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Five Times Stan Pines Forgot, and One Time He Remembered

Chapter Text

The first time it happens, it’s a bright Tuesday afternoon in the Pacific ocean north east of Kiribati, and Stanford Pines is almost done recording the readings of his instruments. Ford is checking the pH number of the oil sample they obtained from an anomalous fish when he hears a thump that sounded like it came from the main cabin.

He thinks nothing of the thump until he hears a flurry of footsteps running out of the cabin. It’s unlike Stan to run around like that unless he heard something outside, so he decides to put the notebook down and investigate.

The main cabin doesn’t seem very abnormal, with exception of the knife on the floor that Stan must have been using to clean the fish for their dinner. He picks up the knife and puts it back on the counter, before leaving the cabin.

On the main deck, he sees Stan at the row boat, frantically removing the tarp and moving it into lowering position.

“Stan? What’s wrong?” he speaks up. Stan flinches and turns around quickly. His eyes are wide and hard like he’s ready for a fight. The moment Stan sees Ford, his eyes soften and becomes a sad, confused look. Ford decides he hates that look on his face, it’s so similar to the moment Stan looked up at him in the forest after weirdmageddon. When a screaming and crying Mabel was pulled away from a man who didn’t even recognize his own niece and nephew, then met his own twin whom he also didn’t remember.

“Stanford?” Stan said breathlessly, knocking Ford out of the memory he was reliving. Stan remembers now, he reminds himself.

“Stanley, what are you doing?”

Stan steps towards him.

“Ford.. what happened to you?” Stan hesitantly touches Ford on the shoulder with a feather touch of two fingers, like he’s touching a glass statue he can only faintly see.

“what do you mean? I was just doing some numbers-“ Ford begins to say.

“Stanford, how are you’re so old?” Stan interrupts.


Ford feels cold suddenly. He also feels like the air has been sucked out of him. Cold and breathless, Ford tries not to cry.

“Hey wait, it’s okay.” Stan moves his whole hand onto Ford’s shoulder in a placating manner “Ford, I just don’t understand; where are we?”

The next breath Ford exhales is almost a sob. He holds it together, barely.

“We’re on the Stan-o-war…” Stan startles. He takes a deep breath, the knowledge that Stan at least remembers who each of them are helps steady him “Stan, what do you- what year is it?”

The look on Stan’s face is shifting too fast for Ford to distinguish the individual emotions that cross over his face. He’s not sure which if those emotions is causing the tears to gather in Stan’s eyes, but he’s definitely sure of the confusion that overpowers the whole moment.

“The Stan-o-War? But I-“ the hand on Ford’s shoulder is shaking slightly.

“I know,” he interrupts, “it’s hard to understand, but right now I need to know what year you think it is, Stanley.”

“wait, am I in the future? Is that even possible? Is that why you’re so much older?” Stan looks around, then runs a hand through his hair, exhaling. He stops suddenly, with his hand on the back of his head.

He had a mullet, Ford distantly remembers

“Stan, you-“ Ford begins.

“What happened to my hair?!” Stan exclaims, trying to pull his hair into his eyesight. He releases his hair when he catches sight of his hand. He brings both hands up to chest height held out from his body, examining them. “What happened to my hands?!”

“Stan! You’re having a memory lapse. I-“ he remembers the scrapbook in the cabin “I have an idea, we might be able to jog your memory like we did last time. Come with me.” Ford grabs Stan’s hand and leads him back towards the cabin.

“Last time? Memory lapse..?” Stan stops walking with Ford, forcing him to stop too. “Ford, how many times has this happened? Do I- have I been having memory problems?”

“Stan.. something happened, and you-“ Ford shuts his eyes against the memory. “you got hurt. We were able to make you remember just about everything, I don’t know why you’re having problems now. It’s been weeks since you’ve had any problems.”

“So it’s only been the one time?”

“Yes. It’s only been then and now.” With that, Stan allows himself to be led into the cabin.

Ford let’s go of Stan’s hand and goes searching for Mabel’s scrapbook. Or well, a copy of Mabel’s scrapbook. Mabel was frantically making a copy right before they left before Dipper suggested using the magic copy machine in the Shack. It had been invaluable in reversing the effects of the memory gun, as had the boxes of memorabilia that Stan had at some point gotten from their mother. It was nearly impossible to return the memories of the years in between Stan getting kicked out and Ford calling him to Gravity Falls.

The years that remained lost, according to Stan, were nothing worth remembering.

It seems like some memories can come back with a vengeance.

“Stanley,” Ford says, the scrapbook in hand “what year is it for you?”

“1978. I think it’s September…” Stan sits opposite him at the table, and fidgets with his hands. He opens his mouth a few times, seeming to be looking for his words, before coming out and saying it: “when did we… fix us?”

Ford sighs. “It… took a long time. A lot longer than it should have.” Ford thumbs the corner of the scrapbook. “from your perspective, I’ll contact you for help in about four years. I’ll send a postcard.”

From there, Ford starts explaining what has happened over the years. Stan remembers much faster than he did when they did this the first time. It’s still slow going, but it’s much faster than the weeks it took them to work through his memories last time.

By the time they’re done, it’s nearing midnight, and his throat is sore from the sheer amount of talking he has had to do.

“Do you know what made you slip?” Ford asks, before drinking more of his water. “I found the kitchen knife on the floor before I found you. Were you thinking about something? Maybe you jogged a memory so suddenly it made you regress?

“I was cleaning a fish…. I think I-“ Stan exhales a hard sigh, “I think I thought about something said to me by a guy I had bad run in with a long while back.”

Ford fidgets with the glass in his hands. He’s never been good at this stuff. “…do you want to talk about it?”

“long story short,” Stan says, having a staring contest with the floor, “he had a knife, and wanted to quote: 'gut me like the fish I was'”

With that, Stan got up and went to their bedroom.

Ford stayed up a bit later than he wanted to. At first, just to write down everything he remembered about Stan’s relapse, but then, he couldn’t fall asleep, thinking about men with big knifes going after scared fishes.

Chapter Text

The second time it happens, it’s at a much less opportune time than the first time Stan relapsed.

