Disclaimer: I don't own South Park and I'm making no money off this story. Which is for the best, really, as I am irresponsible with money and unfunny. Title quote belongs to Shakespeare. Lyric quote belongs to Fall Out Boy, 'Sophmore Slump or Comeback Year'.
Note: This is going to be my first genuine attempt at an actually reasonable South Park multichaptered story. I'm going to be using a VERY standard plot device, which you will see in the next chapter, though hopefully a couple of things I have planned will spice it up a little. I'm also still getting the hang of these characters so if something feels off about my characterisation or style, please do tell me. The better I get the more likely I am to produce a story you can genuinely enjoy reading, which is my goal.
Anyway, usual South Park warnings apply. Core pairings will be Candy and Crenny so, obviously, those characters will be in the most focus. In advance, I want to make an apology: I am British, and am winging it a little in terms of structure of an American school day, types of class, etc. If I make any errors, point it out, and I won't do it again. And now, the fic: please enjoy.
For Daws To Peck At
Boys and Girls
we're the lifers, here til the bitter end
condemned from the start
the kids you used to love
but then we grew old
This cologne, thought Craig, smells like banana AIDS.
But he put it on anyway. Because, he'd learnt, that was what you did as a teenage boy. You put on masses and masses of cologne, even if it made you smell like a diseased fruit salad.
"Craig, you ready yet?" his dad called up the stairs. "You said Clyde would be here at eight."
"Yeah, I'll just be a second!" Craig ran a hand through his hair. Turning his head and squinting into the mirror, he flattened it to one side with his hand. Pulling a face, he scrubbed his hand over his head and tweaked a few pieces of his fringe up. It still didn't look right.
So he put on his hat, like he knew he was going to do anyway, and headed downstairs.
"He'll be here soon, then?" his dad verified for the fourth time that evening.
"Yeah, dad," Craig said, exasperated. "He just text me, he's on his way."
"He's not one of those boys who texts while they're driving, is he?"
Craig sighed. "No, dad. I'll just...go wait outside for him, ok?"
"Actually Craig, I want a word with you."
Inwardly, he groaned. So close. He turned back to his father, and sat down.
His father looked at him contemplatively over the top of his paper. "Hm, I'm not quite sure how to broach this with you."
Craig's feeling of resignation morphed into one of dread. Oh, God no. This wasn't going to be one of those talks, was it?
"Well, I suppose I'll just cut right to it. We don't want you to feel that you can't bring girls back, son."
Oh, it was going to be one of those talks.
Craig simply stared at his father. "Uh – what?"
His father held up his hands. "All I'm saying, son, is you're young. This is the time when you're free. You don't have to get into any committed relationships, and if anything happens – if any little problems come into being – well, most girls nowadays want to go to college, so they'll handle the problem, if you know what I mean." He cleared his throat. "And we'd rather have you taking care of business here, rather than in a bush somewhere."
Craig didn't understand why his father was doing this to him. He seemed to be finished, though, and cracked his paper back open, leaving Craig to sit in a kind of horrified silence.
Then, mercifully, a horn beeped outside.
"That'll be Clyde," Craig said, automatically. And even if it wasn't, he thought, he was going to get in the car with whoever it was and just leave.
"Sorry I'm a bit late," Clyde said, as Craig slipped into the passenger seat.
Craig sat in ruminative thought for a moment, and then said, "I think my dad just told me to sleep around."
Clyde gaped at him for a moment, and then asked, "Did he give you condoms?"
Craig snorted. "Just drive. We're already gonna be late, you retard."
A guy's night in had always consisted of three things; alcohol, bragging, and Xbox.
"Seriously, seriously," Kenny said, waving an empty beer bottle at Stan. "I've put this shit on Easy. Whoever drunks now is definitely lose."
"Kenny, give your controller to someone who doesn't keep bringing us back to the title screen."
"Can I have another beer?"
Stan reached behind him into the box containing all the drink they'd managed to amass for that evening. "Swap," he said, and took the controller out of Kenny's hand.
"Awesome. Hey, Cartman, open my beer for me."
"What? Do it yourself, you poor asshole!"
"You're the one who bought the bottle-opener belt," Token pointed out.
"Obvious compensation," Kyle whispered to Kenny, who burst out laughing like it was the funniest fucking thing he'd ever heard.
"'Ey! I heard that, Jew!"
"If the really tiny cock-shaped boot fits..."
"So help me, Kyle, I will throw you out of this house myself."
