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Stan sighs, rubbing at his tired eyes. Getting old sucks. Sleepless nights mean horrible mornings, not matter how much coffee he drinks.

Coffee runs right through him, anyway. Not worth the hassle.

He would've slept better, but tension gives him anxiety, and the tension in the shack has been so thick he could cut it with a knife.

His brother has hardly left his lab, he still hasn't thanked him, and he's still being standoffish.

It hurts like hell, but he can handle a cold shoulder for a week or so from Ford, he went 40 years without the stubborn bastard, he can do it for a little while longer whole poindexter decides to stop being so childish.

What he can't handle- as much as he hates to admit it- is how cold towards him Dipper has become over the past week.

He thought it wouldn't bother him at first, but the nasty feeling in his gut says otherwise. He thought maybe the fact that Ford was his idol might help, and hell, it might have, but Dipper still tenses whenever Stan so much as looks at him.

He seems to not have that resentment towards Mabel, though he doesn't know if it's because he forgave her or if she managed to hit rid of it for him, but he still seems to like her.

It's Stan he hates. And it sucks.

Stan sighs once more, reaching for a drink in the fridge when the sound of soft footsteps entering the room grab his attention. Dipper- speak of the devil- is standing in the doorway, looking like he's contemplating leaving, when he steps in anyway, moving past him and going for the cereal.

They sit in awkward silence during breakfast, neither one acknowledging each other, both pointedly not looking at each other until finally Stan can't handle it anymore. He clears his throat, trying not to sound too awkward, and failing miserably.

"Look, kid. I know you're mad at me, and I get it, I would be too. But this tension- it's killing the bo-"

"Why did she choose you."

The words are harsh, sounding more like a statement rather than a question, but his voice is shaking, and when Stan manages to look down at him he can see the kid is trembling.

"I trusted her. I trusted her with everything and I- I- thought s-she trusted me too. But she chose you, when I begged she chose you instead of me. Why?"

Shit.

Scratch off not resenting his sister, he's way better at hiding things than Stan thought.

He doesn't know how to respond. "She- She didn't."

"Yes she did! You! You lied to us all summer a-and the everything said you were a bad guy- but she risked our lives because she thought you were more I-important than all of it. I don't get it! It's not FAIR!" His eyes are watering, and shit, shitshitshit, Stan realizes he's never really seen Dipper actually cry before.

Nightmares and anxiety attacks, but never tears. He's a pretty dry-eyed kid. And he's crying.

He made him cry.

Guilt eats at his insides. He can't believe he thought that it was just the lying. He felt betrayed by his sibling.

Shit.

Dipper's rubbing at his eyes, trying to wipe the tears away. He slides his chair our, climbing down and trying to rush away from the table. "I shouldn't have- leave me alone-"

"Kid- wait!" Stan reaches out and grabs the collar of his shirt, yanking him back and pulling him into a hug.

Dipper tenses, but Stan doesn't let go.

"I get it kid, I really do. You feel like your sibling is the one person in the world whose got your back, and learning that aint the case is world shattering. I understand."

He pulls away, one hand still resting on Dipper's shoulder, the other moving his hair out of his face, revealing tear-stained cheeks. He knows this kid, he used to see him in the mirror everyday, and he can't let Dipper see that sadness too.

"But she does always have your back. But she's got mine too, and soos', and Wendy's, and even that monster of a pig of hers. Your sister thinks with the heart the most, kiddo. And her heart said to trust." This has been eating at the kid for a week, fuck, that's too long.

Dipper sniffles, and he stutters, words being interrupted by sobs and hiccups. "B-but why didn't she trust me?"

Stan sighs. "She did, Dipper. But you gotta know that while I'm a liar and a crook and probably the worst influence you could possibly have-" he nudged him a little, managing to get a tiny, watery laugh from him, "family is the most important thing in the world to me. I think she knows that about me, she's pretty bright. N' that's why Mabel let go, because family is the most important thing to her, too. She wanted to help her family, and she ended up hurting you, huh?"

Dipper gave a small nod, cheeks tinted pink, and Stan sighed once more.

"She had everyone's best interests at heart, kiddo. You gotta remember that, when you don't understand what's goin on with her, you gotta think with this thing." He points at Dippers chest, pressing his finger to his heart. "And you'll get it. She didn't choose me. She chose what would make someone happy."

Dipper hesitates a moment, then swings his arms around his neck, burying his face in his collar, taking Stan by surprise. "M'sorry." He mumbles, clinging to his suit jacket, "sorry,"

Stan hesitates, then smiles, holding the kid close. "It's okay kid, you've got nothin to apologize for. I'm sorry, too."

He pulls away, pushing his hat out of his face and giving him a genuine smile. "She's got your back, Dipper. And so do I. Remember that, alright?"

Dipper smiles and nods, wiping away the last of his tears. He hugs Stan once more before rushing off, most likely to find his sister.

Stan rolls his eyes, grabbing Dipper's bowl and cleaning it up for him.

Kids, they'll be the death of him.