try not to touch the portal or you will be taken to another dimension

He gets Clary to sketch out a perfect pentagram onto the loft’s floor.

Jace and Isabelle are sitting cross legged on the floor, faces unreadable. He aches to join siblings but he can’t think about that now. This has to be perfect.

Isabelle and Jace are flipping through old dusty books, their faces illuminated by candel light.

They look like Angels. His heart aches for them. They were bound to him, as he was to Magnus.

Angels weren’t supposed to play God. He lights one of the many candles at his side.

He looks back over at Clary who’s moved on from sketching and is painting the floor in quick precise movements. The line of her mouth is hard and she looks as tired him. The blood is thick and warm on her brush.

Simon, as always, was by her side, staring at the blood in a sort of awe. Clary whips the excess down her shirt, looking ill. All that had been inside her. And Jace, too.

She’s been as eager as him with her own research and preparation. She’d known Magnus as long as she’d lived and her memories had returned alarmingly fast after Magnus’ death.

His throat closes up and he reminds himself to stay focused. Best case death was nothing more than a state of mind and Magnus would be with him again before dawn. And worst case…No. Alec wouldn’t take no for an answer. It didn’t matter the price. He’d find a way to pay it.

Isabelle and Jace started moving the unlit candles, placing them outside the pentagram. They loved him, Alec realized, mouth dry, enough to damn themselves.

They all hold hands as Alec starts to chant, more out of a desire for closeness than any spell.

“ cubavit lamia et victima superstes tuae fructus, voco. Omnes matris nomine appellemus.” He stops for a breath.

The windows rattle and Alec fears they’ll shatter. Not enough to stop though. This apartment could level and it wouldn’t be a reason to stop. Damn the street, damn the world, damn himself. He’ll choose Magnus every day. He didn’t have a choice.

“ Lamia mea, nos vocant. Nos te ab vacuum. In die qua invocaverimus te mihi egredietur.” He sounds braver than he feels.

One of the windows cracks down the middle. Jace stiffens and reaches for his seraph blade, stopping when he catches Alec’s warning look. He joins his hands back with Isabelle and Clary and says nothing.

Simon shoots him a look that Alec pointedly ignores. He didn’t get it. Only Clary did. The pain of death and it’s permanence. Well, permanent until it wasn’t.

“ Nos petere ut det. Sanguinem nostrum violentorum Angelorum. rogamus vos. Potentiam tuam, et turbavit animum. Adiuva nos Lamia.”

Apparently, he said something right. The woman who appears is vaguely translucent and sharp. Her hair was dark and hung down to her waist.

Her snake eyes narrowed as they turned to Jace.

“Who do you think you are summoning me?”

“He didn’t. I did. And that means this has nothing to do with Jace or any of my friends. Just me.”

Lilith purred. “Oh you doubteless repellent brat, the company you keep has everything to do with our transaction. Why would I help the man child who damned my son?”

“We’re not here to talk about Sebastian.” Not when Alec was this close.

“Then what,” she drawls, “are we here to talk about? Trading tips on how to kill demons?”

“I want something.”

“Don’t we all.”

“Hey now” Izzy growls, looking nearly ready to join Lilith in the Pentagram. Simon grips her shoulder, trying to ground her. Her skin burns.

“What do you need that your angels can’t give you? Have they finally turn their backs on the Nephilim?” Her laugh echos, like glass splintering. “But they gave you blood. What are you asking for,” she asks, “that they’d let you summon me?”

Alec swallowed.

“The blood doesn’t matter. It Is Angel and brought you here.”

It was angel, to a certain degree. As angel as Jace and Clary were.

“Have you finally stopped galavanting off with downworlders? Chose to rebel with a higher power?”

Alec tightned his fist in his jeans.

“We have something you want.”

“A new body? My son? You have nothing, for you have taken and destroyed everything I wanted.”

“We have information.”

“Do not get cocky, shadowhunter. You are the Angel’s pet project while I am a greater demon.”

“We do. Asmdeous is waiting for you in Edom. He thinks of you fondly, as Edom’s princess. He says you will always have a place there, at his side.”

“You think this new information? Shadowhunter, you have disappointed me more than I thought possible. I am almost impressed. We are done.”

“No.” Alec said, voice steel. “You are stuck here until I dismiss you. We don’t have anywhere to be and every place in Brooklyn delivers. You’re stuck in the void. Edom’s borders are sealed. What if we could get you home?”

Lilith rolled her eyes.

“You Nephilim got another trait from the Angels. False promises. You cannot take me to Edom anymore than I take you to the void.”

“That’s where you’re wrong though,” Clary interupts, walking over to Lilith.

“I make portals. I make runes. Edom might be sealed to Earth, but not to other dimensions, one small detour and boom. Help my friend, and I can get you to Edom.”

“You are confident little girl, to claim to speak the language of heaven.”

Clary’s eyes flashed.

“Maybe,” she says, her voice light, “you didn’t the memo. My name isn’t little girl.”

Lilith turns to Alec.

“This girl is your arrow? I was wrong to believe The promises of the Nephilim.”

Clary bristles.

“I don’t have to be kind. I could take you some place else or drop another in your place. I doubt Asmodeous to be so picky in princessess.”

She points her steele like a weapon. You have a dark heart, Valentine’s daughter. Thus is to tyrants? Thus is to those backed in a corner.

Lilith’s face relaxes and a smile stretches across her face. It’s more frightening then her glare.

“What would you want in return? Wait, I know Nephilim. Let me guess. World Peace?”

“I don’t want to world. I want Magnus Bane.”

Her smile fills his mouth with ashes.

Izzy and Lilith trade hard stares. They’ve reached an impasse. Lilith refuses to bring back Magnus until her feet touch Edom’s waste. Izzy refuses “to see a reason not to rip those snakes from her eyes.”

“If she wants to keep them, she’ll bring Magnus back. It’s motivation.”

