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Fanfic / Three Can Keep A Secret

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Three Can Keep A Secret is an Alternate Universe Gravity Falls fanfiction by New-Yorktown that diverges at the very end of the original show by having Dipper Pines decide to remain his Great Uncle Ford's apprentice instead of returning to California with his sister Mabel. The story is set nearly three years later, when Mabel travels back to the town of Gravity Falls to reunite with her brother.

Upon making her return however, Mabel is met with a number of unexpected changes and consequences that resulted from Weirdmageddon and becomes involved in a new series of mysteries and adventures, all while carrying a very big secret.


The fanfic was published before various supplementary materials and as such is consistent with only the original ending of the show though elements from them are sporadically being placed into later chapters.

You can find it here. After the first arc, it was labeled completed and a sequel, Interludes Between Rational Worlds was published, but the author eventually deleted it and moved it over to the original story. An actual midquel, Three More Can Keep A Secret was eventually published which is a Crossover with Star vs. the Forces of Evil.


Three Can Keep A Secret provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Tom is much more determined to get Star as a girlfriend by any means necessary here than in SvtFoE, up to the point of allying himself with Bill in order to do so. The author admits this is due to believing that Tom was faking his Character Development in Season 3 while outlining Three More Can Keep a Secret before it was revealed to be genuine in the finale. By extension, King Dave and Queen Wrathmelior also undergo this, being explicitly depicted as supporting their son’s scheming in the interest of political ambition.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Dipper calls Pacifica 'Paz'.
  • Alien Autopsy: Ford and Dipper perform one on a monster from Mewni.It gets described in gruesome detail, but Ford and Dipper remain clinical and professional during the whole thing.
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  • All Take and No Give: Mabel's status as the Taker in her relationship with her brother is a contentious issue among the fanbase, and this fic runs with it. Here, she never accepts or gets over the fact that Dipper wanted to separate from her and stop being her Giver, and is always looking for ways to go back to their old relationship, irregardless of how Dipper actually feels about that. Later Character Development plays with this however: Mabel outwardly becomes more supportive of Dipper's dreams, but she is acting on a selfish need to "earn" back his love and trust, and these efforts often consist of taking from and hurting other people.
  • Anti-Hero: The entire Pines Family, as per the show, but Dipper specifically has evolved from a Classical Anti-Hero (striving to save the day despite being weighed down by emotional flaws like insecurity and a general lack of skill or strength) to the more modern definition, bordering on a '90s Anti-Hero being a much more skilled, experienced veteran of the town's weirdness while also having become more ruthless, underhanded, and even violent in the pursuit of his objectives.
  • Back from the Dead: Here, Bill's backwards message in the finale was actually a spell he cast in order to save himself that split his body apart and deposited his consciousness into the minds of three people who made deals with him, namely Mabel, Preston, and Blendin Blandin. However, Ford soon discovers that due to Bill becoming three-dimensional during Weirdmaggedon, he was actually split apart into nine pieces instead of three. If any three pieces of Bill reunite, he'll be restored to his original state. If all nine come together, he'll be restored to full power.
  • Birds of a Feather: Star and Pacifica turn out to have a great deal in common, having both been born into the upper class of their society and have experienced stifling upbringings meant to mold them into ideal inheritors to their parents' empires, which both have come to regard as morally questionable, and swiftly become good friends and close confidants.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Turns the original show's victory over Bill Cipher into this: The world was still saved, but the story spends a lot of moments exploring the long term, slow healing damage Bill inflicted on the the town and its inhabitants, in addition to the separation of Dipper and Mabel that forms the basis of the fic.
  • Call-Back: When Stan and Ford see that Bill's attacking the Mystery Shack with the zombies of Weirdmaggedon victims, Stan asks if he should turn on the sound system.
  • Came Back Wrong:The resurrection explained under Back from the Dead comes with some downsides for Bill: Rather than inhabiting the Nightmare Realm he wishes to link to Earth and projecting into willing hosts, the Bill fragments appear to be sucked into and trapped inside minds of individuals looking to make a Deal with the Devil, randomly at that. At one point, a piece of Bill wakes up possessing a bedridden war victim. In addition, they can't communicate with each other freely and despite living in minds, can't possess the bodies at will: The already unstable Preston had to undergo severe psychic torture before giving control to Bill, while Mabel stayed herself despite being subjected to hallucinations and attacked by Dipper.
  • Canon Welding: The crossover elements of the story are executed this way, with the events of ‘’Gravity Falls’’ happening on the same earth from ‘’Star Vs’’ but a few years earlier, resulting in Dipper, Star, Marco and Mabel all being around the same age. Ford explicitly visited Mewni (and was left with a poor impression of it), became at least familiar with demons and foiled an attempt by Bill to steal a pair of Hekapoo’s magic scissors during his time lost in the multiverse. The MHC also fought against Bill at a different point far in the past (though he tricked them) and it’s strongly implied that the other dimensional source of weirdness alluded to vaguely by ‘’Gravity Falls’’ is in fact the Realm Of Magic.
    • On a more tangential note, elements from Rick and Morty pop up from time to time, with Ford making occasional off handed references to being involved with a shady character similar to Rick during his lost years and the security at the alien hospital are all humanoid housefly like Insectoid Aliens, but are never explicitly identified as Gromflomites. This connection does have basis in canon however.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mabel's thoughts when meeting Pacifica after three years are wondering if her twin replaced her and then determinedly stating that "no bleach blond stereotype is going to replace me as Dipper's mystery buddy".
