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

Chapter Twenty Two - Water Under the Bridge

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 - 5479 words - Complete

Water Under the Bridge (a prior issue with someone has been resolved and you no longer want to argue about it)
California, June 2015, Summer
A few days in, Tweek felt up to daily journaling. He could feel a much lower baseline of anxiety that improved with each effort.
What are you scared of? Why do you think that? Is it rational? Thought viruses and cognitive restructuring
My life being destroyed by meth addiction.
You’re doing everything in your control to not have that be a problem.
If you do that, it’s ok. Truly, it’s ok. Just pick yourself up and try again. You’ve got this.
Hurting myself.
If you do a little bit while you’re still learning how to do this properly, that’s ok. It’s like you always said. Better a little bit of cathartic cutting than staying in that state and getting to the point of a suicide attempt. You know self-harm isn’t good, but it’s not like you’ve ever posed a physical threat to yourself with it. You’ve been careful about it. You never went anywhere that had any major or veins or arteries, and you never did anything forceful enough to break a bone. You were always careful of your organs. And you’re learning how to deal with stuff better. You’re already wanting to do it less and less.
You won’t get to that level of bleak anymore. And you know how to deal with the panic attacks, that was when you were really at risk of it.
All you can do is take it one day at a time. But I don’t think that’s the big risk you might sometimes think it is. You need to trust yourself.
Losing my scholarship.
And what if you do?
Failing everything and dropping out.
You could go back to school somewhere else. You’d still have very impressive credentials.
Destroying my professional reputation and my career.
Your life would still be worth living. You could still do something, the world doesn’t begin and end with physics. Ha, well maybe it did in a sense. But don’t be a fuckwit.
Craig finally seeing sense and dumping my worthless ass.
No. Stop. That’s not helpful. It’s irrational. Craig loves you. If he stuck around this long, he’s very unlikely to do it now. And if he does? It’s his prerogative. You literally can’t do anything about a breakup that theoretically could happen at some point in the future.
He took a deep breath, held it, and let it out slowly. He turned the page to see the next step he had written for himself to follow.
Imagine you got a call to say Craig was hit by a bus. That’s your 90% on the scale. Compared with that, what does the thought of this feel like?
Ha. Losing my scholarship? Maybe a 20% at worst. Now time to test that against the rest of them.

Gratitude. What do I have to be grateful for?
Um, duh. Heaps.
Craig. I’ll come back to that so I’m not just listing him because I need to be self sufficient, but there’s heaps. Tricia. All the other lovely people I’ve met through her who care about me.
Being at Caltech.
Biscotti and Piccolo.
Let’s take a step back. Perspective is key.
Running water. Hot water. Our cute apartment with the Red Racer poster. The smell of Old Spice and Tiger Balm and earl grey tea and warm toast and laundry.
Coffee. Cigarettes.
One day I’ll be able to enjoy them without meth use hanging over you and being inherently linked.
Food. Chocolate. Pasta. Turkish from the takeout place down the road where the guy always opens with ‘Oi what do you want?!’ but the kebabs are phenomenal.
You’ll beat this dumb eating disorder. You’re already getting there. You know what to do and you can do it.
The smell of coffee. The smell of mown grass and ink and a new notebook. The smell of fresh linen.
How soft the bed is. How warm Craig is.
Books. Music. TV. Jigsaw puzzles. Horror podcasts. Driving. California sun. Snow. Leaves in fall. Rain. Running. Walking. Flowers. Learning. People.
All the new people you’ll meet and experiences you’ll have.
Your cute hair. Your cute face and eyes and body. Your brain. Your education. Your strength, apparently.
Speaking of which, literally everything about Craig. His heart. His brain. His voice. His smell. His arms. His laugh. His patience. His kindness. His gentleness. His wit. His sass. How he doesn’t take shit, but how loving he is, especially with you and Tricia and the guineas. His hair. His eyes. His smile. His skin. His arms and legs and chest and stomach and neck and ass.
Tweek smirked.
His cock.

