AN: Okay, I might've accidentally made this seem like a plot story. Sorry, but this is only a one shot, even though it has like two chapters. :p And sorry if the ending seems rushed or crappy or anything like that. (Gotta stop rushing through stories.) Anyways, if ya wanna favorite, follow, or review, you're more than welcome to, and if not, then that's fine, I guess. Also, if you saw, I drew a little cover thingy for this too, and if anyone wants to draw this to fancy it up, then go right ahead. (You don't have to though. Just a thought.) Welp, here's the rest of The Haunting Dreams of Dipper Pines! Hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I do not own Gravity Falls. Alex Hirsch does.

XXX~~~XXX~~~XXX

The Haunting Dreams of Dipper Pines

It's been four days since Dipper's second encounter with Bill. After that horrifying incident, he has been refusing to even close his eyes for a second, lest he fall asleep and drag himself into another hellish nightmare. As days pass by, pulling all nighters was a lot more of a challenge than he let on. Since Mabel was gone, he's been drinking dozens of cans of Pitt Cola day in, day out, and when he runs out, he simply walks to the grocery store to buy a couple cases to last a whole day. At one point, after he ran out for the third time, he almost considered taking a swig of Mabel Juice, but decided against it. He's not ready to know what terror the super sweet drink brings after digesting it, and he may never be. Although he was desperate for energy, he won't rely on their intense sugar-load his sister has created.

Speaking of which, it was a good thing she wasn't here right now to see what a mess he's become. Or, an even bigger mess than he usually was. His hair was a lot messier, his blue and white pine tree hat is barely staying on top of his head, and he's put no effort into wearing his navy blue vest, which he has thrown on the floor by his bed out of frustration. His face looks even worse, with the near absence of color and the dark rings surrounding his eyes, making him look practically dead.

Luckily, Stan hasn't grown suspicious about the young boy as he brushed it off as "the usual Dipper," he called it, still thinking he just stayed up all night to read.

As much as he wanted someone to out right tell him they're aware of his strange behavior, Dipper knows he can't just simply cry on their shoulders and spill the information about his dreams, and certainly not about Bill. They don't need to know the trouble he's going through. Especially not Mabel. If Mabel knew any of this, then certainly, the dream demon would bring hell upon her as well, and he would be responsible for the loss of his sister's innocence and sheerful joy everyone's come to love. He would be responsible for how traumatized she would become after all the horrors the triangle put her through. As much as she annoys him at times, he would never want her to be in that situation. This is his responsibility. This is something he has to handle alone.

Today, he was working with Wendy at the register. The first thing she notices is that he's missing his signature vest. Another thing was how either he's nodding off very frequently, or whenever a customer is ready to pay for their merchandise, he seems even jumpier than before, startled real easy. She was very concerned for her younger friend. Of course he's always startled when somebody scares him for the fun of it, or when a monster is right behind him and he wouldn't know until he turns around. But when something as simple as helping out a customer scares him out of his wits, that raises a red flag. Clearly, something was wrong with him, and he's not telling her what.

So she tries to find out herself. "Dipper? Dude, you doing okay?"

Proving there was suspicion indeed, he jumped at the abrupt sound of a voice calling his name. "Wha...?! What? W-What do you mean?" He clears his throat to get rid of his cracking voice. "What are you talking about? I'm doing just fine." He lies as he uncharacteristically leans on the counter with his hand propping his head, barely sounding certain himself.

"Well, for one: you're not wearing your vest." Wendy states, pointing at his shirt. "And two: you look deader than Robbie after a Halloween party. Is there something you're not telling me?" She smirks, trying to add a little enlightenment.

His wish finally comes true, now regretting it the second she brought it up. He thinks of a good excuse to basically tell her everything's fine, which was the complete and total opposite of how he's actually feeling. He can't just bluntly tell someone that he had not one, but four nightmares involving a dream demon. Said demon torturing his mentality to the point of being too scared to sleep. "Yeah, I'm doing fine. Just had crazy nightmares with an all-knowing, powerful demon who possessed my body at one point. And in those nightmares he's been sadistically torturing the hell out of me, which is why I look like this. Because I'm not sleeping. Also, I think I'm losing my mind." Sure, that would totally work. That wouldn't scare her at all.

