2018-09-29 - Her Best Friend

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Her Best Friend

There isn't much time left. Madoka tries to stage an intervention. Sayaka does something she regrets.


Sayaka Miki, Madoka Kaname



OOC - IC Date:

09-29-2018 - 05-18-2015

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5CPfIk9gis

The clouds that have been gathering since the last Shinjuku hunt had fully darkened the sky by noon today, and now it is finally raining. Despite the best efforts of street sweepers and retirees with grabbers, a city needs a good rain now and then to cleanse itself of dust and stains. The gutters of Shibuya are running neon in the gleaming dark, streetlights draping cones of glowing mist beneath their hanging bulbs. Every now and then a car passes, peeling up the puddles before fading away in a trail of red tail-light.

Somehow the rain on the bus stop roof feels like home. The steady grey-noise patter of falling water lulls Sayaka into nostalgia. But Sayaka has always lived in the city, and never in the top floor of anything. She's never had a rain-spattered roof. Does it just feel nostalgic to her because she's heard it ought to?

She touches her newest grief seed to her Soul Gem, and watches the simmering shadows drain from inside. She's been trying to build up for her battle against Eri, to store grief seeds. Surely Eri and Kyouko have many. By all rights, being able to harvest a seed from a Witch that the Chevaliers did all the work on should be counteracting her breakback hunting schedule somewhat. But her soul gem is draining faster than it should for some reason. She didn't think she was using this much magic.

Sayaka sets her soul gem down gently, between her and Madoka. She's not worried she'll accidentally leave it on the bench; she's too aware of it at all times. It turns out that, despite her mother's admonition, she really wouldn't forget her head if it wasn't screwed on.

She ought to be chatting at Madoka constantly. The lack of physical contact is strange, too; Sayaka puts an arm around Madoka as effortlessly as she might fold her own hands. But tonight she's just sitting there, watching water droplets join on the plexiglass, and streak down together to the bottom.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There's a yellow umbrella, all over broken eggs and wobbling ducklings.

Pitter-patter-titter-tatter-litter-latter, Madoka used to sing along with the natural melody chuckling above their heads. She always struggled to keep it held up high enough for both of them, until Sayaka would get exasperated and wrest the handle from her, irritably, cheerfully thrust it into the air.

The handle has a hole bored through it -- and a string -- and a charm on the end. A matching duckling. It was white when they bought it but time and wear has smoothed most of its details away into a dull gray. Mostly the wear was Madoka worrying at it with her thumb and forefinger, on sunny days when the umbrella was closed in her lap. Worry worry worry.

The umbrella isn't here right now, but the sound is anyway.


Madoka twists the ball of her foot against the concrete, very slowly, like she's landing in a puddle. There are no puddles inside the bus stop enclosure, of course. It just feels like it should be.

Nothing feels like it should.

She shifts her weight, back and forth, like a nervous child. She is a nervous child.

Finally -- with the same syrup-speed of her foot -- she reaches out to lay her arm across Sayaka's shoulders. The care of it, like an individual member of the stormy symphony sliding into the gutter smoothly, without so much as a splash -- this too is wrong. It is not an easy gesture. Not like it should be.

Nothing feels like it should.

"Sayaka," she whispers. Her voice is as tiny as a raindrop too.

There are millions and millions and millions of them falling, smashing, crashing into the neighborhood.

Only one is pink.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The little relics of their shared childhood would resonate with Sayaka even now, if she could see them. But you have to look to see, and looking is more tiring than one may realize. Sayaka is very tired.

Sayaka hadn't expected a full downpour after so many false alarms, so the only precaution she took was her half-waterproof track jacket. Madoka's passing sleeve disturbs beads of water there, which either lance down Sayaka's back or sink right into the fibers, leaving dark spots. As Madoka's palm crests Sayaka's second shoulderblade, she starts to list, sinking towards Madoka. Tilting her head, she rests her cheek on Madoka's hair, one short twintail nestled into her neck.

A muffled few bars of enka float by, as a car coasts through the puddles in front of the bus stop.

Sayaka exhales through her nose, tickling air through to Madoka's scalp. She passively absorbs the scent of pink hair as her eyes drift shut. It would rest a lot of weight on Madoka to wrap an arm around her in return, now, but Sayaka's supporting hand slides outwards, behind Madoka's butt and over to her distant hand, haphazardly overlapping a few fingers.

It feels like it's been a long time since Madoka said Sayaka's name, and yet she responds. "Hey," she says.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Madoka threads their fingers together like Baby's First Weaving. Like waffles. Like her Papa's trellis, where the tomatoes grow.

Where they will grow, later this summer.

It's just around the corner. It's a lifetime away.

It's more than that, for Mami.


