"So wait, you told the old man that?"
"No, no, it was ze feesherman." Christophe explains as he does his best not to break out into laughter. "So when I say zat, ze guy asks why I was at ze pier in ze first place, and I say weeth a straight face, 'Because sir, my lawyer screwed me over een court.'"
The trio then bursts into laughter, and didn't even seem to mind the strange looks fellow patients in the cafeteria were giving them.
"That was hilarious, Christophe." Damien says once he regained enough composure to speak without laughing.
"Yeah, it really was." Butter chimed in with a slight chuckle.
Christophe then explains he had another story that they were going to find even more hilarious than the one he told, and as he began talking, the blonde can't help but note how accepted he felt in that moment.
Sure, things hadn't gotten off to the greatest of starts between the three, but that was far behind them. In fact, Butters was willing to argue that he felt a stronger sense of comradely with Damien and Christophe than he had with anyone in his life. Granted, under different circumstances, the three would more than likely never even think about associating with one another...but they were know, and to blonde, that was enough to earn his trust.
"Say, killer, you have that group therapy thing later today, right?"
The sudden question pulls Butters out of his thoughts, and he finishes chewing the bit of food he had in his mouth and swallows before answering.
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Butters replies; still a little uncomfortable with Damien's nickname for him, but keeping it to himself. "I have it every other day, actually. Why do you ask?"
"Eh, no particular reason." Damien says with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Just being curious is all."
"Oh. Okay then." Butters says; not giving the sudden question another thought.
The three then go about talking and laughing at one another's stories as they normally would...but little did Butters know, the two across from him were in the midst of planning something huge right under his nose.
-Later, During Group Therapy-
"Alright everyone, time to settle down." Kyle announces as he takes his usual seat in the middle of the circle of the usual group people. The conversations around the room instantly die down, and the redhead clears his throat slightly before continuing. "Now, like every meeting, I'm going to need someone to start us off. Any volunteers?"
As usual, the room stayed quiet, but after a moments hesitation...a pale, unexpected hand did go up in the air.
"Tweek?" Kyle asks, wanting to make sure it wasn't just a misunderstanding. The blonde then gives a slight nod of confirmation, and the redhead continues. "Well, this is a pleasant surprise. Please Tweek, by all means, feel free to share with us whenever you're ready."
The blonde then stays silent for a moment, as if regretting having volunteered, but nevertheless, began talking.
"It was about five years back, when I was seventeen, when I started seeing Craig." The blond explains, a small smile coming onto his lips at the memory. "I actually remember the first day we met. It had been a fairly busy day at my family's coffee shop, and I'd taken a break after a particularly impatient bunch of customers came through to calm myself down…"
"Can't you go any faster?!"
"This is the worst customer service I've had in years!"
"That isn't what I ordered! Can't you do anything right?!"
Tweek sighs heavily at the memory of the shouting voices before taking a long sip of the hazelnut coffee he had poured for himself to try and stop his shaking.
It wasn't often customers shook him up...but good lord, had they today.
No matter what he did, no matter how hard he tried to rectify whatever he messed up, the complaints just wouldn't stop. It had messed with his nerves so much so that he went on break the second all of those impatient customers had been given their coffee. Now it was almost time for him to return to his post, and nothing could have made him more anxious.
The blonde dreading the thought of going back to work after what he endured, and wished that something, anything would happen to make the day a little less gloomy.
The unexpected voice causes the shaky blonde to snap out of his thoughts with a slight jump of surprise, and when he looks up, he sees a tall, slender boy about his age with black hair almost fully hidden under a blue chulu hat, black jeans, and dark blue hoodie that seemed to be a nearly identical color of his eyes.
"...um...are you...talking to me?" Tweek asks a bit cautiously, keeping wary of the stranger.
"Yeah, I am." The other replies in a dry tone. "I was wondering if I could sit in that empty seat. All the other spots to sit are taken."
