Here he was again. In the gutter. On a rainy day no less. With nobody to turn to. Wendy left him again, Kyle was quick to prance off to Cartman’s house the moment he heard Stan was depressed again, and Kenny was neck deep in an orgy pile.
Stan sighed to himself. He expected this from all of them. Kenny he understood. Ever since puberty, he had a pretty someone on his arm. Mostly they were girls but every once and awhile he had a guy to go home with. Kyle and Cartman weren't friends per se but Kyle always ran away to anyone else when Stan was depressed. This time it was another get rich quick scheme that had to do with peddling amateur gay porn that was stolen from the internet and burned onto discs like DVDs. Not that Kyle knew that.
Stan sighed. He was used to this. This feeling of rotting away inside while he wallowed in a world so full of shit that he would drown it faster than he would in the bottom of any beer bottle. Not that he had any of that right now either. His mother had found a few empty bottles in his underwear drawer and locked it all away from the ‘men’ of the house. He hadn't even been drinking that much, just enough to make it through a day. Now his mother was disappointed in him and his father wouldn't talk to him… Shelly helped him sneak out because he was ‘being a mopey turd’ and pissing her off.
So here he sat. Freezing in the rain and not even giving enough of a shit to try and move to the drier ground. He knew he was most likely going to get some illness and he hoped it killed him. Like anyone would care if it did. His parents only cared when he brought his problems home and even then it was the standard surface caring all parents had to do. Kyle obviously never cared for him, at least not the way Stan did him. He had practically stolen Cartman’s kidney to save Kyle’s life, had written the gayest ‘save the Earth’ song most likely in all of history to make Kyle come back, and all he had to show for it was a “fair-weather friend” who wouldn’t even try to help Stan when he was feeling down.
He had hung out with the goths for a few hours today.
They didn't seem to care that he came around when he was feeling like this. They were always willing to listen to him pouring out the blackness of his heart, so long as he did it with a poem, and call him Raven until his ‘conformist’ self came back. However, he knew he didn't really belong with them.
So after six hours of dark poems, shitty diner coffee, and smoking he told them not to die in their sleep and left. They said the same to him, as is customary among those who seek refuge in hating existence.
He sighed out in resignation and pulled his knees to his chest. He missed the days before he was like this. He missed running around and playing tag, he missed wild trips to Canada on Christmas Eve, and he missed true Super Best Friends.
He didn't know who to be more upset with Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, or himself for being like this. He watched the people walk by him pointedly not looking at him. He didn't blame them, they probably thought if they made eye contact he’d try to spill his life story to them like most depressed people.
He sat in the rain, on the side of the street, staring at the water flowing into a grate leading to the sewers. He wasn't really WATCHING it though. He was too deep in his own depression to care.
Life was shitty. Movies sucked. Music was all about sex and drugs with zero meaning. Nobody actually gave a rat’s ass about him and nobody cared that he was sitting with his feet in a wet gutter in the rain.
“Stan?” A small voice drawls from his left. Stan turns to find Butters looking at him with worry etched into his features. He was holding an umbrella, wearing a turquoise raincoat, and matching galoshes.
Stan merely shrugged before turning back around. “Hey, Butters.” He muttered in a voice steeped with sorrow, making it deeper than he normally allowed himself to sound.
“Well, gee Stan, you sound sad. Wanna talk about it?” Butters asked. He stepped closer to Stan so the umbrella was covering them both.
“Well, you should at least get out of the rain. You’ll get sick.” Butters pointed out. Stan couldn't help but roll his eyes.
“I don't care,” Stan responded harshly. Now that rain wasn't pouring on his head he realized his clothes were sticking to his body and he was shaking like a leaf. Butters was quiet for a moment, though he didn't leave.
When he did speak again it startled Stan. “Your teeth are chatterin’. You don't gotta go home Stan, but let me get ya outta the rain. My parents went to Havai for their anniversary so it’s okay.”
