Tonight's Lullaby: I Know You Love To Fall – Message to Bears

Small Lifeforms

Chapter 12; Baby Steps It Is

Craig looks up at Tweek from his spot on the floor. He's still cross-legged and dripping with pond water. The only sound in his beautiful house is the swoosh of the lone ceiling fan above them.

Tweek shifts uncomfortably at Craig's silence. His soaked briefs imprint his ass cheeks in Craig's suede couch cushions. Specks of blood flake the blue carpet where he'd pressed his wound against it. He hasn't been in this house for ten minutes and he's already sullied it.

Finally, Craig's broad shoulders jerk into a shrug.

"I don't know. Maybe on hard days," he replies, "We did have good times together. I wouldn't have married him if we hadn't."

That much Tweek can understand.

There was a time he and Molly were inseparable. He still remembers how sharp her perfume smelled against the musk in his dorm room. Her voice was gorgeous when she sang, and she sang to him often. When Avery was an infant, he'd awake to the sound of her voice chiming a tune. After a look around, he'd realize he was alone. She became a phantom that tormented him.

She's dead to him now, but he still feels for her. It's the same fucked way he feels for his father, who once taught him how to fear the world with the barrel of his pistol. He aimed it between Tweek's eyes and pulled the trigger. No bullet fired. It wasn't loaded, but he swore he felt the skull-splitting impact.

The pain Molly inflicted was the same. It didn't leave a visible scar, as his father's imaginary bullet hadn't, but he still felt the pain.

He can only imagine how Craig must feel alone in this house after what his ex-husband did to him. Does Thomas's phantom echo in the halls of Craig's house they way Molly's did in Tweek's head?

"Do you ever miss her?" Craig ponders, as if he saw Tweek's daydreams play behind his eyes.

"Sometimes," he admits. If he wants Craig to be open with him, he must return the favor. "It was hard at first, when Avery was a baby. Especially since he was sick, and I was taking care of him alone. It's hard to forgive her for what she did, but I understand why she left us. She's not a bad person. Just a scared one."

Not that Tweek has room to talk. If somebody cracked him open there'd be limp spaghetti where is spine should be.

"Do you ever worry she might get ahold of you again?" Craig asks.

"You ask a lot of questions for somebody who doesn't answer mine. I still wouldn't know about Thomas if I didn't find that picture," Tweek snips. It sounds terribly venomous, though he hadn't intended it to.

"Boy, you need to simmer down," Craig warns, but Tweek doesn't know whether he's afraid or turned on by the gravel in Craig's voice. Both. It's both. "All those times we talked on the phone you didn't tell me about Avery, so we're even. You're just mad because now you know how it feels when everybody keeps secret from you."

Tweek's narrow eyes squint into thin slits.

"Well, fuck," Tweek groans. "If you were that pissed about Avery being a secret you could have told me already."

"I was hurt, but not pissed. Where do you get off being a dick about Thomas, anyway? You're the one who unfriended me on Facebook and set your page to private. You didn't know anything about my life because for the last six years you didn't want to."

"Okay, geeze, harsh," Tweek blurts, because Craig is right, and he can't argue.

"I might be wrapped around your finger, but I'll tell you when you're being an asshole," Craig says, and Tweek's heart thumps. Wrapped around his finger, huh? "You didn't tell me about Avery, and I didn't tell you about Thomas."

"Well, since you gave me shit for keeping Avery from you all those years," Tweek says. "Why'd you keep Thomas from me?"

Craig's brows knit together.

"We only talked when you called, and you only called because something bad happened and you missed me. You would never tell me that, but I knew."

Tweek frowns. Apparently, he's not as good of an actor as he thought.

"I was afraid of you knew I was married you'd think you couldn't call if you had to," Craig confesses. "Besides, I'm sure telling you about Thomas wouldn't have made things any easier on you."

"You shouldn't have worried. I was a shit ex-fiancé that broke up with you via Facebook message six years ago. Keeping a door open for me isn't fair to who you're married to. It's not really fair for you, either."

"I know," Craig says, "but I still cared about you. Maybe I wasn't supposed to. Maybe I'm selfish sometimes, too, but I missed you. I can't always be perfect."

Craig mutters that last sentence as if perfect is what he's expected to be, and anything less would make him defective or unwanted. He never acted that way before. It must be a side effect of his ex-husband's affair.

Tweek's heart jerks in his chest.

What's Craig even alluding to? What was he hoping Tweek would say every time he picked up the phone? Surely, he wasn't waiting for Tweek to admit he missed him, or he still loved him.

Craig was married. He couldn't hurt anyone that way.

