"Makes no sense to me/I just have to believe/She flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels/By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees/And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting/And I know she's smiling saying: 'Don't worry 'bout me'"
–Alan Jackson ~ "Sissy's Song"
Ten Years Later…
Kali pulled her still long black hair back into a low ponytail with shaking hands. Sitting next to her on the couch at her parents' small house, Thane rested one hand on her thigh comfortingly. They were both in all black, Kali in a short sleeved black dress and Thane in a black collared shirt and black pants. She grabbed onto her husband's arm and leaned against him. They'd both wanted to come back to South Park to visit their parents, but they never thought they'd have to come back for a funeral.
"Mama," a little boy with bouncing curly red hair and bright orange eyes in an outfit that mirrored Thane's ran into the room with a concerned look on his face, "mama!"
"Kris?" Kali scooped up her son into her lap. "What's wrong?"
"Grandpa's crying again."
Her face dropped and she handed off Kris to Thane. "I'll be right back, okay…?"
Thane nodded and gently kissed Kali's forehead. "Okay." He looked at Kris and began joking around with his son, keeping the five-year-old laughing.
Kali walked down the hall of the small house Stan and Kyle had bought a year ago and knocked on the open door of the room she saw Stan in. "Dad?"
Stan looked over at his daughter; tears were flowing freely down his face. "K-Kali?" He wiped his eyes dry, but they both knew it wouldn't do any good; more tears just replaced the ones he wiped away. "Sorry, I'll be out there in a minute."
She shook her head and sat down next to her father on the full-sized bed. She couldn't help but notice that his hair had grayed significantly the past few days, losing Kyle had been the worst thing that ever happened to him. She rested one had on his shoulder and looked at the picture he'd been staring at. It was of her, Stan, and Kyle only three years ago while her, Thane, and Kris were back visiting everyone. It had been taken out in front of Stark's Pond, under a burnt, twisted tree arch that everyone knew had been made by Damien twenty-nine years ago. Kali's face dropped when she noticed how gray her mother's hair had been back then. It was no secret that he was a diabetic and that for years he'd been struggling to keep in under control. A week ago, Kyle had been hospitalized with kidney failure. Kali, Thane, and Kris hurried to South Park from Sacramento to see Kyle one last time before he died.
They made it, but there were no available donors in the town, so he was put on a waiting list. He didn't have long though, he died two days ago. He was only forty-six.
Kali rested a comforting hand on Stan's shoulder. "Dad…I miss him too." She blinked back tears and bit her bottom lip.
"He was still so young Kali," Stan sobbed. "He could've had another twenty years if we had just found a donor!"
"I know," her voice cracked when she spoke. She wanted to be strong for her father, but it was hard. She was always so close to her parents since she never had any siblings, losing Kyle was nearly as hard for her as it was for Stan.
"Hey." Stan and Kali looked up to see Kenny, in his formal uniform - it was still confusing how he managed to keep his job as a police officer after punching his boss in the face twenty-five years ago - and Butters, in a black suit, standing in the door.
Kali stood up and smiled at her dad. "I'll just let you guys talk." She rushed out of the room in time to see Damien, Pip, Wendy, Piper - very pregnant - and Nicolai walk into the house. "Hey there."
"Hey," Wendy said sadly. "Where's Stan?"
"He's back in his room." Kali pointed back down the hall. "Kenny and Butters are already here."
"Okay." Wendy, Damien, and Pip went back to where Stan was, leaving Nicolai and Piper with Kali, Thane, and Kris.
"Kali," Piper embraced the best friend she hadn't seen in years, "I'm so sorry about this."
Kali returned the hug and gave her best friend a smile. "Thanks. Where are Craig, Tweek, Keira, and Siobhan?"
"Siobhan called me earlier and said they were running behind."
"I see…" Her head swiveled around when she heard someone strumming on a guitar and someone else singing. "Huh?" Her, Thane, Nicolai, Piper, and Kris snuck down the hall and stopped outside of Stan's room.
