Hey, there. I've got a little one-shot for you readers to hopefully enjoy. I wish I could somehow gauge your reactions beforehand, but I suppose its every author's risk when he sticks his neck out in new fandoms.

Disclaimer: I do not own South Park. South Park was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and is owned by Comedy Central. I am in no way profiting from this production, nor detracting from the owner, or any parent companies, or affiliates. However, I claim ownership to the literal text below.

Now that that's out of the way, please go on and enjoy.

I sigh and my breath catches on the windowpane. With the pad of my finger I mark the frosty glass, but I just end up frantically rubbing it all away when the words and faces I've drawn make the blood rise hot in my face. My bed is pushed up against the window so I can at least pretend I'm not an idiot, waiting for something that will never happen, I can at least pretend I'm just being lazy sitting here after-school on a Friday. But it's only a thin disguise. I've waited like this before, waited until the sun fell between the mountains, waited until I couldn't see because it was too dark or maybe my eyes were simply too wet and everything was just a blur. It was then that I learned some things are hopeless, but even with my cynical heart I'm taking my luck.

I want to be aimless, carefree. But I can't hide the way my eyes dart back and forth so helplessly, how I press my face into the glass when I think I'm seeing the familiar flash of red and blue. But it's only ever my imagination and I lean my cheek harder into the glass. The cold hurts, but I'm too used to it to care. The winter light filters blue into my room and all is covered in the numb veil of melancholy. My heart contorts inside my chest and I can hardly stand it anymore.

I wish my trains of thought would all come off the rail and cut new tracks along the virgin ground. I wish they would falter and crash or at least go in different directions, but instead they gravitate together like proverbial moths round the central flame.

A clatter from downstairs shakes me and I know it's the sound of cookies. I don't think my mother knows that Stan won't be coming over today. I sigh, and my window clouds up all over again.

Chocolate Chip by KyuuketsukiShounen

Sometimes I have these strange thoughts. Weird things, like what would happen if I died in my sleep, or if God smiles and what does it look like, or how scary it would be if ostriches could fly. But sometimes I get a thought that, absurd as it sounds, isn't quite so strange when I really think about it. Sometimes I get a train of thought that makes sense and it was on one of these that I realized that friends are a lot like cookies.

The world is full of people, everyone a potential friend, and likewise there are a million recipe cards to flip through, a million cookies waiting to be baked. A pair of cookies might have been baked with the same recipe, same ingredients, but no two cookies can be exactly the same just the way that personalities can be so alike but distinctly not duplicates. Each one of my friends has got something different about them and I like to think each one has got a cookie out there just like them.

Take Tweek, for example. I'd say he's an oatmeal raisin cookie. He's off-beat and quirky, but that's the reason everyone likes him. Sometimes he's a little hard to swallow, but it's the differences, good and bad, that make us all more than faceless bodies.

Then there's Butters, who I always thought of as the animal cracker. He's sweet and childish; and the perfect victim. Give a kid an animal cracker and first thing, crunch, there goes the head. Butters is the kind of person from a television family, positively incorruptible. But the world isn't the same as in television, and out here his smile is just a doormat.

Cartman is a strange case. Sometimes I'm reluctant to think there's even a cookie out there like him, it's hard to think of him as a friend at all. But I have to say that he's like those terrible little shortbread chessmen cookies. With the little chess game pieces stamped onto the front of them, it's the way 'asshole' is stamped on that fat-ass's face. No one really likes the chessmen as much and it shows during those lame school parties, when they're all that's left on the cookie tray. But chessmen still get picked sometimes because if someone's too late or too slow, the damn chessmen are all that's left. And with Cartman, we say we hate him right to his face, Eric Cartman, you fat fuck. But we need him there when all the other cookies are gone. It wouldn't be right without him and there'll always be a place for him in our group, but that still doesn't mean we pick chessmen first.

Kenny is another story. Most cookies are great because of their own special ingredient, some peculiar shape, or texture, or history. But Kenny's not a fancy guy, not very cultured at all, and that's why he's our sugar cookie. Plain old sugar cookie doesn't have any special ingredients and Kenny simply isn't sophistication. Some kids are all jazzed up with the clothes and the money, but Kenny doesn't have to be because he'll still be my friend no matter what. Colored sprinkles and candy can make the world a little brighter, but sometimes all you really need is a happy ball of dough. It's plain, but that's the best part. So maybe you don't catch the burnt edges that might be on the bottom and maybe all you can see of Kenny under that parka of his are his eyes, but that's all you need to see to know he's good inside and there's nothing wrong with that.

