A/N: Oh god...it's been waaaay too long again, hasn't it? I'm sorry guys :( I've been really busy lately and there have been A LOT of problems in my personal life. I won't bore you with the details, but things have just been kinda sucky lately...
On a different note, holy crap guys! This story now has over 100 reviews! :D Thank you all SO SO much! I can't even believe it!
I also realize that I forgot to thank the people who reviewed chapter 7, so a HUGE thank you to Riverofwind25, insideInsomnia, karolinami132, Guest, SugarPrincess42, AllieHasStyle, Angecael Gliorixx, Vanguard Bunny, xSucksToYourAss-marx, Amberr-Lynn, FallenAngelWolf aka lilysmom09, Anonymously Missing, Seneschal, xXCookieDoughXx, WxTxR, EmotionalDisaster666, Bambi4ever, and S.E. Mellark. You guys are AWESOME!
And for chapter 8, thank you to Schizo Zombie Kitten, NimNimAwesome, Guest, Kendimo, pkiri, stan-kyle, Love MiLou, sachi-sama, NekoPuppet, Angecael Gliorixx, Kid, soniccane, Hubajoob, DarkAeon, Anonymously Missing, Riverofwind25, FallenAngelWolf aka lilysmom09, ADeadBlackRose, Bambi4ever, insideInsomnia, dotdotdanii, WxTxR, Seneschal, and Jsjxhs. Wow that's a lot of you O.O I love you all!
Enjoy the chapter!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything...
IMPORTANT: So I know that has been taking down stories lately. If this story ever gets taken down, I have made a LiveJournal account ( xxtweekersxx . livejournal . com - just remove the spaces). I'll be posting the story there too soon, so you can always find it again :)
They buried him just outside of the camp at the foot of one of the many bare, dead trees. Token found this hilarious. Of course they would bury a dead person at the roots of a dead tree. He withheld a chuckle and looked to his right, wanting to share his little observation with Clyde.
But Clyde wasn't there.
Clyde was dead.
Clyde was buried in front of him at the roots of a dead tree.
He couldn't hold in the laugh this time. It burst through his lips and left his body with the force of a freight train, making his ribs and chest ache painfully in a manner that they never had before. But it didn't sound like a laugh. Not at all. It almost sounded like a sob. But why would he be crying? The situation was funny. Just so fucking hilarious. He noticed that the people standing near him were sending him worried looks. But he didn't care.
Clyde was dead.
Clyde was buried at the roots of a dead tree.
And it was just so fucking funny that he could barely contain himself. Because, really, who dies from a cut – only about three inches long – on their leg? Clyde was obviously fucking with all of them. Any moment now, he would come crawling out of the earth, whining about the dirt and snow in his hair. And they would all laugh at his prank – his fucking hilarious prank. But Clyde didn't crawl out of the ground.
Clyde was dead.
Clyde was buried at the roots of a dead tree.
Clyde was also an asshole, Token decided. What kind of person manages to get cut at a fucking steel mill? And what kind of person manages to get infected blood into the cut? The cut that was only three fucking inches long? And that's just the kicker. The asshole had survived their hometown being overrun; he had survived Telluride and the supermarket in Iowa. Clyde has survived the apocalypse for fucks sake.
But now Clyde was dead.
Clyde was dead.
Clyde was dead.
And Token was alone.
It was snowing when Stan woke up. He stumbled out of the tent he was sharing with Kenny and Butters, pulling his jacket more tightly around him as he stared in awe at the white sheet covering the breath came out in faint wisps of clouds that swiftly disappeared in the morning light. None of his friends seemed to be awake. The camp was void of any activity except Christophe and Gregory, who were huddled together by one of the tables discussing something in hushed voices. Stan watched them quietly, fixated on the way the frigid wind blew through Christophe's messy brown hair. For a brief moment, he allowed himself to picture a shorter, chubbier brunette in Christophe's place, wrapped in a red jacket and whining loudly about being hungry. He wasn't surprised when he felt his eyes well up with tears.
