Rumor Mill

A/N: I just wanted to write a fight scene. ,w, (It's not graphic.) This is my first Creek oneshot since 2012 and my first upload of 2014!

Like many things in the fucked-up life of Craig Tucker, the black eye he sported that Monday at school began with a whisper.

This time the rumor wasn't as trivial as a murmured "Did you know Kenny and Craig made out in the janitor's closet?" or "I heard Craig knocked Eric Cartman out last Tuesday…" Not only was it a bigger issue, but this time—unlike the instances prior—it was false. Those were the worst kinds of rumors: the ones that were fake, but whose speaker had just enough credibility to be taken seriously and made the problem much harder to dispel.

Craig did his best to walk calmly down the hall, but the manner in which he was gripping his backpack straps with tight fists and glowering at the air didn't quite give him the indifferent appearance he sought.

It took less than two minutes for Tweek to catch sight of his boyfriend's battered eye and rush over with panicked words flying from his mouth. This, of course, drew the grinning, whispering attentions of the other students in the hall. One student's grin stood out, toothy and boasting. If Craig had had a clear path to walk through, he may've stalked over to the boy and punched him back in his smug, self-righteous face, but, as it stood, the kids were clambering around him, restricting his movement. The only thing he could do was ignore the others and glare at the kid in question.

Craig hated high school, and he hated Stan Marsh.

"Craig! Jesus Christ, man! What on earth happened to you?" Tweek, going against the flow as usual, seemed to move unusually smoothly as he lifted his hand up to Craig's face. His gesture contrasted with the jabbering crowd's wild movements and sounds, which the dark-haired teen chose to focus on in an effort to calm his anger. It did the trick for a little while: he felt much more relaxed.

"Nothing happened, Tweek."

"I'm crazy, not fucking blind," the blond said accusingly. "Who did that to you?"

Craig glanced up once more and answered, loud enough for Stan and his stupid friends to hear, with a firm, "No one important."

Stan rolled his eyes, but it was Cartman's voice that broke the clamor around the Tucker. "The quarterback of the football team is pretty damned important, if you ask me."

"Stan did that?" some girl beside Tweek whispered to her friend, creating an excited chain reaction that sent half of Craig's gawkers to the quarterback's side, instead.

Craig clenched his fists again until he felt his nails biting into his palms. Tweek eyed him nervously. "But why did—" The sentence was too marred by stutters to reach its completion, so Stan piped up with his own response to the impending question, speaking to the entire audience as he answered.

"I did it 'cause he fucking deserved it! That punch was totally justified." His defense was accentuated with a one-armed gesture. "I was doing poor Tweek a favor." Beside him, Kyle nodded in agreement.

"By punching my boyfriend?" the twitching blond all but screeched. "That's insane!"

"Yeah, well, he's the one fucking Red every Friday night and not telling you," Stan returned evenly, crossing his arms forcefully enough to rattle the wooden beads around his neck.

Tweek made a strange noise and looked desperately over to Craig, who was making a valiant effort to relax his fists. "That's the dumbest fucking lie I've ever heard come out of anyone's mouth, Marsh."

By this point, the loud chattering in the hallway had lowered to a dinning murmur; the crowd behind each black-haired student had backed up a couple of feet to watch the argument transpire—some of them even leaned on the lockers to record it with their phones.

"You can lie to everyone else all you want, dude," Stan said, "but it's kind of a dick move to lie to Tweek, isn't it? He didn't do anything wrong."

"I'm not lying to anyone."

"Sure you aren't."

"I swear to God, Marsh, I will destroy you if you don't shut the fuck up."

"Craig," Tweek begged, tugging on the other's jacket sleeve. "Don't worry about it. I believe you."

Cartman rubbed his hands together for a second, then clapped to gather everyone's attention. "Well, it would appear that Craig is a liar and Tweek's a crazy-ass fuck."

The boyfriend of the so-called "crazy" blond yanked his backpack off his shoulders and dropped it to the floor. "Say that again, I dare you."

Again, Tweek tried to plead with him to stop, but the taller of them seemed quite adamant on ending this rumor once and for all.

"What's the problem, Craig?" Stan interrupted his brunette companion with his tone of mock innocence. "Even Tweek says he's crazy. You know he is—we all do." He cocked his hip and tilted his chin up a bit in an air of superiority as he spoke his next words. "It's obvious that he's fucked up, and you're a lying cheat."

