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Let Magic Lead Your Heart

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Bill Cipher should've known not to mess with a witch. Witches were dangerous, a threat to both the supernatural and regular humans – especially towards other magical beings, unless they're more powerful. It was an unwritten, unspoken rule within the large community of supernatural creatures: never mess with something stronger than you unless you're trying to usurp it.

So, he spent most of his time flipping through minds like a catalogue, taking out the witches to make sure he never ever tempted fate and keeping tabs on the most interesting (as of right now there were only two tabs; a pine tree shaped one which he visited often and a shooting star that he only touched occasionally due to how... vibrant it was).

After centuries of ripping out the doors into certain minds, he rarely paid attention to the unique feel each one had - if they were a witch, their mind was in no need of dreams from him; he'll leave those to another idiotic demon.

But of course, his world had been changing slowly after hanging around the Pines twins for so long and a part of him that he'd locked away long ago resurfaced. Bill was curious. Not about how humans functioned or what another demon was doing; no, he was actually curious about the mind of a witch.

All that raw fear buried deep within, their entire life spent sleeping in the dark - no dreams, no nightmares. It wasn't rare, most witches had pitch black minds with little glows that indicated a memory, their favorite things, etc. At night it was nothing but white noise and the occasional flash as another memory was added. But this witch, oh this witch. Their mind was practically ripe for the taking, so many different nightmares he could inflict on them. It made him feel giddy in the same way watching people burn did.

He had to do it and, without a second thought, he did.

If only he'd remembered the phrase 'Curiosity killed the cat' because two days later, his impulsive, almost human-like actions came back to bite him in the ass.


It's another regular night of Bill weaving sweet dreams into the minds of children and giving a nightmare to those he thinks deserve it (which is usually any and all adults; they're not kids anymore, they can handle blood in their face and shadows chasing them down). As much as it was fun hearing the tortured screams of a man getting ripped in half, he had to admit his job was extremely tedious.

And what does he do when he knows he's made one too many candy mountains? He visits the little pine tree tab of course. Seeing the kid try to beat him up in his mind always makes him laugh in that high-pitched, nasally way that's borderline psychotic.

Just as he's about to pop into Pine Tree's mind, there's a tug and then he's being yanked through a small portal. It's happens all to quickly that he's sort of spinning through the portal, managing to get on his feet and look presentable by the time he pops out on the other side.

His eye darts around, taking in his surroundings. It looks like small cottage with miss on the wooden walls. There are oddly shaped vials filled with colored liquids sloshing around inside and shelves of ingredients he knows all too well.

“You! Vile Demon!”

Oh great. Bill's eye moves to the other side of his body and as he suspected, the witch he'd been fixated on two days before is standing before him, fire in their eyes. Sighing, he completely 'turns' around, cane coming into existence so that he could lean on it. He knew he shouldn't have touched their mind.

“What do you want?” He tries to show the other that he wasn't in the mood for games, that whatever they were planning wouldn't work on him. Witches were dangerous and powerful, but he was Bill Cipher for fuck's sake. He's dealt with worse things.

“You dare invade my mind and implant that freak show?!” Right, this witch had a deliciously deadly fear of circuses.

He raises his one brow, silently saying 'Yeah. So what?'. That only serves to infuriate the witch even more.

“I'll show you what happens when lowly demons mess with me...” And then they're mumbling the rest of the time, shuffling around their home before they pluck a skinny vial filled with dark red liquid. It reminds him of blood and for a second, he's actually afraid of what they were about to do. It didn't help that he couldn't move from the tiny circle carved on the ground.

“What's that? Deer blood? Because that's my favorite kind,” he tells them, trying his best to look nonchalant about the whole ordeal. He's leaning heavily on his cane now and is frantically flipping through his overwhelming amount of knowledge, trying to figure out a way out of there.

There's a horrifying grin on the witch's face as they come closer and closer. Bill swears when his back hits the edge of the circle, effectively trapping him. He doesn't even have a chance to breathe because the red liquid is being poured all over his body. It stains him, making him look like a bloody triangle instead of a golden, all powerful demon. A burning sensation starts at the top and works its way to the bottom and he's gripping the cane now, dealing with the agonizing pain in silence.

The witch steps away, the imaginary flames licking at his body disappear, and he's his normal yellow color again. Except his glow is different, it's not the bright gold he's used to, no it's a mix between yellow and light pink. What the hell was that potion?

“It was a love potion,” the witch answers, wicked grin still on their face and empty vials filling back up with the liquid. His eye widens at the revelation and he thinks for a moment that they must be lying, but that thought it immediately shut down when he starts feeling. Pine Tree flashes through his mind and he has the urge to make him a crown of deer teeth to show his affections. Fuck.

The witch obviously sees his inner turmoil and cackles. “The most potent potion a witch knows to use against scum like you. Only way to break it is with a true love's kiss. Incredibly cliche, but works well since no one could possibly love a demon. Now, get out of my sight and STAY OUT OF MY MIND.” There's a slight wobble in their tone as they say those last five words, no doubt lacing a spell to make sure Bill listens.

He doesn't register what's going on around him, simply nodding as something tugs at him. It's a familiar feeling that he has no time to think about because he's tumbling through a portal and sliding across his mindscape.

Landing on unsteady feet, haze the witch had him in fades along with the rest of the potion, making sure the magic is deeply rooted within him. He looks around, relieved to see everything's still grey, dreary, and just how he left it - no sudden bursts of color or flowers shaped like those anatomically incorrect hearts humans give each other.

He spends the rest of the time swearing, meditating, and actively avoiding the still open door into Pine Tree's mind.

Chapter Text

After several years of the screaming head making an appearance in his dreams – and he calls them dreams instead of nightmares because that head is the mildest thing he’s ever gotten – followed by shadowed monsters with goo dripping from those blood-stained teeth, Dipper really thought he’d be used to everything thrown at him. In some kind of sense he was, the screaming no longer fazed him, but the endless running for his life and the pounding of his heart in his ears was something he couldn’t shake off. It didn’t trip him up anymore. Actually, it didn’t do more than cause him to wake up with his clothes soaked in sweat and clinging onto him while tried to get his breathing under control.

No, none of Bill’s little games was the main reason behind his insomnia. The echo of the demon’s laugh when he’d wake completely washed away any leftover fear, though it lingered in his head for the rest of the night. The way that laughter held everything Bill made him shiver – in what, he never knew – and he’d be pouring over his dream journal, its pages and margins filled to the brim with drawings and notes and it was every bit as messy as the Author’s journals. Why he kept a dream journal, he also wasn’t entirely sure. Maybe it was Bill’s influence. Maybe he really did want to remember every monster that chased him, every scene that Bill constructed, just so he’d be ready… ready for what? He still had no idea.

In some way Bill always makes his presence known in Dipper’s mind and so when he falls asleep only to be met with nothing – no blood pooling around his feet, no gore hanging from the claws of an unseen creature – he’s incredibly confused. His life’s been revolved around the supernatural for so long, the fact that his dream looks like a normal one for once unsettles him. The sound of waves crashing against land reminds him of that one time he visited Alcatraz Island with his family – he’d wanted to stay longer, explore when it was pitch black and see if he could discover anything interesting – but instead of soothing him, it only makes his anxiety rise. What was Bill playing at this time?

“Bill!” Dipper call out, walking towards the sound of the ocean and, call him crazy, actually hoping to see a monster pop out of the water. “Bill! I know you’re here somewhere!” He’s got his hands cupped around his mouth, voice booming in the silence of his mind. No response.

He begins to feel a bit restless, the waves now licking the tips of his toes. It’s surprisingly warm and he wants to dive in, take a little swim and enjoy this odd night of having no dream demon messing with his head. Unless this was a trick and there was a creature waiting so that it could drag him into the deep depths of the ocean, drowning him whilst slicing at his flesh at the same time. He immediately moves away from the grey water.

“You can’t fool me!” He yells at the sky as if Bill were hiding in the clouds. Still nothing, not even laughter. His scenery doesn’t change, the atmosphere remains peaceful, and he can’t help but feel something’s wrong. Forcibly waking himself up, there’s a sense of dread in the pit of his stomach that he can’t get rid of. Dipper jumps out of his bed, taking his journal with him, as he paces around his room, writing down the night’s dream. When his pen comes to a stop, he chews on the end and simply stares at what he’s written, brows furrowed.

