Categories > Cartoons > South Park > Learning to Swim - A Creek (Craig x Tweek) Fanfic

Chapter Five - Smooth Runs the Water where the Brook is Deep

by CrimsonCrowCreek 0 reviews

Over the course of several years, our faves Tweek and Craig support each other as friends and as lovers, from grade school to college, Colorado to California, to go through a lot of challenges that...

Category: South Park - Rating: R - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Warnings: [V] [X] [R] [Y] - Published: 2022-04-27 - 2915 words - Complete

Smooth Runs the Water where the Brook is Deep (often below a calm, quiet, and reserved exterior lies a passionate nature)
California, July 2014, Summer
Tweek had always struggled with getting up in the morning. For most of his life it had been due to insomnia. Usually he’d find it really hard to drift off, but in the morning all he’d want to do was sleep. It was a little different with Craig, but they were both naturally night owls. Craig’s workday beginning at eight had forced them to get into a sensible sleeping pattern, but neither of them liked rising early.
Since his parents’ death he didn’t struggle to sleep like he used to. The problem was that he could sleep for sixteen hours and still wake up exhausted.
He hadn’t been to a doctor. He knew why it was, even if nobody else did.
His meeting with the Dean was at 8:30.
The chairs outside the Dean’s office were a lot more comfortable than the ones outside the counsellor’s office at South Park elementary had been. Despite that being nearly twelve years ago he could still remember them well. At least he didn’t have to take the Ritalin anymore. It never did a damn thing to help him.
Granted, his grades hadn’t been good in the last year. He’d spent a lot of time helping Craig prepare for his GED exams when he’d known he should have been studying. If he was honest with himself he’d have admitted that he just wanted to spend some time with Craig.
For the most part, though, he had to study. He’d never found the work at Caltech remotely easy, and now it was really starting to ramp up. He was obligated to keep tutoring for the rest of the year, but he really didn’t want to. His current batch of students weren’t as friendly as those of the preceding term, and he just wanted to study and try to somehow recharge. He had drifted out of contact with the vague friends he had made in his first year and a half at Caltech. He simply didn’t have the energy to maintain the friendships, and while they were all sympathetic they were typically people who had never had to deal with anything like Tweek had and could never truly understand the reasons for his absence.
He’d received a B+ average, worryingly lower than the average lingering at a low but inarguable A- that he’d received in his second year even after his parents’ deaths. It may have been a dip from his first year, but it was still enough to keep his scholarship.
Despite Craig trying so hard to reassure him, he knew that the news with the Dean was unlikely to be good. He took a deep breath, trying to slow his panicking thoughts.
Look. It’ll be fine. Even if they stop funding you, you can spend that on education. Or just take out a loan like everyone else. You got Craig’s tooth fixed. What more do you need?
He knew he was deluding himself. It wasn’t about the funding, though he would have felt so guilty for burdening Craig with his own student debt.
It was about the embarrassment of having his scholarship taken away and having that information known, having to disclose it to potential interviewers or even if he left the scholarship from his CV entirely, having disclosure risked when they spoke to Caltech about him. They only took away a scholarship if you’d really taken a dive.
“Tweek Tweak?”
His reprieve was broken by the soft lilt of the voice addressing him. He looked up to see a young woman dressed in a floral dress with a cardigan standing a few feet him.
Politely he smiled at her as he got to his feet.
“Hi, that’s me.”
“I’m Claire, the departmental receptionist.”
“Hey, Claire. Nice to meet you.”
