Chapter 1: Chapter One
The sound of some Netflix show played in the background. Tweek had long forgotten what they had put on. Instead, he opted to lay stretched out on the loveseat and flip through his phone.
His mind was numb as he scrolled through numerous posts on Facebook. Someone wanted to show off their lunch. A few more people were graduating and becoming doctors or lawyers or some other highly esteemed career choice.
Tweek looked over at Craig, who was laying on the couch beside him, also on his phone. Craig had the same neutral look on his face, but he was clearly playing a time waster game, as his thumbs clicked rapidly on the screen.
He continued scrolling. Someone just got engaged, and someone else was planning a wedding. He barely remembered any of these people anymore. It had been such a long time since he added them on Facebook. One of these days, he always told himself, he would go through his profile and delete people.
“What do you want for dinner?” He said, still scrolling.
Not moving his gaze from his screen, Craig responded: “I don’t know,”
Typical, he thought. He never knows what he wants. “If you could have anything in the world, right now, what would you want?”
“Anything’s fine with me, honey.”
Tweek gripped his phone tight. This was the same conversation they had last night. And the night before that. And the night before that. He couldn’t remember a time when they didn’t have this conversation.
Tweek was beginning to think that they had hit a limit of their long-term relationship.
They had started dating at ten years old, during the entire yaoi fiasco. He wasn’t even sure he was gay, let along wanting to date anyone. But there was Craig, telling him that he was capable of more than he thought. It felt good. He had confidence for the first time in his life.
They were together ever since. Hitting major milestones in life together. Starting high school, going to prom, graduating. Starting college in separate towns, keeping a long-distance relationship. Tweek and Craig had both fallen for the “you must go to college to get a good job and have a good life” schtick, and halfway through, they each didn’t know what they wanted to do in life, and each had left with a generic degree in general studies.
Tweek worked at a coffee shop to support himself in school, and when his parents called needing help with their shop, he returned to South Park. He moved back in with his parents while working in Tweek Bros Coffee.
Craig returned to South Park a few months later and moved into the Tweak household, sharing a room with Tweek. His family had left South Park a few years prior, and to Craig, it just made sense to stay with Tweek. He even worked at the coffee shop with him, though he mainly handled the register, as he was not great at making coffee.
That had been their life for several years. Working at the same place, living in the same room. One day, feeling like he was a failure in life, Tweek announced that he wanted to move out, and they began searching for places to live. Each night, they would lay in front of Craig’s laptop, side by side, and scroll through houses.
Not having to pay rent allowed them to save up money quickly, and after a few months of searching, they found a perfect place just outside of Denver to call their own.
Craig proposed to him the month after they bought their house, right before their housewarming party. When he showed off his ring, he was congratulated, but people mostly asked him why it took so long.
They were married a year later, and Tweek couldn’t be happier. Craig had actually smiled in public as they read their vows. There was something…final…about the moment they kissed. Tweek said goodbye to Tweek Tweak, and hello to Tweek Tucker. A new Tweek. A better Tweek.
They danced at the reception. They cut their cake, and Craig smashed some on Tweek’s face right as the camera flashed. They laughed and they kissed some more.
That was five years ago.
Eventually, the stress of the coffee shop began to build up. They worked more hours as Tweek’s parents traveled. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Tweek wasn’t the best at handling stress, but he especially wasn’t doing well without any time off. After a heated argument with his parents, which resulted in them firing Craig, he walked out and immediately applied for the first job he could find.
That was four years ago.
And now, Tweek was a paper pusher at a corporate bank, and Craig planned truck routes for soda deliveries. Both were Monday through Friday, seven – to – three-thirty jobs. They had the same schedule, and they worked relatively close together.
They were happy. They were financially stable, had tons of time to spend together, and they had weekends off to plan anything they wanted. It was a dream come true.
But now what?
Tweek looked over at Craig, watching him totally engrossed in whatever game he was playing.
What do they do now?
They had done it. Tweek felt like they had reached the “end game”. And they were only twenty-nine.
What was the next milestone?
What were they working towards now? Retirement? Death?
He set his phone down, twisting the ring on his left finger. They should be doing something. Right now. Time was ticking by, and they were wasting time on their phones.
“We need a hobby,” Tweek said.
Craig continued to play. “What do you want to do?”
Tweek frowned. One of things that he loved about Craig was how considerate he was of what Tweek wanted. But sometimes, Tweek wanted Craig to suggest something.
“What do you want to do, Craig?” Tweek sat up.
“I don’t know,” Craig shrugged. “Whatever is fine with me.”
Tweek pulled on his hair, clenching his jaw. “I don’t know either!”
And they sat in silence again, leaving Tweek alone in his head to think of all the time that was being wasted by sitting on their phones. They could be making dinner, or going to dinner, or reading a book, or building something. Or even taking a class. Or catching up on work.
Tweek held his head in his hands. Work. The last thing he wanted to think about, but the one of the first things that always came to his mind. He was behind on entering credit card applications into the system, and there was a stack piling up. He would clear out a hundred in a day, but a hundred and fifty would come in.
That’s what he could do. He could go into work and clean that up. Maybe it would make him relax knowing that he made some progress.
He stood up.
If he went to work, then he wouldn’t be able to spend time with Craig. What if by going to work, he established a pattern of doing this, and then he never spent any time with Craig at all? What if something happened to Craig, and he regretted going into work?
He sat back down.
“Son of a bitch.” Craig dropped his phone. “Fucking game.”
“What happened?” Tweek asked.
“I didn’t clear the level fast enough, so I lost.” Craig picked his phone back up. “You have to do it in like, a minute. Otherwise, you lose. Then it costs you some of your in-game money to keep playing.”
Tweek stood up again, walking over to Craig’s couch and flopping down on top of him.
“Tweek! You’re squishing me!” Craig said, moving his arms to allow Tweek to adjust himself.
“Don’t care,” Tweek said, his voice muffled by Craig’s shoulder. “Are you calling me fat?”
“Really?” Craig said flatly, a small smile on his lips. “You are like, ten pounds lighter than me. If I’m calling you fat, then am I also calling me fat?”
“You are not fat.” Tweek said. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Craig responded, moving his arms around behind Tweek to keep playing his game while Tweek laid on top of him.
Tweek held onto Craig tightly, burying his head into his shoulder. He breathed in deeply and slowly, trying to calm his racing heart. Trying to reconcile that sitting here was a waste of time, but not sure what he should do. He was starting to feel overwhelmed, and he wasn’t sure why all of this was such a big deal to him.
“Craig,” His muffled voice again. “What. Do. You. Want. For. Dinner.”
Being this close, Tweek could hear Craig’s fingers tapping the phone screen, and the sound from the game itself.
“Honey, you know it doesn’t matter to me—” Craig started, coming face to face with a terrible glare from Tweek. “—uh, but we could order pizza?”
“That costs money. And it’s high in calories.” Tweek said.
“Yeah but we don’t have to cook.”
“But we’ll eat the whole thing! We always say we won’t, then we do, then I feel guilty for eating all of it!”
“Who cares if we eat the whole thing.” Craig closed his game, opening the pizza app, and giving Tweek a squeeze with his free hand. “You want anything else with it?”
“No, it’s fine.” Tweek said. “What kind do you want?”
“Pepperoni and pineapple sounds good.” Craig tapped away at his phone.
Tweek frowned. “But that’s my favorite pizza. What do you want, Craig?”
“I want you to be happy.”
Tweek sat up. “But I want you to be happy!”
“I’m happy when you’re happy, Tweek.” Craig submitted the order. “Too late, already ordered. Guess we’re eating your favorite.”
Tweek opened his mouth to protest, then closed it, then opened it again. He was at a loss for words. On one hand, he was happy he was getting his favorite. On the other hand, he was upset that Craig wasn’t getting something he really liked.
Here Craig was, selflessly ordering something just for Tweek. And here Tweek was, getting worked up over Craig not making a decision.
Tweek felt guilty.
He really didn’t deserve Craig.
“You’re too good to me,” Tweek said. “I’m not nearly this good to you.”
“Tweek, you are good to me.” Craig returned to his phone game. “You’re the best thing in my life.”
The pizza came about forty minutes later, along with root beer and an order for cheesy garlic bread and a big cookie. Tweek had been stewing over Craig’s phone game, but once the food was placed on the coffee table, he felt guilty again. Craig had ordered even more things that he liked without even needing to ask.
That night, Tweek laid in bed staring at the ceiling, watching the fan spin on the highest setting. Craig was always warm at night, while Tweek slept with three blankets. He shut the light off with the remote on his nightstand (still one of the best purchases he ever made), and a soft blue glow came from Craig’s side of the bed.
That phone again.
This was always Tweek’s least favorite time of the day. This was when he couldn’t distract himself from all the thoughts in his head. And there were tons of thoughts.
How much work am I facing tomorrow?
Is that game more important than me?
If I skip lunch, I can get about ten applications ahead.
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
Why did I waste my day doing nothing again?
I haven’t called my parents in a long time.
I shouldn’t have bought that book off Amazon, it wasn’t worth fifteen dollars.
I bet I could find a better way to key in applications.
What if my manager thinks I’m not doing a good enough job?
What if I get fired?
Am I just waiting to die?
Am I saving enough for retirement?
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
I have all this time to do things but no motivation to do anything.
The kitchen is still a mess.
What if I paid better attention in my classes?
What if I can’t fall asleep?
Did I waste money going to college?
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
Tweek stared wide eyed at the ceiling, heart feeling like it was going to burst out of his chest. He looked over at Craig, who fell asleep holding his phone. He’s going to regret doing that. The stupid thing won’t be charged.
He pulled the phone out of Craig’s hand, getting out of bed to plug it into the charger on Craig’s side. Once in bed, Tweek pulled all three blankets up to his face, and turned his back to Craig.
What if Craig died in his sleep?
His eyes shot open. He flipped back around and stared at his husband, waiting for his eyes to adjust once more to the lack of light. He watched intently as Craig’s chest expanded as he inhaled, and Tweek flopped back down onto his pillow.
It was going to be a long night.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Tweek stared blankly at the monitor as his hands flew across the keyboard. Every now and then, he would reach out to the large Harbucks coffee and take a swig.
Twenty applications an hour. That was his goal. Pull up the application the customer sent in, key it into the application system, and mark as completed. Twenty an hour. That’s the pace he was required to go at.
On good days, he could actually get about thirty an hour. On days like today, he was operating at ten.
If he continued with ten an hour, then the next hour he would need to do thirty to catch back up to the twenty he was required to do. Two hours at ten meant the next hour needed to be forty. Unless he stayed late for the day.
The desk phone rang, and Tweek almost knocked over his coffee. He knew that caller ID.
“Hey Craig,” Tweek answered.
“Hey babe.” Craig said on the other end. “I need your help.”
Tweek looked back at the monitor, watching another minute tick by. “Sure, what’s up.”
“Hold on, I’m putting you on speaker.”
Tweek took a deep breath. “Why?”
“Ok, Tweek. Answer honestly.” Craig sounded a bit further away. “Is Christmas Eve the entire day, or does it just mean the evening before Christmas?”
“Tweek, side with me!”
“Is that Clyde?” Tweek asked.
“Hey Tweek!” Clyde responded. “Please, you know the answer to this!”
Craig had gotten Clyde the job at the soda plant a few years back, and Tweek was a little jealous that Craig could work with their friend. Tweek didn’t really talk to anyone at work.
“Christmas Eve is the entire day.” Tweek said.
“Ha.” Craig’s nasally laugh came through the receiver. “I told you he would side with me. He’s not an idiot.”
“Seriously, Tweek! How could you!” Clyde shouted.
“Goodbye,” Tweek hung up.
He loved Craig, he really did. But while Tweek was stressing out, Craig was having fun with Clyde. At his job. He envied Craig and his “don’t give a fuck” personality. He wished he could channel some of that.
“Tucker!” His manager shouted from his office. “Get in here!”
Tweek stood up, chugged the rest of his coffee, crumpled the cardboard cup and threw it in the trash. Another minute ticked by, and now he needed fifty to catch up.
Is this all Tweek Tucker is?
He gripped the steering wheel, knuckles turning white. Someone had just cut him off, and he had to slam on his breaks.
Tweek Tweak had all the adventures. Tweek Tweak completed his education. Tweek Tweak worked hard and saved money to buy a house. Tweek Tweak got engaged and married. Tweek Tweak was strong. Tweek Tweak was the one who paved the way for Tweek Tucker.
Tweek Tucker wakes up. Tweek Tucker drops Craig off at work. Tweek Tucker goes to work. Tweek Tucker picks up Craig from work. Tweek Tucker sits on the couch all night before Tweek Tucker goes to bed.
Sometimes, Tweek Tucker goes to the grocery store. Or vacuums the floor. Or does some dishes or laundry.
Who is Tweek Tucker?
He stared at himself in the rearview mirror. The bags under his eyes are more prominent, and he seems a bit pale.
He pulled into the parking lot and called Craig to come outside. A few minutes later, Craig emerged with Clyde, talking about something.
Tweek rolled down the window. “Get in, nerd.”
Craig flipped him off, smirking. Tweek gave a little smile as Craig opened the door. “Nerd, huh?” Craig kissed Tweek on the cheek.
“Ew.” Clyde said. “Get a room!”
Tweek grabbed Craig by the flaps on his blue hat (that he still wears daily) and pulled him into a deep kiss.
“Seriously!” Clyde began laughing hysterically. “Gross!”
Both Tweek and Craig flip him a middle finger, still kissing.
When Tweek pulls back, Craig is grinning at him. The same goofy grin Tweek had come to know and love all these years. His hat was off a bit to the side, and pieces of his black hair stuck out. At that moment, he fell in love with him all over again.
As they leave the parking lot, Tweek looks over once more as Craig fiddles with the radio dial. “How was your day?”
“Boring,” Craig pulled out his phone, leaning back in his seat. “Except when I called you. That made my day. Clyde is still pissed.”
Tweek laughed. “I bet,”
“I can’t believe he didn’t think I would know how you would answer.” Craig scrolled through something on Facebook. “We’ve been together for how long?”
“How old are we again?”
“Don’t get me started on that,” Craig said. “You know that thirty is like, old for a gay man, right?”
“You’re dramatic,” Tweek said. Hypocrite, he called himself. “Enjoy your twenties…for the next few months anyway.”
“Ugghhhh,” Craig whined.
Tweek pat Craig on the shoulder. “There there, Craig. You’ll be alright. At least you’ve got some time. I’ll be old in a few weeks. Then you’ll leave me for a younger man.”
A sideways glance was his response.
“It’s four, what do you want to do now?” Tweek asked.
“I don’t know,” Craig was back on his phone.
His grip tightened on the steering wheel, and he clenched his jaw, sure he would crack a tooth.
“You ever thought of just…leaving?”
Tweek was laying on the couch, his head in Craig’s lap, staring up at his husband of five years. Craig set his phone down on the coffee table.
“Like, moving?” Craig asked.
Tweek shook his head. “I mean, abandoning everything and just…leaving.”
“Ok, let's do it.”
“What??” Tweek sat up.
“Yeah, let’s do it. Fuck everything. Let’s go. You and me.” Craig said.
Tweek shook his head. “We can’t just leave! What about our jobs? Our house?”
“Fuck it all.” Craig said, flipping off the house with both hands.
Tweek laughed. “Okay, okay, but I’m not being serious.”
“You sounded serious.” Craig said.
“Well, I wasn’t.”
“Then why did you say it?”
Tweek frowned. “Don’t you ever think about it? Running from all this?”
“No,” Craig said. “No, I don’t.”
“Tweek, are you okay?” Craig scooted closer to Tweek on the couch. Tweek pulled away. “Come on, babe. You’ve been off for a while now. What’s on your mind?”
“Oh, you’re just now asking me?” Why am I being defensive? “What, you think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
“No,” Craig sat up completely straight. “I just think you have a lot on your mind.”
“What made you think that, huh Craig?”
“You’ve been really quiet.”
“I have not been quiet!” Why am I doing this?
Craig sighed. “Okay, Tweek. Okay.”
“Okay? Okay, what?” Tweek moved over to the loveseat, putting more distance between them. “You want to know what’s going on, Craig?”
“Why are you always on your phone? Why is that more important than me?”
“What?” Craig looked over to the phone on the coffee table.
“You’re always on it!” Tweek was shouting now. “You’re always on your phone, and I think you like it more than me!”
“Tweek, don’t be ridiculous.” Craig said. “It’s just a phone.”
Tweek stood up. “Just a phone? You’re always on it. Sitting on the couch watching TV with me, in the car, before going to sleep. Craig, it’s all you do!”
“Tweek, honey, you’re being irrational—”
“Don’t give me that, Craig! Don’t you think I know that?” Tweek was pacing now, flexing his fingers in and out of fists. “Craig, I am going crazy.”
“You’re not crazy.”
“I am crazy!” Tweek yelled. “I can’t stop thinking about everything. About you, about that phone, about work, about something stupid I did in college years ago that doesn’t even mean anything.”
Craig walked over to him. Tweek looked off to the side, breathing heavily, and avoiding his gaze. Craig took off his hat, letting his disheveled black hair free, and placed it on Tweek’s head.
“You just need a shield to stop the thoughts coming in,” Craig said, adjusting the hat to fit properly on Tweek.
Tweek felt the tears drop down his face, and he reached up to wipe them away before Craig could see. “Easier said than done.”
“Maybe,” Craig smiled softly. “But I know you can do it. You’re capable of more than you think, Tweek.”
More guilt. Tweek felt heavy as it piled on. Why was he treating Craig like this? Anyone would be happy to have someone like Craig as their husband. Tweek knew this. So why was he being so unfair to him?
Tweek wrapped his arms around Craig’s chest, pulling him in tight. Craig was just a few inches taller than him, but when he hugged him like this, Tweek felt so much smaller, but protected.
“Let’s go somewhere.” Tweek said into Craig’s chest.
“Just for the weekend.” Tweek let out a small chuckle. “I don’t think I could handle a permanent vacation.”
“Let’s go to the middle of nowhere and look at the stars,” Tweek looked up at Craig. “Somewhere just you and me and nothing else.”
Craig smiled wide. “I think I can make that work.”
“Okay, good.” Tweek pulled back, taking Craig’s hat and putting it back on his husband’s head. “Now you figure out dinner.”
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
It was dark and gloomy. The entire office was engulfed in a grey hue as a storm kicked up outside. It felt much later than it was.
Tweek’s eyes were glued to the monitor. Another day. Another twenty applications an hour. He was behind again, and his manager knew it now. He had been called to the office twice that week to explain himself. And twice he had no excuse.
“Yo, you hear that?”
Tweek lost his focus for a second, overhearing his desk neighbors chat. The two in front of him were always going on about one thing or another.
“Hear what, man?”
“Tucker’s turning thirty.”
Tweek stopped typing.
“Oh man, really?” The guy in the cube in front of him turned around. “Hey, Tucker. Is it true?”
“Yes.” Tweek said, flatly.
“Awesome! You doin anything fun? I mean, it is a milestone. You only turn thirty once!” The other guy said.
“Probably just dinner.” Tweek said. “With Craig.”
“Aww, no big party? Missing out.”
Everything’s a party to these…kids. Tweek chuckled to himself. The two of them were only twenty-three. Tweek was feeling old now.
A loud gust of wind and a crash of thunder caused Tweek to jolt in his chair. One by one, sirens from cell phones sounded across the office. Tweek looked down at his own phone. Thunderstorm alert.
“You think we’ll get rain?”
“I hope not! No one can drive in rain, man.”
Another stack of papers was dropped on his desk. The THUD caused the framed picture of him and Craig to shake. Tweek set his head down on the keyboard, entering an entire line of spaces as the customer’s last name.
One of these days, he was going to find another job.
A flash ran through the building, followed immediately by a BANG. Tweek’s monitors shook, and the lights flickered.
“What the fuck was that?!”
“Calm down!” The manager shouted, coming out of his office. “It’s just a storm!”
Tweek clutched at his chest, breathing heavily. His hands shook, and he tried to steady them.
The rain was coming now. He could hear the heavy downpour from all around him. He took a deep breath and picked up his desk phone, hitting the first number on his speed dial.
“You’re alright,” Came the voice on the other end.
“No, I’m not, Craig.” Tweek slumped over on his desk. “It’s really bad over here.”
“It’s nature, honey.” Craig said. “Just some rain.”
Tweek smiled. Just hearing his voice made him feel better. But he wished he wasn’t so dependent on his husband. It always made him feel useless and like a burden.
“It’s really coming down,” Tweek stood up, looking over the cubicles and out to the windows. “It looks like it’s nighttime over here.”
“Yeah it’s not so bad here.” Craig said. “Some rain. Some wind.”
Tweek held the phone receiver between his cheek and shoulder, rubbing his hands together. He shivered slightly, a general uneasiness running through him.
“Clyde’s crying though.” Tweek could almost hear Craig’s smirk as Clyde shouted “I’m not!!!” loud enough for him to hear.
“Tell Clyde to suck it up and stop being a pussy.” Tweek said, cringing as he saw his manager looking straight at him. He sat back down, lowering his voice. “And tell him if I think he’s a pussy, then that’s really saying something.”
“You’re not a pussy, Tweek.” Craig said, getting serious. “You have anxiety. But you’re right. Clyde is a pussy.”
Tweek blew into his hands, and shivered again. Craig started arguing with Clyde on the other end of the line, and Tweek started laughing. “It’s alright, Craig. You tell Clyde—”
The last thing Tweek remembered was everything suddenly going dark, a buzzing sound in his ears, and Craig shouting his name as he collapsed to the floor.
He woke up to the smell of smoke.
The papers from his desk were strewn about; some flying through the air and some charred beyond recognition. His chair was tipped over, his monitors were cracked. The power was out.
He was laying on his back, staring at the hole in the ceiling. He could see up through to the floor above him, and out to the sky above that. Wincing, he stood up, taking note of the spreading fire and the rushing sprinkler system. What the fuck happened?
The phone receiver was hanging off the side of his desk. He listened for any sound, but nothing came. The phone itself had been destroyed. He reached around for his cell phone, noting the cracked screen.
“Fuck!” He shouted, pressing the power button with no results.
A light fixture fell, slamming into a desk a few feet away. Tweek dropped his phone and nearly fell over.
“Hello?” He shouted.
I need to get out of here! Tweek started biting the nail on his thumb, searching for a way out. The nearest emergency exit was blocked by the fire and a pile of debris. He stepped over pieces of the fallen ceiling around his desk, reaching over to his neighbor’s phone.
There was no dial tone on that phone either, and Tweek slammed it against the desk three times before dropping it altogether.
What if I die in here?
The fire was coming closer to his desk.
Take it easy, Tweek, you can get out.
He was soaked now; his hair fell over his face. Lightning flashed across the window, lighting up the entire floor for a split second. The thunder came right behind it.
Oh god!!! Tweek covered his ears. His chest was tightening, like a weight was sitting on top of him. He kept moving. He remembered the other exit. He just needed to get to the other side of the building.
He slammed his fists against his head.
“Help!” A voice yelled.
He stopped walking and pulled his hands away.
“Help, please! Anyone!”
He had to get out. He didn’t know how stable the building was. The sprinklers weren’t doing enough to calm the fire, and it was growing larger. What if he never made it out? What if the fire got him? He started coughing.
“I don’t want to die!” The voice cried out.
What if that guy didn’t make it either? Tweek searched for the voice. “Where are you?”
“Hello? Oh! I hear you!” The guy yelled. “I’m trapped!”
“Where are you?” Tweek shouted again, cautiously walking to where he thought the voice was coming from. Don’t be crazy, Tweek, get out of there!
“Help! I can’t leave my wife!”
God damnit! “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me where you are!” Tweek yelled. He dodged another falling light fixture, flinching at the shattering glass.
“WILL YOU JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE?” Tweek screeched. “I’M SCARED TOO! YOU THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE?”
No response. Tweek continued moving, looking through cubicle after cubicle on his way to the exit. His hands were shaking.
“The break room.” Came a meek reply.
He stopped. The break room was behind him. He pulled on his hair, and silently debated leaving him behind.
“Please! My wife…”
At that moment, Tweek thought of Craig.
He turned back around and ran toward the break room. The man was in the corner underneath a sprinkler. The other sprinkler in the room had not gone off, and a small fire was blocking the man’s exit.
Tweek stood behind the fire at the doorway. “What are you doing?”
“I’m stuck!” The man shouted. “The fire is all around me!”
“You gotta run through it!” Tweek yelled back. “There’s another sprinkler out here!”
“Are you serious!?” Tweek pulled on his hair again. “Do you want to die?”
“I’ll die if I run into the fire!”
“No, you won’t!”
“It’s fire!” Tweek was grinding his teeth. “It’ll be hot but you’ll live!”
Tweek really considered leaving him behind, but he knew he would never be able to live with himself if he let the man die. The guilt would eat him alive, if he even made it out.
If I die, I hope you don’t hate me, Craig.
Tweek pushed himself through the fire. It was fucking hot, but he made it to the man. The sprinkler rained down on both of them, cooling Tweek down and keeping the flames back. The small fire grew larger, and smoke billowed out a broken window.
The man crouched down, head between his knees, and started sobbing.
Oh god, we’re both going to die! “Get up!” Tweek shouted, breaking out into a coughing fit from the smoke.
“I can’t!” The man started rocking back and forth. “I can’t! I can’t!”
Tweek eyed the fire, which now encompassed the entire room. Even with the open window, the smoke made everything hazy.
His socks and shoes were soaked now. He brushed his hair from his face. His clothes felt heavy.
“MOVE NOW!” Tweek yelled. “GOD DAMNIT GET THE FUCK UP!”
“I CAN’T I’M SCARED OF FIRE!” The man yelled back.
Fucking sprinklers! Tweek wished the water could reach the fire, and not just them. He moved his hand up to cover his eyes as he looked up.
Suddenly, the water stopped. Tweek blinked a few times, wiping droplets from his eyes.
“What the fuck!” The sprinkler hadn’t turned off. It just wasn’t raining on them anymore. It was now shooting water directly at the fire.
Tweek put his hand down. The water came rushing back onto them.
He put his hand back out and the water sprayed at the fire.
“What. The. Fuck.”
The fire disappeared.
The sprinkler came down on them again.
“What are you doing?” The man was standing now, running to the door. “Don’t just stand there! We have to get out of here!”
Tweek looked at his hands, then followed the man out.
The further they ran, the less the damage was. The sprinklers were still going off, but there was no fire on the other side of the floor. No debris had fallen. No hole in the ceiling.
They bolted down the emergency stairs, passing a line of firefighters who were climbing up. Some shouted at them to get to safety, but Tweek wasn’t listening. The only thing he was focused on was the exit.
Tweek was the second one out, but once the fresh air hit him, he nearly collapsed. Fire trucks and ambulances surrounded the building, flashing lights and sirens overwhelmed him. Paramedics rushed to him, pulling him back towards one of the ambulances, bombarding him with questions.
I made it. He laid back on the gurney as he was fussed over. His eyes were heavy. His breaths; shallow.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
We were supposed to be a duo, remember Tweek?
Yeah, I remember! So, when I walked out on Coon and Friends, you should’ve walked out with me!
Craig, what gives?
Yeah, it’s Civil War, dude.
We’re only going to get rid of these expectations, and everything else, if we do it together.
It was bright, and he winced as he opened his eyes. This time, there was no smell of smoke. It smelled like antiseptics and other chemicals. Everything was white.
“He’s waking up!”
Something was clinging to his right sleeve. He pulled slightly, but didn’t try too hard. He tried to sit up, but was eased back down.
“Lay back down, honey.”
His head was pounding, but he laid back anyway. When his eyes focused, he saw Craig leaning over him with a look on his face that he had never seen before.
Usually Craig held an either apathetic stare towards everything or a gaze of annoyance. When he was happy, he usually smirked, the emotion seen in his eyes over anything else. In rarer moments (but more frequent in the past few years), he would smile at Tweek showing his full set of teeth, which Tweek thought was the most beautiful thing in the world.
Today, Craig Tucker showed immense fear.
His eyes were red. His hair was disheveled and poking out from under his hat, which was off center on his head. His blue jacket, wrinkled.
Tweek thought his heart would stop at that moment.
Craig turned his head and rubbed his eyes. “You’re okay. But you’re in the hospital.”
A loud beeping sound startled Tweek, and Craig grabbed his hand. Craig pushed the button to call the nurse with his free hand. Tweek rubbed at his face, noting the tube connected to his nose, and realizing that his left hand was hooked to an IV. The nurse walked in and changed the IV bag.
“Glad to see you’re awake.” The nurse said. Craig moved away, still holding on to Tweek’s hand, as the nurse took his blood pressure. “How are you feeling?”
He didn’t like the pressure on his arm, his eye twitched slightly, but Craig squeezed his hand gently. “A little sore.”
“That’s to be expected.” She took the blood pressure band off his arm. “Are you having trouble breathing?”
Subconsciously, Tweek took a deeper breath than normal. “No.”
“Great,” She said, marking something on a chart hanging off the edge of his bed. “You seem to be recovering well. Hopefully we can get you home soon.”
“Okay.” Tweek leaned back again on the bed.
“We’ll do a few more tests and see where we stand later today.” The nurse said. “Let me know if you need anything.”
Once again, Tweek and Craig were alone.
“What the fuck happened, Craig?” Tweek scratched at his hand with the IV.
Craig reached over and slapped his hand with minimal force. “Stop that.” He held Tweek’s hand again. “Do you remember anything?”
“I remember talking to you on the phone. Something about Clyde being a pussy.” Tweek grinned, but Craig’s expression never changed.
“I mean it.” Craig squeezed his hand again. “You don’t remember what happened at all?”
“There was a loud crashing sound. And I remember the fire. And some guy who was pissing me off in the break room.” Tweek said. “Did you know? He wouldn’t tell me where he was for the longest time. He’s lucky I even went back for him.”
“Tweek.” Craig said sternly. “You almost died.”
“I’m clearly fine now.” Tweek said, poking himself. “See, still here.”
“Hey, at least I hit deductible with this hospital stay, huh?”
There it was. The tremble in his voice. The tears coming down his face. The tight grip on Tweek’s hand.
The only other time Tweek had seen Craig cry was at his grandmother’s funeral in high school. Silent tears fell when no one was looking, and once Craig saw Tweek staring in his direction, he immediately turned away and stopped.
Tweek couldn’t handle this. His heart ached. Craig was the strong one between the two of them. He couldn’t help his own tears from falling. He turned on his side, making room for Craig to join him on the bed.
Craig laid beside Tweek, his forehead on the blonde’s shoulder as he cried. Tweek held him close, pulling Craig’s hat off and running his hands through his hair. They cried together, and held each other tight.
After a few minutes, Craig spoke up, making his voice even as he tried to mask the fact that he had been crying. “You suffered from smoke inhalation.”
Tweek was still playing with Craig’s hair, twisting the black locks into curls between his fingers. He fought the urge to say something back, allowing Craig to let everything out. Another thing Craig didn’t usually do.
“Your desk was the center of a lightning strike,” Craig squeezed the arm around Tweek’s waist. “The whole thing burned.”
Tweek’s eyes were wide.
“They said it was probably because you were on the phone.” Craig buried his head into Tweek’s neck, muffling his voice. “They said it’s not common, but it’s possible.”
Tweek held Craig’s head close.