The candles flicker and the shadows cut out any innocence from her. She is cold and her ice will set you ablaze.

She had grieved Magnus, they all had, but not like Alec or Clary. In truth, she was mourning her brother. A part of him had died with Magnus. And Raziel forgive her, she will tear the heart out of anyone and eat it before they stop her from helping Alec.

Her whip curled at her side, almost incandescent.

Lilith turned to Simon.

“Before you do something you’ll regret, Isabelle Lightwood, are you sure this is what you want?”

“You’re here to help Alec.”

“It is always about Alec, isn’t it? What about you? You’ve lost so much. The man you love looks at you like a stranger. You could get that back. The way he used to look at you. You’d fix it, fix him.”

Isabelle shook. “Simon’s fine! And, pray tell, what would you know about love?”

“I know it goes hand in hand with loss. Not just his memories. You’ve lost your brother. Max. I could just as easily bring him back. Magnus Bane lived for over 400 years. Max got …what was it?”

Tears ran down Isabelle’s face.
“N-Nine.” She chocked out, trembling.

“He’ll always be nine.”

Simon stepped between her and the demon.

“Stop! Stop talking to her, stop looking at her- ”

“You wish to make a deal instead?”

“Thats enough!” Jace’s voice echoed throughout the loft.

“You made a deal with my brother for Magnus Bane. We will transport you to Edom.”

He toed the line of the pentagram, seraph blade raised.

He whispered “Raphael” and the blue light shone on Lilith’s face.

“You will not,” he seethed, “make my sister cry. Or I will follow you to Edom and you will have another war. You already lost a son.”

For once Lilith fell silent. Simon had wrapped his arms around Isabelle and the sound of her whispering “9” was all that could be heard.

Lilith turned to Alec.

“I truly hate you all.” Her eyes glowed and magic poured out of the snakes.

“ Ego sum Lamia et Flectamus genua. Caeli et terrae adorabunt me, ante omnes matri cedere ante infernum. Cum filiis dico. Bane magnus ego convocabo. Damnaturus Angels.Damn leges. Ego mater tu!”

White light fills the apartment and Alec winced, looking for Isabelle and Jace through the nearly blindly light.

Lilith lay, crouched in the pentagram, a light sheen of sweat above her brow.

“Brace yourself” she calls and then it happens.

The floor quakes and the candles go out. Alec reaches out to steady Jace, who’s already got his blades out and named. They glow bright in the now completely dark room.

“Careful!” He shouts, blinking as Isabelle’s whip extends and lights up the room.

“What’s going on?” Simon yelled.

Lilith grins. “Nothing you didn’t ask for.”

A floor cracks open and Alec peers into it. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t reveal the apartment underneath them. Just…Nothing.

He feels himself being tugged back and turns, coming face to face with Isabelle.

Clary held her witchlight high, lighting up each darkened corner.

“What’s that?” Simon shrieked, gripping Isabelle’s hand.

Something was crawling out of the crack. A man. Alec’s heart lept. He broke from the group and ran towards Magnus.

“Alec!”

He falls to his knees and half dragged Magnus out.

He was naked and covered in ash. His cat eyes nearly glowed in the darkness.

“Alec?” He mummbled dazed, eyes fluttering.

Alec’s heart ached. He hadn’t been there when Magnus died, had been on patrol with Jace. Maia was right. You don’t feel it.

Alec held Magnus tight, sobbing into his shoulder.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I should have been there. I’m sorry.”
Magnus frowned, tangeling his fingers in The hair at the base of Alec’s neck.

“What? Alec why are you crying?” He turns to Lilith and groans.

“Lilith? Why is my Alec crying? Why are you all in my house?”

Clary was crying now, too. She rushed to his side, falling near the tangled mess of Alec and Magnus.

“I missed you,” she says, rubbing her eyes.

“And I’d hug you, but you’re naked and Alec would kill me”

Magnus turned to her.

“Biscut, I need you to tell me what happened. Why Lilith’s here and why Alec can’t stop crying.”

“Actually, biscuit, what you need to do is portal me to my husband.”

Magnus looked at Alec, who had stopped sobbing with horror.

“What,” he said slowly, “did you do?”
Clary grabs her steele and starts drawing, taking pleasure in the interconnected design of the portal rune.

Isabelle kneels down by the edge of the pentagram, her knife unsheathed.

The rune glows white and The portal opens, the new deminsion bright red and green.

“To here and then Edom. No funny business.”

“None. I gave you your warlock didn’t I? Have some good faith”

Isabelle slices a line of Pentagram and Lilith steps out, the air shivering.

She steps into the portal, turning back to the nephilim one last time.

“It was awful meeting all of you. Good luck with Champagne Enema, Simon. I support any band attempting to drive children to madness.”

Clary follows her and it closes behind them, missing Simon’s shout of “We’re not called that anymore! No we’re teenage amnesiac vampire!”

Jace frowned. “You got her, man. Real burn.”

Isabelle frowned. “Clary told us it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.”

Magnus cleared his throat.

“Lets use those ten minutes to explain every thing to the man who crawled himself out of hell?”

Lilith grins, eyeing Clary as she opened the next portal.

“You don’t have to go back, you know. Johnathan might be dead but you could rule in Edom.”

Clary rolled her eyes.

“No thanks. I think I’m good.”

“Are you though? You have a dark heart. You think tonight’s actions have cleaned it up? You and your friends are dark. You play a dangerous game, tipping the scales. There are rules. You are rebellious angels. You know what happens to rebellious angels, Clarissa.”

Clary swallows and remembers Valentine and Sebastian. Thus always to tyrants…were they the heroes of today? Did they invoke something higher then them?

“Go find Asmodeous, Lilith.”

She disappeared into The portal and Clary finds herself back in Magnus’ apartment.

Magnus is dressed now, still covered in ash.

