A/N: To my knowledge this is the first fic with Token/Kyle as the main pairing to be posted (at least on ff or ao3). One other fic is categorized as such but the pairing hasn't been written into the story yet. So, um, hurrah for pioneering ships? : /
All characters involved in anything resembling sexual activity are 18+.
Think You Know But You Don't
Someone needed to explain this to him now.
"It's probably because he gets laid regularly," Kenny suggested, slapping a hand down on Kyle's shoulder. "You know, it gets the mental juices flowing." He mimicked what one could only assume to be his mental juices flowing and Kyle looked slightly ill in response.
"That makes no sense," Kyle deadpanned, "Considering that all your blood would be traveling away from your brain." Leaning closely, Kyle squinted at the announcement on the school board, the three names printed in bold Times New Roman bordered by gaudy flourishes of smiley faces and gold stars. There he was, sandwiched between two other names. Forget first the worst, second the best. There was only first in Kyle's mind. He'd only ever been first, after all. This was wrong. It had to be a mistake. Maybe they accidentally went in alphabetical order instead of placement order?
Where's Stan when you need him, Kenny thought helplessly as Kyle unceremoniously thunked his head against the wall. Then he did it again, Kenny scrambling to catch him before he did it a third time. Desperately he pushed his lunch in between the Jew's forehead and the unforgiving plaster. "Dude!" The bag of potato chips popped on impact and bits of chip littered the floor and coated Kyle's shoulder. Kenny watched awkwardly as Kyle just smooshed his face further into the welcoming cellophane pillow while a few more dejected potato chips, shattered, slipped out to rest in the curls of his red hair.
"Just leave me here to die," Kyle groaned into the potato chip bag. He was sure he could feel the three names burning through the material to brand themselves across his face. Second best. Second fiddle. Second string. Second you completely suck and are a worthless waste of space. "Go on, Kenny. Save yourself before I suck you into my vortex of shame."
Annoyed, Kenny sighed. "Not before you pay me the buck fiddy that those chips cost. You can mope all you want, but unless you expect me to lick my lunch off of your body..." He trailed off. "I'd be game for that, matter of fact."
Shooting a black look over his shoulder, Kyle mumbled, "My mom made me some matzo balls you can have." Then he slumped back against the wall. "But what does it even matter!" he wailed, suddenly spinning around to grab Kenny by the shoulders. "I savored today, Kenny." He shook the blond, eyes crazed. "I took my sweet time getting dressed after Gym so that I could let the suspense build into a delicious fury of need."
A dopy grin dressed Kenny's face. "That kinda turns me on, dude."
"And now this. THIS." Whirling, practically sending Kenny flying as his shoulder bag went careening into the side of his friend's face, Kyle pressed himself against the wall intimately, finger absently stroking his name neatly typed out on the posting. "Defeat. Miserable, humiliating defeat," he whispered, green eyes darting over manically when Kenny called to Stan, who had just come out of class.
"He's gone insane," Kenny stage-whispered. "He's going all Golem and it's freaking me out."
Flinging himself at his best friend, Kyle dramatically clutched the straps of his backpack. "Stan, this can't be true, right? I mean, you know how hard I worked on that research project. I turned down a Counter-Strike tournament to study for it; what more dedication can you ask for?" He only realized that he'd started shaking Stan when his best friend flicked him hard on the tip of the nose with his forefinger. Yowling like a cat and springing backwards, Kyle crouched defensively, rubbing at his nose.
"Wendy got third and you don't see her going all Sappho over it," he grunted.
"Ok, I think you mean Sybil, and don't reference your class reading to me, Stan," he snapped disdainfully. "You Sparknotes it all anyway. Besides, Wendy's used to coming in second. To me." He felt like cackling to make himself feel better, but Stan's irritated look stopped him.
"Well, who got first?" he asked, craning forward over Kyle's tense form. "Wow, Token? I guess I'm not surprised."
