Consistent

BY : RandomJaz
Category: +S through Z > South Park
Dragon prints: 7345
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park or any of it's characters, nor do I profit from this fanfiction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey, guys! As always, thank you to my Archive of Our Own site readers for their continued feedback! 😊 You guys are so sweet. You guys make my day, I swear.

Xxxxx

Mike dropped me off at home, where I left not long after he drove away. With the last cigarette from the carton that Mike wished I'd thrown away days before, I smoked on my walk to the store. I could've excused myself step out for a smoke earlier, but I didn't want anyone to have an opinion on it, spoken or not.

We didn't have snow in South Park, yet. Early December, and all. The wind had a bite to it. I needed to stop leaving my house in hoodies. It was too cold not to have a coat or jacket. My fingers lost some feeling from the brisk wind.

I smoked that cigarette down as far as I could without burning my fingers on the lit end. Nasty, putrid smoke made itself at home in my lungs. The freshest breath I'd taken all night. The most comforting.

Cars passed me on street. Some highschooler in black, sucking down smoke wasn't of anyone's interest. With the exception to one, old car. Henrietta was driving it, and pulled over.

Her passenger-side rider whistled at me. I kept walking, pretending I didn't know there was a vehicle there. They whistled again, louder and impatient.

"Pete, get in the car." Michael demanded. "I know you can hear me."

"I don't respond to whistling, or commands."

I wasn't anyone's pet. Being spoken to like a dog was poor incentive to get in. That was exactly the shit that drove us apart.

If he'd used a different approach, I may have considered it. He ruined his own chance on the one night I really missed him. Damn it, Michael.

"We're going to the diner. Just get in." Henrietta huffed, a few notches less aggravated than Michael.

She sounded frustrated. Not outright angry. She spoke to me better than she did her own younger brother. That was saying something; she spoke to her brother like garbage. He was a sweet kid, wouldn't hurt a fly.

"Pete." She beeped the horn in two short spurts, trying to beckon me over. "Don't be a prissy twerp. Let's go."

"I'm late to being a prissy twerp somewhere else. I'll take a raincheck, thanks."

Henrietta drove off, saying something to Michael about how I'd come back eventually. Those like us already felt alone in this world, together. I was a stray who hadn't found its way back home. They had complete faith I'd come back

Michael was getting impatient. Henrietta knew that. She drove away as quickly as she did for a reason. As her car disappeared in the distance, Georgie's head poked out the backseat window. He meekly waved at me before tucking himself back inside.

"Your usual?" The convenience store clerk asked when I walked up to the counter.

I nodded. Reaching up overhead, he retrieved one carton and set it front of me.

"Anything else I can get you?" He asked to be polite.

On the counter there was an array of random shit. Key chains, lighters, chapsticks, condoms, aspirin, etc. Fruit: $1.00, a wooden bowl read. Bananas and apples were piled in it.

"Clove cigarettes, and an apple." The clerk said aloud, punching it in to the register. "Alright."

Xxxxx

I almost didn't go to school the next day. My alarm clock screamed, rudely jolting me awake. The inanimate object was doing its job, coming close to getting flung across the room for it.

"Didn't sleep well?" Mike asked, my cranky vibes hitting him staggeringly hard upon seeing me get in his car.

"It's going to be a long day."

A long day it was.

Irritable, and cranky, my sour mood dampened the entire thing. Including Study hall, after Lunch. I liked that time of day, it was a chance to get work done or sit around and do nothing while everyone had to keep their mouths shut. Today, it felt redundant and suffocating.

The kid who sat behind me kept snapping the tip to his cheap pencil. He would get up to sharpen it, come back, write, and SNAP. The sound of his chair creaking, and sneakers squeaking on the floor back and forth, every time he got up, made my right eye twitch. I was grinding my teeth.

"Here." I grit out before he could get up for the eighth time.

Yes. The EIGHTH time.

"Cool, dude. Thanks." he accepted one of my pens.

Silence. Finally.

Another kid got up to sharpen their pencil. Only, this time, the thing was full of shavings from the incredible hulk behind me. Banging the thing in the garbage to get everything out of it was more annoying. It was louder. And took longer.

BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG. BANG.

