When I Was Your Age

Chisato recounts her experiences with Kyubey to Homura and Madoka. Kyubey shows up but no one likes him.

Date: 2018-09-21
Pose Count: 22
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 04:32:29 98087
    Homura and Chisato Akemi are sitting in the tatami room of Homura's ridiculously large house. Unlike usual, the guns are on full display. There is a table between them, and they are sitting on opposite sides of it. There is tea for three set out on the table, and Madoka Kaname has been invited over.

    Chisato looks like she has not slept well in days. Her long silky hair is in an unbrushed mess. Without makeup, her age shows on her face, but not as much as one might think. It's one of the great injustices in the world that Chisato still looks so pretty despite not even trying and looking like a hot mess. She's sipping from her teacup, purple eyes much like her daughter's staring off into space. She isn't focused on any particular thing, and there are bags under her eyes. She's wearing a black yukata with white and red floral print.

    Homura, on the other hand, looks fairly well rested. Her hair is perfect and well kept, and since Madoka is coming over she's looking her best... at least from the neck up. From the neck down she's wearing a white, loose, soft woolen sweater that's very oversized, enough to go down past her black cloth shorts. For once, her legs are bare.

    Homura, for one, is glad that she managed to coax Chisato out of her room. Suoh is off on business, and Amy is licking from a bowl of water in the corner of the room. That's not where that bowl usually goes, but Homura thought it'd be better if Amy was in easy cuddling distance.
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 04:41:39 98088
    The fact that Chisato looks great even while not trying and being a bit of a mess makes Madoka think of how Homura looks before she's gotten up and brushed her hair, which puts a bit of a blush on her face that's perhaps a little off-tone. She sips on her own tea, wondering of perhaps the heat of it will hide the reason for her blush.

    The fact that Homura is wearing a big loose sweater might be off putting to some, but to Madoka it just makes her look extra cuddly. Which is why she's sitting on a different side of the table, perpendicular to the line drawn between Chisato and Homura. If not for that she'd be far too tempted to wrap her arms around her fiance and relentlessly snuggle her, which would be rather uncalled for.

    Madoka herself is also looking nice and well rested and is wearing her school uniform because... well it's a good look on her and also somewhat professional for a student and it's a shame to not be seen in it, ever. Because she wants to avoid embarrassing both Homura and Chisato her hair is in a normal state of fluffiness, tied up in twintails with her usual red ribbons.

    Her soft pink eyes look slowly between mother and daughter, wondering who will speak first. Eventually the silence gets to be a bit much and she looks to Chisato, "Ano... Akemi-san, how is it you came to know about Kyubey and Puella Magi?"
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 04:55:58 98089
    The fact that Homura Akemi is engaged to literally Madoka "Cuddlebug" Kaname has a lot to do with why she is wearing a soft, cuddly sweater. She knows her target audience.

    Chisato almost looks startled when Madoka breaks the silence, turning to look at her with bleary eyes. There's a moment of silent staring before she answers. "When I was about 14 a friend and I were approached by Kyubey. We were going to school together and he just... kinda showed up one day. He promised us each a wish, but... really he was focusing more upon Kana."

    After a pause, she adds, "Kana was my friend's name. Kana Ishii. He said that she had a higher-than-average karmic potential. I... could have had a wish, but I never decided upon anything, and once I saw what Kana had become I decided that there couldn't possibly be anything I'd want that badly. I ran away from her, and ran away from anything magical."

    Homura chimes in, holding her teacup close to her lips. "I never saw where Witches came from before wishing. When I found out, I tried to warn people, but they never believed me. When they did, some of them went crazy and tried to kill other Puella."

    Chisato looks down into her teacup, "I don't think I ever tried to warn anyone. I didn't know any other Puella Magi at the time."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 05:09:32 98090
    Madoka will make sure that soft, cuddly sweater doesn't go to waste, it'll just have to wait for later.

    She listens to Chisato's story and considers it, thinking it sounds entirely too familiar. "That does seem to be the way he operates. It's not too different from my own situation," though in Madoka's case she was the one who Kyubey was so interested in. "So you saw what happens by having your friend taken away from you. It's no wonder you've been so worried about Homura-chan. I'm sorry you had to go through something like that, Akemi-san. Homura-chan is right, a lot of people who learn of that can't handle the burden of the knowledge."

    Madoka silently thinks that Chisato is lucky it was her friend who had the extra potential, since it meant Kyubey left her alone after that. Seeing something so terrible and being able to let it fade away into the past... it wasn't an entirely awful thing.

