seerofbread: (nico)
[personal profile] seerofbread

Title: The Scrapbook
Length: ~937 words
Fandoms: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mami, Homura, OCs)
Description: Tomoe Hikari meets a girl with a familiar ring.
Other notes: For [community profile] trope_bingo, Kidfic slot.
More notes at the bottom of this post

The transfer student writes her name on the board. She looks nervous, of course, but it's an energetic nervousness that makes her sound a little breathless but completely eager.

Her name is Mori Keiko. She likes music and going to the movies. She's excited to join this school's program, and nobody in the room thinks she isn't determined to do well in it. She's directed to sit next to the class representative, and Tomoe Hikari stands to point to the open desk next to her.

Between classes, the two bond quickly. Hikari talks about upcoming movies and invites Keiko along. Keiko mentions a musician that Hikari hadn't listened to, but writes down in the hopes of doing so later.

At lunch, Keiko gets the usual barrage of questions. Where did you transfer from? How did you transfer this late in the year? Do you think you'll be able to catch up? Keiko answers everything smoothly, though Hikari notices the ring on her finger, which she twists every so-often as she talks.

Eventually, everyone else goes to their own lunch. Keiko sighs and smiles at Hikari, who smiles back. But before class starts, Hikari leans over to say, "Your ring is really cute. Where did you get it?"

Keiko's laugh is nervous. "It's a long story," she says.

"Really? I think my mom has the same one." Hikari looks thoughtful for a moment. "I guess she never told me how she got it, either." Nonetheless, she smiles. "Anyway, I hope we can be friends so you can tell me someday!"

Maybe it's just Keiko's confusion at the idea, but it's within a week that she offers to show Hikari.

There's a scrapbook that Hikari's familiar with. She's never looked at it, she's just accepted it as a thing that exists, mostly collecting dust on the bottom of the bookshelf. Her mother takes it out and adds to it sometimes, but Hikari only knows this because sometimes it goes missing, and when it returns it's lost some dust and there are trimmings of paper left on the table.

On the first day that Keiko takes Hikari witch-hunting, they run into Hikari's mother. She picks up the grief seed before she notices them, at which point she simply stares for a while, expression concerned but otherwise unreadable. The three of them ride the train together, escorting Keiko home before the Tomoes return to their own home.

Aunt Homura visits. She brings everyone's favorite take-out and a carton of ice cream, and when it's set on the table, Hikari opens the scrapbook.

The first pages are pink, full of pictures labelled in Homura's handwriting with dates and names. Some of them have pictures of Homura or Mami, from when they were in middle school, but all of them have the same girl in them, always smiling. "Madoka," Hikari reads, the name on each picture, before looking up. "Who's she?"

"She was a magical girl," Mami says, pointing to a sketch of her wearing a pink dress. "Like your friend Keiko is."

"She explained that to me. She made a wish and now she fights witches." Hikari hesitates, glancing from her mother to her adoptive aunt. "You were doing that, does Aunt Homura do that too?"

"Yes," Mami says. "We both have been doing that since we were in middle school. With Madoka."

Hikari frowns. "Why didn't you tell me? I could have helped!"

Mami stares at the table, her slight smile still on her lips despite how clearly sad she is. Homura takes over, saying, "It's dangerous," as she flips the page and points to a picture. "There's your mother, there's Madoka, there's me. The other two are Kyoko and Sakura. We all became magical girls not too far apart, and we were geographically close too, so we wound up spending a lot of time together."

"Oh," Hikari says. "Did they all die?"


"They went missing, mostly," Mami says, interrupting. "If you die in a labyrinth, your body disappears with it."

Hikari stares at the page, notices the sketches under the picture, lined up evenly. "So these are the witches that killed them all?" she asks.

"Yes," Mami says.

Biting her lip, Hikari asks, "Will Keiko be okay, then? Will you help her not die?"

"There may be only so much we can do," Homura says. "But we can try."

It takes an excruciatingly delicate balance to maintain magical girl status for more than a year, even more to remain for nearly two decades. There was never any question that it would eventually tip too far, and no logic would say that there would be no consequences.

Keiko disappears, and Hikari knows why.

She doesn't know why, within a week, an earthquake causes massive damage, taking a hundred lives at first report--the numbers increase, of course, as injuries prove fatal and as wreckage-clearing uncovers bodies. One of them is her mother's.

The apartment's contents get packed and follow Hikari to live with Homura. In the unpacking process, Hikari uncovers the scrapbook, and she stares at it for a while. "Aunt Homura," she says, "Mom's body was found, wasn't it? So, she was the first magical girl to not be killed by a witch, wasn't she?"

Homura hesitates before saying, "Yes, I suppose she was," because that's what Mami would want to have said. She takes the scrapbook and says, "I'll make a page to commemorate the achievement. I'm sure she'd be very happy to know that."

Hikari doesn't think of the scrapbook enough to notice that, after Homura updates it, there's a sketch of a witch corresponding to Mami.

Notes: This got scrapped and rewritten a lot. In the end 3/4 of this wound up getting written.... today. Uh I guess that save-the-polished-product-for-AO3 idea was a good idea huh?

I have no idea what kind of AU this is. Kyoko seems like she'd be more likely to be able to magical-girl through it all, though I can't imagine I'm wrong about Homura surviving. But, I really wanted more Mami fic, so here we are. (I did no justice to anyone in doing this, did I?) I'd really like to revisit the fandom/trope combination, though, whether with different characters or not. I think this wound up not adhering to what I had in mind at all.
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