The half-man, half-wolf on the black-and-white screen was howling to the moon obviously painted on the background, when a tall figure entered the room. Until now, it was occupied by two teenagers that at some point were engaged in watching that movie, but now only the snoring of the younger one and yawns of the other could be heard.
- I liked that movie. - an older woman put her arm on Wendy's shoulder, taking the remote and bringing the volume down. - Your dad took me to the drive-in cinema on one of our dates. I was so scared I flew right into his arms... and his beard.
The moody and half-asleep teenager responded with an indifferent "uh-uh".
- So, how's it going?
- Meh, nothing much. - she mumbled
- It's summer. Grades do not exist. - she responded absent-mindedly, still staring at the screen, with as much attention as she could, given her tired state.
- And had they existed.... and mattered - the tall red-haired woman continued - What would you say about them?
- That there's nothing to worry about, mom. - Wendy quickly snapped, resulting in getting an eerily similar, though much more lenient "Uh-uh" in response.
They watched the TV in silence for a few more minutes, until the older woman noticed the sleeping younger teenager Wendy has been snuggling with the whole time.
- Is that Dipper? I hope I didn't interrupt you two...? I hated when my mom would walk on me and your dad-
- Mom! - Wendy shouted, checking if her sudden movement didn't wake Dipper up - We were not- I'm not- He's n- I'm seventeen, and he's fifteen, we were doing nothing.
- And I was talking about kissing, young lady. - she calmly retorted - I think age isn't a problem here.
- No, but we were not kissing either. Just, you know. Watching movies and... stuff.
Seemingly satisfied with an elaborate for her daughter's standards explanation, they both returned to watching a man growing more and more hair with each frame, thus transforming into a horrible monster, tearing his clothes apart.
- What happened to your shirt? - she asked out of the blue, pulling the jagged sleeve of Wendy's green plad shirt closer.
Wendy immediately touched the same part of her stitched shirt and almost desperately pulled her blanket up, covering herself and the damaged piece of clothing.
- There- There was this demon from another dimension...
- ...And he wanted to take over the world.
- Of course.
- So he started with Gravity Falls, and he kinda wrecked this place, so I had to hide and try to find Dad and my brothers. And I had to rip the shirt apart to use it as bandages, that's why it's damaged. Never had time to patch it up.
- Really? - the taller woman shifted from inspecting her daughter's clothes to stroking her hair. - Were they in danger?
- Yeah, he kidnapped half of the town! He was sending this nightmarish floating eyeballs that were turning people into stone!
- And? Did you find them? - she leaned on the same pillow, fascinated by her daughter's story.
- Not really. It turned out they were captured, and then I was captured as well, and we were all saved by the Pines. - she paused to look at her mother, staring at her quizzically - I mean, Stan, the guy who owns the Shack I'm working in, his brother Ford, and their grand-children, Mabel and...
Wendy turned around to check on said friend and if her movements haven't disturbed his sleep, only to find her Mom smiling at both of them, her fingers still fiddling playfully with her hair when she moved her head back.
- Nothing, I'm just glad my daughter chooses her friends wisely.
- It was weird as heck! - Wendy resumed her story, to the content of her mother - I was, like, a part of some ancient prophecy, and somehow I ended up being an "ice bag", apparently because I'm "cool".
- Or maybe after that one time you forgot to close the fridge and almost flooded the basement? - she quickly suggested, giggling at Wendy's exaggerated hand gestures through her angry rant.
- Mom! You promised not to talk about that. - Wendy paused to give her mother a harsh look - Why couldn't I be a... a... an axe! Or a chainsaw? That's way cooler. Or maybe-
- ...maybe a late English assignment would be a better sign of yours?
This time, only a low groan escaped her daughter's mouth, though it wasn't long before Wendy found a comeback.
- You don't know how it is to keep good grades while having a full house hanging over your head...
It took Wendy a moment to understand that she hasn't really thought her response, but before she could turn to her mother to apologise, she already felt her arm on her shoulder.
- Well, I happen to know a bit about it - her assertive tone made Wendy even more guilty - But I certainly don't know how does one feel if they have to start doing that day-to-day without any warning.
A gentle kiss placed on Wendy's head finally pushed the limits of the younger red-head as she burst into tears, clinging to her mother's blouse. And again, to her surprise, she reacted with the calmest of responses.
- I gave you quite a headache, didn't I?
- Mom, it's not that... - Wendy sobbed - Besides, we're managing... somehow. We're the Courduroys, we've been though bumpier rides.
