I don't own South Park. I am not making any money off this story.


The cake was ten tiers high, frosted in light green butter creme. Underneath the thick coat of yummy, real frosted goodness was several inches of moist chocolate cake with heavy sections of chocolate mousse. It was a giant declaration of sweet decadence. The pride of the party of which there was so much buzz and talk and chatter. One single slice would be six and a half inches thick, for every layer was that fat. Not only did it look good, but it was certain to taste the same. This boastful icon of childhood sugarplum fairy dreams had been purchased at the finest bakery in all of South Park. It's ticket price was in the five hundred range, as it was made with the purest of pure ingredients. Yes, that cake was a joy to stare at, standing there in his jean shorts and lime green tank in the beginning heat of the upcoming summer.

Smiling, Kyle gripped the kitchen counter and looked up the several feet above his head to tip of the cake. He could barely believe that his mother had spent so much money on the cake for his tenth birthday party. Yet, there it was, glistening in the sunlight coming in from the windows around him. Unable to contain his glee any longer, he reached up to swipe a small sample of that sweet, swirled topping.

" Bubbie!" his mother's shrill voice rang out behind him. Kyle jumped with a squeak, his finger merely an inch from the sneaky treat he had intended on taking. Twisting around, he found himself face to face with his frowning mother. She shook her finger in his face, " You know better than that, Kyle. That cake is for your party,"

" I know, but. . . Can't I just. . . have a tiny taste? Just some of the frosting?" he pleaded, doing his best to make his eyes look bigger than they were. His pout fell flat, for she continued to shake her finger.

" No, Bubbie. You already had breakfast. You don't need any sweets. Besides, it's for your little guests," Shelia reminded him in that stern voice she had always used when the topic of discussion had reached an untimely end. Kyle sulked back a few feet as she swept between him and the cake that taunted him so, " You want them to see how pretty it is, don't you?"

" I don't think they'll care. . ."

" What was that, Bubula?"

" Nothing, Ma'am," Kyle quickly changed his tone as he flashed his pearly whites up at her. She eyed him suspiciously, clearly not buying his act. Still, she didn't poke any further. She just pushed her hands into his back to ease him from the kitchen and it's teasingly seductive cake, " Can I have some when the guys come over?"

" Oh, no, Kyle. You have to wait for the party. You need to have enough for everyone," she straighten his shirt with a sharp tug, then frowned ever deeper, " You need to go change, Bubbie. You look like trailer trash in those ratty, old shorts,"

" That's because they're Kenny's,"

" Oh, Kyle, why on Earth are you wearing that McCormick boy's clothes? I spent so much money on the clothes you have upstairs, the ones you never wear," Shelia's voice went from stern to complaining. Kyle could have smacked himself in the face for daring to bring up something so stupid. He definitely knew better than to mention borrowing anything from anyone.

" I know, Mom, but Ken's shorts are more comfortable. They're really broken in and everything, you know?"

" No, I certainly don't know. That boy is always in the same clothes when he's over here. You give him back his shorts and put on the ones I bought for you. Right this second, Kyle," she barked, pointing up the stairs in the general direction of his bedroom. He sighed, rolled his eyes, and turned to leave when she snatched up his upper arm, " And no sass from you, Kyle, or you won't get any cake, birthday or no. You're starting to get fat as it is,"

Kyle's mouth dropped open in shock as she patted his stomach with a disapproving glance. He quickly looked down, but he couldn't make out anything resembling fat there. He might have gotten a little chubby over the school year, sure, but 'fat'? No, never. After all, he still fit into Kenny's jean shorts. Everyone knew that Kenny was nothing but skin and bones. Cautiously rubbing his stomach, then, Kyle gave his mother a bitter look. He couldn't believe she would be so rude about it. He had put on a couple pounds, but fat, he was far from it. How dare she say such a thing?

As he was opening his mouth to snap something of the sort, his father came down the stairs with his little brother. Gerald was smiling and holding a container of plastic party hats in various shades of green. He wished his son a happy birthday before sticking a crown on his head. Kyle weakly smiled, leaving it there only to appease his well meaning father. Ike giggled a little, then was snatched up by Gerald on his way out of the living room. The two of them went through the kitchen and out to the backyard, leaving Kyle with his mother once again. Whereas Kyle attempted to continue his well deserved defense of his body, his mother cut him off.

" You need to help your father get the party set up. The party is at noon, so you have about three hours. Don't give me that look, Bubbie," Shelia instructed curtly, tapping her wrist watch.

" What? But it's my party!"

" I know. I think it'll encourage you to work faster. Come on, Kyle," she motioned for him to head out after his father and brother. Reluctantly, he started that way, sighing and dragging his feet, " Don't act like that. You need the exercise,"

" Hey!"

" Do you want to set up the slip and slide? Did you tell the kids to bring their swimsuits?" she ignored his exclamation quite the same way she ignored the glare he was passionately throwing her.

" I told them. . . . Mom, the guys are probably gonna be here soon. . ."

" Good, they can help you set up,"

" Mooooom,"

" No, buts, Bubbie. Your father can't do it alone and Ike's too young to help. He's only five years old," she snapped, his voice seeming to state how fed up she was with his complaints. Kyle just gave her another penetrating look that bounced off her without leaving any form of mark, " They won't have anything to do anyways. Now, come on, Kyle. Let's not waste any more time,"

Knowing that no amount of protesting would change her mind, and more than likely end with his cake privileges being revoked, Kyle decided to drop it. Groaning, he started towards the back yard to help when the doorbell rang. It was rung three times, followed by silence, which was quickly broken by loud banging. Leaving his mother's side with a big grin breaking out on his face, Kyle hurried back towards the door. He didn't wait to be told to answer it. He just ripped it open and swung it to the side, beyond happy to have been saved from the clutches of his mother by the three people who always had the most perfect timing.

Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman.

His closest friends in the world stood there, halfway in the middle of an argument and halfway in the middle of saying hello to the Jew. Stan was dressed in a wrinkled Terrance and Phillip tee and some old blue jeans with tears at the knees. Despite the heat, he was still in sneakers and his puff ball hat. Shockingly, Kenny was wearing only a dirty, stained orange tee and some old, holey jean shorts. His customary parka was no where to be seen, so it was like a punch to the gut to see his messy locks of blond and pale skin. Cartman was in a faded red, slightly oversized tee and the same jeans he'd been wearing the other day at school. His hair wasn't nearly as neat as usual, lending a hand to the hour he'd gotten out of bed that day. All three were holding wrapped boxes, which was the only thing that even remotely said why they were there. If not for them, they could have been there for just about anything.

" Hey, Kyle. Happy birthday," Stan greeted him, holding out the present in his hands. Kyle started to say hi and take his present when Kenny interjected, shoving his present into his arms instead.

" Hey, Kyle. Happy B-day," Kenny stated, his voice sounding loud without the normal muffling. Kyle gave him a strange look, before accepting the present Stan still held out for him. Both boxes weighed about the same, so he could only guess what was in them; although past years told him they were probably tools to help rot his mind.

" Thanks, you guys. Hey, Cartman," Kyle tried his best not to sneer, but found himself doing it anyways.

" Where's the cake?" was all the Nazi said as he simultaneously pushed his present into Kyle's arms and shoved past him into the house. The moment he did, Kenny and Stan followed suit. They drifted on past the Jew before he swung the door shut behind them.

" Jesus Christ, Cartman. You could at least pretend to care," Stan snapped in an almost monotone voice. There was some edge there, but no more than usual. Still, he was given a nasty look.

" 'Ey. I got him a present, didn't I?" Cartman hissed back, hands on his fat hips. Stan returned his dirty look with earnest. Rolling his eyes at it, Cartman waved him off with a small, curt motion of his hand. It was dismal at it's best. A physical declaration of frustration at a tiny annoyance, " Alright, alright, alright. Happy birthday, Kahl. Where's the cake?"

There was really no mistaking that flat, dead, fake tone.

" Jesus Christ," the activist mumbled into his hand as he squeezed his forefinger and thumb over the bridge of his nose.

He was blatantly ignored while Kyle blinked, pointing off in the direction of the kitchen. He seemingly didn't care one way or the other about the Nazi's obvious disregard for his 'special day'. In honest truth, he had expected as much. Still, Stan shook his head at it. Meanwhile, Cartman's eyes followed Kyle's finger as Kenny stared up at the ceiling. The poor child didn't appear to realize where he was, but then, it was difficult to tell. None of them had ever had to read his full expression before. The next to expressionless lines there meant next to nothing to any of them.