They were going after a ghost pirate ship, one that Ford speculated to be from some time during the late 1700s. Once aboard, they found themselves fighting ghost pirates until being forced to retreat- with a chest of treasure Stan managed to use as a weapon, of course. Stan throws the chest into the getaway boat before jumping in, himself. Before he can, one of the skeleton crew tackles him to the ground.


Ford pulls out his grappling hook, but Stan casts himself overboard before Ford can get up to him. Stanley falls into the water a few yards away from the dinghy.


“Stan!” Ford waits a moment, looking for his brother in the water. Stan resurfaces, but Ford can tell he’s struggling with something under the water. Ford pulls the special boarding harpoon he rigged up last night from the ghost ship and rows the boat to his brother. The ship continues on, leaving them both in the water.


Once he’s close enough, he realizes that he can’t see anything holding Stan down. Stan has his hands behind his back and he’s trashing his body like he’s trapped, but Ford can’t see any cause. What’s more, Stan has his eyes and mouth shut and doesn’t seem to be breathing.




Ford reaches out an oar and pokes Stan in the shoulder. Stan flinches and opens his eyes. He looks up at Ford and startles, his eyes going wide and his struggles stopping. Stan shakes his head and his struggles begin again.


“Stanley? Can you hear me?” Ford says, a little louder. Stan looks at him once more and Ford is starting to think it’s another memory lapse.


Ford gets out of the boat and Stan looks to be close to passing out. Ford swims behind Stan and pulls his arms apart. Stan goes under the water for a moment, Ford grabs him and pulls him back up quickly.


He needs to get Stan out of the water.


Looping his arms under Stan’s armpits and around his chest, Ford begins pulling towards the row boat. Stan struggles against him, trying to reach down to his feet, which he has pressed together like something is tying them together.


Stan’s struggles slow and weaken, then stop.


“Stanley? Stan! Wake up!” He shakes him, turning Stan in his arms to get a better look at him. Stan is breathing, and he seems to be waking up. Ford decides to take his chance and get into the boat, pulling Stan up after him.


As soon as Stan is in the boat, Ford checks him over. Stan has a few cuts, scrapes, and bruises from the fight, but the thing that Ford is really worried about is Stan’s body temperature. Hypothermia can set in quickly in cold water, and Stan was in the water while holding his breath. The lack of air will have affected his blood circulation, probably speeding up the loss of warmth.


Ford strips Stan of his clothes, and digs into his emergency kit for the enchanted heat producing blanket. After removing his own shirt and pants, he wraps the blanket around Stan’s body and Ford’s legs; keeping his arms free to row back to the Stan-o-war.


Once Ford makes it to the ship, he connects the boat to the ship's pulley and grapples up to the deck. Ford activates the automatic pulley system and as soon as he can get a good grab onto Stan, pulls him up onto the deck and piggy backs him to the cabin.


Stan starts to stir as Ford puts him to bed, climbing in himself to lay with his brother. He tucks the emergency blanket around them as tight as he can, then hugs the semi-conscious man closer to himself.


Stan looks up at him. “Pa?”


“No, Stan, it’s me, Ford.” Ford sighs. He had told Stan that he looked like their dad, but being identical twins, that comment could be made for him, as well.


“Ford? But. How- you look so old.”


Ford is beginning to suspect that this will happen every time Stan relapses to his hard years. Ford thinks it’s his hard years on the run, anyway. The way he was acting makes it seem like someone tied him up and tried to drown him. God he messed up Stan’s life.


Ford is also beginning to suspect that perhaps Stan was right when he said the years he hadn’t recovered yet weren’t worth remembering.


“Stan,” Ford begins, pulling back to be able to see Stan properly. “you’re having a memory lapse. You’re as old as me. What year is for you? Do you know where you are?”


“A memory lapse? Am I- am I losing it, Ford?” Stan looks scared.


“No, Stan.” He sighs, “Something happened and you got hurt. Do you remember the postcard I sent you?” Ford tries to change to topic.


Stan seems to go a little glassy eyed, staring at something only he can see in between their faces.


“right.. the postcard, you needed help…” Stan brings his hand up between them and rests it on his shoulder. The scar. “You burned me!”


“Yes and I’m sorry!” Ford has already apologized before, at the moment it happened, actually. “Stan, all that happened thirty years ago. The portal, remember? You found the journals, fixed the portal, and brought me back.”


“The kid had it..” Stan says, his eyes glassy again. “who was he?”


“Dipper? He’s our great nephew.” Stan is remembering faster, he thinks. “him and his twin sister Mabel came to stay with you at the Mystery Shack.”


“Soos was there, when you came back. He’s my…”


“Your handyman.” Ford fills in.


“Right,” Stan says, “my handyman.”


It doesn’t take nearly as long as last time to make Stan remember. Ford will start telling him about a person or place and Stan will start remembering things that have connections to them on his own. Ford sees it begin to happen. Stan’s eyes go out of focus, like he’s staring at something in between them, and Stan will remember whole portions of his life. When they first did this, it was like restringing a tapestry that was reduced to strings, the second time, it was like loading a picture on an old computer, pixel by pixel. Now, Stan is remembering things in puzzle pieces, one piece helps connect other pieces which lead to other pieces.


“Remind me why we’re nearly naked?” Stan asks, only a few hours later.


“Oh, I was worried about hypothermia.” Ford answers, nose to nose to Stan in Stan’s bed. “We were out in the ocean and you kept fighting against me, so once I managed to drag you into the row boat, we had both lost some body heat.”


Ford figures they’re both out of danger, and in fact, they’re both getting very warm under the emergency blanket. Ford already has one leg out in the open to let out some heat.


“Stan,” Ford begins, his gaze more upon the wall than on Stan, “did you see anything, when you had that relapse? You weren’t as responsive as last time.”


Stan is quiet for a few moments, Ford makes himself peak at Stan for a moment, and Stan is staring hard at the pillow beneath them. Ford looks away when those hard eyes meet his.


“I saw you,” Stan starts slowly, “but it was all underwater… I thought I was drowning, and seeing things.”


“You hallucinated on top of the relapse of memory?” Ford thinks back to how Stan was 'tied', he doesn’t know who would do something like that, but they’re probably long gone by now anyway. It’s best to focus on today’s problems, rather than yesterday's demons. “but I was able to cut through the hallucination.”