  • Combat Pragmatist: When thrown into a large brawl against a gang of monsters, Dipper's first instinct is to cheat outrageously during the fight, at one point literally kicking a monster while he's down AND on fire before eventually blowing the place up and running away when the odds turn against him and Star.
  • Crossover: Three More Can Keep a Secret has Dipper, Ford, and Pacifica arrive on Mewni during the events of Season 3 of Star vs. the Forces of Evil.
  • Deconstruction Fic
  • For Want of a Nail: What If? Dipper stays as Ford's apprentice after the series?
  • For the Evulz: Bill tells Stan and Ford that Mabel was the one who gave him the rift (and shows Dipper the scene inside Mabel's mind) in order to fill them with despair as his zombie army violently kills them.
  • He's Back: Bill Cipher returns in Chapter 2.
  • Irony: Mabel kept quiet about giving the rift to Bill for three years because she was terrified of losing her friendship with Dipper if he found out. Once he does find out, he's mad at her not for starting Weirdmaggedon, but for not trusting him enough to admit her mistake.
  • Like a Son to Me: Stanford's extremely warm and supportive attitude towards Dipper, great pride in the boy's personal growth and desire for Dipper to inherit everything of his always heavily implied this attitude, but it was finally confirmed in the sequel fic: While on a magic induced Mushroom Samba that is spawning frightening omens of the future, Stanford vows to protect Dipper, calls out his real name and uses the phrase "my son" in reference to him. By all indications, Dipper seems to reciprocate.
  • Magitek: The goal of Ford, Dipper and Pacifica Northwest, to understand the anomalies of Gravity Falls enough to make them beneficial for mankind. Mentioned hypotheticals include using a magical source of heat as the driver for a power plant, and using the dimensional portal technology to avert water shortages.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Played with. When both Dipper and Mabel see the grave containing Bill Cipher's victims but Dipper doesn't know the name of a single one of 113 people who died. It's a lot easier to just not know them when his friends and family survived the ordeal. However, the deaths of these people are not taken lightly and Mabel even has an emotional crisis of sorts.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Mabel has this reaction after realizing how selfish she's been and how little she's cared about Dipper after Pacifica tells her the true extent of Dipper's trauma and sacrifice.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: There's... something lurking on the edge of the narrative during the "Multiverse Chase" series of chapters, where the portal trio are chasing Bill through some kind of sci-fi setting where an alliance of numerous species is at war with some kind of enemy that is described as carrying out genocides upon entire planets and posing an existential threat to organic life as a concept. Whatever it or they are, this enemy never battles against the protagonists. Instead, Bill possess two people who have been made receptive to him by a need for knowledge that could help defeat this enemy, and one person who was hospitalized by the war against them.
  • One Dose Fits All: Subverted and Exploited by Dipper during a fight with an alien blood drinker possessed by Bill in an alien hospital. Dipper leaves himself open so Bill will try to drink his blood, but hid bags stuffed full of random liquid medicines under his clothes in the places he was likely to try and puncture, figuring that even in the advanced hospital they're in, drinking a huge dosage of random pharmaceuticals will have adverse effects. He's right.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Wendy ended up sent to a lumberjack camp at some point during the Time Skip, presumably by her father, and while she does return to town to welcome Mabel in the beginning of the fic this basically amounts to crowd shots, as Wendy has no meaningful interactions with the rest of the cast or even any dialogue.
    • Gideon and his father fled the town when the rest of its citizens refused to forgive him for serving Bill Cipher and tried to return him to prison. Mrs. Gleeful is apparently still in town, though by the sound of it her mental state hasn't improved.
  • Rags to Riches: Inverted for the Northwest family. They lost all of their financial assets and are now living in a poorly maintained house.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Because Dipper has always helped Mabel, life is significantly harder for her when they separate. Her grades drop and she suffers mood swings between her bubbly self and the more morose anger she gains after the separation.
    • Just because Gideon turned against Bill Cipher doesn't mean that the townsfolk are going to forgive him for joining up with him in the first place. Specifically, they tried to return him to the prison Bill freed him from, as he is still an escaped convict.
    • Once Dipper finds out that Mabel gave the rift to Bill, he's mad at her for not telling him the truth and tells Mabel he can no longer trust her.
    • As mentioned above, a good number of people did die from the events of Weirdmageddon.
    • Almost everyone in town has suffered some kind of mental trauma from Weirdmageddon and the decision to not speak about it only makes things worse. Numerous people have turned to narcotics in an attempt to self-medicate.
    • Star doesn't actually have the authority to appoint Buff Frog as Mewni's new monster expert. Queen Moon is also upset with her for losing the previous one in the wilderness while directly calling Buff Frog unqualified and though she does end up hearing him out about the Lucitor family's double dealing there's no indication she ever changed her mind and legitimized the appointment.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Pacifica gives one to Mabel over the latter's attempts to keep controlling Dipper in Chapter 3.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Dipper and Pacifica undergo this together in chapter six of "Three More Can Keep A Secret." Star and Marco undergo one three chapters later.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Dipper briefly plays this role to Star as a result of him sharing a number of superficial traits with Marco, but she opts to not pursue this after seeing the genuine differences between the two and the obvious closeness he and Pacifica have. Star instead is motivated to push them together and later be more honest about her feelings.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Take That!: Dipper at one point calls Doctor Jelly Goodwell "the kind of idiot who thinks ancient aliens built the pyramids."
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dipper, Mabel, and Pacifica have all become much more physically capable over the Time Skip, participating in and winning violent fights against supernatural creatures on several occasions.

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