Ford leaned against the gates beside his brother. They were currently outside the gates of Wildwood Middle School, Piedmont, waiting to pick Dipper and Mabel up from school. They had arrived in California unannounced. They’d docked the Stan O’ War II over in Emeryville and had been picked up by Dipper and Mabel’s parents. Neither party had told the kids they were coming - it was a surprise. It was roughly two months into the school year and two months since the older Pines twins had first set sail on the Stan O’ War. They had decided to pay the kids a visit. Dipper and Mabel’s father, Jason, had been overjoyed to discover that his supposedly ‘dead’ Uncle Stanley was actually still alive and that Ford was here too. It had been a fairly tearful reunion on both parts - Ford had barely met his nephew before and he’d been elated to finally get to know him properly. The younger twins’ mother, Kristen, was really pleased to meet them too.
“What time did Kristen say the kids finished?” Ford looked over at Stan. “Three, wasn’t it?”
Stan checked his watch. “Yeah, they should have been out by now, surely.”
As if on cue, a loud bell rang out across the school grounds and a minute later kids started filing out, meeting up with their parents and friends and leaving. The older Pines twins scanned the sea of children for any sight of Mabel and/or Dipper. After five minutes, Mabel’s familiar cheery voice could be heard over the crowd. Stan and Ford stayed put, waiting for her to get closer. Mabel walked right past them, barely able to see them beyond the taller kids either side of her. She seemed to be looking for her parents.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Stan called.
Mabel whirled round and gasped. A wide smile instantly spread across her face and she ran towards them. “GRUNKLE STAN! GRUNKLE FORD!” She exclaimed, running up to them and embracing both of them in tight hugs. “What are you doing here?!”
“Well, we were passing California and thought we’d come and visit you.” Ford was beaming, hugging her tightly. “We docked the boat over in Emeryville.”
“We couldn’t resist coming to see you,” Stan grinned, lifting Mabel up and embracing her tightly. The little girl wrapped her arms around his neck, giggling.
“It’s so good to see you too! What’s the boat like? Have you found any monsters? Have you found any treasure?!”
“Relax, pumpkin,” Stan chuckled, setting Mabel back down again. “We’ll explain everything when we get home.”
“You’re staying with us?!” Ford didn’t think it was possible for Mabel’s smile to get any bigger, but he was proved wrong. “Really?!”
“Yep,” Ford grinned. “We’ll be staying in the spare room at your place,”
“How long will you be staying?”
“Dunno,” Stan shrugged. “Until your parents get fed up and kick us out.” He smirked.
Ford laughed. “That could either be in an hour or a month.”
“Dipper’s gonna be so happy to see you guys!” Mabel turned round, scanning the crowd for her twin. “When he eventually gets out.”
Ford stood on the tips of his toes to look over the heads of the parents in the crowd. For a moment, he was looking for the familiar blue and white pine tree cap, but then remembered the boy had traded hats with the ginger Mystery Shack employee (Wendy? Was that her name?) before they had left Gravity Falls. Sure enough, he soon spotted the boy amongst the crowd. “Dipper!”
Dipper perked up as he heard his name being called. He frowned. That couldn’t be who he thought it was, could it? No, they were out on the boat - That was until he saw Grunkle Ford’s head above those of the other parents. “Grunkle Ford!” He rushed forward, shoving kids out of the way.
A split second later, Ford had been tackled by the young boy. He laughed, scooping Dipper up into his arms and hugging him tightly. “Good to see you too!”
Dipper laughed, his deerstalker hat lying lopsided on his head, as he wrapped his arms around Ford. “What are you doing here?”
“We were sailing past California and decided to come and see you.” Ford grinned, putting Dipper down beside his sister. “We’ll be staying at your place for a little while.”
“Really?!” Dipper’s reaction mirrored his sister’s. “Wait… we?”
Stanley laughed. “Hey, where’s my hug?”
“Grunkle Stan!” Dipper ran over to the other man, hugging him equally as tightly. “You’re here too?!”
“Course. What, you thought Ford left me on the boat so he could see you all by himself?” Stan chuckled, hoisting Dipper up into his arms for a better hug. “No way was I staying put on the boat!”
“Come on, you guys!” Mabel grabbed Ford’s hand and started dragging him towards where the car was parked. “Let’s go! I’ve got so much cool stuff to show you!”
Ford laughed and looked over his shoulder at Stanley. “Yeah, Stan, come on! I can’t drive, remember?”
Stanley scoffed and put Dipper down, following his brother and Mabel over to where they’d parked their parents’ car (they’d borrowed the family Volvo). “Only because you forgot how to,”
Ford tried to look indignant, which was kind of difficult with a hyperactive thirteen-year-old clinging to his wrist. “Hey! It’s not my fault I didn’t drive for thirty or so years while I was lost!”
Stanley shoved his brother’s shoulder playfully as he caught up to them, Dipper by his side. “Yeah, I know, Poindexter. Those alien cars were too weird, huh?”
“Do you have any idea how difficult they are to steal - I mean operate?” Ford coughed.
Stanley burst out laughing. “You tried to steal one? My brother, Mr Couldn’t-Even-Take-Free-Samples? Didn’t that Sanchez guy ever lend you his car?”
“A) It was a ship, not a car,” Ford held up a finger. “And B) No, he was always the one driving.”
Stanley rolled his eyes as they got to the car. He climbed into the driver’s side. Ford went to open the passenger side door, but Mabel beat him to it. “I wanna sit up front!”
“No fair!” Dipper protested. “You had shotgun on the way here!”
“Did not. You’re lying,” Mabel stuck her tongue out at him.
Ford gently pushed Mabel out the way and stood in front of the door to the front passenger seat. “Right, how about I get shotgun privilege, since you can’t decide who gets it?”
“No!” Both of the younger twins cried in unison. “That’s not fair!”
