Title: How Cartman Stole Christmas: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hanukkah

Author: Cszemis

Rating: K

Summary: It sucks being on Santa's naughty list. An outraged Cartman takes jolly old St Nicholas hostage and with the help of Kyle Broflovski, the boys declare war on Christmas and everything it stands for.

Notes: I had this idea back in the days before Christmas when I worked in the Disney Store and with Flabz's encouragement it has just totally taken me by surprise. I have ideas for it… like all the time. Ok so it's not Christmas anymore but if I didn't start writing it would have made my head explode and by the time I finish it it'll be nearly Christmas again LOL

ART AND FIC PIMPAGE: style-xx (do you have any idea how much you rock?)


It started with a letter

This wasn't a normal letter you must understand. It was one of those letters that changed your life, knocked you for six and made you fall flat on your ass.

And the fact it was delivered by a reindeer did not lessen its impact.

The whole of South Park stared as the reindeer made its way down the Main Street, just occasionally snorting and looking vaguely into windows, a bag of letters around its neck. Many children were delighted by its presence and ran to tell their parents that Santa had arrived early.

But Santa was not early. It was just trusty old Comet, who had been roped into helping jolly old St Nicholas with delivering replies to the children who had sent letters to him this year. Usually Santa sent an underpants gnome but there had been so many trade union problems recently and Comet was happy to help out. Santa was having to downsize his whole organisation because the world's economy had taken a slump and even Comet was feeling the pinch. He had never been so thin in his whole life and many of the Christmas treats he saw in the shop windows looked incredibly delicious.

But he had a duty to do first.

When Comet arrived at the Cartman home, a fat little boy was sitting at the kitchen table, his tongue stuck out slightly, tapping a pencil against the surface of the wood as he tried to write another kick ass Christmas story that would in some way hurt Kyle. He was writing a story that involved a Swiss Colony Beef log, talking snowmen and a Christmas tree shoved up Kyle's rectum as he became the fairy for the top of the tree (complete with pink sparkly dress and halo).

Comet knocked his antler on the kitchen window and snorted. The little boy looked up and nearly fell off his chair in surprise when he saw the reindeer. He made no movement to open the window for Comet and just stared open mouthed. South Park was a weird place but it still did not mean that wandering reindeer was particularly usual here.

Comet knocked again and Eric Cartman apprehensively approached the window, opening and giving it a curious glance. He might have seemed a perfectly innocent, merely overweight child but the moment he opened his mouth that illusion was abruptly shattered.

"What the hell you want, you stupid asshole?" he barked at the animal, glaring because it had interrupted his creative buzz.

Comet reached into his bag with extreme difficulty and pulled out a red letter. He then motioned for the child to take it.

"Eww, reindeer spit," Cartman took it grudgingly and hit Comet on the nose, "Bad reindeer! Bad!"

Comet sneezed, splattering the fat ass in more spit and Cartman shuddered, trying to hit the reindeer again. But Comet turned away and headed back up the street to deliver a letter to a girl called Jeni who had broken the slide, terrorized little boys by giving them kisses and generally been bad just like the Cartman child.

But Comet never got there.

All the excitement of a reindeer visiting houses had attracted the attention of Jimbo Kern and his lifelong partner and friend Ned Gerblansky. They had their guns and were admiring the animal from a distance until Comet unfortunately headed in their direction.

"It's coming right for us!" Jimbo panicked and fired his gun. The bullet hit Comet right in the jugular and pint after pint of blood started to gush from the reindeer's neck onto the street.

"It's coming right for us!" Ned repeated, firing with one hand at the poor creature, his bullet hitting Comet in the eye and proceeding directly into his brain. The reindeer slumped to the ground and died on the cold streets of South Park.

Ned and Jimbo then enjoyed him for dinner even though they decided he had been on a bit of the lean side for their tastes.

Eric Cartman on the other hand had just received what he believed to be the worst news of his entire life.

Dear Eric,

Santa is unable to bring the PlayStation 3 for you this year due to an extensive overdraft in your naughty allowance. You have committed 11,138 minor offences and 307 naughty acts within this past financial year. This does not balance against your naughty allowance of 100 minor offences and 13 naughty acts and your good deed levels are also unsatisfactory. Only 3 good deeds were recorded this year and there were no unselfish acts at all.

If you wish to receive presents next year then Santa requires you to change your behaviour and alter your lifestyle. However you will NOT receive presents this year due to your behaviour. Have a Merry Christmas!

Yours Sincerely

Santa Claus

A.k.a. Father Christmas

A.k.a. St Nicholas (Nick)

Eric Cartman was shaking as he read, re-read and then re-read his letter again. He stared at the letter in shock, blinking furiously in the hope that the letters would rearrange themselves and say something different. But they did not.

"Mooooooooooooooooooooooom!" Cartman bellowed.

Liane Cartman, a pretty and shy woman in her thirties, ran to see what was the matter and scooped her young son into her arms, "Oh sweetie what's wrong?"

"Mom!" Eric shook his letter in her face, "Santa isn't bringing me presents this year!"

