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When We Get Married

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“Gotcha!” Dipper huffed in triumph as he succeeded in wrestling the creature into the net. The edges snapped together like a jaw clamping shut, and Dipper barely managed to spring out of the way before they engulfed the creature in a tangle of super-reinforced nylon. Man, he’d need to talk to great-uncle Ford about those design specs. But that was later. Now was the time for mocking.

“Not bad for a ‘puny human’, huh?” Dipper grinned, nudging the imprisoned creature with his foot. It roared, thrashing against its restraints, but Ford had designed this net to confine some of the fiercest beings in the universe. Capturing a run-of-the-mill Gravity Falls monster was child’s play.

“Lemme out, ya bloody wanker! This ain’t fair! Ya cheatin’ bastard!” The creature was some kind of reptilian creature with scaly tentacles and a mouth as foul as Grunkle Stan whenever he remembered the twins weren’t thirteen anymore. “I swear I’ll rip the ears off yer oversized head! Lemme out!”

“With promises like that? How could I possibly resist?” Dipper picked up a corner of the net and began to drag it along the ground in the general direction of the Mystery Shack.

The creature continued to hurl expletives all the way, scrabbling its tentacles against the ground in an attempt to make Dipper’s task as difficult as possible. “I’ll bash yer face in, ya prick! Who the bloody hell do you think you are, ya piss-headed bugger?”

“Language.” Dipper said pleasantly, perfectly aware it would only rile the creature up further. “Also, for your information, it’s Dipper Pines. Just so you’ve got a name to go with.”

To Dipper’s surprise, the creature immediately fell still.

“…Pines… huh?”

Dipper glanced back sharply, weirded-out by the creature’s sudden compliance.

“So you must be… his bonded?”

“Bonded?” Dipper repeated, puzzled.

He was even more confused when the creature started waving its tentacles around in what was probably a gesture of surrender. “Look, mate. I don’t want any trouble. I don’t give you no bother, ya don’t go blabbing ‘bout this to him.”

“Him?” Dipper repeated again. Had he missed something? “Who are you talking about-“

“WELL, WELL, IF IT ISN’T MY FAVOURITE PINE TREE!” A familiar grating, echo-y voice reverberated around them. The creature let out a high pitched shriek and launched itself in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, Dipper, who had been grasping the net it was ensconced within, found himself in the difficult position of choosing between shoulder dislocation and being flung head-first into a nearby tree.

Before either of these possibilities could occur, two arms snaked around Dipper, one around his shoulder and the other around his waist. It took Dipper a few moments to realise he’d been rescued from an unfortunate fate. It took a few more moments to realise exactly what was wrong with the hands currently grasping him.

“Uh… Bill?”

“Mm?” Although the immediate danger had passed, Bill seemed perfectly content to remain wrapped around Dipper like an exceedingly smug snake.

“Your hands are the wrong way round.” Dipper pointed to the back of Bill’s hand, which was currently displaying the distinctive markings one would associate with the palm. If he looked carefully enough, he could see fingernails on the side of the hand currently pressed against him. “Just so you know.”

“Huh. Would you look at that!” Bill let go of him to survey his hands. “I had the feeling something was off, but I couldn’t be sure whether it was my attempts of constructing a physical prison of flesh or whether it was the universe’s usual reminder that our efforts are futile before the great decaying hand of time!”

As he spoke, the flesh on his hands began to peel off and land on the forest floor with wet thuds, like soggy newspaper being dropped to the ground. Dipper winced and glanced away. The creature in the net let out a whimper. Dipper looked back as Bill’s hands began to regrow layer by layer, first tendons, and then muscles, followed by skin.

“There!” Bill waggled his fingers, looking inordinately pleased with himself. “That better, Pine Tree?”

The thumb wasn’t meant to have three joints, but Dipper figured it was close enough. “Anyway, what’re you doing here? Don’t you have, like, nightmares to create? Minds to screw with? Secret government agencies to manipulate?”

