Insane Insight

For the Yandere Unfortunate Challenge.

How far is despair from madness? One Insane Insight. Her sacrifice was not in vain ... she did not become a zombie. It was all for him ... for Kyousuke. Wasn't it?

Rated M for language and violence.

Extra note: There are some out of character characters in this fic. That is, after all, the point. To rewrite one or more of the girls as Yandere. So there are a few adjustments of several characters. Just for fair warning.

I don't own Puella Magi Madoka Magica or any associated characters.

"Are you trying to torture me, Sayaka?"

"I ... I mean ... Kamijou-kun. We ... it hasn't been ... I mean ..."

"It's okay, Hitomi-chan. Just say what you feel."

No ... I love you ... I am ... am trying to make you feel better.

"Is that your wish, Miki Sayaka?"

"I ... I know. It's just ... it's complicated."

"Why?"

Of course, Kyuubey. He needs it. His life revolves around his music. His life. I want him to have his life back.

"I ... care very deeply for you."

What a fool I've been!

Kyousuke smiled.

Justice.

"And I for you, Hitomi-chan. I ... I still remember, when we met. I know ... it has been a long time ..."

Right.

"You ... you remember? It ... it has been. A very long time. I thought ... well, that you would have forgotten."

Wrong.

"Never."

Fool!

"And ... and Sayaka ..."

Such a fool.

Kyousuke grimaced.

"Yeah. Sayaka-chan. She ..."

"Yes. She. But .. I ... I love ... you. Kamijou-kun."

Kyousuke smiled again, and gently took her hand.

"I love you too, Hitomi. I ... I can call you that?"

How can he say he loves her? She never did anything for him. Me, I ... I visited him in the hospital. I gave him gifts. What did he think those were about? I ... I gave up my soul for him! I became a zombie for him.

"Of course ... Kyousuke."

For ... him ...

Hitomi reached a hand out ... Kyousuke took it. Gently. Both smiled.

I understand now. I sacrificed my soul. For him. I'm no Hero of Justice. But ... for him ...

They walked home together. The gathering dusk was just beginning to stain the city red when Kyousuke turned to Hitomi at his front door. Awkwardly. There was a moment when the two felt themselves move closer together. When Kyousuke could just barely feel the warmth and solidity of Hitomi's body. When he nearly dropped his crutches to wrap his arms around her. But.

"Good night, Hitomi. I will see you tomorrow."

"Yes. Yes, tomorrow. And ... Saturday. We will spend the entire day together."

He smiled widely.

"Be careful walking home."

"I will be. But it is just going back through the park. It'll be safe."

Safe.

She felt safe. The redness deepened, segueing into a bluish black. The night was cool, a faint breeze caressing her cheek. She sighed deeply and strolled home with a slow but springy step. She was happy. She ... well, she knew that Kyousuke had many scars that would take time to heal. The mental ones more worrisome than those of his body. He had been in an accident. He had been told he would never play the violin again. That had to affect a man. For him, it was not that different from being told he would never have a child. It was a form of impotence. But something happened. Hitomi didn't know what. It didn't matter. She was prepared to accept him with or without his musical talent.

The leaves rustled above her head. She smiled as she glanced at the park bench. An hour ago, perhaps, she and he had sat there. Held hands. She had confessed. He had accepted, and had confessed in his turn. It was a beautiful moment. It was the very very beginning. Hitomi laughed aloud. It was the beginning of her life. The first moment. Her first breath had been taken after she had heard those words.

"I love you too," she whispered quietly to herself.

A hand clamped around her mouth. An arm around her waist. She struggled to no avail. Her assailant pulled her back, into the grove of trees opposite the bench. Her muffled scream was unheard by any other than her self and her attacker. The leaves rustled quietly above her head in the cool, gentle breeze.

"Well."

Hitomi's blood froze. Fear had changed to terror. An unknown assailant was a cause for fear. Terror was in the form of a blue-haired girl holding her from behind with ... inhuman strength.

"Thought you could just steal him from me?"

Desperately, Hitomi tried to cry out I gave you a chance! It came out as a muffled and garbled series of sounds.

"Don't scream."

The hand slowly uncovered her mouth coming instead to rest on her throat. With just enough pressure to let Hitomi know the consequences of screaming, fighting, or struggling.

"Sa ... yaka. I ... I told ... told you. You ... you agreed ... One day!"

"Hmmm. Well, I was a fool then, Hitomi. I thought about things. Thought about a lot of things. Like, what I sacrificed."

"Sa ... sacrificed?"

"Sure, for Kyousuke. You don't think his hand just got better all by itself ... do you? I sacrificed my soul for him, Hitomi. My soul."

"Wha ...?"

"Oh, that's right! You don't know, do you? You've never seen Kyuubey. Never been ... worthy enough. Have you? You have a perfect little life. Wealth. Charm. Beauty. But you lack ... character. You aren't worthy to be a magical girl. Nor are you worthy to touch Kyousuke with your ... dirty ... soiled fingers."

