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Hating It

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It was so very, very close. It’s been a while, but Bill’s still bitter about it.

Just a few more days! Then there woulda been a great opportunity, a route right into the world! He could’ve taken that dimension over, he would’ve-

Bill floats as close to the surface of the world as he can, and finds that bastard.

Stanford freaking Pines, going through the motions of fighting another demon - a pathetic one, at that. He thinks he’s some kind of great human, but the best, most amazing demon he ever faced was one he never saw coming. Stupid Poindexter here never knew what Bill was up to. He stumbled across what Bill’s real plan was, and that one accident ruined everything.

It could have been so good. But he got caught off guard, and banished. Now he's got only a few, terribly annoying routes to interact with that plane, and even summons aren't that common, anymore. Bill wanders away again, sulking.

Stupid goddamned paranoid humans, not leaving him any openings. He’ll just have to live with things. The Mindscape’s still here, and it’s entertaining enough. Nobody can stop him from playing around in his realm.

Bill wanders around, he does his work - eating childhood memories, messing with people’s minds, the odd nightmare - but there’s a whole other dimension and it could definitely learn how to party, Bill could have two whole places all to himself, but there's no decent way to-

What.

There’s a tingle. A ping, a small, slight touch.

A summon, a weak one. Incredibly weak, how pathetic. It’s gentle and tentative, but… hey, it’s kinda tasty. Nice magic there, Bill likes it.

It brushes against Bill - nah, this isn't just pathetically weak, it's embarrassingly so. He loses a little interest. But, you know, he's not up to much right now, might as well look at it.

Bill focuses his attention on this cute little thing. It’s light as a feather - but interesting. It’s got some good magic, and- something neat's going on there. Huh! He takes a closer look, what's -

Ha! Something’s being made, just for him! Nice!

Tribute’s always welcome! He’s not in much of a mood for a summon, but with that? He might give it a shot. Bill gives the spell a cursory glance-

Holy shit, there’s a body.

He’ll get that immediately, it’s already becoming available as he feels it - whoever this fucking moron is? They don’t have any idea what they’re doing. The instant the circle breaks, Bill can have all the influence over reality he likes.

This human will get a deal, sure, fair is fair, they’ll die pretty shortly after, anyway! But with his own body, he can take over reality himself! Why manipulate, when you can take matters into your own hands? It’s so much easier. This convenient, mortal idiot, so unknowing. Bill starts laughing.

It takes a second, the spell wasn’t the strongest - Bill has to shove himself way closer into it - actually shove, it's so poorly constructed, shoulda been made better, and-

It twists around him, it-

This.

This?

Shit.

This might have been a bad idea.

Because it’s really, really unpleasant. It sends a sick pulse through him. Bill realizes, as the body forms around him, that, fuck, gravity’s in play now.

He falls-

And lands on some dumb human, who grunts and coughs, and ugh, this is the worst. This isn't anywhere close to what he really is, these meaty arms and legs and - his new head throbs in pain, and he feels weirdly, mortally sick. What kind of awful body is this? It’s the worst one he’s ever possessed! Sure, Bill can work with it, but it could be a lot better.

Bill stands up, shaking his head.

“This is,” He says, slow, feeling slightly pained, and gross, “By far the worst fucking summon I’ve ever been part of,” He glances over himself as he stands - ooh, nice shape, though. Bill thinks it suits him well, it even sort of looks like him - if he were a mortal. Not a great change, but not as bad as he thought a second ago. He lifts a hand and licks a little speck of blood off his thumb. Yep, definitely good. “Nice magic, though. Tastes pretty familiar.”

The human by his feet coughs, and rubs at his temples. “Sorry, just was… trying to get a…” He trails off, and groans again, turning his head away, face scrunched up.

Whoever this summoner is, they’re dumb as hell, looking this weak. Bill glances around - Place looks familiar, weirdly. There's ash on the floor, but the wood is intact, and unblemished - hell, this guy didn’t even make a circle to contain him! This is the stupidest human who’s ever existed!

He’s so damned ignorant that Bill’s, surprisingly, interested. Who would ever summon him like this? Didn’t this idiot know what he was dealing with? Was Bill underestimated, or is this human just a total dumbass?

Bill looks him over.

Young, male, brown hair, and not in terrible shape. He could look worse, too, this mortal’s kinda cute. Rubbing at his head, it did get smacked against the floor, so, probably a little dazed, and in pain.

Bill gives a soft, amused huff of breath. Nothing too entertaining here, and hey, free body! Now, he’s going to have some fun.

“Well then, since you’re not all that interesting,” He smirks to himself. Maybe he’d’ve made a deal, but this is boring, he’s out. And for the inconvenience, and the unpleasant feeling that just ran through him - welp, some revenge is always in order. “Expect the worst dreams of your life, for, oh,” He hums contemplatively for a moment. “Forever. Thanks for wasting my time, fleshbag.”

He stretches, he’s got a lot he wants to do, but taking some time to prepare will-

And in his own realm, he can-

It-

In the Mindscape- Where.

Where’s the Mindscape, that’s his!

He’s reaching for it, he can still feel it - Bill blinks for a second, stretching, reaching again.

The mortal in front of him sits up, but Bill ignores it, pacing in a slow circle around this little worthless sack of meat. He’ll just take over his - shit, he can’t control the mortal either? Mind magic’s not working. Fire works, briefly, but…

He stops in front of the human, glaring, and the young guy cringes under his gaze, the coward. He can't drag the answer out of that head, but he sure as shit can intimidate it out of this idiot. Leveling a dirty look at him, he watches this human flinch.

“What kind of spell were you trying here, kid?” Bill asks, slow, and angry.

“Uh,” The kid swallows and licks at his lips. “I was, uh,” The horrible little thing has to take a second, and Bill’s already getting impatient. This has never happened before - you can’t keep demons out of their own places! That was Bill’s! Now he’s lost the keys, and it’s got something to do with this asshole.

What has he done.

“I was trying to get a fake familiar.” The kid says, finally, looking up at him, eyes wide, and scared.

Bill’s own eye widens, and his face turns blank. He stares at the kid, then looks away - that can’t  -

That’s not right! For a mortal to get tied into - he couldn’t be - Just go back to the Mindscape, no mortal could ever be compatible with him, or any demon, it’s impossible, Bill strains-

Nothing happens. Why isn’t this working? He looks at the mortal again, who shifts uncomfortably under his gaze, cringing as he very well should.

And if Bill feels around for it-

Fucking hell. 

There it is. A tiny, flickering little life, as close as it could possibly be to him. Tied up with him, and tying him the hell down, right into reality.

Huh. Kinda interesting, didn’t know this could happen, it's entirely new to him and Bill is not happy that he’s the one involved.

“The name’s Bill, by the way,” Bill says, after a few long moments. “And boy, kid, you didn’t get a fake familiar," 

He smiles, wide, teeth sharp and white, and feels a burst of pleasure at seeing this kid wince away, scooting backwards - he won’t live for long, not after this insult, but Bill will toy with him for a bit. Wring what entertainment he can, out of this weak little thing, before he dies. 

“You got a real one. And you’re gonna regret it.” 

Chapter Text

“What would be your least favorite way to die?” Bill asks, tapping his fingers against Dipper Pines’ shoulder idly. He’s got a few ideas, but this needs to be very unpleasant. A little input never hurt, and this mortal’s afraid of him.

He’s said some things about himself, enjoying the way the human grew increasingly upset - kid’s not a total idiot, the more he learned, the more frantic he got, agitated and squirming, getting more anxious - man, that was fun, the kid here freaks out easily. It’s pretty funny!

Bill’s not as upset about this as he could be, because - this human’s said a few things in return.

He’s a Pines.

This family is pretty interesting, as humans go! One of ‘em thwarted Bill, and now this one summoned him, completely accidentally, and he’s so young and ignorant.

Entertainingly ignorant! Ha! This mortal can’t handle magic at all! The whole damned place nearly burned down the moment he tried something! He’s got no restraint, no control over things - he keeps pulling like that, and he’s dead in seconds. No mortal can channel that much of Bill’s power, and this idiot’s going to burn himself out from the inside trying things like this. Nice idea, now that he thinks of it.

It’s funny as hell, really, but when this kid - he can’t possibly be a good conduit, he’s human - blows himself up trying something more ambitious, it’s going to leak power out of Bill like a puncture in a balloon, shooting out until Pine Tree finally, agonizingly dies, and that won’t be any good.

He’s going to off this mortal in a moment, he just hasn’t decided how yet. Stanford Pines may have stopped him before things got good, but now? Bill’s got a way to get back at him.

Fordsy’s going to be very upset, once a member of his family shows up, skin burned with images of Bill himself, dead, hanging from the roof of this building - but that’s not quite right. Bill’s got to make this extra horrific, if he wants to get revenge. A simple death isn’t good enough.

Only problem is this dumb bond’s going to hurt, bad, when Bill ends this guy’s life, like cutting off an arm. Not too big an issue, but well, still not great.

This mortal shoves his hand away again as he gets poked, and Bill promptly ignores that..

“C’mon, entertain me,” Bill says, wrapping an arm around Pine Tree’s shoulders. The human lowers his hands, and tries to shrug Bill away. Like that’s even possible. “Would it be burning? Drowning? Hanging? Mutilation? Buried alive?” He smiles, wide, and sadistic. “What’s the worst way your life could end?”

It takes a second.

Then this human groans quietly, and lifts his head up, and when he speaks it’s tired and- something?

“It would be living for as long as possible,” Pine Tree says, blandly, “But having you around the entire time.”

This guy's either sassing him, or - Wait.

Bill stares at this mortal for a long second.

Intent radiates off humans as easily as their body heat does. It’s involuntary, something Bill feels instantlyThis is what Bill does, he can always get the surface thoughts, or at least what they want! Even when he’s not in their heads! Even when he’s in a human body, he feels their emotions!

This mortal?

Has nothing.

There isn’t even the slightest hint coming from him. If Bill wasn’t looking at his face, or touching him, he wouldn’t even know there was a human sitting right next to him. There’s absolutely no sign of this idiot, beyond the physical ones and this dumb bond.

Bill stares, and flicks his gaze over this human.

There’s a brain in there, somewhere. Though it probably sucks.

If there wasn’t one, this human wouldn’t be walking around, or being - yep, that was sass, with a bit of truth, but he had to look at this thing’s face to be sure. There is intent, and thought, and- Bill can’t see a single bit of it.

He frowns a little, watching as this human sulks. It’s this bond! Right.

Since they’re connected, Bill just has to take a different route! All he has to do is follow it. He almost breathes out, and traces the link of life - it’s small, but real strong, and he follows it right into-

…Right into…

A completely solid wall.

Bill glances over it, analyzes every side of it - but there’s no way past it. He still can’t sense intent, not even when he presses as close as possible.

He stares blankly at this human, at his mind, and feels around for any gaps, or cracks, any locks, or doors -

Nothing there. Or there.

Or there!

Nope, nothing’s showing up, man, this is solid. There should be something, that’d give him a method to get up in this mind, but that’s not going on. There is one in here, somewhere, he can sense that much, but Bill can’t see a way in. It’s locked up tight, impassible, and-

Crap, it’s because of the bond that he can’t get in. It’s like trying to stare at the back of this human form’s head, Bill can’t exactly just move his eye around anymore.

Aw, no, this sucks.

If he kills this mortal now, he’s never going to know what’s in there.

He's the best at minds, of any demon, or anything that's ever existed! A young human like this should be simple as hell to see through, but that isn’t the case here. Nobody avoids him like this! Bill is not putting up with this bullshit. Likely as not, Pine Tree is boring, and bland, even dumb as hell, but…

Pine Tree managed to lock Bill out of his own realm, something neat’s gotta be in that business! He’s a little sassy, too, that could be fun. Plus, fine, this spell he’s stuck in is weird, it’s kinda intriguing.

…Bill can put things off for a bit. Not like he hasn’t got time.

The kid’s looking back at him, now, a little confused, a little lost - Lessee, without feeling his intent - hm, pupils a little dilated, darting over this form, it glances down, the kid’s eyeing him up a little, probably doesn’t realize he’s doing it- Bill starts laughing inside.

Ha! Pine Tree thinks this body’s hot, that’s hilarious! No idea what he’s dealing with, what a moron. Bill can find some way to have fun with that.

“Bro!” The door downstairs slams open, and both of them look up at the sound. “We’re back! Me and Waddles missed you!” 

Another human, somewhere below. Must be this stupid bond blocking Bill from the kid, he can feel the bright rainbow-flavored other one nearby. He looks at his mortal, a little confused. The kid shakes his head slowly, dismissively, he’s got no idea what Bill’s thinking and Bill’s got none in return. Bill’s never seen this before.

Dipper stands up from the bed, grabbing Bill’s hand in a sudden, panicked rush, eyes wide - ooh, now he’s upset about - right, because Bill told him he was a demon, ha! He’s worried about getting into trouble.

This could- hm, for him not to panic completely, he'll need an excuse - Yes.

Bill can use that first thing he knows immediately, and embarrass this frantic little thing, that’ll be even more entertaining. He slips his hand out of Pine Tree’s, then snags him around the waist, winking at the kid - the mortal startles for an instant, then glares. Aw, he’s trying to be brave! Bill pulls him close, grinning.

“What are you doing?” The human is tense under Bill’s arm, still scared, but sounding a little curious.

“Hey, I get what’s going on here,” Bill responds. “I know what humans think. Lucky for you, kid, you summoned me in this form, not my real one,” So the kid’s worried about mortal laws, what a petty thing to be concerned about. Like he isn’t already gonna die, horrifically. Gotta get a better sense of priorities. “Who says anyone has to know what you did?”

Pine Tree looks confused, needs a little prompting - Bill strokes his thumb over the kid’s side, and in response  he stares at Bill, mouth dropping open. “You’re fucking kidding me,” Oh, neat, he catches on pretty quick! Bill thought he’d have to say something! “We can’t-”

“Why not?” Bill declares, and starts marching towards the stairs, dragging the kid along with him - there’s a little struggling, it’s cute. This should be good.

“Seriously, kid, I ain’t happy about it either,” He pauses on the top step, looking over. This isn’t exactly an ideal coverup, but it’ll work, and it's a tiny way to torment this mortal without breaking him entirely. “You could always tell everyone what happened. So what if I get banished? It isn’t like I need to be on the physical plane, though I’ve got a few things I wanna do here.“ 

Bill’s gonna learn a couple things about Pine Tree’s fuckup - new magic, been a long time since Bill’s seen it - Maybe he’ll even get some stuff done, prepare this world for the next time he’s around. Bill always comes back, it’s only a matter of time.

And meanwhile, he’ll learn something about this human's weird little mind. Hey, at the very least he can piece things together, even if the whole picture’s outta his reach.

Being banished might not be possible, anyway. This is an illusion form he’s trapped in, and it feels like it’s made of blood. If it is - it’s gonna be around as long as the kid is. Really inconvenient, should have looked over that spell closer, it would have told him how this works -

But hey, Bill’s got this! He looks like a human, so hiding’s easy enough. If someone tries something, he could always murder Pine Tree, that’d solve everything. He’d miss out on learning this new spell, or seeing this brain, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

“Or,” Bill draws the word out slowly. Go along with this ruse, already - “Since we’re tied together, while I’d prefer to wait until you die naturally-” 

The threat does the trick, and this scared little mortal claps a hand over Bill’s. “No! No, this is fine!” He’s so paranoid, so easy to bother, it’s amusing as hell. “It’s… an okay cover story. I guess.”

“Thought as much,” Bill says happily. They walk down the stairs, pressed together, and as he feels the mortal shiver in his grip, Bill grins.

Not the best situation he’s ever been in, sure, but Bill can roll with it. It’s interesting! Messing with this mortal is fun, too

Ah, well. In few days the kid'll get boring, and predictable. Then Bill will get rid of him, and head back to the Mindscape.

This won’t last long.

Chapter Text

Bill’s getting tired of things.

Nothing too interesting has cropped up, he hasn’t discovered much about his mortal, or about this spell. Too many limits in place, because of this dumb body, to get much done to advance his plans. That human’s even avoiding the hell out of him, and more efficiently than Bill would like.

Fuck it, this is boring. Pine Tree should be back in a few hours. Then he’ll take him out.

But for the moment... Bill’s been roped into hanging out with the sister. She wants to get to know her brother’s ‘boyfriend’ better. Not his first choice of keeping busy, but he’s leaving soon. And there are a couple good things! He smirks, and pries open the next container.

This one has chunks in it.

Bill grabs the spoon again and stares, unimpressed, at Mabel Pines, sitting next to him on the floor. There’s a massive pile of stuffed animals heaped up against the wall - almost a horde! - and they’re leaning against it.

“It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.” He rolls his eye, stuffs some ice cream into his mouth.

Putting on the nice act’s annoying, he’s not gonna bother with it. Besides, he’s only here for a few more hours, and anyway that book was so soft, and mushy, what kind of romance doesn’t have violence? Where’s the real excitement?

Shooting Star gives a heavy sigh. “Yeah, well, I liked it!” She glances at his prize, looking skeptical but feeling amused, and Bill pulls the pint slightly away from her, glaring. She handed it over, it’s his now. “You’re gonna make yourself sick if you eat another one of those.”

Bill tells her exactly how little he cares about that, but his mouth is full, it comes out garbled. The handle of the spoon bounces as it sticks out from his lips. It makes Mabel giggle. Amused pleasure radiates off her. Nice to have someone he can actually read around, this stupid bond still gets in his way with her brother.

He’s not one for giving away free advice, but… he pulls the spoon from his mouth, fiddles with his pint of ice cream. Technically she did pay him something, and any topic is better than the dumb novel she made him read.

“I think,” Bill considers it for a moment, rolls his spoon around in a circle. “You should stop being so dumb and ask that rich blonde out. Try some real romance.”

Mabel covers her face with a fuzzy unicorn - ugh, unicorns, they’re assholes, even Bill knows that! - but he can see the way her ears pink with her blush. “Aw, no, we’re not like that!” She slaps at him gently, and ends up hitting a soft, spherical bear instead of his wrist.

Shooting Star’s a terrible liar - Bill plucks a plush rhinoceros out from under him and tosses it away, it was uncomfortable - she doesn’t have the skill for it. He rolls his eye. “Yeah, sure, because you’re not obvious as hell. Don’t see why you’re passing up the opportunity.”

Mabel makes a muffled, disagreeing sound, and rocks a little in place, embarrassed. What a stupid problem! She thinks she’s good at romance, can’t she handle her own business?

Bill continues. “It’s easy enough! Just kiss her, right on the mouth,” He pauses, thinking. “Or, you know, wherever you want.” Humans love body contact, should work in most any place.

“Bill!” Scandalized, Mabel sits up, and hits him, several times, with the stupid unicorn. He blinks, unfazed. Assault with polyester isn’t one of his weaknesses. “How could you say that?” She’s turned very red, but she’s smiling.

He shrugs. “Fine, cop a feel instead, if that’s more your style.” Eating all of this ice cream is starting to give him a headache, but he’s gonna enjoy having this body while it’s still around, and this is pretty good. Next to him, Mabel covers her face with both hands, kicking her legs and making a muffled squeal, both amused and deeply embarrassed.

“Oh gosh, Stan was right, you are kind of a creep,” She giggles, uncovering her face and blushing, but she’s entertained, Bill can feel it. This is great advice! It’s her own problem if she doesn’t take it seriously. “I’m not going to do that! That’s wrong!”

“Yeah, but you wanna,” Bill adds idly, and ignores the way she splutters out a protest. Ha! Kinda fun, seeing her flail like this. Hey, this twin’s silly, and chaotic! He’s met worse humans to spend an hour chatting with.

Mabel turns to him, a little more serious, but still smiling. “Don’t tell me that’s how you started things with Dipper.”

Bill looks at her, one eyebrow raised. “Trust me, it isn’t.” And he can’t think of any reason he’d want to seduce Pine Tree, he’s a paranoid wimp, and he insulted Bill with this stupid body-trap.

Kid’s gonna kick it, soon as he gets back, and then Bill will be free .

The twin wanders off after some more chat - got another ‘not-a-date’, it makes Bill snort with derision - and he raids the kid’s library for something to clear his mental palate. Maybe he’s not interesting, and all of these books would be entirely useless to him, but he’s got a decent collection.

He’s just flipping through a section on fire magic - wow, most mortals are just pitiful, they think that’s an impressive display? - when it hits him. Bill blinks for a second.

That… was a pretty strong burst, it drew a ton from him, aw, shit has - He shakes his head. No, Pine Tree hasn’t exploded, or it’d be leaking out everywhere. That shit was controlled . Also? Very, very strange. But he recognizes it, somehow. Wonder what-

The door slams open, and there’s Pine Tree. Bill turns his head to look at him, and hey, he’s almost surprised!

The kid was pretty far away a moment ago, now he’s here? And look at that trail of blood, trickled down his cheek, a pale red, half-dried and uneven line. There’s a bunch of cloth pressed against his temple, trying to stop the bleeding, and his eyes are shut in pain, been hit just underneath one of ‘em, to look at it. Should bruise up pretty well.

Between this and that magic…. What’s his pet been up to?

“Hey, what’s this?” He asks, dropping the book and sitting upright on the counter. “Thought I felt you getting into trouble,” No other reason the kid would use Bill’s magic that hard, he hates it -

Bill cocks his head to the side, looking at the wounds. Pine Tree’s gonna get himself killed, Bill barely needs to do a thing to leave. ”Looks like neither of us are gonna be on the mortal plane for much longer, kid. You’ll be flesh paste sooner than later, the way you’re going.”

“Shut the hell up.” Pine Tree growls. He looks completely done with things. For once there’s no paranoia, or fear. Only annoyance. Storming away, hunching over a little, the human completely ignores Bill, focused on his own problems.  

Bill hops off the counter, and thinks.

Kid’s gotten into some shit. He’s injured, but he’s mostly intact, even after using that much power! Pine Tree’s still alive, after doing something strong as hell! Bill has to know what went down.

Okay. He’s holding off on killing the kid. Finally! Something interesting! He grins, and follows his pet.

Finding him isn’t hard  - Bill stalks forward, following their link - yep, there he is. He stands in the doorway, and grins. His pet’s leaned over, staring into the sink, looking upset, and a little stunned.

Aw, was this his first kill? That’s definitely the look of someone who’s done something they never thought they could.

“So! How many?” His pet startles at the sound, and stares at him, confused. Bill gives him a wave, smiling. There’s some violence in this guy. Huh, didn’t seem like he had any in him.

“What are you talking about?”

Bill sighs. “How many people did you kill?” It’s a simple question. Kid put in a ton of effort during a fight. Has to have been a fight too, Bill doubts his pet kicked himself in the face, incompetent as he is. And all he can do is fire, he has no control! What else could’ve happened?

“Nobody, obviously.” grumbles Pine Tree - he sticks a bandage over the cut on his temple, refusing to look at him. “I don’t kill people, Bill.”

“Oh, please, I felt the magic you used. It was a lot! You did something almost impressive,” Stepping in closer, he reaches out to snag the kid closer - but his pet ducks away, fast, and Bill glares. He grabs his pet by the belt instead, and hauls him in close - Pine Tree holds up his arms so he isn’t pulled in fully, elbows braced against him, looking extremely uncomfortable.

“C’mon, gimme the details! If you’re going to leech off of me, I should at least know how many mortals you’ve destroyed.” Does his pet really think he can get away without giving all the juicy, squishy details of what he did? He just managed something fun for once, Bill wants to hear the story. “Tell me about it.”

“Nobody died,” Pine Tree insists, and sets his feet, shoving himself away. It breaks Bill’s grip, but it also almost makes him topple into the bathtub - Bill catches him by the collar so he doesn’t break his idiot skull on the porcelain, hauling him upright. This guy doesn’t get to die until Bill’s done with him.

Pine Tree grabs onto Bill’s wrist, tries to pull it off of himself, and fails. “I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t even try to. It’s just-” He struggles for a moment, then shuts his eyes, resigning himself. Bill waits. This could be good, but if it isn’t, he could still-

“I couldn’t get away,” His pet says, slow, “But after they hit me a few times... time stopped. I don’t know how, but- whatever. I made a run for it.”

Bill freezes.

Time stopped? This moron can’t stop time, even Bill can’t, not completely - but he is ignorant, he wouldn’t know - his mortal’s wrestling with Bill’s grip on his shirt, he ignores it. Now there’s a thought.

“You can barely light a candle, Pine Tree. That kind of spell is way beyond you.” Bill says, looking away. He studies the nails of his free hand, with a kind of practised casualness. See if a little prodding gets him going.

This theory better pan out, or Bill is going to be very disappointed.

“I don’t care what you think, asshole,” Pine Tree protests, and good, he’s looking defensive - “I’m telling the truth. Are you done bugging me or not?”

“Nope! You’re mine, kid. That’s my power you’re working with. I deserve to know what you’re up to,” Bill says, then, dismissively. “And I think you’re lying.”

“I’m not .” insists Pine Tree. He’s starting to be pissed off.

This was the right way to approach things! If a little antagonism got him to do what Bill really fucking hopes he did - he grins.

“Prove it.”

For a few moments, he watches his mortal fume silently, tense and annoyed.

“Well?” Bill prompts, with a little bit of contempt. Hell, he doesn’t know why he thought it was possible, but it was worth a shot.

His pet flips him off, filling with slowly growing anger. He shuts his eyes, and Bill watches with disdain-

Everything shifts. It’s almost instantaneous.

The world returns to normal.

A net of minds stretches out in his senses, a vast and complicated web, and he could touch absolutely any of them, if he can find the way in - He’s missed this, badly, and he’s finally back. It’s about time .

Here’s the Mindscape!

Bill didn’t realize how badly he was limited until he wasn’t anymore, and it feels really fucking good. He beams, briefly, at this human.

They’re in the Mindscape, Bill hasn’t completely lost the damn place! It wasn’t taken away, he just lost the keys, like he’d thought, and guess where they ended the hell up. And with the right incentive, his mortal brought them here in seconds! He almost wants to congratulate him. It’s nothing anyone else could pull off.

Pine Tree peeks an eye open - he looks around, then spots that Bill’s there with him, and flinches back in shock. Idiot has no idea what this is, does he? You really can’t keep demons out of their own realms, a part of him is always here, sensing things. Touching the kid when he traveled just brought the rest along.

Bill lets go of his human’s shirt, and ignores the way the kid backs up defensively against the wall. Being here is so freeing, he can feel it! Weird illusion body or not, this is his .

“So what you’re saying is,” He says, carefully, clasping his hands together so that both of his index fingers are pointing at his pet. “You, without any practice, or instruction, can somehow get your idiot human self here.”

He stares at this cowardly thing, still pressed up against the wall. Because of this weird bond, he’s part of the Mindscape, might be the only path to the Mindscape. He must be ridiculously compatible with it, or the way wouldn’t have gotten lost inside his life.

Still stupid, though. Maybe it needs a little pointing out. Bill taps his human on the temple. “And you still left the bastard who did this alive?”

Really? Kid’s got a whole realm under his thumb, and he didn’t know to use it, but when he got there, saw what was happening, he didn’t take advantage of it ?

Pine Tree flinches away from the touch.“Yes?” He responds, clasping one hand over his head to stop Bill from touching his wound again. “Don’t do that. It only just stopped bleeding.”

Bill hums softly, eyes narrowed. This needs some thought.

Now he can do whatever he wants, use whatever power he likes, nothing can stop him here! Actually, now that he checks-

He’s got a better connection to mortal minds, due to this idiot’s tiny life. This awful link gives him loopholes , he can do a little more - not a lot - but still! Things are looking up! Maybe this bond isn’t so bad after all! He’s got some great opportunities now, and it’s because of-

Bill pauses.

He takes a long look at his pet.

Pine Tree’s eye is swollen. Blood’s on his face. Kid’s probably been hit a few other places, hidden by his clothes, Bill’d check to see how badly... but he’s sure the human would only injure himself more struggling to get away. The guy seems kinda prone to accidents.

He’s breathing slowly, but only because it’s controlled - partially to not show fear - but that’s been fading, rapidly, over the days they’ve known each other. His careful breathing is mostly to deal with pain. Took his beatdown pretty stoically, really! So he’s not entirely weak, just incompetent as hell.

Bill nods, certain.

“Yep, I’ve decided. You’re my pet, after all. Gotta be responsible, right?” He claps his hands together, grinning. He ignores the sudden flinch, grabs his pet by the shoulders, and gives into the brief impulse he suddenly has -

And plants a kiss on Pine Tree’s forehead.

“You’re a moron, but you’re a fun moron! And hey, I can’t let someone else mess with my stuff!” Bill winks, even though his human stares at him, aghast. He should be flattered! Bill Cipher’s decided he’s worth owning! “‘Specially not if you’re gonna be living with me some of the time.” Because he’s definitely dragging the kid back here sometimes, just for fun.

“What are you-”

If Pine Tree knew how to handle his stolen power, he might be able to resist - but Bill gives a little push, and kicks him outta his place. His pet’s brought his entire physical body to this realm. Bill’s fine, but wow, a mortal, wandering around here? Not the best for him, something’ll eat him, and Bill’s gotta get to work.

He understands the appeal of cruelty, sure! Power over others is fun! But this was awkwardly done, and sloppy, no class or finesse at all! Some petty meatheaded mortals just made a huge mistake. The Mindscape is his property, and it’s part of his pet. Some other mortal saw Pine Tree, and decided, ‘hey, that’s an easy thing to stomp on!’ - Ha! They picked the wrong fight there. 

Bill’s remembered something recently. If something looks too easy, or too fun, like way too good an opportunity? Take another look at it. 

You wanna try to crush something under your heel, make sure it’s not a landmine.

Bill owns this human, in all kindsa ways, and he can’t let some idiots mess up his stuff. Hey, he was looking to stretch his legs again! Get back into torment , what a great excuse to practice! Man, it's good to be back! This spell's the weirdest thing Bill's seen in a long time, it's pretty interesting. And it looks like something's gone down here while he was away - wait, is this Bill's, too? There's something -

Gotta take a look at that, first. Then, things are gonna be fun.

Chapter Text

This situation isn’t nearly as bad as Bill thought it would be! Specifics are still in the works, but now Bill’s got a plan, and he’s feeling pretty cheerful about it.

The way into the Mindscape is lost in Pine Tree’s soul until he dies, and that’s a billion times worse than losing something in the couch cushions, but there’s an advantage! A way into reality, once the idiot figures out how to get back there, but then - Bill can go back and forth whenever he wants! He’s got access to both realms. So convenient

His pet is clinging to him, tense and tight, staring out at the neat new lawn ornament Bill made in the Mindscape. That familiar’s been ripped out of that bastard’s soul, and none of the people involved will sleep well ever again-

“What. Did. You. Do.” Pine Tree says slowly, through clenched teeth.

Bill looks away, and clears his throat. Well. Shoulda started off with something more impressive, the kid’s shock didn’t last long, and… this is nowhere near Bill’s best work. And he really should have been more thorough - 

But he got distracted.

Whatever, it helped him come up with this idea, and it’s shaping up to be a good one.

Pine Tree’s mind is still locked away from him - Bill gives it a few sharp raps, but yeah, nothing’s coming out of it - so he’s not gonna see the structure directly, ever. But while he was at things, he saw the memory of the beatdown -

And other people have memories of Pine Tree, too!

So he can’t get into the kid’s head. He could still see what different mortals have seen, stuff his pet’s been up to, before Bill met him.

“Well, like I said, I’ll finish it soon. Won’t take too long,” He turns and winks at his pet, smiling again. “I’ve gotta get you trained up, after all. It’ll hardly take any time at all to make this biz happen in reality,” He’d stick around here, complete things more, but there’s something he needs to handle now. He’ll do more on the physical side! Bill waves a hand dismissively at the gore. “Then we’ll come back here, and really get to work!”