Bill huffed out a breath. “Oh, like I can’t take a break to visit my favourite place anymore? Or my favourite person? Also, I don’t think I like your lack of appreciation for my cultural awareness!” He gestured at his body. “Yeesh, your fleshy shells are so needlessly complicated! There’s so many bits that you don’t really need! Like this one!” In a burst of blue flame, some unidentifiable viscera appeared in his hand, only to be tossed aside carelessly. “Or that one! That aside, where on earth do you find the room to put the dorsal fin?”

“The… dorsal fin? We don’t have that.” Dipper finally managed. “That’s fish.”

“Oh.” Bill looked mildly nonplussed, wiping his bloodied hand against his pants. “Well! Guess you should count yourself lucky you can’t see my feet, kid!”

Dipper briefly wondered what Bill had done to these appendages which were blessedly covered by his clothing (which consisted of an eye-popping yellow vest and smart black slacks, accompanied by his usual bow tie and top hat – all in all, not the strangest thing he’d ever worn) at the moment. He still shuddered at the memory of the time Bill had managed to contort his legs into confusing Escher-eque paradoxes. Dorsal fins seemed rather tame in comparison.

“And who’s this?” One of these feet was currently propped atop the creature, which was peering up at Bill though terrified eyes. “Carrying on the family legacy of pissing off creatures beyond your mortal ken, I see!”

“It’s been trying to kidnap little kids from the town.” Dipper explained, making his way to Bill’s side. “I was planning on taking it to great-uncle Ford to see if he could deal with it.”

“Hmm.” Bill ground his foot down on the creature, a glint in his eye. The creature was quietly jabbering words Dipper couldn’t understand. “So I’d be correct in assuming that you don’t have any way of dealing-“ here, he pressed his foot down hard- “with ol’ Slitherlegs at the moment?”

“Uh. I guess not?” Dipper said. “What does that have to do with…?” He suddenly recognised that glint in Bill’s eye. It was that glint he always got when he was about to ruin someone’s life for nothing more than shits and giggles. “No, Bill. No.”

“You know what they always say!” Bill announced cheerfully, his hand sparking with blue flame. The creature writhed desperately, clearly sensing his intentions.

“No, Bill, don’t do it-“

“When all you have is a hammer…” The flame in his hand flared brighter. The creature’s struggles became more frantic.

“Don’t you dare, Cipher, I’m warning you-“

“…It’s your cue,” Bill’s voice warped, his grin growing twisted and sclera turning black, “TO LAUNCH THE NAIL INTO THE VACCUM OF SPACE.”

With a final howl of terror, the creature was swallowed up in flame, vanishing before Dipper’s eyes.

“Bill!” Dipper gasped, extricating himself from Bill’s hold (at some point, Bill’s other hand had reached around to grasp him and prevent him from rushing forward) and stumbling a few paces backwards. “Did you just kill it?”

“Of course not!” Bill crossed his arms. “It doesn’t need food or oxygen to survive, y’know! Ol’ Slitherlegs’ll just be floating around up there for a while! Maybe it’ll find a habitable planet! MAYBE IT WON’T.”

Dipper deflated, despairing of even attempting to admonish the incorrigible dream demon. “Couldn’t you have tried… I dunno, a more humane solution?”

“Tsk tsk. Always so picky, aren’t you? Here’s a lesson for you, kid: ANY PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED IF YOU JUST LOB IT INTO OUTER SPACE. But that aside, it’s getting late, which means YOU should be getting home!” Before Dipper could protest, Bill picked him up and slung him over his shoulder.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Dipper remonstrated, although his dissent was partly muffled by the fabric of Bill’s coat.

“Taking you back to the Mystery Shack!” Bill proclaimed chirpily. “Can’t have anything out here deciding that it wants to take a nibble outta you!”

Dipper abandoned his struggles as futile, staring down at the ground resignedly. “You can’t go there. Great-uncle Ford tried to cut you up with a chainsaw last time, remember?”

