You Can Write it on My Grave

+ Natsu +

A/N: Um. I am like, the most shocked and appalled at myself. I have not written fanfic in a long, long, long, long time. But apparently...the stress of my new job and grad studies combined has just been too much. This gushed out. I couldn't stop it.

Please forgive me South Park. I don't know how I could let this happen...

To Kyle's complete and utter surprise, he had grown up attractive. Fucked if he'd seen it coming, but it was a blatant fact. He actually likedthe way he looked. Even more incredibly, other people liked the way he looked. After years of mentally preparing himself for a seemingly inevitable adult life of pale skin, twig-like limbs and inadequate height he had almost puked with joy when he finally beat Cartman at the growing game and gained an extra two inches on his nemesis the summer after tenth grade. That was freaking karma, man. Right there.

Kyle had made it to taller than Kenny as well, who frankly, had been kind of stunted by years of Pop Tart dinners so had really had a pretty tough deal. Even Stan had only the barest whisper of height over him and the difference between them was so insignificant, they'd had to use an actual metre rule to settle that one. Kyle still maintained that the difference between them was practically tiny enough to be written off anyway, considering they were so near to being even that they were eye to eye if they stood close enough. It totally made sense to round these things up.

Kyle worked out in a half-assed kind of way, doing just enough to give himself the slender, subtle muscle tone that looks effortless. Good metabolism alone took care of the rest and stopped his lazy ass from mutating into a squishy giant of Cartman proportions. While Stan could happily spend hours powering around the gym, Kyle got tired easily and bored quickly. Once upon a time he would have mentally whipped himself into meeting Stan stride for stride and grunt for grunt, collapsing weak-kneed and gagging for breath only when Stan did the same and not a second before. But he didn't see the point now. More often than not he'd bail as soon as was acceptable, leaving Stan to continue to work on those extra muscle groups which most people didn't even know existed.

He'd never stopped obsessively comparing himself to his friends, particularly the super-best Mr. Marsh. It was just that somewhere along the line the comparisons had started falling more heavily in Kyle's favour.

Nobody had ever doubted that Stan would be hot. It came with the territory in high school. Sports teams, beautiful girlfriend, popular crowd, all equalled hot. And Stan was hot...but in an Abercrombie and Fitch seen-it-before kind of way. Stan might have been ripped, but that was because he worked damn hard at it. Kyle knew that he different stuff going for him that he did not have to work at. Abnormally green eyes and cheekbones like razor blades balanced cohesively around a sturdy Jewish nose gave his face an unusual 'look-again' quality which had long ago begun to make him stand out in his crowd of somewhat more conventionally handsome classmates.

It was totally fucking bizarre, the way Kyle's life had somehow just dropped into place. He'd opted for a comfortably respectable college, prestigious enough to be a CV asset, not prestigious enough that he'd have to break his balls to go there, collected his BA with barely a sweat broken and bagged the first training contract he'd chased. Yeah, he'd sold his soul and done the law thing. So what? The money was good and he had a fucking live-in tutor right there in the house for God's sake. Okay, so maybe he'd taken the safe option, and maybe he knew he had the smarts to make something more of himself if he wanted to. But he consoled himself with promises to one day ditch corporate and start picking up human rights or pro-bono or whatever. Kyle was totally fine with a couple of years of the bad stuff. His morals could probably do with coming down a peg or two anyway.

He'd always planned to leave South Park permanently as soon as he was done with college, but after he graduated, he couldn't decide where to go next and his friends had all hung around town. He'd gotten all caught up with them again. Before he knew it, Kyle had found himself sort of settled back at home while he was supposed to have been choosing which city to start a new life in. And now that he and the super-best were apartment-hunting, he would soon be tied up in work and housing contracts galore so a move didn't look to be on the cards at any time in the foreseeable future.

Life went like that.

The apartment hunting had reached a climax recently, with the introduction of a decent little two-bed place on the outskirts of the nice side of town. The apartment block squatted just shy of the seediest streets in South Park, but it was a new build, which meant new-build insulation and new-build laminate wipe-clean flooring. Besides, the semi-questionable location knocked a shitload off the asking price.

