And here's the final chapter. Wow. This marks the longest fan fic I've ever written. I feel so proud. ^_^
Thank you all for reading it through to the end. And thanking you all for the wonderful reviews and comments. I really appreciated it.
Please enjoy the last chapter. :D
Summary: College can be a time for academic achievement for many, unsupervised partying for others, and a chance to discover who you really are to the world. Or to your best friend. Stan Marsh's first Halloween as a college Freshman leads him on a long night's journey of understanding into the inner workings of a Super Best Friendship.
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park. This is simply for fun and writing practice.
Chapter Eight – I Love You, Stan
Stan woke to the sound of rain drumming against the dorm room's tiny window. He lay in bed, warm and drowsy, listening to the slush and scatter of rain drops against glass. He rolled over, tugging the covers closer to his chest. He bumped up against something solid and soft, and thinking it his pillow wrapped an arm around it. For a moment he buried his face into something scratchy and woolen-like while clamping his arm tighter around his warm pillow. Strange, he thought, I don't remember my pillow being this itchy. He also didn't remember his pillow having the capability to breathe.
Something smacked him in the face. Snapping his eyes open, Stan found a bandaged hand lying across his nose. He shifted away from the appendage and blinked several times. As his eyes focused he found himself staring into the sleeping face of his best friend. Kyle snored peacefully with his jaw hanging open. The redhead slept sprawled out over Stan's body. One of his legs rested over Stan's knees while his right hand nudged Stan in the cheek.
Realizing the itchiness he had rubbed his face against was actually Kyle's bushy hair; Stan chuckled and ran a hand slowly through the mane, tugging a few curls. Kyle frowned and turned away from Stan. He curled up into a ball, his fists clenching.
Stan leaned over his friend's side and kissed his ear. Kyle twitched and opened one eye.
"Go away," Kyle groaned into his pillow. Stan smiled and hugged his arms around Kyle.
"Good morning, my love!"
Kyle rolled his eyes. "Please tell me you aren't going to refer to me like this in public conversation."
"Why not?" Stan said nuzzling his face into Kyle's hair. Kyle hunched his shoulders.
"It sounds gay."
"Oh no, it does? I guess I should do more hetero things like sleeping in the same bed with another guy, you think?"
"Probably." Kyle yawned and sat up. Stan kissed him again.
"It's raining," Kyle noted lamely, lying back down. Stan lay down too.
"Yeah…so we can like just stay inside all day….," Stan suggested, grinning like an idiot. Kyle closed his eyes.
"Ugh, what time is it?"
Stan rolled over and checked the clock.
"Almost eleven, dude."
Kyle sat up again and began shoving the blankets off of him. Stan pouted.
"Don't you want to like lay in bed for awhile longer, Kyle?" Stan asked, wrapping his hand around Kyle's wrist and giving it a light tug. Kyle continued to push the covers away. He looked down at Stan.
"I have homework, Stan. I also should go visit the school's clinic to get my hands properly looked at, I also need to call my mother because I didn't yesterday even though I said I would, and I have to fix my costume. I also –"
Stan kissed him again. Kyle frowned against Stan's lips.
"Dude, it's Saturday! You have all of Sunday to do shit," Stan said throwing up his hands. Kyle raised an eyebrow, scowling. Stan dropped his hands and slumped his shoulders. "…or you can be productive today and leave me to mope."
"I'm glad you understand," Kyle smiled, sliding out of bed and heading for his closet. Stan frowned and followed reluctantly by rolling lazily out of bed and shuffling over to his computer.
At that moment Kyle's phone buzzed.
"Can you get that? If it's my mother tell her I didn't forget, okay?"
Stan flipped open Kyle's phone and saw a text message from Kenny pop up on screen.
"It's Kenny," Stan informed.
"Oh thank God," Kyle cheered from inside the closet where he changed, "I really didn't want to deal with her this early in the morning."
Stan read the text from Kenny:
Hows kyles hands? You two sleep ok? No more falling into graves? LOL
Stan started to reply. He called to Kyle.
"Kenny wants to know how your hands feel. Also he thinks he's funny, and he's failing at it."
"Tell him I can't grasp anything properly and that the gauze makes it hard to flip people off," Kyle replied.
Stan returned the reply and closed the phone. It buzzed a few seconds later. Kenny sent another text.
HAha XD Tell him he'll just need you to spoon feed him and help him get dressed ;)
Stan's ears grew warm and his face turned red. He told Kenny to stop being a pervert to which Kenny replied that he had no idea what Stan was going on about. Stan shut the phone again and set it back on Kyle's desk. He moved to his own seat and pulled his laptop towards him and checked the weather. The phone buzzed one more time.
Kyle emerged from the closet now dressed in an ugly brown sweater and jeans. He stalked over to his desk and picked up the phone. He read the first couple of lines and raised an eyebrow.
"Why's Kenny suggesting that you take off my pants?" Kyle asked with a serious face. Stan's mouth dropped open. Kyle added, "He's also giving you hints on what other functions leather belts can have."
Stan's face was beet red. "I have no idea, dude. It's Kenny. He's like crazy or something."
Stan turned from Kyle and began skimming through a news article he'd pulled up on his computer's home page. Suddenly a pair of arms wrapped around his neck from behind. Kyle rested his chin atop Stan's head and hugged him to his chest. Kyle leaned down to kiss his cheek.
"Is it going to rain all day?" Kyle asked into Stan's ear.
Stan shook his head, feeling Kyle's warmth drift over him. If Stan had the option he would have melted in his seat.
"Er…no. N-no it's suppose to clear up later."
"How about we go for a walk later? When I've gotten everything done, we can take a walk around campus or something – maybe head into the town," Kyle suggested. Stan liked that idea.
"Sure!" He spun around and caught hold of Kyle's waist and tugged him into his lap. Kyle smiled allowing himself to be jostled around. Stan beamed. "How long is it going to take you?"
"Well, I'm leaving for the nurse now. You can come with me if you want."
Ten minutes later, Stan and Kyle walked through the damp streets of the campus, picking their way over busted jack-o-lanterns, littered plastic cups, and broken glass bottles. Stan had insisted on bringing only one umbrella so that he could offer to hold it for Kyle. The two walked pressed together, with Stan's arm securely fastened around Kyle's waist and with Kyle leaning his head into Stan's shoulder. The rain continued to sprinkle down with mist soaking through their clothes despite the shelter of the umbrella.