"And now, as long as I can, I'm holding on with both hands. 'Cause forever I believe that there's nothing I could need but you. So if I haven't yet, I've gotta let you know… You're never gonna be alone from this moment on. If you ever feel like letting go, I won't let you fall. When all hope is gone, I know that you can carry on."
Stan let out a sob before trying to stutter out the next line of the song. Whoever was playing the guitar stopped and waited a moment before playing right where he left off.
"We're gonna see the world out, I'll hold you 'til the hurt is gone."
When the singing stopped again, Kali peeked around the doorframe to find Wendy rubbing Stan's back and Damien holding the acoustic guitar. There were still tears falling down Stan's face, his shoulders were shrugging up and down with heavy sobs. His sobs were heartbreaking for everyone to hear. Over the past twenty-nine years, Kyle had been through so much and had so many run-ins with death that Stan had been convinced that his husband was strong enough to weather anything, including a failing kidney. He was forced to face the reality that Kyle had only a few hours to live when the monitors he was hooked up to began going crazy. He would live with the pain of living past Kyle until he died.
Kali leaned back into Thane and let her own tears flow freely. She'd been holding them back to try to be strong for her father but it was impossible. Her heart was just as broken as Stan's from losing Kyle and she couldn't keep the tears and sobs away any longer.
"Kali!" Thane caught his wife as her legs gave out and she fell to the ground. Her eyes were closed; did she faint? It didn't surprise him any, she'd barely gotten more than three hours of sleep the past few days.
When he heard the shout, Stan ran out of the room with concerned carved into his face. "What happened?"
Thane wiped the tears on Kali's face away and picked her up bridal style. "She fainted, that's all." He smiled just slightly at his father-in-law. "I'll go put her in bed for a bit, she needs the rest."
After getting a nod from Stan, Thane walked down the hall a bit further and turned into the guest room him and Kali had been using. He gently lowered her onto the full-sized bed and turned up the radio a bit when he heard "Blood (Empty Promises)" by Papa Roach playing on the rock station Kali had left on. He hovered over her face a moment, his dyed blonde hair covering both their faces, before he gave her a quick kiss on her forehead. He sat next to her for a moment more before deciding to get up and ask someone when they were going to leave for the funeral home, but Kali grabbed onto his hand as he stood.
"Thane," Kali muttered as she turned onto her side and grabbed her husband's hand with her other hand as well, "don't leave me alone." She sniffed. "Please."
Thane smiled softly and sat back down next to her. He cupped one of her cheeks with his hand and wiped away a tear with his thumb. "I'll never leave you alone Kali, I swear."
She looked up at him and smiled just slightly. They stayed just like that for a while, not moving and not talking, just trying to find comfort in the others' touch and listening to the rock songs that played over the radio. Shortly after Avenged Sevenfold's "Dear God" began playing, Piper walked into the room holding one of Kris' hands.
"Um," the blonde woman said slowly to catch her friends' attention, "we're about to leave for the funeral home. Siobhan called and said they'd meet us there."
Kali sat up and nodded. "Okay."
Piper glanced down at the five-year-old holding her hand and said, "Me and Nicolai can take Kris for you if want."
Kali smiled sadly over at her best friend. "Thank you, that'd be great."
Piper nodded and walked with Kris out to where Nicolai had parked their Dodge Ram truck against the curb. Thane held onto Kali's hand as she stood on shaking legs out of the bed. He asked her if she was going to be able to walk and she just nodded.
"Go on out to the Neon," Thane said as they walked down the hall and he noticed Stan still sitting on his bed, "I'll get your dad."
Kali nodded. "Thanks." She kept walking as he turned into Stan's room.
"Stan?" Thane stopped just inside of the doorway as the man looked up at him. "Come on, let's get going."
Stan glanced over at the picture of him, Kyle, and Kali again. "Do you remember when you were both ten and we lost Kali's uncle, Kyle's little brother, Ike?"
Thane nodded. "I do."
"When the service was beginning, Kyle told me he didn't want to attend it, as if he didn't want to accept that his little brother was dead." He looked back over at his son-in-law. "I know how he felt now. I don't wanna go Thane, I can't."
