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Semantically Challenged

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It was quite possibly the most common and predictable occurrence in all of South Park. At least, Craig Tucker was convinced it was. Heck, the rest of the class didn't even bother to look up from their paper as a soft moan of terror filled the room. Call it callous, but it was just kind of expected at this point.

Bored with his handout on the Mongols, Craig's eyes wandered to the source of the distressed sounds. They often did, he wasn't very good at pretending, he didn't stare at the curious phenomenon that was the town spaz.

Though to be fair, Mr. Garrison wasn't exactly the most riveting of fourth-grade teachers in the world. Who could blame him for trying to find something to keep himself occupied?

"Oh, Jesus…" whimpered the object of Craig's attention. Reaching spindly fingers into his wild mane of blond hair that stuck up in every direction, the boy tugged hard and twitched violently, rattling his desk. "They w-want to harvest my –ngh- brain!" Another hard pull on blond locks, almost like he was trying to rip them out of his head.

The rest of the class kept ignoring the twitchy boy, but Craig just tapped his pencil lightly on the side of the desk and wondered, as he often did, if the boy was going to finally explode. Spontaneously combust even. Token had told him that things like that didn't happen all that often and when they did, it was usually because of too much alcohol in the blood but who knew, maybe caffeine was flammable as well.

As if on cue, the boy fumbled for his large, heavy silver thermos and attempted to open it with shaking and unsteady hands. It didn't work. With a cry of distress, he fumbled it, dropping it onto the carpet floor. Craig watched its progress and passively noted that luckily for the trembling boy, this time, it was closed. Nearly falling out of his chair, the boy scrambled after it. It took several tries, but finally, he managed to get his hands on it and quickly gulped down several long sips of coffee before clambering back into his seat.

The smell of it filled the small classroom.

Okay, so maybe he would just die of a heart attack, Craig mused, drawing loose concentric circles over his paper. That or just never grow past five foot five. Someone should have really told his parents not to give him so much caffeine, it couldn't possibly be healthy. Besides, maybe if they cut it back, he'd stop twitching all the time. Or maybe he was addicted and withdrawal would make it worse.

In his usual nasally drawl, Mr. Garrison finally decided to continue the lesson, but Craig sort of just tuned him out. The spaz, on the other hand, instantly fixed his attention forward, even though he could hardly sit still in his seat. He was trying, God, Craig was pretty sure he was always trying, but it never lasted.

As if on cue, the boy thunked his head on the table again and screeched. The teacher didn't even pause. He's going to leave a bruise there eventually… Craig thought, rolling his eyes. The boy had pale skin after all, the kind that showed bruises easily and took a while to heal. Was it any wonder then that his arms and legs were always covered in black and blue marks? Still mumbling to himself, something about flesh-eating aliens, the blond scribbled something down on his paper while tugging at his hair with his free hand. Dispassionately, Craig wondered how much hair the boy had if he could just indiscriminately tear it out.

"Craig? Craig!" Jolting out of whatever world he'd been lost in, Craig quickly swiveled his head to face a distinctly, displeased teacher. "I’ve asked you this question twice already and you keep ignoring me. Get your head out of the clouds!"

Craig didn't bother responding to that admonishment, it wasn't as if he had a good reason and he couldn't think of a good excuse instead. Besides, it wasn't as if Mr. Garrison didn't know who he'd been staring at. As if I don't end up staring at him every single day… And he couldn't say that either because he knew the kind of shit he'd get for it if he did.

With an irritated sigh, Mr. Garrison said, "One more time Craig, who was the most well-known leader of the Mongols during this time?"

Craig didn't know, and definitely didn't care, so he just flipped the man off. Call it an instinctive reaction if you will. Several other kids snickered, just like they usually did.

"Craig Tucker, did you just flip me off?!" Mr. Garrison demanded.

"No," Craig said instantly, staring straight at the man with a perfectly blank expression. Actually, it could be said to be his only expression.

"Hmph," the man grumbled in response. It wasn’t like Craig’s habits were anything new to the teacher. "Can somebody else answer the question instead?" Predictably, three hands shot up. Kyle's, Wendy's and Token's.

