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Stenny Short Stories

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BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEE-

The annoyingly loud alarm clock shuts up when a hand slams down on the button, blaring at the exact time it was set to go off at: 7:30 a.m. Stan groans longer than necessary into his pillow, a daily habit he does every morning waking up to head to his daytime classes. If it weren't for his job, he would be taking afternoon or maybe evening lessons instead. That way he could sleep for longer hours, and actually have energy to leave the comfort of his bed. Stan releases another groan at the thought as he drops his arm down from the nightstand, dangling beside the mattress.

"You're just as annoying as that damn alarm with all your groaning," he hears his roommate grumble over his inarticulate whining before yawning.

"Shut up Kyle," Stan says, voice still muffled as he extends out his arm to shoot the redhead the bird, sitting up with a yawn as well afterwards. He messes up his already disheveled hair by scratching it, using his other hand to rub his weary eyes. Both males get out of bed to get started on their day, first being a sleep reducing shower. They each grab their set of clothing and underwear before going to their separate bathrooms.

Stan and Kyle have been 'fated' best friends since children. They went to the same Elementary school, but didn't really know each other all that well until after a few activities, one of them required a partner and Stan chose Kyle. From there they even went to middle school together, however at the start of high school, Kyle suddenly had to move away. The reason wasn't anything serious, just that his parents found a decent job elsewhere out of the state. "A typical and lame reason," Stan had thought back then. Before Kyle left though, they exchanged contact information through both cell phones and social media so that way they could keep in touch. As the years flew by, neither had anticipated that they would meet again, especially in the same college. Stan had moved out of his parents' house a year after graduating and working jobs to provide him money that would aid him while he's out on his own, his mother and father split and gave him a sufficient amount of cash, Randy complaining although he wasn't really upset about football and scholarships as he did so. They didn't do this to Shelly why? Stan bothered not to ask, and accepted their generosity with reassurance that he would use the money wisely.

Kyle must've kept him moving out and the college he was going to go to a secret, because the only implication that he shared through PM was that he wanted a degree in graphic design when they were discussing what they were going to do after graduating. Stan told him that he wanted to be a veterinarian, which led him to being questioned why when he was in the athletic field. Stan answered, "Football's fun an' all and I can get scholarships from it too, but I wanna try something different. Something I wanna do." Kyle found it reasonable enough he supposed, though to pass up scholarship opportunities was a big waste. They then went to talking about other things.

When the day came for all enrolled students to officially attend college, Stan had hardly changed in the physical aspect. He let his black hair grow out a little bit once he grew out of his red poof ball hat, and he kept his physique well built, the local gym being his main and only source for his work outs. Kyle, on the other hand, seemed like an unfamiliar person to him the moment he saw his lime-green eyes. He had a lean figure, not too skinny and showed no signs of definite muscle, the red hair Stan remembered being an afro that was regularly hidden underneath a green ushanka was tamed and curly that was presumably chin length, and once Stan approached him to make sure he wasn't mistaking the guy for his childhood friend, he noticed that their height was..alike? He wasn't absolutely sure, but what Stan did know was that they were almost close to being head to head. It shocked him greatly, ever since 4th or 5th grade Stan began to have the height advantage and he didn't think that Kyle would catch up to him.

Sapphire eyes blinked with a perplexed flutter, the next thing Stan saw after he'd opened his eyes was a small grin on the redhead's lips. "Good to see you too Stan." Even his tone of voice had changed, and Stan didn't know how or why he was never aware of that during their evolution of phone calls. Kyle sounded as though he was still a kid, however his voice had gotten a little deeper. Stan couldn't describe it any other better way than that.

/

Stan and Kyle are now making their way down to the cafeteria for breakfast, having spent ten to fifteen minutes getting ready. A few other students occupy the halls either as a group, pair, or solo, a teacher greets them as she walks by. Stan grunts his greeting whereas Kyle says good morning to her appropriately once she passes.

Kyle gives the noirette a light nudge. "If you don't wake up already, you're acting like Mr. DeLorne dude." He chuckles when Stan elbows him back in response, though only partly with gentle force. Chatting a little as they walk out into a breezeway leading to another building, the duo soon find themselves nearing the opened doors of the lunchroom. Voices overlapping each other can be heard even a hallway away, Stan and Kyle walk in and go to an empty spot at one of the tables so they can set their bookbags down in a chair.

Stan covers up a yawn once he places his bag down, then looks to Kyle with a tired smile. "Hey can you be an awesome friend and-"

"No," Kyle says instantly with a straight face.

Stan's smile drops into a frown. "Aw c'mon you don't even know what I was gonna say."

Kyle sighs while rolling his eyes. "Okay fine, what is it?"

The corners of the noriette's lips curve upward slightly. "Can you-"

"Nope."

Stan strikes the redhead in the arm with a playful punch, they both amble towards a shorter line.

The breakfast period lasts for about twenty minutes, then a bell rings for all students to head to their first class. The cafeteria slowly fills out, Stan looking a little less tired as he and his best friend walk out into the hallway. They go their separate ways telling the other that they'll see each other this evening, Stan hopes that the day will go by fast, or at least breeze on by while he's at work. He did consider at some points finding another job or just quitting altogether, he still has an adequate amount of money leftover, however not nearly enough to get him a car unfortunately. If he had his own means of transportation, he wouldn't really mind going from here to work everyday- with the exception of weekends since he's off on those days. But he's staying true to his word, only spending his money little at a time on things he needs, and a car falls into that category. Sucks they cost so freaking much, and renting one isn't something he wants to do.

Stan's morning classes consists of only three: the one he's sitting in right now lasts for two hours (Starting from 8:30 a.m-10:30 a.m), the second class for an hour and a half because of lunch, and after lunch (11:30 a.m-12:15 p.m) he goes to his last class which is until 12:15 p.m-2:05 p.m. From there he'd have fifty-five minutes remaining, which was plenty of time to get whatever homework he was given done or halfway finished until he had to leave.


"Be careful goin' back to the dorms kid," a coworker calls out to Stan as he exits through the front entrance. Stan waves him goodbye as he leaves from the area of the fast food restaurant. Not many people are out at this time, most are driving to and fro in their cars while the other few are walking along the sidewalks. Today is a beautiful evening, as it's always been since it's early Spring. The setting sun colored the sky a soothing yellow-orange, and the scant number of clouds casts a gentle wind through the air.

Stan shoulders the spare bookbag containing his work uniform to fish out his cell phone for the time, once it's in his hand he turns it on and the white digital numbers 6:17 p.m shows in the upper center of the lock screen of his deceased pet dog, Sparky. It was the first pet he ever had as a child, and it was the last when it passed away. The cause of the poor dog's death was a blind, stupid driver who wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to the road in broad fucking daylight. To this very day, Stan believes that they'd clearly seen a brown creature on all fours scurrying across the street. Surely they had of.

The Marsh's could've sued the asshole, but Sharon and Randy just brushed it off saying that it was their fault for not keeping a closer eye on it and they would buy him a new dog. Stan didn't talk to his parents for a whole week after that.

Stan shakes his head to rid the past and rising anger, stuffing his phone into one of his pants' pockets. The idea of listening to some music seems inviting right now, but not only did he just pocketed his phone he also didn't pack his earphones. The evening's have been really calming as of late so he no longer saw any purpose to distract himself with songs on his playlist, when instead he can glance around at his surroundings and not miss the sound of whimpering down an alleyway he walks past.

Wait, whimpering?

Stopping with a bemused blink, Stan takes two steps back then listens intently for the sound again. When he hears it for a second time approximately thirty seconds later, he looks down the alley to hopefully see the source. He doesn't know how many minutes ticked by, the sky has darkened away from it's eventide hue, gradually letting the citizens know that nighttime is almost upon them. The street lamps take that as their cue to flicker on, but not one is near Stan's position, the closet being a block down on either side of him.

Having to lean forward a bit with the squint of his eyes for discernible visibility, a silhouette of a light color is the first thing he decries. Stan straightens his posture and brings his cell phone back out, quickly cutting it on so he can use the device's flashlight. It shines into action the moment he faces the back of his phone down the grungy looking passageway.

"Is that..a dog?" Stan perceives with a frown.

It is indeed a dog laying on it's side with it's backside facing him, a golden retriever. Sadly it's golden fur is tainted with dry blood, dirt, and some other grime he can't pinpoint. The condition it's in is extremely worrisome, if it weren't for it's rapid labored breathing and heart-wrenching sniveling it would've appeared as if it'd already passed on. Pursuing his lips into a sad line, Stan merely plants one foot on the dividing line between the alleyway and sidewalk when a person's voice from behind renders him to a startled halt.

"Oh I wouldn't worry about that thing if I were you, it's been there for I think four or five days now. It's just about dead anyway."

No way, it's been down there for that long yet Stan was just now knowing about this? He feels himself gripping his phone tightly. Instead of confronting the heartless scumbag, he ignores him and goes into the alley, the man eying him for a moment before shrugging and continuing on his way. Stan lowers his phone some and keeps his footsteps light so he doesn't frighten the wounded canine, getting a closer inspection of it's injuries. Stan grimaces strongly, stopping with a decent gap in the middle of them as he gets down on one knee, not minding the dirt seeping into his pants leg. That is the least of his concerns right now.

"Shit it's in really bad shape, and it probably came down with a fever from being out here for too long. I'd better hurry and call an..-"

very risky thought just occurred to him. Taking the dog to a hospital where it can get treated by professionals is the smartest thing to do, however in Stan's case he can put his veterinary medicine training to the test. He doesn't doubt himself completely just because he's a sophomore, what matters is his devotion. The primary reason why he wanted to become a veterinarian in the first place is Sparky's doing. No dog, cat - animals in general should ever experience cruel treatment a day in their life. Saving lives whether they're human or animal is far more praiseworthy than being a star football player.

Sapphire eyes gleaming with stony determination, Stan turns off his flashlight so that he can dial a familiar's number, praying to God that they'll help him out. "Hang in there just a little bit longer, I'll save you." He places the phone up to his ear as it rings, maintaining a watchful eye on the dog as he caresses a spot on it's body he thinks isn't a wound. "I won't let you die. I promise."

Chapter Text

"Hey Stan what's up?"

"Alice I need you to come get me asap."

"What's-"

"I'll explain when you get here, I'm-"

As Stan urgently tells his friend where his location is, he not once let his eyes stray away from the helpless dog before him, petting only one spot on it's cold, soft stained fur with the greatest of care as to not agitate it's injuries.

The girl on the other line sighs after Stan finishes talking. "Alright fine, I'll be there in five-"

"That's too long," Stan almost hisses. "I don't care if you have to pick me up half-naked, just get here as fast as you can. Please." And with that being said, he hangs up shutting off his phone and shoving it into his pocket. He retracts his hand away from the golden retriever to take off his bookbag, setting it to the side then unzipping it and pulling out the top garment of his work uniform.

"Gotta lower it's body temperature so it's fever doesn't worsen." Stan holds up his black polo shirt in front of his face, studying it's width and size. He lowers his arms then scans the dog's body size, deeming his shirt big enough to cover it up though it's tail and paws would be excluded. "It's gonna have to do." As gently as he can, he sacrifices his shirt as a blanket for the dog, which immediately flinches when the fabric grazes it. "Don't worry it's okay, I'm not going to hurt you." It takes a moment, but the dog relaxes with a meek whimper, sensing the human's earnest tone was genuine.

Stan places his shirt down over what he assumes is a worn brown collar, the hem reaching and covering a small fraction of the retriever's limp tail. Stan curls his lips into a sad frown, the dog suddenly starts shaking releasing feeble moans of discomfort. Seems it's realized how cold it was and Stan's thin shirt is doing it's assigned job to provide it heat.

"Poor guy," Stan laments petting the dog gently once again. He zips up his bookbag, while doing so he tries to think of some ways to carry the wounded animal to Alice's car when she arrives. Him carrying it himself is the only logical solution he comes up with. Alice, although she loves dogs, wouldn't want to get her hands dirtied by touching an injured one.

Standing up slipping one arm at a time through his bag's straps, Stan turns to look out the alleyway, clicking his tongue impatiently when Alice's shiny silver vehicle isn't parked in the spot he instructed her to be at, which happened to be right in the center of the two buildings he'd told her about. "Jesus Alice hurry up will ya?" He yearns to text her, but he knows better than to do that while the woman is driving. Wouldn't want her getting into an accident because she was texting and driving like some teenagers - even adults, have been doing.

Sighing, Stan leans his back against the brick wall and crosses his arms, drumming a finger on his arm. He looks down at the heavily breathing dog feeling his frown deepen, stilling his finger in the process. He wonders who the hell would have the audacity to severely harm their pet. An insane person that's for sure.

After waiting roughly five to ten minutes, a brief yet loud horn of a car startles Stan, swearing under his breath as he looks over to his right and sees Alice's car. "Finally," he mutters pushing himself up off the wall, he approaches the dog. He bends down, first tucking in the loose side of the shirt underneath the canine then ever so carefully scoops it up in his arms. He reassures it again once it attempted to growl at him, but all it was able to let out was a feeble whine.

Stan hurries out of the alley, being mindful not to be too hasty. The dog's light weight has him even more worried.

"Whoa is that dog okay?!" Alice steps out of her car, she has shoulder-length maroon hair and cyan colored eyes that are wide in shock and concern. "What the hell happened?"

"I'll explain everything when we get inside," Stan says making his way to the back seat. He nudges his head toward the door.

Alice unlocks the back door Stan is standing at, then rushes to open it for him. Together they settle the dog onto the leather seats, it shivers with a whimper at the coolness seeping into it's pelage, most likely upsetting it's bruises.

"We need to hurry," Stan exhorts. Alice nods her head in agreement, and they both get into the car; Stan in the passengers seat while Alice is in the drivers. After buckling up, Alice checks her rear view mirror for any upcoming cars, seeing a few in the distance. She takes this opportunity to make a quick, cautious U-turn back to her house.

/

"Lay it down on the couch, I'll go get the first aid," Alice says pushing the door forward and entering with Stan following. She closes it once they're inside and goes to turn on the living room light.

"And a wet rag and towel while you're at it," Stan adds hurrying to the sofa. He delicately sets the dog down on the beige cushions, making an indistinct sound as the warm pads melt away the cold. Stan shrugs off his bookbag, pushing it down and sliding it underneath a glass table in the center of the sofa and flat screen television. He removes his dark shirt from off of the dog, grimacing in horror at the illuminated display of the injuries decorating it's body. The ankle on it's right foot seems fractured. He needs to get to work, and fast.

Thankfully, Alice returns with the required items in her arms close to thirty seconds later. "I'm gonna go grab a bowl real quick." She hands Stan the first aid kit as she sits the towel down on her small table.

"Okay," Stan nods taking the kit, Alice heads to her kitchen. Stan opens the case extracting the rubbing alcohol, bandages, and etc. that he's going to use. Afterwards, sapphire eyes inspect the contusions thoroughly now that there's light, deciding to start on the retriever's ankle until he has the soaked washcloth. He grabs the roll of bandages, stretches it out at a sufficient length, then hovers it towards the ankle. Alice walks back in carrying a metal bowl filled with water and the washcloth inside it, placing the container down beside the towel.

The instant the dog felt something touch it's protruding bone, it yelps yanking it's leg away. Stan apologizes, but all he gets in return is a glare accompanied by a successful growl. The expression of sadness resurfaces on the noirette's face in the form of a straight line on his lips. He raises the bandages for the darkened hazel orbs to see. "I'm only trying to help you." Silence, the dog ever so slightly losing it's scowl. Stan forces up a small smile. "Will you let me?" He knows he's gained it's trust when it looks away laying it's head down, unbeknownst to him dubiety still lingers in it's half-lidded eyes. "I promise I'll be gentle." Alice smiles faintly at the interaction, leaning her elbows against the spine of her couch.

No other words are spoken as Stan treats the dog's remaining wounds, having to stitch one laceration that was inflicted upon it's stomach. Two hours was utilized by the time Stan finishes, he didn't stop for one second to take any sort of break. It's a huge wonder that the golden furred dog lasted so long out in the damp, filthy alleyway with these critical injuries, it was definitely infected and desperately called for proficient treatment from a doctor.

However there's one problem...

"Done?" Alice asks, currently sat in a armchair closest to Stan. She was close to nodding off, but the dog's occasional yowling and whimpering kept her awake.

Stan heaves a sigh, placing the supplies back into the kit. "It's gonna need to go to the hospital..but it has an owner."

Alice frowns. "Damn, so we couldn't of taken it tonight even if we wanted to then."

Stan nods his head solemnly, handing the kit back to Alice. "And the vet is out too since there isn't one closest." Alice hums softly in agreement, bringing forth an awkward atmosphere around them. "Know what time it is?" Stan asks after a few seconds.

Alice shakes her head. "My phone's upstairs in my room." She goes up the stairs, telling Stan to empty out the bowl for her in the kitchen as she leaves.

Stan pulls out his cell phone and turns it on, seeing that he'd gotten a text as he reads the time: 9:09 p.m. How he didn't feel it vibrate is beyond him, but he figures the message is from Kyle; he replies back saying that he's over at Alice's and he'll see him tomorrow. He shuts his cell back off and sets it down on top of the transparent table, then stands up with it's help. Working fervently made him disregard the lack of proper circulation in his legs, which tingles uncontrollably once the blood flows properly through them, he shudders. He takes a hold of the metallic bowl, the once clear water now a murky red.

Before going to the kitchen, he spares the dog a glance, seeing it fast asleep though breathing heavily. He'd forgotten about it's fever, but it looks so peaceful. It honestly deserves to rest as much as it can undisturbed considering all that it had endured. An ordeal Stan doesn't know anything about. But he must do something about it's fever.

In spite of that, he smiles, because he feels proud in himself. He feels as though he's accomplished two goals tonight, the first one being the dog's personal medic and the second one is that he demonstrated that not all humans are cruel beings.

.......

It's a few minutes past midnight when Stan stirs from his restful sleep, the cause was a persistent nagging feeling he'd acquired after leaving the golden retriever be. He's in the guest room, or rather his room Alice deemed it since he frequented her home during breaks and sometimes over the weekend, only when she wasn't busy. Plus she doesn't live that far from the college he goes to, unlike Kyle. He doesn't even live anywhere around or remotely close to the university, from what he told Stan.

With a yawn, the noirette slips out of bed and exits the room, bare feet padding along the carpeted flooring until they touch the steps. He goes down them slowly, rubbing one eye then the other as he reenters the living room, with an abrupt halt. It isn't too dark, and it's thanks to the diaphanous colorless curtains allowing in lighting from the moon and bit of the street lamps.

Stan tries to identity the very faint sound coming from within the room, aware that it's originating from the dog. He approaches the sofa and peeks down at the mammal, giving it a look of sympathy at it's shaking curled form. An actual blanket is supposed to be covering it, but where it is now is a bundled pile on the floor. Stan rounds the armrest to squat near the dog, hesitant to place a comforting hand on it's head.

But he can't just sit here and let it continue to suffer, not when it was sound asleep hours prior. Perhaps it's fever is the source of it's pain, seems decreasing it's temperature wasn't enough.

"What else can be done...?"

As if it'd sensed Stan's depressing thought, the dog weakly cracks one eye open to witness the kind black haired human frowning, his hand hovering in the air. Somehow, his presence alone puts the retriever at ease, unfortunately some leftover images of a drunken man wearing a red cap clutching a broken beer bottle, a red haired woman screaming at him, and two children (A boy and a girl) helplessly watching the exchange from in the hallway remain.

Stan gets the push he needs when tears suddenly trail down from the dog's eyes, wanting so badly to embrace it into a hug than meagerly caress it's ear and head. He can feel his own orbs ready to shed some salty liquid, he's never seen an animal cry before but it's just as sad when people do it.

"It's okay buddy...-" Stan stops himself upon a stray tear tickling his cheek, his hand motionless atop of the dog's head. He doesn't say anything else, however the silence that follows isn't uncomfortable and soon both human and dog find themselves drifting off into a relaxing slumber once more.

Chapter Text

It is customary for both days and nights to be unpleasantly cold in South Park, regardless of the season. Winter reigns supreme over the balmy Spring, the torrid Summer, and the composed transitions of warm and chilly temperatures in Autumn, giving them not the tiniest of chances to present their own weather to the citizens within the small town.

Usually on nights such as these, Kenny would be asleep in his room, eager for morning to come so he could wake up, do his usual, minimal routines, then head off to school.

However on this particular night, although this isn't the first, Kenny's or rather Mysterion's silhouette eyes the McCormick's bungalow from their backyard. Good thing no one but himself is outside in these parts, plus him being in the backyard prevented the stir of any commotion about his evident bright eyes. Well that wouldn't have been an issue anyway, not even junkies would still be up at this late hour. Inside the bungalow, every single light source unillminated, the only sound that can be heard is loud snoring and indistinct mumbling telling the snorer to shut the hell up.

No sniffling, whimpering or muffled crying- nothing urgent that called for Mysterion's services. Not since the third night at least. However Mysterion still made an appearance just in case, it's a superhero's motto to be safe than sorry.

Feeling satisfactory at his accomplishment, the hero smiles faintly to himself, only for it to shift into a serious frown. Just because one place is free of harm and sorrow doesn't mean the rest of the town fell into the same categories.

Like a gust of wind, his figure is gone, quickly making his way to a building tall enough to overlook the small town. With the eyes of a hawk, he scans every inch of the city for any disturbances or anything out of place. The roads are bare of any cars, as well as the sidewalks of any pedestrians. Most of the shops are closed, and a group of shady individuals deem one of them as their starting point to steal some goods. Being smart not to be near any street lamps.

Narrowing his eyes, Mysterion leaps down and approaches the four masked men in black with ninja stealth, his presence going completely unnoticed until-

"Stop right there."

The men instantly freezes in their tracks upon hearing his gruff voice, turning their head back to see the vigilante glaring at them. They share a momentary glance at each other, then look back at Mysterion.

"Aren't you too old for that getup?" One of them asks inspecting the teenager's height.

"Weirdo's wearing underwear on the outside," another points out with a laugh, the other three following suit once they notice.

Mysterion starts to approach them, fists tightening and eyes slanting further. "Leave or prepare to face the consequences of attempted robbery." They laugh even harder at his threat, and being obnoxiously noisy at that. It's like they want to draw attention their way, bunch of idiots.

The next thing one out of the four knew, a punch in the dead center of his face has him sprawling back against the man behind him, both falling and crashing through the front door made apparently of thin glass. The shattering brittle shards accompanied by the shrill burglar alarm disrupts the once quiet neighborhood even more.

The laughing stops then, and the remaining two glimpse back in shock at their fallen companions then at the scowling teen. "F-fuckin' freak!" One stutters while the other wastes not another second to make a break for it. Mysterion takes care of the guy in front of him before he could follow after the other guy, then catches up and knocks out the escaping robber just as easily.

Afterwards, Mysterion drops off the unconscious group, one by one, into a pile in a nearby alleyway. After dropping the last body off, Mysterion spares an examining glance at the damage dealt onto the store, frowning though grateful at the broken door. At least nothing else suffered the same fate.

The distant blare of sirens has him vacating the area, going to his final stop of the night: The Marsh's residence.

At this unknown yet obviously past midnight hour, every civilian with the exclusion of Msyterion is supposed to be sleeping soundly in their homes. But the hero knows, days prior to now in fact, that he isn't the only person awake.

Once he's at his destination, camouflaging himself in the large shadow of the Marsh's abode, he sees light gleaming through the curtains of Stan's (A.K.A Toolshed's) bedroom window. A seemingly regular occurrence these few previous nights.

Mysterion's lips straighten into a line. Since night four and onward, he always questions why the noirette would stay up till the crack of dawn, presumably doing nothing but sitting or laying in his bed. What is his purpose for doing so? Does he want to make the dark bags under his eyes darker? These sleepless nights are taking an evident toll on him, even more so the football team which makes him far more sluggish throughout school.

Just what is making him do this?

"I knew it."

It takes a lot to startle the stone cold vigilante, not once did he imagine himself flinching like he'd gotten stung by a bee at the soft crunches of snow followed by the subdued sound of Stan's voice. Raising his head, Mysterion shields his eyes at the bright intrusion of a flashlight with his cloak.

"I thought we grew outta this Kenny," Stan says, still keeping his voice low. He clicks the flashlight off and stops, leaving a two-step gap between them.

Mysterion lowers his arm, frowning at the teen wearing his brown jacket over his pajamas and some old sneakers. "Grew out? You're making it sound like I'm going through some phase."

"Because you practically are dude," Stan says mimicking his frown. "We aren't kids anymore. In two more years, we'll be graduating and- Hey wait!"

Mysterion was walking away, having heard enough. Stan doesn't understand. Just because he and the others gave up on saving their home town doesn't mean he will do the same. The police aren't the best after all. And besides, whenever the day comes that South Park will no longer truly need his help, then he'll just stick to looking after his family. They're the prime reason why he hasn't given up being Mysterion. And he won't stop even as he continues to age, not until they too no longer require his secret protection.

"Go back inside and get some sleep, you should really stop staying up so late."

"Then cut this out and start living normally like the rest of us. Please."

Mysterion feels himself pausing mid-step after hearing the strained, desperate plea Stan uttered. Slowly, Mysterion turns his head around, halting with visible eye widening when he meets the glistening sapphire pair, the dark circles prominent underneath the ascending moonlight though slightly shadowed by looming clouds.

Reducing his eyes back to normal size, Mysterion turns his whole body to face the other, lips curling back down into a deep frown. "Stan, you know I can't do that," he whispers in his real voice, looking off to the side and down at the ground. "I've never been able to live 'normally' from the start."

A short silence hangs in the wintry air as Stan takes some steps forward, feet scrunching snow until they are aligned with brown boots. "Kenny, I worry about you," Stan admits earnestly. "And I bet you can tell thanks to these bags under my eyes, which I know you have too."

Kenny raises his head at that, genuine shock on his face. "Wait you've been-"

"Yeah," Stan says bashfully with a brief shrug of his shoulders. "I mean how can I sleep at night knowing that you aren't doing the same?" He rubs his arm with his free hand breaking eye contact. "Jus' doesn't feel right."

The teenaged hero loses his taken aback countenance, the accustomed frown making itself known once more. "How long have you known?" He thought for sure he was doing a pretty good job at keeping his small acts of heroism clandestine, it's only been a couple of nights since he started doing this and majority of him being Mysterion was for personal reasons that no one but himself should know.

Stan stops and lightly grips his arm, eyebrows knitting before looking back up at his friend. "How long have you been doing this?" He counter asks. Kenny sighs avoiding the noirette's gaze, but doesn't answer. "I'm probably not the only one who knows. Who else would be going around at night taking care of the bad guys before the cops did?" Stan continues.

The mere thought of Kyle and his famous nagging akin to an oppressive mother is enough to make Kenny grimace, holding back a shudder. "Look, it doesn't matter how long I've been Mysterion for, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon." Just when Stan is ready to voice his objection, a gloved hand gently clasps his shoulder, the owner giving Stan a small smile. "Don't worry, just go and get some sleep alright?" Kenny removes his hand and begins to walk away again, only to feel a cold palm suddenly latch onto his lowering one and render him from moving any further. He turns his head to the side looking at Stan through the corner of his eye, whose head is angled downward allowing his black bangs to shadow over his eyes.

"Just..be careful, okay?" He squeezes Kenny's hand shakily, the cold numbing the strength out of him. "I-" He shakes his head. "Everyone was really worried when we didn't see you for a whole week." By everyone he meant Kyle, a big maybe for Cartman as well as Craig and his gang, Wendy, and a few others that go to their school.

A sad smile forms across Kenny's lips. One week is nothing compared to being gone for it's usual duration of a single month. He told his friends only about his immortality once, actually he's positive that they even seen him die a few times in the past. But whenever he met up with them after his revival, they would appear as though they'ed never witnessed his deaths, as if their memories of the incidents were erased from the very depths of their minds.

Kenny grips Stan's hand lightly, causing the latter to shiver. "I will Stan. I will."

Slowly, his hand slips out from Stan's own as he turns forward and resumes on his way. "You'll catch a cold if you stay out here any longer, and quit staying up so late for my sake," Stan hears him say, the return of his rough voice sounding softer the more the distance increased.

When boots no longer crunched snow, Stan lifts his head, weary eyes staring ahead where his stubborn hero of a friend was once standing. His lips go into a line as he hurries back inside his home.

.......

With his eyes closed, Kenny first pulls back his hood, then takes off his eye mask. Similar dark circles are below his eyes when he opens them and frowns apathetically at his reflection through the cracked mirror in his bathroom.

To think he was the reason Stan wasn't getting any decent sleep as of late, way to make him feel guilty. Doesn't even matter that he didn't know. Kenny just hopes that Stan takes his words to heart and starts getting some much needed shut eye, he cares about him just as much.

Unfortunately for both boys, the sun is narrowly an hour or two away from rising, meaning it's going to be another torpid day in school for them.

Chapter Text

Nightmare after nightmare.

This has been going on for four days now, Monday all the way until today- Thursday. It always had the same characters, same scenery, and same ending. Nothing hadn't changed in the faintest, and even if it had Stan wouldn't have noticed for he was too focused fearing for his life.

A short image reveals a smirking face dotted with splatters of blood, then their darkened hazel eyes containing a mischievous glint in them through his mind; sending a parade of chills down the noirette's spine. But he doesn't shudder, only blinks his eyes.

Stan woke up a minute prior to the conclusion of his nightmare, this time failing to get a frightened reaction out of him like it did in the previous days. His eyes lacking both it's usual color and enthusiasm stare up at the shadowed ceiling, apparent dark bags underneath his eyes. He stopped questioning why he started having these bizarre dreams now, he won't get any answers so there isn't a point in asking the unknown anymore. He blinks again, then looks over to the side at the alarm clock sitting on his nightstand. The red digital numbers show him that it is 5:54 a.m. He scowls weakly at the device, this is another thing that has remained unchanged: Waking up earlier than his normal time schedule for school, which is somewhere past 6 o'clock but no later than 6:30 a.m.

Heaving a small sigh, Stan throws the covers off of him and gets out of bed, reluctantly using this opportunity to get himself dressed and not-so ready for school. Usually he would be eager for Friday to come, even when it's only a day away. But not today. He would have to deal with his repeated nightmares throughout the whole weekend, and four days is more than enough. He can't even fathom how he went from dreaming random, non-scary things to one about one of his friends being a psychotic killer.

"Shit!" Stan hisses, wincing at the hot water spraying down on his bare body. He quickly turns one of the knobs so warm water comes out of the shower head, and he relaxes once it does. He shakes his head to clear the fogginess in his mind, but it hardly did anything. He's still dog-tired, and the comfortable temperature of the water isn't waking him up at all. Perhaps he should've let it stay hot - sure he would've gotten severe burns but at least he would've been awake, wide-awake actually. He shakes his head again at such a foolish thought.

He gets out after approximately six minutes later, grabs a towel, and dries himself off with it. It takes up more minutes than necessary thanks to his practically inert self. When he's done, his hair slightly damp, he wraps the towel around his waist and goes back into his room for some underwear and clothes. First switching on the lamp sat atop of his nightstand, as well as his charging cell phone, and a blue and black wristband.

Unlike his time drying off, he manages to find some clothes easily. He may or may not had picked them out unconsciously, however considering his state the former is more believable. Laying on top of his dresser is a pair of black boxers, beside it is a black V-neck T-shirt, dark blue jeans, and clean white socks that were placed over the shirt. It's simple, yet it matches well with his depressed demeanor.

Stan puts his clothes on sluggishly, losing his footing when he tries to slip on his pants. "Oooh fuck!" He catches himself with the help of his dresser, the boost of adrenaline draining out of his system as he proceeds to dress himself.

Yawning after he's finished, he heads back over to his nightstand and puts his wristband on his right wrist. He then grabs his cell phone, letting it continue to charge and turns it on as he sits down on the edge of his bed, frowning at the current time- 6:21 a.m.

"Great, only nine minutes left," Stan thinks, frown deepening upon noticing a notification at the lower half of his screen. He has seven new messages. He unlocks his phone to give them a quick look, immediately regretting it when he sees whom they're from.

From Ken (Monday: 5:37 p.m )- "Yo stan how are ya? Ya doin ok cuz ya know earlier at skool u were lookin pretty pale an' thought i should up check on ya"

From Ken (Monday: 5:56 p.m)- "Oooiiii staaan, u there aint ya?

From Ken (Monday: 5:59 p.m)-  "...Guess not"

From Ken (Tuesday: 6:05 p.m)- "Dude y u avoidin me, wat did i do?"

From Ken (Wednesday: 6:48 p.m)- "Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan teeeellllll meeeeeeeeee"

From Ken (Wednesday: 10:45 p.m)- "Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan"

From Ken (Thursday: 1:30 a.m)- "Ok.. I get it, i'll leave u alone but plz tell me what the hells wrong with u lately. Is it the nightmare u told us about? am i in it? is that y u been avoiding me? if so u couldve just told me, we havent talked to each other for days dude and ur not answering my texts either... Im worried about u stan, i really am"

After reading the last message, guilt hits Stan like a brick. But how can he possibly tell Kenny that the nightmares he's been having are the reason why he's been steering clear of him like the plague? It sounds so freaking stupid. It's already embarrassing enough that he was forced to tell it to his friends while they were at their bus stop last Monday morning, far too distraught to drive his car to school. He couldn't make up a convincing lie about his pale appearance right off the bat, so he was left with no other choice but to tell them the truth, however saying nothing more than that he simply had a bad dream. He not once looked at Kenny, who took notice though didn't question it. Kyle's concern only increased at Stan's simple response, but thankfully didn't push the issue. Cartman tried to lighten the mood by saying that he'd dreamt about his ex-girlfriend trying to get back with him, it was a failed attempt which resulted in him and Kyle arguing about how he shouldn't make light of someone's break up.

Stan chuckles humorlessly at the memory, one side of his lips curled upward faintly. Kyle's and Cartman's arguments have become half-annoying and half-funny recently.

