Disclaimer: This story is just for my entertainment, and is not to be used to make a profit. In fact, as I am doing this rather than putting in more hours at work, I'm actually losing money on the deal. Perhaps I should sue…
Act I – Paved with Good Intentions
Author's Notes: I have not given up on "Rules to Live By," I swear. But I couldn't resist this fic when it popped into my head. (I am thus even more behind on political science seminar reading than I was before…)
Slash, het, romance, humor, sports, and pizza – a little bit of something for everyone.
Stan had never had particularly good luck with women. First, there was Wendy, whom he'd "dated" for the better part of third grade, only to be callously dumped in the middle of a fourth-grade touch football game. Of course, this alone would not have been so traumatizing, had the matter simply been abandoned then. But, no, he had to let it evolve into a notorious on-again-off-again relationship that lasted well into ninth grade.
When Wendy, at age 14, shyly suggested that they see other people without breaking things off entirely between the two, an unprecedented event happened: Stan found his backbone, narrowed his eyes, and broke it off for good.
Of course, perhaps calling her a "manipulative self-serving insensitive femme-Nazi bitch" in the middle of the cafeteria was a bit out of line, but after all that time, could you really blame him for being pissed off?
So Stan entered the bustling high school dating scene. First there was Mercedes, who had secretly had something of a crush on him since the last dance-off he'd dragged her into (which were becoming an almost bi-annual occurrence by then).
Of course, that didn't work out. And it wasn't because Mercedes was a bimbo – in fact, she was easily the smartest of the former Raisins girls. Okay, that might not have been saying much, but Mercedes had a frighteningly thorough understanding of the human psyche, as well as a shrewd business mind. No, the problem was much, much more serious than an IQ deficiency. Mercedes, it turned out, was very into leather. And chains. And vegetable oil. And Stan was far too much of a good little Catholic boy for that.
At least, that was his version of the story. If you asked Mercedes, she said that he opened her closet door, thinking it was the bathroom, saw the various handcuffs and whips, and literally ran out screaming like the little girl he was.
The next time he asked someone out, he opted to play it safe, propositioning Millie. She was a cute, sweet, innocent little southern girl, who enjoyed baking and flowers and shiny, happy things.
Stan had stopped throwing up around girls once he entered into the whole new realm of awkwardness that was puberty, so when he started feeling vaguely queasy every time he spent too much time around her, he figured it was best to call the whole thing off.
Then there was Bebe. She was fun, smart, and most importantly, had a great rack. Of course, it's generally against the teenage code to go out with your ex's best friend (or your best friend's ex, from her perspective) – luckily enough for Stan, she and Wendy had begun to drift apart some time in middle school, and had generally been coolly cordial from that point onward. Stan had high hopes for this one.
A few months later, Bebe announced that she had come to realize that she was actually a lesbian (which, while it shocked Stan, came as no surprise to the other girls on the volleyball team). And, all jokes about turning her against men aside, Stan was remarkably gracious about the whole affair.
Bebe ended up going to the sophomore year-end dance with Kyle. She wasn't quite sure if she was his beard, or he was hers. They spent the better part of the night bonding over an in-depth discussion of Alfred Kinsey's work on the psychology and physiology of human sexuality. That is, when Kyle wasn't dragging Bebe onto the dance floor to prove that his anti-rhythm Jew genes were cancelled out by his uber-rhythmic gay genes. Bebe had to concede the point.
Stan went with Wendy. God, he hated himself sometimes.
The way Stan knew it was really, truly, no-I'm-serious-this-time-you-guys-don't-give-me-that-look, finally over with Wendy was when, at the beginning of their junior year, they actually broke up on good terms. They resolved to stay friends – whether they liked it or not – in order to avoid yet another fight-induced reunification (which usually entailed them screaming at one another until they began passionately making out, often in public).
Stan decided to take a break from the dating scene for a while, just to get his head on straight. Then, a few weeks into the school year, he asked out Heidi Turner.
Five months into it, their relationship was going amazingly smoothly. Stan supposed it was a bit stereotypical that the football team quarterback ended up dating the head cheerleader, but Heidi was a really fantastic girlfriend. She was a lot like Bebe, actually, except that she had a healthy appreciation for the male form. She was smart, gorgeous, and a great amount of fun to be around. She'd gained a reputation for throwing the best parties in town, and had gotten social networking down to an art form.