Alec’s wrapped around him, his nails digging into his shoulders.

“I missed you” she says and he takes her hand and pets it.

“Did Lilith say anything? Anything at all Clary?”

That we’re on a dark path. One of hubris and rebellion. That we’ll fall like Lucifer and it’s a sight she wished she could see for herself.

“Nothing important.”

The sun rises above the river and shines through Magnus’ loft.

Simon grips Isabelle’s hand laughs.

“Look, the world didn’t stop turning. The horses aren’t eating each other. I guess we worried for nothing.”

Yes, Clary thinks, nothing at all. She’d make sure of it.

Alec grips Magnus tight and the color bleeds back into the world.

“I thought I lost you.”

“You did, Alec. I was dead. Just like Jace. We messed with The scales, Alec.”

“I don’t care. I’ll fight whatever comes. Whether its the clave or a horde of demons. I thought I lost you.”

“You did. But you brought me back.”

“I’ll always bring you back.”

The Dark Tower: Exclusive First Look Images

Roland Deschain, a rough-riding knight who has lost his way, peers off into the horizon in search of the man who decimated his world – and is about to ruin many more. That’s the opening of both The Dark Tower film and Stephen King’s first book in the series, and here we see Idris Elba as this spiritual warrior, a gunslinging knight, who has the devil in his sights. The landscapes of South Africa stood in for Mid-World, a dimension ravaged by loss but still bewitching in its tragic beauty.

In Roland’s realm of Mid-World, there once were machines and high-technology, but that was ages ago, before things fell into decay. His custom six-shooters have a link to a mythic tale from our own world: “Forged from Excalibur,” Elba says. “A very special weapon.” The gunslinger doesn’t think of them as toys. He draws them only when there’s no other choice. “He’s not just a shoot ‘em up type cowboy,” Elba says. Here, Roland poses before an altar to the Crimson King, a demented entity who will be unleashed if the ethereal Tower that binds time and space ever falls.

The Dark Tower is partly set in our own time and place – present day New York. In this shot, a boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) studies sketches he has made of visions and nightmares that are flooding his head. There’s a foreboding tower, a man of shadows, figures with shifting faces, a shimmering red rose, trapped children, and doorways that stand all by themselves, with nothing in front or behind but whole other worlds in between. The “shine” that allows him to see these things also allows those who’d like to use his ability as a weapon to sense him.

Jake stands in the blasted wasteland of Mid-World, a solitary speck on the horizon of an endless desert. “Everybody around him thinks he’s crazy and he probably even thinks he’s a little bit crazy,” says director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel. “He’s having visions of this big, grand tower that binds everything and holds all the universes together, and he’s having visions of this one man, Roland, the Gunslinger that’s calling out to him.” It feels real to him, but “reality” means lots of different things in the world of The Dark Tower.

This is one of the portals between worlds – a decrepit Brooklyn mansion known as Dutch Hill, which literally roars to life around any intruder who tries to pass through its gateway. Production designer Christopher Glass said he wanted to take the supernatural premise and add real physics to it. “We’re trying to have rules, basically, for the way the house becomes a monster,” he says. “Wood shouldn’t suddenly become rubber. It should have particles and fibers and break. And when certain elements are not touching one another, things don’t levitate. Everything has to be touching for it to be alive. Otherwise it just falls, gravity takes over.”

Matthew McConaughey’s Man in Black is an enforcer for the Crimson King who is capturing psychics to help topple the tower and free his master. He intends to be well-dressed for the apocalypse. His sleek, tailored suit is a contrast to the other demons and vampires who bow before him in this shot – creatures he considers animals, the definition of necessary evil. “The Devil’s a handsome man,” McConaughey says. “I’ve seen the pale Devil.” He shakes his head. “No, no, no. I’ve seen the Nosferatic Devil – no. I said, ‘Black suit, black coat – let’s look really sharp.’” Even his spiky hair seems design to impale. "A crow-vibe. We’ve also got some Brian Grazer in there,” he says, referring to The Dark Tower producer. “I said hair back, flames back, full face. I wanted to be completely exposed.”

It should be no surprise, but eventually Jake comes face to face with the hero from his visions and drawings. Roland is even more impressive in person. “He’s supernatural. He’s a knight of Mid-World. He has fast healing abilities. He’s not that easy to kill, and also, by the way, it’s very hard to get to him,” says Aracel. “He’s such a formidable fighter, gunslinger, and in battle it’s very hard to best the gunslinger.” The Man in Black already knows Roland’s one weakness, though – the people he cares about .

Portals between worlds work both ways, so Roland gets a taste of the Big Apple later in the film, following Jake through to our world as part of his newfound quest. Akiva Goldsman, who co-wrote the script, says he structured the story with the boy as a lens into the stranger elements of the saga. “The single biggest structural conceit is Jake as the point of entry,” he says. “Doesn’t every kid at one point think that the things in the shadows are real? Doesn’t every little boy imagine that there is a world that you can’t quite see?” Goldsman adds. “New York is literally like that. There’s the feeling of a labyrinth behind the face of the city, and I think that’s really consistent with a child’s imagination and the sense of a magical world hiding just beneath the surface.”

Director Nikolaj Arcel speaks with Tom Taylor and Idris Elba on the set. “In the beginning of the story Roland is kind of a lost soul. All he’s thinking about is killing the Man in Black, his arch nemesis,” Arcel says. “He’s all about revenge. He’s all about trying to track down this man who has hurt him throughout his entire life. Taken away his friends. Taken away like his father, his mother. Everybody. The love of his life… So this is where we find him. He’s a man blinded by the longing for revenge. That’s where Jake finds him.” Maybe there’s a way the boy can pull Roland back from this precipice. (source)

Depravity

<>

When Mabel was twelve, going on thirteen, the world ended. Her brother went up in blue flames. Not even ashes remained. Her parents came to get her. Told her she’d never return to Gravity Falls.