“Grunkle Ford Mabel had it on the way here!” Dipper protested.
Ford shrugged. “Maybe I want to sit in the front seat for a change?”
Stanley was laughing. “Just sit in the front, Mabel.” he chuckled. “But Dipper gets shotgun on the next two trips, okay?”
Mabel stuck her tongue out at Dipper again and climbed into the front seat, dumping her school bag on the floor. “Thanks Grunkle Stan!”
Dipper pouted and got into the driver’s side rear seat. Ford sat next to him and pulled his seatbelt on. “It’s alright Dipper. You get shotgun next turn, anyway.”
Dipper smirked. “Okay,”
Stanley started the car and adjusted the rearview mirror. “Seatbelts on?”
“Yes!” The three passengers said simultaneously.
Stan looked in the mirror at his brother. “Was that really necessary?”
Ford crossed his arms, a smug grin on his face. “Yep, now would you just drive?”
Stanley rolled his eyes and put the car into gear before pulling out into the road and heading back towards the kids’ house. Ford leaned back in the seat, one arm around Dipper’s shoulders. Dipper leaned against him. “So,” Dipper said. “What’s the boat like?”
“It’s not bad, actually,” Stan said. “McGucket helped us with a lot of the construction, so as you can imagine it’s got a lot of tech built into it. He somehow managed to invent and then integrate a filtration system that filters all the crud and salt out of the seawater and then even heats it so we can have a functioning shower and taps and everything. That way we don’t have to make frequent stops at ports to have the water tanks refreshed.”
“He also hooked up fully functional solar panels so we could have a constant source of power,” Ford added. “He’s found a way to use the panels to charge a main battery in the boat so that we have power during rainy days too. There are several backup batteries on board too.”
“He even managed to set up a system so that we could have constant phone and internet signal.” Stan said. “The man’s a genius.”
“So you can, like, watch TV and stuff while you’re on the boat?” Dipper grinned. “That’s awesome.”
“Well, no, on account of the fact that we don’t have a television on board,” Ford pointed out. “As much as Stanley wanted to have one, it would use far too much power. We each have a laptop, though, and plenty of books.”
“What! No TV?” Mabel gasped. “How on Earth can you manage without TV?”
Ford laughed. “That’s what Stanley said, but he’s been just fine so far.”
“So far,” Stan emphasised. “Trust me, I’m slowly going insane on that boat what with Ford’s incessant rambling.”
“I do not ramble!” Ford said indignantly. “I have perfectly meaningful conversations with myself!”
“First sign of madness - talking to yourself.” Stan pointed out. “Face it, Poindexter, you’re losing it.”
Ford laughed. “Of course I’m insane if I spent the last two months stuck on a boat with you.”
Stanley glared in the mirror at his brother, only causing Ford to laugh again. “You know I can still throw you overboard in your sleep.”
“I can swim,” Ford crossed his arms. “Plus, I know you wouldn’t throw me over.”
“Could we see the boat?” Mabel asked. “It sounds really cool!”
“Of course! We could take you down after dinner, if you wanted,” Stan offered as he pulled into the driveway. The kids immediately jumped out and ran up to the front door. Ford climbed out, soon followed by his brother. Stanley locked the car and followed the kids up to the front door. Dipper unlocked the door and let them in.
“Mom! Dad! We’re home!” He called.
“Why didn’t you tell us Grunkle Stan and Grunkle Ford would be here?!” Mabel demanded as her mother came out of the kitchen.
Kristen laughed. “It was meant to be a surprise! They arrived a couple of hours ago.”
Mabel turned and glared at Stan, smirking slightly. “So you told them you were coming but you didn’t tell us?!”
Stan put his hands up in defence, grinning. “Hey, you were happy to see us, weren’t you?”
There was a snort from the kitchen before a small pink blur knocked Stan over and started licking his face. The man laughed and lifted the pig off his chest. “Good to see you too Waddles.”
Ford knelt down and gave the pig an affection scratch behind the ear. Waddles snorted happily before trotting off into the living room. Ford stood back up straight and looked at Kristen. “So you weren’t particularly against having a pig in the house?”
“No, he’s surprisingly well trained,” Kristen looked to where the pig was settling down into a small dog bed. “No mess and he barely leaves hair anywhere.”
Dipper grabbed Ford’s hand and started dragging him towards the stairs. “C’mon Grunkle Ford you gotta see our bedroom!”
“Hold on Dipper,” Ford laughed. “Let me take my shoes off first.” Dipper waited all of thirty seconds while Ford removed his shoes before dragging him up the stairs again. Mabel dragged Stan upstairs too. The kids showed Stan and Ford all their schoolwork, pictures, projects and everything they’d been doing since they left Gravity Falls. Dipper showed Ford a journal he’d been writing in, similar to Ford’s own journals, and Mabel showed Stan all the new sweaters she’d knitted. She presented both of her grunkles with a new sweater each. Ford’s was a deep navy blue with a golden six-fingered hand embroidered on the front. Stan’s was dark red with his ‘Order of the Holy Mackerel’ logo on the front.
At about five o’clock, Kristen called up the stairs. “Dinner’s ready!”
Mabel and Dipper instantly dropped whatever they had been holding and rushed downstairs. Ford and Stan followed them. They sat down at the large dining table in the kitchen just as Kristen was setting down plates of lasagne portions in front of the kids. She gave another plate each to Stan, Ford and her husband before taking her own and sitting down.
“So,” Kristen started. “What sort of things do you eat on the boat?”
“Dried and canned things, mostly,” Ford said. “We’ve got a freezer on board, so we can have frozen meat, veg and fish too, but nothing anywhere near as good as this,” he placed a forkful of lasagna in his mouth.
Stan was wolfing down his food at a rapid pace and nodded. Ford whacked his shoulder. “Stan! Eat properly, not like a pig!”
