A/N: I don't own Gravity Falls. Quite obviously. This is just a collection of drabbles and oneshots for the niblings to count on their Grunkles to bail them outta trouble. Will be updated sporadically, but at the very least weekly. These are done in casual settings, so no end of the world apocalyptic scenarios took place.
I'm not abandoning my other series. Just sharpening my writing skills with midnight drabbles. Can't let it go blunt.
"I don't know, Ducktective...surely, it was a...you don't think?"
The TV blared loud music, indicating an intense scene, but Mabel wasn't all too surprised. This episode was a rerun after all.
She sat on the rug, hands fiddling with a half-made sweater that was only keeping her busy. To put it plainly, she was bored, and no amount of knitting needles and fluorescent colored yarn was going to entertain her enough.
Waddles sat snuggled by her side, sound asleep, and she gave a small sigh. She was missing the person who usually sat on her other side, to laugh at the cartoons with her and suggest colors for sweaters. But Grunkle Stan had insisted on taking Dipper to go grocery shopping. Something about "learning the art of shoplifting while young", and Dipper hadn't been too reluctant in getting out of the house.
Mabel set down her craft supplies, lifting herself on her elbows and glancing towards the front door. Great Uncle Ford was busy in his lab, and wouldn't be up for a very long while. She couldn't count on him to give entertainment or play with her.
"C'mon, Waddles!" She stated, pushing herself to her feet and clicking off the television as her pig lifted its head. "Let's go play outside!"
She headed into the foyer, quickly scribbling out a note in smelly marker, and slapping it on the front door before swinging it open and ushering Waddles through. She slammed it behind her and bounded off the porch, standing in the front yard for a second to contemplate over how she could entertain herself.
The day wasn't scorching like the earlier summer days had been. The worst of that was seemingly over, and there was a gentle breeze that removed any stuffiness in the air. A few clouds wandered in the sky, and Mabel figured retreating into the shade of the woods would bring the temperature at a good level where she could comfortably run around.
She patted the grappling hook she kept around, just in case she ran into those pesky gnomes again, and trotted off into the trees with Waddles at her heels.
Normally, she felt safer wandering the woods when the journals were on hand, but Dipper kept his practically glued to his side nowadays. It wasn't like she couldn't manage roaming around herself though. She had Waddles the brave protector, and...well, legs were for running. Playing dead sometimes worked too. It depended on the circumstances.
But as she walked, nothing seemed ready to disturb her. It was a peaceful enough day, and all Mabel ran into were a few beautiful butterflies and some fields of clovers or flowers. She climbed over a log, Waddles hobbling after, and she hummed with contentment. Walking in the woods was better than sitting in front of the TV without her brother alongside.
Granted, the walk would be super duper more fun with him, but she figured beggars couldn't be choosers...or something like that.
"We should play tag, Waddles!" Mabel said as she sidestepped a bush. Waddles snorted in response, and Mabel heaved a sigh. "Yeah, you're right. We need more space! We should look for some kinda clearing...I think Dipper and I found one a few days ago somewhere here!"
She continued bounding forward, her loyal pig by her side, but no clearing came into view. Regardless, she walked on, until she grew bored and decided to use her grappling hook to swing along branches.
It proved to be a much more fun method of travel, she found, as she swung from branch to branch and covered more ground as well. Waddles had to pick up his pace, and Mabel giggled as he maneuvered around the bushes and nearly got stuck in one.
"C'mon, Waddles, I'll take you along!" She stated, stopping for a second to let him catch up to her. She picked him up, and tucked him under one arm, before shooting out the grappling hook.
However, the added weight of her beloved pig was unexpected, and her grip slipped once she let go. She screeched a little as she landed back on the ground with a painful thump, her grappling hook shooting upwards into the trees. And stayed there.
"...uh oh." She voiced, putting Waddles down and staring up at the tree it had disappeared into. "Ugh...Waddles, I've gotta go get that. You stay here and guard me!"
Waddles snorted in response.
Mabel glanced back up to where her grappling hook had disappeared, and tracked down the tree that would lead up to it. She found it, and used the support of a nearby log to reach the first branch.
Climbing trees wasn't anything new, and she loved using them to jump around like a ninja and sometimes scare Dipper by popping out of random places. She wasn't perfect, but knew enough of what she was doing to scale the tree effectively.
The grappling hook however...turned out to be up higher than she thought it would.
She moved up branch by branch, the wood becoming thinner under her feet. Pine needles caught onto her sweater, and the scent would be imprinted on her for sure by the time she came down. She smiled a little as sap stuck onto her palm, memories of the stuff sticking her face to her Grunkle's hand coming into mind. Finally, her weapon came into view.
"I found it, Waddles!" She cheered, reaching out to grab it. Her fingers brushed the plastic, and she reached farther. She made a move to grab it...but her fingers hit it and sent it plummeting to the ground.
