Leopold Stotch had never thought about why he was being called ‘Butters’. He always assumed that it was just something that was. Just like Stanley was Stan and everyone except Butters was calling Eric ‘Cartman’ or, more so ‘fat-ass’.
However, that was before he heard Kenny McCormick, sitting on the table with his friends ask to noone special, quote unquote “Why Butters?”. It wasn’t the first time aforementioned blond had heard the hooded boy say those words and that was the problem. Seeing as Kenny was so concerned with his nickname made Butters feel pretty ignorant.
Heck, if it were just his semi-friends calling him ‘Butters’ he’d just say it was an ordinary nickname originating from… well, whatever it was. But even his teachers and parents – his whole family - were calling him Butters. It was even marred on the stone of his grave and for all of fifteen years he had never cared and, without him knowing, had made Kenny McCormick desperate with worry - or so he thought.
It made Butters happy in a guilty way. As far as he remembered nobody had ever shown so much interest as to wonder about him. Kenny was an awfully kind guy, and it wasn’t nice to keep his mind occupied with something that shouldn’t even be his problem in the first place.
Therefore Butters decided that, if Kenny wanted to know, Butters was going to give him an answer.
After some research, that is.
And Butters assumed, it would be best to start with where it possibly began – his parents. However, as soon as he put one foot into their kitchen, he saw his father sitting on the table with a sour look on his face and cornflakes in his plain turquoise mug, whilst his mother was preparing a meal with her back turned towards him even though she must have noticed that he had entered the kitchen.
“Butters, will you mind telling us why I have to drink cornflakes instead of coffee?”, his father greeted him, his voice seething with undeniable anger.
Butters couldn’t even explain how after so many years, he was still able to put their groceries in the wrong place. He was forced to learn the alphabet even before his first day of school and could recite it since the first day his parents had told him to store the stuff he had used back into the kitchen cupboard by himself and that was around the ages of three or four.
His only explanation was that he was elsewhere with his mind during the difficult process of storing away his breakfast ingredients, though he couldn’t really point his finger on what exactly his mind had been on. Maybe it had been on the grammar test in English language, possibly on the fact that he was going to get grounded if he didn’t ace his Maths class, which really sucked because Maths wasn’t really his favorite subject and all and anyway, even the smartest kids he knew had a problem with their teacher and her way of showing them “what a bunch of idiots they are”. Teacher’s words, not his.
“How often do I have to tell you, that you have to put everything back in order. Do you see that?” His father showed him his mug. The cornflakes had turned soft and gooey, exactly the way Butters loved them if they had been drenched in cold milk instead of hot water. The mug left his field of vision and was put to his fathers mouth, who took a few gulps from the peculiar mixture, grimacing in disgust as he swallowed. “Now your father has to drink that. Does your father have to drink cornflakes after a hard working day, Butters, does he?”
Butters was about to stammer an apology, when his father pointed to the ceiling. “You get up to your room right now. You are grounded, mister!”
Butters kept close attention to his grounded days and if the blond remembered correctly he was still grounded for the fact that as Eric had told him to take care of some business of his and bring his grandmother some food – which was really nice of Eric, to take care of his grandmother - he was sent to a ghetto-ish (because Butters wasn’t so sure what a ghetto was like or which criteria a district had to fulfill to be called ghetto) district in the north of South Park. Though one could hardly say north because, really, South Park was far to small to have districts and he was pretty sure the ghetto of South Park consisted of only one house, meaning the house of the McCormicks, which wasn’t as Eric has informed him a real house but originally a club house or backyard shed of some sort. Anyway, he had been sent to some scary and decayed block where he was attacked by starving stray cats, which ribbed his clothes to shreds so that they could get their claws on the meat he had put away in his pockets.
His parents had thought he had been playing bully and fought with a friend in school and grounded him for acting like some criminal he will certainly turn out to be if he kept that aggressive behavior and, as an afterthought, for disregarding the clothes his parents had bought from money they had pains to earn. In addition to not complete his mission (because the cats had stolen the food and even tried to eat Butters while they were at it) and being grounded, he hadn’t even found Eric’s grandmother to sincerely apologize. The other boy had been a swell friend and told him to stuff it when he explained what had happened. He had some nice pictures instead, Eric had told him, though Butters couldn’t make much sense of the last statement.
So, he was still grounded for that incident and would be for the next three days, wherefore he wondered, whether the new punishment would start today or when the last punishment ended.
Probably the latter, he decided without asking, because his father didn’t look like he had the patience to answer any of his questions and his mother still had her back to him, seemingly ignoring his presence.
No dinner for him, then.
And just like his dinner vanished the chance to ask his parents about his nickname.
With a sigh, Butters turned around, hanging his head low and marching up to his room to do his homework, rummaging through his bag to withdraw a sandwich he hadn’t eaten during lunch break. Well, it hadn’t even been his intention to eat it in the first place.
Putting his books on the desk, he leaned over his art homework. A badly drawn image of himself, his face copied from what he had seen in the mirror he had used. Their assignment had been to draw a pose typical to their character. Of course, Kyle had chosen a pose where he looked like some genius thinker. Eric had copied Einstein’s sticking-tongue-out portrait, denying the more or less insignificant fact that the man had been a Jew. Though when Kyle pointed that out, it only led to a long and heated fight between the two, which again ended with them being kicked out of class for the remaining time.
Butters had taken a long time choosing the pose (him smiling shyly into the mirror) even longer in choosing the two colors he should use – colors that were supposed to show their character. Craig had chosen cold colors, blue and white, he had seen it, because he was sitting beside the dark-haired boy. Bebe had used bright colors, yellow and orange, same as Kenny’s actually.
Butters sighed, putting the sheet of paper down.
