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

Chapter Twelve - A Fish out of Water

by CrimsonCrowCreek 0 reviews

Over the course of several years, our adorable wholesome 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...

Category: South Park - Rating: R - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Warnings: [V] [X] [R] [Y] - Published: 2022-04-27 - 4392 words - Complete

A Fish out of Water (uncomfortable in a new situation or environment)
California, October 2014, Fall
Craig drifted in and out of sleep as Tweek drove towards UCLA, the driver’s side window down and the cold night air rushing onto his face, waking him a little.
Tweek tried to snap out of his despondent state as his stomach churned painfully. He knew it was from anxiety and stress. Everything is ok. Forget about your grades. Forget that Craig didn’t call you first yesterday. Just stop being such a whiny little cunt for once and try to have fun.
He gently roused Craig as they approached the campus, placing his hand on Craig’s leg to give it a gentle squeeze. Craig stirred, frowning and blinking under the cold glare of the city lights. “Mmm. I’m awake. Are we here?”
“We’re a couple of minutes away. How are you feeling?”
Craig laughed shakily. “Probably about as hot as I look. Anyway.”
Tweek gently took his hand and brought it to his lips to kiss it. “You look perfect. Are you ok to do this?”
“I’m ok. Are you?”
“Oh yeah, totally.” Tweek squeezed Craig’s hand and gently placed it back on Craig’s leg before moving the gearstick and flipping the indicator. “We’re here.”
Tricia’s friend Saanvi was a grad student who lived in a shared house on campus. They’d been to parties at hers a few times already. She was boisterous, but sincere. Tweek found her easier to talk to than most of Tricia’s friends, he reasoned with himself as he parked outside her place.
Tweek unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his door. He stood up too quickly in the night air and was hit with a head rush. He closed the car door and leaned against the car, squeezing his eyes shut and steeling himself to take deep breaths.
Craig got out of the car more carefully, frowning slightly as he surveyed Tweek. “Hey, honey, are you alright?”
Tweek nodded. “Yeah. Sorry. I’m ok. Just a bit dizzy for some reason.”
“Don’t be sorry. Come here.”
Craig walked around the car to gently put his arm around Tweek and nuzzle the top of his hair. Tweek laughed shakily as he leaned into Craig. “Maybe you should leave me in the car with a juice box.”
Tweek turned to face Craig and snuggle into his chest as Craig responded. “I wish we could stay in the car with a juice box. Orange and mango with apple base, obviously.”
“Absolutely not. Blackcurrant and apple, you heathen. And maybe some animal crackers, the ones with the frosting. And with you, obviously.”
Craig laughed and pulled Tweek in a little closer to him. “Jesus Christ. That sounds so much better. I’d rather just go home, fuck. Get some animal crackers and laugh at the hilariously fucked up ones. That’s my favourite animal.”
Tweek gripped him back. “I love you, Craig.”
“I love you more. Seriously.”
“Not possible. Anyway. Let’s do this.”
They held hands and began walking up to street towards Saanvi’s house.
Craig pulled a face as he rapped his knuckles on the cheap wooden door, and Tweek squeezed his hand reassuringly. They heard Tricia’s voice from inside the house, along with hurried footsteps. “Hey, it’s probably Craig and Tweek – dammit, will you move? Get a room!” They heard her laughing as somebody mumbled something back, before she threw open the door.
“Hey guys! I’m so glad you’re here!” She wrapped Craig in a tight hug, and he quickly let go of Tweek’s hand. “Ugh, I am so proud of you.”
“Aww, thanks.” Craig glanced back at Tweek, who smiled at them. Tricia noticed.
Nothing ever gets past you, does it Trish? Tweek thought as she gave him a hug too. From behind them Craig spoke.
“Hey, Trish? Thank you so much for organising this. It was really nice of you. Um, we don’t want to seem like ungrateful buttholes but we probably won’t stay late, there’s been a flu bug going around and I think we’ve caught it. Shit timing huh?”
“Oh yeah, that’s totally fine. Are you ok?”
“Yeah. Just not up to much partying. Come on, let’s go and see everyone!”
He glanced back at Tweek, who forced a smile as he followed Craig into the house. Tricia shot him a concerned glance as they were about halfway up the hallway, and he forced a smile again.
When they reached the kitchen, Craig was mobbed by people that Tweek struggled to recognise. Why don’t you make an effort? These people are nice. They paid him little mind as he awkwardly hovered in the corner, Tricia standing next to him. She nudged him, and he smiled blandly as he watched the crowd. He could feel her eyes on him.