He shuddered at the memory. Ford had made some miraculous scientific discovery at 3 a.m. in the morning, burst into Dipper’s room with the intention of sharing his findings… only to scream in horror as he found his grand-nephew sharing a bed with a certain dream demon. Well, that certain dream demon’s vague approximation of the human form, at least. Bill hadn’t quite gotten the hang of limbs at that point. Anyway, chaos had ensued, culminating in Ford chasing Bill off with a chainsaw.

The post-crisis conversation had also been absolutely mortifying on Dipper’s part. No, he and Bill hadn’t been having sex. Okay, so maybe there’d been some (eugh) cuddling, but that was only because Bill had somehow become obsessed with human contact upon acquiring a body, meaning he had a habit of latching onto Dipper like a limpet. No, they’d never had sex. They weren’t (technically) even in a relationship. Protection-? No, how many times did Dipper have to repeat this? He. And. Bill. Had. Never. Had. Sex. Fine, fine. If they ever did have sex (which was a huge if), he’d remember to use protection. But they weren’t in a relationship and they weren’t having sex, so absolutely none of this was relevant.

Grunkle Stan and Mabel had just sat and chortled in the background, occasionally butting in with some crude innuendo. Jerks.

“Anyway,” Dipper shook himself out of his embarrassing memories, “he’s probably not going to let you in the house from now on. Also, I’m pretty sure I saw him looking up exorcism rituals the other day.”

“I’ll take my chances!” Bill replied, unperturbed. He gave Dipper’s ass a condescending pat.

Dipper buried his head in his hands, his face flushing too warm for his upside-down position to fully account for.

***

And that was that.

Or rather, that would’ve been that if it was the last time Gravity Falls decided to go weird on Dipper – well, weirder than usual, anyway.

The creatures of the Gravity Falls woods were being oddly… deferential. Some, like the gnomes, scurried away upon seeing him. Others suddenly became weirdly polite. Once, Dipper had stumbled across a herd of manotaurs, who immediately went very quiet, making a fairly accurate impression of spooked cows. Dipper had waved awkwardly. One of them had started to wave back, only to have his hand shoved down by another.

“Look, man.” A bullfroghog (according to the journal, half bull, half frog and half hog. Which didn’t really work out fractions-wise, but Ford had just shrugged when Dipper inquired) slowly backed away into the swamp. “I don’t want no trouble.”

“No, I was just wondering-“

“Don’t want no trouble.” The bullfroghog repeated, bubbles appearing around its mouth as it sank further into the quagmire.

Dipper could only watch, a little helplessly, as it disappeared into the depths of the swamp. Geez, what was with Gravity Falls lately?

A distant giggle caught his attention. Dipper turned his head in time to catch a flutter of wings. Curious, he approached the source of noise. Squinting, he managed to make out a coven of winged female creatures perched atop branches of a tree. Wait, he recognised them. The journal called them lyrepies. Like harpies, except smaller. Mostly harmless, apart from their tendency to break into off-key renditions of 80s songs. Well, it couldn’t hurt to try asking them.

“Hey, um, excuse me?” Dipper waved his arms. “Can I just ask you something?”

The giggling stopped as the lyrepies peered down curiously from their respective perches. “It’s the Pine child.” One finally said.

“Yes, it’s the Pine child.”

“Indeed, it’s the Pine child.” Dipper listened in bemusement as the lyrepies continued to agree with each other.

“Anyway,” he finally interrupted, “do you know why everything here seems to be avoiding me? I’m definitely I’m not that scary and I’m pretty sure I don’t smell.”

“You aren’t scary. He is though.” Another lyrepie replied.

He is indeed very scary.”

He is very scary indeed.”

“Who’s he?” Dipper asked, puzzled.

The lyrepies gazed down at him in silence for a long while. Finally, one reached up to cover one of her eyes.

Dipper’s eyes widened. “…Wait, Bill? What does he have to do with this?”

