Chapter 1

"Ugh, Mabel . . ." a brown-haired boy huffed, leaning stressfully against the door of their shared room. Dipper wiped the sweaty palms of his hands on his dirty, gray shorts, listening to the girlish voices fade away into the background, muffled by the large piece of wood. He had just escaped one of his twin sister's make-up rampages — and good thing, too. The twelve year-old would like to keep what little was left of his dignity. Certain that he wouldn't be bothered, the tween strolled up to his bed, taking Journal Number Three from under it and sat down on the squeaky mattress.

Dipper pulled the old book open, flipping past a few stained and torn pages to rest his discomforts, finding ease in its mysterious familiarity that only he could truly harness. Besides the Author. I bet he knows so much. . . I'd do anything to meet him. The boy allowed himself to dwell on those thoughts, reading the words of a long-forgotten mastermind. One day I'll find him. . .One day. . .

Bill watched him as normal, unseen, through the triangle window in the attic, seeing the whole room perfectly. You'll find that author sooner than you think, kid. And along with that . . . comes the darkness. Are you ready? Bill thought, mostly to himself since he knew that Dipper couldn't hear him just yet. . . but he was certainly planning to talk to him.

The boy read through the encyclopedia of mystery, fascinated with its immense knowledge. He continued to read through, studiously staring down every picture, memorizing every word, pondering over every symbol and unknown code. There are still so many things that I haven't discovered . . . Dipper mused. So many creatures out there that I haven't met . . . He leaned back into his pillow, holding the book comfortably in his lap as he went through it.

I'm going to find out everything one day. I'll explore this town and the forest until I've learned every secret. And I'll identify the Author, too. Dipper smiled determinedly at that, turning yet another page. The next was one he'd studied before, a blood-splattered rendering of a particularly notable dream demon. The figure's name read largely on the page: 'Bill Cipher'; a long article followed, telling of the trickery and malice that the powerful creature could bring upon an unsuspecting mind.

Well, I definitely know not to trust him. He's so . . . creepy. And dangerous. The brown-haired boy scanned the room around him, already feeling like he was being watched. Not finding anything, even after glancing at the window, he looked back at the page, staring right at the drawing's single eye. He shuddered uncomfortably, memories from their last encounter fresh in his mind. Dipper frowned, trying to push the thoughts away. It was best not to focus on something in the past. He just wouldn't fall for his lies again. Yeah, that's what I'll do. The boy turned the page quickly. He couldn't bring himself to stare any longer.

Bill laughed as he watched. You are mighty interesting, Pine Tree . . . Bill saw Dipper turn to his page in Journal Three and stare at it. Bill of course, read Dipper's mind. Hmm . . . well, maybe I'll have to force you to trust me one day. Ahahaha! That sounds like fun. . . but you're right; dangerous is definitely the right word! Bill thought and then waved his small hand, making the boy quietly fall asleep and entered his mindscape.

Dipper was in the middle of reading a sentence when the color began to drain from the world, the faded yellows and browns in the journal bleeding away as if they were rain sliding down a window. He glanced upwards, alarmed, watching the rest of the room do so as well, everything in sight fading into a monochromatic still-life. Almost everything. Dipper himself still had his color, skin still a pale peach and the brim of his hat still blue. He knew what this meant. It had happened before.

Why now? Dipper scowled, shutting the now-gray book in his hands and tucking it safety away into his vest. If it wasn't in color then it must not be important. To the demon, at least. That didn't mean he wasn't going to play safe. "Bill, what do you want? I'm not going to make any deals with you," he said immediately to the air, watching for the floating triangle's grand entrance. "So if you're coming to trick me it's not going to work."

Bill, floating in his triangle form, just laughed, "Ah, no, I haven't come here to trick you." Bill floated around him in circles. "Ooh! We should play a game . . . or . . . have fun!" Bill laughed more, twirling his cane.

Well. No grand entrance. Unless popping up behind him counted as one, that is. "I'm not interested in entertaining you, Bill," Dipper frowned, eyes locked on the demon with caution. He didn't feel comfortable leaning back on his bed with Bill floating around him so he sat up straight, scooting to the edge of the mattress and dangling his legs off the side in case he felt the need to stand. Which he did. Greatly. He felt too low, too vulnerable with the powerful creature towering over him. "Can't you leave me alone and go . . . torture some innocent bunnies or something?"

"Nope! You're more fun to watch and play around with! Plus you give me a challenge by refusing, and oh, how I love challenges!" Bill laughed more and poked him with his cane. "And you will entertain me, in fact you are right now." Bill's eye darted around, looking around the dreamscape, then back to Dipper.

Dipper shrinked away from the cane, wary of the demon's sudden friendliness. It was irritating, actually. Just a bit.

"What do you really want, Bill? I'm not about to believe you're just looking for a playmate," the boy growled, glaring at him. "You're just a sinister jerk who wants to do away with what I care about to start the apocalypse or whatever. I'm not doing anything for you!" As if to prove his point, Dipper crossed his arms and sat still, a stubborn expression on his face. I'll just do absolutely nothing until he leaves. Yeah, I'm not going to react at all. See who's being entertaining now . . .

