A cheerful little oneshot.

am i the only one who didn't notice the gigantic well of character development that was the last few episodes? D: it's a golden opportunity! by the way, if someone points me to an good fic, i'll give them a cookie! i need new reading material :P any pairing, just something good.

enjoy!

a/n


Tink. Tink. Tink.

The sound that woke Kyle was gentle. Soft. He woke slowly, the layers of sleep slowly fading from his mind. His dreams slipped into thoughtless mist that slowly faded into his gray room. The first thing he noticed was the light.

Gray.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

Everything was an odd shade of gray. There was no color, just subtle shades and variations of dark and light. The gently clinking noise continued, rhythmical and intrusive.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

Sleep still clinging to the corners of his mind, Kyle pulled himself upright, looking around for the source of the noise. Though quiet, its persistence was starting to wear on him.

Tink. Tink. Tink.

The sound was unmistakably that of something tapping on glass. Kyle pulled off his covers and shivered. The room was uncomfortably cool. Despite this and the nagging desire to just slip back into his warm bed and sleep, he went to his window. His friends were the only ones who would brave the tree up to his window, and they would only interrupt his sleep and try the Wrath of Broflovski to talk to him if it was really important.

Tink. Tink.

The sound suddenly cut off. Startled, Kyle ran to his frost-covered window, opened it, and peered out.

An orange mitten was hooked on the branch right below his window. As he watched the wind gusted and it detached, falling out of sight to land with a muted thump in the snow below his window.

He leaned a little further out and looked down.

A crumpled figure, wearing a signature orange parka, lay in a ball at the foot of the tree.

Kyle slammed the window shut and sprinted out of his room, quietly jumping the stairs four at a time, trying to avoid alerting his parents. They didn't like Kenny. They didn't like his personality. They didn't like his family. They didn't like his poverty. They didn't say anything, but both Kenny and Kyle saw how their eyes tightened when they saw him, and the way they avoiding touching him.

Like he was contagious.

The door shut silently behind him and he dashed out into the snow. Kenny was moving when he got there, lifting his head weakly and shifting his arms gingerly.

"Kenny?" he whispered, helping him sit up.

Kenny was so pale, and Kyle could see moisture glittering on his cheeks that wasn't melted snow. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. Kyle hoped it was from a bitten tongue and not something more serious. A punctured lung, for instance.

"Kyle." Kenny mumbled, before a look of annoyance crossed his face and he stuck his tongue out, examining it with a delicate poke. Blood trickled in ridiculously copious amounts from a chunk he appeared to have bitten out of it. Kyle wrinkled his nose.

"You want to come inside?" He offered dubiously. Kenny shrugged as best he could and started struggling upright. Bending over, Kyle offered a hand. Scowling at this, he reached his feet, only to almost fall again. Kyle ignored his baleful look and wrapped a hand around his shoulders, keeping him upright.

Kyle opened the door as quietly as he could and hauled Kenny in. He seemed to be less and less coordinated, bumping a hand noisily against a table and then glaring hazily a it like it had done that all on its own. Kyle chalked it up to the severe fall and settled Kenny on a chair at the dinning table.

"Are you hungry?" Kyle asked gingerly. Kenny shook his head and coughed.

"Some water would be nice." He said, voice rough.

Kyle stared dubiously for a long moment. It wasn't like Kenny to turn down food. Not like him at all. In fact, this was the total opposite of normal Kenny.

Deciding that the fall must have knocked out the last of Kenny's brains, he turned to the cabinet full of cups. Opening it was tricky; the hinges had a nasty habit of squeaking at the least opportune moments.

He was interrupted by the muted thump of Kenny hitting the floor.

He whirled.

What he expected to find was Kenny, smiling exasperatedly at himself for tripping. What he expected was to find Kenny had tipped too far back in his chair. What he did not expect, could never expect was...

Kenny, on his side, on the floor, eyes closed, raspy breathing. Blood, trickling still out of the corner of his mouth. So pale. The shadows under his eyes stood out like bruises.

Maybe, maybe there was something really wrong with Kenny.