Thane's lips tightened into a straight line. "You have to."
"If you're not gonna do it to say goodbye to the man you obviously loved more than life itself, then do it because Kali needs you there. I can comfort her only so much, you're the only person who understands the pain she's experiencing right now. Stan, if for no other reason, go for your daughter."
Stan's eyes widened. He had no idea Thane could be insightful, or at least that insightful. "Okay." He stood up. "You're right. Thank you."
Thane shook his head. "It's nothing."
Stan smiled ever so slightly. "I guess Kyle was right about you. Kali really did pick a great man to stay with her for life."
Thane mirrored his father-in-law's smile. "I try my best." He stood aside and held his arm out to gesture out to the hall. "After you."
Stan and Thane made their way out to the Dodge Neon and climbed in, Thane driving. The car was silent all the way to the funeral home, the same one where Ike's service had been conducted nineteen years ago. No one wanted to talk, to add weight to the already heavy atmosphere. When they arrived at the funeral home and went inside, Stan and Kali were first greeted with hugs from Siobhan and Keira - Siobhan's flame red hair was now cropped into a pixie cut and Keira's was long and flattened to be razor straight, her chin length bangs framed the soft face that still mirrored her sister's - and then Craig and Tweek - a few years ago, Tweek had finally worked all of the caffeine out of his system and styled his spiked hair and buttoned his clothes correctly, he looked well put together, something no one ever thought they'd see. Damien and Pip had already made their way back to the mostly empty main room where the open casket was, setting up something that Stan and Kali couldn't see.
It seemed that all of South Park had shown up for the funeral, even people Stan and Kyle hadn't seen since high school. Jimmy and Timmy, who had both moved out of the Colorado at separate times during high school and hadn't been seen around the state since. Bebe and Clyde, who had both gone to Georgia Tech for college as planned and then stayed in Georgia to get married and raise a family. Token, who had gone to New York for college and had even brought his wife of fifteen years, Cyndi with him. There were a few other people there who had graduated with them or were friends only with Kyle in high school who were there that Stan didn't recognize or remember to offer their condolences to Stan and Kali.
Sheila and Gerald, who had moved away shortly after Ike died, were not there.
After nearly fifteen more minutes of having to deal with sympathetic hugs and words, Stan and Kali just wanted to sit down. The atmosphere combining with their fatigue from the past few days was making it difficult for them to stay on their feet very long. Sometime during it all, they had migrated into the main room, realizing it when they were no longer surrounded by a lot of people, but instead, chairs, Damien and Pip, the man presiding over the service, Piper and Kris, a few random people who couldn't fit into the entrance hall with the others, and the open casket where Kyle's body lay.
Nervously, Kali walked over to the casket with Stan and looked down at her mother's face. He looked peaceful, his features smoothed out, his shoulder length fire red hair with many gray strands splayed behind his head like it always had when he would lay down to sleep, and his thin oval rimmed glasses gently placed into the jacket pocket of the black suit he was to be buried in.
With tears falling down his face, Stan leaned over and kissed Kyle's pale forehead. "Goodbye babe. I'll always love you…and only you." A tear fell onto the redhead's face just before Stan leaned back up and turned to sit down in the front row of chairs, his face buried into his hands.
Kali bit her bottom lip and pulled two coins out of her pocket and placed them on Kyle's eyelids. She brought the palms of her hands together in a prayer and whispered low enough so only she could hear, "I know you didn't believe in this mom, but…just in case…"
"Kali," Damien's voice came from right next to her, "you need to go sit down."
Kali looked at the black-haired man and nodded. "Okay Damien." She returned a hug she received from him and then joined Stan in the front row of chairs.
Damien looked down at the two coins placed on Kyle's eyes and smiled just slightly. He'd leave them there even though he knew that placing the coins there for the ferryman at the river Styx was useless, he still remembered living in Hell as a child and going there to relinquish his powers twice - once as a teen and the second time as a young adult. There was no ferryman and there was no river Styx, but he wasn't going to remove the coins regardless of that knowledge. If that was what Kali wanted to believe, then he'd let her.