Kenny had helped him choose the pose and the colors. Once during class, as Kenny had walked up to the teachers desk, he had passed Butters table and noticed, that while all their classmates had started working on the drafts, Butters was still just staring into his mirror, unsure of what to do. It had been Kenny who told him that just openly smiling into the picture would be enough, because it certainly projected his character.
Butters had felt stupid for smiling into the mirror, while trying to catch that image. Until Kenny had grabbed his shoulders and, leaning over them, brightly smiled into the mirror, all the while whispering some dirty jokes in Butters ear, which made him blush more than smile. Butters was really good at drawing, but Kenny’s presence had made him nervous in a tingly happy way and he hadn’t even protested, when Kenny had started to guide his drawing hand, helping him create the disastrous draft that Butters would still keep and use as the one he was going to color.
Even though his parents might not be happy about the mark he was going to receive and would ground him.
For a short moment, the blond had even been tempted to draw the smiling face he saw reflected in the mirror, but suppressed the urge. It wouldn’t show his character. He knew that Stan had painted his best friend into his picture and probably nobody was going to protest it, but Butters, no, Kenny was no constant in his life and wouldn’t fit into his picture at all.
It was pathetic.
Kenny had really helped him that day and Butters couldn’t even figure something out that was supposed to be really easy.
But he would.
With a determined glare he thought, he would walk up to the person that really would have to know where his nickname came from, because he was a know-it-all and the smartest kid in school.
However, things were easier said than done.
The next day Kyle wasn’t really in a good mood and when Butters wanted to talk to him, Stan had pulled him away by his arm, mumbling something about staying out of the other’s way if he treasured his life and wait until his mood would be slightly better, which, as Stan assured him, wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Lunch time was the next chance to talk to him but Kyle still seemed angry, all the while fuming about whatever and not even Stan or Kenny could calm him down; the latter had actually given up somewhere between first and third period. Next to Butters sat Eric droning on about food and that fucking Stewart and Board of Education, but he wasn’t entirely listening, mostly thinking about how to approach his semi-friend without disturbing him in his anger routine.
It was actually after school, as Kyle was about to leave in a rush, that Butters got the courage to walk up to him. Waiting patiently behind his open locker until Kyle finally slammed the door shut. “Spit it out Butters. I don’t have all day”, the redhead acknowledge his presence, still looking sour.
The blond knocked his knuckles together, eyes darting from left to right, avoiding to look directly into the face of the clever boy. “Hi… hiya, Kyle”, he stuttered, eyes now intently inspecting the dirty floor. “J-just wanted t-ta ask ya somethin’.” Kyle was impatiently tapping his foot, giving a slightly annoyed sigh, which made Butters lose most of the courage he had built up during the day.
Well, Stan had warned him, he mused. He had known that Kyle was in a bad mood. Had something to do with Eric, who was again on some sort of warpath against whatever it was that had made him angry this time. If the blond had listened to him during lunch break he might have known.
“I… do ya…” he stammered.
“I do what?”, Kyle snapped, and Butters cringed. “Listen, buddy, I’m in a bit of a hur—”
“My name!”, the blond suddenly yelped, surprising the Jew into taking a step back. “Why d’ya call me B-Butters?” He almost chocked on the question, regretting it the instant he had voiced it.
How should Kyle know?
Alright, so he did seem to know everything, but Butters wasn’t deluding himself into believing, that the other actually cared enough to remember, that was if he even did know at some point of time, which he somehow highly doubted.
It had been a really dumb idea.
“Let me clarify this. … Just to make sure”, Kyle replied slowly, voice by now free of any anger and confusion, and Butters looked up in relief, spotting a slight smile tugging on the other’s lips, amusement visible in the green eyes. “Your actual question is ‘Why Butters’?” He asked, illustrating quotation marks with the help of his fingers, while imitating Kenny’s almost desperately worried voice.
The blond frowned.
Was he that easy to figure out?
“Then its ‘Buttercup’”, Kyle finally answered with a satisfied smirk, Butters’ lack of reply enough response. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to find a certain fat-ass somewhere in D.C.” The redhead turned around and walked away with a lopsided grin, not even thinking about explaining his words.
What did he even mean with Buttercup?
“D’ya… d’ya mean I look like a buttercup or somethin’?” he called after the other boy, who did not react to his words. “K-kyle?” Confused, he tried to catch up with the long secure strides of the redhead, following him outside the school building. However, before he could reach Kyle, he was grabbed by his arm and instantly pulled to the side.
Surprised, he stared at one irritated Stan Marsh.
“What did you tell him?” Butters didn’t understand. “He’s been moody since yesterday and I couldn’t cheer him up the whole day and then you walk over to him and I was just about to save your life, because honestly, you do not wish to – oh whatever, just, dude, what did you tell him?”, the dark haired boy exclaimed, pointing at his redheaded friend, who was currently engaged in a lively discussion with a certain hooded boy.
“Ah just asked why ya call me Butters”, he mumbled, stunned.
“That’s it?”, Stan asked after a moment of disappointed silence.
“Wasn’t it because of ‘Butterscotch’?”
Butters paused before he looked up, surprised about the sudden jump in conversation. “Kyle said because of ‘Buttercup’.”
“Dunno. … Why Butterscotch?”
“Well, Butters Stotch sounds a lot like Butterscotch.”
“Ma name’s Leopold Stotch…”
“How d’ya get ta Butterscotch and then ta Butters?”
Butters had lost Stan at that point of conversation.
“I gotta go”, Stan finally opted after a long awkward silence, as the dull noise of an airscrew reached their ears, the wind suddenly catching up and growing stronger. The dark-haired boy turned on his heels and rushed to his two friends, who looked up to the helicopter that was about to land beside them, navigated by some Mexican guy, who seemed to suddenly lose control of the machine, swinging from left to right. Butters watched, wide eyed and obviously horrified, how the Mexican tried to gain control and the three friends under the helicopter dashed in different directions to save themselves.
Of course, the machine went right Kenny’s way.
