Hey guys, how's it going? Yeah, yeah, I know I don't ever respond to my reviews anymore. But I really do appreciate them. Think of it this way: I could take time out of writing my story to respond, or I could just upload more chapters. Yeah. Anyway, please enjoy. I like this chapter a lot. ~CrisisOmegs
"…Hey. Hey. … HEY!"
"Start on the fourth fuckin' problem. You didn't even need to come over, couldn't you do this on your own? Jesus Christ. Stop daydreamin' and get to work." Cartman took another sip out of his drink, Dr. Pepper this time, and rolled his eyes.
Pip exhaled heavily and began drawing out the electron diagram for the fourth problem. He was nervous. He sat in the Cartman family kitchen, in a cheap chrome chair that was probably as old as Eric was. The linoleum underfoot was bumpy and uneven after being trampled for years. And he'd recently exchanged sexual favors with the person across from him.
He wanted to come over Eric's house because he wanted the brunet to grab him by the waist and tell him they should be together. He remembered how he felt after Sunday night. He'd clumsily pulled up his pants and Eric went to the fridge to get himself another soda. He hadn't asked Pip if he was thirsty.
"What does this make us?"
"What are we now? F-friends, or…"
"Pfft. Pip, nothing's changed."
"This type of shit, it doesn't count. Pick up your gay little messenger bag and do the homework yourself. It's your fault we didn't get to finish."
So Pip was back again, ashamed and confused. He'd stuck by Eric's side during school, as much as he could. Sunday night hadn't been magical, and it hadn't been romantic. It was fifteen minutes of getting off on the cheap thrills Pip felt from one-upping Butters for the first time in his life. If he stayed by Eric, maybe the magic would get there eventually. Pip really, really wanted it to. How could it have been so meaningless?
"Pip, do the fucking problem." He felt Eric's strong arm over his shoulders. "Unless…" The brunet raised his eyebrow, silently suggesting a repeat of Sunday. Pip didn't really want to. He hadn't felt the magic. But if they did it again, maybe he would. And if he said no, what if Eric stopped asking? He twirled a piece of hair between his fingers. Maybe Eric would want something more. If he could just keep going like this, Eric would definitely want something more. They would start dating, and become boyfriends, and…
"But if we do, you still have to finish the homework on your own, Brit."
Pip felt a squeeze and looked up to see Eric eyeing him hungrily. Maybe it didn't matter if he felt the magic or not. Besides, they weren't going all the way.
This type of shit, it doesn't count. Right?
Butters leaned against his desk again, peering over at his iHome. It still held Stan's iPod, but the music wasn't playing and the room was silent. His parents had come home. Usually he would sit in the living room, hoping they would greet him as they entered the house, but he didn't feel like being particularly pathetic today.
He didn't understand why Stan had left. It had been so right, everything he was doing. The tall, strong, dark, handsome Stan had just picked up his backpack and left. But Butters couldn't be sad for long; the iPod was right next to him, a physical reminder of what just took place.
He lightly touched his lips and felt warmth spread throughout his body. He'd seen hundreds of romantic comedies and even read a few teen romances, but nothing had ever given him this feeling before. When Stan had let him place his hand on the taller teen's cheek, even though Butters thought his hands were awfully cold. When Stan's arms encircled him and pulled him into a gentle embrace, all while their lips were held firmly together. Butters' first true act of passion, that's what it had been, and how he would remember it.
He took the iPod in his hands and turned it on. As the light illuminated the screen, his thoughts suddenly turned to Eric, and what he would think about this. About Butters falling in love.
Oh, god. He was falling in love?
He felt his heart grow lighter and sighed contentedly. His eyes drooped amorously as he gazed at the music player. He inserted a pair of his own ear buds into it and scrolled through the list until he found what he was searching for. He heard the beats of the song Stan had kissed him to, and the melody surrounded him. He lay back on his bed and placed the iPod over his heart, holding it there, wondering whether his heartbeat would sync up with the rhythm. When the song was over, he played it again. Then he reached under his bed and dusted off his old journal. It was filled with childish doodles of smiling Erics and Butters', holding hands in meadows or flower fields. He turned to a fresh page and grabbed a pink gel pen from his bedside table. A dopey smile spread across his face and he rested his chin in his left hand as his right wrote in large, decorated cursive.