Craig on the other hand, tuned out the rest of the world once more and looked back at the twitching boy across the room. He found that the boy was already staring at him, still shivering, twitching, and watching him with big eyes. Not bothering to react, Craig just stared right back, his gaze cool.

The spaz had perpetually wide eyes, with large dark circles always attempting to swallow them. He probably didn't sleep, Craig couldn't imagine someone who drank that much coffee would have a normal sleep schedule. He always did one of two things with those big eyes; stare, or constantly dart them about like he was afraid of something. Right now, they were focused, other than the intermittent, twitchy blink.

But what Craig always found the time to notice were the color of those lamp-like eyes. Bright green, just like the improperly buttoned shirts he always wore. They were full of life, those eyes. Craig wasn't one to wax poetic, but he couldn't help it when those eyes met his own. In the end, they were even more captivating than the rest of the blond.

Shrieking suddenly, as if something had startled him, the boy jerked around so he was no longer looking at Craig. As the bell finally rung, Craig waited in his seat so he could watch the boy hastily and with much panic shove everything into his bag before scurrying away, still carrying that damn thermos. It was only after he'd left that Craig finally bothered to get to his feet and put his own things away.

Thus concluded another morning spent staring at Tweek Tweak.



"Craig, I'm not trying to accuse you of anything," Token Black tried to reassure Craig who had abandoned his typically bland expression in favor of glaring at him from the couch, both middle fingers standing proud. "But look at it from someone else’s perspective. It’s a little weird, don’t you agree?"

"Fuck off," Craig muttered, frustrated with yet another attempt at telling him who he should and shouldn't look at. "Doesn't everyone stare at him sometimes?"

"Not as much as you do, dude," Clyde Donovan pointed out, grabbing for another handful of chips while staring entranced at the video game he was playing. When Craig punched him in the arm, the boy's attention flew towards him as his mouth opened in protest. "TOKEN, CRAIG PUNCHED ME!" he instantly wailed, to which Token rolled his eyes.

"Craig, we're not being unreasonable. The rest of our class doesn’t feel the need to stare at Tweek all day, no matter how weird he is. Most kids just sort of ignore him," the black boy insisted in his ever-reasonable voice. "It’s like you’re obsessed."

"I'm not fucking obsessed with Tweek, he's a fucking spaz," Craig spat.

This was a common conversation between him and his friends. They of course, noticed his habit of watching Tweek during class and had been understandably curious. It didn't help that Craig kept bringing him up for various reasons.

It didn't seem like something that would really matter, don't all people sometimes bring up their classmates? Goodness knew that Token and Clyde complained about Cartman and his friends enough to border on irritating. But you see, that was the thing. That was them.

This was Craig and Craig wasn't supposed to give a fuck about anything.

Largely, he didn't. His emotions pretty much consisted of anger, and apathy, with a good dollop of hate in between. Craig Tucker was generally a rather blank kind of person. Perpetually bored, if you will. It was uncomplicated, and it worked.

He hated almost everything: the morning, school, his parents, his annoying sister Ruby, and the other kids at school. He hated homework and he hated missing Red Racer, his favorite show. He definitely hated South Park with all of its insanity he had to live through. It wasn't an active hatred really, it was more of a passive dislike, but he called it hate because that was easier and he also kind of hated talking excessively.

But that didn't mean that he wasted energy thinking about any of it. This was where the apathy came into play. He disliked things but didn't bother to do anything about it most of the time. Honestly, he just didn't care and very little could make him do so. If someone managed to piss him off enough, he'd fight them, but that wasn't caring.

Okay, he did care about a few things. He cared about his Guinea pigs and he had a passing affection for Red Racer, but that was about it. There were things that he would prefer to have around or do, but he didn't actively care. The only time he ever cared about what was going on around him was when Stan's crew managed to loop him into some crazy, harebrained scheme that interrupted his day. Then he cared, but mostly, he was just annoyed.

He just didn't like most people.