"Oh dear," Liane took the letter and read it herself, her face dropping as she confirmed it was true.

"You just have to buy me the PS3 then!" he told her furiously.

"Oh Eric," Liane looked rather upset; "Mommy can't afford to buy you it."

"But… but you have to!"

"I can't afford to buy you it, Eric. It costs too much."

"But it's my Christmas present!" Cartman paced throughout the kitchen, struggling to understand, "I haven't been that naughty. Why is that asshole Santa doing this to me?"

"I was counting on him buying it for you," Liane shook her head remorsefully; "I could never buy it myself. I'm afraid that you won't be getting the PS3 this year."

Cartman backed up, raising his fat hands to his fat cheeks, shaking his head from side to side, "No… it's not possible."

"I'm sorry sweetie."

"No…NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


Funnily enough, it was not always Cartman that had been naughty.

There had always been the potential for it as he suffered from only-child syndrome and therefore believed that the world revolved around him and only him. But greed and selfishness are learned traits and a child can be an only child and yet a caring and generous soul. But Cartman was different. And Cartman's greed began with jealousy. Jealousy of a little Jewish boy and his dark haired friend.

It began on Cartman's first day of pre-school. He had been so absolutely terrified at the prospect of spending a day with strange people and lady he did not know. Miss Claridge was perfectly nice and got down on one knee to say hello when he entered but it was still a horrifying experience. When Miss Claridge went away to tend to Clyde, a little brunette boy that never seemed to stop crying, Cartman begged his mother to allow him to keep his frog teddy with him.

He then sat by himself for a while, just watching all the other children arrive, clutching Clyde Frog tightly to his chest and trying not to cry. His uncles had always told him off for crying and called him a pussy (whatever that was). And so he was impressed when a little boy stood in front of his mother and simply took her shouting without even a blink.

He had curly red hair which was tucked up under a green hat and the expression on his face was partly fear and partly exasperation. His mother, a large, scowling woman was giving him strict instructions to behave himself and Cartman thought to himself that he was very lucky not to have such a mean mother. The mother did give her son a kiss and a cuddle when she left and was actually more distraught that she was leaving her oldest son alone for the first time. The little boy on the other hand seemed rather apprehensive but not upset and looked around the class with wide, curious eyes.

His eyes finally settled on Eric and he waddled over to say hello. He said hello to Cartman and to Clyde Frog before holding out his hand.

"I'm Eric Cartman," the fat toddler grinned at him, reaching out to shake it.

The other boy laughed, "You're a Cart Man?"

"No, I'm not a Cart Man," Eric scowled, "I don't have a cart."

"But that's your name!"

"I don't have a cart!" Eric squeezed Clyde Frog a little harder, "what's your name?"

The child made a face and thought hard, as if he was struggling with some extreme mathematical equation, "I'm Kyle Brofofoflovski. I'm Kyle Broslovki," he took a deep breath and shook his head and decided, "I'm Kyle."

"Hello Kahl."

"Kyle," Kyle corrected him.

"Kahl," Eric shrugged, not seeing the difference.

"No, Kyle," he narrowed his eyes at the fat little boy.

"Yeah, Kahl," Cartman agreed, not realising his accent made it sound rather different.

"No it's Ky-le," he argued back.

"That's what I'm saying, Ka-hl," Cartman defended himself.

"KYLE!"

"KAHL!"

Exasperated once again, Kyle crossed his arms and looked away, "you're so stupid!"

Scandalised, Cartman actually dropped Clyde Frog on the floor, gasping loudly. "You said a bad word!" he exclaimed.

"Stupid isn't a bad word," Kyle began to look rather worried that he might be told on.

"Yeah it is and it's mean!" Eric pointed at him. But he did not tell on the redhead because of the small smile on Kyle's face.

"I know other bad words," Kyle whispered conspiratorially, fear and delight crossing his little face.

"Yeah?" Cartman leaned closer, feeling intrigued.

"I know lots!" Kyle thought for a moment and then whispered, "Fuck."

Cartman gasped again but admiration now seemed to flood into him. He was here with a boy that not only knew naughty words but was not afraid to say them. His eyes were wide and happy as they shared something they probably would have gotten grounded for.

"And there's shit!" Kyle added, thinking harder, "There's bastard and bitch and butthole!"

"And ass!" Cartman giggled and that made Kyle giggle too because he didn't know that one.

"Crap," Kyle laughed and put his hands over his mouth, shocked that he was saying such bad things and his cheeks flushed red.

"Piss!" Cartman said rather too loudly and this made Miss Claridge look over but Kyle was able to convince her that they were doing snake impressions, "hiss hiss."

Miss Claridge came over anyway and confiscated Clyde Frog. You were not supposed to bring any toys to school in case they got lost or broken and Kyle had to sit and comfort Eric while the teacher put Clyde Frog into a desk drawer. A strange sort of camaraderie had formed between the two boys and Kyle was furious that the lady had treated his new friend so badly.

