Authors Note: Most people mention that they don't own any respective franchise, so i should as well. I do not own any of the characters or Puella Magi Madoka Magica nor the franchise. I powered through this chapter over the last two days to have a little more than one measly little chapter. I hope you enjoy this new, feature-length chapter. I find proper pacing difficult so I do not mind criticism.
Chapter 2:The (Real) Story Begins
Stakeout was more difficult than I thought. There was more nightlife around here than I expected, not surprising considering I barely knew anything of the culture. If my observations were correct, I was somewhere in Japan judging by the strange writing on various signs and posters everywhere. For some reason I heard everyone speaking English, but I attributed that to the magical nature of my arrival. There weren't a lot of other explanations, but I was no skeptic. Despite my implied masculinity and maturity, I was only fifteen and more than willing to believe in magic. In fact, I was a bit excited.
I had my hunches about the nature of this universe ever since I saw a bit of town. It looked extremely similar to some anime I watched a while ago, and the blonde girl's reaction only served to tempt me into finding out.
My awakening wasn't very dramatic as one might believe. I had woken up and spoken what I thought the girl's name was, and she had reacted rather mildly to it. I didn't get to see much of her apartment, but she fed me and set me on my way, without telling me her name. I wasn't sure how old she was, but I bet she went to junior high or some Japanese equivalent. She was kind, solemn, and rather quiet for a girl nursing an injured stranger. Fortunately I was fully healed when I woke up. Who knows how long I was out for?
After that encounter, I left her apartment and searched throughout the neighborhood for any familiar faces. My curiosity kept gnawing with hunger as I explored, seeing fantastic wonders can do that. Everyone's hair was so strange! Some people had different colored hair, some had wacky hairstyles, and even people dressed completely goofy went about their business unnoticed. I could've sworn I saw a ninja, but it disappeared as soon as I looked. I wondered if I could get away with dyeing my boring hair red or something… Anyway, the houses were looked pretty normal, what an average American boy would expect from a foreign country.
I didn't have much of a plan at the moment. All I wanted to do was find someone to give me my bearings about this universe (unless Japan is really that eccentric, then again America is probably worse), so I could gather information. Illiteracy was a trial, making me unable to tell the date because everything was written in Japanese. And well, I was too shy to talk to anyone. I was afraid someone could tell I was a foreigner and call the police on some random delinquent. Especially now, since I was in a tree observing a random neighborhood. Everything here was inconsistent with normal neighborhoods though, much different than my universe. I sighed, resolving to research more about Japan.
I scanned each home as lights were turned on, gazed upon the streets for any passerby's with familiar uniforms. Sighing, I estimated how long the night was going to be. A few hours passed as I sat perched upon that tree, up until the wee hours of twilight. The last thing I remember was closing my eyes to rest up a bit and falling asleep. In my defense, I had nowhere to go (should've remembered that girl's address!). When I opened my eyes it was morning, and the road was rather wet.
"Ugh…" I was soaked. The clothes I had "borrowed" were heavy with water. I never would have thought that plaid was absorbent. I giggled at this musing; not knowing what it was made out of anyway. But my blue jeans were extremely dark as I crawled into a sitting position. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. During my rather humid awakening, I heard a few whispers passing by. Opening my eyes, I could see schoolchildren my age passing by, whispering about the crazy kid sleeping in the rain.
"Pff, judgmental much? I whispered to myself. I was rather tempted to ask one of schoolchildren for information, but decided my current state was too uncivil. On the other hand, someone else made that decision for me. From the edge of my vision came a black shoe aimed for my head. I was flung backward, onto my back, from a powerful kick.
"So you're the peeping pervert I've been hearing so much about!" declared a girly voice. I looked up, holding my poor, aching head. Some girl in a school uniform stood before me, sporting a short blue hairdo. She seemed oddly familiar, though that was the least of my concern.
"Ow ow, what- what are you talking about?" I asked, gritting my teeth. Her words had dug a wound into my conscience, but I was peeping for benign reasons.
"You were in that tree all night peeping!" She exclaimed.
