Welp, Mami's back and better than ever! Yeah, no she's not. She actually came back kicking and screaming in anguish. Mami, I am so sorry.

Anyway, here is the next chapter. Enjoy if you can, and if you can't, I'm sorry

MADOKA MAGICA

Sayaka Miki's decent into corruption had slowed to a crawl in thanks to Kyouko Sakura's intervention. I understand that she's no longer a woman of faith, and, frankly, neither am I, but her appearance was a godsend. Had she not arrived exactly when she did, I doubt Sayaka Miki would have survived up to now. Her demise, I feel, is still certain, but perhaps, in this timeline, she will last until we face Walpurgisnacht.

So at least she has been dealt with. Mami, however…

I feel uneasy about her. In the dozen or so times I've succeeded in preventing her demise, the outcome for her became so much worse. Odds are against her getting anything better than suffering. But then again, this timeline seems to be just full of surprises. I'll just have to see how it plays out.

MADOKA MAGICA

The feeling that Mami Tomoe experienced when she awoke was akin to that of a land animal being dropped into a large body of water – that is to say, overstimulated. She jolted into consciousness as if she had been electrocuted, blasting nearly a dozen holes around the room from accidentally creating muskets in her state of panic. Upon tensely looking around the empty room, the adrenaline soon subsided, allowing the blonde to sigh in relief.

I'm alone…

She thought as she let the guns fade out of existence. She lied back down and let the uncomfortable bed cushions catch her. It was strange. The covers were very rough and the pillows felt stiff – not unlike that of a hospital bed. It was as if it hadn't been slept in up until Mami was put there.

Wait… something is… not right…

Mami closed her eyes and let the rest of her magically enhanced senses do their business.

For scent, it was empty. Barren. Almost… dead. This room was a bed room from what Mami had gathered, but it looked like no one had entered it in day – weeks, even. For sound, it was… not quite silent. Quiet enough to hear the ringing in her ears yet the faint rhythmic ticking of what seemed to be machinery. Strange. She felt like she had heard it before.

Tic-Tock-Tic-Tock…

She opened her eyes slowly, knowing exactly why she found the sound familiar. Homura Akemi… Mami sat up and projected her mind outward until she felt the presence of the girl in question. Said girl seemed to have anticipated the mental contact.

"Mami Tomoe, it is good you are awake… though the damage you did to that room is a bit inconvenient…"

"I'm sorry…" Mami apologized.

"No matter. Magic can repair it. However, what I'd like to know right now is how you feel, now that you're… awake."

"… I'm… I'm awake…" She said, whispering it aloud to herself even as she spoke with her mind.

The door clicked open and Homura entered. "Yes, you are…"

"I'm awake… I'm… I'm not supposed to be awake…" Mami breathed, a mild look of pain on her face. "I'm supposed to be dead, Homura… Right…?" She looked at Homura, eyes filled with confusion. "Right?"

The raven haired girl pushed up her glasses and nodded. "Had a miracle not occurred, you would not be alive right now… so yes… you're supposed to be dead…"

Mami nodded, not quite sure what to make of the information she received. She was a dead girl, brought back from the brink by a miracle. What miracle? She wasn't sure. She had a hunch – it involved two girls, a large white rat, and the exchange of one soul to bend the fundamental laws of the universe. It was likely that her hunch was on point…

"Who made the wish…?"

"Sayaka Miki." Homura answered. "Her choice of wording for the wish was… interesting, to say the least. Her wish was to help you, a girl who was already as good as dead. From that wish, she gained healing abilities far beyond that of a normal magical girl, and these abilities extend to healing others as well. Helping them, if you will"

Mami smiled at this. Somehow, she knew that Sayaka would be the one to contract. While her potential wasn't quite as… noticable… as Madoka's, Mami sensed that Sayaka truly had the desire to become a magical girl. For what reason, however, Mami did not know. And she was not the kind of person to pry. Though she was sure that Sayaka's actual wish didn't at all involve saving her.

"There were… er… side effects of course…" Homura said quietly. "She is now very susceptible to outside influences. She seems to have become a sort of magnet for negative emotions. She absorbs them from people around her. She helps them, so to speak."

