Author's Notes:

I apologize for the long hiatus.

For those of you who are not aware, I have several chronic illnesses that limit me and often keep me from my keyboard. Though I am not as diligent about updating as most authors, due to my health, I am just as dedicated and love what I am doing. I hope you are enjoying my story. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this story. I am working hard to keep this going. I am finally really getting to the meat and potatoes of this story. It is a lot of hard work but it really is worth it if this story means anything to even one person.

Recently, someone offered to take this story "off my hands". I was hurt. I understand that it takes me a long time to update but this story means a lot to me. I put a lot of work into trying to at least try to accurately portray the disorders I am writing about. Even if I never updated again, I would never want someone to take this away from me. This story is mine.

In the newest season, the Goth Kids finally received names and I hate them (especially "Firkle" I mean, FIRKLE?). I refuse to change the names of the characters in my story because I am too attached. Instead, I have chosen to adopt the given names of the characters as last names and assume that they use them in a similar way to how people call Eric by his last name. They are now officially Benjamin "Dark" Paul, Blair Michaels, and Salem Firkle.

I should probably talk a little about fanart. This story ended up getting a little attention and some people have asked if they can draw fanart for it. YES, ABSOLUTELY! YES! I would be so happy! If you draw anything, send me the link on my deviantART account which is Luffy-Kun. If you want me to, I can post it in my special folder on my fanfiction deviantART account for fanart (giving you full credit).

Main Pair: Eric/Kyle
Secondary Pair: Stan/Wendy
Featured Pairs: Kyle/Rebecca, Bebe/Clyde
Mentioned Pairs: Eric/Henrietta, Tweek/Craig, Butters/Token

Warnings: In this story, Eric becomes bulimic and begins cutting. There is mention of homosexuality, sex, violence, and abuse. This story is all about angst. So deal. There is a lot of focus on recovery and self-mutilation, both physical and emotional. Those with weak stomachs should not read this.

Dedications:This story is dedicated to every reader and reviewer. It is dedicated to every person who has ever forced themselves to vomit or cut. To every person whose parent has ever struck him. To every person who has ever been abused at school for simply being themselves. This is for you. This is to let you know, you are not alone. There is always someone out there who wants it to improve for you. I am here for you.

South Park © Trey Parker and Matt Stone
FanFiction © LuffyKun3695

"Do Better" by Say Anything
"No Sunlight" by Death Cab for Cutie

Chapter Nine: Karma


The unknown entities of the universe twist and entwine. A constant push and pull of forces beyond the power of mere mortal controls the fate of man. The cosmic energies that dictate your place in the world: your purpose. Whatever you put out, you will get back. If you do wrong, it will eventually catch up with you.

White and Black. Light and Dark. Yin and Yang. Kyle and Cartman.

Kyle Broflovski has always been my balancing force. He has always been the one to tell me when I am on the edge of insanity and pull me back when I am about to fall off. Focusing my energies on him gave me purpose. Tricking myself into thinking I hated him gave me meaning. Kyle was the center of my universe. I am merely a shadow who cannot exist without his guiding light.

I have always brought out the worst in Kyle, but I think he enjoyed having someone to hate. I validated him as a good person. The beast to his beauty, the ruffian he longed to reform once upon a time, but he has given up on me…

Karma sucks.

Your life is always the post of something else
Where is the present in the way that you present yourself?
And it's disgusting, how little that you try…
The existential equivalent of self pink-eye

Drink alone and watch TV, you're expecting harmony
Tap your tune with silver spoons, anthem of impending doom
Guiding Satan's steady hand, forcing Beatles to disband
It's ego freaks and drama queens,
The young at heart know what I mean

You could do better, You could do better
You could be the greatest man in the world…
You could do better, You could do better
You could be the greatest man in the world…

I told my mother I was mugged.

The moment she noticed the condition I was in, my mother decided to take a break from being the whore that she is and pretend to be a parent instead, fluidly transforming into her "smother" routine, flittering around me like a giant cum-scented hummingbird high on cocaine.

