Wendy had heard voices around the corner. Walking out from the motel room and near the side of the building, she saw Soos holding out his hand to... something. Something with a blurry, faded outline. She couldn't remember what she had seen- like it never existed. Still, she had seen Soos stumble back to the wall and nearly collapse.
The redhead called behind her shoulder as she darted forward to Soos, "Guys!"
He was falling off the wall, eyes unfocused and closing. Grasping him firmly, she lowered him in a controlled manner to the damp earth, but watched his face. His eyes opened and closed over and over, blinking something away.
"Soos," Wendy waved her hand before him. He didn't respond. "Soos!" she cried after he slumped back, and began to mutter.
Footsteps reached her, and she looked back. Dipper and Mabel came running, and were followed by Ford, who stalled at the sight of Soos.
"What happened?" Dipper asked.
"Did he hit his head on the wall?" Mabel asked, seeing his fluttering eyes.
Ford then stepped closer. "His hand," he pointed.
The thee looked to Soos's right hand. A small spiral of blue embers crackled in the palm. His skin was not scorched or singed. A patter was growing along his palm, and slowly encased his hand. Spirals and swerving blue lines began to wrap around Soos, climbing up his arm.
"The heck is that?!" Dipper roared, pointing to that.
"Is a ghost doodling on him or something?" Mabel asked Ford.
Ford shook his head. "That's... I think..."
Wendy then cringed, and held her head. There was a terrible wave of something she hadn't truly felt in three years: heat. She was burning on the inside. Something was wrong. The magic was wrong. She opened her eyes, looking as Dipper approached her.
She managed to choke out of her mouth, "not... good..."
Ford lifted up one of Soos' now closed eyelids. A bright blue light shone out.
"He's... made a deal," Ford declared, "a deal with a demon."
"He wouldn't!" Mabel cried out. "He knows better than to ever trust Bill Cipher!"
Ford opened his mouth to speak, but he, along with those nearby gasped. The ground trembled. In a flash of lightning and crackle of thunder, the sky went from blue to a void. The four around Soos were lifted off their feet, gravity abandoning the world.
"Hoooomygawd," Mabel yelled as she began to spin rapidly in place.
"What's going to happen!?" Dipper yelled, trying to grab hold of the building.
Wendy yelled, floating with them, but furiously clutching her head. "It hurts!" she yelled.
"What does?!" Ford and Dipper both yelled.
She finally cracked open an eye, tears falling as she saw them with her bright green pupils. "I feel again," she admitted, "like I haven't felt in years. Alive."
The darkness swelled. The sky grew darker still, and the tattoo like inscriptions along Soos' arms crawled around his neck, his head, his face. As the darkness of the infinite space itself swam down, snuffing out the light of the sun, choking and blistering the sky and the world around them, Soos's eyes opened.
And everything faded to darkness.
"-But telling them like that, I mean, really, mom and dad are so cheap. I don't care what kind of emerald they think it was-"
Soos gasped as he shot up. Hyperventilating, he looked to the source of sound. He knew that voice.
Only, as he sat up, his head hit the underside of a solid, metal sheet. WHACK. Groaning, he rubbed his head and clutched his eyes. Nothing was in focus. There was distant laughter, and someone approached him, holding a hand to his shoulder.
"You okay?" a chuckling voice asked.
Soos nodded. "Aww, I think so, dawg. Nailed my head on something really hard," he said, blinking. "I didn't think there was something right above me."
"You mean a car hood?" the voice asked as a person came into focus. Long, almost hip length blond hair. Expensive and tailor-fit suit and skirt. Jewelry. Sharp blue eyes, and perfectly straightened teeth.
Soos gasped and rubbed his eyes, almost falling off what felt like a small stool. He stood hastily up as the metal stool fell aside. "P-P-Pacifica?!" he gasped.
Pacifica Northwest laughed and rolled her eyes as she leaned back, and took a seat in a chair some feet away. "Um, yes?" she asked. "Man, you must have hit your head harder than you thought!"
Soos spun around.
He wasn't in the side of the motel.
He wasn't even outside. He wasn't in his usual hat, or clothes. He wasn't as bruised or tired feeling- he felt warm and fed, and the comforting, familiar smell of motor oil and hot metal touched his nostrils.
He was in some sort of garage? No, it was better. There was a beautiful and well cared for vintage red truck with it's hood open, probably where he had just struck his now throbbing head. There were tools all along the walls, and enough space for three more trucks of the same size, or even larger. Soos's mouth began to salivate as he saw not one, not two, but seven tool trays of top-of-the line mechanics tools.
"What heaven is this?" he asked, holding a hand to his head, "this is amazing!"
"Okay," Pacifica cocked an eyebrow. "You must have hurt yourself to be complimenting your own workshop. It's not like you."
Soos whirled around to her. So far, things made no sense, but at least him being in some sort of workshop kind of could. Pacifica Northwest? In a workshop with Soos? She wasn't dirty, and watched him carefully, but she was here. And didn't seem to be tied down or stuck here.
"Uhh, so," Soos looked around, trying to put together the words that made the most amount of sense to him, "you're okay, Pacifica?"
"Duh," she rolled her eyes, "I wouldn't touch that nasty oiled stuff. Could ruin my nails," she said, holding her hand closer.
"Haha, right. Motor oil does- wait," Soos shook his head, "I mean, you're still around? Like, not zapped by the crazy bright light!"
Pacifica's self-concern evaporated. She slowly looked to Soos, her eyes wide. "What the hell are you talking about? What bright light? Oh my god," She stood up, "Soos, are you seeing things? Do I need to call an ambulance?"
Soos gasped, rubbing his head. "Uhh, probably not. I can still count my fingers, and from what I can tell, that's how professionals tell if you're injured in the brain," he said, looking to his ten fingers. They looked far more callused than he remembered, but they felt stronger. He looked back up to Pacifica. "But what are you doing here, Pacifica? Is this your truck?" he asked.
Pacifica stood up, looking into his eyes. "Soos, are you okay? I mean, I always hide here when I want to get away from my parents," she shrugged, "like normal?"