"Oh no! Waddles, catch it!" She called, and heard it hit the ground. "...thanks, Waddles. I guess I'll just..." She trailed off as she looked beneath her.
Well. That was...
That was much farther down than she thought the floor would be.
Her heart began to pound in her chest as she stared down past a wall of pine needles and spiky branches. She had planned on using her grappling hook to make it to the floor safely...and climbing down without it would be...difficult.
She...she had forgotten about her crippling fear of heights.
And the fear came crashing back before she could register anything, before a plan B could make it to her mind.
She took in a breath, gripping onto the tree trunk. "It's okay, Mabel. You got this. You can get over this f-fear...like Dipper said, I just gotta...not look down."
But she looked down anyway, and nearly screamed. Waddles looked like a small ant below, as he stared up expectantly, wondering why his owner hadn't returned back down to resume their adventure.
Suddenly, the branch her left foot was supported on cracked and snapped off, and she released a shrill scream of terror as she scrambled to set her foot on another branch. Her hands began to shake, as she realized climbing down was going to be a very dangerous endeavor.
Oh, what was she thinking? She should've waited for Dipper. He knew more about helping her through fears. Especially one like heights.
"...HEEELP!" She shrieked, hugging the tree trunk with all her strength. "Waddles, call for help! Get the fire department! Call 911! Get Swat team on the line!" She screamed again as another branch snapped under her foot. "HELP!"
Ford rubbed the bridge of his nose as he entered the living room, making a beeline to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. He felt utterly drained, having been slaving over some stubborn research downstairs in the lab. He didn't know how long he'd been down there, but he had gone down around sunrise and now the sun was high in the sky.
He knew Stan had left the house for groceries, and...he had taken Dipper, he believed. That was going to make the day rather lonely. With a mug of coffee in hand, he headed back into the foyer. "Mabel? Are you here?"
The bubbly little girl didn't answer his calls, and Ford leisurely took a sip of coffee as he walked to the end of the stairs. "Mabel?"
There was still silence, and he vaguely wondered if she had fallen asleep. After a minute, he realized the pig was gone too.
Then he noticed the note taped to the front door, stuck to the very top to match his eye level. He smiled, plucking it off and looking it over as he took another drink of coffee. So the girl twin had decided to venture outside to cure boredom. He wasn't sure where, but he figured she was with one of those friends she was always bringing over.
He stuffed the note in his pocket, opening the door and heading outside for the mail. A job he probably couldn't count on Stan for, since the man claimed he was allergic to bills.
The temperature was moderate and tolerable as Ford stepped onto the porch, walking down the steps and onto the walkway. He approached the rickety mailbox and grabbed a stack of envelopes, silently wondering what the damage would be this time. Stan had made a new attraction that was constructed entirely of lights before it blew out the day before, and that had to have taken a hit to the electricity bill.
Before Ford could head back to the house, he heard a shrill sound coming from within the forest. He instantly froze, barely turning his head and waiting. There it was again.
He couldn't place what it was, or if it came from a creature he had studied. The opportunity made him feel giddy and curious. Maybe he could investigate, if there were no bills to ponder over. There was still the chance he'd just be stumbling upon something he'd researched already, and waste a trip to the woods.
But before he could return to the house, the call came clear to his ears.
In an instant, the mug and mail hit the floor, and Ford took off into the forest.
"Grunkle Ford! Grunkle Stan! Wendy! Someone! HEEELP!"
Mabel clung to the tree for dear life, beginning to shiver in fear of the branches breaking underneath her and sending her to her doom. Waddles squealed underneath her, becoming distressed as his perky owner still didn't return to his side.
"Waddles, Waddles, it's okay, I'm right here!" She insisted, trying to tilt her head to look down, but the motion made something creak next to her and she froze. She didn't want to be up here. She didn't want to be in the woods anymore.
"Dipper! Dipper, help!" She shrieked, shutting her eyes and wishing teleportation were real. She'd even take the creepy gnomes if she didn't have to be up here. "Dipper..."
Her eyes snapped open, the deep and gruff voice music to her ears. She perked up a bit, but stopped when a branch underneath her foot snapped slightly. "Great Uncle Ford! Help me, help me, please!"
"Mabel! Mabel, where are you?!" There was a metallic noise, and then a blast of something flew only a few feet away, obliterating a stream of branches and pine needles in a green glow. She kept back a shriek as Ford's panicked yell returned. "Mabel! I swear to god, whoever you are who has my great niece, I will blast you to another goddamn dimension, so help-"
"Grunkle Ford, I'm up here!" She informed rapidly. There was a beat of silence, and then Ford appeared underneath the branches, having recognized Waddles amidst the brush. He seemed to put two and two together before finally raising his head and barely able to see his niece amongst the branches. "Mabel! What are you doing up there?!" He slipped his weapon back into his belt, sounding regretful that he'd shot it.