"You can't prove anyth-" She pointed at my tree. I cursed under my breath. The girl had figured me out. I didn't find who I was looking for but she had to do.
"Are you Saysake?" I asked her. She gave me the strangest look and shook her head.
"Sayake?" shake, "Sasake?" shake, "Sakura?" shake, "Sakuna?"
"No shut up! What's it to you?" Bluey interrogated. I twiddled my thumbs nervously, wondering how to go about this. I decided to go with the more direct approach.
"I'm looking for pink-haired girl. You know: ribbons, pigtails, kind of short, maybe has a stalker or two?" I said, making gestures with my hands to emphasize my hazy description. Blue hair stepped back with a confused expression.
"What do you want with Madoka?" Bluey asked nervously, pointing at me with a shaking finger. I considered it impolite, but forgave her considering the circumstances.
"Eh…" my mind buzzed with possible lies I could use, "I was told to go find her. She… needs my help!" The truth was a little tweaked, but it was believable enough for the girl. She sighed, rubbing her head.
"Oh come on, you're a mess. There should be a spare uniform at school you can wear. Do you live nearby?"
"No, I'm not from around here," I answered, grinning.
It took a few minutes, but we arrived at her school. It looked like any other school, so I didn't bother to gaze at it for more than a few moments. After giving me her name (Sayaka), another boy in some dressing room was kind enough to lend me a spare uniform. I stepped out as Sayaka nodded her approval, going as far to smile. Leading the way, she deemed it necessary to start a conversation.
"So how do you know Madoka?" I scratched my head, wondering how to answer that. I wasn't sure if I was right and I was in some alternate universe based off some manga I read, but I couldn't remember all that much anyway. The school setting wasn't helping all that much.
"Eh… I don't really. All I know is that I need to help her somehow." Sayaka looked at me with a gleam in her eye and a crooked smile.
"You like her, don't you? Are you going to confess?" I sighed, figuring this was going to happen sooner or later. Girls in this universe aren't much different. However the gleam in her eye wasn't mischief, so I decided to appeal to her helpful nature.
"No, I really have to help her. It's about her… cat!" Cat was the first thing that came to mind from some vague memory. Sayaka narrowed her eyes at me, coldly calculating. After a moment of deliberation she sighed and relaxed.
"Do you know?"
"Know about what?"
"What thing?!" Sayaka checked the hallway to make sure we were alone.
"Kyubey." The name sent a shiver down my spine. It wasn't the proof I was looking for. No, it was far worse. I had been spirited away to a new world, a dangerous new world. One with magic, miracles, and curses.
"I… I know him," I admitted, "so that's why I have to speak with Madoka!" Teal-head obviously had more questions, but class was about to start. She led me to her classroom (since I couldn't read), and briefly spoke with the teacher. Everyone sat down at their tiny desks when it was time and the teacher beckoned me to stand before the class.
"Hi, I'm Nova! Carnahan Nova! Wait, that's what you do in Japan, right?" I fumbled. The teacher nodded. "Um, I'm from America and my papers got messed up, so it might take a while to be fully registered, but until then- eh… take care of me? Do I bow or something?" The teacher sighed, waving her hand. I proceeded to bow at the class. I'd say as a first impression, I did pretty well. During class the girls were murmuring about the funny foreigner while the guys kept passing me notes to join them in soccer afterschool. Everyone was interested in me because I was new, rather than being popular. It felt nice to be wanted for once; my previous school experience had not gone so well. After basking in the glow of fresh popularity during the teacher's lecture on Japanese history, I began searching the class for pink hair. Fortunately for me, I got the back corner seat with a window. I'm not sure if that was a coincidence or not.
Two rows in front, 3 desks to the right sat the pink haired girl, Madoka. She seemed normal enough, though odd with the red ribbons in her hair. Pigtails looked decent on her, but it still looked strange to me. Then again, she was going for cute so I suppose it worked. Despite several people around the city sporting pink hair, I still found it rather unusual. Even her eyes were pink! I felt weird having different colored eyes; maybe I should dye it… I resolved to wait until the end of the day to talk to pink hair.