“What are you up to Bill?”

On the other side of his mind, Bill’s meditation is cut off by the sound of someone calling his name. He knows without having to open his eye that it’s his Pine Tree and it takes all his willpower to not answer. It pains him to do this, but he knows he can’t enter that deliciously wonderful mind ever again without the risk of making a fool of himself.

Pine Tree continues to call for him, everything muffled except for the way his name rolls off of Dipper’s tongue. This feeling is ridiculous, he’s heard the human say his name many times in the years they’ve known each other and yet this night… he hopes it never stops. The pain that flows through his body isn’t the kind he finds pleasurable and oh, he actually wishes someone would kill him right now. Damn the kid for holding his attention for so long.

Finally, Pine Tree’s mind goes quiet and the pain of not being near him lessens. The fact that he’s been reduced to this makes Bill glow a dangerous red, flames engulfing his hands, before he closes his eye and he’s his usual gold once again. This entire situation’s ridiculous and he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make it through another how many years Pine Tree had in his life time.

Bill, for once in his life, has a goal that doesn’t involve deals and other demons and beheading animals. He just wants this to be over with and Pine Tree was going to help whether he wanted to or not.


“Up all night again, bro bro?” Mabel asks him as he drags himself down the stairs and into the kitchen of their childhood home. He groans in response, ungracefully plopping himself down into one of the chairs and promptly laying his head onto the table. The sound of Mabel’s laughter followed by a cup being put down in front of him is enough to make his head rise from his makeshift pillow that is his arms.

“Is that-“

“Mabel Juice! Perfect for insomniacs like you.”

She looks so incredibly proud of her concoction and Dipper comes to the conclusion that she’s finally perfected the recipe of her diabetes in a cup. He really didn’t want to, but they were going back to Gravity Falls today and he’d need all the energy he can muster to deal with their first day back. After all, Mabel’s Mabel Juice has kept him awake for many all-nighters in the past.

With a sigh, Dipper takes the cup and downs the pinkish-purple liquid, mindful of the plastic dinosaur ice cubes. His face immediately scrunches up when he sets the cup back down, he was never going to get used to the taste. At least Mabel was squealing in happiness that she got him to drink it, keeping a smile on his sister’s face was all that mattered. Well that and finding out what Bill’s plotting this time.

“Welcome back kiddos!”

“Grunkle Stan!” The twins shout in unison as they approach their great uncle in their own ways; Mabel taking a running start and jumping onto Stan while Dipper took his time getting to the two. The added weight of both his and Mabel’s suitcases didn’t really help him move faster.

When Dipper finally makes it over to Stan and Mabel, he huffs and shoves the handle of Mabel’s glittery suitcase into her hands. Sure, his strength and stamina’s increased a lot over the years – dealing with various monsters like Gremloblins can turn anyone into an athlete – but he was running on exhaustion and the Mabel Juice in his system was beginning to fade.

“Look at you two, all grown up,” Stan says, chuckling as pats Dipper on the back with more force than a guy his age should have. Mabel continues to beam like the sun, her braces having been removed four years ago and large sweaters traded in for her very own handmade dress that had her signature shooting star. Dipper smiles the tiniest bit, his pine tree hat now well-worn and facial hair beginning to grow on his chin.

“Aw Grunkle Stan, we’re only eighteen.”

“Yeah, one more year of school and we’ll be here for good,” Mabel shoots him a look that makes his eyes widen the slightest, “I mean, I know I’ll be here for good.”

“Enough chitchat, you two are working the shop today.” The twins groan though the twinkle in their eyes shows that they don’t mind one bit.

As they make their way into the Mystery Shack, they’re bombarded with confetti and noisemakers. Soos jumps out from his hiding spot behind the souvenirs while Wendy continues to throw confetti from her seat on top of the counter.

“Welcome back guys,” Wendy greets them with a grin, her red hair now cut into a bob and still wearing plaid. She slings her arms around the twins and gives them a warm hug.

“I missed you dudes,” Soos says, wrapping his arms around all three of them and pulling them into a group hug. The four stay like that for a bit before pulling away from each other. Dipper feels ten times better now that he’s seen Wendy and Soos, the two of them were like family after all.

“All right! Reunion over, clean up this mess!” Stan tells them, his voice loud in the quietness of the Mystery Shack. He ruffles Mabel’s hair and pats Dipper’s shoulder as he passes by them on his way into the living room.

“You heard Grunkle Stan, clean up squad go!” Mabel shouts, hands on her hips and grin on her face. Wendy and Soos cheer and the three of them make a game out of cleaning up the confetti. Dipper decides this is the best time to begin investigating Bill’s strange behavior last night.

“I’ll be out in the forest,” He calls out to Mabel, hoping she heard him over all the noise they were making.

“Be careful out there, Dip-Dop,” Mabel’s head pops up from behind the counter, confetti strands in her hair. She sounds dead serious when she tells him that and he nods reassuringly at her before taking his journal and leaving the shack.

The forest had always felt like a third home to him, the other two being his childhood home in Piedmont and the Mystery Shack. But the forest – with its innocent looking animals moving about during the day and its more vicious creatures lurking in the shadows – made him feel at ease. He could lose himself in the breeze’s call and the earthy scent that clung onto him long after he’s left. He could definitely spend hours upon hours just lying in the grass or checking up on the few creatures he’s befriended over the years.

If it were a regular day back in Gravity Falls, he would absolutely let himself get led by the forest. But today he’s on a mission and the forest was going to have to wait.

“Bill!” He’s not even one hundred percent sure the dream demon would answer his call. Even though the triangle always reminded Dipper that he was always watching, maybe this time he wasn’t.

It takes a few more minutes of him walking through the forest and yelling for Bill to come out before the world fades to grey and a familiar glow appears in the sky above him. Relief washes over him, which he finds strange and quickly dismisses because at last the demon’s here.

“Pine Tree! Fancy seeing you here,” Bill’s eye scrunches in his unique way of ‘smiling’ and is he imagining it or does the demon sound cheerier than usual?

“What’s your plan this time?” Dipper asks, always straightforward and to the point when it comes to Bill and his overall plan of world domination. Or something like that, the demon never really admitted what his grand scheme was.

“Plan? I don’t have one, kid.” Dipper scoffs, not at all believing him. He notices that his arms are held firm behind his back and his eyes narrow.

“What’s behind your back then?” He hopes it’ll reveal something about why Bill gave him some slack last night.

Bill glows pink and Dipper’s shocked by the sudden change in the demon’s color. He’s seen him be yellow and red before, but never pink. It only raises his suspicious attitude towards Bill. Dipper opens his mouth to question the demon’s color change, but the words never leave his lips because Bill’s coming closer and closer to him.

“What are you doing?!” Comes out instead and he almost gives himself a headache as his eyes try to follow the demon that’s now floating above his head. He hates how panicked he sounds, but he can’t help it. His grip on his journal tightens when his hat’s taken off and something else takes its place.

Bill stays silent throughout the whole thing and when he floats back into Dipper’s view, the pink is a lighter shade. Before Dipper can say anything else, Bill drops his hat into his hands and disappears, the world returning to color.

With a gasp, Dipper’s eyes fly open and he lets his journal and hat fall from his hands as he quickly reaches up. Whatever Bill put on his head was hard and familiarly shaped. That sense of dread was back in his stomach as he slowly took it off and held it out in front of him.

It was a crown made out of still bloody deer teeth.

Face paling and eyes wide, a hesitant hand reaches up to feel his hair. There’re spots of blood from where the crown sat. He screams and throws the crown as far as he can, leaving the forest to deal with Bill’s strange gift, before scooping up his things and running back to the shack.

He kind of didn’t want to find out what was going on with Bill anymore.

Chapter Text

Dipper makes it to his third day of no sleep, the collar of his shirt beginning to fray due to his old habit of chewing on it, before Mabel locks him in their attic turned bedroom, telling him she'll let him out when he’s gotten a full night’s rest.