Dull sapphire eyes blink wearily, lips going into a line as the orbs focus on the messages that were once blurry while he was in his thoughts. Without realizing it, his thumb starts pressing the letter keys on his mobile keyboard.

To Ken (Thursday: 6:24 a.m)- "Meet me at stark's pond after school. I'll tell u everything there"

Stan stares at his numbly-typed out text, thumb hovering over the send key. Is this really what he wants to do? Does he have the courage to tell Kenny everything about his nightmare?

Knitting his eyebrows, Stan sends Kenny his message then shuts his phone off, setting it back down on his nightstand. He closes his eyes with a heavy sigh, he sits there a moment longer before getting up and heading downstairs to fix himself some breakfast. Cereal is going to have to do since he's five minutes away from having to leave for school. Plus his parents aren't home, they left for work an hour or so earlier and Shelly has a place of her own. But she can't cook anyway.

Stan first goes to turn on the television in the living room, not caring about the channel so long as the house is no longer eerily quiet. But he can admit that silence in any form is more tolerable than hearing his sister's galling voice. Walking into the kitchen with another yawn, he reaches for a box of cereal that's on top of the refrigerator then opens it's door for a gallon of milk, well what used to be a full gallon. He places them down on the counter-top, then grabs a bowl and spoon, putting the spoon inside the bowl.

As he pours the cereal into the dish, his ears pick up on what is being said on t.v. "Two bodies were found brutally hacked to pieces in an alleyway last night, their identities unknown...-"

A second image from Stan's nightmare decides to appear right before his very eyes, and he stills; tuning out the rest of the details the newsman is saying. His eyes go wide in horror, and his body starts to tremble, the cereal box dropping and spilling all over the floor adjacent to his feet.

Fire is everywhere - a large mass of smoke travelling up to pollute the midnight sky. Dozens of bodies lay bloody and unmoving on the snowy ground, coloring the frozen white particles almost completely red. Stan gapes ahead, afraid to budge or breathe in fear that 'he' might see or hear him the moment he does either of them. This is only the calm after the storm. Every citizen in South Park is dead, except for him. He's the only person that was spared.

"Stan."

Hearing his name makes him flinch, but he doesn't turn to locate the person who called him. He knows whom they are all too well, even if they're tone of voice was soft and a little too happy. Footsteps began to approach him, overlapping the cackling of the fires around the area. Instincts order Stan to run, but he can't muster up the strength to move his legs. They are glued where they stand.

"Staanley~"

The footfalls stop and a pair of arms gently slither their way from behind to embrace him, startling him immensely. Swallowing deeply, Stan looks down, appalled by the amount of blood coating the hands and bits of their orange sleeves, staining his shirt instantly.

"The time has finally come, you're all mine now." One hand moves upward to touch Stan's face. Shutting his eyes tightly, Stan cranes his neck away from the bloody fingers. "Isn't that great?" They giggle directly in Stan's ear, warm breath ghosting over his skin causing him to shudder in discomfort. He balls his hands into fists as he shouts,

"GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!"

As if his demand were the magic words, every aspect of the destruction surrounding him shifts back to the kitchen like a gust of wind, leaving no horrid remnants of the nightmare leftover. The television is still on, a commercial is playing now.

Opening his eyes whilst panting heavily, Stan leans against the counter with one hand while the other grips at his chest. That has never happened before. That was the very first time any of his dreams appeared so vividly. The raging yet abnormally beautiful flames, the dead bodies, the blood on the ground, the bloody hands, his voice - everything was sofucking. real.

Suddenly, Stan's vision starts swimming, his body losing strength. The next thing he knows, his body is slumping to the side as darkness claims him.

Upstairs in the noirette's room, his cell phone vibrates and the screen brightens, indicating that he'd gotten a message.


"Mph mmph (Yo guys)," Kenny greets approaching Kyle and Cartman with a wave, who were standing at the bus stop.

They turn to him. "Hey Kenny," Kyle greets back, whereas Cartman just waves.

"Mmph mph mmmmph mmmph? (Stan not coming today?)," Kenny questions, noticing their friend's absence.

"Didn't understand a word you said po'boy," Cartman deadpans.

Kenny rolls his eyes, but loosens the strings to his hood, allowing his whole face to be visible instead of just his eyes. These guys plus Stan, his family, and Craig's gang are the only ones who've seen his face, he's still shy to show other people. "I asked if Stan was comin' today."

Kyle frowns. "I don't think he is. I texted him a minute ago asking if he was gonna drive to school, but he hasn't replied back yet."

Now it was Kenny's turn to frown, but before he says anything Cartman beats him to it. "Bet he's cryin' over whatever stupid nightmare he's had this time, fuckin' baby," the brunette scoffs crossing his arms, sounding annoyed.

Kenny doesn't retort back defending Stan like Kyle does, drowning out their bickering as he thinks back on the message he received from Stan. It's pretty obvious that he wants to talk to Kenny and him alone, so he doesn't bring it up to Kyle and Cartman. However he can't help but wonder why him and not Kyle, who's been his super best friend ever since children. Perhaps Stan avoiding him as of late is the reason why, it's possible seeing as how he finally texted Kenny back, but Kenny isn't so certain about that.

A few passing seconds later, there is an oncoming sound of a vehicle, putting an end to Kyle's and Cartman's bantering. Kenny tightens his hood to cover his face, excluding his eyes, before looking towards the source, seeing their bus coming to pick them up. Once it stops, he boards it after his friends, him and Kyle sitting together while Cartman struggles to find a seat of his own.

During the ride to school, Kyle brings up the main subject that was discussed on the morning news, something Kenny missed since he for one doesn't really pay attention to the news, and secondly their television isn't in the best condition to be watched on. He isn't all that disturbed as Kyle tells him that just last night two people were hacked to shreds until they were no longer able to be identified, he's gone through similar deaths and most were worse than that. The topic hangs in the air throughout the duration of the drive in silence, until Kyle changes it to Stan and his reoccurring nightmares. Kenny knew it was coming, the redhead is just as worried about him as he is himself.

They continue to express their concern for Stan, Kenny keeping his meeting with him a secret, until they arrive at their destination. Kenny is let down when he doesn't see Stan's noticeable light blue car parked in the school's parking lot as the bus stops near the curb. Seems he's not coming today. "He didn't oversleep did he?"

The highschoolers vacate the bus and enter the school building, but Kenny stops all of a sudden, unable to make head or tail of this abrupt chill washing over him; overpowering the cool breeze. He pays no attention to the many pairs of shoes and boots walking past him through his downward peripheral, getting the slightest sneaking feeling that the goosebumps sprouting along his skin has something to do with Stan. But he isn't able to ponder any further than that into the matter, because the mutter of his name has him blinking and looking up into lime-green orbs filled with confusion and mild worry.

"You okay?"

Kenny clears his mind with the shake of his head, forcing up a smile underneath his hood. The only way Kyle knows that is thanks to his eyes. "Mmph mph mmph, mmph mph. (Yeah I'm fine, let's go)." He motions his hand for them to go inside, Kyle taking a delayed second before following.

*After School*

"Oi McCormick!" Kenny halts mid-step once he's a couple steps away from the double doors outside, turning in the direction he heard his last name being called in, which was from the parking lot. "Wanna hang out with us at Clyde's place?" It was Craig who asked. Clyde's confused, "My place?!" being somewhat of an exclaim that gets ignored by the tall teenager. Craig along with Clyde, Tweek, and Token are gathered by presumably Craig's car, Kenny can never pinpoint whose vehicle it belongs to since they alternate between drivers, but he knows it's not Token's. He would be driving a luxurious car than some pale black pick-up truck.

Kenny declines the offer, then proceeds on his way to the well-known pond. Craig watches him go curiously, now the only person standing beside the truck. Ever since Tuesday Kenny has been acting distant - talked barely even three words, and always appeared to be staring off into space. However this isn't a first, although these past two days felt different somehow, like something else entirely is troubling Kenny.

A sharp twinge on his hand has Craig snapping out of his thoughts, flinching and swearing simultaneously. "Are you gonna get in an' drive or not?"

Shooting a middle finger at Clyde, who's sat in the passengers seat, Craig sits down in the drivers seat soothing his stinging skin, then shuts the door. "Someone's jealous." Clyde flips him off in return denying his statement. He starts up the truck, backs up, and slowly drives out of the lot to Clyde's house.

Back to Kenny, who is still walking to Stark's Pond. If he weren't taking steps at a snail's pace, he would've already seen the vast water by now. But he doesn't want to seem too eager when he sees Stan, or something like that. All throughout class, lunch period included, he was more aloof than he was on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hundreds of scenarios played out in his head that left him feeling borderline extremely anxious and a little apprehensive.

They were going to discuss Stan's nightmares after all.

The chills from earlier resurface, this time stronger causing him to shudder. Looking up from the ground, though he doesn't remember looking down in the first place, Kenny finds himself closing in on Stark's Pond. But the bench he expected Stan to be sitting on is empty of his presence.

Kenny stops, takes out his cell phone, and begins to call the noirette. He unfastens the strings to his hood once again before raising his phone up to his ear, which is still ringing. He continues to the pond, only to stop mid-step a second time at Stan's voicemail.

"Hey I can't come to the phone right now, so leave a message or text me, if you're a friend, and I'll get back with you whenever I can."

Dread mysteriously begins to settle itself within Kenny's chest. He dials Stan's number again, but goes straight to his voicemail. The third time ended with the same result. The blonde glares nervously at his phone.

"There's  no way he overslept this long..."

Turning his cell phone off and stuffing it back into his parka's pocket, Kenny changes course - going to Stan's house. This time moving with haste.

He reaches his friend's house in no less than ten minutes, panting as he approaches and knocks three times on the front door. By the time his breathing is regulated, no sounding footsteps gave Kenny indication that Stan heard him and was coming to open the door. Kenny knocks again, harder, then does it against the living room window as well.

Neither sound alerted Stan, much to Kenny's dismay.

"What the hell?" The blonde mumbles under his breath, growing more troubled than irritated by the progressing seconds. He suddenly blinks in realization. "Oh yeah!" A thought just came to him.

He sprints to the back of the house, slowing down with a grateful smile as he nears a dead snow covered tree he and his friends remembered that stubbornly grew here when they were entering their preteen years. One lone branch stretches out towards Stan's bedroom window. Kenny, Kyle, and even Cartman couldn't help but agree with one another how conveniently placed the branch was.

"Good thing Mr. Marsh hadn't cut it down yet."

With practiced ease, Kenny climbs up the tree and carefully crawls to Stan's window. "Pleeease be unlocked." Kenny is more concerned about the window being locked than the wobbly branch. The last time Kenny did this was probably last week...He still hopes the window is accessible.

Once he's an arms length away from the window, Kenny tries to immobilize the branch the best he can so when he attempts to open the window he doesn't fall. Fortunately, he's successful however his luck runs short as soon as his hands try to raise the window's sash.

It doesn't move.

And because of that Kenny loses his balance.

"O-oh shit!"

He crashes face first into the snow, cushioning his fall to a moderate degree. At least he didn't break or sprain anything this time. Groaning while sitting up wiping the freezing snow off of his face, he comes to realize that he has no other way of getting inside the house.

...Unless...

Kenny doesn't want to do what he just thought up, but it has to be done. Stan's parents don't return home until nightfall, and that's hours away from now. Standing on his feet dusting the remaining snow off, Kenny looks around for a rock he can use. He assumes he discovers one sticking out of the snow near the fence separating the Marsh's house from the neighbors, and ambles toward it. He bends down to pick it up, inspecting it's size and deeming it sufficient for usage.

"Here goes nothin'."

He faces the window tossing the rock up and down, then, with one eye shut and the other trained intently on the center of the glass, he hurls the rock at his aiming target. He flinches as the glass shatters into pieces, disrupting the quiet neighborhood, and most likely the nearby neighbors as well.

Kenny quickly makes his way back up the tree, being mindful to be extra cautious so he doesn't fall again. He slips through the window with a bit of effort, hissing as the pointy edges of the glass tears into his thin parka and pants legs.

The first thing he notes is how dark the room is. Next is the eerie atmosphere.

Kenny pushes himself up on his feet, and turns on Stan's lamp. Realizing for a third time that the noirette himself isn't in his room. Kenny sees his phone resting on the nightstand, and frowns deeply. The reason why Stan didn't answer his phone call was because he didn't have it on him this whole time. Which leaves Kenny questioning where Stan is right now.

Kenny exits the room, hearing the low audio belonging to the television in the living room as he descends the stairs. Chills course through his arms and back, giving him returning goosebumps, the uncanny feeling increasing now that he's fully in the living room. That is also void of Stan's presence.

"Where the hell is he?" Kenny wonders scanning around, unnerved.

His body goes rigid upon glancing in the kitchen, eyes widening and quivering in horror. Sticking out behind the counter table on the floor is an outstretched arm with a blue and black wristband around it's wrist.

With a nervous drop of sweat forming near his hairline, Kenny takes slow strides toward the limb. "Stan?" He says softly. Getting no response.

'CRUUNCH'

Kenny stifles a startled swear word, looking down to see probably a box full of cereal scattered on the floor. He takes two more steps forward, and nearly has a heart attack at what he sees.

"Stan!"

Kenny hurries down on his knees to see if Stan is sporting any injuries anywhere, thankfully finding none. "What the hell happened?" As much as Kenny would like to piece the fallen cereal and Stan's unconscious form together, he needs to get Stan up to his room or lay him down on something soft so doesn't catch a cold. He opts to carry him to the sofa, knowing it was not going to be easy getting the slightly taller noirette up the stairs.

Hell how is he even going to lift him up? It would be really fucked up if he dragged him into the living room.

Kenny is skinny but not twig skinny, he doesn't have evident muscle on his arms however he has ways to defend himself when it came down to it.

Then a thought pops up in his head, and he feels like face-palming.

He stands up gently grabbing Stan's extended arm, hoisting him up then draping his arm across his shoulder. Kenny keeps him steady the best he can before moving towards the couch, holding both his midriff and wrist in a secure grip. He tries not to think about him holding Stan's slim waist, nor react to the tips of his hair tickling his cheek.

Once they reach the sofa, Kenny places Stan down on it's cushions as if he is a delicate object, noticing bits of cereal clinging onto his clothes. Kenny scraps them off into his hand, and goes to throw them into the trash can in the kitchen. After doing so, he frowns at the leftovers on the floor, then notices the bowl and milk on the counter. Sighing, he puts the milk back into the refrigerator, checks the bowl for anything in it, puts that into the fridge also, then locates the broom and dustpan to get started on sweeping. After throwing the cereal box away.

Amid him cleaning, he takes this time to wonder what happened. From the milk and cereal, he can deduce without a doubt that Stan didn't oversleep like he initially thought he did. But what caused him to faint? His lack of energy? That idea seems very logical. He has dark bags under his eyes, and Kenny can once again guess that it's the cause of his nightmares he's been frequently having lately.

Now Kenny really wants to know what they're about.

He finishes close to five minutes later, and he deposits the broom and dustpan back into their original spot. He returns to the living room, unsure on what to do now. Should he call Mrs. and Mr. Marsh and tell them what happened to their son? He would call Kyle and ask him what he should do, but the redhead is most likely still in his basketball meeting.

He first turns on the lamp, noting how weird it is for it to be getting dark this early, then picks up the wireless landline phone next to the lamp. He looks at the time on it's small screen, it's not even close to 5 o'clock yet. It's still in the premature minutes of 4 o'clock. He frowns confusedly at the closed window. "It's not gonna storm is it?" He puts Mrs. Marsh's number on speed-dial, but the moment he holds the device up to his ear the line instantly fails go through. "The line's dead?" He looks at the window again. If it's storming out, then why can't he hear any rain or thunder? It's practically silent in the house, save for the television.

He sets the phone down, shuts the t.v off, then walks over to the window. For some extremely odd reason, he gets a bad feeling warning him not to risk it. But he ignores it, and split apart the curtains a little to see outside.

Nothing is falling down from the darkened sky, but some of the trees are swaying wildly, proof that it is windy out. Since it seems as though it's going to storm some time later, Kenny doesn't understand why the phone isn't working as he closes the curtains.

"Guess I'll stay here until Stan wakes up or his parents come home," he thinks going to sit in the armchair.

Not even ten seconds after he thought that did a groan from Stan emit from his throat, fidgeting as he comes to. Kenny rises to his side, getting on his knees lightly nudging Stan's shoulder with his hand and calling his name to help wake him up.

Stan groans again, feeling an ache almost all around his body. The most prominent one being his head.

"-an, wake u..-"

"..Huh..?"

Stan blinks his eyes open with a couple flutters of the eyelids, first viewing the illuminated ceiling of a room he's not sure he's in at the moment. He hears the soft voice again, and registers something touching his shoulder. It feels warm, compared to how cold he is, and he wants the warmth to stay. Gathering up some strength, he moves his head to look over at his side, heart lurching at the blurry figure with blonde hair so close to him.

"Stan how do you feel?" They ask, tender tone morphing from being sincere to devious in Stan's ears. Wait no..not they...Kenny. The one who's dead set on killing familiars and loved ones in this town just so they could be together.

He's that Kenny.

"S-stay away..."

Kenny makes a face of bewilderment. Even though Stan is looking at him, his eyes appear to be looking through him instead. "What-"

"I said stay away!" Stan shouts, sounding panicky. He scrambles into a sitting position, and is about to get up when Kenny's hands keep him seated.

"Dude calm down." Kenny applies firm pressure once Stan starts squirming.

"Don't fucking touch me!"

Stan pushes Kenny away, and rushes onto his feet. The blonde falls onto his butt, dazed from the unexpected shove. He observes the standing noirette, strong fear clear in Stan's pale sapphire orbs.

"Stan what's wrong?" Kenny asks standing up. "Could him acting like this be because of his nightmare? Did he have it while he was unconscious?"

Anger intermixes with the anxiety on Stan's face, but his ire is weak. "You know damn well what's wrong," he seethes shakily. "Are you happy now you fucking murderer? Are you satisfied?!" Tears of pure sadness well up within his eyes.

"Murderer? What are you talking about?" Kenny is becoming greatly worried now, more so than puzzled. "Just relax alright? We can talk this over." He inches toward Stan, stopping when a low rumble of thunder vibrates the house. Kenny curses inwardly at the storm's 'perfect' timing.

Stan takes a step back, hands curling into fists at his sides. "There's nothing to talk about." He takes a moment to scan his surroundings, relived that he's in his home. "Get out." Kenny opens his mouth to protest, but Stan doesn't allow him to. "Right now," he presses narrowing his eyes further.

"I'm not leaving until you tell me what the hell's wrong with you." Kenny returns the glare, but out of assertion.

An uneasy silence reigns over them as another thunderclap sounds. Outside, a silhouette stands on the opposite sidewalk of the Marsh's house.

Without another word, Stan bolts up the stairs, Kenny following after him a second late. Stan dashes into his room slamming the door shut behind him, and he locks it.

Kenny bangs on it, demanding him to open the door. Stan stays quiet, dropping onto his knees with tears sliding down his cheeks. He just wants him gone.

"Stan c'mon! Open the door, please!" Kenny ceases his pounding on the door with a huff. Then there's a few seconds of silence. "Alright fine, I'll leave," he says grumpily.

Stan doesn't believe him until he hears his footsteps retreating, and slumps against the door, mentally and physically exhausted.

Kenny opens the front door, pausing in the entranceway. If it weren't for the streetlamps Kenny probably wouldn't have been able to see jack shit outside. That's how dark it is.

"A car would be fantastic to have right now." With a tense frown of his lips, Kenny hauls his hood over his head, leaving it loose. He walks out shutting the door behind him, contemplating if he should run home or not. He considers the former, he does not want to be out here once it starts raining. Picking up speed, his mind thinks back on what transpired between him and Stan. He was acting genuinely strange.

"Are you happy now you fucking murderer?"

"Was that what his nightmare was about? Me being some killer?" Kenny wonders dreadfully.

A car drives by, Kenny so immersed in his thoughts to notice it screeching to a stop then going into reverse. They honk their horn once for his attention, almost tripping as he utters a curse word while slowing down. He turns around just as the car pulls up near him, he recognizes this vehicle.

"Mr. and Mrs. Marsh?" He questions as the window facing him rolls down.

"Hey Kenny, want us to take you home?" Mrs. Marsh offers.

"Thanks but no thanks," Kenny gives her a small smile. "Don't wanna trouble you guys." He gets the major urge to inform them about Stan and his haunting nightmares, if he hadn't told them already. But since it seems to be centered around him somehow, Kenny thinks against it.

Sharon waves him off. "Oh we don't mind, we got off early anyway since it's gotten so dark all of a sudden. Plus it looks like it's going to start raining soon, and I'd hate for you to-" Her eyes widen. "Watch out, behind you!"

Asking no questions, Kenny moves out of the way just in the nick of time before what appears to be a katana stained with dry blood sliced his head off. Only managing to get one of the strings to his parka as his hood slips down from his head. "W-what the hell?!" He gapes at it's wielder, horror striking him strongly at their glowing red eyes, sadly unable to discern the rest of them clearly due to there being no light source close by.

"Kenny are you-Randy what in God's name are you doing?!" Randy drives them away, carelessly going to their house. Kenny mentally calls Randy a dick for leaving him like that.

"Hmph, they're not for me to kill anyway," the person, a male, mutters.

Kenny takes some steps back, ready to run when- "I don't want to hurt you Kenny, so don't even think about running away."

Against his will though it was for the better, Kenny goes into a standstill. Sauntering onto the sidewalk is a fairly visible figure Kenny least expected to see out here, last he recalled they left for work at the gas station this morning and isn't supposed to be home till the late evening.

"K-Kevin..?" Kenny gasps. "What-why-"

He is interrupted by Kevin holding out the deadly weapon towards him, a tassel dangling from the end of the handle. "You are this blade's rightful owner, take it. He wants you to posses him," he says monotonously.

Kenny eyes the blade fearfully, he backs away from it. "I-I don't know what you're talkin' about. Where did you even get that thing from anyway?!" He sees his older brother narrow his eyes, taking a step forward.

"Until now I was just his means for finding you, but enough talk, he's getting impatient."

"...Would you...be freed from him if I took it?" Kenny asks subconsciously, worried about his brother's well-being than his own even with his lack of knowing who this 'he' is.

Kevin is quiet for a second. "Yes I will be spared. So, have you decided to take him?"

Kenny bites his bottom lip averting eye contact, still hesitant. Much to the katana's dissatisfaction.

"Take him to a secluded place. If he persists to refuse me, then we'll have no other choice than to use force. I must have him."

A fleeting expression of conflict shows on Kevin's face, but he doesn't disobey. "We will continue this elsewhere," he announces dryly.

Before Kenny knows it, he along with his brother are gone.

Lighting flashes in the clouds as thunder resonates around the town, but not a single drop of rain has fallen.

Chapter Text

"Stan, open the door!"

Snapping his eyes wide open, Stan jolts away from the door, startled to have been woken up from his short, unintentional nap. Panting a little, he gapes at his bedroom door, flinching when it starts getting abused again.

"Stanley?! Are you in there?! Are you okay?! Answer me!"

"..Mom?" Stan mutters out in a small, raspy voice, wondering why she sounded so frantic. He gets up and nears the door, placing a shaken hand on the knob before slowly twisting it to the side and pulling it back. He is immediately embraced into cold, soft arms, he shudders.

"Oh thank goodness you're alright," his mother says breathlessly. She pulls back, and her next set words change when she sees her son's sickly appearance, frowning deeply in concern. "You're so pale," she places a gentle hand over his forehead. "This isn't good..." Then her eyes widen, looking past Stan. "Oh my God, what happened to the window?!"

"C'mon! We gotta get a move on!" They hear Randy shout from downstairs, tone matching Sharon's just now and seconds ago.

"The window?" Before Stan can look behind him, he feels his mother grab him by the arm and hurries them down to join the man in the living room, telling him that she'll try to explain what's going on the best she can even though she's still just as confused.

Once there, they see Randy going to peek out through the curtains, Sharon tells Stan to put on his jacket and shoes as she nears her husband. He stares confusedly at them for a moment before doing as told, fighting against the dizziness in his vision. "We need to take Stan the hospital, he's come down with a fever."

Moving away from the window, Randy clicks his tongue, looking troubled. "The worst time to get sick," he grumbles.

"Randy," Sharon chides.

"Okay okay, let's hurry up and go." Randy walks toward the front door, Sharon follows. "I didn't see that freak out there so I think we're safe to go back out."

Sharon experiences a short burst of relief, frowning slightly when she asks, "But what about Kenny?"

Stan, who was slumped against the wall near the door, stiffens at the mention of his friend.

"Didn't see him," Randy answers shaking his head.

Sharon glares at him accusingly. "If you hadn't of driven off, we-"

"We what?" Randy interrupts. "Could've gotten ourselves killed along with him?"

Sharon hesitates for a fleeting second. "He is still a child..-"

Stan drowns out his parents' arguing, working his jaded brain to think back on what had happened between him and Kenny. Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind is the psycho Kenny that always haunted his dreams. He clenches his eyes shut and shakes his head lightly to rid away the upcoming disturbing image. After having the nightmare, he remembers waking up and very vaguely seeing said teenager right next to him, hearing his voice confirmed his identity.

However not his true identity.

Stan was so distraught thinking that his nightmare had finally came true that he didn't have the sanity to distinguish that from reality. Would Kenny had really seemed so flummoxed towards the way he was behaving? Not only that his entire frame was free of any blood, plus he didn't have that damned sword. Stan can consider the possibility that he showered and washed his clothes, and hid the sword somewhere; feigning ignorance to deceive Stan.

And it worked.

That's why he asked, "Are you happy now you fucking murderer? Are you satisfied?!" Because he really thought that Kenny was deluding him into believing that he had no idea what he was talking about.

Kenny actually didn't know. And now, Stan feels beyond foolish for how he was acting...

He drops down onto his knees, appearing distant with dreadful guilt on his face. "...I'm so stupid..."

Seeing him collapse, his mother and father approach him. "Stan?!" His mother's voice sounded so far away in Stan's ears, like she was outside. "Don't worry, we'll take you to the hospital." Even though she's so close, she still sounded so far. Hands help him back on his feet, seeing the door being pulled back but not the person doing it.

"Stanley-kun."

Stan blinks his eyes at the unfamiliar voice that spoke inside his head.

"Forgive me for the sudden intrusion, but your presence is greatly needed."

Not given enough time to question both the male and his reason for needing him, Stan is abruptly transported to the man's unknown location.

Sharon and Randy are left speechless in total shock, staggering once they comprehend that their son had just disappeared.

"Where the hell..?!"

"Stan?!"


*Minutes Prior to Stan's Disappearance*

Kenny glances all around at his new destination, both bemused and skeptical. He and Kevin are in a vacant area within the woods. Kenny hasn't been here enough times to know that there's always been such a spot in this place, but the cleanly cut off stumps of the surrounding trees is obvious indication that a supernatural force did this. Definitely not done by a human.

As a low rumbling of thunder rolls in, Kenny scowls nervously at his older brother, who stared back blankly. Unaware of the worry swirling around in the corrupted red pair.

"What're are you guys plannin' to do now?" Kenny directs his glare towards the katana. "Gonna threaten me into takin' that thing?"

Kevin doesn't respond back, just frowns at him. Gripping the handle firmly, he stabs the blade into the ground then takes a few steps away from it. Kenny raises an eyebrow at this, but is startled when the entirety of the sword starts glowing in a aura similar to the snow below. Thanks to it's bright radiance, the handle that's black with green diamond shaped patterns, the tsuba (Collar) a bloodstained silver, and a white tassel are all apparent for Kenny to see.

Soon, the aura begins to shrink, causing the katana itself to shine then slowly transfigure into a human shape. Just as the light starts to dim away, Kenny sees his brother drop to the ground.

"Kevin!"

The revealed individual sticks out a hand, silently signalling him not to move. Kenny is about to protest, but once he looks at the being, he is greatly taken aback by their appearance. A mild gust of wind blew the abnormally handsome man's long black hair that has a white ribbon binding it into a ponytail, and a green haori designed with a black flower vine sprouting near the right side hem. Under the jacket he wore an all black kimono and hakama with a white obi. On his feet are a pair of black tabi socks and getas.

"Do not worry." At a leisure pace, the man opens his angular shaped eyes the moment the chilly breeze starts dying down into a still. "Your onii-san is okay, he just fainted and after a proper rest he'll be back on his feet." Calm, rich red eyes stare into stupefied hazel ones. The noirette lowers his hand to his side, using neither words or hand movements to send Kevin off to the inside of the McCormick's not-so comfortable bungalow.

There is a beat of silence after that, Kenny blinks his eyes with a dumbfounded flutter. "My what? Where'd my brother go?"

The man stares at him silently for a few seconds. "I don't mean to be rude, but where do you think I sent him?"

Kenny blinks incredulously before glaring at the male. "How the fuck am I supposed to know?! You probably sent him out to outer fucking space or somethin'!" He shouts with exasperated hands.

Cocking his head to the side, the noirette frowns his lips slightly. "Outer space you say? Would you'd rather I sent him there instead of your home?"

Brief silence as Kenny was almost close to believing that the Asian man had did his last statement. "Where did Kevin go?" Kenny repeats his question sternly, hardening his scowl.

Maintaining his frown, the noriette bends his body forward with his arms straight at his sides. "Please rest assured that I mean you and your family no harm," he stands upright again. "I've come to you, specifically, with purpose. But first let me introduce myself, I am Akuma Kurai, a lost soul that was cursed into becoming a life consuming blade for fraudulent deeds." A momentary flash of a mysterious emotion shows in Kurai's eyes. "I have been searching for a suitable wielder for centuries, and at long last..." He smiles faintly at the teen. "I've found one." He bows again. "I have come here to take you as my Master, Kenneth McCormick-sama."

Kenny is at a lost for words, there's no way he can wrap his head around this so soon. He shakes his head. "Sorry, but you're gonna have to find someone else. I-"

"No other human is fitted to wield me Kenneth-sama, their life span will decline at an even faster rate if they so much as touches me for a mere couple of seconds."

Sudden realization dawns on Kenny, and his heart drops. "Wait but Kevin-"

"He will be fine," Kurai hurriedly reassures. "I'm able to shorten the life consumption so he won't pass on too soon."

Very slowly, Kenny balls his hands into fists, eyes narrowing in returning anger though this time stronger. "So you lied to me, you clearly fucking said that you weren't gonna hurt my family yet Kevin is gonna die! What's the point of shortening someone's life when they're still gonna die in the end?!"

Kurai suppresses a smile. "He caught on quickly, all the more reason I should have him." He frowns deeply, expressing false regret that Kenny isn't aware of. "How he dies is up to him and his future decisions. However I do apologize for not being straightforward with my wording," he bows once again. "Please forgive me."

Kenny has the itching urge to punch this deceitful bastard in the face, but doing that wouldn't do him any good. "Tch, fuck you I'm outta here." He turns and runs away, baffling the Japanese man when he hears his rapidly retreating footsteps. He watches him go with his lips forming into a line.

As Kenny makes his way out of the woods, trying to not to trip over the twigs and roots in his path, a strange feeling erupts within his head and a voice follows.

"I understand that you're upset with me, but you still haven't agreed to becoming my Master. I'm sorry but you've let me with no other choice," says Kurai.

What the hell is he going to do, Kenny wonders apprehensively. He picks up speed upon seeing a clearing as well as a figure wearing a brown jacket sat underneath a street lamp on the sidewalk. Even though he doesn't know whom they are, he hopes they can help him somehow. But he then feels that he shouldn't get them involved in this bizarre situation, unaware that the person already is.

Kenny glances back, indecisive if he should feel relieved or anxious when he doesn't see Kurai tailing after him.

"K-Kenny?!" Facing ahead, Kenny skids to a stop, the person now standing and staring at him with wide eyes. "You..are Kenny, aren't you?" Sapphire eyes scan Kenny's body for any blood or the deadly weapon in his possession, immensely at ease when he spots neither on him.

"W-what're you doing out here?" Kenny pants. "Actually screw it, we gotta get somewhere safe." He takes Stan's hand and they run off down the sidewalk.

Bewilderment and worry crosses over on Stan's pale face. "W-wait, what's-"

"I'll explain as soon as we get to your house," Kenny says.

"I'm afraid that won't happen."

Kenny and Stan are forced to stop when a man abruptly appears in their way, Kenny glaring at him nervously while Stan seems to be struggling to keep his eyes open. The shock not strong enough to overpower his fever.

"I wanted to go about this with minimum resistance, but that was just foolish wishful thinking," Kurai shakes his head dejectedly.

"Leave Stan outta this," Kenny demands tightening his grip on Stan's hand.

"Kenny what's going on?" Stan asks wearily, going into a coughing fit afterwards and hunching down onto his knees.

Kenny immediately turns and gets down on his level, noticing how warm and clammy Stan's hand is getting even though it's freezing out. "Oh no, is he sick?"

A sinister smirk grows across Kurai's lips. "How unfortunate, seems he has a fever," he says, sounding not the least bit empathetic. "I would've left him be if Kenneth-sama wasn't so stubborn. Decide quickly if you want to spare this boy any future torment."

Kenny bites on his bottom lip, seemingly ignoring the man behind him though he heard every word. Why should he be feeling guilty for doing something any normal human would've done if they found themself in this kind of predicament? Who in their right mind would ever consider agreeing to-

"K-Kenny..." Stan's hoarse voice pulls him out of his thoughts. He purses his lips sadly when he examines Stan's face, looking about ready to past out at any given second.

Kenny averts his gaze towards the ground while gritting his teeth, his blonde bangs covering his glossy eyes.

Who does he care for the most at this moment: Himself or Stan?

"..Fine.." Letting go of Stan's hand, Kenny stands up turning to face the human katana with a glare. "Leave Stan alone..and I'll do it."