    "I understand that you're scared about us, but you should know we're both far more experienced than you might expect. Things that would hurt or kill many Puella Magi we can defeat without much worry." The pink haired Puella isn't trying to boast, but rather try to put Chisato's mind at ease. The power of Homura's timestop is undeniable, and when paired with her own magic arrows it's a rare Witch that can survive their onslaught when they decide a fight is over.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 05:19:36 98091
    "How much experience can you have? You're...what, 16?" says Chisato. Her mouth is open and her body shakes as if she's laughing, but there's no sound behind it. She's too tired to really laugh. "Sorry, but... hearing that doesn't give me a lot of faith."

    Homura decides to take a deep sip of tea, emptying her cup before placing it down. Then she answers that. "I have over thirteen years of experience. Give or take. It's hard to keep track of the passage of days when you're a time traveller."

    Chisato stares at Homura. "Time travel? Sorry that's physically impossible."

    "Impossible or not, I've done it." Homura's retort is matter of fact. Chisato is silent in response. "I can't travel back anymore. This timeline won't let me. However, I can still stop time. Here, let me show you."

    Homura stands up, and in a flash of deep purple magic she's in henshin. She tosses her teacup into the air. Chisato, in surprise, moves to catch it...

    But suddenly time is frozen. Suddenly, Homura is sitting between Madoka and Chisato, holding onto their shoulders, and Chisato is staring straight at the floating teacup. She reaches up, plucking it out of the air, and looks down into it.

    "Thirteen years?" Chisato looks over at Madoka. "What about you? Have you been fighting for that long?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 05:35:38 98092
    "Eheheh, something like that," Madoka replies, thinking to herself about the eighteen months the world passed without her.

    Then Homura outs herself as a time traveler and Madoka simply leaves it to the veteran Puella to explain. When Homura's henshin flashes into existence she closes her eyes while sitting up straight, knowing what to expect.

    Then she opens them again and looks around at frozen time. For a brief moment she wishes Homura had cuddled her with time frozen. She's not upset though, this is an important conversation for everyone. She stands up as Chisato looks at her, quickly finishing her tea. "In a manner of speaking... I'm not a time traveler, but I was the one Homura-chan was traveling through time to save."

    She might look like she doesn't care with what she does next, but she's merely curious. She holds her teacup upside down and puts it up against the floating, spilled tea in the air, catching it and inverting the teacup as it's momentum dissipates, letting out a playful giggle.

    She sits back down after that, looking over to Chisato, "Kyubey told you about karmic potential, which means you might understand this next part. Apparently all the times Homura reset time to save me it meant the world effectively hinged on one thing: me. And doing that so many times... it meant my potential became enormous. It's why I was able to make a wish like I did, for the power to return Witches to their Puella selves, which should otherwise have been impossible. It means I can save more than just Homura-chan."

    A little quieter she adds, "Some day I even hope to save everyone..."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 05:47:23 98093
    Chisato doesn't ask any questions regarding Madoka's age, which Homura is silently grateful for. The last thing she needs right now, or ever, is for someone to speculate on her age relative to Madoka's and make things weird. Chisato isn't sure what to make of Madoka's response, but what was said about Madoka's karmic potential seems to calm her nerves a little.

    Homura senses something in Madoka's reaction. She gives her darling a sideways glance, then a smile, before returning back to the more serious discussion.

    "Well, I couldn't ask for a better partner for Homhom-chan, but... to really save everyone..." Chisato's voice is soft, and still as tired as it's been all day. "... even Kana-chan. Is that really possible?"

    Once Homura is sure that Chisato understands what Homura can do, she releases her. With Chisato frozen in time, Homura turns to Madoka and gives her a brief, but tight, squeeze. "To hold you over," she whispers into Madoka's ears, before releasing her and returning to her spot. Time resumes, Homura's henshin drops, and she starts pouring herself another cup of tea from the white teapot in between them.

    Chisato blinks as she sees, from her perspective, her daughter move around so suddenly. "Could you maybe warn your mother before doing that? That's going to take some getting used to."

    "Sure thing, mom."

    As Chisato sips from her tea, she thinks for a moment. If Madoka has the power to save Witches, then... for Kana-chan, she has to ask. "How long does a Witch stick around? I don't know where Kana-chan's is but... I remember where she Witched."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 06:20:50 98096
    Madoka shakes her head a little, "Saving all Puella right now isn't possible. But I've already done the impossible once, I just need to figure out how to do it again."