Waddles gave an indignant snort, causing the family to chuckle. Stan swallowed. “I’m not that bad!”
“At least chew your food, don’t inhale it.” Ford rolled his eyes and kept eating. He looked across the table at the kids. “How was school?”
Dipper seemed to go quiet as Mabel instantly burst into a speech about everything she’d done. “Well, first off in Chemistry we got to make crystals, then in Biology we dissected a kidney, then in Art we got to draw any creature we wanted - I drew Waddles, obviously, and Dipper drew a gnome - then in English we had to write a short story, then in -”
Ford seemed to zone out to what Mabel was saying, more focused on Dipper. The boy had his hands folded in his lap and his head was down, his dinner sitting on the table forgotten. He kept clenching his eyes shut and wiping them with the back of his hand. Ford cleared his throat and put his fork down. “Dipper? How was your day?”
Dipper seemed startled by the question, rubbing his eyes furiously. “Oh, it was… it was fine. Kind of boring, really,”
Ford frowned as the boy kept eating, albeit slowly. He decided not to press the issue any further at the dinner table. Mabel was still excitedly telling her parents all about the story she had written in English. Once they had all finished eating and the kids were excused from the table, Dipper went straight back upstairs. Ford heard him slam the bedroom door shut. Mabel, however, frowned and went into the living room and began watching TV. Waddles trotted after her and sat on the floor in front of the couch.
Ford rose from the table. “Excuse me a moment,” he said, tucking his chair in and heading upstairs to the kids’ room. He knocked on the door gently. “Dipper?”
Ford heard sniffling from behind the door, before a quiet “Come in,” was heard. The man turned the doorknob and let himself in. Dipper was sat on his bed cross-legged and wiping his eyes. Ford closed the door quietly behind him and sat beside the boy.
“Care to tell me what’s wrong?”
Dipper stayed quiet for a moment, thinking. “.. have you ever felt like no matter what, people are still really mean to you, even if they don’t know you?”
Ford bit his lip and weighed his options. He could approach this question in several different ways. He could ask why Dipper felt this way, give a quick laugh and assure the boy that he had, or reassure Dipper that he was a perfectly wonderful young man who didn’t deserve the treatment he was getting. He opted for the straightforward answer. “Yes, unfortunately these -” He held up his hands and moved his extra fingers “- meant that, without even getting to know me first, my classmates treated me horribly.”
Dipper nodded, quietly avoiding Ford’s concerned gaze. He wrung his hands in his lap, biting his lip nervously. “Right… should have guessed that…”
Ford laid a hand on Dipper’s shoulder gently. “Trouble with kids at school?”
The boy nodded, tears stinging his eyes again. “Yeah, they keep picking on me, and calling me mean names,”
“Can I ask what?” Ford asked gently.
“Dipshit, dipstick, starboy and… uh…” Dipper bit his lip harder, almost enough to draw blood. “Freak,”
Ford felt an icy chill go down his spine. He was more than used to hearing others call himself a freak, but to learn that Dipper was also on the receiving end of such insults was sickening. His grip on the boy’s shoulder tightened momentarily. He loosened his grip, pulling Dipper closer to sit in his lap. He shuffled back on the bed, sitting up against the wall. “Di - Mason, can I tell you something?”
Dipper, still unused to hearing his real name from anyone other than his parents, took a moment to answer. “Yeah,”
Ford swallowed and took a deep breath. “When I was growing up, between the ages of four and eighteen, I had a similar experience to yourself. People took one look at my hands and decided that, as I was different, I should be punished. At every opportunity, I was insulted, shouted at, shoved, punched, kicked, beaten and I was frequently the primary target in food fights. After a while, I’d had enough” He held his left hand out in front of Dipper. “See that scar?”
Dipper held Ford’s hand in both of his own, looking at the thin scar running across the knuckle of his sixth finger. “Yeah,”
Ford took another deep breath. “I was fifteen when I did that. I locked myself in the bathroom one evening with a knife and attempted to remove my finger. I thought that maybe, if I got rid of the extra fingers, I could be normal. People would stop picking on me and I could finally get along with my peers.” His hand was shaking slightly, his voice beginning to crack. The memory was still painful. “I was a fool, and if hadn’t been for Stanley, I would have succeeded. He broke the door down and brought me straight to a hospital. He made it absolutely clear to me that removing my extra fingers was not the solution. It took me thirty years drifting through all sorts of interdimensional horror to realise that.”
Dipper was quiet, his mind processing everything that Ford had said. He hadn’t expected his great uncle to confess something like that. His thumb ran absentmindedly back and forth across Ford’s scar. “I sometimes wear make-up,” he eventually said. “To cover up my birthmark. I use Mom’s foundation. That’s why I always used to wear my pine tree hat, ‘cause it pushed my hair down over my forehead so nobody would see it.” The boy turned around so he was sitting facing Ford. “I don’t like wearing makeup, but it’s the only thing that stops them laughing at me. They laugh at me for wearing makeup, too,”
Ford sighed quietly, pulling Dipper into a hug. He laid his chin on top of Dipper’s head. “It’s tough,” he said quietly. “Especially when it’s not something like a person’s weight, which can be altered with some effort.”
He felt Dipper tremble in his arms and felt something wet seeping into the top of his shirt. He stroked Dipper’s back gently. “It’s okay… shh… it’s okay…”
Dipper laid his cheek against Ford’s chest, listening to his heartbeat. Ford lifted his sleeve to dry the boy’s tears. Ford ran all six of his fingers through his nephew’s hair soothingly. “It’s going to be alright, Mason. I know your classmates’ behaviour may tell you otherwise, but the biggest supporter of you is yourself.” He kissed the top of Dipper’s head gently. “You’ve always got Mabel too. You’ve always got your twin by your side, which is more than can be said for some people.”