"Oh yeah, dude, we've gotta say thanks for letting us use your place for this," Stan said, pulling the ring on his third can. "We were almost at the point of being desperate enough to go round Kenny's."
"He only did it so we'd have to invite him," Kyle said, grabbing Stan's can from him and taking the first drink.
Next to Craig, Clyde snickered. "It's kinda reassuring, isn't it?"
"What do you mean?" Craig asked.
"No matter how much of an asshole you turn out to be, or how badly you fuck up, the guys are always going to rip more piss out of Cartman than you."
"Dude, Stan's getting his beer back off Kyle. Get the pad."
Craig leant forward and snatched up the abandoned controller. Before he could even sit back down, Clyde had managed to get it off him.
"Hey! If you were just going to do that, you should have got off your own ass to get it."
Clyde grinned. "Why bother? Plus, Craig, haven't you got other things you ought to be doing?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"Stop bringing that up," Craig said darkly.
"What's that?" Stan had reclaimed his beer, and was eyeing the controller in Clyde's hands with suspicion. "Hey, that's my one, isn't it?"
"Craig's dad told him he needed to get more pussy," Clyde said, ignoring Stan's accusation. "I'm just saying, I don't think Modern Warfare is gonna help you get laid tonight, pal."
"What? Craig, your dad wants you to have sex?"
"Craig's dad wants to have sex with him?"
"Shut the fuck up, Cartman."
Craig put his face in his hands. From between his fingers, he could see that Clyde's grin was, if possible, getting even wider. "His dad had a little 'talk' with him today," Clyde explained, "saying how basically he should be busy sowing his oats before shit gets serious."
Token burst out laughing. "Your dad said that to you?"
"I think it's his part of his plan to make sure I never, ever have sex," Craig said seriously. "Reverse psychology."
"Naw, your dad's a cool guy," pointed out Kyle. "He probably means that."
"I think that's worse," Craig decided.
Stan shrugged. "Least you know he'd be cool with you bringing someone back."
"What? You don't want your parents to be cool with that!" Cartman said. "It takes half the fun out of it! Teenage rebellion, guys!"
Craig looked at Cartman blankly. "Convenience takes the fun out of sex."
Clyde snickered again. "I guess that answers the rather redundant question of which of you two is boning Wendy."
Kenny and Cartman both suddenly looked up, with identical appalled looks on their faces. "What?"
"We all sort of assumed one of you guys must be doing Wendy," Token explained, "seeing as you three hang out so much. We didn't really think it was Cartman –"
"- and after that comment, I think we can be pretty sure it'll never be Cartman, for anyone, ever –"
"Seriously Clyde, shut the fuck up or you can join Kyle on the streets!"
"I'm still here, fatass!"
"- so it must be Kenny," finished Token.
The boys turned as one to Kenny, who was sprawled on his back, head pulled up at an awkward angle. "Guys, I'm not fucking Wendy."
"You guys are always hanging out," Stan said.
"We're friends, dude."
"But she's a girl."
"...Girls are people too." Kenny looked confused.
"Not until we're like twenty or something," Kyle said. "Until then I think we're mainly meant to stare at them."
Kenny snorted. "That's dumb."
Clyde flicked the top of a beer bottle at Kenny's head, narrowly missing his eye. "She's hot. I'd do her. Anyone else?"
Token raised his hand, and Stan turned a little red.
"Come on, Cartman," Kyle said. "You're completely lying if you say you wouldn't."
"I didn't see you put your hand up, Kyle!"
"That's because I wouldn't. You would fuck anyone that would have you."
Cartman was starting to look uncomfortable, and suddenly, Clyde laughed.
"I get it! He's just turned into a massive pussy. He hangs out with her because he likes her company or something, like Kenny."
"Heeeey," Kenny complained.
"I do not! She's a fucking ho!"
"So you do want to fuck her, she just won't fuck you," Craig said dryly. "Even girls that like you don't like you. Wow."
"Fuck you, Craig! I wouldn't do her because she's a hippie douche, yeah? Otherwise I'd fuck the shit outta her!"
"I'm telling her that," Kenny said sleepily from the floor.
"I'll fucking kill you, Kenny!" Cartman growled, looking very red in the face.
"I'll just hold the thought for later."
"Okay, okay guys," Stan said, grinning a little. "Let's lay off Cartman, he is letting us use his house."
"Yeah! I'll kick you out, you douches!"
"Cartman, stop threatening to throw people out," Kyle snapped. "It's just annoying."
"Fuck you, Jew." But he shut up.
Craig heard a weird noise next to him. "Clyde, what the hell?"
