Disclaimer: I don't own South Park and I'm making no money off this. Lyric lines are from 'Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes', by Fall Out Boy.

Note: A request from flaeliii for an angsty one-sided HenriettaxStan. I hope it came off okay! I had to name the Goth kids, so hopefully that turned out okay. I don't think there's enough romancin' in here, it comes across to me more as a snapshot on Henrietta. But hey, I'm doing these oneshots to get better grasps on the characters, so that's probably a success. If anyone has a pairing they'd like to see me try, let me know. I also now have a massive thing for Curly GothxHenrietta. Anyway, please enjoy.

x

And I Think Of You

so boycott love, detox just to retox
and i'd promise you anything for another shot at life


Goths do not love. That's the second rule.

The first one, obviously, is Goths don't conform, but God, as if that even needs mentioning. Even the freakin' Prom Queen could tell you that one.

South Park doesn't change. People grow up, gain weight, lose friends...but South Park doesn't change. The faces, maybe they change, and the prices. The rest's the same – the familiar static beat of pointlessness and pain drumming on the windows.

Or maybe it's the rain.

English class is taking forever.

The teacher drones on (conformist bitch) about the different interpretations of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. Coleridge got it, Henrietta thinks. Coleridge understood how the aimless wanderings of the human soul across the barren wasteland of the world was nothing but a voyage of pain and horror.

And all they ever talked about was the goddamn religion of it all.

Time passes, as time has to, eventually (despite how slow it crawls, how every day is stretched out in the glare of these lights, turning high school into a freakshow). It's lunch.

She heads towards the stadium. There's a dark patch under the bleachers, pretty tucked away, where this one hole sends this shaft of light and dust down, and that's where they hang now. It's pretty okay, she guesses, but anywhere else would be the same.

She likes that little bit of light, though. It makes her think of –

Well. It makes her think.

She drops her bag in the darkest corner of their hangout and settles down. She sits cross legged and lights up, drawing in the first breath of smoke through the length of her drag. It comes like relief, like escape, and she knows she's addicted but maybe that's okay. There's something intoxicating about the feeling of smooth streams of smoke escaping her lips, and there's something poetic about the way the habit offers an invitation to Death and all his friends. The first cigarette of the day is always the best, and keeps the feeling locked inside her, under 'Miscellaneous – Good For Poetry'.

There's five of them today, she notices. Dylan is hunched up next to the bags, hugging his knees in a last-ditch defence against the world, and next to him, Lucas runs a contemplative finger over his latest piercing. It's a stud at the corner of his mouth, a shiny red metal ball that accents his hair. Frederick's lounging, always casual, the closest to the light. He's the oldest of them – a senior this year – and Henrietta doesn't know what they're going to do when he's gone. It had been different when he left first for middle school, and then high school. They'd know they were going to see him again.

This time, it's just him going out into the stark glare of the world, on his own, leaving them behind. Everything's going to be different.

Next to Frederick is the fifth, their unofficial link to the world, the Tolerated One. Raven's eyes are heavily streaked in make-up she recognises. It's the eyeliner she gave him four months ago, when he had some gay little falling out with his best friend and came back to them. He does that sometimes – come back to them. And every time, it's like he's never been away.

He's the only one they let in. They never clicked with the other Goth groups at high school, maintaining their own company and their own pride. Raven has always been the only one that ever came and went, and no one has ever objected. Sometimes, in her more romantic moments, Henrietta thinks he comes back even when everything is okay. Sometimes, she thinks he just likes them.

The others think it, too, but no one says it aloud. It's like their unwritten rule that anything that exists in silence can be permitted. Raven's kinship with them, the odd camaraderie they've founded, they and this boy with the sunshine heart, it's fragile, and it's going to crumble the second any one of them ever names it.

She will never tell him, but Henrietta thinks sometimes that Raven is her muse. Sat under the bleachers, with that shaft of light splitting through like some great gate, he looks startling. He's close against Frederick, half cast in shadow and half in light, and there's something beautiful about the contrast. Their world will only ever possess half of him, will only ever have him sometimes, and Henrietta thinks it's tragic. And because it's tragic, it's incredible. Thinking about the days he isn't with them, thinking about a girl with long black hair and flashes of purple, she feels her stomach churn and twist. It's a good feeling – a sickening, painful feeling that validates everything they stand for.

Out there, that feeling prevails. It catches Henrietta unawares when she sees them walking together, sitting together, talking together. It's a cruel bite of loneliness and despair and anguish and jealousy, and even after all these years, it has not ceased hurting. But here, under the bleaches and away from the sun, Raven is half theirs – half hers – and she feels protected. This is a haven for them, cut out and away from the rest of the world. And Raven, like the rest of them, finds solace here. He makes his nest from rust and decaying feathers and beds down for the winter; a lonely, straggly bird that doesn't belong anywhere.

Only that's the thing about him – the remarkable thing, the impossible thing – and it's that he belongs everywhere. He's the furthest thing from a raven there is – he's nothing like ill omens, nothing like beady eyes and black feathers, nothing like nevermore. He's the son of Gods, a golden survivor, or some other such turn of phrase that will never fit the rest of them at all.

He doesn't belong here, in the shadows, and maybe that's the best part of all.

Maybe, Henrietta thinks sometimes, she likes him because there's some hope in his dark soul. Maybe it's because there's some darkness in his hopeful soul. Maybe it's because in a world of extremes, of the bright and garish clashing unkindly against the cold and black, he's a medium. He's honesty in the face of deceit, and he's genuine feeling in spite of conformity. He's the black sheep, the Variation, the one everyone thinks they can pin down, but never really gets quite right. Maybe she likes him because he's changeable, because he's fickle, because he doesn't sit and stay. Because in a hundred little ways, sometimes simply by being, he rebels.

Or maybe she just likes him because she knows he'll only ever be half hers.

Sometimes, though, when that shaft of light is between them and the whole world can wait, she thinks he's looking at her, too.