Next he read The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, and began a record of what did and didn’t matter to him. It took a lot of critical consideration of what he’d been told to value and what genuinely came from him. He made lists of what he did and didn’t enjoy, and what he did and did care about.
What do you not actually give a fuck about?
I’m an introvert. I don’t like clubs. I don’t like the gay party scene. I never want to take another drug in my life. I don’t even like being drunk. I mean, it can be fun, but I hate being hungover the next day. I don’t want to need to be totally sober forever, and I don’t want to never be able to have a cigarette again if I feel like one. I just need to learn control and moderation.
I hate networking events. But they’re important, even if they feel like an upper class circle jerk.
I need to work on the social anxiety that means I don’t want to go because I’m scared, but I also don’t enjoy them. I’d rather stay home with Craig and the guineas.
I do give a fuck about meeting new people. Craig is the best friend I could ever wish for, but it isn’t healthy that we’re the other’s only close friend. We need to stop that. It makes sense why it was like that, and I’m not going to hate on myself for it, but we both deserve better.
What else do I give a fuck about? What else sparks joy?
Watching stupid animated crap with Craig, even if we’re seen it a million times before.
Our fat spoiled guinea pigs. Cute animals in general. All animals.
Horror in all its forms. Nothing too gratuitously gory, but I love the rush and I think it helps me to lean into the darkness and turn it into something that isn’t scary.
Jazz. Lofi. Blues. Indie pop.
I need to figure out more about what I enjoy. All I’ve done is work and spend time with Craig.
Clearly this is where my ambition needs to be channelled now.
What do I actually want to have the happiest life possible?
He looked around the room.
Some pot plants would be really nice. What are those massive ones with the huge leaves? They’re kind of retro but they’re popular again. Monster something? Maybe? I’d need to check that they’re not really difficult to keep alive. Oh, and speaking of keeping things alive, check that they’re not toxic to dumb guinea pigs who like to chew on things.
As if on cue, Biscotti ran in the room and jumped into his lap. Tweek smiled and stroked her fur as he continued the internal dialogue with himself. He had learned how crucial it was to speak to himself the way he would a child. Firm where necessary, but empowering and gentle and loving. With care.
I’ll start writing down these ideas. Anyway, I’ll think about it more. But, yes, it’s actually possible to be happy. And I can actually prioritise that. And, above all, I need to.
Ultimately, does it really matter if I lose my scholarship? Do I even want to work in the industry, if you can call it that?
I would like to keep it. But not at the cost of everything else.
Ok, new plan. Try to keep your scholarship. But, if you don’t keep it now that you’re actually going to be healthy, it’s ok. Sure it wouldn’t be your first choice, but employers would understand. The kind you’d actually want to work for, because they get that both your parents being murdered might throw your GPA off. And you could just take out a loan the way other people do. I know you don’t want to, but if that’s the absolute worst case scenario, it’s not that bad. It’s not that likely, either. Sure you’ve been addicted to meth since you were five, but you were only being micro dosed for your first year.
Maybe it wasn’t the meth that was doing it? Maybe you could keep it with your own brain and just drinking coffee and eating candy from the machine the way everyone else does? Sure Sam is a meth head, and he says other people are. But a) you don’t know if that’s true and b) even if it is, he never said it was everyone. Rationally, there’s no way it could possibly be. Rationally, you’re smart and very capable even without Class As. Even more so, since you won’t be an insomniac starving mess. If you’re actually sleeping and eating and happy, who knows what you could achieve?
Do I want to be an academic, or work for a top company? Do I want to work for the government? Do I want to be a teacher? Do I want to do something completely different?
It doesn’t matter what I do. It just matters that I do what makes me happy.
It would disappoint the Faculty. But that’s their issue, not mine. It’s not like I’ve got any family to disappoint. And even if I did, I would have needed to learn to not give a fuck.
It’s my life. And I need to start acting like it.

He read The Body Is Not an Apology and Fat and Queer.
What are your negative core beliefs?
I’m stupid. I’m unlovable. I’m a worthless addict. I’m insane. I’m a spaz. I’m fat. I’m ugly.
Where do they come from?