But the world didn’t end. It changed. They called it The Transcendence.

<>

“Dipper!” Mabel called, wiping her hands on a dish towel. The casserole was in the oven. She’d done up the dishes. It would be another half hour before it was ready to eat. That gave her a half hour to find her brother since he wasn’t within hearing range. She wasn’t feeling up to summoning him. It would be too messy.

He had checked in with her less than an hour ago. She somehow knew that he was still in Gravity Falls. Over their link there was an intensity that was only present when he was nearby. He was entertaining himself, that much was clear.

“Henry.” She peeked in on her husband. He was fully focused on restoring an old book, glue, paper, and thread littered about his usually neat workspace.

“Yeah, Mabes?” He tossed her a glance and a warm smile, “What’s up?”

“I set the alarm on the stove. Can you take the food out when it’s done? I’m going to find Dipper. He’s out in the woods somewhere.”

“Yeah, no problem.”

“Where are the kids?”

“Stan’s with them. They’re in the attic. I believe they’re going through some of Stan and Ford’s old things. Spring cleaning.”

Mabel giggled, “That should keep them busy. One time, Stan told me and Dipper he’d get rid of a body switching rug we discovered in the Shack. We found it, later that summer, stuffed in a corner of the attic.”

Henry went back to his book, but you could tell the smile remained on his face, “Stan’s sentimental, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. But that attic needs cleaned. The kids are getting bigger and they’re going to need more space.”

“I’ve been thinking about making a deal with Dipper to fix that.” Mabel confessed.

She didn’t miss the way her husband’s back went rigid. To anyone else, it would be unnoticeable. But she knew Henry by heart. Every movement, every expression, every detail. She knew that there were still things about his brother-in-law that made Henry uneasy. With good reason.

“Are you sure, Mabes?”

“I’m always sure.”

“But you’ve thought it out. Everything?”

Mabel nodded.

Henry deliberately continued with his book, moving steady hands over the delicate pages. A swath of glue affixed a new spine, held fast by a clamp while it dried. He reached for the next book, starting with the frayed stitching in the binding. Long, spindly fingers expertly threaded a needle.

“I trust you.” He whispered quietly.

Mabel crossed the office, draping her arms around his neck so they dangled over his chest. He was the perfect height, sitting down. She rested her head on his shoulder.

“And I trust Dipper.” She whispered back.

“I know.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that. It works for us.”

“I know.”

<>

When Mabel was fourteen, the house in Piedmont was too small for three people. Her room, even though the attic was the first one they had shared, was too large. But the space wasn’t just her own. Things moved when she wasn’t looking. Her television fizzed out at odd moments. The temperature was always ten degrees colder than the rest of the house.

Salt and iron did nothing to make it stop. It wasn’t a ghost.

<>

Mabel grabbed her bat, grappling hook, and squirt bottle of anointed water on her way out of the house. Shack. Whatever. While the world was a much more dangerous place than it had been when she was twelve, she was well prepared for it at this point. Not that many magical creatures would try anything with her. Not when she belonged to someone – something – else.

The days were getting longer. The triplets had just finished first grade a few days ago. Summer was fast approaching. She was looking forward to it.

Humming a tune as she navigated the undergrowth, she found a well-beaten path. All around her, pine trees towered into the burning twilight of the sky. Their scent wafted on the fresh breeze, bringing back memories as scents often do. Back then, she couldn’t have imagined things would be the way they were now. Or how much it would cost to get there.

Memories were peppered with pain and triumph, often at the expense of others. Expense and sacrifice. She knew too much about sacrifice. The world did not abide by the golden rule.

“Dipper!” She called.

He didn’t answer. But she knew she was getting closer. It wasn’t just twin intuition. It was a link, more explicit and inexplicable than could ever be understood by any other pair. After all, how often did a demon retain a soul rather than consume it whole?

Mabel braced her knees, arms out, as she slid down an incline layered in moss. The trees around her sparkled. There were unnatural hues to the plant life. She would think it beautiful, if it weren’t so familiar.

“Dipper!”

A puff of black smoke and acrid sulfur was all the warning she received before luminescent, gold eyes hung in her vision. The rest of her brother resolved into focus. Face blooming in a smile with jagged teeth and inky suit sucking the light from the clearing.

“Ah, Mizar! You have perfect timing.”

“What’s up Dip?” She’d had years to adjust to her brother’s preference for her demon title rather than her real name. The sting was nothing but a dull ache, easily ignored.

An invisible wind ruffled Dipper’s hair as he floated above her. A self-satisfied smirk fell into place. Eyes that conveyed nothing but joy and chaos alit with streams of gold as he whirled about to lead the way.

“You’ll just have to come see!”

She fell into step with his pace. Dipper reclined on his back. After all these years, he’d never once submitted to gravity. The day the portal had upset the laws of the nature was the day Dipper became everything that went against them. Absently, her brother picked something from his teeth that looked like white cotton candy.

<>

When Mabel was fifteen, the school system finally got its act together and introduced a Transcendence Adjustment course. At Piedmont High, they received a brief overview of every known supernatural creature. Surprisingly, there was a section on demons.

Bill Cipher was common knowledge. He was gone. But another had taken his place. Alcor the Dreambender.

<>

The gnomes were right were Mabel expected them to be, in their hidden cove. But finding them, standing, heaving with exertion, in full battle mode, was unexpected.

“What’s going on, Dipper?” She queried.

Her brother’s canny eyes glittered, half-lidded.

The gnome giant quivered.

“Gnomes are such a nuisance.” Dipper scoffed, “The have a two-track mind. Food and finding a queen. When I made a little deal with them that they couldn’t hold up, there needed to be something to settle the debt. And I was in the mood for a snack.”

Mabel finally noticed the gaping hole that was the gnome giant’s left arm. No little men were scrambling to replace it. How many would it take? Fifty? One hundred?

