Kenny stares at the clock hanging over the chalkboard. It won’t be that much longer till class lets out, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to will it to be three with his brain. The weekend is all he has to look forward to these days. Getting drunk in Craig’s basement until Saturday morning - Craig’s dad never notices the half empty bottles they hide behind the full ones, and if he does he probably thinks he drank them himself.
If he’s lucky - and if Craig’s just that fucked up over Tweek tonight - Kenny can maybe get to second base. He’s slowly been working his way up, and he’s this close to getting a hand down Craig’s pants.
He’s hoping it’ll be that kind of night tonight. It’s likely, if what he heard about Craig bashing in Tweek’s locker earlier was right.
“Alright,” Ms Callun says just as the bell rings. She starts reminding the class about their homework and when their assignments are due but everyone’s already out of their seats. Kenny’s the first one out the door; Craig’s last class is closer to the exit and he doesn’t like waiting up for Kenny to get there before he sets off. So he really—
“Oh hamburgers!” Butters trips and falls against him, dropping all his books. Kenny makes a small “oof” sound and steadies himself against Butters’ shoulder.
“Gosh, I-I’m sorry.” Of course Butters is already stammering out an apology, dropping to his knees amid the stampede of people filing out of the classrooms.
“…I hope you ain’t too mad, I know I should have been watchin’ where I was going and all but I - oh.”
Kenny wordlessly kneels down to help, smiling a little at Butters’ halted rambling.
"Y-you don’t have to, I appreciate it, but.” Kenny risks his hand getting trampled by gathering a few stray pages, shuffling them neatly together.
“Where were you going in such a hurry?” He asks as he stands, offering a hand to Butters.
“No place,” Butters says, his eyes still downcast even as he pulls himself up with Kenny’s help. “Just shouldn’t be late goin’ home, is all. I usually carpool with Eric.”
Kenny’s shoulders slump, never wishing he had a license more than at this moment. “Better hurry up then, Buttercup.”
Butters looks up at him with something like a smile playing at the edge of his mouth. Something Kenny’s only caught glimpses of in the year they’ve been apart.
“Ya know, you’re the only one that’s ever called me that?” Butters blushes.
The crowd’s starting to thin out; the rush has slowed and Craig is most definitely gone by now. Kenny doesn’t care. He still hasn’t let go of Butters’ hand.
Kenny licks his lips. “Butters…” He wants to say things, a lot of things - a lot of really important things but Kenny’s mind has gone totally blank. Suddenly, Butters looks like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
Kenny soon realizes why when Cartman barrels through the hallway, purposefully shouldering by them and grumbling, “Outta my way, fags.” Nearly causing Butters to drop his books again.
“Oh, s-sorry, Eric,” Butters stammers as he takes a step back, his hand slipping from Kenny’s.
Kenny shakes his head. “Why don’t you watch where you’re going, fat ass?”
“Fuck you, Kenny.” Cartman flips him off as he strides down the hall. He’s actually not that much of a fat ass anymore, he’s bulked up with more muscle than fat since he started playing football. ‘Fat ass’ still hits a nerve though, so Kenny sees no reason to stop using it.
"If you’re not at the car in 5 I’m leaving without you Butters," Cartman calls over his shoulder.
“A-alright!” Butters says, glancing nervously in Cartman’s direction. He looks back to Kenny, rubbing his knuckles together. “W-well, I better get goin’ now.”
“Wait,” Kenny says, trying to catch his hand again. “Wait, Butters, can we just talk for a sec?”
“I can’t,” Butters says, looking genuinely upset as he takes the pages from Kenny’s hand. “I really can’t, I’m sorry.”
"Thanks for helpin," Butters cuts him off, ‘waving his books as he walks away, "Thanks very much, Kenny, an-and I’m sorry.” He glances up to Kenny’s face. “Really, very sorry.”
“Butters,” Kenny says weakly, but Butters is already following after Cartman.
“Fuck,” Kenny swears as he starts down the hall in the opposite direction. “Fuck.”
He doesn’t go to Craig’s. There isn’t much point since Craig doesn’t like letting him in once his parents are home anyway.
He goes to Kyle’s instead, lounging on his bed while Kyle chats with people on facebook.
“So the Kenny ban is still in effect, huh?”
Kenny frowns at Kyle’s back, unsure of how he could know what was going on.
“I saw you guys in the hallway,” Kyle explains without even having to look away from his computer. Kyle is weird, man.
Kenny sighs and pulls a pillow over his head, mumbling back his response.
"Dude," Kyle says, "if you’re still that hung up on him then why don’t you just , you know, go talk to him?”
Kenny mumbles again, crushing the pillow into his face in frustration.
"The ban isn’t a good enough reason!" Kyle spins around in his chair and stomps towards the bed, grabbing the pillow off of Kenny’s face.
"Oh God, when are you just gonna go for what you want? You think Butters is gonna wait around for you to get your shit together?" Kyle’s face is flushed an angry red.
"His dad’s got me by the balls," Kenny explains, surprised at being scrutinized like this by Kyle of all people.
"So what?" Kyle snaps. "Is Butters not worth it? You really that scared of his dad?”
Kenny sits up, feels his face heat at the accusation. “Look, if I don’t stay away from Butters his dad could have Kevin fired from the company!”
Kyle stares at him, visibly deflating and searching for words. “I - Kenny…”
"Kevin’s doing real good there," Kenny goes on, "he doesn’t drink half as much as he used to and he’s even saving up for Karen’s college fund. Heneeds that job, Kyle.”
Kyle shakes his head, looking rueful. “Kenny… I didn’t know man.”
