Soundtrack: Friday I'm In Love – The Cure
Happy birthday Sam!
For almost ten years, Craig has been harboring an obsession.
It started innocently enough, when Stan Marsh and the rest of those dickwads lied and cajoled their way into getting Craig to fight another kid in their class. He'd barely spared a thought for Tweek Tweak before then. The kid sat at the end of their lunch table, almost always next to Clyde or Token, because Clyde and Token were more sociable and trustworthy than anybody else in their grade. They still are. Craig kept to himself then like he keeps to himself now. He sees his friends from time to time, but he's introverted. He gets overwhelmed at parties, and wears down if he's out among people for too long. His closest friends are his handsome set of guinea pigs, just as when he was eight, his closest friend was the guinea pig of his childhood.
It sounds ridiculous to most that Craig was so insulted on behalf of the late Stripe that he was willing to fight for the guinea pig's good name. But that's how he was, and it's still how he is. Eric asshole Cartman had told him that Tweek spread a nasty rumor about Craig's guinea pig – involving an ass.
He and Tweek had beaten the shit out of each other on the playground, landing them both in the hospital, where they'd been egged on more. After that, they were confined to separate rooms at Hell's Pass, and Tweek never sat at the same lunch table as Craig again.
And that's when Craig started watching him. He essentially disappeared from the bulk of Craig's life, transferring to a separate fourth grade class, sitting by himself in the back of the cafeteria, and vanishing the instant after the bell rang into his mom's minivan. He didn't seem afraid of Craig, just withdrawn. Craig thinks that Tweek's parents were more frightened of what he might do to their son than Tweek actually was.
The fear faded, though, when they hit middle school. Tweek was in some of Craig's classes, always quietly finding a seat in the far corners of the classrooms. He never paid attention in class. No, Tweek usually brought books with him, reading thick novels with colorfully illustrated covers. The teachers didn't bother him about it. They did, however, bother Craig, who spent most of his time staring at Tweek.
"I know Mr. Tweak is more interesting than algebra, Craig, but could you at least try to pay attention?" his math teacher had accused in seventh grade.
Tweek glanced up from his book, peering at Craig. Their eyes had only met for a moment before Craig forced himself to look away. He felt himself blushing, and when Cartman declared Craig a fag, he blushed harder, punched Cartman's fat face, and landed himself in the principal's office with a three-day suspension under his belt.
Though a commonplace event, Craig had gotten to wondering –
What if he did like guys? Girls were alright, but he'd never really found them attractive. They were soft where he wanted something solid, and too many of them smelled fruity or floral. Craig decided he'd have to test his theory by watching guy on guy porn, an event that lead to the single greatest orgasm of his then-limited masturbation career.
Craig had kept quiet about it for a little while. He knew he'd get teased relentlessly by Cartman, who, while essentially harmless, was still a pain in the ass that he didn't care to provoke. The first person he told was by accident, and that was his mother. It had slipped out a few days after his fourteenth birthday, when she'd said in passing, "Pretty soon, you'll be bringing home girlfriends."
"More like boyfriends," he'd muttered, realizing what he'd said only after several sprawling seconds of awkward silence.
Silence that was followed by his mother lifting a brow and remarking, "Well, that makes a lot of sense."
That was when Craig's obsession with Tweek Tweak, the quiet (albeit twitchy) kid that he'd fought with once, grew more intense. He didn't want to call it crush, because it didn't feel like a crush. It was more than that, but it was less than that, too. It was an all-consuming fixation that made no sense to Craig by simultaneously fascinated him. Sometimes he thought it might be because Tweek was like him in that he didn't need people – but instead of guinea pigs, he had books.
But it became clear that there was something more than books and reservation to Tweek, sometime just after the second semester of ninth grade began, Craig noticed more. Yes, Tweek shook, but some days he also walked as though somebody had hurt him, and once, he showed up to school with a black eye and a splint over his nose.
"Maybe he's in a fight club or some shit," Clyde had said, punching the air with his fists while they walked home after school. Craig had brought up the injuries, needing to at least talk about what happened to Tweek. Clyde wasn't helping. He didn't seem concerned.
"He's too little," Craig had replied.
"No he's not," disagreed Clyde, "You guys are like the same size, bro."
Across the street, Tweek ambled down the walkway of his house. A gym bag was slung over his shoulder. He seemed to be in his own world, as usual, not even noticing Craig and Clyde on the opposite side of the road, staring.
"Would it be weird if I followed him," asked Craig.
"Kind of," Clyde told him, scratching the back of his neck like he was the bearer of bad news, "but you're already weird, so that's okay."
