2018-11-24 - TIMELINE 1: Save Tokyo From Fusion! A Miracle Light Reaches Everyone's Hearts

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Save Tokyo From Fusion! A Miracle Light Reaches Everyone's Hearts

Fusion attacks Tokyo, seeking to absorb all individual powers into his despair-incarnate whole. The magical girls respond to their first truly existential threat, and discover the power of teamwork -- and that of the belief of their friends.


Kasagami Araki, Fuu Hououji, Takeo Akamizu, Mikoto Minagi, Mami Tomoe, Nori Ankou, Eri Shimanouchi, Madoka Kaname, Homura Akemi, Steven Universe, Sayaka Miki, Tarte, Mepple, Mipple, Chiffon, Hummy, Candy

GM: Hotaru Tomoe



OOC - IC Date:

11/24/2018 - 09-23-2013

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - Battle of the Hornburg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcWl1kk9FAk


Battle rages at the epicenter of a disaster.

The spiraling clouds above have blotted out all brightness; all around, what was once road, or building, or even tree has become so much rock and dust. All along the crater there have been half-sunken office buildings, tilting skyscrapers, abandoned cars, and more signs of ruin than can be easily counted. No people, thankfully. At least everyone got out.

But that's because the magical girls got in.

From a distance, explosions of every conceivable color reflect off the underside of the storm. Up close it is chaos, as sparkling blasts fly as quickly as fists and feet, all targeting the same being:


A metallic figure, living quicksilver, he melts away from some attacks only to reform with the speed and power of a meteorite crashing down from the heavens. He is humanoid; a man with broad, angular shoulders and a smooth head, his silver dark in the dimness. The only color to him is the red in his eyes, the eyes of a detached observer, even as he unleashes tremendous blasts of violet energy and equally massive unarmed blows.

He was only ten feet tall, originally, but now he's more like thirty; the battle seems to have only made him larger, and not at all diffuse. He is denser, too, more powerful in every respect, than he was even moments ago. It's forty feet or more by now.

The air quails behind him in a sonic boom as he brings down an immense palm strike, breaking the ground under everyone's feet and forcing them to navigate boulders instead.

He is capable of speech, which sounds very much like the howling stormy winds. Indeed, the two are one and the same, the disaster and the force of darkness at its heart. He has spoken of power and his determination to possess it. He has spoken of darkness, and his birth from the vestiges of darkness left behind by the defeat of countless monsters in battles past and present. Left behind... and combined, into a singular potent force of embodied despair... and hunger.

"Soon, you will all become part of me," he promises the girls, as he lifts back his palms, clenching them into fists. "I will absorb everything... this entire world."

OOC: You've been fighting Fusion for several minutes by now. It's quite a large battlefield, but without civilians in danger,
because they've all been rescued. Any magical girl alts who aren't in this scene can be assumed to have been first responders who
organized the evacuation and are now protecting the survivors from FREAKING GODZILLA (or close enough), another ancient monster
who was awakened by all the commotion and is, so to speak, one crater over. (They won't be mentioned further tonight, and please
don't pose your alts; just letting folks know how they're keeping busy.)

OOC: Nobody would bring a civilian into this on purpose, but you could have been nearby when Fusion detonated onto the scene and
taken to safety, or been curious/worried about the commotion and approached the edge of the crater on your own.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Fusion!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Semi-Sized Silver Slam on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi neatly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Eri
Shimanouchi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname fails to dodge Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 31 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to counter Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 33 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji's counterattack, Sword Strike, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Hotaru Tomoe!  
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi partially dodges 6 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
Mikoto Minagi's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki partially dodges 10 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 38 Fatigue damage!
Critical Hit!  Kasagami Araki's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe neatly dodges 24 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Mami
Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant partially dodges 7 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 28 Fatigue
COMBAT: Lancelot dodges 21 Fatigue damage from Hotaru Tomoe's Semi-Sized Silver Slam, taking 14 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kasagami Araki, the Crimson Rose Duelist, is remarkably grim-faced as that massive palm slams down to crumple concrete to dust. Debris and the shockwave hammers into the recently-minted magical girl, sending her flying farther back than she really wanted from the increasingly-gigantic menace before them. She has no idea how it came to be, but Fusion's purpose has been made abundantly clear. For a second, battered, missing one of her coat sleeves and her Student Council uniform ragged at the cuffs and hems, she leans on the tip of her nodachi.

Taking a breath, she summons up all of that courage she has to have right now. She's a magical girl, a Student Councilor. She can't be seen to be weak. The civilians are safe, at least, but there's a battle to be won. She glances around to the other magical girls, taking solace in the fact that others care enough for Tokyo that have the power to defend it. All of the things Fusion has said are ill portents. She can't give up!

"Gorging will lead to stagnation, not growth! We won't let you absorb this city!" Offers the Duelist, and not for the first time. It may as well be a mantra for the hard-pressed mahou.

Raising her hand, a flurry of dark red petals settle into her free hand, only for her to point it at the monstrosity! They scatter in a minor tornado of lashing, sharp magical edges that leave their scent behind. A promise of growth, the future, and most of all, safety from such monstrosities!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Fluttering Petals on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The Magic Knight of Wind is doing the best she can against Fusion, which is doing a respectable impression of being a literal force of nature. But her best is, to put it mildly, not really doing much. Arrows either bounce off of the monstrous figure, or don't even reach high enough to strike anywhere more sensitive - and for all her determination as she tries to bring her sword to bear, it doesn't even really take magical force when raw physics suffice to make her suffer the worse side of the clash, nearly driving her into the already-devastated ground.

She extricates herself from the partial-Magic Knight-shaped hole, grimacing, and resumes thinking. This monster is talking about absorbing and assimilating everything, and everyone; it (or he?) is only getting bigger no matter what they throw at it. So is there a way to disrupt that absorption somehow ... ?

It's not the first battle in which the Wind Knight has wished an enemy really were just a hostile mob in a video game; she just hopes it won't be the last. And she keeps moving, heading for one of Fusion's legs and trying to at least cut into his ankle or hamstring or something. Heck, she'd settle for chopping his little toe off - it would at least be an *injury* to the dark silver figure.

Whatever she *can* do, at this point. It's better than doing nothing.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Sword Strike on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

There is a thunderous boom, and a boulder is slashes in half. the two pieces fling to either side of the knight standing with hands gripped around the pommel of a shining and impossibly white blade flickering with lightning. Lancelot pants and looks around quickly, trying to take in the battlescape once more. The thing he's facing is freaking huge, and he's not really certain how to beat it.

Well. He has one plan.

He is in fact about to perform his genious tactical option when a large silver fist is suddenly coming his way. Instinct honed from sudden surprise Mama-Sama attacks kick in and Lancelot springs backward. The fist slams where he was standing a mere moment before splintering the concrete to dust and fists sized debris that shoots out in every direction. Lancelot lands and rolls, coming up in a crouch his forearms crossed over his face as the debris slams into him. The force of the impact sliding him back on the ground despite his not being in the immediate blast zone.

He brings his arms down in a quick motion, his right holding Arondight to the side, and his left going to the ground as a third point of contact his crouch. His eyes narrow and he watches for half a heart beat before with a sound of satisfaction he sees it. His opening. He thinks. Now is the time to do hsi tactically genious plan.

Like the lightning he summons he's off, sprinting up the side of one of the canted buildings, Arondight held to the side as he watches Fusion his expression girm and set. As he reaches about mid way up the building he nods once again. **Operation: Hit Him Hard** is put into motion.

He leaps off the building in mid stride, launching himself into the air and spinning Arondight as he goes to give the weapon more momentum mid flight, he lets out a wordless scream of "EEEYAAAA!" which turns into a shouted. "LIGHTING IMPACT!" As Lancelot brings that gleaming white sword trailing motesand tendrils of Lightning toward Fusion's face.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Impact on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe counters 12 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Fluttering Petals, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's
Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Your Power Is My Power, partially gets through, doing 29 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!
Critical Counterhit!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe dodges 3 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Sword Strike, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade and
Flash abilities activate!
COMBAT: Without the Barrier flag, only a melee attack can counter a melee attack. Please counter with the correct range of attack,
or with an attack with the Barrier flag.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters 30 Fatigue damage from Lancelot's Lightning Impact, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Hit!  Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Hyper Absorption, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lancelot!  
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Mikoto's fought in Tokyo before. Orphans and youma and even a sad girl. The stakes are always high, in a battle - but there are differences between them, after all. Not every fight is created equal.

None of them have ever been like this.

All the monsters she'd taken care of... had they come to this? She wonders, and she does not ask, because though Fusion can speak, she can't spare the effort to find words in return. The battle is too pitched, too desperate - and only getting worse by the moment. It seems like every time her sword strikes true, it's hitting something stronger.

For some time now she has relied on echoing the same word, in various tone and timbre: "NO!"

A flat denial of everything Fusion is, and everything Fusion means to become.

His palm strikes earth and Mikoto leaps away, but the force of his strike carves through the air as well as the ground, and she finds herself flung back by the thunderous snap without much say in her trajectory at all. The ground she meets is uneven and jagged, and she staggers on the landing. A rock rolls under still-new Ohtori flats. She catches herself, plants her footing again.

"No," she says, again, quieter but no less determined. No - I won't let you. No - I refuse. No - this is not how it ends.

She plants her feet on one of the boulders, perhaps once a skyscraper or a slab of road, and springs into a sprint, charging for Fusion with a terrible wordless scream. She leaps, and swings her whole body diagonal to try and carve into consumption itself. If he means to eat her, he will find her a most unpleasant snack.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 23 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness, taking 19 Fatigue damage!
Mikoto Minagi is Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Narrow boots alight once again on the corner of a ruined office building facing upward, graceful and sure. ...But not untouched. Mami Tomoe is here, on the front lines of the defense against something even she's never seen, that tracks into rumors of conflicts before she even Contracted. On the bright side, the people are evacuated. ...There needs to be some bright side after all, because this... This is not going well to her eye.

A honeyed gaze narrows on the metallic figure ahead again; larger than before, likely to keep growing, for all that Mami couldn't say how or why. The very idea of a creature born from the dregs of others defeated...

How many monsters has Mami, just Mami, defeated in this city? Even before considering the others...

A moment of thinking larger strategy breaks as Mami leaps to the side in the wake of Fusion's immense strike; the building where she was perched finishes crumbling over the next few moments, throwing up an arm to shield her face from the debris of the shockwave. She lands, looks around quickly--

Two first. She spots both, and lets herself keep going. Perhaps notably of Mami, besides her guns and her ribbons, is this fact: she's barely said a word to Fusion himself. Her words have been for the other girls assembled, her team first and the others as well.