“You too, Tweek. Look. I’m really sorry to tell you this, but Professor Moran has had a family emergency. She’s had to fly out of town, so she can’t meet with you. We’ll reschedule for her to meet with her once she’s back in town, but she’s unsure how long that will be. It could be a few weeks, or even a few months. She extends her sincerest apologies for the inconvenience.”
His heart sank.
“Is there no one else who can meet with me?”
“We’ll look into it, but she prefers to meet with her students personally where she can. If it turns out she’ll be a long time we’ll see who else can meet with you, and failing that the Faculty will write to you.”
‘Ok, uh, thanks. Can you give me any indication as to what she wanted to meet me about? Please?’
‘I’m afraid I can’t. Moran treats her students’ privacy with the utmost importance.’
“Oh, ok.”
“Thank you for understanding.”
She nodded to him and abruptly walked away, the clacking of her heels echoing down the corridor.
Tweek could feel himself on the verge of tears. He knew it wouldn’t be good news, or they would have told them what it was about when they rang to ask him to come in and meet with the Dean. He knew it was almost certainly their removal of his scholarship, or at least a warning. But the stress of the suspense was too much.
How can they just expect me to wait indefinitely without even telling me what’s going on?
He struggled to control his breathing as he stumbled towards the stairwell. Only staff were permitted inside. He dug his phone from his pocket and pressed Craig’s number to call him, his hands shaking with anxiety as he leaned weakly against the cold concrete wall.
It went straight to voicemail.
Blinking back tears, he stubbornly dialled again. Voicemail.
He didn’t leave a message. He slowly sank down the wall, finally reaching the cold floor and putting his head in his hands, trembling.
Tweek jumped as the door to the stairwell clanged open. He squinted up in the dark, blinking at the figure in the bright light.
“Hey, Tweek. Sorry, dude, I had no idea it would be that loud. I hope I didn’t scare you.” An awkward little laugh.
Tweek frowned, clambering to his feet as he tried to place the voice.
“All good. Sorry, um, who are you? It’s dark in here.”
“Ugh, it is, isn’t it? The biochem department apparently have a lot more windows. It’s Sam.”
“Oh, right. Hey, Sam.”
He wasn’t as twitchy as he had been when Tweek encountered him over the summer. He sounded much less aggressive too, much to Tweek’s relief as he looked up at him blocking the door. He didn’t have Craig’s visceral PTSD anxiety around being blocked into a small space by somebody, but it added to the stress building in his brain.
“Tweek, are you ok?”
Tweek impatiently rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand as he trudged up the stairs, clutching his phone with his other hand.
“Yeah. I’m fine, thanks.”
He reached the top of the stairs and forced himself to smile at Sam. Sam put his head on the side, his brow slightly furrowed.
“Are you sure? I mean, I, um. I overheard Claire saying you had a meeting with Professor Moran.”
Tweek shook his head and choked out a laugh as he looked down at his synthetic leather black Doc Martens.
“Ha. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m ok. I don’t know what she’s bringing me in for, but I assume it’s to say they’re ending my scholarship. I mean frankly I kind of tanked last term. Ugh. Sorry, honestly it’s really embarrassing. Wait, how is that even honesty? It’s pretty obvious.”
“Sorry to hear that, Tweek. But, hey. Don’t assume the worst just yet. Were you trying to call someone?”
“Trying, yeah.”
“Do you want to use my phone?”
Tweek forced a smile as he shook his head. “Nah, it’s ok thanks. He’s just not picking up. My boyfriend’s phone died, or he’s just turned it off or something.”
Sam opened the door again, and Tweek finally got a clear look at him in the light that flooded into the windowless stairwell. His expression was unfathomable, his hazel eyes fixed on Tweek. Sam shifted from foot to foot, adjusting his bag on his shoulders. His deep auburn curls fanned around his head, catching the light as he moved.
“Look, man. You kind of sprinted off after Claire spoke to you. I saw. I really don’t think you’re doing ok.”
Tweek tugged at Craig’s scarf, biting his lip.
“Hey. It’s ok. Why don’t you come for a walk with me? I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”