Kurai agrees with a small smile. Just as Stan opens his mouth to question Kenny on what he was going to do, he is returned to the living room of his home, sitting on the sofa in a daze. His parents voices are within earshot from upstairs, both wondering where their son had suddenly gone. Stan feels extremely lethargic and confused, who was that man that randomly showed up out of nowhere? He obviously isn't a civilian of this town, in fact he didn't seem from this country with what he was wearing.

"Kenny, what have you gotten yourself into?"

His eyes losing their strength to stay open, Stan's body slumps sideways onto the couch, sleep claiming him instantly.

"Let's head back into the woods, can't have unwelcoming eyes witnessing what's about to unfold." Kenny resits the urge to roll his eyes, the only people outside are themselves and there aren't any nearby houses so who could possibly see 'what's about to unfold'?

Instead of teleporting them to their previous destination, Kurai walks there, not looking back to see if Kenny is following him or not.

Kenny glances up at the sky, realizing that it hasn't thundered for quite some time now, nor has it rained yet either. The clouds still appear dismal.

"Wasn't gonna storm after all."

With a sigh, Kenny reluctantly reenters the woods with a heavy heart.


"I'm so sorry..."

Flickering flames danced around two teenagers, however no bodies littered the ground. Just puddles and splotches of blood of where the bodies are supposed to be. Stan frowns dubiously at the blood covered blonde before him. Usually he'd have this perturbing smile on his face, but right now he's not making such an expression. Instead he's frowning.

Kenny looks down at the katana, raising it near his stomach. He grimaces at the blood covering the blade almost as a whole, clenching the hilt tightly. "I didn't want to do this. I..." He shakes his head lowering his weapon, blonde bangs tinged with red hanging past eyes, that are starting to tear up.

Stan can't tell if he's being genuinely remorseful, but he's not going to forgive him. He killed not only his family and friends, but every single person in South Park.

He doesn't deserve forgiveness.

Stan looks off to the side. "Your apology doesn't mean shit to me."

The tears spill as Kenny curls his lips into a sad smile. "Yeah, I thought so." He lifts his head to look at Stan through blurry vision. "But I really am sorry, I had no choice."

Stan forms his hands into shaking fists, feeling himself getting angry. "You had no choice?! That's bullshit-" His eyes widen in disbelief at the tears streaming down Kenny's cheeks. A strange ache pierces his chest.

Kenny drops the katana, it lands with a dull 'crunch' in the snow. "I'm really," red bubbles surface within his eyeballs and the clear teardrops change into smears of blood down his face. "Really sorry."

.....

Stan blinks his eyes open, lips curling downward. Evening sunlight gleams through the closed white curtains and colors the white room. Rubbing the haze from his eyes, he gives the ceiling a perplexed stare.

"I'm in the hospital?"

Before he can begin to fathom why he's in the hospital and not at home plus this mysterious feeling dwelling in his chest, a faint crackling noise catches his attention. He sits up carefully, looking intently at the window beside him. The thickness of the drapes make it a little difficult for Stan to discern the yellowish orange hue outside, but he does know one thing. Whatever's making that sound isn't sitting well him.

At all.

Removing the sheets off of his body, Stan sees himself wearing the hospital's pajama clothes. He swings his legs over the bed towards the window, planting his bare feet on the cool tiles of the floor with a skin-tingling shiver. He slowly stands up, using the bed as support until his legs are able to keep him stable. He frowns nervously at the window before nearing it, swallowing the lump in his throat. The snapping sounds are louder than when he was on the bed once he closes the small distance, his heart rate increasing as he raises trembling hands to split apart the curtains. He does so in quick motion, and what greets him leaves him gaping like a fish out of water.

It's fire. What he thought was the sun is actually fire. And it has spread widely throughout the town.

Buildings, dead trees, cars, and even people are being burned to nothing but ashes.

"N-no way..t-this can't be..." Stan takes wobbly steps back from the window, his eyes unblinking.

He believes that he is somehow undergoing a nightmare, which he quickly questions about the recent one he just had.

No, that was no nightmare. But was it a dream or a prophecy of some sort?

Well whatever it was left Stan confused, however the unyielding flames outside doesn't grant him the time to muse on it. But he doesn't know what to do, that is until loud screams coming from multiple people resonate from down the hallway. He rushes toward the door, pushing it open with so much force that it struck the wall with a powerful 'thunk'.

Down the right, fire had managed to get itself inside the hospital, blocking off either exit or entry from the other hallway and most likely from the entrance on the lower floor. A group of patients stood panicked in the middle of the corridor, a few women crying and asking each other how they are going to escape while the men tried to calm them down.

All of a sudden, before the patients and Stan even knew it, the flames surge forward as if someone had poured a large amount of gasoline into it. Incinerating the helpless group into nothingness.

Stan falls back onto his butt with a startled cry, summer wind blowing his hair and clothes until the source dies down. The entire hallway is scorched black, and the drapeless window two doors down from Stan's room's left was burst open.

"W-what the fuck..just happened?" Stan's whole body is shaking with absolute fear. That was by far the scariest thing he's ever seen in his life, it topped seeing Shelly's horrendous face back when she was still living at home hands down.

Stan blinks when he feels water rising within his eyes, tears one by one rolling down his cheeks.

"So Shelly's the only family I have now. There's no way mom and dad survived the fire out there." His tears pick up speed. "Kyle, Kenny, and even fatass. Everyone that I cared about and knew...are all dead."

He brings his knees up to his chest, and folds his arms on top them, burying his weeping face into his arms. He feels as though he's the only survivor in this town, everything around him seems so empty. The vast fires are void, even it's heat.

"Stan?"

Said teen's body goes taut. That voice just now..-

"Stan can you hear me?"

Stan slowly lifts his head a bit, mouth covered by his arms. "Y-yeah, I hear you Kenny but-"

"Where are you?"

"..I'm in the hospital, how are you..talking to me like this?"

Kenny goes silent for a moment. "That's not important right now, you're not hurt anywhere are you?"

"No."

"That's good," Stan perceived the genuine relief in Kenny's tone. "Kurai's gonna bring you to where we are. Get ready."

Stan raises his head in shock. "Who-"

He is only able to think that one word before he's once again transported from his spot against his will.


Stan finds himself standing in an empty area within the small town, the ring of fire around the city had melted all the snow so his feet aren't too cold. He scans his surroundings, gasping with widening eyes when he sees eight non-burnt bodies laying side by side on the ground. Dead. Stan knows whom all of them are instantly with sinking dread.

They're his friends.

"Oh my God..."

Soft footsteps walk up to the heartbroken boy, in the person's right hand is a heavily bloodstained katana. A constant flow of red droplets paint the ground even more in unrefined splatters. They let go of their weapon, it creating a loud enough impact to the ground to jolt Stan back to his senses. His heart jumps in his throat when red, blonde, and faint orange appear in his field of view.

"It's okay Stan, everything is okay," Kenny coos with a sweet smile, the blood on his face making the expression far more disturbing.

Compressing his hands into fists, Stan composes himself gritting his teeth tightly. "Like hell it is!" He punches Kenny square on the cheek, glaring at his stumbling form with shiny orbs, fresh tears pouring from them. "Do you have any idea what you've done?! You fucking killed everyone, our friends Kenny, and you say everything's okay?! The fuck's wrong with you?!"

Disregarding the pain in his cheek, Kenny cocks his head to the side, looking like an innocent puzzled child. "Our friends?" He blinks his eyes once, then shakes his head. "No Stan, they weren't anything like that, and I'll tell you why." He goes to pick up the katana, he chiburi's the blood off of it with a single flick, splattering across the ground in a thin, long line. Dried blood remains on the blade. He walks over to the corpses. "You see, these guys here have done things that neither you or me were aware of. Well, until I got a hold of this sword."

"Sword...?" Upon looking at said weapon, Stan's blood runs cold. "Kenny, where did you get that from?"

Clouded hazel eyes stare at him impassively. "Why don't we start with Kyle Broflovski first?" Ignoring Stan's demand, Kenny's countenance alters darkly. "The person you deemed as your 'super best friend'." Stan watches him walk over to Kyle's body, frowning in bitter sorrow at the redhead's corpse. Kenny scowls coldly at his former friend, then looks back at Stan. "Let me ask you, has Kyle ever kept any secrets from you?"

Stan appears taken aback by the query, but he answers, "N-not that I know of..."

"Did you ask him whenever he looked like he was hiding something?" Kenny presses.

Stan breaks eye contact, looking at the ground. There were seldom days when Kyle appeared that something was bothering him, and of course Stan asked him about it. But the redhead just told him not to worry his-self over it so Stan never questioned him again, and Kyle went back to his normal self. Stan shakes his head, not wanting to envision any memories of his best friend. He still can't believe that he's dead...

Stan glares heatedly at Kenny. "What does it matter? You fucking killed him so whatever you say won't-"

"I know it's not obligatory for friends to tell each other their private matters, but I believe that stealing a kiss from a supposed friend is not something that should be kept hidden. Especially when they're already in a relationship."

Stan feels heat rising in his cheeks. "Kyle did..that? B-but so what? Me and Wendy weren't officially together back then anyway. You honestly think that's a good enough reason to kill him?"

"Yes." A wave of chills course throughout Stan's body after Kenny uttered that lone word. Kenny moves on to Cartman's body, eyes seemingly darkening in pure hatred. "This fat bastard deserved death," he looks at Stan again. "You and I both knew this. He was nothing but a selfish bully, more so to Kyle but he didn't exclude us to pick on whenever he got bored with him. But do you remember the worst thing he's done? Not to Kyle, not to me, not to Scott or anybody else. To you Stan? Do you remember what he did to you?"

Stan wipes his eyes dry with his sleeve, not bothering to remember what Cartman did to him back in middle school. He forgot it for many reasons, and he's not going to bring the past to surface after so long of trying to forget it. "It's nothing worse than all the things he'd done to Kyle. Either way Cartman didn't deserve to die. In fact, none of them did!" Stan exclaims gesturing at their-his dead friends.

"I'm not finished yet." Kenny walks back, going past Kyle and stopping at Craig. "Craig Tucker, where do I even begin with him?" He shakes his head in disappointment. "He hasn't done worse than Eric, but a crime is still a crime." He gives Stan a weak grin. "One word, drugs." He looks at Tweek, Clyde, and Token, who laid in between two females. "I'm sure you know why I killed his friends, so that leaves-"

"What are you the fucking police?! You hung out with them, and I bet you did all those drugs with them so what the fuck was the point in killing them over something like that?!" Stan exclaims.

Kenny's smile falters, forcing away the image of Craig calling out to him after school yesterday from his mind. "Moving on to the last two."

Stan falls to his knees, staring tiredly at his lap. "Kenny don't, just stop, please," he pleads.

Kenny ignores him once again, stopping in the middle of a female with long dirty black hair, and the other with disheveled frizzy blonde hair. "Wendy Testaburger and Bebe Stevens," Stan bites his bottom lip, hard. "Both were beautiful, smart, and that was it. Those were the only good things that were going for them. But I give them props for at least trying to be nice to others, even though it was so obviously fucking forced. These bitches were fake to the core, it's no wonder they hung out with each other. What the hell did you even see in Wendy to date her Stan?"

"That's enough!"

Only the crepitating sounds from the flames are heard after Stan's exclamation. Kenny looks to him calmly.

"W-what the hell's gotten into you?" Stan raises his head slowly, tears stubbornly returning to drench his face. "Why are you acting like this?"

Kenny doesn't say anything for a short while. "Because..." He lets his words hang in the air as he approaches Stan, his face softening. Once he's near, he gets down on both knees releasing the katana and hugs Stan. "I simply wanted you all to myself," he says in the crook of Stan's neck.

Stan so badly wants to push Kenny away, the metallic scent this close to his nose is nauseating, but he lacks the strength to move any of the limbs on his body. "You're fucking crazy..." He closes his eyes, wishing for the first time since he had them for this to be nothing but another nightmare. He's mighty tired, and he hopes to God that when he wakes up everything that's happened today will be reverted back to complete normalcy.

Chuckling softly, Kenny pulls back slightly. He smiles tenderly at Stan's unconscious form, and holds him in his arms.

"For you, I'll do anything. Whether it makes you happy or sad."

Chapter Text

In a lone beautiful world known as the Shadow Globe, there lived only two races of supernatural creatures. A long bridge aligned with lit torches was built in between the lands. Up North were the vampires, their domain was called Tempest Nights. A large manor that had a haunted appeal harbored most of the vampires inside it, primarily those of elite status such as the royals and the council. The others lived in Victorian houses, aligned side by side on the left and right with a cobblestone walkway in the middle.

Down South were the werewolves, Moonfang valley was the name of their land. A dark medieval looking castle stood tall over the small cottages far out underneath, being a home for the alphas and betas. The castle had a clear yet distant view of the manor across from it. They didn't have anything luxurious like the bloodsuckers did, and that suited them absolutely fine. They were able to hunt in peace, and do their own thing without the vampires nagging and complaining. Dubbing them 'abhorrent beasts' while the werewolves referred to the vampires as 'pretentious leeches'.

A full moon so big and bright hovered independently in the night sky, making it easy for two wandering boys to approach their destination through the woods. Though it wasn't necessarily needed, but the moon had been up in the sky for centuries now anyway. Because without it, this world would not exist, meaning neither would it's mythical inhabitants. Oxygen, blood, and meat weren't the only necessities for living.

"Kenny, I don't think we can keep doing this," a black haired wolf boy muttered dejectedly. The werewolves could choose between either being in their half-form (Half-human and half-wolf) or their full wolf form. Those that decided to be half's only resorted to full when hunting and sometimes during training, since in that form they're at their fullest potential.

"It's fine Stan, cuz we're going some place different this time," Kenny, a blonde haired vampire grinned. He forced them to pick up the pace.

Stan frowned looking down at their connected hands, trying not imagine this being his last time with the boy. Not only was he trespassing in vampire territory for the umpteenth time, but he's also going out with one. Who was a male. Dating wasn't forbidden in neither land of course, however if you and your partner were both of the same gender and of different race then that was considered taboo. Punishment was sure to follow if discovered, and it was definitely not going to be a lenient one.

"We're here."

With his frown still in place, Stan looked up at the sound of rushing water and his eyes widened in awe. A reflection of a sparkling lake could be seen in his orbs. Dots of moving yellow light would flicker on and off above the water, a few fish would leap up into the air and create little splashes when they returned underwater.

Kenny turned and grabbed Stan's other hand, gripping them down in front of them and blocking his view of the pretty lake with his softly smiling handsome face. Hazel looking straight into sapphire. Stan blinked with a faint blush coloring his cheeks, but he held eye contact. Kenny released his hands to embrace him into a hug. Stan hugged him back while closing his eyes and smiling, his tail coiling around Kenny's waist.

"I love you," Kenny whispered against the crook of his neck, holding back a laugh at his boyfriend's tail unintentionally tickling him.

"I love you too," Stan whispered back.

Kenny pulled back slightly to gently press his lips against Stan's, a light breeze blew their hair and parts of their clothing. Neither wanted this moment to end, both hated having to sneak away just to be with the person he loved. Truly hated it.

Before the werewolves and vampires came to despise each other, they got along well and Stan and Kenny were best friends, ever since children. As they began to enter their preteen years, their feelings started to develop into attraction. Stan began to notice how undeniably attractive Kenny was, how his pale clear skin felt smoother than it actually looked whenever they touched, and his blithe attitude. If Stan had to pick which he found more appealing on the blonde, he would, without a doubt, have difficulties choosing because he loved everything about the vampire. Kenny started seeing Stan in a whole new light when he realized that he liked the other, such as the noirette's matching colored wolf ears and tail complimenting his features in a cute and also sexy way, and when he's in his full-fledged wolf form during training he took it so seriously that there were many times he'd almost killed his partner. It wasn't Stan's looks that triggered these romantic feelings in him, it was his sense of devotion.

They kept how they felt for one another a secret, but it was null and didn't last very long. Stan was the first one to gather up the courage to confess, and Kenny naturally accepted since he felt the same way too. Unfortunately, two years later into their relationship the werewolves and vampires wanted nothing to do with each other anymore and they both created a land of their own. Stan and Kenny weren't willing to break up because of that, no one knew of their relationship anyway, they still appeared as best friends to the public eye. 

"Kenny?" The wind slowed to a stop.

Snapping his eyes open, Kenny pulled away instantly, gaping in horror past a startled Stan and at a red haired figure in the shadows. "Shit..." He was so caught up in the moment that he failed to realize that they weren't alone. "Why him of all people?" Kenny pressed his lips into a nervous line.

"Kenny," Stan uttered nervously, his wolf ears flattening against his head and his tail tightening around Kenny's waist.

"Shh, don't move," Kenny ordered in a low, sharp tone.

Stan obeyed, keeping as still as a statue. The worst possibility that could ever happen to them had come true, they'd been caught.

"Kenny who's that?" The vampire asked inching towards them.

Kenny slowly brought Stan closer to his body, the action not going unnoticed. "A friend," Kenny and Stan tried not to flinch at that word. "What are you doing out here?" Kenny narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Did you follow me?"

The redhead stopped, now partly standing in the rays of the moonlight. His lime-green eyes stared at Stan's back with a scrutinizing gaze. "I did. You've been acting strange lately, so I decided to investigate the cause. Didn't think you cared so much about your 'friend' to sneak out all the way over here."

"Kyle we've talked about this, mind your own business," Kenny hissed, deepening his glare.

Kyle glared back defensively. "In case you've forgotten since it seems you clearly have, your business is my business. We also talked about this, did we not?" Kenny gritted his teeth angrily.

Stan bit his bottom lip, suppressing a shudder at the hostility surfacing around them in the air. He knew of the history between Kenny and Kyle since the blonde himself revealed it to him during the course their relationship, and Kenny had every right to be mad at the redhead. But not to a point where he wanted to kill him. "K-Kenny calm down," Stan urged quietly. He carefully pried himself out of Kenny's hold, turning to look at Kyle with pleading eyes. "Look I'll leave okay? J-just don't report us, I won't ever come back again."

"Stan! What the hell are you saying?!" Kenny questioned in disbelief.

Kyle's expression turned cold. "Seeing you gives me all the more reason to report you two, and as much as I would like to do that, I won't. Mainly for Kenny's sake," he glared at Stan with pure malice in his eyes. "I could care less what happens to a beast like you."

"Watch what you say to him Kyle," Kenny hissed once again, stepping past Stan and standing in front of him protectively. "If you tell anyone about us, I swear I'll make you regret it."

Kyle frowned, looking hurt and angry. "Okay fine I'll keep my mouth shut," he pointed at Stan. "So long as I never see him here again." He spun and marched back home in infuriated strides, although a smirk was forming on his lips.

Kenny breathed out a deep sigh once he's gone. He turned around frowning sadly at Stan. "Sorry you had to go through that."

Stan shook his head. "The vampires hate us that much huh?" He smiled with obvious force.

"Not me," Kenny hugged him again. "I could never hate you. I love you."

Stan hesitated a moment before wrapping his arms around Kenny's torso. "Yeah, me too."

Kenny pulled back and gave Stan a quick kiss, he held his hand mustering up a small grin. "Let's get you back home." Stan mimicked his smile weakly with a nod.


Nights passed by boringly for Kenny, it felt as though it's been weeks since he last saw Stan. When in reality it's been five nights, really close to a week though. Kyle had been watching Kenny like a hawk since that night he spotted the blonde with a male werewolf, leaving no gaps for Kenny to sneak off and go see Stan. Even though it was irking Kenny's nerves, at least Kyle was keeping true to his word, and that's all that mattered.

Until Kenny couldn't stand it any longer. He could not endure the isolation from his boyfriend no more.

So one night, Kenny took a chance to sneak over to Moonfang valley. Scanning his surroundings attentively as he neared the bridge, mainly for a certain red haired vampire who'd been acting like an observant hound as of late. Kenny shook his head at Kyle's behavior, it's ridiculous honestly though he should feel a little bit fortunate that it was Kyle who saw them instead. If it had of been any other vampire, they would've been outed that same night without hesitation.

Crossing over the bridge was an easy feat, the guards that were supposed to be supervising it were always asleep so it wasn't a problem to slip by them. Sucks to have that job. Upon entering the village, Kenny concealed his presence completely as he always did and made his way towards Stan's home. It was also easy to get Stan out of the cottage, he and his father were the only ones who lived there and the man was seldom home out doing who knew what. The small house was basically Stan's, though Stan himself didn't want to admit it.

Kenny stopped by the back window, which happened to be the noirette's room. "Stan," Kenny called for the boy telepathically, frowning when he didn't receive an instant response. Plus detecting the smell of blood wafting around in the air, however it wasn't rich. Kenny scrunched up his face. "What the hell?" Footsteps along with some voices filled the serene silence, Kenny gritted his teeth. "Damn it, I'll come back another time then."

Feeling unsatisfied and a bit uneasy at another night without Stan, Kenny hurried back over to the bridge and teleported home.

Two more nights passed by, officially making it a week. It's been one full week, and Kenny wasn't so sure if he could last even one more minute without being next to his werewolf. Unaware that today was finally going to be the day, however their reunion wasn't going to be a happy one.

Kenny was laying on his bed, glaring up at the ceiling when someone knocked on his door. He sighed. "What is it Kare?"

"W-we're all being called outside," Karen said, sounding very nervous.

"Seriously?" Kenny sighed again, annoyed instead of being equally nervous as his little sister. The only time they've had gatherings outside in the village square was when either the werewolves or vampires wanted to talk or negotiate something for everyone to hear. The werewolves would come over to Tempest Nights if they had something to discuss, and the vampires to Moonfang valley for akin matters.

Kenny sat up, slipped on some mocha colored slippers that was by his bed and ambled towards his bedroom door. He opened it seeing his sister stood by the stair railing down the hall, she turned her head back upon hearing Kenny opening the door. She was frowning, clearly still anxious.

Curling his lips into a small smile, Kenny approached her. "C'mon." He walked past her down the stairs, Karen followed. The front door was left ajar for them, and they walked out, Karen closing the door behind her. Further down was a large group of people, Kenny fought back a giddy smile at the thought of seeing Stan again at long last as he and Karen neared the crowd, standing next to their mother, father, and older brother.

There were murmurs all around, but Kenny didn't care what they were muttering about because Stan was that mattered to him. He could already imagine himself grabbing a shocked Stan by the hand once the meeting was over, and discreetly dragging him somewhere barren just so they could be alone.

Someone clearing their throat signaled everyone to be quiet, and they all took the hint without fail.

"What is it you wish to speak with us about?" One of the royals, Gregory, demanded calmly. Standing in front of the two big groups were the superiors of their land.

A brunette narrowed his shamrock green eyes. "Stanley Marsh and Kenneth McCormick," he said the pairs' names in a heavy French accent. "I want zhem to step forward now."

Kenny frowned deeply in confusion, acquiring a dreadful bubble in his stomach. "Kenny what the hell did you do?!" His mother hissed. Kenny shrugged, he hadn't a clue but the unpleasant feeling grew stronger. He trudged up to the front, thankfully some people moved out the way for him. Once he's there, his thin pupils shrunk and his body went taut.

"Stan...?"

Stan sniffled. "I-I'm sorry Kenny, please forgive me," he whimpered, tears streaming down his bruised face. He was wearing long sleeves so Kenny couldn't tell if his arms were hurt as well, three lines of a scar were along his cheek, starting near his cheekbone. Kenny was currently going through a mixture of emotions: rage, sadness, bewilderment, concern, but rage being the dominant one. Who the hell hurt Stan? His boyfriend?

"What is the meaning for calling them up here Christophe?" Gregory inquired, glaring mildly at the brown half-wolf. "Are you suspecting Kenneth did this?"

"Non, zhat's not it. 'ow about we let zhese sneaky little sheets tell us why zhey're 'ere instead, zhey're zhe main reason we initiated zhis meeting in zhe first place."

Kenny blinked, his pupils back to normal. "What? What did we do?"

Christophe glared at him for feigning ignorance, but before he could say anything Stan spoke. "W-we were found out," he sniffled. "M-my dad found out we were dating. I'm so sorry." He held his head down in great shame.

Gasps were heard and chattering soon followed. "Hmph, seems there was no need for me to tell," Kenny heard Kyle say in his head, picturing the redhead smirking. His blood began to boil. Christophe ordered everyone to shut up, in French.

"What?! B-but how?!" Kenny exclaimed, panicking. He could've sworn-

"I smelled your stench on him you leech." Stepping forward was a pissed off Randy, his cobalt blue eyes faintly bloodshot. Stan flinched at his tone. It was the very same tone he spoke in that night when he and Kenny's relationship was forced to be disclosed. "I don't know nor do I care how long you've been together for, but I do not want you anywhere near my son ever again."

Kenny didn't hear a word Randy said, his eyes focusing on Stan's trembling form. "...Were you the one who hurt Stan?" Kenny asked in a strained voice, red flickering in his hazel iris'.

"Yeah, I beat the answers outta him since he wouldn't tell me flat out. Gotta problem with how I treat my own flesh and blood brat?" Randy sneered.

Red swallowed hazel in one swift motion as Kenny lost all sense of control, tackling the man to the ground and mercilessly punching him in the face. He was quickly pried off of the bloodied adult, trying to wiggle himself free while cursing at Randy as he was dragged away. Christophe shook his head in disgust, Gregory and few other royals frowned in disappointment.

Stan couldn't bear to look at Kenny, it was his fault that it came to this. All his fault. Fresh tears traveled down his cheeks.

Another person cleared their throat. "Let us discuss their punishment then," declared Gerald, a member of the council.

Kenny was sentenced to four years of confinement in the manor, it was initially going to be two if he hadn't of attacked Randy and nearly beat him to death. Stan was exempted from training and hunting and other activities for he was enforced to do manual labor for five months.

......

One quiet night, Kyle entered the manor, a cup of nothing but blood in one hand. He hummed a random soft tune as he walked down a few flight of stairs, wandered a long corridor with lit torches being light sources on either side of the walls, turned left, walked a bit more, and finally stopped in front of his destination. Two of the torches illuminated a figure inside the cell he was looking into, sat on the ground with his back against the wall in a dirty white tank top and brown pants in similar condition was Kenny. Silver chains planted on the left and right side walls were securely bound to his thin ankles.

Kyle smiled sadly at his pitiful appearance. "Hello Kenny." The blonde remained silent. Kyle reached into his back pocket with his free hand to pull out a golden key. He stuck it into the lock, twisted the key, and pulled the metal door back then entered the cell. He crouched down on his knees setting the cup down beside Kenny, he caressed the blonde's damp, soft cheek, gently forcing him to look him in the eyes. Kenny's dead eyes seemed to be looking straight through Kyle, but he didn't mind. He's used to Kenny's unfriendliness.

"All's not lost ya know?" Kyle leaned in a little bit closer towards Kenny's face. "You've still got me and we can be together forever with no problems." Kenny's eyes appeared to had darkened at his last statement. Kyle chuckled before standing up, and leaving the cell closing the door behind him.

Chapter Text

"You guys free this weekend?" Stan asks his crew as they board the school bus, heading home for the day. He and Kyle sit in a seat together while Kenny and Cartman sit themselves beside them. Students slowly fill the bus and it's remaining vacant seats.

"If I don't have homework sure," Kyle answers resulting in Stan playfully smacking his bookbag that he placed over his lap.

"That's obviously a no," Stan deduces. Kyle just shrugs uncertainly.

"God you're such a nerd," Cartman exasperates jokingly.

"And I'm proud to be one fatty," Kyle retorts boastfully.

Cartman looks to him with a glare. "For the last time, I'm not fat! This is all muscle, something you clearly don't have!" Mild anger erupts across Kyle's face, but before he can respond back with a witty remark of his own Stan interjects.

"Annyway, what about you two?"

The bus slowly starts moving out of school grounds. Kenny nods his head that he will be free to hang out. Stan tries not to let the rising elation show on his face as he nods his head in understanding, though the poor boy did notice him briskly avert his eyes away from his after doing so.

Cartman faces forward crossing his arms with a huff. "It depends on what you have in mind cuz I was gonna binge watch that new Netflix series all day Saturday." The bus stops, dropping off a few students before the driver moves on to the next stop once they're out of the vehicle.

"Oh," Stan sits back. "Well I was thinking we could either hang out at the arcade or at my place and play some video games, don't know if my parents and Shelly will be home Saturday so I haven't really decided on where yet. I'll order some pizza too if we do hang out at my house." Kenny beams underneath his hood at the mention of pizza. "Nothing special really," Stan then shrugs.

Cartman is silent for a moment. "Hmm nah I'll pass," he says looking uninterested.

"Shocking," Kyle deadpans. Cartman ignores him.

"Looks like it's just me and Kenny then," Stan shrugs one arm nonchalantly, though deep down he is nervous and happy at the same time.


When Saturday finally comes around, Stan has the great urge to change the hang out location to the arcade. But since Kenny doesn't own a cell phone and no longer has a working landline telephone at his house, he can't call and tell him that. Thankfully. Which also means that he doesn't know when his friend will be over, he didn't give Stan a definite time when asked, just that he'd probably be over in the afternoon. So Stan told him to come over to his house.

Ever since his family left a couple hours earlier, Stan has been sitting on the couch in the living room trying to calm his nerves with the help of some random shows on the television. His parents went out on a date and won't be back until nighttime, and Shelly went over a friend's house, who knows when she'll return. He'd ordered two boxes of pizza an hour prior, they are sat on the small glass table before him, losing their warmth the more they remain uneaten. Next to them is a big gallon of soda, and two PS4 controllers.

After a few minutes of blankly watching a show he has no idea what's going on in, Stan grabs the remote and changes the channel. Starting to get bored, and very hungry thanks to the aroma of pepperoni pizzas drifting about in the air.

Sighing and tossing the remote to the side, ending up on a channel he doesn't care for, Stan decides to eat a few slices of pizza while he waits. "Is he actually coming or not? Fuckin' starving here." Just when his hand touches the top pizza box's lid, there are three gentle knocks at the front door. His heart picks up a slight pace as he stands up to open it. "Jesus I need to calm down, don't know why I'm making this such a big deal just cuz it's gonna be the two of us here...alone." He shakes his head stopping in front of the door, feeling heat rushing up within his cheeks that he unfortunately cannot stop. "We're just gonna play video games, eat pizza, maybe watch some movies depending on how long he stays, and that's it."

With a deep breath, Stan reaches for the doorknob, twisting it and pulling the door back to reveal his long awaited guest. Whose face is open for him to see and is smiling showing off his surprisingly white teeth, bits of his blonde hair sticking out under his hood. The orange setting sun unintentionally amplifies his handsome facial features, Stan couldn't help but get lost in his smile.

"Yo," hearing Kenny's intelligible voice instantly snaps him out of his daze.

"H-hey," Stan tenses up at his stutter, and quickly tries to divert the upcoming awkwardness by speaking again, forcing up a small grin as he does so. "About time you showed up, the pizzas were starting to get cold." He steps back to let his friend inside.

Stepping into the house, Kenny chuckles sheepishly lightly scratching the side of his cheek. "My bad, had to take care of some things at home." Pulling his hood off to allow his short blonde hair to be visible, he takes off his boots next to Stan's shoes as the noirette closes and locks the door. "Didn't think it was gonna take me so long, and damn it smells good in here." He hurries over to the sofa and sits down on it, suddenly making a face when he looks at what's on the t.v.

Noticing his expression with a raised eyebrow, Stan goes toward the kitchen to get some paper plates and napkins. "What is it?"

"You into soap operas?" Kenny asks curiously, leaning forward to get a slice of pizza.

"Not really," Stan answers walking back into the living room. He hands Kenny a paper plate and napkin then sits down next to him. "But how'd you know what this was?" Stan looks to him momentarily as he asks, "Unless you watch them?" Before grabbing himself some pizza.

After putting his food on his plate, Kenny raises his hands up defensively. "Hey I only watched one to see what they were like, and it just so happened to be this one you were lookin' at. This is a rerun by the way." He grabs two more slices, then takes a bite out of one of them, moaning in delight that sends an odd sensation throughout Stan's body. He hides it by getting himself one more slice of pizza. "Why didn't you order any wings?" Kenny whines with a full mouth.

"Cuz didn't have enough to get them, mom and dad went out on a date so they couldn't lend me any cash." Stan pauses. "Shit forgot the cups." He sets his plate on top of the table then gets up heading back into the kitchen, returning shortly after with two plastic cups in each hand. He places one down in front of his plate, and the other in front of Kenny on the table. He sits back down and begins eating.

When five minutes go by, "We playin' the game ooor..." Kenny says. He'd eaten all of his pizza, and only crusts remain on his plate. He searches and grabs the t.v remote that was beside him.

Stan sets his half-empty cup down on the table, he only has one more slice of pizza left. "Yeah, but you seemed so interested in what was goin' on in the show I thought you'd forgotten about playing."

Kenny starts tossing the remote up and down. "Nah, watchin' it once was enough. Ain't for me."

Stan gives a short laugh. "Alright let's play then."

Kenny switches to the gaming station, smirking smugly. "I can finally get my revenge for that unnecessary ass kickin' you gave me last time."

Stan smiles seizing one of the game controllers, he presses a small button in the bottom center for the console to turn on. "We'll see, you know I always wreak you in fighting games." Kenny lightly hurls the remote at him while laughing.

The two boys played video games for hours on end, only stopping when nature called and eating the remaining slices of pizza until none were left. Once it's dark outside, they decide to call it quits.

Kenny sets his controller down on the table, then sighs leaning back against the sofa. He closes his eyes, curling his lips into a soft smile. "Jeez man, don't know how to hold back do ya?"

Smiling, Stan turns the game off, and flips the channel back to another random show. "Hey you destroyed me in Black Ops so we're technically even now."

Kenny chuckles tiredly, then gets interrupted by a yawn. He opens his eyes sitting up. "I'd better hurry home before I end up fallin' asleep." He stretches his arms high above his head, grunting when his bones pop.

