So, this is a story I wrote a long time ago, and is inspired by a fanfiction with a similar premise called "Dipper's Ascension" by ForbiddenFandom. I never finished it, and probably won't, but I figured I'd post it here anyways. Its probably not great, but enjoy!
Ch.1 A second chance
It was a strange feeling, fusing minds with another being. It felt to him like he was no longer himself, yet at the same time, he was. More even; He was both himself and the nameless entity that offered itself up to him. It was as if their identities were colliding. They were still themselves, but of one mind, and saw through one set of eyes. Alcor... That was the being's name. It was never told to him, he just simply knew, as if he had always known it. Which he had. It was his own name after all. Knowing what Alcor knew however, it was probably most appropriate not to take on that name for the new entity. He would take the name that he already had, the one that Alcor always wished he could regain. Dipper... Yes, that was fitting. Dipper opened his eyes to be greeted by a face that he saw only yesterday, and yet hadn't seen in eons. His sister, Miza-... No... That life was gone. This was his second chance. He would leave Alcor, Mizar, and all the transcendence bullshit back in the now nonexistent past, where it belongs. Tears streamed down Dipper's face as he embraced His sister, Mabel.
"Woah, bro-bro, what's gotten into you?" She asked, half confused, yet still smiling brightly at the sudden affection from her brother. Gods, how he missed that smile. The smile that banished his worries as soon as they appeared, the smile that kept him sane until the day he was forced to exile himself in order to preserve it. He would never let it go again.
"It's nothing Mabel," he said with a small smile. "Say, what day is it?"
Her smile changed to an expression of mild concern, "it's Friday, June 10th... Are you sure you're alright?"
"Yes, yes, worry not." Dipper said with a sigh.
Mabel eyed him strangely at those words. He would have to get used to talking like a normal 12 year old again. More importantly, it was the first day of summer vacation, they were about to be told about their 'surprise' trip to Gravity falls. Dipper smiled to himself, remembering that fateful summer as he descended the stairs to greet his parents. Alcor couldn't have chosen a better time to cast that spell; he could stop his demonification at the hands of Bill, and finally reclaim the relatively normal life he deserved, one that would end at the same time as his loved ones'. The strangeness of his excitement towards his own mortality was not lost on him, even through the ages. It was not that he had any particular desire for death, it was more that he was tired of outliving everyone he cared about several times over. There were two plates of eggs, bacon, and toast on the kitchen table. He couldn't remember the last time he actually ate anything. Or could he? This fusion thing was confusing, even for an ancient demon in a human body. Mabel immediately joined him, followed shortly by their parents. Admittedly, he did not have the best memories of his parents. They didn't exactly take well to the whole demon thing, and that resulted in a slightly strained relationship, but Dipper had no desire to hold a grudge against them, as selfish as they had been, they were still his parents, and he wouldn't lose them a second time.
"Soooo..." His father began. "What do you guys have planned for this summer?"
Mabel looked up at him with half a fried egg hanging from her mouth, and shrugged. "I don't know," she said, finishing the egg. "But I promise it'll involve minimal broken bones!"
Their father sighed, "We figured as much, which is why we're sending you both away to Oregon to visit your great uncle Stan, and get you guys some fresh air!"
"What?!" Cried his sister, suddenly standing. That's so unfair though! We both have things we wanted to do this summer, right Dip?" She turned to Dipper, looking for aid, but he simply shrugged. "I don't think it's that bad of an idea."
Mabel looked at him incredulously. "Seriously?! You really want to spend your summer in some hick town in Oregon?"
"Mabel, that's enough, it's already been arranged." Said their mother, finally speaking. "And thank you Mason, for being open minded about this."
Dipper just shrugged again, his mind still buzzing about all the things he was going to do differently this time around, all the ways he could utilize his 'new' demonic powers to aid in their adventures. But that was months off, he needed to focus on the here and now.
"Alright, since we've gotten that out of the way, you guys should pack." Said their father. "You leave early tomorrow." Mabel, though still somewhat upset, was still being the optimist and ran upstairs to find the perfect sweaters to pack to attract her "epic summer romance" as she would soon describe it. Dipper followed shortly after, excited for this new chapter to begin.
