Sandra and Sandi Pines, twins girls from New Jersey whose lives take different paths that both lead to Gravity Falls. "Two Sandis" Rule 63 (most characters genderswapped) AU.
A Tale of Two Sandis
(Rule 63 AU)
by Aoikami Sarah
"A stubborn tough New Jersey Native, Filbrick wasn't too creative.
He didn't have two twin names handy, so he just shrugged and named both Sandi"
Inertia: the tendency for a body in motion to keep moving with the same speed and same direction unless an external force is applied.
Fate: The presumed cause, force, principle, or divine will that predetermines events.
"Because she is afraid of not being supported, (a woman) unknowingly pushes away the support she needs."
― John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
Gravity Falls, Oregon - Summer, 2012
Sandra "Sandi" Pines (aka Missy Mystery) was under arrest. The Mystery Shack, her tourist trap home, crawled with government agents. Her niece and nephew, Dipper and Abel had been taken into child protective services and would be shipped home. She used her one phone call to contact her Gal Friday, Sues, and tell her to guard the vending machine with her life.
She was so close, after thirty years of waiting, only to have everything ruined at the eleventh hour. She slouched against the railed back of the metal chair she was cuffed to and tried not to think about how much her back hurt. Not until her crappy digital watch beeped to alert her of another gravitic pulse, did her spirits return. Escape would be tricky, but she knew she had the skills needed to pull this off. Sandi scoped out the room and her eyes lingered on the bulletin board behind her, littered with snippets from the life of Sandra Pines. She chuckled darkly at the agents' misconnected suppositions. "Ok, Pines. You can do this. Remember your training."
In a few minutes, she got the opportunity she was looking for. The agents wanted to move her. She started coughing, very convincingly. Thanks to years of being a heavy smoker, Sandi could really hack. The agents kept their distance, waiting out the 'attack'. The watch chirped and she sprang into action. She had slipped out of the cuffs about ten minutes prior and had time to plot her every move. Using the chair as a battering ram, she easily swam through the room, knocking the surprised men to the side and snagged an agent's wallet, another's cell phone, and another's side-arm as a little bonus on the way out.
Once she'd paid a taxi to lead the agents on a wild goose chase, she hiked up her skirt, did a couple deep-knee bends and hoofed it for the shack. Only minutes remained until the zero hour.
Sandi let out an exasperated laugh when she saw that the agents that had carpeted the property were now absent. She'd been planning what to do to get around them as she ran, but there was no need for evasive maneuvers, now. She sprinted the last few yards to the house and nearly threw up when she saw that the vending machine stood open. No Sues—no kids. They could be in only one place.
Sandi screamed as she watched her niece Dipper make to shut the portal down. The girl stopped but shot a heart-broken, angry look in her direction. They argued and fought over control of the shut-down button. She couldn't blame them for thinking they way they did, but there wasn't any time to explain. The seconds were ticking down. Dipper screamed at her brother, who had managed to claw his way back to the button, to do it—to ignore his soft heart and listen to his head. Sandi's own soft heart felt like it was being torn from her chest. "Am I really such a bad gal?" she pleaded with Abel.
"Grantie Sandi…" Abel sniffled and let go. "I trust you."
In retrospect, Sandi would laugh about the fact that she had cranked the portal to maximum power. She didn't know any better—that was the setting that she felt would give her the best results. When the shockwave generated by the portal's aperture opening all the way hit them like a ton of bricks she panicked thinking that the thing had self-destructed. The dust cleared, small fires burned here and there, and through the haze they saw a figure emerge from the now ruined portal.
Dipper pushed herself up onto her hands and knees and gaped "What…? Who is that?!"
"The author of the journals…" Sandi muttered as the woman who approached them pulled a pair of heavy goggles off, revealing a familiar face. "My sister." Sandi spread her arms wide and stepped confidently up to woman in black. "Finally! After all these long years of waiting, you're actually here! Sister!" She stopped a few feet away and hesitated when the woman didn't budge or change her stern expression. "Sandra?"
Abel raised a brow. "Um, what the heck is going on?"
Dipper hugged Journal Number Three to herself tightly. "Sandra?"
Sandi sighed melodramatically and dropped her arms to her sides. "My twin sister, Dr. Sandra Pines."
Abel clutched his sister's arm. "Is this where one of us passes out?"
"On it!" Sues chimed and crumpled to the floor.
"Sandi?" Sandra whispered, narrowing her eyes. Her face was nearly identical to her sister's save the dimple in her chin and she wore her brownish grey hair long, tied up in a messy bun. "You… you did this?"