"..Wanna spend the night?" Stan offers, his voice small.

Kenny lowers his arms with a frown. "If I hadn't of told my mom I'd be back home before midnight, then yeah."

Stan can't help but appear letdown at that, not able to crack a joke at his curfew. When he sees the clear disappointment in his demeanor, Kenny's frown deepens but in confusion. "I'll walk you home then." Stan gets up, approaching the stairs.

"Thanks but you don't have to," Kenny says, standing up and turning in his direction.

Halting near the bottom step, Stan stares into his hazel eyes. "I want to." His serious tone held no room for further disagreement, Kenny sighing out a "Fine" in defeat. Stan ascends the stairs to his room. Kenny goes to put his boots back on.

Stan enters his room, locating his charging cell phone on his nightstand and nearing it. The same bout of nervousness he had that afternoon on the school bus has resurfaced, this time in an intense wave. During the course of their gaming, Stan was treating it as a normal friendly hang out session, forgetting entirely that he was alone with the boy he'd developed feelings for. Though there were some occasional moments where he would steal a glance at the blonde.

The issue regarding how or why he came to like his friend is no longer complex, he's already acknowledged his sexuality. One of the main problems is coming out. He can care less about what his sister will think of him, he's more worried about how his parents will assess that their son isn't actually straight. He knows for sure that they'll be bemused as to how he went from liking girls to liking guys all of a sudden, but the thing is, he likes both genders. The second problem is whether Kenny is even into dudes or not...-

BZZZT

Stan blinks, realizing that while he was immersed within his thoughts that he'd already texted his mother that he was going to walk Kenny home. She'd replied with "Ok, be careful. We'll be home in another hour or so" a minute after his message. He checks the time on his phone to see that it's almost 10 o'clock. He shuts the device off and unplugs it from the charging cord, stuffing it into his pants pocket whilst exiting his room. He takes slow strides towards the stairs, trying to compose himself. By the time he reaches the staircase, nothing within him changed. He is still very anxious.

"I've..never felt this way whenever it came to liking a girl so why now?" Stan wonders, slowly descending back into the living room. "Maybe..it's because it's my first time liking a guy..." His chest feels heavy at the revelation. Sighing quietly, he ambles toward the front door, slipping on his shoes followed by his jacket. Upon hearing his footsteps, Kenny gets up from the divan pulling the hood over his head and walks up to him.

"You can have the rest of the soda if you want," Stan says unlocking the door then opening it. He shivers when the chilly night air travels into the abode.

"Awesome." Kenny eagerly retrieves the half-full gallon, walking outside. Stan joins him, closing the door behind him then shoving his hands inside his jackets warm pockets. They begin their stroll to Kenny's house.

No words are spoken while they walk, Stan savoring the calm silence meanwhile Kenny relishes in taking a few swigs from his drink. Stan notices with a small humor-filled grin.

"You're gonna drink it all up ya know."

Kenny takes one final sip, inspecting where the fizzy liquid rests at now. "Yeah I'd better stop, gotta pee now anyway." Stan shakes his head laughing. He looks down at the ground, his lips going into a line.

"So..you had fun today?"

"Hell yeah I did!" Stan can imagine the smile on Kenny's face, causing the corners of his own lips to arch upward faintly. "It's never borin' hangin' out with friends. Well except that one time when we went over Cartman's to celebrate his 12th birthday, can see why he never did that in that past."

Stan chuckles at the memory, concealing the pang that entered his heart at the word 'friends'. He doubts Kenny will ever see him as more than that.

"I honestly didn't want it to end," he hears Kenny say earnestly. "We've done pizza and video games a lot of times before..but this time felt...a little different."

Feeling his heart beat increase, Stan looks at him in wonder. "What do you mean?"

Kenny stares ahead silently, expression blank. He shakes his head to rid off what he was going to say next. "Nothin', I don't even know what was I talkin' about there."

Stan looks away with a frown, clenching his fists. He really wants to know the meaning behind Kenny's previous statement. But he fights against pushing for an answer, thus the silence returns.

Before long, the two find themselves nearing the train track. They cross over it just as a group of mice skitter by their feet, Stan paying them no mind even though he saw them. He just isn't in the mood to freak out. They reach their destination in a matter of minutes, dim lighting gleaming through the single curtain-less window of the living room. They stop, Kenny on the porch and Stan by the bottom step.

Kenny turns to him, forcing up a smile. "Thanks for walkin' me home."

Stan reciprocates the smile weakly with a nod, getting one last good look at the blonde's attractive face. "See ya at school on Monday." He hesitates for a split second and begins to walk away, Kenny watching him with a conflicted frown until he is out of sight. He knocks on the weakened front door twice, his mother opening it with a yawn. He walks in giving her the soda as she asks him about his time over at Stan's, he rushes to his bathroom saying he would tell her about it later.

Stan heaves a deep sigh, he doesn't know why but he feels unaccomplished for some reason. It's not like he was planning on confessing really, he can tolerate being just friends. For now at least. He can't help but reflect on what Kenny said as he makes his way back home. Perhaps it's because it was just them, and they enjoyed every single moment together as if it was customary. If that was what Kenny was referring to, then Stan doesn't get why he didn't just say so.

The realization makes Stan feel a little less depressed regardless, believing that today was a weekend will spent.

Chapter Text

It is that time of the year, a holiday that's well loved by everyone.

Christmas has finally come at last.

The weather in South Park is sunny yet very cold, the weather forecast from last night predicted that they would receive more snow later on in the day. Many kids relished their long week off from school, enjoying themselves outside in the snow either throwing snowballs at one another or making snowmen or other snow figures. Some of their parents are supervising them, making sure things don't get out of hand to a point that their child is hurt. The rest of the adults and children are basking in the warmth of their homes, either still sleeping or eating breakfast.

Out of nowhere, a scream loud enough to scare some birds away overlaps the laughing and giggling from the children. They stop momentarily, wondering where and whom the outburst could've came from, then went back to what they were doing as if nothing had interrupted them.

The source came from within the Marsh's abode, more accurately Stan's room. Said noirette is sat upright on the floor in his pajamas, gaping in absolute shock and confusion at a blonde haired male in his bed, who's surprisingly still asleep after the disruption from Stan.

"What the hell is he doing here?!"

There is a knock at his bedroom door, his skin complexion turning a near shade of the snow outside. "Stan what's wrong? Why'd you suddenly scream?"

He composes himself to answer. "I-it was nothing, just woke up with a bug crawling on me."

His mother is silent for a second. "Ookay," her tone was cynical. "Breakfast will be ready in a few minutes, so wake Kenny up."

Stan is baffled by what she just said. Is she really aware that one of his best friends is in his room? He stands up and approaches his bed, he shakes the sleeping boy's shoulder. "Kenny wake up!" He hisses, keeping his voice low so that neither his mother, father, or sister hear him.

Stirring with a groan, Kenny cracks an eye open and gives him a sleepy smile. "Good mornin' Stan."

"Don't you 'good mornin'' me! What the hell are you doing in my bed?!"

Kenny sits up rubbing the crust from his eyes. "What'd ya mean? I always sleep in here."

"Since when?!"

Kenny gets a look of concern across his face. "Dude are you okay? You actin' weird."

"Of course I'm not okay!" Stan exclaims raising his voice little. "I suddenly wake up to see you sleeping right next to me, how else am I supposed to react?!"

Kenny raises an eyebrow. "You were okay with it before so why's it a big deal now?"

Stan is left speechless for a few seconds. "What?"

The concern resurfaces on Kenny's face. "Stan, we're dating. Have been since middle school." He blinks in wonder. "I think."

Dating since middle school?! Stan drops onto his knees, resting his forehead against his bed. "What the hell is going on?" He is extremely confused that it's starting to freak him out. He knows that he isn't gay, he's dated girls before. Kenny came out as bisexual during their years in middle school. But what lead up to the point of them going out? No matter how hard he racks his brain for an answer, nothing comes to mind. He releases an agonized groan.

"Stan, Shelly, and Kenny, breakfast is ready!"

Stan doesn't budge as he feels movement from his bed, next thing he feels a tug on his arm.

"C'mon man, we gotta beat Shelly to the table or she'll eat everything."

Shelly is known for being a glutton, but Stan can care less about food right now. Kenny huffs at his unresponsive attitude, but then gets an idea. With an impish smirk, Kenny gets down on his knees and inches his face towards Stan's neck. He gives it a soft kiss, repeating the action until Stan finally reacts. He flinches away spinning himself around with a deep blush on his cheeks and a look of annoyance.

"What-" Kenny crashes his lips against his, stunning him to a point where he is almost about to faint due to the whirlwind of events that's transpired so far.

Kenny is kissing him. Kenny is fucking kissing him! But it does feel kind of nice..-Stan stops his thoughts right there.

Kenny pulls back, showing Stan his sly grin. "Did that help snap you out of it?" Stan is once again dumbstruck. Sighing, Kenny stands up pulling Stan up along with him, his way of moving zombie-like. Intertwining their hands, Kenny ushers them out of the room and into the hallway, they walk down the stairs; Kenny stopping to look at the many wrapped boxes underneath the Christmas tree. A pang stabs at his chest, but he disregards it as he and Stan continue on their way towards the dining room. Sat at the table are Sharon, Randy, and Shelly, they are already eating.

"Awesooome," Kenny breathes out in awe, nearing the nearly full table and sitting down. "Wish we could have this much food every breakfast." Stan just stands behind his chair next to Kenny's, staring off into space.

Sharon giggles at Kenny's last statement. "Merry Christmas boys," she says smiling.

Kenny returns the smile. "Merry Christmas everybody." It actually slipped his mind until he saw the Christmas tree, blaming Stan for his odd behavior earlier. Perhaps he's just having one of his moments, it's the only logical reasoning he can think of.

Shelly cocks an eyebrow of slight curiosity when she looks at her motionless brother. "What the hell's wrong with the turd? You fucked him too hard last night that he can't sit down?" Kenny bursts out laughing, camouflaging his embarrassment as Sharon and Randy are flabbergasted. Hearing Kenny's laughter pushes Stan out of his daze.

"Shelly watch your language! It's too early for that," Sharon scolds.

Randy glares at his daughter. "Yeah, are you trying to make me lose my appetite?" Shelly just shrugs nonchalantly, and resumes eating.

Not bothering to question what they were talking about, Stan sits down, forcing himself to eat even though he's still not in the mood to do so. Thankfully during breakfast only small talk was made, Sharon asking everyone at the table what they're plans are for today. Shelly answered that she wanted to open her presents already, but was declined and told to wait until later. All Stan wanted to do was stay at home and sort his supposed dating situation out, though he didn't voice that out loud. Kenny, however, said that he and Stan were going over to Token's later because he was celebrating Christmas at his place. Turned out the Black family had scheduled the party a week in advance during this month, nearly everyone in town might go to it.

Was it too late to say he's sick so that he didn't have to go?

After breakfast, Stan and Kenny go back to the noirette's room to wash up and get dressed. Well, that was the plan until-

"Kenny, what're you doing?" Stan questions, lacking the appropriate expression to showcase his disbelief.

"Gettin' some clothes to wear," Kenny replies rummaging through Stan's dresser for some of his clothes.

The blonde's straightforward answer gives Stan the boost he needs to appear shocked. "You mean my clothes!" He marches over to his dresser, Kenny had laid his choice of clothing on top it. "This is my shirt, these are my pants, and-" He pauses, growing disgusted when he sees his boxers. "My underwear too?! Dude are you fucking serious?!"

Kenny lets out a sheepish laugh, his cheeks a bright pink. "Okay I admit the underwear is goin' a bit overboard, but-"

Stan narrows his eyes. "It's more than just a bit overboard."

"Wait lemme explain-"

"Explain why you're here as if this is your home." Stan has had it with this overwhelming confusion, he wants answers and he wants them now. "I want full, truthful details Kenny."

Kenny eyes him with a frown. "Stan, what the hell's up with you? You suddenly sufferin' from memory loss?"

Stan heaves a tired sigh. "Probably since I don't remember us dating." He cringes slightly.

Kenny winces. "Ouch, the way you said that stung."

Stan sighs a second time. "Whatever, we can talk about this after we get dressed. But." He makes a face. "Are you really gonna wear my clothes? If you're living here, don't you have some of your own?"

Kenny's expression saddens at his question. "Wow, guess you really don't remember anything. I mean I do have some clothes, but the rest of my stuff got burned in the house fire." He shuts his eyes just as they're about to water. "I'm the only one who survived."

It all comes crashing down on Stan, leaving him guilt-ridden. "Oh yeah...the McCormick's house got caught on fire. Don't remember when though, but it must've been not too long ago." "Shit, sorry Kenny. Can't believe I'd forgotten that."

"Don't sweat it, it's best to forget the bad things that happened in life. At least that's what Kyle told me."

Kyle. "Does Kyle know that we're..." Stan trails off, unable to say the word again.

"Yeah, Cartman does too. In fact, everyone we're close with knows that we're datin'." Stan doesn't seem too happy about the idea of everyone knowing of their relationship, and Kenny notices. But he says nothing of it. Without another word, Kenny grabs his (Stan's) clothes and walks into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

Hearing the sound of rushing water makes Stan realize that Kenny is no longer in the room, he looks at the surface of his dresser. "He still took my underwear," he mutters shaking his head with slight mirth.

🎄

When nighttime arrives, Stan and Kenny are in the process of getting suitably dressed for the Christmas party. They'd opened their gifts an hour or two prior, Stan had gotten a Christmas card filled with some money, a new video game, and clothes from his mother while all his father gave him was a pack of underwear. Seemed he knew that Kenny had been wearing his how? Stan did not even think to ask. He'd also gotten five bucks from Shelly, something he least expected to receive from his bully of a sister. She was hardly ever generous to give anyone money. But when it was his turn, he confessed that he had nothing to give her thus she took her money back. Which was to be expected. He wasn't about to give her the money he'd just gotten.

Turned out majority of the gifts under the tree were for Kenny. They were nothing but clothes, underwear, socks, and a couple pairs of shoes. He accepted them all delightedly, shedding some tears to show how grateful he was.

"Aww you two look so handsome," Sharon smiles surveying Stan's and Kenny's attire. She's wearing a jacket over her dress since she is also going with them, her purse over her shoulder. "Looking like you're about to go to prom instead of to a party." She giggles when Stan's entire face is almost red like a tomato's, Kenny handles the compliment well with a wink and a grin. "Alright, let's head out." The trio exit the house, Sharon locking the front door. They shiver at the cold causing them hurry to the woman's car. "Ah, forgot the news said that it was gonna snow some time today." She unlocks the doors, and they get in. Once the key is in the ignition, she immediately turns on the heater. They all sigh in content.

After warming up enough, Sharon pulls out of the driveway and drives to the Black's mansion. Hardly much was said on the way there, Sharon telling the couple that they wouldn't be staying out too late thanks to the snow. Afterwards she turned on the radio, humming quietly to herself along with the Christmas song that's currently being played.

Stan is gazing out the window, watching the buildings, colorful lights, and snowflakes whiz past from his field of view. The longer he stares out, the more he feels himself gradually getting drowsy. The music was low, and the temperature is nice and warm. Perfect combinations for a serene sleep in the car.

Soon, his eyelids start to slide close, and sleep claims him seconds later.

Noticing him asleep with a small smile, Kenny takes this opportunity to interlock their hands, resting them in the middle of their seat.

.....

Stan doesn't know how long he's been out for, but it must've been quite awhile since he's so reluctant to open his eyes.

"Wake up, we're here," Kenny's soft voice tells him.

Groaning as he comes to, the moment Stan opens one eye he instantly shuts it with a hiss. "Damn that's bright." He rubs his eyes to get them adjusted, then blinks them both open. He gets out, having to squint because the house was like a beacon with all the lights hanging from outside and inside it. He can also hear the jolly music from within. Stan regrets sleeping as he, Kenny, and his mother make their way inside. A few more people are following behind them.

"Slept good?" Kenny asks comically. Stan just grunts, his voice not ready to used at the moment.

Upon entering through the overly large set of double doors, the group takes in not just the amount of fancily dressed people, but the flashy Christmas decor. No wonder they planned this a week earlier Stan thinks, though he's amazed that they managed to decorate this much in that time frame considering the size of this house.

"Look, there's Kyle!" Before Stan can even locate the redhead, Kenny is pulling him in the direction he saw him in.

"Stan, I'll text you when it's time to go okay?!" Sharon calls out. Stan shoots her a thumbs up.

"Yo Kyle!" Kenny waves when their friend's lime-green eyes spot him and Stan coming towards him. "Thought you only celebrated Han-whatever the hell it's called."

"It's Hanukkah," Kyle rectifies. "And I'm only here cuz of Tweek, wasn't easy convincing my parents to let me come."

"Yeah I bet," Kenny snorts.

Stan cocks an eyebrow. "What's Tweek got to do with you coming here?"

Kyle copies his bewildered expression, but before he can explain Tweek is walking towards them with two red cups in each hand. He gives Kyle one. "Thanks Tweeky."

"I-Ngh-made sure that they weren't s-spiked or had anything poisonous in them," Tweek assures earning a chuckle from Kyle.

"They're goin' out," Kenny points out simply.

"..Oh..." Is all Stan is able to say.

"Where's the rest of your crew at?" Kenny asks, addressing Tweek.

The crazy haired blonde gives a weak twitch. "L-last time I saw them they were with-Ngh-Cartman tryin' to stop him from eating all the s-snacks and other food."

Kenny laughs. "Of course his fatass would only be here just to eat."

"It's typical of him," Kyle agrees with another chuckle.

The next five minutes was spent with idle talk, Kenny and Kyle doing most of the socializing with Tweek jumping in either when addressed or wanted to voice his thoughts. During that time, Stan's mind was elsewhere. He listened in on some parts of the conversation, then zoned out shortly after when he couldn't follow. Perhaps it was because he was still tired from sleeping, he wanted nothing more than to go home and do just that. Though Kenny would join him since he's been supposedly sleeping in his bed who knew for how long.

Once Kenny decided they grab some grub, a quartet of beautiful girls noticed them and walked their way. They were Wendy, Bebe, Nichole, and Red. They talked for a few additional minutes, then Kenny strongly suggested that they get something to eat.

"I've been holdin' back since this mornin', I plan to eat till I'm as huge as Cartman tonight," was what Kenny declared, getting laughs in response. Even from Stan who focused once the girls had showed up.

With Tweek leading the way, Kenny praising his memory, the group of seven go off in the direction of where the food and drinks are. Faintly surprised to see Cartman there not stuffing his face, though he's holding a plastic plate of food on it.

"You're still here?" Tweek wonders.

Cartman looks to him with an irritated glare. "Yeah no thanks to your asshole friends, tell them to let me eat in fucking peace. There's plenty food to go around still for Christ sake's," he exasperates picking up a meatball on a toothpick and eating it.

"Dude your suit looks like it's about to pop," Kenny snickers, the rest doing the same once they notice. He wasn't lying, the buttons on Cartman's jacket are greatly struggling to keep from flying off.

Stan suddenly feels his left pocket vibrate, he pulls out his cell phone to look at both the time and message. It's almost midnight, and his mother is ready to leave. "It's time for us to go," he says.

"Awwww, but I was just about to eaaaaat," Kenny whines, already holding a plate and some tongs.

"Just take it for to-go," Stan tells him. Kenny pouts, but does as told.

Kyle checks the time on his cell phone also. "Yeah we should be heading out too, would've stayed longer if wasn't snowing."

"Want me to ask my mom to take you home?" Stan offers.

"Thanks, but I'm spending the night over Tweek's."

"Why'd you even come anyway?" Cartman suddenly asks. "I thought Jews only celebrated that lame ass holiday, Hanukkah."

"Eric don't start," Nichole chides. Eric scoffs, and just continues eating, knowing he'll get an earful from Token for being mean to his girlfriend.

After Kenny packs up two to-go boxes for him and Stan, they bid they're friends goodbye and a Merry Christmas, then search for Sharon. Finding her waiting next to the big entrance. She has a to-go box as well. They leave the abode, quickly nearing Sharon's car and getting in once she unlocks the doors. She starts it up to turn on the heat.

"Sorry I had to cut it short, but did you two still have a good time?" She asks buckling up her seatbelt.

"Sure did," Kenny beams setting the boxes down in the middle, then fastening his seatbelt. Stan hums that he did also, though Kenny thinks against it. Aware that the noirette was spacing out during most of their conversation.

Yawning, Sharon makes an effort to hasten their way back home. Being very mindful of the snow, and other cars on the road. Stan fights to keep his eyes from closing.

"I'm not carryin' you if you fall asleep again." Stan just huffs in response, inhaling the foods' aroma to help keep him awake.

Fortunately, his struggle didn't last for too long as the Marsh's house comes into their line of sight.

Pulling up and parking in the driveway, the trio exit the car and walk up to the porch, Stan holding his box and Kenny carrying his own. Once the front door is unlocked, Stan and Kenny enter first with Sharon closing and locking the door behind her. Dropping their food off in the kitchen, Stan and Kenny amble up to the noirette's room.

Kenny pushes the door closed with his back. They both begin to take off their suit starting with their shoes first. All of a sudden Kenny gets a mischievous glint in his hazel eyes.

"Hey can you help me take this off?"

Stan turns around, and is abruptly pushed down onto his bed. He's left stunned for a fleeting moment, scowling in bewilderment and shock at Kenny who is towering over him, smirking.

"What the hell was tha-" Are the only words he's able to get out before his lips are captured by Kenny's own.

Stan tries to pry him off, but the blonde is unexpectedly strong. "K-Kenny c-cut it out!"

His words go in one ear and out the other.

Stan begins to feel terrified when he feels Kenny's hand travel down towards his crotch, slowly undoing his zipper in a teasing fashion.

"KENNY I SAID STOP!"

Sapphire eyes fly open with a start, Stan's body bolting upward in a cold sweat. Panting. What a..bizarre dream. He's really glad to wake up from it before it escalated any further. He exhales deeply, his muscles relaxing. He lays back down pulling the sheets over his chest, but is unable to fall back asleep. Sighing softly, he questions why the hell he dreamt something like that. And about Kenny of all people. He just can't fathom a reason thus his short musing comes to an end by light knocking at his door.

"Are you okay sweety?" It was his mother. "Kenny didn't sneak over again, did he?"

Stan feels bad for waking her up. "No, just had a crazy dream with him in it."

Sharon hums. "Okay, well go back to sleep. Tomorrow's the long awaited day, and family is coming over to celebrate." She trudges back to her's and Randy's bedroom.

Stan reaches over to his nightstand to grab his charging cell phone. He turns it on, hissing and squinting his eyes at it's brightness to see that Christmas Day is one minute away. Shutting his phone off, he places it back where it was originally and stares at the darkened ceiling. After a few minutes, he closes his eyes and allows himself to drift back to unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Stan and Kenny are sat crisscross atop of Stan's bed, in the middle of them is one textbook while a notebook littered with scribbles and other unintelligible drawings on it's orange cover is next to Kenny, and a dark blue one with just a sticker near the bottom corner is beside Stan.

Neither had spoken a word to each other ever since they came into the noirette's room, and that was three minutes ago. During those couple of minutes, Stan and Kenny had been doing nothing but staring into each others eyes, unblinking as if they'd randomly decided to compete in a staring contest. When one more minute passes by, both boys' eyes appearing glossy from not blinking, without any awareness Kenny's eyelids slide closed and slowly opens. Stan inwardly cheers at his victory as he blinks, then rubs his eyes.

"I can't believe you lied to me," Kenny says, first to finally speak. Although his dull, soft tone had no anger in it. "You said we were gonna watch movies today." He should've known something was up the moment he saw the two cars still parked in the driveway followed by Stan's family in the house, usually whenever they have their movie date the house would be left in their care.

Stan gives him a guilty yet humor-filled smile, he doesn't want to do this either but they have to score at least a 65% on their test Monday. "Sorry Ken, but I had to get you to come over somehow." Kenny glares at him, his annoyance showing strong. "I mean it's technically still considered a date though, just with books instead of DVD's." Kenny starts to complain about how he had to go back home to retrieve his notebook just for this as he crosses his arms. "C'mon, the sooner we start the faster we'll finish." Stan grabs the textbook, and opens it on a page he remembers part of the test will be on.

"Ugghhh, do we gottaaaa?" Kenny groans slouching forward slightly, feeling his strength draining.

"Yes we gottaaaa," Stan mimics straining a smile down at the big paragraphs in the book. He so doesn't want to do this...

Kenny groans again. "Alright fine, what all we gotta study?" Instead of answering, Stan shows him the book and his eyes instantly widen. He takes the book, gaping at the left and right page. "The fuck?!" He flips the page, then another, and one more. "All of this?!" Stan nods his head saying that that's part of what the test will have, knowing exactly how he feels. Kenny drops the textbook in front of them, the look of utter disbelief still on his face. "We might as well fail, there's no way in hell I'm gonna remember all this shit on Monday."

"There's no we dude," Stan picks up the book, and flips back to the page he was at previously. "I gotta pass or it's gonna be my ass."

Kenny suddenly looks at him with a suspicious glare. "I thought yo fine ass only belonged to me, you been foolin' around behind my back?"

Stan holds back the urge to hit Kenny with the thick textbook. "Shut up, my ass belongs to me and me only. Anyway what about your notes? You jotted down some useful info, didn't you?"

"Probably, probably not," Kenny shrugs.

Stan gives him a brief blank stare before reaching for Kenny's notebook. He opens it to a random page, and frowns. He flips through more pages, which deepens his frown in the process. "Dude, there's nothin' but drawings and other weird doodles in here." He closes and flings the notebook at Kenny's lap.

Kenny looks down at it, then face palms. "Shit, looks like I brought the wrong one." Grabbing his notebook, he unfolds his legs and hops out of bed, ignoring the numbness in his legs the best he can. He makes his way to the closed bedroom door. "I'll just go home and-"

"Nice try." Stan stops him by grasping onto the collar of his shirt, he pulls him back towards his bed. "I know you brought that on purpose." Kenny pouts in defeat, tossing his notebook on the bed before sitting down on the edge. "You got your phone?" Kenny just grunts in response, then looks over to the side when he feels something poke his arm. Stan is giving him his notebook. "Take a picture of my notes so you can copy them later."

Kenny grimaces, knowing that he'll be up all night copying whatever information Stan wrote down. Which is undoubtedly a lot. "Thanks, but no thanks."

"Kenny," the stern voice and matching expression on Stan's face makes Kenny concede with a sigh and the roll his eyes.

"Fine, jeez." Pushing Stan's pillow to the side, he scoots back resting his back against the wall. He pulls out his smartphone from his left pants pocket, and turns it on. It's almost five o'clock.

"My notes are in the last five pages," Stan tells him. Hearing that damn near depleted Kenny's life force. Stan glances up at him with a small grin. "Just be lucky you're getting them from me, and not Kyle, Wendy or Token." Kenny now knows for a fact that he is indeed lucky, Kyle, Wendy, and Token are one of the top brainiacs of the school, he doesn't even want to imagine how many pages their notes took up.

"If we pass this, you owe me big time," Kenny grumbles as he begins to take pictures of Stan's notes.

"Yeah, if," Stan says, eyes focused on one page in the textbook.

After Kenny is done, Stan suggests they quiz each other on what they know.

"Seriously?" Kenny deadpans. He says that after he'd finished taking pics of the notes.

Grinning, Stan gets out of bed and head towards his door. "I'll give you some time to look them over while I get us some snacks." He opens the door, pausing in the doorway to glance back at Kenny. "Better do it quick." Then he walks out into the hallway.

Huffing and grumbling under his breath, Kenny takes this opportunity to scan through each photo, trying to retain the questions and their answers as fast as his eyes and brain will let him. By the time Stan returns, Kenny didn't even manage to memorize half of the information on each of the pictures.

Stan sets the bag of chips down on his bed, then hands Kenny a can of soda. Stan remains standing by his bed. "Alright, you ready?"

"Hell no," Kenny replies flatly.

Stan chuckles at his quick reply as he opens his drink. "Quiz me first then. We'll each ask each other five questions."

With a bored expression mixed with disdain, Kenny looks down at his phone. "How bright is the sun?"

Stan stares at him like he'd just asked a stupid question, because, well, he did. "That's not gonna be on the test."

"You don't know that, the teacher'll probably throw in some random ass question again to catch us off guard."

He isn't wrong about that, the tests and even some quizzes that they had had a question or two that didn't pertain to the lesson/s they'd covered. "True, but ask a question that's actually in my notes." Kenny does just that, in the end Stan had gotten three out of five right.

Placing his half-empty can down on his nightstand, Stan grabs his notebook and opens it from the back. "Your turn now." Kenny lets out a dying groan. Stan shakes his head at the blonde's silly behavior. "Fine, since you're being a big baby I'll give you an easy one." He glimpses down at a query. "This one's multiple choice, so listen closely. Which of the following is considered poisonous? A. Orchids. B. Poison Ivy. C. A Bansai tree or D. All of the above."

Kenny looks offended. "Are you kiddin'? It's B obviously."

Stan shrugs one arm. "Told ya I was gonna start off with an easy one. Alright, the next one is, discern if this is true or false. Gold and silver have equal value."

Kenny is silent for a few seconds, appearing to be in thought. "False." He grabs the bag of chips, and opens it.

Stan shoots him a smile. "Doin' good. Third question, well it's not really a question but define globalization."

"Siguiente pregunta por favor." Kenny flicks a potato chip into his mouth. "In case you didn't know what I said, I said next question please."

Stan blinks, dumbfounded at how fluent the blonde's first statement sounded. "Since when were you good at speaking Spanish?"

"Pfft I wish. Thanks to google translator, I say that almost all the time in Spanish class," Kenny admits with a cheeky smirk.

Stan rolls his eyes, and changes his question as kindly asked. But Kenny gets that wrong, and Stan asks him two more after that, making his score two out of five. Stan closes his notebook, then tosses it on his bed. "Jeez man, I really hope you don't half-ass this test. Or worse, fail it."

Kenny releases a loud burp, laughing at Stan's blank face. "I can't make any promises. Unleeeeessss..."

Stan knows this sly look from his boyfriend all too well. "Just do good on it Ken."

Kenny gets out of bed, and stands in front of Stan. "Oh I will, I already know what kinda reward I want anyway when I do," he says coquettishly.

Stan blushes at his seductive tone, feeling his cheeks getting hotter when Kenny presses his lips softly against his. They stay that way until Stan pulls back saying they should continue studying. Kenny tries to 'persuade' him into letting them take a break. Even though they haven't been together for too long, the fact that they were best friends before makes it easy for Stan not to succumb to any of Kenny's antics.

Their study session is put on hold when Mrs. Marsh calls them down for dinner half an hour later.

Chapter Text

"Whoa, we got a hottie in our class!"

"How convenient for him show up on Valentines day. Lucky us!" They share a high-five.

"You guys need to calm down, dude's probably not even gay."

"Pfft, he ain't gonna be straight for long."

Kenny fights to keep a straight face over the classes perverted chatter.

Earlier he was slightly excited, the fact that they had to wear uniforms had already lowered his expectations of this school, but he still smiled upon entering the building. His eyes closed, he thought of the coincidence of him transferring to a new school on one of his favorite holidays and immediately becoming eye candy to all the girls (And some males too he was sure) that laid their eyes on him.

But that fantasy started to crack once he felt an odd air surround him as he walked the halls. When he opened his eyes and slowed his pace, the crack grew larger and shattered into glass-like pieces, revealing the cause of the strange feeling. The bunch of girls he was awaiting to see turned out to be nothing but guys staring at him, the multiple pair of eyes containing different yet also similar emotions in them.

Kenny forced himself to continue on, but no matter which way he looked he could not spot not one girl anywhere. He'd even mistook one of the boys as one thanks to his short and slim figure at first glance. However what he was more concerned about was the sudden chill that coursed throughout his body, he knew it wasn't because of the staring. He is an attention whore after all, though he preferred guys to look at him with envy instead of adoration.

He was so preoccupied with finding at least one girl in this place that he failed to see a figure in front of him, leading him to bump into them. He apologized, studying the person as he did so. The teen had his back to him so Kenny couldn't see his face, he was an inch or two shorter than Kenny, slender but still well-built, and had black hair that reached the back of his pale nape.

Mysteriously, even though the hallway was already silent due to everyone marveling Kenny's handsomeness, the atmosphere all around seemed to had taken a dark dive after he'd collided into the noirette. Who was as stiff as a statue.

Ignoring the tension the best he could, Kenny went to apologize once more but paused mid-word when the boy slowly began to turn his head back. He stopped, giving Kenny a look through the corner of his eye that was enough to make the blonde's blood run cold.

Hazel met one wide sapphire eye that was peeking out under long black bangs, Kenny was too terrified to discern what emotion bore in that single orb. The boy then looked away, and walked off, probably to his classroom though he was empty handed.

After only meeting him once, Kenny never wanted to see him again.

"Alright calm your hormones you little predators." The teacher's voice brings Kenny back to present time. Also what did he just call his students? "Anyway as you can already see, we have a new student. His name is Kenneth McCormick. Treat him nicely, got it?" The students' voices mesh together in unison with lecherous comments. Kenny is told to find a vacant seat.

Maintaining his sense of calm and having already seen an empty desk in the back near the widespread row of windows, Kenny makes his way towards it. "Just gotta hold out for three months." 'SMACK' "AND protect my virginity till then. If I'd known I'd be goin' to an all-boys school, I would've gotten laid by some random chick at my other school. So much for waiting for the right one." Paying no mind to the low cheers and snickering, Kenny sets his binder down on top of his desk then plants his stinging butt down in his chair. He leans forward propping his elbow on his binder followed by his cheek against his palm, he glares at the clean white curtains blocking the outside world. Soon after, their teacher begins teaching.

All throughout the lesson, Kenny fought not to look at the person that was eying him from the opposite side of the room in the last desk. Knowing whom they are thanks to the familiarity of the uncomfortable chill.

Just his luck to meet him again in first period...


