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spprompts

003 - Fic: "Dirty Laundry" (Kenny/Kyle)

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Mar. 9th, 2013 | 02:31 pm
posted by: jalu2 in spprompts

TITLE: Dirty Laundry
ARTIST/AUTHOR: Jalu2
PAIRING(S) AND/OR CHARACTER(S): Kenny McCormick/Kyle Bruflovski
RATING: T (language, suicidal character)
ONE SHOT OR SERIES: One Shot
WORD COUNT: 3,500

SUMMARY: Kenny's ready to admit who he is, and what he is capable of. Not that anyone will ever remember. Not that anyone will ever care.

Kenny stubs his cigarette out on the trunk of an ancient oak tree. He watches the mark sizzle into its bark, soon to prove a permanent scar which told everyone that Kenny McCormick stood here and made no difference in the world. It seems a fitting example – his whole life represented in one simple thing. He even gives the tree a little smile and pats it, feeling the roughness under his hand.

Out here in the open, the night is cold. Kenny's forced to tug his hoodie even tighter around his head, muffling all ability to see and breathe. Not that it really bothers him. So what if he stops breathing? It's no biggie; he'll wake up again the next morning. It's like a transport machine, only with a whole lot of pain. He is close to wincing even just thinking about all the ways he has come close to death in the past. Kenny has to shake his head and push down the thoughts just to keep moving, but now he's thinking about the lack of Kyle. Kyle who is supposed to be here already. Kenny found a rock and kicks it in the rhythm of asking where Kyle was. Midnight. Kenny was explicit in telling his friend this. He knows it had to be past midnight by now – that was the time Kenny arrived at the tree.

He kicks the rock harder and watches it skid across the street and into darkness. He considers going and finding it, anything to occupy his ever racing mind, but a distinctive sound stops him in his tracks.

"Kenny?"

Almost subconsciously, Kenny turns to face the speaker of the worlds. He feels warmer, too, and lets his hands fall from the strings of his orange hoodie. Kyle stands there in the way Kyle always does: half pulled up jacket zip and tumbling snow hat. His red hair peaks out underneath.

"You came," Kenny says. He wishes it was something more worthy – more witty or amusing – but he's stuck on the first thought of his mind. Pure relief to see that Kyle listened to him. He's glad Kyle doesn't seem to mind.

"Of course I did – I told you I would, didn't I?" Kyle gives him a smile which brings Kenny's footsteps automatically closer. They're standing less than a meter apart now, and Kenny can feel Kyle's breath on his face. It's warm and smells like cheeseburgers – just how Kenny likes it.

"How's life?" It's still not witty. It's still not what Kyle deserves, but at least it's an attempt at conversation. Or so he hopes.

Kyle gives a light laugh and, while Kenny can't be certain, he thinks he took a step forward. "I saw you Thursday, not much has changed in three days. Same old high school, same old family, same old...girlfriend." He seems to stall and choose carefully his last word, but Kenny doesn't let himself think too deeply into it. "How's life without school?"

Kenny shrugs. He doesn't want to talk about that. Dropping out of school wasn't even his choice. His parents had just given up on paying for the books when Kenny spent more time out of class than in. How was he supposed to reason with them? How was he supposed to explain that his last year had been spent trying to find a way to die? A way to die just for the thrill of it. He'd only just given up last night, and that is why he asked Kyle here.

"School isn't the same without you around."

Kenny scruffs his foot in the dust and doesn't look Kyle in the eye. He doesn't want to look like an idiot by telling Kyle how much he missed him – and even school itself. At least when he had the routine it kept his mind busy some days. Now it's just death revolving in his mind over and over again. It's like he is living to die.

"You ask me here for anything in particular?" Kyle asks.

He doesn't sound demanding, just curious. Kenny uses the toe of his shoe to form a hole in the dirt before he replies. "Remember when we used to watch the stars?" He looks up at Kyle and waits to hear the no.

What he sees instead is a smile. "Of course I do. We used to do it almost every night in middle school – hard to forget."

Kenny lets his own smile waver on his lips. It was a foreign feeling and he pulled it back down almost as soon as the feeling began. He takes a deep breath. Here goes nothing. "We should do it again, y'know? It's a clear night and all..." He can just about cringe with how stupid and whiny that sounded.

"We should."