    Then Homura is hugging her and Madoka smiles brightly, turning to her and clinging tightly for a few moments, rubbing her back and letting out a happy sigh, "Thank you, Homura-chan. You always know exactly how to make me happy."

    As time resumes she looks over to Chisato as she asks her question, "A Witch stays until it's defeated, I think. Even then I'm not sure that's the end of them so long as their Grief Seed remains." She can't really be sure on that last part though.

    "Where was it, Akemi-san?" Madoka asks, turning in her seat a little to face Chisato. "If it was somewhere where a lot of Puella hunted it isn't likely her Witch would still be around, but if it was secluded there might be a chance."

    Amy finished drinking from her water bowl and started wandering towards the three girls, only to spook slightly. The black cat stood still for a moment and turned, exiting the tatami room. The reason why is soon apparent as a familiar, cheerful sounding voice speaks, "Is that what you truly want, Chisato Akemi? If it is you could have easily saved her yourself, but you decided to run away instead."

    Kyubey reaches up and rubs at one of his ears with his paws as if cleaning it, "Leaving her to suffer for thirty years, don't you think that's a bit cruel? Even your daughter didn't suffer for that long."

    There's little more than a soft sigh from Madoka at first at this unexpected but not entirely unhelpful intrusion, even as Kyubey casually attempts to manipulate their emotions despite claiming not to understand them.

    "Does that mean Kana Ishii's Witch is still out there somewhere, Kyubey?" she finally asks.

    "Of course!" He replies cheerfully, hopping down from his perch and heading for the fourth edge of the rectangular table, only to jump up and sit on it, his large white tail flicking slowly back and forth behind himself. "Kana Ishii is right where Chisato Akemi left her. You should be careful if you intend to confront her though, she's had a very long time to grow more powerful. Even her familiars are powerful after so much sustenance."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 06:36:19 98097
    Chisato's eyes narrow at Kyubey. The woman who was, earlier, so tired, so deflated, so defeated, suddenly comes to life. There is fire in her eyes. The fire of rage. She grits her teeth, barely even hearing Kyubey as it talks.

    With a sudden fluid motion, with a spike of adrenaline only a furious mother could have, Chisato grabs Kyubey by the scruff of his neck shouting, "I WON'T LET YOU HURT ANYONE ANYMORE!" The small white rate is thrown hard against the wall of the tatami room, and Chisato rushes after it, grabbing the bent golf club from its display and beating the small creature into a paste.

    Homura does absolutely nothing to stop her, casually drinking from her tea as if this is a perfectly normal thing to have happened. The corner of her lip twitches into a smile for a brief moment, but she hides it with her teacup.

    "That's not going to do anything," informs Homura to her mother, who is now heaving deeply. "That thing has a seemingly endless supply of bodies. You can't kill it. Not like that."

    Chisato, once filled with the desire for revenge, calms down again, and then deflates. "Y-you can't?" Frowning, she places the golf club back onto its display, then turns around to go sit back at her table. Placing her forehead on the low table, she mumbles, "Sorry... I just thought... if I ever saw that creature again..."

    "I understand the feeling", says Homura, reaching over to pat her mother on the head.

    After a moment, Chisato sits up straight. Her voice is still a low mumble when she speaks. "If I hadn't left Kana there, I'd have died before Homhom-chan was born, so I can't regret that too much. Still... Aokigahara. She was in Aokigahara. That's when I saw her last. I was already terrified, going into those woods so late at night, and well... then she turned into a monster."

    Her voice lowers further, to almost a whisper, "Has she really been suffering this whole time?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 06:56:30 98098
    Madoka blinks in surprise as Chisato makes a horrible mess of the floor and Homura's golf club, but somehow thinks that'll make the precious artifact even more important to her fiance.

    Just as Homura suggests the cheerful voice returns only a moment or two later, "Are all Akemi's so needlessly violent? I thought you would at least appreciate the information I came here to give you. If I'm not wanted I can collect myself and go."

    Chisato will be given a lovely sight of Kyubey appearing from behind the table with his eyes closed and prancing over to his corpse before starting to consume it, making disturbing little noming sounds as the previous body, though clearly blood filled, turns to what appears to be white paste or clay as it's previous occupant devours it bit by bit.

    Madoka gives a little shake of her head to reinforce what Homura had said about not being able to kill Kyubey as she spoke. "He doesn't keep his soul inside his body, just as ours are no longer inside our own," she notes, turning her soul gem ring on her finger. "I'd ask where he kept it, but I don't think he'd tell us."

