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The Girl from the Portal

Chapter Text

“Fine on one condition. And stay away from the kids. I don’t want them in danger. Cause as far as I am concerned, their the only family I have left.” Stanley sneered before walking away. He’d stop atop the stairs, glancing back over to Ford who was giving him the cold shoulder. He heard him sigh before disappearing behind the door.

Ford felt the grief now. How can you be so stupid, Stanford? He told himself. His eyes went back to the mirror they were just staring into together. He cleaned up fairly nice, his tan coat has seen better days though. Its edges were ratty and dirty. Might need to replace it someday. He stroked at the little bit of stubble on his chin.

It was kind of strange to be back in his dimension. He couldn’t grasp that reality was still similar – well besides Stanley making the cabin an attraction and the great niece and nephew who were living in the attic currently – which he never knew about. What a world to come back to. Even if it wasn’t what you expected from it. All that really mattered was he was back where he belonged.

He sighed while gazing upon himself. Stanley must hate him for not saying the two words he’s been waiting for. How long has it been now? Thirty years it seemed like. No wonder they are old and wrinkly now.

He ventured into the basement, punching in the code on the vending machine. The stairwell was tight going down as the darkness seemed to suck you in. Once at the bottom, you pretty much were in the lab area. Machines blinked and hummed walking through where it opened up into a wider section. The triangular portal took up the wall with its strange symbols lining its rim.

Ford seem to become disconnected as his eyes were nailed to the portal. He was still angry at Stanley for even starting it again also using his name. But he still loved him. He was still family. He glanced down at journal one in his hand. The golden hand glistened in the dim light as he matched up his. He sighed while lifting up his six fingered hand.

He turned towards the lever beside him as he went behind it to push it forward. With a grunt, the portal slowly started to expand until it filled the whole rim. Its blue glow lit up the room as he instantly scooped up all three of his journals. He cradled them, grabbing the first one and going mid toss only to hesitate. His reflection stared back at him from the thin gold sheet.

Ford wanted to throw them away, forget about them. But his life’s work was inside. They could end up anywhere in the universe through this portal. And it meant they were far away from him and his family. But he found himself reconsidering for some reason as he just saw his true self.

“God damn it.” He whispered to himself. He slowly sunk down to his knees, sulking in the glow as if to take it all in.

He would rise and place them back on his desk, his nails digging into its sides. His tension was still high from what he had experienced. Stanley wouldn’t understand what he even saw or heard. He could probably write a whole book about it honestly. But thirty years – thirty years is a long time.

He turned his attention to the now open portal. He instantly went over to the lever and pulled it back. It slowly dimmed away until it fizzled out. Ford would sink into his desk chair, placing his hands over his face. He just let his own thoughts run through, thinking about if he should of stayed away.

-

Ford awoke to the sound of mechanical whirling. The three journals were still where he had left them. It took a second for him to realize the location of the sound as he jumped up to his feet. He knocked over the chair in the process as he ran for the lever. The portal glowed brightly when he approached, bringing his hand up to shade his eyes.

On instinct, he grabbed the lever and pulled it back. But nothing happened. He tried again and again. The same results. “No. No.” He mumbled to himself as he quickly went over to his tool stash and scrambled for a wrench.

Once he found one, he returned back to it and broke off the covering with the bolt side. He skimmed the lines for any sign of sabotage. He was hoping this wasn’t Bill’s doing. One of the plugs was mangled with the other, causing a delay on the power. With a quick readjustment and plugging them back in.

He stood up just in time to see a mass form behind the portal. It morphed and danced until it made a full form of a human. Just a few days prior, his family had experienced the same thing. The form moved forward and limb by limb, it appeared more distinct. It would stop at the edge of the line as it skimmed the surroundings.

In a panic, Ford forcefully pushed the lever back as the portal begun to spark and crackle a light show. Both Ford and the form took cover. The form flipped itself and combat rolled to save its landing while Ford slid behind his desk. The whirling grew louder before it exploded into a bright light. It reached across the shack’s windows as it beamed out and just like the snap of a finger, it went dark.

Ford coughed while getting to his feet. He cautiously walked out, his hand hovering over his gun holstered at his side. The form appeared behind a table off on the right side as it aimed its gun at his head. Ford did the same as he whipped it out and aimed. It was a classic showdown scene as they stared heavily at each other.

“Who are you? State yourself.” Ford commanded. He scanned the form top to bottom. It was for sure human, lean and feminine from what he could tell.

“Stanford?” It replied, carefully lowering the long red scarf from its mouth.

Just as he suspected, it was a woman. She had bright green eyes and deep brown flowing locks. Her lips curled a little bit at the ends in a smug look. Something about her made Ford’s visions come back to him. He knew her.

“Stanford, it’s me.” She repeated as if he had amnesia. His gun was still pointing in her way until his eyes sparked realization.

He slowly lowered his guard and his gun with it. “Alma, what are you doing here?” His personality suddenly changed to being more firm.

Alma let out a calming breath before lowering her gun. “I came to see you. I didn’t think your portal was going to open again.” She placed her gun on the table. “So I took my chance and jumped in.”

“You have to go back.” Ford ordered with the point of his finger.

“Why?” Alma asked, looking back at him.

“My brother is here. And so is my great niece and nephew – apparently.” Ford replied, sliding his gun away. He walked up beside her and shared her gaze. “It already weird enough I am here, but you-” He hesitated once her eyes saddened. “This isn’t your place.”

Alma sighed, breaking her eye contact. “But it was my dimension once before too. I’ve been waiting for this chance to come back.”

“You’re here. But, I can’t have you be here.” He empathized on the here with his finger pointing down.

She grabbed her gun and toyed with it for a second before sliding it back into its holster. Without another look, she started to walk away, only for Ford to grab her arm. “Alma wait.”

“Having second thoughts?” She said, stopped by his hand. His six fingers tightened on her as he let out a slight whimper.

“I’ll let you stay on one condition.” His arm fell as he took a few steps back. “Stay away from my family. That’s all I ask.”

Alma turned towards him, her eyes glossed over. Ford still didn’t think this was the best idea. But she didn’t have any other place to go. He just hoped if his family did discover her, they’d accept her. Just like he did.

Chapter Text

“Already hate this town.” Alma commented to herself. Gravity Falls wasn’t the biggest town, nor was it the most normal. Ford knew about the weirdness the town beheld. But it wasn’t what affected the people. The Gleefuls were religiously cons, McGucket was beyond his mentality, the mayor was clueless and well, the list goes on. Alma pretty much noticed all these things the moment she set foot in the town. It obviously wasn’t afraid of showing its true colors.

She stopped to admire Nathaniel Northwest’s statue. But it wasn’t much to look at beside sporting a “so-superior” stance. The town didn’t even know he was just a hoax to cover up the true founder. Their money didn’t even belong to them as far as anyone was concerned. It only just made the family hated and known as the rich jerks on the hill.

She entered Greasy’s Diner, sliding into one of the booths in the back. The waitress was known as Lazy Susan for her left eye that was now forever shut. She approached Alma, checking her out with her good eye. “Well hi. You are new.” Her voice was shrill in a way. Guess that was another thing that made her unique.

“Just some coffee please. Thanks.” Alma ordered even before she asked. Susan stood there for a second before nodding and scribbling it down on her notepad. She returned back with a carafe in her hand and a mug in the other.

Placing the mug down, she filled it. “Anything else, sweetie?” She asked.

“This is good for now. Thanks again.” Susan smiled a bit before wandering off to the next table.

Alma let out a sigh and took a sip of her cup. Her eyes would move over to the window where she watched some squirrels skittering about. Even if the town was odd, it still had its perks. It was quiet most of all. Has been awhile since she’s been in a place like this.

She begun to dig into her bag, pulling out a blue journal with a buckle on the front. She opened it up to a fresh page and grabbed her one and only pen. She begun to draw what she recalled from the window. The tall trees, the squirrels frolicking, the stretch of road. Alma seemed to zone out into her own word when the Pines walked in.

Stan was followed in by Dipper and Mabel who took a booth down for her. “Why didn’t Grunkle Ford come with us?” The girl asked Stan as they slide onto the seats.

“Said he had some science stuff to do – I don’t know.” Stan replied. Thankful Stan had his back to her. Ford wasn’t kidding when he said they were twins. They looked almost identical to each other minus Ford’s sixth finger and his hair.

The boy who she assumed was Dipper, looked out the window a bit bummed after they ordered some pancakes. Alma recognized his blue pine tree hat from the shack’s gift shop. Stan must of let them both have something when they first arrived. His sister was beside him, humming away happily while scribbling on the place mat. Her sweater was a very vibrant pink with purple puzzle pieces. Could tell she was a character.

“Why the pouts, bro bro?” She playfully punched her brother in the arm.

He rubbed his arm before his eyes went over to his sister’s cheeky smile. “I just wish he had come. He never leaves the basement.”

Alma could sense Stan’s face fell without even looking at him. He felt the same it seemed and he just got him back too. For a man who wants to protect his family, he sure is doing a crappy job at being with them. They all fell quiet suddenly. Mabel was frowning now from what Alma could see as she let out a loud sigh.

The pancakes arrived at the table, which started up some small talk between them. Most of it was saying how good the pancakes were today. They were some laughs and smiles too. But it didn’t last long. Stan told them to go outside and wait for him while he went to go pay the bill.

Alma took the chance. She gathered up her things, stuffing it back in her bag. A few dollars were left on the table as she made her way towards the door. Stan had turned just at the wrong moment, knocking her over onto the floor. Her journal slid out of her bag and down the stairs into the mud.

Stan fixed his fez and then offered his hand to her. “Sorry about that.” She glanced up at him, definitely seeing the resemblance now. She seemed to hesitate in taking his hand. “Well? Am I helping you up or not?”

She finally took it as he pulled her up. “Thank you.” Alma smirked towards him. She saw a glimpse of a smirk as he walked out and down the stairs.

Mabel had picked up her journal when she followed him out. “This is yours I assume.” She used her sleeve to wipe the mud off. “Here you go. Good as new.”

Alma took it with a smile. “You are sweet. Thank you.”

Mabel couldn’t help but smile back and giggle. “That’s what I do.”

“Mabel, sweetie. Stop bothering that nice girl.” Her uncle yelled out to her.

“I’m coming, Grunkle Stan.” She said back. She would turn back towards her and wave. “See you around maybe.”

Alma waved back as she hopped into the back of Stan’s car with Dipper. Stan tipped his fez to her before sliding into the driver’s seat and pulling away. Even if she promised Ford to stay away from them, it wouldn’t prevent them from leaving the shack. She was bound to run into them again. It was only a matter of time before they figured it out.

Chapter Text

Ford made a scene just before they had left for the diner. With two electrified gloves, he emerged from the basement with a Cycloptopus and shocked it until it fell limp. Dipper had initially asked if he could help him, but he told him it was too dangerous. “Call me for dinner.” He said after disappointing Dipper. That is when Stan offered to take them out for pancakes.

Ford returned down to his lab with the Cycloptopus still in his grip. He searched for something to keep it in, finding an old glass jar that still had its lid. He popped the lid off and gently slid the creature inside before twisting it shut. It squirmed a little inside, pressing its suction cups into the sides, its one eye gazing up at him angrily. He noticed it staring and shook his head towards it.

“Don’t even think about it.” He said to it as it moved around inside.

He heard the door open followed by a set of boots coming down the stairs. Alma paused at the end of the stairs. Ford glanced over at her, but didn’t really take interest otherwise. She sat herself down on the couch and pulled her bag off. She noticed the Cycloptopus in the jar beside him squishing around against the glass.

“Is this how it’s going to be the whole time I’m here?” She asked. Ford swiveled on his chair. She pulled out her journal and pen on her lap, opening it to a page and handing it to him. He obliged and examined the page. It was a drawing of her view from inside the diner. He recognized Mabel and Dipper sitting in the booth.

“So you have seen them.” Ford started flipping through it. Her drawings were always well done. He never could draw that well, even if his journals did contain some. In a way, he blamed his Polydactyly for it. But that was just how he was.

Alma noticed him stop suddenly on a page as his eyes widened. It depicted a frozen landscape with a massive rocky cliff side, its rugged edges looked almost real. And then there was Ford holding his hands over a makeshift fire. She looked over his shoulder at the drawing he was turning white towards. His hands were gripping its edges tightly.

“You remember that, don’t you?” Alma was tempting to ease him. Suddenly, Ford slammed the journal shut and shoved it at her. She let out a grunt on the impact and watched Ford get off his chair angrily. She held her journal close as her eyes went slowly up to his.

He paced back and forth for a minute before actually looking at his companion. Her eyes were towards the floor now. For some reason, he couldn’t quite look away. That moment in the journal was a tough one to get past. Alma and him were nearly freezing to death with not much to thrive on. He had done his best to make sure they made it through the night, even finding some kindle to light.

While they sat there, staring at the little flame flicker, she pulled out her journal and started to draw. Once she was done, she had shown it to him. He was impressed by her skills and noticed a few things she could change. It seemed like they had gotten closer that night. Ford going as far to sharing his body heat with her when she started quivering. He was afraid to lose her – one of the only people he knew.

Seemed like they both had reminisced on that time together inside the dimensions. “I’m sorry.” Ford spoke softly.

Alma looked up at him with teary eyes. “Then you do remember.”

Ford nodded. “Of course I do. We were trapped together in some unknown world.”Alma sniffed as Ford’s hand started rubbing on her back. “You don’t just forget that.”

Alma nodded before moving back. “But what now? Now that we are back to the dimension we grew up in, went to school in, had our lives in?”

Ford turned away towards the portal gate. “Then we keep it that way.” He grabbed the wrench he had used on the lever and starting ripping its components out. He dug up the main cord and without hesitation, he pulled it. “There will be no more portal.”

Chapter Text

Later that day, Dipper had fallen into the basement with a crash. Thankfully Alma was around the portal at the time, helping Ford dismantle it. “Would be best if you hid for now. I’ll go check on him.” He had said towards her as she nodded in understanding. Ford then proceeded around the corner.

“Great Uncle Ford!” She heard Dipper say, sounding rather apologetic.

“What did I say about coming down here? My work is far too dangerous for a single living soul to spend even one second in – wait! Is that a 38 sided die from Dungeons, Dungeons and more Dungeons?!” Ford was fully stern but just a split second later, he got all excitable.

“Yeah! You – you know that game?” Dipper was rather eager to learn such a thing.

“With pen and paper, shield and sword -” Dipper would join in on this part. “Our quest shall be our sweet reward.” They both chucked after their epic reciting of the game’s tagline. Dipper then handed the dice to Ford. “This is my favorite game in the whole multi-verse. I still can’t believe they still make it.”

“They do!” Dipper replied excited, pulling out the rule book. “And I’ve been looking all day for someone to play with me.”

Ford took the rule book from him. “My boy. Do you know what this means?” He then knelled down to his nephew’s level. “We must stop everything I’ve been working on at once. And play!” A huge grin appeared on his face. Dipper had one as well.

When Dipper fell into the basement, he had knocked over the jar containing the Cycloptopus along with Ford’s journal he had been writing in. It took its chance to suddenly jump on Ford. He quickly ripped it off. His hair was now a mess on the one side along with a patch of sucker markers up his face. “That’s gonna leave a mark.” He commented, still with his big smile.

Alma knew Ford was a nerd at heart. So it didn’t surprise her when him and Dipper spend the afternoon playing Dungeons, Dungeons and more Dungeons. She’d watch them play from the other side of the wall, sketching out the scene when Ford was rolling the dice between his six fingers. It was kind of mesmerizing in a way. After Dipper did a great move and they talked about how the game had changed, he hesitated to ask his uncle something.

“Great Uncle Ford, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Where were you when you came out of that machine? And what have you been doing down here? Are you working on something behind that curtain?” He gestured towards the tan curtain above his head. Alma was just underneath that curtain so she paused her pen to listen.

His eyes went up in its general direction and moved around the room while he spoke. “Dipper, it is best if you and the family stay away from that subject. Honestly, I’m not sure any of you could handle the real answer.” His eyes landed on his nephew.

“But – But I can handle it.” Dipper protested.

Ford suddenly lifted his finger. “Ah ah. But I can show you a little something I brought back with me.” He proceeded to pull out a small bag and shake its contents out. Out came a bunch of dice and a little black box. He picked up the black box and opened it, revealing the ultimate die. “An infinity sided die.”

“Whoa, that’s so cool. And impossible.” Dipper replied.

“This things are outlawed in nine thousand dimensions. You want to know why?” He pointed towards it. “Look at those symbols. Infinite sides means infinite outcomes. If I rolled it, anything could happen. Our faces could melt into jelly, the world could turn into an egg. Or you could just roll an eight. Who knows.” He shrugged before closing it shut. “But that’s why I have to keep it in this protective, cheap plastic case. Now – back to the game. You got Probabilitor on the ropes.” He placed it down beside the board of him.

It was nice to see that Ford was trying to bond with Dipper. Even if earlier, it seemed like he was locking himself away from them on purpose. But it seemed they did have things in common now that she thought about it. They were both smart and very geeky. Who knew what would happen in the future between them. Alma hopped it was good.

Chapter Text

There was some sort of chaos the next day in the shack. Alma hadn’t been there at the time. All she knew was there was a massive hole in the living room when she came back. Everyone else was no where to be found including Ford. But around the early evening hours, there was a commotion upstairs as most of the others watched the second airing of Duck-tective. Ford came down once they turned it on.

“Rough day?” Alma asked once he appeared in the doorway.

“Guess you could say that.” He replied, pulling out the infinite die box. “Stanley rolled it like the buffoon he is.” He opened it and revealed the die itself. It was pulsating with life it seemed like.

“What are you going to do with it?” She asked, watching its images change at a rapid pace.

“Lock it away.” He walked over to one of his machines, grabbing an experiment tube off the shelve. With a set of tweezers, he carefully dropped the die in and tightened the lid. He then made a label for it that said #106.

There was some commotion coming from the others upstairs. It sounded like the plot twist was dumb from what they could tell. Alma and Ford just looked at each other and chuckled in hearing the disappointment.

“Obviously the show wasn’t so good.” Alma commented.

Ford smirked. “Seems that way.”

There was suddenly the small tab of shoes coming down the stairs. Ford looked over towards them. Alma knew exactly what to do. She slid her way into the back room as quiet as a mouse. Ford’s face went stoic as Dipper appeared before him.

“How was – whatever it is called?” Ford asked him.

“Duck-tective. And it sucked.” Dipper replied instantly, sounding bored.

“That’s too bad.” His uncle commented. He picked up the die and turned back to Dipper. “Was working on putting this away. Want to help?” Dipper nodded excitedly.

Ford then turned towards the small display case he had built into one of the machines. He proceeded to put it in one of the compartments, closing its little door and locking it with his key. It had a glowing spaceship as a key chain which caught Dipper’s eye. He glanced over at his nephew.

“This will be here if you ever need it.” Ford said.

“Really? Even though, I got us all into the gameplay mess?” Dipper replied a bit confused.

“Ha, we both got carried away. I guess we’ve both gone awhile without a friend.” Alma heartache hearing that. Mean isn’t she his friend? She is just hidden from the others. When he wasn’t interacting with his family, he was talking to her. She felt like she wanted to cry.

“Dipper. Can I tell you something?” She heard Ford start to say. She suddenly was scared stiff. Was he about to tell him about her? “You asked me earlier what I was working on. Well-” He removed the curtain, revealing the sad remains of the portal. “I’ve dismantled the portal.”

Relief flowed over Alma as she let out the breath she was holding in so tightly. He still wanted to keep her a secret. But the rift they had pulled from the machine, that he didn’t. But that just proved that Ford was opening up to Dipper. He called him a friend now.

“Now get yourself to bed. I have much research to do.” Ford rubbed Dipper’s hat playfully.

“Goodnight, Great Uncle Ford.” Dipper waved on his way up.

“Goodnight, Dipper.” He replied back. Once Dipper was out of sight, his face went stoic. He would gently place the rift back in its spot before shutting it in.

Alma reappeared just as he was putting it away. He glanced over at her with a frown. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t of said that.” He was disappointed of himself.

“You sure seem to apologize a lot.” Alma commented to Ford’s disbelief.

Ford fell silent. He wasn’t quite sure what else to say. All he could do was stand there dumbstruck. He broke from his trance, turning towards his journal he’s been adding to. He allowed Dipper to hold on to the third one for him.

Alma sighed. Obviously he didn’t care to further the conversation. She just made her way to cot he had set up for her and plopped down. After a few minutes of sketching, she let herself fall on the pillow, squeezing it in her hands. Seemed like forever she laid there.

Ford had moved on up to his sofa upstairs at some point while she was lying there, so the lab was eerily quiet. She turned on her back and stared up at the ceiling. Somewhere above her was Stan’s room. For an old guy, he didn’t seem to make much noise. Besides the occasional throwing of his shoes or snoring.

She pondered whether or not she should just reveal herself to them. They already saw her once at the diner. Not like they’d forget her face. Unless Stan had short term, which she highly doubted. Mabel for sure would recognize her, hell even Soos and Wendy has seen her and they just work here.

Soos originally took her as one of the customers. So she played the part, just to protect her skin. But even so, Stan does have cameras in the gift shop. He’d find it suspicious this girl with the red scarf kept coming in through the door. Honestly it is a surprise he hasn’t noticed yet. But this is why she pulls her scarf off, adjust her hair and change her makeup. Would be nice to not have to do that every single time she arrived back.

Alma’s thoughts kept going back to Ford. She didn’t want to make him upset towards her. He for sure would kick her out. It was his house after all. Stan just lives in it and the twins are only here for four months of the year. It wasn’t like his name never was on the deed. It actually is and in a fancy cursive. She’s seen it with her own eyes.

She rose tiredly, rubbing at her face. Ford’s journal was still sitting on the desk next to the Cycloptopus. He had to find a replacement jar for it as Dipper had shattered it during his fall inside. No wonder it attacked him. It was making a weird purring noise as if it was snoring with its one big eye shut tight. She skimmed through the page he was writing on it and found that it was indeed snoring. At least, that is what Ford thought as well.

Alma would smile at it whispering a sweet “sleep tight little guy” towards the jar. After a quick stretch, she made her way upstairs and towards the bathroom. Waddles was wandering around for some reason when she turned the corner. The pink pig was a rolly polly thing with one spot on its eye and on its back. At first, he startled her, causing her to duck around the corner.

He had his snout to the floor as if looking for some crumbles to eat. He wandered ever so closer to her as she tried her best to stay stiff. He suddenly stopped and stared up at her in the corner. Didn’t take him long to start climbing on her and snot her up with his wet nose. She started giggling softly, hoping none of the others would hear.

