“You know what would be great?”
“Making a time capsule!”
Ford looked up from his book and down the ladder of their bunk bed.
“Like… Writing a letter to our older selves and burry it?”
“Yeah !” Stanley answered with a big smile. “We’re going to turn 13 in a week and be teenagers!!”
“Yes we are, but that doesn’t explain the capsule?”
“I just thought that when we become adults, it’d be nice to have a little something from when we were just kids, ya know?” He explained, a bit embarrassed.
Ford paused, he was so ready to grow up and learn new things that he had almost forgotten that Stanley’s dream was to keep eating ice cream for dinner past 60 years old and go to Neverland.
“Hum… Yeah, that’d be interesting.” Ford smiled. He must admit he was a bit curious about who he would be passed 20 years and it’d be a nice experiment.
“Really?” Stan’s face lit up.
“Neeto! I know exactly what I’m going to write to you!”
“You don’t expect me to write a letter to myself and not you?” Stanley asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I’m the punching and you’re the smarts, of course I’m writing you a letter!”
This made sense.
“Of course… So I guess I have to write you a letter as well?”
Stanley shrugged. “Only if you want to.”
Ford smiled. Of course Stan was expecting a letter for his future self.
“Hey, Stan! What if we also put some stuff from our childhood in the box as well? Like your ball lot.”
“YEAH!” Stan shouted excitedly before putting his hands before his mouth and looking at the door of their bedroom.
They waited in silence but their dad didn’t show up and they sighed in relief at the same time.
“Well, I’m gonna start right now and at the end of the week, we put everything in a box and burry it on the beach, ok?”
Stan began to write with his messy handwriting on papers. He kept stopping and crossing stuff, not sure of the words he should use. Ford observed him as he began to think of his own letters. Writing for his future self would be easy, he had an idea of what he wanted to remind himself when he’d be a grown man but what should he write to Stan?
During the following week, Ford caught Stan chewing on pens and holding his hair, a piece of paper under his eyes several times. He wondered what was taking Stan so long. His brother usually wrote things quickly and never re-read them. But then he would remind himself that he hadn’t written his letter to Stan yet and it was probably normal.
By the end of the week, Ford had finally found something to tell Stan and they were standing on the beach, a box filled with little toys and bags of balls between them. Stan pulled out his letters. The one he wrote to Ford was clearly bigger than the one he had written to himself.
Ford pulled out his letters as well. The one he wrote to himself was slightly bigger than the one he wrote to Stan and he felt quite embarrassed that his letters were so thin compared to Stanley’s.
“Ready…” He smiled, trying to hide his feelings.
They buried the box together and came home chanting “Pines! Pines! Pines! Pines! ”
Ford rarely came upstairs during the day. Stan had made it clear when had brought him back “Stay away from the kids!”… And even though his brother had let him hang out with Dipper after the Dungeons, Dungeons and more Dungeons incident, he felt like he’d better stay in the basement when Stan was around.
But Stan wasn’t there that day. He had taken the twins and Soos to a road trip. From what Ford understood, they were about to prank the other tourist traps around Gravity Falls. Not that interested in the subject, Ford barely listened to Stan when he had told him that he would have his house back for the week end.
But Ford must admit that he was curious. Even if he thought little of his brother, the way he had transformed the house into a tourist trap to gain money and keep paying the bills was impressive. He had even kept all of Ford’s scientific equipment and dispatched some of them around the Shack like the aquarium and the dinosaur skull head in the TV room.
After exploring the most common parts of the house, Ford took a look at the attic. The room Stan had installed the twins in made him smile. It kinda reminded him of their old bedroom in New Jersey. Mabel’s posters were really pink and glittery and he imagined the face Stan would have pulled if he ever had one of those on his wall. He laughed. Stan would have hated it.
Dipper’s side of the room was more like his own. It was funny how much the twins reminded him of his youth. Just him and Stan playing games on the beach… At the thought of what they used to be, Ford’s heart ached.
“Stan’s fine, I’m better without him.” Ford murmured repeatedly like a mantra.
He looked around in an attempt to distract his mind. It was unbelievable all the stuff Stan put there. There were some of Ford’s failed experiments, old reports, some of his BackupsMore essays and researches and…
The pain in his heart grew wider as he recognized one box in particular… Could it be?
Ford took the box and sat on the floor. The sand stuck on the rusty metal box bringing back memories of a smiling soon-to-be 13 years old Stan holding letters and Ford swore that he could smell the sea at this moment.