Bill looked at him and brusted out laughing, "Yeah, you will just sit there and not do anything. Rrrriiighttt!" He floated around in circles around Dipper, still poking him with the cane, trying to be annoying on purpose. "And I won't tell you want I really came for, but your apocalypse theory is pretty close!" Bill said in a cheerful voice. He couldn't wait for the apocalypse.

Dipper didn't reply, firm in his decision to stay put. He ignored the cane and Bill's infuriating laughter, instead locking his gaze on one of Mabel's boy band posters across the room. See? I was right, he silently remarked, occupying himself with thoughts to keep his concentration.

Bill was trying to trick me into believing him again. I bet he wants me to help him destroy the world. Or my family. Or . . . whatever random thing he wants to get rid of for fun.

Another poke sent ripples of irritation through the twelve year-old and he fought not to lash out, focusing again on the poster. This is so dumb. What does he even want with me of all people? Dipper groaned mentally.

Bill read his thoughts, "Well someone has a lot of questions, Hmm. . . maybe. . ." Bill's voice had a hint of a smirk in it. "Maybe I'll answer them, but you have to ask them, not think them."

If I could, I would just ban him from my mindscape forever. Maybe he'll just get bored and leave. Because I'm not going to do anything. At all. So he might as well go away and never come back. Right now. His frown instantly deepened with another poke. I. HATE. THIS. SO. MUCH.

Bill laughed, "Oh, I know you hate this; isn't that why I'm doing it?" Bill poked him over and over with his cane. This was fun for the demon, satisfying his weird sense of humor and his boredom.

So he can read minds now. Oh, isn't that just great? Dipper sighed out loud. Fine. I might as well get something out of this if Bill's gonna stay and — Poke. Poke. Poke.

"Would you quit it?" he snapped, turning to the demon to shove the cane away. "That is really, really annoying! Why are you even here? What good does it do to bug me?"

Bill laughed as his cane disappeared, "Kid, just like everyone else I get bored. I told you I'm here to have fun! And you are fun to annoy. And manipulate of course! Oooh! Maybe you can be my puppet again. That would be fun!"

Bill giggled and snapped his fingers, making the Dipper puppet appear. "Hey, I'm Dipper and I'm a nerd! I love books and mystery hunting!" Bill mocked him with the puppet in a weird voice, then he cracked up laughing.

"Hey! I do not sound like that!" the boy protested, finding the replica to be quite offending. "And I'm not being anyone's puppet. Never again. So you can forget about that." Dipper frowned at the triangle. "I still don't see why you can't have your 'fun' somewhere else. I bet there are a whole bunch of other people who'd be willing to amuse you. Again, somewhere else."

"Nah, you're the most amusing human in this area, and I'm kinda having way too much fun to just leave and go somewhere else!" Bill laughed and pulled the puppet out again, mocking Dipper. "Bill, go away; I'm not your puppet. Find someone else to bother!" Bill said in his mocking voice for Dipper, laughing more. Oh how he loved to annoy the boy! He could see it was really working. It seemed to satisfy the demon's weird sense of humor.

The brown-haired boy huffed, wanting to throw the sock puppet out the window. Actually, no. He wanted to throw Bill out the window. "You know, this isn't going anywhere. Why don't you stop messing around and tell me some things?" he suggested, bringing back the dream demon's comment from earlier about answering his questions. "First off, why aren't you threatening at least one being's safety? Why are you suddenly looking for entertainment, of all things? Don't you have evil plans to tend to? Where's the time for this?"

"First of all, Pine Tree you assume too many things that aren't true. Secondly, I have to wait to cause the apocalypse. It's not like these kinds of things are done quickly. And since I'm waiting for you meat sacks to set up for the apocalypse, I'm bored. Entertainment is only for when I'm bored and waiting!" Bill explained to him, trying not to reveal too much, although he might have already. . . but he wouldn't elaborate more than that.

I guess that makes sense, Dipper concluded, finding a strange relief in hearing that. Except, he shouldn't be feeling anything positive at the mention of such a disaster. We're setting up the apocalypse ourselves? That's . . . dark and foreboding. But hearing Bill say he's waiting and had the time to be bored is kind of calming. I'm glad we still have some time. "Um, I suppose that's understandable," he deducted, looking at the demon, "but I don't want to sit here entertaining you if there's something major happening. What if this is a distraction? I was doing something important, after all."

Bill boredly twirled around his cane and answered Dipper; the kid sure had a lot of questions and insecurities, "Well, you have some time, but not a lot, kid. You might want to enjoy this calm before the storm. And I'm not distracting you; there's no way to stop the darkness. . . Your 'uncle' has made sure of that." Bill said. He was hinting towards something, but he knew Dipper couldn't find out until it was time.

"My . . . uncle?" Dipper echoed. Does he mean my great uncle? Grunkle Stan? Is he doing something . . . bad? He pushed the thought away. No, no, he couldn't be. That wouldn't make any sense. He cares about us. "Okay then, Bill. I'll . . . I'll try. But don't even think about breaking my bonds with my family or taking away the opportunity for me to do my own thing. If you do . . . If you do I'll just ignore you again. And next time my mind will be silent," Dipper warned, being serious. "Promise me you won't harm me or anyone I care about and I'll . . . entertain you, just while you're bored. Sound good?"

