This is a story I wrote based off the song Bang, Bang by Nancy Sinatra. I've been listening to it over and over and just couldn't get Stan and Kyle out of my head. This is a rather short one-shot influenced heavily by the song.
Summary: Stan and Kyle used to play a game. Bang, bang. Stan always wins, and Kyle always falls.
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park. This is simply for fun and writing purposes.
Thanks for reading.
Stan and Kyle faced each other across the lawn with hands raised and fingers curled into pretend guns, pointing at the other's heart. They had walked ten paces, turned on their snow booted heels, and threw up their arms. Without toy guns, which Mrs. Broflovski thought inappropriate, their tiny fingers had to suffice for barrel and trigger. Copying their heroes Terrence and Phillip, Stan and Kyle believed themselves in the old west, cowboy hats instead of winter's caps on their heads and real silver guns clutched in their tiny fists.
Stan had suggested the duel first. Several attempts were then made fashioning guns out of sticks, pipes, and anything else the boys could find, but in the end Kyle and Stan felt their hands could work as weapons just as well. At first they had stood back to back, posing and pointing in random directions as if they were secret agents covering each other from enemy fire. Stan had ducked and rolled, propelling himself to his knee and shooting off a 'bullet' into a snowdrift. Kyle had made a similar attempt, but wound up floundering head over heels until he landed on his back staring breathless up at the gray sky. Stan had stood over him laughing. Kyle leapt up and smacked his friend in the arm; Stan had smiled and told Kyle they could play something else other than Spies. When Kyle asked what, Stan told him he would be Phillip and Kyle would pretend to be Terrence. Walking ten paces from a spot in the middle of Kyle's backyard they would march. Kyle had to take small steps to actually fit in ten; he reached the fence too quickly and had to wait for Stan to finish counting his much longer strides.
Stan shouted ten, and they spun around. Kyle raised his arm high, pointing straight at Stan. He shut one eye and shook a few red curls from his face ready to shoot.
But Stan was quicker.
Kyle clutched his heart. His head fell back, and he plummeted to the icy ground. He lay there for a few seconds his hands still pressed over his chest. Holding his breath, he waited for Stan. The crunch of snow echoed through the quiet backyard. One small foot in front of the other, Stan crossed the ground and stood staring down at his motionless best friend. Kyle tried not to smile when Stan knelt down. Reaching under Kyle's neck and supporting his head, Stan cradled his friend. It was supposed to be overdramatic, Stan pretending to regret his actions; he would murmur something emotional and awe-inspiring they had heard from watching too many sci-fi movies and shonen anime.
This was Kyle's favorite part of the game. He wasn't sure why; he found himself suddenly warm and safe with Stan's arm wrapped about his shoulders and his head pressed against Stan's chest.
"Dude, that's like the fifth time I've won," Stan snorted, dropping Kyle unceremoniously back into the snow. Kyle sat up and shrugged.
"You're just faster."
And they would play again. Ten paces, quick turn, and bang, bang. Kyle lost count of the times he dropped to the ground. His coat dripped with melted snow, but each time Stan held him the cold ebbed.
They played until the sun dropped behind the houses and Mrs. Broflovski called them in for hot chocolate.
High school was not the greatest four years of Kyle's life. Small, scrawny, and a complete nerd, Kyle drifted through his teenage years annoyed at most people, parents, teachers, and classmates, with a constant sarcastic remark resting on the tip of his tongue. He counted the days until his graduation on a large, makeshift calendar pasted next to his bed. As the end of his high school career drew near, he laughed with Stan about all the great adventures they'd have in college. He gushed over thoughts of classes where he could be appreciated, listed off the places they'd travel through international programs, and sighed thinking how wonderful it would finally be to escape his mother's ever prying eye. Stan grinned at Kyle's mooning. The taller boy mumbled something about missing South Park when they were gone. Kyle scoffed at the idea.
"I'll never miss this hell hole."
Stan fumbled with his letterman jacket, tugging a loose thread off its sleeve. He shrugged it on and smiled at Kyle.
"I don't know, dude," Stan began, looking off towards the schoolyard. They stood next to Stan's truck, shivering as the evening wore on. "I'd miss this place."
Kyle incredulous, asked. "Why?"
Stan's eyes grew blank and distant as if he could see something farther beyond the fence and football field in front of him. He wrapped his arms tight around his chest, leaning onto the driver's side door. His fingers lightly touched the patches sewn on his sleeves.
"I'd miss the mountains, the school, and our friends; hell, I'd even miss all the crazy shit that happened to us on a daily basis. Life outside of South Park just seems – dull, dude."
Kyle shook his head and grinned at Stan's ache for nostalgia. Leaning against the truck with his friend, Kyle nudged Stan with his elbow.
"It's not like we'd leave it forever."
"You make it sound like we would."
"Nah, dude, I want to get out, true, but once I breathe for the first time in eighteen years, I'll just hold my breath and come back down." Kyle pulled up his sleeve and checked his watch. Rubbing his hands together against the cold, he inched closer to Stan.
