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Second Act Breakup (Third Act Makeup)

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After the last battle, everybody goes out for pizza. The game's dead, everybody's getting tired of it after a few weeks, and Cartman and Kyle are already debating the next fantasy world everybody's supposed to dip themselves in. Whatever; Craig doesn't care, really. The games are just a way to pass the time until he grows older, can start doing real things, like driving and drinking and drugs and all the other divine things that start with the letter D (even though he can't think of anything else.) The summer's coming, and soon he'll be in fifth grade. Another year almost under his belt.

When they get to Shakey's, Craig grabs for Tweek's hand and tries to lead him into the booth beside him. But Tweek snatches it away and curls his nose. Tweek's got kind of a piggish nose, little freckles lining the side of it, and if his sneer wasn't directed at Craig, it'd be kind of cute. Craig has started to find a lot of things Tweek does kind of cute—like the way his hair's pushed up with the WonderTweek headband, off his forehead. It makes sense. They're boyfriends, and Craig is probably gay for real, so it's okay that he finds these things cute, right? But why is Tweek mad at him?

"Why are you mad at me?" Craig asks. Everybody else is seated and staring at them.

"Not this again," Clyde groans, slumping in his seat.

"Are they gonna fight?" Stan asks, sounding genuinely concerned. "I don't want them to fight."

Kyle elbows him in the side and glares at everybody else, clearly wanting to see what's about to unfold.

"You betrayed me!" Tweek hisses. He's got that look in his eyes, and Craig's mirroring Clyde's sentiment: not this again.

"It was a game," Craig says as patiently as he can. He's hungry, tired from the long day of playing superheroes and he just wants to sit in a booth with his boyfriend and eat some greasy pizza and maybe drink a strawberry shake. He and Tweek both like strawberry, and Craig was going to ask for two straws, try to show off a bit.

"For you, maybe!" Tweek says. Craig fights the urge to roll his eyes; he hates when Tweek gets these bursts of confidence and agency. Not that he doesn't want Tweek to be confident and in control of himself or whatever, but when they're directed at something Craig did wrong, it can get annoying. "But what does it say about our relationship, huh, Craig? That you would betray me like that?"

"I don't want to have this conversation in front of these people." Craig looks at all the eager faces in the Shakey's booth, starting to sweat.

"You'll never want to have this conversation. Because it was just a game to you. Is our whole relationship just a game to you?"

"Tweek, look—can we talk about this later?" Wendy's starting to glare at him, the way the girls did when they had their first "public" fight. Craig is quickly losing control of this situation, and it's not going to end well.

Tweek harrumphs and sits beside Token, who's capping one end of the booth. It leaves no room for Craig, so he's stuck beside Cartman, rubbed uncomfortably against his sweaty girth.

Craig does not order a strawberry shake.

When they leave the restaurant the sun is hanging low in the sky, meaning everybody's prepubescent curfew is encroaching rapidly. So they split ways. Craig tries to walk to Tweek but gets lost in the sizable amount of kids yelling over each other and promising sleepovers and homework-doing-togethers, and by the time he's broken through the crowd Tweek has fast-walked away from the group. Craig sighs deeply, watching him go. He thinks about all the fun they had together making their costumes, and how they'd let their thighs touch and their hands brush, and how Craig's heart had beat its way up his throat even though they were alone and smiling and laughing and by God, he was probably gay for real, and he loved his stupid boyfriend, and why was he so mad over a stupid fucking game?

"It's rough, huh?" Kenny says behind him.

"It's stupid," Craig says automatically. He catches himself and quickly intones, "It's none of your business."

"Be the bigger man, Craig." Craig is actually the tallest person in their grade, taller than Kenny by a good five inches, but he doesn't think it's appropriate to point that out right now. "Just apologize."

"It was a game," Craig says, tired of repeating this fact.

"What's life but a game?"

"Uh, serious?"

"You're a kid, Craig. Playing games in your backyard is as serious as it gets."

