A Note From Ben: Okay, this story is very special because it's not just a oneshot. I wrote this one for two reasons: 1) I needed a good story to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of my debut on FFN with "I Do Not Love You". 2) When I was looking up South Park fan videos on YouTube, I came across one called The Day Kyle Slipped Away and fell instantly in love with it. It's very much in the same vein as that original oneshot of mine, and so I immediately knew that it had to be a story. I didn't stick with the movie exactly, but I got pretty damn closet, and I'd still recommend you go watch it anyway. It's amazing.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to EvilSpork for allowing me to use her idea, and also to my old friend Mike Ryan, wherever he is. You lived through a lot of this with Zack W. before I ever thought of writing this story, and I do not envy you that, my friend. Here's to you, wherever you are.

Disclaimer: I don't own South Park. I don't own Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne. I don't even own The Day Kyle Slipped Away, which was EvilSpork's creation.

The Day Kyle Slipped Away
By Ben Barrett
Based on the YouTube video by EvilSpork

If a friend died, I don't know what I'd do.

Stan remembered that he said that once, though he never thought he would actually have to live through such a situation. Sure, Kenny was prone to random deaths, sometimes lasting weeks or even months at a time, but he always came back. He didn't fit into that category. When Stan thought of a friend dying, he always thought of someone who wouldn't resurrect themselves; someone like his best friend Kyle, who meant absolutely everything to him.

You're my Super Best Friend, too.

In all honesty, he thought that there would always be a way to save the day, some way to avert complete disaster. After all, he and his friends had managed to do it hundreds of times before. Just when things always seemed their darkest, an answer would reveal itself, and everyone would breathe a collective sigh of relief and go about their happy lives.

"So why the hell am I standing here in this cemetery, talking to a gravestone with your name on it?" he said. "I saved the world so many times. Why couldn't I save you? Why couldn't I keep my best friend from...?"

He stopped to wipe the tears from his eyes, then turned around and walked out of the cemetery, not wanting to linger there any longer. He'd been coming to visit Kyle almost daily since his death a year before, and it never got any easier no matter how many times he did it. Every visit felt like the first, like they'd just laid his friend in the ground just hours ago. Every visit tore his heart open all over again and made the relentless, never ending pain that much more intense. Still, he couldn't bring himself to stop coming. No, that would be even worse. He wouldn't turn his back on his best friend, no matter what. He'd always promised that, and he intended to honor that promise till the day they put him in the ground right next to him.

He walked out of the gates, the tears streaming down his face and the conversation he'd had with the doctor on that day playing over and over in his head

"Stanley," Dr. Doctor said, "I'm not sure how to tell you this, but Kyle doesn't have too long."

"What do you mean?" he replied, cocking his head and looking at him in innocent confusion. "You're a doctor aren't you? Doctors make people better."

"We can't really make Kyle better, Stan," the doctor said, not meeting his gaze at all. He looked like he wanted to vomit. "He needs a new kidney transplant. His body...is starting to reject the one he got from your friend Cartman."

"B...but..." Stan stuttered, unable to accept the truth being laid out before him, "Kyle's my best friend...in the whole world!"

"I'm sorry, son," Dr. Doctor said, "but unless a miracle happens, there isn't much we can do. We're running into the same problems we had the first time. No donors around, and even if Eric Cartman was willing to help save his life again, he does need at least one of his kidneys."

"N-no!" Stan moaned. "Kyle can't die! Kyle can't die!!"

Dr. Doctor said nothing.

Na na, na na na, na na
I miss you, miss you so bad

Stan couldn't take another step. Just thinking about all that made him feel like his heart was sinking in his chest, right out of his body. He suddenly felt very heavy and had to sit down on the curb. He put his head in his hands and fought against the tears that were threatening to come again. If he let them out, he knew he would start sobbing and wailing right there on the sidewalk, and that was the last thing he wanted to do. He needed to compose himself long enough to at least get home, where he could mourn in peace if he wanted to.

"Kyle," he moaned into his hands, "I'm so sorry."