The lyrepies looked mildly amused at his ignorance.

“You’re bonded.” One of them said.

“You are bonded to him.”

“He is bonded to you.”

“He has good taste. The Pine Child is cute.”

“He is indeed cute.”

A little flustered from the sudden deluge of compliments, Dipper pressed on. “So what does it mean that we’re bonded?” The reptile-tentacle creature had mentioned it before Bill had banished it to space, hadn’t it?

The lyrepies shared a knowing glance. One of them began tapping her wings against the bough of the tree in a cadenced rhythm.

A few minutes later, Dipper fled the woods, his face burning, the lyrepies’ off-tune impression of When We Get Married echoing in his head on loop.

***

A slight gust of wind was Dipper’s only warning before an over-exuberant dream demon latched onto him like a particularly enthusiastic leech. “And how are WE today?” Bill announced, plucking Dipper off the ground and placing him in his lap, which was hovering about a metre off the ground.

At the beginning of the whatever-this-was they shared, Dipper might have gotten flustered by Bill’s overly feely hands-on approach. A few months of unseasonably close contact was fast eroding his ability to feel embarrassment. Instead, he levered himself up to a sitting position, using Bill’s neck as a brace. Blonde hair tickled his face as he did so. Glancing up, he realised Bill was staring at him in a manner one could almost describe as fond.

…Wait, Dipper was supposed to be mad, wasn’t he? “Bill?”

“Hm?” Bill was tracing the back of his neck with a finger. It was distracting, but Dipper refused to be dissuaded.

“A bunch of creatures have been telling me that we’re apparently bonded.”

“Mm.” And now Bill was nuzzling him. Dipper frowned.

“And that apparently bonding means marriage, in your weird demonic terms.”

“Yeah, I guess you could say that.” Bill mumbled absently, his face buried somewhere in the juncture between Dipper’s neck and shoulder. “’Course, that presupposes that your flimsy human legal fictions have anything close to the binding power of a proper demonic contract!”

“Bill.” Dipper said, and something in his tone made Bill stop with his distracting touches. “Did you marry me without me knowing?”

“What do you mean, kid? You agreed to this, remember?”

“When the hell did I agree to that?”

Bill rolled his eye, snapping his fingers. Colour leached out of the world around them. Another snap, and a fuzzy image appeared before them, gradually growing clearer. It reminded him of Grunkle Stan’s old TV, the one with the antenna that they constantly had to move in order to get a signal. Finally, it cleared up enough for Dipper to recognise the image as a bleary-eyed version of himself, his elbows propped on the kitchen bench. It was a memory, and past-him was clearly coming off a 48-hour all-nighter streak.

With a popping noise, past-Bill materialised in the kitchen. He was in his triangular form. “HEY! Hey, Pine Tree!”

Past-Dipper buried his head in his arms. “Go ‘way, Mabel, I’m tryin’ to sleep.”

“HAHA, you’re so funny, kid! Say, mind signing something for me? I’m almost CERTAIN you won’t regret it!”

“Nghhh…” Past-Dipper let out a grunt as Bill pressed a pen into his hand. Past-Bill then unfurled a roll of parchment which was so long it reached the floor.

“Alright, then, Pine Tree. Just sign right heeeree…” Past-Bill guided past-Dipper’s hand to the bottom of the parchment. Past-Dipper’s hand slowly smeared an inky line in the general area Bill had been gesturing to. Past-Bill picked up the parchment, surveying it. “WELP, that works well enough for me! Promise I’ll make it worth your while!”

He then vanished, leaving a half-asleep Dipper sprawled across the counter.

Present-Bill snapped his fingers once more, causing the memory to dissipate and colour to leak back into the world around them.

Dipper, meanwhile, continued to stare into the space the memory had been dumbly. “What the hell was that?”

“Geez, whaddya think? That was you agreeing to the bonding contract!”

“I didn’t agree to anything! That was you taking advantage of my sleep deprivation!” Dipper protested.

