Crossposted to ArchiveOfOurOwn.

AO3 tags that aren't already in the summary/etc.: Mutually Fictional, (sort of), Anime Is Real, Video Game Mechanics, Soft Chara, Confused Alphys, Sufficiently Omniscient Madokami, 'sufficiently' a word which here means 'enough to be able to do advanced mathematics', References to Undertale Genocide Route, homura and sans are both broken in pretty much some of the exact same ways

This will update sporadically, if at all. I am not good with schedules.

[ALL CAPITALS IN SQUARE BRACKETS] - W. D. Gaster speaking
Italics - normal thoughts
{In curly brackets} - telepathy
Bold - video game text, etc.


/人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\


Consciousness returned to Homura slowly, dripping into her mind like meltwater from ice. As she righted herself, she glanced up at the hole in the sky, surrounded by ancient-seeming pillars, and remembered - she had been tracking a nest of wraiths, up a mountain nearby Mitakihara, hadn't she? Yes - but then it had begun to rain, and she had ducked into a nearby cave for a moment. (Why?)

Unfortunately, the cave had been entirely in shadow, and so she hadn't seen the hole until it was too late.

Well, that was easily fixed. Homura focused for a moment, summoning first her Puella Magi outfit, then her wings. With a jump and a flutter of luminous feathers, she was airborne, heading for the pinprick of sky up above -

Bam. Her face slammed into an invisible ceiling. It seemed that that would not be a viable way out.

She carefully glided back down, not wanting to injure her body more than she already had, dismissed her wings, and set to work healing her face. The process was both sluggish and magic-intensive, given that she wasn't a natural healing mage (best not to think about Miki, now, Miki who was in a better place), so she did only the bare minimum. Bloody noses were not conducive to anything resembling efficiency.

Her Soul Gem was about a third darkened; she would need to recharge soon, but not yet. She checked in her inventory, and found eight cubes - more than enough, for now.

Homura stood once more, and saw a path leading out of the small cavern, towards a door elegantly carved from the surrounding stone.

Perhaps it led to a way back up.


Let me stop for a moment to clarify something about Puellae Magi.

In the anime, Homura Akemi is seen using her shield as a storage space, with a large enough volume to hold several timelines' worth of military weaponry. Most authors write this as an inherent property of the shield; however, for purposes of this fic, I have decided that Puellae Magi in general all have inventories of varying size, vaguely related to their magical potential (with a not insignificant margin of error), and more strongly related to their wish, if said wish might conceivably have an effect.

Where else would Mami have gotten that teacup in Episode 2, after all? I doubt it came from Gertrud's barrier, or that Mami would have sipped from it if it had.

Size of Homura's inventory post-Madoka: About the size of a very small room. Let's say 3.476 cubic feet. (This is above average.)

Size of Homura's inventory pre-Madoka: Big. (I'm not specifying this because I am lazy and have no idea how much she was seen to have in there over the course of the entire anime.)


In the next room, there was a flower. With a face.

Homura stared at the flower, which grinned back.

"Howdy!" it chirped cheerfully, in an all-too-saccharine voice, and Homura barely restrained herself from summoning her bow and shooting it right then and there. "I'm Flowey. Flowey the flower!"

"...," Homura boggled, thanking her past self for taking the time to become fluent in English. The flower was pinging her magic sense, as were several more entities past it; however, they didn't register as either wraiths or witches. Their signatures lacked a lot of the despair that characterized both.

"Hmm," the flower - Flowey - continued, "you're new to the Underground, aren'tcha? Golly, you must be so confused. Someone ought to teach you how things work around here!"

Homura was indeed quite confused, but she had no intention of showing it.

"I guess little old me will have to do. Ready?" Flowey didn't wait for a response. "Here we go—"

The surroundings rapidly darkened, and a sudden force pulled Homura's gem from her hand and to her chest before she could resist.

Homura LV 1 HP 80/80 MP 19401/27796

Since when had reality been a video game?

"See that heart? That is your soul, the very culmination of your being!"

