Something Is Wrong With the Light of the Sun and the Color of the Sky

Date: 2018-04-25
Pose Count: 19
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-25 23:21:03 90758
It is a quiet few days, in the best of company. The sun is bright, but there are often clouds to mute it, and while they're often gray, the omen promised by their color never quite comes to pass. No other ships pass close enough to see. Perfect solitude. The waves, too, are a perfect blue; nothing swims under them to disturb the pair, no seabirds break the reverie with their cries, no hints of distant Witches or labyrinths trouble their awareness. Perfect quiet.

They catch no fish. They don't even catch plastic bags.

And when the shoreline becomes dimly visible on the horizon, and there are still no seabirds, the quiet might become less than reassuring.

It is, however, a familiar shoreline, as becomes clear when they approach. When the clouds break, Mount Fuji itself is visible from the distance, almost shockingly plain in the clarity of the air. But for the most part, as they come closer to Japan, the clouds gather, and gray.

When they make their way up through the channel toward Tokyo Bay, there are still no birds. Still no sea traffic. There are buildings on the shoreline, but they are not familiar. As afternoon begins to dim toward evening, the clouds overhead reflect a strange brassy light with no clear source -- sharper than cityglow, and more unsettling.

And then the buildings visible on shore begin to sag, and lean, and reach half their height before bending at a sharp angle. Some might as well have had bites taken out of their corners. Some are built in styles that seem familiar; some are odd shapes, or seem half made of glass ... but no style is spared.

There are more trees than there ought to be, too. The trees, at least, are alive. Until they pass some invisible line, and damaged city gives way sharply to ruined -- and there is snow on the ground and on the buildings, and ice trailing from one to another in places, and the trees go from spring or summer foliage to sudden barren branches scratching at that strange-lit sky.

There are two things, in this bizarre silent city, that from their vantage point on the water still stand out as whole.

One is an immense cluster of crystal, reflecting bright flashes of light or hints of rainbow prism, larger than a dozen city blocks and visible from a distance that suggests its tallest shaft might rival Tokyo Tower.

The second is another immense crystal, set in what might be a vast hollow; its base can't be guessed at from a distance, but the single dark pillar reaches perhaps two-thirds of the height of the first.

The two are set on the same island, joined inevitably by bridges to the rest of the land; they are not close together upon it. Counterbalancing their own weight, perhaps.

And even in this city, in this silent place with so much ruin ... there is still not the faintest hint of the presence of a Witch.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-25 23:47:40 90759
    If Homura had not been a time traveller, the sight of Mt. Fuji would've made her feel slightly disappointed, especially since she's pretty sure she's seen this part of the ocean before. It's not that much of a rip off with Madoka's company, but it would've harmed her ability to trust the book's judgement on 'what she hasn't seen before'.

    However, a young woman of her experience knows not to judge too quickly, and the lack of fish combined with the ominous clouds leads her to suspect that there may be more to this than is immediately obvious. Maybe they are in a different timeline, or maybe this is another world altogether. Still, Earth was not what she expected to see on the other side of that portal.

    It's a little disturbing just how quiet things are. It didn't bother Homura at all when she thought she was on an alien world, but seeing Japanese landmaks in this seemingly empty world is... concerning. She edges closer to Madoka, standing protectively between her and the shoreline, always having the safety of her beloved on her mind.

    "Careful, Madoka-chan. This might not be our timeline." Homura's purple eyes, having spent several days straight being so full of warmth, turn slightly cold at the idea that Something Is Wrong. The lack of a Witch means that she can feel pretty secure that she hasn't ended up in a Kriemhild Gretchen timeline, thought the complete lack of Witches tells her that this might very well be a world that Kyubey has never even touched.

    ... but that doesn't make sense. This is clearly Earth.

    "I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling any Witches around here. Normally I would assume that they are somewhere else, but if the lack of fish is any indication... we may be looking at a version of Earth where all life, or at least most of it, is now extinct. We haven't seen any birds around either, have we?"

