Fight or Flight


Craig never thought he'd be the kind of person who obsessively tracks the weather, but he's gotten into the habit of keeping an eye on the radar, especially during tornado season. He's not afraid of tornadoes; they haven't had one in South Park in fifteen years. Actual danger is not the reason he's trained himself to wake up at the first low rumble of thunder.

Tonight he's especially tired, and he doesn't wake up until a blast of rain pelts the window beside his bed. He wrenches his eyes open and stares at the water sloshing down over the glass for awhile, contemplating indifference. Lightning flashes and thunder rattles the windowpane. Craig's legs are still sore from a particularly grueling track practice, and he's got a motherfucking vocabulary quiz that he was going to wake up and study for before school. He hates vocabulary, words, language. He hates that he's getting up, getting dressed, putting on his rain boots.

The house is quiet when he leaves his room. Rachel has gotten into the habit of sneaking up late to watch TV, but the one time Craig caught her doing it he exchanged his silence for her agreement not to tell their parents that he was leaving the house. Still, he doesn't like the idea of anyone knowing about this. He's glad to find the television dark and quiet as he makes his way downstairs, the living room illuminated by more lightning. The chandelier in the foyer shivers against the thunder, and the thought of shivering makes Craig move faster. He puts on his raincoat, not bothering with an umbrella. The wind is blowing hard and he'll be drenched in thirty seconds.

Outside, the pines are in turmoil. Craig can hear them and smell them as he pulls the hood on his raincoat more tightly around his face. Rain seems to blast him from all directions, as if he's in a car wash that the town is being run through. The wind makes him stagger, and he curses when he ends up ankle-deep in an already flooded gutter. There aren't even any cars on the road. It's three o'clock in the morning and the outside world doesn't seem to want him, the wind beating against him as if it wants him to return to his bed. Craig wants that, too, and his teeth are gritted against curses that sit half-formed on his tongue, bleeding back down his throat and boiling into a kind of growl at the pit of his stomach.

He's too old for this. He's seventeen, nearly a man. This is a child's game, and it's not fun anymore. Maybe it never was, but it was thrilling, once. It made him feel strong, useful, stealthy and capable. Now it just makes him feel like a rain-soaked chump.

The walk is a little over a mile, but it feels longer. It's mid-May, the rain is still as cold as the clouds that sit high over the mountains, and his teeth begin to chatter despite the insulation that his rain coat provides. He should have dressed in layers. In bed he was overly warm, still flushed from running all afternoon. He's doing cross country this year. He likes marathons, especially when he can pull out ahead and have a long stretch of trail to himself, watching the ground for anything that might trip him, his breath narrowed to the circumference of a drinking straw. When he's running, not only does he not have to talk, he doesn't have room to really think about anything except continuing, and it's blissfully lonely, though there is satisfaction in finishing, too.

Maybe that's what this whole thing has been, an eight year long marathon that he's almost finished running. Craig fell in love with Tweek because of a fire drill. It was a couple of months after the other boys in class manipulated them into fighting. Tweek was the only one who wasn't in on it, and therefore the only trustworthy person in school, as far as Craig was concerned. Still, he kept his distance, because Tweek was all words and no meaning, not even a complete sentence. He was noisy, not like Eric Cartman was noisy but in an awkward, involuntary way, when he would have preferred to be quiet, to lay low. That was what Craig found endearing, maybe, Tweek's helpless notoriety. During that fire drill, Tweek was shouting about smoke inhalation and tearing at his hair, refusing to accept that this was only a drill. He got sent to the principal's office for his outburst, and Craig was waiting outside the door for his own punishment. His crime was refusing to participate in the drill. He was against it on principle: did the fourth graders really need to practice walking out of the fucking building? Not in his opinion, no.

Tweek had stared at Craig nervously rather than sitting down beside him. They hadn't spoken since their fight, and Tweek looked afraid that Craig would beat him up again. Craig had actually been surprised that Tweek fought back that day. He'd always assumed Tweek was the type who would just lie there and take it.

"What?" Craig said when Tweek continued staring and twitching, his teeth gritted.

"What - ah - what are you doing here?" Tweek asked.

"Sitting," Craig said. Stupid questions: Tweek was fond of them. Tweek yelped as if Craig's smart ass response had struck him like a blow.

"Alarms make me freak out," Tweek says. "I can't help it! It's not f-fucking fair, dude! I shouldn't have to see the principal - gah!"

"Everything makes you freak out," Craig said.

"No, it doesn't! I - I'm calm sometimes, okay? Just not at school!"

Craig was interested. He had to see this.

