Microphobia, fear of small things. Make way for the Creek!
Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it. ~Henry S. Haskins
I, Craig Tucker, am absolutely fucking terrified of Tweek Tweak.
Let me explain.
When I was twelve, my little sister had a kitten that gave birth to a litter of five. They were adorable, sweet, fuzzy... Cute. Like Stripe. But I didn't realize how tiny, how fragile they really were until Ruby put one in my palm.
It was a week old, and it's name was Cupid. It was the runt of the litter, all black and minuscule. I curled my fingers around it carefully, awed, and it mewled pitifully. It took me a second to realize I was holding it too tight, but by then it was already being ripped from my grasp with a furious, "You're hurting him, you brute!"
From that moment on, small things scared the shit out if me-especially since I'm big for my age and have a hard time controlling my strength.
Relate that back to Tweek. He's five foot one (and three sevenths, he'd insist), ninety pounds (ninety three!) and just fucking tiny. I'm six two, a hundred and sixty pounds. I dwarf him.
Of course, it wasn't until about a month ago that I really noticed. We had always been near each other, and sometimes you just don't notice, I guess. But I picked him up -with ease, might I add- and lifted him to eye level. I froze. He writhed a little, spazzing out, and I looked down to see that his feet were hanging a foot off the ground.
I dropped him. He stumbled into me, and the top of his head reached a little more than halfway up my torso, near where my chest started. I backed up, startled, and Tweek gave me a concerned glance. I imagine I must have paled. Token rested an elbow on his shoulder casually, emphasizing his vertical issue, and I flinched.
I addressed the darkly skinned teen frantically. "Token." I demanded, "Has he always been this fucking tiny?"
He rose an eyebrow at me carefully. "Yes." he replied simply, probably secretly enjoying my brief lapse in apathy. Tweek looked a little hurt.
"I don't like small things..." I ventured, a little nervous. Tweek tugged his hair uncertainly and I didn't reach out to stop him because what if I hurt him by accident? What if I bruised his delicate wrists? It didn't matter that I never had before because I knew now that it would be horridly easy and- God, I sound just like him. I quirked a forced smile at the little blond -oh no, his eyes are watering- and mumbled something about being home for dinner.
I'm an asshole, I know. I just flipped you off, by the way.
So with this newfound hyper-awareness of how fragile my best friend was, I started tip-toeing around him, refusing to touch him. Token and Clyde picked up most of my jobs, like wiping coffee off his face and redoing his buttons and keeping him from pulling his hair. They gave me look, though, when they did it for me. I just shrugged at them, unable to properly voice my anxiety. How could I explain that I was actually having nightmares about accidentally breaking him?
Tweek deteriorated rapidly. I'm not sure if he's slept for the stress. The bruises under his eyes deepened and darkened, giving him a haunted appearance, his hair was worse than usual, his buttons usually left undone until someone could help him with them, his hands shaking so violently he had to concentrate to drink his coffee properly. It made me feel horribly guilty, but all I could do was give him an apathetic stare.
Three weeks after my realization, things hadn't gotten much better. Word had spread throughout school that I was the cause of Tweek's bad health and numerous people pulled me aside to bitch and criticize and yell. None of them did any good, however, until Stan stepped in.
"C'mere, Tucker." I looked up slowly from the book I'd been staring at listlessly. Stan was standing in front of me, hands on his hips with an expectant expression. I almost snorted. He and Kyle are so alike its scary. "Why should I, Marsh?" I drawled, an automatic sneer forming on my lips.
He sat next to me on the steps to the library, glancing around to assure no-one was listening in. "Because, Tucker." he smirked a little, staring off into the distance. "I went through the same thing with Kyle that you're going through with Tweek."
I snorted. He had no fucking clue what he was talking about. "Dream on, Fag." I sneered, "You have no clue what's going on."
"I do." he assured me with a relaxed smile. This kid is so fucking zen, I swear. "Listen. You know how Kyle's always sickly, hurt, infirm, et cetera?"
I nodded minutely with a scowl, deciding to humor him. He continued calmly, "I'm always afraid I'll hurt him. He seems so fragile, always bedridden. He cries when he gets sick, you know. You saw the episode a couple months ago."
