This isn't my first South Park fanfic, but I adore the Goth Kids, so it's the first I'm going to post. I'd like to point out that the poem at the beginning was inspired by a friend of mine, mainly because she's a lot like Henrietta. At least, how I see Henrietta. Or would it be that I see Henrietta as I see my friend? Oh well. Whatever.
At the end, I'm going to put all the references to other books and/or people in a neat little list so you can find out what I used in this story.
"Cold, cold water washes over me,
Dragging me down into its
Sweet, sweet silence.
"Above it, the winds
howl and a storm rages,
But here I am, in the ocean.
Sounds are muffled,
And my body goes numb.
I open my mouth to breathe in the
Icy shards of my release.
She closed the book, running a pale finger over the cover affectionately. She turned to them, her brown eyes flashing, appraising their reactions and looking for signs of approval. She met three icy stares, three vague smiles.
So she turned to the smallest of the three boys sitting around her bed. "What do you think, baby bat?"
Peter nodded, flashing a crooked smile. "It was nice, Henrietta. The end echoed Angels and Demons…"
Henrietta chuckled, smoothing her dress over her knees. "Thank you, baby bat. I have to say it did inspire the end of my poem."
Thorne flipped the red-streaked hair out of his eyes, clearing his throat. "Wasn't that your favorite part of the book? Where the cardinal drowned in the fountain?" Henrietta nodded, sitting up and placing her poetry diary on the shelf in the wall over her bed.
After a moment, she sat back down, her gaze drifting towards the curly-haired Goth sitting by the wall. He took a drag from his cigarette, idly petting the white cat beside him. The cat purred and rolled over onto its side, revealing a few black spots on its haunches.
Henrietta cleared her throat, earning a look from the offending smoker. "Nicholas, I told you not to smoke around Tanith." He stared at her for a long moment before standing up and walking out the door, being careful not to tread on the cat's tail.
He shut the door behind him, and Peter, the littlest Goth, leaned in close to the other two. "Avery hasn't been himself." Henrietta gave him a reproving look.
"Shush. You know he hates being called that."
Thorne rolled his eyes, looking from Peter to Henrietta.
"Still, Nicholas has been gloomier than usual. And he hasn't said a thing since we got here."
Henrietta sighed, eyeing the door and narrowing her eyes. "Well, you're right about that. When he comes back in, I'll say it's time to go home. Why don't we hear something from you in the mean-time, baby bat?"
She smiled as Peter pulled out a scrap piece of paper. As he recited an essay he wrote in response to Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven", however, her attention shifted to the door. A paragraph before the essay ended, Nicholas walked back in, taking his place next to the wall again.
He didn't sit, merely leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest.
"And so, in conclusion, by using the imagery in "The Raven", Poe clearly paints a vivid picture of the frailty of life and insight into the mind of someone aware of when they are going to die."
Henrietta smiled, patting Peter on the head affectionately. He was the baby of the group–always was and always would be. "That was very nice, baby bat." Peter smiled proudly and folded the paper back up, cramming it into his back pocket.
She looked up, locking eyes with Nicholas, holding him there by the wall with a single gaze. "Well, it's getting late. I'm sure some of you are wanting some time alone. Why don't we all come back here tomorrow after school." It was more of a statement than a question, as it was common knowledge that they all went to her place after school.
Thorne and Peter stood up, walking to the door, saying their good-byes. Nicholas stayed leaning against the door, eyes still locked with hers. When the door shut, Henrietta scooted back farther onto her bed.
He shifted his weight and walked over, sitting on the ground at the foot of the bed, leaning against the frame. He took a long sigh and fished around in his coat pocket for the pack of cigarettes he always carried with him.
"No. Tanith's in the room."
He grimaced, though she couldn't see it. "What is so special about that cat?" Henrietta burst out laughing and Nicholas spun his head around, an arm leaning over the bed and propping him up so he could look with ease. He looked bewildered.
