2019-05-13 - Intermission 1: Hope For The Hopeless

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Intermission 1: Hope For The Hopeless

Madoka takes a consult with the dead about her life choices.


Mami Tomoe, Eri Shimanouchi, Kyouko Sakura, Kimiko Akane, Madoka Kaname


Mami Tomoe's Apartment - Shibuya Shopping Ward

OOC - IC Date:

5/13/2019 - 06-02-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Shibuya Shopping Ward +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  Any rural ingenue looking to come to the big city and get swept away at       
  first sight would be well-advised to get off at Shibuya Station, where you    
  could fill a high school yearbook with the people teeming over a single       
  crosswalk, and a legion of ten-story department stores offer a choice so      
  broad it resembles existential crisis. Shinjuku might administrate Tokyo,     
  but Shibuya is its style capital. Its densest concentration of boutiques,     
  retailers, and restaurants is bound together by Shibuya Crossing, a bustling  
  pedestrian intersection resembling an even gaudier Times Square.              
  Within walking distance to Harajuku, Shibuya is less whimsical, and far       
  grander. Its most iconic symbol is the Shibuya 109 department store, a        
  cylindrical grey monolith famous even outside of Japan. Each floor of 109     
  has about a dozen shops, and with ten flights of escalator to ascend, it      
  doesn't take a mathematician to realize that even this single store can be a  
  lot to take in. But Shibuya too has its side streets and quirks, and it's     
  not hard to find a chic little cafe to rest in. Those who find themselves     
  energized instead have recourse to the night clubs that trade on Shibuya's    
  stylish reptuation.                                                           
  Shibuya Station has a humbler landmark as well. It was here that the loyal    
  dog Hachiko waited for his owner each day, even after the owner had long      
  since died. A bronze statue of Hachiko waits here still, a reminder that      
  love and loyalty never die.                                                   
<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The warm neutral tones of the walls were always meant, really, to be ignored a bit. Oh, it's not a terrible fate--their colors with chosen with care, applied with the knowledge of how vital even the simplest part of the whole can be. ...But a place for living, a placing for more than being...

It always seemed to Mami Tomoe, at least, that the eye should be drawn to the people within, or to the objects that remind of the same and are given places on shelves, carefully displayed. Photographs, tiny objects...

But above all, yes--this is a place that shines best with people in it.

This is why, of course, the lovely, almost delicate wooden table has cushions to accomodate a number, more than anyone might actually expect in an ordinary setting--this is not quite the lovely triangular table, but it is, in all of the important ways. It just has more seats available.

And tea, naturally.

So, the table is dark, rich wood, a warm solid brown. The cushions are in gentle, pale colors, placed to avoid clashing, placed to suit preferences, each large enough for comfort but small enough to fit more easily than a full chair might at a higher table.

The shelves include photographs of smiling girls in various situations; the little objects include an old teacup that has been retired, but cherished regardless. There is gold, here, gold and honey and sunset-orange and warmth, a warmth that suffuses all of the place, from a nearby, familiar couch to the kitchen not far away, to the hallway down which is the resting-space.

The large television, stood on electronics and beautiful wood and glass to suit the decor, is off. The time doesn't matter, really. But the curtains cannot and do not try to obscure all of the soothing light from outside. The entryway is quiet, the coatrack comfortably placed.

So it is that this group is seated here, in this apartment, in this place so devoted to seeing people, and if any of the photographs are of this meeting too it isn't strange, really.

In point of fact--each of the cushion are full. When one arrived, how long it's been--none of those things are important, at the moment. What matters is five faces at the table, five places seat, five cups of tea, five little plates, and that they are for now all here.

...And one of those at the table, just now, one happens to be holding her golden-edged teacup in both hands, a small smile on her face, her blonde drills gently catching the warm light of the room.

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

There is a relaxed feel to the way her legs lay on the pale pastel green cushion she sits in. Her posture is not quite in seiza. They stick out a little sideways. Just enough to be not quite formal but not too casual either.

Her Ohtori uniform is pristine other than the smallest dirt smudge on her white socks. Her glasses are so unsmudged as to clearly show off the pensive look in her eyes. Her hands folded together.

They lay on the table in front of her for a time, on that cup of Mami Tomoe's tea which she's certain is the finest smelling cup of tea she's ever tasted. And then her eyes lift up to Kyouko - and Mami - and Kimiko - and Madoka.