"Firing!" she calls, for the benefit of the meleers, and a wave of rifles floats before her, turning quickly to take aim just from her command. In that instant, it's possible to get a good look at her; dusty, sleeves frayed, one glove torn and other signs of battle obvious. Nevertheless, she shines onward.

The first set of rifles thunders its answer, and Mami leaps backward, pulling another from her sleeve to fire, another from nothing, two sprouting from her hands when she folds them in front of herself--

The gold glow continues, for now.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has used Tiro Flourish on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters 48 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe's Tiro Flourish, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Your Power Is My Power, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Mami Tomoe!  
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Wah!" says la Sirene du Nord as the stones break beneath them. Her arm comes up to veil herself and she does not get flinders in her eyes as a result. The dust is enough to draw the tears that are already threatening to well up. Her outfit has gained several tatters, but they are, at least, aesthetically consonant.

"I won't let you," she says, raising her voice.

"I will not allow a creature like you to harm this beautiful world. You would not make a unity, you would make nothing! It is those scars and stitch marks that make the meaning that knits together everybody--!"

She swallows her bile and her anger, because Mami is saying something. Mami, one of the people who held out a hand. Mami, the guiding line. Mami, the AUTHOR OF THE BATTERY OF TEN THOUSAND CANNONS!

Or so it seems.

She only has one, but it will have to do. Raising up her hand, la Sirene breathes out with force as others go in with swords. Why, she thinks bleakly, do you all WANT to be gobbled up like snails in garlic butter? But this bleakness makes her focus. Her right hand comes up - she sights -

"Les Mysteres, come!"

And out comes the silvery burst! Perhaps, la Sirene thinks with hope as the charm flies towards the great creature, that's the secret. Silver against silver.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Les Mysteres on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 22 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Les Mysteres, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

This isn't like a witch at all. Certainly Eri knew there were other supernatural threats out there. This is her first though that's ever felt this overwhelming. And not just overwhelming for her - but a great number of Mahou Shoujo.

So what does she do? She just tries her best to follow her Mami Tomoe's lead - even Madoka's at times. And tries to relate the monstrosity to a witch. There are still civilians to be saved. The labyrinth is simply a large expanse of pummeled concrete. Fusion is... she hesitates to think of it as a witch. Not with it speaking at them. Not with it growing from their assaults.

"What are we supposed to do? He just keeps... growing."

The girl lets out a gasp as Fusion raises his palms, and the girl does a skip twist, her wrist flicking out as a length of her flail catches on rebar sticking out of concrete, as she swings behind new cover, landing just a split second before the shockwave pounds into the improvised barrier, showering her with dust.

And in the wake of that is a promise. Of this horrifying sickening oneness. Everything she knows and loves being a part of him. 'We won't let you.' She tries to mouth - but the words don't even come out over the din of battle.

She sounds so small saying it. Before her eyes seek out Mami Tomoe and... Madoka Kaname. Perhaps because the two habe become a large part of that which she'd want to preserve about this world. Suddenly even in her fear, it felt a little easier to do what she must.


"... I'm going out there senpai." Leaping out of cover suddenly past the cloud of Mami's gunsmoke, eyeing La Sirene as she goes by, she leaps from point to point, sending her whip lashing out at a random pattern as she goes. It whistles through the air striking his silver body here and there as she moves from ruined lamppost to street sign to traffic light to simple concrete outcroppings in a flanking pattern circling around him.

Faster and faster, it's tip cracking so quickly as to try to ripple that silver body like a pond's surface as she tries to work the colossus from low to high and back again.

If it ever finds purchase with a wrap though - the girl winds her end around her perch. Then grimly starts to pull, like a simplistic pulley system, trying to tug him off-balance. He's huge, so she doubts she can bring him down... but...

"You've grown far too quickly for your own good." She says to herself, like a gardener's lament at the necessity of pulling weeds or pruning rose bushes that have become overlush.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Moidon's Grasp on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe dodges 10 Fatigue damage from Eri Shimanouchi's Moidon's Grasp, taking 15 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's
Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Tangle applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Madoka disappears beneath the enormous silver palm and afterwards for a long moment there is no sign of her in the rubble.

A boulder shifts; another; and she pops back up like a mole, shaking concrete dust out of her twintails. From the skirt down she's still invisible beneath rubble.

"I-I'm okay!" she lies, her every nerve aflame. But then, so is the tip of her bow, rosefire unwaveringly bright, as she draws back another three arrows in one go and releases them towards the immense target before her. They disappear into the storm that is silver that is a man, and she doesn't know if they've struck true or not.

Her eyes are huge in her too-pale face and the fat bows on her twintails are ragged. So is her heart.

She can't really process the landscape. Horror she knows, horror is already familiar, but this is a different ken and kind. All the labyrinths in the world hold less awfulness within them than the disjointed office building on the edge of the crater, which she can see peeking out from behind Fusion at a funny angle.

No, not funny. Not funny at all.

"Ano, eto," she worries, along with her lip. But then silver and gold blast past her, and crimson and yellow and green and black, and it seems to decide her.

She keeps her chin high -- for Mami, for Eri, for everyone here... and all the people behind them, too.

"Everything is going to be all right!" she yells over the storm, and it's as much a battle cry at Fusion as it is at everyone around. "W-we, we have something he doesn't!"

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has used Starlight, Starbright on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters 30 Fatigue damage from Madoka Kaname's Starlight, Starbright, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
Critical Counter!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Your Power Is My Power, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Madoka Kaname!  
<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Homura Akemi's eyes dwarf her red-framed glasses lenses, wide with astonished fear. There's just no getting used to this particular feeling for her, at least not so far: that she is a very squishable ant beneath the lowering feet of heretofore invisible giants. Why does everything get so ridiculously huge in the magical girl world? And... why can't they all be big friendly tomcats?

All kinds of wild and hysteria-flavored thoughts occur while she watches from beneath a bent tabletop that used to belong to a sidewalk cafe. She'd been sipping a milkshake there and daydreaming about things that have actually happened, instead of fictional romances and impossibilities, for the very first time. Remembering an afternoon out shopping, and watching Mami wipe Madoka's nose clean of whipped cream.

It's such a new and wondrous thing, having happy memories...

Fusion thunders doom and Homura quails, and if she makes any pitiful sounds they're swallowed up by his spoken tempest.

But another thought flies through, less hysterical than the rest: it's worth it. It's all worth it, even if she gets bug-squished right here and now for reminiscing in the wrong time and place. Mami Tomoe's combat glory fills her eyes with gold; La Sirene opposes with her own silver elegance. And the green puella, Eri Shimanouchi -- she jumps right in, again and again, and Homura doesn't see the fear as clearly as the bravery from where she cowers.

When Madoka disappears beneath that terrible hand she screams, and doesn't stop screaming until her hero reemerges from the rubble whole. Rosefire kindles a growing flame in Homura's fear-strained heart. When Madoka says everything is going to be all right... she believes, against her own whispering doubts.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

The momentum is with Fusion, and that's never more obviously true as when he begins to actualize his promise to take what is his. Some strikes -- Cephiran swords and Obsidian ones, plant whips and silver light, simply seem to make his surface undulate and ripple where they make contact. But worse still... he takes petaled energies and lightning, he takes rifle and arrow fire, he takes them into himself and he returns them threefold, glowing blackly with anti-light.

Some make contact and some don't but the message is clear:

He is growing because of them. It's their magic, merging with the darkness of his own, that is fueling his impossible strength.

There isn't much time to contemplate it, however.

He speaks again. "Refusal, denial... these are things of your past. There will be only one truth now... only one choice."

His arms extend wider, wider...


He slams them down again, but not to strike the girls. Instead his palms enter the ground and keep going as though there's nothing there.

And, just like that, there isn't.

Rubble, boulders, debris, all of them transform into something that is quicksand in the same way that Fusion is quicksilver. Which is to say, it is impossibly darker and more horrible. So black it's almost violet, the goo rises up in all directions, in a terrible splash...

...then drowns.

There is no escaping what happens next.

There is only being pulled down...

...and the cold.

It is so terribly cold.

There is a surface, to struggle to, though to free arms for more than a moment is impossible.

The sky is gone. The city is gone.

Outside, observers have another perspective: Fusion became the darkness, filled the entire crater, swallowing everyone and then reforming, larger than ever, with them in the place of his desire:

Inside him. Perhaps physically, perhaps spiritually. Perhaps there isn't a meaningful distinction with a being like this.

There are hints for his victims as well.

Like the way that his voice booms in all directions, within and without.

"I can absorb everything... and I will. I shall strip you of your useless and divided personalities, and you will become one within me. You will no longer experience the pain of being hurt by others..."

The cold is getting worse, and with it, stabbing like knives, are bad memories. Memories of arguments. Of fights. Of what happens, when people become close to each other:

"...or of hurting one another yourselves."

OOC: You've been sucked into a Darkness Dimension! It is dark and cold and scary, and memories of ways that you have accidentally
(or deliberately) hurt people you care about are closing in on you. Please share them as part of your pose! No csys this round. :)

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The barking rifles of a veteran magical girl steels some of Kassie's confidence, only bolstered by the verdant work of Eri. Silver and lightning and blades clash, and Kasagami flicks what remains of her rose-covered coat, brushing her hair back to sway just so. Gripping her blade, she grins.

"...We have something, huh?" Turns over Kassie in her mind. What does she have, compared to great magical girls like Mami Tomoe, these puella? She doesn't have an answer yet. Her knuckles whiten a bit beneath her gloves.

But it's not to last, as Fusion reaches down, and the Darkness envelopes them all! Kasagami sinks, and nothing she can do helps. It stings as she finds everything going faint, stabbing pains, and that voice! Terrible memories slowly surface.

~Cafeteria, Ohtori~

Kasagami Araki raises a teacup, grinning at her adoring fans. It's the lawn, and she's managed to gather a small following of kendo club practictioners. Not for the last time, she's spied one Mikoto Minagi.

"Mikoto-chan! Come on, you'd be great in the kendo club! I know you have it in you!"

One of the members laughs. "That weird girl!? Are you sure, Araki-senpai?"

Arms cross. "She's not weird, just...different! But I have an eye for skill, and that girl has it! Didn't you see her at pole vaulting?" She'd beamed, and laughed along once again.

The smile meant nothing, even if she meant it so sweetly, so encouragingly.

It's so easy to hurt others. And to feel alone, in this deep, dark realm. Kasagami shudders. Everything hurts.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

W-we, we have something he doesn't!

Mentally Eri has to think about that. What do they have that he doesn't?

He has size, weight, speed, strength, power...

Compared to that - what is she?

It's not something she grasps intuitively, it's like an equation to a tough problem in school. A subject she's not good at. Can't grasp in the ways Madoka can. Still her mind struggles to try.

