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

Chapter Seven - Cry Me a River

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 - 5984 words - Complete

Cry Me a River (Said to someone whose tears fall on unsympathetic ears)
Colorado, August 2010, Summer
As he sat reading on the lawn outside his trailer, Craig had noticed an expensive-looking silver BMW coming up the driveway of his boss’s property. His boss was at work, so he placed the piece of tissue to mark the page he had reached in Holding the Man and stood up to meet whoever was in the car.
A middle aged woman, wearing a tailored grey pantsuit and with her hair in a tight bun, stepped out of the car. He raised his good hand in greeting, forcing a friendly smile.
“Sorry, Aisha isn’t here at the moment. Can I help you?”
She pulled a file from the car and shut the door.
“Craig Tucker?”
“Uh, yeah?”
She began to walk towards him.
“My name is Susan Metcalfe. I’m a solicitor at Harcourt and Associates.”
He was bewildered, and tried to ignore the stabbing pain in his ribs as his heart thumped painfully against them.
She pulled a piece of paper from her file and handed it to him.
“You are hereby served with a protection order issued by the Park County Combined Court. You are not to come within two hundred feet of Patricia Tucker. You are not to make contact with her by any means whatsoever, including but not limited to phone call, text, or email.”
“Wait, what?”
“Thomas and Laura Tucker have obtained a protection order following the documentation of bruises on Patricia’s body that she testified you gave her in an act of civil battery.”
Craig couldn’t speak. His head span.
“The parties have elected not to press charges against you. They felt the protection order would be sufficient.”
Craig’s heart thumped in his ears. He stared at the paper she had handed him, but couldn’t make sense of the words. They blurred before him.
“Mr Tucker, do you understand the effect of the protection order?”
Craig felt himself nodding.
“Okay. If you wish to defend the order you may do so by filing a counter claim in the Combined Court within fourteen working days. Do you understand?”
He felt himself nodding again.
“Okay. That will be all. Have a nice day, Mr Tucker.”
The rushing in his ears roared like violent cascading water. He dimly registered the shiny BMW peeling out of Aisha’s driveway and out of sight.

The summers in South Park certainly never got particularly warm, but for a few weeks much of the snow on the ground would melt. The ice capped mountains certainly wouldn’t come close to defrosting, but some of the braver kids could be seen in shirt sleeves late into the evenings as they hurtled around the streets on bikes and skateboards, enjoying their freedom from school for the entirety of August. Clyde, Jimmy, and Token sauntered down the main drag, Clyde and Token passing a cigarette back and forth between them.
Token blew out the smoke as they approached Tweek’s street. “Is he answering?”
Jimmy shook his head, looking grim. “N-nope.”
Clyde pulled a face and touched the hair at the back of his head, looking a little like Tweek as he did so.
“Do either of you guys know what happened?”
Jimmy shook his head. “All T-Tweek would say was Craig got k-k-kicked out by his parents and not to go to their house. I haven’t h-heard from Craig in weeks.”
Token shrugged and passed the cigarette to Clyde. “No one has.”