"What?" he hissed, leaping to his feet between Stan and the wall, their noses practically touching; the tip of his still red where Stan flicked it. "Whose super best friend are you, anyway?"
Heaving an exasperated sigh of epic levels, Stan slung his arm around Kyle, drawing him away from the posting. "How about we head home, watch some TV, play some Metal Gear and go into a sugar coma - well, not you cuz you might die." He raised his eyebrows meaningfully at Kenny over the Jew's head and the blond dutifully appeared on Kyle's other side, his own arm adding to the weight across the skinny kid's back.
"Yeah, Kyle, and I can show you the new titty mag that Kevin got me from Thailand. You wouldn't believe the shit these chicks do-"
Their voices dropped away into the background as Kyle suddenly stared hard across the foyer. The very subject of his ire was currently talking to Wendy Testaburger, who had secured herself third place in the scholarship competition.
Token Black, the asshole that had Shanghaied Kyle's first place glory. It was Kyle, not Token, who should have won the research project that would have awarded him a $10,000 open scholarship to be used at any university.
Token. Must. Die.
Dropping out from under Stan and Kenny's hold and making it across the room before they even noticed he was missing, Kyle went right up to Token and said in a tightly controlled voice, "Funny how they messed up on the order. Must be a typo."
Blinking at the redhead, Token glanced at a confused Wendy before fully facing the other boy. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that they either made a mistake or you cheated, Token."
The silence that followed was agonizing. Token's eyes widened, Wendy's jaw dropped, and all surrounding students fell into a hush. The only sound was Stan's distinct facepalm and Kenny's warbly, "Duuuuuuude."
Like a wave building before crashing onto shore, the hall broke into buzzing whispers, cascading over Kyle as he realized what he'd said. Token's face was completely blank as he turned on his heel and calmly left the foyer. Wendy, however, was nothing near calm.
"You asshole," she seethed, shoving him. "What kind of fucked up thing is that to say, Kyle? Are you kidding me?"
"So the Jew is racist against blacks, huh?" Cartman trumpeted over the students' heads. He strode forward, a huge grin plastered across his face. "Well, Kahl. Showing your true colors, are we? You don't think a black man can get to the top legitimately; he has to cheat his way up?" Stabbing Kyle in the chest with a porky finger, Cartman guffawed into his stricken face. "Don't you look like a completely douche," he said quietly so that only Kyle could hear him.
Stan came sweeping in to the rescue, sliding between the rivals easily to herd Kyle away as Kenny took over crowd control. They made it out the double doors into the Goths' corner, passing by the sallow-faced sentinels to get to Stan's car.
Inside Kyle buried his face in his hands, curling into a little ball as far as the seatbelt would let him. Bits of potato chip still clung to his hair and dusted his coat. Casting a sympathetic eye over his friend, Stan craned around to back out of the parking lot. Leaving before last class meant the roads were practically empty, and that Stan's house was clear for another couple of hours. He pulled into the driveway, observing Kyle in the same semi-fetal position in the passenger seat. The redhead looked like a miserable puddle of shame. Sighing for the umpteenth time that day, Stan rubbed Kyle's back. "Look," he started, "I doubt anyone will remember by tomorrow."
"Quite enough damage done already, thank you Stan," was the muffled reply. "Lying to me really isn't going to help."
Snapping off the seatbelt he relaxed back into his seat. Eyes slipping shut as he inhaled the slightly dusty scent of his dad's old car, Stan reached over and rested his hand on top of Kyle's head.
A bit later Kenny sauntered up to the car, finding the two of them in the same position. Knocking on the window, he yelled through the glass, "Kyle, you're going to get a serious crick in your neck and Stan, Wendy told me to tell you that Kyle better apologize to Token or she's gonna kick his ass." Drawing back as Stan rolled down the window he added, "Also, Cartman has started a smear campaign. He has a video and everything. I think he just walks around with his phone set to record all day, just waiting for this shit to go down. There's even a forum online already."
