[identity profile] finkpishnets.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ivoryandgoldd
because life, it can blind you by [livejournal.com profile] finkpishnets
south park | stan/kyle | pg-13 | ~2,544
stan goes to college on the west coast whilst kyle ends up out east.

a/n: for the cottoncandy_bingo prompt "teenagers".




Stan goes to college on the west coast whilst Kyle ends up out east, and there’s a moment after they’ve hugged goodbye and got into separate cars that Stan has to pull over and breathe, completely aware for the first time in his life that this could be the end of something he really believed was forever.

Kyle calls him later, the minute he gets to his dorm, and they talk for three hours until Stan’s roommate starts unsubtly looking at the clock, and everything feels right again – of course it does – and he hates himself a little for ever thinking otherwise, but he can’t quite shake how freaked out he was until classes start and he’s too busy to think about it.



+



Kenny shows up two months into term and takes up residence on Stan’s couch and it would be a surprise if Stan hadn’t expected him to show up a lot sooner. They spend most of their time playing old Grand Theft Auto games and burning a hole in Stan’s dining card, and anytime Kenny starts looking like maybe he’s outstaying his welcome Stan just kicks him in the shin and drags him along to whatever party is happening in the building at any given time.

Stan’s roommate, Dom, is hardly around anyway – a girlfriend in town and a job at Starbucks on top of a fuck load of classes – and even when he is he doesn’t seem to care that Kenny’s all but living with them. Even Rachel, their RA, doesn’t seem to mind, and Stan puts that down to the mysterious charm Kenny’s somehow always possessed over the opposite sex.

“He should see about taking some classes,” Kyle says later, voice muffled a little around the pen he’s chewing on. Stan glances over his own Lit notes and mentally lists the essays he’s got to hand in this month as he answers.

“I said that but he’s not interested. He started handing out resumes around town yesterday and he’s already got an interview set up so I guess he’s planning on sticking around.”

“That’s good,” Kyle says, “I like knowing you’ve got each other.”

“Thanks Mom,” Stan says and tries not to think about the distance between them right now.



+



He gets an email from Cartman once a month - along with everyone else Cartman has ever crossed paths with - listing his most recent achievements as obnoxiously as possible and telling them all to suck it up and stop wishing they were him. Stan doesn’t find it nearly as irritating as he should, but then Kyle always phones straight after he’s read it to laugh about what a dick Cartman still is and wonder aloud for the thousandth time what Wendy sees in him, and it’s sort of like still being in High School, sprawled on Stan’s childhood bed and rehashing the day.

It’s only afterwards, when Kenny’s brought back pizza and deleted his own email from Cartman with a roll of his eyes, that Stan thinks clinging to his childhood friends means he’s probably doing college all wrong.

He really can’t bring himself to care.



+



“When do I get to meet your boyfriend?” Rachel asks, and Stan still has no idea how she and Kenny ended up dating but she brings them nachos and kicks ass at Call of Duty so he doesn’t normally mind her hanging around.

“Kyle’s not my boyfriend,” Stan says, looking up when he feels them watching him. “I mean--”

“Too late,” Rachel says, grinning, and Stan takes back any of the nice things he ever said about her. “Are you pining? Do I need to go get a tub of ice-cream and a Sandra Bullock movie so we can talk about your feelings?”

“I hate you,” Stan says. “I hate you so much. Did she brainwash you, Kenny? It’s okay, Max on the third floor is a Psych major, I’m sure we can undo her evil voodoo.”

Kenny just puts his arm around her, the traitor.

“It’s sweet, really,” Rachel says, grabbing the last slice of pizza like she weren’t already in Stan’s bad graces. “It’s like a Disney movie with more alcohol and less singing. Zac Efron could play you.”

“I’m leaving now,” Stan says, and pretends that he can’t hear the two of them laughing all the way down the hall.



+



“Kenny’s girlfriend thinks I’m dating Kyle,” Stan says, and Cartman chokes.

“Oh my god,” he says. “Please tell me you didn’t call to talk about what a girl you are.”

“Hey!” Stan says. “It’s not my fault everyone keeps jumping to stupid conclusions.”

Cartman groans. “Dude. Dude. Have you ever wondered why people always think the two of you are dating? Can you think of any possible reason that people would jump to that conclusion?”

Stank blinks. “Uh--”

“Right,” Cartman says. “Take your time.”

“Fuck,” Stan says. “Holy shit.”

“There you go,” Cartman says. “Well done for catching up with the rest of humanity, loser.”

