Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, I just happen to have fallen in love with them :)
Okay, so if this story looks familiar, it's because it got deleted and now I'm reposting it. Just an FYI!
Tweek stared into the expanse of white horizon surrounding Stark's Pond, his mood more reflective than it had ever been. Usually, he avoided his internal world at all costs, preferring to preoccupy himself with imaginary, external dangers. But everyone has a point at which they are forced from their comfort zone, when life demands that they just stop and think for once. So here he was. It was the middle of the day; the sky was dark gray and blinding white in turns, depending on whether the sun was shining from behind the clouds. Though it was May, snow fell around him in flurries, blown by a cold but thankfully light breeze. It had been pouring down steadily the whole time he'd been there. Minutes? Hours? It was hard to tell, though the growing layers of snow surrounding him could have provide an answer if he'd bothered to think about it at all. His eyes moved sluggishly across the scenery, passing over the frozen pond, brittle trees and thick blankets of snow, but not really seeing any of it. His slow-blinking eyelids were heavy; his face, blank. He sat. He watched. He thought.
A heavy object, both in weight and symbolism, rested beside him on the snow covered bench. His eyes drifted to it thoughtfully every few minutes as he sat and contemplated evil. A strange thing to be thinking about, sure, but then the world was full of evils for Tweek. He almost longed for the days when running out of coffee and having his underwear stolen were the most terrifying things he could imagine. But with age came wisdom and at eighteen, he had more world-weary wisdom than he could handle. He was constantly told by his parents that he hadn't even experienced real life yet and what a horrible thought that was. He was certain he couldn't take any of the wisdom the future had in store for him, considering all the insight he'd gained thus far had been obtained through devastating experiences.
He was strangely still, despite the cold and his own twitchy nature. His mind was already in a place where it had shut down every thought except the decision at hand; it appeared his body was doing the same and conserving his energy. He was tired…so tired of so many things. He was tired of being hurt. He was tired of letting himself be hurt. He was tired of feeling like he was wasting his time and living without purpose. He was tired of being weak and afraid. He was tired of not knowing how to change any of it.
His parents didn't care about him, but he'd accepted that a long time ago. His mother drowned her past regrets in wine, too consumed with her own problems to notice, let alone care, about Tweek's. His father was a workaholic, a master of avoidance and convinced of his own simplistic delusions: fantasies that his wife was just a contented homemaker and his son was just a normal boy, if slightly hyper.
Kids at school didn't care about him, but he preferred it that way. They'd grown tired of picking on him sometime in middle school – he was too easy for their evolving tastes in cruelty, he guessed – and were content to simply ignore him now. That suited him just fine. He'd gotten a decent handle on his stuttering, which now only came out when he was completely, off-the-deep-end paranoid. His random outbursts were far less frequent, his twitching was more subtle and though he never did master buttons, he'd switched to t-shirts instead. He wasn't as noticeable a target anymore and his efforts had paid off. He still got the attention that everyone did – on the bell curve that was sweetness-to-malice, he still received Butters' polite greetings and Cartman's cookie-cutter insults. Not much effort was put into either and so he faded to the background of everyone's mind.
Except Craig's. They'd gotten together in sophomore year and in the beginning, it was wonderful. The quiet didn't bother Tweek because Craig was nearly telepathic with those quicksilver eyes of his. Every tender thought and admission of love that he couldn't say out loud was still clear as day to Tweek, who read it all in the eyes of the one he loved. It was clear Craig cared about him in the way he'd hold his hand through the halls, flipping off anyone that dared to stare. It was obvious in the way he'd hold Tweek through his panic attacks or bring an extra thermos of coffee to school, just for him. Tweek trusted him implicitly, in a way no one else had bothered to earn. He loved Craig's protectiveness, his dry humor, the incredible depth of feeling he didn't know how to show, his surprising compassion for animals and small children, and his outright inability to give a shit about others' opinions of him.
