The Princess has arrived.

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Chapter 3

The last of Kenny's spending money went to a new tube of lipstick.

His meager collection of makeup was good for touchups and feeling good for a day, but not what he needed. A bright pop of red was flashy for a princess, but Kenny knew it'd get Stan's attention.

His budget would forgive him.

"Are you almost ready?" Karen asked. She stood in his doorway, wearing her new party dress. She was clean and ready to go after spending her morning at Stan's place to use his better shower. Karen tapped the toe of her shoe on the bottom of the door frame. "Stanley will be here in like ten minutes."

"Almost finished," Kenny said. Putting on his face was the last part of the process, though he'd lost track of time staring at his reflection and making sure the rest of his makeup was applied neat and clean. "The lipstick is all I have left."

Kenny held the tube of waterproof, cherry-red lipstick and twisted it open with a soft click. He applied the color, careful to keep it classy despite the sexy shade. Kenny carefully traced every line of his lips, leaning closer to the mirror for the best look. A couple quick puckers and pops finished it off.

"Wow, Kenny." Karen entered the room with her hands twisting the pink fabric of her new dress. "You look beautiful."

In the mirror, Kenny could see the torn fabric of the bathroom rug and thin shower curtain behind them. He saw the empty beer cans and his favorite parka across the top of the toilet. But in his reflection, Kenny saw a painted face, a gorgeous dress, and an old wig styled into something fashionable by the best girl he knew.

He was beautiful.

Kenny picked up a tissue to get the excess lipstick and smiled when Karen handed him a tube of sealer. "Thanks."

"It's no problem." Karen snorted and sat on the edge of the sink counter. "After all this time you've spent on your face, it'd be a shame if kissing Stanley ruined your lipstick."

Kenny slammed the sealer on the sink side. "Karen!"

"What?" The little brat kicked her legs back and forth. "You've been staring at his face and ass whenever he comes over more than usual."

His sister knew him well.

"Just don't say anything like that while he's around," Kenny said. He collected his makeup and put it away in the small plastic bag. Kenny sealed it shut and grabbed the bottom of his dress to hold it up as he traveled from the bathroom to his bedroom. "You'll freak him out."

Karen trailed after him with a contemplative look, scrunching her brows together. "Has Stanley ever dated a boy?"


Kenny had no misunderstandings: Stan's current attraction could be wholly attributed to the makeup, dress, and general feminization that came with becoming a princess.

Stan liked pretty girls.

Kenny looked like a pretty girl.

It was easy to put two and two together.

"I won't say anything," Karen said. She dropped her skirt and leaned on the door. Her voice lowered to an insecure whisper—Kenny hadn't heard that tone in years. "I like Stanley, but be careful Kenny."

He risked messing up his lipstick and kissed Karen on the forehead. "I will."

"Kenny!" their father shouted from the other room. He grunted and they could hear the couch creak as he fell into it. "The Marsh kid is here!"

"Coming!" Kenny shouted. He nudged Karen to the door. "Go get your stuff. I'll meet you two in a sec, but I want a minute to practice my voice before we get there."

She nodded and ran off, stopping by her room long enough to grab the wrapped present and her coat.

Kenny put his makeup away and closed his eyes in the center of the room. Being a princess wasn't just a look or an official title granted by a pendant—it was a state of mind.

He wasn't the poor kid.

He wasn't "one of the guys."

(She was Princess Kenny.)

"My sister is going to freak!" Shelley's friend said, eyes wide as she stared at Kenny's proof of royalty. She clasped her hands together as they stood on the lawn outside the small community center. They could hear the screaming children inside running around the rented party room. "I can't believe you actually knew a real princess, Stan!"

"You'd be amazed what kind of things and people you can find in South Park," he said, rubbing the back of his head—the poof ball had left at home. Stan's loose hair had been half-styled by his mother, leaving it in a neat, but messy, look that increased his handsomeness. "What do you think, Shelley?"

His sister looked at Kenny and scowled. "You get to live."

"We appreciate your mercy," Kenny said, voice high and dainty. Her voice hadn't dropped as much as she'd liked after puberty, but she was grateful for the moment. "Shall we greet the birthday girl?"

"Yes! You guys wait here, I'm going to round them all up and sit them down for it. I'll give you the signal for when you should come in." The friend grabbed Shelley's arm and dragged her into the room, careful to crack the door only enough to get through so none of the girls inside would see Kenny and Stan outside. "Girls! I need your attention!"

Kenny smiled, listening to the girls gather on the other side of the thin walls.

"Are you ready, Your Highness?" Stan asked. He held out his elbow for Kenny to take it, like a true gentleman and knight. Kenny noted that Stan had yet to look at her directly for too long. He stayed annoyingly focused on the task at hand and keeping his cool. "I believe you're about to make dreams come true for an army of small little girls."