"Well, your last words were, and I quote: 'Sandi! Help me! Do something!'"
She frowned more deeply. "And you just decided not to heed my warnings about how risky it would be to start this thing up?" Sandra motioned to the destroyed, still smoking portal.
"You bet your ass, I did."
"You wanted me back that badly?"
She rolled her eyes. "Ya know, of all the scenarios I dreamed up of what this day would be like, Sandra, this is not what I imagined."
Her long lost other half made a strange, almost embarrassed face, stood where she was, cocked a brow, and put her hands on her hips. Where the gesture would have set Sandi on edge when they were teenagers—prepared her for the rational-no-fun-level-headed one of the pair to dump a wet blanket on an otherwise exciting situation—she grinned back like a simpleton, riding the high of her accomplishment. "Here it comes," she whispered.
"Why are there young people down here with us? Seems kind of reckless, Dee."
"And there it is," Sandi chuckled. "Well, it was a little nutty and I'll explain later, but the tall one there is my employee, Susan S. Ramirez—call her Sues. The kids are Shermy's grandkids, Dipper and Abel."
Abel grinned, stepped forward and extended his hand as Sandra dropped to one knee to get a better look at them. "I have a niece and a nephew?" She shook his hand.
"Whoa! Six fingers! That's a whole finger friendlier!"
Sandra chuckled in the same cadence and pitch as her sister, albeit with an audible weariness. "Well, he's definitely related to you, Dee."
Dipper looked from the journal in her hands to the woman in the black trench coat and started to hyperventilate. "The author… of the… journals… is my…relative? Grantie Sandi, what the heck?!" Her brother pulled her inhaler out of his pocket, stuck it in her mouth and gave it a squeeze. Reflexively, Dipper held the breath and calmed down. Abel nodded knowingly and gave her a comforting pat on the back.
Their attentions were diverted by the sound of men's voices coming from the surveillance system in the control room. Sandra jogged over to the monitor and gaped at the sight of her home surrounded by men in suits and flak jackets. "What the hell is going on out there, Sandi?"
"Huh. Guess they caught up with the decoy." She put her hands on her hips and shrugged. "Welp, we're boned."
Sues hovered between the women and gawked at the monitor. "Oh my gosh I left the vending machine wide open! I forgot all about those guys!"
"So very, very boned."
"Forgot…" Dipper whispered and pulled her backpack off of her shoulders. "H-hey, I think I have something that might help!" She removed the Society of the Blind Eye ray and held it up, but before she could explain to the adults in the room what it was and what it did, Sandra snatched it from her.
"How did you get this?" she asked breathlessly. The look of frightened concern on her great-aunt's face left Dipper speechless. "No, never mind. I don't want to know right now. I think I can…" she muttered, turned away from them and went to the surveillance console. "…and augment the amplitude with the…" Sandra deftly stripped some wires, twisted and grafted then did some tests, totally ignoring everyone else around her.
Sandi smiled wryly as she watched her sister work. "Give her a minute," she said, patting Dipper on the head. "She's in the zone."
The agents on the monitor mentioned that they thought there was a doorway hidden behind the vending machine. Sandra glanced up, satisfied by the data her instruments displayed. She dialed "Pines" into the memory-sealing gun. "That should do it. Everyone, cover your ears as completely as you can! Fire in the hole in three, two…" At 'one' Sandra pulled the trigger and a loud, high-pitched pulse blasted them and everything around for a square mile. She watched the monitor carefully, hands pressed tightly to her head until she was sure the ray had worked as she hoped. "Everyone ok?"
Sues pulled her fingers out of her ears with a resounding 'pop'. "Think so. What did that thing do?"
Sandra jogged back to the monitor again. "It would appear by their staggering around and jibbering that it worked."
Abel craned his neck to see around the adults. "They've forgotten about us? That's awesome, Grantie Sandra!"
"Grantie?" She asked and raised a brow at the boy.
Sandi put an arm around her shoulder. "Short for great-auntie. Cute, huh?"
Sandra seemed too nervous for a hug and shrugged out from under her sister's arm. "Sure," she said. "Don't celebrate yet. The agents are just milling around. We've still got to get rid of them or they'll start to wonder why they're here."
"Ooh! I know, I know!" Abel waved his arm as if wanting to be called on in class. "We can do what we did to that Blind Ivan guy!"
"Yeah!" Dipper chimed. "He was super suggestive after he got blasted. We just need to come up with a good story."
