Chapter 1: First Dance
The music was loud and the beat intoxicating. She danced seductively to the music. Men tried to swarm her but she kept turning them all down, lost in her own world. He watched her from the bar; she was so sexy, no that wasn’t quite it, she was more than just that, she was beautiful – radiant even – he finally thought to himself. Dark hair, hints of red when the lights hit it just right. Face of a god-damned angel, with a mischievous glint in her large innocent eyes. Curves for days, she was in skin-tight dress just barely covering her ass, metallic color of some hue, it was hard to tell for sure in the club. He wanted to go over to her, to take her back to his place and ravage her, at least for a night. It would be easy for him he thought, a few choice lines whispered in her ear and she could be his. This is what he does anyways, what he’s always been good at, the conquest of another. He mused to himself a while longer over his drink before going to approach her, but when he turned around she was gone. He scanned the dance floor and the rest of the inside of the building from his seat in the corner of the bar but came up empty. Maybe she was in the bathroom he thought, he decided to wait it out a little longer before leaving. She never returned.
Outside the club she was humming to the music that seemed to pour out into the night. She walked and swayed rhythmically to the beat, giggling slightly to herself. She loved dancing; it always seemed to take her mind off of things. She was still lost in this world, failing to notice the dark alleyway that she normally avoided walking by. She always crossed the street specifically to miss it but tonight she forgot. Still humming and swaying to the beat, now only heard in her head.
A strong thick arm snaked out from the alleyway and grabbed her around the chest, pinning her arms to her side, another other arm clamped around her mouth forcefully before she could get a sound out. He pulled her quickly from the sidewalk and into the darkness. She struggled against him, flailing her arms and trying to kick her legs but it was to no avail. He was too strong, the grip too tight, she felt like she was being crushed by his arm. With a hard shove he slammed her against the wall, her forehead took most of the force and her vision swam. She crumpled to the ground.
She was fighting unconsciousness, her mind was racing and the thoughts screamed in her mind, ‘run, fight, get out of here’, her head pounded and she could barely focus and open her eyes. The man crouched down and grabbed her arms, twisting them painfully, her shoulders aching and pulling too much to be possible, he yanked her deeper into the alleyway. He threw her arms down once he was satisfied they were far enough back to be undiscovered, her one arm bent at an awkward and sickening angle. He knelt down on top of her, unhappy with the fact that she wasn’t paying attention to him, he smacked her face with force.
“Wake up bitch” he demanded, icy coldness lacing his words
She groaned but was still too injured to come to; it might have been a slight blessing for her but infuriated her attacker even more.
“No you don’t, you cunt, you’re going to remember this” he struck her again, but this time it was a kick to the ribs.
She gasped, focusing first on the pain in her side, and second on the man above her. Her eyes were wild, searching out where she was, what was happening, but her brain was slow to process the scene. She saw a small glint in the light before he brought the serrated knife to her throat. He pressed down forcefully, the knife’s edge digging into the flesh on her neck. Pain slowly erupted from the location and a warm liquid started running down her neck to the ground. Her mind screamed again, ‘this is bad, I have to move, have to fight’, she stared up at him, trying to get her eyes to focus, to see his face, to see something. It was to no avail, blackness swept through her vision and she passed out again.
This time he didn’t notice, or didn’t care, he went on with his plan, and hiked up her short skirt. He brought the knife back down from her neck to cut off her panties, cutting her hip in the process.
This new pain caused her to stir once again, groaning weakly.
Manically he grinned down at her. “There’s a good whore, spread those legs for me.”
She wasn’t quite following, still sluggish from the head injury. She tried to crane her head and look around but she saw little in the dimly moonlit alley. Sounds closest to her, like the zipper of the attacker’s pants seemed far off, like they couldn’t affect her, but slowly the truth came to her and she began to panic again. She weakly tried to fight him off, tried to squirm away before the inevitable, but it was already too late. She tried to scream, but his hand clamped back down on her mouth, muffling her attempts.
“Loud one are ya, that won’t do.” Condescension dripping from his mouth as he spoke
He whipped off his belt, forced her mouth open and fastened it around her head in a makeshift gag.
She tried to cough and scream around the object but there was no use, her mouth tasted of stale leather and sweat.
He chuckled to himself, and bent down to her ear speaking low and possessively, “You’re mine now.”
He repositioned himself and grabbed her hips, thrusting himself deep inside of her. Over and over he did this, harder each time, she didn’t think it was possible. Her mind blanked, there were no lingering screams of her subconscious, even her mind knew it was over, she was trapped. He grunted and groaned to himself. All she could do was stare off to the distance and wait for it to be over. She gave up trying to struggle; now she was just trying to survive.
It seemed like forever, the ache, the pain radiating in her body, the repeated forceful thrusting, and then all of a sudden it stopped. There was no comprehending it; she slipped once more back into unconsciousness.
Chapter 2: Discovery
Mysterion hopped along the rooftops, scanning the streets and alleys below on his nightly patrol. He heard faint sounds in the distance and quietly rushed to go check it out. Of all the things that happen in his town, he wasn’t quite prepared for this. He heard the grunts and groans first, he trained his eyes to the location of the sound to see the outline of a large man, and it took his mind a moment more to process what else he was seeing, his gut twisted. Mysterion knew monsters lurked in the shadows but occurrences like this were rare, and as thankful as he was for that it didn’t make it any less horrific when he did see them. She lay so limp under him, and mostly obscured by the attackers’ larger frame. Rage boiled up inside of Mysterion; replacing the sick and twisted feeling he had moments before. He ran and jumped down the fire escape as fast as he could. He landed on the pavement with a soft thud, the attacker never even saw him coming. Mysterion rushed him and punched him in the side of his head, knocking him away from his victim. Unfortunately this didn’t seem to daze him for long. He growled at the intruder to his fun, and countered with a punch of his own to Mysterion’s gut. It knocked the man back briefly, but he rallied and with a kick to the attacker’s hip and he thudded more firmly to the ground. For a moment he thought he bested the man, but he was quickly mistaken. The attacker whipped his knife at Mysterion, he caught the glint of the steel too late to avoid it completely, and the knife buried itself to the hilt in Mysterion’s side. A quick self-assessment and he knew that vital organs were missed; he tore the knife out with a groan.
“Fuck,” he cursed to himself under his breath with gritted teeth.
Tossing the knife behind him he renewed his attack on the man. He punched him hard to the jaw and heard the tell-tale crack, the man fell backwards. Mysterion didn’t stop; he punched and kicked, lost momentarily in the rage. It wasn’t until the man went limp that Mysterion ceased. He rolled the limp man over and wrenched his arms back and secured them with police issue zip tie restraints from his belt. He dragged the man to the small section of chain-link fencing in the alley and with another set of restraints he bound him to the fence.
He was about to contact the detective when he remembered the woman. He couldn’t leave her there, not in the state she was in. The police force was mediocre at best, and tact and compassion were not their strong suit. They were more likely to terrify her more than to be of an actual help to her.
He walked slowly over to her; he didn’t want to risk startling her. Once he reached her, he realized that she was passed out cold. He only prayed that she was passed out of the majority of the attack. He carefully smoothed the skirt of the dress down to cover her, to give back some semblance of dignity that the monster took from her. He saw the belt tried around her head in a makeshift gag, it made his stomach churn, he removed it as quickly and as gently as he could, tossing it to the side. Mysterion checked her breathing once the gag was removed, it was shallow and slow, he didn’t like that. He felt down for her wrist to check her pulse, after having noticed the gash on her neck, the beat was faint but seemed steady. He slowly moved the strands of hair from her eyes to reveal more of her face, freezing once he recognized her.
“Shit,” he swore to himself. He berated himself internally, whilst removing his cape to wrap around her frail figure. He thought she was stirring; he stroked her cheek gently and tried to tell her it was all over and that she was safe now, her eyes stayed closed, breathing still shallow.
He picked her up easily in his arms, her head resting on his chest and shoulder as he carried her up the fire escape and onto the rooftop. He set her down momentarily and while crouched beside her he sent a quick text to the detective.
“There’s one for you in the first alley by the club. He’s tied to the fence in the back.”
The reply was swift, “Car on the way, what’s the charge?”
Mysterion shoved the phone back into its pocket on the last text. He waited for the car to pull up before leaving the scene, no wanting an opportunity for the beast to escape. Luckily the patrol car came quickly and once Mysterion was sure that the attacker was in their custody he carefully picked the woman back up and left.
He made his way a few more blocks down, rooftop to rooftop until he came to his building. She was still nestled to his chest, barely breathing. He carried her down the fire escape to his window and gingerly climbed in. He laid her carefully on his bed, still wrapped in his cape and rushed to get some items to clean her up with. He returned with two bowls of warm water and a small washcloth. He turned on the small light in the corner to give him some illumination with which to work. He took off her high heels first and set them to the side of the bed. He removed her arm from inside the cape and began gently washing her skin, using one bowl as clean water and the other to wring out the dirty washcloth as he worked. She was caked with the dirt and grime of the alley’s pavement. He then proceeded slow and methodically, with her arms and legs first, careful not to go too close to the hem of her now tattered dress and risk harming her further. Once he was finished with her extremities he moved on to her neck and face. He tried to avoid the ragged cut on her neck and the large bump and gash on her forehead, he would need to clean those separately, and hopefully with her conscious when he did so. With her as cleaned up as she could be for the moment he returned the bowls and washcloth from whence they came, and reentered the bedroom quietly. He carefully grabbed the blanket at the end of his bed and covered her up with it. Kneeling down by the bedside he waited.
Her mind was just flashes. She ached all over and couldn’t seem to open her eyes. She tried to fit the puzzle pieces of her memory together so she could start to understand what happened but they kept slipping through her fingers. Slowly she moved her leg, expecting the rough coldness of the pavement, but it wasn’t there. ‘Soft’. ‘Warm’. It didn’t make sense. She started to panic. Her eyes flashed open, momentarily blinded by the light in the room. ‘Oh God’ she thought to herself. What was going on, was it him, from the alley, did he do this? Her mind flooded with the worst things she could think of. She mustered all the strength she could and scrambled to the other side of the bed until she ran into the wall. Her breath caught in the throat and she tried to scream out but her mouth was too dry. She tried again to focus on the room, what else was in here with her. Her ears rang from the pounding in her head and she couldn’t hear what was going on. Slowly she made out a figure kneeling at the edge of the bed. A man? Not quite, the figure was too covered for her to tell. Panic redoubled as she thought it was the attacker from the alley, but the figure made no advancement towards her, hands up by his head, ‘non-threatening’, she finally settled on. She tried to slow her breathing and work to clear her mind. Finally the ringing started to die down and she was able to make out what he was trying to say to her.
“You’re safe; I’m not going to hurt you I swear.” There was undeniable concern and softness to the low and gravelly voice.
She shook her head at that and tried to speak but no words came out.
He moved his hand and grabbed something off of the nightstand, fear flashed in her eyes and she thought the worst.
She heard a slight crack and the object was presented to her.
“Water,” he spoke slowly, “it’s only water.”
She grabbed the bottle, and brought it to her lips, and began to drink, slowly at first and then she tried to drown herself in its coolness. She choked and coughed.
“Easy” he chided.
Once she found her voice again she rasped out, “w-w-who are you?”
“It’s okay, you’re safe now.” He spoke again, gravelly and low but trying for softness.
“T-That’s not what I asked, who are you?” she demanded as forcefully as she could.
“Mysterion”, he spoke it so simply, as if that should mean something to her.
It wasn’t registering to her, what is Mysterion? She shook her head again, her vision swam and she started seeing blackness. Her head lolled to her chest.
He carefully ducked his hand under her chin to lift her head back up, “are you okay? Stay with me, please,” he spoke so low and urgently
He seemed to be pleading at her to stay awake. She glanced up, his face seemed inches away from her, his eyes soft from what she could see through the mask he wore, focused and slightly fearful.
“W-what’s a Mysterion?” she breathed.
“It’s my name,” he half-chuckled.
“Silly name,” she slurred. Her stomach clenched, “I think I’m going to be sick.”
He carried her swiftly to the bathroom, and eased her into a sitting position on the cool tiles, he held her upright with one arm around her waist carefully and her hair back from her face with his other hand.
She retched into the toilet until there was nothing left. He carefully grabbed a towel and wiped her mouth. Unconsciously she relaxed back into him, spent from the last few hours.
He stiffened, unsure what to do. The moment seemed forever to him, but the reality was it was fleeting.
She was trying to pull herself up from her position on the floor. He moved quickly and helped her stand. She was unsteady and shaking. He wrapped his arm around her thin waist to support her, she flinched and trembled more.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean…” he trailed off as he slowly removed his arm.
She took a beat before saying anything. “Can I take a shower” she asked him.
“Of course,” he quickly replied, “can you stand, will you be okay?” the concern evident in his questioning
She tested her balance, it wasn’t the steadiest she’s ever been but it would have to do, she felt too dirty, to forgo a shower. All she could smell was him on her skin and she was fighting the urge to scratch it off of her.
“I’ll be alright,” she meekly replied.
He moved quickly behind her and started the water for the shower. He went to the hall and grabbed out two fluffy towels from the small closet and set them on the counter by the shower for her. He tested the water again and when he was satisfied that it was warm enough nodded to her that it was ready.
“There’s soap, shampoo and conditioner in the shower, you’re welcome to whatever you want to use. There are towels here for you, and I’ll find you something clean to wear and set it on the bed for you if that’s okay.” He spoke quickly, the gravelly tone from earlier lost in these words.
She nodded her assent.
She walked slowly to the shower curtain and tried to reach her arm back to unzip her dress, but she couldn’t seem to reach and every inch further was causing her pain. She tried once more but gasped at the sudden jolt of pain in her shoulder.
Mysterion turned back to her from the doorway, “Are you okay?”