“If you hadn’t been on the phone…” Craig’s voice was even quieter. He pulled his head back, looking Tweek directly in the eyes. “If I hadn’t been talking to you, this wouldn’t have happened. This is my fault, Tweek. I am so sorry.”
“Are you kidding me?” Tweek grabbed Craig’s shoulders, shaking him enough to try and knock some sense into him. “I called you! If anything, it’s my fault!”
“If I didn’t answer…”
“Seriously? Craig, you always answer. Sometimes on the first ring! You couldn’t have predicted this! You said it yourself, it’s not common.” Tweek said. “You can’t take the blame at all.”
Craig kissed him, cupping his face and holding onto him with a sense of need. Tweek kissed back, pressing himself against Craig as much as he could. He gently wiped the tears from Craig’s eyes.
“Since when did you start comforting me?” Craig chuckled, running a hand over Tweek’s cheek.
“Right? I’m the one that got hit by lightning.” Tweek laughed. “Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to comfort me. I’m going to be even more deathly afraid of storms from now on.”
Craig reached over and covered Tweek’s face with his hat.
It was late. Tweek flipped through channels. There was nothing good on.
Craig had fallen asleep next to him, curled up on his side. Tweek watched Craig’s chest rise and fall in a steady rhythm.
A few doctors had come and gone, checking his vitals and asking questions. One commented about the lack of burns on his skin, which surprised Tweek. Who gets hit by lightning and doesn’t get burned?
He was given the clear to check out in the morning. He had been in the hospital for a few days as his body recovered, and Tweek couldn’t wait to get home.
Boring. Tweek thought, changing the channel again. The sound was quiet, and the closed captioning was on.
He froze, stopping his channel surfing on the local news. They were showing an aerial view of the building he worked in. Flames shot out of the windows, and firefighters shot streams of water towards them. According to the footage, this had been filmed earlier in the week.
Tweek narrowed his eyes, staring at the hole in the roof.
He turned the volume up.
“…cause of the fire was a single lightning strike. Authorities continue to investigate the stability of the structure, and whether the building can be repaired.”
Fuck. How was he going to work now? He needed to get paid.
He shut off the TV, dropping the remote next to him. Craig slept peacefully next to him. There was a steady beep from somewhere in the room.
He buried his face in his hands. How long until he got paid next? He knew they had a decent emergency fund, but the thought of having to use it scared him. What if the building never got fixed, and he was fired?
They could make it about three months on Craig’s income alone before they ran out of money. But that didn’t factor in the unplanned medical bills he just racked up.
Tweek bit the nail on his thumb. If it came to it, they could cut out their Netflix account and Amazon Prime, and downgrade their internet to save money. Cut out the extra payments to the house, stop all savings, cut down on going out to eat. Stop all money allocated to fun until he found another job.
Where could he work though? It’s not like he was skilled in anything. Data entry was probably the easiest job in the world and he could barely keep up with that. He pulled his knees to his chest, careful not to bump Craig.
Would Craig think he was useless and leave?
The chest tightening came back, and he took a few deep breaths to try and calm down. It was all catching up to him now. The reality of what happened. He almost died. He rubbed his legs, scratching barely on the surface of his skin.
Oh god. He started scratching harder. Why do I think about this shit?
He reached over to his bedside table, aiming for his glass of water. What he wasn’t expecting was the glass to move towards him, gliding into his open hand.
“Ahh!” He pulled his hand back. What the fuck was that?
He eyed the glass, furrowed his eyebrows, and frowned. It seemed like a normal glass. He leaned around to see each side as close as he could. Nothing out of the ordinary.
He positioned himself further back from the table and opened his hand. The glass started sliding down the table toward him.
“JESUS WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?” He shrieked, slapping the glass away from him. “OH MY GOD!”
Craig jumped up, trying to grab onto something as he fell off the bed, crashing to the floor. The chair next to them toppled over. “Jesus, Tweek, what the fuck!”
Tweek covered his mouth.
Craig stood up, rubbing his side. “Are you okay?”
Tweek nodded, hands still over his mouth. Oops.
Craig stretched out, a frown on his face. Tweek could tell he wasn’t happy with being woken up so suddenly. He picked up the chair. “That fucking hurt.”
He pulled the chair to the edge of the bed. “What happened?”
Tweek curled in on himself again. You’re going crazy. “Well…” He won’t believe you. “...um…” Stupid.
“It’s okay.” Craig said, yawning. “When you’re ready.” He looked at the clock on the wall. “God, is it really three in the morning?”
“You should go home and get some sleep.” Tweek said. “Some real sleep.”
“No way.” Craig laid his head down on the bed. “It’s not home unless you’re there.”
Even after all this time… Tweek smiled. Why do I ever doubt him?
He took one last glance at the glass on the floor before trying to get some sleep himself.
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
“Those fucking assholes better pay your medical bills.”
Tweek typed on his laptop. “We’ll see.”
“You were hurt on the job.” Craig said. “That’s workman’s comp. Plain and simple.”
He sighed as he completed the online forms to submit a claim. Craig was right. Injuries on the job usually got workman’s compensation. But Tweek didn’t fully understand the workings behind how to qualify, but he was starting with the initial form.
Craig laid on the couch opposite Tweek, who was on the loveseat. “Make sure they pay your lost wages too.” Craig was playing his phone game again. “If they deny that, I’ll kick their ass.”
Tweek giggled. “You’re going to kick a bank’s ass?”
“Hell yeah,” Craig responded. “No work until the doctor clears it.”
Though Tweek was sent home from the hospital, he had been advised to take it easy. No physical exertion while his lungs continued to heal. “They haven’t even opened the building back. I couldn’t go back even if I wanted to.”
“Doesn’t matter.” Craig said, frowning as he missed a goal in his game. “Injured. On. Job. You stay home.”
Tweek stuck his tongue out. “What about you then? What’s your excuse for missing work?”
“I’m on vacation.”
“Vacation?” Tweek scrunched his nose. “What the fuck vacation are you on?”
“Well, since I can’t be sick anymore, I’m on vacation.” Craig smirked.
Tweek facepalmed. “Craig, you should go to work.”
“I mean it, Craig! I’m not—”
“—worth using vacation time for! I’m fine, really Craig!” Craig said, mocking Tweek’s voice. “Oh my god, Craig. How dare you want to stay home and make sure I’m okay!”
Tweek glared at his husband. “You asshole.”
“See? Sounds pretty stupid when you hear it from someone else.”
Tweek threw a pillow at him.
They sat in silence as Craig played his game, and Tweek filled out forms online. Eventually, Craig turned on Netflix and watched The Office (for the hundredth time, Tweek was sure of it).
That night, he laid in bed once more under his three blankets, listening to the soft breaths from Craig as he slept next to him, one arm around his waist.
The ceiling fan spun in the dark.
It had been about a week since the fire. Tweek could still smell the burning rubble of what was now left of his office building. He coughed.
That damn fire. What did he do to deserve this? Was this a punishment?
Is this what I get? Tweek felt Craig pull him closer in his sleep. I deserved this, didn’t I?
He closed his eyes. Go to sleep.
But he was back in the office. Typing away at an endless stack of applications. Typing and typing and typing and typing.
Stop. He said. He kept typing and typing and typing.
“Tucker!!!! Those applications won’t complete themselves!” His manager yelled across the cubes.
It was two in the morning, or so his computer told him. The stack was still up to the ceiling.
Type. Type. Type. Type. Type.
When can I see Craig?
“When the applications are finished!!!!” It was his own voice now.
Rrrrrrggggg. Click clack click clack.
“When are you coming to get me?”
Craig was leaning over the cube wall in front of him.
He kept typing. “I’m almost done, Craig! I’ll be over soon.”
It was two thirty.
Craig disappeared from the cube wall.
Type type. Click clack. Tweek threw his completed application to the floor.
“Come home, Tweek.”
“I can’t! I’m not done yet!” Tweek’s hands were moving on autopilot. He didn’t even know what he was typing anymore.
Craig held him from behind, whispering into his ears. “I miss you.”
“LET ME FINISH”
Craig was sitting on the cube wall now. “Don’t you love me, Tweek?”
“YES!” Tweek threw more papers to the floor. “More than anything!!”
“Then why would you let me die?”
The building was on fire now. Tweek was still typing. “CRAIG!!”
He tried to move, but his legs failed him. He was still typing, burning papers exchanging hands. He started coughing.
Craig appeared once again, his clothes smoldering. “Why, Tweek.”
His hands were still moving. The keyboard disappeared, and everything turned white.
His hands stopped.
“It’s time.” The man dressed in white was holding a clipboard. He walked down the hallway. Tweek followed without even thinking.
They entered another solid white room. A sheet covered something lying on a bed. Tweek kept walking, even as every part of his being was telling him to run.
The man pulled the sheet back, and Tweek nearly died on the spot.
Craig laid lifeless against pure white sheets.
Tweek stared blankly.
And then Craig was in a coffin, dressed in a pristine tuxedo with no wrinkles. His black hair combed just right. He looked fake.
Tweek reached out, placing Craig’s signature hat on his head, covering the unnatural appearance Craig had. An overwhelming amount of flowers cascaded out of the coffin and littered the floor.
This isn’t happening.
He was sitting on the floor of his closet surrounded by clothes.
“Do you need help, Tweek?”
He was holding a box tightly to his chest.
Clyde was pulling clothes from hangers, dropping them on the floor. They piled and piled around Tweek.
“We could donate most of this,” Clyde dropped more. “Let someone else get use from it.”
He was crying. The box’s sharp edges dug into his skin.
“You need to say goodbye, Tweek.”
He shot up in bed, heart racing and skin clammy. His clothes were soaked, and his face was wet.
Craig had turned around and was sleeping the other way. Tweek was fighting to catch his breath. He stared at Craig, wide eyed and unfocused as he tried to see him breathing.
He swallowed hard. He coughed a few times. His lungs burned. This was the worst they felt since he had checked out from the hospital.
And Craig was breathing normally. Tweek flopped back against his pillow, smacking his head over and over again to clear his thoughts.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
They stood hand in hand in the center of the parking lot, overlooking the last place they thought they’d return to.
When Tweek and Craig up and left roughly four years ago, things hadn’t quite gone back to normal. Tweek barely spoke to his parents since they fired Craig, and his parents never took the time to reach out to him either. Or apologize to Craig. He was more upset about the latter.
But when Tweek approached Craig with his issue, Craig didn’t hesitate to take action.
Tweek had negative intrusive thoughts before, but since the fire, they had been more and more frequent. One night, Craig woke to Tweek sitting up and crying in the dark, unable to voice what had happened.
It wasn’t until the next morning that Tweek revealed, at least partially, why he was so upset. Craig held him close as they talked it out, and then called Tweek’s parents. There was something so...adult...about the way Craig called them and explained what he needed.
And now they had arrived back in South Park.
Tweek had a death grip on Craig’s hand as they walked into the coffee shop. Craig didn’t seem to mind, holding back just as tight.
Back here, huh? Tweek frowned. What does that say about you? Weak.
The door chimed, and Craig brought them to the counter. Richard walked out from the back room, a smile on his face.
“Well if it isn’t Craig!” Richard said. “And Tweek! Welcome back!”
Tweek glared at his father.
“Thanks,” Craig said.
Tweek started shifting from foot to foot and looked around the shop. Nothing had changed. He started flexing his hands, loosening his grip on Craig’s hand, who only grabbed on tighter. He stopped fidgeting.
“It’s just been so long!” Richard said. “I knew one day you’d come around. The shop hasn’t been the same without you.”
Tweek’s left eye started twitching.
“I’ll let you boys get settled in.” Richard tossed a key at Craig. “We can catch up at dinner!”
“Thank you.” Craig said, pulling Tweek around and out the door.
The door chimed again, and once it slammed behind them, Tweek yanked his hand back and started pulling on his hair. “JESUS MAN I can’t take it!”
Craig grabbed Tweek by the shoulders. “I know, babe. I know.” He rubbed his shoulders. “It won’t be for long, I promise.”
“What if this doesn’t work? What if I never get better. WHAT IF THEY THINK I’M CRAZY.” Tweek said.
“Come on. Let’s go lay down for a while.”
Tweek bit his nails the rest of the car ride back to his parent’s house. He knew he was being stupid and overreacting. This was the house he grew up in. And even though things were a bit awkward between him and his parents, this was still once his home.
He stared out the window, watching all the houses and trees go by. Being back in South Park brought back some nostalgic feelings for him. He remembered wandering the neighborhoods when he was a child, playing whatever game the rest of his class was playing.
When they arrived, Tweek didn’t move. Craig unloaded their bags and brought them inside. He was doing everything. Why can’t I help myself? Tweek sunk down in his seat.
The car door opened, and Craig held a hand out, smiling. “You ready?”
Craig knelt down, sitting on his heels. He placed a hand in Tweek’s hair. “Well then, let me know when you’re ready.”
Tweek pouted. “Never.”
“Well then, I guess we’ll hang out here all day then.” Craig pulled out his phone.
I’m being difficult. Tweek put one foot out. “Fine FINE!” He took Craig’s hand from his head.
Craig pulled his hand back. “Holy shit, Tweek, your hands are freezing.”
Tweek rubbed his hands together. “Really? I don’t think so.”
Craig grabbed his hand again. “Huh.” He laced his fingers with Tweek’s. “Well, they’re not anymore. Let’s go.”
I’m almost thirty, and I am moving back in with my parents. Tweek’s legs were heavy, and Craig was so far ahead of him now. I suck.
He followed Craig upstairs, turning the familiar corners until he reached his old room. Their old room. There was nothing to be seen except a bed and an empty desk. Tweek ran a finger over the headboard, noting a layer of dust.
He sat on the bed as Craig tossed their bags across the room.
“God, I don’t miss this small room.” Craig sat down next to Tweek. “Our room is so much better.”
Tweek shook his leg, fidgeting with his hands.
Craig leaned forward on his knees, clasping his hands together. “What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing.” Tweek said. “Everything.”
Craig put one hand on Tweek’s knee, stopping his shaking. “You’re gunna do fine. I promise. And I’ll be right outside if you need me.”
Tweek tackled Craig into a hug, and they both fell back. Craig let out a sound of surprise, but wrapped his arms around Tweek anyway.
Tweek never wanted it to end.
Tweek sat on the couch, arms crossed, legs crossed, and stared at the woman in front of him.
She was sitting on an opposite couch, writing something on a clipboard, and looking up at him every now and then. What is she writing. He stared around the room, taking note of the full bookcase and the obviously fake plants on her desk.
“It’s good to see you, Tweek.” She said, putting her clipboard down in her lap. “How are you doing?”
How do you think I’m doing, if I’m here? “Fine.” Tweek said.
Dr. Norris had been his psychiatrist since he was a child. Back then, he needed to see her nearly every day. As he got older, the visits diminished, until they stopped all together.
“That’s good to hear,” She responded. “Was that Craig I saw outside?”
“You guys must be doing really well, then.” She said, eyeing his wedding ring. Tweek started twisting it around his finger. “How long have you been married?”
“Almost five years,” He said, smiling.
“I think the last time I saw you, you were wondering when he was going to propose.” She said.
“It wasn’t long after,” Tweek said, uncrossing his legs. He started pulling on a few loose strands of fabric from the couch.
“How was your trip from Denver?” She asked.
“Craig said the two of you own a house there.” She said, picking up her coffee from the small table next to her and taking a sip. Tweek eyed the substance as she set it back down. “How do you like owning your own home?”
“Fine.” Tweek said again. “It’s fucking fine. Better than this stupid place.”
“Oh?” Dr. Norris picked up the clipboard. “What’s wrong with here?”
“Everything is wrong with here!” Tweek said. “This stupid town, the stupid house, the stupid coffee shop. It’s all stupid.”
Dr. Norris scribbled down something else, and Tweek crossed his arms again. “Why is it stupid?”
“Well, you know what I think?” Dr. Norris said. “I think this place is pretty stupid too. Just the other day, I hired an intern who refused to answer the phone. Said it wasn’t his ‘style’ and asked that we do everything by text or email.”
Tweek’s eyes widened. “Are you serious?”
“Yup. Fired him the next day.”
“See, that’s what I’m talking about!” Tweek said. “Completely stupid. Who thinks they can get away with that?”
“Like my stupid parents, who think they can just get away with firing Craig.” Tweek said. “So stupid. So fucking stupid. And pretend like nothing happened.”
Dr. Norris nodded.
“Just at dinner last night, my dad kept going on about how we finally turned a new leaf, and he knew I would be back.” Tweek pulled on his hair. “We left because you’re a stupid fucking idiot, dad, and you can’t see when you’re wrong. And then have the nerve to tell me that I should have called him more often. You have a fucking phone, asshole. Call me and apologize for being a dick!”
Tweek took a deep breath. “And apologize to Craig, god damnit.”
“Have you told him this?” Dr. Norris asked.
“No.” Tweek said. “He wouldn’t listen anyway. He can’t see past his gay son leaving his coffee shop. Thinks it was a deliberate move to drive away customers. As he always said: ‘Having a gay son is good for the coffee business!’”
“So what are you doing now, Tweek? Since you’re not in the coffee business?”
“I work for a fucking bank.” Tweek said. Oh no, I can’t stop. “A bank that doesn’t even care about my accident and keeps denying workman’s comp. I’ve filled out the fucking forms five times now. Five times. Each time, they say I filled it out wrong, but won’t tell me what was wrong.
If they don’t cover this, we’ll have to pay the deductible and the coinsurance which is like over two grand. Two grand of money we shouldn’t have to spend. Two grand that should stay put in case a real emergency happens.”
“Are you having money problems, Tweek?”
“No. NO. And that’s what I can’t reconcile. Why am I so worried about this when it’s not a problem? We’re financially responsible. We live below our means. We are smart about our money. Why is the thought of having to pay this just NOT LEAVING ME ALONE.
Just the other night, I dreamt that our bank account was empty and we couldn’t pay the mortgage. And we lost the house and had to move back in with my parents...OH GOD I’M LIVING WITH MY PARENTS AGAIN.
I am such a fucking failure and I’m pretty sure Craig secretly hates me and is just waiting for an excuse to leave. I’ve given him plenty, I don’t know what he’s waiting for. I’m just going to take him down with me. I can’t even work now since the building was damaged and I’m making no money right now and now I just freak out all the time.
Craig is so fucking perfect and I’m am just a loser who he is stuck with. He made a shitty decision to marry me and now he’s paying for it. He has to do everything for me. I am so pathetic and I can’t stop thinking about how he should leave to save himself. But then the thought of him leaving scares me even more, and I just have more dreams about different ways he could die after he walks out that door. Will he get hit by a car? He hits another car? Drive by shooting? Fucking brain aneurysm. All while I sit here ranting about the most stupid shit and making him feel bad.”
Tweek was breathing hard, and he clutched the neck of his shirt tightly. “And then I dream about cleaning out the closet of all his stuff. Sometimes I’m even holding his fucking ashes. Who the fuck thinks about this shit? IT WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE.”
Dr. Norris had set the clipboard down again. “Take a few deep breaths”
Tweek complied, having trouble at first, but managing to eventually take them.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah…” Tweek said, finally calming down. “Yeah, I’m alright.”
Dr. Norris walked over to her desk and handed him a bottle of water. “You have a lot on your mind.”
He took a swig from the bottle. “You think?”
“Do you feel better after getting it all out?”
“I don’t know.” Tweek said. “I’m pretty sure you think I’m crazy and are going to commit me.”
“You have an overactive mind, Tweek.” She said. “But you’re not crazy. In fact, everyone has these thoughts every now and then.”
Tweek eyed her suspiciously. Yeah right.
“You’re just thinking them all at once.” She continued. “You are obviously under a lot of stress, but it will pass.” She flipped through a few papers. “Have you considered going back on your medication?”
Tweek shook his head. “Don’t put me back on those, man.”
“Alright,” She said. “Have you told Craig about any of this?”
He tossed the now empty water bottle onto the couch. “No. It’s not fair to him.” He scratched at his arms. “I’ve only told him very small pieces. Just enough for him to stop worrying. But he seems to worry even more. I don’t even want to know what the rest of the picture would do to him.”
“Tweek, he’s your husband.” Dr. Norris said. “Seems pretty devoted too, seeing as he’s waiting for you outside. It might be good to let him in more on how you’re feeling.”
Tweek sunk down in his seat.
“Why don’t we try talking to Craig, and continue our sessions before we completely rule out the medication.” Dr. Norris scribbled some more notes. “You might just have too much bottled up inside. Let’s try letting it out.”
He took a deep breath.
“A little at a time.” She finished.
He exhaled loudly. “Alright. I’ll give it a try.”
“I’ll see you in a few days.”
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
I love you all
Tweek walked down the street, arms crossed, and a blank look on his face. He kicked a rock ahead a few feet, then kicked it again when he reached it.
Craig walked next to him, hands stuffed in his pockets, eyes looking around. “How are you feeling?”
He’s asked me that a hundred times. Tweek clenched his jaw. Can’t he tell that I don’t want to talk? “Fine.”
They continued walking. Tweek kicked the rock again.
“Do you want to get something to eat?” Craig asked.
“Nothing sounds good.” Tweek said.
“Okay,” Craig said.
“Do you want to get something to eat?” Tweek asked. “I don’t want you to be unhappy cause of me.”
“Tweek, really, it’s okay.”
“No! It’s not okay! If you want to do something, you can do it!” Tweek stopped walking. “You don’t have to be at my every beck and call, doing everything for me.”
“Tweek,” Craig faced him. “Honey, I love you. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
“But what about you, Craig.” Tweek backed away. “What makes you happy?”
“That’s easy. I’m happy when-”
“Don’t you dare say you’re happy if I’m happy, Craig.” Tweek turned his back to him. “That’s really not true at all.”
“Okay, Tweek. What’s going on with you?” Craig asked. “I know your anxiety is acting up, but you are being really confrontational right now.”
“Oh, I’m being confrontational? At least that’s better than lying to my face.” Tweek rubbed his arms.
“I’m not lying to you, Tweek!” Craig said. “You’re being ridiculous.”
Why do I keep doing this? “Oh, I’m ridiculous now?” Am I trying to test him or something? Push him to his limits? See how far he’ll go before he leaves?
“Yes, Tweek. You’re being ridiculous.” Craig said. “I am trying to help you.”
“If you want to help, then tell me what you’re really thinking!” Tweek shouted. “Tell me that you’re sick and tired of me and that you just want to leave me behind!”
“What, Tweek, you want to hear that I hate when you’re like this?” Craig said, raising his voice. “You want to hear that I hate your anxiety? You want to hear that I think you get into these irrational states and look for reasons to fight? That you’re trying to drive me away?”
Tweek opened his eyes wide.
“What else do you want to hear, Tweek?” Craig kept going. “That you’re overreacting and overthink things that I don’t even say? And even when I tell you you’re wrong, you don’t believe me?”
“Cause I know you don’t tell me everything!” Tweek yelled.
“I think you’ve convinced yourself that I think things I don’t.” Craig clenched his fists. “And you never give me a chance.”
He’s right. “Fuck you, Craig!”
“No, fuck you, Tweek.” Craig flipped him off. “I need some space. See you back at your parent’s. Don’t follow me.”
Tweek reached up and pulled on his hair, watching Craig walk away. “CRAIG TUCKER, DON’T YOU DARE WALK AWAY FROM ME.”
The same uneasy feeling he got when he was at work returned. His skin prickled, his hands felt hot. He felt like an overflowing ball of energy, ready to burst.
The shock came from within him first, then extended out through his whole body into the sky. The bolt sped back down, striking Craig head on as he turned to face Tweek once more.
Tweek froze. A tree near him was smoldering. The ground was scarred in a burst with him in the center. The asphalt around Craig had cracked. “CRAIG!”
Craig’s eyes were wide, and mouth agape. “Dude, Tweek, what the fuck?”
Tweek ran over to Craig. “Oh god, Craig! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine!” Craig yelled. “What the fuck was that?”
Tweek looked down at his hands. He was shaking and couldn’t stop. “I just shot lightning at you! How are you still standing?”
“You shot lightning at me?” Craig yelled. “How did you do that?” He paused. “Why would you do that?”
“I DON’T KNOW” Tweek yelled back. “You act like I did it on purpose!!”
Craig looked around at the ground beneath him. “Holy shit.” He looked around Tweek’s shoulder at the damage behind him. “We should probably get out of here.”
Craig reached out for Tweek’s hand, but pulled back when he was shocked. Tweek held his hands close to his chest.
“Come on, let’s go.”
Tweek stared at the ceiling, trying to make patterns out of the popcorn texture. One section looked like a barking dog, and another looked like a smiling face.
He fiddled with the brown gloves on his hands. This was all they could find to contain some of the excess electricity.
Craig laid next to him on the bed, completely silent.
They had managed to avoid his parents when they got back, which Tweek was grateful for. He didn’t know if he had the energy to deal with them.
“I’m sorry,” Tweek said.
Craig cleared his throat. “Sorry for what?”
“...hitting you with lightning.”
Tweek smiled at Craig’s outburst of chuckles. “Of all the weird things to apologize for…” Craig said. He turned on his side, facing Tweek. “How did you do that?”
Tweek shrugged, turning the other way to face Craig. “I really don’t know.”
Craig reached out, taking Tweek’s hand. “These gloves seem to help.” He linked his fingers with Tweek’s. “I wonder if you could control it somehow.”
Tweek shrugged. “I mean, I’m just discovering that I can do it.”
“Is this your superhero origin story?” Craig grinned.
Tweek laughed. “Yeah right. I’m no super--” Wait a minute. He jumped out of bed and raced over to the closet.
“What?” Craig asked, sitting up.
Tweek threw the door open, tossing out item after item back into the room. Craig stood up, dodging some of the things thrown about.
“Aha!” Tweek exclaimed, emerging from the closet with a dusty shoebox.
“Is that…?” Craig approached Tweek.
Tweek nodded, taking the lid off. He pulled out an old, rolled up sweater, unrolling it to show Craig.
Though Tweek was not able to convince Craig to upgrade his costume at all, he was at least grateful that he allowed him to alter it to be less...flimsy. The red “S” with a white background was now made of felt instead of paper, and was glued onto the sweater. The paper “S” Craig had made had long since been damaged and thrown out.
Craig ran his hands over the sweater. “I haven’t seen this in forever.”
Tweek handed it over to him, pulling out a matching sweater with the letters “WT” in red on the front. “I couldn’t throw them away.” He smiled.
Craig held his sweater up to himself. “God, we were so small.”
Tweek found his headband with the words “Wonder Tweek” in the box. He stretched it out a bit, and put it on his head. “This one still fits.”
Craig leaned over the box, taking out a pair of small brown gloves. “That’s cause you had a big head when we were kids.” He flinched away as Tweek slapped him.
“Asshole,” Tweek stuck his tongue out. “You’re such a dick.”
“That’s Super Dick to you.”
Tweek slapped him again.
“I was hoping our character sheets would be in here.” Tweek said, frowning. “Then I just remembered, I think we gave them to that one new kid.”
“Oh, that guy?” Craig dropped the sweater and gloves onto the bed. “I remember. He came to therapy with us, didn’t he?”
Tweek laughed. “Oh my god, that’s right. You realize that was twenty years ago?”
Craig pulled his hat down over his face. “Ugghh....don’t remind me.” He peeked one eye out back at Tweek. “That reminds me. Your birthday is coming up soon. We need to plan something fun.”
“Later.” Tweek said. “Do you remember Wonder Tweek’s abilities?”
“Of course.” Craig scoffed. “We made them together. He was an elementalist who could heal with water, freeze people, and…”
“Cast lightning.” They said together.
“Holy shit.” Craig said. “You really are becoming a superhero.”
Tweek looked down at his hands. Superhero? That was way too much pressure. And why now? Why not when they were actually playing superheroes? Oh god…
“Now you just have to learn how to use your powers,” Craig said. “Don't try to shock me again.”
Tweek covered his face with his hands. “I didn’t mean to, okay??”
“It’s fine! I’m not hurt or anything.”
Something clicked in Tweek’s head. No way… “Hey Craig...what were Super Craig’s powers again?”
“Me?” Craig asked, surprised. “I just punched people, babe. I kept them away from you.”
Tweek picked up Craig’s old sweater, admiring the red “S” again. “You also had this uncanny ability to piss people off. Similar to how you are today.”
Craig flipped him off. “Fuck you.”
“See?” Tweek laughed. “Super Craig could taunt the enemy and block an attack.” He took his gloves off. “Come here.”
“Get the fuck away from me, Tweek.” Craig backed up. “Don’t touch me until you figure out how to control that.”
“Come on, I want to test something!”
“No fucking way.” Craig’s back hit the dresser, knocking off an old picture of the two of them. “God damnit,”
Tweek saw sparks jumping in his hands. “Just one touch, please?”
“I don’t have a shock fantasy, Tweek!” Craig searched for a way past him. “I’m pretty lenient with what we do in bed, but this is too much.”
Tweek laughed, stepping closer. Craig’s eyes widened, and Tweek stopped. Craig is really scared…
Before he could put his hands down, Craig shoved him away. He was not expecting to fly across the room and slam into the wall.
“Oh shit!” Craig yelled.
Tweek fell over, face first to the ground. “I fucking deserved that.” He mumbled into the carpet.
Craig stepped over cautiously. “Oh my god, Tweek, I am so sorry! Are you okay?”
Tweek pushed himself up, wincing and holding his back. “Yes. Holy shit that hurt.” Tweek braced himself against the wall, taking note of the dent in the drywall. “Don’t apologize.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Craig exclaimed.
“Oh please, we’ve fought worse than this,” Tweek chuckled. He limped as he took a step. Okay, maybe not this bad.
Craig held out the gloves. “Please put these on and I’ll come help you.”
He is scared. Tweek took the gloves, putting them on. “This was my fault, not yours.” Tweek said. “But I’m pretty sure this makes me right.”
Craig glared at him.
“Looks like we have some work to do.”
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
“I can’t believe they haven’t done anything with this place.” Tweek said.
“Really? It’s South Park, dude.” Craig answered.
It was late. The two had walked down past the U-Stor-It to the old SoDoSoPa, marveling at how run down the place still was, even after twenty years. Craig kicked an empty can against the old Lofts building. Tweek searched for any other people.
“I think we’re alone.” Tweek said, peering at an abandoned homeless camp.
“Alone, huh?” Craig said, sneaking up behind Tweek and holding him around the waist. He buried his face in Tweek’s neck. “I don’t mind being alone with you.”
Tweek squirmed. “Oh my god, Craig! What are you doing?” He laughed in embarrassment.
“Remember when we used to sneak around here after school?” Craig said. “You used to freak out over the homeless guys, and I told you I’d protect you.” He kissed Tweek’s neck.
“I don’t need protection!” Tweek said, giggling from Craig’s kisses.
“I know. We’ve been together for a while now, I think we’re good.” Craig said. “It’s not like we can have kids or anything.”
“OH MY GOD” Tweek’s face turned red, and he struggled to get out of Craig’s grasp. “Let me go! You’re crazy!”
Craig laughed, letting his husband go. He shrugged. “Can’t help myself sometimes.”
Tweek was struggling to breathe through his laughter. “You’re ridiculous! We came here to try and figure these stupid abilities out.”
Craig stuffed his hands in his pockets, shifting his weight from heels to tips of his toes. Trying to look innocent now, huh? Tweek thought. Why do I always push you away?
