THIS STORY. This story is done. D: final chapter. i think im suffering separation anxiety.
THANK YOU TO:
imesh, for being an awesome reviewer. check out their stories :D
be4kevin, for being an equally awesome reviewer (sorry about the lack of lemons dude)
xXxSoulKeeperxXx, for reviews and flamethrowers
danceswithsmurfs, for reviews and fanartz, that you should totally check out, and their stories, because awesome is awesome
carebearcreampie, for reviews and fanartz that you should also check out, along with their stories, which are bomb
enjoy the last chapter, guys :D
I embrace Pip on his porch, clinging tightly, before stepping away. I think my face may be blank, but this could only be because the play of emotions inside me is too vivid for expressions. Terror and euphoria, in perfect and perfectly conflicting balance.
"It'll probably be sudden." I warn.
"I shouldn't worry about me." Pip smiles wearily. I take one last look at him, catching all the little details that escaped me before I knew how to look. The deep shadows under his eyes, his oddly shaking hands, the ashen cast to his skin.
"Bye." I say, turning away. Looking at Pip was too much like looking in a mirror.
"Bye." I hear, and then the soft sound of a door closing. And I am alone in the dark, hoping for death, waiting to see Kenny.
He's coming home.
I decide to head for his house, though there's little point to the exercise. The streetlights, evenly spaced, are becoming redundant. The sun is edging up over the horizon, casting a long shadow ahead of me. I ignore them.
I'm going home.
The hobo that knifes me with a box cutter me seems puzzled by my joyful laughter as my guts spill across the street. I don't even care when he starts going through my pockets, relieving me of everything valuable. The word is going light and static, a TV screen with worse and worse reception.
By the time there is nothing but blank white to see I am twitching with impatience, tapping my fingers against my leg. My need to save Kenny is clashing with my fear of seeing him, which is fighting my terrible, new-found need to touch him, that conflicts with my lingering hate of the concept that I would ever want to. The war rages inside me, buoying me even as I ignore it. The only part of that fight that is important is Kenny.
When the waiting room slams into place, I hit the ground running. Shay snatches a spirit out of my way as I rocket out the door. I fix my whole attention on the building shining in the distance, one name singing over and over in my head.
I step out of the elevator with assurance, feeling the malevolent presence that is Damien. I ignore him and his omnipresent scowl. I'm looking for Kenny.
He's got his back to the window, watching me with the kind of fascinated terror one would give the tiger just before it pounces. His expression stops me in my tracks.
"Kenny?" I really didn't intend to say his name. It slipped out before I could stop it, before I could pull it back. I regret it instantly when he flinches.
"What do you want, Stan?" Damien asks. I look at him at last and am not surprised to find him lounging against the back of the couch. He seems to have appointed himself spokesperson. I'm not amused, not at all. I want to talk to Kenny, without this evil bastard present.
But it looks like that's not going to happen.
"I'm here." Kenny looks up involuntarily at my very deliberate voice, blinking in confusion. He knows this voice. It's my 'I win' voice. "To take Kenny home."
I barely hear Kenny's little gasp/sob over Damien's scoff of disbelief. My gaze slides involuntarily from Damien to Kenny. He has his back to me now, looking out the window. The way his arms are wrapped around himself makes me ache.
"You know I can't do that." Damien tries to sound solid, mocking. To someone who isn't as desperate as me, he might. But I am listening with all my might and I catch the tiniest tremor of uncertainty. The sharp, fierce glow of triumph bursts into being in my chest.
"I heard something different." I know a catty smile is spreading across my face, but damn it, I can't get it off, no matter how I try. "I heard you can do it."
Kenny whirled on Damien, a look of agonized betrayal crossing his face.
It's awful, the absolute misery in his expression. Damien, caught between my knowing gaze and Kenny's wide, painful eyes, can't move a muscle.
"I..." Damien looks, for once, at a loss for words. Kenny turns his pleading face my way.
"Damien?" In that one name, the first time I've heard his voice in so long, I can hear all of Kenny's trust in Damien shattering.
