Disclaimer: I do not own Gravity Falls or its characters. Otherwise the series would have more subplot adventures of Stan and his employees.
Gravity Falls had always been weird. Whether it was the mailman who was probably a werewolf, the gnomes who stole food off counters, or the odd fairy that floated through the air, Gravity Falls was certainly unique in its strangeness. Though admittedly, it seemed to Soos that he had never truly noticed just how strange Gravity Falls was until this summer when the weirdness had gotten ramped up to, like, over 9,000.
Still, this really took the cake.
"Whatcha doin'?" Brown eyes above heavily freckled cheeks suddenly popped up next to Soos, startling him.
"Wah!" Soos fumbled his wrench but quickly caught it. "Whoa, Mr. Pines, be careful popping up like that."
Soos got a scowl in return. "I toldja to call me Stan. What's with this Mr. Pines business." Mr. Pin- no, Stan looked away, his scowl turning into a pout.
"Well, normally, you're my boss, Mr. - I mean, dude." Soos corrected himself. Dude was slightly better than calling Mr. Pines by his name, even if he was suddenly a kid.
It had been almost half a week since Mr. Pines had apparently gone out for a walk in the evening, after an argument with Dr. Pines from what he'd heard, and then had returned the next morning as a kid with only his memories from that age. It'd been pretty hectic since then, with Dr. Pines trying to figure out how it happened and Dipper and Mabel having to look after both the Shack and the young Mr. Pines. Soos and Wendy helped as best they could but still...
"Oh, yeah." Mr. Pines blinked up at him, a goofy grin growing on his face. "Am I a good boss?"
Soos nodded his head and smiled at the boy. "Heh. The best!" A sudden thought occurred to him as he blinked. "Hey, what are you doing up so early?"
Soos had come to the Shack earlier than he usually did, which still tended to be early, mainly because the golf cart had broken down the day before but he hadn't had time to fix it before Dr. Pines had shooed him home. He wanted to have the golf cart tour ready for today so he could take some of the strain off Mabel and Dipper.
Mr. Pines shrugged. "When the sun's up, I'm up. Can't waste any summer right?" His grin, which reminded Soos a lot of Mabel's except Mr. Pines's had a tooth missing, spread wide over his face.
"Good point, dude." Soos agreed with a nod. He turned back to the cart, well aware of the curious eyes gazing at him.
"Soooooooooooo," Mr. Pines leaned back in to watch him work, "you never said what you're doing."
"Fixin' up the cart." Soos chuckled as a memory hit him. "Y'know, I actually did a segment for my Fixin' it with Soos show where I souped this baby up."
"Really?" Mr. Pines's eyes sparkled at the thought. "What'd you do? Give it a flamethrower? A monster catcher? Robot arms that can punch things?"
"Naw, just gave it nitrus rockets so we could make the jump over your car." Soos paused and looked up, scratching his chin at Mr. Pines's words. "But now that you mention it, the possibilities are endless…" So many possibilities, so much awesomeness.
Mr. Pines squealed. "Rockets?" He turned to inspect the golf cart. "Can we do something like that again?"
Soos shook his head to clear it. "Sorry, little dude. I mean, you didn't really mind the fact that we broke the roof, but I really don't think you'd want a repeat of that, Mr. Pines."
Mr. Pines's joy faded at the name. "Don't call me that." He grumbled, turning away and crossing his arms. "That's Pop's name."
Soos paused. There was something about his tone that just didn't sit right with him. A half-remembered conversation suddenly floated to mind. It could be nothing but… "Huh. So what's he like?" He tried to go for casual, and though Soos normally failed at that sort of thing, Mr. Pines didn't seem to pick up on it.
"Well, he's a really tough guy and smart. He runs a business and makes the money for our food and clothes. He hates when me and Ford run 'round the shop." Mr. Pines said, but some of it seemed stilted, almost rehearsed. And not rehearsed like he usually did with his Mr. Mystery act, but like he'd been told to say this and had said it a lot. "Pop's just wants me and Ford to be tough, too." He said that, but his refusal to look at Soos and the way he was rubbing his arm were telling a different story.
"I see." Soos narrowed his eyes. After all, he could just be reading too much into this. Besides, it's not like he could do anything, seeing as he didn't think Mr. Pines's dad was around anymore and this happened about 40 years ago.
"What about your old man?" Mr. Pines changed the topic, turning back to Soos, eyes curious once more.
There was a slight lump in Soos's throat that he swallowed down. Sure, he may have finally started accepting how his dad was, but it didn't make it easier. "Uh, I, uh, don't really remember him much. Haven't seen him since I was real little." Soos admitted, glancing over at his tool box.
"What?!" Mr. Pines exploded. "What sort of loser steps out on his family!" He launched into a rant about how useless Soos's father was, and Soos couldn't help but chuckle at it. Something in him untwisted a bit and it fully unwound as his gaze fell upon a familiar red screwdriver.
"You know," Soos said softly, cutting Mr. Pines off mid-rant who then blinked up at him, "I may not know my dad, but I do have someone that's like a dad to me."
Mr. Pines blinked again. "Really?"
"Yeah." Soos picked up the screwdriver with a fond look at it. "He's taught me a lot and he's been there for me ever since he came into my life. He showed up even when I wasn't expecting him to. But even better," he paused, trying to think of what may help, "he's told me to always be myself. I don't need to be anything else than what I am."
Soos glanced at Mr. Pines, who was staring at him with surprise. For a moment, a flicker of jealousy flashed across his face, but he smiled, "Huh. Seems like a swell guy."
Soos chuckled, putting the screwdriver down. "The best."
Mr. Pines sighed. "Seems like even if your real dad is a total jerkface, you won the lottery with this other guy." He leaned on his hand. "Think you could introduce us?"
Soos laughed and reached out to ruffle Mr. Pines hair, just like he had done to him many times. He ignored Mr. Pines's indignant squawk. "I think you'll find he's closer than you think." As he pulled his hand back, he decided to break the tension. "You know, I think I will give the cart the Soos treatment again."
Mr. Pines's shone as he let out an excited gasp. "Really? Let me help?" He jumped up and down in anticipation.
"Naturally, dude." Soos grinned at Mr. Pines's Mabel-like dance of joy.
It seemed like he wasn't the only who hadn't had the best dad in the world. And sure, Soos may not be able to change how things were back then, but he could at least do something for the kid before him right now.
It may not be much, but it was the least he could do to give Mr. Pines what he had already given him.
"Let's do this!" Soos yelled, caught up in Mr. Pines's excitement.
"YEEEEEEES!" Mr. Pines was right with him.
It was worth explaining to Dr. Pines how the golf cart ended up in a tree.
AN: I wanted to do a story with Soos and Stan, and I've always like the One and a Half Stan AU. So this is the result. Now, I don't know the full extent of how much a crappy dad Filbrick was, but he was undoubtedly a crappy dad. And Soos's dad is also a piece of crap. The only difference is that Soos had Stan to step in as a dad figure, Stan and Ford didn't have that. So Soos, being the sweetie he is, would try to alleviate that as much as he could. Enjoy!