All right, here we have our epilogue. It's been almost five months and 106 pages, and I have to say I'm sorry to see it end. As has been said before, you're all wonderful for sticking around, blah-blah-blah, you all get it. Just watch Remember the Titans and just pretend I'm making all those grand inspiring speeches to you, but about fanfiction instead of racism.
And let me just add before you read that I have nothing against Californians, being that I am one myself. We're just a strange group of people, plain and simple.
Enjoy, and thank you so-so much for reading. :D
A week into fall quarter, Butters had called Kenny, absolutely elated with his newfound freedom ("There's so much to do just right off campus—not to mention in the entire city!"). A month after that, Kenny had called to find Butters in tears, wanting to come back home ("I don't belong here—everyone hates me a-and everything's too big…").
By Thanksgiving, Butters had become so swamped with work that he couldn't even come home ("Never take a literature and history class at the same time…"). Kenny had spent Thanksgiving with Stan's family; it turned out Kyle was just as busy and had broken his both his mother's and Stan's hearts by not coming home either, so Kenny and Stan had spent most of their four-day break consoling each other with alcohol and shitty SyFy movies.
The Monday after Thanksgiving, Kenny had called Butters only to get his voicemail, and the two had been playing phone tag ever since ("Answer your phone when I call you, 'cause your voice makes me hard and my roommate's tired of walking in on me jer-hic-jerking off to my phone… I'm a little drunk."). After that, Kenny had taken extra-special care to make sure all of his messages were of the naughty variety. Stan had walked in on him leaving one once; needless to say, that hadn't been a fun conversation that had followed.
As it stood, it was the second week of December, and as an early Christmas gift Kenny's mother had demanded he come and clear out the shit he'd left in his room. He'd asked why they needed the extra space and she had evaded the question with the kind of expertise that made Kenny believe they were going to turn his bedroom into a meth lab.
"You're nineteen-years-old, you don't live here anymore, the least you could do is clear out your room."
So Kenny came by, after crosschecking his parents' whereabouts with Karen about six times, and started going through his stuff. Karen stood in the doorway, arms crossed and eyebrow arched.
"Surprised you even came at all," she said. "Not like you didn't get out of here as fast as you could."
"I'm not commuting from here to the community college every day, Karen, but nice try," Kenny snarked. "There's a big difference between me and Kevin."
"Yeah, Kevin's a raging hard-on and you're a pissy little faggot," she shot back and stuck out her tongue before leaving the room entirely.
"I'm a pissy little half-faggot, for your information," he shouted after her and picked up a stack of papers from the foot of his bed. The entire corner of his room was a pile of drawings and schoolwork he hadn't gone through since about the sixth grade. Even though only six months old, the drawings from his last month of senior year were more than a little cringe-worthy after almost a full semester of life drawing.
He heard a little tap on his window and curiously looked over at the pane of glass, boarded up with cardboard in one corner. Nothing but the (unfortunately) clear view he'd always had of the Cooperton's house (and master bedroom window) across the street. This long into December, everything was covered with a thick, fresh blanket of snow. Another tap, and this time Kenny could see it was from a small pebble knocking against the glass. He rolled his eyes and stalked over to the window, fully prepared to tell whoever off about proper pebble-window etiquette (off the sill, not the goddamned glass), when he actually caught sight of the figure standing out in the snow below. His heart nearly jumped out of his chest like he was Roger Rabbit catching his first sight of Jessica Rabbit. He was downstairs and out the door with cartoonish speed, approaching carefully just in case his eyes had been playing tricks on him.
They hadn't been.
"Leopold-fucking-Stotch, what are you doing here?"
Butters bit his lip and smiled that bashful smile that made Kenny want to tackle him into the snow, all sense of propriety be damned. Yes, they'd decided to keep their relationship casual, and sure, Kenny had just spent a rather satisfying night with a girl from his econ class, but Butters… goddamn it, Butters was Butters, and he dared anyone to be away from that boy for very long without feeling just a little heartbroken and lonely.
"I-I guess I wanted to surprise you, so," Butters shrugged, "surprise. I went to your apartment, but Stan said you were here when I buzzed at the door."
"Well, come inside, for fuck's sake," Kenny laughed, his entire body reeling. He was here—Butters was actually here. Kenny shut the door as soon as they got inside and couldn't help but notice—
"Did you get taller?" he asked when Butters failed to be his usual four inches shorter than him. By no means were they the same height, but Butters was definitely creeping up on Kenny's 6'2" stature.
"Late bloomer," was all Butters managed to say with a shrug. There was something else about him that Kenny couldn't quite place. He began circling Butters like a shark—the clothes were the same, those snow boots were the same… He snapped his fingers.
"Haircut," he beamed and Butters nodded. Indeed, he had finally cut his hair shorter. Not quite the military cut he'd been known to sport after an afternoon at the barber when they were kids, but it had a sort of tumbled-out-of bed look that made Kenny's gut stir quite pleasantly.