After Kyle tripped over Stan's large feet for the third time, he complained, "You know Stan. I have an umbrella too. I could have brought it with me."
"But this is nicer."
"I keep stepping on your toes, and it's too small. I keep getting dripped on," Kyle moaned. Stan tugged him closer to his side.
"Does that help?"
Stan stopped and tried to readjust the umbrella. He held it higher, but the wind buffeted it, and he ended up knocking Kyle in the head with it.
"Oh shit, dude! I'm sorry!"
Kyle held up his hands. He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed.
"Stan, please stop trying so hard. You don't have to do back-flips to impress me or anything. I'm not going anywhere."
Stan fiddled with the umbrella handle. He stared down at his feet.
"But I want to do this…."
"Why?" Kyle sighed, crossing his arms.
Stan shrugged. "I don't know…it's just what I want to do. It makes me happy."
Kyle stepped closer and pressed his forehead to Stan's shoulder. He hugged him.
"Stan, put up the umbrella. We'll just walk the rest of the way in the rain. It's not pouring or anything," Kyle suggested.
Stan began folding up the umbrella. "You sure?"
Kyle smiled up at him. "Yes. Plus when we get home…we can sit under the blanket together to get warm again. I'll do my homework, and we can sit together? How's that sound?"
"Wonderful, dude. Fucking sweet." Stan wrapped his arm around Kyle's waist and led him down the sidewalk.
As they turned a corner, a sleek black car pulled up beside them and parked. Idling at the curb, the driver's side door swung open and a figure wearing a heavy, long coat stepped out. Stan stopped in his tracks, instinctively pulling Kyle behind him.
Terry stood in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking their path forward. The young man rubbed at his neck and gazed at the wet ground. Stan's hand holding the umbrella curled tightly into a fist while his other hand shook as he held Kyle's arm.
Stan narrowed his eyes. "You can just get the fuck away from us now."
Terry stuffed his hands into his pockets. He cleared his throat as if preparing to talk, but instead cast his eyes to the side and back. Stan followed his gaze and saw Roger sitting within the car on the passenger's side. He stared straight ahead with an annoyed expression on his face. His arm was in a cast, and the left side of his face sported a number of bandages. His nose looked swollen and he had a black eye. Stan stared for a moment, realizing that after Wendy's party and Cartman's beating, Roger had disappeared. He hadn't been among the group in the cemetery. Stan guessed Cartman's beating had kept him bed ridden for the night.
Stan turned back to Terry.
"I'm here to apologize," explained the young man. He swept a hand through his thick brown hair and avoided his teammate's eye, taking a step closer. Stan made an involuntary movement with the umbrella, and Terry stopped.
"You want to apologize?" Stan asked slowly, not sure he'd heard correct.
Terry nodded. "Yes."
"Why?" shot Kyle leaning out from behind Stan.
Turning up the collar of his coat, Terry put on a solemn, pained expression.
"I can't apologize? I feel bad; I want to apologize."
Kyle stepped forward and crossed his arms over his chest. He glared up at the other boy, scrutinizing his face. For a brief moment, Kyle and Terry glared at each other. Terry's face was contorted as if he tasted something foul. After a few moments he moved his gaze back up to Stan, and his face softened. With a sudden flourish, Kyle turned on his heel and addressed Stan.
"What's your coach's policy on fighting?" he asked. Stan blinked.
"And drinking," Kyle added. "What would your coach do to someone who 'hypothetically' got drunk and then terrorized some gay teenagers?"
Stan's eyes widened with realization. Terry flinched.
"Oh, he'd be pretty fucking pissed," Stan said, nodding. "I'd figure he might even suspend or even expel the dude from the team."
Terry made a hesitant step forward. He glanced back over at Roger in the car who frowned up at him.
"Look, Stan, I really am sorry. I was pissed off and a bit drunk. I let things get out of control and I'm sorry –"
"Like leaving us in an open grave to freeze to death," Kyle cut in. Terry gave him a disgusted look, but turned back to Stan.
"Please, I just want to apologize," he pressed holding out his hands.
"Alright, then," Stan said and Terry's face brightened. Stan continued, "you apologized. I don't accept it. But good for you for making an effort. Come on, Kyle."
Stan took a step, but Terry moved in front of him. He laughed nervously.
"I don't want any hard feelings. I mean it. You're a great quarterback and -"
"I don't really have anything I feel towards you," Stan cut in. "I thought I should be angry, but now I'm just tired. So please just go away." Stan brushed past the other boy, but Terry caught hold of his arm. It seemed like a spark flashed between the two as Stan stared his teammate down. Terry clung to Stan's arm for a few more seconds and then dropped his hand.
"Please don't tell coach," he begged. Terry's eyes darted towards Roger once again. "I need to be on the team. I'll...lose my scholarship."
For a brief moment, Stan thought of Kenny, and yet at the same time wondered how much truth Terry spoke. Kyle moved to Stan's side, squeezing into the small space between Stan and Terry. Kyle looked the young man up and down with cold eyes.
"You should have thought of that before you decided to bury us alive," Kyle snapped, taking a hold of Stan's elbow and leading him down the sidewalk. Stan cast his eyes over his shoulder, watching Terry stand defeated in the middle of the sidewalk. Roger stepped hesitantly out of the car. His bandaged face appeared much shallower and thinner in the gray light of the early afternoon. He stared with dark-rimmed eyes at Stan and Kyle's retreating figures, before clapping Terry on the shoulder and tugging him back towards the car. Before Stan turned the corner out of sight, he saw Terry wipe at his face, kicking out at his car's tire.
Kyle was in one of his moods.
"Can you fucking believe him? Really?" Kyle fumed. "He beat the shit out of you and threw me in a fucking grave. And for what? Cause he was drunk? Bull shit!"
Stan looked down at his feet.
"Was it really because I refused to be in Delta?" Stan mused, though another voice in the back of his head guessed that it had to do with something else. Stan couldn't get Roger's bandaged face out of his mind. For a brief second, Stan's eyes flickered to Kyle's fingers.
"Who cares…," Kyle scoffed. "I just hope I don't see him for the next four years."
The rain had yet to let up. It came down in a slow drizzle. Stan and Kyle were already soaked through, and Kyle shivered. Stan offered to open the umbrella again.
"Hey, Stan," Kyle said after a pause, "what is your coach's stance on – homosexuality?"