After a moment, Henrietta stifled her laugh and stood up, patting the bed. The cat immediately walked over and jumped on the bed, rubbing against her wrist. She glanced over at Nicholas and gave him a knowing look. "You know she's my familiar. I'm going to treat her just as I would my own child. Like I'd ever have one."
Nicholas turned back around and stuffed the cigarette back in his pocket, defeated.
Almost immediately after he put his cigarettes away, Henrietta's mother opened the door to her room, letting in light from the hallway. She smiled cheerfully. "Henrietta, sweetie, I see Nicholas didn't go home with the rest of your little friends! Is he staying for dinner? If he is, you really should call Mrs. Avery and let her know!"
Henrietta smiled lightly as Nicholas looked over, questioning. She nodded her head and he smiled a little and turned to her mother again, his face icy. "Thanks for having me. I'll be sure to call home."
Henrietta's mother laughed and closed the door behind her, cheerfully commenting on her daughter's love life being promising. Henrietta chuckled and rolled her eyes. After a moment, Tanith walked over and rubbed against the curlied nest of hair taking up space at the foot of the bed. Nicholas lay his head down and looked up at the ceiling mutely, letting the cat gag on the few curls curling out in front of his eyes.
Tanith finally settled for curling around his head and falling asleep, forming a cocoon of warmth, making his head itch a little. He sighed, knowing the real reason he was silently told to stay. "I know I've been acting weird lately, but it's nothing to worry about. Besides, it's hard to explain, anyway."
Henrietta raised a brow, folding her arms over her chest and leaning back. "Oh? Try me."
"I haven't changed at all since I was young. I mean, look at you. You're…beyond perfect. Thorne's gotten more realistic ever since Kenny told him he had no idea what dying was really like and that he had no right to wish for it. Hell, even Peter's gotten more submerged in symbolism in Gothic poetry and prose. He's written so many detailed essays. I wouldn't be surprised if he was writing a secret novel or something."
Henrietta chuckled again, and he sat up a little, craning his head back to look at her without disturbing the cat. "What is it?"
"Beyond perfect? Hardly…"
Nicholas stared at her for a while before his voice got quiet. "I think so, anyway. You're everything I've ever wanted to be. Smart, kind, unalienating to those who don't conform with us exactly… I mean, if someone were to say they liked Nine Inch Nails and The Cure, I'd call them a conformist bitch and get the fuck away from them. You wouldn't hold that against them as long as they weren't a total shithead… You don't have a problem with all the new age shit Goths are listening to these days..."
Henrietta smiled. "You've changed, Nicholas. Trust me."
"I mean emotionally. Not physically."
"I was talking emotionally. You're very mature, very level-headed. You've gotten out in the whole music scene. You do play a wicked piano. And you write really good lyrics. You draw well, too. I think if anyone here would be jealous, it would be me. I wish I had the patience to play an instrument or draw."
He heard the bed shift as he closed his eyes, sighing. The cat stretched, making a high-pitched squeal of-sorts as it got comfy again. He could feel Henrietta petting Tanith idly. After a moment she began to hum a song, light and pleasing to the ears, giving mixed feelings of happiness and fear.
Nicholas looked up. "That's my song. How do you remember it?"
Henrietta smiled. "Oh, I'm the one that inspired it, right? Of course I'd remember it." Nicholas looked away, leaning away from the warmth of the cat around his head. Henrietta just continued. "You know we're all worried about you… And…it is quite obvious… Is it true, then?"
"Is what true?"
"Am I your muse?" When he didn't respond, she bent over, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "Well, now that I know, you don't have to be so gloomy anymore. Thorne and Peter are really worried. You should put all this behind you."
Nicholas turned around, staring into her eyes, and both of them knew what he was going to ask. "So…you do?" She nodded, leaning towards him and kissing him on the lips. He jerked, hitting the bed and causing Tanith to go shooting underneath the bed, yowling.