"Oh," Soos nodded slowly, "Really?"
"Yes," she rolled her eyes," a girl has to get away, and the last place my parents will ever come looking is in your dirty, oily shop. Beats being found in the mall again and again."
Soos nodded and thought upon her words, scrubbing his chin. The familiar feeling of a thin, kind of messy beared was missing. He gasped, and turned to a mirror. His chin was clean. "Aww," he sighed, "I liked my scruff."
"Huh?" she asked.
Soos shook his head. "Okay, listen, so I think I'm a little confused now, or something kooky. Is this place, uh, mine?"
"Yes," she nodded firmly.
"But I've never owned anything before," Soos gasped, and stepped around Pacifica, towards a door. "I've never lived anywhere else except-" he said as he pushed open the door and spilled light into the room with him.
Blinded as he was, Soos didn't need to see the surroundings immediately to know the feeling. The scent of the pine trees, the chatter of the folk around him, the chirping of birds, the gentle breeze that always seemed to sift through the valley...
His eyes adjusted, and Soos saw that he was back in Gravity Falls.
"Aww," he quietly said, letting it all sink in. Daniel Corduroy walked by, carrying a four foot pile of lumber, having Soos duck underneath the wood. "Aww," he said again, watching the man go. Lazy Susan strutted by.
"Heya, Soosy!" he saved.
"Awww!" he cried out, cupping his cheeks with his hands.
Pacifica appeared next to him. "Uh, Soos, you're acting really, really, really weird. That's twice the normal weird for you," she reminded him.
Soos couldn't contain it. He hollered and punched into the sky. "It's all better!" he shouted. "Yush! Yush! Yusshh!" he said, and then grabbed Pacifica, who flinched. "Don't you see how wonderful this is!?" he demanded, laughing.
"No," she said firmly as he let go and began to spin about.
He stopped spinning just in time to stop before the sign over the shop he ran, which he realized was in the center of downtown. "Ramirez Rotor-Works?" Soos asked outloud. "Ohhh, dawg, that's to coolest. It's named after my family!"
"It's named after you, dummy," Pacifica noted.
Soos turned back to her, the warm summer sun cascading down on his head. Everything seemed to fit well, except that she was here. "Huh," he noted, "me? Weird. So," he clapped his hands together, "when did mister Pines expand his workplace?"
"Who?" Pacifica asked.
"Uh, Mister Pines?" Soos asked, almost laughing, "you know? The greatest tour-guide on the planet? Great guy who anyone would deserve to have as a father?" Soos explained.
Pacifica pondered, but never stopped staring at Soos. "Pines... you mean Stanley? The old guy who runs that old shop in the woods?"
"Hah! The best old shop in the woods, dawg," Soos chuckled, "so, when did he give me this place?"
"Uhh... I don't think he had anything to do with... this?" she asked, looking to his shop.
Soos blinked. "But... I've always worked for Mister Pines."
"I don't ever remember that," she said.
"But-" Soos stalled, catching himself.
He reached up to the cap on his head. It wasn't there. The cap he had received from Stan when he started working there many years ago. He looked down to his favorite, old, mossy green shirt with the leaky question mark. Instead, he saw a solid white, but heavily stained shirt with no logo.
He slowly looked up. The realization washed over him like the coldest of showers, and he shivered in what it could mean. One very important moment, and the timeline you know? Gone, Kelly's words rung in his head like proud bells. He had never worked at the Mystery Shack.
His heart shook slightly. That could mean that they didn't know who he was. Soos gulped, and leaned back against his own workshop. Pacifica made a few steps, holding out her own cellphone. She said, "I've got hospital on hotdial, just in case," she said.
"They probably don't even remember me," Soos gasped.
"Who?" Pacifica tried, "the hospital staff?"
"Dipper, Mabel, Wendy... Mister P-... Mister P-" Soos held in a shuddering breath.
"Soos," Pacifica walked next to him, and looked into his eyes, "I'll call for someone to look at your head. You're just saying weird things over and over, and I'm not-"
"No, no," Soos patted her shoulder, "I'm good, dawg. Trust me," he said with a shaky smile.
"Really hard to, after all... whatever this is," Pacifica grumbled, looking to Soos. "You freaking out is a new one. That's my job, usually."
"Just... maybe I need a day off, right?" he shrugged, trying to find a way to excuse himself from whatever responsibilities he may suddenly have. "Bump on the head made me re-think somethings, like-"
Just past Pacifica across the street, he saw two figures who he recognized. A tall girl with gentle brown hair, and a shorter, petite girl with long, black hair and thick glasses.
"Candy! Grenda!" Soos waved, and nearly shoved past Pacifica. The two across the street halted and turned, eyeing Soos. As he ran through the street, a car skidded to a halt. "Oops! Sorry!" Soos waved.
"Afternoon, Soos!" the driver waved cheerily.
Soos stared back, but stepped aside, waving after the cheery driver. Turning back to a startled and taken off-guard Candy and Grenda, Soos panted and smiled. "Aw, nice to see you two back and not removed from un-reality!"
The two slowly turned and looked to one another. Grenda then laughed. "HAH!" she barked in her hoarse, throaty voice, "you too, Soos!" and she gave his arm a quick jab.
"What's going on, Soos?" Candy asked, eying the man still mildly taller than her friend, "did we forget a tool at your workshop?"
Soos felt excitement course through him, "Oh dawg, you build stuff at my shop!?" he asked.
"When you let us," Candy shrugged.
"Which seems to be always," Grenda snorted.
"Wow," Soos said as he gave them a small nod, "well, good to see you dudes again," he said, "we should all hang out with the twins soon! Do some crazy mystery or something," he said, walking across the street again. As he left, Grenda and Candy squinted after him, and muttered to one another. Once again, a car nearly hit him as he crossed the road. "Sorry!" he said, waving to the car.
"Hey, Soos!" Tyler Cutebiker waved at Soos as he waited for the man to pass. "Nice to see you again."
"Wow," Soos said to Pacifica, "everyone is super happy to see me."
