Now, I'm no fucking philospher, in fact I'd probably be considered the polar opposite, but even I knew that no good could come from living a life purely to please others and to punish yourself for the world's numerous short comings. And yet he did, but not only that; he always did so with a sweet smile. He rarely spoke and when he did Cartman would just take the shit out of whatever harmless words had left his mouth. I swear that kid had the patience of a constantly crapped-on statue.
Which is why I was so surprised to find him there at Stark's Pond one Saturday afternoon, curled up behind a bush and crying softly to himself.
If it had been anyone else I would have sighed sympathetically and fucked off again, pulling my hood tighter around my face in the process. But Leopold Butters Stotch was the exception. I found that I had to care, if not because I wanted to (which I suddenly found myself doing), but because no one else did. That poor kid could have caught fire and nobody would've bothered to throw a glass of water over him; they'd have only moaned about the smoke.
I stood there in my usual silence, watching him weep hopelessly for a few minutes, shocked mainly because Butters was the most hopeful and happy person I knew.
When he started to look like he was going to throw up from crying so hard, I decided to step in. I slowly walked towards him, not wanting to startle the nervous boy.
At the near silent sound of my footsteps, his head snapped up.
Fuck. He looked... He looked so unlike Butters it was unbelievable. His blonde hair was plastered to his head with sweat and his innocent blue eyes were bloodshot from God knows how many hours of crying all alone.
"Oh, Butters." I sighed, my words lost into the sniffle-filled silence. I knelt down opposite to Butters' shaking body and gently wiped at his face to remove his tears. Tears that were so clear and pure that you could almost see his suffering captured within the salty water droplet.
"K-K-Kenny, h-h-h-i-i," he mumbled shyly, his stutter amplified either by the stress of the situation or the tears or both.
He tried to plaster his normal happy smile onto his face, tried to brush away what I had/was seeing.
Did that mean that all of his smiles were perfect fakes?
I removed my hood from my face so that I could speak to him properly.
"Cut the shit, Stotch. Don't put on the happy face for me." His smiled faltered slightly, but then grew back to it's convincing ways.
Shit, that scared me. It scared me how much such a nice kid would try to hide his suffering.
"I said cut it, Butters! Look how you fucking feel, dumbass!" I yelled, frustrated that I couldn't help him because of his own selflessness that had, knowing Butters, probably caused his upset.
His face crumpled and he buried his face in his hands, crying loudly.
"Good. Now you're gonna tell me what's wrong." I ordered coldly, fighting the urge to hug him and tell him that it was alright until I'd sorted his issue permanently.
After all, he did so much for everyone else, it only seemed fair to help him out a little even if it did take the use of the tough love approach.
He just shook his head, spraying the surrounding area with his bullet-like tears in the process.
"I'm not letting you go home until you tell me what the fuck is wrong, Leopold!" I shouted, making him shake and dissolve into an even stronger crying fit.
"Do-don't-t wan-wanna-nna go hom-ome any-nyway-ays," he sobbed, curling into himself even more and holding his knees so tightly against his chest that I half expected them to poke out through his skinny back.
Well, at least it was a start. He didn't want to go home, I could work with that vital piece of information to figure out why he wouldn't want to go home. I mean, he had a great home complete with loving parents, right?
"I-I-I..." He choked, spluttering the words out like a broken robot; I guess that's what he was, broken.
All of a sudden, he flung himself at me and I let him cry into my orange parka, unsure of when my own arms had fastened around him like a safety belt and my hands rubbing his back softly.
"Butters..." I breathed helplessly, unknowing of how to calm the depressed blonde down. Just how long had been this down for anyway?
I felt guilty for not noticing. This sort of crying fit couldn't be bought on by one bad day, not for a kid like Butters. No, this was the result of, God knows how long for, suffering in silence. Alone, without the help of the people he endlessly endeavoured to help in order to gain their friendships.
Fuck. Poor bastard.
As I was rubbing his back, my hands wandered over a raised area of skin and he winced in white-hot agony.
Well, that was weird.
But I carried on, not wanting to stop his only source of comfort from his shaking body. As I continued I felt more lumps and bumps, each one making him hiss in pain.
No... Oh, God.
"K-Kenn-nny, i-it-t hur-urts-s," he moaned, gripping tighter onto my coat to try and numb the pain.