"Please ... Sayaka. I .. I am sorry. I ... I didn't know ... I will back off. Okay? If that's what you want. Kyousuke can ... can be yours."

Her stomach twisted. Her head hurt. Desperate terror made her speak. Say whatever she could. Get away from Sayaka. What would happen after that? The important thing was right now. Get away.

"No, doesn't work that way. I know you too well. Slut. You've never been my friend. Never. Not really."

Sayaka's hand covered Hitomi's mouth again, and she once more struggled.

"So I can't let you go. I can't let you just walk away. You know? Because once a bitch, always a bitch. If not now, then later. So I can't just let you walk away."

Sayaka's arm unwrapped itself from Hitomi's waist. There was a flash of blue light. Sayaka's hand had become ... gloved. Hitomi's skin tingled, her eyes opened wide in confusion. She tried to pull away again. Even one-armed Sayaka's strength was more than she could match. Hitomi screamed. It came out as a pathetic, muffled, mewling sound.

The sharp point slid easily past her tunic and blouse. Into her flesh with intense pain. A faint puncturing sound that Hitomi heard. Or felt. It was hard to say because her panic and horror was of an intensity greater than the pain. And the pain was agonizing.

Inch by inch. The cold, sharp, hard metal slid into Hitomi's body.

"Backstabber. How does it feel, eh?"

Hitomi's eyelids became heavy. The world around her went from the unworldly yellow of street-light, to red. She struggled. It made the pain worse as the blade relentlessly, slowly, pushed into her. Then she felt the skin of her chest bulge out, and with another puncturing sound it gave way. Then through her blouse and her tunic.

Blue steel. Stained red. It glinted perversely in the light.

The light was so red. So red. Then it faded to blue.

Then black.

Hitomi became limp in Sayaka's grasp. The magical girl simply released the body, taking a step backward. She looked down. Hitomi wasn't moving. Blood pooled up below her. It was staining the leaves, the grass, the soil.

Sayaka showed no expression. She allowed her magical girl outfit to vanish, replaced by her school uniform. There was no blood on her clothing. No blood on her hands.

They were clean.

The sword stuck in Hitomi dissolved.

There was no evidence.

She pulled out her soul gem. It was a dull, dark blue, within which swirled an ugly thick black smoke.

She pulled out a grief seed from her pocket.

"Good-bye, Hitomi," she whispered as she pressed the grief seed to her soul gem, cleansing it of corruption.

"No consequences. Now I have a reason to continue."


"Sayaka-chan!"

"Madoka!"

A huge grin crossed the bluenette's face. She practically danced over to her pink-haired friend.

"You ... you look much better."

"I ... I thought about things, Madoka. Something that redhead, Kyouko, told me ... I just got it. And I think that she's right."

Madoka tilted her head.

"Well. I mean, that's great news. It's nice to have you back."

And I used a grief seed last night, Madoka. My soul gem's pretty blue again.

Great! I mean ... well ... everyone has been worried for you, Sayaka.

Even transfer-student?

Well ... not in words but ... yes, I think so.

They walked in apparent silence. Exchanging thoughts. Kyuubey trotted up to the pair, casting a quick glance to Sayaka, before scrambling up to Madoka's shoulder.

Sayaka glared at Kyuubey for a moment .. before a slow smile crossed her face.

I even forgive you, Kyuubey. I ... I get it now.

It is good to hear that you have returned to something resembling normal, Miki Sayaka.

They walked for a moment more in silence. Then Madoka looked up and smiled. Sayaka tilted her head.

"Kamijou-kun! Look .. it's him. Kamijou-kun."

She waved in his direction.

Sayaka's eyes went wide.

"Kamijou-kun, look who it is!"

The platinum-haired boy turned in their direction, waving in a weak fashion. Madoka trotted over toward him. Sayaka took a deep breath, and followed along after her.

"What is wrong, Kamijou-kun?"

"I ... that is ... Madoka-chan ... Sayaka-chan ... have ... have you seen Hitomi?"

Sayaka froze.

"No, Kyousuke. I ... haven't seen her. Not ... for some time. Why would you think that I did ... that I saw her?"

He glanced at her curiously.

"No, it's not that ... Sayaka. It's just ... well, I spoke with Hitomi last night. We were supposed to walk to school together. I even tried calling her cell phone, but didn't get an answer."

Sayaka fought to control rising fear. Hitomi's cell phone! If it went off when someone was around ...

"I ... think I got a text from her last night. Saying ... that she didn't feel good. That ... something had happened that she ... regretted. I think that was it. She was going to skip today to ... to think things over."

A look of sadness washed over Kyousuke's face.

"Oh. I ... I guess ... well, that might explain ... why she didn't answer the phone for me. I guess."