I pushed away the startling memory of Kyle writhing against the tabletop, scared out his mind and being restrained, gasping out that he wasn't sick when he so obviously was, in favor of being surprised that the hippie did know what he was talking about. "... How'd you get over it?" I asked grudgingly, getting an amused grin in return.
He shrugged. "I rough-housed with him. I wrestled with him and fought with him, and sometimes I hugged him to remind myself that he was sturdier that he looked. Tweek is stronger than he looks, you know." He gave me a meaningful look out of the corner or his eye. I nodded slowly.
"He doesn't like to rough-house." I remembered out loud, deflating a little.
My name is Tweek Tweak and I like big things-especially people.
You see, I've spent my entire life worried, scared, shaky, unsure, and vulnerable. I have a little bit of a, of a, a safety complex, I guess you'd call it. Jebas, it makes me sound crazy, having a complex, but it's not like a mother complex, I don't want to fuck my mom, ew, that'd be gross, or a hero complex, because I'm not very self-sacrificial, though superheros are cool like Megamind he was awesome-
In, out. In, out.
Safety complex. Big people make me feel safe-it makes me glad I'm so tiny. I like it when Token or Craig puts their arm around my shoulders even though it's heavy because it makes me feel shielded and, I dunno, loved I guess. I feel safe around big people, except for Cartman, he's kinda scary, and I remember once he picked me up and it was really scary because he held me like three feet off the ground and set me on a shelf.
Craig is big. He's tall and strong. He's a whole foot and five sevenths of an inch taller than me.
Unlike when Cartman picked me up, I liked being held by Craig. His hands encompassed my hips and he laughed quietly as he lifted me right off the ground, to eye-level. I squirmed a little, spazzing silently and grinning ear to ear. Suddenly, though, he froze and his tiny smile faded. His eyes traveled down to my feet, dangling a foot in the air, and he suddenly dropped me. Clumsily, I fell into him and he backed away, staring at me like I was something disturbing, and blanched.
Token rested his elbow on my shoulder and I glanced up at him with a grateful smile.
"Token." Craig demanded, normally stoic voice a little hysterical, "Has he always been this fucking tiny?" I couldn't see his face, but I'm sure Token was giving him a Look. A Get Your Act Together Look, probably. I leaned into him a little, wondering what Craig was so upset about. "Yes."
The expression on Craig's gave was almost frightened. "I don't like small things..." he nearly whimpered. I tugged at my hair, not sure how to react, and before I knew it he was gone.
Craig started avoiding me and everything dulled into a blur, interrupted only by random clarity on things like, "Token is buttoning my shirt. Where's Craig?" or "Craig won't talk to me." or "I'm tired."
Now was one of those moments of clarity. I glanced around sluggishly, wondering when I got to English. The last thing I remembered was Clyde walking me home... Yesterday? Ack, what if I'm being possessed and that's why I don't remember, maybe it's a succubus because I'm feeling so tired and they sap your energy do they cause memory loss I should look that up I hope it's not a succubus or an incubus Omigod I'm being raped by a ghost holy shit I've got to do something, find a priest-
In, out. In, out.
Digress. What was I talking about? I couldn't remember. I needed coffee.
Slowly, I focused on the familiar silver thermos sitting on the table. It took a few moments to remember how to move my arms. Once I got them moving, I tried to focus on making my fingers move right, failing miserably. I made a grab for it, but I missed by several inches. I grabbed for it again, missing even worse because of the tears building in my eyes, frustration boiling under my skin. I held my breath, putting all of my concentration into trying to grab it.
Finally, every bit of exhaustion and frustration and hurt hit me like a bus and I calmly laid my head on my arms and began to sob.
In the middle of English. Smooth, Tweak. Smooth.
Kyle was having a spazz attack, trying to grab Tweek's attention and failing. The blond was staring at his hands and mumbling something about bring possessed, completely not processing the poor redhead's presence. "Stan?" he piped up finally, fear and worry coloring his tone. "I think he's broken."
