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Leave the Lights on : An irrational fear of the dark.

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He sits on the end of the sofa with a comforter over his lap and listens while Clyde tells them all stories he absolutely swears are true, even though they are by far the most outrageous things Tweek Tweak has ever had the misfortune to hear. The evening is young and he could be at home right now in his brightly lit kitchen with a mug of coffee warming his hands, but instead he is here with a half full can of red bull and he is curling his toes in his socks because no one else seems all that bothered by the darkness encroaching outside the window or the way that the light from the kitchen next door isn’t reaching inside the slowly darkening lounge room. Token is laughing. Jimmy has something witty to say. And sitting cross legged on the floor with his back to the TV Craig makes not a single sound; his pyjama pants are shot in the elastic and his t-shirt is printed with the words ‘Pug Life’ in bold sans serif font. It’s hard to tell if he is being serious and he really actually likes the thing, or if he just bought a plain cornflower blue shirt from Wal-Mart and wrote on it with black magic marker. Tweek doesn’t really care.

He closes his eyes and tries to forget that he is starting to get a headache. He hates sleepovers. He really fucking does. Why does he even go to them again?

Oh yeah, because Craig had asked him to come and Craig was a crafty little piece of shit who knew Tweek would do whatever he asked him to. Despite all this, Tweek misses his weight on the sofa next to him, and he resents the way that this conversation had pulled them all into a circle around his feet. The evening felt a little more manageable with Craig there to ground him. Now he feels quite a lot like he is going to end up drifting away.

There is a lull in Clyde’s story. Tweek asks them if they can just stop talking about which girl in junior year has the hottest snatch and finish watching the movie.

But then Craig says ‘that movie was so boring.”

And of course, everyone agrees.

By one thirty two am, everyone is crawling into their beds - mattresses laid side by side on Clyde’s living room floor. Tweek hasn’t shifted from his sofa corner, and in the end Craig has to coax him out.

“I’ll take the mattress next to you if you want.”

Tweek wants to say no, that’s a horrible idea, but the words get lost somewhere in the root of his throat. Instead he nods and obliges, and he crawls under the duvet he had brought with him while Craig unzips his sleeping bag and sets himself up lying right next door. On Craig’s other side is Clyde, and then Token and Jimmy, and Tweek feels kind of exposed at the end closest to the living room window because what if some lunatic brakes in in the middle of the night while everyone else is asleep? Tweek will almost certainly be the first to die. He bunches his duvet up under his chin and turns his back to everyone else. Maybe, when the others have gone to sleep, he can sit up on the sofa again and play games on his cell phone.

He hates sleepovers. He hates them so much.

Maybe he would hate them less if he actually had any ability to find rest when he was at another persons house. Not even high strength sleeping pills are enough to knock him out these days, and his doctor has taken him off lorazepam because apparently he is genetically predisposed toward substance addiction. Whatever that means. He couldn’t sleep tonight if he tried and this makes him wish more than ever for the halfway-safe space that is his bedroom. His desk. His playlist of calming music accompanied by a hot cup of coffee and some medication.

Oh god. Oh god his chest is tight with longing and he is acutely aware of the fact that Craig is right there beside him getting comfortable. He smells like he hasn’t showered today, and it should be unpleasant but it isn’t because Craig is the kind of person who smells best a little bit past his clean by date. Kind of heady and warm, like a familiar blanket or hands which have been buried up to the wrists in earth.

“I’m turning the lights out.” Clyde says, pulling himself up off the mattresses and climbing over his guests to reach the light switch. “If you need to piss in the night, use your phone lights.”

“Whatever.” Token agrees, and Tweek wiggles low under his duvet. Not the lights. Please don’t turn off the lights. Tweek hates the dark, he is scared of the dark. But this isn’t one of those things that make him fearful because of external factors. This is one of those things which make him uncomfortable because of… well. There’s darkness inside him isn’t there? On the inside of his eyelids and underneath the fabric of his clothes. There is darkness in his guts and in his skull, and Tweek is scared of the dark because when there is no light there is no way to guarantee that he will be safe from that which remains unseen and unsaid inside his mind. When the lights are extinguished, Tweek looses himself and he has to hold his breath in order to keep himself pulled together. He squeezes his eyes closed and ignores the prickling creeping up his spine.

