"Mami Tomoe here. A senior at Mitakihara Middle School, just like you two. And... I'm a Puella Magi that has made a contract with Kyubey."
This is how Mami Tomoe introduces herself to Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki every single time, as Homura Akemi can expertly testify to. Kyubey got to Mami early. He set her up the bomb good.
But, if you think about it, Kyubey is not the only entity out there that can grant a second shot at life. Perhaps he's just the one who got to Mami first.
What if someone else beat him to Mami? And how will the other girls be affected?
And so, like a flower in bloom, the many lives of Mami Tomoe unfold...
THE MANY LIVES OF MAMI TOMOE
(a.k.a. Mami's Good Ends)
A Puella Magi Madoka What If? Anthology
Disclaimer: Madoka is not mine. She is Homu-Homu Moemura's. And Mami's. And Mami's Mammies. And Charlotte's. And Sayaka's. And Kriemhild Gretchen's.
Dedication: For Person With Many Aliases, as an indirect apology for flaking out over his Madoka fics (because I honestly suck at emotional trauma control and face-to-face apologies). He is an awesome writer. Read his stuff.
Also to my friend Jun, my fellow fan of Mami and Homu-Homu.
Finally, inspired by ZipCode and his Puella Magi Madoka Magica in story.
It's said that the West was built on legends. Tall tales that help us make sense of things too great or too terrifying to believe.
This is the legend of the Ghost Rider.
The story goes she made a deal to save someone she loved. She'd be normal during the day, but at night, in the presence of evil, the Rider takes over.
The thing about legends is... sometimes, they're true.
Searing hot steel coiled around Kyubey. The burning chains dragged the Incubator towards their wielder. Bony fingers clamped around the alien's head and hauled him up.
A human skull wreathed in fire would not have looked askance between the shoulders of a Witch. But this was not a Witch. Witches did not kill other Witches with hideous strength and unnatural fire, fire that could defy the impending heat death of the universe, fire from another universe.
"Kyubey." The skull's raspy voice somehow sounded feminine. "Your soul is stained with the blood of the innocent."
Its empty eye sockets filled with fire whose heat Kyubey could somehow experience within his body, his real body.
"Feel their pain."
Burned into his sight were all the human girls who became Puella Magi and Witches because of him.
Charlotte. Sayaka Miki and Oktavia von Seckendorff. Kyouko Sakura. Walpurgis Nacht. Madoka Kaname and Kriemhild Gretchen. Homura Akemi throughout her countless loops in time. And-
Who was Mami Tomoe?
An eleven-year old girl wept beside her bedridden father. She was approached by the [destroyer of the good, Kyubey translated], the leader of all the [spirits, an equivalent of Witches]. The [destroyer of the good] made an offer similar to Kyubey's. It would heal the girl's father in exchange for the girl's soul. The girl agreed. A deal was struck. The father made a miraculous recovery. He treated his ecstatic daughter and wife to their favorite restaurant.
Driving home, their car crashed. The girl's father and mother died. The girl was unharmed. Her despair over her survival was absolute.
Kyubey was professionally impressed by the [destroyer of the good]'s double cross. This girl would have been a significant installment in the payment of the heat debt of the universe.
But the [destroyer of the good] didn't care for her despair. Instead, it turned the girl into its [rider, the entity's approximate of a Witch that served as a Puella Magi]. The girl was ordered to [no approximate available] other [spirits] to where they came from, a place called [the Valley of the son of Hinnom].
Finally, the [destroyer of the good]-
"And I beheld Satan as he fell from Heaven! Like lightning!"
-was satisfied. "Congratulations, Mami. You upheld your end of the bargain. It's time I take back the Ghost Rider. You get your life back. There are more deals to be made. More people willing to give their souls for what they desire. Let someone else carry this curse. You're free now." It smiled. "After all... a deal's a deal."
The girl stared at the inhuman being who took the form of an old human Westerner. She thought of the people who could have been her friends and one who could have been her true love. And she remembered her parents, her father saved from a slow death only to be foully murdered before her very eyes.
She pointed at him with her right hand. Flames peeled her skin and flesh away. Only bleach white bone remained. Her brown eyes burned with the same fire, fire that surpassed the pyrokinesis Kyubey granted several Puella Magi, a fire that did not adhere to the physics of this world but instead resembled that of a Witch's Barrier.
"No," the girl swore. "I shall own this curse. And I shall use it against you. Whenever innocent blood is spilled, it shall be my parents' blood. And you will find me there, a spirit of vengeance, fighting fire with fire."
And she mounted her pet pony, the last gift she had received from her parents, now a skeletal carcass with a mane of fire and hooves of molten steel and a heart of glass like hers.
Incubators had discarded their emotions aeons ago. They had forgotten what joy or sadness or regret or fear felt like.
A cask of wine, left empty and dry for so long, will burst open if filled anew.
This fate was deemed appropriate penance.
Kyubey's eyes were no longer ruby red buttons. Instead, they had become scorched orbs of magma, unseeing, unfeeling.
The Incubator was dropped, forgotten. The skull turned on the terrified Sayaka and the confused Madoka.
A finger indicted them.
As it stalked away, Madoka found the courage to blurt out "Who are you?", causing the skeleton to stop.
"I am the one who walks between both worlds."
The fire enclosing its skull flickered out. Flesh enfolded bone. Skin stretched across muscle. Golden hair grew out of the bare scalp. When the rider turned, Madoka and Sayaka saw that the skeleton rider had turned into a girl not much older than them, with princess curls and warm brown eyes and a pleasant smile.
"I am Ghost Rider," Mami Tomoe said simply.
It's said that the West was built on legends. And that legends are a way of understanding things greater than ourselves. Forces that shape our lives, events that defy explanation. Individuals whose lives soar to the heavens or fall to the earth. This is how legends are born.
"Mami is so cool," Madoka gushed. "I want to be just like her..."
Nearby, Homura Akemi shuddered. Not if she could soft load her last save state, Madoka won't!
In Hell, Mephisto shuddered. He'd rather his infernal domain freeze over first, heat death of the universe be damned. One Ghost Rider was bad enough!
In Heaven, Tyrael grinned inside of his cowl. This was going to be so much better than his Soul Gems. (And yes, the Incubators totally stole that idea from him. Turnabout is fair play.)
Notes: Featured Ghost Rider movie.
A brief quote from the Street Fighter live-action movie with Raoul Julia (Insert "Of course!" here) which is in turn taken from Luke 10:18 of The Good Book.
Lines enclosed by brackets are English translations of names of concepts that an alien like Kyubey wouldn't understand the way Christian humans would. Have fun uncovering the original words!
Carter Slade has one of the coolest horses, ever. And since Mami is a rich girl, it stands to reason she gets a pony. Which is now hellish. And cool.
In searching for a way to punish Kyubey, I realized that all other options (like a certain Imagine Breaker boy's right hand or Caster's Rule Breaker from Fate Stay/Night) were too physical. I extrapolated that the little white git ought to still have a soul, what with creating the Soul Gem and all. And just what attack do we know that makes a soul suffer?
The Puella Magi's Soul Stones remind me a lot of the ones in from Diablo. Maybe Witches can be farmed for Set and Unique items. Anyone got a Cathan's Staff?
"I am a heroine of justice! Trace, on!"