Bill Cipher does not get tricked into shit

But they've made a deal. They have. A. Freaking. Deal. An accidental one.

Bill's got to sort this dumb mistake out before he can show his surface - well, now it’s his face - around anyone.

Damn it, he can’t believe this shit! Bill didn’t see it until he was brought back here, and it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever been involved with. There were terms, and conditions, he didn’t look for any and now he’s stuck. 

Bill has - had, it was delicious - the kid’s sleep, and in return the kid has access to his power - and Bill’s life force. He’ll survive longer in the Mindscape than any other human, and not sleeping won’t kill him either. He would stick around, keep his pet here, finish things - but his idea isn’t gonna pan out if the kid kicks it. Pine Tree’s not going to survive without some food, or water, and it’s going to take forever to teach him how to get out of the Mindscape, they’ll have to start immediately.

Bill should have paid more attention, shoulda looked, and now he got stuck in all of this crap. He's tied up with a really stupid human’s life and he didn't mean to be, but he has to make this look good. And there's a chance his plan'll work. There's a way to make it seem like he meant this to happen! Gotta make the best of things. 

Nobody ever needs to know about this.

“This is a nightmare,” His pet mumbles, tense arms still clinging to Bill, but less tightly. Kid's distracted by something.

“Best kind of dream, kid. Takes a lot of skill.” Bill says, smug. It’s great to be in the Mindscape, it's so sweet to be here. Bill had a few nightmares on reserve, but, he’s made a ton more while he's had the chance. Ah, home, where he’s not held under such dumbass limits.

Pine Tree murmurs, a flat second later. “Dream demon.” Realization is bright in his voice. 

Bill straightens up, surprised. 

That was quick.

Just an idle comment, and Pine Tree has his nature pegged. He has no idea what the Mindscape is, he said as much, it’s been minutes after his pet was shown the most blood he’s ever seen in his life, and already that tiny mind of his was working, fast, figuring Bill out.

This plan is going to work.

Bill chuckles, and pats his pet on the back, feeling him flinch away at the touch. “You’re a quick study, aren’t you, kid. It’s part of why I like you! Honestly, I didn’t think I’d like you at all, but you’ve got potential. A lot of potential,” Bill practically purrs, leaning closer. This mortal’s exactly what people think of him, it’s great. “We’re gonna be great together.”

Pine Tree shakes his head, slow, and Bill grins.

People think that the kid’s weak, that he’s strange, with no familiar, no talent - he’s got one of those, Bill just can’t get into his head to find out what it is, they’ll work on it - and that he’s a freak. And he is!

Bill never would have gotten tangled up in this bullshit spell if his pet’s magic wasn’t so very, very close to his own, and that means he’s going to be useful. He’ll be able to channel so much energy through this human, right into the mortal plane! Nothing huge, but still a way for Bill to get things done.

Even if they are compatible, his plan’d be worthless - if it weren’t for the other thing everyone knows about the kid.

Everyone agrees that his pet is intelligent. Pretty damned smart! He’s even shown Bill he’s quick a couple times now, in person. Bill’s seen the memories. Pine Tree's had good ideas, got himself both into - and out of - trouble, and had some clever thoughts.

Some dumbass wouldn’t be of any interest, but with this mortal? With how much power he could potentially take, and a decent brain to learn? Maybe Bill’s not able to do everything he likes when he’s in reality, but who says he has to be the one to do the magic? Pine Tree can do it for him! All Bill needs to do is persuade him, and that won’t be too hard!

Yeah, he’s keeping this human. He’s a tool - in all senses of the word - and probably an inefficient one, but Bill’s going to get what he wants using him.

“You can’t do it,” Pine Tree says, softly, he’s still clinging, but he looks distracted.

Where’d that come from? Pfft, Bill can do whatever he likes.

“I can do anything, Pine Tree,” he scoffs. Once the kid’s under his thumb, Bill’s going to get everything. “Just you wait. Things are going to be fun.”

“No, I get it now.“ His pet shakes his head slowly, looking a little dazed. “It’s our bond. Without me, you can’t get out of your realm,” He looks up at Bill slowly, something strange in the way he’s looking at him. “Or into it.”

Bill stares, still, suddenly tense. 

Damn.

That was fast, again, and correct, again, and there were barely any hints towards it. It’s… yeah, he’ll admit, that was good. Kid’s quick on the uptake, he puts pieces together almost as easily as Bill does.

He’s starting to get a feeling that this mind is way better than he’d originally thought. The shape of it was already looking good, but if the kid keeps catching onto things - Who knows, he could be dull, or - he might be sharp, if Bill’s lucky he’ll be as sharp a razor, that’d be so much better for his plans. Ugh, Bill wants to see more, and he can’t, this fucking life bond stops him, and if he could just look at it straight up, this mortal would stop being interesting, and Bill could off him without any regrets.

His pet straightens up, and he's suddenly confident, his face alight with defiance, and hate - Bill's surprised! Where'd this come from, it's not like his pet can do anything to him, but he gets grabbed by Pine Tree-

“We’re leaving,” His pet states, and Pine Tree's back is straight, eyes bright with his sudden idea, his entire self full of certainty. “And we’re never coming back to this… whatever this is. Just… fuck this place.”

Hey! This is Bill’s, what the hell does he think he’s talking about? Bill makes to grab the kid back, but he’s pulled forward, hard

Reality slams back into place, and Bill’s hands smack into the wall beside his pet’s head. They stare at each other, breathing heavily -

And Bill is filled with sheer, seething anger. How dare this mortal, he can’t just haul Bill around like he’s some -

“Oh. My. God.” Mabel squeals. Both of them freeze in place.

“Dipper!” Shooting Star is watching them, and she gasps, clasping her hands to her face. “You did it! And you brought your boyfriend,” She says, smirking as she says the last bit. “Hey, Bill.”

Bill blinks a few times, glares at his human - and pastes a grin on his face as he turns towards the twin sister. “Hey there, Shooting Star. Wasn’t expecting this,” He glances back at his pet, pressed against the wall defensively - his face still set firmly in hateful expression. “Your brother’s really attached to me.” In a lot of ways.

He might be leering a little.

“Oh my gosh! Dipper! Look at you, you have a talent!” Mabel almost takes a step forward, then notices the position they’re in. She blinks, and turns away slightly.“But I think I’ll leave you two alone for a bit,” She covers her mouth with one hand, giggling, moves to leave - then pauses, and points one demanding finger at her brother. “Don’t think you’re off the hook! I wanna hear all about your magic later.”

“I- sure. Fine.” Pine Tree says, tone a little strangled. The kid’s still tense as hell, but-

Bill looks his pet over, and the human stares back at him, head slightly tilted away, but watchful, and silently furious, but just the slightest bit pleased.

Look at that.

He thought it’d take a long time, that he’d have to use simple words, carefully explain how to make the journey between realms... But within moments, his pet worked out how to get back here, prevent Bill from being where he should be, and handled it, rapidly. All this human needed was a little provoking to jumpstart him. When this guy has something he wants to do? He’s got some backbone. And he is smart. 

Even better, Pine Tree knows Bill’s powerful, and dangerous, he’s seen it, and he’s standing up to him anyway. That face is full of hate, glaring at Bill with absolute disgust. He doesn't care how stupid thwarting Bill is! He's spiteful. 

This human’s got fire in him, and it doesn’t even come from their bond.

Bill smiles. “Yeah, you’re a moron. You’ve got enough of a pair to challenge me, sure! But I’m the master of the mind, kid,” He says, happily. “And you’re mine.”

Pine Tree’s not the worst thing he’s ever seen, and Bill can already tell there’s more to him. Uncovering him is going to be interesting, and Bill wants to be the one to do it. Dipper Pines started off as a vague shape, bundled up, he couldn’t tell what he was really like, and it made Bill curious - but now he's learned a couple of things. Some of the covering’s come off this mind. Brains, and not too bad at magic, when he’s got any to work with - the more the kid’s around, the more he reveals himself, Bill can put together what he truly is. 

And this! 

Facing off against something he knows is stronger than him, and doing it anyway - knowing his death is so close but going forward, pulling this anyway, out of sheer hate-

Now Bill’s seen a little skin, the curve of Pine Tree’s mental hipbone, and this mortal’s starting to look kinda nice

There’s going to be more, too, and Bill’s really liking it. Not seeing everything immediately was annoying, but it means there’ll be surprises! He almost never gets those, and now Bill’s looking forward to what else gets shown off.

“You,” Bill says carefully. “Are a complete pain in the ass,” His pet braces himself against the wall, ready for some kind of retaliation - but Bill just shakes his head. “Nah, kid, I respect it! Can’t say I’m thrilled, but I understand. Honestly, I wouldn’t like you as much if you weren’t a challenge.” He grins, again. “Oh man, this is going to be fun.”

Bill can work  with this. It’s inconvenient for the moment, but hey, it’s only a matter of time.

If Bill can get this kind of mortal pointed in the right direction, if he can train this kid up - Bill won’t have to keep an eye on him, or hold his hand, just send him the right way and watch him go! He'll take care of himself, Bill won't have to do any legwork, just have this guy do all the thinking and planning for him, on whatever errand he gives him!

This kid isn’t going to be just a useful tool, he’s going to be an asset.

“I really, really hate you,” Pine Tree says, blandly. Now more of the fear has faded from his face, replaced with interest, and hate. Cute. Like he stands a freaking chance against Bill Cipher.

But with everything Bill’s learned, that isn't unexpected. His pet adjusts to new things, fast, he's stubborn, and smart, and quick. Adaptable. And fear doesn't have much of a hold on him, he started off panicking around Bill - but that faded out of him rapidly as hell, it's even almost gone. He's got a pinch of anger in him, too! Any time this human's goaded, he's been able to come up with something, and pull it off, quick as anything.

Memories didn't cover the whole shebang. The more Bill sees this guy, the more he shows himself off, and it's more interesting than Bill would like.

Pine Tree’s not half bad. If Bill's being honest? He's kinda looking good. His mind’s at least as cute as his butt.

How much is there to this mortal? What can he do? It’s going to be entertaining, finding out. Bill’s glad he didn’t kill him straight off. This is an opportunity, but even better, his pet is a fascinating puzzle! He's making Bill come up with the structure of his head, instead of handing it over, like he should.

“I,” Bill declares, drawing himself up and cupping his pet’s chin with one hand. This is the first step towards his awesome plan, and it should work great. “Am going to kiss you.”

“What?”

Bill closes in, and presses a kiss against that soft, hot mouth.

The kid’s attracted to this body, and this is a way for Bill to get closer. Convince this mortal to work for him, go along with stuff. It’s not bad, either, this could turn into even more kinds of entertainment - though the lips against his own are still, and uncertain -

Bill pulls away, running his tongue over his lips, and gives Pine Tree a slow smile. Ha! Makes sense - there’s hot, embarrassed pink on that face, and his pet’s eyes are wide, a little glazed over, and dazed.

Pine Tree liked that. More importantly, Bill’s never seen any memory of someone doing that to him, or anything along those lines, for that matter. Totally untouched! Bill got to steal a first kiss, right under Pine Tree’s nose. Literally! It makes him chuckle.

“You’re a stubborn little idiot, Pine Tree,” Bill says. “But I can work with that. You’re one entertaining human. And with your potential, we could do some pretty great stuff together,” He pulls his pet close, and traces a thumb over his neck, feeling the rapid pulse. And he smiles. “Do everything I say,” He murmurs, leaning in close - Pine Tree's breathing picks up, he makes a soft sound, a little scared, a little interested - “And this world will be mine.” What a moron, but -Bill pauses for a moment, thinking.

Then he taps his pet on the chest, beaming at him. Not only does he have this body to lure this human in, he’s got something else. Giving his human a slow smile, Bill feels smug. That's a good way to bring him in further, too! “Tell you what - and this is generous of me - If you’re good… it might even be ours.” 

Pine Tree leans away from his touch, looking stunned, but for a split second there’s interest in his face. Kid's power-hungry, at least a bit, and the world is one hell of a temptation. Not that Bill’s actually going to give him much, but, hey! The way this guy’s looking - if he’s any better than he already is…

Bill wouldn’t mind a piece of eye candy, lounging around at the foot of his throne, on a leash. Could be a pretty nice trophy!

“Nope.” Pine Tree says, expression flat and annoyed, and shoves Bill. He doesn’t manage much, but it makes Bill grin. Still defiant, Bill’s - fine, he loves a challenge, and this cute little thing fighting him - he likes it, his pet’s trying to resist him. That won’t last.

“Doesn’t matter. Sooner or later, you’ll come around,” He takes one of his human’s hands, lifts it up, and kisses the back of it.

Pushing for too much, too fast will make the kid startle, maybe even freak out! And while that would be amusing - He wants to lure this mortal in, not scare him off, and Pine Tree’s got zero experience. They’ll take things slow. Bill will be a downright gentleman.

It only flusters his mortal more, and that’s a lovely sight. “Cut that out!” Pine Tree yanks his hand away, wiping it on his pants, he’s gone almost entirely red. He liked that! Bill’s always right, this is working. “That’s not going to happen.”

Bill’s still grinning.

This is great! He hasn’t had this much entertainment from a mortal in a long time. He could try to put on the suave, nice act - but that'd backfire on him. The kid’s too paranoid, too aware of what he's up against. He’ll run, and then Bill will lose out on this chance.

He shouldn’t have mentioned what he was. Demons are great, Bill’s the best of them, and morality doesn’t matter - but Pine Tree here doesn’t think so. Telling him didn’t seem like a risk, when he was gonna kill the kid, but now his pet thinks of him as an enemy, not an awesome opportunity. Bill will get past that, manipulation comes easy to him.

Meanwhile, while Pine Tree’s still being stubborn? Might as well enjoy the struggling, it's kind of fun!

His pet takes in a sharp breath and holds it - then lets it out slowly, and shuts his eyes. Bill… still can’t see the kid’s intent, he better not be giving in this quick! This was looking like it could be-

The knee hits him before he can even try to move away, and Bill doubles over, cursing.

Why does that have to be a sensitive place.

Bill curls into himself a little, eye tight shut - this dumbass body - no real damage, but it sends a shudder of pain through his stupid gut. He swears, a lot, and out of the corner of his eye he sees his mortal smile.

The kid’s happy to see someone he hates in pain, and if it was for anyone other than Bill, it’d be a pleasure to see, another good trait of his. Fuck. Right, this is one stubborn, intelligent human, and he’s got way more morality than he should. This plan is still a good one, but. Bill swears some more.

…Convincing this mortal might just take a while.

Chapter Text

It’s quiet, everywhere, especially on the lawn of the Mystery Shack. With so many people hit by the curse, and there being a curse, and being alone with his human like this - it wouldn’t be so bad - if Dipper Pines wasn’t being stubborn as fuck again.

“No,” Bill says, slow, and frustrated, rubbing at his forehead. What a stupid goddamned situation. He looks up at his pet, sighing. “I’m serious this time.”

“Yeah, sure,” Pine Tree spits out, kicking at the grass a bit out of sheer annoyance. “You’re such a dick. Stop lying.” He glances at Bill with some of that hate he’s been harbouring. No more fear in him, which is both fun - courage suits him! - and bad, because it means Bill can’t ram this info into him with intimidation.

“This is different. Listen, this really is kinda terrible for you, so shut up and stop arguing,” Throwing up his hands in disgust, Bill steps closer, almost touching faces with his glaring, annoyed human. ”This curse is-”

“Nuh-uh,” Standing in front of him, arms folded, Pine Tree gives Bill a disgusted look, and stalks slightly away. “Like the last five things you told me to do haven’t been tricks? I’m not falling for another one.”

Bill just gives him a long, tired look, watching Pine Tree start pacing, grumbling to himself. Guess he’s gotta use another tactic to make the kid understand.

And yeah, okay, so he has been messing with his pet a bit during their practice. He can’t resist a few pranks. But this time he’s trying to get a very important concept across, and now he’s made his human too suspicious. How much trouble his human’s in isn’t getting through that dense little skull.

Bill lets his pet sulk, shuts his eye, and thinks.

He almost wishes there were a quick way to get rid of this guy, but in this dumb hick town, everyone knows each other. There’s nobody he can hire to do his dirty work for him, and Bill can’t pull it off himself.

What a horrible revelation that was. They’re bonded so tightly, Bill can’t kill his human . Really should have paid more attention to that stupid spell, why didn’t he look closer. Their lives are joined, permanently - but it’s Pine Tree’s fault. The kid shouldn’t have tried something so bullshit.

Well, Bill can’t change it. More than a little infuriating, but hey, gotta make the best of a bad situation! Bill can’t destroy his mortal, not directly. No point in trying anything else, it’d only chase his human away, and there’s still time to convince him to work for him!

They’re so close that his pet made something huge ! On accident ! So many people, so completely affected, even if it was sloppy -  Once that lovely - and currently inconvenient - curse was made - things were looking up! Pine Tree can hit whole cities , he’ll never burn out, he’s a gorgeous link to reality, Bill was thinking up all of the things they could pull off-

Then it went to shit.

Because guess who’s showing up in a bit.

Bill’s called in a favor or two, so he’s bought himself some time. If one of his buddies kills Stanford Pines, it won’t be the best, but that’s alright, he’s got another Pines who he’s more interested in. Even if he is annoying. And defiant.

In a way, Bill can respect that. Appreciate it, even! …It’s kind of - knowing that Pine Tree knows how amazing Bill is, and he’s still fighting him - so much fire in him - Yeah, it’s a little hot, Bill’s into it, so what? Man, it’d be great if he didn’t have to take things so slow with his toy. Startling him isn’t gonna help anything .

If his pet wasn’t everything he is, Bill wouldn’t be putting in any effort to keep him. Lucky him! Bill can’t think of a time that a mortal resisted him this hard, for this long, and that means Pine Tree’s got enough pep, and self-awareness to him that he might be able to survive this dumb thing he made.

Stupid friggin' human. Getting Bill into this mess, not to mention making new ones along the way. Having that kind of great-uncle. Bill has done nothing to deserve this crap.

“Pine Tree, you gotta get better, and fast,” Bill strides up behind his petulant little mortal, and ignores the way he tenses up in fury. “You either destroy this stupid thing you made, or it’s all gonna crash down on you.”

And Bill is not for that.

“So if this is such ‘dangerous mind magic’,” Pine Tree turns around, fast, slipping Bill’s hand off him and glaring again. “Why aren’t we doing that?”

“For some reason -  can’t imagine why!” Bill steps back, raising his hands and giving an insincere smile. “I think ,” He draws the word out, slow. “You’ll need to be able to think if you wanna take it. No good going in weak from dealing with other shit.”

Pine Tree keeps giving Bill a look of hate, but only mumbles something instead of arguing, lowering his head. Even he can admit Bill’s got a point.

Also, while they could practice that - he knows a few guys, brain people, mostly underlings to him, but. If Bill can’t get into this head? Nobody else is allowed.

“Besides, you’ve got theory down, you’re just short on practice. With everything,” continues Bill, waving off the topic. Kid’s quick on the uptake, now that he’s got any power to work with, he should do okay with other stuff, he’s just not used handling it. He’ll pick it up fast. “And you’re still being a jackass, this is serious.”

Pine Tree shuffles a little in place, glancing around, not quite meeting Bill’s eye. He knows about backlash now, he knows this curse is gonna come down on him if it’s broken- but he’s too damned stubborn, and he’s not wanting to acknowledge how bad he fucked up.

There’s a long, silent moment, and Bill would continue - but Pine Tree’s still thinking. If Bill interrupts, he’ll shy off again. Convincing this guy takes almost more patience than he has, it’s incredibly slow, his plan is going to take so long.

“Is it really going to be bad?” Pine Tree looks up at him, sudden, and there’s only a little worry in his expression, but fucking finally, he’s getting it.

Bill feels his shoulders slump in relief, and he tilts his head back, sighing. That took a while. “Yeah, it is, that’s only what I’ve been warning you about, dumbass.”

There’s a brief pause then Pine Tree looks at him, curious - “ How bad?” He’s giving Bill a skeptical look, glancing around. “I know it’ll stuff things into my head. But. It shouldn’t be hard to deal with, right?”

“I…” Bill almost answers, then- stops. Hm.

Whether to lie, again, but- shit, he’s trying to get this across to the kid, and every time he misleads him, he shoves him away more.

All he has, in reality, in this form, is fire. Which is great, sure! But Bill’s all about the mind, and his fire’s the only thing he has. He refuses to hang around like this, trapped, and limited, and humiliated, just because his brainless idiot became literally brainless .

Bill will not put up with being tied to a braindead mortal - he’d rather Pine Tree were completely dead. Maybe that won’t happen. Bill has to - very reluctantly - admit his human’s learning fast . When he freaking listens. Which he won’t , if Bill keeps fucking with him about something this important...

He shuts his eye, tight, and admits it. “I don’t know.”

Bil hears his human take in a quick breath, and if there’s an insult coming after that? The bickering’s fun, some of the insults are clever, but after saying that, if there is one? Bill’s ditching him, because fuck trying too hard to keep this kid around-

“You don’t know ?” Pine Tree splutters, and he sounds so astonished - Bill blinks at him, and his pet honestly looks shocked, tense, eyes wide. “I mean,” Pine Tree seems even… disturbed that Bill doesn’t know something, he isn’t sure what to say. “How…” He trails off, confused.

There’s the respect Bill deserves! He does know everything, at least his human accepts that . He grins. Ha! Guy might not trust him, or like him, but he does appreciate how smart Bill is. Not a total idiot, as always.

“Well, sapling, I didn’t make the thing, did I?” Bill says, feeling pleased, spreading his arms wide. “You’re the one who slapped it over a whole city, I didn’t design it. That was all you.”

“So... what does that mean?” And Pine Tree steps a little closer to him, rubbing at his arm, looking more like the type of worried he should be, considering what shit he’s in. He’s also staring at Bill with all his attention, focused on him completely. “Is… what do we...?”

The nice thing about this magic teaching stuff? Is that it’s the one freaking time that the kid pays attention , and follows his orders, and gives Bill something close to the type of devotion he should have, for being someone so amazing. He gives the kid a smile, a genuine one. This kind of thing should be encouraged.

“Well, here’s the thing,” Bill says, sly and smug.

He takes a few steps in, and takes his mortal’s hands in his own. It makes Pine Tree flinch a little, but he allows it, leaving his hands loose and letting Bill manipulate them, turning a little pink. He likes the touching! Bill’s awesome at this, but he’s gotta deal with another thing first.

“If you made this right - and I’m pretty sure you didn’t! It would be like-” And he slaps Pine Tree with one of his own hands, just hard enough to sting. “And if you did a bad job,” He continues, ignoring the way his mortal frowns at him again, irritated, pulling himself away and tucking his arms around himself - Bill pauses. “Well, I’d demonstrate, but there isn’t a freight train around to throw you in front of.”

“Wow, Bill,” Pine Tree says, voice dripping with sarcasm, hunching over and turning slightly away. He’s pissed at that metaphor, but it’s accurate. He’s just a pissy little guy! “I can’t believe you don’t have a dozen more humans! You’re just so fun to be around .”

Bill laughs.

The sass from his mortal is pretty fun!  Basically nobody else ever dares to pull it, and there’s been a couple clever quips, and it’s cute, like a bunch of the rest of him. He reaches out- but hesitates.

He doesn’t actually grab a handful of that butt. But he squeezes at the air just behind it, then rapidly tucks his arms behind his back as the kid slowly turns around, giving him a suspicious stare. Bill gives him an innocent look, but the way Pine Tree seems so annoyed - he knows something’s up, he’s just not sure what.

“What are you doing?” asks Pine Tree, looking Bill over, frowning. He takes a couple of steps away, and when Bill follows - he kicks him, just lightly, on the shin. “You’re trying something, don’t pretend you’re not.”

Bill keeps up the innocent act. “Nothing you know about.” He smiles, and leans in close, watching his human squirm. “What do you think I’m doing?”

“I- uh,” There’s a long, hesitant moment, then his pet glares, still pink. He’s got some idea of what Bill’s been trying, but doesn’t wanna admit it out loud. Or even to himself , the way he’s acting, it’s denial at its best. “You’re a jerk, Bill. And I know you’re up to something,” He flips Bill off, still full of defiance, staring at Bill as if he can see right through him. “You won’t keep any secrets from me.”

It makes Bill laugh again. And Pine Tree fumes again, silent and grumpy.

Like he can’t keep secrets from this idiot! This guy knows nothing about demons, or Bill, or anything, he’s been so poorly taught that it’s amazing that he’s got any theory under his belt. If he didn’t have a decent brain, this whole situation would have been a total shamble.

“Yeah, sure, because you’re great at figuring things out,” Bill says, highly amused. Smart guy, but still really stupid, in some ways. And he's got a tendency for denial.  “l’m not too worried.”

There isn’t a response to that, but - as his mortal turns away again, deliberately, in a huff, trying to look strong, like he doesn’t care about what Bill thinks- It gives Bill a chance to stare at his body again.

That sarcasm, and all the insults, the arguing- and this mortal’s totally oblivious to it. And fine, even that’s giving Bill a bit of a thrill. He’s… egged it on a little. Maybe he’s sort of been a dick, and misled, and it doesn't help his plan, but Pine Tree gets riled up by it and-  He’s so feisty , full of fire and- ah, damn it. His mortal has no idea how much he’s flirting.

Pine Tree’s such a tease !

Bill sighs, feeling a little annoyed with himself. He’s taunting himself even more than he is his human, at this point. He wants more , but...

He decided he’d be careful. Good call, too, pushing for something? Only makes this human push back. Even if the kid is obviously interested, he’s inexperienced, and paranoid. If Bill tries too hard, it’ll ruin everything . Tempting his pet has to go slow, it’s the only way any convincing works on this guy. And then? All that curiosity could be focused in a very entertaining direction.

Just flirting’s best for now. Pine Tree’s already attracted, the rest will follow.

Things can wait. There’s still time.

“Anyway, we’ll take a trip tomorrow. I gotta take a look at the thing,” Bill says, because his pet’s too sulky to argue more - he does get a glance, as Pine Tree turns his head, he’s caught his mortal’s interest again - “The place you cast it’ll be the best view of the chaos.”

“And… then you- well, I can get rid of it. Right?” Pine Tree asks, slow, and interested. His arms drop to his sides, he turns back towards Bill.

Bill shrugs. “Depends. Like I said, I didn’t make it,” And he gives Pine Tree a disappointed face, shaking his head. “And you sure as hell don’t know how you made it, so we’ll have to see what’s up, first.”

Pine Tree just looks at him with annoyance. “Still really hate you,” He mutters, and rubs at his forehead. “Why is this happening?”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have made a curse! Or made it better, if you wanted to not die. ” says Bill, arching an eyebrow. If it’s really poorly made, that’s exactly what’s going to happen to Pine Tree - but maybe he hasn’t messed up that badly.

“It was an accident , and I’m not going to die,” And Pine Tree glares, shoving Bill with one hand. It doesn’t move Bill much, but whenever this mortal’s angry, it’s really cute, it makes him grin, and it only pisses his mortal off more to see it. "You suck."

“C’mon kid, you could always agree to work for me,” He beckons his mortal closer. “It’d make things great, for both of us!” His pet gives him another glare, but Bill shrugs. “I could even play nice!”

He adds a tempting lilt to that, but Pine Tree just looks at him like he’s said that gravity has been reversed, or that he's actually good - like it’s completely impossible. Bill could act nice! He hates doing it, though he’s great at it - but yeah, there’s no point, at this point, not with this human. Never gonna work, Pine Tree’s onto him, and he’s not going to be fooled.

“Stop being a jerk - oh wait!” Pine Tree throws his hands in the air, stalking around in a furious circle - a little fire pops out from the grass wherever he steps. Bill frowns at that slightly. He still has to work on his control. “It’s completely impossible for you to not be one! Because that’s what I’m stuck with now! Just-” He flails, almost making several vulgar gestures and failing, too upset, and frustrated - a little more fire flickers around him - “Infinite jerkness! Forever!”

Bill smiles, but it doesn't last long. He likes the burning, but it’s not a good sign for his pet’s training. He’s getting better, but any time he’s angry - Bill sets his hands on his hips with a frown. Entertaining as it is, it's working against them at the moment.

But it's kinda nice that his mortal’s just as stuck, and upset about it, as Bill is. This isn’t ideal for either of them. The kid might as well have as much of a shit time as Bill is. Even if it does delay the plan to convince him.

“You're such a-” Pine Tree groans, sounding exasperated, shutting his eyes tight, grimacing. There’s a short pause, then - “Does that actually work on people?”

“Does what work?” Bill cocks his head to one side. Interesting question. Without seeing the kid’s feelings, or intent, Bill can’t tell what he’s asking. This bond keeps being intriguing, Bill hates it.

Pine Tree shuts his eyes, running a hand through his hair. “Okay, not trying to be insulting or anything -” He glances over at Bill. “But when you make deals with, um,” He hesitates, looking around, then back- “Summoners, or whatever,” He frowns in confusion. “Do people really fall for that? I know you don’t actually give them stuff, or - or it backfires on them, I don’t- why does anyone do that in the first place? It’s really stupid .”

Bill watches his mortal for a moment, blank-faced.

Unintentionally insulting himself, that’s a little amusing.  They have a deal, just the worst one Bill’s ever been part of. His human has absolutely no idea what he’s gotten himself into, how does this shit even happen ? Bill’s kind of irritated by the question, but-

No, kid’s honestly not trying to insult Bill’s skills - he’s just curious.

Bill considers things, annoyed, and Pine Tree shifts where he stands, starting to look uncomfortable…

Well, he is trying to bring his human closer, and the kid does hate lies... Also, indulging his curiosity couldn’t hurt, and it’s not like the usual dealmaking was going to work on him anyway. Bill guesses there are worse things to do.

“Yeah, it works, most of the time,” Bill says, eventually, and with that answer, Pine Tree moves in closer, and it makes Bill smirk.

For once, his pet's coming close. He's fascinated, lets Bill stand in to stand near him, resting an arm over his shoulders - Yep, this was a good idea, he’s lured him in more!

“You’d be surprised at how shortsighted a lotta mortals are. Or hey, maybe you wouldn’t be,” Bill shrugs. “You’re something of a cynic. But most guys just go ‘hey, neat stuff!’ and go for it, ‘cause they’re too stupid to think about the consequences. Or...” It  makes Bill laugh to himself, amused, it’s always hilarious- “They think they’re fooling me !”

Pine Tree gives him a weird look, but… doesn’t argue, he’s too interested. “Which…  they aren’t?”

Bill rolls his eye. “‘Course not, There’s just some advantages to being underestimated, kid,” He squeezes Pine Tree’s shoulder. “And people think you’re crap, so you’ll see what I mean - Wait’ll you see the looks on their faces! The best part?” He lowers his voice, almost secretive. “Is when they finally realize that they never stood a chance.”

For a brief second, his mortal stares, then he realizes the indirect compliment - and for a moment, there's a smug, interested smile -

Then almost instantly Pine Tree frowns, shrugging Bill’s arm away, taking a couple steps back. “Shut up, you’re being weird again.”

He’s trying to cover his feelings up, and doing a shit job of it, because he’s obviously blushing, pleased . Indulge this human’s curiosity a bit, add a little praise, imply a little power? And bam! He’s instantly more agreeable. Bill grins.

He still can’t sense this mortal’s feelings, and he can’t pretend he’s something he's not... but this is working. All Bill has to do is keep things up. It’s going to take a long time - but eventually he’ll bring Pine Tree around. His pet likes information, and approval, and when he’s being good? Bill can use those on him. The kid wants power, too, and Bill’s got that to offer. Still a long-term project... but not impossible.

Now if he can just keep him alive long enough for this to work.

