Pacifica healed out long and deep, letting her head rest on Dipper's chest. Finally relaxing a bit after the attack just mere seconds ago.
"Is something following you?" his hand still on her back, his voice filled with concern and Pacifica didn't miss the curiosity either.
She sighed before she peeled Dipper's hands off, her legs still trembled a bit as she stepped to the sink, looking at her gray reflection. The water was still running and she finally sprinkled her face. The cold water felt so good her lungs filled with air again.
"Thank you." she gulped gripping the porcelain under her fingers 'For yesterday too…' she thought slowly backing away from the mirror, forcing a neutral emotion on her face.
"Pacifica…" she averted her eyes knowing that looking at the boy right now would be a mistake.
"We should leave." good her voice was nice and smooth. She left the bathroom almost running for it right away. Calculating how long it would take to pack her bag and the box and just get away from here.
Her shaky legs took great strides to her bed, her eyes cast down on the old carpet under her feet. Yeah, like she would be able to leave the boy back, that would be a disaster. No, she had to. Her thought stopped when her eyes locked on a small paper ball.
She took it from the floor ready to toss into the bin but stopped when the familiar color of ink caught her attention. She pushed the ball between her fingers and soon enough it unfolded. She stood over her bag, her eyes wide open as she read the letters Dipper must have written in secret.
Her gaze shifted on the sentences, and rather than being sad her heart felt lifted somehow. This was good. This was a good sign, her hand pushed the paper deep into her pocket when the bathroom door was kicked out.
Her hands stopped on the zipper of her duffle bag as Dipper exploded into their room. She saw the anger swirling in his features. For the first time, it was real. He was outrageous; somehow it made her even more satisfied. She blamed her upbringing, even in situations like this. What was she thinking, in situations exactly like this, was she the most aware that she was a Northwest.
And a Northwest never loses.
"What is going on? Tell me right now!" Dipper started.
"What was that before in the bathroom?!" he gulped, his hands flexed pointing to the now empty bathroom. His fist balled as it hit his side. "And don't you dare to say it's a secret!"
She watched his turmoil. Her gaze lingering on his knotted brows. Her heart was beating faster, she already had her answer. She zipped up her bag and straightened.
"I was at the campus because Mabel called me over."
"What?" She heard the confusion in his voice, and it was just ready. Her little trap. "What does this have to do anything with what hap-"
"One mystery solved," she fumbled in her pocket, lifting a creased paper, which caused the boy to literally stiffen. His eyes snapping between her face and the little paper. "One secret revealed." she felt a smirk appear, the one that she methodically learned when she was young.
Dipper pushed both of his hands in his pockets, most likely he hid it there from her, but their little morning exercise must have knocked it out of his sweater. "I..it was. I m-"
"I found it on the floor," she turned the paper, glancing at the hastily written message. "I knew you were way too weird yesterday," she leaned forward, her hair blocking the boy's view as she lifted her box. " but to lie, you really are ..." the sentence remained unfinished. Turning on her heels she marched forward.
When she got to the stairs she simply jumped from the top, landing just before the receptionist. Her heart was pumping and she had to remind herself, that Dipper had the same plan that her, so running now wasn't an option.
She was ready to leave when the man behind the desk grabbed her wrist, halting her motion.
"Like wha-" she tugged her arm.
"Are you alright?" he asked his eyes filled with fear "are they gone now?"
She gasped before tugging again and again but the man just wouldn't let her go. Her eyes searched around, right now she was really concerned that leaving without the boy may have been a mistake after all.
"You are in danger!" the man whispered, and she stiffened. This wasn't what she was thinking would come. When she saw the same concerned expression on the receptionist's face her stomach lurched up. Even though it was empty right now, she felt like she would throw up.
"Thank you bu-" she tried her best to take back her hand that was held in an iron grip.
"I can help you." the man continued insistently on holding the girl back. The hand was sweaty and she wanted to leave. She needed air, she needed to escape from here. The air felt stuffy and the man just would not leave her.
She was on the verge of crying. She took her hand back and politely refused. Trying her best act to push those tears back, she leaned forward just before leaving. "No one can help." and she felt her lips tremble.
Outside she finally took in the fresh morning air, filling her lungs. Yet the stomach ache remained. She leaned against the wall waiting. There was no need to run, he would just catch up. Eventually, he will catch up to all of this. She sighed and heard the bell chime right next to her.
"You took long." Pacifica said as she pushed herself from the wall and started to walk. Stopping again when she registered that the boy was still cemented into the same spot. "What?"