Then Fusion rumbles out that there is only a single truth left in this world. His own. It's like nails on the chalkboard of her attempting to solve it.

She lets go of the whip - tries to leap out of the way as if she trying to grasp the form of this attack, but then she's drowning...

"K-Kuh-Kaname-chan! Sen-S-Senpai!"

She says as she's dragged down into the violet murk and the cold. As this world blots everything out.

Is this how it ends? Becoming a part of this being? She's simply another wildflower, lost in a competition to a greater one. There's nothing special about her.

Even the things that made her special still cause each other pain...

Ah... Otousan. When you were discharged... I saw you signing something.

You saw that? I see. Well... It was a DNAR which means...

... I know what it means. I-I just wanted to know - why?

I was more fortunate than any person ought to be. I just want my wishes to be known if something like this ever happens again.

Your wishes...?

What happened to me... I wouldn't have wanted to be a burden on the rest of you while I linger in a hospital bed. I'd have wanted it to end that before it even started.


It was the hardest on you of all wasn't it?


You don't have to say anything. I know how difficult it must have been - letting go. Well all you need to know now is...

...the decision is out of your hands.

"My miracle. My wish... he wouldn't have wanted it."

"How foolish can I get? Thinking it was the right choice. The only choice. My choice."

"... Maybe he's right. Maybe they're both right."

"... Maybe ending it is the right call."

That thought jolts her, and desperately in this morass of despair she tries to get away from that. To think of Madoka Kaname - and her overtures of friendship. To think of Mami Tomoe and her guidance - considers calling out to them...

However as soon as she grasps that thought...

...she feels herself sinking in the opposite direction.

Why!? Why won't anyone help...? Why hasn't anyone seen her? Why can't I find her!?

It was a small thing they asked of her. Find Homura Akemi. She was perhaps lost in an unfamiliar part of town... maybe she'd collapsed.

After shoving the girl's picture in enough faces without any success - after searching around and about - she came up short.

Finding herself weak and shivering in her panic over fear of what might have happened - she slowly sat herself down on a park bench, hunched over her phone, which she turned within her hands slowly. Fidgeting.

I should... I should call them. Tell them I haven't found her... tell them I can't do this. I-I need to tell them.

She doesn't call. She doesn't tell them. When they call her to tell her they found her - she was still sitting on that bench.

It was a simple thing Madoka asked of her...

... and she gave up on searching for Homura Akemi just shy of a half hour.

That's how much Madoka Kaname's friendship - Mami Tomoe's trust was worth to her.

Twenty-eight minutes of her time.

Really puts things into perspective doesn't it?

She doesn't call out. She just lets herself sink for a while.

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

In a battle of this scale, Mami can't let herself be distracted every time her friend takes a hit; she has to trust Madoka, and she can, does. Nevertheless it's a relief she doesn't entirely show when the pink-haired warrior steps out again. ...This day, if nothing else, is certainly an exercise in knowing the others assembled to help Tokyo.

Mami tells herself that's a good thing instead of letting herself descend completely into her doubts over the fact that this monster only keeps growing. She does not like the truth--the truth that it seems that even attacking it only makes it stronger.

Mami sets an eye on La Sirene, noting her position, as Eri comes up behind her. "Be careful," Mami says to Eri, and thinks for a moment how brave she's becoming so quickly. ...Does she realize the danger yet? And yet--

'We have something he doesn't!'

Mami looks to Madoka at that, gives her a tight smile and nods firmly. "That's right!"

Mami thinks for a moment of Homura, kept back in safety as best Mami could able, and sets her jaw. She already begins moving for her next attack--


Mami leaps--and the ground is gone, beneath her. She does not impact it at all; instead, that terrible darkness rises to meet her, and it is so, so cold. There's an instant almost of panic--

It might not be gone. She can't move, but she can hear, and that echo vibrates her ears, her bones. Mami closes her eyes to try to calm herself, to think of a plan--but where she starts thinking past cold, frigid awful cold, are memories instead.

There are fragments, really--the first are simple, recent, momentary: Madoka impacted by boulders that obscure vision entirely. But happenstance, the urge to be good enough to protect a friend from all harm, aren't the deepest she can go. The memories that come are more than physical, stretching long beyond recent happy days, partnership and optimism.

...It's dark; maybe it's sunset, if that, or maybe something else makes her think of the colors, because Mami is younger then, levelling a rifle and staring down its barrel. In the distance the sounds of a city at night echo, but close by there is no one; a dumpster by a building, the exit to an alley promising lights on the street. None of them really matter.

None of them really matter because the only thing that does here is the one her gun is facing. Red, striking red, in hair and dress with a spear in hand, staring right back at her.

The words, the movements, they all linger. Being hurt by others, hurting them in turn...

Mami Tomoe opens her eyes. The memories keep playing as if on a split screen; one large confrontation, yes, but also the times she turned down invitations, back when she was still receiving them, over and over. Girls who looked disappointed, and eventually stopped looking her way at all. Two adults...

Senpai, she heard. ...Wait--that wasn't the voice she...

"Hello?" she asks, and her voice feels small. "I'm..." She can't even get her breath here. "I'm here!"

Nevertheless it sounds afraid, in a way Mami rarely shows.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Mikoto slams into Fusion and he ripples like a pond disturbed by a tiny stone, and it is just as effective. She lands at his feet - perhaps his 'base' would be a more appropriate description - and she cannot hide her unsettled expression, as he speaks.

Hands of titanic size slam down, and Mikoto leaps to escape the seismic strike... which never comes. Instead she finds as she comes down - alas, she still can't fly, no matter her aerial acrobatics - that the ground is not ground, or perhaps just now too fine. She lands more with a splash than a crash, and the scream which escapes her is soon arrested as she plunges underneath.

And though she struggles, one hand swiping through the darkness as the other grasps her blade, there is nothing to hold onto, no footholds to catch. There is no way to reach the distant figures of the girls around her. It is a perfectly uniform mire, and every inch is Fusion.

That much is clear when he speaks.

She shudders. It's cold. It's not just the cold.

At some point as he's spoken, she's stopped her desperate flailing, ceased reaching out for the girl-shapes in the darkness. She curls in on herself, cradling the flat of her blade against her chest as if it could protect her from something like this.

"No," she says, again, but it is not fierce, now. It is small as she is small, trembling from chill and corruption.

Because it is a voice which tears memories from her like a blade through her chest, over and over and over, all the bad things she has done.

... offending a cat who knew how to use the train when she was so alarmed it might be trampled.

... leaving Kasagami confused as Mikoto slipped out of her embrace after she laughed at her.

... hurting Takeo's feelings when Mikoto took the last bread-roll, even though he wanted to eat it, because it had bacon on top.

... making Mai worry because she was out all night and didn't return until the next afternoon.

... Mai panicking as Mikoto met the threat of Natsuki, not realising Natsuki wasn't a threat.

... Mikoto fighting tooth and nail against Natsuki instead of listening to a word she was trying to say.

... springing on Mai, treating her as an enemy, only for Mai to rescue her and treat her kindly in return.

... fighting a little girl who had to be strong.





"No," and now it is a whimper, lost in the darkness, as tears bead out from eyes tightly shut. "... no, no, no..."

It doesn't really matter that she's trying hard to catch up - does it? She doesn't know the rules in Tokyo. She keeps stumbling over things she did not think of, keeps causing problems with these people who are kind. She's just...

... good at hurting people.

That's not a good thing at all.

Why is it so hard? Why doesn't she just get it? No one else seems to have problems. Everyone else knows what to say, what not to say... what to do, what not to do...

... maybe it would be better if she just...

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

The Darkness washes over him, but Lancelot swings with Arondight to attempt to cut strands of the meling and oozing globs of darkness. He grits his teeth as lightning swirlsaround him trying to defeat the darkness and keep him safe. Try as he might, and exhaist what powers he can, Lancelot is eventually and inevitably consumed by the maelstrom of maleficence hat is Fusion.

Once the darkness surrounds him and stabs inward with cold and terrible power, Lancelot drops to a knee and supports himself with Arondight. Despite Demon's Bane's gleaming blade, he can't see much except what is immediately around him. The gleaming balde gives him slight color of his surroundings, but as he looks at his hands he notices its muted, almost black and white.

Then, then memories wash over him.

From the time he accidentally broke his sister Mika's arm while they were practicing Kendo.

To the death of his Grandfather. A kind man with drooping mustache and the kindest eyes and smile that Takeo had ever seen.

To ... Starting over.

Leaving all his friends at Juuban to start over in Ohtorri.

He tries to play cool. To be THAT guy, but in reality he's jsut ... scared. He sits in the caffeteria, alone, eating what might be his one true love, becuase let's face it, he'll never love anything more than bacon. This particular dish was a simple bacon cheese ball. The best things in life. Bacon and Cheese. Now. If one could somehow get a particular soda brand to make a flavor that incorperated those two things there would be nothing better in all the universe. He reaches for the last one only to see Mikoto take it and literally eat it in from him.

Alone. He know's and remembers that no matter what he does....

All the way from Camelot and his best friend's death to now, Takeo remembers that he is simply ....


<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

'We have something that he doesn't!'

La Sirene's eyes turn momentarily towards Madoka. Combination attacks? she thinks.

Either way, her grasp on her Mirror tightens. Not for the first time she worries about how to hold it properly...

And then the great monster says, "MINE."

And things ripple outwards. La Sirene leaps to a rock on sheer nautical reflex, crying out with sudden heat, "Eri!!" and lunging forth to grasp at the wrist of the garden's greatest hero. She leans - but the stone she stood on is drawn up too, and in a trice, she is

Somewhere Else.

Someone's speaking to her.

"Ah, Ankou-san... have you ever seen a bear, up in the woods? I know in Hokkaido--"

Nori looks up from her tedious book and approximately towards the speaker, and she speaks over her then with casual disdain: "Do you really think there are bears in the city? Sapporo is hardly the woods, you know."


The 'do' and the 'you' are like fishhooks in the heart. 'really,' Nori can hear the slight disdainful inflection she'd put in that word, and it's like a rusty blade. The rest of the tools assemble in agonizing metacardiac surgery and by the 'you know,' she can feel herself spilling out in shame and horror.

She is bare and coated in salt when she hears that little soft "oh," again, and it is an arrow and it hits her in the soul and she feels everything sob out of her as she arches her back like a tormented shrimp.

I did once, she thinks, even if it was just at the tree line and it was nearly a hundred meters away and it was probably sick and oh I should have said that I SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT, I should have *said* that, *I should have said that, I *should* have said that, I should *have* said that, I should have said *that* -

How many hands did I slap away like that, thinks the girl plummeting into the depths. How many people wasted their time on me? How many people tried, and how many did I -

Did I -

Did I let down -

La Sirene wishes fervently to swoon. She does not. It just keeps grinding finer and finer, more and more surface-area in which the pain and embarrassment and humiliation can escape, or soak in - it has something of both feelings.