Maybe Kenny should stop making assumptions, because so far they kept being wrong. He feels that smile try and pull at his lips again, but refuses to let it go far. Instead, he watches Kyle start walking toward the barb wire fence. Kenny gives a little shrug instead and follows his friend, not making a sound as he lands on the opposing side of the fence. Not even a hiss when he feels the wire stab into his side. It's probably bleeding. He just hopes his thick hoodie hides the blood from Kyle.

Despite having spent many nights on fields with Kyle, Stan, Butters, and even Cartman, none of them had been out on this field even once. This was Kenny's place, one he dubbed The Practice Zone. It didn't take a genius to figure out what that meant. Because of it, he felt strange forcing Kyle into the place. Like someone as perfect as Kyle shouldn't have to see the darkness Kenny had in him. He'd hidden it well throughout the years, too – or so he thinks. Kyle would sometimes ask him asks him questions, like if he's okay, and press a little hard for an answer. Kenny tried not to think too much into it – nobody cared about him all that much.

Up ahead, Kenny watches as Kyle drops to the ground, ringlets of red bouncing with the action. Kenny shakes his own hair, messy and blonde, letting it become free from his hood. He isn't all that cold anymore, even though his basic knowledge of science tells him the air should be colder in the middle of an open field. But Kenny doesn't care about science. He slumps to the ground next to Kyle, falling on his back and staring up into the huge, open sky. When he was a kid, he once wanted to be a star. They look so free up in the sky, a number among millions, but still perfect and loved in their own right.

Then he thought deeper into it.

Stars were almost immortal. Alive for millions or billions – he could never remember which – years. Then he suddenly started hating them. Why would anything want to live forever?

He feels Kyle move closer and lie next to him, but Kenny doesn't turn his eyes. He doesn't trust himself when he looks at Kyle. Kyle's so perfect, so optimistic, so trustworthy. Kenny has to stop thinking he can he can trust people, because nobody ever believes him. And it hurts. More than anyone can possibly understand.

"So, what did you call me here for?" Kyle asks, "I mean, don't get me wrong – this is nice. Your phone call just seemed more...urgent."

He has a reason, but feels all tongue tied and twisted over it, and now it just doesn't seem worth talking about. Kyle has enough things to worry about with SATs and whatever else high school juniors did – he doesn't need Kenny's issues on top of that. Kenny just keeps his eyes on the stars and grits his teeth against the swelling in his chest. This was a bad idea – his worst idea. Asking Kyle to come out here, to the place where everything goes to shit, was downright idiotic. He tries to clear his throat and form words, but it doesn't work. He wants to tell Kyle to leave, to get on with his life, but he just can't. His eyes pull shut and he tries to breathe without sound.

"You never told me how life was."

"Nothing to tell." Kenny hates how it sounds, all thick and gritty, but he hopes Kyle doesn't notice.

"Really?"

Life sucks, Kyle. "Yeah, really – totally boring."

"Fair enough, dude, but you should consider coming back to school. You could catch up.

I'm too fucking stupid. All I want to do all the time is die – but I can't. "I thought about it, but I like working."

"That's sweet, I guess. All my money just seems to disappear." He laughs a little, and the perfect sound cuts through Kenny. "Bebe likes my love for her to be shown."

His throat feels tighter. "You guys have been together forever."

He feels Kyle shrug and only just realises how close they really are. But Kenny doesn't dare move. He doesn't dare shatter what is actually working, even if Kenny's on the edge of throwing up by just lying here on the grass. Then there's more movement and he thinks Kyle might have moved even closer. Kenny still can't let himself move. He doesn't want to destroy the fantast he's built. He just wants to stare at the stars and pretend he's alone in the world.

"How's life really, Kenny?"

Kenny's hands dig into the grass when he ears Kyle's whisper right up at his ear. Kenny shouldn't be this close. Even though Kenny wants to grasp onto what is happening now, he knows how much it's going to hurt the next day. How hollow it's going to leave his chest. How addicted he's going to become to trying out death attempts again. Try to die is like a drug. A drug Kenny can never OD on.

Kenny takes in a shaky breath and hopes Kyle can't hear it. He needs to say this – all of this. Calling Kyle out into a deserted field in the middle of the night, it's only fair he know the reason. Kenny moves his hands through his hair, remembering too late his blonde locks have probably been met with blades of grass and specks of wet dirt. He swallows and turns to Kyle, immediately regretting doing just that.