Tweek blinks at this statement. "Wait...they are?" The blonde then quickly looks away from the person in front of him to scan the area, and just as the taller had said, all the chairs they had in the cafe had been occupied. "Huh. I guess they are. But, u-um...sure, you can sit here. M-My break's gonna be over soon anyway."
The boy then pulls out the chair just across from Tweek, and casually plops himself down in it before pulling out a cell phone from him pocket. As the other becomes immersed in texting, Tweek sits there in the awkward silence; not really used to having random strangers sit with him like this. Then again, the cafe had never been so full not a single table was left open, so the shorter of the two figured there was a time and place for everything.
What seemed like an eternity passed this way, the surrounding conversations drowning out the tic-tacing of strangers texting, but out of no where, the other speaks.
"...Hey, I'm sorry about how those people were treating you back there."
"H-Huh?" Tweek asks, surprised by the others sudden words.
The blonde then sees the tallers blue eyes looking up from the phone in his hands at him. A look of subtle, genuine sympathy was held within them in light of the others earlier treatment. Tweek felt his heart give a few fast-paced beats, but managed to steady it as the strangers eyes shifted themselves back to his phone's screen.
"I just said I was sorry for how those other customers were acting." The male explains as his thumbs were set back into motion. "They should be damned grateful not to be kicked out considering how unreasonable they were being."
Tweek was speechless.
No one had ever taken his side before, and...just the feeling of being in the right for once was enough to make a wide smile spread across his face.
"Tweek! Your break's over!"
The sudden voice of his father caused the blond to jump a bit in surprise, but after realizing who it was and what they wanted, he quickly calmed down.
"Okay. I'll be there in a second." Tweek calls out. He then looks back to a still pre-occupied Craig before beginning to speak once more. "Um...so, I have to go back to work. Thank you for what you said, by the way. It means a lot more than you'd think."
"Anytime." The other nonchalantly says.
The blond then starts to walk back over to the counter to start serving customers once again, but before he gets there, he hears the other yell out to him.
"Hey, I almost forgot; my name's Craig by the way."
"After that, he sort of became a regular customer, and always had a habit of showing up when it was my shift." Tweek explains. "I-I know it's not much of a story, but I never really did have much excitement in my life."
"No, no, it's fine." Kyle reassures. "All stories are valid here, Tweek." The redhead then takes a short pause before continuing, "Although, I would like to hear a bit more of the time after you and Craig got together. Or, I suppose more specifically, what about it made your parents seek help for you. Would you be comfortable sharing this?
The shorter of the two blinks, and after a moment of consideration, nods his head.
"Yeah. I can do that." Tweek reassures. It starts out slowly, but in no time, the crazy-haired was telling his tale. "Well, to be honest, me and Craig never started officially dating until two whole years after we first met. W-We were both just so hesitant and nervous to actually make the first move, and once we finally did start dating, neither one of us was that enthused about letting our parents in on it. I-I'll never forget the night we actually told them..."
"Are you sure we have to do this tonight?"
"Trust me Tweek, the sooner the better." Craig says as they stroll up hand in hand to Tweek's front door.
Anxiety nipped at Tweek's very stomach, and the only thing his panicked mind could manage to say in response was; "W-Why do we have to tell my parents first again?"
"Because Tweek, my folks are gonna be a tough nut to crack." The taller explains. "With them, we're gonna need all the help we can get, and having your mom and dad there to help us explain it to them will do wonders. And even if they don't accept us, we'll still be together, and still have love for one another. There's nothing on earth that can change that."
The blonde considers this, and after a moment, sighs in submission.
"A-Alright then. Wait here though, I-I wanna tell them first before they meet you."
"Sure thing." Craig says. "I'll be right here. Good luck."
With a bit of newfound confidence, the blonde then takes a deep breath before walking into his parents home. Inside, he sees his mother doing a crossword from the paper while his father read the sports section, and neither seemed to notice he had entered until he purposely cleared his throat.
"Oh, hello Tweek." His mother says, keeping her eyes glued to the cross-word. "It's such a nice surprise having you come over."