"Butters, can I see your back?" I asked softly, noticing for the first time a bruise forming around his left eye.
Why would anyone want to hurt a kid like Butters? A kid who was so selfless and quiet that he almost wasn't there at all, unless helping out some user who called him their friend to get what they wanted from the naive boy.
He shook his head, choosing the worst possible time to stop being the most submissisve thing in South Park.
I sighed intently, once again slighlty upset that he wouldn't let me help him. But then I realiased that it didn't matter what he wanted; judging by his strained breathing and pale face (which seemed to match the colour of the falling snow), it was obvious that he was more hurt than he let on. He needed help wether he liked it or not.
"Yeah, well, tough." I grunted harshly, flipping him around and pulling his top up.
"Butters... Oh, God. What..." I stammered staring at his bare back, which was now shaking from the force of his tears.
His back was covered in horrific bruises, huge burns, awful scratches and terrifyingly deep cuts. Some of them healed over and infected, some looking only hours old.
Without further comment, I gently recovered his back, turned him around and looked at his front.
Same story, but much worse. His ribs looked bruised beyond regocnition and the area where his lungs were looked more at home on a Smurf.
"Butters, tell me who did this to you. Now." I snapped, the sight of his beaten and skinny form making me feel sick.
Before he could answer, I felt him collapse into me again and so I sat with him; stroking him caringly to try to allieviate some of the agony that he had to be in.
"Ke-enny... Ken-nny..." He groaned, his body suddenly becoming limp in my arms.
He let out a few cries of pain, arching his back and looking dangerously drowsy all the while.
"Butters! What's wrong buddy?!" I all but yelled at the fragile and quaking ball of hurt, unable to resist a smirk when he beamed through his pain at finally being referred to in a friendly way.
"Ke-n-n-nny!" He howled, his breaths becoming dangerously sharp and unhelping. "Ch-chest-est." He looked panicked that he couldn't get enough words out.
"Okay, Butters buddy. I get it. Your chest hurts from being beat so much," I confirmed, seeing him wince at my wording. "Do your parents know?"
He quickly shrunk away from me at the mention of his parents. And then, like the trigger of a .45, it clicked.
No, not Butters. Why?
"Buddy," I started, trying to get him to feel as comfortable as possible, "did your parents do this to you?"
A frightened nod.
No... No! No! No!
I wanted to scream and cry, but then I rememberred the writhing boy in my arms who required imiediate medical attention.
His eyes started to flutter shut.
"Butters! It's gonna be okay. You're gonna be okay." I spoke clearly, making it so that he was cradled in my arms like an infant and he snuggled his head into my neck; soaking it with his acidic tears. "You just gotta stay awake for me, buddy. Please."
"Kenny? Butters? Dude, what are you doing to Butters?" A familliar, puzzled voice asked from behind us.
I turned to see Stan. Thank fuck!
Butters moaned weakley in my arms. He was fading fast.
"Shush, it's alright, Butters. It's only Stan." I whispered, starting to rock slowly to offer some sort of comfort.
The cheekily suggestive smirk fell from Stan's face as he fell to his knees next to us.
"Stan, you gotta go get Butters some help. I don't think he's breathing right." I begged, starting to breathe heavily myself to help Butters out a little.
"What happened?" He gasped, looking at the heaped pile of Butters that was resting painfully in my arms.
"His parents fucking beat him half to death. Please, go get help."
Stan looked disgusted, but sprinted off in the direction of Hell's Pass.
I turned my attention back to Butters.
"How're you doing, Buttercup?" I inquired quietly, trying to keep him awake.
"Ke-enny?" He whimpered.
"Yeah, buddy," I replied quickly.
"Do-o yo-ou me-mean-n tha-at?" He asked sweetly, making me furious at how undeserving of his treatment Butters truly was.
"Of course I do, buddy." I confirmed, smiling into his frightened eyes reassuringly.
I noticed him relax a little. Good.
"You-ou're-re my-y f-f-firs-irst f-f-friend-end," he cried softly, pulling himslef closer to me.
My heart all but burst. Or, rather, it would've if I wasn't Kenny McCormick.
"You're gonna be alright, buddy. I promise, and I don't break promises to my friends."
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