And so they plotted together in the corner during playtime. They finally decided on a plan and Cartman kept look out while Kyle threw a building block at Clyde. No one saw and the block smacked him right on the top of the head, sending Clyde once again into floods of tears and Miss Claridge cursed, running over to see what was the problem now. With Kyle then on look out, Cartman raided the desks and returned the poor stuffed toy to his school bag and coat, keeping him hidden from the teacher.

By the end of the day, Cartman had decided that Kyle was his favourite person in the whole world and when he explained this to his mother she told him fondly that he had a best friend. And so Eric Cartman went into school happier than before, ready to announce to the whole class that Kyle Brofofofoflovski was his best friend.

However there was a boy with dark hair playing with Kyle now. They had apparently known each other for a long time and had plenty to say, laughing and running around, racing each other to the slide to have the first shot. Cartman obviously was not needed and suffice to say it hurt. He kept close to Kyle and his friend Stan but Stan seemed to think that Eric was a little strange and was rather obviously keeping Kyle all to himself.

Eric learned to hate Kyle. He and Stan started calling him the Cart Man and then they made fun of his weight as days turned to weeks and years. Kyle turned into a rival and an enemy even though their relationship could have been so much different. Eric Cartman could barely remember his first days at school but he was filled with pain and rage whenever Stan and Kyle left him out of things.

Then he learned about Kyle's religion and used it as a way of setting him apart, making fun of how different he was. Because Jews did not celebrate Christmas and according to Eric such a thought was unthinkable. Eventually it was he that became a bully and his many crimes and misdemeanors became legendary, even attracting the attention of Santa Claus who decided that something had to be done about that wicked Cartman child…


Kyle felt that the only thing to be done was to ignore Cartman as much as possible and hope he would go away. The fat ass had turned up at the bus stop in a foul temper, his eyebrow twitching as he vainly tried to contain his anger. Stan and Kyle edged away from Eric as he took his place beside Kyle, only moving inches but enough to keep them out of arms reach. Kenny was the only one to stay where he was at Cartman's other side, vaguely bemused and unaware under his parka.

Kyle knew that Cartman was far beyond being simply pissed off because of his utter silence. There were no Jew comments, nothing about fags nor queers nor hippies nor ghetto children and a silent Cartman was ten times more terrifying than a cursing one.

Occasionally, Cartman would shudder, as if some horrible demon possessed him and he would let out a low growl of frustration. But he did not speak to anyone, just staring into space and seemingly plotting away. But Cartman was not actually plotting, he was just trying to figure out what he had done that was so terrible that he was not going to get any presents.

Ok, he might have made Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman into chili and he may have accidentally on purpose nearly gotten his friends all raped by a bunch of perverts once but he had been sure that he had made up for all that with his fruit baskets. And yet the powers that be still demanded more payment from him.

He could not understand it. He would not understand it.

And Kyle was even more concerned when the bus arrived and everyone piled onto it except Cartman who stood outside for a few moments more. He did not really see the bus even though it was very big and very yellow. He just was not paying enough attention. It was Kenny who finally pulled him aboard but the three friends abandoned Cartman to sit at the back, freaked out by his behaviour.

Trying to lighten the situation Stan brought up the subject of presents. Everyone at the back of the bus began talking animatedly, boasting about the goodies that they expected on Christmas morning.

"I'm getting the Red Racer platinum remote control car!" Craig was saying loudly.

"I'm getting the Playstation 3 and seven new video games plus more memory cards," Stan was smiling, planning on spending his Christmas Day killing monsters.

"I'm getting a telescope with 1500x magnification," Kyle said in a low voice, not sure how people would react to his Hanukkah present.

Kenny was kneeling on his seat having sat in front of Stan and Kyle. This meant that if the bus suddenly stopped then Kenny would most likely be thrown the full length of the bus and out of the windshield but he either didn't realise this or didn't care.

"Santa's getting me a new PC and a year's subscription for World of Warcraft," Kenny smiled, looking forward to abandoning real life for the massive multiplayer role playing game reality that he loved so much.

"I can't play World of Warcraft anymore," Kyle frowned up at him, "you keep molesting my character!"

"It's your own fault for choosing the one with big boobs," Kenny laughed.

Clyde piped up, looking overly pleased with himself, "Dudes, Santa promised me a years free membership pass for the Peppermint Hippo!"

Kenny hit the back of his chair in frustration, "Damn! I should have asked for that!"

"You can borrow it sometime," Clyde shrugged.

"Really?" Kenny looked hopeful.

"No."

"Ergh!" someone screamed from the front of the bus. It was Cartman, his face scrunched up so tight and his fists clenched, "Errrgh!"

"Dude," Kyle said, giving Cartman a funny look, "what's up with you?"

"Yeah Cartman," Stan looked almost worried about their fat friend, "you alright?"

Cartman shuddered again and seethed, "would… you… guys… stop… flaunting… your… presents?"

"Huh?" Kenny asked, confused.

"Just because you guys are supposed to be so awesome and nice doesn't mean you deserve your presents," Cartman turned around his seat to glare at all the boys at the back of the bus, "you're all just stupid faggy assholes!"