Craig waited until Tweek was far enough away that he felt it would be okay to tail him. He'd felt a little dirty following somebody, he remembers, but he'd kept going because he didn't intend to hurt Tweek, or even talk to him. Somewhere down in his gut he knew that what he was doing wasn't really right, but he still wanted to know more about Tweek, know where he was going and how he got injured and what else he did besides ignore math class with his nose in fantasy books.
Tweek walked all the way to the new rec center without once turning his head to look at Craig, who ducked behind walls and lampposts as though he was following a criminal in a black and white spy movie. Unfortunately, as Craig traipsed through the automatic doors and into the center, Tweek had vanished, and the desk attendant wouldn't let him pass through.
"Kid, you need to have a membership card or pay eight dollars," he'd said, looking Craig over. Craig didn't look like he belonged there, really. He was lazy and ate too many microwavable mini tacos, and his clothes didn't look like gym gear.
He'd never been inside the rec center – he'd gone to the old one a couple of times, for a few birthday parties or forced activity from his parents, but it was torn down when he was twelve, and replaced with a much nicer establishment, one that didn't have lead paint on the walls. Everything in it was brand new, paid for in no small part by donations from Token's family, who had hated their sketchy rec center and wanted a real place to exercise and relax.
"Kid, either pay or find something else to do," the desk attendant had sighed, looking off at the people behind him, like he would much rather be swimming or playing pool than slouching behind the front desk.
In the end, Craig coughed up eight dollars. He dumped several crumpled one bills onto the counter and paid the last two dollars in change.
Behind the desk, the rec center actually looked pretty cool. The ceiling was fashionably high, and the floor plan was open enough that Craig could peer around at the different sections to search for Tweek without looking lost or stupid. Tweek wasn't any place visible, though. Craig padded around the floor, passing by people on exercise machines, and a wall of windows that let outsiders peer into the pool area. Despite there being a couple of waterslides, the only people in it were swimmers with caps and goggles, looking like they knew what they were doing.
An idea struck Craig when he looked up at the huge rock climbing feature in the center of it all. It sprawled all the way up to the ceiling, and he bet that if he climbed all the way to the top, he'd be able to see everything, and find Tweek.
God, fuck, why was he so fucking obsessed with him? When Craig looks back on it now, he knows at fourteen that he was merely a nosey shit that needed to find something better to do. Still, he's glad that he did what he did, because he and Tweek wouldn't be the same now if he hadn't.
When Craig explained to the climbing equipment lady that he was alone and didn't have anybody to spot him, she offered to do it herself. He really had no other option, though he was embarrassed when she had to help strap him into her harness and even more embarrassed when she said, "You haven't done this before, have you, honey?"
"I've done it before," he insisted, a little too eagerly, and she had rolled her eyes.
Climbing the fake, colorful rocks had been harder than it looked. Craig wasn't afraid of heights, but he was afraid of falling – so he went slowly, crawling up the rock climbing wall and clutching onto the handholds for dear life. The further up he managed to get, the more he could see below. It was actually kind of nice to have the equipment lady yelling encouragements to him as she gave his harness more and more slack.
Craig reached the top part of the wall, where it slanted forward. He felt his heart beat against his ribcage out of both nervousness and the fact that he hadn't exerted himself physically like this since seventh grade gym class, and even then, he'd played sick to get out of most of the activities.
That's when he spotted Tweek. He had changed into a plain muscle shirt and a pair of loose basketball shorts. On his hands was a pair of boxing gloves. He was accompanied by a much bigger, much older man with an ugly mustache. He was being instructed.
That was it. Tweek was learning how to box.
Somehow, instead of quenching Craig's thirst to know more about Tweek Tweak, knowing this made it even worse.
And so, with a dog walking job and his allowance, Craig bought one of the rec center's stupidly overpriced membership cards. He came every day after school and climbed the rock wall. Patricia – the equipment lady – didn't ask him why he always paused at the top for several minutes, and she let him do it, giving Craig time to watch Tweek kick ass some days, and get pummeled on others. On the days in which Tweek got whooped, Craig always felt a tug to help, to patch up his bruises or fix his cuts, but Tweek would sit on the outskirts of the practice ring and do it himself, only to throw himself back into the fray a few moments later. He was stronger than probably anybody in the town knew.
And God, Craig liked it.
He did, however, have the misfortune of meeting with that strength after two months of tailing Tweek to the rec center and climbing up to watch him fight. Craig had lost Tweek a block away from the center, but it happened fairly often – Tweek was a fast fucker and Craig preferred to amble (and hide, if he thought he might get caught).