"Oh ... Kamijou-kun ... are you ... okay? Did ... did you two ... no, not my business. Listen ... let's eat lunch together! Or ... or if you need help ... like with homework. Or anything. Really. I ... I will help you!"

Kyousuke's confusion and uncertainty increased.

"Umm ... I ... I need to get going. I don't move as quick as you girls do, and I don't want to be late."

He hobbled off, watched closely by Madoka. The pinkette had a look of confusion on her face.

"Sayaka, why ..."

She rounded on Madoka with a baleful look on her face.

"Don't talk about Kyousuke. Don't talk to him. Stay away from him, Madoka."

Madoka gasped in shock, and Sayaka turned abruptly, stalking off.


Kyousuke sat with some friends at lunch. He ate slowly, not talking.

"Hey. You alright?"

"Huh? Oh. Sorry, Nakazawa-san. Just ... thinking."

"Oh. Right. Yeah, man. Sorry. Listen, I ..."

"Sorry for interrupting. Any room for me?"

Both boys looked up in surprise.

"Sayaka-chan. I ... suppose there is."

She grinned widely and set her tray down beside Kyousuke's. A boy next to them quickly stood up, offering Sayaka his chair, before switching to another nearby seat.

"This is nice, isn't it? Oh, you didn't get dessert. Here, have mine!"

She grinned and placed a bowl on Kyousuke's tray.

"Strawberry Charlotte! Go ahead, dig in Kamijou-kun!"

He glanced at the yellow sponge-cake, topped with whipped cream. He picked up a fork, hesitating a moment.

"Are ... are you sure?"

"Uh huh. I ... well, I kinda picked it up just for you."

"Oh. But ... but you don't have a dessert that way."

"That's okay, Kamijou-kun."

He shrugged, and cut into the small cake. Red strawberry filling oozed out. Sayaka's eyes went wide as she saw the red stain the yellow cake and white topping.

She grinned.

Laughed.

The boys looked up at her uncertainly.

"What ... what's so funny?"

"Huh? That just ... reminded me of something. I didn't think of it but ... heh. Sorry, you ... you wouldn't get it."


Homura glanced backward over her shoulder. She saw Madoka glancing at Sayaka. The bluenette was looking across the room at Kyousuke. She turned to look in his direction. He was nervously glancing at Sayaka. And the empty space behind Sayaka where Hitomi normally sat. He leaned over across the aisle, whispering something to the girl in the desk beside him. Homura glanced curiously back across the room, noting Sayaka's expression. Or rather, glare of intense and undisguised anger.


"Kamijou-kun!"

"Sayaka," he replied in a strained voice.

"Going home?"

"Yes."

"Walk you home?"

"Why?"

Sayaka stopped in her tracks.

"What ... what do you mean, why? I ... I just thought you might like the company."

Kyousuke didn't respond. He continued his labored walking, depending heavily upon his crutches.

"I ... I mean ... Kamijou-kun? I ... I helped you today. I got you dessert. I ..."

"Sayaka. Please. I just want to be alone."

"But ... but why?"

"If you must know ... I am worried for Hitomi."

Sayaka closed her eyes, taking in deep breaths.

"I am quite sure she is fine, Kamijou-kun. She's right where she should be. I am sure of it."

He didn't respond.

"Kamijou-kun? Don't ... don't just walk away from me."

"Sayaka, please."

Sayaka's expression changed. Confusion and hurt was quickly replaced by anger. She glanced around. She waited a moment. Then with a purposeful step, she followed Kyousuke at a slight distance ...


Kyousuke groaned. Everything around him was dark. His wrists and ankles ached ... chaffed. He opened his eyes. It was still dark. He tried to sit up. He realized he was secured to a hard surface. The chaffing pain at his ankles and wrists were rough ropes, tied off, holding him down. The perpetual darkness, a blindfold over his eyes.

"Hello? Hello, is anyone there?"

He felt a fingertip touch his cheek. An ice-cold fingertip. He shivered.

"Who ... who is it?"

A hand cupped, caressed, his cheek, his jawline.

"What is going on?"

He remembered going to school that day. Was it the same day? Hitomi was missing. Not answering her phone. Had she second thoughts about ... and then there was his childhood friend ...

"Sayaka?"

There was a sharp gasping intake of breath.

"Sayaka? What .. what are you doing? Why am I here?"

How could it be her? But who else could it be? She had been strangely ... clingy all day. Sitting beside him, talking to him, offering to walk him home. He remembered now passing by that place ... the bench where he and Hitomi ...

A second ice-cold hand touched his face. Someone leaned in close to him. He could feel breath on his face, sweet-scented but as cold as the hands.

"Stop ... stop this. I ... I don't like ... don't like you that way. Sayaka ... I love you, but ..."

A hand pressed over his mouth. He struggled against the ropes. To no avail.

A pair of lips, surprisingly rigid and unyielding, pressed themselves to the tip of his nose.