“Tweek. Dude. You alright?”
He turned to look up at her, trying to keep his eyes bright. “Yeah, I’m good thanks. How are you?”
“I’m good. You just – I don’t mean to be rude, but you look tired. Are you sure you’re ok?’
Internally he sighed.
‘Yeah, I’m doing ok. It’s just been a big week. I’m really glad we’re here, and I really appreciate you and Saanvi putting this on, it was really kind of you.’
Tricia smiled, her warm dark eyes so like her brothers. ‘All good, bro. You’re family too, you know.’
Haven’t you and your brother been through enough already? Nobody should want to be my family.
Goddamn, stop feeling sorry for yourself. These people are nice. They want you here.
They want Craig here. You’re just an add-on that they can’t opt out of.
‘Thanks, Tricia. It means a lot.’
She stepped a little closer to him.
‘So, what happened this week? Something bad?’
For a moment he wanted to confide in her about his scholarship, and the silver anniversary.
It’s not about you. Don’t bring her down. Don’t.
‘Nah, nothing in particular. Just a lot of work. I’m just a bit tired. Actually, I might be an antisocial wimp and nip out for a smoke. Do you want to come for one?”
“I mean, I’ll come with you.”
He laughed. “You’re a better person than me. And I bet your lungs are much prettier too. Nah, you stay here and have fun.”
‘Are you sure?’
‘Totally. Thanks, Tricia.’
Tricia nodded as Craig caught Tweek’s eye from across the room. Tweek smiled at him gently, reassuringly. Craig’s face was pale, and he looked overwhelmed at all the people clapping him on the back. One young man in particular lingered a little too long with his palm on Craig’s shoulder. Tweek felt a sick pang of jealousy.
Just shake it off. Stop projecting your insecurities on him.
Get out of here if you can’t stand seeing him have a friend.
His heart pounding anxiously, Tweek raised his eyebrows at Craig, whose face lit up as he saw his boyfriend and poked his tongue out in response. Tweek sheepishly pulled out the pack of smokes and held them up, shooting Craig a quizzical look. Are you ok if I slip out? Craig smiled and nodded.
Tweek felt even shorter than he usually did as he tried to get through the throngs of people. Pretty girls with long hair and makeup in short summer dresses showing off their slim figures and long graceful legs. Handsome young men in tight jeans and tight t shirts that showed off their gym-sculpted bodies. He tried not to feel too horrendous about his appearance as he squeezed through the crowd.
Finally, he made it to the side door and slipped outside, gently closing it behind him. He took a few steps around the corner where he reached a set of concrete steps and sat down on them. He lit a cigarette as he looked up at the moon, partially obscured by dark purple clouds that swirled across it.
The ground was cold underneath him. Suddenly he heard his mother’s voice in his mind, as clear as it had been when she had spoken. He was five or six, in the first grade or maybe even kindergarten. Either way, Craig Tucker was already firmly his best friend.
Tweek had sat on the concrete outside his parents’ coffee shop, impatiently brushing away the snow with his gloved fingertips as he scrawled with bright blue chalk. His mother had stuck her head out of the shop and called out to him, her voice concerned yet warm.
Don’t sit there, Tweek honey! You’ll get haemorrhoids!
He had had no idea what the word meant.
I’ll get what?
Haemorrhoids. If you sit on the concrete and it’s cold, your intestines will poke out of your bottom.
He remembered giggling. He was still giggling as his mother scooped him up in her arms, kissing the top of his head as she looked down at his drawings, smoothing his messy hair with her palm.
These are lovely. What have you drawn?
He pointed with one hand, his other hand on his mother’s shoulder for support. The chalk lay discarded on the ground, a few wet dirty snowflakes falling on it.
That’s me, and that’s Craig, and that’s his sister Tricia. And we’re all playing with Stripe, his guinea pig.
What wonderful drawings. You’re so talented. She had kissed his cheek. Come on, let’s get you inside. We’ll warm you up with some coffee.
Tweek could still remember how safe his mother had smelled when he was a child, her warm toast and talcum powder scent mixed with what he later figured out to be lavender. There was something else, too, something sharp that reminded him of the chemicals she used to clean the kitchen. He had assumed it was that at the time, but now he knew better.
He sniffed hard and blinked back tears as he lit another cigarette, watching the smoke evaporate into the crisp night air. Behind him the bass thumped through the wall, the murmur of voices indistinct but for when it was punctuated by the odd shriek by an excited feminine voice.
