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Reunion, Redemption, and the Relativity of Fate

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It was 3 pm on a Thursday in New York City. Now, that sort of thing was a normal occurrence. In fact, the locals (and anyone else with a basic knowledge of the Gregorian Calendar) would tell you that 3pm on a Thursday was actually a weekly occurrence! What made this particular time unique was not the when, but the who. The “who” was comprised of Mabel Pines and Pacifica Northwest, sitting in front of a quaint, tucked-in-the-wall café that was walking distance from central park, and enjoying drinks and pastries. Both women were in their early-twenties, and if someone who had not known them back during  that fateful summer were to see them, the person would be hard pressed to see anything but physical similarities to their preteen counterparts.

The similarities were, in truth, remarkable. Mabel Pines remained a charming, naturally beautiful person, though gone were the shiny braces and 'aw' inspiring baby fat of her youth. The Pines family height had not passed her over, and she had grown into a tall and shapely young woman, with long legs and flowing brown hair to spare. It seemed that the girl had retained her love of making and wearing sweaters, and though the warm weather deterred full-on jumper coverage, she was wearing a silver and grey, off-the-shoulder crop-top sweater over a light blue tank top, which were combined with some simple matching jewelry and slip-on shoes, all finalized with a pair of light grey jeans. Instead of a purse, Mabel wore a bright pink cat-themed backpack, and her long hair was braided in twin braids on either side of her neck.

While Pacifica's view of the world had changed, so had her  style. Banished were the layers of unnecessary makeup and hairspray, and gone were the doll accessories that her parents would have adorned her with. Today the young Northwest was dressed somewhat casually, with her hair allowed to retain a slight waviness that it did not have in her youth. It was difficult not to take for granted the luxuries of living on the higher shelf since childhood, and so a keen eye would notice that quite a bit of Pacifica's attire was high end, but she wore it with such normality and grace that it hardly stood out as something noteworthy. Dressed in only a lavender knee-length skirt, lacy black blouse, sparkly amethyst earrings, dark purple undershirt and a pair of short black platforms,  Pacifica was the perfect image of a 'Vague' magazine model.

Once the girls had finished their treats, they were off to sight-see. Through the day, Mabel could be seen whipping out her camera and photographing everything for later review. As the day slowly began to wind to a close, the two girls took a route to the small, rustic apartment Pacifica had temporarily rented in the meatpacking district. Mabel loved the artistic look of the streets, and Pacifica deemed it alright. The blonde was just happy that the area was cleaner than the name suggested.

In truth, the 'Zodiac Ten', as those who ignored the 'Nevermind All That' decree called them, had kept in touch, though it was a tad difficult. Years after the events of the 2012 summer, Wendy Corduroy had been motivated to pursue a career in writing and found that she was actually very good. She had been a traveling writer for a few years now, and Strype called with everyone whenever possible.

Robbie had decided that living through a week or so of the apocalypse was enough angst for him, and was no longer the goth teen that he had been, though years of therapy (for him and all of the other symbol bearers) had aided in that change. Now, he wrote and performed his own music, gathering a following on WhoTube and occasionally doing live performances and acts. Saving the world with a group of strangers, frenemies, and old friends alike had created bonds that, although fairly new, resonated through Robbie's life in ways he never thought possible, and he did his best to build those bonds just that little bit stronger.

Soos was, of course, the current Mr. Mystery, and with Stan (who had explored the oceans with Ford to his heart's content many years back) by his side, the Shack thrived. Stan had, by way of a birthday gift one year, gone and gotten everything together to officially, legally adopt the young Ramirez. Soos was, of course, ecstatic, and the two shared a tender moment (during which, Stan would later claim,  there were several specks of dust in his not-so-dry eyes, and that no, he definitely wasn't crying), leading Soos to declare it the best birthday he'd ever had. In addition to that, Soos and Melody had married, and the beautiful ceremony brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

Fiddleford had, of course, patented all of his inventions and spent his days with his family and the rest of the Mystery Shack group (Soos, and oddly enough Candy, were quasi-apprentices under McGucket, and both had grown in mechanical prowess) in comfort inside what was now McGucket Manor. Fiddleford had been nothing but overjoyed to reunite (in his right mind) with Tate and, surprisingly, Fidds' daughter-in law and grandchildren.