It had been three days since they buried Clyde. The emotional wounds left by the death of their close friend were still excruciatingly painful. Clyde's death had been hard on everyone, especially on Token. Stan shivered as he recalled how Token had broken down once they had buried Clyde. The dark-skinned teen had laughed like a madman before bursting into tears and screaming something about Clyde being an asshole. He had been an utter mess for at least an hour afterwards until he finally passed out from sheer exhaustion. Stan hadn't seen him since. He knew that Craig and Tweek had taken him into their tent and spent most of their time with him, and he could tell by the dark circles under Tweek's eyes and the haggard look on Craig's face that Token was still not doing well. But that was to be expected. Stan was glad that he hadn't been as close to Clyde as Token, Craig, and Tweek had. He felt like a terrible person for feeling that way, but he just didn't know what he would do if he had lost Kyle or Kenny. It had been hard enough losing Cartman – Stan had known him for practically his entire life – and Cartman had been an asshole.
Across the clearing, Christophe said something that made his blonde companion laugh and punch him affectionately. The sight of the two bickering playfully made Stan's heart ache. He missed Kyle, especially now when he really needed a shoulder to lean on.
There was some rustling behind him and he turned to see Kenny sleepily emerging from their tent. The blonde's hair was messy, sticking up in odd places. Kenny didn't seem to mind though; he merely yawned and waved at the noirette, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
"What're you doing up?" Stan asked.
"I could ask you the same question," Kenny replied raising an eyebrow.
"Couldn't go back to sleep," Stan said simply, shrugging and turning back to watch Gregory and Christophe. Kenny came up to stand beside him. Stan, aware of his presence, didn't bother to turn and look at him.
Kenny stood beside him quietly for a minute or two, watching the pair across the clearing, before finally breaking the silence. "You know, I'm sure that if you tried talking to him, he'd listen."
Stan just snorted and looked away.
"Seriously though," Kenny said, voice softening, "Talk to him. He went through something really traumatic, you know. He almost died. And he had to watch someone that he was trying to save get eaten right in front of him. He may not know it, but he really needs you right now. Besides, now is definitely not the time to be arguing. You saw what happened to Clyde. Shit like that could happen at any time. Do you really wanna risk having something happen to him without him knowing how important he is to you?"
Stan felt like he'd been punched in the stomach. "You're more insightful than you look, Kenny," he said jokingly, trying to dispel his discomfort.
"Not sure if that's supposed to be an insult or a compliment," Kenny said, laughing slightly, "But, seeing as you love me so much, I'll take it as a compliment."
Kenny started laughing and, after a brief pause, Stan joined in. He felt a genuine smile grace his lips for the first time since Clyde's death.
The smell of cooking eggs drew Stan's attention. His stomach growled hungrily as his blue eyes scanned the clearing, searching for the source of the smell. While Stan had been talking to Kenny, Gregory and Christophe had abandoned their place by the table. Now, Gregory was poking the fire-pit with a stick, trying to get a fire going. Christophe, who was kneeling beside him, was cracking several eggs into a small frying pan that he was holding over the slowly growing flame.
"I like these guys," Kenny commented, grinning happily, "They feed us!"
Stan rolled his eyes good-naturedly and lightly punched his friend on the arm. Kenny retaliated by grabbing onto Stan's jacket and pulling him towards the other pair of teens.
Christophe and Gregory both looked up when Stan and Kenny appeared in front of them. Christophe immediately dropped his gaze, seeming slightly awkward while Gregory maintained eye contact. Several moments of silence passed before the Brit seemed to snap out of his daze. "Good morning," he greeted, his smile seeming a bit forced and his words a bit cautious, "Did you sleep well?"
Both Christophe and Gregory seemed uncomfortable, though they hid it very well. Stan realized that they were probably worried about how well he and Kenny were dealing with Clyde's death. They had been very careful around the rest of the group ever since Clyde's death, as if afraid that if they said the wrong thing the teenagers would have mental/emotional breakdowns, not unlike Token during Clyde's burial. Stan couldn't blame them for feeling out of their element.
Deciding to dispel the tense atmosphere, Stan gave them a small, but genuine, smile and said, "Well enough; thanks."
Kenny caught on to what Stan was doing. He let an easy grin spread across his face, "Same here. Is that breakfast?" He pointed towards the frying pan.
Gregory visibly relaxed and nodded. "They should be ready for eating soon," he said.
