orphan.dat

All Hugo Award-winning fanfic, all the time.

WIP Amnesty Week: “Bizarre Love Triangle”, ch. 5

So… yeah. I admit I fell a little out of love with Gravity Falls towards the end of Season 2: the whole ending arc just didn’t do it for me, for a variety of reasons. But, for those who’re still wondering, here’s the scrap of “Bizarre Love Triangle” that got written prior to me getting distracted.

This fic was going to have a bittersweet sort of ending: basically Dipper dancing with and kissing “Wil” at the Ball. The action would’ve negated Dipper and Bill’s deal, meaning Bill would’ve been returned to his regular self and, thus, abandoning his mushy teenage feelings.


So that, more or less, is how the week progresses. By day, Dipper finds any and every excuse to hang out with Pacifica. In the evenings, he drags Bill out to the river and reviews the day’s progress, before settling in for some more “practice”. And by nights, he sleeps squashed against the wall of his bedroom, the sound of Bill’s snoring echoing in his ears.

Bill, for his part, seems also to have settled into his routine. More comfortably that Dipper expected, to be honest. Because Bill seems perfectly happy to be “Wil”, going shopping with Mabel or attending girls-only sleepovers at Northwest Manor.

Dipper feels particular aggrieved by the latter—“You’re not even a real girl!”—but relents when Bill informs him that a large chunk of the evening is spent gossiping about boys, and Bill makes sure to supply his required quotient of gushing about Dipper.

It must work, because Mabel gives him weird looks, now. A lot of weird looks. And she keeps starting conversations with, “Dipper, about Wil…” and then seems not to know how to continue.

Even Ford is acting odd, for given definitions of “Ford” and “odd”. He’s much kinder to Bill, for a start, treating him less like an invading demon and more like another grand-niece. Or nephew. Whatever. When Bill’s not with Dipper, he’s almost inevitably with Ford. Sitting on the desk in Ford’s workshop while the man scans him with strange devices. Or having quiet conversations in hushed voices.

Dipper walks in on one of these in the kitchen one morning. “—forgetting things,” Bill is saying. “It’s hard to concentrate. I don’t… I didn’t expect things to be like this.”

“You’re in the body of a fifteen year old,” Ford says. “What did you expect?”

“Not this! I’ve done this before and it wasn’t like this!” Which sounds more like Bill’s normal tone.

But Ford just scoffs. “Possession is not the same as manifestation,” he says. “It’s the difference between dreaming about puberty and experiencing it firsthand. And now that you can dream, you should be able to understand the analogy.” A long pause and, okay. If Dipper’s maybe hiding in the hallway, eavesdropping, who could really blame him?

Ford continues, “Truthfully, are you trapped here?”

“Why? What would you do if I was?”

“I’m not sure. That’s what I’m trying to decide.”

“I did a deal,” Bill says. “With Dipper.” The use of his actual name makes Dipper feel… odd. Almost as odd as hearing the vulnerability in Bill’s voice.

“That’s not an answer,” Ford says. “But I won’t press. Just… remember my offer.”

“I remember it,” Bill says. “I just don’t understand why you’d make it.”

“Because,” Ford says, “I generally try to be both more ethically sound than a demon and more emotionally mature than a teenager.”

“I’m aeons older than you!”

“Not right now you’re not,” Ford says. Then he asks Bill about waffles.

Dipper creeps back upstairs, feeling guilty and not quite knowing why.

“These are amazing.”

Day four of Practice. Or, rather, day three of goofing off in the river, because it’s stinking hot and why not? So Dipper’s in his swimming trunks, and Bill has done his magic costume-change thing to appear in the same. This, of course, means Dipper is seeing him without a shirt.

“Hm?” Bill looks down at himself, then shrugs. “I guess?”

Bill is a canvas of rich brown traced with… Dipper doesn’t want to call them tattoos, because they look like they’re drawn on in solid, metallic gold. But asides from that, they’re tattoos. All across Bill’s chest and back, tracing down his hips and disappearing beneath his waistband. The patterns are exactly the sort of mystical Bill-esque mumbo jumbo Dipper would expect; a stylized eye in a pyramid, sitting inside a circle surrounded by symbols and, a-har, ciphers. It’s all much more intricate and archaic than Dipper’s used to when it comes to Bill. Older, perhaps. Or just more… demonic.