“That didn’t happen last time, the one time it sort of did that was when I was first remembering the day I got kicked out.” Ford looks sharply at Stan, “it only lasted a few seconds, so I didn’t think it was that important.”


“Stanley, you hallucinated and didn’t tell me?! Of course that would be important!” Ford squeezes the bridge of his nose with one hand in annoyance.


“Hey, you can’t tell me off for not telling you everything, Mr. 'it's just a minor stab wound'.” Stan pokes him in the side, where his skin is freshly scarred. Ford laughs, then both of them fall silent.


“Stan, don’t.”


Stan grins, then latches his hands to Ford’s ticklish stomach.

Chapter Text

Since the last time Stan had a memory lapse, Ford has recorded the events of the two relapses in great detail. He has also been researching anything that might help with the relapses. So far, he hasn’t found much.


“Ford. Come on, we’ve been at this for hours. We aren’t gonna find anything useful.” Stan complains, his teenage voice less gravely than it is normally.


Him and Stan have taken the research into Stan’s mindscape, and have been at it for almost six hours. The place is a mess; what looks like fire damage is everywhere, memories are in incorrect locations, and some of the locations are only accessible by rickety rope bridges.


As hard as it is to find anything in a mindscape as damaged as Stan’s, normally, it’s made seemingly impossible as they find empty spaces where doors aught to be. The places where doors are missing appear to have been blocked up with brick or wood, sometimes both. They’ve tried breaking through the brick, prying the wood, and burning the wood (which only filled the hallway with smoke which took a half hour to clear.), But the only thing they got in return were some headaches for Stan.


They speculate that the missing doors are the missing memories.


“Perhaps not,” Ford says, letting the jackhammer he was using poof out of existence in small cloud of smoke. “I wonder how it changes during a memory lapse.”


“You are not coming in here when I literally forget the building it’s modelled after. What if there’s nothing here? What if I remember on my own and you get stuck? No way.” Stan orders, literally putting his foot down from the crossed position he had had it in.


Ford sighs, “Stan, it might revert to something resembling what your mindscape looked like before.” Ford imagines chalk into his hand and starts tracing the door. “It might be easier to remember the memories if your mind was in the arrangement it was in when those memories were new.”


“Million dollar word is ‘might’, there, Poindexter.” Stan says, standing up and dismissing the memory of his favorite chair. “It might help, or it might kill you. I’m usually a high risk gambling man, but I don’t like those odds.”


Ford rolls his eyes. “It wont kill me, worst it’ll do is get me lost in your mind. You can just reverse the spell and get me back.”


“Still a bit of a gamble.” Stan says, grabbing Ford by the back of the shoulders, “now come on, let’s get back. The kids are expecting a call from us today.”


Stan wakes up to sweltering heat and an enclosing darkness. All traces of sleep leave him in a sudden panic. He’s never been very claustrophobic, but after this, he thinks he might be changing his mind about small spaces. Stan takes a deep breath to calm himself, then begins to assess everything. He tries to move his hands, and quickly finds that they’re tied. His legs aren’t tied, but his knees hurt and his back feels tight, so he probably can’t run. He thinks he’s in the trunk of a car. Stan strains to understand the situation he’s in, trying to remember what happened last.




He should’ve known better than to get involved with him. He definitely should’ve known not to ask a guy like that for a loan. Loans make debts, and debts with even the more legit people are bad. Debts with guys like Rico? Only people with a lotta power or a lotta stupid would think that’s a good idea.


Stan fell into the second category, obviously.


Stan can hear the sound of an engine, so at least they haven’t just ditched him in the middle of the desert. Yet.


If they’re driving, he might be able to flag down a car and they might call the cops and report it, then if the cops bother to look into it, they might just find him before he bites the dust. Whole lot of mights in that plan, and even if they all happen, he’ll probably face five to ten in prison. On the other hand, prison is better than an unmarked grave or becoming vulture food.


Stan feels around for anything, a release lever or a tail light wire would be great right then. He thinks he finds the tail light, no way to know if he can’t see anything. He gives it a hard kick, hoping he’ll be able to break it in one hit so as to not alert the guys in the car.


He sees a little bit of light shining through, the kick must’ve done something, at least. He manages to get turned around, his head where his foot kicked through what looks to be the first layer of plastic surrounding the tail light.


If he kicks more, they’ll hear him and pull over and stop him, but he needs to get through the tail light or he’s probably going to be killed anyway. A piece of plastic about the size of an empty wallet is still connected to the car, and is slightly blocking his way. Without the use of his hands, he cant really just rip it off.


‘But’, he thinks, ‘maybe I could use my teeth.’


He really doesn’t want to use his teeth.


The engine cuts off.


He lays perfectly still, listening. For a minute, he doesn’t hear anything, but then he hears a clear sound of a door open, then close. It doesn’t sound like a car door, so he thinks they might’ve arrived at some sort of hideout or something.


“Stan?” a strangely clear and familiar voice calls out.


Stan feels like his breath got knocked out of him. He can’t think, his mind Frozen in shock.




It can’t be him, it just can’t. He’s just going crazy, imagining his brother here, of all places. How would Ford even know Rico?


Unless Rico knew about Ford.


Is Ford in danger because of Stan? Are they going to kill him because they know that the one thing worse than Stan dying is losing Ford again?


Suddenly the trunk opens, blinding him for a second as his eyes adjusted.




Standing above him, is Ford.


“Ford?” Stan pushes himself up onto his elbows, confused. “what are you doing here?”


Stan gets a better look at him, his hair is a salt and pepper coloration, and there are lines around his eyes and mouth. “Why are you so old?”


Ford sighs deeply.


“Come on Stan.” Ford says, reaching out a hand for him to take. Stan takes it, the six finger grip comforting in it’s familiarity. Throughout his childhood, whenever he’d get knocked down (which was often), Ford would be there to help him up. Stan thinks the last time he held Ford’s hand was when they were dancing together at prom.


Ford helps him out of the trunk and onto the dirt driveway, Stan looks around. A big two story adobe house stands before him, it looks run down, the tan mud falling away to show it’s lighter toned muds and bricks. The house is in the middle of a desert scrubland, it seems.


Aside from Ford and himself, they’re seemingly alone. Stan grabs Ford by the hand and drags him to the side of the car anyway. Hoping they weren’t seen.