“Watch out!”, Butters yelled, immediately catching the attention of the accident prone boy, who stopped dead in his steps and the helicopter whooshed right over his head, barely avoiding him and landing less than an inch next to the blond.
“Oh my God, they—” Stan started, probably already having imagined the death that surely had to have occured in his mind, but did not and he looked a bit disappointed at that, too. “No, never mind.”
“He didn’t die, Kyle.”
“No, but we could have died.”
“Dude, wrong intonation. It’s could.”
“No, I mean us.” Kyle clarified, ignoring the dirty look he was receiving from their still surprisingly pretty alive friend, but instead wrenched the metallic sliding door open, pointing one accusing finger at the stoned Mexican, who looked at them with a lopsided grin.
“See you, Butterscotch”, Stan suddenly called, wrenching Kyle’s attention off of the pilot and instead onto the blond boy who was still quite shocked, mashing his knuckles together. The dark haired boy waved shortly in his direction before getting on the helicopter, pushing the Mexican guy out of the front seat and taking his place instead.
“Yeah, see you, Buttercup”, Kyle almost drawled the last word, a knowing smirk playing on his lips as he was punched in the shoulder, courtesy of one Kenny McCormick, who, after throwing a short glance at Butters, pushed his friend behind Stan on the helicopter, all the while mumbling profanities under his breath.
Butters was confused.
He didn’t really think that Butterscotch was the reason and he didn’t know what Kyle had meant with Buttercup and, oh, he would just ask Wendy, he decided, mildly frustrated. Wendy was the smartest girl he knew and certainly at par with Kyle.
He would ask Wendy.
Wendy always knew advice.
“I have no idea.”
These four words somehow shattered the impeccable image Butters had of Wendy Testaburger, who he had found in the library, surrounded by piles of books about declarations with foreign names, many –ism’s and long titles with a lot of x’s and y’s. He hoped it wasn’t something he should know for any of his classes or he would probably fail and get grounded. Again.
“I always thought it had something to do with you being as soft as butter”, Bebe chirped. The blonde was sitting next to her best friend, head cocked in a contemplating pose, while playing with a strand of her long curly hair. “You are cute and friendly and all, you couldn’t even harm a fly.”
“Pussy”, Red muttered under her breath, but Butters wasn’t so sure about whether he had heard her right.
“Or maybe because you like butter a lot”, Heather interjected.
“I-Ah, d-don’t like butter a whole lot,” Butters confessed. “And Kyle said Buttercup.”
“Why would Kyle say that?”, Wendy asked, confused.
“Maybe you should ask your parents. Looks like you got that nickname from them”, Angelica reasoned, nibbling at the butt of her pen. “Buttercup sounds more like something your Granny would call you.”
“Yeah, just like in that old song,” Red intervened again. “ ‘I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup. I’m in love. I’m all shook up. Ohuhuhu, ohu’. Now, wouldn’t that just fit lil’ flamin’ butterfly?” The other girls on the tabled stared blankly at their friend, who didn’t even care about elaborating, just shoveling through some papers until she found the one she was looking for.
“Don’t mind her”, Bebe finally sighed, shaking her head, “she just has a thing for Kenny.”
The blond boy didn’t really know what that had to do with him or her being angry with him, but he might have enraged her in some way or another. He had a tendency to do that without noticing.
“How come you don’t know the answer?,” Token interrupted his train of thought, not exactly sitting with the girls but having obviously over heard the conversation. Butters turned around to Token’s table, spotting a twitching blond and a desinterested dark haired boy who had abandoned his blue aviator hat somewhere around sixth grade.
“I-uh have never asked”, he admitted, sinking his head low.
“And why do you ask now?”
“Because”, Butters stopped, before shaking his head. “I‘d like ta know. What do ya think?” Token stared at him with a blank look, probably contemplating the question. Butters let his eyes wander to Craig, who, without even looking up, just flipped him off with his very infamous middle finger.
“Gah! Don’t look at me! Nyag, this pressure!”, was all Tweek answered, barely concealing his sudden spasm, which led Craig to flip Butters off again.
“Have you ever thought about the option, that there is no answer to that question anymore?” Token finally offered. “That it is just something that might have happened because of a sick joke and nobody remembers the joke but just the outcome?”
“T-the joke’s the answer, then.” Butters reasoned.
“So, you would want to know a joke nobody remembers?”
“If that’s what it takes”, Butters answered, determined.
“Or maybe you should just take a look at your face, ugly!” Red interrupted, slamming her notes down on the table with more force than necessary. “It’s butters.” Her eyes flashed livid when she looked up, before she stood up and vanished with an indignant huff behind one of the shelves.
The blond’s eyes widened at the girl’s outburst.
He must have done something really terrible.
“You’re not ugly,” Angelica assured him.
“No, just fey”, Clyde claimed dryly, not looking up from his homework.
“Douche, you’ve got it all wrong”, Craig suddenly piped up in a bored tone. “Your nickname’s not the answer to his question.”
“Who’s question?”, Bebe asked intrigued, but Craig just flashed her the bird before turning back to his book, again completely ignoring everyone around him.
“God, Craig, is that all you are ever going to answer?” the blonde huffed, “Don’t you dare flip me off again!” she yelled, when the darkhaired boy was about to raise his hand, probably to perform the expected gesture.
He flashed her anyway.
At that moment Butters decided it was time to go. It being late and all and Bebe was throwing books at the dark-haired teen’s head, which sent Tweek nearly into hysterics and made the librarian abandon her seat near the door and swiftly walk over to the group with a furious look.
Butters didn’t want to get caught in a situation like that because if his parents heard about it he would be grounded and he had still nine days left from the cat accident and the cornflakes incident. Speaking of his parents, he had to have been home around four and a quick look at his watch told him that he only had half an hour left.
“Ahh, shucks,” was all Butters muttered before he started to bolt.
