Sorry for the deliriously long pause between updates...but hopefully, this will make up for some of it ;)

Part Eight:

Eventually the silence of the basement, broken only by the sounds of the television and their shuffling around to get comfortable and make more coffee, was joined by the sounds of movements upstairs, and the scrape and rumbles of voices above. Tweek peeked at Craig, who had slipped his phone out of his pocket to check the time; the raven groaned and slapped a hand over his face, running it upwards through his messy hair, his hat long forgotten on the ground somewhere.

"It's almost eight in the morning."

Tweek gave a short nod of acknowledgment before he paused, the words slowly making their way into the depths of his brain. Wait... he looked up at Craig, horrified.

"B-but school starts at seven!" He squeaked, his voice hitting previously unknown levels. He had never missed school on purpose. Maybe if he was sick, but never for any other reason! What...what black magic was this?!

Craig got up and stretched, yawning so hugely that Tweek could hear his jaw give off a crack. Blinking blearily, he rolled his shoulders and slouched off toward the stairs, the blond quickly following afterward; did the other know of some secret time travel way of ninjas to bring them back to a point in time in which they could make it school on time? They'd already been in trouble so much after yesterday, he didn't want to give them even more of a reason to put bad things on his records. Everybody could see those, the CIA, the FBI, everyone! Oh God!

The raven pushed open the basement door and wandered himself into the kitchen, where his sister was sitting by the table; her eyes flickered from the bowl of cereal in front of her, and she let loose a choked 'snrk' as Tweek came into view. Apparently last night has been too dark to get a good look at the painted decorations. His mom was also there, leaning against the kitchen counter as she made spread butter over a half-burnt piece of toast. Craig gave off another yawn, scratching at his scar absently. "Hey, can I stay home today?"

She barely tossed a look in his direction. "Take out the trash for a week."

"Yeah, yeah, sure." And with that the scarred raven turned around, yawning again as he made the short journey to the basement door. Tweek was left stunned, mouth agape as he twisted his trembling hands in his shirt hem. But...but what about him?! He was gonna get in so much trouble with his parents! And the school! What if he missed a really important test and all of his grades dropped and he was kicked out for being such a failure at his education leaving him to beg on the streets for cash and bumming out a couch when he could at his PARENT'S HOUSE?! Halfway spazzing already so early in the morning, he rushed forward, almost pushing Craig down the stairs as he gripped at him.

"Holy fu—"

"Craig, Craig, wh-what about me oh Jesus -ngh- I'll get i-in so much trouble if I skip they'll lock m-me up for truancy an—gah!" The blond blabbered, desperately shaking the other back and forth as he tried to get a handle on the stair's railing. Craig sputtered some curses, trying to shake Tweek off.

"Chill the fuck out you spaz just call your parents!" He made the strangest flapping motion with the arm Tweek was currently manhandling.

"But I don't have a PHONE!" Tweek shrieked, giving Craig one last hard shake.

"Motherfuu—!" A frantic grab at Tweek's shirt, failing to latch on properly and then there was a loud series of thuds as Craig Tucker fell down the stairs.

There was a moment of pause after that.

"What was that?"



The first two questions had come from the depths of the kitchen, where the raven's mother and sister poked their heads through the open doorway, the third was Tweek loudly screaming down the basement stairs, clutching at himself and too afraid to even move for the fear that he would see Craig's broken, bleeding body sprawled out on the last stair. A half-muttered 'fuuuuuck' came from below and he practically flew down, stomach and heart flopping as he caught sight of Craig throwing up an arm to rub weakly at his head.

"...I'm going to kill you, Tweek..."

The words terrifying as they were, (oh God don't think about him ripping you apart limb from limb, slicing thin strips of flesh from your bleeding chest to use as bacon, don't think about it, don't think, don't, gah!) only sent a jerky shudder through him, gripping his hands into the ragged hem of his shirt, too afraid to touch the raven for fear he had grievous internal injuries! "O-oh God, oh God, oh God," came the continuous babble. "A-are you o-o-ngh! Okay?! Are you d-dead?"

Craig did not move, but his voice was amazingly deadpan. "Yes, Tweek. I am dead."

"Oh God!" The blond shrieked, convulsing a little more rapidly. Forget logic, who needed logic when you had a dead body on your hands? "Fuck, sweet tapdancing Jesus, what should I -ngh- do I-I'm so sorry oh God, oh f-fuck what should I -gah? Do?"

Craig was silent, and Tweek let out a thin shriek, certain that this was it, it was over he was going to be arrested, and thrown in jail and then raped by a big hairy pedophile named Bubba who had too many missing teeth and smelled bad and took the top bunk instead of the one on the bottom and NOOOOO HE DIDN'T WANT THAT!

"You should drag me over to the couch. Pretend I died in my sleep. No one will ever know."

The sudden words cut through the imagined scenario in his head and he jumped a bit, but quickly nodded, trying to stand and almost tripping over his own feet in his panicked haste. Yes, yes yes, okay he could do that, staging deaths was no big deal, people did it on television all the time, right? God! Never mind the fact that two people had already borne witness to the raven being actually ALIVE not more than two minutes ago, there was no time to think about that.

There was a tiny tiny corner of his mind with a hand permanently pasted to its forehead, bemoaninghis lack of logic.

It was sadly, overridden by the much larger part of Tweek's brain spazzing, screaming and throwing itself against the walls of his brain.

And thus it was that Tweek latched onto Craig's arms, his socked feet slipping around trying to find purchase on the ground beneath enough to drag his dead friend to the nearby couch and thus save his measly hide from a lifetime of servitude under imprisoned serial killers and possibly their misshapen Hugo cohorts.

He couldn't help the frustrated grunt that escaped his mouth as he struggled with the corpse, which was proving to be very difficult indeed to drag. Which, if he thought about it, their difference in height, weight, and the fact he hadn't eaten right in about a week was probably why. Of course Tweek wasn't really thinking right now.

"F-fuck, st-stop being -ngh- heavy!" He shrieked.

"Sorry," The dead Craig responded, sounding not the least bit sorry.

Tweek bit back a few more choice curses involving the corpse's weight and gave another yank, succeeding in sliding Craig an inch or so, just enough to get the momentum going. It probably would have helped if he had been wearing shoes, and not slipping around on socks, but again, he wasn't really thinking and this was no time to go and find wherever his shoes were in the basement. Somehow, by some miracle, Tweek managed to push Craig Tucker's dead body onto the couch, gasping as he gave one last push to get his legs up. Slumping down by the couch's side, he took a breather, glancing up at the corpse lying sprawled on the plush cushions.

He had killed his best friend. His only friend.

