Consistent

BY : RandomJaz
Category: +S through Z > South Park
Dragon prints: 7362
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park or any of it's characters, nor do I profit from this fanfiction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: New chapter! (Yay?) Pretty happy to get two new chapters up in a week. Happy reading 😊

Xxxxxx

New semester meant new electives. One of which was mandatory P.E. Nothing like dodge balls flying at your face to make you feel alive.

"I imagine Hell is exactly like this."

"Oh, stop." Mike dodged a flying red rubber ball. "There are worse things than gym class."

With Clyde and Craig on the other team, I wasn't so sure. There must've been a bounty on our heads because Mike and I had shit flying at us, left and right.

"Duck." Mike warned me.

A ball flew over me, which I almost didn't duck in time for. Vlad caught it, sending Craig to sit out. Craig flipped him the middle finger, so Vlad chucked the ball at him anyways. Kenny snickered at Craig's expense with Stan and Kyle, even though Craig was on their team.

"AH! So much pressure!" Tweak screamed, throwing balls. "AHH!"

Butters and Scott were useless, running around like bombs were dropping from the sky. Cartman didn't play, choosing to sit out and take the grade penalty. Token sighed, accepting he was on the disadvantaged team.

"Think I could nail Ryan from all the way over here?" Vlad asked Mike.

"You have a better chance getting Larry."

Before Vlad would take aim, I got nailed in the face. I stumbled back startled, landing on the floor. The ball didn't do any real damage, but it stung. A whistle blew.

"Head shot. You're out, Donovan." Our P.E teacher sent Clyde to sit with Craig.

In the locker room after class, everyone changed out of their gym clothes. I followed Mike's lead and just stripped down to my underwear, putting my gym clothes in my locker before pulling my normal stuff back on. No one spared us a second glance…besides Stan and Vlad.

My piercings must have caught Vlad's attention. He glanced and kept getting dressed. Didn't say anything. His eyebrow was pierced twice, and he knew what Mike had pierced. He wasn't a stranger to body jewelry. I pulled on my jeans, Mike stopping to touch my face.

"You've got a big pink spot where that ball hit you." He rubbed it with his thumb, standing there in his underwear without a care. "Poor baby bat."

"I told you P.E is Hell."

Clyde walked by towards the water fountain, water bottle in hand. Just his pants on, his shirt slung behind his neck .

"You two going to stand there in your undies all day?"

"You'd love that, wouldn't you?" Mike flicked his hair over one shoulder. "We're stunning, aren't we?"

Mike wiggled his ass saucily, knowing just what nerve to push on the idiot.

"Put some fucking clothes on. Now I have to wash my eyes out at the fountain." Clyde kept walking. "...and, sorry about the ball, Pete. I didn't mean to hit your face."

xxxxxx

"If Clyde could fuck off, my blood pressure would go down a few points."

"Those jocks can't seem to get enough of you."

Leaning against my locker afterschool, Mike twirled a piece of my bangs around his finger, making a note to himself that one of his friends would have to give me a trim soon.

"I can't say that I blame them."

"I'm serious. This crap with Clyde is getting annoying. You'd think he'd get sick of picking on me. It's been how long? Dumb jocks always like to target the outcasts."

"Have you ever stopped to think how interesting it is how much attention he pays to you…?"

Clyde was a pest to plenty of people. His victim pool didn't discriminate. If he was bigger, or more popular than them, he would make sure they knew.

"Are you confused? Clyde bullies anyone lower on the social food chain."

"I wouldn't say he really bullies YOU…he gives you a hard time, if anything." Mike suggested. "Butters and Scott have gotten sent to the nurse with wedges so far up their ass, they were practically flossing with their underwear. And the poor little Freshmen are scared of him…"

"So, he's scared to touch me. What of it? I've got homo cooties."

"Clyde's not scared to touch you, Pete. He doesn't want to hurt you. The guy's just looking for an excuse to get your attention."

I put my hand on Mike's forehead. He blinked at me, puzzled.

"Um…What are you doing?"

"Checking you for a fever. Because, obviously you're delusional."

