Kyle's foot is tapping in the way that it does when he's mad; every time the tip of his foot hits the floor, it slams into Stan's head in a way that is entirely too unpleasant. It must be noon by now.

"You can't keep doing this," and Kyle's voice is soft, softer than Stan's ever heard it, like a feather. "I won't let you."

Stan's hair smells like vomit and he doesn't trust himself to speak so he nods instead. Yes, of course, Kyle. I get it, Kyle. Don't worry about it, Kyle. You won't lose me. Kyle. Kyle. You won't leave me, either.

Stan nods, a good little bobblehead, good at saying yes and no but not good at telling the truth. Kyle doesn't believe him, but he smiles a million watts and kisses his forehead, touches his hair, ignores the stench of puke. He says nothing at all and Stan remembers the first time he ever held him, their grins big and wide and their eyes closed, tracing the features of each other's bodies, the thin, rippling muscles on Stan's back, the profound knobs of Kyle's spine, and it smelled like Christmas and something else, peppermint and cinnamon and Kyle's coconut shampoo that he hasn't used in years.

Once, Stan stumbled into the house after a fight over something dumb — like whether or not they'd invite Cartman to their Thanksgiving plans, or something about paper plates — and he forced Kyle to fix him, to make it all better like he used to when they were kids, kissing away the bruises and the scrapes and cuts before they understood why it mattered.

Stan kissed a sloppy trail down Kyle's stomach and settled in between the fork of his legs, gave him the worst drunken blowjob he's ever given, and Kyle didn't say any words but the right ones (fuck, Stan, shit, jesus). Stan rolled over onto his stomach, listening to the sound of his breathing, saying all the right words (fuck, Kyle, shit, jesus) and none of the wrong ones. Kyle held him, begged him. Don't do this kind of shit, Stan, fuck, jesus.

And Stan made a promise never again, but no one believed him. Stan fell asleep first. Kyle was still awake when he woke up.

"What're you thinking about?" Doesn't say the right words this time.

Kyle shakes his head. "Nothing. Breakfast?" and all the wrong words show up pretty and clean in his smile.

Stan never sleeps with anyone else. He never even thinks about it. He can't imagine anything worse than the look on Kyle's face, the way his nose would scrunch up, the way his eyes would widen with hurt and turn glassy with tears. He can't imagine the trembling lips and the pale cheeks.

He ruins Kyle worse, just by being sad. Sad, and lonely without the meaning of the word. Sad, and drunk, and pissy, and never looking at him like he used to.

(And here's the secret: when Stan gets drunk, he gets sad, and when he's sad Kyle is sad, and sometimes when they're both sad, Stan doesn't feel so alone anymore, he doesn't feel so different, because the look on Kyle's face refreshes him in a way that it shouldn't. He never sleeps with anyone else. It wouldn't hurt enough, and Stan wants to hurt.)

But one night.

Kyle whispers, "You're going to kill yourself," and Stan doesn't say a word. Kyle holds him, cries into his hair, hates him a little, probably, and Stan welcomes the hate.

"How do you love me?"

Kyle doesn't answer and Stan doesn't wake up when the sun rises. He doesn't wake up at all.