"I suppose that's worth getting dressed up for." Kenny locked her elbow with Stan and put her hand over his arm in a proper escort pose. She kept her back straight and head high. "And I have my big, strong knight to defend me."

"No one shall get past me," Stan said, tilted his head back. "Not only do I have the skills of a Ranger at my beck and call, but I'm sure my time as Toolshed will aid me."

"So brave."

"I've got your back, man," Stan said. He cleared his throat and exhaled. "The kids won't take us down."

"I don't think much can after everything we've been trough," Kenny said, dropping the Princess voice and entering his own skin. "We're from South Park."

"Ain't that the truth."

"Okay!" The older sister opened the door and waved her hand. "The girls are ready!"

"That's our cue," Kenny said, putting the voice and Princess back on. She squeezed Stan's arm and shot him a warm smile. "Time to make an entrance, my knight."

"Yes, Your Highness."

(Kenny would never get tired of hearing Stan say that.)

The dead quiet of the room caught Kenny off guard.

An entire room of wide eyes locked onto her form. Faces full of awe—save for one smug, knowing look on Kenny's sister—couldn't stop looking at her.

"It's so nice to meet all of you," Kenny said, her voice cracking in a squeak in the middle. She cleared her throat to maintain her cool, happy to have broken through the shock and awe thanks to a few giggles at her expense. "I heard someone wanted to meet a princess."

"Go on!" A small blond girl shoved another forward. "She's here to meet you!"

"I know!" The birthday girl in question hissed, nervous and shaking. She whispered, but Kenny could hear her. "I didn't think my sister would actually get one!"

"She did! Go!"

One last shove pushed the birthday girl into the center of the natural space that had formed between Kenny and the rest of the party. Stan crossed his arms from behind Kenny, smiling bright and proud.

Kenny knelt to be on eye level with the little birthday girl and felt fond memories of Karen bubble up. "Hello, young one."

"Hi." The little girl's breath hitched and she took a daring step closer. "Are you a real princess?"

"I sure am," Kenny said. She held out his pendant and let her touch it. "This is my proof, if you don't believe me."


The ice broke and Kenny found herself swarmed by curious little girls who wanted to meet the real princess. In the corner of her eye, she saw Karen stroll up to Stan and fist bump him in the background with matching smirks of success.

The camaraderie of her best friend and her sister made his own regal smile wider.

Kenny shifted her focus back to the girls and answered their questions. She regaled them with doctored tales of her actions as a princess, from switching alliances to handsome rangers, elves, and evil wizards.

The betrayals and backstabbing were dutifully ignored and Stan rolled his eyes every time Kenny skipped over a memorable moment.

She made sure to mention her beloved rat companions, though.

The little girls stayed locked on her every word and the time flew by with stories, presents, and ice cream cake. Before anyone knew it, parents and other assorted family members were there to take their kids home—Karen included when Kevin came to get her—and a napping birthday girl was carried off by her grateful sister.

Shelley left with her friend, and they abandoned Stan and Kenny to remain in the community center to clean up after the party.

"You were amazing," Stan said, shoving plastic cups into a trash can. His armor had been tied up in his cape and placed near the door, leaving him in the loose shirt and leggings that had been hidden under it. "They loved you."

Kenny pulled her eyes away from Stan's ass long enough to answer. She cleared her throat and moved her skirt out of the way as she put lids on the food leftover. "Thanks."

"I mean it," Stan said. He finished up by shoving the paper tablecloth into the trash bag and tying it. Stan threw the bag outside the door toward the outdoor dumpster and came over to help Kenny with the last of the food. "You went above and beyond, dude."

"What can I say?" Kenny stacked the packed tubs of food and dumped them in Stan's arms. "Kids were involved."

"And to think when I first asked, I was thinking you'd just come as is in street clothes," Stan said, averting his eyes to the ground. His hands clung a fraction tighter to the containers in his hands. "I'm glad you had the sense to think of the kids first."

Kenny bit her lip. "I'm sure if you had a little sister instead of an older monster, you'd have thought of it, too."

"Maybe, but somehow, I think you still would have been the one to think of it." Stan looked up and looked Kenny in the eye for the first time that night. Their breath caught and he turned away again, a flush of red on his cheeks and a nauseous look appearing—that on Stan only meant good things for Kenny. "Which makes sense. Out of the four of us, I was always the animal guy. So if tonight had been about helping out puppies or baby cows, I'd be the one with all the bases covered when it came to thoughtfulness."

"Even if that's true," Kenny started, following Stan outside to his car. She picked up his bundle of armor and shut the community center door behind them. "You got dressed up for the part and entertained the kids just as much. They liked you, too."

