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Kevin and Red Are Dead

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“So,” a devilish grin crossed Red’s features, resting her chin on her fingers as she grinned across the table at her best friend, “See what happened last night on the new episode of Space Trek?”

“Oh, yeah.” Kevin nodded, stopping a big spoonful of mashed potatoes just short of his mouth as he looked back at the redhead, “Well, it was a good one mostly, but I think-”

A boy with a blonde bowl-cut suddenly ran up to the table, plopping down his tray, eyes wide, “Is it true?”

Red stopped chewing on her green beans, raising an eyebrow, “...is what true?”

“I was just talking to Francis, and he says that Jason White told him that Annie says that Kyle Broflovski says his brother was abducted by aliens!”

“...oh, yeah, that was Kyle’s story this week.” Kevin shrugged simply, looking to Red.

She swallowed her green bean, “Last time it was a tumor, right?” he asked, trying to think back.

“Prostate tumor, actually.” Kevin replied, “Mr. Garrison didn’t really buy it, either.”

“Right, right.”

The blonde was ecstatic at the news, “Don’t you guys see what this means? The aliens are finally here.”

Red‘s eyebrows lowered in disappointment, “...Bradley, please don’t tell me this is another-”

“I’ve been telling you guys I’m not like the other kids. I mean, you’ve read the comic books, right?” Bradley asked, seeming to pull from his pocket the cover of The Amazing Mint-Berry Crunch #76, all drawn in crude crayon.

“I’m a few issues behind.” Red replied flatly, sipping her juice box and now wishing she was anywhere else in the world but sitting with these dorks.

“Still waiting on the Christmas special you promised was coming.” Kevin replied with a more playful look.

“There are no aliens in South Park. That’s just an urban legend.” Red denied, sipping her juice box.

“But then why is my urine green?” Bradley asked, crossing his arms.

“Probably because you refuse to see a doctor about it.” Red rolled her eyes.

“I’m just saying that-” Bradley began to explain, when suddenly Red covered her mouth, and the redhead sank in her seat, “...is she okay?” he asked Kevin.

Wendy Testaburger walked past the group with a tray in hand and an adorable, big smile, the raven-heared girl heading back to her seat, offering Kevin a passing nod of acknowledgment.

“S-sorry, I just didn’t want her to see me sitting by Bradley Bagels.”

“...well, I was actually on my way back to choir practice before we head out on tour again. Miss Stevens is real excited about it. Says we’ll be gone a good month or two.” Bradley grinned, “...I’m just bummed I have to miss out on the whole alien abduction thing.”

“I’ll keep you updated.” Kevin replied with a shrug, “Tell Millie I said hi!” he waved as Bradley sped off, before turning his attention back to Red.

“...You don’t buy this visitor stuff, do you, Kevin?” Red asked, “I know you’re a sci-fi fan but you don’t actually believe that stuff?”

Kevin poked his food, “Well, I’m sure there’s intelligent life somewhere out there in the universe... but I’m not sure they’d steal little kids, mutilate cows." he was quiet a moment, then whispered, “...or go anywhere near the fat kid’s ass either.”

Red smirked, letting out that soft chuckle he so appreciated hearing, “Yeah, okay. I can work with that.”

His other best friend gone, Kevin looked around and whispered, “So, what’s the deal with Wendy?”

“Ugh, it’s not really her. It’s just... I can tell the other girls think I’m, y’know, weird, and I’m just hoping one day they’ll see me as one of their own, you know? I just kind of dream that someday, it’ll be me and Annie up there with the popular girls, you know?” she rested a hand on her cheek, glancing over at the table where Wendy now sat, next to her best friend Bebe and some others.

“Oh, I understand that.” Kevin nodded, trying to use his plastic knife to cut into the salisbury steak a little, “Well, if there’s ever anything I can do to get you up there, I promise I will.” he smiled.

“You’re sweet.” Red nodded, “It’s just something I think I have to figure out on my own.”

“Fire Drill! Fire Drill! Everybody out!” came a voice from the cafeteria, as Chef called out in his big burly voice. Most kids went running, some with their food, some without. Pip stayed in place, seeming completely unnoticed.

“I guess lunch is over.” Kevin shrugged, picking up his tray, milk carton and apple still present, “Want to head to my house and play Rebel Assault?”

“Sounds like a plan.” Red nodded.

Chapter Text

The science fair had ended only an hour ago, and life had gone on, but it sure hadn’t felt like it.

It wasn’t that Kevin expected to win the science fair, no. He’d expected to lose to Terrance handily; the geneticist’s son had a clear advantage in the area. He thought though, maybe, his weed project could still be at least interesting. He didn’t expect his competition to be a hybrid pig and a five-assed monkey. That was hard to beat.

“Everyone, let’s give K. C. and his weed a big hand.” had been Garrison’s half-sarcastic response to the class, and Clyde had clapped... which he appreciated, but he clapped for everyone.