The evening stars faintly sparkled above him as Tweek sat on the stairs outside his parents’ house, a Physics textbook from the University of Boulder across his lap. He sighed and looked up at the night sky, pulling his cardigan around him a little tighter.
That’s Venus up there. The Morning Star, or the Evening Star.
Craig had told him that. He had always been fascinated with space, ever since they were really young kids. As they had gotten closer and older, Tweek had realised it was probably a coping mechanism. Think about how tiny we are in the universe, and maybe your dad doesn’t seem so big, your problems don’t seem so massive and inescapable. You could live on a star together somewhere, far away from all of this.
Tweek glanced down and noticed the wet spots on the textbook page. He rubbed at them with his finger. Damn. The nice old lady in the library won’t like me anymore if I damage a book.
He swallowed to clear the lump in his throat and put his head in his hands.
As the boys rounded the street, they noticed a small solitary figure sitting outside the Tweaks’ house. Jimmy frowned. “Is that him?”
Token nodded. “Yeah.”
Tweek didn’t see them approaching in the rapidly falling darkness. A twig snapped somewhere on the driveway and he was instantly on his feet, reaching inside his jacket. He shouted out into the blackness.
“He’s not here! I don’t know where he is!”
Clyde frowned at the sound of Tweek’s voice, a combination of distinct fear, anger, and grief. He turned to Jimmy and Token, who looked just as confused as he felt. “Tweek? It’s us.”
The narrow figure standing under the bright security light turned his head toward them, and even from their position a hundred metres away they could see him deflate.
“Oh. Ok. Sorry. Hey, guys.”
Token reached the stairs first, and watched Tweek blink at him in the light, his pale face corpselike in the washing lights. Token was shocked by how exhausted and anxious Tweek looked, even by the standards they were accustomed to.
He stepped onto the bottom stair, smiling at Tweek gently. “Hey, man. What’s up?”
Tweek took a step back. “Not much. What about you?”
Token frowned and slowly stepped onto the second stair. “Well, not much either. You weren’t answering any of us. We were worried about you.”
Tweek pulled at a lock of hair, staring at Jimmy and Clyde who stood behind Token on the grass. “Oh. Right.” He held the textbook against his chest, clutching it to himself.
Jimmy swung his legs onto the bottom stair, and then lifted his crutches after him. “Tweek? What’s going on with you and Craig?”

Tweek sat cross legged on the end of his double bed, his feet tucked underneath him and his hands clasped in his lap. He took a deep breath and let it out, blinking rapidly.
From the floor, Clyde cleared his throat. Token shot him a look from across the room where he sat at Tweek’s desk, the spinning chair turned out to face his friends.
Jimmy spoke first, lifting himself a little in Tweek’s armchair. His crutches lay on the floor.
“Tweek? Have you h-heard from Craig lately?”
They watched as Tweek stared at his hands, slowly shaking his head.
“Do you know where he is?”
“Why did his folks kick him out?”
“What did you do to piss him off, dude?”
Tweek raised his head a little, and they saw the tears welling in his eyes.
“He, uh, he told me he bought a trailer from his boss. I think he’s living in it. I don’t know where. Maybe at her place.”
“That dyke mechanic?”
Jimmy saw Tweek flinch at Clyde’s words. Token spoke.
“So, what? Did he just have a scrap with his dad or something?”
Tweek mumbled something.
“Not exactly.”
Token stood up and walked to Tweek’s bed, perching on the other end from Tweek.
“Tweek? Dude, what the fuck is going on here?”
Tweek looked down at his hands again. When he raised his head, they saw the purple shadows under his eyes in startling contrast with his thin face, drained of any colour whatsoever. He sighed.
“Ok. Look. The thing is – Craig and I were kind of, you know. Together.”
“Like – gay?”
Tweek raised his head slowly, and nodded.
“Uh huh.”
“Um, ok then. That’s kind of weird.”
Tweek frowned at Clyde, who had spoken last. “What?”
“I just, I dunno. You, I could see being like that. Maybe. But Craig, nah. Really?”
Tweek could feel Token trying to edge away from him. Jimmy stared at him, his mouth hanging open. Suddenly Tweek gave an angry laugh.
“Well, maybe it’s a big shock to you all. But yup, that’s what happened. We were together for nearly two years. And no, we weren’t hurting anyone. And neither of us wanted to make a move on anyone else. It was just easier to keep it private. I mean, whose business is it really? But his dad caught us in bed, and beat the shit out of him. I had to take him to the hospital for broken bones. And he was so upset he broke up with me and moved into a trailer. So, to answer your question, that’s what the fuck is going on.”
He was breathing hard, his hands clenched into fists. Token moved back onto the desk chair, abandoning any attempt at subtlety. Jimmy looked deeply uncomfortable and stared past Tweek at the night sky through the window. Only Clyde spoke.
“Ok. Well, you could have told us. You should have. Frankly, it’s really fucked up that you didn’t.”
Tweek glowered at him. “What?”
“Yeah. You heard me. We had sleepovers. We changed in front of you at the beach. We played chicken fight at the pool. And now you’re saying you were wanting to touch our dicks the whole time?”
Jimmy reached for his crutches. “Clyde -”
“No. I can’t believe this. This is fucked. Up.”
Tweek stood up and faced Clyde. Clyde wasn’t as tall as Craig, but he still towered over Tweek. Rationally Tweek knew that Clyde could really hurt him, but his anger was hot and deadly. When he spoke to Clyde, it was in a voice barely above a whisper.
“If you really believe that, Clyde, then you’d better get the goddamn fucking hell out of my room right now.”
Clyde leaned over him for a moment, and Tweek’s mind snapped back to his confrontation with Laura Tucker a few weeks ago. Anger surged through him, and when Clyde’s glare faltered he knew it had shown on his face.
“Now you listen to me, Fuck Donovan. You are not to go anywhere near Craig or say a goddamn thing to him about this. If you so much as touch him -”
Suddenly Clyde grabbed the dark green collar of Tweek’s favourite button-down and raised his fist, his face an inch from Tweek’s.
The green eyes met the grey, and the world seemed to freeze. In his mind’s eye, Craig stood before him, naked and bruised, but smiling as he moved towards Tweek.
Tweek laughed bitterly, shaking his head even as his nose bumped against Clyde’s chin. For a crazy second he thought Clyde was about to kiss him.
“Go on then. Do it. Kill me, Clyde. Honestly? I don’t even care.”
A lump caught in his throat. “Just don’t hurt Craig. Please. Don’t hurt him.”
As they stared at each other unblinking, Tweek braced himself for the pain.
Clyde finally looked away, grinding his teeth. He dropped Tweek, who stumbled slightly but quickly regained his footing to stand strong. Clyde turned his back on Tweek and moved towards the doorframe.
“Come on, guys. Let’s go.”
Token stood up and joined Clyde at the doorway. He glanced back at Tweek, his face expressionless.
Jimmy used his crutches to push himself to his feet. He followed them out of Tweek’s bedroom and into the hallway, pulling the door shut behind him.
Tweek heard the front door slam. He let out the breath he had been holding in and collapsed on the unmade bed, drawing his knees to his chest and finally starting to cry.