Token Black and Clyde Donovan were actually pretty alright people if Craig was being charitable. They'd been his friends for as long as he could remember, only God knew why. Sure, Token was rich as fuck and could be overbearing at times and Clyde was a whiny bitch more often than not but they were okay. Clyde watched Red Racer with him and Token always had new video games for them all to play and in return, Craig tried not to flip them off quite as often. They all sort of got along.

At least they weren't like Stan, Cartman, or Kyle, who couldn't seem to go one day without doing something that ended in some sort of global catastrophe. Token and Clyde were pretty average, even-keeled, and normal.

Apart from that, there was nothing for him to be interested in.

Except things have changed, as Token and Clyde were quick to notice.

Maybe that was inaccurate. To be fair, he hadn't really changed as much as everyone would have liked to believe. You see, Craig was big on knowing where everything in his life fell. He had always had nice boxes where he can put most things in his life. He had one for things he hated which shared space with the one for things that pissed him off, and one for things he didn't care about, and a small subset for his friends and the other things he tolerated. That was how he operated, that was how he kept his life simple.

He was a creature of habit, after all.

But like every rule there ended up being an exception. Of all the things in his world that he'd managed to settle into boxes labeled 'hate' and 'don't care', there was one thing that didn't quite fit in Craig's mind. One anomaly that he didn't exactly know what to make of.

That outlier had a name, a name that everyone in the whole goddamn town probably knew at this point, crazy fucker that he was. That name was Tweek Tweak.

Tweek motherfucking Tweak.

And because Craig couldn't seem to stop fucking staring at the boy, his friends only kept getting progressively more obnoxious about it.

"Dude, just cause he's a spaz doesn't mean you have to stare at him constantly," Clyde insisted, despite having been punched the last time he opened his mouth. He was probably just used to Craig's way of handling things with violence. "I mean, did you hear Cartman today?"

Craig grit his teeth together at the thought. He should have just punched the fatass while he had the chance instead of doing as he'd done by ignoring it all entirely. It would have been totally justified, after all, Cartman always deserved to get punched in the face anyway.

"I'm not fucking checking Tweek out," he pushed out through a jaw that had locked up. Forcing his face to return to neutral instead of blank yet murderous, Craig snatched the controller from Clyde and tried to direct his energy towards the video game instead of his friends. "Cartman is full of shit, I've never even spoken to that spaz before."

Token's eye roll was practically audible. "And yet you talk about him all the time. Craig, if I could draw, I'd probably be able to draw Tweek without even looking at him just based on how much description you've given me. I'm telling you, either talk to him or stop staring. It's weird."

"Do I look like I give a fuck?" Craig muttered in his usual monotone, not fighting Clyde when he grabbed the controller back. "Maybe if the spaz would stop twitching all the time, I wouldn't stare at him so much."

"Maybe if you didn't stare at him so much," Token suggested in an equally flat voice. "You wouldn't notice him twitching."

Flipping the boy off again and flipping off Clyde for good measure, Craig tugged his old chullo down over his forehead and fell silent, content to stew. To be perfectly honest, he didn’t care about Tweek's twitching, in fact, he couldn’t possibly care less. Even the shrieking and headbanging didn't annoy him. If anyone else did it, he'd flip them off at least and he might've even gotten annoyed.

But it was Tweek.


To be perfectly honest, Craig could watch for hours as the boy buried his fingers deep into his wild, blond mane tugging hard enough to pull it out while he shook and twitched in his seat, screaming about how the CIA was after him. On occasion, he'd suddenly leap up in the middle of class and dash out of the room without warning. Sometimes, he'd simply gulp down his coffee while his eyes darted about the room, looking for the aliens he was sure were there.

Tweek never failed to do something unusual, so why was it so hard to believe that Craig, who had never given enough of a fuck about someone previously would actively watch them, bring them up in conversation, or to pay attention to them.

And that right there was the problem, wasn't it?

Clyde snickered. "Craig," he said, grinning. "You look constipated right now."

Without care for the bowl of chips between them or the video game, Craig leaped over the gap between them and tackled Clyde, wrestling him off of the couch with a cry of, "I swear to God Clyde-!" Token yelled at them both, Craig tried his best to grind his friend's face into the carpet, the subject of Tweek was finally forgotten.

Craig for one, could not complain a bit.