He jumps, his eyes snapping open and his body jerking up into sitting position, when Craig reaches over and touches him. Craig swears because he isn’t expecting it at first, but then he starts laughing and Clyde tells him to shut the fuck up. Tweek blushes.

“Sorry.” He says.

Craig, who is a dark lump on the mattress and outlined by the moonlight, shrugs indifferently. Behind him, the other boys are settling down and whispering amongst themselves.

When Tweek lies back flat a dense silence settles in the room, interrupted only by the heavy sighs of boys rearranging themselves and soon, Token snoring quietly as he drifts to sleep. Tweek lies awake with his eyes wide and fixed on the silvery ceiling, and he refuses to look elsewhere because doing so would be acknowledging the sensation of being watched.

It’s almost four am, and everyone in the lounge has fallen into a deep sleep. Tweek takes a deep breath before he pulls himself up and looks down at them, and he observes that of his company only Craig is turned toward him, his unzipped sleeping bag scooched up underneath his armpits and his ankles exposed to the coldness of the night time air. He doesn’t wear his hat to sleep, and his hair looks like charcoal on the pillow. His face is shadowy, and looking at him makes Tweek feel unclean and horrible. Like he has done worse than just think that Craig looks peaceful, dreaming.

Stop it!” he tells himself, looking away and raking his hands through his hair in agitation. “Jesus Christ just… breathe. Breathe.”

It’s hard to breathe though. His heart seems to be beating in the places his lungs usually occupy, and he can still smell Craig’s skin. His sleeping bag. His shampoo.

He’s scared of the things he might do, in the dark.

It takes a little while for him to calm down. He focuses on what his therapist said. Be aware of his surroundings, the sounds an smells ad sensations of his body. He locates his scary thoughts and realises they are located at the base of his throat and in his lower stomach. With each exhalation, he tries to expand his boundaries to encompass them. It’s easier to do this lying on his back and late at night when he has moments alone, because every time he’s ever tried to do it during classes he ended up hyperventilating. When he opens his eyes again, he feels kind of calm, and the darkness has grown thicker just like the perfume of Craig’s hair next to his face.

“Craig… you’re taking my pillow.” He tries to push the other boy away with no success. He doesn’t want to do it too harshly, but Craig sleeps deeper than the Marianas Trench and if he doesn’t exercise enough strength Tweek knows that his friend isn’t going to shift an inch. He tries not to think about trenches, because when he thinks about trenches he ends up thinking about terrifying ocean creatures and hellish visions from the deep, and instead tries harder to make himself a comfortable spot with someone else encroaching on his personal bubble.

“Craig!” he jabs an elbow under Craig’s ribs to no effect. Also useless is kicking his feet and using his shoulder to nudge Craig off him. In the end, he resorts to creeping his hand between them and pinching Craig’s nose gently shut.

He wakes up in about four seconds and sits bolt upright, his hair a mess and his breathing is ragged like he has just been pursued across several planes of consciousness.

“What the fuck?” he hisses. Tweek makes a sheepish noise and sinks into his pillow as meekly as possible.

“You were taking my mattress.” Tweek tells him. “Oh fuck, I’m so sorry. Oh my god.”

Craig regards him silently for a moment, a dark shadow outlined in what fuzzy grey light Tweek’s eyes can process, before sighing heavily and lying back down.

“Sorry.” He says, back to being dull and indifferent to almost everything around him. “You can invade my space, if it makes you feel any better.”

“… It’s fine. Thanks though. I’m sorry!”

“Don’t worry about it.” Craig’s sheets rustle as he turns onto his side, and Tweek hopes that the thing he is feeling through the darkness is Craig smiling at him. “What’s the time?”

Tweek checks his watch, the hands of which glow in the dark, and tells him it’s almost four fifteen am. The other boys were long since asleep.

“How come you aren’t sleeping?” Craig asks, and Tweek shrugs even though he knows Craig can’t see him.

“I can’t. Its not… I don’t know. I can’t do it.”

“Maybe if you didn’t drink all that redbull.”

“No way. That’s not it.”

“I never drink it and I sleep like a dream.”

“That’s dumb Craig and you know it’s dumb.”

Craig makes a dismissive noise and inches closer to Tweek’s mattress again.

“I’m cold.” He says simply. Tweek wants to suggest that’s because he still has his ankles sticking out of the bottom of his duvet, but doesn’t. Instead he sighs and rolls onto his back and hopes Craig won’t come any closer. He is starting to think about the darkness again, and how close it is against his cheeks and his lips and the backs of his eyelids when he closes his eyes. “Come closer.”