"Could I be excused?"

Hall Pass in hand, I left the overgrown toddlers in their playpen to bang stuff around and figure shit out. I asked to see the Nurse with no intentions to do so. I went to the bathroom because I figured it was somewhere that I could get some time to calm down in a stall, by myself, until next period.

The stalls on that floor were full.

"Oh, for the love of-" I muttered, trudging towards the stairs.

The boys' room on the next floor had stalls free for grabs. It was totally empty. Perfect because my fuse was burning short. Opting to wet my face with cold water, I bent over the sink. Careful to keep away from my eyes, I furiously brought small palmfuls to my face.

Creaking from old hinges, the bathroom door swung open. Whoever walked in stopped for a second, then kept walking. They came right up to me. Right up behind me.

"Did you get something in your eye?"

"Don't touch me." I growled when large hands rested on my hips.

Stan didn't let go until I elbowed him. Hard.

He pulled some paper towels out from the dispenser when I turned off the tap. I took them without saying thank you, dabbing my face to dry it off. Him walking in on me rinsing my face to calm down totally defeated the purpose. I couldn't go hide in a stall now, either.

"How's your eye? Let me see-"

"I didn't come in here to wash out my eyes." I snapped. "I needed to cool off. Mind your business."

"You are my business."

"Sure, keep telling yourself that."

Cramming the wet paper towels in to a ball, I threw it away. Time to leave the bathroom. I'll tell the nurse I have a stomach ache so I can hide there.

"You can walk away. It doesn't change anything." Stan was fast to tell me before I could make an exit. "When you're ready to try again, I'll be here for you."

"Here for me?" When I turned to spit that at him venomously, he flinched like a loaded gun was pointed at him. "Like when I was hanging from the ceiling?"

His lips moved but he couldn't articulate words. He shut his mouth, glancing away for a second to regroup his thoughts. I threw him off.

"...are you having a bad day?" Stan thought his proclamation was supposed to elicit some sentimental yearning.

Some nice words, and I'd melt for him.

It made me colder. Froze me over, entirely.

"Day? Try a bad life." The northern winds blew straight through me. "I almost died."

This was something he didn't like to talk about. He'd rather talk about how we were going to get back together. As if we were going to get back together. Today. In the school bathroom.

"You weren't there. Remember that next time you think you're good for me." I went for the kill. "Keep coming around, and I'm not going to let you forget it."

His eyes dropped from my face to my neck to the purple accessory wrapped there. He never forgot, he only liked to pretend it didn't happen. His bandage covering the evidence that it happened, was evidence in itself.

Purple ribbon was easier to look at than scar tissue.

"...what's it going to take to make this right, Pete?" Contritely, Stan winced from my withering glare.

I really was having a bad day.

"Stay far, far away from me."

In the hallway someone was approaching. This confrontation Stan wanted to have would be interrupted shortly, and he knew he wouldn't get another chance any time soon. Stan snatched me in to the big handicap stall, locking me inside with him.

Both incredibly brave, and stupid.

He hoisted me up, pinning me to the wall with his waist between my thighs. It was to immobilize me after my attempt to go for the door. All he needed was a nail and hammer and he could have hung me there like a picture frame.

"Are you out of your mind?" I hissed, pushing at him knowing damn well it wasn't getting me anywhere. "What are you doing?"

"Shh." Stan shushed me. "Just wait."

"Let go!"

Stan's hand went over my mouth. Screaming something about being dragged in to the stall by the football captain would have been great revenge, but the people who walked in were the last people I wanted to know what was happening.

"You can't be taken anywhere, can you?"

"That bottle of glue was being a dick. I showed it who's boss."

Vlad's run in with a clogged glue bottle resulted with his hands, wrists and forearms covered in the stuff. Mike turned on the water with clean hands so Vlad could start washing off the mess.

"At least the glue exploded on you, not your project."

"Imagine someone walks in on us with my hands a sticky white mess? Ha. Looks like I jacked you off."

"I don't recall ever producing quite that much on you."

The urge to murder Stan went on the back burner, dying down from a rolling boil to a warm simmer. Mike and Vlad's exchange redirected my attention. Stan took his hand off my mouth, deeming me no longer a risk to compromising our position.