    A grim thought, but Homura was never afraid to face dark reality. Birds and fish travel far and wide, so the lack of them in any particular area is a pretty bad tiding.

    Part out of curiousity, and part sensing danger, Homura sails towards the shoreline of the all too quiet Japan. The reflection of cities made of unfamiliar structures plays upon her purple eyes. She travels to Tokyo Bay largely because she knows these waters well, or at least she thinks she does. The veteran Puella is constantly glancing downward, into the sea, wondering if some monster would come out at them from the depths, no matter how unlikely that paranoia might be.

    "Well the trees survived," says Homura the moment she sees them, countering her previous hypothesis. The closer she gets to the city, the more she is simultaneously consumed by thoughts both of its beauty and its obvious damage, wondering what exactly it was that happened around here. The glass structures look as if they were once very pretty, and in a way they still are. If only Homura could relax enough to appreciate that beauty.

    Homura sails the boat all the way up to a shoreline or a dock, whatever she finds first.
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 00:07:29 90760
    It's lovely getting to spend so much time in a such a secluded as place as this. Or that's how things had seemed, up until now. Madoka was not at all perturbed by the lack of birds or sea life, not having known what kind of world they'd arrived upon in the first place. The seeming lack of pollution of any kind even has her thinking this must be a pristine world, at which point she becomes a bit more fussy about being tidy and making sure to clean up very well. Having magic at her disposal makes this a fair bit easier, though she's not completely fanatical about protecting the potentially virgin ecosystem of another planet.

    Having been on plenty of trips to sea before Madoka knows just how long it's possible to travel and how vast oceans can be, so when land is spotted it's an exciting thing. As much fun as she's had spending time with Homura on the sea the sight excites her and instills the idea of exploring a new land, liking the thought of going around and looking it all the alien plants.

    There'd at least be plants to look at, right?

    The decision was made to sail towards land and Madoka watched eagerly as they neared the coast. As familiar as maybe it should have been Madoka never paid too much attention to the coastline itself, not in the age of advanced navigation radars and GPS tracking. So it wasn't the coastline that caught her attention, but rather the looming figure of Mt. Fuji, completely unmistakable and a sight she'd seen several times as they'd sailed home towards Tokyo.

    At first it was just a little bump there on the horizon but it quickly grew into majesty, a stirring and even patriotic sight if not for the sudden revelation of what planet they were on suddenly making a whole lot of things not add up in frightening ways.

    Even though Homura's likely seen it as well, when it's very clear that is the mountain she knows and loves rising from the land she lifts her arm to point to it while looking over to Homura, half hoping the timetraveler will tell her something she's wrong or silly.

    A different timeline? "If this is a different timeline, then something is very wrong. The air and water is clean, but we should have seen something; a fish or a bird, or something. I thought we really were on a whole new world."

    Her head shakes as Homura mentions Witches, "I don't feel anything like that either." At one time in her Puella career that might have in itself been a worrying thing. With absolutely nothing else around though, Homura makes a good point. "Nothing left?" Madoka asks with widened eyes, looking to Homura and then peering even more intently as they get closer to land. "That can't be true, can it?"

    When the city itself starts to come into view Madoka is standing beside Homura, her soft pink eyes locked upon it and the damage so visible, those twin crystals rising into the sky and seeming to dominate the skyline. The damaged buildings, the changed landscape, and the absolute deadly quiet are enough to tell her that something very, very wrong has happened in this place.

    As they pull up to shore Madoka is tense in a way she hasn't been all week, far more serious and focused. She's also calm, keeping her worries and potential panic in check, relaxing just a little when Homura notes the trees. Well, she was hoping to see plants, just not ones she already knew so well.

    She lets out a little breath of air and steadies herself, only for a little flash of pink to surround her, sparkles momentarily glittering away from her as her cute vacationing outfit is replaced with an even cuter pink and white dress and plenty of bows for accessories, a long thin staff with a closed rosebud at the top held in one hand.

