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Gnome Bites

Title: In Search of Attractions
Author: chilibreath
X-posted to: Tumblr / FF.net / AO3
Rating: G
Summary: It started with a raid in the kitchen...

It started with a raid in the kitchen…

It was Fiddleford’s first week in Gravity Falls. He walked into the kitchen one morning and nearly dropped his papers at the sight he beheld.

It was complete chaos. The kitchen was in shambles as Stanford ran around the place chasing what looked like miniature Santa Clauses in blue overalls and red pointy hats. Fiddleford stared open-mouthed as Stanford grabbed a small Santa and tossed him out the open window.

“Fidds, block the doorway and make sure none of them pass through!” Ford yelled as he grabbed a bag of jellybeans with another Santa hanging off it. “Be careful, they bite!” he added as he started pulling the little man off the bag.

“Okay, Ford—AAAAAH!” Fidds yelled as one little man scampered towards him and hissed. He finally dropped his papers, grabbed a nearby mop and started swinging. He felt the end of the mop hit something and heard a high-pitched yowl. A window broke as Fidds’ target went flying out of it.

“Good job, buddy!” said Ford breathlessly, the jellybean bag still stuck on a determined, snarling Santa. “Only one more to—YEOWWWCH!!”

Fidds gasped; the small man scrabbled over the jellybean bag and bit Ford’s arm. Enraged, Ford yanked the gnome off him and tossed him out the window. A string of high-pitched cuss words floated through the window.

“Sweet sarsaparilla, that looks nasty!” Fidds cringed as he looked at the bite mark. “Looks like it drew blood. We gotta take you to a hospital and get that checked out!”

Ford waved away his friend’s concern and walked to the sink. “Driving to the hospital will take precious time away from the project,” he said gruffly as he placed his arm under running water. “This isn’t so bad. Just need some iodine and a bandage, that’s all!”

Fidds shook his head as he went to get the First Aid kit. His friend had warned him over the phone that this part of the United States has the highest concentration of weirdness, which he studied since they graduated from Backupsmore, but it was another thing to see it raid your kitchen.

“So, what were those little doodads that tried to make off with your jellybean stash?” Fidds asked as he set the First Aid kit down on the table.

Ford shook his head as he sat down. “They’re gnomes,” he explained as he held out his arm for treatment. “The little men of the forest. They keep raiding my pantry every other week. They’re not dangerous, just annoying. I mean, they once tried to kidnap me in my sleep to offer me to their Queen.”

“Ya don’t say?” murmured Fidds as he applied antiseptic on the bite mark. Judging from their size, it must have taken an army of them to carry his friend out of the house. “How’d you get away?”

Ford snorted. “Easy; I drop-kicked them and got the hell out of there.” He looked down at the dressed wound and smiled. “Thanks Fidds!”

“No problem,” replied the lanky man as he started cleaning up. “Are you sure you don’t want to get that treated by professionals? The thing that bit ya looked rabid to me…”

“Nonsense!” Ford scoffed. “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen from a gnome bite?”

xxx

The next day…

Fiddleford walked into the kitchen, yawning. This was the fifth time he was preparing breakfast, and he wondered if he was hired to be Ford’s research assistant or the man’s nanny.

He was reaching for the kettle when he heard the rustle.

Fidds turned around, scanning the kitchen nervously. He frowned and grabbed the broom leaning on the wall nearby.
“I can’t believe they came back!” he thought as he walked stealthily around the kitchen. In the periphery of his vision, he spotted a flash of yellow.

WHACK!

“Gotcha!” Fidds yelled in triumph as his target rolled across the floor and hit the wall.

“Ooowww…”

Fidds blinked and lowered the broom; the voice sounds familiar. He approached the tiny figure as it rolled over and sat up, looking dazed.

Stanford?” Fidds gasped, dropping the broom.

Fidds shook his head and leaned down for a closer look. It is Stanford: his friend and employer had shrunk to the size of the rabid Santa Clauses. Owing to his new size, Ford now wore his mustard-colored shirt like an oversized robe and his glasses were sitting lopsided on his nose.

Ford looked up at Fidds. The two men stared at each other for a moment before the gnome-sized one coughed.
“It seems gnome-bites have an unusual side-effect,” Ford said conversationally.

“Ya don’t say?” Fidds replied drily.

xxx

A couple of weeks later…

Stanley Pines trudged through the snow, the bitter cold seeping through his old jacket as he made his way to the cabin. Just his luck, he had to arrive in Oregon when a blizzard decides to hit.

He stopped in front of the porch steps, looking grimly up at the cabin. Why his brother decided to move here in the middle of nowhere, he’ll never know. He walked up the stairs and headed for the door. He raised a gloved hand to knock on the door, then paused to compose himself.