Not even half of the day has gone by, yet Kenny managed to make quite a lot of 'friends'. However majority of them only befriended him to get inside his pants while the rest had other and thankfully not sexual intentions. He will not hesitate to beat some sense into these bastards if one of them takes it too far.

When lunchtime comes around, Kenny decides to eat his homemade lunch in a place where it is peaceful. No matter how good the school food is, he will always prefer his mother's cooking. Sadly finding a tranquil spot doesn't start off easy, firstly being his lack of familiarity of the school building, and secondly being his clique not wanting to leave his side. Kenny isn't blind, he knows they basically want to show him off, to flaunt 'Cupid's Incarnate' in the eyes of so many people in the cafeteria. His been in that type of situation before, thus further pushed him into being alone. Before parting, he asks if there are any places that he can eat in peace.

"Well there is the courtyard, but-oi!"

Kenny is eagerly making his way to the courtyard, even though he has no idea where it is. He's just going with gut-feeling, plus he wants to eat already.

After wandering around for about a few minutes, Kenny concludes that he is lost. "Shit..." The hallway he's in now is very quiet since he's the sole person standing in it. So much for asking a teacher where the courtyard is. He sighs softly, and resumes his walk at a steady pace. He frowns at his lunch. "Food's probably cold now, just how big is this school?" He looks up when he feels that he's not alone, stopping apprehensively at whom he sees. "Just fucking great..." The person that is somehow able to strike absolute fear into Kenny's soul so effortlessly is idle, and is also watching him intently through the spaces of his black fringes. Something about his eyes intrigues, but mostly scares Kenny. As the silence stretches on, Kenny is the only one who seems to be effected by how strenuous it feels.

"I gotta get away from this creep." He strains a friendly smile. "H-hey umm can you tell me where the courtyard is?"

The boy eyes him silently for a couple more seconds, then raises his arm and points behind him. On his right there is light presumably from the sun reflecting off the floor and the visible wall in the other hallway. Kenny nods his thanks, and briskly speeds past the noirette, not bothering to hide how freaked out he is. Once he's gone behind the corner, the boy's lips curl into a smile that will leave anyone mystified as his eyes darken. A bright blush coloring his cheeks. He continues to wherever he was going.

The bell rings five minutes later, ending lunch. Kenny was not able to savor his cold food.


It is now third period. After being introduced to the students in this class, they greet him back appropriately unlike the others in his first and second class.

But then he sees him, the 'creeper'; a name he has decided to refer to the boy as since he has yet to know his real name. Whenever the teachers did roll call, they purposely skipped the noirette's name for some reason. It left him really curious, wondering if he's a well-known skipper or something. But he honestly didn't want to be associated with the dude at all so he shoved his curiosity away.

Kenny sits in a seat in the middle row, which is unfortunately close to the creeper, who is fortunately sitting in the back. As the teaching dragged on, it became increasingly difficult to focus. How is one suppose to endure the unyielding pressure being directed at the back of your head? Kenny feels that a hole might inevitably appear in his skull the longer the obvious individual keeps this up. Not only that but the big decrease in his body temperature doubled his anxiety.

Having had enough thirty seconds later, Kenny's arm shoots upward. "Can I go the restroom?" Once he is granted permission, he hurries out of the room, giving the others the impression that he was in a tight.

"Finally." Kenny breathes out a sigh, his muscles beginning to relax. As he ambles down the hall, clueless as to where the restrooms are located, he can't help but wonder what that creeper's deal is. He doesn't hate him for bumping into him earlier, does he? Or is it something else entirely, like he's captivated by him? Well Kenny understands that no one can resist his good looks, but he got a totally different vibe from the noirette. No, rather he's unreadable, plus very creepy on top of that. Kenny shudders at a brief mental image of the boy's piercing sapphire eyes. "I don't wanna be here anymore." But then he shakes his head, taking back the thought. "No, I gotta hold out. As long as he doesn't touch me-" His train of thought is interrupted when he bumps into someone. Again.

"Shit sorry," Kenny apologizes, trying not to appear uneasy at the male's towering height. Is this guy really a student? Three boys accompanied him.

Amber orbs glare down at him in annoyance, making him feel small and a little bit intimidated. "Relax Craig, he's new," a brunette says. With a tch, the tall noirette brushes past Kenny with his group following after him, the brunette winking at Kenny and mouthing, 'You owe me'.

Blinking dubiously, Kenny glances back at the quartet, then proceeds his search for the restrooms. It's best not to ask them where they are.

"Are you lost again?"

Kenny is startled by the abrupt soft voice, stopping and looking to see who asked that. His eyes once again meet sapphire, the boy standing in the other hall of the intersection. Okay this encounter doesn't sit well with Kenny, just why is he out here anyway?

Kenny gives him a deep frown, causing the boy to do the same but in confusion. "Look I don't mean to be a dick, but could you stop bothering me? I dunno if you hate me or something for bumping into you this morning, but you're seriously startin' to freak me out now with your staring in class." Slowly, the noirette's whole demeanor changes. Being unreadable again. Kenny tenses. "If you got somethin' to say, then say it. If you want me to apologize again, I'll-"

"Excuse me?"

With a faint jolt of the shoulders, Kenny spins around to see a boy with long dark brown hair tied into a low ponytail and black eyes approaching him.

"The teacher figured you were lost so he sent me out to guide you to the restrooms," the brunette says sounding a little timid. "My name is Fenix by the way."

The shock quickly wearing down, Kenny forces up a small smile, failing to hide his embarrassment. He hopes he didn't hear their conversation. "Thanks, still don't know my way around here yet."

Fenix nods his head in understanding, then asks, "Who were you talking to just now?"

Seems he did hear what they were talking about. Even though Kenny really doesn't want to admit it, he's not going to be rude and dismiss the noirette's presence. Keeping his composure, Kenny jabs a thumb behind him at the boy in the other hall. "Him." Then turns to face him.

Fenix takes a few steps forward, peeking past the blonde to see a bare corridor. "Umm, I don't see anybody."

"..What...?" Somehow, those harmless words sends a strong wave of chills down Kenny's spine. He stares at the noirette, who he can see as plain as day. "What do you mean? He's right there."

Fenix gets a worried look across his face. "I really don't see anyone, we're the only ones in the hallway."

That can't be true, there's just no way. "No trust me, there is someone literally standing right in the other hall! He's wearing our uniform!"

"It's no use." Kenny freezes, his pupils constricting. "No one else but you can see, hear, and apparently touch me."

Immense fear renders Kenny into a numb state. The longer he stares at the black haired boy, whose lips are curling into an eerie smirk in false reality, the more he feels himself being drawn away from the world. "N-no fucking way...Is this guy..a ghost?!"

Fenix grows deeply concerned at Kenny's pale and appalled appearance. Before he can suggest taking him to the infirmary, Kenny suddenly regains his senses and starts walking. "L-let's just go."

With his innocent smile descending into a hurt frown, the ghostly white noirette watches Kenny's back for a minute then vanishes.

*After School*

Amid the shrill ringing of the school bell, Kenny gets up and taps a classmate's shoulder for his attention while the others exit the classroom, happy to finally be going home. One student, however, is far more focused on observing Kenny from the last seat in the back; they both sit in the same row.

"Hey you know who that creepy kid is in our class?" Kenny asks, keeping his voice low so the aforementioned person doesn't hear him.

The redhead looks back at him with a raised eyebrow. "Who?"

Frowning at the possibility of this boy also thinking he's gone crazy, Kenny nudges his head back, not wanting to risk another lapse in his sanity from looking at him even for a second. "He's sitting in the very back."

The redhead's brown eyes glance at the last desk, then returns them to Kenny. "There's nobody-"

"Wait," someone cuts in. "You've seen him?"

Kenny and the red haired teen look over at the newcomer, he has messy dirty blonde hair and green hysteric eyes, making Kenny and the other boy feel unnerved. "Y-yeah, ever since this morning when I bumped into him," Kenny answers.

"You actually made contact with him?" The blonde mutters, troubled by Kenny's response.

His expression causes Kenny to feel the same way. "Do you know who he is?"

Blinking his eyes back to normalcy, the blonde's lips straighten into a line. "I don't know him, but I have heard things about him from some of the students. His name was Stanley Marsh, and he's actually-"

"Do you three want to go home or not?" Their teacher interrupts, standing impatiently in the doorway.

Packing up their belongings with haste, the trio vacate the room, heading to their lockers. "What were you saying?" The redhead says, interested to know whom this creepy kid is. The hallway is gradually being cleared out of students as well as the teachers and staff, though they either go into a classroom, office or another hall.

"Kenny, the kid you've been seeing is actually dead."

Kenny stops right in his tracks, greatly shocked to hear that though he did have a deep down inkling that the boy was a ghost. The other two stop and turn to him, the redhead equally dumbfounded. "Dead?! You've gotta be joking."

The blonde shakes his head, his eyes to the floor. "Sadly I'm not. Someone killed him. This happened like a decade or so ago. One day in September the coach found Stanley's body a bloody mess in the gym storage room. No one knows why anyone would think to murder him cuz he was like the school's #1 idol. He was nice, smart, outgoing, a top star athlete, and good looking so people assumed that the killer did what they did out of immense jealousy. When the incident was reported, one of the students was acting very suspicious and the moment he caught the attention of the police he fled. Making him the prime suspect of the crime, plus some students suspected that he was the one who did it anyway. They caught him the next day, but he'd committed suicide by self-strangulation. They found him with his hands stuck tightly around his neck. The reasons as to why he killed Stanley will never be known, and I think that's why his spirit is still lingering here, because he wants answers."

There is a long beat of silence. "Holy shit..." the redhead breathes out. How the hell did he not know about this before?

The blonde looks up. "Kenny do you-" He pauses, then looks to the redhead in wonder. "Where'd he go?" He gets a shrug in response, they decide to hurry to their locker and out of the school before they miss their bus.

Elsewhere, a dazed Kenny finds himself outside on the school rooftop. Stood in front of him is a blank faced Stan, his hair and clothes unmoving even though the wind is blowing tenderly.

The beautiful weather contrasts the topic that's about to be discussed.

"Now you know the truth."

Kenny blinks a few times, snapping out of his stupor and sinking in his surroundings. When he looks into Stan's lifeless eyes, he no longer experiences the petrifying chills surging through the entirety of his body. After being informed of this boy's true identity and past, Kenny feels a large amount of sympathy and guilt for him. "I..." His brain can't formulate the proper words to say, this is still so sudden after all.

"You pity me, don't you?"

Kenny frowns, he does. "How else am I supposed to feel? I just...found out you'd been murdered..."

Stan's face darkens. "So have others who'd been told, but as time moves on they began to forget and carry on with their carefree lives."

"That's them," Kenny says shaking his head. "I'm different." Stan doesn't look convinced. Kenny averts his gaze. "I wanna apologize for being rude-"

"It's fine. Just, it's been so long since I've been seen by the human eyes again that I went overboard with my presence."

Kenny lightly bites his bottom lip. "Am..I really the only person that can see you?"

"If you weren't then I would've been noticed by the whole school long before you came here."

"..True..." Kenny admits bashfully.

A brief smile tugs at Stan's lips, he faces away from the blonde. He eyes the blue sky that would invigorate anyone who gazes up at it. "Sorry I brought you up here, you can still catch the bus if you hurry. There is another exit that leads to the parking lot close from here."

"Wait, I have another question." Stan gives Kenny a corner-eyed glance. "Why haven't you passed on yet?"

Frowning deeply in bewilderment, Stan looks away. "I...don't know. I'd thought seeking revenge on the bastard who killed me would've let me pass on, but it wasn't. I wasn't sure if it was because I didn't make him suffer enough or..." He says no more, and only shakes his head.

Kenny appears hesitant to ask his next set of questions. "Have..you ever thought of visiting your family? To see how they've been doing?"

Stan's eyes slowly widen, a fleeting flash of three silhouettes appear in his mind. "F-family...?" They appear again, this time causing him to wince at the nip of pain in his head. He drops to his knees with a hand on his head.

"Stan?!" Kenny rushes to his side, setting his binder on the ground as he gets down on Stan's level. He opts not to touch him. "Hey what's wrong?" He looks at the noirette attentively, very concerned at the tears trailing down his face. "What's happening to him?"

"..I-I-I had a mom...a dad...a-and a s-sister." The tears increase in speed at his next of set of words, his arm lowers. "They never cared about me..." His voice was barely above a whisper, but Kenny was able to hear how intense the sadness in his tone was. "Only when I did something praiseworthy would they give me attention, but it never lasted. They favored my sister more. No matter what she did, she received the love and care I never once gotten without earning it. I..I wanted my parents to do the same to me, without having to work for it..." Stan's eyes dull in color, appearing as if he's reliving his past as he spoke. "As I became older, I started to notice how unfair I was being treated. But...I wasn't brave enough to confront them about it." Anger and sadness starts to show on Stan's face. "I was such a fucking coward, I cared more about my parents' approval than my own well-being...I was so pathetic." Now only sorrow remains. "I thought school was my safe haven, I thought the friends I'd made were like a family to me. But I was so dumb to believe all that. School was just as bad - no, it was practically hell. I'd learned that even friends can be evil, they only hung out with me for their own personal gain." Hearing that hit so close to home, Kenny grits his teeth with tears building up in his eyes. "But I never let it showed that it bothered me, because...they were all that I had. Even though they were just as cruel as my family, at least they didn't..." Stan can't bring himself to finish.

Suddenly, a body presses itself against Stan causing his eyes to readjust, arms wrap themselves around his neck, greatly taking him aback. "Stop. Don't say no more...Please..."

"..." Stan doesn't know how to react, it's been far too long since he'd been hugged before. He can't recall his parents nor sister ever doing this to him whenever he did something commendable or not. But he doubts it would feel even remotely warm and comforting like this embrace, finding the strong pulse of Kenny's heart refreshing. Reminding him that he is in the arms of a living person.

"I see...so this was why..."

He closes his eyes with a genuine smile on his face, carefully wrapping his arms around Kenny's torso. All of a sudden, Stan's body begins to glow.

Sensing the quick change in temperature, Kenny's eyes fly open and he pulls back, his cheeks wet. "W-what's happening?" He wipes his eyes feverishly.

"Thank you Kenny," Stan's voice sounded hollow, like he was close but also far. "Looks like I can finally move on now."

Kenny blinks, confused. "What did I do?"

Stan opens his eyes. "You gave me what I've been longing for: Love."

A light blush blossoms on Kenny's cheeks. "But all I did was hug you."

Stan smiles. "I've never received that type of affection from anyone when I was alive. It felt really sincere from you."

Kenny's blush darkens, and he looks at the ground. "I-I see, so that's probably why I could touch you." He looks up when a frigid hand places itself on top of his, Stan is nearly transparent.

"I'm really glad you came to this school. If it hadn't of been for you, I would've been stuck here forever."

Kenny shoots him a bright grin. "Happy to hear that I was able to be of some help. Hope you can rest peacefully now up there in heaven."

Stan's smile morphs into a sad one. "I doubt it..since I killed someone...."

He closes his eyes, then his body bursts into a dozen of white particles. The gentle breeze sends half of them away. Kenny sticks out a hand to catch one, frowning faintly when it lands in his palm. It looks and feels like a tiny snowflake. Shortly after, it fades away.

Ridding away the resurfacing tears, Kenny grabs his binder, gets up, and saunters to the metal door. He doesn't mind walking home.

Chapter Text

Stan sighs, flopping back against his bed, just now coming home from another bad day at work. His last day at work actually. No wonder nothing strange happened today. But it was bound to happen sooner if not later, Stan was so certain that he was going to be fired during the first week, but instead was booted the second week. That's the longest he's ever kept a job. Ever since he started working there, he wasn't able to work peacefully without something unfortunate happening to either him or his 'coworkers'. His appearance didn't really sit well with them the moment they laid eyes on him, his good looks overshadowed by the bags underneath his lifeless sapphire eyes that were nearly hidden by his somewhat long dark bangs of hair, and his pale body being skinny to a point where they were thinking that he was taking weight loss too far. They called him names and talked negatively about him behind his back like they were back in high school. So whenever their coffee mug burst in their face the instant they raised it up to their lips or their computer monitor suddenly going up in flames, Stan couldn't help but think that the spirit that hung around him exacted revenge on his behalf. But that thought seemed ridiculous so he didn't ponder too much into it.

Those assholes will definitely rapture his permanent absence at the office.

Exhaling out a deep emotional sigh, Stan's tired gaze becomes transfixed on the slowly spinning brown wooden blades of the ceiling fan. It is quiet, too disturbingly quiet even with the fan on. But Stan is accustomed to this, he doesn't mind the numbing silence anymore. He prefers it this way than it being noisy anyway.

After a few minutes, Stan forces himself up on his feet, having a hot shower in mind. Taking one after work always provided him with a boost to last through the rest of the few hours of the day, though he sees no point today since he no longer has a job. Loosening his tie first as he steps into his bathroom, he flicks on the light switch with his other hand. He makes his way over towards his bathtub, readying the shower head as he strips off his tie. Dropping it to the floor carelessly.

He stands still for a few moments, eying the spraying water and relishing the sound it makes when the droplets beat down on the tub. It was practically music to his ears that overlapped the silence, and that alone relaxed his tense muscles.

Once steam starts emitting from within the tub, Stan removes his remaining clothes, making sure they were out of the way as to not step on them when he's done, then slowly steps underneath the heated showerfall. Angling his head down, he sighs out again, this time in content as the water finishes soothing away the rest of the stiffness in his body. He starts washing away the sweat once he feels the burn on his skin, but he doesn't rush. He's also accustomed to this, him ending up almost looking like a tomato wouldn't be the first.

He does nothing to his hair, which is in a desperate need of more than just a trimming. He would do it himself, but his job leaves him drained damn near all the time, on weekends he'd rather relax, and he refuses to go to a barber. Just the mere thought of some stranger cutting his hair or things going awry gives him the chills. He remembers a few of his female coworkers being nice enough to volunteer to cut his hair for him one day on his first week, but he flat-out declined. Knowing them- or women in general - they'd do more than just cut his hair, and he'd rather not look like some dude straight out of a model magazine. Perhaps one day this week he may cut it himself.

Sighing heavily, Stan shuts the shower head off, shuddering slightly at the shift in temperature. He carefully steps out, damp fringes of black hair practically clinging to his eyes. But he manages to locate and grab a hold of a towel on the nearby towel rack, partially drying himself off with it then wrapping it around his waist. He picks up his work clothes, walks out and dumps them into a basket that contained some more of his other worn clothes in the corner of his room. He groans, he's going to have to wash clothes soon. Thank the God that has not once cared about his wellbeing for washing and drying machines.

The noirette pushes his bangs back as he nears his dresser, revealing a faintly slanted horizontal scar across his forehead. He disregards the abnormal brightness in his vision now that he can see again, opening some drawers and pulling out a pair of underwear, a random shirt, and pants to sleep in when he gets ready to go to bed. He puts them on afterwards. Once he's fully dressed, he drops the towel into the basket. Shortly after his stomach grumbles.

He frowns, appearing reluctant. "Hope I still have some leftovers from yesterday's take-out." Thanks to his near-death experience with the stove at his previous house, he's scarred from ever touching one again, and was very hesitant to buy one for this house. So he didn't. He saw no point since he for one hates cooking, plus he has no one (Nor would he ever) invite (Anyone) over. And besides his meals are only but three things: take-out, pizza, and microwave dinners. Yeah, not very healthy at all. Makes you wonder how and why he's so skinny.

The lazy man exits his room, ambling down towards the kitchen. After turning on the light designated for the kitchen, Stan finally notices once he stops in front of the refrigerator that it is silent once again. That is until a car from outside drives by, but only for a short moment. He opens the fridge's door, feeling his frown deepen at what he sees. Not only does he not have anything left from the take-out he ordered yesterday, he also needs to restock on some necessities. What perfect timing...

"Gonna have to go grocery shopping. Fucking great..." His stomach protests at the lack of sufficient food.

Slamming the door shut with an irritated huff, Stan contemplates going to the store tonight or tomorrow morning. He honestly doesn't feel like leaving the comfort of his home a second time today, but he won't get a good nights sleep if he doesn't consume something to calm his gut. After a struggling internal debate, Stan ends up deciding to wait until tomorrow. Even though it happened merely two years ago, Stan has learned his lesson to NEVER drive at night.

The low rumble in his stomach disagrees with his decision, stopping him from reminiscing a painful memory. "Ugh shut up," Stan grouses with the shake of his head, clearing away the throb. Turning the light off, he trudges into the living room. "I'm not gonna die from skipping one day of dinner."

He plops down on the couch, grabs the remote that was laying on the cushion beside him, and turns on the television. It's on the news channel- from where he left off this morning- not really paying attention to what is being said until just when he's about to change to a different station something the female news reporter says catches his full attention.

Apparently there's been a bizarre threat in the form of a disease drifting about: one where the victim would die due to coughing up flower petals. Tonight's victim wasn't the first, and they most likely won't be the last either. As long as this disease continues to roam free, no one is safe.

It's origin and cause is a great mystery, even scientists are looking into it. However one thing has been attained from this disease: whenever the person dies, over a dozen of bloody petals and even some flowers in full bloom surround their body.

As the lady proceeds to inform the citizens watching about this 'Hanahaki disease', Stan begins to get increasingly worried. Just how long has this disease been going around for? What if...he's been infected?! Considering his void of luck, it wouldn't surprise him, but then again he hasn't been coughing enough to have a flower petal come out of his mouth.

Stan shakes his head again with a weary sigh. "I'd better get some sleep."

With a yawn, he presses a button on the remote to turn the t.v off, then gets up heading back to his room. 


The following morning, Stan's car refuses to work. He knows this is the unlucky spirit's doing, because the vehicle is far from being old. He bought it just last year.

Stan tries one more time to rev up the engine, only roaring to life for like three seconds before giving up. He groans irritably, hitting the back of his head against his seat. He stops when his stomach grumbles, frowning deeply. He may be hungry, but he doesn't regret his choice last night. With whatever shroud of luck he had left at that time, he was immensely fortunate enough to have lived through the few broken bones and the deep gash along his forehead after the car crash two years ago. He'd rather his car be stuck in his driveway than in the parking lot of the store or worse, in the middle of the street.

Stan clenches his eyes shut, gripping the steering wheel with a shudder. "Guess..I gotta go by bus..." But then he gets a very perturbing thought.

The number of times his bad luck can occur in a single day is terrifyingly random, and also unlimited. Just because it happens once today doesn't mean it won't happen again later on. Stan doesn't even want to imagine the horrors that would befall the innocent passengers when he boards the bus; them suddenly getting into an accident with him being the only survivor (Probably), the bus suddenly igniting into flames...or...—

Stan slowly opens his eyes, lessening his hold on the steering wheel, his skin is as pale as snow. "I-I'll just walk instead." The nearest grocery store isn't that far away from his home anyway so it wouldn't hurt to go there by foot. He would be saving many lives by being this thoughtful.

After calming himself down with some deep breaths, Stan exits his car, feeling a tiny bit better. He locks the door - who knows, maybe this is temporary. At least Stan hopes so. He can't afford to buy another car, especially now that he's jobless.

A miserable aura engulfs him at the reminder as he begins his stroll to the grocery store, envying the drivers that zoom past him. And envying them more at the thought of them going to work. Once he returns home, he's going to have to do another job search. Sighing, he closes his eyes slouching forward slightly as he shoves his hands into his pants pockets, fiddling with his car keys in one of them and in the other his cell phone. His wallet is in his back pocket. He actually wants to enjoy being unemployed, even if it's for a little while. He's tired of working a job only to be fired on the first or next day, then having to look for another one right after. It's been nothing but a repeated routine, a very taxing one at that.

But he needs the money, otherwise he can kiss buying food, clothes, hell even paying bills, and his house goodbye! He has yet to have a vacation, he's heard of paid vacations and man he would love to try that. Sucks he can't keep a job long enough to experience it. He's been relying on his bank this whole time, and knows he can't keep doing it forever...He then wonders how much money is left in there. Certainly not much he's sure...

Being an adult is such a huge pain in the-BAM! then CLACK!

Stan's eyes fly open in shock, quickly catching himself from stumbling off of the sidewalk and into someone's yard. "E-excuse me," he stutters turning around to see whom he'd bumped into.

"Shit my phone," the person hisses, Stan identifying them as a male based off of their voice. The man is bending down to pick up said device. He's wearing an orange hoodie with the hood covering his head, out in this warm weather. When he straightens back up, Stan's breath gets lodged inside his throat, not because the guy surpasses his height by like two or three inches. It's a good thing the stranger isn't looking at him, giving Stan some time to marvel at his young handsome face, subdued blonde locks, and narrowed hazel eyes that are filled with deep disappointment at his smartphone's shattered screen. He looks to be in his early 20's or somewhere between 18 or 19 years old, but Stan doesn't fully trust his intuition; having mistook people's ages before in the past. This guy's face is so masculine though, he could probably be older than him for all he knows!

"Can't believe it cracked this badly from a fall," the blonde grumbles. The orange and black tiger striped case couldn't protect the phone's front from the impact with the hard concrete below.

Stan instantly snaps out of it upon hearing the disgruntled male's voice, his country dialect fitting stunningly well with his attractive appeal. "I-I'm really sorry," Stan apologizes meekly, his cheeks flushing a bright pink. "Should've been paying attention to where I was going." He glances off to the side, rubbing his left arm sheepishly.

The blonde heaves a sigh locking eyes with Stan, whose body visibly goes rigid. The movement doesn't go unnoticed, but doesn't get questioned either. "It's fine, don't worry about it." The look on the younger's face says otherwise though.

"B-but still..." Stan pushes before trailing off. As much as he wants to, he can't afford to replace this stranger's smartphone.

"Well I mean, I'd gotten this for my b-day last month," the presumed teenager says. "Oh man, my parents ain't gonna be too happy about this."

Stan winces at his nervous tone, making him feel all the more guilty. "I-is there any way..that I can..." He can't bring himself to finish his statement, praying that he doesn't have to buy a new phone as reimbursement. Anything else but that.

"Hmm weeeeell, you could buy me another one," the blonde suggests waving his smartphone teasingly. Stan pales at that, causing the hazel-eyed male's lips to quirk upward a bit in amusement. "But like I said it's fiiine. I feel that I'm at fault anyway, was too busy textin' hehe," he chuckles scratching the back of his head. He suddenly blinks his eyes briskly, getting a look of revelation across his face as he drops his arm back down to his side. "Shit, forgot to tell him to give the teach an excuse for me not comin' to class today," he mutters to himself. Stan looks to him with a dubious blink of his own eyes as he lowers his arm. The younger male glares at his phone one last time, then shoves it into one of his hoodie's pockets. "Meh whatevs," the teen shrugs losing his scowl. "And besides I have a two-year warranty for it, but I ain't gonna get another weak-ass phone like this one again." He makes a face of grimace and returning disappointment.

Stan blinks again. So this guy goes to school. Now the only thing left is to figure out is if he is a high schooler or a very bold college student to be skipping. Stan thinks it's the former, then later questions why does he care? This person is a total stranger, his life should be of no concern to him. "I see...w-well I need to get going. I apologize once again about your phone." Just as the noirette turns around and continues on his way, hurried footsteps near and match pace beside him on his right.

"Where ya goin'?"

Stan pauses right in his tracks, staring at the teen with a dumbfounded gaze. He's at a loss for words, just what does this boy think he's doing? Abruptly following someone he'd just met so nonchalantly, Stan can't begin to understand this.

The teen in the hoodie stops also, turning and giving the confused adult a grin. Seemingly holding back a bout of laughter. "Lemme tag along, ain't got nothin' else to do right now to kill time."

Stan is quiet a moment longer, composing himself to ask, "Are you outta your mind?" He tires not to let his rising anxiety show. "J-just go to school or you'll get in trouble. Weren't you taught not to trust strangers?"

"It was actually not to talk to strangers, but you..." Stan watches the shift in the blonde's expression, fighting to keep from shrinking back at the intense gaze trained on his face. "You're obviously sick, I mean just look at how pale you are! Why ain't you in a hospital?" Then a frown of uneasiness forms on his face. "You ain't got that flower disease, do you?"

Stan arches an eyebrow of momentary confusion, comprehending what the other was referring to. He shakes his head, distracting himself from the prickle of warmth that erupts within his chest. This guy isn't the first person to worry about his sickly appearance. "N-no, I've..just been through a lot lately." He breaks eye contact, feeling an imaginary dark cloud emerging over his head. He misses the look of relief from the teen after he reassured him. "I'm...the last person you want to concern yourself with."

There is a tense silence between them, Stan picturing himself being observed by skeptical hazel eyes. It's soon broken when the blonde haired teenager speaks. "Kenny." Uttering that lone name earns a combination of shock and confusion on the man's face to be directed at him. He gives Stan a soft, friendly smile. "Kenny McCormick, or you can call me Ken for short. We can get to know each other now, startin' with our names first."

Stan takes a few moments to grasp this change in conversation, but fails immediately. "D-did you not hear what I just said?! You shouldn't-"

"Oh I heard ya loud an' clear, but I don't get what you meant by that." Kenny stuffs his hands into his hoodie's pockets, maintaining his smile as he tilts his head back a little. "If that was your way of tryin' to scare me away, then sorry dude it didn't work. If you didn't want me to come with you, you could've just said so. Not like I'd taken no for an answer though." He shrugs once again.

Stan eyes him with a mixture of emotions on his pale face, his dull sapphire eyes wide and unblinking. This guy..is insane. He has to be. For starters, he was just about to walk with him, a total stranger, to the grocery store without even knowing! Did his parents, hell did the school not teach this kid about being wary of people they'd never met before? Regardless of whether they're harmless looking or not. How Kenny is so oblivious to the dangers ahead from doing this is something Stan cannot even begin to apprehend. Or rather, he doesn't want to.

No wait...what if this is another one of the unlucky spirit's shenanigans? It must not have been satisfied with tampering with Stan's car, having him come across a fearless (foolish) teenager would've given it the satisfaction it wanted. Since Stan has never met someone like Kenny before, he wouldn't know how to deal with him. The spirit also must've been the one to horribly crack the teen's phone. Yes that has to be it. There's no way it would've been that seriously damaged from a fall that's not even five meters away from the ground.

..Speaking of the ground, why does the bottom of one of his feet feel air?

"Dude watch out!"

'HONK' 'HOOOONK'

It all happened so fast-- Stan feeling a hand latch onto his wrist and pull him back against a soft, sturdy body, half of his face being buried into their shoulder. Next comes somebody's angered shouts that's quickly becoming distant. Then the only sounds belonging to passing by cars, and a strong pulse fills Stan's ears.

He blinks in absolute shock, too terrified and perplexed to move. What the hell just happened...?

"Now that was dangerous. Why'd you space out like that all of a sudden?" The familiar Southern accented voice wonders, his voice so close and stern.

Realizing whose arms he's in, Stan jolts out of Kenny's secure embrace, looking flustered. Without uttering a word of thanks to the blonde, he takes off down the sidewalk, going back to his house.

Kenny watches him go with a frown, seems they weren't too far from the man's home because he reaches it in no more than half a minute, opening and slamming the door closed like he was being chased by a madman. It amazes Kenny with how thin he was, he managed to run that fast. The teen faces away from the abode, looking down at his hands as he places them in front of his chest. He glances at the hand that seized Stan's skinny wrist, then the other that held the man close by his waist. One of them still feels the cold lingering on it's palm, while the other remains warm - almost hot even.

He blinks though, when something black on the ground near the edge of the pedestrian path catches his eyes. He bends down to pick it up.

"A wallet?"

He knows it's not his, he left his at home by mistake. Compressing his lips into a line, he glances left and right down the sidewalk he's on, but sees no one close in sight. Which means this belongs to...—

Just to be sure, he opens the wallet, searching for an ID card or any other source of identification. There's a few bucks in one fold, and some cards in another. The rest are empty. As tempting as it is, Kenny leaves the money be and takes out one of the cards. It's a credit card, on it has the owners name.

"Stanley Marsh," Kenny reads. Putting it back, he takes out another card- this one making his eyes expand in slight shock.

It's an ID card, on it has a blank faced noirette, his dreary sapphire orbs boring into Kenny's own as if he was the one taking his picture. Something he clearly didn't want, but was required to take. Kenny studies the man's unhealthy facial features a little while longer, thinking it's scary how the present Stan hasn't changed hardly much from his past-self. The only difference is that past Stan's hair reached almost past his shoulders, his bangs casting over his eyes eerily.

"He seriously needs to be in a hospital," Kenny thinks with a flinch at the picture's unnerving stare, returning the ID card back into it's original spot. "Didn't think I'd get his name through his wallet though," he chuckles dryly. "I'll give this to him tomorrow."

Smiling softly at the thought of seeing the interesting yet ailing man again, he slips the wallet into his pants pocket, then wanders around the neighborhood.

.....

Catching his breath, Stan slides down onto his butt, his back resting against the front door. His eyes, wide in both pure shock and bewilderment, gape ahead, not staring at anything in particular. The unilluminated house is void of sound, save for the noirette's breathing that's gradually slowing down. His heart pounding as if he's still running. He doesn't think about what transpired between him and the blonde, he refuses to. Instead his brain decides to be oh so helpful and envisions the young man's face, hair, and eyes. His mind has to be exaggerating Kenny's looks, making him appear practically like an ethereal being.

A cough unexpectedly slips through Stan's mouth, startling him out of his forced daydreaming. He then goes into a coughing fit, sounding hoarse and dry, as well as painful the more it carries on. Bending his knees and hunching over, he grips at his chest covering his mouth, panic resurfacing in a powerful wave. Why is he coughing so harshly out of the blue? Was his body not used to running anymore?

Thankfully, the coughs start becoming less severe after a couple of seconds, allowing Stan a chance to breath. He's gasping for air, his knuckles white as a sheet. His throat feels like it's on fire. That had to have been the worse coughing fit he'd ever had. However he doesn't even know why he had it, it just snuck up on him!