    Making a satisfied little swallowing sound as he finishes his 'meal', Kyubey pipes up, "Correct, Madoka Kaname!"

    Before Kyubey can put it in the worst way possible Madoka speaks up as Chisato asks if her friend had been suffering for so long, "I'm... afraid so. That's the ultimate price for bringing her wish to reality. Most Witches don't last that long if there are Puella Magi around to fight them, but that forest is rather secluded. I didn't think to hunt Witches there even when it was direly important to find them."

    "They can also last a very long time if there isn't a Puella Magi strong enough to defeat them," Kyubey cheerfully instructs and reminds. "Homura Akemi and Madoka Kaname have met two that were strong enough to require a group to defeat. Kana Ishii isn't as powerful as Walpurgisnacht or Hana Shiori but she is more than a match for those that have hunted her."

    Another soft sigh from Madoka. Of course Kana would have killed Puella Magi if she'd survived so long as Witch. Of course she had.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 07:13:55 98100
    At the question of whether or not all Akemis are needlessly violent, Chisato and Homura look at each other. There's a silent pause before Homura says, "I don't consider myself needlessly violent."

    "Me, either," agrees Chisato, before turning back to Kyubey. She suddenly balks as she sees what it's doing. She stares, open mouth and mortified, as she sees the Incubator eat itself.

    "In fact, I consider my mother to be relatively gentle. You just have a way of bringing that out in people, Incubator." Homura deflects the accusation and dismisses it with a wave of her hand.

    Chisato is pointing at Kyubey. "Did it just... did it just..."

    Homura glares at Kyubey. She's mentally speculating on where his soul is, and he even has a Soul Gem or if he uses some other apparatus, but like Madoka-chan said it's not like he'd answer even if she asked.

    Chisato is still mentally processing what Kyubey just did when she's suddenly hit with the thought of Kana killing other Puella. "Y-you mean... well... ugh..." She's clenching her guts now. Her tired eyes are wide open. She can barely even speak right now. It's a good thing she's not a Puella.

    Homura frowns at Kyubey, then turns to Madoka. "So if we go there, do you think you could reach her?" Her purple eyes shift towards her grossed out, freaked out mother. "It sounds a pretty powerful Witch for just the two of us, even before you consider bringing someone unpowered."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 07:28:24 98101
    Kyubey ignores Homura's words and her glare before helpfully explaining to Chisato, "It would be a waste to leave it there. It is odd that your nation is very good about recycling compared to most, and yet it's people never recognize it before it's explained to them."

    Madoka leans over and gives Chisato's shoulder a little squeeze, "Try not to think about it too much, Akemi-san. Unless they're very inexperienced Puella know what to expect and what might happen when they go into battle. As cruel as it may seem, Kana-chan killing them likely saved them from a worse fate."

    Nevermind that fate is exactly the one Kana herself is currently experiencing.

    As Homura speaks to her Madoka nods, "I am. If we simply wanted to defeat her I don't expect we'd have too much trouble if we made use of your timestop. If we're trying to reach out to her we won't have that luxury."

    She bites her lip a little, "Akemi-san, if I'm to do this, I'll need your help. I can take away her suffering and despair but unless someone gives her a reason to live, unless someone gives her a reason to let go of her past and live a new life I won't be able to save her. I think the only one who can do that now is you, the one who knew her and was with her. It will be very dangerous, but it's possible."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 07:42:46 98103
    Chisato doesn't immediately respond to Kyubey's explanation of 'recycling', instead just staring at him wide-eyed and open-mouthed, pointing finger hanging in the air. Once Madoka touches her shoulder she seems to snap out of it, glancing to Madoka and then back to Kyubey. "Recycling?!"

    She frowns, crosses her arms and turns away from Kyubey. "Regardless, because of all you've done, I'll never forgive you. None of those girls would've had to die if not for you, Kyubey."

    Homura glances between Kyubey and her mother, then she looks back to Madoka as she explains. Chisato slowly turns towards Madoka, looking at her with eyes hollowed out from tiredness and, let's face it, despair. "A reason to let go of her past? I..."

    She crosses her arms and looks down at the table. She's thinking. After a moment, she looks up to Homura. Homura is staring at her blankly, and Chisato feels, somehow, like she's being weighed. Or judged.