I took advantage of her attentiveness and excused myself from school for the next couple of days to allow my wounds some time to heal. The last thing I needed was the Goths to discover the incident that had occurred in the bathroom because it would put both me and Bebe in jeopardy. I was seriously starting to wish I didn't care about Bebe Stevens or her problems, but I did. I loathed the fact that I was even the slightest bit concerned about someone whose boyfriend was making it his top priority to make my life a living hell.

Who was I becoming?

- 0 -

I had chosen to leave earlier than usual to avoid my mother. I could only take so much of her obsessive behavior before her fake, saccharine attitude began to make me feel like I was forcing myself to choke down gobs of maple syrup. I could not decide which was worse, having an overbearing stepford-wife or a whore for a parent.

It was still dark when I arrived at the school. The sun had just begun to peek from behind the dense morning clouds. It was chilly and the wind blew a dusting of snow around my feet. I bent my head downward and began making my way towards the back entrance of the school.

I prayed that I would not find any of the Goths, I was fearful of running into Henrietta and reaping the whole of her fury since I had spent the better part of the last two days dodging her calls and replying to her text messages in cryptic chat-speak in hopes that she would not use her satanic powers of intimidation to weasel a confession out of me and destroy my entire diversion scheme. I trusted that the fresh pack of Virginia Slims tucked into the breast pocket of my trench would ease the wrath of the Queen of the Damned.

Thankfully, I did not find Henrietta behind the school. In fact, I did not see any of the Goths. I released a sigh of relief. As I was approaching the school, I noticed a flash of bright-orange sticking out against the dingy background of the building like a traffic cone in a snowstorm. I would recognize that beaten up parka anywhere. Kenny McCormick was sitting in silence on the back steps, puffing away on a cigarette and staring out into the snowy skyline with a nonplussed expression on his pale features.

I approached quietly, seating myself next to him on the chilly stairwell. He did not even glance in my direction. After the last time we had spoken behind the school, I was weary to engage him in conversation. I did not have to worry about it for long because without taking his gaze of the horizon he said, "Hey, Cartman." His chin was tucked into his hoodie, his voice muffled against the fabric, but I had no trouble understanding him. His lips were barely peeking out from beneath the layers of material enough for him to take a drag from the cigarette hanging loosely in his hand.

"Hey, Kenny." I greeted him, fixing my gaze on the horizon as well. The sun was beginning to rise, covering the snow below in a myriad of yellows and oranges. It was starting to warm up and it is in that moment that I realize I can barely feel the presence of the boy at my side. He is so thin and frail that I can feel no warmth emanating from his body. "How are you?" I asked, frowning. I can hear the tinge of worry in my voice and I feel a stab of nausea in the pit of my stomach. There is a part of me who hates the person I am becoming. I wish I could go back to being the callous, selfish asshole that I used to be. I wish that I could turn my emotions off like a light switch.

"Mmm," the flaxen-haired teen muttered, taking another drag from his cigarette and exhaling a long trail of smoke into the winter air. I turned to look at him and my heart clenches at the sight. Kenny looks even worse than the last time I saw him. His skin is oily and pallid, the same color as a burlap sack and covered in pale acne. His hair, once golden and silky, now resembles straw, greasy and brittle. He smells like a dumpster threw up on him. I wonder for a moment if he was this thin at the club and I just failed to notice because I was so preoccupied with Kyle. Suddenly, I feel like punching myself and I have no idea why. He turns to smile at me, his teeth look like black beans lining in his mouth and I swallow the bile in the back of my throat. "Not as good as you, stud." he grins, "From what I hear, you're the newest victim of the succubus from the Netherworld."

"H—Huh?" I stutter, confused. I rub the back of my neck anxiously and Kenny smirks at me, his crystal blue eyes glittering with a hint of mischievousness and for a split-second he looks like the Kenny I used to know as a child instead of the hollowed out shell he has become.

"Kyle told me you hooked up with the Goth Queen at the Hole." he grins teasingly, giggling into the collar of his parka, his laughter muffled against the collar. "I wish I could've seen that." he chortles and I feel my stomach drop into my toes. So, Kyle really does think I am dating Henrietta. I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from screaming.

