A Vacation Finished
With a soft groan, Mabel stirred in Stan's arms. Blearily opening her eyes, she struggled to sit up, clinging to the front of her great-uncle's undershirt. She glanced upwards and spotted Stan's face transfixed on the grey sky, and she felt the gentle splatter of raindrops on her face. She could see multicoloured orbs sailing overhead, and she could feel her life force humming contently within her.
"Grunkle Stan?" she asked softly.
Stan snapped his eyes down to meet hers, and the relief was visible on his face. "Sweetie! You're okay!"
Mabel wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him tight. "I'm fine," she said. "But…after Lavernia showed up when we were in the post office, I don't really remember anything else."
"She took your life force and you went unconscious," informed Stan. "Dipper and those two kids with the funny names went after the demon, and I guess whatever they did worked. Are you okay to stand?"
Stan set her on the ground, hands still extended in case she wobbled and fell. But she was steady on her feet. She patted Waddles on the head when he came up to her and looked around, studying the damage. Most of the town was in pretty rough shape, but as far as she could see nothing was unsalvageable. The scorched buildings could be rebuilt and refurnished, and as the rain fell in steady, misty sheets the fires were all extinguished.
Gravity Falls wasn't looking its best, but it would be fine. They hadn't lost anyone during Lavernia's rampage, and that was what mattered most.
The girl positively beamed at the sight of her brother charging towards her. "Dipper!"
They embraced tightly, and when they pulled apart Dipper asked in concern, "Are you okay?"
"Grunkle Stan, are you okay?"
"Fine, runt." Stan pulled the boy's cap down playfully. "So are the rest of the munchkins. They took off a bit ago to help with the fires, but they should be making their way back soon now that everything is out of control."
"How did you do it?" asked Mabel.
"Well, when she took your life force, I kind of lost all logical reasoning," informed Dipper. "Phineas, Ferb and I tracked her down. At first, we didn't think we'd be able to keep in her one place, but then it started to rain. She quickly lost power, and we used the magic in that device to trap her in her prison."
"You rock, bro-bro." Mabel extended her knuckles and Dipper gave her a fist-bump. "I knew we could do it!"
Isabella, Buford and Baljeet raced up with Wendy and Soos in tow. "You dudes are alright!" Soos exclaimed.
"Where are Phineas, Ferb and Candace?" asked Isabella in concern.
Dipper squinted through the silvery mist and spotted the three figures making their way towards them. "Right there."
Wendy hurried over and looped her arms around Candace, giving her better support. "So, do you always have a demon possessing you?" she joked, helping her fellow redhead along as the boys went to embrace their friends.
Candace smiled weakly. "Nah, this was just a special occasion."
"You feeling okay?"
"Little out of it, but I definitely feel better than before."
"How did you do it?" marvelled Baljeet. "How did you stop Lavernia?"
Phineas scratched the back of his neck, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Well, it helped a lot that it started raining. But the rain kind of came out of nowhere…"
Everyone jolted at the bellow that suddenly came from Stan, who now looked rather furious and slightly panicked.
"What about Gideon?" asked Buford in bemusement.
"He has his life force back," realized Dipper. "Which means-"
"Which means," cut in Stan angrily, "that the little punk is alone near the Shack and is probably ransacking the place as we speak! Soos! Come on!"
The twins watched in amusement as the two took off in the direction of the Mystery Shack. "Well, I suppose that's the end of that," spoke Dipper, a satisfied smile on his face.
"Let's all go see if we can find something soaked in sugar." Wendy gave Candace's shoulders a squeeze. "I think we could all use it."
Perry found Heinz just as the man stumbled out of the forest, covered in ash and looking rather exhausted. With a look of questioning on his face, the platypus gestured towards the sky above.
With a glow of pride, Heinz nodded. "To be honest, I don't quite know how I did it. But I managed to have enough power to summon a full rainstorm instead of little rainclouds here and there."
There was something in his voice that told Perry the man knew where he had gotten that burst of power from, and he crossed his arms and arched an eyebrow.