    "I won't blame you if you don't want to go," says Homura, though Chisato doesn't entirely believe it. "But one way or another, that Witch's presence cannot be tolerated. If you don't come with us, it means Kana's death."

    Chisato stares at her daughter, then gulps. She looks down at the table again. "When did you become so cold?"

    "When I sacrificed everything for the sake of my wish."

    Chisato is silent for a bit longer. When she speaks again, her voice cracks, "Do we have to go now?"

    "No. Absolutely not. Get a good night's sleep. Then we can go. If I have to play bodyguard for both you and Madoka-chan, we're going at full strength. The chance of another Puella finding her today is low, and Aokigahara isn't exactly where you'd go for a picnic."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 08:00:13 98104
    "If not for me I think you'd all still be living in caves," Kyubey retorts. The fact that he never directly lies is perhaps a little disturbing in this context.

    Madoka shivers a little as that particular phrase is repeated and tries to let that one roll off of her, a bit less successfully than the rest of Kyubey's antics. She recovers quickly enough though and nods to Chisato, "Yes. I understand it might be hard, especially given it's been so long since she was alive." After a moment of thought she reconsiders, "...though in a way it might also be easier. All the things she worried about so long ago, I wonder how relevant they would be to her today."

    She's clearly thinking this through carefully. She looks between her fiance and her mother, "Akemi-san, Homura-chan, this won't be so simple as it otherwise might. If we succeed we'll be bringing back a fourteen year old girl to a world that's passed thirty years without her."

    Her eyes focus on Homura for a moment, "A year and a half was difficult enough for us. Unless her magic involves altering memories somehow I don't see how she could go back to her old life and her family- they might not even be alive." Soft pink eyes turn to give a sympathetic look to Chisato, "It's likely you'll be the only one she really knows or can rely upon, Akemi-san, so if you really want to do this you should be ready for that as well."

    Then as Chisato calls Homura cold Madoka laughs nervously, "Eheheh, Homura-chan is very serious about her duties as a Puella Magi." She gets up and walks over, going around Homura and hugging onto her around the shoulders from behind. "Don't worry though, she's plenty warm when it comes to the other parts of her life."

    "If it another Puella found her today I don't think it's Kana Ishii's Witch you'd need to worry about," Kyubey quips.

    Now it's Madoka who turns her head and gives him something of a blank stare, and the Incubator gets up and starts to walk towards a shadowy corner of the room, behind a gun shelf, "I see my welcome has worn out. I'll know if you have any more questions."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 10:10:14 98105
    "You can go live in a cave," retorts Chisato. Homura covers her mouth to avoid spitting out her drink.

    Homura and Chisato both have to think about what Madoka just said. It's true that Kana Ishii has been out for maybe thirty years or so. Homura speaks up first. "God... That girl has spent two thirds of her life as a Witch. Madoka-chan, if you take away her despair, what will she have left?"

    Chisato frowns as she looks down at the table. She raises no objections as Kyubey leaves. He isn't welcome here as far as the Akemis are concerned, and was only tolerated by Homura because he provided useful information. She does, however, seem to shrink a bit. "I... I don't know if I'm ready. I want to save her, but..."

    Homura frowns more deeply, then looks away with her arms crossed. She leans back against Madoka-chan and enjoys her embrace. "Well, it's a pretty isolated place. We can wait a while. Honestly, we might want to scout out the area first. If that th-- if she has familiars that have become Witches then we'll need to take care of them, too. Speaking of..." Homura turns her head to look up at Madoka. "... how will we know the difference between a familiar-born Witch and the original?"
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 10:36:51 98106
    Not being countermanded, Kyubey exits. As if she'd been waiting for this Amy walks back in, nuzzling her head under Chisato's hand and physically imploring for pets in that soothing kitty manner.

    Madoka laughs a bit nervously as Homura says Kana had been a Witch for two-thirds of her life. "Not very much. That's why it will be so important for Akemi-san to give her a reason to live again. Depending on what caused her to fall into despair though, not having much of her past might be as much a boon as an obstacle. Being a Puella Magi isn't easy, but being a Magical Girl with nothing to lose and nothing to prove isn't the worst thing, especially not with friends willing to help you find your path."

    When Chisato says she isn't sure she's ready Madoka gives a little shake of her head, "We don't have to try to save her until you're sure you are. It's going to be very dangerous and I know it will be hard on you. I'm not sure I'd even want to subject you to a Labyrinth at all right now, never mind the Labyrinth of an old friend."

