Winter that year in Gravity Falls was particularly dull. I was looking forward to Christmas with Bill. However he had to go out of town to visit some family members for a few days. He would be gone for Christmas but he promised he'd be back before New Years. I told him he'd better call me every night, considering what happened last time. At least with him gone, I could go look for something to get him. I had no idea what to get, so I resorted to asking Mabel for advice.
"Well, Bro Bro, what's Bill into?" Mabel replied, resting her chin on her hand.
"I don't know, I guess he likes horror movies a lot..." I mumbled.
"I guess he really likes this one about werewolves. He always brings it over to watch." I huffed.
"Then get him something to do with that movie. Go look for merch. Problem solved!" Mabel smiled at me.
"Thanks.. I'll go do that."
"I'm coming with you. You'll need some help." Mabel suggested, grabbing a sweater and pulling it over her head. I decided to just accept, considering how much she'd pester me otherwise. Both of us went off to the mall. It was even snowing a little, which was odd. We didn't get too much snow in Oregon. It brought a smile to my face. Mabel and I looked all around the mall for something related to that movie Bill liked. We found a shirt for him, but I felt like it wasn't enough.
I bought the most cliche thing you could buy.
A ring. I knew Bill wasn't at all into jewlery but this was a simple silver ring. Very basic. I strolled into the store, trying to disregard Mabel's cackling as she followed.
"What're you gonna buy him here? Earrings?" She asked, poking me. I hurried up and picked out a ring, the silver one. I had to awkwardly explain to the clerk when she asked who the ring was for. The atmosphere was uncomfortable after that.
"Well, hey, I think the ring's nice." Mabel finally said. "Guys can wear rings..." She started talking about men's jewlery, and it lasted until we got back to the Shack.
That night I slept on the couch. I woke up to my phone ringing at midnight, exactly. I grunted and answered it, "hello?"
"Heyy, Pine Tree." Came Bill's voice.
"You forgot to call me." I replied, my voice popping.
"No, I just had to wait until I was alone. My family was all over me." Bill sighed.
"I understand. You're very likeable, so." I said with a yawn.
"Sure I am."
I laughed softly and closed my eyes. "You're a card."
I heard him laugh. It died off soon though and both of us sat in silence. "Mm, it's no fun without you..." He said in a worn out voice.
"I know. I miss you." I murmured. "I'm on the couch all by myself and it's friggin' cold."
"Aww I'm sorry babe." Bill said. I frowned at the name. That was unusual..
"I'll forgive you if you never call me 'babe' again."
"What? Don't like that name, Babe?"
"Cut it out!" I whined.
"Babe. No need to get mad." He breathed through his laughter.
"I'm going to hang up."
"No! Come on Dipper I was just kidding!" Bill said frantically.
"Oh no! My finger's slipping!" I teased.
I smirked. "Mhm. That's what I thought," I said with a yawn.
"You sound tired.."
"Well you did wake me up, so.."
"Then I'd better let you get to bed." Bill sighed, "I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you."
I smiled and looked up at the ceiling. "I love you too. Bye," I said, then pulled the phone away from my ear. After that I was asleep. The next night was Christmas Eve. Mabel, Stan and I basically sat around watching Christmas movies and pulling candy canes off the tree. Mabel tried to put the star from the tree on my head, and when I asked her what she was doing she replied with "Oh! I mistook you for the Christmas tree. So hard to tell you two apart anymore."
Bill didn't call me until late again. I made sure to stay awake. I was sitting out on the roof with my laptop. It had been so long since I had used the thing. My phone went off, making me jump. I was happy to see Bill was calling, though. "Cipher." I answered.
"Pine Tree.." Came Bill's voice. It was very gravely.
I blinked and pulled my knees to my chest. "You sound sick. You okay?"
"Oh. Yeah. Everything's fine. Just got into a little fight with my cousin haha..."
I huffed, "alright. Erm, Merry Christmas, Bill." I said. Technically it was Christmas day.
