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Better Scared Than Bored

Chapter Text

"Come on, babe," Craig coaxed, tugging on Tweek's hand. "It's just a roller coaster."

"Just a roller coaster?!" Tweek exclaimed. He refused to budge. "JESUS, look at it! I'll die!"

They were half-blocking the entrance to the amusement park line while they argued, other people giving them dirty looks as they shuffled by. Craig flashed the finger at anybody glaring at them without paying them much attention.

"You won't die," Craig said patiently. "We just watched it run like twenty times and no one died. Look, there it went again. Anybody die? No."

"I don't care! Nngh!" Tweek yanked on Craig's hand, but he wasn't moving either. They stared each other down, Tweek twitching, Craig's expression impassive.

"Craig, quit it, it's fine if he doesn't want to," Bebe called, leaning over the metal queue railing. She, Clyde, Token, and Nicole were already in line for the ride, having gone into the queue before the stalemate began. "He can just wait for us!"

"Shut up, Bebe," Craig called back, a flicker of irritation making his eyebrow twitch. "We talked about this. We're finally tall enough. You aren't scared of heights, you like the ferris wheel."

"It's not the fucking ferris wheel!" Tweek shrieked, making a mother passing by tsk at them. "Ugh!"

"Don't be a dick, Craig!" Bebe hollered. "Look how scared he is! Tweek, honey, you don't have to do anything you don't want to!"

"Don't tell him what he wants!" Craig turned around to glare. One of the few things that broke through Craig's flat affect was other people acting like he was being a jerk to his own boyfriend, as if they knew how to handle Tweek better than he did. "He's always scared, and treating him like a baby doesn't make him less scared, does it? No!" Craig turned back to Tweek, scuffing his sneakers against the pavement. "I hate it when she calls you honey."

"I know." Tweek's mouth flickered into a smile for a split second. Their palms were getting sweaty from how tightly Tweek's fingers were clutching his.

"You don't really want to be the only fourth grader who's never ridden a roller coaster, do you?" Craig asked. Tweek shook his head. "It's not even the really scary one. There's like one loop."

"Nnngh." Tweek tilted his head to side-eye the bright blue track twisting over their heads. "Okay, AAGH. Let's just, jesus christ, get it over with!"

"There we go," Craig said, pulling Tweek along the empty part of the line until they were even with Bebe and the others. He push-pulled Tweek through the metal railing, ignoring the glares of the people behind them. He and Tweek had been here first so they could just fuck right off. Letting go of Tweek's sweaty hand, Craig wrapped an arm around Tweek's waist instead; every time a car of the roller coaster passed over their heads, Tweek jerked into Craig's side for a second.

The thirty minute wait was useful, because Craig could feel Tweek relaxing by incredibly slow degrees as they talked around him, and that was what everybody else didn't understand about Tweek: if you held firm about something he was freaking out about and just let him do it, most of the time he'd eventually calm down back to normal. Craig had figured out through painful experience that the best thing to do was to present the reasons why Tweek would want to do something (you like the ferris wheel, you don't want to be left out) and then let him have whatever kind of freakout he was going to have. It was fine that Tweek had become closer friends with Bebe and some of the other girls this year, but they still didn't seem to understand Tweek at all in situations like this.

That thought made Craig smile, just a little.

When they were nearly at the part of the line that split into individual seat lines, Craig eyed Tweek out of the corner of his eye to see if he needed to grab Tweek's hand again.

"I'm fine!" Tweek said, sounding snappish, but Craig knew it was just nerves.

"I know. You want front, back, or in the middle? I don't care."

"I don't know, don't pressure me," Tweek moaned. Token looked over his shoulder as he led Nicole towards the front; Craig eyed him impassively back. "I guess m-middle. AGH. If we, fuck, fall off the track, people will, ehh, break our fall in either direction."

"Practical, I like it." Craig tugged him towards a row with only two kids in front of them; they'd ride the same time as Clyde and Bebe, but have to wait at the bottom of the ramp after for Token and Nicole. "Hey. I'm proud of you."

"Don't use psychology on me," Tweek grumbled, butting his cheek against Craig's shoulder. "Saying, nngh, positive stuff like I already did it so I, ugh, I won't back out."

"Nah, I'm proud of you all the time," Craig assured. He squeezed Tweek's hip where his hand was resting. "But I really want to ride this roller coaster with you."

"I know." And then Tweek added more quietly, almost covered by the whoosh of the roller coaster rolling into the platform, "M-me too."

Tweek screamed bloody murder the entire ride, which was a little silly for a roller coaster with only one loop, but perfectly acceptable roller coaster behavior in general. At the end when they were waiting the half a minute for their turn to unload, Craig looked over and met Tweek's eyes over the padded shoulder harnesses. Tweek was clutching at his so hard his knuckles were white, but his cheeks were flushed furious pink and his eyes were glittering, his hair whipped into peaks by the ride. Craig wanted desperately to kiss him, annoyance mixing with the adrenaline churning in his chest that the stupid harnesses made that impossible.

