Chapter 1: Stuck
The Axolotl informs Bill about the conception of his soulmate through an inter-dimensional postcard.
Congratulations, your soulmate has been sired in Time Baby’s dimension! Wishing you two a wonderful future together, XOXO.
Of course, the only creature in the multiverse who is more all-knowing than Bill can’t be bothered to give him more information than that, and Bill has no intention to beg Axolotl for more. Fortunately, his soulmate is not hard to find; Bill tracks it down to a womb of a human woman, which is terribly disappointing. His soulmate, a mere human? But on the moment of discovery, the species of his soulmate is not the most frustrating thing. The most frustrating thing is that his soulmate belongs to a set of twins.
The souls of the two humans are too intervened at this point for Bill to be able to tell which one is supposed to be his mate; he has to wait until they are born. In the meantime, he can entertain himself by glimpsing into their possible futures, which he does immediately. He wants to see what he’ll be dealing with, if either of them is going to be any use to him.
To his surprise and delight, the answer turns out to be yes. One of the kids is going to be a smart one, a weird one; Bill is especially pleased when he sees this kid in Gravity Falls as an adult, and part of him is ready to stop thinking about the other kid altogether after that. Of course it’s this one who’s going to be his soulmate, why else would Bill see him in his favorite town? Coincidences like that don’t happen.
Except they do, so Bill has to spy on the other kid’s future as well. The other isn’t stupid, but he’s foolish, tricking and cheating people his whole life and never getting good enough at it. Bill sort of likes him anyway - he’s kinda like a lesser Bill, which is cute - but if this one is going to be his soulmate Bill might just have to destroy the multiverse itself. Bill deserves better. Bill deserves the other kid.
He knows what’s going to be the outcome as soon as that thought forms in his mind.
After the two boys are born, Bill visits them in the hospital in spirit form.
Both kids are utterly unremarkable in their babiness, except for the second one, the one who got away: he has six fingers on his little hands, further marking him as the special creature he will grow up to be. Bill sighs deeply at the sight of him before turning to the one he didn’t want.
“I didn’t want you,” he says, just to make things clear. “But make no mistake, kiddo. Now that you’ve been assigned to me, there is no getting off the ride for you. I will make you mine in all ways that matter.”
He thinks of the things he saw in his soulmate’s future, the sad stench of failure all over it. He sighs again.
“Yep,” he says. Even Bill Cipher has to submit to fate, at least for now. “Until the end of time, kid.”
Chapter 2: Grower and Guardian
Bill warms up to his soulmate.
Warnings for dream violence.
Bill warms up to his soulmate. A little.
Stanley Pines is a cheat and a liar from birth, much like Bill himself. It’s fun to watch him go around, learning to pickpocket, sneaking behind his parents’s backs, roping his brother into getting involved with his schemes; Stan is a source of entertainment and Bill sure likes his fun.
Bill has no doubt he will tire of this eventually, especially when the time comes for Ford to really start developing his smarts, but Bill will tolerate it for now. Still, it’s time for Bill to make himself known to his partner in life.
He starts off by sprinkling his image all over Stan’s dreams. When Stan fails to care about the various triangles and pyramids that surround him, Bill tries an alternate approach; he starts appearing to Stan as different kinds of animals, making sure his shape and colors come through in every single one. That turns out to be be the right button to push; Stan falls in love with all the fantastic creatures around him, starts drawing them in real life.
“Octopuses are round,” Filbrick Pines says when Stan shows him the drawing he has made of his and Bill’s favorite creature, the pyramid-shaped octopus with one eye. The way Stan’s face falls over the words, how his joy at seeing Bill in his octopus form is diluted the next time they meet in Stan’s dreams, fills Bill with strange anger.
But Stan remains receptive to him, keeps drawing him in real world, even coming up with his own triangular creatures; yet even Stan’s creatures always come in shades of yellow, always have one eye. Those are all good signs; they can proceed to a face-to-face meeting.
Of course, once Bill decides to make the meeting happen, it goes nothing like in his plans.
Stan is in a middle of a nightmare when Bill enters his dreams that night, running for his life down the streets of Glass Shard Beach. He is chased by the boys who bully him and his brother in real life, who are carrying baseball bats and crowbars; Stan is already bleeding from the nose, loose teeth are moving around in his mouth. But even though the escape routes keep disappearing from around him and he finds himself running towards a dead end, Stan is calm; when Bill takes a peek into his thoughts, all he can see in Stan’s thoughts are gladness that Ford has made it safe.
Bill rolls his eye; the kid sure likes his heroic martyr fantasies. Once Stan is backed up against the wall, Bill zaps down to the street, popping out of thin air between Stan and his approaching tormentors.
“What the hell are you?” the C-something boy says, readying his bat. He looks like a typical alpha asshole in making, which almost makes Bill feel disappointed with Stan. This brat intimidates his soulmate? Pathetic.