“No… I don’t think I’m going to do that.”

“Please.”

Craig never asks ‘please’ like a normal person. He just says it in his usual deadpan tone and Tweek cringes because somehow, that is all the more persuasive. Even though he aches to pull away to the far side of the mattress, he relents, and Craig slides his feet under the edge of his duvet so that his toes touch Tweek’s ankles. And then his feet are sliding along Tweek’s and his legs are slim and sturdy and they are smooth because its swimming season and Craig is on the swim team. Tweek forgets that sometimes, but he remembers it now. His stomach lurches and his palms are sweating so he curls them in on themselves and lets his nails sink half moons into his palms.

He wonders if Craig can feel the room shrinking so it’s just the two of them. The darkness sucking around them like vacuum wrap and knotting in a hard hot centre inside the cavity of Tweek’s chest. Craig seems relieved to have his legs under the covers again, and he pulls his pillow closer.

“You need to shower.” He says quietly. Tweek feels his cheeks turn red.

“Sorry?”

“No problem. Until right now I was under the impression you didn’t actually sweat so that’s comforting to know.”

If Tweek had never been a particularly sweaty guy before, he certainly is now. His back is damp and he feels his brow tingle coldly, but it’s a different tingle to the one he is feeling between his legs. If he wasn’t so uncomfortable, he might even have been in awe at the thrilling kind of strangeness that comes with being so close to someone. The excitement which comes in nervous little waves and makes his voice quiver when he tries to talk again.

“I can smell you too.”

Is the ungracious thing that comes out of his mouth. There are three seconds of surprised silence before mortification sets in, and Craig coughs softly.

“Nice.”

“Imsosorrythatcameoutwrong.”

“No kidding. Would you move over a bit? It’s warmer under here than under mine.”

And before Tweek can argue or fully recover from his embarrassment, Craig is casting off his unzipped sleeping bag and moving completely under Tweek’s. His hand rests innocuously on Tweek’s stomach as he makes himself comfortable.

“W-What are you doing?!”

There is an awful moment where his voice breaks the whisper, and Craig freezes as if paranoid someone might have woken up at hearing it.

Shut up.” He breathes, and his breath is so close Tweek can feel it on his neck. “If anyone wakes up and sees us like this we will never be able to let it go.”

“So stop getting in my personal bubble!”

“Jesus Tweek. You let me use your toothbrush but you won’t share your bedding. That’s great.”

“… That was one time!

And he had only done it because he hadn’t intended to ever use that toothbrush again anyway.

The hand on Tweek’s stomach digs in gently, and Tweek is uncomfortably aware of his body, his arms and legs and the hard-on he is trying to suppress. It’s so difficult to ignore though, when he is staring at the ceiling and everything has a silverish tinge that makes it seem surreal and dream like and intimate. Even Craig’s breathing sounds like it might just be a fantasy, his heat is blurring into the heat on Tweek’s legs and arms and he starts wondering if the air around him is hot yet. If Craig can feel him cracking and aching and loosing his train of thought. The others are asleep, he remembers arbitrarily. No one is watching, no one needs to know except for himself and Craig, and now Craig is comfortable he is moving his hand. Making ready to tuck it away out of sight and mind.

Tweek realises that he has the power to keep it there. There’s no one to stare at him and judge him for choosing to allow the contact. Enjoying it even. Oh god.

He grabs Craig’s wrist and clutches it tightly, and Craig inhales as though he might have been surprised by the gesture.

“Hey. Cool it. I didn’t mean to touch you. I’m moving my hand now.”

“Craig I’m really scared.”

“You’re always scared.”

“More than usual! It’s dark and I’m really scared.”

Craig doesn’t really seem sure what to do about this. He just kind of lies there awkwardly, his hand in a vice grip and his face obscured by shadow.

“… What are you scared of?” he asks.

And Tweek cant find the words so instead, in a blinding moment of impulse and shame he tries to kiss Craig’s mouth. Craig yelps in alarm and tries to twist his hand away.

“Mmph!!”

The sound of him rustling blankets in an effort to escape might have been enough to wake the others. When he yanks his face back Tweek almost argues, but finds a hand pressed over his lips almost the instant they are bared to the cool night air. Every hair on his body is on end.