After all, they'd never talked to Kenny without his parka on before.

" The cake's in the kitchen," Kyle stated, turning away from where Kenny's blue eyes danced over the crown molding within the living room. Instead, he looked to the greedy expression on Cartman's face and the lively bored one on Stan's. Deciding it best not to keep them waiting, he started to lead them to the cake they all longed to see.

There was no question that the cake was why the three of them were there that early. Kyle knew that better than anyone, that was for sure. He had known these three boys since he was four. Six years was definitely long enough to figure a couple things out. He was certain they had dragged their butts over to his house in the early morning hours during the beginning of summer break for one thing. That was to see the cake. His cake. His tenth birthday cake. The ten tier envy of hungry boys with wide eyes like his friends. The piggy Cartman who could never get enough sweet sugar. The hungry Kenny who was too poor to afford dinner and was always mooching whatever he could for free. The easily amused Stan who sought out the strange to liven up an otherwise emotionless personality. Yes, those three were there for the cake.

Unfortunately, there was bad news.

" We're not allowed to have any. My mom says so," Kyle spat out, glancing over his shoulder hesitantly. He wasn't sure how they would react. Stan's face scrunched up in distaste whereas Kenny made a face like he wanted to spit; his expressions were as muted as his voice usually was, so it was much more subtle than Stan's outrage. Cartman, however, rolled his honey eyes with perfected precision.

" Like I fuckin' care,"

" I'm serious, Cartman. We can't have any," he firmed his voice to a rock solid, no nonsense tone. It meant nothing to the unfeeling Nazi, " I don't wanna get in any trouble today,"

" I restate. Like I fuckin' care."

" Fuck you, Fat Ass! It's my birthday and it's my party and I don't have to have you here!" Kyle's voice went frantic on the last bit. He couldn't control it. His eyes narrowed and a fiery feeling flushed over his skin. The emotion, the rage, washed over him without warning, flooding his senses. It rang in his ears, blocking out his thoughts, as fire spun it's web over his flesh. He wanted to scream. He wanted to strike. He wanted Cartman to bait him. He wanted it.

Madly.

" I bought you a present. I said happy birthday. The least I should get is some fuckin' cake!" Cartman responded in a haughty voice that ran over Kyle's warming skin like butter. It smoothed down his spine, running it's fingers playfully in the curls locked underneath his hat. He wanted to hit him, but his hands rose at his sides while Cartman waved his hands at him in that off collar dismissing way. How the embers ached as they cut in. The revel was almost overwhelming as the Jew gritted his teeth in agitation.

" Like you need any fucking cake, Fat Ass!" he screamed out, nearly at the top of his lungs. His throat stung with the pressure as he shuddered with that familiar black rage that was quickly turning his mind white.

" Shouldn't've invited me if ya didn't want me to eat the cake," was all the other said as he decidedly ignored the insults hurled at him. Kyle jerked away, his face hot as coal, his knuckles white as snow, in an attempt not to punch that arrogantly snickering face. If he hit him, he wouldn't be allowed to have this party, and then this whole ordeal would be for naught. Thus, he just said and did the only thing he could to save face.

" Oh, fuck you," Kyle literally felt his voice falling lifeless as he flipped his fat counterpart the bird. Cartman grinned that sickly twisted grin as he rolled his hand out in the infamous 'talk to the hand' that he had perfected done to a fluid science that just couldn't be copied. The vanity within that one, solitary movement was enough to make the Jew want to choke him.

" Fuck yerself, Kahl,"

Just as Kyle was opening his mouth to bark something harsh back, the four of them entered the kitchen. Almost immediately, a hush fell over the crowd. Kyle saw the three sets of eyes widen in that deliriously happy childhood pleasure of having realized some notorious, glorious milestone. The last time any one of them had looked like that had been when Stan and Kyle had broken one million points on Guitar Hero. That time, it had been about competition. This time, it was about sugar. For all ten year old boys, sugar meant so much more. For that reason alone, he let them continue staring at the masterpiece of buttercreme heaven. They did.

Right up until Kenny jerked his finger forth to point at the cake.

" FUCK!" he screeched, his voice magnified twenty times without his parka on. The still of the shock and awe was shattered like glass on cement. All three of them stared at the blond in a new version of said shock and awe. As per usual, he didn't notice. Rather, he bounced up and down, waving his hands wildly, " Lookit that mothafuckin' bitch ass cake! It's fuckin' HUGE!"

" Jesus, Kyle. Your mom sure went all out, didn't she?" Stan questioned, shaking his head slightly to silence the ringing he must of had from that booming exclaim. Kyle proudly nodding, mimicking the shaking of his own head. Kenny, of course, seemed to be oblivious to the fact that he completely lacked an indoor voice without his trusty, but missing in action, parka.

" Yeah. She got it made at that professional cake shop thing on the corner of Smith and Turner," the Jew absentmindedly moved his hand in quick flickering motions in the general direction of the location he spoke of, " You know. The one. Whatever,"

The boys didn't readily answer him. They moved closer to the cake until they were standing directly in front of it. As it had Kyle before, it towered over them in it's supreme glory. Kyle stood besides them, idly looking between them and his birthday cake. Stan and Kenny both wore the expression of vague disbelief, although the look was surprisingly different from one to the next. Whereas Stan had outright disbelief written on his face, Kenny's was much more faint. The only reason Kyle even knew how he felt was because his eyes screamed it. And Kyle was so used to those eyes. Smiling softly at their disbelieving jealousy in a mildly amused way, he eased his green eyes to Cartman's glowingly sinister look of gluttonous hunger and greed.

Kyle felt his breath catch in his throat with a shift jerk. A jolt shot down his spine from the base of his neck, ending with a trembling sensation in his legs. His knees next to gave out as his hands clenched. He had seen that look so many times before throughout his life, but never like this. He saw the passionate desire in those deeply, darkly rich honey sweet liquid eyes and he knew he had never seen this look before. He couldn't even explain it. He felt it, like a distant memory reaching forward through the black voids of his mind and grabbing at his subconscious. So familiar, yet so new. He could thus scarcely bring himself to move when Cartman slowly moved his hand close enough to the cake to touch.

His plump finger hovered over the frosting as both Kenny and Stan drew in sharp breaths. Nothing compared to the sharp, cold, burning inhale that tore up Kyle's throat, however, as he stared, waiting. The air went heavy with anticipation for the heinous act of deflowering a virgin birthday cake with the first tasting. A crime that only Eric Cartman would dare to commit.

" Sweeeet,"

Cartman's voice danced through the air as he went to run his finger along the untouched, unruffled line of light green seduction.

" Eric! Don't you touch that cake!"

The sudden, abrupt sound of Shelia Broflovski's shrill voice froze all the boys where they were. She bustled over to them quite quickly, her eyes hard and her face scolding. She quite looked like she was itching for an excuse to toss any one of them out of her house. Cartman cast her a halfway hidden look that would have made any lesser woman back away slowly, hands held up in defense. Shelia, though, didn't appear to notice as she batted her hands and nails in between the four and the cake.

" Goddammit," Cartman muttered under his breath in a venomous way. Stan appeared to be thinking the same thing as Kenny pouted in a childish manner. Kyle, on the other hand, jerked to face his mother. Her voice and the change of events snapped him out of that entrancement, bringing him to life in the worse ways.

" Mom!" he exclaimed in a weakly guilty voice. He pressed his back quickly into the counter, as if defending his cake from her clutches. She made fast work of moving him out of the way the same as she had the others. The four didn't go very far, of course. They hovered as close to the cake and it's luscious taboo goodness as she would allow them.

" You boys are not to have some of that cake! It's for the party!"

" We weren't gonna have none. I was just showin' the guys," Kyle hurriedly said, shaking his head and his hands at the same time. His frantic fashion of assuring her appeared to work, although he wasn't sure why. Either way, Shelia wagged her finger in their faces.

" Good," she coldly stated, moving her hands to her hips. Kyle exhaled in relief before his mother pointed to the backdoor as it was opening," Now that you boys are here, you can help Kyle set up,"

" Moooom!"