Sure, she could be a bit manipulative, even callous – especially toward anyone she didn't particularly care for – but somehow, Stan didn't mind. In a way, he actually found it rather attractive.
He didn't like to think about the implications of that last bit too much.
So, overall, by second semester of his junior year of high school, things were going fairly well. Stan was, however, becoming increasingly concerned about his best friend, although not for the reasons one would likely expect. Because Kyle Broflovski may have been short, skinny, Jewish, and very gay, but he was also temperamental and tough as nails. Perhaps it was his habit of physically assaulting people (usually Cartman) without warning; perhaps it was that black leather jacket that had become his trademark some time in ninth grade; or perhaps it was simply his "I'm going to say what I think when I think it, and you can suck my cock if you don't like it" attitude; but Kyle had gained a reputation as something of a badass, albeit a spastic (and somewhat geeky) one. He wasn't going to be anyone's bashing victim.
No, Stan was much more worried about the fact that his best friend, at sixteen, had yet to be in a legitimate, healthy relationship. Sure, there was the occasional (okay, frequent) hookup – which, Kyle claimed anyway, had rarely gone beyond mostly-clothed petting – but he had always lacked any real sense of romantic companionship.
So, at the beginning of the second semester of his junior year, Stan made the fateful decision to abandon his usual policy of just leaving things alone and find Kyle a boyfriend.
That was when everything started to go horribly, horribly wrong.
"So you can just look at someone and know?" Stan asked incredulously.
Stan and Kyle had planned on getting together to study for their history test the next morning. However, the conversation had led from one thing to another, and Stan made the mistake of questioning Kyle's ability to weed out the homos from the "breeders." Thus, they were in Kyle's room, debating the existence of the "gaydar."
"Fine." Stan wracked his brain, thinking of possible candidates. "Gary?"
Stan was surprised by the quickness of Kyle's response.
"Gay." Ah, well, Stan had already figured as much.
"Big flaming pouf. Though the constant twitching did throw off my gaydar somewhat."
"Who do you thing helped Tweek realize he was a big flaming pouf?"
"…Wait, really?" Stan frowned. "How long has that been going on?"
"Since about halfway through sophomore year. But, yeah, Craig is really fucking gay. As in, gayer than me. I mean, even I've got a little bit of straightness in me. Like, I'd do Salma Hayek. I think the very thought of pussy freaks him out."
More information than Stan really wanted. After all, they did play football together; and although Craig wasn't on the basketball team, Stan did spend a fair amount of time around him.
"Okay, moving on. Pip?"
"Too prepubescent to be straight or gay."
"…Butters?" Stan had waited on the most obvious choice among their classmates.
"Way. Big fan of titties. Which is probably a good thing, when you think about it. He'd be the whiniest bottom ever."
"Ugh, mental image I did not need." He paused. "Anyone else in our class you can think of?"
"Hm…well, there's Token."
"Huh?" That came as a surprise. "Token?"
"Oh, come on, even you should've figured him out. He wears Armani. He exfoliates. He's the biggest music snob we know." Kyle grinned conspiratorially. "Besides, it's true what women say. If a man's attractive, smart, and rich, he's either gay or taken. If not both."
Kyle smirked. "And there's Mark Cutswald."
"Jesus Christ, is nobody straight anymore?"
"Well, that's what we keep uber-heteros like you around for. Someone has to breed innocent youths for us to recruit."
As they turned back to their respective history textbooks, Stan found the perfect opening. "So, ah, have you dated any of them?"
"Hm?" Kyle asked, looking up. "You mean, have I hooked up with any of them"
Stan rolled his eyes. "No, I mean, really gone out with any one. Steadily."
"You know I don't do the whole dating thing."
"Why not?" Stan asked.
"Pathological fear of commitment? My compulsive need to play the field?" Kyle responded, shrugging. "I just don't."
"Have you ever really considered it?"
Kyle set down his book. "Stan, what is this about?"
"I mean…well, you're sixteen, and you've never had a legitimate boyfriend."
"So?" Didn't Kyle register the seriousness of Stan's observations? "As your best friend, I feel compelled to intercede on your behalf!"
Kyle blinked. "You've been studying your SAT prep book again?"
Stan glared. As a matter of fact, he had been prepping for the upcoming SAT, but that was beside the point.
"I'm just saying…"
Kyle gave Stan the look he always gave him when he had a particularly bad idea, like going vegan, or becoming the leader of a massive global cult.