Mike flicked my hand away, exasperated.

"I'm telling you! He likes you. He has all the signs: he picks on you, he's homophobic, and never actually hurts you." Mike started ticking off what he considered to be evidence. "I mean, he apologized for hitting you in the face with a RUBBER ball. Go ask anyone if they've ever gotten a 'sorry' from the proud Clyde Donovan for actual injuries."

"None of that proves anything. He apologized because the teacher was right there. He's never apologized before for all the other annoying shit he does."

"I didn't think it was possible to be nihilistic and naive at the same time."

Shaking out my bangs after Mike had been playing with them, I just gave him a look that said I thought he was losing his mind. Clyde likes me? Yeah. Totally believable. He likes aggravating me.

"I humor lots of your bullshit as is, Mike. Don't start getting crazy."

"Ugh, so stubborn. I know he likes you because he likes me, too. He just learned he can't push my buttons too hard since I push back. Notice how flustered he gets when I flirt with him? He acts all grossed out and put off, but he secretly loves it."

If anyone else tried to convince me Clyde Donovan was lusting after guys, I wouldn't take the time to even hear them out. I didn't believe Mike. But, I wasn't going to argue with him.

"Whatever. I just want Clyde to fuck off. If he's in the closet, he can stay there."

"That really how you feel?"

"Yup."

Mike came in close until our lips were almost touching. He traced a path down my cheek, to my chin, with one finger. The halls were empty, but I checked to make sure.

"If you want less attention, you need to give him a little more." Mike winked before backing off. "Get it?"

"I'm not blowing Clyde kisses. If it's fun for you, that's your prerogative."

"Whatever you do, make him squirm a little. He'll ease up."

"He doesn't like me. He's just a conformist asshole."

Looking past me, Mike spotted something far down the hall. He motioned with his eyes for me to look. It was Georgie.

Georgie saw Mike but didn't know what to say. He didn't have personally a grudge against the vamp kids...but, Michael made a huge deal back in grade school over them "stealing our look" and making a fad out of it. Henrietta and I were bitter about it for years.

Georgie was neutral. He could never tell Michael that. So long as no one gets hurts him, Georgie doesn't care what people do. He has the right attitude.

"Diner?" I asked him.

"Yeah. You coming?"

Covering my bases for me, Mike thanked me for some class notes that I hadn't actually given him- to keep up appearances. He smiled at Georgie, and left for Vampire Club. I had to find a way to eventually tell my friends we were dating...I couldn't let Mike be a dirty little secret forever.

"...you have a class with Mike?"

"Uh-huh."

"Why didn't he ask someone else for the notes? Mike knows he annoys you, right?"

"Mike's not so bad...he doesn't have those tacky plastic fangs, anymore."

Outside, Henrietta's car was parked next to Michael's truck. I went to Henrietta's car with Georgie following me. We both climbed in the backseat.

xxxxx

"Can we go somewhere else?" Georgie whined at the Diner. "We always go there."

With pencil in my left hand, I did my homework on the table. He leaned in to my right arm, pouting at Michael's suggestion that we to go to the cemetery to kill time after the Diner.

"What's wrong with the cemetery?" Michael huffed. "You should like it, seeing as you're such a haunt. Get off Pete. He's busy."

"You're not bothering me, Georgie." I assured him. "You cold?"

Georgie nodded, moving in closer. He was innocently hugging my arm.

"I don't want to go sit outside, again. I'm always cold."

"It's because you're small and skinny." Henrietta told him.

"The doctor said I'm still growing."

Currently around five feet and five inches tall at fourteen years old, Georgie could potentially still grow 2-3 inches before he turned eighteen. But, he was naturally a small person. His dad wasn't the tallest guy around, and his mom was super small. Genetics weren't on his side.

"You were a pipsqueak before puberty, and probably always will be." Michael grunted. "Get used to it, Kid."

Georgie deflated at his insensitive, and unnecessary, comment. He made a sad sound in to my sleeve, like a little kid who had been scolded by a bully.

"Someone shit in your coffee, or something?" I paused my writing and gave Michael a side leer. "What are you picking on him for?"