“Okay,” Craig said, shrugging his shoulders. He grinned at Tweek. “Maybe later then.”
“Pervert,” Tweek said.
They rolled a few trash cans to one side, and stood opposite of them, about fifty feet away. Tweek removed his gloves, the sparks lit up his hands.
Craig took a step back from Tweek. “Okay, try not to hit me this time.”
Tweek glared. “Like I would do that on purpose.” He ignored the time in the bedroom, and put his hands out in front of him. “What am I supposed to do?”
“I don’t know. Don’t all the movies say something like ‘Focus your mind’, or some shit?” Craig said. “Believe in yourself! Or something…”
Tweek rolled his eyes. “Glad you’re taking this seriously.” He tried to picture himself projecting the lightning outward. He tried picturing the trash cans as something he disliked. Those assholes in corporate making me fill out forms!!
“Nothing’s happening.” Craig said.
“Shut up, shut up! Don’t you think I know that?” Tweek said.
Craig walked over to the trash cans, picking it up with ease. “Mine seems to work.”
“Yours requires minimal effort and you know it.” Tweek said. “Ever since you hit me, you’ve been crazy strong. I hate you.”
Craig dropped the trash can hard. “You know how sorry I am for that, right?”
“Yes, Craig. And as I told you, it was my fault anyway.” Tweek said. “And I don’t actually hate you.”
“What are you two doing?”
Tweek spun around. Who was that? The deep voice echoed through the abandoned construction projects. Craig started walking towards Tweek, looking all around to find who had joined them.
“Who’s there?” Craig yelled.
One of the trash cans shot out straight at Craig, hitting him in the side. “Ow! What the fuck?”
“Craig!” Tweek yelled.
Another aimed for Craig. This time, he was ready. He punched it away, knocking it back the way it came.
The third one came for Tweek. Everything was moving slow. The trash can. Craig running to him. The cloaked figure behind Craig, coming out of the shadows.
Tweek held his hands up. Please work. When nothing happened, he quickly dodged out of the way.
“You think you can fight?” The figure spoke, his breath ghosting over Craig’s ear. “You think you’re ready?”
Craig pivoted, aiming a punch, but missed. The figure kicked him, sending Craig crashing to the ground.
“Too slow,” The figure said, voice darker than before.
Tweek clenched his jaw. “Don’t touch him!” The light was surging around his hands.
The figure turned to Tweek, and Craig used this chance to trip him, knocking him down. Tweek ran over, grabbing onto the figure, who screamed out as the electricity shot through his body.
“Tweek!” Craig yelled. “Let go!”
Tweek replayed Craig being kicked by this person, and he tightened his grip. “You leave him alone!”
“Tweek!” Craig grabbed onto his husband, wrapping his arms around Tweek’s upper arms, pulling him away. Tweek reached up and grabbed Craig out of instinct. “Fuck! Tweek stop it!”
Tweek yanked his hands away. Shit!
“Calm down,” Craig said, holding tightly. “Deep breaths.”
Tweek was near hyperventilating. His hands were shaking. He took in one large breath, trying to let it go slowly.
Oh god, what just happened? Were we just attacked? Craig could have been hurt!
“Are you okay?” Tweek said between breaths.
“I’m fine. Holy shit.” Craig said. “Are you okay?”
He didn’t answer right away.
What if Craig was really hurt? What if that guy managed to kill him? What if I had killed him? This is too much! It’s too much! I can’t handle it!
“I’m FINE” Tweek yelled.
Tweek shrugged out of Craig’s grasp, walking over to the person on the ground. He took his gloves out of his pocket, putting them on before kneeling down.
“Who the fuck are you?” Tweek demanded.
Craig knelt down next to him. “Hey asshole, we’re talking to you.”
The figure was not moving.
Craig moved the hood, and both he and Tweek nearly fell over as they saw who it was.
“Mysterion?” Tweek asked.
“What the fuck.” Craig said. “Kenny, seriously?”
Tweek nudged Kenny, who didn’t move. He shook him a few times, and Kenny’s head fell limp to the side. Tweek leapt back. “Oh god! We killed Kenny!”
Craig leaned in, feeling Kenny’s neck for a pulse. He placed another hand near his mouth to gauge his breathing. “Yup. I think he’s dead.”
“OH MY GOD” Tweek started hyperventilating. I’m done. I’m going to jail. My life is over. They have to know it was an accident! “I DIDN’T MEAN TO!”
“Tweek! Calm down. We’ll figure this out!”
A deep chill ran through him. Tweek shivered, rubbing his hands over his arms. I won’t last two seconds in prison!
Craig pulled Tweek in close.
They held each other, sitting on the ground over Kenny, for about ten minutes, until Tweek was finally able to breathe again. “We should call someone.” Craig said.
“You don’t have to do that.”
Tweek and Craig jumped out of their skin as Kenny sat up, holding his head. All the comforting Craig had given Tweek was meaningless, as Tweek began screaming again.
“WHAT THE FUCK” Tweek bolted backwards. “He’s a zombie, Craig! WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE”
“I’m not a zombie!” Kenny said, standing up and dusting his clothes off.
“What the fuck, Kenny.” Craig said. “You scared the shit out of us. We thought you were dead.”
“Nice to see you too.” Kenny responded. “How many years has it been? Five? Six?”
“Same as always, aren’t you?” Kenny said. “Even in our thirties, you’re still an asshole.”
“I’m not thirty yet, dick.”
“ARE WE JUST GOING TO IGNORE THIS?” Tweek shrieked. “Kenny! You were DEAD!”
Kenny laughed. “And you killed me with lightning, didn’t you, Wonder Tweek?”
“Are you still playing this fucking game?” Craig asked. “Mysterion? Isn’t it a little sad to be dressing up and playing pretend at your age?”
Kenny gave a sideways glance to Craig at the “your age” comment, but smirked anyway. “Who’s playing pretend?”
Tweek and Craig glanced at each other.
“There’s always been weird shit happening in South Park.” Kenny said, standing up, his Mysterion hood down. “I think you’re both well aware of that.”
“No shit,” Craig said, arms crossed.
“Then there was that game we played. Coon and Friends.” Kenny laughed. “Superheroes. Everyone made their backstories and powers. It was lots of fun, wasn’t it?”
Craig rolled his eyes.
“UURRGG KENNY just get to the point!” Tweek yelled.
“Can’t a guy create a mysterious backdrop to the big reveal?” Kenny asked. “You guys are so impatient. Fine. Anyways, long story short, mine weren’t made up. I really can’t die. Never have been able to. Never will. And no one would remember it.”
“WHAT?” Tweek shrieked.
“Are you for fucking real?” Craig asked.
“Did you not just see me do it?” Kenny laughed. “Seriously?”
“But then why do me and Tweek have these powers now?” Craig asked.
Kenny tapped his chin. “Good question. You may be able to confirm a theory of mine. Follow me.”
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
Thank you all for being awesome
The group journeyed through the ruins of SoDoSoPa, avoiding hissing cats and homeless people asking for change, as they made their way to Kenny’s house. They crawled through the secret entrance to Kenny’s room after convincing Tweek that it wasn’t dangerous.
Tweek did not appreciate the small space, and nearly had a panic attack from the claustrophobia, but he made it through anyway. Craig rubbed his back as they stood in Kenny’s room, giving him something else to focus on.
“You still live with your parents?” Craig asked. “How do they feel about you breaking curfew?”
“Ha ha.” Kenny said. “For your information, my parents were arrested a long time ago. I’m here by myself.”
“Is that you, Kenny?” A voice shouted from outside the room.
“Yes!” Kenny yelled back. “Okay, fine, I have a roommate.” He opened the door and headed out to the rest of the house.
“Are you alright?” Craig asked once Kenny left the room.
Tweek shook his head. “NO. Craig, I nearly killed Kenny! I nearly killed you!! What if I never get control of this? How can I do anything? OH GOD how do I take a shower??? Wouldn’t the electricity kill me?” He started pulling on his hair.
“Come on, honey.” Craig pulled Tweek’s hands away from his hair. “We’ll figure this out.”
“Quit having sex in my room and get out here!” Kenny yelled.
“I wonder how Kenny’s roommate feels about his role-playing fetish.” Craig said. “Underwear outside tights. Impersonating Christian Bale’s Batman.”
Tweek chuckled. He lowered his voice, making it as gruff as possible. “I’m Batman.”
Craig laughed. “Oh yes, I am so turned on by guys who sound like they have bronchitis. Take me now, Batman.” He fake swooned.
Tweek burst out laughing, louder than he wanted.
“Hey!” Kenny appeared in the doorway. “I said get out here!”
Tweek reached out a gloved hand and took Craig’s hand in his own, smiling. “Thanks, Craig.”
They walked out into Kenny’s house, noting the many patched up holes in the walls, and though the carpet was old and stained, it appeared to be recently vacuumed. Tweek pulled Craig down the hall and into the kitchen and behind Kenny. “Okay, Kenny, what theory are you wanting to prove?”
Tweek froze when he saw Kenny’s roommate sitting at the kitchen table, a laptop in front of him, and books and papers strewn about.
He couldn’t remember the last time he saw him, but even though he was wearing a pair of dark sunglasses, and he had aged over ten years, his red hair was unmistakable.
“Kyle?” Tweek asked.
“Holy shit.” Craig said.
“Tweek?” Kyle asked. “Craig? What are you guys doing here?”
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Tweek asked. “I thought you left South Park to become a fancy lawyer or something back east?”
“Yeah I remember. You made sure to tell Cartman to go fuck himself as you left.” Craig smirked. “Fantastic, by the way.”
“That was right after high school, wasn’t it?” Tweek asked.
“Good to see you guys too.” Kyle said.
“Kyle, Tweek and Craig are here because they are suffering from the same problem.” Kenny said.
“What.” Kyle said rather than asked. “Is this true?”
Tweek looked at Craig, who looked back at him. “Is what true?” Tweek asked.
“Something happened a few weeks ago.” Kyle said. “I came to South Park to visit my family. My mom was upset I hadn’t seen her in a while.”
Kyle glared at him. “Anyway, I ran into Kenny one day and we decided to catch up.” He paused. “Do they know about…?”
Kenny nodded. “Yup.”
“I see. Well, one thing lead to another and I...accidently killed Kenny.”
“WHAT?” Tweek yelled.
“It’s why I’m wearing these.” Kyle pointed at his sunglasses. “Laser vision.”
“That’s like some fucking Scott Summers shit happening.” Craig said.
“I killed Kenny too!” Tweek sat down at the table next to Kyle. “Lightning!”
“Woah woah, okay, we shouldn’t brag about killing Kenny now.” Kenny said. “Not cool.”
Craig smirked. “Come on, I haven’t had my chance.”
“When did it start?” Kyle asked.
Tweek was staring at his gloved hands. “I nearly killed Craig! If it weren’t for his blocking ability, I could have been successful.” He glanced back at his husband.
“You can’t control it?” Kyle asked.
“Wait.” Craig said. “He said a couple of weeks ago. Tweek, honey, are you sure yesterday was the first time?”
“Well yeah, I think I would know if I was casting lightning...oh.” Tweek’s eyes went wide. “OH MY GOD. That was me!?”
“What?” Kyle and Kenny said at the same time.
“A few weeks ago, I was struck by lightning at work.” Tweek balled his hands into fists. “Holy shit, maybe I didn’t get hit by lightning. Maybe I was the lightning!”
Craig laid his hands on Tweek’s shoulders, massaging them gently.
“And that would explain the sprinkler. And the cup! OH MY GOD.” Tweek stood up, “Kenny! Can you get me a cup?”
Kenny tossed him a glass from the cabinet, nearly missing Tweek. After fumbling for a second, Tweek managed to take hold of the glass and set it on the table.
“This is what I was freaking out about in the hospital.” Tweek took off his right glove. He held out his hand and focused on the cup.
“You were freaking out about a cup?” Kenny snickered.
“No, god damnit!” Tweek said. He took the cup and walked to the sink, filling it up with water, then placed it back on the table.
Tweek held his hand out again, and the cup shifted slightly.
Kyle’s eyes widened. Kenny’s mouth was agape. Craig’s expression never changed.
The cup slid into Tweek’s hand. “It has to be the water.” Tweek said. “Wonder Tweek used water to heal teammates.”
“That settles it.” Kenny said. “Something must have triggered these powers in you. All of you. Some common event.”
“The timeline matches.” Craig said.
“I agree.” Kyle responded. “We just need to find out what. I have been stuck in South Park since. Can’t exactly hop on a plane with laser vision. Especially since I’m not that great at controlling it.”
“Welcome to the fucking club.” Kenny said. “God damn.”
“Boy do I feel lucky about the powers I chose as a kid.” Craig said.
“You guys want to work together to figure this out?” Kyle asked. “It feels good to not be alone.”
“Uhm, excuse me?” Kenny scoffed. “I’m right here.”
“You know what I mean!” Kyle slapped at him. “Don’t you feel less alone?”
“Yeah.” Kenny said. “Thanks, you guys.”
“We can help.” Craig said. “Tweek shouldn’t have to wear these fucking gloves forever.”
“That settles it. You guys have anything going on tomorrow? We can start then.” Kyle said.
Tweek shook his head. “We’re free.”
“Awesome. Now I’m going to bed. It’s fucking late.” Kyle stood up, stretching.
“You guys can crash on the couch, if you want.” Kenny said. “It is pretty late.”
“I think we'll be okay.” Craig said.
“You sure? Lots of homeless guys out there…”
Tweek remembered passing by a few of them on the way to Kenny's house. One even made a lewd comment at him, and he nearly took the gloves off right there (literally). He stood next to Craig and whispered softly. “It's not my parent's…”
Craig nodded. “Alright fine. We'll stay.” He said. “No funny shit, Kenny.”
Kenny led them to the living room and pointed at the rundown couch. “It ain't a 5-star hotel but it's pretty comfy.” He tossed the remote at Craig. “Free TV too.”
“Thanks, Kenny.” Tweek said. “And sorry again for killing you.”
“Not the first time it's happened.” Kenny laughed as he walked away. “Goodnight!”
Craig sat on the couch, flipping the channel to some food show and turning the volume low. Tweek turned off the lights and sat next to him, leaning his head on his shoulder.
“I'm surprised you wanted to stay.” Craig said. “Usually you get nervous in weird places.”
“This isn't the weirdest thing we've dealt with today.” Tweek said. “And I'm too tired to walk home.”
Craig turned to Tweek, leaning in close and kissing him firmly on the lips. Tweek returned the kiss, and wrapped his arms around Craig's shoulders. Craig laid back, pulling Tweek on top of him, and deepened the kiss. Tweek ran his hands through Craig's hair, pushing his hat off to the side.
When was the last time they did this? Tweek thought to himself. Just held each other close and kissed? He couldn't remember.
Craig tightened his grip around Tweek's waist and the Food Network blared some tips about sautéing onions.
Tweek broke the kiss, smiling at Craig. Craig kissed him once more real quick and smiled back. “You make a pretty good blanket.”
“What a coincidence. You make a good pillow.” Tweek rested his head on Craig's chest, listening to his heartbeat. He tapped his fingers in time with the beats. Tap tap. Tap tap. His tapping slowed as he drifted to sleep, soothed by the calming circles Craig was rubbing on his back.
It was the calmest Tweek had been in weeks. Months, even. Possibly years. It was just him and Craig, lying on the couch, content in each other’s arms.
“And you’ll just add a little creme fraiche to the dish to really give it that final touch.”
He smiled and tightened his grip on Craig’s shirt.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
“Oh my god! You killed Kenny!”
Click clack. Click clack. Application after application.
“This is a fucking dream.” Tweek said, moving a stack of papers from his left to his right, typing with one hand. “This isn’t real.”
Kenny’s body laid lifeless just outside his cube underneath a sprinkler blasting water all over his desk. A fire spread all around him, staying back just far enough.
The computer screen flashed PAST DUE on his mortgage payment.
“Tucker! These workman’s comp claims are still filled out wrong!” His boss yelled from his office. “Re do them!”
The phone rang. Tweek picked it up and slammed it down.
“You gunna kill the rest of them, like you killed me?” Mysterion leaned against the cube wall.
“You’re not real.” Tweek hit the enter button three times, and moved the application to the trash.
Mysterion appeared on the other side of the cubical. “You’ll never control these powers, Tweek. You’re a walking time bomb.”
“DON’T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT!?” Click clack. Click clackclickclackclickclack. “DO YOU THINK I WANTED THIS?” He slammed his fist on the enter button. SLAM SLAM SLAM. Over and over again.
The phone rang again. Tweek slammed his fist on that too.
“TUCKER! Why haven’t you finished those applications?” His boss was next to Mysterion. “You can never keep up! You’re fired!”
“Get your stuff and go!”
The phone rang once more. Tweek picked it up this time. “WHAT?”
“Tweek, where are you?” Craig said on the other end. “Help me, Tweek!”
The fire disappeared. His desk, gone. His boss and Mysterion were nowhere to be found. He was in a dark room, holding the phone receiver and listening to Craig scream.
Something came into focus, and Tweek dropped the phone.
In front of him was Craig, lying on the ground, staring blankly up into nothing. Standing over him was...himself.
“Get away from him!” Tweek yelled. He couldn’t move.
Not-Tweek gave a dark sideways glance to him. His hands crackled with lightning as he leaned over Craig and licked the side of his face.
“STOP!” Tweek shouted, squeezing his eyes shut and covering his ears. “THIS ISN’T REAL!”
His eyes shot open, and he fell off the side of the couch. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, and he struggled to sit upright, pushing his back against the couch.
He took several shallow breaths, and wiped the tears from his eyes, coming in contact with the rough texture of the gloves. He nearly screamed.
When his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see Craig’s arm hanging off the side of the couch. It all caught up with him as he recognized Kenny’s living room. He shifted to his knees, and looked at Craig, who had somehow slept through the whole ordeal. Craig was now lying on his stomach, face pressed against a pillow, and breathing steadily. His hat had fallen to the floor.
After making sure that Craig was indeed still alive, Tweek picked up Craig’s hat and walked to the kitchen. He was wide awake now.
The microwave clock flashed 12:00 as Tweek flipped the light switch. Rummaging through the cabinets, he was able to find some cheap instant coffee and a coffee maker. Once the coffee was made, Tweek brought his cup to the table, put Craig’s hat on his head, and took one large swig.
He put his forehead on the table and stared down at the linoleum floor. “I can’t do this anymore.”
“Can’t do what anymore?”
Tweek shot up, turning to face the source of the voice. “Kyle?”
“Oh, I thought you were Craig for a sec.” Kyle said, walking over to the coffee, adjusting his sunglasses.
Tweek put his head back down on the table. “He's asleep still.”
Kyle sat down across from Tweek, sipping at his own coffee. He opened his laptop and flipped through the book next to it. “Do you normally get up this early?”
Tweek chugged the rest of his coffee. “I don't sleep much anymore.”
Kyle started checking his emails, deleting spam and declining meetings. “I feel you.”
Tweek stared at Kyle's hands as they clicked the keys. His left eye twitched and he slapped his face. “How do you do it?”
“Do what?” Kyle drank some more coffee.
“Keep yourself together.” Tweek scratched the sides of his head. “Keep all this” He motioned to the books and papers on the table. “together.”
Kyle chuckled, then burst out into laughter. He pushed his laptop aside. “Tweek, are you alright?”
Tweek glanced at the doorway, fidgeting with his fingers. He pulled Craig's hat off, dropping it onto the table. He hadn't had a chance to talk to Craig yet, but this was eating him alive.
“How do you stop everything from overwhelming you?” Tweek asked.
“You think this doesn't?” Kyle asked. “I spent years trying to live up to my dad's standards. He finished law school by the time he was twenty-five. I was kicking myself at twenty-seven for not passing the bar.”
Tweek sat up straight. “You failed the bar?”
Kyle nodded. “Turns out, it’s really not uncommon to fail it the first time around.”
“But...you’re so smart!” Tweek said. “You were valedictorian!”
“Yup.” Kyle swirled the coffee around in his cup. “I’m sure you’ve figured out that real life is much more difficult than high school was.”
“Understatement.” Tweek said under his breath.
Kyle downed the rest of the coffee and went to grab more. “But you seem to have made it. You and Craig have been together forever.”
“I work a shitty job and one day Craig’s gunna wake up and realize that I’ve ruined his life.” Tweek mumbled, putting his head face down on the table once more.
“Do you really think that?”
Fuck. Tweek thought. He hadn’t meant to say that so loud.
“I envy you, Tweek.” Kyle said. “I haven’t been able to hold any kind of relationship through law school. Always too busy. You guys are what marriage goals should be.”
“I know.” Tweek hit his head once on the table. “I know. Craig is absolutely amazing. He deserves someone who doesn’t hold him back.” He chuckled darkly. “Or try to kill him with lightning.”
Kyle tapped the sides of his mug and leaned against the counter. Tweek leaned back in his chair, staring into the fluorescent kitchen lights. A few moments of silence passed before Kyle dropped the mug into the sink, and grabbed his jacket hanging on an unoccupied chair. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?”
“Just come on.”
They walked past Craig, who was still out like a light bulb, and headed out the front door. Tweek shivered, rubbing his arms. He regretted leaving Craig’s hat behind, but continued to follow Kyle as he led them into the forest. They reached a clearing, and Tweek could clearly see straight up into the stars.
“Over here.” Kyle said, motioning to the center of the field.
“There’s nothing here.” Tweek said. “Just some trees.”
“You’re right.” Kyle said. “Give me your hand.”
Tweek’s eyes widened as he looked at his gloved hands. What if he shocked Kyle? What if Kyle couldn’t handle it like Craig and Kenny and he just died? Tweek shook his head.
“Come on.” Kyle said, holding his hand out. “You’re wearing the gloves. I’ll be fine.”
Tweek hesitated, but reached out and took Kyle’s hand. Kyle’s grip was firm, but not as strong as Craig’s.
“Can you promise to not freak out?” Kyle asked.
“What?” Tweek asked. “What the fuck does that mea—”
He was cut off by the sound of his screams as the wind picked up around him, lifting his feet off the ground. The tips of his toes were overtop the trees, and everything was getting smaller as he and Kyle flew higher and higher. He grabbed onto Kyle’s hand with all the strength he could muster.
After a few seconds, they slowed down, and Tweek clutched his racing heart. He could see all of South Park beneath them. Kenny’s house looked so small from this point.
“I said don’t freak out.” Kyle said.
Tweek took several deep breaths. This wasn’t possible. He was not in the middle of the sky. He kicked his feet, feeling nothing underneath them.
“How can I not freak out!” Tweek yelled. “How the fuck!?”
“The Human Kite could fly, Tweek.” Kyle said. “This one took a while to master, but I seem to have managed...for short periods of time at least.”
“How…” Tweek could see his parent’s coffee shop in the distance as the sun started to rise. “How can you control it?”
“As cheesy as it sounds, it seems to work when you believe it does.” Kyle laughed. “At least, in some ways.”
“Craig was right…” Tweek said softly.
“You gotta have more faith in yourself, Tweek. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on what you can.”
Tweek frowned, squeezing Kyle’s hand harder.
“Don’t set the bar too high.” Kyle continued, adjusting his sunglasses. “Take it from my experience. You’re only human.”
“Only human.” Tweek repeated softly.
They watched the sunrise in silence as Tweek wiped the tears from his face.
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
“So what do we know?”
Tweek gulped down his second cup of coffee since arriving. It was the first time he sat in the corner booth of Tweek Bros coffee since they had left. Craig had his arm draped around him, and was drinking a cream frappuccino through a straw.
His dad waved at them from the register, and Tweek rolled his eyes. If Harbucks had been successful in South Park, they would have gone there.
Kenny ate his muffin, and Kyle had the same drink Tweek did.
“Something must have triggered these powers.” Kyle said. “I haven't always had them.”
“Me neither.” Tweek agreed.
“So we know the first time Kyle's set off.” Kenny said. “And we know the date of Tweek’s...accident.”
Tweek glared at Kenny as he took his last sip from his coffee.
“Have any of you been in contact with the rest of the group?” Craig asked. “Anyone else suffering from this?”
“I just spoke to Stan and Wendy last week.” Kyle said. “Nothing out of the ordinary there.”
“I can call Token and Jimmy.” Craig said.
“What about Clyde?” Kenny asked.
“He seemed fine.” Craig said as he stood up to let Tweek stand up. “No strange mosquitos hanging around him.”
“You haven’t seen him since the...accident.” Tweek muttered, mimicking Kenny’s previous inflection. “This asshole hasn’t gone back to work yet...and nothing’s wrong with him.”
Craig pinched at Tweek’s cheeks. “Gotta take care of you, right?”
Tweek slapped his hands away, chuckling. “Weirdo.”
Craig grinned at him.
Kyle cleared his throat.
“I’m going to grab more coffee.” Tweek scratched his arms with gloved hands.
“Shouldn’t you at least call him?” Kenny’s voice faded as Tweek moved toward the counter; toward the annoyingly smiley face of his father.
“How’s my gay son?” Richard asked.
“Cut it out, Dad.” Tweek pulled at the collar of his shirt. “Just refill this.” He dropped his empty cup next to the register.
His dad, still with that stupid smile on his face, took the cup and filled it up. “How’s therapy?”
“What the fuck, dad?” Tweek yanked the cup out of his dad’s hands. “Don’t ask me that shit where people can hear!” He took a gulp of the coffee, ignoring the burning sensation on his tongue. “Why do you care, anyway?”
“Glad things are going well!”
Tweek pinched the bridge of his nose. “Do you even listen to anything I say?”
“Hey,” Kenny walked up behind him. “We need to go.”
“Clyde’s not answering his phone,” Kyle said. “Apparently he hasn’t been at work for a few weeks.”
Tweek looked behind them, watching Craig pace back and forth in front of the booth. He couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he knew that look. The same worried, adult look from when he called Tweek’s parents and brought them down here.
Tweek threw his cup away, not bothering to finish the contents, and approached Craig.
“You haven’t heard from him at all?” Craig rubbed his forehead.
Tweek put a hand on Craig’s back, causing him to stop pacing.
“Okay, thanks.” Craig hung up. “He lost his job. What the fuck, Clyde?”
“Come on,” Tweek rubbed circles on Craig's back. “Let's go find him.”
Craig pulled Tweek into a hug. Tweek could tell, just by how he was being held, that Craig felt bad for not paying more attention to their friend. At the same time, his mind was racing about all the possibilities of what happened to Clyde.
It's just you overreacting.
Both of you. Tweek held Craig tighter.
Tweek laid his head against the window as Craig gripped the steering wheel tight. Kenny slept in the back, and Kyle swiped through something on his phone.
The drive was mostly quiet. Some talk radio show played softly in the background as they turned into Clyde's apartment complex.
“He'll be alright.” Tweek said, putting a hand on Craig's thigh.
Craig still had the same stoic face from when they left the coffee shop. That was over an hour ago. He slammed the car into park, not bothering to find an adequate parking spot, and jumped out.
Tweek fumbled with the seatbelt, nearly tripping over himself to get out of the car. Kyle calmly exited the vehicle, putting his phone in his pocket, and reached back in and over to slap Kenny awake.
“Already?” Kenny stretched.
“Come on, lazy.” Kyle said, adjusting his sunglasses.
Craig knocked on the door three times before trying the door knob. “Clyde!” He banged on the door.
“Use your key.” Tweek said, surprised that he seemed to be the rational one at the moment, even though everything about this situation put him on edge.
The key clicked and the door swung open. Tweek peered in, squinting as he tried to see into the dark room. Craig barged in, followed by Kenny.
“Clyde?” Kenny shouted. “Where are you, buddy?”
Tweek took a hesitant step in. Kyle flipped on a light switch as he closed the door.
The apartment looked like a typical bachelor pad. Pizza boxes stacked in the corner, bottles of beer and soda littered the coffee table. Tweek was never fond of Clyde's clear lack of cleaning schedule, but this seemed just a little worse than normal.
“Really, Clyde?” Kyle stepped over a dirty pair of socks and several t-shirts.
A sharp stabbing pain came suddenly on Tweek's arm. He scratched at it, noting a small red spot. Overhead, he saw a few shadows flicker against the lights. He watched Craig reach for Clyde's bedroom door, and before he knew it, he shouted “WAIT!”
It was too late. Once the door opened, thousands of mosquitos came barreling out. Craig tried to close the door again, but it wouldn't budge.
Tweek shrieked. Kyle screamed. Both ducked down as the mosquitos flew over their heads. Tweek batted at the bugs, paling at the sheer amount of them.
“Guys, look!” Kenny pointed up.
Clyde was hanging in the air, mosquitos surrounding his body and holding him off the ground. His eyes, wide and blank, stared down at the group. A scream echoed through the entire apartment, distorted through the loud buzzing.
“Clyde!” Tweek shouted.
A buzzing swarm launched towards Tweek, who held up his hands.
If there was ever a moment...Tweek took a deep breath as the bugs came closer, repositioning his feet. The bugs came closer, the buzzing crescendoing in his ears.
They’re not stopping! He shut his eyes.
“Knock it off!” Kenny shouted.
Tweek opened his eyes. Craig was in front of him, knocking back the mosquitos. Kenny had made it up to Clyde and was shaking him. Kyle was in the air, shooting lasers and cutting off sections of the swarm.
Craig charged at the rest of the bugs once they stopped coming for Tweek. “Wake the fuck up, Clyde!”
Tweek looked back and forth between the three of them. Though not coordinated, there seemed to be a small sense of cohesion between them as they fought back the monstrosity that was Clyde’s childhood superhero character. He looked down at his gloved hands, clenching his fists to stop them from shaking.
“Come on, buddy!” Kenny slapped Clyde’s face. The blank stare turned to Kenny, and with the force of the thousands of mosquitos, Kenny was launched into the nearby wall.
“Kenny!” Tweek shouted as Kenny’s body fell limply to the ground.
“You killed Kenny!” Craig shouted. He threw a lamp at Clyde.
“You bastard!” Kyle aimed a laser.
The lamp smacked Clyde clear in the face. The laser missed, cutting through the curtains behind him and setting them ablaze.
“Oh fuck!” Kyle yelled, putting his glasses back on. “Fuck!”
Black smoke filled the room. The mosquitos began dropping and piling up on the ground. Without support, Clyde fell as well, landing hard and barely missing the TV stand with his head. Craig pushed through the smoke, covering his face with his arm. Kyle rushed over to Kenny.
Tweek didn’t move. It was getting harder and harder to see. He inhaled the smoke, and erupted in a coughing fit. He fell to his knees clutching his chest. Craig yelled something at him from the other side of the room, but his hearing was muffled.
Do something. Tweek’s vision was blurry.
Stop being a pussy. His lungs burned. Craig was coming toward him, carrying Clyde over his shoulder. Kyle was pulling Kenny’s lifeless body.
“Tweek!” Craig yelled. “Honey, come on!”
The fire spread to the couch, and Tweek covered his head with his hands. Move move move MOVE MOVE.
He felt Craig grab his arm and pull him up with incredible strength, and in a second, Tweek was over Craig’s other shoulder. He could see Clyde’s unconscious face leaning against Craig’s back, and Tweek shut his eyes tightly. Stupid stupid stupid.
The rest of the apartment ignited as the last of them ran out through the front door.
Tweek hugged his knees close to his chest as he sat on the curb in the parking lot across the street from the apartment complex. The fire department passed their car as they fled, and Tweek could see the flashing lights against the backdrop of the rest of the building.