Stan chuckled. "What, do you think he's your stereotypical redneck, good-old-boy who'd start up an angry mob if he knew the quarterback was queer?"
"I was thinking along those lines, yes," Kyle confessed.
"Nah, he's cool. He's all about respect. That's the only thing he ever really tells us that isn't football related. He sits us down before every practice and says 'boys, I know you might hate me for the five mile lap I'm about to have you run, but it's only cause I respect you."
Stan chuckled. "I always took it as his way of getting us to stop complaining."
"Oh…." Kyle looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Were you afraid I'd get kicked off the team for being gay?" Stan asked, touching Kyle's shoulder.
"Sort of. I thought this was something you'd have to keep on the down low if you wanted to play professionally."
Stan scratched his head.
"Well, who says I want to play professionally? I just really like football, but I'm not sure I want to do it forever," Stan explained. Kyle's eyes grew round.
"But I thought that's what you always wanted to do? Play football. It was all you ever did in high school," Kyle noted. "It was like your life. Every Friday night."
Stan blushed. "There was something else I looked forward to every Friday night."
"Being with you," Stan whispered. Kyle stopped and Stan continued, sheepishly, "We'd hang out after almost every game, dude. It was the one thing I looked forward to. It was like my reward for participating in the stupid game. I didn't care half the time if I won or lost, but I guess I did care what you'd think of me if I didn't even try."
Kyle rubbed his elbows self-consciously. "I guess we did have a lot of sleepovers even up 'til high school…."
Stan fiddled with the strap around the umbrella. "Yeah, we did."
Kyle's face had turned bright red. "I always chickened out."
"I lost count of the times I wanted to ask you to sleep in my bed with me, for old times sake. But I worried you would – I mean – I didn't want to give you the wrong impression. I just really missed lying next to you at night. I think last night was like the best sleep I've ever gotten in the longest fucking time, dude. It was crazy."
Stan smiled and stepped closer to Kyle. He leaned down to kiss him just as a car drove past and splashed their ankles with murky brown water. Kyle cursed and shuffled to the grass to hide under a tree.
"Dammit! These are my favorite socks," Kyle moaned, pulling up his pant leg to check on the condition of his argyle footwear. Stan tried to repress a grin. Kyle was such a nerd sometimes it was almost painful to watch.
"I'm sure they'll dry," Stan grinned, leaning in again for his kiss. Kyle continued to pout down at his socks as Stan pecked him on the cheek.
"So," Stan said, straightening up and grinning down at Kyle, "you liked sleeping with me?"
Kyle rolled his eyes, but decided to play along. "Oh yeah, dude. I loved it. I could do it all night long."
"Wow," Stan gave a mock laugh, "I didn't think you had that kind of stamina, dude."
Kyle crossed his arms. "Of course, Stan. I'm so good I do it with my eyes closed."
"Impressive, my friend."
Kyle made a mock bow. "I try."
Stan laughed, and Kyle stood on his toes to kiss him.
"Now, come on, dude, my fingers are already raw enough without this fucking weather freezing them off," Kyle started, sloshing his way through the damp grass in the direction of the health clinic. Stan followed close behind.
"Don't worry. The weather site said it was going to get warmer later!" Stan announced cheerfully. He took hold of Kyle's hand and gave it a squeeze. "But don't worry, until then I'll hold your hand to keep it warm."
Kyle waved the other hand in front of Stan's face.
"What about this one?"
"Give it here." Tucking the umbrella under one arm, Stan pressed Kyle's hands between his two palms.
Walking in such a manner proved a bit awkward, but they quickly fell into a step they could both keep pace with. Kyle stared down at their clasped hands.
"I know," Stan beamed, "isn't it awesome?"
"Yes," Kyle agreed but pulled his hands back. "But now my fingers are all sweaty. Ewww."
He wiped them off on Stan's letterman jacket. Stan raised an eyebrow.
"What?" Kyle asked.
Stan pulled Kyle into a one armed hug.
"Nothing…," Stan nudged Kyle's shoulder. "I just love you is all."
By the time they returned from the nurse's clinic and settled back into their dorm, it was one in the afternoon. Kyle set about collecting his books and folders for his assignment and buried himself in the corner of his bed to reread several passages of text. Stan had stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, shrugging off his jacket. He put it, and the umbrella inside his closet and turned back to Kyle. The redhead was now immersed in a large volume titled 'Descartes and Your Mind: Which One Really Exists?'. Stan frowned at the book; he could never really wrap his head around a lot of the philosophical ideas Kyle talked about. Then again there was a lot of things Kyle talked about that Stan didn't understand: math, science, gefilte fish, Kyle's sexuality. But Stan had come to learn that if he was patient enough, Kyle would explain it all to him.
Still standing nervously in the middle of the room, Stan glanced around for something to do. He'd already finished his homework. He spied his old Game Boy sticking out of his desk drawer, but didn't feel up to hunting for his games in the messy avalanche of papers and soda cans that was his desktop. He eyed the mini refrigerator to his left and knelt down to explore it.
"Want me to make lunch?" Stan offered, looking back at Kyle who still had his face hidden by his large book.
"Like what?" Kyle asked, turning a page.
"Uh…there's left over pizza?"
"Some soup. I could warm it up."
Stan straightened up and moved to the low shelves bolted to the wall above their desks. Kyle's shelf sported a neat array of books, folders, and several DVD cases. Stan's held several bags of half-empty potato chip bags, two boxes of Easy Mac, and five cans of Spaghetti-Os.
Stan pulled down one of the cans and waved it at Kyle. The redhead looked up and wrinkled his nose.
Stan scrambled through his desk for his can opener. Finding it he walked over to the microwave and began opening the can. He dumped the contents of oozing tomato sauce and noodles into a large plastic bowl and stuffed it into the microwave. Hitting start Stan leaned against Kyle's desk to wait. He glanced up at the row of neatly packed books above his head and spotted a familiar pink paperback sticking out from the far corner. Pulling it down, Stan smiled at the book's cover. He rifled through several yellowed pages, finding Kyle's spot somewhere at the end of the book. Kyle never dog-eared his books. He always had a small supply of fancy, colorful bookmarks to keep his place.
Stan held up the book.
"I can't believe you still have this."
Kyle peeked out over his large textbook. He squinted at the pink book's cover.
"Oh yeah. I really liked it, dude. It's a nice story."
