– – –
South Park is -c- Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
Hello! And welcome to The Mysterion Mythos: Cthulhu Fhtagn. This is a story that I (Jizena) began pretty much a couple hours after watching the Season 14 episode Coon vs. Coon and Friends in 2010. Upon reading it, my super best friend Rosie Denn gave so much feedback and had so many awesome ideas, we became collaborators on a much bigger beast than the original story I'd started out with. We've been bouncing off ideas for a while because we both love the Mysterion story/arc/reveals so much, and I am a Lovecraft lover as well, so this is our interpretation of the complete Mythos, if you will.
The story will be told by four main protagonists: Kenny, Stan, Kyle, and Butters (sorry, not Eric XD). Each week, the narrator will trade off, so that we get different takes on the story at large.
Warning: This story contains frequent usage of coarse/crude language. I mean, come on. This is South Park. There is also mildly explicit sexual content and violence. And I will say that, yes, pairings do come into play later in the story, some of which will be same-sex. Again, this is our interpretation and we will stick to our decisions, so if that's not your style, that's fine, but we ask that negative opinions on the matter be kept to yourself.
There will be a few flashbacks/canon references, as we are trying to keep this as canon as possible.
– – –
The Mysterion Mythos
"That is not Dead Which Can Eternal Lie,
And With Strange aeons, Even Death may Die."
ALL CHARACTERS AND EVENTS IN THIS FAN FICTION – EVEN THOSE BASED ON FICTIONAL PEOPLE– ARE ENTIRELY MADE-UP. ALL LOVECRAFT REFERENCES ARE RESEARCHED… POORLY. THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS LEWD SEXUAL HUMOR AND DUE TO ITS LONG INTROSPECTIVE MONOLOGUES IT SHOULD NOT BE READ BY ANYONE. _|_|_|
My name is Kenny McCormick. For the most part, I am quite proud to say that I am rather exhaustingly normal. I consider myself to be fairly tall—I hit 5'10" by my sixteenth birthday—and of an average body type; or, well, I could probably stand to have a little more meat on me, but I can't help being on the thin side, since my family is unable to afford good food most of the time. Like most guys my age, I just go through school during the week, work in the afternoons, and blow my weekends doing stupid shit with my friends, or catcalling the twentysomethings at the mall. I grew up and reside in South Park, Colorado; proud to say I've traveled a great deal, though. I've even seen Heaven and Hell.
Yeah, that's where "for the most part" ends.
At sixteen years old, I have died over five hundred times. My first death was at age eight, in the third grade, and through the years, I have died on and off, sometimes with alarming frequency, sometimes going a few months at a time without. I have been shot, stabbed, blown to pieces, torn limb from limb, and been hit by almost every vehicle on and off the road. I have known Death for far too long, and, to be honest, I'm tired. That is not to say that I have given up and allow myself to die. Far from it.
I have devoted my life now to discovering the truth of what I am. I know this much: I am an Immortal, cursed in the womb and born to careless parents who attended a meeting of a cult devoted to an ancient, otherworldly deity known as Cthulhu. Cthulhu and the other Old Ones hold, I am sure, the secret to my immortality, and can take the curse away from me. The only thing now is trying to figure out how to get out of that with my life. Sure, I've known Death, but I am certainly not ready to die. A kid should have rights, right? I'm sick of dying. I just want to live.
– – –
It was Eric fucking Cartman I wanted to die, on the morning this whole thing began. The morning of my sixteenth birthday, as a matter of fact: March 22nd, smack in the middle of the doldrums of the school year.
I've had a pretty tight group of friends, I'm happy to say. Most of us have been tight since preschool, while others I started hanging out with more starting in elementary and middle school. Cartman is one of the guys I've known just about forever. We've done some crazy shit together, and most of the time, I can tolerate him, at best... if not even sometimes consider him a fellow human being worth holding conversation. As kids, I even took pity on the guy and let him call me his best friend, though as we grew up, I began avoiding him a little more, for various reasons. The problem with Cartman is his blatant self-centeredness, and his intolerable bigotry. Cartman, a brown-haired, brown-eyed loudmouth and the fattest kid in our grade—holder of that title since preschool, actually—has the astounding ability to turn any conversation around to be about him.
"Oh, hey, Kenny," the asshole greeted me in the hall that morning. I was standing at my pale green locker, stuffing my bag full of hastily-covered books for the day. "What're you doing for your birthday? Oh, that's right, your parents are too poor to get yo—"
"Shut up," I snapped back, muffling my words into my scarf, which I hadn't had time to take off yet. Even for late March in a frigid mountain town, there was an awful amount of snow falling that morning. "Maybe you're expecting a car for your birthday, fatass, but did it ever occur to you that I d—"
"Oh," he scoffed, "no, no, not just any car."
"Goddammit, if you take that magazine out again, I will fucking gut you," I muttered. Since Christmas, Cartman had been carrying around an auto magazine advertising the latest model of some car the jerk probably couldn't even work the parking brake for with his fat fucking hands, and the vast majority of the rest of us in the sophomore class (and probably the rest of the high school, come to think of it) were pretty damn sick of it.
"See—Kenny, Kenny, look," Cartman went on.
I had an algebra book in one hand, and I couldn't stop myself: I whacked Cartman upside the head with the heavy, hard-bound textbook. I heard a crunch, and instantly felt pretty satisfied, utterly forgetting where I was. Sure enough, the next thing I heard was the shrill voice of one of the office staff members. "Kenny McCormick!" she reprimanded me.
"Fuck," I growled. I had much better things to do that night than rot in detention. Maybe I should just kill myself and push it all off until tomorrow. "It was self-defense," I pleaded with the secretary, or vice-principal, or whoever the hell she was. I don't pay attention.
"Were you fighting on school grounds?"
"I just said, it was self-defense!" I repeated.
