Actions

Work Header

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Chapter Text

It was eleven thirty in the morning when Mabel arrived home, taxi pulling up to the nondescript suburban house. To her, however, time had lost all meaning. It had seemed a lifetime ago that she was checking out of her Sydney hotel, luggage in hand, tickets to San Francisco Airport safely tucked away in her backpack. However, that paled in comparison to the last time she remembered seeing her childhood home, now fully decked out in Christmas lights.

It had been her parent's idea, the round-the-world trip. Over her life her parents had saved up a large sum of money for her potential university fees. However, after graduating high school, Mabel hadn't the faintest idea what direction she wanted her life to take. Middle school had revolved around her gender transition, and the myriad of problems that had brought about. In high school, Mabel had the fortune, and misfortune, of discovering she was interested in just about everything available to her. As her mandatory school years drew to a close, she had been a mess trying to work out exactly what to study, or where to go, or if she even wanted to continue her education. It hadn't helped that her sister, Dipper, knew exactly what she wanted out of life. This what when her parents had suggested an alternative solution.

Mabel had been close to turning eighteen, and she had years ahead of her to settle down and focus on a career. In the meantime, they had suggested she take a part of her graduation money, and explore the world. See different cultures, people, and places. Mabel had always enjoyed making friends with everyone she met, so why not extend that to the whole planet? The amount of incredible experiences she was bound to have would be hugely helpful in discovering her calling. So confident had she been, the potential to still be lost in life had never occurred to her.

As the driver fetched her suitcase from the trunk, she reflected on how things had turned out a little more unclear. She had ideas, that was for sure, and the trip had been incredible, but there was still nothing that stood out in her mind. It was frustrating, but she was sure that a certain sister of hers would be more than willing to help organize her thoughts. Dipper probably knew Mabel better than she did herself and, despite her year and a half away from California, this was no doubt still true.

God, Mabel missed her.

They had kept in touch regularly the whole time, but it just hadn't been the same. Neither of them had really been able to make the time for Skype calls, with the time difference and Dipper's absurd workload. How hard Dipper worked at university had put high school Dipper to shame. But then, that's what made her happy, and a happy Dipper meant a happy Mabel. In the August before her course started, Dipper had travelled with Mabel across The States, enjoying one last summer together before 'real life' began. The sisters had made sure it was a summer to remember, and the day after their birthday in Montreal, Dipper had bid her a tearful farewell. That had been one of the hardest moments of her life, knowing she wouldn't see her twin, her best friend, the most important person in her life, for over a year.

Mabel was to stay for a couple of months in Montreal for her sex reassignment surgery, before jetting off to Europe. Or, at the very least, that had been the plan.

She breathed in deep, giving the door a light knock. Had anything drastic changed since she had been gone? She hadn't heard anything big, but some things aren't best said over email. What if her parents were no longer together? What if the Grunkles had moved in due to old age? What if... what if Waddles had passed on?

A loud squeal from the other side of the door quickly put that worry to rest. “Yes, yes. She's here. Calm down, you big baby.” Her mother's voice could be heard through the tinted glass. “If you'll let me get to the handle, maybe you'll be able to-”

As soon as the door was opened, a pink blur came crashing into Mabel, snorting and squealing, raining saliva all over her midsection.

“Waddles! Did you miss me? Mommy missed you too!” Mabel dropped to her knees, arms wrapping around her pet's neck. Waddles responded to her voice with more saliva, almost vibrating in happiness “Gosh, you've grown so big, you sweet angel!” A hiccuped laugh brought Mabel's attention up to her tearful mother.

“Mabel. It's- wow. You look so beautiful. I can't believe how long it's been.”

Mabel giggled, reluctantly releasing Waddles. “I don't know about beautiful. I look more like I've just got off a nineteen hour flight.”

Her mother hiccuped again. “Oh, your accent's changed, I think? And your hair, it's so, um, pink. It really suits you. And- and you look famished. Do they feed you on those flights? I should- I should-” She was cut off as Mabel closed the distance between them, pulling her into a hug.

“I missed you too, mom,” she murmured. “It's great to see you again.”

Her mother let out a relaxed sigh, squeezing Mabel in a crushing hug. “Oh, it's so wonderful to have the family all back together again. And for Christmas too! Your father will be so happy to see you.”

“Where is he?” Mabel glanced around the empty entrance hall. “And Dipper?”

Releasing Mabel, her mother let her get some air. “You're father's out right now, picking up some last minute things for Christmas. I told him you'd be back soon, but you know what he's like. Stubborn as ever.” She rolled her eyes, giving Mabel the giggles. “Dipper's in her bedroom, studying. Probably didn't even hear the door.” She tutted. “It's your job this holiday to get that girl away from those books and get her socializing. There's no program of study in this country that requires you to ignore your family all Christmas.”

“I'll have her distracted in no time.” Mabel rubbed one fist in the other open palm threateningly, the effect lost by her excited grin. Her heart fluttered knowing Dipper was just up the stairs.

“Hah, yeah. I don't doubt it.” The older woman pulled the still frantic pig away from Mabel, ushering her daughter inside. “Come in, come in. Sit down. Or grab some food. Oh, I have no idea what you want to do first.” Before Mabel could reply, she continued. “My parents will be here this evening, and staying until the twenty sixth, and your dad's parents will be here for Christmas. They'll be calling you Mabel and using female pronouns, unless they want to have Christmas dinner in the yard with Waddles, so don't worry.”

Mabel felt a rush of gratitude through her. “Thanks, mom.”

“Not at all. Oh, but that does mean your bedroom will be occupied until the day after Christmas.” She hovered near the stairs, a little unsure where to take her daughter. “I've put a mattress in Dipper's room though, so it'll just be like staying in Gravity Falls. I hope that's okay?”

“Yeah, that'll be fine.” It'll be more than fine, actually. Her plans for Christmas, until Dipper returned to her dorm, was to latch on to all moments she could have with sister. Sharing a room made it so much simpler.

“You might have to, um, clean up a bit in there. It's, well... you'll see.” Finally deciding, she motioned to the stairs. “Anyway, go see the hermit. I can't wait to hear about everything, but we'll save that for when your dad gets back.”

Giving Waddles one last scratch on the neck, Mabel headed for the second floor. She was hungry, but based on the smells wafting from the kitchen, lunch was sure to take care of that. A nap would probably be the best course of action after that, if she didn't fall asleep face first in her food.

A wave of nostalgia crashed over as she ascended, the sounds of her mother returning to the cooking and Waddles knocking over her luggage fading out as the stillness of the second floor enveloped her. It felt so familiar, but at the same time, so foreign. She felt goosebumps over her arms as she reached the top step. Her body instinctively knew to turn left, towards Dipper and her rooms, like it had done thousands of times before. Less familiar, however, was her pause outside Dipper's door. Normally she'd barge in, but this didn't seem like a suitable moment for that.

“Hey, Dipper?” She knocked on the door, quietly at first, then louder when no one replied. “You alive in there, Dipster?”

There was sound after this. Shuffling papers, maybe? Then unsteady footsteps, like someone navigating stepping stones. There was a silent pause, before the door creaked open, and a familiar face appeared.

“Mabel?”

It had only been a year, but the girl in front of Mabel definitely looked different. More mature. She had the faintest hint of bags under her wide, brown eyes. Her lips were dry, cracked by the cold. But her cheeks were full of life, a rosy red as her mouth slowly curled into a grin. Her hair had been tied up in the laziest ponytail Mabel had ever seen, and strands of hair had escaped the hairband to stick out in all sorts of directions. Dipper's glasses looked ever so slightly crooked on her nose, as if they didn't belong there. Her sister still wasn't used to wearing them, it seemed. Her ears were pierced. That was a new addition. She wore a simple tank top that looked like it needed a wash, and no bra, a detail Mabel couldn't help but notice. Her jeans also looked like a mess, old enough to be... Wait. Those were Mabel's old jeans. Where had Dipper even found them?

But no matter what her eyes noticed, it was drowned out by the explosion of emotion inside her. It was Dipper. She hadn't prepared herself for how much she would have missed her sister, and how amazing it was to see her again. Mabel's eyes began to glaze over as she bit her lip, trying to contain the tears. There hadn't been a day of her trip where she hadn't thought about Dipper, hadn't wished she could see her face or hear her voice. Or feel her touch. It had been so difficult knowing how much time she had left before they would meet up, and the last few days in Australia had been agony knowing this was so close. She had worried she had built it up in her mind. But seeing Dipper here, in person, was more amazing than she had even anticipated.

Realizing the two of them had been staring at each other, grinning like fools, Mabel broke the tension. She crashed herself against Dipper, hands gripping against the back of her sister's top like her life depended on it, her face burying into her shoulder. She smelt the same.

“Damn, D- Dippin' Dots.” She stuttered out her words, feeling her sister shake against her with tears. “Didn't even want to come down to see me, huh?”

Dipper's hands were on Mabel's waist, as tight as Mabel was holding her. “I- I didn't hear. I thought you'd be back in th- the afternoon.” She took a deep breath, pressing herself against Mabel in the process. “God, I missed you so much. So, so much.”

“Pff, as if I didn't, sis?” Dipper laughed. The sound sent shivers down her spine. She relaxed a little more into the hug, realizing she had been holding Dipper in an iron-like grip. “You have no idea.” She slid one hand against Dipper's neck, relishing the warmth that radiated from her.

“Pretty sure I do,” Dipper murmured, making no attempt to move away.

Mabel wasn't sure how long they stayed like that. She had no intention of breaking the hug, and neither did Dipper. Her arms, however, with all the luggage carrying they had done, finally convinced her to let go. Dipper moved back, a distant smile on her face, before she blinked back to reality and stepped back to let Mabel in.

Mabel's heart, however, refused to slow down. Her thoughts returned to how Dipper was so different, but she just couldn't put her finger on what was causing it. Had being away from her sister for so long caused her to forget parts of her, and only now were they coming back? Whatever the case, it was causing her some internal distress. She just wanted the Dipper she knew and loved without any complications. Maybe Mabel had changed? That would be pretty typical of her. In any case, she felt a little intoxicated looking at Dipper, who was grimacing a little as she scanned her bedroom. The last thing Mabel needed right now was to act weird in front of Dipper mere moments after meeting up. She was sure her sister would over-analyze it and come to some awful conclusion revolving around Mabel not being happy to see her.

“It's a little messy in places,” Dipper explained, immensely understating the disaster that was her room. She hadn't noticed Mabel's private panic. “I've been a little distracted with work and, uh, the such.” She started shifting books off the bed. “Just step on the clothes. I'll tidy those away before tonight, I promise.”

“How long have you been back?” As she spoke, she kept her attention solely on where she was standing, making sure to take her eyes off Dipper for a moment. The mattress her mother had put down already had a collection of clothes strewn across it, including a pair of panties. Classy, Dipper. Classy.

“A couple- uh... couple of weeks now. School ended early so we could study.” She had made enough space on the bed for them to both sit down.

Mabel hummed, before wisely nodding. “Yes, I suppose that's an acceptable amount of time for this mess, by Dipper standards.” She made a graceful leap into a less than graceful crash landing on the bed, sending a few papers flying.

“Yeah, as if your messes are any better.” Dipper ignored the papers, and collapsed next to her sister. Mabel found herself less than an inch from Dipper's butt, and quickly righted herself. “Are you doing okay, Mabes? That was a long flight, right?”

“Yeah, I'm just-” Mabel glanced back down to Dipper's hips. “Just wondering why the hell you're wearing my old boy jeans. I bought you, like, a whole wardrobe before I left.”

“Oh.” Dipper blushed a little. God, that was cute. “I, uh, grabbed a bunch of old clothes before I left for uni. There's some field work and, y'know, can't go wearing my nice clothes when I do that.” She looked away, clearly worried that she had insulted Mabel by reminding her of her old clothes. “These jeans are just... really comfortable when I'm being lazy.”

“Well, I hated them, but they kinda suit you.” Mabel made an over the top show of inspecting Dipper, enjoying how it made her sister fluster. “Gives you a pretty cool look. Just put on one of your flannel tops, and you're a real girl magnet.”

Dipper coughed out a forced laugh. “Well, yeah. Maybe...” She trailed off, her eyes flicking to Mabel for the briefest second.

Mabel raised her eyebrows, slowly opening her mouth. “Please tell me you've had at least one university fling.”

“It's, uh, been quite a... quite a...” Dipper winced at Mabel's lowering eyelids. “It's a really heavy course! Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology isn't exactly the sexiest major to be taking either. No one's lining up to go on a date in the library, or rooting around the woods doing research. I'm not you, Mabel. I can't make mundane things like knitting as exciting and attractive as you do.”

Mabel shrugged, nodding. “Yeah, fair point. Fine, I won't get on your back about a lack of lady lovin'. As long as you're happy, right?” She gave Dipper a questioning look.

