angry, chain-smoking frenchman who occasionally broke into rabid spiels against God or the government, complete with frothing at the mouth. He was more commonly referred to as 'the Mole.'

Kyle didn't care for him.

"Gentlemen," Kenny said one Friday, sitting down at their lunch table. "And ladies," he added on second thought, nodding toward Wendy and Porschea. "I have a dilemma. I'm afraid there's something very wrong with me."

"I've been saying that for years," Cartman commented.

Kenny sighed tragically and illustrated his point with his hands. "I know that deep down I'm gay, but I just can't seem to stop having sex with women."

Kyle broke away from Porschea long enough to say, "Kenny, what the fuck?"

"Stan, where's that faggy boyfriend of yours?" Kenny went on. Stan arched an eyebrow at him.

"I don't know where Mole is. Why?"

"I'm going to get him to teach me how to be the best gay I can be."

"Kenny, seriously. What the fuck?" Kyle asked.

"Hey!" Kenny said, jamming a finger at him. "I can be queer if I want! Don't you try to oppress me!" He went back to addressing Stan. "I've got art class with him next. I'll ask him then."

And then he marched off determinedly.

"I'm starting to worry about Kenny's mental state," Kyle said.

"... Wendy, let's leave before they infect us, too, and you try to jump down Porschea's throat," Cartman said, standing.

"We've got to start organizing the back-to-school dance, anyway," Wendy said. "See you guys later," she added, nodding briefly toward Stan and Kyle before leaving with Cartman.

"Hey, dude," Kyle said enthusiastically, "my parents are going to be gone all weekend. Come over so we can harass pizza delivery men."

"Sure," Stan said. Kyle returned to his lip lock with Porschea while he looked on, frowning. Kyle had just invited his very openly gay friend to stay in an unsupervised house with him for two nights, and jammed his tongue down his slutty girlfriend's throat with the next breath. If that wasn't a mixed message, Stan didn't know what was.

--

Kenny walked determinedly up to Mole's desk. The Mole looked up, inclined an eyebrow, and then said, "Yes, Kenny?"

"I wanted to ask a favor, Mole," he said.

"What?"

"I want you to teach me to be gay."

The Mole stared at him. "Excuse me?"

"C'mon, you're the gayest guy I know, and I need help."

"That's for sure," the Mole said. He blew out some smoke and said, "Non."

"What! Why not?"

"There's notheeng in eet for me. I don't do anytheeng for free."

Kenny scowled and placed his hands on his hips. "This is social class discrimination! Poor people can be gay too!"

The Mole rolled his eyes, which made Kenny scowl harder.

"And you have the fakest French accent I have ever heard. As if real French people talk 'like thees,'" he said, mimicking him. The Mole narrowed his eyes a little, and then the art teacher barked at them all to take their seats and start creating, God damn it, and how many times to I have to tell you to not smoke in my classroom, Mole?

Kenny resumed working on his current project, which was a detailed bird's-eye-view map of the mountains surrounding South Park. He'd gotten a good look at it, once, when a bird swooped down and carried him off. Instead of fighting the inevitable, Kenny relaxed and enjoyed the view until the bird lost its grip on him and he plummeted to the earth and exploded like a water balloon when he hit the ground.

He was eventually aware of someone's presence, hovering over his right shoulder. Kenny turned around and frowned at the Mole, who was staring very intently at the map he was drawing. "What?"

"That's a map of ze mountains."

"Yeah..." Kenny said, quirking an eyebrow.

"Eet must be identical," he went on, sounding amazed. "When did you see ze mountains?"

"Twelve. Bird. Long story."

"And you still remember eet?" he sounded incredulous.

Kenny shrugged. "Photographic memory. Which kinda really sucks, considering the things I've seen."

The Mole slid the map right out from under his arm and held it up, four inches from his nose, examining it with one eye closed. "... have you ever gone on reconnaissance beefore?"

"Sure," Kenny said. "Back when old people took over the town."

"I weell pretend that makes sense," the Mole said, handing him the map back. "I have to eenfiltrate a base this weekend. Eef you come along and draw the map, I weell geeve you 'gay lessons,' Kenny."

"All right!" Kenny said, punching the air. "Victory is mine!"

"Of course," the Mole added almost thoughtfully, "eet weell bee very dangerous, and you weell most likely die in the attempt."

"Not a problem," Kenny said enthusiastically, and the Mole gave him a confused look.

"What?"

"Oh, right - you've never seen it happen. I forgot."

"What?"

"Never mind," Kenny said, as the art teacher tackled the Mole and tried to wrestle the cigarette from his mouth.

--

"Okay, we can use the cheap streamers but take money for the expensive ones," Cartman said. "And, oh, we should tell people they have to wear jackets, and then have them hang the jackets up. And then if they want to get their jackets back, they have to pay the hanging fine, and we can pocket the money! God, I am the picture of brilliance."

"You are horrible, Eric," Wendy said, and snickered.

"Hey, I'll use the money to buy you something nice," Cartman promised. "After I get everything I want, of course. If there's any money left."

Wendy giggled and quickly stifled it. She didn't want to sound like a stupid girl with a crush around Cartman, even if that's what she was.

When Wendy first proposed they join the student council back in freshman year, Cartman had claimed it was the 'gayest thing ever' and refused. But then he'd found out just how much power the student council held over the student body, and he'd jumped at the chance to exploit it.

Now they were the ones in charge of organizing the back-to-school dance. Wendy decided to take the opportunity to take a subtle, on-the-surface-platonic stab at him.

"So, ah," she said smoothly, "dancing makes me wish I were in a wheelchair, but I suppose we'll have to go to this thing together to make sure you get your dirty money."

"Actually," Cartman said, "I'm going to the dance with Heidi. Looks like you're going to have to hold the coats ransom yourself."

Wendy froze and stared at him. "Heidi?"

"Yeah?"

"You're going with Heidi?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"You can't go with Heidi!"

Cartman gave her a quizzical look. "Why not?"

"Because... because... she has epileptic seizures!"

"Really? Cool," Cartman said. Wendy flinched. That had backfired.

"She was born a man!"

"Oh, she was not."

"She doesn't shave her legs! Ever! You should see her in the locker room!"

"I'd like to," Cartman said genuinely, a look on his face that said quite plainly it wasn't her hair he was thinking of. Wendy snarled.

"Wendy, quit foaming at the mouth," Cartman said, making a face at her. "You're getting it on my shirt. Serioushlay, I can't help it if the girls are after my hot body. If you're pissed because you don't have a date, just grab Kenny and say, 'EY, you poor piece of crap! You're taking me to the dance!' He's not nearly gay enough to turn you down."

Wendy crossed her arms and fumed. "I'm not pissed."

"All right," Cartman said, and proceeded to ignore her. "Let's find out how much a DJ costs, take that amount from the class treasury, and then call up Skyler and have him do it for half the price."

--

TBC