"I can't understand what you're saying," the woman barked. She handed me one of those dreaded white slips of paper and ordered, "Detention for an hour after school today."
"There is no justice, if you don't bag him for harassment too!" I shouted, pointing over at where Cartman had fallen after my blow.
"I still can't understand you. Room 301, promptly after school, Mr. McCormick."
"Oh, fuck you," I mumbled into my scarf. If she couldn't make out my words, screw her. I stuffed the white slip into my pocket. I had no intention of sitting in that damn room after school. I'd come up with some way to evade it later.
Seconds later, as Eric Cartman was still in shock on the floor, I felt a punch on my shoulder. "Hey, dude!" Stan Marsh—locker neighbor, and a much better friend than the fat lump on the floor beside our row. "Sixteen today, right, Kenny? Nice."
"Thanks, man," I said, trying to forget my sentence for afternoon hell. Now that I had a moment to breathe, I removed my scarf and hung it in my locker. "Is it fucking freezing outside, or what?"
"Ugh, no kidding," Stan concurred. "Only braved the weather and came to school today because I wasn't about to stay cooped up in the house with my dad. And cuz it's your birthday."
"Hah, right," I grinned. "What's up with your dad?"
"Oh, some other fake illness or something he heard about on TV. That bastard is such a hypochondriac. Whatever. Anyway, you'd better not have anything planned after school, cuz me and Kyle've—"
"I just got detention," I muttered, rolling my eyes.
"What the fuck? How?"
"That," I growled, pointing down at my morning nemesis.
"Oh," said Stan, looking down. "Hey, Cartman."
"Aye!" Cartman snapped. "Don't just stand there, get me up!"
"Figure out how to stand up yourself, you fucking manatee," Stan quipped right back.
"Back at you. So you guys have detention together, dude?" said Stan, his attention back to me. "Sucks."
"No, just me."
"Fuck that," said Stan, leaning against his locker. He gave me a grin, one hand on his hip as he leaned half into the narrow space. "Hey, who sentenced you? Teacher or office?"
"Uh... brown hair, stupid voice?"
"Sweet, you got it easy. She doesn't remember who she gives those things out to. Is your name on it?"
I checked, and realized, "Nope."
"Give it to me." I did, and Stan produced a pen from his slightly messy locker, then scrawled with his inoperative left hand the name 'Eric Cartman' and tucked it into the backpack of the one still moping on the floor. "There, done," Stan smirked, clicking his pen closed.
"Damn... thanks," I said, stunned (and a little mad that I hadn't thought of that myself).
"Well, happy birthday," Stan laughed. "Anyway," he transitioned, walking me away from the lockers, "now you've got tonight, right?"
"Get back here, assholes!" Cartman called after us.
"Too bad you've got detention," Stan yelled over his shoulder.
"Screw you guys!"
"Eh," Stan shrugged as we rounded the corner, both heading for first period English. "He'll be over it by tomorrow."
I laughed, glad to be freed from that obstacle. Stan has always been good at not getting into trouble, and learning how to avoid trouble, even though sometimes weird things tend to follow him. Weird things follow all of us, though, so we take it as it comes.
Stan Marsh, I should introduce, is just about Cartman's opposite. Again, someone I've known since preschool, Stan is a free spirit, and always has been. He's always looking out for others before himself, and is a very doting partner to his girlfriend of several years (on and off), Wendy Testaburger. Despite being all things one would expect a high school guy to be—star quarterback, honor roll, all that stuff—Stan doesn't have an ego to match. He spends more time volunteering at places like the animal shelter than he does coming up with plays for the next season, and I respect him for that.
I also respect him, and Wendy, for trying to help set me up with nice girls, even though, more often than not, the nice ones seem turned off by me for some reason. Oh, hell, I know what the reason is. I'm poor. I am fucking poor. My parents are broke as fuck and don't do a damn thing about it. Oh, sure, they come up with ways to get money, but once they pay the electric bill, they blow the rest on booze and pot before they remember they have a family to feed. My older brother Kevin is no better. Our dad is a terrible role model, so Kevin's still at the house, and pretty much just exists as an errand boy so our parents can be even lazier with their time.
Here's a secret, though.
For the past few years, I've been making money on the side, for myself. My parents aren't going to see a fucking cent of it. It started with odd jobs; one day a week here and there, that kind of thing. That's become more frequent now. For the most part, I paint things. I rebuild fences and give them new coats, I do house exteriors, signs, sometimes even cars. I get paid under the table and am therefore not liable to pay taxes. Every bit of it goes into a bank account my parents don't know I have. Since they sure as shit didn't start a college fund for me, I started one when I was ten. All my friends are going to college, why the fuck shouldn't I? I plan on showing my parents off by becoming successful. Sure, like a lot of my friends, I have no clue what I want to do, but dammit, I'm going to do something with my life.
Which brings me right back around to saying that, hell yes, I want to keep living. I'm just sick of dying all the time. It would be one thing if I was mourned, but I never am. Sure, for the time being, probably, but part of the curse is that nobody ever remembers my deaths. One of these days, though, it'll happen. One of these days, I can be a normal guy with normal concerns. Until then, though, I've got work to do.
– – –
Every last one of us was groggy and hung over from a week of unyielding and unmerciful midterms. Many students, boys and girls alike, were slumped in their seats, still sporting hats and scarves—and some even coats—meant to make the prolonged winter weather that much more tolerable. I admit that I used to be one of the worst, in that I'd wear my full parka in school all day long, despite the classrooms and halls providing a strange sort of sanctuary of warmth in comparison to the mountain chill; it was only this year, a new year's resolution, actually, that I started shedding layers in school. My house has no heat, so I save my faux fur-lined parka for home, sometimes sleeping in it. One of these days I'll snag a nice girlfriend and figure out a way to stay with her all the time. Until then, I'm the only one in the house with the sensibility to start a fire. Granted, I burned myself to death one night, and I woke to find that one section of my bedroom had been hastily boarded back up, but sometimes even death is worth it to stay warm.
