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Caught in my Trap

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Dipper wondered through the trails in the forest of Gravity Falls, down a path he knew well, his focus entranced on his journal. His hooves making minimal noise as he trotted along to his favorite clearing, the sunshine warmed his pelt and was great for sunning on, and the big tree that grew was perfect for shade on hot summer days, but he failed to notice something shiny in the middle of his path and before he knew it he came face first to the ground, his book sliding away on impact. At first he was confused and looked to see what had caused his fall, his eyes were blown wide at the sight he was met with, steel teeth were dug sharply into his leg as blood gushed from the freshly made wound and at once, pain crashed into him and he screamed. He hadn’t felt the pain, mainly because of the shock, but the first glance at his own blood snapped his mind back to reality and tears filled his eyes, he struggled to free his leg but that only caused more agony as the teeth dug deeper into his muscle, after a few attempts he stopped and simply sobbed, the pain becoming overbearing as the harshness of the trap remained rooted in him. Eventually, he grew faint, the amount of panic and blood he had lost mixing together to create of perfect recipe for sleep but if it wasn’t for the occasional snap of a twig or rustle of a bush he would’ve been out cold, he couldn’t afford to fall asleep now when his life was on the line and he was so unprotected.

He wished he would’ve told Mabel were he went or someone at least, he had no hope of getting out of here. More importantly, what was he suppose to do in a situation like this? Humans usually never go into the forest, much less lay traps out but he had heard some rumors of someone moving into an abandoned cabin somewhere deep within the woods of Gravity Falls but never imagined he’d be ensnared by one of their traps someday. Right now he had to focus on not falling asleep, which was very hard to do, but his anxiety and adrenaline rush seemed to help make the task less of a challenge but as time wore on the challenged posed to be too great for him to continue. He was scared and desperate, he didn’t know how long he had been lying there in wait for help that probably wouldn’t ever come, his hope was starting to drain and he wondered if he would ever see Mabel again or any of his family for that matter. He wiped at his eyes, which had stopped the waterworks a while ago, and whimpered. He felt useless and utterly defeated, Dipper didn’t dare look at his injured leg, his fur was matted with dirt and blood and he swore he could see bone the last time he looked. He truly felt alone, like this was where he’d spend the remaining time of his life before something came along to finish the job for him. Laying his head in his hands, he thought that if he fell asleep maybe he wouldn’t wake up and be spared anymore pain of the situation, he silently prayed and sent an apology to his twin, today just wasn’t his day and possibly his last.

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When he woke, it was to the sound of a snapping branch, his ears flicked up in alert and his human half shot up. Eyes darting to locate the source of the noise and the reason for the breaking twig, he was met with a figure of some sort walking right up towards his current location and he panicked. He didn’t want to die just yet, he had a whole life ahead of him! His breathing became erratic and knew he had given himself away but what was the point? He couldn’t run and his horns weren’t very threatening so he couldn’t defend himself even if his leg wasn’t trapped. The foliage parted and revealed what looked like a human, blonde hair styled to one side and black hair shaved on the other side, he wore an eyepatch over his left eye and had boots that went up right under the knee, they were laced up tightly and tucked into them was dark denim jeans, a yellow dress shirt with a black vest and a bowtie adored their torso, if the situation had been different, Dipper would’ve thought the hunter was quite charming and well-dressed but he currently found the fellow to be very menacing and intimidating. With a gulp, he looked into the stranger’s single eye in fear, hoping that his fate be quick and pain free.

The hunter waltzed over with confidence, expression unreadable as he squatted down to get a better look at the cervitaur, with a small grin he spoke with an air of calmness and certainty. “You seem to be stuck in my trap.”

Dipper flinched at the words, the gun strapped to the hunter’s back only fueling his fear as he watched the man like a hawk. The stranger seemed to be assessing the extent of his own injuries and that made him both a little relieved and a little frantic, what was he planning to do with him? He decided to speak, attempting to keep his voice from wavering but the longer he felt the other’s stare on him the more nervous he grew. “C-Can-.. Can you help me, please?”

The hunter seemed surprised by his request but nodded, moving slowly towards the trap to not spook the cervitaur any further, Dipper quickly looked away. Whatever was going to happened he didn’t want to see any of it, but sure enough he could feel the metal teeth being pulled out of his flesh and he choked back a scream, biting his lip and digging his nails into the earth below to control himself and the pain by breathing heavily through his nose. He felt a soft touch on his flank once it was over and turned to see the man once again examine his wounds, the new gentleness was a nice change from the rough pain and he found himself relaxing into the touch, feeling a wave of rest and gratitude for the stranger. “Thank you.”

“This is a pretty bad cut, It’s gonna need some close attention. You’re gonna have to come with me, kid.” Dipper froze, his heart thumping so loud across his chest that he was sure any creature could hear it within a 10 mile radius, but he looked at the hunter’s calm and collected expression and found himself nodding permission. If he were to be realistic, he was hyper aware of the pain shooting throughout his system and the warm blood trickling down his matted fur and staining the grass below, he’d die from a bigger creature getting to him or from blood loss before his sister found him or he managed to walk back to his home. There was no way he’d survive without this stranger’s help, maybe the Axolotl was looking out for him and purposely sent this one to be his guardian, if he was more conscious then maybe the thought wouldn’t have made as much sense as it had in that moment. The very last thing he remembered before passing out from the terrifying experience, was that concerned expression morphing into a twisted smile. But that could’ve been his mind playing wicked tricks on him again, who knows.

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Bill carried the small cervitaur, somewhat awkwardly, to his home. This was quite the catch! And such a gullible and helpless one too. He couldn’t believe his luck, maybe he’d turn this one’s hide into a rug or blanket, the horns were pathetic. Not big enough for decoration or any sort of selling but the amount of meat he could get off the creature would be enough to keep him fed for a long time, maybe he’d even have some extra to sell. He could get even more if he waited until the thing grew a bit more, with that busted leg it’d ruin any sort of hide he’d be trying to make and make the meat plain horrible, it’d be in his best interests to wait it out before he made any sort of move forward. He just hoped he could keep the monster in his home long enough, Bill was willing to lock it up if it meant that’d it wouldn’t run off anywhere. The last thing he needed was the other monsters to be put on alert about his arrival. That would make catchings a whole lot harder.

Soon he arrived at his house and kicked the door open, his boots making a soft thump whenever he stepped across the polished wood, and he carefully set the cervitaur down on his couch. The wound was bleeding profusely, if he didn’t act quick he was positive the creature wouldn’t make it to see the sun rise, luckily being a hunter one has a surplus of medical supplies everywhere. There was no telling how many bandages, needles, drugs, and other things he had and used from past experiences in his profession, it’d just be plain stupid to not have such things at the ready for situations that he might get into. Bill was thankful for the first-aid kit lounging on the table like a gift sent from the heavens above, he took it and immediately got to work on stitching up the brunette’s injury, he was also tremendously grateful that the boy was passed out or this would’ve made things a whole lot harder and more difficult.

It was quite the nasty cut, but thankfully, it didn’t server anything important. It’d take a while before full weight could be added to it, which was perfect for the blonde, with the approaching winter winds and chilly climate he was almost positive he would be able to keep the cervitaur stationary until he was able to make a proper move. With Bill’s careful and steady hands, patching up the wound only took an hour and a half and with the stitching job he’d done, the scar wouldn’t be that noticeable in a few years time. Once it was dressed and covered with a generous amount of ointment, peroxide and bandages, he was okay with leaving the brunette to rest in favor of getting something to eat, after all that work it was only natural he’d be hungry. Moving into the kitchen, he prepared a simple meal, the day wasn’t over yet and he still had to get some fire wood for tonight plus start up a stock when winter rolled around. As a hunter, work was never done and often left one tired for majority of the day, and it was no different for Bill. Though he preferred the serenity of the woods and loved the everyday challenge to survive, and was far away from any annoying people and the loud, bustling noises brought with city life. The forest would always be his home, and it was always a place where he could fit in, his more violent impulses connecting closely with one of an animal’s or just a wild entity. It was just the place someone like him belonged. Even though he had lived most of his life in isolation, the blonde was very cunning and intelligent, he didn’t attend school but he loved to read. During the winter when the snow closed everything in their homes, he curled up by his fireplace with a book and finally got the time to relax and catch up on much needed sleep. Winter was both a fun time and a very trying time, Bill both loathed and adored it, like he did with most things.

For tonight, he decided to settle with making some vegetable soup, he guessed the herbivore wouldn’t like to wake up to the smell of meat and he was alright with that. Truth be told, he should include more greens in his diet and maybe with the new ‘project’ could assist him in doing so since that was primarily all the other ever ate. With the extra mouth to feed, Bill would have to gather more items for the winter which meant more time working and possibly less time to rest, not to mention all winter he’d have to keep a close eye on the furry-freeloader. That was fine, he could put up with it if it meant he profited of it in the end, and maybe the extra company would be nice. Eating his small meal, Bill thought about his next move and what he should do first with the fluff ball in his home, hopefully the other wouldn’t pester him and make his job even harder by having to hold his tongue. Patience was never his virtue, especially about things that he considered lowly or redundant. His mind wondered about all the endless possibilities and scenarios that could arise with the new living situation, and the ideas carried on with him throughout his work in collecting some wood from the rotten trees. The usual task took a little longer because of his distracted mind and his cuts were less precise, didn’t matter, it would be burned anyway. The nights were always surprisingly cool, the small amount he gathered should do enough to last throughout the night. Returning once more into his cabin, Bill kicked his boots off with a relieved sigh, hopefully now he could take some time for himself. After he started a small flame in his fireplace, the human went to the passed out creature.

It seemed that the creature wasn’t going to wake anytime soon so the blonde decided to get to sleep, the work day tomorrow would be very busy. He soundlessly walked up the stairs and into his room, slipping his eyepatch off and stripping himself of his garments, he prepared for some well-deserved sleep. Once his head hit the pillow and he closed his eyes, it wasn’t hard to get comfortable and fall into a dreamless sleep.

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There was a small beating against the water followed by the sound of panicked murmurs, brown hair flickering as the girl swam in circles on the surface, calling. Her brother hadn’t come home for hours and it was getting dark, terribly vicious creatures always lurked around at nighttime and prowled for prey, both her and her brother knew this very well. He never lost track of time like this, something had to have happened, her heart was screaming so and her mind was swarming with flashes of gore. What if she was too late? What had happened to her beloved sibling? Just the mere thought was enough to bring tears to her eyes.

“Dipper!” Mabel called out again, desperation creeping into her tone as she pushed her human half out the water to be seated on the shore. There wasn’t a whole lot of time left to search, she didn’t want to stop but what help was she to her brother if she was dead or injured? None. But that didn’t mean she wouldn’t rest until the last amount of light had drained from the sky, she prayed to whatever God was out there to watch over and protect her brother, she would cling onto the hope that he was still alive.

“Dipper!” Again, she was met with no answer.

 

“Dipper!! Dipper, please. Answer me!” No response.

When a loud snarl was heard, Mabel silenced her calls, fins quivering. She looked up at the sky and watched as the last bit of sun slipped away to sink into the horizon, a loud howl rang throughout the entire forest that identified the change in lighting, the night had officially begun and so had tonight’s hunt. There wasn’t anything more she could do besides return home empty-handed, and it stung at her heart fiercely. Her Grunkle would know what to do, he always did in dire situations. Before any creatures could get to her, she dove back into the cool waters and swam as fast as she could to the mystery shack. With her powerful and long tail, she made it there within rushed minutes, panting as she surfaced. The house had a section that opened up above the waters strictly for her to come in and out of, it made it easier to have shelter and co-exist with her family in the same space.

“Mabel, sweetie, are you alright?” Was the worried voice of her uncle then it hardened, a strong sense of protection and anger flowing from the gargoyle as he spoke next. “If something snapped at you or tried to take you I swear I’ll-“

“No! Grunkle Stan, It’s Dipper! I can’t find him anywhere!! He didn’t visit me at all or run past the ponds or streams or rivers, I even checked the lake. He’s completely poofed, I asked Candy and Grenda but even they haven’t seen him around the woods.” She rushed out barely even stopping to breath, her heart was pounding against her ribs and her gills had flared open to show her distress but the soft shush from the elder kept her from going into a full on panic.

“Pumpkin, I’m sure your dorky sibling probably got his nose stuck in a book, he probably hunkered down somewhere for the night. Don’t worry, I’ll find him. You just stay in the shack until I get back, okay?”

The mermaid looked ready to argue, though maybe she was jumping the gun and making assumptions too soon, maybe Dipper really had gotten too distracted and had to find refuge somewhere. He’d be found and returned home shortly, there was nothing to worry about, with a heavy sigh, the pink scaled creature nodded with a soft smile. “Thank you Grunkle Stan.”

The gargoyle ruffled her hair before walking towards the door, once he was outside he stretched his wings, he hadn’t flown in a long time. Sucking in a breath of air, he beat his stone wings once, then twice, then a third time before he was up and in the air. The first few minutes were rocky but he soon got the hang of it and was flying through the night without a problem, he was one of the monsters that was better at night, his eyesight could be damaged by the suns rays and his skin absorbed all the heat. In the night it was cooler and darker, making it just perfect for his kind to be to and about, his tough skin and sharp claws made an excellent defense for all who dared to oppose him. He would find Dipper and bring him home, dumb kid made even himself a bit worried, there couldn’t be anymore mistakes like this in the future. As he soared above the trees he didn’t once spot the familiar brown cervitaur fleeing from something or attempting to make it’s way home, with his wingspan he couldn’t get a closer look for a more detailed investigation. Stan growled in annoyance but kept his search up, the kid had to be off somewhere. He wasn’t sure if he could handle returning home without Mabel’s brother. He would get Dipper home, no matter what it took.

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Warm sunlight streamed into the windows, hitting the sleeping blonde’s face and effectively working as a gentle alarm to remind him to wake up, with a small groan said blonde got to his feet and prepared to start the day. As soon as his bed was dressed and covered to look presentable, he walked over to his bathroom and checked his appearance in the mirror. His hair was tussled all over the place from sleep, and the horrid looking scar was running jagged over his left eye, splitting the eyebrow permanently. The usual black pupil wasn’t ordinary, in fact, quite the opposite. Bill was blind in that eye and often had a hard time allowing it to be view by anyone other then himself, he wasn’t self-conscious about how it looked or what people might think, he was more concerned about how vulnerable it made him. Of course with time, he learned how to cope with the lost of his eye but there was always a ghostly pain that loved to toy with him at random times of the day, the scar rose from the skin except towards the lower lid where it sank more down then to protrude up. Now that he had a guest staying with him, he’d have to be more careful about showing it, the very last thing he needed was prying questions or the possible threat. Who knows what that certvitaur was even like, or was capable of, he didn’t want to take the chance. If something were to come at him on his blind side, it was a major threat to his entire being, naturally he wouldn’t take this lightly or with ease. Repressing a sigh, Bill carried on with his morning and took a very brisk shower, the warm water cascading down his back and relaxing the tense muscles. He would’ve liked to stay in there longer but duty called.

Hopping out of the shower, he got dressed in his usual attire. Shirt, vest, jeans, and his signature eyepatch before he raked a hand through his damp hair. Deciding he looked decent, Bill exited his bathroom and made sure to not let his feet drag as he descended the stairs. The cervitaur was awake and his eyes were watching the hunter very closely as he came down, at first the blonde didn't notice the stare until he felt the pair of eyes burn into his sleeves.

“Good morning, I see you’re up early,” Bill greeted casually. His tone chipper and kind, easily lulling the other into a false sense of security, the more trusted he was the easier it would be to achieve what he wanted. “How’re you feeling?”

“Fine, thank you but..W-Who are you?” Came the rather squeaky reply, Dipper had meant for it to sound more threatening or at least more stable but he couldn’t help the small waver in his voice, he was nervous and in a stranger’s house with a busted back-leg. Anyone would have more the just a few questions and do exactly the same in his situation. He was very thankful that the stranger at least seemed nice enough, maybe the stories and fork lore about humans and hunters were mistaken, he really hoped so but just incase they turned out to be true the boy had to at least find out this handsome blonde’s weakness. One could never know when it could come in handy.

“Ah yes, where are my manners?” Bill chuckled, his grin wide and bright as he stooped down so they were eye level, extending his hand out for the other to shake. “Name’s Bill Cipher, but you can just call me Bill. And what can I call you?”

“Dipper, uh Dipper Pines.” The brunette eyed the hand closely and took a sniff, nothing seemed or smelled deadly, and from his knowledge humans weren’t venomous or secreted any form of poison. Moving cautiously he placed his smaller hand into Bill’s, now he could associate a name with a face, and watched as the hand shake was completed. What an odd little gesture, must’ve been something from the human culture, the sudden snicker broke him out of his thoughts.

“Have you never done a handshake before, Dipper?”

“Um- No. I-I’m sorry.” He answered back unsure and suddenly embarrassed, he wasn’t sure exactly why but the blonde made it seem like he was missing the absolute obvious here, and he certainly didn’t think he was.

“It’s a formal greeting, like saying hello or hey but with a hand gesture.” There was a mischievous twinkle glimmering in that iris but it was lost in the other’s new found understanding, gripping onto Bill’s hand, he gave it a firm shake. Nodding slightly to confirm to himself some level of confidence, maybe this little ball of fur could be amusing. “So Dipper, are you hungry?"

Chapter Text

“It’s a formal greeting, like saying hello or hey but with a hand gesture.” There was a mischievous twinkle glimmering in that iris but it was lost in the other’s new found understanding, gripping onto Bill’s hand, he gave it a firm shake. Nodding slightly to confirm to himself some level of confidence, maybe this little ball of fur could be amusing. “So Dipper, are you hungry?”

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The cervitaur hadn’t noticed his own apparent hunger, from all the events that previous night, it would only be odd if he wasn’t hungry. His body had to replenish itself and needed a lot more nutrients to combat his injury, but what if this hunter planned to poison him? Nonsense, if the blonde wanted him dead then he would be dead by now, and not sitting comfortable on a very soft couch with his wound expertly dressed and treated. The idea was silly but still carried on in his mind, it wasn’t that Dipper isn’t grateful for the help, he is more so then he could express, but he was also scared. Where even was he? What was his family doing, did they know about his whereabouts? He didn’t think so, the could pose as a huge warning, or maybe it could come in handy? That is if the hunter really wanted to try anything, but Dipper both doubted and expected that to happen-

“Hey kid, do you want some food or not? I have work to do and as much as I’d love to look at you, I can't do it for an hour.” Bill commented, his tone laced with a sort of playfulness that didn’t sting the way an insult would, in fact it was more teasing then anything.

Blinking, Dipper flushed, ears pinning to the side of his head. He hadn’t meant to drift off in thought and leave the human waiting, deciding to take a blind leap of faith, he nodded his head as a yes. If he wanted to make it out of here quicker, he’d have to eat to rebuild his strength, and luckily food was being offered without having to scavenge for it. Of course, one would naturally jump at the opportunity. “Yes, please.”

“Manners, I like that.” Bill chuckled, his hand coming up to ruffle the other’s messy hair but stopped and prodded when he felt the nubs. Boy, this kid really wasn’t threatening or anywhere close to finishing growing his horns. It was almost embarrassing, but this seemed to fit the brunette better then grown antlers. The big, innocent doe eyes, bashful and timid exterior, clumsy but observant. It was pretty cute, at least he thought so. Releasing the other’s hand, failing to notice just how long the handshake had lasted, the blonde got up and went to the fireplace. Grabbing his poker he gently stoked the remaining embers, they weren’t needed but it was pleasant to have incase Dipper or he got cold during their morning, when the bodies had yet to fully awake to warm themselves.

“Your-..hair,” Said creature spoke out almost awkwardly. “Why is it wet? I don’t scent any rain.”

Bill felt a tiny grin form across his lips as he let the poker rest against its holster, the cotton-tailed deer really had no idea about anything humans did. The blonde entered his kitchen to throw together some breakfast, for both the brunette and himself, as he got the ingredients he would need out, Bill answered. “I showered, I’ll have to show you sometime. Basically we’ve invented a way to get water whenever we want strictly to cleanse ourselves, sounds pretty neat huh?”

Working with the food, he missed Dipper’s glorified expression. Having access to water, not only to survive on but to include other activities with it, sounded too good to be true. How did the humans manipulate such a free spirit like water to do as they pleased? His own fascination and curiosity would get the best of him, he could already feel it rising and spreading throughout his body. Mabel knew about how reckless her sibling could be when something sparks his interests, having interests in a human was asking for an unfortunate end to come.

“That’s amazing!” Dipper gushed, his ears perking up and there was an honest twinkle in his big brown eyes, Bill only spare a glance at it. He figured since the twin was half human, he could consume some of the same things he himself could, like eggs and toast. And if the cervitaur didn’t approve of the small meal, he’d have to tough it out until the blonde returned from his work.

“Suppose it is, now I want to check up on your little scratch there before I head off. Sound okay to you?” He asked, heating up the stove and setting a medium sized pan onto it waiting for it to get hot, he also grabbed a few slices of bread and set them into the toaster.

“Y-Yeah sure, but what is all that?” Dipper tilted his head to the side slightly as he asked, ears flickering once as he switched from looking at the many devices to the blonde human.

“Oh, this? It’s stuff so I can cook my food.” He explained simply, taking eggs out of the carton before cracking one open and letting its contents drain out to simmer onto the pan, earning an enthused gasp from the creature.

“It’s like fire!” The cervitaur announced absolutely astounded, which earned a chuckle form the hunter. The kid wasn’t too bright, but he was pretty funny, and adorable. Bill found himself comparing the brunette to a newborn puppy exploring the world around it for the first time.

“I guess you could say that.” The blonde snickered, picking up a spatula to move the eggs around the pan so it wouldn’t burn, he wasn’t the best or fanciest cook but he made enough and it tasted pretty decent. After years of living alone, he had to learn to cook. At first, his attempts weren’t horrible but it did take some practice to be able to make complete dinners and more filling lunches, breakfast was always fairly easy. Bill was a very quick learner, he could pick up on almost anything with a focused mind and about a half month’s time. Once the eggs had finished cooking completely, and he answered a few more questions about his stove and fridge, the hunter placed the toast onto the plate and walked towards the brunette with a humble smile. Gently handing it to him, he left only for a second to serve himself before returning, only to find that the other was starring at his food in… interest? Curiosity? Hesitance? God, there was a lot written across that kid’s face.