    She definitely seems to be taking Homura's warning seriously.

    "Let's go, Homura-chan," she says, looking over to Homura and giving her a tiny smile before jumping off the sailboat and onto land.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-26 00:20:26 90763
As they come in, Homura and Madoka can make out the docks. Or what used to be the docks. The shattered remnants of the docks, perhaps. Some of the shards of material that helped wreck them are still visible: here a shard of glass longer than Homura is tall; there a piece of rock that looks like actual rock. Not building material. Something torn up from below the streets --

There is shoreline, though. There is beach.

On the beach, there are a handful of people.

There are only a little scattering. None of them seem to be in beach attire; they tend toward long robes or dresses in fairly dull colors. Brown trimmed with gray, perhaps, or in one woman's case a dull brick-red garment that parts to show white skirts beneath, only somewhat dulled by windblown dust and sand. None of them are standing. Some of them are still reaching up into the air.

They are not breathing. They are withered, hollow-cheeked, crumpled, rigidly still. It's difficult to be certain whether they're dead: the darkened skin is pulled nearly tight over bone, but it's still skin, not winding its way toward leather. Their eyes offer no clue -- because where their eyes should be are not even empty sockets, but hollow pools of impenetrable shadow.

Pathways lead up from the beach to the city, among the ruined structures. Some of them are more easily passable than others. Some even have most of the stairs partly intact.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-26 00:34:22 90765
    Homura isn't bothered too much by damage done to the docks. As long as there is a solid post to tie her boat to she can at least feel pretty secure. Only after tying the sailboat securely to the remains of a dock, kicking the post to make sure it won't just collapse while they're gone, does she allow herself to disembark.

    Homura watches out of the side of her eyes as her partner transforms. Good idea. Homura follows suit. Reaching into her shield, she pulls out a cell phone and starts taking pictures. Starting with the horizon, then going to the buildings, trees and eventually...


    Homura's finger absentmindedly snaps a picture of the distant, frozen figures. It's probably not a very good shot, but right now she isn't really thinking about photography.

    She jumps from the dock all the way to the group of frozen, possibly dead humans. Or are they humans? The moment she lands next to them she starts to study them, and she isn't quite sure what to think.

    Another picture snapped, a closeup of one of the faces. She'll need this to study it later. She places the phone in her left hand, reaching into her shield to get another tool: A geiger counter. She aims it at the people, then at the beach around them, just checking to see if nuclear power was in any way involved in this. After all, this whole area might be unsafe.

    She glances towards Madoka after doing her quick study of the immediate area. "This isn't a normal disaster. Non-magical disasters don't typically cause..." she gestures towards the hollowed out eyes, "... that. All the more reason to be cautious."

    Her eyes travel towards the many run down pathways out of the beach. "Shall we press on?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 00:51:42 90769
    Tying the boat up might not be a problem, but the destruction of the docks are still disturbing to Madoka. While Homura takes pictures Madoka goes over to one of the shards of glass and reaches out to touch it, curious about what it might be made of. "Look at this Homura-chan," she comments when Homura doesn't look especially busy. She even picks up a nearby rock and taps it against the shard to hear the sound it might make. "Doesn't it look like those huge crystals in the city? I wonder if they're related. Something about those two, I think they're important somehow."

    Madoka follows Homura to the bodies then, her grip on her unstrung bow tightening. "Someone, something did this to them. I really don't like this, Homura-chan. This-- why would somebody do this? It's so cruel." She takes a breath to calm herself, also standing closer to Homura to do the same, "Did somebody take all their energy until this happened?" As far as evil plots go, she's pretty sure that energy theft is a pretty common one, but would someone really have to go to these lengths to do it?

    She peeks for a moment at Homura's Geiger counter, not recognizing it for a moment until she hears the distinctive clicks. As Homura checks around using it Madoka crouches down near the figure in the brick red outfit, forcing herself to look at their stretched face and the deep shadows where their eyes should be. "Don't worry. I'm sure all of this will be okay, somehow," she whispers.

    A moment later Homura's calling to her and she nods, standing back up again and moving away from the beach. She moves quickly and with a purpose, but not so fast that Homura couldn't catch up to her with ease. As for the potentially broken walk paths? She can jump fairly high when she wants to.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-26 01:20:47 90773
Any of the paths lead into ruined city from damaged; there's no way to go into the city where this gets better. The glass that Madoka touches is, in fact, just glass-- sharp and broken, liable to draw blood if touched on its edge-- wholly unremarkable. The further they press on, the colder it gets, and their breath sings on the air, their footsteps ringing between shards of building and hanging shrouds of ice on everything from rebar to tree to not-quite-corpse-maybe.

There's not even enough radiation for the Geiger counter to pick up as there would be in their own Tokyo.

Through the vast silence and wrongness, a mist begins to gather, slowly, ragged ghostly fingers of it reaching to cling clammily at hair and skin and clothing, but it's wispy and listless, only disturbed by their passage. Through it, there's the occasional hint of something that might have been a playground, or a greenmarket; tattered information kiosks, their screens blank, are labeled in katakana and hiragana both, but hold no information, and frequently aren't even standing. Now and then there's a piece of jewelry or a toy amid the rubble, signs that the people they saw weren't the only people here.

After a certain point, the naked fingers of the broken trees, reaching into the gray sky with its strange sharp brassy clouds, aren't even upright. They'd been stripped of foliage, then bark as the girls got further-- now there are trees lying on the ground, there are stumps. The buildings are rubble.

There's a choice: ahead on their right is the bright gleaming crystal cluster, and ahead on their left is the crater with the tall black monolithic crystal.

As Homura and Madoka make their choice and begin to walk in the direction of the giant shiny crystal, a terribly familiar voice sounds from behind them. "Don't get any closer."

Should they turn, yes, that is a tall dark-haired figure in an incredibly fancy white-tie-and-tails ensemble, caped, holding an even fancier cane than the one Mamoru sometimes fights with, wearing the iconic white mask. The only thing is, in addition to the enormous amount of bling and embroidery, the entire tuxedo is gleaming white with gold accents, and the cape is lined with the palest lavender--

--and even his hair looks washed out, faded of color, like he's been taking tips from Kunzite on how to sun-bathe.
Homura Akemi 2018-04-26 01:32:15 90775
    When Madoka tries to catch her attention, Homura turns towards her with the cell phone. She takes a short video of Madoka tapping the glass with a rock. This isn't the kind of vacation photo she wanted to take, and that thought makes her frown just a little bit more.

    "I don't know if it's possible to say at this juncture if this is energy theft or not," notes Homura in response to Madoka's question. "However, due to the way they seem to be... dried out... we can't eliminate that as a possibility. I would certainly like to hear the opinions of people back home..." She pauses, and then adds, "...assuming we can return."

    Homura notices Madoka heading off and she does a short little sprint to follow after her, cell phone taking pictures of their surroundings. The black-haired girl is frowning at just about everything here: The damaged city, the ruined city, the discarded toys and jewelry, the ruined kiosks. What kind of place is this? Geographic location aside, is this really Tokyo?

    Homura and Madoka decide to go to the closest of the two giant crystal structures. She barely even makes it a few feet after that before hearing a familiar voice and suddenly spinning around on one foot, silky black hair flying and fanning out from the sudden motion. Her purple eyes are wide open when she sees who it is who is speaking to her.


    Homura takes a moment to regain her wit and composure, and while she is in the company of two people who can normally make her smile, her face remains one of cold seriousness as she stomps towards him.

    "Well you're the last person I expected to see on our impromptu vacation. Do you have any idea what happened here?"

    She stops a few feet away from him, looking down in a way. "Those people... what happened to them?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 01:51:54 90779
    Sometimes a piece of glass is just a piece of glass. As the rock makes the glass ring exactly as one would suspect Madoka gives a mildly embarrassed look to Homura, "Eheheh..."

    She nods a little to Homura as she agrees that energy draining is at least something to consider, though when Homura mentions potentially not being able to return home from this place she lets out another nervous little laugh. Well, hopefully that won't be the case. She wants to know what's going on here, but if it takes a long time they get low on supplies at going back for more would be smart, if not recruiting additional help.

    Everything about the broken city with the scattered reminders of it's inhabitants is upsetting. It almost looks to Madoka like the people simply disappeared in an instant, or everyone threw what they were holding down and ran. The wrongness of it tugs harder and harder at her heart as things get increasingly grim towards the two large crystal structures, and though it shows on her face Madoka is strong enough to press on for now. If it's going to upset her, she'll let it happen later, when she has time to think it over.

    The closer they get to the gleaming crystal cluster and the tall, dark crystal the more sure she is that this is where they need to go. The fact that the dark one lies inside a crater is telling, given the apparent blast damage done to the city, and if danger lurks there it might be wisest to investigate the less threatening seeming location first.

    Her eyes widen at almost the same moment as Homura's, though she isn't as quick as Homura at turning around. When she does though her pink eyes lock upon the whitened figure, "Mamoru-kun!" She takes a step forward, and then a second faster one, only to have Homura's previous warning about timelines ring through her mind.

    So rather than running right up to hug him, Madoka sets her gaze upon him gently, looking into his eyes in a knowing way and seeing what returns, a gentle smile setting on her lips after several moments. "It's good to see you again," she finally adds, holding her hands together in front of herself.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-26 02:06:03 90782
The regal figure's boyish, unlined face looks startled at the girls' naming of him, and he straightens up further instead of taking a half-step back, as the one they know might have done at Homura's advance. But then Madoka's gentler about it, and what she sees reflected back at her is brilliant and analytical-- but those are a cage holding in check a grief too large to be borne and a helplessly despairing gut-level fear. Nevertheless, he looks at Madoka's pink hair and half-smiles for a second, and then he shakes his head.

"I'm afraid I don't know who you are," he says, as gently as possible for the businesslike quickness of his words. "But it doesn't matter. Wherever you came from, you need to go back there now. It isn't safe. Help is on the way, don't fret over me or the people here-- nothing can hurt us further, as we are." His mouth twists downward a little and he looks away from them. "Only one thing can bring us back, and it isn't even safe to discuss. Thank you for your concern, but you must leave."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-26 02:17:30 90784
    'I'm afraid I don't know who you are.'

    Homura's eyes widen again, and then narrow. She looks at Mamoru a little more coldly, tilting her head to the side and looking up at him as she considers.

    "Of course. I should've known."

    She flips her hair and turns around, walking closer to Madoka to stand next to her, turning her back upon this alternate Mamoru to hide her face. Madoka can probably see her being thoughtful, and a little sad. She might seem like she's growing distance, but in all reality she remembers how Mamoru is towards strangers and is simply trying to give him space.

    When she turns around, she bows slightly, not taking her eyes off of him.

    "You'll have to forgive me. I mistook you for someone else. Someone I knew."

    Her eyes dart at the buildings around them, and then back at Mamoru. "Unfortunately, if you are asking me to turn my back on you, you are asking a bit much. I understand if it cannot be discussed, but without knowing where Usagi is, or the other senshi..." She turns her head, looking over her shoulder at the large crystal structure behind them. "... I don't know if I can leave this as it is."