Heinz huffed and shoved his hands into his pockets. "Fine! If you're going to press, I suppose I had enough emotional power to make the spell work by thinking that you might be in trouble with all the fires. Only I can destroy you. Not some crazy demon with emotional baggage."
Perry grinned and the scientist scowled. "Stop looking at me like that! It's not funny."
Letting it go, Perry mimed opening a book. Heinz suddenly fell sheepish. "Oh…well, after that big spell I kind of went running back to town, wanting to see what the damage was. But I got lost and ran into a few trees…anyway, during it all I lost One." He peered at the lightly smoking town and added, "But since the fires are gone and you're here, Lavernia's gone?"
Perry nodded. He was a little worried that One was lying out in the wilderness somewhere, but he was relieved that it was no longer in Heinz's hands.
"What happened to my –Inator?" asked Heinz.
Perry gestured towards town, indicating it was somewhere in Gravity Falls. Heinz gave a shrug of dismissal. "Well, it's not like I'm ever going to use it back in Danville anyway. Speaking of which, I think I've left Norm alone long enough. I guess I better go see if I still have a building. See you later, Perry the Platypus."
The semiaquatic animal tilted his fedora in thanks and the two departed. Perry walked back through town, soon finding the –Inator lying abandoned in the street. Crouching over it, he felt along the metal.
Come on. Heinz wouldn't make one of these things without a self-destruct button. It's just not natural.
He pressed against a hidden panel, which slid open and revealed a secret button, which was bright red. Grinning, Perry smacked it and raced off, watching in satisfaction as the device imploded, creating a dark cloud of smoke which the rain quickly hindered.
'And that's what I call a wrap-up. Now just to check on Waddles, make sure the kids are fine, and give Monogram my final report. Then it's about time I get a vacation.'
Slipper-clad feet crunching through charred leaves, Stan kept his eyes peeled for the white-blonde terror child that was bent on taking possession of the Shack. There had been no sign of Gideon inside his home, and they had searched the place from top to bottom. Lavernia's attack had only done damage to the upper floor of the building, which he figured could be dealt with at a later date. The gift shop and the bottom floor were pretty much intact, for which he was grateful.
He let Soos stay behind when the rest of the kids filed in, and he knew they were raiding the gift shop's soda cooler. But he would let it slide, for they had all been through a rather taxing ordeal, and he also had a feeling that the group of out-of-towners would be leaving soon.
Something glinted in the slivers of sunlight penetrating the grey clouds. He turned slightly, and very nearly had his heart stop.
Nestled in the grass, halfway hidden by some leaves, was a leather-bound journal with a six-fingered golden hand glued to the cover. He rushed over and picked it up, running his fingers along the edges in awe.
'No way…how long has it been? Five years?'
He flipped through One, feeling suddenly rather emotional at once more holding the hard copy in his hands. It had been at least five years since he lost the journal, having accidentally set it in a box which then made its way to some charity who-knows-where. He had no idea how it made its way back to him, but he knew when to question weird occurrences and when to accept them.
A stab of forlornness went through him, though he tried to ignore it. He had the foresight to photocopy the pages from One before he lost it, and he was relieved to have the hardcopy again.
'Poindexter would kill me if I lost it.'
Giving his head a slight shake, he stuck the journal under his arm and decided to head back to the Shack. Gideon was nowhere in the vicinity of the Mystery Shack, and that was good enough for him.
The kid would probably rear his ugly face soon enough and he didn't want to actively seek it out.
Linda and Lawrence returned late that afternoon, loaded with plastic bags of snacks and miscellaneous items that had caught their attention. The kids went back to the cabins a few minutes later and the Flynn-Fletcher immediately noticed that, while Candace seemed to be doing much better, she was pale and looked completely exhausted. Linda decided it was time to go home, and the group could not deny that they were ready to head back to Danville.
There was some confusion on why the kids were half in pajamas, but even Phineas knew that the terror of Lavernia was something that no one would believe unless they had been there to see it. The town had stopped smoking and they had all cleaned up, so unless the adults went into town they would not know anything went wrong.
