a side-blog for writing

  • Toothpaste

    Fandom: Gravity Falls
    Pairing: Dipper/Mabel
    This one’s for you, Pinecest tag. You deserve better.
    Summary: Sometimes, sharing a bedroom with Mabel is weird.

    Mabel likes to complain about romance. Romance this, romance that, oh look at me, I like to read stupid romance novels by the moonlight even though I know I shouldn’t strain my eyes so much. Dipper thinks that’s strange and stupid and borderline obsessive, but there’s something soothing about running inside their bedroom, feeling his heart leap out through his mouth thanks to something strange or monster-related, and finding her sprawled on her bed, legs dangling, a book above her face. He wonders how her arms don’t get tired.

    There’s something soothing about finding her in her spot, up until the day he runs inside (“Mabel, you won’t believe what I—”) and she’s on her back, knees up, the color of her underwear flashing out to greet him devilishly, and – he slams the door closed and thinks, oh no. Oh no.

    It shouldn’t change everything, but it does. Maybe because it’s the final drop inside a glass that’s long past half-full.

    Back home, they don’t share a bedroom.

    Once upon a time, they did – when they were three (or four) years old, he can’t really remember. He remembers Mabel climbing into his bed whenever she had a nightmare, though. He remembers Mabel telling him all about it, zombies, or mummies, or mom and dad dying in a freak accident, and Dipper remembers he’d pretend not to be scared out of his mind. He remembers he’d hold her hand until they she fell asleep. But then they changed apartments and got more space and …

    And Dipper loves his room, loves not having to share it with his sister, because even though they get along fine, it’s always weird because she’s a girl. She’s got cooties and she’s the enemy and girls are gross, especially the ones who are also his sister, so, yes, excuse him for sometimes staring too intently at Mabel’s half-open mouth when he wakes up earlier, excuse him for finding that in the dawn light his sister’s hair is shinier than usual, excuse him for wondering if her cheeks are as soft as they look. Sometimes, he wonders a little too much, and tells himself that she’s from another species, that she needs to be studied. It’s a lame reason, but, then again, he’s never met anyone like Mabel.

    "Hypothetically, could you live in denial for the rest of your life?"

    "What’s all this about?" Wendy asks, one eyebrow raised.

    "Uh, nothing," Dipper says quickly, staring at his left, pretending that the forest is as interesting as the subject he’s trying to steer clear of. "I’m a growing boy. I’m supposed to ask questions."

    Wendy goes back to filing her nails. They are longer than Mabel’s, but still short. His sister is a nail-biter and he doesn’t know why he keeps bringing her up in his mind.

    "I guess, if you tried hard enough. It would totally destroy you, though." She sighs, sets the emery board down, and stares off into the distance. "Denial won’t help much. It might, at first, but …" The words hang ominously, revealing him the inescapable future that waits.

    "What if it’s something really terrible?” He presses on because it’s the only thing he knows how to do.

    "Dude, did you break your Grunkle Stan’s favorite vase, or what?" She says it airily but Dipper can tell she’s worried. Older people have a way of not wanting other people to know they’re concerned. Wendy is the same, even if she is cool and laid-back. But Dipper is too perceptive.

    "Yeah, you guessed it," he answers, and closes his eyes. "Don’t tell him."

    "I won’t." Wendy smiles conspiratorially at him. When he smiles back, he feels his muscles tighten uncomfortably.

    One day, when she very purposefully breaks the light bulb with her stupid grappling hook, the glass shards fall all over the floor and stick into the wood. Mabel slices her ankle, somehow – he’s already learned not to question the very weird things his sister manages to do –, when she wakes up to go to the bathroom, and Dipper wakes up to the sound of her muffled low-pitched whining; Mabel never cries when she’s supposed to.

    Dipper flies out of bed, finds his sneakers, and asks her what’s wrong now. Did she lose her grappling hook or did a boy dump her or what? He doesn’t know why he asks her about boys. Mabel brings her eyes up, all doe-like and—gosh darn it all to heck—he doesn’t know how she does that, but half a second later he’s leaning over and putting a hand on her shoulder and his voice wavers, kind of, when he tells her he’s sorry, that was stupid, and is she alright?

    He helps her walk to the bathroom and convinces her to wash the blood off. In the end, she sets her foot on his lap and he takes the tiny glass shard off with a pair of tweezers. He doesn’t know why Grunkle Stan has a pair of tweezers, and he’s about to ask her what she thinks of it when Mabel cuts him off with a very soft snore. He stares at the way her brow wrinkles when he tickles her foot, and then runs his fingers up her leg before he wakes her up, with a slight shove.

    If she asks, he’ll deny it completely. But Mabel doesn’t ask. She gives him a sleepy, suspicious look, but she doesn’t ask.

    The following night, she pokes him awake, holding her pillow under her arm. Her knees are skinny and bony, half-covered by the shorts of her pajamas. Dipper takes one long look at them, blinks owlishly and opens his mouth to question her. His stomach boils and curls, like he’s had Grunkle Stan’s special stew (yuck, gross), and his mouth is still open, frozen in Q and A time.

    "Bad dream," she tells him.

    "I know," Dipper murmurs.


    He doesn’t answer. Instead, he throws the covers back and crawls away, until his back hits the wooden wall. She smiles toothily at him, smelling of toothpaste and shampoo, and slides in, curling like a kitten. Her feet are freezing cold even though it’s a billion degrees. Or maybe it’s just him. It’s probably just him, from the way she brings her knees to her chest, from the way she pulls the sheets up to her neck. From the way she wiggles closer and closer to him, until there is no space left to fill.

    Sleep comes late.

    When he wakes up, the bedroom’s empty, and the bed is cold. Mabel is downstairs, laughing at something.

    His mouth is dry and it tastes like menthol.

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