“Stan!-“ Stan puts his hand over Ford’s mouth. Stan peeks his head up to the rear side window of the car and quickly looks inside. There’s no one in there. “Mrfff!” Ford says, or tries to anyway, his hands grabbing at the hand over his mouth.


Wait when did his hands come free?


“-anley! Calm down, it’s-“


“Be quiet!” Stan whisper shouts, “listen, I don’t know how or why you’re here, but there’s some guys in there that want me dead, and if you’re too loud, they might hear us.”


Ford gasps softly, his eyes widening.


“Exactly, now I need you to be quiet so I-“


“Stan,” Ford interrupts, “listen, this isn’t real.” Stan goes to speak but Ford interrupts him, waving his hand at him to stop. “Stan, I need you to trust me, okay? Please. Trust me.”


Stan hesitates, looking back at the house, there’s a storm coming, he realizes. Dark clouds billowing behind the house, giving it an ominous feeling to it.


He looks back at Ford, one of his hands is on Stan’s shoulder, the other now held out, the palm up and open, imploring him to take it.


Stan take Ford’s hand.


Ford stands up, and after another moment of panic, so does Stan. Ford leads him around the car, and into the house.


Stan expects to immediately get caught and killed, but they aren’t. Instead, there are some stairs going down, which is something he didn’t expect. What kind of house is this?


Ford leads him carefully down the stairs, slowly, like Stan is some 90 year old guy. He seems surprised Stan can make it down the first few steps, and the rest are much less cautious.


At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a small kitchen, along with a compact table for two. Stan is still reeling from everything that’s happened since he took Ford’s hand, so he just gapes at everything like a dead fish.


Ford makes him sit at the table, then starts gathering a few things around the room. Ford comes back to the table and sets everything down. A book, a recorder, a notebook and pen, and lastly, a timer.


“Ford, what are you doing?” Stan asks, finally finding his words, “What’s going on?”


“Stan, I need you to do something for me.” Ford looks Stan in the eye and takes his hand. “I know you don’t understand what’s happening, but you will soon, I promise.” Ford let’s go of Stan’s hand and starts winding up the timer, setting it for a long time. “I’m going to go into a trance like state and do something, okay? I need you to wait until the time runs out,” Ford opens the notebook, flips a few pages, and puts the pen in it to keep the page. “then read the words on this page.”


“Ford, I don’t understand, a trance, like what Ma used to do sometimes?”


“I’ll be basically unconscious, actually, but that’s not important.” Ford waves it off. “If I don’t wake up after you read those words, I need you to push this button,” he points to the play button on the recorder. “and read this book. Whatever you do, don’t listen to the recorder or read the book before the timer goes off, and don’t read the words on the page until then, either. Everything will be okay, I promise.”


Stan doesn’t know what to say, but he’s pretty sure he trusts his brother, even if he’s a weird older version of his brother. “I- okay?” he says.


Ford sighs what sound like a breath of relief, and lifts his hands up to Stan’s forehead. He starts muttering something and lowers his head to the table, he can hear him repeat himself, then Ford goes limp.


“…Stanford?” Stan pokes Ford’s shoulder, then gives it a shake when Ford doesn’t respond.


He looks at the timer, it’s set for 2 hours. Looks like Stan might as well sit down and get comfortable.


Stan’s mindscape is very different, now.


For one, the only thing left of the Shack is a ghost like shell of itself. The whole thing shimmers with blue light, and shifting slightly like a mirage. Grayed out construction tape has been wrapped around the posts of the front porch, some tape is in tatters flying in the wind that’s not actually there.


The ground around the house is all gray sand. He sees the swing set that was there last time, but this version has a blue plank on one of the seats with a gray, broken plank phasing through it. A little bit to the right of it, he sees the half buried remains of the Pines Pawn Shop sign. Behind him, the broken remains of the original Stan-o-war lays beached. Ford looks away.


Ford should hurry.


He starts to remove some of the construction tape, and the house creaks, the blue light becoming dimmer.




Instead of taking the main route, he climbs over the banister, then carefully climbs through a window.


The house’s insides are much the same, but areas and doors are taped off, and a few doors have been removed from their places and propped up elsewhere.


“Interesting…” he mumbles to himself, “maybe sorting back into their original order?”


He makes a mental note to check the memory placement next time he’s here. That is, if Stan ever lets him back in after he said not to do this.


He keeps going.


After picking his way through the house for a few minutes, he manages to find one: a walled off doorway.


He’s pretty sure it was a walled off door. Now, though, it’s just a door shaped plastic tarp over a dark hole in the wall, covered in caution tape. Unlike the tape everywhere else that said ‘under construction', this tape says caution in big bold lettering. The tape is covering too much to get through, and he doesn’t think he should try breaking through it just yet.


Instead he keeps walking around the house. He finds a few more areas taped off, and one of the rope bridges has a pile of cement and lumber next to it.


“I suppose his mind is rebuilding itself.” He says, looking over the plastic safety fence into the abyss below the bridge. “I’d hate to see Fiddleford's…” he sighs.


Back at the door, Ford sits in front of it. He was going to go right through, but on the way there, he got to thinking. He has a choice to make. On one hand, Stan’s mind seems to be repairing itself and probably will be fine if Ford doesn’t mess with it.


On the other hand, Ford wants to mess with it for science and see what it does.


Stan has always said he’d end up destroying the world just to figure out how the world works


The joke is even less funny now that he almost did.


Ford pokes the caution tape and the house creaks.


He really shouldn’t.


Ford groans and runs both hands down his face.


Ford wakes up, his back is stiff from sitting in a weird position for an hour or so, but he’s otherwise fine. He sits up and stretches his aching back. In front of him, Stan’s chair sits empty.


Of course.


“Stan?!” he calls out, standing up “Stanley!”


Their bedroom door opens behind him. “Youre awake; but it’s not time..?”


“Yes. Well, I did what I should’ve done and let well enough alone for once.” He half grumbles the last part. “Oh but we should get you to remember.”


“…remember what?


He beckons Stan to sit at the table. He does, so Ford sits opposite to him. Ford looks at the time on his watch.


