Here's a New Year's present! Also, this chapter is dedicated to Northewind—or Noelle D; I'm not sure how to refer to you, but they drew me a wonderful fan art of Tweek and I absolutely adore it (': And also, just because it's the holiday, here's some sweet My Chemical Romance lyrics.
If you look in the mirror and don't like what you see,
you can find out first hand what it's like to be me.
—The End, My Chemical Romance
Somehow I ended up in Thomas's bedroom with my pants undone and around my thighs. It was an alright space to live in, I supposed. But what I really wanted to look at were the pictures nearly taking up the expanse of an entire wall on the other side of the room because Tweek was in a lot of them and I couldn't really view them from afar because my dick was being graded by the blonde's best friend.
"Well. I see why Tweek didn't want you to take your clothes off." Thomas cleared his throat a bit. "You, my man" —he reached up to put a hand on my shoulder— "have a fantastic penis, and if at any point you want a threesome, I will gladly put my platonic relationship with Tweek aside so we can all just have a good time."
"Thanks for the offer. I don't get ones like that very often. Definitely not from a homo, either." As I was putting myself away, Thomas took a rather indiscreet glance as though to make sure he was satisfied with his opinion.
"Damn it," he swore. "I should've gotten to you first."
I smirked at his regret and said, "It wouldn't have worked out. I think I would've ended up having an affair with your best friend."
"Do you care about him?" Thomas asked, looking up at me with a calamity Tweek couldn't manage.
It wasn't a question that needed pondering. I thought it was pretty obvious myself, but sometimes people just wanted reassurance. To hear it from the source. "Yes," I told him quite honestly. Ever since Stripe, needy people and animals had grown on me. They made me soft just like Tweek and the Julibeagles did. This was no matter of liking him in that specific way, but I was attracted to him and I wanted to put him in a bubble. A bubble made out of Craig.
Thomas smiled. There was no resemblance between his and Tweek's. His lips weren't full like Tweek's and it wasn't as straight. There was a boyish quirk to it instead, one that would've ruptured the innocence of his blonde counterpart. "Good. That's all I want from you. I just want you to take care of him."
"Does everyone mean to underestimate him?" I inquired. "All I ever hear about is how terrible he is at looking after himself. They say it in front of him. Do you guys even realize how degrading that is?"
"Craig," the golden blonde laughed. "He puts up a front for you. You make him try to be stronger when in reality he's like a child: he's impressionable. He thinks the worst of people but believes in the best. Anyone could hurt him and he'd never truly see it coming. Paranoia is his excuse in situations when it could actually help him."
This might've been true, but self-esteem was a big part of what he'd need if he wanted to "get better". To be reminded constantly of your inabilities wasn't going to do that. Not for Tweek and not for the kind of person he was. He was the type that didn't take criticism well.
The direction our conversation was heading was somewhere I didn't want to follow because I didn't want to get angry, so I backtracked by saying, "And he didn't want to see me naked?"
"Good lord, no." The good and the lord made this serious then. God, I was going to have a field day with this one. "I honestly can't even guess as to what his reaction is going to be when he does, which is weird, because Tweek has a very spontaneous predictability to him if that makes any sense. He might go insane or he might just shut down and die. Whatever he does, I don't blame him. I was hoping Kenny had been exaggerating, but no, you are stunning even flaccid."
Fuck yeah, gay boys want my dick. "I'm just going to plan it so he walks in on me naked and if he dies, he dies." I shrugged my shoulders and wandered over to the wall of pictures. They were unframed and stuck to the wall, identical spaces between each one. It was clear that they had been put up as they came, age and growth increasing throughout the multiple rows. The earliest was probably around junior high with Thomas standing before a blank wall. It was a nice introduction.
Tweek made an appearance in a majority of them as well as Kenny, Butters, and others belonging to that specific group. A few stood out to me, ones like Tweek hunched over a toilet mid-vomit which I figured must've been his first drunken experience. Another was of him in the bed of Kenny's truck. Stan was sitting on his back, Kenny had his thumb sticking out the window, and that must've been why he was so against truck beds. There was Tweek and Thomas posing vulgarly with a giant penis made of snow.