Anxiety. My parents. Every teacher I ever had. The other kids. The gay community being shitty about you if you aren’t emaciated or ripped or hella masc.
What is the objective truth?
I’m a scholar at Caltech.
I got through it even with my parents dying.
Their estate got sued.
I found out they got me addicted to meth as a kindergartener. I kept my scholarship through all this.
I’m pretty cute. Even when I’m heavier. And even when I was heavier, I was only average. It was just my dysmorphia telling me I was obese.
To take a further step, so fucking what if I’m fat? Stop having different standards and morality for yourself than you do for anyone else. Calling someone fat is fucking mean. I don’t give a fuck if you’re saying it to yourself. Would you say it about yourself about someone heavier than you? No? Then shut the fuck up. Remember the weird obsession with thinness is tied up in patriarchy and racism and Christian purity culture and homophobia and ableism. All you’re doing is being just as horrible as that guy being cruel about your body at the party.
Are you even attracted to people who look like that?
Not overly. I mean, I’ll go for anyone, skinny people are hot. People of all shapes and sizes and genders are hot. But, I definitely prefer softer people who look a bit cuddlier.
Objectively, I feel more attractive when I’m not really skinny. It’s just bound up in so much shame.
You need to uninstall that. You deserve to feel good. You deserve to look after yourself and eat properly. You deserve to exercise because it feels good and to celebrate your body, not because you hate yourself if you don’t, and you’ll never be satisfied with what you can achieve anyway. You deserve to go for walks and go for runs and lift weights when you want to or when you need to because it will make you feel clearer mentally and you could use the endorphins. You don’t deserve to do it because of shame.
You deserve to eat pasta and chocolate and drink wine with it. You deserve to get takeout if you feel like it and not feel about eating candy to help you study and not have meal replacement shakes and 5 calorie packet soups that just make you feel gross.
Stop letting that internal voice tell you you’re a spaz. First of all, it’s ableist as fuck. It’s a slur used against people with cerebral palsy. I know Jimmy didn’t turn out to be a real friend when it hit, but it was a slur made up to be used against people like him to hurt them and that’s not ok. And it’s the internal voice that came from your dad. You even hear it in his voice when it goes through your mind. ‘We thought you were just a spaz.’ Yeah, because you gave meth to a fucking grade schooler you fucking cunt.
Tweek, you’re a goddamn grown ass adult. You need to stop letting yourself be held back by stupid mean things that were said to you once. I know trauma literally shapes you. It sucks that that happened and it isn’t your fault. But there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it now. All you can do is work to undo the damage. And that’s your responsibility. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to Craig and anyone else you might choose to have in your life. Life is seriously goddamn short. Get a grip and start living. Yes this all sounds very harsh, and you need to be empowering and inspiring yourself rather than punishing. But you’re capable of so much. And self-care isn’t pretty. Self-care is about building a life you don’t have to escape from. So care enough to build it.

California, July 2015, Summer
Halfway through the summer, five weeks into Tweek’s detox, he lay with his head in Craig’s lap, dozing off as they watched the guinea pigs delightedly devour lettuce. Tweek’s marks had come out, and they were excellent. There was no question he would be keeping his scholarship for the following term. He was curious but no longer worried about what would happen after it. Ultimately, he would prioritise his health.
Eventually Craig spoke.
‘Hey, Tweek?’
‘Remember that thing I said about a ring ages ago?’
‘Yeah?’ Tweek opened his eyes and looked up at Craig.
‘Um. I promise this isn’t deeper than it sounds. Do you think you would actually want to get married? I’m not talking about not being together in the future, just married?’
Tweek sighed and rolled onto his back to look up at Craig properly. Slowly, he shook his head.
‘I’m glad you brought it up, honey. I mean, I think part of me had always assumed we would one day. The thing is, if I did, I know it would be to you. But, I’ve been thinking about it critically with all this Socratic thinking and figuring out what we actually want out of life, and marriage just doesn’t feel right for me. I hate the thought of saying ‘the hubs’ or ‘the hubby’, or ‘my husband’, or saying it about someone else.’