Without warning, thoughts of Kyle began to flood his memories. All the things they used to do together, little things that he didn't even realize meant the world to him, were suddenly piling up inside him, chipping away at his defenses. He hadn't even realized that he'd taken Kyle for granted. He thought that he'd been pretty decent to him, honestly. Hadn't he always told him that he was his best friend? Hadn't he always gone out of his way for Kyle, even to the point where his own life was on the line? At what point did he stop remembering that each day they had together was a precious, precious gift that could be taken away at any time?

I loved Kyle with all my heart, Stan swore silently to Whoever was up there listening. I loved him. He was like family to me. Doesn't that count for anything?

That depends, a smaller voice answered him from deep inside. It sounded a little like Kyle. Did you ever tell him how much he meant to you? Not just saying that he was your best friend, but telling him that you cared so much?

Stan didn't want to answer such a question, because he knew the answer as plain as the nose on his face: he hadn't. Not once in all the years they knew each other did he ever say "Kyle, I love you" or "Kyle, you mean the world to me". He'd always just called him "best friend" and had assumed that it was enough. Wasn't there an old saying that said something like "Actions speak louder than words"? He'd done everything he could, every day, to show Kyle how much he cared. Why wasn't that enough to appease the gods? Was it really so important to say two and a half stupid fucking words that he had to be stripped of the one thing he couldn't live without just so he could learn it.

It's working though, isn't it? that voice piped up again. You're catching on. Actions speak louder than words, yes, but you'd be surprised how much it means to a person to hear that little phrase every now and then.

I don't forget you, oh it's so sad

Stan got up off of the sidewalk and walked home as quickly as he could, his head down so no one could see the tears that were once again rolling down his cheeks. He hadn't wanted to make another spectacle of himself. God knows, the whole town still remembered the scene

(he's cold so cold turn on the heat he gets sick so easily)

he'd made at Kyle's funeral. Some people even claimed that he'd lost his mind the day he'd lost his best friend, and a part of him thought that maybe they were right. Sometimes he sure felt like he was falling apart at the seams. It seemed like he was living each day balanced on the edge of a great black precipice, a bottomless pit, and any little thing would cause him to go tumbling into the void.

Wish sometimes I'd just go over and be done with it. Then at least I'd have a little peace in my own insanity.

God wasn't that merciful, though. Oh, no. The Mole was absolutely right when he called God all of those names. God was like a kid shining a magnifying glass on an anthill, relishing in the misery and pain He was inflicting. There was nothing merciful or loving about that. Kyle had believed in Jehovah all his life, and what did this wonderful God do? He took his magnifying glass and struck poor Kyle down in his youth without batting an eye.

"Stan," Father Maxi said, sitting down with Stan in his room, "your parents tell me you're having a faith crisis."

Stan glared at him. This guy wasn't seriously here to try and convince him that God was being fair, was he? Christ, he probably was. He had some nerve coming into Stan's room, toting a Bible under his arm, ready to preach the Good News about God's love and kindness.

"It isn't a faith crisis," he said, completely deadpan. "I don't have any faith anymore."

"That is a crisis, son," Maxi argued.

"No," Stan replied, his voice still emotionless and flat, "it isn't. It would be a crisis if I was starting to lose faith. The thing is, mine is already gone, hence the crisis you've heard about is already over."

Maxi looked as though Stan had hawked back and spit in his eye. Stan didn't give a fuck. Let the son of a bitch get offended if he wanted to. It wasn't like he'd invited him here. If he didn't like Stan's opinions, hey, nothing was forcing him to stay. In fact, Stan would have preferred it if he had left.

"Stanley," Maxi said. "I..."

"It's Stan," he corrected. "Nobody calls me Stanley except my parents."

"Stan, then," Maxi seethed, clearly losing his patience with him. "You have to understand that these kinds of things happen for a reason. Kyle..."

This caused Stan to snap and he jumped up from his desk chair in a rage.

"A REASON?!" he bellowed. "Tell me WHAT THAT REASON IS, Maxi! Tell me why Kyle has had his kidneys fail not once but twice! Tell me why he's got diabetes! Tell me why he's always getting sick more than the rest of us! What's God's GREAT REASON for making my best friend so frail all the time?!"