"Aww jeez Eric," Butters looked back him, feeling rather guilty, "I guess I don't deserve anything. I've been naughty. I don't deserve the Hello Kitty Beauty Salon Play set."

A bunch of the other buys burst out laughing but Cartman took him seriously, "you don't deserve anything, you stupid queermo!"

Butters's eyes filled with tears, "I'm a bad kid!"

"No you're not," Kyle stood up and put an arm on his shoulder, glaring down the bus at Eric Cartman, "I don't know what your problem is but you can leave us out of it!"

"Shut the fuck up Jew!"

Kyle bristled and began to walk down the passageway, "You can shut it fat ass!"

Stan jumped up and grabbed Kyle's shoulder, "Hey, he's not worth it! Just ignore him and maybe he'll go away."

"Fat chance," Kyle glared one more time at Cartman and then sat back down beside Stan. Stan patted his back reassuringly and they shared a small smile.

Stan was always so good at making things seem better.

He certainly made things better for the rest of the bus journey, telling everyone Christmas jokes and cheering up Butters who had begun to panic that he may not have gotten any presents this year. There had been a rumour spreading throughout the school that Santa had made cutbacks on the delivery of presents and everyone was dreading that horrible rejection letter straight from the North Pole.

They were discussing that issue in class, wondering who might end up with one of those dreaded letters when Mrs. Garrison shimmied into the room, a box full of Christmas decorations in her arms.

"Alright class, its three weeks to Christmas and this morning I thought I'd give all you little bastards a treat. We're going to decorate the class and then make Christmas cards!" the class cheered loudly but Mrs. Garrison waved them silent, "and then we can go back to multiplying fractions."

"Aww," Stan groaned and rolled his eyes. Kyle rolled his too as everyone got up from their desks to take the decorations handed out to them.

Stan, Kyle and Kenny were put on Christmas tree duty and had to stand on chairs to place baubles on some of the high branches. Kenny would not go higher than that and Stan also had some reservations about balancing at the edge of a desk to hang some fairy lights around the tree. That job was then left to Kyle who had a better head for heights than all of them.

Kyle, a handsome Semitic boy of nine, was rather brave and intelligent for someone so young. A straight A student, Kyle's only vices were his awful temper and his overly bossy mother but he had a kind heart and had patience for everyone apart from Cartman, his only enemy. Stan Marsh, his best friend, was smiling swarthy youth, his dark hair complementing gentle blue eyes. What Stan lacked in brains he made up for in boldness, the sort of boy always willing to go the extra mile for those he cared about. Kenny McCormick on the other hand was a reserved, skinny child, hiding an angelic complexion behind the hood of his orange parka. Although he thought too much about women and breasts Kenny was actually quite shy, probably because he had a nasty habit of dying from the slightest little mishap. He had been resurrected more times than Jesus.

That might have been why he was unwilling to place the star on the top of the tree. The rest of the class were busy making paper chains and hanging holly in different places around the room but Eric Cartman was trying his best not to help out very much. He was working with Craig and Butters and was supposed to be decorating Mrs. Garrison's desk with glitter and tinsel but he was instead watching his annoying friends decorate the tree. He had felt a strange sort of cruel satisfaction when Kenny backed down from placing the star and Stan waved off the opportunity in favour of Kyle.

"Oh look everyone," Cartman announced, his vindictive voice breaking the merry atmosphere, "a Jew is about to ruin Christmas."

Kyle froze halfway up a ladder, blushing when everyone turned to look at him.

"Does that star have six points Kahl?" Cartman asked, enjoying the sensation of taking his anger out on someone, "because we're not having some stupid Jew star on our Christmas tree."

"It has five," Stan spoke up for Kyle, keeping the ladder steady so Kyle would not fall.

"I wasn't asking you, fag," Cartman barked. Mrs. Garrison opened her mouth to intervene but Cartman was not about to be stopped.

"Just exactly where do you get off ruining this holiday for everyone Kahl? Who gave you the right to put that star up there? THIS IS NOT YOUR HOLIDAY KAHL! YOU KILLED JESUS! YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CELEBRATE HIS BIRTH!"

"Goddammit Cartman," Kyle stomped down the rungs and thrust the star into Stan's hands, "what the fuck is up with you today?"

"What's wrong? What's wrong?" Cartman threw his arms wide, "What's wrong is having you assholes wreck our holiday!"

"I haven't done anything!" Kyle protested. He hadn't done anything and neither had his people. The only blame lay with Santa.

"You exist Kahl… you exist," Cartman pointed his finger in Kyle's face, "but if Hitler had done his job properly then you wouldn't."

With one hand, Kyle grabbed Cartman's finger and twisted it back. And just as Cartman let out a horrible howl of pain, Kyle's fist swung around and slammed into Eric's nose, almost breaking it but hitting it hard enough to make him bleed. Cartman struggled to breathe through the blood and backed away from Kyle, a rare fear in his eyes.