She knew the answer but she needed some time to relax her muscles. Her face felt stiff, her hands deep in her pockets. Desperately trying to not cross them before her chest.
"I..I thought…" Dipper strode next to her, catching up, his face crestfallen. And she saw something else, she just couldn't put anywhere. Was that anger still, she smiled.
"I wouldn't abandon you just because you lied." she snorted, rolled her eyes for a more dramatic effect. Her hands as restless as they were just replaced her bag for the fifth time.
"Pacifica I want to talk about what happened." She heard the tone change, she could just turn around tell everything. Tell him what was going to happen now. How he would hate her more, yet she decided against it.
"Hey, Dork. I'll tell you everything when we catch your sister." and she smiled her best smile. Her business smile and it finally shut him up.
The promise to meet his sister, the promise that he will know what was going on seemed to calm him. Dipper Pines was the most gullible person she knew. A fool. A fool Pacifica Northwest adored for his foolishness. As untrustworthy she was, somehow, some twisted way he seemed to trust her. She repressed a giggle at the though.
Dipper Pines only trusted one and only one person his whole life. Most likely it will stay that way.
They never exchanged another word. Not like Dipper wasn't intent. Pacifica could see it from miles away, the way he opened then closed his lips without a word. Or how his left leg wouldn't stop drumming between the two seats they have taken.
He was at the end of his good nature, she could tell. So she did what was the best. Waited. She pushed her earplugs in and made him believe she listened to music. Watching Dipper's reflection watching her, and she acted like was about to doze off.
It wasn't far from the truth, she was tired. Immensely so. However, she could not let herself nod off just yet. When Dipper's heavy lids finally fell, she waited till his breathing evened and his foot stopped the drumming.
Pacifica straightened and waited one more minute before she opened her bag. Watching Dipper sleep, she smiled again. For real, her heart swelling because of the misplaced trust in her. When they started this, she was sure that this would only last a few days. Yet here they were weeks later. Keeping each other on the edge.
Her hands found the canvas bag in the mess and she pushed several clothes into it. Her papers and she sunk her phone in there too. When she was finished, she hid the tote behind her, fearing that the Pines boy would stir at the sound of the zipper.
Dipper's chest lifted and fell in a peaceful rhythm and she sighed at the sight. Taking it in, feeling like a creep for watching. He saved her. Not even once now, well it was partially his fault. She reasoned, before swatting it away, because let's be honest she had to go.
The train slowed down, before stopping altogether, her fingers stopped on her unopened box. She desperately wanted to know what was inside. It was a present after all. Staring at the handwritten patterns on the cardboard, she let sadness wash over her.
Pacifica watched an old woman take the seat not too far from them and her plan started. She waited for the mechanical whistle, signaling the departure. When Dipper didn't stir at that either she stood up slowly sparing a last glance at the box.
She had to leave it, this was her only choice, it could win her several minutes before Dipper realizes what happened. As quiet as she could she stepped out the lane, walking up to the lady.
"Excuse me," she smiled sweetly but sure that her voice was trembling just a bit. "Can I ask you a favor?"
The woman looked her up and down, her getup wasn't the most appealing but she betted everything she had on this stranger right now. The woman nodded.
Pacifica pointed at Dipper "When that boy wakes up and comes here asking about me…" she cast her eyes down embarrassed "could you t..tell him I already departed?" she tried her best to blush. Hands trembling.
She was lucky because the woman didn't ask anything, just nodded slower this time. Pacifica felt the train move under her feet. She needed to be fast, she took the woman's hands into her own and gripped them lightly whispering a thank you before bolting for the next car.
Her feet carried her fast, while the train under her was slowly speeding up. Her plan was to hide. If her hunches were any good, Dipper would ask the first person in the range about her. Right now only the old lady was in their car, so it was a safe bet to ask her.
Pacifica stopped before the next car, there were almost no empty seats for a while now. With five or more cars between the two of them, she had the courage to slump down next to a little kid who was eyeing her suspiciously.
She stared him down, till his little eyes widened and his face became bright red, she huffed triumphantly. A smirk playing on her lips as she slowly let her body relax a bit. Chances were that the boy would still look after her even if he asks the old woman. Yet this was her best bet for now, and her destination got closer and closer.
It just wasn't time for the Pines boy to put the puzzle together yet. She needed more time. Her stare slowly lowered to her burning right hand. It started to itch back in the bathroom, and it only became more irritating as the day went on.