S.M. + L.S. 4EVER 3
3 Stanley & Leopold Marsh 3
He drew hearts and roses haphazardly wherever there was free space. On the back of the page, he spent at least an hour doodling a picture of Stan hugging him, with a speech bubble coming from Stan's mouth saying: You're so cute. In the page's margin, he drew an arrow towards the picture and wrote: This really happened!
He sighed happily again and retraced his words. The ink was heavy and it made an impression on the paper, seeping onto the other side.
This really happened!
Stan fell asleep on the car ride to school the next morning. Kenny watched disapprovingly as a puddle of drool started forming on the ancient plush seats, and he slapped his friend across the face. Stan woke, startled, and rubbed his eyes.
"You look like shit, dude," Kenny said. He turned down the radio, signaling the beginning of an honest to god conversation. Stan eyed him cautiously.
"Uh, yeah. I feel like shit," he responded. He pinched his nose, head suddenly pounding.
"You and Butters stay up late smooching?" Kenny laughed. Stan wondered how the fucking idiot always managed to say blunt and offensive things without sounding malicious.
"Um, no, fuck off with the gay comments," Stan rolled his eyes. He rested his hand in his chin and propped his elbow up on the car door. He let his eyelids close but when he snuck a peek at Kenny, the blond was still watching him. Puckering his lips in a caricature of a kiss.
"No fucking way," Stan gasped. "Kyle didn't—"
"Oh, but he did," Kenny winked.
That fucking idiot.
"Holy shit, what the fuck. I'm gonna burn his motherfucking house down, that son of a bitch, he—"
"Whoah, calm down there, cowboy," Kenny joked. His eyes were fixed on the road but they were still twinkling as he laughed. Stan thought that if Butters was ever hot, then Kenny was always dynamic.
Stan groaned and placed his head in his hands. He was so stressed out, he felt like he was in a pressure cooker. His chest felt tight and in spite of his macho attitude he thought he might cry. Which in turn made him hate himself even more, which in turn made him want to cry harder. Vicious fucking cycle.
Kenny clicked his tongue disapprovingly.
"Hey man, I don't really give a shit, but I understand why you want to hide it from other people." He made a right hand turn. "You must have been really relieved when Kyle told you he was fine with it. I can't even imagine how fucking terrible it must have been to have nobody to talk too. But now," he jerked a thumb towards himself, "You've got resident sex guru Kenny McCormick for all your homoerotic relationship needs."
Stan turned to face the 'resident sex guru' with tears in his eyes. He was not in the mood for jokes. Kenny quickly apologized.
"Sorry," he mumbled, grabbing the wheel. At least he knew when to stop.
Stan sighed and leaned back in his seat. He rested his forearm over his eyes and decided to be honest.
"How am I supposed to keep doing this?"
" … What do you mean?"
"Like, I'm playing football. I watch shitty action movies all the time. I just went on a date like, two weeks ago. With a girl."
"Yeah, that last part confused me, too."
"Just listen and keep your damn mouth shut, okay?"
"So, how do I keep going? Me and Butters, we kissed again last night. Wipe that goddamn smirk off your face, Kenny. We kissed, and it was almost romantic. I played a fucking album for him, for god's sake. I can't be manly and gay at the same time. It doesn't work that way."
Kenny was quiet for awhile. The usual pop music floated around them; the car somehow seemed empty when Britney Spears wasn't crooning her heart out at full volume, though. Stan pulled at his seatbelt anxiously. He shouldn't have even asked. Kenny was the last person who knew anything about being gay. Stan resigned himself to the silence.
Then, Kenny pulled back his fist, and punched him square in the jaw.
"OW! WHAT THE FUCK! I'm gonna beat your fucking face in, you stupid—"
"There you go."
Stan angrily rubbed his sore jaw.
"Fuck you Kenny, what the fuck was that all about?"
Kenny smiled smugly.
"You know, if I'd just done that to a girl, they probably would have run off crying."
"Kenny, my jaw fucking hurts!"
"Hear me out. You felt really angry after I did that, right?"
"If a girl got angry at me for that, she wouldn't beat me up. Well, probably not. And if she did, she must be relatively masculine. Stan, you play football. You beat other guys up on a field for fun. You watch action movies all the time to put up a front, sure, but I know you like most of them. That's 'manly', right?"
Stan nursed his jaw and lowered his head. Kenny sighed and continued.
"You can fuck Butters silly, move to California, and march in gay pride rallies before going back to your job as an interior decorator," he said, "OR you can fuck Butters silly, play for the Denver Broncos, and stop by a bar for a beer with your friends before you go home to watch 'The Fast and the Furious'."