“It won’t bite you back if you eat it, you know.” He spoke ending his sentence with a low chuckle, taking a bite of his toast, as he gestured to Dipper’s plate. “It’s wheat, entirely herbivore friendly. It’s just crispier.”

“Oh.”

Bill watched the other take a bite, Dipper’s brows scrunching together as he slowly munched on the toast, he must’ve liked it. With the way he took a bigger, less hesitant mouthful, and beamed after he had swallowed his first piece, it was easy to guess. The hunter scrapped the eggs into his mouth and finished his breakfast quickly, there wasn’t enough daylight to be spending it inside when the colder season was coming around the corner. And though it was fun to test and see all the different reactions the monster had, he needed to get a start with his day. Setting the now empty plate aside, Bill cleared his throat to capture the other’s attention before addressing his next movements. “I’m going to check it now and clean it up, so don’t freak out and kick me or something.”

The comment was spoken as a joke, only a hint of seriousness to the hunter’s words as he waited for some sort of confirmation to continue. Earning a very small nod, Bill took the green light to slowly and gently unwrap the bandages around the injury. Dipper pointedly shifted his eyes from his leg to the focused blonde, he didn’t want to catch sight of his mangled leg truthfully, but he also didn’t want to just leave the man before him unsupervised. Even though Dipper didn’t know how to dress or treat anything besides the occasional scratch, he didn’t want the other to do something entirely unnecessary. After examining it for a minute, the hunter sighed which made the cervitaur get progressively nervous the longer the other remained in silence.

“I’m going to be honest and say that because of how deep the cut is, it’s gonna need to be cleaned at least twice or three times a day and you obviously shouldn’t move it around too much. Stay off of it and don’t try and pick at it, in order to clean it I’ll have to use hydrogen peroxide which will sting a bit but if you want to steer clear of an infection you’re gonna have to tough it out.” Bill turned to get the earlier discarded first-aid kit, taking out the half-emptied bottle of peroxide to use.

He easily picked up the other’s nervousness and anxious flickering of his ears and tail, he mentally groaned, did this kid seriously have no back bone at all? It was just a little peroxide! But then again, not everybody enjoyed pain like he did and not everybody has had to deal with the amounts of injuries he’s had to, Bill never really considered these things. He figured he’d have to appear friendly and kind, so he put on his best apologetic smile before speaking. “Hey, it’ll only feel like a small pinch, okay? You’ll barely even register it and it’ll be over with before ya know it.”

The brunette swallowed, starring at the bottle for a good minute before shakily sighing as his form of a continue. The hunter opened the cap with an audible pop, resting his hand above the stitching before hastily dousing it with as much as he could manage before Dipper felt the actual sting. At first, how cold the liquid was made him just slightly uncomfortable for a moment and then the sting of the cleansing set in and he gasped, on instinct trying to pull away. The gentle hand Bill had over the other, for a second, held him down before it released it’s hold on his leg, Dipper didn’t move it too far because of the small ache the action created. The blonde didn’t think that was enough but of course he wasn’t going to push his luck, later on tonight he’d give cleaning it another go but for now he just added some ointment before wrapping it up again.

“There, as it heals, it’ll bother you less and less. I promise, but until then you’re just gonna have to bear with me. Deal?” Bill asked and raised his brow in question, almost tempting the other to try and refute against his kind act. Dipper only nodded solemnly, returning to munching on whatever portion of food he hadn’t eaten yet. With a tiny, inaudible groan, the blonde got up and walked over towards the door. Stopping to sit on a small stool surrounded by boots and other shoes, the monster watched out of curiosity at what the human was doing, his nose twitching as he scented the air to try and pick up anything dangerous. When he picked up nothing, the brunette stared as the hunter slipped his.. it wasn’t a hoof, what was he suppose to call- whatever it was that the other had in place of hooves and backlegs. He’d have to ask about it sometime, it was definitely strange. How come he hadn’t pick up on this before? Maybe it was because he was so distracted, he’d have to be more observant in the future.

The human put his whatever’s into the strange material, using what looked to be twine or some sort of small and thin vine, to tie and lace it up. It went so far as just below the knee, maybe it was a form of protection since the human didn’t have a protective coat of fur anywhere around them. It didn’t make sense, if humans could manipulate water to do as they pleased then they shouldn't be able to craft other things in place of their lackings. The blonde moved on to do his other leg in the same process, sitting up straight to grab at his gun and place it onto his lap, seeming like he was examining it. Dipper watched with further interested as the other fiddled with it and loaded it- or did he clean it? He didn’t really know or could tell with how fast the other’s hands worked, the task was done in a mere moment before Bill was slinging the gun onto his back and standing up.

“Where are you g-going?” The cervitaur finally found his voice to speak, he didn’t really want to be left alone in this strange location and house, was it even safe? Probably, or probably not. It was natural to not want to be left completely alone while he was severely injured, at least, he thought so.

“I have a lot of work to get done, and not a lot of time to do it. I’ll stop by real quick around noon and then head off again, but I usually get back at around sunset. Occasionally, an hour or two past that depending.” The human reached out for the door, deciding to give a warm smile to the nervous deer resting on his couch, jeez was this kid was needy. “You’ll be fine. Just take a nap or something.”

And with that, he turned and opened the door, leaving without another word or giving time for any other response Dipper might want to give. The creature sighed heavily, he was still a little tired, maybe a nap wouldn’t be so bad after all. And without the threat of the hunter possibly looming over him, it felt a little bit better, made him feel a little more at ease. Getting himself comfortable, the teen laid down and his eyes slipped shut, successfully drowning out the quiet sounds of the forest as he fell into a peaceful sleep.
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Bill silently walked through the undergrowth of the woods, planting his feet lightly, making no sound as he snooped around. He went by and checked the traps he had in the surrounding area, unfortunately it seemed something big had set them all off and had stolen his bait. Irritating, but no matter. He could reset them but he’d need to get more bait, groaning he could already tell this was going to be one long day, and afterwards he had to take care of some dumb hybrid deer-human. Wonderful. More work, more stressful, draining, work. This had better be rewarding and worth it in the end, because if it wasn’t Bill was going to scream. Finding a sudden thirst, he went towards the bank to get a drink after making sure no monsters or creatures were around. Taking a knee, he cupped his hands into the water and slowly brought them up to take a long drink. It was refreshing but he wanted more, so he repeated the process. The hunter had forgotten to get something to drink because of that damned distraction with a name. He grumbled, sighing as he stared down at his reflection in the water.

“What have you gotten yourself into this time, Cipher? Let’s just hope this day doesn’t get shittier by that furried meat sack ruining my cabin.”

There was the sound of a splash. It rang out loud and clear through the soft chirping of the birds and soft rustle of autumn leaves, earning the hunter’s full attention.

He backed away slowly from the water, hand going instinctively to the sling that held his gun, drawing it over his shoulder and into his awaiting hands. Finger dancing along the trigger as his eyes scanned the rippling water for any sign as to what disturbed it. Not budging for nearly ten minutes, the hunter retracted his finger and relaxed, it could’ve been a fish or something from the trees falling into the cool, blue liquid. Retreating back to the shadows of the canopy, he failed to notice the brown head of hair that rose from the waters to watch him closely, pink scales shimmering under the surface. Before she could possibly be seen or caught, the mermaid slipped silently back into the cool depths, going completely overlooked.

There was a lot of walking to be done, and stalking, and chopping. Bill had to make sure everything was fully stocked, or more so then his usual definition of fully stocked. He went to the hidden, dense part of the trees where it melted into a lowly meadow towards the flattest part of land where his garden lay, the cabin and smaller shed coming into view the longer he walked. Crossing the distance, he went into his shed and rummaged around, there was no way he could reset all his traps with how little his arms could carry. Grabbing an old, dirty bag the human stuffed as much as he dared into it before setting off again. It was dangerous to leave a scent trail, especially with the now added weight to his being, if he needed to run then there was a high chance that he’d get a chunk bitten out.

Returning to where his closer traps lay, he carefully reset each one and hid it as best as he could before moving onto the next one. Once the ones in the area was done, he moved on to the next few traps he had which was further out of the way then the ones before, it was a semi-long hike towards hillier regions of the forest. It seems that these traps only got knocked a bit offset, as if the damned creature or monster that did this ran out of time to steal his bait and decided to make it obvious what dangers lay afoot. Holding back an annoyed groan, Bill had to find different locations for the traps he had, it wasn’t even time to hunt yet and already he was growing tired and frustrated.

Chapter Text

It seems that these traps only got knocked a bit offset, as if the damned creature or monster that did this ran out of time to steal his bait and decided to make it obvious what dangers lay afoot. Holding back an annoyed groan, Bill had to find different locations for the traps he had, it wasn’t even time to hunt yet and already he was growing tired and frustrated.

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Eye on his target, Bill remained perfectly still as his victim grunted while it moved into his range. With its size and weight, the blonde was more then certain that he would be able to eat for a solid week and a half solely alone from this next victory. This monster was known for how territorial it was, it was incredibly dangerous, of course with it’s long and sharp claws used mainly for defense and attacks. Bill wasn’t about to let it roam freely, there was no telling the amount of damage it could and possibly would do if it ever found him, besides, the damned thing hunted for sport and not always to survive. Wasting the precious animals and meat, that made the blonde upset because then it meant he had less to eat. Sucking in a silent breath, finger ghosting over the trigger, he waited for the exact moment his opening would reveal itself. It wasn’t long before he had his shot lined up perfectly, his finger twitches before hastily pulling the trigger and a loud bang echoed throughout the forest, birds startled and flew off squawking a warning to all in the area as the surrounding creatures did the same. The large body he targeted fell down with an audible thump, twitching and shaking before the nerves rested and the creature was officially dead.The human only ever needed one shot to kill his targets, he was far too practiced and experienced to really need another, if he had an audience he would be certainly celebrated for his hawk-like eye.

Walking out, boots crunching the leaves of the darker shade from within deep of the woods, the blonde squatted down to get a close examination of his kill. The monster seemed healthy enough, no sign of any sicknesses or parasites, no other wounds either so infections could be ruled out. It’s skin would make a lovely blanket or possible rug, there were options and he could make a good buck off of it if he so wished. Taking some old rope from his pack, Bill tied the wrists and legs together, hoisting it up and onto his shoulders, before starting the long trek back to his shed. Thankfully, this was his last catch of the day before he had to prepare the meat and skin to be either sold or eaten later on, but then he had the collecting wood job afterwards. Groaning softly to himself, Bill was glad he managed to reset and relocate all of his traps in good time. With a quick glance to the sky, he knew it was getting close to midday and he’d have to return to eat, and feed his newly deemed guest. God, he prayed that the cervitaur wouldn’t create anymore work for him to do.

After an hour had passed, Bill felt the muscles in his shoulders strain, this kill was much heavier then what he was originally expecting. It’s dead weight seemed to only get heavier as time ticked by, at least he was only within another hour or a half’s journey to his destination, then he could rest his shoulders. Keeping his footsteps as light as he could, the blonde quickened his pace by lengthening his strides until he was able to drop off the corpse by his shed with a sigh. He threw on a small, old, and dirtied apron before picking out the correct knife to use and got straight to work on skinning the animal and extracting the edible meat. The size of the monster and the amount of work he had to use tired out his arms, he hadn’t made such a kill like this in a long time, he’d have to do better and work his body a little bit more, surely after this though his body would strengthen and toughen out. If there was a catch just like this or bigger then he’d be ready for it. Maybe he worked a little past midday, he hadn’t meant to but he’d gotten so lost in his work. The skin still needed time to air out before he could do anything else to it so now seemed to be the perfect time to stop. Once he moved he really felt how stiff his shoulders were, how his muscles seem to protest at his own stress and work, grinding his teeth together, he pushed himself forward. Cleaning up after such a process took a while but it needed to be done, no need to attract diseases or bugs, worse case scenario was it attracted another nasty monster. Once everything was done, or as done as his body would allow, Bill went into the cabin.

 

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The cervitaur perked up wearily, sleep clear in his dazzled eyes as he sat up to look at the hunter, odd. He didn’t remember the blonde looking so dirty, his clothes were even wrinkled, boots caked with mud and something hastily scrubbed off. Dipper could tell whatever the other had been doing, it wasn’t easy, the hunter looked tired. Really tired, he felt a little bad, here he was sleeping and resting peacefully while the blonde strained to do his tasks. He needed to remember that this man had done questionable things, he shouldn’t feel bad or like he needed to partake in any responsibilities. It wasn’t his place nor was it required. Catching the stare the brunette was giving, Bill paused and made an effort to show a pleased appearance, like seeing the creature washed away some of his exhaustion. It was an act to show a friendly persona, and it seemed to work. The other look surprised, maybe startled or bashful, as they opened their mouth to speak. “O-oh, um, hello.”

The blonde snickered, this was almost too easy, playing along the human smiled warmly. “Hey, kid. Work up an appetite?”
Dipper looked a little embarrassed but nodded his head, if he hadn’t done anything all day and was hungry then there’s no telling the kind of appetite the hunter had made. He watched Bill walk into the kitchen, gathering, rooting around, busying himself with yet another task. He wanted to help, but he couldn’t, and he was almost envious about the other’s ability to roam freely. Whether his emotions had tipped the scale in his decision making, Dipper found himself asking, the silence was awkward and a little too heavy for him to handle. “What have you been doing?” He was ready to regret asking, the man was a hunter, he shouldn’t have asked. What if he was just being a nuisance by asking and taking every resource the human had, he couldn’t blame the other if he though of him as being idiotic. All he saw was Bill, continuing making something, he didn’t scowl or look particularly upset with the question.

“Working,” The human answered simply. His voice was soft sounding, not polite or motherly but considerate, a hint of relief spread across the younger’s face. It felt good to not have his ideas come true, why must he rush to such horrible conclusions so quickly? “I had to take a long hike, the breeze was nice, but I believe I have a trickster on my hands.” Bill offered conversation, seeming to understand what the other was trying to do and took pity. The topic was light and relaxing, not at all what he was expecting, where was the blood and gore that hung over the hunter like a dark cloud all those rumors told? He started to realize that a lot of what he thought the human to be like wasn’t entirely true, or not yet proven, he wasn't completely willing to give all of his trust. There were still important things he needed to know, just like nature, things could change from clear skies to thunderstorms and heavy rain in a moment’s notice.

“A trickster?” Dipper tilted his head, his eyes widening in silent question, what did that mean? Was he going to solve it by violence, what if the supposed trickster was someone he knew, a friend. A family member, possibly? Mabel and Stan could be really tricky, oh no. Taking notice of the growing concern in the other’s features, Bill thought quickly.

“Yes, they seem to love making me work. Ah, don’t worry too much. I’m sure it was just a fairy, their quite mischievous, once they get bored and lose interest things’ll settle down.” The response seemed to work, Dipper’s worry melting into a softer, more calm expression. Dipper knew of the fairies, they always caused a ruckus, it was what they were infamous for. It made complete sense, besides, Stan never left the shack and Mabel had to stick with the waters. They couldn’t have possibly done such a thing, Wendy had taken to her pack for the winter, Soos couldn’t work in the cold anyway. No way he’d be the culprit, everything was fine. Everyone was fine. “I wondered if they were watching, ya know, giggling to themselves in the shadows.”

Dipper let a grin slip onto his lips, picturing the scenario going down in that exact way: A pouting, distraught Bill overlooking the forest while the fairies hid just out of sight, snickering and chuckling at the human’s efforts to correct their mistakes. It was a nice image, far from the gorey and bloody things he was taught to associate with a killer. “I wouldn’t doubt it, they like a good show.”

Bill held no change in expression, but he was a little shocked internally to hear the natural sounding response. Dipper was usually more timid then that, it seemed that all was going according to his plan, that was great! Great for him at least, it would definitely make things on his side easier, less struggling, less stressing. “Do they, now? I fancy being the guy watching then the one being watched.” He said smoothly, the words rolling off his tongue as if he were talking to an old friend. And naturally the other fell for it, like he did for all of the blonde’s ploys.

“Terribly sorry,” Dipper chuckled. His eyes not as observant this time Bill came around to hand him a plate of food and a drink, the lunch was simple, sandwich with some grapes among other fruits. He sat himself down on the stool by the door for his boots, eating at the table near the couch after he had handed his guest their own plate to eat. At the familiar sight of food, Dipper was less hesitant to consume this time, he knew what everything was and had watched the hunter put it all together, it was safe. “Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it, Dipper.” Bill flashed a smile, though this time the other could see it was more then a little forced, must’ve been all the work he had done. The cervitaur nibbled at the sandwich, it’s taste was pleasant despite how little he knew of the strange human food, but it was entirely vegetarian friendly. Which he was thankful for, though Bill smelled and looked a little different. Maybe he made there’s different on purpose? They both needed and liked different flavors and foods, common logic told him that it wasn’t too big of a deal. But he wanted to ask anyway, he watched as the other took a big chomp out of the food before clearing his throat a little bit and asking.

“So, um, what’s this?” The blonde continued his chewing, picking up his water and sipping it before plucking up a grape, his expression was neutral and kind. It eased Dipper’s anxieties and nerves, to Bill it must’ve been such a dumb question but for him, it was very strange and new, plus he loved to learn. Figuring out how things worked was just Dipper’s strong point, learning and memorizing everything, every pattern in the forest or trees, even the night sky. He’d come to find some stars make the same image etched onto the skin of his forehead, Mabel always said it meant something. She said it was a sign from the ancestors, often she nicknamed him Star Boy in replacement of Dipper. He missed hearing it.

“This is a deer-friendly meal.” Bill commented sarcastically, earning a rolling of eyes from the other before he waved his hand in a snicker, providing a proper explanation after he had his good laugh. “Look, your’s has lettuce, tomato, and other vegan stuff in it. Mine has some meat in it because I need it, alright? Gives me energy, and a light lunch is best before work. Eat too much and ya might puke. Believe me, you don’t want that.” With that out of the way, Bill returned to eating the rest of his sandwich and moved onto the fruits, Dipper noticed some of the livelier and chipper aura that usually hovered over him returned. Like he kicked the tiredness and weariness away, it was relaxing to see. Maybe he was looking at the other too closely, feeling his cheeks heat up when awkward eye contact was barely avoided, he dove into his lunch. Get it together, Dipper!

The hunter wiped his hands clean on his pant leg, he tried not to let his inner annoyance show, did the monsters in that forest really know so little? Things were going his way for once today, at least, it seemed Dipper was warming up to him a bit. Maybe because it was how his tiredness was portrayed, disgusting, he didn’t need the other’s pity. Of course, he needed to worry about the injured leg and needed to seem friendly. His sarcastic response was taken lightly and not to heart, truthfully he had let that one slip and worried if it would’ve been taken like an insult, seeing as it wasn’t made him relieved. Putting on a mask of concern, He briefly explained that he needed to take a look at the other’s wound to make sure it was doing alright. The earlier hesitance returned to Dipper, but he agreed to it and looked away. Weakling.

Bill spared the briefest, simplest glance under the bandages. It was fine and doing well but later on that night he’d need to clean it again, how distasteful. As if the workload would ever shrink, the day’s activities would stretch on forever and only pile high while he slept, or that’s what it seemed to feel like. “Everything looks good here, kiddo, you’re in the clear!” He forced himself to sound happy about the news, his enthusiasm spreading to the creature before him who in turned smiled. They both had a short chat, Bill taking the plates and setting them in the sink to get to later, answering any more worries or concerns or questions the other might have before heading to the door. Off to do more work, yet again. Maybe the second portion of his day would be better, good lord he hoped so.

 

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“Grunkle Stan! Grunkle Stan!” The mermaid chirped and clicked anxiously, slapping her tail against the waters in her section of the opened shack, trying to wake the sleeping gargoyle. Mabel had been at it ever since she had seen that human along her water’s edge, there’s was no doubt in her mind that thing had some part in her brother’s disappearance, or knew of something . She huffed, took in a big gulp as her grills opened up slightly, fins spreading in an almost threatening matter as a loud shrill came from the girl. It seemed to do the trick as said creature lurched into view. “There you are!”

“Mabel, sweetie, you can’t do that! What’re you trying to do, send me into a heart attack?” Stan huffed breathless, only half meaning his words, Mable simply ignored him as her face hardened.

“I saw him, Grunkle Stan! The-the Human! He had a gun strapped to him, and he was mumbling something I’m sure it had something to do with Dipper!” The words were spoken quickly, earning a stunned look across her grunkle’s stone face.

“Well-uh, Did you let him see you? Do you know where he even went?” Stan pried, a certain wave of protectiveness surging through him strongly. He wasn’t going to let something else take another member of his family, and he’d kill or shred any who dared. No matter who they were or their specie. Human or not, Monster or not, no one messed with his family.

“No, no he didn’t see me. And, no I didn’t see where he was going but I can talk to Paz! She could get someone to do something, someone on the job! While you’re out at night, someone could do something in the day, Dipper’ll be found in no time!!” The brunette spoke loudly, boldly, a fire burning bright in her eyes as she relaid the newly formed plan out to her trusted Grunkle.

“Sure, that could work. But be safe, pumpkin. I don’t want you to get lost too. It’s dangerous out there and by tonight, I promise you, we’ll find something. Your brother will be home soon.” The older reassured, patting the wet hair on his niece, she was always a quick thinker. Cunning, fast, and reliable. But she was just as reckless as her sibling, and that worried him. With the events going on, it seemed like whatever got Dipper would surely take Mabel, she was everyone’s sunshine, loved throughout the forest. He prayed no one would take her away too, she just didn’t deserve that.

“Great! I’ll go tell Paz!! I’ll be back quicker then two slaps of a sea loin’s tail!” Mabel smiled wide and bright, waving before turning to create a big splash in the water, then she was gone under the water’s surface. Leaving the old monster to sigh in silent concern. Mabel wouldn’t give up, and sooner or later if they couldn’t find Dipper, he was afraid this could break her. That she would no longer be a warm, confident ray of sunshine. It hurt his heart just to think about it. He hoped the ancestors would send guidance and grant them both pity, and wherever Dipper was, whoever he was with, Stan prayed they were watching over him too.

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Meanwhile, The girl was rushing under the depths of the water, tail pushing and swishing. A strong jet stream trailing behind her enough to rattle the plants and fish resting calmly as she passed them, Pacifica was a good friend, a trusted friend. She would help, Mabel had grown close to her over the months, Pacifica wasn’t as mean or cruel as people made her out to be, nor how she presented herself. When the water thinned out, and temperatures rose making the cool blue a warmer clearer sight, Mabel shot up into the air. This part of the forest was rocky, meant for the nagas and gorgons to sun themselves on and easily gather their food because of its exquisite location. Spotting the blonde, the mermaid gently swam closer. Her presence was sensed by the gorgon’s excellent sense of smell. Slitted eyes opened, the body they belonged to pushed up and leaned over closer to the waters.