You ever have a moment where there's just nothing you want to say quite yet? Where you just want to sort of... take it in. Like the scent of a particular flower - or that smell of rain. To memorize the sight of all of them together - like a snapshot.

Perhaps some things transcend the sense themselves. Transcend memory. They become just this feeling that stays with you.

A smile blooms on her face and grows like a flower that's slowly unfurling.

"So that's it then. There's no going back." It's like she were talking about something more simple. As if Madoka had turned in overdue plans on what she'd be growing next season in her plot. There's this whisper thin exhalation, and it carries in this room. "I can't say that I'm in favor."

With that, a slow blink of her eyes behind her glasses. "I'm not good at this... letting go." They open again though in short order, and her smile is not dimmed in the least. "But I can say that... I'm proud of my Gardening clubmate. You've started something truly special here. Planted a seed for something I can scarcely even comprehend." There's this dip of her chin, which makes her smile seem to almost dimple, "And I can think of noone better to nurture it."

There is no sense of anxiety in the way her hands are clasped. It's a sedate posture. Her eyes filter over each of the others in turn, one by one again. As if she were re-experiencing that same feeling as just moments ago.

"I don't think I'm being presumptuous in saying - that we're all eager to see what will blossom from your efforts."

A special blossom to her - is her own way of saying a whole universe perhaps.

However there is something unspoken in those final moments, after, in the few seconds of silence after.

Even if it takes you away from us.

Seeming to remember the tea at that moment, she unfurls her fingers and places it around the cup's handle, lifting it up and cradling it above her palm, as she guides it to her mouth to take a sip.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-N1FVMaOYk

Kyouko Sakura is unmistakable, but one would be forgiven if they could not remember seeing her quite like this.

Her open-shouldered cream blouse hangs comfortably loose around her arms, billowy sleeves ending just above her elbows. A lightly ornate pattern embroidered at its center would not look out of place on the facade of a classical church. Over the blouse she wears a delicate thing that looks as much like an apron as a dress. Its gingham pattern is comprised of white squares framed by something a little red, a little pink. Its plunging neckline frames the pattern on her blouse, lined with tender little frills of lace and ending in jaunty white bow of modest size. The same reddish pink tinges the wrap around her waist and the ruffles around her hem, as well as two pockets topped with more white lace perched upon the wide bulb of the dress beneath her waist. A crimson jewel framed in gold hangs from a long leather band around her neck. Her hair is tied back, long and sweeping, with a black bow.

Just like always.

At her place at the table is an empty plate, and from time to time when she isn't smiling and basking in the glow of present company, Kyouko looks to the delicate ceramic. Different items of food wink into being, vanishing soon after. Gyoza, a hamburger, a banana split...with every wink her soul gem seems to gleam a little gleam. Laying the tip of her index finger across her lips, she pauses, and considers. Smiling a little smile, she finds her eureka and snaps her fingers.

A stack of fluffy tan pancakes sits tall, a hearty ring of frosting perched along its crown. Within its perimeter sit a number of sliced fruits. Strawberry, kiwi, banana, blueberry, coconut, and in the center of it all, momo peach.

That will do.

As Kyouko sits at her place at the table, she is not as relaxed as any has ever seen her. It goes far beyond that. In here, she seems to have managed to unshoulder some of them, those things that were always with her out there. One can still see their old signs around her eyes, but only by their traces. She is still the person whose experiences made her, but they are not in the room.

"How exciting..I have no idea what is about to happen." She smiles softly, with just the faintest touch of concern in her gaze. "There will be consequences, of course. Things you hadn't considered, things you won't see coming. But, that's life, isn't it?"

Lifting a teacup to her lips, she closes her eyes and draws in the aroma before letting it touch her taste. She sighs softly, contentedly, finding the peace in the sensations that she knew she would find there. There is no true substitute for the real thing..

<Pose Tracker> Kimiko Akane [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The glow of the room where they are gathered gives off a feeling of contentment and peace that Kimiko seems to soak up in complete silence for a long time, even as the others begin to talk. The young girl seems to be deep in thought. She finds herself grateful to not be alone and for the presence of those around her. Her gaze seems to linger the longest on Eri at first.

Eri, who spoke words of wisdom to her and shared her experience. Who not only shared her gardening with her but also inspired Kimiko to be more proactive in her own self-preservation.

