By: Cassie Manley

The shadow moved into another of its type. It wove and zigzagged across the desolate street.

"Be good, little babies..." The sweet voice carried out over the still air. The shape saw the woman walk into her house, her dress flowing around her like water. It sleathly moved across the lawn, hiding behind shrubs and bushes to keep from being noticed. It heard the coo of not one baby, but two, and it crept over to investigate. It hovered over the carriage, taken in by the sweetness of their soft faces. Their eyes were glowing and bright for two children of such a young age. One had eyes the color of violets the other had eyes the color of jade. She held her hand out and tickled the one with the jade eyes

"Goocooogaacoogoo," the baby laughed, and then it knew it had to have them. It scooped them up and took them away, just as the sweet-voiced woman stepped outside. Her husband was also with her, along with a fair-haired boy, older then the two it had taken. The woman let out a wail as she saw the empty cradle, a sign of death in some cultures. A man, a man that the shape knew well ran over, hindered by two children. They held a conversation, but it was too far away to hear the words. It raced through the town, avoiding the street lights, clutching it's precious bundles tightly as it crossed the dew-drenched grass in front of it's house. As it ran in it shut and locked the door and turned on a light, and it ceased being a shadow and became a person. A woman, a mother. She held the babies, gently, tenderly in her arms, singing a soft melody in their ears, lulling them to sleep. The man that she knew very well, her husband walked through the door then, with the two young boys. The older one ran over and pulled on her pant leg.

"Mommy...what are they?" he asked. She held them down to his eye level.

"These," she said. "Are your new brother and sister, Lily and Stan."

That was how my sister and I were brought into the world.

It scared me how quickly they could find you after you did something wrong. They came for you in the night while you were sleeping, even if you had only taken a cookie out of a cookie jar. They came anyway. They would whisk away your soul, and, just for the night, take you to your own personal hell. I would know; I've been there. I think they may have my name engraved on a plaque in their bad boy hall of fame, if there is such a thing. It was like a second home to me.

But it scared me anyway.

Every single time that I was taken there, they would say the same thing, crying out with their deep, booming voices, over the cries of pain erupting from other children already suffering.

"ARE YOU STANLEY CRAIG TORCELLI?"

And every single time that they would say that to me, I would be frozen, as if a bucket of supercooled water was just tossed over me, and I froze in my spot, my feet digging into the rough earth as if I could dig my way out.

But that never happened.

The 'ganglies', as we all called them, would then get down on your eye level, and stare right into your own eyes with their own eyes, terrible and blood shot. That wasn't the scariest part about their eyes, though.

It was that they were pure black.

After that, is too tormenting to even repeat. The things that the ganglies did to you in your sleep are too horrible to relive, too horrible to even remember, because most of the time you forget what happened when you wake up in the morning.

Just like a bad dream.

But this was more then a bad dream.

It was a nightmare.

I awoke with a start, after another night of pain, and it faded as quickly as it had came in the night. But I still knew that it happened. I slowly stood up and stretched my legs out, and then cracked my back as I stared up into the top bunk of bed. There was slight movement from the form buried under the covers, and I shook it lightly.

It came roaring to life.

"Stan, what the hell are you doing!" It screeched, and rolled back over and pulled the pillow over its head. "It's only ten o' clock." That last thing was muffled by the pillow, and couldn't understand it for the life of me.

'What's that you say, Kenny?"

"Fuck you!" the voice cried from under the pillow, and it reached one hand up and flipped me off. "At least I don't have the same name as the queerest person on that show, Stanley!"

"At least I wasn't named after the dumbest flower on the planet, Lillian!" I retorted.

"Better Lily then Stan, douchebag." She replied tacitly. "Now, I am going back to bed. And you are going to get the fuck out, and leave me the fuck alone, until at least twelve. Got it, Sargent Suckbag?"

"Yes sir, Drill Sargent, sir!" I gave her a salute with my left hand as I walked out of the room.

"God Stan, you suck! Argggghhh!" That was the last thing I heard before I shut the door and walked down the stairs.

You see; Lily and I are adopted. And, to complicate matters, we're twins. In that respect, everyone always expects her and I to act and do things exactly the same. It pisses me off to the deciding point.

But back to the ganglies.

That was one thing Lily refused to believe in. I knew that they had come for her, because I heard her cry out in the night, she was that loud. But when I asked her about it in the morning, she had gotten all strange, and she totally flipped out.

"Lily...did the ganglies come for you...?" I had asked, concerned. She stared at me, and then her eyes narrowed. I love Lily's eyes, even though I'll never tell her, but they are the most beautiful shade of purple. They look like violets sticking out of the snow. My eyes are green, but that doesn't matter. Her eyes narrowed, and she cried, no, screamed

"THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS GANGLIES, STANLEY CRAIG TORCELLI! THEY AREN'T FUCKING REAL!" She ran out of the room then, crying and shaking with fear. I had never asked her again about the ganglies, and she had never said anything about it again.

Until today.

When she woke up, at about twelve thirty, she came down the stairs, clad in one of those silk slip on pajamas. I was sitting on the couch, watching old reruns of Saturday Night Live on Comedy Central, and was surprised as she plopped down next to me.

"Hey Lily," I said, and I turned towards her and flashed her an apprehensive smile. "Are you still going to kill me?"

She was silent, deep in thought, staring straight ahead. She did this for about five minutes, and then she slowly turned her head towards mine. She stared in my eyes, studying them deeply for a few seconds.

"I want to talk to you about the ganglies."

I turned around and stared at her, our eyes meeting.

"What?"

"I said I want to talk to you about the ganglies." She raised an eyebrow, and I raised on in reply.

"You got a problem with that?" I shook my head, and I turned my body so I was facing her, and then shut off the TV.

"What do you want to talk about?" She stirred uncomfortably and she looked at the ground for a minute, and the she looked back up at me, her eyes scared.

"They came for me." I stared at her for another minute.

"But...but Lily, I thought you didn't believe in the ganglies." I said. Her eyes got angry, and they burned into mine.

"Stanley...I..." She burst into tears at that point.

"Lily...I'm sorry...I didn't mean..."

"You never mean it, Stan...just...forget I ever said anything." She sobbed, and she ran up the stairs into our room, and slammed the door. I sighed and felt crummy all around as I turned back around to the TV. I heard a different set of feet coming down the stairs, and I turned around to see whom they belonged to. It was our foster brother Keith, coming down to eat some breakfast, I guessed.

"Hey Stan," he said as he walked into the kitchen. "Are you still watching all of those old SNL's?"

"Since when do I don't?" I replied listlessly, turning down the volume.

"Hey, I heard Lily run up the stairs crying...what was her problem?" he asked, pulling the eggs out of the fridge. "Want one?" He held them up.

"No thanks," I replied, turning off the TV and dragging myself off the couch. I walked out into the kitchen, and tapped Keith. I got on my tiptoes, and he leaned down so I could whisper in his ear.

"The ganglies came for her." He raised an eyebrow.

"So, she finally admitted to it?" he replied. "It's about friggin' time she did...what did she say?"

"Nothing really, she just said that they came for her, and then I told her that I thought she didn't believe in the ganglies, and she got all pissed off and ran upstairs, crying." I thought about it, and then added, "She must be hormonal." Keith laughed.

"Probably." He cracked the eggs, six of them, into the sizzling pan.

"Jesus Keith! Do you eat enough eggs?" I was lucky if I could eat two eggs, let alone a half a dozen of the little fuckers. I hate eggs anyway.

Keith is absolutely huge. He's six five and he weighs about two-fifty. He could bench-press me and Lily with one hand, and he plays Varsity football for our team. He's been playing Varsity all four years he's been in high school. I didn't even make the football team.

He laughed as he scrambled the eggs.

"Stan, when will you learn? I need a half dozen eggs a day so that I can perform on the football field. If I was like you, and only ate one egg, then I would suck donkey balls and not make Varsity. You see what I'm talking about?" Hmmm, sounded like he was talking about me.

"Uh...yeah, Keith." I replied. "Where are Cindy and Greg?" Cindy and Greg are his parents, along with his real brother's, Trevor. But Trevor's off in college, and Keith'll be going after this year. Lily and I are only freshman.

"Oh, Mom and Dad told me to tell you guys that they went to see Aunt Boots for the day." Aunt Boots is our ninety-four year old great aunt. I've only seen her once, and I can barely even remember her.

"They said that they would be back about seven, so if you guys go anywhere just to leave a note," he said, as he took his eggs off the stove and slapped them onto a plate. He grabbed a fork and dug in. They look disgusting, and I said so.

"Oh, fuck off, Stanley," he replied and resumed eating just as the phone rang.

"I'll get it!" I cried as I ran for the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi, is Lily there?" a ditzy voice on the other end replied. I groaned. I knew exactly who it was, but I always asked just to piss her off.

"Yes she is, who's calling please?" She sighed angrily.

"Stanley, you know exactly who this is...get Lily and put her on the phone, asshole!"

"All right then, Isabelle. I'll get her right now," I said.

"Dammit, Stanley, don't fucking call me Isabelle! It's fucking Izzy!" I heard Lily scream from the top of the stairs then, "Stanley Craig Torcelli, give me the fucking phone!"

"Yes, your Majesty," I replied as I walked up the stair and handed her the phone.

"Here you go, you hormonal bitch." I walked off as she called after me, "Bite me you Kenny-killing monster!" I heard her say hello to Izzy, and then she said, "Stan? He's such a fag..." I stopped on the edge of the stairs, and I walked into our foster parent's room and picked up the other phone.

"Why would you want to do that?" I heard Lily say.

"Well...I think he's kind of cute." Izzy's voice replied. Lily started to laugh hysterically.

"You think Stan is cute! What kind of drugs have you smoked today, Izzy?" I put my hand over my mouth to stifle a gasp. Izzy liked me? I always had thought she had hated me, and I thought I always knew that I would never have a chance with her. But obviously that wasn't true. I pushed my ear closer to the phone and kept my hand over my mouth so they wouldn't hear me breathe.

There was silence on the other end for a while, and then Izzy asked, "Well...could you ask him if he likes me, Lily? Pleeeeease! You're the only one who can get through to him, because..."

"I'm his twin, I know, I know...god, it sucks being a twin. All right Izzy, I will ask my douchebag of a brother if he likes you. But...what do you want me to do if he says yes?" Lily asked.

"Call me right away."

"All righty then, Izzy. I'll get back to you as soon as I can." Lily replied. "Bye."

"Bye." She hung up the phone, and I heard our door open upstairs. I quickly hung up the phone and got back onto the couch like nothing had happened. She started coming down the stairs, and she sat next to me on the couch. I turned and looked at her. She had gotten dressed during all of this, too, and was now brushing her hair. She had this silky, long blonde hair, and a perfect complexion. She was gorgeous, and every guy in the ninth grade wanted her. But Lily had herself on reserve...for my best friend.

"Stan, can I ask you something?" Her question knocked me out of my trace.

"Huh?" I said. "Oh, sure!"

"What do you think of Izzy?" she asked, her eyes not wavering from mine. I raised an eyebrow.

"What kind of 'what do you think of Izzy' question is this?" I asked. "Is this the one for just friends, or is this the one for more then friends?" It took Lily a minute to comprehend that, and then she replied,

"More then friends Stan...she likes you," Lily replied.

"Does she wanna ask me out?"

"I don't know, Stanley, just fucking answer my question!"

"Okay, okay! Fine! I'll tell you. I like her!" I said, and then turned back to the TV. "There, are you happy? I like Izzy, and if you fucking tell her..." Lily was already gone and back on the phone before I was even done my sentence. I heard her dial the numbers as she walked back up to our room, and I ran back into our foster parent's room and picked up the phone just as it began to ring.

"Hi Lily, what did he say?"

"How the hell did you know it was me?" Lily said, baffled.

"I have caller ID."

"Oh..."

"Well, what did he say?" Izzy asked excitedly.

"Oh, I don't know...he said you were the ugliest bitch on the planet, and that if you and a goat were the only two things left on the planet, he would choose the goat...you know, stuff along that line." It was all I could do not to laugh, and Izzy beagn to.

"He did not say that Lillian Catherine Torcelli, you terrible liar, you! What did he really say!"

"Alright, alright, fine. I'll tell you," Lily relented. "Using my magical twin powers, I hypnotized him under my very special middle finger, using the advanced techniques that only the very coolest twins can do..."

"Goddamn you, Lily, will you just fucking tell me?" she cried in frustration. Lily laughed.

"You're no fun, Izzy," she said. "Fine, I'll get to the point. He said that he liked you!" There was total silence on the other end of the line.

"Really?" Came the soft, awestruck reply. "You're...you're not just fucking with me, are you Lily? You mean it?"

"Yup. Stan wants to kiss..."

"Wendy Testaburger!" Izzy interrupted, laughing.

"No, even though that would be funny, it's 'Stan wants to kiss, Isabelle Palmer!'" There was a shrill squeal on the other end of the line that was so loud it almost made me scream.

"That is so fucking cool! AWESOME! KICK FUCKING ASS!" Izzy shouted. "I'm going to call later and ask him out...but don't tell him, alright Lily? It's going to be a surprise!"

"Alright, I won't tell him."

"Promise, Lily?"

"I promise, Izzy. I'll talk to ya later, okay?"

'All righty then. Lily. Bye-bye." She hung up the phone, and then I ran back out onto the couch and continued watching TV as Lily came down the stairs. She sat down next to me on the couch, a silly grin plastered across her face. I looked over at her.

"What kind of clown are you pretending to be today, Lily? That smile is certainly gay enough!" She punched me lightly on the arm.

"Shut up Stan...and I am not pretending to be a clown. I'm just smiling because it is a beautiful day, and I think we should go for a walk in the park."

"What park, Lily? South Park?"

"Very funny, smart-ass. You know what park I am talking about..."

"I know, I know...Birch Grove Park...where you and all your little 'cool' friends hang out, and go skinny dipping in the lakes you not even allowed to go swimming with a bathing suit on..." Lily's eyes got wide with terror.

"When did you see that, Stan! When the fuck did you see that?"

"Never, Lily, I just made it up...jeez...don't have a fucking heart attack about it," I replied, and the panicked look left her eyes.

"Oh...okay," she said. "Well, let's go for a walk there anyway...one of your lame ass friends might be there..."

"Eh-oh...so that's what this 'walk' is all about! Like which friend would you mean, Lily? Is it Kyle..." Lily turned bright red and looked away.

"Ha! So it is Kyle! I'm going to tell him you liiiiiikkkkkee him..." Lily grabbed my arm, and I grabbed her other one. She stared into my eyes, and I stared right back. She finally looked own and released my poor arm. I looked down at where her hand had clutched my arm, and her fingerprints made white splotches in my tan skin.

"Stan...please don't tell him that I like him...okay? Pleeeeease?" She put an arm around me. "Please...my favorite brother...my really cool twin...the God of all brothers..." I laughed and I put an arm around her.

"Alright then, my only sister, my really cool twin, the God of all sisters...I won't tell Kyle that you like him." She flashed a huge grin and hugged me for a second.

"Thanks Stan! Thanks for not being an asshole!" She grabbed my arm again, but gently this time, and pulled me towards the door. "So let's go then!"

"Fine, fine...we'll go to Birch Grove...just let me get my shoes..." Lily looked down at her own feet, and then gave me a wry grin.

"I need my shoes too." She scurried off up towards the stairs, and I grabbed my sneakers from out behind the door, and slipped them on, not bothering to untie them. Right as I was about to go out the door, I remembered that we had to leave a note for Cindy or Greg that we had left. I called to Lily as I was shutting the door.

"Lily, write a note to Cindy and Greg for me, telling them where we are, okay?" I stood on the first porch step, listening for her reply. It came about two seconds after I called her.

"Alright. Wait for me." I heard her run down the stairs as I shut the door and sat on the step. After about five minutes, she came out the door.

We walked down towards the park, chatting and laughing away. Before we knew it, we had approached the gate for the park. There was a rusted metal sign that hung over the old iron gates and the letters on it spelled 'Birch Grove Park'. We opened the gate and stepped into the park. It was like being instantly transported into the Vermont wilderness. There were tons of trees lining the old dirt path, and there were flowers growing all over the side of the road. There was also a little stream gurgling away next to the trail that was so clean you could drink from it, if you had to. But we never really did.

I heard a rustling noise behind us, and I turned around. There was nothing there, so I ignored it and kept walking. I don't even think Lily heard it. After about five minutes though, I heard it again, and this time I caught a glimpse of a figure walking through the trees a few yards behind us. I slowed my pace and walked behind Lily, and once again, she was so enraptured with the scenery, that she didn't even notice. I heard it again, right behind me, and I turned quickly around and almost ran right into Kyle.

"Kyle, what the hell are you..." He placed his hand over my mouth, and held out a flower that he had in his hand. It was a lily. He pointed to Lily up ahead, and then we started walking a little bit faster to catch up with her. I caught up to her first, and I started walking abreast with her, and Kyle was right behind us He then slowly reached out his hands, and placed them over Lily's eyes.

I had to cover my ears her scream was so loud. She whipped around and was met with a grinning Kyle, holding the lily in his teeth. He then got down on one knee, and held out the flower.

"For you, miss, on this lovely fine day." She grabbed the flower and stuck it in her hair. Kyle then came over and slapped me on the back.

"So, are you and Lily going on a walk for some brother/sister bonding?" he asked. "Awwwww...that's so cute."

"Fuck off, Kyle," Lily said as she walked over to me. "Stan and I were just coming here to see if any of our friends were here..." She elbowed me in the ribs. "Right Stan?" I nodded.

"Yup. Why the hell else would I fucking come here? This place fucking sucks." Kyle laughed.

"I know what you mean. It's so boring here that watching paint dry sounds like more fun." We both laughed, but Lily got her classic pouty face on and started walking again.

"It just so happends, you two, that I like the park, and I happen to like coming here, so would you kindly stop making fun of it, please? Thanks." Kyle ran to catch up with her, and then he grabbed her hand, and then kissed her on the cheek.

"I'm sorry, my princess, my pet. I'll never ever make fun of the gay bar...I mean park you go to all the time ever again." He winked at me, and I winked back. Lily walked back into his arms, and then gave him a hug, and then did something I never thought she would do.

"I love you," she said, and then ran off before poor Kyle had a chance to react. He watched her run off, flabbergasted, and then walked back towards me.

"Pick your mouth up off the ground Kyle," I said, and I sat down on a log on the edge of the woods.

"Did...did she just say that she loved me? Holy shit...did she mean it?" I nodded my head.

"She always means it when she says it, Kyle...what do you think about her?"

"I have wanted to go out with Lily forever...but, then again, so has ever other guy in the school at one point...except you."

"No, I've wanted to go out with Lily too. Incest is the best, put your sister to the test, is a saying they always say..." He laughed, and then got serious again.

"Lily...the prettiest girl in the entire school...wants to go out with me, the biggest loser in all of Lakeside High?"

"Yup." Kyle's grin streched father then from ear to ear, it wrapped all around his ridiculous face.

"That...is...so...fucking...COOL!" he cried, and held out his hand. I raised mine up, and we brought them together.

"Holy SHIT!" he cried. "This is soooo awesome! I have to go find her and ask her out! Come on, Stan, I'll race you!"

"Catch me if you can," I replied, and we took off.

I won by about three feet, and almost plowed right into a tree about fifty yards from where Lily was sitting. She had our backs to us, and was sitting on the shore of the only pond in the park, bowing her head. I thought she was crying, but I wasn't sure. I put my finger to my lips and signed to Kyle that he should wait here, and he did. I slowly walked over to where she was sitting, and then plopped down next to her. She jumped, and then looked over at me.

"Oh...it's just you," she said, and then lowered her head again. I gently took her head in my hand and lifted it up so that she was looking at me. Tears had made little tracks of water all over her face and her eyes her hurt.

"Lily..." I said, concerned. "What's the matter?"

"He doesn't like me, does he?" Her eyes were shining with tears, and she leaned over and started to cry in my shirt. If there is one thing I hate more then anything else, it's when Lily cries. Her entire face gets into it, and she looks so sad that it almost makes me cry too. I put an arm around her and started rubbing her back.

"No, no, Lily!" I said gently. "He likes you...he told me so. He said that he was going to come find you and ask you out...so don't cry anymore, alright, sis?" She wiped her eyes and laughed at herself.

"Thanks Stan. I won't cry anymore...God, I am so hormonal..." We both laughed, and the out of the corner of my eye I saw Kyle tap her shoulder. She slowly turned her head, and he leaned over and kissed her.

"Lily...would you..."

"Yes."

"No, I think you should let me finish my sentence before saying yes," Kyle said. "Lily, would you be so kind as to scratch my back?" He stared at her so seriously, that I started to crack up, and, after a minute, so did she.

"You dildo," she said. "Of course I will scratch your back." He laughed, and then, he took her into his arms.

"I was kidding, Lily, and I would be honored..." He got down on one knee. "If you would be my girlfriend." She pulled him back up onto his feet and kissed him on the nose.

"Of course I will, Kyle. Of course." I stared at the two of them, and then lowered my head, and started to sing,

"Nobody loves me, everybody hates me..." Lily leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

"Aww...poor Stan feels left out?" she said, and then we started walking back to our house. "Well, I think Sister Lily knows what to do to make that allllllll better..."

"Heh...sure you do," I replied. Kyle gave me a wink, and then he said, "There's always three way..." Lily play slapped him.

"Oh yeah," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "That sounds like my idea of a good fuck, you know, fuck Kyle and then have to turn around and fuck Stan, my brother. Sounds yummy, if you ask me." I started to laugh hysterically, just the way Lily said things some times cracked me up. She shook her head as she and Kyle walked up farther ahead.

"You scare me Stan." I jogged to catch up to them, and then I whispered in her ear.

"Blow me." She got a pretend shocked look across her face and then pretended to slap me.

"How dare you suggest such a crude thing for me to do! You are such a male, egotistical, pig!"

"Well, in that case, you're a washed up pile of shit. But...I don't mean that in a baaadd way..." She shoved me lightly away.

"Fuck off Stan."

"Fuck me, Lily." Kyle started to laugh hysterically.

"Do you guys ever get along?" he asked. "You fight all the time!"

"Oh, there's one place we always get along, right, Lily?" I winked at her, and she caught on.

"In the bedroom, of course," she finished. He shook his head as he slipped an arm around Lily's waist.

"You guys are gross."

"I know," we both said at the same time, and then we looked at each other, and then all three of us started to laugh. We walked out of the park, Lily's purpose being fulfilled, and then we all went back to our house. Keith greeted us at the door, and then raised an eyebrow at me as Lily and Kyle walked in together. He stopped me from coming in for a minute.

"When did this happen?" he asked. "You know that if Mom finds out she is going to kill her..."

"He asked her out just barely...and she really, really likes him, so, pleeeeeease don't tell Cindy or Greg for that matter, All right?" I stared at him beseechingly.