Linda and Lawrence didn't ask too many questions about their state of dress and they all started to pack their bags. Lawrence went to tell the owner of the cabins they were leaving early and Phineas, Ferb, Isabella, Buford and Baljeet went to the Mystery Shack to bid their new friends farewell.
"Oh, there you are Perry," said Phineas in relief, bending down to scoop up his platypus as they walked through the charred town. "Where were you during all that craziness?"
Perry chattered in response.
Reaching the porch of the Mystery Shack, Isabella rapped neatly on the wood. It wasn't long before Mabel opened the door, her brother by her side.
"Hey," greeted Dipper in surprise. "What's up?"
"We came to say goodbye," said Phineas with a soft, sad smile. "Mom and Dad think it's time to head back and we think it's better if Candace gets home in order to completely recover."
The twins' faces fell. "Aw, that's too bad," said Mabel with a slump of her shoulders. "But we get it."
"Yeah." Dipper nodded. "We were hoping to get a few days to spend with you and do something not life-threatening. But it is probably better if Candace returns to familiar surroundings. Is she okay?"
"She's way better," assured Phineas. "And it's all thanks to you guys. Without you, we would never have figured out what was wrong with her."
"And without you, we wouldn't have been able to stop Lavernia," said Mabel feelingly.
"Yeah, we all would have been sunk without each other," voiced Buford, crossing his arms and looking vaguely amused. "Let's try not to get too sentimental over here."
Isabella rolled her eyes and punched him lightly in the shoulder. "What he means is that we're going to miss you," she said sincerely. "This hasn't been the vacation we expected, but it's one we'll always remember."
"I had fun," spoke Buford with a smirk. "When else in my life am I going to get to fight a fire demon?"
"Probably never," said Baljeet. "But I must admit, despite the terror, I did enjoy myself, in some weird way."
Dipper was surprised. "Seriously? You mean this whole experience didn't frighten you from coming back?"
"Of course not!" exclaimed Phineas. "We're hoping to come back next summer, if we can manage it. The fight with Lavernia prevented us from truly showing you how we spend our summer vacations."
Dipper tilted his head to the side, a smile on his lips. "I'd like that. Mabel and I are definitely going to do all we can to come back here next summer, too."
Baljeet looked around, a thoughtful expression on his face. "You know, there is something about Gravity Falls that is as irresistible as it is weird and nerve-wracking."
"That's the best description of this place I've heard yet," said Dipper with a grin.
"Listen, Mr. and Mrs. Flynn-Fletcher are waiting for us back at the cabins," spoke Isabella, looking very apologetic and reluctant. "We wish we could stay longer, but we had short notice on our early departure."
"That's alright," said Mabel, reaching out and hugging the girl. "Next time, we'll have some true girl time."
"I'd really like that," said Isabella sincerely.
"Here." Dipper dug out a piece of paper and scrawled out his phone number and email. As he wrote, Waddles poked his head between Mabel's legs and oinked softly, locking eyes with Perry. He gave a subtle nod of gratitude with his head, and Perry returned it with a miniscule smile. "My sister and I live in Piedmont, and maybe we can talk sometime."
Phineas carefully folded the paper and set it in his pocket. "Definitely. When we get back home, I'll send you our contact information. Wendy gave Candace her cell number, so we have that too."
Dipper extended his hand. "Thanks for everything. It's been a great few weeks. See you again soon."
Phineas shook his hand firmly, and Ferb followed after. "Thanks to you too," said the green-haired boy. "And you can count on it."
After one more round of goodbyes and hugs, the Danville residents left. Mabel and Dipper waved after them until they were out of sight.
"Ferb so likes me."
Dipper raised his eyes heavenward. "Mabel, it was goodbye hug. Phineas hugged you too."
"No, Ferb's hug was different," she insisted, eyes dancing with excitement. "Just you wait. By next summer, he'll be mine!"
Dipper let out a sigh, and then a smile spread across his face.
"Yeah. Until next summer. I can't wait."
"Me neither, bro. Me neither."
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