She said it out loud, again, so soft and so sad. The first time it was prompting, the beginning of a conversation. This time it's already almost the end. Its context is as obvious as the tremble of anxiety tickling her best friend's cheek through her twintail's tip.

"Please," she whispers, at the same volume as the lights-out sleepover, but three syllables of grief that has never been vocalized beneath the benevolent eyes of Totoro.

"Sayaka, please don't do it. It's... it's not good for you..."

How many times has she practiced this wobbly little intervention in front of the mirror? It's easy to imagine, and equally easy to see how pointless it was to try. In the moment, her tongue is thick and her throat is tight and there's no eloquence, just a still, quiet terror.

Terror for Sayaka, not for Eri.

She stumbles on, faster and more desperate to say what she needs to say before she can't. Her eyes stare out at the rain and her mouth mumbles and mumbles.

"...it hurts just to watch, and, and, I think that if you, if you really do it, even if you win you won't really win...you'll be the one who gets hurt even worse..."

It isn't the hurt of the body that she's talking about.

It is.

But it's more, it's both.

"Please," she finishes in a whimper, "Just... just, come home with me..."

Home to cocoa and Totoro. Home to the tomatoes in two months' time.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Sayaka lets her cheek rest where it is, lets Madoka's hairs start to texture her skin in tiny reverse filigree. She understands what it costs Madoka to say this, she really does. Madoka's anxiety is practically Sayaka's bed at the moment; she can feel it beneath her shoulder, her palm, her resting cheek. But however tender one's intentions, one cannot confront someone without separating yourself from them. Their physical contact is intact, but Madoka's been forced to break the other kind, at least for now.

Sayaka's eyes were already closed, but lightly. As Madoka speaks, the lids really sink, and she rests more heavily on Madoka's small form. But when she is finished, Sayaka gathers herself for a moment, then drags her hand back wearily to rest between them instead, behind her soul gem. Levering herself off Madoka with that arm, she carries her own weight once more.

"I want that." Sayaka's voice is a little hoarse. "But it's too late."

The air in here tastes of rain. The dry pavement is ringed by a border of steadily dripping metal frame. Watching the gossamer almost-puddles there disappear and reform hurts Sayaka's eyes.

"If someone has to get hurt, it should be me," she says distantly. "I can't do anything special except that. I'm not sure I've ever won a fight that wasn't on the playground... I just lose until they're too tired.

"Senpai was different. She meant something. I know I'm not a hero of justice, now, but if Mami-senpai dies and the girl who killed her just--just smears dirt all over what she stood for..."

Sayaka's shoulders are bent now. "I can't live with that, Madoka. I want to feel like... there's rules. Like things make sense."

Sayaka sniffs, short and distinct, like she's running at the track, or coming down with a cold. "Maybe that's what I always wanted, back then."

Before the wish, on the roof. Surrounded by fence, but with the blue sky going forever in every direction.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Madoka lets go of Sayaka's weight very reluctantly -- there's a frission between their skin -- can Sayaka feel it? Those fine, fine hairs, fine and soft, clinging to hers as she shifts sideways with her until she would have to topple over to stay in contact.

Even then there's a moment of question. Madoka has always been willing to topple for Sayaka. Onto pillows, onto plushies. Onto concrete even. More than one skinned knee is the product of a clumsy but voluntary topple to relieve tension, to avoid conflict. To break up a bad situation.

She does not topple now. And so they separate... and she slumps, like a sad game of Simon Says with Sayaka's shoulders. Her chin dips so deeply that it's almost touching her chest.

Abandoned, her hands thread each other for comfort instead.

And her eyes close, as slowly and as quickly as a raindrop slides down the side of the enclosure, leaving little bits of itself behind. A dotted line of moisture to match the one on her cheek.

She's listening. Sayaka can hear her listening -- Madoka's own 'special' gift, if she has any at all. The way her breathing changes. The way she opens herself to these thoughts, these feelings, and then flinches as they impact her full force.

The rain has to go through the chorus and another two stanzas, pitter-patter-titter-tatter-litter-latter, before Madoka replies.

"B-but," it's a fat-lipped but bubbling up from inside, the same sort of trembling lips that occasionally dare to but a bedtime or for seconds of dessert, only amplified a hundred times by raw distress. "But, it... it doesn't make sense... Mami died for the rule that magical girls don't kill people. H-how..."

She sucks in a breath, like someone about to throw herself -- or someone else -- off a cliff. Like someone about to shatter a beautiful vase they spent years making.

"It's just -- too sad -- to think that Mami would, that she would want, you to become, a murderer."