My most recent death fucked me up pretty bad, though, since I'd needed to study last minute that night. That's what you get, Kenny, I told myself. Put off Physics and get nailed by a semi crossing the road. That's just what you get. At least that one was instantaneous. Most of the time, vehicle deaths are long; the pain gets drawn out, and the longer it goes on, the more people try to help me. "No, no, young man!" they'll yell at me when I plead them to just let me get it over with and die. "You have so much to live for!" Yes, I do, but dying this time will make that living so much easier, rather than deal with rehabilitation and therapy. Well, screw it. One of these days, I'll figure it all out.
In fact, since some of my friends and I had stolen some beer and whiskey the weekend after midterms, I'd completely forgotten about the assessments this week until the second Stan and I entered the English room full of lethargic teens not unlike ourselves. I was hit with a bit of worry, but nothing too serious; I was expecting something in the ballpark of a B- in English. It was true that I was trying my hardest in school lately. Freshman year I slacked, but it was hitting me now that if I did want to go to college and show up my parents, I had to start now.
Stan, as previously stated, does very well in school, and helps me out sometimes, but even he has to cram to get the grades he does. Someone to whom studying and high ranking comes all too naturally was also in the room that morning, and utterly unaware of our presence. The English room was situated such that the door was in the back corner, with all of the crampy little desks facing forward to the wall-length dry-erase board behind the teacher's desk; two large windows on the left-hand wall gave us students an all-too-distracting view of the football field, famous for midday breakups and the odd senior driving the maintenance golf carts out into the middle while being chased by half-interested teachers or hall monitors. Bookshelves and stupid motivational posters covered pretty much the rest of the room and held little of our attention most of the time, to the point that we forgot they were there until the teacher either walked over to one or deliberately pointed out 'the green bookshelf' or something to that effect.
Actually, there is no green bookshelf. Green's just on the mind, given the color of the ushanka hat Stan craftily removed from our friend Kyle's head as we snuck up on either side of him, where he sat in the center of the room, a book open in front of him already. Kyle Broflovski is the most intelligent in our foursome (that's me, Stan, Kyle, and that dick Cartman... he's a jerk, but he's more or less our friend, and we four all tend to get into the same kinds of weird situations together), and also the shortest (I've got him by two inches; Cartman by half an inch, which he will not shut up about). Lately he's developed a bit of a complex about being the shortest, but is confident that he still has more growing to do. Stan, Wendy and I generally tell him he's got nothing to worry about; he's still one of the best players on the basketball team. I've always considered this kid to be the smartest in our grade, and my thoughts have been proven by the fact that Kyle seems to be well on his way to making valedictorian again.
Just like Stan, Kyle is sensitive, and always tries to do what's best and right. He provides a conscience for all of us, when our own intuitions fail, and sets only the best examples for his younger—adopted Canadian—brother, Ike. On the nights that we can't kidnap Stan away from Wendy, Kyle and I will come up with random things to do, whether we chuck snowballs at each other until we freeze, then get on each other's cases about girls over coffee afterward, or just laze around playing videogames and taking advantage of pizza delivery deals. His parents are very kind, too, and, even though I don't really like charity, I'm grateful that they'll sometimes ask me to stay for dinner—his mother, Sheila, is a great cook—even though I just know that Sheila and Gerald are in the other room feeling sorry for me that my own parents leave me and Kevin with a box of cereal and no milk instead of bothering to spring for a rotisserie chicken or something. Again, planning on making it better for myself. Things just take time.
"Hey—what the—" Kyle yelped when he felt his hat go missing. Stan started laughing right off, and I joined him after a second. Kyle looked up and frowned. "Very funny, Stan," he smirked, outstretching a hand upward and backward. "Give it back, I've got hat hair."
"If that's hat hair—" Stan started teasing.
"Oh, shut up and give it back," Kyle interrupted. Kyle has always had the worst luck with his unruly red-orange mop. When we were kids, he had a full-on, frizzy Jewfro, which he flattened under a similar ushanka for years. Once middle school hit, his hair had started driving him crazy, to the point that he secretly went to a salon with his mother behind our backs. It just so happened that our mutual friend Clyde had caught sight of him, and Cartman, Stan and I did not let Kyle live that moment down for the longest time. The joke was on us, though: Kyle had clicked with a style-savvy chick from our class, Heidi, there, and the two had dated right up until last year. Heidi, I admit, worked wonders on Kyle's hair. In her absence, it had started to get crazy again, until, just last month, Kyle swallowed his pride and went to get it cut. His hair now lacks the complete Jewfro effect, but is still full and wavy; curls will often fall out below his hat, which he still wears most of the time in the winter and spring. My hair, in comparison, is boring: dirty blonde, shortish (I cut it myself, unevenly, when it starts bugging me), and subject to bedhead at all hours of the day. As for Stan, I've caught Wendy cutting his black hair close and short before, even though he prefers it shaggy.
"Come get it!" Stan teased, holding the coveted green ushanka up above his head. Stan, I'll add is the tallest one in our group, having just hit six feet, lucky bastard.
"Don't be a dick, Stan, come on," Kyle pressed. Stan said nothing, just grinned and kept Kyle's hat well out of reach. "I'll punch you in the balls," Kyle threatened.
"Pff, no you won't, you pussy," Stan taunted.
"Yeah, you wanna try me?" Kyle challenged.
While Stan wasn't paying attention, I climbed up onto the chair behind him and triumphantly claimed Kyle's hat for myself. That won me a venomous glare from the redhead, and got me laughing. "Thanks, dude," I said, sitting down on the desk with my left foot on one chair and my right foot on the chair of the desk next to Kyle, in which Stan generally sat. "Just what I wanted for my birthday."