"I... I'm not – where did you... how?" He stutters. It's tragically comical, but I don't laugh.
"Damien. Can you." I ask in a voice that has no give in it. Kenny stands apart from us, looking at him with a quiet, distant, broken expression.
"Maybe." Damien explodes. "If you find someone who's willing to die for you. If you want this badly enough. If nothing goes wrong. Then yes. You could both, maybe, survive. But those are some pretty damn big ifs."
I smile. He stares at me in surprise.
"I'm want this." I nod with finality. Damien's scowl lightens by a few shades, before darkening even more. He turns to Kenny's orange figure.
"Kenny? What about you?"
I'm shocked by his careful, gentle tone. It's so un-Damien it's scary. Kenny himself looks up in surprise.
"I... yes, I want to go home." He mutters, looking back down at his feet before I can decipher his expression.
"It's going to hurt again." Damien's voice, scarily, becomes even softer. Kenny shudders all over, visibly, but manages too look up again.
"I… know. But I want to go home. I miss-," he flicks a lightning glance at me that reminds me of all the hanging threads I've left, "Everyone. My family, and my friends. I even miss Cartman, goddamn it."
"That still doesn't mean you have someone willing to die for you." Damien offers. He crooks an eyebrow when my smile slides off of my face like melting butter.
"I do, actually."
Kenny jerks with surprise. I reach out thoughtlessly to steady him, then pause and put my hand down. I have no right.
I wince. He isn't going to like my answer.
Damien explodes before the word even has the chance to leave my mouth.
"No! No, no, no! That's not going to happen, never never NEVER!" Damien shrieks. I wince but hold my ground. I can understand his reluctance. But I can't back down.
"He wants to die so he can see you, asshole!" I shout over him. "He misses you so much he's willing to die for it!"
Damien had stopped shouting halfway through my second sentence. My last few words echo in the air before fading into silence. Kenny-
Kenny is sitting against the far wall, face wan and blank. His eyes gaze endlessly over the gray vistas outside Damien's window. I find every word I planned to say, every shred of confidence and hope, wither and fall away. Without Kenny, everything I 've done, everything I've tried to do, will be... pointless.
I can't take my eyes off of Kenny's little figure, even when I hear the doors slam as Damien storms out.
He heaves a shuddering breath that I only know isn't a sob because I can see that there are no tears on his cheeks. I want to go to him. I want to touch him. I want, so much it's physical pain, to reassure him. I just can't. I don't know if I can, if I should. The only thing I know is that I want to, want with a fire and intensity that I can't name.
And it's almost like when I realized that I could save Kenny, like the world is rearranging itself around me, realigning. Or maybe its me realigning, twisting my thoughts yet again to fit the way things are.
Naming this fire, it's so easy. The answer... it was in the question.
I settle on the ground next to him, careful not to be too close, unwilling to be too far.
"How did you convince Pip to die?" Kenny asks, fingers tangling nervously. I jump a little. He hadn't made any sign he knew I was there.
I understand. He's wondering how much of a burden this would drop on him, how much guilt would be handed to him.
"I didn't." I shrug. More than anything, I want to reach out and hold Kenny, to sooth away those fears, but the boundaries between us are blurry and tenuous and I'm not sure how to put what I want into words. "He volunteered."
Kenny nods. His cheeks are still unhealthily pale, his breathing still worryingly harsh.
"I'm going home." He says at last. His hesitant tone makes it a question.
"Yeah." I answer, turning slightly to face him. He watches my movement with still, fathomless eyes.
"And you're coming with me?" He asks, his gaze finally finding mine, looking for the catch.
"Yes." I manage a true smile for the first time in days. It feels wonderful. Relief from everything that has torn at me for what had begun to seem like forever.
In answer the most beautiful smile I have ever seen breaks across Kenny's face. It's made somehow sweeter by the tears running down his cheeks.
Damien comes in a while later. His face is eerily not hostile. For once his expression is civil.