"Goodbye old friend." He closed the casket when the man presiding over the service told him to and rejoined Pip over on the small dais set to the side.
"Could everyone please sit?" The man said into the microphone on the wooden podium next to Kyle's casket.
Once everyone, save for Pip and Damien, was sitting the man began talking. He talked about everything that had been told to him, about Kyle's life, his husband and daughter, the funny stuff he did as a child and teenager, everything. After the half hour it took for him to talk about everything he'd been told, the man said that Damien and Pip had prepared something special they wanted to do.
When all eyes turned on them, Pip said into the microphone in front of him, "Oh, please forgive us, we haven't had much time to practice the acoustic version of this song."
Damien rolled his eyes and said into his microphone, "Ignore him. It sounds fine, he's just kinda crazy."
Everyone chuckled as Damien began slowly strumming on the acoustic guitar he held. After a few seconds of the guitar alone, Pip began singing slowly in the haunting, ringing voice that landed him a recording contract nearly thirteen years ago, "Since you've gone away, I've felt everything is just falling apart. I haven't smiled once since you left. There isn't any reason to since…you're no longer here beside me, and knowing that is just kill-ing me...! Wish you were here right now. Wish you could see...this. Wish you could see them grow up too...! Wish you were here…"
Damien played alone for another few seconds before Pip continued, "I can still hear your voice, clear as the sky in the winter. When I hear it, I can only cry since I know…you're no longer here beside me, and knowing that is just kill-ing me...! Wish you were here right now. Wish you could see...this. Wish you could see them grow up too...! Wish you were here…" The acoustic part became slightly more intense as Pip kept singing, "To see everything you've left me as… To see just how lost I am right now, without...you...!"
As Pip faded off for Damien to play alone for a while again, Stan wiped away the tears still falling down his face. It'd been years since he heard Damien and Pip play the acoustic version of the song, "Wish You Were Here," their first official song. But he'd been avoiding it since Kyle had been admitted into the hospital when Kali was visiting for her twenty-first birthday, it was just too damn perfect of a song for how he felt then and definitely how he felt now.
The guitar solo softened again just as Pip sang the last bit of the song, "Wish you were here right now. Wish you could see...this. Wish you could see how they've grown...! Wish you were...here…" Damien strummed out a few more, quiet notes as he followed Pip's fading voice to silence.
A few people, mostly friends and family of Damien and Pip, clapped when they were sure the song was over.
A few more slow, dragging minutes past before Kyle's casket was carried out to the waiting hearse by Kenny, Tweek, Damien, Craig, Pip, and Butters. Once again, Thane drove the Neon with Kali and Stan in the car, both silently crying this time, following the hearse across South Park to the cemetery nearest to the Synagogue.
When they arrived, there were a few more short words said by the man presiding over the funeral and then everyone was dismissed to go home. As everyone else left, Stan, Kali, Thane, Kris, Kenny, Butters, Damien, Pip, Piper, Nicolai, Craig, Tweek, Siobhan, and Keira stayed standing there next to the dark wood casket as it was lowered into the ground. Just before even that small group dispersed, Kali turned to everyone and said she something to tell everyone.
"What is it hon?" Thane asked as he picked up Kris.
She smiled just slightly. "I found out four days ago that…I'm pregnant again."
Everyone around her smiled, even Stan. Thane laughed loudly and gave his wife a one-armed embrace. "That's wonderful!"
"It is," Stan agreed with a wide smile. He gave Kali a hug. "You're making me a grandfather again a bit too young though."
She chuckled. "I think you're old enough for two grandchildren dad."
The group stood there in the cemetery excitedly over the announcement of another baby on the way. Though no one would say anything, they could all fell Kyle standing with them, celebrating and embracing his daughter with delight over the news.
Eight and a half months later, Kali gave birth to her second child, a baby boy with wavy black hair and who would have light green eyes. He was named Kyle Broflovski McCormick.
Thank you my wonderful readers/reviewers for sticking with this until the end! ^.^ Cookies for everyone for making this most popular thing I have ever written!