Disclaimer: I do not own South Park and its' characters.
Author's Note: I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes you may come across; English is not my native…
The blue car moved slowly along the icy road, the driver cautious and calm. Next to him, on the passenger seat, a curly red-haired man sat, his chin in the palm of his white skinned hand. His emerald eyes gazed, staring blankly at nothing in particular as the car passed naked trees and old, nearly toppling over, buildings. "Should I feel nostalgic?" he asked.
The driver looked away from the road just for a second so he could look at his partner before returning his gaze to the empty road ahead. "I don't know," he said. "Should you?"
The red-haired boy sighed heavily, his breath fogging up on the window before dissolving into nothing. "I don't know, that's why I'm asking you." From the corner of his eye, he could see the driver shrugging.
"If anything, or anyone, in your time here was good to you, then yes, I guess you should feel that way," the driver said.
The passenger said nothing for a moment, his eyes following the nothing he stared at, before he removed his gaze from the view and turned to look at the raven-haired man that was driving the car. "You know that's an unfair thing to ask of me, Stan," he said, a bit angrily.
"You asked for my opinion," Stan said, turning right and deeper into the snowy town.
"Yeah, but I meant… do you ever feel nostalgic, coming here?" The passenger asked, his voice hopeful and full with dread at the same time.
"Well, I do visit here more often than you do. When was the last time you were here? Ten years ago?" The traffic light turned red and the car stopped with ease.
"I think so…" the passenger said, frowning as he tried to recall the last, bitter memories from this town. "When did we move to Denver?"
"Ten years ago."
"Then ten years ago it is. It seems much lo- here it is! Stop!" The driver pushed down the brakes and the car skidded to stop on the thin ice. The passenger pulled the door handle towards him, the door opening a crack and the cold air merging with the hot air from inside the heated car. He froze.
The driver freed himself from the seatbelt, straightened his shirt and took out the radio panel. "Let's go," he said, opening the door. His left leg was already on the road when something dawned to him: his partner didn't budge.
"Kyle?" he asked, turning his head to look at the other man. "Kyle, what's wrong?" he asked quietly when he noticed the red-haired man's shoulders shaking, and held his right shoulder gently.
Kyle sniffled and wiped his tears away. "I-I can't do this, S-Stan!" he sobbed, burying his head in his hands. "I j-just… can't!"
"Shhh… it's okay, Kyle," Stan hushed, pulling his partner's thin body towards him and wrapping him in a tight hug, planting a small kiss in the red curls on Kyle's head. "It's going to be okay."
"Well, what if it's not?" Kyle countered, turning his head as much as he could from his current position to look at Stan. "What i-if she d-doesn't even want me th-there?"
Stan sighed. They've been through this before they set out, and they've been through this once Denver was out of sight. It was beginning to tire him. "Even if she doesn't, your father does. Why else do you think he called?"
"Just to let me know…" Kyle said in a voice so low that it broke Stan's already half-broken heart into pieces.
"Well, even if that's the reason," Stan said, feeling Kyle frowning under his touch. "You're the one who said it's important to him to be here today, aren't you?"
Kyle didn't reply. He breathed in deeply, his body still shaking somewhat. Stan planted another kiss on his cheek and Kyle closed his eyes, absorbing the feeling. "Let's go," he said, opened the door fully and stepped out, the air chilling his hot cheeks. Stan smiled at him and stepped out from the car as well, locking it.
They entered, hand in hand, through the large gate and into the small cemetery of the town. The tombstones were nearly invisible in the snow, bouquets of flowers rested on the marbles, the wind carried sounds of weeping and mourning to their ears, and Stan felt Kyle's trembling hand tightening its' hold on his own.
At the far end of the cemetery they noticed a small group of people talking quietly among themselves. A brown-haired woman turned her head and a sad smile spread across her face as she noticed the two men approaching. "Stan, Kyle… I'm glad to see that you made it on such short notice…" Sharon Marsh said, giving each one of them a small peck on the cheek.
"Kyle wanted to-" his sentence was cut short when he felt Kyle's elbow hitting him, and he turned his head to look at him. Kyle's head was bowed and he shook it ever so slightly. Stan sighed.