Her voice breaks almost before she's begun, her throat closing with distress from a shrill whimper to a hoarse whisper.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Sayaka tenses, a tendon in her jaw flickering, as Madoka speaks of that rule. She's not angry the way Madoka might think. It's just that, in her deepest heart, Sayaka knows that that prohibition was her ironclad rule, whereas for Mami it was more of a principled guideline. And she can never admit that, even to herself if she can help it, because of what it implies about Mami Tomoe.

Her eyes flick to Madoka for the first time when she takes that breath. It's a protective sort of instinct that will be washed away soon enough.

Sayaka takes her own breath, much the same sound as Madoka's. Simon says.

There's a bitter sensation on Sayaka's tongue, indeed on her skin somehow. The world is bitter. Her stained voice drops low.

"That's all it is for you, Madoka. Sad. This is sad, that's sad, Eri's sad, and you're sad about it, all the time. I wish I could just be sad. I wish I had nothing to do with Mami-senpai dying or people dying to Witches. I wish my biggest problem was that watching all of this made me feel bad. Maybe one day I could even forget those thorns in my skin just... ripping." Her voice trembles, just one little note of derangement dropping in somewhere in the middle of the last word.

"You could stop her whenever you wanted." Sayaka is gazing fixedly at Madoka now. "Without killing. Kyuubey said you'd be the strongest of any of us."

That hangs in the air a moment.

"But I can't, Madoka. I tried so hard, and b-because of that Mami-senpai's dead now. If you'd even imagined for one second what it's like to make a choice instead of just doing whatever's less upsetting, you'd understand. Let me be a murderer."

Sayaka staggers to her feet, turning her head to look down past her shoulder at her best friend. From below, her gaze is balefully cold.

"And I'll let you be sad."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Madoka knows it too.

Mami told her herself. In the letter, in the shoe locker, left there just in case--

It's possible that things won't turn out as I hope. I wanted to tell you at least my feelings, leave some record of how I felt before this battle. The truth is that I left with the intention of killing Kyouko Sakura.

--she never came back.

But she doesn't blame Sayaka for Mami's death. Or Eri.

That would be too easy.

Just like it was too easy to keep her eyes shut when she made her final, awful appeal; not to reason, rather to the only feeling Sayaka seems to care about anymore.

Sayaka isn't so cowardly, and so it is that she's forced to bear witness to the results of her words. The way Madoka twitches at the first lash of bitterness, and at every repetition of 'sad'.

The way she shrinks into herself -- how can someone already so tiny become even tinier, just because her feet have retreated beneath the bench and her arms have crept up and crossed over her chest and her face is hidden behind her twintail because it's straight down now, her nose almost attacking the floor.

'I-- I promise!'

"You'd be the strongest of any of us."

'I promise -- I won't -- wish Mami-chan, back, b-back... to life.'

"If you'd imagined for just one second what it's like to make a choice."

'I promise. So please... please believe me. I promise I won't. Please, please...'

Madoka can't get words out anymore. There is too much sobbing, and not enough room. She makes a pathetic figure, there on the bench, everything she's been accused of and more, too upset to do anything but -- exactly as accused -- be sad.

But she isn't sad in the way that Sayaka might think. It's just that, in her deepest heart, Madoka knows that she's the one who killed Mami Tomoe.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There is no such thing as pure anger. Anger, for all its destructive power, is conditional. It lies atop something.

Sayaka is angry.

Sayaka is afraid.

Berating someone weak was supposed to be satisfying, and Madoka just rolled over.

Sayaka didn't want to win this argument.

Madoka is a pathetic, blubbering mess.

Sayaka wanted to cry, but she was dishonest about it and Madoka wasn't. Now she can't.

Madoka is acting like a child even now.

Sayaka is the child; Madoka her cherished stuffed animal, and Sayaka is in agony because she ripped her seams on purpose.

Sayaka stands before Madoka, frayed, every sob making her frantic. She already had such a hard time thinking straight, and after so long at her side, Madoka's tears are an instinctive emergency for her. She's like a guide dog being repeatedly ordered to open a locked door, getting more anxious and upset with every failure. She can't stop Eri without murder, and she can't comfort Madoka. Sayaka is shaking, her thoughts more and more chaotic, and then

It cuts off. There was too much, and the filament broke. Sayaka sags, able to hear the rain again as the sound of her own panic disappears. In the dull glow of the bus stop, she can again feel four walls of rainsoaked night around her, getting further away somehow, distending. She watches Madoka cry dispassionately.

"Fine. Cry then." She turns her back to Madoka, and her face to the rain. "I really am an idiot, bringing you along to all this."

Sayaka steps out into sheets of rain decisively, striding away as her her short hair starts to plaster her forehead.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Madoka cries obediently. She's cried a lot since Mami's death, but the last time Sayaka heard Madoka cry like this, at this higher octave of distress and despair, it was at Shinjuku.