"Hmm. . ." Bill floated for a few minutes silently, seeming to be thinking. "Well I like this deal of yours, kid, but there's a problem: you can only entertain me when you're asleep, but what about during the day? I get bored then too. . ." Bill's eye widened and lit up, glowing slightly. "I just need another vessel! Do you think Red will let me?" Bill laughed at the thought of possessing the girl's body and antagonizing Dipper all day.

"Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no," Dipper shook his head, already dreading the idea of Bill getting a body, even if it wasn't his own. "That's a terrible idea. I think you're just going to have to deal with being bored when I'm awake. You can definitely find something else to do while I'm living my life." Besides, I won't be able to stand having him around and trying to cover for anyone's strange actions. I'm only doing this so he stops bothering me. Well, so he stops doing this. "And I thought you could pop up whenever, even when I'm awake. I was reading not long ago, wasn't I? Aren't I awake right now?" Or . . . is this a dream? I don't remember falling asleep . . .

"Well, to answer your questions, yes, you are asleep. When I appear you fall asleep without realizing it. And in fact, I am going to get a body of my own, but I'll need your help. Pine have to make a deal. . .or. . ."Bill's tone made him sound like he could be smirking, "I'll poke and poke you." Bill's cane appeared and he poked and poked him.

Dipper grimaced at Bill's light threat, the effect nowhere near the same as it had been the first time. "No, Bill! I'm not helping you get a body. Even if you're annoying. Entertainment is one thing but getting you a vessel is another. There is no way I'd do that for you. It's too unpredictable and an awful idea after the last time. I wouldn't trust you with it," he denied the demon, the cane nothing in comparison to his stiff will. I wouldn't trust him with anything, it seems.

"Or. . . should I hurt Mabel instead? That'll help you make the deal!" He laughed and his body flashed images of all the horrible things he could do to her. Most of them were crazy, bloody, and gruesome. "Oh yes, I'll leave your mind and go right now! What great fun. More entertaining than you!" Bill turned around and floated up.

Dipper knew the demon couldn't be trusted. He knew him being there would be bad news. He knew that any deal made would be regret on his part. But he couldn't let Bill do those things to his sister. He wouldn't take the chance. He's expecting me to stop him. I-I can't do anything but. "Bill!" Dipper called after the triangle, voice carrying a hint of desperation. "Bill, no, wait. Don't go. I . . . I'll help you. You can't . . . You can't hurt Mabel. Please, she doesn't deserve it . . . My actions shouldn't affect her. My choices. Name your price. There has to be a compromise somewhere in this that you can agree on." The twelve year-old took in a long, stressed breath. "Don't hurt her."

Bill turned around. As expected, his little plan had worked. "Simple." Bill snapped his fingers as a book appeared: an alchemy book. "All you have to do is gather up all the ingredients for a human body and do...human transmutation, except you let me possess the empty human body as a puppet!" Bill giggled. "According to my plans it should work and everything you need to know is in that book! And I won't hurt Mabel at all, so is it a deal?" Bill's hand lit up with blue fire.

That sounds . . . complicated. And unsafe. Where would I get those things? How do I even start? What will Stan think when he sees me trying to juggle around a bunch of human body parts? Dipper hesitated to shake his hand, staring into the cerulean flame with reluctant eyes. "O-only Mabel? Does this include the other deal we were talking about earlier? I . . . I want to be sure that this for the best. You did say the body is for me to keep you amused when I'm awake . . ." It wasn't like he had much of a choice, but Dipper tried to believe he did. His small hand lingered over the fire, the licking flames tingling but not scorching his skin. Distantly, he found the binding fire to be somewhat fascinating. Perhaps there would be time for asking questions when . . . Don't get ahead of yourself, Dipper. This isn't official yet . . . But it will be soon.

"Yes, I won't hurt Mabel. And I'll guide you through this, since you obviously don't know anything about alchemy," Bill said simply, still waiting for Dipper. "And I can answer that question you were going to ask. . . it's on the topic of alchemy actually.

"I don't want you to hurt anyone, Bill. Not Mabel, not me, not Stan, not Soos, not Wendy, not anyone. If this body is going to help you so much I'd want the deal to be fair for me as well," he added, gripping the demon's hand but not shaking just yet. It was strange how the flame didn't burn. "I'll do this if you agree to that. I'll keep you happy and get this . . . alchemy thing sorted out. You can't use the body to harm us, though. You've gotta promise that." Dipper looked up at Bill through the dancing flame, trying to read the demon's expression and find any hidden threat. "Deal?"

"Fine, deal." Bill shook his hand, eye expressionless so Dipper couldn't read him at all. "I won't be the one to hurt you anyway. . ." Bill laughed and finally disappeared as Dipper woke up.

Hey! This started out as a Roleplay between Mewstar/ Windtail of Wind and me, but we decided it would be good as a fanfiction. It's set after Northwest mansion mystery but before Not What He Seems, like kinda an AU. We both hope you enjoy our writing.