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You Don’t Have to be Alone on Christmas Eve

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Tweek Tweak couldn’t remember spending Christmas Eve any other way. He wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing.

The large windows of the coffee shop let the light from inside stretch out onto the sidewalk. It was snowing lightly, the ground outside being blanketed in another thin layer of white. It was dark outside, too. However, the blond could still see the red, green, and white Christmas lights that hung in the distance. They weren’t too bright, considering how far the coffee shop was, but Tweek was okay with that. Sometimes he’d squint and watch as the tiny lights stretched out in his own vision. They were like colorful stars. Stars that did not belong to him.

It was a small part of Christmas he was given each year. Nothing too crazy or bright, just something to let him know that he wasn’t spending the holidays completely alone.

Yes, Tweek Tweak, the twitchy blond ten-year-old spent Christmas Eve alone in the coffee shop each year. It’s not that he minded. Well, he still worries that an assassin will drop in and kill him since no one was really around, but that's probably unlikely, right? Wrong, this is South Park. This was how he spent Christmas Eve every year. He would stay in the empty coffee shop, even if no customers would show up. They didn’t usually. It was the night before Christmas, after all. He’d wait for his parents to show up in the morning to run the shop with him. End of story.

He continued to stand on the stool behind the counter, waiting for people who would never come. He took a sip of his coffee. He couldn’t even remember how many cups he had that night. Maybe this was his fifth, he didn’t know.

He listened as the radio inside the coffee shop played. He slightly grimaced when All I Want For Christmas Is You began playing. He couldn’t remember how many times he’d heard this song already, but it was definitely a lot. The radio wasn’t playing too loudly, but that didn’t mean that the blond couldn’t hear it. Besides the Christmas music playing, it was completely silent. There was nothing to drown out the song. He told himself that if he finished his cup of coffee before the song ends, he’d change the station.

That didn’t happen. Not because the song ended, or because he didn’t finish his coffee, but because someone walked in.

He looked up from his coffee and immediately recognized the boy in the blue chullo. His head and shoulders were sprinkled with snow, and fewer flakes clung onto the rest of fabric. A scarf and some gloves accompanied his usual set of clothes.

“Craig?” The blond managed to squeak out through his surprise. He wondered what his fake boyfriend of nearly two months was doing here at the coffee shop, let alone at the middle of the night. “What are you, ngh, doing here, man?”

“I’m here to get a coffee,” the boy shrugged, taking his hat off and revealing his black hair. He patted the snow off the top of his chullo before placing it back on his head. Craig walked towards the counter and looked up at the blond.

“Dude, it’s nearly midnight! And you don’t drink coffee!” Tweek shrieked, being louder than he meant too. This couldn’t possibly be Craig! The Craig Tucker he knew hated coffee, and had specifically told him that it tastes like shit. This was probably an alien in disguise trying to kidnap him. He was going to die tonight. Right before Christmas, too! He’d never see his family again and—

“Okay, yeah. You’re right.” Craig interrupted his thoughts, his tone never wavering. He didn’t break eye contact with the blond, who’s eyes were still wide. “I’m actually here to pick you up. We’re going to my house.”

“We’re what?!” This was definitely an alien. He was definitely going to get kidnapped tonight. He was going to die, and he was letting it happen. “Why? I can’t even leave the shop, man! My parents would find out and get upset with me and sell me to slavery! Gah!”

The other boy frowned at him. “Sell you to slavery?” He repeated, his voice making it sound more like a statement than a question. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen, dude—” (To which Tweek cut in with, “It will!”) “—C’mon, it’s late. No one is going to come by at this time for a coffee.”

Tweek fidgeted where he stood, knowing that Craig was right. No one would come by at this hour, especially on Christmas Eve. Everyone was staying home for the holidays. That made him wonder, “Why aren’t you with your family right now, Craig? Why are you here?”

“Why are you here?” The boy questioned. “It’s Christmas Eve. Shouldn’t you also be with your family?”

“I asked first, man!” The blond frowned, doing his best to refrain from pulling at his hair. Was he supposed to be home with his parents? Sure, maybe that would be nice, even if his parents were kind of crazy, but his job was to run the shop that night. It’s always been.

“I told you,” the black haired boy replied. “I’m here to pick you up. We’re going to my house.”

