Don't You Fall Before You Jump
A/N: A Gravity Falls AU wherein Alfred is Mabel (but of course), Matthew is Dipper, and Arthur is the bored British punk Wendy working at the Mystery Shack.
"Al! Look what Grandma sent us in the mail!"
There was a loud shatter as Alfred promptly lost his concentration and shot his grappling hook through a window. "What is it?!" He bounded over to where Matthew had set the brown cardboard box, excitedly prodding at the packing tape.
"Hang on, I'm checking, I'm checking!" Matthew's face screwed up in concentration as he sawed through the tape with a pair of scissors, careful not to cut into the cardboard-
"Mattie, you're taking way too long!" A brief, horrendously loud tearing sound, and the top of the box had been completely ripped off. Matthew resisted the urge to sigh.
"Jeez, Alfred, you didn't have to-"
"Look, fudge!" Alfred said delightedly, scattering foam peanuts everywhere as he popped open the plastic container. "And there's maple candy for you, too, Mattie!"
Matthew sent out a silent prayer of thanks for grandparents everywhere as he popped a piece of the golden brown candy into his mouth and felt the sweetness melt over his tongue. Grandma had made good on her word to send Matthew a little piece of home in all her packages for his first summer in the States, and a little burst of affection flared up in his chest.
"What else did she send us?"
"Hmm...a couple of model airplane kits-cool, that one's a World War II fighter jet! Oh, she knitted socks for you, Mattie!" Alfred snickered as he tossed a hideous-looking ball of red and pink yarn Matthew's way.
...Unfortunately, Grandma was also colour blind.
"Shut up," Matthew threw the ball back at his brother's head. "It's not like your socks are any better!" He retorted, raising a meaningful brow at Alfred's stars and stripes patterned ankles.
Alfred scoffed. "America's the most awesome country in the world, so anything that looks like America is awesome by default, there!"
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever, Al." Matthew said, peering back into the box. Suddenly, a glint of blue under a layer of foam peanuts caught his eye. "Hey, Al, Grandma gave you some clothes too?"
Alfred, who had been trying to balance a foam peanut on his nose ("Like a seal!") at the time, promptly fell over, causing the peanut to land in his mouth. "Whar?" He spat out the peanut on the floor, ignoring Matthew's wince of disgust. "What'd she send me? Oh no, not socks too-"
Matthew smiled and held up the present. "See for yourself."
Alfred's face broke into a gigantic grin. "No way!" He immediately snatched the sweater away and hugged it to his chest, burying his face in it like a well-loved toy. "Oh my god, this is so cool!" Alfred held the sweater at arm length, taking in its glory The sweater itself was made of soft, dark blue wool, perfectly fitted to Alfred's size. In the middle was Captain America's shield, splayed proudly over the chest.
Matthew grinned. "So I guess you like it, eh?"
"We have the best grandma ever!" Alfred immediately pulled off his current sweater and tugged the Captain America one over his head, looking down at himself admiringly. "If I get my cap-hang on!" Alfred scrambled up and ran into the hallway. A second later he appeared again, this time with his blue cap with white wings on the side fashioned to look like Captain America's helmet. "Ta-dah! Do I look like the awesomest hero alive or what?"
"Maybe the biggest dork alive," Matthew teased, laughing as Alfred shoved at his shoulder. "We should show Arthur what we got. Come on!"
However, his twin didn't budge. All of a sudden, a shadow seemed to fall over Alfred's expression. Alfred's face twisted, as if he was considering something very difficult, then he took off the cap and started to tug his sweater over his head.
Alarmed, Matthew placed a hand on Alfred's elbow and forced the sweater back down again. "Hey, what's wrong? Why're you taking it off?"
Alfred flopped dejectedly on the floor, pulling the collar of his sweater up to his face the way he did when he felt nervous, rocking back and forth.
"Arthurwishiofsmklfdg" He mumbled incoherently.
"What." Matthew said flatly. Alfred murmured something incomprehensible into the collar of his sweater. "Al, unless you leave sweater town I'm not gonna know what you're saying-"
"Arthur's gonna think I look stupid, okay?" Alfred burst out, glaring at the ceiling. "If I wear that dumb sweater and cap thing in front of him, he'll take one look at me and think I'm just some stupid little kid." Alfred finished dejectedly, knees pulled forlornly against his chest.