Dipper nodded, wiping his nose on a tissue. “Yeah, I guess. She’s got so many friends, though. I don’t want to be a burden on her.”
Ford squeezed Dipper’s hand. “I felt the same way when I was at school. My brother had the potential to have a lot of friends, but he constantly spent his time keeping bullies away from me. He could have been very popular if it hadn’t been for the fact that he was protecting me. But let me tell you something: he wouldn’t change his actions for the world. You can ask him - he doesn’t regret any of it. I’m sure Mabel would be more than happy to spend time with you.”
Dipper smiled. “Thanks, Grunkle Ford.”
Ford smiled. He turned Dipper round to face him. “Besides, I’m sure you remember some of those curses from the journals. If people continue to give you trouble, have at it.”
Dipper laughed and hugged his uncle. “Thanks Grunkle Ford, seriously.”
Ford hugged him back and ruffled his hair. “No problem. Now, what do you say we got and get some ice cream from the parlour down the road?”
Dipper smiled and got to his feet, pulling Ford up off the bed. “Sure.”
Okay, sure, part of it is because he’s just a glorious dimension-jumping old man who just so happens to have a fabulous taste in sweaters, but there’s a lot more to it.
So lemme just throw this out there:
As someone with a birth defect, Ford Pines’ six fingers and the way his condition is handled mean the world to me.
Yes, I know Ford’s polydactylism wasn’t created with the intention of being overly progressive or representative–it’s a clever trait that gave the author a sense of quirkiness and mystery, and ultimately became an identifiable trademark for both Stanford and the journals.
But in truth, things would’ve been a lot different if the six-finger thing had been just cast aside as “Oh, look at me, I’m the six-fingered author, I just have cooltastic hands and let’s never address this again!” No, Stanford’s birth defect was, in fact, more than just a cool trademark.
It was a pivotal part of his life.
Right off the bat, the fact that Ford was born with an “anomaly” shapes his interests in the weird and unique. It’s something he’s grown up with, and something that’s normal to him, but the fact that it’s abnormal to everyone else only piques his interest in digging deeper, even in childhood.
It’s an authentic response—also, it’s just downright adorable.
And then there’s the teasing–This is something I’ve experienced firsthand as someone born with a congenital defect, and the fact that Ford is so eager to get away from it really hits close to home. So many people have dubbed him a freak that he starts to believe it, and while heartbreaking, it’s also mega realistic.
But there’s one detail that makes Ford’s situation a million times better:
Stanford isn’t ostracized throughout the show for his defect, because there is acceptance in his life. Someone has his back.
Stan’s approach to making his brother feel “normal” was just amazingly genuine and heartwarming to me. He’s never embarrassed, by, pitying towards, or burdened by his brother. He never teases Ford for how he was born or uses it against him, even in moments of anger. In fact, he uses it to emphasize positively why Ford is special. From the “Sixer” nickname to their heartfelt tradition of “high-six,” Ford’s condition is treated as something unique and, in a sense, almost admirable.
And best of all, that admiration continues! Mabel and Dipper both seem to think that Ford’s polydactyl hands are the coolest thing (“Wow, a six-fingered handshake! That’s a full finger friendlier than normal!”), and as he gets older, Ford never seems to be painted into a corner as a “deformed” or “defective” person. He’s just the epic guy with the six fingers and he’s learned to live as such.
And by learning to live, we come to the thing that makes Stanford Pines—and his six fingers—absolutely awesome:
He takes his condition and he freaking owns it.
Not only did Ford overcome his self-judgement about physical things he just couldn’t help, but he actuallytook them and used them to his advantage. Twisting the teasing and ridicule he’d received into his passion and scientific talent, Ford was able to study something that interested him and that he connected to on a personal level. And he was freaking good at it, too!
(Until the whole, y’know, partnership with a demon triangle. But that’s not what I’m ranting about right now.)
And the six-fingered journal was more than just a quirk—in my eyes, it really symbolized that Ford now saw his “defect” as something truly special. It was a trait that symbolized him, but not one that condemned him. No one is defined by their conditions, but they can sure as hell be empowered by them, and that’s exactly what Ford did.
So in conclusion, yeah, having six fingers is super-duper nifty, but as someone born in a very similar boat, it just takes on a whole new light for me. Gravity Falls could’ve gone two different routes, either completely and grotesquely ostracizing Ford for his defect or completely ignoring it and acting like these things don’t affect real life at all; instead they went right down the middle and (to me at least) created a realistic yet subtle scenario overall.
In truth, addressing Ford’s polydactylism could’ve gone ridiculously amiss. But in the show’s case, it felt super genuine. Plus, Ford is just an epic character overall, birth defect or none!
Sure, it’s no revolutionary feat in the world of representation, but in the end, Stanford Pines just makes me feel confident in myself sometimes. And if there’s some little kid out there with their own congenital “anomalies” that feels the same way?
once again, no content warnings for this one except people dealing with the shit that’s already happened.
1.) I feel sure I stole the idea of Fiddleford’s wife being named Madeline from someone, but I’m darned if I know who. so if I have committed accidental character name piracy against you, you have my sincerest apologies.
3.) (I know I said it’d be a couple of notes. I lied.) this is not the end! there’s gonna be one more chapter. not a terribly long one, I don’t think, so hopefully it won’t take this long to update again. but I told you guys I’d tell you when it was over and it’s not over just yet.
So, after binge-watching “Switched At Birth” on Netflix for a few days, my brain gave me an AU where the Stan twins are deaf. So… here goes another explanation post for an AU I created! (Includes Fiddauthor, gay!Ford, and my OC)
For all that Stan is supposedly a grasshopper, it didn't stop him from buckling down and really pushing himself physically and especially mentally to get his brother back for 3 decades. Poor education, no engineer friends he could call for help, no summoning dream demons after one year of getting nowhere, nothing but himself and a crazy book with a bunch of weird nonsense and codes and partial schematics that might as well have been Greek to him.