"It's my stomach," the other boy said, pulling a face. "I'm staaarving."
"Hey, I'm pretty hungry, too," said Token. "Do you guys want to order a pizza?"
Kenny groaned. "Fuuuuck, I can't afford it! Jeez, and I haven't eaten since this morning."
"If you're hungry, I can pay for you this one time," Craig offered.
Kenny stared at him. "Seriously? Because I will fucking take you up on that."
Clyde stared at him, too. "Will you pay for me too?"
"No, you fuck, pay for your own pizza."
"Hey! What's so special about Kenny?"
"Yeah!" said Cartman, seeing a chance to turn the conversation onto someone else. "Are you gay for him or something?"
"No," Craig said matter-of-factly. "But he's hungry. It's called doing something nice. If you tried it once in a while, you might have a chance with Wendy."
"She does like nice," Stan said.
"Shut the fuck up about Wendy!"
"Yeah," Kenny said, pointing at Craig. "Or even your golden pizza money won't make me not beat you up when I'm soberer. Does that need another er?"
"Craig," Clyde suddenly asked, "why do you smell like bananas?"
It must have been about six in the morning when Craig woke up. He half-heartedly attempted to find a watch, or a digital clock, or a microwave, or anything with the time on it, but came up short. The sun was beginning to brighten the dull blue of the sky outside, and when he peeked between the curtains, the glare as it bounced off the fresh snow was, in Craig's opinion, nothing less than obnoxious.
He shuffled into the kitchen, his mouth as dry as Ghandi's flip flops. The only things he could find were cola and more alcohol, and his insides shuddered at the thought. Reluctantly, and a little groggily, he filled a glass with tap water and sat down at Cartman's kitchen table.
At which point, he found himself face to face with Kenny McCormick.
"Hi Craig," Kenny said. He was sat with his face propped up with one hand, and he looked like he was nearly falling asleep.
"You're up early."
"Cartman's snoring is like what happens if a drill fucks a tractor and they have bastard children."
Kenny chuckled into the palm of his hand. "It totally is," he mumbled.
"You could just go to sleep if you're tired," Craig pointed out.
"I have fucked up dreams when I'm drunk," Kenny told him. "Really, really fucked up dreams."
"Huh. I just sort of pass out."
Kenny yawned. "Ohh...dude. Thanks for the pizza."
"It's just pizza."
"Yea but it's pizza."
Everything was feeling surreal. The half-light, the fact he was sat in Cartman's kitchen at six or whatever it was in the morning, Kenny's fucked-up pizza comments...
Actually, it had been a weird-ass night since his dad had stopped him for that conversation. A thought occurred to him, and there was still a little too much alcohol in his system for him to hold it back.
"Everyone's obsessed with girls."
Kenny yawned. "Well, yeah."
"I'm not," Craig pointed out. It had been bothering him, on and off, all evening. Everytime the topic of girls had come up, he had felt himself getting a little disinterested, losing a little focus.
"You could be gay," Kenny suggested, and then yawned. "Neither is Kyle."
"Oh good. My options are being gay or being Kyle."
Kenny's hand slid up and tangled itself in his blond hair. "S'not so bad. Kyle's awesome. I love Kyle. He's like my little Jewish teddy bear."
"And being gay is fine I guess. Unless you get all rapey about it like that one Goth kid who stalks people."
"Oh come on. There's worse things to be than gay," Kenny said, speaking into his wrist. "I bet most people in that room there are a little bit bi or something." He paused. "Except Cartman. Actually, no, maybe Cartman. Except Token. Token's all man. Cartman could swing. For a guy that looked like Wendy."
Kenny snickered at his own joke, and Craig frowned. "Are you gay?"
Kenny shrugged, a weird, lazy motion that bobbed his head forwards into his arm. "I dunno. I've never really done anything with a guy. So I can't know, you know? I think that's what you oughta do, too. Try things out. Sexshl...sex-u-al experiments. Experimentation. Try before you buy."
Craig stared at him. "Go to sleep."
"I shall do just that," Kenny said, and folding his arms on the table, he proceeding to lay his head on top of them and within a few minutes was fast asleep.
Craig sat opposite him at the table drinking his water.
This conversation would probably make a lot more sense when he was sober again.
Monday morning brought the same things Monday morning always brought. There was a general sense of reluctance and resignation as everyone traipsed to their homerooms, and at least half the people Kenny clapped eyes on looked like they hadn't properly woken up. The other half were frantically swapping pieces of homework and scrawling hasty answers to assignments they'd forgotten.