"But I wasn't the princess." Stan leaned on his car with his hands hovering near his waist. He wrung them together and shifted in spot. "You're the one no one could keep their eyes off."

It may have been the lipstick that kept Stan's eyes locked on his lips or the confidence that came with royalty, but for once, Kenny felt bold enough to ask aloud instead of just in his head: "Does that include you too?"

Stan threw his hand over his mouth and looked green.

More good signs.

The poor guy had thrown up at Homecoming before he was about to kiss Wendy. She'd been prepared with a bucket and a toothbrush—used to it far longer than the rest of the people Stan had dated. After the initial nausea and embarrassment cleared, Stan was fine to kiss away the rest of the night.

Wendy wasn't the only one who knew Stan inside and out.

And Kenny had dealt with worse over the years.

"That looks like a yes," Kenny said. She took a few steps closer, careful to stay to the side to avoid any splashes on her dress after the inevitable nervous vomit made its appearance. "Do you really think I'm that pretty?"

"Dude," Stan said. He took a step back and kept his hand over is mouth, muffling his words in a fun role reversal. "You can't say things like that."


"Kenny! What is with you and dressing like a chick?"

"Carman!" Kenny shouted. She turned around to see the fatass himself in his car with the window rolled down. "What are you doing here?"

"It's Casa Bonita night you dicks!" he shouted back. The agitated teen slammed the side of his car with his hand. "Did you forget or what?"

Getting out from the other side of the old vehicle, Kyle stood and crossed his arms on the car roof. "I tried to warn you, but neither of you answered my messages."

Stan and Kenny pulled out their respective phones and saw the small stream of texts from Kyle warning them of Cartman's arrival. They'd been so distracted with the kids and each other, neither had thought to check the small devices all afternoon.

"You two are so lucky Casa Bonita is open late!" Cartman shouted, honking the horn. He whined, making his voice more irritable than normal. "Get in the damn car or we won't make it."

"Give it a rest, Cartman." Kyle rolled his eyes back and pulled a bag out from the backseat. "We'll be there with plenty of time to eat and see your shows whether we leave now or in fifteen minutes."

"No, we'd be there with plenty of time if they'd been at their houses when I drove over to pick them up." Cartman crossed his arms in the car and pouted. "How could you two forget Casa Bonita over a birthday party? And why didn't you tell me you weren't going to be home!"

"Shelley," Stan said, as if that explained everything—and it must have, because Cartman dropped the accusations. Stan took the bag from Kyle and popped it open. "You brought clothes?"

"Cartman wouldn't wait for you two to get back, so I figured you'd want something else to wear at the restaurant." Kyle reached into Stan's pocket and pulled out his car keys. "We stopped by your place for clothes too, Kenny."

Kenny took the duffle from Stan after he pulled out a pair of jeans and one of Kyle's shirts. She shamelessly watched as Stan changed clothes right there in the parking lot with his car blocking them from the road. Kenny pulled her Parka on over her princess dress and waited for Stan to finish.

"You can drive with Cartman, Kenny," Kyle said. He popped open the driver seat to Stan's car and helped himself. Turning the key in the ignition, he swapped out the music CD for a new mix. "I had to ride with him here."

"Hey," Kenny said. She threw the duffle into the back of Stan's car. "I am not spending an hour alone with—"

"I'll ride with Cartman!" Stan shouted. He shoved his poof ball hat on his head and walked backwards toward Cartman's car. "Kyle can drive my car and you can ride with him, Kenny. It's all good!"

"Hey, wait."

Without giving her a chance to argue further, Stan dashed to Cartman's car and slide around the front hood to climb in the passenger seat.

"About time! We'll meet you losers there!" Cartman slammed on the gas no sooner than Stan's door was shut. He and Stan shot down the road toward Denver, leaving Kenny and Kyle behind in the community center parking lot. "Casa Bonita! Casa Bonita!"

"Are you coming, Kenny?" Kyle asked. He rested his hand on the car handle and only closed it after Kenny got into the car. Kyle sensed the tense atmosphere and switched the topic. "How'd the party go?"

"Fantastic," Kenny said. She huffed and dropped her chin into her hand. Kenny stared at the window as Kyle pulled out and followed Cartman at a more legal speed limit. "The kids loved it."

"I'm glad," Kyle said. "Stan wouldn't shut up about it all week. I'm not surprised he forgot about going to dinner."

Kyle filled the rest of the drive with constant chatter, complaining about Cartman and talking about Stan. Kenny listened with half an ear, spending most of her time pondering how to make the most of the evening.

(Maybe Casa Bonita was the romantic evening Princess Kenny needed.)