Kyousuke trembled. The hands left his face.

"Please ... stop this," he whispered.

The hands trailed down his chest. Then to his side. They left his body. Then he felt them touch, caress, his left hand. The one that had been damaged. That had miraculously healed. Soft, but cold, touches. Then his hand was enveloped in hers.

"Sayaka?"

The hands clamped around his with vice-like pressure. Unyielding and merciless, they crushed in. Kyousuke felt, heard, bones cracking. Tendons snapping. He screamed. The pressure did not stop until his hand was mangled and limp.

The person casually walked around Kyousuke's body.

"Say ... Sayaka. Please ... please ..."

Wordlessly, she grasped his right hand.

"Oh god ... no ... please!"

He screamed again as his right hand was shattered in the inhumanly strong grip of the two ice-cold hands.


"Hey, transfer student?"

Homura looked up impassively at Sayaka.

"Need to talk to you."

"So talk."

"Not here. On the rooftop at lunchtime."

"Sayaka-chan?"

"You come too, Madoka."

"Ummmm ... okay."

Sayaka and Madoka returned to their seats as Saotome-sensai entered the classroom. Her face was grim.

"Class. I ... well, as you are doubtless aware by now, we have ... two missing students in our class. Shizuki-san and Kamijou-san. I ... I am mentioning it now, as both the principal and the police have indicated that ... if anyone has any information as to their whereabouts ... to please step forward."

Her glance stopped on Sayaka for a moment. The bluenette blushed and seemed to sink into her seat.


Homura and Madoka sat on the rooftop. On the hard marble bench. Bento boxes sat between them. Madoka was clearly worried. Homura watched her carefully, her expression distant and cold, as usual.

The door leading back into the school opened. Homura turned. Sayaka looked at the two, then glanced around the roof. Slowly, with unnecessary caution, she stepped toward them.

"Sayaka-chan?"

"Making sure. I ... need your help, Homura."

Homura's eyebrows raised slightly.

"First-name basis?"

"No time for formalities or insults. Kyousuke is missing."

"He is probably with Hitomi," Madoka said innocently.

Sayaka winced. Homura stood, placing herself between Madoka and Sayaka. Something about the bluenette's body-language worried the dark-haired magical girl.

"No ... no I don't think so, Madoka. He ... he has to be in trouble. I ... I know it. And ... and you two are the only ones I can trust."

"Why?"

"Because ... well, I know you two aren't interested in Kyousuke."

"Interested," Madoka asked in confusion.

"Yeah. I mean ... You two are ... well ... I mean ... you're together, right? So ... so a boy ... wouldn't interest you. Right?"

Madoka blushed.

"Miki-san. If you believe that Kamijou-kun ... and for that matter Shizuki-san ... are in danger, then say so. We will help you. I am certain that Sakura Kyouko will also help."

She cares for you far more deeply than you have ever realized, she didn't add.

Sayaka paused for a moment. She glanced between the two girls. Homura sighed softly, returning to her place beside Madoka. Sayaka grinned, and sat down beside Madoka as well. The pinkette smiled uncertainly at her.

"We ... we all want to help, Sayaka-chan."


"Okay so ... this isn't a Witch we're talking about?"

Kyouko frowned, and took a bite of the taco in her hand. On her lap was a brown paper sack filled with Mexican food. The others had politely refused her offer to share.

"I don't know," Sayaka said.

Kyouko stopped chewing, her cheek bulging.

"So," she mumbled with a full mouth, "we could be talking criminals, witches, Puellae Magi ... we don't know what?"

"Right," Sayaka said with a slight wince of distaste.

"In any case, neither Shizuki-san nor Kamijou-san are equipped to deal with the kind of danger that we deal with daily. Kyouko, we would appreciate your help in this matter."

Kyouko regarded Homura carefully. She swallowed and nodded.

"Yeah. Guess we can call this training for Walpurgisnacht, right? Getting some of the teamwork bit down."

A grin crossed Sayaka's face.

"We .. we'll find and rescue Kyousuke for sure ... we won't fail!"

The three others glanced uncertainly at Sayaka.


Sayaka closed her eyes. Homura watched her carefully. The two Puellae Magi stood atop the radio antenna of Mitakihara Tower. This was as high a point as they could possibly reach. Somewhere far below, Kyouko and Madoka stood at the base of the building.

"I .. I can sense his presence. My ... my wish involved Kyousuke."

Homura said nothing.

"I can track him. He's in the warehouse district."

"Convenient," Homura said.

"Very. We can be there in minutes."

Homura, Kyouko, and Madoka followed Sayaka, who was leading them through the rough, shabby part of town known as the warehouse district. It was a bad neighborhood ... the perfect place to stash someone.

Madoka kept close to Homura, nervously looking around the darkened streets. Watching the darkened faces of people as they passed by. Leered.

She shivered. Last time she had been in this part of town, Hitomi had been out of her mind. A Witch's Kiss on her neck. Suicide. Despair. Crime. That is all Madoka associated with this part of town. It was ... it was evil.

"Here. He's somewhere within this building."

"Great. Now point us to where."

"Oh. I mean ... I can't narrow it down any closer than this."

Homura frowned.

"We will split up, and search the building for him."

Madoka's eyes went wide.

"I .. I don't know ..."

"Do not be afraid, Madoka. If you find him, or run into trouble, yell as loudly as you can."

"That you don't have to tell me," Madoka said with a nervous chuckle.


"He ... he's here!"

Madoka had moved in an apparently random direction. Through narrow hallways. She tried several doors, all of which were unlocked. Before finding him. He had been placed in a chair, against the far wall and within easy sight of the doorway. His legs and arms dangled limply, purple and mangled. Madoka ran over to Kyousuke. He looked up at her with uncertain eyes.

"Kamijou-san ... what happened?"

Madoka tried not to flinch at the sudden presence of Homura directly behind her. She hadn't heard her until her question ... but Homura was ... like that sometimes.

"You ... you two. Step away from him."

Sayaka's voice echoed in the room, from the door-frame. Homura stiffened. Madoka gasped in fear. Something in her tone ...

Madoka slowly stood up. Homura placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder, and twisted to look ... glare rather ... at Sayaka. The bluenette slowly entered the room, her sword at the ready.

Homura gently guided Madoka away from Kyousuke, keeping her body between Madoka and Sayaka.

"Say ... Sayaka-chan?"

The bluenette slowly moved toward Kyousuke, watching Homura suspiciously, sword ever at the ready. Until she reached Kyousuke. Her expression instantly changed. She dropped her sword, and knelt down beside him.

"Kyou ... Kyousuke. Love. What ... what happened? Who ... who did this?"

Kyousuke looked up, eyes growing wide.

"You ..."

Madoka had to suppress a cry of terror, her hand going to her lips. Homura's expression remained impassive, but her hand left Madoka's shoulder ... easing to her shield.

"Jesus fuck ..."

The girls turned to the door-frame. Kyouko stood there, a look of shock and disgust on her face.

Sayaka smiled bitterly.

"What, Kyouko? Weren't you the one ..."

"Sayaka ... don't you dare ..."

"Who told me that I should break his arms and legs ..."

"Bitch ..."

"Sayaka ... chan! You ... you said ... something Kyiouko told you ... is ... is this ... is this it!"

"I was joking, moron."

There was an awkward silence. A wide grin crossed Sayaka's face.

"You ... you think ... you really really think that I could do this? I ... I became a rock ... a zombie to heal his hand. You ... you really think?"

"I think that you set this up, Miki-san."

"Really, transfer student? That I'd go to this much effort? Why?"

"You aren't in your right mind. You want to be a Hero of Justice. You want to be Kamijou-kun's savior. To show him how much more you love him ... than Hitomi ever could."

"She's fucking psycho," Kyouko spat.

Sayaka shook her head, not answering either of the other two. Instead, she returned to Kyousuke's side.

"Please ... my love ...what happened to you?"

Homura and Kyouko took a step closer. Madoka, trembling, backed away from everyone, toward a wall.

"What happened to you," Homura asked in a calm, if not down-right cold, voice.

"Who did this to you?"

"Hi ... Hitomi!"

Shock. Silence. Interrupted by a chuckle from Sayaka.

"What? That can't be true. I know, because I killed ..."

Madoka cried out.

"Sayaka-chan?"

Sayaka's eyes went wide in horror. Had she really just said ... ?

"Wha...?" Kyouko recoiled from Sayaka. Even Homura took a step backward.

Sayaka sighed, and stood up.

"Fine. Yes. It is true. I killed her. Stabbed the bitch in the back. Just like she did to me."

"What?" Madoka's voice wavered. Homura looked back to her. She was pale, and looked on the edge of a breakdown.

"She stole Kyousuke from me. She was undoing everything. I ... I started thinking I was wrong. That I made a stupid sacrifice for nothing. But then I realized. No, I didn't. I gave up my soul for Kyousuke. My soul gem ... is his. My gift to him. To do with as he wishes. If he wants me to keep fighting I will. But it is all for him, all about him. Him, only. Hitomi ... her ... her dirty slut-hands were fouling everything up. I ... I couldn't let her continue to ... to touch him."

"So you did this to Kyousuke?"

"No!"

"Then ... what the hell?"

Kyouko looked on the verge of a breakdown of her own.

"I did this."

A chill ran through everyone. The voice came from the door-frame. A familiar voice. One that made Sayaka ... turn very pale.

They turned.