They sat there in silence, him sitting by the bed and her with her arms around him, for a long time. Neither of them needed to say anything: Useless words weren't needed for them to know what the other was thinking. It wasn't until Henrietta's mother burst through the door, frantic, that they pulled away.
"Henrietta! I thought you'd called Mrs. Avery! She just called; she thinks Nicholas tried to kill himself!"
Henrietta rolled her eyes. "Oh, Mom…he doesn't have the balls. Is it okay if he still stays for dinner?"
"Well, yes, but you shouldn't joke around about stuff like that! Why, just yesterday, I heard that little McCormick boy killed himself with an Exacto knife in the art room!"
"Mom, he always does that to get out of class. He does it all the time; no one cares anymore."
"Henrietta! That's a terrible thing to say! If you're going to act like that, you might as well not have your little friends over for a week! Nicholas, your mother wants you home now. Say good-bye to Henrietta and leave."
She briskly stormed out of the room, steaming, and Henrietta kissed Nicholas on the forehead. When he stood up, she gestured toward the door, lighting up a cigarette she'd snatched from his coat pocket. "Conformist bitch."
Nicholas stifled a laugh and snatched the cigarette back. "No smoking around Tanith. I'll see you at school. That is, if I decide to go…"
She smiled, catching the invitation. "I'll meet you behind the arcade tomorrow at eight. You better call Thorne and Peter and tell them to get their asses over there if they want to hang out."
Nicholas waved as he walked out the door. "Nah, I think I'll let them suffer the excruciating socialization. We can hang out by ourselves for an hour or two."
"You have no idea."
1) Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
The one who actually drowns in the fountain is one of the Preferiti, one of the "nominees" for the papal election. He is still a cardinal, but much more important. He isn't so much a nominee as he is a shoe-in for being voted for. (Sorry for those interested and haven't read it yet. You really should finish reading it, because that's not one of the major spoilers.)
Tanith Lee, a British authoress who writes many different genres, the biggest two being child fiction and Gothic literature.
3) "The Raven", by Edgar Allen Poe
You'll see a lot of Poe in this. Not so much, just three poems, but I don't really need to explain why he's been referenced in this.
I called him Thorne because that's what my friend likes calling him, and I think I've seen a fanfic somewhere on this site that names him as such, so I can't really claim myself for giving him a name. I do, however, take credit for writing in a real name, which appears in the next chapter.
5) Art Class Suicide
In the ninth grade I had an art class with a girl who wrote a lot of dark poetry and another girl who was into the whole Goth scene, even though she preferred older stuff from the 80's (much like my version of the Tall Goth). Walking down the hall, we noticed little drops of blood going in a trail from our art class. We walked in, and right where I normally sat there was a paper towel soaking up blood on the table. We learned that they were using Exacto knives the class before and there was an accident. We joked about it (I know, suicide is no joke. I was stupid, I was young.) and wondered if the kid slit their hand open to get out of class. Hence, why Kenny's doing it, and actually killing himself in the process.
6) Nine Inch Nails and all that CRAP
My version of the Tall Goth is an 80's lover. He likes the "classics", you could say. He, like a few other "Goths" I've met in my life, hates any of the new "Gothic" music because he thinks the stuff out these days is too commercialized and watered down from the originals. His reference of Henrietta not minding is due to the fact that she embraces the way the whole music scene is going, despite the fact that it may or may not be as good as the originals. She likes Skinny Puppy, as mentioned in the show, which is a relatively new band. Hence, she's more accepting of the whole mainstream Goth scene you see these days. (I personally think Skinny Puppy is terrible, but since she likes it in the show, she likes it in this story, even though it's not referenced.)
7) Baby Bat
That term can be both negative and positive. In this case, it's a positive one because they all love the Kindergoth. Surprisingly, Kindergoth usually refers to a Goth who is under the age of sixteen or seventeen. Which, all of them are. They're all in ninth grade, minus Peter, who is in the sixth grade (he skipped a grade, because he's so smart). That gives Nicholas enough time to mature into an upstanding young man. (Ha ha.)