"Hmph," she glowered past Soos to the two ladies, who as Soos glanced behind him, noticed they returned the glare, "well, it's what happens when the entire town depends on your work. Fixing and updating literally everything."
"Yeah! With my very own workshop," Soos sighed, looking to the base, "man! I wonder who gave it to me," Soos pondered. "Not that you're impressed," Soos nudged Pacifica, "you probably have like nine of 'em."
"Hey, hey," she gave him a angry look, "Northwests don't do work in our house. We outsource our maintenance to German engineers who live in our sub-basement. And we only have four workshops," she added.
The weight of a town's appreciation crashed down onto him. Never in his life had Soos considered that he'd have his own, his very own, place to work. He had always considered working at the Mystery Manor, or Shack, whatever it was now called, until he passed the torch along himself. But, if the events he thought came to be, he had his very own workshop, and by doing so, made the world a better place. At least, better than the one he had just come from.
Everyone would be better. Wendy, Mabel, Dipper, Mister Pines-
Soos clapped a hand to his forehead. "Holy teriyaki! I need to make some phone calls and stuff!" Soos said, and turned around.
As he opened the door and hurried inside, he heard Pacifica call after him, "look, I'm going to go shopping again! Just start freaking out some more and I'll get you into the best hospital bed, okay? I need to go before my parents come by and get wise!" she said as the door closed before her.
Inside, Soos giggled and hopped around as he saw all the latest, up to date, and clearly some he made himself, gadgets hanging around the walls and from the ceiling. It was a candyshop he owned, and could touch and play as long as he'd like! How could it get better?
He stepped through to another door by a short stairway. As he stepped inside, he found himself in a hallway, and nearby a landline phone. A pile of newspapers sat next to it, and he chuckled. Newspapers! The perfect way to catch up on the times when all you know is an alternative timeline.
"Ahh, Mijo, can you bring over the paper, por favor?"
Soos froze in place. The voice, all to familiar was a call from the grave. He slowly stepped to the side of the doorway and poked his head in. Sitting on the exact same comfy chair she always had been, was his grandmother.
"Abuelita!" Soos cried out, darting into the room and kneeling next to the chair. She was there, alive, wrinkly, and tired looking, but she was before him. Alive. "But, but how?"
"Ah, mijo, you lift up the papers and hand them to me," she smiled and patted his hands gently.
"No, you're here!" he gasped.
"Si," she nodded.
"But you're dead," he recalled.
"No, no," she calmly said, "maybe later."
"But how? You had a heart attack, like, a year ago!" he said, his eyes tearing up further.
"The medicine you bought for me made my chest not so tight," she smiled. "Such a hard working boy. Can buy his grandmother medicine and a place to stay."
"I... I saved you?" Soos whispered.
"Si," she said.
"Ohh, abuelita," Soos sniffled. His arms reached up, and he wrapped himself around his grandmother's shoulders again, something he hadn't been able to do in a long while. Letting go and wiping away his tears, he said to her, "I'm so happy you're still here. This world is... perfect."
The phone rang, and Soos looked over his shoulder.
"I'll get it," Abuelita said, ready to stand.
"No, no," Soos rocketed up, "you rest, Abuelita. I got the phone," and he walked backwards. He couldn't let her out of his sight. "Aww, it's so nice to see you."
"So sweet," she smiled, and leaned back into the chair.
Soos stepped over to the hallway, and lifted the old nineties styled land-line phone to his ear. "Hey, this is Soos, and I hope you're having a good day dawg!" he answered joyfully. "Wassup?"
A soft, cool voice answered. "I told you I would deliver on my part."
"Oh, miss Yore!" Soos laughed, "this is soo crazy! Like have extra bolts and screws left over crazy!"
"I'm so glad you think so," her voice said, "now, look over your shoulder."
"Oh, sure," he said, and turned. She was floating in the hallway behind him, her umbrella resting in her hand while leaning over her top line. "Hey," he waved to her, "I'll talk after this call, okay?" he said, and turned back. "So," he said, "how's the weather in the other reality? Still sunny?"
"Soos," the voice of Kelly yore reached him from behind the hallway, "you don't need the phone to talk with me now."
"Yeah, but it'd be rude to hang up," he said. A silver and violet hand reached out and pressed the pressure pad, ending the call. "Aw, man," Soos said as he turned to face her, "I hope she doesn't think I hung up on her. So, what's up, Kelly Yore of this timeline?"
"I'm the same Kelly you know of, Soos," she hummed.
"Oh, really?" Soos asked.
"Yes, very much so. I know the deal we made, I know what we just left from, and what we've changed to get here," she said, and spun around him slowly. "You have a lot to catch up with, mister Ramirez."
"Boy, do I!" Soos explained.
"Shall I take you for a walk?" she asked, "I can explain what you've missed since the point of time I changed."
"That'd be lovely," Soos said, and then snapped his finger, "wait! I need to get a newspaper," he reached over, and rushed away, marching into the room where his Grandmother awaited. "Abuelita, I'm going out for a bit. I need to catch up with the times with my demon friend Kelly Yore. Okay?"
"Si, si, Mijo. Don't get sunburned outside," she said, taking the newspaper and folding it out.
Soos turned, and walked with Kelly out the front door. "So," he said as he turned and faced her, walking down the street along side her, "what's new, miss equilateral?"
"I'm hardly," she said, chuckly, "but I appreciate the compliment."
"Aw, it's nothing considering what you've given me!" Soos said, his heart a flutter as he looked around his town. "You brought back town! People aren't scared of monster doom wars or crazy magic casting maniacs!"
"Indeed, not," Kelly nodded, floating ahead.
Soos paused, watching her float before him. "Wait... won't people see you?"
She chuckled, her outlines shimmering as she did. "Soos, I exist only in your memories. People can't see me unless they can see your memories. So, unless there is a time traveler here as we take our walk, no, none can see me."
"Well," Soos looked around, "I've heard about a few time-travelers in this town. You never know."
"Soos, trust me," she said, "people will just think you're taking a walk and talking to yourself. The normal," she said, giving her small umbrella a quick twirl.