The car was parked a few spaces down from where he was sitting. Clyde was in the back with Kenny, both leaning against each other as Kyle looked over them.
Tweek pressed his palms to his eyes, pushing hard to inflict some pain. Another fire truck raced into the complex, sirens blazing. The wind picked up and ruffled his hair.
“Hey,” Craig sat down next to him, placing a hand on his back.
Tweek took a deep breath, removing his hands from his face. He wasn’t going to do this. “Hey,”
Not even if everything inside him was screaming.
“How’s Clyde?” He asked. “He took a real beating from you guys,”
Craig side eyed Tweek. “He’s still unconscious. Kyle’s working on him, and Kenny should...resurrect…any minute now.”
“Did you ever think life would be this weird?” Tweek leaned against Craig’s shoulder.
“Life’s already been this weird.” Craig said flatly.
They sat for a few moments in silence, watching as the firefighters fought the blaze across the street. Tweek felt a bit guilty for fleeing the scene, but with Kenny’s condition, he understood why they didn’t want to take chances.
“Ugh, get him off me!”
Speaking of which. “Was that?”
Tweek stood up and walked to the car just as Kenny got out. He watched the man stumble out the door, nearly tripping on the seat belt caught on his leg.
“Fucking gross.” Kenny said. “All I can think about are the mosquitoes.”
“Glad you’re okay.” Kyle rolled his eyes.
“Is Clyde okay?” Craig asked, approaching the opposite side of the car and stood next to Kyle.
“Physically? Yes, probably.” Kyle answered. He looked back in the car window. “Emotionally? I mean, would you be okay being surrounded by bugs like that?”
Tweek walked up behind Craig. “Come on, let’s get him back to Kenny’s house. We can find a comfortable spot for him.”
“Oh, I am not sitting in the back with him.” Kenny waved his hands in front of him. “And no way is he coming to my house.”
“Yes, he is.” Craig said in his typical monotone response. “Get in the car.”
Kenny took a deep breath. “I swear...if you weren’t Kyle’s friends I would object more.”
“Shut the fuck up Kenny.” Kyle said.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
<3 Thank you all for the nice things you say <3
Several pizza boxes scattered across the kitchen table at the McCormick house, and the four men passed plates and slices back and forth. Tweek leaned against his hand, elbow on the table, as a plate of pepperoni and pineapple pizza was set down in front of him, along with a cup of root beer.
“I’m just saying,” Kenny said, with a mouthful of pizza. “We know there had to be a catalyst - something that triggered all of this. It’s like a movie or some shit.”
“This isn’t a movie,” Kyle said.
“I agree with Kenny, though it hurts me to do so,” Craig said, taking a bite of his pizza. “It’s been three weeks since Tweek’s incident at work. And three weeks since Kyle was stuck in South Park.”
“And three weeks since Clyde had been at work,” Kyle said.
“But it hasn’t been three weeks for you, Craig,” Tweek said. “Or you, Kenny.”
“I don’t think my issue is related.” Kenny said. “Mine is some fucking cultist demon shit.”
“And super strength isn’t super obvious,” Craig said. “Unless I was doing some super feat, or doing something super abnormal,” He grinned at Tweek. “Wouldn’t that be super?”
“Oh my god.” Tweek covered his face. “Shut up.”
“Okay, okay, so we’re looking for an event from three weeks ago.” Kenny said. He took a drink of root beer.
“Ooh is that pizza?”
The four men froze, then immediately turned to the kitchen entrance.
“Clyde!” Craig stood up.
“You’re awake!” Kyle said.
“Yeah yeah,” Clyde said. “Why the fuck am I at Kenny’s house?”
“More importantly, why are you not covered in mosquitoes?” Kenny said. “Not that I’m complaining.”
“Why in the…” Clyde shook his head. “Never mind, never mind. Can I just get some pizza? I’m starving!” Clyde walked over to the boxes, grabbing a slice and stuffing it in his mouth. “Oh my god you guys, this is amazing.” He took a seat next to Tweek.
“Are you alright Clyde?” Craig asked.
Clyde nodded. “Yeah. Now are you gunna tell me why we’re all at Kenny’s house?”
“Do you...not remember anything?” Tweek asked. “From the last three weeks?”
A silence blanketed the kitchen. Clyde stopped mid bite into his second slice of pizza as everyone continued to stare at him. “Three weeks?” He set the pizza back down. “Three weeks what?”
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Kyle asked.
“Going home after work.” Clyde said. “I walked by Craig’s desk, but he had been out for a bit after…” He looked over at Tweek. “Oh my god, Tweek! Are you okay?”
Tweek rolled his eyes. “I’m fine.”
“Well, I left work, and went home. Was gunna search Tinder for a date - hadn’t seen anyone for a few days heh heh.” Clyde took another bite of pizza.
“Nice,” Kenny said.
“I know, right? Anyway, I was sitting at home, swiping through my phone. I must have fallen asleep, and when I woke up, I was here.”
“That’s it?” Tweek asked. “That’s it? No dramatic story? No crazy discovery? No traumatic experience?”
“Clyde, that was three weeks ago.” Craig said. “Our boss fired you for missing work.”
Clyde started coughing, setting the pizza down, and reaching for a nearby cup, which just happened to be Tweek’s. Tweek crinkled his nose in disgust as Clyde downed the full contents of the cup, before slamming it down on the table. “What!?”
“Three weeks, man.” Craig said.
Clyde held his head in his hands, elbows on the table. “How the fuck?” He rubbed his temples. “I haven’t had so much as an unexcused absence from that job.”
“There’s...a lot to fill you in on.” Kyle said. “You might want to...well I was going to say take a seat but you’re already sitting.”
Tweek sat back, listening to the play by play of the past few weeks be told from multiple points of view. A few jokes were woven in by Kenny, with Kyle giving him an exasperated look, and Craig chiming in with a sarcastic remark. He heard his own story told by Craig, and he remembered the fear in Craig's eyes when he woke from that fateful day.
He sunk down when they got to the part in Clyde's apartment. Kenny shivered slightly at the thoughts of the bugs again, but continued to tell the story about how great of a team they had been in taking down Clyde.
Easy for you to say.
"So, you're saying that the game we played when we were kids…" Clyde started. "is actually real now?"
"I know it's hard to believe, but --" Kyle began.
"Oh, hell yeah!" Clyde stood up, pumping his fists. "This is fucking awesome! Dude, we have powers! We're fucking super heroes!"
Kenny laughed. "Yeah I wouldn't call us heroes."
"Fuck you man, I can summon mosquitoes!"
"Yeah, that were controlling you! You gotta get a hold of them." Kyle said. "And it's not that easy, too."
"Yeah it takes a while to master." Kenny agreed.
Clyde held his hands forward, cupping them together. After a few seconds, a couple mosquitoes appeared flying above his palms. "Holy shit."
"Oh, fuck you," Kenny said. "Get those out of here! It took me forever to get this place tidied up." He ignored Kyle's sideways stare and comment of “You tidied up?”.
"You have got to be FUCKING KIDDING ME" Tweek shouted. He stood up, knocking his chair to the ground as he stormed out of the room. He didn't bother to take in anyone's reaction, and chose to leave out the front door and into the brisk, cool night.
He stomped one foot in front of the other, not caring if he made any obnoxious noises. Who did he think he was, anyway? More stomping. He reached the train tracks and continued down the road.
Comes in last minute.
He turned a familiar corner, walked past a couple who was with their dog. Ignored their judging stares as he clenched his fists together.
He pulled out his keys, the ones he never bothered to return, jamming them into the glass door of the closed coffee shop and pushed his way in. He stomped behind the counter and started making coffee.
Ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous.
When the coffee was done, he sunk behind the counter and downed the entire cup in a few seconds, throwing the empty container to the floor and leaning his head against the cupboards. He slammed his head a few times for good measure.
It just wasn’t fair. Life itself wasn’t fair. He stared at his gloved hands, balling them into fists and clenching as hard as he could. Failure. He smacked his hands against his head, over and over and over again. I can’t do this anymore.
He stood up, bracing himself on the counter to pull himself off the ground. When he was up, his hand swiped a nearby coffee mug, the ones used for the really good coffee, and knocked it to the ground.
Tweek stared at the broken pieces at his feet. He slammed a few more cups around, knocking another one to the floor. The shattered ceramic reminded him of the first mug he broke in second grade, and how his dad showed no anger, but scolded him in that same condescending tone he used. That fake smile. That completely oblivious expression.
He picked up another mug, tossing it a few times in his hand before launching it across the store. The satisfying CRASH as it connected with the back wall and broke into a million pieces gave Tweek a dopamine rush he hadn’t felt in forever.
He pictured his dad’s stupid face and he threw another one. CRASH
Stupid therapy and stupid anxiety. CRASH
Stupid powers. CRASH
Stupid Clyde. CRASH
He stopped mid throw, and pulled the cup into both his hands. It was a plain white mug, nothing special, nothing unique. But he couldn’t destroy this one.
Tweek nearly dropped the mug. “What the fuck?!”
Craig entered the store fully, leaning against the counter opposite Tweek, and stared at him. It reminded Tweek of the days when Craig would first come visit him after they started dating. He would order a frappuccino, and Tweek would tease him about not ordering real coffee.
But this was not one of those days.
“What’s going on Tweek?” Craig asked.
Tweek set the mug down on the counter and looked over Craig. Leaning over, Craig appeared shorter than Tweek. His blue hat, the same as always, and the stare he was giving could be mistaken for completely blank if he didn’t know him as well as he did.
Craig was concerned.
Tweek pulled on his hair, closing his eyes. Craig came to look for him. And he knew exactly where to find him. Craig was too good for him. He didn’t deserve him.
But here he was. Time and time again, here he was.
This was the moment.
“I’m fucked up, Craig.” Tweek said.
“Well yeah,” Craig said. “That’s why I married you.”
“I’m serious.” Tweek responded. He fiddled with the mug, turning it over and over in his hands. “I’ve told you a little of my anxiety, but things are clearly worse.”
Craig just continued to stare.
“And I know you know this - it’s the whole reason we are here.” Tweek said. “But the anxiety wasn’t just about the incident. Well...I mean, it involved that too. But this has been going on for a while.”
Tweek took a deep breath. “I’m not good enough for you, Craig. I treat you like garbage. And then I feel bad for doing it, but for some reason, I keep doing it. And I know I do it, too. In the moment. All the arguments we have, all the random fights, I know it’s wrong, but I can’t stop.
It’s like I’m built to sabotage things. The better they are for me, the more wound up I get. Like I know something’s eventually gunna go wrong so might as well speed it up, right? Might as well just get you away from me because you’ll leave eventually anyway once you come to your senses.
But that’s the thing, too. I don’t know what I’d do if you did leave. I have dreams about you, Craig. Bad dreams. They keep me up at night staring at you, because if you don’t end up leaving cause I pushed you away, you’ll just end up dying instead.”
Tweek rubbed away some of the tears that lined his eyes. “I dream about you dying in that fire. I dream about staring at your dead body in the hospital, and holding your ashes while I try to clean out our closet. I worry about waking up next to you and you’ve died in your sleep - I’m constantly checking you because you’re the most important thing to me in the world and I treat you like garbage.
And then all this nonsense with these powers. You’re married to the guy who can’t figure it out, while everyone around you is succeeding. You deserve someone who isn’t a fuck up. Someone who can handle this stuff with you and not run at the first chance he gets.”
He tapped the sides of the mug. “You deserve better than me.”
A silence blanketed the shop, with only the slight tap tap of Tweek’s fingertips on the ceramic. He knew he had just blurted out a lot of nonsense, and Craig was probably going to walk out the door. That’s it. He did it now.
“Tweek,” Craig held his hand out. “Give me that mug.”
Tweek obliged, handing over the mug, fingers brushing against Craig's as he did so. Craig turned it around in his hands a few times, looking it over before looking back up at Tweek.
“Do you remember that time I came to visit you during one of your shifts after we first started dating?” Craig asked. “The day when I first ordered the frapp and you said something like ‘Only gay men drink that’ or some shit?”
“And I said ‘so what’ and you made it for me anyway?” Craig said. “That was the best thing I ever drank. I was ten years old and my first thought after taking that first sip was ‘I’m going to marry this guy’.”
Tweek could feel his face turning red.
“You had this smile on your face the whole time you were making it.” Craig pulled his hat down a little, blushing a bit. “I wanted to see that smile every day for the rest of my life.”
Craig looked back at the mug. “And do you remember what happened next? Your dad came out with that creepy smile and said hi to me. Then he harassed you for not pushing more real coffee drinks, and that frappuccinos should only be made if the customer really pushed that they didn’t want his ‘Sunset Blend’. That smile left your face so fast, and I was so mad. But I wasn’t really mature enough to do anything about it back then.”
Craig turned around and threw the mug as hard as he could against the back wall. Tweek jumped as it shattered into dust, leaving a dent in the drywall. “That’s what I should have done twenty years ago.”
“I don’t…” Tweek started.
“Tweek, I know things are tough. I can’t even begin to imagine what the anxiety must feel like for you. And I only see a portion of what you’re going through.” Craig leaned back against the counter. “But don’t ever tell me that I deserve better than you. There is no better than you.”
The tears started falling down Tweek’s face, and Craig reached across the counter to wipe them away. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Tweek. I’m not going anywhere no matter how hard you might try to push me away. You’re stuck with me. And I’m very stubborn.”
Tweek laughed, a few more tears sliding down his cheeks.
“I can’t promise that something might not happen to me,” Craig continued. “I also worry about you as well, but I try not to dwell on it. I try to focus on the time we do have together, rather than what could potentially be lost. It’s hard, but that’s just the roll of the dice in life, I suppose.”
“And as far as this whole situation goes,” Craig held Tweek’s gloved hands. “There’s no one I would rather deal with it together than you.”
He couldn’t take it anymore. He reached across the counter and grabbed Craig and pulled him in close, tightening his grip on him. He knew he was shaking, and the tears couldn’t stop, but he held even tighter. Craig held him close as he let it all out, sobbing loudly in the dark and empty coffee shop.
Everything he felt - the disappointment in himself; the fear for Craig; the overwhelming mountain of everything sitting on top of him; the never-ending failure - he let it all out.
How could he ever doubt this? Tweek squeezed harder as he tried to get even closer to Craig.
“Never again,” Tweek said. “I’m never letting you go ever again.”
“If you won’t, then I won’t either.” Craig said. “But we might distract the customers tomorrow.”
Tweek chuckled, another few tears falling from his eyes.
“And we’ll have to figure out how to eat.” Craig continued. “I might be able to reach some of the muffins from here, but there’s a limited supply.”
Tweek laughed, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Imagine trying to go to the bathroom.”
“Yeah that might be difficult.” Craig responded.
“Well, we could just take a bus or something,” Craig said. “I’m sure some people would stare, but in this position, we could flip people off in opposite directions.”
Tweek burst out laughing. Suddenly, he felt himself lift off from behind the counter as he was pulled into the main room of the shop. It was effortless, he didn’t even struggle as his feet were placed solidly on the ground. He pulled back to look at Craig.
Craig moved one hand to Tweek’s waist, and grasped his other hand in his, and began to sway them gently back and forth. Though there wasn’t any music playing, Tweek could imagine a soft melody as they danced together. He stared into Craig’s green eyes, seemingly bright in the dim lit coffee shop, and admired the other man’s facial features. Those beautiful eyes, the bits of hair he could see poking out from under the hat, the pinkish lips, though closed, were turned up in the corners. It reminded him of their wedding.
Tweek leaned into Craig, pressing their foreheads together. He closed his eyes and continued to sway, and did his best to push away the gnawing feeling in his chest. This wasn’t the time for these feelings. He was here, in the present moment, with Craig. Things were good.
He focused on their movements, grounding himself in the coffee shop. Grounding himself with Craig, he tilted his head, and pressed his lips to his husband’s.
Things are good.
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
I hear all the cool kids have tumblr https://xenolith1245.tumblr.com/
“Don’t you remember? You totally freaked out at this place.”
“Yeah I remember. What the fuck was up with this guy?”
“Dude who knows. That guy was fucking crazy.”
Tweek walked hand and hand with Craig as the group headed into the forest. After breakfast and several conversations reliving their days as “superheroes” in the fourth grade, Clyde had reminded them all about the creepiest part of that whole time.
“You were totally scared,”
“You cried, don’t you remember?”
“Shut up! Did not!”
“Hey, I remember that. You totally did.” Tweek said.
“Oh yeah, sure, side with him.” Clyde crossed his arms.
“Well duh,” Craig said. “Really?”
“Will you guys shut the fuck up?” Kyle said. He was walking up in front with Kenny, as Tweek, Craig, and Clyde walked side by side behind them. “You are both annoying.”
“Oooh scary Human Kite!” Clyde laughed. “Watch out, he’s gunna get us.”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “You better be right about this place, Clyde.”
“You got any other leads?” Clyde asked.
“He’s got a point.” Kenny said. “It’s not like we have any better place to look.”
“Dude...I know. Shut up.” Kyle said. “This place is just super creepy.”
As they ventured further into the forest, it became darker, and gloomier. Tweek shivered, rubbing his free hand over his other arm. The trees seemed denser, and though it was the middle of the day, a blanket of darkness swept across the area.
“How much further?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah! How much longer!?” Tweek shouted, rubbing his arm a little harder.
“It’s right up…”
A bolt of lightning cracked in their air, and the subsequent BOOM stopped the group in their tracks.
In front of them was the gate blocking the entrance to a large towering building. Tweek squeezed Craig’s hand as the memories flooded back.
SOUTH PARK GENETIC ENGINEERING
“Nope, nope, nope,” Tweek said. “Fuck this place.”
“Oh, come on!” Clyde said.
They stood in front of the large gate and stared up at the building on the hill.
“Calm down, Super Craig.”
He remembered being stronger then, trying to help. In the end, they managed to get out, even if he was also scared for his life. At least he didn’t cry like Clyde. Right?
“Locked.” Kyle said.
“Well go on,” Kenny said, motioning to Craig.
Craig flipped off Kenny, letting go of Tweek’s hand and approached the gate. He cracked his knuckles, reached back, and punched the gate with all his strength. The iron bars cracked under the pressure, and the entire gate blew backwards, clearing out of the path.
“Ladies first,” Craig motioned for Kenny to lead the way.
Kenny stuck his tongue out at Craig before taking point, followed by Kyle, who rolled his eyes for probably the hundredth time that day.
“Come on, crybaby.” Craig pushed Clyde through the entrance. “This was your idea.”
“I didn’t fucking cry!” Clyde tripped a bit at the force of the push. “Fuck all of you!”
Craig reached back for Tweek, grabbing his hand, and smiling.
The group walked the windy path up to the building. Tweek observed the clutter in the surrounding areas. It reminded him of the trash heap of SoDoSoPa - broken glass, planks of wood, random objects lying about. At least one homeless camp, though he wasn’t sure how they managed to get in there.
When they approached the door, they were surprised to find it unlocked.
“Hello?” Kyle peered in.
Another lightning crash shook Tweek, and he grasped Craig’s hand tighter.
“I can’t see a thing.” Kenny said, taking a few steps into the first room.
“Hold on,” Clyde said. He flipped a nearby switch, and the room was flooded with light.
The group eased in slowly, taking in the dilapidated state of the room. Everything was turned on its side, broken glass littered the floor. A large tube on the right side had shattered and a skeleton laid broken apart around it. Tweek winced.
“Oh yeah, I remember.” Craig said. “This fucker was making things with all the asses.”
Kenny kicked a turned over chair. “And all the fucking cats, too.”
“You guys remember Mitch Connor?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah sure.” Tweek responded, making quotes with his fingers. “Mitch Connor.”
“What a fucking idiot.” Craig said.
They continued walking, coming up to the tram at the end of the room. Clyde ran to the controls, looking them over. “I think it still works.”
Kyle and Kenny shared a glance before shrugging. “We came this far.” Kyle said. “And something happened here.”
Craig and Tweek shared a similar glance. “You wanna go beat up four-assed monkeys or something?” Craig asked.
Tweek shook his head. “Hell no. But I’m already traveling with four asses so I might as well.”
Craig opened his mouth in shock. Kyle, Kenny, and Clyde all looked incredulously at Tweek.
“Rude!” Clyde shouted.
“Babe, I fucking love you.” Craig put his arm around Tweek as they walked to the tram. Tweek laughed.
The tram ride was slow. Painfully slow. Tweek leaned against Craig, who still had his arm around him, and thought back to the last time he was here. He looked over the other three passengers, remembering a time when they appeared much younger in their superhero costumes, crammed on the tram with the rest of his friends in the Freedom Pals. They all looked so much older now, a stark reminder of the passage of time.
Craig had a stoic look on his face, staring straight ahead. Though Tweek saw the man every day, at this moment, he could really see effects of aging on his husband. For a moment, he pictured a younger Craig, Super Craig, sitting in this same spot, with the same look on his face.
The tram passed through several levels of failed experiments, each one as broken and beat down as the others. Dying plants, skeletons, and broken glass everywhere. Each a reminder of the strange doctor who took them on tour so many years ago.
When the tram came to a stop, the group disembarked.
“Wait,” Tweek said. “I don’t remember this.”
In the center of the room was a chair surrounded by what appeared to be lasers pointed directly towards it, and surrounded by control panels. A few papers were strewn about, some charred beyond recognition.
Something was also strapped to the chair.
“Holy shit,” Kenny said, running up to the chair.
Strapped to the chair was a cold, dead body.
“Is that...?” Tweek began.
“It is,” Kenny said. “I haven’t seen him in a while, but I recognize him.”
They all approached the chair, circling it, and stared. Tweek shivered again, holding his arms. He knew he wouldn’t be able to warm the chill that ran through his body as he saw the face of their companion from long ago.
Lying there, expressionless face, was the body of the New Kid.
“What happened?” Craig asked. “I thought he left ages ago. What is he doing here?”
“He came back, a few years ago.” Kenny said. “I ran into Douchebag a few times after you all left. I tried talking to him, but he never had anything to say.”
Tweek took a few deep breaths, trying to steady his beating heart, his breathing became shallow. He didn’t sign up for this.
What the fuck happened?
“Waaaaaaahh!” Clyde cried. “New Kid!”
“You’re doing it now.” Craig said. “You’re crying, stop it.”
“I can’t help it!” Clyde covered his eyes. “I don’t want to play anymore.”
“For fuck’s sake,” Craig sighed.
Tweek sunk down to a squatting position, holding his head. He could feel a headache coming on. This was way too much. As his eyes frantically moved around, trying to find something to focus on, he came across his own name on a piece of paper.
The shaking stopped as it was replaced by sudden curiosity. He picked up the paper and stood back up.
The edges were slightly charred, and part of it was missing, but it was unmistakable. At the top of the paper, scrawled out in his ten-year-old handwriting, was the name Wonder Tweek.
“Guys,” Tweek said.
“Don’t make fun of me!” Clyde shouted. “Just cause I have empathy doesn’t mean you have to be mean to meeee!”
“This is empathy?” Craig asked.
“GUYS!” Tweek yelled. He held up the paper as everyone turned to look at him. “It’s my character sheet.”
Everything was exactly how he had written it. Back when he and Craig started their character designs in Craig’s old room. Back when Craig asked if he wanted to join the Coon and Friends with him.
“Holy shit, mine’s here too.” Kenny said. “Kyle, here’s yours.”
Clyde wiped the tears from his face, looking down at the sheet he found by his feet. “Mosquito.”
Tweek knelt down, grabbing one more paper, and handing it to Craig. “Super Craig.”
“But how did these get here?” Clyde asked.
“I gave ours to the New Kid after counseling.” Tweek said.
“I gave mine to the New Kid too,” Kyle said. “I think we all did.”
Kenny walked around the control panels, skimming the area for any additional clues. His foot collided with something on the ground. “Guys, I found the doctor.”
The group moved behind the panels, staring once more in shock at the second body in the room. The body of Dr. Mephesto.
“That’s two!” Clyde cried. “Whyyyyy???”
“What the hell were they doing?” Kyle looked around. “This doesn’t make any sense.”
Kenny tilted his head sideways, leaning down to examine the doctor.
“This has to be some stupid fucking experiment.” Craig said. “This guy was nuts.”
“Yeah but what kind of experiment is he doing with the New Kid and our character sheets?”
“And why just ours?” Tweek asked. “Where are the rest of them?”
Kyle frowned. “I don’t know.”
“Well, there’s one more.” Kenny said, standing back up from behind the control panel and unfolding a very crumpled paper. “You guys wanna visit an old friend?”
“Yes! Get me out of here.” Clyde said.
Craig rolled his eyes.
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
“I feel like we should’ve called the police.” Tweek said as they were walking through the center of town.
“You wanna get in the middle of that?” Craig asked. “I can see it now, trying to explain why we were even there to begin with…”
“We should at least tell someone.” Tweek responded. “It feels...wrong.”
Craig frowned. “You’re right. We can leave some kind of anonymous tip or something when we’re done today.”
Tweek watched Kyle, Kenny, and Clyde walking ahead of them, chatting about something he couldn’t hear. “You really think he’s gunna know anything?”
Tweek eyed the old house that used to belong to the New Kid as they walked past it. He remembered passing this house several times during the superhero game. The nostalgia was nearly getting to him.
They approached their destination, walking up the short path to the front door. Kenny, in the front of the group, banged on the door a few times, and then rang the doorbell.
“He never left either.” Kenny said. “At least, that’s what I heard. Saw a bit of him after high school, but not much over the last several years.”
The door opened, and there stood one older, but angry, Stephen Stotch. “Stop banging on the door!” He stopped for a second, looking over the group in front of him. “Oh. How can I help you?”
“Hi sir - not sure if you remember us.” Kenny started. “We were friends with Butters in school. Is he home?”
“Butters?” Stephen asked. “Why, Butters hasn’t had any visitors in years! Come in, come in!” He waved his arms signaling for them to enter.
One by one they walked in, taking note of the seemingly unchanged decor of the Stotch household.
“It’s been years, boys.” Stephen said. He pointed at each of them. “Kenny. Kyle. Definitely Tweek and Craig - wow you boys are still together, huh?” He looked over at Clyde. “Hmm...and you’re Roger’s kid, aren’t you? Clyde?”
“He remembers my name!” Clyde beamed.
Craig smacked him on the arm.
“Linda! Look - Butters has visitors!”
Linda Stotch peered in from the kitchen. “Oh wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
“I feel kinda bad now.” Kyle whispered.
“Yeah, we didn’t exactly keep in touch, did we?” Kenny responded.
I can’t even imagine. Tweek thought. Just the idea of losing contact with everyone. He shivered.
“BUTTERS” Stephen yelled up the stairs. “GET DOWN HERE YOU HAVE VISITORS” He crossed his arms, waiting for a response.
“Butters has been a bit weird for the past few weeks.” Linda said.
“How so?” Kenny asked.
“BUTTERS!” Stephen yelled again. “He’s not answering, come on boys.” He waved them over to the stairs.
When they reached the top, Stephen began banging on the door to Butters’ room. “BUTTERS YOU OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW”
The doorknob turned slightly, and the door cracked open, then stopped. Tweek turned his head, attempting to peer into the room - his view obscured by Kenny who was directly in front of him.
Stephen, clearly unhappy, shoved the door open. “BUTTERS! YOU ANSWER ME WHEN I CALL YOU!” He flipped on the light switch.
The first thing Tweek was able to see was a balled-up sheet of tin foil on the floor. As Stephen walked into the room, Tweek looked over Kenny’s shoulders. He had only been here a handful of times, but Butters’ room looked the same as it did before. However, he remembered the room much cleaner than now. As he glanced around, he saw more and more balled up sheets of tin foil littering not only the floor, but the dresser, bed, and desk.
“Butters?” Kenny walked in.
“Visitors?” Came a voice from the corner of the room.
“BUTTERS WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Stephen shouted. “YOU ARE SO GROUNDED FOR THIS”
Tweek stood up a bit on his toes. Kenny wasn’t much taller than him, but he wanted to get a better view. On the opposite corner of the room, near the open window, was Butters, staring blankly at Stephen. He was a much older and much taller version of the kid they all played with in elementary school, completely decked out in the tin foil hat, gloves, and shoes.
“There is no Butters here.” He responded. “Only CHAOS”
“Butters, it’s okay. We know something weird is happening,” Kenny said, taking a few more steps. “Come with us and we can help you.”
“He’s not going anywhere!” Stephen said.
“NO!” Butters yelled. He held his hands out, shooting a blast of pure energy from his hands, and hitting Stephen square in the chest.
The elder Stotch flew back into the dresser. “You’re…GROUNDED!” He said as he collapsed.
“Oh god!” Tweek yelled.
Clyde and Kyle pushed passed Tweek and ran to Stephen. Kyle steadied the older man’s head, feeling for a pulse. After a few seconds, he shook his head. “He’s dead.”
“Mwahahaha!” Butters laughed. “It worked! Professor Chaos has returned!”
Kenny approached Butters slowly with his hands up. “Come on, Butters. We gotta go.”
“He’s dead!” Butters laughed once more. “I guess I’m not grounded anymore, Dad!” He smiled darkly at Kenny. “Don’t you wish you could’ve done that to your dad, Kenny?”
“Of course.” Kenny responded, still approaching. “But he’s in jail now. Someone else will get him.”
“Come on Mysterion,” Butters stepped towards Kenny. “With these powers, I could take care of him for you.”
“He’s not going with you.” Craig said.
Butters looked around Kenny. “You brought a whole entourage, I see.” He waved with his fingertips. “Hello everyone. Come to visit poor ol’ me?” He stopped as his gaze found something interesting. Butters walked towards the door. “Come on, Tweek. We can take out your dad too.”
Craig stepped in front of Tweek, flipping off Butters.
Butters tilted his head sideways. “Looking fairly aggressive there, Craig. Are you gunna fight me?”
“We’re not here to fight you,” Clyde said, standing up over the body of Mr. Stotch. He wiped at his eyes, and turned to face Butters. “We’re here to help.”
Butters laughed again. “I don’t need your help! I’ve been doing fine without any of you for years!” His hands crackled as he held them out.
Tweek shivered as the room darkened. He tried to shout out as Craig ran into the room, taking the full brunt of the blast from Butters. Craig flew back, crashing into the wall. “Craig!”
Kyle dropped his sunglasses down, shooting a laser towards Butters, missing just slightly.
“So, I’m not alone, am I?” Butters said.
“Butters, you need to stop!” Clyde yelled. “I know what you’re going through! Just listen to Kenny!”
“YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH” Butters’ voice boomed throughout the room.
Tweek hovered nearby Craig, who seemed relatively unscathed, and looked back over to Butters. He clutched his chest and took a few deep breaths.
Craig put his hand on Tweek’s shoulder, squeezing gently. “Okay, I’m done playing this game now.” He said to Butters.
“A game, huh?” Butters scoffed. “If this is a game, then five on one seems to be a little unfair. Let’s even the odds a bit,” He continued with his maniacal laughter, turning to Kenny, and waving his hands in front of his face. A seemingly less powerful shock ran over Kenny’s body as his eyes rolled back into his head.
“Kenny!” Clyde yelled.
“Or, tilt them unfairly in one direction.” Butters said, approaching the window. “Have fun, fellas.” He waved once more before jumping out.
Clyde ran over to the window, but was stopped by a fist connecting with his stomach. He coughed loudly, dropping to his knees. “Fuck!”