"Nice try," said Kyle, reaching over to reclaim the hat from off my head. I relinquished the hat to him with an exaggerated bow, but just as Kyle was dusting the old green thing off, Stan attacked.
Stan does have a tendency to fuck up Kyle's hair. We all have our greetings, but one cocktease of a game Stan plays is removing Kyle's hat and messing with his hair, which he did furiously now.
"Yo! You're fucking it up even more!" Kyle warned.
"Whatever," Stan smirked, claiming his seat. I wondered if anyone else, Stan and Kyle especially, noticed the subtext from all of that like I had. Yes, Stan and Kyle are best friends, and always have been, but over the years, I kept noticing little things that made me think that maybe Stan was investing a little more in the friendship than Kyle. To be blunt, I'm pretty fucking sure he'd flirt, even if he didn't mean to. There's the normal things they'll do, challenge each other to mindless games, punch each other for pointless reasons... and then Stan will go and do something like that; play with Kyle's hair. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just the fact that Cartman has ripped on them and called them queer since third grade, maybe not. Time might tell; who knows?
Kyle shot him a look and pulled his hat back on, tucking a couple of escaped corkscrews up into the hat and out of his face. "Plan's on for tonight?" he asked Stan as he gave me a little grin.
"Yeah, what're you guys plotting?" I wondered, wide-eyed as an eager kid at Christmas. "Stan won't tell me anything."
"I'm not, either."
"Did you get me a pony?"
"Fuck, no, dude, why would you want a pony, anyway?"
"Eh," I shrugged.
We couldn't get any further in our dumb conversation at that point anyway, since the teacher, a dusty old man in a dusty old suit, had entered the room, and the collective tenth-grade groan rose up in the room.
The good news from class was that I'd been scaled up to a B+ on my midterm. The bad news was being assigned more chapters from a book than I usually liked reading at any given time. I don't really have time to read much. That isn't from lack of wanting to, or even trying. It isn't even due to me dying all the time, or my odd jobs.
See, there's one other thing that occupies my time.
– – –
When we were kids, my friends and I started playing a superhero game. At age nine, I created a vigilante alter ego for myself, under whose name I could get away with things and have access to files I could, as myself, never get away with doing or seeing. The town grew to know my alter ego, and even cheered me on. So I figured I'd keep it going. When I told Stan and Kyle I planned to keep it up, they went along with it. Hell, South Park can be crazy, but it can also be pretty damn boring sometimes. Being outside the law could keep things interesting for us.
During the day, there's school. In the afternoon, there's work.
At night, I'm Mysterion.
I discard my street clothes, don a skin-tight long-sleeved greyish purple shirt and pants, brown boots, a well-stocked utility belt and a deep evening-colored cape, the hood of which bears my symbolic green question mark. Underneath it all, I always take care to wear a black half-mask. Call it lame, but it feels fucking great. Mysterion: the hero unable to die.
The best part is, every night, I feel like I get closer to discovering more about myself. Sure, there are down weeks, even months, but I live for those nights when I'll find one tidbit of information that can send me in the right direction. Even if it's just a night of shacking up in the little 'lair' that Kyle and I started setting up when we were ten and reading, it's a victory if I uncover something.
When we were nine years old, a handful of us were part of the superhero game. Eventually, we got caught up in something huge: an interdimensional struggle against the very being I need to someday soon confront... the undead, immortal Cthulhu. After that fight, I started talking to Stan and Kyle about keeping the whole thing up. I needed answers. We could get closer to answers if we kept on working under different identities. They were a little confused—of course, since they never remembered any of my deaths, though they sure as hell remembered the circumstances surrounding each death—but agreed. I mean, we were nine and ten years old. It was still just playing, just fun.
Once we hit sixth grade, it really got serious. We were in it, full-fledged vigilantes. We stopped caring about the consequences of sneaking around. During our League meetings, we could be different. There were no other obligations, no school worries, no family worries, just tasks at hand. We'd fight crime, sure, but we also started delving into dark secrets, sneaking around to hear just enough crazy shit from cult meetings to get babysteps closer to solving the riddle of my existence.
It may sound self-gratifying, but the rest of the guys get a lot out of it, too. I mean, we are all doing great things. We set things right. Having been doing this for so long, yeah, I can confidently say that we've turned South Park around a little.
Once we got to high school, I started to get worried that the other guys would get bored with the whole thing, and think it was childish, and move on. No such thing happened. In fact, we're all more serious about the League now than ever. So much weird shit goes on in South Park, the town kind of needs us now, and we love that. We don't do it for money, or praise, or anything. We do it for the town, we do it for whoever needs any one of us at any given time. Mostly we work as a team, but sometimes we work alone, or as partners, or in groups of three.
We call ourselves the Coon League—changed from Coon and Friends when we were in sixth grade because, in Stan's words, "Coon and Friends just sounds fucking gay"—based on Cartman's nocturnal alter ego, the Coon. We'd kicked him out back in fourth grade, but let him back in once we got bored of hearing him bitch about it all the time. We keep tabs on him, though, and it's easier now that we have a much better fucking headquarters than his basement.
Headquarters is all thanks to our rich as fuck friend, Token Black. Token, first baseman for the high school baseball team, richest kid in town, and only African-American kid in South Park, goes by the alter ego of TupperWear within the League, and, with some of his own secret savings, has been able to provide us a perfect, out of the way place to meet, equipping it with old computers (his parents buy new computers every time there's an upgrade, they are that fucking rich; hell yes I'm jealous). Even when we don't have League duties, it's a great place for us to just go hang out. We all have keys except Cartman, who thinks that Token is the only one with a key, so it's also a great place to escape from his self-serving shenanigans sometimes.
