"Dude, I wouldn't bother him today..."
"I'm not tryin' to be a bother, Stan. I'm just makin' sure he's ok."
Butters reassured, as a small crowd formed around him...
...and in front of HIS house.
"But that's the thing, dude...he's totally not! He set his own house on fire!"
"He could have killed himself and his mom! He's fucking insane!"
"Kyle, that's not very nice."
"Granted, but it's true. Trust us, you weren't there when he cried to his dolly for an hour than shot it. He's...going through something."
"...isn't that all the more reason to make sure he's alright?"
"Ok fine Butters...go in there. Don't say we didn't warn you."
"I won't. I call you later an' tell you about it."
"We really don't care that much, dude."
And so Butters made his way to the front door of Cartman's house, took a deep breath, and rang the doorbell. While all of his friends watched, thinking he was a crazy and stupid, but big-bighearted kid for doing so.
Little did they know why he was really there.
Sure it was in Butters nature to want to help the fat, mean turd that was Eric Cartman despite it doing more harm than good. But the real reason Butters was ringing the Cartman's doorbell was for a more selfish reason:
Butters felt...guilty. He felt responsible for what happened to Eric. He saw the other kids teasing him about his dollies and didn't say anything. He couldn't remember, but he was pretty sure he joined in on the name-callin' once or twice, if only just to feel like he fit in. He let himself get angry at Eric for once over the lost recess, something he never EVER let himself do, and got involved in that protest. Heck, he was the one who started it! Instead of trying to do his own thing, which just got in a round of fisticuffs with a couple of fifth graders, he should have been helpin' Eric...somehow.
The best he could do was try and help him now.
Finally, the door opened.
"Hello? Oh hello Butters, sweetie! I'm a little surprised to see you here?"
Butters beamed up at Eric's beautiful, buxom mother.
"H-hello ma'am. Is Eric home?"
"Y-yes he's up in his room...you came by to see my son?"
"Heh, why of coarse I did! He's my friend!"
Ms. Cartman smiled...but it wasn't a happy smile. Butters didn't know smiles could be so sad.
"That's really nice you you...I-I think my son could use a friend like you right now. Come on in..."
Butters did, shutting the door behind him. He looked up at the usually perky Ms. Cartman...who's pretty face was scrunched up all funny.
Butters wasn't the only one who felt guilty. Like he should have seen this coming and done...SOMETHING to prevent it.
"He's...he's up stairs...he's barely left his room for days now."
Butters climbed the few first steps before Ms. Cartman stopped him.
"Butters...dear, I know my Eric doesn't play nice with his friends all the time and I shouldn't let him get away with it but...if you can bring my poopsikins back I'd be so thankful."
"D-don't worry ma'am...best friend Butters is on the job!"
Butters saluted, trying a little of his brand of humor to lighten up the mood. It did earn a giggle.
"Alright, hun...follow me."
After trudging up the steps of the silent, near empty house, Ms. Cartman pushed the door of her young son's room open slightly...nervously. Like she was afraid to see what was inside.
"E-Eric may I come in?"
Butters shivered a little...Cartman sounded like a cold ol' robot...kinda like Awesome-O, but more tired.
Cartman's mom pushed the door open the rest of the way. Cartman was just siting in his bed...staring at his lap. It was unclear whether he had been crying or not, Butters couldn't see his face too well.
"Sweetie, you have a visitor. Your little friend Butters came to see you."
Butters waved, peaking out from behind his mother. Cartman finally looked up.
"Come in, Butters...Mahm?"
"Oh...ok I'll just leave you two alone then."
As soon as she shut the door and went back down stairs, Cartman stood up with a heavy sigh, and walked over to Butters, studying him...like the little blonde-boy wasn't from this world.
"Butters, why are you here? I assume you heard what happened at Token's house?"
"Y-yeah...the whole school has." Butters admitted, not realizing he probably shouldn't have said that out loud. Thankfully, Cartman decided to ignore this.
"And yet here you are...why? I just thought you, like Stan, Kahl, and everybody else, would be too afraid of me."
"I just came by to see how you're doing...we're all worried about you Eric. We miss you at school. At least I do."
"I'm fine...is that all? Can you leave me alone now?"
Butters, not wanting to leave just yet, said the first thing that came to mind.