“Mabel? What’s up, I didn’t expect to see you.” Pacifica spoke, looking around to make sure that no others were around. Nagas, gorgons and mermaids didn’t get along, they both wanted this spot to sunbathe on and neither wanted to agree to let the other have it or share, but it was different with Mabel. And as long as no one else was around, they could be friends and share alone, thankfully Mable had come at the right time.

“I need your help."

Chapter Text

Nagas, gorgons and mermaids didn’t get along, they both wanted this spot to sunbathe on and neither wanted to agree to let the other have it or share, but it was different with Mabel. And as long as no one else was around, they could be friends and share alone, thankfully Mable had come at the right time.

“I need your help.”

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Pacifica blinked, Mabel was starring at her with too many emotions, none of them the usual happy or carefree ones. A hard knot twisted in her stomach, it was just wrong for the twin to look that way, and she wanted to fix it, whatever happened must be deadly serious. It could explain why she hadn’t come around yesterday. “What is it?”

“It’s Dipper, he was taken by that rumored hunter, but it isn’t a rumor. I saw him, Paz. I saw him with a gun! I know he has my brother, but I can’t get on land. Please, help me bring him home!” Mabel took her hand, even the snakes that posed as the other’s blonde hair seemed to be taken aback by her announcement, they all lowered their heads. Hissing silently to one another, sparing glances around the forest, shooting looks at Mabel and Pacifica then to each other. The blonde seemed to be at a loss for words, if this hunter was starting to pick off monsters then who’s to say he wouldn’t head for her next? Or her family, or even Mabel? He had to be stopped. This wasn’t a debate or question, the entire forest needed to know. Since she was a gorgon, it came with perks especially when she had the whole forest’s respect for her.

“I’ll see what I can do to help, just make sure to steer clear of him and not to get too close, okay Mabs? But what- What does the human look like? Did he have any other weapons on him?” The snake heads nodded their approval at the questions, each fanning out to make their owner look bigger, more threatening. They were on high alert already, pronged-tongues shooting out to taste the air for any scent of danger. Pacifica hissed at them to calm down, though they only responded when Mabel reached her hand out to gently stroke one of them on the head, cooing softly to them. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it, but from what I saw he was tall and blonde, but had something covering his eye. He also didn’t have a tail or hooves, no claws either! Just weird little non-hooves? It’s hard to explain. But his fur stands out, blue and yellow and brown, you can’t miss him! The only thing I saw on him was a gun, I’ll spread a warning to all the mermaids about this, we’ll keep watch from the waters while you guys take watch on land or work from the land.” Mabel demanded, her mind coming up with all sorts of conclusions and plans to hurt the one who took her beloved sibling, it’s only when Pacifica interrupted her ramblings did she pause and look up.

“Mabel, I’m not trying to shoot down your idea but, you know the nagas and other gorgons don’t get along well with you sea-dwellers. Who’s to say they even decide to help us? This isn’t solid, or fool-proof! Chances are, we’re most likely to migrate somewhere else.” Pacifica added, disappointment and worry showing up on her face, lips turning to a frown. Her snake friends nodded once more, laying flatly against her head.

“But Paz! If you just tell them that he’s dangerous then they’ll get him! You gorgons are rare, get a bigger monster to protect you and get rid of him!” The twin stubbornly argued, her brows scrunching together to further prove how serious she was on the matter. No one could tell Mabel no once her mind’s been made up, or her brother was in danger.

“Mabs, I want to help you, really! I do! But you know how my parents are, they most likely won’t lift a finger to help, and they’ll know I’ve been talking to you. We’ll both be in serious trouble, hunter or not.” The gorgon’s voce wavered, she didn't want to say goodbye to her friend, she liked Mabel a lot. But she didn’t want to just let Dipper be taken, who knows what that blasted hunter was even doing to him! The woods didn’t need a human thinking he could get away with harming their environment and fellow monsters, he could strike again. Besides, she had met Dipper once before and even though they hadn’t gotten completely along, she cared for the guy. It was clear to see how truly important this was to the female twin. “Maybe I could keep an eye out for him? And say something to one of the guardians about it.”

The mermaid beamed at the offer, a genuine and bright smile turning her lips up, showing off her perfect teeth. Pacifica had to turn to look at the rock beneath her, her sneak heads rubbing themselves against her cheeks as a cover up. Truthfully, going out to search for a hunter was the most terrifying and stupid idea one could ever have, that was asking for death. But if it could help out her friend, and possibly others in the forest, she’d do it. “Oh thank you, Paz! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Mabel launched herself up and wrapped her wet arms around the blonde, almost threatening to pull her into the water if it hadn’t been for Pacifica's scramble to station herself on the rock. Laughing, Pacifica gave her a one-armed hug back, nervously glancing around.

“It’s whatever, glitter-scales. Now scram before someone catches you and chases you off, I’d rather avoid saving your tail.”

“Love you too, Paz!” Mabel declared, slipping back into the waters just in time as another naga slithered up, checking to see what all the noise was about.

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Dipper watched as the hunter departed again, looking back to his bandages then glanced around the cabin. Since he had time to settle, the cabin didn’t seem as scary as before. Maybe he could go so far as to call it cozy, homey even. Like the shack. He wasn’t exactly sure but something about Bill seemed both trusting and off, it could’ve been because of the stress he was going through. Maybe he was just imagining things again, god did he miss his journal, and his overly chatty sibling. He was concerned, they didn’t know where he was or if he was okay, they must be worried sick. It felt just plain awful to make the people he cared about so distressed, if only there was a way to just give them a signal or sign. Of where he was, what he was doing, just anything to put their worries at ease. If he knew his sister, he knew she would worry and work herself up until she either snapped or got what she wanted.

The cervitaur nuzzled into the pillows on the couch, they smelled faintly of the hunter, like he hadn’t rested there in a long time. Maybe that’s how he could repay the human for all his help, if he was even to be trusted. Dipper could get the blonde to rest or take things slower, monitor the human’s progress so he didn’t look as exhausted as he did when the hunter came to greet him. It was worth a shot, and it got his mind off his worries about his family. He wasn’t going to risk his recovery by stressing himself out or worrying over something that just couldn’t be fixed. He was positive about one thing though, he would be sure to check his path and surroundings thoroughly before he set hoof anywhere. This woudn't be happening ever again. Who knows if someone like Bill would even be around to save him, most likely not. It was a miracle the hunter even checked the trap when he had.

He couldn’t really hold a grudge at the human either, because he was only trying to get by, like all the other monsters were trying to do. Though they had claws, and size, plus better senses. Bill as a human, well he just didn’t. He had whatever contraption at his hands, and a quick wit. Bill was trying to survive and make do with what he had, just like Dipper, just like Mabel and Stan. The fabels about humans hadn’t matched up with Bill either, so it was possible that he was just entirely wrong in judging the other. But the human was still a stranger. Dipper sighed, conflicted on what he thought about the blonde. He wanted to trust in the other, but he also wanted to shove the hunter and his possible lies away and run.

The faded scents of the hunter invaded his nose when he had taken a heavy intake of breath to calm himself. Though it was faint, Dipper could make out and depict the different scents clinging together. He could smell the rich musk of the human, pine needles and rosemary, it also mingled with other scents of the earth and forest. If he concentrated hard enough, he felt as if the cool night’s hand was wrapping around him in a protective embrace, shielding him almost. He felt safe and protected, the cervitaur pushed himself closer to the pillows. If only it contained the warmth of an actual being, strange how the smell of another lulled him into comfort. Then and there, Dipper came to the conclusion that someone who smelled so intoxicating couldn’t be so bad. Bill was alright, and his scent was better then alright. This was only a small taste of what the other truly smelled of, it ignited something within the other’s belly. Something that made him want nothing more then to nose his was into the other’s arms and rest there instead of some dumb pillows. The real thing couldn’t compare to the fake, cushions.

Crazy, how a smell could mean so much, but Dipper was an animal. With animal responses and instincts, and scent was very important, one could always trust scent because it couldn’t lie.

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Pacifica slithered through the forest, her snake friends fanning out to make her appear stronger and bigger, tongues darting out every second to taste the air for something unnatural. She wished Mabel could be here to soothe her but her mermaid friend couldn’t leave the waters, and she cursed that fact. Why did they have to be born so different? She longed to curl into the loving arms of the softer twin, though she’d have to be content with smaller touches and brief seconds. Mabel hated to be dry and Pacifica hated to be soaked, the only exception she could allow to bask in the cold water would be if her shed couldn’t function normally or if mites disrupted her comfort and hid in her scales.

“Get ahold of yourself,” The blonde gorgon mumbled to herself. All of her friends, as she liked to call them, rose and stared in a certain direction. She paused to observe, her own pronged-tongue darting out to taste the scents mingling in the air, it sent a chilling alarm throughout her body. Immediately her jaw slacking, fangs at the ready incase anything unfortunate were to happen. She slowly slithered towards the direction of the scent, at first she was led into a private clearing, leaves covering up and hiding majority of the ground, she narrowed her eyes. Covered ground was dangerous, god knows what could be hiding there.

Flicking her tail as quick as lightening, she bashed the leaves out of the way to try and see if something was prowling but found nothing. Sighing in a moment’s relief, the gorgon carried on, anxiety making her stomach churn and scales twist. Seeing parts of the leaves scattered around unnaturally, almost like a trail was being made, was when she stopped. What? Taking a mouthful of the air to taste, Pacifica found that the dangerous scent was coming from that direction, directly where the path was taking her. Frowning, she cautiously shimmied forward.

Blood. Large, dried pools of blood stained the grass and dirt, covering some fallen leaves. An old book tossed carelessly to the side nearby the pools of red. Pacifica gasped, she knew exactly who that book belonged to. Shaking her head in denial, she lurched forward and snatched up the journal. It smelled like Dipper. Smelled of oak and freshwater, of warm sun rays, and faintly of Mabel too. Oh god, what was she going to tell Mabel!? Wiping around, the girl lowered herself to the ground to sniff at the blood, scenting the air to confirm and then checking twice more. There was no mistaking that, it was Dipper’s but it mingled with another unfamiliar musk. It smelled like the forest but not any monster- of course!

It didn’t smell like a monster because it wasn’t a monster. It was the human, the hunter, the one who had invaded their peaceful forest. Who now has disgraced it with an innocent's blood spilled, if she could get someone else here to witness then there was no doubt that the human would pay for his crimes. Glancing around the area the blonde tried to control her rapid breathing and the pounding of her erratic heartbeat, the woods she grew up in, the very ones she called her home, wasn’t safe anymore. She wasn’t safe. Her family wasn’t safe. Mabel wasn’t safe, no one would ever be safe. And Dipper, he certainly hadn’t been safe. With watery eyes, the gorgon scampered off with a disdained hiss, clutching the book tightly to her chest. She needed to find help, Dipper needed help. He must be so scared and in pain, if he wasn’t already dead.

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The sun set low in the sky earlier then before, the days were only growing shorter the closer winter came, and the cool weather would certainly pose as a problem sooner then expected if he couldn’t get caught up. Bill brought the axe down on the final piece of wood, panting and wiping off some sweat from his brow. After leaving when his lunch break was over with, he went right to work on making more firewood, finally finishing up to return inside his peaceful home. Gathering the two newly created pieces, he went inside his shed to stack them neatly onto the others. The drier they were, the faster they would burn and less likely to rot via if they were soaked. The hunter sighed tiredly and began to clean up, tucking the axe into a sheath before hanging it where it belonged. Moving on, he walked back into his cabin and seated himself heavily on the stool by the door. Unlacing his boots, lazily kicking them off before undoing his vest, he was just too hot to keep the thing on at the moment. Sweat made it stick to his skin uncomfortably. Slipping the fabric off, he rolled his shoulders back and grimaced before getting up to discard the item in the laundry bin but he paused when he caught the other’s rather large doe eyes locked onto his movements.

“What?” Bill muttered, more or less too exhausted to care about if his comment sounded aggressive or endearing. The boy looked at the boots, trailing his eyes slowly across the floor and stopping to stare at his legs. The human took off the weird makeshift whatever’s but.. his legs didn’t look anything like his arms nor did they match anything. It was weird. Too weird for the cervitaur to wrap his brain around. The human had no fur, no hooves, no tail, no scales, nothing. Was there more covering on his feet to protect it?

“Your backlegs, or rather hind-legs, Why’re they… so, um, different?” Dipper’s ears flickered as his brow furrowed, watching as Bill shifted from one foot to the other impatiently as he awaited a response, hearing it made the human raise a brow. The blonde’s eye shifted to glance down at his socks, rocking back onto his heels. There was nothing bad or wrong on him, his socks were clean and spared from any dirt, how was he suppose to explain every little thing to the hybrid? That would take too long and personally Bill didn’t have the patience, nor the time. He supposed he shouldn’t break whatever friendship he’d managed to coax out of the woodland being, so he crossed the room to sit on the floor beside the couch. The blonde hooked a finger onto the fabric and yanked his sock down and off, discarding the other one as well.

“It’s a little article of clothing that we use to shield our feet from being rubbed raw by our shoes, ya know, a sock. And hinglegs? Kid, I may not have your fancy hooves or deer legs but I’m no animal.” Bill snickered weakly, hiking up his pant leg to expose more of his leg to the other, who looked absolutely stunned, was human legs really so astounding? It couldn’t be that marveling yet here the brunette was, intrigued as all hell. “I have legs and feet, toes too. If you want an antimony lesson it’s gonna have to wait for winter, I still need to shower and get dinner made.”

“O-oh sorry, but in the forest I’ve never seen anyone with such, uh,” Dipper paused awkwardly. He didn’t want to offend anymore then he might’ve but he was curious and felt the need to explain his interest. Hairless, scaleless legs were just not common at all. “Well with limbs like your’s, humans aren’t seen or even around much, so I didn’t know or saw something like it previously."

Chapter Text

He didn’t want to offend anymore then he might’ve but he was curious and felt the need to explain his interest. Hairless, scaleless legs were just not common at all. “Well with limbs like your’s, humans aren’t seen or even around much, so I didn’t know or saw something like it previously.”

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Bill scoffed lightly, eye rolling as a smirk hung on his face before he turned to look at the cervitaur. He didn’t think the monsters were so marvelous with their extra limbs or lack of, but that was most likely do to the fact that the blonde wasn’t one who could be easily impressed. It took a lot to leave him speechless, incredulous. And Dipper certainly wasn’t someone he felt could make him ever be stunned in surprise or shock. The brunette was just too predictable, and gullible and Bill was sly. There was no way the boy could ever manage such a feat. “If you’re done staring, I’d like to move on.”

“O-oh! Right, right, Sorry to distract,” Dipper quickly mumbled. He wanted to keep the human there, ask questions, find things out about the other, wanted to continue to drink in that intoxicating scent. It was just so Bill, so confident and sure, it was comforting. It made the twin feel safe because whatever would happen, it was because Bill allowed it to happen, nothing surprising or dangerous could get him when the other was always a step ahead. He was already planning the entire day before it was even sun down! He wanted to repay the blonde but he couldn’t force him to remain by his side, because he still had things to do and Dipper did want to eat. He took a deep inhale, loving the smell of the forest on the hunter, he missed the forest.

The blonde took a stand then stalked up the stairs without another word, waving a hand behind himself dismissively as if to reassure the other’s curiosity. Then, he disappeared up into the second floor of the cabin and Dipper found himself missing the other’s company already. Subconsciously, he nestled himself further into the soft couch cushions and huffed. The fading scent of the hunter retreated too quickly for Dipper’s liking, and not enough smell remained on the pillows. His own was replacing Bill’s, the sense of safety faded with it, replaced with the twin’s scent of fear and anxiety. The boy glanced down to look at his bandaged leg, frowning before turning to stare out of a window, mind churning and drifting as he daydreamed. The sound of quickly falling water made his ears perk up and his tail flicker, his eyes darted up the stairs and he rose a brow in question. Was this what the blonde had been talking about before, about controlling the water?

His interests spiked, he wanted nothing more then to hobble up there and find out for himself. But he couldn’t, not with the injury on his leg, and certainly he couldn’t wander around someone else’s home.

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While the cervitaur pondered and thought, Bill grumbled as he made his way up the steps. He was beyond tired, all he wanted to do was relax and de-stress, but with the needy bundle of fur downstairs, he doubted the chance would arise. Going to the shower he turned the water on, unbuttoning his shirt and slipping it off. He could feel the temperature warm, which was pleasant, sighing heavily the blonde continued to undress. Stepping into the shower and under the warm water, his muscles relaxed and he hummed in delight. He remained in there for maybe longer then normal before hopping out and toweling off, Bill slipped on something looser and more comfortable. For the moment, he had forgotten about his eyepatch.

The human was used to living alone, used to walking around half clothed and baring all his battle scars. His mind was hazy with his sluggish feeling of sleep and exhaustion, Dipper’s presence completely slipped his mind as he descended the stairs, the only thing being his concern was food. The brunette perked up once more hearing the soft thuds of the other’s footsteps against the wooden staircase, he wanted to observe the new fur patterns -or what he thought was fur, humans were weird- but found his eyes glued on Bill’s face. An obvious, nasty looking scar ran jagged across the hunter’s eye and partly high on his cheek. His eyes widened at the sight, it looked incredibly painful, getting it must’ve been ten times worse then his leg. Plus the human seemed to live alone, did he have to take care of it himself? The cerviatur swallowed thickly, imagination running wild, his heart going out to the blonde.

Bill paused in his steps once he reached the bottom, feeling a sharp gaze burn into him. He glanced up, meeting the gaze of the twin except- his eyes weren’t trained on his own. He raised a brow in question before he realized what exactly Dipper was staring at, crap he’d forgotten his eyepatch. The human slapped a hand over his eye, blocking it from being viewed any further by the other’s prying gaze, and it seemed that knocked Dipper right out of his stupor. His ears had stationed high up on his head in complete alert, he was worried and …a little intrigued. As horrible as it felt to be interested in something so horrid, Dipper couldn’t help it!

“Sorry! Sorry, I-I didn’t mean to stare!” The brunette quickly apologized, though he couldn't tear his eyes away from where the scar was once revealed. How had the other gotten it? When had he gotten it? Did he deserve to get such a wound? How had he survived? Out in the forest, the weak almost never survived unless they had someone significantly strong to protect them, and even then safety was never guaranteed. This human must’ve really been something else to manage to live through, and still live through, losing some of his sight. “I’m sorry!”

The blonde looked peeved, angered, irritated. But he was concealing a very strong surge of panic and anxiety. He viewed his scar as the most important weakness to ever come into contact with his body, and here was this bag of meat, getting a front row seat of his accident. Bill could see pity flash in those chocolate brown orbs which only furthered his aggravation. How dare he pity him, he didn’t even know a thing about him! The hunter hated pity, despited it. He was far from being a child who needed protection, and he certainly didn’t need it from something that was so low on the food chain. Though he felt vulnerable with the secret being out, the blonde felt exposed and out of his element.

With a sharp turn on his heel, the human calmly marched up the stairs, eye burning into the bathroom door. How could he have made such a foolish and careless mistake? There’s no doubt the other would be nosy now, he could practically hear the questions pouring out of the twin’s mouth like a dam bursting. Grabbing the forgotten fabric, Bill quickly slipped the eyepatch onto his face, adjusting it as needed until his scar was completely blocked. Like it hadn’t been shown at all, if only that was the case. He lingered in the safe haven of his privacy, frowning. Maybe he could use this to play as a strength instead of letting it be perceived as what it truly was? The other already pitied him, as much as the blonde disliked that fact, so manipulating someone already gullible and now sorrowful for his cause. That was like a grand gift. He just needed to play his cards right. Besides, it’s not like he’d let the fur ball live long enough to spread any possible rumors. To get some of his frustrations out the hunter balled his fists and unballed them, elbowing the shower curtains harshly as if it were someone. His temper would be his downfall one day.

Sighing, Bill put on a neutral expression onto his face and descended the stairs again. He walked into the kitchen and did the usual, root around for what he needed and began to make dinner. Dipper watched him, eyes pleading for something, mind drumming will millions of questions and little to no answers. There wasn’t any way he could ask, that was too personal and he was sure he’d already made a mistake with the staring. But- he really did want to help the human, try and repay him for his kindness and instead he’d made him feel like a freak. Of course, he felt guilty and ashamed.

"Hey, um, Bill?” Dipper timidly spoke up, wringing his hands in a nervous habit. His eyes were trained onto the floor, chewing on his lip as he awaited a response or just anything besides silence from the human.

“Yes?” The hunter answered back, voice airy light and not at all like what Dipper was expecting. Maybe things weren’t as bad as he had imagined them to be? He sure hoped so, at least. The amount of guilt he was feeling was crushing, god, why did he stare and be rude?

“I-I’m sorry, ab-about before, I mean,” The twin nervously started off. Clearing his throat before his voice even had a chance to break or crack, this was serious, he didn’t need his failure of maturity ruining anything more so then it already was. “I didn’t mean to look for so long, and I know that must’ve been really disrespectful of me- But it was an accident! I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable or-or anything because it really wasn’t my intention! And-“ He began to mumble repeatedly, switching from going on and off topic the longer he vocalized his thoughts. He didn’t know when or how to stop talking. Lord, why did he think this was a smart idea!?

The hunter seemed to pay him no mind and let the twin drone on and on for however long he saw fit before stopping. Those big mocha doe eyes bore into his form for a response, pleading for forgiveness or something instead of the obvious anger he was expecting. Would the human hurt Dipper? No, no! He was being overdramatic in thinking such a thing, the human was sheltering him and cared for him, it wouldn’t make any sense to kill him now. Bill knew he had to respond in some way, unlike when a problem arose when he was alone, he couldn’t just ignore it. If he did, he doubted it’d make things better.

“Slow down there, kid.” The blonde didn’t look up from his food but he looked tensed, completely different from the easygoing smile he was sporting. "Water under the bridge, alright? Stop fretting over the small stuff.”