Is this a shot at ford, this feels like a shot at ford
But no I think that was exactly the point of his character growth (rather than the slot he filled when he was ‘just half of a dynamic duo’). Narratively speaking, Stan getting thrown out was a catalyst for him to work hard slay hard and start winning. His initial journey (and tbh imo Ford’s catalyst too) was proving he could make it just fine on his own (which neither of them succeeded at).
That’s not to say that Stan wouldn’t have always done anything necessary to save his brother, mind you. But I’m of the opinion that his experiences surviving on his own gave Stan the tools he needed to survive no matter what, and gave him the tools to keep going no matter what. No matter how bad he wanted to quit or give up or how impossible everything seemed. In the scope of the story, it puts Stanley in an ‘I’ve survived worse’ character position (not unlike Post-Portal Ford). Plus, the Pines boys just are extraordinarily strong-willed.
I like this particular ask because it also feeds into my personal opinion that Stan is actually very smart when he puts the effort in/finds something that interests him. He’s done extremely clever things throughout the show, and I happen to know from experience that being ‘the dumb one’ is a very easy way to shirk responsibilities of all flavors (and make your opponents/marks wildly underestimate your ability), which Stan is prone to doing (unless, again, he’s interested in something). But, on the other hand, when you’re constantly told you’re not smart (which, look at Stanely’s life), you believe it. Imo, just because of who Stan is, and what we’ve seen, it seems like a combination of both things, whether conscious or unconcious or both as needed.
tl;dr: The Grasshopper/Ant comparison is a generic storytelling tool to give the audience an expectation of how events are going to unfold. In AToTS, that dynamic sets up the boys up in a way that you can see where their story (or that chapter of their story) is going; it’s an age-old anecdote of The Studious vs The Slacker (which is what Stan admitted he was doing throughout high school) that ends in The Slacker (quite literally) left out in the cold. That comparison is meant as framework, not deep character meta (overall, imo, Stan perfectly embodies the ‘Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass’ trope). But for the catalyst that separated the boys, the framework reads Grasshopper/Ant to me.
Do you have anything in mind for the Alteans and Lance? That last chapter had some interesting stuff on Allura's side, and I've loved all the eshet with Coran, but... well, I'm a sucker for fluff.
[I’m writing Dualityverse fluff ficlets! (Because the latest chapters have been pure angst.)] [Read them all here.]
Fun story: You said “The Alteans” and my mind instantly jumped to a character you don’t even know yet. XD So I guess what I’m saying is this ficlet will have at least one follow-up. More if people ask for it, I guess, because… I feel like this idea has a lot of potential. ;)
Set at some nonspecific point after chapter 7 (but presumably before chapter 16.)
“I kick down the
Coran glanced down
at his character sheet, then at the cheery blue dice Lance had made
with the castle’s fabricator. Such odd shapes, these dice. There
was, of course, a ten-sided die like the ones Coran was used to
(though these had Earthian numerals on them underneath the Altean),
but there were others, as well—d20s, d4s…
“Which one is
It had to have been
the tenth time Coran had asked a similar question—to say nothing of
Allura—but Lance didn’t seem the least bit put out by the
confusion. Perhaps he’d expected this game of his to have a steep
It was a curious
game, D-and-D. Lance had compared it
to eshet on more than one occasion, and Coran could certainly see the
parallels, even if the Earth game seemed somewhat more rules-heavy
than Coran was used to.
Lance said, reaching out to tap the appropriate die.
gave it a roll, then leaned forward to read the result. “Fifteen.”
right. Bonuses. Coran
consulted the stat sheet Lance had made for his character, a paladin
named Nathan Ford.
this, had actually set aside their computer to complain that, “Nate
is not a paladin,
Lance. And you call yourself
Alright, this may be another super long post, but people in the fandom have been pointing out things that seem a little foreboding when it comes to Stanford. Most of it has to do with the story he told in AToTS (tbh, both Stans were probably hiding things/lying, it seems), but there are a few other hints here and there that are giving me bad vibes.
I love that a lot of people has Rick call Stan “ Lee,” myself included. Now, besides that “Rick and Lee” sound audibly better to the ears, why do you think Rick calls Stan “Lee”?
My idea, and my own reason why, Rick does is to make Stan his own person.
Hear me out. Stan has always been happy to be apart of the Stan duo, the two Stans. He has some serious inferiority complexes compared to his brother, justifiably so, considering his childhood. He felt more like he was worthwhile being with his twin than being by himself. He went by Stan even when his brother went by Ford. Ford wanted his own identity because of the project incident to distance himself and to be his own person. Stan never went by “Ley” or “Lee” because he didn’t want that distinction. He took his worth by being apart of more than just himself. He went by “Stan” more than “Stanley” because even that was a too big of a distinction – separation– from his other half.
Now, I believe Rick could easily have met Ford first; college, on the other side of the portal, maybe through science fair competitions (can you imagine super young Rick making some super techy device with a trifold poster decked out with punk colors and just looking real shabby but all the math is correct? And winning? Oh, oh Ford, my poor nerd baby), or some other way. So, Rick having prior knowledge of Ford plus seeing how Stan reacts when his twin is mentioned (usually a look of hurt, sadness, and betrayal mixed with him praising Ford’s intelligence/accomplishments while simultaneously berating himself, saying he’s the “dumb twin”, that Ford was the only one that was going to/was making something of himself, etc.) adds up to Rick making some strong assumptions about how Stan truly views himself, because how he presents himself is entirely different.
Or even if Rick hadn’t met Ford first, Stan’s subtle mockery of himself plus how highly he talks of his brother when he does talk about him is usually enough for Rick to pick up on that Stan doesn’t value himself beyond what he’s been taught or compared to his brother by.
