Dipper ambled along the dusty forest path, carrying a tattered journal in one hand and holding a pen in the other, the tip of which he chewed thoughtfully. The morning sun beams filtered through the trees overhead, dappling the forest floor with golden light. A gentle breeze rustled through the leaves, pleasantly cool for a warm summer's day. Dipper drifted off the path and into the thick of trees, not paying much attention to where he was going. He studied the contents of journal #3 carefully.

A twig snapped behind him, causing Dipper to whirl around, alarmed- only to see the sleepy, perpetually munching goat: Gompers.

Dipper sighed, then looked at the animal irritably. "What, you following me out of pity or something?" he grumbled. "Grunkle Stan and Mabel just don't know when to stop, do they?"

The two had been making fun of Dipper for his 'squeaky puberty voice' again, despite the fact that it hardly cracked anymore, something Dipper had formerly been proud of. It'd been a whole four years since they first arrived in Gravity Falls, and they recently came back for another summer visit. Surprisingly the teenage years, after a shaky start, were going well for Dipper, and while he was still rather scrawny he was overall comfortable in his own skin- except when Grunkle Stan and Mabel decided to make fun of him. Rather, it wasn't so much his physical traits that they poked fun at him for, but his personality tics. He was still obsessed with uncovering mysteries, solving puzzles and, of course, Dungeons Dungeons and more Dungeons. No one else in his family shared the same intellectual perseverance, though Mabel was still all for uncovering new mysteries. Mysteries that never seemed to stop popping up. Every year he found new puzzles to entertain him over the summer, and he made additions to the journal with each one, Mabel helping eagerly. But that didn't change the fact he was still fuming over that last bout of teasing.

"They just don't understand," Dipper went on, the goat following faithfully at his heels. "They don't know what it's like being the odd one out. It's all fun and games to them, and they never bother to put themselves in my shoes to see why I love the things I do." Dipper stopped and turned to the goat. Gompers looked up at him with large eyes. Dipper sighed. "And you have no idea what I'm saying. Why do I bother…."

Gompers gave a gentle bleat, chewing contentedly. Dipper's scowl softened to a smile. "You're a good listener, Gompers. This is getting kinda depressing though."

Dipper turned back around, and realized with a start that he didn't know where he was. He smacked himself in the forehead. "Stupid..."

He surveyed the surroundings more carefully, and slowly realization dawned on him. He had seen this part of the woods before...in an illustration. Quickly, he flipped through his journal, coming to a halt on two recently discovered pages that had been stuck together, preventing access until the delicate application of goat saliva proved otherwise. On one page was a drawing of the trees around the area, ones that grew in slightly odd angles and noticeable landmarks. Surrounding it were little notes scribbled hurriedly, noting the subtle variation in colour of the leaves and needles on trees due to a certain creek with magical properties flowing nearby.

Dipper continued walking forward, previous frustrations melting into pure curiosity. He kept up his pace until the sound of running water met his ears. Advancing carefully, he spotted a brook winding through the trees, burbling gently. Dipper gazed at it in awe: the way the sun reflected off the liquid surface; the clarity of the pure waters that allowed you to see the little multicoloured pebbles at the bottom; the refreshing mist coming off the surface, rejuvenating its surroundings. And possibly discolouring the area around it in some sort of evil curse cast by a witch. Resisting the urge to plunge right in and roll around, Dipper consulted the journal.

The 'Fluvius Cantatis' was its name, enticing any and all who stumble across it in the woods, inviting them for a quick dip or gentle sip. It said that the river was given magical properties by some sort of imbued artifact enchanted by an angry nymph. Along with the carefully drawn depiction was a warning: that you must NEVER touch or drink the water, unless you wanted to be...changed.

That was it.

"Changed how?" Dipper muttered. "Good? Bad? Weird?" Knowing Gravity Falls, it was most likely weird. Then again, Dipper reasoned, the author wouldn't have inserted a warning if it wasn't dangerous.

Dipper eyed the brook warily, then took out a roll of yellow police tape from his jacket. He still had some left over from the crime scene with Wax Stan. He walked along the bank, laying it out on the side nearest to the town and the Mystery Shack so that anyone who happened to stumble across it would take the hint and leave. At intervals he left rocks sitting on the tape to weigh it down, preventing it from drifting away in the breeze. Once he was sure he'd gone far enough, he took a step back and surveyed his handiwork, content.

Just then, Gompers bleated and bumped into Dipper from behind, causing him to lurch forward with a yelp of surprise. He teetered on the edge of the bank, arms flapping, before steadying himself and breathing a sigh of relief. At which point the fragile ground promptly gave out beneath him, sending him sliding down the bank and face planting straight into the river. He gasped in surprise at the freezing water, accidentally inhaling some, leaving him spluttering. He climbed out frantically, attempting to shake off the water in terror. After freaking out for a few minutes, convinced he was seeing things and that his insides were being turned out, he finally began to breathe again. After a moment he realized that nothing was happening, and he immediately felt like a moron. He shot a betrayed glare at Gompers, who continued chewing peacefully. With that, he carefully rolled up the rest of his police tape and made his way back to the Shack, slightly disturbed. Surely nothing too serious could happen.

Could it?

Thanks so much for reading! Any constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome.

I'll be posting this on Tumblr as well, you can find me at shadysfics.