The moths fluttered around his head as he sat on the steps of his trailer, gazing into the woods behind his boss’s house without really seeing. It really was very kind of her to tow it back to her house and let him park it on her property. Beyond that, however, she definitely kept him at arms’ length. He could live on her property, but she certainly wasn’t going to be his foster mother. Fair enough. In a lot of ways, it made things easier.
He took a drag on the cigarette with his good hand and flicked ash onto the ground. Beside him, the bottle of Jim Beam lay half empty. Good job, Tucker. You’re only sixteen and you’re already self-made trailer trash.
His phone buzzed in his pocket. He felt his brow furrow involuntarily and took another, more intense drag. He coughed and winced at the sharp pain in his ribs. Stop smoking, you stupid fuck.
Sighing, Craig held the cigarette between his lips, gently touching the jagged chip in his teeth with his tongue. It made it hard to eat, not that he had much of an appetite. He’d get it filed down when he could afford it, he told himself as he pulled his phone from his pocket.
Fuck. It was a message from Tweek. If he was honest with himself, not that he was about to be, he’d known all along that it would be. From inside his trailer, the album Theatre is Evil played softly on his old laptop in an attempt to make the single wide feel a bit more like a home.
It doesn’t matter if you want it back. You’ve given it away, you’ve given it away.
He took a deep breath, filling his lungs and ignoring the burning in his ribs. He pressed the little ‘message’ icon and opened Tweek’s text.
He’s already on the outskirts. I’m still pulling on his sweatshirt.

“Craig - Clyde, Jimmy and Token know about us. I thought it would be ok to tell them, but it wasn’t. Please be careful. They might come after you. I’m so sorry.”

Craig felt his heart thump painfully against his ribs. He held the bottle between his knees and unscrewed the cap before lifting it to his mouth and taking a bravery swig. He put it back down and took another drag on his cigarette.

He says ‘fate is not a factor’. I’m in love with a reactor.