Maybe he could. Maybe he wanted to. Maybe, in some small way, he felt unfaithful, too.

Tweek's wordlessness gets to Craig. He stands from the floor and towers over Tweek, who's still sinking into his sectional.

"Don't get me wrong," he mutters. "I did love him. I really did."

"I believe you," Tweek says.

Craig flashes a cockeyed smile and scratches behind his ear. "Sorry this had to come up on our first date. I should have already told you. Hopefully I didn't ruin anything."

"No, no. You suck dick too good," Tweek mumbles like a Neanderthal who just discovered language. It makes Craig laugh, though, so he doesn't care.

"If you say so," there's a blush on Craig's face, and Tweek lives for it. Its adorable how easily he can melt into Tweek's hands even after a little spat. Craig really is wrapped around his finger.

"So, like. You're covered in dirt and all your clothes are scattered in the woods. You wanna shower? I'll go scavenging for your stuff while you're in there."

"Yeah, that sounds great, actually."

When Tweek stands from the sectional the pain in his foot returns. He hisses through his teeth at the throbbing sensation, then lands back against the couch with a creak and a wet slap.

"Maybe it's best if you take a bath instead- stick your foot out of the tub."

"Whatever. Just show me where I can get clean."

Craig helps him from the couch, and they hobble through the living room and into a long hall. It's just as esthetically pleasing as the rest of Craig's abode. Polished, oak doors line either side of them, and there's a beautiful little side table situated at the end of the hall.

A small vase of flowers sits atop it's mahogany sheen, as well as a few framed pictures of the Tucker family and a model car.

They take a sharp turn to the left of table, and Craig pushes open the last wooden door with a creak. A bathroom is revealed. The walls are a bluish grey wood panel, and the floor is a complementary off-white. There's a cute double sink with a long mirror fastened above it, the cabinets of which are also white. Towels hang neatly on bars below said sink, more model cars are displayed on the toilet tank, and, of course, in Craig's bathroom the walls are decorated in tiny paintings of other bathrooms.

Its ridiculous, yet endearing, how predictable Craig's taste in home décor is.

"I'm gonna, um, leave you to it," he says as he gestures to the bathtub beside him. "I'll go gather up your clothes."

"Thank you," Tweek replies, but when Craig turns to leave his heart wants to follow. "W-wait, just a second."

The floor creaks softly under Craig's bare feet as he turns back. A look of confusion crosses his sharp features for a moment, but it softens when their eyes lock.

"I'm sorry. That I was a dick about your ex. I didn't mean to, it just kinda came out."

Craig's shoulders raise into a shrug, but he's smiling.

"It's alright, honey," he promises.

Tweek's eyes fall half-lidded, and his heart swells with such heaviness it sinks out of his chest and into his stomach. With that one word, honey, Tweek is rendered wordless. He remembers, now, why he fell so hard for Craig to begin with.

When his father said he was useless, craig said he could do anything. When his mother greeted him with only an awkward smile, Craig said hello with a bone-crushing hug and warm laughter. Where the people in his life that were supposed to take care of him failed, Craig happily showed him what it meant to be loved. If not for Craig, he may have never known.

And now here they stand merely feet away from one another, but those few feet feel like hundreds of miles when Craig forces a smile. Despite how successful he's been in life, Tweek can see his sadness. It's not fair.

"I'll be in the living room," Craig says, and his nearly-naked form inches out of the bathroom. The door clicks softly behind him, and Tweek sinks onto the pretty tile. His soggy briefs squish beneath him, but he's too rattled to care.

He spends some time becoming acquainted with his-ex boyfriend's bathroom floor. His heart is simply too swollen to carry. With that small, simple word, Craig's thrown Tweek's planets out of alignment.

He fingers the edge of the tub and manages to lift himself into it. He figures out the faucet, and then peels out of the only piece of clothing he has on. His soaked briefs slap against the white tiled floor, and cold water rushes across his toes like the waves in the pond.

He hangs his wounded foot over the edge when the water gets warm enough to soak in, then reaches up towards a porcelain shelf over the tub to borrow Craig's body wash. The lathered foam it becomes smells so much like Craig its overwhelming. It conjures up daydreams of Craig's head between his legs at the pier, and the gorgeous way his body glistened in the light of the moon.

Romance and sex were just a couple of the many things he forfeited when he became a father. Even when someone was interested in him, he didn't have the drive or desire. Now, there's Craig. He knew when he came home something would have to happen between them, whether good or bad. There was too much history, too many things left unsaid, for it not to.

Tonight, however, is something he'd never expected.