"Kyle!" the happy voice was a stranger among the sadness, and both men turned their heads to see a young Ike walking towards them, smiling and spreading his arms. He wrapped Kyle in a brotherly hug, patting his back. Stan smiled sadly at the exchange. Ike was being all friendly and loving, while Kyle was clingy, silent, refusing to let go of his adopted brother. "I'm glad that you made it!"
"How have you been, Ike?" Kyle asked, holding his brother shoulders. "Are you holding up okay?"
Ike shrugged. "I've been better. But you know, mom has never been the same-" he cringed and stopped when Kyle tensed. "Since… you know. I'm kind of glad for her, you know? It's over for her now…"
Kyle bit his lip and let go of his brother, his gaze following his body down to the ground. "Is it my fault?" he asked, voicing what he feared since he heard the terrible news, his voice barely above a whisper.
"What?" Ike asked, turning serious.
"That mom's dead now. Is it my fault? Is it my fault, Ike?! Huh?!" he was screaming now, tears sprang to his eyes. Stan was immediately at his side, holding him and preventing him from violently shaking his brother.
"N-no…" his brother stuttered, looking sideways and searching for a way out. "Look, I got to go… the Rabbi's here…" and just like that Ike left.
Stan could feel Kyle seething with rage in his arms, and he wished he could do something for him, anything, but he knew there was almost nothing he could do under the current circumstances.
Things weren't easy for them. Stan and Kyle have been together as a couple since they were seventeen or so, but kept it secret until they were twenty. They came out together to their parents; Stan's accepted it alright, though his father looked like he wanted to get out of the room as quickly as he could, While Kyle's parents were a bit less… accepting. His father fell silent, while his mother yelled, screeched, and slapped her son. Gerald sat there, stunned, and it was up to Stan's parents to prevent Sheila Broflovski from taking her anger out on her eldest son.
"You're dead to me, Kyle," were her final words before she left, and Stan was keen enough to notice that she didn't use his last name like she usually did when she was angry with someone from her family.
Gerald stayed. He wanted to say something, and Stan watched Kyle as he looked at his father with hopeful eyes, shimmering with tears. But in the end Gerald Broflovski said nothing, turned around, and followed his wife out. Ike watched them sadly, told Kyle they will stay in touch, and left as well.
"It'll blow over," Stan said, but Kyle merely smiled sadly and shook his head.
"No, it won't," he said and flopped on the couch in Stan's living room, sobbing into his hands.
The morning after Kyle tried to return home, to explain, to make peace, but returned in a much worse shape than he was the day before. "She mourns my death," he told Stan, shaking his head, refusing to believe what he just saw. He wiped his eyes, but it was futile. The tears just kept on coming. "Her shirt is torn and everything! And my dad just sits there and does whatever she does! She didn't even acknowledge my presence with a look!" Kyle held a small satchel in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He sat in the kitchen and flipped through it.
"What are you doing?" Stan asked him then, joining him in the kitchen.
"What does it look like? Searching for an apartment…" he said and circled whatever seemed worthy enough, sniffling.
"You can stay at my house," Stan said, but Kyle refused.
"I'll be damned if I stay in this cursed town for another month."
And Kyle was true to his words. Stan chose to go with him instead of staying in South Park. They've been living together since.
Stan knew Kyle was over what happened somewhat when he suggested they'd go visit his family since "it's the anniversary of my death".
Ike was the only member of the family who stayed in touch. They conversed through the internet constantly until Kyle's mom found out about it, banned Ike from the network, and then he could talk to his brother only when he was in school. When Ike got older they even met from a time to time, and Stan guessed that that's what helped Kyle get over what happened, even if not fully.
They remained in the Denver. Stan visited his family occasionally, while Kyle preferred to stay home. All was well until Gerald called his son after not speaking to him in years to let him know his mother died from a heart attack.
The ceremony was at its' peak; handkerchiefs were pulled out, nearly audible sniffles were heard, and sacred words were chanted.