Chapter Text

Bill slams the door behind himself with more force than necessary, and seethes. He grips the handle tightly.

Fuck Pine Tree.

This form’s organs twisted up during the latest dumb stunt his idiot mortal pulled, and it was awful. Nothing Bill couldn’t deal with, sure.

But it was something he didn’t sense coming. Like always, Bill couldn’t see his mortal’s motives, and this time it messed with him. It almost made Bill trip over himself, struck with unexpected, immediate nausea - And he is really annoyed.

He curses softly, shutting his eye. Fucking frustrating, and horrible, but. Now Bill’s putting things together, a lot of this makes sense -

“Bill?”

The sister’s all dressed up for a date -actually asked Bill for advice, earlier. So what if he gave her some? She’s good at bribes. Now she’s staring at him. A little worry on her face, and there’s some sympathy, how disgusting. Bill’s still pissed, he snarls -

She flinches back in alarm.

The spark of the suspicion she’s had, ever since Bill showed up, rises to a level Bill doesn’t like.

Right, crap, this dumb form doesn’t have normal human teeth - Bill shuts his mouth, and his eye.  

He can hit his human, and be fine. Could even get into a brawl with Stanley Pines - might be fun, actually, Bill bets he could beat the guy in a fistfight - but no matter how pissed off Bill is, he can’t lay a finger on the sister. Pine Tree’d shut down, completely, and Bill would never get him to cooperate.

“Is… something wrong?” Mabel asks, shuffling her dress around herself. She turns to look out the window, then back at Bill.  “C’mon, Bill,” She smiles, weak. “What’s bothering you?” She steps a little closer, looking at him with her smile, hands holding her dress up so she doesn’t step on it. “You helped me out a couple times!”

There’s a brief pause.

Bill  takes in a slow breath - glances over at Mabel - she still looks worried, feels worried - but she’s not feeling afraid, even after noticing more of Bill’s… less than human bits. This gal’s onto him, hasn’t said much. But Bill’s pretty sure why she’s keeping her trap shut.

Gritting his teeth, Bill almost says- he stops. No point, this isn’t something anyone needs to know - but the twin’s starting to get concerned again.

“Your brother’s an asshole.” Bill spits out, and charges away. He deliberately ignores the feel of her sudden empathy behind him while he heads upstairs. He collapses on Pine Tree's bed and slaps himself on the face, frustrated.

This just had to be how things are, didn’t it. This just had to be the worst possible scenario.

The kid’s got a thing for life stuff, it’s horrible. He’s using it awkwardly, too, that makes all that twisting of Bill’s magic feel worse.

It’s interesting, that Pine Tree only just discovered it. He didn’t even know much about illusions, but he’s got those too. Bill already knew his human was uneducated... He almost entirely self-studied, he never did any spells.

It explains everything .

Bill’s human’s good at illusions, and at life, and probably a couple other things, he’s versatile. If someone had worked with him, if Bill’s pet had known more, there’s no way that cautious mortal would have done what he did. He just didn’t know .

Dipper Pines didn’t have a lotta power, so nobody worked with him too hard on casting spells. And the kid knew he didn’t have much to work with, he’s self-aware. So when he tried his initial stunt, making a ‘fake familiar’ back then.... He thought he might not be able to pull it off.

But he’s got enough magic theory behind him to mix it up. Change things. Add stuff. And just unpracticed enough in using magic to not realize how stupid that was.

Pine Tree threw a bunch of theory he knew behind his spell, to make sure his plan’d work despite how weak he was. Somewhere in that weird combo, it hit on a couple of the things he’s not crap at - Wouldn’t have known that either, they’re uncommon abilities -

Then he really went for it. The kid always uses magic way too hard.

That’s why this body’s so well-made, and so confining. Pine Tree made his spell incredibly complex -

- shit, the deal, that somehow got in there, why is this human such a fuckup -

-And used all his magic, while flexing the talents he didn’t know he had. Between that, and the blood illusion -  using a part of his own body - No fucking wonder this thing’s so strong. It’s all about Pine Tree’s life, the guy wrapped his body and his magic up in it completely - and it was going to make a familiar bond -

Damn it. The kid was trying so hard, he wanted to be certain it’d work right, like the paranoid guy he is. He started with a spell that’d make an eggshell-thin little life illusion - and then he changed it up, ignorant,  trying to be really really sure it’d work.

Pine Tree made a freaking bear trap out of his own soul, and Bill slammed a leg down right into that thing, like a chump.

Because there was some magic that tasted nice.

Like bait.

Nobody is ever allowed to know Bill did this.

If Bill hadn’t answered. If he hadn’t shoved himself in this stupid thing. All that extra work his pet did would’ve have been pointless, and the dumb spell woulda slammed shut on its own, complete. But now things are really fucked. A demon - Bill, who regrets this, a lot - got wrapped up in a huge mess of life, without looking .

It’s why it felt so sick, showing up. It’s why he can’t get out, he’s not a guy who works with that kind of magic. It’s why he can’t hurt the kid much, all that life acts like suit of armor against its captive. It’s why Bill’s so fucking stuck here .

Bill lounges on his human’s bed, still feeling gross, and spares a few moments to think of all the ways he really, really hates his human.

Why did his pet have to do something like that. Should have known that was a bad idea, the kid’s ignorant sometimes, but he’s not actually stupid. Pine Tree’s just too eager, and curious. Keeps trying out things even when he’s warned, and when he should know better. Ambitious, experiments with stuff,  and Bill would be happy about that part of his pet, but not when it fucks with him .

Goddamned human. Doesn’t care much about danger, does he? That’s appealing, but - Crap, the kid better be taking the curse problem seriously, at least. Or he’s gonna lose his mind, in the not-fun way.

Bill’s groans in soft frustration, and hits his head against the mattress a few times. If only this ridiculous human would listen, and obey . Bill’s life would be so much easier, he’d have a compliant mortal tool, subject to his whims -

But.

If Pine Tree was an easy thing to control or less curious… If his will was weaker than the tough, unbendable thing it is - he wouldn’t be much use, would he?

The kid would never be able to defend himself against minor threats, or stand up to anything . He’d collapse under the first sign of danger, or not be able to fight off other temptations. If Bill wants to make this awful situation seem intentional, he’s gotta take over despite everything, and Pine Tree’s his ticket to that. It’s annoying, absolutely, but Bill has to use him for something .

There has to be a reason Bill’s involved with him. Just in case word gets out. He’ll come up with something.

Lucky enough… Bill’s pet sucks at stuff now , sure, but he’ll get better. For all that his human’s frustrating, he’s a young one, there’s plenty of time to get him to his true potential, because he’s got decades of life left in him -

This bond still is strange. Bill can’t tell how, or if it’s gonna change that timeframe.

For the current problem, though, Pine Tree should only need another, what, twenty, thirty hours of work? Bill can help that along, it’ll be less if he figures out a way to deflect part of the curse, but more likely Sixer won’t find out what to do about it until Bill’s done training his mortal up. Or maybe the favors he called in will work, and IQ will be dead! That’d be great , and the curse could stick around!

Bill groans again, and rolls over onto his front, letting an arm drop between the bed and the wall. Not gonna happen, this stupid human’s a curse all by himself . Now there’s a thought. Wonder if Pine Tree’s shit luck could be weaponized-

There’s a book down here? Bill feels it under his fingers, grabs, and pulls it up. Examines it, and snorts, amused.

Hey, Trembley! Bill’s met this guy! Silly, and stupid - he had less of a brain and more of a mismatched jumble of thoughts, Bill’s not sure how he even functioned . He settles on his back, flips through the pages.

Oh yeah, that dream! Bill remembers that. Man, back when he wasn’t stuck in this fleshy shell, could still do whatever he liked - yeah, good times.

There’s a series of slow, thumping footsteps, and the door opens. He hears his human storm into the room, and ignores it.

There’s a very quiet, annoyed sound - then Bill’s human starts pacing, feet almost stomping on the ground. Oh no, he’s angry. What a shame. Anger’s a good look on his mortal, Bill likes it. He holds back a smirk.

If he could just get Pine Tree to serve him, do what he tells him to - Kid’s got some wrath , that’s so good! Tough luck, though. That’s not looking likely anytime soon. Bill had thought, hey, a few months! How hard could it be? But he’s seen what his pet’s like, now, he’s got a pretty good picture of him - and, rethinking it -

Okay, maybe a year. A few years. Or. Well.

…Outlook’s not so great at the moment, but Bill can wait! Something’ll come along that’ll give him a shot at turning Pine Tree around.

He flips through the book - yep, he did do that, but yeesh , did that ever come across as way more helpful than he’d intended. That human was just too silly to get messed up by Bill’s advice.

Pine Tree stops pacing, suddenly.

“Was that you?”

“Hm?” Bill hums, pretending like he hasn’t noticed the completely obvious presence of this pissed off little human. “No idea what you’re on about.”

“The guy, in the one dream,” Pine Tree looks at him, tense and still irritated - but curious. He’s seen the book. “That was you, right?”

“Sure was!” Bill says, though he sounds more pleased than he likes. “How’d you guess?”

His human’s read this book before, obviously, but there aren’t a lot of hints. Certainly none about what Bill truly is, but it’s a good inference. Whenever this kid’s clever, it makes Bill less upset about this dumbass bond. Hey, if this kind of life-trap is possible? Bill’s… not entirely furious with who he ended up with.

Could be worse. This entire bonding could be worse.

Bill could be stuck with some frumpy mortal with no sense of adventure - he could have had some naive, shy thing, too cowardly to try new ideas, or defy anyone - or someone dull, someone who couldn’t handle trouble so easily, or cause such mayhem. Someone with no potential, or ambition…

But this one’s fun, usually! Good to look at, and his mind’s very, very nice.

Pine Tree gives him an incredulous look, hesitates - then asks.

“So.. what was that like?”

Bill starts to grin.

He would be interested, he’s always curious. And Bill knows everything, Pine Tree gives him credit for that, even if the kid doesn’t like Bill much. Good idea! Why not tempt him with neat facts, along with everything else?

“Pretty neat times, as I recall. Things were a little less organized, paperwork was more literally made of paper. But yeah, I remember this guy! Fascinating mind he had there. That dream about the fruitcake? Beautiful stuff, never seen its like before! Still brings a tear to my eye.” Bill says, then snickers very quietly, and wipes away an imaginary tear from his face.

This is one of the weirder dreams he’s ever seen, but - he’s seen something way more interesting lately, and Bill’s never seen that thing’s like, ever. Anywhere . And it’s currently glaring at him, adorable in how much it fails to be intimidating.

Bill pages idly through the book - blah, blah, fruitcake - revisiting old times is pleasant, but with the novelty gone, it’s less interesting -

The mattress near his hip sinks under some new weight, and Pine Tree scoots forward, resting near Bill on the bed. Staring at him with an odd look on his face. Huh, that’s strange, Bill’s human rarely comes this close, voluntarily. Kid’s got something on his mind.

Pine Tree settles down, brows drawn together in concentration -  and pokes Bill, just under his eye. Bill squints, and glances at him.

Really wish he could see what this guy was interested in. Or anything. A finger taps his nose - Bill scrunches up his face.

Pine Tree is staring at him with deep interest - what is going on in there? Bill hates that he can’t see it, for the millionth time.

Then his human parts Bill’s lips with a couple of fingers, and Bill snaps at them.

His human jerks away, fast, as he should - though Bill’s not able to take his fingers off, Pine Tree doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know a lot of things. Stupid, stubborn, annoying, stubborn again, worthless - His pet taps his chin, too, but Bill focuses back on his book.

Bill’s still pissed about what this stupid human tried earlier, and while this is irritating… He could shove his pet away - but it’d kick off an argument. Bill’s not in the mood for one just this sec.

Pine Tree may or may not realize it, but man , the flirting . Bickering, countering each other, trading clever insults - It’s a real fun time, and his pet’s good at it too! This tease . And this human loves it almost as much as Bill does. Whenever they go about it, this mortal gets excited, lighting up with enthusiasm, loving the challenge. It’s Pine Tree’s own moron problem if he’s in denial - but aware or not, Bill’s not gonna entertain him right now.

His mortal reaches up again, after a few seconds of hesitation, and looks under his eyepatch -

Bill snickers as he feels Pine Tree let it go with a soft noise. Yeah, didn’t want to see that, did he?

Anyway, back to the book. Bill flips through a few more pages, not really paying attention - there’s a warm hand on his arm - another tracing on his thigh - whatever. Takes effort to stop him, and it’s not like something’s gonna happen. The kid can’t do anything to Bill. If he’s curious about this body he made? He can prod around a bit.

There’s a hand pressing, hard, against his chest, Bill ignores it.

Then feels the mattress dip, again, as Pine Tree settles down, moves closer -

There’s a heavy, warm weight over Bill, and he darts his gaze downwards, just as his human settles his head against his chest, Pine Tree’s arms on either side of him. The kid’s tense, for a moment, then - he relaxes. Bill’s pet is-

Ah, right, kid’s cuddling up to him .

He stares at the messy brown mop of hair, it’s all that he can see without leaning up too far, or shoving his mortal away.

Bill has been trying to bring his pet around to his side, convince him. This little mortal could be so useful, if Bill can persuade him. Guess they’re getting to this part of things. Real shame this body is one of the better methods to bring him round.

Pine Tree’s gonna want to, ugh , cuddle with Bill, he’s going to have to - he shuts his eye, cringing away from the word - hug him. Bill’s gonna corrupt his pet, encourage his best parts until he’s something way better than this ethical idiocy - but this is still gonna happen, because physical contact is such a big deal for humans.

Though, y’know, if Bill concentrates on it -

Pine Tree’s chest is moving slow against him, breathing in and out. Pine Tree’s hands move over the sheets, his body shifts, and while there’s clothing between them he feels pleasantly warm, good against Bill’s skin. Pine Tree’s curious, and creative, and the gentle way he wriggles as he settles to be more comfortable, head resting against Bill’s chest… And his mortal has a decent body, too! Bill’s taken a few looks, kid’s real easy on the eye, and feeling it against him now-

Whatever. This mortal really could be worse.

He’s more than a little interesting. Quick, and clever, he can have good ideas, weird ones too! He can plan . Unintentionally funny too, the moron, and this toy is crazy entertaining to mess with. Best of all, he’s surprising! Humans are predictable, Bill can almost always see what they want -

But never with this one.

Bill can’t tell what his human’s going to do at any given moment, he’s always gotta be watching for the next move. It’s infuriating, and fascinating. It’s not just because he can’t see the mind, either. Dipper Pines gets himself involved in some weird, unpredictable shit, like their deal, the curse - kid’s going to get into more later, Bill’s certain of that. Pine Tree’s an awesome, difficult puzzle, all the time!

Cuddling, for fuck’s sake. Not happy he got backed into this corner.

Not a great position they’re in, either. Bill can see how this could be improved, feel a little better. Shift this guy around into something more comfortable, for both of ‘em.

With most anyone, this would be intolerable. Pine Tree’s... Eh, with this human-

Actually... this could be pretty nic-

Bill drops his book, eye wide.

It tumbles off the side of the bed, and his human straightens up, pulling away, face pink with embarrassment -

Something just made this form’s chest throb inside, there hasn’t been anything like that before - and it felt fucking awful .

Shit, is this dumb body collapsing? It shouldn’t fail until his human dies! Weird as this bond is, that makes even less sense! They’re staring at each other, and Bill really goddamned should have read over this dumb contract before he shook on it.

The hell was that?

Pine Tree breaks the stare, sitting upright, and his eyes drag over Bill’s body. In a flat second, his pet shoves up Bill’s shirt - Bill raises his arms, lets him -

A hand runs up Bill’s chest, smooth and admiring. Pine Tree’s expression is intense, a tiny smile on his face as he touches, focusing entirely on Bill, and the touch on his skin feels really good. It’s a slow, hot slide, deeply enjoyable, it makes Bill shut his eye and lean back.

Then Pine Tree’s thumb rubs, slow and hard, over one of this body’s nipples - it sends a pleasurable jolt through him - and he does again, that’s good - Bill huffs out a little breath. This is sending shudders of sensation through him, he won’t mind if this keeps going -

Pine Tree strokes his hand down, slow - it slides down Bill’s stomach, the hand rests just above Bill’s - and his pet’s expression is anticipatory, someone just about to have a great time - then his face freezes into something stunned, and his hand pauses.

His mortal looks up at Bill, and his eyes are wide, mouth moving just a little - not quite licking his lip, focused on something else, and that expression, filled with deep, aroused interest, and hesitation -

Things have picked up, fast. Wow, Pine Tree really does have some fire, he’s doing this and they’ve only touched lips once.

Bill knew this would feel good, when they got around to it, though this is already even better than he thought it’d be, and they haven’t done much. Being cautious, and careful, taking things only to the level of hand holding? Hell, Bill didn’t do that right, because the second his human got a glimpse of skin, he wants it, his human’s breathing has picked up -

Pine Tree’s so close to just climbing on top of Bill, he’s already leaned forward, unconsciously - thoughts dart around, somewhere in that head, but Bill knows exactly what he’s thinking, for once.

Bill was planning to wait. Hold back, reserve this for when his pet was more compliant - you know, like a reward, for being good! It’d be fun, without any risk of this coming back to bite him, because his human would already be under control. His pet’s totally inexperienced. The minute Bill takes him, he’ll owe him something. While his pet’s still fighting, it’s not a good idea - not much of a risk, either, he’s ignorant - but Pine Tree could learn about it, he’s quick enough that Bill has to be cautious.

This insolent little bastard - damn it, there’s a hot young thing staring at him with lust, who’s cute, who’s finally following through on all his teasing, who’d be chased off more if Bill declined, Pine Tree’s a nervous little guy -

Bill’d be an idiot to refuse - he’s having trouble doing that, anyway - and he’d be an idiot to give his pet anything on him. Which choice is worse.

He’ll… let the kid make the call. Pine Tree will go for it, or he won’t. Whatever happens, Bill’s got this! He can roll with things.

The hand on him scrapes nails over his stomach - the slight pain, the pressure - Bill grunts, arching into it, this physical stuff is too damned good - this human’s -

Fine, he’s attractive, in a lot of ways, and Bill wants to break that mind, and maybe he can’t do it directly - but he could shatter it, briefly, into pieces, see that face caught up in mindless pleasure for a few moments - why the hell is this stupid, awful, stubborn jackass so interesting, it’s starting to piss Bill off.

His pet’s hand slides down - the button of his pants open, the hot little fingers slide underneath -

Okay. Going for it. Bill shuts his eye, and groans softly.

He doesn’t have to take everything just yet, he’ll, uh - that hand is warm, this form is too responsive, fuck - Fine.

Just take care of his pet, first, then finish himself off, Bill won’t go too far. There’s nothing Pine Tree can do that won’t be fumbling, or awkward, Bill can resist. Kid’s probably terrible at this anyway, Bill would only be disappointed by his performance.

...

This?

Ends up being fun .

Doesn’t take too long before he has his pet shuddering in his arms, making sounds he can’t quite control.

It’s amusing, and arousing - he tries not to think about the second part - but Bill’s awesome at this, like he is at everything. But the way this human’s moving, warm, that skin against this body - those soft noises of pleasure - damn it, it’s very hard not to just-

Pine Tree blurts something out. “Fuck me.”

Bill stops, breath heaving in his chest, staring up at his mortal. Did he just-

“You want to, don’t you? Because I want it,” Pine Tree’s panting, gripping Bill’s shoulders. His expression is tense, wracked with pleasure, he’s flushed, and he’s shivering, - his tongue darts out, briefly, over his lower lip, and he gasps out some more words. “ Please . I want it.”

Bill hesitates, surprised.

He’s begging for it.

Every second that passes, his human’s face twists up a little more in need - Pine Tree lets out a small eager sound, staring at him, he’s desperate for Bill to be inside him-

Bill could resist anything his mortal could do -

Except for that .

This awful, tempting - fuck it, Bill caves in, like a sucker - he fumbles for the lube again, cursing, feeling hot, and surprised, and he’s going to take this stupid human, maybe he can’t give him nightmares, but Bill can make him scream .

He’s beginning to think the kid’s infectious , because fuck, now Bill’s having bad ideas, too.

Chapter Text

Pine Tree just couldn’t wait, could he? Impatient little bastard. He’s warm under Bill’s hands. Bill holds his human against the wall, head lowered, and thinks.

His toy’s usually so good at picking up hints! Bill didn’t want to say too much with the twin around, but he ended up being too subtle for once. There’s got to be some other way to - Bill needs time.

“Right. Get your dumb ass back in there, and go distract your uncle.” Bill says.

Pine Tree stares at him, and he straightens up a little. “Why don’t you distract him?” he asks, looking a little angry, but at least how much shit he’s in seems to have finally sunk home. “You’re the ‘charming’ one, after all.”

Bill lifts his head and cringes, briefly. “Listen, sapling, me and IQ in there-” He hesitates.

Not gonna tell the kid his history with that Pines - he’ll react badly. Bill’s not in a good position here. He might not be able to do much, but he’s still all demon, and Stanford Pines isn’t a total idiot, he knows what Bill’s magic is like. If he catches on-

“I gotta get going again,” Bill says, still quietly, he squeezes his mortal’s shoulders. Won’t be good to attract too much attention. “You’ve made one hell of a problem for me. I don’t wanna risk things. Not just yet.”

Damn it, it could have been so good!

Bill’s glad to have figured it out before he took the leap, good thing Pine Tree pointed it out, but he’s furious that this is what he’s stuck with. This stupid, illusionary body. It’s tied to Pine Tree’s life, and it’s not going away until the kid’s gone. Having a braindead mortal would be way better than doing nothing, with a body that won’t let him go anywhere because it’s dead.

Facing Sixer’d be - yeah, a little risky. Bill hates to give him any credit, the guy’s a moron - but he could win. Might go either way, so Bill won’t start anything yet, he’ll just keep an eye out for a good opportunity. Something that’ll look like an accident.

If things were different, Bill might try anyway…

But there’s Pine Tree.

His pet knows him too damned well, and he’s quick with ideas, doesn’t fear Bill anymore - and while Bill could cut him off - he can’t take the kid out. If Pine Tree gets involved… he might not be able to harm Bill, but in return, Bill can’t tell what his next move is, ever.

His pet takes Ford’s side in a fight? Those two work together? Amps things up to something Bill doesn’t like the look of. He’s staying outta this whole mess ‘til the uncle’s gone.

“What’s going on here?” asks Ford. Both Bill and his human freeze in place.

This stupid mortal has the shittiest luck, and now it’s affecting Bill as well. Ah, great. There’s Sixer, full of mild suspicion. And… slowly growing aggression.

He’s standing a few yards away, frowning. “What. Are you doing?” he demands, glaring, and there’s a hand reaching up for the weapons Bill - if he ever could have predicted this bullshit situation - would never have taught that asshole how to make.

Bill tightens his hands on his human’s shoulders, eye narrowing, staring straight through him. Pine Tree looks back at him, confused, a little nervous now.

He has no idea what the hell he’s just dragged Bill into. And now Bill hasn’t even had time to prepare something. Again.

Well. How’s this going to play out?

Bill lets a little flame flicker over a hand - Pine Tree feels it, his eyes widen - maybe light the kid on fire first, won’t harm him, chuck him at his uncle as a distraction - Bill wishes he’d had more notice! This is going to set back his plan for a long, long time, murdering some of his human’s family isn’t going to make him want to work for him-

Poindexter speaks again, careful and controlled. “Excuse me. But you should let go of Dipper. Now,” His hand taps on his thigh, close to his weapons.

Bill can feel how close he’s getting to making a move, and the kid looks too shocked to join in, at least for a few seconds-

So, Bill’s gonna move befor-

Pine Tree wraps his hands up around Bill and yanks him forward, pulling him into an embrace. He’s kissed, hard, and a tongue flicks over his lips, Pine Tree’s holding him close, pressed against him like a lover -

What the hell?

Bill makes a noise, but Pine Tree keeps holding him in, mouth against his own - Bill’s hands drop to his human’s waist, gripping him tightly. After a second, his pet pushes him back a little, and draws himself away from the wall, scraping splinters from the wood out of the back of his shirt.

Bill stares at him in confusion, leaving his hands resting where they were. That was nice, he’s not complaining, but what the hell?

“Um, hey.” Pine Tree looks up at his uncle, who’s watching them with concern, hand still hovering near his side. “Everything’s cool. I have a boyfriend,” He blurts, awkward, and waves at Bill a little. He’s blushing again.

All suspicion and impending violence completely vanishes from Sixer, replaced by- feeling mildly awkward. Bill blinks.

“Oh. Oh!” Ford says, visibly relaxing. The hand near his hip drops to his side. “Yes, I see. That’s fine.” Out of the corner of his eye he can see Sixer looking him over closely, evaluating him - then he speaks.

“Who are you?”

Bill startles, confused - but, wait.

Right, he wouldn’t recognize Bill like this. For all that this body’s a good metaphor for him - it’s not exactly close to what this guy’s seen. And Pine Tree just did precisely the right thing.

Even if Stanford does see a bunch of stuff close to Bill’s energy nearby, even if Bill isn’t quite a perfect human shape - Ford’s not gonna wanna see, or think of his nephew getting involved with a demon - the idea of Pine Tree making out with one is beyond the pale. It even fits with their cover story! He’s just been handed an amazing coverup, and-

Bill stares at his human, who’s looking at him a little nervously, fidgeting in place. Kid came up with something fast, the clever little idiot - but it’s surprising. He knows Bill’s a demon, his uncle hunts those -

He should’ve tattled.

Maybe these two could have, together, taken out this body and trapped him - But for some reason, even though Pine Tree won’t cooperate in the slightest with the best ideas, hates him more than a little -

His human wants him around.

Sure, there’s a reason, some motive - Pine Tree’s got something cooking in that mind, he can see that much - and Bill’s entirely fine with that. This only helps him out in the long run. If he’s got value to the kid, he’s making progress! Pine Tree’s starting to like him.

That thing in his chest happened again. Not sure where that weirdness keeps coming from, this is at least the third time - well, whatever, it feels less awful now, he’ll put up with it.

Ford gives Bill a thorough look over, eyes narrowing. “We haven’t met, I believe. I’m Stanford Pines. Dipper’s great uncle. Call me Ford.”

Bill looks at Ford for a long moment. Haven’t met, huh, like Fordsy here hasn’t worked with Bill for years, though by human standards, that was a while ago -

Then he smiles, close-mouthed. Covered up or not, no reason to give the guy any hints.

“Have we not? Dipper’s gone on and on about you. Ford,” Bill’s slowly growing pleased, this old bastard can’t see what’s right in front of him! His human sighs, long, and exasperated - “I feel like I already know you by this point! Name’s Bill, by the way.”

Boy, does he ever know this guy already. And Ford’s totally not going to know, or get too suspicious, because he never asked Bill’s first name! Inside, Bill’s laughing to himself. This could be fun. Nostalgic, really, it’s just like old times!

Ford frowns for a second at Bill, then shrugs, dismissively. He reaches out a hand to shake, and hey, can’t turn that down without looking bad. Bill walks over, and takes his hand - though he wants to crush it, he shakes it normally.

“Well. It’s good to meet you.” Ford casts a glance at Bill’s pet - Then he leans in closer. His voice drops to a low, quiet tone.

“Maybe you’re alright, maybe you’re not, but…” The geezer mutters as he shakes Bill’s hand, hard, grip tight. “If you ever hurt my nephew? I will destroy you.”

Bill’s immortal! He can’t be kept away, not forever. It’s amusing… But that’s not an idle threat. There’s protective, deadly intent. This old fart is leveling the single most threatening look at Bill that he’s ever seen from Stanford Pines. If Bill had started that kiss, he might’ve looked like an assaulter, and he wouldn’t be surprised if he was murdered on the spot, just for a simple mouth press.

Someone’s very fond of their grand nephew. Killing Pine Tree - if he could kill Pine Tree - would’ve been the best vengeance. What a pity. It’d be great, dissecting the kid in front of this guy, showing off his - but - Bill can’t, and, well. Pine Tree's too useful, in any case.

“Trust me,” Bill says, at a normal volume, smug. “That’ll never happen.” For one, Sixer could never destroy him, and as for the kid - Bill needs his human intact, and healthy, for him to be of any use. He’s only going to corrupt his mortal, not mutilate him.

Nearby, Bill’s pet clears his throat. “Um. So. Uh. Great.” He sounds a little awkward, but he’s seen his plan work, and there’s a little relief. Yeah, Bill’s going with this, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

Ford grimaces for an instant, but it fades rapidly. “Yes, alright. So you’re…” He gestures vaguely between Bill and his human, looking a little-

Bill checks. Mild confusion, some skepticism. His human form is damned attractive, and he knows Pine Tree’s never had much luck in love, he’d never been touched. Until last night.

He laughs warmly. “Yep! See your nephew there? He’s mine,” Bill says, smiling wider, but not enough to show his inhuman traits. “ Forever.”

Bill owns Pine Tree. Being stuck here is an awful situation - but it could be so much worse.  He’s got a pet, a toy, a plaything - and he’s snagged his human into his arms, and taken him. Convincing him to join Bill will take a while - but in the meantime, he’s got an attractive young mortal, who’ll jump into bed with him, eagerly, and the smart little thing struggles and argues like a champ. He’s entertaining as hell.

It’s a pretty fun time, having this human. Shame he doesn’t like Bill’s best plans. Frustrating, sure, but he’s still got potential. When he gives in? Everything will pay off.

Ford gives that another look, then sighs and shrugs. “Alright. Well, Dipper, we should get going,” Ford turns to look at his nephew, smiling wider, dismissing Bill entirely. While he’s not looking, Bill glares, and he wipes off his handshaking hand on his pants. He flips Sixer off behind his back.

“I think everything’s about ready to check this spell out. Shouldn’t be too difficult,” Ford looks very satisfied. “Break this thing in no time. Give that monster one hell of a hit in return.”

‘Monster’. Bill would be thrilled if that were more accurate. Too bad, the kid’s vengeful, has wrath, but too many morals. But Sixer’s intent on death with this backlash, and Bill still hasn’t come up with anything to stop it. Maybe he should attack anyway, with that back turned towards him, it’s-

Pine Tree smiles, weakly, tense as hell. “Sure.”

What, he’s agreeing ? He should lead his uncle on, for hell’s sake! Bill’s seen his human be smart, what does he think he’s doing? Pine Tree knows how bad things are now, he should distract, deflect -

“Wait,” Pine Tree blurts, and sprints forward towards him. “Can Bill come too?” He moves in close. Bill’s hand gets grabbed, tight and almost painfully - what? He turns to look at his pet, surprised.

“He’s interested in this stuff,” Pine Tree continues, then turns his head slowly towards Bill, looking at him with something not quite a glare. “Aren’t you, Bill.” The tone of the kid’s voice is prompting, intense, and Bill’s-

He has no idea what’s going on. It’s interesting! But very, very weird. Being blindsided is new to him. Pine Tree keeps looking at him, and jerks his head sharply towards his uncle, insistent.

“Hm?” Ford looks at Bill with renewed interest. “Thinking of taking up this type of work, are you?”

“Oh, well,” Bill glances at his pet again.

Everything about his posture and face screams ‘go along with this already’, it’s as loud as if he was shouting in Bill’s ear. This is his mortal’s mind on the line, he knows as much, how close he is to death. The smart choice would be to come clean, say everything -

But he’s covering for Bill.

Pine Tree is looking at him, firm and absolutely certain. Whatever plan he’s come up with, it’s made him both oddly calm, and very proud. Bill’s seen this look on his mortal before, when he had his last good idea, and his pet was right that time…

Fine.

If his mortal’s this into things, even when he’s got a ton at stake? Bill can play along.

Bill smiles, flatteringly, turning to look at Stanford.