Craig laughed. ‘Oh, thank god. Me too.’
Tweek laughed too. ‘I mean I’m generally not a fan, you know? How many people do you think get married because they want to please their parents, grandparents, whatever, but not themselves?’
‘I don’t know. Probably a lot. Or because of like, religious indoctrination. Not to be an intolerant douche, but I bet a lot of our classmates got married really young to the first person they held hands with and then had kids really young. And I mean, more power to them, if that’s what they want. But I bet a lot of them were just made to feel like they had to.’
Tweek lightly squeezed Craig’s hand as he spoke again. ‘I sometimes wonder how different things would have been if I was straight. Or, if I knew I was gay, but I never met someone who made me want to be brave about it. Maybe I would have been one of those tragic people who stay in the closet for their whole life, get married, have kids, love their kids and love their partner on some level but are effectively fucking miserable the whole time. ’
‘Same. Or, if my parents had been ok with it. Maybe I’d have stayed in South Park forever, done the same thing but with a man, hopefully you if the stars still aligned, and just dealt with whatever ignorant crap we encountered.’
‘Definitely a man?’
Craig frowned as he considered the question. ‘I mean, I truly can’t see it with anyone but you. I guess I can’t see myself in a long-term relationship with a woman the way I can with a man. That sounds so bad, given that my orientation genuinely doesn’t seem to discriminate based on what someone’s gender identity or expression is. But, long term, it’s hard to see me marrying a woman. Maybe it’s not about women at all, per se. Maybe it’s just the horrible compulsive heterosexuality of our shitty small town putting me off the thought of a life that meets what they want. I don’t know. I hate how so much media that depicts two men together always does so at the expense of whatever women they’re also involved with. I don’t want to be like that. And, I mean, either way, it’s not like I’ve actually slept with a woman. I haven’t so much as held hands with someone other than you, ha.’
‘Neither have I. Unless you count Sam, which I definitely don’t.’
Craig stroked Tweek’s hair, but didn’t speak. He could tell Tweek wasn’t done yet. After a moment, Tweek spoke again.
‘I did want to talk to you about that, actually.’
Craig touched the side of Tweek’s face gently. ‘Oh?’
‘Not Sam himself or anything there. I mean, we can talk about it if you want to, but I don’t feel like I have to. It is what it is. I’m working through it. Genuinely, I’m fine.’
‘Ok, I’m proud of you. And no, I’m good. I really am. What did you want to talk about?’
‘I want to be clear that it wasn’t inspired by Sam. That just made me think of it. When I was trying to get a good grasp on what I critically want out of life, it kind of occurred that I don’t want either of us to be unable to sleep with someone else if they want to.’
Craig nodded with a smile, inviting Tweek to go on.
‘I promise that I’m in love with you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life. And I promise that I still find you ridiculously sexy and beautiful and cute. We only had our dry spells of sleeping together because I was going through so much. It’s not you.’
‘I know, babe. I get that.’
‘I mean, I’m curious as to what it’s like to be with a woman, for one thing. I know you are too. I just don’t want to go through life unable to try different things, and I don’t want that for you either. I also don’t want us to be in that state where you can’t get that close to someone as a friend because you have a partner. It’s really common and really normalised and I hate it.’
Craig thought about it for a moment. As he processed it, he felt as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders. ‘That…honestly, that sounds really good.’
Tweek beamed at him. ‘I don’t think I’ll want to date anyone. I don’t want another boyfriend or a girlfriend or anything. I just want to be able to sleep with people who aren’t you if I want that. And I want that for you too, maybe even more than for myself. I don’t want the right of exclusive possession to something that is only yours.’
Craig nodded vigorously as Tweek spoke. ‘I want that too. Fuck.’
‘Are you ok?’
Craig laughed. ‘Yeah. I’m just really relieved that you brought this up, and had the guts to, honestly. I’ve been thinking about this a bit for a while, and you put it so rationally. I was worried I was just lonely and horny since we weren’t sleeping together but you’ve articulated my feelings about it perfectly.’
