Gravity Falls, Oregon. 19th July 2012.
The morning sun lightened the Mystery Shack attic. The wooden boards of the walls and the floor had a warm golden brightness, reflected by the sunlight.
"Oh man... this day's being boring as hell..." Dipper moaned, covering his face with his hands, lying on his bed.
"Well, Waddles is having fun with the grappling hook. Ain't that right?" Mabel answered with a smile, petting her little pig.
Waddles was chewing Mabel's grappling hook. Suddenly, his teeth pressed the trigger and the claws flew in Dipper's direction.
"Whoa!" He gasped, before dodging in the last second.
Mabel almost died from laughter, kicking her legs on her bed.
"Your darn pig almost killed me!" Dipper exclaimed, his heart beating fast with the shock.
Waddles oinked, as if it was an answer to Dipper. "Oink oink."
"Yeesh, bore makes you grumpy." Mabel said.
She sat on her bed's messy blankets and continued enjoying the music from her MP3. Her headphones were hidden by her smooth, wavy brown hair, the sunlight giving them a golden brightness. Dipper stared at her, suddenly curious.
"What are you listening to?" He asked.
"Hmm, what a coincidence! "Disco Girl" from BABBA!" Mabel exclaimed with a sly smile on her face.
"Really?!" Dipper jumped off his bed and rushed to the MP3.
"I was just joking, you bonehead! It's playing "Something I Need" from OneRepublic." Mabel laughed.
Dipper grunted. "That wasn't amusing at all." He said.
"Well, for me it was, you weirdo." Mabel smiled to her brother. "This music is amazing!" She added.
Dipper returned to his bed and stared at the ceiling.
"Oh... I already read the entire Journal, half the pages are blank!" Dipper sighed and covered his face with his hands again. "It just doesn't make any sense..."
"Oh, Dipper. Stop thinking about that creepy jornal for just one second! It's gonna drive you insane!" Mabel answered, while playing with Waddles, lifting and lowering his tiny hoofs as if he was a puppet.
A long silence succeeded, as Dipper was lying on his bed, lost in his thoughts and Mabel was listening to music while playing with Waddles on her bed.
"Hey, Dipper!" An idea came up to Mabel's mind.
Dipper took his hands off his face and looked at his sister.
"Wanna take a look at our summer photos?"
Dipper's eyes lightened as he filled with cheer. "Say no more, sis'! Go get your scrapbook!"
In no time, Mabel put her scrapbook on Dipper's bed and sat next to him.
"Hey, I love this music! All About That Bass! You should listen with me!" Mabel exclaimed as the music began playing.
"Please, Mabel. Not All About That Bass. That music is so crappy and annoying, please..." Dipper protested.
"Fine! I'll hear it on my own. Boys..." Mabel answered, a little vexed.
They opened the book.
"Look! It's our first family photo! Remember when we were at our uncle's house at Christmas time?" Mabel pointed at the photo of their parents holding the Twins in their arms.
"We were 2 years old, Mabel. I only remember it because of this photo. But yeah... You were cute back then, sister. You weren't that much of a brat." Dipper joked, smiling to his sister.
"Well, I liked you back then, too. You weren't that much of a wet blanket." Mabel countered, amused.
Then, she moved on from that page. She found a photo of her, Dipper and their parents.
"Oh! It's our whole family kickboxing! Remember that you started to cry because I punched you and we had to stop?"
"Mabel, when you're kickboxing you're supposed to kick, not to punch." Dipper's expression clearly said "seriously?".
"No. Nah nah. You're wrong. You can punch too." She promptly answered, swinging her finger in negation.
"No you can't!"
"Yes I do!"
"Yeah, but it's mainly kicking." He stubbornly countered his sister.
"No it's not." Mabel insisted.
"Yeah, whatever." Dipper scoffed with a smile on his face.
"You're saying that 'cause you know I'm right." Mabel frowned, showing a triumphant smile.
"GAAAAAHHH! Look, bro-bro! It's you in your lamby lamby costume! It's that photo I showed Wendy when I found out you had a crush on her, remember?" Mabel exclaimed.
"Oh, yeah. That day. Why, Mabel, just why did you have to show her that?" Dipper complained, looking at the ceiling.
"Oh, you should thank me! She was just drowned in your cuteness! Just look at yourself!" Mabel squeezed her own cheeks.
Mabel and Dipper kept looking at their memories, perusing the book's pages. Mabel slowly began singing the lyrics from the music.
