May 18, 2021 3:01 AM
a genie offers wishes without a contract
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Homura clings to Madoka and sobs.

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This seems like an appropriate time to be silent.

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"We don't have long," Madoka says gently. "Homura. You have a choice. You can come with me, as every magical girl does when it is time for her to lay down her burdens and ascend. Or, you could lend me your new friend for a moment, and stay by my side on earth. Hello, Nican. Don't worry. I already know what she's going to say."

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He doesn't say anything. He's terrified. A god, here and now, the same thing that started all of this- He should have sabotaged the connection, somehow. He should have-

It doesn't matter now. The ring glimmers slightly in timid, frightened acknowledgment.

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It takes Homura a moment to process the question. To process the implication. Madoka has created an afterlife, for magical girls? All this time, and all she had to do to see Madoka again was die?

Homura mentally shakes herself. That would've been monstrously selfish. As would going with Madoka now, abandoning the earth, abandoning the man who enabled this moment, this opportunity.

"Stay with me." She unhugs just enough to place the hand with Nican on it into Madoka's hand.

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"Of course."

Madoka touches Nican. "I wish to synchronize the akashic record of the intratemporal existence known as Madoka Kaname henseforth by this moment in this timestream."

The wish is more than words, it is the entire structure of magic presented as a fait acompli. An intricate and yet stunningly simple causal tie between the causality of a sentient's subjective experience and the causality of this ground reality, lining the two up in parallel such that they advance in step. All of the work is already done for him. All he has to do is instantiate it.

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Well-

Madoka is not the current bearer. Homura is. But it's clear enough that Homura wants what Madoka wants to do. The presence of a god overwhelms the strictest objections of his curse.

He channels the god's wish into reality.

"Two out of three," he says lightly. Faintly.

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Madoka smiles.

"Thank you, Nican. This is going to change everything. I'm so grateful. I have something for you."

Madoka gestures behind her, and a pair of girls emerge from the eldritch doily, carrying a glass coffin. Inside the coffin is the body of a man. A face that Nican might still recognize as his own. Carrying the coffin is a certain blue-haired girl who gives Homura a wink.

They set the coffin down and take the lid off, before chasing each other back into the eldritch doily with a laugh. The eldritch doily collapses in on itself, restoring normal euclidian geometry to the surrounding space.

Madoka takes a moment to enjoy being back in the world.

"I have a suggestion, for how you might like to use wish number three," she says, gesturing at the body.

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"...Honestly? I've grown to like granting wishes. Just not the part where I'm forced to, and can't control where I go. But here and now, the one who did this to me... So far away, his craft stiff and inflexible. I've come to feel out all its limits and dimensions. I think... If you'll allow it..."

He holds out a complicated, multi-layered concept in prayer: The shape of his curse, inferred from experience but unable to be touched from the inside. The mighty reality-altering rush of a wish, with a bare smidgen of divine power applied at just the right angle - snapping the bones of the curse in such a way that it is still technically there but no longer limiting except that he must grant others' wishes, not his own. He would give up much of his power, but inhabit that new form, and get to choose his bearers, and choose whether to grant their wishes.

Also in the prayer, not entirely intentionally- Desperate hope and the yawning, breathless excited fear that comes with being on a precipice. Wondering whether he dares ask for this and immediately answering himself that - Yes he does. After all, it's freedom he wants. It's the ability to make choices. So he is making this choice, to ask for slightly more.

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Madoka smiles affectionately, and like she already knew that's what he'd want.

"I think you deserve better, Nican."

She shares an expanded concept: the structure of the bond between soul gem and body, modified to be compatible with his current magic. She shows him the paths, the shape of magic that would allow him to keep all of his current powers while also living as a human, to subvert the curse and gain control of the mechanisms that currently act against his will. Using his magic will mostly still be in the form of granting wishes, as he outlined, but the connection to the body will be inside that, more fundamental, allowing him to use his power on his body without wishes being necessary.

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"Ah..."

Can a ring smile? The swirling twinkle inside it seems to indicate one, at least.

"So mote it be."

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Once again magic stretches up and out, and down and in-

And he sits up inside the coffin, blinking rapidly in wonderment at how he has hands.

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Homura is smiling. A rare sight, but one that will probably be a lot more common in the future.

Homura takes Nican off her finger and hands him wordlessly to his body, before resuming Madoka-cling.

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He puts... Himself... On his left index finger.

 

"I- Thank you. I can't say this is what I was expecting today."

He lets out a long breath, too long to even properly be a sigh.

"Even my glibness and sarcasm is offline. I'm... Not sure what to do next."

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"I'm not either, to be honest."

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"I think you should introduce him to Mami," Madoka suggest lightly. "After that, would you like to go on a date with me, Homura?"

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Homura nuzzles her goddess. "Always."

She turns to Nican. "Mami is a friend and ally. She would adore the chance to give a friendly stranger a tour of the city."

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"Very well. I would be honored to meet your friend." He stands, and bows with a flourish.

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As predicted, Mami is delighted to have a guest. They go out for ice cream.

Madoka takes Homura on a date, the first of many, and makes love to her even more often.

The girl is in love, and takes Homura home to meet her family, 'reminding' them that, in another life, they had a daughter. To everyone's surprise but Homura's, Madoka's little brother doesn't need to be reminded because he already remembers her.  Eventually, she and Homura get married formally, in a grand spectacle that the happy couple ignores entirely. The girl is happy. 

The goddess is free. The goddess is everywhere. The goddess and her multitudes of angels, the many former magical girls who wish to return to the world in her name, reveal themselves to the world. The Incubators are expelled from the earth, their technology stolen and reverse engineered. The goddess gives the world everything it needs to be a paradise. Humanity is immortal. Humanity is free. Humanity spreads out among the stars.

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Homura has everything she ever wanted.

When they've been together so long they've stopped counting the years, Homura briefly dies. Being an angel is better, after all. It changes very little about their lives together, but there is always one thing that will forever remain true: when Madoka has need of her, Homura will always be the instrument of her will. And, wherever Homura goes, Madoka can always reach.

Their reality is saved. Now it's time to help the rest.

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The genie that made it possible takes a few years' vacation. He's restless and anxious and a bit maladjusted at first, though Mami is a good host. He doesn't really have a feel for what life with a body, without constantly either waiting to grant wishes or being made to do so, is like, but he slowly starts to feel more normal. Eventually, he starts wandering the world, granting medium-size wishes at whim. Everything is okay here, now, thanks to Homura, so he doesn't need to feel any urgency about it-

-Except for all the other worlds. He came from a different one. He can go there too. So he does, walking the road eternal, and helps as best he can along the way.

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