"… So either way I still have to fuck Butters silly."
Kenny snapped his fingers excitedly and grinned.
"Exactly! Because you're gay! That's the one thing you can't change about yourself, and it's not your fault. But you can choose between baking cookies and playing poker, that's your choice. You don't have to be a complete pussy just because you don't want any."
Stan smiled lightly and took his hand away from his jaw. He let the dull throbbing sink in as Kenny parked in the school's lot. Stan had to give it to him; the silent kid from elementary school had turned into one hell of an orator. And his points actually made sense. Stan had always been absorbed in the stereotypical definition of manliness, and he always strived for it. He was playing football, he didn't run away from a fistfight, and he was gay. It seemed too simple to be able to decide how he acted when the stigmas of gaiety were constantly ridiculed by everyone at Park County High, and gay people always seemed to abide by them. Stan clenched his hand into a fist and smiled. Maybe it was a start.
"Hey… Thanks, Kenny. Oh, and dude?"
Stan punched him hard across the cheek, making sure Kenny saw stars. The blond swore under his breath and reeled from the blow, but turned to face his friend, grinning. He laughed and put a hand to his cheek.
"Shit, man. If you're a pussy, I must be one giant vagina," he chuckled.
"Real eloquent, Ken," Stan smirked.
As they got out of the car, he felt the back of head curiously and realized that Kenny had hit him so hard, the needle had been knocked from his brain.
Pip was over with Cartman, fumbling with their test tubes while Cartman periodically yelled at him for fucking up. Pip only continued with a more determined expression.
Kenny was pointing over to where Wendy and Powder were sitting, and he was talking about breasts. It's easy to tell, because he held two cupped hands in front of his chest. Craig shrugged, his hands in his pockets, while he inspected the girls disinterestedly.
Kyle spewed intellectual facts out at Jimmy, who politely nodded in response. The redhead ran his hands through his hair and smiled wide as he pointed to the book.
And Stan stood, drumming his finger on the bench, and Butters hummed contentedly sitting at his stool while he measured out the necessary amount of chemicals.
What. The fuck.
The kid wasn't even fazed. He didn't act weird or nervous, or even hurt when Stan walked in the room. He waved excitedly and set to work on the lab. Stan was confused. When he'd left Butters' house so abruptly last night, hadn't he completely ruined the seemingly romantic atmosphere?
"Um," he started. "Remember last night?"
Butters sighed dreamily.
"Yes," he breathed. Stan gave him a weird look. Oh. Butters remembered that part pretty well, apparently, just not the part after.
"Well, I'm sorry that I walked out really fast like that. It wasn't really cool of me. And I left my iPod there," the black-haired teen finished awkwardly. He always had to bring it back to himself, of course, and what he wanted back. What a douche.
"Oh, that's fine," Butters giggled. "I c-can give it to you if you come to my locker after school." He beamed at Stan, who swore Butters just batted his eyelashes. Like, in a flirtatious way.
Before Stan knew it, the blond had rested a soft hand on top of his own, while casually taking notes. Stan looked at the teen, flabbergasted, and Butters blushed. It was a quiet, contented blush and Stan knew what was going on. Butters didn't feel any tension because the blond didn't think there was any.
Butters thought they were dating.
The firmly in-the-closet teen roughly pulled his hand away and grabbed Butters' attention.
"Hey," he said harshly. "We can't do that here. Understand?" The smile dropped off Butters' face.
Fuck being in control of your masculinity; that was a completely separate issue from being shunned from any and all social circles he belonged to. Years of self deprecation and denial wouldn't be fixed by a single blow to the jaw. Kenny had literally knocked some sense into him, but coming out to the entire school was a still long ways off. If Stan wasn't careful, he'd lose the little faith he had gained in himself from Kenny's pep talk, and another needle would be shoved through his skull, deeper than last time.
"I'm s-sorry," Butters murmured. He looked miserable. But Stan couldn't let up. Butters needed to know what was going on. He placed a strong hand on the smaller boy's shoulder.
"When you give me back my iPod after school, we're going to talk."
Butters silently nodded and Stan felt his chest tighten. Maybe if the blond would put up a goddamn fight for once, he wouldn't always feel like he was kicking a puppy.
That fucking British accent. Cartman wanted to put his hands over his ears, lalala, I can't hear youuuu, but he'd look like an idiot and Pip probably wouldn't go away. He tore into his sandwich and glared at the faggot.
"What the hell do you want, Pip?"
