Pushing Daises

A/N: Oh finally, a new chapter, really? Yeah I know. I still need to spell check it, but I'm a bit lazy right now, sorry. I won't blab much this chapter, thanks you guys for your reviews and thanks for reading!

Chapter Three: Lost

1. No longer possessed or retained.
2. No longer to be found.
3. Having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.
4. Not used to good purpose, as opportunities, time, or labor; wasted.
5. Distracted; distraught; desperate; hopeless.
6. Destroyed or ruined.

"You know, and really, it's not even that he's being a total douche - and he is being a total douche - but it's not even that. You know?" Stan Marsh is flipping the pages of Chemistry book like the subject has offended him. Kenny is using the book as a pillow, or trying to at least, because Stan won't be considerate and shut up. "You know?" Stan provokes, looking up from the book for a second.

"I...who?" Kenny isn't really listening. Usually he would listen to Stan, because Stan is one of the few people who thinks the way Kenny does. They're the two that exchange glances when Kyle and Cartman fight for the millionth time. Most of their conversations revolve around one of three things. One: music, what's good, what's not, what's really not and what went from good to bad. They have one rule, if the music is bad now it will never be good. Two: Wendy Testaburger. Seeing as Kenny used to have a thing for her and she had a thing for him in ninth grade and to Stan's knowledge neither of the things were carried out and, well, the fact that they were, this is an awkward subject. So whenever Two comes up Kenny tries to segway into Three: Kyle Broflovski.

"Kyle," Stan says. Kenny sighs, of course they're talking about Kyle. The problem with talking about Kyle is that, while better than talking about Wendy, Stan is more apt to make crazy statements and ask for validation on all of them. Kenny doesn't usually accept them, especially since it's Stan and sometimes Stan gets so extremely irrational that he needs help to return to the normalcy of his rationality. Right now, though, Kenny could care less.

He is tired of hearing about Kyle Broflovski and his apparent personality problems. He was tired of hearing it from other people, because it never really was about Kyle. It was about what Kyle had said to them, done to them, how he had hurt their feelings. So typically conceited American talk. Me, me, me. No wonder everyone else hated them.

Stan launches into, I don't even know why I bother any more.

And Kenny just says, "Because he's your best friend, always had been," like it's from a movie script, "always will be."

"Mm, yeah, right," Stan says, so you know he's not even listening. "Maybe it's just that we're around each other too much. Do you think that's it? I mean, he's got his basketball, I've got my..." Kenny winces involuntarily as Stan fumbles the word 'football' and chokes it back down into his stomach where the acids can dissolve it into nothingness. No, Stan, no football. "I've got other stuff."

Like what, Kenny wants to say. "Do you guys even hang out?" he asks instead.

"That's what I'm saying." Stan chews on the plastic cap of his pen, stops, thinks, then starts again. "Like, he's got his basketball, I've got my own stuff, but besides that we pretty much hang out all the time. We have three classes together, sit by each other in all of them except German. Do you think we're sick of each other? Do you, Kenny?"

Kenny is sick of thinking. Do you think this, do you think that, do you think anything at all about me, me, me? That's all anyone ever asks, and if they ask about you, if they ask how you're doing it's only because they're about piss themselves from the excitement of being able to tell you how they're doing. Oh, that's great, really, but you know what I did yesterday? You know who I talked to? Really, I wish I coulda been there, but see I was so busy...

Me, me, me, Kenny thinks.

It isn't even about Kyle, it's about Stan.

"I dunno," he mumbles, like that's going to help. Like not knowing anything is going fix all their problems.

And Stan just goes on, do you think it's something I did? Do you think, maybe, that I've been annoying him recently? Do you think...no, that can't be it. And he's asking Kenny what's gone wrong with them recently, when really he should be asking Kyle and Kenny says as much. Stan, fallen hero Stan Marsh, the kid that everyone said was going to make it but never really did, shakes his head. Nah, he says, nah he'd never tell me if something was wrong. "That's the kind of thing you keep to yourself."