“Dude what the fuck! Don’t scare me like that. Holy shit!”

Tweek has never heard so much emotion in Craig’s voice. He waivers and lets out a long, regretful moan.

He blew it.

God almighty, what a fucking asshole he blew it.

“Oh Jesus Christ… I’m sorry.” He makes a stirling effort to hide his face under his pillow while Craig looks on in bewilderment. “It felt like the right thing to do at the time!”

“… Really? Of all the things you might have done, that was seriously the absolute number one and most primary thing which came to mind as appropriate for the situation we are currently in? Seriously?”

Tweek shakes his head and regrets having ever gotten out of bed that morning. Craig makes a noise of annoyance and pulls Tweek’s pillow away.

“Hey! I’m not mad at you, I just wasn’t expecting it. Stop hiding from me.”

“Give it baaaack!

“No.” Craig tosses the pillow onto the sofa and sit upright. “Talk to me. What the fuck? Why did you do that?”

And ashamed and submissive, like a dog who had just puked on the carpet, Tweek sits up and rakes his hand through his hair. The whole room levels around them and Tweek realises that it’s a larger lounge than he thought. With shadowy corners and windows which glitter menacingly from the light outside.

“I don’t know!” He admits uselessly. “I think about stuff sometimes and this time I did it. I didn’t mean to!”

Craig looks at him in a way he can’t entirely read for the dim. When he talks, he is back to his usual calm demeanour. Admittedly a lot more quiet in order to avoid waking the others.

“You think about what sometimes?”

“Don’t ask me that”

“Don’t dodge the question.”

His shoulders pull into a miserable shrug. Craig sniffs and now Tweek can definitely see his lips thin as he considers.

“You think about me sometimes?”

“Don’t act like you didn’t know Craig.”

“Well it’s different to think it and hear it said out loud.”

And Tweek supposes that’s right. It’s different for him too, to feel it dynamic and alive in the air between them instead of just hanging like a shadow over the back of his mind. It’s making his tongue feel fat and useless and his stomach churny like he might throw up.

“… I’m sorry.”

“Oh man. Look. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” A hand reaches through the dark and curls coyly around Tweek’s under the blanket. “I don’t mind, if that’s what you’re worried about. I just…” He pauses for a moment, incredulous. “Never thought you’d do anything?”

Did he really have to say it like that?

“Well I dunno, It just occurred to me to do it so I did. I felt brave for a second and then I didn’t any more.”

“…” Craig casts a fugitive glance around the room to make sure everyone else is still asleep before leaning closer and muttering.

“Would it have helped if I kissed you back?”

And Tweek hates how frank he is, but also he loves it so much it’s sore. He makes his best efforts to match honestly with honesty.

“Yeah. Probably.”

And the next thing he knows, he is the one being kissed, and the texture and pressure of Craig’s lips he hadn’t had long enough to savour before becomes familiar to him. The smell of Craig’s skin floods his head and his body melts a little, starts bleeding into the night and dissolving with his inhibitions. He would deal with the consequences tomorrow. Hopefully never.

The two of them sink back into the mattress and Craig wastes no time kicking the duvet over them both. Their legs twist together well, and Craig’s hips are bony ridges pressing against the insides of Tweek’s thighs. His breathing is starting to loose pace and when Tweek slides his hands up the sides of his throat he moans quietly. He must know Tweek has an erection by now. He must realise that there is little besides his own discretion stopping them from going straight at it like the horny teenagers they are. Tweek has long since abandoned his self-control, and he can barely even care enough to ask when they part

“Are you for real.”

“I don’t know yet.” Craig says, and then the blanket is over their heads like a tent and they are concealed. The world becomes nothing beyond the intimate space of their duvet and the only navigational aides in the complete darkness are the maps hands make on skin as they edge under t-shirts and up the backs of Craig’s thighs. His legs are not as smooth higher up, and the fine hairs make Tweek painfully aware of how real he is. How this isn’t just a fantasy he jerked off to in the shower, or a wet dream he had in class on a Friday afternoon. This is Craig’s smell and taste and the sound of his voice dropping lower and rougher and it’s like how Tweek had imagined but also nothing like it at all.