"Oh, really?" he said, and turned as a truck drove past.
Robbie Valentino waved out as he drove by. "Sup Soos! Keep it real and don't mind talking to yourself like a real dude!"
"Oh wow!" he waved back. Turning back to Kelly, he sighed, "so, what'd I miss?" he said as he continued his walk with the triangular being.
"Soos, the point I changed was your meeting with Stanley Pines," she said, and floated next to him. His heart sank. "Now, now," she patted his shoulder, "do not worry, but he is fine. You believed yourself a burden to them? Well look around you! The town flourishes without your involvement with the Pines family!"
"Ehh, well, I guess," he said wistfully, "so that means I've never... worked for him?"
"No, I didn't say that," Kelly hummed, "you still do odd jobs for him, but you are the towns newest pride and joy. A real mechanic!" she declared, "fixing and upgrading everything you can, left and right! These days, when you see your old man, Stanley, he is sending you neat little gizmos to fix. Only your brains have been able to get them working again."
"Wow," he said, and then fidgeted his fingers ,"but what about the times with Gideon? And Stanford returning? Those were dangerous times."
"Soos, three years ago, you were already head of your little shop!" Kelly declared. "You are the one responsible for fixing most of the town! If you hadn't been there, the town would mostly be in ramshackle state."
"Really? Huh," he shrugged, "didn't look so bad the first time. Even so," he looked to her, "the Pines were okay with those monsters and creeps?"
She rolled her eye. "Yes, yes, of course they were!" she snapped, "they're a dependable family. Why, Dipper's now lining up to go to a prestigious school with top marks. Mabel? She's working with Arline more than ever! Could soon become a legitimate member of that ridiculous cult of fighters."
"Wow, they sound like they're having a great time then," Soos mused.
This... had this all come from him not being around? Soos felt a twinge of regret in his heart. Had he known how much of a pain he'd been to the Pines, he would have just left them be. Still, to think that they'd have a second chance to not be stuck with him... it was an ache of his heart that could not be put in his words easily.
"I think I might have a heart attack from joy or something, but I'm proud they're all happy," he sighed.
"Oh Soos," Kelly patted his back, "it's not about how much you're worth necessarily. It's knowing bow to be the right person in the right place, instead of the right man in the wrong place. That's how... complications arise," she grumbled, looking away.
Soos shrugged. "I guess so, dawg. But if that's the case, is Wendy okay?"
Kelly looked at him. The one eye fixated on him, and then she laughed. "Wendy Corduroy. You know," she started, floating away from him across the street, "I hadn't realized what a terrible past she'd had."
"Really?" Soos asked.
"Yes, even a Demon of the past like myself," she admitted, "but whatever she is makes it very hard for me to track. Still, realizing the things have changed," she said, her voice lingering, "for her, she is much, much better off now than before. She's... alive, Soos."
"YES!" he cheered and jumped. "Aww, I need to tell Dipper A.S.A.P.!" he looked around, "I should go check on her! Co-worker catch up!" he exclaimed as Kelly chuckled.
"If you wish," and she pointed a hand down the street, "you'll find her by her favorite spot these days. Over that hill," she said, and Soos turned.
Squinting his hardest, Soos looked in the direction of her point. Down several blocks, and through a long street that was next to a patch of the woods, Soos could only see large black gates. "Wait, all I can see is the Graveyards," Soos said, glancing back to Kelly as a car passed.
As the painted metal left Soos's sight, Kelly was gone.
"Wow, that's a trick I've never seen before," Soos said in earnest. Turning back towards the direction of Kelly's suggestion, Soos straightened himself up, and started walking.
According to the sentient Triangle, Wendy would be found in this direction. Soos pondered if Wendy was with her friends, like she used to be, three years ago. Then he chuckled. She was probably out with the twins. After all, nothing was stopping Wendy from working with Mister Pines while he wasn't. Maybe she had taken his place as a Handyman. Soos worried, if that was the case.
Still, a short stroll in the warm summer sun had him arrive at the Graveyard. She wasn't in sight still, but Soos wasn't deterred. If she was on assignment with the twins, she'd be in a strange place like the graveyard. Stepping over the hill from the open gate, Soos then found himself at a sigh he'd not expected.
She was alone, sitting on a grave. Wendy wasn't facing him, but it had to be her. Bright red hair, pale skin, and green clothes? It looked like her.
Though things were different. She... looked like she was wearing different stuff. Her hair seemed off, too. She didn't wear a hat like she used to, and her hair seemed just too short. Her posture was bent over. Something in the air had Soos' nostrils protest. He knew that smell- cigarettes.
He stepped over, approaching at his usual pace. Though he still felt the warmth in his heart knowing Wendy was now alive and not an undead being, something about the way she sat made him... sink, just a little.
As he approached, she whirled her head around, and something in her hand sloshed. Wendy turned away, a small curse uttered as she rapidly stuffed something in her pocket. Finally sliding off a tombstone, she spun and faced Soos right before lifting a cigarette to her mouth.
"Hey," she said with a wobbly stance, "wassup, dude."
"Wendy!" he cheered, and rushed over.
It was definitely her, but as Soos slowed his approach, he saw not the same person he had come to know over the summers. She was a little taller, just a bit under his height. Her arms, exposed by he short sleeved t-shirt, showed great definition and tonnage. The hair he had thought had looked strange, Soos now realized, was actually buzzed half off. She tied a number of braids falling aside her shoulder.
Most importantly, her eyes looked differently. Each year he had known her, Wendy's eyes looked more and more tired, until she always had the sense of a person who could take a nap right in front of you, but had the energy and light of someone her age. The Wendy before her...
Was missing that light. The fatigue was also gone, thankfully, but her eyes seemed more unfocused than he had ever seen her.
"Wendy, dawg," Soos said, his mouth falling open, eying a bottle in her hand that was half empty, "what are you doing here?"
She blew a raspberry to the wind. "Sorry, uh, mister Ramirez," she snorted, "I didn't know I, uh, had a meeting with you."
Soos cringed. "Aww, dawg, don't call me that, that's what my dad was called. It's just Soos!" he chirped happily.