Dipper grinned again, and the white fluff was easily identifiable as beard hair. The usually multicolored forest was even more colorful, painted by rainbow splatters of the innards of too many gnomes. Stagnant air was choked with the scent of spoiled lemons. She didn’t know what gnome blood smelled like before. Now she did.

“Remember,” Dipper’s voice purred with pleasure, “Something similar happened last week. That cult didn’t really have anything equivalent to afford them control of this continent. Though I do admire how they aim low. How many have asked for control of this planet? Too many. Pure folly.”

She knew he would go on, so she reached up and grabbed his bow tie. For a brief moment, Dipper’s eyes swirled with rage. He wasn’t fond of touching. He wasn’t fond of a gesture that presumed others were above him. He wasn’t fond of anyone, save her.

Dipper had fought, tooth and nail, from his inception. Demons dogged his footsteps, hoping to feast on a new born for an extra boost of energy. Invisible and unheard, he trekked through the world. Tore apart his foes. And grew. Eyes that burned. Fangs so sharp. Claws for fingertips. Wings with power.

Viciousness that rivaled and rose above all others. Every summons was devoutly twisted to afford him the most advantage. The demon of before whispered into a corrupted human mind, creating a new demon. Cleverer. More devious. With another goal. Existing on the mortal plane of his own volition. Reclaiming his sister.

His sister. She was his sister. His twin. And her soul was his.

It was the only reason he didn’t rip her apart for such a gesture. Another tug on his bow tie erased the anger, leaving only irritation.

“What?”

<>

When Mabel was sixteen, her parents finally hired an exorcist. The centaur shaman had managed to climb the steps to her room with his equine body. But when the crystals informed him of measurements the Pines family couldn’t understand, the only thing they understood was his pale face and his quick retreat.

That night, a voice whispered, “There is no use trying to keep me away.” Alcor tore his way through dimensions and into her life.

<>

“Alcor.” Mabel admonished. Dipper liked his title. It would get through to him with more force. Internally, she struggled. Sometimes she felt he was too far gone. Why would he even ask her to do this?

“What?”

“This is unnecessary and you know it. The gnomes are harmless. They aren’t a threat to anyone. Not like that cult at all.”

“So?”

“You asked me to find your humanity.” She stabbed a finger at the wounded gnome giant, “How is this human? How is this even fair?”

The demon bristled, blue sparks jumping over his suit.

“I am Alcor. I do not descend to the level of humans and their pathetic interpretations of fairness.” A smile tore its way across his face. Irises blew wide and golden. Energy warped the atmosphere around him, shimmering like the heat over a highway. Sapphire fire pooled in his palms. “I take what I see fit. And I see no problem with the souls of eighty-five gnomes. I feel fantastic. Would you like a taste, Mizar?”

When Dipper got bored, he reminded the world who he was. With his title came power and prestige. Years with the ability to maintain corporeality never satiated his need for chaos. His title was to be feared and revered. The intelligent, curious, and dorky twelve year old boy was replaced by a creature that deemed to keep his human form. Memories of his humanity were scattered with his sanity.

Her brother came back. But he didn’t. This creature was wearing his skin. He wasn’t Dipper Pines. Wasn’t Bill Cipher. He was Alcor the Dreambender. But even that was nothing more than another charade.

Mabel wasn’t sure what Dipper was. But Dipper was her brother. She’d fight, tooth and nail, for him. To keep him by her side. To keep him from growing any more demonic while she was alive.

Intentionally overlooking the proffered hand, she answered, “When Forrest asks you to do his homework for him in exchange for his Halloween candy, what have I told you to do?”

Dipper’s brow pinched together. “Ignore his deal and explain the consequences of such a thing.”

“Exactly.”

“How is this the same?”

“Because Forrest is too young to understand and gnomes are too dense to know any better.”

“Gnomes are delicious.”

“So is the casserole that is about to come out of the oven right now. If you aren’t too full already, you can join us.”

Dipper’s bared his fangs.

“I’m never full.”

His hand still hung between them. He gave it a shake for emphasis.

“Conditions.” Mabel admonished, “You mention none of this to the triplets. You behave yourself around them. And you help Henry with dishes.”

“A plate of food isn’t enough for that, Mizar.”

<>

When Mabel was seventeen, she drove through night, blurred eyes, and heavy rain to Gravity Falls. All her belongings were packed into the trunk of her rickety Volkswagen beetle. Her phone rang thirty times before she simply turned it off. There was no going back.

Dipper had driven mom into an anxiety attack. Dad wanted to give the government information that would allow them to magically enslave him. She couldn’t love them all at once.

<>

“Seconds and thirds. Or no deal. I will leave you in these woods.”

A flash of something. Concern writ across Dipper’s face, choking the grin. She watched with interest. It was moments like these that she looked for. For her brother. The real thing.

Pushing his buttons. Trial and error. An elaborate guessing game. That’s what it took to find her brother. To truly see what he had been through. Because he told her nothing. She needed to understand the war in his head. She needed to know how his natures dueled inside him. She needed to comprehend the clash of instincts and what he chose to act upon.

Why?

One moment he could be cradling baby Willow in his arms, cooing and watching over her with lamplight eyes. And the next he could snap and order a three-year-old Acacia by her true name to stab forks in her arm. He could grin as he and Forrest battled over a Snicker bar with a game of Super Smash Bros. But on Willow’s first day of school, he thought showing her how the next ten years of her life played out was educational.

Every time she thought he was getting better, he’d backtrack twice as far.

“Deal!”

Dipper didn’t give her any more time to contemplate. He nabbed her arm, unaware of how his claws dug through the sleeve of her sweater and punctured her skin. He warped them into the Shack. Just in time for the oven to ding. She scrubbed warm rivulets of blood off with the inside of her sleeve and slid on oven mitts. Dipper hung around behind her.

