Sunsets at Stark's

Disclaimer: I don't own them.

Summary: "What do you believe?" Style, oneshot.

Notes: This is supposed to be happy. If I fail at that…well…meh.


"Kyle?" he asks me as we watch the sunset together at the pond, hands intertwined in the least romantic way possible. We're best friends, nothing more. Never will be, either, if our parents have anything to say about it. They told us that we were not, under any circumstances, to turn out gay. If we did, we would be disowned, kicked out of our homes, spat upon, and possibly crucified. The reason for this seemingly random outburst of inquisition? Our parents had attended this seminar given by some right-wing Christian Evangelical nutjob on how to determine if your children are homosexuals. Apparently one of the "symptoms," as the pamphlets they showed us, of homosexuality was being really close to a person of your same gender. Our parents took the way we acted around each other – which is quite comfortable; we HAVE known each other for years – and put two and two together and came up with five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred.

"Hmm?" I ask, looking up from the vista created as the leading edge of the sun sinks beneath the mountaintops, casting a shadow and appearing to turn the snow at the peak a brilliant orange color.

"Kyle…I wanted to ask you…do you believe in destiny?" That's a pretty strange question. I wonder what he means by it. He's not in a psychology class or a philosophy class or anything like that…I wonder why he wants to know.

"What do you mean?" I ask, looking for clarification. Destiny by itself can encompass a broad spectrum of possibilities. I need something more specific than that if I'm going to answer him.

"Like…do you believe that everybody who's been put on this earth has a purpose?" he asks, his fingers uncurling from mine so he can use them to help illustrate what he's trying to say.

"Yeah, I mean…I think we'd all like to think there's a reason that we're here, instead of just some random quirk of nature. That there's a purpose in our lives," I answer, and he looks relieved for a moment before that nervousness manifests itself once more to query me again.

"And…do you believe that everybody has one person that they're supposed to be with? Like…soul mates? And if you don't find your soul mate, you're going to have to keep coming back again and again until you get it right?"

"I…I guess so," I reply, hesitantly. "What brought on the sudden Buddhism, dude?" Reincarnation to find soul mates? I mean…is he in a comparative religion class? No…no, I talked him out of it. Why is he so interested in what I believe all of a sudden? I mean…beyond the normal "Moses is a cool guy who saved us from slavery in Egypt, and gave us God's 10 Rules, that we can't disobey or we get sent to … somewhere, and that until the Messiah – who is NOT Jesus – shows up, we're all screwed," beliefs of Judaism.

"It's not Buddhism…" he says with a sigh. "It's just … I've been thinking, ever since our parents gave us that lecture last month…why ARE we so close? I mean…we've known each other for nearly fifteen years now, at least, and we've been friends for that long too, but I don't think that's good enough to explain it…" he explains. I'm not particularly sure exactly what he means by that…is he talking about the comfort we have with each other? It sounds like that…

"I mean…I can do things in front of you that I would NEVER think about doing in front of any of my friends on the team, or even Kenny of Fatass. I mean…we can walk in on each other doing ANYTHING and be completely cool about it. That time you caught me watching porn, stark naked in my room, you didn't say a word, just let me pause it and get dressed. I've walked in on you in the shower, and I didn't make any joking comments like any normal teenaged boy…and then when our parents drew attention to that…I started wondering," he tells me, his hands making broad gestures and emphatic points as the world gets darker around us. The streetlamp behind this bench will come on in a few minutes…we should really be heading home pretty soon.

"So…you were thinking…what've you come up with?" I ask him.

"I started thinking a couple weeks ago if it would REALLY be that bad if either one – or maybe even both – of us ends up gay. And ever since I decided that it wouldn't make an ounce of difference to me, I've started wondering about WHY you're so important to me…beyond the fact that we're best friends. I honestly feel like I could die for you, if you needed it of me, and I think you would do the same for me. All those questions about what you think our purpose in life is…you wanna know why I asked them?" he asks, and while I'm still processing everything he's telling me, I nod, wanting to know the end result, for Stan to stop beating around the bush and just TELL ME, for crying out loud.

"I ask because … because I think my purpose in life is to love you, Kyle. That I was put on this Earth to fall in love with you. That you are my soul mate, somebody I'm supposed to spend the rest of my life with…" he says gently, taking my hand in his and turning me to face him as the fading daylight forms a silhouette that frames us between the shadows of two peaks.

"Stan…" I breathe, as a chill runs down my spine, and I don't think it's merely the February evening air.

"I want to kiss you, Kyle," he tells me, leaning in close. "Just to see…to see what it's like, to kiss a boy. To see if I would like it…to see if YOU would like it…to see if you're going to be the person who makes my dreams come true. To try and find out if you're really my soul mate, or if we're going to be Best Friends Forever, nothing more…do you want to try it?" he asks, a questioning uncertainty on his face and the beginnings of tears near the bottom of his eyes.

"Yes…" I breathe, enchanted. "Kiss me, Stan," I whisper, almost a command, an order, but one he would follow even if I hadn't given it…

When our lips connect, it's like magic. His lips are soft, and a little bit chapped from the winter air – explaining the fact that I can barely taste his normal cherry Chap-Stick – and his breath his warm, as he exhales into my mouth and I exhale into his. That breath seems to travel throughout my body, warming me like I just walked into my home and its well-heated living room. That breath, as it makes its way through me, ignites a spark in my heart and initiates fluttering butterflies in my stomach. When it leaves me, I am vaguely aware of the fact that I have grabbed onto him, holding him close and pulling him into the kiss, desperate for more of that breath…that warmth…Stan's warmth…Stan himself.

"Kyle…" he whispers as we pause for air, leaning his forehead forward to touch mine, and our noses rubbing together in an Eskimo kiss. "Did you … like it? Did you feel something back?"

"It was better than anything I've ever done," I admit. "Remember that feeling we had when we won the State Championship in November?" I ask, and he nods. I'm sure neither of us will EVER forget the feeling that comes from hoisting the trophy and knowing that YOU were a part of it, that YOU helped accomplish that… "It felt even better than that. You made me feel…vibrant, at home…alive."

"Me too!" he exclaims. "It was like…a passion, or something, that started burning within me when our lips touched. I wanted more…if you hadn't pulled me closer, I would have done it for you."

"Does this answer your questions?" I ask. "Are we meant to be, Stan? Are the fates on our side?" My tone is slightly teasing, but the questions are anything but.

"I don't know about the fates or anything, because they're mean," he answers, "but I will definitely tell you that I have NEVER felt that spark with anyone before in my life. As far as hints go…I think that's a big one."

A harsh yellow glare springing into life behind us cuts my train off thought off…the streetlight. I cast a glance to the lake, which has turned a forbidding deep purple with the onset of twilight.

"So, Stan…" I say, trailing off and intertwining our hands once more. "You want to be my boyfriend?"

"Absolutely," he answers, fingers squeezing my own. "You wanna head back home…it's getting dark, our parents will start to wonder…"

Giving him my brightest smile, I stand up and pull him up as well. "Sure. I'll talk to you later?"

"Sounds great. I miss you already, and we haven't even left yet…" he says, throwing in an exaggerated pout as he trails off.

"Don't worry. We've found each other…we're complete. And we have all the time in the world to enjoy each other," I tell him, swinging our hands as we leave the park for home…but neither of us will ever forget it, nor the role it played in bringing us together. From now on, if we ever have anything to discuss…Sunsets at Stark's will be the venue.