"Yeah," Stan agreed, flipping back to Kyle's marked place. He read a few lines and frowned. He remembered the end of the book hadn't been a favorite of his. The microwave beeped at his elbow, and Stan set down the book to retrieve their lunch. He found two spoons and plucked them on top of the bowl and retreated to Kyle's bed. He shuffled his way up to the wall where Kyle sat tucked in the corner. He offered the bowl to Kyle.
"It was the only one I had clean," Stan said sheepishly. Kyle eyed the plastic bowl.
"I don't think this one's very clean either, dude."
Stan took a spoonful of Spaghetti-Os and blowing them cool, stuffed the spoon in his mouth. He grinned.
"Not dirty enough that I can't enjoy it," Stan countered, taking another bite. Kyle reached over and grabbed his own spoon with a bit of difficulty due to his injured fingers. He took a bite and chewed as if showing Stan that he too could be just as daring. Stan chuckled and turned back to the little pink book in his lap. He opened it to Kyle's saved spot and read.
Kyle grabbed the bowl of pasta and began wiping the rim of it with a tissue he'd pulled out of his pocket.
"I never liked this part," Stan murmured, pointing at the book. "I always felt like Ursula failed. She couldn't be the prince she wanted to be."
Kyle gulped down another mouthful of pasta, satisfied with the bowl's cleanliness.
"She couldn't save Angie."
"But she did save her," Kyle countered, now examining the spoon for dirt spots, finding it clean dropped it back in the bowl.
"No, she didn't," Stan argued. He turned the page. "She let Angie fall."
"You forget though," Kyle explained, stirring the contents of the plastic dish, "that she crawled across the tower room, bleeding, mind you, from a deep sword wound. She could barely stand. Do you think she would have done something that noble at the beginning of the story? Despite her claim of being a prince? No, it was when her friend needed her, no matter what shape her body was in, Ursula was going to help. Sure she couldn't hold her forever, and Angie fell. But that's all Angie needed. She saw what Ursula attempted. That started the spark that allowed her to leave her nightmare and shatter all her fears. In the end, the magical power – this great power everyone wanted – was no more complicated than showing someone a little bit of kindness."
Stan sat watching Kyle down a few more bites of Spaghetti-Os before propping his textbook up to continue reading. Stan pulled the bowl over and fished around inside for a few more spoonfuls.
"I guess I didn't think of the story like that," Stan confessed. "I just always saw what was happening on the surface. And for the longest time I thought it sucked."
"Well, that's just my interpretation of the story," Kyle said.
"Oh no, I like your interpretation, dude. Don't get me wrong. Plus," Stan blushed a little, "I like it when you explain complicated stuff to me."
"I didn't find the story all that complicated," Kyle noted, looking up from his book.
"Yeah, I guess. I'm just stupid…."
Kyle rolled his eyes. "Stan, you're not stupid. It's a children's story book. Don't beat yourself up over it."
"That's not what I meant, dude," Stan replied. He set his dish on the ground and turned back to Kyle. "I'm just trying to give you a compliment. You're really smart…and always know what to say."
Kyle smiled, rubbing his now professionally bandaged fingers over the edge of the book's spine.
"Thanks. But you can shut up now."
"Why? What if I want to talk more about how awesomely smart you are?"
Chuckling softly, Kyle shook his head, hiding behind his textbook once again. Stan frowned at being ignored and decided to lie across Kyle's lap.
Kyle raised an eyebrow. "Dude?"
"How much longer do you have to work on homework?" Stan mumbled into Kyle's knees.
"I have to write a response paper to this chapter I'm reading," Kyle explained, running his fingers through Stan's hair.
"How long's the paper?" Stan asked, closing his eyes.
"Not too long."
"Are you going to fall asleep on my lap, Stan?"
"It's going to make doing homework rather difficult."
"No it won't," Stan yawned. He rubbed his cheek against Kyle's shin.
Poking Stan in the head, Kyle said, "If you go get my laptop for me now, I can do all my homework right here and you can lay on me all you want."
Stan got up without a word. He unplugged the computer from the wall and returned it to Kyle's bed. Then Stan lay back down, curling up against Kyle's side as the other boy started up the laptop and pulled his thick textbook back to his side.
Stan dozed for awhile, listening to the sound of Kyle click away at his computer's keyboard. It was slow going for the first fifteen minutes what with his bandaged fingers hindering his movement. Several times, Kyle had to pause to flex his hands and allow his injured fingers to relax. Stan watched him.
"You want me to do that?" Stan offered.
"I can type out your paper. So you don't hurt your hands." Stan sat up and pulled Kyle's laptop towards him. Kyle narrowed his brow as if thinking about it.
"I don't know, dude, I change my thought process so quickly. You'd get annoyed at how many times I'd make you rewrite one sentence," Kyle explained, giving a forced laugh.
Stan shrugged. "I don't care, dude. I got nothing else to do. Plus, you shouldn't be doing anything to your fingers that could hurt them more."
Kyle curled his fingers to examine the tips.
"I guess this will make things go faster too?"
"Definitely," Stan nodded. He poised his hands over the keyboard, ready for Kyle's instructions. It took several false starts to get a rhythm going, but soon, Stan was typing away with Kyle reciting in his ear. Sometimes Kyle would have Stan stop and read back to him what he'd just typed. Then Kyle would have Stan delete it and start over with a whole brand new thought. It was interesting to witness, Stan mused. Kyle would skim his textbook several times before relating to Stan what he wanted written. Eventually it became more of a conversation between the two, than a dictation. Stan was still thoroughly confused by the subject matter, but it seemed to help Kyle ten-fold to actually approach the paper as if it were an explanatory piece. In the end, after Kyle reread the response paper for the third time, he commented to Stan that having him as an outsider to the subject, allowed for Kyle to search for better thought-out explanations.
"I'm glad my stupidity could help you out," Stan chuckled, watching Kyle replace his laptop on the table. He stuffed his textbook back into his backpack.
Turning around with a new frown forming, Kyle said, "Didn't I tell you to stop that? For the rest of the day, you are not allowed to put yourself down."
"Okay…you know it would help my self-esteem a lot more if you kissed me," Stan said offhandedly. He shrugged a bit, examining a loose thread on Kyle's bedcovers.
Kyle sat down on the bed, smiling. Stan smiled too.