Also in the League are our friends Timmy and Clyde. Timmy is wheelchair-bound and mentally handicapped, but he gets what we're doing and is actually a great bodyguard, especially given that he decks out head to wheels in armor, calling himself Iron Maiden. Timmy doesn't say much, but he's a good part of the group. Clyde Donovan, sophomore class president, center on the football team, and basketball team forward and co-captain, is another one of those kids that just has everything going for him. Like Stan, though, he's really sensitive and nice... even dating one of the most difficult girls in school—Bebe Stevens—hasn't inflated his ego any. Clyde just likes doing good things for people, and often, as Mosquito, serves as a leader for our team. He's definitely the most organized out of any of us, aside from maybe Kyle, which makes his leadership position well-deserved.
Stan and Kyle take the hero thing completely seriously, too, and get really into their respective alter egos. In the League, Stan calls himself Toolshed, and has, as a result of that, become overwhelmingly good at picking locks. He really is, in all practicality, exactly what a team like ours needs. He can get into and out of anywhere, from locked gates to bolted-up buildings. And when Stan on the ground gets stumped, we've got Kyle in the air. Literally. As the Human Kite, Kyle has, over the past seven years, come up with some sick aerial shit that keeps flooring all of us. He wears a retractable hang glider on a harness, and knows exactly what kind of momentum he needs to get airborne. I'm fucking impressed.
On again and off again in the League, too—and, actually, the only other one without a key, only because he requested not to have one—is our friend Butters Stotch. Butters is an interesting case, and I'm pretty sure he has MPD or something, not that I'd hold it against him if he did. He just seamlessly changes personae, even if they're all intrinsically him. At night, he goes by Professor Chaos, an alter ego he created for himself at the age of nine in order to hide his usually vulnerable characteristics behind a fully evil facade. Over the years, we have teamed up with Chaos every now and then, always warily, because he and his partner—a sixth-grader who goes by General Disarray—tend to get their hands on some information that even we may not be able to uncover. Chaos's help always comes at a price, but his League involvement is always appreciated, since he is pretty crafty, and great at setting traps.
When Butters isn't being himself—neurotic, shy, and otherwise average—or Professor Chaos—strong-willed and fearless—he's in drag. We've gotten used to that over time, too. Butters' daytime alter ego is Marjorine, a girl we all sort of invented back in fourth grade to pull one over on the girls in our class. Coming down to it, though, Marjorine was mostly Cartman's idea, and Butters became her wholeheartedly. Marjorine persisted after that first ordeal, though, even if none of us knew about it until middle school, when Butters just showed up in drag on the first day of eighth grade and said, "Hey, fellas, today I'm Marjorine." And that was that. Over time, Butters has even grown his hair out quite a bit, and ties it back or tucks it under a hat on his 'normal' days, and wears it out and styles it as Marjorine. It's also no secret that he's bi, though he tends to flirt with girls as Butters, and with guys as Marjorine. They're two sides of one person, so, again, we're all used to it.
All of us, the League and even Professor Chaos, have become a well-known presence in town, and very few people know who we really are. In fact, Cartman's mother Lianne—shameless whore by reputation and trade—and Token's parents are quite likely the only ones who really know about all of us, being the only ones who have approved headquarters for us at any given time. It has also been guessed by several people that Cartman is the Coon, but this fact is often overlooked. Most of us remain hidden. And all of us do a world of good.
And one of these days, we'll get ourselves right back up against that damned Cthulhu, and I'll have my answers once and for all.
– – –
Getting out of detention had been easy as hell, and it was true that nobody noticed that I was missing, which was fantastic. Even so, I caught up with Stan at our lockers at the end of the day and rushed him toward the front door, so that I had no chance of being spotted by the woman who had issued me that slip in the first place, or, worse, Eric Cartman, the newly condemned. "Text Kyle!" I hissed at Stan as I pushed him through the doors and out into the freezing afternoon. "Tell him to get his ass out here!"
"I can't text and be shoved across ice at the same time, dude, hold on!" Stan protested, taking out his brick of a sliding phone. Stan never really keeps up with fads, so his phone was still a few years older than, say, Clyde's or Cartman's. Kyle only cared that he had a smartphone of some kind. I just cared that I had a cell phone at all.
As we stood out on the school's front step, I pulled up my scarf and hid from one of the girls who was exiting the building, since she probably wanted to hit me. She was a sexy little thing, blonde-blonde-blonde and skinny and tall, everything a guy could want in a Norwegian chick. Her name was Inga something-or-other, and she was still pissed at me for breaking up with her the week after Valentine's Day. Didn't bother me, though, she'd be gone in a few months. That was the best thing about foreign students.
Since the fall of ninth grade, I've been banging the foreign exchange girls. They're always hot, and I teach them the only English they really need to know, and it's no problem if I die on them and they don't remember me, because they won't be around for long, anyway. It's a terrible way to look at things, but I have really shitty luck with the girls I actually want to go out with.
We have a new exchange student each semester, one each half of the year. Ninth grade started off with an adorable Japanese girl named Yoko, who was all the fuck over me in all the right ways (and gave stereotypically awesome massages), and then the rest of the year I was with this French girl named Belle, who knew more positions than even the Raisins girl, Mercedes, who I'd dated in eighth grade. Yeah, Japan and France in one school year—nice, right? It was the best way to travel without ever leaving my bedroom. I died on the last girl, Guadalupe, from Peru, sometime in November, after I was out investigating a drug ring that we in the League were still trying to snuff out. Really sucked hearing her break up with me, since I'd kinda clicked with her—one of those intelligent and sexy girls. Peru, man. Then there was Inga, from Norway. As previously stated, really hot. She kinda overwhelmed me, though, so I broke up with her, and the karma gods punished me with an icicle through the skull a few days later. That one was probably messy, not that the cleanup crew would remember it later or anything.
There was one girl in school I really wanted to date, just based on conversations we'd been having ever since a school trip back in eighth. I had no idea if I stood a chance with her, though. Damn, I thought, wouldn't it be nice if Stan and Kyle somehow got me in with her for my birthday. I had a feeling whatever that night was had to do with girls in some capacity, since I still did wank about Inga every now and then, to which Stan usually said, "Dude, either get back with her or listen to me and Wendy's suggestions!" The nice ones really are so hard to hold down though. Someday, Kenny. Someday.