No, what he needs to do is keep his mouth shut about this, put on a happy mask, and pretend everything's okay.

Hoping she'll buy the false display he's about to put out, he shrugs and tries to use his nonchalant tone, attempting to look casual as he does so, but on the inside, he is filled with so much anxiety and so much exhaustion. "I've just been staying up late for the past couple of nights. No biggie."

The cashier wasn't entirely convinced, but decided to play along for now. "Well, your sister's gonna be pretty upset to see you dressed for the living dead. You might wanna get some shut-eye before she comes back."

Dipper sighs, relieved that she bought the bait. Though the simple thought of sleep sounds very comforting, that very thing is what he's been trying to avoid altogether. He nods and tells her he'll take the time to sleep after work, which is a flat out lie.

~~~XXX~~~

Spending not only one, but four nights at Grenda's house, not having to worry about work and finally getting some time away from her brother (and grunkle) was one of the best things to ever happen to Mabel. They were finally able to squeal about how cute and charming boys are without hearing any annoying complaints from anyone at all. Well, maybe an occasional "could you please keep it down" from Grenda's parents, but they were kind enough to not rat them out like Dipper has done a handful of times. "Mabel, you think you could tone it down a bit? You guys are so loud the whole town can hear you." He once said, only for them to continue their loud enthusiasm, greatly annoying the young boy.

It was great to finally go to someone else's house for a change.

The sleepover would've been even better if Candy were along with them, doing a lot of other shenanigans, such as playing dress up and putting on makeup, posing as celebrities living in Hollywood. Unfortunately, she had to go home sick the first night, having caught the stomach flu.

"Seriously, flu?! Why you gotta ruin everything?" Mabel exclaimed after that fateful incident. Nonetheless, she and her other friend still had a great time, playing the Sev'ral Timez trivia game, reading several romance novels, and watching a charming movie about a high school girl who fell in love with a vampire.

As she was walking in the woods back to her summer home, she thinks about how Grunkle Stan would probably have her do a week's worth of work around the shack due to her being absent. If only there was a way to get out of doing said work.

"Maybe I could get Dipper to-" her thought immediately stops at the mention of her brother, thinking about how terrible he looked the day she left. She's noticed how he's been out of bed every morning she woke up, which was either a good thing or a bad thing. Good because he was finally not sleeping in for once or only getting up when she does. Bad because- when had she known him to wake up early? He wouldn't wake up for anything, unless it was possibly for the journal. Hopefully that's not the reason he was tired, because if it was, then she was gonna have some words when she steps through that door.

Mabel sighs and frowns, understanding how invested Dipper is when it comes to the old book. About finding out who the author was. About learning the strange and paranormal secrets in Gravity Falls. He has been so devoted to the journal that at one point, he spent all day and all night, trying to crack every single code within the pages, and has learned all the ciphers until he knew them by memory. She completely accepts his inspiration and his motivation, but does not approve of how much sleep he's getting, or lack of sleep, thereof. There is a time when the brain needs to work, but there's also a time where everything needs to be put on hold and to take a good long break.

The young girl finally reaches the shack with a smile on her face, feeling content to step into the comforts of the old Mystery Shack. "Home sweet home. Filled with grumpy old men and crazy, paranoid brothers."

She opens the door and walks to the living room, a wide-eyed shock replacing her smile as she sees an extremely dead-tired Dipper in the armchair with a can of soda in his hand, his body slouching a little. If she thought he looked horrible four days ago, then she couldn't compare that to what he looks like now, with the additional bags under his eyes, which were fighting to stay open, his messier hair, and the look on his face as if it had no soul. The blank, emotionless stare, barely concentrating on the TV like he had nothing better to do with his life.

As she takes a good look at what her brother has become, she realizes that he's missing his vest and that his hat was laying on the floor in front of him. Although they would both normally get into their pajamas this time of the evening, it's very unusual to see him look like this; lacking the two pieces of clothing that make Dipper look like… Dipper. To let everyone know that this is who he is. This is how he dresses, and how it tells him apart from the world. Now, without his self-marked clothes, he's just turned into a depressing mess in less than a week. He's just a lifeless soul, sitting in an armchair in a dark, empty room, staring into what may as well be nothing, throwing his life away.

It pained Mabel to see her own brother look so miserable and tired. Surely, he didn't stay up for four nights straight just to read that journal.

"Bro-bro, what happened to you?"

So, in an attempt to persuade him to get some rest, she sets her backpack on the floor and walks over to him, stumbling across empty cans.

"Uh, hey, broseph. What'chya watching?" She calmly asks, looking over to the TV to see two chubby babies in a wrestling ring, one of them sucking on a teething toy and the other crawling towards him in an attempt to steal the possessed item. The ring itself was surrounded by a huge crowd applauding and screaming for the infants, chanting "Fight! Fight! Fight!"

She faces him again with a raised and concerned brow, knowing this wasn't something Dipper would approve of. The boy was never a huge fan of fights, or sports in general.

He was still staring at the TV with the blank expression, not answering the question at all. He looked like he was about to be out cold any minute, but before he had a chance to close his eyes, he finally moves, by only a little. He lifts the hand with the soda can to his face, takes a big gulp, and puts it back down. "Nothing. Just… stuff." He mumbled under his breath, sounding too tired to even speak. The voice sounded hollow, like his soul wasn't in him anymore… again. This time, it wasn't a masochistic demon possessing him, but it was the wave of depression, hiding him from society, making him numb.

