Another update, instead of writing two term papers. Go me lol.

Now officially over half done this story. Many more events to come though. Reviewwwwz? Lol.

Chapter 10 – Mind Traps

Kyle woke up Monday morning with a stuffed nose and clogged head. After managing to force himself out of bed before his mom went to get him up in a small attempt to please her, Kyle trodded sluggishly to the bathroom with blurred eyes. Staring at the mirror, he groaned at his reflection. His face was flushed with fever, his eyes looked bloodshot and his lips were chapped.

Groaning again, Kyle began to slowly peel his sweaty pajamas from his body, tossing them carelessly to the floor. He felt uncomfortably hot, and after running a hand through his equally sweaty hair, Kyle decided a cold shower would help him feel better. Turning the water on and leaving it at nearly ice cold, he sighed in content as the frigid water came in contact with his sticky skin.

His nose and throat felt congested; Kyle coughed in an attempt to clear it but instead ended up having a small coughing fit. His cold was progressing, which really wasn't doing anything for his state of mind right then. All it was succeeding in doing was further swirling and confusing the whirlpool of thoughts that existed in his mind. Kyle held his head underneath the showerhead and moaned both in bliss and slight pain as the cold stream of water stung the back of his head and flowed down his face.

The cold bearing down on him, Kyle sank to his knees in the shower, letting his slowly awakening mind wander. He held his face directly to the spray of ice water, smiling as he felt it careening down his eyes, nose and sides before swirling into the metal drain on the floor. He opened his mouth, feeling the coldness seep in, cooling his insides. Kyle then moved to a sitting position, wrapping his knees against his chest with his arms as he was taken back into his thoughts.

The coldness of the water reminded him of the coldness of the snow from when his mother had ousted him from his home days before. The cold he felt now had been the same cold he felt then; it was a calm, pleasurable feeling, equating with the isolated impression that had surfaced in his thoughts at the time. The feeling wasn't so much a discovery as a confirmation that what he was feeling was indeed, real and that he was, in fact, alone. He could have fallen asleep there in the snow, letting the numbness set in, blocking him from his own thoughts and unwanted emotions.

Kyle opened his eyes, admiring his flesh which was covered in goosebumps, letting out a small laugh of content as he felt the cold streams drip from his hair, eyelashes and fingertips. He ran his hands along his arms, feeling the roughness of the cold bumps on himself. Feeling this coolness was so much preferable to feeling disgustingly hot, sweltering, suffocated.

Kyle remained sitting in the shower, losing track of time, until an angry call from his mother disturbed his senses and reminded him of his near approaching psychiatrist appointment. Finishing up, Kyle finally turned the water off in disappointment and stepped out of the shower. Looking at his dripping and shivering body in the mirror, Kyle smiled at the newer impression of himself. Instead of flushed, he was now pale and shaking. He could feel a headache coming on from sitting in the freezing cold for so long, but did not particularly care. He was away from the heat, at least for the time being, and he felt more awake. His eyes looked less bloodshot and the water and made his lips smooth again.

Drying himself off with shaking hands, Kyle managed to dress himself in clean and dry clothes and rub most of the water out of his hair with a towel. It made his hair frizzier than normal, but it kept him away from the blow-dryer which would ruin the cold sensation for him. He calmly stepped out of the bathroom and walked down the stairs, smiling at his annoyed mother who announced that they should have left ten minutes ago. She grabbed his arm, giving Kyle a moment to throw on a pair of shoes before hastily leaving the house. Kyle grinned as the cold air mixed with his cold skin and still slightly damp hair.

"Brr, it's freezing outside," Sheila commented to her son, wrapping her coat tighter around herself.

"I like it," Kyle responded mildly. He could already feel brief traces of his fever returning, but for the moment he was in a cold euphoric bliss. He smiled calmly at his confused mother, before moving his attentions to the outside snow covered world, barely aware of the changing landscape as his mother backed out of their driveway and headed towards Dr. Thompson's house.

It seemed as though the drive had lasted mere seconds. Kyle felt annoyed as the warmth of the interior of the woman's house seeped into his skin. "It's good to see you again Kyle," Dr. Renee Thompson welcomed, kissing the sides of his cheeks as though he was an old friend of hers.