He made it halfway down the ramp before pushing Tweek up against the side of it and stealing his kiss then instead.

"Craiiig," Tweek muttered, embarrassed, but Craig knew the way Tweek said his name when he meant 'seriously stop it' and this wasn't it. He didn't care that people were passing by them, or Clyde's voice scolding "Dude!" behind them. "H-hey. Can we, ehh, ride this again? Later?"

"Yeah?" Craig asked. Tweek nodded. "Definitely." Craig kissed him again for positive reinforcement. Just because Tweek knew it was psychology didn't make it not work. "We'll try some other stuff and come back. I bet we can make Clyde puke on the teacups."

"We totally can!" Tweek agreed. They grinned at each other.

"I heard that, you gay jerks!" Clyde snapped from the end of the ramp.

Chapter Text

"No way!" Tweek protested, yanking on Craig's sleeve. When Craig was unmoved, giving Tweek his usual unimpressed look, Tweek flopped back against the arm of the couch like a melodramatic heroine. "Craig!"

"Remember when you were like 'come to my grandmother's birthday party with me?'" Craig asked. Tweek whined, eyes darting to the side. Craig did a flat impression of Tweek's asking. "'It'll only be a couple hours' you said. 'My cousins aren't that bad' you said."

"Uuuugh," Tweek whined. His oldest cousin had called them fags and nearly had a fistfight with Craig, broken up by his overbearing aunt who wouldn't hear a word about her son's assholery. When Craig refused to apologize, they'd been forbidden to go back outside and play and were trapped on Tweak's grandmother's chintz couch, shooing her half-dozen cats from crawling all over them.

"You owe me," Craig summarized. "You owe me a date, a good one, and we're going to watch The Ring because seeing scary movies together is a boyfriend thing. I really want to see it and neither of us have."

"You could, fuck!, do this with like anybody else," Tweek protested, still slumped against the arm of the couch. He kicked at Craig's thigh with his socked foot.

"I fucking can't, and you know it." Craig caught Tweek's ankle. "My parents said they'd ground me for a month if I gave Tricia nightmares again. Clyde is a giant pussy about this stuff, Token will laugh through the whole thing, and Jimmy will ask me questions the entire time that take him longer to say than the thing he's asking about is ever on screen." Craig tickled the bottom of Tweek's captured foot, making him shriek. "Come on, babe, seriously. You can hold onto me the whole time and we'll cuddle under a blanket, and you barely sleep when you stay over anyway, so what's it matter whether it's from a scary movie or not?"

Tweek yanked his foot back suddenly, leaving his sock caught in Craig's hand. He drew his knees into his chest, wrapping his arms around them and resting his chin on top of them. "Can we watch a movie I pick in bed after?"

"Sure," Craig agreed. "Unless it's one of those really embarrassing Hallmark things again."

"SHUTUP that was one time!" Tweek hollered, letting go of his knees to punch Craig in the shoulder. "Bebe said it was good! How the fuck was I supposed to know, fuck you! Uuugh! Ok, fine, put your stupid movie on."

"Really?" Craig asked, eyebrow raised, scrutinizing Tweek's face.

"Just, ugh, just do it." Tweek scrunched his face into a grimace. "You'll be sorry when I cry."

They curled up under one of Craig's mom's crocheted blankets on the couch, Craig's arm around Tweek's waist and Tweek pressed tight against his side before the credits even finished. Craig half-thought Tweek would just pull the blanket over his head for the entire thing, but every time he glanced down, Tweek was paying rapt attention, every jump scare making him shriek and every tense build-up shot making him wind his fingers tighter and tighter in Craig's T-shirt. Honestly, the movie ended up being almost too much for Craig as well, holding on just as tightly to Tweek during a few of the scenes as Tweek was clinging to him. When the girl crawled out of the television, Craig let out a squawk that made Tweek hop two inches off the couch.

"Holy shit," Craig muttered when it finally ended, a weird mix of adrenaline and dread creeping over his whole body. He turned his head to look at Tweek, who was shaking visibly, eyes huge. "That was pretty good. Are you ok?"

"Y-ye…" Tweek started to lie, then bit his lip and shook his head.

"Shit, babe, I'm sorry." Craig cupped Tweek's cheek and pulled him closer, kissing his cheek. "I didn't know it'd be that scary. But you made it through the whole thing!" He was never going to get Tweek to watch another one, Craig thought, so he ought to enjoy it while he could. He kissed Tweek, their chapped lips fitting together from practice despite Tweek's uneven breathing. Tweek's arms wrapped around Craig's neck almost immediately, hugging him close.