Stan was about to protest, Butters was still and most likely always will be a “melvin” and he really didn't need a loser hanging around right now, however, Butters was already grabbing his soaked arm and dragging him up. He didn't even make a sound as Butters yanked him close under the umbrella and began leading him back to the Stotch residence.
He’d deny it later if anyone even bothered to ask, but he didn't mind being forcibly pressed to Butters body right now. He allowed Butters heat to warm his soaked and freezing body. It certainly brought back some comfort to his slightly shaking form. Butters held on to him the whole walk to his house as if he was afraid Stan would run the moment he let go. Once they were on Butters porch he handed the umbrella to Stan. “You hold the umbrella while I unlock the door.”
“Whatever.” Stan sighed.
Butters gave him a soft smile and turned back to the door. Stan looked around at the dreary neighborhood and noticed Kyle and Cartman leaving the house across the street smiling at each other. Cartman noticed him and blatantly turned to look back at Kyle. He watched as Cartman purposefully did what he could to keep Kyle from looking at him as he walked away.
He sighed again. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned back to Butters. He noticed that he was the only one under the umbrella and stepped closer. “Sorry.” He muttered in embarrassment. Really why the hell was he so upset over Kyle? This was how it always was between them!
“I ain't upset over a little rain, Stan. I’m more worried about how you’re feelin’.” Butters clicked the door open and ushered Stan inside before following him.
“Like death.” Stan looked at Butters with a straight face. He was still shaking a bit from the cold. Butters tilted his head and moved closer. Stan turned around, not wanting to see the pity in his eyes. Next thing he knew two arms wrapped around him and pulled him closer to a warm torso.
“There, there little buddy.”
Stan sighed. “Butters shut up.” Stan grit out. “I don't need shitty sympathy from someone who doesn’t get it.”
He didn't hear any reaction from Butters at that. Butters did move away though. “You remember where the bathroom is right? Go ahead and take a shower to warm up. I’ll grab your clothes and put them in the washer.” Butters told him. “You can let all your worries out once you aren't soaked. Okay?”
“Sure. Whatever.” Stan took his boots off and walked upstairs to Butters bathroom and stripped out of his black clothes. He turned the shower on and stepped in. Once he was in the steaming cascade of water he couldn't help but wonder why the hell he was even here. Wasn't he wishing for a deadly disease to kill him not even fifteen minutes ago? Wasn't he just lamenting the whole fucking world and its current state?
So why the hell was a taking a shower in Butters house of all places? Why the ever loving fuck did he let himself be yanked out of the gutter and brought here? He shook his head. May as well finish the shower now that he’s started it. He sighed and examined his options as far as shampoo and soap went. Strawberry scented shampoo, conditioner, and body wash was one shelf, most likely belonging to Butter’s mom. Old Spice Krankengard sat on another shelf and Stan raised an eyebrow at it. Butters smelled more like lilacs earlier so there was no way that was his.
Stan used it anyway. He didn't hear Butters come in or leave new clothes but once he had scrubbed himself he got out anyway. Lo-and-behold there was clean clothes for him to wear on the toilet lid. Stan was surprised to see they were just as black as his other clothes and there was a small tube of eyeliner on top of the pile.
Still, he reapplied his eyeliner and put on the black clothes. They fit surprisingly well and he shrugged when he looked in the mirror. They felt odd on his skin. Too soft.
He went to find Butters downstairs after his shower. Butters was on the floor in the living room, a pile of movies scattered around him. “Oh hey, Stan! I was trying to find something for us to watch! Any requests?” He asked happily.
Stan looked at Butters through bored eyes. “Why they’re all just gonna be shit anyways?”
“Well, I figured the guest so I’d ask. Besides, it’s better than silence.” Butters said.
“Something dark and soul crushing, then. Got anything horror?” He grumbled out.
“Well, I don't got many. Dad’s a bit squeamish, but mom has a stash behind the TV stand. She’s got a few from Stephen King and one called Thirteen Ghosts.” Butters put all the movies back and peeked his head between the wall and the TV stand. “There’s also Saw one through five, The Ring, and one called Teeth.”