Eventually, after several hours of boring classes that I didn't even understand, the school day ended. My target managed to dash out of the classroom before I could even begin to approach her. As I tried running to the exit, an upperclassmen blocked the way from the hall. I tried moving around her, but the brunette stood there chatting on her phone. Knowing it's rude in most cultures to hit girls, I just tapped her shoulder and passed by. In spite of my swiftness, Madoka was lost to me. There was no way of finding her by the time I exited the school, so there'd be no way to follow. Hopefully Sayaka would mention me…
Sad that I would have to spend another night under the stars, I sulked in the park nearby. The closest bench was a little damp, but it had to do. I sat back for a few minutes and breathed deeply, trying to collect my thoughts. My nirvana lasted mere moments when a green haired girl ran by crying about how girls can't love girls.
"Homophobic jerk," I muttered, "heh, that's oddly familiar." I processed this for a moment, wondering at the significance of this event. Then it hit me! For some reason I figured Madoka was nearby! But wait a minute, didn't that happen before school? I couldn't remember the girl's name, but I distinctly remembered that event from some manga or whatever I read. Figuring it was my only lead, I decided to go the direction the girl came from. I grinned at my reasoning.
"Continuity is for p-ouch!" I cried, tripping over a random rock. Even though I had only been an orphan for a year, I had gotten quite fast from all the market practice. However, today I did not watch my step. Sprawling on the ground in pain, I barely noticed the pitter-patter of two pairs of feet running my way. My body was much sorer than I had thought; I should've been easier on myself. A younger girl voiced her concern to Sayaka, probably was Madoka.
"Are you okay?" The kind girl asked with the sweetest tone. She was so sincere I was afraid of contracting diabetes. I picked myself up and looked at her, taking the incredibly sight in.
This was real.
My knowledge of this universe (if only slightly correct) was limited, but I did remember a few key points. Magic, evil witch things, gems and seeds, and something about time travel. While looking at Madoka, it dawned on me that I had no idea how to talk to girls, let alone about this. So I decided to screw tact and just get to the point.
"Are you a magical girl?" I asked bluntly, breaking the ice rather forcibly. She stepped back, eyes wide, and let out a tiny gasp. I couldn't help but chuckle as her friend made that perplexed look once again. Subtlety is for the weak.
"How do you know about magical girls?" Sayaka anxiously asked. My answer was swift.
"I've been magically transported from another dimension and plan to save the world with my knowledge of manga and ingenuity."
"Really." I nodded, only half lying. The world didn't really need saving, but I've always wanted to say it. I mean, the dimension part was already audacity, so what's a little white lie?
"Anyway," I said, stretching my arms, "I have nowhere to sleep tonight. I know this is rather rude and a tad intrusive, but can I stay the night?" Sayaka opened her mouth to protest, but shut it. She knew I had spent the night on the street. Though that reminded me, where were the cops? Madoka, no surprise, invited me over the night despite my masculinity. I walked the girls home properly, as a young man should. At Sayaka's residence, the girls made their goodbyes and Sayaka gave me a firm handshake, and Madoka led me away.
Her parents were rather accepting of me. Her mother was constantly busy and didn't speak to me too much, but her father sat me down and gave a brief interview. Deciding I wasn't some killer or worse, he decided to lend me the couch for the night. Dinner was uneventful. I never had the dish served to me before and was not prepared for the taste. It looked like meat covered in some sauce I didn't recognize. Not wanting to be rude, I ate it without complaint. It tasted like squid; I hate squid. Her father decided to treat their new guest and gave me a small piece of cake, which was incredibly delicious.
The law of the house was that I had to sleep on the couch, but Madoka's parents allowed me to visit with her in the sanctuary of her room. Madoka sat on her pink (surprise) hearted bed while I sat on the floor. Her room was so damn pink I felt like I was having an insulin attack.
"So, are you a traveler from another world?" Madoka asked innocently, completely believing my half-truth. Hopefully she didn't actually believe the manga part; otherwise I'd have my doubts about her (even though it's true). I nodded in confirmation.