She batted his hand away with the spatula.

Something must have clicked within his demon mind. Dishes, glasses, and silverware floated out of cabinets and rested on the table. All the while, Dipper floated in circles around the kitchen, on his back. Unconcerned and eyes closed, he missed out on the fond smile Mabel shot his way.

Henry had been summoned to the kitchen by the sound of the timer. A raised eyebrow at his wife and his brother-in-law was the only indicator that he was surprised. He most likely heard the blip upon their entrance. The triplets certainly did.

They tromped down the old wooden staircase, Stan following at a more relaxed pace. Pretty soon, the kitchen was packed with the members of their family. Three, red-headed children jumped up to nab their uncle’s coat-tails as he had seemingly dozed off.

“Uncle Dipper?” Forrest asked, “Did you fall asleep?”

A puff of air replaced his floating form, and Dipper appeared to be lounging at the kitchen table. The triplets were left spinning in dizzy circles. Acacia fell on her butt.

“Why would a dream demon need to sleep?”

Willow recovered the quickest, running to throw herself in his lap.

“We’ve seen you fall asleep before.” Forrest reminded them all, not impressed.

<>

When Mabel was eighteen, she earned her demon title: Mizar. Whether she was possessed or acted of her own volition, she learned of the havoc wrought by a demon. It forever changed her perspective of humanity. To know that there were people doing things just as depraved as demons chilled her to the bone.

She grew vicious to match her brother. Hiding the way it rotted her insides with a smile. Scars littered her skin and her soul.

<>

Dinner was the same as ever. Delicious, loud, and a little bit crazy. The triplets told Dipper what they’d been up to all afternoon. Mabel found herself laughing at all the nostalgia they’d uncovered. Boxes of old video tapes were sitting in the living room, waiting to be watched after the meal. No doubt there were copies of ‘Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained’ and ‘Mabel’s Guide to Everything’ among them.

When they had first moved into the Mystery Shack with Stan, she had watched them with Dipper to see what he remembered. It was strange to find that every scene, he could perfectly recall. But he regarded his past self with upmost contempt. ‘It’s funny how dumb I was.’

She didn’t mind the triplets watching the videos. But it would certainly be hard for her and Henry. They understood just what had happened to Dipper. To make him the way he was now. It was pretty messed up if they really thought about it.

The triplets were old enough to understand. Mabel and Henry had never hidden things from them. It was in their best interests to know, after all. Risk-taking was not permissible with a demon around.

They knew that their uncle had once been human. That he was a demon now. They knew that their uncle had dangerous mood swings. That happy wasn’t always good and anger wasn’t always their fault. They knew not to make deals with him without parental supervision. That the fact he knew their true names was a serious matter.

But sometimes, the triplets were just six. And sometimes rules slipped their minds or were disregarded. Sometimes the triplets and Dipper had terrible lapses in judgement at the same time. And the kids got hurt. Henry would grow silent. Mabel would race to right the mess as much as she could.

But fractures, while they can be repaired, are never really whole again.

Their family sat around the old tube television anyway. Slid the tapes into the dated VHS player. And pressed play on the console. They laughed about the past. Dipper added commentary with facts about the recording and the creatures he’d tried to identify at age twelve, all free of charge.

Willow cuddled in his lap. Acacia stole his hat. And Forrest asked more questions.

Henry and Mabel sat on the couch with fingers intertwined. She could feel his contentment as her head rested on his shoulder. Her husband just wanted his family to be safe, including his often wayward brother. But when the conflict came from within, he wasn’t sure how to deal with it besides exercising saint-like patience. Mabel only loved him more for that. Dipper needed someone to approach him in a way his demon instincts didn’t understand. Only that would get through to him.

Stan grouched about how lovey-dovey everyone was getting and went to bed. He was too old to put up with it.

<>

When Mabel was nineteen, she almost gave up on Dipper. He’d disappeared for six months before blipping in to drag her off to a cult bust. It had been worse than anything she’d ever seen before. So much blood. Everywhere. His laugh as he tore people apart in the most slow, brutal, and painful way possible. His eyes, so bright with excess energy they seemed white.

She stood off to the side and watched. And vomited. And didn’t eat or sleep for a week after. How could that still be her brother?

<>

After everyone else had gone to bed, Mabel and Dipper lounged on the roof of the Shack. Times like these, Mabel felt no different than when she was a kid. Just the two of them, sneaking out to drink Pitt Cola past bedtime, throw pinecones at the totem pole, and watch the stars they couldn’t see from Piedmont. Only now, Mabel was much bigger and Dipper floated with his legs crossed.

“I think I’m supposed to say sorry about earlier today.” Dipper mumbled.

“I won’t say it’s fine Dip.” Mabel responded with a soft smile, “Because it’s not. But I will remind you how much I love you.”

Dipper shrugged, shoulders and wings rising and falling. He let out a huff.

“What?”

“You’re just really special, Mabel.” He answered. She could tell this was Dipper, as human as he could be, speaking when he used her real name – not her title. “Anyone else would have given up on me.”

“You’re my brother.”

“It’s not that simple!” He bit out, “You’ve accepted me. A demon. You know there’s depravity in me and you still let me in your life, your husband’s life, your kids’ lives. And I screw up all the time!”

She wrapped her arms around him, squeezing even as blue sparks danced over her sweater. But she felt the wounds from earlier close. Felt hot, golden droplets soak into the wool.

“Hugs fix everything.” She whispered into his suit jacket.

Dipper sighed, “No they don’t, Mabel. They don’t fix the fact that I can only do so much of this happy family thing before I lose it. I can only go so long without razing the world to the ground. That I’ve seen futures and dimensions so awful I don’t see the point of balance, and chaos makes more sense. That it’s been over four hours since I’ve killed something and it’s like an itch I can’t scratch.”

She squeezed him tighter.