Sporting a slightly constipated expression, Kyle finally resurfaced, eyes swollen. "And Token, has he said anything?"
"Bebe tried to call him, but no luck," he said, shrugging. "You know Token, he's practically allergic to drama; he's probably just going to stay out of it." Glancing back over his shoulder to look down the street, Kenny leaned down on the open window, directing his next words to Stan, "Cartman's on his way for a 'quote' as he puts it. He convinced Craig to come along with his video camera, so if I were you I'd make like a baby and head out."
"EW," Kyle interjected, affronted.
"Fuck. Well, hop in," Stan decided wearily, unlocking the back door. Kenny tumbled happily inside, snagging the unopened package of jerky Stan usually munched on after football practice. "Is your place all right?"
" 'Course," Kenny answered enthusiastically, "I can show you those titty mags after all."
"Great," mumbled a bemused Kyle. "On the run from the Fatass, accused of racism by my classmates, and looking forward to an ass-kicking by Wendy if I don't apologize to Token. What's to show for it all? Tits. Not even near my favorite thing, Kenny."
"Maybe my man teats would be more satisfying for you," he leered, lifting his shirt in order to attempt to stuff a nipple into Kyle's ear.
"I thought we agreed no nipples anywhere near my face!" he screeched, swinging his bag at Kenny's head. After the blond scrambled free of Kyle's satchel, they all fell into silence again as Stan drove, Kenny chewing the jerky like a cow would its cud.
"You're going to though, right?" quipped Kenny, poking his head over the seat and effectively breaking the tense silence.
"What?" he asked flippantly.
"Saying sorry? You know, for accusing Token of cheating even though he has a solid 4.0 and is going to be valedictorian along with you and Wendy?" Kenny said sarcastically, jabbing a piece of jerky into Kyle's cheek. "I know Stan here will stay loyal and go down with the ship that is you, but I'm not gonna lie dude; that was seriously a dick move."
"And you somehow think I'm not already aware of this," he snarled through gritted teeth. "I feel like shit, okay?"
"Kenny, back off," Stan warned, glaring at the blond through the rear-view mirror.
Kenny held up his hands defensively. "The peanut gallery is officially closing. I will voluntarily silence myself with ample amounts of this delicious jerky."
When they got to Kenny's house, his little sister Karen ran up to the car. She had the biggest crush on Stan and Kenny could never get enough of a kick out of it. "Hey, you're number one fan, Stanley," he hooted, pouring out of the car to sweep his sister up in a bear hug. "Karen, you're taller!"
She giggled hysterically, face blushing a deep red as she glanced at Stan. "Taller than this morning?"
He nodded solemnly. "It must be those vegetables you've been eating, huh?"
She wrinkled her nose, hanging like a monkey off his neck. "Yuck."
"Yuck, but important yuck," he pointed out, swinging her back and forth to her utter delight as he took monster-sized steps up to the front door.
Stan shook his head, laughing. Even Kyle couldn't help but crack a smile at the obvious adoration that Kenny held for his sister. Following their friend in, they found his older brother spread across the couch, fast asleep. Kenny handed Karen off to an awkward Stan before stalking over to his brother, snatching up one half-empty six-pack along with a full one. Chortling, he jerked his head meaningfully towards his room. Stan let Karen slide to the floor and she waved at them bashfully as they picked their way across the messy living room after Kenny.
"So as we are in hiding," Kenny announced, shoving over piles of clothes to make room on his bed, "We can amuse ourselves with beef jerky, beer, and titty magazines. Seriously, these Thai chicks-"
"I should go clear this up with Token before Cartman makes it so much worse," Kyle interrupted, searching Stan's face for an opinion. His best friend cracked open a beer, waving off the magazine Kenny was trying to shove into his face.
"Honestly, you might to let him cool off a little," he suggested, finally rolling his eyes and taking one of Kenny's magazines. Flipping it open he almost spit out his beer. "What the fuck?"
