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March right in and smash his hands and legs until he can never use them again. Make him completely helpless. Then he'll be completely yours. His heart and his body.

Kyoko remembered the moment - more so than the words – with crystal clarity. Sayaka rounding on her at what she'd said, fists clenched so tight the knuckles were left white hot with anger, the blue haired girl's whole body trembling with pure self-righteous rage. She'd been ready to kill Kyoko then, but the red haired girl hadn't minded. That look had suited Sayaka far better than the timid girl she'd seen before, clutching at herself in comfort before the gate of the house of the boy she was ready to risk her life for, but couldn't even summon the courage to speak to. It would have been funny if it wasn't all so tragically pathetic.

Kyoko was different though. She wasn't afraid of anything. Which was why tonight she'd gone through that gate, into that house, and was now standing at the foot of the bed of the boy in question. Kamijo had been the name on the front of the house, but Kyoko didn't particularly care. She reached out a hand to the peacefully sleeping boy, the words echoing around her head, smash his hands and legs,with the enhanced strength all Puella Magi had been gifted with, she could break him so easily if she wanted to. And a part of Kyoko - a strong part of her - did want to. His legs, that precious arm of his, or just go straight for the finale and crush his throat. Maybe once Sayaka had lost the alter she was so willing to sacrifice herself on, she'd finally understood the true nature of the world as Kyoko had all those years ago. Would that be enough to pull her back from the abyss she was teetering over?

The boy stirred and Kyoko realised her fingers were so close they were brushing against his neck. She quickly withdrew her hand. No, she thought, that isn't the plan. Her plan needed him to be alive, for Sayaka to keep fighting for his sake, even if Kyoko couldn't understand why. She settled for glaring balefully down at him through her scarlet eyes.

What was so great about him anyway? He was just some wimpy, rich brat who lived in a rich house with his rich family and cared more about his violin than the girl who was about to break herself over him. She'd followed Sayaka after their first fight, half out of boredom, and half out of curiosity. She'd seen her go to the hospital, she'd assumed to see the wheelchair bound boy Kyoko had spied her with the day before before on the hospital roof. Kyoko had been to far away to hear the music from the boy's violin, but everyone there looked so serene for a moment she'd yearned to be on that roof herself with them.

Today though, instead of the stupid happy smile Sayaka had skipped out the door with yesterday, she'd had left the hospital looking so crushed Kyoko had thought the boy must have died. She'd followed the bluenette as she dejectedly wondered down the streets of Mitakihara, until they were both in front of that gate. As Kyoko caught the strains of Ave Maria she'd realised what had actually transpired. The boy was alive and well, the selfish little bastard had just decided to get discharged without bothering to tell the idiotic bluenette who'd been following him around like a lost puppy. From there it hadn't been hard to guess who Sayaka had wasted her wish on, and that had made Kyoko angry, both at Sayaka and the boy. It hadn't taken long after that for the words to just start tumbling out.

If you're too shy to do it, I'd be happy to take your place. Just as a favour to my new colleague.

Kyoko had been ready to do it as well: to break down the door and use her magic to tear him apart. She'd had to settle for second prize – another round of beating the stupid out of Sayaka. The first time they'd fought Kyoko had almost killed her, she'd seen too much of the past in Sayaka then, too much of her old high handed morals and ignorance, and all she'd wanted to do was smear her bloodily across the alley wall. She'd nearly succeeded too if it hadn't been for Kyoko's erstwhile ally: Akemi Homura. The mysterious girl had decided to save Sayaka, probably for the same bullshit reasons she wanted them to team up to fight Walpurgisnacht, whatever that was supposed to be.

She hadn't known what she was going to do in that second fight, whether she wanted to kill Sayaka or save her, but it had hardly mattered after what they learnt: How Kyuubey had ripped their souls out of bodies into the soul gems, leaving them all as little more than zombies.

The next time Kyoko had seen Sayaka she'd wished she hadn't.