The elder Pines twins did indeed get to sail, and they did so every so often along the chilly coast of Oregon, for old times sake. Thanks to the men's eagerness in their first few months of sailing in the newest edition of the Stan O' War, they could live comfortably in an extended, living space part of the Mystery Shack (while Soos ran the tourist trap) and have no monetary worries, though that didn't deter Stan from shoplifting produce on occasion.

The younger mystery twins had taken separate paths in life, but they still kept in touch as much as possible, Video calling and emailing everyone else. Dipper had decided upon completing online college courses before pursuing  any official careers, and he had eventually settled on traveling and paranormal-journalism, a profession of his very own. Mabel had, as mentioned, become a travel photographer, and since the Stans had dedicated a full chest of booty to the twins' uses, it wasn't difficult for her to start that with flying colors. She still made scrapbooks, and never missed an opportunity to capture a moment with her friends and family.

And so Mabel and Pacifica, who had grown as close as Candy and Grenda, were in New York City, one of the most over-photographed cities in the world. Or, as the play detailing the life of Mabel's Ex-ten-buck-crush sang, 'The greatest city in the world' . Unfortunately, Pacifica had been to the city once or twice already on a trip with her parents, or the experience would likely have been just as awe-inspiring for her. As it was, Mabel was determined to take a few unique pictures of the grand city, at whatever cost, and Paz gladly came along for the ride.

On their way to their temporary apartment, Mabel spotted a brightly colored flier flapping gently against the wall to which it was taped. Mabel removed the flier and inspected it, and as she did so her face lit up rapidly, concerning her high-end-friend.

"Mabel? What is it, an ad for a glitter-themed boutique?"

Her friend shook her head, beaming, and flipped the flier around to show Pacifica.

"Not quite that great, but look! It's a flier for an illusionist show in a theatre that's super close to here! We can buy tickets at the door, and it's this evening, in..."

She flipped the paper and quickly scanned it before gasping loudly and making a face.

"TWO HOURS! Paz, we have to go get ready and we have to hurry!"

Mabel was practically bouncing, and her long braids certainly were. She turned to look back at Pacifica, who rolled her crystal-blue eyes in amusement and followed the Pines girl.

"This show had better be worth it, Mabel."

"It totally will be!"

An hour and forty minutes later, the two girls were strolling down the sidewalk, aside busy New York traffic, to the theatre. Mabel had insisted they walk, because, she quoted, 'A leisurely stroll is a gift'. Upon arriving at the little theatre and buying their tickets, the two girls took seats in the second row, near the center aisle. Mabel was snacking on some candy that she had stowed in her purse, Pacifica was looking at a post (about an art festival taking place the next day) on her phone, and the two were exchanging some light conversation. When the show began, as was signaled by the dimming of the overhead lights, a hush fell over both the audience and the two friends. A brief piano intro began to play a catchy, somehow familiar base melody. Mabel's music-oriented mind translated the notes as she heard them: D, E, F, A, G, A, C; D, E, F, E, G, A, G, F.... And it continued with a few wind and string instruments playing accompanying notes, making the whole intro into an eerie, catchy tune. All of a sudden the short intro swelled and fell completely silent as a spotlight illuminated the stage's center, and a cloud of blue smoke exploded into view.

As gasps rolled through the audience, the smoke began to dissipate, revealing…

Absolutely nothing. Murmured questions rippled through the theater, until the spotlight shifted, traveling up the center aisle and circling around the crowd for a moment before stopping in the middle of the left half of the seats, a few rows behind the Pines and Northwest girls. There were quiet exclamations of surprise as people nearby noticed a young man, newly in his twenties, standing there. He was dressed sharply in a baby blue suit with a brilliant silver cape attached to the shoulders, and his snow white hair was slicked back, leaving hazel eyes clear to shine with an amused expression. Mabel and Pacifica both turned to look, and both of them let out a faint, surprised gasp as they recognized their fellow Bearer. His hair color gave him an older appearance, and his large build did nothing to disagree, but his voice gave him away, and it was evident that he was only a couple years younger than Mabel.

The man spoke as he strolled out from between the rows of seats and down the aisles toward the stage, and Mabel noticed that he had retained a touch of his country accent.

"Well hello there, folks! My apologies for that bit of misdirection, I hope you weren't too confused..."

With that, he finished walking to the center of the stage and mugged for the audience with a cheeky grin, saying,

"I was aimin' for the stage."

That earned him a couple of chuckles, and he responded with a lighthearted chuckle of his own.

