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As they made their way back through the forest, Dipper sped up until he was at his grunkle's side and cleared his throat.

"Grunkle Stan...I'm sorry."

Stan looked down at him, eyebrows raised.

"We…" he gave Ford an uncomfortable look over his shoulder, but went on resolutely, "It was rude of us to set up our gameplay in the living room when we knew you were gonna use it. We just got kind of carried away with finally having someone to play with. I'm sorry."

Stan smiled and pulled Dipper into a brief headlock/noogie combo. "Thanks, kid."

"You guys too," Dipper said when he was released, looking to Mabel and her deep-voiced friend.

"It's okay, Dipper," Mabel said with a forgiving smile. "We can watch Duck-tective when we get home. And hey, it meant I got to see that total hottie of an elf."

"AND I GOT TO HIT AN OGRE WITH A CHAIR!" the other girl exclaimed happily, hefting said chair on her shoulder.


A small, admittedly petty voice in Ford's head argued once again that it was his house, and he could play D, D & D wherever he dang well pleased, thank you very much.

But...well, that made these people technically his guests, if you thought about it like that, and it wasn't like there hadn't been other rooms, and the girls had seemed genuinely distressed by not having access to their show…

"Perhaps we should look for somewhere else to play in the future," he said aloud. Then, in a more pointed tone, "I apologize, children. I know how annoying it is for someone to come along and disrupt all your plans for something that's important to you."

He felt a dark delight in seeing Stan start to clench his hands into fists-but then, completely catching him off guard, Mabel punched him.

It was just in the arm. And her fists were very small, and of average strength for a twelve-year-old. But they were also quite bony, and he hadn't been expecting it, so even though it didn't hurt that much he let out a startled "Ow!"

"Stop being mean, Great Uncle Ford," Mabel scolded.


 

The rest of the walk home was in silence, but Ford saw Stan smirking, and when Mabel skipped up to walk beside him, he gave her hair a friendly, appreciative ruffle.