There was more to the message. He scrolled down.
“Please, just let me come and get you and bring you home. I can come and pick you up right now. Please just tell me where you are. I love you, Craig.”

Ready for attack, you're upstaged and then you're strangled.
Craig felt the tears pricking his eyes.
All he wanted was to crawl into Tweek’s bed beside his warm little body and fall asleep with him. But he knew he couldn’t do that.
He closed his eyes and pictured Tweek looking so small and sad amongst all the college students at Boulder. And then he pictured him catching the attention of the Faculty.
His chest grew tight as he imagined Tweek getting drawn into his problems. He knew that it could really damage Tweek’s prospects for the rest of his life.
Now you're blind, and you can't catch me, catch me if you can...

Sitting alone on the step, Craig looked to the sky and noticed Venus shining above him. The animals and insects of the night had grown steadily louder around him as night fell.
He sniffed impatiently as he typed out a reply to Tweek’s message.
“Hey dude, thanks for letting me know. What dickheads, haha. I’m all good here, dw about me. C”
He stubbed out his cigarette and dropped the butt into the metal can he kept on the ground. He walked up the steps of his trailer, closing the door behind him.
Undressing himself was awkward with his splinted arm and healing ribs. He unbuttoned his jeans and wriggled out of them, leaving them on the bed. Craig climbed into the narrow bed his trailer boosted. He pulled the covers to his chin.
As he drew his knees to his aching chest, he gazed up at the picture tacked beside the bed. Tweek’s elated face shone on the wall, laughing at something offhand Craig had said to him sometime the past winter, looking really fucking cute with Craig’s blue hat on his head and a red scarf around his neck. It felt a million years ago now.
He wiped his eyes on the bedclothes that Tweek had salvaged from his parents’ house a few weeks ago. They still smelled like Tweek.

His arm and ribs healed reasonably quickly, and he returned to working the desk at the garage within two weeks, despite the pain. He was grateful for the savings he’d accumulated over the two and a half years of working for the garage, having started looking for work on his fourteenth birthday. His parents never paid much attention to how much he was out of the house, and he hadn’t told them about his job at the garage as he knew his parents would probably try and take at least part of his earnings. If he was entirely honest with himself, he’d always wanted to have something to live on in case he ever had to leave quickly.
It was the psychological scars that would take much longer to heal. He had no access to the internet, but there was little doubt in his mind that he had some kind of depressive disorder. He knew he really needed to talk to someone about it.
But who was there to talk to? Aisha had been so good to him, but their relationship still felt awkward. She had been very kind in selling him the trailer at a discount and letting him park it on her property. She even let him use her laundry, kitchen and bathroom in return for chipping in for the utility bills. But she was still his boss, and he knew he had to keep up the appearances of being ok if he wanted to keep his job.
His family?
His friends?
He laughed bitterly at the thought of turning to his parents, or to Token, Clyde, or Jimmy. Christ.
Craig had two sessions with a therapist, whom he was referred to by a GP. He’d been kind enough, but his manner was clinical. He had a grating habit of responding with a cold ‘suuure’ whenever Craig told him something that was difficult to say. His sexuality, the abuse by his parents and his uncertain living situation, his friends’ reaction to his being gay, his breakup with Tweek. He tried to explain his reasons for breaking up with Tweek, expecting himself to break down and reach for the bright floral tissue box on the coffee table between them. But he didn’t. He still couldn’t show feelings to anyone but Tweek. Besides, he felt totally numb.
The therapist clearly didn’t understand. And the appointments were expensive. He didn’t feel any better afterwards.
He accepted a prescription for a SSRI, and took the pills for the duration of the summer. He didn’t feel any better on them.
Deep down, Craig knew the only thing that would make him feel better. But at the same time, daring himself to think about him was the thing that made Craig feel worst of all.
Initially he had answered Tweek’s calls. He had tried his best to keep his voice upbeat, even. He knew it wasn’t going to convince Tweek.
He had tried his best to explain that it wasn’t anything Tweek had done. Tweek had tried his best to understand, but Craig knew that Tweek still blamed himself. For that, Craig was racked with guilt. He was overcome with grief at missing Tweek. Above all, he hated himself for pushing Tweek away. Despite the pills, the darkness and the emptiness bit deeper into him as the summer bled on.
He dreaded seeing Tweek again.

