A/N: To anyone who's ever read this story, and/or reviewed, and/or added me/this story to your watch/favorites list: thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Your kind words have made these last 6 months some of the most beneficial and enjoyable of my life, and your feedback has been priceless to my writing. I really can't express enough how thankful I am for the response this fic has gotten. It just... blows me away. And occasionally makes me cry massive Clyde Donovan tears of joy, but only occasionally.
Here's the ending - the real, shameless, fluffy ending. I at least tried to make things come full circle, though. Hope you enjoy, and once again, thank you SO much for possessing the wherewithal to read this entire story from beginning to end. You guys are amazing.
Disclaimer: Don't own.
Wow, I haven't wrote in this old thing in years… literally! I was looking through some stuff in my drawer when I stumbled upon this diary, and thought 'well, what the heck'? So I opened it up and just started looking through it, and boy, have things ever changed!
The last entry was a year and a half ago, first of all. I wrote it in November of junior year. At the time, I hadn't started dating Kenny yet… WEIRD! Before I read it, I couldn't even remember back that far! I guess that sounds kind of silly, but it's true: it's hard for me to imagine a life without Kenny as my boyfriend. He's just so good at it! Kenny's sweet, kind, funny, and, well, I ain't gonna gush about him too much. Especially because I've put it all down in here probably a million times before. Except for Kenny's mouth. I don't think I ever wrote about that, mostly 'cause I didn't know nothing about it back then, but – wow. Is he ever good with that mouth of his! I won't go into detail about it, though. My parents could read this, and they're (finally) all hunky-dory with us dating, but if they knew about the kinds of things me and Kenny do… well, they'd ground me for sure! Yeah, they still ground me sometimes, even though I'm going off to college in a couple months. Not as much as they used to, but I guess some things never change, huh?
I know I've changed, though. Another thing that's different in the last entry was that I was still going to therapy. If I remember right, I think I went for another couple months after me and Kenny first started dating, and it was mostly because of Kenny that I stopped going. Mr. Mackey always said my main problem was being too gosh darn hard on myself, and looking back on it, I really was. I still am, sometimes – I think I kinda always will be – but I feel a whole lot better about myself now, thanks to Kenny. He never hollers at me for messing up and he compliments me a lot. Like when I got out of therapy and I told him that I thought I was finally fixed, and he said I was already perfect. Kenny's a little corny like that sometimes, but I love him for it. We'll be going to the same college in the fall. I know, I know; you're probably thinking I settled for some no-good, run-down school for delinquents 'cause that's the only kind that Kenny could get into, but it's actually not like that. Kenny and I worked real hard to bring up his grades, and eventually we got them up to solid B's and even a few A's! I'm so proud of him.
But enough about me and Kenny. Everyone else is doing great, too. Eric and Wendy are still together, which don't really surprise me. Those two were pretty much made for each other. They get in big fights sometimes, but that's just how they are, and I don't think they really mean none of the rude things they say about each other 'cause when they think no one's looking… why, they're just about the sweetest couple I've ever seen. As for Stan and Kyle, they're together for good now, I think. It wasn't always like that. They were breaking up and getting back together every couple of weeks for awhile there last year, but they've been going strong for a good 6 months now and I hope it'll stay that way. I think Stan just didn't know how to be in a long-term relationship 'cause of how things were with him and Wendy. Kenny thinks it's because Kyle has a small wiener, which he overcompensates for with his 'piss-poor personality' (Kenny's words, not mine), but I dunno. I'm happy for all of them.
A warm summer breeze wafted in through the open window, briefly rustling the diary's pages before falling limp again. Butters Stotch leaned back in his desk chair, breathing in the scent of freshly-cut grass borne on the wind, and contemplatively touched the end of a pencil to his lips. What else could he write about? There was never a dull moment in a town like South Park, making it difficult to be accurate in chronicling its events. Things were always changing, ever-shifting and yet, in their own peculiar way, remained mostly the same. There was still the same old cast of townsfolk, each with their same old stubborn, small town-bred personalities… the only things to change were the semi-weekly national crises that somehow perpetually involved him, Kenny, Stan, Kyle and Cartman, plus the occasional celebrity to show up in their midst for no apparent reason, but those happened so often they became almost predictable in their unpredictability. The need to write even more scraped the back of Butters' mind, prickling at the tips of his fingers. But what?
