Hey, I see you guys out there viewing the previous chapter. All one hundred and ten of you. Somebody review and let me know what you think of the tattoos! There are probably huge typos in these chapters that I'll only see when I reread them months from now. But such is life.
I'm about to leave the country for a while but I hope to have internet access, so just know that I will read and appreciate reviews whenever I can! I love you all, my pretties. Thanks for making it all the way to the epilogue.
"Hey, it's me! It's Mabel! This is my face! I'm talking to you through the computer! Can you see me?"
"Kind of. You're all blurry."
"Oh, you're one to talk. You've broken out in a bad case of the pixels, my brother."
"Hang on, the Shack's wi-fi is terrible. Let me- there. Should be better now."
Mabel's face comes sharply into focus on Dipper's laptop, and she lets out a scream of pure delight. "Dipper! It's been forever! How are you? How's Gravity Falls?"
He smiles. "It's good. We all miss you."
It's been approximately three days since she hugged everybody goodbye in front of the Mystery Shack- hardly an eternity, but the rooftop hang out place has been a little too quiet without her constant blabbering. Particularly this evening, with Wendy already snoring, sprawled out on the rooftop beside him. She claimed that she was just shutting her eyes against the glare of the setting sun, but she passed out within minutes.
"Wendy says hi, by the way," Dipper says with a smirk. He rotates the laptop so that Mabel can wave to their redheaded friend. Wendy stirs, wipes a string of drool from her mouth, and shoots Mabel a peace sign, all without opening her eyes.
"Hi, Wendy! Did you guys found any monsters today? Or did you have to work? It'd be cool if your job could be monster-hunting, huh? Two birds with one stone?"
"Hey, just because I'm thinking of pursuing a serious real-world law career doesn't mean I can't have a hobby," Dipper says. "You've brought a Knitting Club to your school already, yeah? In the fall, I'm just going to have to start a Ghost-busting club at University of Oregon."
True to form, Dipper's going to school just a few hours from home. It just so happens that 'home' isn't California. In a way, it's always been here.
"That's genius, bro- oh hey!" The screen suddenly jerks wildly as Mabel whips her computer around and tilts it so Dipper can see down off her top bunk. "Welcome back, Leslie! Meet Dipper, my first roommate! Dipper, meet Leslie, my first cool roommate."
"Hi, Dipper," a curly-haired girl calls from the doorway, waving and looking both amused and a little terrified. "How's it going?"
In their brief moment of eye contact, he tries to tell her that she'll be all right and she'll learn to love it, really.
"She's the best and we already get along great. And she's a psychology major! You know what that means, bro-bro?!" Mabel spins the computer back to her own face, grinning wildly.
"YOU'RE FINALLY GONNA FIND OUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!"
Dipper laughs, because that would be the breakthrough of the century.
"No, but seriously, Leslie's an amazing person and she's good at listening and she likes to cook so tonight we're gonna decorate cookies for the whole floor! Dipper! There are so many people here! And my RA said I could help with the mural she's making in the hall because I'm an art major! That's good because I already got in trouble for nailing art to the dorm wall- that's gonna be like a massive fine- oh! And you haven't even seen my dorm room yet! Check out this mini-fridge action! And hello, Christmas lights year round! That's all I ever wanted!"
Mabel continues the tour like this until long after the last sliver of sun disappears under the horizon. Its residual glow washes the scattered clouds in orange and red. Dipper finally interrupts Mabel long enough to turn the computer around and show her. She gasps, almost reverently. She's always appreciated beauty more acutely than he has.
"So how's working for Stan again?" Mabel asks.
"Oh, you know, kind of grueling. I've been going over his record books from the past thirty years. He wants me to make sure everything's legally airtight before he tries to retire and cash in for government money."
"That sounds like Snoozeville."
"Actually, it's sort of exciting. I didn't realize this many forms of fraud existed. And Stan's been successfully embezzling from himself for decades. That's not even possible."
Mabel sighs, not without some envy. "He's an inspiration to us all."
"And I did learn to fix the toilets around here. Woo."
"Aw, yay! Substitutionary high five from Soos!" Mabel holds her hand up to the screen.
Soos is still in the Caribbean with his brand new bride. They stayed in town for a few hours after the wedding before catching the cruise ship for the honeymoon. Soos insisted that the Pines family, which everyone now incontrovertibly agreed that he and Melody were part of, go out for pizza and banana splits. It had been nice to unwind after the rather stressful ceremony and reception. Grunkle Stan had cried halfway through leading them through vows, and Gompers ate one of the rings right off the pillow before going to work on the pillow. Mabel picked the music at the reception and insisted on karaoke, which was interesting, to say the least. And this clan of gnomes kept trying to steal potato salad off the table, even though Soos said they could stay and eat as much as they wanted. It had kind of been a nightmare, but even now, Dipper couldn't help smiling as he remembered McGucket's joyful expression when the little old man caught the bouquet.
The stars are coming out now, one by one, and Dipper wastes a lot of time holding out the laptop and trying to point out his namesake, the Big Dipper, to Mabel through their screens.
"Guess I'll just have to look at your face, dork."
Dipper touches his forehead, where the irritation around the tattoo has finally faded, leaving an outline of the constellation just a little darker and more defined then the one he had since birth. Another reason he decided to remain in Oregon was definitely that his friends here got the tattoo, with little to no explanation. It was difficult to explain, anyway.
Mabel's been slouching further and further down throughout their talk, but she finally glances at the clock and sits up straight. "Well, Dipdop, I probably better go. I've got a wild kegger to get to, you know."
"Is that where you guys are taking all those cookies?"
"It's a cookie kegger." Mabel taps the screen and winks. "Same time, same channel on Friday, okay?"
"I love you."
"Love you, too."
Dipper shuts the laptop lid and leans back against the rooftop, resting his head on one arm lazily. He blinks until the glow from the screen fades from his vision. The sky opens up in front of him, empty, silent, but not lonely or frightening, just there. A dozen familiar constellations twinkle above him, far out of reach. He touches the one on his forehead again, focusing on the distant pinpricks of starlight. They suddenly blur and swim in his vision, and he swallows hard and lets them, just for the moment.
Wendy rolls over halfway, threading her sleepy fingers through his and squeezing gently. He squeezes back. A faint breeze rustles the pine needles around them.
"I told you it was gonna be okay, freak," she murmurs, eyes still closed.
And it is.
What? How is it the end? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? WHYYY?
I guess it's the end. *cries*
I can't thank you guys enough for all your kind words and thoughtful reviews. I'm really sad that this story is over, even if it did sort of peter out towards the end. You guys have seriously been the best and made me feel so welcome on this website. I can't promise that I'll write more Gravity Falls anytime soon, but I love this fandom to pieces and you can bet I'll be sticking around. Lurking in the shadows. Muahahahaha.