Since arriving in Gravity Falls Mabel had been… alright… better than at home. Everything troubling her had just fallen away and she let herself be swallowed up in the strangeness of the small town. Sure, going there every summer left her as a fairly memorable face but not in the same way as she was back home. In California she felt like she was stuck, she had to be happy and giggly and hyper. If she didn’t then everyone started acting like something was wrong with her and… there wasn’t… right?
Sighing, the girl curled up on the porch’s couch, tucking her knees up to her chest. She grabbed the tail of her sweater, and pulled it down over her legs. Everything was fine she was just… weighted down and empty at the same time. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a pale blue-white mist flickering. Her shoulders tensed and she shuddered, staring resolutely at her toes as they peeked out from under the hem of her sweater, curled into the edge of the couch cushions.
“Mabel,” a voice whispered, making the girl squeeze her eyes shut and wrap her arms tightly around herself. “Mabel,” it called again and this time she felt a pair of cold lips press against her ear.
“Fu-uuugh… Fuck off, Casper.” Rick’s voice cut through the gloom and with a high pitched buzz the thing that had been talking to her let out a wailing screech and then… was just gone. “You deal with that a lot,” the older man asked, dropping down on the other side of the couch with a groan.
“Sometimes,” Mabel said after a beat of silence. She sniffed softly and turned her head to look at her new-found company. He was wearing a pair of boxers and a stained white shirt. His flask was in hand as well, an accessory she’d become familiar with. “What did you do to it?”
He hummed and flicked a little tube at her. It was filled with swirling, milky looking vapor. “Trapped it in there. Y-you’d be surprised how much those things go for on the black market M-Mabel. So why’re you up so late,” he asked, taking swig from the flask and then casually extending it toward her, like she wasn’t a minor or anything.
She took it anyway. It wasn’t like it was her first drink after all.
“Couldn’t sleep,” she said, taking a swig from the flask and making a startled noise. The drink was surprisingly fruity tasting. “What’s this,” she asked, feeling it burn it’s way down her throat, despite its sweetness.
“Don't w-worry about it. Comes from a planet a few lightyears outside of our solar system. Got it at that black market I mentioned,” Rick answered easily, letting the girl take one more sip before taking it back with a chuckle. “Careful.. careful there, kiddo. That shit’ll hit you like a punch to the faaAAaaAace,” he belched, letting out a quiet groan while his head tipped back against the back of the couch. “So I heard y..ugh..s’nuff of that,” he groaned, sounding like he was about to throw up before shoving the flask between the cushions of the couch. “What I was… was saying is. I heard your brother and Mort--Morty talking earlier about you running away from home. What’s that about?”
Mabel groaned, dramatically flinging herself down on the couch and reaching across the elderly man’s lap and digging his flask back out. True to his words she was already feeling good and buzzed but not nearly enough to have this conversation. Thankfully Rick didn’t say anything as she took a couple more swigs. Capping the container, she wiped the back of her man over her mouth and stared up at the roof. She and Dipper had stuck glow-in-the-dark stars up there a few summers ago.
“Rick… Do you ever feel like you can’t do anything right? Or like you’re… you’re letting people down but you can’t help it and it makes you sad? But you’re angry too because everyone’s acting like there’s something wrong with you and there’s not! There’s nothing wrong with me just because I’m sad or.. or--or angry! I’m just… I don’t know,” she sniffled and dropped the flask on the floor so she could press the heels of her hands into her eyes. “I’m just… I’m not smart like Dipper and I’m just sad all the time now. I want people to leave me alone but I also want them to pay attention to me. I feel empty inside but also like there’s a pile of rocks on my chest and i just… I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she whimpered, tears leaking out from under her hands and spilling down her temples, into her hair.
Beside her, Rick sighed and reached out to clumsily pat her face.
“Listen close y-ya little shit, because I’m not sayin’ this twice. You’re not ugh… not an idiot, Mabel. Just because you’re not a fucking nerd like your brother or a genius like me. You-- you--- you’re like.. a sparkly, little fucking wolf. I mean look around you Mauuurghble. Everyone’s a fucking sheep. At least you’ve got the fucking balls to be yourself! There’s not shiiiiiiit wrong with you. You’re a teenager and you’re depressed, th-that’s all, and it’s fine. You just can’t let it eat you up. Just do whatever makes you happy because you… you know what? Nothing fucking matters! Don’t force yourself to be happy to please others. Don’t try to be anything you’re not! Just… You just… Just do what makes you happy.”
He had started moving his hands wildly as he spoke and Mabel watched him, eyes red rimmed and teary still. Her hands balled into fists against the front of her sweater as the man settled down, blinking slowly as he leaned into the cushions. The both of them remained silent for a moment, Rick staring out into the forest and Mabel looking up at him. Sniffling, she sat up, and with all the carefulness of a drunk, she struggled to her knees. The elder man turned his head to groggily watch as the young lady knee walked to him and then threw her arms around his neck giving him a surprisingly tight hug. Little thing was way stronger than she looked.
“Thank you, Uncle Rick,” she mumbled, chin digging into his shoulder. At first, the man just sat there, frozen for a moment before lifting his arms to hug her back. “You smell gross.”
“Ahh you’re Grunkle thought so too and think nothing of it, Mabel. I’m urrgh.. Always around to talk but ya know… don’t quote me on that later, ” he said, patting her back. “Y-You feeling better now,” he asked, arching a brow.
The girl smiled brightly as her head bobbed in a drunken nod. “Yeah. I feel a little better… but you know what really makes me happy,” she asked, earning nothing in return but Rick’s eyebrow climbing a couple centimeters higher up his head. It was good enough for her. “MAKEOVERS!!! Come on, uncle Rick!”
As she screamed she leapt off the couch and grabbed the spindly man’s arm, hauling him up off the cough. She was a LOT stronger than she looked, Rick decided. Mabel giggled as she swerved into the house. Her steps paying testament to the amount of sweet tasting liquor she’d indulged in moments before. Mabel dragged him through the cabin, depositing him in the kitchen before veering off again, mumbling about if her makeup would fit his complexion. Sitting under the yellow light shining down on the cluttered kitchen table, Rick supposed that a Makeover wouldn’t be too much to sit through if it kept the kid from getting swallowed up by despair for a night.