"Prove it," he said.

"What - what do you mean?"

"I mean prove it," Craig said. "Let me come over to your house and see you when you're actually calm."

"Ah - but you - you're - why?"

Craig shrugged. "'Cause if you don't I'll think you're lying." They stared at each other for awhile, Tweek openly fretting and Craig trying not to blink.

"I thought you hated me," Tweek said, still twitching.

"Why would I hate you?" Craig didn't like the idea of hating anyone at school. It implied too much concern.

"Because I gave you a black eye, dude!"

"Yeah. Well. I gave you one, too. Come sit over here, idiot, I'm not going to hit you or anything."

Tweek did as Craig asked, which resulted in a strange new sensation at the pit of Craig's stomach, something like doing a back flip underwater at the pool. They stared at each other for awhile, Tweek shrinking slightly under Craig's gaze. The principal opened her door and called for Craig.

"Meet me at the stairs after school," Craig said. Tweek looked scared but obedient, and therefore Craig was fucked from his pre-sexual development onward. That was what he wanted before he knew about sex and what he thought about when he started putting his hand down his pants at night: Tweek, scared but obedient. Who else could Tweek trust but Craig, the only one who hadn't set him up for the fight? They had that in common and something else, too, though the other thing they had in common manifested like a negative image, dulling Craig down to a blunt object and ratcheting Tweek up into a blur.

After school, they walked home together. Tweek talked a lot, nonstop, about fire safety and razor blades in Halloween candy, how their teacher looked like this one guy on the Colorado Sexual Predator registry and how he was pretty sure Butters Stotch was some kind of pod person awaiting orders from a mothership. Craig didn't say anything, and pretended not to listen, but he heard every word.

They arrived at Tweek's house and Tweek made coffee. Craig drank some just so he wouldn't seem like a pussy. In Tweek's living room, they sat on the floor and Tweek showed Craig how his therapist had taught him to meditate.

"I usually can't do it with someone else in the room," Tweek said.

"Pretend I'm not here," Craig said. Tweek shook his head.

"I don't want to," he said, and it didn't matter, anyway; he was already pretty calm, more so than Craig had ever seen at school. "I - I'm glad you're here."

"Why?" Craig asked. They were sitting Indian style, facing each other. The question made Tweek start twitching again, so Craig reached out and put a hand on his knee. "Stop," he said, and the underwater flip thing happened again when it worked: Tweek stopped twitching. He stared at Craig, looking frightened but not worried - the distinction made Craig sit up taller. He liked the idea that Tweek could be afraid of him and still secure in the knowledge that Craig wouldn't hurt him. Craig closed his eyes and pretended to meditate, listening to Tweek breathe. Eventually meditation seemed to happen against his will, and in the dark of his thoughts he found that he wanted to be closer to Tweek, that even sitting together like this wasn't enough to still the restless thing that started in his stomach when he asked Tweek to sit and Tweek obeyed. When Craig opened his eyes, Tweek was looking at him. He seemed hypnotized, his lips slightly parted.

"Do you believe me now?" Tweek asked.

"Yeah," Craig said, and he smiled in a way that he was too young then to appreciate, though soon enough he would realize the power that his sudden smirk could have on people. "But I bet I could make you calmer."

It's raining harder by the time he's vaulting himself over the fence and into the backyard. He lands hard in the mud, some of it splashing onto his raincoat. Thunder propels him forward, but he's still cursing under his breath, resentful as he takes shelter under the awning that covers the back patio. He strips off his raincoat and drapes it over the back of a chair, steps out of his boots and tests the sliding glass door. It's unlocked, as usual. He pulls the door open slowly, tiptoeing inside and dripping onto the carpet as he closes the door behind him. Another boom of thunder; Craig pauses when its reverberations are finished, listening. He can't hear anything, but he can feel it, the thing that's pulling him toward the second floor, up the stairs.

If he were caught - well, he's not sure what would happen. Jail time? Maybe not, but there would be a lot of explaining, reams of vocabulary exchanged between interested parties. Phone calls between parents, heartfelt prodding from his mother, hours worth of reassuring everyone that nothing sinister is taking place. Craig has never wanted to have a conversation about this. He relishes the silence of the house as he makes his way down the upstairs hallway, and opens the bedroom door as quietly as possible. Already, the perfect quiet within the storm is disturbed: he can hear a faint whimpering in the dark, muffled by blankets. Lightning flashes outside, and he scans the room quickly, finding Tweek in his usual spot: the corner farthest from the room's window, huddled under the comforter from his bed. Craig stares as his eyes adjust, and he shuts the bedroom door behind him. He's gotten good at this, so quiet in his movements that even Tweek doesn't seem to realize he's in the room yet, which runs the risk of scaring him further. Tweek is hidden completely beneath the comforter, shivering, and moaning in a way that sounds to Craig like a complaint that he hasn't come sooner.