I laughed, gesturing for him to sit next to me and glancing furtively towards Craig, who was watching Tweek with a vague expression of frustration and almost clear worry. Someone who hadn't known him for twelve years wouldn't notice it. I raised an eyebrow at him but he didn't notice me, so I returned my attention to my pretty redheaded boyfriend.
"Don't worry, Ky." I soothed him, rubbing his back absently. His expression was full of... What's that expression children get when their parents are reassuring them everything will be fine? A mixture of, I dunno, confusion and relief and trust? That one. "Tucker will figure it out."
The redhead looked almost sick. He vaguely nodded in Tweek's direction and I turned towards him, cringing. He was trying to get at his thermos, staring at it hazily and missing it dramatically with each grab. Finally, he gave it a scolding look, pointed at it accusingly, and collapsed into sobs.
Kyle was immediately on his feet, though he didn't seem to know what to do. Every eye in the room was fixed on the sobbing little spazz, or more importantly, Craig was focused on him, on his feet as well. "Tweek?" Kyle tried, only getting another wrenching sob in response.
The teacher glanced around the room. "Should I get security to escort him out? Can he stand?"
Tweek showed no signs of functioning as a human being, let alone walking. He was shaking violently and little hurt whimpers were escaping his lips between sobs. "I'll carry him." Kyle offered, already trying to map out how he's carry the boy that was almost as big as he was. I caught his wrist and shook my head, tugging him down. "You can't." I scolded absently, eyes fixed on Tucker and Donovan bickering.
"I don't have any body strength, dude!" Donovan was enunciating carefully, as though trying to relate the information to a small child. The teacher sighed irritatedly; she was the only member of the staff who didn't harbor a soft spot for the poor coffee addict. "Somebody better get him out of my classroom!"
Craig actually stuttered, so bad I didn't understand what he said, but Donovan apparently understood. "You won't hurt him, goddamn it! You ass, Tweek is a person, not a kitten, not a doll, not a plate, not anything else you've broken!"
His cheeks flushed red as he swept his eyes around the gathered group of students, but otherwise his expression didn't change as he stepped cautiously closer to his best friend.
I was painfully aware of every set of eyes in the room-and the fact that they were all directed at me. I tried desperately to ignore them, focusing on keeping my pace steady, instead. Left, right, left, right. Suddenly, way too soon, I was right in front of him.
My fingers were literally trembling and I stared at them in a small amount of surprise for a moment. I forced my gaze down to the back of his head, taking in his matted hair and acknowledging that I had been neglecting another of my jobs. Poor thing. His shoes were untied as well, and another stab of guilt made me flinch. I was supposed to keep them tied...
I crouched down next to him, hesitantly flattening my shaking hand over his right shoulder blade, once again acutely aware of our audience. Slowly, I smoothed my palm from his back up into his hair, whispering gently, "Tweek?"
"I'm sorry!" he wailed piteously, shaking violently and sobbing with no inhibitions. "Wh-whatever I did, gah! I'm sorry!"
I flinched, knowing without looking that everyone was glaring at me. "No, no, Tweekers." I soothed, feeling my cheeks flush a little. I shook my head to try and clear away the embarrassment. "No. It's my fault. C'mon, let's get out of here before Mrs. Bitch calls security... That's it."
Tweek slowly unraveled from his little defensive ball and offered me a view of his heartbroken, tear-filled, bruise-rimmed coffee-colored eyes. I grimaced a little, hesitating before opening my arms in offer.
I almost fell backwards with the force he used in launching himself at me, just barely catching him as he latched his arms around my neck and started crying hysterically, muttering indecipherable things into my neck. I closed my eyes tightly, focusing on putting an appropriate amount of force into supporting his fragile frame. I stood shakily, sweeping my eyes around the room and catching several people's gaze. Clyde, I noted, looked relieved and Stan looked proud. Carefully shifting Tweek's weight onto one arm, I flipped the collective audience off and hastily retreated into the hallway.
I had no idea where to go. Rearranging the sobbing blond into a bridal-style position (less holding and more supporting, therefore less risk of hurting him), I leaned into the wall next to the door to the English classroom and looked to the ceiling, taking one, two, three deep breaths. "Can you walk?" I tried with little hope, receiving only a tiny whimper as a response. Taking more deep breaths in an attempt to calm myself, I pushed off the wall and started walking slowly through the school.