"I'm saying it how it is."

Henrietta didn't like his commentary anymore than I did. She lashed out.

"Don't pick on my little spider. He gets enough of that at school, and doesn't need any more of it from you."

"He needs to build thicker skin. We're graduating in May. Next year he's on his own in that shit hole."

"Don't fucking say that to him!"

"Or, what? He'll have to face reality? He has three years ahead of him. By himself."

Henrietta glared daggers at Michael. He didn't so much as blink. Henrietta was a big girl and could fend for herself with teeth barred and claws out. But, Georgie wasn't confrontational. He wouldn't hurt a fly. Never raised his voice at anybody.

We don't pick on Georgie, and we don't take our tempers out on him. Georgie was off limits. It was an unspoken rule in our group. Breaking it prompted a well-deserved backlash.

"What's your fucking problem, Michael?" I was confused, and angry. But, mostly frustrated. "You were fine five minutes ago."

"I don't have a problem."

"Then step off, huh? Georgie didn't do anything to you. You're being an asshole."

Georgie didn't utter a peep. He kept his eyes down, nervously clutching my sleeve in fear this situation was going to blow up in to something bigger.

Now feeling attacked, and I hope guilty, Michael left and went to the cemetery on his own. On his way out the door, he made it a point to tell us to meet him there when we decided not to be so sensitive. The waitress refilled our mugs without asking, starting with Georgie.

"I'd rather do literally anything else, today. I'm not hanging out with him." Henrietta scoffed, pushing the sugar packets closer to Georgie because he couldn't reach them. "He's in one of his moods, looks like."

"That's going to make him angrier..." Georgie tore open two sugars, seeing Michael pull out of the parking lot through our booth's window. "He's already pissed off."

"He'll cool off."

I poured creamer in to Georgie's mug for him. He was staring out the window miserably, like he'd been the one in the wrong. Henrietta got a call from her mother asking if she could go pick up Bradley from his after-school program. He missed the late bus.

"If I don't go get him, she's going to guilt me about it until February." Henrietta crammed her phone away and got up. "Fucking twerp can walk, he has two legs. Ugh, I'll be back."

Bradley was Mrs. Biggles favorite child. Everything for her "normal" child. Henrietta left, then it was just me and Georgie. He stirred his coffee, stuck with Michael's voice in his head.

"Pete, do you think I'll be this short forever?"

"You're only fourteen, Georgie. You're a kid, you'll grow." I consoled the dejected teen. "Don't let Michael get to you."

"I'm almost fifteen." Georgie mumbled. "I'm not a kid."

"Oh, yeah. Your birthday's this weekend."

Georgie wasn't surprised that I remembered. I always remembered. Henrietta did, too. We weren't big on birthdays. Celebrating another year alive wasn't quite the goth agenda.

But, it was another unspoken rule that at least one of us had to acknowledge Georgie's birthday each year. Even if it was just saying "Happy Birthday" and bringing him a coffee and some doughnuts.

"Are you doing anything, this year?" I asked, to be polite even though I knew it was highly unlikely.

Georgie's family lived in the poorer end of town. His neighborhood was just outside the trailer park, and the rundown area where Stan's friend Kenny lived.

"My parents both have work. They won't be home… they're never home."

Without our whole group here, Georgie felt comfortable enough to admit that it bothered him. Michael wouldn't have had any empathy for him. Henrietta would have told him he was better off not having parents around. I don't know what it was about me that prompted him to confide his feelings.

"...Can I hang out with you?" Georgie asked, trying not to sound too hopeful. "On my birthday, Saturday."

"I'm working that day, too." I told him.

"Oh..."

I saw the disappointment hit him instantly. I should have worded that differently.

"You didn't let me finish. I'm working the day shift, but you can come over when I get home that night."

Xxxxx

It wasn't the worst day at work I'd ever had, that Friday. But, the number of times I had to clean up after clumsy kids was uncalled for. Did parents not teach their kids how to hold a cup right, anymore? There were so many spills, And, don't get me started on the candy wrappers and chip bags. Empty plates and French fry baskets.