“Weeeeeeeell,” Bill says, and that’s all he can be bothered with. He extends out his hand, pointing his finger at the boys to light them all up in fire.
They react to being on fire like any mortals do; they start screaming, dropping down to the ground so they can roll around to put the flames out. It doesn’t help them as the air starts to fill with smoke rising from their bodies, streams of boiling blood filling the ground beneath them. The latter thing tips Bill off to the fact that Stan’s imagination has taken the reins, turning the whole scene into a gruesome cartoon that is nothing like human burnings Bill has witnessed in reality.
It’s all quite fun to watch, though. In fact, Bill is so entertained that he fails to notice Stan sneaking up on him until he feels skinny arms wrapping around from behind, hugging him tight.
For a moment, Bill is too stunned to do anything. This is hardly the first time he’s had a hapless human falling for him, but- he pulls away from the embrace so he can turn around, see Stan staring at him with wide eyes and a beaming smile.
“That was so awesome!” Undeterred by Bill’s withdrawal, Stan reaches out to take Bill’s hands into his, squeezing them. “What are you? Do you have a name?”
Just by looking at him, Bill knows he has Stan right where he wants him.
It’s how much Bill wants him that’s the surprising thing.
“Why, I do!” He lets his eye curve in a friendly smile, squeezing Stan’s hands back. “It’s Bill. I guess you could call me your- guardian.”
Chapter 3: Reeling It In
Bill and Stan kiss for the first time.
Warning: Stan is 12 in this chapter. He will be a teen in future chapters.
The moment Stan starts to adore Bill, Bill assumes it won’t take long for the kid to fall in love.
He is wrong, much to his own displeasure. At best, Stan is smitten with him; he looks at Bill with starstruck eyes and thinks everything Bill says or does is more genius than sliced bread. Yet once Bill is out of Stan’s sight, he’s pretty much out of his mind as well; Stan still looks up to his human idols the most, his brother specifically.
Bill knows there are plenty of rational reasons for why this is the case, but since when has he given a shit about what’s rational? He wants the kid to be obsessed with him, look forward to nights and dreams when he gets to meet Bill. It’s good that Stan draws Bill’s image everywhere, it’s good that he keeps Bill’s existence to himself like it’s some precious treasure, but it’s not enough. Bill wants more and he wants it right away.
As much as Bill wants, however, he has no intention to ask. He forgets he never intends to do anything.
“And that was the end of me and Ford’s date,” Stan says.
Bill can’t help himself; he starts to laugh, continuing even as Stan starts to pout at him.
“Hey, we put a lot of effort into it! We took showers and everything!”
“Sure you did!” Bill cackles, flopping down on his back on the sand they’re sitting on. They’re at the beach, watching the sunset; for some reason, tonight Stan feels like dreaming about something he does almost every day. “C'mon though! You don’t expect girls to treat you, you need to treat the girls!”
Stan snorts derisively, looking down to stare at his crossed legs. “They’re richer than us though,” he says.
“Still, that’s the principle.” Bill laughs, sitting up again. He pats Stan firmly between the boy’s shoulders. “Maybe next time you two will get to kiss a girl!”
“But I really wanted to kiss one now!” Stan sighs, head drooping down as his shoulders slump. “I’m starting to think I never will.”
Bill laughs. “I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you,” he says, sincerely.
“You know, a little practice wouldn’t hurt you.” He swaps his eye away, pursing his eyelids-turned-lips. “How about a little peck, Stanley?”
Stan snorts again, lifting his head up but not looking at Bill. When Bill remains silent, Stan turns his head in his direction, jumping at the sight of his mouth. “What the-?” Stan turns his body towards Bill also, getting up on his knees as he leans closer to Bill. “You have a mouth?”
“Fully functional one,” Bill confirms, giving Stan a toothy grin. His teeth are nice, blunt human teeth for now so he won’t scare the boy, although he has a feeling that precaution would have been unnecessary; Stan seems to be fascinated with his mouth, leaning in even closer to take a look inside. Bill snakes his tongue out, showing off its black color and forked tip.
Stan gasps when he spots Bill’s eye in the very back of his mouth. “Do you feel it on your eye if you swallow something?” he asks, resting one hand on Bill’s left side. Something about that seems to bring Bill’s words into his mind, as his eyes suddenly widen. “You want me to kiss you?”
“Why not? It’s not that I’ll bite you.” Bill grins again. “Unless you want to, haha!”
Stan frowns, but he’s not moving away. Bill takes that as a good sign.
“You won’t if I don’t, right?” Stan sets his other hand on Bill’s right side, holding him like he’d hold a human from the shoulders. Encouraged even further, Bill reaches out to set his hands on Stan’s arms, on top of his sleeves; Stan trembles a little at the touch. But Stan remains where he is, thumbs rubbing lightly against Bill’s surface.
