A/N: I apologize in advance for any ooc-ness (especially Add). This is my first time writing a one shot (and Add) ^w^; Hope you enjoy regardless!
He first met her in the void.
Add had miscalculated, made a mistake; one of his inventions gone wrong. He had heard of the void of course, and while it was fascinating, it wasn't his true goal.
So imagine his surprise when he found a raven-haired girl with a pair of red glasses sitting on her face.
"W-where am I…?" she whispered. Her head jerked up and their eyes connected. "Who- who are you?! I-I will fight, you know!"
Inwardly he sighed. Pathetic. She obviously didn't know the first thing about… anything, really. Cowardly, weak, scared, timid.
Just like I was…
He shoved the thought away. "Relax. I won't hurt you." The words surprised him, but, well, she was cute enough. Maybe he'd spare her.
The girl instantly relaxed her guard, though she still kept wary eyes on him. "Then… where am I?"
"The void," he answered, quick and easy. "It's where you end up when you try to mess with the space-time continuum sometimes." Now that he thought of it… "What are you doing here?" His eyes narrowed.
The girl flinched and took a miniscule step back. "I-I…"
She can't possibly be this weak, he snarled. She managed to end up here, after all. Yes, the void is where you end up when you screw up your calculations on space-time, but it's still a different place, almost nonexistent from the normal flow of space-time. While you may not have the intention of getting here, the fact remains that in order to get here, you must intentionally have the power to…!
"I MADE A WISH!" The voice nearly made him jump. The girl huffed for breath and clenched her heart. "I… I wished to go back… to redo my meeting with her… so…. Why am I here?" Her eyes slowly dilated, face going slack. "I'm supposed to be back with her… so why…?!"
Add full-out glared at her. "Wishes aren't real."
The girl instantly straightened up and met his gaze head on. "They are," she growled, teeth gritted. "They. Are."
Curious. He never knew the girl could be so determined. And while he hated losing… "...Explain."
And she did. He could feel his eyebrows climb up, but- just this once- he tried as hard as he could to keep the expression from his face. He was the superior one. It wouldn't do to have this girl see him so surprised.
It was quite the tale though. Of wishes and 'magical girls' and this creature called Kyubey. Not to mention Witches, Grief seeds, and the constant fight for survival. He idly wondered if he could experiment on them, then banished the thought.
Because that was when she had gotten to Walpurgisnacht.
He whistled under his breath. "That's quite the monster you're describing there," he muttered. At some point, they had sat down. "Anything else?"
The girl looked away and hugged her knees to her chest. "...No."
His eyes narrowed but he didn't pursue; he got the information he wanted anyway. "So why did you use your precious wish?"
The girl shrunk back and glanced at him. "...For her. Madoka."
"From your story I'm guessing she's a magical girl."
She nodded. "She was… one of the first magical girls I met, and my first friend."
"You used your wish on just a friend?" He knew exactly what he would wish for, if he was ever given the chance. "Why would you waste your wish on something as insignificant as that?"
"SHE'S NOT INSIGNIFICANT!" she screeched, bolting up and outright glaring at him. He felt a prickle of annoyance, but mostly surprise. This was the first time she had shown so much daring, so much… anger. "She's…"
"Everything to you, right?" his voice echoed, then stopped. He definitely didn't mean to say that. Unease poked at him, but he shrugged it off. "If she were to die, you yourself would be insignificant."
The girl stared at him, her face going blank save for the wide eyes. "How…?"
Add shrugged and stood. "Well, I'd better get going now." He flashed her a manic grin. "Research to do, Nasods to find. Besides, you said that the wishes are always fulfilled without fail? I'm sure you yourself will be heading back to where you belong soon. See ya."
"Wait-!" He never heard the rest, as he turned and vanished.
I know what you are thinking, because I have thought of the exact same thing, once.
( 0 )
The second time he met her was different.
He had obtained the ability to jump through time, and had applied it to his Dynamos. Eager, he had immediately activated the ability…
Only to find himself back in the void.
So it's not perfect, is it? he mused to himself, angrily, bitterly. Irritation clawed at his mind, and when he turned and found the raven-haired girl on her hands and knees, that irritation spiked.
So he walked over and kicked her.
"Get up," he snapped. The girl tilted her head up, and he was struck by just how haunted those eyes looked.
"Why?" she whispered. "Why should I?"
"You're back here, aren't you?" he stated, his brain connecting the dots faster than his consciousness could keep up. "You're back here, which means you're trying again. You're rewinding time."
"Magical girls turn into Witches."
He stopped and eyed her.