“Stan, I sent you a postcard and you came. You learned astrophysics and figured out how to crack every code I wrote in my series of journals just to bring me back to this dimension. You made a living off of your Mystery Shack-“


“Oh my god.” Stan says, his head in his hands, elbows on the table.


“-you saved me and the kids and the whole world.”


“Ford did you seriously go into my mind when I told you not to.” Stan says, annoyed, peeking up from under his hands.


Ford looks at his watch again. “less than a minute! Amazing.”


“…and he times himself too.” Ford hears Stan grumble under his breath, moving his glasses up to the top of his head and rubbing his palms into his eyes.


Stan groans and gets up.


“I’m going to bed…” he slurs “my head hurts..”


Stan stumbles and Ford barely catches him.


“Stanley?!” Ford yells


Stan responds with a hiss and a cringe.


“Sorry..” he whispers.


“Think it’s you goin’ too fast. Makin' me remember too quick.”


Ford gets Stan to bed, and later writes down 'DO NOT RUSH IT' in big letters in the Stan page of his journal.

Chapter Text

“Pinington... where are you?!” The voice of one of Jorge’s goons rang out in the garage, echoing against the metal frames of the likely stolen cars.


He had messed up.


Of course, he’s been doing a lot of messing up since he got kicked out; but this time he missed up bad enough for an entire gang to be out to kill him.


He just wants to go home.


Instead, he’s about to be caught and murdered at the young age of 21. Just old enough to be allowed to legally drink and he’s about to be killed.


These last three years have been so hard for Stan, so he supposes that unless he gets off the streets, he’ll be killed before he turns 25. It’s not really his fault, being homeless is hard. It’s too cold, too hot, to dry, or too wet. It’s dehumanizing, too, it feels like you’ve become the world’s trash and people sure treat you like it too. He’s learned to survive, not to live. Living is enjoying life. Surviving is making it another day.


The slippery slope of immorality is greased with oil when you’re homeless. When you’re fighting to survive, your hands are tied behind your back. There’s almost nothing to stop you from slipping down the slope. At first, he tried to sell merchandise, which is all fair and good, but without any money, his stock was cheap and flimsy. He tried, desperately, to make money legally. When the little money he had ran out and he became hungry, he shoplifted. He needed some cash for his next project, so he learned to pick pockets. He panhandled, stole, and did cheap and or illegal labor.


Then he met Jorge. Jorge gave him a job being some “extra muscle”. He’d watch over their hideout, keep watch during deals, and occasionally protect their girls. He hated working near the motel, the girls liked him well enough, but he doesn’t like hearing about their worst customers. He’s on the fence about the job, but he’s miles away from the fence when he meets Carey.


She’s barely 14.


He’s working the motel the night she gets her first customer. He can’t let this happen. He really can’t. He might be surviving, but if he lets this happen he might as well be dead. He doesn’t wait for the guy to get there, instead, he grabs her and runs.


Which leads him back to the moment he’s in now.


The girl is shaking underneath his hand where he has it on her shoulder. Her own hand is clutching his shirt while the other is over her mouth to keep any noises she might make, inside. Not daring to peek out from behind the stack of tires, Stan keeps her close. Jorge’s men know that they’re in here, he hadn’t been able to get out of town with the girl in tow. They have eyes all around this city.


The voices of Jorge’s men grow louder, and their shadows fall on the wall next to him. He knows they’re about to be found out. They hone in on Stan and Carey's position like a hawk to two mice.


Something is shaking him


He turns to Carey, her wide brown eyes worried.

“Grunkle-“ Stan stops Carey with a hand over her mouth.


He listens for the footsteps and voices of Jorge’s men, but hears nothing. He needs to get her out of here before they decide to come back. He lifts her into his arms and runs for the nearest door. He realizes he’s actually in a house, rather than the garage. He hears movement behind him so he hushes to the door.


“Grunkle Stan!”


He stops.


Carey only knew him as Steve.


“Wha- my name is Steve, Carey. Where’d you hear Stan?” If she knows his real name, that might mean that someone else had told her, someone who probably works for Jorge. That kind of information in the hands of someone like Jorge could mean trouble. Especially if he tracks down Ford.


“Steve? No, you’re- wait” her mouth purses, like Ford’s used to when he was doing math. “Steve pining?”


“Steve Pinington.” He corrects. “Wait, there’s no time. We need to get out of here.”


The door opens behind him, and he turns, expecting one of the big burly goons to come through the door, but instead, a kid comes in.


“Stan? Mabel? What’s going on?” the boy asks. Where did this kid come from and how did he know Stan’s name?


“Dipper,” Carey’s tear filled voice comes as a surprise next to him, he looks over to her and see tears gathering in her eyes. “I think Stan doesn’t remember again. He keeps calling himself Steve Pinington, like the fake ID he had.”


“How do you two know my real name?” Stan doesn’t know who this boy is, but if he and Carey know that Stan Pines is his real name, his family could be in danger.


They share a look and it’s only now that his mind catches up with him enough to realize that they look like twins. Or siblings that look the same age, at least, who knows.


Carey gasps loudly. “The scrapbook! That’ll help!” she runs out the room before Stan can grab her.


“Carey!” He whisper shouts after her.


“Her name is Mabel.” The boy says, clutching the end of his pajama shirt in his hand, the other is pulled defensively around his stomach to grab his arm.


“Mabel…?” why did that name sound familiar? He looked at the boy again. He reminded Stan of Ford. He seems shy, but he’s looking at Stan with such sharp eyes, he knows he’s being studied. He reminds him of another kid he knew, but he’s not sure where he knew him.


As he thinks, his memory starts to stir. He reminds him of Dipper because he is Dipper.


“Dipper?” Dipper’s face lightens up, he smiles at Stan and blows a relieved sounding breath through his nose.


Stan looks around the room and finds he remembers where most of the things in this room are. He sees on the fridge a magnet for the Mystery Shack and suddenly he remembers where he is.


He also remembers that he’s lost Ford again.


The thought knocks the air from his chest, his heart sinking to his stomach without his inflated lungs holding it in place.


Mabel comes back into the room, holding a large scrapbook in her hands.


Stan tries to pull himself together in front of the kids, taking a deep breath and clutching his hand tightly before releasing.


He smiles at Mabel as she pulls him to the table. Mabel pulls him to sit down next to her as Dipper sits opposite of them, leaving a seat empty next to Dipper that sends a pang of grief through him.