"Eric Cartman!" Mrs. Garrison finally dashed forward, "you go to the nurse's office to get that face fixed and when you get back you and I are going to have some serious words about cultural sensitivity."

Cartman left the room still holding his nose, muttering under his breath when Garrison turned around to regard Kyle.

"Detention, Broflovski. After school."

"What?" Stan looked horrified, "But it was Cartman that provoked him!"

"I know," Mrs. Garrison frowned, "but you can't just go around hitting people Kyle. Do you have anger management issues or something?"

"You weren't stopping him…" Kyle said in a small voice, beginning to feel utterly ashamed of himself.

"Detention. Three o'clock. In here with me. And that's my final word on the matter."

"But…"

Mrs. Garrison sent all the children back to their seats and instead of making Christmas cards like she had promised them, they spend the rest of the day doing fractions. When Cartman came back his nose was rather swollen but he looked ok and instead of participating in the class he read his letter under the desk.

At lunchtime Stan and Kyle abandoned everyone to hang around on the swings, both ranting about how unfair Mrs. Garrison was and how much of an asshole Eric Cartman could be.

"We were supposed to be going to the mall and stuff," Stan swung slightly, sounding disappointed.

"I'm sorry dude," Kyle looked miserable. He had been looking forward to seeing Santa at the mall. Even though he didn't celebrate the holiday he appreciated how much it meant to Stan and he liked seeing everyone so happy as they bustled about from store to store. It felt nice to be caught up in the atmosphere.

"Well, I can go with everyone else and then I'll meet you at Stark's Pond after your detention," Stan suggested.

"Not at the mall?" Kyle asked.

"Nah. We can head back to mine and have eggnog and play videogames."

"I'd like that," Kyle swung a little bit more, "Stark's Pond at 4?"

"Sure dude," Stan nodded.


Stan never showed up.

Kyle was there a few minutes before four and waited eagerly for three hours on a bench beside Stark's Pond. It was a harshly cold night and a blizzard was swept up, half burying the poor Jewish boy as he waited for his best friend in the whole wide world.

Being one hour late was excusable. It was Christmas and there would be long lines at the mall. Stan could have been getting a bit upset at the delays and rushing to Kyle's side at any moment. Two hours was pushing it. Stan may have forgotten he was meeting Kyle in all the festive excitement and only just realizing what he had done. He would be running to Stark's Pond apologizing profusely. Three hours was beyond a joke. Stan had forgotten him. Stan would not be meeting him and Kyle was most definitely abandoned on the edges of Stark's Pond, getting slowly buried by the falling snow.

It was around the three hour point that Kyle's heart had begun to sink, realizing that he may as well go home. But he did not want to. A part of him still held out the hope that he was not forgotten and someone would be coming for him soon. The more cynical side of him (an inner voice that sounded an awful lot like Cartman) unhelpfully pointed out that Kyle was abandoned every year like this. Every year the other kids went off to play by themselves, talking about Santa and drinking eggnog.

They always left Kyle alone in December. Always

"It's hard to be a Jew on Christmas," Kyle sang hoarsely, just under his breath, feeling his eyes beginning to sting with unshed tears and he shivered from the wind, "My friends won't let me join in any games."

Kyle dug his feet out of the snow, it had now reached around his ankles and was beginning to slip into his shoes, his toes biting with the cold, "and I can't sing Christmas songs or decorate a Christmas tree or leave water out for Rudolph cause there's something wrong with me."

Unable to see for the angry tears, Kyle stood up and wobbled, the small mountain of snow that had piled up on the top of his head quivering slightly. With white hot rage in his veins and horrible cold loneliness in his heart he flung out his arms and yelled at the night, "My people don't believe in Jesus Christ's divinity!"

And it was that fact that had him once again by himself at this time of year, all his so-called friends abandoning him time and time again for their yuletide happiness. The thought of them all, laughing and warm caused him to shiver, a tear escaping from his eye and burning its way down his cheek.

"I'm a Jew, a lonely Jew… on Christmas."

Kyle kicked the pile of snow that had begun to bury him with a fury that only made him feel more hollow and lonely. It was not the fact that he hated Christmas or wanted to convert from Judaism. It was the fact that Stan would probably just use the holiday as his excuse for forgetting about him. He'd tell him not to be such a pussy, that Christmas was really important. Well to Kyle it was his friends that were important and he could not for a moment imagine leaving them in the snow for three hours and never show up. Because was it unlikely that Stan would ever appear now.

"Hanukkah is nice, but why is it, that Santa passes over my house every year?" he asked the night sky, as if he expected God Himself to tell him why he had to be so different from everyone else. But the snow only blew harder and nearly pushed the nine year old off his feet.

But Kyle stayed upright, not allowing the snowstorm to break him. He only raised his voice louder, daring the sky to stop him. The sound of him was probably lost in the wind and the snow stung as it grazed against his cheeks. He took two steps forward into the wind, the little mountain of snow threatening to topple off his head and down the back of his jacket.