    She turns to Madoka for a moment, watching her eyes. "I'm pretty sure this isn't our version of Mamoru. If he even calls himself that."
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 02:35:51 90789
    Madoka knows those features well, and the eyes better. Eyes that should be as blue as the ocean depths, but now seem somehow different, as if reflecting the light of the sun, or covered by a gentle sea foam. Even so they're expressive enough for her to read, so that when she finds the grief and fear in them her own soften and her smile gentles further, the depths of her own eyes offering comfort and sympathy, empathy and understanding. She doesn't even have to take another look around the devastated city to think what might cause such anguish.

    She releases her bow and it fades away into understated sparkles. For the moment with Mamoru around, whatever Mamoru this may be, it hardly seems necessary. She catches the movement of his eyes and looks upward into her own bangs, tilting her head for a moment in mild curiosity.

    She listens to Homura as she speaks and smiles to her while returning her look, "I know."

    But Mamoru is still Mamoru, something inside herself says. He is someone who is ever worrying for and caring about others. She gives a slightly sad look to Homura and steps closer to the tall young man, glancing briefly around in the shadows and looking for something that isn't there, either a shadow wrapped within the shadows or the palest hint of bone white, just barely visible.

    "You don't know us, but we know you. Or at least, a version of you. " She looks back to Homura again, this time reassuringly, telling her she thinks it's okay to say as much, even if timetravel might be involved. "It may be that help is on the way, but when needs are truly great, you could always use more."

    Having approached right up to him now, head having to tilt up a fair bit to meet his gaze, Madoka offers him all of her kindness and warmth, trying to assuage some of that grief, allay some of that fear. Because it just wouldn't be right for Mamoru Chiba, any Mamoru Chiba, to have to suffer alone anymore than he already has.

    She reaches forward gently with both of her gloved hands to take his own within them--

    And they pass right through.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-04-26 02:42:22 90790
It is not, it should be noted, at the moment that Madoka's hands pass through Mamoru's that the thing happens. One might expect that it would have been. But it happens a few seconds after she's clear of him.

The ambient light flares and takes on that brassy tinge, then darkens for an instant, before resuming its previous level. There are three fallen bodies visible from where the Puella Magi stand, though none of them close; the skin on each of them tightens another fraction, what passes for flesh under it hollowing out yet a little further, and something dark evanesces from each, fading into mist and then invisibility before it manages to get a breath away.

For those instants, Madoka can feel a kind of pressure on her soul gem, as if something were trying to pull the energy that is her life away from her. It does not seem to have success.

For those instants, Homura can feel the same thing, but can feel something more --

She can feel the entire world seeming off-center, somehow. Not like a Witch's labyrinth. But something as if the same sense she might use to find one were capable of feeling vertigo.

And she can feel, for that one hideously jarring instant, her hourglass starting to try to turn all on its own.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-26 02:48:09 90791
There's silence from the figure-- it's difficult to tell in this overcast, silent world, where something is wrong with the sky and the air, where tendrils of mist cling and seek out skin and faces and eyes, but with her face turned away, something might occur to Homura: there are shadows, still, even if they're pale and indistinct. There is no shadow cast by this man.

The glass shard that Madoka struck with a rock was only glass, but glass reflects. There's broken glass everywhere here, reflecting them, reflecting the ruin and the eerily lit cloud cover-- but not reflecting Mamoru.

He says the very first thing that might seem familiar, when Homura tells him she mistook him for someone she knew: there's a faint smirk in his voice, and he says dryly, "So I gathered."

But then Homura denies his request and Madoka chimes in with a much kinder version, and this strange Mamoru says something even more awful and even more familiar, desolation in his voice. "You don't understand. Yes, my name is Mamoru, but I can't protect you." He takes a deep breath, closing his eyes for a second. "Your powers won't protect you. The Senshi can't protect you. Usako--"

His voice breaks off, and as Madoka's hands are passing through his, he takes a breath and asks, "Would you step into Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Indian Point, moments after the explosion, to rescue ghosts? Just because you cannot see the danger does not mean it is not there, is not pervasive."

