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Fate's Chosen

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2018 | Manhattan, New York City

It was a typical Monday afternoon in the city. The sun had just begun to set, barely touching the horizon as it slowly sank down, giving the overview of the city an orange tint. The busy streets were filled with people rushing home from work, not bothering to apologize as they bumped into one another in their haste. Frustrated car honks filled the air as the heavy traffic got worse. A tall white building stood amidst this chaos. It was an apartment complex, home to three soon-to-be very important girls whose only wishes were a change from their ever-monotonous lives. These girls were Ashley Theroux, Alyssa Knight, and Mitchelle Saber. They had no idea but Fate had something special planned for them that day. And it all had something to with the newly-opened shop built right across their building.

It was a quaint little shop; the outside walls were painted like the dark night sky. A giant sign hung above it, the words 'Sticks & Stones' etched into it. There were barely any customers, no matter what time of the day, which was quite unusual. It was a bit Harry Potter-themed, from what the girls could tell, so they thought that the shop would get a lot more attention than it was currently receiving. The Harry Potter fandom was quite big. Apparently though, the majority of the people in the city weren't attracted to it. The girls, however, were. This is what led to Ashley, Alyssa, and Mitchelle pushing through the crowded street as they headed towards the aforementioned shop.

"Excuse me-ow! Sorry, sorry, excuse me..."

The girls finally reached their destination, thankfully without much injury. Linking their arms together, they grinned and entered through the double glass doors. Immediately, the whole atmosphere changed. The interior of the shop gave off this strange but homey feeling and the girls felt it surround them comfortably. The noises coming from the streets were blocked out the moment the doors shut. It was such a peaceful setting that it made the girls never want to leave.

The trio glanced around, taking in the decor. Black robes with different colored linings were hung up on one of the ombre blue walls, specifically the one across the entrance. The wall to the right was lined with banners and below them were brooms, all of which were in various designs. One corner of the room had stacks of small cauldrons stacked in pyramids. There were four aisles of wooden shelves, each one filled with 'magical' knickknacks, 'spell books', and other items that really did belong in the Harry Potter universe. The girls were so absorbed in taking a look around that they didn't notice the two figures watching them with mischief shining bright within their blue eyes.

"Good afternoon."

The girls' attention snapped towards the sources of the deeply-voiced greeting. Standing behind the wooden counter connected to the far wall on the left were two strapping young men grinning right at them. Twins, the girls realized. Aside from their identical physical features, the twins also wore identical all-black suits. The dark hue of their clothing contrasted with their pale and freckled complexion. It was odd how familiar they seemed but the girls were fairly sure that they hadn't met before. They couldn't have. This was their first time visiting the store after all, and they didn't exactly spend much time outside their apartment.

"Good afternoon." Ashley greeted politely.

Her two companions voiced their own replies before they headed for the items on display. Mitchelle approached the rows of spell books while Alyssa drifted towards the robes. The twins shared an amused look as Ashley pouted at suddenly being left all alone. She blinked, confused, when the two men signaled her to come over. Glancing at her distracted friends, she shrugged before complying. She walked up to the counter and smiled at the twins.

"Hello. Assuming you're the owners, you have a very lovely shop." She commented.

"Thank you, but definitely not as lovely as you." The twins flirted simultaneously, one daring to send a wink.

Shocked by the statement, Ashley blushed and giggled sheepishly. The twins sent her identical smirks that only served to fluster her even more. Regaining her composure after a second, she politely introduced herself. The slightly shorter of the two copied her actions, introducing themselves as Felix and Gareth. There really was something familiar about them; Ashley just couldn't point out what. Maybe she had seen them before...

"You know that all these things aren't real, right?" Felix leaned in to whisper.

Sighing, Ashley nodded.

"Yes, I do, but that doesn't mean I find these things any less interesting." She said.

"Interesting, you say?" Gareth leaned in as well, bracing his hands on top of the counter.

"It's magic, of course it's interesting! Life would be great if magic existed." Ashley shrugged; her mind running with ideas of what life would be like if she was a witch herself.

The twins then shared a look she didn't quite understand.

"Oh, but it does!" They exclaimed, turning their attention back to her.

"You literally just said that the stuff here are all fakes..." Ashley's eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"That's right,-" Felix piped up.

"-the items we sell in this shop are fakes-" Gareth continued.

"-but magic, on the other hand,-"

"-is very real-"

"-and we have proof!" The twins finished together.

The way they talked, how they continued each other's sentences perfectly without fault... It reminded Ashley of two people who acted the exact same way, but whom? Why couldn't she think of whom? It was all there, the clues were practically hitting her in the face, but she just couldn't figure it out for the life of her! Shaking her head, she chose to ignore the familiarity and, instead, focused on replying to the twins.