I walked through the halls, out of school, off campus, into the streets, wandered through South Park. Slowly, I relaxed, getting used to the steady weight and getting used to the idea of touching him. "Okay." I sighed as I entered the park. "Okay."
Whether I was replying to something unheard or reassuring the blond (myself?) I wasn't sure, but it seemed to help. Tweek was reduced to little hurt whimpers and sniffling, his shoulders shaking. I focused on my feet, not realizing I was heading to the gang's usual hangout until I was there, staring at the four names carved into the concrete that held a weather-worn metal and wood bench. Clyde, Token, Craig, Tweek. Had it really been four years? Four years since that lazy day in the summer between sixth and seventh grade? Four years since they promised to be friends, forever?
"Well," I thought sarcastically, "So far so good." Or maybe not so good. After all, I abandoned Tweek. Omigod. I abandoned Tweek. What the fuck was I thinking?
Biting back self-oriented hatred, I urged the quieted teen quietly, "Tweekers? You gotta let go, now, I'm going to set you down."
"No!" he cried anxiously, not sounding like himself at all. He clawed at my neck desperately, pressing against me tightly. "O-okay." I soothed him, pushing back my worry. "Okay, Shh, Tweekers."
I jostled him up a little more and sat carefully, crossing one ankle over my knee and settling him in the triangle formed by my legs. One of his hands slid down from my neck to rest limply against my chest, making me uncomfortable for a moment. We sat in silence for a long while and it didn't take much time at all for the little insomniac to drift off to fitful sleep and gnome-tinged nightmares. I smiled unconsciously at the thought, tilting my head back to watch the sky.
I woke slowly, consciousness trickling in instead of being jolted awake by a nightmare or by the horrific noise my alarm clock makes. I briefly worried that maybe I had been drugged and I was not, in fact, awaking slowly but actually struggling into consciousness. I was warm, though, and I felt safe. It smelt safe, too, like clean skin and apples. Craig, I realized as I mentally prepared myself to open my eyes. I thought he didn't like me any more?
It was evening, I realized as I heard crickets and such, and felt the cool breeze uncharacteristic of Spring. I realized that I couldn't remember much of anything that had happened recently, let alone how I got here or why Craig was here with me. The word succubus popped to mind, though I don't know why. Succubi don't possess people, or cause memory loss, which seem to be my prevailing symptoms. They rape people (I read that it feels really, really good, though I wouldn't want to experience it) and drain their energy. I don't feel tired, anyway. I feel more rested than I have in a long, long time. And calmer, too.
I sighed contently, snuggling into Craig a little further. I heard an 'awh' in a female voice and then footsteps, but I couldn't really bring myself to care. They were walking away anyway. I couldn't even bring myself to worry if it was a gnome. Is this how other people always feel? I wondered jealously, remembering Clyde exclaiming when he first put on his glasses, "Is this how you guys see all the time?"
I smiled a little at the memory, lazily cracking open my eyes to see the familiar navy material of Craig's hoodie. So he really was there. Not that that smell could be a mistake, but still. God, he was warm. "I thought you hated me." I mumbled with a frightened note to my voice, but no stuttering. Fuck, I should try sleeping more. Maybe that's how Stan manages to stay so zen all the time... He cuddles with Kyle while he's reading or studying and sleep twelve hours a day. Sounds good to me.
I didn't receive a response from the gangly teen. I sat up away from his chest, blushing as I recognized I was in his lap and that his long fingers were interlaced over my hip, around my waist. I looked up at his face, stifling a giggle when I saw that he had fallen asleep with his head facing forward, his chullo knocked off and his hair hanging in his face. Unlike me, Craig can fall asleep in any comfortable position. Heck, any position he can pretend is comfortable. I've actually witnessed him fall asleep in the middle of a sentence, and standing up.