“Not looking into it as a career - little dangerous for my tastes - But if I understand the theory right, you’ll… try a  chain reaction? It’s the simplest to pull off, and it looked like a shockwave pattern,” Bill gives Sixer an admiring look, and shrugs. “I am interested in the concepts, but not in the practice. I leave that to genius experts like yourself.” Bill finishes, putting gentle respect in his tone.

Compliments always got to this guy. Unlike this smaller mortal, who sees them for the lies they are.

Ford starts looking at Bill with deeper interest. “Yes, I was thinking of that. If it’s connected enough. You’re quite right.” He gives Bill a wry grin. He thinks for a moment, then looks at Pine Tree briefly, giving him a nod.

His human smiles, but shifts around uncomfortably. Bill squeezes his hand, and smirks a little. Already got approval - flattery always works like a charm! Ha! So easy to fool.

Ford thinks for another moment, then shrugs. “Sure, why not join us? You’ll get to see some of the practice, with none of the risk. Let’s head to the car.” He starts walking off, looking distracted, muttering to himself a little.

“Great! We’ll get going.” Pine Tree chimes in, dragging along Bill by the hand to follow.

Bill looks at his pet, raising an eyebrow. What the hell is going on? This had better be good.

His pet glances at him, then rolls his eyes as they walk behind his uncle. He lifts their joined hands, and makes a few quick gestures - something something magic, connection -

This quiet conversation would be easier if he could see this stupid brain. Bill checks - damn it, still locked off - then hits his pet out of frustration, but not hard. Pine Tree glares, elbows him in the ribs. Bill sticks his tongue out, points between the two of them. Yes, there’s a magic connection between them, so what? What’s he getting at?

It takes a bit, but it’s an almost silent discussion. As soon as the idea gets across, Bill glares around. Makes a lot of sense, can’t believe he didn’t think- This mortal’s so annoying.

Clever, though.

“So can you?” Pine Tree whispers, while his uncle’s briefly distracted. Bill glares - this bond’s super weird, he knew he could move their magic one way, but the other way? …Yeah, it should work.

“…Yes. I would’ve thought of that. Eventually.” He nudges his pet in the side, but without much force behind it. “It’s… icky, though.” Urgh, it’s going to feel all sticky and flickering - and it’s not great for Pine Tree, who’s gonna be right in the middle of things. Conduit as he is, this isn’t gonna be pleasant. “And this still is going to suck for you. Like, a lot.”

“Deal with it. I can.” Pine Tree mutters, and squeezes Bill’s hand painfully hard.

The kid’s got guts, true! He can probably take it. And he’ll live, he’s not taking his uncle’s side, not yet - he’s starting to like his master, like he should! And he keeps being surprising, and fun!

Another chest throb.

This needs to stop happening - might be tied to the kid’s spell, somehow? Gotta look into that later.

“You know. I could always shove you off a cliff or something. It’d be simple.” says Bill, contemplatively. Maybe shouldn’t’ve said that, now the kid’s going to be wary - but whatever, he wasn’t entirely serious. He returns the hand squeeze. “My life would be a whole lot easier if you weren’t interesting. ”

“Feeling’s mutual,” replies his mortal, and Bill smirks. He is interesting! Glad Pine Tree’s finally admitting it.

This should work, and for a brief, bright moment, Bill actually feels a little pleased. His mortal’s pretty good, and this? Will go well.


 

Things work out less than well.

How stupid is this human, he came up with this, he should have known-

Bill lets the smile on his face vanish as Ford turns his back, and shoves his mortal away from him. There’s some stumbling, and his human stands upright, though he wavers a little in place - Bill steadies him with one arm.

Okay, good, Pine Tree didn’t collapse, again , not a bad sign- But that was a metric fuckton of magic and thought that just slammed right into both of them. Bill’s surrounded by a disgusting, buzzing lump of backlash. It’s all sticky, and he’s mind-blind ‘till it fades.

Ugh, knew this would be icky.

“Sapling,” Bill‘s pissed right the hell off , how could his human make such a rookie mistake? He knew not to get involved! He leans in close, but he speaks quietly. Don’t wanna get Ford’s attention. “I told you how this would work! What the fuck did you think you were doing? You just collapsed, moron! He’s going to figure it out! How huge of a dumbass are you, you worthless, pathetic fleshbag?”

Dipper stares at Bill, and his face is expressionless. Still can’t read anything off him, and the kid’s way too calm, too- Shit, he was hit, sure, Bill knew that. But.

How bad is it?

Running through their life bond doesn’t help! Bill can’t even tell if there is something in there, not at the moment. Before, he’d at least been able to tell there was a mind! But all he can see is… static, there’s nothing coherent.

Bill waits for a few moments, tapping a foot on the ground impatiently. What, no response? Pine Tree has to have - he better not have - Bill makes a motion towards himself waiting for a reply, expectant. C’mon, he should say something , there’s-

There’s usually a reply. When Bill insults him like that.

Shit, that was a ton of magic, Pine Tree might’ve caught too much - but he can’t have concentrated on the cursebreak that hard. Waiting gets Bill nothing, not even a glance at his face. He feels himself get more and more tense, this isn’t looking good.

Pine Tree should say something already!

Damn it - he can’t see - he grabs his human by the chin, turns his head from side to side - gotta be someone in there, Pine Tree can’t have- His pet’s eyes don’t even focus, his head turns easily in Bill’s grip - There’s nothing . No response, no motion, the kid can barely hold himself upright.

Pine Tree stares as Bill moves him around, eyes blank, and empty. He doesn’t even track Bill, just zeros in straight ahead of himself. He doesn’t look around, he barely blinks.

No focus in him. No curiosity. No emotion, no fire.

Shit.

Bill swears quietly, glancing over at the retreating form of Ford, then back at his human. He reaches up and uses two fingers to flip those dead eyes shut, he doesn’t want to look at them. At least the kid’s easy to handle when Bill picks him up, cursing to himself. No real option but to follow the uncle, he catches up to Stanford.

“So that was interesting,” Bill says, and adjusts his human’s weight in his arms. He tries to keep the tension out of his tone.

Ford chuckles a little, shaking his head slightly. “No doubt  about it. That was one of the strangest curses I’ve ever seen,” says Sixer, eyes narrowing. “I can’t imagine what could have caused it.” He taps a finger on his chin. “Well,  maybe-”

Bill could attack. It’s tempting.

But this body’s going to still be here if Bill loses, and with all these freaking limits... he might - This horrific body, if he was just in his real form, he could do anything , but not while he’s in this life-trap. This could, amazingly, still get worse - and… he follows Sixer, absentmindedly complimenting his entirely wrong theories about what caused the curse.

Bill’s too distracted to start anything, anyway. The entire time they walk, the human in his arms is silent, limp, and unresisting. It consumes most of Bill’s attention.

Where’s that goddamned mind of his? He was hit, but it should be starting to come back. Bill’s got backlash too, but it’s just annoyingly buzzy. For a human, it’s devastating . The more he caught, the longer it’ll last, and every second it’s beating at at Pine Tree’s brain, he’s got less of a chance, he’s not even going to have one if he hasn’t already-

He jostles his mortal a little, but nothing happens.

Damn it.

Pine Tree needs to start reacting . This was such a sloppy fucking curse, and with Sixer’s dumb, violent blow - this is rapidly reaching the point where it’s not possible for any mortal to hold up against the siege of thought. Bill shakes his mortal a little, bounces him in his arms, his jaw clenches -

C’mon, this human should act, he should protest , at the very least he should be moving a little . Prodding usually gets him going, antagonism, maybe a bit of that.

Shutting his eye tight, Bill squeezes his human, hard, and he can’t break Pine Tree’s ribs - the kid’s too protected - but he gives it a shot. And when the human’s breathing shorts a little, there’s not even a cough. No sign of pain, and Bill knows he’s causing at least some .  Not working, Bill loosens up his grip.

If Pine Tree’s still there, he should be doing something by now. Bill’s mortal always struggles, and being carried around would embarrass him! He’d hate it! He’d push, and shove, and wrestle, demand that Bill put him down, curse him out and insult him. If the kid was in there, he’d be fighting - or at least twitching , where is this guy?

But even when Bill shifts him around, nudges him - there’s nothing. Just a limp, warm weight in his arms. Breathing, physically alive. But still, and silent. Unresisting. All his fight wiped out of him, as well as…  

Everything else.

It’s been too long.

It’s been too long for about a minute, but Bill - he clenches his arms around his human again, gets nothing. Stanford Pines was aiming for a killing blow, though he didn’t know the creator of the curse.

He couldn’t’ve known the creator, because Pine Tree was covering for Bill. Pine Tree was trying to keep Bill around, wanted him around, even for more than the cursebreak, Bill could tell, and…

Dipper Pines-

“Well, guess we should be heading back, then!” Sixer, with his horrible, pleased smile. Unaware, as always, this oblivious fucker - the murderer holds the back door to the car open. “Dipper can relax back here for a while.”

Dipper Pines is dead.

“Sure, sounds good to me!” Bill says, putting cheerfulness in his tone, and he smiles charmingly at this stupid jackass mortal-murdering uncle, who Bill’s going to find out a way to destroy that is ten times worse than all the ways he’d ever thought of before.

The body gets shoved, rudely, into the back of the car, and Stanford Pines has just broken BIll’s human. That was his , and it’s been taken away. He was something unique, and fun, and Bill’s never gonna see it again.

His human’s not there anymore .

Goddamnit .

Sixer thwarted him before, it’s revengeworthy, but y’know, that was sorta fair! Most humans would try , this one just succeeded. But for this ?

Oh, for this.

Bill’s taking out Ford’s brother, first. Let him lose something, see how he likes it. Shooting Star, maybe Bill will give her a pass - if she doesn’t interfere. Not much of a threat, in any case.

And before Sixer dies? He’ll learn exactly what he did to Bill’s favorite toy, because he’s not gonna be happy about it either.

He glances over as they travel - shit, its eyes have opened, it’s still got some basic functions - Bill grins falsely, and keeps talking.

By the time they get back, Bill’s brewed up a couple of plans - and he starts a little, as the body stumbles out of the backseat, staggering, and unbalanced. Still working in very simple ways, that’s worse than a comatose mortal! It’s gonna give the game away, and Bill needs the element of surprise.

He grins at Sixer. “Aw, look at how tired he is! I’ll bring him upstairs. My sweetie’s just tuckered out.” He takes it by the shoulders, and pushes the body ahead of him, heading inside.

Shooting Star is there to greet them at the door, smiling and waving. Though as they approach, her happiness starts to fade. “Hey guys, I- uh,” She’s looking at them, strangely. Damn. She’s noticed - “Is something wrong? Dipper?”

It makes a sound like ‘umblg’. It’s working on automatic - responding to the twin, that’d trigger reactions - Bill claps a hand over its mouth.

“What’s up, Shooting Star? Been one hell of a day, for everyone,” Bill says cheerfully, though he tenses up. “Listen, I’m gonna-” He hesitates.

Mabel’s not fooled, and it looks like she’s getting a little upset. She could set something off, if she starts blabbing about this-

“I’ll fix it.” says Bill, more seriously.

There is absolutely no way to fix this, and he’s gotta find a plan, fast, without making too many people suspicious.

Mabel looks Bill over, and speaks, worried and careful. “Okay?”

“Yep! Nothing’s wrong and everything will be fine .” Bill says, through gritted teeth, pushing this brainless meatbag along again. “See you in a bit!”

Once they reach the room, Bill hauls this useless body up, tosses it on the bed, then stalks around in a circle, groaning.

Why did this have to happen? Why does nothing go right, this stupid spell is the worst , he should’ve ignored it, and now -

“You. Absolute. Dumbass. You knew what the theory was! I made it work, it would have worked !” Bill growls. He makes a frustrated noise, slamming his fist against a wall. “Then you go and ruin it by being an analytic mortal idiot, just like you ruin everything . What were you thinking ?”

He looks over at his mortal. Or rather, the shell of his mortal, limp. It still stares at him, emptily.

Bill’s shoulders slump. “Well, you won’t be doing any more thinking.” He mutters, bitter.

Once there was something interesting, and smart, and fun in that head. Always entertaining. But that’s been washed away, in the tide of a thousand minds. On Bill’s own magic, even, it-

He sits down on the floor, next to the bed. He can’t bring himself to get too near it. It’s still breathing, with that stupid hideously blank look on its face - With nobody inside that heap of meat, it’s just gross . He doesn’t wanna touch it any more than necessary.

“Oh, yeah, just answer the summon, Bill! Don’t look too hard at it . There’s no possible way one of those could ever backfire on you.” Bill slaps himself on the forehead, groaning. “No Mindscape. No magic. Freakin’ Sixer’s around,” He drops his head forward, heaving a disgusted sigh.

This sucks .

No way back to his realm. No way to do anything but burn things, which would be okay if he wasn’t Bill Cipher , and if anyone figures out this is him , that he’s been trapped like this - goddamnit. Shouldn’t have done this, should’ve killed Stanford before he broke the curse. It’s less likely now, but this body could still be taken out, and then things would be even worse. And Sixer winning is only less likely because -

“No mortal, either, and this one was fun,” Bill mutters, and slumps even more.

Bill’s worked with worse mortal material than a Pines, he’ll admit. Sixer and Pine Tree are two of the smartest mortals Bill’s met. Maybe the kid was even smarter than his uncle. Bill never got in there to tell.

Sure, he worked with Stanford for years. Seemed like a good target at the time. But that one was only occasionally interesting. Too blind, too convincible. Total sucker, if you knew how  to handle him. He had his moments, alright, but overall he’s a rambling, oblivious dork. He wouldn’t have caught onto Bill if he hadn’t entirely tripped over it.

But Dipper Pines…

He found out things so fast, and he caused so much fantastic trouble! Even without any cooperation with Bill’s plans, and all the bullshit Bill had to put up with - he was never, ever boring. What other mortal could’ve been that? What other mortal has been that? Because Bill sure as hell can’t think of one. And the kid was starting to like Bill, trust him a little. He was ambitious, he was clever, a fighter - and with the power Bill could have lent him  -

That had so muc h possibility, think of all the things they could have done ! All the plans the kid could have come up with, what they could’ve pulled off -

And then Bill put too much ridiculous trust in his stupid human’s stupid idea, and Pine Tree failed him. Pine Tree always overanalyzed. Even though his idea was solid, it never would’ve worked.

And now the kid’s dead.

No more fun insults, or arguments. He can’t taunt his little mortal, and see his face twist up in rage. Fuck, and the way Pine Tree sat on top of him, that body on his -

He’s missing out ! Even if Pine Tree fought him on everything else, his human loved sex, he’d cooperate with that ! Maybe Bill wouldn’t get the world right away, but in the meantime he’d’ve sure as hell gotten laid!

“Ugh, and there was so much body stuff we could’ve tried!” Bill claps his hands over his head. Kid was hot, a little firebrand - and that’s gone too.

“Damn it, Bill, what’s wrong with you?”

There’s anger, in that loud voice - Bill’s head shoots up, turning to look, eye wide, at his mortal.

His pet’s head is turned towards him, still lying there, limp - but his eyes are moving. There’s more focus in them.

Is he-?

Bill stands up, fast, and a little awkwardly, moving in. He darts his eye over this mortal.

“Okay, that had better not have been some kind of automatic response, ‘cause I know I annoy you enough for it to be one. I’m not interested something that can’t think ,” He pokes his pet on the cheek, and the slight leaning away -

Yes! There’s something there, not sure how much - He glares. “You’d better be in there, Pine Tree, or I’ll find some way to get back at ya.” Going to find some way to kill this mortal, rather than be stuck here, but maybe…

Pine Tree gives him the weakest dirty look Bill’s ever seen from him, and he blinks, slowly. “Yes,” He says, awkward, and he’s looking directly at Bill, somewhat angry.

Bill’s eye widens. That’s not someone else’s thought coming from that mouth. That tone, that’s definitely Pine Tree -

The human’s face is contorted, he blinks a few times - there’s still a ton of random crap bouncing around in that head, but something’s there.

Pine Tree keeps talking, face scrunching up in concentration. “I’ll…” He tries to sit up, fails, lies back down - “That’s… You …” He tries to raise an arm, but it drops before it can point at Bill too accusingly. With each word, Pine Tree gets a little clearer, and a little more grumpy, and more coherent.

Bill watches in disbelief, stunned. There’s the struggling he was looking for! It’s looking like-

“Bill? I hate you.” says Pine Tree, eventually, and he smacks himself on the side of the head, and glares. “This was terrible. And you suck.” He adds, shutting his eyes, and rubbing them briefly.

Bill stares for a while longer. Static’s going away, for both of ‘em - it takes effort, but Bill checks.

Though the backlash’s been in him for one hell of a long time - the kid’s mind is still there.

He shouldn’t be able to complete a sentence , it should’ve shaken whatever brains he had out of him, if it paralyzed him that bad, for that long. But he’s alive, he’s recovering, and really damned fast, at that.

The kid’s got more guts than is reasonable for any mortal to have, this shoulda been impossible.

But it means Bill gets to keep him.

He’s grinning way harder than he should be.

“Neat, you’re more resilient than I gave you credit for,” says Bill, and resists the urge to kiss his stupid mortal on the mouth - That pulse in Bill’s torso happened again, it’s getting worse, it’s awful, fuck that thing - he pats Pine Tree on the chest instead. There’s still business to deal with.

Bill frowns. “Think you can talk to your family? Your uncle’s got a blind spot a mile wide, but your sister… might’ve noticed something’s off. Gotta do damage control.”

It takes a second, but then Pine Tree shakes his head carefully. “No. You handle it.”

Bill rolls his eye, but sighs. “You don’t ask for much, do you. Already bought some space, but I can buy some time for you, too. I’m just that great.”

“Mm,” It’s a sound of agreement.

Bill turns to his human, feeling oddly disappointed. “What, no insult?” He looks him over.

Pine Tree’s lying there, still limp, eyes closed, face pale. Occasionally wincing in pain. Bill feels great ! But, hey, he’s not human, and this body’s not real. Pine Tree… hm. Didn’t even say ‘no you aren’t’. He just…

…kid’s feeling pretty rough.

Bill takes a slow breath, and nods, serious. “Yeah. Okay. You’re not up to speed yet. I’ll handle things,” He gets up. “Stay here.“ He walks off, but pauses in the doorway, looking over his shoulder. “And try not to cause any more life-threatening accidents, even though you love ‘em so much.”

Man, does he ever . Summoning Bill, casting the curse, now this - it’s a trend with this guy. Can’t wait to see what the kid fucks up next, ‘cause this looks like it’s gonna be a regular thing.

Ford hasn’t noticed, and Stan hasn’t seen his nephew yet. Not hard to track down the twin, though - good thing, Bill’s gotta catch her before she meets up with the uncles, asks what’s happened to her brother. Only one who noticed.

She’s noticed another thing - or suspects it, at least, Bill could tell - and he can work with that! She’s kept quiet so far, a little more encouragement and she’ll keep it up! Not gonna be fun… but it’s easy.

He finds her in her room, staring out the window. Bill knocks politely on the doorframe. Mabel looks up at him quickly, worry lining her face.

“Is Dipper okay?” She hops over to him. “What happened?”

Bill raises his hands in a consoling way. He grins. “Your brother’s just taking a rest, he’ll be fine. Give him a few hours or so.” Should only take that long for him to be back on his game, he’s recovering well. Bill’s human’s a tough one, mentally, so much so that Bill’s never seen its like - that fact makes him grin even harder.

Mabel still frowns. “Yeah, but what happened? He looked-”

Patting her on the shoulder, Bill leans in a little. “Listen, you know how he’s always trying to impress his uncle?” He lowers his voice so it sounds a little secretive. “Caught some bad stuff when he tried to help out. I wouldn’t mention it to Ford. It’d get awkward. Poor Pine Tree’d be so embarrassed at screwing up-” Bill pastes a grimace on his face. “Don’t think your uncle’d be thrilled either.”

Hesitating, Shooting Star watches Bill, looking him over close. She’s thinking about it, and-

Now, for the hook.

Bill makes himself look worried, leans away, then blurts. “Really, I did fix it! With, uh- I-” He pauses. He shifts a little under her gaze, aiming for uncomfortable. “That’s not important. Anyway, he’s okay.”

Her eyes widen, she points at him, sudden realization. “Wait!” She gapes a little. “Nuh-uh. You don’t want me to tell Ford, because of-” She gasps, then smiles, and lowers her voice. “I know .”

“Know? What’s there to know?” Bill keeps his face worried, and looks away, tugs at the collar of his shirt nervously.

She’s not as sharp as her brother, but she’s been onto him for a while, and now Bill’s silently confirming what she thought. The demon doth protest too much, she thinks. He keeps up the discomfited act as she watches him.

Looking very pleased, she lowers her voice as well, to a whisper, beaming, cupping a hand near her mouth. “You’re not human ! I knew it!” She she straightens her back, sets her hands on her hips. “You used some, like, weird, supernatural thing on Dipper!”

Bill lets his eye widen in mock astonishment. Mabel starts beaming, looking proud of herself.

“Maybe, who says I did?” Now to look embarrassed - fidget in place a bit - “Look, I like him, alright?” He snaps, still looking away. “They hear that I’m- well, not…” He trails off, awkward-sounding. “Your brother and I-”

Mabel giggles, Bill lets it interrupt him… after a moment she starts looking a little worried again. “Yeah, I know, the Stan’s wouldn’t, uh. With you and Dipper and all. It’s cool with me, though! Really!”

Then she grins again, makes a zipping motion over her mouth, and winks.

Yep, got her.

All the parts were in place. Pine Tree’s smart, and Mabel wants to be too. Neither of the uncles have seen it, but she did, she’s been trying to work it out for a while. Letting her feel like she’s ‘discovered’ him, where nobody else has? Implying he’s helping her brother, and taking care of him? Well.

Throw ‘forbidden supernatural romance’ into that mix?

She didn’t stand a chance.

The sister’ll keep quiet. Bill is awesome at this stuff. Best part of manipulating is using the truth, in careful pieces, to lead mortals along. It’s fun as hell, finding a way to go about it. And in this bit of convincing, he only had to use one lie!

…Two lies. Bill used two lies. Forgot about the other one for a sec.

“Um, so, what’s the story there?” Mabel’s frowning a little. “I mean…” She’s looking him over again, wants to know what Bill is, but he’s already given her more than he wanted.

“Oh, we met on accident, y’know, doing some magic. Dating was my idea.” Bill shrugs, redirecting her away from what he actually is, then gives her a slow smile. “He’s just too cute.”

Mabel rolls her eyes at that, but she’s smiling. “But… you’re good to him, right?” She’s concerned, as she should be. Never been near anything as dangerous as Bill, though she has no idea of it.

Bill smiles charmingly, he hates to admit this - but it’ll work. “Shooting Star, I’m literally incapable of hurting him.” He casts his hands up. “Couldn’t if I wanted to!” Goddamnit, that’s still frustrating. “Don’t worry about a thing.”

The backlash is fading, and now Bill can see her worry fading away as well, and it vanishes, completely. No trouble’s coming from this Pines.

Wish he could say the same for every other one .

“Hey,” Mabel says, taking one of Bill’s hands in both of hers - he looks back at her, and - oh hey - she pecks him gently on the cheek, then smiles at him. “Thanks,” She squeezes his hand. “You make Dipper happy.”

Bill has to take a second to stare.

“Yes,” He responds, though he paused for a little longer than he’d’ve liked. “Yes I do. I’m the best at that.”

He manages to hold back his cackling long enough to say goodbye, offer insincere thanks, and escape her room, heading back to his mortal.

Pine Tree sits up when he hears the door open, blanket piled in his lap. Bill grins at him, holding the door by the handle..

“Got Shooting Star reassured. No thanks to you. That wasn’t fun,” says Bill, though it was really, really funny at the end there. He’s going to be laughing at that for decades , it was just so wrong . Pretty pleased with himself, though! Pulled that off without a hitch. “You better make an appearance at some point, though, seal the deal.”

Dipper looks at him, miserable, then drops his head to stare at the sheets. Still reeling from the backlash, at least physically, the kid looks awful.

Time to get back on track. Bill cocks his head, thinking. Curse gone, his human’s alive, one Pines not a problem, for the moment - slow progress, but better than he’d thought things were earlier. Still gotta deal with Ford, and Stan’s not gonna cause too much trouble, if Bill-

“Right. Get over here,” His human says suddenly. Bill looks at him, as his mortal kicks the blankets away from himself. “You said…”

Bill hums a little, dismissively. He glances away again. “I say a lot of things.”

Not sure how much Pine Tree overheard, but it’s not a good idea to encourage him looking into things, not when he’s still resisting.

Pine Tree coughs, sounding awkward. “I’m not up for everything, I feel awful. But,” There’s a moment of hesitation, then he speaks again, interested, embarrassed - “You wanna… try some body stuff?”

Bill turns back towards him, surprised. Then he starts to grin.

Of all the things he coulda heard, that’s the one he’s following up on? The kid is into this as much as Bill is, and Bill’s completely on board with that.

“Man, chalk another one up on the board of ‘things Pine Tree is terrible at’. Number one thousand and three is seduction,” Bill shuts the door behind him, he locks it without looking. “I don’t know what you were thinking last time. Who even tries something like that?”

Pine Tree’s turning red, but he’s looking Bill over, and his eyes are bright, and alive - Bill continues, stalking forward, smile wide. “But sure, why not. I’m into it. You’re lucky I like this.” He starts pulling off his shirt.

Things are back on plan! Ford can’t stay here forever, and while Bill can’t kill him just yet, it’d chase his human off  - Pine Tree takes off his own shirt, he fumbles at his pants, and Bill grins, and admires the sight.

His human’s coming closer to him, all the time, starting to like him - and this part’s really fun.

Chapter Text

Bill’s not fond of bright, beautiful days, for obvious reasons. Nothing like good weather to make people’s moods better.

This is a particularly pleasant day- but Bill’s okay with it. For a few reasons.

Bill’s legs dangle off the edge of the roof of the Shack, staring over the clearing out into the woods. Sitting high up like this is almost like levitating again. Gravity blows. Who needs it?

Somewhere, the uncles and the twin are off running around trying to find who cast that sleep curse. They won’t find it.

Stanford’s current theory is that there’s a cult around - likely they’re  talking to the townsfolk. Bill knows there are more than a few groups here and there, Gravity Falls is delightful in how much weird it’s got - but none of ‘em could have pulled that thing off. Sooner or later, Ford’ll pin the blame on one anyway. It’s the only logical explanation, short of figuring out this weird life-trap situation, and that’s not gonna happen.

And next to Bill, within arm’s reach- He smirks, turning to look as he kicks his legs idly.

Dipper is lying on his side, eyes closed, in a sort of dozy rest. It looks like he’s napping, but of course he’s not. He’s just zoned right out. At a bit of a low ebb, energy-wise, he’ll get back up soon enough. It’s a nice view, but it’s what it means that perks up Bill’s mood.

He’s made progress! Agonizingly slow, annoying, frustrating progress!

That case of hero worship Pine Tree’s got for his uncle Stanford? Really made this difficult. The kid knows Bill’s a demon - Bill should never have admitted that. And since Ford harbors a special hatred for demons - wonder why that could be - Pine Tree’s got the same dumb opinion. That they shouldn’t be dealt with. Or gotten near. That they’re so dangerous you have to eliminate them, at all costs.

Whatever! That’s gone from Pine Tree! It’s dropped away, singularly for Bill.

For all that Pine Tree protests - If he honestly hated Bill, he’d’ve been working with his family, exposing Bill’s true nature behind Bill’s back. Get their help, to bind or destroy this body...

But the kid hasn’t said a word.

The kid could be off practicing his growing skills at misdirection or manipulation, leading his family away from his fuckup.  Or even be somewhere else in the Shack. He doesn’t have to hang around Bill like this, alone, in a dangerous place. Vulnerable. It’d be easy to shove Pine Tree off the roof, though the fall probably wouldn’t kill him.

But… he’s lying next to Bill, breathing slowly, relaxed. Calm, and trusting. Even though Bill’s a demon, and Pine Tree hates ‘em hard, and he knows what Bill’s capable of...

The kid wants Bill around.

Bill’s managed a hellova feat. He’s winning this human over.

Dipper trusts Bill. Somewhat. For some things. He definitely respects Bill - he’d deny it to his dying breath, but he still asks Bill’s opinion on stuff, and that’s not all of it! Or this human wouldn’t be following Bill around with something that’s not quite loyalty. Definitely not devotion. Really closer to a mild obsession… the kid still sorta hates Bill, sure, but it’s in an entertaining way!

It took a shitton more work than it ever should have, with any human… but there was a lotta resistance in the way, from things Bill couldn’t anticipate. That stuff held up for a while, but it’s finally crumbling.

His human likes him.

Bill smirks, and reaches out. Pine Tree’s hair is soft under and between Bill’s fingers. He strokes through it idly, scritching his mortal’s scalp. It’s pleasant to the touch.

There’s a quiet, annoyed grumble from the human. His brows furrow, but he doesn’t move. Irritated, but accepting. None of that flinching, or protesting, like he did in the early days.

This pet has finally been lured close enough to let Bill actually pet him. Among other things.

“What are you doing?” Pine Tree asks. He sounds a little grumpy. He looks up at Bill, but he’s not moving much, or away at all. The petting must feel nice, or he’d be more upset.

“Take a wild guess.” Bill smirks, cards his fingers through that soft brown hair again. He’ll see how long it takes for his pet to get it.

Pine Tree thinks for a moment, frowning. “You’re-” A beat of hesitation, then Pine Tree immediately sits up, shaking Bill’s hand away from his head as he tucks his arms around his raised knees. He glances over at Bill with disgust.

Quick as always! Adorable.

“I’m not your pet. Or your toy. Or anything. You don’t own me. I have my own life.”

That makes Bill laugh, slapping his human lightly on the shoulder. “In case you didn’t notice, we’re sorta tied together on that account. You’re mine.”

“Name one way ,” Pine Tree says, reeling on Bill, looking smug, pointing a finger right in his face. “That that counts. If this bond makes me yours? It goes both ways, and that makes you,” He jabs Bill in the chest. His mouth twitches up at one side, he’s trying not to smile. “Mine. We’re even.”

Oh, good riposte! Bill’s starting to grin, though that throb in his chest reemerges. Stupid goddamned thing - it’s still strange - but at least Bill’s pinpointed the cause.

It’s Pine Tree.

Only time it happens is when he’s around the kid. It’s got something to do with this fucked up spell, and all the life involved. It just took a while to kick in. Now that Bill knows the reason, he’s decided he’s going to ignore it. It’s not too unpleasant.

“Okay, if our bond isn’t enough, and the fact that - oh yeah, I’m incredibly powerful and ancient and better in every way - isn’t enough for you…” Bill shuffles closer, wraps an arm around his human’s waist even as he grumbles in displeasure. His pet is hunched over, but he still lets Bill keep close. “Why don’t we talk about your debts?

“Since when do I owe you anything?”

There’s something oddly neat about the way Bill’s pet’s body shifts when he talks. That chest rising and falling, the subtle adjustments to make himself comfy, muscle shifting under warm skin, leaning in towards Bill’s own body heat.

It makes Bill squeeze in tighter. “Well, since I’ve saved your life a few times,” He says, airily, trying not to laugh - “I think you do owe me,” Bill adds, and leans in. He licks a wet trail behind his human’s ear - partly to watch his human react, making a disgusted sound as he cringes away… and partly ‘cause he tastes good.

Tastes human, sure, but a nice one! With all that youth, and energy. A little smoky, from the fires he makes. And a lot like Bill! With demonic energy all over him, and inside him, especially after they’d had a little fun . Anything with half a sense for magic will see it, Bill’s claim might as well be tattooed on his human’s forehead, like that neat birthmark! ‘Property of…’

Extremely powerful being. It’s not all that specific. Not everyone’ll know Bill personally, but hey! Doesn’t matter. Even if they’re not sure who, they’ll take the hint.