Craig tramped up the sidewalk, passing the concrete skate park built out in front of the rec center when he got tackled to the ground. His head bounced against the sidewalk and a fist slammed into the side of his face. When Craig finally got his bearings, there was Tweek, straddling him, and looking about two seconds away from ready to kill.
"Why the fuck do you keep following me?" demanded Tweek.
"I'm not," Craig had sputtered, "I like the rock climbing wall –"
"The wall that you sit on and watch me from, you creep," Tweek spat, "Don't think I haven't noticed, you weird fuck. What is your problem?"
"I don't know," Craig admitted, "You're cool – I want to box with you sometime, but –"
Tweek's look cut Craig off, and he frowned.
"You want to box with me?" Tweek sounded skeptical, and of course he did. He'd only been followed by Craig for a couple of months now. Craig new it was creepy – he did – but he didn't want to just admit that he had a thing for Tweek. Tweek had never dated, never even tried to date, and so there was no way of knowing whether or not he was gay.
Craig didn't even think of himself as gay, not yet, not really. For being such a small word, it meant so many things. He knew that although his mother had found his questionable sexuality unsurprising, others would be less accepting of it. He still wanted his same friends, wanted to go to school without being tortured, wanted to be treated as a human being. But the moment that he called himself gay it would be all over. His identity would become a political battleground, and he knew it.
"Yeah," Craig had replied, "I wanna box with you."
After a piercing stare, Tweek climbed off of Craig, gradually straightening. He offered a hand, which Craig took, and asked him, "How do I know I can trust you?"
"Um," Craig said. He didn't know how Tweek could trust me. If Craig were Tweek, he wouldn't bother giving himself a shot at all. He'd stood there for several awkward seconds, wracking his brain for a possible way to earn Tweek's trust. Tweek wasn't like other people, Craig figured, and so he'd have to be convinced in an odd way.
Which is why Craig came out for only the second time in his life, and this time, did it on purpose.
"What if I told you a secret?" he asked, keeping his voice down, and eyeing the skateboarders behind them, "Something I've never told anybody but my mom."
Tweek cocked a brow and folded his skinny arms. On closer inspection, his arms were less skinny that Craig had initially thought. Under his pale skin, they were toned and well-muscled. Craig had to swallow the lump forming in his throat and remind himself not to be stupidly awkward, not here. He finally realized what Clyde was talking about when he said he always froze up in front of the girls he liked, spewing ridiculous shit and scaring them off.
"Go on," Tweek said.
Craig cleared his throat, glancing again back at the guys behind them. He could see Stan Marsh and Kenny McCormick, and there was no way that he wanted those assholes to find out about him. He whispered harshly, "Nobody can know, alright."
Tweek didn't say anything to that, just gave Craig a look of do I look like I even have anyone to tell.
"Okay, um," Craig stammered out, finding himself more nervous about the reveal than he'd originally thought, "I…um. I like guys."
He remembers Tweek's mouth going a little slack before he tightened his lips back into a purse and responded, "You're gay?"
"Something like that," Craig had confirmed.
Tweek studied him for a second and then said to that, "Me too."
Craig didn't question it as they walked into the rec center, but he felt his insides lift up, making him feel light as a feather. Tweek did like boys, and he did have a chance. He just didn't know how the hell he was supposed to make that chance work to his advantage. He'd already fucked it all up by being his usual dumbass self.
They changed in the locker room wordlessly before exiting out to the practice ring. There weren't many people there yet, just a couple of buff guys and a tanned, middle-aged woman with impressive muscles, all beating the shit out of punching bags.
"I have my own gloves," Tweek told Craig, "you can rent some over there, if you want."
Craig did, slipping them onto his hands clumsily. He had a feeling that he's about to get his ass kicked. And he did, at first, get his ass handed to him by Tweek. He hit Craig where Craig hadn't expected to be hit, and knocked him down within seconds.
"Jesus, dude, you suck," Tweek had told him.
Craig wiped the sweat from his brow and suggested, "Maybe you could teach me."
Tweek accepted – they came to the rec center every weekday, though Craig was only instructed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the other three days he'd revisit the rock climbing wall, sometimes watching Tweek as he worked through his own lessons with an instructor, punching the air in new forms and stances, or working on a punching bag with the rest of the boxers.
Over time, it became less of a secret, and less of a challenge. The fine layer of fat around Craig's belly vanished, slowly morphing into a defined abdomen that he didn't know it was possible to attain. He and Tweek sat together at school, worked together in class, and hung out on the weekends. Most of the time they ended up wrestling or fighting, but sometimes, times that Craig loved very much, they'd exhaust themselves and decide to collapse together in front of a movie.