"Well, here I am," Kyle whispered, "what are you waiting for?"
Stan slipped his arms about Kyle's waist and pulled him to his chest. Kyle grew ridged for only a brief second, before falling limp into the embrace. Pressed together with their legs slightly entwined, the two kissed, they're touches hesitant. Stan moved his hands up to press against the small of Kyle's back, keeping him in place. He crinkled his fingers into the fabric of Kyle's sweater, tugging it up and touching the soft skin he found beneath. Suddenly, Kyle went stiff.
Stan broke the kiss.
Kyle blushed and yanked his sweater back down.
"Um…yeah, don't – don't do that, okay?" Kyle said, blushing. His breathing came out quick, and he avoided Stan's eye.
"I'm sorry. Maybe…maybe you can tell me what you want me to do? Like what's okay for you or not? I don't want to do anything you aren't comfortable with," Stan said helpfully, brushing a few strand of hair out of Kyle's face.
Kyle gave a small smile.
Stan kissed his forehead.
They tried again, but Stan could already tell the moment had passed. Instead they lay together with their foreheads pressed close, and their fingers linked. Stan rubbed his thumb over the scratchy bandages adorning Kyle's right hand. Kyle buried his face in Stan's shoulder.
Just then Kyle's phone buzzed.
Both boys started and looked down. Kyle fumbled in his jean pocket and produced his cell. He flipped it open and brought it to his ear.
Stan waited, listening. He stroked Kyle's fingers one at a time.
"No…not really. Stan and I are just hanging out," Kyle spoke into the phone. He flushed and frowned. "No, Kenny, we are not doing anything. I swear you think everyone's doing something inappropriate all the time."
A pause followed. Stan felt his own face grow hot. Leave it to Kenny to bring up any and all taboo topic during a friendly chat on the phone. Stan wondered if he'd cotton on to their relationship yet. Kenny knew Stan had liked Kyle, but he didn't know they'd finally made a romantic relationship a reality.
"It is?" Kyle said, rolling over to look at the window. Stan glanced up as well and saw the sunlight streaming through the blinds. Kyle rolled back over and tucked himself closer to Stan's chest. Stan pressed his face into Kyle's hair.
"I don't think we're doing anything later…." Kyle glanced up at Stan. "Are we doing anything later?"
"I have no plans. You?'
Kyle shook his head and turned back to his phone.
"We're not doing anything tonight…uh huh…. Yeah. Okay. That's sounds cool. See you at seven thirty then."
Kyle shut his phone.
"We're meeting up for dinner with Kenny and everybody."
"Cartman," Stan sighed.
"I guess we should be grateful to him. He could have left us in that hole," Kyle sighed. He rubbed his forehead. "I hate being indebted to that fat ass."
"I gave him lots of candy," Stan mused. "Maybe that'll satisfy him long enough."
Kyle chuckled. "Let's hope."
Later on in the afternoon, the boys awoke from a short nap they'd drifted into. Stan stretched, and watched Kyle blink blearily at the sunny sky outside their tiny window.
"It does look a lot warmer."
Stan moved to sit next to him on the edge of the bed.
"We should take advantage of it," Stan said cheerfully, wrapping his arm around Kyle's waist. He waited to see the other boy's reaction, but the touch seemed to pass whatever test Stan was trying out.
Kyle rubbed at his eyes and checked his watch.
"Let's go for a walk in the nature park. The trees are all gold and red. It's really nice out. I'm sure the sun's dried up the ground too."
Kyle frowned. He wasn't much of a fan of 'nature.'
"I said a walk around campus, dude. The nature park isn't the campus."
"Aww, I think it'll be more fun. It's so nice out in the woods this time of year."
"How about we don't, and say we did?" Kyle said putting on a fake grin. Stan slumped his shoulders, pouting slightly.
"I guess we don't have to…."
Kyle huffed, rolling his eyes at Stan's pathetic expression.
"Fine. Let's go then. Where are my shoes?"
The nature park located north of the campus was only a half hours walk on foot. Heading past the art building and football field, a small, winding path appeared that cut through the woods. The gravel path was most often used by the track team, and at every few intervals, Stan and Kyle had to sidestep a jogger or two. Stan had found himself running the path with his teammates on numerous training occasions. Kyle had only been up to the nature park during his painting class, which he took more for relaxation than to actually improve any artistic abilities. He complained to Stan about how long a trek the path had been when he'd had to carry his box of paints, canvas, and sketchbooks.
"And what sucked most," Kyle said kicking at the gravel as they turned down a steeper part of the path, the trees surrounding them were gold with thick, wide leaves, "is the professor and his assistant drove up to the park. He made the class walk!"
"Dude, that sucks." Stan said sympathetically. He reached out and grabbed Kyle's hand.
"At least we're done with landscapes now. It's getting too cold," Kyle explained, tugging his coat collar closer around his neck. Stan didn't find it that cold. The sun had appeared and most of the rain from this morning had dried away. In fact Stan had unzipped his jacket.
"What are you painting next?" Stan asked, swinging their hands slowly back and forth. He hummed to himself and smiled at a jogger who sidestepped them. She gave the two an odd look, but continued on down the path. For a brief moment, Stan wanted to turn around and shout after her, claiming that he was going for a walk with his boyfriend.
"Still life, I think." Kyle mused, frowning. "I'm sort of sick of staring at bowls of fruit."
Stan felt his cheeks redden. "Do you paint nudes?"
Kyle scratched his head.
"I think we might. Closer to the end of the year," Kyle guessed. He smirked. "Why do you want to be my subject?"
"I think there are some female models that get paid to sit for us when we start painting nudes."
"I see," Stan said, rubbing at his neck. His face was still red.
They walked past a small cluster of red and orange colored trees and found themselves under a sparse canopy of limbs. The trees and foliage curled up over their heads making a kind of archway. Continuing on down the gravel path, Stan and Kyle grew quiet listening to the sounds of the park echo around them. Birds chirped and a rustling of leaves announced small creatures scurrying somewhere out of sight.
Stan drew closer to Kyle. He laced their fingers tighter together, rubbing his thumb over Kyle's bandages.
"It's really nice out, isn't it?"
"It's still cold and wet, and I have a rock in my shoe," Kyle said. Stan frowned, but Kyle smiled, "But that doesn't mean I want to go home yet. It's really is nice out, Stan. It's a lot more enjoyable when you don't have to carry a full box of paints with you."