"Magical girls turn into Witches… Magical girls turn into Witches… Magical girls turn into Wi-"
The girl stopped and stared, shock finally penetrating her gaze.
Add sighed and sat down. Why oh why was he indulging her? Oh well, at least it was something he could do.
(He pointedly ignored the fact that he could leave the void at any time.)
"You said that… magical girls…" saying it felt stupid, "turn into Witches?"
The girl nodded.
"But you're not a Witch yet, are you?"
She nodded again, slower.
"Then you can try again. Go back in time. Learn the attack patterns of your enemies… and crush them." A psychotic grin spread across his face. The girl inched back and chuckled nervously.
"Y-yeah…" She then smiled. "Thank you."
Add resisted the urge to lean back and instead turned his face away. "Don't," he said gruffly.
The girl blinked and looked at him curiously. "By the way, what's your name? I never got the chance to ask last time."
Edward Grenore, a traitorous voice of his mind whispered. He ignored it. "Add."
"I'm Homura Akemi. I really like your name, Add." She paused and looked at herself. "I-I think it's about time now. Will I see you here next time?" Hopeful eyes turned toward him.
Add scowled and purposefully avoided eye contact. "Maybe," he said. "We'll see."
It was only until after she vanished, that he realized that her smile was one of the prettiest things he'd ever seen.
( 0 )
The third time they met, she was different.
Add didn't quite know what kept him coming back to the void. But, for some reason, her face- her smile- would keep flitting back to him as he worked. He was slowly, ever so slowly, losing hope that he would ever reach his goal, reach her. His reasoning for (this time) purposefully coming back the void? He wanted another time traveler's perspective, and maybe analyze how she actually travels back in time.
Only to find that the girl had changed.
The braids and the glasses were still there. But, instead of accentuating her cuteness, they seemed to hamper her. Her face was turned to the ground, and when she looked up, dull, hollow eyes met him instead. But there was a sharpness to them, a single-minded focus, a polished quality; like a hardened amethyst drained of its color.
"Get rid of the glasses and the braids," he said. Homura blinked and eyed him strangely.
"Get rid. Of the glasses. And the braids," he repeated. "Before, they fit you. Now, they hamper you."
"Is that so…"
She was more soft-spoken too, he noticed. Her voice had a more… muted tone to it.
"Where were you?" she whispered.
"I said, where were you?" There was desperation coloring her eyes now.
He took it all in stride. "How many times have you been here?"
"This is my third time here," he stated.
Homura clenched her fists. "You told me…"
"I said I might." Why do I keep indulging her? "I never said it was a certainty." He sneered at her. Foolish girl…
For some reason, his heart wasn't in the insults anymore.
"Where were you…" Only now did he realize the fresh tears coating her cheeks. "Where were you… when everything was falling apart… when…!"
Add blinked. "Homura…?"
"I NEEDED YOU!" she snapped. She collapsed on the ground, shuddering arms wrapped around her. "I needed you… to tell me that I wasn't going mad, that I wasn't going insane… that I was right, all along…!"
Add could only stare. This was not the girl that he had first met, that blubbering, shy, cowardly girl with a fully dedicated heart and a determined soul. This was not the second girl he had met either, the lost, helpless, scared girl, faced with the knowledge of her inevitable fate yet still pushing onward. No, this was a completely broken, brittle, even shattered girl, who was now fraying to pieces right in front of him.
"What the hell happened to you?" he whispered, dull shock and horror seeping through his carefully crafted mask. "What the hell happened to you?"
"I-I tried to warn them," she continued to sob. "I tried… I tried… but none of them… none of them would believe me… and then… Sayaka…! She… turned into a Witch…! But… after we beat her… Mami-san-! She-! She killed Kyoko-san and… t-tried gunning me down…! But… Madoka… Madoka…!" She dissolved into screams and sobs, tears pouring down her face.
Add gritted his teeth. For all his knowledge, for all his scientific calculations… he had no idea what to do. No idea what to do but to just stand there and watch her…
He wanted to bring himself to at least do something, so badly… but he just couldn't. Couldn't, until he remembered…
He grabbed onto her shoulder and gripped it firmly. Maybe too firmly, but honestly, he couldn't care less.
She looked up, tears still running down her cheeks, lips quivering and eyes swelling.
"You're still here."
She gave the barest of nods, to show she was listening.
"You're still here."
He waited until a flicker of recognition dawned in her eyes.
"As long as you don't give up, you can try again." He didn't need a mirror to know of the grim expression on his face. "You can try again. As many times as it takes."