Dipper sat on the bus next to Mabel, reading one of the cryptid books that he found in his room, more than a little amused by the wild inaccuracies present within. All the same, it was as fascinating to him now, as it was the last time around. He closed the book, and sighed, nodding his head backwards, staring at the ceiling, or more specifically the small dot hovering above. That dot was the bridge between this world and that of his exile; the dimension he had created when his power grew so great that his mere presence destroyed galaxies. The fusion had only been one of the mind, therefore his physical form still remained there in stasis, and if he so chose, he could withdraw power from it to use at his disposal. Like so! He thought as he made a small blue flame appear on his finger. He'd have to be careful with that though, there's only so much power the body of a human child can hold without proper conditioning. He extinguished it quickly and glanced over to Mabel who was sound asleep on his shoulder, as she had been for many hours. The trip from Piedmont to Gravity Falls was a long one, but it was a pilgrimage they had to make. After all, it was their true home. The place where they'd be accepted no matter what happened. Even if Mabel didn't know it yet. He soon felt the familiar, yet foreign feeling of exhaustion. He let out a yawn and allowed sleep to overtake him.
His dreams, unfortunately, were not pleasant ones. He was back at the day the earth died, when all the souls scattered across the universe looking for new hosts to be reincarnated into. Even with all his demonic power, and all his omniscience, he couldn't follow the souls of all his loved ones for millions of light years in opposite directions. He had to choose, and he chose Mabel, of course. It broke his heart to leave behind everyone, even if they would never remember him in their new lives anyhow. The earth was grey, all natural life had been destroyed by humans. Even the oceans had taken on an inky black hue; Even the once vast, diverse, and majestic seas were not safe from mankind's wrath. It almost amused Alcor that humans, as a result of all their ambitions, destroyed themselves and the world around them, but now that he was human again, it terrified him. It was yet to come, and he was now going to be a part of it. He flew down onto the surface of the planet from his spot in the stratosphere, and looked around him. He saw the ruins of humanity; large buildings collapsed, once lush community parks now barren, and one final sight that broke the heart of a then unfeeling demon. A small child clinging to the corpse of his mother, his tears spilling onto her face.
Dipper woke up with his eyes stinging, and a concerned Mabel hovering over him. "We're here Dip, are you alright?"
Dipper pulled his hand to his face and saw that it was wet with tears. He wiped them away and smiled at her.
"Yeah, I'm good, just a bit of a nightmare is all."
"Well don't worry about dreams too much, it's time to start our epic-summer-vacation-of-awesomeness!" She cried, her wide, braces filled smile returning to her.
He laughed, "I thought you hated the idea of coming here?"
"Yeah, well, can't mope forever, let's go!" She replied. They clambered off of the bus to be greeted by their great uncle Stanley, or Stanford as he was calling himself at the moment wearing his signature suit and fez. It's been far too long... He thought.
He smiled widely at him and ran to embrace him. He looked down at me with a strange look that said "What the fuck are you doin' kid?" Wait, no. He actually said that out loud. "Oh, sorry, we're your great niece, and nephew!" Dipper explained, slightly embarrassed. He had to keep in mind that none of the people here would remember them, or how close they were, or rather would come to be.
The shifty looking man sighed and spoke again. "Yeah, you're parents called me ahead of time, just never do that again and we'll be good." He said gruffly.
Mabel gave him a weird stare, likely because his out of character extroverted-ness towards someone that for all she knew, he had only just met. The mystery shack was just as he remembered: crappy, and rundown. But it had always been his home, for as long as he remembered. They went inside and he looked around at all the obviously fake exhibits: the sascrotch, the sixpackalope, and then his eyes fell upon the redhead behind the gift shop counter, with her forearm acting as a support beam, keeping her head off of it. Wendy... His heart skipped a beat at the sight of the girl that could, and did, captivate a demon more powerful than God himself. Even through all her successive reincarnations, he never forgot about her, and his heart always longed for her, but up until now, he lacked the humanity for it to work. He had to be especially careful around her, to make sure he did nothing to reveal that they already knew each other. Grunkle Stan led them past the gift shop and up the stairs to the attic, where they'd be staying.