The world slips, tries to pull at things it should not, and Mamoru's hand goes to his chest, and he flickers like a faulty display screen or hologram for a second. And then he gathers himself again, frowning. "Help is on the way, and until it arrives, nothing can possibly get worse."

Nothing. There is no shadow here deep enough to hide Kunzite, and no flash of bone-white hair, or fiery strawberry blond, or curly gold, or flowing brown, or bright cherry red makes itself known. No Senshi, no Shitennou, no Usagi-- no people. Nobody.

No body.

"I am not asking you to leave forever," he pleads, "only you cannot help on your own, no matter how powerful you might be. Please, friends of another self, please leave while you still can. Come back with help. If you know Usako, then you know what help I mean."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-26 03:20:39 90795
    It does occur to Homura that things are not quite right with this man, though with everything else going on it gets filed away as Homura tries to deal with so many different changes at once.

    It takes her a moment to realize that this man has no shadow, no reflection, but when Homura watches as Madoka draws closer and reaches for his hand only for it to pass through, what she was only beginning to suspect is immediately confirmed. This is a hologram.

    What is even going on here?

    Then the sky lights up and darkens, and the people around them seem to lose a little bit more of themselves. Even their soul gems are not left alone, though the differences in magic seems to protect them.

    What is going on here?

    Then that off-center feeling, as if her magical senses are thrown off balance, and the hourglass in her shield attempts to move. Her hand quickly grips her shield in order to stop it.

    What is going on here?!

    Homura hears Mamoru's words, and his dire warnings, and just about everything that Homura wondered about when she first stepped upon these shores was clarified. Yet those old questions only gave way to new ones. Ones she didn't have time to ask. She knew that danger was coming. She felt that they might have been spotted.

    "Forget this. The Mamo-kun I know isn't stupid or prone to panicking. If he's saying we need to get out then we need to get out. If the senshi weren't enough to stop this..."

    Homura reaches out to grab Madoka's hand. With her cell phone, she snaps a picture of Endymion without even thinking that it might not show up. She explains, "For documentation. The others will want all the information we can give them. If you could be touched I could buy us more time, but my powers wont reach you like this."

    "But rest assured, we'll bring the kind of help you seek." More than that, she doesn't say, because as Mamoru said it's not safe to be discussed.

    She tosses her cellphone into her shield, thinking nothing of it, turning to Madoka and saying, "Madoka, unless you--"

    The first thing she feels is a thud against her leg, and then she hears a clatter as her cell phone slides across the floor. She blinks, and looks at her shield, seeing the image of a subspace portal warping and distorting and twisting. This is noteworthy for several reasons, the prime one being that portal usually isn't visible at all.

    Homura runs to her fallen cell phone to pick it up, and as she's leaning over a pile of forks is ejected from her shield onto the ground.

    The veteran winces, and she turns to Madoka and Endymion to give them a rare, pitiful, grumpy stare.

    "Um... I'm having some issues."
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 03:29:55 90796
    'Would you step into Chernobyl, Hiroshima, Indian Point, moments after the explosion, to rescue ghosts?'

    Madoka looks down, a sad smile on her face. She half turns and looks back at Homura, giving her that same sad smile with a knowing, apologetic look in her eyes before turning back to Mamoru, one hand held up, closed over her heart. "If you knew me you'd know that I'd say yes, every time."

    Light flares and fallen bodies contract, Madoka feeling the pulling at her soul gem. It's a moment where she's very glad she's a Puella Magi, her energy locked away and more difficult to tear free than those that had fallen around them.

    She looks back to this Mamoru she understands but doesn't know, heart aching for him as he pleads with them to leave him. Because though he says there's nothing she can do for him, now matter how powerful, there are powers within her he couldn't possibly know or understand, powers utterly foreign to the world she's in now, a world without Witches

    The odds that she could do something would be very slim, but she could certainly try, try to reach out to him with the power of hers that could, as Kunzite once considered, heal Souls.