His body’s exhausted and he knows he should just do what Mabel tells him when a familiar top hat flashes in the corner of his eye. Whipping his head around, Dipper rubs his eyes when he sees nothing but Mabel’s bulletin board of things yet to be put into her many scrapbooks. With a groan, he groggily changes out of his clothes, the ones he hasn’t changed out of since meeting Bill, and into a comfortable pair of shorts and a plain red t-shirt.

He falls onto his bed, not bothering with the blanket, and turns his head to look at the drawer that holds his dream journal. There was a reason he’d been avoiding sleep and that was to prevent Bill from messing with his dreams. After the incident with the deer teeth crown – his fingers still absentmindedly played with his hair whenever he thought about it – Dipper had delved further into research about dream demons. Of course, a lot of the things he found were completely useless or were about cults that worshipped Bill. He’d snorted when he saw those, if only they knew how the demon really was like.

Soon, he felt his eyelids drooping – too heavy with fatigue for gravity to keep them up much longer – and turned his head so that he was facing the wall instead of burning a hole into his bedside table. Mumbling something about Bill and nightmares, Dipper lets himself be pulled into unconsciousness, once tense muscles relaxing as he falls asleep, and swears loudly when the sound of the ocean meets his ears.

“Bill! I hope you’re in here!” He yells, eyes flying open to survey the grey world before him. The pine trees behind him sway from the force of a breeze he can’t feel and the earthy smell he loves so much almost lulls him into a mood of pure relaxation. Almost, he’s still too hung up on Bill’s lack of meddling in his dreams and the crown. Determined to get answers, he takes a step towards the forest and practically stomps his way across the grassy field. “Bill! We’ve gotta talk!”

This whole no response thing was beginning to frustrate him. He loathed admitting it, but he actually misses Bill’s dark humor and unnecessary theatrics.

After what feels like forever, he stops and looks around him at the familiar scenery. It’s the exact spot where Bill had given him his little gift, minus the color and animals of course. Going through with his gut feeling, Dipper drops down onto the ground, sitting with his legs crossed and glare directed at the sky, and shouts Bill’s name one more time. Third time’s the charm after all.

“Sheesh, Pine Tree. Persistent aren’t ya?” Bill says as he appears in the mess of Dipper’s brown hair – for some reason he preferred to not have his beloved hat on inside his mindscape. Dipper doesn’t shriek, but he does start swatting at his head which leads to him falling backwards, the grass serving as a comfy cushion for him.

Although it didn’t hurt that much, a low groan still leaves Dipper’s lips and his briefly flutter close before opening again. This time he does scream when Bill fills his entire line of vision, the demon’s glow dimmer than usual; Dipper made note of that as it might be a clue to his strange behavior.

“You alright there, kid?” Bill floats away until he’s at a respectable distance away from Dipper as the human sits up. Dipper blinks a few times, surprise on his face because was that worry in the demon’s tone? He didn’t even know the demon was capable of feeling emotions that weren’t anger or morbid fascination.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Dipper grumbles, surprise turning into confusion when he sees Bill reach out his hand. Bill seems to notice what he’s doing and that light pink glow is back, the tiny black hand immediately dropping to the demon’s side. Out of all the strange things Dipper’s encountered, whatever’s going on with Bill was definitely the strangest so far.

“Of course you are. I’ve seen you on the verge of death more than once since you’re first day here. I gotta say, Pine Tree, you’re pretty good at surviving. Not to mention, your body’s as durable as I remember it being.” It sounds like Bill’s just spouting nonsense now, his eye looking at anything but Dipper. He looks like he regrets saying that last sentence and hovers higher, trying to get away from the human on the ground.

Dipper’s confusion continues to grow, eyes never leaving the demon and the gears in his mind working to dissect Bill’s movements. It’s kind of hard to focus though, what with Bill’s uncharacteristic rambling followed by the fact that he’d just gotten a genuine compliment and not the backhanded ones he was used to by now.

“Uh…thanks...I guess…” He really doesn’t know what to say and for a moment, he’s starting to doubt this was the actual Bill Cipher. Maybe it was a figment of his imagination? It couldn’t be. Bill was acting like this back in the forest too. Dipper ran a hand through his hair and got up; simply staring at the demon from the ground wasn’t going to solve anything.

“So, what did you want to talk about?” There’s that familiar glint of mischief in Bill’s eye and apprehension mixed with relief at seeing something reminiscent of Bill when they first met all those years ago – well six years wasn’t that long, then again he felt nothing like a regular eighteen year old.

Bill boldly moves closer, circling Dipper’s head before stopping in front of the human with his hands engulfed in flickering blue flames. “You finally ready to make a deal?”

“What! No!” Dipper backs away as if being that close to the fire burned him, “Why are you making my dreams peaceful?” he asks and further elaborates when Bill just stares at him, “Like, there haven’t been any creep shadow monsters chasing me around and even the screaming head’s gone! So what are you planning?!”

“Pine Tree,” Bill glows brighter for a moment and makes a sound similar to someone holding back laughter; Dipper resists the urge to punch the demon for that, “Are you asking for monsters in your mind every night?”

“Yes!” Dipper replies without hesitation and a little more force than necessary. He clears his throat, “I mean, yeah. The normalcy of my dreams is kinda… unsettling.”

“Boy, I knew there was a reason I picked ya, kid.”

“What? Picked me?”

“To follow around. Humans sure are boring, but you just get more interesting!”

This was the most Bill’s complimented him in his own weird way and he can’t look the demon in the eye anymore. The conversation was starting to go in a different direction and Dipper really didn’t want to see where exactly it was headed.

“So… you’re not messing with my dreams?”

“I haven’t touched your mind in days, Pine Tree.”

He notices that Bill says that with a slightly pained look and now he really wants to end this conversation. It was beginning to make him shift uncomfortably.

“Okay, uh, I got one more question. What was up with the deer teeth?”

Bill’s glowing bright, bright pink again and Dipper watches him panic – another first. What exactly was going on with him? – before disappearing. It happens all too fast and when Dipper realizes Bill’s gone, he kicks the ground in frustration.

If anything, he was even more confused now.

“Morning bro bro!” Mabel’s cheery voice wakes him up the next morning, the smell of pancakes eliciting a growl from his stomach that makes Mabel laugh. Dipper sits up in bed, feeling ten times better than he did yesterday, and mumbles good morning back.

Mabel takes a seat on the edge of the bed and shoves the plate of Stancakes into his lap, confusion in her eyes as she leans closer to him. Dipper’s equally confused – what was she looking it? – but stays still, letting her reach out and…

“What’s this?” She asks, fingers hovering over something that was definitely not hanging around his neck when he fell asleep. Dipper’s own hand comes up to take it off his neck so that they could both look at it.

“It’s a flower necklace,” he says, studying the flowers hanging off the thin string. He’d seen these before; he just can’t remember where he knew them from.

“They’re pretty! I wonder what kind of flower it is…” Mabel reaches out again to touch the faded pink petals at the same time the name of the flower pops into his head, causing him to toss the necklace onto the ground and away from Mabel’s fingers.

“They’re Adenium flowers and used to make poison arrows,” He tells her when he sees the pout on her lips. Confusion is evident her eyes once more and she watches as he procures a bowl from one of his bedside table drawers. Dipper drops the flower necklace into the bowl, takes out a matchbox from the same drawer, and burns the flowers.

“Where’d you get a necklace of poisonous flowers?”

The image of a pink Bill flashes before his eyes and he groans, flopping back down onto his bed next to Mabel, he replies, “Probably Bill. I talked to him last night and he was acting really weird.”


“Yeah,” Dipper hesitates for a moment, debating whether or not he should tell Mabel about the crown of deer teeth, “I saw him on our first day back and he gave me a deer teeth crown. And then last night he kept glowing pink. It was really…”

“Weird?” Mabel finishes for him. He chuckles and nods his head. There’s a calculating look on Mabel’s face and he almost asks her what she’s thinking about; the fact that he’d rather not know what was going on her mind made him bite his tongue.

“Well, good luck with this whole Bill thing, bro bro.” She gets up from the bed, gives him a two finger salute, and then leaves.

Dipper sighs and stares into the flames currently contained in the bowl he’d magically enchanted. Magic… that was something he could keep away from Mabel for a while.