"What? You guys don't tell each other stuff like that?"

Stan just kind of cocks his head to the side and frowns. His jet black hair reveals his eyes, one a dark sapphire blue and the other lighter, grey somehow, like the clouds passing over the summer sky. Two places at once, complete confusion. Kenny just shakes his head. Never mind, he says. It's nothing, he says. He had forgotten that Stan and Kyle have never had things like this to tell each other. They've fought, but they've never gotten sick of each other.

How do you tell your best friend he's become a disease to you?

Wendy Testaburger is having the same problem. And a few others. Once, back in sixth grade, at the last slumber party she ever went to, between swooning over air-brushed models in a magazine named for an age well above most of its readers and admitting how far they had gotten with boys, once, somebody said that if Wendy was an animal she would be a panther. Sleek black hair, piercing eyes, gracious, but scary as hell. Everyone else was something like a kitten. Something that would make you gasp and put a hand to your cheek and let an 'awww,' tumble out of your mouth no matter who you are. Wendy was a panther.

And panthers could rip kittens to shreads if they really wanted to.

Wendy sits next to Kenny McCormick in her second hour, Photography B, class. They don't talk. The room is often lit in a slight glow and nothing more. It's quiet, mostly, unless a few of the boys decide to do something they shouldn't be doing. Even then their teacher just turns up his radio a little louder, elevator music drifting through the room, like they're all moving up to a higher demension.

Her pictures have turned out half-way decent. They would be a lot better if Bebe Stevens, the sex kitten, wasn't prowling around in them. But that was the assignment, pictures of people. Mr. Keane, their teacher, emphasized. "Capture their soul!" he had cried at them a week ago. His hands were always grasping at the air like he expected something to be there, the secret to how to get these kids to understand the artistry of the camera. "Capture their essence, not just their face! I want to look at them and know who they are, not what they do, not what their favorite video game is. Show me who these people are!"

Bebe looks like she's fighting for a spot in Playboy. Like she wants to be the next Playmate, only with clothes on. Lots of clothes on. Bebe is no slut, she wears sweaters and jeans and turtlenecks and tights under skirts that already go past her knee. Doesn't hide the fact that she'll give a guy a blowjob if he asks real nice. The boys joke, "Just say please," and Bebe just can't say no. Wendy hates her but she understands. Bebe wants to be loved, she's cried to Wendy about it over the phone and in her bedroom. She's thrown tantrums and nail polish, all because she wants it so badly.

Bebe Stevens the sex kitten, oh, how Wendy Testaburger the panther could rip her apart with all she knows.

"Doesn't look like Bebe," Kenny remarks, from the other side of the table. Wendy looks at him, but he's busy with his own pictures. She turns away, but then, "I mean, it does. But she's so vogue in them. Not literally, just, she looks posed and awkward. She's sucking in her stomach so you don't notice that she's got more than ribs. Makes her look like she's dead, like she used to be something pretty." He looks up at her. "That's the funny thing about people, they think they need to make themselves look pretty. But if no one did that, we'd all look a lot better."

Wendy bites the inside of her mouth and looks at the pictures. Remembers walking past Stark's Pond with Bebe, saying, "I was thinking about getting back together with Stan. For good. Not just a fling this time."

"Puh," she remembers Bebe saying, blowing her breath like smoke out into the air, like she was able to cause cancer, "like that'll happen."

"She's jealous of you," Kenny continues, holding one of his own pictures up in the dim lights. He concentrates so fully on the picture, but Wendy doen't feel that he's concentrating any less on what he's saying to her. "You're pretty, you know. Probably you do that thing girls do. Complain about how not pretty you are so the other person will tell you why you're wrong. Girls always do that. But she's not jealous that you're pretty." He looks at her, smiles.

"Thanks," she says, because she's been programmed to since she could talk.