"Kay," she shrugged, and puffed her cigarette.
"But you're smoking! And, are you drinking something alcoholic?!" he gasped.
Wendy looked away, her eyes squinted. Slowly she looked back to him, that confused stare behind her gaze. "Uh, look, Ramire- I mean, Soos," she said, flicking the cigarette to the ground, "I don't really know, uh, what's bringing this all up, but you're acting like we know each other. I'm fairly certain that I've never spoken to you, really."
Soos's heart sank. "W-What?" he gasped.
"Yeah," she nodded. When Soos felt his lower lip tremble, Wendy leaned back. "Why? Oh god," she rolled her eyes, and immediately turned away, and started walking.
"Hey! Wendy, wait!" Soos ran after her, only to find her whip around and glare into his face.
"Look, smartass," she glared, "not interested."
"In... being friends?" he whimpered, his lower lip trembling.
Wendy paused. Leaning into Soos started to ease up, and she straightened. Confusion ate away at her every look. She continued to look around her, and then look back to Soos. Finally she took out another cigarette, and lifted a match to it. After taking a drag, she puffed out a column of smoke and asked, "you're not hitting on me?"
"What?!" Soos gasped. "No!"
"You sure?" she asked, squinting, "I'm kind of over the whole being hit on by every lonely male in this stupid, backwards town," she snarled.
"Dude, I'm dating Melody!" Soos declared. Only as he said it, did his heart leap into his throat, "oh my gosh, unless I'm not!" he shouted, and tore out his phone from his pocket, wrestling through contact pages to find his girlfriend.
"What do you mean 'unless you're not'?" Wendy asked, her cigarette bouncing on her lip.
As she asked, Soos saw it. The same contact he put in for Melody before, 'Mi Amor'. The number was the same, and the face was certainly that of Melody. He let off a sigh of relief, and waved the phone around. "Nah, all good. Still dating Melody, see?" he asked, showing the phone to Wendy.
She slowly nodded. "Look, Ram- ugh, Soos," she corrected herself, "I'm really not in the mood to have some stranger just run over and start-"
"But we're not strangers!" Soos insisted, cutting into her words.
Wendy's eyes sharpened. "We're not?" she asked with a dark tone.
"No way!" Soos proudly said, "we're friends! Crazy awesome co-workers!"
Wendy stared at him. "Okay," she held up a single finger, "so first off, coworkers? Huh?" she asked.
Soos nodded, and knocked his palm against his head. "Right. Never worked at the Mystery Shack. Whoopsie-doodle."
"And second off," she asked and held up a second finger, "why exactly would you want to be friends with me?" she asked, leaning closer again, not afraid to attempt a more intimidating glare.
Soos gulped, but didn't back down. "Well, uh, 'cus."
"... Just 'cus'?" she repeated.
"...Yes?" he asked and answered simultaneously.
Wendy then shrugged and gave a small smile. "Aw, sure. Whatever."
"Ha! Yush!" he said, and then reached over, and snagged Wendy up into a big hug. She gasped, dropping a cigarette to the ground below as he spun her around. "Aww, Wendy, it is soo good to see you healthy and not cursed and stuff!"
As he lowered, her, she gave him a critical look before scooping back up her cigarette and smoking it some more. "Cursed, huh?" she asked, cocking an eyebrow. "And healthy? You act like we've spoken more than these past few minutes."
"Of course we have," Soos chuckled, "I mean, even if I never worked with Mister Pines, I bet we hung out with the twins!"
"You know," Soos continued, "Dipper and Mabel."
Wendy looked straight at him. "Who?"
A creeping trickle of ice drippled down Soos's spine as he heard her say that. "Y-You know... Mabel? Queen of scrapbooking and punching gnomes, and Dipper, him and me are pterodactyl brothers?" he asked, miming the flapping of wings with his arms. She stared at him blankly. "C'mon Wendy, you've met 'em," he insisted, "right?"
As the last bit of the cigarette crumpled to ash, and she lit and smoked another, she finally snapped her fingers. "Yes! I do!"
"Hah! See?" he happily punched her.
"Don't touch me, bro," she demanded with a searing look.
"Sorry dawg," Soos said. "I'm so glad you remember them. I was worried that maybe they never came around," Soos wiped his forehead clean of a gentle buildup of sweat.
"Yeah," Wendy nodded, and leaned on another tombstone, "those two little brats. I remember them. Crazy kids."
Soos did a double take hearing her. "Brats?"
"Yeah. Didn't stick around that long," she said, taking a long drag after looking to the clouds above, "in fact, now that I think about it, something crazy happened at the shack, and old man Pines got them shipped back home. Something dangerous with the Gleefuls, a few years ago."
He couldn't believe what she had said. "Mister Pines... sent Dipper and Mabel home?" he gasped.
"Uh-hu," she nodded, and eyed him. "How come you act like you know them?" she asked, "I mean, they didn't even really talk much to me. Stan had me working all the time," she grumbled. "It's like you know who they were."
Soos gasped and turned away. They hadn't even stuck around a whole summer. A single summer. Soos had never become friends with Dipper and Mabel, unless they had come by his shop or something along the lines of meeting someone in town. Had they ever been friends? Did they ever do a single mystery together? Soos wondered if the mystery of the lake had ever been solved. He looked back to Wendy, his eyes wide and shimmering with dread. Before he could speak, he considered his phone again.
"Be in here, be in here," he muttered to himself as he opened his phone again.
"Soos, are you having a mental breakdown?" she asked, stepping next to him, looking down to his screen, "I don't think I've ever seen you outside the workshop, fixing something for someone by their place, or delivering an item to someone. Why're you here?" she asked, and then she looked to him, "and you act as if you worked at the shack before it closed publicly."
Soos shot up. "The World Famous Mystery Shack closed down for good!?" he demanded.
"Uh," she chuckled, "No? Its still touring, but it did close for that one summer," she recounted.