He doesn’t hear the knock on the back door, his head buried in his own installation to the Author’s three journals, until Grunkle Stan’s yelling for him to go get it. Some things never change. He opted to ignore the door for right now, knowing he’d forget the rest of his notes if he doesn’t write them down while their still fresh in his mind.

Footsteps he recognizes as Mabel’s come down the stairs and he silently thanks her when he hears the door open. A frown appears on his face when she calls his name, the underlying hint of fear worrying him.

With a soft thud, he closes his journal and tucks it under his arm as he makes his way over to where Mabel’s standing. She’s frozen in front of the door, so he has to peer over her shoulder to see what’s got her so shell-shocked.

Dipper tenses up when his eyes land on the bouquet lying innocently on the wooden porch.

“Are those…” Mabel starts, her own eyes never leaving the bouquet of flowers.

“Adenium.” Dipper finishes, still tense, as he gently moves Mabel aside so that he could carefully pick up the bouquet. His hands grip the plastic wrapping tightly and he makes sure to keep them far away from Mabel.

Mabel who’s looking at him with sparkles in her eyes, a wide grin on her face, and is squealing.

Dipper opens his mouth to ask what she was so excited about, but never got the chance to because she’s running back into the shack. Oh well, he’d already accepted the fact that he didn’t understand what his sister did sometimes.

Instead he focuses on Bill’s latest gift and heads off into the forest, hoping this would be the last one.

He should’ve known that it wasn’t.

Back at the Mystery Shack, Mabel’s figured everything out. She prides herself in being Gravity Falls’ love expert after all. Sure, the thought of Bill trying to woo her brother was pretty bizarre, but the demon hadn’t tried to kill them in years. In fact, she quite liked him now, especially when he was teasing Dipper.

“Bill! I know your secret!” She says in a sing-song voice, feet dangling off the side of the roof. Luckily, Grunkle Stan had left to lead a tour, Wendy’s friends whisked her away, and Soos was probably hanging out with Melody in the Gift Shop. No one was around to question her about why she was talking about Bill.

Except for the demon himself. Colors fade into grey before her eyes and a nervous looking triangle appears in front of Mabel. Her grin widens when she sees him because she knows her suspicions are right.

“Hey there, Shooting Star! How’s Llama?”

Ah, he’s stalling. She could work with that.

“Paz’s fine, she’s in Switzerland right now. But enough about my love life, we’re here to talk about yours.

Bill glows light pink and Mabel has to bite her lip before an aw can leave her mouth. He looks less scary when he’s blushing!

“My love life? Demons don’t have love lives, Shooting Star.” He has his hands behind his back and Mabel just knows he must be fiddling his tiny fingers together. No matter how strange this was, she was a sucker for epic romances.

“You like Dipper!” She shushes him when he splutters and turns a darker shade of pink, “Oh don’t deny it. The crown and flowers and turning pink when you’re around him? This is definitely a crush.”

“It’s not a crush. Though I’d very much like to crush someone right now,” Bill spits out. His glow dims and regains control of himself until he’s his normal gold again. “It’s a love potion.”

“A… love potion? Like the ones the Love God has?” Mabel asks. She tilts her head slightly and a slight shiver crawls up her spine when she remembers the incident with the Love God.

“Slightly less powerful than that, potions made by witches tend to be.”  Bill doesn’t know why he’s telling her this, maybe because she’s close to the subject of his magically created affections or maybe because he just likes Shooting Star. Either way, she was a sharp kid and was probably going to figure it out on her own.

“So a witch gave you a love potion… okay. Why Dipper?”

“I don’t know!”

“Owww, no need to yell in my ear. Fine, I have a better question. How do you break it?”

“True love’s kiss,” Bill mumbles, his words practically inaudible.

“What was that?”

His eye closes and he sighs before repeating what he said loud enough for only Mabel to hear, “True love’s kiss.”

Mabel squeals again – artificial or not, this was definitely going to be an epic romance. Bill leaves before she can stop him, taking refuge in his own mindscape and getting back to his favorite past time – Pine Tree watching.

“Oh, this is going to be so much fun!” Mabel says, not caring that Bill had left while she wasn’t paying attention. She’d be seeing him a lot more now anyways. She spots Dipper coming back from the forest and she hurries back into the shack.

Sprinting towards the back door, she jumps onto Dipper – his quick reflexes catching her and steadying them before they fell onto the ground – and hugs him tightly.

“Mabel, wha–”

“Epic summer romance!!”

Dipper doesn’t know how to respond because what was she talking about? He was only gone for a few minutes, what happened during that time?

This summer was starting to prove to be an immensely confusing one.

Chapter Text

“You sure you think you’re ready?” Mabel asks, hopping off the giant dog she just bedazzled and landing on the soft grey grass with ease.

“I’ve had to deal with the most obnoxious mermaids before, Shooting Star. This is going to be a breeze,” Bill sounds confident enough, the look in his eye matching his tone, but Mabel can’t be fooled. She has a feeling that deep down he was worrying about messing up. It made the hopeless romantic in her swoon.

“Dipper’s not a mermaid though. And I remember you telling me last week that you’ve never flirted with a human,” She stares at him, silently challenging the demon to say otherwise.

Bill doesn’t let himself get flustered and meets her challenging gaze head on, “I said I haven’t done this whole flirting thing in a while.”

“How long is a while?” He doesn’t answer, just breaks eye contact and zips out of Shooting Star’s mindscape, a distant good luck following after him as he appears in the familiar surroundings of his own mindscape.

After two weeks of learning all about how human courtships went with Shooting Star’s help, Bill had decided he’s had enough preparation. Not seeing Pine Tree for two weeks was making the potion flowing through him flare up and the not at all fun pain was back. Plus, he was beginning to miss the kid even if Pine Tree looked ready to bolt every time they met, but never mind that.

Remembering the first step to winning someone’s heart – which was not cutting them open as Shooting Star ‘kindly’ corrected him – Bill hops into Pine Tree’s mindscape. He spots Pine Tree standing in front of the ocean with a pile of stones in his hand. Curious about what he was doing, Bill dims his glow and silently creeps up on the human. He watches as Pine Tree takes a stone from the pile, runs his thumb over it, and then tosses it into the water. The stone bounces once, twice, and then it sinks; Pine Tree mumbles under his breath and does it again with a slightly smaller stone.

“What’cha doing, kid?” Bill asks, hovering closer until he’s right next to Pine Tree’s head. He’s obviously startled the other as the pile falls onto the sandy beach and Pine Tree nearly tumbles into the ocean. Luckily, Bill caught the back of his shirt before he could even begin to fall forward.

“Skipping Stones,” Dipper answers, brushing off imaginary dust from his clothes and moving away from Bill’s hand. He turns his head and meets the demon’s single eye, “Why do you wanna know?”

“Eh, you’re always doing something interesting,” Bill says with a shrug as if that was a sufficient answer. Of course, Dipper found it vague as always.

He’d spent the past two weeks buried in research and thinking – so nothing new – about Bill’s sudden change. After finding nothing that could explain why Bill was suddenly friendlier, he figured that in time, and maybe a little interrogation, he’d get to the bottom of this.

For now, all he can do is sigh and wait for Bill to slip up or something.

“What do you want this time, Bill?”

“Oh nothing. Just wanted to let you know that I would gladly bathe in the blood of your enemies if it would keep that bright smile of yours safe,” Bill speaks like he’s reciting a poem, words dripping with sincerity and, oh, he even has a hand over his triangular body where a human heart would be.

Dipper’s absolutely speechless, eyes wide in shock and mouth agape, because how does he respond to this? What was Bill even talking about? Bathing in the blood of his enemies? Keeping his bright smile safe?

What? Dipper’s mind is whirling and he doesn’t have a concrete conclusion as to why Bill just said he’d kill anyone to keep him safe.

So he does the first sensible thing that pops into his head.

He falls backwards, the sand practically swallowing him up, and lays there with his arms spread out. He gazes up into the cloudless sky and doesn’t move an inch, especially when the demon appears in his line of vision; Bill’s soft, yellow light like a beacon in the grey of the mindscape.

“Next time you decide to fall over, let me know so I can yell timber.”