" No, no! You boys are going outside," Shelia informed them, turning away to look at her husband. Gerald walked in, holding the party hats from before. He didn't take but a moment to greet the boys. As soon as he had, though, he was looking at Shelia as she did her best to scoot the boys from their protective stance near the cake, " Gerald, take the cake,"

A tremor of horror went over amongst the boys.

" Take the cake?" Cartman repeated in a frustrated, yet fearful tone. His tone was reflected nicely in the open, gaping mouths of Stan and Kenny.

" What'd you mean, 'take the cake'?" Kyle demanded, his tone much more brutish than that of the Nazi. Shelia wagged her finger once more in her son's face.

" We're hiding the cake, so you boys can't steal any," her tone was as matter of fact as it ever had been. She couldn't have sounded more sure of anything really. Despite her obvious lack of faith in their self control, Kyle still attempted to pull on his best puppy dog, pleaseMommy look from his much younger days. He even felt his lower lip tremble as he declared the lie of the century.

He never would know how he kept his face straight saying it.

" Oh, Mom, we'd never do somethin' like that!"

His attempt was quite in vain. For all intents and purposes, he might not of even said a word. Shelia didn't hear a word, that much was certain. She just shook her head and flattened her palm down near her side. He knew what that meant. That was his mother's universal 'stop' sign. The simple motion that described in vivid detail what she wanted from him. As though to drive that part home, when next she spoke, her voice had a similar tone. A halting, flat tone that was nearly as harsh as the cutting look she gave the four boys.

" Don't argue with me, Bubbie,"

She brutally ended the conversation with that short statement. Not even the addition of her favorite pet name for her son could appease that certain end and its rough acceptance within the group.

" Yes, Mom. . . ." his voice dragged out of him in defeated syllables. Shelia curtly nodded at him just before Gerald placed a hand on Kyle's back. His touch was a lot kinder than his mother's tone. Still, he looked up at him wearing a look of youthful upset. Like his mother, his father was immune and unconcerned with his choice of looks.

" Alright, you boys get on outside and start blowing up those balloons while I take care of this," he instructed them, releasing his son. All around the other three, mouths opened in wretched protest to the very idea, " Mind your brother, Kyle,"

" Dude, wait. We gotta help?" Stan interjected in a freshly emotional voice. There was fury mixed quite well with a touch of irk. Whatever objections he had, however, didn't compare to the outbursts that followed. Kenny ripped his hands in opposing directions, shaking his dirty head so hard, his flyway hair swung about his shoulders.

" Oh, fuck no!" the poor child yelled, clear as day. Shelia smacked him upside the head without any hesitation. Immediately thereafter, she wagged her finger so close to his nose, she nearly whacked that too.

" Kenny! Watch your mouth!" she order of him. Kenny looked ready to spout off several more words of questionable class when Cartman's overbearing voice broke out.

" I came for cake! I didn't come to set up this party!" he exclaimed, gripping his hands and shaking them. There was an unmatched disgust in his outraged eyes. Pointing to them, then the door, he made it undeniably clear how he felt about the turn of events, " Screw you guys! I'm goin' home!"

" Oh, no, you don't, Eric," Shelia started to grab his arm as he went towards the front door. The look he gave her, however, stopped her short. Instead, she slammed her hands onto her wide hips and gave the upstart child a look most women reserved for bugs, " If you want to come to this party, you're going to help him set up,"

The tone she used made it very clear that this was her final decision on the matter. It was not something any of them missed. Not even Cartman in his utter rage at it.

" I don't see Butters or none of them here. . ." Cartman still sneered under his breath. He didn't say it nearly loud enough for her to hear him, yet she drew back in a rudely offended way. After six years, she had obviously learned that whenever she couldn't hear what the Cartman boy said, it was never anything nice.

" What, what, what?"

" Nothing, Mom. We'll get right on that, Dad," Kyle rushed to say, cutting off whatever his heavy set friend might come up with as the retort. Ending this before something happened, the Jew grabbed hold of Cartman's shoulders. He jerked him around effortlessly and gave him a hearty push towards the back door. Grinning nervously at his mother, he shoved that fat, hissing Nazi out the door and into the backyard where whatever comments he made wouldn't be heard.

" Goddammit," Stan mumbled quietly as he reached out and wrapped his hand around the glaring McCormick's. He interlaced their dirt smeared fingers as he pulled him out the door. The door swung shut behind them, locking them once more in their own little world.

There, Kyle turned partly to face the others as they trooped off the porch and into the sunny, hot backyard. Stan held onto Kenny's hand loosely, their fingers barely strung together. Likewise, Kyle remained with his hands on Cartman's shoulders. His fingers dug into the soft fabric of the cotton there before he addressed the first thing that came to mind. He desperately wanted to distract his friends from the looming task of decorating the backyard, so he thought it and went with it in the same swing.

" Dude, Kenny, where's your parka?"

" Kahl, get your Jew hands offa me," Cartman sharply interrupted, abruptly moving his shoulders to shake away the lingering hands. Kyle tossed him the coldest look he could manage in the raging sun of the impending summer. It was a look that was thrown back passionately.

" Fine, Fat Boy," he spat out, tearing his hands off of the red shirt. Cartman tugged on the sleeves, muttering vaguely as he did about the filth of Jews. He was given the bird while Stan idly swung his hand back and forth. His fingers remained intertwined with Kenny's. Kenny didn't seem to mind.

" Shit. My bitch ass mom saw it an' thought it was too fuckin' ratty to wear, so she tossed it in the fuckin' trash. An' trash fuckin' came before I could get it out like last time," Kenny colorfully explained with a shrug and purse of the lips.

" Ha. Yer so fuckin' poor, you gotta get clothes outta the trash," Cartman teased, pushing a finger deep into Kenny's skinny cheek. His hand was smacked away with a whack of skin against skin. The smack didn't wipe the grin off his full face, but it did make Kenny's narrowed eyes relax again.

" Fuck you," he added on, as was his normal reaction to such playful razzing. Cartman merely snickered, ignoring all the brazen glares frequently given to him.

" Why didn't you just go buy a new one?" Stan asked, also ignoring the looks being exchanged between the two. Kenny went to answer, a tiny smile appearing on his face whenever he turned to look at the apathetically staring activist. He was immediately cut off by a hysterical laugh.

" Cause he's fuckin poor!" the Nazi pushed a finger again into Kenny's cheek as he mocked him. This time, however, Kenny punched him in the arm with a dark look. Cartman continued to laugh, unaffected. Six years of this routine had made them all immune. None of them even reacted to the physical violence.

" They don't make 'em like that no more," Kenny said in a voice that was similar to a whine. Had it been anyone other than Kenny McCormick, in fact, it would have been one. However, it was him, and he was not whining. His voice just took that turn as he pouted at his curious situation. The laughter died away as his companions took turns looking at him and one another.

" Really?" Kyle made it into a question, although it wasn't really one. The blond's head slowly and sadly bobbed in answer.

" Bummer," Stan said, swinging his hand a bit more. His eyes quickly averted from the somber eyes that were handed to him by that poor ruffian child. Looking away, then, Kenny sighed.

" So, no more parka?" the Jew lobbied, tilting his head to the side as if that might help him understand the change in views. Kenny's uncovered face stared right back before he shook his head. His hair fell in thick strands in his smudged face with slender cheeks. A strange sight indeed, it was.

" No more parka,"

" Seriouslah? We gotta listen to yer dumbass now?" Cartman's voice finally dropped that bantering quality as he frowned. His friend shrugged quite dramatically, his eyes widening around the edges in a physical version of the heavier one's previous statements.

" Dunno. I gonna try to find a new fuckin' style or somethin'. . . " Kenny answered good naturedly, even if he was mocking his friend. Having nothing else to say on the manner, he shrugged once more; this time with both shoulders, so that Stan's arm moved as they were still holding hands, " But, whatever,"

" That's weird," Kyle grumbled as the group followed him from the edge of the porch's last step and over to the two tables in the back. A relative silence descended on the four when they snatched up the balloons laying on one table. They worked while joking and poking fun about the others' abilities.

Weird.

