Like many things, it all starts with mere curiosity.
Kyouko simply wanted to know where her mysterious classmate vanished off to whenever she wasn’t perched by Madoka’s side. There was no particular reason, but that had never stopped Kyouko before.
So, there comes a day where instead of following Sayaka home, she tapped the other girl on the shoulder. “I gotta be somewhere.” Kyouko said, in that way she always does when disagreeing is not an option. She just grinned as Sayaka’s eyes narrowed.
“That would be where exactly?” Sayaka asked with a slight edge in her tone. She’s been like that lately; quick to ire and easy to upset. Well, more than usual. Kyouko has tried inquiring what’s up with her, but Sayaka is always quick to shut down the conversation.
She rolled her eyes and bit into the apple that she had been carrying around. “Wouldn’t you like to know.” The apple is a bit too sour for her taste, but she doesn’t complain.
Internally, Kyouko couldn’t help but think that she would also like to know. Of course, that doesn’t show on her face. Otherwise, Sayaka would probably have a heart-attack. She worried too much.
She finished her snack, scouting the nearest garbage bin to toss the core in—unfortunately their school didn’t feel the need to invest into compost bins, but this was better than nothing.
“Anyways, love this conversation but I have sights to see and things to do.” Kyouko practically dashed away before Sayaka could argue, which she would. That’s a consistency that Kyouko could always count on.
Sights to see, things to do, and people to stalk.
It doesn’t take long to find Homura.
In all honesty, something always seems off when she’s around. Not horribly unsettling, but like there’s a different feeling in the surrounding air.
Once Kyouko mentioned it as a joke to their extended friend group, when Homura was strangely absent from school on that day. The reactions she got made her never bring it up again.
Hitomi and Kyousuke didn’t seem to understand; exchanging confused glances. Mami bit her lip, as if trying to not voice an agreement. Madoka seemed suddenly deep in thought. Sayaka tensed up, with her clenched fists turning white.
Nobody was laughing, that was for sure.
The point is, when Homura is near, Kyouko knows.
She followed the other girl from her position above. Fire-escapes were strangely common in this part of town, and Kyouko had learned long ago how to navigate rooftops with ease.
Mitakihara had the perfect structure for it too, even better than Kazamino; though the latter had served her well during getaways.
Homura didn’t seem to be going anywhere that Kyouko could particularly recall. Still, there were likely many places that Kyouko had yet to discover.
However, even as the skyline of the city started to decrease in size when they got to the outskirts of town, Homura still continued. It was almost dark by now, partly due to the short winter days, and partly due to how long they have been moving.
Sayaka was going to get concerned soon, but Kyouko wouldn’t give up after she got this far. Sure enough, her tenacity paid off when Homura slowed her pace. Almost immediately, Kyouko was forced to make her way back down to the ground; the buildings had come to an unexpected stop.
She waited a few moments for Homura to gain some distance in front of her before following. Luckily, darkness had fallen unusually fast. While strange, it was useful for ensuring that the other girl would not see her.
It was a park.
Perhaps that was anticlimactic, but Kyouko didn’t mind. The scenery was admittedly rather nice, though she never remembered hearing about this place. Even Sayaka didn’t mention it back when she was determined to show Kyouko all that the town had to offer.
Suddenly snapping out of her thoughts, she realized that she had lost Homura. Silently cursing, Kyouko decided to continue through the park. Maybe she could still figure out what made Homura tick if she looked around a bit.
Whistling softly, Kyouko walked through the park with her hands in her pockets. It’s not like she had anywhere particularly important to be.
She finally stops when she ends up on the edge of a cliff. It seemed like an odd location for a landmark like that, but Mitakihara had always had the most confusing structures.
She bends down to pick one of the pink flowers that littered the field before another voice suddenly spoke up.
“Don’t touch them.”
Kyouko shot up; her eyes widening.
Homura Akemi was standing in front of her. She had an eyebrow raised, and certainly looked less than impressed but not at all surprised to see Kyouko.
Unlike Kyouko herself—who was left wondering how Homura had suddenly appeared without making a sound. She tried not to gulp, and instead plastered on a fake grin.
“Oh, you’re sight-seeing too, Homerun?” Kyouko internally winced at the nickname that slipped out. There was no point in making her even more mad. “What a coincidence.”
Homura scowled, “I wouldn’t call you stalking me since school ended a coincidence, but if you’re going to do that, at least don’t ruin the garden.”
Is that where they were?
Kyouko was too afraid to ask; instead she peered down at the flowers, before blinking in confusion
Why were the flowers now red?
Homura seemed almost amused at her reaction. “They’re red spider lilies. Rather nice, aren’t they?” She walked further towards the cliff, before sitting right at the precipice. She looked back at Kyouko, her head tilted with an unspoken question
Kyouko bit her lip, but she doubted that saying no would be an acceptable answer. Here’s to hoping that she doesn’t end up pushed off of a cliff. Sayaka would kill her.
Wordlessly, she settled down beside Homura.
“You followed me all the way out here without permission, so I think you owe me something.” Homura said to Kyouko. “Don’t worry, it’s only a question.”
Kyouko kicked her feet in thought; that seemed fair enough, and she’s not sure how much of a choice that she really had.
Homura hummed quietly for a moment before turning back to Kyouko. “What would you do to save the only world where everyone you care about could be happy?”
Kyouko was silent for a minute, even if she already knew her answer. She finally glanced at Homura, a bitter smile on her face, “You got to focus on the one thing that matters the most to you, and protect it to the end.”
The whole moment felt oddly familiar to Kyouko, and the brief look on Homura’s face made her feel like she was not alone in that thought.
Homura sighed, and for one single instance, she seemed more like a tired kid than anything else.
“Kyouko, there’s something that I have to tell you.”
It was late by the time she finally got home.
That was made obvious by Sayaka’s reaction.
First, a tight hug before she could even fully step through the doorway. Then Sayaka’s eyes narrowed, and Kyouko will probably be nursing her bruised shoulder for a bit.
Kyouko just grinned softly through the whole thing, her expression only dropping when Sayaka angrily asked where the hell she was.
She nibbled on the pocky that she nabbed from their kitchen. “I was with…”
A desperate girl.
Someone who needs help.
“I was with a friend.”
Sayaka looked a second away from arguing, but Kyouko quickly finished off her pocky before leaning across the kitchen table.
Her hands were lightly pressing down on Sayaka’s, only speaking when the other girl had calmed down slightly, “Hey, Sayaka, you know you’re not alone. Not ever.”
Not ever again.
“What are you talking about?” Sayaka’s eyes had widened, and she’s quickly tapping her fingers on the wooden surface. An old nervous quirk that she never grew out of.
“Just felt like it.”
None of them would have to be alone anymore.
After all, Kyouko knew how horrible that was.
She just hoped that Sayaka would forgive her.
“Hey God, if you’re there, my life sucked. Please, just once, let me have a happy dream.”