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You Climbed the Cliff Edge and Took the Plunge

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The wind blew at full force sending the stack of black and white posters soaring through the sky. Stan’s face painted the sky as the posters got blown into the abyss of South Park, Colorado. Kyle let out an irritated sigh as he bent down to pick up posters in his immediate area. It’s been a month since Stan went missing, leaving his friends, family and, the town of South Park with so many unanswered questions. Where was he? This was the question that haunted Kyle every night as he lay awake unable to fall asleep. It had been a month since Kyle had a decent night's sleep. This was shown in the dark circles and defeated expression he wore. He was exhausted but he wasn’t ready to give up. He hadn't’ gone to school since Stan went missing. He spent the time searching, putting up posters or, laying in bed feeling like it was his fault.

The last time he saw Stan they were wandering on halloween night.. They had broken off from Kenny’s yearly halloween party and were sitting in the woods. Both boys were incredibly buzzed if not more from the party endeavours. They sat in silence both wearing pirate costumes they had worn for a costume contest, they had won 2nd place right behind Bebe and Wendy like they did every year. Stan lit a cigarette and took a long drag before hanging it off to Kyle.

“Dude?’ Stan turned looking at Kyle as he let out a slow exhale of smoke. “Can I ask you something?” Stan could feel the liquid courage helping him along as he looked his best friend in the eyes.

Kyle grinned. “Yeah of course, dude.”

“Have you ever thought of us as more than friends?’ Stan averted his eyes taking the cigarette from Kyle’s fingers.

“What?” Kyle asked stunned, of course he’d thought of it! Ever since Tweek and Craig came out, he couldn’t help the thoughts that came to his mind about his own best friend and their relationship. Romantically or platonic, he knew he loved Stan.

“Never mind, just forget I said anything,” Stan shifted uncomfortably sucking on the cigarette letting the smoke pool out of the corners of his mouth. He realized no amount of alcohol would help him confess his love to his lifelong friend quickly regretting opening his mouth.

“No dude,” Kyle reached out and touched his arm. “I have… I just…”

Stan cut him off. “I think love you dude.” He looked up at Kyle and sputtered. “And I’m sorry that I said this, just ignore it I didn’t mean to make it weird. I just thought that if I confessed maybe finally it would go away.”

Kyle gulped locking eyes with Stan. “I think love you too, maybe as more than a friend or maybe just as a friend but I know I love you.”

Kyle was quickly startled by Stan crashing his lips into Kyle’s. The kiss lasted a few moments. Maybe it was true love’s first kiss or the tingle of fireball in his body. He melted tasting the jell-o shots on Stan’s lips. Stan finally pulled away and proceeded to kiss Kyle on the cheek before standing up.

“So much for it going away… I’ll see you tomorrow, I wanna leave this party before the cops get called,” Stan grinned at Kyle before turning away and walking off into the night leaving Kyle stunned sitting the grass. He couldn’t wait for tomorrow which was a tomorrow that would never come to be what he hoped. As Stan Marsh went missing. Kyle was left without his best friend and potential lover.

The Marsh family filed a missing person's report the next morning when their son failed to come home. Kyle as well as the other guys went on a search all through the woods they knew and found nothing. It’s been a month without Stan and here Kyle was barely able to live.

Kyle trekked his way home through the snow clutching the crumpled wet missing posters that he was able to save. The ink was spreading and staining Kyle’s gloveless fingers.

“Kyle?”Sheila Broflovski shouted from the kitchen. “Is that you?” She popped her head out.

“Yea, mom,” He sighed setting the almost black posters down on the counter slipping off his snow coated boots onto the doormat.

“I don’t like you being out so long.”

“I know and I’m sorry but I’m fine obviously. Kyle said putting a foot on the first step of the staircase hoping his mom would get the hint he wanted to leave without being lectured. He had been told fifty thousand times in the last month that “South Park isn’t as safe as it used to be” just because Stan went missing. She didn’t know shit about Stan or this town so Kyle found no worth in what she was about to say.

“I know you miss Stan but that is no excuse to be reckless,” She walked out of the kitchen taking off her apron. “I know it’s only been a month but Kyle, I think you need to start preparing for the worst. I made an appointment with a therapist,” She reached out to touch Kyle’s shoulder just for Kyle to jerk away from her.

“Don’t fucking touch me. You don’t know me or Stan.” Kyle said tears beginning to appear. He turned away and made his way up to his room. He slammed and locked his room throwing himself into his desk chair. He swiveled around in his chair to face his desk top. The windows startup noise was almost soothing as he knew he could continue his research.