"My dad would ground me if I left messes like this." Butters had an armful of empty cups and used straws that would have given me the willies to touch with bare hands.

"My dad makes messes like this." I deadpanned. "Don't get me started."

Butters dropped everything in to my barrel since I was ready to tie off the bag and bring it outside. He took it for me, saying he had to grab the other barrel on the way anyways.

"Loo, loo, loo. I've got some apples..." he sang to himself, in his own world.

"He'll never change."

At the front counter behind me, Stan chuckled fondly at his childhood friend's innocent little song.

"...what are you doing here?"

"It's Friday. Knew you were working." Stan put an iced coffee and straw on the counter. "You still drink it the same way, right?"

I opened the straw and pushed it in the lid. One sip, and I was impressed. He remembered how I liked my iced coffee.

"Thanks, Stan...this is unexpected."

"I can come see you on Fridays, now." Stan took a seat in an empty stool. "You know, by myself."

"Kind of late for that, don't you think?"

It would have seemed cold if I wasn't enjoying his gift as I said it.

"We're friends, Pete. I still want to see you."

"Not saying you can't." I shook the ice in my cup to stir my coffee. "You're here, aren't you?"

"You won't be here much longer. Do you want to go do something after this?"

Stan waited expectantly for an answer, as hard as he tried to play it cool.

"No plans?" I pried.

He didn't have Wendy to entertain, and wanted to stay as far away from Bebe as possible and her parties. What about his friends?

"I'm trying to make some with you."

I was going to go home, anyways. I had the whole night ahead of me.

"What do you want to do? Any ideas?"

"Have you been to that giant new bookstore? I heard their café is good. They've got wi-fi and stuff."

"I went with Mike, yeah...but, we could still go if you want."

"The bookstore isn't my thing...I was thinking more for you."

Thinking again, Stan asked me what I wanted to do.

"I don't know. Honestly, before you showed up I was just going to go home and eat something."

"So, let's get something to eat."

Sitting at a Panera's Stan was the most normal interaction we'd had, thus far. In a booth off to the side of the restaurant, we sat with our filled bread bowls. I suggested this place because I liked the food, but it helped that this wasn't the type of place the jocks flocked to.

I could relax, San could relax. It was just Dinner. No need to look over our shoulders.

"Never been here before." Stan put a spoon in his chili. "Smells good."

"I've always liked the cream of chicken and wild rice soup, here."

"I should take my Mom here for Mother's Day. She'd like this type of place."

"My mom likes it. She used to bring me after we'd run errands."

Picturing my grade-school self at Panera's with Mom, I missed when she did stuff with me sometimes. Her and Dad didn't do much together, and it extinguished completely with Dad's drinking problem. They would bicker at restaurants, over everything and nothing.

When it was Mom and I, she enjoyed herself. I regret spending half the time on my phone.

"How is your mom?" Stan took a bite. "With your dad, being in the hospital."

"She filed for divorce."

"...oh."

Stan cleared his throat and looked down in to his food so he wouldn't give me the pity welling up in his eyes.

"Sorry to hear that."

"She's better off without him."

"...it's not the same, but my parents separated for a while when I was a kid. Twice."

His parent's had marital problems? What?

"They did? You never told me that."

"I didn't want you to think I was looking for sympathy, or anything...um, you know how my dad used to drink and make an ass of himself at my little league games? Well, he's always had a problem with drinking."

Stan was doubting whether he could be telling me this.

"...He's cut back a lot only because Mom's scared how it'll affect my college admission. It's not the same as what you have going on. But, I wanted to tell you. Thought it'd make you feel less alone, I don't know. He embarrassed me and Mom, my whole life. Constantly."

Stan was tapping his foot under the table. I could feel it. He was waiting for me to get mad and jump ship.

"I shouldn't have said anything-" he repented before I could say anything.

"Stan."

I put my hand over his. The tapping stopped. He looked like he was about to start sweating bullets.

"I'm glad you told me."

"...I was scared you'd think I was making it up."