"Don't drown, dude," Stan joked, playfully shoving him.
Kyle returned the gesture. "No way. I can't drown. Remember I'm the best swimmer in South Park? I can hold my breath the longest."
He really could hold his breath the longest. When he was little he used to sit at the bottom of the shallow end, his legs crossed, waving up at Stan, Kenny, and Cartman as they all gasped for air seconds before he needed to. Kyle was proud of his small talent. Eventually, he would have to surface, but within minutes he'd be back under the water surrounded by silence and the shifting light on the bottom of the pool.
Kyle could have patience when he chose. He could hold his breath. He could wait.
Kyle let his elbow brush against Stan's. In the dying light of the school's parking lot, the touch hardly registered between the boys. Touching each other was not unheard of, nothing new.
"Dude, I'm losing the feeling in my feet. How much longer?" Kyle complained stomping his boots on the slush covered asphalt.
Stan wrapped an arm around his friend's shoulders. "About five more minutes."
"Good." Kyle felt his face grow red as Stan's arm squeezed around him.
In his early adolescent years, Kyle had discovered he enjoyed Stan's company on a more complex level. Stan's touch, his scent, his voice stirred in Kyle something he could not explain for several years. It wasn't until he was fifteen and sweating under his covers after a vivid dream involving Stan laying next to him, touching him, that he'd put two and two together.
One of the other reasons Kyle couldn't wait to leave South Park with Stan centered on this new discovery. Outside of their home town, Kyle believed his fears and anxieties would evaporate. They'd be alone together; out in the real world for the first time. He'd be able to let out his metaphorical breath at last and tell Stan everything.
"Hey." Kyle's voice shook. "You know how people joke about us…."
"Yeah, you know, about us."
Catching on Stan started chuckling under his breath. Not able to stop, he gripped his sides and threw back his head with laughter. Kyle fidgeted, pressing down the ear flaps of his green hat. He tucked a red curl away. He waited for Stan to control himself. Forcing a smile Kyle tried to look amused too, watching Stan wipe a tear from his eye.
"Oh, dude, yeah," Stan giggled. "People in this town are so retarded."
"Yeah, totally," Kyle struggled to agree. "That's why I can't wait to get out."
Stan thought for a moment. "I guess when you put it like that; I can't wait to leave too. It'll be nice to deal with people who don't overreact to every word you say or thing you do.
Kyle's throat was too tight to answer. He nodded, holding back the sting in his eyes. He sniffed and turned his face away from his friend.
"Hey," Stan said, looking up at the stars starting to twinkle in the darkening sky. "You remember when we were kids, and we played like we were dueling? And we'd march away from each other and then whip around and shoot... I always won, didn't I? I shot you down. You'd pretend to be dying. And I'd hold you…."
Kyle raised his head, holding his breath. He smiled.
"Yeah, I remember. You'd shoot me down and then hold me."
Stan raised his arm, his fingers shaping the gun. He pointed it at Kyle's chest, directly above his heart.
They were really close now. Kyle felt his chest bumping against Stan's finger. The taller boy smiled wistfully.
"Maybe that's why people think we're 'funny', dude," Stan concluded. He grinned, dropping his hand. "We'd always do weird shit like that when we were kids."
"Yeah…weird." Kyle couldn't find enough air to fill his lungs. He gazed up at Stan, waiting for his friend to notice he was drowning without any water.
Footsteps reverberated around the parking lot at that moment, drawing Stan's attention away from his best friend. Heels clicked the asphalt, the sound growing closer with each step. Kyle ducked his head, suddenly very interested in his watch. Stan pulled away from the truck and Kyle's side, turning to face the school building.
Wendy stumbled to a halt next to Stan. Her breath rose in small puffs of white air. Her long black hair clung to her cheeks. She wiped at her brow and smiled up at Stan.
"Hey," she whispered.
"Hey, said Stan.
They were too close for Kyle to bear. He climbed into Stan's truck and buckled himself into the seat. He waited, his eyes focused ahead, looking high – higher than the tops of Stan and Wendy's heads which at that moment were too close, far, far too close.
The day looked perfect. Blue sky, bright sun, and warm weather mirroring the even warmer smiles that floated around the church's ensemble. Kyle stood next to the altar decorated with red and white roses. Ribbons lined the pews and candles flickered their soft glow against the wedding party's expectant faces. Yes, everything looked perfect – from the stained glass, to the soft music, and to the handsome, dark haired groom standing at Kyle's side.
Stan, dressed in a black tux, turned to Kyle who wore white with the rest of the groomsmen. A red rose peeked out of his front pocket. Stan's pocket favored a white rose. Kyle found himself staring at that rose; its soft color blurred away its edges, appearing to erupt from the dark background of Stan's chest as if seamlessly. Kyle reached up and touched his own rose. Red on white. Like a blood stain on a perfect field of white snow.