"Really? What?" She asked curiously.

She watched as they ducked behind the counter, seemingly searching for something. As she waited for them to resurface, she took a glance at her friends over her shoulder. They were still busy although, now they had switched places. Alyssa was reading through a thick book with a purple cover while Mitchelle was trying out a black robe. Hearing a triumphant yell, Ashley turned back just in time to see the twins stand back to their full height. Held firmly in Gareth's hands was a small wooden chest. Multiple runic symbols were carved on the sides of the chest and some on top of the lid.

"We present to you..." The twins trailed off as Felix grabbed hold of the lid.

"...the Wishing Stone!"

Inside the chest was a beautiful black obsidian stone. It sat on top of a vibrant red cushion, practically thrumming with energy. Magic, Ashley hoped to believe. It was alluring, to say the least. Ashley felt the strange need to reach out for it, and reach out for it she did. The moment her fingertips grazed the polished surface of the stone, a shock ran up her arm. She jumped back, hugging her arm close to her chest.

"Wow..." She muttered, her startled state of mind not allowing her to say anything else.

"Wow, indeed!" Gareth grinned.

"Huh... I'm guessing it grants wishes then?" Ashley mused, her supposed question coming across as more of a statement.

"Look at how smart our little raven is, Gareth!" Fred said, nudging his twin brother.

"I didn't doubt it for a second, Felix!" Gareth replied enthusiastically.

Little raven? Ashley thought quizzically, why would they call me that?

"This little stone right here does grant wishes."

"Unfortunately, it's been used one too many times already."

"So now, there's only one wish left!"

"And we've decided to give this wish to you, little raven."

"We know you'll use it wisely."

"Yes, we have much faith in you. Don't we, brother-dear?"

"Why yes, we do, brother-mine."

Ashley just stared at the twins all throughout that little exchange. Her mind was processing things a little too slowly in that moment. She didn't really know whether the twins were joking with her or not. The shock the stone gave her was definitely real, she could still feel it in her arm, but it could have been rigged as a prank.

"I... Thank you...?"

Nevertheless, she still accepted the stone being offered to her. She didn't dare touch it though. She took the chest and closed it, cradling it in her arms like a mother would a baby. Realizing something, she quickly spoke up.

"Wait, how much is this?" She asked, already reaching for her wallet.

"Being the generous souls that we are,-" Felix began.

"-we've decided to give it to you for free!" Gareth finished.

Ashley didn't miss the subtle grin they shared with each other. They had something planned and she was fairly sure that it had something to do with the stone now in her possession. They definitely knew something that she didn't. Maybe all of this was just some elaborate prank. Well, either way, Ashley was still going to take the stone. Why not, right?

Ashley turned around when she felt a tap on her shoulder. There were Mitchelle and Alyssa, both carrying stacks of books of varying sizes. The taller of the two, Mitchelle, wore a robe with yellow lining while the other wore a robe with green lining. With one hand balancing her own items to buy, Alyssa held out a robe Ashley guessed was meant for her, a robe with red lining. Of course they chose those colors. Each person was a member of Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Gryffindor respectively.

Ashley grabbed her robe and slid it on before turning back to the counter, now with Alyssa flanking her left and Mitch on her right. They paid for their items and took one last look around, somehow sensing that they would never be able to come back even if they wanted to. They thanked the twins with a smile before leaving the way they came. However, a hand around her wrist stopped Ashley from following her friends.

"Be careful, little raven." Gareth said, letting go of her wrist.

"And good luck. We'll be there whenever you need us." Felix reached out and patted her head gently.

Now, Ashley hated it when people patted her head. It usually meant that they were mocking her anger or worse, her height. She had accepted that she was short, very short since she was only 5"1, but she didn't necessarily appreciate it when people mentioned it, repeatedly, unless they were very close. These twins though, they weren't mocking her, not even the slightest. The smiles they sent her were comforting and the emotion in their eyes held something soft. What? Ashley didn't know. Nevertheless, she nodded along and went on her way. With her back to the store as she crossed to her building, she was oblivious to the way the twins disappeared with a quiet crack.

Later that day, when the sun had completely gone down and the stars lit up the sky alongside the full moon, the girls thought of an idea to further enjoy their new outfits and books. They were going to re-watch all the Harry Potter movies. They rearranged their small living room, moving the couch and the coffee table to leave space in front of the TV. Together, they built a pillow fort and bundled up with their snacks and blankets. And so, the movie marathon began.

