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The large pink and purple karaoke machine was wheeled to the centre of the stage by Soos. Dipper watched from the party crowd as his cousin and twin pored over musical choices for a few seconds, before grinning and choosing one. He sighed quietly, happy that they hadn’t tried to force him to join them in whatever it was they were doing. Actually, they’d been rather secretive about the whole thing, never once broaching the topic.

By all accounts, he should have been a little bit worried by this bout of very out of character behaviour, but he wasn’t about to question it. Not to mention he’d been a bit distracted lately. Onstage, the two girls grabbed the obnoxiously coloured yellow microphones and turned to converse with Soos and Wendy about something. He frowned slightly at the colour and his grip on his drink tightened a fraction. Dipper sighed. He really was beginning to grow an aversion to that colour, for a number of reasons.

A weight landed across his shoulders and a mischievous voice cooed into his ear. “Hey Pine Tree, been lookin’ for ya!”

The most singular being the man draped over him. Tall, ridiculously so, with tanned skin, electric blue eyes (or eye, the other was covered by a black, triangular-shaped eye-patch), and a grin to white and wide to be fully human. If the smile wasn’t obvious enough, the slightly too-sharp teeth would have given it away. “You been ignoring me kid? That’s not nice Pine Tree. Especially since I always have an eye on you!”

Bill Cipher. The dream demon had somehow managed to acquire a human body – how that had happened, he hadn’t explained, but it had apparently involved some lost language and several pints of blood. He’d never clarified where the blood came from, or what kind it was, and they’d all felt it was best not to ask.

The demon in human clothing had then barged into the Mystery Shack and, essentially, their lives. Gruncle Stan had not been happy with this whatsoever. Still, the dream-demon-with-a-human-body had been allowed to stay, as long as he didn’t cause any trouble.

He hadn’t, for the record. Unless you count occasionally causing things to fly off the shells to terrify customers as trouble. Fortunately, the customers had thought it was just an elaborate prank and sales had actually rocketed after that. Stan hadn’t been so against him after that.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you were), Bill seemed to have developed a strange attachment to one Dipper ‘Pine Tree’ Pines. He followed the kid around – sometimes floating, sometimes not – and took pleasure in taunting him, poking him, scaring him, the works. A lot of that happened when he was awake, but most of it happened at night when Dipper was asleep.

“I like watching him when he’s scared!” He’d snickered when Mabel and Shay had asked him about it. “Kid’s adorable, kind of like a puppy! It’s hilarious!”

It was more than that, of course it was, Mabel and Shay knew that (as much as the latter wasn’t interested in that sort of thing), but they said no more.

“Hey, Pine Tree, are you listening to me?” Bill frowned slightly and poked Dipper’s cheek, finding it soft and warm. For a second, he lost himself in the sensation of poking the boy's baby-soft cheek, and then squeezing. “Wow, that’s soft!” He cackled, wondering how much pressure it would take to split the skin. He decided against finding out: he liked the kid’s face. “I could do this forever!”

Dipper yelped when he gave a particularly hard pinch. “Ow! Quit it you asshole!” Dipper swatted at Bill’s hands. The dream demon retreated, but just barely. “What do you want anyway?” He grumbled, even as he felt his cheeks heat up slightly in response to how close their faces were. They were more or less cheek to cheek, with the dream demon’s cheek nearly pressed against his abused cheek.

“Yeesh, calm down Pine Tree,” he rolled his eyes. “I forgot how fragile you humans are. Do you want me to – what’s that thing that humans say?” His eye went up as he thought, and then kept going up, and up, until it very nearly disappeared. Just before it did, he snapped his fingers and grinned down at the boy in his arms. “Right, kiss it better! You want me to do that?”

Dipper flailed wildly, trying to put space between him and Bill. “I DON’T NEED YOU TO DO THAT YOU SICKO!”