Dipper seemed like he was going to protest, but no words made it past his lips. Instead, the boy simply nodded, deciding to drop the topic entirely. It seemed that was what Bill wanted him to do, and he did owe him that much. Maybe he could return to this later, when things had settled down and the two were friendlier with one another. The time passed by slowly, the only sounds were of whatever the hunter was fixing for them to eat in the kitchen, the brunette tried to keep an eye and grasp an understanding of what was going on but he couldn’t, there was just so much he was unfamiliar with and didn’t understand. Maybe he could get Bill to explain it to him like before. When it seemed the human was done, he walked around and gave the cervitaur his meal with a cup of water to drink, seating himself on the ground beside the couch to eat his own dinner.

Of course, the food tasted just as strange but never in the bad sense, it was new to his taste buds but pleasant. He liked the food and happily ate it, maybe now would be a good enough time for him to ask the blonde about his changing fur color. If it was anything like the cloth to protect his feet since humans didn’t have hooves or scales, then it made perfect sense for the fur to turn out to not be..well fur. It seemed like a good enough theory to himself. Speaking up, the twin politely questioned. “Hey, uh, Bill?”

The hunter hummed his response, scooting around to further show that he was indeed listening to what the monster had to say. Though his appearance was generally laid-back and non bothered, inside the blonde was anxious and irritated. God, he hoped the fur ball wouldn’t try and bring up the scar or some pity-me apology again, Bill could feel his temper rise the more he thought about it. He was good about covering it up, the other didn’t even notice it, the hunter could laugh at the utter stupidity the cervitaur was displaying.

“Is like what’s on your legs also on your- er, uh well, everything else? Be-Because I noticed that your fur, well not fur because it isn't fur but, your clothing changed and I was wondering if I was right about that or-..well yeah?” Dipper screamed at himself internally, he was over maturing, he lost all his fawn spots! His antlers were, growing in, but they were there! Much better then when he was younger, and he had developed some muscles to him, sure it wasn’t nearly as impressive as what the other’s in the forest were sporting but it was enough for himself. So why was he stuttering like an idiot and fighting off not-so-sutble voice cracks, ancestor’s sake he wasn’t 12 anymore!!

Bill paused his eating, lowering his utensil from his parted lips to stare up at the other, pure amusement slowly replacing his irritation. Jeez, did this kid seem to have issues. It was cute and innocent though, a big contrast to the other bloodthirsty monsters he’s killed and almost been killed by, the way Dipper’s eyes would widen into more of a doe look made him almost break his cool composure. Certainly not what he was expecting but it was a very pleasant surprise. “Yes, your right. Humans like to change into something more comfortable to sleep in, don’t ask me why, we just do"

Chapter Text

It was cute and innocent though, a big contrast to the other bloodthirsty monsters he’s killed and almost been killed by, the way Dipper’s eyes would widen into more of a doe look made him almost break his cool composure. Certainly not what he was expecting but it was a very pleasant surprise. “Yes, your right. Humans like to change into something more comfortable to sleep in, don’t ask me why, we just do”

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“There has to be a reason.” The brunette pressed on, brows scrunching up in his confusion, his torso leaning towards the human. Bill found it endearing. Like a rabbit exploring a freshly made burrow for dangers before moving in and making it home. There was a lot of comparisons the hunter found himself making. It was odd how this stupidly innocent creature took his temper away. How could something so pure and innocent survive in an unforgiving world like this one, full of people like himself? How had this cervitaur made it this far? Well, excluding the fate the blonde was plotting for him, he wasn’t going to be going very far anymore. The thought was bittersweet to the hunter, most things weren’t but hey, he was on edge. More so then usual as of now.

Dipper had seen his scar, had witnessed his blinded side. Sure, the kid was scrawny and by no means a threat, but that didn’t displace his concerns. And that look. That look of pity, of sorrow, of empathy and raw heart stuttering emotion, it was suffocating. Motherly, full of care and love, of unspoken promise, it was a look he remembered seeing long ago. But, he didn’t want to remember. Didn’t want the tales of his former years lurking in his mind like a wolf on the prowl. He concluded that these reminders were temporary, and that killing this fur sack wouldn’t be as detrimental as he was picturing it to be. After all, there was no room for mercy, for error. Only actions. He wasn’t the same man he once was, no, that man was dead. That man was weak, and through that same weakness came the scar and the haunting past, it taunt a lesson. One he wouldn’t ever forget.

“Kid, If I explained the reason humans do everything, we’d be here for a good year- possibly longer.” Another calm spoken response, and as usual, the monster fell for the bait. Perhaps by the earlier pity, there came a round of submission. Oh, how delicious. Something willingly submissive? That was indeed rare, though not unwanted. Bill knew he could use this for his scheme, but there was something in his stubborn, overly large pride that would not allow him to exploit his scar like that. To flaunt it so carelessly to someone he hardly even tolerated. No, he couldn’t do that. The scar was too personal, it should’ve been kept a secret, not been exposed to cruel daylight too soon.

“O-Oh, okay then.” The twin muttered sheepishly. Truthfully he was curious on human history, all he knew was that humans were violent beings, greedy creatures, ones that killed for fun and not for survival; who did such a thing? His uncle Stan knew plenty things about humans though never shared, he always told them "one day, one day," but never did that day come. He missed Stan. Who’d ever have thought that one day Dipper would be facing the same being he was taught to fear all his life and in that moment, instead of terror, fear, and agony. All he felt was compassion, companionship, likelihood. The humans weren’t as big and bad as they were depicted as, and certainly Bill wasn’t as tough and scary as he made himself appear to be. There must’ve been something more. All the bigger monsters had reasons to be vicious and tough; why would humans be any different?

The rest of their time together went by quickly, Bill provided mindless small talk. To be frank, the blonde thought small talk was boring but as long as it bought him the time he needed, he would fall under its wing. If he was being completely honest, the cervitaur was decent company and an ideal conversationalist when he wasn’t a complete blundering idiot. As the moments progressed, the ache from earlier had returned to the human’s body, plus with the filled stomach it was making his eyelid droop and movements slacken. He missed whatever it was Dipper was going on and on about, waking himself up by willing some energy to remain with him. Cipher had waited until the twin had finished his meal and set it aside before collecting the dishes- something he’d have to do in the morning. As of now, the task seemed too daunting and demanding. If only he had the gall to finish it tonight.When he walked back, Bill got onto his knees and looked toward the young buck.

“I’m sure you know the routine by now,” The blonde raised a sculpted brow at his own words. He didn’t move to reach for the perfectly wrapped bundle of bandages, he still wanted the animal’s complete and entire trust and he couldn’t risk that just because he was feeling sluggish and tired. So, he waited for permission to continue.

“Oh yes, uh- of course, go on ahead.” Dipper’s ears tucked back in discomfort. Why couldn’t he just speak normally? If only he had Mabel’s confidence and strong voice, a voice that carries, inspires. God, he missed hearing her voice. He missed her, a lot. But he couldn’t deny that the hunter’s voice was silky and low, it made a shiver go up his spine when calloused hands hooked a skilled finger under the biddings to peak at the hidden gore. The same usual silence, the same common anxieties, and the same smile that ensued after. Though it was smaller, less bright and relaxing, more forced.

“Don’t run through the forest just yet, it looks alright, I’ll be turning in for the night.” Bill got up and stretched. Once done, he let out a pleasant sigh and turned to make his way to the stairs and up to his room. Dipper was tempted in asking for the blonde to come back or to possibly stay just a little longer, but he couldn’t ask that of the other. Not after what had happened and especially not after seeing how drained the hunter was. So, he watched with pinned ears as the sight of the human’s back retreated and the soft thumps of skin against floorboards ceased. And then he was alone.

 

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Bill silently closed the door to his room, a scowl blooming across the once gentle features and he was seething. He took the eyepatch off and threw himself into bed, diving under the covers. His body screamed for the rest, muscles unwinding and easing its previous tension while his mind reeled. He wanted to off the kid right then when he had realized his scar was being eyed. He was beginning to think, reflect-

No, no, no! He growled, pushing his face into the pillow forcing away any thoughts about the topic. Sleep. Sleep would do him some good and might even chill his temper, yes, some hours of rest was it. Just what he needed. Bill took in a breath and held it, exhaling and lazily combing his hair back as his anger left him.

Being angry was tiring.

Which is why he found himself falling soundlessly asleep within the next few moments. Or so, he thought he had fallen asleep. The blonde blinked his eye open and found himself in the forest, only this forest was covered in a thick layer of snow, bewildered he took a step back. The air ghosted his breath, the flora dead and animals void, except this wasn’t the forest in Gravity Falls. No, he knew exactly what forest he was in. His hometown’s.

Suddenly, the wind cut through him like a knife and his confusion only grew, why was he here? How could he be here? Glancing around, Bill felt as though the silence from the trees was mocking him. He trudged through the snow, wrapping his arms around himself to try and keep any heat to him, breath fanning out to paint the air for only a moment before it disappeared. He walked and walked and walked, it felt like he had been walking for hours and he wasn’t anywhere near the exit. Fear trickled down his spine and spread to every fiber of his being, his heart beat quickened and his strides turned into a desperate run, he had to get out of this damned forest. The blonde opened his mouth to speak and call out for anyone but found that he was mute.

His fear doubled, legs stumbling through the snow, there was a soft buzz permitting the air. He knew what that was, what it meant. The hunter wobbled awkwardly in his desperate attempt to go faster, the snow suddenly swallowing him up as it had another layer to it and he fell. Exhausted, defeated, and afraid, the boy laid there unable to move. His limbs felt heavy and full of lead, chest heaving with how heavy his breathing was but the buzz turned into a crispy crackle. Shakily he turned to lay on his back. The once stale air was livid and swirling, the sky a pale clear blue turned into a mixture of red and darkened clouds of soot and smoke, the snow was still there. Draining him of his energy and making his skin burn at the cold touch, fire was beginning to lick the deadened plants and climb over the trees. Despite them being covered in snow and frost, they burned just as easily as if they were perfectly dry.

Bill’s eye widened, jumping up and once again trying to run, the snow trapping him in place as the fire approached, the crackling of charring life filling his ears like a howling wolf. Branches cracked and fell all around him, the flames and heat dancing so close to his being, promising agony if this continued on. Bill heard someone screaming, at first it was only one but then it grew to be two, and then three, and then suddenly the entire forest shifted and morphed into a town. Bodies were everywhere, people were running and clawing and trampling others in an attempt to get away. The smell was horrid, making his eyes water from it alone and hack uncontrollably. Bill climbed over fallen pillars, struggling, fighting to get away from the heat destroying his back. He watched as an entire building came crashing down, debris and sparks flying into the air and spreading. Everything was in flames. The blonde had witnessed it crash onto an unsuspecting child, he saw the mother charge into it’s hellish depths and suddenly the town was quiet.

He ran, even if his leg had been badly burnt from being grabbed by people trapped under fiery infernos, begging him to help them. Begging to live, to be put out of such pain. He couldn’t stop, couldn't be dragged into the fire along with the damned and he most certainly couldn’t help, his family needed him. Why stop for anyone else? It was then that it occurred to Bill that he had been here before, seen this all happen before, or at least something close to it. Something nagged at him to forgo his family and just focus on keeping himself alive, but he found it hard to do that. In his stupor, the fire had eaten away at the neighboring church and it crumpled, the statues resting atop the building smashed into chunks and were sent flying. Bill got caught in between the crossfire, several pieces hitting him harshly before the force from the crumpling building knocked him onto the ground. He was helpless and soon got swallowed in the collapsing building and raging fire, it hurt.

It was agonizing.

Bones crushed, skin being burnt and ripped to shreds, air polluted or being forced from his body, his body spazzed and seized at the strain and stress. He was going to die there, no one would find him or be able to tell who he was, he was going to be killed off before he got to accomplish any of what he wanted, his life would be cut short. Never again could he see his friends and family- were they even alive? No. No one could’ve survived the mass destruction and growing fire, the cold from before was no longer a problem, in fact it could’ve been the factor that saved him. Everything was too hot, too sharp, too heavy, too crushing, too close, too painful- he was positive blood was leaking out of him faster then it circulated his body or pumped in his heart. Breathing was so difficult, especially with a soot-filled throat and crushed chest, the task was nearly impossible. He felt the life drain from his being, pleading in his mind he begged for something to happen to save him, some form of a miracle.

But none came and as he stuttered in sucking in any fresh air that wasn’t smoke or carbon or bits of debris. A divine light poured through the filtering smoke, he would’ve shuffled away if he could’ve, this couldn’t be it. Couldn’t be how he went out. He refused it, detested it, but that didn’t matter, one’s will couldn’t beat reality. And as his eyes drooped shut against his well being, he could’ve sworn he heard a voice. Smooth, soft, silky, almost dripping sweetness like honey and easing whatever was left of life in his body.

“It’s not your time.”

It echoed and everything fell black.

“Wake up, Cipher.”

Wake up? Since when was he ever asleep?

“-not your time."

The voice was fleeting, distant. The calm and new confusion it brought made him panic and tremble once it was gone, then he was alone. Dead and alone, and- losing consciousness? Regaining it?

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Bill shot up, gasping for air as if he had just swam up from the ocean’s deepest depths, his eye darted around the room in search of something, of anything. He wasn’t sure what, but everything was just t o o h o t.

Throwing the blankets off of himself rather viciously, the human patted himself down trying to find any injuries he could’ve missed but the only thing he found was his sweaty skin perfectly intact. It should’ve calmed his nerves, and it did, but just barely. He was still in a daze, a panic, and he could’ve sworn he heard that voice ringing around the room speaking too low and far for him to completely comprehend what it was saying. He left his bed, body shaking too much and his fear too high, the male found walking to be difficult. His breathing was still heavily labored, he tried to keep balance by letting his arms float and reach around for the wall, even his fingers were trembling. It was then that he noticed the steady stream of tears that flowed freely down his cheek.

 

Bill cursed, leaning against the doorframe and stumbling out and into the bathroom, he flicked the lights on. He hated his reflection. Hair tangled and messy, eye stricken with fear and glassy with the amount of crying, complexion pale with the added shine from the cold sweat that trickled down his back. An empty socket stared right back at him, the scar seemingly taunting him in his panicked state. Hastily, the blonde tossed his shirt over his head and gave himself a good once-over in the mirror to confirm that he was fine. He was greeted with old battle scars and nothing more, the usual. Only then did he decide to calm down. Turning the cold water on, he generously doused his face with it and even splashed some on his torso, the haunting feeling of being burned alive made goosebumps rise. The dream was daunting, fresh, and he was positive he knew why it had come.

Nightmares for him had always been rather gruesome, but none ever became so personal, so cryptic. He was extremely exhausted from the work and the dream and all the emotions that all he wanted to do was rest, but he was also terrified of falling back into the loop of the nightmare. He didn’t want to sleep, but his body needed it. Maybe, he argued with himself, just maybe he could put sleep off for a small while. He hated that Dipper had made him think, reflect, that irritating fur ball was the root for his current problem. How Bill would’ve loved to make the monster feel his fury, he wanted to beat the lights out of that cervitaur but restrained himself from doing so. He always did need to watch his temper.

The human sat himself on the tile of his shower floor, the surface was cool to the touch and grounding. It helped even his temper out and allowed him peace of mind for the small second. If only that second of peace could’ve lasted forever.

Bill couldn’t walk downstairs and make himself some tea, he couldn’t do any of the things that helped console himself after such a horrid nightmare, and why? Because of that creature. If he went downstairs and let himself be perceived as weak or anything close he wouldn’t enjoy much of anything. He was far from weak. Incredibly so. He decided he wouldn’t go downstairs until the morning, and that he’d allow the beast to sleep peacefully. The blonde needed time to regain his composure, to get himself back on his feet and it wasn’t going to take a couple of minutes. He remembered walking through the forest, the scenery had been nice, ominous and concerning, but nice. He missed that forest.

Bill did try and fall asleep, but it didn’t come, he was still afraid. He wanted to laugh at such a notion. Him, Bill Cipher, afraid of bad dreams. How ridiculous. He was being childish and he knew it, what he needed to do was stop thinking and whining like a toddler and gather himself up. Maybe not now but soon, definitely soon. He cupped his missing eye, hand hovering over the old injury in his contemplation, in habit.

That fluffy haired, doe-eyed kid was going to be the death of him.

Chapter Text

He was being childish and he knew it, what he needed to do was stop thinking and whining like a toddler and gather himself up. Maybe not now but soon, definitely soon. He cupped his missing eye, hand hovering over the old injury in his contemplation, in habit.

That fluffy haired, doe-eyed kid was going to be the death of him.

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Bill stayed in that bathroom for hours, staring at nothing in particular and thinking of nothing. He kept his mind blank, void, and simply gathered himself up. He was tired beyond all means and didn’t even remotely feel close to conversating to the boy downstairs or even standing up from his spot on the floor. With a lot of self-motivation, he found it within himself to get up. His reflection hadn’t changed, he still looked completely wrecked. He didn’t want to take a shower, he would lose even more energy and the water would only lull him into sleep, but he had to. He couldn’t walk around looking like he’d just had a mental breakdown.

Groaning, the hunter turned on the shower water. Feeling the temperature, he found it to be warm and the memory of the fire- the feeling of skin ripping open from being burnt to a crisp and splitting all on its own from the severe heat- made him change the water to be icy cold. The blonde stepped behind the curtains and under the water, the coldness trickled down his back and helped in waking him up, it almost reminded him of the cold snow building new layers. That snow, it implemented fear in his dream but yet towards the end seemed much preferable, almost like it was trying to keep him within its grasp so he wouldn’t have been crushed. Been burned. Been killed.

Shaking his head, Bill meekly cleaned up the sweat on his body before turning the water off. He stepped out and glanced in the mirror, he looked a little better but the bags hanging heavily under his eyes- or eye and where one should be. He groaned inwardly, thumbing along the old, long scar. It would never go away, and he could never regain that portion of normality. On days like this, it really bothered him. Why did he have to go without half his sight!? It wasn’t fair, and that little monster resting on his couch takes it for granted! If one thing was for sure, he wouldn’t be taking his ability to walk or stand for granted again, and he’d definitely won’t take his ability to run away for granted ever again. The thought made him snicker, sure call him twisted, but he had big plans.

A hide like that, much less from a creature like that, would put him financially at ease. Though the wasted bullet might put a damper on things, ammo wasn’t cheap and neither was his guns if something happened to them. Maybe he shouldn’t kill the fur ball, people would pay to see an attraction like that. The idea of that stupid kid locked behind bars and visitors snapping pictures while he made profit, was humorous. Dark and morally wrong, but ironic and hilarious. Something that was once so free now caged and locked away- couldn’t be more ironic then that.

The human combed his hair back and this time made sure not to forget his eyepatch, he rested it perfectly against his skin and easily hid the hideous scar. He decided the sweat pants and baggy shirt would have to do, today could be an easy day, maybe he could use it to spend all day working on his hide instead of going out today. Besides, if he went to look at the traps all day everyday then his scent would cling onto the damn things and then where would he be? Left with nothing, thats what. Bill silently tromped down the stairs, quietly taking in a breathe of air and letting it go.

As he neared the bottom of the steps, he watched as the brunette’s attention went from staring out the window to him and he could’ve sworn he saw something light up in those doe eyes.

“Well good morning to you too, Bambi.” The hunter chuckled despite his tiresome demeanor, easily slipping into the fake persona he had created just for this buck. “Sleep well?”

“Ye-Yeah, I did,” Dipper responded. He had eased into the kindness of this human and was more then delighted to have conversation then sit around overthinking or alone and home sick. Though he noticed how ungraceful the blonde’s mannerisms seemed, and the way his voice sounded was completely off. It wasn’t silky or smooth, it sounded lower and more husky. He wondered why. “How did uh, how did you sleep?”

“Like a baby!” Bill was lying through his teeth and he knew it, but the cervitaur didn’t. He stretched his muscular arms above his head and held a yawn back before sauntering off into the kitchen. “Though, I wished I could’ve gotten more. Ya know? Maybe I should just hibernate like all you forest creatures do.” He lightly cackled at the idea, though it seemed more then appealing in the moment, he couldn’t fathom himself willingly sleeping for that long.

“Considering all the work you put into preparing for winter, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up falling into hibernation.” The twin gave a soft smile that equally matched his soft-spoken response. Bill did not want to cook anything, and he still had last night’s dishes to do. Ugh, he didn’t even want to think more of today’s chores. Cereal, thats what he was gonna make for breakfast. If the monster didn’t like it? His problem, not Bill’s.

“Are you insinuating that I’m lazy enough?” His tone was playful, the normal dose of friendliness that reassured the twin that the hunter was alright even if he appeared sleepy. The banter they were even having proved it too.

There was some clinking sounds, cabinets opening and closing, drawers doing the same and then the sound of a liquid. Dipper wondered what the human was making, and was pleasantly surprised to see Bill walk out with two bowls and spoons. He was handed his own portion and watched as the hunter moved to sit on the floor. The boy chewed on his lip nervously, working up the courage to voice what he wanted.

“Wait, you don’t have to sit down on the floor. Uh- Here!” When that tired eye met his, he immediately dragged himself a little ways over, opening up enough space for the human to sit down. He was careful not to jostle his injury too much, in fact, he had moved so easily there was no pain. The human must’ve been really good at taking care of serious accidents- considering…

“Why, Bambi, that’s awfully kind of you,” Bill snickered but sat down beside the cervitaur regardless. Dipper hadn’t missed the way he saw the hunter’s body relax and his eyelid droop if only for the briefest moment. He wished he could’ve helped, by lessening the human’s chore list, providing support. But he was only a stranger to this friendly blonde, and he couldn’t do anything more or else it could quickly become insanely awkward. While the hunter on the other hand, could laugh at the irony.

Dipper didn’t even question or stare curiously at his food like he normally did, Bill took that as a sign of formality and trust, good. That was exactly what he wanted. They both ate in respectable silence, and the human was grateful for it, he could swear he was starting to develop some sort of headache from the exhaustion and lack of sleep. The energy from the breakfast helped waver the pain and dull it down, making it easy to ignore if everything went smoothly today, god he hoped it did. He didn’t want anything else going wrong.

“S-So," The twin started out timidly, breaking the comfortable silence. “What’re your plans for today? I-If you um, don’t mind me asking that is!”

Dipper was generally curious about what the blonde was going to do today, he was a little worried about the other as well but he didn’t want to admit that part. He knew he had grown dependent on Bill, honesty how couldn’t he when his leg was too weak and hurt to even stand on? It was something psychological, and he wasn’t perfectly aware of it, but knew he had formed a heavy respect for the human. Bill, however, was fully capable of understanding what exactly he was doing. And he was more then happy to help it grow, it worked in his favor anyway, why not exploit it?