Sandi Pines adjusted her fez and grinned wide. "A good story, huh?"
Moments later, Sandra stood on the deck, looking fairly authoritative in her black clothes and utility belt, and barked orders at the confused agents. She waved a few sheets of paper covered in Abel's fanciful crayon drawings in one hand and managed to convince them to hand over the data on their case to her. In under ten minutes, the agents had hastily retreated. Just as the children had said, the effects of the memory ray left them highly open to suggestion. Once they were gone, Sues slipped away to call Wendell and tell her co-worker all about the 'other Sandi'. The younger Pines twins were both anxious to learn more about their mysterious, long-lost great-aunt, but her sister had other ideas. Sandi shooed them away, telling them to get some rest. Dipper was the most disappointed, as she had a billion questions for her. Her brother seemed a little more understanding and took her by the shoulders as they went inside to get ready for an early bed.
Sandra took a deep breath and listened carefully. The only vehicle sounds were the distant, constant, hiss of normal highway traffic, and she could no longer detect helicopter blades, either. Letting the breath out slowly, Sandra looked around at the yard, the signage, the totem pole covering her public address tower, and balled her hands into fists.
"You must be tired," Sandi said softly, but it still made her sister jump.
"No, not really." Sandra turned to go back inside, but hesitated.
"Are you ok?"
She pivoted to face her. "Yes and no. I'm great because I'm standing on my porch and I'm not in any immediate danger of being killed, but I'm also very concerned about the portal's activation and I won't be able to sleep much until I do some damage control down there."
Sandi nodded. "You, uh… you any better than you were?"
She knew exactly what she meant. The last time they'd seen each other, Sandra was what could best be described as 'unhinged'. "I'm about ninety percent," she said quickly and clenched and unclenched her hands rapidly. "Nowhere near as paranoid, anyway. Now I have legitimate reasons to be terrified."
"Sandra…" Sandi reached out to put her hand on her shoulder, but Sandra stepped off the porch and headed for the gift shop door.
"I should probably get a shower and start working."
Sandi followed her into the house. "You don't wanna just grab a beer and catch up?" she asked with a hopeful grin.
"Sandi, if you learned anything about the portal, you'd know I can't relax just yet. Please, understand. If I don't do something there could be catastrophic consequences, not just for Gravity Falls but the universe as we know it!"
"Sure, Sand. I get it." She lowered her chin and stared at her sister's boots as they retreated from her toward the gift shop. They were dusty and damaged, like the long black coat she wore.
"Good," Sandra said with a wave over her shoulder without slowing her pace. "I'll see you tomorrow." She stopped as her sister's hand clapped down on her shoulder.
"Wait. You can't fool me. You're about to fall down, Sandra. You're gonna get cleaned up, get some food in you, and you're gonna promise me you'll get some damn sleep. I don't care if you sleep till dinner time tomorrow, but I just spent thirty goddamn years trying to get you back and if you drop dead now, I'll kill you!"
Dipper listened at the door to their attic bedroom with a glass pressed to her ear for a few minutes. "This doesn't work as well as you'd think," she said, giving up and making a face. "All I heard was something about Sandi wanting to kill Sandra!"
"Dipper, relax. You'll make yourself nuts speculating about what they might be saying. Give 'em some space. It's been thirty years!" He used his stuffed plaidypus as a sort of puppet and waggled its arms as if it were talking.
"Oh yeah? If you hadn't seen me in thirty years, and you didn't know until I walked through that portal if I was even still alive, and then bam! There I am! And I didn't even give you a hug? How would you feel?"
Abel put the stuffed animal down. "Oh. Yeah, I guess that's kind of dumb, huh."
"Abel, promise me we won't ever get stupid? No matter what junk happens to us?"
Her brother smiled and hugged the plaidypus tightly. "Well, I'm pretty stupid already."
"Not any more stupid than I am," Dipper smiled sheepishly, thinking of the way she'd behaved in the basement earlier in the evening.
"Goodnight, stupid," Abel giggled.
"Goodnight, stupid," Dipper replied, stared up at the ceiling and hoped that tomorrow would be a better day.
Sandra froze and a few tense seconds passed before she shuddered, turned around and nodded. "Sorry, Dee. I'm just not used to anyone looking out for me."
Sandi stared into her sister's matching, worried brown eyes, pursed her lips and nodded back. "Go get a shower. I'll make you a sandwich."
"Ok," Sandra relented. "Sounds good." She gripped the lapels of her coat in her oversized hands and went around the vending machine toward the bathroom.