“I am, I really am.” Dipper's eyes lit up. “You won't believe the stuff they've got us doing already. First year was admittedly slow, and having to keep a lid on all the species of animals I know about, species that would get me kicked out for not taking things seriously, was hard. But now we're being left to our own devices somewhat, and I'm really getting into the swing of things. One of my professors, Daniel Kennard, has really taken a liking to me and my initiative, and not in a creepy be nice to the attractive girl kind of way like in high school. I think he wants my help in a research project he's doing next year.”

As much as Mabel enjoyed listening to Dipper's excited news, she couldn't help a small pang of worry. “As long as you're not giving yourself too much to do.” Dipper's lips pulled in guiltily. “I don't want you burning your brain out. I know you, Lady Dippingsauce, and I know you would rather burn out than chill your workload.”

“I know, I know. You're right, Mabes. It's just so hard to keep that in mind when- when there's so much to- to learn! The potential knowledge I have right now is... is...”

“As tempting as a certain demon's deals?” Mabel wasn't going to name Bill, and even mentioning him sent a visible shiver through Dipper. She knew it might not have been fair bringing that up, but they had both experienced it enough to know the point Mabel was making.

“Yeah, that.” Dipper laughed, her voice tired. “You didn't discover that your goal in life was to move in with me and keep me from self destruction, was it?”

At that suggestion, Mabel's heart jumped. Of course living with Dipper would be a dream, but why did the thought affect her so much? She had been mulling over the possibility while away, and it hadn't given her a miniature heart attack then. “Well, uh, maybe. There's stuff I want to talk to you about, but not yet. It's not heavy-heavy, but it's Mabel-heavy. Needs, like, some pre-rest and candy to happen.”

Dipper nodded, respectfully not pressing for answers. “How was it all though? How was the world? I know you've told me some in emails, but they seemed totally rushed.”

“Blagh, can't say. Mom wants me saving it all for lunch so I can tell everyone.” She grabbed Dipper's hand almost instinctively. “But oh my God! It was amazing. There's so much crazy stuff out there! I can't wait to tell you.”

Dipper grinned, gripping Mabel's hand back. “Is there any, um, twin secret stuff you could tell me now? Stuff you're not going to tell mom and dad anyway? Like where the hairstyle came from?” Dipper indicated Mabel's medium length, bubblegum pink hair. She had dyed it through high school, but never this radically.

“Oh!” Mabel's eyes widened in excitement. “There totes is! The hair story's boring though.” She waved it off. “Um. Let's see...” The first piece of news that came to mind instantly made her blush, wishing she hadn't sounded so eager. Dipper, unfortunately, picked up on that, and grinned in anticipation. She couldn't let her down now. “So, uh, you know how the drinking age in Europe is younger than here? It's around sixteen in some places.”

“Uh oh.” Dipper chuckled, nodding for Mabel to continue.

“Yeah. And wow, there are a lot of clubs and bars and nightlife going on.” She could feel her blush deepening. She was starting to feel very, very awkward about telling Dipper this. “I thought it was gonna be all old buildings and castles. Not exactly...” She cleared her throat uncomfortably, acutely aware of their linked hands. Dipper didn't notice. “Well, drinks and clubs and, um, various experimentation and I... I...” She tore her eyes from Dipper's and lowered her volume. “I guess I'm not as straight as I thought I was.”

Not hearing a response, Mabel shifted her view back to Dipper, instantly wincing. Her sister had a huge grin on her face, her teeth biting her bottom lip. Mabel groaned, pulling her hand from Dipper's and shoving her playfully. “Don't make me regret telling you stuff, you dork.”

“No, no. This is so cool! We can talk about cute girls now! And- and, oh my God! Remember I told you that Pacifica had a crush on you?” Dipper was on a role. “I know some other girls that think you're hot too. You're always trying to hook me up, and I don't know anything about guys, so this is perfect!”

“Uuuuuugh. I knew you'd make this weird.” The shy smile on Mabel's face betrayed her true thoughts. “You don't know anything about guys or girls, Dip. And Paz? Really? You want me to hook up with your ex?” She snorted with laughter as Dipper's face took on a look of awkward realization. “That'd be, like, one step from hooking up with you.”

A couple of unexpected things happened as Mabel finished that particular line. Even as she was mentally kicking herself for saying something so strange, her heart, once again, reminded her it was still there by shooting into her throat. A warm tingle wormed its way down her neck, through her fingers, and most worrying of all, between her legs. God, it had been a while since Mabel's last international romance, but this kind of response to thinking those kinds of things with Dipper was bordering in creepy territory.

The other, even more unexpected thing, came from Dipper herself. Not only had her face lit up like the Christmas lights downstairs, but so had her ears and neck. She muttered something imperceptible, and looked away from her sister, coughing quietly. Normally Dipper was able to shrug off Mabel's weirdest comments, even when Mabel herself was cringing internally, but this one must have just been too much. Ugh, only one day back, and she had already made Dipper feel uncomfortable. Now she knew she had to bring out the big guns, just to salvage things.

“Um, sis. There was... one other thing I wanted to tell you.” Dipper glanced back, the blush retreating. “But you've got to promise to not tell mom or dad, no matter what.”

“Well, I- That's hard to promise before-” She could almost see the logical side of her sister's brain fighting with the twin side. “No, no. I promise. I won't tell them.”

“You know when you left me in Montreal, and I was going in for the surgery the next day?”

Dipper licked her dry lips. “That went fine, right? You told it it was fine.”

Mabel gulped, her fingers lacing with her other hand as she looked to her lap. “I... I didn't get the surgery.”

Her admittance was met with silence. She hadn't planned on telling Dipper this yet. She wasn't even sure she was going to tell Dipper at all. But she knew, as soon as she had met up with her twin, that she had to tell her. Lying to her parents was one thing, but Dipper was another matter entirely. A cold droplet of sweat snaked down her back, and she became acutely aware of the disgusting airplane clothes she was still wearing. She started biting the inside of her mouth, realizing silence was worse than anger and disappointment, when Dipper's hand gently took hers.

“Why?” It wasn't even remotely accusing. It was a calm, curious question.

Mabel took a deep breath, letting her fingers relax into Dipper's. “I didn't want it. I've never wanted it.” She slowed her breathing, letting go of the anxiety that had been rapidly rising. “But no one would have understood that.”

Dipper's hand squeezed hers. She had always agreed that she would never understand the things Mabel had to face, but had always listened to her experiences and thoughts with an open heart and mind.

“You heard what mom and dad said. They were-” She promised herself she wouldn't cry. “They were so enthusiastic about the surgery, so I'd finally be a complete girl.” Nope. Crying was happening. There wasn't much she could do about that. “They didn't realize that- that-” She let out a choking sniff, and Dipper was on her in a second, wrapping her in her arms.

As soon as Dipper realized Mabel had given up talking, she spoke. “It's okay.” Her soothing voice seemed to sink into Mabel's skin, relaxing her muscles and her control. She choked again as big, ugly tears started dripping from her cheeks to her hands, still lying uselessly on her lap. “It's okay, Mabel. You and I know how complete a girl you are.” She gently stroked Mabel's hair. “No one is allowed to say otherwise. You're so, so perfect right now.”

“I know!” Mabel spluttered, balling her hand into a fist and punching her leg. “I know I am! Why can't... why can't anyone see that?”

“Many do,” Dipper whispered. “So many people do. The ones who don't... that's not your fault.” Dipper was possibly crying too at this point. Mabel couldn't tell. “It's never your fault, Mabel. And the surgery? Fuck it.” The twins didn't swear often. When they did, they did for a reason. “If you don't want it, you don't need it. I'll always support your decisions, and I promise mom and dad will never know about this.”

Mabel was quiet for a moment, her hands having finally reached up to cling at Dipper's arm. “Do you think I should tell them?” Now it was Dipper's turn to go quiet.

“I don't know. I'd rather you be safe and happy though.” She leaned down and kissed Mabel's hand. “It's not their right to know though, so you don't have to tell them. It was money they saved up for you anyway.” Mabel could feel the next question coming before Dipper asked it. “Did you lose the deposit then?”

“No, I-” She gulped, but trusted Dipper. If her sister was going to get angry at her, it would have been before. “I never was in contact with the surgeon's clinic. I just told everyone I was. No one asked to check any email or letter. They... they trusted me.” She laughed bitterly. “Trustworthy Mabel.”

“Trusted you to make the right choice for yourself,” Dipper countered. “And you did.” She pulled back from Mabel, keeping her hands on Mabel's shoulders, and the sisters looked into each others' eyes. Both were red from tears. Dippers glasses were even more crooked. It was like they were trying to make up for a year of missed twin drama that afternoon. “And I thought you said the Mabel-heavy stuff was happening later.”

“Oh, ugh.” Mabel grimaced. “That wasn't even what I was referring to before. I'm just- wow. I'm just a ball of fun, aren't I?”

“You're a ball of Mabel.” Dipper smiled, the sincerity of the expression sending further flutters though Mabel's chest. “One that's been sorely missing from my life this past year.”

Mabel giggled, enjoying the feeling of the sadness washing away, and the joy of being with her sister again replacing it. “Even if I'm pouring out my heart, I don't expect that kind of cheesy remark from you.”

Only Dipper had the power to bring her back so quickly from such a low. She didn't always say the right things, and often she ended up just as emotional as Mabel, but she always put in her maximum effort. Dipper was a gift. A poorly dressed, awkward, nerdy, neurotic gift, and she was everything Mabel had ever wanted. It was like she hadn't realized she had been missing a limb while away, and now she was back with Dipper, there it was again, completely necessary to her. She loved her so much.

Wait. That sounded off.

“Oh c'mon. I'm fifty percent cheesy remarks.” Dipper hadn't noticed Mabel's pause in laughter. “You can't take away half of my speech.”

She loved her. That was right, wasn't it? Then why did it sound so weird to her. Why did it sound so much more... profound?

“Hey, uh, Mabes?” The silence had gone on for too long. Dipper looked concerned.

All twins loved each other, right? She loved Dipper more than most siblings, sure. But twins were like that. She loved Dipper as her best friend too. Always had. Coming home had just brought it all back. Loving Dipper romantically was just another level that-

Wait.

Shit.

“I love you.” She hadn't meant for that to come out. It had sprung forth, trying to escape the explosion of revelation tearing through her brain.

“Duh doi,” Dipper chucked, using one of Mabel's phrases. “I love you too, Mabel.” She ruffled her hand in Mabel's hair, something that had been trickier when it was longer. She hadn't seemed to notice Mabel's mental collapse.

“Yeah, I-” What was she going to say now? What could she say? She just wanted to hide herself in a closet and work out exactly what her brain was telling her.

“Mabel! Dipper!” Their mother's voice rang up the stairs, cutting her off. “Your father's back. Come on down for lunch.”

Lunch. She'd have to sit, surrounded by the family, talking about her time oversees. Why did that matter now? She barely noticed as Dipper got up, calling back to their parents.

“Ready to head down, sis?” Mabel nodded, and that was enough for Dipper. Mabel felt a soft hand return to her shoulder. “Take your time. I'll stall them if you need a few minutes. Just remember, you don't have to tell them everything. I mean,” she winked, “you don't have to tell me everything either. Some things are best kept private, right?” With that, the hand was gone, and she was out of the door, muttering something about Ibiza.

Mabel slowly worked her jaw, finding her lips completely dry. Dipper's footsteps reached the bottom of the stairs. She breathed in, processing the irony of Dipper's last comment. There was some things about herself that even Mabel didn't want to know.

“I'm in love with you... Dipper.”

 

Chapter Text

Not for the first time in her life, Mabel thanked her innate ability to tell stories. Fictional or autobiographical, she was an expert at painting a scene, and enrapturing her audience. Not only that, but it came so naturally to her that she didn't even need to think. She'd weave a tale, and let it take over her in the process, blocking out all other thoughts.

And, with that, lunch was not a complete disaster. Even with Dipper sitting opposite her, beautiful, engaged smile on her face, Mabel was able to concentrate. She told them about her failed attempt to stalk Prince Harry in London, her disastrous foray into skiing in the Alps, and her disappointment at the lack of living myths in Greece. There was pictures of Egypt, and Mabel's ridiculous tan lines, of Tanzania, and the animals she had attempted to befriend, and of the interior of Dubai's airport. Those pictures mostly consisted of a grumpy Mabel secretly making rude gestures at airport security, who had taken away her still male passport for inspection. She recounted her favourite parts from her journeys through India and China, and the wonderful people she had met and stayed with along the way. She skimmed over Japan, not willing to divulge how much money she had spent there. Hong Kong 's pictures mostly consisted of impressive architecture selfies, and Thailand had many nature and culture selfies. Her father had queried as to why they all had to be selfies, obviously missing the point entirely. Instead of explaining, she went on to talk about her month working in Australia after she realized she didn't have enough time to properly explore South America. She really wished Dipper would spend less time looking at her bikini clad surfing pictures, and focus on her hilariously gaudy waitress outfit. Then again, there was the part of her brain hoping her sister was enjoying what she saw.

In any case, she had managed to finish her plate of pasta, and with minimal amount of talking with her mouth full. Excusing herself from the table, she made to take a shower. There was no way she was going to go for a nap in this gross state. She still smelt of her airplane seat.