There in the door-frame stood a green-haired, green eyed girl. She wore a green miniskirt, green and yellow short-sleeved, midriff-baring blouse. Every visible inch of skin, other than her neck, face, and fingers, was encased in green fishnet bodystocking. Green stiletto-heeled pumps were on her feet. A gold chain encircled her neck, and another was clasped around her waist. She held a sasumata, a six foot pole-arm with a U shaped head, adorned with wicked looking spikes on four sides just below the tip.

"You ..."

Sayaka took a step forward, her shock instantly vanished. Her swords appeared in her hands.

"Yes. But I must thank you, Sayaka."

"What?"

"Yes. You did this, you know. If you hadn't attacked me ... tried to kill me ... taunted me with Kyuubey ... well, I wouldn't really understand things."

oOo

Hitomi's eyes opened slowly. Her pain was excruciating. But somehow she was alive. Barely. She was cold. Very cold. Her vision was blurry. She could see leaves. The trunk of a tree. And something white and red.

With a groan, she pushed herself up off the ground.

"Ky ... Kyuubey?"

"Yes, Shizuki Hitomi. Make a contract with me!"

"And ... sac ... sacrifice my ... soul?"

"It is not a sacrifice. It is a contract! You gain one Wish. I gain the energy from your soul, and your despair, to stave off the encroachment of Entropy. It is a fair exchange."

"I ... I agree. Fair. I wish ... to not die here. To live ... so ... I can ... take care of Kyousuke ... and ... kill Sayaka."

"Very well, Puella Magi Hitomi. Accept your destiny!"

. . . .

A day later, Sayaka followed Kyousuke through the park as he hobbled his way home. she saw the bench. Saw the grove of trees. She knew ... this is where it happened. She held her breath. Watched Kyousuke go past the spot. He glanced at the bench ... remembering?

Her soul gem began to tingle. To alert Sayaka. A Witch was forming. She was still a Puella Magi. She still had to fight them. Collect grief seeds. Especially now that she had a reason to continue to exist. She watched for another moment, to make sure Kyousuke continued. Past the spot. He .. if he became curious, or turned off the path, if he discovered Hitomi's body, which she assumed still lay where she had left it ... but he did not. And she left to find the Witch. She would have ... all the time in the world to care for him, after all.

oOo

"What the hell did you do," Kyouko asked in a quiet, dangerous whisper.

"Well, what I had to of course. Sayaka made me realize that I didn't really deserve Kyousuke. It was her miracle that allowed him to play again. Her miracle that brought him out of the hospital."

"So why didn't you just die then," sneered Sayaka.

"Because I will not lose to you. I had to, you see? I had to undo your miracle. I wasn't worthy of Kyousuke, not without making my own miracle to sustain him. So I had to break his hands, and arms, and legs. So I could put him back together. Myself. Don't you see? Don't you see how beautiful it all is? He will be mine, because I will remake his body, with my own magic. With my own soul."

oOo

"Isn't it beautiful, my love? See how it glows? That is me. Now. That wonderful emerald. It's me. Because I Wished myself back."

Kyousuke could only gaze in horror. He could barely comprehend what was happening. His eyes were trained on the green oval shape sitting in Hitomi's hands

The physical pain of his injuries ... the emotionally shattering realization that it was Hitomi who had attacked and crippled him. Betrayed him ... he was unable to think. Unable to speak. He wanted to die. He knew, somehow, that she would never let that happen.

Hitomi's face was bathed in sickly green light. Her eyes were wide. Her hair badly disheveled. Her school uniform red-brown with dried blood, torn from where Sayaka's sword had stabbed in, and out.

"And, once I get rid of ... Miki ... then, my love ... then I will give you your limbs back. Oh, don't be afraid my love. I ... I am doing this for you. Are you hungry? I ... I made you dinner. I will feed it to you. You don't have to worry about anything any more. And ... and then I will give you a bath. And pamper you. Oh, darling ... pamper you like you have never, ever felt before. I love you so much, Kamijou Kyousuke."

oOo

Kyouko raised her spear, stepping up beside Sayaka.

"Yeah ... that's all creepy as fuck. You ready, Sayaka?"

She glanced uncertainly at Kyouko.

"Hitomi! Listen. This is a time for rational thought, and not sudden action," Homura stated calmly.

Her hand was near her shield, preparing to stop time, to withdraw a weapon. But first she would try to diffuse the situation. She didn't want Madoka in the crossfire.

"Well. You are right Akemi-san. You, and Red ... may leave. I don't have any quarrel with you. Leave, and stay away from Kyousuke, and you live."

"You will let us go ... myself, Madoka, and Kyouko ... if we promise to not interfere?"

"Don't Homura," called out Kyouko.

"Well. You and Kyouko, yes. I trust your enlightened self-interest. Madoka ... is too much of a risk. She is too ... nice not to interfere. I am afraid I cannot allow her to leave."

"Hitomi-chan?"

Madoka's voice was tinged with confusion, fear, betrayal.

"Then I cannot leave either."

"Suit yourself."

