Disclaimer: While I don't technically own Marisa Binbou, I kinda do... I own her personality.

Author's Note: Sequel to 'Poor in Pocket, Rich in Love'.

Shadows of Mitakihara

Prologue, or, Why I Love You

To the Demons of this city, and this world... I bid you welcome. Welcome to Mitakihara, city of light, love and longevity. I welcome you to the city of tomorrow and the lights and sounds of civilization. I welcome you, one and all, to these streets and these buildings.

I welcome you to your graves. I am Marisa Binbou. I have nothing but the love of a woman to call my own... and you can bet with the knowledge that I can never loose her... I've got nothing to loose. So watch out, Shadows of Mitakihara. If you see me...

You're already dead.

-Mitakihara. Five sixteen AM-

PaCHING! The sound of my blade slicing through a demon echoed in the dead street, the massive creature fizzling into a fountain of dead pixels. Turning, I fixed my eyes on a second, the creature moving in to attack. Raising my shield, I blocked the attack, the green gem set on the inside of my shield glowing in bright defiance against the Demon's paltry attack. With a powerful thrust, I eviscerated the Demon, sending it back to where it spawned. The one behind it charged, the last one of the night, I felt. "I've got a one-way ticket to hell with your name on it!" I shouted, gripping the sword with my shield-hand and bringing it down on the creature hard.

The thick fog that had fallen around me lifted, the pixelated corpses of the Demons disappearing from sight. From my side came the sound of heels against concrete, the sound of people running.

"I told you not to get lax, Sakura Kyouko." A voice came from a distance away.

"Come on! It was only like... three! What can three do?" Came a second voice. This one... this one I recognized...

"Quite a lot you idiot!" Came a third voice. "One of those can kill ten people!" I turned to face where the voices were coming from, to see three people round out of an alley and slow to a stop upon seeing me.

"You're late." I spoke simply, smiling as I sheathed the sword at my side.

"Who are-" The first voice, belonging to a young, raven haired woman, started.

"Marisa!" The second, who I know realized was Mami's friend, Kyouko. "Poor-chan! You're one of us!"

" 'One of us'?" I asked.

"Yea! A Puella Magi!" I gave a little laugh.

"Oh yea..." I answered, forgetting about that... Stars, I got so caught up in the moment, I had forgotten I was special. "I... uh... forgot about that."

"Regardless... you did a good job..." The third voice, belonging to a girl I recognize, spoke.

"Oh! Miki-san! I didn't recognize you for a moment!" Sayaka blinked.

"Do I know you?"

"I sit two seats to your right... I don't expect you to remember me..." Sayaka smiled.

"O-oh yea! You're Poor-ch-" She stopped. "Sorry... that's the only way I remember you..." I shook my head.

"Don't worry about it, Miki-san. It's not an insult anymore... I kind of wear it as a badge of honor now."

"Well, that's the Maisma cleared." Kyouko chimes in. "Hey, Poor-chan, howsabout you, Homu, Band Kid and I go grab some breakfast, eh?" So THAT'S who 'band kid' was!

"I'd love to, Sakura-san... but I've got to get back to the hospital. I want to be there for Mami-san when she wakes up."

"Wait... Mami in hospital what?!" Kyouko blurted out. I didn't tell them... right...

"Mami-san and I were on our way to the orchestra... but I got careless, and Mami-san saved me from a car... it hit her instead."

"Is she alright!? Will she make it?" I laughed.

"Why do you think I'm out here?" Kyouko seemed visibly relieved by this.

"It was dumb wishing for the safety on another but... I'm just glad you burned yours to save Twindrills."

"Can we discuss this later? We're exposed out here, and people will be waking up and going to work in half an hour."

"Y-yea... don't wanna be all Magical Girl'd up especially you." Sayaka pointed at me. Everyone nodded.

"If you want, Sakura-san... I'll take you up on your breakfast offer another day but... I just want to see Mami-san smile..."

"Agreed. You take care, alright? Give her my best." Kyouko patted the third girl's shoulder. "Homura, you didn't introduce yourself."

"Homura?" I asked, looking at her. The girl quirked an eyebrow and nodded.

"Yes. That's my name." I smiled at her.

"I have a message for you." She blinked. "Madoka Kaname-san says hello... and not to give up." I watched the girl look at me with the queerest look of confusion upon her lips... but then, as her lips curled into a smile, she nodded. She looked as though a weight was just lifted from her shoulders.

