El Día de los Muertos
+ Natsu +
On the 2nd of November Kenny McCormick died and did not come back.
It had been a routine accident: A drunken slip from the edge of a balcony whilst dicking around climbing the railings. Three people had watched him plummet, heard the sick thud of limbs crumbling against snow-dusted concrete, and had then turned placidly back to their partying. Everyone knew about the boy who didn't die, so none of them were worried.
Stan stepped on one of Kenny's lifeless hands as he was stumbling backwards out the door, clutching at the curves of Wendy's body. His faculties were impaired by too much sambuca and he nearly lost it when he felt the knuckles roll beneath the inadequate sole of his sneaker. Still crushed against him, Wendy looked down at the ground and gave a little squeak of revulsion. By the time Stan had realised that it was only Kenny, it had already pretty much spoilt the mood. He led his girlfriend back inside and intercepted Cartman at the door.
"Dude, I wouldn't," he warned, nodding back towards the yard, "Kenny's, like, splattered all over the patio. Fucking lost me my wood, man."
Cartman stared over Stan's shoulder and wrinkled his nose in an expression of distaste.
"Lame," he pronounced as he retreated with Stan back into the throb of the party.
Kyle stood in the kitchen and watched this exchange through hazy eyes. His mouth was dry from more than just the alcohol thumping in his veins. Kenny being dead was really kind of unfortunate right now, because Kenny had just told Kyle that he loved him an hour before. Still though, Kyle's predominant feeling at that point was mild irritation because he had been too drunk and disorientated to feel much else. Kenny dying was an inconvenience, never a tragedy.
But then Christmas came and went and Kenny was still dead. Murmurs of confusion began to trickle through the school and by the end of January people weren't sure how to react anymore.
Eventually Stan went to check the body and came back with pink-rimmed eyes as if he'd been retching, saying,
"It's just bones there, dude. Seriously. Just bones."
A week later and even those were gone, as if they had melted into dust. The four, no, the three of them gathered at Kyle's to talk about what to do next.
"Is he dead?" Kyle asked, voice creaking with panic, "I mean, dead dead?"
"Looks that way," Cartman muttered, unusually gruff and subdued. Kyle could barely stifle the awful gargled noise that was attempting to explode from his throat and Stan laid a comforting arm across his shoulders.
"Should we speak to his parents?" Stan asked quietly, looking from Cartman to Kyle, "I mean, if he's actually...you know. We should have a funeral or..."
"Funeral?" Kyle gasped, staring at Stan in horror and clenching his fingers into scruffy unwashed curls, because that was just too much. "Jesus Christ, dude..."
That was when Cartman had stood up, his chair shrieking across the kitchen tiles.
"Goddamnit, I hate you guys," he hissed and marched from the house without a second glance at either of them.
Kenny's parents did want a funeral. It had been too long, they said. Nine months and counting was the longest death yet and now they didn't even have a body to go with their grief. The ceremony - God,could you even call it that? – was a humble, awkward affair. People shuffled their feet and looked everywhere but at the stricken parents who were huddled together in the icy air, choking unashamedly on their tears. The husky noises of their sobs were piercing in the silence. Kyle clung to Stan like a shadow, unable to stand alone while they watched the empty casket descend into the earth. Wendy was sniffling girlishly into a tissue, her gloved fingers laced with Stan's. Cartman was all the way on the other side of the grave with his fists buried in his pockets. He scowled and avoided looking anybody in the face, because apparently this was how Cartman dealt with grief. Kyle had long given up trying to catch his eye.
As the first scatter of ice-cold earth hit the coffin lid, Kyle reached out impulsively and grabbed Stan's hand, anything to keep himself from flying at the priest in protest, because this simply could not be happening and what if Kyle was the only one who had realised that? He felt Stan's hand clench back, despite the girlfriend at Stan's side, despite half the town watching. Stan alone had known what Kyle and Kenny had been. And now they would never be anything more than a buried secret.
There was no wake. Nobody could face one. When the funeral was over they all simply drifted out of the churchyard, some in clusters of three or four, but all of them alone in their sorrow. Kyle stayed longer than anyone beside the grave. He stood and felt the tears freeze on his cheeks and swore that he would never let anything make him feel this way again. When Stan finally convinced him to leave, Kyle's movements felt sluggish and his senses seemed dulled, as if he were trying to walk underwater. Stan led him away from the place with dutiful resolve, but could not stop Kyle from seeing glimpses of Kenny in every face that they passed nor save him from the next four years of haunted dreams. Kyle huddled close, nonetheless, and as they trudged away from the cemetery, the snow silently filled in their footsteps, wiping clean the marks as if they had never been.
They were twenty-one. It was the worst day of Kyle's life.
A/N: Well. I'm apparently not bored with South Park yet! God help you. This is short because it is the prologue. Obviously. Next chapter will be business as usual.
I'm writing this because I feel that Kyle and Kenny deserve their own story after YCWIOMG. Pure K2, no complications (er...apart from the obvious Kenny-being-dead spanner in the works...). Please let me know what you think even though there isn't much to go on yet! I will always write because I love it, feedback or no feedback. But whether I post or not? Well, that's a different matter... ^_^