Would he mind if Tweek grabbed him a little tighter? Would he mind if Tweek bit the sensitive insides of his lips or pulled on the hair at the back of his head? When he tries Craig just makes a low moaning sound that seems pleased. When Craig curls a leg around the area of his hip, it’s to press his crotch against the bulge in the front of Tweek’s pants and there is only one direction this whole incident could further go.

It’s good, feeling the friction of someone else against sensitive places and hot skin. It’s frustrating, that the boundaries of their pyjama bottoms hinder the way that Craig rolls his hips needily and that the blankets providing privacy are making it hotter and stickier than it might have been if there was space and time to do this alone. The others might wake up any minute, and Tweek thinks he is panting so loud its amazing no one has caught them yet, but he can’t help it the whole fucking thing feels so good. Pleasure is making every inch of him tingle, every hair on his body is on end and there is an ache in between his legs where hard flesh is pressing through the layers of fabric and throbbing. Craig’s nails scrape the back of his shoulders, and he inhales sharply when Tweek makes a rough grab for his ass.

Holy fuck…”

“Is that okay?” Tweek buries his face in Craig’s neck and breathes him in, and he realises that even with his eyes open he can’t see anything, his blindness is complete but for the knowledge he gets with his hands and he remembers that this is whey he hates the dark.

He isn’t sure where he ends and Craig begins, and the darkness has swallowed his shame and his self-awareness is making him desperate to redefine the boundaries of his mind. There are scary thoughts starting to stir inside him, ones about pinning hands and biting to raise bruises, and soon he knows he won’t care if he wakes the others because in the middle of the night this is the only thing that’s real and Craig starts moaning the quietest, sweetest sound. And its not what he would have anticipated at all but it makes him feel strange and brave and euphoric.

“Give me your mouth…”

Craig pulls their faces together and mutes the noises he is making. Their chests are tight and desperate to feel Craig’s dick on his dick Tweek finds himself forcing his thigh in between Craig’s legs and dragging down the back of his partner’s boxers. Quickly, Craig catches on, and he returns the favour so now they are both pressed together from head to toe along every contour and swell and the bared tip of Craig’s dick is rubbing against Tweek’s navel. This is something else Tweek might not have believed in the daylight. Something impossible and mystical, but its real because its right there and he can feel it in between his legs where his balls are tight and he is longing to feel hands or a mouth or anything that can give him relief from the itching tingles that tapping his erection against Craig’s are causing in him. It’s harder than he would have thought, figuring out the right way to grind his hips, but fucked if it isn’t delicious anyway. He feels it, the frustration and the bliss twisting together and spreading all up his back and down his legs and arms. Craig’s fingers keep caressing him, and his mouth is making the shapes of words like fuck, and yes, and harder it feels so fucking good. But he can’t hear anything except for the sound of the sheets and their pyjama bottoms rubbing and the pound of his heartbeat in his ears. The more Craig pants and whimpers, the closer he feels himself inch toward climax and he wants to finish. He needs it. It’s gone to far and even though he knows that there will be an ‘afterward’ the darkness makes him feel safe in the now.

And then Craig sighs “Oh Jesus!” and Tweek grips him closely as he seizes up, his head falls back and the strength of the shiver that wracks him makes a loud ‘oh!’ come out of his throat. There is something hot and wet on Tweek’s belly and touching the tip of his dick, so he rolls onto his back and uses his hand to finish himself off. There’s so much precum his hand is sticky, and as orgasm washes over him he feels relief and horror well up in equal parts. He has barely even come down when he realises that Craig is still lying nest to him breathing heavily, and that under the blankets the air is muggy. His skin is slick with sweat. Craig is making soft sounds like he is trying to think of something to say.

“… Do you have a towel or something?” he whispers finally. His voice is rough and low, and Tweek wonders if he is blushing.

“I, Uh, in my bag. Bring it over for me too.”

He thinks it’s all over, that he’s lost himself and he doesn’t know what he’s capable of any more, but then Craig pushes back the blankets and the whole lounge is lit up by the silver of the stars and the moon outside. On the other side of the room, the others are still sleeping quietly.

And as Craig pulls himself onto his knees, his body creaking a little as he does so, he spares a downwards glance and a tiny, almost imperceptible smile.

“That wasn’t too scary.” He says. And looking back, now that it’s done and the boy facing him is still Craig, with his dark hair and freckled skin and that voice like he had just had the flu, Tweek thinks that maybe it wasn’t so scary after all. Maybe he would have to do it again some time, to make sure.