The Redemption of Bill Cipher
A Gravity Falls Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
The demon laughed. "What have you donnnnne to yourself, Cipherrrrr? Wearing a meat suit these daaaaays?" Disinterested with the mewling little girl hanging from his fingernail, he twisted his hand and she slid off of it. Before she could cry out, she was surrounded by a bright blue glow and was flying away from the beast and toward her brother.
"Danny?" she whispered as she was brought close to him.
"IT'S OK, CAMMY," he said in Bill Cipher's voice, not turning to face her. "BIG BROTHER'S GONNA MAKE THE BAD GUY GO AWAY NOW."
She blinked in awe. The image of the top hat, cane, and tails would ever after be one she'd associate with strength and safety. Daniel glanced down quickly to ascertain where the best place to put his sister might be and caught his mother's eye. She stared up at them, her face painted with fear for her children's safety. Slowly, as he baited Raxus, Daniel moved his sister to the ground not far from Wendy and she raced to scoop her up. "Danny?!" Wendy shouted, voice cracking.
The boy only nodded.
Wendy clutched her crying daughter to her chest and took a deep breath before shouting "get 'im!" at the top of her lungs. Daniel grinned, gave her a thumbs-up, spun his cane around a few times and charged the beast.
Stan and Dipper watched the fight with a mix of horror and keen interest that unsettled them both. They said nothing. Ford gripped the bars of the cage tightly. "It was Bill. It had to have been…" he muttered, anxious for the fight to be over. Anxious to be let out of the cage and get some answers. "Has he possessed Daniel? Why did he transform? How does he have such power?!" he asked aloud as Daniel buffeted the demon with energy blasts that shook the hills.
"YOU WANTED ME, RAXUS? YOU GOT ME." he growled and sent it crashing into a stand of trees, flattening them. He hoped the demon didn't realize that he was trying to push it further from his family. "SO WHA'DJA WANNA CHAT ABOUT?"
"You are noooooot supposed to be this powerfulllll!" it whined. "When you held opennn the portal to this worrrrld, I thought for suuure you were back! And yet this worrrrld is not youuurs. What is your plaaaaan this time, Cipherrr? I want a piece of the aaaaaction!" Raxus countered, striking Daniel and sending him flying back, closer to the humans. "You left me to roooot, powwwwerless without you when you leffffft. If you're taking oooover this worrrld, we still have a deeeeeal. I want iiiin!"
Daniel generated a shield to cover the people just below them as Raxus hurled a giant boulder at him. It shattered into pieces and rained down around them. Daniel growled. "RAXUS. YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN THAT…" he clutched his cane and it glowed and transformed into a familiar shape. He lifted a golden replica of Ford's beam cannon to his shoulder. "THE PLAN CHANGED. NO DEAL."
"Waaaait! You can't kill meeee!"
"YOU'RE RIGHT, I CAN'T. BUT I CAN BLAST YOUR EXISTENCE INTO A MILLION DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS." He charged the gun and it hummed ominously. "TELL EVERYONE YOU MEET, RAXY OLD CHUM, THAT THIS WORLD BELONGS TO BILL CIPHER. ANYONE WHO WANTS IT HAS TO GET THROUGH ME." Raxus could not get its bulk out of the way fast enough and Daniel shot it. The demon seemed to explode for a millisecond then implode on itself with a keening whistle concluding with a comical 'pop'. Then everything was silent but for the soft weeping of a little girl.
Daniel floated back down to Earth. The gun shrank back up into its usual form and with a wave, the cage that held his father and uncles disappeared. He touched down and walked slowly toward his mother and sister. Wendy watched him closely, stroking Camille's head and shushing her, telling her it was all over. The girl looked up and saw the odd-looking boy in the formal attire approach her. "Danny!" she cried and almost knocked her mother down to run and embrace him. He fell to his knees and hugged her tightly as his aspect returned to normal. Wendy stumbled as she rushed to them both and pulled them close, weeping with relief. Daniel said nothing, but rubbed his tears into his mother's shoulder.