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The last thing Madoka hears before she is overwhelmed by darkness is the sound of Homura screaming. It's the first thing anyone hears from her, too, once she claws her way to the surface.

"Homura-chan!" she screams. "Get out of--"


Darkness, and the others.

But no Homura.

She must have been too far away.

"--here," she exhales less violently, relieved, and, without air in her lungs to buoy her, starts to sink beneath the surface again.


Timid, self-depricating Madoka has a million flimsy little memories of slighting others, imagined or not.

Yelling at her parents in a moment of frustration.

Resentment over having a little brother.

Dumb fights with Sayaka. With Hitomi, with the others.

They blend into each other in an endless stream...

...then snap into focus.

At the place and time of her newest and freshest sin.


The sad face of golden and wonderful Mami Tomoe reflects in the classroom window. Madoka, behind her, stops mid-complaint, midsentence even, as to her treatise on the unfairness of having to babysit tonight because her parents are going out, when she should be spending it out late with Mami instead.

But mid- doesn't matter.

She said what she said.

And she felt what she felt.

For one careless second, she...


Madoka disappears back underneath the blackness, spinning slowly, slowly, her head between her knees.

It's muffled. It's distant. But it comes to her -- she comes to her, anyway, even after everything.

'Hello? I'm... I'm here!'

Madoka reaches out -- first tentatively, then with wider, more desperate swings.

She doesn't deserve this.

She doesn't deserve her, deserve them.

But she wants to be there for her anyway.

Just her.

Just Madoka.

Just a girl who cares about another girl.

She reaches out -- strains -- trying to reach Mami's fingertips with her own, through the cold and the painful, dripping, dragging darkness.

"I'm here, Mami," she vows, emergent once again from the surface. "I think we're all here..."

She jerks her whole body, uselessly, trying to get closer. Liquified darkness slides down her cheek, but little else is accomplished.

Desperation enters her, and she strains harder, gasping.

"We've gotta find each other!"

She won't be able to reach Mami -- until Mami reaches back.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

They really *can't* do anything to hurt Fusion, the Wind Knight realizes with a sinking feeling. At best, they barely make a mark before their strikes bounce away; at worst, their most powerful assaults are swallowed up, only to be answered with far greater force than the magical girls' own power.

How to defeat a foe whom their very attacks strengthen?

It's not an unfamiliar question to the Magic Knight of Wind; she's been faced with this conundrum before, or similar. In the Legendary Spring of Eterna, when she was confronted by an illusion of herself - although in that case, the complication wasn't that her attacks *strengthened* her doppelganger, but that she wounded herself by doing so. And the "solution," such as it was, wasn't even that complicated - she merely had to steel her resolve and fight on.

Fusion rears up, uttering his intentions in the plainest terms once again - but his time, he *enacts* them, channeling his essence and his will into the ground, seemingly turning it into an extension of his all-engulfing power. The Wind Knight doesn't have time or purchase to try to leap clear before the softened ground draws her in and down, down, down into darkness, leaving her clawing desperately for something, *anything* ...

- - - - - -

Her father towers before her, his back towards Fuu as he gazes out the window, hands folded behind his back where she *can* look up at them. Between them is his desk, littered with the pieces of a computer.

"Start from the beginning," Akira Hououji says, his voice quiet, controlled. Young Fuu, maybe six years old in this memory, doesn't yet know that her father's co-workers speak of his anger as the Silent Storm. She's learning about it on her own.

"I overheard you talking to Mother," little Fuu begins answering. "You said the computer wasn't working. I thought ... maybe I could help find the problem. Even if I didn't know how to *fix* it. I ..."

Akira's hands unfold, and he turns to regard his daughter, grasping the back of his chair. "Computers aren't simple machines, Fuu. They only have a few moving parts, nothing that can be repaired by a child." His gaze moves to the pieces of an old PC-8801, older than Fuu by almost two decades, an antique in electronics terms.

- - - - - -

'We have something he doesn't,' the pink-haired girl called out. The Wind Knight wonders briefly if that means he's going to have it now as well, having absorbed the entire group so easily. At least she can still hear their voices, however faintly - and she knows, instinctively, that when they *can't* hear each other any more, they truly will have lost.

"There has to be a way!" she calls out to her allies. "There has to be some way we can fight back ... don't give up! Even when it's this bad!"

- - - - - -

"Glasses nerd, glasses nerd~!"

"Those things make you look weird, hahahahaha!"

"Can you even see without them?"

"Lemme try them on!"

"No!!" Fuu reaches out frantically, knocking off the yellow cap of one of her kindergarten classmates, but her glasses are already gone and she can't see them well enough to take them back. Shapes dash back and forth around her, a supremely childish game of keep-away, and she won't be able to read along in class if she doesn't get them back. She picks one form at random, and runs forward, arms outstretched - not to feel her way but to try and grab hold.

"OW!!" "Ouch - !"

Fuu's voice and that of the other girl ring out in unison as they collide; somehow she crashed into what seems like the one child who *wasn't* teasing her about her glasses. "I'm sorry!" Fuu cries out. "But my glasses -"

The other girl didn't answer, and Fuu's apology/excuse comes to a stuttering halt. The teacher swoops over, and Fuu is brushed aside. Eventually, her glasses *are* returned, but she's too worried about the girl she knocked down ...

- - - - - -

Back and forth her memories range, as though merely being inside of Fusion means the monster is free to stir the pot, to find those memories of weakness, of pain given or received or (most often) both. She hardly needed magic to hurt people in the first place, really. Not that she *wanted* to hurt anyone.

But beneath it all is one more memory, that same memory of Eterna: Fuu's knowledge that if anything happened to her, it would be her parents and her big sister who would be hurt the worst. Fuu herself would only be injured or possibly dead; her family would still be alive to grieve for her. In a way, simply being a magical girl - by choice or otherwise - is an ongoing betrayal, because any single fight could be the one that she doesn't come home from.

  • This* fight could be the one she doesn't come home from.

"Mother, Father ... Big Sister," the Wind Knight whispers miserably. "I'm sorry if I let you down ..." She still clenches her fists, trying to gather her will, and sweeps an arm through the murky mire that surrounds her; she almost doesn't dare to breathe, but she ventures to suck in a breath anyway. "Keep calling out! We have to - to stay connected, somehow!"

'We have something it doesn't have' ... but *what*?

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.


"This plenary session of the Fairy United Nations will now come to order," Tarte didn't say, addressing the solemn and composed rows of fairies as they sit primly in their seats around the table.


"HEYYYY'ALL! WE'VE GOT SOME REAL PROBLEMS ON EARTH!!" howls Tarte at the top of his lungs, struggling to be heard over Mepple and Mipple quarreling, Chiffon crying, Candy laughing and Hummy tunelessly humming while she chases her own tail.

Mipple tries to grasp the fleeing vestiges of her dignity as a Princess, but it's difficult because her face is scarlet with fury instead of her usual petal pink. She turns on her little stool to face Tarte and nods seriously, but with her current expression it feels more like impending doom. "This is a grave matter that we must take seriously-mipo!"

"I am taking this seriously, you're the one making fun of me-mepo!"


"Uuuaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh," squalls Chiffon, distressed at the conflict.

Candy makes her very best peekaboo faces at the baby to no avail. "Where did Candy go-kuru? There she is-kuru!!"

Hummy jumps up on the table, scattering paper everywhere. There was never anything all that important on the papers, but it still makes a mess. She wrings her paws. "We mustn't fight, nyeveryone, we've got a real cat-astrophe on our hands-nya!"

The room is surprised enough by her outburst that they actually settle down, and Tarte rolls his eyes gratefully. "As I was saying, y'all, the magical girls are facing their greatest threat yet! We need to help them! If we all put our noggins together, maybe we can find a way, yeah?"




Since they arrived, Tarte, Chiffon and Hummy have been fiddling with... something, and at some point Candy seems to have broken away to go help them. They're on top of a nearby former skyscraper, which is now barely scraping eye-level, since most of it has sunk into the earth. Still, it affords the fairies a tiny amount of protection, and Fusion hasn't been all that interested in them anyway.

There has been a fair amount of inaudible-beneath-the-noise-of-battle grumbling about 'how to make it work,' and 'where is the button,' and 'don't point that in my eyes.' But finally...

"EEEEEE!!" Chiffon squeals with delight as a tiny rainbow pours out of the little pink wand she's holding. The others smile at the sight, and as their hearts unfold, their own Miracle Lights glow, then explode with light.

Now armed and dangerous, they wave them with all their might, and shout in unison (except for Chiffon, who merely burbles enthusiastically):


The rainbows grow from pencil-thickness to wider than any single fairy's bulk, even Tarte's.


"Whoa, what is this?" asks Mika Akamizu, rubbing her eyes as she staggers forward to the edge of the crater -- not far from the fairies. Misa Ikina of the swim team joins her, staring wordlessly, eyes round.

"I don't know, but it looks totally awesome!" replies Chie Harada, who drags Aoi Senou with her as they blink at...

"DUDE, check out the LIGHT," the kendo club underclassman of Kasagami's memories, Mayuri Watanabe, says to the other two-thirds of her personal Three Amigos. They scramble over rubble to see what's going on.

A boy in strange (Cephiran) clothing shades his eyes as he stares at Fusion and what's facing it. "Is that... those girls, inside him?" asks Ferio.

"Over here!" squeaks an otter named Batiste, between Homura's feet and Steven's... and two others'. "I found more people to help!"

The fairies quickly distribute extra Miracle Lights into the hands of these civilians, and point at the battlefield, and at the place, at his heart, where a coruscating sphere of darkness is holding their dimly visible friends. "The magical girls are fighting for everyone's future-kuru! Please believe in them with all your hearts-kuru!"

"Raise your Miracle Light and shout as loud as you can! GIVE THE MAGICAL GIRLS POWER!"

OOC: Hold poses for the civilians!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Among the civilians gathered was a rotund little boy, with poofy hair and and a hopeful heart, as this event has unfurled. He remained close this time, but stayed out of this one. Giant fluffy cats is one thing, A strange buff dude on a panda car is another. And then there was this.

"Ah... this is just awful! They just gotta be able to get out of that! He looks nearby to others, looking, searching for some sort of joined hope. And even if there is none, he will make all the hope needed! Maybe.

It sure looked dark in there.

A flash of light and a pretty rainbow shows that those little adorable puffs called Fairies have a plan of their own! "Wh..." the Gem Child utters on receiving a Miracle Light. It was so wittle! "Oh, I may not have any powers yet, but cheering and believing in people is something I can do!" Steven says jubilantly.