The Limey brat shifted uncomfortably, holding his food tray like a waitress. It had been debatable at first, but Pip really was the faggiest fag around, beating Butters in a landslide victory.
"I was simply wondering if I would be allowed to sit with you for lunch," the blond asked. Cartman saw his muscles tense up. He was good at reading people like that. He waved his hand, uncaring, and Pip dragged over an extra chair. Kenny sat across from them, but his shit-eating grin faded once Cartman stared him down, the obvious message being that he'd better cut the crap unless he had a death wish.
"So, old chap," Pip said, biting into a bagel. "How are you today?"
It went like that. Pip asked him general questions to which he responded with a one or two word answer. The Brit kept talking all through lunch, even though he was nervous as fuck. Cartman saw the way he wiped his clammy hands off on his girly pants. Ugh. And he was trying so hard. He even waved good-bye when the bell finally rang.
Cartman thought it'd be easy to keep Pip off his back. The blond was never confrontational, and the only reason he would want talk to Cartman, who tortured people for a living, would be Sunday night. But the fag sat at the table and tried his best to hold a conversation without mentioning it once. He had to give the Brit some credit; he'd been made out to be an even lamer version of Butters, but Cartman briefly wondered if it was really the other way around, and nobody bothered to take the time to tell them apart. He certainly hadn't. He nearly felt guilty, but not really. It was just really strange.
Besides, it was almost like Pip was trying to be friends with him.
Stan fiddled with the dollar in his hand, tapping his foot anxiously in front of the vending machine. He saw Cokes and Pepsis and Sprites and Vitamin Water. Vitamin Water. That's pretty gay, right? He hesitated before sliding the money into the slot, pressing D6 and being rewarded by a Vitamin Water Multi-V. He looked it over, rotating it to read the flavor. Good, lemonade. Nice and yellow. It goes with his hair. He's got nice, yellow hair.
Stan quickly inserted another dollar to get his own Coke, then carried the two drinks down the hallway. Butters stood awkwardly next to his locker, brightening up when Stan approached. But he started rubbing his right arm when he remembered that he'd 'misbehaved himself'. Stan gulped.
"O-oh geezus, Stan, I-I'm awful sorry about today," Butters pleaded, eyes big. "I really am, I—"
Stan held out the Vitamin Water and Butters took it obediently. He hung his head and offered up Stan's iPod.
"Thanks," Stan said. He pressed the 'menu' button, but the screen didn't light up. His brow furrowed. Butters blushed, embarrassed.
"S-sorry 'bout that, too," the blond murmured. "I-I listened to it all last night, y'see…"
Stan pocketed the music player and sighed.
"Look, Butters, you now that we're, well," he lowered his voice, "we're not going out or anything, right?"
Butters ran his tongue all along the front of his teeth.
"Y-yeah, I thought so after what you said," Butters said quietly, nearly whispering. Stan had to strain to hear him. "I'm sorry for assumin', too." The blond took a small sip out of his Vitamin Water.
Stan gestured towards the staircase outside of the hallway.
"Let's just walk around outside, okay? And talk about stuff."
Butters nodded earnestly, obviously trying his best to obey so he could make up for his mistakes. Stan turned and started walking, pinching the bridge of his nose.
When they exited onto the school grounds, Stan made sure they found an isolated corner around the back of the school. He leaned up against the brick building and twisted the cap off his Coke. Butters followed nervously and did the same. The feminine teen rolled his tongue around his teeth a second time, and Stan made himself look away. Before he could think about Butters' tongue any more. He cleared his throat.
"Okay, so first off I want to say sorry for Monday," he apologized. "And I want to say that you don't have to worry, because I won't do it again." He took a swig of Coke and his throat stung from the bubbles.
Butters ran his fingers around the side of his bottle, and his tongue curled around his front teeth again. That fucking tongue.
"I-I wasn't worried about that," Butters said. He started getting adamant. "I wasn't worried or nothin', c-cause I," his voice quieted again, "I really like you."
Stan mentally flipped out. What does somebody say to that?
Alright Stan, calm down, he's not confessing his undying love to you or anything, it's just a crush. You've had those before, it's not that big of a deal.
Butters took the taller teen's silence as a go-ahead to continue.
"A-and I think," he persisted, "that you must like me, t-too. Since you kissed me." He stole a quick glance at Stan. "Twice." The blond's tongue kept moving around his mouth like a fucking animal. Stan felt his face heat up. The combination of oblivious tongue-waggling and a dating proposal made his body start a fire in his chest. Thankfully, there was no tightening of the pants. Yet.