Kenny stood over Clyde, and with that dark, gruff voice, said: “You won’t be hurting anyone.”
“What the fuck,” Craig said.
Kenny held his arms out, pulling at the air like he was holding a rope. He made a beckoning motion with his finger, and suddenly, Kyle began sliding towards him.
“Kenny, stop!” Kyle yelled.
Craig pushed passed Tweek, ramming himself into Kenny so hard that Kenny slammed into the wall behind him. He knelt down and helped up Clyde. “Kenny, what the fuck are you doing?”
“He’s brainwashed or something!” Clyde yelled.
Tweek was frozen, watching the events unfold in front of him. Kenny, weaving through the group with a speed so fast, he could barely see him. Kyle, trying to aim his eye lasers. Craig, taking shots at Kenny the best he could. Clyde, holding the sides of his face while taking blows from Kenny’s swift kicks and punches.
And Tweek. What was he doing?
He was standing there, doing nothing.
What could he do? He didn’t have control over anything! He was absolutely useless. He slapped the sides of his head over and over again. Think think THINK! Do SOMETHING!
He pulled his character sheet from his pocket, reading through it frantically. He wasn’t even going to try the lightning - he didn’t want to risk killing any of them. But…
Tweek cringed a bit at what his ten-year-old self wrote on the sheet. Oh GOD
He stepped forward, eyes rapidly moving around the room, focusing on Kenny as he landed a blow on Craig, knocking him over. Tweek clenched his jaw, one eye twitching slightly. He brought his hand up to his face -
-and blew a kiss to Kenny.
Jagged shards of ice appeared above the fight, crashing down onto his target, and shattering into a million pieces. Kenny froze in place, fist in the air inches from Clyde’s wincing face.
Tweek’s eyes were wide. No fucking way.
Craig took this opportunity to punch Kenny in the face, sending him flying back once more into the wall. “Fucking asshole.”
“Here, this should help.” Clyde said, as he summoned a swarm of mosquitoes to rush Kenny.
“Oh - oh god why!” Kenny’s gruff voice shouted as he began gagging loudly. “I’m going to fucking kill you!”
“Sorry about this!” Kyle shot a laser at Kenny.
“Ughh!” Kenny shouted. The mosquitoes continued to swarm him, blocking his vision, as he stumbled towards the window, right as Kyle’s laser hit him in the chest. Kenny tumbled out and down the two stories to the ground.
“Fuck!” Kyle ran to the window.
Clyde followed him. “Oh my god! You killed Kenny!”
“I’m the bastard!” Kyle covered his face.
“Yeah yeah—” Craig said. “We’ve all killed him at this point.” He dusted himself off, walking over to Tweek.
Tweek crumpled his character sheet, his other hand clutched at his chest again.
“Fucking hell, Tweek.” Craig pulled Tweek’s hand from his chest. “That was amazing.” He kissed Tweek’s hand. “But I don’t know how I feel about you blowing kisses to men who aren’t me.”
Tweek gave him a sheepish grin. “Shut the fuck up.” He pushed Craig away.
“Yeah great work Tweek!” Kyle said.
“Yeah kick ass Tweek!” Clyde pumped his fists in the air. “You saved the day!”
A piercing scream rang through the room, and Tweek turned to see Linda Stotch kneeling at her husband’s side. “Stephen!” She held him in her arms, rocking him back and forth. “Oh god, no!”
The rest of the group froze, taking in the sight of Butters’ grieving mother; unable to move.
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
“You’re saying this was little Butters?” Sergeant Yates asked, writing something in a small notepad.
Tweek nodded, wringing his hands together. They were standing in front of the Stotch house, surrounded by flashing lights. He was sure the entire South Park police force had arrived on scene. To his left, Craig was being interviewed by another officer, and on his right, he could see the stretcher leaving the house covered in a white sheet. Linda Stotch, still screaming, was escorted to the back of one of the cars.
Tweek shut his eyes, trying to will the visions out of his head. It didn’t take long for everything to come crashing down around him once the fight ended. “Craig and I came home to visit. We figured we’d catch up with some old friends.”
Sergeant Yates looked pensively at Tweek. “What started the fight?”
He shifted his weight between each foot and scratched at his arm with gloved fingers. “I don’t know, man. Something about his dad controlling him-”
“I guess I’m not grounded anymore, Dad!”
“-and he kinda just pushed him.”
“He pushed him?” Yates raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah. Really hard.” Tweek glanced over at Craig, who had his hands in his pockets, and looked like he was going to flip off the cop at any minute.
“Alright,” Yates said. “Stay here, I’ll be right back.”
When he left, Tweek reached up and began pulling at his hair. He did not need any more extra stress - this was already way too much pressure! He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths to try and calm himself down, only to jump the second a hand touched his shoulder “GAH!”
“It’s okay, it’s just me.” Craig said.
“Fucking shit, Craig. We are done! We’re gunna go to jail!” Tweek whispered loudly, leaning in closer to his husband.
Craig put both hands on Tweek’s shoulders. “We didn’t do anything.” He said. “This is all on Butters.”
Butters. Tweek bit his lip. “Did they find him?”
Craig shook his head. “Doesn’t seem like it.”
“I’m just telling you, this isn’t like him.” Kenny said, walking up to Tweek and Craig with Kyle by his side.
“Dude, there’s a serious vengeful side to him,” Kyle responded. “He’s been through some shit.”
Yates returned with a few other officers, pocketing his notepad. He looked back and forth between the four men before speaking. “Alright, you boys are good to go. If you see Butters anywhere, be sure to contact us. We’ll get that son of a bitch.”
“Thank you,” Kyle said. “We’ll keep an eye out.”
When the officers left, Tweek pulled at his hair once more. “Are you fucking kidding me? Keep an eye out! Butters nearly killed us--”
Kenny cleared his throat.
“--nearly killed some of us!” Tweek continued. “And you want to go find him?”
“He’s dangerous, Tweek! Someone’s gotta do something.” Kyle said.
“You really think the cops stand a chance against him?” Kenny said, eyeing Clyde who approached the group. “You saw what he did to me. That shit’s messed up.”
“Do we even stand a chance against him?” Clyde asked.
The group was quiet. Tweek thought back to the look on Kenny’s face during the altercation. If Butters had that kind of power, what could they do? He rubbed his eyes, pushing back with force. This was too much to think about right now.
He felt Craig’s arm around his shoulder. “I think we should regroup tomorrow.” Craig said. “It’s late.”
Kenny put his arms around both Kyle and Clyde’s shoulders. “Alright boys, you heard what mom said - it’s past our bedtime.”
Kyle crossed his arms and rolled his eyes.
Clyde laughed, putting his arm around Kenny. “Yeah, thanks mom we’ll make sure to get a good night’s sleep.”
Craig flipped them both off.
Kenny led Kyle and Clyde back towards his house, while Craig and Tweek walked in the opposite direction. Tweek leaned into Craig, who still had his arm around his shoulder.
One by one, the police cars began to leave the scene, each driving by Tweek and Craig as they walked along the sidewalk. Tweek could see people peering out their windows at the commotion.
“Nosy motherfuckers.” Craig said.
Tweek chuckled. “Like you wouldn’t do the same thing.”
“I wouldn’t. I don’t give a shit.” Craig responded.
“Right, that’s why when the neighbors were fighting last year you were right up against the door wondering if you should call the cops.” Tweek rolled his eyes.
“Fuck you.” Craig said, ruffling Tweek’s hair, which prompted Tweek to punch him in the side.
The walk back to the Tweak residence was short, and Tweek fumbled with his keys as he unlocked the door. When the door opened, he was greeted by the sight of his father and mother, sitting at the table, deep in discussion. Tweek motioned for Craig to follow him up the stairs before they were noticed, but it was too late.
“Craig!” Richard said. “And Tweek! Welcome home, boys.”
Tweek groaned. “Not in the mood, dad.”
“We were just discussing the shop. It seems someone broke into it and caused quite the mess.” Richard said, motioning for the two men to sit down at the table. Tweek looked nervously at Craig, who merely shrugged, before walking over to the table.
“Who on earth would do such a thing?” Tweek’s mother, Helen, said. “They didn’t even steal anything. Just broke a few cups and caused a mess.”
Tweek slumped down in his chair. He did not want to deal with this right now.
“It’s a tragedy, that’s what it is!” Richard exclaimed. “A total hate crime!”
“How the fuck is it a hate crime?” Tweek said. “You don’t make any sense!”
“It’s a hatred to the coffee business.” His father continued.
“Look, it was probably some kids or something.” Craig offered, taking Tweek’s hand in his and squeezing it gently.
“This wouldn’t have happened if the store were open.” Richard said. “You boys should be working the store again now that you’ve returned to South Park. I’m sure Craig learned his lesson from before, right Craig?”
There it was. Tweek held onto Craig’s hand so tightly, he could feel himself crushing Craig’s fingers beneath his. Craig’s wedding ring seemed to pierce through his skin with every second passing. Craig attempted to pull his hand away, giving Tweek a look of concern.
“Learn his lesson?” Tweek was grinding his teeth. “And what the fuck lesson would that be, dad? The one where you fired Craig for no reason?”
“Babe,” Craig started.
“No! Don’t ‘babe’ me!” Tweek looked over at Craig. “He owes you an apology. He should have never fired you to begin with! He was only doing it to teach me a lesson, or something.” Tweek stood up. “Well you know what, dad? You taught me nothing! Craig and I have made it without your help.”
“Tweek you’re being hysterical. Helen, grab him some coffee.”
“No! I don’t want any of your stupid coffee!” I can’t stop. “You worked us to death! We had no free time because of you, no life, and you have the nerve to say that Craig learned his lesson?” Oh god. “You are the fucking worst! You treat us like garbage!”
“Come on, honey.” Craig stood up, pulling Tweek away from the table by the shoulders.
Tweek broke free of Craig’s grasp. “I’m done with this, Craig. And you should be too! Fuck you, dad.” He flipped him off in the same manner he learned from Craig, and stormed off upstairs.
“He’s awfully emotional tonight,” Tweek could still hear his father’s voice as he climbed the stairs. “I’m sure you can handle it--” Tweek slammed the door to his room.
He began pacing back and forth, clenching and unclenching his fists. His dad was completely delusional. Why could he never see anything from his point of view? There was no reasoning with him.
Did he really think that Tweek came back to run the shop? That he was going to leave the life he built with Craig and come running back? Tweek kicked at a pile of clothes on the floor.
He came back to get better. That was it. It was temporary and would be over soon. Just because he was currently out of work and he was back in his parent’s house didn’t mean that he failed and didn’t mean that he was reverting back.
Oh god. I did fail. Tweek sat on the bed, leaning forward with his head in his hands. The workman’s comp claim was still not approved. He was still out of work and not getting paid. He was in his childhood room, at nearly thirty years old, and still needing therapy.
I'm fucked up. I’ve fucked everything up.
The door creaked open slowly, and the bed dipped next to him. Tweek didn’t look up, and opted to try and steady his breathing. A slow hand began rubbing his back, and he slapped the sides of his head.
“I’m so fucking stupid.”
Craig leaned onto Tweek’s shoulder, and continued the circular motions on his back. “You’re not stupid.”
“Yes, I am, Craig.” Tweek sighed. “Out of work and back at home. Pretty soon I will end up working at that shitty coffee shop. I won’t have a choice, I can’t do anything else.”
Craig slid off the bed and knelt down on the floor in front of Tweek. He grasped Tweek’s wrists and pulled his hands away from his head. “You can do anything you want, honey.”
It’s not fair what I put you through. Tweek stared up into Craig’s green eyes. He loved Craig’s eyes, they were the most beautiful thing in the world. How was Craig so patient with everything he did? God, he loved this man.
Tweek slid down to the floor as well and sat on his knees. “I hate it here,” He said. “I miss our home.”
“Then let’s go.” Craig said, grinning slightly. “Fuck it, let’s just go home.”
Tweek’s eyes widened. “What?”
“Yeah come on, fuck this place.” Craig said.
“What!? We can’t just do that!” Tweek sputtered. “I’ve got an appointment tomorrow! And what about Butters! We can’t just leave him running around! HE KILLED HIS OWN FATHER!”
“So what.” Craig said. “Who cares. Let’s just go, you and me!”
Tweek slapped him on the shoulder. “You’re crazy!”
“So, you want to stay?” Craig asked.
Tweek paused. After everything, did he really want to stay? He wasn’t lying, he really hated it here. But he felt some kind of obligation now. Some desire to see this all the way through. To finish what they started. And finish what they were dragged into.
“I hate you,” Tweek teased. “I hate your dumb pretty face.”
“Oh, you think I’m pretty?” Craig leaned in, nuzzling Tweek’s neck.
“Yeah, pretty stupid.” Tweek giggled at Craig’s motions. He wrapped his arms around Craig’s neck, pulling him in closer. He felt the warmth in his chest start to replace his racing heart beat as Craig held him close. This was the place he felt the safest. “I fucking love you.”
Craig kissed his neck. “I fucking love you too.”
Tweek’s eyes fluttered shut as Craig continued to kiss up and down his neck. “We should get married. What do you think?”
Craig pulled back. “Tweek, are you proposing to me?”
Tweek grabbed Craig’s left hand and pulled his ring off. “Yeah, see, I even got you a ring.” He held up the silver band as it glimmered in the light from the nearby lamp. “Took me forever to choose one since you're so picky.”
Craig held his hands up to his face. “Oh my god, it’s so beautiful. It must have cost you a fortune.” His normally monotone voice feigned surprise.
“Yeah it was at least three years worth of my salary.” Tweek took a hold of Craig’s left hand once more. “So, is that a yes?”
Tweek slid the ring back onto Craig’s finger, right where it belonged, and grabbed the sides of his face, kissing him square on the lips. He could feel Craig smile against him as he returned the kiss, which only invigorated him more. He pressed himself closer to Craig, deepening the kiss, and increasing the pace. Craig’s hands ran along his back and his sides, and Tweek sighed through his nose.
Tweek stood up and encouraged Craig to stand with him, doing his best not to break the kiss. He positioned Craig against the bed, and leaned into him, causing his husband to fall onto his back. Tweek pulled Craig's hat off his head and ran his fingers through his hair, loving how soft the locks were.
Craig tilted his head sideways as Tweek began kissing his neck, letting out small barely heard moans. Tweek loved the sounds Craig would make, and it only motivated him more. He crawled up on the bed, straddling himself over Craig's waist, and unzipped Craig's blue jacket, revealing a white t-shirt underneath. He pulled the shirt up, running his hands along Craig's skin.
Craig let out a breathy "Babe," as Tweek continued to kiss the other side of his neck. Tweek could feel his husband thrust up a bit at him, and he smirked. He loved how worked up he could get Craig, and how easy it was to do it. He trailed his hand down Craig's chest, stopping at the button on his jeans.
Craig looked up at Tweek, eyes half lidded, and mouth partially open. His face was flushed, and he licked his lips. Tweek gazed at him for a few moments, taking in the sight. This was his husband. All his. The most beautiful man on earth and he belonged to Tweek. He leaned down and kissed him again, popping open the button on his jeans.
Craig slid his hands under Tweek's button up, grazing the skin on his back with his fingernails. He arched his back as Tweek pulled down the zipper, and took a hold of Craig. "Fuck…"
Tweek gripped Craig firmly, moving his hand up and down at a slow pace. Craig threw his head back and let out a louder moan, which only fueled Tweek to move faster. Craig moved his hands to grip the bed sheets, bunching them up in his grasp.
God, Craig was amazing.
Suddenly, Tweek felt a hand sneak itself down the front of his pants, and he faltered in his movements. Craig had managed to unbutton his jeans and grab a hold of him in a split second, and Tweek let out a moan of his own. "Craig…"
Craig started moving his hand in the exact right way, and Tweek shuddered in pleasure. After all these years, he still was never bored of Craig. Tweek started moving his hand faster.
"You...you trying to...compete?" Craig said in between breaths.
Tweek kissed along Craig's neck again, pausing to nibble at his earlobe. "You think...mmmm...you think you'd win?"
Craig's grip on the bed sheet tightened and his hand on Tweek slowed as Tweek continued his assault on Craig's neck. "Mmm...fuck, Tweek!" He arched his back once more as Tweek picked up the pace, his breaths becoming more shallow, and he threw his head back again.
Tweek sped up as Craig's body stiffened, his hold on Tweek paused. After a few more strokes, Craig let out one final moan, and fell back onto the bed, breathing heavily.
Satisfied, Tweek wiped his hand on a dry part of Craig's stomach, earning a glare from his husband. It was short lived as Craig sat up and kissed Tweek and began moving his hand again.
It didn't take long after Craig before Tweek unraveled, letting out a muffled cry against his husband's lips. The two men dropped down and laid side by side on the bed, trying to catch their breath as they stared at the ceiling. Tweek reached over and intertwined his fingers into Craig's.
"Fucking hell…" Craig said. "I will never get tired of that."
Tweek smiled. He turned on his side to face Craig, taking in the sight of his worn-out husband. The beads of sweat on his forehead, the disheveled hair, the rumpled clothing. The rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. Tweek put a hand on his chest and felt his heartbeat, tapping with every beat it took.
This was all that mattered right now. Just the two of them. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
“Do you really think that's all that matters?”
Click clack click clack. The tapping of the keys and the ticking of the clock. 3:30 AM
“You can’t save him.”
“Shut up, SHUT UP!” Tweek typed faster, throwing another set of papers to the ground. He was back in his cubicle, surrounded by mountains of applications. He didn’t even know what he was typing into the computer, but he kept going.
“How long until he decides to leave you, anyway?” The image of Professor Chaos leaned against the cubicle wall, sifting through a stack of papers before knocking it over. “What do you really have to offer him?”
Tweek picked up his coffee mug and chucked it at Butters, missing as the other man dodged, and he heard the CRASH as it hit the far wall.
Tweek’s eyes shot open.
The room was quiet save for the pounding of his heart in his ears. A small patch of moonlight hit the carpet next to him from the window. He swallowed a few times, trying to get rid of his dry mouth and throat.
Not this again.
Tweek went to sit up, but he couldn’t. Craig’s head was on his chest, his arm draped across Tweek, and his breathing calm and steady. Tweek pressed his head further into the pillow and stared at the ceiling. He reached for his phone with his free hand, pulling it from the charger on the nightstand, and squinting his eyes as the screen lit up.
The first thing he was greeted with was a notification from the local news spelling out the available details about Stephen Stotch. In the article, they were offering a reward for anyone who could turn up information on Butters.
Tweek hit his forehead with the phone a few times, pausing as a brief realization hit him.
He was not wearing the gloves.
His eyes widened as he stared at the hand holding the phone, taking note of his pale skin in the dim moonlight. He flexed his other hand that was pinned down by Craig, and this hand was also missing the glove.
Tweek thought back. He must have ditched them in the heat of the moment. I could have killed him! He glanced down at Craig, who was drooling a bit on his shirt. They were still in the same clothes from last night. We must have passed out. Tweek thought. He stared at his hand again in confusion.
But why now? Tweek ran a hand up and down Craig’s back, feeling the soft fabric of his shirt on his fingertips. What was different now?
He sighed and unlocked his phone again and began aimlessly surfing Facebook. He scrolled through the typical posts again - marriages, babies, families. People talking about getting their masters or doctorates. A whole bunch of political posts, which he made a face at.
As the sun began to rise, Craig began to shift around, turning the other direction and freeing up Tweek’s arm. He sat up, flexing his muscles to rid himself of the pins and needles. When he moved to stand up, his phone chimed.
Hey - meet at Kenny’s tonight.
It was Kyle. Of course it was Kyle. Tweek rubbed his eyes, the details of the previous day coming back to him.
Sure dude. He sent back.
He set his phone back on the nightstand and walked into the bathroom. He stared at himself in the mirror as he turned the water on for the shower, waiting for it to heat up. The bags were still under his eyes, and he swore his face looked more wrinkled every day. He poked at his cheeks, feeling surreal at the fact that younger versions of himself used to look back at him from this same mirror.
After undressing, he stepped into the shower and let the hot water run over his head. His hair fell flat over his face and ears, and he just stood still. He turned the water temperature up higher, causing the room to steam up.
What was different now?
A pair of hands snuck around his waist, and he nearly slipped. “GAHHH!!”
“Shh!” Craig pulled him close. “You’re gunna wake everyone up.”
Tweek flattened his hand on his chest and breathed deeply. “Craig, what the fuck?”
Craig placed his chin on Tweek’s shoulder. “I’m conserving water.” He said matter-of-factly.
Tweek rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’m sure you are.” He turned around and tossed some water at Craig. “Fucking pervert.”
“Gotta save the environment.” Craig wiped the droplets off his face. “Don’t you care, honey?”
“Uh huh.” Tweek turned back around, unable to contain his grin. “Yeah, that’s all you want to do.” He picked up the shampoo bottle and squeezed a generous amount on his hand. As he massaged the soap into his hair, Craig grasped his wrists.
“You’re not wearing the gloves.” Craig said.
“You’re right.” Tweek responded.
“And we’re not dead,” Craig said.
Craig pulled Tweek’s hands off his head, and laced their fingers together. He rest his chin once more on Tweek’s shoulder, and kissed the side of his neck. “When did you realize…?”
Tweek chuckled. “I didn’t. At least, not until early this morning. I think I took them off sometime last night…”
He could feel Craig’s smirk against his neck. “You mean when you decided to --”
“YES” Tweek interrupted. “You know exactly what I’m talking about!”
Craig stood up straight, releasing Tweek’s hands and placing his own into Tweek’s hair, scrubbing his head gently. Tweek sighed in pleasure. He loved when Craig played with his hair. He faced Craig once more as he leaned his head back under the water and rinsed out the soap.
“What do you think it means?” Craig asked as Tweek swapped places with him.
Tweek popped open the shampoo bottle again. “I really don’t know.” He squeezed out some of the soap and slapped it on Craig’s head, earning a glare in return. Tweek started working the soap in, making sure to reach every inch of his husband’s hair. He took his time, reveling in the simplistic beauty of doing something so mundane, but something he hadn’t been able to do in a few days. “It’s not like there’s some kind of manual for this.”
“Who reads the manual anyway?” Craig asked as he rinsed his hair out. “No one’s got time for that.”
“Yeah and that explains why our side table from IKEA fell apart,” Tweek ruffled Craig’s wet hair.
“No, it’s cause that thing was a piece of crap.” Craig tried to ruffle Tweek’s hair, but Tweek dodged out of the way.
The two finished their shower with only minimal heckling, and headed back to the room. Craig began rummaging through the dresser drawers looking for something to wear, and Tweek checked his phone.
Make sure you wear something comfortable. Another message from Kyle.
“Oh, we’re going to Kenny’s tonight.” Tweek said.
“Okay,” Craig pulled his head through a t-shirt.
“Kyle says we need to wear something comfortable.” Tweek said as he buttoned up his dark green shirt.
“This better not be some kind of orgy or something,” Craig pulled his pants on. “Cause if we’re gunna open our marriage we should probably set some ground rules first.”
“WHAT THE FUCK” Tweek felt his face flush.
“I’m kidding.” Craig said. “If we were gunna have an orgy, those guys would be the last ones I would pick.” Craig ducked down as Tweek threw a pillow at him.
“You’re ridiculous.” Tweek said.
“Yeah but you love me,”
Tweek sat opposite of Dr. Norris once more, watching as she wrote in her notebook and took sips of a water bottle every now and then. He tapped his fingers on his knees, feeling the fabric of his jeans. He hadn’t realized how much he missed...touching things. He ran his hand over the couch fibers.
“How are things going, Tweek?” Dr. Norris asked.
“Fine.” He answered.
“That’s good.” She continued. “You seem to be in higher spirits.”
Tweek pulled on a loose string on his shirt. “I mean...I guess.” Was he giving off some kind of vibe? A vibe he couldn’t sense himself?
“Did you talk to Craig?” Dr. Norris asked. “Last time we met, you were going to let Craig in on some more of your thoughts.”
“I did.” Tweek said, thinking back to the moment in the coffee shop, and remembering Craig’s arms holding him close. “I told him everything.”
“And...he’s sitting outside your office.” Tweek smiled. “Again.”
Dr. Norris set her notebook down and leaned forward in her chair. “He supports you. This is good.”
“I don’t get as many intrusive thoughts,” Tweek blurted out, unsure why he did so. He scratched the sides of his arms, looking up at Dr. Norris. “I mean...I still get them. They just seem to be...less? I don’t know. Like, they don’t consume me as much.”
“Why do you think that is?”
“I don’t know.” Tweek answered honestly. Where could he even start to learn anything about how his emotions worked?
“Well, whatever you are doing, it’s having a good effect on you,” She said. “You seem calmer. More at ease.”
Tweek shifted a bit in his seat. Was he really? Calmer? He didn’t feel like he wanted to explode this session - that had to be a good thing. Did talking to Craig help him out that much? Opening up to him, being a hundred percent honest? Letting out everything he was thinking?
He spent so much time worrying about what Craig would think, but when push came to shove, Craig was still there. He’d been there, the whole time. He was exactly what Tweek needed.
Tweek couldn’t suppress the grin, so he covered his face with his hands. Oh god. This was too much - too much good.
“Everything alright, Tweek?” Dr. Norris asked.
“Yes, fine!” Tweek said.
Dr. Norris smiled. “Well, let’s keep it up then.”
When he left Dr. Norris’ office, he walked straight up to Craig, who was playing some game on his phone as he waited. Tweek kicked the side of his chair. “Come on, let’s go.”
Craig kept tapping. “I’m almost done.”
Tweek stared down at his husband, taking short glances at the game he was playing. This one was some kind of dice game - another super time waster. Tweek thought he should be more upset about it, but instead, he leaned over and hugged Craig tight, putting more and more weight onto him. “I’m hungry let’s go.”
Craig chuckled, falling over slightly as Tweek kept leaning on top of him. “Okay okay,” He put his phone away and stood up, causing Tweek to nearly fall over from the sudden movement. “You wanna get some Chinese food?” He held his hand out.
Tweek also stared at the hand for a few seconds before grabbing onto it. “Yeah...sure, that actually sounds pretty good.”
They left the office and walked down the street hand in hand on their way to the City Wok. Tweek couldn’t remember the last time he had actually eaten there - probably some time back in high school when he and Craig used to meet up with Clyde and Token.
It was relatively nice outside, and a chilly breeze blew across his face and through his messy hair. The sun was warm, and the sky was clear.
It was a perfect day.
“How much food are you gunna eat?” He smirked at his husband. “I’m not sure we can afford your normal orders on our limited income.”
“Oh really,” Craig said. “Who was the one who ordered six different dinners cause they all sounded good?”
“I couldn’t make up my mind!” Tweek said. “And if you recall, you ate your fair share of all of it.”
“I didn’t want it to go to waste.” Craig said, opening the door to the City Wok. “I’m just being financially responsible.” He flipped off Tweek who was sticking his tongue out at him. Craig then gestured to the open door. “Ladies first.”
“Oh, then by all means, after you.” Tweek laughed as Craig shrugged and stepped through the door.
As predicted, they ordered way too much food, and spent the whole time teasing each other over who actually ate more, and how this was against every recommended diet they should be on. And Tweek wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
“The heroic Human Kite!”
“Are we really doing this?”
“Embarrassed at your hero choice when you were ten?”
“Oh, fuck you!”
“Guys, come on!” Clyde whined, holding a stack of papers in his hands. “Can’t we just have some fun?”
The five men were standing in the middle of the ruins of SoDoSoPa, in the same place that Tweek remembered running into - and killing - Kenny. He thought the memory would’ve brought back the twisting feeling in his chest, but he was surprisingly calm.
Kyle crossed his arms across his chest. “I’m not dressing in a costume.”
“Oh come on, you’re supposed to put some effort into that.” Craig commented, flipping off Kyle when he glared back at him. “I mean, look at Kenny.”
Kenny, decked out in his full Mysterion gear, pulled the mask up so everyone could see his full face. “Hey, don’t diss the costume, man.”
“Oh yeah, cause there’s nothing embarrassing about a thirty-year-old running around town in his underwear.” Craig rolled his eyes.
“Gotta keep the identity a secret.” Kenny said. “You think the cops actually do shit around here?”
“Guys!” Clyde said. “Come. On.”
Kyle uncrossed his arms and stepped forward. “Fine, fine.” He sighed. “Go ahead.”
Clyde cleared his throat, ruffling the papers a few times. “The heroic Human Kite! The Asexual Gender-Neutral Kite Alien!”
“Where’s your kite?” Craig mocked. Tweek elbowed him in the side.
“First move - Laser Burn.” Clyde continued.
Kyle sighed, pulling his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose, and fired two parallel lasers at the trash can placed about fifty feet in front of him. The can fell over, dented on the side.
“Oh hell yeah!” Clyde cheered. “This is what I’m talking about” He returned to the paper. “Next move - Jetstream.”
“What’s that one again?” Kyle walked over to Clyde, leaning over to read the paper. “Oh. That’s right.” He looked back and forth between Tweek, Craig, and Kenny. “You know, I don’t have the kite, I’m not sure this is gunna work.”
“But you gotta try.” Clyde said, sporting a huge grin. “This is like, the coolest fucking thing we’ve got going for us right now.”
Kyle’s eyes settled on Kenny. He shrugged before taking off into the air a few feet, creating a small whirlwind, and pulling Kenny towards him. “That was supposed to be a healing move, but who the fuck knows what it does in real life.”
“Thanks, I feel healed already.” Kenny said, sporting the deep, gruff voice, with a hint of sarcasm.
“So cool.” Clyde said. “The next one is Kite Shield.”
“I don’t have a fucking kite!” Kyle said as Craig opened his mouth to say something.
“So then you can’t do Wrath of Kite?” Clyde frowned. “Maybe we should get you a kite then. These moves could be really helpful.”
“I’m not wearing a kite!” Kyle yelled.
Clyde stepped forward, shoving the papers into Kyle’s hands. “Okay okay, read mine then!”
“Oh please no.” Kenny said.
“Yeah Clyde, your powers were fucking disgusting.” Craig said.
“Whatever, man.” Clyde held his hands up, posing as if to attack the row of trash cans that weren’t knocked over. “This is so fucking cool.”
Kyle rubbed his forehead. “The ‘heroic’ Mosquito. A heterosexual cis male.”
Tweek covered his mouth, blocking his laughter.
“First move - Bug Bite Barrage.” Kyle made a face. “This was fucking lifesteal, Clyde. You were sucking blood!”
Clyde slumped his shoulders, holding his hands down to his side. His whole demeanor seemed to deflate. “Oh yeah.”
“Just stick to summoning mosquitos.” Kyle said.
“Or don’t.” Kenny said. “Fucking disgusting.”
Clyde jumped up, flying into the air about ten feet. He held his hands out, and a burst of mosquitoes appeared around him. “Yes! YES!” He motioned towards Kenny, and the mosquitoes flew down towards the masked man.
“Oh fuck you!” Kenny yelled as he was swarmed with bugs. “Ugh! Get these off me!”
“Don’t mess with Mosquito!”
Tweek winced, scratching at his arms as if the bugs were swarming him. But part of him couldn’t help but smile, because right next to him, Craig had burst out laughing, leaning over as he had one hand on Tweek’s shoulder. He saw Kyle turn and give a confused look towards Craig, and Tweek joined in the laughter.