"See, how he leans his pencil upon his lips! Oh, that I were the eraser upon that pencil, that I might touch those lips!"
At the sound of an all-too familiar voice, Butters swiveled around in the chair, his heartbeat already increasing in a way that had become routine over time. Perched agilely in the aperture of Butters' window was none other than Kenny McCormick, eyes closed, midday sun outlining the tufts of wild maize-colored hair that covered his head, which was tilted to the side in a gesture of dramatic detachment. After a moment, he opened one eye and smirked.
"Quotin' Shakespeare, I see?" Butters greeted, also attempting a smirk. He could never pull it off quite as well as Kenny, but dangnabbit, he tried.
Kenny's smirk ripened into a grin as he unfolded his legs and climbed down from the windowsill, maneuvering with a habitual expertise that came from many nights of childhood heroics. "I bet you think I'm smart now," he said, rows of white teeth popping out against freshly sun-kissed skin, "but I only conveniently remembered enough useless crap from high school to serenade you with."
"Lucky me," Butters replied, boasting a goofy smile that faded into a wince when Kenny strode over and, without hesitance, plopped himself down in Butters' lap. Though his height had eventually increased until he was at eye level with Kenny – a fact which Butters took great pride in – noticeable differences in stature still existed between them. "Geez Louise, Ken," he breathed, adjusting his lanky legs to better accommodate the added weight. "You're big."
"That's what she said!" Kenny shot back gleefully.
An embarrassed warmth flooded Butters' face when he realized the dirtier connotations of what he'd just said. Another thing that Butters took great pride in was the gradual lessening of his naiveté, an inevitable byproduct of being Kenny's boyfriend, so he now counted himself as one of the teenaged masses well-versed in dirty jokes and double entendres. Well-versed enough to tell when someone was using their 'downstairs brain', at least. "Bad Kenny," he admonished, using the pencil in his hand to tap the other boy's forehead. "I ain't talkin' about that. I meant that you're just too heavy for me."
"…Is that a fat joke?"
Butters looked from Kenny's dark blue eyes, narrowed in mock suspicion, down to his t-shirt-clad chest, passing over the two arms crossed over it, strengthened from his miscellaneous summer jobs, and glanced across the bowed curve of his angular legs, draped awkwardly over the opposite side of Butters' chair, then sighed. "No, it's a 'you're awful skinny, but I'm still a scrawny weakling' joke."
"Ah. I see." Kenny nodded sagely and made to clamber off of Butters, but stopped when something on the desk caught his attention. "You're doing homework over the summer?" he asked, snorting; amusement was practically dripping from the sound.
"Nuh uh," Butters protested, praying to God that they could get off this subject as soon as possible. If Kenny read some of the things he had written about him…
But, of course, because this was Kenny and Kenny was always curious, there was no way of stopping him now that his interest had been piqued. "Okay," he said slowly, "If you're not doing homework, then what the fuck are you writing?"
Fists bumping together chronically and eyes darting to and fro, Butters scoured the recesses of his mind for a suitable lie. A letter to his Grandma back in Georgia? No, too Melvin-ish… The beginning of his new novel? No, too reminiscent of the Scrotie McBoogerballs ordeal… "Um. W-Well, see, the thing is, it's a… a… hey!" The ensuing series of events went as follows: Kenny made a surreptitious grab for the diary, Butters tried to make a surreptitious grab before Kenny, and they both inexplicably (and not surreptitiously) ended up on the bedroom floor with Butters sprawled atop Kenny.
"Um," the older blond said – intelligently so – as he gave a very long and pointed look at their current compromising position. "Yeah. I'm distracted now."
Butters sat up, clutching the diary to his chest, and glared at Kenny in what he hoped was a stern manner. "Now, you listen here, Buster Brown," he reprimanded, stomping down hard on the urge to protrude his lower lip. "You don't try any funny business with this-" One fist rapped against the diary's cover. "An' I won't try any funny business with you. Got it?"
Kenny stared at their adjoined hips, sucked on his lower lip ruminatively, and wiggled both blonde eyebrows at the boy on top of him. "If this is your idea of 'funny business', then holy shit, feel free to try it on me anytime."
