It couldn't be worse, Bill thinks.
He very nicely asked the Axolotl for a second chance. He expected at least to start again from the beginning in the Nightmare Dimension. He hoped for an immediate opportunity for revenge, in this very world.
And now, he's powerless, and a plaidypus tried to eat him.
He had such nice plans! Of course, everyone in Gravity Falls hates him. Of course, he can't leave because of what the traitor Stanford Pines called the weirdness magnet. But he just has to find someone who doesn't know about him. Someone who wasn't in town at the time. Maybe a child on holiday. He kind of remembers the stupid faces on his stone statues. He can find one who was not here.
And then he will teach them to use magic, because it's so frustrating, he's so devoid of powers he can't even use magic spells when humans can. It will be free, at first. And when he has made a "friend", he can start asking...
Right. For now, the plaidypuses are gone, so he can act and keep the nice dreams for later. He gets out his astutely arranged heap of autumn leaves, and tries to find a good hiding place, where he can watch the town and the town can't watch him. No one can know he's here; otherwise, he'll have all the witch hunters trying to burn him and drown him at the same time, with maybe an exorcism and some rotten tomatoes to add spice.
Bill should have been their god, and now he's tiny and helpless, and he hates every one of them.
Walking a bit on the lane, he hears some heavy footsteps. Not a child, for sure. He dives under another heap of leaves. Some of them are yellow. Some of them have angles. None of them have eyes but he hides this side. He can't find a better hiding place, well, not right now!
Just a quick glance... oh, he'd recognize these dirty boots everywhere, even before looking up! It's Stanford Pines. Bill's anger flares, because this human tricked him and hurt him. You belonged to me, he thinks, you promised you were mine.
And then, just as the boots almost disappear at the horizon, the human turns back, and as Bill sees his blazing eyes, he knows Ford saw him.
NOW it couldn't be worse.
The human kicks Bill's leaves, making them fly around, and Bill with them. And then he dives and catches Bill in his hands, who hadn't even the time to flee, because his legs were too short. He can't lose like this. He can't die like this.
"I'm sorry," he cries out.
Ford looks at Bill like he had just spawned a second eye. He still holds him firmly, but not like he's planning to break him in the following second. That's progress. Then he meets his eyes, and no, there's not so much progress.
"I'm very sorry," he tries again, but he already knows he has to do better. Stanford Pines may have been once a gullible fool with stupid feelings for him, but now he knows him, he hates him, and it will be hard to play. "I should have never lied to you. I regret so much and I hate this feeling but I still do. I should have never hurt you."
"Yeah," Stanford replies. "Too bad you have. For me and for you."
"Please forgive me!" It hurts to ask. Bill feels humiliated, captive in these huge six-fingered hands, making himself feel even weaker with his own words, and still part of him loves the game, love the risk and the high stakes and his almost nonexistent assets, except his ability to play with a human's brain and heart. "Kill me if you want, just tell me that you'll forgive me afterwards."
"Why are you even alive in the first place?" Stanford asks, voice full of contempt and rage, but he does ask, he does want a reply from him, and that's something. "I destroyed my brother... my brother's memories to end you."
"I was given a second chance." Almost-lying is truly what he does best. Also, understanding what's unsaid. Ford didn't say this with as much pain as he should. "Like your brother did. I can live again, but I have to be conscious of my sins and atone for them." OK, now he's totally lying. The concept of sin is so totally... cultural, because absurd would make it sound too cool. "But I have no idea how to do it. Tell me, Stanford Pines. If my apologies mean nothing to do, tell me what will. Do you want to hurt me?"
He can see it in Stanford's eyes. Some kind of dark emotional lust. The human tries to hides it, tries to shake it away, but it's still here.
And these dark instincts are maybe the only reason why Bill is still alive, the only leverage he's got, the only reason why Stanford was kind of interesting too, so Bill won't complain about it in the least. He will let it out and grow it. He will have fun with it and even bear any abuse - he can appreciate pain when there’s no danger - until it turns into guilt again, because he knows Ford Pines. And he can always work with guilt.
"I'd let you, of course," he says. "I mean, even if I wasn't powerless in your hands. I owe you that and more. I broke your heart. I tried to do worse to your world, but well, you stopped me, you fixed it. This you couldn't fix, and I can't do it, either."
"Anyway," Ford says, in a carefully controlled voice. "You can't roam free, Bill Cipher. I'll put you in containment."
Well, he knew he couldn't win this one. But maybe he can turn this into an opportunity. "You'll tell me how I can do better, though? Not only to you, but for atoning to the others, to the world? You'd know this, right?"
Because appealing to Ford's dark side will never be enough, it was just a last chance try. But his thirst to be useful, to show that he knows something - this is stronger. This will be useful.
"I don't know if you ever can, Bill." Ford says, and he doesn't say Bill can't, so yeah, that’s progress too.
"I'm so sorry." Bill says again.
"How many times do you intend to say it?" Ford started walking towards the Shack again. He still holds Bill very hard.
"I'll beg for your forgiveness every day," Bill replies, "more if you want me to," and Ford's hand shake a little.
And Bill knows the human will fail, he knows that one day he can be free again. If he survived this, he can survive everything Ford will throw at him.
He just hope that in the process, he gets the chance to break Ford's heart again, even just a little bit.