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The Next Best Thing

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It’s as he’s lying there, sandwiched between an upturned chair and a wastebin that is also overturned (many things are overturned, and there is paper strewn everywhere, office supplies scattered to and fro, articles of clothing haphazardly thrown around the scene of chaos), completely naked and lightheaded in the grip of afterglow with a warm body curled up alongside his, soft brown hair brushing against his shoulder, listening to the gentle sound of its owner breathing languidly while dozing off -

It’s as he’s lying there, with probably his second worst enemy falling asleep in his arms after being screwed literally senseless on his desk for the second time in a single afternoon, that Gideon has to admit that perhaps whatever this is is the next best thing.

The back office surrounding them is a wreck, once again, and at this point his regular arguments with Dipper that always, without fail, end in things being overturned and a lot of yelling and insults and on occasion books being thrown - these incidents are so infamous at this point that should his father make an appearance sometime following Dipper’s departure yet prior to Gideon simply nodding at a janitor to take care of it all the young dealership owner and media presence has to provide by way of explanation is a snarled “He was here” and Buck gets it, understanding fully the ripened seed of enmity between his son and the Pines boy that never quite faded after that first summer, blossoming into a full-fledged rivalry in the summers to follow, throughout their equally awkward teenage years (although puberty does leave the former magician about half a foot taller than Dipper, with a good bit of his baby fat solidifying into muscle over time) and on into young adulthood.

It initially takes the form of, during the twins’ second summer in town, Dipper issuing quiet threats for him to leave his sister alone every time Gideon approaches Mabel - long before he learns to be subtle with his adoration, longer still before it matures into the kind of unreciprocated love that is far less obsessive and more reserved, the accepted knowledge that she is a satellite forever out of his reach - with some addition to the reconstruction of his persona intended to impress her. This generally results in the object of his affections snapping at both of them, storming off, and unwittingly leaving the two of them to their own devices: arguing over the latter’s inability to let it go and the former’s lack of experience with relationships so what the hell does he know until Dipper grows red in the face, pushes him over with no fear whatsoever of the retaliation of Gideon’s ‘friends’, and stomps off with Gideon threatening to sue him in his wake, bristling with the realization that having worked together to save the world or not, he can’t stand Dipper Pines.

This goes on for the next couple of summers straight, with their shared acrimony gradually building into commentary that has nothing to do with Mabel whenever they cross paths - Dipper sneers at his burgeoning career as a local advertising star, remaining unimpressed by both his efforts and his bank account, and Gideon rails on his rival’s (in what, he isn’t even sure) much more difficult time with puberty and (hypocrisy aside) his pursuits regarding the supernatural and paranormal presences inside and outside of town that most people continue to turn a blind eye to. The period of physical development leaves him six inches taller than Dipper, precluding the other teenager shoving him over once their verbal sparring gets out of hand and evolves into fistfights in which they’re somehow equally matched (perhaps because Gideon doesn’t know shit about actually fighting, having relied on his crew of escaped inmates to handle physical altercations for him so long, and perhaps because neither of them is actually set on hurting the other), and although he probably could snap his fingers and call over Terry and Ramon to take care of it there’s a small, confusing part of him that kind of looks forward to their arguments, to seeing the deepening flush spread across Dipper’s face as he begins to lose his cool. It’s probably something he should analyze instead of shoving into a dark corner to fester, but there are some implications there that he doesn’t know how to deal with, so he doesn’t. And anyway, none of it matters - it’s an established fact that he can’t stand Dipper Pines. 

High school ends, depositing them into the world as starter adults, and nothing changes between them (Maturity having taken one look at their interaction with each other, throwing up its hands and walking away shaking its head), save for the frequency of their spats following Dipper’s decision to move out to Oregon and into the Mystery Shack to balance attending a local college with following in his grand uncle’s footsteps, traversing the nearby woods for research’s sake. Gideon derides him for it, and Dipper responds with equally harsh criticism over the affected Southern drawl employed in his commercials, but  they’re too old to wrestle like two drama-ridden teenagers by now; there’s a small, confusing, and sick part of him that misses it, but Gideon shoves that into the corner with the rest of the things he refuses to actively think about - the fact that despite the fact that he still carries a torch for Mabel and probably always will he misses wrestling Dipper to the ground more than he misses her, the fact that he walked away from their last fight with part of him quite excited over the situation, the fact that whenever he tries to envision one brunette while gripping himself with one hand and his pillow with the other, door locked and Venetian blinds drawn it’s not the one he should be; that corner of things he refuses to deal with is growing pretty crowded. But - again - it isn’t as if any of it matters, because Gideon can’t fucking stand Dipper Pines. Not before, not now.

He doesn’t realize just how much until their next argument ends in two of them in an alley, all hands and lips and tongues and teeth and hot breath on his face, with Dipper’s back shoved up against the wall and his hands tugging at Gideon’s hair and he isn’t sure who started it, who grabbed the other and tugged them into the shadows but he doesn’t care because this is it, this is what’s been missing, this physical release after the build-up of emotion-

-which ends abruptly when Dipper suddenly comes to his senses, shoving him away (for the first time in years) and bolting, leaving him standing in the alley out of breath, disheveled, and hard enough to break cement. 