Christophe still seemed tense, but Stan had noticed that he was the less social of the two anyway. The Frenchman finally spoke, addressing Gregory. "We need plates," he said simply.
"Why don't you go get some, I'll finish up here," Gregory told him, taking the frying pan from him.
"Don't burn zem, oui?" Christophe teased.
Gregory blushed, "I am perfectly capable of frying some eggs."
Christophe snickered and said something in French. While Stan didn't know French, it was obvious that Christophe was commenting on British people and their terrible cooking. Gregory glared at him then blushed brilliantly when Christophe added something that Stan didn't understand at all.
"Fetch the radar while you're in the tent, will you? I don't like the look of those clouds." Gregory called after Christophe as he walked away.
The Frenchman held up a hand to show that he had heard.
"I hate him…" Gregory muttered, watching him walk away.
"Sure you do," Kenny laughed.
"How did a Frenchman and a Brit end up travelling around together in America anyway?" Stan asked curiously.
Gregory chuckled dryly, "That is a long story. Christophe has been living with me in London for several years. We have known each other since we were children."
"Are there walkers in Europe too?" Kenny asked.
Gregory nodded, "That's where the outbreak started."
"Yes, just outside of London, actually. We came here to America, hoping that the infection had not already crossed the Atlantic."
"How did you guys get all the way over here?" Stan asked.
"We took a boat."
"And the walkers?"
"I don't even want to know," Gregory admitted, "They were already here when we finally docked."
Christophe returned before Stan or Kenny could ask any more questions.
"Just in time," Gregory commented, taking a stack of paper plates from the brunette and scooping some of the eggs onto them. He then handed them to the hungry teens before him.
Christophe was also holding a small device that Stan had never seen before. He watched, fascinated as Christophe fiddled with it, punching buttons and frowning at the small screen.
"What's wrong, love?" Gregory asked.
"I can't get a signal," the Frenchman grumbled, "I need to get to hig'er ground."
"Fine fine," Gregory said, waving him off.
Christophe rolled his eyes before tucking the small device into his pocket. Kenny and Stan then watched as the Frenchman walked over to the nearest tree and jumped up, grabbing hold of one of its branches. With an impressive display of athleticism, Christophe pulled himself up and began climbing into the sky with seemingly little effort.
"Who are you people?" Kenny asked, watching as the brunette disappeared from sight as the tangle of branches grew thicker.
Gregory laughed but provided no answer. They sat in companionable silence as Stan and Kenny ate. Gregory busied himself making some more food, just in case anyone else showed up. He kept glancing up at the sky. Stan followed his gaze. The sky above him was a mixture of black and grey, sprinkled with small patches of dark blue. The sun's rays were still able to filter through the thick cloud cover, but the light that made it through was dull, casting a greyish tone on the world around him.
A soft thud signaled the return of Christophe.
"Snow storm 'eading zis way," the brunette confirmed, "About forty miles east of us."
"How fast is it moving?" Gregory asked.
"ard to tell. I'd say we 'ave about two 'ours. Maybe less, eef ze wind picks up."
"Nozing too bad."
"Well thank God for small miracles," Gregory muttered. He noticed the worried looks on Stan and Kenny's faces and gave them a small, reassuring smile, "Don't worry, we know what we're doing."
Stan sighed. "So what's the plan?"
Tweek woke slowly, pulling sluggishly away from the warm embrace of sleep. He kept his eyes closed, waiting patiently to come to full awareness as the sounds and smells of the camp assaulted his senses. Breathing out a soft sigh, he curled up onto his side, feeling uncharacteristically calm. With the silence of the camp, it was easy to pretend that he was back home in his warm, safe bed. He could almost smell the coffee that his parents would be brewing. The thought made him sad. His parents were – probably – dead.
Just like Clyde.
That thought alone was enough to bring him back to reality. Slowly, hazel eyes opened, blinking sluggishly as they adjusted to the morning light that was filtering through the material of the tent. Tweek turned over and reached for Craig, needing the comfort of his touch, but his hand only found a cold space beside him. He sat up nervously, glancing around the tent. Token was gone too.
He was alone.
Panicking, Tweek scrambled his way out of his sleeping bag and made for the tent's entrance, pulling on his dark green jacket as he went. The air outside was freezing but it was nothing he wasn't used too.