Homura looked down, and yes, her gem had in fact reshaped itself into a stylized heart, floating in front of her. Strangely, the majority of it was colored a bright red; the only place she could see her distinctive purple was at the very edges. She belatedly realized that, despite not having her wings out, she was floating along with it. Odd. Glancing suspiciously at the flower, which seemed to have allowed her time to acclimate herself, she discovered that the principles of movement were similar to those of her wings - if she willed motion, her soul would move, and she would move along with it.

"Your soul starts off weak," Flowey went on, apparently deciding that she had had enough time, "but can grow strong if you gain LV! What's LV stand for?"

If it truly was a video game, then it probably stood for 'level'.

"Why, LOVE, of course!"

That made no sense. The word 'love' was already short enough, why would it need to be shortened more? 'Flowey' had suddenly upgraded from 'suspicious' to very suspicious.

"You want some LOVE, don't you? Don't worry, I'll share some with you!" The flower winked, and an honest-to-god anime sparkle drifted away from its head.

What.

"Down here," Flowey exposited, several very deadly-looking magical manifestations spawning around its body, "LOVE is shared through... little white..." Its eyes shifted to the left for a split second, and Homura tensed, recognizing the obvious sign of a lie. "...'friendliness pellets'."

Enough was enough. "No, thank you."

"Are you rea—" Flowey paused in the middle of its sentence, looking taken aback. "...wait, what?"

"You have given me no reason to trust you," Homura stated plainly.

The flower was speechless for a moment. A demonic grin slowly spread on its face. "You know what's going on here? I'm surprised. You're less of an idiot than I thought."

A sphere of bullets appeared around Homura.

"Too bad for you!" Flowey crowed. "In this world, it's kill or be killed."

The bullets began to close in on her.

"Die."

There was no visible escape. The projectiles were too close together.

Was this really how she would meet her end?

Even though she had survived hundreds of Walpurgisnachts, that meant nothing when certain death couldn't be averted with a thought and a twist of her shield.

Homura had hoped for despair. Then, at least...

Madoka... I'm sorry.

A glowing fireball smashed into Flowey, knocking it screeching to the side. The bullets it had summoned disappeared, and Homura's soul returned to its place on her hand.

"What a terrible creature, torturing such a poor, innocent youth..."


Four figures watched from within a place that could not by its very nature be within the universe.

The first was a skeletal man with holes in his hands and cracks in his face, wearing a black cloak. This was Dr. W. D. Gaster.

The second was a child with a determined expression, outlined in a dark red. This was Frisk.

The third was a girl in a pink dress, holding a bow. This was Madoka Kaname.

The fourth figure, outlined in a red that was almost pinkish, was another child, standing apart from the others. Their wrists were manacled, and their face seemed to be in conflict between guilt, resentment, fear, and LOVEly malice. They were rubbing their handcuffs as if to make sure they were still there. This was Chara Dreemurr.

"It's going well so far," Madoka mused. "I'm worried for Homura-chan, though... I know you've done the calculations, Dr. Gaster, I checked them myself and they seem right as far as I can tell, but I still can't help wondering - what if something goes wrong? What if she can't use the SAVE points, or there's complications with the spatiotemporal graft, or... I know, it's silly, but so much depends on her taking a nonviolent path, and Homura... she... wasn't the most nonviolent person, either."

[THERE IS NOT MUCH I CAN DO TO SOOTHE YOUR MIND,] signed Gaster, [OTHER THAN TO REMIND YOU THAT NO SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IS UNIQUE, AND THAT THIS UNIVERSE IS MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED BY ITS VERY NATURE OF INTERACTION.]

As he spoke, Frisk reached up to give Madoka's shoulder a reassuring pat.

"That does actually help, a little..."

Chara turned away, and said nothing. They were not smiling.


/人◕ ‿‿ ◕人\


Reviews are appreciated - even negative ones, provided they tell me what they specifically disliked.

Again, this will update sporadically, if at all, because I'm not good with schedules.