He liked being close to Tweek, and Craig thought that Tweek liked being close to him, too. They laughed and shoved each other in locker room in the rec center, and Craig always wondered if Tweek could see the look in his eye – he wanted Tweek so badly that it hurt, but he could say it. The words always stuck in his throat. He'd see Tweek damp from the showers, water droplets slicking down his muscled arms and pooling in the crease of his spine, dropping down into towels slung loosely around his waist. Craig got himself off to that image so many countless nights, sitting alone in his bed or showering before school the next morning.
Craig didn't officially come out of the closet until late in their junior year. A particularly brutal taunting from Eric Cartman was getting under his skin, maybe because he kept calling Tweek a twitchy little faggot. Tweek had come out only months before, accidentally screaming about his sexuality down the hallway.
Craig climbed onto the lunch table and walked down it, avoiding people's lunches as he made his way toward Cartman. Directly in front of him, Craig turned around, unbuttoned his jeans and yanked them down, and declared, "Kiss my faggy ass, Cartman. I like men, so what? You're harboring feelings for Butters, anyway."
He got suspended for showing half the cafeteria his ass, but it was worth it. Nobody messed with Craig or Tweek, on rumors that they were secretly ultimate fighters. The only time that somebody attempted to make fun of Tweek, he'd beaten the guy's face purple. It was never attempted again.
Craig and Tweek got close to kissing sometimes, or so Craig thought, at least. Sometimes they leaned toward each other in the locker room, or woke up fitted together on Craig's couch with movie credits rolling.
And now – his obsession is something different, something fuller. Tweek is the reason for Craig's smile after school. He's the reason that Craig is in shape, that Craig knows how to fight. He's the reason that Craig has fallen hopelessly head over heels in love. It's a weird thing to believe in – love. Craig didn't know that he did believe in it, until Tweek came over for Craig's birthday with a cake and a pair of brand new boxing gloves. He'd made the cake himself, and the gloves looked like expensive fuckers. Craig drank in the scene for a few short seconds before the realization flowed over him.
Craig realizes and re-realizes the love over and over again. It's happening now, with Tweek stretching and warming up. Craig has his gloves on. He already feels prepared.
It's after hours at the rec center. Last year, Craig needed a job and managed to land one here, probably because he's here all the time and everybody already knows his face and name. He works until late, and is supposed to lock up after everyone else has left – instead, he and Tweek use the absence of everyone else to get in some good one on one time, and having the equipment all to themselves.
Tweek throws a punch, and Craig blocks it smoothly. He's become better at it, enough so that Tweek is irritated after most of their sessions.
Tweek sweeps in and cuffs Craig's shoulder, sending him off balance for a moment. He recovers, and shoots forward – Craig actually makes a hit, but it's a hard punch, with more force behind it than he meant to have. Tweek goes down, landing on his back on the mat.
"Shit," swears Craig, "I'm sorry, man. I didn't mean to hit that hard." He pulls off his gloves and tosses them onto the floor, ducking over Tweek to check if he's okay. His eyes look glazed over, and Craig wonders if Tweek hit his head hard enough to give himself a concussion. Surely not, right?
Breathing heavily, Craig says, "Hey, you wanna call it a night?"
Tweek gives a dazed little shake of his head, a split second before his brows hitch. He stares at Craig in an odd, unsettling way, before he leans up, crunching his arms around Craig. He crushes their lips together, prying Craig's mouth open with his tongue. Craig groans loudly into it, his grip slipping from their sweat. His mind has been wiped blank – he doesn't know what the fuck he's supposed to be doing, even though he swears he's fantasized about this moment time and time again.
He tears their mouths apart to breathe, and pants out, "Fuck. Fuck."
"What?" Tweek says.
"God, I've wanted this," Craig whines. He pulls Tweek up, which is harder than it sounds. Though Tweek still has a slender build, he's muscled, about the same height as Craig.
Tweek loops his legs around Craig's waist and confesses, "Christ, I've wanted you to. Sometimes after we fight – I go home and beat off – I come so hard when I think of you, Craig –"
"Fuck," repeats Craig. He's hard as rock inside his shorts, and he knows that Tweek can feel it. He gasps a little when Tweek rubs up against him and stumbles, handling Tweek so that his back presses up against the wall. He moans out, "Me too, Tweek, God, fuck, I think about you all the time."