That was when Craig accidentally discovered the real purpose of a scary movie date, because his elevated heart rate and adrenaline made kissing feel amazing, like when you ate a mint and then ate something rich like a peanut butter cup afterwards. Everywhere they were pressed together felt warm and so good, Tweek's hand brushing the still-raised hairs on the back of Craig's neck going through him like a hand on his dick. He slid his own hands down Tweek's arms, over the goosebumps still standing up there, and Tweek moaned softly into his mouth.

Usually it took them making out for a little while to get Craig this worked up, forgetting entirely that they were on the couch in the living room and his parents might be home any time now. He pushed Tweek until he was on his back stretched out across the couch, Craig pushing him down into the cushions, blanket kicked carelessly off to the floor. He was getting hard, and Tweek was hard against his thigh too, and they should really stop, but Craig couldn't make himself listen, far to absorbed in the slick heat of Tweek's mouth against his, in Tweek's cold hands sneaking up under his T-shirt to dig into his back. He dragged one hand through Tweek's hair, and Tweek shuddered against him, full-body.

When Craig did finally come up for air, his lips were stinging and he was starting to sweat. Underneath him, Tweek was flushed as pink as if he'd been in the snow for hours, his eyes just as wide as before but now with pupils huge. "Wow. Guess that's why couple see scary movies together."

"Shut up," Tweek huffed, grip tightening as he tried to drag Craig back down. "Don't, nng, don't stop!"

"Dude, my parents," Craig tried to remind, but Tweek was already pulling him down, and Craig didn't fight hard enough to stop another series of kisses, deep and wet and impossible to sustain with the way both of them were panting for air. Usually just the mention of being caught by either of their parents was like pouring ice water over Tweek, but he was too far gone at the moment, only grunting annoyance. "They'll be home…leggo…aa-aah!" Craig interrupted himself when Tweek gave up on kissing and licked his jaw instead, then pressed a kiss that was mostly teeth just underneath that. "Tweek, babe, if you don't stop—"

"Fuckin' make me," Tweek growled against his skin, and Craig whined. Who the hell had taught Tweek to say shit like that?

Just then there was the loud click of the door deadbolt and Craig's dad bellowing, "We're home!" The noise startled Craig and Tweek so badly that both of them shrieked and threw themselves apart to the opposite ends of the couch. In the single second before his parents got a good look at them, Craig almost started laughing at how much of a mess they both were, flushed and wild-eyed and hair mussed.

"And what are you two up to?" Craig's mom asked as she took her coat off, her voice sarcastic as if she already knew.

"We were watching a scary movie," Craig said, hoping she'd assuming his guilty voice was because of that and not because they'd nearly just defiled the family couch. He pointed at the TV, which was still mercifully rolling the end of the credits. His mom turned back to him, hands on her hips, and Craig fought down panicky laughter at how she had clearly bought it.

"Craig Tucker! I already warned you about that!" she scolded. "You'll give yourself nightmares! And look at poor Tweek! He looks like he's about to die!"

"I'm f-fine…" Tweek groaned faintly, curled up on his side in what looked like a protective ball, but Craig knew was him being mortified Craig's mother might see his hard-on. Craig bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to keep from cracking up, adrenaline making everything hilarious.

"You poor thing! Honestly! I'd send him home right now if it weren't already so late and be such a bother to his parents!"

"Now, now, dear," Craig's father spoke up, taking his wife's coat. He looked entirely amused, and Craig got the feeling that he had not tricked his dad like he had his mom. "Remember when I used to take you to scary movies when we dated? You were so cute when you screamed, honey." He elbowed his wife a little, grinning, trying to loosen her up as he steered her towards the kitchen.

"That's not why we used to…" Craig's mother cleared her throat suddenly. "Anyway, you boys get upstairs and change into pajamas this instant! I'll make you hot cocoa in the kitchen to calm you down or you'll be up the whole night with terrors."

"Yeah, mom, geez," Craig said, like it was such a chore, flipping them off as they went into the kitchen, his mother flipping him off back. His dad was still laughing to himself, and Craig felt embarrassed he'd clearly figured it out, but like they had a secret between them too, and that was kind of cool. He reached across the couch to grab Tweek's hand, rubbing his thumb over Tweek's knuckles. "Come on. Unclench, dude, they bought it."

"They knooooow," Tweek moaned softly, but he let Craig pull him up and start pushing him towards the stairs. "UGH. So embarrassing."

"Worth it," Craig leaned forward to whisper in Tweek's ear, making Tweek whine and squirm, dangerous on the stairs. He dropped it, starting to calm down and looking forward to hot cocoa and then bed. He was mildly surprised when Tweek turned around as soon as they were in Craig's room and stretched up on his toes to kiss Craig firmly. "Mm. Honey?"