Stan and Ford helped Dipper to his feet; stunned in both mind and body. He called out to his wife "Wendy, be careful!" and she ignored him. "Wendy!"
"It's alright, Dipper," Ford said, putting a calming hand on his shoulder.
"No it's not!" he shouted and shrugged him off. "What do you want with my son, Bill?!" Livid, Dipper took a few staggering steps toward the boy, his eyes wide. "Did you make a deal with him or something?! Huh?!"
"Dipper…" Wendy whispered, loosening her grip on her children. Daniel squeezed her tighter for a moment, then slipped out from under her arms. His father was only a few steps away now, shaking with anger and breathing heavily.
"We defeated you before and we will defeat you again!" Dipper snarled. "I won't let you have my son!"
Daniel's eyes, wet with tears, flicked to each of his relatives. Stan glanced away. Ford lowered his outstretched hand. Wendy and Camille's brows arched with concern and fear. Finally, his green eyes rested on the heart-broken look on his father's face and he tensed. "I'm sorry," was all he could say as he pulsed with yellow light and vanished.
An hour later, the shattered family gathered at the Mystery Shack. Melody took her children up to their rooms and played games with them and kept them as oblivious of what was going on as possible. Camille had refused to go with them unless her parents went with her. She was fussy and pitched a tantrum so they told her to take a nap. She curled up on the overstuffed chair in the corner of the living room and promptly fell asleep, so the adults decided to leave her there rather than fight her. Mabel lay stretched out on the couch. Stan pulled a gaudy crocheted afghan over her and tucked her in. He stroked her forehead and quietly begged her to wake up, but she didn't show a single sign that she knew he was there.
The five of them gathered around the table on the other side of the room under the stained glass lamp and tried to figure out what to do next. Ford tapped his many fingers on the table, lost in thought, and a leaden silence fell over them as if talking about Daniel's transformation would make it more real than it already was.
At last, Ford spoke, offering a simple, effective way to get Daniel to return.
"We can summon him," he stated plainly.
"Have you lost your fucking mind?!" Dipper hissed, trying not to wake Camille.
Ford winced and Stan grumbled something about letting cooler heads prevail that didn't exactly sound supportive. Ford slumped his shoulders. "I understand your feelings as a father, Dipper. I do. Please consider this: your son has vanished and we cannot retrieve him through conventional means. Also consider my confidence which, I acknowledge, has been faulty in the past..." He cleared his throat. "However, I am confident that it wasn't my calculations that saved Stan and me from the Bermuda Triangle. I was given that information in my dreams by a blond-haired boy."
"For Chrissake Sixer!" Stan cried. "After the last disastrous time you got tipped off by a voice in your head you thought 'oh sure, this sounds legit'!"
Ford raised his hands defensively. "I admit I was more than a little desperate to get home. In my defense, he didn't appear as the triangle that tortured me. The boy's appearance was shadowy and he wore a mask with what looked like the face of an owl. He told me that my family missed me and that he would search for the next opening to our home world. Stan and I sailed to the heart of the Triangle and waited. A week later, I was briefly thrust into the Mindscape and the boy hurriedly told me that the opening had appeared nearby. His coordinates were not suspicious! They were very close to those that I had calculated, myself! I urged Stan to rush to the scene and it was right where he said it would be. That boy was Daniel-I have no doubt-using Bill's powers just as he did today."
Wendy looked to Dipper and Soos. "Remember how just before they came home, we told Danny what really happened to Stan and Ford? He didn't know before then. When he heard you were maybe still out there somewhere, he was really upset about it. Wondered why we hadn't told him the truth..."
Soos nodded slowly. "Oh yeah, little guy was sick that week," he said softly. "Stayed home from school. Slept a lot."
Dipper sucked in a breath but said nothing. He rubbed his right thumb over his index finger repeatedly for want of a pen to click.