"Kenny," Butters pleaded, all endeavors in sternness now abandoned as his eyes closed and his shoulders sagged with defeat. Normally, he didn't mind when Kenny was being all flirty and overtly sexual about everything – well, on some days, he downright loved it! But when Butters was legitimately trying to be serious and Kenny didn't respect him… Butters didn't really like that at all. A few moments passed by in nothingness, broken only when the soft, large curve of Kenny's palm cupped his cheek.
"You… really don't want me to look at that, do you?" he guessed quietly. Butters could hear the contrition in Kenny's voice, and when he opened his eyes, there was contrition all over Kenny's stupidly handsome face, too. He gave a tiny nod, to which Kenny replied with a sigh. "Shit. I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Butters said, a tentative smile already beginning to reappear on his lips. "I'm not sore at you. It's just… this is my diary, Kenny, an' I used to write about you a lot. Like, a lot a lot." He chuckled abashedly, awkwardly, and rubbed the back of his neck. "I was pretty lovesick."
One of Kenny's eyebrows lowered, the other trailing shortly after. "'Used to'?" he repeated, frowning just a bit, and Butters realized Kenny was under the impression that he wasn't worthy of being written about anymore. It was almost absurd enough to make him laugh. Almost, but not quite. He didn't want to wound Kenny's pride.
"I haven't wrote nothin' in it for nearly two years," Butters clarified, leaning down to plant a quick, chaste kiss on Kenny's lips. "Honestly, I forgot the silly ol' thing even existed 'til I found it this mornin', an I've been writin' ever since. That's what I was doin' when you showed up in my window, Romeo." Another kiss, this time to halt the compulsory flow of words from Kenny. "An' before you ask… yes, you're in it. Just don't get too cocky."
The formerly-apologetic expression which had been plastered across Kenny's countenance only moments earlier instantly melted, to be replaced by a wolfish grin. "Mmm, 'cocky'. I love when you talk dirty to me," he confessed, sliding two fingers beneath Butters' chin, and Butters had to laugh.
"I-I got lots more where that came from," Butters informed him eagerly, covering Kenny's mouth with his once more. Part of it was just because this was Kenny and he was Butters and they were them and he just really wanted to kiss Kenny again, but Butters was far more clever than he let on and he knew if there was one way to put this whole 'diary' issue to rest once and for all, it was this. Having consistently gotten A's in math class, and also having consistently possessed the power to turn Kenny into a virtual puddle of submissive goo, he'd developed a formula: Kenny + physical interaction (particularly of the sexual variety, though any sort would do) = happy Kenny. And yes, 'happy' was pretty much Kenny's default mood, but this specific brand of happiness fell under a more distracted phylum. Was it manipulation? Probably. Did Butters do it in only the most loving way possible? He liked to think so. Kenny didn't seem to mind, at least, if the voracious arch of his hands against Butters' backside was anything to go by.
The adjacent bedroom door squeaked open with another gust of wind, bringing with it the sounds of Mr. and Mrs. Stotch discussing something undoubtedly domestic in another part of the house. Now that the mood was effectively ruined, they both huffed out sighs of mutual exasperation and sat up, Kenny leaning against the side of the desk while Butters in turn leaned against him. "To what do I owe the great pleasure of your presence?" Butters asked, fingers lacing together atop Kenny's broad shoulders in a makeshift chinrest. With the ankle of one leg, he slid the now-forgotten diary underneath his bed, something that didn't appear to go unnoticed by Kenny. A white sliver appeared above the curvature of his cobalt irises, but he made no comment. "Somethin' serious? Or are you just droppin' by?"
Kenny smiled faintly, distractedly. Butters wondered if he should maybe commemorate the occasion in a journal entry. July 22nd: Distracted Kenny from diary, avoided humiliation over how much of a squealing little girl I used to be over him. "I didn't realize I needed a reason to see you," he murmured, burying his nose in clumps of short, duck-fluff blond hair, briefly skimming his lips over Butters' temple.
"'Course you don't. I love seein' you," Butters replied, earnest, and scooted closer to Kenny's side. "I was just wonderin'."