Homura took a split second to glance over to Madoka. To ensure she was safe ... as safe as possible. Hitomi gestured in Homura's direction. Homura was born to the ground entangled in a thick, heavily weighted green mass of rope ... a net. She struggled to reach her shield. But the thick mesh prevented her from acting.

Madoka cried out and stepped toward the entangled Homura. Sayaka stepped in front of her.

"Too dangerous, Madoka."

"Yes Madoka. Too dangerous. Stay back and watch me eviscerate your friends."

"She won't talk. Hitomi ... think about it. She and Homura ..."

"I know, Sayaka. I know what you're going to say. They aren't interested in Kyousuke. They are ... safe. I disagree. You're an idiot, Sayaka. Red here's a hot-head, I can tell already. Homura ... she is the greatest danger. And Madoka ... Madoka ..."

"Stop this, Hitomi-san. It is not too late. You don't understand ... you don't see the bigger picture."

"Spoken like someone caught in a trap, Akemi."

Hitomi snapped her fingers. The net surged with a green glow. Homura jolted, a strangled scream escaping her throat. Her eyes went wide. Rolled back in her head. Glazed over. Then she became very still.

"Ho .. Homura-chan!"

"Oh, don't worry. She's not dead, Madoka. Not yet. I promise to kill her after I kill you ... so you don't have to watch your lover suffer."

"My ...! Hitomi ... this ... this is terrible! Please ... just ... just stop."

Sayaka sighed. She was still in front of Madoka. She half-turned, and Madoka's wide fearful eyes looked into Sayaka's.

Then the hilt of Sayaka's left sword impacted Madoka's jaw and the pinkette collapsed unconscious to the floor, the edge of her mouth bleeding.

"The fuck!"

"Kyouko. Don't act surprised. She's troublesome and would only get in the way."

"Jesus, Sayaka. With shit like that it makes it real tough to be on your side."

"You aren't on my side, Kyouko. I will kill you both, and take my prize, Kyousuke, afterward."

Hitomi laughed, and the green-haired girl entered a defensive crouch. Kyouko's spear was held at the ready, the point slowly moving back and forth between Sayaka and Hitomi. Sayaka herself flourished her two swords, each one pointing at one of her two opponents.

In the blink of an eye Kyouko's grip on her spear changed. It fell into multiple sections joined by chain. Gripping just below the wicked triangular point, she spun, the segmented spear arcing out toward Sayaka, blunt sections and chains seeming to seek her out, to entangle or bludgeon her.

Sayaka ducked out of the way in the last minute, rolling and slashing toward Hitomi. The blunt end of her pole-arm deftly parried the blades.

Kyouko caught the blunt end of her spear in one hand as she let go with the other. The deadly triangular tip swung out in a semi-circle. Hitomi now was forced to dance out of its way.

Sayaka chose the moment to leap up, her swords held crossways, closing them like scissors. But Hitomi was not to be caught by this attack. She adjusted her momentum slightly and the twinned blades missed her entirely. Sayaka was less fortunate as the blunt end of Hitomi's staff cracked her temple. She staggered backward, blood pouring down the side of her face.

"Dammit," shouted Kyouko. Her spear solidified. She charged, the point aiming for the middle of Hitomi's chest.

Hitomi's eyes were wide, and held not a little fright. But she thrust her own weapon forward. Kyouko found her torso in the middle of the U. She braced herself for impact, expecting no more than to be pushed backward.

The U shape seemed to come alive. Wrapped around Kyouko's waist. The redhead grunted in surprise, and thrust her spear strongly. Hitomi twisted her sasumata. The spear's sharp edge sliced along Hitomi's left side. Fishnet and flesh tearing open and red running down to stain her skirt.

Sayaka shook off her shock. She charged forward toward Hitomi with a shout. The green Puella Magi frowned. With a cry, and evident intense strain, she swung the sasumata, using Kyouko's body as a bludgeon. Sayaka skidded to a halt and tried to dodge, but was caught by one of Kyouko's legs. The bluenette and redhead both cried out.

Hitomi, panting and sweating, chuckled.

"Now the fun begins."

She pulled back on her sasumata. There was a ripping sound. Kyouko screamed in agony, as the head ripped through her dress and skin, leaving behind large bloody gashes in her sides. She staggered backwards against a wall.

Hitomi then turned to Sayaka, who was starting to stand back up. The U shaped prongs of her pole-arm extended, sharpened. Snaked out toward Sayaka, who cried out in frustration and exhaustion. Parrying the sudden surprise attacks of the twin animated blades. She found herself entirely on defensive, driven back toward another wall. She spared a glance to Kyouko, who was pulling herself up with effort. A look of utter hate on her face.

"Gonna .. gonna pay for that. There ... won't be any piece of you big enough ... to ever tell you were once a fucking human."

Hitomi casually gestured in Kyouko's direction. However Kyouko knew what was coming, and managed to push herself away, landing hard on the floor with a shout, but avoiding being entangled in a thick green ropey net.