"It's good to see you too," Kyle answered, not really paying attention. Samantha and Maya giggled and bounced more than usual. Maya took Kyle's hand and led him into the house while Samantha twirled in circles near her mother. Kyle suddenly became aware of the effect that the cold water had had on his achingly cold joints. He moved stiffly, although not painfully, towards the couch. The warmth was making his brain sluggish again.

Kyle watched Maya dance with her sister while Dr. Thompson chatted in a friendly manner to his mother. Dr. Thompson looked pretty today, Kyle decided. Her outfit matched that of her daughter's. He had never seen such a unified looking family before.

"I like your dresses," Kyle spoke to the two little girls, who giggled some more and twirled until Kyle became dizzy just looking at them. Samantha fell down and Maya helped her back up again, before they scampered off to find something more interesting to do.

They came back moments later, holding a beautifully engraved copy of the Torah. "Read to us!" Maya implored with doleful eyes, while Samantha was already making herself comfortable, placing her head in Kyle's lap.

"We love you, Kyle," Samantha stated, grabbing two of his fingers with her hand. "Will you read to us until mummy is ready to speak with you?"

Kyle smiled down at the beaming faces of two purely innocent and yet completely warped girls. Samantha's hair pooled in his lap while the childish face beamed up at him, and Maya was busy selecting her favorite passage. She gave the book to Kyle once she had found it and sat beside him, resting her head against his arm.

Kyle obediently read the part that Maya had selected, first in Hebrew and then translating the meaning to the girls in English.

"Hebrew is so beautiful," Maya sighed, closing her eyes. "I can't wait until I can speak it as well as you."

"You will one day," Kyle assured her. He continued reading for a few more minutes, until Dr. Thompson finally bid goodbye to Kyle's mother. As Renee bid her children off on another activity, Kyle brought his defenses back up again. Maya and Samantha really were sweet children, underneath the consuming religious beliefs of their household. He'd rather spend time talking with them and reading to them than spend time with their mother, whose career was based on proving to people that they were wrong.

Renee did not bring her paper and pen today. Instead, she sat beside Kyle and clasped his cold hand in her own.

"Are you all right, Kyle?" She asked, voice expressing concern. Kyle was thrown off by this; his own mother hadn't even noticed his apparent sickness.

"I'm not feeling too great, honestly," Kyle responded, appealing to her maternal instincts. "I woke up with a fever this morning. I think it's my cold."

Dr. Thompson placed a hand on Kyle's forehead, withdrawing it after a moment. "You feel cool now," she observed, along with the coldness of his hand. "But you look faint – are you up for opening up to me today?"

Kyle looked oddly at the woman, twisting his head slightly sideways. Why did she care how he felt? It was her job to make him straight, not act as a second mother to him. Now that it was mentioned however, he did feel weak – it took Kyle a moment to realize he had had nothing to eat that morning, as his mother had dragged him out the door before he had a chance to. Dr. Thompson was probably realizing the physical effects of low blood sugar on him. Was she really offering cancelling a session so that his health may improve? Despite himself, Kyle felt a rush of gratitude towards the woman. She was making a lot of sense, for once. Besides, wouldn't he be able to fend her off when he was in a better state of mind?

"I don't think I am," Kyle responded slowly, thinking about his wording. He had to be careful with this woman, he reminded himself; his own mother had two faced him, so trusting anybody would more likely than not just get him into more trouble and cause unnecessary pain.

Renee squeezed his hand gently. "It's alright, I understand," she told Kyle, smiling at him. "Being sick is never any fun. I'll tell you what, Kyle – instead of staying here and talking, why don't we go out and grab some brunch? My treat."

Renee's modified attitude confused Kyle to no end. She was obviously very intelligent, perhaps even more so than Kyle himself. He had no idea what she was trying to do, and he vaguely wondered how much his mother was paying her that she would spend money on him like that. On the other hand, if his blood sugar was low, having something to eat would definitely be good for him.

"What about your daughters? I thought you were taking care of them?" Kyle pointed out, glancing in the direction of the girls.

"My neighbours are lovely people, and they love the girls. I'm sure they wouldn't mind watching them for an hour or so; they have a little girl of their own, and my daughters are good friends with her. There's no need to fret about them," Dr. Thompson responded, rubbing the back of his hand. "We could be back before your mother returns to pick you up. I think the only question is, would you like to go out and grab a bite instead of staying here and talking, Kyle?"