They were thoroughly enjoying themselves but then, halfway through Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the over thinking began. High on a sugar rush with ideas running wild, the girls began discussing each of the movies. What they would have changed, how they would have acted and reacted to certain events and such, they talked about all of it. They especially complained about all the deaths that could have been prevented, namely Sirius (Ashley was still very bitter about that, the MIRROR, HARRY, THE MIRROR!). They felt that a lot of things would have been exponentially different if they were in place of the Golden Trio. Then, Ashley remembered a certain little stone given to her.

"Wait, I got it! I'll be right back!"

Alyssa and Mitchelle shared a confused look as she ran to her bedroom. She spotted the wooden chest resting on her bedside table where she had placed it earlier. Grabbing it, she rushed back to the living room and plopped down on the floor. The other girls looked on curiously as she quickly explained the item she held while opening the small chest. Hesitating only for a second, she breathed out a sigh of relief as the stone didn't shock her this time.

"So, how does it work?" Mitchelle asked, taking the stone and observing it for herself.

Ashley froze and chewed on her bottom lip. She realized that the twins never told her how it worked. She didn't know if it really did work. She was going to try either way. It wasn't like the three of them had anything better to do. They were still on break from their university. They had time to spare and absolutely nothing to lose if they made a wish on the stone.

"Well... I don't actually know but I'm sure we can figure it out!" She reassured, taking the stone from Mitchelle's hand and placing it in the middle of their triangle.

"Okay... First, what are we gonna wish for?" Alyssa asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"We are gonna wish to be the Golden Trio! Unless you don't want to...?" Ashley hesitated, looking in between her friends.

"Of course we want to! We'd get to have magic!" Mitchelle exclaimed.

"I'd be happy to have magic too, but honestly, I just want to see Draco." Alyssa giggled.

"Same! Not with Draco, though. I'd love to see Sirius and Remus." Ashley swooned, getting that distant look in her eyes whenever she started daydreaming.

"Okay then, we're gonna do this."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"...How do we do this?"

"We just make the wish, I guess? Oh, oh, get the disk!"

"What disk?"

"The first movie, we have to start with that one!"

Clueless, Mitchelle reached for the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone disk resting near the TV. She gave it to an excited Ashley who laid it on the floor before placing the Wishing Stone over it. Ashley stretched her hands towards each girl, staring at them expectantly. The girls shrugged and grabbed her hands before interlocking theirs as well, figuring that she wanted them to hold hands as if they were about to participate in some kind of ritual. Technically, what they were doing could have been seen as a ritual, especially since it involved a magical Wishing Stone.

"Well, now what?" Mitchelle deadpanned.

"Close our eyes, maybe? Then, we could chant something?" Alyssa suggested.

It felt like they were about to hold a ritual which...wasn't that far off. They could have just stated their wish already but instead, they chose to chant around the magic stone.

"Okay, um... Chant 'we wish to be the Golden Trio'." Ashley said.

"How many times do we say it?"

"I don't know... Does it matter?"

"We'll chant it three times, how 'bout that?"

The girls agreed and so, they closed their eyes and began chanting. During the first chant, nothing happened. Then, the magic came alive. The stone gained a bright white glow, wisps of magic appearing and swirling around the joined hands. Feeling the sudden change in the room, the girls opened their eyes and were greeted with the sight of the glowing stone. They broke their little triangle in shock. Now, each of them was chanting 'oh my Godric' while leaning away.

"What's happening, what's happening?!" Mitchelle panicked.

"I don't know! I didn't think it would work!" Ashley panicked back.

"Guys, look!" Alyssa pointed at the stone.

While they were talking, the Wishing Stone's glow had begun to dim to the point of losing it completely. The room was silent for a moment as the girls stared wide-eyed at the stone. One of them let out a squeak as red letters formed on the stone's surface. They watched as the letters spelled out Ashley's full name, which then promptly changed to 'Elizabeth Ashley Potter'. A second later, it was replaced by yellow letters spelling out Mitchelle's name, which then transformed to 'Amity Mitchelle Granger'. This process repeated with Alyssa. This time with green letters, and her name had transformed to 'Alyssa Ivy Weasley'.

"What...? Ow, fuck!" Ashley cursed.

Her whole body suddenly felt heavy. There was a painful pounding in her head, causing her eyes to tear up. When she raised her hands to hold her head, all who were present gasped at what they saw. Ashley's hands were being sucked into the stone, inch by inch, slowly at first. Her fingers were already gone and she was currently losing her palms. In the back of her mind, she was laughing as she remembered similar scenes in the movie Jumanji.

The two girls could only stare in horror as they watched their best friend disappear completely into the stone. Before either of them could properly assess the situation, they felt the same pounding in their heads. Alyssa winced in pain but was distracted by Mitchelle's terrified scream. She, too, was being sucked into the stone. When Alyssa looked down at her hands, well, they were no longer there. The last thought she had was what the fuck did we just do?