Epilogue- Two Years Later
When Shelly announces that she's pregnant, it goes a few ways: Cartman practically faints, Sharon insists that she's too young to be a grandmother, and Stan gets this ridiculous look of excitement that would have anyone thinking this was his baby and not his sister's. Kyle takes it pretty much how he thought he would. Eric Cartman and Shelly Marsh have spawned—lock up your valuables and move your loved ones to higher ground.
He does buy a baby book, though, just to get himself on the up and up about a few things. Hell, they might need him and Stan to babysit once the kid's here, right? And fine, in spite of the fact that they have, like no money right now, Stan's been buying shit for this kid like crazy. First it was a teddy bear, then it was a bunch of those soft, spongey books with the big words that kids love, and now it's stuff like onesies and Kyle is actually having a really hard time telling him to stop. They still have the dogs, but apart from giving them actual people food once in a while, they're pretty content with life; it'll be nice to spoil a little human being for once.
Kyle yawns as he checks his watch. Only fifteen minutes left on his shift, and everything's pretty dead right now, which is the worst. He started working as a Genius in the Apple store in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center up in Denver almost a year ago; the pay's pretty decent, which allows him to take care of a lot of the bills while Stan puts himself through school, but they're still pretty strapped for cash when things like food and fun are factored in.
He and Stan try to coordinate schedules as best they can, and Wednesday is usually one of those days where everything lines up perfectly. Kyle gets off work with just enough time to get to the community college to pick up Stan when his class lets out. They get to go eat, sometimes they go see a movie, and then they go home, have sex, and fall asleep, because they're in their twenties and they don't get to have fun yet.
Today's different, though. Shelly went into labor yesterday around one o'clock and, she finally had the baby about two hours ago—a girl, Sharon had sent in her text, with fluffy brown hair and chunky little arms and legs whose name is still to be determined.
"Hey, Kyle," the manager, Dianne, comes out of her office and looks around the store. She's squirrely haired and kind of rabbit faced, but she's nice enough, and she's the only person Kyle's met thus far that's met Stan, seen the bands on their fingers, and not said a single word about it.
Needless to say, Kyle likes her a lot.
"Why don't you get out of here?" she says and shoves her hands in her pockets. "Your sister-in-law had a baby, go be an uncle. We'll be fine here. Jared just got here anyway… go buy a card or some aspirin or some noise cancelling headphones for her, y'know?"
Kyle smiles at her, fiddling with the ring on his left ring finger as he stands, "Thanks."
"And tell everyone congratulations," Christine pats him on the shoulder and turns back toward her office, stopping only to say, "Stan too."
He gives her a thumbs up and goes to grab his stuff out of his locker in back before dashing out of the store and toward his—well, Stan's—car. The Jeep's old and it's taking Kyle time to adjust to driving it, but it's his and Stan's only means of transportation, so Stan's been sharing.
He sends Stan a text to say he's on his way, only to get one back almost immediately. 'Mom picked me up an hr ago. couldn't wait sorry. love you.'
Kyle rolls his eyes and tosses his phone onto the seat beside him with a smile. He's twenty-five and not entirely sure he's ready to be an uncle, and pretty sure that he couldn't handle being a father just yet (if at all), but both Stan and Cartman are excited by the whole thing.
Then again, Stan and Cartman are both a little insane with their daddy issues, so Kyle just sort of lets it slide.
He speeds to the hospital and runs up to the obstetrics ward instead of taking the elevator, because apparently he's that excited too. When he gets into the waiting room, he's met by Stan, who smiles broadly when he sees him and pushes up off his chair, throwing his arms around him without preamble and pecking a kiss to his lips.
"Hey," Kyle smiles a little and pulls back. Stan looks pretty beat—he was up all night finishing a paper, and as much as Kyle loves him, staying up with him until five in the morning when he has to be up at seven-thirty is a little much, thanks. He runs his fingers through Stan's ridiculously messy hair and bows their heads together, "How is everyone?"
"Fine," Stan yawns. "My mom and Liane went on a dinner run, Shelly's asleep, so it's just been me, Cartman and the baby for a little bit."
"Ugh, how's that?" Kyle can't keep the initial reaction of disgust out of his voice, even if he's calmed a bit over the last couple years. He's still a dick, but between being married and working all the time and now all the baby preparation, it's rechanneled his energy considerably. Not that Kyle would jump at the chance to spend a day with him, but he's had more unpleasant experiences.
Stan, meanwhile, just shrugs and tosses his head back toward the rooms, "Wanna go meet our niece?"
Kyle laughs, "She still doesn't have a name, does she?"
"No," Stan snorts as he takes Kyle's hand and tugs him toward Shelly's room. "Cartman said she needed to take a nap before they made any decisions."
"What an ass," Kyle mutters just as they come to the door and gingerly push their way inside. Shelly's out like a light (Kyle supposes he would be too if he pushed Eric Cartman's demon child out of his body), while Cartman sits, all bleary-eyed and greasy-haired, with his feet propped up against the foot of her bed, cradling the baby in his thick arms.