He's afraid, terrified, actually, of all the things he could do wrong. Maybe this time he'll make up for all Craig's advice he shrugged off as a kid. He can't give him what Thomas took away right now, but there is a cure for loneliness.

The only way to tame his fear of the water is to jump in.

A glob of lathered body wash rests in his palm, and it squishes as he touches himself. He puts his memory of Craig at the dock to use as he pumps his fist. His body quakes and his lips part. Quiet sounds of unquenchable need bubble from his throat. Even masturbating feels entirely new. He's rediscovering himself, and its exhilarating.

He climbs out of the tub after he's rubbed one out, but he's still unsatisfied.

A white robe hangs on the back of the polished oak door. It's long and thick, but soft to the touch. Tweek abandons the idea of a towel in favor of his discovery. He slides into it, which is, of course, much too big for him. It's made to accommodate a giant, so the bottom drags the floor as he tightens it's lace around his waist.

The white fiber is warm and plush against Tweek's steaming skin, and it smells like Craig's aftershave. He bunches up the too-long sleeves around his hands to draw in a long whiff of Craig's musk, and then sighs.

The first step out of the bathroom is like a step onto the pier. The muffled sound of the television that sweeps from the living room is the gentle rocking of the waves. Tweek follows it, and the thick robe sticks to his wet body.

He peers around the corner at the end of the hall to find Craig reclined in the sectional. Nothing but a worn pair of pajama pants cling to his waist. He's absorbed in the lights that flash from his television until something more enticing catches his gaze. Tweek has stepped out, and he's swimming in Craig's puffy housecoat. The sight brings a grin to his lips.

"You found my robe. Cute," he comments, and Tweek smiles, too.

"Did you find my clothes?"

"Yup. They're in the washer."

"Can I sit on your lap?" Tweek asks. It's a question he never thought he'd ask, but, then again, this is a situation he never thought he'd be in. Craig blinks in surprise.

"Of course, you can."

Craig's dumb grin widens when Tweek lifts a knee to crawl into his hips. His bare ass presses against Craig through his pajama bottoms. Tweek hums a small, pleased tune.

"Do you remember the first time we had sex?" Tweek asks, which causes Craig to sputter with laughter.

"Is that what you're getting at? You wanna fuck me?" Craig asks as if the harsh language will make Tweek recoil. It doesn't, though.

Tweek looks him in the eyes and says, "Yes. That's what I'm getting at. I want to fuck you."

"Oh," Craig blurts, and the tables turn as he gnaws his bottom lip.

"God, I hope that's okay?" Tweek panics. Craig's reaction wasn't what he expected. "We don't have to- Jesus, why did I say that?"

"It's okay," Craig assures with a cockeyed grin. "I um… I want to, too."

Craig's dumb smile spreads again before he tips his head down to conceal the redness in his cheeks.

Tweek leans forward to kiss the top of Craig's wet head, and then sucks in a steadying breath. No matter how hot his body burns to feel Craig, he still can't believe this is happening.

Tweek's fingers dig into the knot keeping the robe together. It loosens, then the lush fabric falls to his sides. Craig reaches for Tweek's uncovered skin like he's starved for it.

His greedy fingertips brush the bare flesh of Tweek's thigh, and then slide up beneath the open robe to grip at his ass. Tweek lets out a chime of disapproval, then grabs Craig's wrists. He pushes them away, which deprives Craig of his soft skin.

"You can't help yourself, can you? Where's your tough guy talk, now?" Tweek hums. Craig swallows at his words, and his face reddens with desire. Slowly, he shakes his head.

Tweek forgot how submissive Craig could be. His cock swells at the sight of the giant quivering beneath him. He tugs the fluffy white lace out of the robe and pulls it taunt between his fingers.

"I guess I'll have to restrain you, hm?"

Without a second thought, Craig presents Tweek with his wrists and nods his head. He's so consumed by desire he can't bring himself to speak. So Tweek leaves him there, huffing with his wrists out.

"Yes or no, say it," Tweek says, and Craig growls.

"Yes."

Tweek loops the lace around Craig's wrists. It's tight, but not too tight, and then he places the bound hands between the back of Craig's neck and the couch.

"No touching unless I say so. Your hands stay here," Tweek orders, and Craig agrees with the quickening of his breath.

Tweek's hands run down Craig's chest, which is still bare from their earlier sexual encounter. Tweek's feigned confidence can only get him so far, though, and it dissolves when he traces the dark trail of hair under Craig's navel to the hem of his pants.

The fabric lifts with Craig's hardening erection. Now that Tweek is here, a mere piece of cloth between him and a penis, he realizes he hasn't done this since they were kids.