He holds it close for a moment. "I only just got here to Tokyo, and already I can tell it is where I am happy to be for however long I will be here. I've met some of you already out there fighting! Some of you have even saved me!" he says, a sincere smile playing on his face. "But you can't lose here!"

The boy holds his small relic aloft, his defiant stand against this atrocity. And while so small, his words are so much more in size.

"I believe in all of you! To bring a better tomorrow and save everyone!"

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

She couldn't do a thing when Fusion smashed through the earth and submerged all the amazing courageous magical girls in all that darkness they're defying, at least not anything useful. Screaming "KANAME-SAN!!" until her vision goes all starbursty from lack of air doesn't count, at least not to Homura. The heels of her hands and her knobby knees scuff on rough rubble when she falls to them, heaving gasps to refill weakling lungs.

It'd be easy to stay down, too. A lot easier than getting back up again. But she does, she wobbles upward without even brushing at her red knees or heeding their sting, because how could she stay down when everyone else is... are they... will they come out again...?

'Everything is going to be all right!' Homura hears the words as clearly as she sees pink arrows fly, in her mind. She looks into the darkness-filled crater and sniffs, loudly. Her glasses fog up.

A fairy chorus interrupts the struggle within Homura and her first choked-up sob, voices so full of light that she turns to them like one might a lighthouse beacon in the night.

Rainbows. Magic. Bearers of hope.

Homura Akemi goggles, and takes off her glasses. She smudges tear-fog around on the lenses with one dusty sleeve and puts them back on -- now they're all muddy. Worse. But through the murky swirl she still sees rainbows, still sees magic. Still sees all that promised hope.

And then there's a voice from down at her feet, and she looks down to see... an adorable otter! "O-ohhh my... you... you just..." Halfway through she realizes that telling the talking otter that it talked is beyond redundant, and she stammers to a stop. Looks to the curly-haired boy for confirmation, just to make sure he saw it too.

She can help Madoka. That's what they're saying.

Her white hands tremble, cupped around the Miracle Light. It's so beautiful... One last firming-up sniff with eyes squeezed shut. She can help. They said so. And maybe Homura can't believe in herself, but that's not what is being asked of her.

She's being asked to believe in the magical girls. To believe in Tomoe-senpai and Shimanouchi-san and La Sirene, to believe in Madoka Kaname. That, Homura can do.

With quivering arms whose elbows threaten to knock like her skinned knees already do, she lifts up the Miracle Light. A deep breath to fill shaky lungs and...


Not a single stammer, for once.

<Pose Tracker> Sayaka Miki [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.


"C'mon c'moooon..." Sayaka wheedles. "You can tell me."

"It's... someone you know, though," Hitomi hedges, pink-cheeked.

"Then you DEFINITELY gotta tell me!" Sayaka exults, with no sense of trepidation.

Hitomi pauses by a railing, as a bike pings its bell to swoop by. The city stretches out beneath them, their hilltop position granting a good view.


Sayaka leans in.

Hitomi clears her throat delicately. "It's--"

An immense explosion drowns out all sound, and Sayaka and Hitomi squeal in shock, lunging into a hug and turning their heads together, to look down at the rising cloud of dust a few blocks away.


Hitomi comes to a stop, panting, and looks back at the way they came.

"Do you need a rest?" Sayaka loops back to Hitomi and jogs in place, knees lifting high.

"N-no, I just... felt like we should go back." Hitomi is staring at the rainbows lifting from the epicenter. Their brilliant colors reflect in Sayaka's sky-blue eyes.

"Yeah," Sayaka says softly. "I was feeling like that too."


"UWAH!" Sayaka yanks her knee up to her chest, trying to keep her ankle as far away from the unnatural critters bounding around as possible. "Are you real?"

"Sayaka-chan!" Hitomi chides. "They need our help!"

"Easy for you to say!" Sayaka wails. The fairies near Hitomi look like chipmunks or squirrels or something, whereas the ones near Sayaka look like (admittedly friendly) ghosts, tapering off into narrow tails and making magical noises as they float about. Closing one eye, Sayaka reaches out reluctantly for one of the Miracle Lights being offered to her. She sniffles roughly.

"Sayaka-chan! It's all right," Hitomi assures her. Putting her hands on her hips, she looks at the ghostlike fairies. "Don't scare her!"

"No, it's n-not that," Sayaka says, looking upward. "I just... was thinking about Madoka-chan for some reason."

Hitomi blinks, and looks down at her Miracle Light. "Now that you mention it..." she echoes faintly. It's her turn to yank her knee up defensively, however, as Sayaka suddenly bellows loudly.

"Be strong, magical girls!" Sayaka yells, shaking her miracle light hard above her head, as though it were a can of spray paint. "You can do it, magical girls!"

Hitomi sets her foot down again, and takes a breath, standing next to Sayaka as she lifts her miracle light more delicately. "Do your best!"

"Be brave!"

"We believe in you!"

"WE'RE HERE FOR YOU!" the two happen to say at the same time, tomboy and ojou in stereo.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

The kids look at each other, look at the post-apocalyptic wasteland, look at the silver colossus, look at the dim visions of their friends, then raise their wands.




The rainbows unite and explode upwards in a gigantic column of golden light, one that briefly fills the landscape from horizon to horizon. It's beautiful, and wonderful, like being inside a firework as it goes off, and it brings with it a similar feeling of awe and hope and wonder.

They're fierce feelings.


One of the worst parts of the darkness is how hard it is to see one another.

Until, that is, everyone's fingers start to shimmer.

Even a candle's light is infinitely stronger than no light at all, and that's all it is at first, one lux of prismatic energy.

One tiny bit of warmth, amid absolute zero.

It's enough...

...to let everybody hear who's outside.

Not through the walls of the prison.

But through the walls of the heart.

"FRIENDSHIP IS FUTILE," Fusion insists, at a bellow, trying to drown out that sound. Waves crop up on the surface of the darkness, swirling and crashing, trying to drown everyone out.

The darkness is still strong, still sticky.

But something else is stronger.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Madoka Kaname.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on La Sirene de Diamant.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Mami Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Eri Shimanouchi.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used MIRACLE LIGHTS! on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate, Empower, Surge, and Withstand
applied to Kasagami Araki!  Cleanse! All of Kasagami Araki's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Accelerate, Empower,
Surge, and Withstand applied to Eri Shimanouchi!  Cleanse! All of Eri Shimanouchi's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Mikoto Minagi is Cheered!
Accelerate, Empower, Surge, and Withstand applied to Mikoto Minagi!  Cleanse! All of Mikoto Minagi's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Madoka Kaname accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Madoka Kaname is Cheered!  Accelerate,
Empower, Surge, and Withstand applied to Madoka Kaname!  Cleanse! All of Madoka Kaname's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  La Sirene de Diamant is Cheered!
Accelerate, Empower, Surge, and Withstand applied to La Sirene de Diamant!  Cleanse! All of La Sirene de Diamant's debuffs are
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Cheered!  Accelerate, Empower,
Surge, and Withstand applied to Lancelot!  Cleanse! All of Lancelot's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is Cheered!  Accelerate,
Empower, Surge, and Withstand applied to Fuu Hououji!  Cleanse! All of Fuu Hououji's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Mami Tomoe accepts Hotaru Tomoe's MIRACLE LIGHTS!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate, Empower, Surge, and Withstand
applied to Mami Tomoe!  Cleanse! All of Mami Tomoe's debuffs are cleared!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The cold and the darkness loom everywhere--but Mami hears one voice, first. One, as she's answered, and even if moving much is impossible, she hears that promise--Madoka, and... all of the others? She tries to shift, too. "Y-yes--!"

She reaches back, to her new, precious friend. If it's the end, then she's not alone.

...But before she gives up, before she decides for sure that it must be, there is a tiny bit of warmth in her hand--in their hands, and in those trapped here too. The voices comes; some, she doesn't know. Some... Some she does.

Sayaka, who she failed the three-legged race with... and had the best time a silly fall has ever brought her. Homura, who it already feels like is behind them so much. Others who are out there, living in a wonderful city, countless stories and hopes...

Mami's hand reaches Madoka's then, aglow, and her fingers close around her partner's. The words of the monster bellow all around them, and that hasn't seemed to get any weaker, any less powerful.

And yet...

"We're here," Mami says quietly, and she does not say that it is why the next thing she says feels true, "I'm not afraid."

The warmth of the feelings outside--of the sounds of voices, no matter how small or how often they might have other times stammered--

"Shimanouchi-san," Mami looks for first, "Everyone--"

She's not alone. It's an incredible feeling.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Every laugh, every joke, every time she's been so hasty to be friendly, or to blow someone off, or to rush into a situation where she doesn't understand anything. Trying to be the picture of a Student Councilor. When she pushed fellow kendo club members too far.

That intensity warring with a desire to show off. Kasagami Araki in her fire walks all over certain people, and sometimes barely thinks beyond herself. That thoughtlessness, that overbearing desire to keep moving forward...

What does she have at all, but loudness and spectacle? Is there even a heart in the young woman?

But voices penetrate the darkness. Mami is here. Madoka, with her ever-present hope and arrows, calls out as well. And the Rainbow Light from outside, the voices coming to their chilled hearts spreads warmth.

Mayuri's enthusiasm has Kasagami blinking. Sayaka and her friends. Steven's pure cheer and belief stirrs her acheing arms. Homura's voice comes clear, and without doubt. She believes in them. They all do.

Maybe, even if she doesn't know what she has and is worth, the belief of friends and friends-to-be is enough for now. A journey of self discovery, after all, is best taken with those who care about you. The darkness doesn't feel so chilling.

The light, and a glance, and she finally spies Mami as the others begin to gather.

"Hey...hey, is everyone alright? We're still here. We're...Hah! We are going to be fine! Hah hah hah!" She forces bravado into her voice, striking a gallant pose. She still trembles. But she can do this much, if she isn't alone.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It's so cold. Mikoto isn't trying to see anyone else any more. She isn't trying to reach out to anyone else any more. She isn't trying to think at all any more.

As if she could save herself from all of this pain if only she were blank as a still pond.

But she's not the only one who's been throwing stones.

She feels the warmth in her fingers, curled around Miroku's hilt. It feels such an alien thing, in this place where there is nothing but icy isolation, that her damp eyes blink open to stare at the shimmering light.

And then, very close even though it must be very far away...

'But you can't lose here!'

... there are voices.

'Be brave!'

They're calling out through the darkness...


... they're trying to reach her...

... even those girls who are friends with Mai.