- Still, you could use the help of yours friends every once in a while. - she said, looking content at her optimistic daughter
- What, guys from my school? I'm afraid they care even less about anything-
- No, I meant your younger friends. - the older woman pointed out to the snoring teenager next to her daughter - Surely you have contact with them for more than two months a year, right?
- Yeah. - Wendy spoke and covered Dipper with his part of the blanket that fell when she needed to hide underneath it a moment ago. - Mabel's like a little sister, I can talk about anything with her.
- A refreshing change, isn't it? - her mother said, joining Wendy in a short laugh.
- And Dipper... - she started - Well I guess I could ask him for some help, he is an egghead... and without him we would never be out of all these troubles.
- And it seems you have some common past-times? - she interrupted, noticing that the TV channel decided to end the movie long ago, since neither of the women paid any attention to it any more.
- Yeah, he's pretty fun dude to be around with. I mean, he's smart and witty, and...
Wendy looked up again at her mother, staring at her with the same all-knowing and satisfied smile.
- ...Stuff? - she finished, preventing Wendy's cheeks from gaining too much extra red.
- Stuff. - Wendy softly whispered, once more comforted and completely read through at the same time by her much wiser mother.
She flung herself into her arms once more, not bothering whether her friend would collapse onto the pillows, loosing her body as support. Before Wendy could say anything, the deeper voice spoke one more time.
- I think I should go now. - she said, wiping yet another tear from her daughter's eye. - I don't wanna be too nosy in my daughter's room, especially now that she is with a boy. - she could hear her daughter's staring to protest - But I'm gonna be back soon. I love you, honey.
Wendy woke up desperately clutching the motherly arm around her waist, preventing the apparition from fading away. The hand however, turned out to be much paler, thinner, and containing aghast Dipper Pines at the other end, who only now realised where his hand was resting throughout this entire night.
He instantaneously jumped back and was about to apologise, when he noticed that his date was disoriented as well, if not more, but not necessarily because of him. Wendy was frantically walking pass her bed, as if she was looking for something that has fallen underneath it.
Wendy was still trying to catch breath, when she slowly understood that her dream, no matter how vivid, made no sense. It wasn't the first time she talked in dreams about what happened to her family, so why would that topic came to her mind? She wasn't even wearing that damn shirt, since the damaged one was converted to patches long time ago. And she definitely told her mother about Mabel and Dipper as well, though she has never seen them... not that she could.
The movie they were watching was different from the one in her dream. Come to think of it, the tv, her bed and half of her room was't the same as well.
- Wendy? You...you alright? - Her thoughts were interrupted by the voice of her concerned friend. - Listen, I'm really, really sorry that I fell asleep on you! I-I didn't know, it just happened. I promise I didn't want to do anything to you!
- No, it's okay... I just- I had a weird dream.
Dipper came to the conclusion it was safe now to move into the range of Wendy's arms, though he still kept his pillow clutched over his torso, just in case she would get upset that his hand has subconsciously decided to move their relationship forward. The single word that left Wendy's mouth upon waking up hasn't escaped Dipper's attention, but he let her decide if she wanted to mention it.
- So... you wanna talk about it? I think Ford still might have that machine that could clear your mind, you know.
Though valiant with his efforts, Dipper only got a short negative head-shake as a response, followed by a weak and quiet "No, thanks.". She kept staring abstracted at the patched-theme of her sleeping blanket, as if she was trying to find some hidden pattern, invisible to him.
- Well, we might as well see where we left off - Dipper broke the silence, pressing a button on the remote. As if on command, a hellish scream filled the room when the face of a man in a wolf costume filled the screen, causing both teenagers to cling to each other's arms in fear.
-"Starting tonight, on Gravity Falls TV, it's the Monster Massacre Month! All the classic A, B, C, D, E through Z movies, like The Man-Wolf, The Daughter-in-law of Frankenstein and The Day of the Completely Unharmed, Very Lively People soon on your screens! Please watch it, we need ad revenue."
The TV spot ended, returning to the stream of commercials advertising products that not many humans would ever need, but would still buy them since they were on sale this week.
- Dipper... - Wendy was first to spoke after the non-existent threat brought her friend closer than either of them expected - Your hand... again.
For the second time this morning Dipper understood his position and was about to retreat hastily again, when Wendy's arm around his shoulder kept him at her distance, making the young boy even more confused.
- I didn't say I didn't like it.
Dipper's heart slowly returned to beating at a normal pace, finding comfort in his older friend's warm arms. The two cuddled, watching the best brain junk morning TV could offer, not caring in the slightest about who might walk on them, and without noticing that the door to Wendy's room were now left slightly ajar.