Me being held hostage. In the BATHROOM. By my ex. While my boyfriend was none the wiser five feet away.

"Psh. I'm not complaining about that mess." Vlad worked diligently to rinse away the mix of suds and glue. "At all."

"I'd hope not. You liked it just fine, at the time." Mike teased him. "Besides, you make a bigger mess on me."

"Heh...Like that one day it almost got in your hair."

"I would have killed you."

I wasn't trying to push Stan anymore, nor did I let go. I unconsciously clenched the front of his shirt between my knuckles.

Mike and Vlad were bantering flirtatiously, but without any heat to it. How friends talk about the casual subjects...except this wasn't a casual subject.

To them it had to be because it almost sounded like they were talking about the weather. Nonchalant and breezy. I managed to tune out the previously intimate detail about their friendship, for a while.

My stomach hurt, all of a sudden. This was a lot of information coming in. Information that painted some vivid, graphic imagery. Now that Mike was supposedly mine, the idea of him and Vlad going at it didn't seem so hot anymore.

.

"How are things going with Pete?" Vlad asked, followed by the water shutting off.

"We're good, you know that."

"I meant him...did his friends ditch him?"

I was holding my breath. My grip on Stan's shirt tightened. Don't answer that, Mike. Please, don't answer that.

"They've always been a close group but he's never with them anymore." Vlad's blatant prying wasn't nosey in nature, he sounded concerned. "Back of the school, the diner, the graveyard...It's just the scary dude, Henrietta and that little freshman."

"I never asked what happened, I don't feel it's my place." Mike lied seamlessly. "As far as I know, it's coincidental."

His relation to Vlad superseded the rest of his clique. That was his right-hand man. Arguably, his best friend. Mike didn't jump to spill my personal business. He didn't tell him anything.

"You said before he was going through an adjustment period, that day at Lunch."

"I meant with us, Silly. It was his first day. Did you think he was going to come in and feel right at home? His group has hated us for how long?"

Drying his hands, another question dawned on Vlad.

"Pete doesn't still hate us, does he?"

"It'd be a shame if he does."

He made a sound of affirmation, agreeing with Mike, but didn't think much deeper in to it.

"Pete's quiet, don't take it for more than it is." Mike concluded as they went on their way. "Give him time."

The door creaked and shut. Their footsteps faded away.

"Your boyfriend's cheating on you with another guy." Stan said as soon as he was sure they were out of earshot.

"No. He isn't."

"You heard the same conversation I did."

Stop, stop, stop.

"You're jumping to conclusions." It was most likely true, so said it confidently. "They were friends with benefits before I came along, Genius."

"That doesn't guarantee they stopped." Just as confidently, Stan persisted. "Do they talk like that in front of you?"

Mike didn't talk like that to Vlad in front of me. His friends all knew they had some type of arrangement going on. Did they ever hear them banter like that? Sounded personal.

I had seeds of doubt burrowing their way inside me. Stan generously watered them. He, who wasn't the person I should listen to about anything. I secretly took what he said in to consideration.

"Put me down, Stan."

"How well do you know Mike? He's been with you what, a month or something?"

"Down. Right now."

"I wouldn't cheat on you with another dude."

He was going with that? Seriously? Bravo, Stan. You've outdone yourself.

The best boyfriend award goes to you because as a closeted man, you never stuck your dick in another guy's ass. Astounding. Take a bow, and shove the trophy up your ass with that lotion you think counts as lubricant. See how you like it.

"No, you cheat on me with women." I drawled, bitterly and with seething sarcasm. "Which is so much better."

"It wasn't like that! You never let me explain what happened."

"I don't want to hear any more of your excuses. Fuck off!"

Something about me was enticingly fascinating because he looked at me in contemplative silence, processing whatever it was that captured his attention. The vibes coming off Stan changed.

"What?" I was fuming.

"It's been so long...I miss having you this close." His eyes softened with his voice.

Focused on my face, Stan brought his closer.

"Don't." I narrowed my eyes at him in warning. "I'll crack you across the face. Don't think I won't."

"Do whatever you want."

His tongue forced itself in my mouth. He tasted like jolly ranchers-Stan's candy of choice. The one he sucked on earlier was green.