He really did wonder, sometimes, what the point of school was. Everyone mainly just coasted, or copied, or cheated. The only thing he'd learnt since starting high school was how to unlatch a bra one-handed, and that was more down to stealing one of Wendy's for practice than anything else.
He dropped down into a seat next to Kyle. "Where's Stan?" he asked.
Kyle looked up from the sheet of maths problems he'd been checking over. "Huh?"
Kyle frowned, and looked around. "Dude, what? He was here a second ago."
"Is that his homework?" Kenny asked.
"Yeah, he asked me to look over it for him. Where the hell has he gone?"
"Hey, beats me. I just got here. What've I got today?"
Kyle scowled at him. "Kenny, I don't know your timetable. Wendy does."
"Oh. Well, do you know what I have first?"
Kyle shook his head. "I know we have English before lunch."
"That doesn't help me, Kyle."
Rolling his eyes, Kyle turned his attention back to Stan's homework. "Wait 'til Wendy gets here. Seriously though, it's February. How do you not know your timetable yet?"
"Because Wendy knows it," Kenny replied, as if the answer was obvious.
"I still don't get how you two started hanging out so much," Kyle said.
Kenny shrugged. "We just did, I guess." He didn't want to say Because you and Stan kept hanging out together and ditching me.
"Oh, there they are," Kyle said suddenly, looking towards the doorway.
Kenny followed his gaze. Wendy and Stan had just walked in, deep in conversation. They caught sight of Kyle and Kenny, and headed over.
"Wendy, awesome," Kenny said, relieved. "What do I have first thing?"
"Maths. We all do." She took a seat next to him. "Good morning to you too, I had a great weekend, thanks for asking," she added sarcastically.
"Kyle! You knew that, then!"
Kyle shrugged. "Why else would I be checking Stan's homework right now?"
"Thanks, man," Stan said, sitting down next to Kyle and leaning over his shoulder. "Oh. You've corrected a lot, huh."
"Seriously, did you get Cartman to do this for you or something?"
"Ugh." Stan put his head in his hands. "I was so dead all yesterday. After Cartman kicked us out I just went home and went back to sleep."
Kenny laughed. "Really? That sucks for you."
"Shut up," Stan mumbled indistinctly. "Just because you stay up completely wired after drinking for hours."
"I'm telling you, Stan, first class way to avoid a hangover."
Wendy wrinkled her nose. "I take it you guys had fun Saturday night then?"
"Yeah. Cartman kept threatening to throw us out, though."
"He's such a dickhead."
"Who's a dickhead?" Cartman asked, appearing behind Wendy.
"You're a dickhead," Kyle said.
"Yeah, lard ass, it's you," Kenny confirmed.
Cartman sat down behind Wendy. "You guys are such assholes."
The day dragged. It seemed like it was taking hours for it to even get close to lunch time. Having made the mistake of skipping breakfast, Kenny found himself idly watching the clock most of the way through his lessons, until finally, there was only one period to go.
"I hate this period," Cartman muttered. He was leant against the lockers with his hands shoved into his pockets. "It's like – I can feel lunch time taunting us."
"I know what you mean, man," Kenny scowled.
Cartman scuffed his shoe against the floor. "Where the fuck is Testaburger?"
Kenny nodded. "Over there. Just talking to Stan." He frowned. "Again."
"Yeah, he ditched Kyle in homeroom to go see her this morning, I think."
Cartman stared. "He ditched his Jew boyfriend to hang with Wendy?"
"You know Stan and Kyle aren't really gay for each other, right?"
Cartman ignored him. "Ho!" he said, raising his voice a little. "Hurry the fuck up!"
"Keep your fat on, Cartman!" Wendy called back. She half-turned towards Stan and said, "I'll catch up with you at lunch."
"See you, Wends."
Once he was out of sight, Kenny gave her a suggestive look. "Stan, eh?"
Wendy rolled her eyes. "We were just talking, Kenny. You don't need to obsessively follow my love life like this."
"Yes, I do."
She sighed. "Let's just go to English, guys, or we're gonna be late."
"Only because you were making eyes at that pussy for ten minutes," Cartman said.
Wendy glared at him. "We were talking for like, two minutes," she bit back. "Stan's my friend."
"We're your friends."
"I have other friends, Cartman."
He snorted. "Yeah, but we're the coolest ones."
Kenny coughed loudly. "Right. I'm going to class. Follow me when you stop bitching at each other."
He headed off, and the two of them trailed after him, still arguing.