"I can tell you all about it, but I need to speak with Kyubey." Madoka gave an understanding nod, and proceeded to call him with her mind or something. Only five minutes later he leaped through the open window and into the room. He looked like a weird cat, two sets of ears with rings and the biggest tail ever. The red ring on his back looked strange as well. He met my stare with his trademark expression and thus a connection was made.
"So you can see me," Kyubey said; I nodded, "that means you have potential… but you are a boy."
"I can see where this is going. I'm from another world; maybe the rules of magic are different?"
"Unlikely. The existences of other worlds are impossible without the use of time travel. This is curious… if you are from another world, this makes you an anomaly. However I cannot make a contract with you, even to unleash your potential."
"We contract magical girls to fight witches, in order to preserve the natural order. However, even with your potential, I cannot grant you a wish because of the gender barrier." I stared at him, pursing my lips at his comment.
"A creature that grants miracles and turns teenage girls into magical warriors is hindered by gender." I deadpanned.
"Yes." I sighed, wondering what I could possibly do. I had my reasons for considering this. I didn't have much time to muse over my plans, catering to my mysterious side. However, I really needed Kyubey's help. If he couldn't grant my miracle directly…
"So you can't grant me a miracle because I'm not a girl, right?"
"That is correct. I cannot make a contract with someone who cannot be a magical girl."
"What if…" I trailed off, scratching my head, "my wish was to be a girl?"
"Eh?" Madoka squeaked, nearly forgotten by me. Kyubey tilted his head in mock curiosity.
"Hypothetically, that may be possible. There is no precedent for it. By becoming female you will gain even more magic potential, but I will not be able to grant you another wish." I pondered it for a moment, wondering if it was worth it. I didn't remember much, but being a magical girl was not all fun and games. But there was definitely something I needed to do, and depending on adolescent girls was not one of my options. So I opted for it.
"Eh, why not?" I shrugged, not caring too much about my masculinity anymore. It was the least of my concerns. Kyubey trotted closer to me and did some wavy thing with his ears. Madoka watched me curiously, making this the first time she's ever seen a magical girl created. The process was rather painful, considering my soul was extracted and compressed into an egg-shaped gem. The details were not that important, nor do I remember them, but it was painful. And bright. All I remember about the process was a glowing orange light.
When it was over, the first thing I felt was ease. The dull pain of my entire body from the last few days was completely gone. I felt renewed and at ease. Madoka was sitting on her bed, legs crossed, staring at me. I looked down at my body to see what was so impressive.
"Uh, Kyubey, I don't think it worked," I informed him, checking out my still-male body. I didn't see my soul gem anywhere, which was making me a little worried.
"Do not worry. Your wish was granted." The demon cat declared as he hopped up onto the window sill.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I yelled at him, furious at the transformation failure. Kyubey looked at me one last time.
"I do not understand why, but I assure you tonight will be eventful." The white cat thing leaped out of sight into the night, leaving Madoka and I nonplussed. The rest of the evening was uneventful as Madoka taught me things about Japan I should know, such as boundaries and taboos that would be best to remember. I asked her questions about the recent timeline of events, seeing what was different than I remembered.
Homura still appeared to be cold and heartless
Madoka didn't know any magical redheads
Sayaka hadn't made her wish yet
"Hm, that's interesting. What was that green haired girl screaming about earlier?" I asked Madoka. I knew that event was supposed to have happened earlier.
"Oh," Madoka blushed, "just some fun from a few days ago. Hitomi keeps teasing us about me being Sayaka's wife someday." I tilted my head, trying to read the subtext. Madoka seemed nervous as she twiddled her thumbs, but otherwise completely normal. I decided to be daring.
"Do you agree? That girls can't..?" I turned my head away, hoping that wasn't too abrasive.