Because you know I'm all about that bass
'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble
I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass
"MABEL..." Dipper just hated that music, and Mabel knew that. He was about to yell at his sister, but then he took a deep breath and controlled himself, saying calmly "...can you please stop singing that song?"
Mabel looked at her twin brother. She sighed and said "Okay, fine... I'll just listen to another one."
After a few seconds, she got excited about the new music.
"Oh, this music is great! Hey Brother from Avicii. It's about siblings! This one you have to listen with me!"
Dipper liked Avicii. "Fine." He put an headphone on and the rhythmic music started to fill his soul, as he moved on from that page.
The next one was a page where he and Mabel were at their house's garden staring at a footprint with intrigue. Dipper realized that their spirit of adventure after all was always there. And they would always be together on their adventures, untill the end.
Then there was a page with a photo of the Twins doing their first awkward sibling hug. He remembered how much he loved his sister, more than any friend he ever had, more than he ever could explain in words. Their bond was strong, special.
He moved to a page where Mabel was healing Dipper at their home. Dipper had some little injuries and she had too, not as much as him, though.
"Remember? That time when some jerks bullied you and I saved your skin? I'm the world's best sister, admit it!" Mabel smiled with pride.
"Yes... You are, sister." Dipper said, glad. "You got wounded too. Why did you fight them?"
"Because you are my brother." Mabel answered as if it was obvious, but with sweetness. Dipper didn't know what to say.
The next page was Mabel's Failed Summer Romances. Her smile vanished as she looked at all her crushes with sadness. Dipper just stared at her as she looked at that page.
Hey sister, do you still believe in love I wonder?
That was what Dipper wanted to ask his sister. Mermando, Norman, Gabe, Sev'ral Timez... Everyone of those had left her, one way or another... Differently than her brother. Then, Mabel realized that her brother cared more about her than any of her crushes, even Mermando.
They skipped a few pages, untill the summer day when they left home and took the bus to Gravity Falls. After a photo of them with their bags at the bus station, they found a special photo.
"Oh my God! It's the Bus Selfie!" Mabel screamed with excitement.
"Oh, I remember it." Dipper said with a smile.
They took that selfie inside the bus, waiting to arrive in Gravity Falls. They were hugging each other with one hand and holding the camera with the other, Dipper smiling and Mabel showing her tongue in a goofy expression. Dipper could almost feel their happiness in that photo.
"Look! Our photos from when we went to the "Butt" island!" Mabel exclaimed. Between the multiple photos of beavers taken by Soos, they found their photos with Grunkle Stan and the handyman of the Shack, fishing, listening to Stan's jokes, stealing fish from other boats and running away from Durland and Blubs. It was sweet and heartwarming seeing they all together. Those people, Dipper never wanted to leave. It was his family. That summer changed his life forever. That summer strengthened his relationship with his sister, with his family, made him discover who he truly was. An adventurer. A leader. A hero. A brother.
They then perused those pages filled with their adventures in Gravity Falls before Gideon took over the Shack and their lives. Before they went to the Tent of Telepathy for the first time, when they had that party at the Shack, their sleepover after they got separated bedrooms. They were always together in the best and worst moments.
Dipper was perusing the pages, drowned in these feelings, when he changed from a page, and suddenly, found a drawing. A drawing made by Mabel. She and her brother were falling in the empty sky full of orange and golden clouds, Mabel with the grappling hook on an hand, and trying to reach out to Dipper with the other, that was falling below her. It clearly was a drawing of that time when Dipper was fighting with Gideon after he took over the Shack, and the robot fell from the bridge. Dipper would be dead if it wasn't his sister. His miraculous sister. He could still feel the distress of that seconds when he was falling, trying to reach his sister's hand, and the relief when he felt his sister's hand holding his and stopped feeling the dashing, cutting wind.
He didn't even know she drew that drawing. He couldn't believe it.
"Oh... Mabel..." Dipper stammered. He wanted to say something, but couldn't find the right words. He couldn't keep that feeling for himself.
"Bro-bro... are you okay?" Mabel had never seen his brother like that before. Dipper perused the pages from Mabel's scrapbook very quickly. All the memories, all the moments they passed together, since when they were born. They had faced life together. Dipper realized how lucky he was to have a friend to face it with him. He was never alone. Then, he stopped in the last page of the scrapbook, and was surprised to see a photo of both, Mabel making a goofy face and showing her tongue and Dipper smiling and putting two fingers behind Mabel's head as if they were horns. He remembered it, they took that photo in Gravity Falls. He was happy to see that Mabel valorized their siblinghood as much as he did.
