This is a small one-shot that I wrote more or less to convince myself to start writing again. It's not the greatest piece or plot-heaviest (is that a word?), but it's fluffy and fun. Enjoy at your will.

August 31st, 2020

Dipper sighed as he plopped down on the couch. His head swam from over-stimulation and fatigue. For a straight week now, he had been taking intense classes in the fields of cryptozoology and forensics, jumping his junior year of college straight into the deep end. He also had a placement exam coming up that he was studying for. Anatomical-this, anomaly-that. Long story short, he was zapped. And not just mentally. He'd taken up a running routine to try to stay in shape. Sure, adventuring in the woods was a surefire way to burn calories, but that only happened in the summer.

All Dipper wanted to do was lay down and close his eyes. However, a certain test the next day told him that he couldn't, which frustrated him immensely. His gut was tightening around grand feelings of fatigue, annoyance, exhaustion, and loneliness. The loneliness, well, that was a whole different can of worms. Normally, Dipper didn't mind being alone. He actually preferred it. It allowed him to concentrate on whatever he was working on at the time. Mabel would call him anti-social, but Dipper knew that it was just because he was a workaholic. Tonight, though, was different. You see, it was August 31st, Dipper and Mabel's birthday, their 21st birthday in fact.

It's not like he and his twin didn't have a celebration. Two weeks ago, a few days before Dipper left for his junior year and Mabel left to start her own small craft business, many of their friends and family came together to have a ginormous birthday/end of summer party. It was great! And, of course, given that it was their 21st Birthday, Grunkle Stan brought along a selection of various alcoholic beverages. Dipper politely declined them, saying that the brain doesn't stop developing until around the age of 25. Stan was disappointed in this, but Dipper, Backed by Grunkle Ford, remained firm, saying that he didn't want to risk it. Mabel, obviously, wasn't so firm. She downed cocktails and spirits all night with energetic vigor. She ended up puking in the bushed later that night, and Wendy drove her home, saying something along the lines of "Pace yourself next time, dude."

Dipper chuckled at the memory. Mabel ended up not waking up until noon the next morning, and promptly complaining about her head. Stan told her it was a "life lesson." Dipper didn't really expect anything less. The party was a ton of fun, and it was a real treat to spend some more time with his friends. But, that didn't stop him from feeling low right now. It just didn't feel right to Dipper being alone on his birthday. Maybe he should call Mabel again. They had already exchanged birthday wishes earlier in the day, but what's another call? Wait, no. That's right. She had a business meeting right now. Timezones, and all that. Ugh.

Dipper leaned his head back onto the couch and closed his eyes. This was going to suck.

Just then, a knock sounded on his door. It was probably Greg, Dipper's roommate. Probably lost his keys to the apartment, again. That guy would lose his head if it wasn't screwed onto his body. Dipper begrudgingly got up and went to the door. Though, when he opened it, it wasn't Greg. In place of his cheese-smelling roommate was a face that he hadn't seen in over a year.

There, in his doorway, stood Pacifica Northwest, the wealthy heiress to the Northwest fortune. A strong, stubborn spitfire that Dipper had once aided in exorcising a ghost from her mansion when they were 12. After high school, she had since been busy going to school in Oxford and learning how to become a state-of-the-art lawyer. Stan hated lawyers. Pacifica used to bully him and his sister when they were kids, but after the ghost incident, they had grown close.

"Pacifica?" Dipper startled, confused.

"Hey, dork," Pacifica said. Dipper just stared at her in shock. "So… are you going to invite me in? Or…" she said snarkily, flashing him a smile.

Dipper shook himself out of his thoughts. "Oh, uh, yes. Yes of course." He opened the door all the way and made a gesture to the interior, inviting her inside.

Pacifica walked in and made a face. The apartment was nice enough. Simple. Bare-bones. Brown carpet and couch. White walls. A basic kitchen with wooden cabinets in the back. Three closed doors, presumably two bedrooms and a bathroom. What caught her off guard was, strangely enough, the smell.

"It smells like cheese in here," she complained, not bothering hiding her disgust.

"That would be my roommate," Dipper responded astutely, following behind her. "Don't know why he smells like cheese, but he does, and it lingers." He moved over to the kitchen. "So, anyway, why are you here?"

Pacifica smirked at him again. "It's your birthday, dummy, I brought gifts."

It was at this moment that Dipper noticed Pacifica holding two things in her hands. One was a wrapped box. The other was a gift basket filled with various high-class chocolates, summer sausages, and a bottle.