A big hiccuping gasp rattled around in his chest, then shuddered out of him, only to have another take its place. Tweek wiped at his eyes furiously, trying to stop what he knew was the inevitable. First one tear, then another, until suddenly he was sniveling and shaking, palms pressed over his eyes. Dammit, he wasn't even freaking out so much about murdering somebody as who it was. What had he done?! He had killed the only friend he had in the whole entire world, out of some stupid accident because he had been spazzing out like he normally had. And now Craig Tucker was dead and he wasn't ever coming back, and oh my God his mother would hate him! What would his parents say at his funeral? Would he even be allowed to go? NO, there was no way Craig's parents would allow the murderer of their only son to be present at his funeral, he was gonna be locked away and in jail and he'd never even get to say a proper goodbye!

"I-I'm sorry, Craig," he whimpered, the tears choking up the words so much they were barely recognizable. "I d-d-didn't mean...-hic- to kill youuuu..." God how was he even going to pull this off?! How could he walk up there and pretend he hadn't just brutally and viciously murdered the only friend he would ever have, ever?!

If he had been listening, or just not caught up in sobbing so much, he would have seen Craig crack an eye open, biting his lips in what could have almost been guilt. He did, however, hear the corpse speak.

"You could always try and revive me."

"W-what, no I can't th-that stuff only -nghhh- happens to that one kid!"


"Yeah him!"

"Dude isn't he in one of your classes, how do you not know his name?"

"I d-don't knooow..." The last bit trailed off in a whimper, and Tweek hugged his knees to himself, sniffling. He wondered if Craig's voice would remain in his head after his body had been covered in dirt. Because obviously the corpse wasn't really 'speaking', he'd just gone mad after committing murder most foul. It was okay though, he clearly deserved it, and maybe in his more evil, madman moments he could convince himself that Craig still existed and wasn't some long-ago rotten corpse that worms and maggots had already feasted on with their dirty filthy mouths.

"You could make a deal with the devil?"

Tweek gave a choked half-squeak, shaking his head furiously against his knees. The devil! Make a deal with the devil! Yeah sure so what if the devil was a giant pussy most of the time who hung around gay clubs and chatted up his father and occasionally tipped him in twenties when he was in a seriously good mood in the coffee shop, it was SATAN. Master of darkness and evil pedophiles and terrible terrible axe murderers and probably the gnomes too! Argh, there was no way he was gonna make a deal with him (probably in exchange for his sweet coffee flavored soul) to bring Craig back.

"Indian burial ground."

"ZOMBIES!" Tweek shrieked, a massive jerk making his limbs jump wildly as he stared up in horror.

"Okay could always try Disney style." The corpse rearranged itself on its side, looking down at him. "That always works right?"

Wh-what...Disney style? What did that even...Tweek's eyes widened, sobs shuddering like a faulty motor in his chest as he struggled to breathe, the idea sparking a bit of hope in his chest. Yes! Yes that always worked yeah, Craig was a genius, even if he was just a voice in his head, he was still smart and all-knowing! Surely this would bring Craig back, he was gonna have his friend back yes oh sweet lord praise everything! Withholding more sobs, he clasped Craig's head tight and yanked him forward, mashing their lips together with more force than was strictly necessary. He moved his lips around a little, eyes tightly closed, lips still in their pucker shape, trying to bring Craig's face ever closer.

Tweek Tweak did not know how to kiss.

But the technicalities of magic did not matter, only that it brought back his friend from the dead safe and sound and not a flesh-eating moaning zombie. He wondered how long he had to do this. He could feel Craig's body twitching, muffled squeak noises coming from a different mouth than his own for once, and decided that a few more seconds should be enough; just to make sure, he tossed in a small lick—that was how the movies went, right?—feeling the tense skin of the scar on his tongue, then the hard surface of the raven's exposed tooth. Hands suddenly pushed at him but Tweek was determined to get the magic properly under way and resisted, he was not going to make a deal with any devil if this failed!

Suddenly a flash popped up through his eyelids and a great shove had him sprawling back onto the mat of covers still lying in front of the couch. He yelped, trying to get up, his eyes catching the sight of a mass of bright red hair vanishing up the stairs. Oh shit, had Ruby seen Craig's corpse?! What if she told on him and his mom came down here and saw the body and called the cops and tossed his ass in jail and had him TORTURED for the rest of his young li—

A loud curse and a flurry of movement caught his attention; Craig was trying to move himself off of the couch, yelling for his sister to come back down here, red-faced, breathing, and very much alive. The raven, who by this point looked about as red as a ripe strawberry, gave an "oof" as he was subjected to a flying Tweek for the second time in less than a day, knocking him back onto the couch.

"OhmyGodyesthankyouJesusyou'realiveyesIloveyouImsosorry...!" Tweek sobbed, pawing at his resurrected friend, hugging him so tight he thought his arms would fall off. Craig was still yelling about something but he didn't give a flying fuck, he had worked magic! Real magic! He was alive, really really alive oh God he'd never go on stairs again, never ever ever again!

A tight grip on his shoulders forced his head back from where it had been latched onto Craig's sternum, and then the other was staring at him. "What the fuck was that for?!"

Tweek thought he should probably go see a doctor. That red shade couldn't be healthy, even for a resurrected corpse. "You said Disney style! And it -ngh- w-worked! You're alive and breathing and I'm NOT going to jail!" he sobbed joyfully.

"I meant shed tears over my dead body and wrap your long golden hair around my wounds!" Craig's voice rose higher with every word; wow, Tweek hadn't even known a ninja's voice could go that high. Hmmm, they were masters of mystery, it seemed...

He shook his friend a little, protesting. "I don't have long golden hair!" What was he, Goldilocks or something?

"Well you have like a blond mane or something, it's close enough!" The raven scooted farther back down the couch, his forearm pressed to his mouth like he was protecting it. "You couldn't have used your tiny lion magyks or something, oh my God..."

Tweek flushed. "Ngh! I-I'm not tiny!" The other's movements made him all the more aware of his own lips, the phantom feel of the scar and tooth pressed against the right side of his mouth. Sweet Jesus he had kissed Craig Tucker. Oh my God. He wiped at his eyes, trying to remove the last of his tears and surreptitiously wipe over his lips. He could still feel it, oh jeez, on him like a brand. What if Craig thought he was a pervert or something after this, goddammit, not after he had revived him so soon!

There was a long period of silence, neither of them looking at each other, before the blond cracked. "I'm not a pervert okay?!"

"Holy fuck let's just play a game or something, please." Craig groaned, almost launching himself off of the couch to shove in the first game he could find. He tossed a controller at Tweek blind, returning to his spot; the coffee lover barely managed to catch the molded plastic, the thing bouncing around in his hands a few times before he managed to get a good grip on it. Wow, he really needed to learn how to catch stuff properly. Crawling up to the other end of the couch, away from Craig, he focused on the game, an old Sonic and Tails adventure game. As they popped open mystery boxes and defeated mini robots, Tweek saw Craig rub at his lips again from the corner of his eye. "Man I think my lips are bruised."