She could only shake her head “no”
Her voice came as barely a whisper, “c-can you please unzip my dress?” she didn’t want to be this vulnerable around the stranger but she had little options at the moment
He crossed the distance between them and did as she asked. He unhooked the small hook and eye closure at the top and carefully slid the zipper down to the base at the small of her back. He stepped back to the doorway and turned to say something but the words caught in his throat.
She hadn’t noticed he was still at the doorway as she shimmied out of the dress and it landed in a pool on the floor. She moved the shower curtain aside and stepped inside the shower.
He couldn’t get the image of her body out of his head and he cursed at himself for it. Wordlessly he gathered up the garment, closing the bathroom door silently behind him and went back to the bedroom; he folded the dress as neatly as he could and placed it by her heels. He rummaged through his dresser to find something suitable for her to wear. He came back with a t-shirt and drawstring sleep pants. It was the smallest and most comfortable clothes he thought he had for her.
He worked tidying up the bedroom, removing his cape from the bed and setting it aside. He replaced the top comforter that she had laid on as well as the blanket with some fresh linens. He gathered up the items and walked them down to the small laundry room in his apartment, he put them in the washer but didn’t start it, he’d worry about that later.
Walking back towards the bedroom her heard her.
Under the showerhead she scrubbed her skin, trying to rid herself of the grim. She lathered her hair and rinsed it clean. Water beat on her cuts and bruises. Tears ran down her cheeks and she couldn’t seem to keep them in anymore. She began sobbing under the steady beat of the water on her skin. She collapsed down to the floor of the shower and cried. Her body shook as the sobs tore through her. It wasn’t until the water started to run cold that she tried to compose herself. She turned off the taps and sat there, tears still streaming down her face. Slowly she stood and reached her hand out for a towel. Once it was secured around her fragile frame she moved the shower curtain back to step out.
He had paused by the bathroom door when he heard her crying. He felt a tightness in his gut and a hatred towards the man that did this to her. He should have killed him he thought to himself. He heard the water turn off and stepped away from the doorway so as not to be seen. He walked back to the bedroom and waited for her.
She took the other towel that he left for her and tried to dry her hair but the pain in her shoulder returned with a vengeance and she couldn’t seem to force it anymore. She took the towel with her as she walked to the bedroom.
He had his back to her as she entered the room silently.
“Um, do you, or, um, can you…” she trailed off weakly.
He turned around to her voice. She was wrapped up in one towel and held the other rather limply to her side. Her hair was dripping wet.
“I can’t seem to dry my hair well, my shoulder is killing me,” she finally got out in a bare whisper.
He nodded and moved to take the spare towel from her. He took the towel and stepped behind her, gathering her hair up and softly patting it dry between the fabric. Once it was sufficiently drier he stopped and stepped away from her.
“I’ve got some clothes on the bed for you, they probably won’t fit well but it’s all I have really.” The low and gravelly voice from earlier replaced by one of softness and light, he spoke to her almost sheepishly.
She walked over to where he had indicated and there was a shirt and pants on the bed for her. In somewhat of a daze, her head still pounding wickedly from pain, she paid no mind to whether or not he was still in the room with her as the towel around her slipped to the floor and she put on the top he left for her. It was a simple gray t-shirt, soft and worn from years of wear. It hung very loosely on her, not long enough though as it barely covered her ass, she grabbed the black pants next and put them on.
Mysterion had left the room quickly after the towel dropped. He did notice the beginnings of a giant bruise on her side that he hadn’t caught in the bathroom before. He’d have to remember to look at that too when addressing her injuries.
He took the towel he was holding from drying her hair down to the laundry room with the rest of the items and walked slowly back to the bedroom to give her time. He grabbed the first aid kit from the hall closet on his way back.
He didn’t enter the doorway this time, but knocked on the frame instead, out of view.
“Can I come in?”
“Yes” was the small reply from the room.
She was sitting on the edge of the bed, picking at her nails nervously.
“I just need to clean up your wounds” he spoke softly to her.
“Okay” she replied, head bowed and eyes downcast.
“I know about the one on your neck and the one on your forehead, why don’t we start there, hmm?” he persuaded her gently
She peeked her head up slowly to look at him; he had set a kit on the nightstand and was rummaging around in there for items.
He returned with rubbing alcohol, gauze, and other items, he knelt down in front of her and arranged the items on the floor by her feet. He looked up at her, “it’s okay” he tried to reassure her. She just nodded. He took some gauze and dampened it with rubbing alcohol; he looked in her eyes, seeming to search for something.
“This will sting” he stated.
She nodded slightly in return.
He brought the gauze up to the cut on her forehead, and dabbed it as gently as he could. She let out a slight hiss in response. He worked quickly to clean the wound and try not to cause her too much pain in doing so; once it was cleaned he took two butterfly bandages to secure the wound closed. He grabbed a tube of antibiotic cream and rubbed some on the cut before covering it all with a bandage.
“Okay, that one is done, how about the one on your neck?” he asked lightly
She tilted her head back and to the side so he could have better access to it.
The skin around the wound was ragged, red, and angry looking. He sucked in a sharp breath when he saw it. He began the same process over again as he had done on her forehead. Luckily once he got it cleaned it didn’t look like she would need stitches, that was good he thought, he didn’t want to have to cause her any more pain, and he knew stitches hurt like a bitch. He used the butterfly bandages again to close the wound, applied more antibiotic cream and taped down some clean gauze to cover it all.
“Does any place else hurt?” he prodded quietly
She just nodded again.
“Can you tell me, or show me?”
She stood then, causing Mysterion to slide back slightly from her at the closeness of their bodies, his head was at her stomach before he moved, she held the pants loosely at her stomach with her right hand and with her left hand she tugged down the side of the pants from her left hip enough to expose the cut there.
This one looked almost as bad as the one on her neck, he went about repeating the same process, and when finished, she resumed her seated position on the edge of the bed.
“Any more?” he was afraid of the answer at this point considering she still hadn’t shown him the bruise on her side.
She spoke this time, her voice breathy and pained, “my right shoulder hurts, I can’t seem to move or lift it right.”
“I’m going to move behind you to look, okay?” his eyes searched hers for permission
He climbed on to the bed behind her, and softly moved the damp hair from her shoulder.
“I need to touch and put pressure on it, I need you to tell me exactly where and how bad the pain is.” He spoke carefully
Again she nodded.
He slid the collar of the shirt over to expose the top of her shoulder to the light, it was deep purple and blue, and he scolded himself for not seeing it earlier. He deftly pressed his fingers along the top of her shoulder; she winced but told him to go on. He continued pressing and analyzing the injury, along the shoulder blade and joint, when he reached the spot where her shoulder joint should be there was a void and she cried out instantly.
“Fuck,” he cursed under his breath, it was practically dislocated.
He moved back off the bed and kneeled in front of her again, tears streamed down her face.
“It’s dislocated, or at least pulled out of place so much that it might as well be a full dislocation,” he told her as delicately as possible. “I can set it but I don’t have any lidocaine for the pain and it’s going to hurt like hell.”
When she didn’t say anything he continued, “I can take you to the hospital to be treated, they would have….”
He didn’t even get the sentence out and she was violently shaking her head no.
“Shhh… it’s okay, you don’t have to go,” he tried to calm her.
Once she calmed down more, she spoke again, “how bad?”
It took him a moment to register what she was asking.
“Setting the joint back will be the worst, I can’t really describe the pain, but it will be bad, once it’s back though it won’t hurt as much. I honestly don’t know how you’ve been able to move that arm as it is.” He kept his tone as calm as he could for her.
She chuckled darkly to herself at that, “beats me at this point.”
“If I ice it, it’ll help some but it’s still going to hurt.”
She nodded and he moved to get an ice pack from the freezer. Once he returned he carefully set it on her shoulder. He also brought back a medicine bottle and a bottle of water.
He showed her the medicine bottle, ibuprofen was on the label. He took out two for her.
“I’m sorry, it’s all I have but it will help some with the pain.” He told her regretfully
She nodded and took the pills and washed them down with the water he offered.
He seemed to just watch her, waiting, his eyes locked on to hers and for a moment she was slightly mesmerized by him, she was trying to figure out the color of his eyes, nothing normal seemed to fit but yet it was like they had a bluish undertone. Fleetingly it was over and he moved to check again on her shoulder.
“Your skin is ice-cold; does it feel numb to you?”
It took her a minute to follow, but she eventually nodded yes.
“Okay, do you trust me?”
It seemed like an odd question to her, “yes” she finally said.
“Lie on your back, arms to your side.” He gently directed.
She lay down as instructed.
“I’m going to move your arm, and this will help to pop your shoulder back, it’s going to hurt but try to relax if you can, I’ll try to be quick.” Worry flashed in his eyes.
He grabbed her arm firmly and began to manipulate the arm to allow the socket to go back into place. Tears welled up in her eyes and she tried her best not to scream from the pain. He couldn’t bear to look at her face or he wouldn’t be able to finish his task. With a clunk he felt the joint slide back in place. He let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.
He went back into the first aid kit and grabbed the sling out. Helping her sit up he fitted her right arm in the sling, and the ice pack back on her shoulder.
Her breathing was rapid and he worried that she would pass out again. He tried to comfort her by gently stroking her cheek and wiping away the tears.
Slowly she began to calm down, her breathing evened out and her heart steadied its frantic rhythm.
Once she seemed more stable, Mysterion asked, “Are you okay, does it still hurt?”
It took a minute more for her to find her voice, but she replied, “No it seems to be better now, a dull ache, not like before.”
He nodded this time, “Is there any place else that hurts?”
She thought for a moment and said, “No.”
“Are you sure?”
“I think so.”
He looked down, unable to face her as he spoke, stumbling over his words, “I didn’t mean to look, I turned away as quickly as I could, but when your towel dropped, I noticed a dark bruise on your side, It’s probably nothing but I should probably check it out, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to look.” His face flushed from the embarrassment.
She was trying to figure out what he was talking about, and remembered that she must not have waited for him to leave the room before she got dressed after the shower earlier. He must have seen her then.
He waited a tick before looking back up at her; she seemed to be puzzling something in her head before she looked down at him.
“Do you remember what side?” she asked, unable to pin point the ache among the rest of her body.
“Left” he replied.
She took her free hand and inched the t-shirt fabric up on her left side, exposing a sickly looking bruise.
“Hmm… I don’t remember this one,” she seemed to muse to herself.
Anger and then sadness flashed in Mysterion’s eyes. He looked over the area more closely. It was right on her ribcage and he worried the worst, that the asshole had broken one or more of her ribs as well.
He brought his hand up to her skin but stopped just short of touching her, he looked up at her face for consent to continue.
She nodded at his silent request.
His fingers rested lightly on her skin, pressing as soft but firmly as he could along each rib, trying to determine if any were cracked or broken. He heard her suck in a pained breath and he paused; looking back up at her again before continuing.
He finished checking and almost to his surprise none seemed broken. He took the edge of the shirt from her grasp and let the fabric fall to cover her skin again.
“I don’t think you have a cracked or broken rib,” he told her finally.
She let out a breath and nodded wearily.
“I think that you should lie down and try to sleep,” he said.
Exhaustion radiated from her and she agreed.
He helped her lie down on the bed and covered her with the fresh blanket from the foot of the bed.
He went to turn to leave when she grabbed his hand. He froze at her touch.
“Stay… please,” she whispered.
He gingerly sat on the bed next to her with his back against the headboard; he kept to the edge as much as possible to avoid invading her space. She seemed to breathe easier with him there and finally drifted off to sleep. He watched her for a long time to make sure that she was sleeping soundly before he left to get himself cleaned up.
I'm no medical student, please try not to judge my lack of knowledge too harshly :)
Chapter 4: A Mask is Shed
He carefully got up from the bed so as not to wake her. It wasn’t until now that he realized how much his own body ached. He gathered up the first aid supplies and arranged them back in the box. He tidied up the garbage and took it to the kitchen waste bin. He grabbed a towel from the hall closet and ducked into the bathroom, shutting the door silently behind him. He turned on the shower tap and removed his Mysterion costume, wincing when he got to the stab wound in his side. He shook his head, wondering how he could have forgotten he was stabbed. It only took a momentary mental flash to the woman in his bed to make him remember why he ignored it. It seemed very insignificant to what she had gone through. He took off the rest of his clothing and discarded it to the corner of the room. He tested the water again and adjusted the hot tap. Once it was hot enough he stepped it and began scrubbing his body clean. He washed his hair quickly, and once he was clean he turned the water off. He stepped out of the shower and took the towel to his hair first, patting and rubbing the wetness from his shaggy blond locks. He briefly dried off his arms and torso before wrapping the towel and securing it around his waist. He looked in the mirror and took out his colored contacts, tossing them into the bathroom trash before rubbing his eyes. He hated the contacts, they always made his eyes itchy but they were a necessary evil. All the better to obscure his identity he thought. He brushed his teeth quickly and ran his hand through his hair to try to make it look a little more presentable.
He looked around the bathroom for the first aid kit so he could tend to his wound but realized that he left it in the bedroom. He opened the bathroom door as quietly as he could and silently walked back to the bedroom. He had the kit in hand and his back was to the bed when he heard her stirring. Instead of bolting from the room he froze.
She propped herself up on the bed and blinked to clear the sleep from her eyes. Mysterion was standing in front of her, but it didn’t seem right, his back was to her. It took her brain a few moments more to realize that he was in a towel. All pale honey golden skin, she silently studied him, he seemed almost frozen in place she mused to herself. She eyed him from bottom to top, his strong looking legs, up to his thin waist, the slight silhouette of his back and shoulder muscles, his defined but not obviously so arms, to his almost delicate looking neck and tousled blond hair.
“Hmm, I didn’t peg you as a blond,” she spoke, more so to herself but he heard it nonetheless.
“You didn’t?” he quipped back, still frozen in place.