"Not everyone feels the need to be in a relationship at any given moment, Stan," Kyle said, returning his gaze to his textbook. "Now, if you don't mind, I'd rather not fail my test on the Hungarian revolution of 1848."
Stan pouted. "But—"
"End of discussion, Stan."
Unfortunately for Kyle, Stan was not the type to give up so easily. So, even as he went back to reading upon the deposal of Chancellor Metternich, the rusty gears in his mind began to turn.
Heidi frowned. Stan was, as usual, late to pick her up.
Had it been anyone else, she would have dumped him a long time ago. After all, Heidi was hot and popular and incredibly well-connected, and could have had her pick of almost any of the boys at their school.
Then again, not all boys were Stan Marsh.
When he first asked her out, she'd said yes for the obvious reasons. He was cute, he had finally made his way off the bench and onto the field as starring quarterback, and – most importantly – he had just broken up with Wendy Testaburger. And, despite Wendy's protests to the contrary, it was clear that she wasn't quite over him.
Heidi had never really cared for Wendy. Sure, she put up with her, especially since Bebe had rekindled her friendship with Wendy after coming out. Because Bebe Stevens may have been a dyke, but she was still South Park High's big-breasted blonde teenage ideal of beauty and charm. Simply put, fucking with Wendy – as if that weren't dangerous enough in itself – meant fucking with Bebe, and hence fucking with her own social status. High school, Heidi had found, was proving to be great practice for the real world. Which was the primary reason she hadn't chewed Stan out for spending so much time with his ex-girlfriend, even if it were only in a platonic context.
Had it simply come down to Stan being good for her image and her vindictive idea of fun, however, Heidi would have given up on him months ago. He was perpetually late, somewhat flaky, and had the worst friends. Kenny was a pervert; Cartman was a vile asshole; and Kyle…well, she didn't quite know why she hated Kyle, except that he was a bit nerdy and always took up far too much of Stan's time for Heidi's liking.
Unfortunately, even with his shortcomings, Stan was by far the best boyfriend she'd had so far. Sure, he could be a bit overemotional, but – and Heidi was loathe to admit it out loud – that was part of what made him attractive. He was so damn sweet, and the fact that he tended to apologize for whatever it was he had screwed up before Heidi even got to tear him a new asshole about it tended to knock the wind out of her argument.
Heidi had come to the horrifying realization that she really liked Stan. And that meant she was willing to put up with all the crap that went along with dating him.
So, as of eight-fifteen on Saturday night, Heidi was – as usual – sitting around in her room, her hair and makeup already done, drumming her fingernails impatiently on her vanity and flipping through the latest issue of Cosmo.
She grabbed her purse as soon as she heard the doorbell and calmly walked down the stairs, opening the door.
"Hey, I'm sorry I'm la—"
"Let me guess," she interrupted. "You were playing Halo II with Kyle and lost track of time."
"Er, actually, I—"
"Spent all afternoon looking for Kenny only to realize that he was dead and wouldn't be back until tomorrow?"
"No, I was—"
"Being tutored by Wendy on SAT vocab?"
Third time's the charm – she could tell from the sheepish look on Stan's face that she'd hit the nail right on the head.
"Funny," she said, "I was under the impression that when you break up with someone, you tend to spend less time with them."
"I'm really, really sorry, Heidi," he said sincerely. "I'll be more careful about keeping track of time, I promise."
"Yeah, yeah," she grumbled, stepping out the door and toward Stan's car – another reason she stuck with the boy. The global warming scares had made Randy Marsh's job significantly more lucrative in recent years, and Stan's parents had bought him a black Sebring convertible for his sixteenth birthday. Not exactly a Beemer, but far better than what most guys at their school had managed to acquire.
She slid into the passenger seat, not waiting for Stan to open the door for her. She turned to him as he climbed into the driver's seat. "So, where to? You're the one who told me to get dressed up."
"I made reservations at Notti Bianche." He paused. "Don't worry, I called ahead to let them know we'd be a little late. They said it wasn't a problem."
Heidi's eyes widened. "Stan, hon, you do realize that's probably the most upscale restaurant in the county, right?"
Stan shrugged. "Yeah, well, it's my way of apologizing for not being around so much lately. Besides, isn't a guy allowed to do something special for his girlfriend?"
God, why did Stan always have to make it so Heidi was utterly incapable of staying mad at him?