"Please?" he sighed, and then unblocked the doorway.

"Alright..." he said. "But, if she asks, then you are on your own."

"Thanks, Keith. You're a really cool guy!" I said as I walked into the house. Lily and Kyle were sitting on the sofa, watching TV, and I joined them

"What was that all about?" Lily asked as I sat down next to her.

"Oh, Keith was just reminding me about the 'You have to be sixteen to date rule..." She rolled her eyes and slipped her hand into Kyle's.

"That is the biggest crock of shit I have ever heard in my entire life," she said. "I bet our real mom wouldn't have made a stupid rule like that..."

"I know what you mean." Neither of us liked Cindy. She was overly protective of the two of us, and she never let us do anything, like even go to the school dances. Greg, on the other hand, was really cool. He let us do what we want, and he even lied for us so Cindy wouldn't get mad. Lily let go of Kyle for a second, and turned to me.

"I wish we knew who are real parents were." I sighed, and then looked down at the hardwood floor. I rubbed my toe along the grain, and then I looked up at her.

"So do I...Lily...there's nothing I want more then for our real parents to find us...but I don't think that's going to happen." She frowned, and the replied,

"Yeah...I guess you're right..." She turned back to the TV, and then put her hand back into Kyle's, and, out of the corner of eye, I saw him squeeze it gently. He looked at the both of us.

"It must suck to be adopted." Kyle had no clue. He lived with both of his parents, but he had an adopted brother, Ike. He was only two years old though, and he didn't know yet. "I mean, I know I have Ike, and I know that he isn't my real brother, but I have my parents. You guys don't even have that. All you have is each other. I couldn't imagine it."

"You have no idea," Lily and I said at the same time, and we smiled. We said things simultaneously all the time, and we were constantly finishing each other's sentences. Kyle looked over at me, and then reached into his pocket.

"Guess what I have, Stan?" He held up some cards in his hands.

"Your Pokémon cards! Awesome! I'll go get mine!" I cried, as Lily rolled her eyes. I ran up the stairs into our room and pulled a large box from out under my bed. It was labeled 'Pokémon' I am proud to say that I have at least one of every type of Pokémon card ever made, including all of the holographic ones. I had over a thousand cards in the box, and each group was in it's own little section. I grabbed the whole card book that they were all in, and I brought them downstairs. Kyle's eyes grew wide as he saw me lay them all out.

"How many cards do you have, Stan?" he asked in pride and wonder. Kyle had gotten all of his out of his pocket, about three hundred in all, and laid his out next to mine.

"I have at least one of every card ever made." Kyle raised an eyebrow.

"You have all one hundred and fifty two Pokémon?" I nodded. "No shit? That is so fucking cool! You have all the holographic ones, too?" I smiled this time.

"Yup."

"Fuck you, Stan," Kyle said as he got out the sixty cards he was going to play with. "Let the best man win."

Lily sat and watched with a faint look of distaste on her face, but she was mostly amazed that we could actually understand this game.

"Ha! I have a Mewtwo!" I cried, as I laid it out as my active Pokémon.

"Well, I have a..." He looked down at his hand. "A Weedle..." We both laughed, and I won the game in record time.

"Jesus, Stan, you're good! I know I always say that when I play you, but I fucking mean it. You are fucking good!" I half smiled.

"Thanks." Lily rolled her eyes.

"How the hell do you even play this game, anyway?" she asked. "What the hell is a..." She looked down at one of Kyle's cards. "A Caterpie, anyway?"

"That's Caterpee, dear sister," I said. "And it's a really shitty bug Pokémon that I would never use."

"Oh...so, Caterpie can't cut it, huh?" she said. "Well, in my opinion, I think it is the stupidest game in the entire world, so, can we do something else now?"

"Like what, Lillian?" I asked.

"I don't know, Stanley, but let's do something besides play fucking Pokémon all fucking day. How about we go ice-skating?"

"Hey, that's sounds like a good idea!" said Kyle. "Grab you skates, dear Stan. We're going!" I groaned as I followed Lily up the stairs to get my skates. If there was one thing I hated more then anything in the entire world, it was going ice-skating. It wasn't that I sucked or anything, it was just that I was so much better then anyone else there, that I always felt really uncomfortable.

A skate came flying through the air and almost whacked me in the head.

"Jesus fucking Christ, Lily! What the fuck are you trying to do? Kill me?" She turned around real quick and ran over to me.

"Holy shit, Stan! I had no idea that you were behind me! Are you okay? I didn't hurt you did I?"

"No, Lily, I'm okay," I said. "But next time watch out, okay?" She gave me a quick hug.

"I'm sorry, Stan. I'll get your skates for you." She started flinging more things around, and retrieved my skates, and handed them to me.

"Here you are!" she said, and then grabbed my arm. "Come on, we're leaving now." Kyle had walked back to his house in the time that it had taken us to get our skates and gotten his, and was holding them in his hand as we walked down the stairs.

"Are we ready?" he asked as we walked towards the door.

"Wait! I have to leave a note for Cindy and Greg." I ran out into the kitchen, where Keith was eating some old apple pie, and grabbed our memo pad and a pencil. I scrawled them a note, and then told Keith that we were going ice-skating. He snorted as we walked out of the house, and I heard him mutter, "Fairy. Thank God he isn't really related to me..." I lowered my head and walked slower then Kyle and Lily, who were a few feet ahead. How could he say that about me? I thought. I always considered him to be kind of a brother, and I wasn't afraid to admit that in school, or anywhere, for that matter. I pushed that thought out of my head as I jogged to catch up with the two lovebirds.

We got to the ice-skating rink after a good fifteen-minute walk, and there weren't too many people there, so there was plenty of room for me to skate as glamorously as I wanted. People stared at me as I did a double axle, and even more stared as I did a backflip, and pretty soon, I was the only left on the ice, spinning, jumping, and skating away.

"Lily...is that your brother?" someone said.

"Yup."

"I never knew he could skate like that."

"Me either!"

"He's really good!" Then, a girl came out on the ice. As she skated over, I recognized her. It was Isabelle 'Izzy' Palmer, Lily's best friend. She skated right next to me, mimicking my every move.

"I didn't know you could skate, Isabelle," I said.

"I didn't even think you came to the ice-skating rink, Stanley," she replied. She stopped in the middle of the ice-skating rink, and I stopped next to her. Lily watched, her eyes gleaming with interest from the side of the rink.

"Stan..." she said, her eyes gazing up at mine. "There's something I want to ask you. Lily leaned over to Kyle and whispered in his ear.

"She's going to ask him out." He raised an eyebrow.

"It's about friggin' time!" was all he said.

"Shoot." I said. She put her arms on my waist.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" she asked.

"That's not what you were going to ask me, was it?" I said. She thought about it for a minute, and then shook her head.

"Well, Izzy...I have a..."

"You called me Izzy," she said. "You never call me Izzy..."

"Well, anyway, Izzy, I have a question for you." She got a big smile on her face.

"Really? What?" she asked excitedly.

"Would you go out with me?" She skated into my arms, and she shrieked,

"YES! Of course I will go out with you, Stan!" She gave me a huge hug, and I hugged her back, and everyone on the side of the rink started to cheer, and then they skated back out onto the ice. Lily and Kyle rushed out to where we were.

"Go Stan, go Stan!" Kyle was saying over and over again. Lily tacitly placed her hand over his mouth, and turned to Izzy.

"Izzy..." she said and then started to dance around on her skates. "I...am...so...happy...for... YOU!" She gave her a hug, and then turned to me.

"Stan! You asked her out? I am so fucking proud of you! You are being the man...that is wicked cool." She took her hand off Kyle's mouth now, and then he turned to me.

"Stan wants to kiss..."

"Wendy Testaburger!" I finished.

"No! That would be funny if Izzy's name was Wendy...but that's not what I was going to say. I was going to say...Stan wants to kiss...Isabelle Palmer!" We all laughed, and then Izzy looked at all of us, and then grabbed my hand.

'Let's have a race." We all took off, myself going faster then all of them, and Izzy close on my heels, until I heard a deafening shriek. I turned abruptly around, and saw Izzy sprawled across the ground.

"Ooooooohhhhhh...FFFFFUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKKKK!" she screamed. I skidded to a stop right in front of her, and got down on the ground.

"Are you okay?" I asked, concerned. She shook her head, tears rolling down her face.

"It huuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrtssss..." she moaned.

"Where?" I asked, looking her over. Lily and Kyle had gotten over by this time, and were standing awkwardly over the two of us.

"My leg," she said as calmly as she could. "I think I broke it."

I looked at her leg that was wrapped under her, and I could tell that the conclusion she made was the true one. I turned to Lily and Kyle.

"Go get the ref. He should know what to do." They skated off and flung off their skates as they got off the ice, and they found the referee standing on the side. I sat down on the ice, holding her hand. She looked up at me.

"It really hurts, Stan..." Tears were still managing to sneak out of her eyes, and I gave her hand a squeeze.

"Don't worry, Izzy. The ref should be calling an ambulance soon, and then they'll fix you up, okay?" I leaned over and kissed her gently on the forehead.

"Come with me, Stan," she said, scared. "I want you to be there."

"All right, Izzy. I'll be there." The ref came over then, and there was a squad of paramedics with him, and they put her on a stretcher, and I got on the ambulance with her, along with Lily and Kyle. When they brought her into the emergency room, though, we all had to leave, so we started the long walk home. When we were about two blocks away from our house, though, disaster struck. Our foster parent's car was coming, and Lily and Kyle were making out.

I glanced over at Lily, and then at the approaching car. If she stopped right now we could get off...

"Uh...Lily..." She held up a finger, and then it was too late. The car stopped abruptly in front of where we were, and Cindy got out of the car, her flaming red hair flying in all directions.

'Lillian Catherine and Stanley Craig Torcelli, get in the fucking car, and be ready to explain what you were doing when we get home." She turned to Kyle.

"Go home, Kyle." Kyle immediately started walking in the direction of his house; she grabbed Lily by the hair and flung her in the car next to me. She looked at me, and I gave her a hug, and patted her shoulder. Tears were already forming in her eyes, but she wasn't crying yet. We arrived in our driveway after about a minute in the car of total silence, and then Cindy leaned into the car, and grabbed Lily by the hair again, and yanked her out, and then flung her onto the ground.

"Get in the house, you slut!" she hissed, and the she turned to me. "You go too, Stanley."

I followed Lily in, and we both stood in the living room, wondering where to go. When Cindy came in, though, she knew exactly where we had to go. She grabbed Lily roughly and sat her down on the couch, and I quickly sat next to her. She grabbed the armchair that was next to the couch, and dragged it around so that it was in front of us, and she sat down in it. She looked like Cruella DeVille on a throne.

"GREG!" she called. "Get in here and help me deal with our slut of a daughter." Greg walked in and sat down on the floor in front of us, and, while Cindy wasn't looking, he mouthed 'I'm sorry.' to Lily. She turned towards Lily, and a huge smile lit up across her face.

"Now, Lily, dear, what were you doing with Kyle when we saw you, honey?" She looked down at the ground, and then she replied icily, "I was kissing him."

"And why were you kissing him, darling?"

"He asked me out today," came the hard reply.

"And what is the rule about going out with people in this house, Lily?"

"You're not allowed to go out with anyone until you're sixteen...but..." That's when Cindy exploded.

"And you were sucking his face like you had been married for twenty years! You little whore!" She slapped Lily across the face. "After all this time, we've raised you, and taken care of you," She punched her in the back of the head this time, and Lily cried out in pain. "And this is what we get! We get you walking around like the tramp..." Punch. "That..." Kick. "You..." Another kick, in the stomach this time. "ARE!" She raised the small coffee table over her head, in a fit of blind rage, and was about to bring it down on Lily's head when I heard her pitiful cry.

"Stan..." she sobbed. "Help me..." I leapt off the couch and tackled Cindy and she knocked into the TV, almost knocking it down.

"You fucking brat, get off me! Get the fuck off me!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. I pinned her down, and looked her right in the eye.

"Cindy! Cindy, if you ever fucking touch my sister ever again, I will put you through a fucking wall, got that, bitch?" She used all of her strength and flung me off herself, and then she leapt onto me, holding a leg of the table that she had before. She got up and starting beating me with it.

"You watch your fucking mouth, young man! I'm your fucking mother!" she cried.

'No you're not!" I screamed in reply. "You mean nothing to Lily, or me! You're just the physco bitch that..." She whacked me with the table leg. "Adopted..." She wailed me with the stick again. "Us!"

She let out a piercing shriek and would've have killed me if Greg hadn't intervened at that very moment.

"Cindy..." he said calmly. "I think that you need to go live by yourself somewhere...so get the fuck out." He picked her up and flung her outside onto the lawn.

"And don't you dare fucking come back." He went upstairs and grabbed her things and threw then out the door too. Then he slammed the door shut and locked it in her face. In that time I had managed to crawl my way over to where Lily was, and she clutched me with all of her might, and we both held each other, hiding in the corner. She was crying, and I was well on the way. I rubbed my fingers through her hair, and she pulled her face from out of my shoulder to look at me for a second.

"Thanks for helping me, Stan. Thanks for sticking up for me...thank you..." I wrapped my arms around her and she did the same.

"You would have done the same for me, Lily, and she had no right to hit you like that. She's not our mother, and even someone's mother doesn't have the right to do that."

'I love you, Stan," she said softly. "You saved my life. You're the best brother anyone could have..." She started to cry harder.

"I love you too, Lily. I'm sorry Cindy hit you like that...are you okay?" She nodded ad wiped her eyes.

"I'll have a couple of choice bruises for a few weeks...how 'bout you?"

"The same." Greg came over at that point, and stood over both of us.

"I should have done that a long time ago, you guys...I'm..." Keith came rushing down the stairs then.

"What the fuck happened?" he asked. "Dad, where's Mom?"

"She's leaving. I kicked her out, and good riddance, I say. She was beating on Lily and Stan like they were kick boxers, so I gave her her stuff, and I told her to get the fuck out." Keith's eyes grew wide, and then he glared at the two of us with burning hatred.

"This fucking sucks," he said as he marched back up the stairs. Greg turned back to us, and his eyes softened.

"Sometimes I wish that you two were my own, instead of those two, bungling, hot-head morons that I have!" he spat. Lily and I looked at each other, and then back at him.

"Oh Jesus, why did Cindy have to steal you guys..." Lily put her hand over her mouth and gasped, and my mouth must have hit the floor.

"What?" I said softly. "She what?" Greg looked down to the floor, shamed faced and red.

"Shit...did I say that out loud? Aw fuck..." Lily's eyes grew interested.

"Can you please explain what you mean by...stolen?" she said. "Stolen from where? When? Why?" He leaned over and grabbed both of our hands, and helped us up off the ground.

"Come sit down on the couch," he said.

"Are you two comfortable?" he asked, and we both nodded.

"Good. All right, now, about where you guys really came from..."

"It was the very first night we had snow, and it was pretty cold out. Cindy, enraptured with the first snow of the season, decided that we should go take a walk. We bundled up Trevor and Keith, who were four and five at the time, and we walked out into the cold, clear night. There wasn't a single other soul out on the street, there wasn't even anyone out on the road, and we savored the silence. As we walked down by the old Marsh mansion, though, Cindy heard this gentle whimper, and then a sweet voice saying, "Now, Stan and Lily, you be good little babies while I go get Daddy and Leo, and then we'll go for a walk." As we walked by, we saw a glimpse of a dainty figure sweep back in the house, and then Cindy, being her ever-inquisitive self, walked over to see what she was talking about. There, she saw you two, and she knew that she had to have you. Before Mrs. Marsh could even come back out, she had made off with you two and was running up the road, leaving me with Trevor and Keith. We just started walking back, not knowing what she had done, and thoroughly confused. Mr. and Mrs. Marsh came out of the house then; all wrapped up and ready to go. Mrs. Marsh walked over to where the carriage was, and she let out a devastating wail.

"Stanley, oh Stanley...look!" she cried out to her husband. "They're gone! Lily and Stan are gone!" Mr. Marsh came rushing over, and then from out the door, came their little four-year-old son Leo, and walked over to where his parents were. Mr. Marsh stared into the double carriage that you were both in, and he flipped out.

"Come back here, you baby stealing assholes! Whoever did this, I will find you, and I will fucking kill you!" Cindy was already gone by then, and I rushed towards them with our two boys.

'What's the matter, Stan?" I asked. "What happened?" Mrs. Marsh then turned towards me, her eyes filled with tears.

"They're gone!" she wailed. "My two babies are gone!"

"Someone stole your twins? Did you see anything?" She shook her head, and then Mr. Marsh placed her arm around her, and she picked up Leo and held him to her, and stroked his fine, blonde hair.

"Shh, Wendy...shh..." he said, rubbing her back. "We'll call the police, and then we'll have to just wait. He turned towards me.

"Greg...if you hear anyone say they have our babies...please tell us, okay?" He wiped an eye as he patted Leo's head. Leo looked up at the two of them, and then back down at the double carriage, and then he asked,

"Mommy...Daddy...where are Wiwy and Stany? I wanna pway wit' dem." Poor Wendy Marsh started to cry harder then, and she set Leo down on the ground and ignored his question. Mr. Marsh turned back towards me again.

"Well, call us if you hear anything, okay?" I nodded.

"I sure will, Stan. I hope you find them...bye." He lifted a hand as I took Trevor and Keith home with me. As we walked in the door, we saw Cindy, cradling two small bundles in her arms, rocking them gently, and singing softly. I stood in the doorway in shock, and Keith and Trevor immediately ran over to see what the fuss was all about.

"Mommy...what are they?" Keith asked. She smiled and lowered you guys down to his eye level.

"These..." she said. "Are your new brother and sister, Lily and Stan." And you've been here ever since." Greg looked around, and then he buried his face in his hands.

"They moved about a week after you guys were stolen...they couldn't take living in that house without you guys...they saw you where ever they went. I tried to give you guys back, but Cindy wouldn't ever take her eyes off you guys, until they left...but that's who your real parents are..." Lily and I looked at each other, and she started to cry, and I did too.

"Do you have any idea where they moved to?" I asked, after I had gotten myself somewhat under control. He thought...and then he nodded his head.

"I heard that they were going to move to Colorado...but I'm not too sure. And, it was fifteen years ago..."

"Well, do you think if we called those people...what are they called?"

"The people that locate relatives?" Lily said.

"Yeah." I confirmed. "You think if we called one of those people, then we might be able to find them? What did you say their names were again?"

"Their names were Stanley and Wendy Marsh...you were named after your dad, you know..." I lowered my head...and then a sort of smile came across my face.

'Hey Lily," I said.

"What?"

"I have the same name as Stan on South Park...Stanley Marsh..." Her face lit up and she giggled.

'Oh yeah...so you do, Stanley Marsh...heh, heh."

"Well, now you're Lily Marsh..."

"That doesn't sound good..." she said. "I sound like I am a person who grow lilies in a marsh..." Just the sad way she said that made me crack up, and then she did, and then even Greg did also, and we all laughed together in a moment of brief unity.

"Lily?"

"Yeah Stan?"

"Do you think we'll ever be able to go live with our real parents." She leaned over and stared at me from up in the top bunk, but it was so dark in our room that all I could see was the faint outline of her face.

"I hope so..." She reached her hand down and I picked mine up and grabbed it.

"I wanna have a real family again," she said, almost on the verge of tears. "I want to have a mom and a dad that I can call Mom and Dad, and I want to have a house that I can call my own, and my own pets, and my own life."

"I know what you mean," I sighed. "It would mean that we would have to leave all of our friends..."

"Not if we can get them to move back here!" she cried. "No one lives in the old Marsh mansion now, they could just come back to it, and we could be a family again!" A huge grin lit up my face; even though she couldn't see it, she knew it was there.

"It would be wonderful," she said dreamily." I could see Kyle whenever I wanted..."

"And I could have a big huge party..."

"And you could be with Izzy..."

"And we could have a mom and dad..."

"It would be great!" we both said simultaneously. Lily yawned and the turned over in her bed.

"I'm tired, Stan...I'll talk to you in the morning, alright?"

"All right."

"Goodnight, Stanley Craig Marsh."

"Goodnight, Lillian Catherine Marsh."

That night the ganglies came again. They swooped down and ripped my soul out of my body, and dragged me, screaming into their pit of darkness. This time, though, when they called my name, they also had something else to say.

"ARE YOU STANLEY CRAIG MARSH?" One cried, and I was surprised that I had the nerve to reply.

"Yes..." The ganglie stared in shock.

"DID YOU DARE TO ANSWER ME, RAYDIN, THE KING OF ALL GANGLIES?"

"Uh...yes..." Raydin screamed and moaned, his mouth foaming in a fit of rage. He screamed to other ganglies.

"TAKE HIM! TAKE HIM AWAY AND LOCK HIM IN THE BASEMENT OF MY CASTLE!" A ganglie stepped forward, and I heard another cry, and then a name being cried out just as it was taking me away.

"ARE YOU LILLIAN CATHERINE MARSH?" Oh no, Lily was here too! There was no reply from her that I could here, anyway, and the ganglie that was leading me to the basement turned to me with a sympathetic look in it's eyes. For the first time, I noticed, this ganglies eyes weren't black...they were green like my own.

"Is that your sister?" It asked, it's voice having a strangely melodic tone. I nodded my head.

"Yeah...she's my twin." I replied. The ganglie looked sad.

"I once had a twin brother," it said. "But now..." It looked away, it's eyes filling with...could it be? Tears?

"What happened to him?" I asked, thinking of what I would do if Lily died.

"Raydin killed him," it said. "He was being disobedient, he didn't want to take the poor girl's soul away, and he said that he had had enough. He was evaporated in about five seconds." Its eyes grew hard, and it stared at me.

"The girl was your sister." My eyes grew wide in shock.

"He died for Lily? He...died for her? Why?" The ganglie looked at me, and sort of laughed.

"He loved her. That's why he didn't want to take her soul. He had seen her down here all these times, crying out as her fragile body was beaten, scourged, burned, and he felt the utmost compassion that one could feel for someone...so the next time that he was sent to get her, he refused, and he was destroyed." A tear slipped down its face, and it stared at me with sorrowful eyes.

"By the way..." it said. "My name is Yotati...and my brother's name was Gangyoké...I'm am his sister..." She started to silently cry, and, I put my arm on what I thought was her shoulder and patted it.

"Shh, Yotati...I'm sorry your brother died...he must have meant a lot to you..." She looked at me, her eyes burning, and raised her head up and cried into the scorching air,

"He was all I had! He meant everything to me...we did everything together..." She beagn to cry again, and, once again I patted her shoulder. When she had calmed herself, she looked up at me.

"I hate him," she said softly. "I hate Raydin...I hate him with all of my heart...he had no right to do that to my brother...no fucking right!" We had arrived at the castle now, and she opened up the door and led me into the cavernous halls.