Kyle stood on his toes and kissed Stan's forehead.
"I love you, okay?"
Stan beamed his eyes slightly moist.
"I love you too!" He hugged Kyle to him. Another group of runners crossed their paths. Stan pulled away from Kyle and pointed at him, shouting at the retreating figures, "He's my boyfriend!"
"Dude! Shut up!" Kyle laughed, smacking Stan in the shoulder.
"You're acting like an idiot."
"But I want to act like an idiot."
Kyle shook his head and tugged Stan down the path with him. Stan caught up to Kyle's side and went back to swinging their clasped hands back and forth to a gentle beat. Stan started humming to himself again. He looked up above his head and smiled at the dappled light streaming through the canopy of leaves and branches.
"I feel like singing, dude," Stan mused. Kyle rolled his eyes.
"…They say we're young and we don't know…We won't find out until we grow…."
"For the love of Christ, Stan, stop that. People will hear."
"Well, I don't know if all that's true. 'Cause you got me, and, baby, I got you."
Stan grinned stupidly and Kyle glared him down as if daring him to sing another verse. Stan opened his mouth, but Kyle smacked him on the chest with the back of his hand.
"I said no."
Stan skipped away from him, darting out of his reach.
"Babe… I got you babe…I got you babe!"
Kyle chased him in a circle, trying to pelt him with pebbles.
"Aw, come on, dude, don't you want to join in?" Stan chuckled, ducking behind a tree. He sprinted out from under the shelter of the woods and climbed up onto a wooden fence built next to the path.
"No, I don't. I don't sing. I don't dance. Now, get down from there before you break something," Kyle said.
"They say our love won't pay the rent. Before it's earned, our money's off and spent!"
Kyle leaned against the fence.
"You forget, Stan, you're now dating a Jew. Our finances will be quite sound, I assure you…. Expect for that whole, I'm in debt up to my eyeballs 'cause I bailed out half the town that one time…."
Stan ignored him. Another jogger appeared, and Stan started singing at the top of his lungs.
"I guess that's so, we don't have a pot. But at least I'm sure of all the things we got!"
The guy jogging raised an eyebrow at Kyle, and the redhead shrugged and jerked his thumb at Stan's direction.
"He's in love. It's one of the symptoms – ballads, singing, you know shit like that. I'm sure he'll be over it by dinner," Kyle explained to the jogger. The young man gave him a weird look, and continued on his way.
"Sing with me, dude," Stan said raising his arms over his head.
"I don't know the words."
Stan dropped to the ground and tugged Kyle into a one armed hug.
"I got you to hold my hand…," Stan sung, pulling Kyle closer to his side. He smiled down at Kyle, who sighed.
A long pause and then,
"…I got you to understand," Kyle mumbled.
Stan beamed. "I got you to walk with me."
Kyle shook his head. "I got you to talk with me."
"I got you to kiss goodnight." Stan exclaimed, pressing his lips into Kyle's hair.
"I got you to hold me tight," Kyle murmured, blushing.
"I got you, I won't let go," Stan sang, swaying back and forth to his own humming.
"I got you to love me so," Kyle chorused a bit louder. He smiled.
Stan finished up the song, tugging Kyle back down the path to the nature park. No matter how many stares they received, Stan kept repeating the song. Eventually, Kyle gave in and threw his full force behind the lyrics. It finally came to a point where they were laughing into each other's faces as they sang the cheesy words. But they didn't care. No one mattered, but the two of them and they're stupid song.
"You're a retard, Stan, I swear. I don't know what I'm going to do with you," Kyle managed to say after calming down from another long bout of laughter, where both of them started cracking up if they even looked at the other. Stan grinned, feeling lighter than air.
"But you still love me right?"
Kyle shook his head. "I still love you, Stan."
Arriving at the cafeteria around seven thirty that night, Stan and Kyle found Kenny, Wendy, Bebe and Cartman sitting around a table hidden in the farthest corner of the room. The college's lunch hall consisted of a circular room, with skylights high above. Now with dusk settled in, the light from within the room glared off the glass panels. The cafeteria was only half empty, and much of the dinner had already been packed up and cleared away. Kenny sat hunched over a large soup bowl. The girls shared a carton of breadsticks. Cartman had a tray filled with a half eaten sub sandwich, two bags of chips, and a large packet of cookies.
"Sup, dudes," Kenny said nodding to Stan and Kyle as they approached. Kenny took one look at them and smirked. "It's about damn time."
"What?" Stan asked as he sat down. He had purchased his supper, which included a veggie burger. Cartman scowled at the soybean burger patty as if it were mocking him.
Kenny chuckled. He pointed to Stan and then to Kyle.
"Something's different about you. I can tell by the way Stan's smiling like a fucking moron and that you don't look as wound up as usual. Like you finally learned how to relax," Kenny explained to his friends.
Wendy and Bebe looked up from their breadsticks.
"What's he going on about?" Wendy asked Stan.
Stan blushed. "I'm not sure…."
"Stan and Kyle are together. Finally," Kenny stated shortly. Wendy and Bebe blinked. Cartman frowned at his sub sandwich.
And then Bebe squealed.
"Really? AWWWW! How cute!"
Wendy looked up bewildered at her girlfriend's enthusiasm. "What?"
Before Stan knew what to think, Bebe was hugging him and Kyle from behind.
"You two are so sweet! Aww, you two make an adorable couple," Bebe gushed. She started fluttering her hands and squeaking with excitement. She suddenly rounded on Wendy.
"OH MY GOSH! Do you know what this means, Wends?" she twittered to the girl. Wendy's mouth was slightly agape with her lips twitching into a half smile. She wasn't sure what to make of the other girl's outburst.
"Er – what does it mean?"
"We have someone to double date with now! Isn't that wonderful?" she squealed hugging Wendy and then giving Stan and Kyle yet another hug.
Wendy cleared her throat. "Um, Bebe, Stan and Kyle haven't even confirmed if Kenny's telling the truth."
Bebe paused, her smile slipping. She spun back around to face Stan and Kyle who jumped.
"Well? Is it true?" she demanded as if they told her 'no' she'd punch them in the face.
Stan grinned, blushing. "It's – uh – true."
Bebe gave a cheer and clapped her hands together.
"That's all well and good," Wendy spoke up, "But I'm more concerned on how you two are feeling. Eric told us what happened to you two last night. Kyle, how's your hands?"