"I won't." She bowed to me deeply. "Thank you very much for bringing this message to me. I appreciate it... really."

"Don't mention it." I bowed myself and excused myself form everyone, hurrying back to the hospital.

-Mitakihara Hospital, Six oh eight AM-

I watched as Mami's eyes fluttered open, her amber orbs searching the ceiling for something. "Hey..." I mused, stroking her hand.

"Binbou-san..." Mami answered, smiling. "I'm glad you're alright."

"I'm alright?" I frowned. "You..." I could feel tears filling my eyes. Crumbling, I threw myself onto her, hugging her. "You idiot..." I spoke, my tears absorbed instantly by the bed sheets. "You're... always so reckless..." Mami placed a hand on my head, rubbing my hair.

"Don't be so concerned... I'd lay down my life for you, Marisa-san... and you know that." You damn nearly did! I wanted to yell at her.. to chastise her for putting her own life on the line for my worthless one, to for once in my life be strong! But I couldn't... her eyes said it all. Behind those amber orbs lived an unending love... she has so much love to give and only myself to give it to. I had to be there for her. "Hey... are you crying... I'm fine."

"I know I... I'm just so happy..." Mami looked over to the clock.

"Oh dear... we missed our performance." Thank the stars that's ALL we missed.

"There will be other days... other performances." Ten years is a long time. "I wouldn't trade you for anything..." Mami laughed a little, scooting over in bed slightly.

"Here..." She patted the space on the bed next to her. "Climb in with me..." I didn't hesitate, slipping under the covers with her, I put an arm around her, my other interlacing with Mami's hand. "You're awfully clingy this morning..."

"I'm just happy you're alright... that's all." Mami gave a content sigh and closed her eyes.

"When can I leave...?" She mused. "I'd much like to go and have some tea..." I laughed at this... it was so like Mami to be so unconcerned with her own safety, and just want to go home. There came a knock at the door. A nurse came in. It must have been her time to come around. She stopped as she saw Mami awake.

"Oh! Tomoe-san... you're awake!" Mami smiled and gave a little nod.

"Mm, yes. Thank you very much." She responded, nodding a little. "Tell me... do you know when I can leave?" The nurse just blinked, unable to fully grasp what she was being asked.

"Tomoe-san... you were badly injured... You... shouldn't even be al-" She didn't say it, but I knew exactly what she wanted to. 'You shouldn't even be alive right now'. "You shouldn't even be awake right now..."

"Oh, stuff and nonsense. I feel quite alright." The nurse blinked again, but managed to regain her posture.

"Erm... well, yes. Let me just check a few things, and then I'll see about maybe getting you released..."

The nurse went about her job of checking blood pressure and all that good stuff and, as she finished up, gave a look of confusion.

"This... doesn't make sense... either my equipment was broken last night... or you heal a lot faster then normal girls your age..."

"What ever do you mean?"

"Last night, you were on death's door, and now...? Now here you are, fit as a fiddle..." I could see a little concern on Mami's face at these words, but she tried to smile it off.

"The healing powers of love?" I tried to chime in. This only made the nurse laugh.

"For that to be true, Binbou-san... someone must really love Tomoe-san..." More then your tiny little mind could ever comprehend. "Well... having said that, I've really got no reason to keep you here, Tomoe-san... let me see if I can get you released."

-Mitakihara General Hospital, Six twenty AM-

"Charlotte, you're talking nonsense. What do you mean 'she's just healed'?" The young doctor, a woman of early thirties, asked, crossing her arms at the nurse.

"Exactly what it sounds like, Jenna! I came to check on her at five this morning, and her condition hadn't changed. Then, I come in at six, and it's like she was never even hurt!" Doctor Amelia blinked at this, her face of disbelief never changing. "And now she's asking to be released... I mean... what do we do?"

"Only thing we can do, Charlotte... release her. If she's not injured, and there's nothing else wrong with her, we can't verily hold her here, just because we didn't do anything to help her." Jenna Amelia shook her head. "I guess I'll have to write it off as a miracle."

"Hell of a miracle, doctor."

"Don't question higher powers, Charlotte. There are some things in this world no one can understand." Nurse Charlotte nodded and went to go file the release papers. Doctor Amelia simple made notes on her clipboard as she spoke. "Miracle... or magic...?"

Mami and I were on the streets in half an hour, the elegant dresses we were wearing looking very much out of place amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. As we walked back to her apartment to change, I milled over the thought of telling her what really happened, and how she's still alive right now. I just... I didn't feel right keeping that a secret from her.