Now, with her clothes thrown in the laundry, she stood facing the bathroom mirror, a faint blush on her cheeks as she looked into her eyes, so similar to Dipper's.

“What is going on, Mabel-Grabel?” She slapped her cheeks. “What's gotten into you?”

She'd never felt like this about Dipper in the past. Before Mabel's trip they had been close, really close, but never had such thoughts occurred to her. Their hugs had stopped being awkward in their mid teens. Their admittance to enjoying each others' company more than all of their other friends had seemed reasonable. As for the tendency to fall asleep together in Dipper's bed while watching movies; not once had Mabel ever felt uncomfortable cuddling into her sister. But now? The words cuddling and Dipper, in the same thought, caused this new cacophony of butterflies inside her.

“Why Dipper? Why?” She felt a surge of frustration, and she stormed into the shower, fiercely twisting the taps. The cold water did little to calm her down. “Why her?”

Of all the people in the world, she had fallen in love with her twin sister. Not gradually, either. These feelings had eased themselves into her life with the subtly of a speeding freight train. One moment she was looking forward to seeing Dipper, and the next moment she was face to face with her, entertaining the thought of kissing her face off.

Oh, no, no, no. Let's steer clear of physical thoughts involving that girl.

Was this a common experience for others? She had heard of love at first sight, of course. It had previously been the only form of love Mabel had put any stock in. Love was a sudden, beautiful experience. It wasn't supposed to make you want to lose the contents of your lunch in fear. Not to mention that this wasn't 'first sight'. This was more 'love at first sight after a fairly long break'. In any case, Mabel had to address a particular word laughing its way through her mind. This was incest. Incest.

She wasn't prepared for how little that inconvenient fact mattered to her. She shuddered, sickened with herself.

Quickly finishing her shower, she found herself back in front of the mirror, looking like a wet dog brought in from the rain. “So you're in love with your sister? It's no big deal. No reason to hate yourself.” She brought back words Dipper had said to her months after that first summer at Gravity Falls. “You can't help who you are, or the thoughts you have. But I know you're a good person,” she pointed at herself, “and I love you, no matter what.”

Mabel sighed, hand dropping. “I don't know if Dipper would still love me if she knew about... all this.”

“Yo, Mabel.” The voice outside the door may as well have been directly in her ear for the effect it had on her. She made a sound only audible to dogs, and nearly fell backwards into the shower. “You still in there?”

“Y- yeah. Just finishing up.” Mabel shakily reached for her pyjamas. Had Dipper heard?

“Okay, cool. I've cleaned the room up and put your old sheets on the mattress. I'm sorry, it's not super comfy.”

“Oh, Dip. If only you'd seen some of the places I've had to sleep in.” Mabel checked herself in the mirror. Had her flush gone down? Did she look like she was about to throw up? Were these pyjamas suitable? In light of recent revelations, they looked uncomfortably thin. No, it was fine. Going to sleep in one of her sweaters would just raise questions. “If there's no bedbugs or suspicious stains, then it's five stars to me.”

She opened the door, catching Dipper in her awkward 'leaning against a wall and chatting with a door pose'. It looked like she finally had a bra on, and the flannel top Mabel had suggested. Mabel flashed her a grin, refusing to give in to her negative emotions. Dipper, with all her usual grace, stumbled into an upright position. “Oh, yeah. Uh, only the best at chez Dipper.”

“Thanks.” Mabel took one of her arms in her other hand, and gently relaxed onto one leg, letting the other foot make circles on the ground. “It's your room, Dipper. I could fall asleep on your desk and I'd still be comfortable knowing you're there.” Dipper giggled. That laugh did wonderful things to her senses.

“You won't be so happy when I start snoring, or I roll out of bed on top of you.”

“You still do that?”

“Oh yeah,” Dipper nodded. “Now and again.”

“Well...” Mabel tapped her mouth in pretend thought. “If that happens, I guess you won't mind me stealing your bed. I might even try that anyway, and see if I can't tickle you out.”

Dipper blushed, gripping her sides in protection. “You wouldn't dare.”

Mabel winked, a fiendish smirk on her face. “Oh, I wouldn't, huh?” Hold on. Was she flirting? Did she just fall into unconscious flirting?

If Dipper had noticed, she didn't comment on it. She simply narrowed her eyes, and made an 'I'm watching you' motion with her fingers. “Go take a nap, you menace.” She made for the stairs. “I'll be downstairs. Want me to wake you up before your sleeping pattern gets too thrown off?”

“Yeah, uh. That'll be great, thanks.” Her phone could have done the same job, but that would mean waking up without Dipper. “How about four thirty? Bring candy. Candy and chips.”

Dipper saluted. “Yes ma'am.” And with that, she was gone.