“No, I guess not. I’m not entirely sure what I would have pictured though.”
Her eyes dropped back down to his waist when she noticed he was bleeding.
“You’re hurt” she stated to him as if he was unaware.
“Eh, it’s but a scratch, I’ll be fine.”
She scooted towards the edge of the bed and gently laid her fingers on his skin nearest the wound.
He sucked in a pained breath.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to,” she breathed.
“It’s okay,” he sighed, “I know you didn’t, you don’t have to worry about me, you should rest.”
“No,” she steadied her voice, “I want to help, it’s the least I can do.”
She was growing frustrated with the sling and carefully took it off and grabbed the first aid kit from his hand.
“Really, it’s okay, I’ll have to stitch it up anyways, and you don’t need to be doing that.”
“I know how to sew” was all she replied.
He chuckled slightly, “persistent, aren’t you?”
“Just come here and tell me what do to.”
He moved carefully closer to her. He turned to give her better access to his side but kept his upper body contorted away from her so she couldn’t see her face.
“Really?” she inquired.
He didn’t quite understand fast enough, so she continued on, “is it that damn important to keep your identity hidden?”
He sighed, “I’m sorry, sometimes it’s all I have.”
She paused at that, and decided not to press further. “What do I need to do?” she said finally.
He instructed her to clean the wound with the rubbing alcohol; he tried to remain as still and silent as possible so as not to alarm her. Then he told her to take the suture kit and thread the needle, to pinch the wound closed and stitch it shut. He slowed his breathing and tried to reign in the pain; he gritted his teeth, and gripped the edge of the nightstand as hard as he could. Finally she was finished. He instructed her to tie the stitch off and trim the edge close to his skin; then to clean up the rest of the blood with more alcohol and gauze, before applying the antibiotic and covering the wound with clean gauze and tape. He let out a shaky breath.
“Good, thank you” he rasped, cursing internally for sounding so weak.
He stayed there a minute longer, long enough for her to stand beside him without him fully realizing she ever left the bed. She lightly touched his shoulder, fingertips so soft, his body felt electric under her touch. She tried to reach up to touch his face but he shied away from her hand.
“What are you going to do, put your costume back on again?” Her voice was soft and so close to him he almost couldn’t stand it.
Although it was a good point, he hadn’t really thought about what he was going to do after his shower, only that he needed one.
She tentatively reached back up to his face again, this time he didn’t move away from her touch, and let her bring his face around to hers. He kept his head tilted slightly downward and eyes downcast. She was unbelievably close to him his heart started to race; her breath was soft against the bare skin on his chest.
She was feeling unsure of herself in this moment, so close to him, but she had to know the man who saved her. He brought his head up slightly and met her eyes with his, her breath caught in her throat as she looked into his gorgeous electric blue eyes.
“I-I thought your eyes were dark,” she questioned softly.
“Colored contacts.” He said simply.
It took her a moment more to register, she had seen a bluish hue to his eyes before but she dismissed it. Now it made more sense.
He couldn’t help but to want her, even after everything and it made him sick to his stomach to even have these thoughts at this time, he cursed under his breath and stepped back from her. He moved over to the dresser under the pretense of finding something to wear but being that close to her was almost too much for him to bear. He rummaged around more until he found a t-shirt, boxers, and sleep pants to wear. He excused himself to the bathroom and got dressed.
She stood there, watching him, hearing him mumble to himself before he seemed to escape to the bathroom. She wondered if she did something wrong.
He returned a few minutes later, seeming to keep his distance from her.
“You should try and get some more sleep, I’ll be in the living room if you need me,” he turned to leave, and again she lightly grabbed his hand causing him to freeze.
She was right behind him, her hand on his, “please don’t go,” she said so quietly he barely heard her.
“Okay,” he said, and allowed her to lead him back to bed.
She knelt on the bed, still holding on to him, afraid if she let go that he’d bolt from her. He climbed into bed with her, she moved over closer to the wall to allow him more room and he lay down next to her. His hand still in hers, she let go finally so she could lay down better, he tucked his hands under his head seemingly afraid of what to do with them. She nestled down next to him, carefully resting her head in the crook of his chest and shoulder. He stopped breathing.
She moved her hand to rest on his chest and felt his racing heartbeat. “I’m okay, really, just hold me please?” she asked of him.
He took a small breath, after not breathing for so long, he tried to breathe slowly so as not to alarm her. He moved his arm down from under his head and rested his hand at the small of her back. The skin there seemed to be exposed, and he slowly, softly, traced random shapes on her skin with his fingers. She seemed to relax into him, and breathed more contently. He continued with his fingers at the small of her back, and just before she fell fully asleep he kissed the top of her head gently.
“Sleep now princess, you’re safe here,” he murmured into her hair.
Chapter 5: Reality of the Morning
It wasn’t until the sunlight hit his eyes that he slowly started to wake up. He went to move but quickly realized that he was not alone in his bed. He looked down at her peaceful still sleeping form. Her head in the crook of his shoulder, arm across his chest, and leg slightly resting intertwined with his. His one arm was still at her back; his fingertip grazed the skin at the small of her back. She let out a small contented sound. He didn’t want to move her, or risk waking her. He just looked down at her slightly studying her features. He remembered how her hair looked in the lights of the club, but it that memory seemed to pale in comparison to the sight now. Her hair was chocolaty dark, with red and amber highlights. He took his free hand and softly brushed the hair from her face, selfishly so he could see her better. Her lips were a natural deep red; her skin was pale, and porcelain. She was more than beautiful he thought that word just didn’t seem to do justice to what he saw.
Suddenly he felt her heart racing as her body was pressed against his, she was flailing slightly and murmuring in her sleep. The movements got more forceful and she jerked herself out of sleep and clawed and kicked her way to the other side of the bed. In doing so she inadvertently kicked him off the bed, he landed with a thud on the floor. He heard her breathing wildly, and slowly he got to his knees to get a better look at her. She was looking around, trying to remember what happened and what she was doing there.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay, you’re safe here,” he tried to reassure her. He brought his hands up to try and be as non-threatening as possible for her.
There was no reaction; she didn’t seem to be focusing on him, her breathing heavy he thought she was on the verge of a panic attack.
“Remember, it’s me, the guy with the funny name, Mysterion,” he tried again.
She relaxed slightly.
He grabbed a water bottle from the nightstand, cracked the seal and removed the cap. He slowly reached out the bottle to her.
She grabbed it, brought the bottle to her lips and drank slowly.
It took her a few minutes more but she was coming back to herself. Her breathing and rapid heartbeat began to slow. She handed the water back to him and settled back against the wall.
“I-I think I’m okay now,” she said quietly.
He moved slowly from the kneeling on the floor to sitting on the very edge of the bed from her.
“Do you remember what happened to you?” he questioned softly.
It took her a beat but from the flashes, memories, in her head she knew.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked so quietly.
Tears started streaming silently down her cheeks and his heart seemed to break for her in that moment.
She slowly began to recount the events of the night, from dancing in the club, to getting pulled into the alleyway, being slammed against the wall.
“It’s spotty after that, it was so hard to focus and stay awake and I wasn’t sure I wanted to.” Her voice caught at the end.
“What do you remember?” he tried encouraging her to go on.
She took a breath and started again. The knife at her throat, how he wanted her awake for it. How he beat her back to consciousness. The pain when he…
She was sobbing almost uncontrollably now, she couldn’t even finish, but he knew the words she couldn’t speak.
“When he raped you.” He finished for her.
She nodded between sobs. When she found her voice again, she continued.
“I tried not to think about what he was doing after a while. It seemed like an eternity. Something happened that I didn’t see and he wasn’t on top of me anymore. I passed out after that.” She finished.
Mysterion’s fists were balled tight and he wanted that animal back so he could beat the living shit out of him again.
“Lilith,” she whispered to the silence between them.
Mysterion pulled himself from his thoughts, relaxed his hands and tried to focus on what she said last.
“Lilith, or Lily,” she repeated.
For some reason it still wasn’t registering to him.
“My name,” she said almost shyly now.
He closed his eyes and dipped his head, of course he thought.
“Kenny” he replied without looking at her.
“I think I like that better than Mysterion,” she smiled slightly to herself.
He looked up at her then to see the small smile spread across her face.
She moved away from the wall and closer to where he was sitting, she slowly moved to rest her head on his shoulder. Unconsciously, he wrapped his arm around her waist and held her.
They stayed like that for a while.
Chapter 6: Domesticity with a Side of Lust
He didn’t know how much time had passed but the hungry knot in his stomach could no longer be ignored.
He didn’t move but asked instead, “do you want some food?”
She nodded against his shoulder, and sat up straighter to allow him to move.
He took the invitation and stood, grabbing her hand lightly for her to follow him.
They walked out to the kitchen area, and she took a seat at the island counter. He rummaged through the fridge.
“Um, I have stuff to make sandwiches, or um, well, sorry not much else,” he said defeated.
“That sounds good,” she replied.
“Okay, ham or turkey?”
“Lettuce and tomato?”
“Swiss or cheddar?”
“Uh, I don’t have any mayo or stuff like that,” he trailed off
“That’s okay, I never liked the stuff.”
With that he gathered the ingredients from the fridge, a cutting board and knife from the counter and set the items on the lower prep counter across from where she was sitting.
He spun around and grabbed some bread from the opposite counter and plates from the cupboard, and returned them to the rest.
He layered the turkey and cheese on the bread, cut up some lettuce and tomatoes and added them to the sandwich before topping it with the other piece of bread. He cut both sandwiches diagonally and placed them on separate plates. He set one plate in front of her and the other at the spot next to her.
“I have juice or water.”
“What kind of juice?” she asked.
He wrapped up the rest of the lettuce and tomato, put it back in the fridge and looked for the juice container.
“That sounds good.”
He took the container, grabbed some glasses from the cupboard and poured out two.
He set a glass next to her plate and one next to his. He finished tidying up the kitchen before taking his seat next to hers.
They ate in companionable silence. Once they both were done he took the plates to the sink and set them inside.
“Do you want anything else?”
“No, I’m good, thanks.”
She stifled a yawn with her hand.
“Do you want to lie back down?”
She seemed to think about that for a moment, “Will you lay with me?”
He nodded to her.
They walked back to the bedroom. She climbed on the bed and seemed to wait for him to do the same before lying down. He got in as well, and rested his hands under his head. She moved closer to him and again rested her head in the crook of his chest and shoulder. She moved her free hand to his waist and with his arms above his head pulling his shirt up, she found the skin above the line of his pants. Slowly she brushed her fingertips against his skin. He brought his one arm down from under his head to rest along her back. She arched her hip, bent her leg and brought it to rest on top of his leg nearest her. She seemed to meld perfectly to his side. The movement caused her shirt to rise up slightly and expose the small of her back; he was keenly aware of this and echoed her fingertip swirling on his hip with his fingertips on the small of her back.
‘God, she’s going to be my undoing,’ he thought to himself. He kept trying to push the lewd images from his brain, all the things he wanted to do to her, but his mind was failing.
She rocked her hip against him again and let out a soft moan. The imagery redoubled and he was losing himself to the lust his brain was cooking up. He knew better, he tried to know better, she was only falling asleep damn it, this was not the time for that.
He tried to think about anything except her body pressed so closely against his. When he couldn’t shake the devious thoughts he turned them instead to how she ended up here. How he found her in that alleyway. What that bastard had done to her. Anger and rage welled up inside him instead and chased away the fantasies. He opened his eyes and looked down at her, sleeping so peacefully, so blissfully unaware of his internal struggle.
Chapter 7: Actions have Consequences
The phone was buzzing somewhere down on the floor. Kenny groaned as it woke him from his sleep. He tried to move minimally to avoid waking Lilith. He reached his free hand down and scraped at the floor searching for the cause of his annoyance. Finally he grabbed on to it and brought the screen to his face. There were numerous texts from the detective. He quickly keyed in the four digit unlock code and proceeded to scroll through all the missed messages from the detective.
“Dammit man he had to go to the hospital! You beat him half to death!”
“He refuses to talk. We processed his body and clothing. Samples sent to forensics.”
“Went over the scene this morning. Found traces of blood and bodily fluids. More samples sent for analysis.”
“Got a prelim match. Perps DNA and that of an unknown female.”
“Is she okay?”
“Are you okay?! You normally respond quicker than this.”
“Got the perp out of the hospital. He's in holding. Presented him with the evidence but he's not talking yet.”
“Charging him soon. It would go a long way if we could get her statement.”
“Dammit man! Hey get back to me a.s.a.p.!”
That was the last message. Kenny sighed after reading all the messages and began typing out a reply.
“Asshole deserved it and more. She’s fine. Safe. I'm fine. I'll talk to her. Might go better if she can remain anonymous.”
He hit the send button. He was about to put the phone down when he saw the telltale dots of a pending reply. So he waited.
“I've never seen you bust up a perp that much before. If you can get her in I'll keep her name out of it. Keep me posted.”
At that he dropped the phone back to the floor. He didn't want to subject her to a police interrogation but he knew it would be one of the only ways to guarantee that prick wouldn't be let back out on the streets again. He softly resumed drawing circles and other shapes lightly on the small of her back with his fingertips. She let out a soft contented sigh and with it wiggled in closer to him, hitching her leg and knee up higher along his leg. Her knee barely brushed the base of his cock and he froze. He was mentally cursing himself, of course she was sleeping and unaware of what he was currently experiencing and the thoughts that cascaded over the wall he tried to build in his mind to keep them at bay. He thought instantly of all the diabolical things he's wanted to do to her since he first saw her on that fucking dance floor. Kiss her, bite her, fuck her seven ways to Sunday and back again, make her scream his name as he brought her again and again to orgasm, to ruin her for every poor sap after him, no, more than that, to make her his. He felt the erection creeping in; he forced the thoughts from his mind trying to focus on anything else. He shook himself trying to finally shake off the images. In doing so she began to stir at his side. He tried again to caress the small of her back and lull her back to sleep but it didn't seem to be working. Instead it seemed like she was responding more to his touch, she lazily copied his movements of his fingertip from her back onto his exposed hip. Her breathing deepened and she rolled her head to look up at him. Her eyes practically glowed with the heat behind him, Kenny could barely restrain himself as it is, and less so with the way she was looking up his body at him. He needed an out before he did something that he would regret. He couldn’t think of anything intelligent and tried to fumble himself into a seated position on the bed, sensing his movement she propped herself up on her arm to allow him the room he needed to escape.