Mami frowned. "I…" This… This is terrible… If I had only been stronger, and perhaps if I was fighting more seriously… There goes another girl I lead into this insanity…

"Do not misunderstand, Mami Tomoe. If she had not used her wish to save you, her power would remain the same." Mami scowled in confusion. Noting this, Homura elaborated. "She wanted to heal the boy to whom she is smitten to, Kyousuke Kamijou – a boy who completely lost the use of his left hand, with no chance of recovery. If Sayaka Miki were still free to use her wish, she would use it to heal him, thus giving her the very same powers she has right now. Either way, she would become a magical girl." She gave Mami a hard unyeilding stare. "This is not your fault, Mami Tomoe, and you would do well to remember that"

The growing negative emotions in the blonde were quite effectively neutralized by the stoic's words, though guilt still seemed to be gnawing at her.

"On a related note, Kyouko Sakura has befriended Sayaka Miki."

Mami blinked, the mention of the magical girl whom she had once befriended instantly piquing her interest. "Kyouko?"

"Yes. Miss Sakura arrived at this city approximately one week after you had 'died'. In that time, she and Miss Miki went from being enemies to vitriolic best friends."

"Enemies…?" Mami's expression grew worried.

"When they first met, they had almost killed each other. Almost over night, they became friends. Their bond only grew from there."

"They… They're alright, right…? They're doing okay…?"

Homura walked forward and grabbed Mami by the shoulders. "Mami Tomoe, how do you feel?" She asked once more.

"But Kyouko and-"

"How do you feel?"

Mami frowned and concentrated. She felt a mass of corruption roiling within her. It felt like it was inherently a part of her, yet something totally alien was keeping it at bay. A sort of barrier cast from without was keeping the malevolence within from expanding. Yet it wasn't anything physical nor emotional. If anything, she felt detached.

Mami's growing anxiety at the situation was further worsened by materializing her soul gem. Within the magnificent yellow light was an evil darkness – nothing but a tiny island of pure black in a sea of gold. No matter how she tilted the gem, no matter what angle she looked at it, the speck of darkness seemed to be right there in the core.

"How did… How did you know about this…?" Mami asked looking shaken

Homura's face darkened. "You survived in the one of the loosest sense of the word, Mami Tomoe" She whispered. Homura removed her hands from Mami's shoulders and stalked off. "You need more rest. I will tell you what you want to know in the morning. For now, it's best that you sleep."

The raven haired girl opened the door and turned off the lights, plunging the room into darkness. The only light that remained was harsh white from the light outside, casting shadows across the room, and Mami's soul gem, diffusing softly against the blonde and the bed sheets on which she sat upon.

"Good night, Mami Tomoe. May your sleep be fitful and dreamless."

Mami didn't know why, but her eyes suddenly felt heavy. She took one last look at her own soul gem and then to Homura who was still waiting by the door. She's hiding something from me… was her first thought. But I get the feeling that whatever it is will be the death of me if I find out what it is… Ignoring her sinking feeling, she put away her soul gem and closed her eyes, moving to lie back down.

I've died once. I can die again. Whatever she's hiding, I will find out…

MADOKA MAGICA

Mami Tomoe should be dead. And yet, here she is, alive and well…

Or so it seems…

Her soul gem required so many grief seeds to regenerate her body, whereas conjuring entire armies' worth muskets would only tire her out enough to require but one grief seed. She needed only a few days to build up magical energy to create a new body yet it took weeks. Her soul gem was literally cleansed with a grief seed just some hours ago, and since then she had been asleep, and, still, she showed rapid signs corruption

She is dying. Something is sapping her energy. I could tell from the touch of her mind and even more so as I spoke with her. It is the only explanation that seems plausible. How am I sure of this…? Because of Sayaka Miki

The stipulations for Sayaka Miki's wish – a leech to Mami Tomoe's soul – was preventing her from building up magical energy in her unconscious state. Sayaka Miki's wish to help her is keeping her in a constant state of decay so as to perpetuate her need of 'help'. Thus, Mami Tomoe is broken beyond repair. It makes sense.

Mami Tomoe is running on borrowed time, it seems…

MADOKA MAGICA

And there we have it, chapter 17. I hope you enjoyed it

That is the reason Sayaka's powers involve absorbing the negative energy around her. So to everyone telling me Sayaka should just go heal Kyousuke, I'd like to remind you that it is no longer possible to save his arm. Sayaka being there might help him get some feeling into it, but it's too far gone to make a difference. Broken bones can be fixed, but probably not an all but severed arm

At least not unless she builds up enough magical energy to recreate the entire body part from scratch, in which case, she needs to destroy her current body and have another group of magical girls create her another body for her while at the same time cut off kyousuke's arm and throw him into the circle right as the soul gem releases its built up magic.

Yeah, the logic I made for the magical stuff in this fic is convoluted. I'm so sorry.

Anyway, that was the latest chapter. Stay tuned for more