Kyle's eyes are right there. Staring at him. It should be pleasant, because they're filled with warmth, but Kenny doesn't want feelings of pleasantry. He wants the numbness he forced himself. When he's numb, his main desire isn't to die. When he's numb, he just spends his days in his room, throwing a tennis ball against the wall until his parents scream at him for the sound. Being with Kyle never lets him feel numb, and maybe that's why he called him up last night and requested they see each other. With Kyle he can no longer keep secrets.

"Do you remember the time I told you I can't die?"

The confusion on Kyle's face says it all. Of course he doesn't remember. Even though he is Kenny's best friend, Kyle doesn't remember his biggest secret; his biggest source of pain. It's not like Kenny can blame him. It's not like anyone else remembers anything Kenny tells them. But it still hurts. "Everyone can die, Kenny."

"I can't." He can't think of any better way to put it. Either Kyle is going to believe him or he is going to deny him. Kenny can't deal with giving explanations anymore. He just wants someone to understand him without question.

"Why do you think that?" Kyle's concerned now. Kenny can tell from the tone of his voice and the way his eyes slide back and worth and up and down. They look crazy, maybe even scared. Kenny can't blame him.

Kenny turns his eyes back to the sky and allows himself to talk without thinking, "I've tried, heaps. Ever since we were kids. It doesn't work. I've tried everything I can – should be a fucking stunt double."

"When you die you die, Kenny." Kyle's voice sounds placid, but Kenny knows there's something more to it.

He whips his head up and around, boring their eyes together. "No – I don't." He didn't expect his voice to be as icy as it is, and watches Kyle recoil just this little bit.

Kenny rolls away again and reaches into his pocket for a cigarette. No sounds comes from either him or Kenny except for a lighter setting the end of the smoke ablaze. He breathes out the smoke and lets it engulf him. He allows him, just for a second to forget that no one believes him. To forget that he's an unreal freak. To forget that Kyle may never speak to him again after tonight. Actually, more than anything, he's downright tempted to try out yet another method of death. Just to fuck with Kyle.

Kenny hates himself for having that temptation.

"I wanna believe you, Kenny," Kyle says.

Kenny doesn't answer. He just lets another cloud of smoke cover his face and flow back into his nose. He regrets this. All of this. He just hopes that, when he wakes up tomorrow, everything is back to how it was before. The only person who seemed to hint at remembering what happens to Kenny is Cartman. And Cartman is just an asshole, so he never counts. Kenny closes his eyes and hopes a satellite hits him. Strange things used to kill him as a child, why can't they now? He crosses his fingers and toes and squeezes his eyes tight. Please, please, please – and let it last this time.

"When did you realise?" Kyle prods Kenny's side and might have moved even closer. Kenny wishes he would stop. "Answer me, dude – please."

Kenny kept his eyes clenched shut as he spoke, "Ages ago. Do you remember when we were superheroes?" He expects Kyle to laugh, but hears nothing. Of course not. This is too serious for laughter. Kenny continues without waiting for an answer. "I told you about the fact I can't die." It doesn't matter how many times he says it, he just has to keep stressing the phrase.

"I remember that – the being superheros, I mean. But I don't remember anything about you dying."

Kenny sighs, and doesn't care whether or not Kyle hears. He's finally at a point where he wishes tonight had never happened. What was it achieving? Kyle would, sooner or later, just balk and leave Kenny alone in the dark. That was the way life always went for him.

"So you can't die?"

Kenny shakes his head. He's too tired to explain anymore.

"I believe you, Kenny."

Kenny turns to Kyle and tries to search his eyes. He doesn't know if they're telling the truth. Deep down he knows Kyle's probably lying, just trying to avoid dragging on the conversation. Kenny doesn't hold any blame towards his friend, he doesn't even feel annoyed. He's just glad someone – finally – cares enough to humour him. It may not be perfect, but he'll take it.

Then he doesn't know what he's doing, but he knows it's played out in his mind since he first called Kyle to come out here. Truthfully, he thinks this was the sole reason for lying out here under the stars on this night – not trying to make small talk, not airing dirty laundry. Kenny leans over, runs a hand through Kyle's frizzy hair, and catches their mouths together.

He thinks he heard a squeak, and it definitely didn't come from him, but ignores it. His hand tugs against Kyle's hair, arching him up to press their bodies together. Then it's over too quickly, much too quickly, with Kyle ripping himself away from Kenny's arms and jumping to his feet.

Kenny's left on the ground with bruised lips, staring up at his friend.

"What...?" Kyle paces, moving closer to Kenny then seeming to second-guess so he takes two giant steps backward. "What was that?"