"Alright, you little hooligans, yer on yer own," said Stan, turning away. "I'll see you two at dinner."
As soon as the door closed behind them, Dipper threw his stuff onto his bed, and Mabel looked at him with a grin. "So, brother of mine," she began. "What should we do first?"
Dipper already knew what he wanted to do first, he had to look for the thing that started it all: the journal 3. Fortunately, he already knew where to find it. "Actually Mabel, I was thinking about going to explore the woods, wanna come?"
"Sure..." She said cautiously. "Why though?"
Dipper thought quickly, "Well, you know, there really aren't a lot of forests in Piedmont, so I thought it'd be interesting? You know, explore, poke a dead body with a stick, that sort of thing, heh." He was talking too fast, this was something he had done often when he was nervous as a child, but he had since grown out of it. Or at least he had until he fused with his twelve year old counterpart that is. "Okay..." She said questioningly. "Let's go then." They headed out and Dipper grabbed the stack of signs by the front door, along with a hammer and nails, leaving a befuddled Stan standing behind them looking like he was about to ask for something, but decided against it. Dipper headed into the woods with a purpose, Mabel trailing right behind. He had long memorized the pathway to the hatch where the journal was, he only stopped to nail in the occasional sign.
Mabel was silent all the while. It was clear that he was unnerving her with his behavior, and that he could not blame her for; a day ago, her brother was the normal, goofy dork he always was, and now he was all of a sudden acting decisive, acting as though he knew what would happen next, and being overall strange. No, he could not hold any of that against her, but he also didn't know how to remedy it. He was always her brother, but now he had billions of years more life experience that hasn't even happened yet. For a moment he pondered telling her, but quickly brushed the thought aside. Nobody could know. It would jeopardize everything he held dear. Perhaps he just had to allow more of his twelve year old self to show through, but that was easier said than done; he was billions of years old, to suddenly ask him to act twelve was like asking a bear to be rabbit. Even with the sudden re-exposure to his old nature, only so much could be done. He sighed as he walked, and turned to Mabel. "Hey, want race?" He said with a grin.
Her face brightened and she returned the smile he gave her. "Heck yeah! Where to?" She asked.
They had already gotten close, and the fake tree was already in sight, so he pointed at that. She immediately bolted, without giving Dipper no time at all to react. He ran after her, not able to keep up without using demonic power, and heard a thud as Mabel crashed into the metal tree, apparently not having thought to slow down. "Owww..." She groaned. "What the hell's this tree made of?"
Dipper slowed to a stop, learning from Mabel's mistake and approached it, putting his hand on it. He wore the best fake puzzled face he could make, pretending to analyze the trunk."It feels like steel or something" He said, feeling around for the outline of the hatch. The grooves suddenly revealed themselves to him and he gave door a swift yank, revealing the control panel inside. Mabel got back up and looked in, her eyes widening. "Woah, what is this?" She gasped.
I turned the knobs and flipped the switches in a way he knew would open the trap door containing the journal. There was a whir of machinery as the old tome made its presence known. He sauntered over to the hole in the ground and picked it up, staring at it, and it at him. Two creatures of knowledge, gazing into each other's souls, sharing what they knew. That's what the exchange became as he opened it up and wrote his name in the cover with a pen he'd brought. That should be offering enough. He thought. The book had been his first teacher, it had shown him the truth of the world beyond what an average person could understand, and over time he'd come to see it as more of a companion than an inanimate object, for what was a book than a bit of a person? A person who he could converse with, share thoughts with and glean new ideas from. And it helped that the person between the leather covers just so happened to be family. The only difference had been that the book never died. It never forgot him, or his name, as long as it was written inside. That saddened him some, because now he was back at the beginning, and the journal had forgotten him; all the things he'd added over the aeons were missing. No matter, He thought. I remember every word, I'll merely jog it's memory. He heard a throat clear and Dipper suddenly remembered his sister standing behind him. "Are you done making out with that book bro bro?" She asked, stifling a giggle.