That was a term often used freely amongst the four boys. They referred to many things, and people, as such. However, in the manner that Kyle used it, they rarely ever addressed themselves like that. At least, they hadn't in the past year. Before that, then, sure. Before that, things had been weird. Weird and strange and freaky and just plain fucked up. They hadn't even been able to explain, describe, or justify the majority of it. It was trips to Hell, goo filled celebrities, alien abductions, Pandemics with pan flute musicians, zombie infections, government cover ups, Wal-Mart invasions, talking towels, and more. It was unquestionable, unbelievable, and undeniable. They couldn't explain a single shred of it to anyone without getting recommendations for local insane asylums. Yet, not a bit of it was made up or imagined, no matter how much they wished it was.

Of course, few believed that. The majority thought they were pathological liars or had overactive imaginations. Those who did believe were the other children of South Park. They would stand there, gathered in a half circle, and they would believe. They would gasp and step back and cover their mouths and they would believe. That might have been childhood gullibility. That might have been a desperate snatch at long lost fairy tales. Whatever it was, it was belief and that had made all the difference.

For two years, those four boys had clung to that belief. If the other children believed them, then they weren't crazy. They didn't have to press their hands over their ears and scream IamNOTinsane to be considered normal. They just had to huddle together, their mass of four gleefully hardened eyes glowing, and weave their tales to the mass of shocked eyes eager for more. Then they would be normal. They wouldn't be weird. And they didn't want to be weird. They might apply that term to everyone else and everything else, but not themselves.

Because if they were weird, then they were weird.

Simple as that.

Weird, though, had not been happening as of lately. Weird had all but virtually disappeared from their lives. The random chases with motorcycles, the pirating, the gangs of talk show freaks, and the schemes had vanished into the days of yesterday. Just as it had begun, there was no explanation. The boys hadn't changed a thing in their lives. They continued about the same paths. Along the way, though, they noticed the lack of people tracking them down or enlisting their help. Whereas they were happy to know they weren't on any hit lists that they knew of, they were slightly confused. More than slightly, honestly. Still, they could offer no explanation about how or why. They only knew that 'weird' no longer applied.

Which was, ironically, weird.

Like how it was weird that they were all laughing like the best of friends as they moved through the balloons and onto the streamers. Cartman danced around, singing Lady Gaga's Pokerface while Kenny shoved two of the biggest balloons down Stan's shirt. The activist then bolted around the yard, waving his arms, as Kenny chased him, shrieking about breasts and titties and boobies and all of the above. Kyle was dragged into a dance with the Nazi, who snatched up his hands. They slow danced around in a circle, cheek to cheek, while Ken tackled Stan to the dirt. Then everyone was rolling with hysterics as the balloons popped and Ken mourned their deaths. They hadn't acted this weird in some time. And that was weird. In a good way, though. An incredibly good way.

As Kyle was helping Stan up from his assault, however, they all heard the doorbell ringing in the distance. Kyle saluted his friends before jogging from the giggling gang and to the backdoor. Into the chilled house he ducked, holding onto his hat. When he reached the front door, he could hear his mother hollering for him to answer the door. He was in the middle of telling her he was when he opened said door.

The second after he did, Kyle was pulled into two different sets of arms at the same time. His line of sight was drowned in wavy blond and sleek black, followed by shimmering eyes outlined in black liner. The girls of the gang, BeBe Stevens and Wendy Testaburger, pushed their lip glossed lips to his cheeks. Their smacking pops echoed in the doorway. Drawing away, they beamed up at him. Blinking, Kyle wiped the gloss away onto the back of his hand. They didn't seem to mind one tiny bit. Rather, they just walked into the house, BeBe in her bikini and Wendy in her shorts and shirt combo.

" Happy Birthday, Kyle," Wendy said, gripping his free hand while he swung the door shut again. BeBe repeated the sediment, " Are we late for the party?"

" Actually, you're the first ones. Besides the boys," he answered, taking the two offered presents wrapped in matching pink paper. The pink was such an obnoxiously bright shade he nearly left them in the living room. Instead, he swallowed his pride and held onto them.

" Well, yeah, that goes without saying. You four are, like, inseparable," BeBe stated as a matter of factly, rolling her eyes. She didn't have the perfection to her eye roll that Cartman did. Nevertheless, she got her point across. It was a point that made Wendy jeer and Kyle sneer. Together, they pushed their fingers into her back during the short trip through the house to the backyard. The three thus giggled until they were stepping into the grass.

Once there, the three boys stopped their fooling around long enough to wave and greet the girls. Kyle placed their presents on one of the table by the back. Wendy walked over to Stan and gave him a tender kiss on his cheek. Cartman, on the other hand, cupped his hands over his mouth.

" 'Ey! Put some clothes on, BeBe!" he shouted, laughingly, at her suddenly sour expression. She flipped him the bird, but it was no use. Cartman continued to screech obscenities in her direction until she screamed. She started to chase him around the yard. Even that made him laugh, running just out of her grip, " Come on, you fat bitch! Ya can run fasta than that!"

" Shut UP, Cartman!" she wildly shrieked, snatching blindly at his shirt. They ran about the yard as such, Kyle belting out an order for them to avoid Ike, who was playing idly in the grass. As they did, Wendy turned and looked at where Kenny was standing. He gave her a signature unconcerned look.

" Kenny. You're not wearing your parka," Wendy formally expressed, waving her finger up and down as she said it. Kenny scrunched up his nose briefly in what might have been frustration. When he spoke, of course, there was nothing but his generally agitated, semi monotone voice with it's barely there Southern accent.

" Yeah, so what of it, bitch?"

" Wow," her voice was full of awe. Awe that was widely seen in her doe eyed expression, " So that's what you really sound like,"

" Don't call my girlfriend a bitch," Stan interjected out of obligation. The moment he said it, Kenny's nose bunched up and he jerked his head away. Had BeBe not just tackled Cartman's snickering self to the ground with a karate exclamation, they might not have a justifiable reason for the poor boy's reaction. As it was, she had and she proceeded to whack him in the back of the head. For his defense, Cartman remained unfazed and just banged his hands into the ground as he roared with laughter.

Finding this useless, it appeared, BeBe climbed off Cartman. She dusted off her butt with a smack, then marched defiantly over to the main group. Wendy launched into a lengthy praising of her actions. Kyle grinned at the display, then turned to head over to where his fat friend remained on the ground. He could see Cartman laying on his back, hands over his face, as he giggled at his own inside jokes. The Jew's grin softened to a small smile that seemed almost too perverse to show. Thus, he relished the ringing of the doorbell that interrupted the festivities.

Again, Kyle waved and left the group to go let in some more party guests. As he was approaching the door, he heard two simultaneous sounds that automatically gave their identities away. A loud exclamation of 'Shit' and 'Gah'. Opening up the door, then, he certainly wasn't surprised to see Craig Tucker and his gang of friends: Clyde Donavan, Tweek Tweak, Thomas Smith, and Token Black. They all smiled and greeted him in their own styles, holding presents out in the same way ticket holders to a VIP club held out tickets. Kyle collected the presents as Craig flipped him the bird and walked on inside without invitation. The others quickly piled in after him.

As far as Kyle could tell, all of the boys other than Token were wearing the same clothes that they'd been wearing the day beforehand. Craig was in the same alien tee shirt with the same deep midnight blue jeans on. His hair was still hidden under his knit cap. Clyde was still in his burgundy tee with the hole in the corner from a prank by the Jew and Stan. His jeans looked a little tight and his shirt was snug at his waist, but, yes, they were the same ones from before. Likewise, Tweek was dressed in the light green button down and black slacks from the previous day. The only difference was that the incorrectly fastened buttons were adjusted and his hair appeared even more wrecked. Thomas even was wearing his red plaid shirt and blue jean shorts from before. His hair was also a mess. Token, though, was wearing a pressed white shirt and some nice, crisp jeans.

Obviously, their group had been having a sleep over. Kyle was almost jealous, since he'd hoped to have one that year. Of course, his mother had buried that idea beneath all sorts of complaints about contacting parents. After all, she had firmly stated, she would have to get permission from ones outside of the Marshes, the McCormicks, and Mrs. Cartman. Still, he couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy as he noticed the tell tale signs of a sleep over.

" I don't see the cake anywhere in the kitchen," Craig snapped suddenly. His voice jolted Kyle out of his momentarily lapse of conscious thought. For a second, he was startled and unsure what was said. Once figuring it out, though, he shook his head and motioned in a random direction.