The proud, self-righteous fool from before had gone. In her place was a girl who really did look like a zombie - laughing mad as she hacked up the witch Elsa maria, but her eyes as empty and void of emotion as the dead. Kyoko had seen eyes like that before, when her father had learnt the truth behind why after his excommunication and years of apathy and ridicule people had suddenly flocked to his sermons.

Kyuubey had come to them later, while Kyoko was planning out their tactics to fight Walpurgisnacht with Homura. Kyoko had been ready to murder him on sight, but Homura had stayed her hand. She learnt how close Sayaka was to falling, her soul gem almost tainted beyond repair.

So Kyoko had come up with the plan.

She still wasn't sure why is was so important to her to save Sayaka, but Kyoko was an impulsive girl. She wanted to save Sayaka so she was going to save her, and nothing was going to get in her way. It was as simple as that.

Sayaka clearly thought she was some kind of hero, well fine, she could be a hero. And everyone knew what a truly great hero needed was a villain to match them. Looking down at the blissfully unaware Kamijo boy she smiled for the first time that evening, her teeth bared. And so help her, if some part of her wasn't going to enjoy this as well.

Sayaka felt like she was drowning. She was in the park opposite her school, back pressed against a tree to conceal her from sight. Her eyes were on the school gate – more specifically at Shizuki Hitomi, the girl Sayaka had once considered her best friend. Hitomi was, as always, the picture of poise; hands demurely clasped in front of her, with not one green hair out of place. Sayaka knew who she was waiting for: the boy they were both in love with - Kamijo Kyosuke.

The air was thick and Sayaka felt like she was going to choke. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. She was Kyosuke's childhood friend, she was the one who'd been at his bedside in hospital everyday after the accident, she was a Puella Magi – a hero of justice; how then had her story ended up like this?

The thought of Puella Magi brought on another choke, now she knew what that truly meant. Kyuubey hadn't given them magic powers, he'd ripped their souls out of their bodies and left them as empty husks. She was a zombie, and even if she wanted to run out there and confront Hitomi, to ask her what kind of friend she thought she was, she didn't have the right. Kyosuke deserved better than a monster who wasn't able to touch or feel.

Kyosuke still hadn't come though. Hitomi's fingers were twisting and untwisting her bag strap and Sayaka could tell she was beginning to fret. The small slice of satisfaction Sayaka felt was quickly devoured by crushing guilt. Hitomi was supposed to be her friend, what pleasure was Sayaka meant to find in her unhappiness. The dreadful thoughts from the other day began to return, when she'd wished – for only split-second, but still she'd wished it – that she'd never saved Hitomi from that witch so Kyosuke could be hers alone. She really was a terrible friend; towards Madoka too, when the sweet pink-haired girl had tried to help her, Sayaka had said such terrible, spiteful things.

She hadn't had the courage to come into school that day, and in the afternoon she'd raised herself from her bed and come to wait at the school gate for Kyosuke and Hitomi. Not a hero, but a coward who'd lost both her friends and the boy she loved. Kyoko's words from before echoed around her head, The balance of hope and despair is always zero, she'd dismissed them at the time, just as she dismissed all she thought the callous Puella Magi had stood for, but now she saw the truth in them. Kyosuke and Hitomi had been given happiness, and she had nothing left at all. Unknown to her the black cloud within her spirit gem clasped in her hand was pressing against the glass, and a hairline crack had appeared.

Hitomi had taken out her phone and was calling a number; Kyosuke's Sayaka presumed. She checked the time on her own phone and was surprised at the hour. If they were planning to meet, he really was running late.

Sayaka jumped as a ringtone playing a familiar song went off behind her. She turned around, and to her astonishment sprawled across a park bench in her customary green hoodie was Sakura Kyoko. The red-head was chewing her customary pocky and gave Sayaka a bored nod. In her hand was a white mobile phone. Sayaka was wondering where she could have possibly got a phone from when the ringtone rang again. She did recognise the song, it was one she'd often heard Kyosuke play before: Ave Maria. She felt a chill of fear, why would Kyoko choose that song? Kyoko noticed her discomfort and broke into a predatory fanged smile that did nothing to allay Sayaka's suspicions. The mobile rang a third time and this time Kyoko did answer it.