Dressed in her Ohtori uniform, she is situated on a small cushion that barely big enough for her to cross her legs. Kimiko raises her cup of tea to her lips, enjoying the warmth it brings to her hands as she inhales the fragrance before sipping it slowly. It eases whatever thoughts come to her mind and somehow helps her ground herself.

When she finally speaks though her voice comes out smaller than she intends but Kimiko finds a quiet space so she is heard as she looks to Madoka. "I guess it's done. We cannot change the path you have chosen but..." She pauses. "What happens now?"

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"...I think it's extraordinary," Mami finally adds, simply. "I never imagined, when I met you, what it would be like, how things would change. I certainly never imagined this. You've come so far, Madoka-chan."

There's cake, naturally. An old favorite. And Mami, while she isn't in uniform, is still Mami, warm and a bit aglow.

She looks over each of the others, in that next set of moments, with a nod to Eri and Kyouko, a smile for Kimiko... the same smile for Madoka, again.

She nods, to Eri. She gives an amused sigh to Kyouko's plate again. But...

"It's one of the beautiful things about life, I think," Mami agrees with Kyouko. She pauses, then, at another sip--

"You like it?" Mami asks Kimiko with a smile; she has, naturally, been ensuring that each of them has as much tea as they like. ...Though no amount of tea pouring can truly overcome Kyouko's appetites for other food...

"...It's true, though," Mami says. "There's no going back. From this point on, things are going to be different. I can't say, really, how it will turn out..."

What now? Mami nods. "...Well, not this," Mami admits of what now, nodding to encompass something of the moment. "...But well, this for a little longer, I hope."

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Mata Ashita https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvFW5RQZvOw

Madoka is in her middle school uniform -- which matches Kimiko's -- which is actually slightly off from reality, by about two and a half months. It isn't what she was wearing, in the ruins; she has been clothed in the same, increasingly muddy winter high school uniform, the mustard becoming steadily browner, the cream grayer, for days.

But here, in this place that isn't a place that is her favorite and her most painful place, all at once, it doesn't revert to simply a clean version of itself.

Because in Madoka's heart of hearts, she never really accepted advancing to high school -- and joining her senpai in her iconic uniform -- without her.

It's not like it fits any differently, anyway. They're all children here, but in some ways she has always been the most childish. Been ENCOURAGED to be, by some; been ALLOWED to be only through the sacrifice of others. Been perceived to be, which is easy to do, already forgiven. Madoka never really hit even her first growth spurt by any real metric -- one reason she often didn't mind staying in her school uniform, around town after school, rather than going home to change first, is that it tended to prevent questions about why an elementary schooler was out on the streets all by herself.

It wasn't all appearance. Madoka's innocence was like an aura, and much more than her round head, her chubby cheeks, her pigtails, and her failure to reach five feet, this is what was perceived, encouraged, allowed. Protected.

It's gone, now.

But what it's been replaced with isn't such a tragedy, after all.

Do you grow up... or just grow into yourself?

Her expression is knowing, knowing in a way that it wasn't, before. Wise with the knowledge of where she's been. Where they've all been, all of them.

As the others speak, she sips her tea like she's taking communion. Her gentle smile, her soft look, is tinged with the littlest bit of reverence -- for the here and now. For this opportunity.

For all of them.

She's still Madoka, after all, and even with her newfound equipoise, she can't help but look faintly embarrassed at everyone's nice words, especially Eri's.

"It took me too long," she says quietly, in her honest way. "But... better late than never, right? Uehihi." Giggling nervously makes her eyes close, and she picks at tufts of pink hair sprouting from the nape of her neck, the ones who never can quite stay tied properly no matter what she does.

When her eyes reopen, they're looking at Kyouko. "You told me... not to wish, for no reasons, or bad reasons, or weak reasons."

A smile plays about her lips like candlelight.

So I wished for all of you, goes unsaid, loudly, in the cozy room.

She glances between Mami and Kimiko.

"We-ll," she sounds out, carefully, "I wished to do everything myself. I guess that means I'm going on a trip!"

Madoka plays it as lightly as she can.

But everyone heard what she said.

EVERY witch. EVERY time. Every UNIVERSE.

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

Lowering her tea cup, she holds it aloft but momentarily inert. There's this faint scent of chamomile in hers in particular, to those paying attention to such things.

There's this tiny amused cant of her head at Kyouko's plate. Her smile widening fractionally at how the girl revels in her excitement over the unknown. "Mmm-hmm." Eri agrees quietly. "I think I'd feel better about it if we could know what all of those consequences are. But... mostly-" There's a tiny pause, "-I think I'm just being a little selfish." There's a thin smile, like she doesn't think of that as a negative.