"C-can I…" Tweek took a deep, shuddering breath that Craig could feel down to his bellybutton where they were pressed together. "What if—EEK—I picked a sc-scary movie, too? You know, for, for bed." He eyed Craig nervously, one eye wide, the other twitching shut. Craig flushed warm all over at the idea of doing all that again, the clinging and the jump scares and the making out at the end.

"Yeah, definitely," Craig breathed, sneaking one more kiss before shoving Tweek away to change. He was soooooo lucky.

Chapter Text

"Craiiiiiiiig," Tweek whined, yanking nervously at the bottom of his button-up. He was lurking beside Craig's locker like an anxious ghost of Christmas past, pale and shaking. "I caaaaan't."

"You don't have to," Craig answered reasonably, his voice metallic because his face was in his locker. Where the fuck was his math folder? "But you totally can."

"No! No, I…UGH, it's too much!" Tweek slapped a hand against Craig's shoulder, but then ended up just hanging on, fingers twisted in Craig's hoodie. "They'll all be watching! It's too much pressure! SHIT!"

"It's an audition, that's kind of the point," Craig said. Folder located, he straightened up, eyeing Tweek critically. Regular nerves, he decided, not panic attack, not actually saying no. "Musical always needs more guys, Tweekers, there's like next to zero pressure."

"But what if you get in and I don't!" Tweek exclaimed. His shoulders hunched and his tugging undid his second to last button. "What if I get in and you don't! What if we both get in, oh god, and then we have a fight and break up and it's really awkward and you fall in love with the female lead and knock her up at the cast party, huh?! WHAT THEN, CRAIG?!"

"I should record these," Craig muttered, mostly to himself. He shouldered his book bag and reached out to pull Tweek into a hug, one-armed. "To answer your questions in order, they always need more guys in musical, they always need more guys in musical, and that's ridiculous because I'm gay."

"You could fall in love, uuugh, with the male lead instead," Tweek muttered, muffled against Craig's shirt. "You don't need me."

"Nope, so it's proof I want you," Craig answered, almost on autopilot. He was walking them down the hall, and he had one hallway length to decide whether he could defuse Tweek in time for them both to be on time for English and Math, respectively, or whether he needed to drag them into the bathroom for a couple minutes to wind Tweek the rest of the way back down. "You're going to get in, and you know it. If you got up on stage and farted into the mic, they'd take you because they always need more guys in musical. Plus you do actually sing and play the piano and shit. And you want to hang out with me and Bebe and the girls more often during musical season when we're busy, right? Last year you were lonely, plus the cast party really sucked without you."

Tweek made a noncommittal noise. They were nearly at the bathroom, and Craig thought, fuck it, he could take one late detention in exchange for his fourth tardy that week. Tweek probably wouldn't even get in trouble; his English teacher always made grateful eyes at Craig when he dropped Tweek off calmed down, after the third week of school when Tweek had had a full-blown meltdown in class and had to be sent to guidance to cry it out.

Inside the bathroom, Craig turned to face Tweek directly, undoing the few buttons that were still hanging on and re-doing them. "Isn't it me that should be worrying? You're way too cute, the lead girl and lead guy will probably both fall for you and trick you into some poly threeway."

"Craig!" Tweek shrieked, but then he started laughing, shoulders easing. "That's fucking ridiculous, urgh."

"You weren't at last year's cast party," Craig said darkly. Seven Minutes in Heaven had taken an ugly turn and Red, Bridon, and Clyde hadn't been able to look each other in the eye ever since. "So just try out and we'll see what happens. The middle school director doesn't even know you, he might give you a lead."

"That would be—NGH—awful!" Tweek grabbed Craig's hands and squeezed them tight. "Unless you were the other lead."

"Dude on dude Grease? Tell me more," Craig teased, deadpan. He did kind of like the idea, actually, but that wasn't going to happen, even if Tweek as shy, bookish Sandra Dee would probably sell them out. Alexander Dee? At least Tweek was laughing. "I'll go up with you during audition and just stand in the wings, ok? Hell, I'll hold your hand the whole time if you want, they'll still take us. Wanna do your audition before or after mine?"

"Before," Tweek answered right away. "When you sing, I get all uuuuurgh. You know."

"Yeah," Craig chuckled. His voice had already started to drop, and Tweek was intensely into it. Craig smoothed the front of Tweek's re-buttoned shirt down. "There, all set. I'll meet you by your locker after gym. And if you really don't want to do it by then we'll cut auditions and go get ice cream."

"It's negative ten outside, moron," Tweek protested, holding his arms out in an obvious plea for a last hug. Craig obliged him, quick but tight, enjoying the way Tweek fit against him and never sure whether he wanted Tweek's growth spurt to hurry up or if he wanted to be this much taller than Tweek always.

"Guess we better just do auditions then," Craig shrugged, sliding his hand into Tweek's and shouldering the bathroom door open. The hallway was empty, a glance up at the digital clock saying Craig had exactly one minute to slide into math before his tardy turned into an actual class cut. Tweek's fingers curled through his, cold until Craig's skin started to warm them.