"This is Raydin's castle," she said as I stared in awe at his huge fortification. I gasped in shock as we entered what Yotati said was the living room. The entire wall was filled from top to bottom with skeletons!

"Yotati, what is this? Where are you taking me?" She sadly led me over to where a huge, imposing door marked 'Dungeon' lay.

"You're in Raydin's hands now..." she said, and opened up the door, and gave me a gentle push. As I tumbled down the stairs, she called softly,

"I'm sorry, Stanley Craig Marsh...there is nothing I can do..."

The fall was long, the fall was hard, and the fall was utterly terrifying. I hit the ground with a terrible thump, and there was pitch darkness, and utter silence. Suddenly, a flicker of light materialized to my right, and then it filled the whole room, and King Raydin himself met me. I heard another cry from above, and I heard another person tumble down the stairs, and land in a heap next to me. I looked over, and reached my arm out to help it up, and it raised its head and looked at me.

"Lily?"

"...Stan?" She grabbed me, and held me super-tight.

"You have no idea how glad I am to see you! You have no fucking clue..." Raydin came over then, and forced us apart.

"So...Lillian and Stanley Marsh, eh? Welcome..." He waved his wing around. "To the Dungeon. Do you have any idea why you are here?"

"Cause you're an asshole?" I suggested.

"SILENCE!" he screamed right in my face, blowing his foul breath all over my body. "NO! You are here because you were INSOLENT!"

"How can we be insolent to a big over-grown bat?" Lily asked. A huge wing came from nowhere and slapped her down. She got up, stunned, and rubbed her face. She held out her hand, and I submitted and reached my own hand out for hers, and we held them.

"Now, I am here to decide on whether I shall let you go back alive...or should I keep you here and let your foster dad find you dead in the morning?" He thought about it for a minute, and then smiled craftily to himself.

"Ah...yes...I know what I shall do..." He turned to the two of us. 'You may go back into your bodies now...and I donut want to see you guys here for a long time...alright?" We both nodded vigorously, and then he sent us up back into our bodies, and we were asleep.

I awoke in the morning, confused, tired, and somehow remembering everything that had happened. Lily, who had rolled over onto her stomach in the night, was still sleeping peacefully, and I got out of bed quietly so that I wouldn't wake her up. I walked down the stairs, and was met by Keith, who was standing right next to the bottom step. He leapt right onto me and flung me onto the ground.

"You little bastard!" he yelled. 'You and your dip-shit of a sister made my mom leave!" he started punching me, and I cried out, for someone, anyone, to please help me. I heard out bedroom door open, and a sleepy Lily emerged.

"Stan..." she said groggily. "What the hell are you..." She saw what was going, and rushed down the stairs, and pounced on Keith, catching him off guard.

"You asshole!" she shrieked. "Get off my brother, and you leave him the fuck alone! It wasn't even his fault, you bastard, it was my fucking fault that your physco bitch mom left, and I say," She wailed him in the back of the head, and it knocked him out. "Good fucking riddance!" he landed right on top of me, and I screamed.

"Get him the fuck off me, Lily!" I cried. "He's crushing my fucking lungs!" She pulled him off with all of her might, and then helped me up.

'Are you all right, Stan?" she asked, looking me over. I nodded, and rubbed my chest. "He hits pretty hard..." She gently lifted up my shirt and took a peek at the damage that Keith had done. There was a really big lump there, and she ran her hand over it. I winced, and then drew away.

"That feels like it hurts a fuck of a lot, Stan," she said. I rubbed it as I put my shirt back down.

"You could fucking say that again..." I said as the phone rang. "I'll get it!" I called as I ran for the phone.

"Hi, is Stan there?" My face lit up as I recognized the voice.

"Izzy!" I cried. "How are you, and where are you!"

"I'm okay, and I'm at home now...I just got back. The doctor said I wasn't going to able to walk normally for about three months. How much does that suck?"

"Aww...I'm sorry. What can I do to help?"

"You could start by hauling your twin's ass out of bed and getting both of your fraternal asses over here and see me..."

"Actually, amazingly enough, Lily is already awake. We'll get dressed and then we'll be over, okay?"

"All righty, Stan. See ya in a little bit."

"Later." I hung up the phone and turned around, expecting to see Lily there, giggling away, but she wasn't.

"Hey Lily, where'd ya go?" I called.

"I'm getting dressed, you douchebag!" she called back.

"Oh, all right." I waited for her to get done and then walked into our room and got dressed, and then we headed out the door and walked the five-minute walk to Izzy's house. Her mom answered the door.

"Hey, is Izzy home?" I asked.

"Yup," Mrs. Palmer replied. "She's upstairs in her room, recuperating." She let us in, and we walked up the stairs and knocked on her door.

"What the fuck do you want?" she called.

"You know what we fucking want!" Lily said. "We want your crack!" Izzy laughed.

"Come the fuck in." We opened her door and walked into an inflatable paradise. Every piece of furniture that she had, including her bed was inflatable. She had spent way too much time ordering from the Deila*s catalog.

She was sprawled out on her bed, drawing a picture. Her leg was in a cast up to her knee, and it looked like she had already had her brother sign it. I walked over to her bed and sat down in one of her numerous chairs.

"Hey, Izzy," I said, and she looked up.

"Oh, it's just you." she said. "No one important..." She sat up in her bed. "How are ya?"

"I've been better...how's your leg?"

"Hurts like a fucking son of a bitch...but not when I'm just sitting down. I don't know what I'm fucking going to do at school tomorrow..." I looked at Lily and winked, and then said,

'I'll carry you..." She laughed.

"That'll be the fucking day," she replied. "But...would you really?"

"Sure," I said. "Why the fuck not?" She laughed again.

"I'm not going to make you carry me around, Stan...that's not cool." I shrugged my shoulders and then said,

"I wouldn't mind..."

"No way, Stanley...I can do it myself." That was that. So much for me trying to be nice...

"You know what you could do for me though," she said.

"Oh no. This doesn't sound good...what?"

"You could carry around my backpack for me..."

"Oh, that's all? I thought you were going to say that I was going to be your slave for the entire time you are handicapped...that's no problem, bitch." She laughed and leaned over and punched my arm.

"I am not your 'bitch', Stanley...you will no refer to me as your 'hoe.'" Lily and I laughed.

"All righty then, you can be my hoe...but I will always remember you as my bitch..." I sniffed and pretended to start to cry.

"I will always love you, my bitch..." She laughed hysterically, and then she leaned over and gave me a hug.

"I love you, Stan..." she said, and rubbed a lock of my hair out of my eye, and she surprised me by giving me a kiss on the cheek.

"I...I love you too, Izzy..." I said, slightly taken back and totally clueless about what to do. She looked up into my eyes, and she started to lean forward, and I panicked.

"Izzy...I've never done this before..." It was too late, and she kissed me, the French way.

"Neither have I." I raised an eyebrow at her.

"You are such a liar...or you're just naturally good...damn, bitch!" She laughed, and then grabbed my hand.

"You weren't too bad yourself, macho man..." Lily started laughing hysterically.

"Macho man?" she gasped. "Macho man? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That's a fucking good one, Izzy! Macho-fucking-man? Ha ha ha ha ha!" Izzy let go of my hand and slapped Lily's arm.

"Aww...fuck off, Lily..." she said. "He is a macho man..."

"No he isn't!" she laughed hysterically. "He didn't even make the football team. He didn't even make J-fucking-V! I could have fucking made JV!" I lowered my eyes and quickly got up.

"Sorry, Izzy...I gotta go..." I said. "I think I'm not good enough for you..." I gave Lily a murderous glare as I slowly walked out of her room.

"Stan..." she said softly. "Please come back...I don't care if Lily says you aren't a macho man...I think you are..." I was already walking down the stairs before her sentence was over, and, by the time she was finished, I had pushed the door open and was walking home. All during the walk home one thought kept running through my mind. Why could Lily do that to me? I had felt terrible that I hadn't even made the JV football team, and she knew it, but she exploited it to make her seem cool. But in front of my girlfriend? That just wasn't cool. I know that Izzy is her best friend, but come on! There was no fucking reason to do that. I stalked into the house and was met with a fuming Keith, who was angrily cooking eggs on the stove. Greg was watching TV, and I walked unnoticed past the both of them and entered our room, and shut and locked the door. I sat down on my bed, and put my head in my lap, and thought for a really long time, about an hour, I think. After I had gotten everything I thought out into the open, I pushed the South Park movie into the VCR and pulled up my blanket around my neck.

About halfway through the movie, right when Kyle, Stan, and Cartman were pondering about what Brian Boitano would do, I heard the door downstairs open and shut, and I heard someone's footstep's come up the stairs. They stopped in front of the door, and whoever it was knocked.

"Who is it?" I called my eyes not leaving the screen.

"Stan?" Oh great. Lily. Exactly just who I didn't want to see right now. "Can I come in? Please?"

'Why should I let you in?" I said as I turned up the volume to the movie.

"Stan...I have to talk to you..." she said softly. I sighed and turned off the movie, right as Kenny's ghost appeared to Cartman. I opened the door and then sat back down on the bed, and turned towards the wall. She stood in front of me, but I couldn't tell because I wasn't looking at her.

"You made me miss Kenny's great talking to Cartman," I said. "It's one of the best parts of the movie." She leaned over and placed a hand on my shoulder, and I relented and turned around.

"What do you want?" I said angrily. "You've ruined my day already, and my relationship with Izzy too, I bet, so what the hell else do you want me to do? Die?" She looked hurt by that, and she sat down next to me.

"Stan...if you died, then I would die too...you're all that I have. There would be no one for me to live for if you died..." I laughed bitterly.

"You could live for God," I said. "Or Kyle." She almost started to cry then.

"Stan...don't talk like that. I'm sorry about what I said in there with Izzy. I didn't mean it, I'm just mad because now she has someone else that she cares about and will want to do things with and she won't just hang with me anymore..." She looked down to the ground.

"She said that she still likes you anyway, and she gave me a huge verbal lecture, tears and all, about how I can't do that to her. I don't need it from you too, Stan...please, can we be friends again?" I half-smiled and looked at her, and then stuck out my hand.

"All right. Friends." I said, and we shook on it. I grinned and then hit play on the VCR. "Let's get back to the movie, shall we?"

Lily had never seen the South Park movie before, so when she saw Kenny take his hood off, she almost had a heart attack.

'Stan! Stan, Stan, LOOK! Kenny took off his fucking hood!" Then, from the screen, Kenny said his famous, understood words,

"Good-bye you guys..."

"HOLY SHIT, KENNY JUST FUCKING TALKED!" Lily screeched. "STAN, HE FUCKING TALKED! HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT!" She was almost in tears at the end of the movie.

"He gave up coming back to life for all of his friends...he went back to hell for all of his friends...no, shit! LOOK! Kenny gets to go to Heaven!" She leapt around he room and danced with joy.

"Kenny went to Heaven, Kenny went to Heaven," she chanted, until I pulled her down onto the bed.

"Jesus Christ, Lily! What the hell is your problem? It's a fucking movie! I know you like Kenny, but daaaaaaaaaammmmmnnnnnn, you have fucking problems!" She fell on the ground laughing hysterically, almost to the point of tears.

"I'm sorry," she said, gasping for breath. "I'm sorry...I don't know what the fuck came over me...I'm sorry Stan..." Someone knocked on the door then, and I ran over and answered it. It was Greg, standing there with the phone in his hand, with a sort of sad smile on his face.

"There's someone one the phone for you guys..." he said, and handed the phone to me.

"Hello?" I said. There was silence on the other end of the line, and then I heard a very nice voice on the other end say, cautiously,

"...Stan? Is this Stan?"

"Yes..." The voice on the other end burst into tears.

"Oh my God...Stanley...is Lily there?"

"Yeah...she is...but, who is this?"

"This is your mother." I was completely dumbfounded.

"...Mom? Are you...how did...holy shit..." I said, and started to cry.

"Oh Stan...I have missed you and your sister so much...you have no idea...you don't even remember what I look like, do you?"

"No." I sobbed. "I don't even remember who you are...what you're like...how old were we when we were...stolen?"

"Six months...you were only sixth months old...you and Lily both. Leo was only four...oh, you don't even know who Leo is, do you?"

"Leo? I don't know a Leo," I said, still slightly crying.

"Leo is your older brother," she said. Lily came over then.

"Stan...who are you talking to? Why are you crying?" she asked, concerned. I waved my hand to tell her to shut up, and then asked, "How's Dad? Is he okay?" The voice on the end got silent.

'Stan...honey...your dad died a few months ago...I'm sorry you'll never know him..." I started to cry really, really hard.

"He's dead? Holy shit...why couldn't we have known about this a year before...why the fuck not!" I started to scream, and handed the phone to Lily so I wouldn't scream in my mother's ear. "Why the fuck didn't we know? I want to meet my father, goddammit!" I sat down on the bed and started to all and out wail. I buried my face in my pillow as Lily talked with our mom, sobbing to the point where I couldn't even breathe. After about ten minutes, Lily leaned over and handed me the phone again.

"Mom wants to talk to you again, Stan..." she said. I lifted my head out of the pillow and grabbed the phone, struggling to catch my breath.

"H...hello?" I said.

"Stanley..." Mom said. "I have some news that will hopefully cheer you up...Leo and I are moving back to the Marsh mansion tomorrow, and then you can come be with us...if you like. I know that you have established a family where you live..."

"Mom, with the wonderful exception of Greg, our foster dad, I wouldn't give a shit if I ever saw any of these assholes ever again." I said solemnly, and she laughed. Her laughter sounded like tinkling bells on a snowy day, and I savored the noise.

"What do you look like now? How tall are you? Jesus...I don't even remember the color of your eyes..." She almost started to cry again, I could hear it in her voice.

"Well, Lily and I are both five eight, although she weighs about ten pounds less then I do, and I have green eyes and brown hair, and Lily had long, blonde hair and purple..."

"Lily has purple eyes...I know. That was the only thing I could remember about her, just like the only thing I could remember about you was your laugh...you had such a sweet little baby laugh...well, tell me more about you guys...no. I'll see you tomorrow, after school. What grade are you guys in now? Eighth? How old are you guys now?

"We're fifteen...and we're in ninth grade," I said.

"Well...I don't want to run up Greg's phone bill...so I'll go," Mm said. "But Leo and I are leaving on the next plane to Parkensville tomorrow morning...Leo is so excited that he's finally going to get to meet his long lost brother and sister...but I'm going to go. I'll see you tomorrow, and I love you..."

"I love you too, Mom..." I said. "Bye."

"Bye." As soon as we hung up, I threw the phone to Greg and ran over to Lily and picked her up and started dancing around.

"Mom is coming back..." I sang. "Mom is coming back..." She started singing it with me, and soon, we were both dancing around our room. I stopped and the smile left my face when I saw Greg standing in the doorway. I walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Greg..." I said. "You know I am not going to ever be able to think of anyone else as my dad...since our real dad is dead and all...and I'm sorry that we hurt your feelings..." He smiled and pulled me into his arms.

"No." he said. "I'm glad you're going. I'm glad that you're not going to have to live here with Keith and I anymore...it wasn't a good life for you guys. I am so sorry that you even had to live it at all...but I will miss you two..." Lily ran over and gave him a big hug.

"I love you, Dad," she said. "I love you." He was taken aback, and then he put his arms around the both of us.

"I love you guys...now let me help you pack your shit up, all right?" He let go of us and grabbed some boxes. "Let's get movin'!"

Out at the bus stop in morning we were met with a grinning Kyle, and down the road, I thought I could see Izzy coming.

"What the hell are you so fucking happy about this morning?" I asked.

"Oh...nothing..." he said, still grinning ear to ear.

"Come on, Kyle, spit it out...tell me! What is so damn cool that it's making you grin like an evil clown?" He looked over at Lily, and then grabbed me and dragged me over to bench where most of the smart people sat and waited for the bus, unlike Izzy, Lily, Kyle and I, who stood. He sat me down and then whispered in my ear,

"I got Lily her Chanukah present yesterday," he said. My eyes gleaned with interest.

"What did you get her?" I asked, curiously.

"I got her a..." He stalled for a moment. "You promise not to tell her?"

"I swear on my pitiful life that I will not tell her what you got her for Chanukah." I said. He leaned over and whispered in my ear.

"I got her a necklace...it's real, too. Here, I have it in my pocket, because I wanted to show it to you..." He pulled a small box out of his pocket and laid it into my hand. I opened it gently and then gasped.

"Kyle, you bought this? How much did it cost?" Kyle leaned over and whispered into my ear again.

"Three hundred dollars...and...seventy five cents..."

"Kyle! What the fuck are you thinking? You spent three hundred dollars on a..." He slapped his hand over my mouth and then leaned over and whispered,

"Shut the fuck up! Damn, Stan, you need to learn to keep your goddamn mouth shut!"

"Sorry...but, did you pay for it with your own money?" He nodded.

"I've been saving my money and putting it in the bank for when I needed it, and I decided that I needed it now...so, I got her the necklace...you're birthstone is opal, right?" I nodded.

"Barely." Lily and I were born on Halloween, 1984. Ten more minutes and our birthstone would have been topaz.

"Let's go back over to the girls now," Kyle said.

"Girls? I thought only Lily was there..." I turned around and saw Izzy there with Lily, and they were talking and chatting away. I ran over and snuck up on Izzy, and then wrapped my arms around her and lifted her up.

"What the fuck..." she said, and then turned around. "Hey Stan!" She turned around in my arms and put her arms around my neck. "How are ya! Lily was just telling me that you guys are going to go live with your real mom! That is soooo awesome!" I gently placed her back down on the ground.

"Yeah...I know it is," I said. Kyle walked over to Lily and gave her a hug.

"You guys are going to go live with your real parents? Does that mean you're going to have to move..." Kyle looked down at the ground and then almost started to cry.

"I don't want you to move, Stan!" He came over and did something that was very un-Kyle like. He gave me a hug. "You're my very best friend in the entire world, dude! You can't move!" I held him at arm's length and then looked at him for a moment, and then said,

"Kyle...I hate to tell you this, but we have to move." Kyle got the classic sad look on his face, and then he did start to cry.

"Aww...shit man...this sucks so much...when are you moving?"

"Today." He started to cry harder.

"That's not enough time to say good-bye!" he wailed. "That's not enough time for me to say good-bye to my absolute best friend in the entire fucking world! They can't fucking do this to me!" He sat down on the ground and then placed his face in his hands.

"Dude...Kyle, we're just moving to the Marsh mansion...that's like, three houses down the road from you!" Kyle looked up at me, and then he leapt up and gave me a huge hug.

"Yay! You're not moving out of the town! You're not moving away from me! Thank the fucking Lord! WOO-HOO!" He grabbed Lily and started dancing around.

"You guys aren't moving! You guys aren't moving!" he sang. Izzy slowly came over to me, and then looked up into my eyes.

"I would dance around too if my leg wasn't broken..." she said just as the bus came. We all got on, myself helping Izzy up, and sat down. It took about two minutes to get to the school, and we were the last stop, so we didn't even have anytime to get into a conversation about anything before the bus arrived. We all filed off of it, in our little procession as usual, and then walked into the school. They had done a fuck of a good job plowing all of the walkway, All right, there was fucking snow everywhere. We finally pushed our way through the snow and arrived in the building, and I glanced on the wall at a poster as I walked by. It screamed:

ATTENTION!

THE SENIOR CLASS HAS FINALLY GOTTEN

ENOUGH FUNDS TO PUT TOGETHER A

CHORUS CLASS!

FIRST MEETING, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14,

AT 2:30 P.M.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

"Look, Stan!" Lily cried. "They're going to have a chorus! That is so cool! We have to do it..." We all walked to our first period class, which, for me, was French II. Lily also came with me to this class, and, as a matter of fact, so did Kyle and Izzy. So, we all had first period together.

"Bonjour, class," our teacher, Ms. Keating, said. "Ca va?"

"Ca va mal," said Izzy. "Je suis trés sommeil et je mal a la...uh...leg."

"Ah, zut alors! Comment fais-tu?"

"Eh...je fais du patin a glace, et je suis tumble..."

"Oh..." I looked over at Izzy.

"Must you have every conversation in French? We can speak English in this class, you know..." We learned about the verb depuis, and we did about a thousand activities on it. In essence, french class sucked my ass. The whole entire day sucked my ass, and the only time that I got to talk to anyone was at lunchtime, and even then we all didn't have the same lunch class. Lily, Kyle and I were all in the honors science class, and that meant we had to eat lunch with the middle school kids. Sucked to be us, but that meant that poor Izzy had to sit at a table all by herself, with other kids she wasn't really friends with. I grabbed my tray off the counter and slammed it down on the table. There was only one other person there, and, of course, it was probably the only kid in the school I didn't really like. His name is Kenny Mancuso, and he had to be the biggest asshole that I had ever met. Still, I tried to be nice to him.

"Hey Kenny," I said as I grabbed my pizza slice and shoved it in my mouth. "How's it goin'?"

"Shut up," he said gruffly and turned to his bagged lunch.

"Sorry..." I said meekly as Lily came over and sat right next to him, across from me.

"Hiya Kenny, what's going on?" she said sweetly. He glanced up from his lunch and gave her a half smile.

"All right, Lily...how's by you?"

"Everything's just dandy," she said, and then turned to me.

"Stan...I can't fucking even wait for the end of school...you have no fucking clue how cool this is going to be...I can't to meet our real mom and our real brother..." Kenny's head came up from his tuna sandwich.

"You guys know who your real parents are? Who are they?"

"No one I think you know," I replied tacitly, and then turned back to Lily. "I know exactly what you mean. I'm so excited..." Kyle sat right down next to me then.

"Hey, douchebag, Lily, Kenny," he said. I leaned over and slapped him without even thinking about it.

"Shut the fuck up," I replied, and Lily laughed.

"You guys are so damn immature...but Kyle! I want you to come with Stan and I to meet our parents...I want them to meet you. Izzy too." she said.

"Good idea!" I replied. "We can all meet after school, and then walk to the old Marsh mansion...and we can see our parents...err...mom.

'What happened to your dad?" Kenny asked. I lowered my eyes, and looked back up at him.

"He died a few months ago...so...we'll never get to know him..." I soberly finished the rest of my lunch and got up and placed the tray back on the counter, where one of the lunch ladies snapped it up. I walked back over to the table, and Lily grabbed my arm.

"Stan...don't feel sad...today after school, we're all going to be a family again...okay?" I nodded and rubbed my eye; it felt like there was a piece of sand in there.

The rest of the day sucked; it was dragged out way longer then it should have been. In band class, though, we learned how to play the Star Wars opening theme, and that happens to be my second favorite movie of all time, followed by the South Park movie of course. In Lily and I's last class of the day, we kept staring at the clock, trying hard to pay attention to Mr. Kitteridge's lecture about the Neolithic Revolution, but steadily losing interest. Finally, the bell rang, and Lily and I leapt out of our desks and ran out the door, and leapt down the step in the front of the school, and sat down on a bench, waiting for Kyle and Izzy to come out. Kyle came flying out of the school three seconds later, and Izzy was following him as fast as she could.