"I wasn't making out with it!" Dipper snapped. "I was just... Acquainting myself with it"
"Whatever Dippin' sauce," She said, smiling."Anywho, what's this doing out here in the first place?" Dipper, of course, knew perfectly well why it was there, but he couldn't very well say that to Mabel. "No clue, but I think it's something definitely worth looking into," He said, feigning ignorance. "Let's get back, we've finished with the signs for the most part. Also, could you keep the journal just between the two of us for the time being? Just until we figure out what's going on with it."
Mabel only blinked at me before agreeing with mild hesitation not born of desire to tell others, though she was Mabel, so there was plenty of that, but rather of surprise at his desire to keep it hidden. Dipper knew it was a bit of strange request, but he knew not how to say it differently. Their walk back took all of an hour, during which time Dipper delighted in goofing around with his sister; telling jokes, sword fighting with sticks and making up for lost time. They were both in exceptionally good moods by the time they reached the shack and that did not go unnoticed by their Grunkle who greeted them at the door.
"Alright, what's with the creepy smiles?" He said, raising an eyebrow. "There's no way setting up signs in a forest was in any way fun."
Mabel only giggled. "Not if you know how to have fun!" She said.
"Yeah, I don't think he knows what fun is." Came Wendy's voice from the register.
"Shut up, Wendy!" Stan growled. "Anyways, I'm going out for a bit. Stay out of trouble, and against my better judgement, Wendy's in charge." And with that he walked out, slamming the door behind him. Mabel went over to the counter to properly greet the red headed girl who was now apparently in charge of them, followed by Dipper.
"I'm guessing you're Wendy!" She said, grinning.
Wendy looked up from the magazine she was reading and looked at Them with the same laid back expression that Dipper had fallen in love with so many years ago.
"Yup, and you two must be the reason why Soos and I had to clean out the attic." She said with a hint of mirth in her voice.
A nervous chuckle was Mabel's only response as she rubbed her neck apologetically.
Wendy then turned her gaze to Dipper, a small smile crossing her lips before she spoke. "Oh, and thanks for taking care of those signs! I'm pretty sure if you hadn't, Stan would've made me do it, and I try to avoid work when possible."
The twelve year old Dipper would have broken into uncontrollable sweating and stuttered madly at this, but Alcor was now apart of him, and his infinite age and wisdom managed to lower the reaction to two stutters and a minuscule level of perspiration in his pits. "N-No problem! H-happy to help!"
Wendy giggled a bit at the awkward preteen. He smiled back at her. Oh, how good it felt to talk to Wendy once more. She was one of the things that made his self imposed exile so difficult. The thought of never seeing her, or at least an incarnation of her again terrified him, but he knew that it had to be done, lest he destroy all that he loved. Dipper thought back to the last time he saw this version of Wendy; she was an old, frail woman, and he was still his youthful self. She had lost the use of her legs years ago, while Alcor didn't even need them at all. It broke his heart seeing her in that condition; The once lively, confident girl he knew and loved now lacked the energy to even say his name. It wasn't fair, he should've grown old with her... And now he could. Dipper returned to reality to Wendy snapping her fingers in front of him. "Dude, you awake?"
Dipper turned bright red as realized that he had visibly checked out. "S-sorry!"
She laughed again. "No worries! Anyways, I know her name," she said, pointing to Mabel. "But who are you?"
Dipper stuck out his hand for her to shake, and introduced himself. "I'm her brother Dipper."
Wendy had a dazed look on her face for a moment, as if she'd just been stricken with sudden deja vu, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. "Oh, look who suddenly became confident!" She said, smirking and taking his hand. "Anyways, my shift is just about over, so what do you guys want to do until Stan gets back?"
Mabel's ever-present grin grew wider as ideas formed in her mind. "Oh I've got a couple of thoughts!"
Dipper shuffled awkwardly. As much as he wanted to spend time with Wendy, and Mabel, he had some business to take care of. "I think I'm just going to explore the shack a bit," he said. "You know, just see what 'horrible creatures' await us in the woods."