"Mom...Dad...I have something very important I need to tell you." Tweek states in the most serious tone he can. This is thankfully enough to get them to actually look up from their activities, and once the blonde sees their listening, continues. "For the past several months, I have been...seeing someone, and it's getting pretty serious."
"Oh?" His father asks. "Well, we're certainly excited to meet her then."
"That's just it." Tweek says. "She…isn't a she."
The two stare at their son in silence for a few minutes, and inwardly, a hurricane of worry and anxiety was raging inside the blonde.
"So, you're dating a boy?" His mother finally asks, breaking the silence.
"Y-Yes. I am."
More silence follows, but soon, Tweek's father speaks up. "Is he here with you?"
The blonde nods before quietly explaining he was waiting on the porch. His parents then both glance to each other before getting up, and heading to the front door. The shorter of the three follows, and soon, sees his parents standing face-to-face with his boyfriend.
"Hi." Craig politely says. "It's nice to finally meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Tweek."
Tweek anxiously waited for his parents reaction, but all he saw was them staring. What seemed like an eternity passed with no one saying anything, but eventually, the two slowly turn to their son.
"Sweet-heart, there isn't anyone here." Tweek's mother explains.
"What?" Tweek asks. He then glaces to Craig, who looked just as confused as he felt, and then back to his parents. "But...he's right there. You were looking right at him."
"No there's not, son." Tweek's father says firmly. "Now, I don't know if this is some sort of prank or whatever, but you shouldn't just go around saying what you had."
"Wait, sir, I get the knowledge that your son is dating someone of the same sex might be a bit of big news, but you can't just ig-" Craig began to say. But before he could finish his thought, his father pushes the door; it closing right in the others face.
"Dad!" Tweek nearly shrieks, tears forming in his eyes. "Don't just shut him out!" The two adults get matching expressions of confusion, and the blonde decides to continue. "If you don't want to accept our relationship, fine, but you owe it to me to at least give him a chance!"
The recurring silence creeps back in, and after a minute, Tweek's father speaks up.
"Son...you truly believe there's someone out there, don't you?" He asks.
"I don't think, I know!" Tweek clarifies.
His parents then give each other a knowing glance, and then turn to back to their son with what was almost a look of pity.
"We feared this day would come." His father explains solemnly. "Your Grandfather and Grandmother both suffered from mental illness, and we were warned you may be prone to develop it later in life. We should have been prepared."
"Mental illness…?" Tweek asks softly.
"Yes sweetie, mental illness." His mother says. "Now, get up to bed. We're going to have to get an early start tomorrow."
"Because we're going to have to go to Denver." His father states. "That's where the psychiatrist who diagnosed your Grandpa and Grandma is. If anyone, he should know what measures need to be taken."
"After that, it's pretty much cut and dry." Tweek explains. "We went to the psychiatrist the next day, he "evaluated" me, and said it was best I be committed somewhere as soon as possible. But, since they couldn't afford to put me in any of the facilities in Denver, we came back here, and had to settle for this place. And now, here I am. Locked up, and separated from Craig aside from a few times a month...just like my parents wanted."
Around the room, no one spoke.
Tweek wasn't to normally share, and on top of the surprise of that, he had gone into a pretty fair amount of detail about his history. If anything, everyone was just in shock that he had opened up so willingly.
"Thank you, Tweek." Kyle says. "It was very courageous of you to share with us."
Meanwhile, Butters felt the all-too familiar knot of guilt tie itself in his stomach.
Poor Tweek truly swore by the statement that Craig was real, and genuinely felt hurt when people told him he wasn't. The blonde just hated knowing he had hurt someone he knew so deeply, and decided actions must be taken.
Things needed to be set right.
So, once Kyle went off to do his paperwork as he normally did when people started talking, Butters slowly made his way to the shorter. He then took a seat next to Tweek, and at first, The crazy-haired blonde refused to acknowledge his presence. The taller then went over what he could possibly say to make things right, and after a moment, begins talking.