When class was over before lunch, as most of the other kids filed away, he approached the cage where Terrance was keeping the five-assed creation. He’d always had a soft spot for animals. The monkey seemed to peer out from inside the cage, scowling at Kevin, who stepped back a bit in discomfort.

“Hey.” came Red’s voice, as she put a hand on his shoulder, “You should be more careful. You don’t know where that monkey’s been.” she advised him.

“Yeah, I just thought-” What did he think? It dawned on him that he hadn’t thought through why he approached the cage to begin with. He just wanted a closer look at a monkey with five asses, for some reason.

“He doesn’t like visitors.” came Terrance’s high-pitched voice from behind them, and he jumped a little. “He’s adjusting to the changes. Don’t startle him, Christ.” he pushed past Kevin, and inspected the cage.

“...sorry.” Kevin apologized, “Hey, uh, your project was cool, by the way.” He didn’t know if he really thought that, but he wanted to be nice. Terrance wasn’t exactly popular. He was arrogant and his hair was thick and unwieldy and crudely cared for despite wearing a suit and suspenders every day. Kevin didn’t hate him. He just pitied him.

“This?” Terrance asked, “You’re such a plebian. This mildly enhanced spider monkey is nothing compared to the proper human clone that I was hoping for.” he shook his head.

“W-well, there’s always next year, right? You can try again?” Kevin tried to say. Red nodded, but said nothing.

Terrance turned around, “I didn’t ask for pity from the one who brought in a stupid weed.” he told him, before turning back to the monkey, clasping his hands behind his back, “One day, my father and I will complete a perfect human clone and finally prove our capability as scientists to the rest of the world.”

Kevin shifted a little, rubbing his arm, “Okay then, I look forward to seeing it whenever it’s ready?”

“Thank you.” Terrance replied with a nod, sounding almost sarcastic, “Now, if you’ll leave my monkey alone, I have to catch up on my physics.” he seemed to almost nod towards the door.

“Yeah, okay. See you later.” Kevin nodded, exiting the door to leave his classmate alone, noticing Red follow silently. As soon as they were in the hall, he looked to her, “That was... interesting.”

“Yeah, you’re telling me! Terrance seems really smart.” Red nodded quickly, suddenly animated, “He... could probably work on his attitude, but it’s like you always say right?”

“There’s a little good inside everybody.” Kevin nodded with a flattered smile. She had a point. Maybe they’d get through to him one day. They walked toward the lunch room together in silence a moment. “...say, you were pretty quiet in there.” Kevin pointed out, “Was it because he was a little loud?”

“What? No, no, you know me.” Red admitted with a shrug of sorts. She’d always had trouble talking around people she didn’t know, and she was still getting over that fear. “...maybe I’ll talk to him next time.” she nodded.

“That’s fair.” Kevin nodded as they neared the cafeteria doors, “...uh, Red?”

Feeling more comfortable without anyone else around, she raised an eyebrow high and crossed her arms, knowing that something was bothering him. “Yeah?”

“...was my science fair project really stupid?” he asked quietly.

Red bit her lip, and pressed her foot into the ground a little, “Nah. No.” she replied, “I mean, it definitely seems stupid,” His face fell a little, “B-but it really isn’t. It’s like, everyone else is all wrapped up in making a flashy breakthrough, but you’re doing all the boring stuff most people don’t think about, right?” she told him.

“You think so?” Kevin asked, voice still soft as he looked at her.

“Well, yeah.” She didn’t feel good at this. It didn’t feel natural to be the one comforting someone. She pitied anyone who had to settle for her for this. “It’s like, in Theatre, everyone pays attention to the stars, the leads, but there’s like, understudies, swings, a whole crew doing all sorts of stuff. You’re like... a prop guy.”

“A prop guy?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Y-yeah, it’s like, you know, there’s that one scene in Hamlet with the guy holding the skull, right? Everyone knows that scene. It’s important. And people just focus on the actor, but it’s not the same without the skull, you need it, and it’s a prop guy’s job to find something like that. It’s super important but nobody notices.”

“...Yeah, I guess that’s a good point.” Kevin looked back at her and smiled a little again, “It’s like, Picard’s flute, I guess?” he asked.

Red blinked, “...how so?”

“W-well, in Next Generation, Picard only uses the flute for a minute in one episode, it’s a memorable moment, but it’s on his desk and in his ready room later, it’s important to the mythology, but someone had to design it, and someone else had to do the music since Patrick Stewart couldn’t play it. It’s not a huge deal but it’s still a big part of the narrative.”

“Okay, sure. Yorick’s Skull is Picard’s Flute. The point is you don’t have to be starting a revolution to be making a difference, I guess.” Red shrugged simply. She didn’t really fully believe any of that, but if it comforted Kevin, that was what mattered, right?

Kevin looked down, then smiled at her, “...thanks.” he told her, before pushing the cafeteria door open, “So, um. Want to see if Bradley will put gummy worms in his nose?”

Red felt a lot more relaxed as soon as the subject changed, her shoulders relaxing, and her voice loosening as she smirked, “Bold of you to assume he needs the motivation.”