Dipper and Mabel sat at the bus station as they waited for their bus to come, their Grunkles sitting on either side of them. Soos and Wendy came for the goodbye, so Mabel wasn't TOO disappointed her friends had to be back to where they were SUPPOSED to be. The fun they all had at the party was good enough.
Stan kept piping up every couple of minutes with checks that they got EVERYTHING. Clothes, books, glitter, their journals. Everything was packed, save for Waddles. Mabel was worried about leaving him behind, but Stan promised to take care of the pig, making a small joke about starting a farm since he had the starter kit of a pig and a goat.
"…Summer went by fast," Dipper said, kicking his legs. "But it seemed like it was so long." He sighed. "This school year is gonna take FOREVER…"
"Hey, we can make it interesting!" Mabel chirped. "How about for Halloween, we go as each other for the whole day and see how long it takes for them to notice!"
"…only if you wear pants."
"You're no fun. You SO have the legs for a skirt!" She kicked her legs to mirror him, sighing. "…I'm gonna miss this place."
"It's gonna miss you too, sweetie," Stan said, curling his arm around her. "Cant think of a single person who wont miss you two." He looked up when the bus pulled up, sighing. "Alright, off to Piedmont you go."
Dipper and Ford grabbed the bags and loaded them into the luggage area. "…You guys are gonna come to Piedmont for Christmas, right?" Dipper asked.
Ford smiled. "You know it," he said. "A phone call can only do so much for explaining all this to your folks. Maybe a week together will settle everything." He walked Dipper to the bus doors and hugged him. "…you have a good school year, alright?" he said. "Make some friends, join some clubs...just have fun."
Dipper hugged him back. "I will," he promised. "And you do the same. Take some days off, go fishing with Grunkle Stan…YOU just have fun."
Ford ruffled Dipper's hair. "Off you go," he said. "…wait, where's—"
"MABEL, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!"
Dipper and Ford turned around to see Stan tugging on Mabel, who latched herself to the bench and refused to let go.
"I DON'T WANNA GOOOOO!" Mabel howled. Stan tugged harder, finally detaching her from the bench, and carried her to the bus.
"Mabel, pumpkin, you're a big girl now, don't make a scene!" he grumbled. "We'll see you in four months!"
Dipper sighed. "I'll get her calming chocolate," he said, fetching her carry-on bag and hurrying up to Stan, hugging him tightly. "I'll take it from here, Grunkle Stan," he said, tugging Mabel onto the bus. He sat her down and tugged down the window, waving at them. "See you for Christmas!" he said, waving.
Mabel pressed her face against another window, breathing on it before tracing out a heart in the condensation. She waved to her Grunkles until the bus pulled off, and the Pines Twins the Elder stood there waving until they could no longer see the bus.
"Well," Stan said quietly, "there they go." He swallowed hard, wiping at his eyes. "…Just as I was getting used to having them around all the time." Ford squeezed his brother's shoulder, smiling softly.
"They'll be back next year," he replied. "And until then, you'll have to make due with me. I know, I know, a shoddy stand-in…" He snorted when Stan punched his shoulder.
"Shut up and get to th' car, Sixer," Stan said, cracking a smile. They walked to the car and got in. "So, you wanna do anything for lunch?"
"…not very hungry," Ford replied.
They rode down the road in silence.
"…Do you want to go see an alien spacecraft?"