"'Mishaps' aside, I'm very happy to introduce myself to you all tonight. I am Gideon Gleeful, illusionist extraordinaire and master of the mystical art of magic~!"

Upon saying the word 'magic', Gideon swept his long cape to the side in a bow. As he performed the gesture, a half dozen white doves fluttered out from beneath the accessory, fluttering above the audience in a fan formation before vanishing up into the ceiling and leaving handfuls of white, dove-shaped paper confetti to rain down on the audience.

Mabel was watching the performance closely, and as Pacifica caught a few pieces of confetti with a snorted laugh, Mabel grinned and clapped, along with everyone else. Gideon had certainly had a flair for the dramatic during his brief stint as a (truly magical) psychic, and it appeared that flair had not changed. Up on stage, Gideon straightened up and gestured with one arm for the audience to look at a grey box that was being carried out onto the stage by a stagehand.  It was just barely taller than Gideon, and wide enough for someone with broad shoulders to stand in comfortably. As the stagehand walked away, the illusionist stepped forward and held his hands behind his back, as if contemplating something.

"Now, for my next act, I'm going to need a participant from the audience..."

Instantly, several hands went up before Gideon gestured for people to put them down with a laugh.

"This selection is a tad more random, I'm afraid, folks. Now, if everyone would tell their neighbor a color..."

With confusion, everyone did so, and Gideon waited a moment. Mabel had whispered blue to Pacifica, and Pacifica had in turn said seafoam. Gideon nodded once all was quiet, and held out his hand, palm up. Resting upon it was a small white butterfly, and as it flitted up and over the crowd, it shifted rapidly between colors before the change slowed. The audience members seemed to hold their breath, and down the butterfly went, down down until it was hovering directly in front of Mabel and Pacifica.  It seemed to alternate between a clear cobalt blue and a pale seafoam before stopping on cobalt and landing on Mabel's head. Mabel's eyes widened, and as Gideon squinted slightly to see past the spotlight he called out:

"Ah, come on up miss, the butterfly chose you! Give her a hand folks."

Somewhat apprehensive, Mabel stood, and as she began to walk toward the stage, the butterfly perched in her hair, she took a deep breath and briefly wondered just how tightly the bonds of fate connected the symbol bearers. She barely noticed the audience's applause.

"Now, if you take a look at this box here, you will see that, with the exception of the padded backing, there is nothing inside! In this next act..."

As she stepped up onto the stage, she saw a flash of recognition cross the freckled face of the adult Gideon Gleeful, who faltered in his speech for just a moment before regaining his composure.

"Ahem. In this next act you will see the lovely Miss..."

He glanced expectantly at Mabel, and it took her a moment to understand what he wanted.

"Oh, Mabel!"

With a charmingly amused smile, he continued:

"The lovely Miss Mabel, vanish from within this container. Are you ready, Mabel?"

He held out a hand to her, and she took it with a nod, looking up to meet his eyes. The whole situation seemed so surreal to Mabel. With a theatrical flourish, he led her over to the box and helped her to stand with her back to the padded rear wall. With a wink directed at the brunette, he gestured to her, closed the door, and spoke as a few bars of suspenseful music played. After Gideon's muffled monologue to the audience, she felt the box rotate slowly, then a tap on the door, and as the door opened the dark interior of the box was illuminated by the stage lights outside. She heard the audience murmur in surprise as she looked out at them, and as Gideon gestured into the box Mabel was aware that while she could see them, she seemed to be invisible to the audience. She looked out curiously, and was startled somewhat when Gideon glanced into the box and met her gaze with another wink.

"And there you have it, folks! A perfectly normal container has whisked away the lovely lady. And now, for the return!"

Leaving the door open this time, Gideon spun the box once, twice, thrice... And when the mouth of the box came into view the fourth time, the audience exploded into and cheering and clapping, and Mabel found herself being helped out of the decorated box. As Gideon raised her hand up in the air and coaxed her into a bow, she felt something thin being pressed into her hand. As Gideon led the audience in a round of applause for Mabel, she made her way offstage with a smile.

Upon reaching her seat, Mabel sat and Pacifica began pestering her with questions, which Mabel shushed. She unrolled the note and held it where Paz could see it. Written in a neat cursive script was a simple message:

"Meet me backstage after the show? I'll take care of security so they let you pass. Bring Miss Northwest if she is willing to come.