"Dammit, Kyle! Wait for me!" she cried. "Its not like I can grow wings and fly...jeez!" She made her way down the stairs and met up with the three of us, and then we started the short ten-minute walk to the Marsh mansion. None of us talked during the walk, we were all enraptured with our own thoughts. Finally, we could see the old house looming in the distance. I saw a light from inside where we all thought the kitchen to be, the first light that had lit that house in over fourteen years, and Lily and I started running towards it.

"Hey you guys!" Kyle called. "Wait for us!" He swung Izzy up onto his back and then started running after us. We arrived at the house fairly quickly, and then Lily and I stopped about ten feet away from the porch. Kyle almost ran right into us, and he let Izzy down from his back. Izzy came over and gave me a gentle nudge.

"Go on...what are you waiting for?" she said softly, and that got Lily and I moving. We slowly walked up to the door, and I raised the knocker, but hesitated.

"Just do it, Stan..." she said quietly, and I brought the knocker down.

Booooooooommmmmmm...

I heard a flurry of feet and saw the door open and then glimpsed into the face of my mother. She had long, brown hair, down to her waist, and these beautiful green eyes just like my own. She was clad in a very simple dress, and it was also green. She stared for a moment; an Lily and I stared right back. She then quickly reached own, and scooped us into her arms, and we held her, and she cried.

"Oh...Stanley...Lillian..." she sobbed as she slowly rocked us back and forth. "I have long waited for this day..." She held us both out at arms length, and stared at us for a few moments, and we said nothing.

"You're both so beautiful...you both have such vivid eyes...yours are just like mine, Stan..." I nodded.

"I saw that..." I said, and then leaned forward into her arms.

"I love you, Mom..." I said.

"Me too," Lily chipped in. She held us both tightly, and Kyle and Izzy looked on, embarrassed and not knowing what to say.

"I love you both," she said. "Welcome home."

Greg had brought over all of our stuff while we were at school, and we walked inside the house, Izzy and Kyle close on our heels, and stared in wonder.

"This is going to be where we live? Holy shit..." I said in wonder as I looked around the grand mansion. "You guys must be rich!" She laughed her tinkling laugh, and then said,

"Yes...I guess that you could say we are rich now, Stan..." Lily ran over and grabbed my arm, her eyes shining.

"Let's go see our room!" she said, and we ran up the stairs, with our mom close on our heels.

"This is it," she said, and opened the door. There was a huge waterbed bunk bed in the corner, and there were two different dressers, and all of our posters and all of our personal stuff was up all over the place. The thing that thrilled us both the most, though, was that the entire room had an South Park theme. Sheets, pillow cases, pillows, posters, all the tapes, everything! We even had our own TV and DVD player, and all the movies she thought we would like. South Park, Austin Powers 1 and 2, all the Monty Python and Mel Brooks movies. She then opened a door and there was our every own bathroom, also decorated with the South Park theme.

"Holy shit!" Lily said. 'Come look in the corner, Stan! We have our own computers!" I ran over and gasped. In the corner were two brand new computers, internet ready, with their own separate phone lines and everything. I looked around in wonder. This was a dream room! All of he sudden, though, I remembered that we had left poor Kyle and Izzy downstairs all by themselves, and I grabbed Mom's arm.

"Mom! Mom!" I said. "We have some friends that we want you to meet downstairs!" I said, and then we all ran as fast as we could down the stairs, and found Kyle and Izzy, sitting on the couch watching TV.

"Mom, this is Kyle, my very best friend in the entire world, and Lily's boyfriend, and this is Izzy, Lily's very best friend in the entire world and my girlfriend. You guys, this is our Mom, Wendy Marsh." Izzy held out her hand.

'Nice to meet you, Mrs. Marsh," she said, and Mom grabbed her hand and shook it warmly.

"Call me Wendy, please," she said. "Nice to meet you." Kyle held out his hand next, and he kneeled and kissed it.

"It is a pleasure to be aquatinted with a person as beautiful and as well liked as you, Wendy," he said, and then got up off the ground. She laughed.

"Pleased to meet you too, Mr. Kyle...?"

"Benedict, madam," he said. 'Mr. Kyle Matthew Benedict...and this is Isabelle Noelle Palmer..." I felt someone tap my shoulder, and then I turned around. Behind me, there was a teenager of about seventeen standing there, with short, fine blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was dressed in a pair of JNCO pants, and an Old Navy shirt, and was slowly twirling his necklace.

"Hey Stan...Lily..." he said. "I don't think you guys remember me...I'm your big brother...Leo..." I ran over to him and gave him a hug.

"Hey Leo!" I said, and clutched him tightly. "How are you?"

"All right," he said, his eyes shining with tears. "You have no idea how much I've missed you guys..." Lily came over then and joined the hug.

"Leo..." she said. "I've always wanted another sibling beside moron next to us; it's great to know that I have one." Our mom came over and then joined the hug, and then, for the hell of it, so did Izzy and Kyle, and we were all one big happy family, just like the entire state of West Virginia. After a minute or two, we released each other, and Lily and I ran upstairs and began unpacking our things. Lily turned to me, her eyes gleaming with tears.

"Stan..." she said, her voice cracking. "I'm so happy...I'm so happy..." The last so happy was barely a whisper, and she came over and I gave her a hug. Tears were now freely running down her face, and they were staining my shirt. I played around with her hair, twirling one of the fine, blonde strands around my finger, and with my other hand, I patted her back. Kyle and Izzy were staring from the doorway, but neither of us knew that they were there.

"I'm happy too, Lily...now we can be a family again..." I started stroking her hair, and smoothing it out of her eyes. She looked up at me.

"Lily, you have the prettiest eyes..." I said. "They look...like violets. I like them." She slowly smiled.

"Really?" she said. "You like them...my eyes? Thanks Stan...that was probably the best thing you have ever said to me..." She wrapped her arms around me like a clamp, and she began to crush my lungs.

"No matter where we go," she said.

"There we are," I finished. I had also seen the second Austin Powers movie.

"I love you, Stan," she said.

"I love you too, Lily," There was applause, and we both turned around, and Kyle and Izzy were standing there.

"Now, for the prolonged french kiss...?" Izzy said. I winked at Lily and then whispered in her ear,

"Let's fake it." She nodded slightly, and she leaned over, and it actually looked like we were frenching each other. Both Kyle and Izzy's eyes grew wide with terror, and Kyle came over and pushed us apart.

"Okay...you two...Izzy didn't mean it..." We started to laugh hysterically.

"Dude...Kyle..." I said, between gasps for air. "We...we faked it. We didn't even...fucking...kiss each other!" Kyle looked over at Izzy, and then they both shook their heads.

"Sure you faked it," Izzy said. 'There was love in that kiss..." I went over to Lily and slung my arm around her.

"Oh yeah, Lily and I practice incest all the time, don't we, my petite?" She giggled and leaned her head on my shoulder.

"Of course, beefcake. I could never have sex with another man..." We all stared at her.

"Beefcake?" I said. "BEEEEEEEEEFCAAAAAAAAAKE! YOU MUST RESPECT MY AUTHORI-TIE!" All of us started to laugh.

"Cartman is such an asshole," Kyle said. "He always makes fun of poor Kenny." Suddenly, a thought struck my head.

"You guys! You all know Jacob, right? The new kid that we made friends with?"

'Yeah!" said Lily. "I think he's kinda cute..."

"Me too!" Izzy said. I turned to Kyle.

"Our womens our leaving us," I said, and then we all laughed again. "But anyway, I asked him what his last name was, and guess what it is?"

"Smith!" said Kyle.

"No, you dip-shit, not Smith," I replied.

"Jackson?"

"Dion!"

"No! Do you want me to tell you?"

"No, you fucking idiot, we want to sit here and fucking guess all day," Lily said. "Just fucking tell us!"

"All right then," I said. "Cartman." They all stared at me.

"No shit? His last name is Cartman? Cool!" said Izzy.

"I propose the we all call him Cartman from now on. And then we try to make friends with Kenny Mancuso...Lily, he seems to like you, why don't you invite him over sometime?" She shrugged.

"Because I thought he hated you and Kyle," she said.

"Well, I say that the four of us guys get to be friends, and then we can all be the same as all the people on South Park." There was silence as this idea turned through everyone's brains.

"That would be sweeet!" exclaimed Kyle. "And then, whenever we got mad at Kenny, we could just kill him!"

"Yeah!" I said. "And you're Jewish, right Kyle?"

"Yup...but, so are you...in fact...I think we all might be Jewish...Izzy?"

"No. I celebrate Christmas," she said.

"Oh...well then...you must not be cool enough to celebrate Chanukah...I'm just kidding Izzy," I said, when I saw her face. I walked over and gave her a hug. "Just foolin' witcha..." She placed her arms around me.

"You're such an asshole, Stan..." she said. "You fuckin' Jew..." We all started to laugh, because she said the last line just like Cartman. Then, Kyle, Lily and I pretended to be offended.

"How dare you slander me because I am Jewish, you white-trash home boy!" Lily said. "You need to learn how to watch your mother fuckin' mouth!" That just cracked me up, and I fell on the floor I was laughing so hard. Izzy came over and kicked me with her cast, and then she called, "Kick him while he's down! Kick him while he's down!" Immediately the other two rushed over and began kicking me.

"Ow!" I said. "You guys, that really does fucking hurt! Ow! Mother fucker!" I got up off the ground and sat on the bed, and then we got back to the task of putting all of our stuff away. Later that night, Izzy and Kyle had to go home, and Lily and I had our first real dinner with our family. We ate roast beast, and it was very yummy.

"So, what do you guys want for Christmas?" Mom asked as she was dishing out food. Lily and I looked at each other.

"...Christmas?" I said. "Uh...aren't we Jewish? We always celebrated Chanukah..." She was silent for a moment, and then she said,

"You guys were raised with a...Jewish family? Oh dear...well, you two, we celebrate Christmas, so you are going to have to convert!" she said and handed me my plate.

"What?" Lily and I both said. "How the hell do we convert? We've never had to do this before," Lily said.

"Well, you both going to become nice Catholics, and believe in Jesus as the Son of God..."

"Oh, dammit!" I said. "This is going to suck..." I dug into my plate and started eating. I was starving, and from the looks of it, so was Lily.

"This is very yummy," I said, changing the subject. "I like roast beast." They all started to laugh.

"Roast beast?" Lily said. "Alright then, Stan...I always knew you were weird..." Leo turned to me.

"What sports do you play, Stan?" I shrugged.

"I didn't make the football team, but I've always been pretty good a baseball, I think I'm going to try for that in the spring..."

"No basketball?" he said. I shook my head.

"I couldn't shoot even if a million dollars was on the line," I replied. "I hate that sport."

"Oh..." Leo said. "I was our basketball team's star player...I was wondering if any of that transferred into you...how bout you, Lily?"

"I play basketball, and softball," she said. "They wouldn't let me try out for the football team. Communist, Nazi bastards..." Leo laughed.

"How many points do you average a game, Lily?" he asked.

"About twenty...on good days." He raised an eyebrow.

"I bet you could make Varsity with a point average like that..." he said. Then, he asked, "What's your favorite TV show?"

"South Park," Lily and I both said at the same time, and then laughed.

"I like Kenny the best!" said Lily.

"Nuh-uh, Stan's better," I said.

"That's just because you have the same name as him!" she retorted. "Kenny is definitely better!"

"Stan."

"Kenny."

"Stan!"

"Kenny!"

"Lily you know that Stan is better, admit it!" I said.

"Well, then, if Stan is so cool, then why does he puke on Wendy?"

"Because he's nervous, and if Kenny is so cool, the why does he always die?"

"Because he's poor!"

"But it's not cool to be poor!"

"Oh, shut up, Stan," she said.

"Shut up, Lily," I replied.

"Go fuck yourself, asshole," she said.

"Blow meeeeeee," I replied. Both Mom and Leo started to laugh.

"You guys are so immature," Leo said. "We all know that Cartman is the best!" We both stared at him.

"How dare you slander us!" Lily said. "How can you say that that fat racist piece of annoying shit is the coolest South Park character!"

"Yeah!" I cried. "He's so fucking dumb!"

"Nuh-uh!" Leo said. "Cartman's wicked funny! Cleeeeek!"

"Well, one time, about eight months ago, I saw two guys kissing by Stark's pond. And that was the gayest thing I had ever seen until I saw the Kiss 102.3's Halloween Haunt. See, Stan's better!" Lily slapped her hand over her mouth. I prompted her with a line of Chef's.

"Well, you know what they say about women with long arms..."

"Yeah, they can always finger their pussy!" she said like Kenny. She took her hand off her mouth. "See, Kenny is definitely the best!" Mom spoke up then.

"Well, I just happen to like Kyle the best," she said, and then started to sing. "It's hard to be a Jew...on Christmas..." Lily and I started in with her here. "My friends won't let me join in any games..." Leo started to sing then. "And I can't sing Christmas songs or decorate a Christmas tree, or leave water out for Rudolph cause there's something wrong with me! My people don't believe in Jesus Christ divinity! I'm a Jew, a lonely Jew, on Christmas!" We sang, and Lily and I looked at each other.

"We always would sing this song on Christmas..." I said. "When all of our friends would be opening their Christmas presents, Lily, Kyle and I would roam the town, singing the 'I'm a Jew' song at the top of our voices. People would throw things at us...but it was well worth it." Lily nodded her head.

"We're going to have to do it again this year," she said. Mom and Leo looked at each other, and then back at us.

"You guys...this year you are going to have a Christmas tree! You aren't going to have to sing the I'm a Jew song, cause you're going to be Catholic!" Lily and I looked at each other.

"But, I don't want to be a Catholic!" Lily said.

"Yeah, me either!" I cried. "Can't you guys convert, and we all celebrate Chanukah?" Mom sighed.

"You guys...we aren't going to convert...and you are going to have to. That's final," she said, and the changed the subject. "So, what classes are you two taking?"

"Well, Lily and I have the same schedule, so we both are taking the same classes...so..."

"We have French II first period, and then Geometry, and then we both have a study hall, then honors science, and then lunch with all the friggin' middle school kids, and then honors history, and then honors English, and then gym class." Lily said. Mom raised an eyebrow.

"You have all honors classes? Wow...what kind of grades do you get?"

"A's," Lily said.

"A's and B's," I replied. "I hate History." They all laughed.

"I do really bad in school," Leo said. "Straight C's, and then only time I manage to get straight C's is during the basketball season, so they can't kick me off the team. I wish I got those kind of grades..." I patted his shoulder.

'There, there. There, there." Everyone laughed again. "Not all people are geniuses like...Lily," I said, and she slapped me.

"Oh shut up Stan," she replied. "Flattery will get you nowhere..." Dinner ended then, after about twelve servings of roast beast, I was stuffed. Lily and I helped with the dishes, and then we ran upstairs to our room, Lily and I ran to the closet. I beat her by a fraction of an inch, an she pushed me right into and, and then held the door shut.

"Hey, let me out, bitch!" I cried. She was laughing so hard she could barely hold the door shut, but she managed.

"That's what you get for trying to be first, Stanley Craig Marsh!" I slammed my whole weight against the door, and pushed it open, and fell right on top of Lily.

"Look who's holding who now, Lily!" I cried, laughing. She rolled over on top of me, and then we rolled around on the ground, and threw fake punches at each other.

'Gotcha that time, asshole!" Lily cried gleefully as I pushed her down under me, and pretended to smash her face in.

"You would be dead, Lillian Catherine Marsh!" I gasped, and, after another five minutes of wrestling, we were exhausted. We sat on the ground of our room, trying to catch our breath, and laughing so hard that that made the before impossible. After we finally composed ourselves, she leaned over and placed her head on my shoulder.

"What the hell do you think your doing?" I asked playfully. She turned to me, and stared for a second. You could always tell Lily's emotions by her eyes. Even if she acted like she was happy, you could tell by looking in her eyes that she was sad. Well, at least I could. Maybe being her twin had something to do with it, but I could always tell when Lily was sad. This is how it was now.

"What's wrong, Lily?" I asked, placing an arm around her shoulder. She looked at me, and now I could also tell by her facial expression that she was sad.

"How did you know that I was sad, Stan...you can always tell..."

"Lily, you can always tell when I'm sad, too," I replied. "I think it may be because we're so close to each other..." She got a half smile on her face.

"Who said I was close to you?" she said, but I knew she was only kidding. She grabbed one of my hands, and hers were really cold.

'I'm afraid of the ganglies..." she said. "Remember what Raydin did? He got the evil smile on his face when he let us come back? I'm afraid he might have something planned for us..." She almost started to cry.

"Stan...why are we so bad?" she asked, her eyes wide with fear. "Why are we always in trouble with the ganglies? Why?" I suddenly thought of Yotati, and what she had said before.

"Lily..." I said. "Not all of the ganglies are mean! The one who took me down to the Dungeon was named Yotati...and she told me a story about herself...she had a twin brother, and he was killed by Raydin because he didn't want to torture a little girl anymore..."

"Oh...that's terrible!" she said. "I don't know what I would do if you died..."

"Well, anyway, you know who the girl was?" She shook her head.

"It was you." Lily's eyes grew wide.

"Me?" she said, and then remembered. "Oh no, I remember...what was his name...his name was Gangyoké...he came to me when I was sleeping, and he said that no one would hurt me anymore...but the Raydin came and vaporized him. All I heard in the background was a ganglie...screaming...it scared me. It kept saying, "GANGYOKÉ NOOOO! YOU...BASTARD RAYDIN! I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!" Then it was dragged away, and there was only silence. And now...I remember the ganglie that took me away to the Dungeon...her name was Kia...and she was Gangyoké's girl. She had an twin brother...what was his name again...oh yeah! His name was Potar...but Raydin killed him because he was insolent...he kept sticking up for a nice boy that he had met before...and guess who it was.

"Me?"

"No, but someone close to you," she said. "It was Kyle." I lowered my head, and a single tear trickled down my cheek. I turned away from Lily. I hated to cry, but I hated to cry even more in front of Lily. She knew I was crying anyway, and she turned my head over so I was facing her.

"It's all right, Stan...let it out," she said, and I did. I must have cried there, my face in her shirt, for fifteen minutes.

"I'm afraid to go to sleep," I sobbed. "I'm afraid that one day, they're going to kill me, too... just like they killed those poor ganglies siblings..." Suddenly, a thought ran through my brain.

"Lily!" She jumped.

"Holy shit...yeah, Stan?"

"Did you notice that all of the ganglies that have died down there have been someone's twin? What if that means he's out for..."

"No Stan...that is not true!" she cried. "That is not fucking true! That can't be true..." She started to sob. "That...can't..." I put my arms around her, and it was my turn to do the comforting.

"I'm sorry I brought it up...Lily," I said softly, brushing her hair out her eyes. "Shh, I'm sorry. He's not out to kill us just because we're twins..." That's not really what I thought, though, but it calmed her down, and we got into bed. She dropped off immediately, but I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking, What if he is out to kill one of us just so he can break the "bond"?

The idea of the bond has always intrigued me, the idea that twins could read each other's minds and sense when one another was in pain or hurting was one that I could never really quite let go of. It seemed true with Lily and I, at least. Every time she was scared, evry time she was sad, every time she was happy so was I. We said things for each other all the time and no one else never really knew why. But I did. It was the so-called, "bond", I was sure of it. I never told anyone about my idea of the bond, not even Lily, but, if it was true, then she probably already had an idea about it. I rolled over in the bed and closed my eyes, and tried to think happy thoughts. I thought about Izzy, I thought about Mom, I thought about our new home. Most of all, I thought about Lily, and I drifted off to sleep.

Neither of us were cursed with the ganglies that night. Lily leapt out of the bed never feeling happier in her life, and I was feeling pretty chipper myself. She pulled me out of the bed when she woke up, and I stared at her through half-closed eyes.

"What the hell are you so happy about this morning, Lily?" I asked sleepily, just as I hit the floor. "Ow!"

"They didn't come for me last night, Stan," she said, her eyes shining. "They left me the fuck alone and I'm fucking glad of it. Let them kill all the ganglies they want down there, but they are not killing me, and they are not killing you," she said, and dragged me off the floor. "Get dressed," she said. "We have to go eat breakfast." I groaned as I went through the closet for my clothes, and for the first time I noticed that there was a bunch of new clothes in there. I pulled out a pair of pajamas. They had little pictures of Stan on them. I pulled them out and showed them to Lily.

"Take a look at these," I said, and held them up. I pulled her pair out of the closet. They were the same, only she had little pictures of Kenny on hers. She held them to her body.

"Oh these are soooo cute!" she said. "I love them so much! She rooted through the closet for something to wear, and she found a whole bunch of new clothes. She pulled out a pair of JNCO pants and a cute Kenny tank top.

"I am definitely wearing this," she said. I shook my head as I pulled out a sweatshirt and another pair of JNCO jeans.

"You scare me, Lily," I said as I went into the bathroom to change. I pulled on my clothes, and then Lily and I ran downstairs for our breakfast. I glanced at the calendar in the kitchen. December 4, the first day of Chanukah. I pointed this out to Lily before we sat down to our breakfast. She sighed as she stirred her cereal around, slopping milk all over the table.

"Well, maybe we can go to Kyle's house and celebrate with him tonight..." she said. I visibly brightened as I dug into my cereal.

"Great idea, Lily!" I said through a mouthful of Cocoa Puffs. "We'll go right after school!" Mom and Leo came down the stairs almost at the same time, and Leo careened into the kitchen and ran right over to the stove and began cooking eggs. Mom smile at us warmly as she sat down with a cup of coffee.

"Oh, good morning, you two," she said. "How did you sleep?"

"Great," Lily said. "Mom? Can we go to Kyle's after school for dinner? He really wants us to come..." She smiled.

"Of course you can," she said, and then glanced at the clock. "You guys better be going soon, you have a bus to catch!" I ran upstairs and rummaged through my drawer. After a minute I pulled out two small boxes all wrapped up, and tucked them into my backpack, and then ran downstairs.

"Come on, Lily! Let's go!" I cried as I ran out the door.

"I forgot something, Stan, wait a sec!" I heard her run up the stairs, and then, after a minute, I heard her bound back down them and fly out the door. She grabbed my arm and almost dragged me to the bus stop. Kyle was already there, waiting for us, and I saw Izzy coming down the road.

"Kyle!" said Lily joyously. "Happy Chanukah!" She gave him a hug, and he hugged her back.

"I got you a present," Lily and I said at the same time. We looked at each other, and then laughed. Lily handed hers to Kyle first, and he opened it. I already knew what it was; I was with her when she went shopping for it. It was a small, beautifully made pocket watch that Lily had saved up her money for months to buy.