Ford nodded. "He may have worn himself out travelling to the Mindscape to help us." He held out his six-fingered hand to his nephew. "Let me help get him back. Please."
Dipper closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He folded his arms around himself. "I don't like this," he said. "I don't know if I can ever trust anything to do with Bill. How is it that you can, Ford?"
Ford looked sheepishly to his extended hand, only now seeing the parallel, and let it drop to his side. "Because the Bill I knew would never do a single thing without expecting something in return, and he'd certainly never apologize."
Stan stood up. "That's great, but what if we're wrong?"
Wendy suppressed a curse as her daughter whimpered in her sleep "I want my son back," she hissed. "How about you chuckleheads figure out what to do about Bill after that?"
"But Wendy, what if he's Bill and not our son?"
Ford shook his head. "I think you've got it mixed up." He held his own hands together. "I believe your son Daniel is Bill."
"Gee, thanks, Ford. I feel so much better now!" Dipper cried sarcastically and Wendy shushed him again.
Stan frowned. His brows furrowed deep in thought. He paced a few steps away and his gaze unfocused as he stared at Mabel.
"Dipper, Darling," Wendy said through clenched teeth. "Daniel is our kid. You saw the look on his face before he disappeared! He deserves forgiveness and love even if he isn't Bill, but maybe more because he is."
"Whoa," Soos breathed. "That's some heavy stuff, dude."
Wendy pivoted, a little annoyed with his comment. "What about you, Soos? What would you think if it were Nita this was happening to?"
He pursed his lips and collected his thoughts for a second. "My kid is my kid. If she turns out to be a… a panther, or a lawyer, or sentient patch of haze, she's still my kid."
"Soos," Dipper piped and pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. "What if your kid was a lawyer who threw you down a flight of stairs and tried to destroy everything you loved and the entire universe you live in?"
Ford nodded. "Ah yes, the universe! Consider that this might be our chance to save the entire known universe from Bill. If he's given a second chance…"
Dipper opened his mouth to argue but Stan cleared his throat. "Alright, shut up for a second. I wasn't sold on trusting him until I heard what Wendy and Soos just said…" he rubbed the back of his head. "Bein' someone who was once a huge jerk and a screw up…" Ford tried to protest, but Stan waved him off. "I can relate. Dipper, it wasn't until you and Mabel came into my life that I started to change. That I saw that Soos wasn't just some weird kid-he was my son. That Ford wasn't just a ghost reminding me how useless I was-he was my brother. And I loved all'a ya," he said, sniffling, trying to hold back his tears. "Once I got that, I was saved. If it weren't for you two, I woulda been lost. Maybe that's why Bill's where he is, and who he is."
Dipper rubbed his face. "So, what? You're saying God or something made him our kid so that he could get in on this sweet, sweet, Pines Family lovin'?"
Stan looked to his brother. Ford just shrugged. "Yeah," he said.
Before Dipper could protest some more everyone jumped as Camille let out a terrified scream. Dipper knocked his chair over as he bolted for her. She was sitting up in the chair, crying. Despite the noise, Mabel slept on.
Camille threw her arms around her father and babbled something fairly incomprehensible. "You had a bad dream?" he asked. "It's ok. You're awake now, it's ok…" He glanced up at the others with a terrified look that told them instantly what he was thinking. That maybe this had something to do with Bill.
"Where's Danny?!" Camille wailed. "He's gotta come fix it!"
"Come fix what, Sweetie?" Dipper asked.
"My dream. He always fixes it." She rubbed the palm of her little hand into an eye and pouted, calming down.
Her father's voice shook. "H-how does he fix it?"
She looked up at him, the change in his timbre triggering a sympathetic response. "He goes in and makes the bad things go away. He fights the monsters, Daddy. He tried to teach me how, too, but I'm too scared."
Dipper's heart flew into his throat and he whispered his wife's name as quietly as he could. She was at his side in an instant and took Camille from him before he dropped her. All the color drained from his face. His son had powers. His son helped ease his sister's fears. His son retrieved Stan and Ford from a distant dimension. His son was out there somewhere, and he was sorry for what he'd done.