“I won’t, I promise.” Bill strokes his lips with the tip of his tongue, noting how Stan follows the movement with his eyes. “Kiss me, Stan.”
Stan hesitates for one moment more before tightening his hold on Bill, his wet breath touching Bill’s mouth before his lips do. Stan’s mouth is wet too, and soft; the boy jumps a bit when Bill parts his lips beneath his, arms tensing against Bill’s palms when Bill pushes the tip of his tongue out, letting the forked end touch against Stan’s sealed lips. After few seconds, however, the soft little lips open up, catching the second prong of Bill’s tongue between them.
Bill almost loses it when Stan gives his tongue a soft, tentative suck, his insides fluttering wildly as his body wants to bloom with arms and tendrils so he can pull the kid as close to him as possible. But Bill is better than that, better than this; he lets the kiss continue for a little while longer before reaching up to cup Stan by his face, pulling away from him.
As his eye returns to its place, he can see that Stan looks a little flustered, his face all pink and hot against Bill’s hands. Stan doesn’t dare to meet Bill’s eye immediately now that it’s back in sight again, staring down at Bill’s bow tie instead, but after some time he looks up again, facing him.
“What do you think?” he asks, voice both hesitant and hopeful.
Bill thinks he wants to eat him alive.
“It’s a good start,” he says. “I feel like we should practice more. Do you want to practice more?”
Chapter 4: The Third Wheel
Carla enters Stan’s life. Bill isn’t happy.
Stan gets around to dating girls, eventually. It’s a partial miracle; puberty hasn’t been kind to him at all, turning his face into a field of flowers and his mind into a pendulum of mood. But somehow his crooked charm keeps shining through, and girls notice. Not all of them, not the pretty popular ones, but some pretty ones. Bill thinks that’s important to Stan.
And he can’t blame the kid, he loves pretty girls too! He tolerates Stan’s affairs with them, fumblings in backseats and behind the football field, knowing none of them will last. He has foreseen them, the many failures; by now, he knows each of them will drive Stan first into Ford’s arms, then into Bill’s.
It bothers him that after all these years, he still isn’t the first living creature his soulmate seeks comfort from, but he knows Stan will come to him. That’s enough.
Well, not really, but Bill can convince himself for some time. That gets a lot harder when Carla McCorkle enters Stan’s life.
Carla is pretty like an undiscovered beauty queen, but she doesn’t know it. When she and Stan first meet, she dresses mousily and behaves likewise, but there is a self-assured babe waiting to burst out of her. Bill can see her coming from miles away; anyone with eyes can, really. It’s only a matter of time until she realizes that she can do better than Stan, and takes off like the fleeting fancy she was always destined to be.
Bill is beyond pissed when Carla McCorkle sticks around.
Eventually, Carla lets her hair loose, starts wearing low-cut tops and short shorts. She stays with Stan, even when other boys start to gather around her, and of course Stan eats that up. Finally, there is someone who places Stan above all others. Someone who chooses Stan above all, prefers him above all, showers him with adoration and appreciation-
It’s maddening Stan can’t see what already is there.
“-so I just punched that guy!”
Normally, Bill is all about stories of violence, especially when they star Stan. But this one is about how Stan saves Carla’s purse from a thief, gaining the admiration of everyone for one unforgettable night; it’s a tale that Bill knows Stan will be telling to others for years to come, and he’s already sick of it. Almost as sick as he is of Carla.
“Hmm?” He blinks, looking up at Stan. Stan is dreaming of school this time, of a dance; all the girls on the floor resemble Carla, of course. Bill’s eye narrows before he knows it, and Stan notices.
Stan starts to grin, which is a really bad sign. “Oh, I see,” he says, with a chuckle. “Someone is getting jealous!”
“I’m not!” He isn’t, damn it. Bill is just feeling possessive of something that is rightfully his, that some insignificant human woman has no right to steal from him. It has nothing to do with jealousy. Absolutely nothing.
“I think you are!” Stan laughs, but he gets serious fast, reaching out to rest his hand on Bill’s side. “Look, I know we haven’t been doing our usual stuff lately. It’s my fault, I’ve been distracted. But that doesn’t mean I like you any less.”
When Bill stares at him, unable to say anything, Stan reaches out with his other hand as well, grabbing Bill’s other side as he moves closer to him.
“You’ll always be my friend,” Stan says, starting to pull Bill closer for a hug.
Bill promptly blows the dream up, sending Stan thrashing and screaming back to reality while Bill remains behind in the realm of dreams, lost in rage.
He stays there for a long time before taking off to dreams of other people, ready to give them the worst nightmares of their lives. He has to make someone pay.
It takes him a long while to admit to himself why someone has to pay, why he is so damn angry.
After he does, he comes to a simple decision: if Carla McCorkle doesn’t go on her own, Bill will have to make her leave.
And he will make Stan understand his place in this world.