"Wow...Lily," he said. "This is really nice..." He gave her a hug, and then kissed her forehead. "Thanks." I held out my present.

"You're going to be disappointed with mine after that, but oh well, happy Chanukah anyway," I said. He opened it, and inside was the DVD version of the South Park movie and the soundtrack. I knew Kyle had wanted both of those, and he was obviously pleased.

"Get the meaningful gifts from Lily, get the cool stuff from Stan," he said. "Thanks, dude. You knew I wanted both of these..." He held out a box in both hands, one for me, and one for Lily. "Here you guys are...it's nothing special, but I thought you would like it..." I opened my box. Inside was a stuffed talking Stan, something I didn't have yet. I pressed his hand.

'Shut up, fat ass!" the stuffed Stan told me. I started cracking up.

"Thanks, Kyle! This is sweeet!" Lily started squealing when she opened her box.

"Kyle, this is such a beautiful necklace! Holy shit...where did you get it?" He smiled a secret smile and then shrugged.

"I don't quite remember Lily...sorry," he said. She ran over and gave him a huge hug. "Thank you soooo much, Kyle...you're a sweetheart!" I rummaged through my bag, and then held out my gift for Lily.

"Here..." I said. "I hope you like it..." She handed me my present and then slowly unwrapped hers. It was a hand held mirror, and around the edge it said, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?' I also had gotten it personalized so it read, 'Lily' at the bottom. She ran over and gave me a hug.

"Stan, this is the best present that you have ever gotten me...thank you. You're the best brother that anyone could have..."

"Nah...Lily, I'm sure they are better brothers then me..." She hugged me tighter.

"Stan, if I had the choice between Adam Sandler and you as my brother, I would pick you. I love you, Stan."

"I...I love you too, Lily,' I said. "Now I have to open your present." I opened it and inside there was a framed picture of me and her acting silly as usual, and there was note attached. Actually, it was more like a poem. It read:

stan,

my brother, my twin,

myself.

the other half of me,

who will always be a part

please, never forget your sister,

keep her in your heart.

I love you.

love, Lily /\/\(..)/\/\

I gave her a hug after I was done.

"Lily...that is the sweetest thing I have ever read. You're a really good poem writer...it really makes you think. Thanks, sis. That was nice." I placed my presents in my backpack with care just as Izzy came up behind me.

"Hey douchebag, happy fucking Chanukah!" she said. "How the fuck are ya? Really, that's great, here's a present." She shoved it into my arms, and then stood there and waited for me to open it.

"Well, somebody's a bit impatient today aren't they?" I said as I opened it. I laughed hysterically as I pulled it out of it's wrapping. It was one of those fat guys that when you squeezed a thing, they would drop their pants.

"Jesus, I love you, Izzy," I said as I gave her a kiss. "That was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Thanks." She smiled and then gave me a hug.

"I'm glad to hear it, Stanley," she said just as the bus arrived. As we got on the bus, I told Lily that I was going to sit with Kyle today, an she got all pouty, but it was all an act. I turned to him as we were sitting down.

"Guess fucking what" I said as soon as we were situated.

"What?" he asked.

"Our real mom's not Jewish." He raised an eyebrow.

"So...what does that mean?" he asked.

"She wants us to convert and celebrate Christmas...and we don't have a choice." I said. "Lily and I want to come to your house tonight for the first night of Chanukah...please? This is the last time that we will be able to practice what we believe..."

"Sure dude," Kyle replied. "My parents love you two. They always ask, 'When are Lily and Stan coming over? Such nice little kids...'" I started to laugh, and then quickly hugged him before anyone saw me.

"Thanks man," I said. "You're the best."

"No problem," he said. "You would have done the same for me, so why not do it first?"

School today was a bore, as usual, but lunchtime at least had some good things happen. Jacob Cartman, the new kid, sat at our table, along with Kenny Mancuso, Terrance Killinger, and Paulette Dyer, with Lily, Kyle and I. Jacob sat next to me, slightly confused. This was only his second day here, and he was still trying to get to be friends with everyone.

"Hey, Cartman," I said as he sat down. He looked at me strange.

"Hey...Marsh..." he said. "Don't call me by my last name, please, Stan. I hate that more then anything. Kids at my other school would do it all the time, and it bothered the piss out of me.

"Well, dude, you do have the same last name as the fat kid on South Park..."

"South Park? What the hell is that? That's what everyone in my other school said, and I would have no idea what the fuck they were talking about." Lily, Kenny, Kyle and I all stared at him like he was from another planet.

"South Park." I said. "You've never heard of South Park? The best fucking show on the planet? Holy shit! Jacob, you have a lot to fucking learn, dearie. Come to our house after school on Friday. You too Kyle. And Kenny. And Lily." She laughed.

"Oh, thanks for inviting me, Stan, you asshole," she said. "Considering it is my house too, you know." Kenny stared at me strange.

"I always thought you hated me, Stan," he said with a mouthful of pizza.

"No, Kenny, no, I never hated you...I was the one who thought you hated me!" We both laughed, and then he held his hand across the table.

'Friends?" he asked. Hand met hand and we shook on it.

"Friends."

After school that day, Lily, Kyle and I all walked to Kyle's house. His parents met us at the door, and Mrs. Benedict was holding Ike, Kyle's adopted brother.

"Kyle! Wiwy! Stany!" Ike gurgled. He reached his chubby arms out to give me a hug, and I picked him up

"How are ya, big guy?" I asked. 'Man, you have gotten so big, Ike!"

"Big Ike," he said, and we all laughed. Mr. Benedict held the door, and we all walked in.

'How are you two?" he asked. 'I haven't seen you guys in a very long time...and by the way, happy Chanukah."

"We've been okay," I said.

"Happy Chanukah to you, too," Lily said.

"We found out who are real parents are," I said. Kyle's parents smiles reached from ear to ear, and they leaned down and took Lily and I into their arms.

"That's wonderful news, boobies," Mrs. Benedict said. "I am so glad that Mrs. Marsh has finally found you guys...we didn't know that you were hers until after they had left, and we didn't know their address...oh, how's old Mr. Marsh doing? You were named after him, you know, little Stanley..." I lowered my head, and Lily's eyes got sad. Both of their eyes softened, and they sat us down.

'Oh, I'm sorry dears," said Mrs. Benedict. "I'm sorry that you never got to know your father...he was such a nice man..." She held both of us tightly, and then I realized that all of this time, Kyle's family had seemed more like a family then our own. I turned to the both of them.

"Sam...Kelly...thank you so much for being there for Lily and I during the time that we were confused...thanks for being there for us..." I said. They patted both of our heads.

"Not to mention it, Stanley and Lillian Marsh," Sam said. "You've always been like other kids...you were constantly with Kyle...and he was constantly with you. You were all like a set of triplets, you were. People would ask me if you were all triplets...but I would have to say no, but that you two were the nicest pair of twins I had ever seen..." I started to laugh a little.

"People thought Kyle, Lily and I were triplets? None of us look anything like each other..." Kelly laughed.

"Oh Stan...you should see you and Lily stand next to each other. Sure, you have different colored hair, and different colored eyes, but your faces are both almost exactly the same. I grabbed Lily's arm and dragged her over to the full-length mirror that the Benedicts had in their hall. We both looked for a long time. She was right. Lily an I had almost the exact same facial shape and we had the same smile. It was then gentle, curving, contoured smile not on of those types the covers your entire face.

"We do look alike, Stan," she said. "Put on a blonde wig, get purple contacts and grow some tits, and you could be my identical twin sister!" I started to laugh hysterically.

"Nuh-uh, Lily, it would be you who would be changing," I said, giggling. "Get a deeper voice, loses them boobs, chop off your hair and dye it brown and ditch them purple eyes for some nice green ones and you would be my identical twin brother!" She started to laugh to, and we both stood there laughing by the mirror. Sam, Kelly, Kyle and Ike looked on from out in the living room. Sam and Kelly looked at each other, with a sad smile on each of their faces.

"Oh...if only they knew..." Sam said and turned away. Kelly placed her hand on his shoulder, and they walked out into the kitchen to start preparing dinner. Kyle came out holding Ike, and he handed him over to me and grabbed Lily and they walked out the door.

"Hey, where are you guys going?" I asked.

"For a walk," Kyle yelled back. "Watch Ike for me!" I sighed and turned to Ike.

"Okay, big guy," I said. "Let find out who's the biggest."

I let Ike win. He was joyously happy over his victory, and we toddled as fast as his legs could carry him out into the kitchen where his parents were.

"Mom, Dad!" Ike screeched. "I beat up Stany! I won!" Kelly picked him up, and patted his head.

"Well, doesn't that make you a special boy?" Kelly said. "Way to go, Ike!" She turned to me. "Where did Lily and Kyle go?"

"Wiwy and Kyle go?" Ike parroted.

"They went for a walk...guess they didn't want me to come along," I said. Kelly saw my face and patted my shoulder.

"Aw...don't feel bad, Stan," she said. "You know that they are going out for that girlfriend/boyfriend...bonding?"

"Yeah...I know..." I changed the subject. "Kelly...you know that our real mom isn't Jewish...and she's making us convert to Catholicism...but the thing is that Lily and I don't want to...but we don't have a choice. This is the last Chanukah we can celebrate...so please, make it special." Her hand came down onto my shoulder as she stood by the stove, cooking dinner.

"Stanley," she said. "Wendy may make you a Catholic, but remember, you are always a Jew at heart..." I smiled and leaned over and gave her a hug.

'Thanks, Kelly," I said. "I'll remember that for as long as I live."

Ike and I played some more, and once again I kept letting him win until Lily and Kyle came back.

"Hey..." I said. "Thanks for leaving more here with Ike all this time..." I wasn't being serious though, I didn't mind that I had to be stuck playing with a two year old for an hour. Lily and Kyle deserved their own time together, and I respected that.

Dinner was wonderful. There was an abundance of meat, potatoes and matzo, the famous Jewish flat bread. Well...its actually unleavened bread, but it's the same thing. It was great, and afterwards, Lily and I had to go home. Sam and Kelly walked us to the door as Kyle started the dishes.

"Goodbye you guys..." Kelly said, and slipped something into my hand. I looked down, and tears prickled my eyes as I saw it. It was a handmade dreidel, and I slipped it into my pocket.

"We thought that you and your sister might like playing that tonight...have fun," she said.

"Be good, mon petits," Sam said as we started walking home.

"Bye Sam! Bye Kelly! Bye Kyle! Bye Ike!" Lily called over her shoulder as we walked further down the road. We got to our house before we could even started another conversation, Kyle only lived three houses down the road from us. As we walked in the door, we were greeted by a slew of Christmas decorations. And, to our great surprise, there was a Christmas tree in the corner. Mom came out of the kitchen and noticed us staring.

"Well, what do you think?" she asked.

"It's...pretty," Lily said. "I never knew that Christmas trees were so pretty..." I walked over and rubbed my hand along the rough needles. I plucked off a branch and smelled it. It smelled like on of those Yankee Candles that Cindy used to have in the other house. It smelled nice.

"Look at all the pretty ornaments!" I said, and Lily ran over. We both ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the various shapes and styles there were, until I saw a very simple one in the back. It was a silver stocking, and engraved on it, was Stanley Craig Marsh, Jr. October 31, 1984. Baby's first Christmas, 1984. I saw another one that had the same thing written on it, only it was Lily's. I pulled them off the tree and held them out to her.

"Look," I said softly. "We have our own ornaments..." She held hers in her hands, and turned it over, so that all the parts of the faded silver gleamed in the light.

"It's so...beautiful," Lily said, awed. Mom smiled down as we held our own treasured ornaments.

"I'm glad you like them..." she said. "It was four months after that that you were stolen..."

"What day was it, exactly?" I asked.

"April 4," she said. "It was April 4..."

"What was Dad like?" Lily asked suddenly. "What did he look like? What did he sound like? Was he nice, or was he mean? Who was he?" Mom smiled sadly and walked over to where we kept the TV. She rooted through the cabinets for a while, and then she pulled out a tape. I glanced at what the tape read before she pushed it into to the VCR. "For Lily and Stan, if we ever find them." The three of us sat down on the couch, and a kindly, but obviously sick looking man came up on the screen.

"Wendy, if you are watching this, it means that you have found our babies..." he said. "Lily and Stan...my babies...my twin angels...oh, how I have missed you so. I knew that, when I got sick with this damn cancer..." He coughed, and then continued. "That I would never get to see your faces ever again. I know that I am never even going to leave the hospital ever again. Yes...these are my dying moments...but don't feel bad for me, young ones! Don't! I am going to be happy when I get my just rewards with God and Jesus in Heaven...and so will you two, one day. Don't feel bad for the father you never knew...but, be happy for me, children. I am dying now...pray for me. Oh, I love you two so much..." He began to gasp for breath, and then the film ended. Wendy got up and turned off the TV.

"He died ten minutes later," she said. "Those were the last words he said...he was too weak to have made a better video...but, that's who your father is..." I was struck with unbearable grief and Lily's eyes were shining with tears, but neither of us were crying...yet. Lily leaned over to me, surprisingly, and not Mom.

"Stan, hold me..." she said. I put my arms around her and she buried her face in my shirt and cried. I glanced over at Mom, and she looked hurt that Lily hadn't gone to her for comfort. I couldn't blame Lily, though. In all fifteen years we had lived with Cindy and Greg, no one was there for her except for me, and likewise for me. We were used to supporting each other.

"It's all right, Lily," I said. "Everything's all right now..." I rubbed her back as continued crying all over me. She wrapped her arms around me tighter.

"Oh man...Stan," she said. "I have been one big jumble of hormones lately..." I laughed a little, and so did she. She lifted her head off my shirt and looked at the big, wet spot her tears had made on it.

"Oh...sorry, Stan..." she said, a trifle embarrassed. I rubbed her hair, as she was about to stand up.

"It's all right, sis," I said. "Just make sure it never happens again." She laughed and then pushed me off the couch and pinned me down on the floor.

"What was God thinking when He made you?" she asked. "You have to be the most fucked up kid that I know!" She hugged me tight to her as she helped me off the ground. She leaned over and whispered in my ear.

"Thanks for the best Chanukah present ever, Stanley," she said. "I love it."

"You too, Lily," I replied in her ear. "That poem was really nice." She grabbed my arm, and dragged me towards the staircase.

"Come on! Let's go to bed," she said, and stopped before Mom.

"Goodnight, Mom," she said, and gave her a hug.

"Goodnight, Lily," she said sadly. I went over to her and gave her an extra long hug.

"'Night, Mom," I said. She rubbed her fingers through my hair.

"Goodnight, Stan," she said softly. "Have a nice sleep."

"You too," I said and then followed Lily up the stairs. We both got into our pajamas, and I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

The alarm clock blared noisily in my ear, and I leapt out of bed, and landed with a horrible thump on the ground.

"Ow..." I said and rubbed my head as I got off the floor. Lily looked down with half closed eyes from the top bunk.

"Good morning, clumsy," she said. "How are you this fine, fair morning?"

"All right, smart-ass," I replied. "All-friggin-right. How are you?" Lily was beaming ear to ear.

"They left us alone for two nights in a row, Stan!" she said. "They left us alone...and I'm starting to think that maybe they are going to leave us alone for good. That would be great..." Alas, little did we know that this would be our last happy day for a long time. We bounded down the stairs and skidded into the kitchen after we had dressed for breakfast. This morning we had waffles and bacon. After we ate, Lily and I grabbed our stuff and ran out the door to the bus stop. To our surprise, we were there before Kyle today, but I could see Izzy from up the road. I turned to Lily.

"I wonder where Kyle is?" I asked. She shrugged.

"I dunno," she replied. "Sick, maybe," I nodded. That's probably here he was...sick. Izzy came right up from behind me and pinched my ass.

"OW!" I cried. "What the hell was that?" Izzy stared laughing hysterically, along with Lily.

"Holy shit, Stan, you should have seen your face! It was so fucking funny," she cried as she gave me a hug. "How are ya?"

"All right, I guess. I slept very well last night...how 'bout you?" She nodded.

"I'm all right...just tired," she said. 'It's hard for me to sleep with this fucking cast on my leg..." I patted her shoulder and gave her my famous sympathetic glance.

"I'm sorry, Izzy..." I said. "Is there anything that I can do?"

"Yeah, you can use your magic and make it go the fuck away..." I waved my arms overhear leg and said,

"Uh...go away...by the power of...uh...Stan..." She started to laugh hysterically, and kissed my nose.

'You are such a goofball, Stanley Marsh," she said. I raised an eyebrow.

"Goofball?" I said. 'Wasn't that term extinct in the...seventies?" She laughed, and then pushed me.

"Shut up, Nineties Boy," she said. 'Do I need to talk in jive for you to understand? Yo, I gotta bust a cap down on the West side cuz my brudda slapped me some G's to do this other brudda in, gotcha?" I just stared at her strange as the bus pulled up.

"You're fucked up, Izzy," I said as we got on the bus.

It was strange not having Kyle there with me through all of my classes, and, having only Lily to talk to, I was getting mighty bored with myself. At lunchtime, though, there were at least some different people there for me to talk to. When Kenny saw that Kyle wasn't at school, he slid his tray over to sit next to me.

"Hey Kenny," I said as I dug into my salad. "What's going on? Still coming to my house Friday?"

"Sure as hell am," he said through a mouthful of cheeseburger. "Wouldn't miss the all-night South Park marathon for the world." I laughed.

"It would be more then all night...it would be all the next day and part of the next night too, marathon." Kenny cocked his head to the side.

"Really? Shit...do you have every episode or something?"

"All of them and the movie," I replied. Kenny shook his head with admiration.

"Damn, Stan," he said just as Jacob sat down on the other side from me, and Lily sat down across from him.

"Hey-ya, Stan," he said. "Hey Kenny, hey Lily. Where's Kyle?" I shrugged.

"I guess he's home sick or something," I replied. "What have you been up to, Cart...I mean Jacob?"

"You guys don't have to call me Jacob, you know," he said. "You can call me Jake. And I'm all right...are you still inviting me over to your house on Friday?"

'Yup," I said. "Wouldn't want you to miss it." I looked over at Lily. She was being awfully quiet today, and she wasn't eating much.

"What's the matter?" I asked her. She looked up, and then sighed and looked back down at her tray.

"I don't know, Stan," she said. "I just have a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen, that's all."

"Oh, nothing bad is going to happen, Lily, and you know it! It's just bad feelings, that's all. Nothing bad is going to happen!" She shook her head.

"I think you're wrong, Stan," she said softly. 'Oh, I definitely think you're wrong."

When Lily and I got home from school, the first thing we did was call Kyle. The phone must have rang seven times before he finally answered it.

"...Hello?" he said. I could tell that he had been crying, but he was trying hard not to show it.

"Hey, dude...it's Stan," I said. "What's wrong?" He started to sob. It was only the second time in my entire life that I had heard Kyle cry, and I knew something had to be drastically wrong.

"Everything..." he sobbed. "Ike's dead."

There was total silence from my end of the line as I tried to comprehend this. Ike...dead? But he was alive and chipper only the day before!

"Kyle..." I said softly. "We're coming over now, all right?"

"Okay...thanks...Stan," he said between sobs. "Thanks...for helping...me..." I hung up the phone and grabbed Lily by the arm.

"What's wrong, Stan?" she asked as I got my shoes on.

"Get your shoes on," I said, as I was about to walk out the door. She started to get frightened.

"What is it, Stan? I've never seen you this serious before..."

"Kyle'll explain, just get your fucking shoes on." She did as she was told, and we ran the two-block walk to Kyle's house. We banged on the door, and I heard him come down the stairs and answer it.

"Hey Stan..." he sniffed. "Hey...Lily..."

"What's wrong, Kyle? What is it?" Lily asked, frustrated. He turned to her and placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Lily...Ike died last night. He...choked on his own puke..." Kyle started to outwardly sob again. "What a horrible way to die...to fucking choke on your own mother fucking puke? I know that he wasn't my...real brother...but I loved him! I...fucking loved him..." Kyle sat down on the couch and started to cry uncontrollably. I sat down next to him, and he placed his face into my shoulder.

"Stan...I didn't want him to die..." he wailed. "Sure...I was an...ass...asshole towards him...but I never wanted him...to...DIE! He was my br...brother! Oh fuck..." He was silent for a moment, except for the occasional loud sob, and then he spoke again. "Imagine...what you would do if...L...Lily died...you would be worse off then m...me...but try to imagine that, and that's how I f...feel right now..." He was crying now to the point where he couldn't even breathe without hyperventilating. He wrapped his arms around me, and I let him sob all over me for about a half an hour, until he had finally composed himself to the point where he could speak normally again. He stared up at us, his eyes red from crying, his body shaking with grief, but composed. Lily was holding one of his hands, and patting it. He turned to the two of us.

"You guys..." he said. "Thanks. Thanks for being here...I'm just...so...sad. I never thought I'd be sad if he died...but I am..."He put an arm around each of us. 'You guys are my best friends...I love you, man!" I looked around the room.

"Kyle, where are your parents?" He shrugged.

"They had to get out of the house for a while, and, actually, they wanted me to stay with you guys for a couple of days...is that kosher?" I nodded.

"Our mom won't care," I said. "Right Lily?" She nodded.

"Right." He ran upstairs to get his stuff, and Lily and I sat on the couch, not saying anything. As I moved my foot to get up, it struck something and sent it careening across the room. I walked after it, and picked it up. It was Ike's remote control car. I picked it up and held it, tears shining in my eyes. I rubbed the shiny metal with my shirtsleeve, and then placed it on their dining room table. I walked back over to Lily, and rubbed her cheek. Her face was down so far it was almost in her lap, and she looked pale. She half smiled as she looked up at me.

"At least little Ikey's in Heaven now..." she said. "At least he can be with Dad..." I sat down next to her, and she looked over at me.

"Stan...?"

"Yes?

"What would you do if I died?" I thought about if for a minute, and then said,

"Have a party...and you wouldn't be invited, of course." She rolled her eyes.

"No Stan, I'm serious. What would you do if I died?"

"Lily, honestly, I would cry for a very long time, and then probably kill myself. If I didn't kill myself, I would miss you too much to keep living anyway. Why do you ask?" She shrugged her shoulders.

"I'm just so afraid of dying...I'm afraid of what life would be like with you...and what there is too look forward to in the afterlife..." She turned towards me, her eyes scared.

"Please don't let me die, Stan," she said.

"I won't, Lily," I replied. 'I won't."

It was the next day that Lily got sick. When we woke up in the morning, she was all right, and I didn't notice anything different about her. While I was getting dressed, she ran into the room that Kyle had made his and woke him up. She had a good appetite at breakfast, she ate more then I had ever seen her eat. I glanced at her, and raised an eyebrow. She was packing away waffles like she wasn't going to eat ever again.

"Damn, Lily!" I said as she shoveled another forkful of waffle into her mouth. "You seem to be just a tad bit hungry this morning..." She nodded her head and smiled as syrup dripped down her cheek.