I reached up with almost-imperceptibly shaking fingers -probably more from caffeine withdrawal than nervousness- and lovingly tucked his overgrown raven locks behind his ear. Craig really loved his hair, refusing to get it cut. Last year, it grew down past his shoulder blades and his mother shaved him bald in his sleep. They've agreed that it can be shoulder length, but no longer. It's already an inch or so too long, though. I like his long hair. When we're out of school, I hope he grows it out really long, like a girl's. I smiled a little the thought.
"Craig." I whispered, pressing my fingertips into his cheek. He wrinkled his nose in a manner that I would call cute if not for the fact he'd kill me for it and I bit my lip to suppress a grin. "Craig!"
His stormy grey eyes cracked open, looking at me blearily, before he tensed up completely, eyes opening completely as he looked me over. He sighed, twisting his neck this way and that and I cringed as it cracked loudly, worried it might be broken. "You okay?"
I nodded silently, rubbing my eyes and waiting for him to tell me to get off. Instead, though, he tugged me closer, leaning across my lap to tug up my shirt and examine the skin where his hands had rested while I slept. "No bruises?"
I quirked smile at him. "Where would I have gotten bruises?" I'm really on a roll with this no-stuttering streak.
He scowled at me, pushing my shirt up and examining my abdomen. I blushed and squirmed, resting my hands ontop of his to make him stop, receiving a mumbled apology that apparently didn't mean he couldn't push up my shirt sleeves and look over my upper arms. "From me." he murmured distractedly.
"Wh-what?" I stuttered, inwardly cursing about breaking my record. "Wh-why, gah! Why would y-you bruise me?"
Craig ignored me though, choosing instead to very deliberately hug me to his chest. I let him but didn't return it, sensing that I would be interrupting something if I did. His expression was completely unreadable as he released me, locking his arms under my shoulders and knees to stand quickly and set me -standing- on the gang's bench. This way, I was only an inch or so taller than him. He took a step back, face still blank, and looked me up and down. I felt very exposed and crossed my arms over my chest, looking down at my feet.
"What's your middle name?" he asked out of nowhere. I eyed him wearily, rubbing my arms. I really don't like letting people know my middle name. "Tweke."
His lips turned up into a smile and I grinned back weakly. "Mine's William." he told me, shaking his head as his face went blank again. He stepped closer and I flinched, making his bright grey eyes darken. I pushed down my instinctive paranoia, biting my lower lip and allowing him to take a hold of my right hand.
I watched, fascinated, as he caressed every inch of my hands, tickling between my fingers and tracing the lines in my palms with his long, pale, oddly graceful digits. A moment later he moved on to my wrist and slowly trailed his hands up to my shoulder, careful not to miss anything. In awe and confused, I remained still and silent as possible as he repeated the process on my left arm, though I still twitched and let out soft gahs whenever he hit a sensitive spot.
Upon hitting my left shoulder, he dropped to his knees and started the same process from my ankles up my leg, making me tremble lightly when his hands wandered just a little too far up my inner thigh for my own personal comfort. Again, he repeated the process on my other leg, a concentrated scowl breaking through his stoicism.
Feeling a little violated, I almost stopped him when he started in on my chest, but he shot me a pitiful, pleading look and I relented, balling my hands into fists at my sides as he brushed over all those places you don't want people to touch -your nipples, your sternum, your bellybutton, the skin directly above where your jeans start- as well as the rest of my chest and took deep breaths to calm myself. He caught my hips in his palms and squeezed them, getting a little surprised yelp from me. One side of his lips twitched up into a fantasm smile as he turned me around, replacing his hands on my shoulders and rubbing down my back, covering every inch of skin, even brushing over my ass and making my hips jerk forward reflexively, a noise of protest leaving my lips.
I heard him chuckle a little and pouted, flipping him off over my shoulder and twisting my neck around to glare at him, but he just snuck his arms around my waist, snaking his hands to smooth over my neck and face. I closed my eyes as his fingertips danced over my eyelids and moved to tangle in my hair, which was even more matted than usual due to Craig not being there to brush it for me on the bus ride to school. Clyde's clumsy attempts to brush it usually ended up making me cry. He wasn't gentle like Craig.
Said teen wrapped his arms around my waist and carefully plucked me off the bench, setting me on the ground a few feet away. I opened my mouth to question him as he spun me around to face him, but I stopped at his expression. Unmasked curiosity and relief and fondness. I don't think I'd ever seen his face so open. He wasn't looking me in the eye, though, he was looking at my body, in a contemplative manner.