"Good afternoon sweet-tits, you have reached the answering machine of Kamijo Kyosuke," said Kyoko cheerfully. Sayaka looked back around and could see from Hitomi's wide eyed surprise they were actually talking to one another. In which case, what on earth was Kyoko doing with Kyosuke's phone?

Kyoko didn't seem to see Sayaka's anger, and blithely carried on, "If you're confused why I sound like a little girl I can happily tell you after many years of trying I have finally hit puberty. I know, I'm surprised too that my voice would ever be so deep – or awesome," Kyoko added as an afterthought. "The reason I'm leaving this message is now I've become a man its time for me to marry the true love of my life: the only one I truly care for."

Kyoko winked at Sayaka, who froze in embarrassed fear. That red-haired demon wasn't going to say her name was she? She couldn't. Sayaka lunged for the phone but Kyoko dodged to the side and started to run, leaving Sayaka to face-plant against the bench. Rubbing her bruised forehead Sayaka was soon in furious pursuit, all her previous depression forgotten in the face of her anger with the red-haired girl.

"Yes, the one – I have to confess," Kyoko continued between breathes of air, holding the phone up high out of the reach of Sayaka's grasping hands, "The name of the one I love is – Stradivarius."

This stopped Sayaka in her tracks. Sayaka's first instinct had been Kyoko had just made the word up, but she was sure she'd heard it before. Perhaps it was foreign name. Was Stradi...whatshername some kind of exchange student Kyoko had met before?

"That smooth, brown skin; those sublime curves; that long slender shaft, I've never met anything more perfect. I've left Japan with Stradivarius and using my family's quite frankly ridiculous fortune I'm now searching for a country that recognises the beautiful union between boy and violin."

Sayaka stared at Kyoko before risking a glance back at Hitomi who looked to be in shock. She appeared to stutter something down the phone, which Kyoko promptly ignored.

"If you have a message," Kyoko finished off sweetly, "Then please go fuck yourself after the beep." With that she snapped the phone in two, casting both halves aside.

This time when Sayaka launched herself at Kyoko she found her target. Both girls went tumbling onto the grass. Kyoko was curiously devoid of her usual fighting spirit and soon Sayaka was straddled atop older girl. They were attracting more than a few curious stares, and a couple of teenage boys leaning against the fountain whistled, but she ignored all of them. She grabbed Kyoko roughly by the front her hoodie, wrenching her up so they were face to face.

"Where did you get the phone?" Sayaka said angrily.

"You're really asking the wrong question, ya know that," stated Kyoko.

"Where! Did you get! That phone!"

"From dear ol' Kamijo-kun," she mockingly slid in the last honourific.

"You stole it?"

"No, he gave it to me for safekeeping," Kyoko said sarcastically. "And you still ain't asking the right question."

"Where's Kyosuke? What did you do him!"

Kyoko's fangs were visible as she smiled, "Now, that is the right question."

Sayaka drew back a fist to hit her, but she didn't get the chance. She felt Kyoko shift under her, but lost in her anger and surprised by the sudden movement after her enemy's previous passiveness, she was caught unawares, and found herself on the ground.

She quickly got to her feet, her hand flying to her spirit gem and preparing to transform.

"Hold on!" Kyoko commanded. "If we start fighting, we're gonna get carried away like before, then I won't be able to answer your question. You'll never find out where he is."

Sayaka reluctantly let her hands fall to her sides. "If you've done anything to him Kyoko, I'll make you pay," she growled.

Kyoko calmly dusted the dirt and grass off of her hoodie from their tumble. "Its simple really," she said, "You heard the demon rabbit the other night, what that fucker did to us."

"Yes," Sayaka remembered even Kyoko had seemed in shock when she'd learnt the truth, "It turned us into monsters. We're zombies."