Mabel opens up the book, inside, there are pictures of him and the kids. Each page has writing in bright pink or purple ink, detailing the stories behind each picture.


“Okay, so Grunkle Stan, you’re our great uncle, I’m Mabel-“ Mabel starts but is interrupted by Dipper.


“He recognized me right before you came back.”


“Oh! Then- How much do you remember?” she looks at him expectedly.


Stan scratches the back of his neck, thinking.


“I remember the Mystery Shack, I remember you two coming to stay for the summer.” He closes his eyes and sees a red-headed girl and a Latino guy. “I remember Soos, and Wendy. I think I remember everything, actually.”


“So you remember the time I made a wax sculpture of you?” Mabel quizzed him.


Stan chuckled and nods. He remembers seeing the sculpture and thinking it was Ford, suddenly back and right in front of him.

“Or the time we fought the zombies with music?” Dipper leans forward against the table.


“Yeah, the zombies you raised in the first place.” Mabel says, reaching over the table and punching him lightly on the arm.


Stan laughs and leans back against his seat. Outside, the early morning light breaks up the shadows of the forest. A jackalope nibbles on the dew covered grass, the water reflecting the sun’s rays making the whole yard sparkle.


He feels peaceful.


The door behind him opens, and Stan turns to see Stanford walk into the kitchen, pass a hand over Stan’s shoulder in greeting, and start making coffee.


Stan sits there stunned for a few seconds that feel like minutes, before standing up.


“Ford?” Stan’s voice sounds pitiful, but he doesn’t care. Ford turns around and he’s there, Stanford is actually really there. It’s not another wax sculpture, or some illusion, it’s no dream or fantasy; Ford is actually there and not stuck on the other side of a portal.


“Oh no.” he hears from one or both of the twins, it doesn’t matter, Stan runs the few steps to get to Ford and hugs him tightly. Stan feels Ford startle, then still, his hands held out like he wasn’t expecting a hug.


“…Stanley?” Ford says slowly, he hears the kids get up from their seats behind him. “oh.”


Ford gently pushes him away by the shoulders, his eyes searching his face.


“Stanford, what- how are you here?” Stan says when Ford says nothing for a long second.


Ford breathes a sad sigh.


“He woke up from a nightmare, not remembering us, we were helping him get his memory back.” Mabel says from his side, he turns to see that she’s moved to beside the kitchen counter, her scrapbook in her arms


“We didn’t realize that he hadn’t remembered you coming back.” Dipper has also moved, but to his other side.


“Mabel, Dipper, do you two know who this is?” Stan asks, feeling very confused.


Dipper scratches the back of his head, looking both sad and worried. “That’s Great Uncle Ford, he’s the author of the journals and your twin brother.”


Stan feels hands on his arm, Mabel getting his attention, “you lost him, and then you worked so hard to bring him back! You saved him, and then saved us and the world!”


“You took my place and sacrificed yourself to defeat a terrible demon.” Ford says.


Its all coming back to him, now. The portal, the feds, weirdmageddon, the Stan-o-war, everything. Stan raises his hand up to his face, remembering.


“You punched me!”


Ford’s eyes widen and his face flushes. “yes, and I’m sorry, we apologized and made up, remember?”


Stan crosses his arms. “I remember making up, but I definitely don’t remember an apology.”


“Well I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have punched you.” Ford says.


“Thank you-“


“But in my defense, you had just risked the destruction of our universe.”


Stan rolls his eyes to the top of his head so hard they’re basically closed.


He hears a soft thump, one of Ford’s hands coming off of his shoulder suddenly. “Hey!” Stan opens his eyes to see Ford pulling his body away from Mabel.


“Just say thank you, don’t start a fight.” Mabel says, her hands on her hips.


Stan laughs.


Ford sighs, defeated. “Thank you, Stanley.”


“Stan starts laughing hard enough to make his ribs ache.


The world is at peace again.