"Are you crying? Maybe I shouldn't..."
Mabel was caught by surprise when Dipper gave her a sudden, tight hug. The headphones fell to the floor with the strength of that hug. (stop playing the music)
"DIPPER?" She got a little scared by her brother's attitude.
"Mabel... You're my best friend..." Dipper said, holding his tears.
"Why, of course I am!" Mabel answered. "Just stop... You're giving me wet eyes, man..."
"I would be lost without you... Please, PLEASE, never leave me. I love you, sis'..."
"You're acting weird, dude..." Mabel was about to cry, she didn't quite understand why.
Dipper was still holding his tears.
"I don't know why we're crying, but... You can cry, bro-bro... Cry if it makes you feel better..." Mabel whispered.
"Heck, I'm sorry, Mabel. I'm being a wimpy..." Dipper started.
"Shh... You are being sweet, Dipper. I love you too. You are the best brother I could ever have." Mabel interrupted Dipper, talking with a sweet voice.
That was the longest and most awkward sibling hug they ever did.
Piedmont, California. 4th July 2018
Time passed after that heartwarming morning. More adventures, Dipper saving Mabel, Mabel saving Dipper, as good siblings should do. Sadness and great depression when they left Gravity Falls. Their parents had already planned to go to Arizona next summer vacations. Dipper's and Mabel's devastation was relieved by happiness when their 13th birthday came, and the thoughts that they would be back to Oregon sooner or later. Weeks, months, years. 14, 15, 16, 17, and sooner than they would expect, they were already 18 years old, beginning university. Same university, different paths. Dipper, science. Mabel, arts. Dipper had always been that kind of guy fascinated by finding an explanation to everything, an explorer of even the most simple aspects of life. His excellent grades would allow him to go to sciences too. Mabel has always been an artist by heart. Kind, childish heart, her dreamspace was warm and inviting as a child's, unlike most adults. People with special hearts like this become artists. But the Twins still usually spent most of their time together, as they did as kids. Since their 14th birthday, their parents had decided to let them spend all their summer vacations at their grunkle's shack. Their parents were surprised by how much the Twins loved being there, especially Dipper, who was always complaining in the beginning of the summer and seemed to hate being in the Mystery Shack without his videogames. Eventually, he would substitute videogames for books, stinging eyes due to being hours playing and a sedentary lifestyle for a strong, adventure-loving soul and a love for being outside and searching for mystery. Dipper was born an adventurer by heart, but never showed it. His summer vacation at Gravity Falls made him release and discover this side of him, made him discover who he truly was.
Then, summer vacations came one more time.
Dipper and Mabel took the bus when the class was over. When they arrived in their home, Dipper picked up his iPhone and called their parents.
"Hey mom." He said. His mother's voice was a soft, caring one. "Yeah, we're here. We're fine. Did you arrive in Gravity Falls yet? Oh. Okay. Mom, I'm not a baby. I can take care of myself and my sister. Yeah, don't speak to strangers. Seriously? We're 18! Yeah... Fine. I love you too, mom. Bye." Dipper put the phone on the living room table and sat in the sofa with his sister.
"So? How's Grunkle Stan?" Mabel asked with some anxiety.
"I dunno. They didn't arrive in Gravity Falls yet..." Dipper's voice transpired some worry.
"Dipper, he said he was just fine when our parents called him." Mabel comforted her brother with concern.
"Yeah, I know..." Dipper kept staring at the floor, his legs supporting his arms as he sat on the sofa with a very teen-like pose.
Dipper and Mabel always went to Gravity Falls during the summer. But, that time, their parents decided to visit Grunkle Stan sooner to help him with the Shack, as he was already 81. Dipper and Mabel had agreed with their parents to stay one week at home and then join them, as Dipper wanted some time alone with his sister to talk about the supernatural things that had occurred.
Mabel stared at him in silence and concern for a while. "Let's just see what's on TV." She said, picking up the remote and turning on the TV to cheer him up a bit. Mabel turned on the TV on Cartoon Network.
Dipper didn't like the idea. "Mabel, seriously? Cartoon Network? We aren't-"
"Shh! Dipper... look." Mabel said. Dipper looked at the screen. They just stared at it in silence. A calm, melancholic music played in the piano began. They knew that show. Led through the mist,
By the milk-light of moon,
All that was lost, is revealed.