His heart was pounding in his ears. This was news he had never expected from such a good start to a perfect world. The Mystery Shack had closed once, but it was because Gideon was planning on tearing it down. But if the tours were still happening, what had ended up happening? Soos remembered Gideon ending up with hard time, but much more dangerous things had happened since then. As he scoured his phone from A to Z, Soos realized with a painful tug in his stomach that neither Dipper or Mabel were in his contacts.
But what was worse, what if the events during this summer had still happened...
"Wendy," he reached over to her, and she gasped, nearly recoiling to his strong hands, "look, I know you're probably thinking I'm on a crazy trip or I've gone coocoo."
"Not wrong," she nodded.
"But I need to know," Soos asked, "was there a business meeting this past year?"
Wendy rolled her eyes. "That stupid thing? Was in ruins for some reason. I, uh, don't think people really remember why, though," she admitted.
Soos's jaw dropped and he let go. His eyes were shimmering as he considered the amount of things that could have happened if he and the twins hand't been there. If Yuki hadn't helped. If Wendy hadn't helped. Was the Society of the Blind eye still at large? Had Gideon gotten away again? Was Bill Cipher still possessing Stanford in this timeline?
As he started to back away, for the first time since they had met, Wendy genuinely looked worried. "Hey," she asked, "Soos? What's going on?"
"I have no idea, but I need to find out!" he said, and then he turned, and started running back up the hill.
Jogging as fast as his feet could carry him, he heard a pair of feet keeping track with him. As he turned, A red-headed racer passed, and slowed to a stop before him.
"Look, Soos," she snarled, "I don't know what kind of crap you're trying to pull," she snapped, and Soos gulped. "I've never talked to you before, we've barely made eye-contact before! And I've had the worst years of my life thinking that everyone in town didn't care for me except to either date me, or send me off to boot camp!" she snapped.
"You... went to boot camp?" Soos gasped.
Wendy stared at him. With a slow nod, she said, "Yes, Soos. And..." she tossed the bottle over her shoulder, which exploded against a tombstone, "I, uh," she collected herself as she looked around, "Just wanted to say... thanks."
"Oh," Soos said, and then shrugged, "aww, it's nothing dawg. Just checking on a co-worker, right?" he said, and jogged past her, patting her shoulder.
Leaving a stunned Wendy Corduroy on the Hill, Soos scrambled back to his Workshop. A car that he assumed belonged to him awaited. It was much nicer than the one he was used to driving, but unless Abuelita renewed her license, Soos was the only person who would leave car keys in the kitchen of his home. So, driving out of town and down the familiar gravel path through the deep, dense woods, Soos saw a familiar sight.
The signs were still up, all over the place. 'Most Mysterious place of the world, right ahead!' or 'Super-cheap thrills!' and 'Kids mostly welcome!' were adorned all over the trees. Passing by them all, Soos's eyes lit up, wide as saucer as he saw the building.
Still in one piece. Two stories. No section for the motel added. Several cars that probably belonged to tourists.
It was the old work. The old home.
The Mystery Shack.
Coming to a slow park just off the front of the building, Soos stepped out, and found himself transfixed. It had barely changed since he remembered it from a year ago, before the change to the Mystery Manor started.
Voice around the side of the building caught his eye. Soos turned, and saw a cluster of folk nearby the side entrance, listening and laughing to someone with a deep, scratchy voice. Soos' heart became a flutter. He knew, more than anyone else, that voice. He started hurrying over, and rounded the corner-
A scrawny man in a black hoodie smacked into Soos headfirst, and fell backwards as Soos stood firm.
"Oh, sorry da-" he said, instinctivly reaching down to help the man up. Only, he also recognized this person. He saw the hair; a greasy blond, the eyes; a solid dark blue, the face, bent nose, and more than anything else, a scowl worth a thousand toxic words.
"Help m-me up, you st-stupid," Graupner Kinley scowled as he reached up for Soos.
Soos growled, and more than obliged. Lifting Graupner up so fast and hard, the boy yelped as he went airborne. Soos turned, and threw him against the building with a solid THUD. Gruapner's eyes trembled with fear as he looked down at Soos, suspended by two meaty hands pinning him to the sides of the building.
"YOU!" Soos growled. Graupner could only gulp. "I've got ninety nine questions, and now I've got a hundred. You better answer this one, dawg," he warned, "what are you doing here?"
Graupner looked around, his eyes wide with shock. "Uh... I w-w-work here?" he answered.
Soos felt a very real heat creep into his neck, infecting his head. No one joked about taking his position that was that cruel and evil. "Okay, Warlock," he growled. Graupner's eyes grew to the size of small plates. "You tell me what's really going on, or else I'll show you what happens when you joke about Mister Pines' establishment!"
"J-J-Joke!?" Graupner yelped, "you're helping us, you insane id-idiot!"
Soos gasped, stepped back and let Graupner fall to the ground. "Y... you mean I'm..." he said in a whisper. Stanley Pines would let him work at the Mystery Shack, but not Wendy Corduroy!? He was helping Graupner... do something?
"What is going on here?" a deep, resounding and smooth tone asked.
Soos instantly felt shivers. That tone was associated with magic. With danger. Riches, and power. Soos turned, and saw a chocolate skinned man with a bald head staring right at Soos, holding a cane at his side. Wrinkled skin, and bright amber eyes told Soos exactly who he was looking at.
"Steindorf," Soos shook, "I-I mean, Mister Omir- I mean-"
Omir Steindorf chuckled, and approached, passing Soos and lifting up Graupner roughly, dusting off the shoulders with solid slaps across the body. Graupner grunted and winced with each slap. Afterwards, Omir turned and smiled.
"I can't say I'm totally against reminding Graupner of his position," Omir chuckled, and stood between Soos and the Warlock, "but I'm shocked he upset you to the point you'd ventilate some aggression on him."
"I, uh," Soos said, taking a step back.
"No, don't apologize," Omir chuckled, "I know this boy too well. What did he say?"
"Nothing!" Graupner snapped.
Omir spun and stared, his eyes daring him to speak again. "Quiet."
"He called me the Warlock!" Graupner shouted, pointing at Soos.
