Rating: G, a light fluff piece
Pairings: Stan x Kyle
Summary: Valentine's Day cards and Valentine's Day stickers.
This is it. Today is the day you'll tell Stan Marsh that you love him.
It's February 14th, and you are nine years old.
You look at the stack of Valentine's Day cards sitting on your desk. They are lavishly wrapped in red-pigmented envelopes. Your mother bought you the coolest cards; Terrance and Phillip welcome the reader with high-pitched fart noises that erupt from a hidden sound chip like a triggered whoopee cushion. You decide that after today, you'll have his heart. There is no better way to woo your best friend than consumerism fart jokes.
You eye Mr. Garrison as he scrawls notes across the chalkboard about his favorite soap opera. Rebecca had told Antonio that she is pregnant with another man's baby yesterday. Today's notes are confession aftermath. After you write: Reasons Why Rebecca is a Dirty Whore:, your attention doesn't take long to drift. It's not like this is academic gold.
You look around the classroom. Cartman is being his usual fat bastard self as he chomps on his pencil like it is a piece of beef jerky – lead flavoring. He always has something in his mouth when class is in session. Whether it is a pencil, pen, or paper, his mouth is always in motion. He must think that if it isn't constantly in use, he'll never be able to eat again – a complete nightmare in the world of any fatass. You recoil in disgust because it's Cartman – he's fucking nauseating just to look at. You don't have an envelope with his name on it.
Kenny is to your right. He is hunched over in his desk, doodling. His pen is enduring a less painful activity than Cartman's pencil. Instead of being mauled by the human mouth, it's scratching away at the female anatomy on his wooden desk. A permanent etching of perfect Barbie doll proportions sits in the top right corner. Whoever sits in his seat from now on will see two large breasts with uneven nipples urging all to answer "D cup" on multiple-choice tests.
You look up at the clock hanging on the wall. It doesn't seem to be moving towards 10am. It's just hanging onto 9:55, knowing that your big moment is minutes away. The clock just wants to piss you off.
You look over at Stan next to Kenny and you smile. He's staring at the black board that stretches along the front of the room. He looks like the average student, just trying to learn about daytime television like the rest of the class. His chin is cupped in his hand and he glances at the clock. He's wishing it to move just as much as you are – probably – but for a different reason – most likely. He isn't planning on telling his best friend that he loves him when that minute hand strikes 12.
You look at the cliché tower of red on your desk again. This is brilliant, you think. Giving him a card today is a grade-A plan. Inside, beyond the initial opening fart sequence, is the printed jargon – happy something – and then a totally cool dash and your name written with a totally cool signature beside it. But, the envelope is what completes your brilliant idea; it's what sets his flatulent Terrance and Phillip card apart from everyone else's.
Your mother bought you a pack of stickers along with the Valentine's Day cards. When she initially handed them to you, you went with your first reaction and told her that they were fucking lame, to which you received quick reprimand in an uproar of red beehive fury to remind you of the strict no cursing policy. But then, after she had taken her leave, and the cards were spread out in front of you along with a class list, you began to think that they weren't such a bad idea. In fact, your creative side surfaced and you decided to put the stickers to good use. They could go on the back of envelopes as a sealant to save you from lapping away at flaps of glue. Not a total loss from Mom.
You scanned over the sheet of stickers that was unnecessarily long. Tiny shapes of hearts lined the glazed paper in rows of six. They said clever things like "Too Cool," "So Fine," and "Be My Icon." Classic Cornball USA. You began to wonder just how many lines of absolute crap could fit onto one sheet of paper, but the last row caught your eye. Six hearts in different shades of red and pink all read "I Love You" and right away, you knew what sticker to put on his card. He could single handedly make that row into five – no more, no less.
The bell rings and you almost jump in your desk and knock your stack of stickered farts to the floor.
"Okay, class," your teacher says, leaning on his desk like he couldn't care less about the children in front of him, "Feel free to give out your faggy little Valentine's Day cards over recess. If you brought any in."
You smile, grab yours, and look over the names. You thumb through the first 18 for the umpteenth time and check that he is still in line at number 19. Last is appropriate – it's the best, for the best.
You gracefully saunter about the classroom, tripping over dropped school bags and kids with legs too long for their tiny bodies, and you watch him.
You hand Clyde his "Awesome!" envelope. He says thank you, but you don't listen, because Stan Marsh sits his ass on top of your desk. His feet land on your chair while he talks to Kenny and he is probably getting scuff marks all over your seat, but you don't care. Anyone else, you'd yell at them to get their goddamn shoes off your chair, but not him. Stan scuff marks are the best kind of scuff marks to sit in.
You hand Bebe her "Cool!" envelope. She says thank you, but you don't listen, because Stan leans over to rest his elbows on his knees in that comfortable way he has, like he is watching a football game.
You hand Kevin his "Small Talk" envelope. He says thank you, but you don't listen because you see Stan eye your tiny pile of valentines that are slowly accumulating beside him on your desk.