“Shut up.” Dipper shoots him a glare before flinging his arm over them, completely blocking out Bill’s light.

“Seriously though, what was that for?”

“You’re obviously not the real Bill Cipher and just a figment of my imagination. So if I lay here, you’ll disappear eventually.”

“Aw Pine Tree, have you thought up fake me’s to keep you company before?”

Dipper can feel his cheeks heating up in embarrassment and he flips onto his stomach, burying his face into his arms. Bill’s usual high-pitched laughter echoes all around him and frankly, it was starting to annoy him.

“Why the hell would I do that!?” He shouts, head shooting up and nearly colliding with Bill who was hovering over him. Dipper shuffles backwards in the sand to put space between them whilst pushing down the paranoia that spiked in his heart when the waves lap at his toes and tries his best to stare the demon down.

“’Cause you missed me,” Bill replies, his glow bright and his eye grinning, “Admit it, kid; you missed me, didn’t ya?”

“Hardly,” Dipper replies, elbows digging into the sand and chin resting in his hand. He can clearly see an emotion akin to happiness in Bill’s eye and it confuses him momentarily. His mind provides memories of a late night spent on the roof of the mystery shack, the moon turning into a gigantic eye, and the constant buzzing of an old computer. Right, they said those exact same words to each other six years ago. The other events that happened afterward flash before his eyes like a movie and he abruptly sits up.

“Nope, not going down that road,” Dipper says aloud, not caring that Bill was right in front of him still, “I’m going to wake up now…bye.” He doesn’t give Bill any time to process his sentence; the ocean fades and the world is alive with color once again. Glancing over at the digital clock sitting on his bedside table, the numbers read 4:00 AM. Dipper groans and gets out of bed, running a hand over his face and through his hair as he heads down the stairs.

Taking a seat in Grunkle Stan’s chair, he closes his eyes and does his own version of meditation – something he’d found helped when working with magic.

Memory lane… was a place he wasn’t prepared to visit again, not with the cluttered mess that is his mind.

Bill’s booted out of Pine Tree’s mindscape when the human forcefully wakes himself up.

“Sheesh, what’s wrong with the kid now?” Bill hovers over the empty Pine Tree page, words laced with worry as he simply stares. A small part of him was screaming, swearing and saying how he shouldn’t care about the damn kid so much, but the potion kept that part of himself at bay and amplified his more human emotions.

Which is why he immediately dives into Shooting Star’s mind.

“So, how’d it go?” she asks when she spots him, her body shaking in anticipation.

“Good, I think,” he replies, “He thought I was imaginary and then woke himself up.”

“Bill… what exactly did you tell him?” Mabel’s eyes narrow and she has a gut feeling that she’s not going to like what she hears.

“That I’d bathe in the blood of his enemies to keep him safe,” Bill says confidently like what he told Dipper was perfectly normal.

“Bill!” Mabel yells with a groan, the palm of her hand smacking her forehead, “I thought I said violence wasn’t an attractive quality!”

“I’m a demon, Shooting Star; violence is one of my main qualities.”

 “Ugh, never mind. We’ll work on it.”

They spend the rest of the time in Mabel’s mindscape coming up with phase two of operation: epic summer romance. Phase one had been more bold attempts at flirting – and she still couldn’t tell if it went well or not; knowing her brother, it could’ve gone either way – so it only made sense that phase two would be going on a date.

They bounce date ideas off of each other with Mabel shooting down most of Bill’s ideas; he needed to understand that animal mutilation wasn’t romantic at all. Not to mention Dipper would probably never go out with him ever again. That shut Bill right up, leaving Mabel to come up with a nice night of stargazing.

Bill’s a bit apprehensive about it, but warms up to the date idea when Mabel tells him about how much Dipper actually likes to sit underneath the stars and look at them all night long.

The demon sets off to get the most important part of the date ready and Mabel leans back against the fluffy leg of the large, yellow dog that roamed her dreams. She stares off into the distance and sighs, pulling a pig onto her lap.

“You think they’re going to be okay, Waddles?”

Waddles oinks and she takes that as a positive answer. A smile tugs at her lips and she hugs the pig to her chest.

“Yeah, I think so too.”

Chapter Text

It takes Bill two weeks to get everything prepared for his first date with Dipper, but as he steps back and admires his work, he thinks the long wait was definitely worth it. With his hands on the sides of his triangular form and pure joy in his single eye, Bill dives forward.

Grey fades into color as he becomes a being that’s able to move outside of the mindscape. Thankfully, his magic still works and he snaps his fingers, a mirror appearing in front of him. He’s been staring at this body for hours and yet, satisfaction makes him feel warm all over.

There are noticeable muscles in his arms and legs, especially with the way his black dress pants hug them. He’s wearing a short sleeved, white button up shirt with a yellow vest over it – a brick pattern is the only design – and a black bowtie. His arms are exposed due to the summer heat. Even if it didn’t bother him, it bothered his human vessel. Tearing his eyes away from his clothes and nice, olive skin, Bill focuses on the most important thing.

When he possessed Dipper, the whole two eyes thing was interesting, but definitely disorienting. He wasn’t too fond of that, so with this new body, he only gave it one gold eye. A black eye-patch covered the space where the other eye was supposed to be. Lastly, he has blond side swept bangs and the rest of his hair was black.

He reaches up to fix his bowtie and run a hand through his hair; he has to look presentable after all for when he asks Dipper out.

“Good luck!”

Bill looks up to see Mabel waving at him from her spot on the roof. Boy, those Pines really liked sitting up there didn’t they? He thought and he knew he was just thinking that to distract himself from what was about to happen. Of course, it didn’t really help because soon the door opens and Dipper is all he sees.

And then Dipper’s gone, the door slamming shut, before Bill can even walk onto the porch. He hears Mabel loudly sigh, mutter under her breath, and then footsteps, probably her going back into the shack. But he can’t seem to focus because what just happened? He didn’t say anything and yet Dipper had left in a split second.

He falls onto the couch outside and begins to rethink his plan.

“Dipper!” Mabel yells as she barrels down the stairs and towards the back door. She comes to a halt when she sees him banging his head against the wooden door. “What are you doing?”

“That’s Bill, right?” He asks, ignoring her question. At least he’s stopped hurting his forehead. “That guy was Bill, right?”

“Yeah and you just slammed the door in his face. Why you ackin’ so cray-cray now, bro?”

“Because he’s hot!” Dipper shouts, spinning on his heel to face Mabel. He slaps a hand over his mouth when he realizes what he just said. Of course, Mabel heard it loud and clear and now she’s grinning like a madman.

“You think he’s hot? Then go out there and talk to him.”

“But… but… it’s Bill Cipher! Evil triangle demon that tried to kill us when we were twelve, remember?”

Mabel sighs and shakes her head, “It’s been six years, Dip Dop, and he hasn’t tried killing us since then.”

Dipper knows that she’s right and that right now he’s just being really dramatic because it’s Bill Freaking Cipher. The demon that wouldn’t leave him alone for six years and now he’s standing outside the door in a human body that actually makes his heart skip a beat. He hasn’t felt this way since his crush on Wendy.

“Go talk to him or I’m going to tell him about what happened at Homecoming, ” Mabel tells him in a threatening tone, the glint in her letting him know that she’d definitely go through with it.

Dipper’s face flushes and he groans, a look of defeat in his eyes, before grabbing onto the doorknob. “Fine, but we’re never speaking about Homecoming ever again.”

“Deal! Have fun!” She gives him two thumbs up and then runs up the stairs, no doubt to watch them through the window.

Taking deep breaths, Dipper counts to ten and then opens the door. Bill’s no longer standing where he’d left him and he steps out onto the porch, looking around in confusion.

Bill’s head shoots up when he hears the click of the door opening and he watches in silence as Dipper walks out, eyes roaming the empty land in front of him. He clears his throat to get the human’s attention and smirks slightly when Dipper jumps at the sudden noise.

“Oh, there you are. I thought you’d disappeared,” Dipper says. He glances over at the empty spot next to Bill and before he can talk himself out of it, he takes a seat.

Birds chirp merrily, a small breeze rustles the trees, and the two on the sofa don’t speak at all. Bill had thrown his elaborate plan out the window – he’ll use the deer skull in some other way – and Dipper was waiting for Bill to break the ice.