“Okay, but why?” The blond questioned.

“I knew you’d be here, so you’re going to spend Christmas with us.” Craig replied, his voice flat as ever.

“But—”

“If you’re worried about your parents, my mom can just call your mom about it. You won’t get in trouble since your with your ‘boyfriend.’” Craig shrugged, like it wasn’t a big deal.

It was a big deal. Tweek bit his dried lips. He’d never spent Christmas anywhere else besides the shop. Why would he spend Christmas with Craig’s family, anyway? Sure, he and Craig were “boyfriends,” but they were fake boyfriends! The Tucker’s probably secretly hated him, too!

“Don’t they hate me? I don’t even have presents for your family!” Tweek shrieked at the realization. He couldn’t show up to their house on Christmas without any presents for them.

“Don’t worry worry about it,” the black haired boy shrugged. “No one is going to hate you for it. My parents love you, dude.”

“I. . . I don’t know, man,” Tweek worried, skeptical. “This is too much pressure!”

“Well, you’re going anyway,” Craig answered simply. “I don’t want to have walked all the way here for no reason.”

“You walked here?!” Tweek screeched, both with surprise and worry. For a fake relationship, Craig was going pretty far to make it believable. “Your house is pretty far away from here, man! You could get sick! And I’ll get sick! The whole town will get sick and we’ll all die—”

“That doesn’t sound like a bad thing,” Craig interrupted, drawing out another distressed sound from the blond. “C’mon, you can use my scarf, and if your hands get cold, we can hold hands.”

“But that’s gay!” The blond protested.

“You’re gay,” he told him. Before the blond could retort, he motioned for him to get down. “Get down here. I need to fix your buttons correctly, it’s cold outside.”

Tweek reluctantly followed what he had been instructed to do, and Craig easily neatened his green button up. He unwrapped his scarf from his own neck and situated around the blond’s.

“Let's get going,” Craig advised. “My mom wants us to be there before twelve, and it’s eleven-something right now.”

Before heading towards the door, Tweek hurried behind the counter again to collect a box of muffins to bring with them. If he was going to show up, he might as well bring something along with him.

“What’s that about?” The black haired boy questioned, eyebrows raised slightly.

“For your, ngh, parents and sister, stupid!” Tweek frowned at him, hurrying to take his place beside the boy. “I can’t show up without anything!”

The two turned the lights off to the shop, Tweek locking the doors after they exited. Their hands found each other’s on reflex, but neither boy acknowledged this. It was probably normal at this point, holding hands. Sure, it had only been two months, but two months felt like a long time.

They began their long walk to Craig’s house, their shoes crunching through the snow. An icy breeze would swiftly pass them briefly every now and then, but the two remained unfazed, hand in hand. Only then did they speak.

“Imagine if anyone saw us like this,” Tweek let out a breathy laugh, speaking half to himself. “There’s gonna be so much more art everywhere.”

Craig chuckled softly in reply, his gaze falling straight ahead. “There's gonna be art whether they see us or not.

The two shared a short laugh before continuing their walk, knowing that it was true. Even though it’s been two months already, the Asian girls were still fussing over them. The holiday season didn’t help the two boys at all. It just gave the Asian girls another reason to illustrate all the kinky stuff they come up with.

Tweek observed the colorful Christmas lights that hung on each building. Bright green and red lights shown onto the white snow. The lights looked nice against the night sky, Tweek noticed. Each line of light was unique and had its own pattern. There was a snowman outside one of the houses, but it was partly buried in more snow. Everything had its own place.

His thoughts somehow traced back to the short conversation they just had. Then, it hit him. “Hey, Craig?”

“Yeah?”

The blond swallowed. Why were they doing this, even if no one was paying attention? Everyone was inside. They didn’t have to pretend right now. They didn’t have to hold hands or walk home together. “This is all pretend, right?”

“Of course, it is.” Craig answered nonchalantly. “We’re not gay, dude.”

“Of course, we’re not.” Tweek agreed, nodding. But he couldn’t help but feel warm inside when Craig squeezed his hand. Maybe that was just normal for people to feel when they held hands with another person.

The blond felt content with Craig’s hand in his. For once, Tweek wasn’t alone on Christmas Eve. It was just him, Craig, and a box of muffins.