"Co-leads would be really funny," Tweek said, mostly to the floor. Craig rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, trying not to smile, and wondered if maybe they could work on that by the time they got to high school.

Hell, maybe they could do the gay version of West Side Story and really throw it up against the wall.

Chapter Text

"I am going to straight up kill us," Tweek said, arms crossed, and it was always funny to Craig how these days, Tweek's stutter disappeared when he made his most dire predictions. "Then you'll be sorry."

"I can't be sorry if I'm dead," Craig pointed out. He jingled the car keys in front of Tweek's face, his house keys clacking against his Red Racer acrylic charm and the metal star keychain Tweek had gotten them a matching pair of for Christmas.

Tweek clutched his arms even tighter. And then he pouted, that fucking cheater. But Craig was holding firm this time.

"Babe, it's a life skill," Craig coaxed, peeling back one of Tweek's hands to push the keys into them. "You should learn how, even if I'm still going to drive you around most of the time."

"Sorry I'm such a—ACK—a fucking chore!" Tweek snapped.

"Don't you try to turn this around on me," Craig replied flatly, more than experienced with Tweek's deflection. He did actually like driving Tweek around, proud of the shitty, secondhand station wagon he'd saved up for from countless mowed lawns and sidewalks shoveled. He'd gotten his driver's license on the first try and hauled Tweek, Clyde, and Token around all afternoon, arguing over the radio station and coaxing Tweek into holding hands across the front seat. These days he always picked Tweek up to drive him home when he worked at the coffee shop until close, both of them feeling a lot better knowing Tweek wasn't walking home alone in the dark. "There's tons of times it'd be better if you could drive. What if I'm hurt and you need to drive to the hospital?"

"No fucking way!" Tweek protested, trying to push the keys back into Craig's hands. Craig shoved his fists in his pockets and eyed Tweek, stone-faced. "You can't trust me with this shit, AGH! I'll run us off the road! Is that what you want, Craig?!"

"Yes," Craig answered. Sometimes out-doing Tweek at nightmare scenarios could cut him off mid-tantrum. "Dying with you in a fiery explosion sounds kind of cool."

Tweek's mouth worked for a second without any sound, and then he gave one last "AAAGH!" before stomping around to the driver's side of Craig's station wagon, getting in, and slamming the door hard behind him. Craig tried not to smile as he went to the passenger door. Inside the car, Tweek was muttering to himself and twitching as he fumbled the key against the ignition.

"That's my house key, babe," Craig pointed out, gently pushing the correct key into Tweek's fingers. Tweek gave him a ruffled glare as he jammed the key in and started the car. "Do you know where the parking brake is?"

Craig talked Tweek through where the gearshift, brakes, and windshield wipers were, and then coaxed him into actually taking the brake off and tapping the acceleration. He was sure glad he had an automatic instead of a stick, because then they'd really be here all day. Somehow he got Tweek making cautious circles of the empty high school parking lot.

"There you go," Craig encouraged. Tweek slowed the car to a stop and let out a huge, shuddering sigh. "I knew you could do it."

"I g-guess," Tweek muttered. Craig undid his seatbelt and slid across to kiss Tweek firmly as positive reinforcement.

"So now you're gonna drive us home," Craig announced, ignoring Tweek's squawk of terror as he threw himself back into his own seat and re-buckled himself.

"I am NOT," Tweek protested, trying and failing to undo his own seatbelt, his struggle only making it strangle him tighter. "I don't—GAH—have a license! I'll get fucking arrested!"

"Officer Barbrady always naps just outside of town now," Craig pointed out, glancing at the dashboard clock. "The roads are clear and it's almost dinner time so barely anybody is out driving around. Go slow, it'll be fine."

"Craiiiiiiiig," Tweek whined, but he did it, creeping out of the school lot and down to the first light, where Tweek stopped and glanced back and forth indecisively even though it was green.

The ten-minute drive home took more like thirty, Tweek gradually working his way up to a respectable twenty miles an hour. A few drivers got stuck behind them, honking and flashing their middle fingers as they passed on the left.

"THAT'S FUCKING ILLEGAL," Tweek hollered at them. "AAGH!"

"Yup, it sure is." Craig flipped over every single one of them right back, face neutral. "You're doing great, honey. I think we're almost going the speed limit."

Somehow they made it to Tweek's house, where he executed an honestly terrible turn into the dead center of his driveway, blocking both sides of the garage. Tweek turned the car off and slumped in his seat like a popped balloon.

"I c-can't believe you—ugh—made me do that," he panted.

"Yeah, I'm the worst," Craig agreed, reaching over to yank up the parking brake. He peeled Tweek's hand off the gearshift and laced their fingers together. "Want me to make it up to you?"