Matthew swallowed. He hadn't seen his twin this upset since they discontinued Smile Dip.
"Oh, Al." Heart clenching at his brother's miserable expression, Matthew took a seat next to Alfred on the floor. "Arthur's not gonna think you look stupid. He's your friend, remember?"
"Yeah, well." Alfred said, still looking unconvinced. "He's a whole fifteen years old, and we're not even teenagers yet! Once he sees me in this sweater he's going to realize how dumb and immature I am and then he'll start spending all his time with that snotty Francis jerk." Alfred said with a scowl.
Matthew felt Francis was all right, if not a little condescending and antagonistic towards his brother, but he patted Alfred's shoulder comfortingly all the same. "No, he wouldn't," Said Matthew. "I don't think Arthur even likes Francis that much. Remember how he keeps calling him 'Frog'?"
Alfred's face drooped. "Arthur doesn't give me any special nicknames."
Oh, for Pete's sake.
"Look, Alfred," Said Matthew, gently tugging Alfred's sweater collar away from his face. "Arthur isn't going to think you're a baby or ditch you because you're wearing a Captain America sweater, okay? Arthur likes you. He likes spending time with you, and he likes your dorky personality. Why d'you think he's always working at the Mystery Shack instead of with his teenager friends? I mean, when you guys first met you didn't bother acting all mature and grown up, did you? You were just your usual goofy self, and you became friends with Arthur anyway. He probably likes how you act all the time."
Alfred looked at him with uncertain eyes. "Really?"
Matthew smiled. "Really. I mean, Arthur's seen you in a lot worse than a superhero sweater and he still hangs out with you, doesn't he? Remember that time we had to wear our lamb-"
"La la la that never happened!" Alfred cried, sticking his fingers in his ears, and Matthew had to laugh at how his dumb brother was acting. However, when Alfred lowered his hands again, his expression was serious.
"I dunno, Mattie." Alfred said. "I guess after we went to that haunted market thing I just realized how young we are compared to Arthur, y'know? And I don't want him to treat me like I'm some stupid kid that needs babysitting, I want him to-" Alfred broke off abruptly, cheeks staining red.
"Oh, I think I know what you want from him, alright," Matthew teased, elbowing his brother playfully.
"Shuddup," Alfred replied, a hint of his normal bravado entering his voice again. "I just think Arthur's a great friend, okay?"
"I don't think 'friend' is what we would call it these days-"
"Shut up!" Alfred cried, though he was smiling. "Um. I mean. I guess you're right, Mattie. Arthur wouldn't let something silly like a sweater come between us, especially if the sweater's an awesome one of Captain America!"
Matthew grinned. "When am I not right?"
"Um, the time you thought Kiku was a zombie? Or when you accused the town journalist of being a serial killer? Or how about when-"
"Thank you, Alfred," Matthew cut in, helping his brother to his feet. He smiled at Alfred, and then placed the discarded Captain America cap in his hand. "Now, you wanna go show Arthur how Grandma's fudge is the best in all of North America?"
Alfred slowly placed the cap back on his head, tilting the rim to make sure it was at the right angle. He looked at Matthew, hesitant, but then Alfred cocked his head and smiled. "Sure. And I'll race you! Last one there's a gnome!" There was a dreadful crunch as Alfred's grappling hook landed out the door, pulling his twin into the hallway, and Matthew could hear Alfred laughing in a half-crazed way of his.
"Cheaters never prosper, Al!" Matthew yelled back. He scooped up the box of candy in his hands and scrambled after his brother, laughing when he heard a stream of British curses fly into the air as Alfred no doubt tackled Arthur to the ground.
It was Hetalia Falls, Oregon, June of 2012. And it was a good place to be.
A/N: It's been a while since I completed a fanfic, so constructive criticism would be much appreciated! If you want to drop a review telling me who your favourite GF/Hetalia characters are and who should be Grunkle Stan in this AU then please feel free to as well.
Kisses and Smile Dip, yours truly