"Yeah," Butters blushed. "M-my floormate Nancy did it for me, but she kind of messed it up in the back and I had to wear a hat for a month. A big wool cap in LA for a month. It wasn't fun."
Kenny and Butters both turned to see Karen, gob smacked, at the foot of the stairs. She smiled and approached Butters with that coy sort of walk Kenny had seen her use on unsuspecting prey. He ought to know—he used that walk himself from time to time.
"Butters, you look great," she smiled. "College has done wonders for you."
"Yeah, yeah," Kenny pushed her face away, irritated. "In your dreams. What are you, fifteen? Go dry hump a couch cushion if you're so desperate."
She stuck her tongue out, but could pretty much gather that she wasn't wanted. She stomped back up the stairs, leaving Kenny and Butters alone once more.
"You don't think it looks stupid, do you?" Butters asked as he ran a hand through his hair. Kenny shook his head and smiled.
"You look fucking sexy, dude," he said and took a step closer to Butters' personal space. It almost felt foreign, like they'd never touched each other before, like they hadn't spend the last month and a half of their time together fucking the living daylights out of each other (or, Kenny recalled fondly, seeing every summer movie there was, just as an excuse to hold hands somewhere that wasn't a bedroom).
"You look good too," Butters chimed in with a smile. "A lot, uh… healthier than I've seen you before."
"Is that a fat joke?" Kenny asked, grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Stan had taken a leaf out of the Broflovski handbook and had made sure Kenny ate at least three meals a day. Two of those three meals were not allowed to be toaster waffles, pop-tarts, or ramen.
"Yeah, that's a fat joke," Butters quirked an eyebrow and pulled Kenny close. "You know I'm all about fat jokes." Kenny rested their foreheads together.
"So forceful," he chided mildly, "is this what fucking a few boys in the stacks does to a perfectly innocent guy like yourself?" Butters nodded and brought Kenny into a kiss, sweet and simple. Kenny faltered for just a moment, caught off-guard by something he'd missed for so long. He tried to put everything he'd felt in the last six months into that kiss, as if by the act itself they could suddenly share memories, replace them even so it felt like the other never left.
"Whoa," Butters pulled back with a laugh. "I came by to help you with your room, mister, not to let you defile me in your parents' house."
"Nice to see LA hasn't ruined your sense of decency," he called after Butters, who was running up the stairs and into Kenny's room. Kenny followed quickly behind, not bothering to shut the door before he pinned Butters to the bed and kissed him senseless. Butters smiled and ran his hands over Kenny's shoulders, down his chest, and settled on his hips.
"If you two are gonna fuck you should at least close the door."
"Go away, Karen," Kenny groaned against Butters' mouth before rolling over and seeing that Karen had not abandoned her spot in the doorway.
"I still think you guys are gross," she shrugged.
"I still think you're a bitch," Kenny shot back. "Close the door and leave us the fuck alone."
"If I hear even a whimper, I'm telling mom you were fucking a boy in your bed," she said and flipped him off.
"I'm an adult, Karen—that's not a viable threat."
"Whatever," she rolled her eyes and shut the door behind her. Butters turned on his side and brushed a few stray strands of hair off of Kenny's forehead. Kenny smiled.
"I missed you," he said softly. Butters hummed and kissed him again, a little calmer this time to avoid any unwanted escalade.
"You too," he said. "My roommate almost made me call you last week, but I'd have spoiled the surprise if I did… Plus, I had all my finals right in a row, so that sucked."
"Right," Kenny nodded. "Did you get my good luck message?"
"A voicemail of you jerking off isn't a good luck message, but nice try," Butters smirked.
"I said 'good luck' at the end."
"Yeah, guess I didn't get that far," Butters shrugged and hopped to his feet. "So, we're cleaning out your room?"
And that's what they did. Within a few hours Kenny's room had gone from unimaginable and hellishly untidy to freakishly neat, without a single dust particle out of place. They'd found a few missing items, Kenny's favorite glass pipe he'd gotten himself as an eighteenth birthday present being amongst the better finds. They'd also found one of Butters' old t-shirts that they'd just assumed had been lost as a sacrifice to the god of quick-and-dirty fucks. On their way out of the house, Kenny stood in front of Karen, who was on the couch with a bowl of ice cream, and smiled.
"We're off," he said. Karen just shrugged and pretended she could see through him to the episode of Degrassi on the TV behind him. Kenny rolled his eyes. "Stand up and give me a hug, please."
He winked at Butters as he slipped forty-dollars into the back pocket of his sister's jeans.
"Go see a movie with Ruby or something," he said. "Or buy condoms with it. One of the two. Just don't let mom and dad know you have it."
Karen beamed and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"You're the best," she said and even walked them to the door. They were all the way to the sidewalk when he remembered he didn't have a car and cursed.
"How'd you get here?" Butters asked as they began walking down the street.