Maxi seemed at a loss for words. Nobody had ever dared to speak to him like this before. He'd made sure that he'd instilled the fear of hellfire in brimstone into his parishioners so that they wouldn't do such a thing. He had gained respect and obedience by making those in his flock afraid to speak against him. For a little boy to jump his case like this and challenge that was not something he was expecting. He was shocked, to say the least, and wasn't sure what to do.

"I...uh..." he stuttered. "I'm sure there's a reason. Who are we to question the Lord? Were we there when he formed..."

"Save it for someone who gives a rat's ass," Stan spat coldly, cutting Maxi off in mid-sentence.

"Well, I'm very sorry you feel that way," Maxi replied, not quite ready to admit defeat. After all, the Crusaders conquered most of Europe in the name of God. What kind of Catholic would he be if he allowed himself to be outdone by a schoolboy? What a disgraceful thought! "God DOES have his reasons," he continued, "though YOU don't understand them. Kyle may be here to show the great work of God, like the blind man that Jesus healed."

Stan stared angrily at his closet, the same closet where John Travolta, R. Kelly, and Tom Cruise once barricaded themselves, and didn't reply. Maxi took this as an opportunity to push forward.

"In John 9, we find the story of a man born blind from birth," he said. "He used to sit in the dirt and beg people for money. He was horrible wretch of a person. The disciples asked him who's sin had caused him to be born blind. Was it his or something that his parents did? Jesus replied that it was neither, but that he was born that way so that the works of God could be manifest in him, and then gave him his sight, and everyone was amazed."

Stan blinked and looked at him, his expression completely dead.

"And?" he asked.

"And?" Maxi repeated. "What do you mean? The lesson we learned here is that God sometimes does things to people so that His greatness can be seen in them. The same may be true of Kyle."

"That's horrible," Stan said. "Was that supposed to make me feel better?"

"It was..."

"What you're telling me," Stan's voice rising again, "is that God does horrible things to people to make HIMSELF look good? What kind of sick ass joke is that, huh? Are you fucking kidding me?! If that was supposed to give me my faith back or answer my questions, it didn't do either! All you've done is proven my point exactly! God is a child shining a magnifying glass on an anthill, trying to see how many of us he can scorch at once, and then trying to break that record! Get the FUCK out of my room, you asshole!"

Father Maxi never tried to comfort Stan again.

I hope you can hear me
I remember it clearly

Stan reached his house and went up to his room without a word to anyone. He wasn't in the mood to be asked about his day, or to have his parents coddle him and make sure he was doing okay. They were always like that when he came back from the cemetery. If he was just returning home from school, they'd treat him like any other parents treat their kids. Why is your room such a mess? Why haven't you trained your dog not to shit on the rug? Make sure your homework is done before you turn on that video game! If he had just finished visiting Kyle, however, he could do no wrong. They were overbearing at times in their desire to make sure he was okay, that he wasn't feeling sad, depressed, or--God forbid!--suicidal.

Shelley thought he was doing this on purpose. She actually accused him of using the death of his best friend to gain special treatment from their parents, and on several occasions, too. To him, this was the most despicable and unforgivable thing any person could say to him. He had actually come close to hitting her when she said it the first time. For the first time in his life, Stan Marsh had no qualms about breaking a girl's nose, and not just any girl, but the girl who had beaten and bullied him since before he could remember. It had only been the sudden memory of Kyle's smile, of his laughter, of his ability to always make Stan feel better no matter what, that had caused him to stop. Kyle wouldn't have wanted it that way, and he knew it.

Stan threw his book bag into the corner and knelt beside his bed, just as he had done every night since...it happened. To an outsider, someone who didn't know this boy at all, this act might have been mistaken for prayers to some Higher Power. Problem with that was, Stan no longer believed in God. He had long since shed any childish notions that there was anything just or fair in the universe. He only knelt by his bed because part of his bedtime ritual was to say goodnight to Kyle, wherever he was. It didn't matter if he actually existed anywhere in the universe, if he could actually hear Stan, or if he'd just faded into oblivion. It made Stan feel better to stop and say something nice, and somewhere in the deepest part of his heart, Stan believed that his friend could hear him.