I was just getting to the following row when Tweek knocked warily before peeking around the door. "I j-just wanted to make sure that Thomas wasn't giving you head or anything," he murmured, taking a tentative step inside. I didn't know why he was being so shy, but then he saw what I was looking at. He dashed forward and slapped his hand across a picture that I had yet to see. "Thomas! God, you're such an ass!"
"It's not a bad—fuck—picture, dude! If it was, I wouldn't have put it up." When he was given an incredulous look, the golden blonde rolled his eyes. "So he's not allowed to see that picture but he can see the one of you ogling at him in the library?"
"What?" This I wanted to see. I started to scan the previous rows in case I had missed it.
"Thomas!" Tweek cried, lashing out at me with his opposite hand to pull at the neckline of my shirt where he was able to stall my search. I pried his fingers off and scooted out of reach. "Thomas—Craig, please!"
"It's during school, obviously when you still lived here," Thomas explained. "I'd say about tenth grade?" He pointed and I followed his finger in a direction that Tweek couldn't reach because the photograph he really didn't want me to see was just too many columns away.
"Stop it! Why are you d-doing this? Fuck you, Thomas! God, I hate this." His screams were background noise as I stepped toward the wall and inspected the two images making up one enraptured boy's entire expression. The first was just of his face: his parted lips and the distracted, hypnotized look in his eyes. The second was of what he was looking at: me from tenth grade, long hair and dead demeanor.
Tenth grade. Was that the start or an in-between mark? "Alright. One down." I pulled away and started toward Tweek. "One to go."
"No!" He shrieked, pushing at me when I got too close. "Craig, please d-don't do this!" I got his back against my chest where I forced his fisted hand against his body and began to pry at his other. His feet were trying to kick me, butt backing into me to keep me away. "Please, please, please."
"If you don't stop right now, I'm just going to pick you up and throw you on the bed."
His yelling grew heightened at my threat.
"Do it!" Thomas urged. "He'll like that."
Turning his head to pinpoint his best friend with a glare, Tweek ordered, "Shut the fuck up, Thomas." It was a quick second where he lost his composure and I grabbed him from around the waist, hoisting him into the air before he could return to his determined state.
And then I literally said what I was going to do and flung him toward the bed which I hoped he'd make it onto. I didn't have enough time to check because I had to look at the stupid picture while I had the chance. He'd been blowing it much too far out of proportion and I actually very much so liked it. Someone must've hit him or perhaps he'd fallen because his nose was bleeding. The rivulet of blood was staining his lips and glistened similarly with the wetness of his cheeks and the squinted pain in his eyes. They were so clear, their green hue nearly transparent.
There was a story behind it. I'd just never find out what it was because Tweek had rammed into my back and swung his arm around. The collision of his fist and my crotch sent me back to my apartment some time ago where this had happened once before. It stung equal amounts of splitting agony and a throbbing ache. My body buckled and my hands flew toward the wounded area so fast that Tweek's own was caught, pressing between my legs in what I hoped was tormenting for him.
We lowered to the floor, me in a broken heap, the blonde a sputtering mess. Over his repetitious apologies, I could hear Thomas laughing hysterically. It didn't feel funny, though. It hurt and I didn't want to suffer alone. That's why I took Tweek's hand and put it in my pants, covering his own with mine.
"I'm so sorry, Craig." He didn't seem to mind the placement of his hand and smoothed my hair down with his other.
I winced as I shifted against our palms. "You got me so good." My voice was weak, impaired by the condition of my genitalia.
"I'll make it up to you!" Tweek cried, smoothing out my brow line with the pad of his thumb.
Something caught my eye and I tipped my chin up to look at it. It was a single picture, just one surrounded by multiple others. I'd noticed it because of the genuine expression on the blonde's face. His smile was so honest and simplistic and his hair had been shorter, messier. There were newborn kittens crawling on the floor and in his lap.
"I like this one." I pointed it out.
"Why?" Tweek was skeptical. Obviously our views on the photograph were different.
"The kittens." Pausing shortly, I added, "Maybe you."
"I look like a doofus." I wasn't allowed to comment before he said, "I was just r-really happy. I'd never seen a baby cat before and I couldn't hold them but I was allowed to s-sit with them."