"I want you to fuck me," Tweek tells him. Someplace in the mix Tweek has gotten rid of his gloves, peeling them off and letting them fall onto the mat. He tangles his fingers in Craig's sweaty hair and kisses him hard, dragging his body over Craig in tantalizing strokes. Tweek is hard too, and that knowledge makes Craig want to come right then and there. But he can't, God, he can't, because if he does he won't get to be inside Tweek like he's thought of so many times.
They're slicked with so much sweat already. Craig lets Tweek slip a little by accident before hefting him up again, realizing with a touch of frustration, "What about lube?"
"Ungh," groans Tweek, as if he doesn't want to think of it, "I have stuff – like, lotion – in my locker."
Craig needs no more prompting than that. He's off like a rocket toward the men's locker room, still gripping Tweek like he can't stand on his own two legs. Tweek laughs hoarsely and ducks down to kiss along Craig's throat, nipping at his earlobe. Craig only sets Tweek back on the ground so that he can spin his combination into his lock.
While Tweek sifts through the contents of his locker, Craig noses at the back of his neck. It's slightly damp from exertion, but Craig finds himself loving the scent of Tweek's sweat, just like he loves the rest of Tweek. It just smells so much like him, so perfect. Craig runs the flat of his tongue over Tweek's skin, teasing a whimper out of him.
Tweek thrusts a bottle of lotion into Craig's grip and rids himself of his shorts in a flash. Craig moans at the sight of Tweek's well-filled-out little body. His cock isn't huge, but it looks good, well-shaped. Craig just about dies when Tweek reaches down and grips himself, sighing at the feel of his own fingers on his erection.
"When we were freshmen, I used to fantasize that you stared at me all the time because – because you wanted to do this, to fuck me," Tweek confesses. His cheeks grow a little pinker.
Craig knocks Tweek's hand back away from his dick and says, "Stop that. That was why. God, I wanted you so bad, I was such a fucking creep, I'm sorry –"
"Just get on with it!" Tweek exclaims.
Craig flushes and dumps lotion onto one hand, seizing Tweek with the other. He turns him around and Tweek braces himself with both hands against the lockers. Craig lets out all the tense breath in his lungs and rubs a hand over Tweek's back. He kisses his shoulder, biting just a little at the skin there as he pushes a finger up inside him. Tweek releases a pleasured sigh like he's been waiting for Craig to do this all day. He cants his ass back against Craig's hand and whines at the sensation.
Craig's breath comes in short huffs as he works Tweek open with his fingers. He hasn't done this many times before, but Tweek seems to appreciate it. He moans out, "Craig – God, fuck, can you – I need you in me, please."
Craig gladly obeys, withdrawing his hand to squeeze a long strip of lotion over his erection, rubbing it into himself. He grips himself at the base with one hand and uses his other to hang onto Tweek. He settles into Tweek one torturous inch at a time, both of them groaning softly as Craig sinks inside him.
Tweek feels so good around him, hot and tight and perfect. He jerks back against Craig and they both moan.
"Jesus Christ," Tweek keens, "If I'd known it would be so good I would have kissed you so much sooner, oh, God."
This sets Craig off. He tugs Tweek against him, thrusting into him roughly, not giving a damn how coarsely he's handling Tweek's perfect little ass. He reaches around and strokes Tweek's cock in erratic flicks, gasping for breath.
"Oh, G-God, Craig, I'm going to come," Tweek announces. He does, spurting onto the lockers and looking too jaded to care. Craig follows a few thrusts later, coming inside Tweek at his demand.
They slide to the floor. Craig pulls out of Tweek but gathers him up into his arms, not caring that they're covered in sweat and come and lotion. He just wants to hold Tweek, because Tweek is perfect, and all his.
Without thinking, Craig breathes, "God, I love you."
Tweek jerks his head up to stare at Craig with wide eyes. He asks, "You do?"
Craig's heart starts beating faster again. He doesn't know whether or not to be honest, but decides that this whole thing could have come about much faster if he'd confessed earlier, and so he says, "Yeah. I do."
Tweek shifts so that one of his legs sits between Craig's, pressing their sticky torsos together. He kisses Craig's swollen lips and says, "I love you too."
Craig doesn't know how long they lie on the locker room floor, but it feels like forever before they stand and replace their clothing, laughing and wrestling between kisses. Craig locks up without being able to wipe the smile off of his face. It's a Friday, thankfully, and so instead of going home, he walks with Tweek to his house, where they kiss and touch more until they both come again. They fall asleep naked, tangled in each other's arms and Tweek's Legend of Zelda bed sheets.
Turns out that Craig's obsession has been harboring an obsession with him, too.
And he fucking loves that.