But in the same regard, Stars, I don't think she'd believe me if I told her. Being visited by a Goddess? The fuzzy white creature who granted me my wish? Demons? Magical girls? Until two hours ago, I never even knew this kind of crap existed... and now I'm part of it. I don't think Mami would have believed me if I had said anything. She was quiet as we walked home, and upon entering, the silence stopped.

"That was very dumb, and very reckless of you, Binbou-san." Mami spoke in an uncharacteristically harsh tone.

"W-what was?" I stammered out. Mami only took hold of my left hand and held it up, showing me the ring.

"Burning your one miracle on me." Did... she know?"

"I don't..."

"Don't lie, Binbou-san... I know all about Sakura-san's 'midnight activities'. Her and that little trio of hers. You really think she can keep her mouth shut about that kind of thing?" Though her words were harsh, she didn't seem to be angry... or at least she was hiding it rather well. "You made a contract, and saved my life with it... why?" She continued, not even stopping to breath. "You could have had anything you wanted. Money, power, fame... and you waste it saving my life... It makes no sense..."

"I did it because..." I started, trying to find the right words. "I did it because you're all I ever wanted in life!" I finished, uncharacteristically strong. "You were there to pick me up when I fell... to dust me off and encourage me to keep going! You offered me kind words when everyone else just offered me hate! You took me in and cleaned me up... showed me that people can be kind, can be sweet, can think of others! For once in my life, I had the only thing I ever wanted, a family, and it's taken away from me!"

"Binbou-san... you don't understand."

"No, you don't understand!" I belted, tears dislodging from my eyes. "You give, and give, and give for me! For nothing but the kindness of your own heart! You give, and expect nothing in return! You give! And give! And the last thing you give for me, your very life, I'm supposed to take and move on?! I can't, Mami! I just can't! I can't... bear the thought of loosing you... not after all you've given me! All you've done for me!" I broke down, unable to hold in my emotions any longer.

"So yes!" I continued, face marred by tears and all the pent up emotion I had. "So yes, I used the only miracle I'll ever get in this life by saving you! The first miracle that came into my life! You don't understand, Mami, because you just can't! I lost my parents when I was three! At least you have their memory, I don't even know their names!" Mami was shocked, I could tell as much in her eyes. Still crying, I had stopped yelling at this point, and just devolved into a sputtering mess.

"Binbou-san... I'm sorry..." Pulling me into an embrace, she rubbed her hand idly down my back, just letting me cry. "Please don't be mad..."

"I'm not mad..." I choked out, hardly able to talk. "I'm just... so worried... That I'd never see you again..." She started 'ssh' ing me like a mother, trying to soothe my tears.

"There, there, Binbou-san... no harm done... I'm glad I'm worth saving in your eyes..."

"You're worth dying for."

"Which I hear is a very real threat in your line of work." Mami tried to make a joke, but it was just in such... poor taste I couldn't laugh. "Don't you dare go out there and die, Binbou-san... don't you dare die and leave me alone." It was my turn to comfort her.

"Don't worry... I don't plan on dying for a good, long time. I want to grow old with you, Mami-san..." She hugged me tighter.

"And I want the same... don't worry..." Pulling away, she tried to salvage some kind of semblance of her former self. "Let's get some sleep, yes? Thankfully, it's the weekend, and we don't have to be at school tomorrow.

The rest of the weekend passed with little of note. Mami and I never spoke of the spat we had about miracles and who is and who isn't worth their use. Kyouko had invited me out to breakfast on Sunday, which I had taken with Mami's encouragement. I was surprised to see Homura and Sayaka there as well. Homura had told me there were the occasional off days where the Maisma didn't fall, or didn't fall until later.

The Maisma, as I had found out that day, was the coalesced manifestation of the misery and despair in the world. It falls usually once a night and is lifted either once all the Demons, the arms and legs of the Maisma, are defeated, or at sunrise. Apparently, sunlight really can banish any darkness. We spent a good hour or so talking about our profession, Homura, Kyouko and Sayaka giving me pointers on how to avoid using so much magic. All in all, I quite enjoyed the discussion, as well as the companionship.

I left that little affair wiser of how to do my job... but not much more confident that I could do it... but... with the knowledge that I can't loose the only thing I've got in my life? That made things easier, at least.

Things wouldn't really be any different until Monday, when school would resume. I managed to, somehow, get my homework done between the car accident and Sunday, so that was a plus.