Omir paused, staring at Graupner. Soos felt a very real surge of power shift happen, and Omir slowly turned back. His bright brown eyes carefully looked over Soos, who stared back, sweating profusely. Without ever looking back, Omir said, "you're certain he called you that?"
"D-D-Dead sure," Omir sighed.
The three turned, and Soos felt the world grow bright and colorful more than it had in the last two weeks of his life.
"Mister Pines!" Soos shouted.
"Heya, big guy," Stan Pines waved as he walked out from the crowd, which had started to disperse. Wearing a large pair of sunglasses, and his usual attire, he approached the three with wide, long steps. Looking to Omir, he chuckled, "look, Snappy, take bonehead here and let me talk to our friend, okay?"
"Certainly, friend," Omir nodded, and looked once to Soos. Soos was no man of great insight, but when someone looked at him with the greatest of intensity, he felt like he was scanned. Omir Steindorf grasped the collar of Graupner's shirt and dragged him away, leaving Mister Pines and Soos together.
Now alone, Soos looked back to his one time Employer, and reached around him in a snap-to hug, "Oh! Mister Pines, it's soo great to see you again!"
"GACK!" Stan Pines groaned, "Lemme go, big guy!"
He obliged, and wiped away a single teartrail that fell down his face. "Just... you're alive!"
"As much as a fleshy, three-dimensional creature can be!" Stanley Pines barked in a laugh, and Soos chuckled with him.
"Wow, you must be here for some sort of bonus on the commision," Stan said, pulling him through the doors gently, leading with an arm over Soos' shoulder. "I mean, laughing with my jokes? Perfect example of how to be a good henchmen. Fixing perpetual energy generators so they can draw infinite energy from the power grids? Man, I should replace bonehead with you," Stan snickered.
"Well, I mean," Soos blushed, touched with the words of kindness from Stan. "I'm just happy to help."
"Dang straight," Stan licked his lips, "now how about those generators? I need them to draw energy from the powergrids. You fixed them already?" Stan asked.
"Uh," Soos pondered. "I mean, knowing me, I probably took the job for sure, and I love fixing things, so I'm going to say I probably fixed them. Pretty sure."
"Perfect!" Stan roared. "Just the kind of blind cooperation I'd expect from a soft fleshy being like yourself!"
"Haha, right," Soos said, a little taken aback at the constant approval he was receiving from Mister Pines. "Must be having a good day," Soos suggested, to which Stan just shrugged and smiled. "So," Soos asked, "how are the twins?"
Stan stared. "Huh?" he asked.
"The twins," Soos re-stated, "you know, Dipper and Mabel?"
"OH!" Stan laughed and slapped his knee, "those two twins in town! No idea! Don't care either," he pointed said.
Soos gasped. "Mister Pines, I'm talking about your Grand kids," he said.
Stan Pines did a double take, and the roared with laughter. "Ohhhh, those kids!"
"I mean, are they okay?"
"Uh, sure," Stan shrugged, "why do you care?" he asked Soos, "no like they're of any importance to you or anything that my eye can tell."
"Well, knowing them, they could have been in danger," Soos shrugged, "like that time Stanford came back, and-"
"Ohhh, ho, ho, hoooo," Stan Pines took a big step back, and leaned into Soos, "who's Stanford?"
"Uhh..." Soos looked around nervously. "Your... brother?"
Stan's smile faded. "I don't have one."
"Uhh," Soos gulped, "I don't, uh, know what to," he mumbled. Everything about Stan's reaction to his family, either directly related or not, made Soos uneasy. Stan Pines had always been fiercely protective and easily agitated about things involving his relations. This, above all else he had seen, even running into the Warlock here, made Soos feel uncomfortable. And Stan Pines had never made Soos directly uncomfortable.
"Look, big guy," Stan said, walking away, "you go fix that generator I gave you- and make sure you don't tell anyone about it!" he added with a snap. As he turned, he lowered the glasses, and said, "and know that I don't have any siblings, got it?"
Soos couldn't reply. He was too fixated on Stan.
His eyes weren't correct.
Stanley Pines had a deep natural brown eyes, similar to the color of oak bark, or sometimes the color of a certain type of wet mulch. The eyes Soos saw underneath the glasses were black with yellow slits. As he gasped and stepped back, Stan Pines lifted the glasses.
"What's wrong, big guy?" he asked carefully with a sneer, "you act like you've seen-"
"Bill," Soos muttered.
The smile vanished from Stan instantly.
Every instinct in the world told Soos to turn and run. Following his heart, he did exactly that, running waist first into an end table in the hallway. Collapsing over it, a book fell out before him. Journal number 3.
Soos saw it before him, and as he ran, he grasped it up and charged out the door. Faster than his feet had ever moved before, he ran to his car, and scrambled for the door to open. The door slammed behind him, and as he got the engine to start, he saw the front door open, and Stan Pines- no- Bill Cipher in Stanley Pines body step out, just to watch Soos drive away in a hurry.
How could that have happened?!
Soos flew down the street with his car, narrowly avoiding hitting another car as he sweat profusely. It didn't add up! How could Bill have gotten inside Stan's head like that?! Not just looking around, but full on possessing? Stan had never called him Soos, or even Ramirez. He only referred to him as 'big guy', just like Bill had.
What was really going on? Soos bit down on his lip.
Kelly had to have an explanation for this! Soos whirled the wheel around, turning towards the street where he now worked.
"Whoa!" he shouted and slammed on the breaks.
"Damn!" Wendy Corduroy shouted as he narrowly avoided her. "The hell, man? You almost hit me!"
"Wendy!" he shouted, rolling down the window, "it's a disaster!"
"I know," she rolled her eyes, "that place in the woods is a dump."
"No, it's even worse!" Soos shouted, causing her to flinch.
"Okay, okay," she said, eying him carefully, "Soos, do you need, uh, some help?"
Soos sighed, and opened his passenger door. "Totally, dawg. Hope in." Hurrying around to the side of the car, Wendy stepped inside and sat down. "Buckle up," Soos told her as she closed the door behind her.