Well Mabel isn't having a dead-living brother for the rest of this summer.

The young girl places her hands on her hips, trying to look and sound authoritative, but failing miserably. "Dipper, how much sleep have you gotten while I was gone?" The only reply she received was an aggravated, zombie-like glare. Knowing now he's not feeling up for games at the moment, Mabel throws away her authority act in an attempt to sound calming and make the young boy seem less angry. "…You didn't sleep at all, did you? After what happened a few weeks ago, you still choose not to sleep? Maybe it's time you take a break instead of overworking yourself like you always do, Mr. Works-a-lot."

For the first time since she came home, Dipper finally moves his entire body, getting up off the chair to a complete stand, drink still in hand. He sighs in exasperation, rubbing his tired eyes with his free hand and mumbles again, but having a more annoyed tone in his voice. "Mabel, I'm not in the mood to listen to this right now." He heads for the stairs, but before proceeding, he was interrupted by the young girl, yet again.

"Wait..." She turns around, ready to follow him, but stayed where she was when she received a deadly glare. "Dipper-"

"What?!" He suddenly shouted.

That stopped her dead in her tracks. The tone, along with the face, being thrown at her in such a negative and hateful way frightened her. She was never used to this kind of tension coming from her brother towards herself. The very first time she's ever seen him this angry was a very long time ago. For what reason, she couldn't remember. Very seldom does he ever shout at her in a hostile way. They always get along like best friends, and have annoyed each other, but in a light manner. They would always move on from their grudges, forgiven so easily. To see Dipper have such an outburst like that was like a bullet to the wound: sudden and painful. Very painful.

And so, to avoid more trouble than what she's already caused, she takes a couple silent steps back, feeling small and intimidated.

Dipper immediately feels guilty for his outburst when he saw his sister back away like a scared puppy. He knows she's worried about him, and she has a right to be, but she shouldn't be involved in the dark path he's already taken. She probably knows he's not mad at her, but rather very stressed for a different reason entirely. Hopefully, she'll never know the reason.

He sighs and turns away from the young girl, the tired, dreadful, and guilty look all over his face as he places a hand on the rail. "Look, Mabel. I'm sorry I yelled at you. I just… had a very rough day today, and I would appreciate it if I have some time alone. Please." With that final word said, he climbs up the stairs with his head down, feeling exhausted, miserable, and slightly tearful.

Now left alone in the dark room, Mabel's grown more worried about her depressed brother. She knows now that there is something incredibly wrong with him, and it's more than just a simple old, torn-up book, and she's determined to find out what. With that resolve, she heads for the stairs, not heeding Dipper's plea to not be bothered.

Once she reaches the attic door, she takes the time to listen to the dead silence lingering in their shared bedroom. There's no noise of page-turning, or Dipper's teeth gnawing on pens to let her know he was in deep thought. No. Just the cold, dark, hollow silence, which was very concerning. That silence was broken as soon as her fists gently knocks on the wooden door. "Dipper?"

No response.

She knocks again, but firmer this time to let him know of her presence. "Dipper, is there something you need to tell me? What's the matter?" She stops and places her hand on the door, giving him time to say something. Anything to let her know he's okay, there's nothing wrong him, and like he just said: he's just had a very rough day. She reaches for the doorknob to turn it, only to receive clicking noises. He's locked her out.

"He must be sleeping." She thought to herself, trying her best to outweigh the several cons with her one little pro. She sighs, turning to head back downstairs, but not before giving one final look at the door, her isolating brother on the other side.

What she doesn't know, however, is that Dipper is sitting on the floor in the middle of the bedroom, with his eyes covered by the dark shade from his bangs, and his knees held close to his chest, his arms hugging them tightly. He tries his hardest not to make noises of any kind as silent tears fall down his cheeks, holding back a tight and desperate sob. He was so tired not only from exhaustion, but tired of everything else altogether. The haunting dreams, being dependent on several cans of Pitt Cola to keep him awake only for a little amount of time, the overwhelming fear being the only thing he truly feels, making him unable to eat anything without feeling sick to his stomach.

Once he heard his sister's footsteps get quieter until they were gone, he finally cries out what he's been holding in the entire time. The more tears he was trying and failing to hold back falling down his face like a waterfall.

He had no idea how long he was going to keep this up until he mentally and emotionally loses it. One day, his sister might find out, which would be dreadful on both their parts, and she may tell Grunkle Stan about this, or even their parents. If the latter were to ever hear about how their son has practically lost his mind, they would definitely send him to therapy, and he would not be looking forward to that regularity. Having to take medicines just to be "normal" would bother him to no end. The horrible taste lingering in his mouth would remain for hours. Going to see psychiatrists on a weekly, or even a daily basis, would be even worse. A waste of time just to tell a stranger your life story and how you've been doing for the past several weeks.

Thus, nobody needs to know about his problem, but himself. Saves the trouble for everyone, and he wouldn't have all the attention.

But no matter how long Bill decides to torture him like this, no matter how long it takes for him to break, as long as Dipper still has his mentality, he knows the demon will continue to traumatize him in his sleep, and in his mind. Bill will not stop until he is broken.