He couldn't do one thing but he'd been allowed to do another? My eyes narrowed. "Why couldn't you hold them?"
"Because I would've hurt them," Tweek told me.
"Is that what you thought?" He looked down and bit the inside of his lip. "Or did someone tell you that that's what you would've done?"
It wasn't that I needed an answer. "...I was told not to. J-Just in case." I had only wanted to hear him affirm that he was being belittled unfairly. Somewhere inside of me my dormant anger was irritated for a second time, but I didn't want to get upset so I encased it in a hard shell to prevent any feeling from leaking.
Nodding my head, I removed our hands from my pants and sat up with minimal discomfort. He clasped his fingers together and placed them in his lap. "Hey." I tapped his chin to make him look at me. "You need to stop listening to these people when they tell you this stuff. They're wrong."
His gaze wavered. "It's okay." But he was lying. He was fucking lying because nobody ever liked derogatory treatment and he sounded so small. "They're looking out for me."
This was ridiculous. Tweek was in denial, unaware that he was even lying. A sharp tick resonated against the barricading wall I'd constructed to jail my negative emotions that continued to swell the more I listened to what he was saying, what others had been saying to him.
Grabbing his jaw, I forced our eyes to reconnect. "I am looking out for you."
"You're getting shit from everyone else and you put up with it. It's insulting to you, Tweek." When he tried to look away, I dipped my head to follow him. "You have relationships with people. You have friends. It's okay to tell them to shut the fuck up when they're wrong."
The blonde rolled his eyes and scoffed. "What else are they going to do?" His tone of voice was one of self-depreciation. "What am I if I can't be babied?"
"Tweek," Thomas said, offended. He didn't like his best friend's outlook and neither did I.
I shook my head because it was phenomenal how lowly Tweek's own thoughts were about himself. "I'm going to go smoke," I said, letting him go as I stood up.
"Are you mad?" He asked, voice faint.
Walking out the door, I muttered, "I'm getting there" and left. A few steps later I heard Thomas ushering Tweek out to follow me but I didn't see him until I was already sitting outside with my cigarette lit and a plume of smoke exiting my mouth. He got down on his butt next to me and sat in a similar position with his arms around his knees.
We didn't say anything and frankly I didn't feel like talking. So I considered this place instead and thought about how South Park was a distinct town. You got inside of it and felt a unique presence emitting from the earth, the people, the atmosphere. It manifested itself in the townsfolk, grew up with us, so even when you did get away like Token, Clyde, and I, there was no actual getting away. South Park was a permanent funk and everyone always knew that this place was where you were from.
It was like the town manufactured its own genes and that was where all of our quirks originated from. The strangest things only ever happened here. I think it was safe to assume that Tweek could be considered one of those. South Park had literally gotten to him. Maybe he had an extra chromosome engineered specially by the town itself. Maybe if he ever had children, he'd pass it on and give birth to a little South Park sunflower or something.
Halfway through my cigarette, I leaned back and rested in the grass. It was evening, the sky a blank blue since the clouds were following after the drifting sun. I tugged on the blonde's shirt and he mimicked me by laying down. He remained stiff and doubtful, a board at my side rather than cuddly the way I knew he wanted to be.
To ease his apprehension, I slid my arm beneath his head and used the same hand to prop up my own. "I didn't mean to make you mad," he murmured almost immediately.
Despite my mood, I smirked. "I'm not mad at you and I'm not mad at you. I just don't like the way you think."
"I'm sorry," he apologized.
"It's fine. One day things will change. I'm good at waiting." There was never anything to do but wait.
"You t-think I'll get better?" Tweek wondered, pondering the idea.
His question got a laugh out of me. "Just because you think poorly of yourself doesn't mean that you're ill, Tweek."
"But what about everything else that's wrong with me? I—I know you don't think so, but I do. And I don't want to take medication for the rest of my life. I'll have twice as much as everybody else by the time I'm an old man!"
"That just means you can get high all the time," I told him. "And I'll be jealous because mine's not as good as yours and all I'm going to have are stool softeners or something."