California, August 2014, Summer
Tweek spent the rest of the summer before he had to go back to college trying to push thoughts of Sam’s offer out of his head. Feeling guilty and with his gratitude for Craig renewed, he focused on spending as much time with him as he could.
One beautiful sunny Saturday towards the beginning of the term, they spent the afternoon lying in bed together with the curtains and windows open, dozing off in the sun. They had already made love and lay together, their bare bodies entwined under a soft sheet. Tweek lay with his head against Craig’s chest, Craig nuzzling his hair.
“Your hair’s so lovely and soft, Tweek. Damn, I must have messed up the days with washing my hair. I thought it wasn’t til tomorrow but clearly I should have this morning. It’s so greasy, ha.”
“There’s something about Piccolo.”
“Bruh. Too far. Late check out.”
Tweek groaned and slowly sat up, fatigue gripping his muscles as he moved. He turned back to smiled down at Craig, the sheet tangled around them both.
“Ok, stinky. Let’s jump in the shower. I’ll wash your hair for you, if you like.”
“Ooh. Nice.”
As they stood under the warm stream together, Tweek gently massaging shampoo into the roots of Craig’s hair and working conditioner through with his fingertips, he suddenly felt a spark of calm.
Would it really be so bad if you lost your scholarship?
The calm was gone again as soon as that thought sprang to mind.
Yes. Don’t be weak just because you’re having a nice day with your boyfriend. You can’t control others. You can’t control what happens with Craig in the future, but you can control this. You can control your career.
You need to let him do whatever he wants to do.
Make some other goddamn friends. Let him do the same.
Literally, what would you do if you lost him?
Just keep being cute. Keep being nice. Keep smiling and trying to be a halfway decent person to be around.
Maybe try and lose some goddamn weight and present a bit better.
He says you’re beautiful but surely that’s not true. Have you looked in the mirror lately?
The roar of the shower was deafening. He reached the top of Craig’s head to start rinsing out the conditioner. Craig was so much taller than him that it was hard to reach, and his arms ached with the effort. He had wanted the intimacy of washing Craig’s hair, something they hadn’t done together in a long time, but now he just wanted to finish as soon as he could so he could go and lie back down. Christ.
He realised Craig was saying something and forced his foggy brain to focus. It was really hard to focus on washing his hair while also listening to him over the shower.
Good luck getting all your grades up to 95% or better, if you can’t even do that.
It’s ok, I’m just overstimulated. I just need to work harder. I’m good at focusing.
Stop thinking about yourself.
“ - I really hope this isn’t a fucked-up thing to say, but I only just consciously realised it. You know it was Tricia who taught me how to wash my hair? I mean, Mom taught her how to do it, but they didn’t teach me. So, she showed me how.”
Tweek smiled at Craig’s back. “Aw, that’s really cute.” Tweek couldn’t see Craig’s face but he knew what his expression would look like.
“Yeah. It wasn’t weird, we were like five and six or something.”
“That’s good. I won’t start picturing Wuthering Heights. The moors of Colorado.”
Craig let out a husky laugh, but Tweek saw the sadness in his eyes as he turned back to face him. He knew it far too well, but he knew humour was the best way Craig coped with it. Remembrance helped too, but practical action wasn’t an option.
‘I guess it wouldn’t be so bad, at least, since there’s less than two years between you.’
‘Ha. Gross. I guess you’re right. I mean, I think often if siblings are so close in age they just don’t get on. But it was never like that. Maybe it would have been different if we’d had a better childhood, I don’t know.’
Craig shrugged as he turned off the shower. Tweek reached out and grabbed a towel. He gently reached out to begin drying off Craig’s hair as he spoke. ‘Maybe. Somehow, I doubt it, thought. The love was so real. Is so real.’
Craig smiled thinly and took the towel to rub his hair more roughly. ‘Thanks, honey. Can we even really say is anymore, though?’ He dried off his shoulders and torso, moving down over his legs and smiling thinly as he wrapped it around his waist.
Tweek watched him, frowning. “Surely we can. Is there really no way you could get in touch with her? I mean, I know we’ve looked into it, but we could – “