"I'm here," Craig says, softly, hoping that Tweek won't shout. He yelps, but it's mostly hidden under the comforter, and he goes still beneath it but doesn't uncover himself. Craig sighs and steps out of his damp jeans, pulls off his socks.

"Craig?" Tweek's voice is a pitiful little thing, but that's nothing new.

"Yeah, it's me," Craig says, muttering. He lifts up the comforter and crawls underneath it, drawing it up over his head, too. Tweek clings as soon as Craig is beside him, warm and pajama-clad, scrambling to get into Craig's lap. He's still making fluttery little noises, but they're full of relief now, his lips hot and dry on Craig's neck.

"I thought I heard that train sound!" Tweek says. Craig arches so that Tweek's legs can wind around his back, and he slides his arms around Tweek's waist, squeezing. "The - the tornado sound, you know? That chugging sound?"

"There's no tornado," Craig says. His annoyance is simmering low in his belly, but he's relieved, too, warm and dry and holding Tweek tightly. "I was just out there."

"Gah - Craig! You shouldn't - it's dangerous - what about the lightning?"

"Lightning's got nothing on me. Don't worry about it."

"Craig," Tweek says, whining. He's nosing at Craig's neck now, his mouth growing wet as he licks the more fragrant spots, his favorite places. Tweek is feral when it comes to sex, all instinct and no finesse. Craig likes that about him, and he likes the idea that he's tamed Tweek somewhat. He threads his fingers through Tweek's hair and pulls his head back gently. In the dark, under the comforter, he can't see the shine of Tweek's manic gaze, but he can feel it.

"You drive me crazy," Craig says, annoyed with himself for choosing such a vague word for this phenomenon, though it's the only appropriate one. He's hard, and irritated. "I can't sleep, because I'm thinking about you here, freaking out, alone, and that's not fucking fair."

"I know - gah! Craig, I'm sorry, I don't want -"

"Oh, shut up, you do want this. You love it that I have to walk across town in the fucking rain -"

"No! Ah - no, Craig, please, I swear, I hate it, I think about you out there and I can't take it! I know I'm a pain in the ass, I'm sorry, shit, oh, God, you're going to leave me, aren't you?" He's shaking now, badly, his hands clawed around the sleeves of Craig's shirt.

"Yeah, I'm going to leave you. That's why I'm here at three o'clock in the morning, sitting in the corner under your comforter."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Tweek glues himself to Craig, jerking in his arms when thunder cracks overhead. Craig holds him, playing with the back of Tweek's hair while Tweek whimpers fretfully. Tweek is like a word problem: the rigidity of math combined with the irritating effervescence of vocabulary. The worst of both words, and yet here Craig is, not wanting to let him go.

"Let's get in the bed, okay?" Craig says. He pushes the comforter down so that their heads are exposed. Tweek cowers, his fingers going to his mouth as he turns toward the window.

"But - a branch could break the glass -"

"Tweek. No. The trees aren't close enough."

"Lightning, though, it could - oh, Jesus -"

"I told you, lightning is afraid of me," Craig says. Tweek turns back to him, the tips of his fingers still in his mouth, though he's not chewing them now, just studying Craig. Something sinks into his features: trust. He thinks Craig is invincible, at least to lightning, because Craig just said so. It makes it feel true for Craig, too.

In the bed, under the blankets, Tweek trembles hard until he's securely pinned to Craig's chest, and then his trembling becomes more understated, like a pulse that runs alongside his always frantic heartbeat. He makes noises, too, needy things, and Craig didn't come here for sex but Tweek seems to want it, nipping at his earlobe and pushing his nervous fingers up under Craig's shirt.

"Junkie," Craig says when Tweek scoots down to lick the smooth flat of his stomach. They're both skinny, but on Tweek it's pliable and delicate - Craig's thing, always, he loves that - and on Craig it's all tightly packed runner's muscles. It's Tweek's thing, probably, definitely, because he always licks Craig everywhere, never skips this step. He's moaning to himself as he does it, satiated, like he's licking nutrients from Craig's skin.

Thunder booms outside; the storm is still close. Tweek whimpers and crawls up Craig's body, clinging again, his arms around Craig's neck and his cock pressed to Craig's stomach.