But she also gets up, not long at all after Sayaka leaves. There's something almost sleepy in her movements, but it's shock, not lethargy, that makes her this soft little robot. Pidgeon-toed, she stumbles her way out of the bus stop, and the splish-splash of her footsteps joins the pitter-patter-titter-tatter-litter-latter, which, out on the street, is more of a continuous pounding soundscape anyway.

Splish-splash-splish-splash. As always, she has to jog a little to even begin to close the distance.

Sayaka can't hear the way she's sniffling, over the storm, and she can't see her tears either, drowned out as they are by the streams of rainwater cascading down her face. But Madoka is still crying -- it's obvious in the redness of her eyes, the puffiness of her face. And still following. Simon says.

The only imperative in her heart that would make her stand up and walk at a time like this, is the one that, in a way, she's been crying over all along.

Puh-please save Sayaka-chan...

She has to be there.

I really am an idiot, bringing you along to all this.

She has to be there for her.

The look on Sayaka's face, when she sagged and turned away, plays back in a tight, awful little loop in front of Madoka's dull eyes.

Now more than ever.

Splish-splash-splish-splash-splish-splash. Madoka says nothing that the rain isn't already saying better anyway. It is a chilly, miserable night, and somehow, absent the puffiness of her hair and clothes to make believe, she is even tinier still.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

This weak, kittenish pursuit has Sayaka guilty and angry, and not the less one for the other. She keeps glancing behind her, to check if Madoka's still after her. She would love to just start running and shake her off, but what if Madoka just kept plodding weepily forward in the rain, without even putting up her umbrella?

Thus she repeatedly hastens and halts, turns away and then looks back, until they are out in the middle of the street and Sayaka finally rounds on Madoka fully. "Madoka!" she shouts in alarm. She's standing with her hands clenched, breathing quickly from emotion. Her dripping blue brows tighten, her lips curling back at the sight of her sodden best friend. The volume of her cry trembles behind her lips as she forces it down, to speak tightly and quietly.

"Don't follow me," she says.

Her lip twitches.

And she turns around to run into the rain.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.


Madoka's left foot is on its ball and her right toe is in a puddle and her arms are in the middle of becoming outstretched, a reaction to Sayaka turning around.

But they slowly, slowly sink back to her sides, and that's the last thing that moves voluntarily as Sayaka runs further and further and further away.

But there are other kinds of movement. Like the way the rain forces her hair down, strand by strand, to stick to her cheeks and her neck, and the way her tears, in turn, buoy strands upwards from beneath, causing them to float, tiny pink bridges between freshwater and salt.


Even if she had the yellow umbrella right now, she wouldn't have the will to heft it high.

She has to be there for her. Now more than ever.

'Don't follow me,' Sayaka giggles, as she conspicuously disappears into the far reaches of the depaato a few days before Christmas.

'Don' follow me,' Sayaka chides, as she squeezes herself into the fat tire at the park, a hide-and-seek place that only has room for one.

'Don't follow me,' Sayaka says.

Madoka doesn't follow. Grief quietly fills her, a dull black smoke, drowning out all coherency, all thought.

One is running and one stands still, but they're both pounded by the same rain, under the same sky.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Incertus - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_KIHqH3T7M

It's a headlong run, always one step from a sprawl. Sayaka swings her arms too far, as if clawing for progress on the hill she's splashing up. Her elbows are sharp, her head down, her rain-lank hair swishing damply against her cheeks. The remorse hit instantly as soon as she started, and along with it the pain--god, Sayaka was regretting what she said even as it came out of her mouth.

Her crying starts in her laboring lungs, in the ragged, hiccupy panting that sustains her. The hot flood of tears in her eyes is impossible for her to mistake for rain. "I'm s-so stupid," she whimpers. Her sneaker slips and she briefly touches the ground with one hand, but she keeps running right through the stumble. But the city is impassive to her whispers, to her tears, to her very flesh. Skyscrapers hold up a roof of black clouds and pour more grief onto her than she could shed from her eyes in a thousand years.

"That's it," Sayaka whimpers, as she careens down another street, past another convenience store, through another puddle. She pinches her eyes shut. There's no one left to convince her not to do what she wants to do. Kozue and Tsubasa will follow. The rest have been shoved aside. This lonely path through the dark belongs to her alone, now. It is her rain, her concrete, her dull shuttered windows and soaking wet socks and endless winding hopeless streets.

She ought to be happy, to have something to herself for once. One day, so long ago now that it is watercolor in her mind, a tiny Sayaka with bandaids on her knees offered a crying classmate a handkerchief. Everything Sayaka has ever had since then, she shared it with Madoka Kaname.