There was no way Mabel was going to be able to avoid Dipper. She didn't want to, first off. So she was going to have to play this sensibly. Keep her thoughts in check, her flirting to a minimum, and her best friend oblivious. Simple.

~~~~~~~~~

“Hey. Mabes. Time to wake up.”

That couldn't be right. She wasn't supposed to wake up. Not while she was still sleepy.

“It's four forty. I gave you an extra ten minutes.”

The voice didn't know what she was talking about. Time didn't exist in bed.

“I'm going to do something you won't like if you don't get up.”

Nonsense. Nothing could harm Mabel in her protective layer of-

She jumped away from the mattress, gasping in shock, as a freezing cold sensation overcame her forehead. Her sheets were kicked away, her hands rubbed desperately to clear her eyes of sleep, and with a painful crash, the back of her head connected with the side of Dipper's desk.

“Oh my God.” Mabel clutched the back of her head, hissing in pain. “Dipper! What was that!?”

Dipper crouched awkwardly by the side of the mattress, bags of candy and chips in one hand, and two bottles in the other, a thin layer of ice covering them. “Are... are you okay?” She put down the collection of items, and crawled over to help Mabel. “I didn't think you were actually asleep. You were rolling around and- and I didn't think you'd react like that.”

Feeling Dipper's hand cupping the back of her head, Mabel relaxed. “Don't look so freaked out, Dipster. I've had worse.” The pain was quickly fading. “Though, coming from you, the betrayal cuts deep.” She clutched a hand over her heart, crocodile tears springing from the corner of her eyes. “Et tu, Brute?

“Yeah, you're fine.” Dipper threw the bags of snacks onto the bed, and picked up the bottles. “I assaulted you with hard cider, by the way.” With an opener from her pocket, Dipper quickly had the bottles uncapped. “Dad shooed me up here so prying eyes wouldn't see.”

“Prying eyes?”

“Yeah. Granny and Grandpa arrived. They're as fun as ever.” Dipper rolled her eyes, offering Mabel one of the ciders. “Asking all the usual questions. How's the animal care course going? Do I have a boyfriend up north? Why don't I change into one of my many dresses.”

“You'd rather the awkward silences I get?” Mabel took the bottle, smirking at Dipper. Who had it worse with the elderly family members was a fun game they had always played. Well, elderly family members who's names didn't start with Stan, that is. “The last conversation I had with Grandpa, he spent most of it talking to Waddles instead, and he hates animals.”

Dipper flopped onto the bed, sipping her drink. “That's the main reason I'd want a girlfriend right now. Bring them home to meet the family.”

“Really?” Mabel had really enjoyed the Australian beers that had featured throughout her last few weeks, but there was nothing quite like the taste of American cider. “The main reason?”

Well...” Dipper looked away, discreetly licking her lips. “Maybe that wouldn't, uh, totally be the-” She was flustered. Mabel loved it. “Look, are you going to get your lazy butt up on this bed, or am I going to have to start wafting bacon flavoured chip smell at you?” She tore open the bag for emphasis.

“Yeah, yeah. Groucho Marx. Hold your horses.” Mabel joined her sister on the sheets, back against the wall, facing her desk. It was their usual positions on the bed as it afforded maximum cuddling opportunity while still allowing prime movie watching views. This time, however, she left a respectable distance between the two of them.

Dipper, oblivious to Mabel's turmoil, was having none of it, as she snuggled up next to Mabel. “Want to watch a movie, like old times?”

“Can we... talk, actually?” Mabel passed the bottle between her hands, trying not to think about Dipper's warm body pressed against her. “It's been so long and, wow, I never realized how much I'd miss hearing your nasal voice.”

“Har har.” Dipper knocked her bottle against Mabel's leg in protest. “Yeah, we can talk. Did you want to get into that heavy stuff?”

“Oh, snap. Yeah. Give me one second.” Opening the candy bag, Mabel took out a large handful of gummy worms and stuffed them inside her mouth, her cheeks bulging like a hamster. With a few laboured movements of her jaw, Dipper wincing in disgust, she swallowed the mass of surgery fuel, and downed it with a generous swig of cider. “Okay. Now I'm ready.”

“That's the Mabel I remember.” Dipper lowered her voice. “Or tried to forgot.”

Mabel giggled, poking Dipper's shoulder. “You love my freakish displays of violence on candy! But seriously, I need to, um, admit something. It's serious.” She took another swig of her drink. At this rate she was going to run out far sooner than expected. “Kinda hard to talk about.”

Dipper wrapped one arm around Mabel, pulling her close. She didn't need to say anything for Mabel to understand the unspoken support. Mabel took a slow, deep breath.

“I still... I still don't know what I'm going to do with my life... at all.”

Both sisters sat in silence for a moment. Mabel felt the urge for another drink, but resisted. When Dipper finally spoke, it was hardly what Mabel expected.

“That's it?”

“Wh- what do you mean, that's it!?” Mabel turned to face her sister, eyes wide. “Of course that's it! I spent thousands of dollars, and over a year of my life to- to fly around the world and work out what my goal in life is. Turns out, didn't work. Everything I set out to do failed!”

Dipper carefully nodded, pursing her lips. She took a slow sip of her drink, and levelled her eyes towards Mabel. “No offence, sis, but that's a load of bullcrap.”

“Wh- what!?”

“Well, let me see. First of all, I recall a starry-eyed, overexcited seventeen year old girl going on and on about all the amazing things she was going to see, and the adventures she expected to have. Based on our lunch conversation, I'd say that was a complete success.”

“Yeah, but-”

“I also remember mom and dad telling her that she should not worry about this 'goal in life' business, and to enjoy herself. A sentiment I completely agreed with. If she discovers what she wants to do with her many years of life then that would be perfect, but if not, then there's plenty more time to work it out.”

“Dipper, I'm not-”

“And right now I see a young woman who's full of life, has all sorts of skills and talents, the ability to talk her way through anyone, and the money and freedom to keep exploring who she is.”

Dipper fell silent, allowing her sister to speak. This time, however, Mabel couldn't find the words. She blinked hard, trying to will the urge to cry away. Dipper pulled her in closer, kissing her cheek.

“You're going to be okay, Mabes. And in case you aren't, I'm going to be there to make sure you are.”

“God, Dip. You make it sound so easy.” Mabel, a few inches taller than Dipper, buried her head in her twin's hair.

“We're in the same boat, sis. I have no idea what I want after university.” Dipper snuggled herself into Mabel's shoulder. Mabel hoped she didn't smell sweaty from her nap. “I'm just hoping beyond hope that I'll work it out by the time I graduate.”

Mabel sighed, her body relaxing against Dipper. Her troubles didn't feel any less real, but she could hardly argue with Dipper's logic. It was is if Dipper had taken her fears, stopped them from pressing down on her, allowed her to breath again, and turned them into something far more manageable.

But Dipper wasn't always going to be there for her. She had encountered problems while abroad, and she had dealt with them herself. Admittedly without the ease and logic her sister used. More in a haphazard, Mabel way. If she could get through life like that, rushing headfirst into situations and working out solutions on the spot, she would be okay. She would have to be okay. There's no way she could stay attached to Dipper and her help in light of her recent... feelings. She just didn't deserve her.

“What do you think I should do now then?” Mabel broke the silence, her voice muffled by Dipper's hair. “I never made any plans for this janked up outcome.”

“Yeah, I, um... I have an idea.” Dipper's voice was tight. Nervous. She returned to her drink. “A suggestion you can, y'know, take or leave.”

“Oh?”

“Move in with me? Maybe?”

Mabel slowly blinked, licking her lips. Had she heard Dipper correctly? This wasn't an option she had even thought wildly possible, so hearing the words come from her sister's mouth made the situation far too surreal.

“You mean, like, in Seattle?”

“Yeah.”

“You live in a dorm though.”

“Not... not anymore. I moved out. Got myself a small apartment.”

Yeah, this was definitely surreal. “I'm sorry? What? When did this happen?”

“Over the summer break. I didn't really want to tell you. It was going to be a surprise, just in case this situation came up.” Dipper had both hands on her bottle, wringing its neck anxiously. Her breathing was heightened. She must have been thinking about this for a while. Mabel felt her own arm reach around Dipper without thinking. “It's not big. There's a small office I could convert into a bedroom easily. It's near the UW campus, and a bunch of shops and stuff. The view from the living room window is really pretty. The internet connection's shoddy though, and sometimes the neighbours can-”

“I'd love to.” Mabel squeezed her sister tighter, grinning.

“You'd, uh... what?”

“I'd love to move in with you, you dork.” She playfully knocked her bottle against Dipper's. “What's with the panic? Did you think I wouldn't?”

“No, no. I...” Dipper started playing with her ponytail, her go-to distraction if there were no pens to click. “I thought you'd think I was kinda dumb, renting a whole new place on the off chance you'd want to live with me.”

“Of course it's dumb!” Mabel pulled back from her sister. “It's a Dipper kind of dumb, and I love it.”

The look of confusion on Dipper's face quickly broke into giggles. “Oh my God, you suck. You're not supposed to agree with me.”

Mabel stuck out her tongue. “Shouldn't have said it then.” She took another sip, finding the bottle disappointingly running out.

“So you're serious? You'll actually do it?”

“Yeah! Well, I gotta sort out some of the details first.” Mabel waved her hand dismissively. “Make sure it's not a really bad decision and all. But heck yeah, I wanna.”

She found Dipper's head buried in her shoulder again, her soft breath tickling her neck. She was giggling, relief evident in her tone. “I love you, Mabes.”

Mabel gulped, reminding herself that those words didn't mean what she hoped. “I love you too, Dippingsauce.”

It was a few innocent words, but it was enough to bring her other problem back to the forefront of her mind. Would this be the right thing to do, living with Dipper? After all, if these feelings didn't pass, she was certain to slip up at some point. Say or do something that would jeopardize their relationship. Surely it would only be a matter of time, right?

But there was so much she could get away with. Chaste kisses, cuddling, being around her any moment she could get. That was stuff that had happened anyway, and it wouldn't look any different if Mabel kept that up. In fact, if she distanced herself, Dipper might get suspicious. On the other hand, would it not be unfair, counting on Dipper's obliviousness to get away with those kinds of things? It was a very, very grey line.

And then there was the possible issue of Dipper finding a girlfriend.

She glancing down at the girl in her arms, quietly enjoying the closeness, and skillfully downed the last of her cider without disturbing her.

Dipper was hardly a goddess of romance, and being gay left her options rather thin, but it would happen eventually. There would be another girl in Dipper's life, taking up her attention, and pushing Mabel out. Oh boy, that was going to hurt, incestuous crush or not. There's nothing she'd be able to do about it either. She can't keep her sister all to herself for the rest of her life. But she was Mabel, and that meant carrying on and making the best of the situation. Dipper's future girlfriend, or wife, was going to be Mabel's best goddamn friend in the world, whether she wanted to or not.

Or maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to just tell Dipper now, for better or worse.

“Oh, hey. Want me to get you another drink?” Dipper had just noticed Mabel's empty bottle.

“No, it's okay. I don't want to go getting tipsy on my first night back home.” Also, Dipper needed to stay right were she was, pressed against Mabel. “Are the grand folk expecting me to come say hi?”

“Nope.” Dipper gave herself enough room to finish her own drink. Taking Mabel's empty glass, she managed to reach the side table to dispose of them. “I told them that you were feeling unwell from the flight, and had to have the evening off.”

“Gosh, sis. Just hours after seeing me, and you're already taking care of me.”

“Well, yeah. Obviously.” Unable to get herself back into her comfortable position, she chose to flop back onto her pillow, gently tugging Mabel's arm to join her. “You're my priority in life.”

Mabel could feel her heart racing, her brain begging her to not join her sister, but it was fruitless. There was no way she could resist lying herself down next to Dipper, one arm resting over her midsection. “What on earth did you do without me then?”

“Oh, you know. Compulsive organizing.” She was so close now. Dipper's long eyelashes fluttered as she spoke. “Writing poorly written reviews of old sci fi movies online.” Her bangs slowly parted, revealing her birthmark. “EV training the perfect Pokemon team.” Her lips were glistening with a faint layer of saliva. “Just general girl stuff.”

“And how did it compare?” She curled her arm closer to Dipper's body, wishing her sister wasn't wearing that damn flannel any more.

“To you? Poorly. For starters, I expect the things I focus on to tell me when I'm going too far, or becoming too paranoid.” Dipper rolled, coming face to face with the other girl. Mabel was having trouble breathing. “Ask me how I'm going with my nightmares, if I drank enough water that day, or if I was planning on actually brushing my hair sometime that month.”

“Jesus, Dipster. I sound like your mom.” Her voice sounded dry and far away. So much for being able to keep herself reigned in. Being with Dipper like this was torture. Every muscle of her body was focused on not making a mistake.

“No, no. It's not just that. There's the awesome stuff too.” Dipper ran a hand through Mabel's hair, bringing about an unintentional moment of torture. “You always know how to make me laugh, even when you're not trying. I can always count on you to help me through the tough moments by being your optimistic, upbeat self. You know at least ten ways of making mac and cheese taste better, and no one else I know sends me handmade scarfs as a Christmas present.”

“With cheesy inspirational messages sown into them?”

“Like, the most cheesy. Messages that make you groan the first hundred times, but bring you to tears and remind you how much your sister loves you when you need them the most.”

Mabel bit her lip before finding a response. “I- I guess my Christmas surprise is ruined.”

“Mabel, I want to be getting those damn scarfs when I'm ninety.” Mabel giggled, unable to break her eyes from Dipper's. “Wow, what is even up with me right now? All you do is come home and- and I'm basically reciting some damn wedding vows to you or something.”

“I like it.” Mabel's voice was a whisper, afraid of speaking too loudly and breaking... whatever this moment was. “There needs to be more 'I love you's for proper vows though.”

“Of course, how could I forgot.” Dipper cleared her through, struggling to keep the smile from her face. “Mabel Pines. I love you, like, a bajillion percent. Some would argue that it isn't possible, but those people obviously have never met you before.”

“Wow. Really?” Mabel sarcastically gasped. “Just a bajilion?”

“Well, I mean, not being around to deal with my lack of girlfriend last valentine's day knocked it down a few million, but you're making up for it.”

“Well, your vows were far too long. I think the priest is telling us to get on with it.” Mabel licked her lips, having completely lost control of her mouth. “Can I kiss the bride now?”

“The priest just wants to see some cute girls kissing.” Dipper lightly poked Mabel in the stomach. She barely felt it. “But, yeah, obviously.” Dipper leaned towards Mabel.

She had only meant to give her sister a quick peck, but as soon as their lips met, Mabel melted. She could taste the cider on Dipper's lips, and could smell the distinct aroma of pine trees on her flannel, ironically enough. She was warm too, much warmer than Mabel had expected. The rest of Dipper's body was often cooler than Mabel, but her lips seemed to have their own fire raging within them. As Mabel moved her arm, wrapping it further round her sister, Dipper broke the kiss.

Her eyes were alight with laughter, and her mouth, those amazing lips, were curled up in a giggle. “Whelp. Better go tell mom and dad I'm marr-”

Dipper wasn’t able to finish her sentence when Mabel pulled her back, crashing their lips again for the second time. Her mouth opened, trembling against her sister’s, and her free hand slid into the hair at the back of Dipper’s head, tangling with her ponytail. Dipper made an adorable squeak, inciting Mabel to push further, her tongue dancing against Dipper’s lips. She shuddered, or they both did, and Mabel’s nose knocked Dipper’s glasses askew. One leg slip up Dipper’s thigh, bringing their bodies closer, their breasts heaving against each other as their noses gasped for oxygen. Mabel couldn’t help the intoxicated moan that escaped her lips. She felt like she was floating, using Dipper body as an anchor to the earth.

And then she was roughly pushed away.

What?

She opened her eyes to see a shocked, confused, and worried Dipper.

Oh God no. No.

“M- Mabel.” Dipper's voice was struggling to stay calm under an ocean of uncertainty. “What... was that?”

Voices shot through Mabel's head, screaming a thousand different things at her, all terrified.

“Did you, um... do you...” Dipper was shaking slightly. Mabel couldn't stand to see her any more.

What the hell had she done?

“Mabel.” Dipper reached towards Mabel, who had already become scrambling to her feet. “Mabel. Please don't. Talk to me.”

All at once, with an alarming clarity and unison, the voices shouting one distinct word.

Run.

 

Chapter Text

It had to be said, Dipper's sandals were not the best footwear for the twenty third of December. Her coat, too, hardly made up for the thin pyjamas Mabel wore under it. Mabel's own coat was a lot thicker, but it hadn't been the easiest thing to grab as she had run out the front door. The panicked sweat she had built up from kissing Dipper had rapidly turned to an icy film covering her skin. She probably looked a complete mess, judging from the glances she received from the passing cars. It wasn't busy in the Piedmont suburbs, but there were enough people for Mabel to feel uncomfortably self conscious.

Running out the house in front of the rest of her family had not been one of Mabel's greatest ideas.

It wasn't long before a battered, dark green sedan slowed to a crawl beside her, matching her walking speed. Mabel didn't have to look to know who was inside. She simply waited through the sound of the lowering window.

“Hey, Mabel. Want to hop in?”

Mabel sped up ever so slightly. “I'm f- fine, D- Dipper.” Her chatting teeth and shivering limbs disagreed.

“Are we really going to have a conversation like this?” Dipper's voice was high. She let out a long, sad sigh. “Please get in, Mabel. Please.”

“Leave me a- alone, Dip.” She nearly tripped on the sandals in her haste. “C- can we pretend all of th- that never happened, and g- go on with our lives?”

“That's not...” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Dipper's head drop back against the headrest. “That's not really going to work, is it?”

Mabel kicked a passing stone in frustration. “No, I guess not.”

Dipper pulled the car a little closer, keeping her volume low. “I know you, Mabel. I know when something you do is serious.” Mabel balled her fists up. There wasn't a chance of passing this off as goofy Mabel messing around. “And you know you can talk to me about anything.” Dipper paused invitingly, but Mabel had nothing to say yet. Nothing she could find to say to make any of this better. “So, what was that really about?”

“Oh c'mon, D- Dipper!” she snapped. “You know d- damn well what that was.” Why was she acting like this? She was the one who messed up, not Dipper. “P- please don't make me say it.”

“I know... I'm sorry. I'm being a jerk.” Mabel finally glanced at Dipper. Her sister's eyes were fixed on her with such concern. “I just wanted to be sure. To... to know I'm not reading into this.”

Wow. For a genius, Dipper sure had her stupid moments. “You r- really need a confirmation?” There was no response, so Mabel sighed. She might as well get it all into the open clearly, even if it felt like kicking an emotional door open, then politely knocking. “I love you, Dipper. I really love you.” She cleared her throat, feeling bile begin to rise from her stomach. She was going to throw up at any moment. “Not in a way s- someone should love her sister. You know what I m- mean, right?” She didn't wait for a reply before spitting out the rest. “I want to call you my girlfriend and be with you forever and- and make love to you, okay? There! There we go. That's what that damn k- kiss meant.” She finally stopped, stamping her foot on the sidewalk, using it to cover up her groan of agony and self loathing.

Almost instantly, all the anger disappeared, only to be replaced by crushing, overpowering sadness. She had really done it. In one moment of weakness, of unbelievable lack of forward thinking, she had completely ruined her relationship with Dipper. With her best friend. With her soulmate. So much for moving in together and hanging out with Dipper and just having her in her life. That was all shot to hell. She held in the loud sobs as the tears traced the curves of her cheeks. The least she could do is not make Dipper feel guilty about this. What was her sister supposed to have said when Mabel had jumped from 0 to a freaking 60 in less than a second?

Well, right now, it seemed she wasn't saying anything. “You're a- allowed to hate m- me,” Mabel murmured, barely loud enough for Dipper to hear.

“Mabel.” Dipper's voice was cracking, but Mabel couldn't bring herself to look at her yet. “There is no way I could ever hate you. I love you, and I reacted so badly back then. I'm sorry.” Was Dipper serious? Did she not remember what just happened? “How long have you felt this?”

“Does it matter?” She didn't want to admit that her resolve hadn't even lasted a day. “Years or minutes, I know it's real. Dipper, I'm a freak.”

“You're not a freak!” Dipper's voice, while staying calm, had risen in volume, angry that Mabel would say that about herself. “Didn't you consider, at any point, that I might feel the same way about you?”

The quiet rumble of the car engine and the chattering of teeth were the only immediate responses. Mabel slowly pulled her arms around herself, and turned to face the car.

“Do you?”

“Get in the car, Mabel.”

Reluctantly, Mabel found herself opening the door and stepping inside, blessing the car heaters. Dipper made a quiet, appreciative sound, and pulled off from the curve. Mabel stayed busy rubbing her hands for warmth, content to let Dipper focus on driving for a few moments.

“Feeling warmer?”

“Yeah. Thanks.” The mood had rapidly shifted. Awkwardness hung thick in the air. “Not going home yet?”

“Not yet. Thought we could both use some... space from the family.”

“Thanks.” Mabel looked up at Dipper. “You probably shouldn't be driving without your glasses.”

“I probably shouldn't be driving after a bottle of cider, but here we are.”

“Oh. Right. Yeah.”

Mabel licked her lips, desperate to give her mouth something to do. As they passed a park, Dipper pulled in, coming to a stop in the empty car lot. She turned the engine off while keeping the heating on, and began drilling her fingers against the steering wheel. Mabel couldn't speak. She had no idea if her words would make it worse.

Thankfully, it was Dipper that broke the silence. “I don't know.”

“What?”

“The question you asked. Do I feel like that too? I don't know.” Dipper patted the steering wheel twice, and slumped back in her seat. “It's not something I've wanted to think about too much.” She gave Mabel a sidelong look, a weak smile tugging at her mouth. “I've considered you the most beautiful person I know for as long as I can remember. That's a pretty strange thing to think of your sister on its own. Add in all the love I feel for you, wanting to be with you as much as I can, and it makes it all kinda weird and suspicious, right?”

“I- I... maybe?” Mabel's voice was barely a whisper.

Dipper shrugged. “I didn't know what it all meant, and I didn't really want to know, so I pushed that into the 'stuff I shouldn't think about' folder.” She instantly winced, a hand going to her face. “I don't mean it was as bad as him. You weren't giving me panic attacks. Just... just-

Mabel hesitantly put a hand on Dipper's leg, hoping she wouldn't misconstrue its intentions. “It's okay, Dip. I get you.”

“Yeah, it's-” She ran a hand through her hair. Mabel noticed the ponytail had been taken out. “It's all... complicated. Do I love you like you love me? I... I don't know. Maybe? I'm scared to find out because it's... y'know?”

Mabel nodded, pursing her lips. There was that fun 'incest' word again.

“But I'm going to think about it. I promise.”

“Wait, hold on.” Mabel ran the line through her head twice to make sure she understood her sister. Her eyebrows narrowed in confusion. “You don't have to, Dipper! Don't do something you don't want to.”

“Mabel. I love you. I respect you so much, and everything you say or do I will take seriously. Even kissing me.” Now there was a genuine smile on Dipper's face. It was like seeing rain after a drought “After all, you trust me, right?”

Mumbling a confirmation, Mabel's hand on Dipper's leg began shaking.

“And you told me how you feel,” Dipper murmured. She was blushing. “Well, you showed me... But in any case, that's such an important thing, and you trust me to answer your feelings.”

“D- Dipper. I don't-”

“Maybe not all of you, but part of you does.” Dipper linked her fingers with Mabel's, squeezing her hand tightly. “What kind of person would I be to not answer you?”

Mabel gulped, gripping Dipper's hand life a lifeline. “A... a normal sister?”

Dipper giggled. Before Mabel could react, she had leaned forward, meeting their lips for a brief peck. There was that familiar floating feeling. “When have either of us ever been normal?”

Finally, Mabel felt a smile return to her face. “But is this something you want to think about? Or are you doing it for me?”

“I'm doing it for both of us, Mabes. You've given me a reason to want to think about this. I mean, why think about it before? I could come to the conclusion that yes, I am in love with my sister, and there's nothing I can do about it.” It wasn't confirmation, but those words alone set Mabel's heart into a frenzy. Judging from the expression on Dipper's face, she was having a similar experience. She turned away to the dashboard. “But I'm... I'm not sure when I'll be able to answer you. It's going to take some serious thinking hours.”

“I'm not in a rush, Dip-Dop. The fact that you're even doing this is- is-” Mabel rubbed her eyes, only noticing the tears that had begun to fall. “Thank you so much.”

“Anything for you, sis.” Dipper took a deep breath, bringing her eyes to her sister. “Seriously. Anything.”

There was something in the expression that Mabel had never seen before. Or maybe she just hadn't noticed it before. A love that she didn't think possible. It set her nerves tingling like no one else before had done. If there was any uncertainty before, it was destroyed by the look Dipper now gave her. Every inch of ever fibre of her being was completely in love with her twin sister.

She couldn't move. Could barely breath. The tears on her cheeks felt numb, like she was feeling them through a dream. As Dipper reached over, wiping one away, it took all her effort to not jump her sister again, and kiss the hell out of that gorgeous face.

Dipper saved her by reached for the key. “But for now, we should get back home before dad calls the cops.”