"'Kay, he's coming," I heard Stan say, which drew me out of my preoccupation with trying to avoid the trolltag wrath of Inga.
"Where is he?" I muffled out into my scarf.
"Oh, some gay shit about his AP class," said Stan, tucking his phone away. "Kyle's gonna study himself into an aneurism one of these days. I keep telling him to fucking chill, the world's not gonna stop if he doesn't take every AP history class available."
"I just can't even think about wanting to study that hard," I admitted. "I get headaches thinking about that."
"Tell me about it."
"Isn't Wendy also in AP?" I wondered. "Do you tell her to stop, too?"
Stan laughed. "I think Wendy's trying to compete with Kyle for valedictorian the same way she's pissed at Clyde for losing the presidency this year," he said. "I can't tell her to lay off, dude, she'd eat me alive. She's got annoying study habits, too, don't get me wrong, but it's all good."
I rolled my eyes and said nothing else. Kyle joined us a couple minutes later, and after we'd given him shit about being too serious about his schoolwork, he smirked and shoved me off in the direction of the parking lot. Once there, the two blindfolded me and shoved me into the back seat of an unidentified car. "What the fuck?" I laughed. "Is this all just some big plot for you to gang rape me or something?"
"Shit, Kyle, he's onto us!" Stan replied, adding extra snark to the already stupid response, just to make sure the message was clear to me since I couldn't see that he was probably rolling his eyes or something.
"Plan B! We drown him in Stark's Pond and make a getaway before the body's found," Kyle responded, being just as over-the-top as Stan.
Like that plan would work anyway.
It turned out that the car belonged, based on the subdued muttering I heard coming from the front seat, to Stan's sister, Shelley Marsh. Shelley, a college freshman, was home on her spring break, and had apparently been blackmailed or something in order to drive us around, since it was not something she would do out of the kindness of her heart. Shelley is a very solitary person, more of an observer than a doer, but she has a strong personality, and usually holding conversation with her is hard before she gets bored of you and shuts you out. The fact that she was driving was vaguely promising, too… when a friend wasn't in the driver's seat, the only thing I could think was that whoever was had been roped into being a D.D. I liked this plan.
We continued joking about what could possibly await me at whatever our destination was—sell me into prostitution in Chinatown; they'd discovered I was actually a mob boss and they were turning me in; I was being taken to be sacrificed for a better crop season. The drive seemed to take for-fucking-ever, which led me to believe we were either on our way out of town or Stan had just made his sister go around South Park a couple times, taking different routes.
Then, finally, she parked the car, muttering something about gas prices. "Now get out," she added.
"We're taking a cab back," Stan told her.
"You guys are disgusting," Shelley added.
Stan and Kyle ushered me out of the car, and as soon as Shelley had booked it out of there, they made a big show of undoing the blindfold. Disgusting, as Shelley had said? Yes. Worth it? Oh, hell yes.
"This was so worth putting up with Shelley," Stan grinned.
The plan had to do with girls all right. Hooters girls. Yeah, I wanted to bag myself a nice chick one of these days, but in the meantime, I can't help it. Girls in general have been my main interest since I was about seven years old. I'm a shallow little fuck and something of a sex addict, and mostly proud of it. Okay, so I've died of syphilis, gonnorhea (that was from Mercedes), auto-erotic asphyxiation, and personal enjoyment. Whatever. In those cases, it had always been worth it.
"Woo-hoo!" I exclaimed, thrusting my fists in the air the second we walked in. "God, guys, you're good. Thank you."
"You're sixteen, dude," Kyle grinned, thumping me on the back, "enjoy it."
"Hey, Stan, if this place is so 'worth it,' how come we didn't come here on your last birthday?" I pointed out, as an exceptional brunette showed us to a table.
"That's cuz he was being pussy-whipped at the time."
"Oh, ha, ha, thanks, Kyle," Stan said sarcastically, rolling his eyes.
"Eh, I know this isn't your thing, anyway," I told Stan, grinding my knuckles into his shoulder. "You'd rather be at some hippie save the forest rally than a place with good fuckin' food and inhumanly hot girls."
"Dude, I'm not a hippie, shut up, I just like animals."
"Shut the fuck up!"
We were shown to a table already occupied by Clyde, Timmy, Butters and Token, which was pretty great, since this was a League gathering on top of a regular old surprise party. I'd be distracted as fuck with all the girls around, but as far as dudes went, I couldn't ask for a better group. I was tighter with everyone in the League than I was with a lot of the other guys in school… while I try to get along with everyone, I've always found myself mostly running with my usual group of four, and then after that, I do kinda like my alone time. I always have, even before the Mysterion thing started. Yes, some of that time is used to masturbate to any number of my collected mags, but a lot of the time, I just need time to think. I just need time to be alone and fucking think. Because it was impossible to explain my situation to anyone. They'd just forget it, eventually. Actually… that's a lie. There was one person who believed everything I said, but that person only knew Mysterion. That one person had been my Cult liason for years.
Anyhow, that's not important right now.
What was important was how fucking great the rest of that night went. Stan and Kyle kept on insisting that I order anything I fucking wanted, and Clyde played wingman for me that resulted in a delicious makeout session with a C-cup named Portia, one of the girls who had graduated early to Hooters from Raisins (I mean that in both ways). Most of the Raisins girls did end up at Hooters. I mean, it was good job security. Also, they were hot as hell. So I did see Mercedes, and Butters averted his eyes from his old flame, the svelte blonde Lexus. There was one other girl I had history with, too: Jetta, a brunette whose name used to be Tammy Warner. I'd gone out with Tammy in elementary school, contracted syphilis after she gave me a blow job, never went back to a T.G.I. Friday's ever again as a result, and of course, we had to break up right after I'd come back to life from that one. We were still friendly, but she hadn't come to school in years, so it wasn't too awkward.
