Two Hearts

Gravity Falls Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah

Note: Ghost!Stan AU, very tame stancest. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Chapter One

"Well, there was no reason to believe he'd always be there

But if you don't put faith in what you believe in

It's getting you nowhere…"

The battle against Bill had ended. The summer was over. And Stan Pines was dead.

They had all fought gallantly, been so clever, had each other's backs, but when it came down to it, Stan had sacrificed everything for his friends and family. His brother pounded on his chest, trying to give him CPR despite knowing there was nothing he could do.

"Sixer, knock it off," he heard a wispy voice that seemed to come from all sides. Stanford looked around wildly. He could just make out the pale shade of his brother's soul, hovering before him. "I been dead for decades. Let me go."

"No! I will not let you go!" he shouted. The children and others who were gathered around him kept their eyes trained on the body on the ground, making it clear that the apparition's appearance was for Stanford's benefit only. Not wanting to upset them further, Stanford cursed under his breath and whispered "This isn't over, Stanley. Don't leave me just yet, I need to talk to you."

"I thought your actions said it all just now." The ghost smiled sadly. "I'm ready to go…"

"I'm not ready!" Stanford cried. The living people around him reacted, but only two reached out to comfort him. Two sets of small hands clutched at his coat sleeve. His eyes darted from them to his brother's ghost, pleading.

"Ok, ok! Sheesh. Quit it with the puppy-dog eyes. I'll hang out for a while, but I don't wanna look at that anymore." He motioned to his corpse, grey and bloody, looking much older now that his life-force had left it. Without admitting it, he was also motioning to the kids, and to Soos, Wendy, and the others who had gathered to help them defeat Bill. He lifted his knees and floated off toward the house. "I'll be inside."

They buried Stan's body on the property in the woods in a small clearing. There were promises of a giant memorial, maybe even carved of quartz so as to last for centuries, but for now only a stump served as a headstone. They did not contact the authorities. It was unnecessary and impossible to legally decease a man who had been killed in a car wreck thirty years ago. Stanford, Soos, and Robbie dug the grave, lowered the body down and covered it with earth. Everyone gathered for a quiet, short ceremony which the newly reformed Gideon Gleeful presided over. He gave a touching albeit reticent eulogy, quietly thanking the man who opened his eyes and then gave them everything. Everyone reconvened at the shack and took a meal together, then scattered.

Three days after Stan passed, the Mystery Shack closed. The young Pines twins did their best to cheer him, but Stanford Pines was inconsolable and did not want to 'hug it out'. He spent much of the day pouring over notes and books, doing calculations, and seemed to be trying to distract himself from having to face his grief. This could not be farther from the truth.

On the night of the third day, Stanford sat heavily in the arm chair in front of the television. A regulator clock ticked and softly chimed the one o'clock hour and the house creaked slightly as it cooled down, but otherwise he sat in utter silence. The twins had long since gone to bed. In two more days, they would be gone, back home to California. "Stanley?" Stanford croaked and cast his eyes to the ceiling. "Are you still there?"

In a moment, a bluish smudge of refracted light entered from the hall and resolved itself the best it could into a pale, fuzzy image of Stanley Pines, an old man in a rumpled, blood-stained suit. His fez was missing and his hair and general appearance was disheveled. "I'm here," he said. His voice seemed to come from inside Stanford's head, but his mouth moved to form the words.

"I'm so sorry," Stanford whispered.

"Shut it," Stanley chided him. "No one's fault. Shit happens."

His brother shook his head. His eyes were reddened and puffy. His hands trembled as he rubbed them on the arms of the chair. His voice shook. "I've tried everything. I don't know what to do…"

"Snap out of it, Stanford. You're alive. Live."

"But without you…?"

Stanley's ghost flashed pink and he swooped closer to Stanford. "Don't you say it. Don't you dare say it!"

"I know exactly how you felt, now. All those years, I had turned myself off, but you didn't. How did you do it? It hurts so much, Stanley! But at least you had hope that you'd get me back. I will never have that!"

The ghost circled the easy chair in a panic. "Hey, you got me! I'm right here, ain't I?"

"You said it yourself. You got your resolution. You got me to admit I was wrong and that I love you…" Stanford's voice cracked. "You're fading, Stan. You'll be gone soon and you know it."

Stanley stopped moving and hung his head. "Yeah…It's not like I got a choice."

Stanford clenched his teeth and pushed himself out of the chair. He paced up and down the living room. "I know that! I've looked into every angle, but I can't reanimate your corpse in any kind of healthy way, I can't create a new living host body for you—it's beyond my area of expertise, really—, I could put your soul in the body of an automaton but I can't do anything to you except bind you to it and I'm not going to have your possessing a doll for all eternity on my conscious!"