Well, that's not gonna stop him. He still wants to take this plunge.

He hooks his fingers into the elastic on Craig's pajama pants, and Craig instantly lifts his hips to be deprived of the cloth. Tweek yanks the fabric down to his hips, and there it lay.

Craig's budding phallus lays on his midriff, which quakes from his hastened breath. Tweek's palms slide up to the peaks of his hipbones and squeeze, which earns him a shiver, before he leans down to taste it. Air hisses through Craig's teeth as he tips his head back, and the tip of Tweek's timid tongue rubs from the base to the hardened tip.

It flexes and writhes to be touched, but once it's fully thickened Tweek's tongue leaves it abandoned. Tweek can be a cruel lover, but Craig always said that's what he liked.

Tweek situates himself above Craig. He spreads his legs to either side of Craig's hips and hawks a wad of spit onto his fingers. Craig's nails scrape against the back of the couch to restrain himself. His eyes flash with the need to touch and feel. Tweek grins as his dripping fingers find a home between his spread legs.

They rub and tease places Tweek hasn't touched in years, but it feels nice. Craig's throbbing cock brushes his thighs as he works himself open. The experience of it all is almost too much to bear. His spine shivers as the tip of his finger slides in. His breath catches in his throat, and a pathetic sound squeaks out of him. It's all too obvious this is a sensation he's no longer used to.

Another finger invades him, anyway, and his cheeks pinken. His lips fall open, and his glistening tongue pants with each pump of his hand.

"Jesus Christ," Craig groans. He plants his feet firm against the carpet, and then lifts his hips. His neglected cock nudges and prods as he jerks up between Tweek's legs.

Tweek sits on Craig's hips to hold him in place. The tension of Craig's cock pressed flush against his ass sends shivers of anticipation wading through his skin. Tweek's weight pins him against the couch, but Craig's hips still pump.

"Please," he begs, and Tweek's body catches fire.

"Lube," Tweek demands, and Craig gestures his head to the stand beside the couch.

"You keep that in the living room?"

"I live alone, dude."

Tweek leans to extract a small, clear bottle from the drawer of the side table. He lathers it between his fingers, and Craig lets out a startled yelp when Tweek fists his cock with the cold liquid on his hands.

His head falls back against his tied wrists, and he huffs with keenness.

"Do you want it?" Tweek mules as he plays with the hot flesh between his fingers. Craig's head jerks with a nod.

Tweek rubs the tip against his tender heat. With slow adjusting, the tip of Craig's cock is forced inside him. Tweek lets out a cry of discomfort. The ring of muscle gripping Craig's penis stings and burns from the girth of it. A shaky whimper spills from Tweek, but he doesn't jerk away. The pain feels good, so he sways his hips to experiment with the stinging pressure.

Pleasured groans leak from Craig's lips. Gently, his hips rock up and into Tweek. With each roll of his hips he sinks deeper inside, and his eyes roll with each small jerk.

Tweek's face is beat red. His eyebrows pinch and his mouth hangs open. No one's been inside him since last let Craig. He'd forgotten just how strange it feels to be penetrated.

His body tries to recoil from the abrasive intrusion, but he won't let it. He stills and sucks in thick breaths to keep himself open for Craig. He relaxes when it sinks deeper into his body, then squeezes tight when it pulls back.

His arms are thrown around his lover and buries his face in his shoulder to brace himself. Then, he forces his writhing body down. Craig's muscles tense and he sucks in a long breath through his teeth, and Tweek cries out when he engulfs Craig fully.

Their hot breath puffs against one another's faces. They don't move, not for a while, as their bodies reunite as their hearts have.

"How does it feel?"

Craig huffs the question, low and gravely, into the shell of Tweek's ear. A wave of sensation washes over Tweek's body. How does it feel? It feels like it did when they were kids, and they hid naked under the bridge. This wonderful, exhilarating connection is familiar yet brand new all at once.

"It feels good," he settles on saying, which triggers Craig to dig his nails into the back of the couch and slam into his ass.

A loud, wet moan tears from Tweek's throat, and the room fills with filthy sounds. The slap of sweating skin and animalistic cries reverberate through the pretty white walls. Craig can't take the no touching rule anymore. He throws his bound arms around Tweek and forces him onto his back.

In the short struggle his cock slides loose from Tweek, who's now gaping open. Craig's hands are stuck beneath their tangled mass of twitching limbs, but his hips still rock despite it. With Tweek's hands guiding his cock, he plunges back inside.

Time is lost to them as the sectional bangs against the wall and groans under Craig's frantic thrusting. They ride it out, moaning and entangled, until they're sullied in each other's spit, sweat, and sticky cum.