You hand Kenny his "Be Good" envelope. He says thank you, and you stop to take a break from giving out cards to join in on a few minutes of random conversation with two of your best friends. When Cartman wobbles over, you continue working on the rest of your deliveries.
You hand Butters his "Way to Go!" envelope. He says, "Oh boy! Now my parents won't ground me!" but you don't really listen because you're too busy snickering at a comment that Stan makes about Cartman's weight. Cartman gets pissed off and walks right back to his own seat just as fast as he approached, muttering something about "stupid assholes."
Before you know it, you have one card remaining in your hand. You're on the other side of the room, by the door, and you look down to see four letters staring back at you, addressing the victim's name of your climatic confession. You turn the envelope over and the pink heart says the three words that you never could. You're a nine-year-old boy with a reputation at stake. You can't go around telling your dude friends that you love them. That's not cool. But this works. It's subtle – genius. Stan will understand right away, you know it. The two of you will meet after school, he will confess mutual feelings, and then you'll both live happily ever after playing Guitar Hero and eating unhealthy food until 1 AM every night.
You begin to walk over to him. Your palms are getting sweaty, chest is getting tight, and you start to realize that it was never this difficult to walk before until now.
He's still sitting in your seat. He could have stayed in his own, it's only on the opposite side of Kenny, but he doesn't. He always steals it over recess because you usually stand for this half hour daily break, just to stretch your legs. He's like a seat warmer. You love it. You stand happily. It's not like you ever cared about that cramp in your leg in the first place. Not really.
You hand him his card, nonchalantly – being very cool. He says thanks with a smile that makes you want to melt into the floor, but you don't – you stay cool. He flips the envelope over, and this is it. He's going to read your sticker. He's going to know why the sheet tucked away in your schoolbag has that one row of five left, not six, not four. He peers down at the colored paper, but he doesn't even notice the confession. Instead, he tears the flap of the envelope open and the heart rips in two, leaving a jagged white line that interrupts "I" and "Love." He laughs when the fart sounds, but you don't care. You don't need fart noises when your heart has just carelessly been ripped apart. Literally.
Why would he notice? It's just some stupid sticker to seal an envelope. But Kenny notices. Kenny is the observant one – the onlooker. He can read people; stickers too.
"Be Good." He reads aloud from the back of his pried open envelope that sits beside carved breasts. He laughs through his hood and tells you that you're totally gay for even having heart stickers.
You explain that your mother bought them, you would never.
Stan flips his envelope over, realizing he's missed something, thanks to Kenny. You know he is expecting to read another corny line like Kenny's on his heart. You know he expects something like the others. Something like, "Rising Star," or, "Ur Kind." You know he doesn't intend on reading anything close to a heartfelt confession. There isn't supposed to be comedic expectation on his agenda regarding your carefully planned envelope. But, now there is, and everything is suddenly wrong. You're embarrassed before he can even read through the initial tear.
You wonder why you even came up with this ridiculous plan in the first place. Why couldn't you have just given him a different one?
You look at the clock and will it to move faster. You attempt telepathy that you very well know you don't have.
He looks at the back of his sentiment. He doesn't say anything until Kenny asks which causes Kenny to burst into laughter and say that the two of you are total homos. But then Stan starts laughing. They bellow out hearty laughs at your creative expense and you're nothing but mortified. You know damn well that there is absolutely nothing funny here.
"I was running out of stickers!" You say. "It doesn't mean anything." You lie. "Don't be such assholes." You tell them.
Stan punches your shoulder in between Kenny's muffled giggles. "Don't worry about it, dude. We're just bustin' your balls. You did bring in little heart stickers."
You tell him to get the hell out of your seat.
The bell rings and you sit in your desk that is free of Canadian gas, warm from Stan, and tainted in scuff marks of failure – the worst kind of scuff marks to sit in. You fold your arms on your desk and tuck your green-covered head down in between bent elbows, hiding your face from the kids around you. You swallow a dose of embarrassment over and over as laughter plays through your mind.
This is all Kenny's fault. That bastard.
Mr. Garrison picks up where he left off with Rebecca and Antonio like your pride hasn't just been viciously kicked in the nuts. Did Rebecca tell Antonio that she was pregnant through some sticker that her mother bought for her? No, she didn't, because that's a fucking retarded idea.
You tilt your head and notice the tiny pile of cards on your desk from other classmates. You've forgotten about them in the midst of your romanticism. This stack of cards is a lot lower than last year. In fact, it's drastically lower.
You ignore Mr. Garrison drift into the casual topic of whether or not werewolves should be permitted back into South Park, and you proceed to open all of the envelopes – all nine of them. Seven are from the girls in the class. The other two? Butters and Pip. The three of you are the only boys that brought in Valentine's Day cards. You're lumped into the Melvin category with the two ringleaders. No wonder you're a joke.
You carelessly throw the cards into your schoolbag with not a sliver of desire to look passed the signatures. You hear Cartman say something to you about being one of the only boys to bring in cards, but Stan says something to him to shut him up. You don't even know what. You don't even care.