“Waddles, come on. I just need to use the bathroom.” She said towards the pig. It was hard not to have a giggling fit when his snout touched her face, it tickled.

She finally just picked him off her and plopped him down on the rug. “Alright buddy. That’s enough.” She giggled one more time during her words. He tilted his head towards her with a snort. She gave him a pat on the head before entering the bathroom and closing the door behind her.

After washing her hands, she exited the bathroom. Waddles was still sitting there waiting. She gestured towards the stairs to the attic. “I’m not Mabel. She’s upstairs buddy.” He didn’t move.

Alma let out a frustrated huff. “Go upstairs.” She pointed again, only to be giving a blank look again. “For god’s sake.” She whispered under her breath before finally walking around him and back towards the vending machine. Just as she got there, she glanced back behind her to see the pig was on her tail. He sat his bottom down and tilted his head again towards her.

“No Waddles, you can’t come down with me.” Alma said sadly. “Mabel will be looking for you. You know that.” He just kept sitting there, looking all cute as if to say “pretty please?” Alma groaned with a facepalm. “You know what? Whatever pig. If you want to come, so be it. But you have to promise you’ll come back up when Ford opens it in the morning, got it?” The same blank stare was looking back at her before he snorted once. He then proceeded to make his way down the stairs.

What has she gotten herself into? Now the girl’s pig likes her. She shut the machine behind her before following the pig down. She instantly returned to her cot. A warm round body suddenly curled itself in her legs. She glanced down to find the pig had tucked itself in like a cat and was comfortably resting its face on her ankle.

She smiled sleepily as she gave him a rub on the head. “Night Waddles.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Ford opened the vending machine to find the chubby pig casually sitting there waiting. “Waddles?” He cocked a brow as the pig ran off towards the kitchen. Alma was just rubbing her eyes when Ford approached her. “What the hell was the pig doing down here?” He asked sternly.

“Uh well-” She begun to explain, just for Ford to lift his hand up.

“Nevermind.” He replied. He scanned the room as if checking for something. “Doesn’t appear he broke anything.”

Alma let out a yawn and stretched. “He just slept most of the time he was down here.”

“Thought he was Mabel’s pig?” Ford quizzed sarcastically, his finger on his chin.

Alma punched him lightly in the arm. “Shut up. Not my fault the pig likes me.” Ford roared a laugh.

Alma just grinned cheekily. It disappeared, just as it appeared as her eyes went wide. “What’s wrong?” He said instantly once he saw her expression.

“Where’s my scarf? Oh no – Ford go get it.” She begged.

It took him a second to realize what was happening. Waddles. Waddles had taken her scarf. He briefly saw a glimpse of red when he had gone towards the kitchen just seconds earlier. Alma had a worried look etched on her face when he regained her gaze.

Ford’s strong hands squeezed around her arms as his eyes were direct.“I’ll bring it back, I promise.” Alma nodded to him. She knew he’d get it back for her. That scarf meant the world to her. It was the last thing her mother had given her before tragically passing away.

The moment she felt his six fingers move away, she felt like a piece of her did too. Her face suddenly felt hot as it went red. She feared of him looking back at her and seeing what she was hiding for so long. He didn’t need to see. Half of her, deep down, was hoping he felt the same. That was something she had longed for since meeting him that faithful day on the frozen wasteland.

He did look back. She sulked away, hoping he wouldn’t comment on it. He was an observer after all. That’s what scientists do. To her surprise, he didn’t. She wasn’t sure if he didn’t quite notice or he did – realizing it was awkward. Alma hopped for the first one as she watched him make his way back up the stairs.

-

“Waddles? Waddles!” Mabel said loudly, growing progressively worried. She entered the kitchen where her brother and uncle already were. Stan glanced over his newspaper towards her, noticing the missing smile she always had.

“What’s wrong, pumpkin?” He asked, placing the newspaper down.

“Have you seen Waddles?” She asked, tears teasing the sides of her eyes. Dipper stopped munching on his cereal once he noticed his sister was about to cry.

“That stupid pig. No, sorry Mabel.” Stan said apologetic. He just wanted to squeeze his niece as hard as he could looking in those tearful eyes.

Dipper jumped down from his seat and pulled her into a hug. “I’ll help you find him.” He offered as she pressed her face deep into his orange shirt.

She sniffled, wiping at her eyes with her sweater sleeve. “You will?”

“Of course. I wouldn’t be a good brother if I didn’t.” He winked. Mabel got all gitty as her brother was the best.

“Thanks Dipper. You’re the best.” Mabel replied, squeezing him back tighter. Dipper struggled under her affection, trying to ease her off a bit.

“Ok. Mabel. Mabel! You are – squeezing too tight.” He said hoarsely as she suddenly let go. He gasped desperately for air. Once he caught his breath, he adjusted his pine tree hat and stood proud. “Let’s find this pig.”

-

“Grunkle Ford!” He had just reached the gift shop when he heard Mabel calling him.

“Morning Mabel. Dipper.” He replied when they came running up to him. “Mabel, where’s your pig?”

“That’s who we are trying to find.” Dipper replied.

“Then let’s look together. Three eyes are better than two.” Ford suggested. Dipper and Mabel agreed.

They scattered across the whole shack, searching high and low for the pink round. They searched under the furniture, under the cushions, under Soos, who just asked what they were doing. They thought they’d never find him until they heard Stan yell from the hallway.

Mabel! I found your stupid pig!” They heard as the three of them rushed to his location. He had just left his room, carrying Waddles under his arm.

Mabel’s eyes lit up brightly as Stan handed him off to her. “Waddles!” She squealed. She squeezed him tightly and rubbed his cheek on hers. “Never ever do that again.” She growled towards the pig. He just stared blankly.

Ford noticed Alma’s scarf wrapped around him. He was about to grab it when Dipper suddenly picked it up and examined it. “Hey, whose scarf is this?” He asked, showing it to the group.

“Waddles! Did you steal someone’s scarf? You are a naughty boy.” Mabel flicked his snout playfully.

“It’s mine.” Ford lied through his teeth as all eyes went to him.

Stan just laughed. “Ha, I have never seen you like a scarf.”

“How do you know, Stanley? It’s been thirty years!” Ford protested.

Stan just narrowed his eyes towards him. “Really? Gonna pull that card?”

Mabel and Dipper tried to separate them. It was never fun to see their two grunkles argue. But it has been a thin thread between them since Ford returned. He was still angry Stan ignored his warnings and never considered what it may bring in the future. While Stan was upset that he was, and that he won’t say those two words he desperately wants.

“Stop it you two.” Dipper said towards the bickering brothers. He pulled the scarf off Waddles and offered it to Ford. “You can have it, Great Uncle Ford. Just don’t fight about it, ok?” The look in Dipper’s eyes were just enough to stop Ford from saying anything else.

He smirked towards him, kneeling down and taking the scarf from his hand. “Thanks, Dipper.” He rubbed his hat before rising back up. He shared a glance with his brother, only for him to turn his back towards him. Ford just rubbed it off, for he had a mission – he had to return Alma’s scarf. “You know where to find me if you need me.” He said to his niece and nephew before walking away. As he made his way back, he could feel Stan’s eyes burn into him. He frowned, knowing how hurt his twin really was.

Chapter Text

Alma sat up once she heard Ford’s heavy boots. Her scarf was in his hand when he handed it off to her. Then without warning, he suddenly sat down beside her on the cot. Alma turned hot again as she felt his arm rub against hers. She’d start to wrap her scarf back around her neck, only for Ford to take the end and wrap it himself. She was full blushing when his eyes went over to her. No doubt he noticed that time as she tried to hide it with her scarf, embarrassed.

His eyes moved away, a small smirk forming on his face. “No point in hiding your feelings.” He said to the room. He knew. He knew how she felt. But did he feel the same?

Alma pulled her scarf away from her face. “Was it my blushing?” She asked quietly.

Ford just shook his head. “No. I just – knew.” He seem to hesitate as if trying to figure out what to say. He let out a sigh, lowering his head into his hands. Alma wanted to so badly hook her arm under his as it seemed he was going through more than she suspected.

She decided to try though. Slowly, she let her arm curl around his. She leaned her head on his shoulder as he raised his head back up and met her gaze. They were slowly getting there it seemed. Neither her or Ford have been in a relationship for a long time. It will just be baby steps the first while.

“Alma,” Ford said, while grabbing both her hands and hold them in his. “You sure you want to do this?”

“I’ve already been with you this long. I think we can at least try.” She replied with a small smile.

His grip tightened on her hands. “What about Bill?”

Bill. She hasn’t heard that name in months. That snarky, manipulative demon has been haunting Ford since he let him in. Everyday he regrets that decision. He has spent years while they were in the dimension, trying to find answers about him. Bill is able to be stopped. That is all he really ever wanted.

But that is the reason why he was so infuriated at his brother. Opening the portal to save him, brought Bill with him. Little did he know though, Gideon Gleeful had already summoned him in Gravity Falls. And he has been marking his family since then. Now his favorite puppet was back in town. It was only a matter of time before he knew it.

“Then we’ll fight him together.” Alma replied pridefully. “You know how to beat him. We just need it at the right time.”

Ford admired her faith. She was stronger than he’d ever be. But she was right. Bill had left him awhile ago for a reason he may never know. He’s done enough torture to this world and other dimensions. “Then we shall.” He replied.

-

Late that night, Alma had an odd dream. She found herself sitting on a wet swing overlooking an abyss like world with hovering rocks and bizarre objects. The infinite die floated past her, along with Waddles, her pen and Ford’s journals. There was demonic whispers behind you from time to time. It felt as if she was just floating there herself. But once she let her boots down, the sandy floor became visible as she nearly tripped taking one step.

“Ain’t you a sight for sore eye.” A loud, distorted voice said. A triangular figure morphed and swirled before her. It was yellow with scrawny arms and legs, one big eye and a tall top hat. Alma narrowed her eyes. “So tell me, cupcake. What is up with you and old Fordsie?”

“What do you want, Bill?” Alma sneered. “And don’t call me cupcake.”

Bill laughed. “You and Fordsie are perfect for each other! Talk about drag queens.”

“Cut the crap.” Alma snapped.

“Cut the crap. It is funny cause you are crap.” Bill mocked, tapping his fingers together. “So let’s make a deal, cupcake.”

“Screw you and all you stand for. I’ll never make a deal with you.” Alma crossed her arms and turned away.

“What if I made Fordsie love you for the rest of your puny, pathetic life?” He floated down and snaked his arm around her. “Cause you know, I was playing footsies in his mind for years. I know how he truly feels.”

Alma’s face went soft. Could he really do that? She took a few steps forward, holding herself. She knew now that Ford was willing to show his true feelings. But how long would those feelings last? It could last a few weeks, a few months. But this was Bill she was talking to. He was a manipulative fiend, she knew that from what Ford had told her.

She turned back towards him. He was casually lounging mid-air, checking out his fingernails he didn’t have. “But what do you want?”

He turned himself forward and floated up to her. “Just want to have a stroll in the great world of cupcake.” He gestured with his hand in a rainbow form.

“No.” Alma instantly said, realizing he wanted to hitch a ride in her body. “Your gonna use me to get to Ford.”

Bill laughed. “What? No. Why would I want to be inside the girl of my mortal enemy?” He rolled his eye while saying such.

“You won’t get near him.” Alma insisted, shaking her finger around.

“Oh?” Bill snickered.

Alma’s eyes flew open as she slid off the edge of the cot, landing hard on her side. “Crap.” She whispered to herself, grabbing at her sore side and rubbing it. She was back in the lab, staring at the blank rock wall where the portal once was. Its pieces were still off to the sides and piled up among each other.

“I’ve got to warn Ford.” She said, lifting herself up painfully.

She made her way up the stairs and into the main hallway. Alma passed the kitchen, only to duck around the corner just as quickly as she passed it. She noticed Dipper was searching the fridge for something. Guess he couldn’t sleep. When he turned his back would be the time to go.

He pushed a few things out of the way before retrieving the milk carton. He then proceeded to grab a glass and fill it. That is when she creaked her way past, only for him to glance back at the sound of the wood. Alma just froze up like a deer in headlights. She was hoping the boy couldn’t quite make her out in the dark. It took him second to realize there was a figure there through his tired eyes.

“Who’s there?!” He snapped as Alma made her way into the kitchen, shushing him with her hand. He pushed her hand off. “Hey, you’re that girl from the diner.” His eyes went down the scarf around her neck. “The scarf.” He whispered unknowingly.

“Dipper, I can explain-” Alma began, only to be cut off by him.

“Whoa, what? How do you know my name? Where did you even come from?” Dipper started ranting. He suddenly grabbed the knife from the sink, pointing it towards her. “Are you a creature?”

“What? No.” Alma carefully disarmed him and put it back. “Let’s put that back before hurt someone.”

“You could at least tell me your name cause you know mine.” Dipper suggested. Alma realized he didn’t have his hat on. She has never really seen him without it as his hair was shaggy and brown.

“You can call me Alma.” She bend down to his level and put her hand out towards him. The twelve year old hesitated, looking at her hand and then back up at her. It seemed a few seconds passed before he slowly dropped his hand in hers. “See? No creature.” Alma turned her palm face up as if to show Dipper.

Dipper still had a suspicious look on his face once she rose. “Enjoy your milk, Dipper. I got to go see your uncle.” Alma looked back at him from the doorway.

“You mean Great Uncle Ford?” She heard Dipper ask, a milkstache now across his lip. Alma nodded. “Whoa ok. That actually made you – a hundred times better. You must be from a multi-verse.” There was a cheesy smile across his face now.

Alma knew that he shared the same interests as his uncle. So she wasn’t surprised how he acted. “Sure. If that’s what you want to believe, kid.” She reassured him with a wink. “All I ask from you though, is if you won’t tell your Grunkle Stan and sister about me.”

“Uh Alma, have you met my Grunkle Stan?” He cocked a brow suddenly remembering. “Oh wait, you have actually.” Guess he was still half asleep in the brain as it reoccurred to him about the diner.

“Just promise me that.” Alma begged.

“I can try.” Dipper replied.

Alma nodded a smile before rubbing his head.“Thanks Dipper.” She paused again halfway out the door. “Listen, you are welcome to talk to me when you come down to the lab. I’m always there.”

Dipper’s face lit up with a small smile. “I’ll remember that.” She proceeded down the hall, a smug look on her face. Some sort of a relief got lifted off of her at that moment. And it felt good.

Chapter Text

She quietly slid her way into the room. It was dark and eerily quiet which was odd for him. She made her way over to the sofa, finding it empty. “Ford?” She whispered to the room. Suddenly a pair of hands rolled its way around her and yanked her back. It startled her just enough to cause her to force the owner back into the wall hard and twist their arm backwards.

They let out a groan of pain as she pulled her gun from its holster and pointed it towards them. Suddenly the light switch clicked on, Ford came visible as his arm was cross his chest. He flinched towards the pain as Alma instantly went to his side, quickly holstering her gun back. “Oh my god, I’m sorry. You should of said something.” She softly took his sore arm and pulled up his red sweater sleeve to examine it.

“You did it in self-defense.” He replied. “I should be the one apologizing.”

“Come over to the couch.” She said, pulling him to it and taking a seat. Didn’t seem like she broke anything but it definitely hurt from how Ford was reacting to her handling it. “It is more like an Indian burn. Does it feel broken?”

He sensed the worry in her voice as he shook his head. He twisted it around a bit and rotated his wrist. “Wrist is a little tender. Feels fine otherwise.” Alma got up and skimmed through the contents around the room. There was a first aid kit on top of a few books. She took it down and dug around inside until she found a roll of bandages. She then proceeded to carefully wrap it around Ford’s wrist until it was covered well enough.

He rolled it in his other hand, a discouraged expression on his face. “You realize Stanley will notice this.” Alma was putting the remaining bandages away as he said that.

“Well I just met Dipper initially before I got here.” She commented, turning to lean on the desk. “And also, Waddles knows I’m here.”

Ford rose from the couch, starting to pace around with an inquisitive look. He stopped suddenly to look towards the now open door. “Dipper?” Alma had watched his nephew quietly appear in the doorway from her point.

“What are you two doing?” He rubbed at his eye before meeting the gaze of his great uncle.

“Shut the door, boy.” Ford snapped. Dipper did just that, pushing it shut. Ford then proceeded to kneel for him. “Dipper, I heard you met Alma.”

Dipper nodded. “Yeah.” He started to rub the side of his head as if embarrassed. “I thought she was something from the journals.”

His eyes glanced over to her for a second, returning back to his nephew. “Does she look like something I’d research?”

“Well no. But Great Uncle Ford – I didn’t know. That’s just-” Ford put his bandaged hand on his shoulder.

“Dipper, look at me. Alma is important to me. I don’t want you to tell Stanley or your sister about her, alright?” He pushed.

Dipper looked down at his socks before meeting Ford’s eyes again. “Sure, Great Uncle Ford.”

Ford smiled. “Good boy. Head back to bed please.”

Dipper nodded, glancing over to Alma before closing the door behind him. He rose back to his feet as his attention went back to Alma. “He already promised me. And he promised you about the rift too.” Alma straightened herself. “Think we are putting too much pressure on him?”

Ford just sighed, looking down at his bandaged hand. “I’m not sure.” He forced it into a fist.

Alma walked up to him, grabbing his fist. He let it loosen once she was caressing it. “There’s a reason I came up here for. And you’re not going to like it.” She spoke softly, almost as to ease him. “Bill visited me in a dream. He wants to possess me to get to you.”

“What?” Ford’s eyes widened. “He’s not with you right now, is he?”

Alma shook her head. “Pretty sure we are clear.” Ford let out a deep sigh of relief, his grip tightening on her hand. They just started getting more physical so she wasn’t sure if this was a sign of relief or fear. How hard he was pushing though, it might have been fear.

He suddenly grabbed her other hand and held them close tightly. “Alma, promise me you won’t let him in. That was the worst mistake of my life. I can’t bring back those years.”

She saw herself in his glasses, thinking what it’d be like to have yellow eyes. She couldn’t quite promise him though, being that Bill would find a way. He always does. It was apart of his nature to manipulate his victims. No matter what it would take. All she could imagine was one of them would be the reason. Ford had more people to lose though.

She slid one of her hands out of his and planted it on his cheek. “I promise.” She replied.

Chapter Text

The next morning, it was the usual routine for the household members. Stan was trying to steal money from the visitors with his lies, Mabel was playing around with Waddles, Dipper was reading the journal for the – whatever time it was and Ford was in the basement, working on writing more for the journals. After helping around the gift shop, Dipper came down to see what his great uncle had been working on. Most of the time, he’d try to push him out. But he would always use telling the truth about Alma as his scapegoat. He needed to grab something from his room or the study as he called it later in the day.

Stan followed in behind him, shutting the door upon doing so. He blocked the door when Ford tried to leave. “Stanley, whatever you need, it isn’t the time.” He told him, trying to snake his hand to the doorknob.

“I told you to stay away from the kids.” Stan reminded him as he grabbed his arm this time. He lifted it, pulling his sleeve down to reveal his bandaged hand. “What the hell happened?”

Ford yanked it away. “Was an accident with the door. I’m fine.” He fixed his sleeve.

Stan narrowed his eyes. “What are you hiding, Ford?” He accused with a pointed finger.

“Hiding what?” Ford took a few steps back. He let out a sigh, putting a frustrated hand to his head and rubbing it. He then started to gesture with it. “Alright look, Stanley. What do you want me to say? That I forgive you for pushing me into the portal? That I’ve missed you?”

“I want you to say thank you. For saving your god damn ass.” Stan replied stern yet almost tearful.

Ford stared at his brother. He tried to say it, but nothing came out. Was it not the right time? He turned away, realizing he couldn’t. He couldn’t be forced to. He needed to feel it first. All he could feel was frustration and a hint of anger. He knew the moment he turned, his brother would try to guilt trip him.

“You want the truth, Stanley?” Those were the words that came out of his mouth when he finally braced himself. “I do forgive you. And I did miss you.” Just as Ford had suspected, his brother had the look he imagined. He pushed his way past him, placing his bandaged hand on the doorknob. “Know that isn’t what you wanted to hear. But that is all I can offer you for now.”

Ford then left the room without another word. Stan just remained frozen. He couldn’t quite get over the fact that his brother had admitted – something at least. But like Ford had said, it wasn’t what he really wanted. Two little words. That’s all he asks. Was he going to get them today? No.

“What happened to you, Sixer?” Stan said to the room. He’d turn to the door, only finding the emptiness of the hallway. Half of him wanted to charge down into the basement and start cussing every word under the sun towards him. Since they were growing up, he always was the troublemaker and the brawn. Now he was a pathetic, old man who ran a roadside attraction with his brain of a brother doing who the hell knows in the basement.

They use to be two peas in a pod. They use to have high flying adventures of traveling on the Stan ‘O War. They’d spend hours running around the beachfront and visiting the pier. It was fun everyday. Now they were both older. Stanley got kicked out after ruining Stanford’s chance of a great college. He would eventually go though another, only to make the decision to study what had made him unique – the unusual and mysterious.

Stanley on the other hand, was struggling. He lived out of his car half the time and made a sad excuse for a salesman. Wouldn’t take him long to get banned from a majority of the states on the map. After ten years, Stanford called him up, only in his dismay, to tell him to run with the first journal. Then it was the arguing, shoving into marks and lastly the moment that got them here – the moment where Stanford disappeared from this universe.

“Grunkle Stan?” He was so lost in his subconscious that Mabel’s voice seemed to drown out.

“Oh pumpkin. Sorry.” He tried to chuckle it off, rubbing the side of his head. “I didn’t realize you were here.”

“You two need to make up one of these days.” Mabel commented. She was holding Waddles in her arms who just snorted.

“Well sweetie, that might be harder than it looks.” Stan admitted, patting her on the head before walking away.

“What is Grunkle Ford’s ish?” Mabel said, lifting Waddles to look at her. He just stared at her blankly. “You are right. We should go see ourselves.” She rolled Waddles under her arm, entering the gift shop. She’d glance around before opening up the vending machine and slipping her way inside.

Chapter Text

Once she put Waddles down, he instantly took off down the stairs. How his stubby legs did so well on them, she’ll never know. She never entered Ford’s basement often. There was always something interesting going on though seems for Dipper spend a good chunk of his time down here. She was starting to feel that he was spending more time with their uncle over her.