She grinned. "Come here, you." She reached over and undid his seatbelt, and pulled him toward her by the collar of his jacket.
Of course, she remembered as she tugged Stan on top of her and he started to toy with her earlobe with his tongue, there was one more, vitally important reason she hadn't cut Stan loose.
The hostess at Notti Bianche was somewhat peeved when "Stanley, Party of Two" showed up a full hour later than he'd said they would, but she was a sucker for young romance, and went out of her way to seat them as quickly as possible anyway.
"…Hey, Heidi? How can you tell if a guy likes you?"
"Pardon me?" Heidi asked, trying not to choke on her water as she washed down a bite of pasta.
"See, I was talking to Kyle a couple of days ago and—"
"Oh no," she interrupted. "Please don't tell me your queer best friend just declared his undying love to you. Damnit, I knew this was going to happen." The last thing Heidi needed was word getting around that she had turned Mr. All-American Football Hero into a fag.
"Ack!" Now it was Stan's turn to choke. "No! Jesus, Heidi, we're best friends!"
"Then what is it?" she said, relieved.
"It's just…I think Kyle needs a boyfriend. So I was thinking about, I dunno, trying to convince him to go on a real date with someone. I'm just not sure who."
"Stan, do you think we might be able to have a conversation that doesn't revolve around Kyle, Wendy, or the Broncos? Just once?"
Stan continued as though he hadn't heard her. "I mean, how's he supposed to go to college without having been in at least one real relationship in high school?"
Heidi narrowed her eyes at Stan. "Should you really be meddling in someone else's affairs?"
"Probably not," he admitted. "But if it works out, great, and if not, I can blame it on being a stupid teenage boy." He shot Heidi a bright smile. "What the worst that can happen?"
"Famous last words," she muttered into her glass.
And the evening had been going so well, too.
Monday afternoon rolled around, and Stan found himself impatiently waiting by the school's running track.
"What is taking him so long?" Stan wondered aloud, checking his watch for the fifth time. It was already 5:45; he had gotten out of practice, showered, gotten dressed, and made his way out, but Kyle was nowhere to be seen.
South Park High School was one of those places that had a horrendously inadequately stocked science lab, but somehow found the funds to build two men's locker rooms so they could have multiple athletic teams practice at the same time. It was basketball season, meaning Stan was – as usual – playing center. (As basketball was much less of a big deal than football in South Park, Stan was able to actually get on the court since day one.)
He had given up on attempting to drag Kyle to tryouts; his best friend had sworn off basketball after the traumatic negroplasty incident in fourth grade. Kyle opted to run track instead, stating that at least that way he wouldn't have to depend as much on potentially incompetent teammates.
It was usually Stan that kept Kyle waiting, often because his stupid basketball coach insisted on rehashing every play from his 1970's playbook (which he had dubbed "The Bible") on a regular basis. So where was Kyle?
After another ten minutes passed, he grabbed his backpack and stepped toward the locker room, trying to find his wayward companion.
"Kyle?" he called out. No answer. "Kyle?" he repeated, louder this time. Still no reply.
Cautiously, he stepped into the room. He was sure Kyle wouldn't have left without him – where could he have gone?
He stepped into the nearest row of lockers. "Hey, Ky— ACK!" …Mistake.
Stan would never be able to erase from his mind the sight of Craig pressing Kyle down against a bench, nibbling on his neck and collarbone while his hand reached down into Dear Holy Jesus I didn't need to see that!
Craig sat up and glared. "Don't you know how to knock?"
"It's a locker room!" Stan sputtered in reply.
Craig rolled his eyes and flipped him off. Stan often wondered whether Craig had Turret's, or if he really was just that much of a prick. "Whatever." He grabbed his shirt and quickly put it back on before stalking off. "Later," he said, looking back over his shoulder at Kyle, who still hadn't mustered the resolve to actually sit up.
Stan stood in silence for a moment before addressing his friend.
"What the fuck were you doing?"
Kyle grinned and hoisted himself up, his bright red Jew-fro even more unruly than usual. "Settling that old bet about who's gayer?" he quipped, grabbing his own shirt.
"But…you don't even like Craig!"
Kyle frowned. "He's really not all that bad," he responded defensively.
"He's an asshole!"
"I enjoy his caustic wit."
Stan was getting frustrated. "He's always carrying around that stupid video camera!"
"Oh, the possibilities."