" My parents put it up to prevent theft,"

" GAH! That's good! Don't need any more temptation!" Tweek shouted in his normal manner of speaking. His inner voice echoed in the still of the house, but Kyle didn't bother telling him to be quiet. There was no use. Tweek Tweak really had no idea what the word meant.

" Was that a shot?" Clyde demanded, hands crossing rather violently over the small bulge of his stomach. Tweek nearly jumped out of his skin at the accusation. His eyes widened to saucers as his chest rapidly rose and fell in the panic that usually overthrew the blond child.

" What? No! That was directed at me!" he pushed his shaking hands into his gasping chest. Clyde rolled his eyes, making the tiniest of disapproving looks.

" Yeah, because you eat a lot," was the answer Tweek was given. He was given more than that when Clyde shot him a particularly nasty look that was borderline glare without ever crossing that line. He didn't get to give the shaking tweeker any more, though, for Token raised up his hand in a familiar 'stop' manner. The look on his dark, tense face said enough about how he felt concerning the topic of conversation that seemed to be amusing every one else. He didn't need to say a word, yet he said several. Each one made most of the boys in the room a bit more than uneasy.

" Okay guys. Let's stop acting like fags,"

Really, it was just the way Token pronounced the word 'fag'. Sure, it was a common insult. When he used it, though, it sounded dirty. None of them could explain it. That's just how they felt. As such, an uneasy silence fell upon the group as they slowly, but surely, made their way from the backdoor to the front. At last, the silence was broken. This time, by a well placed and uncontrollable Tourette's curse word.

" SHIT," Thomas exclaimed in that strained, forced voice that he only used when spouting the obscenities that came with his disorder. Ever since Craig had introduced everyone to him two years ago, though, his swearing was expected. For the majority of the student population, it was about as 'annoying' as Tweek's permanent twitching. Like this majority, Kyle truly didn't mind in. In fact, he'd missed it.

" I'm glad you could make it, Thomas," he informed the meekly smiling boy. The two lightly embraced, rocking slightly forth side to side, " I never get to see you anymore,"

" That might be changing," Thomas happily said in his normal, light and airy voice with it's practically unnoticeable accent. Kyle couldn't help but break into a wide smile as he looped arms with his long distance friend. The others all stared in similar fashions, smiles crossing all their faces in excitement," My mother COCKSUCKER, sorry, is thinking of moving us to this side of South Park,"

" You're going to be going to school with us?" Craig hurried to ask. His normally flat voice grew heavy with anxiety in a completely strange fashion. Unfortunately, Thomas shook his head and exhaled a deeply frustrated breath. It was obvious he had been thinking the same at one time.

" No. FUCK. I still have to go to that 'special'," his eyes rolled and a face of disgust fell over his fair features as he did the air quotes to further add a touch of sarcasm to the word, "school,"

Craig's face fell as much as it could considering he never wore an expression of really any kind. The others' crashed down, with Clyde's eyes actually filling with tears. Before he could break down in customary sobs as readily accepted as the frequent cursing and random outbursts of the caffeinated kind, the doorbell rang out in the house. Kyle apologized and left them to walk the next few feet outside on their own. They all gave him waves before Craig led them into the sunny sun, where they were greeted by the overly loud Cartman shouting something obscene at them. Leaving them to it, the birthday boy bustled over to the door. Opening it, he laughed a little and was forced into a smile by the simple innocence he was met with.

" Golly, Kyle. What's so funny?" Butters shyly asked, tilting his head from one side to the other. The Jew shook his hands in front of him. He couldn't bring himself to say that he was snickering at that bright pink shirt and those unsuspecting eyes with their childish gullibility, " Aw, hamburgers. . . Well, Happy birthday,"

" Thanks, Butters. Come in, come in," he pulled him in by his sleeve with disregard for his safety. The blond bobbed from the action, but merely smiled happily. He handed over his equally brightly wrapped present to the small stack growing in Kyle's arms.

Butters beamed up at him, rubbing his knuckles together in that peculiar habit of his. His short hair was fluffier than normal, but otherwise he looked the same as always. The only real difference was that shirt. It was a pretty pastel pink with a deeper pink heart on it. Although Kyle decidedly ignored the flamboyant factor, he knew a certain Nazi certainly would not. Still, that was Butters' problem and he would have to live with it for daring to wear such a thing to a public affair. Thus, Kyle didn't acknowledge it as he grabbed the door handle.

He was shutting the door, he saw the remaining girls from his class walking up the street. When they saw that he was holding the door for them, they hurried a bit faster in a bizarre kind of power walk shuffle. However outlandish it was, it did get them there as fast as when he saw the guys jog. Unlike when BeBe and Wendy arrived, Red and her friends didn't exchange kisses. They just said happy birthday and held up their presents; again, as if those gift wrapped items were their tickets inside. Kyle motioned for them to come inside. Single file, they flooded, giggling, into his living room. He recognized most of them from school. Despite not knowing one of the girls, he take the lead towards the backyard. Butters stayed close enough to him that he could hear his quick paced footsteps prancing over the floorboards in an effort to keep up with the Jew's long strides.

Outside in the yard, the kids were trolling around. Some chips had been brought out and were laying on one of the tables. Craig and Clyde were idly standing by them, snacking, while Tweek frantically talked to Token and Thomas. BeBe and Wendy were arm and arm, drinking from red plastic cups. They were a few feet in front of Kyle's closest friends. Cartman kept waving his hands, a high sign that he was bored with the conversation. Stan was impossible to read and Kenny's mouth was moving, so he had to of been the one talking to them. It was in this direction Kyle started to walk, Butters tailing him. Kyle's arm was snatched up and he was jerked back after one step, though. Red leaned in close and pointed past him.

" Who's the blond kid? Your cousin?" she inquired with wide eyes and an equally wide smile. Kyle blinked, briefly glancing at Butters, before turning his eyes to follow her finger. She was gesturing in the direction he was headed.

" Huh? What? That?" he stated flatly, pointing at the wildly laughing ruffian child, " No, that's Kenny,"

" Kenny? Kenny McCormick?"

" Yeah. He doesn't have his parka on," Kyle shrugged, truly unconcerned with whatever angle she was working. Red continued to stare at that dirty child. Actually, she stared at him a lot longer than Kyle was prepared to deal with. Figuring her not worth it, he attempted to leave. She caught his arm yet again when he did.

" He's really cute,"

" Uhhh. . . yeah, whatever," he mumbled uncomfortably, yanking his arm from her chuckling grasp. Looping arms with Butters, Kyle steered him away from that simpering female. Red, of course, trailed after them, eagerly eyeing Kenny.

As they were walking over, Kyle got a word about Wendy's mother and her recent development of obsession. Of course, that was old news to him. He'd already heard about Mrs. Testaburger's diet and her decision to take down her family from Stan. He was, after all, Wendy's boyfriend; on and off, but, nevertheless. He thus tuned out the conversation as Butters and him veered towards Cartman's heavy frame. Red, on the other hand, moved towards Kenny. As luck would have it, she did so right after Wendy had finished her tale about her mother's radical veto against dessert and her unheard of portion control.

" So, that do you think, Kenny?" Wendy asked, sipping from her cup.

" I think that shit is mothafuckin' bullshit, bitch," Kenny snapped, his voice rising up some of the edge it gained when his emotions were uncurling underneath his unmoved eyes and borderline frozen face, " You shouldn't fuckin' take that from no dumbass, cocksuckin' whore of a son of a cunt fuckin' bitch! I say FUCK them assholes! Goddammit, woman, grow some fuckin' balls and stand up fer yer fuckin' self, you dumb fuck! Seriously, dude. That shit is fucked up! I don't fuckin' care if she is yer motha!"

The look of unadulterated horror that bathed Red's face painted a clear image for all of them to see. And that simply was that she had never, in her entire life, properly made out the things Kenny said. For while not a one of them were even remotely surprised, she looked downright sick to her stomach. In fact, when Wendy nodded in agreement to his stunningly profane advice, Red jerked in the other direction. Shell shocked, she darted from them, and into the unsuspecting clutches of her friends. Kyle could have sworn he saw her start to cry as he positioned himself beside where Cartman was leaning with one arm folded on Butters' shoulder. When he did so, his Nazi counterpart jabbed a finger in the direction of the one girl whom Kyle did not know. The Jew turned his head to see her as she approached the group.