“Waddles, what are you doing down here?” She heard a female voice which caught her off guard. Who was that? And why were they down here? She quietly sneaked a peek. There was a woman with dark brown hair laying on the cot, Waddles was atop the bed with her as she smiled and rubbed his head. He was enjoying her affection.

He started nibbling and yanking at her red scarf. Mabel recognized it from a few days ago! It wasn’t Ford’s scarf at all – it was hers. “That’s where it came from!” Mabel said, slapping her fist down on her hand. She shook it off after realizing she hit it too hard. “Ouch, that was smarts.”

Alma stopped rubbing Waddles, rising carefully from her spot and approaching the corner. The pig followed her as she turned the corner, meeting the smug, braced expression of Mabel. “Hi there.” She smiled cheekily towards her. She had a different sweater on today, but seemed like she always changed them up.

“How you doing, Mabel?” She asked, Waddles coming up in the rear and plopping down.

“I knew I’d see you around. Just wasn’t expecting here.” Mabel replied, excited.

Alma knelled down to her level. “Think it is time to formally introduce myself. I’m Alma.” She put her hand out towards her as she shook it without another thought.

“Mabel.” She showed her braces in all its glory. “So you’re the scarf girl.” She pointed towards the notorious red scarf wrapped around her neck. The one Waddles was playing with a second ago.

Alma put her hand on it, feel its weaved threads between her fingers. It was always so soft for she tries to clean it every other day. It was a gift from her mother, who fought hard against a rare cancer. The day she handed it over to her, she knew it would be her last. Alma accepted it as her mother’s dying wish and has kept it close ever since. It was her reminder.

“Yeah. This is my scarf.” Alma replied, glancing down at Mabel. “Sorry if your uncle had lied. He was only trying to protect me.”

Mabel looked discouraged but understanding. “No biggie. I know why he did it – you get me?” She teased with a nudge of her elbow as if pointing something out. Alma lifted a brow.

“Come on, Great Uncle Ford.” They heard the infamous squeak of Dipper as he tailed Ford in. Dipper’s eyes instantly went to his sister who smiled brightly towards him. “Mabel! Wha – what are you doing down here?” He said in shock, pulling on his hat.

“Yo Bro Bro. I just followed Waddles down here and found Alma.” She gestured with her sweater sleeve.

“Oh no – no. I’m so sorry, Alma.” She raised her hand towards him as to cut him off nicely.

“Relax Dipper, it wasn’t your fault.” She glanced over to Mabel. “Mabel was the one who found me. Which means you still kept your promise.”

“Doesn’t change the fact that Stanley shouldn’t know.” Ford added.

“Psh, Grunkle Stan wouldn’t come down here.” Mabel scoffed.

“You never know with my brother, sweetie.” Her uncle replied, crossing his arms. He stood there for about a second before wandering off, Dipper watched him walk away, wanting to join him.

“So what’s in your journal?” Dipper always wondered what was inside hers, as it never leaves her side. Similar to how his great uncle handles his.

Alma put her pen off to the side, shutting it and offered it to him. “Open it and find out.”

He took the spot opposite her sister as he started flipping through it. It was cocked full of realistic sketches of people, places and things. Mabel peered over his shoulder, Waddles taking her place as Alma rubbed his head softly. He would stop on the scene from the diner just a few days ago. She had perfectly drawn out all the locals that day, including Lazy Susan nearly dumping Gleeful’s coffee.

“Hey, that’s us.” He said, pointing them out sitting in the booth.

“Pretty awesome sketch Mabel if you ask me.” Mabel commented.

Alma hummed to herself with a smile. “Thanks. Unlike your uncle, I like to keep track of my memories by sketching what I’d seen.” She stared forward. “My mother use to say I had a perfect photogenic memory.”

Dipper kept going through the pages, find the one with Ford over the fire. “Where was this?” He asked.

“That was one of the multi-dimensions.” She simply said.

“Really?” Dipper added.

Alma nodded. “You two should know, I’ve known your uncle for a long time.” She watched as Ford briefly had glanced up towards them from his writing. His attention turned back to it just as quick. “Me and him have been places you can’t even imagine.” She frowned. “Half of me wants to return to those days. Both of us are from here, but I think we are sharing the struggle to mend.”

The twins shared a glance. “That’s deep, girl.” Mabel replied. Dipper nodded in agreement, flipping to the sketch of their game of Dungeons, Dungeons and more Dungeons. Ford was rolling the dice in between his fingers. Even motion was realistic.

He closed it, before sliding it back on her lap. “You know, it’d be kind of cool to learn some things from you too. Mean, Great Uncle Ford is awesome – but he says way too many big words.” Dipper chuckled, scratching the back of his hat.

Alma turned towards them, seeing the glint of hope in the young twelve year old’s eyes. She finally was feeling like she was accepted. Even if one of them didn’t know of her existence – well yet. Maybe these were the days she had been longing for. The multi-verse wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

She seemed in deep thought by the time a wide smirk grew across her face. “Alright. For you, Dipper, I’ll try my best.”

Dipper smiled back as Mabel let out a cheer. “Gonna be the best school ever!”

That is when she felt their arms wrap themselves around her. They were hugging her. They were actually hugging her. Alma let her overjoy spill out in chuckles. “Now I see why your uncles love you two kids so much.”

“Even though Grunkle Stan doesn’t really like hugs.” Mabel joked as they laughed together.

Alma had failed to notice that Ford actually was watching their interaction. He felt all warm inside seeing his niece and nephew smile alongside her. But there was still worry in the back of his mind. He knew somewhere out there, Bill was waiting. There was no doubt with what Alma had experienced. He got up suddenly and opened the compartment. He pulled out the rift, noticing a rather small crack forming on the one side. Just as he feared – their days are numbered.

Chapter Text

Alma couldn’t remember the last time Ford really slept. As much as she wanted to follow him when he went up to his sofa, she didn’t. Some nights, he’d wake up in a cold sweat, his glasses sideways and breathing uneven. It was the nights that Bill visited him that were the worst. Alma has had them also and the damn demon only has met her once. And he still puts a nickname on her.

She remembers sitting at the fire after waking up in the middle of a brisk night. Her eyes would slide over to Ford on the other side. His arms and legs were crossed as his head was down. The shadow play from the fire would always cover his silvering hair and face. Sometimes he’d mumble in his sleep when Bill paid a visit. For some reason, he could never get away from his illusion, even if he was severed from him. It was just apart of him now.

The latest one started with him standing in the wheat field. The Stan O’ War was in the background along with the portal in pieces. The wheat would suddenly fatten itself around him, creating the outline of Bill himself. He chuckled his notorious cackle as Ford knew immediately what he was in for. “I know that laugh. Show yourself!” Ford ordered as the outline lit up bright blue before appeared Bill in his physical triangular form.

“Well, well, well, well.” He said, multiplying himself around him. “Aren’t you a sight for sore eye. Stanford Fillbrick Pines – my old pal.” He put his hands together and cutesy narrowed his eye.

“Bill Cipher. What do you want from me?” Ford said stern.

“Oh quit playing dumb, IQ.” One of his clones said, wrapping its arm around him. “You knew I’d be back.” Another one said while rubbing his head and flicking his nose. “You think shutting down that portal, can stop what I have planned?” His clones all combined into him in a line of blue energy. “I’ve been making deals, chatting with old friends. Preparing for the big day. You can’t keep that rift safe forever.” He said mockingly as he snapped his finger. Blue fire ignited his hand as an illusion of the rift appeared. “You’ll slip up, and when you do -” He took the rift midair and shattered it on the ground. A portal opened behind him along with setting the wheat on fire.

Ford had shielded his eyes before gesturing with his hand. “Get out of here! You have no dominion in our world!”

“Maybe not right now.” Bill said, lowering himself slowly. “But things change, Stanford Pines. Things change.” The change morphed into darker territories as it became distorted. Then there was some visions before Ford snapped back, panting heavily.

He fixed his glasses and looked down at his six fingered hand. “I have to warn them. He’s coming.” He threw the blanket off quickly and made his way down into the lab.

He pushed his way passed the chairs and to the cot where Alma was curled up tightly. She felt his hand slip around her arm as she let out a soft moan. She glanced towards him, the look of fear written all over his face. “Ford? What time is it?” She said, rolling over and rubbing her eye. His hand was still planted on her as she went to grab it and held on to it tightly.

“Bill wasn’t lying, Alma.” He said quietly. “He has big plans. But he needs the rift to accomplish it.”

“He told you?” She asked as his hand slipped out of hers. He walked over to the compartment, slid it up and pulled the rift out.

Ford held it out towards her as if to make a point. “I fear our time is already numbered.” He carefully slid it into her hand. It was like looking inside a mini galaxy in the palm of your hand. She twisted it in her hand until feeling the indentation of the crack creeping up the side.

She let out a shallow gasp before meeting his gaze. “How are we going to fix it? Not like simple super glue will solve it.”

Ford paced a few steps, rubbing his chin. He then snapped his fingers. “That’s it. We do need a glue. But an adhesive stronger than that is known to man.” He went to his journal, flipping through the pages. He’d stop on his sketch of the formation Gravity Falls was built in. “That’s where we have to go.”

“And I’m coming with you.” Alma objected.

“No.” Ford snapped, taking the rift from her and placing it gently beside the journal.

“Why not? You’re probably gonna take Dipper.” Alma argued. “What if one of you gets hurt? Then what?”

Ford sighed and leaned over the desk, dropping his head and shutting his eyes. He clenched his teeth before rising back up. “Fine.” She heard him say after some consideration. “But you stay close.”

Alma’s expression softened as she let out a breath of calm. She pulled herself into his back, wrapping her arms around his midsection. He let out a satisfied hum with a smirk growing. She felt his strong, warm hands gently stroke her arms. Their faces were rather close for she could feel his breath as their cheeks met in a nuzzle.

“Thank you.” She whispered in his ear.

“For what?” He whispered back.

“For allowing me into your family.” Their eyes locked.

He scoffed softly. “You were always my family. I just never saw it, until now.” She released him from the bear hug as he turned on his heels towards her.

“I think you just needed a reminder of what family was.” She picked up the photo of Mabel and Dipper sitting on the desk. “You should be thanking these two.” Alma smiled towards it before putting it back.

Ford went silent, his face falling with it. “Stanley though.” He held his head low, single tears falling to the concrete floor. “He may be a screw up and an idiot. But he’s still my brother.”

Alma frowned. She approached Ford, forcing his head up with her hand. He couldn’t look at her as his eyes were teary and glasses getting foggy. She pulled his glasses off, wiping them on his coat. He would rub his eyes on his sleeve, allowing her to slide his glasses back on as he adjusted them straight. She let her hand rest on his wet cheek.

“I think you should tell him that then.” She suggested as his eyes finally came back. “Hell I’d go with you if I knew him.”

Ford let out a sniff before standing upright once again. “Then you should.” He extended out a six fingered hand. “Come with me.”

Chapter Text

The sun was rising once they came out of the hole they hid away in. Stanley was always the first one up as he instinctively turned the coffee pot on first thing. He then would grab the newspaper from across the yard, stretching his back while walking there. He wasn’t that old, but it sure felt like it he was almost ninety some days. The newspaper boy was just about to drop it off. Once he say Stanley coming, he let out a sharp gasp before smiling evilly.

“Hey old man!” He mocked him.

Stanley narrowed his eyes. “Yeah yeah.” He snapped back. He approached him closer, only for him to pedal away a bit before stopping, then pedaling again and stopping. Stanley clenched his teeth, his lip curling above. He kept following the kid until he was so annoyed and enraged, he grabbed his bike handle this time. “Screw you, kid! Just give me the damn paper!” He pointed with his finger.

The boy sulked a little before shakily handing him the paper. Stanley just ripped it out of his hand. “Thank you. Now get the hell out of here!” He yelled as the boy did exactly that, pedaling away quickly. He watched him disappear quickly around the trees. He was clenching the paper hard by the time he stomped his way back to the shack.

Dipper and Mabel were up now, serving themselves some cereal at the small kitchen table. “Hi Grunkle Stan!” They said in union as he turned his back to them and angrily started to pour some coffee into his cup.

“Hi kids.” He grumbled before taking both his paper and cup to his chair in the living room. He sighed before sinking into its yellow plaid. He thought about turning the TV on, but decided not to as he took a sip of his coffee and placed it on the T-Rex skull beside him. He shook the paper and skimmed through the front cover before opening it up.

Ford and Alma would rise from the vending machine door. They paused in the hallway outside of the kitchen, watching the Twins start flinging cereal towards one another. “Catch it, Dipper.” Mabel cheered, readying her catapult.

“Alright, alright.” Dipper then opened his mouth. “Ready.” He gave her a thumbs up with his mouth gaping. Mabel launched it as it hit him dead in the eye instead. “Ow. That wasn’t my mouth!” He complained.

Mabel snorted a laugh. “Sorry.”

Dipper covered his eye with his hand before removing it and blinking it open. Ford and Alma shared a laugh. “Hey guys.” Alma said, entering first as Ford followed suit.

“Hi.” Mabel greeted with a fast wave.

Alma joined them at the table and opened her mouth. “Hit me.” She said towards Mabel who obliged. She caught it no problem, munching down on it once it hit her tongue. It tasted like peanut butter.

Score!” Mabel yelled like an announcer. They all then laughed it off.

Stanley could hear the commotion so he went to investigate. To his surprise, he found the twins with Ford and – some girl? Wait – who was this? “Who the hell are you?” They heard the gruff tone of Stanley. Ford spit out the sip of coffee he just took all over the tearing wallpaper.

He instantly stepped up to the plate, pulling his brother to the side. “Stanley, this is Alma. She’s an old friend of mine.” Ford introduced her as she rose from her chair and offered her hand.

“I’ve heard so much about you, Stan. It is nice to meet you.” Stanley only looked down at her hand. She awkwardly put it away after realizing he didn’t want to shake it.

“Wait a minute, you’re that girl from the diner.” He said while examining her, his eyes narrowing in remembering.

Alma nodded. “Yes that was me.”

“What the hell are you doing in my shack though?” Stan pointed out.

“It is my shack, Stanley. Remember?” Ford reminded him. Stanley only brushed it off.

“Yeah yeah, whatever. Doesn’t matter.” He scratched himself. “Why the hell is she here I mean.”

Ford and Alma shared a glance. “Well, that is another story entirely.” She replied. “See – your brother and I were in the multi-verse together. Before he dismantled the portal, I came out.”

Alma wasn’t sure if Stanley was even paying attention or caring. The twins were too intrigued that they forgot to speak while Ford was trying to clean up his mess. “It’s true, Stanley.” His brother said after throwing away his paper towel. “I let her stay.”

Stanley’s face suddenly went red. “What? You let her crash here?” He said angrily. “What if she hurt the twins?”

“I think she’s cool, Grunkle Stan.” Dipper added.

“Only cause she probably talks like Poindexter here does.” He crossed his arms. “All the nerdy talk and playing a game that has “math”.” Stan air quoted.

Ford pushed his way between them. “Enough! I brought her here. She is my responsibility, not yours.”

“Oh ho ho. Look at you, getting all tough.” Stan mocked. “It’s about stinken time!”

Ford suddenly grabbed his brother by his suit jacket with raging eyes and shoved him up against the wall. The twins were in awe. “SHUT UP!” The adrenaline rush quickly faded as Ford flaked away after staring into his Stan’s eyes. He slowly let go and backed off. “I’m sorry, Stanley.”

Still wasn’t the two words Stan wanted, but he didn’t blame him either. He was a bit shell shocked before reality hit him. His brother just stood up to him, he rarely every did too. That time in the portal must of made him stronger in a way. Even if he still was a babbling mess at times.

His eyes slowly slid over to Alma whose eyes were huge. He could also feel Dipper and Mabel’s eyes nailing into him. “Ford – I -” Stan couldn’t quite find his words.

“There is nothing else you can say.” Alma put words in Ford’s mouth as he turned back to face them. “If you rather I’d leave, I’d be fine with that.”

Stanley met Ford’s gaze. They read something he hasn’t seen in a very long time – love. That same gaze he would give him or their mother or their father. Even if their father was stern with them, he only wanted what was best for them. He realized that love was for Alma that they all shared looking between them.

“I get it now.” Stanley finally said as he picked his fez up from the ground. He gave it a quick rub before placing it back on his gray locks. “She can stay if she wants. Doesn’t matter to me.”

Ford seemed a bit puzzled to how his brother was acting right now. “Are you feeling alright?” He asked.

Stanley just let out a nasally scoff. “You idiot, I know you love her.”

“O – M – G. You two should kiss then!” Mabel chanted out of excitement.

“Wh-what?” Ford face blushed hard as his words scrambled. Alma was blushing as well, rubbing her arm shyly.

“Alright, Mabel calm down.” Stanley said. “Obviously your uncle is not ready for that yet.” He walked over to his brother who was halfway out of the door. “But he will be. I guarantee!” Stan had wrapped his arm around Ford, his face narrowing.

Ford carefully pulled his brother’s arm off and cleared his throat. “Anyways.” He turned his attention toward Dipper. “Come join us for a conversation in the study.”

Dipper nodded. “Of course.” He went back to his bowl of cereal, gobbling it all up before throwing it in the sink. Ford and Alma had already moved their way out of the room and into the study. Dipper would quickly follow them in.

“Hey, you didn’t even rinse it!” Stan yelled to him down the hall.

Dipper popped his head back into the doorway. “I’ll do it later.” He replied, retracing his steps back.

Ford and Alma were waiting for him when he entered. “Listen to me, Dipper.” Ford started, walking towards him and kneeling to his level with a firm hand. “We have a very important mission. And you are the only one who can help us. Remember the rift of dimensional space time I have showed you?” He pulled the rift out and gestured with his finger towards the ever growing crack. “It’s cracking.” He rose back to his feet. “This is what Bill has been waiting for. If it breaks, it will cause reality as we know it, to completely unravel.”

They watched as he walked over to the chalkboard that had “Weirdmageddon” written on it and weird drawings. “The hypothetical and catastrophic event called Weirdmageddon.” Dipper was in utter awe towards the board. “Bill is out there. And he could use any trick – from deception to out right possession to make this happen. But for the sake of humanity, we mustn’t let it.”

Dipper took a step forward. “What do we do?”

“We patch the rift.” Ford replied, placing the rift into a black box. “I’ll explain on the way.”

“Oh wait, what about Mabel?” Dipper asked. Mabel had been working on getting their thirteenth birthday party going since last night. This was the first morning she hadn’t said much about it.

Mabel then appeared in the doorway. “It’s ok, Dipper. You should totally go with Grunkle Ford to save the world or whatever.”

“Are you sure?” Dipper asked concerned, turning towards her. She had both their backpacks in her hands as she walked up to him.

“We’ll be doing birthday junk all week. Why I packed us these walkie talkies.” She lifted one bag then the other. “Here’s one for my party mission. And one for your smartie mission.”

Dipper took his bag as they both laughed together. He would slip it over one of his shoulders. Ford bumped in, tapping his watch. “I did mention the fate of the universe is at stake, didn’t I? Hurry, we haven’t got much time.” Ford then took off running.

Alma just shook her head. “That guy. Can’t seem to slow down, even at his age.”

Mabel agreed. “You’ve said it.”

Alma then made her way into the hallway. Dipper stopped to give himself a prep talk before running out, only to hit the wall on the way out. “Ow, ah. I’m alright.” He reassured his sister, just to trip and fall out the door. He rolled all the way and landed on the dirt hard face first.

“You alright?” Alma said as she pulled him up. He dusted himself off and fixed his hat.

“Yeah, just fine.” He tried to laugh it off only to winch.

“Your gonna be sore in the morning.” Alma joked as she moved forward. “Come on, we got to catch up to your uncle.”

“Coming.” Dipper replied back, glancing back to the Mystery Shack. “I’ll be back, Mabel.” He then followed Alma into the woods.

Chapter Text

They proceeded to make it to an outlook, where you could see the whole town over beyond. It was quite a view. Ford went on to ramble about how the formation in the rocks was created by a legit spacecraft. This is when his key chain came into play as he dropped it once Dipper asked about it. They matched up pretty well. Dipper couldn’t even comprehend his words.

“Sometimes the strangest things, are right under our noses.” Ford would say, pushing the rock he posed on back. “And our feet, this particular incidence.” He then proceeded to pull out his gun. “Now you might want to stand back. This magnet gun could rip the fillings out of a man’s mouth from a hundred feet.” He aimed it at the now visible metal plate in the ground and ripped it right off, revealing a ladder going down into the dark below.

“So this is where you got the portal parts.” Alma commented.

Ford nodded. “On point, as always.” He smirked before tossing his gun to Dipper. “Don’t worry, been down here countless times. Nothing is alive.” He reassured them as he started his way down the ladder.

Dipper glanced up at Alma and gestured to the ladder. “Ladies first.”

Alma smirked. “What a gentleman.” She rubbed his hat as he bubbled up a chuckle. She would then climb down. Dipper would follow suit, putting Ford’s gun away and making his way down.

The interior was incredible. It gleamed with a rather dirty shine. There was hundreds of symbols etched into the metal as Alma stroked her hand over them. She didn’t know if Ford could read alien or not, but would be something to know what it all said. Dipper landed on the bottom finally, admiring the symbols as well. He would take a selfie with them at one point before rejoining Alma.

“Seems like you’re already enjoying yourself.” Alma said.

Dipper nodded. “Yeah. Pretty cool, if you ask me.” He adjusted his backpack. “Why aren’t all amazed?”

Alma glanced down at him. “I’ve seen this kind of stuff before. Can’t expect me to be amazed every time. I was with your uncle for many years, you know how he is. He has to study everything he sees.”

“What was it like?” Dipper asked.

Alma stopped and turned towards him. “What? The multi-verse?” Dipper nodded. “Well, it was many things. Mean there is a universe where you walk backwards, one where cake is a planet, opposites and so forth. Pretty much anything you could possibly imagine.”

“So is it true we exist in all those too? Like in the movies?” He asked as they started pushing forward again.

Alma actually wasn’t sure how to answer that. But mean, it was very plausible that they all each existed someway or another. “I’m gonna say possibly. There could of hundreds of us out there. I’ll let you decide if you want to believe it.” She replied as honestly as she could.

It seemed Dipper liked that answer as he smirked at her. “Thanks, Alma.”

“Thought you two wanted to help.” Ford had his arms crossed when they got to him.

“We do.” Dipper answered.

Ford pulled out another gun, activating it. “Then let’s go.” Without warning, he jumped off the side of a steep drop off. Both Dipper and Alma ran to the edge in alarm. Ford had used the gun to snake his way down as it held on to the pillar like honey. Once he got to the bottom, he snapped one of their light sticks on, indicating he was alright. “Now it is your turn.” He yelled up to them in an echo.

