Stan stared, horrified, at his terrible excuse for a team. "We're gonna lose."

Gary raised an eyebrow. "Why do you say that?" Stan leaned to one side and put a hand on his hip, a pose he'd picked up from Kyle some years ago. He waved his hand dramatically to the five other guys standing on the court.

"Oh, I wonder why?! Look what I have to work with! Kyle's team has all the good players!"

Gary smiled and put a hand on Stan's shoulder. "Come on, that's no way to talk! Our team has potential!" He said the word like it held all the answers/

"Potential to lose. Miserably. I'm just going to cry in the corner, if you need me." Gary sighed and grabbed Stan back.

"Come on, you're the captain! If you think we're gonna lose, then we're gonna lose."

"So why bother even trying?" Stan asked, running a hand down his face.

"Because we're going to win, I can feel it!" Gary excitedly waved the rest of their team over. "Just focus on their strong points! Tell them their strengths. They're supposed to look up to you! If they know you believe they can do it, they'll believe they can do it, too!"

"How can you look at this sorry mess of people and think we even stand a -"

"Alright, guys, team meeting!" Gary shouted. "Stan's gonna give you all a little pep talk before we dominate Kyle's team!" Stan shot him a murderous look, but Gary just shrugged and smiled.

Stan stared once again at his team. He was never going to let Kyle pick teams again.

Damien and Pip were standing side by side, the dark-haired teen whispering something that made Pip blush furiously. Cartman was eating freaking corn on the cob on the basketball court, acting like it was the most normal thing ever. Craig was staring at Stan with an apathetic gaze, and Gregory was folding his arms, an eyebrow raised as he waited for Stan to start speaking.

"I hate my life," Stan muttered, before clearing his throat. "Okay, people..." He trailed his eyes over Damien. "...and antichrist..." He paused, glancing over at Gary for some ideas. The Mormon just smiled and mouthed the word 'strengths'. "Kay...so, we're gonna play Kyle's team-"

"Thank you, Captain Obvious," Craig muttered. Stan spent a full thirty seconds glaring at the ebon before continuing.

"Your welcome, Captain Sarcasm." He coughed. "So...I think it's best if we focus on our strengths." Pip raised his hand. "...Yes?"

"What strengths?"

"Um...the ones we obviously have...Like-" His bit his lip. "Pip, you have a great throwing arm! Yeah!" Stan smiled. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. "Just do what you do with a dodgeball, except shoot it like you're actually attempting to play basketball." Pip beamed.

"I can do that!" Stan shared a happy glance with Gary before moving on.

"Uh, Damien..." The antichrist scowled and Stan sighed. This kid wasn't exactly the greatest at sports, having lived most of his life in the seventh layer of Hell. "You have the right idea of the game, but...when the ball comes toward you, you have to grab it. And dribble it. And this isn't football, you can't tackle people. Also, don't pop anymore balls, this is our last one. But other than that...uh, you're pretty intimidating." Damien sighed but nodded.

Stan turned his attention to Craig, who was already glaring daggers at him. "You're good at sneak attacks and guarding, because you freaking terrify everyone. So just keep that up, I guess." The chullo-wearer flipped him off, which Stan took as a good sign. "Right. Cartman, you can easily guard, like, three people at once just standing there-"

"Ey!"

"-so just pretend they're hippies or Jews or whatever it is you don't like this week, and we'll be good."

Stan paused at Gregory. He really didn't want to bring up any of the Brit's already prominent strengths, but Gary gave him a knowing look.

"You...are goodwithstrategies...and stuff. Plus, you're the only one brave enough to guard Christophe." Gregory smirked and Stan rolled his eyes before turning and smiling at Gary. He was feeling a little more confident about this game. "You're the most optimistic person I know. We might not win, but at least we won't go home crying like a bunch of losers. So let's go kick some ass!"

His team gave pathetic murmurs of "Yay" and "Oh joy" and "I swear, if that ball comes near me, I'm going to tear apart the person who threw it".

Stan smiled and watched the teens walk back onto the court idly. "That's my team! Show them no mercy!" He moved to walk onto the court but was stopped by a pressure on his shoulder.

"You did great, Stan!" Gary smiled widely. "But you didn't give yourself a pep talk!"

"Oh, yeah, guess I forgot..."

Gary's eyes twinkled. "I could give you some motivation, if you want."

Stan put his hands in his pockets ans smiled. "Sure, dude." Gary glanced around briefly before leaning toward Stan and pecking him quickly on the lips. The raven gasped. Gary smiled brightly before walking toward the court to join the rest of the team.

"It doesn't matter if we win or lose, Stan," he called back. "As long as you give it you're best, that's all that matters.

Stan stood there, gaping after him, only coming to his senses when Cartman yelled at him to get his "gay ass on the court". So he shook his head to clear his thoughts, and stepped onto the court with complete confidence.

xxx

They lost the game miserably. The final score was -62 to 103 (Kyle claimed that a negative number was indeed possible in basketball, and no one could find an argument against that). Cartman had "sprained his spleen", so he said, and they'd had to call a time-out. Then Damien had been hit in the face with the ball, and popped it before throwing it on the roof in anger. So they called another time-out while Kyle ran home to grab another one. Halfway through the game, Tweek (who was on Kyle's side) had gotten the ball and Craig scared anyone from taking it from him. He practically walked him to their net and let the twitchy blonde score.

But Stan didn't care. Because in the midst of Kyle's team cheering and his own team grumbling, Gary had grabbed Stan's face gently in hands and had kissed him again.

"You gave your best, Stan." And he proceeded to give the raven his best.

xxx

So I had this idea running around my head for a couple days. It was actually supposed to be a Stanman story, but apparently Gary wanted Stan more, so...why deny a sweet boy his wish, right?!