"Ugh..." he groans, hoping he didn't come down with some serious cold. He lowers his hand away from his lips, eyes widening all over again at what he glimpses in his palm.

A flower petal.

"Wha-what the hell...?"

Due to no light sources being on, he can't make out it's color, but it's light enough not to blend in with the darkness. Perhaps it's colorless.

Stan stares at it for a minute, unable to fathom it's presence. He's very well aware that this - this single petal - is the start of that..delicate sounding but deadly disease. However since there's been no reliable information regarding it's origin, he has no clue as to how he became infected nor when.

Perhaps he really did contract the disease all along.

Stan's body begins to tremble. "N-no...T-this can't be! There's no way-"

A low, deep rumble penetrates the silence, and forces Stan out of his frightened state. He glowers weakly at the petal. "Tch," he tsk's, very troubled about his predicament. No thanks to his run in with Kenny, he's going to have to postpone his trip to the store for another time...

He's starving - ever since yesterday - his throat is parched, and he has a headache.

To put it simply, he feels awful.

"Ugggh..." Stan groans again. With help from the doorknob, he rises onto his feet, wobbling as he does so. Once his footing is stable enough to walk, he goes up to his bathroom to take some medicine. First throwing the flower petal in the trash bin when he enters his room.

Chapter Text

The next day, even though his body needs the extra rest (As well as some food), Stan decides to do some research on the disease himself. He hardly got any sleep last night thanks to his coughing fits combined with his hunger, however they weren't fierce like earlier's. He'd coughed up two more flower petals though, which also ended up being thrown into the trash, making that three petals total. By that point, he was curious as to what color they were, but only for a brief second. All of the constant coughing made him too weak to saturate his dry, stinging throat with water, so he had to endure the pain until he fell asleep some time past midnight.

It is currently the mid-afternoon, Stan sitting up in bed with his laptop opened and perched atop of his lap, his back resting against the bed's backboard, and the bangs of his hair tucked behind his ears so he can properly see the screen. On his nightstand sits a plastic cup of water. After typing in the first three letters to Hanahaki in the 'Seeker' (The first two e's have tiny dots, to resemble eyes, in the top middle arch) search bar, about ten predictive words pop up underneath the bar.

Stan's tired half-lidded eyes look for the word closely associated with the three letters he'd typed, feeling the inside of his throat tighten once he finds and clicks on it. He clears his throat then swallows to rid away the cough as he takes things slow, not wanting to overlook a URL that will have key information. So far, there's over 100k results regarding the disease, even people across the world are being affected by it, not just those in the U.S. Majority of the links are from the news, so after going through two pages, he finally spots one that doesn't belong to a news channel nor a troll, and clicks on it. He doesn't pay any mind to the pretty and floral details of the website, hoping that whomever made this also put in just as much effort into collecting information on the topic. He immediately starts having doubts when all there is is a single paragraph in the very middle, but he gives it a shot, skipping the first sentence that talks about the disease's origin. He doesn't care about that anymore.

"The Hananhaki Disease is caused by one-sided love,-"

Stan stops there, eyes narrowing in disbelief. He can't believe what he just read. "Is this serious?"

No matter how many times he re-reads the second sentence, he just cannot comprehend it. Him, coughing up flower petals because he's suffering from unrequited love?! That is just absolutely ridiculous. Falling in love has never crossed his mind to begin with, he has zero interest for it. Plus he has a spirit that brings him nothing but misfortune so he can't even be in a relationship. Not like anyone would want to be with a 'living corpse' anyway...

Sighing wearily whilst shaking his head, Stan contemplates finding out a cure. If there even is one. He presses his lips tightly together, looking hesitant to read further. What if there is a cure, however it's just as strange as acquiring the disease in the first place? He compels himself to pick up where he left off.

"Where flower petals bloom inside the chest, growing..the longer the victim's feelings go unreturned to a point where even full grown flowers eventually spring to life..within their lungs. Thus leading to suffocation..." Stan takes a moment to digest the disturbing details on how the infection works. He gently places a hand over his chest, feeling the slightly fast thumping of his heart against his palm. He slowly grips the fabric of his pajama shirt, uneasy at the thought of actual, budding flowers growing inside of him. He continues on. "It..can be removed either through surgery, however the feelings will disappear along with it or...the victim's feelings are returned..."

Stan is rendered speechless. There are two ways to get rid of the damned disease, and the unfair part is that they sound so simple too. If only they actually were...

"No." He leaves the website, and desperately searches for another one. "T-that could've been fake, all of that could've been made up bullshit. There has to be-" He pauses, feeling liquid welling and blurring his vision of the bright screen. He doesn't understand why he's suddenly teary-eyed, he hasn't given up hope yet. There surely has to be at least one website that contains factual information...There just has to be...

A cough takes advantage of Stan's disheartened state, this time he only coughs four more times. A first - ever since yesterday - he was coughing as if he came down with a bad cold so he's slightly at ease that it wasn't so bad today. With tears streaming down his cheeks, Stan removes his hand from over his mouth, the small spark of relief diminishing when he makes out only a single flower petal. The light from his laptop reveals it's true color, but Stan can't clearly see it. Clearing his throat with a sniffle, he wipes his eyes dry with the arm of his free hand, then looks down at his opened palm.

The petal is a healthy yellow, a sunflower. Bright like the color of that guy's hair...

Confounded, Stan quickly shakes his head to get rid of the thought. There is no way it's color is connected to him, Stan won't acknowledge that possibility. He throws the petal into the trash bin that he had moved to the side of his bed. He watches it flutter down with a deep frown, feeling regretful of having to discard such a beautiful thing. That came out of his body. He looks away with grimace, catching a glimpse of something translucent on his nightstand. He'd forgotten about his water, and thankfully it's within arms reach. He drinks every last drop in nearly five seconds, leaving the cup thoroughly empty. However it wasn't enough, he's still thirsty, and equally hungry.

With a heavy sigh, he exits out of the browser on his laptop, puts it on sleep, then closes it. He gingerly gets out of bed, holding his plastic cup firmly when he shivers from the cool textures of the smooth carpet beneath his bare feet. He trudges out of his room, into the small hallway, then down the stairs. He stops once he walks off the last step, and just stares ahead. A blank look on his face.

The darkness within his home accurately represents the hollowness inside of his body. Discovering that he'd mysteriously contracted a disease he had never heard of before just made his hellish life all the more insufferable. Whether surgical removal or his 'supposed feelings' end up being returned are both legitimately truthful, Stan can't undergo either of them. He lacks the money for the most part, even if he were able to find a job (If by some smidgen of a miracle) he wouldn't keep it long enough to receive his first pay, and would probably be dead by then. But his main concern is his 'feelings', which was the start of the disease. No, meeting him was. If only Stan's car had of worked yesterday, him becoming a victim could've been completely avoided. He already has his persistent bad luck to stress about. Stan honestly doesn't even know how or why he developed an attraction towards someone he'd just met...but then a memory occurs to him.

Despite how he ended up in such an embrace, he remembers being held closely to a body; Kenny's lean, well built body. One hand on his wrist, and an arm holding him steady by the side. Next comes the feeling of his pulse, Stan may had been practically glued to his shoulder, but his face was so close to the crook of Kenny's neck that he heard it through his hoodie. Their hearts were pounding rapidly in sync from the shock. And lastly is the smell of his cologne, it was strong with a fairly nice scent, and it agitated Stan's nose. But due to their situation, he ignored it.

Overall, Stan felt...so right in Kenny's arms. So comfortable that he didn't want to separate...—

"Urk!" Stan quickly covers his mouth just in time as an onslaught of coughs force their way out. When he calms down, three additional golden petals lay in his palm. He curls his fingers, crushing them. "Ugh, you've gotta be fucking kidding me..."

'Knock, Knock, Knock'

The noirette's body flinches then goes taut. Nervously, he turns his head to look at his front door, wondering if he'd imagined that sound as his bleak sapphire eyes gape at it.

'Knock, Knock'

"Stan ya in there? It's me, Kenny."

*Ten Minutes Earlier*

'BRRIIIIIIING', sounded the high school bell. A minute later, the double doors flew open and out came a flood of students.

"Wait, don't you have detention Kenny?" Questioned a boy wearing a green ushanka, hiding a red haired afro that he deeply despised since it was so easy to tease. Though he got picked on for wearing the hat in the first place in the middle of Spring.

"Shhhh dude," Kenny hissed, glaring at his friend. "I wouldn't even have it if you had of covered my ass in class."

The teen narrowed his lime-green eyes at him defensively. "Yeah, well maybe you should've told me beforehand that you weren't gonna be in school yesterday, and I probably would've."

Rolling his eyes, Kenny faced forward. "Kyle, I already told you why I couldn't," he said, still a little upset about his phone. Classes were more boring than usual today without it. However he wasn't upset at the person who broke it, at least he knew how poorly made it was sooner rather than later. His hands tucked inside his hoodie's pockets, one of them clenched the wallet he planned on returning today. "Besides, I got somethin' important to do. I ain't got time to be wastin' it in that shithole." Dead set on executing the good deed, as soon as he and the rest of the students that weren't taking the school bus reached the curb in front of the building, he turned and ambled down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of where Kyle was going to go.

Said teen came to a halt and spun around, giving Kenny's back a puzzled stare. "Huh, like what?"

Kenny raised a hand slightly in the air, waving dismissively at his query. "Don't worry about it, I'll see ya tomorrow." Then his hand goes back into his pocket.

His lips going into a faint frown, Kyle watched him go for a few seconds, shook his head, and continued on his way home.

Kenny walked with confidence and a tinge of nervousness to Stan's house, taking this time to see if he remembered the man's house correctly. It's color, size, and even the car he had in his driveway. Kenny then wondered why Stan didn't drive to wherever he was going to go yesterday, perhaps his car broke down? Needed gas? Kenny figured he had his reasons thus dropped the issue.

Absentmindedly, he felt around in his pockets for his phone and nearly face-palmed when all he had was the wallet. He groaned irritably. "Damn I miss listenin' to music. Guess I gotta spend some of the b-day money I got and buy me a new phone, since my folks won't get me another one. Never realized how borin' life is without it till now." Shaking his head and sighing out in aggravation, Kenny had no other choice than to survey his surroundings until he arrived at his destination. But it turned out doing so was pretty worthwhile. Since it's early Spring, nature was already endearing for observing, wandering eyes. The bugs, however, were another thing. Kenny hated them with so much passion that whenever he saw one in his line of sight he'd kill it, or depending on how big it was ran away screaming like a little girl. They were the reason he wore a hoodie amid this warm season, to protect himself from harm. Plus he liked how comfy it was.

While he was glancing around, smiling softly at the sunlight peeking through the row of luxuriant green leaved trees, a buzzing sound traveled into his eardrums. The blonde took no further steps, eyes widening as they tried to locate the insect's whereabouts. "Holy shit!" He swore loudly, causing some eyes to snap their attention his way. He paid them no mind, more focused on a tubby looking bee that's lowering itself down onto a daisy that was right by his foot. He had the strongest urge to kick it, but seeing as how it wasn't going after him he instead gave it some space to land onto it's target.

Kenny breathed out a sigh, his body starting to relax. "Man that scared the shit outta me. That's the fatest bee I've ever seen." If only he had his phone, he would've taken a picture of it and shared it online on his social media accounts.

He soon felt like he was being watched, looking away from the occupied bee to see a few walking pedestrians giving him quizzical looks for his outburst. His cheeks flaring up in a bright pink, Kenny pulled his hood over his head as well as pushed his hands into his hoodie's pockets, then shyly sped walked away. He's so glad none of his friends were around to see him react like that, they knew of his fear and would've poked fun at him non-stop about it for awhile. He resumed his viewing of the neighborhood's scenery, also being on the look out for more bugs, until he finally came across a recognizable house he'd been looking for.

He stopped in front of the house's front yard, pulled out the black wallet, opened it, and took out the owner's ID card. Making him seem less inconspicuous towards the passerby's. "Lemme check an' see if this is the right place." He held the card close to his face yet he still had to squint his eyes to make out the small letters and numbers near the address. He managed to make out the numbers next to the address, so as discreetly as he could he glanced over at the iron colored mailbox to see if the numbers matched.

They did.

Grinning triumphantly, he placed the card back into the wallet, checking to see if everything else that was already in it was still there, then approached the front door.

*Present Time*

"He asleep or somethin'?" Kenny thinks when he doesn't hear anything inside the house. He tries the doorbell once, but it made no difference. He looks over at Stan's black car parked in his driveway, the sunlight reflecting off of it's hood. Kenny frowns in confusion, but then remembers the dark haired man trying to get to wherever he was aiming to go without his vehicle. As new as it looks, perhaps it did break down or had some other kind of malfunction. "Guess he ain't home then." Feeling unaccomplished, Kenny returns the wallet back into his hoodie's pocket and begins his walk home. "I wonder if he even knows that his wallet's missin', hope he didn't plan on buyin' anything today," he thinks getting a bad feeling at the thought. Which, in actuality, is most likely towards a faint muffled noise coming from behind him. "I'll try again tomorrow."

.....

Stan cannot stop. No matter how hard he tries he's powerless to stop himself from coughing. He's currently on the floor and on his knees, one hand over his mouth and the other clutching his chest. The plastic cup had rolled itself near the sofa when it was no longer being held. Both his throat and chest feel like they're burning.

What is Kenny doing here, or rather why is he here?! How the hell did he even know where Stan lived?! Stan sincerely hopes Kenny can't hear him coughing, his house is deathly silent so he probably can. But the teen hasn't said anything else yet so he must've already left.

Much to Stan's relief, he can feel his coughs beginning to subside, although the pain is still unbearable. It takes ten seconds for him to stop altogether, the hand over his mouth slumps down to the floor while the other remains firm at his chest. He doesn't bother to wipe away the saliva trails that are on both sides of his gaping, panting mouth, for he has no energy left to move any of his limbs. He looks and feels utterly exhausted.

But he attempts to though, because the weight on his palm has him curious yet also anxious.

Very weakly, he raises his hand up into his downward view, horrified to see about four or five sunflower petals. He makes a fist, a feeble one that doesn't crush the soft small leaves. He coughed up this much, just from simply hearing Kenny's voice...

One by one, the golden petals drift down onto the floor, Stan's hand going limp beside him. He hates to admit it...but maybe that website was right.

Maybe he is in love...


A week passes by, but Stan's condition hasn't gotten any better. Only worse. Ever since Kenny somehow found his house, he's been coming by everyday saying that he has something to give him. Stan didn't believe him at first, but after the third day of him repeating himself, Stan slowly began to think he wasn't lying. What was it he wanted to give him though? Even though Stan was a little eager to know, his body wasn't in the greatest shape. He's been coughing, even throwing up daily thanks to Kenny.

At this moment, the ill noirette is laying face up in his bed underneath the covers, the ceiling fan spinning at max speed. His skin complexion is as white as paper, the bangs of his hair hide his half-lidded eyes. The small trash bin beside the bed is almost filled to the brim with some robust looking yellow petals as well as ones with spots of red on them. He'll never understand how plants can function inside the human body, since when did blood and organs provide them the nutrients needed to thrive? Where is the logic in that?

All of a sudden, there is a hard knock at the front door.

Stan wants to groan, why is this person so insistent on giving him something? Is it that important?

"Look man, I get that you don't wanna see me for whatever reason, but do you want your Goddamn wallet back or not?!"

Stan's eyes widen slightly. "My...wallet?" Kenny has his wallet, and he's been holding on to it all this time? How did he even get it...- Wait, did he perhaps steal it out from Stan's back pocket when he saved him from getting hit by that car? Was that the real reason he acted friendly towards him, to swipe his wallet? Stan narrows his eyes. "That sneaky bastard." To think he'd developed feelings for a guy like that.

With a boost of anger fueling his fatigued body with some energy, Stan removes the sheets off of him and gets out of bed. Almost losing his footing, but manages to prevent himself from falling by slowing his pace and moving the bangs out of his eyes. He walks out, hurrying towards the stairs, and going down them briskly yet cautiously. The last thing he wants is to trip and hurt himself here. He reaches the front door, undoing the locks then pulling the door back to reveal the bright sun and a blonde haired individual. Stan winces, stepping back a bit while clenching his eyes shut.

"Holy shit, you look worse than when I last saw you!" 

Stan opens his eyes partly to glare at the teen. "G-give me my wallet b-back," he winces again, pained by how hoarse his voice came out. He'd forgotten how dry his throat is.

Frowning, Kenny pulls out the black item and hands it to Stan. "No need to be pissed jeez. I tried givin' it to you before, but you never opened the door."

Stan snatches it out Kenny's grasp, holding it close to his chest in both hands. "W-why'd you s-steal it from m-me?"

"Whoa whoa whoa, I ain't steal it okay?" Kenny glares back, offended. "It fell outta your pocket when you suddenly took off."

Recalling that he indeed ran away from the other in a panic, the anger on Stan's face changes into guilt. He looks down at the ground in shame. "O-oh, sorry..."

"It's fine," Kenny says waving his hand dismissively, his scowl gone. "I can't get mad at a sick man. I hope you've been to the hospital."

Stan is silent for a moment. "I-I can't g-go there."

Kenny raises an eyebrow. "Huh? Why not? You got someone takin' care of you?"

Stan shakes his head, not looking at the teen as he moves back placing a hand on the doorknob. "D-don't worry about me, I'm fine. T-thanks for bringing me back my wallet." Just when he's about to close the door, Kenny abruptly slams a hand on it, stopping him.

"You think I'm stupid or somethin'? You obviously ain't fine."

Taking advantage of Stan's weakness, Kenny forces himself into the house. He spots a coat rack next to him, and begins rummaging through one of Stan's jacket pockets for his car keys. "I'll drive you to the hospital myself."

"N-no-" Dropping his wallet, Stan clasps a hand over his mouth, coughing so hard that it forces him to collapse onto his knees, hunching over.

Kenny immediately stops what he's doing to look at Stan. "See?! You should've gone to-" Something suddenly falls to the floor by Stan. That something being a yellow and red flower petal. Frowning apprehensively, Kenny nears and reaches for it. He holds it in between two fingers, lifting it up to his face. He undergoes a short flashback.

He and a brown haired girl were standing behind the school one afternoon, the girl had wanted to talk to him in private. Kenny and many other students knew the unnaturally pale female had been sick as of late, though nobody but her knew what she had. The brunette was looking anywhere else but at Kenny, fidgeting with her cheeks a vibrant pink.

Kenny tried not seem impatient. "Sooo what'd you wanna tell me?" He already knew, in fact it was very obvious thanks to the blush she had when she approached him earlier. It was always the same with them, only confessing because of how attractive he was and nothing else.

The brunette paused, looking Kenny briefly in the eyes with her dark green ones then at the ground. "O-oh um r-right, I uhh..." She started stammering, too flustered to speak comprehensible sentences.

Kenny contained the urge to roll his eyes, camouflaging his annoyance with a small smile. "You like me, don't you?"

The girl ceased her stuttering, face still angled down though Kenny could see her blush darkening. "Y-yes..." she admits quietly. "I-I know you've been confessed to by other girls," she quickly added. This time when she looked up, she maintained eye contact with Kenny. "But I really, really like you." Tears began to surface in her eyes.  Kenny felt the corners of his lips going down into a frown, causing the girl's own to do the same. But out of fear and desperation. "P-please, give me a chance, I-"

Kenny shook his head. "Sorry, ain't gonna happen." He walked up to her, giving her a look of blatant disappointment.  "Hope you find someone else, and see past just their looks." He walked past her, unable to see the sheer fear and sadness on the poor girl's face as she crumbled down on her knees, sobbing.

Kenny didn't know about the disease nor that the girl had it back then, so when news about her death flooded the school, almost every single student blamed him. Even Kenny himself. She also had yellow petals filling her lungs.

He shakes his head of the memory, gently setting the flower petal back down on the floor in front of Stan, who's starting to regain some composure. Kenny purses his lips, very hesitant to ask his question. But he wants to know, to confirm it. "Stan..do you..like me?" Stan doesn't answer, rather he can't. Kenny gets down on one knee, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Just shake your head, yes or no."

Kenny's heart drops when Stan faintly nods his head. "Fuck..." This is bad, this is really bad.

"I-I didn't..w-want t-this." Stan gags, his throat raw from the constant strain and the lack of consuming any liquids.

"H-hang on, I'll get you some water." Kenny stands up, and rushes into the kitchen.

Stan slumps further against the floor, laying on his side, one hand into a fist. Some yellow sticking out through his fingers. Blood and saliva are leaking out from his slightly agape mouth. He feels so, so tired.

Kenny hurries back to Stan's side, frowning deeply at his sickened state. "I-it ain't too late," Kenny says, trying to sound hopeful. "You can get surgery-"

Stan shakes his head, but says nothing, his eyelids drooping. Panicking, Kenny sets the plastic cup of water down on the floor, getting on his knees slipping an arm underneath Stan's side, then hoisting him up on his lap with one hand supporting his head from behind. "Oi! Stay with me man, don't-" But it's too late, sleep already claimed Stan. "Shit," Kenny curses softly. He stares down at the man's face, grimacing sadly at the two red lines down his chin. Then he notices his outstretched hand, aware of what the yellow tips belonged to.

Very carefully, Kenny stands onto his feet, then carries Stan bridal style up to his room, finding it easily thanks to the ajar door down the hall. Upon entering, a foul stench greets him, but he holds his tongue from spouting out a rude remark. He lays Stan down on his bed, then inspects his room. All that's in here is a bed, a nightstand with a lamp and an alarm clock on top of it, a dresser, and a trash bin that's right near his feet. There's a door that's halfway opened on the right, Kenny assumes it's either a bathroom or a walk-in closet.

"Oh my God..." Kenny has no words to describe how appalled he is by the amount of flower petals in the trash, the fact that some of them have spots of blood doubles the feeling. He gives Stan a troubled frown, the slow rise and fall of his chest reassuring Kenny that he is still alive. "I can't leave 'em like this on his own...Not when I'm responsible for it."

Now that he knows what to do, before he leaves he reaches over and pulls the sheets securely over Stan's body, then makes his way back down into the living room. Grabbing the forgotten cup of water from off the floor, he searches for a phone he can use, spotting one on a table lamp beside the couch's left. Approaching it with a deep breath, he picks up the phone and dials his home phone number. Hoping his mother answers his call, and not his father.


By the time Stan comes to, it is dark out. There's a not-so comforting heat surrounding his entire body, making him unbearably hot. He stirs, trying to push off whatever it is that's on top of him, blinking his eyes open wearily. He feels as though he gained nothing from his sleep, considering how jiggered he was. His throat feels practically inaccessible, he can't even clear it without wincing from the dull searing pain. He rubs his eyes with his hands, but ends up rubbing the fringes of his hair into them. He moves them out of the way and continues, blinking his eyes a few more times afterwards.

"How ya feelin'?"

Startled and bemused to hear the gentle sounding voice, Stan shoots up into a sitting position, the covers sliding down to his lap. Wide jaded sapphire eyes identify the person appearing in their field of view. Stan realizes they're in his room.

"Take it easy," a hand touches his shoulder and he flinches, scaring the hand away. Instead they grab a cup filled with water, and hold it out towards him. "Here, you want some water?" He instantly shakes his head no. As dry as his throat is he can't find himself swallowing anything, fearing he may not be able to keep it down. "Damn, all that coughin' really messed your throat up huh?"

Stan frowns, not understanding why Kenny is still in his house. "W-why-" is the only word Stan manages to say before wincing, resting an arm across his midriff and hovering a hand near his neck.

"Don't force yourself to talk if it hurts too much." Kenny balls his hands into fists at his sides, yearning to comfort the noirette. "I'm takin' care of you for awhile...It's the least I can do."

Stan stares at his lap, his dark bangs falling over his glossy eyes. As seconds fleet by, he feels himself getting angry instead of grateful. He curls his raised hand into a weak fist. "I-I don't n-need y-your help." He retches from the strenuous effort on his vocal cords, but he forces himself to talk further. "Ngh..I-it's b-because of y-you that I'm like this." A string of saliva trickles down his chin. "B-because of y-you, I-I c-can't get you outta my h-head." He hunches over covering his mouth, coughing.

Kenny is baffled. It felt...weird to hear a guy say something like that to him. "Did..you fall for me cuz of my looks?" He asks lowly. He wouldn't be surprised if that's the case, just disappointed.

Stan pants for air after the coughs come to an end, removing his hand into his downward view to see more sunflower petals, though this time most of them have blood staining their pure golden color. "I-I didn't." He closes his palm, his body feeling numb with pain. "I-I didn't k-know w-why at first, b-but now I-I do."

For some odd reason, Kenny actually wants to know the real reason why Stan likes him. But then he frowns, feeling immensely guilty. There's no point in listening since he's not going to reciprocate the man's feelings, he can't find it himself to swing for the other team to save Stan's life. Literally. "Stan, you don't have to say anymore...I...-" Kenny can't bring himself to finish his statement.

"It's okay." Empty sapphire eyes meet concerned hazel, a very faint smile on Stan's lips. "T-this was inevitable a-anyway."

Kenny knits his eyebrows in confusion. "Whaddya mean by that?"

Stan shake his head, even if he told the teen about his bad luck he wouldn't believe him. "Y-you can go home now."

"No way, I'm stayin'."

"Please Kenny," tears well up in Stan's eyes, causing a pang to enter Kenny's heart. "You b-being here will only make things h-harder for me."

Kenny bites his bottom lip, appearing conflicted as he looks away. If he leaves, Stan will die, but he stays Stan will still die. It's a lose-lose situation. Knowing that his time is limited, Kenny comes to a rushed decision. "Okay," he sighs. "I'll leave." He turns and walks toward the door, stopping in the entranceway. He balls his hands into fists. "I'm sorry, I really am."

"...I-I'm the one who's sorry..."

Grabbing the doorknob, Kenny walks out shutting the door behind him.

Stan looks at the yellow petals again, tears dripping down on them like slow falling raindrops. After a few seconds, he hears the front door close with a light 'click'. The silence is interrupted by the chirping of the crickets. The night feels strangely peaceful. He now sees the resemblance between the sunflowers and Kenny, the boy is like a human version of the flower. Wanting to take care of him this much, really meant a lot to Stan.

However he feels deeply disgusted with himself for liking someone younger and of the same gender. He deserves to die, to be buried in a heap of bloody yellow and red petals.

No one, except Kenny, would notice or care about his death anyway...

Chapter Text

"Alright children, quiet down," Mr. Garrison says standing in front of his students, already beginning to lose his patience the more his order goes unheard. "I'm asking nicely now, please settle down." The classroom continues to buzz with chatter - or rather with complaints about how hot it is. Ever since Summer started, the children no longer wore their signature jacket, hat, and gloves, Kenny included. Tweek's attire is the only one that remained unchanged. Mr. Garrison grits his teeth, balling his hands into fists. "Shut up!" The voices stop instantly, only the faint humming belonging to an electrical fan fills the silence, it's head moving side to side agonizingly slowly from it's position in the upper left corner of the room. The man huffs then clears his throat. "Now I know it's really hot in here-"

"Then turn the AC on!" Cartman exasperates, sweating profusely while fanning himself with his notebook.

"Yeah!" His classmates chorus in agreement.

Mr. Garrison sighs, shaking his head. "The Principal clearly stated just this morning that the AC needs to be fixed, so until then we have to make do with these fans." Synchronized groans of dissatisfaction erupt from every single child. Kenny gets up from his seat and trudges toward the fan, closing his eyes with a content sigh the second the cool air hits his body. Slouching slightly, he stands directly in front of it, moving also whenever the head changes course.

"Move yo po' ass outta the way," Cartman nearly shouts, ceasing his fanning, his stubby arms drained of energy. Kenny ignores him. Panting slightly, Cartman stares at the back of a deflated red afro, then pokes it with his notebook. "Kahl, turn around and fan me." He continues poking the boy until he turns his body halfway around, looking very agitated. Cartman isn't fazed by his glare.

Kyle glowers at the notebook, smacks it down to the floor, then faces forward.

"Oi!" Cartman exclaims, annoyed at Kyle's defiance.

"I'm not your damn maid," Kyle grumbles. Cartman flips him off, then tells Stan to pick his notebook up for him. The noirette does so begrudgingly, listening to Cartman no longer when he orders him to become his personal fan, missing the middle finger he gets as well.

Mr. Garrison gazes across the classroom with a blank stare, too hot to express his anger. With a deep sigh, he approaches his desk, sitting down in his chair then bending down underneath the desk for something. "I shouldn't even bother to let ya'll do this, but hopefully this'll shut you little crybabies up," he grouses. Him slamming a navy blue bag atop of his desk draws the children's (Except for one) attention towards it. He stands back on his feet gripping the handle. "Everyone get up, we're goin' outside."

Not one person moves, appearing unwilling and confused at his sudden demand. "Wait," Cartman eyes the bag intently, beaming when he has an inkling as to what's inside it. "Are those water guns?!" Kenny looks back at the bag with piqued interest.

Mr. Garrison says nothing for some moments, his lips curling into a small sly grin. He heads over to the closed classroom door. "Maybe they are, maybe they aren't." He ruffles his bag. "You won't know unless you come with me to the playground." He pushes the door forward, stepping out into the hallway.

Cartman practically jumps out of his seat to join their teacher in the hall. Shortly after, the rest of the kids follow suit, the girls looking nervous about the possibility of Mr. Garrison possessing water guns. Once all of his students are out, said man closes and locks the door, then leads them to the playground. Kenny and Cartman looking giddy along the way.

"What if they aren't water guns?" Kyle questions.

Cartman glares at him for trying to get his hopes down. "You better hope they aren't cuz you're gonna be my first target." He smirks impishly.

"Oooh I'm so scared," Kyle pretends to cower. Stan chuckles.

"Hey I got an idea," Kenny chirps. "How bout we have a water gun fight with Craig's gang?"

Cartman seems pleased with the idea. "You guys heard em?" He turns around to look at the aforementioned group, walking backwards.

Craig shoots him the bird, scowling determinedly. "You're on."

Cartman returns the favor sticking his tongue out, then turns away. "Loser has to do whatever the winner says for the whole week." He and Kenny snicker.

After walking another minute longer, the class finally reach the double doors that lead to the playground. Mr. Garrison opens and holds one of them open, allowing the children to go out first, the intensity of the sun making them shield their eyes with a wince and a whine. Not a single cloud in the bright blue sky. Letting the door shut on it's own, Mr. Garrison walks in front of his class, and sets the bag down on the ground, stepping back a bit.

"Alright, grab one and have fun," he says, grin broadening.

Eager, the boys crowd around the bag first, pausing once they look down inside it. Cartman makes a face like he'd eaten something sour. "Bubbles?! Are you serious?!"

"I knew they weren't water guns."

"Shut up Kahl."

"Ooo!" Butters seizes a bottle, smiling happily.

The boys' excitement - excluding Butters' - transfers over to the girls, practically shoving their way towards the bag to grab a bottle. They, along with Butters trot away, giggling, in diverse directions.

"Well, we can have a bubble fight instead," Kenny suggests, wanting to laugh at the thought of them actually competing with harmless bubbles.

"Like hell we can!" Cartman disagrees angrily. "Bubbles are boring and for sissies!" He faces away crossing his arms and sticking out his bottom lip.

Stan reaches down into the bag, pulling out a small container. "Suit yourself," he shrugs nonchalantly. "It beats just watching the girls and Butters have fun."

Nodding his head in agreement, Kenny grabs one too, followed by Kyle, Clyde, a hesitant Tweek, and two others.

"This is so lame," Craig complains, taking a bottle regardless and glaring at it. He flips it off.

The rest reluctantly do the same. Cartman is the only one who doesn't get one.

Mr. Garrison glimpses at his wristwatch, bending down to pick up the bag. "We'll be out here for thirty-five minutes," he says loud enough for even the girls and Butters to hear. He walks off going to relax in a shaded area.

"Sooo, we still down for a bubble fight?" Kenny asks grinning humorously.

Cartman shoots him a glare. "You sissies can count me out." His arms still crossed, he stomps away grumbling under his breath.

Kenny looks to the remaining boys for their answer, but they decline wanting to do their own thing. Or do nothing at all. Him, Stan, and Kyle are the last ones left standing in the same spot. The blonde pouts, his cheeks glistening with sweat. "Maaan they ain't no fun."

"Bubbles aren't exactly fun either," Kyle deadpans, frowning boredly at his bottle.

Kenny twists the top off to his bottle, the wand glued to it. Holding it up to his lips, he blows some bubbles at Stan and Kyle.

Caught off guard, the noirette flinches then goes into a fit of laughter, relishing the brief coolness they leave behind once they burst on his skin. Kyle shields his face with his hands, laughing also.

"See? They are fun." Kenny smiles, getting ready to blow some more bubbles at them. But someone gets him back, shutting his eyes and scrunching up his face to hide his shock. He opens his eyes, glaring playfully at his attacker, who's grinning cheekily. "Oh it's on!" He bombards the sapphire-eyed boy with another barrage of bubbles.

"You started it!" Stan laughs, this time trying to pop them with his fingers.

Kyle chuckles at the two. "I'm goin' in the shade." He walks away with a wave.

Stan and Kenny continue to attack each other with bubbles of differing sizes, running around all the while. They only stopped to dip their wand back into the soap film and catch their breath while doing so. This lasts for another five minutes, neither showing signs of admitting defeat even though they're both tired. Stan more so than Kenny. Wiping the sweat from his forehead, the little blonde fastens the lid back over his bottle. "Wanna take a break?"

Stan immediately drops onto his hands and knees, panting heavily. Kenny knows to take that as a yes as he plops down on the grass beside his exhausted friend. After a couple of seconds, Stan regains enough strength to change his position, turning over and laying down on his back. He gazes up at the cloudless sky, glad the sun isn't in his line of sight. He closes his eyes with a deep exhale.