Kyle considered this again. Eating definitely sounded better to him than talking. And it would give him more time to think of reasons why being with Stan was right for him.

"Alright," he responded slowly, granting the doctor a small smile of gratitude. Doctor Thompson smiled in return, hugging the boy briefly before standing up to call her neighbours. Kyle closed his eyes and let himself sink into the couch in relaxation. This would be better for him, he was sure. And this way, maybe he'd be able to rest some more when he returned home, and then maybe he'd be able to see Stan again in the evening. His boyfriend. His head felt clearer than the previous day, although still in turmoil. Perhaps he'd be able to make up for his previous behavior, and then everything would be all right again. Dr. Thompson would see his point of view, and then his mother would accept and love him, and he'd be free to stay with his best friend. Everything could still come out okay.

After a few minutes, Kyle heard Dr. Thompson informing her daughter of their visit with the neighbour's daughter, to which the girls responded excitedly. Kyle reopened his eyes, and stood up to put his shoes back on while Dr. Thompson prepared her daughters. Within moments Renee had her daughters dropped off next door, and Kyle and her were on their way in her car.

"I know of this lovely little place not far from here where we can eat," Renee gushed at Kyle, smiling at him. Kyle hesitated before returning the smile. The cold he had previously felt had since nearly completely left his body, and was now replaced with a sudden, although not intolerable, warmth. He remained silent for a moment, until Renee broke the silence.

"May I ask you a question, Kyle?" She asked politely, glancing over at him. This was again a change of pace – she had never asked if she could ask him something previously.

"Uh…sure?" Kyle responded warily. Renee was much harder to be angry with when she wasn't doing anything to anger him.

"What do you see in your…partner?" She worded herself carefully before spitting out the last word. Kyle suspected a question of this sort coming, and wasn't entirely sure if he should answer it at all. This woman did, after all, have connection to his mother.

After several moments of silence, Renee sighed and placed her hand back on Kyle's, keeping her attention on the road. "Don't worry about your mother, Kyle. She is a lovely woman, and she loves you very much. But I will not tell her anything that violates our confidentiality. I trust you already knew that."

Kyle sighed – Renee did have a point. She hadn't violated that practice, despite his mother's annoyance at this. Anyone who dared oppose his mother had to be worthy of something, didn't they? He closed his eyes, envisioning Stan and opting to find a way to express him without giving away his identity but showing Renee how strongly he felt for him.

"He…he's perfect," Kyle murmured softly, thinking hard. "He knows me like no one else does. He knows how I think. He knows how I work. He knows how to make me happy. He makes me happy. He…I love him. I love him more than I ever thought it was possible to love somebody."

"Hmm," Renee said, contemplating this. "Do you love him more than your family?"

Kyle groaned, surprisingly taken off guard by this. "Please don't make me answer that," he implored, fully aware how incapable he was of answering the question. It was impossible for him to decide between his family and his lover.

"It is just a question, no need to become upset with it," Dr. Thompson was quick to reply. "But… generally speaking. How would you answer that?"

Kyle thought again, indecisiveness plaguing his thoughts and the unfairness of the question. "He…IS family to me," he finally responded, satisfied with his answer.

"And he loves you too, Kyle?" Renee responded in the form of a question.

Kyle smiled despite himself. "Yeah, he does," he answered firmly.

"How can you tell?"

Thoughts of the previous day flooded back to Kyle's memory. He remembered the feeling he got in his chest every time Stan pressed his lips against his face.

"I love you"…

"Nnn…keep going…I love you too"…

"It's a feeling," Kyle responded after snapping out of his reverie. "I can see it in how he acts. It's undeniably there."

Dr. Thompson pondered this again, seemingly dissatisfied with Kyle's response. They remained quiet for a few minutes, until Renee pulled into the parking lot of a small deli.

"We're there!" She announced gleefully. "You'll absolutely love this place, Kyle, they have by far the best sandwiches I've ever tasted. The girls love them too." She stepped out of the car almost excitedly, and as enthusiasm has a way of rubbing off on people, Kyle reciprocated.