"She knows she's pretty and that you are too." He extends a hand and pulls one of the Vogue Bebe Stevens pictures closer. "Maybe not supermodel pretty, no offense. But she knows neither of you are hideous. She's jealous that you've, y'know, been in love and she never has."

Wendy knows this, of course she knows this. She tries to hide her surprise, she scrunches up her pink lips and mouths an 'oh,' real slow, like, bam, realization is hitting her. Oh, I never knew. Oh, I never would have guessed. Oh, the poor thing. Poor kitten who's never known love, she only scratches and hisses at the panther because she wishes she wasn't so pitiful, that people admired her instead of adoring her. Oh. Wendy isn't sure what to say, so she says, "Who'd you take pictures of?"

"People." Kenny pushes one towards her, It's Kyle Broflovski, head bent over a Calculus book, biting his lip, in deep concentration. "He didn't know I was taking it. That's the method I went with. You ask people to show you their soul and they're going to show the pretty side. See that's Kyle, y'know? He's really smart but he gets so frustrated sometimes. About the littlest things. Like math even means anything."

"Did you take a picture of Stan?" Wendy asks. Like Kenny doesn't know. Like he's been oblivious to their rocky relationship since third grade and she's trying to hide the blush on her cheeks. Like, mmm, Stan Marsh, he's the one with the dark hair, brown jacket right? Like, well, I might like him, but does he like me? Not like elementary school. Not any more. Kenny hesitates, then shuffles his pictures around until he finds the right one, hands to her and shrugs.

It's Stan, but it isn't. It's the back of Stan, his tousseled black hair dishevelled and messy in the wind, his hat is clutched in his hand at his side. He looks tense, maybe his eyes are closed, but Wendy can't tell, she can't see his face. Her eyes go second to what most people would look at first. Flashing red lights, the white side of a vehicle emblazoned with red words that are a blur of motion in the picture. But she knows what they say.

"That's just Stan you know?" Kenny offers quietly. "He's not the one in trouble and he's not the one rushing to help. I don't think he knows how to feel any more. He doesn't show it, he just watches."

Wendy puts the picture of Stan standing on the side of the road as an abulance races past back on the table and slides it over to Kenny.

"He still loves you, you know," Kenny tells her as the bell rings. Everyone else bolts for the door, their teacher included.

"I know," Wendy replied. There isn't a hint of ego in her voice, she doesn't expect Stan to love her, but he does, and she feels the same way. She just can't stand watching the world go by, she's just not that kind of person. "What about you Kenny?" she asks, suddenly. "Everyone else is with someone or wanting someone or wanting everyone in sight. How about you? Got anyone special?"

For a minute Kenny looks like he's going to answer. He looks at the ground and opens his mouth slightly. Forms a word that Wendy doesn't quite catch, she leans closer, sorry, what was that?

But Kenny just says, "Not everyone needs love you know. Some people are fine where they are."

And then he's gone and Wendy's left to find Bebe Stevens sex kitten supreme, wandering around the halls in search of the One. Walking with her and getting tidbits of infomation whispered every time they pass a guy. "I heard he's cheap on dates, cute yes, but never go for cheap." Wendy nods. "What about him? Hmm, ah, of course he has someone. All the good ones are taken, aren't they?" Wendy nods. "Do you think he'd ever go for me? Really?" Two nods, but Wendy has no idea who Bebe is referring to.

As Bebe talks to some nameless kid who lives on some street and drives some sweet red car, no doubt, Wendy stands silently besides her. Bebe is all twisting golden hair around her finger and batting her fake eyelashes and wanting him to be the One. Nameless Kid is half paying attention and then glancing at Wendy and, when Bebe checks her cell phone, he's mouthing a 'Me-ow,' at her. No, Wendy wants to say, I'm a panther, Bebe's the kitten.

Besides, she thinks, who the fuck says me-ow any more anyway?