“Which one’s from King you got?” Stan moved to sit on the couch. He sat in the middle, it was his default position when Kyle and Cartman were around and got comfy.
“Pet Sematary, The Shining, The Stand, and Children of the Corn,” Butters responded. “Anything tickle your fancy?”
“Nobody says that anymore! And you could put on Thirteen Ghosts, I’ve seen all the others.” Stan spoke normally before he shook his head and grumbled, “Or whatever, I don't really care.”
Butters put the movie on and sat down beside Stan. “I’m happy to see those clothes fit you.”
“Where did you even get this outfit?” Stan asked. “Looks too cool to be something you’d wear.”
“Well, you remember when I joined the vampire kids back in fourth grade? I sorta liked the style so I bought an outfit after I outgrew my other one. I don't wear ‘em much since my parents don't like the thought I might be ungroundable, but I like to wear ‘em when nobody’s around.” Butters answered.
“Then why are they my size rather than yours?” Stan asked before he could stop himself.
“I like baggy clothes. And besides, the bigger sizes have more pockets.” Butters giggled.
Stan raised his eyebrow but quickly shrugged it off. “Whatever.” Stan went back to watching the movie. It was the part when the dad and the crazy lady with the flares were hiding in the library when he looked over to Butters again. He had his knees pulled to his chest and a pillow cuddled to his chest. Stan really didn't know what came over him but he wrapped an arm around Butters shoulders and pulled him close to himself. “Are you really that scared?”
Butters immediately and unquestioningly cuddled into him and for some reason, Stan felt something stir in his chest… Odd. It felt fluttery and a heat rose to his face. “Yeah. I suppose my dad isn’t the only squeamish one.” Stan was happy the sun was fully down and it was dark in the room. Butters was still much warmer than him and he relished in the additional body heat. The movie was almost over. “Y-ya know, I kinda hate how in every horror movie there’s this...broken family in the start. Then all this stuff happens to ‘em and they’re supposedly fixed.” Butters muttered. “Like, you’d think being shoved in this position and almost dying would really mess up their heads.”
“In reality, all these pretty little families would need years of therapy and that kid probably wouldn't recover,” Stan responded. “But Hollywood wouldn't make any money if these shitty movies were realistic.”
“I suppose that’s true,” Butters muttered.
Stan had lost interest in the movie. “Everyone always tries to justify these things by saying after going through stressful situations with people you bond with them and you get attached and blah blah- but that’s bullshit. I mean there are people I’ve been through tons of life and death situations with and you don't see them running to the rescue when my whole world turns to shit!” Stan rambled. “I mean how many times have I let Kyle and his self-righteous morals pull me into trouble?! How many times has Cartman gotten us into trouble with the law because he can’t keep his fat mouth shut!?”
Butters didn't back off from Stan’s side as he rambled. He held on tighter and began to rub his back in as soothing a manner as he could. He didn't say anything at all and Stan took that as an invitation to continue.
“Seriously?! I’ve always tried my best to be there for them! I warn them about trouble, I slave my ass off to save them when I can and sometimes when I can’t! The whole world is shit and I had hoped at least my Super Best Friend wouldn't be shit too.” Stan stopped ranting when he realized his voice had cracked.
Butters rose up and pressed Stan’s face to his shoulder and Stan let himself cry it out. He held on tight to Butters not even realizing the uncomfortable position Butters was in. His butt was still on the couch with his legs facing forward, but his back was twisted at an odd angle. Butters didn't say a word as he rubbed Stan’s back.
“I wish I had a beer or some whiskey or something!” He sobbed.
“Awe Stan, Ya can't bury yourself in the bottle.” Butters hugged tighter.
Stans reply was too muffled by Butters own shoulder to be understandable. He sniffled and tried to calm himself down. He detached himself from Butters and wiped his nose with some tissues from the coffee table in front of him. He didn't say anything, he wasn't sure what to say.