This mortal is owned. By someone who shouldn’t be crossed. It’s really satisfying, knowing that.

Bill chuckles, nipping at his pet’s neck - he gets elbowed in the ribs for that, he grunts softly at the impact. “You’d be worse than comatose without me backing you up. After you-”

Pine Tree grits his teeth, shoulders tensing. “I know. I screwed up,” He gives Bill a look of defiance, and hate. “I’m still here. I guess I didn’t need you as much as you thought.” Bill gets shoved away a bit as his human tries to body check him.

“No contest, kid! You’d still be in terrible shape without me!” Bill shrugs, smiling....

And that’s maybe a lie. His smile isn’t just because of their argument.

The kid did survive that curse, and they split that backlash almost fifty-fifty! They must have, since it wore off around the same time. That’s downright impressive. Bill’s never seen someone hold up that long, against something that big.

Pine Tree’s young, and moral, and ignorant - and he’s got a will like titanium.

He’s never telling his mortal that, though. Pine Tree’ll just get all uppity, more than he is already. His will’s already too strong without Bill encouraging him to be stubborn.

“You’d never have survived being in the Mindscape by yourself, either,” Bill says, easing onto another topic. Pine Tree overheard that name, sure as anything, he knows he was in a demon’s realm. “ Something would’ve killed you if I hadn’t-”

He doesn’t get to continue. Because Pine Tree straightens up, violently shrugging Bill’s arms away, scooting back. Bill’s mortal looks angry , for once, in a way he hasn’t for a while. Bill persists. “You-”

“Fine. Fine! You helped, a little, ” And Pine Tree throws his hands up in the air, exasperated. And now- he leans in, right up in Bill’s face. “That doesn’t count.” He’s alight with anger, pissed off, his hand tight around the collar of Bill’s shirt. The human keeps close, even when Bill lifts his upper lip to snarl back - it doesn’t faze this mortal in the slightest.

“I know you’ve tried to murder me,” Pine Tree insists, and though they were already close, now they’re pressed tight together, this human’s hands on Bill’s shirt drawing him in, almost face-to-face - Dipper hesitates, making some mental calculations- “More than once. So that doesn’t count. We’re still even.”

“Ah, sapling,” Bill says, chuckling quietly. “That was then, this is now! Water under the bridge,” He rests a hand on his human’s upper arm, watching him breathe in sharply, indignant. “Things have changed! Work for me. You’ve got some things I want, I have some things you want! It works out!

When Bill lets him use magic, gives him a way in… the kid’s got enough to wreck thousands of people at once. And that was without any prep! Not even intended! If Pine Tree set it up in advance, if he’d planned something out

Kid’s so in denial, about so many things. After spending so long being so weak, struggling to get shit done, being incompatible with animals, tormented for not having some dumb beast by his side, for not being normal - kid’s got a mental block he keeps running into, he doesn’t understand.

He’s got Bill behind him! He’s anything but weak.

Lighting a candle turns into a bonfire under Pine Tree’s hands. He spills out magic all the time, unintentionally, and doesn’t even notice… Hell, under his effort, a gentle suggestion? Turned into a city-devastating curse! There’s no practitioner alive who could pull that act off without some huge friggin’ ritual, or massive sacrifice! How is this not getting across to him?

Really, this guy should be bowing before Bill, thanking him on hands and knees. Kissing Bill’s feet, telling him how amazing he is for letting him use any of Bill’s infinite energy.

“I won’t work for you,” Pine Tree’s not swayed. He moves further away from Bill, crossing his arms. “You told me yourself how stupid it is to make a deal with a demo-”

“Not a deal, kid! This is free of charge!” Bill interrupts. He’s even honest about that! He could use this guy.

“Bullshit,” says Pine Tree dryly. He gives Bill an askance look, disbelieving. “Even if it were possible-” It’s totally possible, where’s the imagination on this guy - “Why’d you want me to join you?”

Because Bill’s forced to deal with him, for one! But...

Pine Tree’s pretty good. Maybe not informed, usually ignorant, but fast as all fuck, that’s rare! And he’s got that beautiful nasty streak in him, when he thinks it’s justified. He’d be more than happy to participate in anything, as long as he thought it was right.

He’s a channel for Bill’s power, too, and more importantly - another sharp mind. Someone with a different look on things, who’s smart and loyal... that could make things a lot easier for Bill. As well as a lot more entertaining. Right, flattery - that usually works well on the Pines family, and in this instance? It’s actually true!

“It’s not that strange, kid, a lot of demons aren’t all that bright-” He sees Pine Tree’s sudden smile - and groans before the human can say anything. “Yeah, yeah, save the insult for later, we’re talking about something more important.”

Getting up, Bill stalks his way over - He settles down behind his human - drapes his arms over Pine Tree’s shoulders. They’re not too tense, this mortal’s not upset.

“I could use someone who asks more complicated questions than ‘can I smash it’ or, ‘is this edible’,” He chuckles. “You fit the bill,” There’s a groan at the pun, but Bill interjects, curling an arm around to tap Pine Tree on the forehead. “Got something decent in there, kid. And I could use a little human perspective, y’know. Once in a while. You’re not a complete idiot.”

Dipper thought of the curse deflection, for one. Bill would’ve come up with that, given time - but he woulda had a tougher time coming up with that true-love-belief-cursebreaking thing, it sounded so bullshit. But it worked! Effective, and quick, and easy. Low effort, great result!

Pine Tree’s shoulders drop - But he doesn’t speak up, and keeps quiet.

He’s listening. He’s hearing Bill out for once!

Yes, this is working. This is working better than anything Bill’s tried before!

“I’ve got henchmen. We’ve got power,” Bill murmurs, lips brushing his mortal’s ear, and that minimal trust he’s bought means Dipper Pines stays in place. Eyes shut, frowning, but still listening. Bill just has to keep talking-

“You can destroy cities. Crush your enemies. Nobody could ever mess with you again-” murmurs Bill, and he nips, just gently, on his human’s ear, smirking. There’s small gasp, a shudder. “You could show them what you’re really capable of.” Bill feels his human start to breathe in, starting a protest, immediately interrupts -“And it’s not like I care about what you get up to! Take anything you like! Rule it how you like! You don’t get it, do you?”

Bill pulls back, just an inch, chuckling. “I like you, kid,” And though it’s a lie, it’s a believable one - “Pick a place! It’s yours. You have me with you. Stick with me, and there’s nothing that could stand in our way.” He pulls his mortal in closer, makes another soft nip at his ear. “You could have anything you want.”

And when the tip of Bill’s tongue flicks out over the nape of Pine Tree’s neck, at the end of that promise - there’s another shiver.

Pine Tree’s got Bill Cipher giving him instructions, and power, and all the information he could want. He could - not do everything, he’s not capable of some types of magic - but if he’s smart. If he uses the talents he has. If he’s as good at coming up with plans as he could be, if he’s willing to learn, if he accepts Bill’s energy - they could come up with a way around this human’s limits. They could manipulate, and lie, open up routes for other demons, conquer millions , burn anything else to the ground .

There’s a short pause.

And for a second! Bill’s human seems to - just a little! - realize that he’s, oh, of course, obscenely powerful now.

That he could do this, that they could do this-

That everything Bill’s offering is honest.

They could - between the two of them - do anything Bill wants, both in the Mindscape, and in reality. His human’s looking vulnerable. It’s such a good opportunity. Pine Tree’s finally starting to see it, and the guy turns around, slow, drawing away from Bill’s legs to shuffle away, sitting next to Bill.

He looks Bill right in the eye. His expression is just the slightest bit soft, if angry. Nearly affectionate.

A tiny bit vulnerable, maybe there’s a kiss in Bill’s future, that’d be nice.

Gotta take advantage. Bill licks his lips. His mind goes overtime. Here’s a point of entry, a chance - this human wants power, he wants trust, and acceptance, and approval, Bill’s got all of that.

He leans in, smiling-

He’s too late.

Halfway between noticing the chance, and trying to use it? It’s gone. Just like that.

Dipper turns his head away, and Bill checks himself before he lets his mouth make any kinda affectionate gesture on this human’s face, drawing back.

A fucking split second of hesitation, and already the idea’s been shrugged away. Dismissed, entirely. Bill can’t even push for it, unless he wants more resistance. That massive will of his human has already rebuilt its wall  - the one that’s built out of pure ‘Fuck Bill Cipher’. Bill can appreciate that strength. It’s absurd. It’s unheard of. It’s insanely attractive -

Now if it wasn’t directed at the wrong fucking target .

“I won’t do it,” Pine Tree lifts his chin defiantly, looking away, crossing his arms. “I won’t work for you, I won’t help you, I owe you nothing . Do you really think I’d just…” Here he flails a bit, turning to give Bill a look of sheer distaste. “Destroy a bunch of stuff. Cause mayhem with a bunch of demonic minions? Ruin the world? Hand it over to you? Run away to be with you?”

Yes , that would be perfect !

“And abandon my family ?” Pine Tree says, finishing his little speech. There’s absolute disgust in that phrase. He’s staring at Bill as though he’s as low as a mortal, or even something worse.

Pine Tree shakes his head, slowly, and shuts his eyes, not facing Bill. “If you think I’d ever go along with any of that, then you were right. Demons aren’t that bright.”

Bill smiles.

He’s good enough at acting that it even looks sincere.

“What can I say, kid! Everything you want, whenever you want. Offer’s open!” Bill keeps the grin on his face, and shuffles over toward his mortal to be next to him, lying back with his arms tucked behind his head, and...

Holy crap, sometimes he hates Pine Tree so much .

Because there’s the core of it, right there.

Why Bill’s having such a tough time getting his pet to do as he’s told. Why - despite Pine Tree’s ambition, his lust for power, and his dubious morality - he’s still fighting. All of those could be worn away in time. Kid’s got a dark streak in him, Bill could bring that out, easy, if it weren’t for that one. Goddamned. Fact.

Pine Tree loves his freaking family . He wants to protect them, and make them proud, and keep them safe. To be ‘good’ like they are. He’s totally devoted to them.

And there’s nothing Bill can do about it.

He can’t kill the other mortals. If something happened to any of them… Even if Bill had nothing to do with it, the first person Pine Tree would pin the blame on is him. It’d be tough to convince Pine Tree otherwise, even if it was true! And if Bill actually was involved...

Yeah, no chance this human wouldn’t find out, given enough time.

The key point is the sister. She’s way more important than any other family member, if she joined in, it might be possible. Convincing the twin to join Pine Tree is an option! In theory. Hey, he can convince anyone, of anything!

But talking Mabel Pines over into his plan is… Even with the right approach, that half of these twins got all their brightness, and optimism, and she’s wily in her own way. Pulling her into the whole ‘let Bill take over this dimension’ thing is... It gives Bill a headache, just thinking about that ordeal.

The initial plan to get Dipper Pines to obey Bill is…

Going on the backburner. For now.

Bill’s not giving it up! It’s still a great idea! But until some big gamechanger comes along, trying for it will be like beating this fleshy human skull against a brick wall. This human’s just too. Damned. Persistent. And full of almost unchangeable will. Pity the curse is gone, but at least it taught Bill that.

“You really shouldn’t have made that summons, kid,” Bill says, slow. He feels weirdly tired. “You really screwed things up.”

Did he ever. This is horrible.

Bill’s trapped in this body. Trapped in this plane of reality. Having to pretend to be something so much lesser than he actually is, if he doesn’t want this body taken out, it’s not as durable as Bill would like. And it’s not great for Dipper, either. Bill’s still a demon, through and through. Someone’s going to notice, eventually. And then they’re both in some shit.

There’s a low, grumbling sound of annoyance from his mortal. Bill can hear the quiet rage, it makes him smirk.

“Everything about this,” Says Dipper, carefully, Bill hears his knuckles crack as he clenches his fists. ”Is your fault.

“You called me here, sapling, it’s your fault,” Bill says, quietly amused. He gives his human a smile, though Pine Tree’s not looking, and... it’s a little tenser than he’d like. “Deal with it.”

This never would’ve gone down if Bill’s human hadn’t been a socially awkward wimp. A nerdy fucker, who couldn’t stand being looked down on, who needed to look better, who’s ruined several months of Bill’s life, and with this bond bullshit? He’s set up to ruin more. And he’s…. Closer to the truth than he should be.

If he figures it out? Bill’s going to.have to take care of that, somehow.

Nobody gets to know how Bill got tangled up in this bond. Especially this guy, who’s the cause of all this crap. This ignorant nerd doesn’t know so much , and Bill’s still got to be wary. The kid’s that quick on the uptake.

Pine Tree doesn’t give a single fuck about how stupid it is to challenge Bill Cipher like this. Doesn’t know how stupid he is for not seeing the opportunity in front of him, like working for Bill isn’t the best deal any mortal’s ever been offered. He doesn’t know how powerful a demon he’s gotten tied up with. He’s so strongly, stupidly stubborn. Stupidly defiant, always. Feisty, and energetic, and always trying to one-up Bill, every single chance he gets, stupidly attempting to defeat something way out of his weight class.

Bill clears his throat, shifting in place, glaring out across the clearing, into the forest around the Shack.

It’s stupidly hot.

Bill’s got a new bedmate, and he’s... yeah, pretty good. He’s trying to be Bill’s equal - which he can’t be, ever - but damned if the kid’s not making an effort. No matter what he does, or says, or tries, he can’t be one. But this asshole’s making Bill prove otherwise , and even that’s a goddamned problem!

Because he’s making Bill work for it!

Trying to topple Bill’s position in charge, trying to wrest power from him. Teasing, and flirting, and treating Bill with respect, and with hate, and with lust, and liking him, all at the same time, and- It’s nothing like someone coyly playing a role, catering to Bill’s tastes, this is the real thing. It’s actual, genuine, flirting-fighting-mutual manipulation.

Nobody’s a match for Bill. They couldn’t match wits with him, or they pushed too hard, and Bill obliterated them. Or they were planning to get something from him, through a lotta different methods.

None of that applies with Dipper Pines.

He’s quick on his feet, immune to Bill’s power - and doesn’t demand Bill’s power, just enjoys having it. He’d be happy to live without it. And while he wants to screw Bill over... it’s for fun, not to betray him. Pine Tree’s not even getting sputteringly furious at their flirting anymore - he doesn’t get mad, he gets even. He’s started treating it like the game it is.

This entire bond makes this relationship one huge game. A constant battle of wits. With this life-trap and its protections, Bill can’t even smash the board when things don’t go his way. Pine Tree’s too difficult to kill, it’s so irritating...

But it means that they can keep playing.

Plus, sometimes, when the mortal’s got the same idea - They can start plotting together, and fooling people. Working towards the same goal, when they aren’t trying to screw each other over - and Bill can see a lot of potential in that, too!

It’s almost like Bill’s actually dating someone, for once.

And it’s a freaking human.

It makes Bill feel tense, and wanna burn something. Rearrange a guy’s face, or make something explode, or anything, just to vent.

Really? Dating a mortal?

It’s not unheard of, but it’s definitely not up Bill’s alley. They’re usually so boring.

And anyway. Bill’s stupid mortal is mortal, and those guys don’t have the right concepts. Kid’s got no idea how he’s metaphorically licking his lips, showing off a little skin... Ignorant, as always, doesn’t understand how what they’ve been doing could mean something else.

Lucky for this human, Bill gets it! Another demon might get the wrong impression, and whoo! That would not end well for Pine Tree. Bill’s just having fun with how ignorant this guy is. Cause…. the fact that all of this is unintentional? Kinda gives him a thrill.

Pine Tree’s doing all of this out of human feelings, Bill’s gotta remember that. It’s this body he’s into, mostly. Not Bill. Pine Tree likes the flirting, sure, but if he had any idea what Bill’s really like? He’d take off in a split second. No way he woulda done, like, ninety percent of the things he’s done, if he knew that Bill was miles away from looking anything close to human. Good thing the kid doesn’t suspect it yet.

Despite everything, it’s...Not so bad, really. Being here.

Tons of conflict, a bunch of physical stuff to mess with, an attractive human in his possession. This isn’t the worst trap to be in! Bill’s mistake hasn’t ruined everything. Hell, it could’ve been great ! If stuff was a little different. If he just had the Mindscape, this-

Bill sits up suddenly, eye wide.

Beside him, Pine Tree glances over. He’s settled down next to Bill, again, and now he’s curious. He tries to speak, but Bill waves it off and ignores him, because now a thought has struck him.

That’s it!

Get the Mindscape back, somehow. Then…

Bill can still come out ahead of where he was, given this dumbass scenario. All he has to do is get his human back there with him! That’s the key to everything!

He’s got a pet, now, because of this bond. One that’s full of fun, and games, plenty of sex, one who attracts chaos - no doubt there’ll be more of that, the kid’s luck is so crap. And he’s an impressive pet, at that.

The bond’s actually good , when it comes to having a human! Other demons keep around mortals to do their bidding, but with the connection he and Pine Tree have - Bill’s human is vastly more powerful than any of those suckers! Suits him, really. That his pet would be the strongest. And hotter. And smarter. Pine Tree’s magic matches with Bill’s magic, there’s no way a creature who fits with Bill’s stuff could suck too badly.

If Bill can pull this off... He’ll have everything he did before, and Pine Tree.

This bond isn’t a mistake - it’s a prize he stumbled on! Bill just has to use it the right way! It’ll be so easy, too!

Give this mortal a taste of the Mindscape. Give him power, give him information, give him a little praise - show him around a bit, the memories, the history, the thoughts, the things he could learn -  Bill can tell what this guy likes. He knows exactly what’ll sway his mortal. All kinds of secrets, tons of mysteries to solve - this human would drool over the things Bill could show him! He’d practically fall over himself to join Bill, if he just could see what’s possible !

And after the tour... bring this human back to Bill’s penthouse, to seal the deal. A taste of luxury, on top of everything else.

Bill can even picture it.

After going through a bunch of minds - maybe wrecking a few, along the way, show Pine Tree the ropes - pick some people he thinks are ‘evil’, so he won’t get too guilt-ridden over it.  Tempt this mortal with all the things he could learn, wait until he’s dazed from all he’s seen...

Then… Bill could lure him up into his own personal place. Arm around his human’s waist. Open the door for him. Guide him in, slow, since Dipper would still be babbling about the wonders he’s noticed, unfocused as his fast little brain darted through all the new ideas.

He’d wander in, in front of Bill, looking unsteady as that hot little mind of his raced. He’d have to take a moment to control himself, and he’d… settle down in a heap in front of the fireplace, kneeling. And as Bill watched, hands on his hips, smirking at the sight…

Pine Tree would turn around slowly, shuffling his back closer to the heat of the fire, and blush in the way he does when he’s got something on his mind. Loosen the buttons on his dress shirt - Yeah, Bill definitely would have made him dress up, so though it’s not Pine Tree’s typical style, he’d have that on! That’s plausible! - That human chest would be exposed, slowly, in inches, as Dipper fumbled with his shirt, undoing each button with trembling fingers, before it finally draped over his shoulders.

And though Dipper Pines has said it before, this time - oh, this time, he’d say it with a smile. Leaning back on his elbows in the red firelight.

“I’m all yours, Bill,” He’d say, sounding as thrilled about it as he should be. He’d shut his eyes, start to work off the rest of his clothes, lying down on the carpet and spreading his legs, while Bill stepped closer- “Oh, Bill. Bill...”

“Bill? Hey! Bill!”

Pine Tree’s snapping his fingers and, occasionally, waving a hand in front of Bill’s face.

Bill blinks for a second.

Pine Tree cocks his head to one side. He lowers his hand. “You were…” He doesn’t ask anything, but he’s still giving Bill a weird look. He turns away abruptly. “Nevermind.”

They’re on the roof, right. Not in the Mindscape. Yet .

That scenario’s going to go on later. Part of what Bill’s gonna call... ‘Plan B’. Or maybe ‘Plan Show Mortal How Dumb He Is For Not Worshipping Bill’.

Bill grins. “Don’t worry about it, kid, I’m just coming up with something.” It makes the mortal snort derisively, but he smiles.

“It won’t work, whatever you’re planning.” Dipper says, still smiling. He nudges Bill’s shoulder in something not quite a hit. “I’ll stop you.”

He likes their fights, Bill knew it. Oblivious or not, he’s a good partner for this kinda thing. Still not Bill’s equal in anything. But fun.

“Oh, we’ll see about that,” says Bill, slow, narrowing his eye and nudging him back. “We’ll see.”

Getting into the Mindscape is the key - but Bill can’t ask for it. It’s gotta be Pine Tree’s idea. The only way he’ll accept it is if he thinks it’s his own plan, not Bill’s. He’s had it easy, what with being involved with a demon and not being dead already, he’ll underestimate the danger -  not that he cares much about danger, but still! And he’ll be safe there with Bill by his side, and Bill can hide the worse things from him. Once Pine Tree’s really seen the Mindscape, it’ll be so very, very simple to lure him in.

Maybe Dipper’s resistant, sure, but he’s going to get interested. He’s only been in that place for, what, a total of thirty minutes, tops? He doesn’t get what he’s dealing with. Still, so very, very ignorant, but curious . He loves new things, the idea will eventually strike him, that hey, demon realm. Tons of stuff there.

Yes. This will be great .

Bill’s right here, full of possibilities, and the kid kinda likes him. Plus, Bill has all their magic, and he knows a ton, Pine Tree accepts that. He needs Bill, for a lot of things.

Eventually, something’s gonna happen. Pine Tree will get curious, or he’ll need magic, or to figure something out, and he’ll have to ask Bill for it. Either he’ll come up with the idea on his own - or Bill will be able to bargain it out of him. They’ll end up in the Mindscape sooner or later, given enough time.

There’ll be something this guy wants badly enough to take that trip, one day. Bill’s dead certain of that. Playing games is great. The waiting one isn’t Bill’s favorite... But it’ll work out.

He’s gonna win .

Bill gets up carefully, and his human watches as he straightens himself out, and grins. He takes his mortal by the shoulder, hauling him up. Dipper scrambles to follow, gripping Bill’s wrist with one hand, looking at him warily.

Bill’s had another great thought! Dunno why he hadn’t thought of before, but having this kinda thing so close at hand is a rare thing. And hey, after all, they’re alone right now, and Bill’s never had any complaints about his human’s performance, surprisingly.

“So, sapling, I think I’m going to-” Bill  starts - his eye widens as Dipper grabs him, hard, around his arm. The kid glances once or twice over the edge of the roof, as if Bill’s going to-

Bill rolls his eye, tugs his human in closer. Of course Bill’s not gonna shove him off, he’s got something way better in mind! Paranoid idiot, he can’t see when someone’s-

“If I go down,”Pine Tree says, glaring again. His grip on Bill’s arm tightens. “I’m taking you with me.”

Holy crap that’s-

Sometimes, this mortal says things, and he doesn’t know, but - Bill shakes his head, and guides them another step away from the edge. Well. There’s only one response to that kinda statement.

Bill yanks his human towards him and kisses him.

There’s a soft, surprised noise, Dipper loosens his grip - fumbles his hands around Bill’s sides, then an arm gently loops around the back of Bill’s shoulders as the human relaxes, and he tastes nice here , too, Bill can’t get enough of it. It’s an enjoyable few moments... then he pulls back, smiling. 

Pine Tree's staring at him, wide-eyed, and a little thrown off. Clearly he wasn't expecting that, but he's nothing short of into it. By the way he sort of tries to chase Bill's mouth, for just a second, before drawing back with a jerk - he's more than up for things! Bill's so great, and his human's... 

Really crap at seduction, honestly, he thinks too much. But once the blood runs south and he stops frigging over-analyzing for ten seconds, he's got zero problems performing. He had a little shyness, but that's not a hurdle. It's barely a step. And with the way Pine Tree's looking at Bill - hand clenching slightly on the back of his shirt, close, and his gaze darting briefly down between them- Bill grins.

"Now, I was thinking-"

"I know what you're thinking," Pine Tree interrupts, giving Bill a look that's a lot less angry than it is interested. He glances down again and squirms in place. "It's a little obvious."

They're still wrapped up against each other. Pine Tree's not letting go, though. He takes a second. He stays silent. Shuts his eyes. Takes a long, slow breath...

And leans in to kiss Bill, just gently. Then a little harder. Pine Tree  starts pressing back, Bill wraps his arms around his human, and tries not to grin too much, it'll ruin the kiss.

Maybe Bill's not gonna get this dimension right away, like he thought. But that's only a matter of time. And! He was totally right. He's definitely going to get laid in the meantime.

 

Chapter Text

There’s who Bill was waiting for, stalking up the stairs, and entering their room.

He smirks, and turns towards his human. “Pine Tree, good to see ya. I was just thinking-” That if he’s going to embarrass Bill, Bill’s going to use everything he knows about his human in return. He’s seen more than a few moments, in memories, they’ve both got blackmail on each other, it should balance out-

His human strides over and tugs him into an embrace, wrapping him tightly enough in his arms that Bill’s planned speech gets interrupted as the breath is pushed out of him.

Bill rests his hands on his pet’s sides, confused.

What the hell? This came outta nowhere.

The arms around him are tight as hell, one hand clutching the back of his shirt, bunching up the fabric. Pine Tree’s leaning into him, almost pushing him back, but not intentionally.

Shifting in place, Bill glances around the room. This is weird, he’s just… clinging. There’s gotta be a reason.

“Huh. This is a new gambit on your part. Not sure what you’re after, but it’s not like it’s going to stop me,” Bill says slowly, tense. He stands where he is, wrapped in his pet’s arms for a while. They stay like that for almost a solid minute - Pine Tree’s hand clenches and unclenches on his shirt, but he’s not trying much. No real attempts to attack, or wrestle. He’s only standing there, holding onto Bill tightly.

Bill’s starting to get annoyed. “This isn’t working, whatever you’re planning. Let go already.”

There’s something else going on here - this isn’t an attack, or even an interruption to Bill’s plan. Pine Tree’s doing- Bill looks at his human’s back, all he can see from this angle.

This guy’s shuddering slightly, and the chin resting over his shoulder is digging in close - his mortal’s upset, immensely, and he was just-

Bill’s shoves his mortal away, and grabs him around the waist. Pine Tree stares back at him, eyes red-rimmed and - shit, he’s just done something really fucking stupid again.

“What. Happened.” Bill growls, leaning in.

This idiot was just talking with his great uncle, and whatever happened there, it made Pine Tree upset - and there is a very small range of reasons that could be the case. He fucked up again, didn’t he, goddamnit . Knew this would happen! But now - shit, is Ford about to come after Bill? He’s not prepared!

“Did you just give the goddamned game away? Let Poindexter know, after all of this time? How incompetent are you?” Bill claps a hand to his forehead, groaning. How is his human so terrible? “How much does he know?”

Pine Tree says nothing. He stares, still-faced and silent for a few seconds - then pulls away, and just steps over to the bed carefully, and sits down. He looks blank. He’s not acknowledging Bill, and that is not acceptable .

“I can’t get this info from your uncle, kid, speak the hell up.” If Ford’s on Bill’s tail, then he needs to act, now, and fast. He’s not gonna let himself be trapped in a dead, immovable body.

No response.

Bill shoves his human, he insults him, kicks him in the leg - and gets absolutely nothing - more insults, more shoving - nope, nothing. He heaves a deep sigh.

Pine Tree’s got a thousand yard stare going, not giving him any attention. Too upset - if Bill wants to get any info out of him, he’s gotta calm him down.

He’s got a good way to do that! Works on most every mortal! Just make the face turn like this, smile like that - sincere as anything. Bill kneels a little in front of his human, and gently rests a hand on his mortal’s shoulder.

“Hey,” Bill says. Platitudes are always comforting, and he puts gentleness into his tone. “It’s going to be okay, I-”

Pine Tree shoves him, hard and suddenn. Bill tips back, falling on his butt on the floor, hands planted beside him, eye wide.

The look on Pine Tree's face is one of complete, absolute rage.

That is the opposite of what he expected.

Now his human’s not sad, he’s furious, looking at Bill like he’s something - he’s always hated Bill to some extent, that’s been obvious, but now it’s not hate, it’s more like disgust.

“Don’t you ever do that again,” growls his human, clenching his hands tight, taking in a slow breath.

Bill blinks. That act got seen through in a hot second, not surprising, but this reaction - he’d expected his comfort to be accepted anyway, humans love that stuff!

Pine Tree keeps talking, glaring. “I told you. Don’t- don’t be reassuring. Not like that. It’s creepy. And coming from you it’s just wrong.”

Bill groans, leaning his head back a little. Right, the lies. Pine Tree hates ‘em. He’s been caught out, accepts it with a shrug. “Well, I had to do something, you were too worked up to be of any use to me.” Bill sits up straighter, then pushes himself up off the ground to stand. “Spit it out already, I wanna know what happened.”

Pine Tree stands up quickly, moving in close - he gets right up in Bill’s face, glaring, tense with fury. “Oh, no. No, you don’t get to shrug that off,” Man, he’s angry. Bill looks at him, one eyebrow raising. The way it makes his human light up, the energy it gives him - really kinda nice!

His human continues, jabbing Bill  in the chest, furious, and focused. “I’ve figured you out. I know what you are. That act is never going to work, and I want you to know it. Don’t try it again.”

“You really don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bill smirks. “Rage is a good look on you, by the way,” he adds, cocking his head. That hate, that glare, the fire it’s kindled in him, and that restrained urge for violence - Yes. So nice. “Haven’t seen that in a while. Kinda missed it.”

His pet shuts his eyes, throws his hands in the air as if to say ‘goddamnit what am I dealing with’. It's really cute, whenever this mortal gets frustrated. He lets out a long, frustrated noise, and Bill watches with amusement.

Until his human looks at him again, staring at him, penetratingly. There’s a lotta focus there.  Some absolute, certain intent, and Bill.. something’s going on here, he doesn’t know what, but it could be - Damn it! He’s been through this kinda scene before! It’s never worked out well for him, either, Bill’s not looking forward to this.

What has his mortal noticed now?

“You’re wrong. I know . I’ve known ever since that stupid trip into town, to deal with that stupid curse-” His human says, moving in - Bill leans back a little - whatever Pine Tree thinks he knows, he’s really certain about it, and Bill’s aware his pet’s not stupid - “And you know what? I don’t care.”

Bill, for once, doesn’t have a reply.

He darts his eye around, something’s going on - there’s a poke on his eyepatch, and Bill turns his gaze back to his furious human.  

“So what, you’re some- incomprehensible weird thing stuck in a, a meatsack,” Dipper's looking at him with unshakable certainty, finger planted hard against one of Bill’s more demonic body bits. Even though it’s covered up. He’s seen it, and it’s a dead giveaway to Bill not being...  How much does he-

Pine Tree continues. “I still don’t care. Don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. Not to me.” He heaves a sigh, the fury fading from him. “Just-” He shrugs, taking a second.

What? He can’t actually know - And if he did, then-

“I hate you,” Pine Tree says, finally, sounding exhausted, and looking at him closely. His hand drops to Bill’s chest, his gaze draws over him tiredly. “I hate that act of yours the most, though. I like the real Bill.”

What.

Pine Tree’s eyes widen - he’s embarrassed, he looks away -“…and you’re awful.” He adds, almost as an afterthought, yanking his hand away.

Bill stares for a second.

Then he slaps a hand over his face, drawing it down slowly. “How. Do you keep. Finding things out .” He flails his hands at his human, suddenly angry. He struggles for words. “You-”

Pine Tree figured that out, fine, Bill did mention he didn’t look like this, but the kid seems to get exactly how far away it is from a real human... how close did he get? Bill swears if he hears that joke about him ‘having an angle’ for the seven billionth time he’s shoving Pine Tree off a cliff -

Shit, more than that, he’s known that long? Bill didn’t notice! Nobody keeps secrets from Bill, except for this bastard, apparently, and he really wishes that wasn’t so interesting, and hell - he’s just realized.