There was nothing more than a blur of movement before Craig was pinning Stan on the floor, knees straddling hips, hands pressing down on shoulders. Kyle shouted at everyone on Stan's side to step back, but he was hardly heard over Stan yelling expletive-filled insults at the boy on top of him.

Tweek shook where he stood, despite the comforting hand Token was laying on his shoulder. There was no stopping the dark-haired boys now, as Craig had already landed one solid punch to Stan's jaw, and now the latter was fighting back, using his athletic skills to shove Craig off of him before standing to kick him hard in the side.

Craig only grunted, but his wince was pronounced. He was up in seconds, however, and slammed the other against the lockers with a loud bang—once, twice, then three times. After that, Stan had one hand fisted in the Tucker's shirt and used the other to punch him in the mouth, causing Craig to stagger backward.

The blood seeping from his cut lip didn't stop him for as long as Stan would've liked. Just a second later, in fact, he felt a sharp pain in his leg where Craig had kicked him in the shin, and the moment he raised his leg up on instinct to grab it, he found his other one being swept out from underneath him. He hit his head on a combination lock on the way down, where Craig got one more punch in before he was the one being pinned. Growling now, the athlete forced his knee into the other boy's stomach, once for results, twice just for good measure, then made a move to stand back up.

It was evident to the crowd that Craig had lost this battle—or so they'd thought, until said ebon's hand darted out and caught Stan's. With a quick jerk of a motion, there was a loud crack and a wail from the Marsh as he jerked his hand away and examined it with wide eyes. "You broke my fucking wrist, you asshole!"

"Yeah?" Craig got one leg free and managed to kick the other in the chest. "Hope it hurts."

Stan, who was clearly down for good, took his loss in bad grace and spit blood at the other, where it hit him in the cheek and prompted him to grimace.

Kyle helped his best friend to his feet just in time to greet Mister Mackey, who'd been called on by a worried Butters but had trouble fighting his way through the crowd of students. It only took a second for him to assess the damage and spring into a practiced disappointed tone—used to make students feel guilty, usually. "Okay, now, nobody panic. Stanley, to the nurse. Craig, to my office. I'm very disappointed in you all, standing around, watching this. You are young adults, mmkay? Start behaving like it."

Tweek moved so Kyle and Stan could walk by. He could hear Stan muttering, "Fucking dick broke my wrist," as he passed, and the redhead's indiscernible sympathies faded out with the hyper banter that the other students carried with them while they dispersed.

Craig rejoined Tweek's side briefly, obviously with the intent of pausing just long enough to murmur a half-assed apology before he followed the guidance counselor down the hall. Before he could do this, the blond stopped him and laid a hand on his cheek again, then decidedly brought the other one up as well. Just like normal, the motion soothed the darker haired boy, although he didn't expect to be drawn forward gently and have a light kiss delivered to the tip of his nose, carefully avoiding his blood-smeared mouth.

"You're kind of dumb, Craig," Tweek whispered, smiling crookedly for just a second before biting his lip to stifle it.

Craig couldn't help but smirk. "I'm thinking that's your problem."

This was greeted with an eye roll, followed by a small, fluttery laugh. "Please don't do that again, though. At the very least, not with Stan…"

"C'mon, I can take him. I just did."

"I know you can, Craig. But, please, try not to again. It scared the living shit out of me."

"Fine, whatever. But you're not crazy."

"I am, just a little bit." Before Craig could rebuke, the blond added, "I think everyone in this town is, sometimes."

In the absence of argument, the bruised teen heard the sharp syllable of his name being called by Mister Mackey from around the corner and reluctantly bid his boyfriend goodbye. "Just let the record show," he said as he took his time heading to the guidance room, "I totally fucked him up. For you, of course. Actually, for me, too. But mostly for you."

Tweek laughed again, and Craig actually smiled. "Jesus, go already!" the former exclaimed. "You're gonna get into more trouble."

With that, Craig finally disappeared from the other's sight, just barely conscious of the fact his gait was practically emanating pride. It felt a lot better than clenching his fists around his backpack straps, he supposed. His good mood went untarnished because, for the time being, he hadn't thought of the one tiny thing that usually brought about his irritation: gossip.

And this was going to start one hell of a rumor.