" Funny," she chuckled. He frowned at her. "Really?" she asked with a scoff, but still did as asked. Soos floored the gas pedal, and the car sped away. He needed to get to a safe place. A place where he could think. A place without DEMONS!
His wheel screeching to a halt, he found himself parked in his usual spot. Bounding outside the car, with a concerned Wendy on his trail, he stepped into the building.
"Okay, Soos," Wendy said, "So, I wanted to ask if you're having a mental break down, or you got amnesia or something, because I think you're acting really weird. You okay?" she asked.
"Oh, totally not okay," Soos shook his head, "this is like the opposite of okay!"
"Okay, well, it's good to admit a problem," she chuckled as she followed him into his workshop.
Waiting inside was a teenager with long blond hair, and holding four shopping bags around her arms. "Soos!" she shouted, "the heck have you been!? Melody tried calling the house. Your grandma said you were called out by a woman, and I thought I heard you crash outside and... what's boot camp corduroy doing here?" she asked, eying Wendy suspiciously.
"Hey to you too, Rich and worthless," Wendy smirked.
Pacifica dropped her bags and stood up. "Ohh, you're asking for a court day? I've got a weekend open just in case I need a good lawsuit," she threatened.
"Tough talking coming from a walking, talking, overgrown mop," Wendy retorted.
"So we're talking about hair choices, are we?" Pacifica jabbed, eying Wendy's half-buzz.
"GUYS!" Soos roared.
His voice reached both ladies, and they flinched, turning to the tall, wide-set man. As he rounded on the two of them they saw the fire in his eyes and chose to remain quiet as he spoke.
"We need to be friends for a little bit now, okay?" he asked, "because something really bad is happening!"
"Oh no," Pacifica gasped, a hand to her mouth, "Soos, are you seeing things now?"
"Seeing things now?" Wendy turned to her.
Pacifica rolled her eyes. "Yes, he hit his head today, and started acting really weird."
Wendy turned and shook her head. "That's why you think we're friends."
"No!" Soos protested, "dudes, ladies, dawgs, listen," he said, "my head has a headache, okay? Totally true. Yes, I'm out of the loop on things. But there is something really, really bad happening!" he shouted, locking the door to the outdoors with a quick snap. He turned back to them, "there's a demon possessing Mister Pines!"
The two ladies stared at him.
"He's crazy," Wendy sighed, lighting a cigarette.
"He's suffering head trauma," Pacifica glared at him, "he's usually a lot more passive."
"My head is fine, please listen!" Soos protested, coming closer to them. "Look, not only is Mister Pines possessed by Bill Cipher, but the Warlock and Omir Steindorf are working with him for some crazy reason!"
"Bill who?" Wendy asked, holding her now lit cigarette in her fingers.
"Omir Steindorf?" Pacifica asked, "my parents know him. He would never work with someone as poor as Stan Pines," she then stepped closer to Soos, holding his arms, "Soos, we need to take you to the hospital. You think crazy things are going on, and nothing is going on. This is a totally normal town, with nothing crazy going on."
"Dude, this town is filled with nothing but crazy!" Soos shouted. "People with magic, monsters in the woods, and aliens in the sky!"
"Dude, this head case is severe," Wendy chuckled.
"Shut up!" Pacifica snapped at her, "Soos," she pleaded, "listen to me. Nothing is wrong. You're just imaging things!"
Pacifica shrieked and flinched, Wendy dropped her Cigarette, and Soos spun around as the doors to the street blew off their hinges. Six figures, dressed in dark crimson hooded robes stepped inside, their baggy sleeves held together. Lining the walls silently, they stood before the three.
They started to chant. "Novus ordo seclorum. Novus ordo seclorum. Novus ordo seclorum."
A man stepped into the room from the blow off door, and lowered his hood. Soos gasped, recognizing the tattooed man.
"Mind man!" Soos gasped.
"No," the leader corrected him, "Blind Ivan! Although, Mind-Man has a ring to it. Too bad it would imply more about remember than-"
"Sh-shut up," a voice said, and Ivan was pushed aside. Graupner Kinley stepped inside the room, wearing his usual black cloak. A wicked smile as ever was cast as he looked around. "So, M-M-Mister Ramirez," he said, "you're g-going to come with m-me. Or else, you c-c-can forget about your m-m-ugh! Your me-m-m-m-GAH!" he stomped the ground, "Your MEMORIES! G-Gods," he cringed."
The three stared at the eight figures, Pacifica cowering behind Soos with wide, blue eyes. Wendy suddenly chuckled. "I bet you can't say tattle," to Graupner.
"I can!" he roared. "T-t-t-tat, grr, t-t-at-t- ugh," he grumbled, and put a hand to his face.
What would happen if Soos never worked at the Mystery Shack?
Would he have been there to help the twins? To make sure they weren't in danger? Would he have been there to stop Bill's incursion? Well... not everything is ever as golden as we think, and the grass is only ever so green. But Soos, you need to solve some things.
Also, guest appearances left and right!
So, sorry about this chapter taking so long, and this chapter being a week late. This chapter (or the details that will be soon discussed in the next update) had to be ratified and double checked. So many things are going to be revealed that you guys will probably only realize by the end of the series, but I needed to get my facts right. Don't need you intelligent readers looking down on me with your well-taken notes and... stuff. :O
But what's going to happen to Soos? He needs to find Kelly! Can he reverse this strange and dangerous world were he was never there?
Probably. But you'll see next time.
REMEMBER TO VOTE ON MY PAGE FOR THE HALLOWEEN EPISODE! After the conclusion of this chapter (which should be the 29th) I'm writing the Halloween episode. Whatever you vote before the next update will be the chosen topic! Right now, it's a tie between two!
(EZB then folds in on himself as time and space warp. He re-emerges from the fold in space with some groovy looking wool jacket, and a long, multicolored scarf.)
Whoa. I knew time and space was weird, but I never thought it'd be this wibbly-wobbly.
(A strange, robotic contraption made mostly out of out-dated kitchen utensils appears from the right.)
Dalek: EXTERMINATE! (It zaps EZB dead with a terribly edited laser beam.)