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Campfire Song

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Truth be told, if you had asked Stan or his friends what they planned to do with their first summer out of high school, spending it in a summer camp Randy had suddenly become a manager of was not really on their list of things to do. Though none of them really had much of a choice.

Stan was pressed against locker, hastily yanking off his gown so he could just get his stuff together and go home. He seemed to be in a particularly bad mood, and Kenny was quick to pick up on this.

"Hey, dude, what's goin' on inside your head? You were happy not even ten minutes ago," Kenny said to him.

Stan huffed in response, finally managing to get the gown off, and immediately threw it on the floor. "My fucking dad!" he growled in such a tone that made even Kyle and Eric flinch.

Kenny frowned a little and put a hand on Stan's shoulder, rubbing his arm gently. Stan had gone off to talk to Randy before meeting them at their lockers, and he had come back fucking fuming. "Woah, hey there, buddy. What did he even say to you?"

Stan let out a groan, and he looked ready to cry. "That stupid fucking summer camp—"

"The one your dad works at now?" Kyle chimed in. "Dude, I thought you loved that camp. You said it's why you were finally able to get off that farm."

"I mean— yeah! It was great when he wasn't making me go!" Stan choked out, tearing up now.

Kenny sighed. He had been afraid of that when Stan had brought up the camp. For weeks before graduation, the four of them had been talking about what they were going to do over the summer before college (or, well, it was only before college for Kyle, as Eric was taking a gap year and both he and Stan weren't even sure they'd go to college) and while it had only ended up being as exciting as 24/7 sleepovers and nonstop playing video games, he could only imagine how stressed Stan would be to spend the summer away from his friends.

"Well, it's an all boys camp, right? At least your dad is finally accepting that you're a dude," Eric said with a shrug.

Stan only choked up more; while he appreciated the sympathy, it was clear Eric didn't see the problem.

"That's just it! I'm gonna be around guys all summer and have to pretend I don't fucking have tits and a vag!"

"I don't think..." Kyle started, but trailed off. He figured Stan didn't really want to hear that nobody would really care that he was trans, or that there would probably be other trans guys there. He figured Stan wouldn't believe him, so he gently took his best friend's hand instead to offer support.

Kenny decided it was up to him to save the situation.

"Um... Stan, there are still spots, right? You said the other day there's still, like, twenty spots open. I'm sure they're not all filled already."

Stan sniffled, wiping his eyes. "Yeah, but how does that solve my problem?"

Kenny hesitated. Did he really want to spend his summer in a stupid summer camp Stan's dad ran?

The answer came to him immediately: for Stan, absolutely.

"Well, hey, I could go too if that'd help you feel better."

Stan's eyes widened. "Wh—"

Kyle nodded. "Yeah! Me too! It could be fun if we're all together. I don't want you spending your summer all alone!"

And then Kyle and Kenny turned to look at Eric expectantly.

"Ugh– seriously?" Eric groaned. "Yeah, yeah, okay. Whatever, I'll go. It'd suck serious ass if I spent the summer here without you all."

Stan smiled weakly, beginning to cry a little again, but this time for an entirely different reason.

He nodded. He was so fucking happy.

"Y– yeah. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I had you all there with me..."

And that was how Kenny ended up on an hour and a half bus trip to a summer camp he hadn't even heard of until Randy started working there. In the days leading up to the trip, he wasn't sure he made the right decision.

But the way Stan was curled up to him as he slept, clinging to Kenny like he was his lifeline, letting out soft whimpers as he ran his fingers through Stan's hair... He couldn't imagine how miserable the poor boy would be if he was on this bus ride alone. But he was there, and Kyle and Eric were on the seats in front of them, harassing each other in one of their Animal Crossing villages. Stan wouldn't be alone this summer.

That was all Kenny needed to know that he made exactly the right choice.