Finally, after the birds played the same tune a third time, Dipper spoke up.

“So… who’s the poor guy you possessed?”

“I made this body, Pine Tree,” Bill replies, noticing the way Dipper’s face heats up and how his eyes seem to always wander downwards. His smirk widens and he practically purrs, “Why? Like what you see?”

“Wha- Like it? Psh, I don’t… I don’t like it,” Dipper sputters out. He’s frantically looking anywhere but at Bill and the demon can’t help feeling like he’s won something. “Anyways, what do you want now?”

It’s Bill’s turn to be flustered. He still hadn’t formulated a new plan. Throwing caution to the wind, he grabs stands up, grabs Dipper’s hand, and pulls the other up with a flourish; their bodies only mere inches away from touching.

“Dipper Pines, will you go on a date with me?”

Dipper says nothing, his eyes owlish and filled with a tirade of emotions, shock being the main one. Bill was beginning to think that he’d say no, his grip on Dipper’s hand loosening and then tighten when Dipper opened his mouth.

“What?” He had a dumb look on his face, like the simple question was too hard to comprehend.

“Will you… go on a date… with me?” Bill asks again, speaking slowly as if to a child.

“I– uh, sure?” Dipper sounded so uncertain and that irritated Bill a bit. He closes the gap between their bodies, hands still clasped together and chests touching. Hopefully this would give the human a little push.

“I’d feel much better if that didn’t sound like a question, Pine Tree.”

Dipper’s cheeks were beet red by now and his eyes were avoiding Bill’s intense gaze. “Fine. I’ll go on a date with you.”

“Excellent! See you tonight!” Bill releases Dipper from his hold and, before he disappears, he places a kiss onto the other’s heated skin, right below his eye.

Dipper freezes when lips soft lips land on his cheek and he watches as Bill practically vanishes into thin air. His hand comes up to touch the spot where Bill kissed him, unable to process the fact that he’d been kissed by Bill Cipher.

And then the conversation replays in his head, causing him to run back into the shack and hide in his bedroom. He was going on a date with a demon. Said demon kissed his cheek.

Maybe he was finally going crazy.

Night came quickly enough and Dipper was freaking out, clothes strewn across his bed and the floor. He silently wished Mabel was there to help him pick out an outfit – was he seriously stressing over what to wear for a date with Bill? – but she’d gone out to meet Pacifica.

At least that’s what he thought.

The door slams open making Dipper drop the shirt he’d been holding up in front of his body as he examined how it’d look in the mirror. Mabel storms in with Pacifica right behind her, both girls staring at Dipper and the mess he’d made around him.

“Need help, Dip Dop?” Mabel asks, shooting him a toothy grin. Without waiting for an answer, she leads Pacifica over to Dipper’s wardrobe and the two immediately work on finding the perfect outfit for him.

“You seriously need to go shopping. This isn’t the nineties,” Pacifica says, a disgusted look on her face as she picks up a faded, holey shirt. Mabel’s too busy trying to find the perfect pants to correct her girlfriend.

“Not all of us have time to care about fashion,” Dipper tells her, scoffing when he sees the look on her face. He’d moved away from the mirror, knowing that it’d only cause more anxiety, and instead lay in bed, trying to calm his nerves.

“Found it!” Mabel exclaims, ceasing the verbal war between her brother and girlfriend before it can get too heated. She stands up and turns around to show Dipper the pants she’s picked out for him.

“I thought I left that at home!” Dipper shouts, staring at the skinny jeans in her hands. It was one of Mabel’s gifts for him and he’d only worn it once; when they went to a nightclub on the night of their eighteenth birthday.

“I snuck it into your suitcase. Just in case something like this happened,” she explains with a shrug, throwing the jeans at him, “Now put those on! Wear your grey t-shirt and red plaid, keep it open.”

Dipper follows Mabel’s orders, smoothing out his shirt once he’s done. “This good?” He turns around slowly with his arms out.

“Not bad, Pines. Then again, my girlfriend has great taste.” He takes Pacifica’s backhanded compliment with a grain of salt; it was something they did constantly since her and Mabel got together.

“Pine Tree!”

Dipper groans and covers his face. Why couldn’t Bill have knocked instead of shouting?

“Your date’s here!” Mabel sing-songs, pushing him towards the door, and gives him a supportive slap on the back. “Now go have fun, but not too much fun.”

“This is insane.” He still can’t believe it even as he’s walking down the stairs and out the back door. Bill’s waiting with a grin and a bunch of flowers in hand, thankfully they’re not Adenium again, and he thinks this is all dream.

Until Bill shoves the flowers into his arms and slides his hand into Dipper’s. The warmth of the body next to him and the sweet fragrance of the flowers – a mix of carnations and red roses – are too real for this to be anything but reality.

He refuses to see the truth, however, and sticks stubbornly onto ignorance. This was all a dream. After their ‘date’, he’d wake up and Bill would be gone.

They walk through the forest in silence, Bill walking slightly ahead and their hands still holding each other. Dipper had quickly run back inside to place the flowers in a vase – or, since they didn’t have a glass vase, in a tall cup – because he didn’t want them to get trampled by accident.

Bill didn’t tell him anything, simply winked – at least Dipper assumed it was a wink, hard to tell when the demon only had one eyes – and said it was a surprise. That definitely caught his attention. He was equal parts curious and terrified as they walked into the woods, going much deeper than he’s ever had the chance to explore.

The only thing keeping him at ease was the fact that Bill seemed completely relaxed. Surely, if anything dangerous were to appear, the demon would be weary.

“Here we are.”

Dipper takes in their surroundings – a clearing, empty of anything save for the green grass. It’s an odd place for a first date, but the atmosphere is calm and the soft breeze lulls him into a sense of security.

“C’mon, Pine Tree. You can’t stand there all night.” The dazed look in his eyes fades at the sound of Bill’s voice followed by something tugging him forward. Fully in control of his senses now, he notices that Bill had put down a checkered blanket on the ground, his hand in Dipper’s once again. They fit together perfectly, he thinks and before he can even make sense of that though, he lets Bill pull him down onto the blanket.

“Are we having a picnic?” Dipper asks even though there wasn’t any food around them.

Bill scoots closer to Dipper, their shoulders touching and their fingers centimeters away from each other, and tilts his head slightly so that his lips brush against Dipper’s ear.

“Look up,” he whispers.

The close proximity of the demon sends a shiver down Dipper’s spine. Heart beating rapidly, he looks up… and his breath is taken away.

How many nights has he spent outside the Mystery Shack or in the backyard of his home in Piedmont, gazing up into the night sky and counting the twinkling lights? Too many to count and yet, this was the most stars he’s seen in years. It’s certainly a sight to behold and one he burns into his memory forever.

“Do you like it?”

He’d been so caught up with connecting the dots in his mind that he’d momentarily forgotten Bill was sitting next to him.

Averting his attention to Bill, he stares into that gold eye. Was it always this mesmerizing?

“I love it.” He manages to say, struggling to not drown as he continues to stare. There’s a warm feeling in his chest, something akin to what he felt for Wendy and yet much more than that. Did he love the view above them or did he love the view in front of him?

Despite the new body, all Dipper could see was Bill; the floating triangle that would occupy his thoughts at every second of the day and invade his mind every night. He’d hated Bill when they first met, that much was true, but something changed after their fourth year of knowing each other.

The playful banter, the excitement, the times he’d imagine Bill was with him inside his dreams. They were all building blocks to this revelation, to the inevitable, and he couldn’t deny his feelings anymore, not when Bill looked so enamored and had gone through all this trouble for him.

Dipper Pines is in love with Bill Cipher.

As the night went on, the two were practically draped over each other – legs entangled, a pale arm around a skinny waist while olive arms wrapped around a thin torso, Bill’s head snug in the crook of Dipper’s neck, and Dipper’s head resting nicely on top of Bill’s.

“A shooting star,” Dipper points it out with his free hand, the one not holding onto Bill. “Did you wish on it?” He knew it didn’t work, he’d tried it before, but that didn’t stop him from doing it.

“Yeah,” Bill replies, eye closed as he soaked up the heat radiating from the human. It was a nice feeling, one he could get used to.