Wendy shrugged. "Suit yourself, man," she said, running into the shack's living room with Mabel."
Dipper walked through the shack until he found a properly secluded spot behind some old shelves and fake looking monster statues. He snapped his fingers, causing a ring of blue flames to appear and disappear on the floor, leaving only a scorch-mark summoning circle. He pulled a pocket knife out of his pocket and cut open his palm, allowing hot blood to drip onto the circle. The blood began to move, slithering onto the lines around it in preparation for what was to come. The circle then started to glow yellow, the bloody runes lifting off of the floor and forming into one solid shape. The summoning was complete, from the blood now floated a two dimensional, yellow triangle. A black top hat adorned it's head, and a single, catlike eye decorated it's 'face', if you could call it that. Despite not having a mouth, the triangle appeared to grin, and it spoke. "Hello Pine tree."
Ah Bill, his old enemy. It was funny, after all this time of him not being a threat to Dipper, he had almost come to see Bill as a friend, or at least a playmate that kept him entertained with his games for a time, but he knew this was only a sentiment. The reality was that with Dipper's return, Bill was sure to follow, and he needed to make sure That the dream demon didn't try anything that might interfere. "Oh, you really did it now, buddy!" Said Bill at last, closing his eye and waving his finger in a scolding manner. "Resetting the timeline on a universe? That's bad news, even by my standards! Can't say I'm not grateful though, not everyday a guy gets to come back from the dead."
Dipper glared at him coldly, Bill's return had merely been collateral damage, not an intended effect.
"I didn't do it for you." He spat.
Bill laughed heartily. "Of course you didn't! You did it for you and you alone! You erased billions of years of history just so you could get your 'happy ending' with Red up there, isn't that right?," Bill sneered.
Dipper didn't know what to say, a part of him was aware of the selfishness of his actions, but most of him just denied it, he had suffered in silence for far too long, sacrificed enough, surely this was justified? He shook his head, hardening his resolve. "Leave Wendy out of this." He said to the demon. "Oh, gladly! Just know, the only Dipper she had any chance of ever loving died when you stole my powers." As Bill said this, his eye became red and violent, but soon returned to its normal state. "But that's not what you wanted to talk about, now is it, Pine tree?"
"I want you to stay away from me and my family." Dipper told him sternly.
"Relax kid, I have no interest in you're nonexistent family anymore, I learned my lesson from last time, besides you have bigger problems on your hands."
Dipper raised an eyebrow at this. "What might those be?" He asked.
"As I said, resetting the timeline is bad news, it can cause some 'minor' instabilities. Anywho, I'd love to chat more, but I'm afraid your inferior human blood isn't able to satisfy me for any longer than this, TOODLES!" He said in his mockingly high pitched voice, before disappearing in a burst of blue flame. What had he meant? What instabilities? Looks like I'm just going to have to wait and find out, aren't I? He thought with a sigh, as the blood that had composed bill's body splattered to the ground. He was going to need a mop.
Dipper's head was cluttered after his encounter with Bill, it was just like him to leave early the one time he needed him to stay. There were far too many unanswered questions, but at the very least he knew that Bill wouldn't try anything. At least not yet. All of Dipper's thoughts were pushed away forcefully by the sight of his sister hanging upside down from the ceiling in a cocoon made of bedsheets with only her head poking out and Wendy videotaping her ordeal on her cell phone. She turned around to face Dipper when she noticed him behind her, and flashed him a wide grin. "Oh, hey dude," She said smoothly, camera still in hand. "I was about to go looking for you!"
Dipper just sort of stared at her, trying hard not to burst it laughing. "Yes, of course you were. And I'm sure that Mabel was trying to acquire psychic powers to find me by having all her blood rush to her head."
Mabel began wriggling around in her cocoon, lifting her head to face Dipper. "You know it, Dippin' sauce!" She yelled, as her cocoon undid itself, making her plummet to the ground. She picked herself up quickly and faced Dipper once more. "Where did you go anyways?" She said, a smile still plastered on her face despite her curiosity.