The blond's cheeks puffed out indignantly as a flush spread over his face. "It was j-just a little kiss!"

There was a scoff and a mutter. "More like facial assault."

Tweek aimed a kick across the couch, but Craig managed to catch him around his ankle and give him a yank; onscreen Tails vanished with a silly face and a droopy noise as one of Eggman's bombs caught him. Tweek gave a short shriek as Craig laughed, and he aimed another kick with his free leg, this time managing to catch him on the thigh. The raven's controller jolted in his hands and Sonic died as well. Their eyes met; both of them still had the remnants of red on their cheeks, but lines had been crossed. Shit had gone personal.

Tweek struck out again with his free leg but Craig gave him a massive push to one side, effectively dropping the shrieking blond onto the blankets below. Tweek flailed around, finding himself accidentally tangled in the cord of his controller as the other leaned back with a look of smug triumph. He had just managed to untangle himself with a huff, when Craig tossed something small at him.

The blond squealed and dove out of the way. It was, however, just a cell phone. "You should probably call your parents. Y'know, like you wanted to?"

"Nghhn!" That particularly elegant noise emerged as their situation returned to him, and Tweek realized that all of this had been wasting valuable school time in which someone could call his parents and inform them that their son was a traitorous hooligan who skipped classes. Praising the resurrected Craig and his generosity, he flipped open the phone with shaky hands, then gave a little giggle.

The raven looked at him suspiciously. "What?"

"That's a -erk- c-cute background..."

The other shoved his tongue at him, giving him a simultaneous double flip-off. "Shut up I like that picture."

Tweek gave another glance at the phone. A young, scarless Craig grinned up at him, Stripe next to him with a piece of apple sticking out of his furry mouth. It was a big contrast, seeing Craig whole and unmarked on one screen, then seeing him after whatever terrible catastrophe has happened to him, big red scar pulling at his lips. "So...ngh, what happened to Stripe?" He had wondered before where the guinea pig had gone to.

"He died a while ago."


"It's okay, he was really old." The words were bland but Tweek caught the downturn to his lips, the quick swallow visible as his throat twitched. He was pretty sure he would have missed it had the other been wearing his mask and hoodie. Wow, was Craig really so expressive? Even though they were just tiny tiny details no one else would probably even catch; Tweek was sure that if he hadn't spent years of his life examining people's faces to make sure they weren't just wearing flesh masks or cleverly disguised FBI agents who were waiting for just the right moment to bundle him up into one of their secret ice cream vans and drive off with him into the desert to do TERRIBLE EXPERIMENTS on him! then he probably would have missed it too.

"Surprised you actually remember his name."

Tweek jumped with a startled giggle-snort, shrugging. "Well...he -ngh- has the his name, look you can see it and everything."

"Oh, yeah." Craig grinned a bit, looking down for a second as if embarrassed. "I named him when I was like six so..."

The blond looked down, pushing his fingers down slow so he wouldn't mess up his house number. Holding the phone gingerly by his ear (radiation waves, JEEZ) he waited for someone to pick up. Hopefully his mom hadn't left yet...


"H-hi mom, um, th-this is me...I'm still at Craig's house...ngh, I...o-overslept?" Tweek drew out the lie hesitantly. "So can I stay here?"

"Sure, honeybun! Did you have a nice sleepover with your little friend? Did you have your bedtime coffee? I know you can't go through the night without it!"

Tweek flushed, turning away from Craig and lowering his voice. "Mom! I'm f-fine, oh Jesus,I'm not a little -ngh- kid...and no one needs to know about my bedtime coffee! Argh!"

"What was that about bedtime coffee."

Tweek rounded on his friend, 'shh'-ing in mortification as his free hand flapped at the raven, before turning back to the phone where his mom was still speaking. "-till my little baby! I'm gonna leave for the shop in a couple minutes, so make sure you get home safely, and have an adult hold your hand when you cross the street, okay?"

Feeling pretty certain that Craig could hear exactly what his mom was saying and that he was never going to live this down in the eyes of a killer almost-zombie ninja, the blond just held the phone close to his ear, cheeks a burning red. "Y-yeah, okay, mom." He mumbled in defeat.

"I'll see you soon, Tweekie. Love you!"

"Love you too..." He hung up and passed it back to its owner, who looked like he was fighting the urge to laugh. Tweek gave him the best glare he could muster, returning to the couch and sitting down in a calm and dignified manner. At least until he twitched and elbowed Craig in the side. He ignored the snort from next to him and picked up his controller.

"Are we gonna play o-or not?"

"Heheh...yeah okay, Tweekie."

"Fuck you."

They played Sonic for a while before switching to Mario Kart, and then it devolved into how many times they could push the other off of Rainbow Road in VS mode. This particular game was ending up surprisingly in Tweek's favor; while the blond was crap at a race, he was murder on wheels armed with a green shell and a slew of opportunities on the tricky track from Hell. After a particularly terrible defeat (Craig: 7, Tweek: 26) Craig slouched back into the couch, teeth tugging at his bottom lip in clear sullenness. Tweek felt an exceedingly smug grin come onto his face.

"Wh-what's wrong, Craig? Not u-used to -ngh- losing?"

The raven shot him a dirty look, exiting out to the main menu. "Wasn't even a real game or anything, it doesn't count."

"Yeah huh." An hour or so focusing on Craig instead of movies all night, and it felt like he had opened up a portal to some strange new world where things were 20% cooler and Craig Tucker was slowly becoming more than just a badass ninja with swords and a killer mask. This guy...this guy was just a normal dude!

Well yeah he had noticed it before, obviously. It wasn't like he had always considered the raven to be some sort of crazy, ninja alien from another planet—

You thought it less than a week ago.

Shh! I wasn't talking to you, Tweek frowned internally.

Whatever. Continue, his mind waved impatiently.

Anyway. It was more like, this Craig could be just someone from his class, slouching in a seat and ignoring the teachers. He gnawed at his lip when he was concentrating, and when he was frustrated (the sixth time in a row Tweek had pushed him off before shooting in the giant glittery tube elevator) only one side of his mouth turned down; the other side just did this weird twitch thing. And it wasn't just seeing him without his mask, what he looked like either. Craig had...changed somehow. He looked a bit more at ease than before, and that surprised Tweek because he'd thought Craig had been pretty chill before even wearing the mask.

"You're staring again."

"ARGH!" Tweek flipped himself off of the couch before he was really aware of it, twitching a bit on the mat of covers before getting up. "S-sorry..." He paused for a bit before adding slyly, "Was just -ngh- surprised at how j-jealous you were of my skill."