“For what it counts, I don't think there’s anything wrong with you, Stan. Some people handle things differently than others and while Kyle can handle of things he isn’t the type to handle sad things well.” Butters says. “He likes to seem tough, and maybe in some ways he is, but he’s never been able to deal with sad things.”
“What do you mean?” Stan asked. He was drained and too tired to argue.
“Well, remember when he had that hemorrhoid? Right after Cartman’s grandma left him a million dollars? He just kind of shut down. When he got too depressed he was letting himself go.” Butters said. “Kyle can’t handle depressing situations without someone and even then he could still shut down. In that sense, you’re stronger than Kyle.”
“I don't see how that makes me stronger. I’m just too cowardly to give up.” Stan responded.
Butters grabbed his face and forced their eyes to meet. “When Kyle’s sad he’s ready to give up ‘cause it’s easier than fighting through it. When you get depressed, you might get sad, but ya don't give up. You fight Stan, even when life hurts worse than anythin’, and that makes you stronger than Kyle.” Butters said. Then he gave Stan a smile. “And I’m real happy you fight Stan. Life wouldn't be the same without ya.”
“Thanks, Butters.” Stan tilted his head. “I never thought of it like that.” He sighed.
“Anytime Stan.” Butters hugged him again and suddenly, not everything seemed so shitty. Life still felt like a chore, he was still exhausted, but it was slightly better… and that’s more than Stan could hope for in this moment. “Why don't ya spend the night? I’ll go throw your clothes in the dryer and you go get comfy.” Butters let go and looked Stan in the eyes.
“Sure. Where are you going to sleep?” Stan asked.
“Well, since you’re the guest I figure I’ll take the couch,” Butters said as he stood up.
“I don't mind sharing. I used to share with Kyle when we had sleepovers. It’d be nice, after the day I had…” Stan trailed off.
“Well, if that’s what ya want then who am I to say no?” Butters smiled. “Go ahead and get comfy. I’ll be up in a minute.”
Stan nodded and went upstairs. He stopped in the bathroom to wipe off his eyeliner but it was mostly gone. The only evidence he had been wearing any were the tracks leading down his cheeks. He wiped them away and went back to Butters bedroom. He took off the shirt Butters had loaned him. He placed his hands on the hem of his pants and considered removing them too but sided against it. He crawled onto the bed and pulled the blankets over himself.
He heard Butters downstairs slam the dryer shut but it was still a few minutes until Butters joined him. “Do Ya mind if I take my shirt off?” Butters asked once the door was shut.
“As long as you don't mind I took mine off already,” Stan answered. Butters took his shirt off and crawled into bed next to him. Once the covers were pulled over him it instantly got warmer and Stan sighed in contentment.
“I'm glad you feel better now.” Butter told him.
“Me too. Thanks for dragging me out of the gutter.” Stan whispered. He watched as Butters closed his eyes and fell asleep. He silently wondered about the feeling he had earlier. Why did his heart flutter and why did he blush? Weren't those things only people you loved were supposed to do to you? Stan knew he wasn’t entirely straight, but he also never thought of Butters in that way.
Butters wasn’t exactly unpopular he was just kind of lame, so they didn't really hang out as much as they did as kids. It usually only happened during football games when Stan was playing and Butters was cheering the team on. Other than that it was forced conversations when their parents dragged them to parties and they were made to socialize.
Now, however, he was shirtless in bed with him and it was hard to not think about him as a possible dating candidate. He was also just noticing that when he thought back to the movie, it wasn't nearly anywhere near as shitty as he remembered it being. He wondered if that was some sort of sign…
Stan didn't even remember falling asleep but he woke up with his arms holding something very warm and when he looked it he realized he had Butters head held to his chest. He quickly let go and climbed over Butters to go to the bathroom. He closed the door behind him and ran to the toilet. He lifted the seat and lid to hover his face over the bowl.