“Be right back,” was all he managed to say before stumbling out of the room and into the bathroom.
He shut the bathroom door more forcefully then he intended, and hunched himself over the sink. He was practically feverish with the pent up excitement. He turned on the cold tap and splashed the icy water on his face. His once growing erection stilled, and he fought back in his mind for control. After he thought his face was sufficiently numb he turned the tap off and grabbed the hand towel and dried off his face and wiped up the sink. He threw the towel on the floor with his previously discarded Mysterion costume. Thinking better of it, he gathered the items up from the floor, opened the bathroom door and purposely ignoring the bedroom he walked down to the laundry room. After tossing the items in the hamper, he realized how soaked his shirt had gotten, with a quick and smooth motion he removed his shirt with one hand and tossed it in the hamper with the rest of the clothing. He shook his head and nervously ran his fingers through his now damp hair his hand resting on the back of his neck and scratching his skin. He kept his head down, shaking it slightly as he was still cursing to himself, and walked back towards the bedroom. He got to just about the doorway when he walked right into Lilith, almost knocking her down, but his instincts were quicker than that and he threw one arm around her back and pulled her to his chest so she wouldn’t stumble backwards and fall. It took half a beat to realize what he did, and his mind started to get heady with her so, so very, close to him. He could feel her breath almost at his neck and her heart pounding quickly against his chest. He lowered her slightly so she could touch the floor more firmly, once he was sure she wasn’t going to fall he removed his hand from her back and tucked both hands into the pockets of his pants.
“Sorry, I wasn’t watchin’ where I was goin’” he mumbled to her, his southern/redneck accent peeking through in his words, a nervous tick of his.
He made a move to walk past her and back into the bedroom when she put a hand on his chest to stop him.
“You’re bleeding again,” she said looking at the wound on his side.
“It’ll be fine,” he tried to say but she wasn’t listening.
“I should look at it again for you,” she said definitively. She stepped slightly to the side and motioned for him to go stand by the bed.
He moved over to the bed and waited for her; she walked the few steps to him and ran her fingers delicately along the edge of the bandage. For a man who dies as often as Kenny, he couldn’t help but admire the soft consideration she was showing to what he thought of only as a minor injury. She carefully removed the bandage and saw that it seemed like some of the stitches tore loose. He looked down at her examining his side and her almost silent “tsks” of disapproval.
“How bad is it doc,” he tried to humor her.
“It doesn’t look good, Kenny I think you need a real doctor, the stitches I did don’t seem to be doing well.” Her disappointment was evident in the way she spoke. As if she could have let him down in some way by not knowing how to stitch up a stab wound properly.
“Nonsense, princess, give me a few minutes and I’ll be good as new.” He moved to grab the first aid kit off the nightstand and retreat to the bathroom but she didn’t seem to be having it. She stretched and stood back up to look him straight in the eye, or well as straight as she could considering the height difference.
She huffed at his statement, “Princess? Really?” she asked incredulously.
He smiled, full and genuinely at the frown across her face. Her breath caught and whatever she was about to say melted from her brain; her heart skipped a beat at that smile of his.
For a moment he thought he broke her, she was so still and staring at him so intently, she didn’t seem to be breathing. She shivered and shook herself out of the smile’s trance. She dropped her chin down and tried to regain the ability to form thoughts in her head.
“Are you okay?” he questioned softly.
It took longer than she would have liked to form a response to his question, but finally she half-whispered to the silence, “Y-Yes”
He wasn’t quite sure what just happened to cause the change in her demeanor. He tried running it backwards in his brain to figure out what went wrong but he wasn’t able to pin-point anything. This time when he moved with the first aid kit to the bathroom she didn’t stop him.
He closed the bathroom door slightly, set the kit on the counter and worked at cleaning and suturing up his wound again. He’s felt pain more than most people do in their lifetime. To him this was nothing out of the ordinary and should he die tomorrow it would be like this wound never existed at all. Dying is the painful part, he reminisced to himself. He stopped counting all the times he’s died, but the pain never really goes away, it’s like a shadow in the back of his mind. Luckily for him death has been less frequent over the years. It’s been a few months since the last incident. He was trying to help people out of a burning building during one of his patrols and received 3rd degree burns in the process. He got everyone he could out of the building before the fire department showed up, he dragged his burned body as far away as he was able before ending it by slitting his throat. A gun would have been quicker he mused, but he was too worried about causing extra attention at the time, that and bleeding out can be slow as fuck. Like always he woke with the first rays of the morning light back in his old bed at his parents’ house like nothing ever happened. As per usual he quickly got dressed, gathered his things and hightailed it back to his apartment on the other side of town. Sometimes he wished the fucking curse would allow him to wake up in his own bed instead of constantly reminding him of everything he worked so hard to get away from. He shook his head and realized that while he was thinking his hands were moving on auto pilot and he was all stitched back up again. He looked over his work, and cleaned up the small traces of new blood before covering it back up with a fresh bandage.
He sighed to himself, knowing he was about to have a very hard conversation with Lilith about making a statement to the police. He walked back into the bedroom to find her sitting on the bed and picking at her nails again.
“Lily,” he spoke softly as he walked closer towards her, “I need to have a serious conversation with you.”
She looked up at him then, a mixture of fear and confusion in her eyes, but she nodded “yes” nonetheless.
He sat on the bed and leaned against the headboard so he could face her as he spoke.
“The detective I kind of work with at the police department contacted me earlier, it would be really helpful to them, and it would ensure that monster wouldn’t be let go again, if you could give a statement to the police.” He studied her as he spoke, she had turned slightly to face him, and her whole body was trembling as he finished his sentence.
She shook her head and tears streamed down her face, “please Kenny, I-I can’t,” her voice caught on her words.
“I-I can’t even think about going into the police station, into one of those little rooms while they question me, please don’t make me,” she shook more violently at the thought.
“Shh… It’s okay, I wouldn’t ever make you do anything you didn’t want to do, I promise,” he slowly reached his hand out and rested it on hers to try and comfort her.
At his slight touch she scurried over to him, and buried her face on his chest. He scooped her up and set her easily on his lap and just held her to his skin as she cried.
Chapter 8: The Set Up
The last of the tears were trailing down her cheek as she looked up at him.
“D-Does it have to be at the station?” she questioned softly.
He stroked the back of her head gently, “No, of course not.”
“W-Will you be there?”
He didn’t want to lie to her, but her question was more complicated then she knew. “That depends… Mysterion can be there with you but Kenny can’t be, do you understand?”
She understood but that didn’t mean she had to like the answer.
“I don’t want Mysterion, I want you Kenny.” She said simply.
For a moment he was lost in her words. It was a double-edged sword to him. He knew what she meant, the comment was innocent enough considering the context, but that didn’t stop his heathen mind from applying an entirely different undertone to her statement. He had to bite back the first comment that threatened to leave his mouth.
“I can set up a meet with you and the detective, some place neutral but safe and private, he’s a good man, I can be at the location with you but I can’t be next to you when you talk to him.” This was the best scenario that he could come up with to be there for her but still maintain his secret identity. Because as much as Detective Tucker was a good man, that wouldn’t stop him from arresting Kenny for vigilantism and any other number of illegal things Kenny has done under the guise of Mysterion. Mysterion had a tentative working relationship with the South Park Police, Detective Tucker in particular, but he had been warned on numerous occasions that if he was ever caught there was no way he was not going to prison for a long time.
Lilith took her time processing Kenny’s suggestion before agreeing.
“You promise you’ll be there, you won’t leave me?”
She nodded and relaxed back onto his chest.
He held her there, running his hand along her back. He could stay like this forever he thought to himself. The second he thought it he realized how foreign that was to him. He’s the whore of South Park, slept with anyone and everyone, he could always find something attractive about a person long enough to get them in bed at least. That was never an issue for him, he’s practically a certified flirt, and always been known to give as good as he gets in the sack, but with her it all felt different. Not that he didn’t want to rip her clothes off and take her at any moment that he could, but that he also wanted to stay. To just be with her, in her presence; he felt a foreign sensation in his stomach at times when he looked at her, fucking butterflies he realized.
“Fuck” he said more to himself than anything else. ‘I’m falling for her’ he thought, and that terrified him.
She must have heard him swear because she looked up at him then, a question lingering in her eyes. He couldn’t believe that in all this time he hadn’t taken the time to appreciate the color of her eyes. She had these gold flecks, like tiny stars, in her bright forest green eyes, the color reminding him of long walks in the woods around South Park when he was a kid, he got lost in their depths for a moment before shaking his head to dismiss her question. Sadly for him she sighed and tucked her head back to his chest, obscuring those beautiful eyes from his vision.
Time passed and Lilith raised her head again, “when do I have to talk with the detective?”
“Whenever you want, it’s all up to you.”
“I should probably go home first.”
As much as he was coming to enjoy seeing her in his clothes, he knew that was a logical step before meeting Detective Tucker. He nodded at her statement.
“Just let me know and I can take you there.” When the words left his lips he realized how much he didn’t want her to leave.
“Five more minutes?”
“Five more minutes.”
He held her in the comfortable embrace for almost an hour more before she pulled herself more upright on his lap.
“Okay,” she sighed, “I think I’m ready now.”
He nodded a moved his arms to allow her to stand.
She got up slowly and walked out towards the bathroom and shut the door quietly behind her.
He grabbed the phone from under the bed and sent a text off to Detective Tucker.
“She’ll make a statement. Only to you. Anonymously. And at a neutral location.”
He walked over to his dresser and fished his other phone out of the top drawer.
He checked the time and dialed Butters first.
He answered on the second ring.
“Hey K-Kenny how ya doing?” his voice cheerful as ever.
“I’m good Butterfly, I have a favor ta’ ask ya’”
“Oh, yes, of course, what do you need?”
“I need to borrow your place for a few hours, you have ta’ work tonight, don’t cha’?”
“Oh, no, Kenny, I-I’m sorry but I’m off tonight.”
“Oh no worries, darlin’, I can find another place”
“A-Are ya sure, I can leave or something.”
“No Butterfly, don’t worry ya’ purty little head none, I’ll catch up with ya’ later”
“O-Okay Kenny, later then.”
With a click the call ended.
On to plan B Kenny thought as he found Stan’s name in the contacts list and hit send.
The line rang so much that Kenny wasn’t sure Stan was going to answer.
“Dude, make it quick” Stan quickly blurted out when he answered.
“And a hello to you too dick”
“What can I say, I’m slammed at work”
“So your place is free?”
“Yeah…” Stan replied leerily, “why, what’s wrong with your place”
“So it’ll be empty for a few hours? No interruptions?”
“Yeah dude, fuck it, you got my key just don’t fuck her on my bed or some weird ass shit.”
“Stanny-boy, you act like I’ve done that before or somethin’”
“Kenny you know damn well you did and prolly will again, just not tonight please.”
“Naw, I wouldn’t think of it, I promise. Catch up with ya’ later”
“Sure, bye dude.”
With a click Stan hung up, and the dial tone sounded on the other end of the phone.
So that’s set, he thought to himself, now for something a little more decent to wear. He pulled open another dresser drawer and took out a pair of well-worn faded and torn blue jeans, and a band tee before shutting the drawer. He pulled down his pj pants and swapped them for the jeans. He just got done buttoning and zipping the fly when she spoke.
“So… Butterfly, Stanny-boy, and I’m apparently princess, you’re quite the fan of nicknames” she said, her voice full of amusement.
Kenny practically jumped out of his skin; he was so preoccupied with what he was doing to realize she had returned from the bathroom to stand just inside the bedroom doorway.
“Well you got a funny habit of sneakin’ up on people” he quipped back at her, “and yes, those deserving do wind up with nicknames.”
“Hmm,” she murmured, “So I’m deserving of one?” she spoke as she closed the gap between herself and Kenny.
She was so close to him again, and looking in her eyes he saw that slight heady undertone, the mischievous twinkle of the golden flecks, he wanted so desperately to ball her hair up in his fist and kiss her long and deep. He tried to squash the thoughts again, shook his head and took a shaky step back.
“Uh, um, yeah” his words stumbled out and he ran his hand nervously through his hair while trying to avoid her intoxicating gaze.
“Any who,” he cleared his throat, “we should probably get going, just let me grab a few things.”
He threw the shirt that he was holding on, grabbed his wallet and phone from the dresser and shoved them in his back pockets. He moved to the bedroom door and closed it slightly, on the back of his door hung a collection of his hoodies, he grabbed his trusty orange one and another navy one from the hooks. He offered them to her for her to pick one; she took the orange one, oddly to his internal delight. He tugged his arms through the hoodie sleeves and zipped it up halfway. He took the other phone from the nightstand and checked the messages.
“Where and when?” this was the reply Kenny was hoping for.
“One hour. Stan Marsh’s house, door will be unlocked, she’ll be in the living room. DO NOT hurt her.”
“After seeing what you did to the guy that did, I wouldn’t dream of it. I’ll be there, deal is a deal, I’ll keep her name out of it.” Was the quick reply from Tucker.
When he turned back around she had his orange hoodie on, fully zipped up and her hands tucked in the pockets. Something about that was the sexiest thing he ever saw.