"I think I might puke," Stan whispered to his best friend. Kyle grinned, his eyes worn and tired; lines at their edges despite his youth.
Kyle's voice was level as he replied. "You won't."
"But what if I do?"
"Then it'll be one hell of a story to tell the grandkids."
Stan chuckled, moving closer to Kyle.
"For what?" Kyle's eyes looked anywhere, but at Stan.
"Just thanks for always being there for me, even now. Even after everything."
"Dude," Kyle glanced sideways, examining Stan's profile. It struck Kyle, suddenly, how much older his friend appeared to him now. For a brief moment, Kyle feared he'd never be able to find the little Stan who was his best friend, the young Stan who had played pretend cowboys in Kyle's backyard on snowy afternoons until the sun set. The feeling passed, however, and Kyle saw Stan for who he was; a kind young man blissfully unaware he was killing his best friend.
The wedding march began, and the guests rose from their seats. Stan stepped away from Kyle. Gazing down the aisle, everyone waited. Kyle held his breath.
When Wendy finally appeared a collective hush swarmed the crowd. Bebe and the other bridesmaids beamed; Stan and Wendy's mothers wept arm in arm. Randy gave his son a quick, bleary eyed smile accompanied by the thumbs up. Stan turned to Kyle one last time.
Kyle formed the words before he could stop himself.
"You'll be fine, dude. Look how happy she is…and it's all because of you."
The ceremony lasted only an hour, and when the priest announced the newly wedded couple, the guests stood and applauded. Stan kissed Wendy as the roar of cheers and applause settled in around them. Kyle clapped the hardest, his eyes unusually dry.
Outside family members waited holding bags of birdseed, whispering excitedly amongst themselves. Photos snapped as the wedding party made their exit first. Kyle found Kenny in the crowd and shook his hand. Off in the distance, Kyle could see Cartman prowling the church's parking lot, a sour expression fixed to his face. Stan had invited him, unaware once again at a friend's inner emotional turmoil. Kyle had noticed Cartman sitting several rows back in the church, ironically on the bride's side. His fists had been clenched in his lap the entire ceremony. He never looked at Wendy once.
Stan hadn't asked Cartman to be a groomsman like he had done Kenny. Kyle of course was best man.
The church bells tolled. Turning slowly towards the front doors, Kyle watched Stan and Wendy exit as if they moved in slow motion. Shielding their heads, they laughed as birdseed littered the ground and caught in their hair. As the bells rang on, Kyle thought they sounded for him and not the newlyweds. Strange to feel that way, selfish even, but to Kyle nothing joyful came from those bells. They were too deep, too brooding too loud. The bell toll, to Kyle, echoed like a cry not a cheer of celebration.
Stan and Wendy paused in the parking lot, watching the white limousine drive towards the church. Stan leaned down and whispered something in Wendy's ear. The girl twittered with laughter and kissed Stan softly. They lingered together, staring in each others' eyes. Softly their fingers laced together.
Kyle smiled despite how much he hurt. They looked so happy.
Kyle watched as Stan opened the back door for Wendy. Bunching up her dress, with Bebe hovering nearby holding up her friend's gauzy train, Wendy slid into the backseat. Stan put one foot inside and paused glancing around. Kyle's heart twisted; he knew Stan was looking for him.
And then Stan was running towards him, laughing. He threw his arms around Kyle and hugged him tight. Kyle wanted to cry, but his eyes refused to produce tears.
"Dude," Stan said pulling back and grinning like a naïve fool, "Dude, I didn't throw up!"
Kyle forced a chuckle. "Of course not, Stan, you wouldn't do that to Wendy," Kyle said in a emotionless voice. "Besides you aren't a little kid anymore."
Stan tucked his hands into his pockets. Kyle fiddled with the red rose in his pocket.
"Yeah, I'm not a kid anymore," Stan agreed. "I sure felt real small for a moment back there, though. You know that feeling?"
Kyle nodded. He examined the grass under his feet.
"It was like suddenly I realized things could be much more important than me. That Wendy was now the most important thing to me."
"Yeah…." Kyle held back the question: am I still important to you?
"Stan!" Wendy called from the limo. She waved her bouquet in the air and beckoned Stan to return.
"I'll see you at the reception, dude," Stan said, clapping Kyle on the shoulder before running back to his bride.
Stan had run half way towards the parking lot, before spinning on his heel, and pointing a finger at Kyle. He shut one eye and smiled stupidly as he pretended to pull back a fake trigger. Then as quickly as he'd made the gesture, Stan was gone, disappearing in the back of the white limousine.
Kyle stood alone in the churchyard. He raised his hand and touched his chest, right above his heart. His fingers traced the red rose in his jacket pocket, a red blemish on his perfectly white suit.
Kyle ducked his head finally feeling the tears. He raised his own hand and made a fist. Slowly, he pointed one finger in the direction the limousine had driven, taking Stan away.
"Bang, bang…." Kyle whispered.