“What’d you wish for?”

“If I told you, the wish wouldn’t come true.”

“Oh c’mon, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

Bill hums, thinking about it for a moment before agreeing.

“Fine,” he opens his eye and lets go of Dipper. Pulling away from the arm around him, and enjoying the noise of protest Dipper made, he straddles Dipper’s waist and wraps his arms around his neck. “I wished for a kiss from you.”

Dipper’s breath hitches, hands immediately holding onto Bill’s hips, and he finds himself getting lost in that golden pool. Bill moves closer, their lips almost touching and their breaths mingling.

“What did you wish for, kid?” There’s that wicked glow in Bill’s eye, the one that always sent Dipper to the edge. His grip on the other’s hips tightens and he resists the urge to close the space between them.

“For you to be mine.”

That sealed the deal. The two couldn’t take this anymore. Dipper was so madly in love with Bill, had been for a couple of years, and Bill… well, that love potion was still in effect.

Bill crashes their lips together. He foregoes the closed mouth kisses all together and immediately delves into Dipper’s mouth. It was passionate, raw, and so them. Dipper let his eyes fall shut, tongue licking at the roof Bill’s mouth, exploring and memorizing.

And then it was over. Bill roughly pulls away from Dipper, whose eyes fluttered open at the loss, and before he could ask what was wrong, a fist hit him square in the face. The force of the hit broke his nose. Letting go of Bill, his hands went up to cover it, blood dripping and staining his hands.

“What the fuck?”

Bill doesn’t respond and Dipper doesn’t need him to. The fire burning in his eye and his hands were enough of an answer. Bill gets off of Dipper, kicks him hard in the chest so that Dipper falls back with a pained groan, and disappears in a flash of blue flames.

Dipper’s so terribly confused. One moment they’re making out and the next, he’s got a broken nose and probably broken ribs too. He was certain that Bill reciprocated his feelings; it surely felt that way when he had the other’s tongue down his throat, so what happened?

He wants to call out to Bill, but breathing was starting to get a bit too painful. Instead, he takes his cell phone out of his pocket and texts Mabel.

To: Mabes
I need you to come get me.

From: Mabes
Why? I didn’t expect you and Bill to come back until tomorrow.

To: Mabes
I’ll tell you later. Just know that I have a broken nose and possibly broken ribs.

From: Mabes
Oh no… okay, I’m coming. Paz is calling an ambulance.

To: Mabes
Thanks sis

From: Mabes
No problemo bro

Mabel arrives at the clearing fifteen minutes after her last text. Dipper’s been on the verge of unconsciousness for five of those minutes. She doesn’t immediately question him, picking him up gently and trying her best not to accidentally jostle him as they walk back to the Mystery Shack.

The lights of the ambulance greet them along with the worried faces of Grunkle Stan and Pacifica. Mabel lets the paramedics help her lay Dipper onto the gurney and then settle him into the back of the vehicle.

“We’ll meet you at the hospital.” Pacifica tells Mabel before she joins Dipper. With a smile and a chaste kiss, Mabel takes a seat in the ambulance and watches through the window as Pacifica and Grunkle Stan get farther away.

She looks down at Dipper, the other having succumbed to unconsciousness, and the wheels in her head begin to turn, trying to think of what exactly happened out in the woods. There’s no doubt that they kissed and the love spell was broken, but she’d thought Bill would respond positively to that. After all, the matchmaker in her knew that they were perfect. But this… this wasn’t an outcome that she’d expected.

With her head in her hands, she begins to think that she shouldn’t have helped Bill at all.

Chapter Text

Dipper doesn’t wake up until the sun is high in the sky, signaling the start of another day. His eyes open just as Mabel walks through the door, a bagel with cream cheese hanging from her mouth. All he sees of his sister is a blur of colors and then arms are wrapped around his body, the warmth a nice change from the chill that the pure white walls gave him.

“Dipper! You’re awake!” Mabel yells, pulling back when she squeezes a bit too hard and Dipper makes an almost inaudible noise of pain.

“How long have I been asleep?” He asks; voice hoarse due to sleep and slightly strained due to how much it hurt to breathe.

“Almost ten hours,” she replies, letting him go and plopping down into the chair she spent all of last night in. Her tone is soft and gentle, filled with worry, when she asks, “How’re you feeling?”

He’s only heard Mabel sound this concerned when it came to him once in his life – funny how at that time it was because of Bill as well. Dipper gave her a reassuring smile, telling her that his ribs ached and it was hard to breathe through his nose, but overall he felt fine. At least physically. Emotionally… he wasn’t so sure.

Silence falls over the twins for a moment, neither of them not knowing how to approach the elephant in the room. Eventually, Mabel speaks up after finishing her breakfast.

“About Bill…” she starts, hesitance obvious in the way she lets the sentence drag on. Dipper’s hands grip the blanket tightly, his shoulder tense as he waits for the rest of it. A part of him doesn’t want to hear it, but a majority of him wants to know what she has to say. “I’m so sorry, bro! This is all my fault! I should’ve told you…”

Her face is a mess of tears and some snot, hands rubbing them away to no avail. She’s sobbing heavily and Dipper’s heart is throbbing at seeing his sister so distressed. Did she think it was her fault because she encouraged him to go on the date?

“Mabel, this isn’t your fault,” He says. It’s my fault is what he wants to tell her, but the words die on his lips at the broken look Mabel shows him.

“It is! I knew Bill was under the influence of a love potion and I should’ve kept him away, but I didn’t! I made it worse!”

Dipper’s entire body freezes, his mind whirling at the revelation. A love potion… Bill was given a love potion. That’s why he was acting so strange all of a sudden. Not because he genuinely loved Dipper, but because some spell was making him love Dipper.

Mabel manages to calm herself down when she sees that Dipper’s gaze is fixated on his lap and his hands are trembling. She reaches up to touch his shaking shoulders when Dipper lifts his head and looks at her, the obvious heartbreak he’s experiencing has her dropping her hand onto the bed.

“Hey Mabel,” he says quietly, tears streaming down his cheeks and an inexpressive smile on his face, “Why does it hurt so much to lose someone who was never mine?” His voice cracks in the middle of his sentence, every word laced with the emotional and physical pain he’s in.

Mabel doesn’t answer because she knows he doesn’t need to hear one. Instead, she sits on the edge of the bed and pulls Dipper into another hug. The gesture completely breaks whatever wall Dipper had created over his emotions, hands going up to bunch up the soft fabric of Mabel’s sweater and tears staining her shoulder. Loud sobs wracked his entire body and echoed in the hospital room, the sight of Dipper made Mabel want to never let him go.

Bill had discarded his body somewhere in the woods before fleeing into the mindscape where he was now wreaking havoc. Animals were created and brutally murdered, the landscape was destroyed, and yet he didn’t feel any better.

Red subsides from his triangular figure as Bill returns to his normal coloring.

The love spell was broken. He should be over the moon about this. So why does he feel like shit?

Sure, he’s always been interested in the kid, but last night… the press of lips, the body heat radiating off of him… it wasn’t bad. He actually kind of liked it.

Which was completely ridiculous. He’s a demon for fuck’s sake, he didn’t love. At least, he didn’t love humans. The only thing he loved was messing with them and Pine Tree had been the best toy he’s ever played with.

Dipper’s broken, hurt face flashes in Bill’s mind, surprising the demon enough that he stops his pacing.

He doesn’t have a heart, but he does feel a painful ache in the spot where humans would have it. He’s had countless affairs before with many different species and never has he felt like this before. It’s a strange new sensation, one he couldn’t put a name to and it frustrates him. He’s an all-knowing being and finding something he doesn’t know only serves to annoy him in the long run.

The forest behind him spontaneously combusts, the fire a suitable background to the red seeping back into this being. He’s feeling all confused because of that damn witch and now that he’s free from the curse, he thinks now is a good time to pay them a visit.

“Witch!” He yells, appearing in the familiar cottage in a burst of blue flames. A pungent, murky smell immediately hits him, his eye scrunching up and watering the slightest. He spots them hunched over a cauldron and floats over.