"It's okay," Craig whispers, because telling Tweek so never gets old, no matter how sure he is that it has on the way over here.

"I - ah - I want you in me," Tweek says. He's bashful when he asks for this, his face coloring, eyelashes fluttering. "Please? Please, Craig? It - it makes me feel safe, gah - like, like I'm stealing your superpowers."

"Borrowing," Craig says. He rolls Tweek onto his back, leaning up over him on his hands and knees. "But I don't really have superpowers. You - know that, right?"

Maybe it's cruel to say so, or at least enough to ruin the moment, but Craig does worry about Tweek sometimes. He can't be the sole guardian of Tweek's sanity, even if that's exactly what he's been for the past eight years.

"You do," Tweek says. He's staring up at Craig, his face wide open with wonder, calm despite the storm. "Craig, you do. I can feel it, ah. When you're in me."

When they're apart, Craig forgets how good Tweek is at this. If he can be proud of himself, in hindsight, for the way he smirked at Tweek in his living room that first afternoon, Tweek should be proud of what he said that made Craig stay. I'm glad you're here. Maybe Craig just likes being flattered. Maybe he just needs someone who never stops proving how much he needs Craig, too.

Craig lets Tweek bite his hand when he slides into him, Tweek's eyelids growing heavier as his teeth close more tightly around Craig's thumb. Craig saw this in a movie once, the hand biting thing. They don't even need to do it anymore, really - they have sex so often that Tweek can take it anytime, no preparation beyond lube required - but it's like tradition, something they both love. Craig has calluses on his thumb from Tweek's teeth, and he sucks at them sometimes at night when he's wishing for a thunderstorm, wanting Tweek next to him.

The storm continues and Craig fucks Tweek through it, slow and quiet under the blankets. He's huffing his breath through his nose, lips clamped shut, the mattress making only the faintest squeaking sound in protest of his thrusts. Tweek has his mouth open but not widely, just in resigned astonishment, his gaze almost drowsy, cheeks bright pink. Craig pauses to bend down and kiss him, their harsh breath mingling between their mouths like another storm system, hot and wet.

"Craig," Tweek says, gushing his name in a long whisper, and Craig hears it like an embarrassing fifth grade love poem written in the margin of something less embarrassing but not nearly as good. He gives Tweek a wet kiss between his eyes, over the bridge of his nose.

"Can you feel it yet?" Craig whispers. He drags his cock out slow, then pushes back in, watching Tweek's face change. "That super power?"

"Yeah," Tweek says. He's drained of tension, not even shaking, his hands pushed up under his pillow like they're bolted to the mattress. "Again - ah. Do it again."

So Craig's super power is fucking Tweek into a perfect calm, the kind that teeters on the edge of a sensation that's overwhelming, that before-the-storm feeling flooding their bodies. Craig likes those moments best, if he's awake to see them: the way the aimless wind suddenly changes direction, moving the trees like it means to do something with them, sending the air into a vicious swirl under the gathering clouds. Sex with Tweek is like waiting for a thunderstorm: knowing it's going to come loud and hard and fast, and lingering in its dark promise before it hits, tension coiling, goosebumps racing across their skin like leaves upset by wind.

The squeaking mattress complains more audibly as Craig gets closer, his teeth grit to keep any noises he might contribute inside. Tweek is moaning into his hands now, muffled and pretty, his eyes wet from pleasure. He told Craig once that he always feels a spike of fear before coming, something Craig could have guessed without hearing it from him. Sometimes it's just so big, Tweek said. That feeling, like it's gonna tear me apart.

So Craig holds Tweek together when he comes, putting his mouth over Tweek's to hide his low moan. His body jerks under Craig's, and Craig can feel the heat of Tweek's come on his belly, his chest. Craig fucks him harder, imagining clouds opening up, the sound of rain as it surges closer, then there's the lightning flash and the thunder so close - he comes into Tweek with a growl, flattening him to the mattress while the rain against the window seems to beat onto his back, steam rising from his skin. They lie there panting and listening to the rain, and Craig's sense of reality returns. The storm is out there and they're in here, not quite dry but warm enough to sweat, and fuck it. Tweek makes him feel safe, too.

He wants to sleep like this, just for a few minutes, so he doesn't move off or pull out. Tweek plays with Craig's hair, his hands shaking again, though the quality of the shaking is different now, like the way Craig's muscles quiver after a long run. His body is humming just like that, congratulating itself, remembering how to breathe easy.

They separate, and Craig does feel like his super power has been stolen. He's weak and sleepy, especially when he thinks of going back out into the rain. It's four o'clock in the morning now. His alarm will go off in two hours. Vocabulary awaits.