“Holy shit,” Clyde stopped the barrage on Kenny, descending from the air and landing surprisingly gracefully on his feet.
The mosquitoes dispersed, and Kenny shook his head a few times, before turning towards the commotion.
Craig, noticing the group looking at him, leaned into Tweek’s shoulder, trying to muffle his laughter. Tweek, who also couldn’t control his laughs, covered his face with his hand. Kyle, Kenny, and Clyde were staring, eyes wide, and mouths agape.
“The mighty Craig Tucker can laugh?” Clyde said.
Craig flipped him off without looking, still trying to stifle his laughs.
“I didn’t think he had it in him.” Kyle said.
“Oh, he’s not living this down.” Kenny said.
“Oh, absolutely not,” Clyde said, taking out his phone. He held the phone up like he was taking a selfie.
Tweek, who not only was laughing at Craig’s laughter, started laughing even harder at the prospect of this being recorded.
Craig, on the other hand, after laughing for what seemed like forever, suddenly stopped. He wiped his eyes and stood up away from Tweek, adjusting his hat, and facing Clyde.
“Oh damn,” Clyde said. “Busted.”
Craig’s face returned to the typical apathetic expressions almost immediately as he walked up to Clyde. “Kyle, please continue.”
Kyle looked between Clyde and Craig, shrugging as he flipped through another few pages. “The heroic Super Craig. Ho—”
“Homosexual cis male,” Craig said. “That’s right...Super Craig, is gay.”
Tweek couldn’t stop, and continued laughing, earning another look from Kyle.
“First move—” Kyle started.
“Mega Fist Punch!” Craig yelled, taking a swing at Clyde. Clyde, who was both expecting and not expecting retaliation, took the punch full on, and was knocked back into the row of trash cans.
“Waaahh!!” Clyde yelled as he plummeted into the cans, knocking over two of them as he hit the ground.
Craig dusted off his hands, then placed them on his hips.
Tweek, shocked at the sheer force of the attack, thought this would break him out of his spell. But no, he laughed even harder. “Stop, stop! I’m dying!”
Craig looked back at Tweek over his shoulder, smirking.
Clyde stood up, clearly disoriented. “Oof, Craig, why?” He complained.
Craig shrugged. “It’s practice, dude.”
“Yeah, just practice,” Kenny agreed. He stood side by side with Craig, holding his hands out, and making a “come here” motion. He pulled his hands back as if he were holding a rope, and Clyde slid towards him and Craig. “This one’s called Dark Whisper.”
“So edgy,” Craig said.
“Waaaaaahh!” Clyde yelled, trying to stick his feet in the ground to stop his movements. “Okay okay! I get it!”
Kenny gave a sideways look to Craig, who gave a sideways one-shouldered shrug back. Kenny dropped his hands, and Clyde tripped at the sudden stop in movement, falling to the ground.
“You guys are the worst!” Clyde said. “Always gotta ruin everything.” He rubbed his butt as he stood up, walking over to Kyle, and yanking the papers out of his hands. “Alright, it’s time for the heroic Wonder Tweek!”
This did it. Tweek stopped laughing.
Tweek glanced around at all four of the men who were there with him. Kyle was standing off to the side, arms crossed, and expression neutral. Clyde was next to him, excited and sporting an enormous smile, having seemingly forgotten the beating he just took. Kenny and Craig, still side by side, had two completely different expressions. Kenny gave him a thumbs up and winked at him. Craig had the worried-Craig expression where no one else could tell he was worried.
Tweek smiled, stepping forward, and motioning for Craig and Kenny to get out of the way. “Yes, it is I, Wonder Tweek, homosexual cis male.”
Clyde cheered, throwing his arms in the air. “Fuck yeah, Tweek! Show us what you got!”
Tweek took a deep breath and faced the row of trash cans.
“First move - Icicle Strike!” Clyde said.
Tweek closed his eyes and breathed slowly. He thought back to when they were all in Butters’ room, recalling the intensity of that moment. He reached up and blew a kiss in front of him.
Just like previously, icicles appeared above one of the trash cans before plummeting down, exploding over the metal. A glassy CRASH resonated throughout the whole area as the trash can toppled over.
“Yes!” Clyde cheered once more.
Did he really do that? Tweek stared wide eyed down the path in front of him. Was this really happening? A small smile graced his lips.
“Okay okay,” Clyde said, reading down at the papers again. “Second move - Soothing Showers!”
Tweek bit his bottom lip, and thought back in time. Soothing showers. He snapped his fingers - that’s right. He turned to Clyde, lifting his arms up. Water appeared around him as he lifted off the ground. He looked down, realizing his feet were not touching the ground, and nearly panicked. Holy shit!
The blast of water left him and hit Clyde, drenching him. “Ah! What the hell!” Clyde shook the water out of his hair. “You almost got the papers!”
Tweek returned to the ground. “Oops, sorry!”
“That’s a healing move,” Kyle said. “Do you feel healed?”
“I’m definitely not as sore from Craig’s fucking punch.” Clyde said.
Craig flipped him off.
Clyde actually flipped him off too, and Craig opened his mouth in surprise. “Alright, Tweek. Let’s try this one - Supreme Lightning!”
“I think we’re done.” Craig said.
Kenny and Kyle shot a look to each other. “Yeah I think we can do this another day,” Kenny said.
“What?” Clyde asked. “Come on!”
“Dude, drop it.” Kyle said, taking note of Craig’s expression. “There’s always tomorrow.”
Tweek flexed his fingers, tightening and loosening his hands in and out of fists. “Shut up, SHUT UP!” He shouted. Focus.
“He’s not wearing the gloves.” Kenny pointed out.
“Tweek?” Kyle said.
So much noise. Tweek took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and adjusted his footing, planting his feet firmly at shoulder length apart. He held his hands out.
What was different now?
He felt the warmth build, and he could feel the hairs on his arms stand up. He thought back to the moment he stared up through the hole in the ceiling directly after the “accident”. He thought back to that moment on the street with Craig. He thought back to grabbing Kenny and killing him. Or, nearly killing him, as he found out.
What was different now?
He thought back to that morning when he discovered he wasn’t wearing the gloves. He thought back to that morning in the shower. The thought back to that morning with Dr. Norris.
The strike came from the sky and laid into three of the trash cans, eliciting a loud CRASH and BANG as all three slammed together and then into the ground.
Tweek was breathing heavily, still posed with his arms in front of him as small shocks sparked around his hands.
Clyde was the first to move, running over to the trash cans to survey the damage. He stood one back up, but it fell back down as it was misshapen and deformed. “Holy fuck,” He said. “These are completely fucked up.” He tried to stand up another, but it cracked in half, and both pieces toppled back down.
“Oh my god,” Kyle said.
“Tweek,” Craig said, walking up to his husband.
“Yes! Fuck yes, that was amazing!” Clyde said, racing back up to the group. “See, this is what I’m talking about!” He hugged Tweek tightly and picked him up, prompting a surprised shriek from Tweek.
“ACK put me down!” Tweek laughed, trying to push his way away from Clyde.
Clyde obliged, and was immediately face to face with Craig, who pushed him back away from Tweek, giving him a pointed “don’t you dare” look. Clyde chuckled, waved his hand at Craig and ignored him. “Tweek, I didn’t know you had that in you.”
“I did,” Kenny said, crossing his arms. “That’s what killed me.”
“No shit?” Clyde’s eyes were wide. “Damn, Tweek!”
“I hit Craig with it too,” Tweek said, smiling sheepishly at Craig, who returned the smile with a glare.
“How are you still alive…” Clyde started. “...oooooh you have that blocking ability!”
“He did flip me off before I hit him,” Tweek said, rubbing his chin in thought.
“Babe…” Craig warned.
“We need a demonstration, Craig!” Clyde clapped his hands together. “Invulnerability - fucking amazing!”
Tweek chuckled, but stopped when he glanced at his husband. The look on his face indicated he was over this discussion. Tweek frowned, thinking back to the last time they had the discussion of trying out these powers.
And recalling the fear in Craig’s eyes.
He smiled at his husband, reaching out and taking his hand into his. “Don’t worry, I have no intention of trying these out on you.”
Craig squeezed his hand back.
“That’s okay, we can do this without you, Tweek!” Clyde said. “Come on Kenny, go hit him or something.”
“Gladly.” Kenny cracked his knuckles. “Come on, Craig, whatcha gunna do?”
Craig inhaled slowly, and exhaled loudly, keeping his eyes on Tweek. His mouth turned up in a slight smirk, as Tweek said: “Go get ‘em, tiger.”
“Clyde, I swear, I am so done with you right now.” Craig said, leaning in a kissing Tweek on his cheek, then turning to chase after his childhood friend.
Tweek smiled, watching as Clyde screeched and started running as Craig chased him. Kenny followed, not far behind, as the three took turns knocking each other around. He giggled as Craig took a swing at Kenny.
“You feeling better?” Kyle asked, standing next to him and crossing his arms.
Tweek smiled again as Craig blocked a punch from Kenny, arms crossed in front of him and middle fingers raised. The blow from Kenny didn’t faze his husband, and Kenny jumped out of the way as Craig punched back. “Yeah, I think so.”
“That’s good,” Kyle said. “I’m happy to hear it.”
Both men winced as Clyde, who summoned another set of mosquitos, received a spinning kick from Kenny and was pushed back into Craig, who knocked him down.
“God damnit, Clyde.” Kyle face-palmed.
“I think we should take a break,” Tweek said, trying to stifle a chuckle. “I don’t think Clyde can take anymore punishment.”
“I heard that!” Clyde yelled as he did a sweeping kick to Craig’s legs, knocking him over. “Ha, fucking take that!”
Craig, who clearly was not expecting Clyde to do anything worthwhile, broke his typical, don’t-give-a-shit expression - his eyes wide as he flailed for a second before slamming into the ground.
“Wow, nice one, Clyde.” Kenny said, clapping a hand on Clyde’s back. “There’s use for you yet.”
“Yeah, that’s right!” Clyde said, opting to hide behind Kenny as Craig stood up. “You hear that, Craig? I’m useful.”
“Yeah, useful as a punching bag.” Craig dusted himself off.
“Alright alright, come on boys.” Kyle said. “Let’s call it a night.”
“Yeah, let’s get food!” Clyde cheered. “All this work is making me hungry!”
Craig walked up to Tweek, putting his arm around him. Tweek leaned into his husband’s shoulder, running his hand a few times over his shirt, trying to remove some of the excess dust that had accumulated.
“So, dinner’s on Clyde then?”
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
“Dinner’s on Clyde, huh.” Clyde pouted, stuffing his hands in his pockets as they walked down the street.
Tweek put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, we’ll pitch in, I won’t tell anyone.”
“Tweek, you’re alright, you know that?” Clyde said. “Your husband, on the other hand…”
Tweek laughed as he and Clyde continued walking towards the center of town. He had volunteered to walk with Clyde to pick up something to eat for the group as the other three opted to stay at Kenny’s house.
Kyle was right. He was feeling better. He was feeling good. And he just wanted to be out and about, even if Craig wanted to stay behind and be lazy. Tweek could picture Craig sitting on the couch, engrossed in his phone, playing whatever game he wanted to play. After all the practice, he didn’t blame Craig for wanting to unwind.
He figured Clyde would need a break too, after the beating he took from Craig and Kenny. But Kenny heckled Clyde, saying that room and board came with a price, and he pushed Clyde out the front door and told him to not come back until he had some food for everyone. Clyde had whined on the other side of the door, and Tweek rolled his eyes at everyone, joining his friend on the journey to feed the group.
Clyde wasn’t terrible company.
Most of the time.
“Do we even know what everyone wants?” Clyde asked.
“Craig’s usually good with whatever.” Tweek said. “But you know, if we bring him some ingredients, I bet I could get him to cook for us.”
“What? He knows how to cook?” Clyde said. “No way.”
Tweek nodded. “It’s true. He does all the cooking for us.”
They passed a homeless man who was sitting on the floor, holding out a cup. “Chaaange?”
“I just don’t believe it.” Clyde said, ignoring the man. “He doesn’t really come off as a person who has...skills.”
“Craig has a lot of skills.” Tweek said. “Cooking is just one of them.”
“Ew, Tweek, I don’t want to know!” Clyde covered his ears.
Tweek laughed again.
Night had fallen across South Park, and the streetlights lit their path as they crossed the center of town. Most of the businesses were shut down for the day, and there were only a few people walking around. Occasionally, a car would pass by, illuminating the area for a short bit. Tweek kicked a rock and watched it bounce around.
The grocery store was straight ahead, the automatic door opening and closing as people entered and exited. Tweek briefly remembered the old Whole Foods that had appeared in town, which had started the whole PC movement. It was part of how he and Craig got together, oddly enough, so there was a bit of nostalgia attached to the memory.
“Chaaange?” Another homeless man, sitting next to the entrance, held out a cup.
“Ew, no.” Clyde said, taking a step back from the man, and pushing Tweek quickly into the store. “What’s up with these guys?”
The bright fluorescent lights offered a contrast to the night sky, and Tweek squinted his eyes as they adjusted. The floor was a white linoleum and reflected the lights, and the whole store was chilly. Tweek and Clyde walked aimlessly up and down the aisles, with Clyde swinging a handbasket back and forth. He was surprised at how clean everything was, as the store near their house was usually dusty and had things out of place.
“What the hell are you doing?” Some woman yelled, as Clyde smacked the basket into her cart while he wasn’t paying attention. She walked around both him and Tweek, glaring over her shoulder as she continued down the aisle.
Clyde made a funny face behind her back, and Tweek laughed.
“What do you want to eat?” Tweek asked.
“You mean, what’s the best thing Craig can make?” Clyde grinned. “I’m dying to know.”
Tweek grabbed a can of...something off the shelf. “You should probably think about what Kenny has supplies for.” He put the can back, scrunching his nose. “It’s not like Craig’ll have access to all the stuff at our house.”
“Fine, fine!” Clyde ran down the aisle. “Let’s make tacos!”
Tweek thought for a second, then shrugged. The two walked to the next aisle, and Clyde looked over taco shells. Tweek glanced around at all the items on the shelves, noting the various brands of taco shells and tortillas, all in bright yellow packages.
“Did you hear about the Stotch kid?”
Tweek turned around as two women walked behind him down the aisle, chatting to each other.
“Yeah! Can you believe it? Murdered his father!”
“Who knew he had it in him!”
“I wonder if they’ll catch him. You think he’ll come after anyone else?”
“Nah, it seemed personal. I don’t think--” The voice cut off as the two women turned the corner.
Tweek frowned. What happened to you, Butters?
“We’ll find him.” Clyde said, putting a hand on Tweek’s shoulder. He looked like he was struggling - trying to be strong for Tweek. “It’s Butters, he couldn’t have gone far.”
“Yeah,” Tweek said, not fully believing it himself. There was a kind of pain in Butters; a pain that he recognized. He shook his head, rustling his hair around. “Holy shit, Clyde. How many tacos do you think we’re gunna eat?”
Clyde smiled wide, holding up the basket full of taco shells. “We’re feeding five grown men, we need a fuck ton!”
Tweek face-palmed. “Whatever you say, man.”
They meandered to the meat department, and Clyde picked up a package of sausages, winking at Tweek. “I hear you like sausages.”
“Oh, fuck you!” Tweek rolled his eyes. “You need some better material.”
Clyde dropped the package. “Come on, that was funny! You think I should bring this back to Craig? He’d laugh.”
“Oh, I’m sure.” The sarcasm was obvious.
Tweek shivered a bit as they walked along the refrigerated cases as Clyde looked for some ground beef. He eyed a display of markdown items, wondering if there was anything interesting. He saw a few near-expired boxed items with Christmas themes, and looked at the price tag. Twenty-five cents. That’s twenty-five cents more than I’d pay for that.
As he put down the box, he felt someone nudge his shoulder. He twirled around, feeling ready to deck the person in the face. “Excuse you.” Tweek said.
“Chaaaange?” The man was dressed in tattered clothing, and clearly hadn’t showered in weeks. He held out a cup and rattled it a few times.
“No.” Tweek took a few steps back, and bumped into another man. He was also dressed in similar tattered clothing, and had the longest beard Tweek had ever seen.
“I don’t have any change!” Tweek yelled, running away from the men. He ran up to Clyde, who was looking at the different packages. “Clyde, let’s get out of--wait a minute, are you comparing prices?”
Clyde nodded, picking up one with a big SALE sticker on it. “Yeah, why?”
Tweek narrowed his eyes. “That’s...surprisingly responsible of you.”
“Come on, Tweek, not all of us have dual incomes.” Clyde put a hand on his hip, leaning on one foot. “Gotta make sacrifices sometimes!”
“...with ten boxes of taco shells?”
“You said you were pitching in!”
Both Tweek and Clyde froze as they were now surrounded by homeless men, each holding out a cup and shaking it back and forth. Clyde leaned into Tweek as the group circled closer, and Tweek nearly lost his footing from the extra weight on him.
“Where are they all coming from!?” Clyde shrieked. He slapped at a hand that reached out to him. “I said no, god damnit!”
Tweek grabbed Clyde’s hand and pulled him through the crowd, running down the frozen food aisle. He heard Clyde yell in protest as he dropped his basket, but he ignored it. We gotta GET OUT.
Tweek came to a screeching halt as another group appeared in front of them, and Clyde slammed into his back, but he managed to stay upright. He turned around and saw the first group approach from behind them.
“Oh GOD!” Tweek yelled. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?”
“I don’t wanna die, Tweek!” Clyde cried.
“Heh heh heh.”
Tweek turned his attention to the ceiling as a voice called out from the intercoms. The lights flickered off, and the emergency lights came to life, casting the store in a dim hue. He could hear other store patrons start shouting, and a few began running.
“What do you want!?” Tweek yelled.
The men were getting closer.
“So bold, Tweek. You were always so loud and outspoken.”
They were being swarmed. Tweek grabbed Clyde’s hand again and jumped up, allowing his newly controlled powers to lift them both to the top of the freezers. With this new vantage point, Tweek could see the other shoppers racing for the front doors as more and more homeless men poured into the store. They appeared to ignore everyone and were focused on Tweek and Clyde.
“I know you put on a tough front.”
Tweek frowned, watching as bodies flattened themselves against the freezer doors and reached up. He pulled at his hair, and clenched his eyes shut. “What do you want!?”
“Come on Tweek - you’re not alone.”
His eyes snapped open.
The laughter rang over the loudspeaker again.
“There is no Butters - only CHAOS!”
Tweek slumped down to his knees, covering his head, and pulling at his hair. The murmurs of the swarming men grew louder and louder, as they begged for change, and climbed over each other. His mind went back to the moment Butters killed his father, watching as the life left Stephen’s eyes.
Was that going to happen to them?
Clyde stepped on a hand that reached up, trying to grasp the edge of the freezer. “Tweek!”
No no no NO NO. Tweek slapped the side of his head.
“Yes, my minions. Show them that CHAOS reigns supreme!” A loud cackling followed.
Closing in. Everything was closing in. It was only a matter of minutes before they were completely swarmed. Then what? Would they be suffocated? Eaten alive? Tweek felt the tightening in his chest again, unsure if it was specifically anxiety, the damage from the fire, or a combination of both. His head was swimming. The room seemed to get darker.
But he had to do something. He stood up.
“Clyde,” He said, surprising himself with how even the words were. “I think your training session is gunna pay off.”
Clyde stepped on another hand from the opposite side. “What?” He kicked at another. “Wait, you’re serious?”
Clyde took a deep breath, rubbing his hands together. “And you’re not gunna hate on the mosquitos?”
“THIS IS NOT THE TIME!” Tweek shouted.
“I KNOW!” Clyde yelled. “YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME!”
“THEN HURRY THE FUCK UP!” They were both trembling now. Tweek clenched his hands into fists. This was it, things were real now.
Were they ready?
Clyde extended his arms, causing a swarm of mosquitos to appear, and directed them down to the mob. The buzzing was louder than anything Tweek had heard before, and it took every ounce of his energy to not gag. Luckily, none of the bugs were after him. But he still twitched as they attacked the mob, and several of the homeless men backed away, batting at the bugs and failing miserably.
But it didn’t stop them all. They were still climbing.
Clyde threw an empty box at them, one that was dusty and clearly had been on the top of the freezers for quite some time. "That’s all I have!”
“Come on, Tweek.” The intercom again. “Do it.”
Tweek looked down at his hands.
“TWEEK!” A hand grabbed at Clyde’s ankle.
Tweek’s hands crackled with lightning. But before he cast anything, the image of Kenny’s lifeless body flickered in his mind. He clenched his fists again, stopping the surge of power coursing through his veins.
No NO. Something else!
A hand grabbed at his ankle too, and he pulled his foot back, nearly falling over. He searched around frantically, trying to think of something.
He grabbed Clyde's arm. "COME ON!" and pulled him along, leaping over the aisle to the top of the next shelf, overlooking the snack section. The mob turned, scrambling over each other as they flailed for the two fleeing men. "Chaaangeeee?"
Another group raced into the snack aisle, knocking over stacks of chips, and a shipper of salsa. The CRASH of broken glass rang through the groans and mumbling, and through Tweek's grunts of frustration.
"KEEP MOVING!" Clyde yelled, this time yanking on Tweek's arm himself. Tweek, not expecting the sudden forward movement, tripped on his own feet as Clyde propelled them forward.
A hand reached up and wound around Tweek's ankle, yanking both Tweek and Clyde down. They slammed into a shelf full of pretzels and hit the linoleum. The pretzel bags piled on top of them, crinkling loudly as Tweek batted and kicked them away.
"A good effort." The voice crackled and popped over the intercom.
As Tweek cleared the bags from his field of vision, he watched as the homeless men closed in around them. He scrunched his eyes shut, covering his head. He could hear Clyde's whimpers, and Tweek was sure he was making similar noises. I'm sorry, Craig.
But nothing came.
Tweek opened his eyes, blinking rapidly at the sudden brightness that surrounded him.
The mob was gone.
He pushed aside the pretzels, slowly standing up. He looked around the aisle, noting the broken salsa and the empty hollow feeling that encircled him. Tweek reached down, pulling Clyde up. "What the fuck!?"
Clyde shook his head, letting a few large shards of glass come tumbling out. His eyes widened as he felt around the rest of his head for more pieces.
Tweek pulled at his shirt, trying to slow his breathing and calm the heavy feeling in his chest. What the fuck whatthefuck.
"Where did they go?" Clyde asked. "Holy fuck Tweek I thought we were done for!"
"WE WERE DONE FOR!!" Tweek shrieked.
A soft piano melody played over the speakers, and shoppers slowly walked past them, oblivious to the previous events. Tweek kicked one of the broken salsa jars, which promptly smashed into the shelf and broke into smaller pieces.
From a distance, Tweek heard a soft but eerie cackling.
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
“What are we gunna do?”
“I don’t know, man! This is way over our heads!”
Tweek and Clyde paced back and forth in Kenny’s living room as Craig and Kyle sat on the couch across from them, and Kenny stood behind them. Tweek and Clyde had run all the way back to Kenny’s house, each of them banging on the door frantically until Kyle opened the door with a less than pleased look.
“We could have fucking died!” Tweek yelled, pulling on his hair. “This is too much, holy fuck.”
“And all the homeless - fucking gross!” Clyde yelled back. “They were everywhere!”
“I don’t know where they went! But you saw them - we both saw them!” Tweek grabbed Clyde’s shoulders. “I’m not fucking crazy, am I? You saw them too!”
Clyde grabbed Tweek’s shoulders, shaking him. “Yes, I fucking saw them!!!”
“WHAT ARE WE GUNNA DO?”
“Tweek! Clyde! You gotta pull yourselves together.” Kenny said. “We have no idea what you’re going on about.”
“Food, we were just getting food!” Tweek shook Clyde too. “WE WERE JUST GETTING FOOD!”
“I KNOW!” Clyde yelled.
Craig stood up and walked over to Tweek, carefully prying Clyde’s hands off his husband’s shoulders. “Babe, I think that’s enough. Come sit down.”
Tweek glanced up at Craig. Though his heart was beating fast enough to probably kill him, he felt an instant relief wash over his whole body. He could feel himself start to slow down, and he took a few deep breaths, allowing Craig to lead him over to the couch.
I can’t be crazy...Clyde was there! This wasn’t just me! Tweek bit the fingernails on his left hand. The thoughts, though still racing through his head, started to be a bit clearer now. There’s a witness! I’m not crazy!
Craig rubbed his hand in circular motions on Tweek’s back, as Tweek leaned forward over his knees. Clyde was still pacing, nearly creating a hole in Kenny’s carpet.
“What happened?” Kyle asked, as he sat on the opposite side of the couch from Tweek.
“Fucking conspiracy!” Clyde raved. “Aliens or some shit! It’s not possible!”
“Aliens!?” Tweek yelled. “IT’S NOT FUCKING ALIENS!”
“Says the guy who ranted about aliens and stuff all the time when we were kids!”
“Clyde you dumb motherfucker!” Tweek yelled. “It was BUTTERS!”
Silence engulfed the room save for a few grunts Tweek made as his eye started twitching. He thought his tic had calmed down, but it was in full force now. “Did you not hear him!?”
“What are you talking about!?” Clyde yelled.
“THE FUCKING INTERCOM!” Tweek screeched. “Oh GOD I AM crazy!” He put his arms over his head.
“You’re not crazy,” Craig said.
“What, am I hearing voices then, Craig!?” Tweek’s voice was muffled as he pressed his face into his knees.
“But I SAW the homeless! We were attacked!” Clyde continued. “We nearly DIED! And then they just—”
“And then they just DISAPPEARED!” Tweek finished. “Like nothing even happened!”
“Are you sure it was Butters?” Kenny asked.
It was quiet again. Tweek sat up, inadvertently knocking Craig’s hand away from him, and adjusted his button up shirt. It was too hot, and it was sticking to his chest. “You do, you think I’m crazy too?”
“Tweek,” Craig said, taking a hold of his hands. “No one thinks you’re crazy.”
“We just want to understand so we can help.” Kyle said.
“So, what happened?” Craig squeezed his hands tight.
There it was again. That look from Craig that helped to melt away the anxiety he was feeling. It was an overwhelming sigh of relief, and it was a big reason why he fell in love with the man to begin with. Taking a few deep breaths, Tweek began to go over the story in detail to the rest of the group.
“And his voice was over the intercom.” Tweek said, as he got to that point in the story. “It was definitely Butters.”
“See, I didn’t hear anything like that.” Clyde said. He had opted to stop pacing and took a seat on the floor opposite the group. Kenny had joined him, sitting about three feet to his right.
“Why would Butters do something like this?” Kenny pondered. “Going off the rails and killing his dad is one thing - I mean, other than my dad, he would be the one to deserve something like that. But a grocery store? What’s the point?”
“He’s officially lost it.” Kyle said. “We have to find him. Who knows what he’s gunna do next.”
Tweek leaned into Craig, still holding one of his hands. Craig was weaving his fingers through Tweek’s hair - another one of his tricks he used to calm him down. Tweek no longer felt like he was going to explode, and for that, he was grateful.
“But where would he be?” Clyde asked. “Where would Butters go?”
It was a question that Tweek knew none of them had an answer to. Tweek hadn’t spoken to Butters since high school. It wasn’t like it was unusual; people fell out of friendships after school all the time. The only reason they even really interacted with Clyde was because he and Craig worked together.
He couldn’t remember the last time the gang was all together. He knew not everyone had attended their wedding - many people had moved out of state and either didn’t want to or couldn’t afford to fly back for the big day.
Kenny had been there, he remembered. And Token and Clyde. Kyle, Stan and Wendy hadn’t come, and neither did Jimmy. Butters for sure didn’t, if they had even thought to invite him, and Cartman definitely wasn’t on the guest list (if they even considered Cartman part of the “gang”).
So how well did he know his old friends? How well would any of them know Butters? How much had he changed over the last twelve or so years since graduation? Tweek knew that he himself was a different person than when he was in high school. Though Craig may not look it, he was different as well, and probably for the better, unlike Tweek, who the more time passed, the more he thought about the term “downward spiral”.
Another squeeze of his hand. He squeezed back. No. Tweek was no longer on this spiral. He was better than this, he had gotten past it and he was stronger. Wasn’t he?
Was Butters on a downward spiral?
“Well you clearly failed at getting us food, Clyde.” Kenny said, standing up and ignoring the look of protest from Clyde. “I guess we’ll just have to order pizza again.”
At the mention of pizza, Clyde’s expression lightened up. Tweek closed his eyes, letting himself relax in his husband's hold the best he could, as everyone else around them moved about.
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
He tossed and turned that night, trying to get comfortable enough to get even a few minutes of sleep. Either the pillow was too hot, too flat, or the room was too cold and he needed another blanket. Or the room was too hot, and he had too many blankets.
He laid flat on his back, starting up at the ceiling. Sometimes it was the world around him, and other times it was his own mind keeping him up. In this case, he had a combination of both. Tweek just couldn’t shake the images of what occurred earlier in the day.
He knew he wasn’t imagining it. Clyde was with him. No, this actually happened. And with all the other experiences they were all having, he felt like he should be less surprised than he was.
Then again, he did watch a childhood friend commit murder.
Was he not freaking out about that because part of him felt like Stephen Stotch deserved it? He remembered coming in contact with the man a few times throughout his life, and while he put up a good front, he had seen how he treated Butters. But clearly not to the extent Butters felt, or was actually, mistreated.
So, Butters was just like them; dealing with abilities well above anything they had ever dealt with before. And he was completely unstable. At least, that’s what Tweek thought. He recognized some of the pain in Butters’ voice as he shouted at all of them. He recognized it because he himself had said things with similar inflections and tones.
But where would he go? And why would he come back for them? Specifically, him and Clyde?
Tweek covered his face with the blanket. It didn’t make any sense.
He picked up his phone and started scrolling through his social media and his email, trying to distract his brain from all of this. Maybe it would tire him out and he would fall asleep soon. Afterall, it was three in the morning according to the clock on his phone.
Craig shifted beside him, snoring slightly, and pulling on the blanket just enough to uncover one of Tweek’s legs. Tweek wrestled it back, covering himself fully.
After about twenty minutes, he could feel his eyes start to droop, and he nearly lost the hold on his phone. He let the phone rest on his chest, and he closed his eyes, turning his head to the side. Finally.
“Do you really want to know?”
His eyes shot open.
Butters was kneeling next to the bed, still decked out in the Professor Chaos gear, the moonlight shining over the aluminum foil.
“What the fuck!” Tweek screamed.
Craig turned over, still sleeping.
Butters put a finger to his mouth. “Shh.”
“What are you doing here!?” Tweek said, sitting up. “What do you want?”
Butters laughed. “What makes you think I want anything?”
Tweek narrowed his eyes. “How did you get in here?”
Butters stood up, and Tweek followed him with his eyes. “How are things going, Tweek?”
The bed disappeared beneath him, and Tweek was raised to his feet, coming face to face with Butters. This is a fucking dream. He thought. He held his head. Wake up wake up wake up.
Butters grabbed his arms, pulling them from his head.
“Go away.” Tweek said, but he didn’t move. He couldn’t move.
“You know what it’s like, don’t you?” Butters said. The room around them darkened further, but for some reason, Tweek could still see Butters clearly. “You know.” He placed a hand on Tweek’s chest.
Tweek flinched, but was unable to pull away. He closed his eyes, trying to will himself awake. This isn’t real!