"Missed, bitch."

"Doesn't look like it matters much."

Kyouko groaned, trying and failing to pull herself up again.

Hitomi took a step back, breathing heavily. The blades of her weapon had pulled back. It was apparently causing Hitomi considerable effort to keep up this attack.

Kyouko again tried pulling herself up. But she recognized that she was almost beyond the point where she could have any impact on this fight.

The three Puellae Magi looked between one another. Undisguised hatred, each for the others, lined their faces. Sweat gleamed on their skin. None of them moved. None of them felt the strength to continue. Yet none would ever back down from this fight.

Then the stillness was broken by a loud sound. Explosion. Or close enough to one. The sound of shattering glass. Hitomi's eyes went blank. There was a rain of green shards and sand from behind her back. She slumped down into an undignified pile. On the small of her back was a gold framework with a few spare bits of green glass clinging to them. And blood. Lots of blood. It seeped from a large and ugly wound.

And Homura took a deep breath. Collapsed again. Having expanded so much energy to reach her shield. Her Desert Eagle fell from her grip. The thick net held her entangled for another half second, before dissolving.

Sayaka and Kyouko glanced at Homura. Saw a thin smile cross her lips.

"Bitch stamp," Homura muttered.

Sayaka dropped her swords. She glanced at the badly injured Kyouko, who in turn allowed her spear to vanish. She took a step toward the bluenette.

"Truce? We ... we got her. You ... you can leave. With your boy-toy. Get .. get things straightened out later. We ..."

She never completed her sentence. A fresh sword appeared in Sayaka's hand. Without warning, and faster than she or Homura could have anticipated, the blade flashed forward. Sharp tip hitting the soul gem in Kyouko's chest. Cracking it. Sliding through. There was the sound of shattering glass. Of steel penetrating through flesh. Bone. A spray of red shards and blood. Kyouko's crimson eyes went dull. She staggered backward. Lifeless.

"I don't trust you. No one but me leaves here alive. Except my darling love."

Homura found energy from somewhere. She rolled forward. Gripped her gun. Raising it. Sayaka twirled, two more swords appearing. The gun went off. An explosion of blood on Sayaka's belly made her wince. Her soul gem was coated in her blood. But intact. Sayaka surged forward.

"Homura-chan!"

"Madoka! No!"

The pinkette threw herself forward. Finding strength from somewhere. Sayaka's eyes went wide. For a moment, a brief moment, the Sayaka of old was back. It was how her crystal-blue eyes softened. Perhaps a memory of happier times seeped in as she saw Madoka.

Perhaps.

But it was only a moment. Before Sayaka's eyes froze over into ice.

Swords flashed.

Time stopped.

Homura took in deep, gasping breaths.

She stood, slowly, keeping her handgun aimed at Sayaka. Still. Greyed out. Unmoving.

Homura looked at Madoka.

She saw first her face. Pain. Wide, terrified eyes. She saw next the frozen spray of blood. The swords had bit into Madoka's soft flesh, tearing down into her shoulder-blades.

She forced herself to look at Sayaka. Her eyes were wide as well. But her expression. Her ... smile.

Homura shuddered.

Felt nauseous.

This was not the first time she had seen Madoka die. Far from it. But to die like this. Looking into the eyes of a friend ... a former friend, rather. Homura realized that, for Madoka, that pain would be worse than the physical agony.

She spared a glance for the other three in the room. Hitomi. Kyouko. Lifeless, soul gems shattered. Kyousuke. In this time-line, he had been no more than a prize to Sayaka, to Hitomi. But, this was something beyond Homura's control.

She shook her head.

This cycle held nothing else for her. She could kill Sayaka. But that would not save Madoka. Not now.

Color returned to the world.

Gears ground.

Homura shut her eyes. Placed her hands over her ears. She faded slowly from reality.

As Sayaka's swords ripped down through Madoka. The pinkette saw Homura. Saw her shape. Saw her fade out.

And smiled softly.

At least she survived, Madoka thought.

Before she died.

Sayaka let go of her swords.

Looked around the room.

Empty but for the bodies.

She was briefly confused. Homura was gone. But. Madoka was dead. Homura, if she lived, would never let that be. Would she?

Was Homura a Puella Magi or something else? ... well, she was gone now. Sayaka was sure.

Blood coated Sayaka's face. Her hair. Her blue and white outfit. Blood from herself. Hitomi. Kyouko. Madoka. She took in deep, heaving breaths. Licked her lips. Shivered from the taste.

She turned to Kyousuke. Looked at his bruised, mangled hands. His wide, glazed-over eyes. His look of shock, horror, defeat.

She smiled.

"Don't worry, my love. It will all be all right now. Now that they are all dead. I will take care of you. Wait and see. I will. I promise you that. I promise ... I will take care of you."