A little voice inside my head squeaks at me, you can't forget chocolate chip cookies. I lean back into my bed and twist myself into the covers as if I could drown in them. My face is buried in pillows and the secret smile breaks upon me.

The chocolate chip cookie is an extra-special issue. It's what I see in my head, when I hear the word 'cookie'. The smell alone is enough to intoxicate and the taste sends me hurtling through memories that leave me in a grinning daze. I can't say no to chocolate chip. It's the part of lunch I never would trade away. It's the cookie I've known forever, the kind I'll never get sick of. And that's why chocolate chip cookies are like best friends. Because when I hear the word 'friend', it's his image I see, his outline. Because my best friend is the one who gives me that singular feeling I could only haltingly explain. And Stan is the one that I've known forever, the one person I don't think I'll ever get sick of, not his little poof-ball hat, not his voice, and never the smile that gives my stomach the fuzzies.

With resignation, I realize I've lost the game, he's back in my brain. I've been trying to dance around him for so long and now I've crashed into him full force. The real world rushes back around me as if I've been in a bubble and it's popped; the smell of baking envelops me. I untangle myself from the mess of sheets and drag myself under, down into the kitchen below. It should be warmer than up here.

Downstairs in the kitchen it is still, except for the hiss of gas from the oven. And though it certainly is warmer than upstairs, it has that same hollow vacancy that ties my stomach in knots. The tile is chill under my bare feet and I bend over to peek through the dimly lit oven window. It's a rather mundane sight, nothing out of the ordinary. I could tell myself this a thousand times, but it doesn't stop the shiver from blasting down my spine.

Chocolate chip cookies. My absolute favorite and I wonder if anyone knows that when I'm riding those strange trains of thought, sometimes I think chocolate chip cookies are more than just cookies to me. But the sight of the cookies and the thrill it sends through me also hurts and I try to laugh in vain to pretend I'm okay, but nothing comes out. My lungs feel like dust. I stumble to my seat at the empty kitchen table.

I plop down and slump in my chair so my head lays down on crossed arms, but I sit up when I feel something lodged uncomfortably under my arm. It's a pen, probably left over from bill-paying or checkbook-balancing. Upright but still not alert, I reach for a napkin and start doodling absent-mindedly. I work fast, scribbling hastily and a scene starts to emerge from the splotches of ink.

It's the bus stop, the same one we stood at since elementary school, the same one we stand at now. Four figures appear from the mess; two silhouettes of the friends I knew wouldn't be coming, the ones I've already forgiven. And then there's a shadow for the one who's supposed to be here but isn't. The one who said he'd be here, but I should've been smart and expected to be sitting by myself anyway, so I guess I'm the one to blame in the end. And then, of course, there's me, full fleshed and there, moving through my world of ghosts and shadows.

I hold my drawing up in front of me and laugh at how funny it looks, but I stop because the more I see it the more I feel my cheeks droop. It's realistic, too realistic in fact, and I wonder why I'm so addicted to self-torture like this. The pen returns to the napkin and I'm furiously trying to scrawl out the names and things my mind wont let go of. I'm sinking in my seat again, but this time I don't stop myself. I finally find my face back down in my arms. The napkin is crumpled and clutched in one palm while the pen rolls away with a clatter to the floor.

My mother comes in and her footsteps stop just inside the doorway. I wait for her to tell me to sit straight, I'm not a barbarian, but she says nothing and the footsteps tread their way to the oven. I shift myself to see her peering through the little window in the oven door like I did.

Head down, I watch my mother, oven mitts covering her gold bracelets and red manicure. She pulls the baking sheet away from the heat and is standing there, holding a tray of cookies in her hands. I smile weakly. It's one of the few times she's just a mom and nothing else and I wish she would be just a mom more often.

"Careful," she warns sternly, setting them on the counter, "they're still hot." But her voice is soft and not so scolding and I think she knows that I'm feeling terrible and lonely right now. She comes over to me with a pet name and a tiny smile and pulls up my hat for a second to gently ruffle my hair. Then, as if caught up in a mountain wind, she drifts away.

The room is empty again and I sit up. I suppose there's really no use in being so down.

The sweet smell is maddening and I watch the steam dance off my little Stan-cookies, and I wish I didn't have to wonder where the chocolate chip cookie I like best is. And I wonder if my chocolate chip knows he's my favorite cookie, the one I'll never get sick of, the one whose smile gives me the fuzzies. I wonder if things are still okay, or if they're gone.

I wonder if he knows I didn't mean all those scalding things I said and if he knows that being with him makes me dizzy, but for some reason it's a good dizzy and even though I hardly know what I mean, I hope I make him feel dizzy, too.

