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Moments were always straightforward. In all those sappy romance movies Mabel had made him watch, especially ones where two best friends fell in love (the frame of reference he used, since he was pretty sure there was no rubric for siblings), there were always circumstances or events where the protagonists looked into each other's eyes and their hidden emotions finally became clear. If whatever was going on between the two of them was meant to happen, that was how it had to happen, if only because he couldn't imagine any series of words that would get them to the same spot.
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Making a Moment by FallsIntoaPit is a 2017 Gravity Falls fanfic, featuring the aged-up Pine twins when they're at college. It's Troperiffic.

Dipper kind of wants to flirt with his sister, but Cannot Spit It Out because, well, it's his twin sister. So he decides that the safest way to flirt with plausible deniability is by using Invoked Tropes! Predominately rom-com ones.

Tropes Dipper tries—and fails—to Invoke

  1. Literally Falling in Love: Dipper's first plan, "Operation Pillow Fight."
    Summary: While spending time together, one of them will say an annoying comment that will trigger an irritated response in the other. The second person will physically aggress the first in a playful manner, who will respond in kind, and they will escalate the encounter until one of them ends up on top of the other. They will look each other in the eyes, and a Moment will happen.
    • Discussed Trope: While discussing this trope, Dipper points out that it's usually accompanied by Moment Killer or Almost Kiss.
      He’d heard of a hundred stories where two already close protagonists with repressed romantic feelings get into a small scuffle and the close but otherwise non-romantic contact would turn into intimacy, and they’d stare longingly into each other’s eyes before kissing. It was Romance 101. It was true that usually they’d get interrupted at that point by something contrived, but that was just how stories worked. It was different in real life.
  2. Pool Scene: Dipper's second plan, "Operation Swimming Pool."
    Summary: He’ll suggest an outing at the pool (the outdoor one specifically), and they’ll make a day of it. After some time spent splashing around (making sure to avoid excessive physical confrontation; he’s learned his lesson there), they’ll calm down and relax near each other. The serene setting of the pool combined with their more relaxed state of dress will set the mood, and they’ll look into each other’s eyes and have a Moment.
  3. Hands-On Approach: Dipper's third plan, "Operation Mentor."
    Summary: One of them will ask the other to teach them something, and during the teaching process the instructor in question will assist the learner by taking their hands and demonstrating proper technique, and the contact combined with the sharing of an important passion will lead to a ‘Moment,’ finally.
  4. Florence Nightingale Effect: Dipper's fourth plan, "Operation Sick Day."
    Summary: One of them will be afflicted with illness, and ask the other to play nursemaid. The physical aspect of caregiving combined with the implicit intimacy of the action will set off their emotions and they’ll like, make out or something, please.
    • Deconstructed Trope: Dipper realizes that being violently ill isn't remotely attractive.
      Yeah, no. He had no idea why he thought being sick would put him on the fast track to romance-ville. It was nice that Mabel was taking care of him but the interaction was pretty one-sided, and even if it wasn't he felt more disgusting than alluring. Even if he could open his eyes to stare longingly into hers, he doubted the crust in the corners of them, the sweat on his face, or the vomit on his breath really got her engines going.
  5. Sensual Massage: Dipper's fifth plan, "Operation Masseuse."
    Summary: After an exhausting day on her part, he will offer to massage her back or rub her feet and at some point the process will take a passionate turn and they’ll kiss and be happy forever.
  6. Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Dipper's sixth plan, "Operation Life Threatening Situation," which he realizes is a terrible idea and aborts before he ever puts it into effect.
    Summary: After facing death-defying odds and surviving, they’ll realize that life is short, shuck taboos, and reveal their feelings for each other, feelings that Mabel definitely has and that Dipper isn’t imagining, PLEASE.
  7. Strip Poker: Dipper's seventh plan idea, "Operation Strip Poker," which he realizes is a terrible idea and aborts as soon as he thinks of it.
  8. Dream Walker: Dipper's eighth plan idea, "Operation Dream Invasion," which he realizes is a terrible idea and aborts as soon as he thinks of it.
  9. Love Potion: Dipper's ninth plan idea, "Operation Fake Love Potion," which he realizes is a terrible idea and aborts as soon as he thinks of it.
  10. Love Confession: Dipper's tenth plan idea, "Operation Just Flippin' Confess," which he doesn't believe he's capable of, and aborts as soon as he thinks of it.
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Other Tropes

  • Cannot Spit It Out: Dipper can't/won't just tell Mabel he likes her. Justified Trope, because she's his sister.
    If things somehow developed between the two of them, he wanted it to happen in a way she would always think about fondly, and also he was completely terrified of the concept of asking his freaking sister out in any capacity.
  • Faux Symbolism: Upon finding a document that reads, "I'm in love with my brother," Dipper's first thought is that, "Surely it was a metaphor, or something like that. An allegory. That was a thing, right? It was an allegory for the indomitable spirit of man." Though he realizes that is ridiculous. "No. "Why the hell would it be that?''"
  • Held Gaze: Dipper spends the whole story trying to Invoke this trope. Only after he stops trying does it actually happen.
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  • Moment Killer: Mabel, several times. Discussed later on.
    Mabel: To be honest… I kinda DID feel some stuff. I just… wasn't sure if it was the stuff I WANTED it to be, y'know? It's a big leap from "I sure love spendin' time wif mah brobro whoops I fell on top of him how silly" to "I fell on top of my TWIN BROTHER who wants to KISS me and I WANT TO KISS HIM SO LET'S KISS."
  • Secret Diary: The story starts after Dipper accidentally reads a document on Mabel's computer, which reads, "I'm in love with my brother." Turns our Mabel deliberately planted that so that he would read it. Invoked Trope.
    Mabel: Pfft. Oh yeah, silly ol' Mabel, writin' her SECRET, TABOO FEELINGS FOR HER BROTHER down, on a COMPUTER, that she SHARES WITH HIM CONSTANTLY. Sure, Dipper. Did you like the part about your cute butt?
  • Twincest: Dipper and Mabel
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