If he was lucky he could catch the bus home. He would just have to hurry and pray to whatever was listening, that maybe his parents were a few minutes late, that the bus actually came on time at least once in his lifetime and the lights would be green and no snow would cover any path they would take and maybe – Butters had a feeling that he was really pushing his luck there but he just could not risk being late for his punishment curfew.
However, as a matter of fact, it wasn’t going to be Butters day.
It just had to happen an accident on the roads halfway across the town. Rumors would have it, that a boy fell from heaven and crashed on the grey pavement. Surprisingly, he survived the fall, an oncoming truck could actually push his breaks on time, but the trailer swayed, tipped over and the driver’s cabin crashed into the corner shop, while the goods packed in wooden boxes, crushed said unfortunate boy.
It had been an instant death.
Butters hadn’t been supposed to be on the 3.31 PM bus. He couldn’t even use that accident as some sort of excuse, not that his parents would probably care.
In a panic reaction, he had left the bus, worked his way through the gawking crowd and took every short cut he knew to get to his house as soon as possible.
Yet, his mother’s car was already parked in the garage.
And Butters had been grounded yet another two days for being two minutes late.
Eleven days, then.
His personal record had been three months and ten days.
That had been for walking around the gay red light district and behaving like a slut. At least, that’s what his father had said. However, Butters had only asked one of the nice boys he met on the road for directions. Cartman had sent him to bring his uncle some medicine. If Butters was faced with problems, he should just ask for Charlie and everybody would immediately know who he was talking about and bring him to said person. When he had arrived at Main Street he couldn’t find the house number, walked up and down the street several times, all the while being eyed with suspicion by the local residents who seemed to enjoy the warm weather on their threshold. That’s what the situation had looked like to the blond at least.
Eventually, frustrated, he opted for a boy that had watched him with a slight smirk while he had been running around heedlessly, but still seemed to be the nicest among the crowd who stared at him with discomfort, and approached him with a friendly smile. As soon as he had mentioned he was looking for one Uncle Charlie, the brunette looked at him with a funny expression before giving a short laugh and offering to bring him to the meeting place, all the while eyeing the pills in the blond’s hands.
Butters had assumed the boy was in dire need of some medication as well, even offered him a pill for his help. The boy had been overjoyed and Butters thought he must have had one heck of a headache. The brunette wanted to serve him for the pills, which Butters declined.
Why would he need a servant?
Anyway it was then, while Butters followed the happily glowering boy, who became displeasingly touchy as he slung one arm around his shoulder and started to speak in a very low, husky voice almost flirtatiously. He only recognized that tone because it was the way Kenny always suggested his two closest friends a threesome. Though Jimmy had to explain to him what a threesome was. And that had made Butters blush. Furiously.
The blond had difficulties to understand the quiet words of the unknown boy, and moved closer to his lips. He could feel the warm breath tickling his ears and he had to think of Kenny, cheeks reddening, and the brunette had smirked, had pressed feathered kisses to his chin and that had been how his father had spotted him on Main Street.
Followed by a lot of yelling, cursing, accusing, fighting between his parents and a ban to ever come anywhere near that street again. Butters had spent almost one and a half months in solitude until summer break ended and school started again.
The blond had never been this anxious for school to start.
The following half-month ended without incident and Butters was facing his last day of being grounded, when his mother had lost her grip on a precious porcelain teapot after he had startled her with his morning greetings.
That had been another month.
The last ten days had been for coming late four times, adding up to a sum of ten minutes.
That had been his autumn break and Butters was once again very happy about being back to school, which had made his classmates almost throttle him after he declared exactly those words to Kyle, who had rolled his eyes and shook his head before muttering something about ‘not even him being that much of a nerd’, with a whole lot more swearing than Butters cared to remember.
Withdrawing a yogurt from his bag, he sat down on his bed, staring blankly at the ceiling with his head resting against the plain wall, digesting the information he had received that day.
So, basically, nobody knew anything.
He would have to ask Kyle again the next day. And probably try to lure out an explanation of Craig.
The dark-haired boy definitely knew that Butters was asking because of Kenny. So, his name wasn’t the answer to the question, huh? Then what else should “Why Butters?” mean? Maybe he had misinterpreted the question and the blond actually meant something akin to, uhm, whatever.
However, that wouldn’t explain Kyle’s behavior and, oh, Butters thought he could feel the beginning of a headache.
It really shouldn’t be this hard to figure out the origins of a stupid nickname.
“I’m so stupid,” Butters mumbled into his pillow, pushing his face deeper into the soft fabric. Maybe he should just give up. It’s not like the answer would be at all world changing. No divine wonder would occur. People would still suffer from hunger, lose their loved ones and die ghastly deaths. No, all the answer would do was satisfy Butters’ own selfish desires.
He turned his head slightly, eyes fixed on the tree growing outside his window, leaves rustling in the slight breeze. The sun was about to set, he would have to do his homework and prepare for a test in algebra but he just couldn’t get himself up.
Butters was never one to give in to his depressions. He was always looking at the bright side of life, nothing much could get him down.
So why was he feeling like one big failure?
There was no obligation towards Kenny. The blond didn’t actually know, that Butters tried to help him ease his mind. He had made no promise (besides with himself) but he had wanted so badly to do something for the blond, who was always willing to help him and who he had never properly repaid.
Kenny (and Stan and Kyle) had helped him, when Eric forced him to sell some illegal stuff to elementary school kids and saved him from being discovered (as his luck was never the best) and being grounded. Kenny (and Craig) had been there, when some jocks decided it would be fun to throw Butters into the closest thrash can and instantly returned the favor on his behalf. Kenny had brought him a cup of hot chocolate (after haggling Tweeks coffee money off the spasming blond) when he had sat at the corner of a street, drenched in rain soaked clothes, unable to leave.
There were more occasions Kenny had helped him than Butters could count and he never realized.