As Kyle and Renee entered the deli, a small bell let off a ding alerting the owner of a potential customer. Kyle looked around; the place was small but brightly lit, with a cheery air. There was a sign on the wall stating the day's special as 'Kosher Seasoned Chicken – $1.99/100g'. There were a few tables, and save for an elderly gentleman, and a young family of four, the place was empty. A teenaged boy was standing behind the meat counter; he couldn't have been older than sixteen.

"Morning, Mrs. Thompson!" The blond headed boy spoke with the enthusiasm of a dog begging to go on a walk. "How are you today?"

"I'm very well, thank you David," Renee responded with equal enthusiasm. At this she touched the small of Kyle's back ushering him further towards the counter. "This here is my friend Kyle. He is Sheila Broflovski's son, from our synagogue."

Kyle couldn't help but raise an eyebrow as David extended his overenthusiastic hand. How was it that Renee considered him as a friend? She didn't even know him. She had attacked him the previous day for his relationship; how could someone who's being paid to change you possibly be considered as a friend? Nonetheless, Kyle shook David's hand. He was obviously well meaning, at least.

"Nice to meet you sir!" He said courteously.

"Where's your father today? Out on an errand?" Renee said with a leisurely air.

David's nod very much resembled that of a bobble head. "He left me in charge for a few hours," he stated with a huge grin on his face. Kyle felt the air shift as its pressure focused on David to keep him from practically exploding with pride.

"Oh wow, good for you David!" Renee spoke approvingly, a tone that Kyle hadn't heard her use before. All it did was make the boy smile even more.

"Will it be the usual for you today, Mrs. Thompson?" David asked, his eyes darting between her and Kyle.

Renee nodded, smiling in a friendly way. "Two today, actually David," she corrected. "I'm recruiting followers here for you," she added, gesturing towards Kyle.

If it was possible for David to grin any bigger, Kyle thought, he had just found a way. He tried to keep from rolling his eyes at the spaz. He imagined the kid being left alone with no one to serve in the shop all day, and tried not to snicker at the image of the David running down the streets and bouncing off the walls.

David immediately set about his task. Renee looked over at Kyle again and smiled. "Excitable fellow," she commented in a friendly way. "He does follow in his father's footsteps though – I expect he'll take over the business once his father retires."

After several more moments, two wrapped sandwiches appeared in view. David rung them up on the cash register. "Anything else, Mrs. Thompson?"

"Two waters, please," Renee responded, once again ordering for Kyle. "Here, why don't you sit down somewhere with the food, while I finish up here," she suggested kindly. Kyle was quite glad to get away from happy David, and took the sandwiches, selecting a pair of seats by the windows. In a few moments Renee joined him with the waters.

"Just wait until you taste this," she said playfully, taking a sandwich and unwrapping it, "I haven't met a single person who hasn't liked these yet."

Kyle unwrapped his own slowly as Renee proceeded to take a bite of hers. He looked at it before taking a cautious bite. As he slowly devoured the sandwich, he couldn't help but be disappointed. For all that build up, he was expecting more. Not that it was bad; it was well enough, it just wasn't anything special. His own mother made better. He was pretty sure even he could make better.

"Yum," Dr. Thompson over dramatized, finishing the last of hers off. "The secret is in the basil, I think," she pondered.

Now Kyle was no chef, but he couldn't help but think there was nothing that tasted even a little like basil in the curious sandwich. "I think its more dill," he wondered out loud himself.

Renee smiled, fake realization plastered all over her face. "Oh, of course! That's what it is!" She exclaimed, balling up her wrapper and placing it into a nearby garbage can. "You're right." Kyle vaguely wondered why Renee was treating him like he just lost five years, but made no comment seeing as he didn't want to seem ungrateful for the free meal. And he WAS feeling better.

Renee had not finished talking, however. Making her way back from the garbage can, she sat back down and looked Kyle right in the eye. "But not everyone can be right about everything," she spoke clearly and decisively. "You're a good boy Kyle, as a mother I can tell. But even the best of people can make the biggest mistakes."

Kyle, feeling somewhat more at ease and awake than he had earlier, was taken by surprise at the mention of this. He looked around briefly; the other customers were paying no attention, to his relief. The last thing he wanted were complete strangers overhearing his personal life issues.