Chapter 9: Bookcases and Trepidation
They were in his car as she directed him to her apartment building, she had her heels on from the night before and her purse in her lap, her tattered dress was tucked away in a bag at her feet.
“Turn left here, second building on the right,” she directed.
He pulled the car to a stop in front of the building, and they exited the vehicle.
He followed her up the few steps to the main door of the small apartment complex. She flipped through her keys to find the one for the door. They entered to a narrow hallway with doors spaced some distance apart. Hers was the last on the left. She flipped through her keys again for the match to this door, once found she opened the door and flicked the light switch on. She motioned for him to follow her.
Her apartment was small but cozy. He could tell instantly that she must love to read, there were two huge filled bookcases on the wall in her living room. An oversized chair was closest to the bookcases, with a pillow and blanket strewn haphazardly on; he could image that she spent hours in that chair with her various novels. She had a small kitchenette and a table off to the side by a window with two chairs. Further into the apartment was a hallway that he assumed led to her bedroom and bathroom. She walked over and turned on the hall light. Kenny turned around and shut the main door behind him. She unzipped the hoodie and took it off, resting it on the back of the couch.
“So, this is um, my apartment.”
Kenny looked at her then and realized that she was very nervous for some reason, she was back to picking at her nails.
He walked the few steps over to her and took her by the hand.
“I’m not used to guests,” she said dismissively.
Kenny didn’t think that was the real reason but he wasn’t going to press her for the truth. He just nodded and held her hand.
“I’m going to go change now…”
Kenny released her hand, “I’ll wait for you here, on the couch.” With his statement he walked back a few steps and sat down on the couch to wait for her.
She seemed satisfied with that and retreated down the hall to her room.
Lilith was shaking by the time she quietly shut the bedroom door behind her. She couldn’t figure out what was bothering her so much, it wasn’t like this was much different from when she was with him at his place. Why now was she freaking out? She was always a relatively private person, she didn’t mind going out and having a good time but her space was always her sanctuary. She knew that she preferred spending time at other people’s places but it didn’t seem to dawn on her until now that she’s never had another person in her space since she moved out of her parent’s house over three years ago. She tried to recall her place in Denver before moving to South Park in the last week and it just reconfirmed what she thought. ‘Great, I’m the weird recluse, I’m sure Kenny’ll want to stick around for that’ she thought flippantly to herself.
She tried to shake herself from the dark thoughts threatening to fill her mind. She kicked off her heels and went over to her closet to pick out an outfit. She chooses a decently nice pair of blue jeans and a deep burgundy fitted button down blouse. She tossed the items on her bed and turned now to her dresser, she pulled out a soft lavender lacey bra and panty set. She sets them on the bed and takes off the top and pants that Kenny lent her. She folds them neatly and sets them on top of her dresser, before turning to the full length mirror. She looks her body over, noticing all the bruises and scrapes that didn’t seem to be there before. The cut on her hip is still securely bandaged, as are the cuts on her neck and forehead. The bruise on her ribs is a sickly purple-greenish color; she lightly runs her hand over the spot and winces at the pain. She turns her attention to her right shoulder, although it feels better now that it’s no longer out of place, it also has a matching bruise to that on her ribs. She can move her arm better but still knows that it feels much weaker than her other one. She moves on with her self-examination. She has slight discoloration peeking out from the edge of the bandage on her forehead, but for getting smacked around like she remembers; the rest of the face is relatively injury free. The only thing she really notices is the reddish marks on the sides of mouth. It takes her a beat before she remembers what caused that.
“Fucking belt.” She curses angrily.
Her hair is a mess, she tries to brush it but it’s too painful for her to do with her right hand and wholly awkward and uncoordinated to do it with her left. She gives up on it for now. She walks back over to her bed and gets dressed. She finishes buttoning up her blouse, leaving the top two buttons undone. She goes over to her pile of shoes and grabs a pair of black ballet flats and puts them on. She grabs her body spray from the dresser and spritzes herself before taking her hair brush and walking back to the living room.
She watches him messing around with something on his phone before approaching. “Hey Kenny?”
He looks up from his phone, and is instantly caught off guard by her beauty. He tries to form words but is rendered speechless instead. He watches her walk closer to him and he can faintly pick up a new scent that radiates from her. Something soft, pretty and sweet all mixed as one, fuck she smells good. Kenny McCormick is officially doomed. The color of her top plays off her porcelain skin to perfection and makes the dark forest green and gold of her eyes sparkle as well. He’s frozen to the couch as she continues her approach. Her lips are moving again but he can’t seem to make out the words.
“Kenny?” she tries again, mere inches from him sitting on the couch.
“Huh, y-yeah,” he stutters out slowly. He nervously runs his hand through his hair.
“Whatcha need princess,” he drawls.
She smiles at that, and moves to sit next to him on the couch.
“Can you brush my hair for me?” she asks sheepishly, “I’m having a hard time with my shoulder and all and left handed just is so weird…” she rambles.
“S-Sure thing,” he replies rather shakily.
Lilith hands him her brush and turns so her back is toward him. He angles his body more towards her, and slowly brushes out her hair. He works out the small snarls like a pro; it brings back fond memories of when he would brush his little sister Karen’s hair for her. Once completed he sets the brush on the small coffee table.
“It’s almost time,” he softly reminds her, “are you ready?”
For a moment she had forgotten what this outing was really for, reluctantly she nods yes.
She grabs his orange hoodie from the back of the couch and starts to put it on when he stops her.
“I should probably give you this navy one to wear instead.” Pointing to the one he was currently wearing, “It won’t tip Tucker off immediately that I’m with you like the orange one will” he said sadly.
For some irrational reason she didn’t like the idea, but agreed any way. He took off the hoodie and held it open for her to put on; she slipped her arms in the sleeves and turned to face him. He fumbled slightly with the zipper; once it caught he slowly zipped the hoodie closed halfway. He was inches from her face, he breathed in deeply her scent, now intermingling with his, and smiled.
“You smell amazing,” he whispered to her. He forced himself to take a few steps back and grabbed up the orange hoodie and threw it on. He pulled the hood up over his head, and walked a little closer to the door, waiting for her to follow.
She was a little dumbstruck at his comment and subsequent actions that she just stood by the couch for a few beats before grabbing her purse from the kitchenette counter and coming to stand behind Kenny.
He felt her presence behind him and opened the door, she followed him out, flicked the light switch back off and locked the door.
She reached forward and grabbed his hand as they walked back to his car. Instead of going to the driver side like she thought he was going to do, he opened the passenger door for her and waited until she was seated inside before closing it. He entered the car, started the engine, and proceeded to drive to the next location.
Chapter 10: The Meeting at Stan's
Kenny pulled into the driveway of the modest looking house.
“Stay in the car for a sec, I gotta open the garage.”
She nodded and he ran off to the front of the house, opened the door and disappeared inside. A few moments later the garage door was being lifted up, once the door was rolled all the way up, Kenny got back in the car and parked the car in the garage. He quickly turned off the engine and jumped out of the car again to shut the garage door, forever thankful that Stan didn’t have any windows into his garage. He pulled his phone from his pocket and checked the time, they only had about 7 minutes to get everything in place before Tucker showed up, and he was not one for being late. He turned the latch on the garage door to lock it down in place just in case Tucker got any funny ideas. Turning back towards the car he saw that Lilith was already out and standing by the passenger door.
He took her hand gently and led her through the darkness of the garage and into the house.
“W-Where are we?” she asked softly.
“Stanny-boys’ house. He won’t be home for a few more hours, its safe.”
That seemed to ease some of her worries.
“You and Stan must be close, you have a key?”
“Yeah, we grew up together, been friends as long as I can remember.”
He led her deeper in the house until they arrived at the living room.
“Here, take a seat on the couch, I’ll be right back.”
She complied and he ran off towards the front door, checked to make sure it was unlocked and returned to her side. He knelt down beside her and tried to speak gently but quickly.
“Okay, I told Tucker that the house would be unlocked and you would be on the couch. He’ll be here in a few minutes. I’ll be in the bedroom upstairs, first door on the right, if you need me for any reason. He’s only going to take your statement about what happened, you don’t have to give him your name. No pictures, no prodding, I promise. You can tell him about Mysterion finding you and stuff, you just can’t mention me,” worry dripped from his words and he searched her eyes for understanding.
“I understand, I’ll be alright, go before he gets here.” She whispered.
Kenny stood up quickly, before rushing up the stairs he ducked his head back down and kissed the top of her head.
He barely made it up the stairs and into the bedroom before her heard the car door shut outside and the front door open moments after. Kenny shut the door until it was only open a crack and sat down on the floor to listen.
“Miss?” Tucker called out, “This is Detective Tucker of the South Park Police Department. I was told to meet you here.” He rounded the corner and saw a woman sitting on the couch just as Mysterion had instructed she would be.
Lilith watched him warily as he approached. She trusted Kenny, she knew that she had nothing to fear from the man approaching her but that did little to subdue the fear that was rising from the pit in her stomach.
Tucker stopped a few feet from her position on the couch. Poor thing looked like a deer caught in headlights and he was worried she’d bolt at any minute. Lord only knows what hell Mysterion would rain down if he did anything wrong to this woman.
Tucker put his hands out by his sides, trying to gesture that he had nothing to harm her with, “Mysterion told you I was coming, what we were going to talk about, correct?”
“Y-Yes,” she said ever so softly from the couch.
He nodded. “Do you mind if I grab a chair and sit down with you?”
Her eyes darted around, searching the room, before she could try and figure out where this chair was coming from he spoke again.
“I’ve been here before, I think that’s why Mysterion picked this place, and I know Mr. Marsh has extra chairs in the dining room. If it’s okay with you I’ll go grab one so we can talk.” He finished by pointing out the direction of the dining room so she knew where he would be going.
She followed his direction with her eyes, and then turned back to look at the detective.
“Yes, its okay” she stated, trying to add some strength back into her words.
Tucker nodded and walked slowly but purposely to the dining room and returned with a chair. He positioned himself across from the woman but at a far enough distance that he hoped not to scare her.
He reached into his jacket, she flinched at the movement but didn’t say anything, he returned with his notepad and pen, showing the items to her and then flipping to a blank page in the book.
“It’s just for my notes for when I make the final report later, whatever you tell me will be anonymous per the agreement with Mysterion. All I need is for you to tell me what happened and I can ensure that man isn’t let out of prison for a very long time.”
She nodded and began recounting the events. Tucker retained his ever present neutral expression as he jotted down her words in his book.
Kenny was listening from the bedroom, he could hear the times where her voice broke and she struggled to find the words. All he wanted to do was run down and comfort her but instead it felt like he was imprisoned in the dark room.
She was trying so hard to hold back the tears as she was speaking but it was a fight she wouldn’t win. The tears welled over and spilled down her cheeks. She finished her story as quickly and thoroughly as she could.
Tucker looked up at her then. So frail he thought. He moved without thinking and got a Kleenex from the hutch on the other side of the room and presented it to the woman on the couch. Although hesitant, she took the Kleenex and watched him return to the chair across from her. She dabbed away the tears and sunk back into the couch.
“Miss, do you need medical attention?” Tucker asked her finally.
Puzzled by his question, Lilith responded, “I don’t like hospitals.”
He nodded. “I have all I need, do you have anything else to add, or that I need to know?”
“No,” was all she said.
He put his notebook and pen back in his jacket pocket and returned instead with a business card. He stood and walked over to her and handed her the card.
“Now I know Mysterion has my number, but if you need me, or the rest of the department, the contact numbers are listed on that card. My direct line is listed as well as the main line for the department. If you need something and can’t get a hold of me by calling my direct line call the main line number and have them page me for you. But my hope is you won’t need this.”
“I hope I won’t either sir.”
He smiled tightly at her response; walked back to the chair and returned it back to the dining room.
“I’ll be headed out now miss.” With that he turned towards the front door and left.
She heard the car door shut and engine turn over and leave moments later. She lay back against the couch, suddenly exhausted.
Kenny joined her after Tucker’s car had left the block. He watched from the window long enough to make sure that Tucker didn’t do anything stupid like doubling back to set up on the house. Once he was satisfied that he wasn’t coming back he went down the stairs and joined Lilith on the couch.
She leaned into him the second he sat down; he put his arm around her and stroked her back.
They sat like that for a short while before he spoke.
“Do you want me to take you home?”
“No, not yet.”
“Do you want me to take you back to my place?”
Kenny motioned to stand up from the couch and Lilith followed suit. He walked over to the front door to make sure it was locked for Stan, and led Lilith back to the garage.
He opened her door for her again and when she was settled inside he shut it. He quickly unlatched the garage door and hefted it up. He climbed back in the car started the engine, backed the car out of the garage, and went back to close the garage door again.
He grabbed one of the cell phones from the center console; quickly he fired off a text to Stan.
“Dude, you gonna be all pissy if I don’t lock up the garage door?”
“What are you doing in my garage? Never mind, I don’t think I want to know. No, I’ll be home soon anyways.”
With that he backed out of the driveway and headed back to his apartment.
Chapter 11: A Sweet - Unsure - First
He watched her out of the corner of his eyes as he drove, she looked listlessly out the window at the dark landscape surrounding them.
“What day is it?” she spoke softly into the silence.
“Saturday night,” Kenny replied
“Hmmm… seems like yesterday was forever ago….” She trailed off in a sad whisper
He knew what she meant, all that she had endured, it had barely been more than 24 hours since it happened. ‘She should be in shock’ was all he could get his mind to focus on, he didn’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that she wasn’t.