“Didn’t I tell you to leave me ALONE, demon!” They scream, twisting around and throwing a fruity blue liquid his way. After his last ‘visit’, he doesn’t trust anything inside the vials they had and quickly moves out of the way before it could touch him.

The liquid splashes onto the floor, apparently strongly acidic as it begins to eat away at the already rotting floorboards. It’s a miracle the witch hasn’t fallen through yet.

“I’ve got business with you,” Bill says, encasing the witch’s wrists in fiery handcuffs so that they won’t throw more liquids onto him, “You said that love potion was broken with a true love’s kiss.”

“It is!” They struggle with the cuffs, trying everything in their power to get them off. Their grunts and meaningless attempts agitate Bill to no end; he tightens the handcuffs to the point where it would cut off blood circulation.

“Then why do I still feel all weird,” He hates how ineloquent he sounds right now, but he can’t think properly when the back of his mind is filled with Dipper. “I got that true love’s kiss bullshit, so why am I still feeling like this? Stop laughing and answer me!”

The witch had stopped moving after his first sentence and had begun cackling by the end of it. Annoyed, Bill turns dangerously red and he grows until the top of his hat is almost touching the ceiling.

“That feeling is called love, something you’ve probably never felt before you heartless monster,” they spit out the last two words like venom, a wicked smile on their face, “You’ve fallen for a human! Oh how the mighty demons have fallen!” The witch continues to cackle, looking more and more like a madman.

Bill’s mind is whirling at the revelation, a panic blooming throughout his body. He leaves in a hurry, forgetting to take off the handcuffs even when the witch screeches for him to come back and do just that.

He stumbles back into the mindscape, more confused than ever.

Love? He couldn’t possibly be in love especially not with a human.

His eye wanders to the closed catalogue of minds, the pine tree bookmark beckoning him. He follows that urge, floating over and touching the cover. It opens with a flourish, landing on Dipper’s page.

All he sees is black. The kind of pitch black he only sees when someone’s dead. A cold sensation similar to a bucket of ice being poured over him washes over his body. He didn’t kill the kid… did he?

Just as he’s about to pop in and see whether or not Pine Tree’s alive, the page lights up and a scene replaces the previous black space. Mimicking a relieved sigh – since he doesn’t have a mouth he can’t really sigh – Bill relaxes and watches the dream the human’s having.

His eye widens at what he sees. It’s his human body and Pine Tree in the forest next to the Mystery Shack; he’s dreaming about their date.

“For you to be mine.” He hears Pine Tree say and he knows he should look away because what happened afterwards wasn’t pretty, but he can’t. This happened because he got cocky, the least he can do is stay until the end.

The scene goes just as he remembers it, but then he doesn’t walk away. No, he just keeps throwing punches and kicks at Pine Tree. There’s blood all over the ground and Bill knows just by looking at how lax Pine Tree’s body is becoming that he’s hanging on a thread that’s about to snap. As soon as it does, a bright light washes over the image, signaling the end of Pine Tree’s sleep.

He needed to lie down.

Bill lay on the floor of his mindscape, looking up at the abyss that serves as his sky. That wasn’t a nightmare. That had to be an alternate future. If he hadn’t gotten so close to those twins over the years, beating Pine Tree to death would’ve definitely happened. As much as he hated to admit that, it was in his nature to be so violent.

 Alright, maybe he is in love with that kid, so what? What he just witnessed clearly showed just how much Pine Tree was scared of him which in turn would mean he hated him.

Another sigh leaves his nonexistent mouth.

What the hell was he going to do now?

One Month Later

Today’s the day. He’s finally been declared well enough to leave the hospital. Resting his head against the window, he tries to focus on the passing scenery and the nightmares that have been haunting him since that night. It’s a bit of an impossible task to do since everything reminds him of Bill Cipher.

A warm hand touches his and he looks over to see Mabel giving him a comforting smile. Right, everything’s going to be fine now because he has Mabel by his side. Smiling back at her, he turns his hand over so that they’re holding each other.

They don’t let go until they reach the Mystery Shack.

“Wait! You have to wear this,” she says, pulling out a blindfold and quickly tying it over his eyes. The sudden cloth over his eyes comes too quickly for him to react.

“Why?” Dipper asks, holding onto Mabel’s arm tightly and letting her lead the way. Ever since his disaster of a date with Bill, the dark wasn’t as welcoming as he used to think it was. He only hoped that this would be over soon.

Mabel doesn’t reply and he assumes that they’re following Grunkle Stan towards the Shack. Eventually, they come to a stop and the blindfold is taken off, the bright sunlight making him squint.

“Welcome back!” The crowd shouts, confetti being thrown and noise makers being blown. It reminds him of the party they had for the grand re-opening of the shack except with no zombies. He looks up to see a banner that read ‘WELCOME BACK FROM THE HOSPITAL!’. Seeing all his friends and the townsfolk makes him feel all warm inside, a genuinely happy smile gracing his features.

How can he still think about what happened when everyone’s living in the present? He might as well let go and join them.

Getting into the middle of the crowd, Dipper grins at everyone present.

“I’m back! Let’s party!”

It’s well past midnight by the time the party dies down. Most of the townsfolk had left and only Wendy, Soos, Pacifica, Candy, and Grenda were left with the Pines family. Of course, they all decide to sleepover because they need to monopolize Dipper as much as possible – at least that’s what the girls had planned to do.

They don’t get the chance to execute it because Dipper feigns fatigue, saying that his painkillers were making him a bit drowsy and that he should go to sleep now. There’s a chorus of disappointed noises – save for Pacifica who glances over at him, says nothing, and then goes back to braiding Mabel’s hair – as he bid them goodnight.

Flopping down onto his bed, still mindful of the bandages around his chest, Dipper sighs and throws an arm of his face. The party today exhausted him in a good way; it was nice to see everyone get together and have fun again.

He peeks out from under his arm and stares at the bottle of sleeping pills he’s brought with him since he was sixteen. Sitting up, he grabs the bottle and contemplates whether or not to take one. On one hand, he didn’t know what would happen if he mixed these pills with the number of painkillers he’s taken, but on the other hand, he really didn’t want another nightmare. At this point it was starting to wear him out, waking up in the middle of the night, sweating and terrified.

“Let’s hope I don’t die,” Dipper mutters before swallowing two dry and falling back onto his bed, letting sleep overtake him.

Dipper wakes up the next morning to a shrill shriek.

He bolts up and is on his feet in an instant, looking around frantically to see an open-mouthed Pacifica pointing at something near his bed. Confused, he follows her line of sight and turns around to see a deer skull sitting on his bed side table.

He blinks a few times. When did that get there?

Now wide awake, he slowly walks over to it, his shoulders tense. There was only one person he knew who had an affinity for animal parts. His hands shake as he picks it up and he has to wait a minute for his heart to calm down, for his breathing to return to normal, before examining it closely.

It looks like a regular deer skull, nothing special hidden inside, until Dipper’s fingers brush against a small engraving on the inside of the horns. Anxiety gripping at his heart, he brings the skull closer so that he can read the Latin inscribed into the bone.

Mihi Amor Vitae, Pinus

His grip on the skull loosened, dropping it back onto the desk with a thud. There’s tears welling up in his eyes and when he sees a flash of gold in his peripheral vision, he wastes no time running out of the shack in only his pajamas.

Just as he thought, there’s Bill – in his triangular form, not the human body he created – with a bouquet of flowers in his hands; pleasant smelling roses this time. He’s completely speechless. This was… this couldn’t be happening. He had to be dreaming or Bill was under another love potion.

Without thinking about anything else, Dipper slowly lowers himself to the ground and lays flat on his back, watching as the blue sky is blocked by a golden triangle. The roses are set down next to him while Bill settles himself onto Dipper’s chest, light as a feather.

“You’re not dreaming Pine Tree, I’m real.”

“Fine, then it’s another love potion.”

“It’s not, I swear. Do I need to get you a deer heart instead to prove it?” That elicits a watery laugh from him. This was Bill, it had to be. Bringing his arms up, he wraps them around Bill and brings the demon closer to his chest in a tight hug.

“You’re an idiot.”

“I know.”

“I love you.”

“I… I love you too.”

They were found moments later by Mabel and her camera. No doubt that was going in the scrapbook.