His eyes widened in the dimly light.
Of course, he had known that Kenny had helped him more than once but Butters had never realized what an important role the other blond actually played in his life.
Kenny was probably the only one he might call a friend - even if the other didn’t feel so. Though, was somebody a friend if it was only one-sided?
Butters frowned, before he pressed his face into the pillow with a frustrated groan. He was sick of thinking and worrying so much. His breath eased gradually as he tried to push any and every thought that might iniquitously and inexplicably enter his mind into the back of his conscience. There was nothing to worry about, he reassured himself.
Slowly the chaos in his head settled down, replaced by an empty calm, vanishing into silent darkness as his mind went completely blank.
I didn’t do my homework! was the first thought crossing his mind, when he woke up with a start, noticing that he had overslept. Well, not really overslept but by Butters standards he had only a little over an hour to get to school and about ten minutes to leave for the school bus. He couldn’t follow his morning routine and he needed that sort of normalcy and sense of habit. He needed to wake up early, then use the bathroom, get dressed, prepare his cereal and then eat it while watching cartoons on the Disney channel. He would shut the TV off, when he could hear his parents waking up, slight thuds from the ceiling and soft voices whispering cloudy words to each other, and he would head to the kitchen to take the lunch his mother usually prepared the evening before, because he used to leave the house before his parents got downstairs.
However, right now he was rushing through the first two steps of his usual routine, toothbrush sticking out his mouth, while he simultaneously tried to slide his pants on, scuttling on one foot. The scent of coffee wafted through the air from the kitchen to the bathroom.
So his parents were already up?
After partly successfully putting his clothes on, he spit the white foam into the brink, cleaned it with running water and stormed into his room, grabbing his bag and rushed down the stairs into the kitchen, where his father was sitting at the table, drinking his coffee. He looked up, when Butters halted in his tracks, breathing heavily.
“Morning, son”, his father greeted. “Your mother prepared breakfast for you.” He motioned to the plate that was sitting neatly on Butters usual spot. That meant his mother was already long gone. He didn’t know she was going to leave early that day. If that was the case she would have to go to some kind of conference but she still took her time preparing his meal. It had been so long since he had something other than cereal for breakfast and the thought of toast with fried ham was really appealing, but he had only a little time to get to the bus stop.
His father must have felt his hesitation, because he looked up with a raised eyebrow. “Sit down, son. I can bring you to school.”
The blond eyes widened, when he heard his fathers words.
His parents were so not going to see him interact with the people at school. If they would know how he was treated among the other boys and girls and even teachers they would ground him for like forever.
Butters sure knew that he wasn’t one of the popular crowd, actually he was in nobody’s crowd. If he were lucky Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Eric would let him sit at their table. If he wasn’t too noisy and would just keep quiet sometimes, when he had a very good day (and Token always claimed that depended on Tweek), Craig wouldn’t bat him off their table, when he sat down beside Clyde. Most of the time, though, he sat alone or with Eric, but that was only when the brunette had a big fight with Kyle. Like yesterday.
It wasn’t like Stan and Kyle would object, when he joined them at their table. Stan was too nice to say anything and Kyle just didn’t care. Kenny wouldn’t mind either. He would steal food off of Butters plate, but that happened on a mutual unvoiced understanding between them.
Butters always brought more food than he needed to school. He had actually done it for Kenny from the very beginning.
It had started with a big misunderstanding on Butters’ part… or Kenny’s part, Butters didn’t know anymore. It had been when Kenny couldn’t afford lunch and had nothing to eat during lunch period. Without thinking twice, Butters had offered him one of his sandwiches, which the boy promptly threw back in his face, turned around and walked away, mumbling about how he “ain’t no fuckin’ charity case”.
Butters didn’t talk to Kenny for about a week because he had been scared the other boy was still angry with him and he wouldn’t want to fuel that fire further. Coincidentally, a few days later, Stan forgot his lunch money and Kyle was at home, sick in his bed. Eric wouldn’t lend any money to the dark-haired boy and well; Kenny would have if he could have. When Butters noticed the dilemma of the other boy, stomach loudly growling in protest to its vacuity, he just shoved his tray over to the other and invited him to eat as much as he wanted.
Stan accepted with little protest, mumbling what a great friend he was while stuffing fries in his mouth.
The next day, Kenny sort of apologized for his behavior the week before, eyes never quite looking at the shy blond. He was just sick of being treated like some ghetto poor ass pauper and over-reacted when Butters had just intended to be nice, he explained.
A few days later, when Butters sat next to Kenny, absentmindedly picking at his food in a bored manner, the hooded blond had, without even asking, started stealing bits and pieces off his plate. Not much at the beginning, but so much more after Butters brought more food than necessary, claiming his mother made him too much and he wouldn’t want to throw it all away.
But that was only when he was sitting with the guys and Eric wouldn’t kick him off the table.
Butters hoped Kenny would be there today.
He could offer him fried ham.
“I’d l-like ta walk”, he finally answered, got a Tupperware container and put the food inside, before bidding his father good bye and rushing out the door.
There was no way he would let his parents take him to school. Even if it meant waking up early just to catch a bus that would arrive half an hour before school started.
As soon as he was out the door he could hear the distinct noise of a helicopter above his head. He looked up, almost immediately noticing red auburn looks and the smiling face of a boy waving at him against the sun. Butters stopped, shyly waving back, when suddenly a rope ladder was rolled down to him. He jumped back in surprise and the boy shouted something at him, though he could only make out syllables. The helicopter was slowly descending, and Butters could feel the heavy weight of twisting air. “But-n, -up.” Taking a deep breath, he finally grabbed for the ladder and pulled himself up, appreciating the fact that whoever was piloting that thing – probably Stan – tried to make it as easy as possible for him, going as far down as they deemed appropriate. When he finally reached the end, Kyle grabbed for his hands and helped him up.