Tweek eyed him narrowly in between eye twitches. "D-don't butter me up, ERK, you asshole."

"Car sex, babe. It's called a shaggin' wagon for a reason." Craig had to work to keep his expression flat while Tweek shrieked an annoyed nobody calls it that. Craig tugged on Tweek's hand. "Invite me in, come on. It's freezing out here."

"Jesus, fine!" Tweek snapped, like it was so annoying, when he was the one trying to fumble himself out of the car without letting go of Craig's hand. "But I have to bake scones for tomorrow, s-so don't—AGH—be a distraction!"

"Never," Craig promised solemnly. "Unless you're really cute. You know I can't help myself."

So if thirty minutes later found him pressing a flour-dusted Tweek back against the counter, kissing him senseless, Craig really couldn't be blamed for that at all.

Chapter Text

Craig was driving Tweek crazy. Like actually crazy, off the deep end, cuckoo for cheesy poofs insane. It had been bad enough that Craig was always taller than Tweak, that he had hit his growth spurt first and was strong enough to pick Tweek up easily, but summer had tanned Craig golden all over, muscles lingering from baseball conditioning, as well as an undercut that Tweek never got tired of running his fingers over.

This summer they'd also discovered making out. During South Park's ten colder months a year, they were limited to spending time at either of their houses, where there was a constant threat of someone walking in on them, or places like school or the coffee shop, where they always had an audience. This summer they'd taken an old blanket out to the fields past Stark's pond and spread it out in the sun and quickly realized that there was nobody around for miles. The quick, sweet kisses they'd been exchanging since sixth grade gave way to slow, lazy ones that left Tweek feeling like he was melting from the inside out. They spent hours that way, Tweek rubbing fingers along Craig's undercut or winding his fingers in the longer pieces on top, while Craig dragged his palms down Tweek's spine, the heat soaking through Tweek's T-shirt until he was sweat-damp and light-headed.

Tweek had been dreading going back to normal when school started again and cooler fall weather arrived, but the reality was much worse: he couldn't stop thinking about Craig's hands. More specifically, about them touching him all over, about the two of them skin to skin, going the rest of the way. He felt like he couldn't concentrate on anything else, daydreaming about it during class, forgetting coffee orders halfway through, waking up rock hard in the middle of the night. During geometry, Tweek had spent a solid ten minutes with his eyes glued to the way Craig's fingers were wrapped around his highlighter.

"Who gave him the right?" Tweek whined in despair during chemistry, his cheek pressed against the lab table. He was paying zero attention to Token, his lab partner, steadily completing their experiment, gaze focused on Craig and Clyde across the room, trying to ball tap each other rather than working on their own lab. Tweak was kind of jealous, how fucked up was that? "Jesus."

"Just tell him, man," Token commented. Tweek squinted at Token. "That you want his hot body."

"What?!" Tweek jerked upright, rattling his lab stool. "Token! Why would you—ERK—say that?!"

"I might be straight, but I'm not blind," Token laughed. "Craig's only been on the top of every 'cutest boys in the class' list since third grade. Plus he has a really sweet ass."

"Uuugh," Tweek groaned. He picked up his pen to at least write down some of the data for Token, he didn't want Token telling everybody he was the world's shittiest lab partner, but ended up just clicking the pen arrhythmically while watching Craig and Clyde snicker together. Craig looked up, caught Tweek's eye, and gave him a quick smirk. Tweek fumbled the pen, dropping it with a clatter. "For fuck's sake, nngh."

"What's even taking you two so long anyway?" Token asked, bending to scoop up Tweek's pen and handing it back to him. Tweek mumbled something noncommittal. "You two were so hot and heavy over summer I was sure you'd have done it by now."

Tweek shook his head, staring at the lap tabletop, his fingers leaving smudges on the black surface as he rubbed at it. That would be normal, right? They'd been dating so long they should have definitely done it by now, so it must be something wrong, or something wrong with him, because if Craig wanted Tweek the same way, he would have already—

"Tweek," Token said, snapping Tweek out of it. He was looking at Tweek in concern when Tweek looked up, and Tweek realized Token must have called his names a few times. "Hey. It's okay, man, there's nothing wrong with taking it slow if you need to."

"It's not me," Tweek said without thinking, then went bright pink at Token's surprised expression, one hand sneaking up to yank on his hair. "Shit. Don't tell him!"

"Have you talked to him about it?" Token asked, folding his arms on the table to show Tweek he had his whole attention. Tweek shook his head miserably. "Then you should. You know he gets overprotective of you sometimes, he's probably worried about freaking you out."

"Or he doesn't want to," Tweek muttered.

"Talk to him," Token insisted. "He's not a mind reader. Promise?" Tweak nodded, eyes still glued to his hands. "Good. And if talking doesn't work, you can always write him a song. You know he's crazy for you singing." Holding his pencil like a microphone, Token started in on one of Chef's old songs. "I'm gonna make love to your body, I'm gonna lay you down by the fire..."