Stan held up a hand to shield his eyes from Butters mouth.
"Dude," he said desperately. "You really need to stop that tongue thing. It's really fucking distracting."
Butters gasped and clamped a hand over his lips, so his speech came out slightly muffled.
"Oh, g-gosh, I'm sorry! Well, I-I got dismissed and went to the dentist, see, that's why I wasn't at lunch, a-and then I came back and my teeth are all clean s-so I can't help myself so—"
"Yeah, whatever," Stan interrupted. "Just stop. Please." Butters gripped his Vitamin Water tighter and offered a meek "okay". Kenny's words from this morning rang in his head again, but somehow most of it was blocked out. Only a few words drifted into his mind.
"You can fuck Butters silly… OR you can fuck Butters silly."
"You can't like me," Stan said, voice rising. Butters looked up, hurt, but Stan continued. "You just like me because we kissed, that's all. I know it is! You like Cartman! Right?" Stan frantically looked for approval.
"Stan," Butters whimpered, sticking out his bottom lip pathetically. Were his eyes tearing up? Stan Marsh, world's number one asshole. Occupational experience includes kicking puppies; very, very experienced. "Y-you told me not to let people t-take advantage of me," his voice trembled along with his body. "S-so I'm not gonna let you tell me who I like. I-I like you."
Maybe he did like Butters. Maybe he liked the way that his hair looked like sunshine when he stood outside because his eyes were the same color as the sky. And sometimes the way he mashed his fists together was endearing instead of annoying. Butters was a boy and willing and gay and Butters was cute. Butters was cute.
Butters was cute.
"I just, I mean, I don't know," Stan breathed and Butters carefully approached him. Stan's arms instinctively twitched, wanting to reach out and grasp Butters and press their lips together. But he stayed rooted to the spot while Butters brushed his upper right arm and then held it lightly.
"I want to kiss you again," Butters whispered. Too much. Too fucking much. Stan's body moved on its own, his head leaning down and his hands grabbing the blond's back and pushing them closer to one another, but while he moved forwards to the face in front of him, before their mouths could touch, Butters spoke again.
"B-but I want to know," the blond begged. "I-I need you to tell me t-that we're gonna be together."
Neither made a move. Stan's breathing was fast and hard, and the tension had literally exhausted him. He released Butters and stepped back. The blond stared at the ground, slowly looking more and more ashamed. He probably thought he was an idiot for even trying.
"Oh my god," Stan sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. He laughed dryly. "You're a big fucking tease, you know that?" Butters kicked the ground aimlessly, looking down and away. His shoulders slumped significantly.
A part of Stan's body, probably the most reasonable part, said no. And then the rest of him screamed YES. No needle stung his brain.
I can't keep doing this to myself anymore. It's just not worth it. Three goddamn years. Nothing's gotten any better. Something needs to change.
He covered his face with his strong palms, ran them down his features and inhaled heavily. He held the air there in his lungs for a moment, rushing around. He looked at the blond in front of him, timid, fragile, and the perfect size to fit in his embrace. He hesitated, still. Was he really going to do this? And risk giving up everything, everything starting from three years ago? Then Butters absentmindedly ran his tongue across his teeth again.
Stan didn't love Butters. He didn't want to run away to California and get married. But he needed that tongue. And he liked Butters, he really did. The kid was smart and shy, he could be incredibly cute and nice and loyal to a fault. When he rubbed his arm in that one way that he did, Stan wanted to hug him tight. That's enough to start a relationship with. Maybe. Stan clenched his eyes shut.
"Fine. I'll go out with you. One date, that's all I'm promising. For now. I'll call you, or text you, or whatever. I just really, really need to go think."
When he opened his eyes, Butters looked like he was in heaven. He had a hand clasped over his heart and if he had a halo over his head he really would look like a goddamn cherub. His eyes drooped like he was under a spell, and he looked like he was going to melt and leave a buttery smear on the side of the school. Stan hadn't realized he had the ability to make anyone so happy. He grinned stupidly and rubbed his nose to hide his smile.
" T-thank you!" Happiness gushed out of Butters in the form of grateful words. "Thank you! S-Stan, I promise, you won't regret it!"
Stan laughed lightly, in spite of himself, and shook his head. He said good-bye, turned, and walked away. Until he was out of earshot, continuous 'thank-you's sounded behind him.
What the hell have I gotten myself into?