"Now for the Kaddish," the Rabbi said, his small eyes, hidden behind thick-rimmed glasses scanned the crowd for what should be assumed as the deceased's children.
Stan nudged Kyle. "Kaddish?" he asked in a low voice so to not disturb the surroundings.
Kyle sighed. "A prayer that is said by the son of whoever died," he answered.
"Kyle, is it?" The Rabbi said, turning to him, after someone probably told him he was Sheila's eldest. "Would you like to say it?"
Kyle shook his head vigorously. "Let Ike say it, she wouldn't want me to."
"I'm sure that's not the case," the Rabbi said. "She loves you both very much."
"Well, I don't think so," Kyle spat. "I bet she feels the same way as I." Suddenly an evil gleam appeared in his green eyes, and he smiled. "You see, Rabbi? I'm gay."
The Rabbi blinked, confused, and then coughed several times into his hand. "Then I guess…. We should let her other son do it."
Ike stared angrily at his older brother for a moment before lifting the small, black booklet to his face. "Yitgadal ve'yitkadash shime raba-" The Canadian started reading, stumbling over the foreign words.
Even through Kyle's pathetic attempt to look as if it didn't bother him, Stan could once again feel the thin fingers trembling in his own.
A tall man approached the two as the crowd started leaving, dressed in black. His beard was longer than what they remembered, and his hair grew white. Stan could feel Kyle tense next to him before he took a few steps towards the figure that approached them.
They stood, facing each other, saying nothing. It was as if everything fell silent along with them.
"Father…" Kyle whispered, his eyes wide and afraid.
Gerald said nothing in response. He took one step forward and stopped. Then took another one, and another one, until he was inches from the son his wife disowned. His arm, trembling and thin, moved as if by its' own will. The second it touched Kyle's cheek, The Jewish young man jumped on his father and enveloped him in a tight hug. It took a moment, but eventually the older man returned the gesture, caressing his sobbing son's back gently.
"I'm so sorry, son…" Gerald Broflovski said, weeping. "So sorry…" Kyle said nothing in return. "You know that mom loved you very much, right?"
Kyle shook his head. "Then why am I disowned? Why when people ask for my last name I hesitate before replying, because I'm not sure it's even mine anymore?"
"She was just scared-"
"So was I, dad!"
"We all love you, no matter what…" their voices once again fell into a whisper.
"Then why weren't you there when I needed you…?"
Why are you here only when she's dead?
The ride back to Denver was quiet. Kyle slept most of the way, and Stan struggled with the Radio for a station worth listening to. In all honesty, Stan had hoped that Kyle would meet his father. Something told him that his father regretted, and he was positive that even though Kyle was angry (for obvious reasons), he forgave him.
"I'm going to bed," Kyle declared once they entered their apartment.
"Aren't you going to eat something?" Stan asked, already searching the fridge for something edible.
"Nah, I'm too tired… goodnight!" the door to their bedroom shut, enveloping, what Stan assumed, Kyle in a comforting darkness.
After eating a makeshift dinner and taking a quick shower, Stan decided it was time for bed. He was about to open the door to the room they shared when a quiet chant reached his ears. He let go of the doorknob and listened.
"…Yitbarach va'yishtabach va'yitpa'ar va'yitromam va'yitnase va'yithadar…"
He frowned. Was Kyle watching the History Channel again?
"…Va'yitale va'yithalel shime de'kdisha, berich hu…"
No, it's not it. He heard it somewhere not too long ago…
"….Li'ela min kol birkata…"
Ah, yes. The Kaddish.
He opened the door quietly and peeked inside. Kyle was sitting on the bed, holding a crumpled paper and reading words that didn't come naturally for him. Tears ran down his cheeks and shone in the moonlight from outside. Kyle already saw he was there, he knew. How could he miss Stan sitting on the bed next to him, caressing his back, kissing him lightly…
"…Hu ya'ase shalom aleynu ve'al kol Israel vaimru Amen…" he finished, now whispering rather than talking loudly to cover his thoughts with his voice.
"Amen," Stan replied. "May she rest in peace…"
Under the screen of hot tears, Kyle smiled to himself.
She was now free.
Both of them were.