"It was another rotten day, Kyle," he said, his eyes closed tightly. "Every day is rotten without you around. I don't know how I've managed so long on my own. All I feel anymore is pain and emptiness. I know you wouldn't want me feeling this way, but I can't help it. I see you in my dreams, then I go to school and have to stare at the desk next to me which should have you in it. When the school year started, I made them leave it empty. I had a bitch fit, because that's your seat, and always will be.

"More and more people think I'm going crazy. They don't understand why I spend so much time at the cemetery talking to you, then come home and talk to you like this. Mom and Dad are talking about putting me in a hospital. They haven't told me to my face, but I can hear them whispering sometimes late at night, and there's been a couple of times when I've gone to get a drink of water at night, and I've heard them through the crack they always leave in the door. They want to listen for me in case I have a breakdown in the middle of the night or something, so they leave it open. Ironically, I'm the one who ends up listening to them..."

Into the night, Stan rambled to Kyle about everything he could think of. As time went on, his thoughts began to wander. Oh, he didn't stop speaking, but after an hour of this, he was no longer kneeling by his bed anymore. His body was on autopilot, and his mind was traveling back to that day, the one day he didn't want to think about...

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same

"Stanley," Sheila said, sitting with him in the hallway, "I don't know how to tell you this..."

"Wh-what?" Stan asked, suddenly very afraid. "Did something happen to Kyle? Is Kyle gonna be okay? Is..."

Sheila held up a hand to silence him, then brought that same hand down and covered his.

"Stan," she said softly, "The doctors...the doctors say he probably won't make it. There's just...nothing they can do. There aren't any more kidneys to give him, and even if there were, they're not sure that it would do any good. The one he got from Eric was a perfect match but..."

She couldn't say anything more and broke down into tears. Gerald held her close and let her cry into his shoulder. Sitting there watching this, the truth of the situation began to dawn on Stan. Kyle was going to die. No matter what they did from this point on, no matter how much medicine they gave him or what miracle techniques they might try, Kyle wasn't going to make it this time. They'd try and make him as comfortable as possible, of course, just like they had with Kenny, but that wouldn't stop the inevitable. Hell, it probably wouldn't even delay it at all.

Unable to cope with this, Stan ran from the hospital in tears, ignore Sheila's scream that he needed to stay close, that Kyle didn't have much time. He hadn't learned anything from missing his chance to say goodbye to Kenny. He was behaving in the exact same way, running out into the snow with people screaming that his friend needed him. He fucking KNEW that, God damn it! He didn't need to be reminded of the fact. He KNEW that time was of the essence, but he couldn't help it. Kyle meant the world to him, and to suddenly come to the realization that he was going to lose him was too much for his young mind to bear. He didn't want to deal with hospitals, diseases, death, or any of that shit anymore.

"I just want to run!" he hissed, taking off like a bat out of hell in a random direction.

He ran for hours, not caring that his lungs were burning, or that his heart was pounding at a dangerous speed, or that the stitch in his side felt like the blade of a large knife. He ran past stores, homes, vacant lots, pastures. Some people stopped to stare, wondering what such a little boy was doing, running back and forth across town with tears in his eyes. He ignored them for the most part. He couldn't have cared less about their gawking, as long as they stayed out of his way. The one or two that DID try and stop him, or didn't move fast enough, he pushed to the side without an apology or a look backwards. Fuck them. Didn't they realize that his best friend was about to die? Didn't they care? If they did, they would have gotten the fuck out of the way.

He ultimately wound up sitting on an old log, staring off into space. It was the exact same log, in fact, that he'd been sitting on when he'd run out on Kenny. He'd been at this spot, lighting cow turds on fire and thinking about how unfair everything was. Chef had appeared and had supposedly talked some sense into him, though his words obviously didn't have the impact he'd hoped for, because Stan was there again, repeating his mistakes. He should have been at the hospital saying goodbye to Kyle. He should have been there, when he could have looked his best friend in the eye and told him how important he was. He shouldn't have been such a pussy...