"WHATTHEFUCK, TOKEN!" Tweek hollered, making every head in the room swivel towards them and the teacher yell at them for screwing around in the lab. Token doubled over laughing, while Tweek banged his head on the lab table a few times.

"What was that all about?" Craig wanted to know at the end of class as they were leaving.

"Token's a black asshole," Tweek snapped with feeling, making Craig laugh.

The next day after school, Tweek came home with Craig for a rare afternoon of having the house to themselves while his mother and sister were out at a movie together. Craig flopped into bed without any pretense of another activity, holding open his arms until Tweek crawled into them, fitting himself in against Craig's chest. Craig kissed him long and slow, one hand on the small of Tweek's back and the other smoothing Tweek's hair back from his face, and it was hard to remember what Tweek had even been so worried about when they were like this.

Tweek leaned back, pulling Craig with him with his arms around Craig's neck, until Craig's weight was pressing him into the mattress. Craig had been worried at the start that he was too heavy, but Tweek loved it; he felt safe and protected with Craig blocking out the rest of the world. Sometimes if Craig kissed him long enough, it even drowned out the constant loop of worries in Tweek's head, replacing it with their heavy breathing and racing heartbeats. Today Craig seemed just as desperate as Tweek felt, their kissing turning messy, fingers digging into each other's shoulders and backs. Tweek thought in the very back of his mind that maybe the problem was going to work itself out after all.

But then Craig pulled back, despite Tweek's annoyed whine. "We should stop."

"I don't want to," Tweek said, grip tight enough that Craig couldn't go more than a couple inches. The panic from earlier was sneaking back in, filling Tweek's chest and making it hard to breathe. Why was he the only one who wanted to do more? Why was Craig looking at him so calmly when all Tweek wanted to do was rip his hair out? Why didn't Craig want him?

"Tweek, come on." Craig put his palm against Tweek's chest to push him down more firmly, and Tweek's patience snapped suddenly. In a move straight out of Mexican wrestling, Tweek gave Craig a shove so hard it flipped them over entirely, dumping him on Craig's chest in a painful tangle of elbows against ribs.

"What the FUCK, babe?!" Craig demanded, struggling, but Tweek had grabbed his wrists and forced them down already, one knee down in between Craig's thighs as he struggled to gain some leverage against the give of the mattress. All at once he realized Craig was hard against him, his dick digging into Tweek's thigh, and Tweek went limp with relief against Craig's chest, all the fight knocked out of him.

"You're hard t-too," he said. It didn't explain anything, but just the knowledge that Craig was into it, that he found some part of this physically desirable, drained away the worst of Tweek's panic.

"No shit! Why do you think I was trying to get off you?" Craig said, giving another shove to Tweek's shoulders. Tweek was like a sack of wet cement, unmovable. "Wait, you are too?"

"Yes," Tweek said with relief. "Thank god, let's just, ngh, fucking do it already."

"No," Craig replied. "Get off me." He pushed harder, and Tweek sat up enough to peer at him in confusion.

"What?" Tweek asked.

"You heard me." Craig glared. "I don't want to 'just fucking do it already.'"

Tweek heaved an irritated sigh. Apparently Token was right and they did actually have to talk about it. "You don't have to baby me. I'm ready, I…" Tweek had to look away, his face heating up. "I've been jerking off to you for weeks."

"For fuck's sake, Tweek," Craig groaned. "Stop."

"No! Stop worrying about me, Jesus, you're too over-protective!"

"Maybe it's not about you," Craig said, so sharply Tweek looked down at him in surprise. Craig's face was locked in neutral and his voice was flat, but he had a pink stripe across his nose. "Maybe I'm the one who isn't ready, did you think of that? No, you didn't."

Tweek really hadn't. He opened his mouth, but Craig was already going on.

"I worry about stuff too, you know, you don't have some kind of monopoly on freaking out. I worry about stuff all the time."

"What do you worry about?" Tweek asked, honestly baffled. "You're all strong and h-hot and, fuck, good at shit and calm."

"I'm worried about whether I'll need a job next summer, and how I'm going to ask you to homecoming, and what's going to happen when we apply to colleges," Craig informed him. "I'm worried that you'll think my dick is weird. I'm scared we'll do it and I'll like it better than you do, or you'll like it better than me, or we won't like the same stuff at all. I'm worried we'll do it once and you'll realize you like girls after all and I'm an asshole and you don't need me at all."

"Oh." Tweek grabbed for Craig's hand, lacing their fingers together. Craig wouldn't look him in the eye, but he squeezed Tweek's fingers hard. Tweek had no idea what to say to even half of that. "God, I don't want girls, eurgh, touching me like, like that. Jesus. And I've seen your dick before."