Even as Mami describes it as something extraordinary. "It is. She is."

When Kimiko asks what happens now. There's this small look in her eyes. It isn't a knowing one. It is simply - a delight from the anticipation. And patience in light of it.

There is a faint shake that shifts her green hair, and she takes the hand that was cradling under the teacup to brush back an errant strand back away from her ear. "You grew exactly at the right speed for you."

As if Madoka were simply a slow growing bud - that became a tree that held up the universe. A Yggdrasil in and of herself.

However there is a sense of bashful delight, as Madoka answers Kyouko. The unspoken words causing her eyes to start to mist.

"Ah..." The hand that had tucked back the hair, slides up under her glasses, as she places the teacup back down on its saucer. "... I told myself I wouldn't cry."

She can't help it though. She can't help it because of the words unspoken.

"You're sure you'll be okay out there? All by yourself?" There is some fretting in her tone about that, the idea of Madoka out there on a trip all by herself. Even as mature as Madoka had proven herself to be in this decision.

<Pose Tracker> Kimiko Akane [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Kimiko smiles at Mami and nods, "It really is lovely tea." It doesn't take long for her to almost finish her first cup. She is less greedy with the second however and takes awhile before touching it, instead choosing to focus on those gathered around her right now. How long does it feel like it's been since she really spent time focusing on others like this?

There is a silent agreement in her heart at wanting this time and feeling to last a little longer. This place where it feels like there are no time limits or constraints and one can just....be.

Listening to them talk about wishes makes her reflect on her own. There's many reasons she doesn't want to dwell on it though and instead she looks to Madoka. Even though the words are not actually spoken, she has already replayed what was said in her mind. 'So I wished for all of you'

Even though Madoka takes it in a light-hearted manner, Kimiko doesn't seem to agree and from watching Eri's response it seems like she is not the only one. "I know you seem sure..." She addresses Madoka again. "...and I know we cannot change the sacrifice you have made for us but..."

The younger girl, nervously runs her fingers along the handle of the teacup before suddenly pulling her hand away, realizing it was slightly trembling. It takes her a minute to be able to speak the words she has been thinking all along... "Thank you."

The words hardly seem like enough in her mind though and she quickly finds herself fighting against her own emotions. She cannot, however, stop the gathering moisture in the corners of her eyes as she attempts to quickly blink it away, taking a deep breath.

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.

Kyouko catches Mami's sigh and shrugs, smiling a little sheepishly, a little mischievously. "Hey, I'm out of practice! It's like having a lost limb again..." Kyouko's outfit changes into an oversized T-shirt that says "MAMI NUMBER 1" in big bold letters. Flashing a wink and a peace sign, Kyouko grins before returning it to as it was.

"It's true. What a journey...I never imagined anything like it. But it makes sense looking back. The girl who never gave up on anyone..."

As Madoka opens her eyes, Kyouko smiles a half smile, returning her gaze in kind. "I figured that you would've wished before now if you were gonna. It's strange now that you have, stranger that I'm not mad at you for it."

Kyouko reaches out and gently touches Eri's hand. She wants to be a small comfort, but she feels the same way. "Kimiko and Mami are right. What's done is done. But.."

Looking to Madoka, there are tears in her eyes as well. "I hope you'll come back and visit, if you can. And maybe..."

Kyouko swallows, and a sadness is upon her. For Madoka's journey away from them, yes. But also for somebody who had not, it seems, managed to meet in this place.

"Maybe you'll be able to help Sayaka, too."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Yes," Mami agrees easily as to that growth. "Better, that. ...Though, just as you were, was always more than enough for me. I could never have imagined how you would grow." Pride, and love--they are so clear. She smiles, more, at Eri's statements, Eri's feelings there too. And, of course--

Naturally, Mami refills Kimiko's tea, obviously pleased with the answer. "Have as much as you like."

There's a little laugh despite herself, at the matter of the shirt--things are... complicated, certainly. But similarly she won't tell Eri there's anything wrong at all, with crying now.

"Mm." There was a time, of course--a time when a wish almost happened. A time, at least one, where Madoka was prepared to once again save Mami. But... Well.

Still, the one that was made. Mami Tomoe heard Madoka's wish--her intent, her... So manythings, it could be called, but, "I wish I could go with you," Mami admits. "Because..."