Kyle uttered a quiet thank you as he remembered his mom’s password for a background search website she used for Ike’s babysitters. Kyle began by typing in Stan’s email and quickly hitting search antsy as to what would come up. He impatiently drummed his fingers against his sticker coated doodle filled old desk.

Ding! His computer made a noise notifying him there were 4 results. The first one was Stan’s youtube channel where he posted skateboarding tricks and school projects he did with Kyle. Second was Stan’s Instagram which he rarely used. Then there was a stupid google plus account which was absolutely useless in most cases as well as this one. He continued to scroll until he found a link to a blog he didn’t recognize. It was weird for kyle to find something he didn’t recognize as he thought stan told him everything.

Kyle scrolled down realizing that the blog was ordering pages from oldest to newest. The first post was from 2012 and it was a picture of a drawing he did of one of Craig’s guinea pigs. Kyle smiled at the innocence of the post and continued down the years worth of posts. The first thing that really caught his eye was a post from four months ago.

The post read: “i feel lost im average in school and average in everything i do and i wonder if i should even be around”

Kyle’s lips pursed then slipped into a frown as he scrolled past that post. There were two posts in september, one on the second and the other on the eighth. Nothing too interesting, they were about his day or things that happened at the skate park. Nothing seemed to catch his eye until he found a post from october tenth.

The post read: “ive found myself questioning a lot recently and i cant help when my eyes wander too long on kyle or when we change for gym i cant help but look and i feel disgusting like im exploiting him without him even knowing fuck i want these feelings to just go away its fucked”

Kyle looked away from the screen biting his lip but also feeling guilty stan had to hide things from him. He felt like he was invading Stan’s privacy and he almost closed the browser but then he remembered he was doing this for Stan, and to find him. He had to figure this out. The post recent post Kyle could find was from November 1st. Kyle gulped looking at the date wide-eyed.

The post read:
“I dont think this will post theres no cell service out here and i fell bashed my fuckinh knee to shreds and i have no idea where i am fuck”

Kyle shot up from his seat and stumbled grabbing his backpack shoving various things in it. He knew his mom would be mad but that could be dealt with later. He unlatched his window and climbed out shoving his phone in his pocket. His feet hit the snow covered ground.

“Kyle..?”

His eyes shot up from the ground to meet his little brother’s who was looking out his window.

“Where are you going?” Ike asked his ten year old face painted with worry.

“I’m just going to go…” Kyle thought for a moment. “I’m just gonna go check on Kenny, he’s been just as down as I’ve been and I wanna make sure he’s okay. Can you cover for me, Ike?”

“Okay, but you have to buy me pewdiepie meet and greet tickets.”

“Okay that’s fine! Thanks!” Kyle said quickly trying to spend as little time yell conversing with his brother in the middle of the night with the looming threat of his parents potentially waking up. He turned on his heels and started quickly yet awkwardly trying to make his way through the solid six inches and counting of snow.

The night sky was beautiful the stars were out and, shining when there was a rare break in the storm clouds that were dropping snow at an insane rate covering the town of South Park with a perfect coating of powder.

Kyle trudged through the snow trying to ignore the numbness spreading through his fingers, he’d forgotten his gloves. Of course. He made his way into the woods using his phone flashlight as a guide. He stumbled over a few logs and rocks and froze when he heard a voice in the woods. He turned his flashlight off, his adrenaline rushing as he thought of all the possibilities. Murderer? Lunatic? Cartman? He shivered from being afraid as well as being absolutely freezing. He squatted down as quiet as he could to get out of sight. A twig cracked near him and all he could hear was his heart crashing in his chest with every beat.

“Kyle?” Kenny’s crooked smile showed as he shined a flashlight on Kyle.

Kyle jumped and just about shit himself right there. “Fuck!” He fell backwards falling right against a rough log giving him a good slice on the cheek. He winced and exhaled aggressively looking up as Craig, Tweek and Butters emerged behind Kenny. “What’re you guys doing out here?”

“Kenny said we’re gonna find ghosts.” Butters said fidgeting with his hands. “I don’t really like ghosts none but cheese and crackers I’m not a pussy, Kyle”

“We’re gonna try to channel Stan’s ghost,” Kenny was swiftly cut off from saying anything else as Kyle’s fist connected with his jaw with a swift crack.