~~~XXX~~~

After being locked out of the bedroom, Mabel has decided to actually give Dipper time to himself while waiting in the living room, watching one of her favorite movies she brought from home, "Random A' Capellas in High School," trying to distract herself from the concerning thoughts about the boy upstairs. It was about three hours ago when they had that heated argument. The flames in the young boy's tired eyes after being scolded for not getting any sleep. She's never felt that scared since she got left behind at a dark night graveyard when she was eight years old. That was a feeling she hoped she'd never experience again.

But the way Dipper was looking down in despair when he went up the stairs had made her feel awful for what she did. Not only was she oblivious to how he was feeling at the time, but also inconsiderate. She still doesn't know what's wrong with her unusually depressed brother, but somehow, in some way, she was going to find out.

Now would be the right time to do so.

Officially set on what to do, she heads for the attic.

Once she got there, she checked the doorknob again to make sure it wasn't still locked. Fortunately, she was able to open the door with ease, finally seeing their home-like bedroom. However, before she even made a peep, Mabel looked over to the left side and saw her brother's messy head gently laying on his soft pillows, his blanket being pushed to the edge by his feet.

Not wanting to disturb his peace and letting him rest, like he was supposed to, the young girl decides to have a talk with him tomorrow when he's fueled and ready for the day. She takes her shoes and sweater off, revealing a solid blue t-shirt she was wearing underneath, and climbs into her own bed, ready to sleep herself. She turns over and faces her sleeping brother, and before she goes off into Dreamland, she covers herself up with her pink blanket and whispers "Good night, Dipper." She finally closed her eyes and doses off into Dreamland.