Kyle set his hands on top of the table and wriggled his fingers a bit. They were still securely wrapped in their bandages. Stan had put on the new gauze about a half an hour ago. Kyle's fingers were looking much better.
Cartman downed the rest of his soda and turned to Kenny.
"Pay up, Po' Boy. You owe me fifty bucks," Cartman stated. He held his hand out, palm up, right under Kenny's nose.
"I don't have that much on me, dude," Kenny laughed, waving his hand back and forth.
"You aren't sneaking out of the bet, asshole," Cartman growled.
Stan looked up from his veggie burger. Kyle was sadly explaining to Bebe the damage his beloved Galileo costume had taken. The girl shook her head, covering her mouth with her hands. Wendy patted her shoulder saying she was sure it would be fixable.
"What's your bet about?" Stan asked, taking a sip of his water.
Kenny pulled out his wallet to show Cartman that, in fact, he had no money on him whatsoever.
"I bet Kenny that you two would start screwing around Freshman year of college."
Stan started sputtering on his drink.
"I bet him that you two wouldn't start fucking until Sophomore year. So, I'm out fifty bucks," Kenny explained, though he didn't seem too disturbed by his loss. He winked at Stan.
"So, what have you two been up to?" Kenny grinned. Cartman looked disgusted and turned his attention back to his food.
Stan frowned, feeling his face heat up again. "We haven't done anything, dude. We've only been dating for a day!"
"Sure…." Kenny chuckled. Stan narrowed his eyes.
"Kenny, I'm serious."
"Aww, really?" Kenny pouted. "Well, I guess you two are kind of 'good boys'. You'll wait 'til the Honeymoon, right?"
Stan shrugged his shoulders and became suddenly very concerned about picking the sesame seeds off his burger's bun. Kenny nodded sagely and turned to Cartman, jabbing him in his large side.
"Ay! Stop that, you po' piece of shit."
"I guess I don't owe you anything, fat boy," Kenny laughed. "You bet they would fuck Freshman year, and they haven't yet. So, I don't have to pay you."
Kenny stuck out his tongue.
"You guys are assholes, you know that right?" Stan said, glaring at them.
"I don't see why you'd want to screw the runty Jew, Stan. He's probably riddled with diseases anyway," Eric mused. Stan flung a handful of ketchup packets at Cartman's face.
"AY! Fuck you, Stan! See if I ever root for your sex life again!"
"Shut up!" Stan hissed. Kyle looked up from Bebe and Wendy's conversation.
"What's he doing now, Stan?" Kyle asked, glaring at Cartman.
Stan shook his head. "Nothing. It's stupid."
"We're debating on whether or not Stan's going to pop your cherry this year or next," Cartman explained bluntly, before stuffing a handful of chips into his mouth.
Kyle nodded slowly. "I see." He looked at Stan who made a frantic gesture with his hands as if to say he had no clue what Eric was talking about.
Kenny leaned across the table confidentially. "Don't worry, dude. We're all sure Stan will make an honest man out of you before doing the nasty."
Stan wanted to bury his head in the ground. Why did Kenny and Cartman have to even exist sometime?
Well, said a little thought in the back of his head, without them you'd still be in that grave.
Stan told that little voice to shut the fuck up; he wasn't talking about that now.
"Would you two stop being perverse," Wendy called down the table, giving both Kenny and Cartman a reprimanding look. They chuckled at her.
"Come off it, Wendy. We're just having fun," Kenny smirked. "Stan and Kyle don't mind." He turned to them. "Do you?"
Stan opened his mouth, but hesitated.
"No, of course not," Kyle smiled. "You two are just being assholes. Like always."
"Yeah," Stan agreed feebly, watching Kyle give another grin and start munching on his chicken sandwich.
When the group finally parted after dinner, Wendy and Bebe headed back towards the sorority house. Bebe hugged Kyle soundly, telling him they'd work on fixing his costume tomorrow. Cartman stood awkwardly behind Wendy. Several times he raised his hand as if debating about catching her attention. In the end he called everyone in the group a bunch of fags and nearly sprinted out of sight towards the parking lot. Kenny followed Stan and Kyle back to the dorm.
He pulled out a cigarette and lit the end.
"So, I've decided what I want to do with my life. At least for the moment," Kenny informed them. Kyle raised an eyebrow.
"And that would be?"
"I'm going to try my hand at being a doctor. Might be fun."
Kyle's jaw dropped open.
"W-what? You're kidding, right?"
"You want me to continue school. So I'm going to study medicine. I think it'll be fun," Kenny explained, happily taking a drag from his cigarette. Stan wanted to point out that a prospective doctor might want to reconsider his addictive habits.
"Kenny, you do realize that to be a doctor is really, really difficult, right? You have to go through a shit ton of years of school. And it's not cheap. You can't just flunk a class or two and somehow slide by," Kyle said very carefully. Kenny blew smoke out of his nose.
"I know," he said.
"Are you sure?" Kyle asked.
"Pretty sure," Kenny said grinning. "I mean, I might as well try shouldn't I?"
Kyle rubbed a hand over his forehead. Stan let out a low breath. They gave each other a look, and Kenny smirked at them.
"It was your idea, Kyle," Kenny stated. "You said I could save lives. So I want to try that."
Stan smiled, shaking his head.
"Do whatever you want to do, dude. We'll – er – support you, I guess?"
Kyle glared up at Kenny, sizing him up. "You better not half-ass this. I don't want to spend nights tutoring you for you to just say you give up again when you get bored."
"If I change my mind, I change my mind," he said. "But I'm going to try. You can't begrudge me that, can you?"
Kyle opened his mouth to retort, but thought better on it. He just shrugged.
"Fine. Do what you want."
Kenny nudged him in the shoulder.
"You still going to help me with school, if I ask?"
Kyle sighed. "You know I will."
Back at the dorm, Kenny wandered off to the basement to raid the communal fridge. He told them he checked the count of Tupperware and leftovers that people left behind. If the food hadn't been reclaimed in over a week, Kenny took it.
"Dude, that's disgusting," Kyle said, making a face. "You don't know who's touched that food."
"I don't know what you're talking about, but it's free food, so I'm all over it." Kenny smirked and waved them goodbye as he disappeared down the dark staircase.