"I climbed up here," she replied sheepishly, before hugging herself closer to the tree. "Grunkle Ford, I can't get down."
"It's alright, Mabel, you won't get hurt," Ford assured pensively, before raising his head again. "Are the branches too brittle beneath you?"
"I...I'm scared of heights," Mabel confessed. When Ford didn't respond, she rapidly added "I didn't think I'd get this high! I was gonna use my grappling hook, but it fell, and Waddles didn't catch it."
Ford glanced down at his feet, catching sight of the weapon, and he rubbed his chin in thought. "Are you hurt at all?"
"Well, so long as you aren't kidnapped or being tortured, this can be handled easily."
Mabel smiled, feeling beyond relieved that someone could finally help her. She shifted a bit, and the branch under her foot cracked completely. She quickly hopped it up to another branch, stretching her leg farther. "Hurry!" She demanded, exertion and panic in her voice.
Ford looked around for a second, seeming to weigh his options, before heaving a sigh and launching himself upwards. He grabbed onto the lowest branch and carefully pulled himself upward.
"Great Uncle Ford..." Mabel asked shakily, peering down and barely able to catch the sight of her uncle's graying hair. "Are you sure that's going to hold you?"
Ford grunted, pulling himself higher and supporting the most of his weight against the trunk. He had climbed quite a number of trees within the years of his research, and learned the hard way that pine trees were terrible climbing trees. But it was beyond better that he fell than Mabel. At least he knew how to land to where he'd get the least damage. "Better I fall than you, Mabel."
"But you'll get hurt!" Mabel cried out, sounding genuinely concerned. "Grunkle Ford, you're gonna break an old man bone or something!"
"Better than you breaking every bone in your body from this height!" He bit back, raising himself a little higher. "It's okay, I've climbed these trees before. It's all about holding onto the base."
"You shouldn't do this. You should call firemen or something! People with ladders!" She tried, but Ford ignored her, getting closer to her and focusing most on his feet holds. "Alright...Mabel, you're going to need to leap down to me. I can't move any further. Those branches won't withstand my weight."
Mabel stared, seeming to consider. She gripped the branches tighter, lifting her foot a little, before bringing it back down. After a moment of hesitation, she ducked her head as if in shame. "I...I'm scared."
Ford studied her small quivering form barely balancing on the branches, memories of Stanley doing the same thing when they were kids flooding back to him. Stan had never liked admitting his fear of heights to anybody, and really, Ford had only ever known due to observation.
Stan had been stuck in a tree once when they were ten. Not only had the act not been permitted, but Stan was stuck and scared to death. It took stealing the school ladder and a lot of coaxing to bring his twin down that night.
"It'll be alright," he assured her, keeping his voice calm and steady despite the pounding of his heart against his chest. "C'mon. Even if we do fall, well, I'll take the brunt of the hit."
"No!" Mabel crowed, shaking her head and looking at him with a horrified expression. "I don't want you to get hurt! Grunkle Stan would be sad if I let you get hurt!"
"And both him and Dipper would be sad if I let you get hurt!" Ford retaliated, giving her a comforting smile. "But you can do this, Mabel. Jump down. And...we can keep this our own little secret."
"Really?" Mabel perked up, sounding surprised. "Just you and me?"
"You, me, and the pig," Ford corrected, thinking of the squeals coming from under him.
"Don't snitch, Waddles!" Mabel yelled out before positioning herself. "Okay. I...I'm gonna go down."
Ford braced himself, leaning most of his weight against the trunk and steeling himself for his great niece's weight. There was a beat of hesitation, before Mabel took a breath and let go of the branches.
Ford caught her swiftly, holding her tightly to his chest like she was an incredibly fragile object, and he slipped down the tree as fast as he could. He lost his grip a little ways down, and wrapped his arms around her. He landed sorely on his feet, before losing balance and landing on his rear with a yelp.
"...that's gonna hurt in the morning," he muttered, and Mabel giggled a bit before pulling back from him and dropping into his lap. "Are you alright, Grunkle Ford?"
"I'll live." He responded wearily, as Waddles moved forward and plopped himself into Mabel's own lap. The girl hugged her pig, smiling and looking incredibly relieved. "Thank you, Grunkle Ford."
"It's no problem. Just...please leave the height problems to me," he reminded, picking up the grappling hook and handing it to his great niece before lifting himself to his feet. She wrapped her arms around his own, helping him up a bit as he steadied himself.
With a gentle smile, he ruffled her hair, and felt unusually proud when she beamed at him. It was a mixture of gratefulness, relief, and love he hadn't manage to catch from her until now.
He scooped her up in a fluid motion, hearing her giggle with joy, before carefully walking over the logs and brush in his path, the pig snuffling and following close behind.