“You haven't seen your brother in over ten years,” Stan breathed. “It's okay; he's family! He won't bite.”

He knocked on the door. After a few moments, it opened on its own. Stan peered through the door and spotted a very cluttered space beyond.

“Uh, hello?” Stan called out, puzzled. “What is this, haunted?”

“Down here.”

Stan gave a start and looked down. His first impression was that of a small, rotund toddler wearing blue pants and a red sweater. Then he blinked and realized that the stern face—the head—was that of his brother’s.

Stanford?!

The tiny man in front of him nodded, rearranging the glasses that were too large for his face.

“Hi Stanley,” Ford said, sounding tense. “Please, keep it down! You might disturb—”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

Stan’s scream was powerful enough to shake the snow off the roof of the cabin. Ford winced as another man appeared right behind him, holding up a banjo like a club.

“What’s going on?!” Fidds cried, staring at Stan nervously from the doorway. On his part, Stan started backing away from the slender, blond man who looked ready to brain him with a musical instrument.

“Fidds, put that down!” Ford snapped, tugging at his friend’s pants. “This is my brother, Stanley. Stanley, this my friend and associate, Fiddleford McGucket.”

Fidds started to lower his banjo and stick out his hand. “Howdy!” Fidds said nervously. “I should have known; ya look just like yer brother before he shrank down!”

Ford rolled his eyes and beckoned to his brother. “Come in, come in!” he said, turning to toddle into the living room. Stan hefted the duffel bag over his shoulder and followed his shrunken brother into the house.

“Are you gonna explain what’s goin’ on here?” Stan asked. “The last time I saw you, we were the same height!”

Ford sighed as he walked towards a chair. He had to step over piles of books that were arranged into a makeshift set of stairs. “It’s a long story…” he began to say.

Stan sat in a nearby chair and listened to his brother’s story. How he was studying anomalies in Gravity Falls and decided to invite Fiddleford here to help him with a complicated project. This project never came to fruition after Ford was bitten by a possibly rabid gnome and turned into one practically overnight.

“We’ve been lookin’ for a cure ever since,” Fidds added as Ford concluded his story. The two scientists looked at Stan, gauging his reaction.

Stan stared back. He took off his beanie and sighed.

“Ya couldn’t have made your story SHORT?” he asked innocently.

“Oh, well, I guess I could have...” Ford began to say, then stopped and gave his brother a look. “Did you just…”

Stan blinked and looked owlishly at his twin. “What? Look, I came all this way from New Mexico after my LITTLE brother sent me a postcard and…”

Fiddleford decided to listen to the brothers’ conversation from the safety of the kitchen.

“Stan, if you don’t quit it, I will kick your ass,” Ford growled.

“Need a ladder?” Stan asked politely.

“Don’t patronize me!”

“So it’s true: short people do have short tempers.”

Fidds then heard sounds of a scuffle. Fearing the worst, he ran out of the kitchen and saw Stan holding Ford up by the scruff of his sweater. There was a fond look on Stan’s face while Ford was muttering obscenities.

“That’s enough you two,” Fiddleford said, taking Ford out of Stan’s hand and settling him back on his chair. “Ya need more cushions, Ford?”

Ford crossed his stubby arms and grouchily muttered, “No.”

To Stan, Fidds gestured to the chair he vacated. “If you could take a seat, Stan, and refrain from making short jokes, we’ve got a request to ask of you.”

After Fidds finished talking, Stan snorted.

“Lemme get this straight: you want ME to go out into the world pretending to be my nerdy brother?” he asked incredulously. “NO WAY! It’s not gonna work!”

“Why not?” asked Fidds.

“Gee, where do I start?” Stan asked sarcastically. “For starters, I don’t sound like him…”

“Stan, it would just be like when we were kids!” said Ford. “Remember when we pranked Crampelter back in middle school? He ended up having detention because of us!”

Stan snorted. “I don’t have that chin-thing you’ve got…”

“Nothin’ a little make-up magic can’t fix!” Fidds interjected. At an odd look from the brothers, Fidds looked defensive and added, “What? It can’t be that different from paintin’ deathbots!”

“And let’s not forget the most important difference,” said Stan, taking off his glove and wiggling his fingers in the air.
“You can borrow my gloves and stuff the extra digits with cotton,” countered Ford.

“No, this is not gonna work,” Stan muttered, shaking his head. He looked at his brother in the eye and said wearily: “You finally want to see me after ten years, and it’s to tell me to go out there and pretend to be you while you and skinny over here try to find a cure?”