"No. No. No." I shook my head angrily, my slashed bangs smacking against my forehead. "I am not dating Henrietta Biggle!" I insist, massaging my temples in a vain attempt to rid myself of the migraine I feel coming on. The blonde laughs softly, shaking his head dismissively and returning his gaze to the skyline. His laughter fades into silence and suddenly he looks exhausted, watching the horizon with a far-off look on his face. I watch as his eyes lose their characteristic shimmer, fading from dazzling sapphire into a dull, dead blue. I can barely see the mist of his breath as he exhales. His concave chest barely lifts each time he inhales and before I can stop myself I blurt out, "Kenny, what's wrong with you, man?"

Kenny turns to me, frowning. The lines on his forehead deepen with irritation. "Don't worry about it." he says in a slow, deliberate tone that is clearly telling me to drop the subject, but I can't stop myself from speaking. It feels as if my brain has become bulimic too, spewing word vomit before I can force it to stop.

"Kenny, you look like shit. Tell me!" I beg. My voice comes out whinier than I intend and I know that I sound ridiculous. It is obvious from the way his eyebrows are furrowing as he glares at me that there is a limit to Kenny's patience and he is quickly reaching it.

"It's none of your business, Cartman!" he snaps and I am taken aback by the ferocity of his tone. I search for the words to make him talk to me, to treat me like a friend, yet deep down I know I don't deserve his honesty or his friendship since I had never really treated him as a friend but rather as a burden on me and a tag-a-long to our friend group. In that moment, I realize that Kenny has probably always viewed me as a burden to him as well and the reality is that I was the fourth wheel to their three musketeers. Suddenly, I feel like I am going to cry.

"W—Why? Why can't you tell me?" I stutter.

"Why do you even care, fucker?" Kenny spits, his voice a low snarl. His eyebrow quirks in an angry inquisition, as if to say: "Why do you care NOW?" and I feel my heart clench furiously in my chest because I cannot give him, or myself, those answers.

"You're my—" I begin to speak, to attempt to explain to him that in spite of my behavior I see him as a friend, but I am not able to finish because he cuts me off.

"Look, Cartman." he snaps, standing up abruptly and glaring down at me. Even though he is barely one hundred pounds soaking wet, I feel a wave of intimidation wash over my entire being. His eyes are dead in the sockets, staring through my soul and I am ripped open. "Some of us are born dancing with the devil. You should know that better than anyone." he murmurs and I feel my stomach turn uncomfortably, "We're the same, you and me." He continues, "There is nothing but blackness in our hearts and death in our veins. There are some things you can't fix, Cartman. Some of us are just born evil."

I watch in stunned silence as Kenny McCormick turns on his heel and walks away, his body fading into the snow, leaving me sitting on the back step by myself, the soft white dust of winter swirling quietly around my feet.

With every year that came to pass
More clouds appeared, 'til the sky went black…
And there was no sunlight, no sunlight
And there was no sunlight, no sunlight anymore…

It disappeared with the same speed,
As the idealistic things I believed
The optimist died inside of me
No sunlight, no sunlight
No sunlight, no sunlight

It disappeared with the same speed,
As the idealistic things I believed
The optimist died inside of me
No sunlight, no sunlight. No sunlight, no sunlight
No sunlight, no sunlight. No sunlight, no sunlight

No sunlight, anymore…

The rest of the morning is an aimless blur.

Thankfully, Henrietta did not mention my absence or the "missed" text messages. She accepted the pack of cigarettes gratefully, even going so far as to kiss me on the cheek, leaving a smear of black lipstick that I spent the next half hour in the bathroom angrily scrubbing off. The last thing I needed was another rumor about our so-called love affair making its way around the school.

After lunch, I walk to my locker and enter the combination. I swing open the door and find myself staring blankly into my open locker, unable to remember which class I have next. It seems that no matter how hard I try and distract myself with the mindless minutiae of the school day, I cannot forget Kenny's words: "We're the same, you and me. There is nothing but blackness in our hearts, death in our veins. There are some things you can't fix, Cartman. Some of us are just born evil."

His face was so solemn. He looked so angry. Is there really nothing I could do? I wonder to myself, Am I doomed to be filled with this much hatred my entire life? I fought back tears. I want more than that.

Slapping myself on the cheek to force away the tears, I grab my books. I momentarily consider skipping my next class altogether. Closing my locker, I turn around to find myself face-to-face with Kyle Broflovski. I nearly drop my books.

"You look better," Kyle notes, his tone unreadable. I flush, squeezing my books to my chest protectively. He looks fantastic, as usual. He is dressed in a worn khaki jacket and a neon green shirt that he has paired with black jeans. His signature ushanka is perched precariously on top of his head, curly copper locks peeking from beneath the brim. How does he manage to look so adorable?

I struggle to find my voice, "Thanks to you." I smile weakly, trying to be friendly. Kyle looks startled. I do not think he has ever heard me thank anyone before, let alone him. He breaks eye contact, staring at his shoes and rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. If I didn't know better, I might think that there was a touch of pink to his freckled cheeks.

"Eh, no problem." He says, shrugging and looking back up at me. "Are you going to tell me what happened?" he asks, his gaze boring into mine. I bite my lip. Does he actually care about me? I wonder for a moment, before stamping down the mushy feelings attempting to overtake me. Kyle is a caring person. He tries to be nice to everyone. I am not special. I will never be special.

"N—Nothing. Don't worry about it." I say, shaking my head. The truth is that I am embarrassed that I was beaten up by Clyde Donovan, a kid that I used to be able to defeat by sitting on him. I am embarrassed that I was in that bathroom in the first place because I was forcing myself to vomit. I am embarrassed that in spite of the vengeful and sarcastic persona that I have spent years cultivating, I still want to protect Bebe Stevens' secret regardless of my better judgment because she asked me to and no one has ever trusted me before. Deep down, I know that if I reveal anything about Clyde or Bebe to him, Kyle will take matters into his own hands and the last thing I want is Kyle trying to be Bebe's knight in shining armor only to have his ass handed to him by Clyde.

"Why?" he asks. The skepticism in his voice is nearly palpable. "Why shouldn't I worry?" he frowns, "A few days ago I had to drive you home because you were so fucked up you could barely walk. Why shouldn't I ask what happened?" he inquires, his tone serious. "Who did that to you, Cartman?" he asks. It isn't a question, it's a demand. His eyes meet mine and once again, I am taken aback by his beauty. I want to tell him everything. I steel my resolve so that I do not crumble before him like a sand castle at the beach. I want you to care about me. I want you to see me. I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from crying.

"Kyle, stop." I beg him quietly, my tone pressured. "It's okay." I try to reassure him. He frowns, his coppery eyebrows creasing. I squeeze my books closer to my chest, as if trying to shield myself from my own feelings.

"You didn't seem okay," he says, pursing his lips. "But if you don't want to tell me, I can't make you." he shrugs, deciding not to push further and I breathe a sigh of relief. "I have to go to class," Kyle says, turning to leave and suddenly, I feel the word vomit rising in the back of my throat again and before he can leave, I blurt out:

"I'm not dating Henrietta."

"What?" Kyle asks, turning to face me. I swallow the lump in my throat and repeat myself.

"I'm not dating Henrietta," I reiterate, trying to keep my voice steady. "She kissed me. We're not dating. I—I have someone I'm interested in." I admit, blushing intensely. I can't believe I said that.

His eyes widen a little, betraying his interest. "Who?" he inquires, his curiosity getting the better of him. I feel the heat rising in my cheeks. Why did I even say anything? I wonder, unable to meet his penetrating gaze.

"It doesn't matter, they're not interested anyway." I confess, looking everywhere but his perfect face. "They have a g—boyfriend." I catch the word before it comes out of my mouth, finally looking up to meet his eyes.

"Oh, okay. Keep your head up, I guess." he says noncommittally, shrugging his shoulders and loosely waving goodbye.

"Bye Kyle." I mumble.


I love you.

- 0 -


At first, I dismissed the voice. I figured it was probably just my errant conscious, trying to make itself heard. I nearly leapt out of my skin when a skeletal hand wrapped around my arm, chipped red nails digging into the fabric. I notice the red fingerprints on her wrist, staining the skin like dye.

I turn to face Bebe Stevens.

She looks worse than ever. Her foundation is thick, caked around her eyes and onto her cheeks. She is an expert with make-up, but I can see her bruises shining through the layers of powder. Bebe is dressed in an oversized purple sweater that engulfs here skeletal frame, hanging down past her knees. Her legs are thin, like toothpicks, barely holding her upright. She looks as if she's falling apart at the seams.

"Will you talk to me?" she asks, her voice barely above a whisper. Her brown eyes are wide and fearful, darting around like a deer caught in the crosshairs of a hunter's rifle.

I can sense the desperation in her voice and against my better judgment, I agree and allow her to lead me into the library. It is fairly empty, only the librarian and a few students at computers. Bebe directs me pasts the stacks of books towards an empty table. We seat ourselves across from one another and she is no longer able to hold in her words.

"Are you alright?" she blurts out, shaking. "When you didn't show up for a few days I thought maybe—" Bebe's voice catches in her throat, her eyes moistening.

I raise my hand stop her, "I'm okay. I took a few days off to recover. I'm strong, barely a bruise." I reassure her, smiling weakly. I am lying through my teeth. I cannot bring myself to confirm her worries. I wish I could tell her that my body is on fire, aching and sore. My stomach is a painting of blue and yellow bruises. She looks so broken I cannot bear to shatter her.

I need to be strong. I need to be a strong person like Kyle.

She sighs, relieved. "You're not going to tell anyone are you, Cartman?"

I frown, pursing my lips. "I promised you I wouldn't, so I won't but I don't think this relationship is worth all of this bullshit." I tell her, trying to sound nonchalant. I want to scream at her, shake her, force her to run away.

"I love him." she whispers, "I know he has a… temper." Bebe struggles with her words, trying to find a pleasant way to frame her relationship. "Clyde, he — just gets mad sometimes. He isn't like that all the time." She insists and I am not sure if it is me or her that she is trying to reassure. "It's been hard for him since his mother died and his father just got remarried." she explains, tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "He's hurting. He's a really sensitive person."

She doesn't seem convinced.

I find myself biting back bile. I wonder idly, if I made these same excuses about my mother. Did I ignore her behavior because she bought me off with toys and food? My eyes are no longer occluded and I can see, but I cannot force Bebe.

"Fine, if you say so." I murmur, pushing myself up from my seat. "I think I'm going to go get lunch. What about you?" I ask.

"No thank you, I'm not hungry." Bebe says, shaking her head. How can she not be hungry? She looks like she hasn't eaten in weeks. I give her the side-eye, but say nothing.

"See you later, then." I say, slinging my bag over my shoulder.

"Thank you, Cartman."

I start to walk away, but then reconsider. Turning back towards Bebe I ask, "Can you maybe stop calling me Cartman?"

She blinks, surprised and then she smiles. It is the first genuine smile I think I have ever seen her wear. Her brown eyes sparkle like jewels, crinkling up at the edges, and for a moment she is glowing. Her face looks full and vibrant.

"Thanks, Eric."

- 0 -

"Hey there, faggot." a deep voice hisses in my ear. I stiffen, turning slowly to find myself looking up into the listless cornflower blue eyes of Clyde Donovan. I glare up at him, frowning. When did he get so much taller than me? I wonder idly.

"What do you want, Clyde?" I snarl.

"I'm just checking on you, lardass." He smiles. His perfect white incisors peek from beneath his top lip, giving the illusion that he has fangs. "I'm just making sure that you're keeping your mouth shut. Nobody needs to know our business, now do they?" his voice sounds amiable, even friendly, but each word is wrapped in a thick layer of malice.

"Oh don't worry," I scoff, sounding braver than I feel. "I didn't tell anyone that you're a girlfriend-beating piece of shit." I spit, my voice harsh.

Clyde slams his palm against the locker next to my head and I flinch. "Don't talk about shit you don't understand, fucker." He says, his voice a low growl. "You don't know the first thing about my relationship with Bebe."

Clyde pushes himself off the locker door and stands up straight, towering over me, a nightmare come to life. "Keep your mouth shut, Cartman." he whispers, withdrawing his fist from the locker and standing up straight. He towers over me, a nightmare come to life. His eyes are dead.

"Or I swear to God, I will fucking kill you." he whispers. If any other person said this, I might have laughed, but his eyes show no humor. They do not even seem intimidating. They are blank, lifeless. He's fucking serious.

Oh, shit.