The look Kenny shot him was one of appraisal, of humor, of vague affectionate amusement. Sometimes Kenny would look at him like that for no real reason at all, when they were lolling on opposite sides of Butters' bed in the middle of a homework session or while standing in line at McDonald's to get a Shamrock Shake (Kenny's favorite) or during any other mundane, meaningless, everyday activity, really. There was no rhyme or reason for this; none that Butters could see, anyway. Kenny would just glance over at him sometimes with his face all crinkly from laugh lines and the edges of his mouth turned upward in a tiny smile and sometimes it would be because of something Butters said – he had a tendency toward being unintentionally amusing – and sometimes, Butters wouldn't be saying nor doing anything. Sometimes the look was accompanied by a quick peck. Sometimes a long kiss. Sometimes a fond hair-ruffle. Every time, it was like this little Post-It note being stuck to his heart, like 'oh, hi, that's Kenny, you're really, really in love with him, and for some reason, he's really, really in love with you, too'. As if Butters could ever forget, but occasional reminders were always nice. "Well," Kenny said, in that overly casual way which suggested he was about to say something kind of important. He looked down at his hands. "I've scraped together some money, and I was wondering if you'd like to go out on a date. With me."
"Why, I sure hope it'd be with you," Butters teased, poking Kenny's cheek playfully. "Who else would I be goin' out with?"
Kenny looked up and away, a crooked smile tugging at his lips. "Hm. One of the assholes I beat the shit out of on my way up to your window?"
"So you know 'bout m-my wide assortment of suitors, then," Butters stated, eyes widening in mock surprise. "Aw, heck. The feller you beat up… he wasn't blonde, was he? 'Cause that one was my favorite."
Kenny gave a very frustrated, very exaggerated snap of his fingers. "No, but damn it all, I should've known. You and your fucking blonds, dude." They grinned at each other, all big and goofy and teeth like the sun, and then Butters moved the finger from Kenny's cheek to trace curlicues on the back of his hand. "So. It's a date?"
There was a hesitant slant to Kenny's mouth as he said this, and Butters wondered if he realized that it was virtually impossible for him to turn down Kenny. "Yep!" he affirmed, beaming. Excitement was already beginning to fizzle up inside of him. "When are we leavin'?"
Kenny did that coy, 'looking up and away' thing again, pairing the nonchalant gesture with an equally lackadaisical shrug. "I was thinking, like, right now, if that's cool with you."
The red numbers on Butters' digital clock blinked at him from across the room. "You wanna take me out on a date," he began flatly, "at 12:34 in the afternoon? Gosh, isn't that a little early?"
"Guess I'm just impatient," Kenny replied, rolling to his feet in one swift, fluid motion. The way Kenny moved, like he consistently felt comfortable in his own skin… that was something Butters had always been, and probably always would be, jealous of. He stuck one hand into the pocket of his jeans, extending the other one to Butters. "And if I wait any longer, my Dad'll personally try to mug me. Come on. It'll be fun. Please?"
Dates were something of a big deal to Kenny. Butters supposed that dates were something of a big deal to most couples, but for him and Kenny, 'real' dates, the kind that involved money and going out to public places and money, took precedence simply due to their rarity. Being that Kenny was poor and Butters didn't have a steady inflow of cash, making him also poor by extension, the few occurrences when they hit that elusive combination of the right time and the right amount of money were quite momentous. Things had been that way during their first run as a couple, but it was even more prominent this time around. And as much as Butters got excited for dates – and boy, did he ever get excited for them – Kenny got even more so, an excitement that was tinged with a strong (and, unfortunately, seldom experienced) sense of pride. The least Butters could do was go along with the odd timing and match his enthusiasm. "I'll do it," he said, pulling himself up with Kenny's outstretched hand. "But only 'cause you said 'please'."
There it was again, that look, and Butters actually had to subconsciously place one hand over his stomach just in case all the butterflies fluttering around in there decided to burst out, like the aliens in that scary movie Eric had once forced him to watch and afterwards recorded his responding screams of terror on a Wellington Bear tape. "Okay. Sweet," he said, eyes curving upward in a happy little Kenny squint. Already, one arm was draped around Butters' shoulders, guiding him toward the door while an upbeat song filtered past Kenny's mouth, quiet, staccato, muffled – he never could quite sing clearly. Butters smiled at the quirk and moved in closer, as if attempting to cement himself irremovably into the fold of Kenny's arm, but soon halted when one thought blared in his mind: the diary.