It's one of those rare moments in which Kyle's reminded that Cartman is, in fact, a human being with emotions and thoughts and feelings, who is indeed capable of loving a baby. He looks up at Stan and Kyle and shifts a little bit, holding the baby closer to him like he never wants to let her go now that he has her.
Kyle just smiles and folds his arms across his chest, all ready to fire off a witty remark, but nothing comes out. It's too good of a moment to spoil, so he just stands there a little impotently and waits for Stan to say something or for a baby to be offered to him.
He doesn't need to hold her, he thinks. Kyle's kind of freaked out by newborns and doesn't really trust himself holding one any more than he trusts himself driving a nice car. He'll hold her maybe once she's got a few miles on her—Kenny can be the first unlucky fuck to drop her; Kyle will not let that be his legacy.
He will not be known as resident baby dropper.
"Here, dude," Stan goes over to Cartman and puts his arms out. "Let me and Kyle see her for a few minutes."
Cartman eyes Kyle warily for a moment before grudgingly handing the baby over to Stan.
"I swear to god, if either of you buttholes drops her…" he begins, but Stan rolls his eyes and flips him off and that somehow shuts him up. Stan walks over to Kyle, cuddling the baby in his arms and smiling so big that it makes Kyle's chest hurt.
"You won't drop her, dude," he whispers then, "She's a little chunky, but she's not that heavy."
Kyle gives Stan a pleading look before looking down at the baby cradled in his arms. She's got a squishy-looking nose and big pink cheeks and she's possibly the fattest little baby Kyle's ever seen, but honestly? Kyle thinks he might be in love just a little bit because when she opens her eyes and looks at him for the first time, she looks a little bewildered and Kyle thinks it's about the cutest thing he's ever seen.
He seizes a bit when Stan passes her off, looking over to Cartman to make sure he's not about to punch him, only to find that he's fast asleep in the exact same position as he was only a few moments before. The baby gurgles a bit, wriggling in her swaddle as Kyle cradles her awkwardly. He's not good with kids like Stan is, and he knows that there's a look of abject terror on his face, but he does his best to play it cool because he does not want this little girl to start crying right now.
"She likes you," Stan says softly, stepping close so he can move quickly if the baby just decides to squirm right out of Kyle's arms.
"I don't like holding babies, dude," Kyle confesses softly, like she even has the capacity to understand what he's saying.
"I know, but," Stan runs his fingers over the wispy tufts of fine brown hair on her head. "We're her uncles, dude. Like, she doesn't have any others. How fucking cool is that? We get to be cool and buy her shit and take her to the movies and stuff."
"Jesus, stop traffic," Kyle chuckles a bit and just sort of gives him a moment to take it all in. It feels a little too official, like a timestamp that initiates their adulthood, and if he couldn't smell Stan's cologne or feel the heat radiating off of him right now he'd probably descend into an hours-long panic attack.
He doesn't, though, and that's because Stan catches him off-guard in a kiss, one that makes Kyle feel all light and airy and keeps both of them from hearing the door open and shut behind them.
"Oh, uh," comes a familiar voice that makes Stan and Kyle break away from each other and turn. "Hi there, boys. I didn't know you were here."
It's Randy. He's standing by the door, looking intensely uncomfortable, and even though Kyle and Stan could both give a fuck about him seeing that, they still both blush like they've just been caught with their hands down each other's pants.
Stan's fine, Kyle knows he is—he's talked to Randy a handful of times since the wedding, seen him during the holidays and stuff like that, but for the most part they're not really close. At least, not close like he is with his mom, or like Kyle is with his parents.
Randy's learning to live with the gay thing, which is good, even if he did say over Christmas (after a few beers, mind) that he truly believes he and Kyle will get tired of being together and eventually settle down with girls and have families of their own.
"Hey, dad," Stan clears his throat a little. "You, uh… you made it."
"Of course I did," Randy offers a smile and walks over. "Wouldn't miss the opportunity to meet my grandkid."
Kyle hands the baby to Stan before Stan goes to hand her to Randy. He'll hold her, but he won't pass her off to anyone but Stan. Stan knows him, can read him like a book, and anywhere he fucks up, Stan's good about swooping in and cleaning it up if need be.
"Jeez, big kid, huh?" Randy laughs, "She's like you, Stan. You were pretty burly when you came out too."
"Right, dad," Stan folds his arms. There's an awkward stretch of silence, during which Randy looks lovingly on the little girl in his arms and Kyle goes to take the extra seat by Cartman, who's taken to snoring like he's sawing logs up in the fucking Dakotas.
"Man, I tell ya," Randy smiles, getting a little choked up now. "The miracle of life, right?"
"Totally," Kyle deadpans, because he can't help it. He doesn't like Randy and he's terrible at being civil to people he doesn't like. Hell, Cartman's on his good side right now, that's how much he's not into being around Randy.
"I know you boys have your thing and everything," Randy begins and Kyle tries very hard not to facepalm because there is no way this is ending well. "But you can't make one of these, no matter how hard you try."
"I'm funding genetic experimentations," Kyle chimes in again, which makes Stan roll his eyes.