"BED!" Screamed Mr. Kaname as he burst into Madoka's room. The once gentle man scared me senseless, I even screeched. Taking a moment to scan the room, he decided no funny business happened and escorted me out. I felt like a delinquent but was more than happy that awkward moment had passed. While the floor in Madoka's room had been comfortable enough, nothing could describe the couch. It had felt like weeks since I had slept on something soft, so soft that I fell asleep seconds after the lights were turned off. Mr. Kaname was kind enough to give me a comfy wool blanket. Warm, soft, and pink blankets were more than enough to send me to sleep.
Morning came like the end of summer: much too soon. Sunlight peeked through the windows, assaulting my face with its intrusive warmth. I woke up exhausted. Madoka stepped lightly through the hallway toward me, rubbing the drowsiness from her eyes. Her hair was messy and let down but otherwise fine. Supposedly the ribbons were a charming point.
"Good sleep last night?" She yawned, not completely awake. I opened my mouth to answer.
"Eh, what was that?" Pinky asked me, rubbing her ears. I tried again.
"!" I jolted up, alarmed. I grasped my throat as it burned, rendering me mute. Madoka saw my alarm and ran up to me. She cried at me, wondering what was wrong. I flailed and gestured at my throat, starting to lose my ability to breathe. It took her a moment to process this, but she grabbed my hand and ran me to the bathroom. Her two-story house was surprisingly big, and the bathroom was no exception. Of course, I didn't have time to examine it. Once we got inside I ran to the sink and tried to clear my throat. I clasped at it and tried punching my stomach to no avail. Madoka tried giving me the Heimlich maneuver.
Thanks to a well-placed thrust, what obstructed my throat was ejected into the sink. I took a deep breath, relishing the cool air. A vow to enjoy breathing from now on was made. Madoka and I peered into the sink, wondering what could have burnt my throat so harshly. Lying in the sink was an orange gem. My soul gem. I picked it up gingerly, examining it. It was beautiful, completely clear. However, I knew it would soon be dirtied.
"Cool!" I cheered, "But why is it orange?" I turned to Madoka. She seemed rather taller than before.
"Eh," She said nervously, rubbing her head and lost with words. I blinked, wondering why she was staring at me so.
"Say Madoka, how'd you get so tall? You're almost as tall as me now!" I asked her; remember that I was at least a head taller. Madoka closed her eyes and smiled, pointing at the mirror. The events began processing in my head properly as I had woken up. It began to dawn to me. I slowly walked in front of the mirror. My reflection had changed. Instead of an average boy….
"Damn, I'm hot! I mean, oh no I'm a girl now…" A girly look appeared in the mirror in front of me. I now had long, orange-reddish hair and nice orange irises on my eyes. I looked down to inspect my new body. My clothes were sagging and loose, I had probably shrunk down quite a bit; I was even lacking in the upper department but I didn't care all that much. All that matter was…
"SCHOOL!" Mrs. Kaname screamed from the kitchen, reminding us it was not the weekend quite yet. Determined to not be discovered so early, I borrowed a skirt from Madoka without complaint, put it into her book bag, and just wore the loose school uniform I was already wearing. We tried sneaking out the door but Mr. Kaname asked us if we wanted breakfast. He gave me a narrowed eyed look and Madoka shrugged in response, mentioning something about drama club. Apparently he bought it and we managed to escape without further questioning. The walk to school felt different, as I felt lighter and stronger. My soul gem felt heavy in my pocket as Madoka promised to introduce me to Mami later.
I felt an odd feeling of déjà vu when I introduced myself to the class as "Nancy". I was sat in the corner by the window as the boys talked about the funny foreign girl and the girls kept passing me notes to play soccer with them afterschool. Classes that day were boring, but I didn't feel the need to listen anyway. Having two transfer students in a row with the same excuse didn't seem to faze the class, even with the first having mysteriously disappeared. I was worried about using a similar alias, but nobody cared. Either people in this city were oblivious or just plain stupid.
After classes that day Madoka and I caught up to the blonde and blue, Mami and Sayaka were engrossed in some conversation about magic. Madoka squealed and ran up to Mami, excitedly explaining the situation. Sayaka just looked at me with an amused grin as she sized me up. I was about the size as her now, I gulped at the realization. I knew I could rely on the social stigma of violence, but that wouldn't stop her completely. My head almost ached from last time.