" Who's that bitch?" Cartman frankly questioned. Kyle gave a one armed shrug without any heart to it.

" Dunno. I just let her in because she had a present,"

" That's Millie," BeBe answered for them, motioning for the shy brunette to enter the inner circle. She did so with a tiny wave, " You don't remember her? She's been in our grade since, like, preschool,"

" Happy birthday, Kyle," Millie greeted them in a mild mannered voice that was barely loud enough to be heard over the other conversations. Kyle could quite honestly say, for whatever prize or price, that, no, he did not remember her. However, his arms were growing heavy with presents he needed to set down and she had come to his party. Thus, he smiled at her fearful eyes.

" Oh, yeah. Thanks. Glad you could make it,"

" Gawd, you are too nice," Cartman sneered, shaking his head and waving the Jew off with that lovely dismal wave he loved to use. Kyle shot him a glare as he shoved the gifts into the steadily growing pile.

" Bite me, Fat Boy," he barked harshly, feeling a trickle of that burning sensation all over again. He wanted to feel it once more time before this whole thing got going. He couldn't, however, feed the proverbial flames. For the doorbell rang yet again and he had to leave the group to go answer it.

Grumbling at his luck, he suppressed the bubbling rage that felt so yummy in the pit of his tummy. Instead, he trooped through his house and to the front door. He swept open the door and was assaulted by a popping burst of confetti and laughter. Instantly, the feelings of regret for having missed a chance to ring that fat Nazi out disappeared. He couldn't possibly stay mad at the chuckling two people on the doorstep, tossing up the confetti and waving noise makers over their heads.

" Jimmy! Timmy! Hey, dudes!" he shouted over their noise. He cracked knuckles with the Crips members, accepting the two haphazardly wrapped presents," Thanks, man,"

" Ha-ha-hap-happ-py birth-birthday, Ky-ky-kyle," Jimmy stuttered to say with his classic smile. Behind him, Timmy shook and spun the bright noise makers, grinning excitedly. Kyle ushered them into his house, holding the door open with his foot. They came inside with another burst of confetti that caused the Jew to snicker, " We thou-though-thought you wo-wo-would like th-tha-that,"

" Yeah. Thanks,"

" TIMMAH!"

" Come on. You two are the last ones," Kyle told them as he started to lead them towards the backyard. He didn't bother cleaning up the explosion of color that now littered his doorway. As far as he was concerned, it was his party, and if he had to set it up, he sure as hell wasn't going to clean up after it.

" Fa-fa-fashion-ab-ab-ably la-la-late then," Jimmy assured him with a cocky grin and a wink as best he could. Kyle grinned at that, taking the lead in the short walk from one door to the next, " Wh-wh-where's the ca-ca-cake at? I wa-wa-want to se-se-see this th-th-thing,"

" Sorry, guys. My parents hid it so no one could steal any,"

" W-w-well, th-th-th-that sucks very much,"

" Tell me about it," Kyle mumbled, opening up the back door for the two handi-capable kids of their little, mountain town. They went out and into the crowd that waved them over. Kyle, along with Craig and Token, helped Timmy's wheelchair down into the grass.

Then, leaving them to throwing confetti on the shrieking girls who wanted to be covered in it, Kyle made his way back to his gang. Along the way, he dusted the colored strips of paper from his shirt and shorts. When he walked over and again planted himself next to Cartman, the Nazi absentmindedly plucked one stray piece from his hat. They exchanged a blank stare, made faces, and then turned back as Wendy shook her hands in that feminine manner of gathering attention.

" So, did you guys hear about Mr. Garrison?" she implored of the group, allowing her eyes to grow bigger as she did. Several of them cast outward glances as though they weren't sure which piece of gossip she was referring to. Of course, considering the person of discussion, that was probably quite the case.

" What, the sex change?" Stan suggested with an accompanying eye roll made to look so apathetic for the bland look about his face. Kyle gave Stan a mildly disgusted glance.

" Mr. Garrison had a sex change?" he exclaimed in shock. Stan nodded vaguely while his girlfriend shook her head energetically.

" No, no, no. Not that," she snapped in her normal way. Kyle didn't hear a word she said. He just continued to stare at his best friend in surprise.

" Again?"

" Yeah, now he's got titties and a penis," Stan explained, gesturing first to his own chest and then between his legs. Cartman snickered while Wendy glared at all three of the boys. Neither of them, though, offended her as much as the lewd Kenny, whose face contorted into the definition of a perverse look.

" Titties. Heh," the poor boy sneered under his breath, turning his sapphire eyes to look at BeBe's chest. As she was dressed in only a bikini, she was forced to hold both arms in front of it to avoid that penetrating stare.

" So, he's both now?" Cartman didn't sound like he needed an answer, but Stan gave it to him anyways.

" Yup,"

" Is he gay or straight?" Kyle questioned, narrowing his eyes in an attempt to visualize this situation. Recalling quickly the incident considering Mr. Garrison, Mr. Slave, and Lemmiwinks, however, he immediately ceased that venture. The very last image he needed was that traumatizing day in class.

" Not sure," Stan admitted, taking a sip from Wendy's glass of punch and/or soda; Kyle couldn't tell.

" He's bi," BeBe interjected, slowly lowering her arms. When Kenny grinned at her, she moved them back into place at her developing bosom.

" It's not that!" Wendy hissed, her already shrill voice raising in pitch. Stan gave her a look that appeared to be one of mild agitation. Nevertheless, he patted her shoulder in that comforting sort of way all boyfriends' were supposed to.

" Well, then what is it, you dumb bitch?" the Nazi retorted with the same tone of voice that she had used. Cartman was just better at keeping his tone even and balanced. In the end, that was the difference between sounding hysterical like she did and vicious like he did. No matter how vicious he sounded, though, didn't matter to Stan. The activist smacked him in the arm.

" Don't call my girlfriend a bitch!"

" Mr. Garrison got his Doctorate," Wendy said instead of praising her boyfriend for his display of protection. Doing so made Stan cast her that look from before. It did, though, successfully prevent a fist fight from breaking out amongst the four boys always itching for a reason to fight.

" He's a doctor now?" Butters exclaimed in that extremely light voice of his. Wendy shook her head, but before she could explain, Kyle patted Butters' back and cut in. He didn't truly mean to cut her off. Yet, he received the same level of dark look.

" No, no. That means he can teach at the college level,"

" So, what? Now he's teaching college?" Cartman put his free hand on his full hip as he asked, although his eyes were bored with the conversation. Stan gave him a bewildered look that was all kinds of Idunno. Thankfully, one of them had the answer.

" No. The college wouldn't hire him," Wendy said it in an even tone that she should have used when speaking to Cartman before. He rolled his eyes in that practiced, poised way he did. A slow, small smile formed on Kyle's lips as he observed it before BeBe caught their attention by crossing her arms. Kenny's face perked right back up at the sight of her polka dot bikini top.

" So, then, where's he working?" the blond girl demanded. She seemed to completely ignore the obvious leer her chest was receiving from those joyfully wide eyes.

" He's working at the high school," Wendy informed them all, pausing to finish off whatever she was drinking, " He's teaching English,"

" Wait. So, he's still a 'he'?" Kyle interrupted with a frantic wave of his hands. Cartman snickered at the comment, but BeBe shook her head. Stan, on the other hand, gave a halfhearted, one armed shrug that really meant nothing.

" Yeah, I think so,"

" No. He's a she," BeBe corrected the activist sharply.

" You're missing the point," Wendy whined in what could only be described as a whine. Her voice never went to that point, but there was just no other description. Her whining, however, was met with brutal upset from her usual rival.

" Well, what the hell is the point? Who gives a crap if he's workin' at the high school?" Cartman barked at her, talking with his hands. They moved in short, jerking motions that whispered anger and screamed annoyance. His voice was no kinder, but it was his movements that drove the point home. Whereas the majority of people would ignore the bait to avoid the fight, Wendy bit down and shoved back.

" Because he's working at the high school!" was her snarky response, her eyes glowing with a faint need to scream and grab at her hair. Stan eased his hand over her shoulder, but it was shaken away neat and nicely. He thus drew back with a sour as lemons look and turned to face the boys.