Then suddenly the doorknob rattles and turns and the door swings open. Everything seems to blow in through the open space, the wind, the snow, and him. And my stomach jumps and flips and I'm about to vomit butterfly wings. I'm ramrod straight sitting up in my chair and he sees me and our eyes meet for a second before I break it off.

"Dude, what the hell?" he demands and the room seems to jump to life. "You just abandoned me back there!"

I don't reply right away.


He calls my name and it stings to hear it in his voice, but still I don't speak. I just walk past him and answer as I shut the door. He doesn't turn to face me, frozen over with a kind of indignance. "Wendy came over," I say and that's explanation enough. He knows it's the same damn excuse I've always gotten from him and I'm only giving him what he's given me. My words sound brittle and dry like dead leaves blowing across the ground. I hope he's ashamed, I hope he wants to shrivel up where he's standing, just like I do. I return back to my chair and I can feel him closing up, like he's shrouding a protective blanket around himself.

"Yeah," he affirms with a slow nod, still standing in the same spot, "she wanted to talk." He's quieted down from his initial burst into the home, but now it makes me uneasy that he knows I'm upset. Each word comes so deliberately and I know he's measuring them with caution. "I think she wanted to get back together."

I know what that means and now I absolutely can't look in his eyes, can't even face him, so I get up and lean forward with my hands against the counter. I feel so foolish and I'm making him talk to the back of my head, but I don't care. With closed eyes and a painful curl in my lip, I wonder how much the knife in my back will hurt this time.

The chocolate chip cookies lay on the counter in front of me, the smell and the warmth comforting. Yet, smell and warmth still leave me with an empty stomach and the cookies are too blistering hot to touch.

"What are you doing here then, Stan?" I say, empty smiles in my words. "You should be with her." I hear his feet step closer and I'm basking in the glow of the cookies, or maybe it's not the cookies at all. My voice is stretched so thin it's cracking. "After all, I'm not more important than she is, right?"

As soon as I ask the question, I regret it. He pauses for some time, as if he really has to think about it and I want to laugh at his sad attempt to make things alright and at the same time punch his face in. I shut my eyes as I brace myself for the answer, but I can't run away. I know I have to hear it. I can feel his mouth open slowly and I'm floundering, hands on the counter, the only anchor I have left. I'm about to break in a moment of exquisite misery. If at all possible, my eyelids crush against each other even harder. His voice comes out milder than the sunrise.

"I'm here, aren't I?"

My eyes open, one at a time and carefully as if waking from a dream. I face him, surprised. He is nervous, waiting for my reaction and he seems as if he's far away, hiding where I can't hurt him. I let the words sink inside me and I can't say I understand exactly what he's said, but I don't think he really understands it either. All I can tell is that he's honest. Still I think I might be shaking and my heart is beating so fast and so hard I'm sure he can hear it. My mouth spreads in a smile and he blinks, as if he's not seeing right. His chest rises and falls, his breaths coming quicker and slow blush rising into his cheeks. An unconscious hand rises up to my own hot face and I feel my warm skin on my fingertips. I'm blushing, too. I bring my fingers back down, linking them to the others.

I chuckle gently and look down at my fumbling hands, looking bare without their mittens, as I try to break this unsure ice. "I guess no one can resist the temptation of cookies," I joke and the embarrassment seems to slip hold from him, if only a little. Pink blush still soft on his face, he joins me at the counter and we watch the cookies cool on the still-hot baking sheet. I sigh again, but this time it's not heartbreak. Still dazed, I wonder to myself, "What's better than chocolate chip?"

Stan turns to me, his eyes all at once brave and bashful. My pulse pounds harder than an earthquake as he smiles at me. "A best friend like you," he whispers.

I can feel his shoulder pressing against mine and my heart explodes. My mouth won't yield a bit of it's smile; it's stretched so wide it hurts but I can't help it at all. I close my eyes and wonder if time would stop, just for me. I feel restless inside, so overwrought with happiness that my mind isn't in control anymore; I don't know what might happen. And so I shove a cookie, hot from the pan, inside my mouth. I have to let the sweet dough and chocolate burn my tongue, before I do something absolutely stupid.

A/N: Do you feel good inside? Did you smile without realizing it? Did you squee at all? If you answered yes to any of those questions, here's a great big hug just for you.

Please, review if you'd like to. I'm glad to have readers at all, but as many of you know, a review is that extra boost, perhaps to make a writer better, or maybe to bring a writer a bit of sunshine on a gloomy day. Say what you want and let me know what you think about my writing. Please, review if you'd like to and know that it means a lot.

Have a nice morning, day, and night, everyone. Happy reading.