Dipper was getting cold feet by what Alma could tell as he backed off. “You can do it, Dipper.”

He met her reassuring gaze before gaining some courage. He let out a deep breath and walked up to the edge again. “I can do it. I can do it.” He repeated to himself before pulling out his magnet gun and let it rip. He reeled down to Ford no problem as he caught him at the bottom.

“I gotcha.” His uncle said, dropping him on his feet. Didn’t take long for Alma to slide down either. She actually seemed kind of graceful. “We all counted for?” Ford asked the team.

Alma nodded. “Yup, we’re all here.”

Ford nodded as he led the way to the next room. There was bunch of metal plates inserted into a machine. They approached it, Ford lifting one up from its spot. “These most likely will house the adhesive. Now we just have to find it.” He said, examining the plate before putting it back.

Didn’t take long for them to find it. Dipper was the one who had pulled it up while they were talking. “Is that it?” Alma would point out, after realizing there was a substance on the back of the plate.

Ford came over with his cocked brow and nodded. “It sure looks like it. Great job, Dipper.” He rubbed his hat happily.

Dipper was enjoying that Ford was noticing. That is probably how his uncle was, now that Alma thought about it. Especially growing up. But Ford was always a go-getter, even if he couldn’t get it. Hell if the man only had one leg, he’d still be traversing around like he does now.

There was weird humming noise suddenly. Both Alma and Ford pulled their guns out. “What was that?” Dipper asked, taking a few steps back. “Grunkle Ford, I thought you said nothing was alive still.”

“Yes I did. Unless we tripped – oh no.” Two giant, floating orbs suddenly appeared from the dark. They were made of a strange version of glass with a red triangular sensor.

“What the hell are those?” Alma whispered.

“There security droids that detect adrenaline. You simply have to not show any signs of fear.” Ford replied as the three of them started moving back slowly.

“Good to know.” Alma replied.

Dipper was starting to panic in front of them. “Dipper, you have to relax.” Ford snapped.

“I – I don’t know if I can.” Dipper said, biting his lip.

“Concentrate, Dipper.” They came to a stop as the droids hovered before them and scanned each of them. Both Alma and Ford were rather calm, take it like a champ. Then there was Dipper. His anxiety was getting the best of him as one of the droids suddenly aimed to fire. It shot plasma towards them as Ford managed to grab Dipper and combat roll his way out. Alma did the same on the opposite side.

“What’s the plan?” She said over to them.

Ford had taken his shot, releasing a mag-pulse on one of the droids as it spun out of control and crashed. At the same second though, it shot and clipped his shoulder. It throw him back and nearly knocked him out cold. Dipper watched in horror as the remaining droid completely ignored Alma’s moves and released a mass of arms onto Ford. He let out a scream as it begun to drag him in. Both Dipper and Alma tried desperately to grab hold of him. He tried to dig his nails into the floor, only to have no such luck.

“Dipper.” Ford would yell out as he dug into his pocket and slid the rift towards them. “Take the rift and fix it with the adhesive. Save the world.”

“No, Grunkle Ford!” Dipper yelled back. The droid locked Ford inside itself and flew away quickly.

“Crap. Dipper, put the rift in your bag. We have to save him.” Alma said, forcing the rift into his hands. He did what he was told and put it in his backpack, zipping it up tight. “Let’s go!” She yelled to him as he joined her in the chase.

They chased it into a room with strange seed like shape crafts. There was a whole wall full of them. Ford’s droid would enter one of these as it picked a place to take him and launched itself. “What are you two doing? Worry about the rift. Not me.” He would say to them as it started to get farther away.

That is when Dipper did the unthinkable. He dug into his bag, took his magnet gun and some duct tape and taped it to his hand. “What are you thinking, Dipper?” Alma asked, only to realize what he was trying to do. He was going to slingshot himself to the ship. “Your a genius.” She said as she took her own gun and taped it to her hand.

They both activated their guns, just in time to get a grasp on it as it passed. Ford heard them both slam into the sides, trying to get a good look from his glass bubble. “Are you two nuts?!” They heard Ford cry.

Alma adjusted herself to have a better grip as Dipper looked down at her. The speed it was going was a bit crazy as Dipper’s hat flew off. But he didn’t care about it at the moment. He was more motivated to get his uncle instead. The ship would suddenly start to weave around. When it went up at some point, Ford hit his head, causing him to blackout.

“Grunkle Ford!” Dipper screamed as he went limp inside his bubble. “What should we do now?” He turned towards Alma.

She thought for a second before her eyes went to their guns. Of course, they can fry the sucker from the inside. “Put your gun on mag-pulse.” She ordered as he followed. They released a massive wave of magnetic energy through the ship as it start sizzling and sparking. It would lose momentum after a few seconds and start plummeting towards the forest. “Brace yourself!” She would yell to Dipper.

Boom! They slid nearly five yards before it got wedge into its dirt pile. It had created a massive ditch when it landed. Alma and Dipper lied a few feet way, bruised and scrapped to high heavens. Dipper awoke and instantly rushed to Ford. He forced the bubble open and gasped at sight of his uncle injured. “Grunkle Ford!” He cried out, taking one of his hands and dragging him out. That is when he heard the weird humming again.

He turned around, only to find the droid Ford had shot above him. It sparked while hovering there for it was damaged. “You leave my uncle alone! There is no way in this universe, I’ll let you take him!” Dipper said valiantly while aiming his magnet gun. It would pull out its own gun, aiming it at him as he prepared himself.

That is when he heard a violent hissing sound as the droid started to shudder and spurt. It would suddenly die on its spot, falling hard into the dirt below. Dipper lowered his gun, finding Alma standing behind it with her gun aimed. She was panting heavily as her face was scratched from the impact. He had never been more happy to see her.

His attention returned back to his uncle. “Oh no, Great Uncle Ford.” Dipper said to himself as he started shaking him. “Please, please be ok.”

Alma ran up to their side. Ford was motionless, his shoulder was raw red as the plasma shot had burned him. She grabbed his hand and held it close to her heart. Tears were starting to form in her eyes as she hoped to god, he’d squeeze her hand back. And he did to her shock as he groaned and rose to sitting. Dipper couldn’t hold back his excitement as he instantly hugged him.

“It’s okay, Dipper.” He whispered to him while patting his back. His nephew let go as they both helped him to his feet. “Thank you.” Ford said softly before letting out a cough.

“How are you feeling? Anything broken?” Alma asked.

His six fingers were still intertwined with hers as he shook his head. “Just a bit sore.” He winched painfully when he tried to move his arm. “Except that nick. It burns like hell.” He tried to examine it, finding it to be a rather decent burn.

“We should head back to the shack and get cleaned up first.” Alma suggested, pulling his arm over her to use as a crutch.

Ford agreed. “You’re right. The faster we get there, the faster the rift can be fixed.”

“We’ll have to worry about the rift later, Ford.” She replied as she started to guide him. She glanced back after realizing Dipper wasn’t following. “Dipper, we have to go.”

Dipper stared at the now crashed ship. “What about that?” He gestured towards it.

Alma turned awkwardly toward him with Ford’s arm still linked. “Don’t worry about it.” She continued forward as Ford grunted with every step they took. He was limping a little also from what she noticed.

Dipper glanced back at the ship one last time. Who knows what would happen to it. Nature would eventually overtake it. And the ditch, well its a ditch. As great as it would be to look into, there was no point when too much was already at stake. Dipper pulled the rift out of his bag and just stared at it. What was going to become of them once it broke? Dipper was afraid they’d find out.

Chapter Text

When they returned back to the shack, Alma took Ford into his study. She let him crumble onto the sofa as Dipper slowly followed them in. He glanced up to his uncle who was lying across the sofa now, Alma sitting at his feet. He was worried about him, but just as worried as the rift as well. Dipper wasn’t known for taking stress very well. No wonder his palms were always sweaty.

Alma would slide over and examine his burn from the blast. It had seared his skin the first few layers, but nothing too serious from what she could tell. She would rise and pull out the remaining bandages from earlier and some healing ointment. As she dressed his wound, Dipper would offer some help and left his backpack next to the door. It was starting to feel like the days they would traverse through the dimensions. It was rare, but one of them would always get a pretty good cut or scrap. But they were never severe enough to go to the hospital for.

“That should be good.” Alma said, glancing over to Dipper and smiling. “Not bad for a twelve year old.”

Dipper chuckled. “Thanks, I guess.”

Ford stirred under them, rising slowly upwards as Alma assisted him to sitting. He let out a groan before rubbing his hand through his hair. “You dozed off on us for a few minutes there. We just did what we could.” Alma said once his eyes met hers.

He gave a nod. “I appreciate it.” He looked around the room as if trying to figure something out. “Dipper.” He said toward his nephew, who instantly perked up at his name being said. “I’ve been meaning to ask you – how’d you like to become my apprentice?”

“Who? Me? Your apprentice?” Dipper said surprised, nearly stumbling on his words.

Ford nodded. “Yes.” He then proceed to grab Journal 3 from Dipper’s pocket. “I’ve read what you’ve added to this. And I’m impressed.”

Dipper went silent. Alma noticed his eyes go towards the stairs in the hallway. “But what about Mabel? She’d hate me if I was to stay here.” It wasn’t hard to deny the fact that Dipper really cared about his twin sister.

“You could always keep in contact with her with a letter or through that computing phone thing, if I’m not mistaken.” Ford replied. “It is your choice, Dipper. You can stay here with me and we can discover all there is.” He gestured with his open faced hand. “I’m only asking cause I’m getting older. I can’t keep doing this.”

Dipper glanced between them. He was unsure. He’d love to learn more of what Grunkle Ford has, but at the same time, was it ruining his future? His instinct though kept telling him to go for it. It may be the best thing to happen to him.

The look on his face read it all. “Yes, I’ll stay here with you.” He replied confidently.

Ford’s face lit up. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”

Dipper then went towards the door and picked up his backpack again. He throw it over one shoulder before turning back towards them, happily. “I’m gonna go tell Mabel.” He said, right before turning and climbing quickly up the stairs.

Alma took a seat beside him. She was worried about how Mabel would react. From what she had heard and seen, the two had always been together. She sometimes thinks about what Stan and Ford were like as their age. Obviously, looking at them together now – it was on a thin line that only one of them could balance on at a time. Their struggle was probably going to stick around for a very long time.

Chapter Text

Apparently Mabel had heard their whole conversation downstairs as she started yelling at Dipper for not staying with her. Her angry would die down to what she really wanted. “I just wish summer could last forever.” Mabel said with tears in her eyes, grabbing her memories book.

“But it can’t Mabel.” He sat down with his sister, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Look, things aren’t going to stay frozen this way. It’s apart of growing up. Things change.” He was gesturing with his other hand, hoping his sister would just accept it. “Summer ends.”

That broke her as she slowly looked at him, only to suddenly take off running with tears flooding her eyes. Dipper ended up falling on his face, just to pop right back up. “Mabel wait.” He watched as Mabel quickly grabbed a backpack and down the stairs. He tried to follow her, only to stop in the doorway. “I didn’t mean it like that! Mabel, come back!” He yelled out to her.

Alma had left Ford to rest on the sofa. She could hear a commotion upstairs as Mabel came flying down the stairs at full sprint that nearly knocked her over. “Mabel. Mabel! Where are you going?” She cried out, only to receive no reply. “Crap.” She whispered to herself.

She heard Dipper’s shoes on the stairs as she looked up to find him standing there in utter disbelief. “Where’d she go?”

Alma gestured to the now wide open shop door. “She ran outside. I tried to stop her.”

“Oh no, Mabel. I’m sorry!” He cried out the door with tears filling his eyes.

He started sobbing as Alma leaned down and pulled him into a hug. “It’ll be alright.” Her eyes were nailed to the sun setting through the door, creating an eerie red light upon the grass. She held Dipper as if he was her own. He’d get it out of his system eventually.

He finally would glance up at her with a sniff before pulling himself away. He grabbed his arm with his eyes to the floor as he wiped his nose. “Th – thanks. I needed that.” A small smile formed.

Alma gave a nod. “I told you I would try my best.” It occurred to him that she did say that – almost five days ago. She has kept her promise. And even if this summer was ending, he was hoping to have Alma around for the future. At least he hopped they did have one. His eyes went out the door as he worried about Mabel.

She will come back. She has to.

-

Mabel ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, until she had to catch her breath. She picked one of the many towering trees and collapsed under it. She pulled the backpack off and dug into it. “Only party chocolate can cheer me up now.” Mabel said to herself, pulling out only notepads and broken pens. “Nerd books? Chewed up pens?” She sighed, throwing it off to the side. “Ugh, wrong backpack.” She pulled her sweater collar up above her face and around her legs. That was how she hid from the world. “Not fair. I just want summer to last forever.”

“That – might be possible.” A familiar voice said.

“Sweater town is not accepting incoming calls right now.” She said, muffled by her sweater.

“M-M-Mabel, its me.” The voice said again.

This time she pulled her sweater down and skimmed the trees. “What? Who said that?”

“I-can help.” Blendin appeared before her, messing with his blending device.

“The time traveler guy. What are you doing here?” She had her sweater completely down this time.

“You said you don’t want summer to end, right? D-did I hear that right?” The guy never could talk very straight.

“Yeah?” She slide her eyes to side for a second. “Why are you asking?”

“Look, maybe its against the rules, but you once did a favor for me. I thought I could help you out.” He had his arms stretched out before putting one behind his back. “It’s called a time bubble. It prevents time from going forward. Summer in Gravity Falls could last as long as you wanted it to.”

Mabel wiped her tears away with her sleeve. “Really? How does it work?”

“I just need you to get me a little gizmo from your uncle. It something small. He won’t even know it is missing.” Blendin said, showing a hologram of the rift.

“Huh, maybe Dipper had something like that in his nerd bag.” She started digging through the backpack. She then pulled the rift out with a puzzled look. “Huh, that’s odd. This it?”

Blendin got all excited suddenly. “Yes, that’s it.” He started to approach her. “Just hand it over and I’ll do my thing. Unless you are ready to leave Gravity Falls.”

Mabel are marveled by it, but only one thought was on her mind. “Just a little more summer.” Without another thought, she handed it to Blendin, just for him to drop it a second later. The glass shattered upon the dirt along with the rift puddling under it.

Blendin started maniacally laughing before pulling off his googles, revealing a pair of yellow glowing eyes. It didn’t take the Pine sister long to realize what she had done. She’d start backing away, only for Blendin to snap his finger and the world went black. Bill emerged from Blendin, dropping him hard on the ground.

“At long last!” He yelled out.

“Mabel? Where are you?” Alma had left the shack in search for her while Dipper had gone to Ford to fix the rift. She wasn’t too far from the event, noticing Mabel passed out under a tree trunk. “Mabel!” She ran towards her.

Just as she was about to touch her sweater, her body was lifted off the ground by some unknown force. She turned around to find the infamous yellow triangle laughing. “Nice of you to show up, Cupcake!”

She narrowed her eyes. “Bill.” She spat. “Why are you here?” She took a step forward to hear a sudden crackling sound under her boot. She glanced down, finding glass pieces scattered around a black like substance. It had specks of color and shine in it. It was what was left of the rift stuck to the bottom of her foot!

Bill just cackled. “You’re too late, Cupcake.” He sang song mockingly.

Alma let out a gasp of unbelief before her attention went back up to the dream demon. “You won’t get away with this! Mark my words! We will end you!”

Bill just scoffed. “Ha, you and what army?” He lifted Mabel up next to him, creating a pink bubble around her and locking her in with chains. “Should of taken my deal.” He said, floating down to her. “Cause man, seems to me you could be blamed for this.”

“Screw you and your pathetic manipulations. I can see right through you.” Alma fired back. He seemed unfazed as usual.

Aw – Cupcake. Like father, like daughter.” He teased, giving her a gentle tap on her cheek. He floated back up. “Now if you’d excuse me, I have a world to take over. And a few – friends to pay a visit to.” He started maniacally laughing again just before snapping his finger and disappearing along with Mabel’s orb.

Alma just stood there, the wind ruffling at her scarf. She suddenly fell to her knees and squeezed piles of dirt between her fingers as she started sobbing. She had failed once again. Bill was bound to kill Ford. Then he was going to take over this small town in Oregon. And there wasn’t anything she could do about it.

“I’m sorry, dad.”

Chapter Text

Bill had gone off to another spot in the forest with the little bit of rift. He chanted his ‘the world is finally mine’ before the rift triggered and formed the crack in the sky. All of Gravity Falls, watched as their sky turned demonic. Ford and Dipper ran out of the shack, just as the crack appeared over. The wind was blowing every which way it seemed.

“What’s going on?” Dipper yelled over to Ford. “What is that?”

“We’re too late.” Ford replied. “It’s the end of the world.”

Alma appeared them from the forest. Dipper was freaking out over finding Mabel when she finally got to them. “I hope you have a plan.” She said to them. Dipper instantly pressed himself into her jeans.

“Please tell me you found Mabel.” Half of Alma didn’t want to tell him. She met Ford’s gaze, hoping he’d read what was in her eyes.

“Oh no.” Ford managed to push out before eluding his expression from Dipper. He knew.

Dipper was eagerly waiting for an answer from anyone as his desperation was growing. “Guys, come on. Please. I’m begging you.”

Alma lowered herself until Dipper’s eyes were direct with hers. “I’m afraid Bill has her. Don’t know where exactly. But we have to stop him first. You understand me?”

Dipper pushed Alma’s hand off his back, walking back a few steps. “I have to save Mabel.” The boy was rebellious when it came to his sister also, but it wasn’t quite melting into his head that they needed to end the problem first.

Ford tried to push his way in, lowering also to his level. “Dipper, listen to me. She is right. We have to stop Bill first. But we will find your sister. I promise you that.”

“But can he be stopped?” Dipper asked.

Ford glanced over at Alma. “I don’t know. But I have an idea that may.” So he has lied a little bit about finding a way to end Bill. But he still sounded confident that his could work. It is all they got at the moment.

Alma let out a deep breath before rising back to standing. “Then let’s try it.”

-

They climbed their way up to the bell tower in the church. Ford had brought his quantum destabilizer and journals. Bill was just ahead of them a few yards, chatting it up with his fellow weird creatures. The destabilizer was built for this moment. Ford stole pieces for it while they were in the multi-verse. It was the reason he was considered a criminal in there.

“We only have one shot.” He said to them, opening the case that held it. This was the first time both of them have seen it as it was massive. He charged it up, aimed and locked on. Dipper and Alma held their breath as his finger was on the trigger now. This was it. Then suddenly, a weirdness wave struck the tower and the bell behind them came alive.

“I’m alive now!” It yelled out, startling Ford as his one shot beam hit Bill’s top hat instead of him.

“Oh no!” Ford said instantly as Bill’s hat reformed its shape in a gross fashion.

“Well, well, well. And here I thought, today couldn’t get any better.” Bill aimed his finger and fired his own one shot beam towards the tower.

“Look out!” Alma cried to her companions, just a second too late though as it crumbled on them.

“Great Uncle Ford! Alma!” Dipper yelled with singe marks and dirt all over him. Alma and Ford looked about the same. They were however, wedged under a pillar.

“Dipper, take my journals!” Ford cried to him after coming to. He slid the bag of journals over to him. His nephew took them without hesitation. “Listen, I know of one other way to defeat Bill its -” A noise cut him off as he instantly told Dipper to run.

“Ford, what are we going to do?” Alma whispered to him.

His hand went over to hers, taking hold of it. “We’ll deal with it. Just trust me.” Alma nodded in understanding.

“Oh, look who it is! Old Fordsie and Cupcake.” They felt themselves be lifted up into the air as they floated by some force. “Fordsie, I’ve been waiting for an eternity for a face to face chat with you.”

“Do whatever you want to me. But let her go.” Ford ordered as they floated alongside Bill to his friends.

“First things, first.” Bill said, putting Alma off to the side and bring Ford forward. “Everyone, this Armageddon wouldn’t be possible without help from our friend here. Give him a six-fingered hand.” His friends all clapped for him surprisingly. “This brainiac was the one to build the portal in the first place. Aw don’t look so sour, Fordsie. It’s not too late to join me.” He placed him in with the other creatures gently. “With that extra finger, you’d fit right in with my freaks.”

Ford had looked down at his hands before making them into fists and shaking them. “I’ll die before I join you! I know your weakness, Bill!”

“Oh yeah? And I know a riddle. Why did the old man do this?” Bill did a weird stance.

“This?” Ford copied it, only for Bill to turn him into gold a second later.

“No!” Alma yelled out. It seemed Bill had forgotten about her as she was put in the spotlight now.

“Oh hey, almost forgot about – you.” He booped her nose. She slapped his hand away to his surprise. “Feisty as always. I see why Fordsie likes you.” He shook Ford in his hand. All of his friends cooed at the fact as if to mock her.

“Yeah? Why don’t you add me to your people trophy collection then? Huh? Or am I not important?” Alma snapped back.

“Oh Cupcake. You are important.” Bill replied. “Let me tell you a story.” He said cheekily, making Ford float around her. His expression of horror was haunting her as he passed by. “About a pathetic little man who thought he could find the answers. And he stupidly opened a portal and was never seen again.” His friends were chuckling around them.

Alma huffed and crossed her arms. She was upset. For her whole life, she had been searching for answers to her father’s disappearance. He and Ford would probably have been best friends, if they ever were to meet. But his screams for help also haunt her at night. Unlike Ford, she had been searching the multi-dimensions for most of her life. Every second she spend inside, she’d look for any signs of him. Bill had known of father for years before she was even born and over time, he became intertwined with her family. He then would move on to Ford, taking his interests to his head and using him.

In a way, they were both similar. Even when she tries to tell Ford, he was more invested in his research. But she is afraid he won’t accept her the same if she did. Bill on the other hand, was only letting her live cause he felt for her in his own twisted way. Her father had taught him many things. He too was manipulated by his tricks.

“What are you going to do with me?” Alma came back to reality with the very demon staring her down.

He tapped a finger below his eye. “Hmm, well Fordsie wanted me to let you go. So-” He suddenly snapped his finger, Alma felt gravity taking hold of her as she fell to the earth below. Thankful, it wasn’t too far below. She still landed hard though as she grunted. “One out of two ain’t bad.” He sang song.

Alma slowly rose to her feet, rubbing her pained back. “You seriously letting me go? Why?” She wanted to know what was going through the triangles head.