The door clattered open behind him, and a couple of people stumbled out. Tweek looked up at them in the light as they approached and saw two tall slender young women tottering in tight dresses and heels. One called out to him in a shrill, slurred voice. “Hey! Are you ok!”
Tweek smiled to himself, remembering Craig and Tricia discussing how sweet and compassionate drunk girls were.
He raised a hand to wave. “Hey, yeah I’m fine thanks.”
“Are you smoking cigarettes?? Can I have one! I only smoke when I’m drunk so I don’t have any, even though I’m drunk now!”
Another voice chimed in, slightly more sober than the one who had first spoken.
“You don’t know him, Holly. Don’t be rude.”
“It’s not rude!” She seemed to address Tweek. “Is it rude??”
Tweek laughed to himself and called out in response. “No, not at all. You can have one.”
The young woman who had first spoken to him stumbled over. She squatted down next to him, suddenly very close. Her long hair, carefully curled and platinum blonde, brushed against his cheek. “Can I sit on the ground with you? Is it cold?”
“Nah, it’s fine. But you might get haemorrhoids.”
“What are haemorrhoids?”
“Nevermind.” Tweek smiled at Holly as he handed over the pack. She took a cigarette and he handed her his lighter. Tweek looked over at her friend. “Would you like one too?”
She put her head on the side. “Can I have one? Is that ok?”
“Of course.”
“Thanks.” She stepped over towards them and sat down on Tweek’s other side. Her chocolate brown hair, cut into a neat pixie cut, didn’t touch him as he handed her the packet. Holly clumsily reached across to hand her Tweek’s lighter.
“Thank you, it’s really nice of you. Sorry my friend is so bold.”
“It’s ok. She’s clearly having a good time.”
She smiled at him. “I’m Lucy. And you’ve clearly already met Holly.”
He smiled back. “I’m Tweek.”
“Sorry? Zeek?”
“Nah, Tweek.”
“Yeah. I know. Tweek. It’s weird. It’s a family name.”
Holly chipped in from the other side. “What’s your last name?”
He laughed. “Tweak.”
“No, your last name.”
“Yeah. My name is Tweek Tweak.”
Holly giggled. “Wow, your parents must have really hated you.”
Lucy reached over and slapped Holly’s leg. “Hey. Holly.”
Tweek smiled. “Hey, it’s ok. Don’t worry about it. It’s a pretty damn weird name.”
Lucy frowned a little, studying his face. “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere? That name sounds familiar but I can’t place it.’
Tweek’s heart thumped with dread. Please don’t let them make the connection. I don’t want them to realise I’m from the meth ring coffee shop family that was all over the news.
He shrugged and gave a little laugh. ‘I don’t think so. I’ve been to a couple of these parties though, so maybe it’s that. Anyway, enough about me. Who do you guys know here?”
Holly took a drag on her cigarette. “Hugo.”
“Oh. Sorry, I don’t know him.”
Lucy shrugged. “What about you?”
“Do you know Tricia Tucker?”
“Yeah, not well. But she’s cool.”
“I live with her brother.”
“Nice! Do you guys flat on campus?”
“Nah, I’m over at Caltech actually.”
“Shit, that’s kind of a drive.”
Tweek laughed. “Little bit. Tricia actually organised this, Craig – sorry, her brother – just got his GED. So, we’re celebrating.”
“Wait, he only just got his GED now?”
“What about school?”
Internally Tweek sighed. He forced a smile and took a short drag on his cigarette, stalling for time.
Fuck it, just tell them. Why not?
Out of respect to Craig?
He’d want you to let people get to know a bit more of him. Surely.
Tweek blew out the smoke and turned to look properly into the faces of his two new companions.
“I mean, if you really want to know his parents kicked him out when we were sixteen, and he had to drop out and work fulltime to support himself.”
“Wait, what? Why did they kick him out? That’s horrible!”
Tweek coughed gently. “It’s definitely horrible, yeah. But, it’s not that uncommon, sadly. They, uh – ha. They caught him with me in his bed.”
“Oh – OH! I thought you meant you were roommates.”
Tweek gave a little laugh. “Nah, we’re totally gay.”
Holly clumsily put her head on his shoulder. “It’s cool. You’re cool. Is he here tonight?”
Lucy blew out a puff of smoke. “Of course he is, Holly. It’s his GED party. Tweek just told us that.”
“Oh. Right. Sorry.”