He couldn't take any more. He leaped from his knees and threw himself onto the bed, where he wailed into his pillow for hours. He screamed out Kyle's name repeatedly, and cried out to a friend who was no longer there to forgive him for being so stupid, please, please, please. His sister beat on the wall and told him to shut the fuck up, but he didn't pay her any attention. Let her come in here then. Let her beat him

(beat me bloody beat me senseless beat me to death)

again. He felt he deserved everything he got. Nothing would ever make up for not being there for Kyle. Nothing.

Na na na na na na na

Several days later, Stan found himself at the footbridge that spanned the river in the city park. He knew that this spot had some kind of special significance for the broken hearted, though he wasn't sure exactly what it was. He didn't know if there was some special energy that drew the hurting here, like some kind of magic, or if it was maybe just a tranquil spot that people found really peaceful. Regardless of the reason, this particular bridge had seen it's share of wretched souls. Stan had even been one of them once upon a time, when Wendy broke up with him to date Token. He had started wandering around in despair and had wound up here, though he certainly hadn't meant to.

Just like today, he thought sadly. Didn't mean to come here, but here I am.

Thunder boomed in the prematurely dark sky overhead and the wind blew at ridiculous speeds, signaling the imminent arrival of one hell of a story. Stan knew he should take it as a final warning to hurry up and get his ass home, but he shrugged it off. Truth be told, he kind of wanted it to rain on him. He wasn't going goth again or anything, but he felt that the dreary weather kind of reflected the way he was feeling down inside, like it could be all the pain and frustration of the last year finally manifesting itself in physical form.

I didn't get around to kiss you
Goodbye on the hand

Stan sat on his log thinking about Kyle for hours. He thought about how much shit they'd been through together. Everything from underpants gnomes and flying saucers to religious cults and conspiracy theorists had somehow managed to find its way into their lives, and they'd dealt with each as it came their way in the only way they knew how: by standing side-by-side and working together as best friends, as brothers even.

"Oh God," Stan moaned. "Kyle was more like a brother to me than a best friend. He's the brother I never had."

He suddenly couldn't figure out what the hell he was doing sitting out in a cow pasture when his brother Kyle was laid up in a hospital clinging for dear life. He never wanted to be in a place less than he wanted to be in that field at that very moment. He jumped to his feet and rushed off toward Hell's Pass, praying to Anyone who could hear him that he wasn't too late, that he be allowed to at least say goodbye. If there was a God in heaven, it wouldn't be so much to grant him that one simple request. If He wanted Stan to have faith and learn something, like Father Maxi said, all He had to do was allow him to say his final farewells. That's all he wanted from God, and he swore he'd never ask Him for so much as a stick of gum for as long as he lived.

He rushed into the hospital and up to Kyle's room and found that his best friend was indeed still alive, if you could call his state "living". His kidneys had completely failed and he had been placed upon life support until his parents could bring themselves to say goodbye and pull the plug. It was already too late for a transplant, regardless of whether they managed to find one or not. Technically he was still alive, Stan supposed, though only in the most basic sense of the word. His body was simply an empty shell, no more able to feel or think or respond to their words and touches than an empty Coke bottle could.

"God," Stan pleaded, holding Kyle's lifeless hand in his own, "God, no! Please!"

God didn't reply, and when Sheila and Gerald signed the papers authorizing the doctors to pull the plug, Stan stopped believing in Him altogether.

I wish that I could see you again
I know that I can't

Stan was soaked to the skin by the time he got home from his walk, but he didn't care. His mother tried to chew him out for it, telling him that he was going to catch his death walking around in such miserable conditions, but she would have done better to save her breath. He didn't really want to hear about how careless or stupid he was being, and let it go right in one ear and out the other. All he wanted was to go up to his room in peace, change his clothes, and let the sweet oblivion of sleep overtake him.

The pain inside only stops when I'm sleeping, he thought to himself, realizing how emo it sounded but not caring in the least. At least if he was being emo, he was one of the few with an actual reason to be sad.

