There was a quite sizable array of sounds that Dipper Pines genuinely enjoyed listening to as he nodded off to a good night's sleep. He adored lying curled up in bed and sleepily listening to the haunting hoot of an owl, the gentle patter of rain against the window down a storm, and of course the ever-classic chirp of crickets.
Unfortunately, the infuriating clack coming from across the attic was not a member of this select group. As a result, the past forty-five minutes had been complete and utter torture. The boy tried his best to ignore it, but with every passing minute that he still lay awake, the ceaseless metallic din only seemed to grow louder, until it was the only sound he could hear bouncing about in his sleep-deprived mind. Hovering-near breaking point, the boy finally let out a loud moan of frustration, and immediately caught the attention of his roommate.
"Dipper?" Mabel looked up from her knit work and chirped curiously. "Are you okay?"
"It's almost eleven." Her brother announced, praying fervently that she'd get the implied message.
She glanced up to the clock and say that he spoke the honest truth. The girl shrugged and smiled. "Yeah, it sure is!"
Immediately she went right back to work, contently knitting away. The speedy return of the infernal clicking quickly made it quite clear that trying to put things gently had gotten him nowhere Dipper promptly switched tactics and dropped a far less subtle hint. "I think that sweater can wait until tomorrow."
Mabel paused. "Huh?"
"I said, the sweater can wait until tomorrow." He crankily repeated himself throughly gritted teeth.
The girl stared blankly at the half-done garment in her hands while she pondered over his strange remark. Finally the message sunk in. "Wait...wait, are you saying that I'm keeping you awake?"
"Yes." Dipper muttered bluntly, hoping that'd be the end of it. As usual, he had been far too optimistic about his chances. Mabel gawked bemusedly at him for several beats more, then erupted with giggles. That had been one of the silliest things that she had ever heard.
"What? You mean this right here? Pffft! Oh c'mon, brother! This..." The rhythmic clack filled the room as she expertly did a few quick stitches in rapid succession. "This is not loud."
"Well, I think-" He fruitlessly interjected.
"Now THIS is loud knitting." Always one for goofy theatrics, she started banging her needles together before she broke out into obnoxious off-key singsong. "La la la la la! I'm knitting! Kniiiiitttting! I'm also singgging! Singing, and knitting! Knitting and singing! La la! Knit, knit, sing, sing! La la la la! Thbbt! Thbbbbt!"
Amused by her own antics, she flopped onto her back and snorted loudly with laughter. Dipper meanwhile had yet to find anything funny. The fatigued tween propped himself up on scrawny arms and groaned pleadingly. "Mabel, c'mon! Please, can you just go to sleep?"
Mabel's fit of joy came to a speedy end when she finally realized that her twin was actually being serious. The girl cocked her head confusedly. "Wait, really? Dipper, I'm not doing super-crazy knitting over here. Just my regular knitting-knitting."
"Yeah, and you know what?" Dipper decided to level with her. "Right now, it's getting really annoying."
"...What?" The corners of her mouth curled down in a frown. Even in his exhaustion condition, Dipper could read the hurt in her eyes with ease. It didn't take long for him to see that he had been a bit harsh.
"All right. Sorry." He yawned and mumbled out an apology. "But I-"
Suddenly his sister went on the attack. If he was going to slander her beloved hobby like this, then she wasn't going down without a fight. "Well...well, you know? I think you're really getting unfair! Mega unfair! The most unfair!"
"Nuh-uh! Dipper, why can you do your dumb summer reading as late as you want, but when I wanna try and make something cool at night, it's suddenly the worst thing ever?"
"Okay, okay look, I know that can get on your nerves." Dipper hurriedly backtracked to a more conciliatory tone. A classic twin bicker-fest definitely wouldn't help him get to sleep any faster. "We can talk about that later. But right now it's getting kind of late, and you're being a little loud with-"
"But I'm not! I'm not a loud knitter!" She interrupted. "You're just being a rude poop head!"
Tempers quickly flared on both sides of the attic. One twin was too cranky to play nice. The other meanwhile felt like she was being subjected to a miscarriage of justice itself. As Mabel glowered fiercely, Dipper sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Yes, you are! I can hear you from my side of the room." He objected. "I can't sleep because I've been listening to you all night!"
"Wrong, wrong, wrong! Wrong times a hundred! Times a thousand!" Mabel snapped defensively. Her twin scowled and grumpily returned fire.
"Hey, it's not like I'm telling you to quit it forever! I'm just asking you to stop for now so I can finally get some sleep. Is this really so hard to understand?"
"Yes! When Mabel's totally in the zone, it is!" The girl lifted the partially finished sweater and proudly displayed her handiwork. "How can you tell me to stop when I'm almost halfway done with the puppy picnic already? Look, brother! Look at it-"
"This right here? This is art! Adorable, adorable art! See, this puppy is taking out the sandwiches," She began to passionately explain. "And this one over is serving the potato salad. And when I get down to here I'll make a cute little one with a fluffy white tail who's-"
"All right, all right, I get it." Dipper wearily gestured for her to settle down. "Look, how about this? Tomorrow, we'll talk about this all you want. But just for now, can you please, please just give it a rest? For now?"
For a couple seconds the two gazed wordlessly at one another in a hard stare-down. However, Mabel found that could only look at the heavy bags beneath her brother's eyes for so long before her resistance began to crumble. Reluctantly, she folded up her work into a neat bundle and put it aside with a loud huff. "Fine! Look, I'm putting it away. I'm done with it. Are you happy now?"
"Thank you." That had been far more painful than anticipated. However, at least it was over. Dipper let out a satisfied sigh as he rolled over. "Night, Mabel."