“You don’t understand.”

Mabel let him go to look him in the eyes. Crescents of molten gold met hers and stared into her soul, his soul. He didn’t look away. Whatever he saw there only made him more miserable. And he didn’t look away.

“I don’t understand. And Dipper, I’ve tried. But in the end, what matters is that I love you. And I trust you.”

His form flickered. A summons. With the risen, full moon, midnight rituals were beginning. She grabbed his hand, this time, careful of his claws.

“I’m coming with you.”

A grateful smile, no teeth or malice, graced his features. A human and a demon, hand in hand, disappeared from the rooftop of the Shack. Echoing in her mind, like a broken record player, but infinitely softer, Dipper’s answer resounded, “I trust you. And I love you. Mabel. I trust you…”

Soon, it was eclipsed by manic laughter, roaring blue fire, screams of mortal peril. And the scent of blood wafted on the stale cavern air, bringing back memories as scents often do. Of too many deaths all brought about by her dear little brother, the demon.

<>

When Mabel was twenty, she was stabbed in the heart. Not in the figurative sense. In the literal “there is a ceremonial blade sticking through my chest” sense. It was like nothing she’d ever experienced before. The knife was ripped free, trailing beads of ruby that splattered over a circle of chalk. Her heart traitorously pumped her life through the opening, crimson rivers spilling over everything as she collapsed to the ground. Her fingers twitched weakly, scratching at runes.

Then darkness. In her final moments, there was blue fire and proffered hand. She took it. She would do her best to replace what her brother had lost. A soul.

Fin

<>

This is written for the AU of TAU. I don’t remember the name of it, but it’s the one where Dipper isn’t visible to Mabel. As a result, he spends two years growing powerful enough to become corporeal and prove that he is still alive. In that time, he has to figure a lot of the demon stuff out on his own and he doesn’t have Mabel to be his moral compass. He ends up becoming more demon-like sooner rather than later.

A few headcanons to go with this since I don’t remember the AU overview being super exhaustive: 1) Dipper prefers to use his title, Mabel’s title, and the triplets’ true names (provided they aren’t in public, but it also doesn’t mean he’s constantly ordering them around), 2) Given his lack of ability to human, he wouldn’t have the savvy to rename Forrest to Hank, so that name stayed, 3) Dipper only accepts legitimate blood sacrifices, 4) He rarely, if ever, makes deals that put himself at a disadvantage (even with Mabel), 5) He’s more detached from the family than in the main AU, and  6) Dipper becomes a lot more powerful a lot faster because of his lack of regard for human life.

Mods, I hope I didn’t screw anything up. I really liked this idea when it was presented. And it’s a good excuse to write really REALLY vicious Dipper, which I cannot pass up. Unfortunately, my story didn’t turn out that way D:

Oh well! Hope you enjoy!!!

M:��.��

Back Again 1/?

I started writing this in English class and I couldn’t stop.  Spoiler’s for ‘Not What He Seems’

The portal whined and spat sparks of blue fire.  Its center was a ring of bright colors spinning so fast they blurred into an discernible blaze of light, filling the bunker with a unearthly glow.  Stanley’s skin prickled with goose bumps and fear at the aura of certain doom the swirling vortex gave off.  It was all so familiar to him, the smoke and destruction.  But unlike thirty years ago, he wasn’t the one facing a door to another dimension, mere seconds away from disappearing for what could have been forever.  It was Dipper and Mabel in that position, his two grandchildren whom he had only known a little over a month.

He saw them standing by the portal’s control panel, Dipper fussing over the remaining buttons and cracked screens.  He noticed the scratches and bruises that covered their arms and legs, the gashes and rips in Mabel’s sweater and the tattered mess that was Dipper’s vest.  Stanley’s eyes softened and regretted ever building the portal, knowing that without it, the scratches and cuts would have never existed.

He climbed through the rubble of the bunker that held a good two years of his life work, thinking that one month was far too little.  Brown eyes steeled themselves behind a cracked pair of glasses.  Stanley was going to make sure that he would know his grandchildren for much more than a single, measly month.

That was his mantra of sorts as he maneuvered through the falling ceiling and broken machinery.  He made it to the twins in a matter of seconds, and a small part of him wished that he could have done that in eighth grade P.E.

“Dipper!  Mabel!  The portals gonna tear this place apart!”  The twins looked back from the panel in surprise.  “Come on!  We’ve gotta go!”

“But Pap Pap!” Mabel yelled over the portal’s constant whine.  “We’ve still gotta stop it!  If it keeps going like this, it’s gonna blow up everything!  Then it’s gonna merge the mindscape with the real world and everything is gonna be all mindescape-y and really, really bad because Bill said so and now we’ve gotta stop it or you know, BOOM!

Mabel threw up her arms in the best explosion mime she could manage in the situation.  Stanley would have loved to smile and call her cute for doing it, but not right now.  No, trying not to panic and helping them stop the portal was the better choice in this case.

“Alright then.  I saw that Cipher already busted the first emergency shutdown mechanism.  So, what’s the plan?”  Stanley thought it a bit strange to be asking twelve year olds what the plan was, but at the moment he was at a loss at what to do.

“Um, I was looking at the code up on this screen,” Dipper pointed to a black screen with seemingly endless scrolling across it.  He recognized it as the secondary override system Fiddleford decided to install when Cipher became more of a threat.  Sadly though, it was Fiddleford who encrypted it and kept the key solely with himself.

“And I first thought it was A1Z26.”

Stanley nodded, looking at the numbers himself and trying desperately to think of what McGucket would have set up as the decoder.

“Hm, yeah but a couple of them don’t fit into that.  That middle section is gibberish when you only apply A1Z26.”

Only A1Z26.  What if one was to apply another cipher to A1Z26.  Like the Vigenère cipher.”  Stanley was impressed.