“Nuh-ah-ah! Agreements obtained via trickery and/or coercion are still perfectly valid under demonic law!” Bill waggled a finger in his face.

“Yeah? Well, in human law the person you’ve married usually knows you’ve married them!” Dipper massaged his forehead. “When were you planning on letting me know, anyway? As a matter of fact… how long have we been ‘bonded’?”

“Hmm.” Bill drummed his fingers against Dipper’s spine. “Actually, I’m not too sure! When you’re an immortal omnipotent demon like myself, time tends to lose all meaning! I know it was before I started wearing a fleshy meatsack of my own!”

Huh, so it was before Bill got a human body… and before he’d developed those weird cuddly tendencies. Dipper wasn’t entirely certain how he felt about the implications. “And what’s bonding like, exactly? So it’s basically the demon version of marriage?”

Bill hmmed. “Well, it places you under my protection, and vice versa – not that you’ve got much protection to give me!” That explained why everything in the Gravity Falls woods had been so leery of him lately. “And there’s some property stuff which doesn’t really matter because you don’t own anything I particularly want! Oh, AND it comes with a lifelong fidelity clause!”

“A fidelity clause?” Dipper frowned, shifting uneasily in Bill’s lap. “So that means I’d never be able to date anyone else, wouldn’t it?”

“Well, you could, if you wanted to see them dragged kicking and screaming into an unspecified hell dimension! Which, by the way, makes it a very easy clause to exploit! It’s an entertaining way of dealing with people you don’t like, I assure you!”

…So Dipper had basically been forced into a lifelong relationship with Bill without his knowledge? He batted Bill’s wandering hands away, glaring up at the demon. “Bill, this is serious! The protection thing – okay, that’s already sketchy, but I get why you did it. But you’ve basically strongarmed me into marrying you without even giving me a choice! And that’s not even getting started on the never dating thing! Jesus, that’s just – I mean, do you even see me as a person?”

Bill stared at him, looking genuinely flummoxed. “Well, duh. I mean, what else would I see you as?”

“Well, you’re not really treating me much like a person! From where I’m seeing it, it looks a hell of a lot like you just think of me as some kind of property!” Dipper glared at the dream demon.

“C’mon, kid.” Bill assumed a coaxing tone. “Why’re you getting so worked up about some outdated human institution designed to rope unwitting dopamine-addled suckers into perpetuating the continued existence of your meaningless species?”

“I don’t know, Bill! Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact you decided to force me into the binding demonic version of this ‘outdated human institution’ with no regard for my personal autonomy!”

“Look at it this way! The dating scene ain’t pretty, kid! I’ve saved you a bunch of stress and heartbreak!” Bill said hurriedly. “Besides, it’s not like love’s a critical aspect of the human condition! Trust me, I’ve been around!”

Dipper stared at him, open mouthed. “That’s… that’s possibly the worst excuse I’ve heard you give. I can’t believe you – I was actually starting to trust you.”

“You were?” Bill looked genuinely surprised for a moment.

“Well, I’ve figured my mistake out now, at least. You’re never going to change.” Dipper stared at the ground, his hands clenching into fists. “You know what? I’m not going to do this anymore. Put me down.”

“Pine Tree, you’re jumping to conclusions over here!” Bill protested, but obeyed Dipper’s demand nonetheless. “I had my reasons-“

“Reasons for not even bothering to ask me before roping me into a marriage contract?” Dipper barked out a short, bitter laugh. “You might be good at lying, but you’re not that good.”

“Pine Tree-“

“I’m not listening. We’re done.” Dipper turned on his heel, walking off.

“Kid-“

He didn’t turn around. “What part of we’re done don’t you understand?”

“Look, Dipper, I’m sorry!”

That made Dipper stop in his tracks. That was… the first time he’d ever heard Bill apologise. Or use his proper name (or nickname, as it were). A little warily, he inclined his head in Bill’s direction. What he saw made him double back, surprised.