    Madoka nods a little when Homura mentions having to take care of any possible familiar spawned Witches and otherwise scouting and clearing the area first. As for how to tell the difference Madoka dredges up an awful old memory. "By the way they react to me, in my other form. The familiar-born Witch I came into contact with," a small shudder and a tighter clinging to Homura, "didn't respond to me at all. Or- it might actually have gotten more angry. It was a creature that had never known hope, not one that had it's hope fall to despair."

    A moment later Madoka looks to Chisato again, studying her for a moment. "Akemi-san, there's something I think you need to know. Despite how Kyubey tried to put it, you are absolutely not responsible for anything Kana did, and you didn't 'abandon' her. Contracting with Kyubey is a personal choice everyone has to make, and I don't think there's any blame to be placed on your shoulders for not making one when you saw exactly how horrible it could be."

    Her face changes to that of a gentle smile, which shines softly at Chisato, "It was very brave of you just going with her to Aokigahara. You were there for her as a friend, and even as a Witch I don't think that's something she'll have forgotten. I know very well how easy at can be to blame yourself when something terrible happens to your friends and you think you could have done something to help. I even know how it feels when that thing was to make a contract with Kyubey, and I'm sure Homura can tell you that 99 times out of 100, not making the contract is the right choice. So please try not to be too hard on yourself."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 10:55:02 98107
    Chisato looks down at Amy as the cat comes plodding up to her. She scoops the cat into her arm and starts stroking its back, which is something they did a lot of during Madoka and Homura's absence. She finds some comfort in scritching behind her ears.

    "When her family learned that she went to Aokigahara, they assumed that she went there to commit suicide. I... still don't know if that was true or not. All I know is that I couldn't tell anyone what really happened, and after I forgot about magic it was something of a moot point."

    After Madoka reminds her of that particular detail, Homura says, "Oh, that's right. I knew there was some way. Mostly I was worried about avoiding the other detail from that night, what happened when you connected to a creature like that." Homura notices her mother's questioning gaze, so she explains. "Madoka tried mindlinking to a familiar-born Witch, and it waged war on her mind."

    "... Oh." Chisato seems to accept that explanation. "Then... it's important to get the real one."

    Upon hearing Madoka's comforting and encouraging words, Chisato looks down at the table. She listens to all of it before she responds, letting Madoka speak her piece. She shakes her head. "Honestly, I never really blamed myself for that. It's a common con, what Kyubey is doing. I never really felt guilty for not paying Kyubey's ransom, and I don't think that Kana would've seen it that way either."

    "My fear, this whole time, has been losing Homura." Honorific drop intentional. "I had my chance and I made my choice. Besides, if Homura had never been born, you'd be dead too, and there would've been no saving Kana." She smiles softly at Madoka as she says this last bit.

    Then Chisato rests her hand on Amy, eyes unfocused and lost in thought. "Still though. I have no idea what Kana would want to live for. All of her family has moved on without her, and I'm the only friend who would know it was her. Considering the age of her alleged death, it would be impossible to make people think that the young Kana was actually her orphaned child... I mean, or maybe not, considering that they never really found Kana's body."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 11:30:05 98108
    Amy purrs contentedly in Chisato's arms, a good and happy kitty doing her best to offer some relief and comfort by her presence, somehow knowing it's needed.

    "Hm. That's hard to say without knowing more details," Madoka comments about whether or not Kana was actually hoping to die in the forest. "The thing is a Puella wishing to die can be for more reasons than a normal person, and not just because of the fighting. Running out of magic turns a Puella into a Witch just as falling into despair does, and plays the same kinds tricks on the mind, making them think things they would normally consider irrational or ridiculous. Or it can make actual problems a lot worse."

    Madoka closes her eyes and thinks of the various Sayaka's she had known in Homura's various timeloops, "Regretting her wish or hating herself is also a sure path to destruction. Regretting the wish leads to hating yourself for accepting the contract, and hating yourself often means cursing yourself-- and curses have real power, a Witch's Kiss is a curse placed on another."

    Homura explains what happened when she tried to connect with the familiar-born witch and Madoka just keeps hugged onto her fiance. She can handle the memory, but it isn't pleasant. Even compared to Homura's damaged psyche as a Witch it was on a whole other level. "Witches that grow out of a familiar are a copy of the Witch, but not a copy of the soul. They're pale imitations that know nothing other than evil and despair. Killing them is an absolute mercy to the world."