" So?" Cartman snapped without hesitation. She could look however she wanted. It was nothing compared to the appearance of true longing in his eyes. That unmistakable longing to pull his hand back and smack her hard enough to make her head tear in a ninety degree angle to the right, " We aren't even in middle school yet! By the time we get to high school, he'll probably be dead!"

" Sure as hell won't be fuckin' teachin'," Kenny muttered in a voice that was hardly a mutter without that parka there to muffle it.

" No. She's right. With our luck, we'll get him," Kyle found himself saying. He knew why he was doing it. He didn't want the two of them to get into a fight. If anyone actually got into a fight, the party would quickly be over. Knowing it was best to nip it in the blooming bud, then, he sided with Wendy. And proceeded to get a dark look from his fat friend.

" Goddammit," Stan groaned out, squeezing his forefinger and thumb over the bridge of his nose like he did when frustrated. The feeling seemed almost mutual amongst the group of kids.

" Thank you, Kyle," Wendy happily said, smiling at him. He merely looked away towards the rest of his party.

" Whatever,"

" Golly, I don't think he's so bad," Butters finally said something, rubbing his knuckles together as he always did.

" You wouldn't," Cartman sneered out, looking away from the boy he remained leaning on. Butters pouted at the comment, but didn't have a chance to say a thing about it. Before he could, Craig and his gang of boys moved their circle from the food to their's.

" Are you guys talking about that camper who disappeared up by Stark's Pond?" Craig's question was met with shock. Wendy and BeBe both drew back, their eyes widening at the sheer callous way he said it. Butters mumbled under his breath about having heard something on the news.

" I didn't hear anything about that!" BeBe declared, her voice rising slightly at the idea of such a thing occurring. Clyde nodded somberly.

" An out of towner came up to trek the mountains and stopped at the pond. They haven't seen her since," Craig told them, pointing off to the distance where the peaks of the Rockies loomed in their natural glory. Wendy shook her head at that; the movement of someone who doesn't believe what they're hearing. BeBe pressed for further details by waving her hands in a small circle, " That's all the information the news had about it. It only happened two days ago,"

" No! That's not true! GAH! They found the rock they bashed her head in with! It was coated in blood! She's dead, I tell you, man! Dead!" Tweek cried out, his lime green livid with panic. That panic coursed through the air as the girls huddled close together and took in the details that were available.

Slowly, cautiously, Kyle, Kenny, Stan, and Cartman looked at one another. Around them, there was the frantic chatter of longing gossip. Between them, there was resilient silence. Kyle shuddered, Kenny pursed his lips, Stan bit his lower one, and Cartman smiled an icy grin. Silence remained, but the words spoken danced in the heavy, hot, fiery air. Not an utterance was shared. They glanced, they saw, they shared, and they returned to the noise that could never see what they saw in the trembling truths of the embers below their emerald, sapphire, aquamarine, and topaz eyes.

The jewels in the rough never were seen until found.

The tension was then shattered into pieces when Gerald and Shelia came out of the house. Shelia began to place trays of veggies and mini snacks on the second back table. Gerald, on the other hand, had his arms full of party hats and children's games. The guests snatched up pointed hats, laughing and snickering at them. Everyone except for Cartman, who declined the offer when Gerald offered him one. With the hats handed out, Gerald set up a Pin the Tail and other such games that required a lot of luck and not a lot of talent to play.

From there, the party broke out of control.

The children went to pieces trying to out do one another. The boys grabbed up the tails and set about chasing the girls, stabbing at them. The barrel for bobbing for apples was raided by the children. The fruit was then used as ammunition in a food fight that Shelia quickly put a stop to. The leftover water was then dumped all over BeBe for daring to come in her swimsuit. Soaking wet, however, she darted to the hose and cranked it on high. While she sprayed anyone close enough, including Millie and Tweek, Kenny and Cartman snatched up as much food as they could. They were soon in a tug of war over the bowl of Cheesy Poofs with Craig and Clyde. All four boys screamed curse words and struggled for control, calling out to their friends for assistance. Kyle and Stan grabbed hold of Cartman's waist and pulled as Token and Thomas wrapped their arms around Craig's. The battle continued in vain until Timmy wheeled by, grabbing the bowl right out of their hands. He drove in a circle as they all crashed into each other and the dirt.

A chase for the puffs ensued then, starting when Kenny screamed 'This is war fucker'. Timmy went around the yard at full speed with the whole of the boys, outside of Jimmy, right on his wheels. Whenever they passed in front of BeBe, she hosed them down. In the summer heat, it was a practical Godsend, although several of them continually flashed her the bird. The chase didn't come to a stop until the girls grew tired of being left out. They grabbed up the discarded donkey tails and bolted over to the nearest boy. As the boys flew into a panicked dash to escape, they grabbed up tees and stuck those pins into butts and arms as they saw fit. Screaming madness thus descended over the backyard. It would have been a completely normal madness, too, had not every one of those kids disappeared one by one over the course of two hours. Despite their various excuses of bathroom breaks or need for some air conditioning, they all knew just what was going on. From birthday boy to unknown Millie, they all ducked inside that house to search for the missing cake. They would be gone for next to ten minutes before returning with crestfallen looks on their faces before being caught up in the wildness going on. For no matter who looked nor for however long, none of them could locate that ten tier dream.

But not for lack of trying. No.

Nearing noon, though, Kyle spotted what it was he'd been waiting for. Shelia eased up to Gerald and whispered something in his ear. To that, his father nodded and headed up to the house. He went in, checking over his shoulder to be sure he wasn't being followed. He never saw Kyle eyeing him, watching his every move. He timed it, too. He waited and he timed it. It took his father next to nine minutes to come back out again. When he did, he went right over to Shelia to whisper back into her ear. She nodded firmly and, then, the two of them shouted for the children to gather around.

" How would you kids like to play on the slip n slide?" Gerald called out to the wide eyed, dirt stained crowd. Immediately, all the kids squealed and shrieked, tossing their hands up into the air and jumping wildly. They all screamed they had remembered to bring their swimsuits, " Alright, alright! I'll get everything ready!"

Gerald was barely heard over the scrambling to strip out of tees and shorts and into the bathing suits they had on underneath. Almost all the kids were down to their trunks or bikinis by the time he had pulled out the slide. As he struggled with it, and got some much needed help from Stan, Kyle slipped around to the stairs and ducked right into the house for the third time that day. Into the kitchen he walked, his face smoothing into a wide grin.

Seated upon the table in all it's magnificent glory was the ten tiered birthday cake of his wildest dreams. The frosting was glazed over in cold sugary seduction, calling to him to be tasted for the first time. Kyle found himself drawn tableside by the yearning to run his finger over it. The resistance to that temptation was monstrous at it's best performance. Yet, he resisted. He clenched his fists as his sides and he left that lime green beauty where it was perched.

Rather, Kyle went back into the burning heat of the looming summer sun. The hose was on the slip n slide that all the children were gathered around at. Only three of the children remained in their clothing. Those three, of course, were his best friends. Stan wasn't going swimming; he'd said so when he got his invitation. Cartman certainly wasn't going swimming; he'd also said so, as he'd rather watch the idiots; which he'd also said. Kenny, though, was going swimming. He just couldn't afford a swimsuit. He fully intended on just slipping and sliding in whatever he happened to be wearing.

Over to these three, Kyle went. Only, he did so rather quietly. He knew he wouldn't be heard over the shrieking of Red as she and Millie went down the slide together, but still he was quiet. He approached Cartman unheard and eased up close, so that their cheeks were practically touching. Smiling, Kyle wrapped both of his arms tightly about one of the Nazi's and whispered softly into his ear. He did so to make sure he wasn't overheard, yet he couldn't help but think how much more important his request sounded while doing so.

" I need you to come with me,"

" I wanna see Tweek on the slipnslide!" Cartman protested, looking with only his eyes at the Jew. Kyle frowned momentarily before pressing his cheek deep into the other's plump arm.

" I need you to come with me, now," he breathed out in a voice that was punctured with command. He felt that command, that hardness, in his eyes as much as he heard it. The feeling was hot, but not nearly as hot as rage. Hot like water, running over the flesh, growing hot and cold as it moves. That was how the command moved from his lips to his eyes and to Cartman's ears. He saw it brush it's fiery fingertips over his counterpart's skin in the way those honey sugar eyes glanced towards him in the slowest glance possible.