If he had been honest sooner, I wouldn't have been so hard on him in the past. He gave the illusion his life was black and white. His sob story was that lock to his closet door. He had skeletons in the closet with him. They were screaming, pulling him deeper in to the dark.

"I wouldn't have ever accused you of making that up. You should have known better."

"I didn't have any reason to know better."

A busboy rolled a cart by with dirty dishes and trays. Stan reflexively inched his hand back at the sound of the silverware rattling, rolling behind him. Aware of our surroundings, I casually took my hand back.

The toe of Stan's sneaker touched the toe of my boot under our table.

"You were always so mad at me." he moved it in closer. "I don't want to go back to that."

"I'm not mad at you, anymore. Be honest from now on."

The weight of the world came off Stan's shoulders. A part of mine went with it.

xxxxx

"I'm hungry. You hungry, Georgie?"

In a bean bag chair, Georgie was snuggled up with a blanket in front of the T.V. Looking over his shoulder, PlayStation controller in hand, he nodded. His overnight bag sat at the end of my bed.

"Pizza sound good?" I offered, knowing it was his favorite.

In elementary school, he got it every day in the lunch line. I'd see him across the cafeteria with his slice of cheese pizza, and his carton of chocolate milk. We had chocolate milk mix in the kitchen. So, when the pizza came, I made him a glass.

How anyone could bully or hurt him was beyond me. I looked at Georgie, and couldn't find anything wrong with him. He was small, and quiet. You protect people like that.

"Hi, Mrs. Thelman." Georgie greeted my mom when she got home from work, coming in to the kitchen to put her purse and mail on the table.

She was taken back by the fact that Georgie was over, and that he spoke. She smiled a bit at Georgie's pleasant hello after getting over the shock.

"I prefer Ms. Thelman." She corrected him, gently.

"Okay." Georgie consented, no questions asked.

I asked if Mom wanted any pizza and she sat down for a slice. She looked like she was ready for bed, already. Today she worked a double.

"It's not like you to order in." She observed. "Did we run out of mac n' cheese and frozen food?"

"It's Georgie's birthday. He likes Pizza, so I ordered him one.

"Oh, I see. Special occasion. You boys have fun, I need to go lie down."

Mom wished Georgie a happy birthday, ate her slice of pizza, and went to bed now that she had food in her stomach. We finished the rest, and I put the cardboard box in the Recycling. Georgie wanted to go back upstairs to finish his game, running ahead of me when I told him I'd be there in a minute.

In the fridge, there was a tray of cupcakes from the supermarket. They were inexpensive and I picked them up the night before, knowing they'd mean the world to him. Someone had to acknowledge his birthday.

It wasn't much, but I got him something to unwrap. He liked spiders. So, I got him a spider plush with big eyes and little feet. I saw it on the clearance rack in the seasonal aisle, left over from Halloween, when I went to buy his cupcakes.

The price wasn't the motivating factor, I just knew how much he'd appreciate it. I think it was meant to be some type of stress ball because it was as big as my palm and had those squishy beads inside it that felt like my bean bag chair. Georgie held it with two hands and squeezed it to feel the beads move.

"Thanks, Pete." He smiled appreciatively at the toy. "He's perfect."

"How's it feel to be fifteen?"

"Better, now."

A full stomach put Georgie to sleep like a baby. He slept curled in to me, wearing one of my hoodies over his pajamas to stay warm. He snored lightly, soft and quiet like a house pet. His new spider was clutched close, it's big googly eyes staring at me. The sight made me chuckle.

My amusement dimmed when Michael texted me, asking if Georgie was still over. I told him that, yes. He was.

"Need me to come give the kid a ride home?" he asked, knowing that Georgie lived across town and it wasn't like me to make him walk all that way this time of night.

"He's staying the night. He's already asleep."

"Since when do we celebrate birthdays with sleepovers?"

His jealousy was so obvious. He may as well have just admitted it.

"One of us has to be his friend, right now." I typed. "Someone recently hurt his feelings."

"Can you let that go?"