Your head is back down on your desk, resting on your arms once again.
Throughout the rest of the morning, you don't participate. Even after the daily soap opera lesson has long since ended, the werewolf debate has ceased, and you're being coasted through a nice and normal math lesson, you don't give any sort of attention. You're too busy hating Valentine's Day. You've never had a Valentine, and you decide right now, at this moment, that you never will. Participation on February the 14th will no longer be an option. You're comfortable with early retirement.
You slowly sit upright in your seat. You're sure your forehead has a nice red splotch in the center of it from laying your head on your fabric-coated arms for the past hour. You look at the clock that is slowly creeping towards lunchtime. The batteries have to be going dead in that thing. No way that it's this slow on purpose.
You turn your head to the direction of the whisper and Stan is quietly vying for your attention. He inconspicuously stretches out of his seat, glancing back and forth between you and Mr. Garrison, and he hands you a folded note behind an unaware Kenny.
You take it reluctantly. You don't really want to hear from him right now, but you open the note anyway.
If you have those stickers, pass them over. I need one real quick. Don't let Kenny see.
You turn to him with one eyebrow shot to the brim of your hat, throwing off that red circle on your forehead. He rolls his eyes and nods, telling you to not question him and do it anyway. You know that's what he is thinking because your conversations with him don't always have to consist of words. You two are just good like that.
When he returns the sheet to you, along with a separate folded piece of paper, any sort of laughter that was floating around in your mind from earlier has decided to take a hike.
The note is just a piece of spiral notebook paper folded in half to form an imitation of a card – like the kind Kenny usually receives on his birthday from his family. Scribbled on the front of it is a lonely "Happy Valentine's Day" in Stan's regular chicken scratch that he tries to call handwriting. You open the "card" and inside, almost illegible, it reads:
Since you had to go and be totally gay and buy me a v-day card, what kind of super-best friend would I be if I didn't give you one back? So, here you go. Not as cool as Terrance and Phillip, but better than nothing. Sorry for laughing about the stickers, you looked kind of butt hurt about that. But you gotta admit, it's pretty funny.
Of course Stan would feel bad about not giving you a card in return. You should have expected this from him.
But what sends your crescent smile to reach the green flaps of your hat, is a red sticker pasted in the bottom right corner. It says "I Love You" and scrawled underneath it is: too, dude.
Why didn't you think of the comma and the dude? "I Love You, Dude," sounds way cooler.
You look over at him and he is staring back at you, obviously trying to gauge your reaction. Despite the obnoxious smile plastered on your face, you roll your eyes at him for being totally cheesy. At least you're not laughing. You quietly mouth the word, "thanks," and tuck the card in your bag. The jagged edges of paper torn with apologetic haste and good intentions poke through the open zipper.
On your desk, sitting by its lonesome, is your sheet of stickers, again with their rightful owner. Empty shapes of hearts are scattered throughout the sheen strip down to the bottom row – that same bottom row that was once six, then five, and now four. You can't seem to stop smiling.
The bell rings. The students practically leap out of their seats and their minds instantaneously switch to lunchtime mode. All talk of soap operas and math are put to rest.
You put the sheet of stickers away and make sure that it's side by side with your favorite Valentine's Day paper-imitation-card. You zip up your bag and sling it on your shoulder as Stan, Kenny, and Cartman walk over to you – your usual group.
"Way to be a total fag, Kyle." Cartman says as he makes it a point to keep his distance from you. He never stands within three feet of you anymore. Not since he began trying to prove to your classmates that being a greedy Jew is actually contagious. At least he isn't wearing the hospital mask anymore. "Why don't you sit with Pip at lunch today so you two can talk about the stupid shit that you bought at Hallmark?"
You roll your eyes. "Fuck you, Cartman. Everyone knows that your mom bakes you heart-shaped cookies to bring to school every year, but they never actually make it inside the building because your fat ass eats them all on the bus."
"Ay!" He yells with an angry bounce, "I can eat my mom's cookies if I want!"
Kenny bursts into loud, muffled laughter, but the three of you aren't sure as to why. Cartman prods him for answers on what the hell it is that he's giggling about because Cartman never likes anyone making fun of his mother, but you ignore them. You're in too great of a mood to even care.
In the hallway, when Kenny and Cartman are off in their own little world a few feet ahead of you, Stan nudges you with his elbow, both hands holding onto the straps of his schoolbag. The two of you walk side by side in silence as you follow the pack of students move towards the lunchroom, making the usually vacant hallway come alive.
This whole situation was dumb anyway. There was never a need for verification – of course Stan loves you. Maybe you do love-love him, maybe you don't, but what you are sure of is that he's the most important person in your life. You feel right when he is around. And despite being a little drunk off sentimentality and commercialism, on this day, you can get away with telling him that you really do love him – even if the stickers were kind of lame.
Either way, you're keeping the card that is tucked away in your bag – the card that's not from one of seven girls, or from two Melvins, but from your super best friend who loves you too, dude.