"Um, just went to look around at some of the exhibits, nothing much really." Lied Dipper, almost too smoothly.
"Ah, see anything interesting bro-bro?" She replied, her face unchanging.
"Nah," Dipper said, shrugging. "Everything in there's as fake as fake gets."
Mabel laughed at this, and Wendy chimed in. "Yeah, anyone with half a brain could figure that out," She said, with a hint of sarcasm. "It's a good thing that the majority of the tourists who come in here have even less than that!"
Mabel had stopped listening though, she was now transfixed on a boy in the gift shop wearing a light green camo shirt. She smushed her hands into her cheeks and whispered "He's perfect!" Before running up to him, no doubt making him feel extraordinarily uncomfortable.
Something's definitely off...
Dipper's never once been able to lie to Mabel. She knew him too well, but he just lied to her face, and she thought nothing of it whatsoever. Bill's words echoed in Dipper's mind;
The only Dipper she had any chance of ever loving died when you stole my powers...
He had been talking about Wendy of course, but his meaning still carried over, and a pang of dread shot into his chest. Something he hadn't considered, or at least didn't want to consider. Was he really still Dipper? He was certainly not the one they knew, he wouldn't grow along side them as he had the first time around, he couldn't create new experiences with them. Was he wrongfully asserting himself into their lives? Attempting to force a precious relationship that does not yet exist? He didn't want to accept this, and so he didn't. Dipper simply pushed the thoughts into far reaches of his mind willing himself into a state of denial. He brought himself back to reality, and faced Wendy, who was currently posting the video of the "Mabel-fly" cocoon to every social media she had. "Soooo..." He said, rapping his fingers against the counter, searching for a conversation topic. "What's there to do around here?"
Wendy raised her eyebrow at his pathetic attempt at conversation, but simply chuckled. "Heh, not much, really," she said, finally giving him her full attention. "This is a pretty backwoods town, so I hope you weren't expecting a thrilling summer."
Dipper just laughed and smiled a knowing smile. "I'm sure there's plenty of excitement to be found here. As long as one has the will to make it."
Wendy just shrugged and pulled a magazine from under the counter. "Whatever," she said, opening the booklet to a seemingly random page to begin reading. "If you wanna go out into the woods and pretend to fight monsters with sticks, more power to ya."
Pushing away his embarrassment at the fact that was precisely what he'd been doing with Mabel only an hour or so before, he pressed on. "Well that's not really what I meant. I heard someone talking about an abandoned convenience store that was ripe for the pillaging. Interested?"
Wendy stared at him for a moment incredulously, obviously taken aback by the offer. "Wow, I wouldn't have pegged you for the criminal sort!" She said, snapping out of it.
Dipper blushed slightly, afraid he had just screwed up his image in the mind of the normally aloof girl. "Ah- No, I mean-"
Wendy laughed a bit, enjoying his struggle just a smidge too much. "Relax kid, I'm just messing with you! My friends and I were actually planning on doing that sometime next week, you're welcome to tag along if you're interested."
A shit eating grin spread across Dipper's face. This is what he'd been waiting all those centuries for, just a simple opportunity to spend some time with a long forgotten friend. "I'd love to!" he said, not even trying to hide his excitement. "Just give me the details as they come."
"Will do." Said Wendy, firing off a two fingered salute, not even bothering to lift her head from the magazine.
Deducing that the conversation had run its course, Dipper said his goodbyes and began his ascent towards the attic, preparing himself for the days to come.