Ford pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Stanley, you don’t know what I’ve been through…”

“No, no…you don’t understand what I’ve been through!” Stan growled. “I've been to prison in three different countries! I once had to chew my way out of the trunk of a car! You think you've got problems? I've got a mullet, Stanford! Meanwhile, where have you been? Living it up in your fancy house in the woods! Selfishly hoarding your college money, because you only care about yourself!”

Ford jumped up to stand on his chair. “I’m selfish, Stanley? How can you say that after costing me my dream school!? I’m giving you a chance to do the first worthwhile thing in your life and you won’t even listen!”

“CUT THAT OUT YOU TWO!”

The two Stans gave a start and stared at Fiddleford, who had jumped to his feet and scowled at them.

“This darn tootin’ bad blood has gone on far enough, I reckon,” Fidds grumbled, spitting into a nearby spittoon (Ford cringed). “Fortunately for you fellers, I come from a big family, and we have a tried and tested method for airin’ out our grievances. First things first, we’re all marchin’ into the kitchen to eat somethin’ and to give Stan a chance to rest up a bit, then we reconvene back here. We are not leaving this house until this is resolved. IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?”

The other two men nodded as they allowed Fidds to herd them to the kitchen.

xxx

2012

“…and that’s how Fiddleford mended our relationship,” Stan concluded. He had taken off his six-fingered glove and was wringing it in his five-fingered hands throughout the telling of the story.

“It took us hours, but we managed to get there,” Fidds said, shaking his graying blond head.

Sitting between his friend and twin, Ford looked at their audience. Dipper, Mabel and Soos the handyman-slash-spare Mr. Mystery stared at them in varying degrees of awe.

“And all this time, Grunkle Stan has been pretending to be Stanford while the real Stanford has been hiding under the Mystery Shack-slash-Institute of Oddology looking for an anti-gnoming serum,” Dipper murmured. He looked at the three elderly men in front of him and sighed. “I’m so sorry for doubting you guys.”

Stan shrugged. “It’s okay, Dipper,” he said gruffly, smiling at them. “I wouldn’t have believed me either.”

“This is nothing like my fanfic, but I’m not mad!” Soos declared, wiping the corner of his eye. “This is so much more EPIC!”

“I have a question,” piped up Mabel. She raised Journal 3 in the air and pointed to a page entitled “My Muse”; the title was crossed out and replaced with a red-inked “LIAR”. “What’s this Muse thing all about?”

Ford peered at the page, then groaned. “Ugh, that’s another long story…”

“Want to make it SHORT, Sixer?” asked Stan, wagging his eyebrows.

Ford glared at his brother before clearing his throat. “That…well, that nearly became the biggest regret of my life and also the reason the Institute of Oddology exists. I had hit a road block in my investigation of Gravity Falls…”

And Ford recounted how he had summoned Bill Cipher, who he initially thought was his friend and Muse. The triangular being managed to convince Ford that the path to greatness lies in building a Portal.

“As y’all know, that’s when he called me in,” Fidds interjected. “But before we could test it, Ford got bitten and turned into a gnome.”

Ford nodded. “Weirdly enough, this turned out to be a good thing. We stopped working on it to try and find a cure for what I have. It wasn’t until Stan got here that we realized that Bill was playing me for a fool.”

“A conman always knows,” said Stan, tapping the side of his head.

“He wanted us to build the Portal to connect his world with ours, which could have been catastrophic!” said Ford, shuddering at what could have been. “Once we realized what we were dealing with, we shut the Portal down until we were able to protect the cabin with unicorn hair and build the Dimensional Vortex Neutralizer.”

“That is so cool,” Dipper whispered. He looked at his newly-discovered Grunkle and pulled out a pen. “Grunkle Ford, can I ask you a billion questions about Gra—”

“All right kids, it’s getting late,” Stan intervened, standing up. He snapped on his six-fingered gloves and herded the three of them towards the elevator. “You can interrogate Ford tomorrow.”

“But…”

Go to bed!” Stan gritted out, pushing them towards the elevator.

“I’m not going to bed!” Mabel shouted. “I’m knitting MORE sweaters for my new Grunkle!”

“And I gotta call Wendy!” Soos declared.

Back inside the secret lab, Ford and Fidds looked at each other and shook their heads.

“Do you have any regrets for agreeing to come out here, Fidds?” Ford asked.

Fiddleford shook his head and smiled.

Note: Written for Week 2 of Forduary (Science/Weirdness). The Gnome Ford (Crack) AU belongs to a-million-chromatic-dreams. Let’s just say she got something right about the Journal through their AU (check Alex Hirsch’s twitter).