Kyle’s fist screamed in pain as if punching walls wasn’t enough Kyle had to go and punch someone in the face. He winced pulling his hand away looking as Kenny who was holding onto his jaw in shock.

“What the fuck?” Kenny yelled standing up looking at Kyle.

“Stan isn’t fucking dead asshole!”

“I know dude, I was just making a joke!”

Kyle looked down. “Listen, I’m sorry. I just… god. I found Stan’s blog and his last entry was the day after he went missing and I just know he’s still out here and I’m going to find him. He can’t be too far out here.”

They looked at him like he was crazy but once they were shown the blog post they were all on board. They decided to continue the trek through the woods together. Eventually it got too cold and too late for them to continue on any longer, they had found a relatively snow free place to lay down the waterproof picnic blanket he remembered to pack. The five teenage boys piled on and promptly fell asleep. That was the best night’s sleep Kyle had gotten in a month.

Chapter Text

Kyle woke up stiff and cold, but he felt incredibly alive. He felt rested and anxious for the rest of the day which had been a rarity lately. He sat up hearing every joint in his body crack to life. Sleeping on the ground on a picnic blanket with four other boys didn’t provide much support. Kenny was already awake and gently running his fingers through a still asleep Butter’s hair. Kenny cracked his crooked grin showing off the chip in his front tooth. Craig and Tweek were still out cold and Kyle definitely didn’t want to wake up Craig.

“What’s up old man?” Kenny said stretching his legs out jostling butters a bit.

“If you weren’t used to sleeping on hard surfaces you body would crack too, dickbreath,” Kyle retorted grabbing his bag. “That reminds me I think I forgot my toothbrush?” Kyle answered his own question once he finished digging through his bag.

“Adventurers on a mission probably don’t worry about bad breath,” Kenny grinned and took out a cigarette lighting it.

Butters just then began to stir and the cracked an eye open. “Oh rice and beans Ken, I told you to quit that,” He gave Kenny a gentle shove.

“You secretly like it,” Kenny teased and began to poke Butter’s sides to get him to let out little squeaks of laughter. “You like bad boys,” Kenny laughed and started an all out tickle war dropping the cigarette into the snow letting it fizzle out.

The movement on the shared blanket eventually awoke the dragon, Craig Tucker. One eye cracked open and Kyle swore he could see the lens flare of Craig zeroing in on Kenny and Butters.

Kyle rolled his eyes biting his lip looking down to his phone pulling up Stan’s blog again refreshing a few times in hope there might be something new, but alas it was the same last post. He had to do something to keep busy and out of Craigs way. If Kenny died today then that would just have to be. He put his phone back into his bag rummaging around to find food. He pulled out a pop tart and a granola bar. Satisfied with his findings he portioned these things between him, the two idiots currently wrestling around on the blanket, a Craig who is definitely not an early bird, and a still asleep angel of a Tweek. Tweek laid perfectly still his chest rising and falling calmly. Kyle couldn’t help but smile seeing his friend not shaking, but this moment of pleasantry was cut off by Craig shoving Kenny into a snow bank next to the tree which they were situated underneath. Kenny screamed as he rolled down a short hill and awkwardly scuttled back up.

“Jesus fuck! What did I do?” Kenny yelped shaking the snow off his body.

Craig grinned and plucked the cigarette out of the snow attempting to light it again. “You woke me up,” He shrugged. Craig’s finally woke up Tweek who stretching looking around questionably until the previous events finally clicked into his mind.

The boys came together to eat what they collectively had for breakfast.
“You know, Kyle,” Craig began after taking a bite from a pop tart. “It’s been like a month, how do we even know Stan’s still here?”

“I uhhh know it’s not for sure but it’s something. He’s our friend and we need to find him,” Kyle replied looking down at his lap.

“Alright,” Craig shrugged and smiled. It’s not like any of these boys had anything better to do back home so why not go on an adventure to find a friend.

The day went on as they hiked through the woods looking for any signs, foolishly yelling out Stan’s name as if it would make a difference. Eventually they came to a clearing filled with low brush and wildflowers.
Tweek squinted noticing a little ‘tent’ made from branches and stripped logs. “Hey look at that,” he pointed to it and walked forwards.

Kyle quickly caught up to Tweek. He got on his knees and looked inside. There was an old blue tarp on the bottom and a backpack pushed in the corner covered with leaves. Kyle grabbed the bag and pulled it towards himself looking inside. It wasn’t Stan’s backpack but it held Stan’s phone. Nothing else inside gave the idea that the bag or the structure was Stan’s so Kyle extracted himself from it clutching his friends phone. He looked through his own bag and grabbed the portable charger he had gotten for Christmas to use when camping and plugged it in. After a few minutes the phone lit back up. They waited patiently to see what it might offer when they heard the cracking of someone walking through brush and approaching.

