Okay, my first Gravity Falls fanfiction, as well as the first fanfiction I have written in about nine months. Let's see if I still got it. Also for reference, this is post-Boyz Crazy, Pre-Land Before Swine.

Dipper tapped his finger on his arm as he watched Mabel's eyes swivel around the chessboard. Her finger rested on her pawn as she tried to calculate every possible move he could make. He leaned back on his chair and hoped that Mabel would make her move soon.

Thankfully, his hopes had been answered as Mabel smiled brightly, setting down her bishop with confidence and leaning back. "Beat that!" She said, the light glinting off his braces as she smiled widely.

Dipper didn't respond as he examined the board, intending to do just that. With a brief curl of his lips, Dipper took his knight (thank goodness that Mabel decided to lay off the knights this once) and moved it to another space. With that, he leaned back and nodded.

"Checkmate." Mabel's mouth dropped at Dipper's proclamation, before shaking out of it and closing her mouth. "Nuh-uh, I can still move, just give a moment…" Mabel said, taking her king and looking around the board for somewhere safe she could put him. As the moment passed, Mabel realized with a sinking feeling that there was nowhere safe.

"Phooey." The sweater wearing preteen said as she dropped her king onto the board and starting pouting. Dipper sighed as he tried to muster up some cheerfulness.

"Hey, it's alright, Mabel. This game definitely lasted longer than the last game we played." More because she was second-guessing her moves rather than actually keeping him dazzled with her amazing strategies. Dipper had to restrain himself from snorting at the thought of his spontaneous and ever so random cousin actually thinking long term.

And should he be honest with himself, he was having other matters on his mind than the game. Namely, Wendy and his current relationship with her. While, he felt he had done the right thing in breaking up Wendy and Robbie (because no one should have a boyfriend that mind-controlled them)

"Hey, are you alright?" Mabel asked as she got over her sulk to look at her brother. Dipper may have looked okay, yet she sensed that it was just for show and that her "dipping sauce" might not be feeling well. Dipper looked up, a little surprised, but nodded before looking down again.

"Yeah, I'm okay." Dipper said, not looking his sister in his eyes. Mabel wasn't satisfied and tried to push. "Come on, bro, you can tell me anything, right?"

Dipper shook his head. "Please, I don't want to talk about it." Mabel tried not to look sad that her attempts at cheering Dipper up were not working. However, the ringing of the bell interrupted any thought as the entrance door was pushed open to let in two girls. Dipper idly recognized them as Mabel's two best friends, Grenda and Candy.

"Hey Mabel!" Grenda shouted as the muscled girl got Mabel in a crushing hug. Dipper smiled as he got up from his seat and began to put the chess board and pieces away. Ever since he had talked with Mabel about all the time that he felt Candy and Grenda took away from his and Mabel's time, it felt all the inner animosity he had with the two of them vanished. Still, he'd rather stay up all night with a wolf chewing on his leg than to stay at one of their sleepovers.

Gerald still appeared to him in his nightmares.

"Hey, what do you got there?" Dipper blinked before turning around, Candy looking over his shoulder at the board that he was putting away. The cap wearing boy shrugged as he continued to put the pieces in the container that they were stored in. "Chess. Don't worry, me and Mabel had just finished anyway."

"Actually, can I play?" Candy asked, balancing on her heels as she waited for a reply. Just then, Mabel popped in with Grenda.

"Hey, Candy, come on up, Grenda just got Wolfman Bare Chest Goes Pantless As Well!" Grenda shouted out, still having Mabel in her grip. Candy nodded.

"Alright, girl, just go on without me!" Grenda smiled and went up the stairs. Mabel merely mouthed to Dipper 'We'll talk about this later,' as she was hauled upstairs.

Dipper looked at Candy for a few moments, before beginning to set up the board again. Taking his actions as a yes, Candy slid onto the seat opposite to him. As Dipper began to place out the pieces, giving Candy the white pieces and himself the black pieces, Candy spoke up.

"Umm…if it's not too much trouble, can I be black?" Dipper looked up from the board, momentarily halted from thinking about the possible moves that Candy could make.