"Sandra," Sandi called after her. She stopped and looked over her shoulder, brows pinched. "Welcome home." Sandra nodded slightly and continued on her way. When she was out of earshot, Sandi frowned and scoffed lightly. "Thanks for rescuing me from some Mad Max sci-fi apocalypse dimension, Sandi," she muttered and trudged to the kitchen make her sister a sandwich. "Damn it. She hasn't changed one bit."
Glass Shard Beach, NJ - 1971
Sandra Pines had been so excited after the talk with the guidance counsellor that her twin sister Sandi painted her face with a proud grin and did her best to hide her anxiety from her, but the fact that come late August her best friend would be off to her new school loomed large. Sandi Pines meandered slowly back from the beach, her sister's words still ringing in her ears. "You'll have to come visit me on the other side of the country!"
Sandi overheard what the councilor said about their respective prospects. "... 'Only make a good wife and mother'," she muttered to herself as she trudged home. Sandra had run ahead, saying she wanted to check on her science project one more time before the big day. She was only a few blocks away, but already the distance between them was great. Sandi's heart twinged thinking of the day she'd wake up in the room they shared, alone, and it tightened as she imagined Sandra, still sleeping on the west coast waking a few hours later and feeling the same way. She imagined her trying to study, but gnawing on her pen, worrying about how her twin was faring without her. "She will, that softy. She's gonna make herself sick worryin' about her poor, stupid, lonely sister back East." Sandi made a face and paused. "But not if I do somethin' about that!" She changed course for the school.
"Sand? You in here?" Sandi called, her voice echoing into the gymnasium. She was of average height, but wore tall, white go-go boots. Today she sported a cute little one-piece outfit with half-length sleeves and hot pants in red and white with a large black belt. She was, proudly, the more fashionable of the pair. She walked around the exhibits and stopped at the two submitted by the Pines twins. She must have missed Sandra by a few minutes. Her perpetual motion machine hummed along, spinning around. Next to it was a toaster with a wire coat hanger stuck in it labeled "Dryer-Bot 1000", professing to dry your clothes in 'three seconds flat'. "If I wasn't such a dumb-dumb..." Sandi sneered and kicked her table with her boot a little too hard. It banged into the neighboring table, dislodging a piece of Sandra's machine. A small amount black smoke puffed out and Sandi screamed. "Oh no! Nonono! Sandra! Your big chance!" She reached out toward the thing, but froze. She did not begin to know how to fix it. Sandi turned and ran.
In a few blocks, she caught up to her sister. "Sand! Saaaaand!" she screamed, waving her arms and stumbling in her go-go boots. "You gotta come quick! I broke it! Oh God, Sandra I broke it!"
"Sandi?" Sandra asked, startled by her sister's appearance. Her mascara was a blotchy mess. Sandra was nearly identical to her sister, but in style, completely different. She wore her hair long and her clothes were decidedly more hippie than hipster: a white embroidered tunic top and plain knee-length skirt with heeled clogs. The teenager hugged a large crocheted purse in her overlarge hands—her freakish six fingers tucked around it and pressed protectively to her chest. She wore large, round glasses which she pushed up her nose as she stared at her twin. "Broke what?"
"The gizmo, Sand! Come quick!"
She set her jaw and nodded and they ran back to school together.
It was still running when they arrived, but the vent cover that had fallen off remained on the table. "Sandi Pines you scared me to death!" Sandra swatted at her. "The cover's just come off. You could have duct-taped it back in place."
"No!" Sandi cried. "There was smoke!"
Sandra twitched. "Smoke?"
Her sister told her what happened and showed her exactly where the smoke came from and in a flash the girl had her purse open and tools splayed out on the table. She pulled wires, capped, twisted, tucked, metered, checked, checked, and double checked. "Sandi," she said gravely, wiping her forehead and replacing the tools in her purse. "You are a life saver!"
Her twin gave her a look like her head was on fire. "Wha...?"
She proceeded to explain something that went entirely over the less technically-savvy girl's head, but punctuated it with a huge hug. "If you hadn't bumped it, the failure could have gone off over night and it would have stopped dead! Imagine those guys from West Coast Tech coming all the way out here and this thing is a dud… oh man. You saved me, Dee!"
Sandi blushed and hugged her back, laughing nervously. "Yeah, totally planned it that way."
Sandra smiled kindly on her sister. "Come on, let's get home. It's Wednesday—Prince Spaghetti day!"
"Can't wait!" Sandi chimed back, her forced smile making her face ache.