He opened the box. There was more sand inside along with a bunch of broken toys. He recognized Stanley’s favorite robot and bag of balls. His heart tightened and he let out a sigh.
“Stan’s fine, I’m better without him.” He repeated, putting the toys aside.
Ford reached for a letter. It had his name written on it with his handwriting. He put it aside. Even if he couldn’t remember what he had written, he guessed it was some casual stuff, nothing really interesting.
Ford took another envelope. It also had his name on it but the messy handwriting indicated Stan’s style. Ford took a deep breath and opened it.
Dear older Sixer,
I hope that big brain of yours isn’t too heavy now that you’re probably the greatest scientist this earth has ever carried.
Ford chuckled. It was so Stanley…
He continued his reading, surprised that his brother managed to write a 5 pages letter. Stanley hated to write, he always said that the pen was hard to hold with his big fingers. And yet… He had wanted to write such a long letter… It was full of wishes and questions such as “I hope you finally learned to go to bed at a decent hour.” Or “Is the Stan-O-Wars finished?”.
At the beginning of the fifth page, Ford’s pain grew bigger…
I didn’t mean to write so much, I hope it wasn’t too annoying to read. I know you’re not into all that childish stuff anymore. I really do hope you’re a successful scientist though. What am I writing? Of course you are! And I’m proud of you, Poindexter.
And I want you to keep this letter if you can. To remind you that I’ll always be proud of you whatever you do. And I’ll always be there for you. Got it Ford? You’re not getting rid of me for a thousand years!
Love you, Stanley.
Ford let out a sigh, tears running down his face. This wasn’t ok. This letter full of love only reminded him how normal this used to be for them and how much he had missed Stan…
All those years… 40 years… He had missed him… And now… He was too proud and stubborn to admit it, even to himself. What an idiot.
Ford took a deep breath and wiped out his tears, taking the letter he wrote to himself. This would change his mind.
Dear future self,
No doubt you are going to a great college by now. Don’t forget to get some sleep or Stan will be mad at you.
Ford was wrong. His letter wasn’t better.
He kept reading anyway. Until the last line…
I hope Stanley isn’t too mad at you for not going treasure hunting with you. If he is, put your pride aside and talk to him. He probably need you… And you need him.
What an idiot he’d been…
Ford reached for the other letters. He was already in pain, the least he could do was check what he had written to Stan.
At his great surprise, the box was empty. So Stan had either destroyed the rest or kept it somewhere else. Luckily, Ford had the whole week end to look for it.
He got up and started to think. “Where would Stan keep his letters?”
Ford headed downstairs and began to search in the little room. But he couldn’t find anything. The letters weren’t there. Stan had burnt them and he would never know what was inside this envelope. If only he could remember!
Wait… There was another room where Stan could have kept them.
“Stan’s bedroom” Ford whispered to himself as he ran towards the door.
It didn’t take him too long to find the envelopes. Stan kept them in his drawer, near his bed. The paper had a more yellow-ish color and it was in bad shape. As if Stan re-read the letters often. Ford opened the one he had written.
Only a few words were written.
Dear older Stan,
I don’t know what to write you don’t already know. So I’ll just repeat that thing you keep forgetting:
You have the power to do anything if you put your heart into it. You are not worthless. I believe in you.
Ford remembered how ashamed he felt that his letter was so short while Stan had obviously written him more than one page. When he folded the letter, Ford noticed that the ink left weird marks on the paper… As if Stan had cried on it… He took a closer look at it and the crumpled paper made it clear that Stan had indeed cried over this few words.
Ford felt terrible. This was a bad idea. This whole time capsule was a bad idea. It hurt so badly… And yet… He wanted to know. He needed to know what was inside the last letter.
He carefully took the envelope and pulled the letter out of it.
Dear older Stan,
We both know that the point of this is to give Ford a letter. So… I hope you’re doing ok and all. And that you’re still doing your best to protect that nerd. I know you do though. Because that’s who we are, right?
Your cooler younger self
The other pages were blank. Stan just stuffed the envelope to make it look like he had a lot of things to tell his future self. But he didn’t. Because Stanley didn’t care much about himself. He cared about Ford…
“Why?…” Stanford breathed, crying again. “Why do you only care about me?… I’m no good to one…” He hardly breathed in, very aware of the face he was pulling. “You are… Better than me… In… So, so many ways…”
Ford lost track of time after that. He just knows that he cried a lot and fell asleep out of exhaustion in Stan’s bed.