He splutters, flails at his human incredulously. “And then- that was before-”

Before they ever fucked, and way before at that! Every single time they’ve done it, Pine Tree has known he wasn’t doing anything near a human. His pet didn’t just do it grudgingly, either, he loved it. He lept into it, he even started it. Bill’s confused, he’s gotta admit, this shoulda thrown this human off, chased him off, worse than anything else Bill's done. Pine Tree can’t really not care about that, if he knows! They’re so-

But now Bill’s human is almost smiling. Smug, certain, even after Bill completely confirmed his guess in the last few moments, by reacting too soon... and he's only happy about it. 

He really did know, all this time, and he’s only amused by Bill’s reaction.

“And then you-” 

He knows exactly what Bill’s like, and he doesn’t care how weird it is. There's a part of this human that even likes weird - shit, Bill's seen that, he does like weird, it doesn't disturb him, he looks into weird things all the time.

He genuinely doesn’t care if Bill’s not some hot human guy, he would barely be into some hot human guy! That’s not what he likes, he likes a challenge, someone smart, who can tangle with him. And Pine Tree doesn’t want Bill to be nice, he doesn’t want something fake, or for Bill to pretend to be someone else. When it’s not Bill, not the real deal, the real demon, he’s offended! Bill saw it moments ago - he’s not just offended, he’s even disgusted.

It’s pure insanity , this guy knows who he is, and what he is - as completely as he could, too, Bill’s maybe been more honest with this guy than most people in multiple dimensions.

He likes Bill.  Bill knew that, sure, but. It’s not because of the body. And it’s not because Dipper agrees with him, he sure as fuck doesn’t worship him, in a lotta ways he hates him, but. 

Pine Tree wants Bill Cipher. Not anything else.

Bill screws his face up in discomfort.

Something has gone very, very wrong inside this body.

That throbbing in his chest- urgh, it’s never hit so hard before, Bill clutches at it - it’s not painful but it’s- why won’t it stop? It’s a thudding, unceasing, and irritating as hell. He doubles over, grimacing.

“Oh chaos, is this what being sick feels like? I think this is what being sick feels like.” It keeps happening, it’s horrible. Bill makes a disgusted face - He’s still leaned over, but he glances up at this worthless, pathetic human. “Pretty good metaphor, really,” He says, even as this relentless thing keeps up - “ You’re like some awful infection.”

This guy dragged Bill into this situation, and he’s done something to him, and it’s just grown worse over time, happening more and more often, like a spreading, gangrenous wound.

The hell is this even? Bill’s hand clenches harder on his shirt - and he freezes for an instant.

This body’s illusionary, it’s only a representation of himself, it’s magic.

It shouldn’t work this way! He’s got, like, at least twelve fewer organs than a real human, he hasn’t checked inside this abdomen to count, but he knows this one! There shouldn’t be anything there! Bill’s seen enough of ‘em removed, he knows the place, and exactly what’s acting up, he just doesn’t know why it’s manifesting.

There aren’t any reasons that this would show up, it’d have to show something about him and Bill doesn’t need this-

No.

Bill's eye widens.

Hell no.

This fucked-up thing, happily, stutters for a moment as the thought hits him, and Bill, for once, actually kinda wants to be able to die.

No, no, and fuck no.

This is not happening. This can’t be happening. It's impossible! This isn't something Bill does!

Crap, crap, crap - He shuts his eye tight, he groans a bit - He fights it, tensing up, but it’s happening anyway, it won’t stop.

That’s not how this dumbass form functions, it’s supposed to show him , what he really is, it’s a representation, it’s a metaphor. Bill can’t make it stop. He hasn’t been able to alter any part of this spell, and fuck knows he’s tried, he’s just gotta stop- with the- and maybe if he-

Son of a bitch.

He can’t do it.

He can’t escape this bullshit any more than he can escape this body. It’s not something he can change, he can’t screw up his own thoughts, or destroy bits of his own mind, to get rid of this.And…. Shit.

Bill can’t murder his way out of this, not easily!  He’d have to get someone else to do it. It’s possible, he knows people. He knows where to lure his human. His human’s untrained, too, and Bill could cut him off from magic, and he’d lose. It’d be easy. Bill would be finally free, it could take less than thirty seconds from Pine Tree facing off against something, and bam! Problem solved, with a set of claws, or some fire, or a huge fist. Simple as anything, and Pine Tree’d be.

Bill’d be free again, and-

That's the goal. Freedom. All it takes is.

A body, lying there. Blood pooling underneath. Pine Tree, finally, thankfully gone, just that sack of meat that he is, crushed, maybe without a face at all. Depends on how it got done, because there are so very, very many ways to make a corpse out of a guy, there's all kindsa configurations that flesh could end up in, some messier than others. 

There are some cleaner ones, too. Leaving the kid looking just... asleep. Only pale, limp, and lifeless.

No more words. No more arguing. No more ideas, blank-faced and empty -

Bill grimaces, groaning again.

His stupid, horrible, awful and entirely unnecessary organ seized up again, it’s always felt bad, but this was worse than usual.

He looks up slowly, fueled with anger, staring at the extremely dumb face of his human - it’s confused, and a little upset - It makes the stupid-ass thing do another thing, and his human’s so, so awful.

“You…” Bill says, slow, quietly furious. “Are the single worst thing that has ever happened to me. And I don’t say that lightly, you got no idea how old I am.“

He huffs out a little breath, trying not to- Bill refuses to -

And he hates his human, he wants to kill him, he wants to kiss him, he wants him never to die, and also be dead forever - This jerk is poisonous, and Bill didn’t see it until it was too late.No wonder his human was able to pull off those spells. To be so connected to Bill, and such a good conduit.

Pine Tree is a curse, and he is a trap, and he’s one entirely too compatible with Bill.

This human’s a perfect storm of awful. He really is. Bill’s been backed into a corner once or twice, but none of them were like this. Everything is this horrible, incompetent, interesting idiot’s fault, and he’s fucked Bill up, badly, worse than anything ever has.

He’s going to get him back for this.

Pine Tree had been starting to smile, but now his face falls. He stalks away, drops down on the bed facefirst, and pulls a pillow over the back of his head.

Bill glares at him. Fuck this kid. Let him be miserable as Bill is, with this new thing he knows.

He taps a foot on the floor. “Alright, back to business, what’s the deal?”

….Still not getting a response. Bill hates it when Pine Tree won’t talk, it reminds him of- He walks over, pushes his mortal a bit. “Stop looking like that.”

Nope. Nothing. The kid’s chest heaves, once, but he masters himself fast, pulling the pillow harder over the back of his head.

“I said,” Bill says again, more forcefully. “Stop looking like that. It’s bugging me.” He pauses, but... “I demand you stop-” Pine Tree never gives into demands. “Nah, that won’t work, never works.” Bill murmurs, and starts pacing the room.

Gotta take initiative, he’s got no idea how much time ‘til the uncle comes back. That’s more important. Gotta handle that, first, then the other problem. It’s an endless cascade of problems from this dumb human, they just don’t stop coming, and if he stopped being so interesting, and causing such fun, frustrating trouble, this particular one wouldn’t have cropped up.

It’s not like it’s permanent. Humans lose this thing all the time! Just falls right out of ‘em, given enough exposure to the infecting person. Like building up an immune response. Maybe that’ll solve it! Then, Bill will recover, but... he’s not a human. No guarantees that’ll work.

Okay. So. The body’s supposed to show Bill. It might work the other way around. It probably won’t kill this body if he does a little self-surgery, if he’s careful. It’s worth a shot!

Unless the damn thing just grows back.

He takes a second - still gotta find out what went down.

Bill sits down next to his mortal, and pulls away the pillow. Pine Tree barely resists, his arms drop - crap, that’s disappointing. Where’s the fight in him? Just gotta bring some of that out, and he’ll be shipshape again.

Another push. “Hey. Get up. We’re not done here,” Bill waits a moment, but no, he’s being too easy - he shoves, hard, and when the mortal just lets himself be shifted over a few inches, he feels his expression sour. “C’mon, at least struggle a little. You’re always up for that.” It’s one of the more fun things about him!

Bill gives his pet another push - lets out a disgusted noise, there’s nothing coming from this tactic - then he takes a deep breath, and leans back to think.

What… do mortals do for this?

He’s never paid much attention to it. Bill’s never cared about the aftermath of what he’s done, except to admire the suffering, until it got boring.

Bill knows what mortals like! But he can’t use just anything. If he tried normal human stuff, it’d seem like he was pulling something, Pine Tree’d only clam up even harder. Bill doesn’t have a plot going, not just this sec - he’s got a different problem to handle - but yeah, usually he does. Kid’s right to be paranoid. No lies, Pine Tree’ll see through those. And if he said that things’re gonna be fine, that would be one of the biggest fibs he’s ever told. Fuck knows this guy gets into trouble. He’s only gonna get into more, somehow.

Ha! Right! Pine Tree needs Bill to be himself, because he likes it, he’s a freak!

….What does Bill do for this.

Entirely new territory, but whatever. Bill rolls his eye, snorting softly, and smirks. He’ll come up with something, he can do anything! Humans do this all the time, how hard can it be?

 

Chapter Text

This. Is.

Bullshit.

Pine Tree’s looking at Bill, and so is Sixer. Where Stanford is smiling, Bill’s human is slightly shocked.

After so long, Pine Tree’s finally got an expression on his dumb mug that isn’t quiet, blank despair.

All the entertainment, and fire, and fight got sucked straight out of Bill’s human, after Ford found out what he’d done. He was so boring. Pine Tree spent useless, pointless hours, upon hours, upon hours, just lying down in that stupid bed, even though he knows he can’t sleep.

It’s been days of Bill’s human staring off into space, barely doing anything, barely responding to even the worst digs at him. Sitting around like he wished he didn’t exist - Why would he think that? Even if he is inconvenient, and horrible, and suffocating, that’s one of the more idiotic concepts that’s lodged itself in that dense skull of his.

And now Pine Tree’s finally acting again. It’s taken so long. It’s been days.

Bill keeps his own face blank, as these two humans watch him.

He’s pestered Pine Tree. He’s shoved his human’s favorite books at him - he loves those! - then threatened to destroy some of them - and when that didn’t work, done all the goading that usually gets a response. Insults. Taunts. Telling his human he couldn’t do things, even though he obviously could - That didn’t get anything. So.

Bill left him alone. Took off, muttering to himself, hands shoved in these dumb pants pockets. Clothing’s annoying. But he gave his human a break- and when he came back?

That hadn’t done shit.

Dipper had still been sitting around, looking empty in this way that dug at that horrible, sick organ he made manifest. His human was being stubborn - like the asshole he is - but his down mood was making him the least entertaining thing since a pair of wet socks.

Chaos, the lows Bill has sunk to, trying to kick this stupid mortal out of his funk. Bill’s even done the unthinkable!

There was this one moment where the kid was doing his ‘oh woe is me’ act, while being in bed and... Bill knows what humans like, and he’d tried basically everything else.

So.

He sorta crawled in behind the guy, under the blankets. And pulled Pine Tree’s back up against his chest, arms wrapped around him.

Humans love body contact. So what if Pine Tree knows Bill doesn’t look like one? At the moment, he feels like one! That’s instinctual, skin on skin! Sends out all those neat endorphins and stuff. Bill shut his eye, and clenched his mortal closer to himself. Their legs tangled together, Bill huffing out a breath through his nose, ruffling the human’s hair.

Bill was so sure it’d kick off something. Get his human at least…Moving closer. Or protesting, trying to move away. Either would’ve been fine! That’d be something…

There was precisely jack shit.

After about half an hour he called it quits. Shoved himself away, storming off. And for fuck’s sake, Pine Tree didn’t even react to that , even though everything about it was weird, especially for Bill! He just… laid there, silent. Curling up into himself, eyes shut.

Bill had slammed the bedroom door behind himself. Hand tight on the handle, feeling hot with fury, cursing as quietly as he could while nobody was there to listen.

These have been some of the more infuriating, frustrating, intolerable days Bill’s ever been through, and now-

He walks slowly over towards these humans. Rests a hand on Dipper’s free shoulder, and gives Sixer a blatantly insincere smile.

“Take your hand off my stuff,” He squeezes Pine Tree’s shoulder. It suddenly tenses, hard, under his grip. “Ain’t something I like to see.”

That happy, idiotically oblivious look on Ford’s face falls. He’s annoyed now, frowning. “He’s my nephew.”

And Pine Tree thinks Bill is arrogant.

Freakin’ families, and human bonds of attachment. The kid’s too biased against demons, and too blinded by his hero worship, to see who’s the real source of all his trouble.

Bill’s been there for his human, he’s been gone for his human, he’s shoved, and petted, hauled him around, and only sat near him, silently. He’s dug at every fault, he’s… vaguely hinted at all the good things about his human, ‘cause outright compliments would make Pine Tree uncomfortable or paranoid. He’s fucking cuddled this insolent bastard, and got zip. Zilch. Nothing.

Then this asshole, just stalks on in, takes it over, and gets the friggin’ job done, by the looks of it.

Ford caused all of this!

He stares at Ford, smiling, just slightly, and has to force himself not to set him on fire right then and there.

Bill keeps his face calm. He plucks the sleeve of Stanford’s shirt, lifting the arm up and away from where it’s touching his human, and lets it drop. The startled, almost pissed-off look it plasters on Sixer’s face is delicious.

“Yeah, but he’s mine.” In every way he can be, and Bill’s going to find even more . “And I’ve never almost killed him.” He says lightly. He tilts his head away, looking nonchalant.

A couple attempts don’t count. Nothing came of them.

Ford stands up. “You’re clever, I’ll admit. Dipper likes you, too.” And now Ford’s not happy, a lot less impressed with Bill now that his dumbass murder attempt's been brought up. He crosses his arms. “But I’ve never liked how you treat him.”

What the hell? This ignorant, blind, moron - Denial seems to run in the Pines family.

Ford’s cursebreak woulda slaughtered Pine Tree, if Bill hadn’t helped out. That mind could’ve been crushed into paste , and it’s only through sheer dumb luck it didn’t. If Bill’s human hadn’t been as tough as he is...

Well. At least then Bill would be free - if he put in a little elbow grease - there’d be nothing stopping him from taking care of things. Pine Tree wouldn’t be there anymore.

All the charm of being in reality wore off a while ago, anyway. Novelty kept him busy for a month or two, but now Bill’s sick of this body, sick of reality, of being anywhere near this four-eyed dorkwad, especially! Some downtime in the Mindscape would do him good. All of Bill’s essence has been disrupted, somehow.

For the first time ever, Bill’s actually sick.

There’re cures for this in humans - but Bill doesn’t get that luxury. He’s gonna put in some time to look for something that would work on a being of pure energy, but right now, time and, y’know, being a demon , is the only medicine he has. Nothing gets the better of him for long. He can blast any other problem to bits, this… organic thing will fade. Little adjustment time, and everything’ll be peachy.

“I’ll treat him however I want.” Bill says, nonchalantly.

Ford might wanna support his nephew - but compared to Bill? He falls hilariously short. Especially ‘cause they aren’t exactly working from the same starting point.

Who the hell is this guy, to say Bill’s treated his human wrong?

Who’s the guy who taught Dipper almost everything he knows now? Not Sixer, he hasn’t been around. Bill’s looked for it, and there weren’t any private lessons, or much attention paid to the kid’s education. If Bill’s mortal had been taught more, he’d’ve known better than to try that spell - He wouldn’t have gotten mixed up in this shit in the first place! Someone else could’ve shown him how dumb that spell was, but no, that fell to Bill.

And who fixed his human’s issues with familiars, huh? Bill did that the second he met the guy! But this halfwit uncle of Dipper’s coulda noticed, or said something! It’s a huge deal for mortal magicians, and Ford’s never had a familiar. He could’ve had a talk with the kid about that problem, anytime. He’s had years to do it, he’s been through similar things himself - and he did friggin’ nothing.

Between the teaching, the shared power, the games, the sex, and saving his human’s stupid butt when he messed up - Bill’s done way more for this mortal than any other one, ever.

Dipper’s been so close to Bill, for so long, and he’s come outta it without a scratch. He’s come out ahead! He knows more, he’s more confident, he’s shaping up to be a tool any demon would drool over themselves to have! Way better than a regular mortal! Pine Tree doesn’t appreciate it fully either, but as far as humans go…

Bill has treated his mortal like gold, and he is severely underappreciated.

Ford actually starts glaring. It makes Bill smirk, very slightly. Ha! He’s so annoyed, ‘cause he doesn’t get it. What Bill and Pine Tree have is-

“That’s hardly appropriate. He’s not your property .” Sixer says, standing up. He crosses his arms, giving Bill a dirty look.

Bill narrows his eye.

In front of him, Ford almost sneers. There’s tension in that mortal. He’s shown he’s protective before, but now the smoke from his low-burning antagonism is being fanned into a flame.

Sure, Sixer is family to the kid - he’d wanna keep him out of the clutches of something powerful, since he wants him to have an ‘equal relationship’. Too bad! Pine Tree is Bill’s.

There have been thousands of people who woulda thrown themselves at Bill’s feet for this! Some even have! They begged for it! Pretty hilarious, really. They shot themselves in the foot by doing it, but…  Bill’s had humans roll over, bare their throats, stitch parts of themselves to other parts where they didn’t belong - heck, even more, just to come close to the ways he’s laid a claim on this mortal, and Dipper doesn’t appreciate that, either.

He files away a mental note - cram how amazing Bill is into Pine Tree’s skull, at some point. Mindscape, right, that’s the place to do it. Once he sees what Bill’s truly capable of-

There’s a scraping sound, and a clatter. Both Bill and Ford look at Pine Tree. He’s standing now, and the chair he was sitting in lies toppled on its back.

Pine Tree’s eyes dart between him and Stanford - Then the human steps in between them. Sighing. Rubbing at the bridge of his nose.

Ford’s still glaring, brows furrowed. Bill glares right back. Between the two of ‘em, considering what they are - Bill’s been way better to Dipper than Ford ever has been, and he’s not going to-

“We need to go,” Dipper says, grabbing onto one of Bill’s arms with both of his. Bill startles, tensing up his arm. “Just… going on a date. I’ll be back!”

The jolt as Bill’s pulled away is just as sudden as the interruption. His human’s clinging onto him so tightly that it’s slightly painful, and more than sudden! What the shit is this?

He follows his human, though he can’t help but mouth a quiet ‘what’, as he’s dragged away.

Bill trails after Dipper as he’s pulled outside... then catches up to his mortal, walking beside him, and frowns.

Something’s going on in that head again.

If that look on his human’s face is any indication… Same expression as his last few ideas. Looking distracted, a little unfocused, that pretty mind racing along like it’s got something hounding it - Bill’s human comes up with fun thoughts, when he’s under pressure! It’s exciting to watch.

Every time his human comes up with something, it’s a surprise! Like unwrapping a present! And Pine Tree hasn’t disappointed Bill yet. He was thinking of how he’d justify Sixer’s death, but since that’d be a pain in the angles... doesn’t cost Bill much to wait a bit, and see what comes out of his mortal’s mind. If this stupid, tempting creature would just stop throwing new fights and new puzzles at him - And no matter who wins in their games, Bill has fun.

He breathes in slowly, gritting his teeth.

He wouldn’t have gotten sick if his human wasn’t so unintentionally manipulative, and even that’s adorable.

This bastard.

Something spurred this guy into action, and- Bill snaps his fingers, getting it. He brightens up.

Of course. That’s what the kid needed!

“That’s it! You needed a problem to solve,” He pulls Dipper closer, nudging up against his mortal. He gets grumbled at. “Should’ve known that since the beginning. Always been a curious little thing, haven’t you. I should have tried to destroy Fordsy a long time ago!” He pauses. He did, before, but... “More efficiently this time.”

Maybe the kid won’t always stand up for himself, but he will rise to the occasion, whenever he wants to protect someone he gives a damn about. No doubt the kid knew there was something about to kick off between Sixer and Bill back there. Pretty clear how that woulda gone down, and he stopped it - why Bill got dragged away, no doubt.

Dipper mumbles something in disagreement, but it’s reluctant. Bill hums happily to himself.

No argument is basically the same as winning the argument. Way better than someone just giving in. But his human’s acting normal, for all that he can be normal anymore-

Bill stops in his tracks, and grabs Pine Tree by the arm. “Wait, I’m not a problem?”

Dipper turns to look at him, incredulous. “You-” Then he yanks himself away, suddenly furious. He waves his hands at Bill, unable to find words, mouth working.

Bill crosses his arms.

He’s been bugging this guy for days! He always got a response before, so what was with the changeup? Is Bill not challenging enough? He’s damned well going to be, he can turn up the intensity! If what his Pine Tree needs is more trouble, Bill can provide that in spades! He’s the most terrifying, life-ruining demon in existence if he wants to be, he can-

“You? Bill? Not a problem? It’s the only thing you are.” Pine Tree practically snarls it out, looking at  him, pissed off as hell. “You’ve ruined my life, you asshole. You are the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. That could ever happen to me.”

He splutters for a moment, searching for something that’ll really get to Bill, flailing - and failing.

Bill blinks at his human.

Pine Tree’s trying to be as much of a pain in the ass to Bill as is humanly possible. Frankly, he doesn’t have much competition. He’s been the absolute most massive thorn in Bill’s side since forever.

This is the best wrestling match of wits Bill’s had in a long time, and it’s gonna keep going, even though Pine Tree’s human, because he gets just as much of a thrill out of it as Bill does. And Bill can’t kill him! Forget the life bond restrictions, at this point. If he killed this guy ‘cause he couldn't win whatever argument they were having - that'd basically be admitting defeat.

They’re going to try and wreck each other, they’ve been at that for a while, and-

The human's staring now, flat and a little angry. He knew there might've been a fight between Sixer and Bill, that he could only keep one of 'em, and he's still, foolishly, selfishly trying for both. 

Complete insanity - for a human - again, and Pine Tree knows it.

But... the kid really meant that. Wants their game to keep going, even though it’s dangerous. Hell, because it is! And even if though it could upset his family, though he could toss it away at any time - No matter how terrible they make each other’s lives, and how human Pine Tree is - Pine Tree wants him. He wants Bill around enough to lie to his uncle. The kid’s own personal hero, shoved out of the equation, just to keep Bill, even though Bill’s, quote ‘ruining his life’.

Yeesh. Bill feels a little. That's, y'know!

Pine Tree ’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to Bill. It’s only right that it goes both ways! Entirely deserved, but-

Bill turns his head away, scratching his cheek with one finger. The flesh of his face feels warm. “Aw. Ha! You were even sincere about that! Flattery will get you everywhere, sapling.”

Honestly? That’s pretty romantic!

For a human. Who doesn’t know what he’s implying.

He listens to his human sigh, sounding exhausted. Almost defeated. Not defeated yet , but... if Bill’s smile is a little more sadistic than it should be, there’s a damned good reason behind it.

He stalks forward, waggling his eyebrows. His human flips  him off, glaring. When Bill takes him by the arms, and leans in - Dipper starts the kiss, urgently. Like Bill’s not gonna play along with that , it feels great and it’s tons of fun. He shuts his eye, and his human clutches at his shirt, dragging him closer. Hands clenched. Knuckles tight and white with tension, holding on  hard. Like he never wants to let go.

Bill nips gently at his mortal’s lip, presses in closer - nice, he got a moan from that move. Bill doesn’t grant wishes - but he’ll humor his human’s impulse, for a while.

Dipper Pines will never get rid of Bill, not until Bill’s rid of him.

Pine Tree is his . The human doesn’t get any more of a choice in that matter than Bill got one about that thing . If Bill’s gotta put up with the bullshit he’s been infected with, because of this horrific mortal fleshsack - this poisonous, blood-filled, toxic mortal freak - Pine Tree’s not getting away with that. Never, ever, ever is this disgusting mortal creature escaping Bill’s grasp.

Serves his mortal right, for being such a sickly, rotting influence. Letting this mortal get away with what he’s done to Bill is so far beyond comprehension even Bill can’t understand it, and he imagines six impossible things before breakfast!

But making out’s really nice - Bill tries not to smirk, as Pine Tree squeezes a hand on his thigh,  probably without even thinking of it -

...No real plan , just this sec. Pretty difficult to think of what else he could do to the kid, Bill’s already rubbed himself up against almost every part of Pine Tree, both on the physical and metaphysical plane.

Still not good enough. There’s gotta be more ways to claim this mortal.

Bill’s gonna take Pine Tree right down to his soul, because if Bill has to be this corrupted, it's damned well going to go both ways. He’s gonna ruin his human, just like his human ruins everything he touches.

There’ll be moments of weakness. Cracks in his human’s armor. Vulnerability, hey, Bill knows how to work with that! Once he finds it… There’ll only be a brief window to take full advantage, before Dipper catches on. Too wary, always looking for the catch, thinking and overthinking - huh, another thing to use against him.

If he can’t find a way to exploit more from Pine Tree, and keep him for always, he’ll eat his hat.

He’s gonna own Dipper Pines, entirely.

Chapter Text

That fight... didn’t go Bill’s way. Alright! That was always a possibility, but wow.

That beautiful snapping moment of release, when that head split open - It hurt, sure, but it was like this... satisfying crack of like, an egg smashing against a house, and voila!

Bill was free! Floating, and - He’d run his hands over his edges, chuckled quietly to himself, snapped his fingers - being his own sharp, smooth, elegant one-hundred and eighty degrees of pure awesome.

Finally! All the restrictions gone, all the possibilities there, all his power, his neat, usual shape - yep, still as handsome as always. He could make anything, do everything !

With all of that physical baggage gone, Ford… really, finally did him a favor. Hadn’t expected it to go that way! Ha. All it took was destroying the brain, the part he was most stuck in! And then?

Nothing could hold him back. Bill had drawn himself up, and sighed, happily, eye shutting. He was gonna go able to dart through the minds of-

Go through the minds of…

Absolutely nobody.

His rush to leave, and explore, and exploit got held up with a shocking, unpleasant jolt.

He’s not free. At all.

Now, Bill blinks slowly, arms dropping to the ground beside him. He stares out into the reaches of the Mindscape, lying flat on his back. Which is finally flat again. He feels his lower eyelid twitch. His hands clench, he digs his fingers into the ground, which doesn’t budge, cause -

Bill’s physical body is dead . He’s out of it as far as he can be, but, oh yeah, it’s still a trap. There’s a friggin’ anchor, ‘cause Pine Tree made it from his life, the body will always exist while Dipper does.

There’s a tug at their magic - Bill looks over at his human - he floats up, eye widening.

Pine Tree’s on the porch, looking scared, and angry. Both of his uncles have moved in close, Pine Tree’s backing away from them. He holds out his hands, covered with a tiny bit of flame, to fend them off. Whatever they’re doing, Pine Tree doesn’t like it.

Floating over this corpse, Bill glares. He gives it a kick for good measure. It’s gonna feel pretty disgusting, but it’s fixable. Not even that difficult, if Bill lets it happen. Once the kid gets around to it, Bill’s gonna be back in a snap!

And fire? If Pine Tree wants fire, he can have that , Bill’s always for burning stuff! Someone’s skin getting scorched off would really pick up his mood right now.

When Bill takes down the wall, and lets his human back into their magic - all the pulling Dipper’s doing pays off, and the flames rage around him, swirling up into a huge pillar of fire.

Bill clutches his hands together, watching eagerly. That dumb building’s gonna burn down, and his human is obviously upset, he’s going to take revenge on those other humans that took Bill out…

Or...

Or Dipper could storm away, not murdering anyone -  and fall onto his knees, like a weakling, hands over his eyes. No revenge at all.

Goddamnit. Bill narrows his eye. His arms drop. He shoulda expected that. Dipper’s gotta vent, apparently. Well, he should be upset, the best thing in his life just got his brains splattered across the lawn.

“Yeah, sit there and whimper, kid,” Bill grumbles, crossing his arms. When’s the kid gonna get to work? Gross healing or not, floating around is tedious. “That’s gonna do us both a fat lot of good.”

It takes a while. Way longer than it should. But Pine Tree can’t feel sorry for himself forever - he stops the fire and gets up.

About time he did something. Bill hovers closer, impatient - And watches as his mortal turns away, towards his family - and starts talking -

Oh no. "Hey. Hey! No!” Bill strains against the bond, but the kid’s out of reach. Not Bill could grab him from here anyway. “What the hell? No, kid, this is still salvageable! What do you think you’re doing?” Dipper doesn’t look like he’s gonna keep his trap shut. “Honesty is the worst policy!”

Family first. The kid’s going to tell them everything he knows about Bill, he wants ‘em safe. He’s demon-free, sorta, as far as he can be - guess he likes things that way, the bastard - and he’s spilling the beans, every last one of ‘em. Pine Tree’s picked his side, and it’s not one of the three Bill has.

He isn’t gonna...  

Bill swivels his eye around, staring at the corpse.

That’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Bill shuts his eye and gives another fruitless, furious yank on this horrible chain made from his horrible human’s horrible life - and it budges zero inches.

Pulling at this chain tying him to the body gets nothing. He can’t sever it. All his power on hand or not - even the chainsaw or five he creates can’t cut through the damned thing, ‘cause the kid’s immune, and it’s made of life .

He can’t pull it out, he can’t obliterate the body, he can’t kill Pine Tree, he can’t cut off his corner.

Bill shuts his eye, changes shape, size, color, he splits into tiers and tries to pry off the bottom one - not working! - goddamned magic keeps him in place, he’s still frigging attached -

He can’t even shapeshift out of this.

His human can’t hear it, but Bill swears, loud and long and continually, pulling at his own eyelid - but pulling it down. Bill isn’t even gonna look at his stupid mortal. He drags his hands over his front and groans, and curses his human’s name, and his house, and his lineage -

Stuck in only one place. One worthless place - he’s got power, endless power, but no leverage - for a whole human lifetime.

Bill pulls back as far and as fast as he can from this confining chain - but with all the momentum, and how solid this is - he just swings around in a wide circle.  Friggin’ great. Bill crosses his arms and revolves for a while, sulking. Spinning’s neat, but this carousel bullshit is gonna get old, fast.

He slows himself and settles back to the ground, flopping front-first this time next to the body.

Bill really should have killed Stanford. There were so many moments where he coulda, the opportunities were there! Taking them was so tempting! But he held off, since Pine Tree woulda made Bill’s existence really annoying immediately afterwards.

Besides, ending up with a dead body was a possibility, Sixer or no. If Bill had done in the uncle - forget any progress he ever made with the kid. Bill could only expect revenge.

This so much worse than annoying, and Sixer’s still alive. And hell, that wasn’t the biggest mistake.

The gold medal goes right to mentioning the whole ‘demon’ thing in the first place.

Kid’s strong-willed and pretty observant, but he’s only human, with human weaknesses. He’s not perfect. If the kid hadn’t known. If Bill had just started the whole ‘tempt-the-mortal’ routine from minute one , Pine Tree would’ve fallen into Bill’s grasp by now. Mind access or not, Bill can subdue any mortal! Maybe he’d have figured out the demon part early on…

Even then, Dipper would still be leaning over the edge of that cliff. Thinking about taking the leap, even if he knew it wasn’t the most ethical call.

Bill hits the corpse again, lying flat.

Damn it. If he just friggin’ hadn’t answered the spell - it looked nice on the outside, but for fuck’s sake, Bill knows better than to take things at face value! That’s Pine Tree’s fault. The human’s the one who made it so complex. Bill coulda spent a solid week picking apart the finer details, there just wasn’t time.