"Yup, mrmph mph mrmph..." she said. The rest of what she said was incomprehensible with all the food that was shoved into her mouth.

"Huh?" Kyle said and cupped a hand around his ear. "What's that ya say, Kenny?" She leaned over and slapped him.

Shut up," she said, and shoved more waffles down her throat. That morning she ate five waffles, but that wasn't near to the most amount of waffles I'd eaten. One morning I ate eleven. But, that was the most waffles I had seen Lily eat. We ran out to the bus stop, and, today, Izzy beat us there.

"Hey, you three!" she said. "What the hell took you so long to get here this morning? It's almost time for the bus to come..." I started to laugh.

"Well, we would have been here sooner if Lily hadn't eaten five fucking waffles this morning..." Izzy raised an eyebrow.

"Five waffles." she said. "Lily ate five waffles?" She went over and felt her head. "Are you all right, dude?" She nodded and giggled.

"Never felt better!" she said. Oh, what irony in those words. By lunch that day, Lily was starting to feel bad. I could tell from the moment that she set her tray down on the table. Her face was pale, her eyes sunken, and she just looked bad overall. I pushed my tray over to the other side of the table and sat down next to her.

"What's wrong, Lily?" I asked, and then she started to cry.

"Oh man, Stan...I feel so...bad," I put an arm around her.

"Where does it hurt?" She groaned and put her head on the table.

"My head...my stomach...my throat...everywhere!" She started crying even harder.

"Do you want me to take you to the nurse?" She nodded.

"I wanna go home, Stan," she said. She looked up into my eyes, and I felt her head. She was burning hot. "Please take me home." Kyle looked over, concerned.

"Is she okay?" He spoke in a low tone of voice so she wouldn't hear. I shrugged as I helped her up.

"I don't know, Kyle," I said, and I walked her to the nurse's office. There was a sign that said, "Be back in five minutes.' on the door as we approached it.

"Lily...there nurse isn't there now...so, let's sit on this bench and wait, all right?" She nodded feebly, and then started to cry. I had never seen Lily so sick in my entire life, and I was beginning to wonder what could have made her feel so bad so suddenly. But, there was nothing I could do but let her rest her head on my lap while we waited for the nurse to come back. After about ten minutes, the nurse did come back.

"Nurse Pollis! Nurse Pollis!" I called before she turned the key to her office. She turned around and smiled.

"Oh look...its Lily and Stan, my favorite set of twins. How are you guys?" I got really serious.

"Nurse Pollis...Lily's really sick. I don't know what's wrong...and, to be honest with you, I'm scared." Nurse Pollis took one look at her, and the said, "Get her into my office, quickly, Stanley! We don't have much time..." I didn't question her. I lifted Lily up off the bench and carried her into the office, and laid her down on the cot that was in there. She was shivering uncontrollably, but, after Mrs. Pollis was done taking her temperature, I was shocked. Her temperature was 106*! I pulled the blanket up over her body, and she grabbed my hand.

'Stay here with me, Stan..." she said weakly. 'Don't leave me alone here..." I patted her hand and then rubbed her hair out of her eyes.

'I won't Lily...I promise."

The ambulance was called immediately, along with our mother, and they came and took her away. I wanted to go with them, but the school wouldn't allow it.

"Go back to class, Stan," Nurse Pollis said.

"But I wanna see my sister..." She took my arm firmly and led me out of the office.

"Go back to class, Stan," she said, and I went. I got a pass from the office and arrived twenty minutes late for art class. I took my regular seat next to Kyle, Lily's seat on the other side of me was empty. I didn't say a word for the rest of the day, and as soon as school was out, I started walking to the hospital. It was a five-mile walk, but I didn't care. I heard someone walking next to me, but I didn't care. I didn't say a word because I knew that if I said anything, anything at all, I was going to break down and cry.

"Stan..." It was Kyle. "What's wrong with Lily?" I didn't answer him. I kept walking. He tried again.

"Stan...please, can you give me something? Can you at least tell me if she's dead or not? Is she dead?" I shook my head slightly and kept walking at a fairly speedy pace, practically a jog.

"Are you going to the hospital to see her?" I nodded.

"Can I come too?" I thought about it for a minute, and then nodded. Kyle jogged a little bit ahead of me, and then turned around and started walking backwards.

"Stan..." he said. "I know what you are going through. Believe me, I'm still not over Ike's death. And trust me, I won't be over it for a long time. But, you have to talk to someone about it...you just can't keep all this sadness bottled up inside of you..." I shook my head as a tear spilled out. It trickled down my face and dripped off my chin, making a dark spot in the dirt on the ground. Kyle saw it, but he didn't say anything at the time. We just kept walking in silence. After about an hour, we finally arrived at the hospital. I swallowed the large lump in my throat and walked up to the receptionist's desk.

"What's the room number for Lily Marsh, please?" I asked. The receptionist rolled her eyes.

"All right...I'm going to say this one more time, and you can tell all of your friends outside, too. Only family members are permitted to see Lily..."

"I am family!" I interrupted angrily. The receptionist laughed.

"Oh, that's why you're the same age, right? Nice try, buddy, you're going to have to wait until she's in stable condition..." I exploded right then.

"Listen, you arrogant bitch!" I cried. "Lillian Catherine Marsh is my twin sister. You can ask anyone in this hospital, and they would be able to tell you. Lily and I are inseparable, and I am not going to take shit from some stupid, airhead secretary like you..." I started to sob then, and Kyle walked over and placed his arm around my shoulder.

"I'm not going to sit here while my sister is dying up in some fucking trauma ward," I cried. "No fucking way!" Kyle rubbed my back, and the receptionist spoke up nervously.

"Uh...sorry, Stanley Marsh...oh shit...here's your pass..." I walked over and snatched it from her.

"Wait for me here, Kyle...unless I come down and tell you to go home, all right?" He nodded, and sat down and got aquatinted with one of the chairs. I looked at the pass, and walked over to an elevator. She was on the sixth floor, room 257. It seemed like the elevator took forever to come down, and even longer to go up. Luckily, 257 was right off the elevator. I braced myself, and then walked into the room.

Mom was the first person I saw. Then, I saw a doctor talking with her, in low whispers. After a minute, I saw Leo, listening in on their conversation. I just walked right over and barged in the middle of it.

"Oh, hello Stan..." Mom said.

"Hey Stan," Leo said.

"What's wrong with Lily?" I asked the doctor. The doctor lowered his eyes, and then looked back at me.

"Lily? She's going to be fine..." he said, but I knew that he was lying.

"How is Lily really doing?" I asked again. "Please don't lie to me...that'll make it worse in the end..." The doctor sighed, and the grabbed my hand and sat me down.

"Stanley..." he said. "I don't want to upset you...but, there is nothing we can do for your sister...she's infected with a kind of disease that we've never even seen, and we have no clue how to treat it." He must have seen the totally grief stricken expression on my face, because he put his hand on my shoulder then. "Now...we're doing the best that we can...but the odds are very high that Lily is going to die by tonight..." He got up and walked over to Mom.

"I'm sorry," he said, and then he left the room. Now, for the first time since I entered the room, I saw Lily. Her face was starch white, her body limp. She was in a coma, by the looks of it. I walked over the side of the bed and sat down in a chair that they had placed there just for this purpose. Her hair was sticking in her eyes again, and I rubbed it out with the tips of my fingers. There was no sound, no movement, just the very faint rising and falling of her chest as she breathed. Another single tear fell out of my eye, and dripped onto her hand. It sat there for a moment, and indescent ball of light, and then it rolled off her hand. She looked like a ghost.

"Oh...Lily..." I said softly as I grabbed her hand. "Oh...poor Lily..." I looked up at God or where I thought God might be.

"Why didn't you take me?" I asked. 'Why Lily? If she dies, I would rather you strike me dead with a bolt of lightening then to keep me alive without her." Mom walked over and placed her hand on my shoulder.

"Now Stan, don't talk like that...it's not like it's the end of the world if she dies..." I turned around slowly and stared at her.

"How can you say that?" I cried. "This is the only person who has been there for me my entire life. She was all I had, and now you're telling me to act like she's a dog that's too old to live anymore? How can you even suggest that? I hate you!" I sobbed. "I...hate you..." She leaned over to give me a hug, but I shoved her away.

"No," I said. "Don't touch me! Leave me alone." There was something that Mom would never be able to understand about me, not for a very long time, at least. All my life I had grown up being comforted by Lily, and taught by Lily, and loved by Lily. I had never felt that with anyone else, and I felt downright weird doing that with anyone else.

"Stan..." she said helplessly. "I didn't mean it that way..." I shook with angry sobs.

"Yes you did!" I cried. "You know it too! You know you meant it that way...so stop lying. I'm going to go home now." I walked over to Lily, and rubbed her cheek.

'Have a good sleep, sis," I said, and then walked out.

That night the ganglies came. Swarms of them came and took my soul from me, and whisked me down into the murky depths. Somehow, this trip down felt way more terrifying then any other trip that I had had before. The only thing that kept me from screaming is that I kept telling myself, 'Think of Lily, think of Lily, think of Lily...' After what seemed like hours of falling, I hit the ground, hard. Raydin then appeared in front of me, his huge yellow phosphorescent teeth gleaming.

"ARE YOU STANLEY CRAIG MARSH?"

"Yes I am," I replied. "And you are Raydin, King of the Ganglies. Pleased to meet you." I extended my hand to him, and he flipped out. He moaned and spitted and hissed as he got down on my level.

"TAKE HIM AWAY!!" He screamed. "TAKE HIM TO THE BASEMENT OF MY CASTLE!!!" A ganglie came forward and grabbed me, and, as it approached, I recognized it.

"Yotati?" I asked. She nodded slightly and grabbed my hand.

"Come quickly!" she whispered. "I have something to tell you and we don't have much time!" I quickened my pace and followed her. I could tell we weren't going in the direction of the castle. She dragged me behind a large rock jutting out of the scenery.

"Stan...everything you have thought is true. Lily doubted you, but in her heart, she knew it too. Raydin has cursed her...and she only has ten days to live. I overheard him talking with Queen Kayla...she laughed," Yotati said.

But why would Raydin do that?" I asked, panicking. "What can I do to save her? What the fuck is Raydin's problem?" I started to finally cry. When Lily was sick, I didn't cry. When she was in the hospital, I didn't cry. When I went to see her and my Mom told me not to be such a baby over it I didn't even cry. But now, deep beneath the ground in the ganglie's lair, I was bawling my eyes out.

"What am I going to do?" I wailed. "She's my sister! She was all I had when I was little! She was my mom, my sister, and my best friend..." Yotati put a leathery wing on my shoulder.

"Stanley...Raydin does it because he's jealous, or so I've heard from the other ganglies. Do you know that every single ganglie that is born is born with a twin? There are no single birthed ganglies...and the same went for Raydin. He was born with a twin sister, but she died at birth. He never knew what it was like...and now he has a burning hatred for all the ganglies! First, to take out his aggression, he would take the children down, and we would all have to torture them. Then, when that wasn't enough, he wanted all the ganglies to suffer the same fate as he. He started killing off one of the two, until they were no more pairs of ganglies anymore. Then, he really snapped the day he saw you two. The first time he saw you guys...you were about...eight at the time, he called a huge meeting together with all of the ganglies. I remember it as clear as day...

'Friends...' his voice boomed and echoed over the mountains. 'There are two children up on the surface that we must destroy.' He started showing a video of you two, playing, laughing, crying, and learning together.

'This is the strongest bond I've seen yet...and it must be destroyed. I don't want to see them together again...GOT IT!' He screamed. We all nodded, to scared to speak out against this cruel punishment for his ill fortune.

'Their names are Lillian Catherine and Stanley Craig Torcelli...but they're adopted. Their real last name is Marsh. When the come down here, I want them to be brought to me immediately. Now...GO!' His foul breath cascade down upon us, and we all fled, scared out of our wits, and all feeling sorry for the two newest victims under Raydin's wrath. He's been after you two ever since." I looked up at her, my eyes tear stained, my body shaking with sobs, and too shocked to even think. She gently lifted me off the ground and held me in her arms. Well, you couldn't really call them arms, they were more like wings. Bat's wings.

"Stanley..." she said as I sobbed. "I know you're sad...but...there is a way to save her..." I suddenly stopped crying and started at her.

"How?" I asked. She pulled me close to her and whispered softly in my ear, "You know I am going to be killed for this...so, when you come back to do what you have to do, don't be surprised if I am not here, all right?" I nodded. "Now, you have to promise me that you will never forget this. Promise me!"

"I promise, Yotati," I replied.

"All right. There is one thing that is known that can kill Raydin, for the King of the ganglies is granted immortality. The only thing that can kill this ganglie is...the sword of True Love, which is hidden in the back of his bedchamber, behind the canopy. The only reason I know about it is because before everything was bad, I was a servant in the castle. Once you get the sword you have to stab him in the chest and cut his heart out. Miss, and he will come back stronger then he was before. Then he will kill you. You got that?" I nodded, and she placed her hand on my shoulder.

"Good. Now, I have to take you to the dungeon." She led me back over in the direction of the castle, and we walked through the oaken gates. She led me down the hallway, filled to the brim with skeletons. She pointed to one as she walked by.

"That's my brother," she said simply and kept going. He was one of the biggest ones there, and he was also one of the most tampered with. His head was completely gone. As I walked by, there was an empty spot on the wall, with a small tag underneath it.

'Reserved for Lillian Catherine Marsh.'

After I saw that sign, I had never felt so angry in my entire life. The anger rushed through my body, came right up into my throat and I screamed. I also screamed because I knew that know Yotati couldn't be lying.

"NOOOO!" I yelled. I tried to tear the sign off the wall, but it just severely burned my fingers, but that didn't stop me. I yanked and pulled until I thought I couldn't pull anymore, but I was still there, and it hadn't budged.

"You mother fucker!" I screeched. "You son of a mother fucking bitch! If Lily dies, I'll come down here and rip your fucking heart out with my bare hands!!" Yotati grabbed me, scared.

"Shh, Stan...please don't shout..." It was too late. Raydin was standing there before me.

"You'll rip out my heart with your bare hands..." he said. "Interesting. I think I just might have to see that...you may go now, Yotati. Leave little Stanley here with me." She lowered her head and gave me a sad look as she walked out the door. Raydin lowered himself down so he was looking at me in the eye.

'Ahh…Stanley...so nice to see you. But, where is your dear sister?"

"You know where she is," I snapped back, and Raydin pretended to look shocked.

"Ahh...temper, temper. I was just asking. I know that she means a lot to you...she is your...twin and all." I got angry, reproachful, scornful even.

"How does it fell to lose your twin sister?" I asked. "I bet it hurts a fuck of a lot, doesn't it?" Raydin's eyes grew wide.

"Stop it..." he said.

"I bet you she would have loved you a lot if she was alive...just like I love Lily, maybe even more. Who knows? But now she's dead," I said. I was backing Raydin into a corner, and he was crouching down smaller and smaller.

"You were a bad brother," I said. "You left the in the womb...and now she hate you because you got to live and she didn't. Your sister hates you, Raydin...and there's nothing you can do to make it better. Nothing..."

"YOTATI!" Raydin called in fear. "TAKE HIM AWAY! TAKE HIM THE FUCK AWAY! JUST...MAKE IT STOP!" Yotati came and took me back up to my body, and she gently slipped my soul back in, and I was asleep again.

Lily lived through the night. She was also conscious. The doctors were baffled, my mother was baffled, and my brother was baffled. But I wasn't. I knew that Raydin had the power to do what ever he wanted with Lily...she was under his power now. I went to hospital right after school to see her, and that was the case. When I first entered the room, she was sleeping, so I still thought that she was still in a coma. I sat down in the chair next to her, and, since I was the only one on the room slowly started to sing to her.

"Oh...there's nothing more that I want...to have my sister back again," I sang. "There's nothing more that I waaaaaant, the for Lily to be with me. I know that yooooouuur sick, and I know that you're iiiiiiiin a coma..." She opened her eyes slowly and just listened to me. "But Liiiiily, I looooove you." She weakly started to laugh, and I jumped nearly a mile.

"Lily?" I said. "What the..." She waved a hand up at me.

"Hey...Stan," she said. "Can you...hit the button to make the bed go up, please?"

"Sure, sis," I said, my eyes filled with tears. "Anything that you want." I reclined the bed so that she could be up in the siting position, and then she leaned over and gave me a hug.

"Nice song...Stanley..." she said, then started coughing. "It was...interesting." She broke out into another coughing fit and then started to cry.

"Oh man..." she said in a whisper. "My throat hurts soooo much...I can barely breathe..." She grabbed onto me and held me tight.

"Stan," she said, and the broke out into another spasm of coughs. "Please...don't let me die of this...I'm so scared." This time, she was coughing so hard that it made her throw up. She threw up all over her bed, herself, and all over me. That just made her cry harder.

"Ow..." she moaned. 'That fucking hurt..." She tried to wipe off my pants. 'I'm sorry, Stan...I didn't mean to..."

"It's all right," I said, and rubbed her hair. "It's all right, Lily. You don't have to be sorry." She held me tighter, almost compressing my lungs, but I didn't mind. Just as long as she was alive, I didn't really care what she did to me.

"Why do you have to be so understanding, Stan?" she said. "Why can't you ever just disagree with me for once? I'll never be able to live up to that..." She coughed really hard again, and once again she puked. I got out of the way this time, and it landed all over the floor. She sobbed after she was done, and she held her stomach tightly.

"Owwwwwohohohoh..." she wailed, and reached for the pitcher of water. I grabbed it and filled up a glass, and then gave it to her. She was too weak to even hold it, and she dropped it and it spilled all over the sheets. She just buried her face into her hands and wailed. I picked up the glass and filled it up again, but this time I held it while she drank. I hit the button on the side of the bed to make it go back down again, and I held it until it had gone all the way back down to the sleeping position. I rubbed her hair out of her eyes again; it always seemed to be getting in there. She stopped crying for a second.

"I'm so scared..." she said. "Stan...I don't wanna die...there's so much for me to live for! I have Kyle...I have Leo...I have Izzy...I have Mom...but most of all, I have you." She sniffed and rubbed her nose.

"Damn...it itches..." She lay back into the bed, and snuggled down deeper into the bed. She smiled softly from deep within the pillow.

"At least, I know that if I die, that I am going to go to Heaven with Dad and little Ikey..." I grabbed Lily's hand as she started to drift off.

"Don't talk like that, Lily..." I said. "You're not going to die, not by a long-shot. Please, Lily...you're the only sister that I have...I don't want to lose you." She rubbed my hand gently and then rolled over.

"Oh...stop worrying, Stan...everything will be okay..." Her face contorted into a sorrowful grimace. "I hope."

There were no ganglies that night. I think the night before I had scared Raydin so much with I had said about his dead sister that he wasn't ever going to have me back again. The problem with that, though, is that for once I wanted to go back. If it had been at any other time, and Raydin hadn't put a curse on my sister, I wouldn't have cared if I had ever seen him again. I don't think Lily would have either. I had drawn a lily on the calendar, on December 14. No one knew why it was there, no one but me at least. I knew it was going to be the day that Lily died; unless I broke the curse.

I walked down the stairs, saddened, as usual, but not as sad as I had been the past two days. Mom and Leo both noticed the difference as I sat down at the table for breakfast.

"Why hello, Stanley," Mom said with her normal morning cup of coffee. "You look slightly happier this morning." I nodded as I dug into some pancakes.

"Have anything you want to talk about before school?" I shook my head slightly and then stared down at my plate. There was still a bunch of food on it, but I was going to be late if I didn't hurry up.

"Sorry, Ma," I said as I dumped my plate in the trash. "I gotta go." She looked disappointed as I ran back up the stairs to get my book bag.

"See you when you get home, Stanley," she said. "Are you going to the hospital after school?" I nodded, an then walked out the door. As soon as I shut it and started walking to the bus stop, she burst into tears.

"Why won't he talk to me?" she wailed. "Why won't he just talk to me? Why won't he, Leo?" He shrugged his shoulders and leaned down to give her a hug.

"I don't know, Ma," he said. "I just don't know."

I was the first one out at the bus stop this morning, turns out I had read the clock wrong. But, I welcomed the silence; it gave me time to think about what I was going to do about Raydin. I was still pondering this as I felt someone's hand touch my back. I turned around, but there was no one there. I heard laughter from the other side of my back.

"Ha, ha gotcha, Stanley!" I turned to the other side and cracked a grin. It was Kyle.

"Hey Kyle," I said sadly. He looked around, and, not seeing Izzy coming up the road, he sat me down on the bench.

"Stan, you have to talk to me," he said simply. "You have to. You obviously can't talk to your mom, and you can't talk to your brother, so you have to talk to me."

"But I wanna talk to Lily..."

"Lily isn't here now, Stan!" Kyle exploded. "Lily isn't here and she's not going to be here for a while, if ever, maybe! You have to learn to talk to other people! Do you think you and Lily are going to live together and share the same mother fucking room when you're thirty? No! What are you going to do when you get in a spat with your wife? Call Lily up and talk to her about it?" Tears were starting to unconsciously run down my face, and I felt like a total retard.

"No..."

"Well, you need to learn how to talk with other people. Lily isn't your mother, Stan. She's not going to be your mother, ever. She's your sister. Granted, I know that Lily was like a mother to you, and that she was all you had, but she can't make your problems go away! You have to face them yourself! I know that she's important to you, and I know that she means a lot, but you need to really stop being such an ass." I got angry then.

"Kyle, what the fuck do you know about having your best friend in the entire world lying sick and dying in a fucking hospital bed! I know that she's only my sister but I happen to care about her a lot, and I am not going to let her die up there, and that's it! She's a part of me, Kyle...she has been all of my life. She was always there for me when I was hurt, or scared, or sad, and I was always there for her, and the fact that she might die isn't going to fucking change that! She was my mom, my sister, and my best friend when we were little and until we finally found out who are real parents were. Even now she's the only one who can make me stop...hurting..." I started to really all out cry then, and then Kyle felt bad about what he had said.

"Oh, shit Stan, I'm sorry," he said. "I should know that there is never going to be anyone that is going to take Lily's place, but, you can talk to me. I am your friend. I may even be your best friend. I am not going to make fun of you because your sister could die. I like your sister too, Stan. It's not like I don't care about her, I care about her a lot. She's my bitch, my hoe, my girl...and I love her." After he said that last sentence I was ready to tell him all about Raydin's spell.

"Kyle...I know you're not going to believe me, but you have to listen to me and not ask any questions until the end, all right?" He nodded, and then sat me down on the bench.

"Tell me." With those two simple words, out it came. The tears, the shouts of anger, and the entire story of what Raydin was doing to all the ganglies, and Lily and I. Perhaps maybe even twins all over the world. Kyle listened as I told him on the bus, as I told him all through French class, and when I finally finished at the beginning of study hall, he was speechless. After about five minutes of total silence, he finally spoke up.