“Yeah, he’s just inside.”
“Why isn’t he out here with you? Why are you out here by yourself? Are you sad?” Holly leaned into him, her soft hair tickling his neck and her sweet sharp perfume filling his nostrils.
Yes. Incredibly so.
“Nah, I’m ok, thanks, Holly. Thank you for checking. Just needed a bit of air. I’m also not great with crowds.” He leaned his head back against her. Girls smell clean. It’s nice.
Lucy nodded sympathetically. “Yeah, neither am I. Neither is Holly, but she’d never admit it. Hence her drinking so much.”
Holly burped on Tweek’s oversized sweater, smelling of wine coolers and tobacco. “It’s true.”
Ok, maybe girls don’t always smell clean.
Tweek laughed. “Thanks, guys. Who wants another smoke?”
He sat in the warm night air with Holly and Lucy for a little while, enjoying their gentle messy company. As they chatted about classes and who they knew at the party, Tweek suddenly realised how long it had been since he’d really spoken to anyone other than Craig. Sure, he spoke to his classmates about the work. He occasionally spoke to the neighbours if they were outside at the same time, but kept it polite. He spoke to the other tutors about what they were teaching that week but mostly put on his headphones whenever he worked in the tutors’ office. And despite the love he had for Tricia, the young woman he had viewed as a little sister too since he was very young, he never wanted to upstage Craig when he could make time to visit her with him.
It’s just because you’re trying to get over your parents. Their anniversary hit you hard.
No. It’s just because you’re a fucking meth head in withdrawal who can’t make friends.
You say that like one of the damn tutors hasn’t repeatedly tried to give you meth.
What are friends for?
Not that, surely.
Maybe he does have a point though? You’re hardly thriving without it.
As Holly put her arm around his neck and softly sang along to the music emitting from inside the house, her slurred voice lilting gently in his ear, he suddenly found himself with tears in his eyes, pricking painfully against the smoke in the air.
‘I get by with a little help from my friends -’
Fuck. This is so nice. Is this what it’s like to make a new friend?
Involuntarily, Tweek shook his head. Holly squeezed him harder, pressing her cheek against his.
Tweek impatiently sniffed and stuffed another cigarette in his mouth. He patted his pockets for his lighter.
‘Oh, sorry, I’ve got it. Here you go.’
Lucy shot him an apologetic smile and handed him the plastic red Bic lighter.
‘All good, thanks Lucy!’
Tweek forced a smile but he could feel his chest growing tight. He’d been feeling overwhelmed since they arrived at the party and now he could feel it threatening to take him over.
Stop thinking. Stop it. Just suck it up.
The thoughts wouldn’t leave him alone.
You haven’t actually had a friend other than Craig since Clyde and Jimmy and Token ditched.
That definitely isn’t healthy.
Ha. A fat, depressed meth head losing his scholarship and drinking and smoking himself to death thinking it isn’t healthy to not have friends. Of course, you don’t. Look at you.
These people just want your smokes. That’s the only reason you’re here. You can’t count Tricia. She’s nice, but she’s probably just putting up with you for Craig. Even Craig doesn’t want to hang out with you.
Can you blame him? Like, can you fucking blame him at all?
Suddenly the pang in his chest pushed its way up into his throat and he caught himself silently but forcefully sobbing. He sniffed hard and turned his face away from Holly and Lucy, taking a violent drag on his cigarette to try and compose himself, sucking the smoke back into his lungs. He spluttered a little and a sob broke out.
‘Tweek? Are you crying? Oh! Oh no, honey, don’t cry!’
Holly clumsily wrapped her long arms around his shoulders and pulled him against herself, her sharp breath in his nostrils and her bracelets clinking against his ear as she stumbled over vague assurances. He felt himself tense up with a visceral reaction to his softened body being touched.
He screwed up his face, nodding to try and convince her she was ok.
Fuck. This is humiliating. Stop acting like a goddamned child and get a grip.
Opening his eyes and blinking hard, he could see Lucy’s concerned expression over Holly’s arm. He choked on a sob as Holly squeezed him a little harder. Lucy tilted her head to the side.
‘Tweek? Hey, man, what’s going on?’
He shook his head, forcing a smile even as another sob was wrenched from his throat.
‘Ah, I’m so sorry. It’s really nothing, I swear.’
Lucy gave him a little sympathetic half smile, shaking her head slightly as she reached out to gently squeeze his shoulder.
‘Hey. It’s clearly not nothing. Do you want me to go find Craig? Or Tricia?’