"Don't think I will. Georgie shouldn't have to suffer because you're having mood swings. "

I pulled the blanket over Georgie some more, careful not to wake him up. Nothing came from Michael for a few minutes. I assumed he got mad and abandoned the conversation, reaching over to put my phone on the nightstand when it buzzed in my hand.

"You're my best friend. I hate that I'm losing you."

I had to read that twice to believe he sent it.

"Have you lost me? Or are you losing the person you wanted me to be?" I sent back without having to think about it. "Because, I'm still me. And, I'm here."

xxxxx

This wasn't my ideal Sunday afternoon. Michael's room was just as bleak as I remembered it. I didn't want to go in when I made it to his bedroom door. He was waiting for me.

"I smoked my cigarettes outside this morning." He pointed to the open window. "That's open as a precaution. You can come in."

He had that window open for hours. The room smelled more like fresh air than smoke. His collected of used coffee mugs were brought downstairs. His bed was made. His ash tray was emptied and washed. I scanned his room, noting each detail.

"I wanted you to be comfortable." Michael cut off my thoughts. "Too much smoke makes you choke, and mess makes you anxious."

"How thoughtful..."

I chose to stand despite there being places to sit. I used to wall, propping myself on it, giving Michael the floor to get out whatever it was he was stewing on.

"I'm here." I announced. "Now what?"

"Is there anything you want to tell me, Pete?"

His tone was accusing, not curious. He knew something...or, he thought he knew something.

"Me? You're the one who asked me to be here." I avoided his question. "You should do the talking."

If I could somehow be absorbed in to the wall behind me, I would gladly let it swallow me whole. Did I just walk in to a trap?

"...you're different." Michael started. "Why?"

"You're going to have to be more specific than that."

"Don't do that. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about."

All I had to hide was Mike. Did he find out? And if he did, why was he so calm?

"I didn't have to come here. I'm doing you a favor. Tell me what you want, or I'm leaving."

"Are you that much happier without me? Or, is there someone else?"

"We've already had this conversation-"

"No. We haven't."

Michael had his hands together. He was troubled, not angry.

"I asked if you were back with Stan." He reminded me. "You said no, and I trust you."

His next words sent ice down my spine.

"So, who is it?"

The last person you'd expect, Michael.

"Bold of you to assume I can't be happy alone."

"The reason we're a group, is because we aren't happy alone."

"You just aren't happy, at all. That's your problem."

That could have easily lit his fuse. Michael looked up, dead at me, looking for someone he used to know. He couldn't find him.

"I never needed a reason to be happy, before. I was miserable, you were miserable. We accepted that. So, again: What changed?"

"I did." I told him, matter of fact. "End of story."

"...you're hiding something."

Without a believable answer, his suspicion would grow and manifest in to something bigger than it was worth. Georgie, and everyone else would pay for it. My life still had to stay my business.

"Stan and I patched things up. We're friends now." I dangled the bait in hopes that he'd bite, and dig no further.

"Friends, huh?"

"It's given me some closure. I need it. It's not what you wanted to hear. But, you wanted to know."

Michael didn't want to know any of this. He didn't know how to accept that. The more he knows, the worse it makes things.

He can't control me. He can't take care of me...he can't take care of himself. I slipped through his emaciating fingers.

"If he finally gave you something you need, then great." Michael threw in the towel, didn't put forth the energy to get mad. "That conformist owes it to you. About time he does something useful."

"Wait…you're okay with it?"

"No. But, you are."

His lack of rage wasn't comforting anymore. Something shifted inside him.

"Michael..."

"Someone has to give you what you need, Pete. It's time that I accept it won't come from me."

He grabbed his ash tray, brought it to the window. Opening a new pack of cigarettes, he tapped it against his palm to pull one out. It took a few tries before he could.

"If someone's keeping you alive, I don't care who it is." He lit one, leaving me to stare at the back of his head. "Now that it isn't me, you'll be happier."

"Will you be happier?"

"I lost any chance of being happy. It's ironic, Pete. I really thought it was you. Thanks for showing me how the world works. It's the same, unfair place its always been. You proved me right."

Xxxxx



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