At first glance, the camp seemed deserted.
'The walkers heard the gunshot yesterday,' the voice in the back of his mind whispered, 'They came and ate all of your friends. Now they're all dead. Just like Clyde.'
Tweek groaned and tugged at his hair, shutting his eyes tightly and mentally screaming for the voice to shut up.
'Craig is dead. The walkers wanted you, but they took him instead.'
'Craig is dead. Craig is dead. Craig is dead.'
He took a deep, calming breath and opened his eyes again.
This time, he noticed the figures gathered around the fire pit.
'The walkers waited for you. They're gonna rip you apart. Just you wait.'
Before Tweek could begin to panic again, he was able to recognize Kenny's head of messy golden hair and his signature orange parka. However, before Tweek could breathe a small sigh of relief, the voice pointed out: 'How can you be sure he's still alive? When he turns around, you'll see. He's dead too. Just like Clyde. Just like Craig.'
Then Tweek saw Stan's face as the noirette turned to say something to his blonde companion. No blood, no lacerations, and a healthy pink tinge to his cheeks. Perfectly healthy. And alive. Tweek couldn't help but feel smug as the voice promptly shut up. He made his way over to his friends, now noticing that Christophe and Gregory were with them. If his other friends were awake, then Craig was probably –
(Dead. Dead like Clyde)
- off doing his own thing. The thought comforted him and the dark murmuring of his subconscious finally faded away completely.
The Frenchman, who was facing Tweek, was the first to notice his approach, dark eyes snapping up to meet his when he was still about twenty feet away. For an instant, Tweek was sure that he saw a glint of wariness in those eyes, but it was gone almost as quickly as it had come. Kenny, noticing that Christophe's gaze was fixed on a point behind him, turned around and offered Tweek a small smile, blue eyes twinkling warmly.
"Hey Tweek," the blonde greeted, "What's up?"
"Do you kn-know where – ngh – Craig is?" Tweek asked.
"He went out to get some firewood," Gregory told him.
"Eef you want to go find 'im, follow ze path be'ind ze supply tent," Christophe added, gesturing towards the break in the trees that was just visible from where the group was standing.
"Th-thanks," Tweek said, ducking his head and leaving them be, hoping that his gait would not betray his anxiety.
Before Tweek was out of earshot, he heard Kenny yell, "Hey Tweek! When you find Craig, bring him back to camp. There's a storm coming and we're gonna need some help preparing!"
Tweek waved a hand to show that he had heard.
The path looked like it had been an old game trail at one point. It wound its way through the trees, barely visible under the snow. But Tweek knew his way. It was the same path he had taken with Craig when they had tracked down Token to tell him about Clyde. The thought made him shiver.
He heard the loud thunk of an axe meeting wood long before he stumbled across the source of the noise. The noise caused him to cringe and twitch nervously, but that was nothing compared to the ache in his chest brought on by the sight of his boyfriend.
Craig was facing him, but his eyes were –
- distant and he gave no indication of noticing Tweek's presence. His movements were robotic: grab a branch; chop it into pieces; push the pieces aside; and repeat.
Tweek stood silently for several minutes, just watching. The pile of chopped firewood grew steadily as Craig worked with strong, angry swings of his axe. Then Tweek noticed the stray tear that was making its way down Craig's face. Taking a closer look, Tweek saw how bloodshot his eyes were and how haggard his face was. He looked so much older than he really was, an image that was only reinforced by the defeated slouch of his shoulders and the way his hands shook even though they were clenching the axe's wooden handle tightly. Tweek could see small reddish patches appearing on the visible parts of Craig's palms and knew that the other boy would have painful blisters there.
Twitching nervously, Tweek pondered how to approach his distraught boyfriend. Had the circumstances been different, there would have been no need to worry. Even in foulest of moods, Craig always managed to make Tweek feel completely comfortable around him. This hesitance and fear of approaching Craig was new to him, and it frightened him even more. He had never felt like this around his boyfriend, even during the period before they started dating. But looking at him now, Tweek found himself holding back. Craig's eyes were –
(Dead. Dead like Clyde)
- distant and clouded with anger, sadness, or, more likely, a mixture of both.