Tweek forced himself to smile and firmly shake his head, sniffing hard.
‘No. No thank you. It’s really kind of you to offer but he’s having fun, I don’t want to bug him.’
Holly shook her head vigorously, her stiff curls rubbing against his cheek. Despite the sticky hair spray residue he could feel staying on his skin, the hug was so welcome and so lovely that it was making it even harder to stop crying.
‘If Craig could see how upset you are right now he’d want to know.’
Tweek sighed.
‘I know, you’re right. But he’s put up with me being sad so much.’
‘I mean, he’s not putting up with it. He’s your boyfriend. But if that’s what you want, we won’t push it.’
Tweek smiled. ‘Thank you.’
Lucy gave a little nod in response, but she still looked very concerned. ‘Do you want to talk about it? I mean, to me and Holly?’
‘No, no. Really, it’s ok.’
He desperately cast around for a conversation topic.
‘Uh, Holly, you were telling me about your roommate’s nightmare Tinder date?’
Holly squeezed him a little harder. Damn, this hug is so long.
‘I was. But I think you want to talk about it.’
He met Lucy’s eyes as she smirked at Holly’s lack of inhibition. She raised her eyebrows slightly, but her expression was kind.
‘Tweek, you can talk to us if you need. I’ll tell you about the cringe after to cheer you up. But I really think you’ll feel better getting whatever this is off your chest.’
Holly nodded and gently patted the general area of Tweek’s collarbone. ‘Yeah, come on. Get it off your chest and you’ll feel better. It’s like a tactical vom.’
Oh boy, I’ve done far too many of those. With booze and just food.
How many guys say that they purge? Who does that? You’re such a pathetic little faggy cliché.
Jesus. Where did that come from? You really do have issues.
Tweek took a deep breath, or as deep as he could with Holly’s arms still wrapped firmly around his torso.
‘Ok. You’re probably right, it just feels really weird. I don’t normally talk about this at all. But, um, to give you the really short version, my parents died really suddenly at the end of last year. It would have recently been their silver wedding anniversary which I guess is really getting to me.’
‘Fuck. Jesus.’
Don’t tell them about the meth. Don’t tell them Craig told Tricia about his GED before you and you’re such a horrible possessive jealous person that you have the audacity to be hurt over it.
You can’t stop yourself now, can you, you narcissist?
‘I mean, yeah, I guess I’ve been feeling low.
‘You ¬guess -’
‘Ha, yeah. I mean, that isn’t new. But my grades kind of went down the toilet after it happened. And then – and then I had a meeting with the Dean yesterday and she said if I don’t pull them up to, like, a crazy high A+ this term my scholarship’s gone.’
Crazy high, huh? What a choice of words.
Look at you bragging about your scholarship, you smug little douche.
They don’t care, they don’t care, they don’t care.
Fuck it, it’s not like they’ll remember in the morning anyway. Probably.
You’re in this deep now. You’ll probably never see them again. Why not let them know what a loser you really are, and make them really not want to hang out with you ever again? It’s just speeding up the process.
‘Look, ha. This is so pathetic. It’s really embarrassing to say. But it wasn’t even the scholarship that set me off just now. I, uh, ha. I realised that this has been the longest I’ve talked to someone other than Craig in like, a really long time.’
He could feel their looks of pity.
At least now they know what a pathetic loser you are.
He could feel bile rising in the back of his throat.
Holly made a sympathetic noise in the back of her mouth as she squeezed him a little too hard. He avoided eye contact with Lucy but he could see her concerned frown.
‘Tweek, are you ok? You’re like, grey.’
‘I’m good, thanks. I should get back inside, though.’ He gently disengaged Holly’s arms from around his waist as she made a little squeak of protest.
‘Tweek, we’d really like to hang out with you again. This has been really nice. Are you on Facebook? Or Snap? Insta?’
He shook his head. His heart thudded in his ears. His flesh burned and froze at the same time.
He was going to throw up. Fuck. This is happening. I need to get to a bathroom, like, right now.
The night span around him as he shakily got to his feet, eliciting a head rush that brought black spots to the edge of his vision.
‘That’s really nice of you. But I have to go. I’m sorry.’
‘Tweek -’
‘See ya, have a good night.’
‘Wait -’
Tweek shook his head again as he staggered down the path, around the corner and to the sliding glass door to the lounge. He wrenched it open with a sharp grating noise that caused a few sharp glances in his direction and swallowed hard as he stumbled through.
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