I'm pretty sure Clyde knew the bartender, too (Clyde seemed to, starting freshman year, just know everyone), since we were able to order mixed drinks under certain code words he'd devised with her. It was easy enough (order a Roy Rodgers, get a rum-and-Coke, that kind of thing), and we kept it at a minimum, since, even though I'd be fine getting arrested for my sixteenth birthday, people like Kyle and Butters would have been up shit creek for a while. (I say that with confidence because of Kyle's overly protective mother, and Butters' bottom-of-the-barrel, dipshit parents.) The group of us stayed pretty much until closing, and we parted tipsy, worried about no consequences whatsoever.
Before we could leave, however, Butters pulled me to the side and said, "Hey, Kenny, listen. I gotta say this to the other guys later, too, but I figured you should know first."
"'Sup?" I wondered, not expecting anything work-related to come up that evening, despite most of the League being together.
"I, uh, or, well, Chaos…" Butters, weak after just one beer (on the house from one of the girls, which was hilarious when it had happened) began, "Chaos has to be at the next meetin', okay?"
"What?" I tried to blink off my buzz, which I really didn't want to do, but when it came to League duties, I had to stay on my toes. "Why?"
"Don't wanna mess up your night with information," Butters admitted, "so it can wait. Hasta, anyway."
"Sure," I said, nodding, letting the buzz come back. Whatever it was Chaos was onto, I was sure the wait would be worth it.
Stan, Kyle and I started back into town on foot. We knew the whole layout of the town and its surrounding cities well, from our League activities. It helped that Stan's dad, Randy, was a geologist, and Stan himself had recently taken an interest in cartography based on books schluffed onto him by his dad's co-worker Nelson. As we walked, we basically shot the shit, talked about nothing important, teased Stan about Wendy's latest cause (she was getting really vocal as the head of a county-wide feminist book club), roasted Kyle for being single, and I was ripped on for being the total whore. "What exotic country is next on the list, eh?" Kyle prodded at one point. And then Stan burst out laughing and pointed out how fucking Canadian he could sound sometimes.
I was the one to pussy out about the weather and demand a cab after a while, and the guys conceded. Once Stan and Kyle had dropped me off after our equally ridiculous ride back in—again with those two insisting on paying for the cab—and I had thanked them again for, seriously, the best birthday I'd had so far, I slunk through the house toward my room.
My house is a shitpile. It really, really is. It's a single-storey, sparesely-furnished, rat-infested, crumbling piece of shit. I died of lead poisoning from a patch of paint that chipped off and fell in my soup when I was twelve. Cold soup, I'll add. Our gas had been turned off that day. I'm surprised I haven't been poisoned by asbestos in my own house yet. It's that bad. But it's where I'd always lived, and I only had the hope of riding the fuck out of need-based scholarships to college keeping me optimistic that I'd someday get out of there.
I was sure I'd be the only one awake by the time I got in, but there was a light on in the kitchen. Since I really didn't want to talk to either of my parents, or my brother, I tread softly through the house. I vaguely heard my mother muttering something, and, just as I was heading down the hall, she snapped off the kitchen light and walked out into the common room. No stranger to staying light on my feet, I crept into a shadow, though it was a little more difficult to hide in my hunting-season orange coat than it was to move around unseen, dressed like dusk.
"Kenny?" my mother's cracked Southern drawl came out through the too-quiet house. "Kenny, you home?" Just to see what would happen, I remained silent. I can even hide my breath. "Oh. Never mind." Mom didn't say anything for a while, then said, "Dammit." Raising her voice to a holler, she walked right past me, yelling, "Stuart, I think we're due for another one!"
"Another what?" I wondered, stepping out to where she could see me. The streetlamps outside provided a small patch of light filtering in from the glassless window at the end of the hall, so I chose that square and stared my mother down. I'd outgrown her by a few inches in recent years, and had discovered that I liked using that.
"Kenny!" she yelped, whirling around to look at me, her eyes wide. Something I'd noticed about Mom: she seemed to get more and more tired as years went on. Maybe it had to do with how rocky and abusive her relationship with my dad was, or maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with my deaths. I hoped it was that one, and I'd been trying to trap her into saying something about it for a long time. If she remembered, if she watched her son die, over and over again, I had to know. I had to know what it was like for her, and why she remembered, and what exactly went on at that meeting she and Dad attended when they were dumb, drunk twentysomethings. "You startled me, I didn't—"
"Another what?" I repeated, trying not to sound too much like Mysterion, as whom I had collected more from my parents than 'Kenny' ever could. "What were you just talking about?"
"Well, why didn't you answer me in the first place?" Mom tried.
"Carol, what the hell is going on?" I heard Dad shout from their bedroom.
"Nothing, go back to sleep."
"Don't wake me up for nothing, bitch, I actually work tomorrow!"
"At eight p.m., you lazy shit!" Mom snapped back.
"Oh, God, fuck this, I'm going to bed," I muttered, taking my coat off and chucking it back into the living room. I'd pick it up later, maybe.
"Kenny, you get back here and you answer my question!" my mother attempted to scold me.
"You don't answer my questions, I'm not answering yours," I replied.
I slammed my door and threw myself down onto my mattress, the same one I'd slept on since I was out of a crib. I'd had to get rid of the actual bedframe once I got too tall for the twin size, since of course we were too poor to get a full. A spring dug up into my spine, so I wriggled around until it was in a less irritating spot. My parents were still griping at each other through the thin walls of the house, and my first attempt to drown it out involved me holding one of my pillows over my face and ears.
Realizing that would most likely suffocate me, and not wanting to die like that after such a great birthday, I then got up, shaking off the last of the loopy effects of the alcohol, went to my closet dresser, and dug into the back of the top drawer. The secret compartment. I had started this routine for fun. As a way of distracting myself. Of feeling important, of feeling like something bigger than what I was. Then the Gulf crisis happened, and a hobby became a purpose.