“What I’m doing today?” The hunter repeated with the same casual grin blooming across his features as he looked at the brunette, now that they were almost eye level, Bill could notice very faint freckles. They seemed to be fading, he wondered how he had missed such a thing. He was very observant usually, maybe its because how much rest he wasn’t getting. “Going to take care of some work in the shed ‘round back.”

“S-Shed?” Dipper echoed dumbfounded. What was a shed? Another human thing? Possibly, more then likely, why did humans need so many strange things? The clothes and boots, he got, but all the other things just seemed unimportant.

Bill laughed, one that didn’t seem forced, even the weariness from before had melted out of the sound. Dipper’s ears twitched and perked forwards in response, the laugh was refreshing and also relaxing. The human was alright, tired but alright. He needn’t worry so much.

“Yes, fur boy, the shed.” He watched as a toothy smile stretched across the blonde’s face, perfectly in place and nearly perfect in general. “It’s just a small building where I put all my other shit into, like an extra den, if you will.”

Seeing the cervitaur make the connection at his simile, he snickered. Sure, this monster was annoying and clingy sometimes, but was insanely entertaining when he wanted to be. Bill turned his attention back to his now empty bowl, bringing it to his lips and drinking the milk with a satisfied hum, instead of waiting for the twin to be through, he just walked to the sink and set his dish down. He then turned and went upstairs without mentioning anything else to the creature. After some time had passed, and a few thumps from upstairs was heard, Dipper watched the hunter return to the room. His dress shirt was back on, though opened at the top, revealing beautiful tanned skin and prominent collar bones. The bowtie that was usually expertly styled hung around his neck disheveled and untied, almost teasingly exposing the already bare area of the human’s chest. Besides that, everything else was normal- knee high boots tightly tied with the dark denim tucked into it, vest hugging the blonde’s sides in the most appetizing way.

Dipper was more then used to seeing a monster’s chest exposed- his was. Mabel’s was, and Pacifica’s was as well. Most of the more human half was left uncovered because they had no need to hide it. Bodies weren’t something sexualized unless it was mating season or one was looking for that type of fun. Maybe it was because humans were always clothed- Bill, especially. Maybe it was because Dipper knew that humans didn’t go willy nilly baring everything they had, at least not anymore, he knew how the humans had evolved to be different. Of course he didn’t know everything, but once they had lived in the forest too, at peace with the monsters. But they changed, and like all the tales, turned greedy and lusted for blood. It could’ve been anything really, but it embarrassed Dipper. He wasn’t completely sure why, really! It confused him.

Bill walked effortlessly towards the bedridden animal, squatting down like he normally did to hold a conversation, and rested his gloved hand atop the cerviatur’s head. The memory of when they first formally met replayed in Dipper’s mind, Bill’s hand ruffled his already tousled curly hair, and as Bill remembered the nubby little horns poked and prodded in protest. It made him cackle once more before he moved away. The twin was left trying to fix his hair, almost pouting at the human.

“I won’t be long, hopefully. Holler if you need anything. And scream loud,” Bill had leaned closer when he murmured the last part. It was almost spoken like a warning of some kind, a threat, something that rubbed him the wrong way. It was then that he remembered passing out from being stuck in the trap and that..twisted smile, had it even been real? Did he imagine it? He wasn’t sure, maybe he was taking the hunter’s words in the wrong way. But as quick as it had come, Bill shot up and began to waltz right out the door- without his gun.

Dipper noted.

Why would Bill be leaving without his gun? He brought it with him everywhere when he left the cabin, so why not take it now? Dipper knew that going to the other den might’ve meant safety, that could be why. He was overthinking again, wasn’t he? Ugh! Why couldn’t his brain just stop overreacting with everything! It was getting frustrating and tiring at this point. The twin huffed and then glanced down at his wrapped leg, then at his cereal, and back to his leg. Maybe…..

______________________________________

Bill kept his footsteps airy light, out of habit, as he walked to the back of the cabin. He looked at the shed, and wondered about the hide he’d left there. It should be done by now, maybe some mirror fixes or adjustments needed to be made but it should be somewhat ready to go regardless. Opening the door and confidently walking in, he eyed the strung up hide. It definitely looked good, mentally he applauded himself, and he gently carded his fingers down the fur. Nice and soft, almost velvety and impressively smooth. As soon as he could get maybe a few more, he could go into town and sell. Maybe even stop for a quickie if he felt the need and someone decent enough was presented. His mind went to his friends, he wondered just what they were up to and if they had managed to keep their end of the deal.

Maybe he should get in touch with one of them soon, to check in and “catch up.” He chuckled at the thought, lying low in the woods was one of the best calls he’s made and their rather animated personalities brought on headaches. But he did like them, not that he would admit that. No- he would only say he “tolerated them more then others.” Bill could never downright say he thought of anyone as close, that was dangerous. Emotions and attachment like that was dangerous.

The hunter rounded everything up, gathered it and prepare for the trip into human territory once he had all the items he’d need. He’d have to get a cage of some sort to hold the cerviatur if he was going to go through with the exhibit idea. Eh, he liked the idea of the creature groveling but the trapped idea seemed decent. He supposed it could always be plan B if skinning the sucker didn’t work out for some reason. Maybe he should invite a friend over to inspect and see if there was a good amount of profit to gain- but then again, trust no-one. They could betray him like before. Frowning he attempted to reassure himself they wouldn’t, after all he was the boss, he called the shots. They wouldn’t dare oppose him.

They weren’t THAT stupid.

At least he hoped to god that they weren’t, if anyone were to double-cross him then they wouldn’t be able to live to regret it. Bill usually made sure of that. He had one friend in that group that had managed to earn his trust despite his earlier warning, maybe it was time to check in on them.

______________________________________

“I’m telling you! Go over and check!” She hissed hotly, her pupils narrowing into hostile slits as her “friends” fanned out and bared their fangs in agreement with their owner. Pacifica wasn’t going to let this dangerous human parade in her woods, hurt her mate, and any others. There was so much blood… Dipper.. fuck- Mabel!

“If what you saw is true, then there’s no way we’re risking your safety. Return to your cave.” The guardian, a simple, bigger monster of sharp teeth and razor sharp claws bellowed evenly. It’s voice soothing the friends that acted as hair, they lowered but steadily sucked in breaths of air, making small coos from time to time.

“You don’t understand! I need to tell her, and- you don’t even know where it was!” Pacifica argued, tail tip twitching in irritation at how calm her guardian was about this. Someone could’ve been murdered or tortured for all they knew, now wasn’t the time for being calm! “I’m the only creature out here with the least bit of knowledge on this guy! I know his appearance too!”

“This is no battle for gorgons nor for that mermaid frill of your’s. Ta-”

“She’s not a fri-“

“Do not interrupt.” Their voice boomed and demanded for her silence, it was received. The guardians verdict was always final, they were the protectors, rumored to save even the eldest of ancestors among the stars. “After the greeks and romans, we cannot allow you or your family to be put at risk. Not after the hunt and wars. If there is a problem then it will be taken care of. Do not venture for this danger.”

“But you do not act!” Pacifica whispered anxiously, hands balling into fists at her sides as she stared down towards the meadows. “Humble guardian, all I ask is that you let me help, nothing more! I must be able to leave the cave to tell her about this.”

“This news isn’t becoming, are you certain you want to worry her?”

“N-No.. but she deserves to know, and I need to be there for her when she does.”

“Very well then.” The guardian leaned down, resting its chin to the ground to peer at the smaller being, blue eyes expressing the sympathy and determination it’s appearance failed to show. The wind ruffled their great mane, sun’s rays gleaming off their pelt almost like they were a being of holy grace themselves.

“Thank you,” Pacifica sighed in relief. Pupils dilating and returning to normal, she could do this. For her family, for Mabel’s family, for Mabel..

“Now, dearest golden scale, please tell me,” Their voice was gentle. As sweet as the lakes and pond’s waters gently lapping at the surrounding land, as soft and tender as the breeze flowing in to relax the forest on a sweltering day, and it’s expressive eyes making nothing but trust bloom within her. “Where exactly might I find this human?"

Chapter Text

Pacifica told the guardian everything, done to the every last detailed shine on the human’s hair in the sun. The guardian listened carefully, painting a mental picture of what his human looked like, his he acted, what he was most likely doing, and how to end him. If there was a human offing the creatures of the forest, then that couldn’t be tolerated and needed to be dealt with as swiftly as possible. They had already suffered the loss of the gorgons, and the mermaid population was dwindling and seeking shelter here within the forest of Gravity Falls.

There’s no telling to the amount of chaos that would happen if the fauna had found out about the danger. Millions would scattered and likely get hurt or killed, thousands would be trampled, the grass and vegetation would be hampered- there was no good outcome. Silently they prayed for the soul that had gotten taken from the protective woods, Mason Pines, most commonly known as Dipper. A sweet, caring boy who’s eyes highlighted his innocence. Now in the hands of a corrupted, greedy monster. Truly, it made their heart clench painfully at the thought.

“What happens if we see him again?” The blonde gorgon asked with a small pant, so caught up in telling her story from the beginning to end that she had forgotten to breath.

“You will not engage in any way and will steer clear, find one of the guardians or me specially and let us handle it from there.” They nudged the panicked girl with their muzzle, attempting to comfort her by supplying reassuring touch. “This will be taken care of, I assure you, please do not speak of such things to any other.”

“But they deserve to know! What if something happens?!” She let her hands drop to lightly carries the guardian, eyes pleading for anything. Pacifica didn’t know what to do in this situation, but keeping it secret didn’t seem like the best route. What if someone else had fallen victim to that retched human? At least, by knowing, they could steer clear and avoid trouble a whole like easier.

“Nothing more will happen, I will make sure of you. You have my promise.” Pacifica looked like she was going to argue further- who in their right mind would argue with having a guardian’s promise? It was the most sacred and divine thing a monster could get!- But they shushed her and gently pushed her away. Towards the direction of the sunning rocks. “Relax, golden scales, and comfort the star child’s sister. She will be needing your company during this hard time.”

The gorgon looked at a loss for a moment, wanting to stay and press the issue further but decided that being there for Mabel was more important. With a hasty nod, she slithered off into the shadows of the trees and sighed. Her parents didn’t know anything, which was good. She didn’t want to migrate to another valley and leave Mabel behind. The mermaid meant too much to her and it would shatter her soul to not be able to see her or tease her anymore. Poor thing, that must be how she felt about Dipper.

Moving smoothly against the soft grass, the blonde found the break in the treeline and was thankful the rest of the nagas were asleep on the rocks, lulled by the warmth of the sun. She curled up on a big, slated boulder, close tot he waters to play with her mermaid if she showed up. Pacifica always chose this rock, and the others seemed to know that and allowed it to her. Besides, she was a gorgon, there weren’t many who would deny her what she wanted.

During the dispute between humans and monsters, the gorgons were the first ones to be affected. They were strong and could endure more then most monsters could, and their abilities proved to be the downfall of humans, not to mention that their scales were epically valuable and breathtaking. Sirens were also a big target, then it moved to mermaids mainly for their beauty. The only other monster that was rarer then she was the Sphinx, and as far as she was concerned there was only one in Gravity Falls- and he was away busying himself with problems in other lands. Pacifica was too young to remember what life was like alongside humans and during the most intense moments of the war, she wasn’t even sure if she had been hatched by that time! But her parents knew of it.

And if it was enough to get her stubborn, aggravating, condescending parental unit to pack up and hop the next forest or five, then it was most definitely a horrid time. Her thoughts wondered, she had no idea where to go from here or what to do with any of this, not to mention what she should tell Mabel. That she had seen her brother’s blood spilled across the ground? That there could be another war between the two species? How the hell was she suppose to stay calm and collected while her entire world fell apart!? It wasn’t fair! Why did a human have to show up into their home unannounced and make their lives difficult!? Why did he have to do the things he did!? Couldn’t he just leave and go back to the human groupings and live there with other humans instead of here!? Seriously, what was this guys problem! Everyone knew that sticking together was much more safer then sticking it alone!

………….

Wait a moment.

The human was alone.

Completely by his lonesome in the middle of a forest crawling with monsters.

There wasn’t anything to protect him- well besides the weapons he carried around at all times- but if they could manage to kick them out of his hands then he’d be completely vulnerable! Pacifica’s eyes widened with the realization. The guardians were to big to be taken down easily but a few gunshots or traps, it didn’t even matter that the hunter was an excellent shot, there was no way a single human could beat them.

A smile graced her lips, her snakes lowering themselves to flush against her and to get comfortable to soak up the sun. Suddenly, everything hadn’t seem so scary and terrifying. The human was a challenge and a big danger sure, but so were they. And they had power in numbers and skills that far out did anything a human could do.

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Mabel shot out of the water, hauling herself out and staying seated on the enclosed deck that was solely her own. Stan hadn’t found anything in his searches at night and it was worrisome, the only thing he had managed to do was set off traps that he could get his hand on. A lot of them were within the tree’s groupings which made it hard for the gargoyle to slipped past, given his wingman and solid rocky skin, plus the forest was something to cherish. No one wanted to harm their only home. Hearing the water slosh and lap at the edge of the shack suddenly stirred the old monster and the loud stomps nearing indicated that he was coming.

“Yes, pumpkin, what is it?” Stan asked gruffly, stretching his arms above his head sleepily. During the excursions during the night and the worrying and angry huffing and consoling during the day- he was tired. Tired but willing to continue for however long need be.

“The entire forest is quiet,” She pouted. Her fins had laid lax against her skin and scales, not their usual perking selves. Mabel was also tired, constantly watching and trying to spot another siting of the human again, moving from lake to pond to stream to river to just about anywhere that had water! One place she never dared to journey into was the darker parts of the woods, where the real savage monsters liked to room around.

“And?”

“And!” She frowned, urgency filling her voice and making her gills flare open as she leaned forward. “That means creatures are settling down to hibernate! Ya know, for the winter!!” She put emphasis on the last word, eyes sparkling with unsaid words and emotions.

“Sweetheart, I know you’re worried and concerned about your brother, I am too. But we’ll find him and bring him home, I promise.” He tried to comfort her, sitting down beside her and sling his arm around her, being careful not to catch any scales as he did so.

“I know, I know but- Grunkle Stan, winter’s almost here! I can’t swim in the waters! I can’t keep my eye out! And the chilly air makes you freeze up and wings cramp,” The twin pointed out dejectedly. A soft, sad thrill coming from her usually chipper voice. It broke Stan’s heart to hear it. “Monsters sleep and aren’t very useful, and who knows what the humans do during this time! They’ll be no one to help rescue Dipper!”

“Hey hey- there’ll be some dedicated, determined monsters out there! We ban together! And they aren’t gonna let some sicko do anything too bad.” He gave her a confident smile, hoping it helped ease whatever pain might be in her heart- it proved to be unsuccessful.

“I dunno Grunkle Stan…,” The mermaid sighed and weakly got out of his hold. Slipping into the water without a sound.

“Mabel, c’mon,” He tried to reason. Voice going soft as well as pleading, he needed to fix this, make things right. “Have some faith. Our ancestors would never let Dipper get killed, I bet their giving him the best food and surrounding him with monsters who’s company’s so good he just forgot to tell us all about it. Maybe the weather’s keeping him hauled up.” It was a stretch, a damn big one, but she needed the distraction. The win, the hope.

“Yeah.. okay.’

“Hey, I love ya kiddo.”

She looked up at him and smiled sadly “I love you too,” and disappeared into the waters deep depths again. And he watched as her shimmering scales was taken from his view.

This was bad.

This needed to be fixed.

This absolutely. Could NOT. Continue.

He’d make sure of it.

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When Pacifica roused, it was to the sound and feeling of water moving and dripping on her. Mabel was on the rock and twining their tails together, though the water was cold, the mermaid wasn’t. And Pacifica didn’t mind the small discomfort, instead welcoming the girl with open arms and breathing out happily when she snuggled up close to her chest.

“Hey,” The blonde greeted softly, voice smooth and mellow from the lax state and power of the sun.

“Hey.” The mermaid answered back, voice small and frail. It wasn’t uncommon for mermaids to sunbath, in fact they did it quite often given the proper space to do it, the hot sand even covered their bodies and helped when rocks weren’t available. The monsters could switch their breathing, but couldn’t forever, just long enough for the two to have some quality time together.

“You doing okay?” The gorgon asked and petted the girl, running her claws lightly through the wet locks, untangling any knots.

“Could be better,” Mabel whined. A low sounding trill humming in the back of her gills, it tugged at the blonde’s heart strings. “Got any news for me?”

“I do, actually.” She said smoothly, the snakes that acted as her hair slithering towards the creature in her arms to nuzzled and soothe her, acting as if they were children trying to take care of their mother. She was trying hoping this news would cheer the twin up."I talked to the guardian, and they said that they would look into it, everything’s gonna be taken care up. They even promised.”

Mabel shot up, eyes going wide as she stared at her mate’s with unshed tears swimming around her mocha orbs. “T-They made the promise?”

“Yes, they did! They promised to take care of the human and that they would find your brother. Your brother’s gonna be fine, Mabs.” Pacifica shushed the brunette and guided her to hide her face against her chest. Due to the scales hiking up both of their bodies, and the mermaid’s gills and fins, they were both careful not to put the other into any discomfort. Mabel even wrapped her tail snuggly around the gorgon’s, a beautiful purr erupting past the sniffles and sobs.

“Thank you! I mean it Paz, I can’t say it enough- Oh my stars, thank you!” The immense amount of relief the twin felt in that moment crushed the concern and worry that had plagued her throughout the days without her brother. A guardian’s promise- there was nothing greater, more trusted then that!

And it went to her brother, the promise to have him back home, to have him safe.

A guardian never wasted time once a promise was made. They were very vigilante with fulfilling it, and with one of the most powerful beasts to ever set foot on this soil, it would take down that vile human and bring her twin back home. Mabel could almost laugh at the thought of revenge, it all didn’t really matter, her brother would be safe in due time.

“One more thing though,” The brunette made a soft noise through her gills to show she was all ears. “We can’t tell anybody else about this.”

“What!? Why? If the more monsters know then the more monsters can look out for Dipper! Why would we keep silent about this?” The girl frowned, running her hands down the scaled side of her girlfriend’s

“Honestly? I’m not all that sure. Myself, but hey, if the guardian said so then it must be for a valid reason. They would never steer us wrong, yeah? So let’s just relax for right now.” For a heated moment, Pacifica thought she might have to cool down her mate but it seemed Mabel agreed, the guardian’s words were law. And they were gentle with the monsters, all the reason to heed their words.

“Okay, Sorry I just-.. sorry.”

“Hey, it’s okay, you’re stressed out. No one can blame you for wanting to gather all the help you can. We just have to trust in the guardians and our ancestors.” The blonde cleared her throat and began to sing. It wasn’t like her kind to do such a thing, but she had learned early on that it was what the mermaids did to console one another or to display affections, mothers often humming or chanting some melody to still their guppies.

Though her voice wasn’t the best or most angelic, Mabel’s was far sweeter and richer, the mermaid said she loved the sound and wished to hear more if the gorgon was comfortable with it. She sung softly and low as to not disturb the others or alert them to their relationship- her parents would never approve. It seemed to work though, as the mermaid fully relaxed in her arms and the soothing glide of fingers over scales stopped.

Maybe she couldn’t take down a human and charge into their nest and claim her brother back, but Pacifica could comfort her, and she intended to do the job well.

 

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The sun was starting to set, making the temperatures cooler and uncomfortable for the heat-seeking nagas, Mabel seemed to be too dry to be comfortable too. Pacifica frowned, not wanting to part from her mate and laying a sweet, chaste kiss to her forehead. Being careful as to not prick the soft skin with her fangs, mermaids always possessed such soft and tender skin, she just wanted to keep the girl in a hug and protect her for as long as she can.

Pacifica couldn’t tell her how she’d seen Dipper’s blood encrusted and pooled on the ground. How the hell was she suppose to even remotely indicate that her brother might be injured or dead? She probably had been worrying about dreading that, no need to confirm her worries. Plus- Dipper might not even be dead! He could be- sheltering somewhere with someone! The worst case scenario wasn’t always the correct one.

“Mabs, hey, it’s getting late. Your uncle will start to worry,” She spoke softly. The mermaid protested by giving a low in pitch coo mixed with a whine, the blonde ran her hand down Mabel’s side and gently glided it over the fins at the girl’s arms. “We can meet back up tomorrow, around lunchtime when it’s sunniest around the treeline, okay? Get rest so we can have a nice time out.”

That seemed to convince the mermaid, Mabel grinned- the first bright and genuine grin that she’s been able to express in days and nosed her way under Pacifica’s neck, giving her a lingering smooch on the girl’s jawline before slipping off the slated rock and into the water. It was cool and made her sigh contently, looking up at the blushing gorgon in adoration. “I love you.”

“And I love you, glitter scales, now swim off!” And this time, the twin listened and slipped under the protection of the waters and made it safely home. Pacifica watched and tried to follow along but the water was too good a protector and perfectly hid the girl. At least she would be getting home safely, which she should be doing herself.

Raising off the ground, she huffed before slithering into the short grass and began to make her way towards the worn pave towards her cave, her home. She hoped she didn’t smell too much like the water incase her parents found out about her secret relationship. They’d never understand…and that tore at her heart in ways she couldn’t describe. She had hid the cervitaur’s book, too afraid to give it to Mabel incase it still clung to the scent of iron and death or with it being taken with the wrong meaning.

Sleep was what she needed, sleep and a good plump shrew or something to sink her fangs into and rid the aching feeling of helplessness and stress she was feeling. Maybe she could do some "research" of her own about the human.

She knew his scent, had the source, it was only a matter of time until she either found him or he found her- by accident or by fate. And Heavens, was she terrified and ready to bite.

Chapter Text

Bill entered the cabin again, after wrapping everything up and putting his tools aside, of course being careful to make sure his hide didn’t get damaged in the slightest bit. There should be something caught in one of his many traps by now. If he gathered them all in the two days and then took the time to skin them then he’d be making enough money to possibly update his weapon collection. Or- get better knives for skinning. Maybe even get that cage he’s been thinking about. A little cackle slipped past his lips as he returned into the cool air of the home, Dipper’s ears perked up and his entire body turned to give the hunter his full attention. The blonde couldn’t help but stare at the brunette’s ears.