"How are you feeling, Kyle?" She asked kindly, taking his hand again.

"Better, thanks," he admitted, letting the woman take his hand for the umpteenth time. It didn't feel as terrible as it had the day before. Still uncomfortable and undesirable, but not as bad.

Renee smiled, before sighing. She squeezed his hand gently. "I'd like to have a heart to heart with you, Kyle," she began, speaking more carefully than she had the day before also. "Please don't interrupt; just hear me through. You can tell me what you think at the end. In fact, please do." Kyle nodded at this warily; in his mind, he made no promises.

Doctor Thompson smiled at him again. "You are eighteen years old Kyle, from what your mother told me. You are in your first year at Harvard University, studying to become a lawyer like your father. You must be very intelligent to get into such a program, and I'm sure your family must be very proud.

"However, you cannot know everything at this age. In fact, I believe it is impossible for a person to know everything there is to know. You must admit there is a great deal you do not know. You have never been in a real, serious relationship with a woman, Kyle. You cannot know this is how you absolutely are. Perhaps you are shy, or perhaps you had a bad experience with a girl in your past, but for some reason you have not sought out female companionship.

Doctor Thompson smiled warmly at Kyle, still holding his hand while Kyle continued to watch her warily, but silently, as she had requested.

"Kyle, I understand that you must be very confused. I think everyone is confused somehow during their teenage years. Finding the truths in these confusions helps develop people into what they become later in life, as a mature adult. But, Kyle, letting these confusions consume you while you are still developing into the next stage of your life will lead you astray, into the wrong. Shh-" she interrupted herself, seeing Kyle's mouth start to open, "Please allow me to finish what I have to say, Kyle."

"Why should I listen to people tell me I'm always wrong?" Kyle asked, defensive, not heeding her words. "How do they know I'm wrong? Maybe you're wrong."

Renee sighed. "It is written right in the Torah, and other religious texts too, Kyle," she began again. "Please allow me to finish. I was going to say that homosexuality is one of these confusions, Kyle. Letting something like this grab hold of your while you are still young and impressionable – and you still are, Kyle – will lead you astray in life. If these confusions are not resolved, not corrected in this stage, it will be much harder to break out of them later in life, when they have become developed."

"Homosexuality is an invented solution to these expressed teenaged confusions, Kyle. It will not help you find your place in the world. It will not help you to overcome your own personal weaknesses. It is, in itself, a weakness because it is an unnatural deviation of life. A man is meant to be with a woman, because with a woman he may reproduce, and create the miracle of life. And it truly is a miracle."

"Kyle, you are lost and confused, but you will find someone one day, someone who you will love and spend the rest of your life with, and have children with. And you will be so happy with her, more than you ever imagined. Your mother told me how she introduced Lia, from synagogue to you. And while I agree with you probably that her tactics were not the best, it was still an honest effort to help you find someone who you will fall in love with. Your mother does not have to choose this person for you, but Kyle, you must try to find someone on your own as well. No one can go through life alone, with no support. All that has happened is that you have looked for support in the wrong places. And while it is important to have both male and female company, it is only proper to pursue that sort of relationship with a woman. I believe that you know this, deep inside of you."

"This does not make you a bad person Kyle. Feeling these things for another human is itself, a natural thing. But it is when we take these feelings to the next level inappropriately that it must stop. This must stop, Kyle. The Lord does not wish this sort of fate for you. He wants you to be happy, and to be successful in life. You must find the path that He has chosen for you. And He wants your … partner to find his own path, as well. This person must be a good friend to you as well, since you express these confusions towards them. If you truly care about them, you will help them find their own path into the right. But you must do the same for yourself firstly, before you may help him." Renee paused here, taking in the confusion and traces of worry in Kyle's face.

Kyle did not even know where to begin; Renee had spoken so much in a short time period. He didn't notice that the elderly man and David had taken sudden interest in their conversation, and were guiltily listening in although trying not to at the same time.

"You… need to stop," Kyle spoke first, not sure at all of what to say. "I…I know this is right. I just want my mother to accept me for what I am."

"Kyle, you are eighteen. You cannot know what you are. This is not what you are," Renee spoke firmly, still holding Kyle's hand under hers. She looked down at him, almost in a condemning fashion, before smiling again.