“Oh.” Bill looked equally dazed, raising a hand to his left cheek. “My eye’s leaking.”

Dipper bit his tongue, holding back the urge to rush to Bill’s side and… what? Comfort him? “You said you were sorry.” He forced his tone into terseness. “About what?”

Bill closed his eye, scrubbing a sleeve against his face. “Dipper. You know that I’m an immortal demon.”

“And that has to do with the situation how?”

“Just listen to me. I’ve lived a long, long time. And from where I’m standing, you humans’ lifespans seem inconceivably short. One bright spark, and then you’re gone. Forever.” Bill voice deepened, and Dipper shivered, as he always did when he was reminded of exactly what Bill was.

“I’ll admit it. I was scared. Scared of running out of time. I just wanted to… seize the moment. Snatch as much of you as I could before you disappeared.” Bill stared down at the ground, no traces of his usual cheer in his expression. “But I forgot how it might look from your perspective, or how you might feel about it. It was selfish. I’m sorry.” Bill closed his eye again.

Dipper hesitated a moment, before sighing and approaching the dream demon. Tentatively, he wrapped his arms around Bill, then let out a small “oof!” as the demon responded by smothering him in a stifling hug.

“This doesn’t change the fact you were seriously awful about the whole thing.” Dipper eventually managed, after a few minutes of silence. There was a wet patch on his shirt.

“I know.” Bill said, his voice muffled. “If you really want, I could reverse it. I mean, it’d be really painful, but I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t die. Fairly certain.”

Dipper exhaled, running his fingers through thick blond hair. “Nah, that’s alright. I was mostly pissed about the fact you didn’t bother asking me properly.”

“Sorry, kid. I was just, well, scared-“

“People get scared of rejection too, you know.” Dipper flicked Bill’s ear. “They just suck it up and deal with it. They don’t force other people into relationships with them. Well, most of them.” He amended, remembering Gideon.

Bill’s single eye peered up at him. “Would you have said yes?”

“Well, it’d depend on how I felt about you. I mean, at that point? Probably no. But maybe if you’d actually put some effort into charming me-“

Bill let out a protesting noise. “What do you think I’ve been doing for the past few months? I’ve abandoned the infinitely more comfortable form of a triangle for an ILLOGICALLY CONSTRUCTED AND VISCERALLY DISTASTEFUL HUMAN BODY! I’ve satisfied your intrinsic human desire for contact! I’ve helped you with any problems you’ve needed solving!”

“You launched a living thing into space.” Dipper pointed out patiently. “And I’m pretty sure the whole ‘body contact’ thing wasn’t just for my benefit.”

“Hey, it was killing two birds with one stone! Well, if the stone was intimate human contact and the birds were A FLEETING CARNAL DISTRACTION FROM THE DEPRESSING INEVITABILITY OF OUR FATES!” Bill seemed quite recovered from his brief bout of the Unnecessary Sentimental Emotions. “Anyway, the last person I put this much effort into… well, it wasn’t a person, perse – but you get the idea! I haven’t worked this hard at a relationship for a few trillion years!

“Okay.” Dipper smiled slightly. “I guess you’re halfway there. I’m, like, halfway charmed.”

“You humans have the most unnecessarily byzantine customs!” Bill propped his chin on Dipper’s head. “Alright, fine. So how would you do the marriage thing?”

“Me?” Dipper considered for a moment. The fact his face was currently smushed into Bill’s chest didn’t help things any. “Well, I guess I’d… ask someone out? Preferably someone I’d spent time getting to know, and preferably after they’d already shown some interest.”

“And then?”

“I guess… we’d date? Go out, have fun, get to know each other better to see if we really mesh. And if we did… I guess at some point one of us would propose?”

“A proposal of marriage!” For some reason, Bill sounded absolutely fascinated. He released Dipper from his smothering embrace, taking a step back. “How would you do it?”