He opened a brand-new bag that day, I know he did. Stan tore through the greens ones fast enough that had it been an older bag, I wouldn't be getting a tangy green apple kiss. It would've been cherry, or blue raspberry.

SLAP

"I'm telling you one last time." I threatened him, with a steel edge to my voice. "Put. Me. Down. NOW."

Stunned from the hit, he put me back on my feet. His marred cheek glowed pink in the shape of a hand.

"...You kissed me back." Was all he said about it.

It was all he cared about.

Hints of Stan and tangy apple in my mouth, I unlocked the stall door.

"You tasted like sour candy. You're going to give yourself cavities."

xxxxxx

South Park's playground looked stuck in time. There was some rust, but everything held up since grade school. Bloodrayne, Annie and Mike swung back and forth on the swing set, Annie's chains rattling along with the old equipment.

Vlad sat on the ground, by one of the swing set's poles, out of Mike's swinging range where he kicked his legs back and forth. A handheld gaming device occupied his attention. Ryan laid out over a bench with one earbud in, tapping his foot idly to whatever he was listening to.

On the Merry-Go-Round, I sat towards the center, reading. Larry sat at the edge of the large spinning contraption.

"Anyone else bothered that animal crackers all taste the same?" Inspecting his snack with unyielding intensity, Larry asked the question.

"...What?" Vlad asked the brunette, audibly holding back from laughing.

Genuinely looking for an answer, Larry held out the small box of animal crackers.

"There's FIVE animals." He pointed to the picture on the front. "They all taste exactly the same. One flavor."

I flipped a page.

"I heard that if you can't taste the other four flavors, it means you're severely retarded."

"BWAHAHAHAA!" Ryan almost fell off the bench laughing.

"Damn, that's cold." Vlad snorted, barreling in to a laughing fit with him.

The girls tried being nice, holding in their laughter with watering eyes and quivering lips.

"Date the goth kid, Mike. What could go wrong?"

"It isn't Pete's fault you can't taste the difference between a lion and an elephant, Larry."

"WHAT!?"

Bloodrayne and Annie couldn't hold it in anymore. They busted out laughing, heads thrown back and legs kicking back and forth. Larry caved with them.

It was a harmless jab, no one thought I was serious. Larry took it like a good sport.

Mike and I were the only ones not laughing. Peering up, I got that querying brow from him. He pumped back and forth with his legs, shaking his head at me with the faintest bit of a smile. His hair swished with the wind behind him.

"Play nice, baby bat. Don't be mean to Larry because you need a nap."

"You just said it's not my fault if he's retarded."

"Poor thing is suffering enough, as is. Let's not rub it in his face."

Rolling my eyes away, I didn't feed in to the joke any more. I said my piece.

"That was funny as shit." Vlad went back to his game, clicking buttons. "He burned your ass, Larry."

"May as well have slapped you across the face." Ryan put his earbud back in after it fell out. "That was freaking brilliant."

Coming to life with the same enthusiasm of a child ready to tattle, Annie lit up.

"That reminds me! You know that popular Marsh kid? Someone like bitch-slapped him across the face, today."

"Huh?" Bloodrayne didn't think she heard correctly. "You saw someone slap him?"

"He's in my math class. He left to use the bathroom and came back with a hand print on his right cheek."

"The guys huge. Who the fuck was brave enough to hit him?"

"He wouldn't say."

Ryan sat up in the bench, clicking through his playlist.

"He's got drama with Wendy and Bebe. Must've been one of them." He suggested. "Guy wouldn't hit a girl. They knew they'd get away with it."

"Obviously it was a girl." Larry sided with Ryan. "Why would a dude slap him?"

"Even if a dude put his hands on Marsh, they would've been walking around with a broken nose, or a black eye, or something. Everyone would have known who hit him."

"Exactly."

I walked away physically unscathed.

I wasn't proud of the "altercation". Stan brought it upon himself, acting as if boundaries didn't apply to him. My conscience was clear but my head was heavy. Mike wasn't wrong, I did need a nap.

xxxxx

"Stan push your buttons, today?" Mike raised the topic in his living room, pouring fresh bird seed for his pets.