They looked fuzzy, soft, and with that mop of curly hair he was positive it would feel just as he imagined. Though….those curls were starting to shine with grease rather then the sun’s gleams, and good god- Had the certivatur always looked so deathly pale? Bill figured that’s what nearly losing a leg would do to a person, unfortunately, the sight was one he had grown accustomed to. Whenever the accident had happened and half his sight was lost, the blonde stared at his own lost reflection for hours on end, but there was a fire still in those chocolate brown eyes. One that Bill had lost over the years.

“Hey, Bambi, change of plans.” He flashed his teeth in a friendly grin, not missing the flash of a twinkle shining brightly in those innocent eyes- the irony was going to kill him if running out of air from laughing didn’t first.

“Did the shed stuff not work out?” Dipper piped up, straightening his posture unconsciously as his nose twitched in anticipation. He barely spent any time with Bill, or really anyone, ever since he got here and coming from a home where everyone was always around you, it definitely put a big damper on his mood. The cervitaur was lonely, and the hunter was just so friendly and tender, it wasn’t entirely unreasonable that he would want to spend more time with really anyone.

“Oh no, it did! Just finished quicker then I thought,” The blonde silently praised himself for sounding more alive. If he focused hard then he could almost make the tiredness disapate from his figure, almost. But it would have to do, there were still things to be done and a big, idiotic monster to babysit. “But it’s about time we get you in the tub!”

Dipper blinked in surprise, mentally trying to decipher the words that just came from the human’s lips. Tub? What- what did humans need that for, what did it do, why so much stuff? The monsters in the forest never needed all this stuff, why did humans? Okay, maybe the greedy and inventive and progressive part of the human folklore wasn’t entirely make-believe. As the silence passed and continued to swallow up the past conversation, it finally dawned on Bill that the creature didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. Again.

 

He shouldn’t be surprised.

 

“Ah, heh, my bad. I forget you don’t know everything I do.” Dipper wasn’t sure if there was a heavy sigh evident in the hunter’s voice or whether it was something else…..annoyance, maybe? Odd, but the human was tired and stressing over winter and now- him. He hoped he wasn’t being a disappointment or burden in any way. He shouldn’t read too much into it. “It’s a big bowl, basically, so when we bathe it catches the water. Just an organized way to get clean. Sound alright?”

“O-oh, uh- ye-yeah! It’s like a small burrow but not in the ground, and uh well- not made in dirt.”

“Ssssuuuuuure,” The hunter drawled out the word. It sounded like the twin understood, that was close enough, or as close as the human was going to try for. No need wasting time on a piece of future furniture or cash prize anyway, he still needed to rest up before for the entire trapping experience again. Didn’t need to be wasting his breath. “But the only problem is the bathroom is upstairs, how’s the leg?”

Once more, the blonde kneeled onto his knees, eye checking for any sign of discomfort before moving in to peek at the damage. It warmed Dipper’s heart, even though the action was routine at this point, it was still incredibly nice. The feeling of being cared for so immensely would make anyone feel special, he reasoned. Especially after an extended time in isolation, away from the family buzz and pesters- they were hardly that if anything, looking back on it. Besides, the only other person who paid this close attention to him was Mabel. God…..did he miss her right now..

“It feels fine, but I-I haven’t tried moving it.” He spoke quietly, a little afraid of trying and the pain that could come from the movements. The horrid images of shredded fur and skin, of ripped muscle and oozing blood on full display before his own traitorous eyes. He tried to shake the misery from his heart and forget about his desire to be back in the forest with his family to focus on the sweet human about to take care of him. Bill, yeah Bill would make sure everything’s fine, like he always does. Yeah….

“Think you could make an attempt?” Dipper’s breath caught in his throat at the proposed idea, hands clamming up and his gaze left the blonde’s. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the human cock his head to the side. A warm hand touched his chin and tilted it back up to stare into that single, sharp pupil of the human. He was met with a certain sparkle he’s seen before in his sister whenever she begged and pleaded for fruits on land, to see such a soft and familiar look on the hunter set a sharp tingle up his back. “For me? Please?”

When Bill didn’t get a direct answer but a longer silence, not counting the way the other’s cheeks tinted a light, rosy pink, he went for a different approach. Emotions were the key to manipulation after all.

“How about this, kid. We try, test out the waters and if anything feels too scary or you’re uncomfortable, we stop. Alright? Sound good?” He waited for the answer, an okay, and it almost felt like an entire year before it finally came- which annoyed him. But Dipper agreed, which was good for his temper and the entire 'good caring guy’ facade. “Try and stand.”

“I-uh, Bill I’m not sure I..,” The twin trailed off, timid and bashful about admitting his nerves. When he glanced up he caught sight of a thoughtful expression, not what he was expecting. Dipper expected to see the warm, bright smile that the blonde always reassured him with- though the set line of Bill’s jaw was being heavily expressed, he wasn’t complaining. In fact, it was almost refreshing to see another side to the human. He hadn’t even realized that the other expression was coming off as coy and that he was growing used to it until now. He liked both, but new was always better, and worked to relax and familiarize him even further. He could give this a shot, for the hunter, if anything.

“Here,” The blonde murmured gently, holding a hand out towards the nervous monster to take. The twin shakily placed his hand into the other’s, slender digits curled around his sweaty palm and was slightly easing the limb up and away from the couch. He’d been resting there for days, his legs did want to be stretched but that mind numbing agony was fresh in the boy’s mind, Dipper shushed himself. Bill would stop and help him if anything happened, plus the hold on him was gentle and guiding. Not demanding and forceful, things would go smoothly and he’d be fine. Not to mention the secret soothing scent of the human calming his anxieties when Dipper stretched his human half up and towards the other’s torso.

Bill eased the cervitaur to the very edge of the couch, whispering encouragements and giving a small toothy grin when hooves softly thumped onto the hardwood floors. The front set were down and the buck seemed steady enough, so the blonde coaxed him a little more, taking tiny steps backwards and leading the twin to follow. Dipper’s free hand quickly grabbed the blonde’s shoulder, bringing him closer and to steady himself when all three legs were planted, leaving the mangled one to rest by its lonesome.

“I’m a little uh, frightened on what happens next.” The brunette admitted, his eyes too ashamed to meet the singular sky blue eye that he thought reflected understanding- in reality, it didn’t. But what Dipper didn’t know wouldn’t hurt Bill.

“That’s alright, it’s okay to be scared.” Bill cooed warmly, using the same voice he’s heard his overly bubbly friend use multiple times before. How good he was at pretending and faking was starting to impress even himself. “We’ll go slow, we won’t even move anywhere, we’ve got time.” Yet another lie, Bill really didn’t have time to babysit. And Dipper’s own time to live was running out. A sadistic and melancholy twist, one that almost made him laugh. Almost.

Fortunately for the hunter, the buck bought it and had a small boost in his confidence. Dipper gently moved his injured leg forwards, moving slowly and carefully, then he gently raised it to hover above the floor. It was too early to put weight on it, and he was too scared to go that far just yet. He felt the hunter take small steps backwards again, lulling him forwards. Walking on just three of his limbs was new and strange, finding the right pattern to walk properly was hard and he clumsily hobbled forwards.

“There you are, you’re doing great!” Bill chimed in every now ask then, helping to ebb away the anxiety and fear that gripped the cervitaur tighter then the trap had. They made it to the stairs, pausing to let the monster heave a heavy sigh. Bill moved to the twin’s side, hand held captive by the brunette’s own in a vice grip as the other held his human frame securely. “Take it one at a time.”

Dipper nodded, sucking in a big gulp of unneeded air before he raised his hooves and set them down, his only back hoof quickly coming up on the step to catch his weight and balance. With the hunter’s strength and support, he didn’t need to worry of falling, only of jostling his injury too much. Which strangely, didn’t happen to the point of extreme agony, sure it was uncomfortable and bothersome but something he found he could handle.

And as the blonde uttered those words to Dipper, and watched him pant heavily the farther he went, the farther he pushed himself- he couldn’t help but think of himself. He remembered doing the same exact thing ages ago, when…it..had happened.

 

______________________________________

 

The door slammed open, the knob hitting the wood and leaving a nasty dent in it’s wake as the human tumbled inside the dark cabin. His teeth were gritted harshly together, leaving a pain the spread throughout his jaw, but the hunter welcomed it. Anything to distract from the pain in his head. His hand cupping the wound gripped onto it tighter, pressed into it harder, as much as it hurt him it was needed. Crimson blood trickled past his fingers, leaving a line of dark red in it’s travels as it dropped and stained the wooden floor.

It hurt, it hurt to much that his mind couldn’t even begin to think of anything, it couldn’t focus on anything or one besides the mind crushing agony that burned his nerves. His sight was spinning with the force of the hit, his steps unprecedented and flimsy. Bill stumbled through the doorway and slammed it shut, hand moving in panicked and unthoughtful motions to flick at the lock, fingers blindly searching to put everything in order to assure his safety. The forest lay omniscience as his sight swept past it, the human needed to fix this- to stop the unbearable pain. To make it stop was the only thing he could cement in his mind

Bill moved then, taking bigger and bolder steps, forcing his body to work properly despite its protests. He felt his feet bump against the first step, and unknowingly, he aimed to step onto it. Only half of his foot made it on and before he knew it, he was falling and colliding painfully with the edge of the stairs, the hand covering his eye got knocked and it stung so badly he couldn’t help but let out a cry. Tears stung what was left in the damaged socket, and with his good eye they flowed freely. The mixture of blood and tears slid off his face and decorated everything with a dark red- clothing, floorboards, steps, railings. His bloody handprints were everywhere, on everything.

The human moved to pick himself up then, consciousness wavering. Fine. If he couldn’t stand, he’d crawl. Shakily, he got to his knees. Free hand flailing to find purchase on something, anything, and he let a choked sob escape his body when he found it. Bill gripped it tightly, so tight his knuckles turned pale and his nails dug into the wood, and he heaved himself forward. Knees knocking into the steps and finally finding a landing before his hand scrambled again to find another platform to latch onto. The searing pain made his spirit waver, but he pushed through the terrifying agony and continued on. Bruises would form along his body where he fell, where palms and knees accidentally smacked into the steps, where that monster bashed him.

It all stung, it all hurt so badly- make it stop! Make it stop! Stop it, stop it, stop it!! Go away! Please- for the love of God, stop hurting!! Stop burning! Stop! Stop! Stop! STOP!!

Defeated, and at the top, Bill crumbled. Curling himself into a ball as his breathed lay labored and uneven, his mind fuzzy from the torment and blood loss, body tired and exhausted beyond all reason. He wanted to give up, the pain was just too real, just too much, it seemed easier regardless. But that would mean that putrid beast had won, had got something over him.

A fire, one of spite, welled up inside him. His face contorted with a grimace and he let out an angry and pained wail. He would not let himself be defeated. He would not give in. And so, forcing his aching muscles to move, he stood. Weight shifting as if to fall, Bill blindly held the wall as he limped towards the bathroom. This would not be the end of Bill Cipher. That monster would pay. He would survive this and come back from it.

______________________________________

“I-…I did it,” Dipper mumbled. A smile gracing his lips, pride swelling in his chest as he glanced back down the bottom of the steps. His ears flickered, eyes sparkling as he looked up to the hunter for a matching smile to be shot his way but all he saw was a far distant look as Bill stared ahead towards the bathroom. The look was too serious to be about some stupid bath, he wondered what had happened to give the blonde such a look. Had he done or said something he shouldn’t?

“Uh, B-Bill?” Dipper nervously laughed, hoping to bring the blonde back down to Earth while acting normal, there was no reason to make the human feel weird about getting lost in thought. He did it too many times to act as such anyway. But the human’s gaze remained unwavering until finally, he blinked and glanced down at the twin. “We um, made it to the top of the stairs..”

The human quickly looked behind them, remembrance and confusion muddled together in his eye before he looked back at the monster with a tiny grin, it looked more forced then real. “Seems we have, you did so well! I’m impressed, now, let’s get you into a tub because you really need it.” There it was again, the weary laughter Bill had sported once before, when his eyepatch wasn’t on.

Dipper wanted to press the issue, wanted answers, he wanted to help in anyway he could but maybe by leaving it alone, he’d be doing more help? Sighing, the buck nodded and allowed Bill to lead them both into the bathroom. He didn’t want to look around or take special notice of anything, something was wrong. Really wrong. And he was worried.

He hated feeling useless, he hated feeling like a burden or a mistaken responsibility. More importantly, he hated seeing the blonde so haunted and hurt. He didn’t utter a word but let the human guide him into the tub, Dipper was eased down in a sitting position and silently, he was grateful for the rest. The hunter turned a shiny, metal looking knob and soon water was coming out of another shiny knobby thingy, how odd! But…cool.

The water began to lap at the very edges of his bent knees and he could feel how warm it was, after a second Bill fiddled again with the metal shimmers and the temperature changed- h-how?? Then, without much warning, he pulled something and water began to rain down on him from above, throughly shocking him. At first it was cold but it quickly warmed, and was soon turned soothing and enjoyable. His fur began to grow soaked as did his hair and he wondered what to do now, it’s not like he didn’t know how to bathe himself- he did!!- but with all the new sights and experiences, he wasn’t sure where to start or if the hunter had something different in mind.

Bill grabbed a bottle or two of something, taking the large metal..thing..responsible for making the water rain and brought it down to further wet his body and hair. Dipper squeezed his eyes shut, really Bill couldn’t have warned him in the slightest? The human still seemed oddly silent and reminiscent…

“Bill, what’s in those?” He politely asked, clearing the hesitance in his voice as he shielded himself from the water with his arms, looking up at the blonde with his nose scrunched.

Bill glanced down at him, his single eye seeming to adjust as if coming into focus for the first time on something solid and clear. The sight of the innocent buck, hair matted and eyes twinkling, the nubby horns and constellations dotting his forehead, cheeks slightly puffed as if the boy were pouting out him. It stirred something in his chest, or rather, pushed something out of the way and served as a pleasant distraction. Building a blockade from his past memories and suddenly- the twin didn’t seem so bad. Not so annoying and oddly comforting and charming, in his own dorky way.

How strange, but the look the other was throwing his way- of assistance and respect, not pity or repulsive sympathy. It looked as if the cervitaur was attempting to understand a part of the blonde that no one else could really see, to help soothe a raging beast that needed to be handled with care and not whips. Something about that look, it messed with him, it eased and relaxed him. He- well…he really liked it, weird.

With a soft chuckle, a bit bitter sounding but steadily regaining it’s usual warmth, he responded. “Just don’t let it get in your eyes, alright?"

Chapter Text

Bill tried to ignore the small internal sting from his eye, it usually throbbed with the remembrance of pain from that incident. Even though nothing was harming it, eyepatch shielding it from sight and protecting it from dangers the eye itself could never see, it still hurt. The hunter was at least grateful that this pain was manageable and not unbearable, on some nights the agony pulsed so bad and strong he felt the only solution was to gouge it out in general. It served no purpose besides sitting there dead and void in his socket.

But he supposed a blind eye was better then no eye, and that would only be like admitting defeat. He’d shoulder the pain and laugh in the face of it. Pain was enjoyable, it was hilarious, and he was going to treat it as such. Life be damned.

“Why can’t I let it get in my eyes?” Dipper questioned, watching as the human opened up the first bottle and poured a liquid onto his palm before lathering it in his brown curls- or lack of, with the water making his hair look more like a wet mop. The scrubbing wasn’t particularly bad, in fact, Bill had to be careful with the buck’s small horns, making his motions gentle and sensual.

Dipper thought it to be sweet, when it was really all just a good rouse.

“Because it’ll sting and burn them, trust me, you only wanna make that mistake once- or, not at all.” Bill chuckled remembering how he had danced and sung in his shower at home, back when both of his eyes were intact. He would trade getting shampoo in his eyes every night then being half blind in a heartbeat.

The cervitaur nodded, accepting the answer. He was curious as to what this stuff was, it's smell was so artificially fake, it's attempt to mimic the forest was rubbish. But the smell was heavily associated with Bill himself so, really, he didn’t mind. He liked the smell of the hunter, and even if this didn’t smell exactly like him, that was fine. The safe security it offered him, and warm fuzzy haze it brought, was welcomed.

The hands massaging the liquid into his scalp vanished and a coo to close his eyes followed, obediently, he listened not wanting to experience that foreign pain. The water pulled all the shampoo suds from his locks and when he had the okay, he opened his eyes. Already the human was opening the other bottle but gestured for Dipper’s hand this time, after a moment’s pause, he received it. The new liquid was cold to the touch as it left the bottle and gathered in his palm, and he stared at it curiously. One whiff and he could tell this one wasn’t trying to mimic the forest, its scent was quite different- human thing, perhaps?

“Lather that on your chest and whatever else, it makes ya smell good for a while.” Bill offered the answer already sensing the questions bouncing around in the monster’s confused gaze. When Dipper didn’t do anything, the blonde lightly rubbed at his clothed chest in circular motions, lifting his arms and ‘scrubbing’ around them. “Like this, kid. It’s not gonna come to life and kill you. I use this stuff every night, basically!”

Another pointed look and a brightly faked smile on Bill’s end, and finally the twin was getting to it. Rubbing his chest and watching the soap accumulate on his skin, it felt…oddly nice. Dipper liked the feeling, and continued to groom himself. He felt really good about this, and the water was just perfect against his muscles, bumping all his anxieties away once it drew the soap off of him.

“Lovely! Now just do that with this,” Bill handed the confused animal the shampoo bottle. “- like I did to your hair, but do it to your fur. And I’m gonna get you a towel so water doesn’t get everywhere when you get out.”

Dipper nodded, flicking open the cap to the strangely new bottle and drizzling a generous amount into his awaiting hand. Then he set to work on scrubbing his monstrous fur. It felt good to be clean, the dirt coming off of him in waves and flushing out to allow him even more access to cleanliness. Bathtubs- no, the entire bathroom was very cool! Extremely useful, Dipper could now understand why humans had them. It was so much easier and safer then wandering into the lake or waiting around for rain.

As Bill watched the helpless buck avoid getting the suds on his wound, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes. The twin was such a sis, letting the water run over it would do it some good. He focused on his task, reaching his hand out to get towels from the rack inside the cabinet. His hand gripped onto nothing but air and he raised his brow in confusion-

Odd, his depth perception wasn’t normally this bad. Maybe it was from all the distractions and the annoying throb of his scar. He needed to focus more, Bill didn’t need anyone knowing what losing an eye really did to him. He needed to seem as invincible as ever.

Still with confidence, the hunter reached forth and this time made sure his hand went straight to the cloth before laying it out on the floor. He got two more and laid them on the sink, ready for use whenever the little fur ball got done. Which, after a few more minutes of the creature just playing around, he curiously looked at the hunter.

“Can you stand?” Bill questioned, biting the inside of his cheek as the stinging under the eyepatch worsened. It flared up before slowly, but surely, dying down into nothingness again. As if it had never come, it always did that, it was purely annoying.

“Ye-Yeah! I can stand,” Dipper meekly said. He wanted to get the human’s help but he also didn’t want to be more of a bother, after all, Bill had been acting a little funny. Sucking in an anxious breath, he staggered onto his hooves. Using the wall to lean on when he was finally up and cautiously, stepped over the rim of the tub and onto the towel.

“Look at you go!” Bill softly chuckled, taking one of the towels and tossing it onto the buck’s furry back before getting the other and handing it to the monster. “Ruffle your hair with it while I get your- …other half, can’t have you tracking water anywhere.”

Dipper had to admit, watching the blonde think over his words was a little amusing, so much so that he couldn’t help to cackle under his breath. Which didn’t go unnoticed by said male as he went over, wrapping the towel around his sides as he began to try and dry off the creature’s fur.

“Are you laughing at me?” Bill barked harmlessly, after all the mind numbing setbacks, it felt good to be laughing and enjoying himself. He’d argue that it was just because he was a human, a social creature, science foretells any being enjoying the company of another. It wasn’t because he was growing attached to this furball. No, definitely not that. “You are! You’re laughing! I’m shocked- offended even!”

Hearing the outrageously fake tone sweeten the hunter’s words, Dipper’s soft chuckle turned into full-blown laughter and he paused his hair-drying. Muffling his voice with the towel though it did little to help. The previous tension melted away like ice in the desert, his heart singing with grace at the prospect of him improving the human’s mood.

“You’re so rude,” Bill commented further. Finishing up toweling in favor of rummaging through the cabinets again, pulling out the hairdryer and plugging it in before he aimed it directly at the brunette’s face and let the warmth crash into his skin.

Dipper gasped, shuddering at the sudden and mostly unexpected warm air that sent goosebumps rippling along his body. He’d ask later about the human concept, the buck didn’t want to risk the mood ruining over a dumb little question, he always had time to ask later on anyways. There was no real rush. “Hey!”

The blonde gave his own little snort of laughter, letting the air brush his flanks and ribs covered with fur. His hand moved quickly, flicking the noisy thing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It never stayed on a spot for long, and he could guess why. The heat could turn unpleasant, almost like getting too close to fire.

The cervitaur remembered his great uncle making one every now and then, when the winter nights got too cold for him to bare. He always complained that his stone froze up which made his “old man pains” even worse. He….he really missed his uncle. Dipper would help bring in wood, Mabel pitching in by dropping off driftwood for the elder or carrying Dipper’s load of sticks back for him. They worked well together, they always had. Man….he couldn’t wait to get back to them and tell them all about Bill!

Well-

Okay scratch that; Stan would totally freak out on him. He couldn’t go all out and tell everything, he’d need to warm up to topics and subtly bring them up. Easing the elder into his stories that far strayed away from the traditional fables. No doubt Mabel would be overjoyed with meeting the friendly human. She’s just as curious as he is, just as adventurous and intuitive, more creative and bubbly, confident and-

His heart dulled.

He really missed his family. His uncle’s loud snores to his sister’s splashing; all the things he wore he hated just seemed too fond now that he looked back on them. As he reminisced about his family, he almost missed that Bill had finishing drying his fur. If it wasn’t for the sudden quiet atmosphere, he would’ve stayed stuck in his mind. Dipper would be able to see them soon, he was walking now! That was good, pretty soon he could walk to them, visit them, see them again. It’d be okay, everything would be fine. And he wasn’t going to let some dumb feelings destroy what he’d created for the human.

When the twin’s hand ran down his own sides, he was a bit surprised to feel how soft everything felt. It had the same texture of a new foul’s coat and even carried a fuzz and fluffiness to it he’s never seen before. Okay, humans made these things to pamper themselves, and he was officially jealous. He wished his fur to be like this all the time. It’d be perfect!