"I. Know," Kenny gushed, "How is that even physically possible?"
As the two quickly became engrossed in the mechanics involved with the magazine content, Kyle made his decision and stood up. "Gonna take a leak," he said noncommittally. Two grunts answered him and he slipped out.
Twenty minutes later he realized that he had grossly underestimated the distance from the poor part of town to the rich part of town. Which had given him plenty of time to mull things over and conclude that yes, he was still pissed. As he passed into the suburban stretch of white picket fences and manicured gardens Kyle worked himself into another frenzy. Token didn't even need the money. For Christ's sake, his family was the richest in all of South Park. He could go to - and pay for - any college he wanted. Kyle was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't realize he had passed Token's house entirely and made a full circle around the cul-de-sac until Token himself stepped into his path with a mildly annoyed expression.
"You're scaring my neighbor," he said flatly. Behind him a little girl poked her head out of the front door of the house next to Token's, eyeing Kyle suspiciously. She was holding a frying pan aloft like a bludgeoning stick.
Recovering from his surprise, Kyle squared his shoulders. "So what, you're the neighborhood bouncer or something?"
"Look, I can guess what you're here for and I'm not interested in hearing you preach about how I must have cheated-"
"I don't think that," he sputtered, taking a step closer to the other boy. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the little neighbor girl heft her frying pan threateningly and decided to not push it. Keeping a safe distance away, he cleared his throat. "Can we, uh, talk inside? That kid's scaring me."
After Token had grudgingly led him back into his house, Kyle found himself standing awkwardly in the giant front hall with Token regarding him with expectance.
He looked the redhead up and down slowly, sizing him up. Kyle had never been a dick to him before. When their respective friend groups got into stupid fights it was Kyle and Token who remained neutrally on the side lines, maybe sharing a look of chagrin or two over the heads of their friends as Craig and Stan strutted around each other like roosters in a chicken coop. But besides that they'd only ever interacted on a strictly academic basis. They'd never been paired up in class; a tactic Token was sure the teacher employed to try and make it fair for the other students. And thus far Kyle had always come out on top in academic events like the spelling bee or the mathematic triathlons. That was mostly due to apathy on Token's part.
Taking a deep breath, Kyle met Token's skeptical brown eyes and spoke, his voice echoing in the huge space. It was jarring. "I know you didn't cheat. That was... well, I acted like a douche and I apologize for that, but-" He cut himself off, staring angrily down at his shoes.
"But what?" Token asked, leaning casually on the base of a huge ivory statue acting as the centerpiece between twin staircases leading to the upper floors.
"But you don't need this," he rushed, face turning red. Gesticulating wildly, he beseeched the other boy, "You're the richest kid in town so it's... it's stupid that you should win! That you should even go for a scholarship like that!"
Taken aback, Token stepped away from the statue and walked up to Kyle, arms still crossed. "Honestly Kyle, I think you're being stupid." Token tried to push past the redhead to go to the door and hopefully end this interaction, but Kyle grabbed his arm.
"You don't even need the scholarship," he insisted, "Your family's rich -"
"And your dad's a lawyer, just like mine. What's your point?"
Sputtering, Kyle clenched his fists at his sides, "So? He's a lawyer in a backwater town like South Park!" Glaring hotly into Token's face, he added, "You'll get tons of minority scholarships as it is since you're black!"
A derisive laugh bubbled up on his lips, but he held it back. "So let whitey have this one is that what you're saying," Token said in a deceptively calm tone. "Or is it that you think because you're Jewish you're somehow outdoing me as an oppressed person?"
"I just think that if it's scholarships you're intent on - even though you don't need them," the redhead spat, "there are a lot more resources around for a person of color."
"So that's why the Jewish community has historically been a financially stable group of people. Is it because they whine and cry money out from under other oppressed groups?"
"I get called racist, but you're anti-Semitic?" Kyle raged, leaning into Token's personal space. "Fuck you."