Ch.5 The cowardly God
That night Dipper dreamt of loneliness; he dreamt of the agonizing eons he spent in his self imposed, and yet essentially forced exile. After all, the alternative was the world's end at his hands. He had simply grown too powerful, his mere presence could fracture space time, and cause deadly rifts in the universe, and so he had to make a choice. He could stay, and watch as the world he loved slowly burned away to nothing, the souls of his friends and family, as distant and out of reach as they'd become, decimated by one they once loved. One final betrayal before he became the all encompassing being from which the next world would spring forth. Or... He could banish himself to an empty realm of his own make. A silent dimension with nothing to be destroyed, and with no hope of anything being created. At least hope would remain in the old world, even if he wasn't there to see it. But another part of him knew that hope had nothing to do with it; he was not the only dream demon in existence, he was merely the most powerful, if he didn't become God, another would simply grow powerful enough to do so in a relatively short amount of time. That is the sole purpose of dream demons after all, to perpetually expand their power until they are capable of entering the physical realm, and then eventually becoming it, thus starting the cycle anew. A pointless continuum of creation and destruction for all of eternity. Yes, the most he was doing was delaying the inevitable. In reality, he just didn't want to be the one to end everything. After all the trillions of years of wisdom he acquired, he was still a coward in the end. He only had only himself to blame for the crushing loneliness that drove him to brave the infinite expanse of time to wear his old, now ill-fitting skin, and attempt to reclaim the life that he felt had been stolen from him. Only time will tell whether his decision was one of vice or virtue, and when it is revealed, the consequences will be his alone to bear.
Dipper's eyes shot open, and he slowly rose. He felt no tears on his face as one might expect from such dreams, he only felt empty. He looked over to his side at the bed in which Mabel slept as soundly as possible for a human being of such high energy. That is to say she was rolling around, making out with her pillow while sleep talking about some guy named Mermando.
Smiling despite himself, Dipper pulled himself out of bed and set off to ACTUALLY explore the shack that he was proud to call his once and future home.
How curious, Dipper had not remembered there being an upright piano in the mystery shack at any point in time, but then, he and Mabel had only really started exploring the other rooms in the shack a few days into their stay the last time around. It could very well have been that Grunkle Stan had been holding it for someone, or something and had gotten rid of it before they had gotten a chance to find it. Dipper had always had an appreciation for the music of the piano, as much as he had for any other instrument, but it was only in his fifth century that he had actually gotten around to learning how to play, and when he did... Every note he played made it feel as though his very soul was resonating with the strings of the instrument. Suffice to say, it was an immediate connection, and with him being a five hundred year old dream demon at the time, learning did not take long in the slightest. The instrument before him was of simple design, the casing a deep black color, with very little ornamentation to be found anywhere. Nonetheless, it was a handsome piano. Dipper pulled out the bench and sat down, removing the cover from the keys and positioning his hands over them. He wasn't quite sure what he was playing, he simply allowed the music to flow through his fingers, taking inspiration from various great composers; Wagner, Mozart, and most of all the phenomenal 50th century composer Isaac Glooperdale, as well as adding his own personal style to the mix. The result was an enchantingly haunting melody that seemed to fill the already dark room with soft, seductive tendrils of shadow. Dipper reached for his powers from the space between worlds and filled his instrument with it, allowing that which the music made him feel to come into the physical plane. Before his exile, he so loved practicing magic in this way, it was the only thing that perpetually felt new and exciting to him, because it changed every time he played, but more than that it allowed him to feel more in touch not only with the music, but with himself; To see before him that which he felt within, it laid everything bare, and removed any possibility for denial. And so he watched the shadows dance as he played, knowing that everything they showed him would be an undeniable reflection of himself. There was no hiding from the dancing shadows, and what they showed him now was memories. That of his of sister. That of the happy times they shared as children, and that of the many times he had to watch her die. Dipper did not stop playing, but even so he could feel hot tears streaming down his cheeks. He allowed himself once again to be honest with himself about the depth of his sorrow and self loathing. The truth was, he hated himself for not being able to protect her when it really mattered, for not being able to stop her from dying and forgetting him over and over again, but most of all he hated himself for imposing upon each of her new lives, causing her pain by showing her a brother she couldn't remember, and therefore feel anything for. His anger towards himself fueled a harsher, more violent melody, causing the shadows to turn into billowing clouds of smoke and fire that inched itself nearer to him, forming a circle around the piano. He continued to angrily smash against the keys, tears streaming down his face until the lights flicked on and he heard Mabel's voice behind him.
"Dipper?" She said.
The smoke, fire, and shadows disappeared instantly the moment he stopped playing, leaving no visible traces for Mabel to see, but nonetheless, many explanations were in order.