And Rick honestly believes Stan is worth way more than what he thinks he is. He’s worth more than the sum of the whole. His individual self merits more than when he was a duo with Ford. Rick knows Stan is a lot smarter than he will ever give himself credit for, more brilliant in some aspects than Ford, or even himself (he’ll never say it aloud). Just, it hurts him to see the other so downtrodden and cannot see the value he has. But Rick can’t just come out and say all this sappy stuff, oh no, never. He could say sappy stuff in Spanish but it wouldn’t get what he truly wants to say out for the other to understand (unless it’s after the Columbia stint). He could try, ugh, complimenting but it would work well for these two emotionally constipated men.
So, Rick calls Stan “Lee.” It’s subtle enough to not be taken as more than just a convenient nickname but holds enough depth that hopefully it’ll slowly get the message across. Stan is more than just another Stan in a set. He is worth more than what his family ever made him feel like, more than living in the shadow of his genius brother. He is his own person, with his own value, a value that is worth more to Rick than he can say with words. So, he hopes that one word is enough. That Lee will realize that he matters, he has value, beyond that of being apart of something. He has a high worth all on his own.
And the first step in showing that is to break him away from being apart of something; to give him his own identity.
I read your tags on that post with Big Brother Stan fanart. Can you elaborate why it could be so painful?
Hi, anon! Oh gosh, you’re in for it now.
Well, first, this is in reference to @doberart‘s cool recent pics depicting the what-if or AUs of “teen Stan with young Ford” and (from earlier) “teen Ford with young Stan”; and in the tags to the more recent one, I’d commented that if these AUs went like canon, they struck me as really potentially painful. So, the second point I’d make here is: I don’t at all mean to step on ideas that Dobermutt may have had while doing the pieces; nor on ideas that the people suggesting those prompts may have had. These were just my reactions, in absence of other details about that type of AU.
Also, the emphasis here really is on “if these AUs went like canon”, which of course, is a big “if”. It would be equally interesting to explore the way those age differences caused things to happen completely differently from canon! And potentially, turn out a lot happier.
So really, I was only thinking that in either case, with an age difference like that, if you remove the older sibling due to reasons that were similarly tragic to the canon circumstances, it would be super painful to both of them, and especially to the younger sibling.
(And here I am drawing on my own experiences a little bit? My only sibling is a lot older than me; he did not depart under any unhappy circumstances! But I was still pretty young when he left the house, simply because he’d become an adult and graduated from college and gotten married, and it shook up my sense of comfort with my family unit. No matter how happy the situation, I was kind of distressed to lose having him at home. There was also some conflict between my parents, and his leaving meant that there was not an extra buffer between my parents in the home. I don’t want to overplay this! They were not abusive or anything else like that, but when I was young I was pretty sensitive to conflict, and I perceived my brother as being an extra buffer against conflict that afterwards, I would be alone to weather. So I am undoubtedly projecting a bit there.)
Anyway, my point is that if you are thinking along the lines of canon – if you have teen Ford and small Stan, then you might still have small Stan being really really anxious and insecure about Ford going away to college, especially if small Stan is afraid of being left as the only child in the house with parents who fight a lot, and/or, in the circumstance that Filbrick is an abusive parent. I’m not even getting into whether older Ford was also subject to emotional or physical abuse from Filbrick, and how much he is aware of his younger brother suffering from that. I’d like to think older Ford would be aware of it? But wanting to leave the house and go away to college then also puts Ford into a painful situation, if he knows he is leaving his little brother alone with their father, without Ford to protect him; and during a time period and at an age where teen Ford has relatively few options to save his brother from that situation.
(Cards on the table: yes, my view is that Filbrick was an abusive parent. I think that we were shown enough in ATOTS to conclude that he behaved abusively towards both of his sons, both emotionally and physically; although, the greater evidence is for his abuse of Stan. But I don’t think there’s direct evidence that he greatly favored Ford or anything, so I tend to headcanon that he was emotionally abusive towards both boys, perhaps in different ways; and that he was casually physically abusive with both of them. Analyzing the level of physical abuse is an exercise for a different post, but I’ll just say that what we saw of the way he handled throwing Stan out in ATOTS is enough for me to regard him as physically abusive.)
Beyond that situation, there is also the question of whether in such an AU, something happens like in canon, where small Stan might have any role at all in doing something that negatively affected Ford’s attempt to get a scholarship to WCT. This would depend on whether someone wanted to follow the outline of canon that closely of course! But if you did – small Stan would have less reason to be at the high school after hours (…not that he did in the first place, grr), but events might have played out differently so that small Stan accidentally damaged Ford’s project in the home, or something.
I’d also like to think that the age difference would make the ensuing confrontation play out differently. (I see Ford blowing up at Stan as, in part, the kind of fight that happens between equals.) I don’t of course think you’d get Filbrick throwing 13-year-old Stan out on the streets! But there’s still the tragic possibility of older Ford feeling devastated and betrayed, and then leaving the house anyway for college; and young Stan feeling sad and guilty and abandoned, on top of whatever punishment Filbrick would give a younger Stan for such an incident. Ford leaving for college while Stan is still young creates the separation between them, and Stan having to stay alone (? - I’m not factoring Shermie of any age into this, at the moment) in that house for several more years might have been its own kind of hell, especially if his father kept blaming him for that incident.
So yeah, that makes me sad.