His son, Dipper allowed himself to think for the first time, was Bill Cipher. He dropped to his knees, grasping the side of the chair for support so that he didn't fall over completely and started to shake and gasp.
Wendy rocked her daughter in her arms, putting on her 'everything is totally chill' face and working her mother-magic.
Stan and Soos rushed to Dipper's side, drawing him away so that his panic attack wouldn't upset his daughter. They sat him down on the chair he'd knocked over and crouched before him, holding his knees and muttering words of gentle encouragement. When Dipper had stopped hyperventilating Soos told him he could use his bedroom to go lie down for a while and wordlessly, Dipper nodded and agreed. Once Camille was asleep, Wendy went to join him and Soos went to help Melody, upstairs.
The living room was quiet again. "Never a dull moment, eh, Sixer?"
"Hm…" Ford nodded. He was seated on the floor, jotting down notes in one of his journals. Stan scoffed, a little abrasively and he looked up. "I'm sorry. I figured I'd use the lull to take some notes." He closed the book and set it aside. "What did you say?"
"Never a dull moment," he repeated.
Ford made a bemused face. "Imagine being bored," he said quietly. "I can't."
Stan chuckled. "You think this is gonna be ok? My guts are in turmoil worryin' about Mabel and the kid."
"Yes," he said getting to his feet as Dipper and Wendy emerged from the darkened hallway, arm in arm. They exchanged a quick kiss before they entered the room, but didn't relinquish their grip on one another. "I believe everything will be ok."
Just to be safe, Soos agreed to protect the women and children. Soos kept watch over Mabel and Melody took the five children and barricaded themselves in the old lab below the Mystery Shack to wait for the all-clear.
Outside, Ford dropped his supplies on the ground and looked up at the darkening sky. "First, we ought to do the obvious." He took a deep breath. "Daniel! If you can hear me! Come home!" He waited for a few moments then gave the anxious parents a sheepish look. "It was worth a shot!" Ford shrugged and drew a cryptic circle on the ground with a can of white spray paint. "Good thing I have this awful thing memorized," he muttered as he placed and lit a series of white candles.
"Ford," his brother called, stepping gingerly over the lines. "You sure you got this?" he whispered and put a protective hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sure, Stanley. It's ok." He smiled back. "He's family." Ford grit his teeth and Stan hopped back out of the way. He raised his arms toward the sky as he had done decades before. "Triangulum, entangulum. Veneforis dominus ventium. Veneforis venetisarium!" His eyes glowed and the sky went grey and cracked open causing those present to scream in alarm. A huge eye appeared in the air above them and glowed so brightly they had to look away before it resolved into the form of a boy.
Daniel appeared just as he had when he fought the demon, top hat, tails, and cane, a single exposed eye glowing yellow, but his expression was a nervous one and he hovered in the air, gripping the cane tightly. "HELLO UNCLE FORD," he said in Bill's voice.
"Hello, Daniel," Ford said. "I assume that is you?"
He nodded, stretched his left hand out to his side and with a move like a magician pulling a card from thin air, produced a mask. He held it to his face and Ford made a satisfied hum and clapped his hands together as he recognized the owl mask from his dreams. "Ha! I told you it was him. Daniel saved us from the Triangle." He paused and made a bemused face. Everyone was startled by his barking laugh. "Huh, that's ironic, isn't it?"