There was a moment in which Craig was stunned, a second in which he was angry, and a final moment in which he sunk lower onto the couch and ignored Tweek's gaze altogether, actually going so far as to cross his arms tightly. And Tweek could see it, could see the emotions passing through his face and his mouth twisting up in that sullen pout again. Who knew a mouth could add so much to a face? And he was the only one outside of the other's family who knew about it. Or so he was told, anyway. He preened at the thought.

"I am not jealous." Craig bit out, and there was a tinge of red to his cheeks as he said it. His lips thinned and the scar pulled, revealing a bit more of the incisor and Tweek just thought it looked so funny a choking snort came out of his mouth before he could stop it. The raven's chest puffed out in indignation as he turned away, fingers reaching to scrabble at his neck, pulling up the mask that had hung limp there since yesterday night when he had pulled it down. It hung off his cheeks in a wrong kind of way, pulled up too fast and too loose; it looked more a mask than it usually did.

Still Tweek swallowed back his next snort, twisting his fingers in the loops of his pants. Craig was hiding, he was and it was so plain it made him feel guilty. Even before he could tell the raven hadn't been some emotionless zombie, he could see the quirks and twitches of lips behind that piece of black cloth but he hadn't realized how much it hid. It snatched up all the details and emotions people were used to seeing.

The twitchy blond has the feeling that Craig had gotten accustomed to it hiding him, and was unused to the feeling of being exposed now that it wasn't. Tweek could kind of understand that; he'd felt exposed ever since Cartman had told monster aliens lived in space when they were in first grade.

An awkward silence descended on them both, and the blond shuffled his feet, unsure of what to say. He should probably apologize. Yeah probably. Craig might look more expressive now but that didn't change his deadliness, or the fact that he could snap at any second.

Before he could, however, the other stood, tossing his controller onto the cushion. The mask stretched as he yawned, so of course Tweek did too. "'M kinda tired, Tweek...stick around for a nap?"

He pursed his lips, eyes narrowing suspiciously. Besides the fact that this seemed like a dirty trick to change the subject, sleep left people vulnerable, and it was totally unsafe! What if the gnomes robbed you blind? How far did gnome territory even extend! Who knows, they could have their sneaky dirty little tunnels in every single house in South Park...he gave Craig a wary look. "Ngh...wh-what about gnomes?"

"...we don't get gnomes around here."

It was like the heavens opened up and SHINED THEIR LIGHT DOWN UPON THEM ALL. Tweek sucked in a huge breath, eyes widening until it almost hurt. "Areyouserious."


No gnomes? No? Gnomes? It was almost too good to be true! How...but it all made sense in a flash. Of course no sneaky thief gnome would DARE step into the house of the Tucker family, it would be slaughtered on the spot! Ninjas let no enemy live...especially if they encroached on their territory. Of course, this would be the ONE PLACE that would be safe from those sadistic little assholes, the one place Tweek could hope to sleep and not have the underwear stolen right off of his body! And that went for so many things, didn't it...? What madman would dare trespass onto Tuckerland, what old man pervert would creep on their bushes, what serial killer would hide in their closets?

This would be the best place for a nap.

Damn straight it would be, Tweek agreed. He nodded quickly at the raven in agreement to sleeptimes, but was a little confused when Craig bent down to roll up the mat of covers shoving them on the couch on top of the two controllers.

"...we're n-not gonna -erk- sleep here?"

"Hell no, I need a bed." Craig looked at him like he was crazy for even suggesting it, and Tweek make a discontent noise in his throat as he was confronted by the fact that once again, the mask was over his friend's face. Even misaligned and stuff, it took away what he had gotten in the last couple of hours, and he didn't like it. What if he never took it off again, decided he'd made a mistake and never showed Tweek his scar again?

The raven checked the time on his phone again (8:36 am) before climbing up the basement stairs, the blond following closely behind after snatching up his thermos from the side of the couch. He still couldn't believe there was such thing as a gnome-free place. It was almost too good to be true! Craig called out to his mom, but she didn't answer; before Tweek could panic, his friend muttered that she had probably gone to town or something after dropping off Ruby at school. They trooped up to Craig's bedroom, and the raven quickly flopped onto his bed, snatching the bed cover and rolling until he was completely immersed in it like some kind of fluffy blue worm.

There was a silence for a second before Tweek decided to go and poke the worm. "...where am I g-gonna sleep?"

Craig turned around to face him, thinking. Untangling himself from the depths of his duvet, he spread it so it was halfway right again, then lifted it in invitation. Tweek looked at him mistrustfully. "It's just a cover, Tweek."

Yeah, right. But you didn't exactly just refuse a badass' most generous offer, so he put his thermos safely on the floor (not without taking one last sip of the lukewarm coffee inside) before crawling in to the surprisingly warm space. He turned around for a bit, trying to get comfortable before Craig grouched at him to just pick a spot and sleep for the love of God. He huffed and faced the other to snap something witty back but it was clear Craig was already halfway off to dreamland, eyes closed and his body loosening up slowly. Tweek stared at his masked face, tongue in cheek as he took a chance and reached forward, tugging at the end of the cloth. Craig's eyes snapped open with an accompanying sleepy breath and he slid it off himself, grunting. "Happy now?"


The scar pulled and stretched. "Good, because I will kick you off this bed if I don't sleep."


He turned onto his belly, hugging the pillow. It smelled like shampoo and pizza instead of coffee, but it was surprisingly easy to just close his eyes and ignore that. It took a few minutes of listening to the raven's breathing behind him, but soon he too fell asleep.

The entire world flashed, and Tweek woke up shrieking as the roof fell over their heads with an earsplitting roar.

"AGHHHMOTHER OF GOD HELP! HELP!" Arms and legs flailed as he tried to get up and see but dust clouds were blocking his view and everything was upside down and someone was screaming but who and what and why for the love of God...!

Another light flash came, but this time it was a 'BOOM' instead of a roar that accompanied it and Tweek choked on his yells, diving back down to the floor with a strangled scream and using his hands to cover his head from further disaster. His nose gave off a sharp twinge and he vaguely realized he had smacked it against the carpet in his rush.

" the fucking hell fuck fuck...!"

Who was that cursing, had someone survived the roof fall? Was he not alone in this hideous apocalypse?

Another smaller, but somehow sharper bang sounded and once again Tweek screamed, jerking forward to escape but smacking his head into something big and unmovable. "Will you two SHUT UP?!"

The blond let his shrieks taper off into whimpers, and the loud cursing of the trapped person to his right lowered into mutterings. He could hear a hissing and clattering noise in the background, and through the pain in his skull wondered if there were snakes about. He tried opening his eyes again, peering through the dust and debris, but instead of chalky white and gray clouds he saw muted tall shapes and the hissing sounds became a bit louder. Trying to focus he swiped at his eyes, feeling something sticky and wet on his cheek. Oh God was he bleeding?!