With an older teen Stan and a younger Ford… well, on the home front, there’s some of the same fears and anxieties possible. Perhaps older Stan took the brunt of Filbrick’s abusiveness, but again, I tend to see that as falling on both of the boys. I could see an older Stan being really worried about younger Ford (still sensitive and not very tough yet) being left alone in that house when Stan departs. And then there’s the question of… how and why DOES the older Stan depart? Is he thrown out by Filbrick due to some other perceived transgression or accident? Maybe involving Ford, and maybe not. In this AU it’s much harder for me to imagine Stan doing something similar to canon, because Ford isn’t at that point in his development, and anyway, due to the age difference, the central issue is that Stan is the one who will achieve independence first, and move out. Still, if you wanted to come up with something similar enough, it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out a reason for Filbrick to kick Stan out of the house. (It’s harder for me to imagine it being related to something Stan does that leaves Ford feeling betrayed; but a young Ford might still feel abandoned.)
But, under what circumstances would older Stan leave? The field is kind of wide open. Drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam? Knocked up a girl and got kicked out by his father because of it? Some money-making scheme went bad, or he fell afoul of some gang because of gambling? etc.
Actually, for both of these AUs, there’s another question. As twins and equals, Stan seems to have coasted a lot, academically, with Ford’s cooperation. (We see him copying off of Ford, and Ford allows it.) Stan clearly has little interest in academics, and he has always taken a back seat (willingly?) to Ford’s intellectual achievements. But how does that change, with the age differences?
In the case of teen Ford and small Stan – well, older Ford can try to help tutor small Stan. But there is still the kind of tragic possibility that Stan is simply not the kind of learner that Ford is. That is NOT to say that Stan is not as smart as Ford, just that different methods of learning work better for them; and that might mean that Ford might not be able to figure out how to be the best tutor for small Stan. I’d like to think he would try to help his little brother! But, while I love Ford, I don’t think he’s that good at getting out of his own head and figuring out what works best for others (until he is hit over the head with it). With an older Ford, he would have set the example of academic achievement in the household, and poor small Stan might have been constantly compared to his high-achieving older brother by both parents and teachers. So that would have sucked, and again, as much as I love Ford, I really do, I’m not sure that he would have been that good at ameliorating the situation for small Stan. Plus, then Ford would leave, and Stan would have to finish out school himself.
In the case of teen Stan and small Ford… to me, that presents the more interesting possibility that Stan had more time to establish himself, his goals and his abilities, separate from Ford. Was Stan better at school, because he didn’t have someone to lean on from the start? Or was he worse, because he didn’t have the support of a “smart” twin? Again, I want to emphasize that I don’t think Stan wasn’t smart himself; but in the context of schooling in the 1960s, and given that Glass Shard Beach did not seem to have the best schools, I could easily see someone like Stan getting left behind by that system. Does he double-down on his tendency to try to take short-cuts to riches and success, and does that get him into even more trouble since he grew up without a peer in Ford to temper some of those impulses (which, after he got kicked out in canon, obviously took over his life)? Is that part of why Stan gets kicked out in that AU? On the flip side, how does it affect young Ford, who for years might have heard a bunch of toxic stuff about his ne'er-do-well older brother (from his father or other authority figures like teachers), along with greater expectations being heaped on young Ford himself?
(In my ideal version, young Stan in either AU would have his intellectual strengths recognized by somebody, anybody, and would have been steered towards career or life paths that would have suited him better – being a performer, or an artist/craftsman, or working with his hands in some capacity. Although, I admit, this idealized vision dodges an important question: how important is it to Stan’s character that he has this wide criminal streak? I mean… on some level that is part of what we love about him in the show. He’s a con-man who doesn’t think twice about committing fraud, lying, cheating, engaging in various crimes, etc. It’s possible that, if you removed that aspect from him entirely and gave him a tough but essentially honest job and life, that something vital would be lost from the person of Stanley Pines. Or to put it another way, perhaps something could have given him more respectable opportunities for a life and career… and he still would have drifted into criminality anyway. It’s hard to say.)
In conclusion: Listen – I’m not saying you couldn’t design either of these AUs to be much HAPPIER than canon, if you wanted to! And I’d love to see takes on that, because believe me, I am all about fluff and happiness, and these brothers being happy! I do love the idea that the age difference could give them more of an opportunity for bonding and support of each other.
I was only saying… wow, if you think about it in certain ways, it also COULD be SUPER SAD. Potentially.
Favorite character: *pounds fists on table* Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford Ford
Least Favorite character: Everything about Filbrick “I’m Not Impressed” Pines leaves a nasty taste in my mouth
5 Favorite ships (canon or non-canon): Fiddauthor (but of course), Mabifica, Soos/Melody, Stanchez if that counts, Robbie/Tambry
Character I find most attractive: depends on what you mean by “attractive”????? I immediately loved Ford’s character design a lot
Character I would marry: yeah let’s not go there
Character I would be best friends with: Probably Dipper
A random thought: I really, really just want one blasted hint of what we’re gonna see in the graphic novel
An unpopular opinion: THE BLACKLIGHT JOURNAL WAS A HECKIN’ LETDOWN MAN LIKE YEAH IT’S NICE BUT ALSO FULL OF COP-OUTS AND WASTED POTENTIAL???? WHAT
My canon OTP: Soos & Mel!
Non-canon OTP: we all know the answer to this
Most badass character: That honestly depends on the scene! Stan and Wendy are who come to mind first.
Pairing I am not a fan of: any ship involving the Dorito
Character I feel the writers screwed up (in one way or another): WENDY DESERVED HER OWN EPISODE DAMMIT and why is the flannel man so mean to Ford
Favourite friendship: too many!! Ford & Fidds, Dipper & Wendy, Mabel & her gang, Fidds & Pacifica, Mabel & Robbie…
002 | send me a ship and I will tell you:
when or if I started shipping it: I’m not exactly sure when I boarded ship, but I know it was at least at some point before the series’ end. I believe it was the reveal of F’s laptop password was what shot me into “we’re in this for the long haul”.
my thoughts: O-T-heckin’-P of my heart
What makes me happy about them: I love the sort of friendship they have, where a couple of nerdy outcasts realize that they have that click with each other and it makes an unpleasant situation that much more bearable. Their different brands of quirky intelligence bounce off each other so well. After all they’ve been through, all the time they’ve been apart, they still harbor such fondness for one another and are immediately willing to forgive for past mistakes. I could go on and on…they’re such an excellent pair, whether as friends or romantic partners.