"Since when could you play the piano?" She asked seriously, as she approached him. "And gosh, why are you playing at 3:00 in the morning?"
Dipper struggled for a reasonable lie to tell his sister, and simply decided to dodge the question. "Sorry Mabes, I didn't realize I was being so loud," he said at last. "I couldn't sleep, so I did some more exploring, and found this old thing. Did Grunkle Stan wake up?"
"No, good thing too, he probably would've throttled you for interrupting his 'beauty sleep'." She said with air quotes.
Dipper chuckled, that certainly sounded like the Stan he remembered.
"But anyways, you still haven't answered my other question," she continued. "I've never seen you seriously play a piano even once, and yet all of a sudden, you're some kind of virtuoso. What's going on?"
Dipper sighed, he obviously couldn't tell the truth, so as much as he hated lying to her, he didn't have much choice. "Ah, I've been taking secret lessons after school every day!" He said, chuckling nervously. "Guess the cat's out of the bag then, huh."
Mabel eyed him suspiciously, but then accepted what she was told, and her face shifted from one of doubt to one of hurt. "Why wouldn't you tell me about that?" She asked, genuinely puzzled. "I thought we shared everything with each other."
"I know, I'm sorry," said dipper, rubbing the back of his neck." I wanted to surprise you with it." That last part wasn't technically a lie. When he first started playing, he did so to play at Mabel's, or rather Ilene's wedding, as she was known in that lifetime. He had walked up to the piano and played "Don't start unbelieving" during the dance, a song that had not only remained miraculously popular after 5 centuries, but also seemed to carry over as Mabel's favorite song, regardless of what life she was living. She hadn't known him yet in that lifetime, but she was certainly surprised and happy to be able to dance with her new husband to her all time favorite song.
Mabel's voice snapped him back to reality. "Well I'm certainly surprised, and more than a little miffed. Grunkle Stan isn't the only one who needs their beauty sleep, you know."
"I know, I know, I get it. Sorry" he said, genuinely apologetic.
Mabel smiled at him slightly, and walked over to hug him. "Don't sweat it bro-bro, let's just go back to bed. But don't think I'm not going to ask you to play for me every minute of every day after this."
"I wouldn't expect any less." He chuckled as they returned to the attic side by side.
Something's weird with Dipper. She thought, as she sat In the living room, sipping from a tall glass of Mabel juice. She had tried to dismiss it last night, but the more she thought about, the less Dipper's after school lessons made sense. Half the time, he was with her after school, when would he have had that much time to learn to play piano THAT well? He was hiding something from her, which was unforgivable; they shared everything, always. It was inconceivable for her to hide something from him, so why did he seem so calm in his deception?
Maybe I'm Just overthinking this. She thought to herself. After all, he can obviously play well, so what other explanation could there be? It's not like there was any kind of magic spell he could have...
Her mind wandered to the journal they had found in the woods. She suddenly felt curious about it; it was obviously very strange that there was a journal even in the woods in the first place, but what was stranger still was that Dipper almost seemed like he knew it was there, and then also the fact that he wanted to keep it a secret. If she alone had found a mysterious book in the middle of the woods, you'd better believe that every last person she knew, and then some that she didn't would've heard about it by now, and come to think of it, she hadn't even gotten a chance to see what was inside it before they started heading home. She couldn't help but feel that the journal had the answers she was looking for; even beyond Dipper's strange behavior, Mabel had this strange feeling that the journal was extremely important in some way, as if it were the key to some memory long forgotten. Mabel shifted positions in her seat, struggling to get comfortable, feeling the energy spike effect of the Mabel juice slowly kick in. speaking of... Where was Dipper? When she woke up, his bed was already empty, and he was nowhere to be found in or around the shack. Almost immediately after this thought, her eye began twitching uncontrollably. "Eh, whatever!" She said aloud, no longer able to concentrate on any one thought as the Mabel juice began taking full effect. She jumped up off of the couch, chugged the rest of the glass and promptly ran upstairs to knit as many sweaters as inhumanly possible before her inevitable crash in roughly twenty minutes.