Bill just couldn’t help but to study the brunette, he was making that mesmerized look again. The wide eyed, bright smile, ears flickering, solely innocent and good, enthusiastic look. He didn’t hate it- was he suppose to?- and found it just as soothing as it had been before. Which was so, so strange and dumb. It was even more stupid that he, himself, couldn’t figure it out.

“I would do your hair but, I find it’s best to air dry that.” Bill mused, nudging the monster to the side to pick up the towels and hang them up. He’d get to them later, he was still a little tired from the nightmare. Just thinking about the damned thing made his nerves scorch with anxiety and rage.

He wasn’t going to think about that, not now, anyway.

“That’s fine! But uh, what happens now?” Dipper asked, blinking at him in a bit of a stupor. Bill could’ve sworn the monster was batting his eyelashes at him- or, possibly, he just had long eyelashes. Squinting a bit to get a better look, yeah, he just had long eyelashes. He could draw at least one similarity between them, if anything, they both had reasonable,
luscious lashes.

Maybe it was just a monster thing. Couldn’t hurt to ask, right? After all, the twin had been pestering him with questions ever since he first met the boy. He’s entitled to a few of his own.

“So, Pinetree, are you the only cervitaur out here? In all my years of running around in the woods, I’ve never come across anything quite like you.” Bill decided on letting his last words have enough emphasis to be made into something more, but not enough to be a clear indication of anything. Effectively, leaving dipper frazzled for a second.

“No, there’s some of us everywhere, but mainly here.” The buck timidly spoke, pushing his decipherings of the other’s words away for the moment to focus on the conversation at hand.

“May I ask as to why that is?”

“Well,” He paused, unsure whether or not to be telling any of this to a human- a human hunter no less! But…the blonde didn’t seem to be as hostile as he was made to believe… and the guy did take good care of him. “It’s- uh, it’s really a long story..”

“Good thing we’ve got time!” Stubbornly, but as bubbly as ever, the blonde chirped.

He supposed he’d just have to take another leap of faith.

“O-Oh, of course, well one of the reasons is because we like to stay in herds and move accordingly to our surroundings. Like if the weather’s changing, not enough food, you know.” Dipper gestured vaguely, hands coming to fiddle with themselves.

“One of the reasons?” The human pushed on, his own curiosity sparking to life as he watched the buck become a bit nervous. There was something insanely interesting he was keeping, Bill wanted the information, oh he wanted it bad.

“Yeah, the other reason is what takes a while to explain.” Sucking in a big breath to chill his anxieties, the buck paused for a moment to simply think and gather all the points inside his head, not wanting to give any inaccuracies.

“A long time ago, there was plenty of monsters of each and every kind all over, and for the most part- things were good. Everyone was friendly and nice, us and you humans got along really well! Until- and I’m not positive as to why, and no one really is either- you guys changed. Turned on us and there was fighting and riots. A war broke out between us.”

Bill’s heard of this story, though never like this. The tale that he knew was far different, but he supposed that made sense. Two different sides viewed things differently, had their own opinions and biases, their own priorities and the like. But he’s never bothered to think of the other side to the story, and listening to it now, seemed like a very heavy fable. It sounded like lies. It sounded too innocent to be true, too cliche and made-up. But he listened anyway, paying full attention.Maybe he’d learn something.

“We never wanted to kill any of you, only to use our magic to defend ourselves and our families! And we did, though sometimes we had to push the humans back. Things were taken too far, lots of casualties happened, and despite our pleas and peace talk. The humans seemed to evolve with their own sort of magic. You trampled us, killing and slaughtering us without showing any mercy.”

Dipper swallowed, feeling like he was sinning by telling the blonde all of this. He hoped it didn’t come out as an insult. He didn’t want it to or mean for it to. In his haste to explain and elaborate, he used big hand gestures that seemed to fly everywhere with his words.

“Certain kinds were targeted. Manitaurs, cerviaturs, fauns, satyrs- we were known as the warriors. We were pawns, in other words, and a lot of us didn’t make it to see the end. After failing in the fights, we gave up. But it didn’t stop you guys from doing as you pleased and taking over, so we all moved. We’re scattered, most of us come here because of the good conditions and preservation, there are close to no humans here. And the ones that are here- they, well, they don’t mind us or don’t even know of us.”

“As far as I know, there’s only a few remaining groups of us. We all scattered into different parts and sections, hell, we could’ve traveled to distant lands! No one was able to keep track. Things were either burned, stained, people were killed or never seen again, everything was so hectic and chaotic- there was no way anyone could tell much of anything!”

There was a moment of silence; Bill seeing if there was more for the twin to say or if that was it. Dipper was a bit winded from his nerves, and though it didn’t show, his knees wobbled in a hint of fear. Telling the story, knowing the trauma it caused his fellow monsters, the pain and stress, the sadness and despair, having experienced a moment of that pain and fear when he was caught in the metal trap. It made him hold a small candle of unease again for Bill.

“Humans, we have a lot of bad history. We fight ourselves, others, and I’m terribly sorry that your kind had to bare witness to it.” The hunter piped in, fixing the hair that fell into his face. “It must’ve been horrible.”

Dipper was surprised. The note of understanding and sympathy was unexpected and unreal, Bill had faked it but still, the gullible monster just fell right into his ploys.

“War’s never easy, for either side, and no one is right.” He continued, now meaning a bit of his words but sugarcoating them to a great extent. “But I can’t imagine the sort of things you guys had to be subjected to, kid, I’m sorry. If my asking brought you uncomfortable memories or anything, I’m so sorry.”

“Oh no! No, no! You’re okay it-i-it’s fine! I mean,” The cervitaur cleared his throat as his mind reeled from the apology. Humans were that bad? This one seemed like the complete opposite! “I didn’t live through it, I was born after things died down. But um- Thank you!"

Chapter Text

Bill helped Dipper back down the stairs, but before they had gotten even that far out the bathroom, the buck went nosing around when Bill went to dispose of the towels. The brunette was slowly easing the door to his bedroom open before the hunter managed to catch up, ushering the boy away and towards the stairs. This time, however, instead of the cervitaur holding onto the railing, he held onto Bill’s arm. His own skinny arms looping around his elbow and tugging it close to his figure. The blonde looked at the twin with a raised brow before sighing.

 

He normally didn’t let anyone touch him, expect for his friends, because he hated touch. The contact was just annoying to him and always made him uncomfortable but when Dipper grinned happily as for once didn’t have any fear clouding his mind- Bill didn’t feel the usual disgust. He reasoned it was because he had gotten a little bit of what he wanted, which were answers, from the monster and it put him in a good mood. It seemed to be the most logical explanation for such a calm reaction, or possibly, the manipulating act was just so commonplace now it fell too smoothly into place. Either reason, the hunter was okay with it. It didn’t mean anything, really. How could it? This was still his money goat whether the stupid meat sack coddled up to him or not, it wouldn’t change a thing.

 

“Well, look at you.~” Bill teased with a soft snicker and thoroughly enjoyed the way the other’s cheeks reddened and he avoided the human's gaze. “No pain?”

 

“No-None, I feel pretty good er, thanks Bill!” The twin stammered and mentally beat himself up for the embarrassing reaction, really what was wrong with him! God, he hated how awkward he made things. He had just got closer to this human too and now he was ruining it- or, not? The wide smile stretching across the blonde’s face said otherwise. Was Bill….enjoying this? He was!

 

“Don’t mention it, Pinetree!” Dipper watched as Bill took his arm back, stepping away from the buck to wander over to the fire place. “Make yourself comfortable, I’m gonna get a little heat in here before the night winds kick our ass.”

 

The brunette cocked his head to the side as the blonde crouched down and grabbed a poker, sticking it into the dying embers with a little energy. He muttered something under his breath that was too quiet for Dipper to hear before he was moving again, putting dry logs atop the ashes in an organized manner and getting something out his pocket. He struck it once against the brick of the fireplace, tossing it crassly into the pit and then moved the wood around. After that was done, Bill stood tall and made his way to a chair not too far away from the crackling of a beginning fire. On the arm chair, there was a book.

 

He was a little disappointed to return back to the couch, long bored of the same thing by now, and missing the human already. How odd was that, he missed someone who was no more then mere inches from him, what even was that? Maybe Bill wouldn’t mind if he moved closer, he could always use the cold as an excuse to be up there with him. Nodding to himself, the buck was careful with his steps, still a little uneasy on his hooves with the injury but found a small sense of pride once making it to the cushions. He snatched up the pillows and blankets there, trotting towards the open floor next to the hunter’s chair and laying his stuff down. Usually, the females make nests but incase he ever became mated, he had learned too. All cervitaurs did, it wasn’t weird!! So what if he arranged the pillows around him and put the blankets under him with a swift droop over his back, it wasn’t weird at all.

 

Bill, again, quirked a brow at the sudden movements beside him. Should he ask? Fuck it, he was going to ask. Was this sorry sucker already so attached he couldn’t stand to have some distance? It was ironic, and the amount of irony the situation held made him want nothing more but to laugh in the other’s face. “Comfortable there, thumper?”

 

“Wha-Oh, uh yeah it’s just the uh, ya know- c-cold and- well yeah.” Stupid, stupid, stupid! Dipper silently groaned at himself, he really needed to grow in his confidence, something Bill secretly agreed to. Even if it was never spoken out loud, both parties seemed to think the same thing.

 

“Give it a minute, fire’s still weak. It’ll strengthen when it catches inside the main log.”

 

Dipper nodded like he knew what Bill meant.

 

Then the human went back to his book, attention entirely derailed and occupied by the paper trap. Dipper wished he had his journal, was it even safe? Did someone have it? Was he going to have to hunt it down and engage in a brawl for it? Anything to read would be stimulating enough, he was tired of just laying and daydreaming and dwelling. His mind needed the exercise! But he was too timid to ask Bill to read it to him, or get him a book himself. After all, the human just hiked up the stairs a few times and helped bathe him on top of whatever else he did during the day. Dipper wasn’t going to push. He still wanted to repay the man for all of his kindness.

 

Defeated, a little drained, the monster tucked his head on the pillows. He let his gaze trail over to the blonde, curious. His expression was set; hair a little messy but still in it’s style, jawline as out there as ever, nose sharp and lips absolutely stunning. Bill could read. He was educated! Not everyone in the forest could read, or even bothered to try or really even cared. It was nice to see that someone was interested in something he was. Plus! The hunter’s absorbed into the novel. Eyes trailing right to left as he chased the words, mind working to paint the scene before it as he went on an adventure only he was aware of. He really respected the blonde, he seemed intelligent, especially for a human! One who used thoughts over violence, that must’ve taken wit to deny his nature. They were all primal on the inside. Even the way he turned the page and resumed the entranced, calm look was beau- was...

 

Was he crushing on this human? No! No way!! Dipper was just appreciating someone’s face, that didn’t mean anything to anyone, just like he appreciated nature! There definitely wasn’t anything going on, this wasn’t another Wendy situation at all. Oh no- The buck’s face morphed into a fiery red blush upon the memories. It went unnoticed to the human, how could it not? The blonde was entirely focused on the book, moving only to turn pages or adjust how he held it. His hands were perfect, refined and the skin seemed smooth to the touch, probably everywhere along his body. With a muffled squeak, the twin forced his head under a blanket and squeezed his eyes shut. Sleep! He just needed to sleep! That was all. Yeah, just weird thoughts derived from lack of rest. Mhm. That was it. It did take a while but eventually he had managed to drift off, the warmth of the fire and the soft security of the blankets lulled him into a dream world. Needless to say, his dreams were a little biased.

 

______________________________________

 

A small crackle from the fireplace and a thump made his ears perk up, drowsily the cervitaur rose his head up and blinked. The cabin was darker from when he last had his eyes open, one quick glance out the window told him that night had fallen and had been here for a while. The stars shined and danced among the sky with the moon shedding pleasant light onto the tree tops of the wooded forest. He would’ve loved to take a walk down twisted pathways and secluded spots, maybe visit the stilled water and just gaze at the reflection that he would see. Yeah, that did sound soothing and nice. Dipper let his head fall again, shifting onto his side on the makeshift nest as he blearily looked up before he were to sleep.

 

He saw a head of golden messy curls.

 

Closing his eyes he sighed, okay so maybe he did miss the human but pretending to see the hunter was just weird. But what if he didn’t make up the image? Cracking his eye open again, he did see the slightly tussled hair and he bolted upright. Bill was still here! Why?

 

He didn’t see the book, and- oh. The human was asleep. Dipper sucked in a breath and scrambled to stand up, he cringed when the floorboards creaked under his hoof. They usually never did that or at least wasn’t so loud during the day, ugh. He took a blanket from his nest and edged closer to the man, lightly throwing the fabric over his form and gently tucking it in wherever he could. Humans slept with pillows right? He thought so- crap okay uh…

 

Moving back to the mess on the floor, Dipper snatched a pillow and returned, hands shaky with anxious thoughts. He peered at the passed out hunter and sucked in a breath. He looked so peaceful, catching up on missed sleep and lips slightly parted as minty breath fanned out, luscious lashes closed and looking so full and elegant in the warm lighting. He let out another sigh, nerves steadily calmed as a small smile slipped onto his face. Okay, this was fine, he was only taking care of the human like he had done for him. There was nothing to be anxious about. With now steady hands, Dipper gently carded his hands on Bill’s head, god was his hair so soft. He would played with it if he could’ve but instead eased his head forward and slipped the pillow between the small gap. Satisfied, the twin moved back with one final look at the sleeping blonde. Cute.

 

Settling back down again, with a new found ease, the monster fell asleep much quicker this time.

 

______________________________________

 

Bill wasn’t completely sure why he had slept so well that night, his neck or back weren’t throbbing in pain even though he slept in a chair instead of his bed, so he supposed that was a good thing. He didn’t remember the pillow or the blanket but assumed the monster was responsible for it. A nice gesture really, but dorky. Pointless. He slept in too long, things still needed to get done and he wanted to talk prices to his friends. At least one of them knew what they were doing half the time, getting up the human paused.

 

He cast a look at the sleeping figure on the floor and decided to repay the gesture, it wasn’t like he was using the materials anyway right now, and the longer the beast stayed asleep the longer his conversation and quiet could last. It wasn’t to be kind, but to preserve. So he let the blanket fall onto the brunette’s back before he stalked off towards the kitchen, grabbing food to make a quick breakfast. Or brunch, didn’t matter. While he waltzed around the kitchen he also picked up the phone and dialed a number, Bill let it ring before someone picked up.

 

“Hello!~” The voice chirped, overly sweet and ever so elusive.

 

“Hey, I got a proposition for ya.”

 

“What does my billy-boy have for me this time?~”

 

“Do not. Call me that.” Bill growled, pausing in his cooking to glare at the phone against his ear. There was a loud boom of laughter before it finally calmed down into a soft hum of amusement.

 

“Can’t help myself, but anyway, what’s up?”

 

“I found a young looking cervitaur and he’s currently stuck in my cabin. I wanna talk dollars, plus I’m about to head into town for some winter supplies and sell a hide of mine. Wouldn’t kill to meet up.”

 

“Miss me?~” The girl cooed, her voice as playful as ever and Bill didn’t even need to see her face to know that she was smirking and twirling her hair between her fingers. “Do you wanna get up to some fun too or just boring business?”

 

“Hm,” The blonde thought. Some mischief sounded like a load off, why not. “Sure, sure. But you still have yet to talk to me back about those numbers.”

 

“Well how am I suppose to give you an estimate if I haven’t even met our prize? How about you make me some dinner, show me ‘round, and afterwards we have the night of our young lives once the sun dies!”

 

“You’re so thirsty for it, Py, ya know that?” Bill snickered, shifting the phone over to his other ear to better stir.

 

“Only for you, baby boy~ Regardless, I’ll give you whatever sum you want and help market. I’ll head over to your cabin.”

 

“I never said you could come over.” He pointed out with a fond smile, teasing.

 

“You’re right, I said it. Get everything ready for me!”

 

“Doll, you’re too much. But alright, I’ll make your favorite if you’re good. When will you be here?”

 

“Few hours, don’t lose that temper of your’s and don’t burn down the house~” The line went silent for a moment, and then it was dead.

 

Bill put his phone back into his pocket, moving the cooked food onto a plate for him to eat as he thought more on the visit. He could split some of the work with her and get more things done faster, but then again, he didn’t have all his faith in her ability. Pyronica hasn’t failed him before so she wouldn’t now, she was the most tolerable in his friend group but he wondered why the hell she hung around Kryptos so much. The guy was a worrisome mess of problems. Not that he didn’t make for great bait or for warnings, but his level of skill was far under Bills own.

 

She better not disappoint.

 

“Who was that?”

 

Bill snapped around to stare at the monster who was stretching his arms high above his head, the human ogled at the twin’s flat and somewhat toned front before he checked to make sure his patch was in place while Dipper was distracted. “Well, good morning to you too!”

 

“Sorry, I was just, I heard a voice and- yeah.” He muttered dumbly and watched as the human nudged another plate beside him for the other take. Which he did after a bit of a pause. “T-Thanks.”

 

“No problem.” Dipper wondered if the blonde was going to bring up last night, he wasn’t sure if he wanted Bill to but then again, he wanted the hunter to know that he wasn’t as helpless as he seemed. Maybe he should be the one to bring it up, get the conversation flowing and attempt to be somewhat of a functional person for once. But that seemed hard and his inner anxiety seemed against the idea. Bill wasn’t going to answer his earlier question, having dodged it, and he wasn’t going to bring it up.

 

Crap, what should he do??

 

 

Instead of talking at all, the brunette stuffed his mouth full of food. It was a reasonable excuse.

 

Again, the action went unnoticed, which made him relieved and disappointed. He wasn’t entirely sure why still but didn’t stress on it. A ding interrupted the silence, the blonde pulling out the source of the noise and smiling brightly at what he saw on the thing. He wasn’t sure why he felt a bit bitter at that but he did perk up when the attention was back onto him.

 

“Hey kid, ever taken a photo?”

 

He blinked, shaking his head for a no as he swallowed the remains of what was in his mouth. He was familiar with the term the humans used for the process, cameras, selfies, and the like. Other humans usually took pictures of the trees and nature so monsters grew familiar to the experience. Bill grinned again, holding up his phone and snapping a quick photo of the doe-eyed look and immediately sent it to Pyronica, who immediately replied.

 

The hunter wasn’t paying him any mind anymore and the bitter feeling returned. This might be exactly like Wendy and he really hoped it wouldn’t end the same way, goodness, Dipper Pines how do you manage to do these things? Needless to say, Bill was strictly focused on the phone the entire time during breakfast, the usual conversation they had before Bill took off for the woods, didn’t happen and Dipper found himself missing it. Sure it wasn’t strictly routine and there was nothing either of them had said that they’d continue it, but he just liked the simple, funny jokes they shared at the time. Well, he had all day to make up for it, and he would!

 

He was throughly confused when Bill got dressed properly, freshened up but made no move to lace up his boots or hike into the forest. He instead, went from room to room, moving things or cleaning things up, muttering words under his breath. Dipper had no idea what was going on, and the end of the call he managed to hear earlier, didn’t help him in the slightest bit. Something about being safe and favorite foods.

 

He had no idea what to do to even help besides to keep to himself on the floor in his mess of a nest. It was a little entertaining to watch, If he were being honest with himself, and the sights he got to see were things that made him a bit flustered. It all stopped when a sharp rasp came at the door that made him flinch.

 

Dipper heard Bill’s boots thumping quickly down the stairs and when he turned, he watched as the hunter jumped mid-way and landed on his heels and calmly walk to the door with a pep in his step. He was already snickering as he yanked the door open and his eyes sparkled at someone.

 

“Bill!” Came a very sugarcoated cheer and arms wrapped around the human’s neck, pulling him into a tight embrace as a girly giggle erupted to join in his husky cackle.

 

Dipper did not have a good feeling about any of this.

Chapter Text

“Well, Well, Well, look who it is!” Bill grinned and his own arms wrapped themselves around the girl who pressed herself unnecessarily, in Dipper’s opinion, close. It resulted in the hunter taking a step or two back to steady the weight before he seemed to adjust. When the newly arrived woman had gotten bored of the embrace, she detached herself.

 

“Now, where is it?” She turned, a smile wide and toothy as her sights landed on him, only growing impossibly wide as she made quick steps to the young buck. ”Aw! So you’re the one called Dipper, no?”

 

The twin stepped backwards, wincing in his hast to create a favorable amount of distance. One glance towards the blonde and he got a thumbs up, right. Any friend of Bill’s had to be okay, maybe it was just his anxiety flaring up and creating the feeling of unease, that was probably it. He could trust Bill. He could. He never knew of a reason he shouldn’t. Quickly, he sucked in a soft breath, speaking gently. “Ye-Yes…and you are?”

 

“Gah- You’re right! Where are my manners,” She laughed. Her word choice…too close to Bill’s for him to like…why was she so close to Bill? To him it sounded crooked as her gaze drifted over to Bill, a matching smile spreading over his face as if she had told him a joke funnier then all of the wood’s fae. “Name’s Pyronica, pleasure to meet you, sugar~”

 

The feeling wasn’t returned, he wanted to say, guilt springing up as the words etched into his mind upon instinct. There was no reason, yet, to treat her so horribly. Against his wishes, her hands came into his privacy bubble. They cupped his cheeks, pinching and pulling as she stared at him in fascination before they fled and went to poke his chest and sides, exploring of their own accord. Even going so far as to get tangled in his hair, grasping at his growing horns.

 

He yelped, once more, backing away from her.

 

“Bill, darling, what am I going to do with you? Have you no clue the prices you’re going to raise?”

 

Dipper didn’t understand what those words mean, but Bill seemed to, of course he did. It was just like the hunter to have a grasp on everything, even when he was dealing with Dipper’s injury, he always had known what to do. It’s always been something that made him feel safe and secure. Easing his worries away and replacing them with a sense of contentment and comfort, a steady distraction from the longing in his heart. Except now, it was the exact opposite. How he wish his sister was next to him for him to cling to, to ramble to and speculate with, it was reminding him of everything he didn’t have and something akin to a big nasty flame was rising for the woman. It didn’t help that Bill responded to her without missing a single beat.

 

“An estimate, especially after finding something new out. But you’re here to confirm for me.” Bill crossed his arms and Dipper watched in stunned silence as she again went over to him, hips swaying as she walked over.