“Ok, but then you still need the decryption key.”  Dipper nodded and pointed to an old and rusting name plate that sat on the top of the control panel.

“  ‘Made by F’.  Fiddleford McGucket, right?  There’s only one thing that I know that old man McGucket would have used as the key.”  Dipper reached for the small keypad just under the screen and typed in two words.

“Blind eye.”  Stanley watched with wide and prideful eyes as the numbers spun into the message Fiddleford had left thirty years ago.  It read:

Now accessing manual override.  To proceed with override, enter the decryption key once more.

Mabel let out a whoop and hugged her brother.

Not awkward cause your brother just saved the world sibling hug!”  Dipper chuckled embarrassedly and hugged her back.

“Yep.  Definitely not awkward.”

Stanley smiled and ruffled the boy’s hair.

“Knew you could do it.” he said.  And he meant it too.

Dipper beamed at the compliment.

“But,” suddenly a loud crashing sound filled the bunker as a good chunk of the ceiling caved in.  “You might wanna type that key in first, then we’ll congratulate and hug and all that.”

The twins nodded and Dipper poised his hand to type it in again, though before his fingers could touch the keys and suddenly Stanley’s vision went white.

As quickly as it came, the white splotched away into blurred color with tiny black dots that buzzed like insects.  His head was throbbing, his ears ringing and he could’ve sworn someone had taken a mallet to his back.  He groaned and blinked a bit, the blurs now focusing into more definable shapes and people.  He first made out the bright yellow sweater that was his granddaughter.  She was only a few feet away from him, her eyes closed and a trickle of blood running down her forehead.  His breath hitched for a moment and tears threatened to bubble up, but they were stopped by the steady rising and falling of her chest.  Stanley then breathed himself, relieved that Mabel was still alive.  Unconscious, but alive non the less.  After lingering for a moment, his eyes made their way to Dipper who was currently looking at the one who had started it all.

“How’s it going pine tree?”  Stanley heard the dream demon ask his son.  He clenched his fist until his nails dug crimson lines into his palm.  Cipher was the source of this mess, the reason for the hellfire and insanity that plagued the dimension he’d been in for thirty years.  He was the cause of a lot of pain, and it hurt still not to be able to run up there and punch the monster in his isosceles face.

“Bill!  It’s over!  I’m only one word away from stoping the portal and ruining your plan for good.  Face it, you’ve lost.”

Bill chuckled dryly, twirling his cane as if he expected this all along.  Stanley frowned when he realized that he might not be far from the truth.

“You said it yourself pine tree.  You’re only one word away.”  The demon suddenly closed in on Dipper, leaving only inches between their faces.  “So all I’ve gotta do is stop you from typing in that word.”

And then Bill was gone and seconds later, Dipper was on the floor screaming as blue flames ran across his body.  Stanley could only watch, his body heavy with pain and the horror of watching his grandson burning alive.  He heard him shout a few things, mumble in loud whispers as he writhed and blazed.  Suddenly the flames died down to a low roar, and Dipper hoisted himself up from the floor to the key pad.  Stanley was surprised to see that his skin looked unburned and totally healthy save a few scratches here and there, though his eyes were a familiar pale yellow, the pupil slit and thin.  Stanley could still remember the time when his own eyes were like that, but they weren’t his eyes though, and they certainly weren’t Dipper’s.

Bill in Dipper’s body raised his hand, grinning widely as he made a fist and swung it down in hopes of crushing the key pad and with it any chance of ruining his plans.

His fist stopped before it could touch the keyboard.  One finger pried itself from his hand and pushed down on one key.

“Stop it.” Bill’s voice trembled with what Stanley could only describe as fear.

Dipper’s finger wavered before pressing down again.

“SToP.”  Bill gripped the out of control hand and tried to pull it back, leaving marks that were sure to become bruises.

Another key was pressed.

“Ị̯͕͎ͅ'̮̙̰L̸͎̹̙͉̯͙L̺̬̟̕ ̼͇͈̬͢K͖̻I̮͉L̠̺̖̫L̖͉͇̥̫̖ ̦̞̩̗̜͙ͅH͡E̱̭ͅR͍!̕”

A sickening crack was heard as Bill’s grip snapped through Dipper’s wrist, but it was too late.  A bright yellow message flashed on the black screen.

Manual Override activated.  Portal shutting down.

“No, you won’t.” Dipper, the real Dipper who’s voice cracked more than the sidewalk, said.

“N̵̴O̢͠!̴̛͠”  The whine of the portal dulled down and the glow faded.  Bill’s plan had failed.  Suddenly, Bill grinned and looked at the dying portal with something awful in his eyes.

“Gotta go out with a bang though, don’t we pine tree.”  Stanley watched with terrified eyes as the portal brightened, gaining speed and the life it should have lost.

Error.  Error.  Power overload.  Destruction of portal in 5.

He struggled with moving his body, his arms and legs feeling like lead.

4.

He somehow made it to Mabel, her eyes still closed in a forced sleep.

3.

He tucked her into his lap and brushed away the streak of blood on her forehead.

2.

He ignored the insane laughter and blinding light that began to fill the room, the portal’s whine even louder than before.

1.

Stanley Pines kissed his granddaughter on the forehead and pressed her head into his shoulder.

“I trust you too Pap pap.” he heard her mumble into his shoulder.  He felt tears soak through his cotton black shirt, and was surprised to find that they were his.

He looked to the silhouette of his grandson against the harsh glow of the portal, and for a second he saw it flicker into someone tall and elegant with what seemed to be small wings at his tailbone.  He dismissed it, though something about that small glimpse made him have hope in getting more than that one month.

“And I trust him.”

0.

The world turned white once more and magic swept across the earth and her creatures, soaking into her core and bringing about a new era that many referred to as the Transcendence.

At the same time, a small tourist trap known as the Mystery Shack exploded in a flurry of blue flames and magic.