Tweek came as soon as he heard about what happened. His heart racing in his chest, Tweek ran down the street with an emergency medical kit thumping in sync with his panting against his thighs. What he had heard about was brutally terrifying. Apparently Craig got in a fight with his dad; no excuse me, got the ever-loving shit beat out of him by his very own father, and couldn't even move anymore. A thought like that was enough to make 11-year-old Tweek nearly wet his pants, and definitely enough to make him shake in second hand pain and try to get to him as soon as possible. He skidded to a halt and blanched in fear as the thought suddenly occurred to him that Craig's dad might still be home, and he nearly turned back around. But the thoughts of Craig lying unconscious in his bedroom were enough to send him anxiously sprinting back in the direction of the Tucker residence.
Approaching their house, Tweek sighed in relief at the lack of a car in the driveway. He walked up to the front door and anxiously knocked a few times, stepping back a little after doing so. He nervously fingered the strap of the medical kit, looking at the door every few seconds to see when Craig's mom would appear. Eventually, he heard the distinct clip-clap of high heels on hardwood floor and a mere second later he saw a very disheveled looking mother barely creak open the door enough to peek her head around its side. Her eyes twinkled in ominous sadness and cheeks stained red in tears that had already run their path.
"Tweek, sweetheart? Go home. Craig will be at school tomorrow," she said, her voice watery and broken. Tweek's eyes widened and he shook his head quickly left and right in stubbornness, moving both of his hands to grip the strap of the medical kit.
"No I can't! I have to go see him- I have to!" he hurriedly spit out, gripping the emergency kit tighter and tighter as he thought about what would happen if he couldn't go in there and make sure he was okay. He felt anxious tears well up in his eyes, as he watched Craig's mother open the door a little more, just enough so that he could see her face fully. She was a downright mess, her dyed blonde hair sticking up in all directions and black eye makeup dripping down her cheeks, making her look almost dead. If Tweek had found her body motionless on the floor he would've instantly proclaimed her deceased on the spot.
She looked over at the young boy's worried and upset expression and then to the medical kit clenched tightly in his hands. Mrs. Tucker knew that Tweek cared deeply for her son. Who was she to deny him the right to see Craig in his time of need? She sighed and opened the door fully, stepping aside to allow Tweek to pass through.
"Go on, Tweek. Just do it," she said quietly before walking away, leaving Tweek alone on the porch. The noise of her loud heels clanking away was the background music to Tweek's realization of what her words meant and he quickly rushed inside, shutting the door behind him and dashing through the familiar path to Craig's room. Frantic and worried thoughts filled his brain as he maneuvered his way through the house. What if it was too late for Craig? What if he was actually dead already and nothing that Tweek could do would help the situation? It was thoughts like these that made his lower lip quiver in desperateness and feet gracelessly stumble through the house.
Making the last turn, he frantically flew open Craig's door and instantly began searching for him. He spotted him lying on the ground, blood dripping from his nose and a freshly bruising black eye shining on his face like a war medal. Tweek rushed towards him, watching as Craig groggily opened his eye and attempted to smile only to wince in pain. The fact that he even tried to smile for Tweek was enough to make his heart shatter. He felt tears well up in his eyes for the third time that day and sat down next to Craig on his knees, shakily setting down the medical kit before examining the damage that he had already taken. He cupped his face, looking deep into Craig's sullen eye. He looked so sad, so broken, like he had already given up. Like there weren't any other options for him to take, no more roads for him to turn down. Tweek broke eye contact quickly before he did something stupid like cry again. He fumbled around some, opening the medical kit as carefully as he could while he pulled out cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to clean Craig's wounds. Before he could even prepare the cotton, he heard Craig wetly wretch and whipped his head around to see what was going on. Dripping from his mouth was blood, so bright against his sickly pale skin that it hurt his eyes despite the dimness of the room.
Tweek gulped back a scream, eyes wide and eyebrows raised in barely repressed fear, and moved his attention back to pouring rubbing alcohol onto the cotton. He did the task as quickly as he could despite his shaking hands, and scooted forward on his knees to get closer to Craig with the moist cotton balls in tow. He gently began wiping at the blood sticking to his mouth and discarded the cotton balls that got sullied back behind him. The sight of so much blood made him almost sick and he tried his hardest to repress the nausea going up his throat. With Craig's wellness being the most significant aspect of his life currently, he tried to do this task methodically, and attempted to block out any and all thoughts about how much danger Craig was in just by living in his house. The thoughts chased him regardless. His father could come back at any moment and pound another beating into him- maybe even kill him! He could've done this multiple times to Craig in the past- he could've done worse to Craig in the past and when Tweek wasn't there to support him like he is now!