 

Her hair ended just above her shoulders, plump lips stretched by her bright and warm smile, eyes a stunning blue to match his own human’s dazzling orbs. Her crop top slipped off one shoulder and ended way before her hips but to make up for it’s lack of length, her shorts were high waisted to cover up her stomach, though even they were short too. Pure white thigh highs perfectly hugging her legs as did everything else with her outfit, and while he couldn’t make out the writing on her front, he did however see the moment her palm gently laid across Bill’s face. She pressed a slight smooch to his cheek and then the other, before lingering next to his ear.

 

“cela vaut la peine plus vivant.” Bill nodded.

 

Dipper swore his breath left his lungs as she pulled away, and both humans shared a look that only the other understood. “Help me with my bags?”

 

“Of course, mon cher.” And then she was parading out the door, like she owned the place, and it made the brunette a bit peeved at the way she treated Bill. This wasn’t her house- Bill wasn’t her toy, she should respect him!

 

“Wha-What’s happening, Bill?” He asked utterly helpless. His eyes pleading for things to slow down, and for Bill to explain, to once again sit with him on soft cushions and give him the warming and pleasant smile just like he used to. The way the human paused and twitched, almost like he entirely forgot he had someone else in his house was nerve racking, but then he was looking back at him. His expression neutral, eyes shifting from the other human being outside to him, and for the moment Dipper felt a bit better.

 

The blonde was putting a hand on his hip, lips tugging into a smirk as he gave the monster an amused look, it seemed like Bill knew something he didn’t. Was he missing something?

 

“You’ll have to forgive Py, she’s a life-long friend. Been here many, many, many times and doesn’t seem to understand other cultures. She’s not from here, French, actually. Her customs might be strange but I’ll explain to you. Give me a moment.” And then he was stepping out the door.

 

Dipper hobbled over to his nest, tugging one edge closer to Bill’s chair and he waited for them to waltz back through the door, bags in tow as a fit of laughter left the blonde’s lips and erupt from her’s. The two moved up the stairs and the cervitaur’s eyes watched the muscles in the hunter’s arms flex as he lifted the heavier luggage up and walk up the stairs, rounding the corner, the pair disappeared before returning a few minutes later. He scrambled to the door, shutting it and fixing the locks in place before Pyronica set foot in the living room.

 

The girl was going to walk into the kitchen before Bill tugged her arm back and pointed at the confused and quite startled looking buck. She frowned before gesturing for her friend to continue, much calmer this time around, to which the twin appreciated.

 

“Pyronica greets people differently then what you’re used to.” Bill started off evenly, a confident and snarky sounding coo in his voice- was, was he teasing her? Now? Of all the times? After she intruded on thei-….Bill’s territory.

 

The hunter waved her off as she opened her mouth to speak, poking out her tongue at him once he was now approaching Dipper. His calloused hands felt nice under his chin, tipping his head up in a gentle manner as his tanned face easily leaned closer to his. Again, he felt his breath leave his body though, for different reasons this time.

 

“In France, it’s a common courtesy to greet the other like so.” Then Dipper felt those lips press tender smooches to his cheek, tilting his face and going in to claim the other cheek in a similar kiss. His face heated immensely once Bill retreated. “A different form of a hand shake, she would’ve given you one but you shied away. Now- you wouldn’t want to be rude and deny her the gesture, would you?”

 

His voice was like silk, all suave and it trickled into his mind, taking root in every cell he had all over his body. The sound alone enveloped him and the sultry look given directly to him, at such a close proximity, was making his stomach do flips inside his being. A longing for his hand blossomed once it was taken away, those beautiful blue eyes showing such a strong emotion, he found himself nodding against his own will. He didn’t even know he was doing it until he saw the human grin at him- and such a lovely grin it was. Not all toothy and out there, like Pyronica’s. He’d always prefer Bill’s smile to her’s.

 

“C’mon then. Exchange the gesture to her as she does it to you.”

 

Dipper let the blonde’s nice, soothing voice overtake his mind and he let his shoulders un-tense when the sound of heels clicked against the wooded flooring and stopped right in front of him. He could be polite, not just because Bill wanted him to but because he was kind by nature, both him and his sister were. The woman leaned down and pecked his cheek, as did he, a delighted smile breaking onto her delicate features as she gave the other one the same care. Then she was, too, pulling away.

 

The same warmth that swam inside his skin when Bill had kissed his face was replaced by a feeling of discomfort that the pink clad lady stole from him. The fuzzy feeling inside his chest dissipated with one of more anxious nerves when the greeting was done with. Bill had done it better. Bill always does it better.

 

“So- Are you French too?” Dipper forced his voice to sound even, directing the question towards the human he much preferred. The buck only knew of certain heritage groups because of Mabel, she always met up with different mers from other waters and loved to hear their sea's life and loved especially the wonderful accents. She went on for hours and hours about it to Dipper.

 

“Me?” Bill let the question float around in his head for a moment before smiling, “I suppose you could say I have some heritage, yeah.”

 

“Booooooooooooriiiing!~” Pyronica’s voice cut through the air, ruining the moment Dipper felt himself building, and just like a spider swinging in to capture it’s wrapped fly- she tugged at the hunter’s hand and led him into the kitchen. “We’re cooking, I’m hungry! And as much as I know how excellent of a chef you are~ I’m better! Get me a radio!”

 

“Yes, your majesty.” The blonde grumbled, the grin and fond tone not going unnoticed by the buck, as he disappeared once again to go searching throughout his cabin for the demanded items.

 

Dipper risked stalking forward, scenting the air as much as he could as he edged closer to the girl, her gathering pots and pans and taking out all kinds of things from Bill’s cabinets. She smelt like daisies, crisp like a new breeze when summer sprouts from the winter winds, her humming sultry and idled if she knew he was stepping near. There was something spoiled about her smell, something entirely too fake to be able to trust. It made his tail dip low instead of displaying itself to the world. How could a person seem so welcoming but hide such a twisted undertone? Did Bill know? He might need to keep an eye on her for the human. His ears now pinned to his head with his realization, her back straight and with her weight it was almost easy to see her shoulder blades, when she turned and her eyes eased over his frame, he could see her collarbones. Prominent. Matured. She wasn’t starved looking at all, with curves and plump all in the right places as if she were attracting a mate, but certain aspects remained thinner or sharper. This just being one. Everything about her was contradicting some other aspect of herself. Strange, he wished he could seek out an elder’s knowledge or even pester a guardian about it.

 

“I taught him how to cook, ya know.” She said easily, talking as if he were an old friend of her’s. His ears twitched, one swiveling to her direction as the other stayed still. “Still teaching him certain tricks and recipes, as stubborn as he is, he doesn’t like to accept my help.”

 

He refrained from making a comment about how he would refuse it too. At least Bill seemed to have the right idea, remaining unfazed by her trickery! Of course, his human would be smart enough to not be made a fool by her charms, it was just like him.

 

“You’re so special. If he called me here, you’re definitely getting into his interests. It’s a shame,” She seemed to sigh. Dipper could see the way she was thinking about different topics but her words were cryptic and vague. His brows furrowed. “I hope you’ll be good to him, be fun, he needs it. With you around- hopefully I can rest easy.”

 

He opened his mouth to comment but-

 

 

Boots tapping against wood interrupted him, a melody filling the empty space and imploring a squeak from the women before Bill came into view. Smug and holding a hand out to her to which she took, they laughed more and made quick work of stepping together to the counter and setting the small device down before sweeping their feet across the kitchen. The cerviatur watched them, all smiles and chuckles, turning and twisting this way and that, swaying and dipping and tiptoeing until they finally broke apart from one another to begin making their meal.

 

Dipper shut his dangling jaw and went to the nest he built, sinking into the sheets and pillows with a clear pout across his face.

 

Her words echoed and bounced around his mind as he leaned his head against the side of Bill’s chair. His scent, forest and might easing the hyper-anxieties muddling around his system. He was special. Something about that made him giddy, he was special to the blonde. He was something of worthy, he was worthy. Maybe the way the human was glued to the phone earlier was something to take pride in if the conversation was about himself. He really hoped he wasn’t reading it wrong- But then she had said he was getting into his interests. What else could that even mean? What sort of interests, Bill was a hunter so maybe she meant his passion for exploring nature? He didn’t want to even consider the thought of Bill regarding him as another catch, that was ruled out, the human was too sweet to him. Of course that was absurd!

 

Pyronica said she wanted him to be good for Bill, to be fun. Was….that some sort of blessing? Approval? An admittance of worry? He wasn’t sure. Her words were confusing and how she spoke them. Her voice was softer and more gentle then when she usually speaks- or, how she normally does from what he could gather of her short presence. He could say she sounded sad, reserved, maybe even hesitant to carry forward but also an underlying hint of lust for something. Like she was chasing after an idea that always escaped her, no matter how far she ran, how hard her feet pushed against the ground. It was nothing but complicated every way he turned. And the more he thought about all the things it could possibly mean, his brain protested by a dull throb. This situation was entirely too complex. Especially with the way he was feeling.

 

This wasn’t his land, not his territory and Bill was not his family member or close friend, they only knew each other for a short time but he’s sitting here defending him and thinking of him as if he needed protecting. Bill wasn’t a fawn, he had his own measures of protecting himself and could get by. That scar was proof of it. He kept coming up with scenarios of why Bill had it and of who gave it to him. He tried to picture a younger human stumbling and crying out while fixing his injury. Bill was such a mystery and Dipper wanted to understand him. He wanted to be able to pick him apart and know his mannerisms, he wanted to make him as playful and happy as Py did, but that seemed too impossible with the rate he was progressing in.

 

As if on cue, their voices drifted over to him. Cocking his head to watch, he saw Bill by the stove with a spoon in hand. He was stirring and then moving over to chop something with a sharpened knife- Pyronica bumping his hip with her own and scolding him, snatching the blade right out of his hand and explaining something to which the hunter rolled his eyes at. He ushered her towards her own station by the sink, washing some food and stripping the outer layers of something. They worked like a team- a team that spent too many years together and grew annoyed at one another in a weird exchange of love and familiar-ship. He had that with Mabel. God did he miss her.

 

______________________________________

 

 

That night when he ate dinner it was in silence, in the shadow of whatever it was that the two humans discussed. Pyronica made big hand gestures as she talked, voice anything but quiet as she rambled. She interrupted Bill once, his own snarky and teasing responses were all in good nature as they traded on and off stories and caught up with one another. Naming names that he didn’t know and reminiscing on old events he could only guess about.

 

Dipper would only admit to one thing, that Pyronica’s cooking was spectacular. He now could say her earlier words held some form of truth to them, but just how much? And could he really trust her? If his own intuition and scent he’d gotten off of her said anything, it was that she was definitely a character. One he should be mindful of- but which mindful? She seemed lovely enough, her tales were innocent and there was nowhere in any story that seemed particularly violent- what then? What was giving him this feeling and why was he questioning his senses? He’s never before- Gah!!!

 

He needed to stop thinking so hard.

 

He could feel his head flip whenever she spoke a different language, one he didn’t recognize. He looked to the hunter whenever she did that, who seemed to understand her perfectly, as if she still was speaking to him in English. But she wasn’t. And his smile never fell. He never looked as confused as Dipper felt. He felt so alienated between the two friends. Then she would switch back, and things became a lot clearer and he could only feel just a tiny bit better. Maybe he could ask Bill to teach him…?

Chapter Text

Bill spends the majority of his day hanging out with Pyronica; she brushes him back up on the french he needs improvement on and they’re communicating like a well oiled clock again. He sees how lost the little lamb kid looks and he finds sick amusement watching it. The blond also feels Dipper’s eyes track him, especially whenever he moves closer to Pyronica. His chocolate browns staring at her and lingering before flickering dimly at the hunter.

 

His little crush is too obvious.

 

”You’ve charmed him well. “ Pyronica smirks, speaking french with the deception of light conversation.

 

“My dear, when have I never?” He cackles and catches the cervitaur looking his way, Bill meets his gaze and lets himself appear bashful as he quickly flickers his eyes away. It’s too easy.

 

“Only you, Cipher, only you.” She shakes her head with a smile before switching dialects. “I’ll get out of your hair for now, thanks for the invitation! I’ll be in touch.~”

 

She flutters her fingers, batting her eyelashes in a coy way meant to be flirty. Bill just grinned, toothy and malicious at her and she rolled her eyes. As much history as they shared, he couldn’t afford to hurt the monster’s silly little heart. If Bill wanted to keep baiting him then he had to turn Pyronica down. Yet, he’d take her up another day, when this was all said and done.

 

He’d helped her pack her things in the morning, stuffed it wherever it all would fit, and double checked the house. Everything looked good, nothing of her’s in sight for when she left so they spent the rest of the morning going over prices and entertaining the idea of an attraction.

 

If Bill could make a habit out of capturing these creatures, he’d be rich. Pyronica agreed.

 

Dipper mentioned others like them, said they traveled in herds. So there was more out there, now if he could just get the little shit to tell him where

 

“She’s eccentric, I know.” The human snickered, appearing sheepish when he had no reason to be. It fit well with the facade he was playing, Dipper immediately going red and looking down at the floorboard, buying the entire thing.

 

“She was nice.” Oh, how he didn’t mean that. Bill could tell in the way he avoided his eye, fidgeted with his hands and how his tail tip twitched.

 

“Pyronica’s a different breed, that’s for sure.” He agreed, going over to the creature and making a show of staring the cervitaur up and down. The kid flushed yet didn’t move away, so desperate for the hunter to make a move. He wanted to laugh. “Sorry to say that I have to gather more wood tonight and attend the garden.”

 

“O-Oh, yeah, sure. Anything I can do to help?” Dipper offered, biting his lip in a nervous tick Bill didn’t really hate. Which was a first. But he was beginning to hate a lot less things that the monster did.

 

“Rest up, wouldn’t want you overdoing it, would we?” He laughed then, Dipper nodding his head more out of habit rather than agreeance.

 

______________________________________

 

The storm clouds were rolling in, darkening the land and bringing forth cold winds that cut right to the bone. Bill shivered, not knowing to bring his coat in preparation and instantly regretting it. But he had to work through it. He didn’t want to spend his night shivering and huddled up in his bed, the cold doing nothing but make his scars ache and mended bones throb. He’s broken far too much to have to deal with that, and while he found a pleasure in pain, he didn’t want to risk it with a monster inside his home.

 

He had a decent amount cradled under his arm, enough to keep him satisfied until morning or early afternoon yet he wanted to gather more just to be safe. And if Dipper was sensitive to the cold, then he’d have to be a hospitable host. Which was annoying in all honesty.

He just had to remind himself that everything will be worth it in the end.

 

The voices he heard is what got him pausing, eye glancing over his shoulder and around at the neighboring foliage. He dropped into a crouch and hid behind some overgrown bushes, their leaves shook in the harsh breeze, masking the sound of his boots as he moved quickly.

 

Nearing the little pond, he made sure to keep his head ducked down low.

 

“Babe!” A long drawn out whine hit his ears, when he squinted he could make out a ripple of pink glimmering inside the water. No fucking way. “You promised!”

 

Rain started to come down, hard. Pelting everything on the ground and smothering the trees. Lightening cracked the sky into pieces before disappearing back into the clouds like a child scolded. Thunder followed after, honestly making him flinch with how loud it was. He felt the Earth rumble beneath his boots and he knew this storm was going to be a bad one.

 

“Glitter scales, I have to go. I’m sorry but maybe next time?” The snake-girl smiled, warm and apologetic. Bill saw fangs poke past her lips and the other snakes acting like hair huddled close to her neck in fear of the weather.

 

There was a loud splashing noise and that’s when he noticed the powerful tail smacking the water’s edge, a groan of displeasure before the brunette in the water pouted.

 

A fucking mermaid and….a snake person? He wasn’t sure if he should call it a naga or gorgon, though she resembled Medusa heavily. Gorgon it is.

 

“Fine, be safe. Don’t let the human get you.” Oh?

 

“I won’t, and we’ll find Dipper. The guardians never fail us.” The gorgon reassured before leaning in and stealing a rather wet kiss, in his opinion. Kissing a mermaid has to be gross, their lips unsanitary and covered in germs.

 

But what did they mean guardian? And they knew about him? How? Dipper couldn’t have told. There was no way he could walk this far, not yet. He just started walking. And the fool was head over heels in love with him. There was no way that halfwit would’ve blabbered about him if he knew monsters didn’t take kindly to humans.

 

So how.

 

His boots almost slipped out from under him with the mud steadily thickening as the rain kept pouring. He found himself soaked head to toe with barely any time at all and knew he needed to get back. His wood was probably drenched too, it wouldn’t burn. Fuck.

 

“I know, I just miss him. I want him home.” The mermaid sighed, the sound heavy and taxing on his ears. He really didn’t care. Maybe that awkward fawn had friends. Possibly girlfriend? No, if he was into Bill then he wouldn’t be into girls.

 

Did monsters have sexual preferences?

 

Maybe Dipper was into both. Screw it, he needed to stop thinking.

 

Finally, the mermaid slipped into the waters with another kiss goodbye. The gorgon stayed where she was, one hand petting one of the snakes attached to her scalp. She turned her eyes towards the trees, watching, Bill tensed.

 

Another round of lightning split the sky, the thunder making her close her eyes and shudder. Then she slithered off somewhere.

 

He knew it was risky, especially in this weather, but he needed information. He needed answers. So he followed her, forgoing his stack of pointless wet wood and keeping his body low to the ground. If she was anything like actual snakes, then she could smell the air and see body heat. The hunter knew with the rain and wind, his temperature would drop and she might mistake him for another creature, the melting Earth masking any scent he might have. It was a golden opportunity he was determined not to waste.

 

She eased herself over fallen logs and twisted around trunks, maneuvered easily and hiked up a rocky hillside with grace. He suspected she’d had time to perfect her little routine and took the dry cave as her home, a little nest to take shelter in. A figure took out amongst the darkness and kept Bill from closing in.

 

Family, must be. They looked exactly like her and hissed upon her arrival, throwing their arms around her and seemingly scolding her. She looked sheepish, embarrassed and a little anxious as her father ushered her in, pointing to mud spots and grass stains. When they all entered the cave, he frowned.

 

The parents didn’t seem too fit. He could take them with help, or simply on his own. They didn’t seem very threatening to him. The girl, however, looked cunning. He’d have to keep a closer eye on her.

 

When a tree got hit by the third lightning strike, the thunder adding to the rumble of it’s fall as it crashed onto the forest floor was when he decided it was his time to leave. The trek back took an hour, Bill hadn’t realized how far he had truly walked. It took even longer when he had admittedly made markers in the path so he could find his way back here in the future, when the weather permitted. Of course it had to be well hidden if those creatures were already onto him, but not so hidden to were he, himself, couldn’t locate them.

 

The human had lost his balance and slipped in the mud, just adding new things to the list of reasons to be frustrated. Taming his temper while he could, Bill got up and kept walking. Lord his feet hurt. The rocky terrain and the extra effort to stay upright in so much muck and mud making his calves burn.

 

When he finally got back to the cabin, he was panting and brushing his bangs out of his good eye for about the hundredth time that evening. Irritated, he nearly missed the buck hobbling over to him with a towel.

 

“Goodness! It’s coming down hard, I-I thought ahead and, um.” The cervitaur stuttered, presenting the towel with an embarrassed flourish.

 

Bill snatched it up and started to ruffle his wet hair with it, already having took his boots off at the door to avoid getting the house dirty. Dipper was quiet, though it wasn’t uncommon really. When he looked up he noticed that for once the creature wasn’t looking at his face but rather lower. Curious he looked down himself.

 

He was messy, yet he already knew that. Dipper lived in the damn forest for God’s sake, this couldn’t be new to him. The blonde hoped his clothing wouldn’t shrink or tear, he was going to have to inspect the damage fully when they dried and weren’t so fragile. Goosebumps littered his tanned skin as well, and he noticed he was shivering- nothing he could do about that however. Seeing as they had no wood.

 

It made him pissy.

 

Then, it hit him in the face like that monster’s claw, taking his sight from him all those years ago.

 

Dipper wasn’t staring because he was a mess.

 

He was checking him out.

 

The water made his clothes stick to him, turning him into good eye candy. And yes, he did have some muscle mass to call his own. Forest work was often grueling and demanding, working every part of his body everyday until he thrived off of the workout. It toned him out, gave him an impressive stature to use to his advantage wherever he saw fit. This just so happened to be one of those ways, and he was going to exploit it as much as he could now that he knew.

 

Bill grinned, sharp and meticulous as he strutted towards the stairs. His pants sticking to his form as securely as an extra layer of skin and he swore he heard breath hitch behind him. “I’m gonna slip something more dry. Thanks, by the way, for the towel. Get up the stairs on your own?”

 

Dipper looked up just in time for the hunter to aim a warm and radiant smile his way. The red that dusted his expression was answer enough that Bill was laying on the charms perfectly. “O-Of course! Anytime! And yeah, I, uhm I did!”

 

“I’m proud of you.” He let his gaze and smile stay for a moment longer before ascending the staircase. His eyes and body screaming at him for sleep, the rain only making him yearn for it that much more.

 

He used the towel to clean himself off and get him as dry as he could. Walking into the bathroom, Bill threw his sopping clothes on the shower curtain rod and went for his pajamas. He was still cold, as was the house. And as the night wore on, the temperatures only dropped.

 

His eye began to ache, an ebbing pain he was used to sharpening and making him groan. He felt a little clammy, his skin felt like it was crawling and he knew the night was going to be a long and restless one.

Fucking gorgons.

______________________________________

 

In the morning, the human awoke feeling absolutely terrible.

 

He was hot and cold, he was sweating profusely and his stomach was churning none too gently as he tried to stomach last night’s meal. His head throbbed dully, eye acting up to join it as he winced. Bill curled up on his bed, throwing the blankets off of him and silently cursing God’s name.

 

He refused to be sick. He couldn’t afford to be sick.

 

Getting up, he moved slowly over to the bathroom. The rain was still coming down, snapping with unforgiving rage at the windows. He’d have to cover them, he didn’t trust the storm to not shatter his glass. He was careful with each step, pressing the eyepatch to his scar rather then tying it around his head. The door opened quietly for him, shut as prettily too.

 

Looking in the mirror he noticed he looked paler, the eyebags- or bag, should he say- darker. He looked like a spicy piece of garbage. His hair was curly and matted, sticking up in countless directions. He groaned again, already frustrated. Brushing the tangled thing was going to be too much effort and he was tempted to just deal with it another time, but appearances were everything, just like reputations.

 

So, the hunter sucked it up and busted out the brush. It was going to be an inside day anyway, so he could at least stay in his night wear.

 

He’d just have to mask his sickness.