~~~~~~~~~

They hadn't rehearsed Mabel's excuse for leaving. The shaken girl was more concerned with her appearance. They waited in the car, Dipper making sure she was feeling okay before they went inside. Mabel struggled to stop her eyes from looking red or teary, using the rear-view mirror fruitlessly. Neither of them were looking forward to the questions. Mabel could lie at a pinch, but Dipper was a bag on nerves when she had to hide the truth.

They hadn't taken more than two steps inside before their parents assailed them, demanding to know if Mabel was okay.

“I'm fine, really.” Mabel guiltily kept her eyes averted, scratching Waddles' neck as the pig grunted with confusion. “Honestly.”

Her mother looked worried, but it was her father's suspicion that concerned her the most. “What happened? You were out of here so fast, we thought it must have been serious. Then your sister comes flying after you.”

“I was- I was just-” Mabel looked to Dipper for aid.

“She needed some fresh air. Mabel wasn't feeling so great anyway. We'd opened the window, but,” Dipper shrugged, “you know how my room can get.”

Their father hummed with disbelief. “Oh really?”

“Well, maybe if you cleaned up in there now and again.” Their mother turned to Mabel, having believed Dipper's lie. “Do you have a temperature? I could get you some soup if you'd like. Those airplanes are an enclosed box full of germs, so I'm not surprised, Sweetie.”

“I'm okay mom, really.” She gently eased her mother's hand away from her forehead. “I just need to lie down, I think. Get a good night's sleep.”

It was only six, but she took Mabel's request at face value, encouraging her up the stairs. Already in her pyjamas, she splashed her face with water before settling down. Despite her nap, it hadn't taken long before she felt sleep tugging at her.

Some time later she lethargically cracked her eyes open, the lids reluctant to part. The room was lit with a soft, yellow light. Dropping her head to the side, she made out Dipper though the haze. Her sister was sitting up in bed, deep in a book.

“Hey...” At Mabel's voice, Dipper jumped in surprise. “What time izzit?”

“About eleven thirty.” Dipper tried to play off her movements as finding her bookmark. Mabel thought it was cute when she attempted to be cool. “Sorry, did I wake you up? Or are you having trouble sleeping?”

“Mmm, no. I'm okay.” If she lay down now, she'd no doubt fall straight back to sleep. “Jus' wanted to see you, cutie.”

Dipper giggled, laying down on her pillow, her head close enough to the edge to keep Mabel in her sights. “You sound drunk, Mabes.”

“Sleep drunk,” Mabel mumbled, her voice barely comprehensible. “Do you think that... that...” It was hard to find the right words while half asleep. “If you don't want to, um, take the course of action that is, uh... lovin' me.” Nailed it. “Do you think it'll get all weird 'tween us?”

“Honestly, Mabel? No. I don't think it will.” Dipper cocked her head as she stared down at her sister. “It might for a bit, but I can't see you letting that go on for long. You'd drag me kicking and screaming straight back into normality.”

There was a unrefined snort of laughter from Mabel. “Hah. I can see you kicking and screaming, all child like.”

“That's the spirit.” Dipper let her head fall back. If she had anything more to say, Mabel missed it as she drifted back into the all too comforting embrace of slumber.

~~~~~~~~~

She didn't dream that night. Or if she did, she couldn't remember, which was rare for her. But when she woke up at five in the morning, wide awake, it was as though she had been talking to Dipper only seconds ago. Restless and hungry, she spurned the barely touched bags of chips and candy to quietly meander to the kitchen. Tucked away in the cupboard was an unopened box of lucky charms, no doubt purchased especially for her. Her family knew her so well.

She had nearly finished her bowl when her father walked in, stubble on his chin and hair a mess, wearing a loose fitting sweatshirt and hoodie. “Mornin' kiddo. Not working on Pacific time yet?”

“Doesn't look like it,” Mabel spluttered, mouth full of marshmallow.

She watched the older man stumble towards the coffee machine, giggling at how sleepy he was this early in the morning. She didn't usually see him at this time. He always rose before anyone else in the household, preferring to finish a couple of cups of coffee before socializing.

“Yeah, laugh it up, May.” If her father could shorten a name, he would. As the water was heating he sat himself at the kitchen table opposite Mabel. “How're you feeling? Still sick?”

“Oh, um-” Shit. She had forgotten her excuse for last night. “I think I'm better now, actually. Probably an exhaustion thing.”

He hummed in agreement, giving her a long stare. Just as Mabel was starting to feel uncomfortable, he spoke. “So what was actually going on last night?”

The mouthful of milk Mabel held threatened to explode over the table. Instead, she gulped it down with far too much effort to look natural, and smiled unconvincingly at her father. “What do you mean?”

He sighed, reaching for his coffee before remembering it hadn't been made yet. “It's not hard to tell when you and Dip are hiding something.” Mabel audibly gulped, which brought a small smile to her father's face. “I'm not trying to pry into any twin secrets or drama. I trust you two to be able to work things out yourself. So-” He got up, returning to the coffee machine to retrieve his finished beverage. “If it's something you don't want to talk about, that's okay. I'm not even going to tell you to not lie to us because, frankly, you can't. Might be something to work on. Stan could probably help with that.” He took an experimental sip of the black coffee, nodded with satisfaction, and sat back down. “I just want you to know that we're here if you need us. You can talk to us about anything.”

Really? Anything? Mabel didn't think chatting about how she wanted to go down on her sister would fly in a father daughter chat. Probably wasn't a topic of conversation in any situation. “Thanks dad. It was just a misunderstanding though. I was all tired and blagh and overreacted.” He nodded, belief finally settling on his face. “We worked it out though, sibling hug and all.”

“That's my girl.” And with that, her father had ran out of serious conversation energy for the day.

She spent the next hour with him, catching up with his life as he enjoyed his caffeine. It wasn't too long before her mother joined them, full of energy without the need for coffee. Around eight in the morning, after Mabel had showered and changed, she was sent upstairs to bring Dipper down, who was already getting stuck in her books.

For the rest of the day, the twins were kept busy with jobs. Helping prepare some of the Christmas dinner, chopping fresh firewood for the barely used fireplace, vacuuming and cleaning an already clean household, and entertaining their grandparents. That last one was possibly the trickiest.

“You're looking so pale, Kimberly.” It was Granny doing the talking. Grandpa sat back, either nodding in agreement, or about to fall asleep. “You have to spend less time holed up in your room and more time out in the sun.”

Dipper forced a laugh, looking outside the window at the grey skies and light drizzle. “That's pretty tricky this time of the year.”

“Nonsense. Look at Maple. She's got a lovely tan.”

“It's, um... it's Mabel.” They were trying. It was better than nothing. “And it's actually summer in Australia right now. It's really hard to avoid getting a tan.”

“Oh, of course! Australia.” Her grandmother nodded, turning to her husband. “Remember when we visited Australia, dear?”

He grunted, nodding. “Good folk, them Australians. Heard there's lots of Asians there now though. Shame.”

Mabel noticed Dipper wincing, while she struggling to hold back the reactionary insult on her tongue. Yeah, this was definitely the trickiest job.

Throughout it all, Mabel felt both grateful and lonely without Dipper's usual conversations. Whenever possible, Dipper worked in silence, mind distracted. It was only the occasional glance at Mabel, and light blush on her cheeks that gave away what she could possibly be so deep in thought about. Forget the lonely. If Dipper was putting this much effort into thinking about her, Mabel could only feel grateful.

~~~~~~~~~

“I feel more overworked than I ever did with Grunkle Stan,” Mabel whined, flopping onto Dipper's bed. “I didn't think it was possible.”

“Well, you've been up since five, right?” Dipper looked at her wall clock after sitting down next to Mabel. “It's nearly ten now. I'm not surprised you're feeling it.”

“Oh what? And you're not?” Mabel grabbed at her sister's sides, her fingers wiggling. Dipper instantly seized up. “Better fix that.”

“Oh God, n- n- no Mabel!” Dipper gasped. “P- please!”

Dipper tried to throw herself from the bed, but Mabel pressed the attack, pulling Dipper back down onto the bed. As her hands rose higher, digging into Dipper's ribs, the other girl squealed in shock, grabbing the sheets for defence. When that proved futile, Dipper struck back, each twin just as ticklish as the other. Coughing on her own laugh, Mabel found the tables quickly turned. She was trapped against the wall, Dipper bearing down on her, fingers going for her most tender spots.

“I'm- I'm gonna pee! Stop!”

Dipper's hands paused. “Learned your lesson, sis?”

“Yes! Yes.” Mabel was gasping for breath. “Only attack when your opponent is weaker.”

“Hmph. Wrong lesson.” Despite her words, Dipper pulled her arms away from Mabel's ribs and collapsed next to her on the bed.

“Your bed is comfortable. Kinda lumpy though.”

“Yeah,” Dipper whispered, exhaustion limiting her volume. “You always had the best mattress.”