"So, your wish was to be a magical girl?" Mami asked back in her apartment, as she served cake. Her home was rather clean, as if she rarely has guests. I nodded.
"It was the only wish I was able to make." My statement made her fall silent for a moment. Everyone still had their questions, however.
"Did you want to be female?" Mami asked delicately, probably hesitant to accuse me of any tomfoolery.
"Eh, doesn't really matter. But if it helps me achieve my goal, then it has to be done," came my determined answer. The girls exchanged looks, not understanding my vague answer. Mami motioned for me to continue.
"Well, you see I have to…" I trailed off for a moment. My memories were a bit vague, but something was tugging at the edge of my mind, warning me not to reveal too much. Listen, my memory told me, loosen your lips and blood will spill. As much as a threat as it sounded, I decided to forgo my original explanation and opt for another. My mind raced as I desperately thought for an excuse to use when Kyubey walked into the room. Figures, I thought. Of course he'd be here; no wonder Mami doesn't have guests often. She probably keeps him around for company! As much as I hate the guy, I needed his help. This timeline was a bit muddled than what I remembered, so I was determined to derail it as soon as possible.
"Kyubey," I thought, "meet us at the hospital. I think a grief seed is there." Kyubey looked at me oddly.
"You're right. How did you know?"
"Doesn't matter. Don't tell anyone, we'll be right there." I didn't know how long grief seeds take to appear, but I was confident the little cat monster could conjure it up. Kyubey left the room as quickly as he left without the girls ever realizing he was there. They looked back at where he was, following my eyes, but with nothing to see their attention snapped back.
"I have to find my sister," I admitted to them. I had more ulterior motives yet to be revealed, but I did kind of miss my sister. My departure was magic-based, so there was really no other way to get back without it. The girls nodded understandingly while Mami just gave me dull look, complete with a smile. Something told me she was a little unstable. I gave Kyubey a few minutes before I pretended to jolt in surprise.
"What's the matter?" a concerned Mami asked. I grabbed my soul gem and held it to my ear. I opened my mouth for added effect.
"There's a grief seed at the hospital! Quick, we have to go get it before it hatches!" I shouted, hoping to inspire heroism in the young girls. With no time to explain, the girls quickly put on their shoes and ran with me to the hospital. It was rather difficult with my new center of balance, but I did pretty well for a first time. We arrived within the hour and saw the grief seed stuff on the outer wall, glowing. Kyubey was there, tail twitching.
"The barrier is close to opening," Kyubey reported. I had to briefly ask Mami what that was. Apparently it's some labyrinth created by a witch to represent its twisted psych and grief. They hide themselves with their familiars within. It was too late to just grab the seed; it was about to open anyway so Mami decided to give me a crash course in transforming. She explained magic would make the seed react, but it was going to happen anyway at this point. Mami demonstrated how to hold the egg and summon the magic within as she transformed into a frilly yellow dress, her magical girl outfit. I sighed, hoping I wouldn't look as ridiculous. I tried my best, but couldn't manage to do it. We decided it was because I wasn't in danger and would have to practice more. Sayaka was smart enough to grab a baseball bat on the way out, so we decided we'd enter the barrier together. I voiced concern about Madoka, but she guaranteed Mami would be strong enough to take down any witches.
Eventually the seed disappeared in a flash of a light and the air being shimmering. Mami led the way as we entered the barrier. I had an odd feeling of dread. Entering the barrier was a cool sensation, a different kind of magic than Mami emanated. The barrier filled me with wonder as I stood, awestruck, gazing at the giant food scattered about. I knew witches were evil, but if one was ever likeable, it was this one. My stomach growled in jealousy. As we explored the labyrinth, Mami suddenly stopped.
"What are you doing here?" Mami asked, whipping around to face the girl following us. I immediately recognized her.
"Hey! I know her!" I shouted.
"You do?" Homura asked.
"You're Madoka's lesbian stalker, right?"
I had never been kicked so hard in my life.