    It's embarrassment that Madoka feels next as Chisato explains the reasoning for her reactions had nothing to do with any kind of guilt. Looks like she needs to work on possible projection! Still, the actual reason for being worried is near and dear to Madoka's heart. Quite literally at the moment, hugging onto Homura as she is.

    "Homura-chan is probably safer now than she's ever been in her life, as crazy as it might seem. Her heart condition has been taken care of and there's very few things in the whole world she can't run from if she can't beat it. There might not even be anything at all." Madoka scratches at her cheek for a moment, "Saying it this way also makes me nervous... but if Homura-chan had never met me and had never become a Puella Magi, there's no telling if she even would have survived the great storm in January, 2016. I'm not sure if you know this, but that was an insanely powerful Witch. You heard Kyubey speak her name, Walpurgisnacht."

    She gives a small shake of her head, "Not counting Kyubey, Walprugisnacht was Homura's main enemy throughout all the times she tried to save me. The reason it was so difficult for me to be saved was that one way or another I'd end up dead or unable to be saved because of Walpurgisnacht. I was so set on protecting the city from it that I'd always make a Contract to save a friend or fight her, and I just couldn't do it without dying or running out of magic after the fight." Madoka leaves out the part about Homura trying to prevent her from becoming a Puella at all both for brevity and so Homura can share that part herself if she wants to get into it. Homura should be the one to decide if her mother gets to know that part of her personal trauma.

    Madoka considers what Kana would live for and hums, "You'd know better than I would. It might help if you try to remember or write down everything about her you can remember. Things she liked to do, any hopes and ambitions she had, the reason she decided to become a Puella Magi- stuff like that. You'll want to know those things so you can remind her of them if we go to save her, but it'll also help in giving her life new meaning. In a lot of ways she'll have an entirely new chance at life, even if she has to start as a Puella."

    She can't help but continue to focus on Chisato's worry about Homura. There's really no way to stop worrying entirely about someone whose become a Puella Magi, but there might be a way to show Chisato just how far her daughter had come. "Homura-chan? Your mother has gone alongside Puella Magi, so she likely knows what it means when they fight a Witch. I know you have a lot of video footage of your fights... maybe you should show her what you're capable of. It's hard to understand just how capable you are without seeing it in action, and that'd be a way where she'd know from the start that you came out of it safe because you were with her."

    Of course what Madoka is not-so-subtly hinting at probably wouldn't impart much worry at all, considering it'd be a montage of Homura slaughtering Witches left and right with little more concern to show for it than a flip of her hair.
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 12:06:31 98110
    Chisato certainly appreciates and needs Amy there, because she wants something soft to pet and also because watching Homura and Madoka together is making her slightly cuddlejealous.

    "Maybe I could ask her family," says Chisato. "They seemed really quick to accept the idea that she might have committed suicide. I never found out why. I think, at the time, I could barely look them in the eyes."

    Madoka mentions that Homura's heart condition has been cured, and Chisato raises an eyebrow at that. The next time there's a break in the conversation, she mentions, "I've been meaning to ask you about that, Homura. What happened to your heart condition? For someone who's been on the edge of death since childhood, you seem to be in peak physical condition. For a while I thought you had wished to become an olympic gold medalist."

    Homura holds out her hand, and her ring turns into a purple egg. "Using my magic, I was able to... fix certain physical problems. My glasses were a hindrance, as was my weak heart. I used my Soul Gem to fix my eyes, my heart, and improve my overall physical condition. I did this so that I could be a better fighter, and more able to destroy Witches."

    Chisato nods. "I see. I don't need a demonstration. I'll take your word for it." A pause, then, "I've actually heard the name Walpurgisnacht. You mentioned that's what you were planning for during your Birthday, right?"

    Homura nods at Chisato's question. "It's also the Witch that dropped a skyscraper on my apartment."

    Chisato nods at Madoka. "I'll have to find her old family and ask around. Maybe I can piece something together. Maybe as I think about it I'll remember something else, too. I don't know if she had a diary but I could ask her parents."

    Madoka mentions videos of Homura fighting. Homura opens her mouth to object, but Chisato already has her hand out. Powers or no, she's still Homura's mother, and with the Akemis being a Catholic family the phrase 'Honor thy mother and father' has credence.

    Homura frowns. She pulls out her cell phone. She messes with the menus a bit before handing it over. "Just avoid the file labeled 'Sad Mamo World'. The folder labeled 'Madoka's Training' are the relevant videos."

    "Why? What's in the 'Sad Mamo' file?" Chisato asks, digging around the videos.