“Feeling tired, Dippingsauce?” She carefully climbed over Dipper, mounting her for a brief, glorious second, before making for the edge of the bed. “We'd both better crash. Christmas tomorrow.”

However, before she could make it off, Dipper's arms wrapped around her midsection, pulling her back to the mattress. She found herself lying down, her back to Dipper, as her sister cuddled close. “Crash here. You're warm an' nice.”

Mabel felt her neck rapidly heat up, and not just from Dipper's breath on it. Her fingers twitched, conflicted on where to rest, before pressing themselves down on Dipper's own hands. “D- Dip...” Mabel was far too aware of the soft sensation pressing against her back, Dipper's bra having been thrown off upon entering the bedroom. Her own bra had met a similar fate, and right now Dipper's hands were less than an inch from squeezing her chest. Her legs were so smooth against Mabel's, and as she gently shifted them, the movement sent tingles through Mabel's toes. “Um. Is this- uh...”

“Just doing some thinking.” God, that unintentionally sultry voice was causing blood to rush between Mabel's legs. She was so thankful Dipper was making her the little spoon. “Thinking and experimenting.”

“Th- this experimentation seems a lot- uh-” Mabel was lightheaded, struggling to calm her out of control heartbeat. One of Dipper's legs had slipped between hers, and the contact with her inner thighs tested her self control. “A lot like torture.”

“Torture? Wh- Oh!” Dipper hurriedly pulled back. Mabel already missed the heat of her sister's touch. “Shit. I'm sorry, Mabel. I wasn't thinking. That was... selfish.”

“Dipper.” Mabel flipped over, coming face to face with her equally red faced sibling. “I don't... really mind experimentation.” She grinned. “It's nice, as long as you don't mind me as a active variable.”

Dipper giggled, turning her face into the pillow to muffle the sound, before bringing it back to Mabel. A lot closer. “Well, I'm learning that scientific flirting works far too well on me.” She was constantly licking her lips, something she did when she was nervous. Really nervous.

“Oh yeah?” Mabel wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, causing another cute giggle from her sister. She felt confident enough to push her luck, common sense giving in to desire. “Maybe we should repeat the test scenario from yesterday, see if the results are different...” Dipper's breath washed over her, minty and sweet.

Then Dipper's hand was back on her, this time sliding over her hips, ever so gently easing her closer. “Based on- on today's thought experiments, I have adjusted some- some of the constants.” Her eyes were hazy, focusing not on any part of Mabel's face, but taking her all in.

Mabel licked her lips, her eyes flicking to Dipper's, partly opened. Her own hand had found its way to Dipper's face, her fingers tangling in her sister's hair. She wiggled her hips forward, giving Dipper's hand free range to 'explore'. “My hypothesis suggests that... um- that-” She growled with arousal, interrupting herself. “Fuck it. I'm going to smooch you, okay?”

She barely waited for Dipper to nod. They were pressed up against each other, hands grasping for skin, legs linking, as they kissed. Unlike yesterday's rushed and one sided mess from Mabel, this kiss was so much more passionate. One of Dipper's hands grabbed her butt for dear life, while the other was on the back of her neck, holding her there, reminding Mabel that she wanted this. Dipper groaned deeply, a dash of worry mixed with an overpowering amount of desire.

On her end, Mabel as struggling to keep herself from getting too heated. Her loins throbbed every time Dipper's fingers moved, and her chest heaved against her sister's, begging to be touched. If only she hadn't lost both her hands in Dipper's hair in her rush to bring them together. Dipper stunned her with the first movement of her tongue, catching Mabel's lips by surprise. Not to be outdone, she responded in kind, and soon the sisters were in each others mouths, kissing in a far too messy fashion. Mabel would have attempted to calm herself down if it hadn't been for Dipper's flustered, needy moaning.

She must have done something powerful to her sister, as before she realized it, she was lying on her back, Dipper straddling her waist, almost predatory. Mabel shuddered with want, whining into Dipper's mouth for more. To drive the point home, she slid her now free hands up Dipper's stomach, slipping under her loose shirt and ghosting the edges of her breasts. Dipper's breath caught in her throat, and her hips rolled involuntarily against her sister's. Mabel couldn't hold in the shuddering moan of pleasure as her twin grinded against her tenting skirt.

Both girls paused, their lips parting, breaking the strand of saliva connecting them. They were breathing hard, sweat gathering on Dipper's face, while Mabel felt the blush over every inch of her skin.

“Was... was that?” Dipper nodded down to their legs. “Y'know?”

“Y- yup.” Mabel's voice was almost falsetto. “Sure was, Dipperino.”

“Oh.” Dipper nodded, her eyes dilated and wide. “So...” She moved again, her hips pressing against Mabel, riding her skirt higher, and causing the other twin to hiss in pleasure. As soon as she did, she slapped a hand over her mouth, in disbelief that she could make such a lewd sound.

A faint smile tugged at Dipper's mouth, and she repeated her actions, causing further non-platonic sounds of lust from her sister. Mabel calmed her writhing enough to grab Dipper's denim shorts, tugging at them. “You sh- should take these off. Less rough. More...” She groaned, not even trying to hide her feelings. “More soft.”

Dipper nodded mutely, gripping the shorts and yanking them down. Hugging her hips were a pair of tightly fitting boyshorts, expertly displaying Dipper's minimal curves. They were also, interestingly enough, somewhat damp. Mabel bit her lip hard, threatening to draw blood, as she resisted a thousand urges exploding in her head. Instead, she drew her shaking hands around Dipper's hips, lightly pressing against her butt, and let out a shuddered breath. “Now try.”

Once again, Dipper pressed herself against Mabel's skirt, the centre of the panties grinding against her. This time, both sisters let out a gasping moan. Dipper's hands shifted to grip Mabel's shoulders as Mabel dug her fingers into the back of Dipper's panties. Repeating her actions, Mabel's skirt was soon pooled around her waist, Dipper's underwear pressed tightly against her own straining pair, barely able to contain her in this state. She reached up, bringing her lips back to Dipper's, kissing her with renewed vigour as the two of them continued 'experimenting'. Dipper's entire back twisted as she pressed herself as close to Mabel as the thin fabric would allow, her chest rumbling with her frantic groaning. Mabel could only hold on for dear life, whimpering into Dipper's mouth as she felt her peak approach, hoping beyond hope that Dipper was just as close.

And she had no doubt she would have reached it if it hadn't been for the knocking at the door. “Hey, kids.” Their mother's voice, muffled by the door, shattered their mood like a hammer through glass. “I can hear you in there. Stop chatting and get to bed. You're not sleeping till noon on Christmas.” She didn't wait for a response before walking away.

They waited, frozen in fear, for a full thirty seconds, before Mabel spoke.

“Holy fuck.”

Dipper slowly, as if she was defusing a bomb, eased off Mabel. “I think... I think that was the scariest moment of my life.”

With shaking hands, Mabel pressed down her skirt. “Is the door locked?”

“No. The lock broke this summer.”

“Okay.” She wished her heartbeat was as slow as her movements, instead of the rave it was having in her chest. “Good... good information to keep in mind.”

Dipper nodded, stumbling off the bed, her legs clearly not working. She grabbed her pyjamas from the floor, and slipped the pants on, keeping the top under her arm. Making for the door, she instead collapsed against the wall.

“Dipper? You okay?”

“Just... need a second. Avoided an anxiety attack... Somehow.”

Mabel sat up. “Do you want to come and sit down?”

“No. No...” Her breathing had started to return to normal. “I might just wash my face, have a drink, try not to throw up.”

Mabel felt her heart stop. Was that in reference to what they just did? “Dip. Are we... are we okay?”

Dipper gave her a shaky smile. “Yeah, I think we're good.” She flipped a thumbs up. “I'll give you my answer as a Christmas present.” She made to open the door, but hesitated. “Oh, but next time we start getting all... hot and heavy, lets do it when the house is free, 'kay?”

 

Chapter Text

“Sun's out! That means you ladies gotta get your butts in gear!”

Mabel woke with a start, sheets tangled around her legs, pillow half falling from the mattress. Her mother's deafening voice and banging against the door could have woken the dead. More impressively, it managed to wake an early morning Dipper. She was sitting up in bed, head spinning frantically as she searched for the source of the sound. Maybe she wasn't completely awake yet.

“Okay, admittedly, there's no sun.” Their mother's voice droned on, ensuring the twins were well and truly awake. “But it's already seven, and Shermie and Linda will be here at nine.” Mabel rubbed the sleep from her eyes as Dipper unsteadily reached for her glasses. “If you're not up, fed, showered, and dressed before then, Waddles gets your presents.”

“We're awake! We're awake!” Mabel groaned, throwing her pillow against the door.

“Wonderful.” The voice started to fade as their mother moved towards the stairs. “And merry Christmas, kids.”

That's right. It was Christmas Day. The last forty eight hours had felt so rushed that it had snuck up on her. It was helped, in part, by the girl in the bed next to her. She gave her sister a glance, catching her as she pulled a few strands of hair from her mouth. Grumbling with her usual morning enthusiasm, she too turned to Mabel. Their eyes locked.

“M- mornin' Dipster.”

“Morning, Mabes.”

She was glad to see a blush rise on Dipper's face, as she was fairly certain her own cheeks looked the same. Mabel smiled knowingly, bit her lip lightly, and looked away. Dipper coughed, sounding forced. It was an agonizing few seconds before either of them spoke.

“I'll take the shower first,” Dipper offered, her voice managing to not crack too badly. “I know you like your cereal as early as possible.”

“Sure thing.” This tension wasn't going to fly. That's for sure. “Hey, Dip. About last night-”

“L- later,” Dipper interrupted, scrambling out of her bed. “We can, uh, sort all that stuff out later.” She hovered, unsure of what to do with herself, before making for the door. “Promise.” And with that, she was gone.

Mabel sighed, throwing her head back down to the mattress. Classic Dipper. She had probably spent half the night worrying and overthinking their relationship. And, as usual, it was up to Mabel to set her straight.

Well... maybe straight wasn't the right word.

~~~~~~~~~

After finishing another morning bowl of pure sugar, and excitedly admiring the warmly lit living room, complete with presents under the tree and soft Christmas music playing, Mabel found herself outside the bathroom. “Hey, sis-yphus. I've been downstairs for, like, over half an hour. You passed out or something?”

There was some shuffling behind the door. “Sorry! Sorry! I'm coming out!”

After another few seconds the door was open, and a towel clad Dipper faced Mabel. She had one wrapped around her head, containing her hair, and another around her body. Mabel couldn't help her eyes as they gradually travelled down. The towel hugged tightly to Dipper's curves, accentuating them a lot more than any of her baggy clothing did. Her toned legs extended from the bottom, a layer of moisture still clinging to them. Mabel was starting to believe the claim Dipper made about biking around Seattle. Between that, and the enticing hint of cleavage Dipper had on display, Mabel had trouble wrenching her eyes back to her sister's face. A face that sported a guilty expression, framed by bright red cheeks. Mabel's eyebrows rose.

“So, Dippin Dots... What took you so long in there?”

Dipper shifted her weight, her eyes avoiding Mabel's. “Bathroom's yours. I'll get changed while you're showering.”

Mabel giggled, getting closer to Dipper than the other girl seemed comfortable with. “Sure thing, sis. I probably won't be as long as you though.” She poked her sister's torso, a little closer to her bust than she usually would. “I hope you were thinking about me while...”

“Oh my God!” With her spluttered reaction, Dipper stumbled towards her bedroom, arms clinging to her towel as if it was in danger of falling away. Her blush had spread to the back of her neck. As she reached the bedroom door, Mabel returned her attention to the bathroom, only to hear Dipper's high pitched, nervous voice call out. “I- I mean... obviously, M- Mabes. Geez.”

Mabel jerked her head around, biting her lip in glee, only to find her sister already gone.

~~~~~~~~~

Turns out, it did take Mabel as long as Dipper. This was Christmas after all, and she had to look her best for the family. Or, at least, for a certain member of the family. Legs had to be shaved, eyebrows plucked, face exfoliated. She stood before the mirror, blow drying her hair. Scrutinizing herself, she remembered that she still wasn't happy with how she looked. Sure, she was absolutely adorable, but in a 'hey that girl has an odd jawline and cheekbones' kind of way. Still, compared to how she used to see herself, it was a vast improvement. Growing up hadn't been easy. Getting on testosterone blockers as young as she did had helped, but even with that it would have been a struggle if it hadn't been for Dipper.

Her twin had always been there, telling her how beautiful she looked, reminding her that she never needed to justify herself, providing her strength and happiness when she was lacking. No matter how nervous and awkward a child Dipper had been, she never failed to stand up for Mabel. Fighting her bullies in elementary school, risking her life to save her time and time again in Gravity Falls, even the occasions where someone would accidentally misgender Mabel. It was embarrassing sometimes to have Dipper as her knight in shining armour, but she always appreciated it.