"That was...some story Tweek." Butters says; truly not knowing any other way to describe what he had heard.
"Thanks." The crazy-haired blonde replies dismissively.
Butters can't help but bite his lower lip at this, and tries to think of something, anything, to say that maybe would make this forced conversation starter feel less awkward. It then occurred to him that he never did give Tweek a proper apology for what he'd said, and seeing as how things were currently going, the taller of the two went for it.
"Tweek….look, I truly am sorry for all those horrible things I said." The blonde explains. "Your story today made me realize just how wrong I was to have said them."
The other sat silent for a moment, but after about two minutes, finally spoke. "Well….I suppose you didn't exactly intend to hurt my feelings like that. And to be honest, the more I think about it, the more I'm sure I over reacted to the whole situation." Tweek then slowly turns his head, and a smile spreads across his lips once his green eyes meet Butter's blue ones. "I guess we're both just hot messes, huh?"
"Yeah." Butters playfully agrees.
The two then gradually began to talk more, and inside, Butters feels like a heavy burden has just been lifted from his shoulders.
In all honesty, he had never really ticked someone off to the point of them going out of there way to avoid him before. So, to have this forgiveness, talking to a person who despised him just an hour ago like there hadn't been a fight at all, was simply intoxicating. However, as it would seem, it was not destined to last long.
"I will admit, it is nice to have someone I can trust to talk to again." Tweek says.
"Agreed." Butters replies with a slight nod of his head. "Plus, you, me, Christophe, and Damien can all sit at lunch together."
The blonde expected Tweek to be enthused by this...but instead, just seemed concerned.
"...Christophe and Damien?" Tweek asks after a bit of pause; as if reassuring that is what the other had said. "But...those two are criminals."
"Maybe, but we're all in here for something." Butters reminds; taking slight offense at how the crazy-haired blonde was referring to his friends. "They're really nice and funny once you get to know them. Besides, it's not like they're gonna try to hurt us. There are guards keeping watch on them whenever they're out of their cells, remember?"
The blonde only looks down at this before mutter under his breath, "Craig says they're dangerous, and I've never known him to be wrong before."
Butters catches this comment, and feels a certain level of offense by it.
He couldn't explain why...but he didn't think it was fair that Tweek was making assumptions of the two before even really getting to know them. So, without a single hesitation, decides to say the first thing that came to his mind.
"Well, then Craig is wrong."
The words that left the others mouth were met with an almost stunned silence from the crazy-haired blonde. In fact, the shorters expression was an arguable mix of shock and anger mixed in with disbelief.
"Excuse me?" Tweek asks in a low, almost venomous tone.
"I said Craig was wrong." Butters repeats. "Christophe and Damien may be a bit rough around the edges, but it's not all cut and dry. They're still people, just like you or me." The taller of the two then pauses for a brief second, and with surprising gusto, makes another bold statement. "But of course, you're just so petrified of what trouble the world could bring that you fail to see the world around you, and just focus on the delusion you've created for yourself."
"Delusion?" Tweek asks; knowing what Butters had meant, but not saying it outloud as a sort of signal for the other not to utter it either.
Of course, it had the opposite effect on the blond.
How the other was acting was actually fueling his desire to vocalize him opinion. The way Tweek was acting caused any and all sympathy toward his situation to be drained, and without even really thinking, starts speaking. "Craig is you, Tweek. When you say 'He thinks that' or 'He says this', that's just your inner view of the situation being personified through him. He isn't real."
"How dare you!" Tweek says through clenched teeth.
The taller just shakes his head at this, and stand up; intent on finding another seat to sit in. Of course, before he could even get one step away, Tweek suddenly grabs ahold of his arm.
"No, you're not walking away after saying something like that!" Tweek hisses. "Craig is real, and I'll be damned if I let you go around saying he isn't!"