Mikoto's chin rises with a shuddering gasp and she unfurls, piece by piece, drawing in something which cannot be air. Tears fleck from her eyes as she blinks, heavily, against them. They shimmer when they fall from wet cheeks, consumed by the blackness about her. Perhaps it is like they were never there at all. Or, perhaps...

Ah, but there is a sound which surrounds them and it is Fusion, as waves batter the darkness. And there are still no footholds, in the morass which is he. There is still nothing to grasp onto. She reaches out - she struggles - but what is there to struggle against? Only the absence.

But the void should be careful, because at times there are things which look into it, with curious hearts and open minds, and perhaps it is consumed.

Friendship is futile, Fusion bellows.

In her sorrow, voice tremoring in its volume, Mikoto screams: "NO!"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Dead Silence

The girl feels her eyes closing. Gradually being lulled into sleep by the despair of pain - of failure. Soon it will be gone. And she'll never wake up. That wouldn't be so bad - right?

... do you remember the first time you tried to make friends with someone?

How happy you were when you thought you'd made one...

...and then you never saw her again?

... how much did it hurt to think that maybe - she just didn't want to see you?

... that you did something wrong.

... will Madoka Kaname do the same - when she learns you just gave up?

...will Mami To-

BGM Change: Hakuchuumu - Aimer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jD9dmDxxNM

Hello? I'm... I'm here!

It's distant. So distant. She can barely hear it, but in there there's more fear and vulnerability than she's ever known in the unflappable elegant girl.

Something deep within her wants to know that fear - know that vulnerability.

I'm here, Mami, I think we're all here... we've gotta find each other!

And there is Madoka, her first real friend, who reached out to her in her deep insecurity, with so simple an act. She wants to be there for her. She wants to give her more than she's given her.

Still for a moment her lips work... and nothing comes out.

What if she makes things worse?

What if she messes up again?

What if they don't want to be her friends again.

Then she thinks of the shed. Thinks of that other girl La Sirene. Thinks of how she heard her name called before she sank. Thinks how it might have been her.

Instead of calling she starts to swim - towards that direction which she's quickly losing track of, feeling her limbs grow heavier.

And then it happens, it's a voice that's like another bright spot in the dark...


It jolts her, a girl so shy that she couldn't even get through her class introduction. Not a trace of doubt. In some strange way it felt like absolution for failing her, simply because she was out here trying. Perhaps it wasn't that simple... perhaps...

Two more voices that she recognizes. Classmates. Friends of Madoka. In it it felt like hope. Hope that perhaps that it wasn't some accident or a transient thing that she met the people she did. Perhaps... she could find more... or more perhaps could find her. They're more bright spots.

What do they have that Fusion doesn't? It's a question that Madoka Kaname asked - and Eri tried to solve on her own.

Perhaps that was her error. It wasn't a problem that was meant to be solved alone. It was her contributing some small part of a whole... what does she have that Fusion doesn't?

That patch of flowers that is all hers.

That scent when the rains come that gives her a sense of contentment.

Those quiet moments where she's alone and talks about her day in the gardens...

...and those moments where she's finding the warmth in others she thought she couldn't know.

And now a little bit of hope for more days of the warmth.

It's a lot of small things to her that may not seem all that substantial to anyone else - but when put together with the others - maybe it's something big.

Be brave they say. Try to believe in yourself a little they say. They're not qualities she thinks she has. Yet... she'll try. And perhaps trying is a gradual process.

"I'm... scared..." Perhaps her admission of such a thing is bravery, "I-I don't want to be alone." Perhaps saying that she doesn't have to be is a small measure of belief in herself.

The lights are making her limbs feel lighter, the journey easier. Perhaps if she swims towards Madoka - she'll find Mami too. And with them - perhaps she can find everyone.

And if they can get through this - maybe there's hope. Hope that this won't simply be transient. She makes a plea aloud, feeling something hot and wet in her eyes that are lost to the void before they can ever touch her cheeks, "Please... please..."

Endless days alone, just keeping to herself. Feeling like a detached observer of the world around her - not a part of it save in the small lives she could nurture. Until...

"... find me again."

The girl reaches out her fingers into the dark - and trusts that maybe there will be a hand to hold.


That faith is rewarded by her fingers finding purchase in a palm so soft that she instinctively knows who it must be, even if she's never held it before. Fingers curling into Mami Tomoe's palm, she knows that Madoka Kaname must be there too.

For a moment she can't even respond, like she's too choked up, but then she tries, "I-I felt so lost... but... then..."

She whispers suddenly, fervently, "... the two of you found me again." There's so much relief in that statement, like releasing the tension from an overtaut cord.

Her other hand she holds out, as she hears others in the dark.


"... it's going to be okay..." She says gently, and an outstretched hand, "... now that we're together... we'll find you too..."

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

Head hanging low, Arondight's light almost feels as if it is fading when suddenly, strangely, hope. Maybe not strangely, but certianly unexpected. Lancelot raises his head and listens. Out of all the voices he focuses in on one. Mika's. His sister. Her voice cheering him on in time with the others. Well. Not him specifically, but you know what? He likes to think she's cheering on her big bother.

So Lancelot does the single bravest thing he can think of to do. He simply stands.

He pushes his weight with one leg to a standing positiona nd hefts Arondight ina defensive stance, ready and willing to fight. His armor gleams, and his features are set ina determined look. He spies Mikoto, Kasagami, and others, but really he only knows those two. He takes a deep breath and gives a nod to Mikoto. "Next time, I'll buy enough bacon Cheese balls for both of us." He nods again and gives Mikoto a quick grin before his eyes search about him.

As Fusion threatens and harangs, Lancelot looks skyward, still searching for this thing in this land of darkness. "Yeah. Come down here and say that." He says defiantly.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The Wind Knight can't even tell if her glasses are still on or not - although that's not quite true; she has the subconscious sense of their weight, and if she brings her hand in to her face, she can feel the shape of them, coolness offset by the warmth of being on her face almost every waking moment. But just to look around herself, engulfed by Fusion's darkness? Not much in the way of empirical evidence.

She strains to see, to hear, to assure herself that her allies are still present. She can't see them, can barely hear them, can't hope to touch ... and her own dark memories, deeper than the night, buffet her from within, breaking her focus on that desperate search, even as she struggles not to give up.

And then a light breaks the darkness. Not from outside of it, but from within - as close as her own hand, a faint shimmer. And if her own hand is starting to glow - she strains her eyes again, seeing that glimmer from another, and another and another - proof positive that she is not alone ... no.

That *they* are not alone.

And the voices, too, reach her. A young boy she's barely met, but friendly and outgoing and eager to get along with others; a girl she's only seen at a distance, others whom she hasn't met ... and one which stands out all the more, not for length of acquaintance but for the depth of their connection.

In the world of Cephiro, the strength of one's belief is the source of one's power, and so too for the girls called from Tokyo to become the Magic Knights out of legend. But it's not just true for them, nor for Cephiro; other beliefs may also become a source of power, of strength. And with Steven's and Ferio's belief in her, and the belief of others in magical girls in general, the Wind Knight's own belief is rekindled.

Friendship is futile, bellows Fusion, pitting his own belief against that of the onlookers - those who are cheering for them. "You seek to encompass so much, monster-san," the Wind Knight says gently, a smile returning to her lips. "And yet you reject the very source of the bond which strengthens us? You may as well try to eat an apple without biting into it."

She takes a deep breath. "Everyone! THe people outside are counting on us; we have to depend on each other as well!" She moves her legs experimentally; if there's anything solid, she'll walk. If she has to swim through the darkness, she'll swim - but at least now, she has something to move *towards*, by whatever means. Even if she has to conjure up a wind just to push her in the right direction.

She's going to have to start learning names for her allies, isn't she? Maybe not their real names - but she has to be able to call them *some*thing.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

give the

magical girls


Give the magical girls power.

"Give the magical girls power."


La Sirene feels a tingle up the back of her spine. For a moment she wonders how long she had sunk into that dark and miserable reverie. But voices are crying out. And there is a scent in the air, or what passes for air here. A feeling that someone is weeping.

Someone shouted 'no'.

La Sirene raises her head and she looks and then she begins to swim forwards, or so she feels. Towards that shout. She reaches out into the darkness.

Her hand finds another. Her fingers lace with those of that other hand - the hand of Mikoto Minagi - and just as the sky lights with gorgeous pastel when the Sun's tentative brush touches the Earth's pulse in the sky, a light passes betwen her palm and Mikoto's. It is a spark, but a spark is enough to throw a light.

Friendship is Futile, la Sirene hears.

Hm, she thinks.

To Mikoto she says, "Good evening, though I suppose it isn't so good after all, is it? Ah, but - I wanted to introduce myself." Her other arm comes up, to pull Mikoto into a brief snugging hug if she resists not. "I am la Sirene du Nord. You're a terribly impressive fighter, did you know? I just had never had the chance to speak to you."

"I hope," la Sirene says, "we can be friends."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Flower of the Universe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgNy6ExdFA8

Homura, Hitomi and Sayaka -- their cries pour through Madoka like heaven-sent lightning. She's electrified. Tears spring to her eyes and refract the rainbow, and for a moment they're the brightest thing around.

"Everyone," she gasps, tenderly, and the hand that isn't reaching for Mami's curls gently over her heart.

And then, at last, the two of them connect.

She holds onto Mami for dear life and she holds Mami for her own dear life, and somehow both can be true at the same time.

And then, her smile is brighter still.

"That's what we have," she breathes, finishing the earlier thought, from outside, telling Mami, telling Eri, telling everyone who can hear.

She reaches out towards the next closest girl: Kasagami, and tucks her hand into the Duelist's, penetrating the girl's struck pose.

Madoka squeezes.

"We have each other."

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

With every joining of hand in hand, the rainbow grows brighter and brighter, until the prison of darkness has become a well of light.

"WHAT?" demands Fusion.

And then the rainbow erupts -- and everyone is back in Tokyo again, hovering above the city. Above the tiny figures of their other friends, below.

Above this embodiment of darkness.

He's hundreds of feet tall, now, a living skyscraper. And an unblemished one; his quicksilver self has already filled back in wherever the girls came from.

And he



His narrowed eyes are the size of two stories worth of windows. More to the point, his fists, which summon violet flame to them, each outsize and outweigh the average superyacht.

"NO!" he roars, echoing Mikoto, echoing the others.

Well -- not all of the others.

"YES!!" cheer the fairies, kicking up their stubby little feet in an impromptu dance, the ones that don't immediately seize one another for a hug. Many of their human helpers have similar ideas.