She had to physically restrain herself from scratching the back of her hand. It was like all the long years' pain and irritation finally broke free in that one spot. Pacifica huffed and tried her best to actually concentrate on the task before her. She already sent the messages out, and the replies came fast.
It was finally time.
Dipper dialed. Yet her sister's phone wasn't accepting calls right now. Figures. He tossed his phone to the seat next to him. He lunged forward breathing deep, his hands grabbing at his head. He rocked forward and back, trying to calm his nerves. His hands were full with his unruly hair and he tugged at it in frustration.
Times like this, when he couldn't solve something, when he was left in the dark still tore at his nerves. He bit his lower lip, hard so that the pain would just anchor him to the reality. Taking a deep breath he slowly started to calm down.
He needed what he was best with, a plan. His hands slowly let his scalp breath out too. He straightened and opened his notebook. Taking his pen he started to tap. Almost in rhythm with the train under him.
What did he know? He smirked at his own stupidity, he knew nothing. It wasn't even the worst, the worst was that he had let himself be led around by two girls, one of them his own twin. And he just noticed it.
He jotted down the date he got the e-mail from Mabel, then the date his sister must have left. It was almost a month now. She started a week before them, and they had taken just over two weeks to catch up to her. Given this was really the last hint and the last spot.
There was still a little over 2 weeks before their birthday, so the 'best birthday present ever' as Mabel referred to, was still near. If it was only Mabel he would have already solved this one, because one just simply learned to love Mabel's crazy, and to live with it.
His hand wrote down Pacifica's name before he even had time to think about her. She was there, on that day. Running from the thing that seemed to follow her even to the Motel. He jotted down 'Haunted' next to the girl's name.
If what the blond said was true than the last time they met, was three years ago. At their birthday party, none the less. She said that she met Mabel a week before they started the chase.
He stopped. One week.
"Last week, okay! I met her last week here, are you happy now?!"
He snorted, he wasn't happy then, he wasn't happy now. How stupid. She even said it just a day prior his sister announced it to him on the first video message. He let his head roll back and leaned against the window.
Dipper Pines, self-crowned mystery solver was played by his own sister. Well, it wasn't just her, Pacifica was part of the problem too. He glanced to his notepad where his pen still tapped at the blonde's name.
What did he actually know about her?
His sleep deprived mind played numerous memories of her from the last two weeks. Her high and mighty attitude, her quirky quips, her angry stare.
Then his heart almost stopped as a light pink painted face beamed up to him, her blue eyes shimmering with joy.
"Let's find Ursa Major!"
Dipper felt his ears heat up, this wasn't the time or the memory he needed. After he cleared his throat and pushed that memory as far to the back of his mind as he could he look down again. His hand found his neck which was aching from the constant exertion.
Answering his own question, he knew that Mabel was the one who called the Northwest to the Campus just a week prior the chase began. Did that mean that Pacifica knew about the chase? Sure didn't seem so, when she exploded into the room.
Yeah, the first time he saw her she was running from the thing that seemed to leave her only if she chanted. Yet it only caused more questions. Every time she used someone else's room as an excuse. Did that mean that if the thing followed her to her own home then…
The train stopped. Dipper looked out at the station, the crowd waiting for the train tried their best to get on the vehicle as fast as possible. The boy couldn't blame them, the weather turned to the worse again. The sky was dark and even though it was pretty warm a chill run down his skin.
He looked back to his notes, where numerous words, numbers and question marks stood. His gaze rested on the words haunted, Mabel and meeting. Tapping on his sister's name, his mind finally started to clear.
*So, he came back huh?*
It was what his sister said to Pacifica in the video. Back then he was sure it was a boy or a man who was following her to Mabel's dorm. He lunged forward, almost ripping his backpack open. He knew that he took and hid Pacifica's notes just in case. After rummaging for a while he finally found it.
Look what I found. It was back there. Please don't go back there anymore! Come to my place, or if you are with my brother good luck finding me!
XOXO MABEL 3 *
Mabel knew. She knew it all along. She even encouraged her to visit her when in pinch.
Dipper felt betrayed. Mabel would have told him something like this. Well, as the example showed, she did not. Dipper exhaled long and deep. Why wouldn't she? He was an expert in this field. If Pacifica would just let him help, he would have.
And it wouldn't just be because his fingers tinged with excitement whenever someone mentioned a ghost or a mystery. Well part of him, the author in him as he referred to it, wanted nothing more than to ask the blond about all the things and all the ghost that seemed to follow her. About the charred figure and the happy ballerina.