Something seemed to shift in her eyes. "...As many times as it takes," she whispered, back to that soft, muted voice of hers. "As many times as it takes." Her voice hardened.
Add smirked and drew back. Looks like you've finally gotten the hint. "By the way, I wanted to ask you something…"
As many times as it takes.
( 0 )
The fourth time around, it was him who as different.
He only noticed after the fact, as he wasn't quite in the right state of mind to comprehend it.
He had finally done it. He managed to gather enough energy to travel back in time four hundred years. But when he arrived, it wasn't what he was expecting.
His family- together- alive and well. And not just his parents. Himself, smiling, laughing, being happy.
Back then, his mind was completely in turmoil at seeing both himself and his mother again. Not to mention his father, so different from the one he had known, almost fading out of his memory.
He immediately fled the scene. If he was to see his mother's face… Grace's face… he wasn't sure if he would be able to hold onto his carefully constructed mask now crashing down around him.
He tried again, of course. He wouldn't be Add if he didn't. Again and again and again. After a while, he realized that he needed to preemptively designate the exact time coordinates in order to get where he wanted. When he wanted. So that he wouldn't end up in that alternate universe again.
At that point, he knew that he was taking shots in the dark.
It would take an astronomical effort to just figure out the coordinates for that one specific timeline, let alone an exact time period on that timeline. One miscalculation could easily mess up the others, even a miniscule mistake could throw him way off.
But he tried again.
As many times as it takes.
Sometimes he wondered, though. About the girl in the void, with colorless amethyst eyes, and now fading red glasses and braids that she had possibly gotten rid of. He wondered what she would look like, because it was almost certain that she would look quite different. He learned, now, that time travel did that to you. What would she look like without braids? Without those glasses? Would she grow bags under her eyes, like he did? Or would those eyes sharpen even further?
He realized he didn't know.
After the forty-fifth time he ended up in that alternate universe (he counted), he made a miscalculation in his jump back and ended up in the void.
Only to meet Homura's startled gaze on her.
He wanted to cry.
"Add? Is that you?"
She looked so different.
"It's… really you? Add?"
"Stop it…" he whispered, clamping his hands over his ears. "Stop it stop it stop it…"
He could feel them now, the drops of water stinging in his eyes and mocking him, laughing at him, telling him that everything was a waste, everything was useless, all of his work was FUCKING USELESS…
"Add, what's wrong?!"
She sounds so much like Grace, she sounds so much like Mom…!
"What was it that I had been fighting for?" he spat. Why… Why…? "No matter how many times I try…" Why is it that I have to be tormented by that stupid timeline…! "I'LL RIP THIS WORLD TO SHREDS!"
"Stop it!" Homura screamed, pupils shrunken, true terror in her eyes.
He slapped her away. "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!" he roared. "NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I TRY, I ALWAYS FIND MYSELF IN THE SAME FUCKING TIMELINE AGAIN AND AGAIN! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW AGONIZING IT IS, TO SEE YOURSELF HAPPY, HAVING A NORMAL CHILDHOOD FOR ONCE?! WHEN ALL YOU'VE EVER KNOWN WAS PAIN AND SUFFERING?! AND HER! TO SEE HER ALIVE AGAIN, THE ONE PERSON WHO SHOWED EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF MERCY, THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF CARING TO YOU?! THE ONE WHO TRIED TO SAVE YOUR LIFE, THE ONE WHO'S SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD, NOW ALIVE AGAIN?! THE ONE WHO YOU WERE TRYING TO SAVE ALL THIS TIME?!" He took a breath and balled his hands into fists. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW UNFAIR THIS IS?!"
His eyes widened with shock as he pressed a hand to his stinging cheek.
"Of course I know how unfair it is!" she yelled. She took a deep breath and glared. He could feel those eyes bore into him, staring straight into his soul. "I know exactly how unfair it is," she hissed, coldly, dangerously. "We may not have the exact same circumstances, but we are both still time travelers, and it will do you well to not forget that." Rage glimmered in her eyes, fragments of emotions glittering in the dark. "I know just how painful it is. And while I may not know everything about you, you do not know everything about me." She stepped back and flipped her hair. "After all, you have no idea just how much it hurts to kill your very best friend." She stood and turned. "And if you ever end up destroying the world…" Her eyes locked with his own, and he nearly flinched at its intensity. "I will find you, and I will kill you, mark my words."
She stalked off, leaving Add behind. Soon enough, he could only feel his own presence in the void.
I don't care what she thinks, Add growled, trying to ignore the feeling clawing at his heart. I don't care, I don't care… So why…
Why does it hurt so much?