Kenny looked up and saw that it was a small man with pots and supplies tied to his belt. He looked like an NPC from fall out 4 and Kenny couldn’t help but let out a chuckle before he was rushed into the bushes aside the clearing.

The man was muttering to myself as he set his stuff down next to his tiny shelter. He took out a map and marked a few dots on it sighing then looking up to his shelter knowing something was off. When Kyle crawled in he moved the tarp around a bit causing a disturbance to the mans usual order. “Mothman?!” The man stood up looking around wildly. He dug his hands in the mud near the entrance of his shelter and smelled it deeply. “He’s gone now but he’ll be back,” he muttered to himself wiping the mud on his pant leg crawling inside the shelter.

“Kenny that’s you in like 10 years,” Craig snorted as they took that moment to flee the area to avoid the conspiracy nut.

“Hey listen, first off fuck you,” Kenny said turning and walking backwards talking to Craig who was behind him. “Secondly it would definitely be the Loveland frog instead of mothman because fuck yeah a giant frog,” he explained before tripping over a branch and falling down.

Butters ran over and crouched next to him. “Oh peaches and cream Ken, are you alright down there?” He reached a hand down and touched Kenny’s knee which was bleeding from a scrap.

“I’ve never been better, doe eyes,” Kenny grinned and wiped the blood off smearing it and stood up as if nothing happened. He wrapped a confident arm around Butters as they kept walking.

Craig snorted and continued the trek with his friends. “So what’s the plan?” He asked. “Like I get it, but honestly how long are we going to wonder blindly through these woods like goddamn bobo the fool?”

“Have a lil more faith asshole,” Kenny retorted as Stan was one of his closest friends. Sure Craig and Stan didn’t always get along due to being in separate friend groups, but they’ve grown closer during high school so Kenny didn’t get why Craig didn’t seem to care that much. Well Craig never seemed to care but he at least expected a little more than usual.

Kyle hadn’t realized how long they’d been walking until the sun started to get low in the horizon and it began to get steadily colder.

“Can we find somewhere to sleep?” Tweek asked to the general group and it was pretty unanimous except Kyle.

“I really think we should keep going,” Kyle said anxiously. He wanted nothing more than to find his best friend.

“Dude you’re shaking, and it’s getting fucking cold,” Kenny said taking leadership of the direction of the group. He spotted a cave that was in the side of the steep wall of rock. “See, hey it’s fate,” he grinned walking towards the cave. He walked inside and was happy to find it was large inside but not too far back into the mountain that they’d have to worry about bears. He grabbed the picnic blanket laying it down on the dirt on the floor and sat down. “See it’s perfect.”

“Do we have anymore food?” Butters asked sitting down next to Kenny leaning into him for warmth.

“No, but I think maybe we can look for some,” Kyle offered collecting some dry sticks around the entrance of the cave stacking them in a small pile surrounded by a rock circle. “Kenny get a fire going and maybe Craig, Tweek, and I can go see if we can find anything,” Kyle offered tossing Kenny the lighter.

“Sounds like a plan officer Broflovski,” Kenny saluted catching the lighter crawling over to the stick pile.

Kyle, Tweek, and Craig went on walking into the woods a little farther in hopes to find something. Finally after a five or so minute walk they came across a stream. Kyle took out a net he had in his camping bag and sat on the side. Craig stood off to the side lighting a cigarette as Tweek knelt next to Kyle gazing into the water. Kyle spotted a few fish making their way down the stream and quickly thrust the net into the water. He managed to catch 3 little unsuspecting fish and held them up proudly.

Craig rolled his eyes. “I can do better,” he challenged.

“Bet,” Kyle said up to the challenge.

“Alright,” Craig put out his cigarette and walked over grabbing the net after Kyle put the fish in a plastic grocery bag he found in his bag.

“Watch and learn try hard.” Craig crouched down and surveyed the water and spotted a few more fish coming down. He hastily dunked the net into the water and caught nothing. He sighed irritably and looked up to see Kyle looking at him with a look of amusement. He tried again and dunked the net into the water finally catching a fish and a frog who happened to get caught in this altercation. “Perfect,” Craig put the fish into the bag with the others and was about to put the frog as well but it jumped from his hands. He went to give chase but was interrupted by Tweek walking up holding his shirt up like a pouch hands covered in dirt.