Bill laughed. "You too, Dipper." He said with a long sigh. Something really didn't sound right with him. His voice was strained.
"So uh, I think Mabel's starting to like the nickname you have for me... she tried to put the star from the tree on my head." I started, "she said it's getting hard to tell the difference between the tree and I."
"Seriously? That's great. Pat her on the back for me Pine Tree. I'll have to come up with a name for her, too." Bill sounded amused.
"Heh. Okay..." I paused, "so, when exactly are you coming back...?"
"Day after tomorrow. Why?"
"I erm, got somethin' to give to you. For Christmas. But you're not here, so.."
"...you got me a Christmas present?"
"Why do you sound so surprised?" I asked.
"Oh, no reason. That's really sweet of you. I just... not used to getting presents from my romantic partners. The last few relationships I've been in... weren't as good as this one, you could say." Bill said reluctantly.
"Ah... well I did get some stuff for you. You deserve it." I smiled.
"What?" He answered.
"You're awfully hesitant... are you sure everything's okay..?"
"Yeah. Everything's dandy. Now look it's almost two in the morning. We should get some sleep."
"A...alright. Talk to you tomorrow. Love you..."
There was a long pause.
"...I love you too. Bye." And then Bill hung up. I had a feeling that something wasn't right. To keep my mind off it, I stayed up on my laptop. My gloved fingers danced over the keyboard. I enjoyed writitng as much as I did reading. It was horribly cold but I could barely tell. I had a thick shirt underneath Bill's sweater and a scarf around my neck. My hands were kept warm for a while underneath the wool gloves, but eventually they began to ache. It was about three AM when it became too hard to bear. So I went back inside my warm room and dropped my pants. Cold or not it was uncomfortable to sleep in any clothing.
Morning rolled around, and I woke up to Mabel smiling creepily at me. "Bro bro come on! Let's go get our presents!"
"Mabel, Stan probably only got us socks or underwear." I grumbled, sitting up. She laughed and grabbed my hand, pulling me onto my feet. I tried to stop her from dragging me out of the room, it was cold without pants on. I gave up when she yanked me out. This reminded me of Christmas with out parents. I sighed and trotted with my twin down the stairs. Stan was drinking coffe on the couch. He glanced at us as we stepped inside the living room. He said he couldn't be bothered to buy us stuff so he handed each of us fifty dollar bills. I blinked and looked down at the money. Stan was so stingy when it came to money.
I hadn't bothered getting Mabel anything either, her taste was always changing. I guess she thought the same with me or something, which was alright. I wasn't going to expect anything from her anyway. I thanked Stan quietly and went into the kitchen to get some of Stan's coffee. I checked the clock. Eight in the morning. I groaned and poured myself some before brining the warm mug to my lips. The steam rolled pleasantly around my cheeks.
"Bro Bro! Come out here!" I heard Mabel shout. I frowned and stepped into the living room. She was on the floor, looking excitedly at me. I lifted my eyebrows, sending a 'why have I been summoned?' message. She beamed up at me and nodded at the television. I blinked and followed her gesture, and a smile came to my face. "We used to watch this over and over every Christmas when we were little, Dipper." She said softly. I sat down next to her and sipped my coffee.
"Really? I movie about some wimpy little deer with a glow-y nose?" Stan chuckled.
"Yeah, Stan. We used to love this." I murmured. Some time during the movie, Stan got up and mentioned something about making breakfast. Mabel and I were so wrapped up in the program that both of us groaned when a comercial took it's place. I made a bit of a disgusted noise when that ugly 'psychic' Gideon boy's face popped up on the screen.
"Hey, remember when that dude had that giant crush on you?" I teased Mabel, thinking back to the time when Mabel and I were twelve and Gideon was obsessed with my sister. He blamed me for their parting and had it out for us ever since.
"Ew, yeah." She shuddered.
I leaned forward and tilted my mug to my mouth, but I found it was empty. I frowned and put it down. Stan called for us from the kitchen shortly. He made what he liked to call 'Stan-cakes'. Mabel and I grew used to Stan's bad cooking after a while though. After breakfast I just hung around my room. After a few hours of reading I heard Mabel calling for me, so I put the novel down and went begrudgingly down the stairs.