Unbeknownst to the young girl, he was awake the entire time.

~~~XXX~~~

Once he knew his sister was out for the night, Dipper waited until it was dark outside to leave the attic. He sat up from his bed, feeling like his body was on fire from the lack of sleep, and looked at the sleepy face belonging to Mabel. The sweet and innocent face he's known all his life. He remembers how whenever he was feeling down for whatever reason at all, she would be there for him to tell her what was bothering him, what upset him, or if he just wanted to tell her something in general. There were even times when it was the other way around, which happened more often than not. No matter what, Mabel was always there for him.

Not this time.

The young boy prepared for the worst as he got out of bed, his legs feeling painful and not being his best friend at this moment. He opens the door, making a squeaky noise that was too loud in this extremely quiet room, and leaves to head downstairs.

Mabel was having a weird, but amazing dream, but the last thing she remembered before waking up to a squeaky noise was a magician showing her the inside of an old log cabin, which was covered in Smile Dip from one side of the room to the other. The room itself was very bright and colorful, unlike the outer parts of the cabin.

When the young girl opened her eyes, she could still hear the door opening, along with sounds of feet hitting the hard wood floor, which then goes away right afterwards. She looks over to the other side of the room to see that her suspicion was confirmed: Dipper was gone.

She looks over at the clock, which read 12:17 a.m. She climbs out of bed and follows after him to find out why he would be awake this time at night.

When she reaches the living room, she sees the young boy the same way he was when she came home earlier: slouching on the chair and looking very tired. The only difference was that he was missing a soda can in his hand. She walks over to his direction, places her hand on the arm of the chair and quietly asks, "Is there any room for one more?"

She only expected to receive yet another deadly glare, but instead, he simply scoot over to give her enough room to sit comfortably, tired eyes still focused on the television.

She took the kind offer and snuggled in between the arm and the expressionless child to her right. She sat there quietly for a minute while anxiously fiddling with her fingers. If there was something Dipper was not telling her, she's going to find out, despite what she told herself earlier. The young girl faces her brother and starts it off the best she can without causing another outburst from the latter.

"Dipper?"

No answer.

"Dipper, I just want you to know that… if there's anything you need to talk about, you can tell me. I'm here for you." She suggests, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder in hopes he'll say something.

Instead, she was met with silence again.

"Dipper, is… is there something wrong?"

The boy in question finally responds. First, he sits up to get more comfortable, then answers her question, but not the one she was looking for. "No…" He sighs. "There's nothing wrong. I'm… just having a bad day. That's all." Normally, he would tell her all about "what's wrong," but not this time. If only she would understand he was protecting her from the fate he's been put through.

"Well, o-okay then." She tells him as she moves her hand from his shoulder to her lap, choosing to let it slide for now.

They both said nothing else while watching the TV, only letting the barely audible noise keep them entertained.

Fifteen minutes later, Mabel feels some weight added to her right shoulder. She looks over to see a sleepy Dipper leaning on her, the dark rings around his eyes from staying up all night, how pale he looks. Although he normally doesn't get a lot of sleep, it's almost like she's not even looking at her brother anymore.

XXX

Dipper was on his way to the Mystery Shack, feeling the chilly wind blow by as he was walking in the middle of the dark woods, slightly shivering from the cool weather. Normally, he wouldn't mind the scenery, but because of recent events, how could he remain calm when Bill could pop up any second? Because of the psychotic dorito, he was never able to actually relax, the gnawing fear of being tortured consuming his young brain. His fear still lingered when he finally reached his home.

He stopped and stood still, unsure how to feel about seeing the place that normally made him feel happy and content. Relief because he's made it home unharmed, and he'll be safe with his uncle and sister. Or anxious because of the possibility that he's never safe anywhere, not even in the comforts of his own home, whether it was here or in Piedmont. It could be dangerous anywhere.

After what felt like hours, he let out his breath he didn't know he was holding in, and took hesitant steps to the old building in front of him.

When the door was within reach, the young boy places a shaky hand on the knob and turns it. Once he got a view of the inside, He realizes how strangely quiet and completely dark the house was, compared to how it usually is. Nobody was around at all; Mabel wasn't making new sweaters or playing with Waddles anywhere, Stan was nowhere in sight either, keeping her company. The gift shop was empty as well, lacking the sound of customers shopping around or the cha-ching from the cash register. It's as if the shack was abandoned.