"Always glass-half empty with you ain't it," Kyoko muttered, shaking her head, "Right we're monsters, zombies, Godzilla, whatever you want to call it. Do you know what else we are?"


Kyoko made a wide sweeping gesture across the park, encompassing a couple wrapped in each other arms at a bench, a gang of young boys kicking around a football, a mother knelt by a pram trying to calm a squealing child, and Hitomi, still waiting by the school gates, looking lost and afraid.

"We're better than them."

"What?" Sayaka repeated, but in a much more dangerous tone.

"We've got powers they can only dream of. We've got bodies that can't die. We don't need to eat, or to sleep, hell, I don't think we even age. We're practically gods, and all we need to do to keep ourselves immortal is to let the witches snack on a few humans here and there. Fair trade I say."

"I remember you spewing that crap when we first met. I thought you were better than that, I thought you might have changed," Sayaka said, for some reason she felt more hurt than angry, and could feel a lump rising in her throat, "I guess I was wrong."

Kyoko seemed to hesitate slightly. Sayaka didn't understand, why was she getting upset over Kyoko of all people turning out to be exactly what she'd always suspected she was. She felt tired from all of it, learning the truth from Kyuubey, Hitomi's betrayal, and now Kyoko's callousness was the final straw. She wouldn't give the red-head the satisfaction of watching her cry though, and wiped an angry hand across her eyes.

"I have changed," Kyoko said quietly, "I was happy skulking in the shadows before, just keeping myself alive. Well, y'know what, fuck that. I'm not going to just be part of the background no more. If I'm a monster then I'm not plannin' to wallow in it like you, I'm want to enjoy every second. I'm gonna take this city for myself and turn it into my playground."

Sayaka felt her anger return, it was a good feeling and she welcomed it, "And you think I'm just going to let you?"

"Well, yes," Kyoko said matter-of-factly, "If you don't want any harm to come to your little boyfriend you'll just sit back and enjoy the fireworks."

"Where is he! What have you done to him!" Sayaka yelled out.

"You see I thought you might be boring when I told you my plan, and try and stop me because of some heroic justice bullshit. So I decided to get me some insurance. Don't worry, I'm taking good care of Kamijo-kun, and he'll stay the picture of perfect health, as long as you behave.

"If you hurt him," stated Sayaka simply, "I will kill you."

"No you won't," Kyoko laughed. Suddenly she was gone, and it was only the tickle of breath as she whispered the next words into Sayaka's ear that alerted the bluenette she'd moved beside her in almost an instant, "You're stupid and you're weak. I'm not sure I even needed to take a hostage, I just have to sit back and watch you destroy yourself. You give away Grief Seeds, you run yourself ragged against familiars, and all for a boy who can barely seem to remember you. As long as you keep doing what you're doing, you'll never have the power to stop me."

Sayaka swung her bag around but Kyoko was already gone, leaving her alone in the park. Drained of strength she fell to her knees staring blankly at the ground. She wanted to cry, to just let everything out in hot, angry tears, but she couldn't. Something else was stirring within her as well though, beyond the despair: a seed of the old determination that had withered away. Whatever kind of monster she was, she was the only one who could stop Kyoko. Mami was dead, that Akemi girl couldn't be trusted, that left only her. It also meant she was the only one who could save Kyosuke. Her condition meant she could do something for him Hitomi would never be able to do. It was a small, selfish, perverse happiness she knew, but it gave her strength. Unbeknownst to her, the darkness almost engulfing her soul gem drew back by a fraction, and became a little less opaque. Miki Sayaka stood up. She didn't know what was going to happen in the future, but she knew one thing: She was going to stop Kyoko and save Kyosuke or die trying.

Phew, first chapter out of the way. I had this idea knocking around in my head for a while of a different approach Kyoko might have taken in her attempt to save Sayaka. Hope you enjoy, keep reading, and whether you love it or hate it, send me those reviews :)