Sighing apologetically now, Butters placed one hand gently on Kenny's chest and ducked away. "Kenny," he began, hesitantly biting his lower lip, "could you, uh… meet me outside? I-I'll be down in a coupla minutes, promise – there's just some stuff I gotta finish up in here."
Kenny blinked, eyebrows furrowing, but smiled and gave a nod of understanding anyway. He was always understanding, always willing to deal with Butters and his many oddities and defects as if they were normal and he was specifically equipped to deal with them. It was like his specialty or something. "Sure, yeah," he said, easygoing as ever. Butters smiled when he leaned in to kiss Kenny, smiled when Kenny's arms hugged his waist for the briefest of moments, and smiled when Kenny walked toward the window in preparation to leave, because climbing into people's windows and trying to read their diaries and cracking "that's what she said" jokes and asking them out on dates and jumping out the window to leave was just what Kenny did and darn it all if it didn't make Butters smile. Kenny could always make Butters smile. That was his other specialty.
"Hey." Kenny had one leg slung over the windowsill, the other dangling just a fraction of a centimeter above the bedroom floor, straddling two worlds: Theirs and Not Theirs, both of which he fit into perfectly, but Butters couldn't help the thought that maybe Kenny fit just a little bit more perfectly into Their world, like he was cut out from special cloth and tailor-made just to fit into the fabric of Butters' life. His voice was quiet when he spoke. "I love you. You know that, right?"
Butters smiled a just-for-Kenny smile.
"I know," he said, and he meant it. "I love you too, Ken."
In that moment, Butters thought Kenny looked brighter than the cerulean summer sky framing him from behind. He nodded again, made some gruff, joking comment about going to "eliminate the competition", and then he swung his other leg over the windowsill and was gone, just like that, diving recklessly into the Not Theirs. Butters stared at the window for a long pause, at the space where Kenny used to be, and then he scooped the diary up from the floor and flopped onto his bed. Its edges were frayed a bit and there was a little piece of tape holding the binding together, so it didn't look all that important. And maybe it wasn't. Idealistic thoughts on life and love, vapid observations, insubstantial information, aimless musings. That's all it was, in the end. That's all any of the pages boiled down to. But this, this small, insubstantial, unimportant thing… it had led him to Kenny, hadn't it? In some completely messed up, entirely convoluted fashion, it had found its way into Eric's hands and then to Kenny's mind and then they started dating and somehow, inexplicably, Butters had found his way into Kenny's heart. So maybe the words inscribed into the diary's pages themselves weren't important. What those words had inadvertently done, however – that was important, and that had changed Butters forever, and now that he was presented with the opportunity to bring some closure to an important chapter of his life, this moment felt kind of important, too. With a pencil poised just above the paper and his tongue poking out between columns of teeth, he reread the previous four paragraphs and thought of the people and the lives described within. Eric and Wendy, who would probably someday get married and have a couple babies, babies that Eric would try to spoil and Wendy would counteract by spoon-feeding them with extensive knowledge, and they would fight about politics over the dinner table and bang their fists and unintentionally educate those babies in the finer points of swearing, but that's okay, they would be fine. Stan and Kyle, who would probably open up some quaint little restaurant somewhere far from South Park, and Kyle would yell at the customers and Stan would look up from his guitar all calm and Stan-like and fix the problem, and maybe all the weirdness that had forever tormented them in their hometown would follow them there, too, but that's okay, they would be fine. Him and Kenny, who would go to college together and build a nice A-frame house somewhere in the mountains, where they'd live with a few dogs (Butters' stipulation) and no rats (Kenny's stipulation) and maybe an adopted kid from a broken home (they could both relate to that), and maybe Butters would always be a little neurotic and Kenny would always be a little dense but that's okay, they would be fine. Words, words, words. So many words. Pencil tip met paper, his hand gliding across the sheet in quick, assured strokes, and when he was done, he set both of them on the bedspread and ran downstairs, crammed his feet into some sneakers, and went outside to where Kenny was waiting for him, where Kenny was always waiting for him.
Inside, another breeze passed over open pages and one fresh, bold graphite sentence stood out between rows of light blue: Everything's going to be okay.
And he believed it.