0.0 The Zero Hour

"And it's strange
They are basically the same
So I don't ask names anymore."


The mind is a unique specimen undisturbed by the wallows of daily life - the mind is its own prison, its own sanctuary, its own bitter labyrinth when one falls too far within themselves to have hope of retrieving the sparkle of intelligence one may have previously garnered. The path to bring my favorite lunatic to the reality of his Self was one wrought by challenges. I suspected that he may never bring himself out of the comfort of insanity that he knew; my, was I surprised.

As first, Craig struggled as he was reminded of times the freckle-faced boy had smiled joyously in the quiet presence of a peculiar blonde boy. At first, he fought with tooth and nail, swinging, hoping to escape back down the descent of Madness, as cautious emotions touched upon him. But the first brush of lips in his memory, the first wary touch, had him sighing in pleasure and clamoring upward into Awareness.

Not all memories were happy, and not all memories were welcome, as I forced Craig to face the dizzing spiral that had turned the two lovers bad so quickly. He fought, and cried, and sobbed as he challenged the idea that it was he that had been the problem, that it had been his shame, his jealousy, his sickening sadist behaviour that had pushed the only person he loved so far away.

His chilling attitude that had killed my love in cold blood.

I would be lying if I said there were moments that I, myself, fought to keep under control from pushing the obsolete human into a vegetative state in reality; I would be lying if I said this challenge was one I took by my own free will.

No, everything I ever did was for him.

Fourteen months after we began the climb into Sanity, Craig shook himself free of the snares of Madness and realized his location in the insane asylum, and he fought. the stunned faces on the medical team was one that could not be recreated, although I try sometimes, when quietly he rapped on the glass of his room and asked calmly to speak to the director of the facility. From there, he took everyone involved in his case to court for wrongful imprisonment - and won.

It was curious how the court system played the case, how national news outlets picked it up so quickly and weaved the tale. Craig fought that he could not e condemned for homicide due to influence of psychedelic drugs that had been found in his system at the time of the arrest. That being barred on psychiatric hold was ludicrous and denied him the rights to fair trial that every American citizen had. And when he was granted trial, despite the obvious implications that he had killed Tweek, the jury was hung and he was released without condemnation.

It was impressive just how manipulative Craig could be - but one factor he forgot to include was society's reaction to him being free. The Nommel's wanted nothing to do with their son, and although free, Craig was released into the world with nothing of his own, with no one to turn to.

I was in no way going to stop him when he took his life in despair. Instead, I stood over his body draining from the scarred, newly gashed wrists, and waited.

...

Your happy ending comes in the twisted form of a Purgatory unlike any other, a Purgatory created just for these two. Twenty-six months ago I drug Tweek kicking and screaming from his own tortured Hell amiss the playground where our story began, when the twisted Expo of the century began that fateful autumn day between two young children. A place where my favorite blonde had decided to stay, enraptured with his own ludicrous ideas of deserving the righteous death he received at the hands of a boy he had loved dearly.

Here, he glared daggers across the meadow that transitioned between each season at every blink of the eyes it seemed - here, those caramel eyes dug deep into the side of my head, that huffy attitude causing my lips to twitch upward in a smile.

"What is he doing here, you asshole?" Tweek asked gruffly, glaring at my raven-haired companion. "Can't even find peace while I'm dead, can I?"

"Oh, do not have such a piss-poor attitude, my sweet rose. You have wanted closure - I am bringing you that," I reply, rolling my eyes with my clawed hands on my hips like a parent speaking to an unruly child.

In reality, he was the only one I loved in such a way that brought me this close to humanity.

"I would have been fine if being dead was closure," he snapped, glaring still under those buttery bangs of his.

"I'm sorry for that," the nasally, sarcastic voice of the raven-haired boy answers. "Really. I was kind of a fucking douchebag. Well, not kind of, I was a total fucking douchebag. No wonder you wanted to get so far away from me."

"And even in death, I can't seem to escape the questionable presence of you, Craig."

Before either could snap some witty reply I answer, "You will find that death and eternity can be very long and monotonous holding such grudges so. You are both, ultimately, without a doubt, dead, so it is time for you two to work on the differences life could not be breeched. Neither of you can Ascend passed this moment, this lifetime in Purgatory, should you not work on the schism of your life."

My favorite blonde continued to glare at me. "I don't want to work on anything with him. He killed me, if you so happened to forget."

I roll my eyes and sigh, a melodious sound. "The irony is the very foundation of your tragedy, my rose, so very much like that of Romeo and Juliet. A romantic tragedy unlike any other. Craig would not live without you, would not allow anyone else to hold your heart so dear. Is that not sweet?" I croon.

"It's insane is what it is," he spits.

I cross my arms and fight the urge to stamp my feet staring down at the being that holds my own heart. "You wanted Craig's heart so, but could never obtain it under the cruel scrutiny of society's prying eyes. Here, you have no one to compete with - here, neither does he. It is you, and he, to do what you will. I shall caution, however, happiness is not something you can achieve until there is resolution."

"But-"

"Brown eyes, I hold you near, you're the only song I want to hear, softly flowing through my atmosphere," the nasally voice sang softly, those emerald eyes staring longingly at my sweet rose.

"You-you remember?"

"Everything."

When I turned from the two, a small smile flashing fangs amiss the whirlwind that bellowed outward from the boys, I knew, everything would be okay, even if it took death to find the happiness they deserved.

...

The true ending, however, is one unlike any other. Those that ask "what would have happened without divine intervention" are the ones I applaud. What Craig had seen in his mind while he lay with Red on that fateful All Hollow's Eve would, indeed, have been the future. Tweek would have happily found a partner in Christophe if he Fate's hadn't woven his tale so entwined with that of Craig Nommel.

And if I had never been so intrigued, so attracted, so pulled to the presence of an indescribable blonde, then the very fabric of the story would have changed incredibly, the very dynamic would have dissolved. But who, then, would have enjoyed such a tale?

I am Curson, Bat King to those that reside in the human realm, king of twenty-two of the highest ranked legions in all of Satan's realm of Hell. I am Curson, fallen angel, demon lord, and too deeply involved with a precarious blonde boy. I am Curson, the puppeteer, the author, of the Expo of a century, fallen too deeply close to that very blonde boy.

I am Curson, and I am the evil inside of you, the darkness that lay just under the surface that tells little white lies, that tempts you with carnal sin. I am the voice in your head that flirts with the idea of cheating, the idea that 5 over the speed limit isn't illegal, the idea that the smallest bit of indecency is "alright just this once". I am waiting just out of sight, just out of mind, to haunt you in your sleep while you wonder "what if", to make your story the next Expo of the century.

"Sometimes I think this cycle never ends
We slide from top to bottom and we turn and climb again
And it seems by the time that I have figured what it's worth
The squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse."

End Expo '86


A/N: Expo is now complete. This may not be the ending you had expected, or wanted, but that's okay - you are free to imagine your own. All I can say is THANK YOU to those that have stuck around for this bitter sweet moment, an di hope I have not disappointed too much. I will see you all around in one story or another :) THANK YOU ALL AGAIN FOR STICKING AROUND FOR THIS!