"I know… s’okay," Kenny mumbles, looking away. "I don’t think it’s me you’re really mad at anyway."
Kyle ignores this. He sits down next to Kenny, biting his lip and folding his hands in his lap. "When are you gonna stop feeling responsible for everyone, Kenny?" Kyle asks. "Have you even talked to Kevin about this?"
Kenny falters. "N-no."
"Well maybe you should," Kyle says with a huff. "Who says Butters' asshole dad has that kind of power anyway? Last I heard he was still doing grunt work in a shitty little cubicle."
Kenny slumps into himself. "…I don't know," he hesitates, "what if the whole thing blows up in my face?"
Kyle shrugs and lies back on the bed. “Better than not going for it and never knowing.”
Speaking of going for it. “Where’s Stan?”
"Eternally in the closet," Kyle sighs and rolls onto his stomach. "Wendy’s going over to theirs for dinner tonight, apparently."
Kenny pats Kyle’s hair, it’s rare to see it out from under his hat. “What a dick,” he says.
Kyle laughs weakly and smacks Kenny’s hand away. “Tell me about it.”
Kenny hasn’t trailed after Craig in a week. It’s not that the attraction’s gone - Kenny would’ve loved getting into his pants, would still - but Craig just isn’t Butters, and Kenny isn’t Tweek. In the end, all they ever were to each other was a distraction.
Anyway, Craig doesn’t call him out on it. And by the time 5th period is rolling around and Kenny’s turning a corner, he sees Tweek backed up against Craig’s locker with Craig latched onto his neck.
Something like jealousy does twist in Kenny’s stomach, but it’s not for Craig.
Kevin bursts into his room a week later, luckily Kenny isn’t doing anything except sifting through an old porn mag.
"Hey dick-for-brains," Kevin says casually whilst doing up his tie. He’s dressed in his work suit, his only work suit. “So, you and the faggy little blond dude, huh?”
Kenny chokes and pounds at his own chest until he can breathe again. He’s so thrown all he can do is gape at his brother like a fish and sputter, “Wh-what!?”
“Shoulda known when he took you to Hawaii,” Kevin says. “Nice.”
Kenny stares at him dumbly. Kevin leans against the door and lets his tie fall loose. “By the way, I got promoted,” Kevin tells him, smirking when Kenny’s eyes widen. “So don’t worry about me, dingus; the Stotch asshole can’t do shit, and even if he could, Kyle told me to tell you that he’s got some recent pics from a certain bathhouse.”
"What?" Kenny repeats weakly, voice hoarse.
Keven grins. “Hey, if he hurts you… well, you’ll probably deserve it.”
Kevin walks over to slap the back of his head and ruffle his hair. “I’m leavin’ for work,” Kevin says, still smiling, “I got my own office now, you know.”
All Kenny can do is stare after his brother as he leaves.
The next night he’s walking by the Stotch house. It’s not like he went over there intending to climb up the drain pipe and the tree alongside Butters’ window. It just… happens.
Kenny taps on the glass, watching as Butters stirs from his sleep long enough to spot him.
Butters’ eyes widen and he bolts upright. “Ke-Kenny!?” He nearly yells before catching himself. He throws the covers off himself and rushes over to push up the window. “What are you doing here?”
"Can I come in?" Kenny asks quickly, awkwardly balancing a foot on the tree branch.
Butters moves back to let him in quickly, even totally frazzled he’s still too nice for his own good.
"Kenny," Butters whispers fretfully as Kenny climbs into his room, "You-you know you’re not supposed to be here, what if—?"
Kenny kisses him before he can go on, a solid smack of lips that makes Butters shut right up. At first it’s not really good, too much teeth and Butters’ mouth is stiff against his, but when Kenny grabs at his hips and licks his bottom lip, Butters lets out a little sigh and tilts his head. It’s even better than their first kiss.
He maneuvers them towards the bed, backing Butters up until his knees hit the edge of the mattress and Kenny can push him down.
"Wait…" Butters sighs, still pressing his lips to Kenny’s jaw.
Kenny trails his fingers lightly down Butters’ sides and pushes his hands under his shirt.
"Ah." Butters bites his lips when Kenny reaches his nipple. He shivers and pushes weakly at Kenny's shoulders. ”Ken, wait!”
Kenny stops; he’s not a total asshole.
"Now I know I might be sendin’ mixed signals h-here," Butters says, his fingers still clinging to Kenny’s shirt. "But we just can’t - we can’t do this, Kenny.”
"Why not?" Kenny asks simply, slowly tracing circles on Butters’ skin.
"You know why," Butters says quietly, sadly.
“Do you not like this, Buttercup?” Kenny leans down and kisses Butters’ neck, letting his lips linger on the soft skin.
"I… I, well." Butters slowly lets his eyes drift shut as Kenny teases at his neck with his teeth.
"Or this?" Kenny lifts his head and bites at his bottom lip, tugging at it sharply.
Butters brings his hands up to rest on the back of Kenny’s head, sighing. “Oh, Ken…”
They kiss again, a little sloppier and more eager this time, with Butters curling a leg around Kenny’s hip.
"I don’t care about your parents," Kenny says when he breaks away to admire the blissed-out look on Butters’ face. “I don’t care about what your dad thinks he can do to me, there’s nothing worse than not being with you.”
Butters watches him silently, eyes wide. After a second he begins to smile, and he leans up to catch Kenny’s mouth with his own. “Then I don’t care neither,” he says against Kenny’s lips. And that’s that.
If you discount Stephen Stotch threatening Kenny with a 9mm revolver the next morning, resulting in Kenny frantically tugging on his pants and pulling Butters out of the window with him - then that’s that.