Dipper wants to touch the lines, so he does. It’s not the first time he’s had his hands on Bill’s bare skin, but it is the first time he hasn’t had to stick them up a shirt or dress to do so. The sensation is both casually mundane and weirdly thrilling at the same time, particularly given Bill makes no move to stop Dipper or even question what he’s doing.

The lines don’t feel any different to the rest of Bill’s skin, which Dipper finds disappointing. He explores all of them anyway, both with his eyes and his fingers. There’s a part of him that really, desperately wants to add “tongue” to that list, but he beats it back into a mental corner. Licking Bill’s chest would be… weird. Not what Dipper is here for. After all, it’s not like Pacifica has lines all over her chest. At least, not the parts of it Dipper’s seen, which is most of it, bar the obvious, care of pool parties hot summer days.

So. Eyes and fingers only. A scientific exploration. A very thorough scientific exploration.

When he gets to Bill’s back, Dipper says, “I’ve seen this before.” He traces the symbol with his finger. It’s right in the centre of the design, the same location as Bill’s pyramid-eye on his front.

“Probably,” Bill says. “It’s the symbol for Alkaid.”

“Oh,” says Dipper.

Oh. Because he knows that name, in the way he knows all that stars that make up his namesake constellation. “This… was on the Portal,” he says, because it was.

“Yes,” says Bill. His head is turned, looking at Dipper over his shoulder with his one good eye.

“Why?” The symbol’s part of something that’s branded onto Dipper’s head, branded into his skin. And he’s thought about this. A lot. Whether it means anything. It has to mean something… right?

Bill is silent for a moment. Then, in a voice no more than a whisper: “I don’t remember.”

“Huh?” says Dipper.

Bill looks away, hand coming up to press against his forehead. He’s trembling, Dipper realizes, his other arm wrapped around his waist.

“… Bill?” Dipper’s fingers land on Bill’s shoulder, just lightly.

And then, quite suddenly, Bill is turning, face split in two by a bright white grin. “I’m bored, Pine Tree,” Bill announces. “Let’s swim!”

And then he’s moving, across the rock and into the river, laughing the whole way.

After a moment, Dipper joins him.

“So have you asked Wil to the Summerween Ball yet?” Mabel says it so casually, so offhandedly, that it takes Dipper a moment to process what she’s asking.

“What?”

“The Ball, Dipper.” She’s using the voice she reserved for when she feels he’s being especially dense. “Wil. Asked. Have you.”

“What are you talking about?” Dipper doesn’t want to agitate his sister, not when she’s hovering so close to his face with a sharp pencil. But: “You mean, like, ask Bill to be my date to the Ball? Why would I do that?”

Mabel leans back, glaring. It’s weird, Dipper thinks, because they’re half-way through a make-up test for their Summerween costumes, and that means the face that’s scowling back at Dipper is his own, right down to the birthmark. Mabel’s even done some magic with mascara that’s given her the illusion of a bad wispy teenage mustache. Dipper would be kind of offended, if he wasn’t too busy being impressed.

Impressed and, right now, cowed. “Because she wants you to, you big jerk!”

Dipper grimaces, his skin feeling weird under the layers of foundation and concealer and blush and powder. “Mabel,” he says, “you know… I mean… Bill. He’s… um. Why he’s here, exactly…”

“You did a deal that he’d pretend to have a crush on you to make Pacifica jealous.”

It’s like he’s been kicked in the gut. At least, for the half a second before the anger sets in. “That triangular little piece of tattling—”

“Don’t you blame Wil,” Mabel snaps. “She didn’t say anything. But it’s obvious. We’re not all idiots, you know.” Not all idiots like you, is the unspoken interpretation.

Dipper looks away, pushing down a sudden urge to rub his hands over his face. Funny, but he’s never wanted to touch his own skin more than in the last twenty minutes when he can’t. “Okay, fine,” he snaps. “I’m an idiot. But if you know that, then you know none of this is real. And I’m not going to ask a fake girl out to… to ruin my chances with a real one!”