Half a minute ticks by in semi-silence, the only sounds heard are from the other children, mainly the girls and Butters who are still enjoying their activity. When a few more minutes pass, Kenny inwardly declares to himself that he is bored. He sighs softly, leaning back with his arms supporting him upright, watching his classmates spend their time differently from the others. He stifles a laugh when he sees Kyle harassing Cartman with bubbles underneath the shade of a tree, looking like he's having a blast too as the fat brunette looks ready to hurt him if he didn't stop.

Kenny shakes his head in amusement, a warm breeze kicking in. "What do you wanna do now?" He asks looking over at Stan, whose eyes are still closed and his arms and legs are spread apart. Kenny raises a questioning eyebrow when he doesn't receive a response. "Stan? You asleep?" The black haired boy lets out a grunt as if he doesn't want to be disturbed. Lowering his brow, Kenny does the same to his eyes, staring at Stan's bare arm. A mischievous idea crosses his mind, and he smirks.

Using his nearest arm, he lightly presses two fingers in the middle of the noirette's arm, doing that alone makes the boy flinch. As soon as his eyelids slide upward, Kenny outright starts tickling him.

A startled yelp leaves Stan's mouth, his eyes snapping wide open and gaping at Kenny. "D-dude! Wha-" His lips breaking out into a big smile, another bout of laughter cuts him off from completing his question. He starts squirming around, blindly trying to smack away the skittish hands. Ending up curled on his side, he manages to crack an eye open, squinting at a blonde haired boy who's seemingly finding this torture amusing. Stan tries to glare at him.

"K-Kenny..." The relentless tickling makes it difficult for him to speak properly, as well as breath. "S-stop it!" Tears along with sweat further dampen his face.

Having teased Stan enough, Kenny lets up. "Finally awake now?"

Stan starts gasping for air, his cheeks a rosy pink. He narrows his eyes weakly at Kenny. "Y-you asshole..I-I wasn't e-even asleep." Very annoyed at his friend, once his breathing has calmed some Stan distances himself away from him. "If you ever do that again, I'll kick you in the balls."

"Pffft." Knowing that Stan is quite serious, Kenny holds back a laugh. He searches and grabs his bottle, and simply resumes his onslaught of bubbles at the noirette - who isn't bothered by it since they're cooling him down - until Mr. Garrison announces for them to head back into the school earlier than the intended time.

Chapter Text

It is a bright and sunny afternoon, a scarce amount of white fluffy clouds are in the blue sky. About two or three cicada's can be heard throughout the neighborhood, disrupting the peaceful silence. Even though today is such a beautiful day, accommodating for this day's special occasion, thanks to the intensity of the sun majority of South Park's citizens would rather enjoy their time inside their homes under the cool air conditioning than deal with the high chances of coming down with heat stroke.

Stan and Kenny are no exceptions, lounging on the sofa in the living room of the Marsh's abode, both wearing a tank top and basketball shorts. The small glass table before them is littered with nearly a dozen popsicle sticks. On the television displays the news, currently a sweaty young man is standing in front of a weather forecast board, his suit's jacket discarded somewhere off screen.

"Today it is over 80 degrees, as you can see right here," informs the unenthusiastic weatherman, pointing at the first column. "By the looks of things, the temperature may change slightly come this evening." He steps back to show off the rest of the board. "There's going to be nothing but clear skies with a few scattered clouds starting tomorrow until the weekend, today is the only day we'll be in the 80's ᵗʰᵃⁿᵏ ᴳᵒᵈ, but that shouldn't stop you from at least popping some fireworks tonight." He tried to sound optimistic, adding in a small smile, but instead sounded like he'd given up on life. Stan changes the channel.

"Maaaan why Summer gotta be so damn hot?" Kenny complains, his head resting on Stan's lap.

Stan just grunts as he continues to flip through stations, the heat making him too lazy and a bit grouchy to talk. They had to turn the AC off so the bill wouldn't rise any higher.

"Ya'll got anymore popsicles?" Kenny asks, smacking his red lips when Stan grunts an 'I don't know'. Kenny reluctantly sits up and stands on his bare feet. He trudges towards the kitchen, sighing contentedly when his foot makes contact with the cool tile. He does the same with his other foot, slouching forward slightly with another satisfied sigh. He stands there until it's warm beneath his feet. He proceeds towards the refrigerator, opening the top door and scanning the freezer for some nice cold popsicles. Instantly finding the box they're contained in facing away from him.

He closes his eyes with a smile, relishing the winter-like air breezing past his face, blowing the sweat away. He opens his eyes to grab the box, turning it around and frowning when he looks inside it.

"Stan there's only one popsicle left, you wanna share it?" Stan simply grunts again, he probably didn't even hear his question. Kenny mimics him as he takes the last frozen treat out of the box, standing in front of the freezer for another two minutes before shutting it and nearing the trash can to throw the empty box away. Unwrapping the paper, Kenny walks back into the living room to see Stan still switching between channels on the t.v.

Rolling his eyes, Kenny snatches the remote out from the noirette's hand, then plops down on the sofa. Shoving half of the red popsicle in his mouth, just when Kenny is about search for something to watch himself, something on the screen sparks his interest.

He pays no attention to what's being said - rather to what's being shown. It's a commercial- a family of four are in what appears to be their backyard, two of their children enjoying themselves in a small swimming pool while their parents are attending to a barbecue grill.

Kenny pulls the popsicle out of his mouth, and licks his already reddened lips. "Dude," he looks over at Stan, stifling a laugh when he sees his outstretched arm still in the air. He pushes it down, squeezing the teen's muscles a few times before retracting his hand. "Don't ya'll have swimmin' pool?" Before Stan can reply, he narrows his hazel eyes into a warning glare adding, "I swear to God if you grunt one more time."

Stan blinks slowly. Feeling that he's being watched, he looks to his right to see Kenny glaring at him. "What?"

Kenny's face morphs into a deadpan frown. "Do ya'll have a swimmin' pool?"

Stan ponders his question for a moment. "I think so," he answers uncertainly.

Tossing the remote aside, Kenny gets up. "Let's go look an' see."

Stan lets out a groan, slumping back against the couch. "I'm too hot to move." He blinks in shock when a red object suddenly appears right before his eyes. He stares at in mock disgust. "You licked off that."

"This ain't the first time we shared spit," Kenny says a matter-of-factly. "But it's fine if you don't want it, you're still comin' with me."

Stan clamps his mouth over the popsicle. Kenny lets it go with the roll of his eyes. "I wasth joking jeez," Stan says.

"Yeah yeah, you have any idea where it's kept at?" Kenny asks.

Stan shrugs, savoring the cherry flavor of the dessert. "Text yo folks an' ask 'em!" Kenny nearly exasperates.

Stan takes the popsicle out from in between his lips, which are equally becoming redder. He looks up at Kenny. "Even if we do find it, do you know how long it's gonna take to set it up with just the two of us?"

Kenny pouts a little, he may not have a pool of his own back at his home but he knows it's not no cakewalk to inflate. He sits down with a huff. "Well what are we supposed to do then? Just sit here an' watch t.v all day?"

"Of course not, it's the 4th of July dude, we're not really gonna spend the whole day not celebrating it." Kenny doesn't look convinced. Stan shoots him a small smile. "That's the reason you spent the night right?"

"Part of it yeah," Kenny grumbles. "If weren't for this stupid heat, we'd be doin' what that family was doin' in that commercial already." He leans back against the cushion.

Stan's lips form a line, he didn't fully see what commercial the blonde was talking about but he has a hunch as to what the family could've been doing. "Yeah true," he starts licking his popsicle lazily, which is starting to melt. "What was the other part?"

Kenny gives him an 'Are you serious?' look. "To spend time with you, duh."

Stan pauses, mild shock on his face. "Oh, I thought it was to hog the AC and eat all these," he jokes gesturing his popsicle. He chuckles when Kenny nudges his knee with his own, a smile on both of their faces.

"Where'd your parents go anyway?" Kenny asks after a beat of silence, save from the television. "They didn't go somewhere fun without us did they?"

Stan shakes his head. "I actually don't know where they went, all my mom said was that they'll be back." He hurries and finishes his popsicle before it melts completely.

Kenny heaves a deep and long groan. "Maaaaan, now it's hot and borin'."

"We could play the game?" Stan suggests, tossing the stick with the rest on the table. He'll throw them away later, if he remembers.

Kenny dismisses his offer with the wave of his hand. "Don't feel like it...waaait..." He rises back on his feet, heading for the door that leads to the backyard through the kitchen.

Curious, Stan sits up to turn around and look at the blonde. "What are you doing?" His question is left hanging in the air.

The instant Kenny opens the door, he hisses. "Holy shit it feels like a desert out here." He takes a tentative step outside, swearing loud enough for Stan to hear. He stops cursing and looks both left and right, seemingly spotting something on his right. He dashes towards it.

"The hell is he doing?" Stan mutters to himself. He cocks an eyebrow when a few squeaking sounds come from outside.

"Yo Stan, come an' check this out!" Kenny shouts, sounding excited.

"Check out what?" Growing suspicious, Stan gets up to see what Kenny wants to show him. He stops by the door, Kenny wasn't exaggerating when he compared the heat to that of a desert's. Upon closer hearing, Stan now knows where the squeaking noises originated from. He inches himself to stand beside the door, peeking his head outside in the direction Kenny went in. "What-" He's cut off by a spray full of nippy water hitting him in the face, he stumbles back spluttering and wiping his face.

Kenny bursts out laughing, a water hose in his hands.

"Y-you asshole! Some water got in my nose!" Stan hastily tries to locate the paper towels through blurry vision, successfully finding them on the counter table.

"Ooops." Kenny laughs again. He doesn't know why he didn't think of this before.

After drying his face off then blowing out the water from in his nose with the paper towel, Stan discards it into the trash can and marches outside. Almost instantly Kenny shoots some more water at him, but this time aiming for his torso. Stan approaches his jovial attacker undeterred, his sapphire eyes narrowed.

Lowering the water hose slightly, Kenny can't help but stare at Stan's drenched white tank top clinging to his body, highlighting every aspect of his well-toned body. Kenny nearly drools at the sight. "Damn he's fuckin' sexy." He forces himself out of his daze with the shake of his head, sweatdropping nervously when he notices how close Stan suddenly is. "Wait you ain't mad are ya?" He begins to take some steps back. "Dude you better stay back or I'll...-" A sudden tug on the hose almost makes him drop it, overextending it's limited length. Which is pretty short. Some water ends up splashing on Stan's legs and feet.

The noirette lets out a surprised squeal, jumping back out of the chilly water.

Blinking owlishly, Kenny watches Stan stagger back from the water's trajectory, having never heard such a high pitched sound leave his throat before. All he can think of right at this moment is how cute he sounded. "I gotta hear that again." Smirking deviously, Kenny advances toward Stan, keeping the hose lowered in one hand. He jerks his wrist upward, propelling a stream of water droplets to land directly onto Stan's foot. He flinches with a giddy yelp, Kenny holding himself back from pouncing the teen. First he was hot as hell, and now he's being irresistibly adorable. Talk about unfair.

"K-Kenny cut it out!"

Kenny halts with a hum, protruding his bottom lip as if he's considering stopping or not. "Naah." His smirk returns, and he continues approaching Stan.

Once he's close enough, Stan does the unexpected. Just when Kenny is about to wet Stan's feet again, said noirette quickly regains enough composure to reach for the hose.

Shocked, Kenny yanks his hand back, causing a shower full of water to get on his legs and feet as well. Startled, Kenny shudders while swearing and ends up letting go of the hose.

Taking advantage of his distracted state, Stan seizes the hose and distances himself away from the teen. Copying the smirk Kenny wore not too long ago, Stan points the hose at the blonde's feet, exacting revenge.

Yelping then laughing, Kenny fights through the additional cold to retrieve the hose, resulting in a tug-of-war.

Stan comes out victorious, Kenny blaming the fact that he has more muscle than him. The two played with the water hose like frivolous children, they were so absorbed with each other that they weren't aware how fast the time had elapsed nor the arrival of Stan's family. The sun was gradually setting, coloring the sky a faint yellow-orange.

"Looks like you boys are having a good time over there."

Stan and Kenny pause, both thoroughly soaked from head to toe and a little dirty. Panting, Stan looks back from his position on top of Kenny to see his mother and Shelly peeking from over the wooden gate. The water hose had been shut off minutes ago, it's now laying in the grass a few inches away from them.

"You two are so gay," Shelly scoffs, secretly taking pleasure in seeing Stan pinning Kenny. She'll never admit it out loud, but that's kind of hot.

"I know right?" Kenny jibes jokingly, his wet blonde bangs of hair matted to his eyes. Shelly rolls her eyes in response.

Sharon giggles, then walks away into the house with her daughter following. "Hurry and dry yourselves off so neither of you get sick. Wouldn't wanna miss out on the fireworks tonight."

Feeling his cheeks heat up in embarrassment, Stan gets off of Kenny. How they ended up in that kind of position is beyond him...

"Aww why'd you get up?"

Stan glares at Kenny lightheartedly, he pokes his side with his toe. "C'mon, let's go inside already."

Kenny sighs. "Fiiine." He raises a hand, Stan takes it and helps him up on his feet. Kenny pushes his bangs back. "Well, that was fun," he smiles tiredly.

Stan smiles in return. "Yeah I guess. Next time we're using water guns."

"Hell yeah, that'd be even better," Kenny agrees.

They wander back into the house, first wiping their feet off on a towel Sharon set out for them before the doorway, then they go up to Stan's room to dry off and put on a change of clothes.

When they don't come down after about fifteen minutes, Sharon decides to check up on them. As soon as she enters the living room, she notices the piled up popsicle sticks on the glass table. Annoyed at the mess they made, she walks up the stairs to her son's room, pushing the closed door open. She opens her mouth ready to scold them, but shuts it upon seeing them passed out on Stan's bed, exhausted from their fun activity.

Smiling softly, she lets them off the hook and gently closes the door.

His lips curling into a small smile, Kenny nuzzles closer to Stan.

Chapter Text

A little child ran gleefully towards his mother in a meadow field, who was smiling and waiting for him with opened arms. Behind her was the boy's father holding his little sister in one arm, and standing next to them was his older brother. The family's appearance, however, greatly contradicted the beautiful scenery; barefooted with nothing but a mucky brown robe tied securely around their frame. Mud stains and some small cuts garnished in random areas along their skin, and dirt clung in their hair.

As he eagerly stretched out his arms, ready to embrace his mother, the boy didn't find it the slightest bit strange when he cracked an eye open to see how close he was getting that he couldn't see neither of their faces. Just their lips were visible, his mother's being the only one curved upward while the rests are in a impassive line.

"Hurry Kenny."

Shutting his hazel colored eye, the child picked up his pace at the gentle urgency in the woman's voice. Feeling himself getting out of breath, his legs began to lose their strength to keep moving. But he didn't stop - rather he refused to. He didn't want to keep his mother waiting any longer.

"You're almost here, don't give up."

Gritting his teeth, the grimy haired blonde forced himself to go faster, his lungs and legs burning from the exertion. Meanwhile, his father, sister, and brother remained eerily quiet. Just when he felt about ready to collapse, a pair of hands grabbed the tips of his small fingers, and carefully pulled him forward straight into a body.

"Good job Kenny, I'm proud of you for not givin'  up."

Panting, the boy managed a smile, snuggling close to the crook of his mother's neck. The tender breeze negated her accustomed stench, only the fresh air and the sunflowers could be smelled.

It is contentedly silent as mother and son basked in the embrace...until-

"It's time to wake up!"

Kenny's eyes fly open, bolting upward into a sitting position on his makeshift bed on the stone hard floor. Blinking a few times wearily, the remnants of his dream starts fading from his mind. He stares ahead past the opening metal bars only to look into the cell across from his own. A black haired female with cat ears and a tail grimaces at him in disgust, then stands up joining the line of inmates trudging with nothing on their feet out into the corridor. Their attire consists of the males wearing brown tattered sleeveless tops and pants that stopped above their ankles, the females wore a same colored dress that went past their kneecaps. The children, although they were in another part of the building wore similar clothing as the older boys and girls, but were permitted to have something on their feet - instead of shoes or even socks bandages filled the role except left their toes exposed.

Kenny sighs deeply, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hands. He's been having that same bright dream for so long now that it's starting to get really disturbing, but it beats going through flashbacks. He doesn't want to ever see or be reminded of his family's tragedy again, yet he knows without a doubt that once he steps outside into the sea of observing eyes he's going to be the center of attention. Like always. If only he and his family were born into this world completely human, then they would've simply been poor and only had to deal with being neglected by society. Or rich if they were really lucky. No one would've been killed and no one would've been sent to this hellhole.

Shaking his muddled head, the 18 year old begrudgingly rises to his feet and nears the opened gateway to his cell so he doesn't get yelled at for dawdling, his previously golden colored dog tail drooping to match his downcast mood, the ears atop of his head had long since showcased the emotion upon being crudely awakened. He waits for a wide enough gap to step into before following in line, ignoring the disdainful look he gets from the person behind him. His heart begins to pound at the immense nervousness settling within his body. Fortunately, the hallway is long, giving him enough time to calm his nerves.

A scarce number of sconces light the way in between the cells on the left and right side walls. To ensure none of the inmates tried anything funny, because quite a lot had in the past, a pair of guards keep the front, middle, and back under surveillance. Since they're actually good at their job, the idea of having the half-breeds wear monitored collars was abolished. Instead once sold, their owners are able to brand them as they see fit. To let it be known that they belong to them.

Kenny feels himself getting angry at the thought of being seen as someones property, hence the title of this building. Just because they have animal ears and a tail doesn't really make them any less of a human being. They breath the same air as humans, eat the same food, wear the same clothes; the only differences between them are their appearances and their five senses.

Kenny thinks back to the first and only friend he'd made in his entire life having a similar mindset. In fact they were the one who instilled the idea into him after warming up to each other. How they became acquaintances will forever be a strange encounter to Kenny, though it did allow him to get closer to them.

Back then, ten years ago to be exact, majority of the half-breeds contained here were dissimilar types of dogs and cats. His friend, whom was a redhead, was the only fox. The boy was isolated from the other children thanks to his overall appearance, even when he tried to show them he meant no harm he'd just get shunned. At the time due to them being kids, their holding compartments were a bit more tolerable compared to now. Despite sharing, having a bed made up for it, though that was to be shared with also. Every room had two beds with a sheet and pillows.

The day Kenny arrived and stepped foot into the room, no one except a lone fox had bothered to even bat an eye in his direction. Word about Kenny's family had circulated rather swiftly, causing him to be feared and avoided like the plague. No not a plague, a murderer. However he no longer cared, he's tried so hard to tell people that he didn't do it, but since he wasn't descriptive enough describing the actual culprit no one believed him. Thus he gave up on his endeavor, tired of defending himself to blind listeners. He and his family had lived and solely relied on each other for years, only for it to be suddenly ruined for no reason at all and since he somehow survived, painted almost head to toe in red, he was suspected of committing the crime. Most believed it was because their lifestyle was getting to him, they were very stupid and awfully wrong.

On that very same day of the murder, instead of being thrown into prison, regardless of his young age since he's a poverty-stricken half-breed, because of the lack of conclusive evidence he was sent to a place that was sort of a lenient version of a prison: The Pet Kingdom Chambers.

The aroma of blood instantly flooded the air inside the medium-sized room he'd walked into, yet only one pair of eyes followed him to the corner away from the four kids. Three on one bed while the other one was by himself on the other bed. The little bloody blonde sat down pulling his knees up to his chest, blocking everyone out by burying his face into the folds of his arms on top of his kneecaps, his slightly red tail coiled around his feet.

"Great, now we have two monsters in here," a child groused, pinching her nose to prevent from inhaling the fetor, the other two mimicking her.

The redhead shot her a glare from his lime-green eyes, of course a cat would say that. They despised dogs after all. Gathering up some courage, the half-fox got up from the bed and approached Kenny. The 10 year old frowned down at the half-dog, unsure how to get his attention when his presence alone caused Kenny to lift his head slightly. Seeing two different colored eyes peeking out from underneath his blood covered fringes of hair caught the little fox off guard and unnerved him, but he quickly forced up a friendly smile. Something Kenny found mighty peculiar when he detected some sadness in his expression.

"I know you didn't kill your family."

Kenny gawked at the red haired boy, equally shocked and skeptical. He wanted to question how he was so certain, but all the screaming, pleading, and crying he'd done prior scratched up his throat. Saying nothing else, the red fox child sat beside him, copying his posture. Uttering those words alone was somehow the start to their friendship, it was very strange indeed.

Kenny smiles sadly at the memory, it's been eight years since he became friends with the boy, and six years since the redhead had been bought. Nearly every day the dirty golden half-dog prays that he's been well. Now that he thinks about it, he feels grateful that someone genuinely knew that he wasn't a murderer. That fox was more keen rather than cunning.

"Hellooo and welcome back citizens of Kemo to our famous Pet Kingdom Auctiooon!" A round of applause and cheers soon follow.

The line comes to an abrupt halt the moment a man's voice boomed into a microphone. Since Kenny was so immersed within his reminiscing, he failed to notice, and bumps into the person in front of him as a result. Stumbling back a little as to not crash again into the person behind him, he first regards the body build and stature difference between him and the half-breed before him. Kenny is quite tall himself, albeit skinny, however this person beats him by at least three or four inches, and they've also been doing some types of exercises that granted them a definite boost of muscles. Beating up those that annoyed them is one of them.

Knowing instantly who this is, Kenny looks up a little to meet a narrowed vaguely vibrant amber eye. "S-sorry dude." Even though his voice came out low and sheepish, he's glad that the announcer outside is currently talking so the guards didn't hear him. The black haired teenager hardens his glare, seemingly unsatisfied with his meek apology. But he flips Kenny off, then faces forward, smacking Kenny on the cheek with his smoothly furred feline tail. He winces, but the strike wasn't strong enough to hurt. Kenny knows the guy is practically itching to harm him more than a meager slap to the face, accident or not no one gets away with physically touching the noirette that causes even the tiniest bit of pain. Kenny considers himself very lucky that today is auction day.

"Now it's time to choose which breed you'll be taking home todaaay! Here comes the first set!"

The line moves up by taking a few steps, then stops again.

As much as Kenny loathes the bidding process, the one thing he likes about it is that you are up on stage with a group - seven to be precise including yourself. So all of the eyes among the crowd below will be looking at each half-breed, not just one individually throughout the whole time. Remembering that always helps calm him down. But the wait is super long and boring, he'll never forget the one day that an auction lasted until nightfall. It was the last set of the day, and some hunters wanted the rare half-fox to be their hunting companion, irregardless of his age. Neither man let up until the price was too high for them to breach. To this day Kenny still finds it hard to believe that the human that bought his friend had loads of money, despite his concerning appearance turned out he was a professional at what he did. No other bidding session has topped that so far.

Kenny glances around, distracting himself from hearing the man's loud and jovial voice alternating between prices announced from the crowd every couple of seconds. It's been the same person for as long as he's been here, he may not sound like it but he sure does look like it. He's got to be tired of doing this by now.

Sadly there's nothing worth looking at in this corridor, the empty yet messy cell rooms on each side only makes his stomach churn. Looking at the ground while facing forward letting out a soft sigh, Kenny decides to let his mind wander.

He's thought this a bunch of times before on days like this, wondering if anybody will ever buy him or even consider it. If people didn't think (assume) he was a murderer, would his outward image stop them from buying him instead? Unlike his friend who accepted him with hardly any questions asked, others picked on and belittled him, having bizarre ideas that the color of his eyes had something to do with him killing his family. Just because one is hazel and the other is dark brown doesn't mean anything. Kenny merely called those people dumbasses, and dismissed such beliefs. They didn't know who actually killed his family, and were only pinning the blame on him because he came out alive. That was so unfair.

A rough nudge from behind forces Kenny out of his irate reverie, staggering forward but quickly catching himself from colliding into the noirette again. Regaining his balance, Kenny looks back glaring at the person who pushed him, locking with a pair of icy blue eyes returning the irritated look. A smug gleam in them. Before Kenny can curse his persistent aggressor out, a guard that's monitoring the very row the two are in approaches them, giving them a warning scowl.

"Behave yourselves," is all he says then he goes back to his original spot.

Both males tsk quietly, Kenny shooting the asshole a middle finger before turning back around, glaring past the black haired male's shoulder. "Fucker loves pissin' me off," he swears inwardly. He honestly doesn't understand why the half-husky finds bullying him like it's his only goal in life, aggravating bastard. He's the very first bully Kenny has stood up to, he may seem intimidating but it's just for show. He's basically all bark and no bite. Closing his eyes, Kenny relaxes by taking in deep breaths.

About thirty minutes go by when it's the middle sections turn to go up on stage. The first seven march up the stone steps then a guard raises a hand signalling for the black haired half-cat to stop. Kenny can't figure between feeling relieved or extremely nervous now that it's almost his turn. All he can hope for is it ending quickly, whether he gets bought or not since he has mixed feelings about it. Some buyers openly admitted to purchasing half-breeds for...sexual purposes only before. He's just glad that his friend didn't end up in such clutches, and hopes that he himself doesn't either.

An additional fifteen minutes slip under Kenny's radar, so focused in his thoughts once more that he almost doesn't register the teenager in front of him moving forward. With another deep breath, Kenny ascends the stairs, outside air making it's way into his lungs. He tries to disregard the chatter from the crowd as he and the rest walk towards the announcer. He's wearing a black and white suit with a dark top hat on his head of matching colored hair, he also has a thick mustache. Kenny immediately feels uncomfortable from the numerous eyes watching his moving figure. Clenching his jaw and his fists at his sides, the seven half-breeds stop and face the large group of humans. Kenny gazes at the cloudy blue sky, the sun nowhere to be seen. What a beautiful day to host such a dreadful event on...

"First up is Craig Tucker. For someone who's only 17 years old, this panther is strikingly handsome don't you all agree?" A lot of women and some men give Craig a lascivious look accompanied by some wolf whistles. He grimaces in slight fear. The man places a white gloved hand on his shoulder, wanting so badly to shrug him off. "Who wants to be the first to name their price?"

"200 kenos!" An eager woman with long curly blonde hair calls out raising her hand.

"Ooo starting off high I see, who can top that?"

"250 kenos!" Shouts another female with her just as long sandy red hair wrapped in a beehive style, her arm shooting upward.

The two women continue back and forth against each other for quite awhile. Damn rich people, Kenny curses, willing to spend over hundreds of money on just a mere half-breed. Who's not even close to their age at that. As the price shouting squabble drags on, Kenny suppresses the strong urge to tell them to shut up, their high pitched voices grating his ears. This carried on for about another five minutes, then a new voice chimes in and thankfully ends up naming a price that neither woman can outdo.

"1,000 kenos!" There is complete silence afterwards.

All eyes, including Kenny's, search for the person. However before Kenny can even fully look at the mystery bidder, he catches a glimpse of a dark cloaked individual. They're standing in the second row close to the stage, and what confuses Kenny is that he doesn't acquire a bad feeling about them despite their guise. Slightly uneasy about that, he directs his attention back to the sky.

The competing women are left stunned as they blink in shock. "1,000?!" They shriek in unison, gaping at the interrupter easily thanks to their raised limb.

Even the announcer is blown away by the large price so early into the fourth bidding session. He lowers the mic to clear his throat, regaining his composure then hovers the microphone back to his lips. He suddenly blinks his green eyes in recognition. "Oh it's the soon-to-be heir of the Donovan family!" Collective gasps of shock emit from the crowd. "My, time sure does fly. Hard to believe you're already old enough to bid," he chuckles. The brunette blushes bashfully while lowering his hand. "Does anybody, or rather can anyone name a larger price than that?"

"Hmph, foolish boy," the redheaded woman smirks folding her arms underneath breasts, obviously pretending not to care that she lost. She actually wanted that half-panther. "You've probably just wasted your allowance money on that breed."

The announcer waits a few more seconds before declaring the winner. "Looks like Craig Tucker is sold to Mr. Clyde Donovan then. Come on up and claim your prize!" The brown haired male does just that, smiling and bowing to those applauding and congratulating him along the way. He gives the red haired woman a proud smirk of his own as soon as he passes by her, and she glares daggers at his back. "Hope your parents don't get at you for spending that much money on a pet," the adult quips once Clyde is on the stage.

Dismissing the man's playful chiding tone with the wave of his hand, Clyde nears Craig, unfazed by the dubious glare the noirette gives him as he stands face to face. He reaches into one of the pockets of his maroon colored overcoat, pulling out a shiny silver metal collar with a chain attached to it. Taken aback by the item, Clyde clamps the thing around Craig's neck with ease. "It'll be worth it Mr. Darke," Clyde winks, having a roguish glint in his lavender colored eyes. Holding the chain, Clyde leads them off the stage from the way he came, joining the other winners below off to the right side of the crowd, separated by a low metal fence.

"Alright moving on." Realizing it's his turn now, Kenny tenses. "Next we have a very familiar face, who is also good looking. Not a lot of half-breeds have mismatched colored eyes like this one, which is very unique. Sadly his reputation is well known by everyone here so I doubt any ladies or even some men would be willing to take him home. But I've noticed a certain amount of suspiciously dressed people among you all, hence the tight security. Perhaps you lot are here to buy some killer half-breeds to assist you in your..ignominious business hmm?" There's an awkward pause. Anger and annoyance starts bubbling up within Kenny, slowly overlapping his nervousness. But he keeps his mouth shut and holds an intent gaze at the sky. The announcer clears his throat again. "So, who's daring enough to take Kenny McCormick, a golden retriever home, out into the streets or wherever you live with you today?"

Murmurs all around erupt from the throng of people, however not one person seems ready to state their price. Kenny doesn't take offense to this though, this has happened many times before in the past. The humans would just sneer and mutter to one another about him until his turn was over, then he'd have to wait for the next auction to suffer through the same experience again. It's been a never-ending cycle since the day he was brought to this place.

He flinches when he feels a hand tap the upper part of his bare arm, turning his head to glare at Mr. Darke, even more vexed at his so-called sympathy pat. "Get your hand offa me geezer." He roughly shrugs him off, he seriously can't stand this guy. Is he ever going to retire? Some people cease their talking to gasp at his disrespect.

Lowering the mic away from his mouth again, the announcer narrows his eyes as he leans close to Kenny's face. "It's Mr. Darke to you half-mutt, best show me some respect or else," he growls threateningly. Kenny hardens his glare in response, yearning to provoke him more. Reluctantly losing his scowl as he faces the crowd, Mr. Darke raises the mic back up to his lips to speak. "Okay, let's just save everyone the trouble and move on to-"

"500 kenos," someone calmly announces over the chatter, lifting up their hand.

The voices slow to a stop. Aghast, as are many others, Kenny locates the person rather quickly. It's the hooded figure who is now identified as a guy, his face hidden from dumbfounded eyes.

Puckering his lips, Mr. Darke twiddles the tip of his mustache. "500 eh? Quite the high number for something nobody plans on wanting." He shoots Kenny another glare, though brief, probably aware or unaware that a fist is longing to connect with his middle-aged face. "Either way, Kenny McCormick is sold to the inconspicuous man near the front. Come up and-"

The cloaked male is already making his way up to the stage, whizzing through the mass of people without difficulty even though his eyes are covered by the tip of his hood. A lot of the citizens begin to mutter in disbelief, but then realize that since the guy looks shady it shouldn't be too shocking that someone of his character would buy a half-breed with an akin nature.

Kenny watches his very first buyer advancing his way, currently undergoing many emotions all at once. He didn't think, for one that someone would actually buy him or even consider it - be it a serial killer, hitman or even an assassin. To think those kinds of people are able to bid regardless of the tightened security. And two..-

All of a sudden, the dirty haired blonde's field of view goes dark and a pair of radiant blue eyes stare directly into his own. Startled, Kenny stumbles back, his newly acquired owner steadying his balance by grasping his wrist with a hand wearing a black glove. Kenny can't figure if the man's eyes are glowing because of the shadow within his hood or not. It is ominously puzzling.

Without a word, the mysterious individual pulls the baffled teen off the stage, heading to the winners section though distancing themselves away from the others by a few meters.

very tense silence falls over the two, not even the announcer can change it when he talks about how interesting things have gotten. Kenny makes it obvious that along with the silence something else is unsettling him, fidgeting a little with his eyes to the grey cobblestone ground. He can't help but feel restless next to this stranger, going into his nose is an overwhelmingly frightening metallic smell equivalent to the one he inhaled ten years ago. Not even the cologne the man is wearing can mask it, at least not from him. This guy has killed over dozens, or perhaps thousands of people to have such an odor attached to him...

Swallowing the rising bile, Kenny bites his bottom lip lightly, the absence of speech between them making the atmosphere twice as unbearable. "H-hey umm-" Feeling like he's being watched, he pauses to look up and at the crowd. Instantly the onlookers whip their heads around to face the stage, but the sensation still lingers. Looking over at his left, he jolts when he meets the eerie scintillating blue eyes again, the owner of the pair's hand keeping him from moving too far.

"You're wondering why I bought you, right?" He asks, sporting a frown Kenny now realizes on his attractive face.

The half-dog blinks, taken aback by his accurate question. His voice was so low under the geezer's amplified own that if it weren't for his extraordinary hearing, he wouldn't have heard him clearly. "Y-yeah that's right." He scrunches up his face, looking at the ground again. "You ain't gonna make me your accom..-accomplish are you?" He's heard the word plenty times before, it was used around him regularly yet he can't remember precisely how it sounded.

The blue-eyed man arches an eyebrow, looking the faintest bit amused by him confusing the word with something else. "Accomplice you mean," he corrects. He tips his head down a little to cover his eyes. "But no not anymore. Throughout the years of me observing you, I know you aren't suited for killing."

Kenny looks to him again, frowning in confusion. "Observin' me?" He asks uncertainly.