He pulled his car into its assigned spot in the parking lot of his apartment complex, turned off the engine and slipped from the car over to open Lilith’s door for her. He seemed to startle her slightly out of the daze that she was in. He reached out his hand and she took it, allowing him to help her from the car with ease. Her sweet smell hit him again, caressing his senses as her body was pulled close to him as he helped her from the car, her eyes swept up next to meet his and he was lost, drowning in their depths even in the low lights illuminating the parking lot, his free hand twitched and before he could catch himself he brushed a long, soft, stand of hair from where it fell in her eyes back behind her ear. Her eyes searched his, seeming to gaze right to his soul. Heat flushed Kenny’s skin, tingeing his honeyed skin pink with blush, he wanted so badly to kiss her in that moment, feel her lips against his, soft as he thought them to be, but it wasn’t right, he couldn’t do that to her, risk hurting her, damaging her more. He moved back from her, taking steps to add some distance between them and threw his orange hood up over his head in a futile attempt to hide himself. He was looking towards the apartment’s entrance when he heard the car door shut behind him, Lilith coming up behind him and despite his actions lightly taking his hand as he led her back to his apartment.
They walked in silence up the steps to his door on the 2nd floor. He opened the door swiftly and gestured for her to go inside, the lights on in the place just as they had left them. She walked slowly towards the direction of his bedroom, Kenny securely locking the main door behind himself before following her further into the apartment.
He found her standing near the bed when he finally entered the room, he kept his head down, noticing her position only by where her feet where in his room, his hood was up and around him to try to shield himself from her. He couldn’t bring himself to look at her, too afraid of what he might do if he got lost in her gaze again. Too afraid to hurt her in any way, scared he might somehow break the fragile creature before him. He was too embarrassed at his devilish thoughts, as if he was an animal unable to control his primal urges. How fucked up it was that even after witnessing what happened to her he still couldn’t stop himself from wanting her. His mind a tumultuous sea of thoughts; fear, lust, care, protection, sex, need, want, love, affection, rough, soft; images stirring, focusing and falling out of place as quickly as they were formed.
“I won’t break you know,” the whisper might as well have been thunder crashing in the too silent room.
His mind was reeling, his thoughts, her words; he didn’t know what was happening around him. It was like she echoed some part of his brain with that statement.
She was right in front of him. ‘When did that happen’ he spared himself the small thought as her hands went up to remove the hood he was trying so desperately to hide behind. Her breath ghosted the skin on his neck and the hint of collarbone as she moved even closer to fully flip back the hood on his head, no easy feat, she was on tippy-toes due to his 6’3 frame and her barely reaching to 5’7 without the aid of her heels. Once the hood was fully down from his head he still couldn’t bring himself to look at her, he kept his head down and his eyes perfectly trained to a spot on his carpet where the fiber was coming loose, a longer than normal thread poking out from the rest.
“Look at me, please, Kenny?” her soft voice echoed around his skin at their continued closeness, sparks dancing dangerously where her breath touched his skin.
He brought his eyes up, slowly, he couldn’t refuse the request, doubted anyone could in that moment. His breath caught, she bit her bottom lip gently, her eyes studying him like the most fascinating thing in the world – ‘how wrong she was about that’ he thought – her luminous eyes, the gold flecks dancing in the dim light of his room were unmistakably heated with her gaze on him. Kenny swallowed hard, his mouth suddenly dry.
“I won’t break,” she repeated her earlier words, a calmness to them that wasn’t there before.
It took what seemed like forever but Kenny did manage to finally choke out a reply, “I-I don’t want to hurt you, d-do something you don’t want.”
He may have been unsure in his words, but watching her as intently as she watched him he knew from the look in her eyes that she just might be fighting the same demons as him.
He reached up his hand to softly caress the side of her cheek, his other coming around her waist, holding her but not drawing her in, not yet. He searched her eyes with an unspoken question, needing permission before he dared to go further, the replied look almost knocked him senseless, no hesitation in her eyes, her need almost matching his own.
He dipped down slightly, his hand slipping from her cheek to the back of her head in the dark chocolaty locks, his fingers losing themselves in the softness; he pulled her more firmly to his body with the arm around her waist, soft lips meeting his in a slow sweet kiss; mouths moving tentatively against each other at first, breaths coming softly, lips parting and tongues dancing delicately. Heat radiated between them, but the tenderness never faltered. The kiss deepened, a soft hand wandering up his back to curl and slightly grip blond hair, barely perceptible moans escaping from one another. This was not a kiss Kenny McCormick had ever experienced in his lifetime, one that he didn’t want to end, but before things got too heated, too out of control he knew in the back of his mind that it would have to end eventually. A grab at his hip and a small nip to his bottom lip were the subtle signs, he desperately wanted to ignore them but refused to take advantage and slowly pulled himself from the kiss.
They both panted slightly, realizing how lost they were in each other that they were forgetting to breathe correctly, foreheads pressed together slightly, lips still dangerously close, they breathed slowly until their normal patterns returned. Kenny reluctantly untangled his long fingers from Lilith’s hair and eased the grip on her waist that kept her firmly pressed against him, she took a small unsteady step backwards, her hand freeing itself from his blond hair as she did, he held her just enough to be sure she wouldn’t fall, before slowly letting her go completely.
Kenny couldn’t think any more in that moment, he had to do something, to escape in some way before he did something decidedly stupid.
He walked from the bedroom, leaving her standing breathlessly by the bed, and walked to the small kitchen, fumbling with pots and pans, ingredients from the fridge as he started making food for the two of them. Just something to occupy his mind and his hands, he filled a pot with water waiting for it to boil, adding sauce to another pan and browning hamburger in the third. Once the water was boiling he added the spaghetti noodles, flitting around the kitchen more for spices to add to the sauce, draining the cooked meat before adding it to the sauce as well. He knew that she had come out into the kitchen with him, seating herself on the stool watching his back as he worked. He didn’t dare to turn around and face her, feeling as though he couldn’t, a twist in his gut as the time and silence stretched on. The pasta now fully cooked he drained out the water, took two plates from the cupboard and twirled beds of spaghetti onto them before ladling on the sauce and meat mixture. He grabbed silverware from the drawer and two glasses from the cupboard, filling them both with juice. He took a hard breath and tried to force a smile on his face before finally turning to face her and present her with the meal.
He saw the confusion that was evident in her deep green eyes; the golden flecks had darkened slightly with the emotion. He tried to swallow down his fear as he slid the plate in front of her following up with the silverware and glass. He wanted to say something, but what, his voice caught in this throat.
“I’m sorry,” he rasped out
She looked at him fully, surprise etching her features, trying to study his face that he was working so hard at controlling.
“For what?” she said simply after her examination proved fruitless
He cocked his head slightly at her, choosing his words carefully before he spoke again, “I, um, don’t want ta’ take advantage,” his accent slipping out, his nerves frayed
Confusion still lingered in her eyes but they softened at his words, the almost imperceptible change was enough to break the dam wide open in Kenny’s head, the words tumbling out before he could think to stop them.
“Uh, after everythin’ that’s happened, I-I, uh, don’t wanna hurt you, I couldn’t bear it if I did, but I’ve never felt like this around anyone before, um, I’m not sure what I’m doin’, and that kiss – fuck – that kiss was amazin’, I want you, and I’m terrible – for wantin’ this like I do – I know it’s wrong, y-you should hate me for it, I hate me for it, but fuck I can’t help it, and, uh, w-what…..”
The confession was finally out there, he couldn’t look her in the eyes as he spoke, disgusted by himself as the words fell from his lips, he missed her leaving the stool to come face-to-face with him, to her hand leading his head up from the floor before her lips met his in a soft kiss, cutting off the rambling words.
It was a small gesture of her strength, of regaining control over herself and her body, but that small kiss spoke volumes between the two. Kenny was too frozen to move when their lips touched again, his mind still working overdrive, screaming at him to shut up from his ramblings before she silenced him. His mind blanked as she ended the kiss, only moving her head slightly so she could look up at his dazed half-lidded eyes. She watched his jaw twitch, like he was trying to form words but nothing came out. When his pupils finally focused on her own a flurry of emotions crossed his features before settling on wonder and amazement.
He coughed slightly, “I’m an idiot?” he sounded so right and unsure of himself
She smiled slightly at that, humming lightly in amusement.
She returned to her seat at the island counter and began eating; leaving the still stunned blond standing in the middle of the small kitchen.
I know it’s been a couple chapters but I wanted to explain something that I feel is important. Kenny’s use of the nickname "Princess" for Lilith (Lily), I wanted to elaborate on that since it is something that I feel could be misunderstood, it’s an easy enough and almost trivially overused nickname…. Anyways…. When I think of Kenny calling her that and the feeling he has over the term is something like this: it’s an innocence, a caring that he can express in a single word, conjuring up memories of himself playing a princess when he was younger, of his little sister and how much he loves and cherishes her, how he would protect and care for her always. It would never be something he would say to anyone, to a bedmate or as a tease. It makes him feel good, holy in a way he doesn’t deserve at times and yet is a reminder of needed restraint, how he doesn’t want to fuck shit up again. A purity distilled into one word.
Chapter 13: Emotional Confusion
Once he was able to compose himself he grabbed up his plate, glass and utensils and sat down next to Lilith and ate. The silence was comfortable, the earlier tension dissipated around them. He was still too dumbstruck to speak after his last performance though; luckily she broke the silence this time.
“I have to start my new job Monday.”
“Oh?” he was trying to keep it simple, less likely to fuck things up that way
“Yeah, I moved here from Denver for a job opportunity, Friday was my first night out in the town after unpacking and setting up my new apartment.” She scowled a little bitterly at the mention of Friday but she kept her tone easily enough
Kenny listened intently, cursing internally at the mention of Friday, the shit luck this poor girl had in getting attacked on her first night out in a new place. He almost growled, but didn’t want to scare her. He didn’t have a ready reply but she continued anyways.
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to show up looking like this,” she gestured loosely to herself at that
“Where will you be working?”
“I’m supposed to be the new paralegal at Mr. Broflovski’s law firm downtown.”
“Ah, Kyle’s dad, he’s a good man, I’m sure if you talk to him he can move your start date around,” the smile coming easily at the mention of his childhood friend’s father.
She stiffened slightly next to him so he continued on, “you wouldn’t have to tell him anything much just that you’d need another week to get acclimated to the town, he’d buy that easily enough, like I said, he really is a good man.”
She relaxed again in her seat, “yeah, maybe you’re right, I could try that.”
He nodded his approval and took another bite of spaghetti.
“So, you know him? Mr. Broflovski?”
Smiling again, “Yeah, his son Kyle and I grew up together. He’s off at college right now, studying to be a lawyer like his dad and take over the practice one day. Doing really well last I heard, though I’m not surprised, guy’s a damn genius. I spent a lot of time over at Kyle’s place growing up; his parents were always really nice to me.” His expression darkened towards the end, remembering all the reasons why he was at the Broflovski’s residence instead of being at his own ‘home’.
She picked up on the change but didn’t question it, now didn’t seem like the time.
“The only problem now is that it’s the weekend, I have no way of getting a hold of him to let him know and calling off on my first day seems really rude.” She saddened at the thought.
“No worries princess, I think I can make something work,” he said lightly to cheer her up.
She laughed slightly and muttered something Kenny couldn’t catch under her breath.
Seeing as they were both done eating he moved to clear the plates and such from the counter, saving the leftovers into Tupperware containers and washing the pots, pans, plates and the lot.
Once he was finished he turned back to her and tentatively asked, “so what now?”
She looked at him, puzzled, like he might be speaking a foreign language.
“Um, do you want me to take you home?” he tried again, uncertainty in his voice
Her eyes widened and she spoke quietly, “I don’t want to be alone.”
He closed the distance between them; coming around the island to wrap an arm around her should and draw her into his chest. “You don’t have to be alone, I’m right here, I won’t leave.” He spoke against her dark hair.
She relaxed into him and after a few minutes he took her hand and led her back to his bedroom. He led her to the edge of the bed and she stood there while he went to rummage through his dresser drawers, returning to her with a pair of plaid pajama pants and a gray t-shirt. He held similar items for himself in his other hand.
“I, uh, figured you didn’t want to sleep in jeans?” he said as he handed her the clothing
“I’ll go change in the bathroom, you can change here,” she took the items from him and watched as he walked out of the room, closing the door slightly behind him, the bathroom door clicking shut a few moments later.
She slipped out of her flats and her jeans, unbuttoned her shirt and unhooked her bra. She folded the items neatly and placed them on the floor next to her shoes. She eased on the pants, tying them at her waist, and pulled the t-shirt on. She sat on the edge of the bed and waited for Kenny to return.
It seemed like forever and Lily couldn’t help her wandering thoughts. The lightness from the earlier exchange seemed to slip from her, as much as she felt like she was getting herself back there were nagging thoughts threatening to tear her control away again. Images from Friday flashing behind her eyes, her mind was still reeling from what had happened – happened to her – and she couldn’t help that her stomach was clenching and she felt the overwhelming need to run; to get out of here and hide herself away. As much as Kenny made her feel safe a part of her felt she was losing something to him. His confession, at the time had motivated and strengthened her, now it threatened to consume her. His feelings were overpowering her and she wasn’t sure where her head and heart lie. She wouldn’t regret her actions, their first kiss and the smaller one in the kitchen, no, she owned those, she wanted them and they felt right, but what did it mean. What did any of their interactions mean? Kenny had tried to spell it out for her how he felt but even she knew that wasn’t everything, she hoped it wasn’t everything, the want and the lust she could understand but a small part of her heart hoped that wasn’t all it was. She had yet to wrap her mind around how she felt considering everything that had happened but she knew she wanted more from her blond protector. The thoughts scared her. She was no prude but there wasn’t a lot of room in her life for love in the past. The dark thoughts twisted in her head and as much as she had told Kenny before that she didn’t want to be alone, alone is all she seemed to want in this moment. As much as being in his room was a comfort she also found comfort in solitude. The emotions she felt for the blond were driving her slowly insane. She shouldn’t feel like this she scolded herself, but it didn’t stop her racing heart. Distance. That’s what she thought she needed, distance and time to figure out if any of this was actually real or just a product of trauma. Kenny knocked on the door slightly, pulling her back from her mind.