A slight pain settled in Butters arm where Tweek was clutching onto his arm, but he wasn't about to let on that it hurt. The blonde then begins to wriggle his arm in an attempt to get it free, but the other was clinging too tightly for that to work. The taller then decides enough is enough, and with all the force he had, shoves himself against Tweek. This actually causes the other to stagger back a few steps, but the second the shorter regained his footing...Butter knew he had made a mistake.
The others brown eyes were filled with anger, and before he could even make an attempt to say anything in his defense, Tweek lurches forward.
In seconds, Butters found the others fists crashing themselves against his face in a heated fury, and he was knocked to the floor. The crazy-haired blonde continues his relentless hits, and all around, the other inmates in the room watched the scene in shock. The taller tried defending himself, but the other was throwing punches too rapidly for him to block.
The onslaught only continued for minute or two after it began, and soon, Stan and Kevin rush in to check out what the commotion was.
The guards themselves were actually taken by surprise at the sight of Tweek hitting Butters, but quickly shake it off. They then rush over, and grab ahold of the crazy-haired blondes hands before dragging him away from Butters. Of course, Tweek wasn't intent on going quietly, and struggled the entire time.
"LET ME GO!" Tweek screeches as he violently thrashes against the guards hold.
Butters then slowly props himself up, and just stares ahead in the third distance in silence. Eventually, Kyle comes up to him, snapping the other out of his thoughts, and offers a hand. The blonde gladly takes it, and once he was on his feet, the redhead begins talking.
"Butters, are you alright?" The therapist asks.
The pain of the others punches begins to slowly process in the blonde's mind, and he realized a steady stream of blood was coming from his nose; along with a sudden stinging pain.
"I..I think he broke my nose." Butters replies; his voice coming out slightly nasled.
"Don't worry, we'll get you to the nurse right away." Kyle assures. He then tells the other inmates to remain calm and seated before walking Butters out the hall. From down it, Tweek could still be heard screech to be let go, and the blonde suddenly has a flashback to the day the other had to be dragged out of the cafeteria.
He just couldn't stop pushing this guy to the limit, could he?
-Later, at the Nurses Office-
"Luckily it was just a fracture, so there should be no permanent damage to your nose. Oh, and here; this ice will help the swelling on your cheek go down."
"Thank you." Butters says as he holds the baggie of ice Wendy handed him to the now stinging and lumped part of his face.
"Anytime." Wendy says with a kind smile as she begins putting up the bandages and gauze. "I'm just surprised it was Tweek that did this to you. The guy's been here for awhile, and he always seemed so sweet and shy to me."
"That's what I thought at first too." Butters says.
Of course, inwardly, the blonde admits the whole ordeal was all because he had to go firing off his mouth. And as he continued to think about it, a knot of guilt began to tie itself in his stomach. After all, Tweek had been a relatively close friend at one point, and the knowledge he had so openly torn into his friend nipped and ground at his mind.
However, his thoughts were interrupted when the nearby door swings open, and looks to see Damien and Christophe entering.
"Hey killer." Damien greets. "We heard you were in a fight with that freak during group therapy, and wanted to see how it went." The shorter of the two then gets a good look at Butters scratched and bruised face, and lets out a slight whistle. "Yikes. They said that blonde weirdo got a few good hits in, but it looks like he really let you have it."
"What on earth deed you say to peess 'eem off so bad, anyway?" Christophe asks.
Butters hesitates for a moment, and then speaks in a soft voice; "You know...it's not important. I really don't wanna talk about it, to be honest."
"That's fine." Damien reassures. "We had other matters to discuss with you anyway." This causes a look of confused interest to come across the blonde's face, and after giving a quick look to make sure Wendy was too busy putting up supplies to really be paying close attention, the raven-haired male begins whispering. "Okay, so you remember that question I asked you this morning, right? Well, it wasn't just me being curious. You see, me and Christophe here have been doing calculations, right? Well, believe it or not, we think we've come up with a fool-proof plan to get out of this joint."
"Wait...you mean to es-" Butters began to ask in his regular tone, but once he realizes Wendy was still nearby, switches to a whisper as well. "You mean to escape?"