"Oh, like you're doing something that's so much more serious." Craig finds Kenny annoying and overly cryptic. He's more easily tolerated when he's wearing his parka, his too-deep-for-a-ten-year-old's voice muffled by the drawn hood. (Craig may be the tallest, but his voice isn't the deepest, and that bugs him more than he'll admit.)

"I am, actually. Wanna see?"

Kenny pulls a gun from his pocket and shoots himself in the head. Craig is strangely unaffected by the blood that splatters across his face. By the time he gets home, it's disappeared along with Kenny's body on the sidewalk outside of Shakey's. Craig is left only with the impression that Kenny was being his usual annoying and overly cryptic self in their last conversation, and that he's going to have to do something about Tweek sometime.

So he sucks it up and asks his mom for advice. Craig has a good relationship with his family, though he tries to hide this fact at school. His mother still tucks him in every night, and they typically talk for at least a few minutes before bed.

"How were your friends today?" she asks Craig. Craig's laying down on his side; she's sitting beside him, rubbing his back.

"Tweek's mad at me." Craig's cheeks are burning.

"Oh, why?"

"Because of the stupid fucking game."

"Well, what happened?" She stops rubbing his back, but keeps her hand there.

"So we were superheroes," Craig starts to explain. He's glad to tell the story to neutral ears, sure that his mother will side with him. "I was SuperCraig and he was WonderTweek. You remember, we made the costumes?" His mother hums in agreement. "Right. So part of the whole thing is that we were gonna make movies, but I get the movie first, 'cause Tweek is like, a secondary character but I'm the hero. But Tweek was going to get his own movie later, but he was mad because he wasn't in the first wave. Like, we were supposed to be a duo. But he was going to be in the movie anyway. He walked out and I didn't go with him."

"So he wasn't getting as much attention," his mother says. "He's mad because you're his boyfriend and he feels like you should've sided with him, no matter what."

"That's stupid, though." Craig sighs. "I wouldn't jump off a bridge with him."

"But you're supposed to have each other's backs, sweetie. Like me and your dad—"

"It's not the same." Craig doesn't want to think of him and Tweek as an old, married couple with two children and a house in the suburbs. That is, in an abstract way that even his relatively mature mind cannot comprehend, gross. He'd rather think of them as actual superheroes, fighting crime by each other's side. But that didn't happen—and he sort of doesn't want the game to end until it did. He realizes his mom was still talking, giving some sort of advice, and says, "I think I've figured out what to do."

"That's good, honey." His mom gives his back a few more rubs. "So what is it?"

"I'll tell you about it later. I'm tired." Craig rolls over to the other side of his bed to demonstrate this point.

"Alright. Good night!" She kisses his forehead and then leaves, turning the light off. It's okay, though; Craig has a nightlight. He hides it when his friends come over. Nobody knows about the little plug-in planet Jupiter he got for last Christmas except for Tweek, who always requests its presence during their (now open-door) sleepovers. Thinking about this makes Craig's face feel hot in a different way, like he wants to cry, but he forces himself into sleep before it can happen.

The next day is Sunday. Craig wakes up, brushes his teeth, and gets dressed for church. The Tweak family doesn't attend church since they have the coffee-shop to run and Craig's not allowed to use his phone until after church. He thinks about sneaking in a text before, but he's woken up wake and has to rush, his father yelling at him and Ruby to hurry their asses up. They both flip him off and get flipped off in return.

Church is boring as always, though his mom lets him sit with his friends, perhaps out of sympathy. It doesn't matter; they're not allowed to talk. After church he grabs his phone, texting Tweek: Emergency in the city! SuperCraig and WonderTweek needed! Meet by Stark's Pond. He changes into his SuperCraig outfit, tells his mom where he's going after he grabs a post-church snack from her, and starts his walk to the street.