"I love him," Kyle replied, overly defensive, feeling trapped beneath Renee's gaze. "I know I do. I love him."

"I do not doubt that, Kyle," Renee responded lightly, appealing to Kyle and disagreeing with him at the same time. "But you have mistaken the love of friendship, or of brotherly love, with romantic love. And that is not right. He has made the same mistake as you, and now it must be resolved. Perhaps, as a first step, you should think about ending the relationship, even for a short while, to help you gain some perspective. It would be for the best of both of you. Help him too, Kyle."

Kyle shook his head. "He'd hate me for that," he stated, imagining Stan's face if he were to do so absurd a thing as break up.

"Break ups are always hard, Kyle, but sometimes it is really for the best," Renee soothed, gently removing her hand from Kyle's and placing it instead on his back, "He may be upset at first, but in the end he will realize that you have helped the both of you by doing so, and who's to say a friendship would never blossom out of that?"

Kyle hung his head, avoiding Renee's eyesight. He suddenly wished he had never come out for lunch with this woman, who was so clearly bent on proving him wrong. But goddamn, she was doing a good job of proving it. Even if Kyle didn't agree with her, didn't think so. The Torah did say that homosexuality was an unacceptable act. Would he abandon his religion and his family for a relationship with his best friend who might even stay his best friend afterwards?

"And even if down the road, this doesn't work out, I will always be your best friend."

Stan had said that himself, on the night that they had parted to go back to university. Was he predicting the demise of their short lived relationship? Kyle trusted that Stan had meant what he said. Yet he also suspected that Stan hadn't expected something like this to happen.

Kyle groaned, thought in turmoil once more. There had to be something wrong with him. His mother noticed it, Dr. Thompson noticed it, even Stan noticed it to some degree, with the way Kyle had been acting the previous day. Everyone thought he was messed up somehow. What if he really was? Was he really wrong? Stan had had three girlfriends in his past. Not just one, three. That had to say something about his sexual orientation, didn't it? Maybe he had been wrong to welcome any sort of advance from Stan. Maybe Stan had been wrong to initiate any sort of advance. What if Stan regretted their relationship?

"Kyle?" Renee spoke softly, her hand resting against his back still. Kyle raised his head to look at her. He saw a motherly kindness there, and a genuine concern.

"It's going to be okay," she spoke softly, trying to reassure the troubled boy. Kyle nodded vaguely, finding himself wanting to sleep much as he had wanted to day before. Either sleep, or take another brutally cold shower, to numb himself.

"I think I'd like to go home now," Kyle found himself saying distantly. His voice and body seemed separate from his mind at the moment.

Renee checked her watch. "Goodness, yes, your mother will be coming by to pick you up shortly," she agreed, picking up her purse. "We should be on our way back now."

As they left, David called out from behind the counter. "Best of luck to you, Kyle," he shouted warmly, smiling at him. Kyle sighed before shaking his head and continuing on his way, ignoring the boy. How was it possible that everyone seemed to know more than him? Renee shot an apologetic look at David before bidding him an equally warm goodbye. The ride back to Renee's house was quiet. Not long after they got back, Mrs. Broflovski arrived, and Kyle was traded off back to his mother. He fell asleep in the car not long after that, and awoke to find himself in bed several hours later. How his mother had managed to return him to his room, he had no idea.

Kyle had been resting for another hour before his mother wandered in with a late lunch. Feeling his forehead, she frowned and insisted on pressing a damp washcloth to his head. After another hour or so of rest, Kyle declared he was well enough to go pay his best friend a visit, whom he felt obligated to talk to.

Sheila only agreed to this on the condition that his stay be momentary, for two main reasons. Firstly, Kyle was sick, needed rest and did not need to make the entire Marsh residence sick as well. Secondly, it was family movie night and Sheila had rented a nice, good moralled, PG rated movie for the whole family to see. This was fine with Kyle; he needed rest anyways.

On the way back over to Stan's place, Kyle felt tempted to sit in the snow once again. The idea of the coldness still lingered as a desire in his mind. He resisted however, mostly because he was sure Stan would freak out if he saw him looking like he had a few nights ago, looking up at the stars.

Mrs. Marsh opened the door to her residence with a warm smile. "Hello, Kyle, how are you feeling?" She asked with an air of maternal love.

"I…I don't know," Kyle realized out loud, and feeling entirely apathetic about it. He didn't particularly care about making small talk with his boyfriend's mother at the moment. "Is Stan there?"

Despite Kyle's mild rudeness, Sharon welcomed him in, shutting the door behind him and running to fetch Stanley. The sound of cartoonistic screaming in the distant background stopped moments later before Stan appeared by the door, hurried.

"Kyle!" He announced overenthusiastically, wrapping his boyfriend tight in his arms. Stan was glad to have him back for the moment. He had come by his house earlier but upon knocking had not received a response. Kyle smiled sadly and returned the hug from his best friend.

"Hey, Stan," he replied softly, and he kissed him on the cheek, because he loved him.

"How's it going? Any better? Got her convinced about us yet?" Stan inquired, seeming to think that Kyle felt better from the day before, as he was willing to hold and kiss him.

Kyle sighed, shaking his head honestly. Upon leaning his forehead against Stan's neck, Stan jumped and swore. "Jesus Christ you're pretty hot Ky," he informed him. "Are you getting sicker from that damn cold? Maybe you should lie down."

Kyle bristled at this. Great, so now Stan didn't even want him around. "Okay, fine I'll just go then," he said, turning from his friend, annoyed.

"Woah woah, no!" Stan exclaimed, trying to correct his well meant comment. He turned Kyle back around to face him. "Don't go," he responded softly. "Don't worry, I still want you around Ky. I always do." He pulled Kyle back into his arms, holding him close. "Come in, stay a while. I want to know how you are."

Kyle shook his head gently. "I can't stay long, my mom wants me back soon," he told Stan.

"What, so she's fucking trying to keep you from me all the time now?" Stan felt his temper flare up despite himself. Why was it that Kyle's mother and Cartman were really the only two people in the world he was really able to be pissed off at? All he knew was that Kyle was always around his mom, and this one week break was supposed to be for them, too.

"She's not trying to keep you from me, Stan," Kyle retorted, offended. "And she can't just keep me around like that either, I have my own will too you know. I can do what I want too."

Stan opened his mouth, then closed it again. This wasn't going to take him anywhere with Kyle. "Come inside for a little while," he urged, pulling him by his hand. Kyle kicked off his shoes before allowing Stan to lead him inside, for a little while.

Stan led Kyle up the stairs to his room, where they'd have more privacy. He pressed his lips against Kyle's quickly, before sitting down on his bed with him. They sat there in silence for a while, before Kyle began on his own.

"Doctor Thompson is driving me crazy," he stated, looking off at the floor.

"What's she saying?" Stan asked, simply. He did not attempt to initiate any physical contact with Kyle; rather, he'd wait and see what Kyle did this time.

"Urg… same as before, that I'm wrong and need to fix myself and all that… but it was weird today, dude. She cancelled the session and we went out to eat, and she just talked to me. I didn't even really do any talking. I felt more like I was her child getting lectured, or something. She feels more like my mother than my own mother does." Kyle laughed bitterly at this.

"She knows that you and your mom aren't at the best right now, right?" Stan pondered. "Maybe she's using that to get to you."

Kyle frowned at this. Was that possible? "That's pretty low," he stated, adding the thought to the swirling whirlpool already in his brain. Could anyone really be trusted at all?

"It is," Stan agreed. "But I don't know, dude. Your mom's paying her to tell you you're crazy. That's pretty low in itself, isn't it?"

"Or she's just being paid to tell me the truth," Kyle murmured, letting the thought sink in. He closed his eyes, groaning.

"Kyle, you're not crazy," Stan murmured into his ear, sneaking an arm around his waist and the other around his stomach. Kyle leaned his head against Stan's shoulder, thinking. Everyone seemed to be telling him something else. He was being pushed one way and pulled another. It was too much for one person to bear. One person shouldn't have to bear all this. He didn't want to think about what was right or wrong. All he wanted to do was to be with the people he loved. But that wasn't possible, because the people he loved were at odds with each other, fighting over him. Why wouldn't they all just get along? Why would his mother only love him under certain conditions? Kyle's frustrations began to well up in his eyes. Why was everything so wrong?

"Hey Kyle," Stan asked, bringing him back to reality but keeping his eyes closed.

"Y-yeah?" He asked, trying to hide his shaking voice.

"Remember just a few weeks ago? How you drove up all the way just to see me?"

Kyle nodded slightly. "Yeah, I do."

"Remember how good that was? How happy we were?"

Kyle nodded again, feeling a bitter taste in his mouth. "Yeah."

"We can have that again, Ky. This rough patch'll clear, with your mom." Kyle heard the hesitation in Stan's own voice, and it killed him. Why was he telling him that if he didn't totally believe it himself?

"How can you know that, Stan? What if it doesn't? What if she hates me forever? Why can't she just l-l….lll-" Kyle found himself unable to say anymore, as tears overwhelmed his voice.

"Love you?" Stan asked gently, and Kyle broke. He felt hot, frustrated tears flow down the sides of his face, and he angrily swiped them away before burying his face against Stan. He felt Stan's comforting hands wrap around his, rubbing his back as his body shook between breaths.

"Fuck, God Kyle don't cry," Stan implored, biting his own lip at his own frustrations. This had to stop. It had to. He'd do anything to make Kyle happy, and not suffer, but what good could he do if Kyle didn't want him to help him?

"I-I just want all t-this to stop-p," Kyle cried against Stan. "I d-don't like it and I don't want to be wr-wrong and I d-don't know what to d-do…" Stan couldn't stop his own tears from spilling down the sides of his face. He held in his breath, forcing himself to breathe calmly for Kyle.

"Nn…baby, shit I know you don't want to be called that sorry…" Stan trailed off before regaining his words. "Kyle…I'm here. I'll always be here. I l-love you so much," Stan cursed himself as his voice caught in his throat. "I do."

This just caused Kyle to cry harder. "I l-love you too but where has that reall-yy gotten us? Right here, rright where we are r-right now. W-which is bullshit!"

"Shhh, G-god no it's not Kyle," Stan replied shakily, feeling himself lose himself to his own tears. "M-most of what we've had has been good, Kyle, right?"

"I h-h-hate my li-ife," Kyle said instead, hiccupping between sobs.

"F-fuck," Stan breathed again. "I l-love you God I love you so much…" he held Kyle tighter against his own shuddering body.

It was then that Kyle looked up and saw Stan's own tear streaked face. Horrified, he held Stan's face between his hands. "D-don't cry Stan," he begged, still feeling tears run down his face.

Stan nodded at this, trying to do Kyle's bidding and get himself under control. His crying would only make Kyle cry worse too. He gently pushed Kyle's head back against his shoulder and continued to stroke his back, trying to make him calm down. They held each other for a good half hour before they were both reasonably under control again.

"I gotta go Stan," was the first thing Kyle managed to say in a calm voice, moments later.

"What? But you've only been here for a little while," Stan protested, not wanting to let Kyle go after all that.

Kyle shook his head vigorously. "My m-mom wants me home, Stan," he said, voice cracking again. "L-let me go please let me g-go…"

"Will you be back tomorrow?" Stan asked desperately, clutching him tighter. He was terrified that letting Kyle go now would mean letting him go forever, and he wasn't willing to do that. If he held him closer that'd mean he'd stay for a few more minutes…

"Y-yeah, I'll be back tomorrow Stan," Kyle responded, getting up to try to clean his face up a bit in Stan's mirror. He rubbed at his cheeks, which still felt hot with fever and tears. After a moment or two, he headed downstairs, Stan following. He shoved his boots on roughly, not caring how uncomfortable that made them, and threw his jacket on.

"I'll see you later," he said, eyes casted downwards.

Stan kissed Kyle's cheek once more. "Yeah, later," he said. "Love you." Kyle nodded and left, closing the door behind him. He wrapped his arms around himself, once more enjoying the coldness of the night as he walked home to his family.

Stan stood by the doorway and watched until Kyle was out of sight before he locked it. He stood there for a good while, looking out onto the streets.

It was not until Stan walked calmly up the stairs and into his room, shutting the door carefully behind him, and sat down on his bed where Kyle had been, that he really allowed himself to cry.


Until next time. :