Disclaimer: Don't own South Park. Lyric lines are The Airborne Toxic Event, 'This Losing'.

Note: First real attempt at Style, trying to find my feet. I'm not used to writing Stan and Kyle and generally try to avoid it out of fear of ruining them. So, let me know what you think. Short but hopefully not too saccharine-sweet.

And why, yes, it is impossible for me to write something for South Park that does not involve Candy.

x

The Bright Side

this hand, this glove
this only thing i love.


"He doesn't even like her!"

Kyle sighs. Dusk is gathering quickly and a fresh layer of snow is softly falling. Being out in the snow has always made Kyle think of lost things, and it makes him feel as if everything happening here, in this moment, is separate somehow – shrouded by a veil of slush and sleet and silence.

His ass is numb. They've been sat here for like, two hours or something now. He pulls his hat down even further over his ears, and his hair scratches his forehead under the plush green felt.

"I know it's gotta hurt, man, but seriously. You can't say you'd still want to be with her after that."

"I do, though!" Stan says miserably. He's hunched over, staring down at the muddied snow by his feet, arms limp and loose. He looks defeated, Kyle thinks, and decides that's bullshit.

"But she's into Cartman." Kyle doesn't try to hide the disgust in his voice as he says it. He isn't even sure he could if he wanted to - Eric Cartman is repulsive. He grew up but kept growing out, and all he's learnt in sixteen years is how to be meaner than ever. "She's obviously batshit crazy."

"But he doesn't even like her!" Like saying it again is going to change anything. Stan shakes his head, looking desperately lost. "Bebe told me once how a girl never dumped a guy unless she had another guy waiting. But he doesn't even like her!"

He holds up his hands in a ridiculous 'why God why' motion, and Kyle hides a smile by blowing into his hands.

"Dude...you know that's not how Wendy works."

Stan scowls. "It was with Token."

"...that was eight years ago."

"So?"

"You need to let it go."

Stan's scowl deepens and Kyle figures maybe it's time to change track a little bit. "Come on, Stan. You know Wendy better than anyone. You know that when she works out what she wants, she doesn't settle for substitutes."

"But I could be a good substitute," Stan insists. "And this has gotta be a phase, right? She'd get over it. She would. I mean, it's Cartman..."

Kyle's starting to get just a little bit annoyed now. Wetness is seeping up into his jeans and darkness is starting to cloy around them. It's cold, it's snowing, and Stan needs to snap the fuck out of it. He shifts round until he can grab Stan by the shoulder and force him to turn around. "Stan, are you even listening to yourself?" he begins angrily. "You're saying you want to play second string to Cartman! I get that you like her, I really do. I get that you love her. But come on, dude. Sometimes God gives you a pretty clear message things aren't gonna work out. And if Wendy's getting hot for an asshole like Cartman, do you really want to be wasting your time on her?"

Stan opens his mouth, maybe to say something like Wendy isn't a waste of time, or to try to assert for a second time that Cartman's just a phase. But he stops. Kyle likes to think maybe it's something in his eyes that lets Stan know he's talking sense here, but he knows it's probably because Stan is just as cold as he is and really doesn't want to argue with Kyle tonight.

"It hurts," Stan says, after a while. "She left me. For a guy who isn't even into her."

It does sound crazy, and Kyle knows it. He knows as well as Stan does that it isn't normal girl behaviour. But he knows something else, too, and it's something he's not going to say out loud to anyone, least of all Stan. He knows what it's like to look at someone every day and know, even though it might be stupid or weird or life-altering, that you just love them. And he knows how it makes you feel: how it makes you not care about anyone else, or about whether or not they like you back. You just get to the point where you feel like you'll do anything to be with them, and you'll set your balls on fire before you let yourself do anything that might get in the way.

Kyle looks at Stan, and he takes in the flecks of snow melting on his eyebrows and the tip of his nose. He takes in the worried buckle in his chin that he always gets when his heart is breaking, and how his hat always slips a bit too far back these days. Stan is broad shouldered and bold and just brilliant, and Kyle thinks that if Wendy feels even half of this shit for Cartman then he understands her perfectly.

Even if it is fucking disgusting.

"You don't deserve to be second best, Stan," he says, as meaningfully as he can. Part of him – a stupid, romantic part that he'd probably be a fuck lot better off without – keeps doing shit like this, giving Stan serious looks and trying to let his voice tell him how fucking much he means to him. Telling him without telling him, Kyle thinks. He understands Wendy but he knows damn well he's nowhere near as brave. She's put herself out there, ready to be completely shat upon by the whole student body because of what she feels, and Kyle still gets awkward about giving his best friend a hug.

Stan doesn't get what Kyle's willing him to understand. He smiles a sad, soft smile and probably thinks that Kyle is just reminding him he'll always be there for him.

And Kyle's sort of OK with that. He doesn't know all that much about love, but he knows a lot about Stan, and for now he's just happy being around him.

...Which is probably the gayest thing he's ever thought, Kyle realises, and he's a guy that's thought about his best friend boning him. So that's pretty gay.

Stan's face is relaxing a little bit, and he's not looking happy but he's looking better. "You're right," he says, standing up.

Oh thank you God, Kyle thinks, we get to go home.

Stan sticks out his hand and Kyle takes it, pulling himself up. There aren't any of those dumbass sparks of magical love-electricity jumping from the point where they touch, but Kyle's never believed much in that kind of shit anyway. When Stan grabs his hand, or claps his shoulder, or hugs him, Kyle doesn't feel dizzy or shuddery or anything like that. He feels warm, and strong, and when Stan smiles at him, he feels like maybe he's not got it so bad after all.

They head home, and about half way back to the lights of the town, Stan slings his arm around Kyle's shoulders and says something like, "You're my best friend, dude. You know that, right?"

Kyle answer is along the lines of, "I know, Stan, I'm here for you," and South Park is all edges and electric-shadows in front of them. There's worse things, he thinks, than falling in love with your best friend.

And - he can't help but add, grinning a little into the dark - falling in love with Eric Cartman has got to be one of them.