A Tale of Two Sandis

by Aoikami Sarah

Chapter 14

Fiddlefern grew stronger and in a week was able to walk steadily without aid. She would slowly wander through the house, exploring like a new pet, a bit fearful but curious and searching out the family members to give them affection. It wasn't long until she was making them breakfast and sporting her very own Abel-created sweater with a banjo design on the front. Sandra would sit with her for hours, teaching her to meditate to help control her anxiety, which would rear its ugly head from time to time, sending her scuttling back to the comfort of her bed in Sandra's study. Sandra slept on a small mattress on the floor, nearby, and though she refused to leave her side, insomnia plagued the scientist. She did a good job of hiding it until it got too much to bear.

So far, the human counterparts to the sealing sigils had all been notified except one, though Robbie had still not whole-heartedly agreed to appear when called. The appointed day, August 24th, was but three days away when Sandra sat down across from her former lover and as gently as she could, explained the plan to her.

To say that Fiddlefern was distressed was an understatement. The part where they would have to leave the shack and its protective shield in order to capture Bill especially set her off. She twitched and stammered, shaking her head at the idea that she needed to play an important role in sealing Cipher away, not quite refusing, but so averse to the idea of being in close proximity to the living nightmare that she could barely form a sentence.

In a previous life, Sandra would have become stern, rational, authoritative. She would have tried to explain the gravity of the task that lay before them and how Fiddlefern simply must agree to play her part. After weeks of little sleep and constant fear of failure, Sandra fell to her knees, put her head in Fiddlefern's lap and cried. She cried like a child who had been kept up too late after a long day of activity, limp and exhausted. She begged Fiddlefern to forgive her, wrapped her arms around her waist and promised her that she didn't want to hurt her and that if this was too much for her, she'd find another way. She still had a quantum destabilizer that she could attempt to assassinate him with, she said. Fiddlefern said nothing, but stroked Sandra's hair and shushed her until she fell asleep like that, leaning against the tattered old Lazeboy, hands tucked between the cushions and Fiddlefern's lower back.

Not an hour later, Sandra roused, apologized for drooling on Fiddlefern and excused herself. When the older woman admonished her to get some rest, Sandra waved, smiled, and headed for the basement instead.

As if in answer to the question floating through Fiddlefern's mind of what to do, Sandi Pines entered the living room and muttered something about the lounge chair she occupied before turning to leave.

"Wait a sec, there Missy Mystery," Fiddlefern piped, pushing herself up with surprising vigor. "I got a little somethin' I gotta discuss with you in regards to yer sister."

This raised the larger woman's brow. She motioned for her to follow her into her office where she shut the door and closed the blinds. "What's up?" she said quietly. "You hittin' a wall with her, too?"

"You noticed her poor sleepin' then, have ye?"

Sandi nodded and sat on the edge of her desk. Fiddlefern plunked down into a chair, the energy she had shown moments before vaporized. "She's been frettin' too hard about somethin'," she said, ever-so-briefly making a triangle shape with her hands.

"So she told you?"

Fiddlefern shuddered. "She did. An' I know I gotta help, but I…" The slight shaking rolled up into a tremor and she held herself and squeezed her eyes shut. "It's hard. So hard. I love her so much and I wanna do this but I'm so scared. I want ta help. I want ta end this, but..."

"You got any better ideas?"

Fiddlefern collected herself and took a deep breath. "If'n were gonna hafta git out from under the bubble to git him, I ain't takin' no chances." Her green eyes flashed with determination. "Just layin' out some witchcraft and hopin' ta catch him in it's a fool's errand. He's smarter'n all of us, Missy Pines. Ya cain't underestimate him."

Sandi folded her arms and scoffed. "Smarts don't scare a deviant like me. Also, I have a hard time believing that an imaginary dorito is so dangerous, but if it's got the two of you quakin' in your boots…" She shook her head. "I love Sandra to pieces and I'd do anything to save her from this. I threw away most of my life for her already, so standin' in a circle holdin' hands is the least I can do, no matter how scary this spell thing sounds."

Fiddlefern narrowed her eyes. "If you was tortured by him, y'd sing a different tune. Which is why I wanna make sure for all the effort Sandra goes through, he don't get a chance to get tha upper hand."

Sandi nodded. "What'dja have in mind?"

.x.

The following evening after dinner, Fiddlefern trembled as she followed Sandi out into the woods behind the shack. Something rustled in the brush. "Holy Christmas!" she cried out and leapt up into Sandi's arms. A little bunny rabbit hopped out and darted away from them.