Kenny just shrugs and keeps himself composed. Like always seems his go-to plan, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out another cigarette. This is his last. Better make the conversation quick. He looks up at Kyle and braces himself for a wash of insults. Why was he so stupid? Kenny takes the cigarette from his mouth and tries not to let his fingers shake.

"Kenny..."

Kyle moves closer again, but Kenny sees that the actions are stalled and questionable. Kyle's changed completely. And it's Kenny's fault. He puts the cigarette back in his mouth and inhales deeply. It's not working as effectively as usual, and he needs something stronger. Like the scotch he'd stolen from his father and hidden under his bed. It worked. Didn't kill him, unfortunately, but it numbed the senses. Close enough to dying. The closest he can reach.

"Kenny – sorry. I -"

Kyle keeps stammering and stuttering on words, and Kenny just keeps his eyes to the stars and breathes in and out the smoke. He hears Kyle drop to the ground but Kenny still refuses to move. He knows he's being stubborn and immature, but he doesn't care. He stopped caring about anything just before.

"I'm sorry." Kyle places a hand on Kenny's shoulder, and Kenny shrugs it away. He doesn't need Kyle's false attempt at comfort. "Kenny – come on. Look at me."

Kenny's cigarette's reaching the end of its life. Maybe if he smokes enough of these he can die from lung cancer. Maybe his immortality is connected only to accidental death. Maybe a disease can slaughter him. One can only hope. When he finally gets to the stub and no longer can nicotine fill his lungs, Kenny turns to Kyle. His eyes aren't as warm as they usually are, but Kenny doesn't see the expected anger in them, either.

He stands, and Kyle follows immediately, keeping their eyes together. It's almost like how they were at the start, standing so close Kenny can feel the heat radiating from Kyle's body and watch the steam rise from his mouth as he breathes. He still smells like cheeseburgers, but now there's a distinct smell of grass about him as well.

Despite what Kenny thought earlier, he still wants to kiss him – again.

"Kenny, I'm sorry..."

Kenny wishes he'd stop saying that. Sorry for what? For doing what Kenny guessed he would do? There was nothing to be sorry about. Kenny had to stop being such an idiot and expecting the best. The best never happens.

"You know I'm with Bebe, right?"

Kenny nods, but it's blunt and his neck hardly moves. Why is Kyle telling him this? It doesn't mean anything, it doesn't change anything. Kenny wishes he had at least one more cigarette, because the back of his head is starting to prickle and he doesn't want to stand in Kyle's presence anymore. He's made a complete douche of himself.

"I know that sometimes I complain about here, and that we fight, but I love her, Kenny."

He nods again, hoping this one is a little more convincing. His eyes stay on Kyle's, but he doesn't see them. He's fading away, letting his mind wander elsewhere. He just wants to go home and find that scotch bottle.

Kenny isn't aware that Kyle has stepped forward until he feels a squeeze on his shoulder. Then there's the warmth of skin on his forehead and a brush across his lips. A blink and you'll miss it moment. Kenny's left staring up at him after it's over, a million questions running through his mind and so bad wanting it to happen again. This time he would savoir it and find some way to make Kyle hold on.

"I can't." And Kyle says it so quietly, so cautiously, that Kenny can't stop himself from moving closer and wrapping his fingers around Kyle's neck and into his hair. Kenny just wants to close his eyes and stay like this. Like this, nothing hurts. Like this, he doesn't feel as though he wants to die. Like this, he doesn't feel afraid.

"It's okay." Kenny can't believe he Ais that. What his mind yells for him to say is No! and Stay! and to Kiss me again. But he doesn't. He just stays with his arm wrapped around Kyle's neck and hopes his words don't make Kyle move.

Of course they make him move. Kyle steps backwards and Kenny is forced to untwist his arm. The world is cold again, and Kenny's chest feels hollow. He needs the scotch. Or a gun. Both would put him into a deep sleep, though the sun should be rising soon. How long had the two of them been out here?

"I have to go." His voice is still quiet, and Kenny knows something has changed between them. Something horrible, something painful, and something that will never be approved upon. Kenny regrets this night. Everything about it. Why couldn't he just keep his issues to himself?

Instead of voicing this, he nods. Kyle's arm reaches out, like maybe he's inviting Kenny into a hug, but then it drops down. His fingers only brush the tip of Kenny's own. Then he's walking across the field where they came from, and Kenny can do nothing but stare after him as his chest grows hollow and his guts start churning.

Yeah, maybe he'll go find that gun.

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