He still loved those things, even though they'd disappeared some time ago. The once expressive slate-colored eyes were now dull and uninterested when directed at him. He hadn't been held in Craig's arms in so long, the noirette just scoffing and rolling his eyes when Tweek's paranoia consumed him. There were no chill-inducing grins thrown his way and no calloused, warm hand searching out his own anymore. They were still together, though it was hardly the same. But Tweek could handle that because it was Craig and he loved Craig. He certainly didn't want to be without him.
But when that cool apathy took on an undertone of cruelty, Tweek didn't know what to do. It seemed like a game to the older boy, to see how far he could push the blonde before he would break. Tweek had given his trust so freely to Craig that he wondered if the other boy even knew how hard it was for anyone else to earn. Tweek somehow didn't think so. If Craig had even the slightest idea, he wouldn't have abused that trust so thoroughly. It started with unkind teasing, which lead to veiled verbal abuse, which lead to blatant insults…all of which Tweek took. It escalated from there…from flirting with others in front of him, to sexual innuendo, to Craig coming to his house reeking of sex, smoke and sweat. It hurt more than Tweek knew how to express, but still he took it.
The final straw – a point Tweek hadn't even known he was capable of reaching – had been last night, at Token's graduation party. It was nothing he hadn't been through before, though this was the first time he'd seen it with his own eyes. The party was in full swing and he'd lost Craig in the crowd when he'd stopped to chat with Pip. The two had developed a bond as overlooked, unworthy outcasts and had become best friends over the years. It had been a couple of weeks since they'd had a chance to talk alone and they took their time catching up. After Pip bid him a cheery goodbye and made a beeline for Damien, Tweek had searched out his own wayward boyfriend.
And found him…in a dark corner, making out with Clyde. Clyde, being pressed between the wall and Craig's body, had been the first to notice him from over Craig's shoulder. His eyes widened and he had the decency to look guilty. Pushing Craig off of him, a very drunk Clyde immediately came in front of Tweek and grasped his shoulders, apologizing profusely and crying in that whiney way of his. Clyde, he could forgive. But Craig, having been caught red-handed in the act of cheating, just looked bored and even a little annoyed. Like Tweek was the asshole here for interrupting his good time. Craig had looked at him coolly, grabbed his wrist and led him out of the party.
"God damn it, Tweek, you ruin everything." he'd grumbled irritably. "I don't know why I bother with you."
He'd ushered Tweek into his car and driven him home. Tweek had lain awake all night, those words echoing in his head. Why did Craig bother with him? Was it out of habit? Did it amuse him, seeing Tweek in pain and knowing he didn't have the strength to say anything? Did he get some twisted satisfaction from pushing Tweek past the breaking point repeatedly, only to find good old Tweek still by his side and loyal as ever the next morning? It was mind-boggling. It was just plain evil.
Tweek was interrupted from his musings of the past as the sound of snow crunching underfoot reached his ears. A dark figure sat down next to him on the bench, the smell of ash and spice alerting him to the mysterious man's identity.
"Why do people do evil things?" Tweek asked quietly, still looking over the frozen pond. "You must have some kind of insight on the subject, all things considered."
Damien glanced at the blonde next to him, surprised at the question. He knew what must have prompted it, of course. Everyone knew. Craig had almost made a sport out of hurting Tweek and the whole class had a quiet, unspoken pity for the twitchy boy. No one ever bothered to step in, though. Damien had thought about it. Tweek was his boyfriend's best friend, Damien himself had a soft spot for the endearing spaz and he'd never really liked Craig anyway. But, surprisingly, Pip had stopped him. If someone else always saves him, he'll never learn how to save himself. Let him be, love. He's stronger than you think. Damien had his doubts about that but, glancing at the bulky object beside Tweek on the bench, maybe he was about to be proved wrong.
Damien shrugged before responding to Tweek's question. "'The ways of Heaven are not for Man to know.'" the Anti-Christ quoted. "If Man isn't meant to know, then you can imagine how clueless those of us in Hell are."
Tweek stayed silent, so Damien continued.
"I do know that humanity is obsessed with morality, but not nearly as obsessed as they are with all the things that corrupt it. And I know that God and Love are one and the same, both working in mysterious and often very cruel ways. Both facts have a lot to do with the nature of evil." Damien said. Studying the boy next to him, the demon saw neither vulnerability nor strength in him. It was like he was drained. "He's really hurt you, hasn't he?"
Tweek turned to Damien, who was awestruck by the transparency of his light brown eyes. The look Tweek was giving him was impossible to define in common terms, but it was one that reflected how the blonde was at once breaking apart and pulling himself together at the same moment, over the same heartache. "I can handle being hurt." Tweek said plainly. "What I can't handle is not being loved."
"It takes a lot of strength to say you deserve more." Damien commented, amazed at how his boyfriend had seen this strength in Tweek all along.
Tweek snorted. "I'm running away from my problems. That's not strong or brave."
"You're getting yourself out of a bad situation and that is brave." Damien insisted.
"I'm just tired of wasting my time on people who don't care about me." Tweek breathed out on an exhausted exhale.
"Then you should be with people who do care about you."
Tweek turned to him, the barest of smiles on his face. His body straightened and his posture held determination, as though he'd just made a resolute decision. "That's the idea." he said, rising from his seat and dusting off the snow-covered object lying beside him. Pulling the large suitcase up by the handle, he stood it upright before coming in front of Damien and reaching down to wrap his arms around the dark boy.
Damien returned the hug for a brief moment and then watched Tweek walk away, the suitcase being lugged awkwardly in the snow behind him. "Good luck, Tweek." he whispered to himself. Standing and brushing the snow off of his clothes, Damien made his way home. He was suddenly overcome by the urge to tell his own, sweet blonde how much he loved him, but even more than that, how much he appreciated him.
Craig walked to Tweek's house sedately, in no real hurry to get there. The blonde would probably be waiting for him quietly on the couch, whether he came now or a few hours from now. With his parents gone on vacation and high school over with, Tweek had nothing better to do with his time…not that he ever did. His world revolved around Craig and always had. It was a fact of life, one Craig had built his reality on: no matter what he did, Tweek would always be there for him. When they'd first gotten together, he'd treated that fact like the gift it was. He'd felt honored that such blind trust was bestowed on him, of all people. That someone as innocent and indisputably good as Tweek saw him as worthy of such devotion had made Craig feel like the strongest person in the world. But then doubt had crept in…why was Tweek so trusting of him? He certainly didn't deserve it. The slippery slope of taking Tweek for granted had started as an attempt to push him away, so he could find someone truly worthy of what he so naively gave to Craig. But the more he pushed, the firmer Tweek stood against the abuse…as though it was worth it to endure such undeserved cruelty if it meant being with him.
And when his parents got divorced, Craig forgot that the only reason he started pushing in the first place was for Tweek's own good. Instead, he began using Tweek as a pressure valve, releasing all of his anger and negativity on the poor kid. Then it all just snowballed from there, becoming some sort of twisted experiment of Craig's newly jaded, cynical outlook: to see just how far he could take things. Tweek's trust became a blanket he grew to despise. His immediate acceptance of all of Craig's lies was astounding. Tweek was stupid if he didn't know the truth and pathetic if he did. Craig would say he was at the football game, when he clearly smelled of sex, and Tweek would just look at him sadly before asking who won. A part of him was still the same Craig he was in the beginning. That Craig nearly wept every time Tweek turned those sad eyes on him, but then that Craig's shouting protests were drowned in another wave of apathy and invincibility. After all, Tweek would never leave him.
Approaching the door of Tweek's house, Craig saw an envelope taped to the door. He got close enough to knock before seeing it had his name written on it in Tweek's shaky scrawl. A deep trepidation hollowed out his stomach before he pushed the feeling aside in favor of annoyance. With a roll of his eyes and an impatient huff, he tore the envelope from the door and ripped it open. Pulling out a small slip of paper, he read the one line written on it and his blood went cold in his veins. His face paled and his eyes went wide with crippling fear as he re-read the haunting words.
Just remember not to love me when I disappear.
Jerking the doorknob and throwing his body against the door of Tweek's house, he sprinted inside in alarm. It was dark, a good indication that Tweek was not there; he kept all the lights on when he was. Still, Craig ran frantically from the empty living room to the equally empty kitchen. Without thinking, he took the stairs two and three at a time until he was at the doorway of Tweek's room. At first glance, Craig could see his closet was empty of all his favorite clothes, only the things he never wore remained. His laptop was gone, as was his old-fashioned, bell-and-hammer alarm clock. Desperation was starting to take over; Craig's eyes were wide with dread. Ripping through the drawers of Tweek's dresser, he saw more missing clothes. Tearing out of the room and into the bathroom only confirmed that his toothbrush, comb and razor were gone, too.
Tears pricked at Craig's eyes and his breathing was labored and loud in his ears.
"God, no, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. He can't be gone. He can't!" Craig panicked, his eyes darting madly and one hand fisted in his black hair. "Where would he go? Who would he –"
Craig cut himself off at the realization.
"Pip." It was the last thing Craig said before running out of the house, not stopping until he was pounding on the door of the British boy's home.
Damien woke up with a start and, after a moment of confusion, he glanced over to see Pip sleeping peacefully at his side. Damien smirked; the poor kid was probably still worn out from earlier. After returning home from his odd encounter with Tweek, he'd rushed in and immediately buried his face into Pip's lap as the confused lad sat on the couch. Damien knew how easily it might have been Pip on that bench, how little it would take for him and Pip to end up like Craig and Tweek. He could be mean and thoughtless and cold, just like Craig, but the thought of Pip ever being as hurt as Tweek, ever leaving him because of it had the demon's breath coming out in shaky bursts against the Brit's slacks. He wasn't one for words and didn't show his appreciation for the blonde nearly as often as he should, but he pushed past his discomfort and everything he loved and needed in Pip had come out in a rushed, frantic confession. When he'd finally looked up, Pip gave him a watery, beautiful smile and attacked him, smothering his face with kisses and whispering his own words of love. They had come together desperately, again and again…and twice more after that.
A frenzied pounding on his front door, the cause of his premature awakening, had the smirk sliding off of Damien's face. He carefully extricated himself from Pip's grasp. Luckily, Pip was a heavy sleeper and the loud knocking didn't even cause him to stir. Throwing on a pair of jeans and a white, ribbed tank-top, he made his way down the stairs. The pace of the knocking had only gotten faster and louder, the spastic rhythm making him think that maybe it was Tweek, despite the finality of his goodbye. Swinging the door open, Damien's face went slack with shock.
He'd never seen Craig look anything other than apathetic or annoyed, but the kid was borderline hysterical at the moment. He was panting heavily, his face red from running through the chilling cold outside. Tear tracks were frozen onto his face; his eyes were wild and bloodshot with panic. A crinkled envelope was crushed in his tight grasp. Craig barreled past him into the house, searching the living room frantically with his eyes.
"Where is he? Where's Tweek?" Craig half pleaded, half demanded, already moving into the den to continue his search.
"He's not here." Damien responded.
"Bullshit!" Craig spat. "I know he's here! Where else would he go?"
"Anywhere that's away from you." Damien scowled.
Craig stormed toward Damien and gripped his shirt in his fists, shaking him slightly. "You tell me where the fuck Tweek is right now or so help me God, I will send you to your Dad the old-fashioned way, you fucking asshole!"
"Don't push me, mortal, or I'll do the same." Damien growled dangerously, shoving Craig until the back of his knees hit the couch and he fell onto it gracelessly. "Tweek's not here."
"Then where the hell is he?" Craig yelled.
"Keep your fucking voice down." Damien snarled. "I don't know where he went, I just know he left."
"You talked to him?" Craig asked desperately. "When? Is he okay?"