"You sure?" Candy nodded.

"Oh course, I usually like to let my opponent go first, try to observe them." Dipper nodded and switched the board, feeling much more comfortable making the first move. He then took a pawn from the center of his forces and moved it two spaces forward. Candy did the same, only with one a space more to the left.

"So where did you and Mabel come from?" Candy asked as she captured one of Dipper's pawns.

"Piedmont, California. What, Mabel never told you that?" Dipper questioned as he took one of Candy's pawns in retaliation.

Candy shook her head as she moved one of her knights to the side. "To be honest, I have looked for the occasion to. However, next thing I know, it is the end of the day and me and Grenda would have to go home."

Dipper chuckled a little at that as he moved one of his bishops. "Yeah, my sister can be like that. Time just seems to fly when you're Mabel, or anyone near her. Never quite a dull moment."

Candy smiled at that as well, as she moved her other knight. "Yes, never a dull moment with her, or even you for that matter."

Dipper paused for a moment, his knight still in his hand. After a while, he sighed as he set the piece down on the board. "Look…I'm sorry."

"For what?" Candy asked, her mind off the game and focusing on Dipper.

The brown-haired boy took off his cap to run his hand through his hair. Candy thought she had seen something on his forehead, but decided that now was not the moment to ask about it.

"Actually…for two things, for the Trickster and the whole body switching thing. I mean, I kinda attracted the Trickster because of my lack of Summerween spirit, and the second one was, well…" Dipper felt silent at that.

"It's okay, Dipper. First of all, how were you to know that the Summerween Trickster was real?"

At that moment, the weight of the book in Dipper's vest felt a little heavier.

"I've had experience." Dipper said, thinking of the all the mysteries and secrets that he had learned throughout his vacation in Gravity Falls.

"You don't say." Candy said, thinking of all the things she had experienced since she had became Mabel's friend. Then she had forced herself back into the present.

"Second, that whole…thing wasn't that bad. Weird, but not that bad. I think Grenda actually appreciated having tiny girly hands for once." Dipper rubbed his arm looking somewhat unconvinced. "Yeah, but still…"

"But nothing, Dipper. Listen to me."Candy said a little more forcibly. Dipper was struck silent, but listened.

"It is in the past, and regardless whether we want to remember it or not, it still happened. It is like…Chess." She said, picking up a rook and putting it down opposite Dipper's king. Looking at the move, Dipper blinked, as if seeing the board for the first time. "That's…"

"Checkmate." Candy said, adjusting her glasses. Dipper looked around the board, trying to remember past the game that he had just played of what Candy managed to slip by him. "What happened?" He said, looking a little stupefied.

"I won. That's all that is. I thank you for this game, Dipper. I would ask for another, but throughout this game, I couldn't help but notice that you had your mind on other things." Candy said, perhaps a little disappointed. Dipper couldn't help but feel a little disappointed in himself as well.

"Maybe another time, when you are better, we can play again another time, yes?" Candy asked as she got off the chair. Dipper was silent for a while as he stared at the board, before nodding.

"Yeah, sure." He said, his tone speaking more of having some thinking to do. Candy nodded as she disappeared up the stairs. Dipper didn't even notice, just continuing to stare at the chessboard, occasionally picking up a piece and looking at it.

And it was in this position that Mabel found him in as she came down. Standing in the hall for a bit, she observed Dipper just staring at the board intently. Finally, she knocked on the door of the entrance.

"Knock knock." Dipper snapped out of his intense contemplation and stared back at Mabel. "Hey, Mabel." He said, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment he was caught having a moment. "What are you doing down here?"

"Oh you know, just contemplating stuff." Dipper said offhandedly. Mabel looked a little confused.

"That's good, right?" She asked. Dipper nodded as he got up from the chessboard.

"Yeah… hey listen, can you tell Grunkle Stan that I'll be out for a while bit, and I borrowed the golf-cart? There's…something I need to do."

Mabel nodded. "Sure, bro. Whatever you say." As Dipper came to the door, he stopped and turned around to face Mabel.

"Also, tell Candy to bring her A-game. I'll beat her next time."