Author's Note: Everything that happens prior to the events of this story is entirely open to interpretation. Actually, now that I think about it, the ending is pretty much open to interpretation as well. I had so many different ideas for it, but this particular ending played itself out as I was writing it. I think it's a lot better than what I originally had planned anyway. It's simple, but it's also very sweet.

I'm really trying to improve my writing, so please review letting me know what you liked and/or disliked about this story, and remember that constructive criticism is always welcome. :)

Also, in case it isn't clear, Kyle and Cartman are nine years old in this fic.

Disclaimer: I don't own South Park. The brilliant Trey Parker and Matt Stone do. :)


by Angelic Guardian

"I can't believe this is fucking happening!" Kyle said in horror. He was rapidly pacing up and down the hard cement floor of Cartman's garage in an attempt to calm his nerves, although it only seemed to be increasing his extremely high emotional anxiety. He brought a hand up to his mouth and started nervously biting his thumb. "We're screwed," he muttered to himself. "We are so totally screwed!"

"Goddammit, would you just shut up already, Jew?!" his overweight "friend" shouted from across the garage. He ran his fingers through his messy brown hair, taking a step back from the large plastic storage bins he'd been rummaging through for the past few minutes. He turned around to see Kyle still frantically pacing back and forth. He could feel his anger rising, about to unleash at any given moment. "Get your ass over here and help me find a goddamn shovel!"

Kyle abruptly stopped and turned in Cartman's direction.

"A shovel?!" he said, throwing his hands up in the air. "A shovel?! Oh, no. Nonononono, we are not using a fucking shovel, fatass!"

Cartman sighed exasperatingly. "Well, what do you suggest we use to bury it with then, Kahl?!"

At that moment, Kyle's eyes grew as wide as saucers, and his mouth fell open into a tiny semicircle. "Oh, God…" he said, putting his hands to his head. His breathing grew shorter as hundreds of thoughts raced throughout his mind, all of which were jumbling together and forming one enormous question that he couldn't seem to figure out the answer to: Why the fuck did he allow himself to get sucked into this whole horrible situation with Cartman in the first place?

He honestly had no idea.

"Oh, GOD," Kyle cried out, "what the hell are we gonna do?!"

Cartman rolled his eyes, officially losing the last ounce of patience he had left. If Kyle wasn't going to shut the fuck up, then by god, he was going to make him shut the fuck up. He hurriedly walked up to the hysterical Jewish boy and grabbed him harshly by the shoulders.

"CALM DOWN, JEW!" the larger boy screamed, shaking the smaller one aggressively back and forth with great ease.

"Calm down?!" Kyle shouted back as if it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard in his entire life. "Don't you dare tell me to calm down, Cartman!" he said threateningly as he thrashed his shoulders around, struggling to break free from Cartman's overpowering grasp. "It's your fucking fault I'm acting like this! You're the one who got us into this whole goddamn mess in the first place!"

"So what?!" Cartman spat back, still holding Kyle securely by the shoulders. "That doesn't even matter anymore at a time like this, Kahl! All that matters now is that we both got ourselves stuck in this mess, so if I go down, that means you're going down with me!"

Kyle stopped jostling around at that point, and he was now standing perfectly still as he stared into Cartman's fierce, menacing eyes. The two became so quiet that the only sound to be heard was the occasional flickering of the fluorescent lighting fixture that hung from the cracked ceiling of the garage.

Cartman waited for Kyle to say something, a demanding look on his face, but Kyle simply stood there, motionless, glaring at his rival with the utmost intensity, a look he solely reserved for Cartman, because he just hated him that much. He suddenly averted his gaze.

"Fine," Kyle muttered in defeat.

Cartman smirked, because despite all the crazy stuff currently going on, he couldn't help relishing the fact that Kyle was actually giving up for once. It was just so unlike him. He was usually such a stubborn little Jew. Probably the most stubborn person in the entire fucking world.

Of course, it wasn't like Kyle even had a choice, anyway. After all, they were in some pretty deep shit, and as much as Kyle hated to think this, he knew the only way for them to get out of it would be to stop arguing with each other and start actually working together for once.

But why, of all people, did it have to be Cartman?

"I knew you'd come to your senses, Kahl," the devil himself said, playfully rubbing Kyle's shoulders.

Kyle locked eyes with him again, a furious look on his face. "Shut up," he said angrily as he squirmed around once more, desperately trying to rip his shoulders away from Cartman's firm grip, but his large hands still wouldn't budge. Motherfucker, when did this asshole get so strong?!

"Let go of me already, you son of a bitch!" Kyle snarled.

"No!" Cartman yelled, squeezing Kyle's shoulders even tighter, much to the latter's extreme annoyance and discomfort.

"No?!" Kyle repeated. "What the hell do you mean 'no?!'"