"Stan dropped me off. He had to go get Kyle from the airport," Kenny blew warm air into his hands. "He told me he'd come get me when he dropped Kyle off at his parents' house… which probably won't be for a while, since I told him to take the apartment today."
"The whole thing?" Butters raised his eyebrows. "He couldn't come pick you up and just leave you in the living room while they…" he trailed off.
"Thin walls," Kenny explained.
"Ahh," Butters nodded in understanding. "I live next to this one girl who brings her boyfriend over, like, every night. It's kinda gross, 'cause she doesn't even make an effort to keep it to herself, y'know?"
Kenny hummed an affirmation and draped his arm around Butters' shoulder. He tried not to grin when Butters' arm settled around his waist, but goddamn it, Butters was back and they were together and he was warm and he smelled good and, honestly, Kenny was lucky he couldn't die from sensory overload.
"It's weird," Butters began. "Everyone keeps asking me what I want to do with my life now that I'm in college. Do people ask you that?"
"No one ever asks me that," Kenny shook his head, only a little bitter that no one had noticed his newfound ambition to be more than just some poor kid living off minimum wage for the rest of his life. Apparently, the question had different connotations for Butters.
"Well, good," Butters said, "'cause it gets really annoying really fast. Who knows what they want to do with the rest of their life when they're eighteen? And another thing, people get all amazed when they find out I'm from Colorado. It's like they've never met anyone who didn't live in California before."
"Californians are weird," Kenny agreed.
"They always ask me what I do for fun back home," Butters continued, "like there's nothing to do outside of LA. And you have no idea how many vegans I've had to deal with the last few months—"
"Are you happy?" Kenny asked. Butters paused for a moment to consider before he shrugged and smiled.
"I guess I am," he said, and for the first time in a long time, he meant it. He then turned to look at Kenny. "Are you?" Kenny nodded.
"I am," and why not? He was going to school, something no one had ever expected him to do, he was living with one of his best friends who cared more about him than almost everyone else in his life combined, and, right now, he was with Butters. All of that seemed to drown out the fact that he had to work two jobs to pay for school and rent, that the landlord hated him and Stan for breaking almost every single plumbing fixture in their place, and that he wasn't always with Butters.
"Good," Butters smiled and dropped his hand from Kenny's waist and instead pulled Kenny into a kiss, right there in the middle of the street where anyone could've seen them.
"Think we'll make it through the next four years and still be together?" Butters asked when they broke for breath.
"I have a great idea," Kenny muttered against Butters' ear. "Let's not worry about it."
"It's been a pretty good strategy so far," Butters conceded and brought Kenny into another kiss. It was worthless to invest so much in a future they weren't even sure they were going to have, and it was for that reason Kenny had avoided dwelling on it for too long in the past, but at that moment, just for a second, he vaguely wondered what it would be like to live with each other after they were done with school. Would Butters start teaching, or would he try to break into Hollywood as screenwriter? Would Kenny have to get some shitty job drawing caricatures in Venice Beach, or would someone recognize his talent right away and sit him down in a design studio right away? What if there were more options? What if they stayed together so long that they decided to get married, or have a kid? What if they didn't make it? Would they still be friends? Would Kenny ever feel like he could trust anyone again if Butters left him? What if he left Butters? Jesus Christ, the possibilities were endless, each of them forking off from that particular moment and each into an alternate future. For once, Kenny wished he knew which one was the one that would end up playing out.
"You started thinking about it, didn't you?" Butters laughed. Kenny gave a bashful nod that turned into a smile when Butters gave a simple "me too."
"What'd you come up with?" he asked and Butters shrugged.
"Probably the same thing you did," he said as they began walking once again. "A lot of my scenarios ended with us raising one or two of your bastard lovechildren, though."
"Oh," Kenny said, a little worried that he'd given Butters cause to think something like that was a possibility. He got even more worried when he realized just how possible that scenario really was.
"Well," he began, "I guess if I had to raise a lovechild with anyone, I'd want it to be you."
"And I'd be too afraid to see what you'd do with a kid when left to your own devices, so I suppose we're square," Butters rolled his eyes stuffed his hands in his pockets. They walked in comfortable silence for a few moments before Butters piped up again. "I'm really glad you still love me, Kenny."
"I'm glad you still love me too, Butters," Kenny laughed and pulled him into a one-armed hug. "I'd've been pissed if you'd left me for some dick bag you met at school."
"Mm," Butters nodded. "I think once you talk someone into fucking your nemesis's mom, you're kinda in it for life with them."
"Yeah," Kenny nodded. "Good thing we got that shit out of the way early then."
"Yup," Butters said brightly. "I wouldn't have wanted you to wait until she was a saggy old lady." Kenny laughed-Jesus, he hadn't laughed this much in forever.
"Well, at least no one can say you aren't considerate," he said. Butters hummed and grabbed Kenny's hand.
"That's me-Saint Leopold," he replied and gave Kenny one of those dangerous smiles. "Now let's go salt Stark's Pond and watch all the kids fall over on their ice skates."