"N-no I...well, do you miss them?"
"Clyde Frog and the others...I know I would be real upset if I lost my hello kitty-"
"GOD DAMMIT BUTTERS!"
Cartman finally lost it. Butters flinched as he flipped over his desk for no apparent reason.
"Why don't you just grow the fuck up! Clyde Frog wasn't real! Neither was Rumple Toughskin, or Muscle Man Mike, or Peter Panda or Polly Prissy Pants! And ESPECIALLY not Hello-Fucking-Kitty! They're not REAL, you stupid faggot! They're just toys, they didn't love me and they weren't friends! FUCK, DON'T YOU GET IT? I HAVE NO FRIENDS!"
"I have no fucking friends. NONE...and...and I don't deserve any. Ah'm an assho'. N-no one thinks I'm coo'. I had to MAKE UP best friends...And now I don't even have THEM! I thought getting rid of them would make better and everyone would think I was coo' and I'd have real friends and everything would be ok but it's NOT!"
"Eric...you HAVE friends."
"Oh right...like who, Butters? Do you s-ee anyone here? Where's Stan? Kahl? Kenneh? I'll tell you...I've been an assho' all my life and I pushed them away..."
"Eric...Eric I'm here. You're right, though...you can be an asshole sometimes. But other times you're really funny and clever and you come up with fun things for us to do all the time. And even though you always get me in trouble, I'm startin' to like getting in trouble. At least I get to have some fun before my parents holler at me. Because of you, I got to be in a famous Christian Rock band, be a pirate, and work in a pit-crew for Nascar! Heck Eric...you're my best friend. I...I should have been here for you. I'm so sorr-"
"Sh-shut up, Butters...!" Cartman choked before grabbing onto Butters small-boned body and sobbing into his sweatshirt. Emotions and state of mind all over the place. Just an uneven mixture of relief, guilt, shame, happiness and some other things he couldn't deal with right now.
"Aw sh-shucks Eric...please don't cry. You're gonna make me start..."
Not to mention he was making him all soggy...
But he didn't stop. Not immediately, anyway. And Butters didn't start. So for Butters, those 3 and a half minutes of being used as a human hankercheif were very uncomfortable.
Finally, his crying died down (poor little fellah) and Butters knew how to cheer him up...
"Whurt?" Eric mumbled, almost like Kenny would, into Butter's small chest.
"I brought ya somethin'!"
Eric sat up, wiping his fat face with his sleeve...presents never failed in cheering him up.
"Ok close your eyes."
Cartman rolled his eyes than squeezed them tight as Butters pulled a plush elephant out of his backpack and dropped it in Cartman's lap.
Cartman opened them...then wish he hadn't.
"If you don't want him I understand, but I...I know they're not real, but they're still nice to have around, ya know? I like to talk to my Hello Kitty and ducky dolls sometimes when I'm havin' a bad day. They're always happy and always listen. A-and there's no shame in wantin' that every once in a while. I'll still think you're grown up if you keep him."
Eric stared at the little elephant in his lap, before running picking him up and turning it over in his hands...studying it.
"He reminded me of you, Eric."
Cartman glared at him.
"N-not because you're big! But because Eric and Elephant both start with E!" Butters covered...even though the elephants size did remind him of Eric Cartman.
Cartman bought it however, because he wasn't fat so why else would he remind Butters of an elephant?
"He needs an "E" name then..."
"What about Erwin?"
"That's a shitty-ass name, Butters."
"Yeah, I know."
They started laughing, neither boy was sure why. They were just...having an odd sort of moment. Like for once, they were normal fourth grade boys who lived in a normal town and this was what having a best friend was supposed to feel like.
...maybe it was kinda gay, but Cartman loved the feeling.
...yeah it was REALLY gay! Cartman sat up, looking around the room for something to distract.
"So umm...you wanna play Arkham Asylum?"
No one knew what Butters had done to get Cartman to come out of his room. Or why Cartman was acting more...tolerable. Nobody wanted to ask, afraid that they would jinx it. All they knew was Cartman and Butters were hanging out a lot more now, and harmony in South Park (for the most part, Randy Marsh still lived there) was restored.
And that's all they needed to know...so Erwin the Elephant was their little secret that lived on Cartman's bed.