A quick inspection of the stuff on his fingers revealed it was clear and flaky on the dry bits: drool, not the red lifeblood from his veins. The hand still on the ground scrunched a bit as he tried to get up, and he paused for a second, feeling a bit confused. What...wait this was a floor wasn't it. Hadn't he...what had he done before this?

It occurred to him that the last thing he remembered was lying down on Craig's bed for a safe and secure gnome-free nap. Craig. So, he was at Craig's house right and on a bed...Tweek tried to focus on his surroundings, this time with more success, and he saw a tall bookshelf looming in front of him, a dark figure behind him by a towering doorway. Wait, why was everything so weird and tall? Had he shrunk? Oh God had the gnomes come after all and worked some sort of weird magical revenge magic on his ass for not being in the house he was supposed to be in in the first place to shrink him and bring him down to their level where they would kidnap him and take him down into their lair and do terrible horrible TORTUROUS THINGS TO HIM?! He sucked in a breath to shriek, as was his usual custom, when his body tensed as well and his hand once again closed on carpet.

Wait, wait, carpet okay why...why was he on the flo—

"Why is the kid on the floor." The commanding voice from thirty seconds ago melded into something a little bit more recognizable, and this time when Tweek looked behind himself he could recognize Craig's mom standing by the open doorway, hands on her hips and an exasperated expression on her face. To be honest though, that was a very good question. In a rush, Tweek sat up, holding a hand to his head as the newly bumped area gave an irritated throb. He looked up and caught Craig's eye; the other was looking back at him with a mildly surprised expression, as if he too was wondering the same thing.

Something clicked in Tweek's brain. "D-did you kick me off?"

Craig blinked, deadpan. "Why would I ever do that."

Tweek was affronted; how dare he shove over the great and mighty Tweek Tweak to the floor! He was sure to have words with the deadly ninja as soon as possible. As it was, he could only give off a 'huff', when suddenly the room flashed once again and a another giant BOOM rattled the house. The sound covered a loud shriek, and the grunt Craig emitted as Tweek scrambled onto the bed, clambering over him in rush of legs and arms as he strove to reach the safe side of the bed next to the wall.

He crouched there wide-eyed, and Craig's mom rolled her eyes. "I made lunch, so if you're hungry, you better get it before it's gone." With that said, she turned around and left, closing the door behind her.,

Craig flopped onto his belly with another groan. "I think you stepped on my kidney." He stretched his arms out across the pillow, and Tweek winced as he heard a few pops come from the vicinity of the other's spine. "Fuck, never falling down stairs again; everything's sore."

"Sorry..." He felt a little stiff himself, having slept on the ground and all, but decided not to mention it.

There was a pause, and then the raven turned on his side to look at him, chewing lightly on his bottom lip. "...I forgot I made you fall down some too."

Tweek flushed a little pink as he unwillingly thought back to that shameful, shameful day. "Erk. Well, i-it didn't hurt that much; I b-bounce b-ngh! Back quickly."

Craig seemed doubtful. Maybe he didn't believe that a mere coffee-addicted mortal could have a greater pain tolerance than his own self. Tweek didn't quite believe it either. Craig shrugged after a minute, turning back to his own pillow. "Sorry again for that."

The blond opened his mouth to tell him it was okay, and technically it was his own fault for being so scared of a game anyway when another loud clap of noise came from all around and he jumped.

"What is that, gah!"

"'s raining, Tweekie." Came the muffled answer.

Tweek knew that Craig was never going to let that go, dammit. He should have gone off to the corner or something when he had made that call...but leaving a newly-resurrected human alone probably wasn't a good idea. Anyway... Tweek cocked his head to the side, listening. Raining?

But yes; as he listened, the hissfwssfwssh he had noticed and subsequently pushed to the back of his mind formed itself into the sound of heavy rain, knocked about by strong winds. And that made the light and noise lightning and thunder. Not bombs falling all over town and slaughtering everyone in the vicinity, or worse, mutating them into carnivorous cannibalistic zombies that wandered the streets in packs, hungry for warm flesh and blood.

As if called, another bout of thunder came and rattled though his bones, and Tweek wished he had picked up his thermos before climbing onto the bed. Even though the coffee was most assuredly cold by now, it would still help. His lips came down in a pout, and he noticed his face felt kind of stiff. Oh yeah, he still had all that marker on his face. He should probably go wash it off now before it became permanently attached to his face or something. Argh, there was no way he could go to school like that! Shuddering, he told Craig he was gonna go to the bathroom and quickly stepped out into the hall, entering and closing the door behind him.

Tweek took the chance to take a much-needed pee before he turned to the mirror, washing his hands as he stared at his reflection. The markers really were washable; they were already fading from his skin, more so from his left cheek where he had been resting on the floor. He turned on the water and lathered his hands in soap, taking several deep breaths and closing his eyes before scrubbing at his face vigorously. He was especially careful around his eyes, and tried to stop his hands from getting too shaky as he rubbed the near-permanent bag under his eyes. Just when he could take it no longer, he dipped his hands into the stream of water and splashed his face a couple times, gasping in air. Tweek frowned as he checked the mirror again, wiping his face with some toilet paper. Okay, well, that wasn't too bad, maybe a few more washes would take care of it all...

By the time he made his way into Craig's room again, his face was pink from so much rubbing and his eyes weren't too far off in color; he'd accidentally gotten some soap in them during that last scrub. Tweek twitched, resisting the urge to swipe at his eyes again. He'd probably left it too late; the pink had disappeared completely, most likely hiding in his skin color, but it was the black that had stained into his face. He looked like he was sporting two fierce black eyes, a dirt-smudged nose, and the ink left in the crevices of his lips made it seem like he'd had his mouth split in four different places. He wondered about the consequences of asking Craig to borrow a mask of his. Surely he had some spares lying around.

Craig was still lying sprawled over his bed, but he'd turned his head halfway to the side, staring sleepily at the muted television while his left hand clutched at the remote. His eyes flickered over to Tweek as he came in; the blond met his gaze resolutely, daring him to say something.

"Did you get into a fight with the sink?" The little prick was even smirking at him, the nerve!

Tweek would have growled at him, if he'd thought he could pull it off without his twitches turning into some kind of demented whine. He settled for the nastiest glare he could manage (not very nasty at all), and climbed back up on the bed, but not before snatching up the six-tiered rectangle puzzle from the bookshelf. was his favorite of the puzzles Craig had. The rain kept up its chorus of hisses in the background as the two faded into silence, and Tweek could have almost thought the other had fallen asleep if it weren't for him changing the channels every so often.


This is really quiet.

Yeah, its called silence, he thought snidely.

Rude. Tweek imagined his mind to pin him with an offended gaze. Just thought we'd all be discussing something.

Like what?

Like the mask, you fool.