Stan grimaced. Once again, more information than he ever needed.
"He uses mouthwash."
"He's dating Tweek, remember?" Stan couldn't believe that his best friend had turned into some sort of…scarlet woman (er, man) or something.
"It's an open relationship." Kyle smirked. "Hell, could you imagine dating Tweek exclusively? It's a wonder Craig isn't more high-strung than he is."
"Stan, he's hot, he's interested, we hooked up. Or, rather, we were in the process when someone decided he couldn't wait for ten more minutes. That's all there is to it." He took a swig from his water bottle, emptying it. "Why the sudden interest in my love life, anyway?"
"Because it's not a love life!" Stan threw up his arms in exasperation. "Damnit, don't you ever want anything more than a string of random hookups?"
"Not this again. Would you please lay off the relationship thing? If it happens, fine, if not, I'm not going to worry about it." He tossed his empty water bottle into the nearest recycling bin. "Now, I've just spent all afternoon running around like a hamster in a wheel, so are we gonna hit up Shakey's or not?"
Kyle shrugged off his leather jacket and tossed it into his side of the booth before climbing in. "Best Monday night routine ever," he said, grinning.
Stan nodded, sliding into the booth across from Kyle, and noticed Kyle's selection of toppings. "Pepperoni and sausage pizza?" he questioned. "Isn't that sacrilegious on, like, three different levels?"
"Probably," Kyle conceded, taking a bite. "Just don't tell my mother, and I think I'll be alright."
"She would flip out, wouldn't she?"
"Yeah, well, as much as I hate to admit when Cartman is right, she really is something of a psychobitch." He chewed thoughtfully. "Speaking of psychotic bitches, how're things going with Heidi?"
"Mrr," Stan grumbled. Why is it that none of his friends seemed to even want to get along with his girlfriend? "And things are going pretty great, thanks."
"Really? No trouble in paradise yet?"
"No, actually." He gave his friend an annoyed look. "And it wouldn't kill you to be a little friendlier."
"I'm not exactly her favorite person either," Kyle replied.
"I don't know why you don't like her," Stan complained. "She's fun, energetic…hot…she gets the cutest little crinkle in her nose when she laughs…" he trailed off.
"Er, hello, Earth to Stan." Kyle waved his hand in front of his friend's face, bringing him back to the present reality. "You zoned out for a bit there."
"Heh, sorry," Stan said awkwardly. "Guess I just got caught up in the moment."
Kyle just shook his head and chuckled. "Stan, you would have made a fantastic faggot."
Stan was, as usual, not sure whether he should be flattered or insulted. So he shrugged noncommittally before continuing.
"Oh no," Kyle said, getting a distinctly horrified look on his face. "Please don't tell me you are—"
"B'gah!" Stan's left eye began to twitch slightly at the thought. "Er, no offense…"
"None taken," Kyle replied, looking relieved. "I mean, you're cute and all, but the queer community really can't take another whiny emo boy."
Stan glared. How was it that his masculinity was being questioned by his very gay, Monty Python-worshipping science nerd of a best friend?
Still, Stan trekked on valiantly. "I was referring to the steady relationship part, actually…"
"Aw, for fuck's sake, Stan, are we really going to have this conversation again?" Kyle dropped his half-eaten slice of pizza back onto the plate. "I don't care if I'm in a relationship or not." He took a sip of his coke. "Besides, I'm too busy to devote myself to another person like that. Between school, track, science club, and trying to keep my psychotic mother from launching another war against, I dunno, Australia for creating violent role models like Russell Crowe who go around the world fighting people for no apparent reason —"
"So why don't you let me set you up?"
Kyle nearly choked on his drink. "You? Stan, you can barely handle your own dating misadventures, let alone anyone else's."
"Hey! I happen to be doing just fine, thank you," Stan responded indignantly. "Besides, I don't want to control your love life, I just think it'd be healthy for you to 'do the dating thing' for a change. You know, try something new."
Kyle sighed. "If I let you hook me up on a date," he said hesitantly, "will you promise to just let it go?"
Stan raised his right hand. "Scout's honor," he said, making the appropriate gesture.
Famous last words, indeed.
Author's Notes: Hey, readers! Hope I've gotten you interested!
I should explain that I'd originally envisioned this as a one-shot, but it kind of evolved and took on a life of its own. It should now be about three chapters long.
Please review, and stick around for Act II – No Good Deed.