"And instead of eating ham I have to eat Kosher Latkes," Kyle found himself sobbing. He was cold, so cold and the only thing to warm him was his rage, "Instead of Silent Night I'm singing hey-hach-dol-gavish! And what the fuck is up with lighting all these fucking candles, tell me please?"

The wind began to die down, as if it could not think of how to answer his pleas. The snow now fell gently down on him. His whole body quivered, once again thinking of everyone having a good time without him and that hurt more than anything else he could imagine. He could picture Stan enjoying himself, his face lit up as he told Santa what he wanted for Christmas, Kenny's family actually getting along for once and just enjoying each other's company, Cartman singing carols with his mother, occasionally stuffing his face with whatever treats he could find.

And it hurt. It hurt to be so alone. To have no one that understood.

"I'm a Jew, a lonely Jew," Kyle could no longer hold back his tears and they slipped freely from his sad eyes, dripping down into the snow. He made his way to a tree for a bit of shelter and sat down again. The snow froze him through his clothes and made him feel numb. But even though he began to lose all feeling in his body his stomach was still twisted, his heart pained.

He brought his knees up to his chest and hugged them, trying to finish his song even as sorrow began to overtake him.

"I'd be merry, but I'm….. But I'm," Kyle choked, "but…. I'm…"

He could not take it anymore. Giving up completely, he rested his head on the top of his knees and wept, his shoulders shaking with each sob. The mountain of snow shunted forward a little but still did not fall. It felt like the weight of the world was upon one small boy from Colorado and he just couldn't take it. Not alone.

Fortunately and unfortunately, the wind had heard his song and swept up and billowed the sound to another boy of Kyle's age but he was hardly the person that Kyle ever wanted to hear him cry. Cartman stopped dead when he heard the sound. He was still furious himself but when he heard the singing and sobs he felt strangely mellow, like the misery of someone else was somehow sating his anger.

Curious he hid behind a tree and peered around its base. There sat Kyle Broflovski, his back to him but his shoulders visibly heaving with each sob. Fragments of Kyle's song hung on the wind and Cartman's eyes widened as he heard it.

"I'm a Jew… a lonely Jew…"

Eric Cartman was suddenly struck with two greatly conflicting emotions. Firstly he wanted to run up to Kyle and laugh in his face, saying that he got what he deserved for daring to be Jewish on Christmas. To pelt him with snowballs and really make him cry. But at the same time he was overcome with a strange sort of possessiveness. At once he wanted to know who it was that had upset Kyle so and then tear their legs off. He may have hated Kyle but Kyle was his to torment and his alone.

He stepped out from behind the tree, feeling the wind whip up, sending a flurry of snowflakes around them both. He heard Kyle whimper and draw further into himself, hugging his knees tighter, burying his face away from the cold. Cartman shivered too.

"You can't stay out here," he said, "you'll freeze to death."

Kyle did not respond. He stayed curled up in that little ball, pleading desperately with God to make that asshole Eric Cartman leave. But Eric did not leave. He went and sat down beside Kyle, hissing as the snow froze his butt cheeks.

"Didn't you hear me you stupid asshole?" Cartman shook Kyle's shoulder, "you're gonna freeze to death!"

"I don't care," Kyle was barely audible.

"I care," Cartman frowned and stared at the mountain of snow piled up on his enemy's ushanka, "how long have you been out here?"

"Three hours. Stan never showed up… but he might soon."

"You waited three hours for that fag?" Cartman snorted, "why?"

"He's my best friend," Kyle lifted his head and Cartman was shocked by how puffy and red his eyes were.

"Some fucking best friend," Cartman sighed, "even I know better than that."

"It's Christmas," Kyle's teeth were chattering and Cartman had to struggle to understand him, "This always happens, I always get abandoned."

"Christmas is fucking bullcrap," Cartman felt angry again and balled his fists up, "I'm never celebrating it again! Never!"

Kyle looked at him confused, but he was now so cold, shaking so much that the world had stopped making sense. Was Cartman really denying Christmas and everything it stood for? But he did not want to ask him about it now, his eyes still searching for Stan's familiar form in the distance.

Cartman obviously noticed this, "he's not coming you dipshit. He's off with the other assholes jingling all the fucking way."

Kyle shook his head and hugged his knees.

Cartman gritted his teeth and grabbing Kyle's forearm he forced the Jewish boy to his feet, "dude, you've got like a mountain of snow on your hat."

He reached up and brushed it off, still watching Kyle's rather anguished expression. He muttered to himself and shook his head, "stupid, fucking fag leaving the pussy out in the snow for three hours. I'm the fucking one that has to make sure he doesn't get pneumonia. Why do I have to be the one to clean up everyone else's messes? I don't even like Kahl. Stupid fucking fag and fucking Jew friend."

There was obviously still a little bit of Kyle that hadn't been frozen because he glared even if he didn't fight back. Cartman straightened out Kyle's jacket, still bitching to himself. Kyle tried to swat his hands away but his eyes filled up and he couldn't see Cartman for a moment (which was certainly saying something considering his size).