What makes me sad about them: OH BOY HOWDY LIKE THE ENTIRETY OF CANON???Notable heart-stabbers include that scene in the diner from the Journal, “I’M SORRY FIDDLEFORD”, and that one cut storyboard from The Last Mabelcorn (”You’re the one with the sickness!). In headcanon, Ford struggling with guilt plus Fiddleford struggling with his memory equals pain always. Again, I could go on and on (you know this about me).
Things done in fanfic that annoys me: idk…anything OOC, obviously? I can’t think of anything specific off the top of my head…anything that trivializes either of their struggles or minimizes one’s flaws/mistakes to make the other look bad???
Things I look for in fanfic: I’m not super picky about plotlines as long as everyone’s in character, but some stuff I like includes first kiss/getting-together scenarios, how their lives/relationship evolve post-canon, wacky college shenanigans, good ol’-fashioned ANGSTIN’ …and trans Fiddleford is always a bonus
Who I’d be comfortable them ending up with, if not each other: SLEEP AND HAPPINESS
My happily ever after for them: Living together in the Manor, surrounded by family and friends, happily married, free to explore their respective scientific passions with no pressure or expectations, living out the rest of their years in peace.
when or if I started shipping it: I honestly don’t remember lmao
my thoughts: Second-fave GF ship! I love rivals-to-friends dynamics, I love “the sunshiney one and the grumpy one who can always be moved to smile by the sunshiney one” type ships, I love both of these gals being awesome and moving away from ideas they had that might have been incorrect or harmful as they grow up (heteronormativity and classism for instance).
What makes me happy about them: Mabel forgiving someone who wasn’t the nicest to her at first and see them as a friend. Pacifica standing up to her parents, realizing that family isn’t necessarily equated to blood, and softening up in general. Mix-and-match sweaters. Mini golf dates. Diner dates. Karaoke dates. Girls finding strength in each other and feeling like it’s okay to be their true selves around each other (and explore what that really means). It’s all Very Good.
What makes me sad about them: idk honestly??? There’s not too much angst to be had just yet, they’re still young and Pure…this ship is fluffy cheeseballs most of the time and I love it.
Things done in fanfic that annoys me: I haven’t read too much fic of these two (clearly, this must be remedied), but I really don’t like when I just see this ship as a “pair the spares” bonus in b/i/ll/d/ip fics…these gals deserve better
Things I look for in fanfic: A lot of the things mentioned above…Pacifica being welcomed into the Pines clan with open arms…anything that gives the Northwest parents a kick in the balls…Sleepovers…
My kinks: they’re 12 let’s not
Who I’d be comfortable them ending up with, if not each other: I wholly prefer these as friendship dynamics, but Paz/Dipper and Mabel/Candy are ships I’ve seen around that are definitely way cute in their own right.
My happily ever after for them: Mabel is an art teacher, Paz is a lawyer, and they run a fashion design business together on the side. They adopt some cute, unusual pets and maybe an actual human child, too, when they’re ready. They grow up, but they never Grow Up. Dipper is the best Best Man.
Casual reminder that in “A Better World” Ford doesn’t mention Stanley beyond ‘he took the journal and hid it’ and it’s while it’s unlikely (but not impossible, Stan’s smart he’s just not interested in academia) that he works at the institute Parallel Ford sets up but we also have no idea where the heck he is?
Like I’ve seen a few people say “oh parallel Stan is dead” and like… Okay if parallel Stan was dead then alpha Ford couldn’t have known about it because we SAW how devastated Ford was when Stan had amnesia. If parallel Stan had DIED, there’s no way Ford would have named that entry 'a better world,’ or been as angry with Stan as he was when he came out of the portal. So either parallel Stan is alive and either doesn’t work at the institute or he does and Fiddleford failed to mention his whereabouts, or he’s dead and Fiddleford said to himself “Okay I remember how devastated MY Ford was when Stan died I’m just gonna leave that detail out so this new, more deadly and more actually-capable-of-destroying-us-all Ford doesn’t get upset.”
Plus, Stan’s a pretty smart guy. Do you really think that he’d say “Yep time to go and hide this secret journal forever” and not come back to check on his brother who clearly hasn’t slept, showered, or eaten in days? No, my money is on Stan going “Okay I’ll hide this but I’ll be back.”
Or heck, maybe parallel Ford just said “hey I was in an abusive relationship with a terrifying dream demon who is out to destroy the universe and can enter my mind any time he wants, so I need someone who’s not me to go out and hide this so he doesn’t destroy the world as we know it” which sounds MUCH more reasonable than “here Stan take this book while I inadvertently crush your dreams”
idk people assume that the worst happened to Stan. I don’t buy it, he’s tougher than that
The Journal 3 is full of shit I don't care! The only thing I care is know if Ford missed Stan and made draws about his twin. Why nobody talks about that? I demand to see someone upload the pages where are focused in Stan (if there's)! I need to know!
Woah there, anon! Haha, take it easy! Don’t worry! I got your back!
There was plenty of Ford missing Stan in the journal! Speed-reading back through it, I think I’ve managed to record EVERY vague mention of Stan or anything related to Stan. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: A BROTHERLYMASTERPOST!
MAJOR SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT.
(I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to post all this… there’s so many pictures… boy am I tired)
Story anon: after an hour ford and addi smiled as they held their baby. ford holding his daughter addi holding her son."I can't believe we have twins"addi said smiling"well they are hereditary on my side love"ford said"plus looks like the oracles prediction came true"they laughed and kissed then fell asleep after the placed their babies in the crib.