They were the only ones in the cafe Sam took him to, a little greasy spoon on the corner of a couple of streets a few blocks off campus. Sam smiled at him across the table, his hands clutched around a steaming mug of chai tea.
“Thank you for the hot chocolate, Sam.”
“No worries, man.”
“It’s a cute little place here.”
Sam laughed.
“No, it’s really not. It’s disgusting, I know. They keep getting shut down by the health inspectors and the reopening with, like, a C grade before getting shut down again. But the drinks are good, and I really like it because there’s never anyone here.”
Tweek smiled and nodded, feeling uncomfortable as the silence stretched between them.
Sam spoke.
“So. Moran’s called you in for a chat.”
“Uh huh.”
“And she wouldn’t tell you why.”
“And she pushed you back?”
“Yeah. I’m going back when she reschedules. It might not be for a few weeks though.”
Sam let out a low whistle before taking a slow sip of his chai. Tweek frowned.
“Is that bad?”
“It doesn’t sound good, I’ve gotta be honest with you.”
Tweek sighed and stirred his hot chocolate. Absentmindedly he picked up a sugar packet from the bowl on the table and began to fidget with it, tearing the corners slightly.
“Tweek. Do you want to know how I know?”
“I was in your exact position a year ago.”
Tweek looked up at him.
“Yeah. Moran called me in after a crap term for grades and told me I had to really up my game or no scholarship.”
“Oh, shit.”
“Yeah. And, I don’t mean to be a dick, but you told me you had a B+ average last term? And an A- before that?”
“This is going to sound mean, but I’m not trying to be. Ok?”
Tweek nodded as he continued to play with the sugar packet.
“Even after my worst term, my grades were a lot higher than yours. If she told me I was on my last legs, she might not even give you another chance.”
Tweek swallowed, trying to dispel the heavy lump that had formed in his throat.
Sam gave him a sympathetic look and reached across the table to clasp Tweek’s hand. He smiled at Tweek, showing a set of very white, even teeth, no doubt the result of a lot of expensive orthodontic work.
Tweek thought of Craig’s front teeth, a little askew even after they finally gotten the chip fixed. It was an expensive procedure, and Tweek had taken the tutoring job he had grown to hate in order to pay for it.
His heart thumped painfully in his chest. He wanted Craig.
Tweek tried to gently pull his hand out from under Sam’s, emitting an awkward little laugh as he did so.
“Sam. I, um, I told you, dude. I have a boyfriend.”
“Yeah, I know.”
He let go of Tweek’s hand.
“I’m not trying to get into your pants. I just know what you’re going through.”
“Right. Sorry.”
“It’s ok. Look, Tweek. I’m not as smart as most of the people with scholarships here. If I was I wouldn’t have had that meeting with Moran.”
Tweek tried not to look wounded as Sam continued to speak. I mean, he’s right.
“So, what do we mere mortals do to keep up with the prodigies?”
Sam leaned in, beckoning Tweek closer. Tweek leaned in reluctantly, feeling apprehensive.
His voice was barely above a whisper.
“We use a little something to give us that extra boost.”
Tweek must have looked surprised.
Sam’s voice grew even softer.
“Meth. Coke. The odd bit of ecstasy.”
He glanced towards the kitchen and carefully pulled a small bag of crystals from his pocket. He held it out to Tweek under the table. Tweek looked down but didn’t take them.
But your teeth are so good?
The thought was so absurd that suddenly Tweek burst out laughing, his voice ragged. Sam frowned, confused.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He fought to keep his voice from shaking with mirth.
“Oh. Boy. Sam. I know you won’t know this, but a year ago both of my parents were shot to pieces by some gang members in their coffee shop, back in my hometown in Colorado.”
Sam blinked.
“I had no idea about any of this until it happened and the police told me. But they were dealing some serious meth. So, um, yeah. Sorry for laughing. It’s very kind of you to offer. Oh my God, are we talking about Oreos or something?”
He burst out laughing again, hearing himself verging on hysteria. Sam squeezed his mug of tea, and Tweek noticed his white knuckles as he tried to explain himself.
“Sorry, Sam. It’s not funny at all. It’s just kind of ironic. Or coincidental. Whichever. I guess to me it just seems really fucked up that you took me to a cafe to tell me this. They laced their fucking coffee with meth.”
Sam’s unflappable composure was by then completely gone, his eyes wide, his mouth slightly agape. ‘Oh, fuck. Actually, I think I might have seen something about that on the news.’
“Yeah, it was pretty scandalous. Aaand, guess what. There’s even more that didn’t make it on the news. They, uh, ha. They used to give me their coffee with meth in it. From when I was five. Parents of the fucking century, right?”
“Tweek, I didn’t -”
“No, no. It’s ok. Really.”
He smiled wryly over at Sam.
Suddenly his infuriated, defensive amusement dissolved and his anxiety returned to ram him hard in the chest. He sighed and looked down at his hands.
“Fuck. Sam. I’m sorry about that. It’s not funny at all.”
“Um, all good.”
Sam’s face was white.
“Wow. You know you’re the first person I’ve told about that? Like, I haven’t even told Craig.”
“Craig’s your boyfriend, right?”
Sam reached out for Tweek’s hand again. This time Tweek let him rest his warm palm over the back of his hand. When he looked up at Sam, his eyes were fixed on Tweek again.
Tweek noticed the little grey flecks embedded in Sam’s hazel irises.
“It’s ok, Tweek. I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
Tweek took a shuddering breath, nodding as he looked back down at the table. He realised he was still clutching the sugar packet.
“So. You must be pretty addicted, huh?”
Tweek pulled his hand away.
“I mean, what are you, twenty one?”
“Twenty. Nearly. My birthday is next month.”
“Damn. You’re only nineteen. Wow, young.”
“And they died recently.”
“So you were using for, fuck, like, thirteen or fourteen years.”
Tweek raised his eyebrows.
“I guess so?”
“No wonder you’re struggling to perform, dude. That’s really rough.”
Tweek squeezed the sugar packet, his eyes down and his brow furrowed.
From the corner of his eye he could see Sam carefully regaining his composure, seemingly spurred on by Tweek sudden loss of any bravado he could muster. He leaned in and Tweek automatically looked up to meet Sam’s sharp eyes. Sam smiled for half a second before he spoke again.
“So. I need to go and take the ten o’ clock tute in a minute. But, you know. Enjoy the rest of your hot chocolate. And I hope it goes really well with the Dean, when she gets to you. I’ll see you around, Tweek.”
Sam stood up, pulling his black leather jacket on. As he passed Tweek he leaned in and whispered in his ear. ”If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me.”
The tinkling of the bell in the door as Sam walked out of the cafe stabbed him in the gut as he acutely remembered the very similar sound that the bell in his parents’ shop made.
His mind raced as he mechanically picked up the cup in front of him and took a sip of hot chocolate. It was stone cold.
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