Craig shook his head, gently interrupting him. “Babe, it’s just not a possibility. You remember what the community law centre said.”
Slowly Tweek nodded.
Craig smiled thinly, holding Tweek’s gaze for a moment before opened the shower door. He handed Tweek a towel from the hook on the back of the bathroom door. Tweek hastily rubbed it against his own damp hair, shutting the shower door again, quickly drying himself off and securing the towel under his armpits to hide his torso as he spoke. “Well, I don’t know. We’ve paid off your tooth now. Maybe we can go to a proper lawyer?”
“Maybe. Let’s see how things go first.”
Tweek knew Craig was right. It was kind of Craig not to mention the scholarship specifically. Nevertheless, his chest tightened a little under the towel as even more pressure to get the 95% average pushed against the walls of his skull. Craig must have seen his expression through the foggy glass door because he went on.
“Either way, the community lawyers are still good, even if they can’t take a case. We need to remember what they said about procedure and jurisdiction and onus. We’d have a much better chance of it getting overturned if Tricia was the applicant. I guess I just have to hope that maybe she’ll do it one day.”
Tweek opened the shower door once he was sure the towel was securely wrapped around him. As Craig stepped through the bathroom door and back into their bedroom, Tweek softly called after him. “I hope for that every day, sweetheart.”
Craig met Tweek’s eyes as Tweek followed him into the bedroom. He nodded hard and blinked rapidly, turning his face away quickly. Tweek watched as Craig moved to the bed and dropped his towel on the floor. He climbed back under the sheet, lifting it and looking up at Tweek, his eyes sad. ‘Come join me, babe. I’ll pick up our towels in a bit.’
Tweek stood awkwardly, clutching his towel around himself. “It’s ok, I can get them. I just – Craig, I just wish you could speak to her. I wish I could speak to her. I really miss her too. I wish I could do something to fix this.”
Craig’s smile was tired. “You know I want to, too. But I just can’t. Like, there’s no way.”
“I’m sorry. I know. I don’t mean to go on about it.” Tweek picked up Craig’s towel from the floor, holding up his towel. He padded into the adjoining living room and Craig heard him hanging it on the clothes horse. When Tweek came back, he was still wearing his towel.
Craig sighed. “Babe, it’s ok. I’m sorry too. I’m not mad. It just sucks.”
“Sorry, I know it’s super inconsistent. I can never predict how I’ll feel. It’s different when we’re under the sheets. It’s even different when we’re in the shower, since you can’t really see me that well. But standing up naked in front of you is just – it’s really, really hard to do. Fuck, I’m sorry, Craig. I know that’s such a horrible, selfish thing to say when we’re talking about Tricia.” For a moment Tweek looked like he might cry.
When they were kids, Craig had been underweight because his parents didn’t feed him properly. While Tweek had been comparatively well looked after, he often gave his packed lunch to Craig when they were in grade school. Craig had felt really bad taking it, but Tweek insisted his Mom gave him too much.
When they were a bit older, Craig would realise that the Ritalin Tweek had to take twice a day suppressed his appetite.
When they were older than that, he realised his friend didn’t eat much because he felt sick when he was really anxious, which was on more days than not.
When they were even older again, he quickly noticed his boyfriend would often go days without eating anything, despite religiously running several miles every day when he wasn’t studying. Sometimes when they got takeout with Clyde and Token and Jimmy Tweek would go to the bathroom straight after, loudly run the tap for a couple of minutes, and come back even shakier than usual, with his face flushed and his eyes glassy.
He had been so exhausted after his parents’ death that he had stopped exercising and started eating regular meals. With his metabolism slowed to a crawl after at least a decade of malnutrition, his body had softened noticeably under a normal regimen.
A few times over the past few months he had come to bed from the bathroom after dinner, shaking a little bit and visibly upset, and Craig would know he had made himself throw up as Tweek curled up beside him, hugging himself while Craig gently rubbed his back.