He shoved me. Not meanly or even very hard, more experimentally. I caught myself by stepping back and straightened back out automatically, spazzing silently. He nodded slowly and shoved me a little harder, and this time I stumbled a little before righting myself.
Seemingly satisfied, he removed his phone from his pocket and checked the time. "Geez." he mumbled. "You were asleep for nine hours." Amusement showed on his face clearly and I blinked in surprise and confusion.
"I'm sorry." I mumbled, tugging at my sleeves and shivering a little, noticing off-handedly that the sun was almost completely set. He glanced up at me and I could see his stoic mask being set back in place. It unnerved me, to be honest. "Don't be." he obliged me. "I'm happy you got such good sleep. And it's Friday, so homework isn't an issue."
"I didn't mean to..." I whined, chewing on the tip of my thumb. Craig flipped me off. "I told you, it's fine."
"No, I mean..." I trailed off. I didn't know what I did. "Whatever I did to make you angry."
He paused, glancing at me almost shyly. He drew me in to his chest carefully, resting his cheek on the top of my head lovingly. I could feel my cheeks burst into flame and briefly worried about what I'd do if I burst a blood vessel. "Listen closely." Craig demanded lowly, "Because I won't repeat myself."
I nodded slowly, waiting for him to continue. "It wasn't your fault and I'm sorry. I abandoned you and... Tweek Tweke Tweak," he addressed me carefully, tightening his hold, "I swear to god I won't abandon you ever again."
He pulled back a little to look me in the eye, a faint trace of pink in his cheeks. I was smiling ear to ear and he offered a lopsided grin as well. "M-make good on that, gah! T-Tucker..." I whispered teasingly, closing my eyes so I could smile wider.
Lack of sight left me unprepared for the warm, dry lips that made contact with mine. I froze and my eyes shot open to meet his amused grey orbs.
Craig drew away and glanced around, stretching a little. "Someone brought us our backpacks." he noted, nodding towards said items. I continued to stare silently at him, too shocked to even twitch, as he went to pick them up, plucking a stickynote off of one and scoffing. "Goddammit Clyde." he sighed, cheeks flushing pink despite the fact that his expression didn't change. He shouldered both packs as he informed me lazily, "They took pictures. They're on Facebook."
That snapped me out of it. My head jerked to the side as one of my eyes slammed shut, fingers trembling as I shrieked, "Gah! Too much pressure!"
Much to everybody's surprise, Craig loves physical displays of affection-even in public. It was weird, the first couple days after them getting together, to see them hold hands or cuddling or kissing whenever they were together. Even now it's almost sickening how lovey-dovey they are-or rather, how affectionate Craig can be and how much affection Tweek can take before having a nervous breakdown. Not that I'm not happy for them, and happy to not have to take care of Tweek anymore.
Plus, it's funny as shit. Have you ever seen someone cuddle and nuzzle and kiss with a completely blank expression? I can't decide if it's creepy or hilarious. Craig told me he tries to keep him close so his irrational fear of small things can't creep up on him.
Token and I started a Facebook page for them after we got those pics that day in the park. The albums are almost two hundred pictures strong and lots of people have joined already. Craig flips off everyone in the vicinity whenever it's mentioned.
All in all, though, things settled down nicely. Except...
Craig has declared war on the underpants gnomes.
I ducked down a little farther in my hiding place as I heard one of the little devils wandered closer, ready to spring and attack. It squealed as I landed on it, and I quickly covered it's mouth with my hand, demanding maliciously, "Tell me what you know!"
I really liked this one, even if Craig was a little too... Touchy feely and wordy.
So! As promised, my life's dream. This might sound a little vain and self-centered, but you can suck it, because I've wanted to be someone's favorite author since I was in third grade. I want to get emails from my fans and have people occasionally recognize my name. I want to attend a local book-signing and I want to see my book in a Barnes N Noble. But most of all, I want to hear someone tell me that I'm their favorite author and that I inspired them to start reading or writing.
That'd be awesome.