"Kyle," Token bit out, voice finally raising sharply in volume, "I was making a point. Do you realize that you are basically making this into a minority-off? Cartman would be masturbating to this conversation; 'ooh, I'm so much more oppressed than you'. You don't know the half of it, Broflovski."
"I can't believe you," he yelled, throwing his hands up, "What else is there to know? You entered a contest and by some fluke won it. Was this just on whim for you?"
"Shut up, Kyle!" Token shouted with hands balled into fists. "I really wish you'd get off your pedestal and quit acting like some spoiled brat. I do need that money as a matter of fact. A hell of a lot more than you. Now, leave." He stomped over to the front door and yanked it open. When Kyle didn't move he growled, going again to the redhead and attempting to drag him out.
"No!" he protested, wriggling. "You have some fucking explaining to do!"
"I don't owe you anything, Broflovski," he replied coldly. "We're not friends, so I don't give a fuck if you're offended. It's my business, not the business of some sore loser."
"I think you do owe it to me!" he demanded, barely restraining himself from stomping his foot in agitation. "You've never joined things like this before, and now suddenly when it matters to me you do. I think as someone who deserved to win that $10,000 I am allowed to ask questions."
"My mistake. You're not just a sore loser, you're a giant dick," he said morosely. "Are you really saying that I didn't deserve it?"
Trembling with anger, Kyle ground out through clenched teeth, "I want to know why. Why this time?"
Sighing heavily, Token looked at Kyle for upwards of a minute. His expression softened into a look of weary resolve. "Tweek thinks you're gay."
Once the words sunk in Kyle balked. "Tweek thinks I'm gay? That's an abrupt subject change." Still very much on edge, Kyle narrowed his eyes. "Where is this going?"
"Look, Kyle, I know you're gay so I'm hoping you can understand where I'm coming from. I still think you're a dipshit for the way you're acting, but I guess I can explain so you don't wet your panties."
Currently flustered, Kyle let the insult pass as Token continued to talk, brown eyes cast into the distance.
"I am, too." He heard a sharp intake of breath, but didn't laugh. "The guys know, but not my parents. And I'm pretty sure they won't be okay with it." His gaze moved down when he realized Kyle had slumped down to the floor, looking confused. "Basically if I tell them, there's a very real chance that I'll get kicked out." Expression spiraling into deeper confusion, Kyle presented a comical image, but Token was too serious to find humor in the moment. "If I want to go to college, I'll need all the help I can get, because my parents probably won't want to shell out money for their gay son." Voice cracking slightly, Token sat down on the floor next to his classmate. "Even if they disown me, I still won't be able to get financial aid because they're my parents and they make bank." Checking to make sure Kyle was following, he waited until the redhead made an acknowledging grunt, green eyes fixed on his face. "That's why I entered this thing. When high school is over I'm telling them no matter what, so I'm preparing for the worst."
"Dude," Kyle said meekly, "I didn't know. I told my family a while ago and they're okay with it - I mean, Mom more than Dad, but he's coming around." Shaking his head, he looked at Token with clear concern. "You really think it'd go bad?"
"Yes," he confirmed with heart-wrenching conviction. "Look, I know that I'm the richest kid in town but that might not last, and that scholarship could save me."
It was an understatement to say that he felt awful. Kyle felt fucking awful, like the biggest dick in the world. "I'm sorry, Token," he said sincerely. "I do understand. I think I was just... uh, surprised-"
"Don't play, Kyle," Token said laughingly, "Your ego got bruised."
"Okay, fine," he acquiesced, "I'm a dildo."
Their knees touched. Token gazed down before saying hesitantly, "Don't spread this around. Not even to Stan. Not yet."
In his entire time knowing Token, who had always been self-assured and confident, Kyle had never seen the open look of vulnerability on his face. Shrugging, Kyle gave him a comforting smile, "Birds of a feather right? I won't, uh, betray the flock."
"I don't think two 'birds' justifies a flock," Token laughingly pointed out.