Daniel dropped the mask and it disappeared in a flash of blue flame. "THE IRONY WASN'T LOST ON ME, NO." He slowly descended to hover just above the ground at eye-level with the adults. "I DIDN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW. I DIDN'T WANT TO LOSE YOU," he said, pouting. "I KNOW YOU WON'T BELIEVE ME BUT I LOVE YOU. YOU'RE MY FAMILY AND IF I LOST YOU AGAIN…" He worried the cane. "I'M AFRAID I'LL BE LOST AGAIN TO MADNESS AND GRIEF AND THE ILLUSION I'D CREATED TO PUSH IT ALL DOWN. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, BUT IT WAS MY FAULT THAT MY FAMILY… THAT THEY ALL…" To their astonishment, the otherworldly boy seemed to be repressing tears. "AND THEN I GOT A SECOND CHANCE BUT I BLEW IT WHEN I FLICKED IN AND OUT OF THE WORLDS TO FIND YOU AND STAN. IT TIPPED OFF RAXUS AND HE TRIED TO HURT CAMMY AND…"
He didn't get to finish as Wendy charged him and threw her arms around him. "It's ok!" she cried. "It's gonna be ok. We're gonna get through this." She pressed his head to her shoulder and he froze. Over her shoulder he saw his father tense and clench his hands into fists. Daniel squeezed his eye shut. "I love you," Wendy whispered. "Please come home." She could feel him trembling, but held tight.
Daniel felt a large, protective hand lift his top hat and smooth his blond hair. His eye shot open and he looked on the compassionate face of his father, Dipper Pines, Pine Tree, the boy whose body he'd once thrown down a flight of stairs. "Come home, Danny," he said.
The blond youth breathed a sigh. Quickly, his aspect changed back and the little boy clung to his mother, exhausted and sobbing as if he'd just been overtired and needed a nap. Shushing him, Wendy carried him back into the house, followed closely by Dipper. Stan made to follow, but Ford held him back.
"Help me with this?" he asked, indicating to the circle and the lit candles. A bit dazed, Stan walked the perimeter and helped extinguish and collect the candles and did as his brother did, obscuring the painted lines with his foot.
"You still think it's gonna be ok?"
Ford looked to the house and smiled. "You know, it took nearly a lifetime to figure it out, but I can say I'm confident that it will."
Ford shrugged. "Love always wins."
Stan could not suppress a sappy grin and clapped his brother on the back.
Everyone was retrieved from the basement and Stan and Ford pulled Soos aside to explain what had happened. Mabel lay on the couch in the living room, still unresponsive but breathing. Dipper asked Wendy to take the kids home so the he and Ford could work on finding a way to wake his sister and Daniel noticed her lying there. "Aunt Mabel slept through the whole thing," he said, drowsily.
"No," Dipper corrected him. His wife tried to stop him but he insisted that he should know the truth. "Your buddy Raxus did something to her and she's been like that since."
Daniel perked up and approached the couch. "He wasn't my buddy," he said. "He was a…" Daniel frowned. "Sorry, I don't know the word. A guy who follows you around because he wants what you have."
"A lacky?" Wendy offered.
"That's it. Sorry. I got a seven-year-old brain. It's still gotta learn a lot of stuff." He put his hand on Mabel's forehead. "I can wake her up. Is that ok, Daddy?"
Dipper's mouth hung open. He was torn, but a nod from Wendy encouraged him. He nodded his approval. Daniel's eyes flashed yellow and Mabel was surrounded in a soft, blue glow.
In Mabel's dreamscape, Daniel sat on a bean bag chair in his Bill-form and tapped his cane on his crossed legs. "HI," he said in that voice that was both loud and at a normal volume at the same time.
"Hi?" Mabel said and stepped over piles of confetti and spent silly-string to get closer to him. "Do I know you? You look like this one guy I met at an art show in Akihabara..."
She raised a brow. "Really?"
"YES, SHOOTING STAR. I AM."
Mabel gasped and took a step backwards. "Bill!"
"Whaddaya mean you're Daniel?!" she cried.
Daniel sighed and remained seated in the bean bag. His shoulders slumped, defeated, resigned to the truth. "I WAS REINCARNATED AS PINE TREE AND ICY'S KID. I AM DANIEL."