Butters heaved a sigh, and then looked around. Kyle was still smiling at him, hands on his knees while he bent down to watch the blond on the floor. “Hey there Butterbean”, he greeted, provoking a choke from the other end. Butters looked to the origin of the sound and discovered Eric, restrained by bonds.
“Now it’s Butterbean?” Stan asked from the front and Kyle joined him as co-pilot.
“Whatever works”, the redhead replied and Butters shot them a questioning look. “Hey, Butters”, Stan now greeted him, flashing him a wide smile, but immediately turned back to avoid crashing them into anything.
“So, how’s your day so far?”, Kyle asked, looking back at the blond who decided that this was all a very weird dream, though he knew he was awake and that, if he didn’t sit down somewhere safe, he might fall out that helicopter and end like the boy from yesterday. So, he sat down beside Eric, who was glaring daggers at him.
“Uhm… ya know…” he stuttered. “Same old stuff.”
Kyle nodded. “Same as fat-ass here, then.”
“Ay! I’m big boned yew dirty Jewish faggot!”
“I’d watch my mouth, shit head”, was what the redhead replied with a satisfied grin, leaning back with his hands crossed behind his neck. Butters had a feeling that the other two were deeply pleased with themselves. “Fat-ass here tried to become minister of the Board of Education.”
Oh, so that’s why Eric went to Washington.
“Incorrect! I became minister of education, Kahl!” the brunette snarled.
“So, where is Kenny?” Butters interrupted, not really interested in what had been going on between the trio but more as to where the fourth of the group was.
Eric pulled a face, snorting in disgust.
“You’re right, he might have a chance with little Butterbean”, the black haired boy chuckled.
“Told you so.”
The blond frowned in confusion. He had a feeling that they were having a completely different conversation.
“What’s that ‘bout Butterbean?”, he questioned, nervously mashing his knuckles together.
“Kenny got lost yesterday.” Kyle suddenly explained and Butters eyes widened in horror. “Had a fight with Manuel here and was pushed out of the helicopter.”
“Is he coming back today?”
“Who knows. Why?”
Butters fumbled with the straps of his backpack, sighing in disappointment. “I’ve got fried ham.”
“Did you prepare that just for him?”, Kyle asked, genuinely surprised. “I mean, we know you always bring twice as much as you need, but actually going that far.”
“What do you mean, you know?”
“Dude, are you serious?” Stan asked, eyes squinting when he detected the gray rundown school buildings and prepared for landing. “Everybody knows you bring food for Kenny. It’s like an unwritten rule that you are the only one who is allowed to do that.”
“If someone else would try that they’d have their food back in their face.”
“He thinks it’s cute how you still believe he doesn’t know.”
Stan made a safe landing with the helicopter, put the headset down and sighed in relief. Butters stared at the blue-ish plastic box in his hand, before getting up. “C-could ya give that t-ta Kenny?”, he asked, pushing the box against Kyles chest, who was just about to get up, and jumped out of the helicopter, heading to his first class.
He had still some time left to do the homework he had forgotten. He would have to skip lunch period to finish the rest, but he had a feeling that after the bad start, the day was going to be fun.
He didn’t even know why he suddenly felt happy.
But there was something only he was allowed to do.
And that made him sickeningly happy.
Classes went by faster than expected. When he heard the ring of the bell and he thought he would have to endure the next hour of Mister Bernstein talking again about World War II and how his mother had told him stories of how they had tried to survive in Nazi-Germany until they finally left, first to France, than further up to America, the bell had rang a second time to announce the end of class.
As he walked to his locker to get his notes for second period algebra he spotted a certain blond walking down the corridor, hands in his kangaroo pockets at the front of his faded brown hoodie. Inexplicable delighted, Butters contemplated greeting the other boy, but before he reached a decision, Stan and Kyle had already flanked Kenny on both sides and the gray-blue eyes of the blond prior listless now lit up and a slight smile graced his lips.
They were really best friends, the blond concluded pointlessly, heading to his locker, deciding against greeting.
“Hey there Buttercream.”
The addressed jerked, before turning towards the voice that had called him, and he was met with a wolfish smile spread over Kyle’s face, which made Butters slightly nervous.
Kenny however stopped dead in his tracks, before spinning around and gripping the redhead by his collar, brusquely bumping him into the closest locker. Butters cringed and Stan watched stunned. The hooded boy hissed words Butters didn’t catch, but seemed to make the redhead’s smile widen and, in retrospect Kenny only angrier.
“Dude, that’s enough”, Stan finally intervened, pressing a hand on Kenny’s shoulder. The blond only slapped it off, but loosened his grip nonetheless and eventually removed his hands altogether, clenching them into tight fists. “That ain’t cool”, Kenny muttered.
“Chill, dude. Your chances are good.”
Kenny pressed his hands into his pockets before storming down the corridor, pass Butters who watched them frightened, but tried to give a slight smile when the boy almost unnoticeable glanced at him while storming by.
“Leave me alone!”
Butters frowned, a little hurt at the angry words, but then just shrugged it off. He would see Kenny in his next class and it wasn’t like he was angry at him but more so at Kyle, for whatever reason. He opened his locker, withdrawing his algebra notes and text book. “So Buttercream”, Kyle drawled, approaching the blond. “Stan and I forgot our algebra books. Would you lend us yours?”
Kyle elbowed his friend in his chest and Butters blinked in surprise, didn’t even realize that the redhead had already taken the book off his hand, a happy grin placed on his lips, when he walked away. “Thanks a bunch, Butterpie”, he waved with the book, while Butters just stared after the duo.
“Dude, you act like a bully”, Stan stated.
“Well, payback time for all the shit he had pulled on me… And you.”
He was somehow lost between yesterday and today, as if a day was missing or something, because the other people around him were so not having the same conversation. He felt like they were talking in riddles, as if they knew something everyone but Butters knew. It was quite vexing and made him a queasy bit nervous.