"I mean, I'm not letting you go, Kahl," Cartman said sternly, "because if I do, you're just gonna run out of here and rat me out to Mr. Garrison!"

Kyle gave him a blank look, almost as if to say "are you fucking kidding me?"

"Dude, are you serious?!" he asked. "Why the hell would I do that? Seriously, how stupid do you think I am, fatass?!"

"Oh, I don't think you're stupid at all, Kahl," Cartman said, surprisingly, Kyle noted, without even the slightest hint of sarcasm in his voice.

Kyle blinked in confusion. His distressed behavior seemed to suddenly melt away as he was now feeling strangely calm. He raised an eyebrow.

"Was that a…compliment?" he asked in disbelief.

Cartman's eyebrows shot upward, and his body stiffened for a moment as he realized the mistake he had just made, but he quickly composed himself and released a small sigh.

"Now's not the time for this, Kahl," he said.

It was Kyle's turn to smirk. "It was, wasn't it?" he taunted.

"Goddammit, Jew! Knock it off!" Cartman said, a faint blush creeping onto his cheeks. He gave Kyle another hard shake as if to snap him back to reality. "Now, are you with me or not?!"

"Okay, okay, I am!" Kyle said hastily. "Jesus!"

"Good," Cartman said, finally letting go of Kyle's shoulders. He turned around and headed back to the storage bins. "All right, so we still need to find a shovel…"

Kyle turned himself in the opposite direction and gaped at the tools hanging on the wall. He rubbed one of his shoulders, trying to soothe the aching feeling as a result of Cartman clutching them way too tightly.

"Hey," he said, switching hands to massage his other shoulder, "what about that?"

"What?" Cartman asked, wandering back over to him.

"That gardening shovel," Kyle said, pointing to a small metal shovel with a wooden handle resting on one of the shelves.

Cartman snorted. "That?" he scoffed, pointing to it as well. "You expect me to dig up an enormous fucking hole using that crappy little shovel?!"

"Well, I don't see a normal sized shovel anywhere, fatass!" Kyle said, glaring at him with that same fire in his eyes as before. "Besides, the hole doesn't even need to be that big, retard!"

Cartman glowered back at him, irritated by the fact that Kyle was being a wise ass again, as usual. Stupid goddamn Jew.

"Oh, well, excuse me, Kahl!" he said mockingly. "Sorry I'm not a goddamn know-it-all like you! Why don't you just dig up the hole yourself since you're so fucking smart?!"

"Fine," Kyle said simply. He reached for the shovel and took it down from the shelf, and as he turned to walk away, he hit Cartman on the back with his free hand and said, "Thanks for the compliment."

Cartman clenched his hands into fists. "GODDAMMIT, THAT WASN'T A COMPLIMENT!" he exploded, face flushed with anger.

"Okay," Kyle said, not wanting to get into yet another pointless argument with him. Once he arrived at the door of Cartman's garage, he stopped and looked back at the enraged boy. "Well, are you coming or not?!"

Cartman groaned, looking up at the ceiling. "Fine," he said reluctantly. He trudged over to Kyle, and he was just about to open the door, when he suddenly remembered something.

"Oh, wait, where the hell is my hat?" he asked.

"YOU LOST YOUR HAT?!" Kyle shrieked.

Cartman jumped at the loud sound of Kyle's shrill, girly voice. "Holy shit, would you just relax, Jew?! Goddammit, you're gonna make me go fucking deaf!"

"Sorry," Kyle said, "but, dude, seriously…how the hell could you have forgotten where you put your hat?"

"I don't know!" Cartman said honestly. He walked over to the corner he was in before, near the storage bins. "Just help me find it!" he said, recklessly moving things around in one of the bins in a desperate search for his hat.

"Found it," Kyle said.

"The fuck?" Cartman said. That sure as hell was fast. He turned around to see Kyle holding his hat in between his thumb and index finger, his arm stretched out as far as it could possibly go. "Where the hell was it?"

"Over there," Kyle said, nodding his head in the direction of the shelf behind him. "Will you just take it already?!"

Cartman strolled up to Kyle and cautiously took the hat from him, cradling it in his hands as though it were a baby, although he was really only holding it like that because there was a precious item laying inside it, and he didn't want it to fall out.

"Pussy," Cartman said.

Kyle lowered his eyebrows. "Fuck you," he said, making his way to the door again. "Come on, we have to hurry up. My mom's gonna kill me if I'm not home by nine."

"Pssh," Cartman said dismissively, "your mom is such a fucking bitch, dude."

Kyle shot him a warning glare. "At least my mom isn't a crackwhore!" he retaliated. He flung the door open and was instantly hit by a strong gust of wind that blew against his face. He stormed outside into the darkness with Cartman following him. The cold air whipped around harshly, but he ignored the chill in his bones and continued walking.