He pressed a hand to his face. Dampness. He cursed and hastily wiped his tears away.
Her voice was so cold…
He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his forehead against his knee.
Her eyes were so cold…
He clenched his fist and slammed it all the ground.
Her eyes were so fearful…
"Why do I care?!" he yelled, hating the way that his own voice cracked. But he knew, he already knew. He had just denied it, all this time.
Despite the two of them meeting a grand total of four times, he had felt a connection with her, a bond.
And the feeling now rising within him was guilt.
( 0 )
The fifth time they met was completely on accident.
He had contemplated destroying the world in a rampage, disrupting the space-time continuum and throwing the balance to mayhem. Oh, he contemplated it so many times. It would have been all too easy for him, for someone of his caliber. But, every time he nearly decided, he would hear her voice, her final words.
"If you ever end up destroying the world, I will find you, and I will kill you, mark my words."
Oh, he knew that they were from different worlds. It was the only explanation, really. She had never heard of Nasods, while he had never even seen a hint of these 'magical girls' and Witches in his own. Not to mention the fact that 'Mitakihara' didn't exist in his, and vice versa with some of the cities he'd asked her about.
The very fact that they were able to meet in the void in the first place was practically impossible. The odds of two people meeting in the void were low in the first place, but two people from different worlds? It was downright improbable. And yet, for some reason, they kept meeting.
So when he visited the void on a whim, the crushing disappointment he felt when there was no one there affected him more than he realized.
Some time later, he met up with the El Search Party, and- to his delight- the Queen of Nasods, Eve herself.
There was still a strange emptiness though, for some reason.
(He constantly denied the fact that he kept drifting into his thoughts).
He could tell the magician, Aisha, felt uncomfortable with his constant staring at Eve. Elsword, the leader and the knight, was quite defensive, a bit bratty, and a tad commanding as well. Rena… Rena, he avoided. Raven was stoic and calm, with an impressive Nasod arm that he wanted to dissect. Elesis, the famed Red Haired Knight, was a lot milder compared to her idiot brother Elsword, although she was probably a bit more commanding than him (as expected). Chung, the 'Guardian of Hamel' apparently, was shy and soft-spoken, yet determined and tenacious. A bit argumentative as well. He tended to avoid him.
The group was heading towards the Halls of Water to defeat some demon general called Ran, and to save some Water Priestess or something. Honestly, he didn't care much. The demons were a bother, being mediocrely strong and being squished to a pulp by him and the others.
It was Ran who accidentally sent him to the void. An attack was heading his way, heading towards his chest, and he knew, without a doubt, that he would die if he was hit.
So he warped.
Only, he forgot to account for the demonic energy that would have surely added power to his leap, and he ended up in the void.
Homura was there, knees drawn and head down.
Something in his heart died at just how lonely she looked.
He wanted to say something, but his voice caught in his throat. At best, he could only take a step forward.
But apparently, that was all he needed.
"Add." Her voice was blank, flat. He couldn't tell what she was feeling at all. He looked away.
"Hey." The adrenaline of the battle pumped through his veins, a steady drum pounding in his head. His body was still tense, as if it expected an attack to fly at him from nowhere.
"Why are you here?" she whispered, so small that he had to strain to hear it.
"Miscalculated." He paused. "Again." It really was starting to grate on his nerves. "Failure is-"
"-annoying," Homura finished. The two locked eyes for the first time. "Good to see you back."
"You're not mad?"
"...A little," she muttered ruefully. "But… you're still the one who helped me, all those loops ago. I guess… I was shocked," she admitted. "Seeing you like that. Back then, that was around maybe ten or fifteen loops. To see you like that, after everything that I had seen… I was scared."
"Sorry," she whispered. "I was supposed to help you, and I only hurt you."
Add shook his head. "No, I'm sorry," he said, a little surprised at how easily the words flowed. "I shouldn't have said those things in front of you… You were right. We're both time travelers. We should be able to understand some level of the other's pain. Besides, you did help me." A small smirk grew on his face. "You didn't have to hunt me down and kill me, now did you? Elrios is still mostly intact."
Homura chuckled and shook her head. "You crazy bastard, you."
It was only then he realized that he had almost never seen her smile, and that she was still breathtakingly beautiful.
Gone was the timid cuteness of that girl, leaving an elegant, graceful beauty in her place. Without the glasses, he could clearly see the eyes sharpened like flint, as well as the growing despair etched on her face. Untangled from the braids, her hair flowed down like corrupt silk, blackened with grief.
"I knew you'd look better without the glasses and braids."
A sharp intake of breath. "You only realized that now?"