Oh. ...oh. Tweek fiddled a bit with the puzzle in his hands glancing up at the back of Craig's head. He couldn't see the scar from this angle, but he could see the knot of cloth, still looped around his neck. He had promised to tell him the secret, right? The real secret. Tomorrow...which was today! He pushed a puzzle piece around slowly; should he bring it up?

Nah...Craig would bring it up himself eventually, right? He promised...

Tweek nipped at his bottom lip, tasting the faint vestiges of bitter ink on his tongue as he kept silent. A few more minutes passed, and Craig settled on a horror movie from Syfy. He carefully averted his eyes; the CGI was terribly done, but he had watched enough of these things to know he didn't need to add an octopus-shark hybrid to an ever-growing list of fears from shitty indie horror films. He should just ask; it wasn't like there was anything else capturing his attention right now. He had a feeling Craig was gonna fall asleep during the movie anyway.

He pushed the puzzle apart. "Hey...Craig?"


"Uhhh..." He wavered a little, hands twitching before he gave up. "I-I'm gonna go get -ngh- coffee o-okay?"

Craig made a little grunt noise that Tweek took to mean 'okay', and he got up to go down the hall again, cursing his weak will. Dangit, why couldn't he just spit it out! He had asked yesterday night right? Sure Craig hadn't actually told him anything...but he had done it! Fuck...

Sighing, he went down the treacherous staircase and turned into the kitchen, bumping into a wall. Or...he thought it was a wall. He stumbled back, and the first thought in his head was amazement that Craig had somehow gotten to the kitchen before him, because the only person he ever ran into like this was Craig. Then his mind caught up with him and he paled; this was much too wide to be Craig Tucker. He looked up to see a tall, tall, balding man glance down at him with furrowed brows, as if wondering who would dare to get in his way. He glimpsed eyes the same icy blue, a nose in the exact same shape and a lifting brow oh so familiar, before a big middle finger was shoved in his face and the man left in the direction of the living room.

Tweek darted into the kitchen, breathing quickly. Wow. Wow. He hadn't seen Craig's dad since middle school ceremony, but the man was as big and intimidating as ever. He wondered if Craig would grow up to be that tall as an adult. Well, he was pretty tall already, but his dad was huge!

Breathing a sigh of relief, he moved to the coffeemaker, putting his thermos to the side to fiddle with the settings before pulling out filters and coffee grounds. At least he hadn't been eaten. The guy had looked like he could have eaten someone of Tweek's size three times over. And still have room in his belly for dessert. Tweek wondered vaguely what tall people ate to get so big, and contemplated the risks of asking Craig's dad to let him in on the secret. Surely a few extra inches could help him in his endeavors. Like getting the good coffee grounds from the top shelf of the pantry, or as a deterrent to the old man perverts lurking around the house. They liked their prey small enough to carry, and if he were a little taller, maybe they would leave him alone.

He had just settled back to wait for the coffee to be ready when a hand landed on his shoulder; after a moment of once again displaying his prodigious playing dead skills, he cracked open an eye to see Craig gazing down at him. His eyes didn't give much away, but the corner of his mouth was upturned in a way that let Tweek know he was close to laughing.

Oh the wonders of a maskless face, he thought once more.

He picked himself off of the floor, tugging his shirt into place. Craig brushed some invisible dust off of his arm; Tweek appreciated the gesture in the way anyone scared of the germs in dust was.

"Decided I wanted some coffee too." The other said as a way of explanation. Tweek nodded and they once more lapsed back into silence...or would have really but Tweek still had a few questions.

"S-so your dad..." he tried being smooth. It didn't go so well. "He's pretty -ngh- tall."


" where is your f-family from a-again?"


"Your -erk- family. Wouldn't from, say, Eastern E-Europe?"

Craig looked over at Tweek, raising an eyebrow in a silent question. Tweek narrowed his eyes at him, studying his face carefully for any distinguishing marks. "What, Tweek."

"Are you a half-giant?"

The deadpan look Craig responded with could have come straight out of a manga; the blond flushed. "W-well your dad is super tall..."

"Giants are like fifty feet tall. Does he look fifty feet tall to you?"

"Giants are part fairy! Ngh, they could cast a g-glamour or something..."

The coffeemaker dinged and Craig actually managed to beat Tweek to grab the coffeepot, giving his hand a sharp smack; Tweek recoiled with a defeated whine. "How do you even know this stuff?"

Tweek pouted. "I-I read..."

The raven rolled his eyes, grabbing Tweek's thermos from the counter along with his own cup. "Reading some weird stuff, Tweekie."

"Oh my God stop it with that my mom likes nicknames okay, argh!"

"Sure, Tweekie."

The blond made a strange hissing noise in the back of his throat, snatching his thermos back sullenly as the other finished with it. He took a sip. "You put in too much sugar. Also it's missing some -ngh- milk." He informed Craig snippily.

Craig took a sip from his own cup, lips scrunching up at the corners. "Huh. Well maybe if you taught me how to make coffee right or something it'd be better."

Tweek gasped indignantly. "You don't t-teach coffee, it's an art. You h-have to f-f-feel it."


In his mind, Tweek rose up to his full height (not very much but hey he could dream) and berated Craig so thoroughly the other had no choice but to bow down and concede to his coffee wisdom and work in the coffee shop for a month as punishment; in reality, he just grumbled a bit and took back Craig's cup to fix the drink right himself. He decided to stop beating around the bush and actually ask the question that had been on the tip of his tongue for the last five minutes. "A-are you gonna tell me now? How you g-got that scar?"

Craig froze in the middle of drinking some coffee; Tweek saw his throat give off a small spasm as he swallowed. He remained quiet for a moment; his thumb swept slowly around the rim of his cup, around and around and Tweek decided to watch that instead of the glower that was settling on Craig's face. It was possible this might not have been the best idea. However, nothing happened. Craig didn't fling hot coffee at his face or whip out a ninja sword or even toss him out into the rain outside; he nodded, and gestured for them to go back upstairs.

Tweek followed with a sort of mounting excitement. This was it. He was finally gonna get some answers. He was finally gonna know.

Sitting down on the bed again, Tweek waited while Craig closed the door and put his cup on the bookshelf, scooting back on the bed until his back hit the wall, his fingers going up briefly to touch the mask around his neck. Another short silence.

"It's really stupid." He muttered. The blond wisely kept his mouth shut, clenching his hands on his thermos to keep them still. Craig surprised him by laughing a bit, but it sounded off. Forced. "Really really fucking stupid."

Tweek was gonna say something, but Craig shot him a look, fierce and hot, and he decided it would okay for him not to speak for a while. The raven breathed out silently. "Sorry, just...c'mere." He patted the space next to him and Tweek slid over, bumping his shoulder on his friend's.