Everything is Dipper Pines’ fault, for making-

Bill sits up suddenly, blinking.

Ah hell. Pine Tree wanted to be normal! That’s why he made the stupid spell, to fit in with other magicians! Wanting to be part of society.

What if he defaults back to that.

Son of a bitch, Pine Tree’s gonna have a lineage. Yeah, Bill totally needed that knowledge on top of everything else!

His hat droops to one side, he straightens it.

Pine Tree could at least, y’know. Be a part of something better than society. Like a friggin’ cult or something!

A celibate one.

That fleshy little fucker could run off and - go be all human , and find another human, who’d only be an incredibly shitty, worthless partner. Bill’s idiot mortal’s gonna follow those stupid imaginary social rules, and breed or adopt or something, ‘cause that’s what regular people do with other regular worthless, mediocre-at-best mortal crapsacks.

And he’ll be quietly, desperately, agonizingly bored, for the rest of his life.

With nothing to fight against? Without a struggle, without any power, or something to take up as a challenge? Brains need exercise as much as bodies do! And nothing’s gonna be enough for the kid after Bill! And whenever the kid balks at something, he'll have nobody to shove him forward into it anyway! 

This mortal’s lovely mind is gonna wither under the focus of normality, shriveling like a grape. It’s gonna get stuck in a rut of boring, complacent, normality. It’s gonna go to waste .

And Pine Tree’s not gonna die anytime soon. Bill’s life is tied up with the kid’s, so he might last for decades. He might last for a century, maybe more, Bill can’t tell how this bond’s gonna change that. He was kinda looking forward to finding out.

And all the while, Bill’s going to be just nearby enough to catch glimpses of that life - ‘cause he’s tied to a corpse, which’ll likely get buried near a place the kid visits a lot - any fun Dipper does get involved with -

- isn’t gonna have Bill there to see the best bits.

It could’ve been good. It could’ve been great. It could have grown up into a monster of a thing and exploded everything that stood in their way.

So much potential, all flushed down the drain, because Pine Tree doesn't want anything to do with a demon, even after how great he's had it. Even with everything Bill has. Dipper Pines had no idea about anything.

Together, they coulda had everything.

That ungrateful asshole.

Bill lies in place for a while. What a horrible situation. He's had his low points, but all of the others had escape routes - though Bill never needed to take any of 'em. This one? Is the worst. By far, the worst, and he's gotta really work to find out where the weakness is here! He groans, stretching -

There's going to be something, Bill can't be fully trapped -

He floats up, hovering above the body, and looks around.

Mindscape. There's that. He’s got no limits here. This is his realm. And he's already bored. Maybe he could set up some neat stuff around here - Bill squints - y’know like a pyramid or six, something small and quaint.

But attracting attention to this spot’s a shitty plan.

The last thing Bill needs is a bunch of losers catching him with his metaphysical pants down. If they scampered off - shit, couldn’t even chase after the fuckers, he’s stuck too hard to retaliate. Bill pulls his hat down over his point, groaning. He can change the stuff around him, but expending all his power here's just gonna draw a crowd, that's not good! What the fuck is he gonna do with all his time? It’s a cage fulla boredom he’s been dropped into, and he has nothing to play with.

This is already getting old. Bill curses, looks around more, he clenches his hands. This is it, huh? All he's gonna see for the next six or seven decades?

The same old trees, same old grass, same old building- A firm voice - Bill blinks, turning to face this mortal.

And... Pine Tree.

The human's stopped using any magic, he’s standing close to the body - but turned away from it. Back straight, arms crossed.

“And you know what?” Pine Tree says, and his tone is full of defiance, and determination -

Bill glares at his human’s back. He already chose what he wanted. This just rubs salt in the wound. Sadistic little fucker, Bill hates how much he likes that. Pine Tree keeps talking -

“I’m gonna keep him.” A sudden surge of magic flows from Bill. There’s a slight ‘pop’ of sensation, then-

There he is.

Bill’s eye widens. There’s his human. Arms crossed, sighing out heavily, looking worried.

But in the Mindscape. He came to the Mindscape, he’s - Bill laughs, clutching at his front and watches as Dipper tenses up.

Holy crap, he’s here! He’s come to visit! He wants.... Bill brightens dramatically. “That was pretty fast! Well, well, you really did miss me, didn’tcha Pine Tree? I knew you liked me. Good to have a visitor, anyway! This better happen often. Things can get a little slow around here.”

The kid doesn’t respond, staying in place. He doesn’t move. Bill wishes for the billionth time he could tell what the fresh hell his human is thinking - but he can’t.

Bill sighs. “So yeah, great job on not making that body more durable! This ain’t exactly ideal. ...Guess you figured that out, too.”

His human can be fast about things. He knows what position Bill’s in, or he wouldn’t be here -  and damn, he was quick about it. Within minutes he understood Bill’s problem, Pine Tree’s sharp as hell.

“Really need to stop finding things out about me, kid,” Bill admits. “I like it too much, it’s annoying.”

That mind of his sure is something! It has angles and curves in all the right places, a wicked sense of humor, smooth hot thoughts - and energetic as hell. Not just good, or nice. Way more than that! It’s so quick and occasionally vicious, it’s got these complex fractal bits that break ideas down in seconds - Bill claps his hands together - So good.

Slowly, Pine Tree turns around. He keeps his gaze lowered. He sees the body, and he glances over it, then follows the chain upwards.

He blinks rapidly, face loosening from its previous tension.

“So, this is interesting,” says Bill, hovering high over his human form, tapping a finger just under his eye. “What’re you here for? Don’t think you would’ve shown up if you didn’t have something in mind.” Bill gives his human a smile, lower eyelid raising. “Surprised, aren’t you? Ha! So what’d’ya think, kid?” He braces a finger against one of his edges, twirling it. “Like the view?”

Pine Tree looks… confused.

He narrows his eyes, cocks his head a bit - kid seems worried, but not frightened, or disturbed. Hell yes, this human does like weird, now he’s curious . Bill can tell, in the way Pine Tree leans forward slightly. And, gloriously, this idiot speaks up. He says six, wonderful, lovely, idiotic words.

“I want to make a deal.”

Pine Tree’s voice cracks a little, but he’s looking stubborn, straightening up.

Hearing that sentence - Bill starts glowing more - It’s like screams of horror, it’s like a whole mob of terrified souls. Bill - almost - doesn’t know what to say.

He catches himself before he brightens up too much, looks away with disinterest. Putting on that act is really difficult for once, so… He laughs.

“A deal? Really?” He circles around his human, dragging this life-chain behind himself, around and around. Looks like Pine Tree’s pretty confused. He doesn’t turn to follow Bill as he moves, lost in his own thoughts. “Why would I make a deal with you? Kinda got burned on the last one, and not in the fun way.”

Bill’s got to play it cool. Really play it, chill as the ninth circle of hell cool. The very first rule of bargaining is never look too eager, or the other guy knows he’s got something on ya. Lucky thing Pine Tree’s never seen this form before, if Bill slips he’ll have space to recover.

“Yeah,” says Dipper, sounding certain. He stalks forward. “You’ll make a deal-”

He trips over the chain, nearly falling on his face, and Bill laughs, clutching at his front. Amazing, the kid is just…

This human is so very, very ignorant. He’s sharp, he picks himself up from his minor stumbles pretty fast - literally, in this case, Bill’s human glares at him. But Bill’s been making deals for tens of thousands of years, he’s got way more experience.

Dipper wants to bargain.

That puts them on Bill’s turf, and he always gets the better end of things. Always .

Bill will not glow brighter, the kid doesn’t need hints, but man! It’s so great.

Dipper sighs as he straightens up. “I know how bad this is for you.” He does, not hard to guess that. This is a completely bullshit situation- “Or do you want to be trapped like this? Buried in the backyard somewhere, and end up lying in a shallow grave? For decades?”

A decent point! Bill definitely doesn’t, that’d suck, so hard. He lifts his hands, shutting his eye. “You know what, Pine Tree. Why not?” Bill opens his eye quickly, turns it blue, he sweeps in to stare at Dipper’s face, inches away. “We can discuss it.”

Pine Tree stares back into Bill’s eye - then frowns, looking him over. Shit. The kid didn’t even flinch.

Bill floats back, crossing his arms. Weirding Dipper out isn’t gonna work. A lot of other things aren’t either. Intimidating him isn’t gonna work, freaking him out isn’t gonna work, Bill can’t offer him a trap, he’ll spot it too quick.

This... isn’t gonna be the best deal Bill’s ever made.

Fact of the matter is, Dipper’s got Bill in a completely shit place, where he’s got no leverage. Again. The kid’s got him up against the ropes and a solid grip on his - currently unattached - balls, Dipper friggin’ knows it, and he’s not afraid to squeeze.

Bill’s gonna actually have to give his human something. His human’s too stubborn, too difficult to fool, and he’s got Bill in a terrible place to push for anything.

Crap, he’s going to have to - He shuts his eye, only for a second - compromise .

This is humiliating. And there’s no way out.

“Fine, fine,” He says, rolling his eye. He glares at Dipper. “Enough games. What do you want?”

“I just- I have a question first,” says Dipper, holding a hand up.  He looks confused, even a bit worried. “Before we start. Is it Bill? Or is it Cipher?”

What, really? Bill’s eye widens. Pine Tree didn’t make the connection? He caught on to almost everything else, but not - Bill chuckles.

“Name’s Bill Cipher,” he responds, smugly. Pine Tree gives him a weird look, Bill shrugs. “You never asked if I had a last name, kid.”

“Right,” Dipper looks around, trying to figure out how to start. Bill watches him, unblinking. Pine Tree tenses up a bit under his gaze. “You want this fixed?” Dipper waves at the corpse, looking angry, and frustrated. “I can fix it. But I want something in return.”

Bill starts laughing again.

“And what would that be, Pine Tree?” He spreads his arms wide - actually grows a few more of them, around his sides, the hands light up with fire. “I’m still powerful, even like this. Whatcha got in mind?”

The human stares at him, face blank. Blinking, slowly. He’s adjusting, and it’s happening pretty fast. He’s going to adapt. He’s gonna demand .

Fair enough! At this point? Bill had... kinda halfway written off taking over this dimension, while Pine Tree’s still alive. All his tempting straight up wasn’t working, and the family, yeah, he wasn’t in a good place to harm ‘em, either. Both of those terms are gonna be in this deal, guaranteed.

All of that blows… but mostly, not an issue!

Because Pine Tree made one major, fatal mistake.

While he’s the only way for Bill to get out of this… what he wants is something only Bill can give him. They’re at a stalemate, advantage-wise, and guess who’s done this before!

It's irritating. Kinda embarrassing, on some level. Most of the terms Pine Tree’s gonna insist on are just... making this more reasonable, in his eyes. It’s an insane, completely overconfident gamble on his part. Bill could have given Dipper a galaxy, or a dimension, a million minions, tons of gold. Hell, let him rule over the world-

But Dipper, the ambitious, impudent guy, is going straight for the grand prize. Something way better than any of that, the most valuable thing he could get. And he doesn’t even realize it. Bill's never put this on the bargaining table before.

Pine Tree wants Bill, above anything else.

Bill can find a lot of flaws in this human, but he’s gotta admit. Dipper’s got great taste.

Considering the position Bill’s in, and what Pine Tree’s inevitably going to ask… Bill can work with that! There’ll be a deal, sure! Pine Tree really has no idea about anything! He shouldn’t have given what he wanted away!

Now Bill can use himself as a bargaining chip - wow, that’s awkward, kinda. Messed up. More than a little gross, but it’ll work. If Pine Tree balks? All Bill has to do is feign disinterest, like he doesn’t wanna be with this guy! Bill’s been doing this for eons, he knows how to play it. Yeah, it’s risky, and it sucks - but it’s what he’s got on hand.

Bill’s… not gonna get the world. Acceptable losses. He knows he can get the Mindscape back. Dipper won’t have a good way to argue against it!  And on top of returning to the status quo -

Bill’s gonna get a human. He’s coming outta this with a profit.

This whole thing is totally in the bag.


 

Except for a few minor details.

Bill groans, long and unendingly. Crap, he didn’t think he was gonna make another deal with Pine Tree, after the first, accidental one, and now-

Dipper blinks, and knocks Bill’s hand away from his forehead. Bill lets his arms drop, frustrated. “You hadn’t thought of that, had you,” Dipper starts grinning. He looks like he’s about to laugh. “Tough luck, Bill. You screwed yourself over.”

Bill keeps groaning, eye shutting. Son of a bitch, he can’t get anything from this awful mortal, can he? He ate this guy’s sleep, there’s no dream he can take. There’s not much he can take at all , without ruining the human’s nice body. Things were going so well! Except for the friggin’ price! Rules are rules, even if Bill hates it - there has to be one!

Now he’s gotta find something else to-

“And as for the price-” Dipper speaks up louder over Bill’s annoyance, and reaches out- “I’ve already paid it.”

“What?” asks Bill, confused, then again - “What.” More flatly this time. Pine Tree’s palming his front, running his hand all over. Groping. “Yeesh, ask a guy before feeling him up.”

“Why? You never ask me.” Pine Tree’s completely unashamed. He touches anyway.

Bill can’t feel much through his exoskeleton - it’s nothing compared to that human body he was in - but there’s zero embarrassment from this guy, even as he strokes his hand over Bill’s surface. Hell, he even traces a thumbnail along the indent between Bill’s bricks.

Bill’s gonna let him. Forward as hell or not, it’s nice. Not like he hasn’t fondled his human, either, it’s reasonable vengeance. But!

“Excuse you, sapling. I know you like it!” Bill closes his eye and rests a hand on himself with quiet dignity. “ I have been a complete gentleman,” Dipper’s still touching, but Bill’s not gonna stop him, it’s... Pretty good! “What with you giving bedroom eyes at that body so often. Don't think I didn't notice! And you're always wandering around, showing yourself off, you're one saucy little minx.”

The touching pauses as Dipper glares. Bill looks at him, amused. Dipper can be pissed at that if he likes, it was truthful. Likely he’s pissed because he knows it was. That’s even funnier!

“Speaking of which,” Pine Tree says, slow. He’s got something in mind, he narrows his eyes - and almost smiles. “You already took something from me. I paid a price up front, a while ago.”

Bill blinks at him. Wait a sec, the kid's sleep was handed over during their first deal. He hasn’t taken anything since they met! The kid has everything he started with!

Except - well, there was that -

Aw, crap.

Nice-feeling or not, Bill slaps Dipper’s hand away. The idiot keeps smiling, annoyingly, but he’s right. That’s technically correct, Bill owes him a tiny bit.

“Ugh, knew I shouldn’t have done that.” Shoulda turned it down, but that wouldn’t’ve worked out well either - Bill shoves his human roughly, but the kid moves with it and keeps standing. “You didn’t plan that!” He knows the kid didn’t, he was there for it! That was impulsive!

Dipper starts grinning. “Oh? Didn’t I? How would you know, Bill?” He taps the side of his head. “You couldn’t see what I was thinking.”

And now this human’s being a dick about it! He’s… Bill sighs, shutting his eye. Found that out too, didn’t he, how he’s annoyingly, frustratingly attractive, and he’s taunting. Knowing he's got that leg up on Bill means-

Wait.

Pine Tree's got an idea of what his mind looks like. Once he gets over being embarrassed - guy’s not used to compliments - This human wants to fight Bill. Oh, he’s gonna use it. He'll get aggressive, too, before he readjusts, the kid always pushes too hard. Bill definitely won’t mind when that happens. That's gonna get interesting.

This price, though... it's a friggin' pittance. It's a token price! It's a debt, yeah, but one that earns Bill zero power! He doesn't trade in sex! He's basically getting nothing outta this, beyond his human, and even that's...

“It would be your revenge on Ford,” Dipper says, quickly. Bill looks back at him. “I’m his favorite nephew, and you getting involved with me?” Dipper straightens up. He's come up with something. “He knows you can’t change my mind. It was all me. And he can’t do anything about it.”

That's true. It would be revenge, there's that. Ford would hate it! Spite definitely sweetens up the price a lot. And with the knowledge that Pine Tree had offered it himself? On purpose? Knowing what Bill is? Ten times worse for Stanford! 

Bill turns away, hovering in a slow circle.

Ford's fury'll be great, no doubt. Nicely convincing, Pine Tree's got a talent for making things sound good - But if there's anyone he needs to take revenge on -

It's Pine Tree. 

For putting Bill in this position in the first place. For the sick, horrible thing he's infected Bill with. For this life-trap

The last one's an insult that needs to be addressed. Dipper can't be allowed to get away with binding Bill to himself like this, it's gotta have a response, because that very first thing caused everything else. Without that thing snapped around Bill, none of this would have-

Bill pauses in his hovering.

Oh.

Hey.

That's a thought.

“I mean,” continues Dipper,  “Even if he did destroy your body again, I’d bring you back,” He nudges Bill gently with the back of his hand, smiling. “You always come back, right?”

True, nice thing to throw in. Pine Tree didn't have to concede that, make himself obligated to fix the body - but Bill looking reluctant means he gave up more, just like he gave up the Mindscape. Unintentional, but great! Nice bonus! Bill hadn't been aiming for that.

He only had a thought.

A distracting, excellent, beautiful thought.

“Right, fine, I popped your cherry, that’s-” Bill turns back towards his human, waves a hand dismissively. “Whatever. Not my usual though, I can’t accept that as-is,” He makes a disgusted sound, and adjusts his hat. “So I got some conditions.”

Important conditions. 

“I’m listening,” says Dipper, eyes widening.

Of course he's listening,  he doesn't have a choice. Bill brightens up, he can't help it.

 “You,” Bill says, and gestures broadly over Dipper.  “Are now exclusive. Nobody else gets up in - or on - all of this, for the rest of your life. This right here?” He pokes his human, smugly. “Is Bill Cipher’s. I don’t like other people touching my stuff.”

This is the first step. To make this deal. This... 

Bill clears his nonexistant throat, trying to compose himself. He can barely believe he's doing this - he'd never considered it before, still wouldn't, for anyone else - but these circumstances are so bullshit... and they make this idea perfect.

“I assume that you’re talking about, uh,” Dipper sounds immensely awkward. He squirms where he stands. "Body stuff.”

Bill rolls his eye. He can't wait until Pine Tree gets over himself enough to be direct about that kinda thing. It's not like Bill's gonna use that against him, this guy's weird, human dignity is safe.

"Yes,” He makes finger quotes. “‘Body stuff’, not general human touching. Say the word sex for once in your life,” He laughs a little, amused. “Kid, I couldn’t keep your sister from hugging you, she’d murder me. Again. But no sex, no kissing.” He jabs a thumb at himself. “That's all mine."

“I’ll agree - if it goes both ways,” Dipper says, eyes narrowing. Aw, that's adorable! Jealousy. “You don’t get to fool around.” Pausing, Pine Tree thinks, then adds, “With humans, or with other demons.”

Bill starts laughing, high and bright, entertained. He flicks the tip of Dipper’s nose with one finger. “Jealousy! I like it. You should be jealous, I’m amazing. You’re so lucky and you don’t even know it,” He pauses, glances around. Well, it'd keep  this  mortal calmer, and...  yeah, Bill  didn't have his eye on anyone else, at the moment. “I can do that. But only! If you never," And this is important, too, Pine Tree better agree - "Make a deal with another demon.”

Pine Tree leans back, hand cupped on his chin. He's frowning. What a - he knows it's dumb to make deals with demons, why's he thinking about making another one?

“I guess that’s fair.” says Dipper, eventually, looking serious. “I’ll take it.”

About time he gave in. Bill relaxes. For a sec he thought his human might actually be insane. Wanting to cross Bill out of sheer contrariness is fine. Betraying Bill is another. Anyway, Pine Tree passed it up, so that's one thing outta the question.

That's a couple major things outta the way. The details, well. Those he's gonna throw into the contract. Not going to be difficult either, 'cause that's gonna get complicated. 

It's what makes this revenge so perfect. It's downright poetic! Pine Tree's falling into Bill's trap, and - just like Bill didn't see the life one - Dipper's never gonna see it coming.

Bill can take something else. In a metaphorical sense, just like this body's a metaphor.

And it's Pine Tree's hand.

Bill never thought he'd contract a mortal companion. 'Cause he'd have to give something up. Voluntarily.

That's disgustingly intimate, and to - giving something to a human, a temporary, fleshy, boring thing? Bill's never understood why anyone did it, it's always seemed so pointless. You lose a bit, then they die anyway. Why sacrifice something to keep 'em closer for such a short time? You can always just convince them to join you! It's not like it's difficult.  

Bill's never wanted a human, 'cause there was no point when you can talk 'em into anything. He could have anyone, at any time, if he was really after it!

Except for Pine Tree.

Who always, always fights, especially because he likes the fight, who wants to be hard to get. But what does that matter? Bill's already given him power, he didn't get a choice in the matter! This is just Bill taking what he rightfully deserves. 

Bill can drag his mortal into a contract. He'll keep his mortal, as close as any demon can keep a mortal, and he doesn't have to give him anything.

The very first thing Dipper Pines ever did to Bill was to latch onto him, to leech off his power. He pickpocketed the keys of Bill's place, and kept them from him. He's been clamped around Bill's ankle this whole time, clinging tight, no matter how much Bill tried to shake him off. 

If Pine Tree wants to be the ol' ball and chain? Fine! 

They'll make it official.

“Let’s do this, sapling,” He draws a hand up his human's chest. “We’ll do your stupid definitions of what’s right and not. What are your terms?” He snaps his fingers, making a scroll of imaginary paper uncurl across the ground in front of them.

“We’ll talk,” says Dipper, and pokes Bill. Weirded out or not, Pine Tree keeps finding reasons to touch Bill. He keeps doing it, getting more confident about it every time. Bill's gonna encourage that! “Don’t think you’ll get one over me.” 

He’s smiling. Oblivious, and adorable.

Bill gives him a thumbs up, laughing. “Don’t think I’ll need to.”

Dipper doesn’t know it -  but he’s already fallen into most of Bill’s trap. Bill’s got his human right where he wants him.

All that’s left is sorting out the details. His human has already started laying out the groundwork, and the rest is going to be easy. Boring, sure, Bill has to make it boring, grind his human into dullness for a while, so he can sneak the terms past him. He won't look for anything strange, after a while. Some of the traditional clauses gotta be left out, too, or Pine Tree’ll spot ‘em. That sucks. ‘Dipper Cipher’ had a nice ring to it.

For the most part, this deal is... Irritatingly equal. And there’s a lot of things that they’ll fight about, forever.

But the important part is that Pine Tree handed himself over, on a silver platter, and he’s never, ever going to escape. 

Taking over this dimension is lost for a few decades - but Bill’s gonna have his own realm, a vacation home in reality, and he’s got a delightful souvenir in hand! 

Bill rubs his hands together, and chuckles. 

The main game is over.

And Dipper Pines lost.

Chapter Text

Bill stares at himself in the mirror.

He waves a hand in front of his face. Wrinkles up his nose, pokes himself in the cheek, then - doesn’t poke himself in the eye, again, turns out it’s as unpleasant in this form as the usual. He looks himself over, tapping one foot on the ground, frustrated.

This isn’t himself. Not really.

It’s the fleshy shell he’s stuck in.

The contract with Dipper Pines means this is what Bill’s gotta work with, until the kid kicks it. And if Bill has anything to say about it, that’s going to be a long, long time from now.

Bill can take some moments to examine this flesh. Now’s as good a time as any.

He hadn’t checked this form out too hard before. Reeling Pine Tree into loosening up for once, joining Bill’s eternal party, was priority number one. And it was going  - not great, alright. But way better than anyone else could have managed! Now that’s outta the picture.

Bill’s reflection frowns back at him.

...And he looks human as hell.

That spell made sure his new form would be an animal, sure. But there’s a huge range of those! On the one hand, this isn’t the worst possible result. On the other hand, could’ve been something more impressive than human, it’s not like there weren’t other options. Not to mention there’s no shapeshifting, at all. What a load of crap.

On the third hand, at least it’s not shaped like a non-sentient animal. Forget that bullshit. Bill wouldn’t put up with that for a second.

He sticks out his tongue. He makes a few faces, then hooks a couple fingers around his lips and opens his mouth, tongue lolling, tugging around this meat to look. Nice teeth, at least. He smooshes the facemeat, thumbs his nose at himself.

Yeah, he’s okay with the face. Because objectively? That’s handsome. Almost as handsome as being equilateral!

The rest - Bill looks it over in the mirror, snorting out a laugh. Pine Tree was attracted to this from the start, it’s a solid representation. Showing how great the real deal is. Good shape, nice parts - he frowns, pats himself in one particular place - though this one doesn’t fill him with the urge to grab and squeeze, like Pine Tree’s does.

Bill’s possessed humans before. Looking like one means he can hide his true self - and intentions - better than usual! Wearing some meat isn’t new, he’s sought it out more than once. Those meatsuits were fun to puppet!

...That’s about all Bill can say about ‘em.

They always felt a little loose around the joints, or too constricting. Floppy in the wrong places, or too bony in others. Besides, those puppets got tired, or needed to be fed, or got out of shape if he didn’t flail their limbs around enough.

This one’s different! Not too shabby, come to think of it.

It doesn’t need to sleep. It can eat, but it’s not required. Takes a beating better than real flesh, and Bill doesn’t have to worry about it behaving like a real human body, either! No changing, or aging, or falling apart around him outta sheer wrongness - it’s his.

So, hey, this isn’t perfectly human. Whatever that spell was composed of, there was some wiggle room, and it shows. Bill pulls away his eyepatch, squinting at himself again - and places it back. Definitely room for the real thing, or that wouldn’t be part of it.

Breathing in sharply - breathing’s not too bad either, he barely even needs to think about doing it - Bill rolls his shoulders, and stretches, testing the fit again.

Yeah, that’s good. Downright comfortable. The way this form surrounds his essence is is nicely tailored.

Plenty of nice decor on the outside, and some comfy metaphysical lounging space on the inside. Not to mention it makes certain games with his favorite toy significantly easier. He’s never going to get tired of those.

As far as bodies go… Bill prods it in a few more places, jabbing himself in the ribs, the thigh -  he shrugs.

Eh, he’ll let Pine Tree get away with stuffing him into this. Maybe a couple minor pranks - it’s the principle of the thing - but he was gonna do those anyway, for fun!

At the moment… he’s in reality. Surrounded by minds, all around this Shack. One Bill just has to taunt soon, ‘cause he’s taking off-  and he’s not wandering away from this, not without a few jabs at his ridiculous human pride.

And another… Bill can feel his human in the building and judging by where he is - Bill will join him later. Or catch him after, and have a little dessert. He chuckles softly, heading downstairs.

Dodging all of the Pines family is easy, they’re all up to their own thing. Maybe he can’t do much to ‘em, anymore - whatever, they’re no threat. Almost nothing’s a threat!

There’s less than a handful of beings working anywhere near Bill’s level, and even those guys can’t get to him!

Much.

Downstairs, in the living room, Bill settles down close, crouching on the carpet.

He gazes into the tank.

“Bet you had something to do with this,” He mutters, placing his hands up against the glass. “Didn’t you.”

The axolotl waves its pink gills.

It’s floating slightly, one forelimb resting on the wood in its tank. Nearly motionless.

“I know you’re watching,” Bill hisses, tapping the glass viciously. This jerk’s not fooling Bill, he knows what’s up! “Don’t try to deny it, I play this game myself.” He leans in close, nose pressed against the tank. “ Nasty trick, coming from you.”

The axolotl opens and closes its mouth, slowly, over a few seconds. It looks like it’s natural, an animal movement, but -

Crap, is it mocking him? Oh, this pink, fleshy, semi-aquatic piece of shit.

“It’ll be a few decades before I’m outta this, yeah, fine! Forget whatever you’re thinking, ‘cause that human’s gonna die one day. Then I’ll be back. Better than ever!”

The axolotl floats in place.

Bill growls, leaning in. “Wipe that smug look off your slimy face.”

This creature’s all peaceful. Seemingly innocuous.

“I,” Bill declares, teeth bared in an unpleasant smile. “Am Bill Cipher. ” Eye narrowed, gesturing over himself. This is temporary, he’s only getting what fun he can from it. “All of this changes nothing.”

In the doorway, Stan clears his throat roughly.

“Uh, you know that’s just, like, a fish, right?” He’s giving Bill a weird look, cracking a can of soda open as he heads towards his favorite armchair. “Not a familiar or anything. It’s a pet.”

“Oh. I know what this is,” Bill mutters darkly. Then pauses. “It’s an amphibian. Get your facts straight.”

The humans here might not be in on the greater metaphysical picture, but Bill’s not outta the loop. He knows who’s who, and what’s what - And these humans don’t need to know about it.

“Whatever.” Stan rolls his eyes, settling back into his seat. He shifts to be comfortable, turning on the TV. “Knew you had a few screws loose.”

Bill rolls his eye. The commentary’s annoying.  “You got your pound of flesh, Stanley.” He looks over. “We got a problem?”

More than a few pounds, at that. Bill keeps his old molted exoskeletons around, there’s plenty of ‘em, and he knew he was keeping them for a reason! But the second he offered gold -  seeing the way Stan’s eyes lit up with greed - Bill knew he’d given something away. Stan got way more than he shoulda.

“Nah. Far as I’m concerned, you’re Dipper’s problem.” Stan waves him off. “Keep it down, creep.”

Bill flips Stan off - But, eh, there’s no point in escalating.

Stan’s never liked him, finds him real annoying - hey, Bill’s not all that fond of old Stan here either. Makes things pretty tense. He’ll give Stanley credit for not losing his temper and going for that first swing yet.

Besides Bill, the only person who really understood the contract, read it over real thorough - is Stan.

Doubtless it’s why he knew he could ask for that payment. He’s seen there are loopholes. Direct harm’s outta the question - but hell, the sheer amount of blackmail Bill’s got on this old guy is enough to knock someone less tough over in a heartbeat. Bill knows what happened in Tucson! Not to mention those other places!

But Stanley’s also got brass knuckles and a chip on his shoulder, and Bill can’t do anything to prevent Stan breaking this nose. Or worse. It’s really annoying.

Besides. Dipper’d be furious with both of them, if one of ‘em started something. Bill knows that. Stan knows that. Neither of ‘em want it, that situation would only end up being one huge mess.

Actually handing over a dowry was insulting. Overall, though... That worked out decently! Good thing they’re in the same line of work! Scamming people’s a mutual interest, and Stan knows how the business goes.

He took the payoff.

Stan will turn a blind eye to most of Bill’s stuff. In turn, Bill won’t bug him too hard. Call it a truce, or whatever.

Point is, their business is done.

The television’s blaring - another mind stalks near… hey, Shooting Star! Bill’s… not as thrilled with her as he could be, after what happened in that fight. Though as she walks in - Bill senses the eagerness, the plotting - he ignores her for the moment.

He definitely knows why she’s asking him instead of her brother. Dipper showed, again, that he could be manipulative. Leaving this mess in Bill’s hands, assuming he knew what Bill’d say… Being right, too, the adorable idiot.

First, Bill’s gonna give this water-breathing dick the dirty look it deserves. He flips it off again, for good measure.

“Hey, uh…” She trails off. There’s a quiet whisper. “Is Bill yelling at the fish again?”

“Let the crazy man be crazy, sweetie.” Stan flips through channels. “Ignore him.”

Shooting Star takes that under consideration for a moment. Bill looks over at her, watching as she starts to smile.

“So, Bill-”

“Nope!” Bill declares, smiling, even as her face falls.

He agreed to keep his hands off, not to blind himself. He might not be able to influence her mind anymore - but he’s sure as shit seen her dreams. What she’s got pictured is wrong, rainbowy, and entirely unappealing.