Another crazed smile spread across his face. "What can I say? I'm a crazy guy."
"More like insane," Homura huffed and shook her head. "Add…" Her gaze turned serious as she got up and walked towards him. "There's something you have to promise me."
The smile fell off his face as he looked at her.
"Promise me… that no matter what, you will not give in to despair." She gripped his wrists. "Promise me, that no matter what, you will hold onto hope, and never give in. Promise me, as many times as it takes." The grip tightened. "Promise me. Do you understand?"
Add clenched her wrists in turn and hardened his eyes. "I promise. As many times as it takes."
I will not give up.
( 0 )
While he didn't know it, the next time they met would also be their last.
They had met a couple times before. Homura had finally shared some of her experiences with him, some of the pain that she had to face while looping through time. Add, in turn, had told her of his own mission to save his mother, and the excruciating pain of his failures. Each and every time they met, they would leave with a promise.
As many times as it takes.
He had gotten to know the new Homura a bit better- quite well, in fact. He could confidently say that he was the only one who knew Homura as well as he did, which was a given, really. She was bound to change after so many traumatic experiences. He also believed that Homura was the only one who knew him as well as she did. After all, he never told anyone about his mission to save his mother.
So when he went to the void to meet up with Homura, that sinking feeling at the back of his head was worrying.
"Add," the ravenette greeted.
He flashed her a manic grin. "Yo." He slid in next to her. "How's life?"
She shot him a bemused glance. "I'm back here, aren't I?" She sighed. "In all seriousness, I feel like this was the worst failure yet."
He raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
"...At the very last moment, while I was battling Walpurgisnacht, she made a wish. She was able to defeat it in one shot, but…"
"...She instantly turned into a witch and was going to destroy the world in ten days," she sighed. "The Incubators refused to help, saying that they'd more than fulfilled their quota and that it was humanity's problem now."
"Jerks," he scoffed. Then again… I probably would have done the same thing.
Homura rolled her eyes. "Like you wouldn't have done the same thing."
"Ahh, ignorance is bliss, or so they say," he chuckled. That feeling in the back of his mind only got stronger as they continued, and while he refused to show it outwardly, it was starting to worry him.
Homura's gaze darkened as she turned away. "How are you holding up so far?"
"I could ask the same of you." He paused and frowned. "Twenty-seven failures since the last time we met. I think I might be reaching breaking point soon. As for the journey… We've reached Lanox and traveled to the Volcanic Flame Entrance, but we were betrayed by the Fire El Priestess Ignia and were forced to turn back."
Homura clucked her tongue. "Didn't expect that to happen."
Add turned his head towards her. "How many loops has it been?"
"You know I lost count a long time ago," she sighed. "I'm pretty sure I've memorized the happenings of the first week of the month, up to Mami's death."
"What's your strategy?"
"Same as usual. You know they've broken my trust too many times for me to confide in them, ever."
Add sighed. "Well, I guess all I can say is good luck."
She nodded and glanced at her soul gem. "Looks like it's time for me to go back," she said, seeing it flash.
"Wait." Before he knew it, before he could even comprehend it, his arms were tightening around her and he had planted a kiss on her cheek.
The girl froze, her eyes widening and muscles going limp. Add drew away and- though his face was starting to heat up and his heart began to throb in his chest- tried to play it cool.
"...A kiss for good luck," he said nervously, avoiding her gaze and refusing to let the corners of his mouth turn up. "I thought, maybe, it might help."
Homura blinked a couple times before allowing a small, hesitant smile. "...Alright then. Thank you." Before long, she disappeared.
Add allowed himself to show a softer, more melancholic smile. He really had grown attached to her, far too attached. He had watched her go from a quiet, nerve-wracked girl to a determined, composed warrior, all in the span of a couple of meetings. And yet, despite everything, she still managed to show him that heart-melting smile of hers and give him the power to keep going.
His smile dropped into a frown. That feeling kept nagging at him, filling his bones with an almost urgent energy. That feeling was the real reason why he had done what he did, before Homura left. It's completely illogical, it just doesn't make any sense, but for some reason, I keep having this strange feeling that I won't meet her after this…
He never saw her in the void again.
A/N: ...I kind of ship them now.
In the future, I might add another chappie in Homura's POV and I've got plans for an epilogue, so don't think that there won't be anything more to this (although, I guess that's the definition of one-shot?)!
At any rate, first one-shot done! It probably needs a whole lot of polish, but I'm proud of it! Tell me what you think in the reviews please! Was it good? Was it bad? (and point out any moments of major oocness hahaha... (cough Add cough))