A/N: I've NEVER, EVER written a story below an M rating. This is madness.

PLEASE R&R and let me know if this story is worth breaking my perfect NC-17 record over. #writhing

In the Rain

"I just feel so..." he paused mid-gesture, looking like a conductor poised with his baton. Then he deflated. "Lost."

For whatever reason, weed always made Kenny open up emotionally. Maybe that was the why he ever only invited Stan and Kyle over to smoke a bowl. That, and Cartman was an asshole. Though Kyle wondered at his own presence since he couldn't smoke - he was walking a thin line with asthma as it was.

Stan blew smoke out the window, fanning it with his hand to avoid getting any in Kyle's direction. He wore an expression of mild concern. "People our age are supposed to feel lost, Kenny. Part of growing up and all that."

"No," Kenny said firmly, "Not like this."

Curiosity piqued, Kyle piped up, "How so?" Kenny's face looked completely forlorn; it just begged the question. Resolutely he ignored Stan's sharp look as his best friend mouth, 'Dude, don't.' Maybe Stan wanted to just veg out and smoke, but Kyle was bored. Getting Kenny talking when he was high sometimes made Kyle feel like this Kenny was the real one. No pomp, no dirty jokes. Ironically the hazy smoke surrounding them lifted the veil from Kenny's thoughts and fears. Usually they tried to dissuade Kenny's rants if they got too out there, but something about the way the blonde appeared urged Kyle onward.

Stan groaned and closed his eyes, turning up the music on his iPod and drowning out the other two.

"Do you think it's possible to feel trapped," dousing the blunt in his hand, Kenny shuffled closer to Kyle, "in a vast space? That's what this feels like."

The idea of being trapped only gave rise to the typical images: bars of a cage, being tied down, weighed down, unable to move. But Kenny was saying he felt trapped because he had too much room? Furrowing his brows, Kyle rested his elbow on the back of the couch, chin cradled in his palm. "I don't understand."

Acknowledging his answer with a brief nod, to confirm it'd been as he expected, Kenny continued, "There's no escape, but instead of walls closing in, they're drifting further away. I keep running, but I can't catch up. And even if I'm tired, I can't..." Hesitating, his eyes darted up to Kyle's face before falling again, "...sleep."

Kenny's expression hardened and Kyle felt alarm for the first time that evening. Laying a hand on Kenny's forearm, curled as it was over the tops of bent knees, Kyle hoped to convey some sort of support. Though if he was being honest he had no idea how to interpret Kenny's words.

"Like Stan said, we all feel - "

"Not. Like. This." His red-rimmed eyes were intense. The blue was nearly electric. "I'm so tired."

"Um, maybe you should sleep-"

"But that's just it," he gushed, whole body facing Kyle. "I can't. But I want to." He sniffled. "I want to sleep so badly. Sometimes. I just want the option."

It would take a person much denser than Kyle Broflovski to miss the heaviness in those words. Suddenly grabbing Kenny by the arms, he barked, "Don't talk about shit like that! Suicide, Kenny you can't-"

But the blonde cut him off with a loud, bitter laugh. In the threadbare easy chair Stan grunted in their direction, dozing.

"Suicide," he mimicked, taking Kyle's wrists as if he were about to push the redhead away. Instead, he held them tightly, face wracked with indecision.

"Kenny," he whispered urgently, "Dude, you can talk to me." His eyes kept flicking back and forth from Kenny's burdened face to his friend's grip on his wrists, which were bordering on painful. "Talking helps."

"Not when the other person can't possibly understand, and not when it doesn't change shit."

A flame of caution wound around his mind. Subtly twisting his arms, he kept talking as he tried to break Kenny's hold. "It can. It can lessen the..." he winced when Kenny's grip tightened, "stress. And I'm your friend. Kenny." The last few words seemed to break through because Kenny's fingers slid from his skin to rest in the boy's lap. He wasn't looking at Kyle; his eyes were distant and filled with melancholy that was out of place on the usually smiling face. Concern was swiftly turning into distress. "Hey, Kenny! Come on, man. What can I do? Tell me."

"Listen. And don't think I'm crazy."

Obviously he couldn't make any promises on that one. Chances are, when someone said to not think they're crazy, they're about to say something definitely crazy. "Um-"

"Kyle," he said, voice breaking, "It's so messed up. It's insane - I'm scared because I don't have to be scared."

"Aaand, I think you might've overdone smelling the grass, dude."

"No," he hissed. Then, like before, he seemed to deflate.

Frustration sapped his sympathy. Glancing at Stan's inert form before rolling his eyes, Kyle said, "Listen, I think I'm gonna go. It's been - uh - real, Kenny." Feeling guilty, he added, "Let's talk tomorrow, okay?"

"It's raining outside, right?"

Hesitating for a beat, Kyle shrugged. "It was sprinkling before, so it might've picked up."

"Then I'm going, too."

Frowning, Kyle lifted his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. "I'm just going home-"

"Please, Kyle. Can you walk with me for a minute?"

Conflicting answers sat on the tip of his tongue. Did he want to be a douchebag and just ditch Kenny in his apparent time of need? But did he want to continue this strange conversation and learn way more about Kenny than he was comfortable with? Shit.

Plastering a smile on his face, Kyle said, "All right."

They stood on the crumbling doorstep, staring at the storm. Ushanka or no, Kyle didn't think he'd make it home without every inch of his body getting drenched. And Kenny was wearing less than him. A white t-shirt and jeans. He'd freeze. "Kenny, go put something on."

"Or what, I'll freeze to death?" The line crossed sarcasm into resentment. Disregarding Kyle's frown, he pushed out into the downpour, clothes and hair instantly flattened. Looking up into the rain, he didn't blink as water flowed over his face, mottling his vision. He felt Kyle walk up alongside him, and he didn't need to look to know that the pale face was scrunched up in distaste at the wetness. The Jew was like a cat.

After a few moments Kyle was shivering so hard his teeth chattered. He bounced impatiently from one foot to the other, douchebag versus good friend once again conflicting. "Can we move or something?" When Kenny looked at him Kyle blanched at the bluish color of the boy's lips. "Kenny, Jesus! Are you trying to-" Stopping himself, he gulped awkwardly. Accusing Kenny of trying to kill himself in jest was probably a not so great idea in the current situation. Huddling deeper into his coat, he grumbled, "Your lips are blue, for Christ's sake." When Kenny did nothing but stand there Kyle huffed angrily into his chest before ripping off his ushanka and shoving it onto Kenny's head. His curls resisted the heavy rain, though some of the longer waves gradually morphed into tendrils under the onslaught. Fussing over a particularly thick one that sliced across his forehead, he didn't realize the blonde was grinning until that grin was pressed against the side of his face. Stiffening, Kyle held his breath as soft lips moved against his cheek. Warm air moved over the shell of his ear and the back of his neck prickled. He shut his eyes and shivered again, but this time it wasn't from the cold.

"Thanks, Kyle."

"W-whatever," he snapped, taking one large step back. He scowled as Kenny just kept grinning stupidly, looking ridiculously with wet hair snaking out under the bright green of Kyle's hat. It made Kenny's head look way too big for his lanky body. Tugging self-consciously at his red hair, Kyle guessed how silly he looked as half his hair had given into the rain and the other half remained resolute in staying upright.

Kenny finally caught green eyes as he moved closer to the redhead.

There was an apology in those blue eyes, though the sadness was still there.

"What you're going through," he began slowly, "I don't understand. But, Kenny, don't talk about your life like that. You should... you should value yourself more than that."

"And if I'm still scared?" he asked in total seriousness. They were now standing mere inches apart, Kyle's face angled upward to look into Kenny's eyes.

Pursing his lips, Kyle abruptly pressed against the blonde, wrapping his arms around Kenny's shoulders tightly. "Just don't be. You don't know everything. Don't give up so soon."

Surprised, Kenny slowly hugged Kyle back, burying his nose in red hair that smelled like rain and warmth. "Is it okay if you have to remind me every now and then?"

Sighing, Kyle turned his face into the crook of Kenny's neck, closing his eyes against the tickle of the ushanka.

He barely heard it over the rush of rain, but it flooded his body with warmth.



A/N: This is just what I imagine being immortal feels like. Particularly for Kenny since his immortality is not his choice and he really can't die. Immortality as we usually see it in various portrayals is more like, "I don't have to die if I don't want to." But with Kenny it's "I can't die, even if I wanted to." And that would make me feel trapped.