"G'night." The girl muttered grumpily for routine's sake as she flicked off the lamp. Silence quickly settled on the drafty attic. Free from irritating noise, the boy quickly drifted off, completely oblivious of the watchful eyes staring intently at him from across the room.
Even when his chest started to rise and fall with deep, rhythmic breaths, Mabel patiently waited an extra few minutes. She wanted to be absolutely sure that he was definitely conked out for the evening. Once she was convinced that the coast was clear, she quietly clambered out of bed. Moving as stealthily as a cat, the girl took slow, purposeful strides across the floor.
"Loud knitter, huh? Too noisy for you, huh? Hmmph."
Soon she was looming over her twin's bedside. Dipper slept deeply, utterly obvious to what was about to befall him. Mabel's knitting needles glinted brightly in the moonlight. "I'll show you...I'll show you..."
Morning arrived with all its usual splendor. Dipper was greeted by sweet chirping birdsong, which paired nicely with the soft golden beams that tickled his face with their gentle warmth. After letting out a massive yawn, he cracked his eyes open and instinctively rolled over with a sleepy routine mumble. "Morning, Mabel."
He had just barely registered fact that the opposite bed was empty, he was startled by a reply that came from a lot nearer than expected. "Good morning, brother."
His sister was sitting on the end of his bed, her back facing him. Mabel then slowly spun around, revealing that she had Waddles plopped in her lap. Soon it became clear that she was attempting a theatrical greeting. However, since she had to drag her legs up onto the mattress, the spectacle rapidly became far less dramatic than she originally planned, especially with all the apologies she whispered to her pet as she awkwardly shuffled him about.
"Sorry...sorry, Waddles...hold on, almost there..." Once she had settled herself, the girl slapped on a smug smile while she stroked her pet's back, looking for all the world like the world's cutest cliched movie villain. "Did you sleep well, dear Dipper?"
"Uh...Mabel? What's going on with...hey...hey! HEY! Oh c'mon!" Dipper attempted to sit up, only to find himself immediately impeded by one of the oddest pieces of knit work he had ever seen in his entire life. It looked like a skinny scarf, but with a loop on both ends. One hugged the leg of the nearby table, and the other was looped surprisingly tightly around his dumbfounded tween gawked at what amounted to a woolen shackle, while Mabel burst into triumphant laughter.
"Ah ha! Betcha didn't hear me make any of that now, did you? Did you? No, you didn't, because I'm just that amazing! How's that for loud knitting, huh? YEAH!" The ecstatic preteen excitedly hurled her arms up in the air. "Woo woo! Raise the roof, 'cuz this girl's got so much talent it can't all fit in the house! Oh yeah! Uh-huh! Go Mabel! Go Mabel! Go, go, go Mabel! Go...go..."
She soon put a pause on her miniature celebration in order let out a whopping yawn. Dipper tugged fruitlessly at his bonds before giving up with a defeated sigh. He knew when he had been roundly beaten, The tween grumpily conceded without a scrap of resistance. "All right, all right. You win."
"You bet I win! Point goes to Mabel...and...h-hold on..." She stretched her mouth wide to let out yet another massive yawn.
"Are you okay?" Dipper couldn't help but pry. As far as he could tell, the initial victory exhilaration had quickly begun to wear off, revealing one incredibly tired girl.
"Yeah." Her eyelids sagged like they were made of lead. She seemed to be getting progressively groggier by the second. "I'm...I-I'm okay..."
Her brother took a closer look at the meticulously crafted and intensely detailed trap. "Okay so...if you don't mind me asking...just how long did it take you to actually make this?"
"It...it took a while. First I had to measure...a-and then I picked out the colors." She wiped at bleary eyes and wearily explained. "And then I got about halfway through when I decided to start over, because...because thought red stripes would look nicer than pink zigzags Then when I finished, I didn't want to miss it when you woke up, so...so I..."
She yawned yet again. Her entire body seemed to sag with fatigue.
"So you didn't get any sleep, did you?" Dipper correctly concluded.
"Nuh-uh." She listlessly shook her head. Her eyelids were now drooping as if someone had attached five pound weights to them. Feeling utterly exhausted from a long night's work, Mabel clutched Waddles tight and started to crawl absentmindedly towards her brother. Immediately he guessed what was happening, and he started furiously tugging at his bonds like a mad.
"Oh, no. No! Not happening! This is so not happening!" He frantically yanked, as if a fright train was rumbling his way. "Your bed is right over there! Right over THERE! Oh, c'mon!"
"Sleepy...Dipper, I'm...I'm sleepy..." She whimpered. Too hopelessly fatigued to even stagger the short distance to the other side of the room, she dropped her head on the nearest improvised pillow that would suffice. Once she plopped down square on her twin's chest, she curled up into a ball, robbing him of quite a chunk of prime bed space in the process. To make matters worse, she had plopped Waddles down on his legs so as to keep her beloved pet in easy cuddling reach.
"It only gets better and better." He muttered defeatedly, tone drenched with grouchy sarcasm. Mabel meanwhile continued to steadily drift off, but not before an important realization crossed her mind.
"Hey...y'know what?" She let out a dozy murmur.
"What?" He grumbled. It took a moment for her foggy brain to get her thoughts in order.
"When you think about it just a little...it looks like knitting kept both of us awake."
I-I think that means everyone wins...right?" Genuinely satisfied with the shared sibling victory, a sleepy smile cropped up as Mabel pressed her head closer against her brother's gut.
Dipper squirmed uncomfortably under the extra weight and added his thoughts on the supposed win with a groan. "When you wake up, remind me to go into town and just buy some earplugs..."