Tweek shuddered in fear and dropped the cotton ball he was currently holding, his attention going up to Craig's face to see how he was faring. He noticed the calmness in his demeanor and expression suddenly, almost like Craig had felt this kind of pain before- almost as if he was used to it. No kid could possibly be this accepting unless they had felt something similar before. Tweek's eyes began to water and this time he didn't stop the dam from breaking. Tears flowed freely down his cheeks, his mouth opening in wet sobs and noisy gasps as he lightly touched Craig's shirt with both of his hands- supporting himself against him firmly but not hard enough to hurt any of Craig's unseen injuries.
Loud, retching howls filled the room as Tweek cried for him. He cried for Craig's pain, he cried for all the times when Craig couldn't cry for himself, and he cried for all the times that he could've helped him, all the times where he could've asked him just a little bit more about why he had so many bruises. He cried in regret, and he cried in love. Craig was his dearest friend and he loved him. Seeing Craig in so much pain physically hurt him. He never wanted to see him look like he did right now ever again.
While Tweek cried his heart out, Craig sat on the floor in silence, his eyes blank and staring into a land that lacked all of his problems. He imagined a place that didn't exist, no, a place that existed only for him. And in that land Tweek was there too, happier, yes, much happier there than he was right now. A fantastic and beautiful place where Tweek wouldn't ever have to cry so much for another person again, and especially not a person like himself.
Craig felt Tweek's head nuzzle itself into his shoulder and he sighed softly, gripping the back of his head in his palm and pushing it further against him. Tweek's fuzzy blond hair softly grazed his cheek and he almost felt better. But Craig was too smart, or maybe to pessimistic, to believe that it was over now that his Tweek knew about his home life. He knew that it was only an uphill battle from now on; actually, he knew that it was always an uphill battle. But before it wasn't even a battle, it was just a one-sided boxing match with unfair rules. He knew that his life might get recovered, but his mind still wouldn't allow him to cling onto such a happy thought. His eyes remained bitter and lost.
"Why, why did you let him do this to you for so long, Craig?" Tweek stuttered out, his moist eyes remaining closed and blackened to the world. He could guess the answer to his question but he was dying to hear Craig say it himself. Gripping tighter to the material of Craig's dark shirt, he bit his trembling lower lip and waited for Craig's voice to sound in his ears.
"I don't know. I think I was just scared," Craig finally said after hundreds of silent seconds passed between them. Tweek tried and failed to bite back a sob, his shoulders hunching forward and eyes squeezing tighter still. His mind flooded with all the things he could potentially say back, but he quelled each and every one of them. Now wasn't the time to mourn over previous mistakes and losses. The best things that he could say right now completely excluded guilt tripping Craig.
"What can we do now," he eventually spit out, his voice soft and raw from crying and making a racket not too much earlier. His hands restlessly flattened and straightened Craig's shirt, before resting them gently against his chest. He felt weak and powerless, but he knew that now was the time when he could help the most. He was more knowing about Craig's home life, about his situation. That was the starting line to helping him, to improving his home life.
"I don't know," Craig quietly said, his voice depicting a despondency barely lurking below the surface. Such misery and utter sorrow that it pained him to speak aloud his unknowingness, his pure lack of an answer for a question that had been haunting his very being since the day his father began beating him. Such a string of emotions could simply be spoken by "I don't know" and that was what he had chosen. He simply had no utter idea.
Tweek felt the will to move slip away and he didn't bother catching it. There was nothing he could do in this situation aside from calling the authorities or telling his parents but he didn't want to do anything without gaining the permission of Craig beforehand. Feeling runny snot drip down into his mouth he finally moved, but only to wipe the disgusting mucus onto the sleeve of his predictably green shirt.
They wallowed in each other's helplessness, both frighteningly lacking a course of action. So they sat there, in the darkened room of one Craig Tucker, and did absolutely nothing for there was nothing they could do. It was much easier to pretend that everything would be okay and just lie in wake of the lack of answers, hoping that one day an answer would come their way that would make everything acceptable again, everything happy again. Maybe there would be another day where they could be useful and come up with answers for the problems they faced but today was not that day. Today was the day to swim in the ocean of pity and regret and accomplish nothing. But, the two boys thought sullenly, that was okay every once and a while.
If you enjoyed this story, remember to check out the original artwork that inspired it!