Another exhale. "Happened right after school ended freshman year...maybe a week or two after we got out or something I think, it was close, right? Can't remember how many it really was or anything who even—" Craig broke off suddenly, one hand entangling in the hem of his shirt. It reminded Tweek of what he did when he was nervous. He blinked. Was Craig...scared?

The raven's eyes were fixed on his covers. He didn't look up. "Sorry."

The silence this time was tense, and the blond's skin prickled underneath it. He watched the other's free hand join the first, clenching so tightly around the shirt his knuckles turned white.

"I was walking. Don't remember where. It was the afternoon, and I had plenty of time to do what I know? Didn't have anything important to do..." Blue eyes flickered over to him, and he nodded quickly, urging him to continue.

"I was walking, and then this guy grabs me, out of the fucking blue. Middle of the street, plain daylight, and I get jumped by some guy." Craig laughed again, but it was still wrong, and it ended too quick. Hands twisted around and around in the fabric. "This asshole's caught me by surprise, and he's dragging me around a building telling me to be quiet or some shit, if I know what's good for me.

You know they tell you to never go quietly if something happens. You gotta scream or make a commotion or something. Bring attention to yourself. But it all happened so fast, you don't exactly get the time to figure out what you're gonna do. I was walking, and now I'm behind in an alley and some random fucker's got a knife in my face. One of those big...those big butcher ones people chop up chicken with." Tweek twitched at the thought and the raven grimaced. "Not exactly the choice weapon you hear about when you get mugged...he tells me to give him all the money I got. Everything, and anything expensive I might have on me. Sixteen years old and this dumb dick thinks I'm...I dunno, running a bank in my pockets. I don't..I don't even remember what I have on me anymore. Not any money, I don't think."

Tweek wanted to ask if the guy had gotten mad, if he didn't believe him, if maybe that was were the scar had come from, but he didn't. Something about Craig's face told him there was a bit more of the tale to tell.

"You'd be scared right?" The raven laughed and this time it was a little better, a little softer. "You'd be shitting your pants, Tweek."

The blond smiled a little sheepishly, deciding to play along. "P-probably."

"I was supposed to be scared. Scared and begging for my life or something. But no...I wasn't scared. I was mad." Craig scowled, and his words were a hiss now. "I was so fucking pissed. This...this guy just...up and threatens me, with a stupid butcher knife, trying to rob me in plain daylight, what...this was the stupidest bullshit I'd ever seen. I thought I'd hung out with those four assholes so long enough, their dipshit adventures were rubbing off on me. Man, fuck that.

I punched him in the face."

Tweek's eyes widened. "R-really?"

"Hell yeah I punched him straight in the eye. I was mad and this guy was ruining my day. He dared to get in my way when I'm minding my own business! I wasn't gonna roll over like some dog, I was gonna make sure this asshole never got in my way again." He stopped, his voice low. "I thought I was some big hero. I'm...we're just kids, Tweek. Doesn't matter what we think. We're just kids."

Tweek didn't know what to say to that. Craig went on after a second.

"He hadn't expected me to fight back. After I punched him he tripped and went down, so I start kicking. I was whaling on the guy; pretty sure I told him to pick his victims better next time or some dramatic bullshit like that. God I was stupid. I didn't even see the other guy come up behind me. The first asshole hadn't come alone, he had backup. He...he hit—"

Craig swallowed, and Tweek could see it, hard and painful like when you're sick and your throat hurts no matter what you do. The raven's head twitched like he was trying to shake off a fly, and he swallowed once more, back tense and stiff.

"He hit me from behind with something. A pole or something. It sounded like metal when it hit me. It hurt. It was right in the back of my head and the next thing I knew I was on the ground. I could hear them talking to each other and I think they started hitting me again. M'head hurt too much to tell. Probably though, 'cuz I had some cracked ribs later. Then the first guy starts talking to me." His eyes were burning holes in the covers, hunched in on himself like he expected something dangerous to come bursting in the room. His hands trembled slightly. Tweek wasn't feeling too good anymore; his excitement had faded into a throbbing horror in the middle of his chest as the story went on. He didn't want to hear any more about what had happened, but it was too late to go back and it was his fault Craig was all tensed up like he was now.

He reached forward slowly, tentative fingers wrapping around the other's wrist. He almost expected Craig to push him away but instead the raven latched onto his hand tightly, squeezing it hard.

"I think he lifted me up, and he says something to me, most likely some stupid dramatic shit like I pulled on him. Then I cough on him. I remember that, because it hurt. I didn't feel them hitting me but it hurt when I coughed, like all of my bones were breaking inside of me. Then he gets mad. I'm on the ground again and he starts smacking at me with the knife. You can't really stab with something like that, you have to sort of...hack at things. He hits me a few times on the chest, then he sort of...stops. And he gets real close, real real close, like my vision's kind of blurry but I can see the shape of him, right. And he puts the knife on my face and just...brings it down. Slowly. You see those commercials where they show you how sharp these thins are, like cutting through bone and stuff, and this is...well my skin was like paper. Kind of just," He made a swip noise. "Fell apart."

If there had been food in Tweek's stomach, he was pretty certain it would have been all over Craig's sheets right now.

"And then they left me. They left me, didn't even bother taking what I had, lying on the fucking ground, in the middle of some dirty, shithole alley, bloodied up, practically dying, and they LEFT ME!" Craig's voice rose to an almost shriek, and his nails dug into Tweek's palm so hard he whimpered a little. Craig paused, shh-ing him softly, his other hand going up to pat Tweek's in an absent sort of way.

"...don't know if someone heard or saw what was happening, but I end up at the hospital. Had a concussion, a couple cracked ribs, stitches on my chest, and the motherload of them on my face. Only good thing about it was I was so doped up I couldn't feel any of it. I was there for a couple days. It was kinda short, but I didn't really wanna stay there anyway, good drugs or not. I told my mom and dad to not tell anyone. I didn't...didn't want anyone to find out. I was ashamed, and embarrassed. And...mad. I was still mad. All the time, just pissed off that I had let them whoop me so easily, and I kept thinking that maybe I didn't try hard enough, I wasn't quick or strong enough and it was my fault that had happened to me. ...the doctor had told me that if I left everything alone, everything would heal up right. The bruises would fade and my ribs weren't that bad off. Even the cuts from the knife had been clean and neat enough that they would just end up thin little white scars. Would barely even be able to see them, she said." He scoffed, disgusted. "She wanted me to feed from a fucking tube. Shouldn't actually chew anything, she said, 'cuz it would mess with the stitches. Nothing but food smoothies for who knew how long. I didn't listen to her, didn't want to listen to her. Felt like I was a fucking coward for even thinking about it. It hurt to eat normally but I did it anyway. Nobody said anything 'cuz they knew how angry I was, I almost hit Ruby when she said I should just listen to the doctor. I did hit my dad when he said the same thing. He just bought me a punching bag instead and told me to leave the family alone. I hung it up in the basement and punched that around a few times, even though my ribs hurt too."