"Hey, remember these guys?" Mabel greeted me, nodding to the front door. Standing inside was a red-headed girl, who I could only distinguish as Wendy. She smiled at me and I smiled back. Mabel began a conversation, and eventually it lead to Wendy asking us if we wanted to go do something fun. She said that our old friend group had met up and were outside in Thompson's (mom's) van. I nodded eagerly and Mabel just rushed out the door.
Getting in the van, we were greeted by Nate, Lee, Thompson, Tambry, and even Robbie. They hadn't changed much, from their appearences to their personalities. Lee kept saying how he thought I was going to be short forever and how husky I was getting. It was nice to be with those guys again. We spent a few hours laying on the cold ground in the cemetary, like we used to. Mabel started picking on Robbie about finding him in that open grave. All of us laughed and joked and talked for a long time. Well until a rustling in the nearby woods distracted us. Per usual, we told Thompson to go check it out.
He protested heavily, until I finally gave in and said I would do it. I punched the other's shoulder and called him a wimp before walking into the treeline. It was a little creepy but I wasn't really scared. I came close to the sounds and parted the bushes enough to see. I blinked and arched an eyebrow at the sight. Old man McGucket was fiddling with something. I was honestly surprised the weird guy was still alive. His back was to me so I couldn't quite see. It sounded like he was slurping something up. Maybe eating something...? He must've heard me or something because his head snapped in my direction. His scraggly white bear was spotted with drops of red, and it was all over his lips. I cried out in surprise when he turned and retreated from the woods.
I crashed into Mabel, and the group questioned me promptly. I began to explain when the old man emerged from the woods. He had what looked like a dead raccoon in his hands. It was dripping with blood. As I glanced around, everbody's faces contorted in disgust.
"Y'all want some?" The man asked, moving towards us. There was a short pause. I turned and began to run. Everyone must've had the same idea, because they fell in on either side of me. I glanced back and saw that the old man was chasing us with the animal dangling from his hands, laughing in an odd way. We all piled into Thompson's van and he drove away. The van was filled with all of our heavy breathing.
"That was nuts." I heard Wendy laugh.
"We all thought it was some murderer. Nope. Just some old crazy man." I joked. Everyone started to laugh.
"What was he even doing out in the woods anyway? Like, why was he there in the first place?" Thompson asked.
"He's off his nut. Duh." Lee responded.
Thompson drove back to the Shack and dropped Mabel and I off. I had exchanged numbers with Wendy so we could keep in touch. "That was fun." Mabel said as we walked inside.
"Yeah. I think they respect us a bit more now." I smiled and shook my head. "I need to shower. I feel like that old nut job got some of that animal blood on me. Eugh." I shuddered and walked to the bathroom.
I waited patiently the next day for a call from my boyfriend. I was hoping he would come to the Shack shortly after coming back into town. It was the afternoon and I was out on the roof again when my phone rang. I answered it happily, "hello?"
"Hey Pine Tree." Bill greeted me. "I'm almost into town. Uh, want me to drop by and see you?"
"Well yeah. I do. I'll be here all day, so.."
"Alright. I'll be there in about a half hour, okay?"
"Sure. I'll be waiting, Cipher."
"Hah. Okay. See you in a few." And then he hung up. I hurried inside and made sure what I got Bill was in order. I always felt giddy when Bill said he was coming over. Shortly there was a knock at the door. I inhaled deeply and grabbed the handle, pulling it open. As expected, Bill was there. But when I saw his face, my smile dropped. He bit his lip and gave a small wave. He was pretty bruised up, and there was a piece of gauze taped over his right eye. The center of it was red. Most of the bruises were around that area.
"Hey.." He said.
I pulled him inside and shut the door. "What happened to you?" I cried.
He exhaled loudly and crossed his arms. "I got in a fight with my cousin over what my dad used to do." I explained.