She ran her fingers a couple more times though her locks before turning the hair dryer off. How long had Dipper been struggling with her feelings? Maybe that had influenced her actions. Made her more protective of Mabel. And, in turn, Mabel would be lying if she said a caring, supportive Dipper didn't set her heart aflutter. Maybe this whole thing had been inevitable from the beginning. Or maybe she was telling herself that to justify incestuous thoughts.

To hell with it. Like Dipper said, Mabel never needed to justify herself.

Wrapping a towel around herself, intentionally low around the chest, she made her way to Dipper's bedroom. She knocked, keeping her voice low enough for only Dipper to hear. “Dressed in there? I can wait until you're not.”

The door opened to Dipper's flustered face, shushing her. “Mabel. Not so loud.”

“Oh, my volume was fine. I've just got- um... wow.” Mabel had suddenly become very distracted with Dipper's outfit.

She wore a red and navy blue checkered shirt, sleeves rolled up to show off her arms. Over top was a dark grey waistcoat, one that Mabel had never seen before. It matched her dark grey pants, which hugged her legs a little tighter than any of her usual jeans. Her hair was tied back in a neat ponytail, and her eyes were dusted with the faintest hint of eye-shadow. Beautiful sapphire studs sparkled from her ears, and a navy blue tie hung from her neck, dotted with white spots.

She nervously played with her hands. “Is it too much? The tie's too much, right?”

Mabel ignored the sparks of pleasure coursing through her. “I don't know. Depends on what your goal is.” She pulled the tie from the vest and tugged Dipper closer. “If you didn't want me drowning in desire all dinner, then yes, it's all too much.”

Dipper gulped, quickly scanning the corridor to make sure they were definitely alone. “Well, uh, that wasn't the intention, but... but it'll definitely work.”

A hungry hum rumbled from Mabel's throat. “Damn right it will.” She pulled the tie, bringing Dipper's mouth to hers in a quick, but heated kiss. “Get out of here before I take it all off you.”

Sidestepping Mabel, easing herself out of her grip, Dipper licked her sister's saliva from her lips. “O- okay. So. I'm-” She slowly blinked, and Mabel could see her brain restart itself. “I'll be, uh, d- downstairs.”

With a wink, Mabel simply closed the bedroom door.

With her towel hung up, Mabel began digging though her case. Before seeing Dipper she had been on the fence about what to wear. Everything was too much or too little. But now? Now she knew exactly what she needed to do. She needed to slay.

Finding what she was looking for, she pulled out a light turquoise dress from a suitcase. It was thankfully lacking in creases. Once she had dyed her hair, a lot of her old dresses had suddenly become a horrible clash of colours. Not a lot went with bright bubblegum pink hair. But one day, shopping in Sidney, she had come across the perfect outfit. The style drew attention to her hips, a part of her body Mabel was particularly proud of, and away from her torso. Small breasts and a bit of a tummy was inevitable when you're trans and have a diet mainly consisting of candy. The colour had been the icing on the cake. Light enough to not steal attention from her pink mane, but interesting enough to not look too drab. The word drab did not exist in Mabel's dictionary.

Best of all, it was subtly sexy without being too obvious. She hadn't intended to wear it at family events, but situations change.

Donning her sexiest underwear, she slipped on the dress, and rummaged through the suitcase for her makeup.

Moments later, she stood before Dipper's full length mirror. Tapping a thumb to her chin, she took in her appearance. Her hair was blown to one side, framing her face and showing off her previously hidden undercut, a shooting star shaved into the short hair. Light eye shadow, a warm purple, worked perfectly with her winged eyeliner. Normally she went for lip gloss, but today called for a bright pink lipstick. She grinned, placing her hands on her waist and cocking her hips. Dipper wasn't going to know what hit her.

“Mabel?” Her mother's voice rang from downstairs. “Are you nearly ready? Family's going to be here soon.”

“Coming,” she sung, heading for the stairs. She took a deep breath as she descended. It was funny how putting a little effort into her appearance made her nervous about seeing Dipper. There was no reason to be. That dashing cutie was just as spruced up as she was.

Her parents were in the kitchen, preparing lunch, while Dipper hovered, looking awkward and in the way. She looked so adorable, trying to make space on the counter for her mother as she transferred a large dish of vegetables, but only making it more cluttered. The older woman sighed in frustration, and Mabel took that as a good time to interrupt.

“Hey.” Three pairs of eyes turned to her. “Need a hand with anything?”

“Oh Mabel.” Her mother found a space for the vegetables. “That dress. It looks so good on you. Is it new?”

Mabel nodded, noticing the approving look her father had too. “Got it in Australia.”

“Well, it is so lovely to have both you girls dressing up for this occasion.” She placed a hand over her heart, eyes threatening to tear up. “Your father and I are so lucky to have you two. I'm glad we can come together again for Christmas.”

Aww, mom. That's-” Mabel shot a guilty peek at Dipper. She was immediately taken back at her sister's expression. Dipper's mouth was hanging open, bobbing ever so slightly with her breath. Her eyes were wide, pupils dilated, as her gaze was fixed on Mabel. Her hands looked like they had frozen mid-movement, hovering in front of her uselessly. “...so sweet.”

As Mabel shot Dipper a quick grin, the spell broke, and her sister blinked. “Y- yeah. You look r- really beautiful.” Nervously glancing between their parents, Dipper took a step back. “I'll start setting the table and stuff.” Like a spooked rabbit, she turned and shot out the kitchen.

“Thank God,” their mother muttered under her breath. “Dipper should never be allowed inside a kitchen. She's a cook's worst nightmare.”

Chuckling, Mabel made for the door. “I'll go give her a hand.”

“Hold up.” Her father placed a hand on her shoulder. “I need you to go light the fireplace before your mother's parents have another thing to complain about.”

Mabel nodded reluctantly. So much for sticking by Dipper's side all day. Still, she had every intention of catching her twin before lunch.

~~~~~~~~~

Unfortunately, like the day before, that was easier said than done. Their parents kept them as busy as possible, even after Shermie and Linda arrived. The only time they had together was when they entertained the grandparents, and that was hardly the time for the various topics of conversation Mabel wanted to have. What's that Shermie? Enjoying it back in the ol' US of A? Yeah, it's lovely to be back. I get to relax and make out with my sis. In fact, let me indulge in that right now.

Needless to say, that hadn't been Mabel's answer.

As it turned out, it was Dipper that caught her first. Mabel was feeding Waddles in the utility room, the squealing pig knocking against the dryer in excitement. As she placed the bowl back down on the newspaper, she heard the door open behind her.

“This guy is so eager for food. Have you been starving him while I was gone?” She turned to come face to face with a flustered Dipper. “Oh, hey Dip. Didn't reali-”

She failed to get the words out in time as Dipper closed the gap between them, gripping Mabel's waist and crashing their lips together. Mabel stumbled backwards, finding her butt pressed against the washing machine, her hands gripping her sister's shoulders in shock. Dipper was relentless, groaning desperately as her lips slid over Mabel's, her tongue licking Mabel's lipstick. Gradually, Mabel kissed back, letting her arms wrap around Dipper, and hummed with satisfaction.

Eventually Dipper broke the kiss, gasping for breath. “Mabel...”

“Dipper...” Mabel curled her toes, willing herself to stay off her sister for a few seconds.

“You... you look incredible.” Dipper took a step away, looking like she had gotten away with murder. “I just had to... to get that off my chest.”

Mabel sniggered. “Right in front of Waddles too. How scandalous.” The pig grunted at his name, but kept his attention firmly on his food.

“Sorry. Sorry. I'll-” She shook her head, possibly attempting to remove the lustful thoughts like cobwebs. “Yeah.”

As Dipper turned to leave, Mabel raised her arm, grabbing her sister's shoulder desperately. Dipper blinked in shock at what was no doubt a frantic expression on her face.

“You... you have...” Mabel pointed to her own mouth. “Lipstick. Like, all over.”

Squeaking another apology, Dipper mashed the back of her hand to her mouth, rubbing frantically. When she brought it away, her lips were clear, if a little red. Mabel nodded, smirking cheekily, at Dipper's questioning look, finishing with a flirty wink. Letting out the faintest of whines, Dipper bolted from the room, leaving Mabel with Waddles.

She placed her hands on her hips. “Could just be me, boy, but I'm getting some pretty mixed up signals from that sister of mine.” She gently nudged the pig with her heel, looking for a response. “There sure wasn't this trepidation last night.”

Waddles snorted in agreement.

~~~~~~~~~

The next time the twins were together, the family was gathered around the table, digging into the usual Pines Christmas feast. They dodged the embarrassing and private inquires with their usual expertise. As Mabel flustered with the question of what she planned to do next, now that she was back in the States, she found Dipper's hand squeezing her knee in encouragement. She decided to return the favour as Dipper wrestled with Shermie's next question; was there any girl that Dipper was interested in? Unfortunately, Mabel's hand had apparently made the situation worse, and a steaming red Dipper had to excuse herself to the bathroom. It hadn't been Mabel's intention, but it was nevertheless fun to see the person she loved reacting so strongly to a simple touch.

With the turkey picked clean, the family made their way to the living room with the speed and urgency of a snail. Far too slow for Mabel. The exchange of presents had always been exciting for her. Not because of what she received, but because she could see the reactions of those she made presents for. They didn't even have to make a big deal out if it. A smile or a small chuckle was enough for Mabel to feel the happiness that came with brightening up someone else's day.

The first few gifts exchanged had been the usual fare. Books for Dipper, chocolate for Mabel, bottles of wine for their parents, various dull knick knacks for the grandparents, and, of course, socks for everyone. It was when Dipper picked up the glitter covered, messily wrapped bundle that Mabel really perked up.

Dipper shot a grin at Mabel, ignoring the unnecessary tag displaying the sender. “I may, possibly, have an idea what this might be already.”

Mabel waved her off with a raspberry. “It could be anything, sis.”

Tearing the wrapping paper open, a smaller box, also wrapped, fell to Dipper's lap. She was, for the moment, more focused on the woollen monster that unfurled from its prison. It was, as Dipper had probably realized, a handmade scarf. Pulling it open, she turned it to face herself. On a green background, either end displayed a butterfly. One bright blue, the other a monarch. In the middle was a phrase written in rainbow letters.

“If nothing ever changed,” Dipper read, “there'd be no butterflies.” She almost immediately groaned. “That's a new level of cliche.”

“I think it's cute,” their mother noted.

Their father nodded. “Very Mabel thing to say.”

Dipper chuckled reluctantly, lowering the scarf. “Yeah, that's for sure.” She turned her eyes from the fabric, giving Mabel a meaningful stare. “It's also, well, rather...” She trailed off, but Mabel didn't need her twin intuition to finish the sentence. It was rather relevant. Something Mabel hadn't seen coming as she knitted it in Australia.

“Oh. Oh. There's more though.” She pointed to the box in Dipper's lap. “A little something else I made.”

As Dipper started tearing the box free of the paper, Linda reached over and patted Mabel's back. “You're so creative, Mabel darling. All these things you make. You've got such an eye for design.”

“Ah, thank you.” She blushed, sinking a little in her seat. She never considered the stuff she made worth any creative value. It was just her expressing some part of herself in physical form. A form that also made for pretty rad presents. To think of them as anything more than that was a concept that she hadn't given too much thought to. Maybe, with an uncertain future, it was time to rethink that.

A soft gasp brought her attention back to Dipper. Her sister had the box open, and was pulling two small, blue butterflies out. Both were made from glass, the material curled into blue, layered wings, with a thin, black piece of glass down the centre. From their heads, long metal wires curled up, made for pierced ears.

“You said you... you made these?” Dipper's voice was a whisper.

“Y- yeah, in Venice there was a short course in glass stuff.” Mabel compelled her voice to get past the waves of happiness from seeing Dipper's shock.

“How did you know?” Dipper turned them over, holding them like they were worth a fortune. “I never told you about my ears.”

“Well, they weren't the only thing I made.” She fetched a small box she had hidden out of sight, and opened it to reveal a similar butterfly, this one attacked to a silver chain. “I wanted us to match.” She looked away, feeling suddenly shy, and slipped the butterfly necklace over her neck. “All I did was switch them over yesterday after I saw your ears.”

“Mabel, they're... so gorgeous.” Dipper unclipped her own earrings, slipped them into her vest pocket, and put on her new present. “How do they look on me?”

The family had gone quiet, watching the twins, and Mabel could almost imagine they had faded away. “You look so beautiful.”

Dipper lowered her hands, squeezing them together in her lap. “Th- thank you, Mabes.” She looked like she was struggling to keep the blush from creeping up her face, and failing horribly. Looking around at the other, forgotten members of the room, Dipper attempted to salvage the thick romantic tension growing. “Hey, go for mine now. Not sure I'm going to beat you this year though.”

Mabel glanced around, heart jumping at her father's bemused stare, and began sorting through the smallish pile of gifts at the base of her chair. Not immediately noticing anything, she heard Dipper clear her throat. “It's a card. Probably on the floor or something.”