OOC: You are encouraged but not required to use the first part of your pose to wind up all holding hands in a ring, by the time
the rainbow erupts. To keep track, so far we have Kasagami Madoka Mami Eri (reaching out to) Mikoto Nori, so Fuu and Lancelot
would presumably go between Nori and Kassie in whatever order people like the best. <3 Or you can not, if you prefer! The second
part of your pose is of course for some righteous asskicking. Spontaneous combos encouraged!

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

All around her, other people hold up their own Miracle Lights and shout to the mahou in the darkness. Homura can hear them, see their blurs in her peripheral. Her sight straight through her glasses isn't much clearer, thanks to the smudging and her full eyes. Twin tear tracks cut through destruction dust on her cheeks, cleansing a view to a tomato-red flush of exertion. She wobbles on her feet.

She's giving this all she's got, whatever a frame she only knows as frail and heart she thinks flawed can provide. They do so much for her, for all of them, the mahou. They stand between darkness and the world, and now the darkness has reached out for them and they need help...

Homura does not understand her own immense capacity for emotion. Her capacity for love.

It simply pours out of her like those tears, clean and sparkling and earnest. It fills her voice, even though those soft tones stretched to a high-pitched shout. She believes in the mahou like a desert wanderer needs water. All of that fervent intensity shines its way into those lovely erupting colors, and the feelings of everyone around her wash over Homura in return. Rainbows shimmer in her eyes and down her cheeks.

Tremulous violet eyes lift as if drawn, following a tug from deep within her chest.

Immediately after Homura Akemi falls to her knees again and ignores for a second time the battering they take, weak with relief. She hiccups a grateful little sob out. They're up there, they're all up there...! They're okay! Every single darkness-swallowed mahou glimmers up in the sky, and to Homura, between their handholding and the unsubdued colors of their magics they make an even more beautiful rainbow.

Her mouth squiggles up and she sniffles and hugs herself. Fusion roars his denial and she quivers with the force of its passage, but her gaze never wavers and neither does her heart.

Everything is going to be all right.

Believing that is as new to Homura as having happy memories. Her heavenward gaze finds pink in the high-up mahou rainbow and stays there, with her new favorite part of the spectrum. "Yes...!" she whispers and it's more of a personal prayer of thanks than any rebuttal of Fusion, but maybe it still counts, because it is so very very heartfelt.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

The lights grow closer and brighter, the voices clearer, as the Wind Knight approaches her comrades and companions - and finally, her questing fingers find the fingers of another, and she wastes no time in clasping that hand: not tightly, not crushing, but secure and kindly and warm, no matter how fierce the heart and soul of the hand's owner, the Crimson Rose Duelist.

Around her, before her gaze, the Magic Knight of Wind sees the others gathering and joining hands, and she can't help but smile more boldly as they gather, with Lancelot taking her other hand as the circle is completed. "I am the Magic Knight of Wind," she introduces herself briefly, "but I should hope those of you who'd count me as a friend will call me by my name, Fuu."

The circle is closed, the rainbow swells around them, and suddenly the darkness is fully banished - they're outside again, free from the murk and mire within Fusion's being; the giant's roar is met by a fiercely determined smile. She's reluctant to break from the circle, but they'll all need their hands free.

"Let's cut this monster down to size, shall we?" Fuu proposes to her neighbors. She doesn't know how they're hovering, but she's not going to ask questions about it right now; instead, she gently releases her neighbors' hands, and a flare of green light results in the appearance of the Wind Knight's own blade. Then she launches herself down at Fusion, gripping her sword with both hands, and yelling as she twirls into a spin. "LET'S DO IT, EVERYONE!!"

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (4)] has posed.

Steven puts everything he has into that little bit of voiced support, and while he is so small, others join in chorus. Quickly, very quickly, the sounds begin to blend together, and that little fairy wand he was given glows with pretty light.

It would be foolish to state that little Steven Universe wasn't scared. Fusion could turn to them at any time and flatten them all. Those who cry into the darkness, to let those trapped inside know that something will come to them. The hopes of everyone onlooking, and if they knew, countless others.

"Please be safe! You can do it! Just work together! Teamwork is the one thing villains lack! Use it to your advantage! Together, there's nothing you can't do!"

THe boy continues to cheer, regardless if they can hear him or not. It is all he can do for them, to try and uplift and support from afar.

But he does say one extra little thing.

Though perhaps mroe to himself than any.

"I want to be just like them when I get older."

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

As the light of hope wells up and Fusion's anger rages below them, Lancelot had walked (floated?) over to the girls all holding hands and nervously extends his hands to lend his own to the circle. He takes first Mikoto's as she offers him her hand, and he dismisses Arondight in a sparkle of lightning motes. "Heya kid." He then extends a hand to Fuu and nods to her, completing the circle. He stands with the others and as the rainbow swells over everyone he feels his heart sore with pride and .... Friendship.

As Fuu makes her battle cry, Takeo looks down to Mikoto and gives her hand a quick squeeze before releasing her hand and holding his to the side. Lightning arcs from the sky and Lancelot literally catches it out of the air where it freezes and glows bright until the gleaming blade of Arondight shines like a beacon in the sky above and he nods to Mikoto before he says, "Follow me in. Last time I hit him Hard and it did nothing. But this time, with the two of us I think we can him him Hard ... Er." He nods.

Tactical Genius.

He then suddenly moves, quick and fast falling through the sky like a blazing white comet. His blade trails lightning as he falls toward Fusion and as he gets close he scalls out "BLAZING ZEPHYR!" As he passes Fusion. His blade flashes half a dozen times, a barrage of lighting and thunder echoing through the night to try and clear a path for Mikoto to come in for the heavy hit.

COMBAT: Lancelot has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

'We have each other'.

Kasagami trembles as Madoka takes her hand. 'Each other'. For a brief moment, all of her fear threatens to well up...and recedes. No matter how 'each other' might slip away so quickly, at least right now, there's hope. If they can protect each other. And those they love. She squeezes gently at the hand of this brave magical girl.

"Yeah. Each...other. We can do this!"

Another hand finds hers, and Kassie looks to see the Wind Knight! Grin! "I don't like this thing. Let's show it what we can do!" Agrees the young woman with Fuu, floating and giving one more warm wink to both Madoka and Fuu, and all the others!

"Kasagami Araki, at your service! Let me show you what the peerless Araki Family swordsmanship can do! For our friends and our families!" She offers proudly, before reluctantly letting go of the warmth of the two magical girls beside her. That feeling doesn't fade, though as she once more draws her large blade.

As Fuu falls, spinning with her weapon at the ready, Kassie joins her! She falls quickly, spinning about, pulling back on her sheath! And then, in a flash of rose petals and speed, she's gone!

Clikt. It's a trail of sweet scents, steel fading into wood, and a held breath let out as her petals play amongst the wind kicked up by it's green haired elemental user.

"ROSE FLASH!" Her blade, large and swift, could be be seen to be drawn, such is the young woman's skill.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has joined the combo started by Fuu Hououji!
COMBAT: COMBO! Fuu Hououji and Kasagami Araki have used Combo: Dancing Blades, composed of Spinning Slash and Rose Flash, on
Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 32 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji and Kasagami Araki's Combo: Dancing Blades, taking 26 Fatigue
damage!  Fuu Hououji and Kasagami Araki are Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Mami smiles, bright and slow-starting like a sunrise but no less brilliant for it as she holds close. Each other, she said. And not saying, but showing--Eri's hand too. Mami doesn't recognize it by touch, but as soon as she has she imagines the little marks that gardening must have placed there, the care in a hand that shepherds life from the ground.

Mami turns her head, and turns that smile on Eri. No, it's not only one. Her hand is there, and warm, and, yes, soft like she's never had to hold anything rough at all. "I felt it too," Mami tells Eri, because it is too certain to be something as tenative as an admission. "I won't leave you behind."

Gold, pink, green; these are only some of the colors in the brilliant rainbow that fills Mami's vision as she looks around the circle that they become part of, a circle where already she hears talk of being friends. Maybe she'd choose different snacks, but as she looks from duelist to defender of cats to Sirene to knights, her eyes alight for a moment on Lancelot opposite her in the circle. She dips her head in greeting to the armored boy, smiling for the whole group--

And light fills her vision. When the light lessens enough that she can see, Mami notices herself floating above the ground, and briefly acts her age--her expression beams delight at apparently flying up here in the sky. When she sees the distant figures of those on the ground...

The golden Puella Magi can't quite resist waving down, with a little burst of sparkling colored-and-then-golden light that the ground might see. ...She does have an audience to consider.

But they have something that they need to do, and Mami's gaze is serious when she looks back to Fusion. Many of the others are already starting to move; she considers the giant's titanic form, the violet flames in his incredible fists, his booming voice. She considers--the abilities of the two girls to her left and right, her own. What can they do?

She smirks an instant later, still serious but sure. "All right," she says, looking left and right. "We'll do this together. I'm sure you're both ready." She pushes back her shoulders, "We'll strike on cue! Take up positions... for Manovra Tre!"

They can improvise, right? Mami, for her part, is in motion quickly, she concentrates, and suddenly starts whirling, conjuring and setting rifles in place in a flurry of motion. Where she was, to the sides--as Mami moves horizontally, she begins setting down a gigantic curve of fire, rifles pointed in perfect precision for Fusion's form. But the brilliant gold and shining colors of her conjuration, of the ribbons that trail her--

This is only part one.

COMBAT: Mami Tomoe has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

We have each other.

It's such a wonderful answer. Like an affirmation that tears up her fears by the root like they are weeds. Her hand tightens fractionally on Mami's.

She'd heard her afraid - and vulnerable for just a moment. And perhaps in that she's found something to hold onto that feels just as precious as her hand, or her smile, "Thank goodness." She whispers, and when she says it, she can believe it. "I... I know you won't." She says, as if choked up a little again, speaking in a sotto voce, "Because I was lost and... your hand found mine."

Then she feels another hand on hers, and sees La Sirene attached to it. And she makes a small sound, "... Hi there." Perhaps she's remembering the shed. However... "You called for me. When I was sinking." She says it gently, before adding. "Thank you."

Rainbow Light shines around them brighter and brighter - and then they are home.

Holding hands. Even with Fusion looming higher than ever, it's still a wonderful moment for her.

Turning back towards Fusion, releasing hands. Eri uses that moment to conjure a lash, encircling it around her arm.

Mami calls for Manovra Tre! And despite the language used, her mind remembers that. "Oh!" Her eyes light up in realization that she was in fact, ready. Looking sideways to Madoka, then back at Mami. "Right! Tre! On your cue then!" And then she moves in a circle. Her lash fanning out, peppering the ground all around Fusion.

Everywhere it lands there's a glimmer of light. Here and there. None of her strikes are trying to connect to the colossus. Just the ground, humming like a gardener at work planting seeds. When she's done though, there's a connection of the magic, as all those traces of Puella Magi magic bind together in green light.