Tweek smiled. ‘I’ve done so much work on my mental health. I always want to be with you. I just don’t want to have a relationship like we’ve had before, where we were both massively traumatised and not dealing with it and co-dependent and clingy and jealous. I want us to be secure. We have so much trust and respect and love and affection that we can have that.’
Craig put his arm around Tweek and pulled him close. ‘Fuck, I want that too. I love you so much, Tweek.’
‘I love you so much too, Craigy boy.’
‘Damn, we really are growing up, aren’t we?’
Tweek laughed throatily. ‘I don’t know about you, man, but I feel fucking ancient. I just want us to be able to truly enjoy our lives. Finally.’
Craig laughed and kissed the side of Tweek’s head. They were silent for a few moments. They could hear the guinea pigs letting out little soft happy squeaks as they ate their lettuce. Eventually Tweek spoke again.
‘I don’t want to get married because I’m conscious that one day, for whatever reason, one or both of us may no longer want to be in this relationship. Honestly, I’m the meth addict. It’s more likely to be you who wants out. And it’s our right to leave it at any point for reason. I would never want to complicate that for you.’
Craig slowly nodded. ‘I mean, first of all, I really can’t see that happening. But honestly, same on the marriage bit generally. I mean, I guess I have an issue with the state being involved in your private life, you know? Fuck, I sound like a gun toting republican racist. But, I hate that we only recently got the right to even get married. It feels a bit like simping for patriarchal ideals of what other people think we should want. And I hate that if we wanted to split we’d have to wait years to have it recognised.
Tweek squeezed Craig’s hand. ‘If it got to the point where we had to for any property rights, I’d do it for the practical reasons. But I don’t want to confine you. I always want to make that promise to love you and I love being with you. But it needs to be something alive, that we constantly work on and never get complacent about. I don’t want to hold you to it with a binding legal contract.’
Craig’s expression was a little grim as he responded. ‘White picket fence instagays are often the most racist classist misogynistic ableist people you’ll meet in your life. I mean, they’re shitty even to other people within the community who aren’t exactly like them. Occasionally they come into work and I wonder what they’d say if they knew I’m queer. They just see me as lesser because I’m a mechanic.’
‘Ugh, I know. I hate it so much.’
Craig looked out the window to watch the little bird too as he spoke. ‘You know, I do sometimes wonder what life might have been like if we’d stayed broken up. I like to think I’d have gotten out of South Park somehow. But my shitty trailer literally wasn’t going anywhere on those goddamn concrete blocks. People act surprised that there are people who never ever leave their postcodes in their entire lives, but poverty is the main reason for it.’
Tweek nodded. ‘I guess that’s the irony. Maybe…maybe if my parents didn’t sell meth they wouldn’t have had the spare cash to help us move. Maybe if they hadn’t given it to me I never would have ended up at Caltech, let alone with a scholarship.’
Craig didn’t speak. He simply listened. Tweek had never really opened up about his parents in any detail before. It was a really promising sign.
Tweek lifted his head from Craig’s lap and sat up. He looked out the window, watching a small bird hopping along the adjoining fence. After a few seconds, he softly spoke again.
‘I truly can’t tell why they gave it to me. Maybe they thought it was going to help me get through school and achieve lots and never need to sleep so I could work? Maybe they thought it would give their anxious kid more bravado so he could make it in life?’
Craig gently squeezed his hand. Tweek squeezed Craig’s hand back as he went on.
‘Somehow that makes it less horrible to think about. But, it doesn’t matter, ultimately. I’m just ruminating and predicting and mindreading. I need to let it go. I will never know why they did what they did. And I need to learn to move on and be at peace with it. I don’t feel like I can forgive them, and I don’t like how much self-help rhetoric tells me I have to. I felt really vindicated seeing a queer writer point out that telling people they have to forgive their abusers is a boundary violation. Because, it is. Maybe one day I’ll feel I can. But, they really fucked me over. Even if they somehow thought it was good, I just have to think about it objectively and imagine someone else doing it to a kid who isn’t me. It’s horrific abuse, even if you’d never suspect they were doing anything like that on the surface, they always acted so normal. And sure, I can’t do a goddamn thing to change it now. All I can do is understand why I am the way I am and what I can do to try and build a decent life for myself. And, I have so much to be grateful for. That’s been another really helpful part of it.’