Stan wonders if he’s ever going to live down the embarrassment of Cartman being the witness to his emotional breakdown.

“Okay,” Stan says, remembering to breathe. “Okay, so I like Kyle. I don’t even know what to do with that.”

“You’re both fucking morons,” Cartman says, but Stan thinks he sounds suspiciously fond.

“Shut up,” he says. “You’re a fucking moron.”

Cartman snorts. “What are we, nine? Anyway, I’m serious. Wendy agrees – you’re on speakerphone by the way – and says that you’ve always been emotionally stunted so it’s not really a surprise that you’re only figuring this out now.”

“Eric!” Wendy shouts, and Stan groans.

“Thanks guys, really, this has been so useful.”

“Oh, what the fuck ever dude,” Cartman says, and Stan can practically see him rolling his eyes. “You know we’re right. You’ve been in love with Kyle forever and you’ve just been too much of a pussy to ever think about it. Well, congratu-fucking-lations, you’ve finally pulled your head out of your ass. Now, go do something about it.”

“You know I hate to agree with Eric,” Wendy says sweetly to Cartman’s protests, “but in this case he’s right. The two of you are seriously your own worst enemies. You could have been sleeping together for years; I’m surprised your balls haven’t turned blue with your own cockblocking talents.”

“I’m hanging up now,” Stan says. “Please never talk about my balls again.”

He can hear Cartman shouting “You’re welcome, douchebag!” as he disconnects the call, and shit, when had Cartman and Wendy started making sense?

“I hate everything,” he tells Kenny when he gets back. Kenny just raises an eyebrow and throws him a beer, and Stan thinks to hell with it and sets about getting very, very drunk.



+



Dude,” Kyle is saying to his voicemail. “Shit, how smashed were you last night? I have, like, fifty messages telling me how much you love me. Anyway, call me back and let me know you’re not dead. And I love you too, man.”

Kenny catches his eye across the room and then turns his face into his pillow. Stan’s pretty sure he’s laughing, and oh god, if moving didn’t feel like death he would be throwing the phone at Kenny’s head right now.

He has vague memories of telling the girls on his floor about Kyle’s eyelashes and of Kenny producing a bottle of Jack Daniels, and seriously, if that’s the best of it then he’s never showing his face to the outside world again.

“I’m taking back my friendship bracelet,” Stan says. Kenny just laughs harder, the bastard.




+



Stan calls Kyle and lets him mock him for forty minutes instead of apologizing, and Kyle doesn’t ask why Stan was so intent on telling him he loved him, and Stan doesn’t tell him that the girls on his floor have started giggling every time he walks past.

Instead they talk about Cartman’s useless plight to become Mayor and Kenny buying Rachel roses and Stan’s killer Economics project, and it’s exactly like it always is so Stan lets himself breathe.

He never said denial was a good thing, it’s just a lot better than the alternative.



+



It’s been three days since Stan’s heard from Kyle, and contrary to Cartman’s opinions about it being Stan’s time of the month, he’s just rightfully worried. They’ve not gone this long without speaking since they were fourteen and Stan’s parents had dragged him on a family holiday to the mountains where cell phone coverage had been nothing but a distant dream.

Even Kenny’s started sending off more texts than usual and waiting futilely for a response, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out who they’re to.

“If he doesn’t call me in the next two hours I’m getting on a fucking plane and finding him,” Stan says, and Kenny nods like he’s been thinking the same thing.

“Who?” Dom asks. “Your boyfriend? You two fight?”

“What? No,” Stan says, and then realizes that’s not the important part. “And he’s not my boyfriend.”

“Sure,” Dom says, “okay. I’ve got to meet Jenny. See you later or not or whatever.”

“Kyle’s not my boyfriend,” Stan tells Kenny after he’s gone.

Kenny just stares at him until he goes to hide in the bathroom.



+



Stan’s literally about to start throwing things in his backpack when there’s a knock at the door, and somehow he knows it’s Kyle before he even sees him, tripping across the room to grab at him, pulling him as close as possible and burying his nose in the curve of his neck.

“Hi,” Kyle says, “I would have called first but I forgot my charger and who the fuck carries change for payphones anymore.”

“You bastard,” Stan says, breathing him in. “I hate you. Don’t do that again.”

“Okay,” Kyle says. “Hey Kenny! So, can I come in?”

“No,” Stan says. “Don’t move. Not yet.”

“You’re such an idiot,” Kyle says fondly, but he doesn’t try to untangle himself so Stan counts it as a win.