Well. Shit.

He doesn’t see Dipper the week after that. 

He does see Mabel in town, once, visiting some of her friends while on a break from school (she lives on campus, more than likely for the social opportunities, although she visits on fairly regular basis), and he smiles and waves and she smiles and waves back and while it brings him the same amount of warmth as usual it somehow isn’t the same. He considers asking her about Dipper, but walks away before making thatmistake.

He doesn’t see him the week following that one, either.

Three weeks pass before Dipper makes an appearance, during which he proceeds with business and sells cars while smiling at people and goes to appointments full of make-up sessions and re-takes and frightens most of the people used to working with him by being gloomy and compliant instead of the holy terror he can be when he’s in his element, daydreaming about burning the Mystery Shack down.

It doesn’t make him happy. 

Neither does the door to his office opening to reveal the resident Pines twin, very obviously avoiding making eye contact with him. 

It’s less happiness and more a emotion suspended between illumination and exhaling, not that any of that makes sense, but then again, none of this does.

Dipper shuts the door behind him before he can get up, reaching behind his back to click the lock into place (for a brief moment Gideon wonders if he’s going to try to murder him, which would be a poor decision given that there are at least two ex-convicts in the building at all times), crossing the immaculate floor tiles to stand beside him, eyes trained on his sneakers. Ordinarily this is when Gideon would dig up some half-formed insult, requiring the ever present flush and the sound of Dipper’s voice responding in kind to reach the perfect form of derision between them, but he can’t think of anything, and he’s frozen in place, unable to react, with that corner of things he’s refused to think about for so long having overflowed out into the open. 

Dipper speaks, finally, but it’s not the confident, sarcastic tone that Gideon’s been missing for the past three weeks; instead it’s just as hesitant, unsure.

“Back there. Did that mean anything?”

Did it? It’s a question he’s been toying with himself, almost constantly, ever since that moment in the alley. The answer is probably obvious, a puzzle finally solving itself in his head as both the longtime and more recent residents of the corner settle into place. 

When he answers, it’s in a tone full of scorn, packed with as much vitriol as he can muster. “I have standards, Pines.”

Gideon isn’t sure whether his response is the correct answer, if there even is one, but Dipper turns his head to look at him finally, dark, lovely eyes narrowed, lips twisted into a sneer, and it’s all the answer either of them needs.  

“Beggars really can’t afford to be choosers,” Dipper remarks, snidely; it’s countered with a “There isn’t a lot I can’t afford - but I guess you wouldn’t know much about that, would you?” peck peck jab jab and this time he’s pretty sure it’s Dipper that makes the first move, sinking his hands into freshly molded hair and destroying it while nipping at his lower lip, pressed up against him close enough for Gideon to feel that he isn’t the only one that’s fully erect by now; if this is just an extension of one of their arguments he refuses to fall behind, seizing his rival by the shoulders and backing him up against the desk, carelessly knocking stacks of paperwork onto the floor in the process and pressing his lips to an exposed collarbone, intent on leaving a hickey. Dipper realizes this right off the bat and calls him an asshole, tugging at his hair again, and Gideon responds by biting him, hard enough for it to sting; there’s no romance or sweetness or love, nothing like that, just two people that can’t stand each other expressing their personal frustrations in a physical manner with a lot of shoving and thrusting and shouting, because Gideon can’t fucking stand Dipper Pines. 

It’s what he tells himself as he sweeps everything off his desk including the laptop (fuck it, he can afford another one), bending the slightly shorter man over it while fumbling for the bottle of lube buried in one of the drawers for stress relief after dealing with difficult customers or agents, snarling back at Dipper berating him for taking so long, spilling most of the bottle in his frustration (thankfully on his not-partner’s lower back), and proceeding to fuck him cross-eyed, slamming into him with a near month of sexual tension built up. 

It’s what he tells himself when they both collapse, sliding to the floor, and he wraps his arms around Dipper’s shuddering body while still inside him; it’s not spooning, because that’s what people that don’t hate each other do, and Gideon can’t fucking stand Dipper Pines.

And it’s what he continues to tell himself, with every sidewalk argument that ends in Dipper gritting his teeth, attempting to keep quiet while being railed against the wall in an alley that would have some stories to tell if it could speak, every time they destroy his office or deface nature in the woods near the Shack, exchanging words of animosity while going at it, scratching up the tree trunks and each other. 


There’s a part of him that will always love Mabel, a part that isn’t exactly small, but it now occupies the recently renamed corner of things to be thought about…but not dwelled on. It isn’t as if her brother is meant to be a replacement, because as before, he can’t stand Dipper; the very thought of him pisses him off. And although they’re at least physically similar, they most certainly aren’t the same person; Gideon has known them both now to understand just how uniquely themselves Dipper and Mabel are. And it definitely isn’t as if whatever he has with Dipper reallymeans anything. 

But maybe it’s the next best thing. 

A couple of days later, while they’re bickering in front of a store aboutsomething, Mabel walks by with one of her friends. Their eyes meet; he pauses to wave, and she waves back.

Then he returns to telling Dipper where to go and what to do when he gets there, shortly before being pulled into their alley to continue the discussion.  

And maybe it’s just the best.