A/N: For this fic, you should know Bleach through the end of the Xcution arc and all of Madoka Magica's core anime (no movies), though I will be trying to make this equally accessible for each fandom. I'm going to be cheerfully contorting the canon mechanics of both Madoka Magica and Bleach and spoiling the hell out of them right out the gate so if you haven't watched them, you might want to go do that.
A VERSION OF THIS STORY WITH MORE SCREENREADER-FRIENDLY PAGE BREAKS IS AVAILABLE ON ARCHIVEOFOUROWN. 's horizontal lines are visually abysmal.
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PROLOG IM FEGEFEUER
TIMELINE X + N + 54
A peaceful spring had descended upon Karakura Town. It was a welcome relief to the inhabitants of the Urahara Shop. Their major project to counter Xcution's sinister supernatural plotting had been successfully resolved mere months before. All the supernaturally aware residents of Karakura had breathed a collective sigh of relief and found themselves able to relax and enjoy the budding and blossoming of trees and flowers. True, they would never be free of Hollows, but individual Hollows were much less stressful than predatory conspiracies. Simple Hollow hunting was like a vacation compared to the threats orchestrated by Sōsuke Aizen and Xcution.
One of these calm spring days two weeks into the new school year found Jinta Hanakiri and Ururu Tsumugiya in the courtyard of Urahara Shop, as usual. Neither had bothered to change out of their school uniforms. Life had gone back to normal for them, which is to say Ururu was dutifully sweeping the path while Jinta acted out and narrated an imaginary baseball game in which he led his team to victory. Both stopped and looked up when someone entered the courtyard.
A girl with long dark hair stood primly at the entrance to the yard. She appeared to be a middle schooler, but her uniform was unfamiliar to Jinta and Ururu— a cream jacket, red bow, and black and white plaid skirt worn with black leggings. The girl stared at them for a moment, then approached the shop with a measured pace.
Ururu smiled blandly. "Welcome to Urahara Shop. Can I get anything for you? Today we have a sale on imported candy."
The girl stopped a couple yards from the shop entrance. "No, thank you," she replied in a cool voice. "I would like to speak with the owner, please."
Ururu blinked. Before she could answer, Tessai's mountainous form leaned out the door. "May I ask what about, Miss?"
The girl shifted her gaze to him, unruffled. "Personal business."
Tessai cocked his head to one side and sized her up. Not recognizing her but sensing that she was more than the average human, he asked, "And who shall I tell him is calling?"
The girl ran a hand through her hair and tossed it over her shoulder. "Homura Akemi."
"All right. Please, do come in."
Tessai led Homura into the shop, ushered her to a table in the room behind the stock room, served her tea, and disappeared into the depths of the building. Jinta and Ururu found excuses to clean the stock room to eavesdrop on the mysterious stranger wanted. Homura just sat neatly and stared at her teacup between sips.
Ten minutes later, Kisuke Urahara breezed into the room, Tessai at his heels, and cheerfully began, "Good afternoon, Miss Akemi! Lovely day, isn't it?"
Homura blinked up at him and set down her empty cup. She folded her hands in her lap. "I suppose so, Mr. Urahara."
Urahara seated himself across from Homura with a manic grin as Tessai refilled Homura's teacup and served his employer before backing away. The shopkeeper peered at her over the rim of his teacup. "So! To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Miss Akemi?"
Homura shifted slightly. Urahara noted her fists clenched and unclenched. "I have collected the data you requested and am here to submit it for study."
Urahara raised an eyebrow curiously. "Thank you very much, Miss Akemi. What data would that be?"
Homura picked up her teacup again and solemnly stared at Urahara over it. "The data you requested in an effort to save the lives of the Kurosaki sisters from a threat that went unnoticed while you were distracted by their brother." She calmly sipped her tea. A scuffling noise came from the stock room.
Urahara froze, mind racing. He rapidly considered and discarded possibilities, then lowered his head and peered out at Homura from the shadow of the brim of his hat. "And how could I have requested such data from you when I am unaware of any threat and don't recall ever meeting you?"
Homura lowered her teacup and locked eyes with him. She tucked her hair behind one ear and bluntly replied, "Just because this is the first time you have met me does not mean that I have not met another you."
Urahara stared. In the silence, they could hear Jinta's muffled voice declare, "That makes no goddamn sense."
Several moments passed as Urahara thought. Homura merely sipped her tea. Finally, Urahara leaned toward her and slowly asked, "When did you meet me, then?"
Serene, Homura answered, "Five weeks from now."
Urahara quirked one eyebrow. "Five weeks ago?"
Homura shook her head slightly. "No, roughly five weeks from today. Late April. The day the Tenth Division Captain has arranged to begin his survey of his division's assigned districts in this region, starting with Naruki City. His goal is to ensure the density of shinigami he is assigning to cover the area is adequate. He contacted you to arrange for supplies two days ago."
Urahara sat back and stared at her for a long time. The girl patiently bore his scrutiny.
Finally, Urahara tipped his hat to her and grimly said, "It seems we have much to talk about, Miss Time-Traveler."
Homura inclined her head in agreement. "Quite."
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This chapter was replaced with an edited version on November 1, 2019. Reviews with timestamps before that date refer to a slightly different version of the chapter.