Only a corner of his mouth lifted briefly. He was looking down at his feet and I wondered if that was what he felt like. Nobody ever liked feet. "I..." Tweek trailed off, seeming to collect himself and his words. They came out slow, disconnected almost. "I don't l-like you knowing everything that's wrong with me and the pills I take or how often I take them." He paused. "I want you to forget."
Forgetting was a rare occurrence, though. Something had to be particularly irrelevant or useless to be able to let it go. The blonde's medication and schedule were important and I just couldn't do that. So I said the only thing that I could. "I don't think I know how."
He nodded his head and sucked on his bottom lip. "Can you recite it then?"
"Zoloft for insomnia. Propranol for anxiety. Risperdal for your stutter. Celexa for your OCD. Prozac for paranoia. Before bed, three to four times a day, once or twice, morning or evening—" I felt like a robot and it barely even registered when Tweek cut me off.
"None of that classifies a regular p-person. You know that, right? Normal people don't have my issues."
As though he was some type of alien species. "That's a bit extreme, but yes."
"Then why do you try to tell me that it's okay?" He asked, voice a notch higher, desperate.
"Because that's just the way you are." I knew he wouldn't be content with that, so I continued. "Thomas is living with a neurological tic and it's never going to go away. Butters has a stutter identical to yours. Cartman was born a goddamn idiot and Kenny's had to treat himself for STD's. These are people that are around you and they are fine. They take care of themselves and they live with it. The only one who might die is Kenny, but that's his own damn fault."
For a long moment, the blonde was silent. I could see him from my peripheral and took the tightness of his jaw into account. The strictness of his expression wasn't telling me good things and I wondered if this was going to be our first verbal fight. I didn't want to be like Clyde and his woman. I didn't want to make Tweek lose.
"Then why is my list so long? Why..." —he situated his jaw in order to speak around the tension— "Why is everything wrong with me? I wasn't born like this. My mom didn't have a mental baby. I grew up and it—they all just a-attached themselves to me. Every fucking year it was something new and I couldn't stop them. I'm not in control and it's hard when I don't know what I'm doing, Craig. I-I can't do anything right. Jesus Christ, I can't even grow up right!"
His outburst shot through my skull. It was a clean cut and began filling up with all of these things I could've said. I had every option, every direction to go in, but what came out was, "Nobody ever has control." Tweek scoffed, wanting to be put in a different category from everyone else. He wanted the separation and to be alone. "That's just the way it is. You make a decision and then the outcome is random because things happen the way they want to and people make their own decisions and sometimes things correspond and sometimes nothing ever works out. Control," I said. "It just isn't possible."
"Nothing is possible for me, Craig." He sat up and looked back at me. "So what the hell did I do to deserve this?" He motioned toward himself like he was the problem and fisted the grass to ground himself. "What decision did I make that gave me the random outcome of f-fucking crazy. All I am is Celexa and Prozac and Risperdal and bad dreams and a patient. I'm just a patient who's only getting worse and it doesn't feel good! It feels like I'm useless and that's all I've ever known!"
"Jesus—fuck." I had to sit up and put my face in my hands, laughing because this was so stupid. "That's not true! You are so sure of yourself when it comes to me. You're not any of that bullshit you just said. I'm all you are. I'm what you have confidence in. Me and this bigass crush that you can't get over!" His stare was wide-eyed, pupils down to pinpoints as he faced the sun and the green was too intense. "Build a backbone off of that, Tweek. Use me."
We watched each other as my pulse fluttered in my veins. I couldn't recall the last time I'd gotten so worked up but it felt pretty nice. It was one of those things a body needed to do to be able to run efficiently again. A release of steam that swept up the crud and grease building in the crevices of a rational mind. It was similar to an orgasm—the focused thoughts; the absence of biased, pent up stress—and I had to make a mental note to research if the two opposite events really did produce the same effect.
My conscious mind picked up movement and I returned from my stupor to see Tweek shaking his head. "I don't want to m-mess up. I'll do everything all wrong."
Cute, I thought.
But I didn't want him to see me smile so I leaned forward and placed my forehead against the back of his shoulder, resting there. "Messing up is inevitable and being scared of that is normal. If it happens, then you get over it. If it doesn't, then you had no reason to be scared in the first place."