Kyle was prepared to fight tooth and nail for the place, even if that meant physically forcing Stan's hand to make the shapes of his signature (Kyle knew it well – it hadn't changed since Stan was thirteen) in the correct place on the contract.

A newly-wed couple, a somewhat more reliable bet for any landlord than a couple of young bachelors, and the boys' rivals for the apartment, were breathing down their necks and Kyle's desperation to seal the deal had led him to the last resort of imprisoning Stan in the Broflovski kitchen and refusing to release him until the contract had been discussed and signed. Oh, Stan thought he was a free to leave whenever he liked. But how wrong he was. How wrong.

The smell of coffee filled the kitchen. Kyle had only just learnt how to use the new maker. Kind of. It had a crazy-ass array of settings which were labelled with indecipherable symbols. Attempting to use it made Kyle feel like the world's biggest retard. It was not his favourite feeling.

"The fuck..." he muttered, scowling at the empty jug and complete lack of coffee dripping from the filter. He could smell the stuff brewing, so why the hell couldn't he see it?

Stan sat at the table, one strong-knuckled hand clenched in his dark hair as he pored over the contract pages spread before him. As usual, no help would be forthcoming from the Marsh.

"Aw, man, screw this, dude." Kyle thrust the empty jug back into the machine in disgust. "Coffee's out. Forget it."

"Huh?" was Stan's delayed response as he flicked distracted blue eyes up and away from the papers.

"No coffee," Kyle repeated. He'd snatched up his empty mug, curled long fingers around it and carried it with him to the table out of habit before he realised that the bastard thing was empty and would afford him no comfort at all from the dusk chill beginning to creep into the edges of the room.

"Uh huh. Whatever, dude. What's this mean?" Stan asked. He pointed one bitten-down nail at a clause of the contract. Discarding the useless mug, Kyle reached for the paper and tugged it towards him.

"It' Well, yeah. It's complicated."

Kyle bent one knee up, tucked his foot against the edge of the wooden chair and hugged his thigh to his chest in an attempt to better conserve his ebbing body heat.

"So explain it to me."

Kyle felt exasperation swell inside him. "Dude, it's cool. Just sign. I've checked it over, we're not getting ass-raped, it's all pretty standard."

Stan turned infuriatingly placid eyes towards him and for the about the fiftieth time that evening, Kyle fought the urge to tell Stan to suck it up and leave this shit to the people who didn't have to have it explained to them. Instead, he seized the chewed black bic from the other man's hand and scrawled his sloping signature aggressively across the waiting dotted line.

"Forget it, dude. There's no time. I'm living there, even if you're not," he snapped, way more harshly than he meant to. It wasn't that Kyle thought he was smarter than Stan. Not really. Stan just had a different kind of intelligence which was totally not applicable to shit like this.

When Kyle looked again, Stan was carefully tracing his own name on the line beneath Kyle's. The rush of guilt at slamming the super-best was instant. As usual, he hid it with sarcasm.

"So you trust me now?" he heard himself say pointedly.

"I didn't not trust you," Stan shrugged, "I just wanted to be up on what we're signing our lives away to."

"It's a year, Stan. That's not a life."

"It could be a life."

"If you're Kenny? Sure."

"I meant-"

"Touch wood we can both last longer than that." Kyle pressed a palm against the wooden tabletop. Just in case.

Stan seemed to dwell on this prophecy for a moment before rocking his chair back onto the two rear legs, stretching lean arms over his head and fixing Kyle with a Hollywood smile.



"We got ourselves a house,"

Stan's grin was infectious. Kyle could feel its reflection straining at his own lips.

"Yeah, we do,"

"Cartman will be jealous as a bitch."

"Cartman can cry us a fucking river, dude."