He reached the solitude of his bedroom and quickly changed into some dry clothes. That accomplished, he went to his desk and took his most precious possession out of the top drawer: a picture taken of him and Kyle back in the third grade. He looked at this picture as often as he could because it always managed to make him smile, which was something nothing else could really do anymore. Just the sight of he and Kyle, standing there with their arms over each others' shoulders and big, goofy grins on their faces made his heart well with affection. He was always able to remember the good times when he looked at it. Things that were usually buried by his sorrow and anguish, like sleepovers, secret boy talk nobody ever knew about, their days playing Guitar Hero; all of that was suddenly much more vivid for him.

"You were the best," he said, fingering the photo affectionately. "You..."

"Stan?" he suddenly heard behind him. His heart leaped in his chest. That was Kyle's voice! Oh, he hadn't heard it in so long! It was like sweet music to his ears!

"Kyle!" he cried, turning around, and for a split second he saw his friend standing there, looking at him with a look of pity on his face. When he blinked, however, Kyle was gone, and Stan was once again alone. "Oh, Kyle!" he cried, fresh tears forming in his eyes.

He put his face down in his arms again and cried until he thought his heart might explode from the pain.

I hope you can hear me

cause I remember it clearly

As Stan sat at his desk and cried himself to sleep that night, a thousand questions played through his mind. Had Kyle died because of something he'd done? Had he given him a Coke instead of a Diet Coke a time or two without thinking about his diabetes? Had he given him some germ that had caused his body to react in the wrong way? He was sickly as it was, always having to miss school for some illness that the others were strong enough to fend off. Had he given Kyle the germ that had killed him?

The doctors said it was his kidneys failing again, he thought, but what caused it? Was it me? What if I killed my best friend?

He fell asleep crying and thinking about grisly things like this. Sadly, it was not the first time.

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same

He woke up the next day with a pounding back from sleeping hunched over in the chair and his mother raising a bitch fit not only about him sleeping at his desk, but also for leaving his wet clothes laying on the floor instead of putting them in their proper place. He rubbed at his eyes to get the sleep out of them, then left the house without another word. His mother screamed at him to come back and tell her where he was off to, but he ignored her completely. He just wanted to get the hell away from his family, from this town, from everything. He didn't want to deal with it anymore. Everything in this town reminded him of Kyle, of their days together, of happy times that could never be again.

He grabbed his bike and took off across town, not sure exactly where he was headed. He didn't really care either. Maybe he'd ride to Conifer or even Denver. Maybe he'd just hit the road like Forrest Gump and keep going till he hit an ocean, then turn around and go back the other way. He could shake the dust and bad memories of this dreadful hellhole of a town off of his feet and see the world. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Miami; they were all out there, just waiting for him. All he had to do was get to the city limits and then...

Then what? that voice in his head piped up. You ride for awhile until a murderer or a child molester picks you up? You go until the police nab you and bring you back here like a common criminal? Great plan there, Stan. What the hell happened to your common sense?

It died with Kyle, he replied.

No, the voice argued, it didn't die when Kyle did. You just stopped using it that day.

Fuck you.

He rode faster, headed toward the edge of town. He crossed street after street, passed house after house, pushing himself and his bike harder than they were meant to be pushed in his desperation. If a car had suddenly come through one of the intersections he blazed across, he would have been as dead as disco. He probably wouldn't have cared either.

"Fuck this shithole!" he screamed as he pedaled.

Would Stan have actually kept going once he reached the city limits, or would he have come to his senses and stopped? Sadly, the answer to this question will never be known, for as he made his way in that direction and got closer to Mephisto's old lab, he was suddenly halted in his tracks by something that caused his blood to run cold. A funeral procession was slowly making it's way down the road toward the cemetery, blocking Stan's way and forcing him to dismount from his bike and wait it out.

I don't want to watch this, he thought miserably.

You don't have to, the voice suggested. You can turn around and go home still.

Stan didn't answer this time. He just stood there, completely horrified. The very sight of the hearse chugging along, toting it's macabre cargo, brought back horrible memories that Stan was trying desperately to keep at bay.