“Cause I want to watch you fail.” Bill remarked darkly. Ford was circling them the whole time. She knew he was doing it on purpose. It was his way of getting into her head.

“Hey Bill!” They heard as his eye rolled over to that direction. It was Dipper, standing on the platform Nathaniel once was. “Let my uncle go! Or else!” He revealed Journal 3 to the crowd.

“Now this is getting more and more interesting!” Bill exclaimed as he appeared before him instantly. He grew another arm and grabbed Ford with it. “You want to stand up to me? Then show me what you got, Pine Tree.” He put his fists up in a mocking kind of fashion.

“I – I.” Dipper started falling on his words as he scrambled to find the Bill page in the journal. He used his black light on it, only to find that it had no more answers.

I-I. Come on, Pine Tree.” Bill copied, sounding bored. “Everyone is waiting. Just do it!” Without warning, Dipper jumped and aimed a punch for his eye.

“Dipper, don’t!” Alma yelled out from in front of the crowd. He learned very quickly from his mistake. Bill instantly slapped him away like a bug with his palm as he flew and hit a tree nearby. He groaned on impact as Bill slow clapped.

“That was – absolutely pathetic!” Bill commented. “Nice try. I’ll give you that, kid.” Dipper struggled to move, lifting himself to standing. The bag containing the journals spilled open, revealing them. Bill took his chance as he used his ability to gather all three of them, lining them up above his pointed finger.

Alma ran to Dipper who just looked up at her with unreadable look. “Are you going to be ok?” She whispered to him. He put his head down, letting his hat cover his face as if he was ashamed.

“You want to know something?” Bill interrupted. “In this story, the heroes don’t win.” He lit the journals ablaze as both Alma and Dipper could only watch. Dipper gasped deeply as it dissolved into a pile of smothering ash. Bill then maniacally laughed at his triumph.

“We have to move – now.” Alma said to Dipper, pulling on his arm. But he wouldn’t budge. “Come on, Dipper.”

“But – But Mabel. I have to find her.” Dipper countered with a fury in his eyes. Alma knew she wasn’t going to win this fight.

She sighed before letting his arm go. He looked up at her confused. “Then go. I’ll head back to the shack and see what the situation is.”

“What about Great Uncle Ford?” Dipper pointed towards his now golden uncle, dangling in Bill’s hand.

“We’ll rescue him. But we need more hands first.” She replied with a spark in her eye. “Now go! Before I change my mind. Please.” Dipper gave her a confident nod and fixed his hat before running off. She had never seen a boy change in so little time. That was the last time she saw him as she headed the opposite direction. All she hoped is he would come back.

Chapter Text

Alma arrived at the shack, finding it nearly untouched. That unicorn hair was doing its job Ford had asked Mabel and her friends to get. It was used as a part of a protective barrier for the place, which prevented Bill from getting in. She was expecting a mess inside and a stir crazed Stan when she entered. But instead, she found the most unusual bunch of people and creatures alike – together – in the same room.

Pacifica, McGucket, Mabel’s two friends, the gnomes, multi-bear as Dipper dubbed him – and more. They all were on their toes when she entered, their makeshift weapons at the ready. Stan was with them in a ‘chief’ stash. He would lower his bat, realizing who it was. Once they saw him do so, they did also slowly.

“Relax. It’s just my nerdy brother’s girl.” Stan told them as a confirmation.

Alma cocked a brow. “Uh, Stan? What are all these people doing here?”

Stan looked over at them and then back at her. “Cause apparently its safe? None of those weird waves have gotten in here. What you want me to do with them?”

She leaned down to pick up someone’s sock. The stench coming off of it was horrible. “Well “Chief”. You could at least ask them to clean up.” She threw it off to the side.

Stan just shrugged. “Look princess. I didn’t ask for the stupid end of the world. Gotta learn to deal with it.” He let out a sigh before pinching his eyes together with his fingers.

“Doesn’t seem to me, your taking your role very well.” Alma commented.

“I don’t need your crap, Alma.” Could tell he was trying to avoid the conversation all together. And this was the moment, he realized no one was with her. “Wait, where’s Ford? That brainiac never leaves your side.”

Alma turned away from his gaze. “I’m afraid Bill has taken him.”

“What? How?” He asked, pressing a hand in her shoulder. He then forced her to look at him. “And the kids? Please tell me the kids are alright at least.”

She met his fearful eyes. “Last I saw Dipper, he was going to go save Mabel.”

“And you let him go alone?! Are you crazy?!” Stan snapped with rage. He wanted to kill her, but something was stopping him. Was it Ford? At this point, Stan didn’t know. All he knew was what was happening now. As much as he hated to admit it, they’ll need her. But this wasn’t him hating her – it was him showing he was starting to care.

Alma was reading him like a book the moment his hands stopped. He hesitated before he dropped them back at his side. “God damnit. This – this is just too much.” He finally admitted to her. It was quite a surprise to hear him be sincere for a change.

“I know its hard. I’ve been there before.” She added.

Stan met her gaze. “I just can’t lose anyone again.” He sunk down into the closest chair. “Especially Ford.” She heard him mumble under his hands now uneasily covering his face.

Alma knew Stan cared, but this was the first time he honestly had shown it to her. Even if he was the brother of the man she was here for, half of her still felt she needed to help the whole Pines gang.

She pulled out another chair and took a seat beside him. “I’m gonna have to be honest with you, Stan.” She started, his face reappearing from his hands. “I care a lot about your brother. And now that I’ve been around Dipper and Mabel – I feel the same about them.” She watched the others chat among each other. “You though, I’m starting to see why the way you are and how Ford describes you. You may be stubborn and rough on the outside, but I’m seeing how truly soft you really are.” She put a firm hand on his shoulder. “You got one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. Just got to learn to use it.”

Stan didn’t seem very taken by what she said until he gave a nod. “Yeah, well. Wouldn’t call myself a great caregiver either.”

“That’s not true.” Alma replied. “From what the twins have told me, they’d been enjoying their summer with you. And sure, you have lied to them about Ford and whatnot. But they still love you.”

“I did want to tell them.” Stan just shook his head. “Then it just went to shit and I lost their trust at the heat of the moment.”

“This is what I mean.” She commented. “You need to stop listening to this, and listen to what matters.” She pointed to her head then to her heart.

Stan understood what she was trying to say. It was still difficult for him though. He was stubborn like she said, he knew that. His stubbornness was the reason Ford punched him when he came back. He deserved it. He knows that now. But it was the fact that Alma reminded him so much of Ford, he couldn’t seem to get past it. She was freaken smart and motivated by the same thing it seemed. Stan didn’t blame his brother for taking a liking to her.

“Just so you know, I don’t hate you.” Stan admitted after their awkward silence. Alma glanced over a him a bit surprised but it morphed into a smirk.

She pushed him playfully, Stan letting out a chuckle. “Glad you don’t hate me, man. That means a lot. Even though I already knew.” She said smug.

Alma rose, only for Stan to do the same after there was a commotion outside. On instinct, he grabbed his bat he had dropped earlier and went to one of the windows. Alma took her own, trying to get a glimpse of what it was, but her breath kept fogging up the window. Stan gestured to the side door as it started rattling. They all took their positions again, Alma joining them this time as the door flew open.

Chapter Text

A war cry rose from both sides as the door hit the wall. Dipper, Mabel, Wendy and Soos busted their way in. Dipper had a golf club somehow. “Stan?” The twins said in surprise, seeing their Grunkle standing before them.

“Kids?” Stan reacted back. They suddenly threw their weapons to the side and ran up to their Grunkle. He opened his arms wide as he welcomed them into a big bear hug. “Kids! I can’t believe it!” He said almost in tears. “I thought I lost you two.” Soos and then Wendy joined in, almost squishing the twins.

Stan felt half relieved once he dropped the twins down from his arms. “Alma! You’re here too!” Mabel commented, running up to her and hugging her leg. Dipper followed and took the other leg.

Alma smiled and rubbed their heads. “Of course I am. I honestly was thinking your uncle wouldn’t let me in.”

Stan just scoffed. “Ha, like I had a choice.” Alma just cocked a brow towards him as the twins took a few steps back.

“So what is this? Why is multi-bear and the gnomes in here?” Dipper asked, pointed towards them.

“That’s a long story.” Stan replied. “Welcome to what is left of normal around here.” He gestured to the room where everyone was gathered. Wounds were being treated and rations handed out. It was quite a dreary scene.

Alma followed them in, assisting Toby with the removal of the darts he was hit with. Toby thanked her as she rose and crossed her arms while taking it all in. At least no one was dead is all she could really think. But everyone in here was being paranoid, like they should be. Especially with the fact that Bill’s eyebats have been fluttering around recently. Every time one got close, Stan would order everyone to get down, be quiet and turn every light off. So far at least, that has worked as they just skim over the shack before moving on. That is what was turning the town into stone and flying off with them to the pyramid Bill has built for himself.

“Wouldn’t call everything in here normal, Grunkle Stan.” Dipper commented.

“Does it really matter at this point?” Stan replied. “Besides, half the town is in Bill’s clutches.”

“Including Ford.” Dipper mumbled. He watch the others move around before he clenched his hand into a fist. “We have to get him back.”

“But how?” Wendy asked, adjusting her crossbow. Alma and Stan shared a glance. What are they going to do? They didn’t have a plan of any sort.

His fist lessened at his side. “There has got to be something.” He skimmed around the empty faces, recognizing McGucket in the crowd. “McGucket. He might be able to help.” Dipper suggested, pointing towards him. He was fiddling with his banjo behind the Several Timez boys.

“You really think the loon that lives at the dump can help?” Stan said in disbelief.

“He’s a lot smarter than he looks.” Mabel insisted.

Alma had heard Ford talk about him. His real name was Fiddleford, which still was an odd name. What can you say? Everyone has to be weird around here in someway. So Fiddleford was Ford’s assistant while he was working on the portal. He was known for being a magician when it came to mechanical things of any sort. Dipper actually showed Alma the page he did for the Gobblewonker, which they discovered was McGucket all along behind the controls of a giant, mechanical sea creature.

For a guy whose took his own sanity away, he sure knows how to do things with his hands. He probably subconsciously built that monster and whatever else. But since they discovered the Blind Eye Society’s secrets, they found McGucket’s memories. He actually wanted to watch them once they retrieved them. And since then, he seems to be slowly regaining his correct subconscious thoughts. But the damage has been done and years of neglect, he may never remember everything.

“McGucket?” Dipper said calmly as they approached. He glanced up from his banjo, the broken green specs made it difficult to read his eyes.

“Well howdy. Whatcha need?” He replied with an excited twang. He must of recognized the twins for he had no need to ask for confirmation.

“We need your help.” Dipper pleaded. “Do you remember a Stanford Pines?”

He hummed to himself, putting a bandaged finger up to his chin. Alma noticed a light bulb go off in Mabel’s eyes as she ran upstairs. She returned with a photo of younger Ford in her hand. “This is him.” She said, handing it over to McGucket.

“Mabel, your a genius.” Dipper empathized.

“I know.” Mabel smiled cheekily.

McGucket was fully fazed into the photo, concentrating on it until his head perked up. “I know this fella. Stanford.” He repeated. Dipper gave a thumbs up towards the girls. “He hated being called that.”

“Well he’s here, in Gravity Falls.” Alma added as he handed the photo off to Dipper. “And we seek your help to save him from Bill.”

McGucket plucked one of his banjo strings. Wasn’t sure if it was gesture of thought but he suddenly came to life. He started to walk away, only to turn halfway down and gesture them to follow. “Aren’t we gonna save the fella? Come on, ya lazy bones.”

They all shared a glance with each other. “I can’t believe that just worked.” Dipper said in disbelief.

“Obviously we triggered something.” Alma added, taking a few steps forward.

“To the drawing board!” Mabel proclaimed to the room. Everyone just looked up from what they were doing as they stood awkwardly front and center. Dipper just nervously chuckled to himself once the eyes bored in.

“Ok Mabel, that’s enough.” Alma said, dragging them out of the room.

Stan was just wandering back in when they crossed paths. McGucket came through first to his bewilderment. Wendy and Soos were hanging out in the gift shop area when they arrived.

“What’s the plan?” Wendy asked, cracking her knuckles. Stan reluctantly followed them in, joining the circle.

Alma started clearing off one of the cork boards. She then would take one of the Gravity Fall maps from the stand and pin it to the board. With a black marker, she started to sketch out a rough pyramid above town hall. The others all awed at how well it was done in so little time. She still had the marker cap in her mouth when she was handed the photo of Ford and pinned it next to the pyramid. She then drew arrows from it to the pyramid and on a blank sheet of paper, she wrote out “Plan” on top. She backed away, spitting the cap out and putting it back on.

“This is what our goal is. We need someway to get in, but I’m thinking we need a distraction of some kind for Bill cause he’ll be watching closely.” The others were slowly piling in at this time, so it was turning into a group meeting.

They all begun brainstorming soon after. Many ideas were super far fetched, others were just too hard to accomplish with what they had. That is when it hit Alma and McGucket. Their solution was what they were standing in.

“That’s it.” Alma said suddenly. She had met eyes with McGucket at the moment when he gave her a reassuring nod. “Stan, does Ford have the blueprints for here somewhere?”

Stan had an inquisitive look on his face before snapping his fingers. “Yeah, its in the safe. Give me a sec.” He returned a few seconds later with the rough blueprints in his hand.

“Thank you.” She said as her and McGucket examined it closely. The shack wasn’t attached to any main vertical lines of any sort. “You thinking what I’m thinking?” She whispered to him.

“Hmm, I bet ya I am.” McGucket replied smartly.

They turned back to the group who was talking among themselves. Alma stepped up on the gift shop counter and tapped her marker on a Pitt Cola bottle. Everyone’s eyes went up to her as the chatter stopped. “Guys, I think we have an idea.” She glanced down to McGucket who gave an awkward smile and thumbs up which kind of grossed her out. “This shack has been warded as you all know. So why don’t we use it? McGucket?”

He drew out a blueprint quickly and pinned it up on the cork board. Once he stepped back, the group was flabbergasted at what they saw. “No way.” Dipper and Soos said in union.

“Ladies and gentleman, I give you – Shacktron.”

-

It took all of them working together to build the Shacktron. McGucket worked on assembling the thing and making sure it functioned. The others all gathered parts and pieces. Soos suggested they’d put a gun sword on it, but McGucket didn’t know what that was. He would then offer to educate him on such things. The goal wasn’t to make it super cool really, but everyone just went with the flow.

A T-Rex arm and Gobblewonker head later, the Shacktron was ready. There wasn’t really any room inside for them to sleep in it, so they had a camp out the night before. They all gathered around the massive fire pit near the shack. It was quite awkward as everyone would just share a look every once in awhile. You start to realize that you never really knew any of the people you were stuck with.

“So – think we gonna win this?” Pacifica broke the silence finally. She was wearing the llama sweater Mabel had offered her, cause it was pretty nippy that night. Most of the others had one as well – at this point.

“Guess we’ll find out.” Alma simply answered. Mabel was dozing off in her lap with Waddles curled up on hers. Dipper was between Alma and Stan, trying to write something down in the dim light. “What you writing?” She asked him when she glanced over.

Dipper let out a sigh, readjusting his hat. “Nothing much. Just what I think will happen tomorrow.”

Alma turned her attention to the night sky. It still had the red tint Bill had dyed it. But you could still see and count all the stars. She leaned back on her hands, a smile growing on her face. “You’ve ever been taught the constellations, Dipper?”

His eyes would move up to towards the sky. “No.” Stan was silently worrying beside them, but he was tuning in. He too turned his attention towards the blood red sky, leaning back on the log behind them.

“Then I’ll show you.” She replied, her eyes melting into the stars beyond them. They slowly fell back on to him. “We might be able to see the Big Dipper. But it depends what direction the sky is going which constellations you see.”

“So when the world rotates then it changes. I get it.” He replied, leaning back on the log now.

Alma was amazed how easy he caught on. No wonder him and Ford has such a connection. “Exactly. And the seasons also play a role as well. It’s summer. So we’ll see ones like Hercules, Lyra and Draco.” She scanned the sky, seeing if she can spot any of them. “Oh there is Draco. It kind of has a long snake of stars with a dipper-like head.”

Dipper was concentrating pretty hard until he spotted the tail. “Oh there it is.”

“You got it.” Alma congratulated him. “See if you can find another one. Just imagine the sky as a piece of paper and your the pencil.”

It seemed they spent the rest of the night finding the constellations. Dipper did ask her to teach him. So that’s what she did. Maybe it’d inspire the kid to look more into science then. But they may have to do one last sky hunt before the end of the summer. Alma did end up promising him after all.

Chapter Text

The morning seemed to arrive too soon for the group. As everyone prepped themselves and drank their coffee, Alma pulled Stan to the side. “I have to talk to you.” She said to him.

“What is it?” He asked, taking a sip of his cup.

“I know you were worrying last night.” Alma said.

“So?” Stan replied.

“You can’t let this get to you, Stan. Mean I get why you feel that way but-” He stopped her by lifting his cup up.

“It isn’t the whole robot thing or whatever the hell you think.” He sighed before turning his back to her. “I’m afraid of which one of us isn’t coming back. Being you, or the kids, or Ford.” He stared into the remaining coffee in his cup, a grief reflection staring back. “Or me.”

Alma sighed quietly. It was pretty much a suicide mission. One of them may not come back. And it never really occurred to her. The wind blew around them, rippling at her jacket and scarf as the silence took them.

“Even so, Bill has to be stopped.” Alma finally said. They both turned to face each other at the same moment. “If you had a choice. Who would you rather not have?”

Stan was shocked to hear such a thing come from her mouth. Even if she wasn’t considered blood or anything else, she was still a family friend. And one his brother loved. He couldn’t take that from him. But she had a point. If it came down to it, he’d pick himself.

He couldn’t get the guts to reply. Instead, he started walking away. He left Alma there in the forest to her thoughts. All she knew is today was the day. It was the day she and Ford have been waiting for. However it starts and ends – only fate would tell.

Alma let herself cool down, taking a calming breath before following the path Stan gone. All the faces she met along her way to the Shacktron were rearing to go. It was just a matter of waiting for the right moment and moving in now. Everyone had a spot and a purpose. Alma would be the one giving the first shot at Bill.

It wasn’t long before it was go time. Everyone piled in and took their positions. McGucket had the Gobblewonker, Grenda and Candy were the arms, Wendy was on top along with Alma, the others were inside the shack, pulling levers and what not. When the time came, the rescue team will go in and get Ford. Most of the Mystery Shack gang were going to be that team, along with McGucket and Alma.

On their way, Stan seemed a bit distasteful about something. Dipper and Mabel apparently knew why already. He had apparently been complaining that this whole mission was about Ford and how he was going to just be pictured as the hero. As much as Ford can be a hero, Alma believed that there was going to be something bigger. The whole walk across the flattened town, she had a sickening feeling in her gut.

-

Ford was being tortured inside the pyramid by the time the Shacktron was even seen. Bill had been trying to force Ford into letting him back in or at least, give him the info he is wanting. Ford swore he’d never tell. But Bill was seeing it as only a matter of time before he broke him. All Ford could do was fight.

“Come on, Sixer. Tell me how to break the barrier.” Bill was getting some rather sickening joy from shocking Ford. How he managed to survive through it, was amazing as it is.

Ford weakly lifted his head, his body smoldering with smoke. He could feel his heart palpitating from the shock. “Never.” He managed to mumble out.

“Is this you wanting to die, Fordsie?” Bill questioned while forcing him to look at him. “Mean if you want to die, I’d totally be fine with that. Just means a free body for me.”

“Bite me, Bill.” Ford threatened.

Bill chuckled. “Oh ho, I will happily bite you.” He released another shock onto him, Ford letting out a scream. Suddenly, he’d stop.

Bill! Come out here and fight like a man!” Alma’s voice vibrated in Ford’s head. Was he hearing things? He watched as Bill wasted no time to go investigate.

The Shacktron was nearly to the pyramid, only about a yard away as it came to halt. Alma was standing on the tip of its roof, a red and white microphone in her hand. She was expecting a reply back. “Come on Bill. I know you want to have a little chat. Then let’s talk.

Bill just scoffed at the contraption they made. It was shack, just with arms and legs. He turned his attention back to Ford who was still mystically chained up. He snapped his fingers, the chains disappearing as Ford got dropped onto his “throne” arm. Ford rose to his feet slowly and met his enemy’s eye.

“You’ll never get the answer out of me.” Ford replied sternly.

Bill narrowed his eye towards him. “You said you know my weakness.” He created a red spotlight with his eye on him, Ford turning away nearly blinded. “And I know yours too. Its your family.”

Ford’s eyes grew when he said that. “You leave them alone, Bill.”

Bill thought about it for a second, seeming like he was going to. Until he met Ford’s gaze dead on. “Not today, Fordsie.”

Ford started feeling his legs locking into place as he was turning him into gold again. “No!” He yelled out before becoming completely coated. He went silent.

“Everyone, attack that piece of crap outside.” He ordered to his friends suddenly. They all clamored outside and immediately started on the Shacktron.

All the bodies inside the Shacktron, did what they could. Levers were pulled, fists were punched – it had turned into a real battlefield. Bill observed from a distance for a bit, before recognizing Alma was one of the people on top. She would soon disappear inside the shack, leaping in through one of the open windows.

“How we doing?” She asked everyone as she pushed her way past.

“We are punch up some monsters!” Grenda replied, releasing a hard punch on the teeth shaped creature.

She turned her attention towards Dipper and Stan who were in the control center. “It’s time. Let’s go rescue team!” She yelled out, Wendy sliding in through the window and Soos entering through the door. McGucket climbed down from his perch and met them at the bottom. Mabel came running up from the back, releasing Waddles and giving him a hug.

They all strapped on their parachutes Mabel made and slide their way into a tube each. “Is this really necessary?” Stan asked, his fear of heights taking hold.

“Relax. We’ll be there in no time.” Alma replied. She gave a thumbs up to the Gnomes as they pressed the launch button.

They launched straight up into the air a good hundred feet before pulling their chutes and gliding their way into the pyramid. It was a pretty rough landing for most of them. Stan losing his fez once he hit the floor face first and slid. Dipper had picked it up along with his hat and handed it back to him. They were now all inside.

The “throne” was before them, rising way above their heads as the hundreds of faces lined it. This was where the people turned to stone were put. There was one at the top that caught Mabel’s eye. “Hey, is that Ford?” She said to group.

They all looked straight up to the towering amount of people before them. “How the hell are we suppose to get up there?” Stan asked.

“Hey, oh my! Hey!” A voice yelled down to them.

Mabel knew that voice. It was the only and only Gideon, who had a major crush on her. But he was pretty damn creepy about it. So she had said no to him many times. And the fact, he was no psychic at all.

“Gideon?” She said, finding him locked in a little cage. “Aw look at you, all locked up.” She teased.

Gideon just got red in the face. “Stop it!”

Dipper and Mabel laughed with each other. But shortly, returned to their task at hand. “Is our uncle up there?” Dipper yelled up.

Gideon nodded even though they couldn’t really see him do such. “Yes. He’s the gold one up here.”

“How do get him down?” Alma yelled up this time.

“You’ll need to remove the correct person from the bottom. It should be Mayor Cutebiker.” He replied back. They immediately found him and removed him from the stack. Down came a whole row of them, followed by Ford at the end.

Due to the movement, most of the people were becoming unfrozen. They pulled Ford off to the side as people had reunions and hugs around them. The gold on Ford slowly faded away. “No! I’ll kill you-” Ford paused once he realized who was in front of him. Without hesitation, he scooped up Mabel and Dipper and held them close. “Kids!” He cried with overjoy.

They both smiled and allowed the moment to happen. He then dropped them back down. Alma would approach him next. “Glad you’re ok.” She said softly.

He would grab her hands first before pulling her in. Alma let her arms wrap around him as they went up to his hair, her fingers sliding through it. His head backed away from a second, only for his hand to lift her chin up and their lips locking moments later. Both Mabel and Dipper held their mouths at a gape. Dipper looked away embarrassed while his sister basked in her utter excitement, jumping enthusiastically.

“About time.” She winked with her braces wide.

Stan was weirdly enjoying it. Once they backed away from their embrace, he slid his arm over Ford’s back. He looked over with a pleased expression. “Look at you. Being a ladies man.” He squeezed him in excitement.

Ford would only look back annoyed, picking his brother’s arm off and letting it drop. “Let’s just concentrate what is at hand now.” He walked away after that.

“Typical Stanford.” Stan grumbled to himself, crossing his arms.

“What’s next?” Dipper asked the group. The room was starting to become crammed pack as most of those turned to stone were reverting back to normal.

Ford glanced around among them as if in deep thought. The Shacktron was outside with Bill, fighting it out. He had gone out and taken matters in his own hands once they were being thrown around like rag dolls. They had a window open once the T-Rex pulled his eye right out of its socket. “Not the eye!” He yelled.

“Well we got a chance now to do whatever.” Alma commented, seeing Bill retreat back.

Ford nodded. “Then let’s use it.” He pulled out a pair of black gloves, slipping them on. They were the same ones from when he came out of the portal. “I need something to draw with.” He insisted.

Wendy turned to Robbie, her ex who Mabel had tried to help earlier in the summer. “Yo, can I have your spray can?”

“Sure. Whatever.” He replied, digging into his pocket and pulling out a blue can of spray paint.

“Use this.” Wendy offered it to Ford who took it.

He shook it, the can rattling as he did so. He’d spray a circle inside another circle nearly symmetrical. After adding a few more details and lines, they’d all step back to admire his work. He’d toss the can back to Robbie who failed clumsily at catching it. It was a cipher of some kind with ten symbols lining each box section. Ford took his spot on the six-fingered hand.

“What is it?” His Great Nephew asked, walking around the outer circle.

“It’s an ancient zodiac I discovered during my time looking into Bill.” He gestured with his hands while explaining it out. “I believe this is our last shot at defeating him. But I need us all to cooperate for it to work.”

Alma was impressed. This must have been what Ford was about to tell Dipper before Bill found them. Looking closely, she knew far too well that she wasn’t involved in this. But it was good while it lasted. She shared a glance between the group, Ford looked directly at her while he explained it more deeply.

“These symbols all represent one of us.” He explained to the group. “Obviously the six hand is me. Mabel – the shooting star, Dipper – the pine tree, Stanley – the crest.”

Everyone started taking their positions once they figured out who was who. Robbie’s hoodie was a massive giveaway, Soos was obvious too by his question mark shirt, Gideon took the star next to Mabel to her disgust. Pacific just groaned after realizing the llama was her, but fate had most likely planned for it. The last two of ice and the glasses, Ford admitted took him a bit to figure out. But once Dipper said that Wendy was always chill in any situation, she took the ice bag and lastly, McGucket took the glasses – or spectacles as he’d say.

It would start glowing once Ford told them to take hands. Alma took a few steps back, hoping to avoid what was coming next. Stan of course, was letting his stubbornness get the best of him. Ford stood there awkward, his fingers feeling nothing between him and Soos. He glanced back sternly towards his brother who wasn’t wanting to participate.

“Stanley, what are you doing?” He said annoyed while stretching his hand out towards him.

The others were all waiting with their hands held. They started cursing towards Stan for leaving them in such an awkward position. “Stan, get your ass in that circle.” Alma ordered with a tight fist.

He ignored Alma’s request, turning toward his brother. “We wouldn’t even be in this mess if it wasn’t for Brainiac over here.” He start pointing fingers towards Ford.

“I’m sorry I caused this, I am.” Ford apologized instantly. “But Stanley, please. Just help us finish it. That’s all I ask of you.”

“Fine. But on one condition.” Stan replied, taking a step closer. “Say thank you.”

“What?” Ford replied, his hair swaying from the power of the zodiac.

“You heard me. Say thank you for bring you back from who the hell knows where. Thirty years – I spend thirty years trying to get you back. Is that worth nothing to you?” Stan sneered.

Ford clenched his extended hand before he sighed and put it back. “Fine. Thank you.” He said reluctantly, but as true as he could.

Stan accepted it, taking his place inside the circle and grabbing his brother’s hand. “Finally. See, now between him and me, I’m not always the bad twin.” He said to Soos beside him who wasn’t really paying much attention.

“You mean me and him.” Ford corrected him.

“Hey, what did I say about correcting me?” Stan snapped, pulling Ford out of the circle. The zodiac was severed for a split second as they begun to bicker with each other.

“Seriously? You got no time to fight over stupid stuff.” Dipper and Mabel broke their hands from the others, trying to separate the two brothers. Alma was about to help them until she got stopped in her tracks.

“Well, well, well.” They heard a booming voice above them. Everyone’s eyes instantly went up to the source. “What do we have here?” It was Bill, his new eye white as ever. “Oh, the zodiac? And all the people needed for it in one spot?” He clicked his tongue in shame. “Bad mistake.”

With a snap of his finger, a blue flame ignited and burned the zodiac away. Amazingly, everyone stood their ground to him. But he knew far too well he’d have to thin the herd. Glowing red arms grew from the ground suddenly, wrapping themselves around Stan, Ford and Alma. They’d rise up above the others, just to the height of Bill’s eye. They all struggled and wiggled under the tight wraps. Bill then would chant something and release a blinding wave onto the group below. Only Dipper and Mabel remained as they glanced up behind them, finding the others horror expressions threaded into tapestries hanging on the wall.

“Ain’t this fun.” Bill said enthusiastically. He then proceeded to building a three-sided cage around the twins. “It isn’t too late to change your mind, Fordsie.”

The twins ran up to the edge facing them as they watched their guardians levitate there. “No, Grunkle Ford.” Mabel said.

“Don’t do it.” Dipper pleaded.

Bill just cackled. “I can’t believe you Pines. Your all the same.”

This is when Mabel noticed Robbie’s spray can had dropped. She jabbed her brother as they attempted to reach for it. “Try all you want, Bill.” Ford commented, buying the twins time. Dipper would jump up and down inside the cage, tittering the can towards them. It would then roll into Mabel’s hand which she quickly drew behind her back.

“Hey, one-eye!” Mabel teased, making Bill turn towards her in agitation. When he got close enough, she pulled and aimed the can at Bill’s eye, spraying in it directly.

He let out a horrific screech, rubbing it with his hands. “Damn kids! I just got that eye!” He subconsciously released the Alma and the brothers by mistake while Dipper used his magical flashlight to grow the cage until they could just walk out of it.

They rejoined on the spot. “Now what?” Stan asked, lifted his sore self off the ground.

Dipper and Mabel shared a confident stare before nodding to one another. “We’ll distract him while you run.” Dipper insisted.

“No.” Ford deep voice stirred them. “It’s too dangerous.”

“We got this.” Mabel snapped as they both took off in a sprint, heading deeper inside.

“Kids, wait.” Stan called out to them with his hand out.

Suddenly, they all felt their air being squeezed out of them as Bill rose behind them with a shaky hand crunching. He then formed the cage again, this time around them and dropped them inside. “Enough!” He barked before turning a bold red, growing teeth and multiple arms. He transformed into only what Ford could imagine what he really looked like – a nightmare.

Stan grunted after being dropped hard again, his brother helping him up along with Alma a second later. “Leave those kids alone.” Ford snapped towards the monstrosity before them. “Your beef is with me, not them.”

“Well duh. But I’m finding that there is only one way I’ll be convincing you.” The demon replied. “Be right back. I got some pest of kids to deal with.”

“No – wait.” Ford gestured towards him, only to see him skitter away inside.

Stan knew this was going to happen. He just watched as the monster hunted the very thing he had been caring about all summer long. Ford had his head down against one of the bars. “What are we going to do?” Ford heard his brother mumbled under the heavy air.

Stan would then move deeper in and take a seat. Ford lifted his head, joining him on the ground. Alma had been standing behind them, watching the two start falling apart at the seams. She turned towards them and slide down the side of the wall. There was an awkward silence among them.

“This is my fault.” Stan finally broke the silence. Ford had pulled out a canister while sulking there, taking a slug and then offering it to his brother. He obliged, took a sip and returned it. “Dad was right. I am a screw up.”

“You shouldn’t take all the blame.” Ford added. “I was the one who allowed Bill into my thoughts. Why was I so stupid?” He lifted his hand and stared at it. “You would of seen right through him.”

Stan scoffed softly. “Then we’re both screw ups.” He replied before his smirk dissolved away. “What the heck happened to us? We use to love playing pretend and talking to each other.”

“We only had each other. That’s why.” Ford replied, his gaze meeting Alma’s across the way. “Until now.”

She found Stan also was looking at her, but not in the eye. He let out a deep sigh. They fell into an awkward silence again. “Those kids are too young to be in this crap.” Stan said.

Ford nodded. “That they are.” He then rose to standing, going up to the bars and grabbing hold of them. “Why we need to protect them at all cost.” His eyes went down to Alma as he offered her a hand. She took it with a small smile, letting his strength lift her up. She put both her hands over his as he turned his attention back towards the hallway they had all gone down.

Stan would join them with a crack of his back. “So what’s the plan when they do come back?”

“I’m going to let him in.” Ford replied.

Chapter Text

“What? Y – you can’t do that.” Stan frowned.

Alma found herself squeezing his hand tighter. Ford would notice, turning his complete attention to her. “I’m sorry. It may be destructive. But if it means those kids’ safety – I should do it.” His free hand moved into his jacket pocket, pulling out the memory eraser gun.

“What if we use that?” Alma suggested. Stan would stare at it intensely.

Ford just shook his head. “Can’t use it on me cause of the metal plate. Dipper already tried. It completely ricocheted around us.” He let Alma handle it for a second.

Stan had gone awfully quiet over there in his corner. Ford looked over at him, finding his attention was elsewhere. Alma handed him back the gun as he stashed it away again. She pulled his arm in as he leaned in and pecked her on head. He then proceeded to hold her close, stroking her back gently.

“What if you use it on me?” Stan said, shocking them both. His eyes appeared again and looked over at them. Ford stopped stroking Alma’s back suddenly. “I got nothing. Its just empty up here.” He poked his temple.

“Stanley, I know you mean well. But you have nothing Bill wants.” He walked towards his brother. “I do. Which logically, leaves me.” He sighed, looking directly at Stan. “If it means he’ll leave you, the kids and Alma alone – I’d rather have that.” He admitted.

Stan just scoffed. “You really think he’s gonna keep that promise? I doubt it.”

Alma put a hand on his shoulder. “Stan has a point. He’d use you to get to us.”

“Then what other choice do we have?” Ford asked.

Both Alma and Stan fell quiet. Ford figured there would be no answer. But looking at them now, Alma knew there was another option. They were twins after all. Only a few things set them apart.

“You could switch clothes.” Alma replied simply to both of their surprise. “You two are twins, remember? You could pull each other off easy. You just need a few changes.”

Stan and Ford shared a glance. “She’s right.” Stan said. “If we swapped clothes, messed with our hair, we’d be solid.”

Ford saw it as a solution. But it still meant Stan would have to take a blast from the memory gun. Just the fact it was rubbing up against his thigh right now, made him start questioning if this would work. Yes – they could swap clothes and change their hair. But they didn’t sound anything like each other. Ford was more deep and Stan was more gruff.

“Even if we did, you’d still have to make me sound convincing.” Ford commented.

Stan chuckled. “I think I’d pull you off pretty well.”

“Am I really that easy to imitate?” Ford asked.

Stan started unbuttoning his shirt and shoes. He then would offer his fez to Ford. “Why don’t we find out?”

-

After a quick change and mess with the hair, they both looked pretty much like the other. Even if they both were having second thoughts, it was the only way they would win. Ford looked pretty sharp in his brother’s suit. But she did enjoy the classic sweater and jacket combo. The only difference between them was the number of fingers they had and both of them had to keep them pretty well hidden.

“I can’t believe you talked me into this.” Ford said. “This is my suit by the way.” He dusted off the sleeve.

“It is? I thought it was dad’s.” Stan commented, his hair now super spiky.

They both shared a look with each other. Ford could feel himself tightening up inside out of paranoia. He was about to lose his brother possibly. Stan too could relate. But he was trying to keep his Ford confidence on. He felt kind of strong in his jacket and having an actual firearm at his side.

Alma had to play along too. She had to make sure her reactions were authentic, even if she had to go as far as to hold Stan’s arm. She just had to keep telling herself that the real Ford was in the suit and fez. Just so she wouldn’t freak out. It was going to test them all it seemed.

Bill came crawling back, the Twins being squeezed by two of his arms. He shrunk himself back to his classic yellow form. Dipper and Mabel were both squirming in his clutches. “Times up.” Bill quaked. “So who am I going to kill?” His eye started flashing their symbols. “Eenie, Menie, Miney, Mo.” He chanted as the twins grabbed each other tightly as it stopped on Mabel’s shooting star.

Bill would lift his finger, just about to snap her dead when Stan pushed his way between them and put his hand out the bars. “Wait, don’t.” Bill hesitated as his eye went over to them. “You win, Bill.” He said solemnly while returning his hand back and putting his head down.

“Are you insane?! Think about what you’re doing!” Ford came up behind him and grabbed his coat collar tightly. Stan tried to pry his hands off.

Alma had to admit, they were playing their parts pretty damn well. And it seemed Bill was falling for it. Dipper and Mabel didn’t know what was going on, but the horrified expressions on their faces read it all. She had kept her look stoic but scared behind them. Bill kept going back and forth between them.

“What a pity seeing you two bickering. But I love it!” Bill empathized. He let the twins drop from his hands before releasing the rest of them. Stan had glanced between them, only to hear Ford and Alma grunt as the glowing red hands forced them to the floor.

“Please Ford.” Alma acted, tears teasing her eyes.

Stan looked over at her sadly before puffing his chest and releasing a deep breath. “I have to do this.” He turned away, taking a few steps forward towards Bill.

“What’s it gonna be, Fordsie?” Bill asked, tittering on his feet cheerfully.

Stan took one last glance to Ford behind him. Heavy grief lined his face. “I’ll shake your hand on one condition.” He gestured his hand towards the others. “You let them go.”

Dipper and Mabel hadn’t moved from their spot across the way. But there was gut wrenching look in Dipper’s eyes when he met Alma briefly. “Please Grunkle Ford.” He mumbled ever so slightly with a wet sniff.

Stan was having second thoughts, seeing the conditions everyone was in. But the enemy was right there. He was gazing restless toward him with his giant glossed over eye. This moment was going to win it for them. Stan watched as Bill put his hand out towards him. It ignited with blue fire a second later.

“It’s a deal.” Bill proclaimed.

Stan froze up. Was he really about to do this? The devil himself was staring back at him with one hand engulfed in fire. He never wanted to actually shake the devil’s hand, even if he had to. But it was for his family. That is all that crossed his mind those seconds ticking away.

Without hesitation, Stan shook his hand.

Chapter Text

Bill had turned his body to stone and literally flung his spirit towards Stan. The room fell dead silent. The hands that held Ford and Alma down, would fade away into the floor. They rose to their feet. Ford walked up to his motionless brother, pulling off the fez and handing it to Alma. Dipper and Mabel came up behind her, forcing themselves into the back of her legs. She gave the fez to Mabel who just cherished it closely. Alma’s hands would rub their backs as Dipper pulled himself away, only to stop mid step.

Ford stared grief stricken at his brother before pulling the memory gun out. He activated it, turning the dial until it read: Stanley Pines. He aimed it towards his head, planting his finger on the trigger. He knew the longer he hesitated, the harder it would be to end Bill. But something inside of him was holding him back. All he could see before him was his unconscious brother.

He kept telling himself – that wasn’t just his brother – it was a monster. A monster who has haunted him from years. A monster that lied his way into their lives. A monster that deceived him. He has to do this. He has to end it.

He turned away at first, clenching his teeth before finally pulling the trigger. He let its beam illuminate the room for about a minute before lifting his finger away. Slowly, he lowered it with a frown. “It is done.” He mumbled off as he let the gun drop to his side.

Alma gently pulled Mabel away and let Dipper take her. She sniffled in his vest, drenching it. Alma approached Ford from behind, sliding her hand around his neck as she pressed her cheek into his. He let out a sigh, nuzzling her back with his eyes shut. Eventually their eyes would rest on the still motionless Stan.

The world around them would start to morph and twist back to reality. The grass and trees surrounded them now as they were transported back to the forest. The breeze teased at their hair. Stan sat quietly in the middle of the field a few feet before them. He slowly regained consciousness, one eye blinked before the other. It didn’t take too long for him to start glancing around utterly clueless.

Ford and Alma approached him, their arms linked. Dipper and Mabel joined them. “Grunkle Stan.” Mabel said as she sunk into the grass with him. She would suddenly wrap her arms around him in a hug.

Stan started pulling her off to her dismay. “Hey – sweetie.” He hesitated, which made her upset.

“Grunkle Stan? Don’t you remember me?” She pleaded softly, tears forming at the corners of her eyes.

Ford put a calm hand on her shoulder. “I’m afraid he’s gone, Mabel.”

She glanced up at him with the first tear streaking down her cheek. “What does that even mean?”

“It means that he won’t remember you, sweetie.” Alma answered for him. She then pushed Ford’s hand off and ran over to Dipper who tried to comfort her. She would start crying once she collapsed at her brother’s side.

Dipper had remained quiet the whole time. He understood what was going on. But it didn’t keep how he felt off his face. He just gently placed his hand on Mabel and pulled his hat down. This was going to ruin those poor kids.

Ford sighed before walking over to his brother who was just consistently looked around. He probably was wondering what was going on. Ford sat in front of Stan, squeezing his hand into his shoulder once their eyes met. “You may not remember anything.” He stated. “But you should know that -” He hesitated as he let out a forced sniffle. “You’re a hero, Stanley.” Ford then pulled his brother in and hugged him tightly.

Alma smiled softly at the scene. Forgiveness wasn’t always said. In Ford’s case, it didn’t need to be. Just as long as he could show it. But they still had a problem – Stan didn’t remember anything.

They would make their way back to the shack quietly. Ford and Stan had traded their clothes on the way. Mabel was determined to find something that could help him. The place was a mess, trees had been uprooted and the signs had flown into nearby bushes. Mabel dragged Stan along for he started asking questions once they were just outside the shack.

“I live in this dump?” He asked. Alma noticed Ford wanted to correct him until it occurred to him, it’d be no use.

“You love this dump.” Mabel replied, grabbing his hand again and pulling him inside. “Anything?” She asked.

Stan just shrugged. “I’m not sure what to tell you – whoever you are.”

Mabel let out a frustrated groan as she started searching the rubble. “There’s got to be something that will help.” She said determined as the others entered behind them.

“Mabel, I don’t think-” Dipper tempted to stop her, only for her to cut him off with an “ah ha!”

She immediately grabbed Stan’s hand again, dragging him into the living room and set him into his ugly yellow chair. She climbed up onto the armrest with a bright pink book covered in glitter and bedazzle. She opened it to the first page and pointed to the photo of him, her and Dipper outside the shack. “This was our first day here.” She began, only to receive not much of a reaction. She continued onto the next page.

The others all gathered around the chair, listening to her telling what had happened that day in the photo. It wasn’t until Waddles came wandering in, climbing up onto Stan’s lap and licking him did something amazing happen. “Stop it Waddles. Get off me, you stupid pig.” Stan commented suddenly, shocking everyone. Soos then said something and he asked why he wasn’t doing his job. He was remembering.

The whole feel of the room changed. Ford was getting all weird and giddy. “Keep going, Mabel.” He said excitedly.

She gave a nod and proceeded to tell about their adventures through the photos. Things started returning back to normal – slowly. Everyone pitched in trying to help Stan regain his memory. Ford however, was doing it the hardest. He actually found some old films from their childhood in one of the boxes they found. Even if Stan had only known Alma for a few weeks, he still could put her name to the face.

By the time the twins’ thirteenth birthday got closer, Stan was pretty much back to his old self, making depriving jokes and cursing at the newspaper boy. The evening before, they all gathered around the fire pit and burned everything Ford had on Bill. It was Dipper’s idea and Ford agreed. It was a classic camping night with roasting marshmallows, storytelling and laughs. Alma felt she could open up to them at this point. Hell, they just helped save the world together – it was only right to be honest.

When the moment came however, she instantly froze up. The crackle of the fire was their music in the perfect silence she should of took. Ford had given her his coat as she pulled it closer. Her hand went to her scarf as she played with its frayed ends. It was miracle it hadn’t gotten torn, set on fire or worse. Just got dusty really.

Ford’s hand had been laying on her thigh since they’ve been sitting there. She sensed his eyes on her when it moved. “What’s on your mind?” He asked her quietly.

Alma just shook her head while pulling at her scarf. He was concerned but decided not to apply much. She kept going back to the moment where Stan took his brother’s place. What if it did end up being Ford? The images going through her head were terrifying and haunting. Ford wouldn’t of been saved like his brother was. She would of lost him forever to Bill.