"Yes," the man nods. "Ever since the uproar about a half-breed child supposedly going mad and killing his family, I've been present to every auction to see if that was really the case before I bought you when I became of legal age. With each passing year, I began to realize that you were just an innocent, unfortunate boy framed for murder. If you had of really done such a thing, you wouldn't have always looked so mournful."

Kenny is speechless for some moments, some of the words the guy used went over his head, however he did attain one thing - and that was that this guy knows he didn't kill his family. Just like how his friend somehow knew. "Oh...why'd you buy me then?" He really hopes it's not for...sexual deeds. The dude may not look it, but all of the constant killing could've left him pent up or something...Kenny suddenly feels wrong for thinking that...

"Don't worry, I have no intention of committing any indecent activities with you."

Kenny blinks. "...Huh?" He cocks an eyebrow expressing the rising bewilderment on his face. "The hell indecent mean?" But then he realizes something, and ends up gaping at the male. "Wait, d-did you just read my mind?!" His outburst interrupts Mr. Darke and causes people to whirl their heads around in his direction, half in shock while the other majority are annoyed at the disruption. Releasing Kenny's hand, the hooded man dips his chin closer to his chest to conceal his abashed face.

His cheeks heating up in embarrassment, Kenny gives the crowd a hesitant glance, then lets out a forced chuckle as he scratches the back of his head. "S-sorry."

"Alright folks, eyes back over here please," the announcer beckons with his hand, surprisingly not making a witty remark at the dirty blonde's exclaim.

Everyone collectively returns their focus to the stage, and the bidding resumes. This group is partway finished.

Heaving a sigh as the red dims from his cheeks, Kenny looks over at the dark cloaked man to see him with his whole face covered and his arms crossed. Kenny knits his eyebrows, unsure how to read his posture. So he disregards it. "So yeah back to my question, did you read my mind?" A few seconds pass when the man shakes his head. "Then how'd you know what I was thinkin'?"

"I thought you didn't know what indecent meant," the hooded being points out, keeping his face unseen.

"I don't, but if I had to guess it probably means somethin' nasty. I dunno," Kenny answers shrugging clueslessly.

The man shakes his head sighing. "The first thing I'm going to have to do is educate you when we get to my place. How annoying," he mutters the last bit to himself. Kenny still heard him though.

He narrows his hazel and dark brown eyes into a sharp glare. "If I'm so annoyin', then you shoulda bought someone else. Ain't my fault I didn't go to school."

His angry, dejected tone causes the male to tighten his jaw, striking him with guilt. "Sorry, I'd forgotten-"

"Yeah yeah whatever." Still looking hurt and bitter, Kenny plops down on the ground crossing his arms and legs, his tail curling halfway around his right side. The resurfacing silence once again becomes awkward, escalating the longer neither opens his mouth. Only three more half-breeds remain on the stage, once they're done the next group will be next.

"What's your name?" Kenny demands after five minutes. Even though he hasn't forgiven the man yet for his rude comment, not knowing his name for this long has been bugging him. Another minute ticks by. Just when Kenny thinks he isn't going to get an answer to his brusque question, he actually does.

"It's Stanley, Stanley Marsh."

Chapter Text

The auction comes to an end in the late evening, the sky colored a yellow-orange with the clouds having been long gone. As Mr. Darke announces the exiting process to everyone- instructing those that didn't buy a half-breed to follow two guards out through a metal entrance from which they entered in an orderly fashion and the winners are to officialize their purchase by heading into a building behind which the auction was held at, Kenny is swiftly led away from the other buyers into a different direction when enough people block out their appearance from the guards.

"Wait where we goin'?" Kenny asks, struggling a little to keep up with his..owner. It's like he's in a hurry to get away.

"Home," is all Stan says, his voice so low that Kenny almost didn't hear him over the many people talking in the background.

Without paying first? Kenny gets a nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach, wondering what this guy's house looks like. Since he's an assassin Kenny presumes he lives in a secluded area with a handful of weapons stashed around, actually he believes all assassins leave their weapons out in the open in their home. He shudders at both the thought of seeing some bizarrely designed blades or even guns at Stan's place, and at a puddle he'd suddenly stepped into. Feeling the abrupt wetness under his bare feet forces him out of his rumination and to perceive his surroundings, his hazel and dark brown eyes widen.

"How the hell did we..."

The buildings and street lamps have all been replaced by an endless amount of tress - dead trees. Most of them have not a single leaf on their weakened branches even though it's mid-Spring. Thanks to the evening sky Kenny never thought the woods could appear this scary before. He glances down when he notices that they aren't running anymore nor are they stepping on any sticks, which is good because he'd rather wander into mysterious puddles than have bloodied feet from the pointy objects. They're on a clear path of just dirt and a scant amount of muddy water puddles. The only sounds heard are their footsteps, active crickets, and hooting owls in diverse parts of the woods.

Nervousness changes into apprehension. Kenny squeezes Stan's hand. "Seriously man, where the hell we goin'?" Was Kenny's hunch perhaps correct? Does Stan actually live where no one can see him?

"Stop worrying and overthinking things." Kenny glares at him for his annoyed tone. "I'm not going to hurt you, I promise." Kenny blinks away the scowl, Stan instead sounded a little bit caring in his last statement.

Kenny huffs, loosening his grip. "Even if you tried I would've kicked your ass, assassin or not." Holding back a scoff, Stan simply keeps walking.

By the time they reach their destination, the sky is darkening into a navy blue with the moon slowly creeping up in the atmosphere, casting the woods in an even more disturbing hue. Stan releases Kenny's hand as he goes up the steps to his porch, while the dirty haired blonde gapes at the man's abode with a combination of shock and confusion. He cannot believe he guessed right, however..this house isn't in the shape he assumed it was going to be in considering where it's built at.

"Come on," Stan urges facing Kenny with his mystical blue eyes narrowed at him from the entranceway inside his home.

The combined emotions gradually ebbing, Kenny observes the house a little longer before entering: it's medium sized with iron grey colored wooding, the triangular shaped roof is pure black. "Wipe your feet." Stan points at a dark brown mat on the floor placed right in front of the door that he closes and locks. With another huff Kenny does as told, unable to stop his ears from twitching due to how unexpectedly smooth the fabric is. Unaware that he's grinning, he doesn't stop wiping his feet until he's forced to, a gloved hand seizing his wrist and tugging him forward. Stan heads for the stairs.

Kenny's smile shifts into an annoyed frown. "I can walk on my own ya know, I'm not a kid." He scans around as they go to wherever Stan is taking them, feeling immensely relieved that there's not one weapon visible anywhere. Now he doesn't have to worry about being killed in his sleep or anything. This house looks oddly clean and smells fresh, unlike Stan. The wooden walls are a cloudy grey, but Kenny can't help but wonder why they look so weird to him. He's seen bare walls before, but for some reason it doesn't look right for this house. On the other hand seeing as how the owner is all dark and plain himself, it's starting to seem not all that unusual. He's honestly surprised the whole house isn't black.

They enter a short hallway, all four doors are closed. Two of them are on the right side, one is at the very end, and the other is on the left side. Stan goes to the single door on the left, opens it and flicks on the light. They walk in, Stan letting go of Kenny's wrist as he approaches a bathtub, bending down slightly to twist one of the knobs. Kenny, who was in awe at how spotless the bathroom looks, flinches when it squeaks and a sprayful of water shoots out of some metal thing on the wall above the tub.

Leaving the water running, Stan exits the bathroom, a bemused Kenny watching his figure until he disappears by rounding the right side corner. "What the hell's he doin'?" He mumbles, then looks at the water again. Where's all the smoke suddenly coming from?

Stan returns half a minute later carrying some clothes neatly folded in his arms - that being a pair of his own underwear, a white T-shirt, and black sweatpants. Laying over them is a dark red bottle with a golden-brown cap. He lowers the toilet seat's lid down to place them on top of it. "Those should be able to fit you, our built isn't too different." He hands Kenny the container, who gives the name and simple designs on it a quizzical look. "You can use this shampoo, the soap, and blue sponge on the shelf over there." He points to the aforementioned shelf on the wall above the bathtub. "And that towel to dry off." He points at a big white towel resting over a metal bar not too close to the tub. "Dump your clothes out in the hall, I'll discard them since you won't be wearing them anymore." With all that said, Stan turns to leave.

"Hang on."

Stan stops, turning back around to give Kenny a puzzled frown. "What? Don't tell me you'll need help washing."

Bright pink erupts on the half-breed's cheeks. "H-hell no! I just wanna ask why didn't you pay earlier?"

Stan's lips curl into an unreadable half-smile, perturbing Kenny. "I was never planning to." Then he saunters away.

Kenny frowns uneasily at such an eerie answer. "So that means..he stole me?" Still feeling unnerved, the dark haired blonde places the shampoo bottle over his new set of clothes then starts stripping off the ones he's wearing, throwing them out into the hall carelessly, then he closes the door. A few indistinct scars marred his skinny but fit torso and back, as well as some splotches of dirt. Overall he isn't really dirty. He faces the tub with a deepening frown, how the hell is he supposed to wash himself with all of this smoke? Not only that but it's gotten way too warm in here.

"Maybe I should..."

Quickly thinking against it, Kenny timidly nears the bathtub, and sticks out a hand to touch the water. A few droplets graze his fingers. "Ouch!" He yelps staggering back. That was super hot! "He tryin' to kill me?" With tears prickling his eyes, he looks at his stinging digits with a pout, jolting slightly when a knock sounds on the door.

"What's wrong?" Asks Stan's slightly muffled voice.

Kenny glares at the door. "Water's too hot." The doorknob starts rattling, and Kenny starts to panic. "O-oi wait-" Too late, the door pushes open.

Kenny quickly covers his private area with his hands and tail, a powerful blush coloring his cheeks. Blank-faced, Stan walks past the flustered teen to change the temperature of the water. The rapid flow starts slowing down some, and no more smoke emits from the tub.

"Sorry," Stan apologizes faintly, walking back out. He shuts the door, and pauses in front of it. Feeling a rush of heat surging up in his own cheeks, he presses his lips tightly together, exhales deeply though his nose, and continues on his way.

"..." Kenny cannot fathom how stone-faced that guy is, he didn't even glimpse at his naked body...Not that he wanted him to...A strong chill courses throughout his entire being, remembering a similar scenario back at the PKC (Pet Kingdom Chambers). Privacy was very scarce there, and because of that he along with the other half-breeds had no choice but to become accustomed to it. Having to share an open cubicle with those of the same gender was a total nightmare, he didn't know anybody there even though he and the half-fox were steadily developing into friends. Despite how extremely awkward it was, the redhead somehow managed to disregard their predicament with random chatter.

Smiling faintly at the uplifting part of his reminiscing, Kenny decides not to waste anymore time. Relieved now that all the smoke is gone, he steps into the bathtub and his muscles instantly relaxes when the warm water hits his body. It's always been cold water back at the PKC. After basking in the warmth for a few minutes, he reaches for the soap and sponge Stan said he could use. He rubs the soap onto the sponge, and gets to business.

It takes him almost twenty minutes to finish showering, the shampoo took up most of his time. Since he'd never heard of nor seen shampoo before he had no idea where to apply it on, thinking it was soap as well due to how white, soft, and fizzy it looked. Though it had a better smell. He tried to read the small letters on the bottle, but it was a pointless attempt. He couldn't read. So in the end, he just used it on the two spots he hadn't washed, which was his head and tail.

Kenny opens the door, stepping out into the hallway getting the lingering water out of his dog ears with the towel. His previous clothes that were hurled out here are gone. "Stan? I'm done." He glances at his left, neither doors indicate that Stan is in any of them. He tosses the towel on the floor in the bathroom, just when he's about to search for him, he hears the blue-eyed man coming up the stairs.

"I didn't think you were that dirty," Stan comments, approaching while eying the clean half-golden retriever. The clothes fit him perfectly just as he suspected.

A look of annoyance crosses over on Kenny's features. "I didn't know how to use that stupid shampoo crap."

Stan frowns guiltily. "Oh, well you used it correctly since I can see the blonde in your hair more clearly now. C'mon, I made dinner." He descends back down the stairs.

Food piques Kenny's interest, and he follows Stan who goes into another short hallway that leads to the living room and a kitchen. An enticing smell enters the half-dog's nose, nearly drooling at the thought of seeing tasty, edible food. There's not much to look at, only a chocolate brown couch, a ceiling fan, and an unlit fireplace are in the living room, and a similar colored circular table with two wooden chairs correspondingly tucked underneath it are in the kitchen. It has the necessities a kitchen should have, but Kenny gets the feeling that Stan doesn't put in as much effort into taking care of his house like he does killing people. Why he feels that way he isn't sure, perhaps it's due to how Stan presented himself upon first meeting: Mysterious and questionably friendly.

Kenny then notices two dark bowls each with a glass of water beside them on the table, next to the bowls are spoons placed on top of small napkins. Stan pulls one of the chairs back and sits down, Kenny doing the same to the other chair. When he looks down in his bowl, a strong mixture of disappointment and disgust appears on the blonde's face.

"Soup?" How the absolute hell can something so appalling smell so good?

"Yes," Stan replies dully grabbing his spoon to begin eating.

Just when he thought he'd never see this awful looking goop again, he was too quick to assume Stan was a skillful cook. What a huge letdown. "Ugh, why not somethin' else?"

"Because it's the only thing I know how to make." Stan scoops some of the brown liquid into his mouth. "Don't be picky, and just eat it."

Kenny narrows his eyes at him for his unreasonable demand. "This shit's been the only thing I've ever eaten, and it's fuckin' nasty! I know soup ain't the only food in the world."

Stan pauses, lowering the utensil away from his mouth. He raises his head a little, having no expression on his face though Kenny can detect some hurt and anger in his cold bright blue eyes. "You can just starve then." Looking back down at his bowl, he resumes eating.

Crossing his arms with a pout, Kenny slumps back against his chair. "Fine, I'd rather do that than eat this junk again." "Don't care how good it smells."

Light, occasional clanks from the spoon hitting Stan's bowl makes the silence moderately less tense. After some prolonging minutes, Kenny is startled by his grumbling stomach, soon becoming embarrassed when Stan stops briefly again. He sips his dinner as if he didn't hear anything. With a growl, Kenny gets up and leaves the kitchen, having no idea where to go as long as it's someplace that will completely null out the aroma of the soup. He marches up the stairs.

Stan drops his spoon into his nearly empty bowl with an aggravated sigh. "He's acting like a spoiled kid." Frowning, he grabs both dishes and walks toward the sink, dumping his bowl into it then contemplates what to do with Kenny's. The teen clearly detests soup so he most likely won't even think about eating it later. Or at all. "How ungrateful." But he can't just let him go hungry like that, he doesn't actually want him to starve. Thanks to a momentary flashback of his past, the words just slipped out. Heaving another sigh, Stan puts the untouched food in the refrigerator, and searches for a replacement meal.

Kenny stands in the middle of the hall, happy that he can no longer smell the food. If Stan hadn't of mentioned it, he wouldn't have even known he'd cooked anything. He still can't understand how soup of all foods had such a deceiving scent like that. Ridding the thought of food from his head by shaking it, Kenny starts to feel awkward just standing still. The bathroom is the only accessible room he can go into. He's very curious about the other three rooms, one of them is definitely Stan's. Speaking of rooms, he wonders which one will be his.

Turning on the light, Kenny enters the bathroom closing the door halfway behind him. He kicks the towel aside as he nears the toilet, sitting down on the lid. After merely a few seconds of him staring at the metal bar diagonally across from him, his stomach demands to be fed again. He makes a face, slowly starting to realize how mean he was being to Stan. The guy bought- well technically stole him since no one else was daring enough to be associated with him, and he now has somewhere appropriate to stay. In spite of him being an enigmatic assassin, Stan was sincerely sympathetic of Kenny's situation and even knew he wasn't a murderer without him having to tell him.

And now Kenny feels twice as worse after acknowledging the fact.

The blonde slouches forward burying his face into his hands. "I should've at least tasted it. Fuck." Suddenly one of his dog ears twitch when the door hesitantly moves with hardly any sound. He peeks through the gap of his index and middle fingers with his hazel eye over at the obvious individual opening it, removing his hands upon spotting something in his hand.

Stopping with a close enough distance between them, Stan wordlessly holds out a bread roll wrapped in a napkin towards the teen. Kenny stares at it for a moment, inspecting then sniffing the melted yellow stuff wedged in the middle where it'd been cut open at. His stomach rumbles. "It's just butter," Stan reassures him.

Feeling embarrassed all over again though slightly put at ease despite not knowing what butter is, Kenny takes the bun into his hands. It's warm. "Thanks." He raises it up to his mouth, and bites into it. His eyes widen, confounded at the unexpected pleasant taste. Before he even knows it, he's wolfing down the small bread.

Stan fights back a smile, lowering his head as he turns away from Kenny. "Come with me." He walks back out into the hallway.

Kenny looks at the empty napkin with a frown, as good as the bread was it wasn't all that fulfilling. It was gone after three bites. "Should I ask for another one?" He shakes his head at the thought, he already feels bad for not eating the soup Stan made and the man went out of his way to fix him something else to eat. He gets up crumbling the napkin into a ball, throwing it into the trash can as he leaves the bathroom. A door being opened draws Kenny's attention towards it, seeing Stan doing it from at the end of the hall. Switching on the light, the man enters the room.

His curiosity peaking, Kenny approaches the room, watching Stan examine some black shelf in plain sight of the doorway. Upon walking in, Kenny surveys the area. The grey wooden walls in here are also void of any pictures or other decorations, there are two small windows with partly opened grey-blue curtains on the right side and a white ceiling fan in the upper center. On Kenny's left is a comfortable looking bed with dark blue and black patterned sheets and a wide white pillow, next to the bed's right is a midnight blue nightstand with a lamp and a small black clock on it's surface. He can't read the red digital numbers on the thing, but he doesn't need to, the sky is giving blatant indication that it's late and that's all he needs to know. Stationed almost near the foot of the bed is a little dark brown round table, two dark colored cushions are placed across from each other on the floor. Lastly is a black closet, that is also on his left. He walks in front of it to get a better look at it, noticing a closed door by the corner of the room. The presumed closet has two long doors and three small drawers at the bottom.

"Is this his room?" Kenny wonders.

"Have a seat over there." Without looking, Stan points to the small table behind him.

Looking to where Stan is pointing Kenny obliges, pulling one of the pillows back a bit then sitting crisscross on it. It's surprisingly comfy, far more suited for sleeping on than sitting. He looks over at Stan, now knowing that the shelf contains a lot of books. "Are you ever gonna take that thing off?" Kenny suddenly inquires. Stan has worn that cloak all day, how is he not hot in that?

Disregarding Kenny's query, Stan pulls back a burgundy colored book from the bookshelf, then turns it over on it's front. Partway in the middle, the word 'DICTIONARY' is inscribed in golden text with a similar colored thin line below it. He goes to sit on the other cushion, sitting in a seiza position as he sets the somewhat weighty book down on the table.

Kenny blinks confusedly at the object. "Umm-"

"This is a dictionary," Stan clarifies while opening the book, flipping to the 'A' category. "It contains over a hundred-thousand words at best, ranging from 'A to Z' along with their pronunciations and definitions."

Kenny blinks again, now even more confused although kind of amazed. He expected this dictionary to be bigger if it has that many words. "Cool, I guess."

After turning two more pages, Stan pushes the book towards the dumbfounded teen, tapping a finger on the first word. "Starting here, you will study each word and it's meaning in this section for two hours."

"Two hours?!" Kenny immediately repeats in disbelief. He looks down at the word Stan pointed at, instantly unable to comprehend what it says. Is that even an English word? He gapes at the male. "I'll do what for two hours?!"

Stan fails to hide his frown of annoyance. He was already aware that teaching Kenny wasn't going to be an easy feat so he mustn't complain. The Pet Kingdom Chambers are solely designed for raising half-breeds for auctions, they aren't obligated to be taught anything there. Stan heaves a soft sigh. "I'm trying to help you Kenny-"

"You mean educate my annoyin' ass?" Kenny corrects bitterly.

Stan's irritation changes to remorse. "I already apologized, but I shouldn't have said that in the first place. I was actually referring to teaching you overall." Glaring off to the side, Kenny grunts indignantly. The not-so accustomed awkward silence falls back over the two. Worried about the dwindling time, just when Stan is about to remind Kenny that he should start studying, said blonde yawns and rubs at his eyes.

"Looks like he's tired," Stan thinks, his lips forming into a line. It's to be expected considering how long the auction took to finish, the teen was even nodding off at some points only to be jolted awake by the various noises from the crowd. Plus they had to walk to his house, which took up about ten minutes. Kenny deserves some rest. Grabbing and closing the dictionary, Stan rises to his feet, returning the book back to it's previous spot on the shelf. "You'll study tomorrow morning after breakfast." He doesn't see Kenny grimace as he ambles towards the doorway, he stops. "Follow me to your room." He heads for the nearest closed door in the hallway.

Kenny gets up trailing after the other male, feeling both sleepy and eager to see his room. When Stan opens the door, he comes to a halt. Before Kenny can question him, looking over his shoulder to see the source of his stopping, he mutters a swear.

He turns to face Kenny, appearing as if he's beating himself up over something. "Sorry, there's still much left to do before you can reside in there."

Kenny arches an eyebrow. His eyes long since adjusted to the darkness, he sees barely anything inside the room. "You mean this ain't my room?"

"It is, it's just not ready yet," Stan sighs.

"Oh." Kenny looks at him with a frown, appearing just as disappointed. "Where am I gonna sleep then?"

"In my room." Stan closes the door, Kenny stepping back to gives him some space. "I'll sleep on the sofa in the living room."

Kenny deepens his frown disapprovingly. "I don't mind takin' the couch-"

"It's fine," Stan says lowering and shaking his head. "I don't mind either. It's only until I get everything situated for your room."

And how long will that take? Kenny sighs, after all that he's done despite his semi-unfriendly attitude, it wouldn't feel right for him to take his bed also. "How bout we share it then?"

Stan declines the suggestion with the shake of his head. "Get some sleep otherwise-" An abrupt deep buzzing sound makes him flinch. It sounded really close by.

"What was that?" Kenny asks warily, glancing around for the source of the weird noise.

His eyes darkening a shade, Stan clenches his fists lightly. "Nothing you should be concerned about, now go sleep."

Skeptical, Kenny watches him walk away until he leaves his view by going down the stairs. "Fine whatever, he better not change his mind later." With another yawn, he goes back into Stan's room, suddenly getting a strange chill. Not really knowing why, he ignores the feeling and shuts the door. The moment he flicks the light switch off, moonlight beams through the curtains and into the room. It would be a soothing sight had the dead trees' shadows not shown themselves. Guess this was what caused the chill Kenny assumes. He pulls the curtains to both windows closed, the brightness dimming down to a point where it's almost invisible and the shadows are practically gone.

Satisfied, Kenny strolls over to the bed, stopping to stare at it. He still can't get over how inviting it looks, he's actually glad he doesn't have to sleep in the living room. Though he won't turn a blind eye on the man's stubborn generosity. Pulling the sheets back, Kenny crawls onto the mattress, smiling happily with his tail wagging side to side at how soft it feels. It's like a big pillow! Speaking of pillow, if the bed is this soft then the pillow must be even softer. Forcing himself to calm down, the half-golden retriever sits down and lays back pulling the covers up to his chest.

Instantly a smell drifts into his nostrils. He blinks. Since this is Stan's bed, he sort of expected it to have the stench of blood lingering on it. Actually his whole room in general. However something else is overpowering the fetor, something...nature-y.

Shrugging, Kenny closes his eyes and snuggles under the sheets, sighing out in content as he does so, feeling the tension rapidly draining from his body.

"Best. Bed. Ever."

For the very first time, he falls asleep with a peaceful smile on his face.

.....

"I really am proud of you Kenny."

Kenny jolts from unconsciousness, only to hiss and shield his shutting bi-colored eyes with the back of his hand at an obtrusive light.

"That voice I just heard...was that...?"

Tentatively, the blonde opens his eyes while lowering his arm, blinking the sting away a few times. Once his vision clears and he discerns his whereabouts upon a glance, dread hits him. "Oh no not again." Begrudgingly, he stands up, staring ahead across the sunny meadow field with a deep frown. He just can't seem to go one night without having the same repeated dream, perhaps he should refer to it as a nightmare now. He was secretly hoping that sleeping on an actual bed would make it cease it's torment, but it looks like no matter where he sleeps, the optimistic yet daunting dream will haunt him for as long he lives.

"Maybe I should start stayin' awake," he sighs, his body slumping forward. He's sick and tired of waking up every morning feeling empty, and also confused. Just why would his mother be proud in him for not 'giving up'? Was she trying to give him morale support for enduring the hardships of being a supposed criminal throughout almost the entirety of his life or something?

"Don't think like that."

Kenny's dog ear twitches. With depression and anger on the brink of swallowing him whole, the teen locates the female's Southern accented voice - which came from behind him. She's alone and this time he can see her entire face, marred with dirt and small cuts; her lips that was always in a caring smile was currently expressing sorrow. She's still wearing a grimy robe. Kenny turns to face her completely, straightening his posture with a hollow expression.

The red haired woman inches closer to her son, trying hard not to appear effected by his lifeless gaze. "I know it ain't much, but it's the best I can do. The only thing I can do really."

Kenny dips his head, blonde bangs hanging past his saddening eyes. "What about the others? Are you the only one that cares about me?" He murmurs.

"Of course we care about you too lil bro!"

Kenny snaps his head upward, glossy eyes widening with a mixture of emotions at three new presences standing next to his mother. He can see their faces clearly as well, one of them giving him a playful yet evidently hurt glare. "Kevin, Karen, and dad..." A tear slowly slides down Kenny's cheek.

His little older brother approaches him, trying to form his lips into a comforting smile but ends up looking sad. "Jeez don't cry dude." He lightly punches Kenny's arm, the teen flinching at the realistic contact. Laughing at his reaction, Kevin's dark green eyes suddenly widen. He looks his brother up and down. "Holy shit, you're just as tall as dad now! Hell probably even taller! Guess you're the big bro now." The brunette grins.

As both adults start scolding the boy for swearing, Kenny blinks in shock. He wasn't even aware that he maintained his original stature in this...nightmare...He watches his father smack Kevin upside the head, Karen giggling and their mother shaking her head with a small smile. They look so normal...as if they haven't been dead for so many years...

"Sucks this isn't real..." Kenny frowns resentfully at the realization, and turns away. Wiping his watery eyes and cheek, he stares across the vast horizon again, unaware of his mother heading towards him. That is until she slips a hand into one of his own. He nearly jerks his hand away in a panic.

"Real or not, we will always love and support you Kenny." She looks over at her tall son, smiling tenderly.

Feeling the salty liquid resurfacing in his eyes, Kenny tightens his lips into a hard line, clenching his free hand. "I know..I love you guys too. And I miss you all so much." His fist trembles.

She softly squeezes his hand. "We do too...I'm proud of you for stayin' strong." She then frowns following the blonde's gaze. "Despite the whole town bein' against you. You don't know how pissed I was when they all accused you, a child, of bein' a murderer." She grits her teeth angrily, and narrows her maroon colored orbs.

"That's humans for ya," Kenny states flatly.

His mother sighs away the anger. "Yeah, that's the sad truth." She shakes her head in disappointment.

A brief silence comes afterwards. "So you've finally gotten an owner," the redhead brings up. "About time."

Kenny looks conflicted in the face. "But I dunno why though. He's an assassin yet he said I wasn't suited for killin'. Just why'd he choose me for then?"

"Oh you'll know in due time."

Puzzled, Kenny looks to his mother, who continues to stare ahead. "Whaddya mean by that?"

She shakes her head. "Can't tell ya, you're gonna have found out on your own." Kenny doesn't hide the frown of discontent on his face, he looks away. "You'll find out eventually that the both of you are almost alike."

"What-" He's cut off by a pair of arms carefully wrapping themselves around his neck, taking him aback.

"Keep hangin' in there son, don't ever forget that we'll always be watchin' over you."

An immense wave of sadness overcomes Kenny, and the tears spill without delay as he hugs his mother back, burying his face in the crook of her neck. "I won't. I'll never forget."  The redhead gently rubs circles onto his back. The rest of his family crowd around them, smiling remorsefully at the touching display of affection. A light gust of wind blows.

In the real world, tears start slipping from underneath Kenny's closed eyelids, his smile undisturbed.

.....

From: xxx
To: Stanley Marsh

'Your Target Is xxx xxx, A Man Around His Early 50's With Short Grey Hair And Green Eyes. He's Currently Living In An Abandoned Shack Across From Caper Park. The Assignment  Must Be Completed Before Midnight Or It Will Be Marked As Failed And You Will Not Receive Your Incentive.'

Stan waits two hours before leaving the house, breaking out into a sprint and dashing through the shadows with distorting speed that not even the moonlight can keep up with him.

He doesn't stop until the town's lights and buildings come into view, slowing his pace once he's in and camouflaging himself within the nearest shade. Fortunately it's an alleyway. He lowers his head so his vibrant eyes doesn't give away his position, doing so just in time as a trio of men in amour with their swords tucked in their sheaths around their waist amble past him. One grumbling about how much of a pain in the ass this job is, the other two chide him for it. Since it's very common for assassins to be on the prowl at night, subservient guards patrol every inch of the town every nightfall. Keeping the mayor and his wife's manor heavily guarded for they are prone to attracting assassins.

Hearing the guards' voices growing distant, Stan checks for any more of them then proceeds onward when he sees that the coast is clear. With enough speed gathered, he darts up a nearby building, which has a fair height to mask him well from below. However not from above. After running for a few minutes, he skids to a stop detecting a winged figure gliding airborne in his direction.

"Damn it."

Panicking a little, Stan jumps down from the current building he's on, the sound of his feet hitting the ground alerting a different trio of guards who are only a couple feet away from him. Stan hurriedly sinks into the shadows of the alleyway, pressing his back against the wall while clenching his fists.

Looking at each other then readying their spears, the guards turn back and cautiously approach where they heard the sound from. The second they peek down the alley, Stan makes his presence known causing the men to charge at him carelessly, thinking they have the advantage with their numbers. Within a narrow passageway wielding long weapons. Stan has the urge to kill them for being reckless idiots, but instead knocks them out cold in a cinch. As loyal as these guys are, too bad they aren't the same with their training. Shaking his head at their stupidity, Stan proceeds on ground level. Something he avoids doing at all costs. It's much easier traversing through the rooftops, but only if he doesn't encounter any of the half-owl guards like tonight.

Unlike the humans, the half-owls are formidable beings. They were forced to be well-trained, if they weren't capable then they were sent to the Pet Kingdom Chambers. He'd rather not spend another half of his night fighting the adept creatures, and drawing more attention towards himself.

While being on the ground, light was the least of his concerns. He stayed away from their path like he was deathly allergic to them. It was the same with the guards, although having to deal with them more than twice was very troublesome. If only the higher-ups didn't tighten their security, goes to show that they actually care about others more than just themselves. Sometimes.

Having had enough of the guards wasting his time, Stan takes a detour; he practically has the whole layout of the town memorized by this point. That's how long and frequent he's been an assassin for. He soon happens upon a desolate looking park, which means he's one- getting closer to his destination, and two- didn't necessarily take a detour. A row of gas lamps illuminate meager parts of the walkway on each side and the low cut grass.

Not even faintly out of breath, Stan runs through the grass far from the weak lighting's, his footsteps almost inaudible over the chirping crickets. He lessens his speed a bit to look around, making out a wide pond on his right. He jogs over to it, halting by the edge of the grass. Deep blue eyes look fixedly ahead, distinguishing a small cabin on the other side with help from the moon. It looks on the verge of falling apart due to how old and feeble it looks.

"Someone's actually living in there?"

'BZZZT'

Stan digs into his cargo pants pocket for the source of the vibration, pulling out a rectangular gadget that's almost about the size of his palm. He presses a button on it that causes the screen to brighten in a neon green, the black digital letters read:

From: xxx
To: Stanley Marsh

'Be Careful, I've Just Received Intel That The Target Has Somehow Acquired A Half-Breed Experienced In Combat.'

Stan glares at the message. "Tch, just great. Would also be helpful if I knew what kind of breed it is." Shutting off the device and shoving it back into his pocket, just when he's about to search for a way over to the house, he feels a presence behind him. He spins around, blocking an oncoming attack with a dagger that was concealed in his sleeve from a towering figure's sharp claws. His narrowed eyes meeting a pair of dull red ones.

"Damn, guess you can't sneak up on the master of sneakers," a male's gruff voice chuckles.

Gritting his teeth harder, Stan musters up some strength to push his attacker away. They skid back, baring their equally jagged fangs in preparation for another attack. Stan readies himself also, holding his blade out in front of him. He's now able to fully examine his opponent- they are a burly built male, bald with round black ears atop of his head. He's also wearing the Pet Kingdom Chamber's clothing that miraculously fit his frame.

"Now now, slow down you two," says the same voice that spoke a second ago, his tone laxed. He steps from behind the hefty half-breed wearing a soiled previously white tank top, beige trousers in a similar condition, and worn out sandals. Smirking, the grey haired man places a hand on the big guy's shoulder. "Bet you didn't expect your target to come to you eh?"

Stan mimics his smile, not dropping his guard in the slightest. "Hmph, I can't say that I did, but it doesn't change the fate that was bestowed upon you. I don't know how you did it, but stealing a half-breed was both illegal and futile."

"Pfft, like you have any right to talk to me about illegal," the man scoffs waving his hand dismissively. "But you're wrong anyway, I didn't steal him. I'm just borrowing him for awhile. Gotta protect myself from you vile assassins." He pats the half-breed. "Gunther, have at 'em." He steps back stuffing his hands in his pockets, having an arrogant gleam in his green eyes.

Chuckling nefariously, Gunther closes in on Stan. "Alright lil kitty, you better make this worthwhile ya got that?"

Stan's expression darkens, gripping his weapon tightly. "So much for getting the job done quickly."

Gunther charges at him with an excited laugh.