Finding the letter with Dipper's handwriting, she raised herself back up, and gave Dipper a confused tweak of her eyebrow. A simple card was very much unlike her sister. Dipper simply shrugged, encouraging her to open it with a wave of her arm. Inside, she found a couple of printouts, all of emails. Flicking through, Mabel came to the realization that they were digital tickets. “Dipper? What is this?”

“Well, it isn't the most conventional present, but I hope it's good enough.” As Dipper spoke, Mabel continued to flick her eyes over the sheets, a few words jumping out at her. “I know you've been off around the world, seeing all these amazing foreign wonders and all that. I thought that maybe you'd want to get reacquainted with something distinctly American.” It was, at that moment, that Mabel noticed the Disney logo on one of the sheets. “And, well, you kept saying you were going to take another trip there anyway... for the past five years, and never got around to it. So... I got us tickets to Disneyland.”

Mabel finally relaxed her hands, her eyes beginning to cloud up. “Dipper.”

“And with all that roughing around in strange beds and cheap hostels, I thought you could do with some luxury, so... I got us a room at one of the Disney hotels. The fancy one.”

Mabel bit her lip, struggling to contain her emotions, and looked up at her nervous twin.

“Also the tickets are for New Year, so there's some stuff going on and- and- I really hope I didn't make a bad assumption with all this. You're just back in the country, so I assumed you'd be free.”

Teetering on the edge of her chair, Mabel barely heard her father talk. “I guess this explains why you've been so hardcore with the studies, Dip. How long is this trip?”

“A week. But yeah,” Dipper chuckled wearily, “that's the reason I've been burning that candle at both ends.” Her voice rose, panicked. “Not that it isn't worth it of course.”

The dam finally burst, and Mabel jumped across the room, wrapping her arms around her sister. “Oh my God, Dipper! This is perfect!” She could hear some affectionate laughing from the family.

Dipper nearly fell out her chair with the sudden attack, instead managing to wrap her arms tightly around Mabel. “Wow. I'm... I'm glad you like it.”

“Like it?” Mabel muffled into Dipper's shoulder. “I love it! I love it so much. You know me so well.”

Arms began to rub up and down Mabel's back. “I try my best, sis. For you, at least.”

“I love you.” Mabel whispered this, bringing her mouth closer to Dipper's ear. “I love you so much. I love you so freaking much, Dipper Pines.”

Dipper pulled away, giving herself room to look Mabel in the eyes. “I love you too, Mabel.”

A shiver shot through Mabel, nearly causing her legs to give. The way Dipper had said that. It was so... so unsisterly. So much deeper. Thick with romance and need. Mabel felt a longing to find out exactly what Dipper meant. Find out what was going on in that head of hers. It was as if she couldn't quite remember her family in that moment. There was a reason to not kiss Dipper, but all logic and reason was falling away, leaving only the rolling, shuddering love she had for her sister. If only she could close that centimetre gap, she could-

Pulling even further away, Dipper laughed loudly. “Anyone else want to carry on for the moment? I don't want us taking up all the time.”

And like that, the feeling was gone, and she was back with her family in front of the Christmas tree. A murmuring of voices cut through her thoughts, and she almost fell back, detaching herself from Dipper. The twins gave each other a shy smile, before Mabel returned to her seat. She had the faintest feeling of dissociation. Dipper's voice still ran through her head, as if the girl was still next to her, whispering. She gulped, linking her fingers, and focused on her breathing.

Only a few more hours stuck with the family. Mabel could do this.

~~~~~~~~~

“You kids sure you don't want to come? Last chance.” Their mother poked her head into the living room, eyes flicking between the sisters wrapped under a blanket, and the TV they were watching. “I mean, Frozen isn't even a Christmas movie. You can watch it whenever.”

“We're good,” Mabel sing-songed, and the older woman shrugged, leaving the girls to themselves.

Mabel waited until she heard the front door shut before snuggling as close as she could do Dipper. Shermie had excitedly told them about the massive Christmas market happening in Oakland that the family just had to check out. Their parents had expressed the completely inaccurate opinion that the twins may not find it interesting, and Mabel had jumped on that chance, agreeing that she would have no interest browsing obscure clothing and handmade items, and Dipper would of course be glad to miss out on second hand books and various oddities. For once, their parents obliviousness had worked, and they agreed that it would make sense for the girls to hold the fort.

But now, with the house finally to themselves, Mabel felt a surprising nervousness about making a move. Her fingers were linked with Dipper's under the covers, but anything more than that worried her. The ball was in Dipper's court, in a sense, and if Mabel were to initiate anything, she'd probably come across as overly needy. Not that she wasn't needy. She found new levels of neediness within herself when it came to Dipper. But more than anything, she needed to let Dipper take it at the pace she wanted to.

She shifted in her seat, allowing her to keep her eyes on Dipper, movie forgotten.

She had said she'd give Mabel an answer, but what if she still wasn't sure. Her actions today jumped around so much, Mabel couldn't possibly guess. Normally Mabel would take the initiative, but she had done that a lot already. In any case, if she pushed Dipper into something she didn't want, then she'd never be able to live with herself, let alone a regretful Dipper.

But living with Dipper... Being with her as a couple. It was a intoxicating thought. One thing was for sure, and that was that it would never happen if they both stayed quiet. Mabel knew Dipper and her incredible ability to put off anything related to emotions, especially if dealing with it would have significant effects. No. She'd have to say something to start this ball rolling.

Just as Mabel was about to speak up, Dipper let out a soft groan of frustration. “Ugh. Why is Kristoff in this movie? He's so annoying.”

Mabel rolled her eyes, turning back to the TV. “Dipswitch doesn't like a guy in a movie. What a shocker.” On the screen, the character in question was interacting with Anna. “Why not? He's cute and funny. Not to mention fairly important to the plot and all.”

“He just- he and Anna don't really work.” Dipper shifted in inch away from Mabel, but she quickly closed the gap. “I... I dunno. I'm allowed to not like someone.”

With a quick giggle, Mabel stuck out her tongue. “You just want to stick all the girls with other girls. You're so predicta-” Interrupting herself with a gasp, Mabel bit her lip, giving Dipper an excited, knowing look. “You ship Anna and Elsa, don't you?”

There was a beat of silence. Dipper's face started burning red in the light of the TV. “Sh- shut up...

“God, that's adorable.”

“Oh, like you can judge.” Dipper playfully swung a pillow at her sister. “I know you used to ship the brothers in Supernatural.”

“That was ages ago.” Mabel's cheeks quickly matched her twin's as she attempted to snatch the pillow off her. “And a totally different situation, buttface.”

The pillow fell to the floor as both sisters relented. “Maybe that should have been the first red flag,” Dipper shyly noted. “Twins shipping siblings.”

“Wow. Yeah. Totes.” Mabel began twirling her fingers together, breathing heavily from her pillow attack. This was her chance. “So... you want to, um, talk about all that biz?” She hoped she wasn't coming across as creepy or impatient. “You've been kinda... nervous today, but last night was... wow. Yeah, uh. Wouldn't mind taking another ride on the, um-” Definitely creepy. “I just want to know where we stand, and, I guess, what we are now. Not that quick, heated kisses aren't great, but-” She trailed off, assuming Dipper understood.

It was a few moments before Dipper spoke. Before she did, she muted the TV, plunging the room into a silence Mabel wasn't prepared for. “Yeah, I'm just... going through some... thoughts.”

Mabel nodded, waiting.

Rolling her tongue around her mouth, Dipper turned both hands towards her sister. “Can I ask you something?”

“Hit me.”

“Why do you love me?”

Mabel's eyebrow twitched in irritation. “Are you... testing me?”

“No. No! Mabel, no!” Dipper's face found her hands, her palms rubbing furiously as if trying to erase her features. “It's not that at all. I'm... I'm just terrified. Last night, today, that's simple, but this...” She gestured between the two of them. “If this doesn't work, if something goes wrong, so much is at risk. I- I couldn't bare losing you, Mabel. Nothing would be worth that. Because... because...” She took a deep breath, fully turning to face Mabel. “I'm in love with you. By my best guess, I've been in love with you since the start of high school. And finally admitting that has caused a- a lot of stuff to just go crazy in here.”

Mabel's heart had stopped. “You love me?”

Dipper chuckled, taking both of Mabel's hands in hers. “More than I ever thought I would ever love a person. So much so that it's left me days unable to think about anything else, confused why my sister would not leave my mind. I love you so completely, Mabel, that I just don't care what the world would think of me if it knew. But...” She brought Mabel's hands to her lips and brushed a kiss on her skin. “I care what it thinks of you. I can't hurt you, Mabel. I won't. So I have to know for sure.”

Mabel nodded, lost for words for the immediate moment. She brought herself close to Dipper, feeling her sister's warmth, and placed their foreheads together. “Dipper...” She licked her dry lips. “Hearing you say that, I-” She half sighed, half laughed. “You really know how to leave a girl speechless.”

“You don't have to answer straightaway, Mabel.” Dipper's lips brushed against Mabel's. “We could just do other... things for the moment.”

That sounded perfect. Dipper's breath washing over her face nearly convinced her, but she managed to pull her mind back. “No. I can answer now.” She nodded, pulling back from Dipper's lure, and allowing her mind to relax. “I know what I can be like with all my crushes and flings and whatever. I don't exactly instill a ton of confidence.” Dipper went to speak, and Mabel shushed her. “No, it's true. I get it. And while my heart going through all sorts of jazz whenever I see you might suggest that, there's more. When I imagine my future, I can't see one where you're not there. Not just a casual member of my life, but there when I wake up. When I sleep. When I'm struggling and when you're struggling. When we're both at our happiest, I can't see us apart. You make me feel so secure. I still struggle when I have your help, but it's not the same. It's a struggle I can handle. One I can beat. You and I both know I've faced my fair share of nonsense, and you've always been there. If it hadn't been for you, well... best case scenario, it would have been a lot harder to overcome.

“And with all of this? Loving, needing, wanting to be with my sister. That should feel scary, right? But it doesn't. Not when I know I'll have you.” She squeezed Dipper's hands harder, noticing her sister tear up. If she wasn't careful, she'd follow suit, and then there'd be no more talking from Mabel. “And maybe it's immoral, according to some, but from the moment I fell for you, that complication has just melted away, insignificant in the face of my feelings. All that matters is that I love you, and I trust you. I mean, I kissed you, despite all warning signs and common sense telling me I shouldn't. With no certainty of my feelings being returned, I kissed you, because... Dipper...” She paused, looking deep into her sister's eyes, seeing the same spark she felt. “I love you so much.”

Dipper's whole body shuddered, a sob wracking through her. “I- I love you too, Mabel.”

Mabel giggled, feeling lightheaded and so alive. She kissed Dipper's cheeks, smudged by tears, and drew her hands around her twin. “You taste salty.”

“Y- yup.” Dipper squeezed back, fingers tight on Mabel's dress. “Tears tend to be like that.” Mabel grinned, peppering Dipper's cheek with kisses.

She thought she'd feel some weight off her shoulders after they shared their feelings, but instead it was like the weight had shifted. No longer pushing her down, but wrapping around her, keeping her warm and comforted. Loved. She was loved back. That thought alone was enough to make her giggle, butterflies crashing haphazardly inside her.

Invigorated, she took that feeling, and pushed herself against Dipper, knocking the other girl down onto the couch. Straddling her, grinning like a victorious hunter, she sunk, taking Dipper's lips in her own. Moaning in surprise, Dipper was quick to react, her hands running down Mabel's sides, her lips moving frantically to match Mabel's. Without knowing a clear end goal, Mabel wiggled her hips, encouraging Dipper on. She tensed at that, letting out a shuddering breath. She broke the kiss and glanced at the door.

“Mabel. We... we should take this upstairs.”

“Oh?” Mabel playfully rose her eyebrows. “Upstairs?”

“Yeah. Just... just in case we...” Dipper flushed a neon red, unable to finish her sentence. Mabel found her awkwardness incredibly adorable.

“Dipper. Are you, by any chance, suggesting we might frickle fr-”

“In case the family gets home!” she blurted, interrupting Mabel.

Mabel stayed on top of her sister, eyebrows disappearing further into her hair as she stared at Dipper, waiting.

“Okay, maybe I- yes. Mabel yes.” She screwed her eyes shut. “I want... I want that.”

Mabel continued to wiggle, hands playfully brushing Dipper's chest. “You'll have to ask nicely and clearly then, Dip Dop.”

Dipper glowered, but knew her sister enough to realize when she was serious about teasing. “May we... please go upstairs and... and... m- make love?”

Mabel giggled, leaning down and nuzzling her nose. “Here I was thinking you'd go for 'fuck like rabbits', and you can't even get out 'make love' without a stammer.”

“Oh my god!” Dipper crashed her head into Mabel's shoulder, letting out a high pitched whine. “Can we just go, Mabes?”

With as much wiggling as possible, Mabel eased off her sister, and stepping to the floor of the living room. Leaning over, smiling at the small whine she heard from Dipper, she picked up the remote and turned off the TV. Grinning back at Dipper, she licked her lips. “Last one up has to strip naked first.”