Dipper walked into the house with growing dread, because he knows something bad was bound to happen, but he had no idea what. When he entered the living room, there was finally some kind of civilization. However, what he saw made him gasp and scream in utter shock.

Stan was sitting in his chair, wearing his pajamas, but he was completely lifeless, with blood soaking all over his midsection and a deadly sharp knife sticking out of his chest. His face looked the worst of all: his eyes looked dull and his mouth was wide open as if he was screaming bloody murder before succumbing to death.

The young boy backed away fearfully with shallow breaths, his whole body shaking, and his heart feeling like it was about to burst out of his chest. All he could feel right now was the fear that a murderer could be in his house, searching for their next victim. But who would ever do this? Why would anyone brutally murder Stan of all people? Is it just the Pines family that's in danger? The last question he was about to find out.

He dashes upstairs in hopes that Mabel is okay, hoping that she was left alone. She's probably safe. Maybe the murderer hasn't found her yet, or she's chased them off with her grappling hook.

"Please, be okay. Please be okay." He mentally repeats to himself. Never in his entire life would he ever want to see or hear anything awful or inhumane happening to the closest family member he has.

"Mabel!" He slams the door to their room right when he called for her, sweat draining down his face out of dread and anxiety. His eyes widen at the next thing he sees, which is worse than anything he's ever imagined.

His sister. His twin sister at that, was in the center of the room, dropped to her knees with the scarlet red pooling around her. She was clutching her stomach like her life depended on it, which was actually the case, her hands, her whole stomach, covered in her own blood. Her face was filled with terror, hurt, and betrayal all at once, with tears running down her face.

Everything about this was wrong in so many ways. Mabel, the usually cheerful and crazy twelve-year-old girl, was trying to stay alive by hugging herself to keep more blood from spilling out of her small, fragile body. His sister was severely injured, and in their bedroom no less. He wasn't even there to protect her, and look where it got both of them. The sight of Mabel crying in agony was like looking at a cold and terrified animal; something as innocent as a newborn child suffering in the hands of a sadistic asshole, wherever they've gone.

Instead of running to her aid, Dipper stood still, too scared to even move an inch from where he's at now. "M-M-Mabel?! W-what happened to you? Who did this?"

She just stared for a few seconds, the slight look of confusion on her face, then gave him an answer he was not expecting at all. "Why, Dipper?" She asks, her voice sounding too tearful for his liking.

Why what? "Why" has he come to save her from her own death? "Why" didn't he come here sooner to do anything? "Why" is he just standing there like he's doing right now? He's still too frozen to move, but he spoke up, killing the silence that's been lingering for what felt like hours. "What do you mean?" He asked, just as confused as she was.

The voice was barely audible enough for anyone to process what he just said, but she still heard, regardless. Her eyes widen in shock after hearing him ask such a question, like he was missing the obvious answer. "Why would you do this to me?" She shouted, but not without releasing a sob while looking down at the ground.

"What are you talking about?" He immediately received his answer once he noticed how cold and wet his hands suddenly felt, feeling even more scared about finding out the reason. The young boy looked down to see blood soaking his entire bare hands, from his fingertips all the way down to his wrists. And in one hand, he held the exact same knife he found in Stan's chest.

His eyes widen, too terrified to even accept the reality of it all. It hardly makes sense. One minute, he was walking home in the middle of the woods, and the next, he stands by their bedroom door with his hands covered in his sister's blood. There was no way he could've murdered his own family. He had no reason to. He's never even thought of the concept of it. Everyone knows he would never do anything like this. He's "too much of a nerd," Mabel would put it. Now, for some sick, twisted reason, he has done it. It was him who was the sadistic asshole he was looking for. It was him who ended the lives of the ones he was closest to. It was him who's gonna pay for what he's done.

Then suddenly, he feels as if he was on the brink of insanity because next thing he hears is the laugh coming from Mabel of all people, but the voice did not belong to her. "Mabel" gave him a maniacal glance, revealing the black slit pupils to the yellow eyes. He knows all too well who this is now.

Bill.

XXX