"Oui." Christophe says. "Eet has taken us months to perfect, and we are now certain that there ees no way it could fail."
"But...I don't understand." Butters confesses. "Why are you telling me all this? I figured I was still too new to be trusted."
"No, no, you're one of us." Damien clarifies. "You're not like the other insane people here. We can tell you have some sense. And besides, if this plan works, all three of us will be free men by the end of the week." The shorter sees that the blonde still looks unsure, and gives a sigh. "Look, I know it's sudden, but you need to trust us. I mean, do you really want to spend the rest of your life cooped up here with these bat-shit crazies?"
Butters almost couldn't believe what he had been told.
True, he had known of Damien and Christophe's vast hatred of being locked up in the institution, but he never once thought they'd actually devise an escape plan. And in the event they had made an escape plan, why on earth would they go to him for assistance? Surely there had to be another person more qualified than him for the job. But on the other hand, the thought of being free, and able to make decisions for himself once again was almost enough for the blonde to jump on board with the plan, and buckle up for the ride to come.
Almost, but not enough to subdue his rational thinking.
"You know, this isn't exactly the safest place to discuss things." Christophe says, prying Butters away from his thoughts. "Just give our offer some thought, and tell us your answer at breakfast or during our time in the gym tomorrow."
With that, the two then promptly exit, and leave Butters gives another heavy sigh.
His mind was so full with events from the day, and amongst everything, the blonde was certain on only one thing:
It was going to be a long night of thinking.
-Meanwhile, a few hours later-
"What do you think happened back there?"
"I'm not sure, but whatever it was, it sure got Tweek upset." Stan explains. "He was struggling like a raging bull when we were taking him to his room, but luckily, we got him there without anyone else getting hurt."
"I'm glad to hear so." Kyle says with a small smile. "I always worry about you when an inmate gets out of control like that...but I know you can handle it. And I'm sure once Tweek has a whole night to calm down, he'll stop being violent. I mean, he shared with the group for the first time today, so surely he's going to be open enough to tell me what went on." The taller of the two nods in agreement, and the redhead suddenly remembers something. "Oh! That reminds me! I got in touch with the police today, and they agreed to assign a detective to review the case. I didn't get any contact information or anything, but they said I'd get a call if evidence were to appear."
"That's wonderful!" Stan says with a smile. "I'm sure they can find the answers you're looking for. And who knows, maybe they'll find something before the end of the week."
"I can only hope." Kyle replies, giving the slightest of sighs.
The two then spend a few more minutes chatting and catching up before wrapping up their conversations, and walking out to their cars.
Of course, back inside, Eric had been eavesdropping on the two just around the corner.
He had heard every word that was exchanged, and now that the two had departed, decided now was the perfect time for some damage control.
The heavy-set security guard then creeps down the hall to Kyle's office, and with a quick check to make sure no one was around, quietly slips inside. Once there, he then makes his way over to the doctors' desk, and begins going through the contents spread out on its surface. Eventually, he comes across the files the police had faxed over, and gives it a hurried looking over before tucking it away in his jacket.
"Now, to call off those detectives." Eric says to himself before giving a sly grin.
The security guard then reaches into his pocket, and pulls out his phone before punching in numbers. It then begins ringing, and in minutes, someone was on the other line.
"South Park Police Department, what is the nature of your emergency?"
"Hello. This is security officer Eric Cartman down at the Institute." Eric explains. "I'm actually calling on behalf of one of our therapists, Dr. Broflovski, who has been contact with you earlier today. He has informed me to tell you that there is no longer a need for the investigation, and apologies for any inconveniences this has caused."
"Is that so?" The person on the other line asks. There was then a short pause, as if they were writing what the other had said down, before speaking again. "And you're certain that he wants this investigation called off?"
"I am." Eric answers without any hesitation.
"Well then, I'll notify the detectives assigned to the case right away." The person says. "Thanks for telling us this so promptly."
"No, no, friend," Eric says; a wicked smirk curling on his lips. "Thank you."