Her eyes went across to Stan. He and Soos were having a heated conversation about something. He’d toss his Pitt Cola can off to the side somewhere, the cling of it hitting the tree rang in her ears. She moved on to Dipper casually talking to Wendy. Felt like she really wasn’t in the moment anymore. Until Ford snapped her back after moving his hand away and rising from the wet log they sat upon.

She glanced up at him as he stretched out his arm and let out a yawn. “Think its time for bed.” He said to her, as if he knew she was looking.

Alma smiled softly towards him. “Think Mabel does too.” She gestured towards the passed out Mabel curled up at Stan’s shoes.

Stan noticed the small talk among them, glancing down at Mabel. No wonder she had been so quiet. The fire lightened his smile as he gently picked her up. She stirred in his arms, rubbing her sleep away. “Did I fall asleep?” She asked tiredly.

He nodded. “Why don’t you head home with Ford and Alma then?” He put her down as she kept rubbing her eye.

“Are you coming with us?” She yawned, glancing over at Dipper who mouthed ‘I’ll be up in a few’.

“Yeah sweetie. Very soon.” He replied. He glanced up to his brother and Alma. “Mind taking her with ya?”

“Sure. We can take her.” Alma replied, rising to her feet and fixing Ford’s coat. She offered her hand to Mabel who took it deliberately. “We’re going in. See you all tomorrow.” Alma mentioned to the group, they all saying ‘night’ back.

They walked back to the shack. The chatter and flickering of the fire was quickly gone, hidden behind a collection of trees. Mabel was dozing off against Alma’s leg ever few steps. Ford would take notice, offering to carry her in. She declined him with a shake of her head. The door creaks as they entered.

Mabel’s hand slid out of Alma’s as she took a few steps up before stopping and looking back at them. “Alma?” She said quietly.

Alma looked up and smiled, her face softened by the lamp. “What’s up?”

“Will you be coming back next summer?” Mabel asked.

Alma hadn’t really thought much about her future. Mabel bring it up now, had her thinking of some excuse or reply. They already had their bus passes packed for the long ride back home to California tomorrow afternoon. Seemed like they already asked their parents if they could come back next summer. She wanted to get some sort of reassurance from Ford, but he had already wandered off.

All she could do was stand there for a second before throwing something out. “We’ll see.” She simply replied. “But if this summer has taught me anything, I’d totally come back.”

She noticed the semi-frown form on Mabel’s face. “Oh, alright.” She commented tiredly, putting her sleeve up to her eye again.

“I’ll see you in the morning though.” She reassured her. Mabel nodded slowly before turning and making her way up. The small click clack of Waddle’s hooves approached from the living room as he stopped at Alma’s feet. She hummed to herself, leaning down and stroking him on his round, smooth head. He snorted a satisfied snort before climbing his way up the stairwell.

Alma stood there, watching him reach the top to only disappear. He most likely rolled onto the bed next to Mabel and fell asleep. The door swung open, making her jump towards the sound. Stan and Dipper walked in with heavy feet. Dipper was starting to drag his from what she could tell. It was way past their bedtime.

“Got her upstairs alright?” Stan asked, pausing beside her.

Alma nodded. “Yup. She should be asleep now.” Dipper was listening to them.

“Good.” Stan replied, patting a hand on her shoulder before heading down the hallway towards his room.

She felt a small warm body suddenly force itself into her stomach. Dipper was taking her in with a warm hug. She smiled, tussling his hat. He backed away and gazed up at her a second later. “What was that for?” Alma asked.

“For everything.” He replied. “Oh right. I wanted to show you something.” He dug into his vest, pulling out a blue journal like hers, but with a shining pine tree on the front. He handed it to her, her hand stroking the tree symbol.

“What’s this?” She asked with a cock brow.

My journal. Mabel had found it – or no, it was given to her.” He stood there thinking on it. “I’m not quite sure now.” He replied.

Alma started flipping through its pages. He had already started filling it with his thoughts and drawings that weren’t too bad, considering he was only twelve going on thirteen. “That’s really cool, Dipper.” She commented, shutting it and handing it back.

“I was kind of hoping you’d teach me to draw better,” Dipper began. “But guess we’re leaving tomorrow.” He scratched the back of his head.

Alma went blissful. “I still can teach you before you go. The bus doesn’t leave until three-thirty.” She cocked a brow. “Would think you’d want Ford to show you. He is just as good.”

Dipper scoffed softly. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great teacher. But – I’d rather have you help me.”

Alma knelled down to him. “I’d be happy to show you.” She replied with a smile. Dipper’s eyes lit up as he hugged her again. Her arm went around him, squeezing him softly. He sent a smile back once he stepped back. “Now, think we all should head to bed. What do you think?”

Dipper chuckled. “Yeah, probably a good idea.” He started up the stairs, stopping halfway and waving to her. “Night Alma.”

“Goodnight Dipper.” She replied, rising back to standing. He disappeared around the railing a second later as the shack fell quiet. It was almost an uneasy quiet.

Alma let out a sigh, shutting her eyes for just a moment as if to take it all in. She opened them and started undoing her scarf around her neck. She let it hang loosing in her hands, her fingers rolling its threads. The thing has seen a lot this summer. From being nibbled on by Waddles, to being throwing in the dirt and mud and seeing how one man was willing to sacrifice himself for his family.

She squeezed it, holding it close. “Mom. What should I do?” She started saying to the ceiling. “I can’t just abandon them. Not Ford, not Stan, not-” She clenched it tighter as hot tears started rolling down her face. Her eyes went around the room. “I know I shouldn’t be here. You would want me looking for dad.” She started walking with her head down, her hair hung loosely below her.

Alma paused at Stan’s door, only to keep moving forward. Then she came to Ford’s study and complete froze. She let out a shaky breath, pressing her forehead into the wooden door. Come on, Alma. Put yourself together again. She told herself while the tears stained Ford’s coat. She wiped her tears away quickly and did some calming deep breaths.

She placed her hand on the doorknob and pulled inside. She was met by an empty room that was still musty and dirty. Ford must have gone down to the lab for some reason. She sunk into the sofa, her eyes falling to the scarf still in her hands. Suddenly, the door squeaked open, her eyes flying up towards it as she recognized the red woolly sweater. She had completely forgotten she still had his coat on.

He stopped in his tracks, seeing the red rings around her eyes. She tried to look away from him, but only for a gentle hand to lift her head up. “Have you been crying?” He asked solemnly.

Alma let out a sniff and rubbed her nose before pulling her legs up under her. Ford sighed and took a seat beside her. His warm body radiated next to her as his arm snaked around her backside and pulled her close. “You have to talk to me if you want my assistance.” He said, pecking a kiss on her head. He noticed her scarf was wrapped up under her arms.

“I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet tonight.” She sniffled. Ford seemed a bit taken back that she finally was talking more.

“What’s on your mind?” He asked. She adjusted herself, resting her head on his chest as her feet took up the rest of the cushions. He pushed his back into the armrest to help her lay more comfortably. Them both sprawled out didn’t leave much room left on such a small sofa. It also was kind of pained your back.

He let his six fingers run through her hair. It made her feel more relaxed in a way. “I guess – I just don’t know what is gonna happen in the future. I’m scared to.” She started. “Mean, what are you going to do?” She was curious to see what his plans were – if he had any. It occurred to her, he never said.

“Honestly, I’m not sure either.” He replied, sounding a bit unsure. “There’s a whole country out there that has anomalies to be discovered though.”

Alma her eyes went up towards him. “Is that what you see yourself doing?” She then lifted her head up to face him. “Cause it doesn’t sound like it involves me.”

His hand just hovered there. “Alma, its not like that.” He pushed himself up and slid a bit before grabbing one of her hands. “I want you to come with me. But I’ll leave the decision up to you.”

Alma turned her head away for second. She thought what it’d be like to hunt the weird and strange with him. They’d be like that wife and husband team up in Connecticut that was making the papers. Well except the fact, they weren’t married. It would definitely be an adventure of a lifetime though. But what about Stanley? Was he going to just let his formerly missing brother wander the country with his girl?

“Have you thought about what Stan would want though?” It seemed she hit a nerve in his head as he flinched at the question.

His eyes fell to the floor, letting her hand loose. “Stan would probably understand.” He initially said.

“But he’s your brother. And one you haven’t really made amends with. You were in the multi-verse for thirty years, Stanford. The time we spent together in there, I could see you were missing a piece – and it was your brother.” Her hand had gone up to his cheek where she stroked it softly. His stubble was coming back. Probably cause of the stress recently.

Ford sighed, grabbing her hand and kissing it. “You’re right. I should start thinking about Stanley more.” At least he seemed to understand what she was getting at. It took Stan hours.

She smiled softly. “I’ll figure it out. Don’t worry about me.” She replied, laying back down into his chest.

They laid there in the quiet, taking it all in. Alma rubbed her scarf in her fingers. She hadn’t bothered putting it back on. She started keeping track of how many times Ford’s chest would rise and fall. Eventually she would fall asleep with his arm wrapped around her. He smiled softly to himself, pulling her hair back behind her ear. “I love you.” He’d whisper softly to her.

Chapter Text

The woods came to life the next morning as woodpeckers pecked and the insects chirped. Alma and Ford were startled awake after hearing Stan yelling something in the hallway. They both moaned, wanting to go back asleep. It seemed like it was going to happen, until Mabel and Dipper came running in. They jumped on them in excitement.

“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!” Mabel sang song.

Alma and Ford were reluctantly trying to push them off. Didn’t work very well. So they slid themselves topside, rubbing their sleep away. “Wha – what time is it?” Ford groaned, putting his head in his hands. His head almost felt like it was splitting in two.

“It’s birthday time! That’s what time it is.” Mabel replied happily.

“Oh, happy birthday you guys.”Alma replied tiredly.

Mabel and Dipper started pulling them by their hand. “Come on, we can’t have cake without you!”

They both forced themselves to stand, Ford pulling his hand away. “I need some aspirin first, sweetie.” He put his hand up to his head.

“And some coffee.” Alma added.

“That too.” Ford agreed. They then proceeded to exit the room and to wherever they were going. Alma went to the kitchen to pour them some coffee while Ford rummaged through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. He made his way to the kitchen as Alma offered him a freshly brewed cup. He would take it, leaning up against the counter with her and popping down the aspirin.

“Look who finally decided to wake.” Stan stood in the doorway with his arms crossed. “The freaken kids been driving me nuts.” He commented, pushing his way to the coffeemaker and pouring a cup himself.

Alma and Ford glanced at each other. “You don’t say.” Alma replied with a brow cocked. “They were the ones that woke us up.” Ford was squeezing his temple beside her when Stan turned back.

“I didn’t give them any sugar if that’s what you’re thinking.” Stan insisted while taking a sip.

Dipper and Mabel came in at that moment. “You three in here bickering with each other?” Mabel asked. Waddles was following her around like he usually did. He made his way up to Alma and start rubbing against her leg for attention.

“And morning to you, oink.” Alma said, leaning over and rubbing his ears.

“You two are so cute together.” Mabel commented. They weren’t sure if she meant with Waddles or with Ford.

“Are you two going to settle down for a minute? Cause I need a break.” Stan said, pointing to them both. “And you better not have any hidden stashes.”

“Psh, relax Grunkle Stan.” Mabel replied.

“Sorry. We’ll chill, Grunkle Stan.” Dipper added.

Stan seemed relieved. “About time. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my chair.” He was about to wander off into the living room when Alma stopped him.

“Did you happen to get the cake?” She asked.

“Soos was grabbing it.” He replied. “Soos?” There was no answer when he called him out. “Gonna just hope that’s where he went.”

“I’d offer to make one otherwise.” Alma said.

“You can cook too? Now you’re double as great.” Mabel grinned.

Alma smirked. “Yeah, my mother taught me.” She touched her scarf when she mentioned her. “Speaking of which, you still want me to show you a few drawing tips, Dipper?” She remembered that he had asked her last night to teach him.

“Oh yeah. That’d be great.” Dipper empathized, pulling out his journal from his vest. He then would move to the table in the parlor.

Alma handed her cup to Ford who took it without much resistance. She pecked him on the cheek before joining Dipper in the next room. Mabel noticed him smirk blissful and giggled to herself. It seemed Stan had noticed too, only for Ford to clear his throat after he felt his eyes on him. He turned his attention towards the sink and started washing the cups.

Stan came up beside him and nudged him. “Look at you. She hasn’t been – distracting you, has she?” He teased with flirtatious brows.

Ford just rolled his eyes. “Distracting really isn’t the right word.”

“Are you two going to get married?” Mabel asked, joining her uncle in the love tease.

Ford kind of tried to phase them out. He knew what they were doing. “Stan, have you been teaching her to be like this?” He asked out of Mabel’s concern.

“What? No. That’s all Mabel. I’m just here.” His brother replied.

“He isn’t lying – at the moment.” She said. Stan kind of shunned her, mumbling something under his breath.

“Either way, it doesn’t matter.” Ford replied. “There is something I must do. Call me when its time for cake.” He said empathized the cake part in excitement. He proceeded to exit the room and disappeared down into the basement.

Chapter Text

When it was party time, it seemed like everyone in Gravity Falls had arrived. The front yard was full of the faces from the Bill’s throne. All happy and well it seemed. They wanted to help celebrate their heroes. What a birthday it was.

The family gathered around the cake as Dipper and Mabel took front and center. The twins said their wishes out loud, Mabel’s being that she wanted to shrink everyone and bring them home in her pocket. She turned to Ford, asking if it was possible. He just gestures a fifty fifty with his hand. Everyone yelled ‘Happy Birthday’ in union as they blew out the thirteen candle. They moved on to present time.

Alma noticed Ford pull his brother off to the side. It probably was a family matter, so she pretended to ignore it. Ford pulled a photo out of his coat and saw Stan’s face light up when he handed it to him. It seemed he didn’t ignore Alma’s suggestion. He was thinking about what Stan wanted. She smiled towards the two brothers newfound happiness.

Stan had apparently said he was going to close the shack. But he reconsidered once Soos inspired him, handing him his fez and the shack with it. Soos was now the official manager. She was surprised though that Ford had no say in it. It was his property after all. They both initially decided though that they’d be Soos’ landlords as his rent went to them. Soos promised he would take good care of the place.

“Enjoying yourself?” Ford approached Alma with his arms behind his back. She had been staring into her paper cup.

“Oh hey. Yeah, mean it is nice to see everyone again.” She replied, watching Mabel dancing with her two friends. Stan even joined in.

Ford put his hand out towards her. She didn’t hesitate to grab it as he guided her into the woods. The chatter and booming music all faded away. They admired the way the sun streaked the shadows across the dirt path they walked. She walked by his side, holding onto his arm as he whispered sweet nothings into her ear. This was how she imagined their relationship being.

They arrived at the outlook Ford had taken her and Dipper the day before the chaos. Now she couldn’t look at those two floating rocks without thinking aliens. He lowered them into the grass patch below their feet, pulling Alma in his lap. It was nice to get out of the shack for awhile. It was starting to feel like they’d never leave.

“It is beautiful.” She commented, her head resting next to his neck.

He nodded. “That it is. One of the reasons I wanted to bring you up here.”

“Oh?” She replied, their eyes meeting in the middle.

“I wanted to tell you that Stan agreed to join me for my research.” He started. “We’ll be coming back though by next summer.”

Alma smiled. “I figured that was what happened. It’ll give you both a chance to readjust from here and with each other.”

“You aren’t upset?” Ford questioned.

Alma shook her head. “No. I don’t see a reason I should be.” She watched a few birds fly into the distance. “I get why you’re doing it.” It seemed he wasn’t expecting her to accept it as well as she did, as he went silent. “I think I want to go see my sister anyways.” He heard her say out of the silence.

“You have a sister?” He acted as if he never knew. But Alma didn’t really talk much about her family, besides her parents. He didn’t put it past her for not sharing.

“Yeah, a younger one.” She replied, rubbing her nose. “We never really got along. But seeing you and Stan – I think you two inspired me to try and make up lost time.” Ford smiled hearing that their broken relationship had actually helped with something.

It seemed they stopped to admire the world around them the next few minutes. The wind blew around them, ruffling at their hair and coats. Alma’s scarf was probably the most red Ford had seen in a long time. He wasn’t sure if it was his infatuation with her or just the light. He knew he’d have to get serious very soon, for the twins were leaving in less than two hours.

He dug into his coat pocket, pulling out his journal 1 and whatever else. Somehow, his journals had survived. Soos apparently had found them completely unharmed, shocking Dipper for Bill had lit them on fire – legitimately. And both Dipper and Alma watched them burn. When he finally told Ford what had happened, he too was in disbelief. Ford suggested that everything Bill had done was due to a paradox, which once its owner was killed, it reverted back to its original state.

To his relief, the small, leather box was still on him. He let out a sigh before his eyes landed on Alma. It took them this long to find their feels for one another. He didn’t want that to happen again. When he left the teasing duo of his brother and Mabel, he ventured into the basement to gather his journals, but also to play out what was about to happen in his head. Saying goodbye to Mabel and Dipper will be hard. But this – this was going to be the hardest. He ran it through his head, in this exact spot, in this exact time.

His blood was starting to run cold, he knew it was time. He bit his lip before letting out a deep calming breath. This is it, Stanford. Concentrate. And don’t freak out. He slid out from under Alma as she looked over at him as he stood confidently before her. He offered his hand to her again, pulling her up to standing. The look on face was reading a bit of confusion. That soon would change.

“Alma,” He started, taking one of her hands and sharing direct eye contract. “There is something I’ve been meaning to ask you.” His hand slid into his pocket as he pulled out the small, leather box. He fell on one knee and opened the box to her, revealing a rather stunning antique diamond ring. Alma held her breath as she realized immediately what he was doing.

“Will you marry me?” Nailed it.

Alma was still in utter shell-shock. It took her a minute to process that Stanford Pines was proposing to her. This was the man that she spent traveling around the multi-verse with, the one that keep her warm in the freezing cold, the one who welcomed her into his life, the one that she survived an Armageddon with. And that whole time, they had feelings for one another that was about to be a reality. His family was falling for her also, especially the great niece and nephew. Ford wanted her by his side for the rest of his days.

Alma felt a heavy happiness flow over her as the tears started just flooding out. It was like time had stopped at this point for her. It was a dream come true in a way. She just smiled through her waterworks toward Ford still knelled before her. “Yes.” She said finally.

Chapter Text

Everyone gathered around the lonely bus stop a mile or two down the turn off from the shack. “Damn, this is itchy.” Stan scratched at the goodbye sweater Mabel had made him. He only wore it cause he’d feel terrible if he didn’t.

“I wanted to make you one too, Grunkle Ford. But I ran out of yarn.” She said, shrugging.

Ford chuckled. “Its alright, Mabel. You can make me one next time.” She grinned up towards him.

Her brother was over with Wendy, recollecting on what went on this summer. She suddenly would swap hats with him. His face flushed when she said it was to remember her by. He would move down to them at some point, recognizing that Alma had a new accessory. “That ring looks ancient.” He commented on it.

Alma lifted her hand, revealing it to the others. “Whoa, are you two engaged?” Wendy pushed her way to them. “Congratulations.” She hugged Alma without much consent to.

“Wha? And you didn’t tell me?!” Mabel snapped her fingers. “I knew it! That’s why you went and hid.” Her snap turned to a point towards Ford.

“Alright, you caught me.” Ford admitted with a surrender before stuffing his hands back in his pockets. “And yes, Dipper. It is a very old ring. It actually came from our father’s pawn shop.” Dipper, Mabel and Wendy all admired it.

“You went to go visit mom without me?” Stan scolded.

Ford shook his head. “No Stanley. I had asked her to send it over. She does want us to stop by though on our way to the dock.”

“Oh alright. But never visit her without me.” Stan said stern, poking at his chest.

“Fine.” Ford replied with a scowl. He stopped poking at him and turned away with his arms crossed.

“So when is the date?” Mabel asked while holding Alma’s ringed hand, bouncing a little bit as she spoke.

They both just shrugged. “Who knows. But I’ll be sure to let you know once we decide.” Alma reassured her with a ruffle of her hair. She acted as if she had never been to a wedding before, which was very possible being the age she was.

“Most likely before Stan and I head out.” Ford inputted with a finger up. “So a couple months at the most.”

“Where are you going to put a wedding party though?” Stan gestured with one of his hands.

Alma thought for a second before it hit her. “We can do it outside the shack. Its nice and open – lots of space.”

“That’d be so cool.” Dipper empathized excitedly.

“Save us money on a venue, hence your name is on the deed.” Alma pointed out.

“Sounds like a plan.” Ford replied.

The bus rolled up to the curb. Both Mabel and Dipper realized it was time to go, their faces altering quickly to frowns. “Well, this is it.” Dipper said, sharing a glance with everyone before them.

They’d start going around hugging everyone. They both hugged Stan and Ford together. Stan was fighting back tears very hard from what she could tell. Ford would attempt to ease him with a hand on his back. They shared a glance that made them both smile towards one another. Alma was the last in line.

They both threw themselves into her arms. “Thank you, Alma.” Dipper whispered into her. They stepped out of the hug as she got one last good look at them.

“You two have been great in your own ways. Never change.” She began, the others around her sniffling behind them. “Dipper, I want you to keep drawing in your journal like I showed you, ok?”

Dipper nodded with tears in his eyes. “I will.”

“And Mabel?” Alma smiled brightly towards her. “Always be happy.” She smiled back as the tears streaked her face. She pulled them in again, kissing their heads. “Now, hop on that bus with your heads held high. We’ll see each other again soon.” Her face was sincere when they both watched her rise and join the others.

They shared a glance with each other before trudging towards the bus doors. Wendy handed an envelope to Dipper and winked. “Open this once you are moving.” Dipper went in first, followed by Mabel.

Waddles suddenly came running up to them, pausing at the steps as if asking for permission to follow. “No Waddles. You can’t come home with us.” Mabel broke. She lowered to his level and rubbed his head before kissing him. “I love you, Waddles. But you have to stay here.” She then picked him up and handed him to Stan. She returned to the bus, as they both had stopped at the top step to look back at their summer family.

Stan held Waddles, looking down at him, then back at the twins. “Screw that.” He snapped. He then put Waddles on the bus step. “I had to deal with you all summer. Now your their parents’ problem.”

“Hey, no animals allowed on the bus.” The bus driver yelled.

Stan pulled out his brass knuckles and Ford showed his gun at his side. “You take that damn pig with you – or I swear to god.”

“Alright. Alright. Calm down.” The bus driver panicked. “The pig is fine.”

Mabel’s face lit up as she squeezed Waddles tightly. “You’re the best Grunkles ever!” She grinned.