The room around him began to turn orange, and he and Butters were standing back at his desk surrounded by flames. Tweek’s eye began to twitch, and Butters merely stared straight at him. A ceiling panel fell behind him, and his skin was hot.
“Was this where it started?”
Tweek shut his eyes. Go away go away!
“No.” Butters said. “But it was a part of it, am I right?”
Tweek’s chest tightened, and he coughed. He felt like a weight was being dropped over top of him, but nothing was there.
“Further,” Butters pressed his hand harder on Tweek’s chest.
The room shifted again, and they were in the middle of the street in downtown South Park, surroundings eerily quiet, but the sun was shining bright. Tweek shivered as Butters walked around him, the shine of his aluminum foil costume catching Tweek’s eyes. “What do you want with me, man?”
Butters motioned for Tweek to follow him, and Tweek didn’t know why he did. Part of him screamed to run the other way, and the other part of him felt compelled to go. But once the first step came, the second followed easily.
Tweek watched as the Professor’s cape swayed from side to side as they walked. Butters had always put more time and energy into these games than he did, and Tweek could’ve easily blamed Craig for his own lack of creativity, at least when it came to the superhero genre.
Why am I dreaming about Butters?
When they reached their destination, Butters turned around and motioned for Tweek to enter. Tweek froze, staring up at the one place he didn’t think Butters would take him
The fucking coffee shop.
“What are we doing here?” Tweek asked.
“You know what it’s like.” Butters said, shoving Tweek up against the glass door. “You know.”
Tweek’s cheek and hands pressed against the glass, and he sputtered a sound of protest. But before he could shove back, he saw the blonde hair behind the counter, and all motivation to fight back left him.
His younger self was pouring coffee into a cup and handing it to a customer.
“How...?” Tweek’s eyes widened. This Tweek had to have been about thirteen years old, if he had to guess by his height and shorter haircut. He remembered trying something different that year.
As the younger Tweek handed the cup to the customer, someone in the shop dropped something and began shouting expletives. The younger Tweek dropped the cup onto the counter, spilling hot coffee over the customer’s outstretched hand.
“Fuck!” He heard himself and the customer say simultaneously.
“You fucking idiot!” The customer yelled. “Holy shit!”
“Sorry! I’ll get you another one.”
“Yeah I remember, that guy was a total dick.” Tweek said. “He threatened to sue the store.”
A younger Richard Tweak stepped out of the back at the sound of the commotion, and started to talk down the customer. The younger Tweek cleaned up the counter as Richard remade the coffee.
“Look son,” Richard stood over the younger Tweek, eyes closed and stupid smile on his face. “You can’t spill coffee on the customers.”
“I didn’t mean to!” Younger Tweek yelled.
“Customers are the lifeline of this business, Tweek.” Richard continued, ignoring the previous comment. “Being gay will only bring in so much money, you know. You have to learn this stuff for when you take over the shop.”
“What if I don’t want to take over!?” Younger Tweek said. “What if...what if I wanna do something else!?”
“Tweek,” Richard shook his head. “Do you really think -”
“-you’ll be able to do anything else?” Tweek finished.
Butter loosened his grip.
“But I did do something else!” Tweek yelled, pushing himself away from the door. “I got out of here! I moved on!”
“Then why are you back?”
Tweek covered his face. Why was he back? Why did they have to come back here, of all places? He remembered a conversation about seeing his old therapist. Was that really the reason? Or was it because he failed?
Did he come back, only to never leave again?
The tightness returned, and he started breathing heavily. Was his dad right all along?
“Come on, Tweek.” Butters held out his hand. “Let’s go.”
Tweek could feel the tears start to fall down his face, a few of the droplets fell to the ground. He held his head, trying to stop the onslaught of racing thoughts that began to creep in - slowly at first, but rapidly picking up pace.
You’ll never amount to anything.
It doesn’t matter what Craig says, he’s going to leave you anyway.
You can’t even fill out paperwork right.
You’re certifiably crazy - they’ll put you in a mental hospital.
He sunk down to his knees, shaking. What was happening? Why now? Everything was fine. But he knew. He knew better than to think he would be fine for any period of time.
“It’s a dream, it’s a dream, it’s a dream.” He rocked back and forth. “Wake up! WAKE UP!”
And suddenly, two hands were firmly on his shoulders. The sunlight disappeared, and his surroundings were blanketed in darkness.
“Tweek! Wake up!”
He was still huddled up into himself, leaning against the coffee shop door, but it was now dark outside. When his eyes focused more, he was face to face with Craig, who was wearing his jacket loosely overtop of his pajamas, and he was missing his hat.
“There he is!”
Kenny and Kyle ran up, each using their phones as flashlights.
Tweek blinked a few times, wiping the tears from his eyes. He tried to stand up, but sudden dizziness overtook him and he sat back down.
“Honey, don’t move.” Craig said, taking his jacket off and putting it around Tweek. “Take a minute, get your bearings.”
“What the hell is he doing all the way out here?” Kyle asked.
“What the fuck happened?” Tweek asked, holding his head.
“You freaked Craig out, that’s what.” Kenny said. “Woke up to a panicked call from your husband.”
Craig glared at Kenny.
“Oh, come on, give him a break, Kenny.” Kyle said.
“Why were you freaking out?” Tweek asked.
“Babe, let’s worry about you right now.” Craig said. “Are you alright?”
Tweek nodded, pulling Craig’s jacket around him. Though they lived together and shared the same laundry detergent, Craig’s clothes still had a uniquely Craig scent to them, and it made Tweek smile. At least, for a little bit. A sharp pain hit him in the side of the head, and he put pressure on it, not really making it any better.
What was he doing out here? Craig’s intense stare made him lower his eyes. It reminded him of the day in the hospital, and it made him feel guilty. He was always making Craig worry for one reason or another. He wasn’t worth worrying about.
He shook his head. No. He wasn’t doing this now. “Can you help me up?”
Craig circled his arms around Tweek’s waist, pulling him up as Tweek held on to him. When he was fully standing, he looked back into the empty coffee house. Part of him could see the faint outline of his younger self making coffee, but it was fleeting.
“You sure you’re alright?” Kyle asked.
Tweek thought for a second before slowly nodding his head again. His hands were trembling, and he stuffed them in his pockets before anyone could say anything. “Yeah, can we go home?”
Craig put an arm around Tweek’s shoulder, letting Tweek rest his head on his shoulder. “Of course.” He kissed the top of Tweek’s head.
“You don’t know why you’re here?” Kenny asked. “You don’t remember anything?”
“Kenny,” Kyle said.
“No.” Kenny said. “Just tell us!”
Craig’s grasp tightened around Tweek.
“I don’t know!” Tweek yelled back. He clenched his fists in the pockets of Craig’s jacket.
Here it comes. Tweek clenched his eyes shut. It was only a matter of time before they all found out how crazy he really was.
What then? What would they do then?
It was too much, it was all too much!
“Was it Butters again?” Kenny said.
Tweek glared at Kenny. “Fuck off Kenny!”
“He said fuck off!” Craig yelled back.
“Tell us!” Kenny shrugged off Kyle who was trying to grab onto his shoulders. “Are we a team or not? How can we help if you don’t tell us!”
“Because YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH” Tweek shouted. He clasped his hands over his mouth, eyes wide.
Kenny stared at Tweek, unmoving. Kyle frowned, looking off to the side. Craig took his hand off Tweek’s shoulder, giving some space between them.
“Tweek,” Kenny started.
“No.” Tweek said. “I’m going home.” He turned around, leaving the group behind. He crossed his arms across his chest, tightening in on himself as he took long strides back to his parent’s house.
What was happening to him? Things were fine. Why was this happening again?
Just when he felt like he was making progress, it all had to come tumbling down around him. It didn’t matter how hard he worked. Didn’t matter how much effort he made. The end result was always the same.
He was a worthless piece of junk and didn’t deserve anything.
He stopped walking and stood under a lamp post, the light casting a dim yellowish glow around everything.
Do you really think you’ll be able to do anything else?
He slumped down onto the sidewalk, covering his face, and began sobbing. “Stop stop stop!”
Tweek sobbed harder as Craig’s arms wrapped around him. “Make it stop, Craig!”
“Shh...it’s okay.” Craig held him close, rubbing his back. Tweek buried his face in Craig’s chest, slowly rocking back and forth with Craig’s motions.
Why was he so pathetic? Why couldn’t he get his act together? He was almost thirty years old, for fuck’s sake.
Why was this affecting him so badly?
Small droplets landed on Tweek’s arm. Slowly at first, then one by one picking up speed. They hit his arm, his head, then his back. Little by little he was getting wet as the rain started pouring around them. His hair stuck to his face, and the jacket started to feel heavy.
But he held onto Craig as if his life depended on it, bunching up fistfuls of Craig’s shirt, and his voice wailing and completely unrecognizable.
But he couldn’t stop.
He wasn’t sure he even knew how to stop anymore.
Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
Tweek sat on the bed as Craig shoved their clothes into suitcases haphazardly. He yanked open the dresser, pulling the whole drawer out of place and dropping it to the floor. He picked it back up, dumping the contents into another bag before tossing it to the side.
Tweek fiddled with his fingers, his hands now adorning the brown gloves once more. Just one more thing he managed to fail at. It happened after they returned home, lying in bed, trying to go back to sleep. Craig held Tweek in his arms, and Tweek had his arm draped around Craig’s waist. Tweek, still wide awake, had been begging himself to sleep, but all efforts were lost as Craig shot up in bed, screaming from the sudden shock he received.
Tweek held his head down, trying to push the memory out of his head.
“You’re regressing, Tweek.” Craig said, zipping up one of the bags. “This fucking place isn’t doing you any good.”
“What about my appointment…” Tweek trailed off.
“Fuck em! We’ll pay the fee.” Craig tossed the bag towards the door. “It was a mistake coming back here.”
Another failure . Tweek leaned forward, touching his head all the way down to his knees.
Craig sat down on the bed next to Tweek. “Honey. We’ll figure something out, I promise.”
“What about those guys?” Tweek said with a muffled voice.
“They want to play heroes,” Craig said. “Who cares. I’m taking you home. To our home.”
They didn’t speak again as Craig loaded up the car, carrying the bags downstairs with no effort. Tweek walked slowly behind him, carrying nothing. He stared blankly at the pictures hanging on the walls along the stairs as he made his way to the front door, taking note of the number of coffee shop pictures versus pictures of him and Craig before stepping out into the front yard.
His parents weren’t even home, which he was glad for. After their last interaction, they were the last people he wanted to see.
He buckled himself in, leaning his head back against the seat as Craig shut the door behind him and got into the driver’s side.
That voice... Tweek shut his eyes. “Go away!”
Craig paused, keys in hand at the ignition. “What?”
“Don’t go…” It was clear as day. “It’s not like you can do anything there either. I can help you.”
“No!” Tweek hit his head against the window. “Stop it!”
Craig grabbed Tweek’s shoulders, pulling him away from the window. “Damnit, Tweek! Stop!”
You’re going crazy - he’s seeing it now. Tweek yanked himself away. “I’m fine!” He yelled. “Just go! Get me out of here!”
Craig started the car, shifting into drive and pulling away from the Tweak residence. Tweek watched as the house got smaller and smaller, and he could feel a weight lifting from him. He took a few deep breaths, rubbing his chest under his seatbelt.
“I’m sorry.” Craig said, hands gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. “I thought your old doctor could help.”
But she did . Tweek thought. I just fucked it up .
He wanted to comfort Craig, but the words wouldn’t form on his lips. He stared out the window instead, watching the houses pass by.
“You don’t want to leave.”
The houses disappeared, and he was standing in pitch darkness again. The car was gone, he was no longer strapped in, and Butters stared right at him.
“You don’t want to leave.” He repeated.
“Why?” Tweek asked.
“Because,” Butters moved closer. “You understand.”
Tweek ground his teeth together. “Understand what!?”
Butters tapped the side of Tweek’s head.
Tweek narrowed his eyes, batting Butters' hand away from him. “Leave me alone!”
Suddenly, he lurched forward, held back by his seatbelt. Craig had slammed on the breaks, and Tweek was back in the car.
“What the fuck?” Craig said.
A pile of overturned cars blocked their way out of town. One was on fire, and people were running around and shouting.
A hand slammed on Tweek’s window, and he jumped a foot in the air.
Craig shifted the car in reverse, but before he could move too far, he slammed on the breaks once more as a man jumped on the back of the car. Another jumped on the hood, and several others clawed at their side windows.
“OH MY GOD!” Tweek yelled.
A fist punched through the back driver’s side window, and the hand fiddled with the door handle. Craig stepped on the gas, the tires screeched loud but the car didn’t move.
Tweek screamed again as another fist punched through his window, with pieces of glass landing on his lap. Craig leaned over him, punching through the window from the opposite direction, and knocking the homeless man back.
Tweek kicked at the dashboard as the windshield was pushed in. “Craig!”
A laser struck the man on the windshield, sending him flying. A shadow appeared and pushed back a few others. A swarm of mosquitos surrounded the remaining with screams sounding all around them.
Tweek’s hands were shaking, and he pulled on his hair. What the fuck whatthefuck !!
His door opened and he let out a screech, but Kyle held a finger to his lips, effectively shushing him.
“What’s the fuck is going on?” Craig asked as Kenny opened the other door.
“Everyone’s gone crazy!” Clyde said, appearing behind Kyle. “The whole goddamn town!”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “Not the whole town.” He held his hand out, taking Tweek’s hand and helping him out of the car.
“It’s like the grocery store, Tweek!” Clyde said. “A ton of homeless people just came from nowhere!”
Tweek took several deep breaths, trying to steady his heartbeat. Their car was trashed, people were yelling in the streets, and building windows were smashed in. He watched Craig step out of the car next to Kenny. Kyle wasn’t wearing his glasses. Clyde was standing in an exaggerated fighting position. Kenny had a hand on Craig’s shoulder. There was a fire a few feet from them. Someone was screaming bloody murder. He covered his ears.
“We’ve been trying to stop it all morning.” Kenny said, walking over to the rest of the group with Craig. “But it’s no use. They just keep coming.”
“We just need help!” Clyde said. “Now that we’re all together, we could handle it!”
“Honey?” Craig was in front of him now.
“Yeah yeah.” Tweek said. “Yeah, okay.” He put on his best smile, knowing Craig could see right through it.
Clyde pumped his fists in the air. “The gangs together! Let’s go fuck em up!”
“Why is this exciting for you?” Kyle rubbed his forehead. “This is fucking real, dude.”
“Because if I think of it any other way, I won’t be able to function, okay?” Clyde exclaimed.
Kyle sighed, and he and Clyde ran off to fend off another group attacking another car. It was complete…
“Chaos.” Tweek whispered.
“This is Butters, isn’t it?” Kenny asked.
Tweek met Kenny’s eyes, their argument from earlier still fresh in his mind. How was Tweek supposed to know? He wasn’t a fucking psychic. He knew the same information that Kenny did. Minus his strange dreams.
Laughter suddenly broke out over the whole area - a loud, piercing sound. Craig and Kenny looked around for the source, but Tweek somehow knew. He pointed to the top of the bank.
“Well well! Here you all are!” Butters laughed. “Come to join me in my efforts to rid this town of everyone and everything?”
“Butters! Stop!” Kenny yelled.
“My minions are serving me well, don’t you think?” Butters said. He held his arms out to his side, gently floating down from the rooftop of the bank, and landing effortlessly on the ground. “It’s amazing what my dad's money can buy!”
Kyle lasered another man, launching him into a window. Craig punched another who snuck up behind Tweek, knocking him out.
“But these minions are nothing compared to the Coon Friends.” Butters laughed. “Imagine! We could bring Chaos throughout the entire word!”
“Why do you want that!?” Clyde yelled.
Butters glanced at him sideways. “Don’t you see, Clyde?” He gestured all around him. “This town - this town is why everything is all fucked up!”
“Well, he’s at least saying something reasonable.” Craig said, taking an elbow from Kenny. He flipped him off.
“But that doesn't mean you have to kill everyone!” Clyde yelled back. “And it didn’t mean you had to kill your father!”
Butters glared at Clyde. “You don’t know anything!” He held his hands out, casting a beam of light directly at Clyde.
Clyde’s eyes widened as the beam hit his square in the chest, knocking him back into a parked car. He crashed through the windshield, letting out a shout of protest.
“Clyde!” Tweek yelled, running over to him, followed closely by the rest of the group.
Clyde sat up, groaning. “Ughh…” He shook his head and held his back, a few tears coming down his face. “Holy fuck.”
“Join me, Coon Friend!” Butters laughed. “Or die fighting!”
“He’s gone absolutely mad.” Kyle said, helping Clyde off the car and to his feet. “What the fuck are we supposed to do?”
“We gotta keep trying to knock some sense into him.” Kenny said. “This isn’t the Butters we used to know.”
“No,” Tweek said. “No, it’s not.” He looked over at Butters.
What do I know, Butters?
Craig cracked his knuckles. “I can knock some sense into him, no problem.”
“Yeah, but you gotta get through his minions, first.” Kyle pointed to the growing group of homeless men in the middle of the street. “They just keep coming.”
Clyde limped forward, stretching himself out. “Well, we’ll just have to make quick work of them.” He held his hands forward, casting out a swarm of mosquitos.
“God damnit, Clyde.” Kenny sighed. “Fucking gross.”
“JUST SHUT UP AND DEAL WITH IT!” Tweek yelled, pulling his gloves off.
Kyle started casting lasers into the crowd, knocking a few back one by one. The mosquitoes swarmed the group, and many started gagging, running aimlessly in circles swatting at the air.
Craig ran forward, reaching back and punching one square in the face, knocking him back into the crowd and taking out a few others with him. Kenny appeared to Craig’s side, kicking back another before he had a chance to hit Craig.
Tweek stood in the back next to Kyle, holding his trembling hands out. He took a deep breath, watching the sparks surround his hands, and pushed the energy forward.
The sparks died down, disappearing in seconds. “No.” Tweek said. “No, no, no!” This wasn’t happening now. He slapped the sides of his head.
Kyle cast another laser. “Tweek!”
Clyde ran forward, pushing one of the men over. He cast another swarm, but the men seemed unaffected. He ducked down as a homeless man lunged at him. “HELP!”
Kenny ran to Clyde’s side, punching the closest homeless man to him. “Stick to casting your fucking bugs!”
“It’s not affecting them anymore!” Clyde yelled, kicking at the feet of another, sending him tumbling to the ground.
Tweek bent his knees, sitting on his feet as he rubbed his head. Am I really this fucking worthless!? He clenched his eyes shut. The one time...the one time, Tweek! And you gotta let everyone down!
“I can’t do it.” Tweek mumbled. “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.” He repeated it like a mantra.
“Is that so?” Butters said from behind him.
Tweek stood up, turning around. “You’re not real! You’re my imagination!”
“Do you really think that?” Butters asked. “Why?”
“You’re on the other side of the fight.” Tweek said. “You’re not here. You’re a dream, just like the other night.”
Butters tilted his head sideways. “You mean, when we visited the coffee shop?”
Tweek’s eyes opened in shock.
“Tweek!” Kyle shot a laser at Butters. “Get away from him!”
Butters dodged the laser, laughing. “You think that’s gunna be enough to stop me?”
Tweek looked behind him, back to the bank. Butters was no longer there.
Craig punched the last of the homeless men, rendering him unconscious. He dusted his hands off and turned to face Butters.
“We’ve stopped your army!” Clyde yelled. “We’ll take you!”
“You’re not enough to take me!” Butters laughed again. “Join me!”
“Never!” Clyde yelled.
Butters shrugged. “Well let’s have some fun then, shall we?” He knelt down, setting his hands on the street and engulfing the asphalt in a yellow light.
Tweek froze as the light hit his feet, and he felt a shock run through his body. He could hear Clyde screaming, Kyle falling to the ground, and Kenny shouting some expletive.
His eyes met Craig’s, and he tried to reach out for his husband, failing to move even an inch. Craig’s eyes were wide, but he said nothing as Tweek’s vision blacked out.
Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
“We were supposed to be a duo remember, Tweek?”
Tweek slowly opened his eyes, blinking to clear his vision. He looked around, taking note that he was still in the middle of downtown, but the turned over cars had disappeared, and there weren’t any people shouting. He looked down at his hands, seeing the brown gloves once more, before turning his gaze to directly in front of him.
Craig stood opposite of him, the glare on his face pointed directly at Tweek.
Something inside him snapped, and he couldn’t help the words coming out of his own mouth.
“Yeah, I remember! So, when I walked out on Coon and Friends, you should’ve walked out with me!”
He felt his face contort into a glare of his own. What was he doing? He tried shaking his head, but he couldn’t move.
“I like Coon and Friends!”
At that moment, Tweek noticed the red “S”, drawn with sharpie on a piece of plain white paper, and taped to Craig’s shirt. He was dressed as Super Craig, but a much older version.
To the left was Kyle, sporting the same glare as Craig, this time with a kite on his back. And on the right was Clyde, fake wings, long red nose, and all.
“Because you had your own movies!” Tweek yelled back. What’s going on?
Craig bunched his fists together. “Super Craig had to have movies before Wonder Tweek was introduced. It made no sense otherwise!”
Why can’t I stop? “Your whole group makes no sense!”
Am I dreaming again? Tweek was finally able to shake his head. He pinched himself on the side and winced in pain. No, this was real alright.
“This was started by you! By people who thought there should be preferential treatment to certain heroes!”
Tweek looked behind him. “Kenny?”
Kenny, decked out in full Mysterion gear as he had seen him a few days ago, didn’t acknowledge him.
Tweek rubbed his head, coming in contact with the headband that he was somehow not surprised was there. This game... He looked around, noting that only the five of them were present in the middle of the street. Where were the rest of the players? Where was Jimmy? Token? He knew Cartman and Timmy should’ve been there too. Where was New Kid?
The vision of New Kid’s body flashed in his mind, and it all came back to him.
“Guys, snap out of it!” Tweek yelled.
Craig rushed forward, aiming a punch at Tweek. Tweek dodged it, but just barely.
“Taking a blood sample, now!” Clyde rushed forward, jumping in the air and casting a surge of mosquitoes towards Kenny.
“Ugh!” Kenny yelled.
“Dude, you are trying way too hard.” Craig said.
“I’m up? Okay.” Kyle said, taking a few steps forward and aiming a laser at Tweek. Tweek wasn’t fast enough this time, and took the laser to his right arm, spinning around.
“Ever get the feeling life is punishing you for being a dick, Tweek?”
“Craig! Wake up!” Tweek held his arm.
“Make way for Mysterion!” Kenny approached Clyde, giving him three kicks to the chest, with a fourth spinning kick to the face. “Today you crossed paths with the wrong immortal fourth grader.”
Tweek stood still, rubbing his arm, and watched the scene unfold in front of him. Kenny standing opposite of Kyle and Clyde. Craig, opposite of him, with the expression that Tweek saw many times in his dreams during that time. He shook his head as his mind pictured them all much younger for a second, before returning to their current selves.
“He hated you.”
Tweek inhaled sharply. “No, he didn’t.”
Butters appeared next to him, the entire scene freezing in place. “He did. You walked out on him, remember?”
Tweek frowned. Butters was right, Tweek had left. But he didn’t leave Craig . He left the Cartman and his stupid group. It wasn’t his fault that Craig didn’t follow him.
“Who turns their back like that on people?” Butters held the side of his face, tapping a finger on his cheek.
Tweek balled his hands into fists. “We got past that.”
Butters stopped tapping, leaning forward and grinning. “Ah yes, the counseling session.” The scene around him changed, and they were in the gymnasium.
“You boys have to work together if you’re gunna eliminate all of those Expectations, mkay!”
Tweek was standing in the center of the gym with Craig a few steps away from him. Across from them, Clyde, Kenny, and Kyle were dressed in white t-shirts with the words Expectations across their chests.
“Tweek, he’s right. We’re only going to get rid of these expectations, and everything else, if we do it together.”
Tweek, still reeling from the sudden changes, felt a warm feeling in his gut. Again, he remembered a much younger Craig saying those exact words to him, and he smiled. “Craig…” He shook his head. “No, this isn’t real either!” He pointed across the gym. “Those guys weren’t there!”
“Was it all an act, maybe?” Butters thumbed through a few papers. “It was all just part of the game.” He handed the papers to the blank-faced New Kid who appeared next to him.
“What are you…” Tweek started. “Hand those over!”
New Kid disappeared, and Butters laughed. “Oh, but you gave those to him, didn’t you? Starting this whole thing in motion.”
Tweek lunged at Butters, who sidestepped him with ease.
“Tsk tsk.” Butters shook his head. “When are you going to just give in and join me?”
“Why do you want me to join you so bad?” Tweek glared. “You could take Kenny, he’s way stronger than I am.”
“Oh, I will,” Butters frowned. “But Kenny doesn’t understand.”
“Understand what !?” Tweek yelled.
Butters snapped his fingers, and they disappeared from the gym. This time, they appeared in Tweek’s parent’s house, and Butters sat down on the couch, crossing his legs. He patted his hand on the cushion next to him, and Tweek ignored him.
The house looked exactly as he remembered leaving it earlier that day, but the closer he looked, he noticed the difference in the pictures on the wall by the stairs. Gone were the photos of him and Craig at their wedding, and replacing them were just a few pictures of Tweek himself, at about eight years old.
“Going back to the shop?”
Tweek watched his parents leave the kitchen, his father putting his jacket on as he made his way to the door.
“That coffee doesn’t make itself,” Richard said.
“Should we be worried?” Helen said.
Richard shook his head. “He’s a spazzy kid, Helen.”
“He got in a fight.”
“Are you surprised?” Richard sat next to Butters and started putting his shoes on. Butters tilted his head and stared at Tweek’s father. “There’s something clearly wrong with him. Maybe we should put him in therapy.”
“Won’t people talk though?” Helen sat on the other side of Butters. “Think we’re bad parents?”
“He’s broken, Helen.” Richard headed towards the door. “We’ll fix him.”
Tweek looked up at a younger Tweek, who was looking through the handrail on the stairs. Younger Tweek was shaking and had obvious bags under his eyes, and he was sipping from a large coffee mug.
“I remember this,” Tweek said.
“Tweek is broken.” Butters said. “A broken kid.”
“I’M NOT BROKEN!” Tweek yelled. He wiped the tears in his eyes. He wasn’t! He knew this, didn’t he? He saw younger Tweek rub his eyes in the same manner, slowly making his way back up the stairs.
Tweek couldn’t help himself. He followed his younger self into his bedroom, watching as he set the coffee cup down on his desk and slid into bed. Tweek took in the sight of the papers strewn about on the desk, the legos littering the floor, and the piles of clothes he meant to put away but never got around to it.
The room looked much different than the last time he saw it, when Craig was packing their things to leave.
Younger Tweek sniffed, still trembling under the covers.
“I didn’t sleep much as a kid,” Tweek said.
“Neither did I.” Butters said.
The image disappeared, and they appeared in the center of a hallway at their old elementary school. Kids walked past them, completely oblivious to the oddly dressed Professor Chaos, and a grown man wearing a headband.
“What are we doing here?” Tweek asked.
Butters merely gestured with his hand out, motioning towards PC Principal and the Tucker parents turning the corner. Tweek turned his focus to their conversation, listening intently.
“ My son? Gay ?” Thomas Tucker asked. “No, I don’t believe it.”
PC Principal crossed his arms, putting his hands under his armpits. “Mr. Tucker, I understand that this can be a strange time. But Craig is coming to terms with who he is, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
“But why my son?” Thomas asked.
“Being gay isn’t a choice. It’s who he is.” PC Principal responded. “And I made sure to teach him and his boyfriend about affirmative consent, so there would be no issues there.”
“His boyfriend…” Laura said. “The Tweak kid?”
“Yes,” PC Principal opened the door to his office.
“Oh great, the weird twitchy kid.” Thomas said, entering the office. “What on earth would Craig see in him?” The door shut behind him.
Tweek took a deep breath. “I remember this too.” He looked over Butters’ shoulder to see his younger self standing at his locker, staring at the closed door. “I hadn’t thought about this in years.”
“Unappreciated.” Butter said. “Broken and unappreciated.”
Tweek grabbed at chunks of his hair. “Stop it!”
The bell rang, and the scene went to black again.
“It went on like this for years, didn’t it?” Butters asked. “Always second guessing yourself, wondering if you were good enough?”
Tweek pulled harder.
They appeared in the coffee shop once more, this time, Tweek knew exactly what was going to happen next.
“I can’t do this anymore!” He was twenty-six.
“It’ll be okay, babe.” Craig was also twenty-six, evident by his slightly slimmer face. They were both standing behind the counter as Craig rang up a customer, and younger Tweek burned himself on the espresso machine.
“Fuck!” He dropped the mug he was working with and watched it shatter on the floor.
“You just need a day off.” Craig said, bending down to clean up the mess.
“You think? We haven’t had a day off in months!” Younger Tweek yelled, pulling on his hair. “I’m fucking done!”
“Hey where’s my coffee?” The customer asked.
“Fuck off, dude!” Craig flipped him off. “You’ll get it in a minute!”
“I want to talk to the manager!” The customer yelled. “Right now!”
“Yeah here’s your manager,” Craig flipped him off again.
Tweek sighed, watching the events unfold in front of him. Craig had shown surprising restraint up until that day. The endless days without time off didn’t just affect himself.
Richard Tweak came out from the back room and started talking to the customer. The only reason he was even there to begin with was because he was doing his monthly inventory, and he didn’t trust Tweek to do it.
“Did you flip off the customer, Craig?” Richard asked.
“Yeah I fucking did. And I’ll do it again.” Craig followed through, this time with both hands, and the customer gasped.
“Craig....” Younger Tweek said.
“No, Tweek.” Craig responded. “I’m not apologizing. This is fucked. We can’t keep doing this.”
“Don’t think you won’t face consequences because you’re my son-in-law.” Richard said.
“Fuck you!” Craig flipped him off too.
Younger Tweek gasped as his father and Craig got into a shouting match. Several customers stared, with some starting to record on their cell phones, and others trying to avoid the situation by leaving the store.
“You’re fired.” Richard said. “Get out of the store now.”
Craig hopped over the counter, walking backwards to the door, and continued to flip off Richard, and the entire shop full of customers. “Fuck all of this! You’re a fucking asshole and you treat us like shit! Come on, Tweek!”
Younger Tweek hesitated, looking back and forth between his husband and his father.
“You wouldn’t last out there,” Richard said. “This is all you can do.”
“Babe, let’s go.” Craig said.
“You’ll be back,” Richard said as younger Tweek hopped over the counter and threw his apron on the floor. “You won’t make it!”
“Even after all this, my parents still love Craig more than me.” Tweek said. “It doesn’t matter what Craig does.”
“Are you surprised?” Butters said. “You’re broken, unappreciated, and unable to take care of yourself.”
Tweek wiped the tears from his face. “After all this time, he was right.” The tears were coming too fast now. “I couldn’t make it. I came back. I’m a fucking failure.”
The image faded, and Tweek fell to his knees, letting the tears come now. The droplets hit the back of his hands as they lay flat on whatever ground he was leaning over. His vision was blurry, and he couldn’t stop the sobs that escaped his lips.
“I understand,” Butters said, kneeling down and putting a hand on Tweek’s back. “I understand better than anyone.”
The scenery changed again, and this time, they were in the Stotch home. A younger Butters was playing with blocks in the living room.