"Raydin's a penguin shit eating ass-spelunker." I started to laugh. I laughed and laughed until I cried, and I didn't stop until the teacher came over and asked me what was so funny.

"Maybe you should share it with the class, Stanley Craig Marsh." I shook my head and quickly tried to stop laughing.

'By the way, where has your sister been lately? Skipping, I presume..." If I had been a cartoon character, I would have gotten black lines over my eyes. I almost started to bite her head off, but then stopped.

"Lily's in the hospital..." I said quietly. "She's really sick...and they don't know what's wrong with her. She's...probably going to die..." Then I did start to cry, right there in front of my whole study hall class, and right in front of my teacher. She was shocked that Lily was sick, but I think she was even more shocked that I was crying right in front of her, shamelessly. A bunch of kids in the class came over and sat down next to me. A lot of them were girls, who, either had a crush on me or were really good at helping people when they were sad. All the guys who came over were going to undoubtedly memorize my words so that they could use them against me later. For now, though, they pretended to be sympathetic. One of the girls was sitting right next to me, and I recognized her. She was part of the other set of twins in the ninth grade.

"Stan..." Rebecca said, rubbing my arm slightly. "I know what you're going through. You know why Mark hasn't been in school lately?" I shook my head, and tears shook everywhere.

"I haven't told anyone, only teachers that needed to know. He's dead." I quickly lifted my head up and stared at her.

"Mark's...dead? Holy shit, how did he..." She clapped her hand over my mouth and then whispered, "He died in a car accident...my dad was taking him to a basketball game, and a van broadsided them on his side. My dad got out unhurt. Mark was dead on the scene..." A single tear trickled down her face.

"I cried for a week," she said. "I screamed and ranted and raved about how unfair that this was, and every time I would see you and Lily, I'd get even madder. All I could think about for the longest time was my brother...and I want him back!" She lowered her head and looked up at me. "But he's not going to come back, Stan...and I don't want you to have to go what I'm going through...its terrible to lose a twin...it's like losing half of yourself." I lowered my head and then glanced up and looked at her.

"Rebecca...I'm sorry that you had to go through that. That must have sucked ass. A lot of ass." She raised a shoulder and then let it fall again.

"I'm over it now...I guess. I don't know..." She almost started to cry, and then grabbed my hand.

'Stan...can you please be my friend? I know that you didn't think I was the coolest person in the world before...but...please...I really want you to be my friend," she said, and then bored her bright blue eyes into mine. She was right though, and I felt really shitty about it. Kyle, Lily, Izzy and I would constantly make fun of her and her brother, for no apparent reason, either. It was just because that they were new to our school, and we didn't really know them very well. I half smiled at her and blinked my tear filled eyes. One trickled down my face and she wiped it off.

'What do ya say, Stan?" she said softly. "Please?"

"All right, Rebecca...I'll be your friend." She was overjoyed by this piece of information and gave me a hug.

"Thanks, Stan!" she cried. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!" I kind of smiled a little bit bigger as I hugged her back, and then talked like Fat Abbot.

"No problem, hoe," I said. "Now, come to my place tonight and we'll see who can make who happy." She started to laugh, and so did the other kids all around us.

"You're a nut, Stan," she said, just as the bell rang. "I'll see you at lunch."

"Dude, I can't believe that you're friends with Rebecca Cotzwalds...I just never thought that that would happen ever in the time that I would be alive." Kyle said as we stood in the lunch line.

"What do ya want?" one of the lunch ladies said.

"Pepperoni," I replied and she slapped a stiff piece of pepperoni pizza onto my tray. I grabbed some salad and about five rolls, and then followed Kyle out to the condiment table. I squirted some French dressing onto the only empty slot on my plate, and Kyle rolled his eyes.

"You and Lily both do that with your rolls," Kyle said as we paid for our lunch and sat down. "That has to be the most disgusting thing that I have ever seen you do." I laughed and then dipped my roll into the French dressing, and shoved a chunk of it in my mouth.

'Mmmmmmm," I said, and he pretended to lean over the edge of the table and puke.

"Dude, sick!" he said, just like Kyle from South Park. "Gross!" That made me laugh even harder, so he kept doing it.

"I've learned something today," he said like Kyle again. "I've learned that people who want power, a lot of power, always end up dead." I laughed so hard then that I started to choke. Kenny just sat down at the table and glanced over at me.

"Ack," I said, trying desperately to get the piece of roll out of my throat.

"What's wrong with him?" Kenny asked. Kyle shrugged.

"I dunno...laughing too hard, probably," Kyle replied. I violently shook my head when he said that and began to point to my throat. Kenny looked kind of scared.

"Kyle...I think Stan's choking," he said nervously. I nodded my head as hard as I could and then started to cough to try to get the roll out. It wasn't coming, and I started to panic. Kyle got up and grabbed me by my shoulders.

"All right Stan, here we go…" he said, and then gave my stomach one hard, forceful push. The piece of roll became a projectile and hit Jill Porter right in the back of the head. She flung herself around and saw what had hit her.

"EWWWWWW!" she screamed as loud as she could and ran out of the lunchroom. I was gasping for breath, but I also had a huge smile on my face. Jill's face would be one that I would never forget.

"Dude, Stan, are you okay?" Kyle asked. "Jesus Christ I was scared to death!" Rebecca came over then.

"What happened to Jill?" she asked. "She ran out of this lunchroom screaming like a wolf in heat!" I started to laugh, and then coughed.

"Jesus...you missed it, Becca..." Kyle started.

"Don't call me Becca! I hate that!"

"All right then, Rebecca, you missed it," Kyle started again. "Stan was choking a piece of roll..."

"Stan was what?" she said. "Dude, are you okay?" I nodded my head.

"Kyle had to do the Hemlich on me...heh...I never thought that that stupid CPR class would come in handy..." she laughed, and then Kyle continued his story.

"Well, Stan was choking, and I ran over and gave him the Hemlich, and the piece of roll that was stuck in his throat flew out and smacked Jillian-I'm-a-stuck-up-piece-of-shit-Porter right in the back of the head. You should have seen her face...she was petrified!" All four of us were laughing our asses off, and, when we finally got ourselves under control, Jake sat down at the table.

"Hey Stan," he said. "Hey Kyle, hey Kenny, hey Li..." He glanced over at me.

"Stan, where's your sister?" he asked. "She always sits with us..." I suddenly got somber again.

"Jake...she's in the hospital. She's really sick...and the doctor said she was going to die..." Jake's eyes grew wide when I said the dreaded word.

"...die?" he said. "Lily could fucking die! What the fuck!?" he said. "That is so not fucking cool! Ahhhh! There is nothing more that I hate then when people die! I would know..."

"How do you know about death?" I asked, and then added. "Been knocking at your door?" He laughed, but then got serious again.

"No," he replied. "My parents are dead. They died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida...no one survived. That's why I moved here...I live with my Aunt Mary. She's nice enough, but I want my mom...and dad."

"Are you an only child?" I asked. He nodded.

"Oui, je suis enfant unique," he answered in French. I shook my head and picked up my stiff pizza, and champed on it.

"You sound just like Izzy," I said, and then added, "Where is Izzy, anyway? She isn't here today."

"Yeah, I noticed that," Kyle said. "Well, let's hope that she isn't sick...maybe she just had to go back to the hospital for them to check on her leg and stuff." I nodded.

"That's probably it," I replied. Kenny looked up from the roughage he was chewing on.

"So, you still having us all over Friday even though Lily's sick?" I thought about it for a moment, and then nodded again.

"It'll help me get my mind off her," I replied, and then continued eating a roll covered in French dressing.

"You're gross, Stan." Kyle said and dumped his tray and walked to art.

There was no fun for me after school today, though. I trudged the five-mile walk to the hospital and went up to Lily's room. What met me there was a thing that I will never forget for as long as I live.

My mom and the same doctor I had seen in there before were talking in hushed whispers again, but this time I didn't go over there and barge right in. I stood outside the door, waiting for them to be done.

"What do you think?"

"I think that if she's not better by Sunday, we should pull the plug. She's probably not going to wake up anyway..." I clapped my hand over my mouth to stifle the scream. They were just going to let Lily die? How could they! They had to give me a chance to save her!

"But what about your son? Stan was his name, right?"

"He'll get over it." I couldn't take it anymore. I ran into the room and started to scream.

"No!" I yelled. "There is no fucking way that you are pulling the plug on my sister! NO MOTHER FUCKING WAY!" I turned to Mom with tears filling up my eyes.

"I can't believe you could even suggest that...and then pretend that it wasn't going to effect me..." I ran over to the side of Lily's bed and covered her with my body.

"You both are going to leave my sister lone," I said. "You are going to leave her alone and you're not going to fucking touch her! Leave...Lily...ALONE!" I rubbed the side of her face gently and started to sob.

"No one's going to kill you, Lily," I said softly. "I won't let them. I'll die before they pull the plug on you, so help me God I will..." My tears were dripping down onto her face, and I rubbed them off with the back of my shirtsleeve. Mom and the doctor were still sanding there, like deer in headlights.

"GET OUT!" I screamed at them. "GET OUT AND DON'T FUCKING COME BACK IN HERE UNLESS YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE MY FUCKING SISTER BETTER!!" They both left in a hurry, and I was alone with my sister.

"What am I going to do about him?" Wendy said to the doctor. "He's not going to let us kill her..." The doctor smiled craftily and glanced back into the room where I was knelt by Lily's bed in prayer.

"Well," he said. "Maybe Lily isn't the problem," he said. "Maybe Stan is." She smiled slowly as she too glanced back to the room.

"Yes...maybe Stan is the problem." She turned to the doctor. "Come, Paul, we have much to do."

I boycotted my mother like she was a piece of tripe. I wouldn't talk to her, I wouldn't touch her, and I wouldn't even look at her. No one said anything during dinner, and, after we were done, I left my plate on the table and walked silently up the stairs. The moment I shut the door I burst into tears. I got into Lily's bed and pulled the covers around me and cried harder ever before. I must have stayed there for an hour at least, but I don't think I would have ever moved if the phone hadn't rung just then. I quickly tried to compose myself, but the decided not to, and answered the phone.

"...hello?" I said through my cry-fest

"...Stan?" It was Kyle.

"Oh shit, Kyle..." I said, sobbing. "I need to talk to you." There was silence on the other end of the line, and then he said,

"Come over. My mom said it was okay, in fact, that was why I called."

"All right, Kyle. I'll be right over."

"Bye, Stan,"

"Later." I hung up the phone and grabbed my overnight bag from out of the closet. I threw some clothes in along with my toothbrush and walked out the door.

"Where are you going, Stan?" Mom asked from the doorway.

"Kyle's," I replied and continued walking down the road.

"What time are you going to be..."

"When I feel like it." After another minute of walking I arrived at his house. He was there to meet me at the door. He grabbed me without saying a word and dragged me up the stairs. He flung me into his room and sat me down on his bed.

"Tell me." Oh, what power those two words have over me. Every time Kyle says them I have to spill everything that I could never spill to anyone but Lily before.

"Kyle..." I said. "My Mom said that she is going to pull the plug on Lily if she doesn't wake up by Sunday...and then, when the doctor asked about what I wold think about it, she said, "He'll get over it." I turned to him, and stared at his face. He wasn't giving me any hint to what he was feeling, and I felt the tears start to come.

"I'm so scared," I continued. "I don't know how I'm going to beat Raydin so I can save her..."

"I help you." I stopped in mid sentence and stared at him.

"You'll...you'll what?" I asked.

"I said, I'll help you," he repeated. "You said before that the only way to kill Raydin was to cut his heart out with the sword of True Love, right?" I nodded my head as he kept talking. "Well, it would probably help since it is called the sword of True Love to really love the person you were killing him for, right?" I thought about it for a second, and then nodded again. "Well, there is no girl on this planet that I love more then your sister, and I will do anything that I can to help you save her. I've always been able to count on you when I had a problem, now it's time for me to return the favor. When Raydin lowers his beastly head to bite you in half, I'm going to be right by your side."

"You...you will?" I asked, shocked. "You'll help me!? Great! AWESOME!" I leaned over and gave him the biggest hug that I have ever given someone. "You are the best friend in the whole entire world! I can't fucking believe that you are going to help me! Thanks so much, Kyle!" For the first time in about five hours, I smiled.

"Your the best, man," I said as I released him. Kyle smiled a little and then grabbed me by my shoulder.

"All right then. Now, this is what we should do..."

"What are we going to do about Stan?"

"I don't know, Wendy...where is he now?"

"Over at his little friend Kyle's house...and he just left. He didn't even tell me where he was going!"

"Hmmm...well, what kind of bathroom cleaners do you have around?" She thought about it for a second, and then pulled out something from under the sink.

"How's Lime Away?" she asked.

"Great. When is he coming home?"

"Tomorrow morning. What do you want me to do?"

"Make a special drink for him...a...milkshake, perhaps, and then dump some Lime Away in. It should kill him within two hours of drinking it." Wendy smiled evilly as she cradled the Lime Away lovingly in her arms.

"Thanks, Dr. Raydin," she said. "I'll be sure to get in touch."

For the third night in a row, there were no ganglies that took Kyle or I. We both slept like babies and didn't wake up until about one in the afternoon. I bolted out of bed and ran down the stairs.

"Where are you going, Stan?" Kyle asked sleepily from his bed.

"Home," I called up the stairs as I was running out the door. 'I think I owe my mom an apology." I ran as fast as I could down the road, and skidded into the house in less then a minute, totally out of breath. I felt refreshed though, and I was met with my mother in the kitchen. She smiled as she looked up from her bowl of soup.

"Hello, Stanley," she said. "Have fun at Kyle's?" I nodded my head.

"Yeah," I replied quickly. "Mom, can I talk to you about something?" She looked surprised and pulled out a chair for me.

"Sure, hon," she said. "What is it?"

"Mom...I want to apologize for he way I have been acting. I know that it must be hard for you as the mother of Lily to make that kind of decision, and if I was an asshole towards you, I'm sorry. I'm just going to miss her like hell..." A couple tears, but not many, squeezed out of my eyes. She leaned over and held me in her arms, and then I really started to cry.

"Mom...I'm really going to miss Lily..." I said. "Why does she have to die? Why can't she just stay here with me? Why fucking not?!" She rubbed my hair and patted my back as she rocked me slowly side to side.

"Stan..." she said. "You know that I love you and Lily and Leo very much...but there are some times that you know that your child isn't going to be able to live, so you have to do what they would have done if they had the choice."

"Lily would have wanted to stay alive and be with me," I interrupted. "She doesn't want to die! I know she doesn't..."

"Shh...Stan..." Mom said. "I know that Lily doesn't want to die, but it's the best thing for her. So you want her to be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, not being able to talk, or eat, or go to the bathroom on her own?" I thought about it for a minute, and then I shook my head.

"No..." I said. "I just want her to be alive with me..."

"You shouldn't fish in the air, Stan," she said, and that was the end of the Lily discussion. "How would like a milkshake?"

"I can't have milkshakes, I'm lactose intolerant," I said and then added, "So is Lily." She rooted around the medicine cabinet and pulled out a box of Lactaid.

"Here," she said and handed me one. "Take this and you won't get sick." I grabbed the pill and swallowed it, and then she got out the stuff to make a milkshake. Just as she was about to start making it, she said, "Stan, could you please go get your dirty clothes off the floor of you and Lily's room and bring them down for me?" I ran up the stairs to get the clothes, excited that I was going to have my first milkshake in about five years. When Mom was sure that I was gone, she quickly pulled out the Lime Away and poured some of it into my drink. I came running down the stairs with all the clothes right as she was mixing the milkshake up. I threw them into the laundry room and ran back out into the kitchen just as she was pouring a tall glass for me.

"Here you go, Stanley," she said sweetly. "Drink up." I grabbed the glass and took a huge swig of it, and then swished it around in my mouth.

"Hmmm..." I said. "Something tastes weird," I said, but the grabbed the glass. "Guess I haven't tasted a real milkshake in such a long time that I don't even remember what one tastes like!" She laughed a little as I finished the glass. I got up from the table and grabbed my jacket and my shoes.

"I'm going to go see Lily," I said as I walked over towards the door. Right about as I was going to leave, though, I turned around.

"I love you, Mom,' I said, and walked out the door.

Wendy Marsh burst into tears.

As I walked to the hospital, I thought. And I thought and I thought, but not really about anything. I thought about what an asshole I'd been lately, and I thought about Mom, and I thought about what I was going to without Lily. It was during this last thought that I stared to feel a little sick, but I just shrugged it off as that damn milkshake. I should have known that the fucking Lactaid wouldn't work. Oh well, I thought as I continued my trek to the hospital. At least I'm going to see Lily.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I knew I was going to puke. I knew I was going to, but I held it in as I got the pass from the secretary, and then bolted down the hallway for the bathroom. I made it.

Just in time.

Everything I had eaten all day came up in a terrible and very painful rush. It burned like hell, too, and I wondered why. I must have sat there and puked for five-minutes, and I thought I was going to pass out, but, I didn't. I didn't feel any better afterwards, but at least I felt cleaned for a little while. I finally left the bathroom after rising my mouth out with some water in the sink, and then got to Lily's room five minutes later. The doctor was in there, taking her blood pressure, and she was awake. I stood in the doorway, my stomach churning, for another minute while he checked her lungs. He didn't even notice me until he turned around. He flashed me a smile and turned back around to Lily.

"Lillian," he said. "I think there's someone here to see you..." I saw her head come up from out of the pillow, but I could really only see her hair because the doctor was in the way.

"Where?" she asked softly. He turned around and looked at me, and then laughed a little.

"Oh, I'm sorry dear!" he said. "I was in the way!" He moved to the side and a big smile lit up Lily's face.

"Stan!" she said. "Hi!" I smiled as I walked over to her and sat down in the chair that the doctor had been sitting in not a moment before. He was still standing there as I slipped into the seat.

"Hey Stan," she said. "How are ya?" I shrugged a shoulder.

"Not to good,' I said. "I think I'm getting sick..." A panicked look came into Lily's eyes.

"Stan! You're what?! Oh no...I got you sick..." She started to cry. "I'm sorry, Stan...I'm sorry..." She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

"No, Lily, no..." This is a stomach thing...nothing that you did. And I think it might be the milkshake that I had anyway." She shook her head and slapped me a little.

"Stanley..." she said like a mother." You know you're not supposed to have dairy..." I smiled a little.

"I know, I know," I said. "But I did take a Lactaid..."

Unbeknownst to us, the doctor had been listening the whole time, standing right outside the door. He fiddled with his nametag and smiled knowingly as he walked away. There was no accident to why I was feeling sick...and he knew it.

"Paging Dr. Raydin," a voice over the intercom spoke. He looked up at the speaker, and flipped it off. He plastered his fake smile on his face and walked down the stars. He had stuff to do.

***

I sat next to Lily on her bed, after the whole five seconds it took my ass to hate the chair.

"I think that they should get better chairs for people to sit in," I said as she brushed her hair. "Then, maybe someone besides me would come and see you." She laughed at little and grabbed her pocket mirror from the night table.

"You are not the only person who visits me, Stanley Craig," she said. She pointed to the flowers on the table. "Kyle gave me those...but he had to send them because they won't let him in." She looked around to see if anyone was coming, and then added, "Damn communist bastards..." That just made me laugh again, but I didn't laugh to hard because I though it would make me puke again. I put my head in my hands and moaned.

"Oh..." I said. "My stomach fucking hurts..." I felt her reach her hand over and rub my back a little.

"Better?" she asked. I shook my head.

"I just don't know what's wrong..." I felt the rest of what was left in my stomach start to come up.

"Shit," I gasped and leapt off the bed to make a run towards the bathroom. I didn't even get out of her room, so I lunged for the trashcan. I made it to it just as the first of it started to come out. It hurt my throat a lot when it came up, and it felt like I had swallowed chlorine. Lily stared on in shock as I sat there and puked for over a minute. I got up off the ground when I was done, but I felt weak. I walked a few tottering steps over to her bed, and collapsed on the floor.

"Call...the nurse...Lily," I managed to squeak out before I totally backed out. She grabbed the button, and pushed it as hard as she could, and that was the last thing I remember.

They came. After three nights of no torture, Raydin couldn't take it anymore. They came in swirling masses, tearing my soul out of my dying body. It came easily for there was no resistance from my extremely weak self. There was one who was bigger then the rest, but it wasn't Raydin. It was someone else. Someone much more sinister and horrible. It was the one who grabbed me, it was the one who carried me down, and it was the one who dropped me roughly at Raydin's feet. I got up off the ground and brushed the dirt off my shirt as the coal black eyes dropped into view.

"ARE YOU..."

"You know who the fuck I am," I replied, and Raydin laughed. He pointed over to the ganglie who had taken me down.

"I'm sure you don't want any more of her while you can help yourself, Stanley," he said, and motioned for the big ganglie to come forward.

"Her?" I said as she came forward and stood over me

"Meet my wife, Queen Kayla," he said, and then she snuggled into his wing flap.

"That's a girl?" I said scornfully. "A pig looks more feminine then that..." She leapt down upon and grabbed my arm and twisted it around my back.

"You better what you say, young upstart," she hissed. "You watch your mouth and show some respect or I'll snap your arm like a twig. Got that?" I nodded and she let me go. As soon as she released me, I bolted. Kayla snarled and started to come after me, but Raydin held her back.

"Not now, my pet," he said. "I'll send one of the other ganglies to go take care of him." He rubbed her chin with the tip of his wing.

"There's no need for my precious to run about and get dirty, now is there?" She shook her head.

"But I would like to see his face as I ripped his arm in half..." Raydin patted her head gently.

"Don't worry, sweetheart, you'll get to do whatever you want to him before I put him out of his misery, all right?" She smiled subtlety and placed her head on his shoulder.

"Okay, baby," she replied, and then added, "I love you, King Raydin,"

"Back to you, Queen Kayla," he replied and stared off at my fleeing form in the distance.

"I still would love to rip him apart..."

***

I ran until I thought I would die. I had never ran so far and so fast in my entire life, and I wasn't in the best of shape anyway. It showed, and I collapsed on the ground gasping for breath. I sat there for a minute or an hour, I don't know, but I got up and started running again as the ground started to shake. I dared to take a glance over my shoulder. There were herds of ganglies following me. Swarms and swarms of ganglies. Millions and billions and trillions of ganglies. There were so many ganglies that they clouded out the horizon, filled the air, and snapped at my heels. I let out a strangled sob and continued running, barely keeping ahead of the fastest ones.

But they were gaining.

I looked around desperately for somewhere to hide, and I felt myself losing strength. I faltered and almost fell when a vision of Lily sick and in her bed came to me. I put on a extra burst of speed and only got nicked by the head of the ganglie stampede. I pulled ahead and I thought I was going to make it when I fell. I put my arm out to stop me and felt in crumple and break under my weight.

"FFFFUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKK!" I screamed. Just as the first ganglie was going to leap onto me, though, I suddenly found myself somewhere else. I stared around at my surroundings. I was inside of a poorly built hut, sitting on the edge of one of the two beds in the room. I stared around in wonder, looking at my surroundings.

"Where the fuck am I? How the…" I felt a wing press over my mouth and looked over and found myself staring in the trusting face of Yotati.

"Yotati? Where the…"

"Shh…don't say anything. He could hear you, and then we would both be dead." I nodded my head and she slowly released her wing from me.

"I saw them trying to take you…I saw the swarms…all of the entire ganglie race is out to get you, you know. The simple ganglies, the peasant class, has the power to do very simple magic, such as warping. Actually…I think warping is the only thing that we can do. But, that is the reason that they didn't kill you. They'll find you soon enough, though. You have to get to the castle. You must get the sword!

"But how am I going to use it? I broke my arm…"

"You're going to have to work around it, Stanley," she said. "There is nothing I can do to help you from here. You're going to have to rely on yourself and…" She motioned to someone from the other room.

"…Kyle?" He came over and gave me a hug.

"Come on, Stan," he said. "We have work to do."

Yotati grabbed one of our hands and lead us out to a secret path behind her house.

"My brother and I made this so my mom couldn't find us when we still wanted to play…" She looked fondly at the rocks covering us on all four sides except for a small hole that she and her brother had made so long ago.

"We would sit out here at this big rock…" she said, pointing her wing towards the rock out near the center of the trail. "And pretend that it was a big fort…we would play so many games out here…and then we grew up. We never came out to this trail ever again. And a year after we were out on our own, he died. She turned to me, tears sparkling like stars in her eyes.

"Stan…promise me one thing." She stared at me and grabbed my hand. "Promise me that you'll never lose your relationship with Lily…she'll be the one always there. You can't say the same for anyone else…not even your mother." I pulled my hand out of her wing flap and patted her shoulder.

"I won't, Yotati, I won't," I said, and Kyle and I started walking down the path. I turned back and looked once, she had turned away and was crying softly to herself. I couldn't see her anymore after that.

***

"Stan, you look terrible."

"I feel terrible." I looked down at my arm cautiously, and then drew my glance away quickly. There was a piece of the bone sticking out, and it was glistening with blood.

"That looked like it hurt."

"It does."

"What are you going to do about it? You should stop the bleeding…something like that could kill you."

"What am I going to do with it?" I asked. He took off his sweatshirt and handed it to me.

"Wrap this around it, and press it hard." I gently wrapped the sweatshirt around my arm, and then held it, but barely. Kyle could tell I wasn't holding it hard enough, and he leaned over and pressed on it hard.

"FUCK!" I cried, and he placed his other hand over my mouth.

"Shut up Stan, and deal with it! We can't let them know where we are!" I put my other hand in mouth and bit it hard to keep from screaming it hurt so much. I had never felt anything more painful in my entire life. We were still walking towards the castle, and we could now make out its looming form in the distance.

"There it is," I said softly, trying to keep my mind off the pain in my arm.

"Yup," Kyle said, gazing up to stare at the top of the tallest tower.

"What are we going to do when we get there?" Kyle shrugged his shoulders and hardened his stare.

"We'll be ready."

"Where the fuck is he?" Kayla roared. She sniffed the air and then turned her head towards where Yotati lived.

"I smell him," she said. "Raydin…I fucking smell the little rat! He's over there by the one ganglie's house…what the fuck was her name…oh yes! The sister of the insolent bastard that refused to capture that bitch you have the curse on! Yotati! That's it! I smell him over there!" Raydin leaned over and patted his wife's head.

"I would never doubt your sense of smell, dear Kayla. You have never been wrong." He looked over in the direction of Yotati's house.

"Say your prayers bitch," Raydin said softly. "There's no escape if you were hiding him."

***

She paced around her house, waiting for the moment to come. She wouldn't deny it, she told herself. There was no way that she would deny it, but she knew that she would never tell Raydin about the tunnel. He'd have to kill her first. There was no way she would break. Gangyoké wouldn't have, she told herself. She must be strong. She put a pot of herbal tea on the stove and put her Swiss Colony Beef Log in the oven. She laughed a little as she recalled the South Park Christmas C.D. where Cartman sang that song about the Swiss Colony Beef Log. She then decided that some music might not be such a bad idea. She grabbed her worn copy of the South Park Christmas C.D. and placed it in her C.D. player. She hit the random button and walked back out into the kitchen.

"Mother tried to comfort me, she said 'Here son, have some eggnog.'" She turned around and joined in at the second line.

"But I fucking hate eggnog, seriously…" As more of the songs flowed out of the speakers, she turned and wept. She put her head down on the counter and wept for the end of humanity, for the certain death of Kyle and Lily, and the boy that she loved.

Stan.

***

"Open up, Yotati! We know that you're in there!" She quickly wiped her eyes and walked slowly over to the door.

"Yes?" she said softly. Raydin grabbed her by the throat and pinned her against the wall of her house.

"Where is he?" he yelled. "WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?" Yotati cowered in the corner, trying to gasp for breath.

"Who are you talking about?" she asked. "No one ever visits me anymore after my brother died…" Raydin tightened his grip and pressed her closer to the wall.

"Where is Stanley Marsh, Yotati…WHERE IS HE?" He breathed his foul breath over her and she flinched and held hers.

"Stan? You mean the nice boy that you're trying to kill just because you lost your sister and you can come to terms with it? I have no idea where Stan is," she said, and then added, with a smirk on her face. "No fucking clue." He roared and screamed and threw her to the ground. He turned to his wife.

"Kayla dear, why don't you tell Yotati what we do to people who LIE!" She nodded her head and walked over to where she was standing. She towered over her by a full three feet, but Yotati still stood her ground.

"Oh…there are a few processes that we go through…" She scratched her chin with a single claw and then continued. "First, we cut their tongue out of their head and we make them eat it, oh, and if we are feeling frisky that day, which, my dear Yotati, we are today, we kill them afterwards. We also may throw a few surprises in there…but…I'll let you guess on them, okay?" She walked back over to Raydin's side, and then Yotati just started to laugh.

"You know that Stan was right when he said that a pig looked more feminine then you…" Kayla snarled and leapt onto her energetically.

"You dirty little bitch…I'll fucking KILL YOU!" Yotati squirmed free and made a break for the door, but Raydin was there to block her and grab her. She struggled madly, but she couldn't escape. He leaned over and whispered in her ear.

"Now you are going to take us to where Stanley is, and then you are going to tell us what he is planning to do, and then we are going to kill you." She lowered her head and submitted herself to her fate.

"I'll take you to where he is," she said, and then she said under her breath, "I'm sorry Stan. I don't mean it. I love you…"

She started to cry.

There was the door. There was always the door. Everything always has it's own door, this time it was a physical one. The door was imposing, the door was thick, and the door was huge. A wise art teacher once said that you had to open a door to your own creativity. This was one of those doors. Once we opened it, we wouldn't ever be the same. Kyle looked over at me, and I looked over at him.

"Stan?"

"Yeah?"

"Before we go in here, there's something I want to tell you."

"All right."

"Raydin is still a penguin shit eating ass spelunker." I laughed a little, and then he got serious again.

"Seriously this time, Stan. I want you to know that there is not one other person except maybe for your sister that I would rather do this with. You are my best friend in the entire world, and I want you to know that if we die in there, I wouldn't have wanted to die with anyone else." He came over and grabbed my shoulder and squeezed it gently.

"Let's do this." We pushed open the door, and the evil rushed in us.

***

"Where could the sword be?" I shrugged my shoulder.

"I dunno…no, I remember! Yotati said it was behind the canopy of his bed in his bedchamber!" I grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the staircase. "Let's find ourselves a sword!" We walked up the stair, brushing the cobwebs out of faces, shivering from the cold.

"Hasn't Raydin ever heard of a heater?" I said as I tried to rid myself of the goose bumps I had. "It's fucking cold in here." Kyle shivered as he looked longingly at his sweatshirt wrapped around my arm. I noticed him looking, and offered to give it back to him.

"Nah…" he said. "I'll pass on that one." I laughed a little as we reached the top of the staircase. The hallway was huge and imposing, but luckily we were at one end of it, so we didn't have to split up. We looked into every room that we came to. Finally, all the way at the other end of the hallway, we found the master bedroom. The throne room of the king. We looked at each other, and took a deep breath as we pushed open the door.

***

The door of the castle burst open and Raydin, Kayla, and Yotati came through. Kayla turned her head and looked towards the stairs, using her nose and seeking my scent.

"I smell him," she said once again. 'I smell him and he's…" She thought about it for a minute. She snarled in anger as she realized where the scent was coming from. "He's in the bedchamber! He's polluting the room where we sleep!" She bounded towards the stairs and Raydin dragged along a weeping Yotati after her.

"Where the fuck is he…where the fuck is he!" she cried and flung the cobwebs out of her way. "Mother fucking cobwebs…why the fuck don't you ever fucking clean!" She flung herself to the top stair and raced down the massive hallway.

"I'm coming for ya!" she screamed at the top her lungs, making it echo out in to the land. Ganglies I talked to later said that they could hear it miles from the castle. "You BASTARD!"

***

"What the fuck…" I cocked my head towards the door and could hear the echo of the shout.

"Oh no…someone's coming!" Kyle cried and began tearing apart the bed canopy.

"Where the fuck is it? Where the fuck is the sword!" He shredded piece after piece of fabric behind the bed until he saw a switch on the wall.

"I found it!" he cried out to me. "I found the mother fucker!" He slammed the switch and out popped the biggest sword I had ever seen. He cradled it in his arms and brought it over to me to see. I gingerly touched the blade and gasped in awe. It was made out of pure silver and there were several types of precious stones such as rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, embedded in the hilt. There was also an inscription written in some foreign language that I had never seen.

"What the hell do you think that says?" Kyle said softly, admiring its shiny finish.

"I am going to kill you, you stupid son of a bitch," I suggested, and he laughed just as Kayla burst through the door. Kyle brandished the sword and I looked up, staring into the face of the devil. I swear she could have been Satan's sister, and probably was. I took the sword from Kyle and held it as well as I could. She roared in rage and leapt upon him.

The final battle had begun.

"Oh, what the fuck is this?!" She screamed as she leapt unto Kyle. "RAYDIN! GET IN HERE!" Raydin soared into the room on out-streched wings, carrying Yotati in his sharp talons. She left Kyle alone for a spilt second as she looked up to stare at the incoming figure, and that was all he needed to break free of her grasp. Raydin landed on the ground in front of us, but behind her and dropped Yotati on the ground. She landed with a terrible thump, and I thought she was dead. She wasn't though, and she struggled to get up. Raydin placed his foot on one of her wings and kept her down as he stared at my pitiful figure, brandishing the sword. He snickered a little bit and got right down in my face.

"Well, well, what do we have here?" he asked, staring deep into my soul. I drew back a little, our faces were so close they were almost touching. "Stanley, I would advise you put that sticker away, and give to me." I hesitated, and then slowly shook my head.

"No…" I said softly. "I am not going to let you kill Lily." He snarled and reached for the sword, but I leapt back.

"GIVE IT TO ME NOW!" he screamed at the top of his lungs.

"No!" I replied. "I am not going to give you this sword without killing you with it!" He laughed and walked over to Kayla's side.

"All right then, brave one. So be it," he said and patted Kayla's head.

"Sic 'em." She leapt through the air like a goddamn squirrel would have landed right on top of me if I hadn't moved to the side. She landed on the ground in awkward heap and I swung the sword around while she was down. The weight of it pulled me down and I totally missed. My language couldn't have been anymore colorful as I landed right on my bad arm. I can't even repeat most of what I said. Kayla got back up and tried again, this time succeeding in slashing my side. I cried out and tried swinging the sword again. It worked a little better this time, and I scraped some of the scales off her back. She roared in anger and turned on me again swung to hit me in the head.

"Stan, watch out!" Kyle cried and I ducked just in time. She fell from the momentum of her swing and landed right on top of me. I struggled to get out but couldn't. My arm was out, and I threw the sword over to Kyle as hard as I could.

"Here!" I shouted. He looked up at the falling sword and grabbed it as soon as it hit the ground. I grabbed onto Kayla as hard as I could so she couldn't get up.

"I have her, hit her while she's down!" Kyle ran over and nailed Kayla once, twice, three times with the sword in her side. Blood was seeping everywhere and it gushed out all over me. She was gasping for breath and struggled to lift her massive body off the ground. I hoped that she would, it felt like my entire body was put into a trash compactor. Kyle raised the bloody sword high over his head, and I saw the blood drip off like tiny raindrops. He brought the sword down and sliced into Kayla's neck. The expression 'heads will roll' is one that would have summarized this action with extreme accuracy. Her head slammed into mine, and then rolled across the bedroom floor. Raydin saw the action from over where he was standing and cried out.

"KAYLA! NOOO!" he screamed, and then turned nastily on Kyle. "You killed my wife…" Raydin was almost crying as he talked to him. "You killed poor Kayla…you ASSHOLE!" He leapt through the air just as I slipped out from underneath her stiff body, and then battle continued.

Kyle ran over to me before Raydin could make his first move and handed me the sword.

"Here…" he said, placing it into my hands. "You need to do this. I think only the purest love can kill him, and only you have that for Lily. Sorry, Stan…" He patted my shoulder and I turned, holding the sword in my good hand and turned towards the evil creature. He got down on my eye level and stood before me.

"Stanley…" he said. 'I tried to warn you. I told you to give me the sword. I told you that it would be fruitless. And it still is. You, your friend and your sister will be exterminated." He turned around, and then he began to change. He grew, and his wings grew absolutely huge. He turned around and surprised me with a burst of fire. I moved just in time, but my clothes were singed.

"You should just give up, Stan," he said as he slashed down one of his massive claws. It dug right into my back, and I screamed with pain. I put my hand to the gash and then drew it back. My hand was wet with blood. I cried out in a panic, wielding the sword like it was a baseball bat. I swung it madly, my heart pumping the overload of adrenaline that was flowing out of my brain. It struck him once, twice, but never in the right place. I nailed him once in the head, splitting his head open, exposing his brains, but it still wasn't the spot. He fell to the ground, presumably dead, and I collapsed to the ground from exhaustion. Kyle came running over and got down on the ground nest to me.

"We did it, Stan…" he said with relief. "We killed the fucker." I laughed from sheer relief and Yotati came over. She sat down on the ground next to me.

"Good job, Stanley…" she said, placing her wing on my shoulder. "There's something I want to tell you before you go back into your body." I stared into her eyes, as bright and as green as my own.

"Shoot."

"Stan, I…" Raydin stirred then.

"What the…" Kyle said, and Yotati panicked.

"Shit! I forgot! You didn't cut out his heart! Oh no…now he's going to come back stronger then never…"

"Grab the sword, Stan!" Kyle cried as Raydin rose up off the ground. I reached out for the sword and grabbed it, fitting the hilt into my hand. I rubbed one of the rubies embossed in the golden metal. It was smooth and cool against my fingers. I stared up at Raydin's still rising form, and gasped in shock. He was much bigger, stronger, and fucking uglier then before. Some of his teeth were so long they stuck out of his jaws and when he opened his fist, I could see that his claws would put the T-Rex's teeth to shame. They were at least eight inches long, and as sharp as daggers.

"I told you, Stanley…" he said, his voice echoing off the walls. "I told you that it was useless…you'll never be able to kill me. I…am…IMMORTAL!" He leapt at me again then, and we were once again locked in battle. He bit me right in the leg, taking a chunk of the muscle out with it. He champed it down and I stared in shock at the gaping hole it had left. He caught me off guard and blew his fire breath at me again. I would have been incinerated if it hadn't been for the blessed intervention of Yotati. She leapt out of nowhere and pushed me out of the way, taking the flame on her full force. She was blown into the wall and was impaled on a jagged rock. She cried out, surprisingly still alive. I turned around and stared at her for a second, her gentle face contorted in the most horrible expression of pain. I pushed it out of my memory and turned back towards the horror that faced me. He stood there. My blood glistening on his teeth, getting ready to leap onto me again. When he did, though, I was ready. I sidestepped him and slashed him in the back. He roared and we both took a moment to lick our wounds, although I didn't take that literally. Kyle came over to me and placed something on my back and my leg, the two worst wounds that I had. The pain and the wounds mysteriously went away, and I felt refreshed.

"What the hell…"

"It was something Yotati gave me before you came…she said that during the battle, we would need it. It's a small bit of healing potion she had saved over the years…she only had a few drops, but it was enough to take care of your back and your leg though." Kyle said, and then patted my back.

"Go get 'em, Killer," he said and I charged.

Raydin was taken totally off guard by my attack. I charged like a knight holding a spear, with the sword straight out in front of me. I plowed straight into his heart, I was sure of it. He screamed and foamed from the mouth as I twisted the powerful blade around inside of his chest. I slashed and hacked for about thirty seconds until finally, I pulled the still beating heart out from inside him. I flung it over by where Yotati was still struggling feebly, and stuck the sword back into the hole for good measure. Raydin screamed in terror and raised up on his legs high into the air. I was holding on to the sword for dear life; this was Raydin's last ditch effort to kill me. He started to fall forward, and I flung myself off the sword before he could fall on top of me. I landed on his bed right as he hit the ground, gasping for breath. He gazed up at me, his eyes wide with fear.

"You…you did it, little Stanley," he said painfully. "You…fucking did it. I had no doubt that you would…but I…wanted to believe that I was stronger than love…but…I'm not." He flopped his head onto the ground and started to change again. He got significantly smaller, and his skin grew smoother. His wings became less imposing, and he looked just like a normal ganglie. With his dying breath, he looked up at me and I gasped. His eyes were purple.

Just like Lily's.

***

Kyle and I stood there, staring for a moment at the once king of all the ganglies.

"I can't believe you killed him," Kyle said finally. "I can't believe he's finally dead."

"Yeah…" I said, caressing the sword. "I did it." I heard a faint raspy breath from behind us, and spun around.

"Oh, Yotati…" I said softly and walked over to where she was. She was hanging on the wall limply, the only thing holding her there was the rock that was pierced through her stomach.

"Stan…" she gasped. "Shit…this fucking hurts." Kyle and I gently pulled her off the rock and laid her down on the ground of the room.

"Thank you," she said as the blood started freely rushing out of her now that the rock was out. "I'm so scared…"

"Don't be," I said, and grabbed her wing. "You'll be okay, Yotati…" She slowly shook her head.

"No, Stan…I'm done for. There's no hope for me now." I rubbed her cheek, tears forming in my eyes.

"Can you do me a favor?" she asked softly, her breaths getting shallower.

"Sure," I said. "Anything you want."

"Can you write a note telling the ganglie that finds me to bury me with my brother? Tell them to take him off the wall and bury us together, all right?" I nodded my head and a tear split out onto her face. She grabbed my hand.

"Stan…don't be sad," she said. "There's no other way I would have wanted to go." She held her chest and tried to stop the ever-flowing blood.

"I am honored to have you be my friend," I said.

"You were the best friend I have ever had, Stanley Craig Marsh," she replied, and leaned up with the least of her remaining strength and kissed my cheek. I would never forget the feeling of that kiss for as long as I lived. It was so strange…yet so…sensual.

"I love you, Stan," she said. "I do…" I was speechless, and before I could reply, she had already passed on. I knelt there by her side for a moment, and the turned to Kyle.

"Come on Kyle," I said. "Let's go home."

"Stan?" A voice sang into my brain. A familiar voice, but I wasn't sure of who it was.

"Stan?" The phantom voice again. It was beautiful.

"Can you hear me?" I slowly opened one eye. I was staring into the face of Lillian Catherine Marsh.

"…Lily?" I said weakly. Her entire face lit up.

"Stan!" she cried out. "Oh my God, I was so scared…we all thought you were dead!" She leaned over and gave me a huge hug, and I looked around the room. Kyle was there, and so was Izzy. Mom and Leo were nowhere to be found. Izzy came over and sat down in the chair beside the bed.

"Stan…" she said, and then couldn't hold herself together. She cried. "I thought you were going to die…oh my God, Stanley Craig Marsh, don't ever do that to me ever again!" She slapped my arm.

"I would have missed you so much," she sobbed. "I love you, Stan!" I rubbed her hair and gave her an one-armed hug.

"I love you too, Izzy," I replied.

"You were thrashing around the bed like you were fighting something. You kept talking in your sleep…you were delirious! You fell out of your bed once…after that they had to tie you down. They were afraid you would hurt yourself again…" Lily said, pointing to my arm. "I thought you weren't going to make it. You know how long you've been in a coma for?"

"How long?" I asked.

"Three days," she said. "I haven't left this goddamn room in three days, Stanley, thanks to you!" I laughed a little.

"Am I really that bad?" I asked.

"No," she said leaning over and giving me a hug. "You are the best person in the entire world."

"That's good to know," I said sarcastically.

"You know why you were so sick, Stan?" she said then, changing the subject. I shook my head.

"Inform me, dear sister," I replied. She laughed a bit, and then got serious again.

"You were poisoned." I stared at her like she was a piece of over cooked liver and then said, "What? How the fuck was I poisoned?"

"You know that milkshake that Mom made for you?"

"Yeah…"

"Well, she put something in it. It wasn't the dairy that was making you sick, it was the chemicals!" She thought for a second, and then added, "We're gong into foster care…they took Mom away and put her in jail." She saw the expression of shock on my face but then added, "We're not moving out of this town though…Kyle's parents offered to take us in." My whole face lit up.

"Really?" I said. "I've always loved your parents, dude," I said. "That's really nice of them." The doctor came into the room then.

"Why, hello there, Stanley!" he said. "Are you feeling okay?"

"Feeling fine!" I said chipperly.

"You up to going home?" he asked. I almost leapt out of the bed.

"Are you fuck…I mean are you kidding me? Sure I am!" He laughed a little.

"Well, come on then, let's go!" I got out of the bed and stretched out my legs. I was a little wobbly, but never more happy to be alive. Lily grabbed my arm.

"Would you like to escort a lady home?" she said.

"Surely," I replied. Kyle and Izzy walked on either side of us, Izzy next to me, Kyle next to Lily. As we walked out of the hospital, Lily told Kyle and Izzy to walk ahead. She turned to me, her eyes shining with tears.

"Thanks for saving me, Stan," she said softly. "It must have been terrible to lose Yotati…" I stared at her in shock.

"How…how do you know?" I asked.

"Kyle told me while you were in the coma. He sat down and explained the whole thing to me. I want to hear it from you though, I think that the first person experience would be better."

"I can tell you sometime," I said. "No problem, sis." She leaned over and gave me a hug.

"I love you, Stan," Lily said. "You're the best brother anyone could have."

"Back to you, Lily," I replied. "Let's go get Kyle and Izzy."