Our long bygone burdens, mere echoes of the spring,
But where have we come, and where shall we end?
If dreams can't come true, then why not pretend?
Oh how the gentle wind,
Beckons through the leaves,
As autumn colors fall.
"Dipper, it's Over the Garden Wall!" Mabel exclaimed, excited. "Remember when we saw it as kids?"
"Over the Garden Wall? I can't believe it! They aired it again!" Dipper said, laughing from happiness and excitement. Their eyes were stuck on the TV screen again, as when they were watching the show for the first time. That moment made them return to the golden memories of their childhood, when they watched Over the Garden Wall. That show was just like magic to them, it made them return to the old classics. Over the Garden Wall was like an all-time classic to them, a nostalgic memory of their childhood.
Dipper still remembered that, when they were watching the last episode, Mabel started crying when Greg had been tricked by the Beast and Wirt had come to save his younger brother. Dipper put the arm on her shoulder, hugging her.
"Mabel... If you were tricked by the Beast... you know I would do anything to save you, right?" Dipper began.
Mabel sniffled and wiped the tears, smiling to her brother. "I know, bro-bro..."
Dipper smiled and gently pulled his sister closer to him.
Dipper felt lucky to have such memories kept in his heart. Over the Garden Wall had been such an important part of their childhood. Not compared to their first summer at Gravity Falls, though. It was definitely the most important memory they kept.
In the middle of the second episode of Over the Garden Wall, Dipper's phone rang.
"Wait, Mabel." Dipper said as he got up and picked up the phone. It was their mother again.
"Hi, mom." He said. His mother's voice answered, loud, distressed and trembling. Dipper was shocked with what he just heard. "Grunkle Stan WHAT?" He yelled."No... No, can't be... Wait, wait, hang on, we're coming right now!"
"Mabel, come!" Dipper grabbed his sister's arm and dragged her into their car. Their parents had given the Twins a car in their 18th birthday, and allowed them to use it "only if absolutely and strictly necessary". Dipper got his driving license some weeks later. And he did pretty well with it.
"Dipper, what the heck happened?!" Mabel exclaimed, lost and confused.
"There's no time to explain, I'll tell you in the car!" Dipper answered her, tense and nervous, his voice trembling.
They got into the car, put their seat belts and disappeared from Piedmont quickly as ghosts.
"What? Are you sure?" Mabel yelled shocked.
"Yeah, that's what Mom told me." Dipper's voice never sounded so trembling.
"Dipper, careful!" Mabel shouted. They almost hit a car. And dodged in the last second.
"STOP SCREAMING!" Dipper shouted back, raising his voice.
"Okay, sorry. You always drive so well, please, I know you're nervous, but focus! I don't wanna end up dead in the road!" Mabel was way too nervous too.
Dipper usually drove very well and safely, but no one could blame him right now for driving way too fast and bluntly. Not even when the dusk appeared in the sky Dipper succumbed. "Why... Just why..." He whispered more than one time.
Gravity Falls, Oregon. 5th July 2018. 3:26 am
The sky was dark like the feathers of a raven. No clouds, no stars in the sky. Only the white moon illuminating everything. The Mystery Shack was completely empty. The Twins rushed into the door. Dipper pushed it with so much strenght it made a deafening noise when it hit the wall. They were paralyzed by the horror of what they just saw. Grunkle Stan was lying on the floor of the gift shop, near the vending machine, bleeding from some big wounds.
The Twins couldn't say anything, they just rushed to Stan's moribund body and knelt next to him.
"Grunkle Stan! Oh my God, how could this happen?" Dipper lamented. Stan was still alive, but barely. He was just looking at Dipper, breathing with difficulty.
Mabel started crying, holding her grunkle's hand. "Grunkle Stan... You... You'll be alright! You'll be fine, I know it! Please..."
"We'll leave you alone." Their mother said. Their parents left the Shack.
Dipper's eyes became wet. He couldn't bare the possibility of losing his grunkle, who passed through so much adventures with them, protected them so many times. Stan was almost like a father to him. Dipper remembered that time when he entered Grunkle Stan's mind to protect it from Bill and found that memory.
"You see it? That's why I'm hard on Dipper. To toughen him up. So when the world fights, he fights back."
"Do you think it's actually working?" said Soos back then.