Sandi rolled her eyes and dropped her.

"Sorry 'bout that, Missy! I'm still a little jumpy I guess. Heh." She did her best to smooth her suit back out and Sandi swatted her hands away. "We can chat here," she said. "Sandra's surveillance whatsits cain't hear us this far out."

"You really think her plan is bogus?" Sandi asked, circling the tiny woman.

"I know Bill. I know he's a wylie one and ya cain't underestimate him. I just think maybe her ego's in the way is all. We need a better plan."

The taller woman raised a brow and took out a pack of cigarettes. A gum wrapper and some lint fell out onto the grass.

"You smoke, Missy?"

Putting a cigarette to her lips she gave her a withering look. "I'm a little stressed out lately," she muttered around it and fished a lighter from her pocket but fumbled and dropped it. Sandi bent slowly, back popping, and scooped it up. She tried to light it but the breeze wasn't cooperating. "So you got a plan?" she asked, took a few more steps around the clearing and tested the air before successfully lighting the cigarette. She took a deep drag and let a huge cloud of smoke billow around her, sighing with relief.

"Sure as shootin' I do!" Fiddlefern stretched her hands out. "We'll lure him out! Use me as bait."

Sandi chuckled and dialed up her thickest Jersey accent. "And what? Make him an offer he can't refuse?" She walked slowly to a stump at the edge of the clearing and sat down.

"Somethin' like that," Fiddlefern replied slyly. "I have a noggin full a info he'd love to get his hands on. Unlike some of y'all, I ain't made a deal with him yet. If he takes the bait, we can git 'im!"

Sandi frowned. The stump seemed to prove too uncomfortable to sit on and she got up and stretched, walking around the clearing. "That's great, Nutsy, but once you 'git 'im' what then?"

Fiddlefern dropped her arms. "I hadn't thought that far ahead."

Sandi laughed at her. "Figured. Leave the thinkin' to me."

She frowned back. "Oh, that's right. I'm crazy. Blah blah blah. I'm still a gol-dern genius compared to the likes a you!"

"What was that?" Sandi snarled, dropping the cigarette and mashing it out under her dress shoe. "Callin' me stupid, are ya? If I'm such an idiot why are you offerin' to be the bait? That's pretty damn stupid if you ask me!"

"Because I ain't got nothin' to lose, ya dang fool! I love Sandra!"

"If you think you're gonna hog all the glory—"

"Glory?!" Fiddlefern shouted. "This ain't about who gets tawin! I'm aimin' ta lose!"

"Here's a thought," Sandi smirked and reached into the pocket of her suit coat. "Why don't we use some bait he actually wants…"

Fiddlefern's eyes widened and she took a step back. "What… what are you thinkin'?!"

"Hey, Bill!" Sandi cried, lifting the rift high over her head. "I got what you want right here! Come and get it!"

Fiddlefern scuttled to the edge of the clearing and cowered in fear as the sky grew dark.

"HO HO HO! THINGS JUST GET MORE AND MORE INTERESTING!" Bill appeared, looming large directly above them. "SO YOU WANNA MAKE A DEAL, HUH FEZZY?" He swooped down low and doffed his hat to her. "DON'T THINK WE'VE MET PROPERLY YET. I'M BILL CIPHER. I'VE BEEN INSIDE THAT BIG FAT NOGGIN OF YOURS ALREADY, YOU KNOW."

"I know that," Sandi hissed and backed up to the opposite edge of the clearing. She pulled the rift back down and clutched it to her chest. "So you can guess what it might be I want so badly…"

Bill laughed. "OH YEAH. I CAN TOTALLY SWING IT. A DO-OVER WITH YOUR SISTER? A WORLD WHERE SHE RESPECTS YOU AND YOU DON'T END UP A WORTHLESS JOKE? CAN DO. NO PROB. JUST HAND THE RIFT OVER AND WE GOT A DEAL."

Sandi glanced back at Fiddlefern and the small woman was crouched on the ground, hands planted at either side as if ready for a race to begin. She scowled at her but said nothing. "A world where my sister respects me," Sandi breathed. "Where my jokes are worth something," she chuckled and a sly grin spread across her face. "Thanks, pal. But I already got it."

Bill's form pulsed in surprise as suddenly ten points surrounding the clearing glowed a spectral blue. Eight people stepped out of the surrounding woods and onto each point, holding hands in a large circle. Sandi twisted her hand and the rift disappeared as if it were no more than a deck of cards. She waggled her eyebrows at him.

"WHAT?!" Bill shouted. As Sandi reached over and grasped her sister and Sues' hands completing the circle, he found that he could not free himself from its power.

