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For once, Butters was actually looking forward to a Saturday night.

He ate dinner as quickly as possible without getting grounded (shoving food into your face was rude and didn't allow for proper digestion, a groundable offense) and tried to act casual until it was time to go to bed. It wasn't easy. Butters’s heart was pounding so hard he was almost sure his parents could hear it, but Linda and Stephen paid him about as much attention as they always did, which is to say, none. It seemed like the only time his parents ever really even looked at him was when he was doing something wrong. It always kind've bothered him --- in the vague way everything his parents did kind've bothered him --- but for once Butters was glad they were so negligent. It was his turn to do this dishes after dinner, and Butters made sure to take his time with it so that he didn't break a plate (two weeks grounded) forget to rearrange the silverware (three weeks grounded) or leave the pantry open (four weeks grounded). Linda and Stephen were sitting in front of the living room TV when he poked his head in, shyly rubbing his knuckles.

"I-I'm all done," Butters announced, "H-heading' to bed now. Night Mom, night Dad."

Stephen only grunted, his eyes never once leaving the magazine he was flipping through, but Linda offered him a faint smile, her voice soft. That was the thing about his Mom. She always did have a smile ready for him, even if she ignored everything else. "Good night, son."

Butters ducked quietly up the stairs, feeling a little queasy, a little guilty, a little sad.

"Wuh-when was the last time you gave Mom a hug?" He whispered to himself, still rubbing his knuckles. "Give Mom a hug tomorrow. You're sneaking outta the house, s-...

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... pipe's rusted metal surface. It was ice-cold and slick with frost, and Butters found himself slipping fast, his window sill disappearing in a sudden rush.

"Wuh-ahh...! Ooof!" The snow was softer than cement, but only a little. Butters lay on his back, dazed. It was as he was lying there, counting the birds circling around his throbing head, that he realized he probably should have used the tree growing right outside his bedroom window instead.

"Oh, hamburgers..."

Wincing, Butters rolled on his side, and managed to climb to his feet. That was going to leave one heck of a bruise. His first attempt at sneaking out had been less than graceful but...he was out. That was what counted, right?

"Well...heh, alright! That wasn't so bad!"

Checking left and right, Butters dashed through his yard, climbed awkwardly over his fence, and took off at a run down the street.
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