It was time to go.
The summer was finally coming to an end. And, no matter how much they all disliked it, Norman had to go back home. His parents honestly still believed he had attended some fancy summer camp, but now, they were only miles away, coming to take him back to the bitterly cold town of Blithe Hollow again.
Norman glanced down at his cell phone, having received another text from his mom. They were minutes away, and couldn't wait to see him, apparently. He sighed.
It wasn't like he hadn't missed his family; it was that he really didn't want to leave Gravity Falls. He had made such great friends with the Pines twins and became so familiar with this crazy town, it was going to be difficult to actually up and leave.
"Well," Dipper spoke up, after minutes of pure silence, "we'll see you again next summer, right?"
Norman turned around, facing Dipper, and noticing that Mabel was digging around under her bed. By now, it didn't seem strange at all, and he simply ignored her and replied,
"I hope so. I'll have to find some way to convince my parents to let me come all the way out here again, though."
He pocketed his cell phone, looking down at his shoes.
Dipper sighed loudly, crossing his arms over his chest, and sitting on the edge of his bed, remarking,
"Well, if you could get here for free, I'm sure they wouldn't mind much at all."
Norman nodded, because it was probably true. His parents had texted him all summer about how well everyone was doing; his dad got promoted at work, his sister made head cheerleader after tryouts, and his mom was finally weaned off her meds. They seemed to be doing great without him there.
But Dipper seemed to know that, apparently.
Norman stepped back, sitting on his suitcase, and putting his head in his hands. He'd known the twins for only a few months, but he really didn't feel ready to say goodbye.
Dipper and Norman both looked back at Mabel and she pulled a cardboard box out from under her bed.
"Geez, I thought I lost these! And that'd be TERRIBLE!" she exclaimed to no one in particular. She opened the old box to pull out two gifts. They looked like blankets covered in cheesy Christmas wrapping paper.
With a big smile on her faced, she skipped across the room, shoving a gift into each of the boys' hands. Dipper gave his sister a look, obviously wondering what she was up to, but she was too focused on watching Norman.
"Go on! Open it! You gotta open it before you leave, ya know!" she told him. He glanced up at her, obviously completely dumbfounded. Since when do people give gifts for no reason?
"Uhh, y-you didn't have to, uhm—"
"JUST OPEN IT ALREADY!" Mabel jumped up and down, her anticipation obviously getting the best of her.
"Chill, Mabel," Dipper told her, standing up to come up next to her.
"What's with the gifts, anyway? What even are these?" he asked, poking at the wrapping paper.
Mabel quickly turned on her heel, saying,
"It's a secret 'til you open them! Now, hurry up already! Norman's parents will be here any minute!"
The last comment didn't necessarily cheer up the mood of the room, but Norman glanced at Dipper and they locked eyes for a second.
"Alright, alright. Just open it before she flips out, okay?" Dipper told him, flipping his own gift over to remove the wrapping. Norman shrugged and did the same, slowly pulling the wrapping paper away to see something soft and red. He pulled it away from the paper. It was a sweater.
Again, he was dumbfounded. This was really neat of Mabel to do, actually. He unfolded it, reading the front embroidery.
Mabel grinned widely,
"Do you like it? I worked super hard on them! And in secret, too!"
She looked over at her brother, who had just pulled out a blue sweater that looked just like Norman's.
"I had to keep my special sewing machine under that loose floorboard under my bed, and I had to measure your neck sizes while you guys were sleeping so that the collars would fit just right!"
Both Norman and Dipper looked at each other and then at Mabel, trying not to be creeped-out as she continued to talk and talk about all the work she put into these gifts.
"And the ghost design on yours, Dippy," she turned to him, pointing at the sweater he was holding his hands, "That took me FIVE DAYS. FIVE DAYS to make some itty bitty ghost! I mean, it only took me a day ta think of what design to put there! But, hey, Norman's super cool and talks to ghosts, so I thought, hey! A ghost!"
Dipper rolled his eyes, looking at the sweater in his hands. The blunt message of "I 3 Norman" plastered on the front made his face heat up, and he tried to hide it as Mabel continued to ramble on, speaking as quickly as possible.
"Obviously, I had to put the constellation on yours, Norman, 'cause everybody knows that's how Dipper got his nickname!"
Norman looked up at her, somewhat confused,
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, duh! Hasn't Dipper shown you his birthmar—"
Suddenly, a hand gripped over her mouth, and Dipper laughed nervously,
"Don't—uhh, don't listen to her, she's just, you know, she's gonna hate to see you go today, and she's just being annoying, as usual, and—"
"Mmmphmmpph mmppphhhh!" Mabel exclaimed, glaring at her brother playfully.
Norman looked back and forth between the twins, finally blurting out,
"You have a birthmark?"
Mabel started giggling and Dipper dropped his hand, sighing.
Norman gazed back at his shoes,
"Y-you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I understand…"
Dipper glared in warning at Mabel as she muffled her giggles behind her hands. He took a breath, and looked back at Norman,
"If I show you, don't laugh like I KNOW Mabel will, okay?"
Norman glanced back up,
"Uhm, sure, okay," he told him, not really sure why it'd be so funny.
Dipper took off his hat, sitting down again, and rolled his eyes at his sister as he lifted his bangs.
Norman couldn't help it as a grin crept across his face.
"That would…explain a lot," he told him, trying not to smile.
"You can't laugh!" Dipper remarked. But just as he did, Mabel burst into a fit of giggles.
"Y-y-you have the weirdest birthmark! Hahaha! Oh, my gosh! Haha! It's like, it's like, you got a constellation, how weird is that? I mean, that's cool, but holy cow, that's funny!"
Mabel fell to her knees, holding her stomach as she continued to laugh heartily.
Norman smiled at Dipper, and he smiled back,
"It is pretty cool," he told Dipper.
Mabel bit back her laughter and grinned.
"Awww, look at youuuu!" she teased, pulling the two into a big hug. Dipper pulled away and out of her grasp, leaving her to just cuddle a completely confused Norman.
"Seriously, Mabel? What is wrong with you—" Dipper stopped and glared at her as she continued to blatantly snuggle poor Norman to her face.
"Stop DOING that!" he snarled, pulling Norman out of her grasp.
Mabel just smirked even more, and Dipper rolled his eyes at her.
"Make sure you use that sweater, Norman!" Mabel suddenly changed topics, and he blinked to focus back on her.
"I know Dipper hates wearing the sweaters I make, that's why I put your name on his this time!" she said, her smile never fading.
Norman felt himself smiling again. It's true, he really wasn't ready to say goodbye. But, hey, at least he wouldn't have to be cold this winter.