Tweek's eyes crack open, and he stretches his limbs with a groan. His palms run across the soft fabric beneath him in search of Avery. However, there's no little boy beside him. He jerks up onto his elbow and his eyes scan the dark room he's in. Thin bands of white light seep in from a set of unfamiliar blinds. His mind is too fogged by sleep to notice much else besides the absence of his son.

"Avery?" he mutters.

His heart jerks against his ribs when he realizes Avery's not in bed with him.

"Ave!?"

He reaches for his bedside lamp only to realize there isn't one.

"Mm, are you okay?" a voice asks, gravelly with sleep. Tweek jolts around to find a man beside him.

A pair of blue eyes are squinted against the light from the yard lamp out the window. It's Craig. He rubs crust from the edges of his eyes with a groan.

"Oh, God," Tweek gasps in relief. "We fell asleep. What time is it?"

Craig groans in protest of Tweek's questions but reaches over the side of the couch anyway. He pulls A bulky plastic rectangle towards them. It's sporting wooden decals and lime green numbers glow on it's face, which nearly blind Tweek.

4am.

"Oh, shit. I gotta get home before Avery gets up."

"It's only four," Craig protests. The sleepy grog in his voice seeps into Tweek like a lullaby from his childhood. "Stay a little longer."

"I'm sorry. I really need to get home."

"Okay," Craig says without argument. The warmth of his hands against Tweek's skin reminds him he's still naked. The pop of Craig's joints and the echo of Tweek's yawns dance around the room as they get up to dress themselves.

"Do you want me to walk you to your car? It's dark, still," Craig offers as he zips his jeans. Tweek's situating Clyde's flannel, fresh from the dryer, on his shoulders when he nods.

So, they do what they do best, and walk alongside one another in the dark. Perhaps it's the sleep that still tugs at their eyelids, but they don't speak as they stumble along the trail to the bridge. The moon still dangles above them as wooden planks squeak below their sneakers.

"Pfft, hey," Craig mumbles as he jabs Tweek with his elbow. "Look."

Tweek stops to follow Craig's pointed finger. It presses against the wooden railing of the bridge. The plank has been chipped away to form a crude heart. At it's center is a familiar pair of initials. Their teenage selves left those scribbled symbols all over town like breadcrumbs to be followed if they ever lost their way. Tweek touches its crude edges with a mix of emotions on his face.

"Can I ask you something?"

Tweek blinks, and then turns to his… ex-boyfriend? That word doesn't fit anymore.

Craig's eyes burn into him with uncertainty, like he doesn't want to say what he's about to. "It seems like we took a leap instead of baby steps tonight. What… is this? Between you and I?"

"Oh," Tweek says, his cheeks tinging. It's obvious he's uncertain himself. "I- um, well- what do you want it to be?"

"I…" Craig stumbles like a school boy who was called on without a hand raised. "I know anything too serious isn't going to work for you. Not with Avery."

"Yeah, I'd rather him not catch wind of this," Tweek admits, and Craig's face falls.

"I mean- fuck," Tweek grumbles. He yanks on his hair, a nervous habit that rears its head in times of stress.

"You know how I feel about you, you have to. I've had so much fun tonight and- I want to keep doing… whatever this is," he gestures between them. "I just don't want anyone else involved in his life. Not right now, not like that. And anyone who's seriously involved in me would have to be in Avery, too."

"So, we're friends with benefits, then?" Craig ponders. "On the down low?"

"Best friends with benefits," Tweek corrects, which earns him a smile from Craig. "I care about you. Just because I'm not ready for a relationship doesn't mean nobody can know we do this. Cartman caught you sucking my dick, anyway. I'm sure all of south park already knows."

Craig's smile spills over into laughter.

"It doesn't have to be a secret that we're sleeping together," Tweek reiterates. "Just as long as Avery's left out of it."

"Yeah, yeah, I understand. I'll, um, keep my distance if you want me to," Craig mutters as if he must forfeit any connection to Avery to keep things convenient for Tweek.

Avery is so enamored by Craig he screeches like an engine every time he sees him. It'd be cruel to keep them apart. Besides, out of all the people in the world, Craig is who Tweek hopes Avery grows up to be like.

Not that he'd admit that out loud.

"He likes you a lot. It's okay for you to play with him and spend time with him or whatever. We might have taken the big plunge when it comes to sex, but when it comes to a serious relationship… let's go back to baby steps."

Craig seems more than satisfied with that arrangement. He smiles wide and nods. It seems if he has Tweek and Avery in his life he doesn't care that about the technicalities of it.

"Baby steps it is."