I had my wake up
Won't you wake up

I keep asking why

The mourners were all dressed in black, sitting around the funeral parlor weeping silently to themselves when Stan came walking in. He looked absolutely horrifying with his hair sticking up all over the place, his clothes dirty and wrinkled as if they hadn't been changed in three days, and his eyes puffy and red from crying. Several people saw him come in, but weren't sure what to do when they saw him walking slowly toward the casket. Something about him told them that they should probably restrain him or at least say something to him, but he WAS Kyle's best friend after all and might have just wanted to say his last goodbyes. It was for this reason that Stan was able to get to the front of the room as easily as he did.

"Kyle," he said softly, running his hand down his friend's lifeless face. "You...you..."

He suddenly lost it there in front of everyone and began crying and kissing Kyle's face over and over again, telling him how sorry he was that he hadn't been there to say goodbye, that he'd finally learned his lesson. Sheila was so shocked by this that all she could do was cover her mouth with her hand in horror and watch helplessly.

"I'm so sorry!" he cried. "So sorry!"

Gerald walked up to him and tried to lead him away, but he wasn't having any of that. He planted his feet into the ground like a small child throwing a temper tantrum at the grocery store and wouldn't move without a fight. He was led away from the casket by his arms, Gerald and Randy trying the whole time to soothe him and calm him down.

"Don't do this," Randy whispered. "Come on, Stanley."

"Kyle wouldn't have wanted it this way," Gerald told him.

"He's cold!" Stan cried as he was being led away. "He's so cold! Somebody turn on the heat in here! He gets sick so easily! He's always been more frail than the rest of us kids! Turn on the heat! DON'T LET HIM GET COLD!!"

The last thing Stan remembered seeing as the doors closed was Sheila collapsing against Sharon, completely shattered.

And I can't take it
It wasn't fake
It happened, you passed by

He was heavily sedated after that and was asleep for the better part of the next two days, though that could have simply been from fatigue and heartbreak. It was for this reason that he missed the burial. His friends and family tried to reassure him by telling him that Kyle wouldn't have wanted him at such a grisly event anyway, but he didn't believe them. It was for this very reason that he spent the better part of the next year at the cemetery. He felt he had let Kyle down again. He had just apologized to him for not being there at the end, only to turn around and miss his chance to see him laid to rest. What kind of friend was he anyway?

"No friend at all," he often told himself. "I was his worst f-f-friend."

Now you are gone, now you are gone
There you go, there you go

Somewhere I can't bring you back

Stan found himself back at home that night. Of course he didn't run away like he wanted to. He was never the time of kid to pull such a stunt anyway. After only minutes of trying to wait out the funeral procession, he turned around and rode home with tears in his eyes, chanting Kyle's name in his head over and over again. His mother chewed him out royally when he got back, as did his father. They told him that they were real sorry about Kyle dying, but he was acting like a selfish little brat and they weren't going to tolerate any more of it. If he wanted to Shelley seemed quite pleased by this and even took a minute to punch him in the stomach to celebrate.

Laying there in bed, thinking about what they'd said to him, he found himself unable to sleep. Was he truly being that selfish? He hadn't stopped to think about it before, but he supposed he was. This was odd for him, as he had never been a selfish person before. He'd always been willing to share everything he had with others, had always been willing to reach out a helping hand to a friend in need; when did he go from what the adults called a "good kid" and a "role model" to nothing but a "selfish little bastard"? That had never been his intention, certainly. He had just been upset over Kyle. He'd never meant to make everyone else hate him, or to behave in such a way that people started viewing him in such a negative light.

God, what had become of him? Worse, what would Kyle think?

Now you are gone, now you are gone
There you go, there you go,
Somewhere you're not coming back

When Stan finally managed to nod off, he dreamed of Kyle, and it was the most vivid dream he'd ever had in his life. He was sitting in his desk in Mr. Garrison's classroom, only nobody was there except Kyle and himself. Kyle was standing at the chalkboard, staring at him with a rather irritated look on his face. He had a piece of chalk in his hand, which he was tossing absently into the air and catching like a quarter. As Stan watched, he turned around and wrote one word on the chalkboard very slowly:


"Who can tell me what this word means?" he asked, turning around and looking at Stan, who hadn't raised his hand or moved so much as a muscle during this whole thing. "How about you, Stan? Why don't you tell me what it means?"