Another part of him, however, wanted to strangle the girl for her stupidity. She should just have called him. Okay, they weren't friends before this, but. He stopped, taking the duffle bag and the box so a couple could take the empty seats before him.
They weren't friends now for sure. A sigh escaped him, and he was surprised how enraged he felt. The only thing he could depend on now was the fact that Pacifica seemed to want something from Mabel too. Whatever it was, she would surely find her.
Yet, the only message he exchanged with his twin was about the blond and how she didn't contact Mabel. This was another interesting thing. Dipper's brows lifted. Wasn't Mabel way too relaxed, believing Pacifica so much as she would call her right after what happened in the DanceHall?
His fingers danced on the package. No matter how, or what he needed to get to his sister first and then locate Pacifica. If the lady told the truth, she took off the train and had to take another transportation method. Given her low budget, that she mentioned numerous times. Whining about any Motel he suggested just a bit over the price that she thought about. It could only have been another train or bus.
But why would she leave? She didn't seem like the kind of girl who would run for it at the first chance she had. If anything she was logical and mostly calculated. Sly when times asked for that.
Dipper's hand stopped on the carton. There must have been something else. Something else other than Mabel that made the girl stick to him. He pressed his lips together, he needed to push the urge to chew on his pen.
Before he realized his hands already tore at the clear plastic holding the box together. It wasn't right. This wasn't meant for him. Yet he needed to know if there was something that he could use to find both of the girls.
On the top of the package was a letter addressed to the Northwest. Dipper put it to the side, for now, securing it with his phone on the seat next to him. Under that in brown paper, various things lay, one stranger than the other. Earlier she got a necklace with her zodiac, and now this.
The first thing was a small notebook, address book rather, where everyone's address and contact info was jotted down in Mabel's cutesy curved font. McGucket, Robbie, even Wendy's and his. He stared at his contact, his eyes wide. Nothing else. Just the nine contacts info of the zodiac. As he turned the pages over and over again only one was missing. Gideon Gleeful's.
Dipper's forehead creased. He put the address book down, his right hand already back in the box. One package of Mabel's favorite sweets, they were melted into big lumps. Dipper grimaced as he tossed the snack to the side. At the bottom of the box was something carefully wrapped in gift paper. It was easier to open than he thought, from the glittery paper a tie-dye shirt fell to his lap. It was from Mabel for sure, lately, she made these type of shirts with the same vehemence as she used to knit.
Shame painted Dipper's face, it was a present nothing else. It was painted like a watermelon and he could not imagine the blond actually wearing it. Even in the last week, she was dressed fashionably. Not bothering with the heat when it came to looking good.
He slowly folded the T-shirt and put the paper back, when he was about to put it back his hands stopped. At the bottom of the package lay a photograph. He lifted it turning it over, but there were only two words on the back.
When he turned the photo he was surprised to recognize everyone. The picture was taken at night by a bonfire so the lines were all blurred yet, without a doubt, the three girls grinning were all familiar. Candy posing with victory signs on the right, Grenda grinning in the middle her buff arms locked on the two other girl's shoulders. On the left Pacifica smirked, one hand on her waist, her usual confident pose, while her other arm was linked with the tall girl's in the middle.
The lighting made them look like they had auras. It was such a nice picture of the three. Dipper turned and analyzed the photo again and again. It was an older one. At least 4 or 5 years old.
If he had to guess, he would have said that it was taken in the Falls. Yet it could as well have been taken at any other camp or wood the girls visited. Hadn't Pacifica say that she went back to the Falls every summer. Well at least this seemed to be of some kind of proof of that.
He put back everything with languid movements. The only thing he didn't tear open yet, was the envelope. And somehow he felt guiltier by the second as he finally packed everything.
The letter felt heavy in his palm, and he squinted at Pacifica's name in his sister's handwriting. After two weeks he was still surprised by the relationship that Mabel held in secret with the Northwest. Not that it was actually surprising when Ford said that she had charm and could just make a thousand friends in a second wasn't a lie.
Mabel was just like that. Charming.
The envelope was not glued so it opened without resistance. The letter was only four sentences yet Dipper's blood froze on spot.
'You left that by me last time.
I don't know why you need this; I don't know why I don't have those dreams anymore.
If it is what I think it is then you are in bigger trouble than I thought.
Stay safe, we will meet in Gravity Falls.'