"Fine." He spits the word with more resignation than venom. "Fine, I'll do it."
Kenny melts. The tension that pulled his body tight fades away, so fast I reach out to steady him. He hesitantly leans closer to me, trusting me with more of his slight, bony body. Damien watches this with hostility beginning to curdle back into his expression. I try not to pay any attention. Its starting to occur to me that hostility is his default state.
"Is Pip ready to die?" His voice crackles with more tension than his face or posture betrays.
"Yeah." My lungs won't seem to work, my chest won't move, and it's not just Kenny leaning on me, trusting me. It's hope.
Without any preamble Damien walks over and sticks his hands through each of our chests. I almost cry out and pull away, but Kenny stops me. I trust him enough to hold still, but it's a close thing.
Damien teeth are bared in an expression that could be a smile except that the emotions behind it are too alien for me to understand, much less to name. I focus on it and not the hand in my chest, touching my soul, playing with it like it's a toy.
With a pleased sound he pulls his hands back out of us. Something bright with darkness glimmers in his hands, spilling through his fingers and pooling in his palms. It's beautiful, terribly beautiful.
I look around, trying to distract myself from the constricting feeling in my throat and the nausea swimming in my stomach. And that's how I'm the first to see Pip arrive.
He doesn't fade into view, or appear in a shower of sparks or a whirl of smoke. It's like it becomes more and more likely Pip is in the room. The possibility of Pip probably sits on the couch, head likely in his hands. That's how I imagine him, how he'd be if he was here.
And I blink and he's here, exactly where I imagined him.
I gasp and cough, pinkish spit landing on my hand when I cover my mouth. I ignore it, pointing at Pip, who's looking up and around, astonished. Damien turns with the speed of hidden desperation. Kenny glances at Pip and looks down, wincing. A dull flush is spreading across his cheeks, and I can't tell if it's sickness or guilt, I can't see his eyes to know. The pain is spreading, I note.
Before the constricting ache in my throat and stomach sharpens into razor blades, I see Pip falling into Damien's arms. The picture makes me smile, though my skin tightens warningly. Damien looks back from leading Pip out the door and I think that maybe he's not scowling, maybe he's nodding goodbye. But I can't trust myself, the pain is starting to run under my skin like live wires.
Kenny finally lifts his head and I catch his eyes in mine. The purity of his hope makes me catch my breath and before I know what I'm doing I'm holding him close, crying out as skin breaks, sick at the feeling of torn skin and the first seeps of blood. The pain... the pain is indescribable, part our bodies tearing themselves apart but mostly somewhere deep inside us a ripping in our souls.
Time drags and races, coming and going in spurts marked only by gasps of breath and screams of agony.
We cling to each other, our bones breaking and impaling us. Our skin splits and our veins rupture but this only brings us closer together, the unraveling skeins of our muscle and vein tangling until we are one monstrous creature that screams with two mouths. His skin, my bone, they are impossible to tell apart when they are broken and torn.
As our bodies disintegrate I move the stringy fragments of skin and muscle and brittle bone that used to be my hand and brush Kenny's ragged cheek, wiping the skin away to see the glistening muscle underneath. Blood that isn't mine trickles down my frayed skin and dyes everything the color of Valentine hearts. His blue eyes are reddening and going cloudy and I'm sure that soon our sight will fail, but for now we can see each other. He is ugly and disgusting but I am too and I can see how beautiful he is stripped down to his bare tendons.
He reaches up with a hand that doesn't even look like one anymore and wraps his ravaged fingers around mine, melding the mangled flesh. Our blood, sticky and slick, flows in streams from the clasping digits. Clumsily, jerky in movement, we lean together until our harsh breathing mingles and our lips are seeping blood from our gentle contact. It's metallic and salty and wet and beautiful and I open my eyes in time for a last flash of blue, almost drowning in red-
And then I can't see anymore. There is just pain and Kenny's hand in mine.
because i am a glutton for punishment, i am considering doing a companion to it from Damien/Pips perspective. let me know what you think XD
That's all, folks!