"You lot always do this every fucking year!" Kyle's chin was trembling, "I'm sick of it and sick of you!"

"You're going home before you freeze," Cartman grabbed his arm and began dragging him in the direction of the Broflovski home. Why hadn't Kyle's bitch of a mother noticed he was not home either?

"Leave me alone!" Kyle yelled, trying to dig his heels into the snow.

Cartman stopped and grabbed his shoulders, hissing into Kyle's face, "Don't make me carry you asshole."

"You wouldn't."

"I would."

"Why?"

"If you think I'm sitting through a Jewish funeral you've got another thing coming Jewboy," Cartman began tugging him towards home again. "And you're lucky you don't celebrate Christmas!"

Kyle frowned, wondering why. But he didn't need to ask because the fat ass explained anyway.

"You don't have to deal with all the seasonal bullshit at all," Cartman said through clenched teeth, "You don't have to be on your best behavior to be on the good list, or give to charity. You don't have to go to grandma's house with your crackhead family. You don't need to put up with that asshole Santa."

"You're not getting the Playstation 3 then?" Kyle asked rather cruelly.

Cartman spun around and for a moment Kyle thought he was going to get a slap but he was just told, "You know nothing!"

For most of the journey they walked in silence, Kyle occasionally falling behind as his leg muscles were sore and tight after shivering for so long. Cartman would decrease his pace to allow the redhead to catch up and he did not comment on it either. Cartman knew well that Kyle would never admit weakness to him. Ever. Even if Kyle had a broken leg he would still be determined to catch up; limping, crawling, rolling.

But it was getting exasperating. Cartman wanted to be home now and bitch to Clyde Frog about the unfairness of his situation but he felt an awful sort of responsibility to make sure he got home safe. He heard Kyle suck in a breath of effort behind him and rolled his eyes. He was beginning to think it might be easier to just drag Kyle home rather than put up with the slow pace.

Why are you even helping him? A little voice asked Cartman inside his head. You hate Kyle; you hate every bone in his body.

Cartman did hate Kyle and while he used Judaism as an excuse he sometimes thought that might not be the reason. Perhaps it was Kyle's holier-than-thou attitude, the way Kyle always made fun of his weight, perhaps Cartman hated Kyle because Kyle hated him too and it was the only way the friendship would work.

Whatever the reason, there was only one person in the world that Cartman would have saved from a Smug Storm. There was only one person in the universe that Cartman would give annoying kisses with his little hand puppet. Only one person he would drown in a bubble just so they would finally be happy. One person he sang his news to ("Na Na Na Na Na Na ha ha ha ha ha ha"). It was weird that Cartman always ran up to Kyle singing his news but he loved seeing the disgusted look on Kyle's face almost as much as life itself.

He could not remember those first days of pre-school, and if he had Cartman might have had a better understanding of his relationship with Kyle and gotten over it. Cartman may have been friends with Clyde (who seemed to like him a lot) and Craig (who he despised but probably would have been a good partner in world domination plots). But he'd probably still be on the naughty list, even if he had learned not to hang onto his group of friends so much. He liked his friends (except Kyle) and took a great deal of pleasure in seeing them all suffer (especially Kyle).

But if Kyle's suffering was a treat now then the minutes following was a banquet.

Cartman spotted them first and tried to direct Kyle away from them, using his size to hide them from view. Unfortunately Kyle seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to Stan and his head jerked up, almost like he could hear or even smell him coming from behind Cartman's large ass. He and Cartman gave each other a lingering look; Eric trying to decipher just how pissed off Kyle was going to be and Kyle trying to find sympathy from his enemy.

"Hey dudes," Stan waved and smiled, walking towards them with Wendy Testaburger and Clyde.

Kyle seized up and did not reply. Cartman merely waved.

"How are you guys doing?" Stan asked, oblivious to the frustration pouring off Kyle in waves, "This is some snow storm huh?"

"It's snowing?" Cartman asked sarcastically, a gust of it hitting him in the face, "You'd think I would have noticed."

"Well you're so stupid that it takes a long time for the information to reach your brain, fat ass," Stan smirked, Wendy chuckled and Clyde grinned shyly. Kyle made no movement.

"I may be stupid but at least I'm good at remembering things," Cartman pointed out, but Stan still seemed happily ignorant.

"Yeah, a memory like an elephant!" Stan looked at his best friend to see if he would laugh. Kyle face twitched as he struggled to restrain himself.

Stan was a little puzzled by Kyle's reserve and said softly, "Dude, you can laugh, your face isn't going to freeze like that."

"I… am… not… going… to… laugh," Kyle seethed through clenched teeth.

Stan thought that the cold might be getting to Kyle, "let's get back you guys, my mom can make us eggnog," he took a hold of Kyle's shoulder and tried to lead him away from Cartman.

Kyle wrenched his shoulder free and Stan looked at him horrified, "Dude! What the fuck?"

"WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?" Kyle screeched, unable to control his anger anymore.

"What?" Stan looked confused.

"Ho ho," Cartman whistled, "here we go."