California, August 2015, Summer
There weren’t many deciduous trees in their neighbourhood, one of the few things that Craig missed about growing up in Colorado. On the last day of Tweek’s summer break they had gone for a walk around the streets of Pasadena, their fingers laced. Craig gently stroked the scars on Tweek’s hand with his thumb.
Earlier in the summer Tweek had been quite embarrassed to admit that the regaining of his sex drive, and his ability to orgasm, would mean his dopamine function was beginning to recover. Craig had burst out laughing and told him that it was an exciting sign of recovery to look forward to.
When they had arrived back, Tweek had brought Craig’s fingertips to his lips and softly kissed them. Craig felt his face reddening. Tweek had known Craig’s erogenous zones all too well since they were teenagers. With a wink, he had lead Craig to the bedroom.
Craig kissed the soft skin inside Tweek’s thigh and listened to him sigh in response, his hands in Craig’s hair. Craig felt his face flushing as he made Tweek come for the first time in far too long.

Hours later, Craig lay back in their bed, Tweek’s face buried in his neck. Craig shivered happily as Tweek lazily kissed his neck, still sending warm waves of pleasure through him despite the several orgasms they’d each enjoyed. “C’mere, you” Craig murmured. He pulled Tweek on top of him, wrapping his arms tightly around Tweek’s waist and drawing him close. “I love you, Craig,” Tweek whispered. He softly pressed his lips to Craig’s, cupping his face in his hands. Tweek drew back and smiled at Craig. “Alright, beautiful. It’s late and I’m hungry. What do you want to do for dinner?”
Craig smiled back at him. “I’m easy.” He winked. “But you already knew that.”
Tweek laughed and kissed him again before rolling out of bed. He stood up and pulled on a pair of loose cotton pajama pants that Craig had left on the floor.
“I’m going to make some tea. We have Earl Grey, right?”
“Excellent. I’ve got this. You have a think about what you want to eat.”
Craig held out his hand and Tweek grasped it.
Craig felt his eyes brimming with tears as they beamed at each other. He was so happy to see Tweek like this, all calm and energised. Tweek looked healthier than Craig had ever seen him before. Craig’s cheeks ached from smiling as he took Tweek in.
The bright light in his green eyes and the healthy fullness of his face.
His clean, shiny hair, rumpled from their lovemaking rather than from constant anxious tugging.
The pale gold colour of his skin from spending time outdoors, and the silvering of his scars.
His solid form with padding over his bones, his toned muscles, and his strong, upright posture.
Despite cringing internally at the cliché, Craig thought to himself that Tweek looked the very picture of health.
Craig knew he would never forget the emaciated, ivory-skinned boy with the angry red scars and the hollowed cheeks and the dark shadows beneath his sunken eyes. He knew that he and Tweek would spend the rest of their lives making sure that that boy never had a chance to come back.
He wiped at his eyes as Tweek came back into the room, holding two steaming mugs of tea.
As he sat beside Craig in a friendly silence, Tweek let his head spin with the exciting possibilities. Maybe he would keep his scholarship. Maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he’d have a fancy high end job. Maybe he wouldn’t. All he knew was that for the first time in his life, the great unknown of his life ahead was something that thrilled him rather than terrified him.
He couldn’t wait to see Tricia again. It had been far too long. He couldn’t wait to spend time with her friends and actually get to know them. He couldn’t wait to get back to his studies, for all the new things he would get to learn and apply. He couldn’t wait to see his classmates and actually let them get to know him. He couldn’t wait for his new batch of students.
He couldn’t wait for all the new people he would meet and all the new experiences ahead of him, with his best friend and the love of his life always there beside him as they pursued their dreams and supported each other without ever restricting, always encouraging the other.
They sat up in bed together and sipped their Earl Grey, squeezing each other’s hands as the sun went down.
For the first time ever, they both finally felt they were truly home.
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