    "An alternate dimension where bad guys have won. It doesn't feature me fighting very much at all."

    Chisato watches, quietly. At first there's no effect, but as time passes she physically, visibly relaxes. Her shoulders relax, and the tension leaves her eyes. "I see. Thirteen years experience, huh? It shows."
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 12:26:49 98111
    "Asking her family could help. They might wonder why you're suddenly so curious, but having a daughter around her age is a pretty good cover." Madoka thinking up covers stories without batting an eye, what would Junko think?

    Chisato asks about Homura's physical improvements and Madoka watches the way the two of them interact. She's glad Homura's cute, sweet heart is healthy and beating along happily in her chest. "You might have seen Kana heal herself using magic-- or maybe not. Without being able to do that it would be very difficult to keep fighting, or it'd take too long to recover to fight enough to survive. It isn't just superficial damage that can be repaired, and Homura-chan's eyes and heart were no different."

    Chisato talks more about looking into learning more about Kana, and Madoka returns the nod. "I think that's a good idea, just be sure you're ready. We already know you had bad memories hidden away because of magic, so be prepared in case more of them show up."

    Madoka feels a little bad as Homura begins to object to her suggestion, only to hand her phone over because it's her mother that's asking. ...maybe that bit should have been whispered into her ear.

    Still, the videos of her own training seem to be having the intended effect on Chisato. "Homura-chan really is amazing. She's the last enemy anyone would want to have, really. She already showed you how she can stop time and, well, you're seeing just how effective that can be in combat. I'm pretty sure she's started holding back on that some ever since... erm."

    Right, Chisato might not understand about the differences between this timeline and the previous ones. Madoka thinks on her feet and pauses only briefly, "Ever since she started training me." Her eyes go momentarily shifty before explaining, "This might not be it, but I think she's trying to wean herself off of relying on it as a crutch in case she can't use it. I'm sure you see how it's almost impossible to defend against her attacks if they come from close range while time is frozen."
Homura Akemi 2018-09-21 12:40:32 98112
    "Yeah..." says Chisato, in regards to bad memories being hidden away. She's slowly stroking Amy, as she thinks. The tiredness is starting to catch up with her. "Honestly, I still don't remember every detail. I mean... even having the magical blockers removed, it was thirty years ago. Still, the thing about healing sounds familiar."

    She covers her mouth to stifle a long yawn, and all of a sudden she's finding it hard to keep her eyes open. The hand petting Amy has gone still, and she starts to lean over a little to far--

    "Mom!" says Homura, loud enough to startle Chisato back awake.

    "A-ah! Sorry! I just... I guess... I really was worried. It's funny, just seeing you fight Witches... I guess it does make me feel a little better. It's not that I think you're invincible, and you shouldn't think that either, but..." Chisato trails off, interrupted by another yawn. Eyes close again, and she starts to lean over to the side.

    Homura looks up to Madoka, saying, "I think maybe it's time for her to sleep. Considering how long its been since she's had a full night's rest, she might be out for a while."

    Somewhat reluctantly, Homura pushes off of the ground and leaves Madoka's embrace. Then Madoka is treated to the somewhat silly sight of Homura Akemi lifting up a woman still a bit taller than her and carrying her around like it's nothing. "I think I'm gonna put her in bed. We can talk more about this later. Then maybe I can help you figure out the answer to the question that might've been on your mind the whole night. Namely, how cozy my sweater is."

    Homura winks at Madoka, then starts to leave the room.
Madoka Akemi 2018-09-21 12:48:40 98113
    Madoka starts to say something as Chisato's speaking slows and her eyes start to droop but never quite gets there, and Homura is quicker to react when her mother finally does fall asleep. When she startles back awake Amy hops down out of her arms, brushing against her before wandering off to go do cat things. Night time might be when Chisato sleeps, but it's also when Amy plays.

    "Nobody is invincible," Madoka agrees, "but I thought you'd feel better knowing how capable she was." Chisato is probably asleep when she says it, but she says it anyway. A soft giggle escapes her and she nods, giving Homura a tiny squeeze before letting go her as she stands up.

    Seeing Homura carry someone isn't as shocking as it might be if her fiance hadn't carried her around enough times before, though the lack of kicking legs does make this an entirely different story.

    When Homura mentions the question that must be on her mind she smiles, giggling and nodding when she names exactly the right one, hopping up and following Homura out to be closer to her when she's free to help her find out.

    Madoka hopes and bets the answer is 'very'.