"Ya know, they said you were pretty clever. I kinda can't believe a little sleight-of-hand was all it took to fool you."

"Wow, Grantie Sandi, that was amazing!" Abel cheered.

Dipper agreed. "He didn't see you put all those sigils on the ground just now at all!"

"Yeah, and the way you kept us hidden was genius!" Sues chimed in.

"Yeah, great job everbody can we git this over now with please?!" Fiddlefern screamed.

"Absolutely!" Sandra shouted. "Everyone, hang on tight!" Her eyes glowed blue as she recited the spell. "Exsilium triangulum! praesidium genus! In nomine ambystoma mexicanum vidimus enim tea!"

Bill's aspect began to disintegrate, pulled apart by the blue light that surrounded him. "NO! HOW DID YOU GET THIS POWERFUL?! HOW THIS THIS HAPPENING?!"

Sandi grinned to split her face. "You underestimated the power of the Pines family, bub!"

Abel cheered in agreement. "Yeah! Nothing's stronger than the power of—"

"—Abel?" Dipper asked, grinning.

He shook his head. "LOVE!"

Bill screamed as he came apart, his words became garbled, distorted, some almost seemed as if they were backwards, before he dissolved into nothing and the spell dissipated on the evening breeze.

"Holy. Shit." Robbie breathed. "Did we just do the sci-fi equivalent of the Care Bear Stare?"

Gwendolyn looked up at Abel. "What's a Care Bear?" she asked. He shrugged.

Sues laughed and clapped Robbie on the back. "Good 'staring, Robbie!"

Robbie sputtered and coughed from the force of her enthusiasm and Wendell laughed.

Dipper gave PJ a thumbs up and he blinked back, a bit dazed, but smiled anyway.

Sandra threw her arms around her sister. "That was amazing!" she cheered. They were both tackled by Fiddlefern who buried her face in Sandra's hair.

"It's gone! The hum! Ya did it!"

Sandi held out her palm, pulled the kerchief from her pocket and in a flourish produced the rift from thin air and handed it back to her sister. She then grabbed Fiddlefern and danced around the clearing with her as the rest of the 'zodiac' cheered and whistled. Sandra smiled as her sister and her once- and future-wife spun around, laughing and almost falling down like drunks or little children, and breathed a sigh. "It's over," she whispered, leaned back against a tree, and just watched her friends and family celebrate for a while before the party moved indoors for the next several hours.

TWO MONTHS LATER

Halloween was just around the corner. Fallen leaves swirled around in a warm Indian-summer breeze on a late, sunny Sunday afternoon. Sandra Pines, her fiance Fiddlefern McGucket, and her sister Sandi Pines strolled back from the Mexican restaurant as had been their Sunday routine for the last few weeks. Long walks were one of their favorite pastimes and helped get the two scientists out of the basement and give them a little exercise and Sandi said it was a good excuse to gorge herself on beans and cheese.

They walked slowly and chatted idly. Sandi swinging a bag of soda and beer, Sandra with the take-out burritos, and Fiddlefern, in the middle as usual, arm-in-arm with the both of them. She wore a pair of overalls and a bright pink t-shirt. Her feet were in flip flops even in this time of year, which Sandra admitted was better than barefoot, but only a little.

"I been thinkin'" the short, white-haired woman said.

"No kiddin'?" Sandi joked and got an elbow to the ribs.

"Bout the future…" Fiddlefern said, looking up ahead of them as if she were picturing the very thing.

"Yeah? You two decide what you're gonna do with the next twenty years or so you got?"

Sandra squeezed Fiddlefern's hand. "Oh, I think we can do better than that."

Her future wife agreed. "Pro'ly forty or more if the tests come back they way I think they will."

Sandi blanched. "You serious?"

"Why sure! Ya know, we could use a good guinea pig…" She waggled her brows at Sandi.

Sandra began to apologize but Sandi puffed out her chest. "I am deeply offended that you hadn't considered me sooner!"

The three women laughed as they made plans to work on Fiddlefern's youth-serum as a team, and made it back to the Mystery Shack with their Mexican take-out well before dusk.

THE END

Wow sorry the end is so rushed! I had left the last bit to write until well after Weirdmageddon aired, then Journal 3 and the Choose-venture book came out and wooo there was a lot to mull over. I had the last scene with the gals walking home in my head for almost a year! I just had to think of an alternate way for the ladies to defeat Bill that their male counterparts didn't get to do because of the state of their relationships. I hope I did ok and that it entertained you!