“Look what I found,” Tweek said shaking from the caffeine withdrawals. Inside his shirt was a bunch of wild onions.

“Oh awesome, how did you find them?” Kyle asked walking over collecting his stuff.

“I read up on survival stuff a few years ago,” Tweek shrugged. “I’ve always been really worried something might happen so I wanted to be prepared,” He put the onions in the bag with the fish as they walked back to the cave. Tweek had always been paranoid but for once it truly paid off.

When they returned back a healthy fire was blazing and Kenny and butters were making out in the back of the cave. Kyle rolled his eyes and put the bag of collected food down. Butters pulled away from Kenny and went to help Tweek and Kyle cut open the fish and onions. Kenny and Craig collected sticks to impale the fish and onions on to cook them over the fire. Once everything was together they roasted the fish and onions on the fire and chattered between themselves enjoying the moment of this trip feeling just like camping, and not like them trying to find their missing friend in the middle of the woods. They were lucky it was a tame late November in Colorado or else they might be freezing to death. There was frost on the ground but no harsh snow and they were grateful.

“This is so fishy and bland,” Craig complained teeth tearing the cooked meat.

“Sorry this isn’t a fucking five star restaurant asshole,” Kyle spat before taking a bite of the fish himself.

“Well I think it’s pretty alright, Kyle,” butters said cheerfully taking a big bite.

“That’s because you’re used to lack of spice from your moms cooking,” Craig rolled his eyes.

“Now listen here Craig, I know you’re not very nice sometimes but that’s no excuse to make fun of my mom,” Butters said in a matter of fact tone leaning into Kenny’s side.

“Alright,” Craig raised his hands in defeat not feeling up to arguing with Butters and getting Kenny’s wrath.

They finished eating and settled to go to bed on the picnic blanket inside the cave. Kyle sat awake on the edge of the cave looking up at the sky his knees pulled up to his chest.

“I promise we’ll find you,” Kyle smiled sadly. He looked down at Stan’s phone in his hands and tapped in the password. Stan’s home screen came to life and Kyle clicked the camera role. He swiped through looking at selfies and memes, but stopped on a picture of himself. Stan must’ve taken it when he wasn’t looking. In the photo Kyle was laughing at lunch, eyes closed smile wide. Kyle smiled thinking of their memories together closing his eyes and laying back on the picnic blanket with the other boys. He held the phone to his chest and let himself fall asleep.

Back in town Sheila Broflovski was currently banging on every door in the neighborhood looking for her son. She hadn’t seen him for twenty four hours and was beginning to panic. Stan was already missing and she didn’t know how she would handle it if her son was too.

“Richard! Mrs. Tweak!” She called knocking on the Tweak’s door.
Mrs. Tweak opened the door and frowned. “Have you seen Tweek around?” She asked nonchalantly sipping coffee from her ‘worlds best mom’ mug.

“I haven’t even seen my own!” Sheila exclaimed panic setting in even further at the knowledge of the other boy being missing as well. “We need to have a town meeting or something! They have to be around here!”

Mrs. Tweak shrugged. “Alright, would you like a cup of coffee,” she offered.

“No, no! This is urgent and I,” She paused looking around. “I need to go. I need to talk to Stuart and Carol,” she turned and briskly walked away to her car.

Soon enough due to Sheila’s persistent attitude the whole town was brought together inside of the school for a meeting.

Pc Principle stood in front of the worried parents and citizens. “Alright everybody. I know you’re all worried about your children,” he paused and suddenly pointed to the crowd. “Leslie ,shut your fucking pie hole!” He shouted before continuing. “We have six students missing and the local authorizes have been notified. A search party will begin after this meeting to find these kids,” he started pacing around the stage. “We will find them!” He said clutching the mike until it let out a cracking noise and the audio cut.

Cartman and Heidi joined the search party with their parents to hopefully find there friends. Cartman was an asshole through and through but he couldn’t help but feel sad. He may lack empathy, morals, and common sense but he missed his friends. He didn’t have anyone to torment.

“Babe, do you think they’ll come back?” Heidi asked holding onto her boyfriend’s upper arm.
“Uh, who fucking cares I’m just out here for the free hot chocolate,” Cartman shrugged looking away from Heidi and up to the sky frowning.

Heidi reached out and caressed his cheek and leaned over pressing a kiss to the same spot. “I hope they do too.”