"Do you have your vocab book?" Craig asks. Tweek is half-asleep, tucked against his chest and stroking his back with delirious determination.

"Somewhere, yeah, in my backpack." Tweek looks up at him. "You want it right now?"

"No," Craig says, groaning. He stares at Tweek, trying to be mad at him, but Tweek nudges Craig's chin with his nose before he can manage to get angry about any of this. "Do you ever hate words?" Craig asks, and Tweek laughs. It's rare, Tweek laughing, and Craig sometimes hates himself for this, because he's pretty sure that it's his fault. Craig is a lot of things, but he's not often funny.

"Hate words?" Tweek says. "You mean like - vocab quizzes?"

"No, I mean, like, talking. It's so. I don't know. Imperfect."

"Yeah," Tweek says, though he doesn't seem to be agreeing exactly. He looks worried about this strain of conversation for a moment, then drowsy again. "That's why we have bodies, I guess. Minds kind of suck. Mine does, anyway, it's always fucking sabotaging me - and yeah, Jesus, talking is the worst! I always say the wrong thing, and people think I'm a fucking nut job, and, and - but this is good," he says, softly, sliding his leg up between Craig's to demonstrate. Craig nods and kisses him, putting all his non-words into it, the things that are better than the lackluster I love you or the humiliating I need this so fucking much. Tweek sighs and softens in his arms. He probably hasn't slept at all tonight.

"Get some rest," Craig says. He tries to straighten Tweek's static-filled hair. Tweek whines, his eyes beginning to droop shut.

"When I wake up you'll be gone," he says. "I - gah! I hate that."

"What do you want? You want me to stay here and get caught by your parents?"

"No, Jesus Christ! Just, shit. Never mind." He pushes his arm up inside Craig's shirt, hooks it across his back and holds onto him.

"I'll stay for another hour," Craig says, though he'll run the risk of falling asleep if he does. "Just promise me you won't wake up when I leave."

"Ah - I can't promise that!"

"Yeah, you can. Promise me." Someday Tweek won't be able to calm down when Craig asks him to. Craig will fall apart when that happens. He's gotten too invested and he's done this for too long. He won't know who he is when he's not the guy who finds Tweek under blankets and eases him back into the real world.

"Fine, ah, I promise!" Tweek pushes his face against Craig's chest and holds on tighter, as if he's determined to make his body into a trap that will spring when Craig leaves him. It won't work; he sleeps so deeply when Craig holds him, whether they've fucked the energy from each other beforehand or not. It's that trust that they can't give to anybody else. They were set up to be opposing forces, and all they could do in the aftermath was make allies of each other. Craig might have loved Tweek anyway, but it's good knowing what it feels like to fight him, because it's kept him from ever fighting against this, which feels much better.

An hour later he slips from Tweek's loosened grip, carefully exits the bed and silently refastens his pants. He can already feel dawn coming, though he can't see it in the sky yet. The thunder and lightning are gone but the rain is still falling, just a lazy patter now. Craig thinks about how cold it will be out there and pauses in Tweek's doorway to look back at him. He's curled up around a Craig-less space, the blankets low enough to expose the points of his shoulder blades. Craig tries to come up with a vocabulary word for this feeling, but there's nothing. Assigning words to things like this is a waste of time. Leaving Tweek asleep in bed is something that happens in his bloodstream, sharper than cold and bigger than longing. It's putting on a wet raincoat and walking out into the mud, the chill seeping into his skin while he can still smell Tweek under his clothes. It's more than that, too, dripping off of him as he walks home through puddles, wet asphalt almost pretty under the streetlights. It's a marathon; he was right before. It's all running and no stopping, that place he reaches around mile twenty, when his body feels like it doesn't quite belong to him anymore, when something else is keeping him upright, moving him along.

He gets home and takes a hot shower, his certainty fading as he scrubs crusted come from his skin. This is what it's like, though, running: the idea of it is tedious until he's doing it, reduced to breath and sweat and wanting nothing but to keep moving faster until he reaches that place where he's allowed to stop. Life must feel that way for Tweek. Craig just wants to be the place where he stops and catches his breath.

In his room, exhausted, he yawns into his vocabulary book. The first word is 'abate.' The example sentence: We had to postpone our walk until the storm would abate. Craig smiles down at the book. He's not sure how long he can keep running like this, but he hopes he'll never turn into the kind of person who waits out a storm.
                                                           (the end) 


~~~~~~~~ Back to Craig/Tweek ~~~~~~~~


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola