*Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to South Park.
You stand quietly in the doorway of the packed cafeteria. Your heart is racing—you hate crowds, and even though you've gone to this room every weekday, noon on the dot, for the past two years; it still stresses you out. You hate people, and people hate you. No one talks to you. You're weird. You twitch, you shout, you shake. You're different, and people hate different.
Except for Craig.
Craig hates people too. You haven't seen him talk to anyone besides you since third grade. He likes to stay away from the masses, just like you. He ignores everybody, and everybody ignores him. You're okay with that though, because you get Craig all to yourself.
You love Craig.
He protects you. He tells you that you're better than everyone. He tells you that you're tougher than everyone too. He tells you things that your parents should tell you.
He tells you he loves you.
You spot him at your usual table. It's small round and plastic, hidden in the corner and shrouded by shadows. No one ever sits there except for Craig and you. It's the outcast table. Cursed.
You take a seat and smile at Craig, sitting quietly across from him. He smiles back, drumming his fingers on the table. He doesn't have a lunch. He never does. Everyday you offer him your peanut butter (sans jelly) sandwich, but he always denies it.
Taking a large bite, you greet him, "Hi Craig."
"Hi Tweek." He responds. He stares right at you, into your eyes and your wavery soul. Craig never looks at anyone else. He doesn't care about anyone else, he says, he only cares about you.
That makes it easier. Because you and Craig are always stared at by others. You'll be carrying on a conversation, and people will watch you like you're crazy. They don't like it—you, or Craig.
"How was your day Tweek?" He asks, resting his cheek in the palm of his hand, watching you eat quietly.
"Horrible." Is your answer. It's always your answer. "You coming over today?"
"I always come over." Craig rolls his icy blue eyes and smiles at you. You smile back, because you love his smile, and he only ever smiles for you.
"I know." You say, reaching into the crinkled brown bag that holds the rest of your lunch. Pulling out some dry Cheerios, you ask, "Don't your parents ever get mad though? You're never home." Which is true. After school, he goes to your house. At night, when you can't sleep, he comes to your house. On the weekend while your parents are at the shop, he keeps you company.
"My parents don't matter." Craig says gruffly. "You matter." Then your blushing and staring at the table—Craig's the only one who makes you feel this way.
"Ah!" You screech and jump, hitting your head against the metal shelf of your locker. Currently you and Craig were packing up your books, preparing to walk home. "What!"
"I wouldn't leave the school if I were you." Ew, Cartman.
"W-Why not?" You ask, turning around. You know whatever he is about to say is probably bullshit. But your mind is plagued with the question: what if? constantly. No matter what he says, you'll believe him. And he knows it.
"Jesus, you don't know?" He sniggered, causing you to pull on your shirt anxiously. What don't I know! "Do you live under a rock or something?"
"Tell me!" You nearly shriek, looking back at Craig in question. The dark haired boy is silent; he usually is around people—even if they're messing with you. He says it's better if he's not fighting your battles for you. Sometimes you wish he would.
Cartman grabs you by the collar, pulling you close. He glances his beady eyes left and right, like he's about to tell you a huge secret. "There are zombies outside." He whispers.
And now you're jumping back and screaming, slamming the back of your head into the lockers again. Somewhere in your mushy mind, you know he's joking, but that's not what's in control right now.
Craig rolls his eyes, and you begin to empty out your locker, throwing your textbooks to the floor in a quick attempt to get inside. To protect yourself.
You can hear Cartman laughing, pointing a chubby finger in your direction, and hysterically shouting how gullible you are.
"Tweek, you idiot!" Craig shouts, causing you to stop and look at him with large worried eyes. "He's kidding."
Glancing away from Craig, you see Cartman has left, and a majority of the students are staring at you in bewilderment.
"Clean up your stuff." Craig barks, crossing his arms across his chest. You do as told, face bright red with embarrassment. "Jesus, you'd be so lost without me."
"Mom? Dad?" You call out, closing the door behind Craig and slipping off your shoes. "Craig's here!" You expect silence, as usual, but this time you hear the soft footsteps of your mother slide from the kitchen to the living room. She looks frazzled, her hair resembles yours and she's currently sporting large sleep starved bags underneath her eyes. Why is she here?
She's wearing a coat and a pair of flats, like she's preparing to go out. "Tweek dear," she murmurs, "put your shoes back on, we're going out."
"I don't want to go out, and Craig's over." I pout.
"I know." She sighs. "This is important though sweetie. Craig's welcome to come."
You glance back at him and he shrugs. Currently Craig's glaring at your mother, he doesn't like her. He tells you she's a bad mother and that she should be home with you more often. He says the same thing about your dad.
"Where are w-we going?" You ask as you pull your shoes back on. Your mom doesn't answer as she walks out the door, and into her maroon minivan.
You sit in the backseat with Craig.
"Did you bring home your science book?" Craig asks idly, staring out the window.
"Y-Yeah." You reply, playing with the end of your shirt.
"Good, there's a quiz tomorrow." He says. You smile at him, and Craig turns his head to smile back. He's always looking out for you.
You pull up to a strange building half an hour later. It reminds you of school. It has the same tan bricks and boring shaded windows. Your mother parks in the relatively empty lot, getting out and heading for the front door. You follow suit with Craig in tow. You can tell he doesn't like this place, and we're not even inside yet.
The inside looks like a hospital, and you immediately panic. Mom's at the front desk, and you run up to her, pulling on her sleeve. "Is something wrong with dad?" You ask worriedly. She looks like she's about to cry, but shakes her head.
Then you see them, two nurses—big burly men—clad in white, staring directly at you. The wheels in your head are turning, but before they click, Craig speaks first. His voice is a snarl, harsh and violent. You've never heard him this way before.
"They're going to take you away Tweek." He spits.
Your eyes widen to the size of saucers. You stare at Craig, who is staring at your mom. Your gaze flickers to her, and confusion bubbles at the pit of your stomach.
"Wh-What? What's going on?" You ask brokenly, too afraid to look at the nurses again…until one of them speaks.
"Everything is alright Mr. Tweak." He says in a gentle quiet voice, like you're some kind of animal or something. "If you just come with us, everything will be okay."
"No!" You protest, cowering behind Craig. "Mom! What's going on?" You ask again desperately, but now she's crying.
The other nurse steps toward you, but you stay behind Craig. He turns to look at you, his rock hard gaze softening—only for you.
"Just come with us, son, and we'll make sure you're alright." Nurse 2 says.
Then you decide to run, you turn around and only make it a few feet before two pairs of hands roughly grab you. You scream and writhe, calling for help.
"Craig! Help me!"
Everything goes quiet. You stop struggling, and turn to see your mother, sobbing and walking in your direction. The nurses keep a harsh grip on your arms, but you barely feel it.
"Sweetie, Craig's dead. He's been dead since third grade." She cries quietly, touching your cheek with a gentle hand. You don't want her to touch you. It burns.
You shake your head, and glance at where Craig is standing off to the side, a grave expression marring his features.
"B-But, he's right there." You protest. What the hell was she doing? Who else have you been talking to all these years? Who else has been taking care of you? She's crazy! "He's right there! Craig! Say something!"
Craig sighs, but doesn't utter a word.
"No, he's been dead dear. Remember? There was a car accident on the way to the hospital in third grade. After your fight." She murmurs quietly.
You want to throw up. You can feel hot tears spill from your eyes. She's lying, why would she lie to you this way?
And then Craig's next to her, he's frowning and shaking his head.
"They're lying." He tells you. "They just want you to be alone. They don't love you, Tweek. I love you. They just want me to go away." He touches your other cheek, and it doesn't burn like your mom's hand does. It's light, airy, like a breeze.
You believe Craig, because he'd never lie to you.
"Get away from me!" You screech at your mom, kicking her harshly in the stomach, causing her to fall backwards.
The nurses pull you back, seizing your arms, and you feel a split second of pain before things start getting fuzzy. Craig's still with you though, and that's all that matters.
"D-Don't leave me." You mumble desperately, the earth feels like it's shifting beneath your feet. "Please don't leave me."
"I'll never leave you."
And then everything goes black.
How long has it been since your mother brought you in? Three months? Yeah, that sounds about right.
You're lying in a stiff hospital bed, in your sterile hospital room. Craig's sitting on the end of your mattress, staring at you quietly. They keep trying to tell you he's not there, but you don't believe them. They just want you to be lonely. They don't understand you, not like Craig does.
Sometimes Craig has to leave, because they force you to eat things that make him go away, but he always comes back. You try to avoid those pills, the ones that force Craig away.
Craig's the only one you have.
He smiles at you when you sit up, and you smile back.
"Today's Tuesday." Craig says idly, grinning lazily at you. "Pudding day, your favorite."
And then you're out of bed quickly; making sure the white robe you're adorning isn't exposing your butt. "Ah! C-Come on! We have to hurry before it's all gone!"
You speed out of your room and to the cafeteria. A cafeteria that you don't really mind eating in. There aren't too many people, and they don't stare at you for talking to Craig. They don't care.
You don't care either. Not anymore. You just like to eat your pudding and speak with Craig. Craig's all that matters. Craig's what's keeping you alive.
He loves you.
And you love Craig.