“Hey, it’s just me,” he called out softly before pushing the door open slightly to see her sitting on his bed.
Lily looked up briefly to see him pausing at the door way.
He took the opportunity to come further into the bedroom and take a cell phone off the nightstand.
“I just need to make a quick call, I’ll be on the balcony off the kitchen if you need me, but I’ll be right back.”
She nodded, and he took the phone and walked out the door.
She went back to her thoughts as she heard a small squeak from a sliding door.
Chapter 14: Redheads and Closed Doors
Kenny stood out on the small balcony, the cold air drifting around him as he shut the sliding glass door to the warmth of his apartment. He unlocked the cell phone on his hand and scrolled through the contacts before finding the name he was looking for. He hadn’t talked to him in a while and hoped that his intended caller wouldn’t be too upset with him for that fact or the increasing lateness of the hour.
He took a breath and tapped the contact’s name to initiate the call. It rang and rang to the point that the blond wasn’t sure he would even answer. Finally the call connected and a sleepy exhausted annoyed voice tumbled through the line.
“Hey, dammit Ken, do you know what time it is?”
The blond blushed at that, forgetting the time differences between the two. “Shit, Ky, I’m sorry I forget the time change, you’re what an hour behind?”
“Kenny you know damn well its 2 hours, I’ve told you that a million times.” The angry huff from the redhead was not lost on the blond.
“Well it’s only about 1am here,” Kenny tried to joke.
“Yeah, you fuck, which is about 3am here, and I have classes!” Anger tainting his every word, Kenny recoiled slightly from the phone like it bit him.
“How are classes anyway Ky?” The blond tried nonchalantly.
“Ken, you didn’t call for that, cut to the chase,” impatience was wearing on the tired redhead.
“Sorry,” Kenny mumbled, “can’t I just catch up with an old friend?” defeated Kenny knew this wasn’t where he wanted this call going.
“Ken -” the sharp warning in his voice made the blond stand at attention.
“Okay, fine, I need your dad’s number,” the words came out soft but forced.
“Why?” the tone was disbelieving and before Kenny could answer the other continued on, “Why in the fuck are you waking me up to ask for my dad’s number, you could just walk up to the house tomorrow like a normal fucking person and talk to him, but instead you are calling me halfway across the country to get his number. What the fuck is going on?”
Before Kyle could continue any further Kenny took the opportunity to answer, “It’s not for me, and I haven’t had your home number since before you left and I lost my cell that one time.”
“You’re always losing your damn phone,” Kyle said sarcastically.
“Yeah, I know I am, one of my charms right?” Amusement coloring his voice as he replied.
This earned him a snort and a small chuckle from the redhead on the other end, “Yeah I guess you could say that, asshole.”
Kenny laughed slightly with him, he missed his friend more than the other may realize, he wishes he could have gone out with Stan when he went to visit Kyle last summer but as always money had been too tight and he couldn’t afford to. Even though Kenny has been doing better, it still wasn’t enough to be able to take time out of work; he was still working to put Karen through school in Denver and trying to take some classes at the Community College at her insistence. She was as stubborn as him, she refused to take his help unless he promised her that he would take classes too, he reluctantly agreed and even now only she knew about him working slowly towards his degree. Stan already had his Bachelors in Business Administration and Management from Colorado University Denver, and was back in South Park to save money before applying for more career centric positions elsewhere, Kyle was off at Harvard Law bound to make himself an attorney to be reckoned with, and Karen was at CU Denver working on a nursing degree. So far Kenny was working slowly on his prerequisite classes, only able to take a class a semester considering his 2 jobs and his almost nightly work as Mysterion, he was working more but was running himself too ragged to keep that pace up for long. A loud beep stung his ear before he picked up the tail of a conversation.
“….Ken, dammit, answer me.”
“Huh, sorry, I guess I spaced,” he fumbled his reply.
“Any way, what I was saying was that I’ll text you the number, but you owe me an explanation, I may be tired as fuck right now but that doesn’t get you off the hook, something is going on and you will tell me, got that?” The redhead’s tone left little room for argument.
“Yeah, Ky, of course.” The blond easily answered.
“Look the semester is ending in a few weeks, I’ll be back home this time, if I don’t hear from you before then I’ll expect a reason for this when I get back.” The blond was dumbstruck; ‘shit’ he thought to himself, he hadn’t realized that classes were ending that soon. As happy as he might be for having the redhead back in his life, he really didn’t want to be explaining why this call needed to happen in the first place.
“Ky, you know me,”
“Yeah,” Kyle cut him off, “I know I won’t get shit outta you unless I practically beat it out of you, so this is your damn warning.”
“Yessir” the blond conceded
“Good, I’ll text the number, now I’m going back to sleep, see ya soon Kenny.”
“Night Ky,” the blond replied softly.
The line went dead and Kenny stood there for a few more moments looking at his phone and cursing the redhead for his perceptiveness. He didn’t want to lie to Kyle but for some reason he didn’t want to tell him what was going on either, afraid of the can of worms that would open up. His phone chimed and there was the text from Kyle with the phone number he needed.
He opened the sliding door stepping inside and closing and locking it, he went to the living room, rummaging through his discarded book bag he got out some paper and a pen, using the coffee table he wrote out the number for Kyle’s dad on one side and his own cell phone number on the other side; the tightness in his gut being the only motivating factor for that decision. He tossed the pen back in his bag and headed back to his bedroom with his phone and paper in hand.
Lily was still sitting on his bed when he returned but something had changed from earlier in her expression, there were more obvious changes but he was drawn to the look in her eyes, there was a flash, too quick for him to make out but maybe sadness, or regret, it was gone before his mind registered it, her eyes seemed determined, like she had reached a conclusion on something that he wasn’t privy to. His clothes that he had given her earlier, which she was wearing before the phone call with Kyle, were neatly folded beside her on his bed. While some part of him knew that what they were doing wouldn’t last, it didn’t stop his heart from fracturing at the realization in front of him. He stood and leaned against the door frame, controlling his face and emotions, waiting for her to speak first before acting. The ball was clearly in her court, so to speak, and frankly always has been, he wouldn’t push her, he wouldn’t force her, and decisions on this were all hers, after being stripped of control before he wouldn’t do that, couldn’t do that to her now. Whatever she said, whatever she wanted, he would follow, he would do. For her.
She couldn’t meet his gaze as she spoke, “I think I need to go home, I think it’s time.” Her eyes flicked up to him for his reaction.
He nodded, having had that sense when he initially saw her, he moved to his dresser and grabbed up his wallet and keys shoving them in his pants pockets, his phone and piece of paper joined with the rest in his pockets. He took his navy hoodie from the chair where it was discarded earlier before he left to change, opting to put it on over his thin t-shirt and sleep pants. He grabbed his orange hoodie and walked over to present it to Lily who was now standing near his bed. She turned, her back to him, and he held the hoodie opened like a gentleman while she slowly put it on. When she turned to face him she looked like she was struggling to say something but before she could the blond cut her off.
He fished the piece of paper out from his pocket and handed it to her, Gerald’s phone number was face up to her as he spoke, “I got Gerald’s number for you, try calling him tomorrow and get an extension on your start date, I know he won’t mind.” He was going to mention his number on the back but he couldn’t find the words to. She nodded her understanding and slipped the paper in her purse.
Before he turned, he heard her whisper, “please…” before it trailed off.
He looked into her eyes, seeming to see the words that she was having trouble speaking, like she didn’t want him to be mad or offended by her choice in this moment. He pressed his lips softly to the crown of her head and took her hand lightly to lead her from the apartment and to his car.
They drove in silence to her apartment, and once they arrived he left the car and rounded the front so he could open her door for her. She took his hand as he closed the door behind her and he walked with her back to her apartment door. She opened the door and stepped in; he made no move to advance, resigned with how the situation was unfolding in front of him. He felt he had no place with her; there was no point to try. She turned back to him, mouth opening slightly and words spilling out in the softest of whispers, as if she was barely able to give them voice.
“Thank you; I don’t know where I would be without you. I –” but the rest of the words died on her lips.
Kenny could only nod; he tried to smile at her but his heart felt like it was breaking. Before the door fully shut he saw the tears in her eyes, a small one escaping down her cheek as the lock clicked into place.
Chapter 15: Longing Fighting and School
It had been over 4 weeks since the blond had dropped Lily off at her apartment. He had hoped she would have contacted him by now, but there was nothing but radio silence. ‘Maybe she finally came to her senses about me’ he thought bitterly to himself. It wasn’t like Kenny to mope around about a girl before, about anyone before really, but she was far from ordinary. He lay on his bed, alone, as he had been since he met her, and thought about the things that have happened since.
The first week he took to watching her nightly as Mysterion. He just wanted to check up on her and it seemed like the easiest way to do so at the time. He watched her from the next building over, obscuring himself in the night and shadows, the thin curtains doing little to hide her within the lights in the apartment. He was right that she would curl up on that oversized chair in her living room and read for hours on end. He could still make out the traces of bruising on her forehead now that the gauze coverings were removed, small butterfly bandages still holding the cut closed so it can heal. Her neck was still covered, he knew from experience that the wound there would take longer to heal. He did this checkup of her nightly, he would let his mind wander to what she was reading or thinking about. Watching her as she laughed or cried along with the stories in her books, he longed to hear her laughing, to wipe away the stray tears, to hold her close. Apparently someone else had other plans for him since there was no contact between the two. He knew after dropping her off that night that he couldn’t force the interactions between them, if she wanted to contact him he had to let her come to that conclusion on her own. The knowledge of that fact did nothing for the aching in his heart. After the first week, and he was contented that she was safe, he couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her like that anymore. It wrecked him too much emotionally, and no matter what he tried he couldn’t shake the loss and rejection, he was better suited with avoidance.
The nights of the next week he put more energy into his Mysterion duties, willing his mind away from thoughts of Lily, he focused on petty criminals and late night graffiti artists. Turning them over one-by-one to Detective Tucker, and oddly enough this seemed to strengthen their tentative working relationship. Normally the reserved detective would not bother with updating Mysterion on past criminals but Tucker surprised him when he provided him on news of Lily’s attacker. The text came out of the blue.
“With her help we got a confession out of him, he waived trial, took a deal from the DA and sentencing will be Friday next week. He should be gone for a long while; he had quite the rap sheet.”
As much as he was elated over the news he wanted more than anything to be able to share it with her, to let her know that yes she was safe and that monster couldn’t hurt her anymore. But he couldn’t bring himself to talk to her. He had got close the next day, deciding to walk to work from his apartment, hers being on the way from his to the auto repair shop he worked at, he was at the main door, finger over the buzzer for her apartment but he couldn’t push it. He walked back to the sidewalk, taking a glance up to the window her knew to be hers, and caught her eye. She had been watching him from the window; curtain pulled back slightly, his blue eyes met hers, before she dropped the curtain back in place he saw a brief flash of orange and then nothing. Cream curtains blocked his view; he sighed and went back to walking to work. He didn’t try to approach her apartment like that again.
Work, School and Mysterion patrols occupied his time for the next two weeks. School becoming more demanding as his final exam was approaching for his class. In his free time he took to studying, wanting to make sure he passed his class, or face the wrath of his little sister. Had he known that pushing her to get good grades that she would do the same to him he might have let up on her slightly. No, that wouldn’t entirely be true, he welcomed the challenge, and it was just really sweet how proud of him Karen could be. Sometimes he thought that she was the only one who believed in him, not that his friends wouldn’t encourage him if he told them, but for now he kept that private. He found out from a text from Tucker that the man was sentenced to 30 years with the new rape assault over him as well as warrants for other various atrocities in Colorado. Kenny would have liked to have gone to the sentencing but didn’t want to risk any questions that might be drawn out of a curious Tucker. Craig Tucker and Kenny McCormick were friends since High School, and while they didn’t see each other much due to various reasons it would have struck the detective as odd to see Kenny in a courtroom like that. Kenny didn’t image that it would take Tucker too long to figure out why he was there, the guy was smart, and in the past too smart and Mysterion was almost busted. Friendship aside, the blond knew the threat of punishment for being a vigilante was too real to risk Tucker finding out anything about his side activities.
A call broke the blond from his studies.
“Hey Stan, what’s up?”
“Nothing really dude, haven’t seen ya in forever, wanna catch up?” The tone was light enough but Kenny thought there might be something more to it
“Uh, yeah sure, when and where?”
“Tweek Bros in an hour?” Came the almost too easy reply
“Sure, see ya there Stanny-Boy” He kept his voice light and amused but the blond knew something was up.
Chapter 16: Out for Coffee
The coffee shop was literally around the block from Kenny’s apartment, and since it was a decent enough day, the sun was out and spring was in the air, well as much spring as Colorado would allow anyways, the blond decided to walk there. He had the hood of his navy blue hoodie up, head down and was slowly taking drags off his cigarette as he walked. His legs and feet moving on auto pilot towards the coffee shop in the distance. Tweek Bros was right in front of him if he bothered to look up, but he didn’t, taking another drag from his cigarette instead, he walked right into a woman. Both parties were instantly startled and she teetered backwards on her heels, before she had a chance to fall a strong arm was holding her up by her waist. His instincts were strong and his arm was holding her before thoughts registered, his cigarette fell from his lips as he brought his head up and saw the familiar chocolate brown hair and bright green eyes. “Lily” he breathed before he could stop himself. Her hands were on his chest now, not pushing away, but adding a small amount of distance regardless. He made sure that her footing was stable before releasing his hold on her waist. His arm dropped to his side, her hands still on his chest and neither of them moving. He locked gazes with her, unable to speak past his initial recognition. Forest green studying electric blue like her life depended on it.