And since when was Kyle the bad guy?
Well, according to Kenny, Stan had always had a thing for closeted assholes. Like Wendy. And Kyle was actually worse than Wendy, when it came to things they didn’t like or felt endangered by. They seemed like nice, helpful kids at first glance, but if you would look behind the exterior one would see many little cackling Cartmans looming behind them, creating an atmosphere of arbitrary dread.
That’s what Kenny had told him.
He didn’t understand back then, but watching Kyle’s back, Butters’ book swinging back and forth in one hand, the other resting behind his neck, Butters thought he might be able to make sense of the words.
And that they might be true.
“Oh hamburgers”, he mumbled, closing his locker and strolling to his classroom. He was sitting in the front row, next to him Kenny because he had come in late first day at school to save himself a spot. Butters wouldn’t ask Kenny. He had a bad day and wouldn’t impose on the other. Yet, to his left sat a girl that more than once had felt the need to tell him how much she hated Butters, though never cared to explain why exactly.
There was noone else he could ask.
He would have to endure, he told himself.
Kyle winked at him from across the room, mouthing thanks before he turned towards Stan. Butters sighed in defeat and counted the seconds passing by, counting the minutes he had to look like he actually knew what the teacher was talking about when she pointed out a very important formula or as if he was contemplating the answer to a calculation he couldn’t see.
Though he didn’t seem to do a very convincing job, when the teacher suddenly walked up to him. “Where is your text book, Mister Stotch.” The high-pitched voice of the tall women surprised him and he looked up from his task of looking busy.
Nervously, he knocked his knuckles together and looked up with wide eyes into the stern face of the strict women. “I-uh”, he shot a glance at Kyle, who pointedly averted his eyes, “forgot… it”, he finished lamely, lowering his eyes.
The older women sighed in annoyance, turning towards the girl that so conveniently loathed him. “Miss Williams, would you mind sharing your book?” The long haired blond looked up from her algebra book, shooting a death glare at the boy before replying, in all earnestly, without even batting an eyelash: “Sorry, Ms. Abel, I forgot my book as well.”
“Well…” the women finally collected herself, turning towards Kenny. “Mister McCormick, would you be so kind?” She didn’t even wait for a reply before turning around and walking towards the front. Butters shot a wary glance at Kenny, who threw a dirty look at someone behind Butters head – probably Kyle – then just pushed his desk away.
“Fuck this”, he cursed, standing up and with more force than necessary threw the book at Butters, who could barely avoid being hit square in the face, before stomping out of the room. “I’m outta here.” The door was slammed shut and everybody in the room averted his attention from the loud bang still hanging in the air to look at the blond boy in the front row.
“Boy, are you loved”, the Williams girl commented, voice dripping with sarcasm.
Butters didn’t reply. He just kept his eyes down, fumbling for the book.
What did he miss?, he wondered, feeling the stares at his head, hearing the whispered insults and questions. Or did Kenny really just have a bad day? Same as Kyle, maybe? Why were they constantly fighting and why would Kyle look like he somehow enjoyed the death threads the other blond would mumble and spit at him?
Where did Butters take another turn than the rest of the school?
He couldn’t point his finger on it. His head was spinning and not just because he had somehow lost track of what they were currently doing in algebra. Butters tried to push those distracting thoughts back in favor to listen to what was being said in class but they would still try to creep their way back into his active conscience only disturbed by the shrill ringing of the school bell.
Closing the book and throwing all his belongings into the backpack, he nearly escaped to his next class, where there would be no Kenny or Stan and Kyle or even Eric. He had a feeling that his day was going down the drain and actually ending worse than it had started.
And till this point starting a day without his favorite cartoons was actually the worst Butters could imagine, which made his aforementioned assumption sound like the apocalypse.
“You look – ngh – bad, Butters.” The blond glanced at Tweek, who sat down next to him, head slightly bowed to the side. His twitching had gradually become less (Token said because of a new therapy Craig had tried on the spasming blond) and would mostly show when he was either very nervous or didn’t get his coffee in the morning (and every following hour), however it had yet to show in his speech pattern.
“’Cause the guys are acting like pricks”, Craig replied, his chair tipped back, touching Tweek’s desk behind him, arms crossed behind his head.
“I’m fine”, Butters replied with a wry smile.
Though Kenny wasn’t.
He sighed in distress, listening to his teacher droning on about the book they were currently analyzing. They would have to finish reading that book to next week and he was only half-way through. Butters didn’t particularly care why some boy of higher society would go and sleep with a women that could be his mother, and worse, then wanting to date her daughter, and he was sure that his parents would throw a fit if they knew what they were reading in school but he tried to endure the dull monotone voice of Mister Hankins, his attention drifting.
Maybe he should apologize to Kenny.
And he had still his algebra book and would have to give that back anyway.
A slight sigh escaped his lips and Tweek watched him with a worried expression, though he ignored it.
He would just have to bite the bullet.
Dreaded lunchtime was coming to soon even though literature class always felt like a few hours. However, he took a deep breath and entered the crowded and noisy cafeteria. He spotted the loud quartette easily at one of the tables near the windows. Eric was smirking, watching as Kyle and Kenny were arguing again and Stan looked like he was really sick of it.
“Will you shut up already?”, Kennys voice roared through the canteen, words loud and clear. Some students stopped to stare at the fighting pair but continued to eat as soon as the blond scathingly glared at them.
This was wrong, Butters thought. He should just stop and run the other way. He knew he should. He really really really should just leave. But it was too late, he already stood behind Kenny and Stan had noticed him, a slight reassuring smile appearing on his lips.
Not. helping. much.
“Ke-Kenny?”, he asked in a timid voice.
“And you!” Kenny yelled, promptly turning around in his chair, “Get the fuck away from me! I can’t stand your presence!”