"Not for a while," Craig muttered, which was true. Tweek had stopped playing baseball in middle schools, and they hadn't had gym class together in a few years, by chance. Craig heaved a sigh that sounded like it hurt. "I didn't tell you because being scared sucks and I didn't want to give you more shit to be scared of."

Tweek thought, incongruously, of the first time Craig forced him on a roller coaster, how Craig had yelled at Bebe when she'd called Craig an asshole for not letting Tweek weenie out of riding it. "But being a baby about it won't make it less scary. You don't want to never do it, right?"

"Yeah," Craig said. Tweek reached down with his free hand to trace the outline of Craig's dick with his fingertip, gently, but enough to make Craig inhale.

"You like it when I touch you everywhere else, right?" Tweek asked.

"Yeah," Craig said again, quieter. He still looked kind of helpless, and Tweek honestly didn't know what else he could do or say. He was such shit at being encouraging. Out of ideas, Tweek laid back down next to Craig and edged in closer, their faces on opposite ends of Craig's pillow, just far enough apart not to go cross-eyed.

"Please?" Tweek squeezed Craig's fingers, still wrapped through his own. "I'm going crazy."

"Nah, you're already there," Craig teased. His eyes fluttered shut. "Fine. But if you hate it, swear you'll give me a second chance?"

Tweek shivered at the idea of there being a first time and a second time, maybe back to back. "A hundred, if you—ACK—if you want them."

"Damn, you're exhausting," Craig complained, but he was already pulling Tweek in for a kiss. "I'll show you mine if you show me yours?"

"Ugh, don't compare, that's too much pressure." Tweek slid his hands down Craig's back and into the back pockets of his jeans, giving a tentative squeeze. Token had sure been right about one thing, anyway.

It didn't go perfectly on the first try, or the second, but Tweek didn't care. Being curled up under Craig's blankets and figuring it out together felt safe just as much as it was messy or weird. Even having to shyly ask each other if it was okay or say sorry made Tweek feel cared about, and like he was taking care of Craig too, just this once.

"You okay?" Craig asked, smoothing Tweek's sweaty hair back from his face.

"Mmhmm," Tweek answered, flopped on his back. He felt sticky, boneless, and amazing. He squinted at Craig's face, hoping Craig felt the same way. "Are you?"

"I'm glad it's over with," Craig admitted, and then before Tweek could panic, added, "But I want to do it again." Tweek made a dubious face. "Not right this second, stupid."

"Me too," Tweek assured. Just to be a dick, he asked, "Sure you don't want to try it out with girls? Just the once?"

"Babe," Craig growled, rolling over onto Tweek and squishing him against his chest possessively. Tweek gave an "EEK" of surprise, but it was mostly one of pleasure. He wrapped arms around Craig's neck and held on tight to keep him right there. "Don't joke about that shit, or I'll give you something to be scared of."

Tweek kissed Craig in apology, and then while he was being held tight and before he lost his nerve, he asked, "H-hey. That other stuff, mm, that you said. Homecoming and college stuff. Were you just saying that to argue with me, or, nng, do you really worry about it?"

"It's stuff I think about," Craig said slowly. "Worry's too strong a word, probably."

"D-do I, um…" Tweek pressed his cheek against Craig's shoulder. "Make you feel like you c-can't talk about it? With me?" Craig stroked Tweek's hair without answering right away, which was all the answer Tweek's brain needed. "Ugh, I'm sorry! And you have Token and Clyde, if you wanted to—AGH—to talk, you don't need me, and I'd just, just freak out anyway and—"

"I haven't," Craig interrupted, giving Tweek's hair a harder tug to get his attention. "I haven't talked to them, or anyone, about college or homecoming or sex. It's not because I don't think you can take it or something. I just like to think about stuff on my own."

"This worked better when we talked about it," Tweek pointed out. He splayed his fingers out on Craig's chest, feeling the steady thump of Craig's heartbeat under his palm. "Just, maybe the big stuff. Homecoming you can surprise me with."

"Thanks so much," Craig said, his eye roll almost audible. "You know I have to come up with some cute fucking way to ask you in front of everyone every fucking year."

"We're a team," Tweek insisted. "Gah! Aren't we?"

"Yeah, babe, we are," Craig said. He squeezed Tweek tighter for a second, although that wasn't much different from how much he was squishing Tweek before. "If something's really bothering me, I'll tell you. Good?"

"Yes," Tweek agreed, light with relief. He let Craig kiss him to seal the agreement, and keep on kissing him until he wondered if maybe they were far enough past 'not right this second' to possibly go again.

Suddenly Craig picked up his head, smirking down at Tweek. "Oh man, I just had the best idea for homecoming proposal."

"What?" Tweek asked nervously. He didn't like that look even a little bit.

"No way, you said I could surprise you." Craig's smirk got even bigger, making Tweek groan.

As if he didn't have enough shit to worry about already.