"The gauze over your eye is bloody.." I started.
"I erm... well my eye got all smashed beyond repair so.." He whispered. "I'm disgusting now, I understand if you don't want to be with me anymore..."
I reached up and gingerly cupped his cheeks. "Bill...sure it's a small change but that doesn't mean I won't still love you." I assured him. "I..will miss you having two beautiful blue eyes but I can manage with one..." I smiled at him.
He looked at me sadly. "You mean that?" He asked.
"Yeah. Totally." I nodded.
A timid smile spread across Bill's face. "You're wonderful." He murmured, then leaned forward and placed a kiss on my forehead. He paused and I pulled away, putting my hands over my forehead. He saw it.
"Whoa whoa whoa. C'mere." He said.
I shook my head. He frowned and moved towards me. I stepped back. He sighed and gave me a frustrated look. "Come on. I'm not gonna judge you or anything."
I hesitated, then sighed and dropped my hands. He reached out and brushed the bangs away from my forehead. I looked away as he studied the constellation-shaped birthmark.
"So that's how you got your name." Bill murmured.
"It's just a nickname," I growled, swatting his hands away.
"Oh." He said. "so what's you re-" he cut himself off when he glanced back at me. I was glaring so hard at him. "Uhh...nevermind." He chuckled nervously.
I huffed and turned, waving a hand for him to follow as I went up the stairs. I led him to my room, then grabbed what I bought him. I tossed a small flat box at him, containing his shirt and the ring I bought him. I could feel a knot in my stomach. What if he didn't like them? He caught the box gracefully and looked at me.
I nodded at him, and he opened it. He blinked as he pulled out the shirt I had bought him. "Where'd you get this..?" he asked, studying it.
"Erm, at the mall." I replied.
He nodded at me and folded the shirt back up, before going for the ring. He held it up before sliding it on his finger.
After a bit of silence I spoke, "you..you like 'em?" I asked nervously. I grimaced when he didn't reply. "I uh, I know you're not into jewlerwry and all that but...I felt like the shirt wasn't enough..."
Bill looked at me and smiled, looking down. "These are great, Dipper. Thank you." He said softly.
I sighed in relief and ran a hand through my hair. "You're welcome." I said quietly. He put his shirt back in the box and set it aside. Then he looked at me again and ruffled my hair.
"I didn't even think to get you anything, to be honest. I'll go buy somethin' as soon as I get the chance. I promise." He said.
"Oh no that's okay..." I insisted.
Bill huffed and folded his arms. "You're so stubborn."
I smiled smugly and flicked his nose. "I do want something else, though." I started.
"Oh?" The other male asked.
"Yeah." I replied, making a move to kiss him.
He laughed and pulled away slightly. "Oh, this is what you meant!" he stated.
I snickered and grabbed his shirt, "c'mere Bill!" I breathed, and he finally complied, leaning in as well. Our lips crashed, and I reached up to wrap my arms around his neck. I felt his hands on my hips. It wasn't very long before Mabel burst in through the door. I blinked and our lips parted with a pop.
"You'd think you'd learn to knock after last time." Bill sighed, sliding his hands back and giving my rear a pat. "We'll finish this up later, Pine Tree."
I laughed quietly and punched his chest.
"Aw, you two are cute. I just wanted to check if that was Bill I heard, that's all." Mabel said, leaning to the side.
"Really though you should learn to knock, Shooting Star." Bill said.
"Shooting Star?" Mabel and I asked in unison. She laughed a little at that.
"Mhm, your sweater. Now you have a nickname too." Bill said as he gestured to my sister's sweater, which had a shooting star design on it.
"Well, it suits her.." I murmured. I jumped slightly when Mabel gasped.
"What happened to your eye?" She cried. She must've noticed when Bill turned to face her.
"Long story." Bill said, sitting down on my bed. Mabel sat down on the opposite end, and I sat by Bill. With that, he explained how exactly his cousin had managed to turn 'his eye into mashed potatoes and the doctors had to scoop it out.'