He forgot his mother and father upstairs, forgot all about keeping quiet. He was collapsing at Kenny's side almost instantly, the impact painfully loud. Kenny looked up, tongue gingerly swiping at the blood trickling down his cheek. It didn't help much.

"Kenny?" Kyle asked, grabbing his shoulder and rolling him onto his back. Kenny had a smile on that looked cracked, frayed at the edges. Fake. Kyle examined him, terrified, more closely than before. He had missed something, he knew. Something that was hurting Kenny.

He spotted it in a daze.

It couldn't be real, none of this. He was dreaming.

The line of Kenny's zipper was tinted deep scarlet.

Kyle reached out, dreamlike, and touched the color. It came away on his hands and he could smell it too, dark and metallic and horrifically familiar.

Kenny watched through dim eyes that seemed ever so slightly out of focus as Kyle reached for the cold metal zipper nestled in the hollow of his collarbone. The deep crimson liquid on his fingertips smudged off on the pristine silver as he pulled.

Kyle thought at first, his trance muting and mutating the horror, that he was unzipping Kenny's skin.

And then his brain caught up with his eyes, and he saw at last what was in front of him.

The slit in Kenny's fragile, pale skin ran from the middle of his sternum, straight down, past the point Kyle had unzipped. Stark bone shone through the ragged edges. Blood slowly seeped from the gaping seam. Kenny's pale face, literally bloodless, took on new meaning.

But his brain hadn't quite caught up to his fingers yet. They were still traveling down, still revealing more and more. A flash of black caught his eyes and he vaguely focused on it. Stitches. Crude stitches in a thick black thread marched up the left side of the cut. Shreds of skin clinging to the cotton thread indicated that the stitches had probably connected one side to the other at some point. Now they were just sad, macabre loops of thread.

They had probably split when Kenny had fallen out out of the tree.

Had Kenny done this to himself, tried to sew up this gaping cut? Had he thought that would save him? The inner lining of the parka was soaked darkest crimson, literally dripping with Kenny's blood. Only the thickness of the down had stopped the fluid from soaking all the way through.

Still his hand was dragging the cold metal tab down, opening more and more of Kenny up for the world to see. He was running out of sternum, soon he would hit soft belly. He wanted to stop, knew he should stop, but something like gravity was dragging his hand down. He was going to see all of it.

When he did, it was horrific.

Whatever had cut him had been stopped by the sternum, at first. Farther down, there was no bone to save him. Nothing but smooth skin and hard muscle. And muscle had done nothing to save Kenny. Nothing at all.

The cut ran deep here.

Kenny's hand, weakly grasping his, was what stopped Kyle. He looked up, mouth open, stomach heaving, eyes tearing up.

"Kenny?" He whispered. It was a desperate plea for... something. Reassurance probably.

In answer, Kenny pulled on their joined hands, gently guiding the zipper closed. It would be almost easy for him to imagine that he was sealing the wound shut as well. Kenny's eyes were on him the whole time, full of acceptance and resignation that someone hurt like that shouldn't have, should never have. This was too much.

"Kenny!" He repeated his plea with more force, more volume. Blinking bemusedly Kenny reached up, lacing his fingers in Kyle's red curls.

"Hey. Don't cry." He breathed.

And then he pulled harder than he should have been able to, than Kyle was prepared for, and Kyle toppled forward and landed hard, chest first. He could feel the cold, slick seep of blood under him, saw the flash of pain across Kenny's straight gaze.

And the hand in his hair kept pulling with that quiet, irresistible force. Maybe Kyle wanted to give in. Maybe Kenny was dying – what was he talking about, Kenny was dying – and all he wanted was to give in.

Kenny's lips were soft and cold with wet blood. It felt so new and yet, Kyle couldn't deny the feeling that this was familiar. He had the oddest feeling of deja vu.

And Kenny was dying.

Kenny pulled away and gave Kyle a smile with life and blood in it.

"Don't worry, Kyle. You won't remember this tomorrow."


a/n

remember those cookies! :D