Craig doesn't get a text back. He's almost worried that Tweek won't show until he does, half an hour after Craig had already arrived at Stark's Pond. He's spent this time sitting on the bench and browsing Facebook; it seems like the next game they're going to play might be cowboys, which he's kind of excited for. Cartman has apparently started drafting a plot line with good guys versus vigilantes, and Craig's thinking about being a vigilante, a gunslinger. Craig the Kid; it sounds cool. In his mind, he thinks of Tweek as a swooning saloon girl (saloon boy?) though he'd be just as happy if Tweek was his vigilante partner. Either way, really. Whatever Tweek wants.

The real Tweek, not the Tweek in Craig's mind who thinks that Craig is super cool and also a badass, is now standing in front of him. His headband is askew; he looks like he got dressed in a hurry, though he always looks like that. It's cute, Craig thinks. Not kind of cute—flat-out, plain cute.

"What's the emergency?" Tweek asks.

"The emergency is that I've been an asshole."

Tweek puts his hands on his hips and screws up his lips. "Really?"

"Yeah."

"I left a shift for this!"

"Chill, there's a real emergency. One of Professor Chaos's underlings escaped and is wreaking havoc. I think only SuperCraig and WonderTweek can take him down." The underling is actually Token, who has agreed to play along with the scheme for like an hour, it better be quick, Craig.

Tweek narrows his eyes. "Seriously?"

"Seriously."

"So—we're going to fight together again? We're on the same side?"

"That's right, Tweek." Craig fights the urge to get tired of the conversation. It's important. They're making up.

"Alright! Where is he!"

The fight is short. Token's shtick is that he's turned to the dark side, and Craig and Tweek have to save him. That's what makes them the only ones who could respond to this particular emergency—they were Token's closest friends. (Craig tried to get Clyde in on this, too, but Clyde was busy doing chores at home.) Two on one, they get Token taken care of in less than ten minutes.

"That was fun. I'm going home now," Token says. This was part of the deal—Craig needs privacy for the next part.

"It was! Bye! See you tomorrow!" Tweek calls after him, waving. Craig finds this incredibly endearing, and though it was part of the plan anyway, Craig grabs Tweek's waving arm and turns Tweek towards him.

Tweek cocks his head.

Craig swallows, sweat along his forehead, his heart beating in his throat, and surges forward.

Craig has never kissed anybody in his life before. Not a girl, not a boy. Well, his parents, and his little sister and his grandma, but that doesn't count. He's never kissed somebody romantically, and quite frankly, he's not sure how it works. So he slams his lips into Tweek's like he's just walked into a door and ends up slamming their heads together in the progress. It hurts, but he's made contact with Tweek's lips and it fucking counts.

He pulls back fist; he has to, because he doesn't want Tweek to pull away. He's working on the surprise factor here, because Tweek can outdo him without it. "SuperCraig needs WonderTweek," he says. "It's the only way it works. We're nothing apart."

Tweek's cheeks are red, and he starts to smile a big toothy smile. Tweek doesn't usually smile big—he has coffee-yellow teeth, and Craig thinks he's sort of insecure about them. But he's smiling big for Craig right now, and he's the only kid in South Park who knows about Craig's nightlight, and they're holding hands in their stupid costumes.

"I know," Tweek says. "That's why I tried to take you with me when I left. But you're right. I should have stayed with you."

"No, you're right. It's stupid that you were only a side character in my movie. You should have been the co-star. It was dumb Hollywood Cartman bullshit and I fell for it."

"We were both right."

"That means we were both wrong."

But they're still smiling and laughing, and Craig's heart is still in his throat. Craig gives Tweek's hand a little squeeze.

"Do you still have to work at the store?"

Tweek shrugs. "I don't know? Ah—I don't want my parents to get mad!"

"Whatever. We'll just go ask them for money 'cause we're gay, and then go see a movie. But I don't want to see anything with superheroes."

"Me neither."

They end up seeing a new Pixar flick and Craig tries not to cry at the emotional scenes. It's about animals, okay, and he likes animals. But anyway, he shares a bucket of popcorn with Tweek and—even though it's not a strawberry milkshake—orders them an extra-large coke with two straws.