Soundtrack: Sink to the Bottom - Fountains of Wayne

It's a warm summer night, one of those where it's been close to one hundred degrees all day and has just started to cool off a little now that the sun's gone down. Nonetheless, it's still too hot for Butters to be in pajamas, and so he sits in his bed naked, with nothing but a thin cotton sheet to cover him. Sweat drips down the back of his neck, and he can't help but feel envious when he hears the whir of the standing fans in his parents' bedroom across the hall.

He rolls over and sighs, resting his hands underneath his head as he stares at the ceiling of his room. It still has glow-in-the-dark stars pasted all over it from when Butters was just a kid – and they haven't ever lost their faint green glow.

He's never going to fall asleep at this rate.

After a few more minutes of tossing, Butters is on his back again, staring at the ceiling. Again. He wipes his forehead with the back of his hand and bites his lip – and then makes an executive decision to try and tire himself out so that he'll go to sleep.

Butters reaches underneath his sheet to touch himself. He's soft, but it only takes a little bit of coaxing to get himself hard as stone. Breath comes heavy through his nostrils, and he rolls onto his side, curling into the touch with a moan that his stifles against his sweat-damp pillowcase.

He doesn't mean to, but as he always does lately, he thinks of Kenny McCormick. He doesn't know why, really, except that Kenny is nice to him when most people aren't, and that his face is good-looking when his hood is down. He has a good jaw, and Butters thinks of kissing right along as his hand moves up and down over his erection.

He squirms a little, feeling himself getting close, and thinks the body underneath the baggy, hand-me-down clothes that Kenny always wears. He's skinny, but Butters kind of likes that. He likes seeing how Kenny's muscles move under his skin, and thinks of how they'd shift if he was right over Butters, holding him down and thrusting into him.

"Ah," escapes Butters, and he feels the blush rise high on his cheeks.

…Until there's a crash from his window. Butters jerks up and sees a shadowed figure straighten out at the foot of his bed. His heart beats faster, but not because he's scared – because it's Kenny. It usually is.

"Jesus, Ken," Butters whispers harshly, "You know how to knock?"

Kenny ducks into the moonlight streaming in from the window and responds, "Shouldn't leave your window open if you don't want people coming through."

"That is the stupidest – oh," Butters cuts himself off.

Blood runs down from Kenny's nose and mouth, and even in the dim light Butters can see that his left eye is black.

"Oh," Butters repeats, and says, "Let me get some shorts on and then I'll get the first aid kid."

He slides out from under his sheet, half-hard erection forgotten, and pads to his dresser.

"Wait, were you whacking off?" asks Kenny.

"Well, yeah," Butters responds, and tugs a pair of boxer shorts patterned in elephants over his hips. He adjusts himself inside them so what remains of the erection isn't obvious, and crosses the room to his desk, where he keeps the first aid kit handy, and continues, "That's why you gotta warn a fella before you come flouncing into his room in the dead of night, mister."

"…Do you sleep in the buff?" is all that Kenny has to say to this.

"It's summer," Butters answers exasperatedly, "What else am I supposed to do?"

Butters sets the plastic box beside Kenny and opens it, pulling down his hood so that he can get a better look at Kenny's face.

Kenny does this a lot. Butters can't remember when it started, exactly. Maybe it was middle school. Kenny crawled up the tree outside of Butters' bedroom window, torn up like he is now, and asked if Butters had a Band-aid.

As if Butters would ever be as unprepared as not having a Band-aid.

Sometimes Kenny sleeps in Butters' bed after Butters patches him up. Butters used to take out his sleeping bag and sleep on the floor on those nights, but in the last few months…well, they've slept side by side on nights like tonight, and he can't say that he minds. He tends to wake up the next morning with Kenny's face pressed up against his chest – waking up like that makes his chest ache all kinds of hurts, but he loves it.

Butters never asks Kenny how he got beat up. He did once, but Kenny had swatted his hand away and muttered, "I never should have come here," before he'd leapt from Butters' window and made off down the street.

He also didn't talk to Butters again for an entire two weeks.

But like clockwork, he showed back up at Butters' window with a busted face or bruises on his arms, and Butters learned not to ask how he got them.

Kenny hisses when Butters wipes the blood from his face with a Bactine wipe. The noise is garbled by wet blood.

"You okay?" asks Butters.

"Yeah," Kenny says, "I think I swallowed one of my teeth."

Butters frowns and presses Kenny's mouth open with his thumb. He says, "I don't know if you swallowed it, but you're sure as heck missing a cuspid here, mister."

"What the fuck is a cuspid," Kenny asks, voice muffled by Butters' fingers in his bloodied mouth.

"It's a tooth," Butters says, and pulls his hand away from Kenny. He wipes bloody spit off on the wipe in his hand, and rips open a new packet to finish with the rest of Kenny's face. He has a shallow cut under his eye, and his lip is split, but beyond that the worst of the damage is the missing tooth. Butters applies a little Neosporin to the cut and puts a Mickey Mouse Band-aid over it.

"All better," Butters says, "Though you should probably go to the dentist to get your mouth fixed up."

Kenny laughs and says in a mock-Southern accent, "Ain't got no money for no fancy dentists."

And it makes Butters chest hurt again.

"Do you want anything before you sleep?" asks Butters, "I could make you some tea, or heat you up some leftovers or something."

Kenny gives Butters a dopey grin and flops back onto the mattress. He slides out of his hoodie and tosses the ratty orange thing onto Butters floor. Then he asks, "You can tell me what it is you think about when you whack off at one in the morning."

"That's my private business, Kenny," Butters says.

Kenny reaches over and tugs Butters forward to sit on the bed next to him and says, "Come on. I'll tell you what gets me off."

"It's embarrassing," Butters mutters.

"It can't be that bad," Kenny says, "Are you into kink or something? 'Cause that's not embarrassing, lots of people like getting spanked and shit."

Butters feels a blush darken his cheeks at that, and tries not to picture exactly what Kenny's talking about. He replies, "It's nothing like that. You sure you don't want some tea or something? We got Sleepytime."

"Don't change the subject, Leopold," Kenny says.

"I'm not tellin' you what I think about when I touch myself," Butters says back.

"Why not? I don't judge."

Kenny shifts up, then, with an impish little smile on his face. He leans in close to Butters, close enough that Butters can smell iron blood on Kenny's breath, and says, "You like somebody, don't you?"

"Even if I did, it's still none of your beeswax," Butters sniffs. He tries to pull away from Kenny, but Kenny pulls him back, yanking him so that Butters is right on top of Kenny.

"Come on," Kenny urges.

Butters is bright red, and his heart beats faster than he's ever felt it beat before. But what would happen if he told Kenny? Would Kenny still come to his window when he needed somebody to fix him up? 'Cause Butters would miss it if Kenny didn't do that anymore.

"Is it Clyde?" asks Kenny, "He does have a pretty nice ass."

Kenny also happens to be one of the only people that Butters is out to. It happened exactly like this is happening now: Kenny knew Butters had a secret, and he wanted to know what it was. He bugged Butters about it until he started to cry where he sat in his sleeping bag. Kenny had slid down from Butters' bed to say he was sorry, and that Butters didn't have to tell him if he didn't want to.

Butters sobbed out a confession anyway.

"I like boys," he'd cried, and hid his face in his pillow.

Kenny didn't make fun of him or tell him he was gross or anything, though, he just nudged Butters' shoulder and said, "So?"

"So?" Butters had repeated.

"So who cares?" Kenny went on, "You're still the same dude you were two seconds ago."

It was the first time that Butters realized he didn't have to be as afraid as he was. And maybe Kenny forgot that night a long time ago, but he sure as heck never did.

But tonight isn't the same as that night. It's different. They're older, and the things that Butters feels stir in his chest when he thinks about Kenny aren't the same things as they used to be when they were younger. It feels like ribbons of metal are slicing him up inside in all directions, and the only thing that's keeping him from falling apart is making those ribbons stay that way. They can't be unwrapped, or Butters will break into a million pieces.

"Kenny," he says softly, and extracts himself from Kenny's grip, "You know if I could tell you that I would. But I'm not gonna."

Hurt flits across Kenny's face at those words.

"But," Kenny says, "Why, dude? It's just a crush. You know I won't tell anybody if you don't want me to."

Butters shakes his head and says, "Ken…the problem isn't that I think you'll tell the boy I like that I like him. The problem is that you are that boy and I don't want to mess up bein' friends with you."

There. It's out. He said it. Butters squeezes his eyes shut and waits to hear the sounds of Kenny crawling back out his bedroom window and making a quick escape down the sidewalk, but that never comes. Instead, he feels the mattress shift a little, and then Kenny's warm body move to sit beside Butters.

When Butters peeks, Kenny is staring straight at him.

"So you were thinking of me," Kenny murmurs. He's too close to Butters, way too close.

"Yeah," Butters says, figuring that there's nothing worth hiding anymore, now that Kenny knows about his feelings and the ribbons all cutting him up.

"What'd you think about?" Kenny asks him, and he's even closer than before.

Butters flushes again, and his voice trembles as he says, "Well, just your face at first. A-And then I thought about you with your shirt off, 'cause you look real nice that way. And…"

"And?"

"And then I thought about us," Butters sighs, "I thought about you holdin' me down, and bein' inside me."

Kenny doesn't answer that right away, and Butters wonders if he finally managed to weird Kenny out. But no, no, because Kenny pushes Butters to lie flat on the bed, and shifts himself up to straddle him. It must be a dream, Butters thinks at first, but then Kenny leans over and kisses him and he knows that it's real.

Kenny tastes like blood and cigarettes, and it's not entirely pleasant. But his chapped lips feel good, and they're sure and steady against Butters' mouth. When Kenny's tongue licks along his lower lip, he whimpers and lets his tongue in. Butters reaches up to thread his hands through Kenny's long, greasy hair, and holds him as long as he can.

And Kenny holds him back, pressing a big, bony hand underneath Butters' neck to urge him deeper into the kiss.

When Kenny pulls away, Butters is shaking. He says, "You shouldn't t-tease me like that."

Kenny rolls his eyes and says, "I'm not teasing you, you big dope. C'mere."

Kenny pulls them both back onto the pillows and runs his rough hands over Butters' shoulders. He kneads his knuckles into the flesh and stoops to kiss Butters' throat. He pauses only to stretch up to kiss Butters' lips again. Against them, Kenny says, "This is gonna sound real mushy, okay? But I like you too. Always kind of have, I guess. But I figured somebody as nice looking as you are wouldn't bother with a scrawny little shit like me."

Butters makes a small noise, and it's the only sound that he can make. Kenny doesn't seem to mind, though, because he kisses Butters again, and the tips of his fingers skate down Butters' chest. They skim the top of Butters' boxers, and Kenny asks, "Can I take these off?"

Butters nods, and Kenny's hands dip inside his underwear, pulling them down Butters' legs and throwing them away. Butters has been naked with guys before, but he hasn't been naked in front of Kenny. Kenny looks him up and down and smiles, a red-white, gap-toothed grin in the dark.

"Shit," Kenny says, and he thumbs over Butters' hipbones, "You look – really good. Wow."

"Will you –" Butters pauses and swallows the knot of nerves in his throat, "Will you take off your clothes too?"

"Hell yeah, I will," Kenny agrees, and he bounces down from Butters' bed for a quick strip.

In a matter of moments, Kenny crawls back up. Butters' breath catches in his throat. Kenny is slim as reed, thin enough that his collarbone pokes out and you can almost see the indents of his ribs underneath his skin. He has scars, lots of scars, littering his chest like a trashyard. He has new bruises and old bruises, and thick-lined tattoos around it all. Butters reaches up and touches one, a skull draped in flowers.

"It's beautiful," remarks Butters.

Kenny breathes heavily and nods, "I – I'll pass on the compliment to my artist."

Butters leans up and kisses Kenny, cupping his cheeks in both hands. He adds under his breath, "Your cock is pretty nice, too."

Kenny chuckles and asks, "Yeah?"

"Definitely."

And then they stop talking. Kenny crawls forward and takes Butters' cock in hand. He strokes with enough assurance that Butters asks, "This isn't the first time you've done something with a boy, is it?"

Kenny shakes his head and says, "Nah, I've messed around with some guys before."

"Ever fucked one?" asks Butters, voice barely a whisper.

"A couple of times," Kenny admits, "But none as nice as you, all spread out like this."

Butters whimpers, and reaches up to hold onto Kenny's shoulders. Kenny's touch melts away when Butters lets out a little moan, and he asks Butters breathily, "Do you have lube or lotion or anything?"

"Y-Yeah," Butters stammers. He scrambles onto his side and knocks open one of the drawers on his bedside table, throwing a mostly-used bottle of lube at Kenny, and scrambling to rip off a condom packet with his unsteady hands.

Kenny pulls Butters closer to him and pops open the bottle of lube. Instinctively, Butters' legs fall open, and shifts so Kenny has the easiest access.

And he's never been more nervous in his life, even when he had to give a speech in front of the entire school, it wasn't this bad. His heart is about to burst. Everything is happening so fast.

Kenny pauses before he has a chance to pour lube over his hand and sets the bottle aside. He ducks forward and presses a long kiss to Butters' lips, and his hand runs through Butters' hair. He says, "Hey, if you don't want to do this, that's okay."

"Do I really look that bad?" mutters Butters.

"You look a little freaked out, yeah," Kenny says, "I could suck you off, maybe. Or give you a hand job. Or we don't have to do anything at all."

"No," says Butters, "No, I want this. I want you to – to fuck me."

Kenny isn't quite so quick as he was before, but he brings back the lube and slicks up his fingers, massaging around Butters' entrance before he slides in one long, slim finger. His touch is gentle, though the grip of his free hand on Butters' leg is strong. He works Butters open carefully, and then, with a twitch of his finger, brushes against Butters' prostate. Butters sees stars, and has to muffle the noise he makes into his arm so that his parents don't hear.

Kenny snorts a little and smiles, and kisses Butters some more while he presses his fingers in and out of him. His touch is controlled but erotic, and Butters starts to melt into the mattress, smothering his pleasured little noises into the pillow.

"You ready?" Kenny huffs.

Butters nods, and Kenny withdraws his fingers. He rips open the packet and rolls the condom over his cock. A strangled little noise comes up from Kenny's throat, but he suppresses it, going pink in the cheeks.

And then Butters' legs get hefted up onto Kenny's slender shoulders. He feels the head of Kenny's cock hot against him, more and more heat as he presses deeper inside. Butters isn't new to this. He's fingered himself, and he has a toy that he keeps stashed, crammed between his bedframe and the mattress, always wrapped up in a towel. But Kenny feels different than the other guys that Butters has been with, and definitely different than Butters' toy.

When Kenny is fully seated, he glances up and smiles at Butters.

In that moment, it feels like scrambled pieces of Butters' life have finally fallen right into place.

He reaches up and threads his hands through Kenny's hair, bringing him down into a kiss that turns out more tender than either of them meant it to be. When they split, both of them laugh awkwardly, and Butters kisses the tip of Kenny's nose.

He pets Kenny's hair and says, "You can move, you know."

Kenny grips the headboard behind Butters with one hand and starts moving inside him in shallow, even thrusts.

"You don't need to – ah – handle me like a virgin, you know," Butters tells him.

Kenny kisses his lips and apologizes. He picks up his speed, thrusting deep into Butters with every flick of his hips. He curses quietly into the crook of Butters neck, and holds them tight together. Both of them are sweating bullets, even though it's much cooler than it was during the day.

When Kenny touches Butters again, he almost immediately comes. As it is, it only takes him a handful of minutes. Kenny lasts longer, and Butters doesn't mind. He holds Kenny close and kisses him when he stills inside Butters, to stifle the groan that comes with his orgasm.

It's too hot to cuddle, so Kenny rolls away from Butters and perches on the opposite side of the mattress. He takes the condom off and tosses it in Butters' trashcan, careful to cover it with a couple pieces of junk mail before he returns and sides beside Butters on the edge of the bed.

"Wow," is all he says.

"Yeah," Butters says, "That's even better than I imagined."

Kenny's stomach growls as though responding to that, and so Butters offers again, "You want me to fix you something to eat?"

"Yeah," Kenny says, "If you don't mind."

"A'course I don't," Butters assures him.

They clean up in the bathroom connected to Butters' bedroom and redress before roaming downstairs. Butters flicks on the kitchen light, which flickers before turning on at full power, and opens the refrigerator. He says, "We got beef stew from earlier tonight, and there's one pork chop from Wednesday."

"Pork chop sounds amazing," Kenny says.

Butters heats it in the microwave for Kenny, and despite the temperature, makes them both mugs of peppermint tea. They're quiet while Kenny eats, but it's a pleasant, amiable silence. Butters has never loved a silence more.

But when Kenny's finished, he still has a question.

"Hey, Ken," Butter says.

"Hey, Butters," Kenny parrots back.

"Can I ask you how you got hurt, or would that make you want to leave?"

Kenny licks his lips and stares down into his half-drunk mug of tea. He answers, "You can ask, I guess."

Butters scoots a little bit closer, and then does it.

"How'd you get hurt?"

"Told off my dad for calling my mom a slut," Kenny mutters, "So he smacked me around, and then I left and climbed in through your window."

Butters' lips turn down.

"Is it always your dad when you get hurt?" Because that seems like an awful lot of times to hurt your son, even if you are the kind of man that Stuart McCormick is.

"Not always," Kenny says, "But I don't want to talk about all the other stuff."

"That's okay," Butters replies, "We don't have to."

They finish their tea and rinse the dishes in the sink before stacking them into the dishwasher. When they tiptoe upstairs, they tiptoe hand in hand. When Butters' bedroom door swings shut behind them, Kenny leans down and kisses Butters, holding his face with his spindly fingers. Their foreheads rest together when they break to breathe, and Kenny says, "Thanks for looking after me, Butters."