"Okay, yeah, can I talk to you outside for a second?" he asks, going over to open the door before Randy even has time to hand the baby off to Kyle. Kyle takes her carefully, comforted at least by the fact that he's sitting down, and watches Stan and Randy talk rather animatedly through the window at the front of the room.
"Oy, this family sometimes, girl," Kyle sighs and sits back. The baby is looking up at him again, eyes all owl-like and curious, like she's trying to make sense of the sounds Kyle's making, so he keeps on, "That's your grandpa. He's kind of a fuckhead, and he irritates the shit out of almost everyone, but he means well, okay? And your uncle's out there talking to him… uh, your other uncle, I guess. The one you're actually related to. He loves you more than he's ever loved another person before, I think, and you've only been here for a few hours. I've known him my whole life, okay? That's saying a lot. And your parents over here," he turns the baby so she can see Shelly and Cartman both sacked out in their respective places, "Your mom's kind of a pain in the ass, and your dad's a total hard-on, but your grandmas are pretty cool. And me too. I'm pretty much the coolest uncle you'll ever have."
Even if he knows it's not true. Stan's about a thousand times cooler with kids than he is, and he only feels a little guilty having probably told this little girl the first lie she's ever heard.
"The point is," he continues, "We may irritate the ever-loving fuck out of you, but no one'll ever be able to say that you're not loved."
"Are you spouting your gay all over my daughter?" Cartman grunts, not even bothering to open his eyes.
"All over her," Kyle nods and smiles at her.
"Well, at least you're not talking to her like she's retarded," Cartman stirs and yawns then before he holds out his arms to take her back. "I swear to god if my mom thinks she can get away with baby-talking I'm gonna kick her in the throat."
"You're mad at your mother for infantilizing your newborn," Kyle says very frankly. "You're hearing yourself, right?"
"Fuck off," Cartman scowls. "She's my baby, I do what I want."
Kyle laughs at that and sinks a little in his chair when he looks over at Stan and Randy. It doesn't look like it's going well.
"Ah, shit," he gives a resigned sigh and pushes up off the chair. "Hey, we'll probably stop by tomorrow, but I think I need to grab Stan before he goes for the throat."
"No please," Cartman scowls, "Let him make another one of my major life events all about him."
"I told you he was a hard-on," Kyle says to the baby and ducks down to kiss her on the forehead, even if Cartman tells him to fuck off because he's going to give her herpes or something. Kyle flips him off and grabs Stan's school bag and coat off of the floor by the door before he goes out into the hallway.
"Uh, hey," Kyle interjects amid the heated exchange. "Randy, you should go say hi. Stan and I were going to go eat anyway."
He grabs Stan's hand before he can object and tells him not to worry, that they'll come back tomorrow, that he's okay, that everything's okay, and that he'll let him have top tonight if he just calms the fuck down.
"You know the worst part about this?" Stan groans as they get to the car.
"What's that?" Kyle asks back very calmly as they get inside. He doesn't start up yet, but reaches over and starts rubbing the back of Stan's neck. If it doesn't get him to stop altogether, it'll at least get him to calm down a little bit.
"He really is never going to change, is he," it's more of a statement than question—softer now that Kyle's hands are on him.
"Nope," Kyle shakes his head.
"Like," Stan continues. "God forbid we ever had kids, you know? He'd either never leave me alone or he wouldn't think it was real or some shit."
"Dude, who the fuck cares what he thinks?" Kyle groans. "You're not living your life to impress your dad, y'know? Hell, you're not even living your life for me or your mom or the people you actually like either, though, so."
"I know," Stan mutters and smacks his head against the seat. "Just frustrating."
"I know, dude," Kyle says, softer this time, and leans over to kiss him. "You know what I think we should do?"
"Mm, what?" Stan yawns and rests his head against Kyle's shoulder.
"Pick up some Thai, go home, and watch The Last Crusade," he says and pets Stan's hair.
"Fucking Jesus, that sounds like an orgy of fun," Stan agrees wholeheartedly, and Kyle laughs. He'll never get over being able to make Stan happy—Stan makes him so happy to begin with that Kyle figures the least he could to is spend his life trying to make him happy in return.
They'll go home, they'll get into their pajamas and eat and watch their movie. The dogs will climb all over them and lap at their faces and try to get any remnants of pad thai that they can. They'll have sex, they'll fall asleep, and tomorrow, when they have time, they'll go back and visit Shelly and Cartman and their niece again. Because even if their first day with her got kind of torched at the last minute, Stan and Kyle have the rest of their lives to be the coolest uncles she's ever seen.
Because Stan and Kyle love each other, and they have an awesome life together, and if anything she'll at least know them as the two happiest people she's ever met.
Ahh! So we're finally at an end. I'd like to thank everyone for sticking around and reading this. I've loved writing Style with everything in me and I'm happy that people have enjoyed it.
Seriously, you're all great. I hope I'll see you over at my new Bunny fic, Blame it on the Boys, if indeed Bunny is your thing. If not, maybe I'll lure you in with any of my other endeavors. Love you all! Thanks for helping make this fic so much fun to write.