“To California we go.” The bus driver said suddenly. They both glanced through the faces one last time, each one was one they’d never forget. It didn’t take them long to head inside and choose a seat.

All of them outside the bus, smiled towards them through the window, waving as the bus started moving. Once it was passed the speed sign, they were gone. Dipper admired the forest as it streamed by. Mabel was beside him, doing the same with Waddles asleep on her lap. He took out the envelope from its pocket, opening and pulling the piece of paper out of it.

It read: See you next summer. Everyone’s signatures surrounded it.

Chapter Text

Nearly three months after that first summer, Dipper and Mabel had returned to Gravity Falls. This time, dragging their feet behind their parents. They didn’t really enjoy having them around. But they insisted, being that they were family too. It was a battle with them to get dressed as their mother wouldn’t stop messing with their hair. Eventually though, they were ready to go as they piled in the car and took the one turn off the twins would forever remember.

The Mystery Shack stood before them in all its rusty glory. It was dolled up with cream streamers, balloons and bows. It was probably the most fanciest wear they’ve ever seen it in. The S on shack was fixed and propped up right, rather then sitting on the roof. Soos and Melody stood at the door, greeting everyone. He was looking snazzy in his suit while Melody was looking pretty in her short flowery dress.

“Soos!” The twins called out.

He smiled big with his two buck teeth showing. “Dudes!” They ran into his arms as he lifting them off the ground and squeezed them. “So cool you dudes could make it.” He put them down.

“Where’s everyone at?” Mabel asked.

“Your uncles were together last I saw them. In the living room I believe.” Melody replied, handing a card to the next people in line.

“We’ll take care of your parents dudes if you want to go see them.” Soos added. They nodded as he would escort them to the backyard.

“Hold on, where’s Alma at then?” Mabel stopped in her tracks.

“She’s upstairs getting ready. I offered to help with her veil when she called.” Melody replied. “I’m sure your welcome to join me, if you want.”

Mabel’s eyes lit up with stars. “Ooh, I want to see her dress. She’s probably gorgeous.” She had grabbed Dipper’s arm tightly and was shaking him.

“Ow. Mabel, you do that, but first – let go of my arm.” Dipper pointed to it. Mabel did so, releasing it as he rubbed its ache.

“Sorry.” His sister whispered softly before she squealed. “I’m just so excited.” She did that thing with curling her lip over and her eyes huge. She would pull her dress skirt up and run off deeper into the shack. Dipper would reluctantly follow, holding his arm up.

Just like Melody said, their Grunkles were in the living room. Their backs were to them when they entered. Stan had glanced behind him, seeing his favorite great nephew and niece really physically standing there. “Kids!” He cried out as they ran into his arms. “I’m so happy to see you two again.”

“Us too, Grunkle Stan.” Dipper replied. He glanced to his side where Ford stood, looking a bit pale. He was looking rather James Bond in his sharp black suit.

His face morphed from mortified to smiling in a split second. “Dipper. Mabel. I’m glad you could make it.” He hugged each of them separately.

“Are you alright, Grunkle Ford?” Dipper asked, after seeing how his expression kept changing.

“He’s just nervous.” Stan replied. “He always acts off when he’s nervous.”

“I do not.” Ford opposed, his face turning flush.

“Come on, Grunkle Ford. Lighten up. It’s your wedding day!” Mabel grinned.

Stan put a firm hand on his shoulder. “She’s right, Sixer. Best to suck it up and get through it. Should be the happiest day of your life.”

“What happened to your calming exercise?” Dipper quoted him with a cocked brow.

They were right. He needed to calm his nerves before standing there at the alter. Otherwise, something was due to happen. Mean he had a reason to be nervous. The first time always should be. He let out a force sigh before gesturing them out of the room. Stan pushed the twins out of the room with him.

“Think he’s gonna be able to do this?” Dipper asked. They were standing awkwardly in the hallway now, getting in everyone’s way. Stan just kept pushing them out until they were outside. There was a two big groups of chairs on each side, separated by one trail of flowers leading up to the makeshift alter that was layered in greenery.

Stan had turned towards the drink table, grabbing a cup and filling it with the “adult” version of Pit Cola. “He has to.” He replied finally, taking a sip and making a sour face towards the aftertaste. But he kept drinking it. “If I know my brother though, he’ll show if he truly cares about her.”

They remained there for a few minutes, people watching. Dipper recognized McGucket mingling with Wendy’s family. She looked great in her bridesmaid dress as her red locks were roughly curled. Mabel had ran off after learning that Grenda and Candy were invited. It was gonna be a lot of shrills from those three. Melody and Soos were wandering around now, which meant pretty much everyone had arrived now.

Melody approached Dipper. “Hey Dipper. Where’d your sister go?” She asked.

“Uh I think she went to go find Grenda and Candy. Why?” He questioned.

“Alma is asking for her.” She replied.

Dipper skimmed through the faces in the crowd, only to turn to her and shrug. “I’m sure she is around here somewhere.”

“I’m right here.” A high pitched voice said. Mabel approached with Grenda and Candy tailing behind her.

“Mabel, Alma wants you.” Dipper said for Melody.

“Wow, the bride wants you? You are so special!” Grenda said. Her voice always sounded manly for some reason. Hopeful it’ll chance when she matures.

“Well, she is going to be my great aunt.” Mabel bragged. She turned to Melody. “I’ll follow you.”

-

They pushed their way upstairs. Mabel tried her best not to knock over the caters running around like their heads were cut off. It seemed like they were either apologizing or the caters were to them. She saw a glimpse of the cake when they walked past the kitchen. They were putting the final touches on it. Her mouth just wouldn’t stop watering.

They went past the living room too. She hoped that Ford was getting his head screwed on straight. Stan was outside, trying and failing with the ladies. And she could only imagine that Dipper had gone over to Wendy, starting a kind of awkward conversation. Her brother was always crushing over her when he saw her.

They took the stairs up, entering the first door on the left. Alma was sitting on the stool, the end of her dress flowing over it. It was hugging her curves like a glove with sparkling embroider, having only a bit of sleeve over shoulder. She was putting on her lipstick in the mirror, pucker at it when she noticed the two girls in the reflection. She turned to seeing a lovesick look in Mabel’s eyes.

“You – you are so beautiful!” Mabel shrilled. She couldn’t resist in running over and hugging her.

Alma laughed as she looked up at her. “Thank you. Your pretty cute yourself.”

“Aw, stop it.” Mabel replied.

Melody joined them. “Is it time?” She asked. Alma turned towards the mirror, adjusting a few spots in her pinned up brown hair.

She turned back to the two ladies and gave a nod. “I think it is.”

Melody turned towards the bags and boxes they had been piling up from all the shops. There was suit boxes and dress boxes stacked atop each other. She picked a smaller one off the top, pulling the lid off and revealing a beaded veil. Mabel had just been in awe the whole time she was in the room. From Alma to what all these boxes contained.

“Know you’ll want to help with this.” Melody said to Mabel. “Take this part and I’ll take the other side.” She pointed to band.

“Ok.” She replied as they carefully picked it up and brought it over.

With Alma’s help, they slid it into her hair and fixed the veil part until it was freely flowing around her. They stepped back to admire their work. Mabel took one side while Melody took the other as they looked at Alma in the mirror. “Now your ready to go.” Melody said, placing her hands on her backside.

“What do you think, Mabel?” Alma asked, glancing over at her.

“It is just perfect I think.” She replied. “Grunkle Ford is gonna freak.” They all laughed, Alma pushing them in closer. “Speak of which, did you see him?” She asked.

Mabel nodded. “Yeah. Think he had to take a breather cause he kicked us out of the room.”

Alma shook her head. “I was afraid that’d happen. But he’ll come through, I’m sure.” She wiped away a bit of smudged eye liner. “He’s been pretty stir crazy recently about this.”

“It is his first time though. Do you blame him?” Melody was trying to be the reasonable one.

“It is mine too.” Alma admitted, turning on her stool and rising from it. She went to the longer mirror and examined herself. Mabel and Melody joined her. She let her hands slide down her dress, feeling every bead and lace. This was happening. She too needed to take a deep breath and mellow out.

“I think your dad would be proud.” The softness of Mabel’s voice caught her looking towards her. It was in a way a distraction, but she was right. Just the way she said it, made her feel some sense of hope. He was out there – he had to be.

She felt a sense of relief come over her as she grabbed her bouquet sitting on the stand beside her. It had her mother’s favorite flower in it along with hers. It represented her in a way. And the ring was old. So really, she was only missing something blue. That is when she realized, Ford was her blue.

She stood there with her confidence growing ever so stronger. It was time. She could sense it in her very being. She turned towards her companions, a smile crossing her face. “I’m ready.”

-

“Sixer?” Stan called out. “Where are you? We’re ready to start.” He started searching all the rooms for the nerd he called a brother. He finally found him meditating on his study’s floor. “There you are. You ready to put a ring on it?”

Ford’s eyes opened and looked over at his younger brother. “Yeah. I believe I’m ready.” He said finally, rising from the floor and dusting himself off.

Everyone had taken their seats already. Dipper had saved Mabel her seat when she came hurrying down the side. She quickly slid into her seat, Dipper giving her a worried look. “What were you guys doing up there?” He whispered.

“I was helping her.” She looked ahead at the alter, seeing Ford walk up to it. He crossed his hands in front of him. “Looks like he is fine now.” She whispered to Dipper, who looked up and caught Ford’s eye when he glanced over.

Stan took his spot behind him, along with McGucket. He looked more nervous than Ford did. But he also was happy for him. He always knew his brother was going to do great things. He may have been sucked in a portal and missing for thirty years – which Stan did take the blame for. But it wasn’t going to change anything.

McGucket nudged him. “Loosen your screws there. Your not gonna help your brother like that.”

“I’m working on it.” Stan whispered back.

Ford apparently had been listening in. He looked back at them and scowled. “I don’t know what you two are doing over there, but please cut it out.”

Stan sighed. He watched as Wendy and Alma’s sister took the spots across from them. Her sister was quite a little firecracker from what he’s heard. She was also quite pretty with long hair like her sister. Her name was Nicole. Sounded like a possible hook-up for him. Win-Win.

Once the pastor took his place, the orchestra started playing that oh so familiar tune. Ford took one more deep breath before uneasily staring down the aisle. His hands were shaking a bit still, but he fought the thoughts that came with it back. Stay strong, Stanford. No need to panic. Once Alma comes, you’ll change your-. His subconscious stopped suddenly as the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen came casually walking down.

Everyone stood as Alma made her way down, her gown was dragging flawlessly behind her. She held her head high as she forced a smile. Her attention remained on Ford who was ready to just get it over with. Both groomsmen and bridesmaids sent her a reassuring smile, even Stan who was trying to hold back his tears. He probably was going to cry like a baby tonight.

She reached Ford finally as he offered his hands to her. “You – look stunning.” He whispered.

“Thank you.” She whispered back. They took their positions, still holding hands and staring directly into each other’s eyes.

“You may all now be seated.” The Pastor stated as the onlookers all sat back down. “Thank you all for coming. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to unite these two souls together in holy matrimony. As we all know, these two have found each other through thick and thin. And also have helped saved the world, as I hear.” Everyone laughed softly. “Before we begin, do we have any objections of these two being unified.” There was no objection – thankfully. “Then we shall proceed with the vows.”He cleared his throat before glancing between Alma and Ford. “Are you two ready?” He asked.

“Yes.” Alma replied.

“Yes.” Ford replied.

“Now if you will, Stanford.” The pastor turned to Ford. He nodded and took the ring from Stan. He turned towards her, gazing deeply into her green eyes.

“I, Stanford, take you, Alma, for my lawful wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” He spoke his vow like a champ, amazingly remembering it off the top of his head. He carefully slid the antique ring on her finger.

“Now you, Alma.” The pastor turned to Alma. She took the ring from Nicole and stared into his blue eyes.

“I, Alma, take you, Stanford, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I will love and honor you all the days of my life.” She slid his onyx ring on. Apparently it was very much in fashion.

The pastor gave them both a smile and a nod. “By the power vested in me, and the state of Oregon, I pronounce you, husband and wife. You may now kiss each other.” They both leaned in close and locked lips. The onlookers all clapped and cheered for them, some were even crying a little.

McGucket noticed Stan next to him was crying profusely. He temped to comfort him by putting his hands on his back. “I’m ok.” He lied. “It’s just – that’s my big brother.” He wiped and flicked one of his tears away while McGucket hushed him.

“There, there.” McGucket twanged while patting his back. It was going to be a long night indeed.

-

As the reception started, the mood changed as everyone visited and hopped on to the dance floor. Mabel of course, didn’t hesitate to take her chance. Grenda and Candy joined her as the threesome happily pranced around like the band of hooligans they were. Dipper just chuckled at them from the sidelines, only to be dragged in by Wendy. “Come on, let’s take the floor!” She said enthusiastically to him, his face getting hot.

“So where’s your girl, Stanley?” Caryn, his mother nudged him in the gut.

“What? I don’t have one, ma.” He replied. She could tell he was getting frustrated with the way he was drinking the “adult” Pit Cola nonstop. Either that, or he was getting annoyed.

“Come on, Stanley. You use to love chasing them girls.” Her Jersey accent was still pretty thick, even with her ripe old age of 80.

“Ma.” He complained with a moan.

“You had Marilyn in your hand for only six hours. Are either of you going to give me grandbabies?” She skimmed through the crowd, waving over Ford and Alma. “Oh, there’s your handsome brother. Stanford, sweetie. Come here.”

Stan turned away distasteful as Ford came up behind him, Alma linked to his arm. “Hi Caryn.” Alma greeted her, Caryn pulling her in for a hug.

“Oh sweetheart, you can call me mom if you’d like. You are my new daughter-in-law after all.” She proceeded to hug Ford. “I knew you’d live up to your father’s expectations. He’d be so proud of you.”

Stan couldn’t believe what he just heard. He knew his mother was proud, but damn that hurt. It got even worse when she was sweet talking to him about being such a good boy. Stan was never going to be what his mother wanted at this point in his life. He knew that. Just like his brother, he was getting old.

“Uh ma, you realize Stan heard that?” Ford elaborated, his eyes moving over to him.

Caryn kind of frowned. “I’m sorry, Stanley. Don’t take it too hard.” She put her hand on his cheek, only for him to gently push it off.

“I need to use the bathroom.” He replied, sulky walking away.

Alma and Ford shared a glance. Ford sighed. “I’ll go talk to him.” He then followed Stan inside.

Stan knew his brother was following. He made his way to the living room, turning around right when Ford appeared in the doorway. “What do you want? Can’t a man be left alone?” He scowled.

“Stanley, listen to me.” Ford started, only for him to turn away and cross his arms. “Come on, don’t be that way.” He pressed his hand on his shoulder and forced him to turn around.

“It doesn’t matter.” Stan sighed. “Cause I’m doomed to be alone and old. Nobody cares. Dad didn’t care. Ma doesn’t either seems like.”

It felt as if Stanley was getting farther away from him. He didn’t want that, just cause he was a married man now. “Stanley, I understand you are frustrated.” He started loosening his tie. “But whatever changes, I want you to know that I’ll always be here for you.”

“Now your talking like Alma.” Stan replied as Ford pushed him softly.

He heard Stan chuckle. “I mean it.” He added. “Besides, we got an adventure of mystery and secrets to uncover.”

Stan nodded to himself. It was time for them to bond again. And he honestly, was looking forward to the time. Who knows what they’ll find out there. He met his brother’s gaze and put his hand up with a smirk.

“High six?”

Ford scoffed while shaking his head. “High six.”

Chapter Text

A couple days passed as bags were packed and piled by the door. They had remained at the Mystery Shack, drinking iced tea on the porch. Ford went on about what he saw in one of the dimensions. It was nice to just have some time to hang out and chat. Tomorrow they’d all go their separate ways. Alma was going to reconnect with Nicole while Ford and Stan ventured off on there new Stan O’ War ship. Ford had used the rest of his grant to build it – despite what was on the fine print. It had come a long way from what it was before.

Alma was happy they were about to embark on the childhood dream. Wasn’t like they were getting much younger, so it was time while they still had their sea legs. But something inside Alma was causing her discomfort. It also could have been the horrible pasta Soos tried to make them. Wouldn’t say he was made to cook. Hopefully Melody will show him.

Her stomach was in knots when she looked at Ford. It was like the world was trying to tell her something. Was it a warning? Did she need to keep tabs on him? These dark thoughts kept going through her head. All she could do was push them away. He did promise he’d send her letters when he could find a post office or a mailbox. So maybe she shouldn’t be worrying like that. Maybe it was something else.

“That sounds so cool dude.” She heard Soos comment on the story Ford had just told.

“Soos, your so amazed by the dumbest things.” Stan said.

They all laughed. Alma didn’t join them though as she was slowly sinking down into her chair. She was getting suddenly nauseous as the world was starting to spin. Ford noticed this, turning to her with a concerned look.

“Are you feeling alright?” He asked, placing his hand on her forehead. The others were watching with ever growing concern. “You’re burning up.” He said alarmed. She let him lift her up in his arms and take her to their room.

He gently dropped her on the bed, sitting down beside her. She turned on to her side to face him as he pulled her hair back. “I’m ok. Just got to lie down for a bit.” She said to him.

He leaned over her and kissed the top of her head. “You rest then.” He replied, getting a stroke of her hair in before getting up and shutting the door behind him.

She laid in the dark for almost an hour. Something wasn’t right and she knew it. She rarely got nauseous. Half of her was hopping it was a twenty-four hour bug of some kind. She would pull out her phone as if it’d help mend her upset stomach in someway. Dipper had texted her a few times, asking if anything amazed had happened recently. She probably would regret giving her number to Mabel.

The door opened as it was Melody instead of Ford like she was expecting. She glanced up at her as she entered. “Can I sit?” She asked, gesturing to the chair beside the bed.

“Sure you can.” Alma answered softly, slowly rising up to sitting. She pressed her gut doing so.

“Is this normal for you?” Melody asked. Alma shook her head. “That’s what I feared.” She watched as she dug into her purse she always had. She pulled out a bunch of makeup, her wallet and some stickers Mabel had given her. “There it is.” Melody sang, pulling out a box and handing it to her.

Alma read what it said. It was pregnancy test. “Why do you have this?” She asked Melody.

“Just in case.” She replied simply, putting everything back in her bag.

Alma looked at it again. “I didn’t want to tell Ford that night.” Melody stopped and looked at her. “He knows I want them though. That’s why we tried.” She sighed. “I should of realized that is what the problem was.”

Melody placed her hand on hers. “You will know once you take that. Otherwise, it is just a stomach bug like you thought.”

She glanced back down at the test. She thought about how old Ford was. It was naturally a bit impossible for him to impregnate her at this point. But you always hear about weird ages being able to get pregnant and manage to have them. Would they be any different?

To be fair, Ford had spend almost a decade inside the multi-verse. He could very well be immune to his age or something weird. He wasn’t aging backwards, that’s for sure. But he was aging slower. He may outlive Stan if he keeps up his regiment of eating and exercising he forced himself into while inside the portal. He was only trying to withstand himself in case food was scarce or what not.

“Thanks Melody.” She said, watching her friend form a smile.

She got up from the chair and grabbed the doorknob. She looked back at Alma. “If it is true, please do tell me.”

Alma nodded. “I will.” She smiled before turning back to the hallway and closing the door. She nervously tapped the box in her hand, thinking when she should take it.

She could wait for the boys to leave in the morning. At least that way, only Soos and Melody were here. But Ford would want to know as soon as possible. That’d look tacky, waiting for his letter in the mail and then sending a reply with: oh by the way, I’m pregnant. He’d want to come home immediately probably, which would upset Stan in the process. It might be better to tell him before he leaves.

Alma waited a few minutes before deciding to try it. She hopped that Ford wouldn’t come down the hallway at some point, wondering why she was up and about. Had to be stealthy. She just hugged the wall down, following it until she came to the bathroom. She heard Stan and Soos moving around in the living room when she first passed. Ford was no where to be seen.

She let out a sigh of relief and entered the bathroom. She took the test and waited there on the cold floor with her head in her hands. Five minutes the box said to wait. It seemed like forever by the time she picked it back up. She had flipped it upside down initially for the surprise. Shaking with anticipation, she took a calming breath before flipping it over. Positive.

-

The morning came sooner than anyone really expected. As the sun was crawling its way up the pine trees, Alma was eager to tell Ford the news. Him and Stan were packing up his car, struggling to get a few odd shaped things in the back. She had already told Melody as she was thrilled to hear it. She even offered to babysit if they needed it.

The sun was shining off the car’s roof when Alma approached them. She held her hand up at the blinding light, nearly crashing into Stan. “Watch what you’re doing there, princess.” He snapped.

“Sorry Stan.” She apologized, continuing her path to Ford. He was looking pretty warm in his new bubble coat. Alma always liked those coats.

“Ford?” She said, catching his eye when he glanced over. “Can we talk for a second, privately.” His full attention went to her.

“Of course.” He replied as she took his hand and pulled him off to the side of the Shack.

She dropped his hand once they were out of sight of Stan. “What is it? You feeling better?” He asked, getting in close and rubbing her arms. She let her hands slid into his once he got to the bottom of her arms.

“I have something to tell you. And I know you’re going to like it.” He watched her kind of playfully sway back and forth.

He scoffed softly. “That would be-” He waited for her to finish his sentence.

She pulled his ear up to her and whispered. “You’re gonna dad.”

The look on his face said it all. It was mix between utter joy and utter shock. He blinked for a second as if processing before he reacted. “You’re pregnant?” Alma nodded eagerly. He let go of her hands, took a few steps with his fingers running through his hair. “I’m gonna be a father? I’m gonna be a father.” He repeated.

Alma stood there, basking in his excitement. “Now you have another reason to come back.”

He returned to her, pulling her into him and embraced her. She rolled her hands around his neck, intertwining them behind it. He let out a heavy sigh. “You know, this might be the best day of my life.” Their eyes met. “I love you, Alma.”

She pressed her head under his neck. “I love you too, Stanford Pines.”

“Hey, are we going or what?” They heard Stan call out to them.

Ford glanced over, squinting towards the sunlight coming through the trees. His brother stood with his arms on his hips, waiting for him. He turned back towards Alma, squeezing her tightly before kissing her deeply on the lips. He started pulling away as their hands separated.

“Bye. Have fun, ok?” She called out to them. Both Stan and Ford looked back, their expressions highlighted by the light. They smiled before raising their hands up and waving goodbye. They’d slid in their seats, shut their doors and buckled up. They both looked back at the shack.

See you next summer.