Mabel opened her mouth. She shifted her weight to one foot and put her hand on her chin. "You're really Bill… but you're not the demented evil dorito I remember…"
"NO," he said softly/loudly. "I'M NOT." He made a little motion with his cane and drew up a bean bag for her to sit on and offered her a seat. "I'M GOING TO BREAK RAXUS' SPELL AND WAKE YOU UP SOON, BUT I WANTED TO CHAT FIRST. IS THAT OK?"
She nodded slowly, unblinking.
"DADDY'S REALLY MAD AT ME."
"Cheezits H. Christmas that sounds weird coming outta your mouth. I'd almost rather you keep calling him Pine Tree!"
"TOMATO TOMAHTO," he said, shrugging. "THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT. I THINK HE'S NOT SOLD ON THE FACT THAT I AM WHO I AM, BUT THERE'S SOMETHING EVEN CREEPIER I FIGURED OUT TODAY AND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TELL THEM..."
Mabel shuddered. "Wh-what's that?"
Daniel leaned in a little and smiled wistfully. "ALL OF YOU… ARE REINCARNATIONS OF MY FAMILY. YOU AND CAMMY, GRAMPA DAN, ALL MY UNCLES, EVEN SOOS AND HIS KIDS... SINCE I FULLY 'AWAKENED' TODAY, I RECOGNIZE YOU ALL NOW." He hugged his knees. "THAT MEDDLING AXOLOTL MUST HAVE HAD THIS SET UP FOR A HUNDRED YEARS." He chuckled darkly. "AN EON AGO, I LOST MY FAMILY IN A GIANT ACCIDENT THAT I CAUSED. I WANTED MORE-A BETTER LIFE FOR MYSELF-BUT I DIDN'T CONSIDER THEIR HAPPINESS AT ALL AND MY SELFISHNESS DESTROYED THEM AND ATE AWAY AT MY WORLD UNTIL THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT." He put his head down on his arms. "I WON'T EVER LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN. BUT NOW THAT PINE TREE KNOWS THAT I'M BILL, I'M… I'M AFRAID..." He took a moment and looked away. "I'M AFRAID THEY WON'T LOVE ME ANYMORE."
From that angle, Mabel could see that there was no eye under the long, blond fringe of hair. Her heart twisted. "Oh man…" she whispered. "I don't have kids, but I can't imagine they don't love you, I mean really deep down? I do!"
Daniel raised his head. "YOU DO? AFTER EVERYTHING I DID TO YOU AND PINE TREE…"
She smiled. "Love's a no-brainer for me. I just do it. It's a lot easier than hate, so I kind of default to it, I guess. And I think I know my bro-bro pretty well. I know how crazy in love with you he was from the moment you were born. You're two peas! Nerd and Nerd Jr! I guess it must hurt him to think that maybe you were lying to him, but if you didn't know…"
The boy winced.
"Oh, you did know, huh?"
"KIND OF. I COULDN'T ARTICULATE IT. I STILL CAN'T. I'M SEVEN. I DON'T EVEN KNOW THE WORD 'ARTICULATE'. ONLY WHEN MY SUBCONSCIOUS IS FREE CAN I DRAW ON MY POWERS OR ANY OF THE VAST KNOWLEDGE I HAVE AS BILL CIPHER."
"Well, then you didn't lie!"
"He can't stay mad."
"Bill! Danny! Kid!" Mabel cried and grabbed his shoulders. "We love you. You belong to us. It'll be ok."
To her surprise he started to cry. "THAT'S WHAT MOM SAID, BUT DAD…"
She yanked him up off the bean bag and hugged him fiercely. "If that idiot can't tell you how scared he is and how much he loves you, then I'll kick his butt until he does!"
Daniel hugged her back and nodded into her shoulder. 'THANK YOU, AUNT MABEL."
She put him down and put her hands on her hips. "And I love you, too Bill-Danny. Billny? Banny?"
He groaned but laughed. "JUST DANNY. THAT IS WHO I AM."
She laughed, too. "Fair enough. You ready to wake me up?"
He nodded, picked up his cane and with a wave created a door. Mabel took his hand and they walked through it together back into the waking world.