"AAAHHH!" Dipper shouts as he jolts into a sitting position, suddenly feeling very sick. After telling himself he was not going to sleep, he has failed and done so anyway, earning yet another horrible nightmare for him to feel traumatized. He quickly looks at Mabel's direction to make sure she was okay. Thankfully, she was still alive and unharmed.

"Mabel!" He didn't have time to say anything else before wrapping his arms around her in an embrace, tears falling down his cheeks as he was crying. "Thank goodness you're okay!"

Seeing this odd behavior coming from her brother of all people, the young girl slowly returned the hug and spoke to him as calm and patient as she can. "Well, of course I'm okay, Dipper. Why wouldn't I be?" Then, she couldn't resist finding the root to his problem. She wanted answers, and she wanted them now. "Seriously, bro, what is wrong with you today? First you get angry for some reason, then you shut me out, and now you're crying? This isn't like you. You never randomly cry like this, especially from a dream."

He takes his time to calm down, then tells her, "I… I can't tell you."

"Why not?"

"I just can't." His voice cracks, feeling more tears threatening to fall out. The young boy hugs his sister tighter for comfort. He couldn't relive that scene. It was too graphic to explain in detail. The red hands, the painful look on his sister's face. Her near death. It all felt too real.

The young girl rubs circles on his back to soothe him and let him know that everything is alright. "Of course you can. I've told you earlier: if there's anything on you mind, you can tell me. I'm right here." She reassures him. "And I know something's on you mind, bro-bro. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been acting like a zombie all day, or crying for that matter."

As they break their hug, Dipper looks at his sister; the sincere smile she's showing him, telling him to say what's on his mind. As much as he wanted to, he doesn't know what Bill would do to her if she ever knew about the dreams he's had for the past six days. That smile is what he wants to see every day of his life. The smile shows how happy and grateful she is to be alive and have him by her side. If he ever told her about this, then surely, he would never see that smile again.

"Dipper…"

That voice, that tone of warning, was what suddenly triggered him. He could no longer hold back the pain he's been enduring for almost a whole week. The struggle for staying awake, not being able to eat anything, the feeling of isolation consuming him, not knowing when all of this will end. All this time, he's had nobody to help him through it, nobody to clutch onto when he felt so miserable. It was unbearable. Now, his sister was reaching out to him. She's offering to help go through whatever trouble he's facing alone. Desperate for help, he hugs her again, letting out all the emotions he's been suppressing all week. The dread, the anger, the sadness, and the never-ending fear.

Mabel calmly shushes him, telling him "It's okay, Dipping Dots."

This is what he missed. The comfort the young girl gave him when he felt bad, or scared, or whenever. The reassurance she gave him when he felt doubtful. The sibling love that nobody could ever give to him, but Mabel herself. There was even the smell of cupcakes that held onto practically all her clothing, which made him feel like they were back at Piedmont.

After seconds of doing the shushing and reassuring mantras, as much as he didn't want her to know, the young boy finally adjusted, wiped away his tears, and told her about everything. He told her about the dreams, Bill, his refusal to sleep, his dependence on sodas all day, every day, and how much he feels like he's stuck into the abyss of insanity.

It took a while for the young girl to absorb all the information, feeling upset because he didn't tell her sooner, guilty because she never knew any of this to begin with, and sympathy because he's dealt with all the trauma alone. "Dipper, I… I'm so sorry." She places a hand on his shoulder. "I had no idea that… this was why you've been feeling all… depressed lately. I thought… You've felt like this all week, and you didn't tell anyone?"

The boy next to her pulled his knees to his chest and hugged them, feeling a little guilty himself. "I didn't wanna put you guys in danger, especially you. I don't know what Bill would do if anybody found out about this, and..." He sighed, then looked away. "I'm sorry, Mabel."

"No. You don't apologize, mister." She orders, going back to her playful self. "You have nothing to be sorry for. In fact, if I even hear the word come out of your mouth, you'll be in a whole lot of trouble when I give out-" She then reaches for his underarms in attempts to tickle him. "Tickles!"

For the first time in what felt like forever, he had a smile on his face, laughing while blocking his sister's hands as they were reaching for his underarms. Now that all the weight was off his shoulders, he finally felt lighter, happier even, not having a worry in the world. Well, he's still a bit worried, given the circumstance. He may still have nightmares in the future, but this time, he'll have Mabel there to comfort him, to be there for him when he needed it most. She'll support him through it all.

And he's never felt better.

*The End*