The fatass had been not so secretly livid that Stan, Kyle and Kenny had all deliberately excluded him from their future living plans. He'd bitched and fumed and threatened and blackmailed and whined until ultimately defaulting to faking like he didn't give a shit. He constantly ripped on Stan and Kyle for being super-best friends even in their twenties. In Cartman's book, this made them faggy. Kenny was slammed as a whore for having slept his way into the bed and home of some dumbass woman twice his age who had more alimony than sense. Personally, Kyle saw that more as a triumph than a failure. She might have been old, but she had the plastic rack of an eighteen-year-old. Nothing wrong with a little gold-digging when all you'd ever known before were mattresses without bed-frames and hand-me down underwear. Cartman was bitter and twisted. He always had been.

Stan, Kyle and Kenny were used to the fatass's slander. They'd lived with it so long that life didn't feel quite normal without it now. They'd grown immune.

It still worked, the four of them. In a way. They rubbed along together in the snowy wasteland that was South Park same as they always had. There was no real reason for them to have remained friends. Other than maybe out of convenience or proximity. But it wasn't really all that convenient being friends with Cartman, for Christ's sake, and proximity? So what? They were still way too different to compose a logical friendship group.

Kyle secretly thought that was precisely why they were still friends. To spite people. They were friends because they could be and why the fuck not?

"It's not as if he couldn't afford to move out if he wanted to," Stan was saying now.

Kyle nodded. Cartman had bypassed college, opting instead to set up his own business selling home security systems – alarms, surveillance cameras, shit like that. It gave him plenty of opportunity to scaremonger people into giving him money. Cartman's venture had been disgustingly successful from the get-go and in true lardass style, he was now totally monopolising the South Park market and was in the process of raping every other business in town for all they were worth.

"He's a lazy sonuvabitch. Why strike out alone when he can stay at home and eat his Mom's pie?"

"I'd stay at home with his Mom if I could eat her pie all the time," Stan muttered carelessly.

Kyle arched one eyebrow in preparation for a pithy remark, but Stan was already way ahead of him.

"I mean that literally," he clarified, his eyes warning Kyle not to go there. "The woman makes good pie."

"Sure? You didn't mean-"

"Yes!" Stan yelped dramatically, "Aw, sick, dude. You fucking had to give me that image, didn't you?"

"Hey, man, you gave it to yourself. Not my fault you're repressing subconscious desires to-"

Kyle broke off into laughter as Stan seized a fistful of the redhead's shirt and jerked him forwards.

"Stop grossing me out!" Stan's eye fell on the freshly-signed housing contract which he snatched and raised menacingly above Kyle's head. "Before I shove this down your throat and that happy couple have something to thank me for."

"No!" Kyle reached up and grasped the contract desperately. "No, don't joke with that, dude. It's precious. I'll behave." Stan willingly relinquished both the paper and Kyle's shirt at the same time, leaving Kyle to smooth the contract carefully against the table.

And so it went.

They celebrated the signing with plenty of beer, takeout and a low-budget horror movie. On Stan's way out the door, they shared a semi-drunk hug. Stan was pretty big on hugging. Kyle wasn't, but he always made exceptions when it came to the super-best. Besides, if there was ever an occasion that called for a bit of guy love, getting free of his mother's clutches was certainly it.

"It's gonna be so sweet, dude. So sweet," were Stan's beaming final words, before he turned and trudged away down the frozen path.

"Totally sweet," Kyle echoed to himself a moment later, as he bolted the door behind his friend. He retrieved the contract from the kitchen, filed it away safely and went to bed that night secure in the knowledge that all was right with the world.

Moving day came and went again, leaving more beer, manly hugging and a whole load of cardboard boxes and plastic bubble wrap in its wake. All through the move, Kyle's optimism never left him. And it stayed firm and glowing as he and Stan embarked on their carefree bachelor life together.

But two weeks in, he was finally ready to admit that the whole thing was not exactly going brilliantly.

A/N: Wow...I am really out of practice writing prose.

Okay, so I really don't know where this is going. It was originally at heart a Style (which I have developed a reluctant love of) but, having started the next chapter... it somehow seems to be writing itself into more of a K squared (edging ahead in my South Park OTP race). Both were planned to be involved from the get-go, since The Brat Prince has bewitched me with her warp speed updating and forced me into jumping on the K/K/S triangle bandwagon, but now...I'm not completely sure which pairing will win out in the end. Let's watch and see!