“Lu lu lu…” Younger Butters sang as he stacked the blocks on top of each other.
“BUTTERS!” Stephen Stotch entered the living room. “BUTTERS Why is there RICE-A-RONI in my COFFEE!”
Younger Butters jumped up, fiddling with his hands. “Well uh, sir, I…”
“YOU’RE GROUNDED!” Stephen yelled. “Get upstairs now!”
“Yes sir!” Younger Butters ran towards the stairs.
“I swear, Linda, we have one stupid child.” Stephen said, turning to his wife. “Can’t even alphabetize the pantry. What the fuck are we gunna do when he gets older?”
Linda shrugged, sipping at her Rice-a-Roni free coffee.
Younger Butters was stopped halfway up the stairs, and began climbing again once the conversation ended.
Butters knelt down and whispered into Tweek’s ear. “Broken.” He grabbed Tweek by the hair, pulling him to his feet.
Tweek winced, struggling for a second before gaining his balance.
Again, the scene changed, flashing around images of an angry Stephen Stotch, voice echoing: “YOU’RE GROUNDED”
Tweek covered his ears, and Butters yanked on his hair again, and Tweek let out a scream.
Everything stopped, and both men were standing behind the elementary school, a crowd of fourth graders surrounding the tetherball court.
“Now say ‘I'm a dork, and I deserve what's coming to me.’”
Tweek saw a younger version of himself in the crowd, staring at the scene unfolding before them, his yellow hair sticking up in all directions, and body twitching slightly. He tripped forward slightly as Butters let go of his hair.
“I’m a dork and I deserve that’s coming to me.” Younger Butters said as he hung from the top of the tetherball pole from his underwear.
Cartman hit the tetherball, and Tweek watched it wrap around the pole and then smack Younger Butters in the face.
The ball descended, and entered the hands of a younger Craig Tucker.
“Alright, your turn Craig.” Cartman said.
“No.” Tweek said. But he knew it wouldn’t make a difference. The crowd started laughing, and he winced at the younger Tweek laughing as well.
“Unappreciated.” Butters said.
“I'm almost nine years old and anyone who hasn't kissed a girl by fourth grade is a dork!” Younger Butters said.
“That’s right.” Craig hit the ball once more, sending it up to the younger Butters.
“He says that, but he hadn’t kissed a girl by then either.” Tweek said. “Or ever.”
“DO YOU THINK THAT MATTERS?” Butters yelled. “You all just made fun of me!”
Tweek held his head down. Butters was right, and he was complicit. Younger Tweek was still laughing. But why did he participate? Thinking back, he recalled several times where he had helped in the bullying of others. Either in Craig’s group, or with Kenny, Kyle, and their friends.
“I just wanted to fit in!” Tweek yelled suddenly. “I just wanted friends!”
Everything turned black again. “I know.” Butters said. “I know. It’s the same reason I spent a lot of my time with Cartman.”
Tweek pressed the palms of his hands to his eyes, pushing in hard. “Why are you doing this?”
They were in the gymnasium now, surrounded by a sea of black caps and gowns and the loud cheers of the crowd. All at once the students stood up, tossing their caps into the air, as Butters just stared at Tweek.
“One of the happiest days, right?” Butters asked.
“It was.” Tweek remembered. “It was the thought of...potential.” He saw younger him and Craig, their seats next to each other due to being ordered alphabetically, and watched the two of them embrace.
Tweek’s eyes darkened. “I ended up coming back. I got out and I ended up coming back.”
“I wasn’t even here.” Butters said.
Tweek looked around the crowd, trying to find the head of blonde hair somewhere. Butters was there, wasn’t he? He was at the graduation party, he remembered! Tweek frantically searched his memories, coming up empty.
“I was grounded too many times during school.” Butters said. “I didn’t pass.”
“But I remember…!”
“NO! You DON’T!” Butters yelled. “You remember what you want to remember! I never got my diploma, Tweek! I never left South Park. I never left my house!” He clenched his hands into fists. “You all left me behind! One by one, you all forgot about me!”
Tweek’s eyes widened.
“I’m unable to take care of myself!” Butters kept yelling. “Broken! Unappreciated! And unable to take care of myself!”
They were in the darkness again. Tweek’s head was spinning from all the rapid moving, and shut his eyes.
“But you understand!” Butters continued. “One by one they left you too!”
Tweek hit the sides of his head. “No!” Visions of his friend group packing up suitcases filled his mind. Token, Jimmy, Stan, Kyle, Clyde, Kenny. They each turned their backs on him, walking away. Even an image of Cartman appeared, and he saw Butters watch them leave as well.
“And if they haven’t left by now…”
Craig started packing up a suitcase as well, his back up against a girl he didn’t recognize, who was also packing up a suitcase.
“Craig!” Tweek yelled.
“He’ll leave...just like she did.” Butters said.
Tweek shook his head. “You’re WRONG!”
“AM I!?” Butters yelled. “It’s only a matter of time! They all leave!” He walked up to the girl, staring at her movements as she shoved item after item of clothing into the case. “Charlotte…”
“Craig wouldn't leave me!” Tweek yelled.
He wouldn’t, would he?
“Oh, he’ll leave.” Butters said. “It’s only a matter of time before he’s completely sick of you.” The room changed again, red flames shooting out of the ground. “And if he somehow doesn’t see it now, he’ll leave against his will.”
They were back in his office, this skin on fire from the roaring flames. Tweek was behind his cubicle again, ceiling panels crashing all around them.
“Stop!” Tweek yelled.
“Come with me, Tweek!” Butters yelled. “Get revenge for those who left you - who will leave you! Join me and together we can make them pay!”
No one really cares for you anyway.
You’ll never amount to anything!
You’ve failed at everything else.
“MAKE IT STOP!” Tweek yelled.
“It’ll all stop when you join me!” Butters held his hand out through the entrance to the cubicle. The fire was all around him, but he was unaffected. “We’ll make it stop!”
Just do it. What good are you anyway? Might as well.
Tweek looked at the hand.
You can’t take care of yourself.
Tweek held his hand out, inching it closer to Butters’ open hand as he glanced around at his burning cubicle. The charred remains of his stacks and stacks of applications littered the entire space, and the screen of his computer was cracked in a diagonal pattern. His keyboard was hanging from its cord off the side of the desk.
And the picture of him and Craig sat untouched to the left of the monitor.
Tweek paused. How? He picked up the picture, cradling it in both hands.
He remembered this day. The two of them had taken a road trip up to Yellowstone, looking to get out of town for a week. They had stopped at a Harbucks coffee, and Tweek ordered the largest size coffee they had, and Craig got a caramel frappuccino. Craig was sipping from the straw as he held the camera up for a selfie, catching both him and Tweek, who was holding his coffee in both hands. And though caught off guard, Tweek managed to give a small smile for the camera.
Tweek’s grip tightened on the frame, and he felt like he would break it at any moment.
“Come on, Tweek.” Butters said.
He continued to stare at the picture, his hands starting to shake. He remembered this trip . The long car ride eating junk food and making fun of other drivers. Listening to strange audiobooks. Harassing Craig to stay awake as Tweek did most of the driving. Joking about taking a bath in the hot springs that would easily kill them. Taking pictures of the buffalo as they blocked the road and stopped them from going anywhere.
A small smile formed on Tweek’s lips, and he let out a nervous laugh, which only grew louder as he remembered them sitting on the bench waiting for Old Faithful to go off. Craig had made some comments about how some idiot had jumped the fence to get a good look of the geyser and died, and he had earned a strange look from someone sitting next to them. That person ended up on the receiving end of Craig’s middle finger. Tweek was laughing hysterically now.
“What are you laughing about!?” Butters yelled. “It’s not funny!”
Tweek looked up at Butters.
Butters’ face was contorted in anger. “Stop it!” He held his hands out, casting the beam at Tweek, hitting him in the chest and knocking him through the cubicle.
Tweek fell to the ground, the image around him changing once more, and he was back in the center of town, lying on the asphalt and staring up into the grey clouded sky.
He tried to sit up, but his arms and feet were held down. Kenny was holding his right arm. Kyle, his left. Clyde had his hands on both his ankles. They were no longer in costume.
Tweek struggled against them. “Let go!”
Butters hovered in the air above him, his whole body lit up by a yellow glow. “You reject my offer!? I THOUGHT YOU OF ALL PEOPLE WOULD UNDERSTAND!”
Tweek kicked, trying to knock Clyde off him, but Clyde’s grip was surprisingly strong. “I DO UNDERSTAND!”
Craig appeared in his field of vision, stepping over him and straddling his sides before kneeling down, coming eye to eye with him.
“Craig!” Tweek yelled, stopping as his voice was muffled by Craig’s hands gripping Tweek’s neck. Tweek struggled to breathe as Craig’s hands pressed harder and harder against him.
Butters laughed. “No more metaphors! You will experience betrayal!”
“No--” Tweek choked out. “...this...isn’t Craig!”
“Oh, but it is!” Butters said. “Deep down, this is really him!”
Tweek kicked again, and attempted to flail his arms. Craig’s green eyes stared blankly into his. Empty, unfeeling.
Completely opposite of his Craig.
“I’m...sorry!” Tweek managed to get out as he flexed his hands, feeling the surge of electricity through his body as he cast the lightning directly on top of him.
Kyle and Kenny flew back, and Tweek took the opportunity to kick Clyde in his distracted state. The lightning hit Craig head on, and he fell as dead weight onto Tweek.
Tweek pushed Craig off to his side, lying his husband on his back. His hat was askew on his head, and his hair outside the hat was sticking up. “Craig!”
Craig groaned, clenching his eyes shut.
Tweek pulled him in close. “Oh my god, Craig! I am so sorry!”
“Fuck, Tweek!” Craig coughed. “That fucking hurt.”
Tweek couldn’t help the tears falling down his face. He squeezed Craig tight, as if he would never see him again.
“What happened?” Craig asked.
“I think you were brainwashed.” Tweek said. “Like Kenny, that one time.”
“Fuck.” Craig said. He tried to sit up. “Ow, fuck.”
“Shh...just lay back down.” Tweek said.
“You think that’s gunna stop me?” Butters laughed maniacally. “I don’t need you! I don’t need anyone! I will KILL ALL OF YOU!” He held his hands out, casting a beam of energy much larger than the ones he had cast earlier.
Tweek stood in front of Craig, positioning his feet and bracing himself to take the full brunt of the blast. All around him he watched as Clyde, Kyle, and Kenny screamed out in pain as the chaos blast engulfed their bodies.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t maintain his footing, and he flew back. He managed to stand back up right as the beam hit Craig, listening as his husband’s screams joined their friends.
“Mwahahah!” Butters yelled. “Say goodbye, Coon Friends!”
“Tweek!” Craig said, his head lolled back, eyes closing.
“Tweek!” Kenny lifted his head, looking up at him, before falling back down.
“Tweek…” Kyle mumbled out, head going face down into the street.
“Tweek!” Clyde reached out for him, losing his strength and consciousness.
Tweek was alone.
Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty-Three
“Pathetic.” Butters said. “Looks like I won’t have to work too hard on them.”
Tweek clutched his shirt at his chest, bunching up the fabric in his grasp.
“It’s just you and me, Tweek.” Butter said, stepping over the unconscious bodies of his victims. “You had your chance! BUT TIME IS UP!”
Butters cast another chaos blast at Tweek, knocking him back once more. Tweek hit the ground, scraping his arm on the asphalt.
This was way too much pressure! He couldn’t do this! He wasn’t strong enough!
Tweek pushed himself up, arms shaking. He didn’t have time to register what had happened as another blast hit him, throwing him back again. He winced as he landed face down in the street.
“I thought you could put up more of a fight than this.” Butters said, slowly stepping closer to Tweek. His footsteps echoed in Tweek’s ears.
Tweek turned over onto his side as Butters stood over him. He curled in on himself, shutting his eyes and holding his head in anticipation of another blast.
This was it.
He was going to die.
He was going to die, and there was nothing he could do about it.
The odds were stacked against him; there was no way he was getting out of this. He let down Craig. He let down Kyle and Kenny. He let down Clyde. He let himself down.
He was completely useless with no control over his life. Like a pawn in a big game.
“I have you trapped now!” Butters laughed once more.
He was trapped. Completely unable to even move.
“That sounds so insurmountable. How would you even start? ”
He opened his eyes.
But he was all they had left.
Tweek kicked his leg out, knocking Butters off balance and jumping to his feet.
“I don’t know.” Tweek murmured to himself, feeling a smile come to his face. “But I gotta do something about this.”
Suddenly, he was standing in his old room again looking at younger Tweek and Craig as they smiled at each other. That was the first day Craig had taken the time to understand his feelings, and, Tweek thought, really took their relationship to the next level.
“What is this!?” Butters asked.
Thank you, Craig. Tweek thought. He snapped his fingers at the same time as his younger self, and the two spoke in perfect sync. “I’ve got it. People aren’t focused on the right thing.”
How had he forgotten this memory? Tweek turned to look at Butters, who was grinding his teeth and clenching his fists. Tweek walked up to Butters, putting a hand on his chest as it all started coming back to him. “I understand, Butters. Do you?”
The room changed, and they were back in the coffee shop. This time, Craig was sitting at the counter surrounded by frappuccinos, and younger Tweek was behind the counter, making another one.
“Babe, I love these and all, but how much do you think I can drink?” Craig took a sip of one sitting on his right.
Younger Tweek set another one down in front of him. “We’re finally adding these to the menu, and I want to put different flavors on! I need a reliable taste tester.”
“Well, this one is pretty good.” Craig said. “Caramel?”
Younger Tweek nodded, smiling.
“What are you doing!?” Butters asked. “What are you showing me!”
The door chimed signaling the entrance of a customer. Younger Tweek greeted him as he took a seat next to Craig.
“What are you fellas doing?” Younger Butters asked.
“Tweek’s trying to give me diabetes.” Craig said, sipping another. “Vanilla?”
Younger Tweek nodded again. “You wanna try one, Butters?”
“Oh - neat-o!” Younger Butters said as Craig slid one of the drinks over to him. Younger Butters smiled as he took a long drink, smacking his lips together as he tried to guess the flavor. “Strawberry?”
“Yes!” Younger Tweek said. “You like it?”
“Stop it!” Butters yelled.
“Watch!” Tweek yelled.
Everything changed again, and they were now standing outside Butters’ house in the middle of the night. Younger Craig was tossing a rock in his hand, and was decked out in a black cap and gown. He was surrounded by Younger Tweek and the rest of their group, including Kyle, Kenny, and friends. Craig threw the rock, hitting Butters’ window.
Younger Butters came to the window, opening it slowly. “Oh, hey fellas!”
“Butters! Come on, we’re going to the graduation party at Token’s!” Cartman yelled. “Get your ass down here.”
“Oh, but guys, I’m grounded. I can’t go!”
“Butters, you’re eighteen! You can’t be grounded. Let’s go!” Clyde yelled.
“Come on, don’t be lame, Butters.” Stan said.
“I also didn’t graduate!” Younger Butters said.
“So what, neither did I.” Kenny said.
“Come on!” Kyle yelled.
Younger Butters hesitated for a minute before closing the window. After a few moments, he appeared at the front door, and the group surrounded him. “Well, okay.”
Kenny patted Younger Butters on the shoulder. “There ya go! Let’s go have some fun!”
Butters and Tweek watched the group walk down the street, chatting and laughing loudly. They disappeared around the corner, and Butters turned to Tweek. “I don’t remember this!”
“Neither did I.” Tweek said. “And this either.” He held his hand out, giving Butters an envelope.
Butters took the envelope, noting his name on the front, and ripping it open. He blinked a few times, trying to hold the tears back as he read the contents.
“I had wondered why you weren’t at our wedding.” Tweek said. “But I didn’t remember inviting you. It seems I was wrong, we did invite you. I feel awful now knowing what you were going through, and not being around to help.”
“I don’t…” Butters started.
“Butters, I haven’t been in a good state of mind for quite some time.” Tweek said, fidgeting with his hands. “And you haven’t been either. I can see that now.”
Tweek took a deep breath. It had come to this, had it? “But I had Craig to help me through it. I didn’t realize at first how much I took that for granted.” He sighed. “Maybe I did, I don’t know.”
Butters dropped the invitation. “I don’t understand.”
“I didn’t either.” Tweek said. “I still kind of don’t. But I realized something. I’ve been focused on all the wrong things. All I think about is what if what if . What if I died? What if Craig died? What if Craig hated me? What if I got fired?”
Tweek put his hands on Butters’ shoulders. “I stopped thinking about the now . I stopped thinking about the good and focused solely on the bad .”
Butters wiped tears from his face.
“You and I are not focused on the right thing .” Tweek said. “And it’s not our fault. These wrong things are bad - we’ve had bad experiences. But we’ve also had good experiences. And we can have more good experiences in the future.”
Tweek took another deep breath. This seemed too easy of a solution. Was this really the problem all along? “It’ll be hard, but I think with practice, we can change our focus.”
“How!?” Butters yelled. “How do you get rid of these intrusive thoughts!? The ones that constantly tell you you’re not good enough! That you’ll never amount to anything!”
“You drown them out!” Tweek yelled, trying to convince himself as much as Butters. “Suffocate them with nicer voices!”
They were back in the coffee shop, only this time, it was completely dark. There was shattered ceramic around them, and two barely younger versions of himself and Craig by the counter.
“I can’t promise that something might not happen to me,” Craig said. “I also worry about you as well, but I try not to dwell on it. I try to focus on the time we do have together, rather than what could potentially be lost. It’s hard, but that’s just the roll of the dice in life, I suppose.”
Barely-younger Tweek grabbed Craig over the counter and held him close.
“Keep going!” Tweek yelled.
Everything shifted again, and they were in the middle of a homeless camp in SoDoSoPa.
“I think we’re alone.” Younger Tweek said.
“Alone, huh?” Craig said, sneaking up behind Younger Tweek and holding him around the waist. He buried his face in Younger Tweek’s neck. “I don’t mind being alone with you.”
Younger Tweek squirmed. “Oh my god, Craig! What are you doing?” He laughed in embarrassment.
“AGAIN!” Tweek yelled. They were in his living room now.
“But we’ll eat the whole thing! We always say we won’t, then we do, then I feel guilty for eating all of it!”
“Who cares if we eat the whole thing.” Craig said. “You want anything else with it?”
“No, it’s fine.” Younger Tweek said. “What kind do you want?”
“Pepperoni and pineapple sounds good.” Craig tapped away at his phone.
Younger Tweek frowned. “But that’s my favorite pizza. What do you want, Craig?”
“I want you to be happy.”
Younger Tweek sat up. “But I want you to be happy!”
“I’m happy when you’re happy, Tweek.” Craig submitted the order.
Tweek wiped at the tears forming on his eyes. “MORE!”
Butters looked over at Tweek as they were now in a large reception hall. Younger Tweek shoved a piece of cake in Craig’s face as people cheered. Craig leaned forward, kissing younger Tweek on the cheek, rubbing the cake on his new husband in retaliation.
The tears fell down Tweek's face.
They were in his house again, only it was completely empty. Younger Tweek and Craig laid down in the middle of the empty bedroom, staring at the ceiling.
“Holy shit - we own a house.” Younger Tweek said.
“Yeah.” Craig said.
Younger Tweek sat up. “And there’s no one here to tell us we can’t do something.” He stood up, jumping up and down. “No one on the first floor!” He screamed loudly. “I LOVE YOU CRAIG TUCKER!”
“And no one to tell us to be quiet!” Craig said. “I LOVE YOU TWEEK TWEAK!”
“But I make a very good Tweek Tucker.” Tweek said, smiling.
That’s right. He was Tweek Tucker. He is Tweek Tucker. He remembered handing over his social security card with his old name on it to the office, and updating his driver's license when the new card arrived. He was so excited to change his name on every official document he owned and to take on his new identity.
How could he have lost all of that?
Butters stared at the scene, then looked over at Tweek. He took off his Professor Chaos helmet, dropping it to the floor. “I remember now. The graduation party. I remember seeing your invitation on the counter - my dad took it.”
Tweek came out of his thoughts. “Butters…”
“You’re right, Tweek.” Butters responded. “The anxiety and depression have made me forget all the good that’s happened. I remember your frappuccinos. I remember all the games we all used to play. I remember everyone saying goodbye as they left for college. And I might not have left South Park, but I remember hanging with Kenny before...well...you understand.”
“I locked myself in my room just as my dad used to do to me.” Butters said. “Not excusing him, though. He really did lock me in my room. Many times.”
“That’s horrible.” Tweek said.
“I know.” Butters responded. “But I want to get past it. I want to...stop thinking about all the bad things.”
“You’re capable of more than you think, Butters.” Tweek said.
“You too, Tweek.” Butters smiled. “Thank you.”
They were back on the street again, Tweek embracing Butters in a tight hug. He didn’t know if he was doing it more for Butters’ comfort, or his own, but it just felt like the right thing to do.
And he knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix. But he felt optimistic about his chances. About both of their chances.
Tweek pulled back, looking over his shoulder. Clyde was standing now, leaning against Kyle, who was holding up both Clyde and Kenny. Tweek coaxed Butters to follow him, standing in front of the three men.
“Sorry, fellas.” Butters said.
Clyde, Kenny, and Kyle all looked at each other skeptically.
“Butters, what happened?” Kenny asked. “Are you okay?”
Butters nodded. “I wasn’t myself. I think I’m going to be okay now, though. Thanks to Tweek.”
Tweek sighed, watching as Kenny and Clyde hugged Butters. Kyle returned a fairly neutral expression to him, but he could tell there was concern behind the glance.
Tweek ran over behind Kyle, kneeling down next to Craig, who was just starting to sit up. “Craig? Are you okay?”
Craig opened his eyes, blinking a few times before settling his gaze on Tweek. “Your lightning fucking hurts, babe. Don’t do it again, okay?”
Tweek laughed, jumping to hug Craig, knocking him back down to the asphalt. Craig let out a pained sound, but wrapped his arms around Tweek’s waist, as Tweek kissed Craig over and over again.
“Okay okay!” Craig said between kisses. “I get it, you like me or something! Let me get up!” He chuckled.
Tweek helped his husband stand up, putting one of Craig’s arms around his shoulders, and putting his own arm around Craig's waist. Tweek let Craig lean on him for support.
“What happened?” Craig asked, motioning towards Butters and the rest of the group.
“He’ll be okay.” Tweek said, squeezing Craig’s side. “He just needed to see things in another perspective. To focus on the right things.”
Craig kissed the side of Tweek’s head. “Is that all?”
“It’s harder than it looks, okay?” Tweek responded. “But with time, he’ll be okay.” He paused, looking over at his husband. “We’ll both be okay.”
Chapter 24: Chapter Twenty-Four
We have come to the end of the journey. Thank you all for your kind words and support. This story means a lot to me and I am happy to have been able to share it with each and every one of you.
“So why did he want to experiment on the New Kid?”
Tweek leaned back in his chair, taking a huge bite of his pepperoni and pineapple pizza. Next to him, Craig gulped down a cup of root beer, and Clyde and Kenny were piling up pieces on their plates. Kyle, no longer sporting the sunglasses, leaned his head on his hand as he questioned Butters, who was eating pieces of crust dipped in garlic sauce.
“Are you kidding me? New Kid had some weird ass powers, and that guy was obsessed with asses!” Butters exclaimed.
“But then how did we get these powers?” Clyde asked. “Not that I’m complaining, because this is fucking awesome.”
Butters scratched the back of his head. “I have no idea how you fellas got involved. But I may have...asked him to give me powers…somehow." He covered his face. “I’m sorry! I was in a dark place and…”
“It’s okay.” Tweek said. “It’s like you weren’t yourself, we understand.”
Craig glanced at him, putting a hand on his thigh and squeezing gently in understanding. Tweek smiled, putting his hand over Craig’s and squeezed back.
“Yeah but how did it actually work!?” Clyde asked. “How did he figure that out!?”
Butters shrugged. “I guess once you can attach five asses to a monkey, you can figure out anything.”
“Can we just put this weirdness behind us?” Kyle asked. “I’ve had enough of this fucking town.”
“Yeah, me too.” Craig said. “We’re leaving tomorrow morning.”
“Give me a ride!” Clyde said. “I gotta go beg for my job back!” He paused. "And I should probably deal with my apartment too…"
“You gotta pay. At least fifteen dollars for every mile.” Craig grinned.
“What about you, Butters?” Tweek asked.
“Well, since Kyle’s dad managed to get me out of serving any prison time, I think I need to first start with getting a job.” Butters answered. “I don’t think I’ll be leaving South Park any time soon.”
“That’s okay, Butters. I’m sure Mysterion will need help catching criminals.” Craig smirked. “You can both run around as grown men in spandex.”
Kenny threw a piece of pizza at him. “Shut the fuck up!”
“Speaking of grown men,” Kyle said, standing up and grabbing something from the fridge. He set the plate down in front of Tweek as Tweek facepalmed.
“God damnit.” Tweek said as Kyle lit the candle on the cupcake in front of him.
“Happy Birthday, babe.” Craig said, leaning over and kissing him on the cheek.
“Thirty years old!” Clyde said. “Welcome to the club!”
“Don’t remind me!” Tweek yelled as he blew out the candle. He shook his head as everyone clapped.
“Man, you guys, when you thought about us all being thirty, did you ever think it would end up with us all sitting around the kitchen table at Kenny’s house, talking about our magic powers, and eating a controversial pizza?” Clyde asked.
“ I’m not thirty yet.” Craig said, reaching over and stealing a piece of Tweek’s cupcake.
Tweek slapped Craig’s hand. “Oh, you’re next. Don’t you worry.” He stuck his tongue out at his husband. “But careful, I might have to trade you in for a younger model once you get there.”
Craig gasped, his mouth open in shock, and Tweek stuffed a piece of the cupcake in it.
The five men stayed up long into the night, playing cards and board games as they chatted about the previous events and other going ons in life. The pizza was long gone by the time Tweek and Craig crashed on the couch next to Butters who was stretched out on the loveseat. Kyle and Clyde maintained possession of the two guest rooms they had been using since the whole fiasco started.
The next morning, Tweek gathered their stuff together as Craig and Clyde loaded the car. Kenny had managed to work on their car over the last few days, getting the windows and windshield fixed. There were still dents in the body, but Tweek didn’t care. They needed a new car soon anyway.
They waved goodbye to Kenny, Kyle, and Butters as Tweek backed out of the driveway and Craig fiddled with the radio. Clyde leaned in between the two seats, reaching for the dials before Craig slapped his hands, and pushed him back, stating that only a Tucker could mess with the radio, and last he checked, Clyde was not a Tucker.
Tweek drove through the neighborhood and made his way to the main road, letting out a relieved sigh as nothing was blocking their path this time. He sped down the road, passing the coffee shop on his left. He looked over at Craig, who was now playing on his phone, and looked back in his rearview mirror at Clyde, who was mimicking Craig.
As they passed the shop, Tweek gripped the steering wheel tight. He ground his teeth together, and clenched his jaw. He slammed on the breaks, u-turning sharply, and pulled into the parking lot of Tweek Bros Coffee.
He parked across two parking spots, one of which was a handicap spot, and slammed the car into park. He unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped out of the car, not even bothering to turn off the ignition.
Tweek kicked the shop door open against the wall, the bell chiming violently with his actions. There were a few customers who stopped what they were doing and stared at him, but he was most interested in the man behind the counter.
“Craig!” Richard Tweak said.
Craig had followed behind him, peeking out from behind Tweek as Tweek stomped into the shop.
“And Tweek! Welcome to the shop! How’s therapy?”
“Fuck you, Dad!” Tweek yelled, holding both hands up with middle fingers high. “Craig and I are leaving! We’re never running this shop! I’m completely okay, and can handle things myself! We’re grown ass adults and have our lives together! I’m going back home with my husband and there’s nothing wrong with me !” He flipped off the customers as well. “Don’t spend your money here!”
“Oh dear,” Helen said from behind the counter.
Tweek didn’t stay long enough to hear his dad’s response. He hopped back in the driver’s seat, and waited a minute before Craig got back in the passenger seat.
“What was that all about?” Clyde asked, tapping away on his phone.
“Babe, that was amazing.” Craig said. He leaned over, grabbing Tweek by the sides of his face, and pulled him into a passionate kiss.
Tweek squeaked in surprise, but grabbed onto Craig’s jacket, kissing back with equal force.
“Oh, fucking gross!” Clyde said. “Ew what the fuck!”
Tweek pulled away. “Shut up, Clyde!”
“You feel better now, honey?” Craig asked, putting his seatbelt on.
“Better than ever.” Tweek buckled up and drove back onto the main street. He grabbed a pair of sunglasses from the overhead compartment, putting them on and looking over at Craig. “No one fucks with the Tuckers.”
Craig grinned, taking the other pair of sunglasses. “Fuck no they don’t.”
“You guys suck.” Clyde said. “Stop making me a fucking third wheel!”
Both Tweek and Craig flipped him off as they drove down the freeway towards Denver.
Click clack. Click clack.
Tweek mindlessly typed away on his computer, entering another application in the system. He was now on pace for thirty applications an hour, and his pile was dwindling.
He was sitting on the other side of the office, away from where the accident had caved in the ceiling where his old desk was. They had repaired enough of the building to let everyone back, but sectioned off that area for safety as they continued to renovate it.
He turned around in his chair, facing his boss who was leaning against his cubicle wall. “Yes?” Tweek asked.
“Your workman’s comp claims are finalized.” His boss dropped the papers on his desk. “Back pay is on its way.”
Tweek smiled. “Thanks, sir.”
“Yeah yeah.” His boss said. “You doin okay?”
“Just fine.” Tweek said.
“Hmm.” His boss walked away back to his office.
Tweek looked over the workman’s comp paperwork, eyes widening at the dollar amount listed on the forms. Well, looks like our medical bills are more than covered . Tweek stuffed the papers in his desk drawer.
The phone rang, and Tweek answered immediately. “Good news! Dinner’s on me tonight.”
“Oh really?” Craig said on the other end. “Does that mean I have to put out?”
Tweek laughed. “Well duh.”
“If that’s the case, what do I need to do to get a trip to Hawaii?”
Tweek covered his mouth, stifling the loud laugh he knew was about to come out. He took a few deep breaths before answering. “I think we can negotiate something.”
“We might have to bribe my boss though. I seem to be out of sick time, vacation time, and any other time he makes up whenever we talk.” Craig said.
“Yeah well…” Tweek said. “You’ll live.”
“I will.” Craig responded. “You getting out on time today? I’m hungry and now that you’re offering dinner, I’m even hungrier.”
“Yeah, I might even be out earlier.” Tweek looked at the stack of applications, taking note of the remaining five. “Give me like, fifteen minutes and I’ll be out the door.” He leaned back in his chair. “What do you want for dinner?”
“Whatever you want, babe.”
Tweek spun around in his chair a few times. “How about pad thai at that place up the street? We haven’t gone there in a while.”
“Works for me.” Craig said. “Now what do you want me to do after din—”
“BYE CRAIG!” Tweek hung up the phone, laughing. He ignored the looks he received from his desk neighbors, turning his focus back to the last five applications. When he was done, he stacked them in the FINISHED pile, and shut off his computer.
He glanced over at the picture next to his monitor - the selfie of him and Craig drinking Harbucks coffee - and smiled.
Tweek Tucker was a lucky man.
And he was so happy.