+



Kenny moves into Rachel’s room for the duration of Kyle’s stay (“Holy shit, dude, you were serious, she’s actually his girlfriend!” “I told you!”) and then it’s just the two of them, and Stan has missed him so fucking much, and god, he’s actually in love with his best friend.

Cartman’s right, he is a fucking moron.

“You look weird,” Kyle says, eyeing him suspiciously.

“Your face looks weird,” Stan says because he really is still secretly nine, and Kyle laughs, throwing a pillow at him.

“I’ve missed you, you loser,” he says, and Stan bundles him back onto his bed, tightening his fingers in Kyle’s t-shirt, and only doesn’t say please don’t ever leave because he’s not sure he can form the words.



+



There’s a party on the fifth floor in honor of it being a Wednesday or whatever, and Kenny comes to get them at nine, refusing to let them spend the whole night being over-emotional pussies; Stan would be pissed except the knot in his stomach has increased ten-fold and some distance is probably a good thing. If he still sticks close to Kyle’s side then that’s no one else’s fucking business, and Kyle doesn’t seem to care.

“Hi,” Rachel says when she sees them. “So you’re Kyle. I was beginning to think you were a figment of Stan’s imagination.”

“No,” Kyle says. “I’m real, I promise.”

“Okay,” Rachel says. “That’s good. The counselor here sucks and I didn’t really want to make Stan go to therapy anyway.”

“I like her,” Kyle says once Kenny’s dragged her away, and Stan laughs.

“Don’t be fooled, she’s really a witch.”

“I heard that!” Rachel calls, and when Stan and Kyle duck away it finally feels like he’s got his partner in crime back.



+



College has done wonders for Kyle’s confidence, and Stan is content to just stand back and watch him come to life, talking enigmatically to a captive audience of fellow freshman about his crazy professor and the guys in his dorm who turned their room into a brewery, and he feels so fucking proud of his best friend that it hurts.

“You okay?” Kyle says later, leaning in close in a way that reminds Stan of sleepovers and secrets.

“Yeah,” he whispers back. “I’m great.”

Kyle smiles, knocking their arms together, and Stan doesn’t care that every girl in the room is watching them with dopey smiles. He’s pretty sure his own in the worst of the lot.



+



Stan thinks that, later, he can blame it on the alcohol, but the truth is he’s still mostly sober when he pushes Kyle back against his door and kisses him.

It’s the sort of thing that could be called inevitable.



+



“You kissed me,” Kyle says, blinking, and Stan can’t decide whether to run away or kiss him again because Kyle’s lips are wet and dark where Stan dragged them between his teeth, and holy shit, he did that.

“Yeah,” he says. “Sorry.”

“Shut up,” Kyle says. “Don’t fucking apologize, oh my god.”

“Okay,” Stan says, and this time it’s Kyle that kisses him.



+



“So, why now?” Kyle asks later when they’re sprawled out on Stan’s bed, falling asleep with their clothes on in a way that will probably suck tomorrow but feels so comfortable right now that neither of them can be bothered to move.

Stan thinks about it -- about high school and long summers and camping in the back yard; about dark winter nights huddled in blanket forts they never got too old for; about the last few weeks before college when they clung to each other like it was the end of the world -- and thinks that maybe he’s been the one wasting time all along.

“I was worried that everything would change,” Stan confesses, hiding his face in Kyle’s shoulder. “You know, as we grew up.”

Kyle laughs, pressing a kiss against his temple and reaching down to tangle their fingers together. “We’re still teenagers,” he says. “We’re not all that grown up yet.”

“I know,” Stan says, leaning up to press their lips together, and he can’t believe he gets to do this now. “I’m sorry it took me so long.”

“It’s okay,” Kyle says with a shrug, looking at Stan with such fondness that Stan can’t believe he hasn’t caught on before now. “I’ve been waiting for you since we were nine years old, before I understood what that even meant. I’ll always wait for you.”

“Promise?” Stan says, and doesn’t care that it sounds needy, not when Kyle’s the only person he’s ever needed.

“Promise,” Kyle says, and Stan knows he gets it. “All I ask is that you never tell Cartman about this conversation.”

Stan laughs, feeling that last knot in his stomach give way, and thinks about Kenny down the hall and Cartman across the country and Kyle lying in bed next to him, and how good the years have been to them all.

“Let’s call him halfway through sex,” Stan says. “His traumatized screams will make up for the endless dickish emails.”

When Kyle rolls over and pins him to the mattress, Stan can see their future laid out before them in a haze of laughter and sex and friendship, and it’s fucking perfect.

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