He never made it worse by trying to push Tweek into discussing it. He understood that Tweek always regretted purging because it made him feel so awful, especially if it was a few hours after eating, when it was even more difficult to induce physically, and made him feel much sicker than if he’d just eaten. It was a compulsion that came from self-loathing.
He had learned long ago that trying to get Tweek to eat wasn’t helpful. Tweek had worked really hard to get better. He didn’t want to be like this. And he was doing so much better than he had earlier. He hated his weight gain, but Craig preferred seeing him a healthier size.
“Honey. I promise it’s ok. I understand. Come here and give me a cuddle. Please.”
Tweek took a shaky breath. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I am.”
Tweek approached the bed, but didn’t drop his towel until he was about to get under the sheet. Craig was all set to cuddle him, but then Tweek wrapped his arms around Craig and pulled him into his soft chest, slowly rubbing his back. “Craig. I’m ok. I promise. Please tell me how you’re feeling. Tell me what you’re thinking about.”
Craig took a shaky breath, relaxing against Tweek. “Ok. I miss her. I really do. I mean, when we were kids she was just my annoying little sister. Craig, bring Tricia with you! But Moooom! And I could be such a grumpy little shit to her. I feel bad for that now. I really do.”
Craig smiled thinly. He looked past Tweek, at a little sparrow perched amongst the blossoms outside, pecking at them.
“She was so shy and sweet when she was little, but once she was old enough to really understood him hitting me, she got so vocal about it. Like, she had no fear. Dad, stop hitting Craig! You’re hurting him! He didn’t like her having a mind of her own. But she wasn’t afraid of him, and I was so relieved that he never hit her too. He never hit Mom either, as far as I know at least. That’s good to know now, even if I just try not to think about them. She didn’t hit me, but it’s not like she was much better.”
Tweek just nodded silently, Craig still pressed close to his chest and wrapped in his arms. He knew this story far too well.
“She was too perceptive for her own good. I’ll never forget when she just walked into my room and said, ‘You love Tweek, don’t you?’ I mean for God’s sake.”
“Maybe we weren’t as good as hiding it as we thought.”
“Maybe. I always thought Dad suspected us even before he knew for sure. He beat me much more after it started.”
Tweek held him a little tighter. Craig gave a little laugh.
“I’ll never know how she figured it out. I wonder if she all just heard your cute voice through the wall. You weren’t exactly good at keeping quiet when you got excited talking to me. But I think even without that it was pretty obvious from the way we looked at each other.”
He raised his head to meet Tweek’s gaze and laughed.
“Yeah. Like that.”
Tweek frowned. “Like what?”
“Yeah, exactly.” Craig kissed his cheek and Tweek hugged him as Craig kept talking.
“I mean, it was nice having someone else I could really talk to about it. Someone who understood why it was a problem in our house. Dad was so loud about hating fags and queers.”
Tweek pulled a face. He’d witnessed it too many times to count.
“I had really hoped Token and Jimmy and Clyde wouldn’t care. And the thing is, I think subconsciously I had really kind of thought they wouldn’t. I mean, Token and Jimmy knew our town wasn’t a great place to live if you were different. But their families loved them anyway. Clyde didn’t have to deal with any redneck prejudice bullshit, but he didn’t have that loving family either. I mean, he was just with his dad after his mom died, and his dad hated him. Poor guy. No wonder he cried so much. I mean his dad kept him, but it wasn’t a nice place to live. Despite everything, I do feel bad for him. I hope he’s doing better for himself now. That doesn’t mean I want to know him. It’s the same with Token and Jimmy, and honestly Aisha too. They’re not bad people. I’m grateful to Aisha. But it’s best to just move forward.”
Craig took a long, slow breath. He stared out the window for a few moments as Tweek gently caressed his arm.
“I really wish things could have been different with them. But there’s no point in wishing for things you can’t change, is there? I’m not bothered about those guys, or my parents, or Aisha, but it’s different with Tricia.”
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