She pauses, here, and finally, though the peace she's shown doesn't leave her, she does gain a more serious look, deep concern and thought in her honeyed eyes.

"...Do you realize?" she asks, with faith but worry. "How scary it is, the wish you made?"

"From the past, to the future--fighting throughout time. You won't even be able to exist as a physical entity anymore--Dying would be kinder."

Mami, now, has some experience in this much. "...Every witch, every universe, every time." She inclines her head to Eri, then--the same question, really. And she gives Kyouko a sad sort of smile, before she returns her gaze, serious, to Madoka's.

"You'll never be the same. Are you sure this is what you want?"

<Pose Tracker> Madoka Kaname [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Hope For The Hopeless - A Fine Frenzy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOSUvgNMuWA

There are so many things to love. The way Eri gives herself permission to be selfish; the way Kimiko yearns to stay in this place, in this company; Kyouko's playful joy in the rediscovery of a lost piece of her heart; Mami's playing, being hostess, easily as breathing, filling the void, hers and everyone's.

It fills Madoka like light. It escapes wherever it can. From the tips of her fingers, which pick the strawberry off her slice of cake and flick it accurately over to Kyouko's mouth to catch. From the curve of her tender little smile. From her eyes, most of all. Ah, they shine, she shines.

Madoka squirms a little harder beneath Kimiko's gratitude, Eri's worry, Kyouko's praise, Mami's faith. But beyond her native discomfort at the attention, most of all she starts to feel a little overwhelmed, by... everyone. Tears threaten, hot and tight.

She swallows them away. No more of those.

She promised herself a world where girls wouldn't have to cry anymore, over things like this.

"Every witch, before," she echoes Mami, but she's responding to Kyouko, with the addition of the critical extra word. Her voice is hushed and hoarse by way of successful resistance to incipient weeping. The soft yearning -- the raw need in her tone, tells the rest without saying it out loud: she wished for all of them, but perhaps for Sayaka most of all.

It isn't so surprising that she isn't among their party. Madoka is sitting with all the Puella Magi who managed to defy the odds and die without becoming Witches.

Sayaka can't be here.

Madoka hasn't even left yet.

And Sayaka is who she's going on her trip to save.

She glows a little more at the thought. Soon...

She can't avoid Eri and Mami's concerns forever, and listens to them dutifully. Her smile fades to the uncharacteristic solemness few of them ever saw from her in life. That knowing look returns.

"I won't be by myself," she reassures Eri, first. "After all... I'm going to meet everyone."

Mami pins her down, though. Won't let her escape confronting the full truth of it, head on. Just like a good senpai. Like a good friend. Like a good... love.

But this isn't the Madoka of the past, and she neither wilts nor winces.

She looks Mami dead in the eye, instead, sitting up straight, comfortable in her own skin and with her own choices. "It's fine. It's what I've chosen to do."

This time, her smile is birthed in her voice, before it spreads, like the big bang expanding in all directions.

"If someone tells me that it's wrong to hope, I will tell them they're wrong every time. I could tell them that countless times!"

Quiet, profound joy fills her like catharsis. Again she overflows.

But this time, without a hint of embarrassment, reluctance or self-deprication.

Extending her hands to either side, she reaches out to the two seated closest to her -- Mami and Kyouko -- connecting to what Eri and Kyouko have begun, and lengthening it into what could easily become a circle.

Her hands are warm, and gentle, and sure.

She squeezes.

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

Kyouko almost knocks her out of tears with that shirt change. There's a giggle that becomes a snort, which she covers with a hand over her nose and part of her mouth. She's glad she's no longer holding her tea.

It's hard to stay sad though when all of them are together. Kyouko's touch on her hand causes this small exhalation of relaxation.

"Can't we say it in a different way?" There's that smile returning again, "Saying things like 'what's done is done' or 'it can't be taken back' it makes it feel like... she's in the same place we were all in."

Her eyes slide over to Kyouko, Mami and Kimiko, "And I just... don't want to think of her being in that place. Because..."

The girl straightens, brightening, "... she's not. And she's made sure we're not either. She's changed... everything. For the better."

Her fingers flex, tips touching into Kyouko's palm as Mami remarks on how frightening this wish is. That she'll never be the same, her eyes tracing to Mami at the idea that Madoka will be alone. As she awaits Madoka's answer...


It's not her doubting her. It's simply her realizing the daunting scope of her wish.