Five minutes and four flights of stairs later, Stan and Kyle returned to their room. Once inside, Kyle went to his closet and pulled out an old brown box and began taking down the Halloween decorations. He unwound the orange lights from their bed posts, taking care not to tangle the cord.
"Aw, I was hoping we'd keep them up for a little while longer," Stan said, taking a seat at his desk.
"Halloween's over, Stan," Kyle stated simply. "Plus, I hate leaving up decorations after the holiday's ended."
Pivoting his chair back and forth, Stan said, "It was a pretty lousy Halloween."
"I think that is a gross understatement." Kyle wrapped up the last of the lights and dumped them into the brown box. He then crossed the room to his desk and pulled his chair into the middle of the room. Standing on it, he began pulling down the paper bats. They had been tacked to the ceiling with tape, so a light tug brought them down easy. Stan stood up.
"Dude, let me do that," Stan offered. Standing on his toes, Kyle pulled down another decoration.
"I got it."
"I'm not going to fall. If it makes you feel better, stand there and catch me if I do."
So Stan did. To his great relief, Kyle did not fall. Having collected all the bats, Kyle shoved the box of decorations back into his closet and shut the door with a snap. Stan moved to Kyle's bed and lay down upon it. For a moment, Kyle watched Stan. He seemed to hesitate as if looking for something else to occupy his hands. He ventured over to his desk and straightened a few books. He swept his hand over the surface, clearing away any dust (which there was none). He made a great show of lining up his chair with the edge of his desk. He kept shifting it in place over and over.
"Dude, you okay?" Stan asked from across the room. He'd pulled over the pink book from earlier and was flipping through its browned pages.
"Did Kenny and Cartman really bet on whether or not we'd have sex?" Kyle asked his back to Stan.
"And what were they exactly betting on?"
Stan rubbed the back of his neck. "Apparently, even before we'd made this 'official'," Stan explained waving his hand back and forth between them, "they were betting that we'd fool around either Freshman or Sophomore year. So far – er – no one's won yet."
Kyle wrung his hands together, staring at the floor. He looked in deep thought, biting his lip every once in a while. Stan sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed.
"Don't let them get to you," he said, holding out a hand. "Come here for a sec, dude."
Kyle obeyed. He moved towards the bed, and Stan reached out and took his hand, pulling him down to sit beside him.
"You okay?" Stan asked.
"You want to have sex, don't you?" Kyle murmured so low that Stan thought he'd misheard at first.
Stan ran his hands through his hair and forced a laugh.
"Dude, look it's not like – I mean – it had crossed my mind…maybe once." Liar, Stan couldn't help but call himself.
Kyle folded his arms over his stomach and continued to stare at the ground.
"Maybe…." Kyle hesitated. "Maybe we should?"
Stan's face grew hot. "Should what?"
Kyle avoided Stan's eye, breathing a little too quickly.
"Maybe if I actually have it…I'll want it?"
Stan cupped his face in his hands and stared at the ground too. He mumbled through his fingers.
"Do you – do you want to?"
"Then why are you suggesting it?"
Kyle looked up. The two stared at each other for several seconds.
"I think it would be fair…," Kyle said slowly. "You're getting so little out of this relationship, Stan. You do anything I ask. You always have. Ever since we were kids. If I wanted something you got it for me. If I wanted to play a board game when you wanted to play football, we played the board game. When I didn't have enough cash for ice cream you gave me half of yours. Hell, you got me a fucking kidney that one time."
Kyle wiped at his eyes.
"You're always giving me everything I want. And I'm such an asshole that I just keep asking for more. I mean we've both done shit we regret; we've both turned our backs on each other more times than I'd like to think about, but in the end – in the end it always seems like you sacrifice more to make it all okay."
Stan frowned, not knowing how to answer; he reached out his hand and touched Kyle's shoulder.
Yanking at his hair, Kyle continued, "And here we are…trying to start – what? A relationship, something romantic. And I've already set up all my rules. What I want, I've already told you. And you just accepted it. But, you haven't said anything about what you want from this, dude. What do you want? Fuck whatever I've said; I just want to know what you want."
Kyle breathed heavily out his nose, staring straight into Stan's eyes. Slowly, Stan brought his hand away from Kyle's shoulder and slipped it into Kyle's bandaged hand.
"I want this," he said, smiling.
"My hand?" Kyle said, sniffing and rubbing at his eyes.
"That all?" Kyle asked. "It's pretty fucked up. Both of them."
"I know," Stan said scooting closer and taking hold of Kyle's other hand with his own. "But I want to hold your hand. Like we did in the park. I want to do that every day."
"But – but don't you want…more?" Kyle pressed. He touched his knee to Stan's thigh. "Don't you want more from me?"
Stan leaned over and kissed Kyle on the lips. He lingered close, allowing their noses to touch.
"I know you're trying to be selfless, dude, but that's not your thing. I want you to ask me to do the impossible. I want you to set rules. I want you to have your way. I want you to be happy," Stan whispered. He added, "…and comfortable with me. I don't want you to think I want something more. I want you to be happy. That's what makes me happy."
"Stan…," Kyle breathed, kissing him again. "Stan…I don't…."
"How's this," Stan said, running his fingers through Kyle's red curls. "I'll ask you for one thing. Is that okay?"
"I'd do anything for you, Stan," Kyle whispered.
"Do you love me?" Stan asked shyly.
"Of course," Kyle said with a hint of his scoffing tone returning.
"Could you say it, please? For me."
"I love you, Stan," Kyle replied in a softer tone.
"Say it again…please, dude? I fucking love hearing it."
"I love you, Stan. I love you more than anything, dude. But don't you want – "
Stan kissed him again, cutting him off.
"That's all I need, dude. You think you're the one who's getting everything they want out of this. Out of us? You have no fucking clue, dude. All I ever needed was you to say that. To me that's the most I could ask from you."
For a brief moment, Stan let go of Kyle's hands and walked across the room to the light switch. He flicked it off, allowing the plastic stars to glow and the streetlamp's light from outside to creep in through the window. He returned to the bed and hugged Kyle to him. They lay down side by side; their hands clasped tightly together, almost forming one fist with the embrace. Kyle didn't care about his bandages. Nothing hurt if Stan was happy.
"I love you, Stan,"
He repeated the phrase again. And again. And again.
Until they drifted to sleep, wrapped in the security that when the two of them finally woke up in the morning, that Kyle's wonderful mantra would continue on and on.
Thanks again for reading! :D