“Aw, come on Pine Tree!” Bill held him tighter and brought his face closer. He snickered at the expression of horror and embarrassment on the boy’s, and watched the way blood rushed into the teenager’s cheeks with fascination. Wow human bodies were interesting. Pine Tree’s face had grown nice and pink, most of the colour concentrating in the cheeks he’d been so fascinated by. The colour looked lovely, and he wondered if the boy tasted as delicious as he looked. “Man, you’re so easy to tease! I love it!”

Tease? Dipper felt something constrict in his chest. As much as he wanted to ignore it, the emotion was identified much faster than he would have liked. He grimaced and redoubled his efforts to dislodge the demon. Of course he’s teasing, he’s a demon for fuck’s sake. What would he want with me? “Would you get off me, you weirdo?!”

Bill cackled, but allowed himself to be pushed back, although he didn’t move too far away. He liked being near his Pine Tree, whether the kid liked it or not. He opened his mouth to continue talking, maybe he’d get to see that adorable shade of red Pine Tree turned when he sometimes got too close, and then he noticed the less-than happy expression on his face.

There he frowned slightly. He particularly enjoy making the kid sad. Angry, yes. Terrified? Sure. Embarrassed? Definitely. A sad Pine Tree was no fun. A sad Pine Tree was listless and boring and Bill hated it when his Pine Tree was unhappy. It got on his metaphorical human nerves for reasons he didn’t quite understand yet but could probably ask Mabel or Shay about at some point.

Before he could say anything, there was a screech of feedback, and then Mabel was grinning happily. “Hello everyone!” She cheered. “Thanks for coming to the party!” There was a collective cheer from the crowd, especially when Waddles grunted and flipped a switch, releasing a bunch of small fireworks into the air. “Shay and I figured we’d do a musical number together before we let all you crazy people up here, right cuz?”

“I did not agree to this,” the other girl muttered, before shrugging and smirking. She was darker than the twins, with black-brown hair painted with red streaks. Dipper noticed that they were both wearing matching jackets. “But, we decided to dedicate this song to our favourite uh...relative? I can say that right? Whatever. Our favourite relative and resident Dorito!”


Bill grumbled under his breath. “Rude.” Dipper grinned at the inside joke, although he wondered what was going on. He took a long sip of his drink. What are they doing?

He realised exactly what they were doing as soon as the first strains of Beyoncé’s Beautiful Nightmare began to play and he choked on his mouthful of soda. “Every night I rush to my bed, with hopes that maybe I'll get a chance to see you when I close my eyes...

Oh no. Oh nononononoNO! He could feel himself shrinking under the applause and Bill’s curious frown, which was slowly morphing into an amused smile the more he listened to the song's lyrics. His eye became half-lidded and he leaned closer to the teenager, smirk widening when that flush grew darker and Dipper shrank even more under the blue-fire gaze.

“Oh Pine Tree~,” he giggled coquettishly, trailing a finger over his cheek. “I had no idea you enjoyed our late-night meetings so much~!”

Another groan, he was nearly completely on the ground down. One more and he’d be under the table, which might be for the best. He was going to kill them the second they got off that stage. “You can be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare. Either way I, don't wanna wake up from you...

Finally the song came to an end. Mabel and Shay bowed/curtsied to the applause. “Thank you, we’ll be here every day!” Mabel grinned. “If you liked it, we also sell cute Bill and Dipper sweaters here at the Mystery Shack!” With that, they both took off their jackets to reveal yellow, brick-patterned sweaters with the silhouette of two people embracing, much to the shock and horror of Dipper, and the amused excitement of Bill. “Designed by Mabel Pines! Only $12 for one!”

“MABEL! SHAY!” Dipper looked angry enough to climb onto the stage and yank them off it. They both screamed.

“OH SHIT, HE’S GONNA KILL US!”

“GRAPPLING HOOK!” Mabel whipped out the hook, which for some reason still worked, and shot it in a random direction. Both girls soared away, trailing glitter and curses, while Dipper yelled threats after them.

“I’M GOING TO MURDER THE TWO OF YOU!”

“Did I ever tell you how cute you are when you’re angry, Pine Tree?”

“WOULD YOU STOP HUGGING ME?!”