I chucked off my clothes from the day and donned the familiar uniform of my six-years-running alter ego. There was never a night that couldn't use a watchful eye. Most nights, I'd go out for an hour or two, just on patrol, keeping an eye out on the city. Sometimes I'd come upon another League member, but we generally parted ways after that.
After all, we were onto something now.
I crept out of the house with acquired acrobatics, and silently hid all traces of my boot prints in the snow. Once away from the house, I tightened the black cloth mask, glanced back at my uninviting house, pulled up my hood, and made my way back into town, keeping to the shadows, keeping to myself.
Our latest mission involved a growing drug ring, some members of whom we had already caught and dropped off into the hands of the police, who issued the proper sentences for dealers and buyers. Having a real mission was great, even if it did take time away from my learning more from the still-strong Cult, since it affirmed our continued need to be a force in this town as long as possible.
As we neared the end of sophomore year, I was becoming concerned about the longevity of the League. Would colleges scatter us? Would the town accept our departure? It would have to. After all, we couldn't stick around just for a nighttime routine that never paid cash. It paid, yes, but it sucks that one can't survive on good deeds alone.
My trek brought me to the downtown district, to the developed streets with the larger companies towering over the small-town businesses—larger companies with larger parking lots and back doors, where many busts took place. I scaled the side of the Home Depot, where sometimes I would run into Toolshed, and perched on the roof. I'd been convinced, for a while, that one of their delivery guys had a hand in the drug ring, since he drove into work from so far out of town.
"Spying again, are we?" I heard someone say from behind me. Now, Toolshed would have been expected, but the voice wasn't his. It was low, but smooth—a voice that had taken some time to perfect, that seemed to have dropped while his alter ego's hadn't. And, ultimately, it wasn't one I generally liked hearing. But I'd been warned earlier. I almost could have expected it.
"I'm not spying, Chaos," I answered, without turning to look at him. "I'm doing the real work the police are too afraid to dirty their hands with." I changed my own voice, when I spoke as Mysterion. It was affected, gravelly, lower, close to a constant growl. I'd been able to keep it up for six years so far.
"Because you're outside the law," said Professor Chaos.
"Outside, but doing what's right," I corrected, standing. There was no activity below, anyway. "What do you want?"
I turned, and found that he was alone. More often than not, Chaos was seen side by side with General Disarray, but that night had brought him on his own. He stood several feet from me, dressed in varying shades of green, from his vest to his loose pants to his billowing cape, and what was not green was silver. Hard metal, which I did not put past Butters to have created on his own. When we were kids, it was tinfoil. By high school, it was cold, hard steel: the Spartan helmet, the gauntlets on the gloves, the chained fasten on the cape. His arms were folded, and his long blonde hair spiked out from the open top of the helmet, wild and, yes, chaotic.
"I was hoping I'd catch you alone," he told me, approaching with heavy steps. I crouched, ready to attack. I kept on me, at all times, an arsenal: shuriken, which I'd mastered (and successfully taken Chaos's left eye out with) as a kid (Butters had a transplanted, but perfectly functional, eye now), a .45 pistol and extra bullets, a wired receiver to call any other member of the League based on frequency, and, of course, a wide array of fireworks. "No need to rush to decisions, Mysterion," he added, "I'm only here to make a trade."
"I have nothing to trade," I growled back. "Therefore, I can only assume you have a hidden agenda. What is it?"
"Just a fair trade," said Chaos, producing, from the folds of his cape, a manilla envelope. "I don't want to fight tonight, hero, I'm only here to secure a spot in that next meeting of yours."
"That's it?" I asked. "That's the trade-off? You come to a meeting, and I get… what?"
"Something I think will make this little drug chase a little more interesting for you."
Cautiously, I reached forward and took the envelope he outstretched to me. Keeping an eye on him, I opened it, and withdrew a stack of four photos, taken from easily recognizable places around town. One location was behind the high school. And who should be present in every one of the photos but a classmate of ours:
Craig was something of a friend, but Clyde and Token knew him well. He could be something of a loner, and had always been something of a cynical dick. He was sarcastic, dark, dismissive, and bored easily. He also seemed to be a little depressed. And apparently, he was one of our main targets.
"Where did you get these?" I demanded of Professor Chaos, setting my full attention back on him.
"Here and there," said Chaos. "I have my own sources, you know." Disarray. It figured. "It may also interest you to know," he went on, "that I have reason to believe that Cult obsession of yours may be linked to the person in the photos."
"Huh?" I glared back at the stack, flipping from one to the other. "Where's the proof? Chaos, you'd better be able to back this up, or—"
"Oh, I can back it up. I just need your help, first."
"What do you want out of our next meeting?"
"I'll tell you when the time comes. Just get me in. You won't regret it."
Against my better judgment, I agreed. After all, if this really was linked to the Cult, I had to take a chance. "Fine," I said. "But we'll be keeping an eye on you."
"Oh, Mysterion. Not everything has to be as dramatic as you think it should be. For all you know, I'm only taking a little more interest in your League…" With that, he grinned, turned, and walked off toward the fire escape. Chaos never had been exceptional in his physical feats, which made him easy to chase down. It was Disarray that proved to be the acrobatic nightmare.
But I had a lead. A lead more close to home than I'd been expecting. A possible hit that could end our current mission in a high-stakes bust, a classmate to question on Cult activities, and an oddly reliable source of information in Professor Chaos.
My day just got interesting again.
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Hope you enjoyed the intro! We're sure having fun writing it… the superhero thing is just too fun. We'll be updating again every Wednesday (get it?), starting this next week, June 22nd. Drop us a review to let us know what you think! We loooove feedback! :3
~Jizena and Rosie Denn~
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