"Oh, cool," Dipper said, eyeing the presents. He then helped up his index finger. "Follow-up question: how do you know where I live?"

Pacifica rollered her eyes. "I'm a multi-millionaire heiress getting her law degree. Don't you thinking I could find you if I wanted to?" Dipper raised an eyebrow, skeptical. "Also, I have Mabel on speed dial." That part made sense.

Dipper smiled. She certainly hadn't changed. Pacifica then promptly thrust the wrapped box into his hands. "Go ahead, open it," she said excitedly.

Dipper shrugged and moved to tear the wrapping. After tearing one side off, he discovered what it was, and a wave of nostalgia washed over him.

"The Ghost Harasser's Box Set Volume II?" he asked in surprise.

"Yep," Pacifica said, pointing at the box. "With director's commentary, too, ya big nerd."

Dipper looked into her eyes and smiled. "Thank you," he said. "And I mean it, too. You have no idea how much this means to me."

"Mabel said that you might be in a little bit of a funk today, and I was passing through town, so I figured why not?"

Dipper moved to give her a hug, and Pacifica reciprocated. They stood there for a few seconds before parting. Pacifica smirked again. "Well, go ahead, pop the DVD in!" Dipper looked at her, confused. "What?" she asked, innocently. "It may be nerdy, but I like this stuff, too. Making fun of Ghosts of TV helps with the childhood trauma."

"The only problem is that I have a test tomorrow that I have to study for," Dipper replied.

Pacifica rolled her eyes. "Like you probably haven't already been studying for a week straight, knowing you. What time is your test tomorrow?"

"Three," Dipper responded.

"Then you can study in the morning. Now, come on. It's your birthday, and I'm here. Let's just sit back, relax, enjoy each other's company, and watch a show about hairy guys in their thirties walk around in the dark for forty-five minutes."

Dipper thought about it for a second. "You know what?" he said. "You're right."

Pacifica gave a little clap as Dipper opened his new box set and turned on the DVD player. He heard Pacifica rummaging in the kitchen behind him, but didn't give too much thought to it.

"Hey, do you have any wine glasses?"

Dipper looked back, bewildered. "Why would you need wine glasses?" he asked. He saw Pacifica on her toes, head in one of the cabinets.

"For the wine that I brought, duh."

Dipper sighed. Not this, again. "Look," he said, turning his attention back to the device in front of him." I appreciate the thought, but I don't drink, and won't until I'm 25."

"But it's your 21st birthday! You should at least have something. And besides, it's not like I brought Vodka or anything. This is a finely aged wine from 1922. It's worth a few grand at least."

Having set the movie up, Dipper turned back to Pacifica, who was right behind him, the bottle from the gift basket in one hand, and two coffee mugs in the other.

"And the best way to drink this is with a friend," Pacifica said. "It's not like I have anyone else to drink with."

Dipper sighed, defeated. She made a good point, and the look on her face told him that it wasn't worth fighting it. Besides, it's only fermented grape juice, right? "Fine," he said, "but one cup only, and I'm only doing this for you."

Pacifica gave a soft smile and turned to sit on the couch. Dipper sat next to her and took a box of fancy crackers out of the basket while Pacifica poured two mugs of wine. Dipper then hit play on the TV and started the show. He took a sip of wine and nearly spit it out. "This stuff is disgusting," he complained.

Pacifica just rolled her eyes again. "It's called an 'acquired taste,' ya peasant" Dipper looked at her out of the corner of his eye as he took another tentative sip. The fermented grape juice tasted like pus mixed with a hot summer's day stirred with a tree branch. Pacifica gave him a smile. Not a smirk or a sarcastic smile, but a genuine, warm smile. That's not something she gives out regularly. Dipper smiled in response and settled into the couch, turning his attention to the TV. As the pair continued the evening, Dipper felt a strange warmth go throughout his body, relaxing him. It was probably the alcohol, but he didn't really mind it. He lazily wrapped his arm around Pacifica's shoulder and leaned into her.

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you for everything."

Pacifica smiled again. "Anything for you, ya big dork."

Greg fumbled with the lock as he opened the door to his apartment. It was been a long night, with more than a little to drink. His shirt was damp with sweat and probably vomit, and he was seeing double everywhere he turned. Driving home was a nightmare. Luckily, he was good at it.

He walked into the apartment and headed straight for his room, wanting to sleep until the weekend, when something caught him off his guard. The TV was playing some weird ghost-hunting show, and on the couch, sound asleep was Dipper with his arms wrapped around some hot blonde girl, an empty bottle of wine sitting between them.