“Well, normally I’d get down on one knee-“ Dipper blinked as Bill immediately shot down into a kneeling position. “No, not two knees. Just one.” Bill obediently shifted his posture.

“…I see what you’re doing there.” Dipper said dryly. “Well, usually you’d have a ring.”

A burst of blue flame, and a ring appeared in Bill’s outstretched palm. Dipper squinted. Was it just his imagination or did there seem to be a bunch of tiny faces locked in an eternal scream embossed into the metal? “…Uh. And then you ask them to marry you.”

“Will you marry me, Pine Tree?” Bill parroted.

“Depends.” Dipper definitely wasn’t blushing. He wasn’t. “Would there be any surprise binding agreements if I said yes?”

“Only if you want there to be!” Bill replied, looking as innocent as a dream demon with a disturbing penchant for chaos and destruction possibly could.

Dipper hesitated, and then chuckled resignedly, rubbing a hand against his face. “Ah, whatever. Not like we could take this much further anyway.”

“That wasn’t an answer, Pine Tree.” Bill looked ridiculous, stooping down there like that, proffered ring in his hand. Like some kind of gentleman. Somehow, this was enough to send Dipper into a paroxysm of laughter. “Uh, Pine Tree? What’s with the body spasms?”

Bill’s alarm just made Dipper laugh harder. The giggles took a few minutes to clear up, and when Dipper recovered from his bout of hysteria he found himself being supported by a bewildered Bill. “Kid? You haven’t gone insane on me, have you? I mean, it’d be hypocritical of me to have a problem with that, but the fact remains we don’t have room enough for two!”

“I’m fine, Bill. It was just… just so cliché.” Dipper hiccupped though the final bouts of laughter, leaning into Bill’s touch. “And about the marriage thing. Yeah. Sure. Why not?”

Bill looked dubious. “So… should I go back to kneeling or-“

“Just give me the ring.” Dipper accepted the ring from Bill’s offering hand. Okay, yeah, those were definitely tiny screaming faces on that thing. He pocketed it, deciding that telling Bill about the ring finger tradition could wait until he found out whether it was cursed or not.

“So now what?” Bill’s arm was still wrapped around his waist where he’d placed it earlier to steady Dipper as he’d laughed.

“Well, uh,” Dipper tried to keep his tone casual, but was suddenly finding it very hard to meet Bill’s gaze, “and that’s the part where most people kiss.”

“Oh. Right!” Bill slapped his forehead. “I knew I’d forgotten something! Kissing!”

Dipper yelped as he felt himself being tilted backwards, Bill’s face suddenly hovering rather close to his. And then it was hovering rather less close, a perplexed expression appearing on the dream demon’s face. “Wait, how does this work? I mean, you’ve got a nose, I’ve got a nose – mmph!”

Dipper dragged the dream demon’s face back down to his, capturing his lips in a kiss. It felt like the culmination of everything they’d been building up towards, as though they’d been trapped in an inescapable spiral orbit and this was the moment they finally collided. Bill’s lips were soft, sending electric sparks down Dipper’s spine whenever they shifted against his. He tasted of a strange mixture of ozone and raspberries. Warmth diffused though Dipper’s whole body, pooling in his abdomen. His hands clenched in the fabric of Bill’s vest.

Bill surfaced for long enough to let out a triumphant “ANGLES!” before being drawn back into the kiss.

***

An immeasurable amount of time later (Dipper was fairly certain Bill had shifted them into the mindscape at some point so as to afford them more time), their kisses and touches slowed. Dipper hummed as Bill trailed his lips behind the shell of his ear. The dream demon was straddling him, his hands running up and down Dipper’s sensitive sides, making him arch and stifle laughter.

“Hey, Bill?” The demon let out a responsive noise, biting lightly on Dipper’s earlobe. “About that marriage slash demonic bond thing-“

“Hm?” Bill released his ear, shifting to peer down at him curiously.

Dipper let a mischievous grin flicker across his face. “You’re telling great-uncle Ford.”