Behind her, Stan sighs himself, closing his eyes and running a hand down his face. He doesn’t want to get dragged into attending this function, not any more than Bill wants one in the first place.

Mabel protests, looking confused. “You didn’t even know what I-”


Bill straightens up with a groan. “Nah, I get what you’re after, and it’s a solid no. We eloped.” Full of trickery and arguing, and convoluted plans, in a secret, private place. That was great! So romantic. “I’m taking a hard pass on the ceremony.”

Mabel pouts, making a protesting sound. She doesn’t have a good way to argue, though, and settles for crossing her arms, giving Bill an annoyed look. He’ll ignore that, too. Let her be frustrated.

Weddings are an open invitation to disaster, Bill loves seeing ‘em fall apart!

Not so much when he’s the groom.

He’s seen millions of debacles. Accidents. Horrible misunderstandings, etcetera - and the last thing Bill needs is some hyped up moron or six catching wind of things, and trying to ruin Bill’s fun day. And with Pine Tree involved? With his shitty luck? No question, something’d go wrong. A completely ruined party’s the only endgame there, with a side of possibly dead mortal.

Bill’s not done with Dipper yet. They’ll go to some other kinda party, later. He’s not gonna dangle his little treat around in public, not until Pine Tree’s grown into some of his potential, because then -

Oh, man, forget having to protect a mortal! That’s half of why Bill’s okay with this!

Between their fire, and power, and Dipper’s restrained viciousness, with him being that resistant to anything changing his mind... Pine Tree’s got stuff going for him. And as gross as it feels for Bill, with that talent for life, and all it could do? That’s a sneaky advantage! Once Pine Tree comes into his own, gets a little more comfortable with magic...

Once he’s riled up enough to cut loose -

Pine Tree - at his full potential - would be really hard to kill. Anyone taking a poke at him would lose a hand. Seeing him in action’s gonna be great, it’s gonna surprise everyone! 

Not yet, though.

Freakin’ waiting. It’s always a wait with that guy! Sometimes Bill wishes he could speed up time, to skip the boring bits.

Meanwhile, Mabel grumbles a bit to herself. She settles down near Stan in his chair, upset - but she’s gonna have to live with things.

Great! That’s one annoyance out of the way. One disappointed sister, and one problem gone.

Dipper foisting his dirty work off on Bill, though. That’s a bad habit. Bill doesn’t mind this one, but if Dipper wants something nasty done, he should put in some effort himself.

Bill stretches, and tucks his hands into his pockets. He walks past both of these mortals - Mabel pouting, Stan ignoring him - and makes his way over to bother that guy.

One who Bill’s known for ages. The door to the basement swings open, Bill makes his way in, grinning. One who’s gonna take off to do other things, in a while, and Bill…

Might get this form’s head blown off again. But he’s gotta needle that guy!

Bill stalks down the stairs, into the dark, and towards that semi-covered mind.

Something must go off as he approaches, traipsing down the route. Some sensor, or ward. Because by the time Bill can see his old tool - Stanford is standing in place, tense. His hands clench, crumpling sheets of paper under his six fingers.

He’s leaning over a desk, and though Bill can’t see his face - he’s definitely frowning.

Bill trails an idle hand over the old, dust-covered mechanics, and enchanted metal. Leaving it clean in streaks - and he smiles. He’s spent hundreds of hours, lingering around this lab-slash-

Well.

It used to be a shrine, back in the day.

There’s some nice memories here! Back when Ford was still oblivious, running headlong into the disaster he almost never spotted. Bill sighs, almost wistful. Pretty nostalgic.

“Well, well, well,” Bill says, stalking forwards across the floor, smiling as he approaches that trenchcoated back. In front of him, Stanford straightens up. “Up to some new study, are we?”

There isn’t a response. Ford rubs at his eyes, pushing his glasses up. “Cipher.” He sounds neutral. Like that does him any good, Bill can feel his annoyance.

“Oh man, it has been a while, hasn’t it? Little over thirty years since you and me hung out down here.” Bill saunters closer, reaching over and yanking down some of the cloth covering one of his statues. The eye opens up in his extra senses.

“I can’t say I’m happy to repeat it.” Ford mutters, gruffly. “You’re a liar, and a monster. ”

“And a snappy dresser!” Bill settles down on the corner of the desk, sitting and glancing over the papers.

Oh. Yes. He snickers.

“Already given up on breaking the deal, huh? Smart choice!” Bill beams at his old tool. Probably figured out it’s hopeless! How sad for him!  “‘Cause there’s no way outta this.”

Ford’s got zero say in things. Bill’s got his mortal, and there’s nothing that can separate them -  Besides one thing, and Ford’s not gonna take that step.

Bill leans back, watching as Ford narrows his eyes. “Isn’t this great? I still got the Mindscape. And I got a route into reality. Gotta thank your nephew for that sometime. This is gonna be great.”

Ford stares straight ahead of himself, breathing out slowly through his nose.

“I’m back in your world, Stanford, and this time? I got my own body.” Bill wiggles his eyebrows. “So much for ‘banished completely’, huh?”

With one strong motion, Ford shoves Bill off the edge of the desk.

Bill loses his balance and hits the ground, swearing. Scattered papers drift down around him - then light up blue, bursting into ash as Bill sets them aflame.

Ford takes a couple steps over, standing in front of Bill while he’s sprawled, undignified, on the ground. Ford’s stance is square and proud. He raises an eyebrow.

“Have to admit there are some upsides.” The corner of Ford’s mouth turns up. “You can’t do a thing to this dimension, Cipher. Or my family.”

Bill grits his teeth, sitting up.

Can’t. Kill. Stanford. Pines. Of all the frustrating parts in the deal, this one’s pretty high up there.

This smug, arrogant, six-fingered asshole’s happy now! This isn’t what Bill came down here for!

“How does it feel, ‘Bill’?” ask Ford, clearly putting quotes around the name. He sets his hands on his hips. “Being defeated by a Pines? Again?”

Oh. Yeah. Cause that’s what happened.

Bill stands up, slow, cracking his knuckles. Fire flickers over one hand, then dies.

So that’s the path Dipper led his uncle’s thoughts down, to get him off Bill’s back. Effective, sure, he’ll grant his mortal that.

It’s also nowhere near accurate.

“This place wasn’t ripe for me at the moment anyway!” Bill gives Ford his most unimpressed look. “I’m eternal! I’ve been around since before you creatures even knew how to walk, much less talk! What’s a few dozen years or so? Nothing.”

“You said it yourself, Cipher. No way out.” Ford actually smirks, this fucker - “This is one hell of a trap.”

Maybe it’s a trap, who cares! Waiting’s involved, but Bill hasn’t been stopped, and he worked his way out of most of the rest! It’s nothing like this asshole’s thinking -  Bill grins, sharp, and sadistic - and it’s nice, watching Ford’s expression darken.

“Don’t delude yourself, Sixer. This whole setup is a game to me.” A fantastic game, at that! Bill can’t help but beam. “And I got the best new toy to play with.”

The frown’s coming back. Sixer’s happiness is starting to drain out, like Bill poked a hole in that brain. “Forget it, Cipher. You can’t control him.”

Bill shrugs that off. Not important. “Didn’t need to mess with your thoughts too much! I don’t need it!” Stalking around Ford, Bill clasps his hands behind his back. He examines himself in the gleam of his own statue’s eye. “See, you Pines take to moral ambiguity like ducks to water.”

Now the glare Ford’s giving him is almost tangible.

“Your nephew’s no saint, IQ. And power corrupts.” Bill taps himself on the chin, acting thoughtful. ”If he got the idea in his head... I bet he could even take out a whole city.”

What Dipper did. And what Ford almost did - the strangled noise he makes at that reminder is delicious.

Bill rocks on his feet, enjoying the wave of guilt.

“The kid’s taking lessons from me now.” He spreads his arms dramatically. The things his human could do are all so tantalizing! Though the best ones are... unlikely. “I’m gonna be a great influence on him.”

Is he ever! Dipper Pines doesn’t care much about danger! Chaos magnet that he is, he’s gonna wind up getting into that ! And with Bill lending him power, giving him a nudge, a few well-placed suggestions - he’ll won’t balk at all, he’ll…

Not handle things quite the way Bill would like. Whatever, it’ll be a surprise.

The Pines really are morally… eh, not all that great. Pine Tree’s got an ends-justify-the-means attitude, and a clever brain. Convoluted plans, and trickery, and being conniving - he likes all of it! He’s picked up more than a few con skill from the one uncle, puts them to use with a smile.

Pine Tree wants to be ‘good’, but he’ll never be noble.

Ford breathes in slowly. He lets it out. Bill smirks. Got exactly the impression Bill wanted. That his nephew will end up as everything he could end up as, if his will wasn’t so strong. He’s…

Irritated, very irritated. But calm.

“I don’t trust you. And I do I trust Dipper.”

Crap.

Bill shoulda picked at that open wound while it was scabbing over - but his human was being… human, at the time, it kept Bill busy. Now that absurd family connection’s healed up, and Ford’s got faith in Dipper, again. Real inconvenient.

“Try all you like, Cipher.” The growing confidence Ford feels is ruining this - “You’ll never make him into one of your monsters.”

The completely fucked thing? Is Sixer’s not wrong. Bill can’t make his human a monster - but hopefully Ford won’t live long enough to see himself proven right. 

So much for the ‘Evil Dipper’ tactic, to bug this guy. Another approach -

This’ll get to him.

“Oh, I made him something alright.” Bill rounds on Ford, beaming. Something Ford doesn’t wanna acknowledge, and one of Bill’s favorite parts! “The price he paid-”

“Okay,” Dipper interrupts Bill midsentence. “That’s enough.” His tone is flat. Annoyed.

Bill shuts his eye and leans his head back.

His human came down here - looking for Bill, obviously, because he had their bond to follow -

Damn it.

Of course Pine Tree would show up, noticing where Bill went at just the wrong time. Now he’s not gonna be in a good mood! Totally throws a wrench into the taunting-plus-dessert after plan. This human’s luck keeps affecting him, and how that keeps happening is something Bill’s gotta work on.

Pine Tree walks closer, slowly. He glances over Bill - gives a weird look at Bill’s statue - then darts a confused glance at Ford. He’s pissed off, somewhat... and it’s not entirely because Bill was taunting his uncle.

“Alright, both of you, cut it out.” He says finally, shaking his head like he’s trying to shake off a thought. He sighs heavily, runs a hand through his hair. It looks soft, still damp from the shower. His skin is slightly pink in places. Bill licks his lips.

His human looks so young and fresh that it makes Bill want to bite.

Walking forward, Dipper slaps a hand over Bill’s mouth before he can start speaking. The human turns towards his uncle.

“Ford, look. First rule of dealing with Bill is never listen to anything he says.” He breathes in, slow - Then grunts. “Ow.” Dipper glances at Bill, displeased - he shakes his arm a bit, but Bill’s got a grip now - rolling his eyes, Pine Tree continues. “So just... don’t talk to him. He’ll get bored if you ignore him long enough.”

Ford’s looking at them weird. Maybe a little confused. “Dipper, he’s-”

“I know,” Dipper says, sounding tired. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it.” He scrunches his face up, takes a deep breath - darts a glance around - “Um… maybe we should talk about this later.”

Bill’s right here, and they’re talking about him like he isn’t! He snorts, and would interrupt  - if his mouth wasn’t full, gnawing on the heel of Dipper’s hand. Breaking this guy’s skin is possible - but Bill’s not aiming for that, and it’s a nice, satisfying squish between his teeth.

Also, Ford’s giving him a look like he wants Bill dead again, but who cares what he thinks? “If you need him taken down-”

Dipper sighs heavily - “Bill’s my demon, and my problem,” Bill blinks - what the hell! “Let me handle him.”

Ford even seems to accept that, it’s bizarre. Though he looks concerned, he nods.

Dipper rounds on Bill, looking disapproving. “Alright, let’s get moving.” And he tries to shove with his free arm.

Now that’s downright offensive! Dipper doesn’t get to move Bill, it works the other way around. Bill lets the hand free from his mouth tugs his human closer. There’s almost no resistance, and Pine Tree’s in range.

“Welp, it’s been fun catching up, Poindexter!” Bill ducks down, then surges up - scrambles to keep his grip as Dipper kicks out in surprise - but he gets one arm under the legs, the other behind his human’s back.

“What are-” As he’s lifted, Pine Tree tenses up eyes wide. Suddenly he’s offended, glaring. “Hey!”

“But I got something better to do.” Bill winks, squeezing his arms hard around his human. “See you around!”

“Dipper!” Ford’s alarmed, he moves in - Pine Tree puts out a hand to stop him.

“Seriously, ignore him. ” He rolls his eyes, but his sudden lack of struggle means Bill gets a better grip on him. Ford tries to speak up again - “Let him have the last word or he’ll never shut up. Trust me. I got this.”

Ford stares at Dipper with worry, then at Bill with hatred - it makes Bill smile. Turning, and leaving -

….Looks less dramatic than Bill would like. Once or twice - maybe three times - he has to pause as Dipper goes deadweight, or kicks a leg free, or when Bill can’t help but laugh at his flailing and almost accidentally drops him.

By the time they’re in the open, empty gift shop floor, Dipper is tense and furious, arms folded.

“You’re an asshole.”

Dipper’s staring straight ahead of himself like he wants to murder the air in front of him. Anger’s always a good look on him, and now he’s positively smoldering. There’s smoke from where he’s trying not to burn the wood nearby, this pathetic thing still has trouble not making fires.

But Bill got him, now he’s resigned to his fate, carried tight in Bill’s arms.

Maybe Bill had to convince him to stay still before he could manage it - but in a way, that’s even sweeter.

I’m an asshole? I’ll give you credit, you convinced your uncle pretty hard, but what,” Raising an eyebrow, Bill gives his human an incredulous look. “I’m your job now?”

Dipper shifts around, uncomfortably, and he looks away. “It’s not like- He wasn’t going to accept anything else, I didn’t want to fix this again-“ He speaks louder, pointing a finger in Bill’s face before he can interject. “And… you kind of are.”

Bill snorts, and takes a few steps forward. “Yeah, yeah, don’t pretend like it’s a burden, sapling. You chose this.” Between the power Bill can give him and the other, funner things - Pine Tree got tons from their deal! Bill gives his human a brief squeeze. “Life without me? You’d hate it!”

Bill expected his human to get furious, at some point. To challenge him. To ask for any way out of their contract, or to renegotiate. But nope! No questioning Bill’s motives, or making some mocking comment or reference. There’s been nothing. Dipper fights absolutely anything he hates - and hasn’t done a thing to get himself out of Bill’s trap.

He is an idiot, he seems to think Bill hasn’t noticed. Like it’s not completely obvious. This human can’t live without him! He didn’t even manage to spend an hour without a demon, before diving right into his grasp!

Dipper liked Bill.

He’s way, way past that now.

...Bill’s not certain his human knows that.

Pine Tree’s great at denial. It’d explain why he’s not fighting harder. Contrariness is at least half of him - if he was aware, he’d be trying to prove otherwise. Whenever it hits the kid, Bill’s reasonably certain there’ll be a gorgeous moment of horror… but he hasn’t seen any signs of one. It’s gotta be denial.

Once the kid finally gets it... Bill is going to rub his dumb, adorable face in it. He told this idiot he’d never be able to resist him, and he hasn’t.

Bill smiles at the thought, chest doing its thing again. “Face, it, kid, I’m a dream come true.”

Dipper blinks a few times. “Bill, you’re a nightmare.”

“Of course I am!” Bill says happily, feeling a burst of pride. “Ah, you charmer.”

From anyone else that line would be such a cliche, he’d laugh at it - and it’s still hilarious - but Pine Tree delivers the oldest ones in the book with such deadpan sincerity! Something about it’s really doing it for Bill.

Pine Tree also looks... resigned to something, running a hand down his face. “Yeah. That’s. Yeah, what I was aiming for.” Ha! It wasn’t. His lies are as cute as his face.

“But that doesn’t get you out of this,” Bill gives him another squeeze, listening to the annoyed grunt- “Like I said, I was gonna do this at some point, you might as well get it over with.”

Dipper breathes in slowly - he glances around - and shuts his eyes. He grumbles, tight with annoyance. And more than a little embarrassment. Ha! Bill knew part of him would like this! He’s human, he’s moved by human gestures - Only really annoyed that he likes them, ‘cause it’s coming from Bill.

Dipper shifts around in Bill’s arms. “So... “ He - finally - hooks an arm around the back of Bill’s neck, and glances over at the doorway. “You’re supposed to carry someone inside, not outside.”

What’s he on about? Bill stares at him for a moment - Then groans, tilting his head back. Chaos, his human’s so stupid sometimes.

“This isn’t my place, now, is it?” Bill says patiently - he’d smack his human on the head, but he’s holding something at the moment. “We gotta go somewhere else.”

“You can’t mean-” Dipper starts. Hesitates. He looks down at himself, then at Bill, then… seems slightly worried.

“Look, sapling, you distracted me before. Nice job on that.” It was really fun - as far as diversions go, he likes that one! “So we never got to this point,” He says calmly, even as his human clings tighter, arms wrapped around Bill. “But c’mon, you can’t avoid it forever.”

Bill jostles him a little to drive the point home. Dipper grumbles something vulgar, but shuts his eyes, and concentrates.

When the greyscale floods over the scene, Bill takes a deep, slow breath, and sighs, happily. It’s such a relief being here, like taking off a piece of clothing that was too tight. Reality’s fun to mess with, but Bill doesn’t wanna live there.

Not like this, anyway.

Pine Tree’s squirming. “Okay, we’re in the-” Bill starts walking before he can begin to argue. “Wait. Hey, wait! That was your ‘threshold’ right? So-” He starts to struggle.

“Nope! Hold on a sec.” Bill snorts - plants a kiss on his human’s cheek, just to see him glare- and beams, holding his human as he strides through the mental realm.

The facade of reality - that thin skin where the two places collide - fades into the nice, indistinguishable, rapidly-changing colors they should be.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Dipper says suddenly, his hand slaps Bill’s shoulder, then presses against one of Bill’s cheeks. “Where are-” He looks around. “Bill? What’s..” Dipper starts trailing off, as things stop being real, and start being right.

Bill blinks at him. He takes a look around himself. Bits of dreams, thoughts, weird naked guy, coupla monsters, that one clock that keeps showing up - Pretty standard stuff!

“Told you there was more to this place, sapling. What’s with the surprise?” Human arms wrap around Bill tighter. “Don’t get any ideas yet, this ain’t a place to wander around in if you don’t know what you’re doing - which you don’t.” He gives his human another nudge. “And you’re not allowed to die yet.”

The kid has no idea what he’s in for, or what Bill is, or anything, and it’s time to start getting that across to him. Humans think in four dimensions, at most! Dipper doesn’t understand the seven working here! No wonder he never found his way into the better places! Bill bounces Pine Tree in his arms gently - easy to do, not like gravity exists here.

The Fearamid looms in front of them. Black, towering, red-lined and vast.

Place is empty, not a surprise. Not like Bill’s been throwing a lot of parties lately, he’s been gone a while. Bill sniffs around a bit - but nah, nobody’s tried to move in, either. No corpses or whatnot. Likely it looked like bait -  leaving for so long, looking empty, Bill’s laid that trap before. Safe as anything, for his fresh new mortal to wander around in.

Pine Tree stares at it.

It makes Bill grin. “What? Surprised?” Of course Dipper’s surprised, he’s gotten kinda limp. Clinging, still, but looking over everything, eyes darting over the massive shape. Ha! He can’t even say anything!

Bill walks, holding this mortal close, and stops in front of one of the walls. It draws open, slowly, triangular and oh so familiar. Dipper, meanwhile, is tense. He’s almost clinging Bill’s head to his chest, wanting to climb him - aw, all this is weirding him out!

Crap, he’s adorable.

“Welcome home, Pine Tree!” Bill declares, and with a tiny bit of struggle - shuffles his human back into a more matrimonial carry. Dipper stares at his face, tense, confused - But he doesn’t protest when Bill makes a few, deliberately slow steps over the threshold.

There. Human ceremony done.

Bill drops his human abruptly, Dipper yelps, stumbles as he tries to find his feet. He looks around, blinking rapidly. Neat, he's not as fearful as a moment ago!

“Wait. This is yours?” He turns his head, examining the triangular hallways, how huge it is - he can’t be in denial about Bill’s power after this!

“I told ya, kid. I’m a big deal around these parts,” Bill says, proud, striding forward - there’s another place he needs to bring this guy - then slows in his steps.

Reading the kid’s mind is out of the question, but by the way Dipper is looking around, confused -

...he’s not getting it.

Bill frowns. Nevermind. “C’mon, I’ll show you around. Get used to it, sapling,” He waves around the hallway, and strides towards the bigger rooms, the better places - his human follows, tagging along at his heels. “You’re gonna see a lot of these digs in the future!”

It takes a few rooms, but - all the while, Dipper’s curious. Bill has to grab him by his shirt collar to make him follow, because he keeps getting distracted. He thumbs the material of his human’s clothing a little - flannel.  Not what he was hoping for, but at least it’s a button-down instead of a t-shirt.

Finally, Bill pauses. He stands on the lowest stair of the staircase, turning to look at his human.

Dipper’s staring upward, at the other sets of stairs. Admiring, possibly, hey, MC Escher was a great architect!

“Hey, sapling,” Bill starts - the human’s not listening, he’s turning around in a slow circle. Bill closes his eye, groans, then-

Dipper.”

At the name, Dipper startles, turns back towards Bill with surprise, and no small amount of alarm. Got his attention though. Nice, having a way to make his human stop dicking around and listen every once in a while. He’s saving the kid’s real name for if things ever get serious.

“I’m the master of the mind. The Mindscape? All of it? That’s mine. I’m so far beyond your comprehension that you don’t appreciate it!”

The look Dipper gives Bill is solidly skeptical, one eyebrow raised. This isn’t bragging, it’s a fact! How is this human not understanding, he catches onto almost everything else!

“I run this joint. I’m the greatest being you’ve ever met!” Bill strides forward, pulls his human close to himself, smiling - maybe this will make him understand just who, and what he’s dealing with - “I’m the closest you’ll ever get to a god.”

Bill spares a second to stare his human down.

Pine Tree blinks slowly. He looks bored, then thoughtful.

“Whatever you say, Bill,” He says easily, a little sarcastic. “You’re very powerful,” He pats Bill on the side. “I’m sure it could impress someone.”

Bill gives him a look. Dipper’s trying not to smile.

Ah, screw it.

The point’s bouncing straight off that dense mind. Proving otherwise’ll take a lot of effort, and Bill still has something better to do. It’ll get across eventually, Pine Tree can’t ignore it forever, not when it’s true.  

Bill feels oddly sulky. “Fine, be like that,” He mutters. “Don’t say I never told ya.”

“Sure, okay,” Pine Tree says, not paying attention -  he brushes past Bill, trotting up the stairs. Not impressed in the slightest. The second he realized this was Bill’s place, Pine Tree readjusted, and all the fear dropped out of him.

Bill slaps a hand over his face, letting his human wander. He can’t get lost, Bill could track him down.

He can almost picture the idiot’s train of thought. From ‘This is Bill’s home’ to ‘Screw that guy’ to ‘Find out everything’. That's always his first impulse when it comes to Bill.

Fine, he didn’t crush Pine Tree’s spirit, but he did drive him insane, if he thinks things are that simple. This is the Mindscape, the realm of nightmares, all kindsa creatures are normally around, this is the least safe place to be in the multiverse! But hey, crazy-induced courage’s a good thing!

Because Bill got hitched.

Hooking up with someone for a day is decent talk for a decade. More than once, it’d be the story of the century. Making things more permanent is gonna be the gossip of an eon.

Pine Tree can’t settle down doing some job behind a counter, or sit at a desk all day. He can’t waste away his fragile, temporary life doing something boring ! Because the second word gets out, people are gonna wanna know about him. Bill can’t prevent every single being in the multiverse from looking in, or asking questions. Who the mortal is, what he’s like.

What he does.

It’ll be a calm, peaceful day in the nightmare realm before Bill lets the answer to that be ‘spreadsheets’.

This stubborn, awful, frustrating, despicable idiot has his heart set on one ambition. Not like Bill can change his mortal's mind, he tried that for a long time. Now Bill's got to do something... not great, because otherwise, Pine Tree's not gonna manage to be a big enough deal to explain why Bill's involved with him.

Dipper Pines wants to be a hero.

Bill has to turn him into one

While he’s gonna cramp Bill’s style a bit - his hissy fits are annoying, and they aren’t into the same things - Outta sight is outta mind, it’s basically a non-issue. Bill can work around him, he’s already got plenty of ideas. Pine Tree might wanna be ‘good’... but as long as he gets into trouble, has adventures, and does all kinds of crazy, dangerous bullshit, his morality won't matter that much. He's just gotta be amazingly good at it. Bill can spin it his way! 

Dipper Pines is as adorable as a tiny, fluffy kitten, full of explosives. He might claw the shit out of Bill’s hand sometimes, but if anyone else tried to handle him, it’d blow up in their face. Pine Tree will combust everyone’s stuff. Bill’s the only being whose lap he’ll curl up in, adoringly.

Scratch that. Semi-adoringly. He’s still feisty. Played right, that’ll be something to flaunt.

Off to his left, Bill hears a “Whoops,” then a series of tumbling thuds, and a slow, pained, “Ow”.  

Bill shuts his eye.

And getting him to that point is gonna be a pain in the angles.

He turns to look at his mortal. “Having fun, kid?”

Dipper grunts a little, sitting up and standing - he looks upside down at the moment, at the base of another set of stairs. “Does any of this go anywhere?”

“Just get back here,” Bill answers - let Dipper figure things out, he loves doing it - and gestures towards himself sharply. “We got somewhere else to be.”

For a few moments, his human frowns - space and time and physics don’t work here, he’s learning that - he taps his foot for a second, and starts walking again.

Through that eye on Dipper’s palm, he can see him, and he can feel through their bond - Bill grins - yeah, he’s working it out. Finding out the impossibly geometry. Adapting. Always great to watch him being clever.

He walks up the stairs and catches his mortal, emerging from the doorway. He gets an arm around Dipper’s waist, who almost jumps, he hadn’t seen this coming -

“About time we got to the point,” Bill says. Things here work the way Bill wants them to work, and right now? He’s gonna give his human a surprise. “We got some business to settle.” Dipper moves with him, too confused to argue as Bill turns him around, and leads him right back through the doorway he came from.

Pine Tree protests- “Wait, I was just-”

His eyes widen as he sees what’s in front of him. They walk through, he splutters, grips at the back of Bill’s shirt. The door that wasn’t there before slams behind them.

Startled, Dipper lets go, and stumbles further into Bill’s penthouse. He looks behind himself, then all around -  stares for a moment at Bill. He backs off a few paces, before turning around in another circle, obviously confused, taking in the decor.

Not easily impressed, but he’s always curious! With the comfy human-skin couch and the various trophies - comfy and cozy, not like the open areas for guests! This is Bill’s private sanctum!

He can see his human twitch suddenly as he realizes that.

He glances over at Bill, then turns away quick enough that Bill doesn’t quite catch the face he’s making. Pine Tree walks forward, towards the fireplace and stands there. That hot mind of his racing, as he tries to work something out, shifting in place as he thinks. Now he’s looking dazed.

Just how Bill wanted him.

That was easier than he thought! No showing off or anything, it barely took any work at all!

Bill sets his hands on his hips, and smirks.

It takes a second before there’s motion, then...

“That,” Dipper says slowly, staring up at the portrait of Bill posing, magnificently, with his foot on the world. “Is the tackiest painting I’ve ever seen.”

Bill lets his arms drop to his sides. He rolls his eye.

This guy’s feistiness is a major selling point, but it’s occasionally irritating.

Dipper Pines is attractive. He’s got a great mind, and nice - Bill flicks his gaze over the human - assets. And potential! He’s - sort of, if he works for it - worthy of this. Gorgeous as he is, he-

Bill yanks the mental steering wheel, driving his thoughts over into the other lane with a screech.

What Pine Tree’s infected him with is a form of delusion. Easy thing to get lost in, they’re tricky! Bill knows better! Mind stuff is his entire deal, he can fight this off! Stay objective.

Dipper Pines is a nerd.

There is no dimension in which the word ‘cool’ could ever apply to him. He has as much style as a blind drunk, and about as much grace as a sack full of silverware tumbling down some stairs. If he tried being coy or seductive, he’d suck at it so hard it wouldn’t even be funny. He chews on the end of his pencils until he ends up eating the erasers. He needs to do laundry more often. His luck is so bad Bill’s only seen it in people who were cursed. Dipper Pines is a walking human disaster.

Huh.

Explains a lot, actually. Bill never could resist a good disaster.

Such a nerd, though! Is it too much to ask that he be everything?

Looks like Pine Tree’s getting up. Whatever thought struck him is wearing off. Nothing fazes him for long.

Bill sighs and snaps his fingers. and a bed rises up through the flames underneath him. Time to settle back on it casually - Buttons on his own shirt come open quick enough, it’s draped over these human sides before Pine Tree can turn around.

“That crown doesn’t even fit you,” Dipper says, shaking himself as he stands. “You’re so-” He’s looking at Bill, and the slight smile drops from his face. “Uh.”

“Hm?” Bill hums, looking up from where he was examining his nails, head braced up in a hand with one elbow on the bed. The look on Dipper’s face shows that his mind’s switched tracks from a second ago. He’s adjusting. “So what?”

“Uh,” Dipper repeats, blinking a few times. He raises a hand, finger lifted, and lets it drop again, wordless. Young healthy male, human, with all the urges associated. Since the contract, he's given himself permission to think about 'em. It's practically his favorite hobby! So easy.

Bill watches him, face calm. Smiling would give the game away.

Puffing out a quick breath, Dipper ducks his head. When he looks up again, he’s smiling. “Fuck you, Bill. I see what you’re doing.” Dipper flips him off, but his voice is full of laughter. “ I have hormones,” He jabs a thumb at his chest, walking closer. “What’s your excuse?”

“I don’t need an excuse,” Bill replies easily. Now he can smile. He casts an arm back behind himself, lying propped up on his elbows. “I want something, I take it.”

“Oh my god, shut up for once.” Dipper moves in faster, crawling up on the mattress to straddle Bill, and pulls him closer, kisses him, rough, and eager, and hot.

That’s more like it. Absurdly easy! Bill gets a nice handful of that butt, and plenty of kissing, and a warm human body up against this one. And this proves everything! He knew it. This mortal turns down money, and fame, and power. If he’s opposed to something, he can’t be moved by any of those. Not a lot gets to him. But there is one way to win this mortal over, and used right? It’s foolproof.

Dipper Pines wants to be wanted.

Simplest trick in the world to pull off, because Bill doesn’t even need to fake it.

Not exactly what he was aiming for, here. This nice, warm, wriggling thing. A constant frustration, a chain around him - but feisty yet devoted, a source of revenge, a big mess of games, and best thing is he’s full of surprises! He feels something for Bill, weird and strange - so he’s a novelty as well!

Mortal world, whatever. Bill’s not ruling it yet and that’s only a matter of time. Right now, Bill’s got a better treat.

Forget being bored!

There’s zero precedent for this bond. For the first time in millennia, in all the games he’s played - Bill can’t tell what the rules for this one are. He can only react, ‘cause there’s no predicting this. It’s unexpected, and twisted, and strange.

Dipper shoves Bill’s shirt further down his arms, he presses his soft human face against Bill’s neck. Bill grins, and - while his human can’t see it - pumps a fist in the air. His chest hasn’t stopped doing its thing. He kinda wishes it would, pretty sure it won’t. Overall, he doesn’t care!

There’s no clue where this ride he’s gotten on is going.

Bill can't wait to find out.