Eric Cartman doesn't know it, but his biggest choice today is not going to be between french fries and pizza today. At the moment, though, he's holding up the lunch line pretty well, muttering under his breath something like, "Seriously, you guys, I don't get why I can't just get both." The choice of what to eat is simply made for him, as Craig Nommel reaches out and grabs a piece of pizza, dropping it onto Cartman's tray and grinning at him like a predator seeking out the perfect prey. "What the fuck, Craig? Goddammit I hate people like you," Cartman says, viciously. 'You' being code for, Craig suspects, 'douche bags.' He doesn't mind, just grins a little wider.

"I have a proposition," he murmurs, in a very Craig-like way. Coming from anyone else's mouth it would end up sounding either awkward or sexual or both. From Craig it sounds like a threat. Cartman snorts, but moves his tray down the line, inspecting the other food choices he has. As the self-proclaimed King of Manipulation, well, he isn't scared of the guy standing next to him. Craig can pretend to be in control as much as he wants. If it's a proposition he's suggesting, he's powerless without Cartman's consent. "I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation."

"Don't I, Craig?" Cartman replies, easily, as he grabs for one, two, three, snack cakes. He can practically taste them. Better than sex, really, he's sure, although he wouldn't actually know. "You never talk to me, not on your own accord at least, since middle school." Bebe skirts past them in what might be skirt or might possibly just be a piece of fabric masquerading as one. Craig isn't above taking a glance, Cartman could care less. Bebe flips them off and Craig returns the favor. "So excuse me, Craig, if I don't assume that I do know the gravity of the situation. I'm listening, but it better be something pretty spec-fucking-tacular, or I won't be for long."

"Look, that's the thing," Craig says, "it's not going to sound that great when I tell you. In fact, you might even think it's obvious. But the thing is, it's information about someone, secrets from the source himself. And I know that whatever I could do with it wouldn't be that great. But, you, on the other hand. Well, I have to hand it to you, Cartman, you'll think up something good and nasty to do with it. I'll just sit back and watch." He licks his lips like they're in need of moisture, Cartman almost laughs out loud at the action because, by the sound of Craig's voice one would assume he's drooling in anticipation.

"So," Cartman snickers a little to himself as he hands over his money to the lunch lady who's ignoring their conversation as she does everyone else's, "what do you get out of this. You won't be satisfied with just watching, will you? You're kind of a selfish fuckwad, in case no one's ever told you."

Craig shrugs. "We've made deals before, I have a few conditions, but don't we all?" He grins again. They walk out into the lunchroom, the fucking teenage jungle. Cartman begins to make a bee line for his table, focusing on the orange of Kenny's parka. But Craig grabs his shoulder, pulls him back, shakes his head. Cartman doesn't care much, it's not like he wanted to sit with those assholes he calls friends anyway.

"Where are your faggot friends?" he asks when they reach the table Craig normally sits at. It's oddly void of those guys he always hangs out with, occupied only by a English Lit book that's half-covering a red notebook.

"Hell if I know," Craig says, nonchalant, but his eyes say that he's at least a tiny bit worried about this fact. He shakes his head to himself, then sits down, motioning for Cartman to do the same across from him. The red notebook is pulled out to reveal the full cover and then turned so it's facing Cartman and pushed so it's right in front of him, next to his lunch tray. "Look but don't touch," Craig says, "there'll be consequences if you do."

"Consequences?" Cartman raises an eyebrow, saying the word deliberately, every syllable mocking what Craig must consider a threat.

"I know a lot of things that you'd be surprised about," Craig says, that grin, it's wolfish Cartman decides, showing up again. Craig is a lone wolf, completely in control of his own destiny, not relying on anyone else. At least, that's what he would like to think. "I know things you probably don't even admit to yourself, so look but don't touch, fatass, and I think we'll get along great."

Cartman narrows his eyes and looks down, inspecting the notebook further. "Why do you have Kenny's notebook?"