Chapter Text

Grunkle Stan looked frozen. Currently sitting at the dinner table, fork raised slightly above the plate he was eating from, his eyes glazed over like that of a mindless zombie. Dipper feels frozen, himself, locked in place at the door after he caught sight of his great uncle.
“Grunkle Stan?” he tries to call, to no response.
Dipper thinks Stan might be having another memory lapse.
Another of a few too many, as he recently learned. When he and Mabel had been caught by surprise by Stan’s lapse last month, they hadn’t known that Stan had been having them occasionally. The elder Pine twins had told them that Stan was slowly recovering memories they hadn’t been able to unlock, but they failed to mention that Stan would revert to his prior self when remembering those stolen years.
“Wait, what do you mean? Has this happened before?!” Mabel cried, her hands releasing her uncle’s jacket to instead rest on her hips. She could impose a very authoritative figure despite being shorter than the two grown men she was interrogating.
Dipper joined Mabel’s side to add to the affect. Their grunkles share twin looks of nervous apprehension.
“Well, it only happened a few times before and we didn’t want to worry either of you.” Great Uncle Ford had said, scratching the back of his neck.
“Well, we definitely worried a lot more just now!” Mabel yells.
“Grunkle Stan, you tried to keep us from the weirdness of Gravity Falls all summer, within like two weeks I found Ford’s journal; we would’ve figured it out eventually.” Dipper pointed out.
Stan opens his mouth to speak up, but Mabel speaks over him. “And last time we figured something out on our own, we almost shut down the portal”
“Actually, the last time I figured out something on my own, I shot Ford with the memory gun.” Ford looks at the ground after Dipper’s addition.
“You what?!” Stan and Mabel cried in alarm.
“Well, it didn’t actually work,” Ford says. “The metal plate in my head, remember?”
“Okay!” Mabel says, hands thrown into the air, “You three, sit down, time to learn about the importance of communication.”
“Mabel, we get it-“ Dipper starts.
“It’s clear to me that you don’t. Go sit down.” Mabel points to the table. 
The three Pine boys do sit down at the kitchen table, grumbling.
Mabel then preceded to start an hour and a half long lecture on the importance of honest communication, which then led into a practice session for communication tactics. Sometime during the lecture, Stan was allowed to make breakfast, which was probably the only reason besides Mabel’s wrath that they stayed in their seats.
Currently, they hadn’t had another incident since then. Dipper went over Ford’s notes and told him absolutely everything he remembered about Stan’s mindscape before it was erased. Ford had drawn pictures of anything interesting from Stan’s mindscape, the picture of the swing set had gotten Mabel to remember that it had been broken, before. Dipper and Mabel didn’t remember seeing any blocked off doorways, but they assume it must be the effects of the memory gun.
Which brings him to now.
His grunkle is staring off into the space in front of him, doing absolutely nothing. Dipper cautiously goes to stand in front of the table. Closer, he realizes that Stan is whispering without moving his mouth much. It’s hard to understand, he manages to pick out a few words here and there, but more than 80% of the words are lost to him.
“Stan?” he says again. This time, Stan seems to notice him, as he looks up at Dipper. The whispering stops and Stan silently stares at Dipper for a long awkward minute.
“Uh, are ya new around here? I don’t recognize ya” Stan’s voice comes more accented than it normally is, and Dipper wonders when it had become less strong.
“…Stan,” Dipper fidgets in place, shifting from foot to foot. “..where do you think we are?”
“Wait, are ya lost? We’re in Davy’s, on 11th Street. Who are your parents?” Stan looks Dipper up and down, then looks around the room like he’s looking for someone.
Soos walks into the kitchen at that moment.
“Good morning, Mr. Pines, morning dude.” Soos greets both of them.
“Wait, do you know-“
“Stan wait. Soos, he, um.” Dipper hesitates before raising a hand up to his head, tapping himself with his pointer finger meaningfully. Soos looks confused for a moment before looking at Stan, visibly understanding a moment later.
“Oh.” Soos looks on Stan with a sad gaze.
Telling Soos what was happening wasn’t much of an option, he was family, not to mention he now owned the house they were currently staying at. After lunch the day of the discovery, Dipper thought he should tell Soos. Gently, of course, knowing how hard it had been for Soos when he first found out about Stan’s memories. Soos really looked up to Stan and had been working for him for almost a decade before last summer.
But when looking for Soos to tell him about the relapses that evening after the Shack closed, he hears Soos talking to someone on the back porch. Dipper creeps towards the slightly open door, listening.
“-from your time on the street?” Soos says.
“Yeah,” Stan replies, “none of that was with anyone here, so we couldn’t get those ones back the way we did with my other memories.”
Both are quiet for a long minute, until Soos starts speaking quietly.
“But remembering by relapsing? It’s not fair, you gave up everything once already.” Soos, who’s usually so light-hearted and happy, sounds uncharacteristically angry. He hears shuffling, and crack the door open a bit farther, peeking around towards the couch.
Stan is hugging Soos, who has dried tear tracks on his face which are being renewed by fresh tears. His eyes are closed, and Stan’s back is facing him, so neither see him.
He brings his head back and closes the door as quietly as possible.
Soos turns back to him. “Hey, dude, did Mabel leave her scrapbook here?”
“Yeah, let me go get it.” He answers, running out of the room.
“Who the heck are you two?!” Stan exclaims as Dipper exit the room.
Before he makes it out of earshot, he hears Soos reply: “We’re family, Mr. Pines.”
Scrapbook in hand, he heads back into the kitchen, Soos has sat down next to Stan, already explaining what’s happening, so he sits on Stan’s other side. He starts pulling up pictures whenever their content is mentioned, to help in the storytelling, but mostly let Soos explain things.
As Soos talks, he learns a few bits and pieces of Stan’s life that he hadn’t known before. Stories he wasn’t a part of, details Stan never bothered to mention, inside jokes he don’t understand the meanings behind. At one point, Soos starts speaking in Spanish, he assumes to keep secrets that only they know in full. He doesn’t understand all the words, his school doesn’t teach Spanish, but he does pick up a few words.
Especially the word ‘padre', not that he’ll say anything about it.
He supposes that he’s not the only one who considers Soos to be family.
“Thanks” Stan sighs, leaning back and pulling both him and Soos is for a hug. “I think I got everything back.”
“You remember bringing Ford back, right?” Dipper asks, uncertain.
“Yeah, and I remember that Soos runs the place while I’m out at sea with Sixer; I’m good now.” Stan motions him to scoot out so that he can stand, he does. “where is Sixer, anyway?”
“He needed to be out early this morning looking for dew fairies;” he replies, “he should be back soon, though.”
“And Mabel?” Stan asks.
“She’s at Candy’s house for a sleepover; pretty sure we’d need a psychic to know when she’s coming home.” He gets Soos and Stan to laugh a bit.
Stan and Soos start talking again, but Dipper doesn’t focus on the words, but rather Stan’s accent.
He notices that Stan doesn’t have his light New Jerseyan accent anymore. He didn’t have it when he relapsed, before, he doesn’t think. How long had it been after he became homeless had he started talking without the accent? Had it been the first time he used a different name? The first time he was run out of town? He doesn’t know, and Stan probably won’t remember.
It doesn’t matter now.
Stan is here, now.

Chapter Text

Mabel smelled something delicious as she woke up. Waddles jumped off her bed and began hoofing at the door to their room. She gets out of bed and opens the door He rushes out of the room and she follows after him. The smell is coming from the kitchen, where Stan has already cooked a lot. Stancakes, bacon, sausage, and what smells to be something cinnamoney in the oven.

“WOW!” She exclaims loudly. “It’s a super breakfast!”

Stan turns around, spatula in hand, “morning kiddo, come get it while it’s hot.”

Mabel does, grabbing three Stancakes and drowning them in syrup. Dipper comes through the door as she’s taking her first bite, she tries to tell him good morning through the pancake and syrup in her mouth. He wrinkles his nose at the sight, rubbing his eye with the palm of his hand.

“Grunkle Stan, did you make all this?” he asks.

“No, the gnome’s made it, I’m just taking credit.” Stan shoots back, snorting. “Give me some credit, it’s not like anyone else here can cook.”

“Hey-o!” Mabel yells, before taking another bite.

“It’s just, weird. What’s the occasion?” Dipper takes a stack of pancakes back to the table, sitting across from Mabel.

“Do I need a special occasion to make my favorite family a good breakfast?” he asks rhetorically.