"Everyone." She repeats, and her smile seems even warmer.

"Then. I suppose I shouldn't see this as a goodbye. More like..."

There's still the faintest glimmer of tears in her eyes. Yet now they seem happier.

"...we'll all be seeing you again some day."

It is a happy thought. Both that Madoka will neither be alone on her journey. And that all of them will some day become a part of it.

Perhaps it is the most wonderful thing.

Madoka however is not finished. In telling Mami it's what she's chosen. In telling them if someone told her it is wrong to hope. "I think... some things won't change." She remarks to Mami. "She is still the Madoka Kaname we love." And then her eyes settle upon Madoka, something fond in her eyes, "She's still the Madoka Kaname who said 'I love you.' whenever each of us needed to hear that. Now... she's just going out there to tell others... the same thing."

Her hand does not move to wipe away her eyes. It moves to work towards completing the circle.

There is no more resistance, only affection, "Thank you, Madoka." It may sound like thanks for what she's done for the world with this wish... but she clarifies a moment later, "For never giving up on us."

<Pose Tracker> Kyouko Sakura [None] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq-RGFyaq0U

Kyouko nods. Every witch. Before. The rooms of her heart where faith had stayed had fallen into some neglect, but Kyouko recently found the keys from where she'd cast them aside. She'd found them with help..and she'll trust in this, too. For all the time she'd spent apart from it, the capacity for faith is still with her.

Color comes to her cheeks as Eri gently chastises her..though part of that is likely from the touch itself. In this space nothing feels exactly as it had. All that was there is still here, but there's more. But even here, the novelty of that touch is electric..

"You're right. We're all here, drinking Mami's tea, together...I thought that had been done with too. But here we are."

Squeezing Eri's hand, Kyouko smiles to Madoka. "I'm glad you could tell them, again and again. You might have to..but you'll be proof, won't you? You'll be hope. soon. You already are. In fact..you have been as long as I've known you. I just couldn't see, not all the way.

Kyouko blinks, turning over Eri's words in her head. She's right..they'll all meet again, eventually. What a lovely thought..to be back here, with everybody again. It wouldn't be the same..but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Smiling softly, the tears start to well up in her eyes. She can feel the emotional swell in her heart, and knows that she hasn't really processed it all. But all things in time. Returning Madoka's gentle squeeze, she finds strength in the little hand, and tries to offer some of her own.

"Yes..we'll meet again. All of us..I didn't think that the world could be changed. You proved me wrong...thank you, Madoka. I'll miss you so...but I'll live all the life I can until then."

<Pose Tracker> Mami Tomoe [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

That shine, that light--Mami treats it like air, for now, precious even unseen, even in so great an amount. There are the threats of tears--from any of them, really--But...

"...Mm," Mami agrees, nodding, about Madoka's answer--it is a long trip. It is... the start, here. Just before. And amidst the scent of tea is the scent of... togetherness.

Maybe they're the same, but maybe this is different, rare among that, too.

But faithful or not, loving or not--it's Mami's way, to ask. It's important to her--and so, she does, and she waits, in that moment, and she has been all of those things the very best that she can be to and for Madoka Kaname.

...And Madoka doesn't wilt, or wince, or look away at all, but there is a wondrous certainty there. She knows--she's... r

"You're incredible," Mami says then, inclining her head once, in assent.


Mami inclines her head, and for a moment, it seems she, too, might have to work not to cry. ...But she manages it, this time. There's a... joy, that...

"Mm," she agrees with Eri, what she says. Everyone--and... that means...

"Mm. Well, I for Madoka-chan..." She smiles, to Kyouko for a moment. There's a lot that they don't know, of the future now. And yet...

And yet.

"Madoka-chan," Mami says then, after a moment, and she could burst in this moment herself, golden and peaceful and not at all, ever afraid with Madoka here.

"...I love you," she says softly, once, first, and joins hands--completes the circle. And her fingers about Madoka's squeeze, gently.

"You..." She pauses, and inclines her head. "When I was alone, and afraid. When I thought... things could never really be better, than they were. ...I don't regret my life. I don't regret my wish. I had the chance to meet you."

"...You were already my hope," she says, and finds she cannot find a better word than that, and for an instant, she is not older, not distant, but is simply Mami, no more or less.

"...You were always my hope," Mami finishes, softly. "How could it be any more like you... to go on, and be that hope for all magical girls?"