"THREE HOURS, STAN!" Kyle bellowed, clenching his fists in front of him, "I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THREE HOURS!"

Stan blinked, "what for?"

Kyle let out a horrible growl of frustration, "FOR YOU! YOU STUPID FUCKING ASSHOLE RETARD!"

"Erm…" Stan looked rather uncomfortable, "we just said we were meeting later."

"This is later!" Kyle yelled into Stan's face, "If we had met five minutes after detention it would have been later. If we had met an hour afterwards it would have been later! Three hours is later!"

"Yeah, I'm sorry," Stan tried to explain himself, "but Clyde got in a fight with the mall Santa because he seemed to think a year's free membership pass for the Peppermint Hippo was inappropriate for children and Wendy needed help picking a present for her dad…"

"I DON'T GIVE A FUCK!" Kyle shouted, not caring about the slightly offended expressions on Wendy and Clyde's faces.

"Dude, you don't need to be such a little bitch about it," Stan scowled at his best friend.

"THREE HOURS! STARK'S POND! SNOWING! CARTMAN!" Kyle seemed to be shouting random words for a moment as his anger slowly got the better of him.

"And I said I was sorry," Stan pointed out.

"Sorry isn't good enough this time," Kyle's face was contorted in fury, "you do this all the time. Every fucking year I have to put up with your excuses!"

"Christmas is important…" Stan began.

"And I'm not?" Kyle demanded.

"Dude, I didn't say that!"

"But you were thinking it! It comes down to this. You care more about your stupid holiday that promotes selfishness, breeds greed, turns children into spoiled little shits, parents into irritable and obnoxious drunks and has more to do with a fat prowler paedo leaving stuff in the middle of the night rather than any fucking religious significance!"

"Don't you belittle my people, Jew!" Stan stabbed his finger on Kyle's chest, his cheeks burning red.

Kyle raised a fist and at once Cartman and Clyde had sprung into action. Clyde wrapped his arms around Stan's waist to pull him out of reach of Kyle and Cartman had grabbed Kyle's hands, nearly getting punched around the face for his trouble.

"You're not my best friend anymore, asshole!" Kyle yelled at Stan, struggling in Cartman's grip.

"Same to you buddy!" Stan snapped back, digging his heels in when Clyde tried to lead him away.

"I hope you have a shitty Christmas!" Kyle cursed at him.

"And you have a crappy New Year Kyle!" Stan was finally led away when Wendy was able to coax him to, but he still glared at his former best friend over his shoulder.

Kyle struggled with Cartman until the three children had gone out of sight. Then he stopped and for the second time that night he broke into uncontrollable sobs. Cartman let go of Kyle's wrists and put an awkward and uncomfortable arm around Kyle's shoulders.

"You don't need him dude…"

"Fuck you," Kyle sobbed, still angry and yet horribly heartbroken.

"You know, I don't actually care if you break up with your faggy little boyfriend or not," Cartman noticed that Kyle was leaving tear stains on his red coat.

"He's not faggy!" Kyle defended him before realising what he had done.

"No, he's just an asshole," Cartman blinked. Most times he would relish Kyle's tears and often thought about drinking them but as Kyle sobbed he thought it'd be rather inappropriate to do so.

So he took Kyle home, letting the redhead lean on him the whole way. He decided that it would be less delicious to pick on Kyle when he could not even fight back. It was nicer when Kyle had some spunk and fought back, it always felt more than he had earned Kyle's unhappiness afterwards rather than taking advantage of a weakened state.

The school had phoned Mrs. Broflovski to let her know that her son had a detention after school and when there was a knock on her front door she was ready to let Kyle have it. She had thought up a lot of choice phrases to use "This isn't like you Kyle," and "what sort of example are you showing to your little brother Kyle?" But when she opened the door and saw Kyle's teary face she forgot all of them.

She embraced her son, not knowing why he was so upset. She only noticed Cartman a few minutes afterwards and glared at him instead, guessing that he would be the one that upset her bubbulah so much. But just as she began to rant at him, Eric Cartman silenced her with one phrase, span on his heel and left.

"When you assume you make an ass out of u and me both, Mrs. Broflovski."

Cartman went home to think. He thought in his living room with Mr. Kitty, he thought all the way during supper and he even thought as he lay tucked up in bed with Clyde Frog. It was around midnight that a plan began to formulate in his mind and he saw what he had to do. If Santa was not going to give him presents then he would have to visit Santa and demand why not.

He pondered exactly how to do that. The Mall Santa had not been any help at all. Cartman showed him the letter and the fake St Nick had tried to wave him away, saying it was not part of his job and he would have to contact the higher ups in Santa's organisation. The Mall Santa explained he was only a grass root employee and that there had been many changes recently. He admitted that Cartman was not the only one to receive a letter but stated again that Cartman would have to take his complaint up with someone else.

There was absolutely no way that a nine year old boy could make the trek to the North Pole by himself so in the early hours of the morning he set out for the Tweek home.

The underpants gnomes were not going to know what hit them.


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