The twins look at each other for only a second, Mabel swallowing her food before they both answer simultaneously.

“Yes.” “Yeah.”

Stan groans. “enough picking on your grunkle and eat.” Stan grouches, pointing his spatula at them. They giggle before digging in.

Great uncle Ford comes in, wearing the “a whole finger friendlier” sweater she made him for Christmas/Hanukah. He hesitates at the door as he sees Stan cooking. Ford gives Dipper a look and Dipper shrugs, shaking his head a little. Ford goes to the coffee maker and pours himself some into the mug Dipper found online that says something in rocket science math.

They all watch Stan as he notices Ford in the room.

Stan doesn’t react other than wishing him a good morning.

Dipper and Ford release matching sighs, sounding relieved.

Ford sits down next to Dipper. Watching Stan with a worried expression that reminds her of the look he had on his face when Stan didn’t know who he was. She leans over the table to him, grabbing her hair to stop it from going into the syrup.

“Grunkle Ford? What’s wrong?” She whispers to him.

He looks down at his coffee and swallows before answering.

“Its nothing, Mabel.” He lies, taking a sip of his coffee. She sends a look to Dipper, nodding her head towards Ford.

“Great-uncle Ford, did you get in a fight with Stan?” Dipper whispers.

“Oh yeah, that would explain why Stan is acting so weird.” Mabel raises her eyebrows at Dipper.

“No, I did not get into a fight with Stanley. It's just,” he pauses, sending a look at Stan, who is still cooking pancakes at the stove. Ford looks back down to his coffee, resting his head on one hand while pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Today is important, right? It isn’t your birthday, that was two months ago.” Mabel hums quietly to herself.

“Its…” Ford glances back up at Stan, who is still working over the skillet. He hesitates, before leaning in towards the twins, whispering, “todays the anniversary of it all happening..”

Mabel and Dipper cringe and sit back down as Stan comes to the table

“Alright, eggs, bacon, and pancakes for me, eggs, sausage, and fruit for the Poindexter.” Stan says, putting two plates onto the table and sliding into his chair across from Dipper. “Now, what are we talking about?”

The table was silent, Ford looking down at his coffee intently and Dipper choosing to stuff his mouth with pancake. Mabel narrowed her eyes at the cowards, before turning towards Stan, who had an eyebrow raised, looking between the three of them.

“Stan why are you making us a special breakfast?” Mabel asks bluntly. Ford’s hand tightens over his mug enough for Mabel to notice.

“I just wanted to make a good breakfast for my family.” Stan says, popping a bite of pancake into his mouth to emphasize his point.

“Okay, we should talk about this elephant in the room!” Mabel says, putting her hands flat on the table. “Stan.. you remember what day it is, right?”

Stan looks up at her from over his glasses. He swallows his pancakes before speaking, “Course’; you all remember what day it is? Don’t see what the fuss is about.”

She looks over to Ford, who looks surprised and confused. Flabbergasted would be the word Dipper would use, and Mabel would laugh because it sounds funny. The thoughts in Mabel’s head were interrupted by Ford stammering

“You- what? How could you not see what the fuss is about?!” Ford says, leaning forward and putting both hands on the table.

“Stan, you’re sure you remember what today was?” Dipper asks.

Stan sighs and leans back, crossing his arms. “I’m not completely sure you all remember what today is.”

“You really don’t remember..?” Ford slumps backwards into the back of his seat. “I thought, that because you remember us making up… that you weren’t having a relapse… but..”

Stan’s expression softens from a confidant smile she recognized right then to a concerned look that reminded her of the time he saved her and Dipper from falling at the mayoral election.

“It’s alright Ford,” His arms uncross and he reaches over the table to put his hand onto Ford’s side of the table, unable to touch his brother. “I’m not having a memory lapse.”

“Then,” Dipper begins, “why are you making a big breakfast today of all days?”

Stan releases a long breath and sits back. He’s silent for a few seconds, then runs a hand down his face.

“You all are remembering the day I lost my memory.” Stan begins, looking each one of them in the eye before continuing. “But I remember something different. See, what I remember, is the best day of my life.”

Ford sits up straighter, looking at Stan with concern.

“alright, alright, just- think about it” Stan holds up his hand to Ford, who had his mouth open to talk. “Today is the anniversary of me almost losing my memories permanently, but, it’s also the day my family got them back to me.”

Mabel gasps loudly in understanding. “Silver lining!!” Mabel declares. “oh oh! It’s also the day we stopped the end of the world!”

Stan laughs and lightly taps her arm with his knuckles. “Now you get it! The way I see it, the good things about today outweigh the bad.”

“It’s the day… we saved Great Uncle Ford?” Dipper says uncertainly. Stan smiles at him and he smiles back.

“It’s the day our relationship started to mend.” Ford says, smiling softly at Stan.

“Yay Grunkle Ford!” Mabel claps, before thinking of another one, “It’s the day we beat Bill!” Mabel half yells, throwing a fist into the air.

“I’ll celebrate to that!” Dipper laughs, “that guy was seriously the worst. I still have scars from a fork and mom was getting really concerned and paranoid about it.”

“Oh man, dad was telling me about this guy at work named Bill and I cringed so hard. Dad never mentioned it again.” Mabel says.

Ford has a weird look on his face, but he smiles and looks at Dipper and Mabel.

“Once, he went through the bathroom with my body and squeezed all my toothpaste into the sink and all over the counter.” Ford says, that weird look coming back to his face before he looked away.

Stan bites his lip before speaking, “anyway, what I’m trying to say is, -thanks, you all helped me get my memories back, and have set me straight every time I relapse.” Stan stuffs his face full of pancake to avoid eye contact, but doesn’t avoid Mabel tackling him from the side.

Mabel feels Dipper come up behind her, presumably to hug Stan. She hears Ford get up and he’s hugging Stan too, from the sound of his sniffling and where those sniffles seem to be coming from.

Stan wraps his arm around Mabel and Dipper, hugging them closer to himself

“Well don’t just stand there,” Mabel heard and felt Stan say, his voice vibrating in his chest. “C’mon and join the group hug, I will only allow this once”

Mabel looks up and sees Soos rush to them, awkwardly squeezing behind Stan and next to Ford to hug Stan.

They might not all fit comfortably, but they definitely fit just right.