    But as much as she'd like to spread her wings and try her hardest to shield from and repair whatever this city, this world crushing malady is, it isn't his Soul that's damaged in the first place-- that much is clear just by speaking to him. And the irony of it is, even when trying to return the soul of a Puella Magi the way she does it... is with a touch. And that, it seems, is one thing she simply cannot do for him right now.

    "I want to. I want to try to help you, to give everything I can... but I understand. If you're sure you'll be okay until we can bring the help you need, I'll trust you, and I'll believe in you." In some ways Madoka holding back and showing restraint can show a stronger commitment than throwing herself into a fight she couldn't possibly win, but luckily she's by now learned to be a little more careful with herself. The primary reason for that is right here with her, too.

    She turns again to look at Homura when her name is spoken, only to see the phone ricochet off her shield and go skittering away. Her look of concern momentarily gives way to confusion. "...forks?"

    A quick shake of her head and she runs over to Homura, taking her by the arm while giving her a nervous glance. "Um, Homura-chan... is it even safe to use 'that' right now?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-26 03:41:37 90797
"..." King Endymion, who no, never introduced himself, stares at the forks. "Are... are those mine?" he asks blankly, startled completely into an abort-retry-fail loop for a second.

Then he holds up his hands, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "You might have been spotted, but I might be able to hold them off and make them think it's just me trying something new. I can probably at least distract them. Any way you can get out of here, do it. If you have a way to detect... portals like that..."

He stares at the shield for a moment, then at the forks, then frowns. "Try getting some distance from the city before using anything you have. If you can't-- then just take any opportunity you see." Then there's another brief flicker of a smile, which almost breaks at Madoka's assertion. He takes a breath. "I'll be fine. I have a kitten. And-- I think I would love to have had you two as friends. Take care of my other self-- and be careful when you come back."
Homura Akemi 2018-04-26 03:51:18 90798
    Homura considers Madoka's words. They echo her own thoughts, as they often do. Is it safe?

    "It might be less safe to not use it. However, Madoka-chan, even when I do, you and I might need to run as fast as we can. Something is reaching out to us, and I still don't know the full extent of what counts as touching. Even if I did the rules might have changed."

    Mamoru's questions regarding the forks results in Homura turning towards him. She offers him a smile. She doesn't feel like smiling, but this is a friend regardless of timelines and worlds, and her friend might need a smile even if it's bittersweet.

    "They are. It's complicated. You're one of my best friends ever, and I don't say that lightly. They're left over from a time when I help you move."

    She hears his warnings to leave the city first, and she nods. "If that's your plan, we should keep a low profile. I think we can make it back to the docks from here."

    Her bittersweet smile turns more serious, "It's good to see that you're still the gentle, sensitive type. This won't be the last time we meet, I promise."

    "...Oh, and before I leave, the next time you see yourself, tell him he's wearing a matching set."

    With her arm around Madoka's, Homura starts to run back the way she came, pulling Madoka along if she has to. Homura wants to help just as much as Madoka does, but she didn't survive this long without learning to pick her battles, and this is not a battle that she would pick.
Madoka Akemi 2018-04-26 04:07:05 90800
    "I felt it too. But I think you're right, if Mamoru-kun is so insistent we'd better at least try." And going unsaid except by Madoka's tone of voice is that if they should clear the city before trying is that they'd better do so quickly.

    She looks back to Mamoru and nods. Unlike Homura, smiling comes easily when it's to a cherished friend, even in a moment like this, "Homura-chan is right. You've helped us both more than you can know. You're even helping us right now, even though you don't know us." She also somehow manages a giggle, "If you have a kitten, I'm sure you'll be perfectly fine! I just hope you'll both be safe."

    It's time to leave and Madoka looks back as she goes, calling out in a hopeful voice, doubting not for a moment that they will be back and see him again, "Ganbatte!"

    Heard more quietly in a hushed tone as she hurries along beside Homura, quickly moving legs displacing the mist as she goes, "A matching set of what..?"