"He's really comin' along! When push comes to shove... I'm actually proud of him. Just.. don't ever tell him that. His head is big enough as it is."
A tear trickled through his cheek as he remembered that words. "I'm actually proud of him." No. He couldn't die. Not now. He wiped the tear and started examinating his Grunkle's wounds. They proved clearly that Stan was murdered, and didn't die from his declining age, though he was already 81. He felt a shiver when he saw through the blinding darkness that Stan's white shirt was torn in the abdomen, that had a very very ugly wound, bleeding a lot.
Horrified, he shouted to his sister "Mabel! Go get a roller bandage to stop the bleeding! Now!"
Mabel looked at her brother's face. It was so dark she could barely see him. His eyes were bright with the reflection of the moon, his skin with a dark, blue-ish shade. She had never seen her brother so distressed in her life. She felt so sorry for him. His condition was pitiful. With her sweater soaked in tears, she turned the gift shop upside down, frenetically searching for roller bandages.
"Mabel..." Dipper started. He couldn't wait anymore for the roller bandages. He sighed nervously, took his gray hoody jacket off and wrapped his grunkle's wound with it. "Please... Please, speak to me, man. Say something..." He begged, holding his tears.
Suddenly, Grunkle Stan coughed, spitting a little blood.
Dipper widened his eyes. "MABEL!" He called.
Mabel rushed as a cheetah to Dipper and Stan.
"Hi, kids..." Stan said with a weak voice, breathing heavily.
Mabel drowned herself in tears for hearing her grunkle's voice again. Even Dipper started to cry.
"Oh, man... Oh man! I can't believe it! Come on, hold on! How do you feel?" He asked with anxiety.
Grunkle Stan coughed before he spoke again. "Dipper... Mabel... Yeesh, sorry for leaving you like this..."
Mabel held her tears "Oh, please, don't apologize! You WON'T leave us!"
"Look..." Stan looked at his nephews deep in their eyes. "I want to tell you something. Dipper... I... I have to say... I was always tough with you. Most of the times too tough. Sorry for mocking and insulting you sometimes, kid. It may look like I prefer Mabel over you at times... I just didn't want you to end up like me... But... I am proud of you, boy. You are a hero, kid. A true hero. You've always made me proud." Dipper could barely hold his tears in that moment. He didn't know at to say. "Keep protecting your sister. Now, Mabel, come here, girl."
Mabel approached from her Grunkle and held his hand with strenght.
"You were always my sunshine. That times when you used to cheer me up... and... " He coughed. "... And make me laugh and tell me jokes... I hope you receive as much happiness as you gave in your life."
Mabel gave him a painful smile, and with her face wet of tears, she hugged her brother. Dipper couldn't hold his tears anymore. So he cried his eyes out. For him, it felt like he cried so hard that cry could relieve all his problems. Wendy and Robbie, the bullies at his school, the fact that no one in Gravity Falls ever believed in him or his abilities unless his close friends. But it didn't relieve anything. He felt miserable.
"I love you, kids... You were the light in my life. I never felt so happy as when I was spending the summers with you two. You made me realize... You made me realize that the most important thing in life isn't money. Dipper and Mabel... please, say to your parents I thank them forever for bringing you to my life... and please, promise me... that you'll remain together and protect each other..."
"Yes, YES! I promise!" Dipper exclaimed.
"I'll do Pinkie Promise!" Mabel cried.
Both Twins held their grunkle's hands.
"I can't just leave this good ol' shack abandoned... Please, Dipper. You are the most mature person I've ever known. Please make sure the Shack is running properly."
Dipper kept in silence for some seconds. "M-Me?" He finally stammered, his voice trembling.
"Yeah, kid. You are the owner now... Mabel..." He coughed hard. "Please... would you be as kind... as to be the co-owner of this old thing?" He asked, looking around him.
"Oh... Grunkle Stan, of course!" Mabel exclaimed, crying.
"I love you, kids. Never... forget that... Dipper." The boy looked at his grunkle with attention. "Raise the prices, kid. You deserve it."
"Grunkle Stan..." Mabel whispered, unable to talk louder because of crying so much.
"GRUNKLE STAN?!" Dipper yelled, wagging his grunkle's body.
Mabel and Dipper didn't know what to do, only cried and cried. Their grunkle was gone forever.
That would be Grunkle Stan's last breath. He left the Twins and took a piece of their souls with him.