A/N: I can't seem to handle my outplanned fics very well – many of those fics are still unfinished, gathering dust in my computer's darkest corners. This, on the other hand, was written on a whim in one hour. How's that?

Word Count: 1481

Warnings: Disgusting mental pictures of... macho elves.

Rabble rabble number 8/?


eishi (2008)

If there was something Kyle "Perfect" Broflovski absolutely hated doing, it was asking for help.

Maybe it was because he had had to survive on his own from the age of seven. Maybe it was because he didn't want to be a burden to anyone, even to his worst enemy, or especially to his best friend. Or maybe it was because it hurt too much his male pride to admit that he did, actually, suck in computers games on the male level.

Whatever the psychological explanation was, the bottom line was that he had no clue where he was supposed to head next in the online game he was currently playing with his closest friend Stan and dozens of unknown people. The elf character he had picked was nervously wiggling her head on the screen, ironically reflecting Kyle's exact feelings that moment – and even if it was only doing as programmed by no-life nerds and informing other players that he hadn't moved in two minutes, Kyle felt like it was the only thing or person that could relate to him that moment. He had absolutely no idea what he was supposed to do next.

Stan, on the other hand, was writing commands to the screen so quickly that one could fairly say that he was a professional. His face was glowing with excitement, strands of black hair falling to his eyes, and Kyle thought that those had to be partly blocking Stan's view, but apparently Stan was far too busy to be bothered by them. Kyle felt an irresistible urge to whisk the strands away, but caught himself in time and turned his head back to the screen, where the poor busty female was looking just as lost as he was.

Kyle pretended to do something very important when Stan turned to look at him, and when Kyle didn't look back, Stan returned to his character with a satisfied smile on his lips. Kyle silently wondered what on earth had possessed him to give in and take up Stan's invitation of coming over and playing the new, barely beta-tested online game for all night long. Maybe it had been the fact that he had nothing better do that weekend. Maybe it had been the dangerous aura surrounding his mother that morning. Or maybe it had been the pleading look Stan had used on him, even if it was still very confusing to admit that in his mind.

He clicked absently the screen, commanding the character to go forward a bit. He was hopelessly lost; the map in the right margin wasn't informative one bit – he'd have to report that to the authors of the game – and he wasn't sure from which direction he had come from. He was supposed to meet Stan at the inn in the next town (to trade some supplies), but at this rate he was going to be have to admit to Stan that he didn't know where to go. There was a believable amount of time you could be wasting to random battles before it came suspicious, after all.

Exasperated, Kyle peeked over Stan's shoulder. Stan's character was on a field, fighting some monsters. Stan was clearly very experienced, because he was using just the right spells to each monster and knew their weaknesses. Kyle blinked; suddenly the battle was over, and Stan's macho character had started running again. The map marking his whereabouts looked vaguely the same as on Kyle's screen.

Kyle turned back to his laptop, which was sitting neatly on his lap. The wrinkled sheets on Stan's bed felt uncomfortable against his back, but he didn't have the nerve to straighten those. Stan would have just laughed at him and called him a perfectionist – something he loathed to hear.

His character had started turning her head helplessly again, and Kyle clicked the screen. The map was twinkling in an annoying manner, probably to alert him that he needed to move before other much experienced players found him. Kyle took another look at the map; it seemed familiar. His eyes travelled from the screen to Stan's back, then shoulder, and finally to the very small winking map on the right side of the screen. Kyle suddenly smiled triumphantly. If he could spy on where Stan was going, he wouldn't have to ask for help. Their characters were on the same area after all.

The problem was that Stan's wide shoulders were blocking the view. Kyle stretched his neck, but still couldn't see. Why did the font of the map have to be so damn small? That was another thing he was going to complain about once he had the time to write a review to the programmers.

Kyle eyed Stan's back and the momentarily flashing screen, and seeing that Stan was completely preoccupied the game, he inched forward and tried to peek over Stan's shoulder. The map was now visible, but he still couldn't make out the names of the towns. Kyle gritted his teeth. Just a bit more, and he would see what was the name of that frigging town the small dot was running forward to. Just a bit more...

He stretched forward, almost touching Stan's back in process. He hoped to Adonai that Stan wouldn't notice him now, that Stan was so absorbed with the game that—

"Hey, dude—" And the worst thing happened right then, just when Kyle was close enough to see that he should be headed to "Grimgoth."

Stan turned his head to see how Kyle was doing, and since Kyle's head was on the exact same level that very moment, their lips rammed together. Kyle's eyes widened of the shock, as did his mouth. Stan froze, his lips still ajar, the cut sentence dying to his throat.

Neither knew long they stayed in that awkward position. Kyle was breathing irregularly, his heart hammering painfully and he was terribly afraid to move. Stan was staring at the unfocused view of his best friend's hazel eyes, his mind analyzing and comparing that sight to the usual picture of crystal blue ocean he was accustomed to see. Oddly enough, the sight was warmer. Nicer. Didn't make him want to throw up.

Maybe it was the prolonged silence that made Stan purse his lips just a bit. Maybe it was the blood rushing and thumping in his brain. Or maybe it was the way his whole body was starting to shake. Whatever the reason, the simple gesture made them both relax and the awkwardness go away, and before they had even registered it, their mouths were moving against each other and their eyes had fluttered shut.

Kyle was nervous to the extreme when the moment ended. After all, it was not an everyday occasion to kiss your best friend (even if you have fantasized about it some time). Nor was it an everyday occasion to openly talk about that strange event (even if your best friend had happily complied just few seconds before). Kyle stared at his lap, ashamed.

There was a silence for a good time, as they both were rewinding the scene in their heads and trying to decide what to say. Finally, Stan spoke up.

"Um, dude? What did you want... before?"

Kyle slowly looked up, his pulse returning to normal when he saw Stan's assuring smile. "Oh... I was just... um..." Kyle grasped his knees, feeling awkward again. "I was... uh... trying to see which town you were going, because I, uh, couldn't find the way on my own..."

Stan stared at Kyle, not able to decide should he laugh or cry. "Dude!" he finally chuckled, "next time... just... just ask for help, okay?"

"Okay," Kyle muttered, his cheeks feeling suddenly very hot. Stan's exploratory look was making him even more nervous, and he started to wiggle his head, just like his character on the screen was still doing.

"Hey," Stan said softly, "it's okay."

Kyle glanced at Stan. There were still those black strands falling over his eyes, but this time Kyle didn't catch himself before his hand was already in the air, reaching for Stan's forehead. Kyle stopped himself before he was touching Stan, but Stan hadn't backed away nonetheless. They stared at each other for one split second.

"Want to see how to beat the orcs in one turn?"

Kyle shrugged. "Sure."

Maybe it was the uncertain smile his best friend gave him. Maybe it was the tingling in his head he had for the whole day. Or maybe it was the gut feeling that perhaps he just might have a chance and perhaps Stan wasn't going to call him a fag, go wash his mouth with a soap and never speak to him again. Whatever the reason, Kyle Broflovski thought while skipping happily home that evening that maybe asking for help was sometimes worth it – and sometimes it wasn't.