Stan looked at his friend, then back at the word, then back to his friend, then back to the word again. He was almost positive he should know the meaning of this word. Wasn't it fairly common? He thought it was, but for some reason it wasn't coming to him at all. It was as if his mind only knew one word: Kyle. That's the only word that he could remember, though he knew that that wasn't right. Whatever SELFISH was, Kyle was exactly the opposite of it. Somewhere inside him he knew that Kyle had never had a SELFISH bone in his body, though he wasn't sure just how he knew that. It just felt like an unpardonable sin to associate the word on the board with the person who'd written it there, and that alone told him everything he needed to know.

"I don't know, Kyle," he said.

"It's Mr. Broflovski in class, Stanley," Kyle replied.

"I don't know, Mr. Broflovski."

Kyle shook his head in disapproval and turned around and began to write on the board again.

1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2: arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others

"That's what the word means," Kyle said, dropping the chalk to the floor where it shattered into several pieces. He walked over to Stan's desk and looked him in the eyes, then inched close to him as if he were going to kiss him. This made Stan exceptionally nervous.

"K-Kyle?" he stuttered, not sure he was happy with what was happening.

"Stan," Kyle said when their noses were touching, "I thought you were better than this."

Stan was at a loss for words, and who could blame him? He was being scolded by his best friend, who was over a year in his grave.

"I...I...I'm sorry Kyle," he managed to finally say. "I just miss you."

"If you really care about me that much," Kyle replied, "if you really do, then I'll tell you what you need to do. Stop acting like such a jackass. Everybody is worried about you. Nobody's sure what you're going to do from one minute to the next. A lot of people think you may go off the deep end and hurt yourself or somebody else. That's not the happy Stan that I remember being friends with. The Stan I knew wouldn't have done this. You claim you care about me? Prove it."


"Show me you care, Stan," Kyle said, backing up. "Cheer up and be the old Stan again. We'll see each other again. Until then, try not to be so miserable."

"But I never got to say goodbye," Stan said, getting to his feet with tears in his eyes. "I never got to tell you what you mean to me."

Kyle smiled at him and pulled him into his arms.

"I knew, Stan," he said, embracing him tightly. "I knew."

The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same noo..

When Stan woke up the next day, he found that his face and pillow were soaked from the tears, but his heart felt a lot better. He felt as if he'd just received a hug from beyond the grave, and it made his heart soar to know that Kyle had not only not faded into oblivion, but that he was watching over him. Kyle wasn't upset with him for not being there at the end, nor was he mad at him for missing the burial, and he never had been. If there's one thing that Kyle could never do, it was stay mad at Stan for very long. They had been Super Best Friends in life, and they continued to be Super Best Friends now. There were no hard feelings or grudges between SBFs.

"There are no goodbyes between SBFs, either," he said with a smile. "Super Best Friends never really say goodbye."

The day you slipped away
Was the day that I found it won't be the same oooh...

Stan sat at Stark's Pond, watching the sunset as he used to do with Kyle. He was smiling happily on his own for the first time in ages, and that old twinkle in his eyes had returned; Stan was back to his old self again. The only sign one might have that there had ever been anything out of the ordinary with him was the object he clutched in his hands: one long-stemmed red rose.

"Love you, Kyle," he said, closing his eyes and smelling the flower deeply before bending down and placing it in the water. It floated there for several minutes as he watched the sun sink toward the horizon. Finally, just as it was about to vanish completely, it succumbed to the waves and disappeared into the depths below. As this happened, however, Stan thought he felt someone reach over and put an arm across his shoulders.

Things were going to be okay.

Na na, na na na, na na
I miss you

Well, that's it you guys. Thanks to everyone who supported this project and who extended so much patience to me as I gave my MSN buddy list the cold shoulder. This is THE LONGEST single shot I've ever written, being 7765 words long. It surpasses even Ch17 of Raisins Boy, which had 7605 words. It took a long time to write too, so I hope you all enjoyed it. See you down the road, and here's to many, many more years!