And then there's sudden growth. It starts simply in a patch of grass that shouldn't be growing from places they shouldn't be able to, beneath Fusion, wildflowers blooming of many colors out of the concrete.

It's subtle at first, but becomes more lush as she speaks, illuminated by the light reflecting off Mami's ribbons and rifles to look like the clouds parting into a bright sunlit grove. Hints of flowering shrubbery and thicker briars hidden between them in the infancy of growth.

The girl stops, holding a thumb and forefinger of her opposite hand together as she waits for her cue...

This is part two.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has joined the combo started by Mami Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Homestuck - Do You Remem8er Me? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8mLKTY5TWM

There are more voices - closer voices - Kasagami, and Takeo, and others still. They filter into her awareness no matter the blustering storm.

And then all a sudden, just like that, there is something to grasp.

Mikoto's fingers curl in against the offered hand, and she looks to la Sirene du Nord, relief flooding the fear and forlorn frustration of her features. She collapses in against her, and she can feel her beating heart and the rise and fall of her breath, and she is warm.

It's the strangest thing - but Mikoto still feels warm even when the embrace ends.

That's the sort of warmth she can express so easily in her smile, isn't it?

She nods, mind reaching out for the words. "Yup," is what she finds, a single-mora assent to the hopes of a girl who is learning, too. It is warmth and gratitude and relief, shining in that brief tone and in her soft golden eyes.

Maybe one day, she will actually get to introducing herself. It's bound to be a surprise when it happens. She doesn't have a title, after all. All she has is a name; the name of the girl who loves cats.

For now, though, she calls out to a boy who has already stumbled on her secret. Perhaps it is easier to speak, now she has broken from the echoes of denial. "Lancelot!" She plants Miroku in what passes for the ground, in front of her, to free up her other hand - and reaches out to him. A gauntlet is a tricky thing to hold tenderly; she'll find a way. She is not a harsh or a sharp thing, to the friends who surround her.

They have each other, and they are a light in the darkness, each one of them a lighthouse.

It is a light which grows and grows until it explodes in a cacophony of colour, and they are free of their caliginous cage, and they are - so high up. Mikoto squarks in surprise as she looks down - Miroku remains planted in the sky, inexplicably, supported by the same magic which supports them - down, down, to the ruins below, and the people gathered there. Distant forms of Steven, and Homura, and Chie and Aoi, and people she doesn't recognise, including little animals. (Who are also people.)

It is Fusion's turn to cry denial, now, and Mikoto looks back to him and narrows her eyes, too.

She feels the pressure from Lancelot's gauntlet, and nods, to him. He catches lightning from the sky and forms Arondight; she draws her obsidian blade from the breeze with her now-freed hand. Perhaps it is fitting, given that, how the Wind Knight - Fuu - calls them to arms.

Lancelot proposes a very simple strategy, but Mikoto is a great proponent of overwhelming force. She nods again, firmly, with an affirmative noise. But she's still holding someone's hand - isn't she?

And, she thinks, she cannot do this alone.

She squeezes la Sirene's hand. "Help me," she says, because in her innocence she cannot conceive of a world where it is wrong to ask. Lancelot's blade gleams like a torch - but hers is too dark to shine. Not on its own.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The pale, slightly cool hand of la Sirene squeezes Eri's. Strange pale eyes look at her now and la Sirene smiles. "Think nothing of it," she says. "It is the least I could do for a friend, eh?" And then:

Out they come.

Out! Out in a shower of rainbows! La Sirene gazes afterwards upon everyone - her newly-met cousin, the people who he must have gathered, the cavalcade of fairies. She reaches up but the fascinator of a hat on top of her hairstyle remains intact, and everyone else receives that same smile.

Eri lets go of her hand and she does not resist. She moves to strike, and then Nori - la Sirene - looks back towards the reborn knight as he makes his plan. Then her attention turns to Mikoto. Her hand is squeezed, and la Sirene turns to place her own upon Mikoto's, saying to her, "My dearest new friend, I would be delighted to do so."

how do I do this, la Sirene thinks.

Then her eyes turn towards Mikoto's great blade. She draws one hand from Mikoto's, if with reluctance, to draw out her mirror - another consideration, and she says with a little warning, "Please be assured there will be no harm here." The obsidian mirror twinkles with far-off auroral light as la Sirene turns it -

And seems to make the entire blade of Miroku disappear for a moment.


"May the Invisible Ones bless this great weapon, though it comes from strange shores," la Sirene intones, as if reading from memory. "May this obsidian blade bear the blessings of sorrow and the blessings of liberation. May my new friend's strength be our answer, this year, this day, to the question of evil -"

And then she pulls her Black Mirror down.

Sea-water seems to cling to Miroku's blade, but as it touches the atmosphere of Earth, it sparkles, shining aloft as if to mirror back the heart beat of the assembled, an auroral refraction of miracle lights in pastel blue and green and pink and subtle hues rarely seen.

"It won't last," la Sirene tells Mikoto: "But it only has to last for long enough. Now go!"

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has joined the combo started by Lancelot!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> ALI PROJECT - Aka to Kuro (Red & Black) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3hnIiSwSfQ

Mikoto does not stand alone.

She asks for help, and she is answered; she releases la Sirene's hand, and hers finds the hilt of her blade, as her eyes look to the dark shard the Siren possesses. Black glass...

Perhaps that makes it easy to trust her, when she says no harm will come to them. She still gives a shocked little yelp as her sword disappears to her eyes, though she can still feel it in her hands. She looks to la Sirene in alarm, only to be reassured by her rote recital. It's something she's done before; Mikoto can tell. Maybe this is normal for her magic.

And then there is the smell of salt, and Mikoto's eyes sparkle as if in mirror to the water. Black, yes - but black made as a result of combining every colour, a black which contains an infinity of light and hue. They roll across the flat of Miroku's blade, yellow-pink-green-purple-red-orange-blue, shifting and changing and combining with every subtle shift of her grip.

She could stare at it forever.

But she has something she has to do, after all. She nods, to la Sirene, with another affirmative noise, and charges through the sky, down a crackling path. The ambient electricity left in the air by Lancelot's charged charge sticks her short hair on end, prickles at the hair on arms left uncovered by a uniform which has not yet changed to suit the seasons. It energises her, rather than leaving her shocked.

He is fast in a different way entirely to her; his lightning-quick strikes bite in many times even as Mikoto reaches him. Because she plants her feet in the sky and she swings her iridescent blade around in revolution, once, twice, three times -

- with a bellowing war-cry, she uses the momentum she has built to crash into Fusion, in the place Lancelot has carved, with the light la Sirene has given her.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has joined the combo started by Lancelot!
COMBAT: COMBO! Lancelot, La Sirene de Diamant, and Mikoto Minagi have used Combo: Hit Fusion Harder!, composed of Blazing Zephyr,
Les Mysteres, and Obsidian Blade: Destruction, on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Holding hands with everyone, Madoka shines, brightly and clearly, at the others in the circle. She's inspired by their bravery and their determination and, most of all, for their goodness.

As they release to separately pursue their combined victory, she takes her empty hands and clasps them once again over her heart.

Not in prayer -- but in gratitude, for prayers answered; not by God above but by friends below, friends all around. For a miracle.

And it wasn't even really her prayer.

Steven shouts and Homura whispers, and somehow, someway, Madoka sees them both, plus Sayaka and Hitomi too. Backlit by Mami's magic, she casts them all a quick and jaunty salute, fingers extended around her twinkling eye.

It is such an inadequate response, and she vows to herself to do more for them, with them, soon. Their happiness... that's the whole reason they fight. That's the truth that binds her and her senpai and her classmate together, as surely as any golden ribbons.

Then, clapping her heels together, she twirls while falling, causing her ruffled skirt to catch the air like a nanny's umbrella. Down she falls, and her skirt-sail flaps, until she lands on a shattered skyscraper opposite the fairies, which means on the third side of a traingle with Mami and Eri, too.

Her hands spread, a gorgeous floral arc appearing between them. No sooner has she grasped the bow does its rose bloom and its fire ignite. Compared to vast waves of undergrowth and flanking rifle lines her single arrow into the sky above them all is a bit of an understatement.

Madoka watches it soar upwards like a flare, whispering something under her breath. A whisper only, dutifully quiet. It wouldn't do to interrupt Mami's plan.


Part three begins with the detonation of Madoka's shooting star into countless tiny, pink projectiles.

Each and every one is fletched with a rosebud.

As they sink into Fusion, right in time with her floral Puella counterparts', each arrow's end blooms with a tiny, verdant 'pop!' and sends up sprays of lovely sparkles.

Madoka doesn't notice. She's watching the others -- the swords and their varying blessings -- the hands and their varying holdings -- in wonder, and with a quiet, gentle joy.

COMBAT: Madoka Kaname has joined the combo started by Mami Tomoe!
COMBAT: COMBO! Mami Tomoe, Eri Shimanouchi, and Madoka Kaname have used Combo: Manovra Tre, composed of Tiro Circle, Jubokko's
Sanguine Roots, and Twinkle Burst, on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 103 Fatigue damage from Lancelot, La Sirene de Diamant, and Mikoto Minagi's Combo: Hit Fusion Harder!,
taking 44 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe cleanly braces 96 Fatigue damage from Mami Tomoe, Eri Shimanouchi, and Madoka Kaname's Combo: Manovra Tre,
taking 17 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe is unable to keep fighting!  Mami Tomoe, Eri Shimanouchi, and Madoka Kaname
are Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

A quiet smile comes upon seeing their three-fold efforts come to fruition.

"I wonder if all our classmates saw that." She wonders aloud with a note of delight as she considers the possibility of Homura, Hitomi, and Sayaka having witnessed their handiwork.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

It's a funny thing. Even in pairs and trios, the snicker-snack of four blades shouldn't be enough to take down a monster of that size. And whether it's four projectiles or four thousand, they're so small, and Fusion so large.

But they can feel it -- all of them can, so clearly, so purely.

The rainbow may have split into its component colors --

Into crimson

and emerald

Into blue

and black

and orchid

Into gold

and green

and pink

-- which pour off of their respective girls in brilliant, beaming auras --

-- but this is so much more than the sum of its parts.

There is a second prismatic explosion, infinitely larger than the first.

And infinitely more beautiful.

Fusion's absence in the aftermath is the least of it. Glitter falls like snow, in everyone's colors and so many more -- the colors of every heart that bore witness and support. Everything it touches is restored; streets, cars, parks, buildings.

Beneath the watchful eyes of the magical girls, Tokyo is restored.

It's as though he was never even born.

But something else was.

Something infinitely greater than any mere combination of monstrous energies.

Something truly important.

Something truly wonderful.