"You know, that's really not funny, asshole!" Cartman said. He'd caught up with Kyle, and the two were now walking side by side.

Kyle glanced at Cartman briefly, just long enough to notice that he seemed to be completely unfazed by the freezing cold weather – most likely, Kyle assumed, because he was so goddamn fat that he already had enough body heat to keep himself warm.

Seriously, he was like a fucking bear or something.

"But it's true," Kyle said, smirking at him slyly.

"So fucking what?!" Cartman said. "You know, Jew, just because something is true doesn't mean you have to point it out all the time."

Kyle stopped dead in his tracks. Did he really just say that?

Cartman, wondering why the hell Kyle had randomly stopped walking, came to a halt as well, and the two boys now faced each other.

"What?" Cartman asked.

Kyle simply gawked at him, a stunned expression on his face. His mouth was half open, as if he were about to say something, but he remained quiet. He wanted to tell Cartman how much of a hypocrite he was for saying that, considering he always, always addressed Kyle as "Jew" and claimed it was okay to do so simply because "it was true."

But Kyle couldn't point that out to him, as much as he desperately wanted to, because if he did, that would make him a hypocrite, too, since he did call him "fatass" all the time.

It just wouldn't be right.

Kyle closed his mouth and looked down at the ground, frowning.

"Nothing," he said quietly.

Cartman blinked. "Okay," he said indifferently as he turned away and resumed walking. "Come on, Jew, let's just bury this thing already. I don't feel like hearing you bitch about how your mom went apeshit on you because you were two minutes late for your gay little curfew. I'm sure it would somehow be my fucking fault, as usual…"

Kyle rolled his eyes, but he kept his mouth shut and allowed Cartman to go on with his stupid rant. When he finally finished, Kyle looked at him again and asked, out of nowhere, "Dude, where is your mom, by the way?"

Cartman, taken aback, stared at Kyle for a moment before shrugging and casually replying, "I dunno, probably in an alley somewhere giving some black guy a hand job."

"Oh," Kyle said, since he wasn't exactly sure how else to respond to that. He decided to change the subject. "Uh… this spot seems good."

"Oh, okay," Cartman said. He was just glad they didn't have to walk anymore. He hated walking – almost as much as he hated Kyle.

Kyle crouched down and stuck the gardening shovel into the wet, muddy grass. He scooped some up, tossing the large clump of grass and dirt to the side.

Cartman watched intently as Kyle dug up the hole. He leaned over Kyle's shoulder to get a better look, absentmindedly laying his hand on it.

Kyle didn't notice at first, as he was solely focused on the task at hand. The only thing he was fully aware of was the sound of metal scraping against damp grass as he dug the hole. It wasn't until he was almost finished that he suddenly realized the warmth on his shoulder. He froze, the shovel suspended in mid-air. He turned to Cartman.

"Do you mind?!" he growled.

"Mind what?" Cartman asked.

"Your hand."

Cartman looked down, surprised to see his hand there. He slowly removed it from Kyle's shoulder. "Happy now?"

"Yes," Kyle said. He returned to digging up the hole, feeling a tremendous amount of relief now that Cartman was no longer touching him.

Although…he had to admit that he was secretly missing the warmth.

"All right," Kyle said, "this should be deep enough."

"Good, now stand aside, Jew," Cartman said, waving Kyle away.

Kyle glared up at him, but he promptly got up and moved out of the way. He eyed Cartman warily as the hefty boy knelt down, setting his hat on the ground and opening it up. Hesitantly, Kyle peered inside the hat, and he immediately felt his heart sink.

There, lying inside, was the tiny lifeless body of a hamster.

Just staring at the dead creature, knowing that it was once the pet hamster of the fourth grade class, and that they were the ones who'd accidentally killed it, was enough to fill Kyle with painful feelings of guilt and sorrow. He held his breath as Cartman reached into his hat and wrapped his pudgy fingers around the furry corpse. He picked it up and, very gently, placed it inside the hole in the ground. He stood up, shoulders slumped, for even he was overcome with a feeling of remorse. He couldn't help it. He just had a weakness when it came to cute little animals.

Both boys simply stood there in silence, lost in their own thoughts. It was almost as if the entire world had slowed down, and everything was completely still, and there was only this moment.

This solemn, grave moment.

Another strong breeze rolled in. It brushed through Cartman's hair, causing several strands to sway in the wind's direction. Kyle felt a cold shiver shoot down his spine and, on impulse, he threw his arms around himself and took a step closer to Cartman.

Cartman flinched slightly when he felt Kyle's shoulder bump against his own. He glanced over at Kyle, whose gaze was still fixed to the ground, so Cartman directed his attention back to it as well.

Then, in an extremely bold and daring move, he wrapped his arm around Kyle.

Kyle froze.

But he didn't say anything, and instead, he just smiled.