"Well, so we're a small flock," he chuckled, watching the other boy's face lose the lines of stress. When Token met his gaze again his eyes were warm.
"Do you think there are any other birds around? I've always had my doubts about Kenny," he hinted.
"Kenny's in a league of his own," Kyle grunted, waving his hand dismissively. "It's Cartman that's a real puzzle - a deeply disturbing puzzle. On second thought, let's not talk about Cartman."
"Yeah, I heard about the online forum."
"Jesus," he groaned, sliding to the side and squishing his face up against the wall. Token mirrored him. "How am I going to fix this mess?"
One eye forced to squint comically as his cheek was pressed Token lifted his free hand. "Seeing as I'm the other half of our lame-ass flock..." he trailed off, smiling when Kyle reached out to clap their hands together. "With our minority statuses combined, the negro fag and the Jew fag join forces to combat the closeted neo-nazi."
Eyes squinched as he cracked up, Kyle gripped Token's hand, barely able to breathe. "The beginning of a beautiful flockhood," he agreed jokingly.
What started as a contest to see who could make more minority puns quickly dissolved into an impromptu session of bonding. After checking in with his mother, and then with his other mother, Stan, Kyle stayed for dinner at the Blacks' house. Token's parents gushed about how it was such a treat to have him over and that they were overjoyed he and their little Token were finally friends.
"You smart kids," Token's father started, "Ought to stick together."
"Birds of a feather flock together," Token's mother added warmly.
When their eyes met across the table the laughter dancing in their gaze was unmistakable.
"I can't believe I don't have your number," Kyle said, dialing Token into his phone. "But then again, it makes sense. The West Side Story that is our friend groups, after all."
Crooking a hip against the doorway, Token crossed his arms. "Speaking of that, Craig's gonna have a conniption fit when I drive you to school tomorrow."
"I'd pay to see that. Who cares, anyway?"
"Tweek will know I'm hiding something."
Pursing his lips, Kyle teetered on the last stair leading up to the entranceway. "Dude, you talk about him like he's some sort of telepathic alien."
"Jury's still out," he joked back, grinning when Kyle laughed.
Trotting back up the stairs, Kyle leaned past Token to bellow into the house, "Thanks again Mr. and Mrs. Black! Dinner was delicious!"
"Anytime, Kyle," was Mrs. Black's answer as she waved from the top of the stairs.
Pausing, Kyle looked sidelong at Token. "So I'll just be waiting outside my house. Text before you leave, okay?"
Startled slightly by the effortless familiarity Kyle already had with him, Token nodded. Then Kyle held out his hand expectantly and Token returned the fist-pump, rolling his eyes. "Is this our flock's secret handshake?"
"No, our secret handshake should probably be gayer," Kyle answered cheekily, hopping down the stairs two by two until he was jogging down the long driveway. "See you tomorrow, Token!" he called over his shoulder.
Token held up his hand for a moment before Kyle turned down the block. Standing in his doorway, he looked at his phone, Kyle's name showing in his contact list. Thoughtfully, Token tucked it back into his pocket, looking along the street after the redhead, who'd since disappeared around the curve of the street.
Once he'd overheard Bebe complaining about the Jew. 'He runs so hot and cold,' she'd said. 'One second he's sure he won't forgive you for the world and the next moment you're best friends.' Token didn't realize his was smiling until his fingers brushed over his lips in thought. Each of his friends was so monotonous. Even Tweek, though he'd plateaued at paranoia. Craig and Clyde prided themselves on their excessive normalness. And other kids never really acted out around Token, and he was pretty sure it was due to the subconscious instinct to walk on eggshells around him because of his skin color.
Kyle was something unexpected, and as Token reflected back on the day - scratch that - his entire week; he realized that Kyle had been the most exciting thing about it.
A/N: This will only be around 4 chapters. I'm having a lot of fun playing around with the characters in this one; it's mainly a personal venture. I hope you can enjoy the journey with me. : )