" Okay, okay, okay,"

Casting him a small smile, Kyle slipped his hands down. He tangled them in Cartman's plump fingers and gave the tiniest of tugs. As such, he led him away from the unnoticing party. Their disappearance was vastly overshadowed by Kenny shoving Clyde, kicking and screaming and crying, onto the slip and slide back first. The door then swung shut behind them, blocking out the majority of the sound coming from the crowd's response to the attack. The two of them were left standing in the chilled kitchen. With the birthday cake.

" Holy shit, it's the cake," Cartman exclaimed, pointing at the thing where it was on the kitchen table. Kyle pulled him right up to the table so that he could see it's luscious appeal, " Been lookin' for that all day,"

" Yeah, my dad just brought out of hiding,"

" Why're you tellin' me?" his voice lost the surprise to the leering effect of confusion and distrust. His honey eyes darkened as he finally wiggled his fingers from Kyle's semi tight grasp. Kyle rested his fingers on the table, staring at the cake instead of his friend. He stole glances only to gauge the response to what it was he said.

" No reason. I just wanted to, y'know, brag," Kyle mumbled, shrugging in an attempt to seem unconcerned. One glance and he knew that Cartman was seeing straight through his act and through him. He knew it more when his friend shook his head and pointed at him.

" Bullcrap. I ain't buyin' that for a fuckin' minute,"

" What's it matter, Cartman?" he asked, deciding to avoid the question all together. While his attempt was not in vain, it was met with a worse question.

" You tryin' to get me in trouble?" the Nazi's eyes narrowed slightly. There was a world of possible responses to the answer, but not a one to satisfy the look the Jew spied there. Those eyes were such a light color, but how dark they appeared. Their suspicions deepened that rich hue to the point of changing the shade. No, there was not an answer to be had to satisfy them.

" In trouble how? For looking?" Kyle pried nonchalantly. For all his word choices, though, his meaning was quickly deduced. Cartman never said he knew what was implied, but he did nothing to hide that revelation within his orbs. Kyle swallowed hard, rough, and dry as that fat friend of his motioned to the thick layers of frosting piled upon the tiers.

" Nooo. For tastin',"

" No one said you had to taste it,"

" No one said I couldn't," Cartman stated with great finality. This conversation was going nowhere fast and he wasn't about to let it. The brief flash of pearly whites made that impressively clear. That dry swallow repeated itself as Kyle gripped the table with his fingertips alone.

" I just wanted to show you. That it was here," his voice sounded hollow, even to his own ears. There was a tightness running from his grip to his chest. A heartbeat was skipped. A fire was building. He could barely keep from running, from bolting, and leaving him there for whatever decision was made. He couldn't say it.

He couldn't.

" Yeah, but why?" Cartman cooed out, his hands moving along the air as thought interrogating it as well as the birthday boy. Neither was willing to hand over the answer without more pressure.

" Whatever. It doesn't matter,"

" Oh, it matters," the airy coo was choked out by the outburst of trustless accusations of the implied intentions. Kyle gritted his teeth at every word, longing profoundly for a way to disappear and leave him be, " I'm not gettin' thrown out of this party for tastin' this cake because yer a fuckin' Jew an' set me up,"

" Like I said, you don't have to taste it," Kyle restated in a toneless voice. His heart pounded deep within his chest. There was a frantic struggle to gather composure that had never left him. He remained as calm as when he'd slipped inside that kitchen. He just couldn't get his heart to stop beating so fast.

Either way, his words hung in the air uncertainly. There was a long, steady pause of pulsing glances towards that blank, fat face. Kyle waited in dreadful anticipation, his heart skipping and jolting beats within. Cartman gave him nothing. He raised his eyes up and down and along the creamy green buttercreme. There was a building hunger in those eyes that grew only that much worse the longer the response was withheld. Still, nothing was uttered. Nothing. Nothing at all. Until Kyle dug his fingers into the wood of the table and Cartman's voice smoothed into the air like silk.

" Will you tell your mom if I do?"

" No."

" How'm I supposed to trust you?" his words were pierced by that hollow sounding mistrust. Each word became a solitary shot with a bullet dipped in poison of the verbal kind. Kyle shuddered before raising his eyes up to the face that looked right through him as only Cartman could.

" Why would I bring you in here when everyone else was distracted if I wanted you to get caught?" Kyle demanded in a soft sound that was a far cry from his usual brash voice. Cartman frowned at the question, but his eyes never looked confused, never looked unsure. He was sure this was a trap and he was doing his best not to be sweet talked into it.

" I don't know,"

" I won't tell,"

" How do I know that?" Cartman implored, crossing his arms over the massive bulge to his heavy belly. A touch of fire eased over Kyle's face, running like that ember water to his curling toes and clenching hands. He couldn't speak for a moment and when he regained the talent, he knew not to say how Cartman could trust him. He nearly blurted it out, but he resisted the sweet temptation.

" Six years of friendship and you don't know that?" Kyle pressed, lying through his teeth. Cartman rolled his eyes with that lovely arch of sarcastic displeasure.

" We're not friends,"

" Maybe we could be," Kyle suggested in the shyest tone he had ever used in the whole of his life. Whatever effect it had on the Nazi, however, went unknown to the Jew.

" Sounds like you're tryin' to set me up," Cartman stated in a voice that was much more like an accusation than anything. His hands unfolded and came to rest upon his plump hips with just enough force to shift his weight. A tinge of rouge blurred Kyle's vision in a ruby haze that mimicked dancing flames touched by the breath of a lover.

" Look," he said curtly, grabbing hold of the table with much more force, " If this goes on much longer, the games are gonna be over with,"

Kyle never mentioned why that was important. He didn't need to.

" You swear?"

" I swear. I promise. I don't break my promises,"

" I mean it, Kahl. If this is a set up, I will make you pay," Cartman warned him in that faintly detached voice that would haunt many souls until the day their corpses were tossed into the ground. It spoke of horrors in the dark, of the blood splatters, and the laughter untold. It spoke of the waters of the night skies that lingered in the depths of ever threat made by the child with such sweet, honey eyes.

" It's not a set up," Kyle firmly lied without any qualms about doing so. No matter what the consequences for doing so might end up being, " Now, do you want a taste or not?"

" Yeah, I want a taste,"

" Then taste it,"

The order was unnecessary. Cartman gave one final nod as though that sealed the deal between the two. Then he turned his full attention to the rising tower of stacked, chocolate bliss. Kyle felt his heart slowing right down to a faint flutter that jolted as the Nazi raised up his finger. As he did before, he let it hover over that virgin buttercreme that glinted so passionately in the sunshine. Smiling this time, with perverse intent, he pressed his plump, greedy finger into that green swirl of heaven, and he dragged it from one side to the other. The streak left screamed out against the undisturbed slates around it. A blemish on perfection, the stolen creme was tasted for the very first time.

The gluttonous pleasure that washed over Cartman's fat face was unheard of. The love of taste that can be felt only by those who know the true meaning of the word indulgence. The shockingly profound obsession that breeds that almost lustful deviance poured over him. Kyle could see it in the way his eyes changed. The darkness was torn away and replaced by one of the most beautiful, pure expressions of happiness that the Jew had ever seen.

The faintest of smiles pooled over Kyle's mouth.

" How is it?" he could barely ask the question, his mouth was so dry. Yet, he choked it out in a tiny voice that seemed so much smaller spoken. He knew the answer long before his counterpart answered him in that dreamy, delirious voice that was so tangled and lost in the web of sin.

" It's delicious,"

" Okay," Kyle said, his voice quivering just barely. His hands fell away from the table, heavier than before. He slowly turned to face Cartman, who only faced the cake, " I can't miss the party. But chances are, no one will notice if you do,"

" Yeah, whatevah,"

Kyle nodded sharply at that abrupt dismissal. Swallowing and shaking, he stepped towards the back door. Outside, he could hear the shrill callings of summer time and the frantic hysteria of his tenth birthday party. Inside, however, he could see Cartman gazing up at the ten tier glory that he had tainted in such a small, but profound way. Carefully, Kyle placed his hand on the door knob and looked over his shoulder at the sinister, greedy, hungry smile crossing that lovely, fat face with such pretty, sugary eyes.

" Bye, Eric,"