He hadn't felt this nervous since he and Wendy first started dating… Stan didn't puke and for that he was thankful. He took time to puzzle over his sudden burst of nausea before he went back out. He tried to think of the last time he felt this decent… The last time someone had tried to help. It was so long ago he couldn't remember it properly. What he did remember is that it had been a long time since he had felt this good. Butters held him, let him cry, never tried to tell him to just stop thinking about it or called him a downer… He took a deep breath and tried to quiet whatever his brain was doing. When he went downstairs he heard the only song he associated with Butters.
“Loo Loo Loo I got some apples. Loo Loo, Loo you got some too.- Oh good morning Stan!” Butters stopped when Stan walked into the kitchen. His face turned red and he turned to look away. Stan was confused for a second. “Your clothes from yesterday are dry, ya can go ahead and grab them. I turned the dryer back on so they’d be warm. Opening the door should turn it off though.” Stan looked down and realized he was still shirtless.
“Oh!” Stan blushed too now. “Thanks. I’ll be back.” Stan went to Butters laundry room and opened the door on the dryer. He pulled out his shirt first and put it on. He was thankful Butters had the thought to turn it back on because the warmth was certainly appreciated. Next, he changed into his boxers and pants. He had gone commando in the pants Butters had given him but he tried not to think about it.
Once he was dressed he went back to the kitchen. Butters was in a blue apron, his usual clothes, and had a pan in one hand and an egg in the other. “I’m making breakfast before we go to school. You want anything?” Butters asked.
“I forgot it’s Monday and that we had school today!” Stan exclaimed. “Shit, I don't have my bag!”
“It’s still early enough for us to stop by your house. Well, we actually beat my alarm.” Butters smiled. “Do you want eggs?” He asked.
“Over medium please,” Stan said. He relaxed and sat at the table. He felt slightly useless right now so he tried conversation. “So how long are your parents gonna be gone, dude?” He asked.
Butters giggled and cracked an egg. “They should be gone another thirteen days.”
“Dude, you got this place all to yourself for two weeks?!”
Butters giggled some more. “Yep. They call every night to check on me, but they won't be home for a while.”
“Why are you giggling? What's so funny dude?”
Butters was all out laughing now. “S-Stan! You look like a goth and you’re saying, dude!” Butters tried to catch his breath. “It’s so weird I can’t help myself!”
Stan paused and considered this before cracking a smile. “I guess it is.” Butters went back to flipping eggs but he still had a smile on his face. “So hey, you have cheer tonight right?” Butters hummed an affirmative answer. “Well, I have football… Maybe I can give you a ride home.”
“Well, that’d be swell Stan. You don't gotta do that though.” Butters slide the eggs from the pan onto plates and moved to the table.
“It’ll make me feel better about crying all over you last night.” Stan took a bite of his eggs and tried to continue his air of nonchalance.
“Well, if it will make ya feel better I suppose I can get a ride home,” Butters answered between bites. They ate their breakfast in content silence and once they were done they began walking to Stan’s house.
“Wait for me here. I’ll be right back.” Stan said as he walked into his house. He was thankful that his mother had already left to run some errands, and his father was still asleep and probably hung over. He went upstairs and changed his clothes into his blue jeans, tennis shoes, and white shirt under his brown hoodie. He also traded his black hat for his blue one. He looked in the mirror and shrugged.
Stan threw his bag on his shoulder and went back downstairs to leave. He grabbed the keys to shitty two door jeep his parents bought for his sixteenth birthday and stepped out the door. Butters was still standing on the sidewalk where Stan left him. “Hey, hop in the jeep and let’s go.”
“Okay!” Butters said happily. He climbed in the passenger seat and set his bag on the floor. Stan started it up and the radio came on blasting some song from a CD Kyle had left in his radio. Butters immediately plugged his ears and Stan turned the music down.
“Go ahead and put on what you want. It’s a short drive anyway.” Stan said. With that, he backed out of his driveway and took them to school.