"He pushes my buttons every day. I can't stand him."

"Enough to hit him?"

Everyone else was so convinced it was Wendy or Bebe. It was more likely to be one of them. Mike accusing me like that sounded more like he already knew the answer, and was testing whether I'd tell the truth, or not.

I wasn't going to get in trouble, or anything, if I admitted it. This wasn't an interaction I'd planned on having.

"What makes you think I hit Stan?"

"Stan gets slapped across the face, and the first I hear about it is from Annie. After school." Mike closed the air-tight lid to the bird seed. "There wasn't a peep of drama in the hallways. Bebe would have owned it and told everyone. Had it been Wendy, it would have been a scandal... "

Mike shut the cage where Lenore and Poe dug in to their food, sharing from the same bowl.

"No one's coming forward and Stan's not talking...this incident's awfully hush-hush. Don't you think?"

"Getting slapped by a girl isn't exactly a bragging right."

"Neither is getting slapped by a guy...especially when he's half your size."

Leisurely, and patient, Mike waited for a response. He didn't get one. I checked the email on my phone, cleaning out junk mail.

Click, click. Scroll.

Click, click, scroll.

Ignore Mike staring at me.

Click, click, scroll.

"Funny how that handprint is on his right cheek." Mike changed his tune.

"How's that funny?"

"Whoever hit him has to be left-handed. Know any lefties, Pete?"

There, in my left hand, was my phone.

"Everyone does."

"Are you done playing dumb?"

"Are you done playing 20 Questions?"

"As soon as you're done playing dumb, yes."

Mike sighed at my stubbornness. I wasn't budging.

"Was today that hard, baby bat? If you lost your cool, it happens."

"Cut the counselor crap. If you want to know so bad, fine. It was me. He had it coming."

"I need more than that..."

My version of events were watered down for Mike, missing some crucial details. Namely, him.

"He cornered me in the bathroom, I lashed out."

"You left a hand print, according to Annie. What did he say to you that pissed you off enough to slap him that hard?"

Everything he said pissed me off. Stan could have walked away unmarked if he left it at that.

"Wasn't what he said. He physically cornered me. I can't stand being handled like that."

"...I'm getting the feeling this wasn't necessarily threatening, in nature."

"Stan wouldn't hit me."

"What would he do?"

There he was, again. Asking questions he knew the answer to. He cared more about this one.

"Don't make me do this."

"I can't make you do anything. This is all you, Pete."

In the drive way, Mike's mother's car pulled in. He saw it through the window. The house wasn't ours, anymore. Neither of us wanted to have this conversation in front of her.

"Mom has groceries. I'm going to help her bring them in. Wait for me in my room. I'll be down, soon."

I retreated to the basement, where I wouldn't have to interact with his mother. She was a nice enough woman, I didn't have anything against her. I just had my fill on people for one day.

If Mike wasn't mindful, that would include him.

"You've had such a long day, hm?"

Apologetically kissing my head when he came back, Mike took a jar of conditioning treatment to his bathroom. His mother picked it up for him on her errand run. How nice.

"I'm not doing this, Mike. Play therapist with someone else."

"Is that what we're doing? See, I thought we were talking."

"Save it. You're not going to make me this better person by getting me to talk about my feelings."

My abrasiveness didn't pierce him the same way it did others. When I wanted people to back off, being unapproachable did the trick. It never worked on him, I don't know why I expected it to now.

Mike wasn't scared of me.

"Be a better person?" Mike said aloud, wistful and lax, resting back against his dresser.

"All these changes you're pushing on me, I know what you're doing. 'Quit smoking, drink less coffee, talk about your feelings'. It's not going to make me better."

Rubber bullets. My words were just rubber bullets. They bounced off him. When I was done firing, Mike came over and crouched in front of me where I sat on his bed.

I had to look down at him. It was less intimidating.

"Are you done?" He asked.

"For now."

"Listen. I want you to breathe better. I want you to sleep better. And, I want you to feel better..." Mike took my left hand between both of his. "It's to make you a healthier person. It won't make you a better person."

He lifted my hand to his face, kissing it once.

"You're fine the way you are, Pete."

Xxxxx



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