Butters eyes widened, before he slightly bit his lip. “I’m…” he tried, voice faltering.
Kenny couldn’t stand his presence?
That had really stung, he realized surprisingly levelheaded, before a slight sad smile played his lips as he looked down on the other, who had his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Ya … really a nice person”, he finally managed, not only surprising himself but everyone who heard his words. “Ya awesome. I didn’t know, though even though ya don’t like me ya still always tried ta help me.” He fumbled with the strap of his backpack. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean ta be a bother.” Butters hoped nobody noticed the hitch in his voice. “Though I won’t be anymore. I promise, Kenny.” He inconspicuously slid the book on the table, trying not to let it bother him, how Kenny was still staring apathetically to the other side, out of the window, as if Butters wasn’t standing there, apologizing and trying to not look as hurt as he was. “Thanks for lettin’ me have that”, he mumbled, disappointed at the lack of reaction.
He turned away, towards the exit, hoping against hope that someone would stop him.
“You are a stupid jerk, Kenny.”
“That was low, even for you,” Stan agreed with his best friend.
“I was going to say something inappropriate, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the heart wrenching moment, now would I Kenneh?”
Butters would eat outside. It was a little fresh but he would get used to it. He felt like crap, but he didn’t want anyone to see it on his face. It didn’t feel good to be disliked by a person you liked, he mused. Though he should get used to the feeling because it didn’t look like those circumstances would ever change.
Nobody was getting up and following him outside.
They all had someone else they would rather wanted to spend their time with.
That’s what you get for almost but never quite belonging, he thought, when the cool air hit his face, ruffling his hair. Looking around, he decided on a spot that wouldn’t be able to be seen from the canteen.
The last thing he wanted was someone to look at him sitting alone on a bench in the cold wind. And it was really cold, he noticed, taking an apple out of his bag and withdrawing the book he had to read for English literature.
He should have taken a jacket with him.
“Kenny doesn’t hate you.”
Butters almost lost the grip on his book, startled as he looked up at the the boy that approached him. He gave a week smile, before returning to his book. “Ya don’t need ta sugar coat it”, he mumbled, feeling the other sitting down beside him.
“No really, he is just being an ass”, Stan insisted.
“Kenny’s entitled ta like and dislike whoever he wants.” Butters reasoned, but something inside him yelled at the unfairness. No, Kenny should not be allowed to choose, he pondered, biting his lip. Especially not if the only one he seemed to dislike was only Butters and that wasn’t fair because he liked the blond so much more than anyone else.
“I must have bothered him somehow.”
“Dude!”, Stan exclaimed, exasperated. “You didn’t even talk to him at all this week. There is no way you could have bothered him. It’s not your fault that Kenny can’t cope with his problem and that Kyle is really a dick about it.”
“Whatcha talkin’ ‘bout?”, Butters asked, intrigued.
“Yeah, dude, what exactly are you talking about?”
The two boys looked up to see Kyle standing in front of them, one hand to his hip, the other clenching on the brown hood of a certain blond boy who looked everything but pleased to be man handled by none other than the redhead. Kyle shot a glare at his best friend, who didn’t bulk under the death glare but simply stuck his tongue out in prepubescent resistance.
“Anyway, I brought Kenny to apologize”, he said in a tone that obviously suggested that this conversation was not over, then pushed Kenny forward. The two blonds stared at each other. Butters played with the dog-ears of his book and Kenny crossed the arms in front of his chest, averting his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Butters mumbled faintly.
Stan pinched his nose, shaking his head. “Not you! Kenny is the—”
“Ya don’t understand”, Butters interrupted, not looking up. “I couldn’t figure it out.”
Kenny frowned, looking down at the blond who looked up with an apologetic expression. “I tried ta figure it out but nobody could help me. And it’s a stupid thing and it should be easy ta find out but then everybody said somethin’ else and that’s not an apology or so I just – just am sorry to bother ya. I wanted ta help ya, so ya wouldn’t have to occupy ya with it, but… I… The answer ta yer question. I couldn’t figure it out.”
“What question?”, Kenny prompted, frowning in contemplation.
Butters bowed his head. “‘Why Butters’,” he replied, quietly.
Kenny gave a strangled sound and Butters started to worry, noticing that the face of the other had suddenly blanched, a mixture of emotion showing in his eyes Butters couldn’t clearly identify but panic seemed to be an overall fitting description.
“I’m going to figure it out!” Butters hastily added, jumping off the bench, approaching and trying to reassure the seemingly panicked boy.
“What? No!”, Kenny exclaimed, taking a step back.
“But… but … ya worried ‘bout it!”
“So? It’s got nothin’ to do with you!”
“But it’s my name.”
Kenny opened his mouth, about to shout back a reply, when he suddenly halted, then raised an eyebrow in question. “Your name?”
Butters mashed his knuckles together. “I’m going to find out why they call me Butters.” He announced, determined. “Yupp, I really am.”
“Your name?”, Kenny repeated stupidly, dumbstruck.
„... ‘Why Butters’?“
The blond frowned, throwing a short glance at Kyle, who had turned his back to them, shoulders trembling. Stan stood beside him still pinching the base of his nose, all the while shaking his head in apathetic resignation.
Did he miss something again?
So Craig was right? His name wasn’t the answer?
Then what exactly was the question?
Kenny gave a pained groan when they could hear a slight chuckle from Kyle, which soon grew into a full-fledged laughing fit, though he had the courtesy to try to stifle it with his hands clamped over his mouth.
“It’s little buddy!”, Kenny growled, hands balling into tight fist.
“Your name!” he explained through gritted teeth. “You’ve got it from little buddy”. The blond snarled in desperate anger, before he turned around with a sharp spin, pushing Kyle hard against the back when he stormed by. “Seriously, dude, why Butters?”
Kyle chuckled, before enthusiastically yelling back: “Because that’s just like him!”