And Tweek didn't know how to handle it.
What do you say to somebody who lost their best friend? What do you say to somebody who lost someone that they considered to be a brother?
This was all just way too much pressure.
While Tweek would always – always – consider Clyde, even in death, to be one of his best friends, their friendship had never been at the same level as Clyde's friendship with Craig. Before Tweek had even met the group of boys who would become his best friends, Craig and Clyde had been practically inseparable.
And on that note, Tweek couldn't help but think of Token. During high school, Token and Clyde had grown very close, probably because Tweek and Craig had been joined at the hip. Tweek hadn't liked the –
- vacant look in Token's eyes during Clyde's burial. At one point, the black teen had broken out in hysterical laughter. The pure insanity of the sound scared Tweek more than anything.
Everything was falling apart.
Token was going mad.
Craig was drifting away.
And it was just way too much FUCKING pressure!
Finally, his body moved and before his mind could catch up, he had closed the distance between himself and his boyfriend. Wordlessly – Tweek didn't trust himself to speak and his painfully dry throat seemed to agree with him – the blonde reached out for the other teen. His wound his arms – shakily but forcefully – around Craig's waist and pulled him close.
"Craig," Tweek whispered, not stuttering for once.
Craig froze and Tweek flinched, afraid that he had done something wrong. Then, all of the tension in the other teen's body melted away and Tweek found himself practically keeping Craig upright. Because Craig was taller and heavier than him, however, his knees quickly gave out and they sunk to the ground. Craig hunched over, burying his face in Tweek's chest and wrapping his arms weakly around him.
"Craig," Tweek whispered again, resting his chin on the top of Craig's head and stroking a hand through his thick, dark hair.
And the floodgates opened.
Tweek could feel his shirt getting wet from Craig's tears, but he didn't care. It was his turn to comfort Craig – Craig, who had always been there for him. It was time to return the favor. So Tweek simply held him, rubbing soothing circles into his scalp and whispering sweet nothings in his ear, as the usually stoic teen broke down in his arms. Tweek could feel tears rising up in his own eyes but he refused to let them fall. It was his turn to be strong.
Clyde was dead.
Clyde was dead.
And nothing would ever be the same.
While Stan was nervous about riding out the storm in the open, he was actually very glad for the dull, mindless work that came with preparing for it. His mind was preoccupied with the task at hand, and not in danger of wandering into dangerous territory, such as thoughts concerning Clyde's death or his ongoing argument with Kyle. He was currently helping Kenny secure the tents as firmly as possible.
Kyle and Butters had joined them shortly after Tweek had gone searching for Craig. Token was still nowhere to be seen, but Stan thought that that was probably for the best. He also hadn't seen Tweek and Craig come back yet, but he wasn't worried. When Craig had disappeared into the woods earlier, he had been wearing a haunted expression, and Stan knew that Tweek and Craig needed some personal space right now.
"The supply tent is completely waterproof and was manufactured to withstand very cold temperatures," Gregory was assuring Kyle, "It's also big enough to hold all of us. We can ride out the storm in it. Trust us; we know what we're doing."
Kyle still looked doubtful, but he said nothing. He just nodded silently before continuing to help Butters gather the cooking supplies by the fire-pit. Gregory, meanwhile, busied himself helping Christophe move the table into the tent.
Stan and Kenny finished securing the tents quickly. Looking around the clearing, he asked Kenny, "Is there anything else that we can move or tie down?"
"I don't really see anything," Kenny said, "If Butters gets that box by the fire and the frying pan I think we should be fine."
"We should look for loose branches in the trees around the clearing, or anything else that can be picked up by the wind," Kyle said, coming up behind them. Stan couldn't help but notice that the redhead seemed to be only talking to Kenny.
"Good idea," Kenny agreed.
Kyle nodded, "Let's get going."
Stan and Kenny followed after the redhead, the former still painfully aware that Kyle was still only talking to Kenny.
Meanwhile, the clouds above them loomed ominously.
A/N: Sorry it's a little short. I had to end up cutting this chapter in half because it got really long...
Let me know if I've made any mistakes or anything like that.
Hope you liked it! I love you all! Thanks for reading! :D