Stan's ghost folded his arms. "What if I possess a living person? Would that still be for 'eternity' or just until the body dies?"

"Just until the body dies, and, sure, I could do it, but what living person is going to give up their life just so that you can…" Stanford stopped pacing and a eureka moment lit up his face. "That's it. That's it!" he shouted and ran to the basement.

"What's it? Stanford! What's it?!" Stan swooped after him and the house fell silent once more.

Just before dawn, Dipper awoke with a start and out of habit checked the room for signs of a problem. His sister slept peacefully, sprawled in her bed, a stuffed animal pulled close to her with one arm. Her pet pig, Waddles had been left at their friend Candy's house the day before as they couldn't take him with them to California. Only two days remained. Dipper never thought he'd be so ready to go home, but the last three days had been exhausting and unbearably sad. Mabel did her best, but her heart was broken by Stan's death and would need time and distance to heal. Dipper wanted to help his great uncle Stanford, but the man had been unhinged in his grief. He spent much of his time in the labs under the shack, but when he was above ground, he muttered to himself occasionally as if having a conversation with his late brother. Dipper knew it wasn't right to chastise him for it, that if he had lost Mabel he'd be a wreck, too, but it was scary and his frustration at not being able to do anything to help had worn Dipper out.

Dipper checked the orange glow of the 1970's electric flip-clock on the nightstand. Its gears whirred as it turned 6:09, the 8 covered by the 9 as it flipped into place with a soft click. He wouldn't miss the sleepless nights listening to that stupid thing, he thought, as he go up and went to the bathroom. It was like having a grandfather clock that chimed every minute. It never seemed to keep Mabel awake, though. Maybe it was too far away for her to hear. Who was he kidding? She wasn't an anxious over-thinker like him. Yet another personality trait he envied his sister for. Only a few unsteady steps into the hallway, Dipper stopped short and held his breath. He heard the refrigerator door close and a chrome chair scrape against the linoleum in the kitchen. Suddenly, he no longer needed to pee; he needed a glass of water.

The first thing that surprised him wasn't the sight of his great-uncle under the florescent light with enormous bags under his eyes, it was the fact that he was able to sneak up on him.

"Hey, great-uncle Ford," he said softly, causing the old man to jump a little.

"Dipper? What are you doing up this late?"

"It's six in the morning, actually."

"Oh." He glanced up at the clock. "So it is."

"Is everything alright?" Dipper asked, pulling out the other chair and taking a seat across from him.

"No, son. It is not."

Dipper stared at Stanford's hands. They were stained with some sort of writing in purple ink which he had apparently done his best to wash off as his knuckles were red and raw-looking. "Is there anything I can do? Anything at all?"
Stanford's eyes wandered up to meet the young teen's and he smiled softly. "No, son. No. It's alright. There's nothing you or anyone else can do."

"You've been trying though, huh?"

Stanford Pines looked genuinely shocked for a moment, then remembered that he was talking to the same young person who had studied his journals cover to cover, the same one who over the course of the summer had raised the dead and banished ghosts. His shoulders slumped. "Yes. But it's too late. He's gone." He didn't have the heart to tell him that his 'Grunkle Stan' had held on for a few days until this last-ditch attempt when he'd finally disappeared from this plane forever. His brother's last words played in his mind on repeat: 'Stop. Sixer... Don't do this.' Tears came to his eyes just as the sun finally broke through the trees and caught his eye. A cold shiver ran down his spine and shook him to his core. He gasped and clutched the edges of the table.

"Great uncle Ford? You ok?" Dipper asked, jumped out of his seat, ran around the table and put his hand on his shoulder. The man was shaking and his eyes began to glow a soft purple. He squeezed them shut and shuddered, panting slightly. "Great uncle Ford?!"

He opened his eyes, released the table and stared at his hands. "What the…?"

"Are you ok?" Dipper pleaded.

"Kid?" he said, raising a brow. He looked from Dipper to his purple-stained hands. He raised them up and felt his face, pulled his glasses off and examined them then slowly put them back on. "Hot Belgian waffles... I don't believe it. What did that moron do?!"

Dipper gaped at him. He noticed that the cleft in his chin, which had been there only moments before, was gone. "Oh my gosh. Grunkle Stan?!"

Two Hearts,

...believing in just one mind.

Beating together till the end of time

"Two Hearts" - 1990, L.H. DOZIER, P.D. C. COLLINS

To be continued…