He was still patting Tweek's hand, holding it close and firm. It lay on Craig's knee now, but Tweek didn't move it.

"I was back in the hospital in less than two weeks with blood poisoning. I didn't leave my room, didn't talk or call anyone, avoided my mom and dad...I started eating at night in my room so no one saw when my face got infected by all the food and shit. It started getting puffy, and brown, and it bled around the stitches, and popped a couple. The cut turned kind of black around the edges, filled with pus, and it hurt. All the time, every minute, every day, like I was getting cut all over again. Not even painkillers made it go away. It got so bad I came down with a fever, and I couldn't see anything out of my eye, it was so puffed up. My mom caught me one day when I was passed out in my room from the fever, and I woke up in the hospital. Again. I almost died." A squeeze, and Tweek squeezed back, biting on his lip. The thought of Craig being...gone, dead, and having never known it made his lungs seize up in an uncomfortable way. Craig was his friend, he didn't want him to die.

The raven coughed. "Sorry, this...this is a lot of words." He hadn't spoken so much in a long while, was the translation. Tweek could understand. In the time he'd known him, he'd always been a man of short sentences, not speeches.

"Anyway...the same doctor told me I had pretty much fucked myself over. The infection was gonna slow down my healing time, and my face was gonna have the worst scar any idiot ever had." He shrugged in a hopeless sort of way. "Serves me right I guess." The blond wanted to protest but Craig was still speaking. "So my ribs and chest get better by the time school starts, but my face doesn't. Still kind of swollen and red and ugly as shit. Didn't want to go to school. Didn't want anyone to pity me." The word was a sneer. "Still angry at everything, and everyone. So I ordered a couple of these online." His hand briefly left Tweek's to touch the mask around his neck, but returned quickly to his petting motion. "I thought they looked kind of cool. And then no one would see the gash on my face and all of the new stitches."

Tweek suddenly understood something. "S-so when you fought th-that guy...that's why you -ngh- bled?"

"Yeah, I pulled my stitches again. I was looking for a fight anyway. Just looking for a reason to get back at somebody for all the fucked up shit, I didn't care who it was."

"But...then Clyde d-didn't do anything, he—"

"No, that fucker left me." Craig's voice turned cold and dark. "He ran away just like everybody else, didn't even bother to ask what had happened or anything. He. Left. Me." A shuddering breath ran through him and then he was back to normal. "I could get you running away, even if it made me mad. You were always scared of everything. But he...he was my best friend. I trusted him. I...trusted him to understand, and he didn't even give me a fucking chance."

Tweek squeezed his hand again. Craig smiled faintly.

"I just sort of...entertained myself after that. Gamed a lot, watched a lot of TV, went online...told myself I didn't need anybody else. Used the punching bag on bad days, but people started picking fights with me a lot after that so I guess I used them for practice. Got better at defending myself against a lot of people so it wasn't all a waste." He gnawed at his lip for a sec. "The mask had to do with it. Freaked people out, like you. But I didn't change was easier that way, you know? People asked less questions, and it kind of gave people a reason to start shit with me and I was okay with that in the beginning, when I was angry so much...

"And I was alone for a year and a half until you decided to punch me in the face trying to give back my folder and make up for it by making me coffee."

Tweek choked out a giggle, flushing. "Sorry..."

Craig laughed quietly with him, falling silent after a while. "And that's it I guess."

"Are you...a-are you still angry?"

He shrugged.

They sat together for a while, listening to the rain outside, before Craig gently let go of Tweek's hand, looping an arm around his shoulders instead. "...thanks."

Tweek didn't see the need to answer, instead just settling for hugging his friend back.

He didn't like the story behind Craig's scar, but he was glad, somehow, that he had heard it.

They took another nap before Tweek had to leave, and Craig had a grin on his face when he'd asked Tweek if he'd "needed a hand to hold when crossing the street".

The coffee lover had aimed, and missed, a kick at his knee.

"Don't worry mommy now, Tweekie, you remember what she told you."

"I w-will cut you in your sleep."

"The stutter ruined it."

"Craaaig." Tweek whined.

The other grinned his lopsided grin. "Okay, okay." He handed him an umbrella. "Don't forget the increase in acid rain over the last five years in Colorado."

Tweek's nails made an uncomfortable scratching noise on the outside of the thermos. "Fucking hell." He tossed his friend the best glare he could, glancing out nervously into the gray drizzle before stepping outside.

Craig scratched lightly at his tip of his scar. "Bye Tweekie."


Craig's mom lounged back on the couch, supposedly watching the basketball game playing on the television; instead her ears were perked toward the exasperated shrieks of the Tweak boy outside of the door. Out of the corner of her eye she could see her son leaning against the doorway. It was so close to the living room she could see his grin, and hear his small laugh. She kept her sigh of relief internal, unwilling for Craig to realize she was watching them.

It had been a long while since she had seen him so relaxed instead of tight and tense, waiting in the corner like a powder keg near a lit match. It was a good change, and one a long time in coming, in her oh-so-humble opinion. He was...better now, than he had been before. More sure of himself. More in control.

When Craig closed the door a few seconds later to wander into the kitchen, he touched at his face again, but didn't put on the mask.

She allowed herself a little smile, though it came out as a smirk seemingly directed at the TV screen. Good changes.

Very good changes.

As he tripped over the third black cat on his way home, Tweek restrained his excited noises. He knew! After so much time, so many thoughts and fears and nights and dreams he finally knew just what lay under that mask, and how it had gotten there! Even if it was a terrible scar, and an even more terrible story. His mind reminded him it probably wasn't right to be so happy about this, but he was all a jumble instead and couldn't answer it properly. He couldn't tell what he was feeling, back and forth between excitement and horror, pity and triumph, but he knew and Craig trusted him enough to tell him and show him and ARGH OLD MAN PERVERTS!

He ducked under the reach of one, almost dropping Craig's umbrella and his own thermos on the wet ground below as he ran for home even faster. God dammit, why were they always after him, all of them smiling so often and widely and just being so danged creepy! Why did they even bother wearing such nice suits anyway, did they think he was going to fall for their dapper clothing and follow them into their white vans of death and disembowelment like some drugged up puppy? Never! He hoped the books in their hands got soaked in the rain and they couldn't dry them out properly so they got all moldy and nasty.

Tweek tripped over another cat and flailed, narrowly dodging the last pervert and sprinting up his street. He was free! He was free, and mostly dry and totally unharmed and he KNEW, FINALLY GOD YES HE KNEW; Craig was his friend, everything was good, God, he was most likely gonna explode from all the conflicting emotions cooped up inside of him!

Fuck, he hated explosions.