"He's pretty fucking far from okay after all you've put him through, asshole."
"I didn't mean it, shit, I didn't want to hurt him." Craig muttered, head in his hands. "God, doesn't he know he's fucking everything to me? I love him, damn it! He's the only good thing I've ever had! He can't leave me!"
"What did you expect?" Damien asked, annoyed.
"I didn't expect him to leave!" Craig shouted, his voice cracking.
"Well, you should have." Damien said, feeling no sympathy for the boy in front of him. "You deserve this, you know. You deserve everything you're feeling for the way you treated him. Hell, you deserve to be shot for the way you treated him. You drove him away. You. Any decent human being wouldn't hurt the person they love so carelessly."
"Yeah, 'cause you're such a relationship guru." Craig sneered. "I don't think you qualify as decent or as a human being."
"At least I recognize a good thing when I have it." Damien shot back. "Let's compare, shall we? My boyfriend is upstairs asleep after four heartfelt, mind-blowing bouts of sex. Last time I saw him, your boyfriend was trying to make sense of everything he's been through by contemplating how evil you are. Whatever conclusion he came to obviously wasn't in your favor because then he fucking left, dragging a suitcase behind him toward the edge of town!"
"He was?" Craig paled. "Oh, fuck…the bus station!"
Craig jumped up from the couch and ran for the door. As he passed through the entryway, a pale, slender hand grasped his arm in a surprisingly firm grip. Craig looked from the hand restraining him to Pip's angelic face which was, for once, not smiling.
"Get the hell off me, Pip! I have to find Tweek!" Craig shouted, trying to pull away. Pip dragged him back to the living room with quiet strength and determination before sitting Craig back down on the couch.
"You'll do no such thing." Pip stated quietly, but with firm finality.
"The fuck I won't!" Craig screamed. He tried to rise, but found himself pushed back down, this time by Damien. The demon's red-eyed glare kept him from trying again. When his protests had died down and silence permeated the room, Pip addressed him with a tone so soft, it couldn't help but command attention.
"You'll not go after Tweek. You'll not call him or try to find him or bother him at all from this point forward. You destroyed that boy and the only way he'll be able to put himself back together is if you stay far away from him. You make him forget his own strength because you overpower him with yours. He deserves to find happiness and no matter how much you love him, you know he won't find it with you."
"I did make him happy." Craig protested weakly.
"In the beginning." Pip conceded. "But half the things he loved about you disappeared and the other half were twisted and perverted by your own pain. You can't be with him, Craig. You're toxic to him and to yourself. I know he loved you deeply and if you love him now, if you ever loved him at all, you'll let him go. Not because it's what you want, but because it's what's best for him."
"But…" A dry sob escaped Craig. "But what do I do without him?"
Pip smiled down on him gently, benevolently, like a saint forgiving a sinner. "Grow from this, Craig. Don't let the memories of him fester and turn dark inside of you, but honor them by rediscovering the man you were when he fell in love with you. Work to become a man that might someday be worthy of him."
The weight of his selfish choices and malicious actions crashed down on Craig. Pain too terrible to imagine shattered through every nerve and fiber inside of him. His body convulsed as dry heaves gripped his stomach and his heart clenched painfully in his chest. Sobs were ripped harshly from his arid, aching throat and tears stung his dry eyes like chlorine. He collapsed into himself like a burned-out star, his awareness focused so internally that he didn't even notice when Pip cradled him gently in his arms or when Damien left for the kitchen, uncomfortable around such raw emotion. All of the pain, anger and self-loathing normally hidden by his blank, gray eyes flowed out of him like blood, thick and rank. He cried like he'd never cried before, like he never even thought himself capable of. He cried the tears of a man who has no one to blame but himself for the hell he's created and must now live in. He cried with such force, his body was shaking from the strain of exertion and his mind felt fuzzy and clouded.
He cried himself to sleep.
But as his subconscious absorbed Pip's advice, his eyes moved rapidly under his lids, dreaming of a time when Tweek would love him again.
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