One Thing Left to Save
Epilogue: For Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else
Homura came to Madoka when she needed it most. Now Madoka just has to take one more step on her own before she's ready.

A short look at the story from Madoka's point of view, another bit of finalizing my headcanon on what happened between time A and time B, and another thing I wasn't sure if I was going to do as I was writing, but once I started jotting down ideas, I knew I'd enjoy it. I was right.

"It's about time to go, isn't it?" Madoka asked her friend, trying not to be sad but unable to completely hide her worry.

"Yes. I'm sorry, but you know we can't stay for long," Homura replied from Madoka's bedside.

Madoka nodded, pulling the sheets off. "Okay. I just need a little bit to get ready, so...can you please step out?" She meant it last night when she said she felt safest around Homura, but what she wanted to do wasn't for her.

"Do you need anything from me?" she asked. When Madoka shook her head, she walked to the door. "Then I'll wait here," she said as she left Madoka to do what she needed.

Standing up, Madoka wasted no time as she turned her computer back on before going to dress in her school uniform. She smiled a little as she put it on; while she tended to think of her pink and white dress as something like her superhero outfit, her school uniform had its own special meaning to her. Dressing quickly, she grabbed her hairbrush and ribbons and sat at her computer, running the brush through her hair while opening a program with her free hand and typing in the title for what she was about to do.

"For Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else from Madoka"

Tilting the screen so the camera would capture her face, she tied her ribbons into her usual style, took a deep breath, smiled at the camera, and clicked "Record."

"Hello to whoever is watching this," she began gently. "This is Madoka Kaname. It's the morning of May 1st, 2011. I have more to say than what I'll talk about here, but I don't have long to talk. I'm recording this because I'm about to go and do the most important thing of my life, and I trust Homura completely to watch out for me. But I..."

She wanted this to be something she was doing to get this off her mind, to introduce what she wanted to explain later; this wasn't supposed to be an "in case I don't make it" message. She needed a moment to think before forcing herself to keep talking, "I have some things I can't keep inside, or bring with me, or even say to your face. Not yet. So I have to do it this way."

After another breath, she continued, "Mom, you think Homura and I have something to do with Sayaka disappearing and Mami Tomoe and Kyoko Sakura's bodies being found. Or maybe you think it's just her, I'm not sure. It's both of us, we're both part of it. What happened was," she thought about how she rehearsed this in her head last night, "the four of us were looking for Sayaka. We didn't find her until that night. But something happened to her and she wasn't in control of herself anymore." Her smile drooped to a sad but focused grimace at the memory of the thing that had taken the place of her childhood friend, and she explained, "She tried to kill us. We tried to help her, but we couldn't. I don't know if she even knew who I was. It came down to...we had to stop her, the only way we could."

Again, she stopped for a moment to keep herself together before she returned to her speech. "After that...Mami...couldn't accept it. She was afraid of what happened to Sayaka. She was afraid it would happen to us, too, and was so afraid she wanted to make sure we would never have to go through what Sayaka did." A breath. "She killed Kyoko and was going to kill us and herself. But...I stopped how we stopped Sayaka." Shaking her head, she knew there was no reason to be vague as she corrected herself, "I killed her to save Homura."

While she paused to let that message sink in, she could imagine her parents not believing what they just heard. These last few days had been full of things Madoka couldn't believe, all right, and now it was their turn to join in. But then again, their joining in, at least in a way, was the point of this video.

"Since the middle of last March, Mami and I were part of what happened to Sayaka, but we didn't know it. We'd been going out and fighting...girls who'd been hurt like Sayaka had been hurt. We didn't know what had really happened to them; all we knew was that they were hurting people and we could do something about it. Homura joined us after she started school again, and then Sayaka did too. Homura was the only one who knew what was really going on, and she tried to warn us. But we didn't believe her. Not until it happened to Sayaka." Standing up, she held out her hand to the camera. "Homura was trying to protect me the whole time, and she still is now. If you can't believe her, I hope you can believe me."

Cupping her palm upwards, she materialized her soul gem, and then willed her magical girl outfit to appear on her. Since normal people couldn't see witches or Kyubey, she didn't know how showing off a soul gem and then transforming would look on a recording, but her parents knew her as an honest girl, and her artistic talents were not in video editing.

"I can't explain it now, but something worse than anything we've fought before is coming. Everyone in the city's in danger, and Homura and I are the only ones who can do anything about it. That's why I can't go with you to the shelter, and I know this is going to make you mad at me and scared for me, but it's what I have to do for you."

Giving the camera a calm nod, she said, "If you want to help me, all you have to do is go to the shelter and stay there. That's really all. I'll tell you everything later, but I have to go now." She reached down to stop the recording, but then remembered one last thing. "Oh, by the way, since I know Tatsuya won't understand any of this, just tell him his big sister loves him and she's going to keep him safe, too." Smiling, she clicked "Stop."

Letting out a sigh she didn't realize she was holding in, Madoka sat back down, feeling like a weight had been taken off her shoulders and another one was soon to replace it. Still, it was done and there was no time for second thoughts. She rewound the video to the beginning and tore a sheet of paper from one of her notebooks, writing "WATCH ME" and taping it to the monitor.

There was just one other thing she needed to do before bringing Homura back in. Walking back to her bed, she reached up to the stuffed animals she kept on the shelf above it and removed something cold and hard buried among them. She looked down at the object cradled in her hands as she sat down: A needle on one end, a crescent shape on the other, and what looked like a ball of solid darkness encased in metal between them. If it still counted as her at all, it was the only thing left of Sayaka Miki.

She hadn't told Homura that, somehow, she had enough scraps of brainpower left to pick up Sayaka's grief seed before they left the train station. She'd asked Homura to give her a minute alone before she could even stand up again. While her friend watched for anyone coming, Madoka cried out everything she could, at least everything at that moment, and dragged herself to her feet. As she stumbled to where Homura was waiting, her foot bumped against the grief seed. After changing back to her normal clothes, she hid it in her pocket while Homura led her home. She still couldn't decide why she didn't tell Homura about it. Maybe it was because she hoped that somehow Sayaka was still in there and could still hear her, or maybe it was because she didn't want to hear that this could never turn back into Sayaka, even if Homura knew it for a fact.

Whatever the reason, she folded her hands around it and raised it to her chest, only her fingers keeping it from touching her soul gem. "Sayaka...if there's any way I'm reaching you right now...I'm sorry I didn't do more to help you, too. But I'm going to make you proud of me, and I still want you by my side. I'm not going to let what you've done be for nothing," she told what she hoped was still her friend.

Dismissing her outfit, she tucked the grief seed in her pocket and went to the door to let Homura back in.

A/N Continued

For real, now, thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed the story, that means a lot to me. MadoHomu4life, 4always, 4ever.

This story's copyright policy: "Sharing is caring." Do what you like with this story, not like I can do anything to stop you, in fact I'd be flattered you'd want to share it or save it so you can read it whenever you want. All I ask is that you link back to the original source. A version that can be copied is on my DA page (I'm Evertide there too).

Madoka Magica (c) its owners and writers.
The quote this series takes its name from is from a YouTube comment on The Walking Dead's soundtrack by YouTube user Oreally.
This story uses the timeline presented by the MM wiki, so thanks to the wiki for that too.

Follow-up 04/25/2016: Now with side story! If you've finished watching the anime series, check out "One Thing Left To Save: Just Outside Heaven" for a one-shot about the Roman magical girls in chapter 4 getting a better ending.