"Found it, after class, he left it behind." Craig licks his lips again, Cartman decides it's either a nervous habit or an excited one. "Don't know how you would forget something like this, really. There's some math in it, notes from different classes. At first I almost just threw it to the side, I don't give a fuck what Kenny's doing in his classes. But the stupid kid, dumb fuckin' blond," he smiles fondly at that word, "wrote what I have to imagine is his biggest secret in here."

"Which is?"

Craig pulls the notebook back towards him. "Ah, ah, ah," he says tauntingly, like a child on a playground. "Conditions first, then we'll discuss what it is we're talking about. Trust me, this is worth your while. This is your kind of stuff. It's the sort of secret that can ruin someone. Like you see in the movies. Only better, 'cause, y'know, this is real life." Cartman imagines Craig practiced this speech in front of a mirror, all the words sound so precise and planned, chopped up to sound casual, but sounding anything but.

"So what are your conditions, then, Craig?" Cartman says. If he was at all worried about his weight he would do what everyone else does with their pizza. Take a napkin and dab away at the slathered on grease, save himself a few thousand calories. But, to Cartman, he's already dug himself a grave that's considerably deep, so he's not to scared about what he's going to find if he goes any deeper. Craig watches him for a minute, almost fascinated by how much the other boy eats, but then he just shakes his head and blows his bangs out of his eyes.

Grins. Says, "One. You don't do anything without consulting me first. And I fucking mean it." Craig's trying to sound menacing, but it's hardly working. Cartman shrugs. "I really mean it, fatass. If I tell you that you can't do something you aren't going to do it. Because I know you don't have the morals to do it, so I'll draw the line somewhere. Two. No one knows that I'm the one who found this." He taps the notebook with his index finger, gingerly, like it's a matter of life or death. "If anyone asks, the information in here, where you got it, you don't tell them."

"I already have a problem," Cartman says in-between bites of the crust of his pizza. There might be a new grease stain on his shirt, or maybe it's been there all along, he doesn't remember. "First off, Kenny's not retarded. He'll know I got...whatever the hell this secret is. He'll know someone told me. Once he gets that figured out all he has to do is think of who would be willing to put it out there. It won't be Jewboy or that hippie fag, Stan. I know Kenny, he'll narrow it the fuck down and figure it out."

"Obviously," Craig says, leaning forward, "you don't care if he knows that you know, so what's the problem? I know Kenny isn't stupid, but let me ask you something, alright?"

Cartman mutters something that might be a yes behind a mouthful of food.

"Today, has he seemed worried, kind of jumpy at all?" Craig says. Cartman thinks for a minute. Thinks and, slowly, nods. "It's because he knows someone has this. You're right, he will know someone else is telling you shit from this." Craig traces a finger over the 'K' of Kenny's name, with the reverence that most people saved for the Bible. "If you had this, you would have already done something about it. He's waiting and hoping for nothing to come out of this, he's letting his guard down every second that his secret isn't announced to everyone. He's not stupid, you're right about that. but he isn't a fucking psychic."

Cartman is quiet, he pushes his tray away from him, half his lunch sits untouched. He isn't sure why but it feels - it feels - wrong. To do this, to agree to this. Maybe it's because it's about Kenny, the person he's claimed as his best friend since, what, third, fourth grade? Cartman licks his lips and almost winces, they're dry and it burns, stings almost. Then he nods. Nods a few times, almost forgetting Craig is there. "You know," he says, after a second, "I was psychic once."

"I know," Craig replies, the widest grin yet stretching across his face.

A/N: I like how Craig and Kyle are my favorite characters, yet I always make them out to be complete douche bags. God knows I love 'em though.
Uh, yeah, Cartman's just an asshole. Don't get me wrong, I honestly love him as a character, I think he's fucking priceless, I'm just using his personality to my advantage. Oh and oral fixation much? I pretty much constantly have to be like chewing on something or licking my lips or some shit, so that's why everyone's like 'o lol, usin' my mouth' in this chapter.
So how about it? Reviews? o u o