“That’s the second time you almost knocked me over,” she spoke softly
“Sorry, I wasn’t watchin’ where I was goin’” the nervousness of the situation bringing out his accent as he echoed the words he had spoken to her before.
He ducked his head down from her eyes, unable to keep the contact any longer. He sighed softly as his heart pounded in his chest. As much as he wanted her contact, this just seemed torturous to the blond. He didn’t get to take her all in like he would have liked to but what he saw briefly let him know that she was doing better, her forehead was no longer discolored, the cut there was barely noticeable, a small scar forming in its place. The cut on her neck was reddish but it seemed to be healing well and bandages were no longer required. He surmised that the rest of her must be doing better as well. He was lost in his thoughts as a soft hand moved under his chin to lift his head up. She was still so close to him, other hand still on his chest nearest his heart, as he brought his head up with her hand urging him to do so he realized that she was only inches away, he could smell her perfume, that same sweet scent from before, something delicate, floral and fruity, light without being overbearing on the senses. She finally managed to bring his head up so she could meet his eyes again. Sadness seemed to replace his earlier shock, once she realized that the wall came down inside of him in a blink, a neutral expression painted his face and blank eyes settled upon hers.
“I’m sorry,” escaped her lips before she realized what she was saying or why
“No reason to be sorry,” he said easily enough as he took a small step back, her hands dropping from his chest and chin
She tried to read his expression, his eyes, but his tight control wasn’t giving her an inch.
“I am sorry, I should have –” she tried again but Kenny cut her off
“No need, you don’t owe me anything,” his tone wasn’t harsh, just more like he was spouting off random facts, devoid of emotion
She was stunned to silence
“I’m meeting someone, I’m prolly late now,” he spoke again, and before he could squash down the hope trying to build inside of him he added, “You have my number and know where I live.”
He side stepped her and walked the few steps to the doors of Tweek Bros and entered, he didn’t look back at her, couldn’t, but that didn’t stop her from watching his every move until he sat down with a raven haired man, his back to her, but she caught the eye of the noirette before she turned and walked away.
Chapter 17: Idiots Passing Each Other By
Heels clicked hurriedly on the sidewalk as Lily walked back to her apartment building, fumbling with the doors and their locks, it wasn’t until she was back in her apartment and the door was closed that the tears rolled down her cheeks. She kicked off her shoes and walked to her room; she curled up on her bed and pulled the orange hoodie to her chest as she breathed in the familiar scent. Tears flowing freely she clung tightly to the garment, thinking back on the weeks that had passed.
She remembered how she cried herself to sleep after he dropped her off that night, how much she didn’t want him to leave but she couldn’t get the words out to tell him to stay. She ended up calling Gerald Broflovski the next day and true to Kenny’s words the man understood her need for additional time. She had stayed in her apartment alone that first week, trying to escape in her books, and for a while that seemed to help, until she got too tired to read any longer. When she would try to sleep though it was fitful to say the least, most of the time she ended up crying herself to sleep, thinking about the attack, wishing Kenny was there to comfort her, but realizing that she was the one who forced him away. Distance, she thought it would bring her clarity but it only seemed to confuse her more instead.
The next week she started her job at the law firm. Gerald was kind and the work was pleasant. She was his paralegal and unofficial assistant. She tried to cover her bruises the best she could with makeup and such before her first day but the cut on her neck was not so easy to hide, the small scarf or turtlenecks doing little to conceal the injury from her boss. He asked her about them on her first day, he had called her into his office and asked if she was okay. She hadn’t wanted to talk about it and he didn’t press her for details, just told her that if she ever needed to talk that he was someone who would listen. She liked and respected that about him.
She had spotted Kenny at her apartment building one day, something drew her to the window and before she shook off the feeling she saw him on the sidewalk below, looking up at her, they locked eyes briefly before she took his hoodie from her chair and the curtain fell between them. She wanted to go talk to him, but by the time she gathered her things he was already gone, she had no idea where to look for him so she made her way back to work.
She tried to push the thoughts of her attacker from her mind, only to have them resurface when she was getting the newspaper for the office. She was skimming through the articles and landed on one that was too familiar for comfort, it was about the police catching a rapist in South Park, how the catch was lucky as he had evaded capture before and had a considerable number of warrants out for his arrest, there was to be no trial, only sentencing later that next week. She walked mindlessly to Gerald’s office to deposit the paper and when he saw her he mentioned how she looked like she had seen a ghost, perhaps in a way she had. He studied her but didn’t say anything more as she went back to her desk outside of his office. After that if he knew what might have happened to her he didn’t say anything.
Once work was finished for that day she drove around the town, searching out an apartment building that she had only been driven to before. When she finally found it, she parked along the street with the other cars and made her way to the door she knew to be his, but there was no answer to her knocking. She walked around to the tenants’ parking lot and realized that his car wasn’t even there. She felt foolish as she made her way back to her car and her apartment. She hadn’t known another way at the time to contact him, but she didn’t try to go back to his apartment again after that day.
She went back to her routine as best as she could, her injuries healing but her mind still lost in thoughts of Kenny. Even after weeks of being apart she still wanted him, wanted to know more about him. She still cuddled up with his hoodie every night as if that could chase the nightmares away.
The meeting at the coffee shop had thrown her for a loop; she was engrossed in her thoughts and didn’t realize who was in front of her before they quite literally ran into each other. So many things that she had wanted to say to him but she couldn’t make the words come out, and when he had adopted that emotionless and expressionless persona she didn’t know what to think. ‘You have my number’ those last words echoed in her brain but she couldn’t place why he would have said that to her.
She got up from the bed and went to the living room to find her discarded purse, pulling out her cell phone she unlocked it and scrolled through all her contacts, but there was nothing, there never was, she knew this, but her mind was forcing her to try to think of different scenarios. She dug deeper in her purse and pulled out the small piece of paper, the one he had given to her, feeling increasingly stupid she flipped it over, ‘of course’ she scolded herself as she saw there was another number written on the back.
She added the number to her contacts list and typed out a quick text, “I’m an idiot?”
Chapter 18: Fight Clubs and Coffee Shop Brunettes
“Alright dude, what was that? It looked tense or intense; I’m not quite sure which.”
Kenny just shrugged
“Dammit Ken, I know something is up, now tell me.” Stan finally demanded
“Nothing to tell,” the blond tried to lie
“Bullshit, I talked to Kyle already.”
The blond didn’t respond, of course he knew that Kyle would talk to Stan, super best friends and all that shit, but he wasn’t sure that here and now was the right time for the conversation that Stan seemed set on having.
Stan continued to stare at him even as the blond kept his eyes fixed on the table, it wasn’t until the noirette gave him a sharp kick to the shin that Kenny finally looked up, anger filling his eyes.
“The fuck Stan,” he seethed
“Well at least anger is an emotion, for a second it didn’t look like you were feelin’ them,” he curtly replied
The blond just glared at him
“Gonna tell me what’s going on now?” he questioned a little gentler, an edge of warning still in his tone
Kenny let out a frustrated sigh, “Fine, not here, let’s grab a cup to go.”
They made their way to the counter and ordered coffees to go before heading out. Kenny lit another cigarette before they started walking to his place.
“When’d you start smokin’ again?” the noirette asked carefully, studying the sulking blond next to him
“Couple weeks ago” he took a long drag from the cigarette, holding it in his lungs before letting the smoke out slowly around him
“I know you smoke when you’re stressed, you haven’t smoked in ages, what’s going on?” Stan tried again, only to earn himself a glare from the taller blond
“Yeah, yeah, fine, ‘Not Here’, I get it” the noirette huffed his disapproval
Luckily the walk was short back to Kenny’s apartment, the blond having finished his cigarette and tossing the butt to the curb before walking up to the door. They took the stairs up to his 2nd floor apartment in silence, Kenny unlocked his door and flipped on the lights, leaving it open for Stan to follow in, he did so and closed and locked the door behind him before joining the blond on the couch.
Stan waited impatiently for the blond to spill but when that didn’t seem likely he decided he would have to speak first instead.
“What’s going on Ken?”
The blond flexed his hands in front of him, fixating on their movements, the skin scraped and more ragged than normal considering all his recent Mysterion outings. He unzipped his hoodie and shrugged out of the sleeves, bruises littered his arms from recent altercations but he had forgotten about them until he heard Stan suck in a sharp breath.
“Dude, what happened, you in a fuckin’ fight club or some shit?”
“Well Stanny-Boy,” Kenny tried to joke, “The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.”
That earned him a punch to his upper arm, Stan apparently was not amused.
“Shit Stan,” he barked out as he rubbed the spot where he punched him.
“Dammit Ken, you’re doin’ it again aren’t you?”
This seemed to catch the blond off guard, “Doing what again exactly,” he asked warily.
“Don’t play stupid Kenny, I know your secret, I used to be the one bandaging you up as kids. You’re out there as Mysterion again aren’t you?” the noirette spoke firmly as he watched the different emotions flashing through the blond’s electric blue eyes.
“No,” Kenny tried to lie, but the look that Stan gave him he knew he wasn’t buying it, so he changed tactics, “how did you know?”
“I wasn’t sure, not entirely, but the bruises don’t help your case, and when I talked to Tucker last he let slip that they’ve been getting outside help to clean up South Park.”
“Wait, what, when did you talk to Tucker?” the surprise coated his words, Tucker might have been a friend of Kenny’s but him and Stan weren’t exactly on great terms.
“He came into the bar the other night, he might not talk much when he’s sober but get a few drinks in him and he is surprisingly talkative. He mentioned a rough case he worked on recently, the guy just being sentenced and hauled off to prison, and an increase in help for other smaller cases. He didn’t mention a vigilante or Mysterion directly, but he did deny that it was an outside police force assisting when I asked him, and when he realized he had said all that he paid quickly and left.”
“Shit” the word was out before Kenny caught himself
“So it’s true then?” Stan asked carefully
Stan was shocked that he actually admitted it; he tried to keep that from affecting his next question, “So does Mysterion have something to do with why you needed to call Kyle a few weeks ago?”
“Yes” came the tight reply
“Ok, does it also have something to do with the hot brunette you ran into today?”
Kenny growled, “Yes”
“Whoa… dude… what was that for?” Stan never heard Kenny speak that way to him
“How many more questions do you have Stan?” the blond countered, venom and violence lacing his words, he was having trouble controlling his emotions
He moved from the couch before the noirette could reply, one look into the dark blue eyes he knew he had hurt him, but he couldn’t seem to care in the moment, he would later of course, but this day had already tore through his emotional walls enough and right now all he could think about was a nicotine fix. He grabbed his hoodie from the couch and put it on as he walked to the sliding door and out on to the balcony, he didn’t shut the door all the way, and he moved to lean against the railing, taking a cigarette from his pack and lighting it, he took long slow drags and waited for Stan to eventually follow him out.
The blond was on his second cigarette before the noirette finally came out to join him. They stood in silence that seemed the stretch out forever between them before Stan spoke softly.
“I don’t know exactly what I did but I’m sorry.”
Kenny let out a puff of smoke and turned to face the rather dejected noirette, “No, don’t apologize, it was all me and we both know that, I’m sorry, I snapped and you and I shouldn’t have.”
“Dude… I’ve never heard you like that before.”
“Something happened a few weeks ago,” Kenny started slowly, looking away from the noirette and focusing on his cigarette as he spoke
“Before or after you needed to use my place,” Stan asked quietly into the silence
“Before, on Friday night, I needed your place the next night,” the blond answered, still not looking at the noirette beside him
Stan hummed his acknowledgement of the presented timeline; he kept quiet to let Kenny finish his tale
“I was out Friday, just Kenny at the club having a drink, saw someone interesting but before I could approach her she was gone. I left a little while later and decided to do a little light patrolling, I stumbled upon said interest getting assaulted, Mysterion swoops down, kicks some ass and saves the night, guy goes to jail and the pretty girl is saved.” He couldn’t help the bitterness seeping through his words
“I don’t think that’s the whole story but continue,” Stan says after an extended silence from the blond
“I brought her back here, as Mysterion, cleaned her up, bandaged her wounds, kept her safe. I tried to get her to go to the hospital, but she’s as wary of them as I am. Any ways, I slipped up and Mysterion became Kenny, I took care of her, fed her and even got her to make a statement to Tucker.”
The light bulb in Stan’s mind was immediate and blinding, “That’s why you needed my place?”
Kenny only nodded in return
“I couldn’t risk him coming here, and I wasn’t going to make her go to the station, it was hard enough to look at her and try to convince her to make a statement at all. Neutral location was the safest option. After that was over we came back here. I kissed her.”
The confession hung in the air like fog, Stan knew Kenny, he was one of his best friends and the sad longing look on his face clearly expressed to the noirette that this, the blond’s last statement, was very important. Kenny could joke, tease and flirt all day, he was as perverted as they come, but never once had something as simple as ‘I kissed her’ affected the blond like this.
“Y-you fell for her” the sureness in Stan’s stuttered statement was confirmed by the look in Kenny’s eyes
Realization hit Stan like a fucking freight train
“Coffee shop brunette!” his voice was almost a shriek
“Yes,” Kenny half whispered sadly
Stan was too excited to read the situation enough to stop the onslaught of his next questions, “Have you talked to her, told her how you felt, does she feel the same way, what’s going on here dude, I knew that meeting between you two was intense, Ken… Kenny, wait what’s wrong?”
The blond was staring at him; tears running down pale skin, while his expression was nothing short of completely heart broken.
Stan fucked up, he knew this, he stepped towards the blond and hugged him tightly, “Shit dude I’m sorry,” he murmured
Kenny didn’t sob or wail or really full-out cry, tears just leaked slowly from his eyes as he broke a little more inside. He let Stan hold him and try his best to comfort him.
The vibration from Kenny’s pocket was the only thing that broke the contact of the two after a few minutes. He pulled out his phone to look at it.
One text from an unknown number – “I’m an idiot?”