STARS ABOVE: Chapter 19
CHAPTER 19: I Think Have an Answer
Hiiragi Household, Takanomiya
"Do you understand now?" said Homura softly when she had finished.
Kagami sat in stunned silence. She had listened first with interest, then with horror, then in tears as Homura Akemi told the story. That story was unlike anything she could have imagined, more beautiful and terrible and sad than she had the words to express. Did she understand? It was difficult if not impossible to answer. "I…" She swallowed heavily. Could she ever fully understand the black-haired girl sitting across the table, understand her sorrows, her guilt, her grief? Could she ever comprehend the depth of the friendship Homura had fought to protect, and the one selfless wish that had saved her and countless others from dying in despair? A full and perfect sacrifice for the whole world. The phrase floated through her mind; she had heard it many times before, at the Christian church where she and Tsuk
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 18STARS ABOVE: Chapter 183 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 18: So Now What?
Somewhere Near the Hiiragi Household, Takanomiya
"C'mon, can't you do it just once?"
"But you've got to, I've been waiting for something like this my whole life! It's easy, just watch me." Konata waved her arms, posing as elaborately as she could without aggravating her injured hand. "'For love and justice, the sailor-suited pretty soldier, Sailor-'"
Kagami glared over her shoulder. "If you don't quit pestering her, I'm dropping you." She jostled the smaller girl she was carrying on her back, just to emphasize the point. As she did so, her bokken bumped against her leg again. She was wearing it on hip, having shoved it through a makeshift belt made of the torn remnants of Konata's red robes. There was now a mark forming on her lower thigh from where the wooden blade kept hitting her; she would have a bruise in the morning. "You hear me? This is a privilege
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 1STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 12 years ago in Drama More Like This
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY
By BHS and Forzare
"You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know, dear
How much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away"
- Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, 1940
PART ONE: DENIAL
Oriko Mikuni felt her coming long before she laid eyes on her. Such was her gift: precognitive visions that could give her brief glimpses of the future. Sometimes those visions were a boon, able to warn against danger and save lives before trouble arose... those were the times she was thankful for her power. And other times, they were a curse… she would feel bad news, churning like acid inside her, before anyone had a chance to deliver it. In those instances, though she remained serene and unflappable on the surface, i
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 11STARS ABOVE: Chapter 113 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 11: When to Let Go
The Fourth's Lair, Kasukabe
Desideria pouted as she ran her hands over the curves of the Puella Magi's frozen body, avoiding the lance sticking through her midsection. The girl was still warm and soft underneath the golden shell, she knew, but she couldn't feel her wonderful warmth without breaking it what a pity. Without that warmth, it would be meaningless to feed on her Heart. Gaspare, however, had no such standards.
"Gaspare?" she cooed to the night without looking back over her shoulder. "You may start now, if you want. She's all yours. I trust you can handle her yourself?"
The Fourth was silent, as always. It nodded its shapeless head in agreement and stepped forward. A few of the gold and silver veins peeled themselves from Gaspare's leaden body. Moving very slowly, like a time-lapsed film of tree roots growing, they spread outward, a dozen of them attaching to the golden shell. The veins began to throb steadily as the feast commenc
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 9STARS ABOVE: Chapter 93 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 9: Make It Go Away
La Beatrice Hotel, Tokyo
Three days before the end
"Fuck," said Kyoko, hanging her head between her knees.
Next to her, Oriko grimaced. "I would not put it exactly that way, but I share the sentiment."
Chances were that everyone else in the hotel did too. The sense of grief pervaded every room, every hall, and every stairwell, as if it were a living being relentlessly seeking them out wherever they went, intent on punishing the Puellae Magi for daring to think that they couldn't possibly fail with so many working towards the same goal. Many of the younger ones were still in shock, while the older ones had become silent and withdrawn. Some were simply angry: at themselves, at the Demons, or at the world in general… It wasn't fair. They had been so close, and then everything had gone to Hell.
At the moment, Kyoko was exhibiting a complicate
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 12STARS ABOVE: Chapter 123 years ago in Romance More Like This
*Author's Note: If you like our work on this story, please be sure to read and review Forzare's original work, NIL, found on FictionPress. He and I both appreciate your feedback. Thanks. - BHS*
CHAPTER 12: I'm Fine
Hiiragi Household, Takanomiya
She was entangled in a snarl of bed sheets with Miyuki, both of them naked as the morning, the air heavy with the scent of summer sweat. She was hot, wet, and sticky and she didn't care, because Miyuki was smiling down at her, those gorgeous purple eyes unhidden by the lenses of her glasses. Tenderly Miyuki reached down and caressed her cheek with her hand, and shiver went up and down Tsukasa's spine like electricity. It was like breathing pure bliss when they were together. She didn't know how on earth she had ever lived without Miyuki's touch, her gentle words, her support. The things Miyuki had shown her, the ways they had connected; it was as if she had been colorbl
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 2STARS ABOVE: Chapter 23 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 2: You Should Stay Away From Me
Homura Akemi was mobbed the moment the next break started. Kagami watched as a crowd gathered around the new girl's desk, all clamoring at once and asking her questions. So much was to be expected… a new student was always an event.
For her part, Akemi seemed to answer even the most inane questions cordially, though she still never changed her expression or raised her voice above a monotone: "Yes," she said, "I moved here from a city called Mitakihara." "I've been homeschooled until recently due to illness." "No, I don't want to join the computer club, thank you."
Kagami waited until the mob had cleared, then stood up and walked over to make her own introduction. She was determined to be friendly, despite still feeling rattled by that cold stare from earlier… "Excuse me, Akemi-san?"
Akemi didn't answer. She merely sat and stared out the window, her face still set like stone.
"I'm Kagami Hiiragi, the class rep," said
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 3STARS ABOVE: Chapter 33 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 3: We Were Too Late
"G'morning, Kagami… wow, you look like hell. What happened?"
That was the middle Hiiragi sister, Matsuri. The oddball of the family in appearance as well as behavior, Matsuri had light brown hair, hazel eyes, a lazy attitude, and an extremely blunt manner. She smirked and leaned back in her chair as Kagami lurched down the stairs, rubbing her eyes.
"Leamme 'lone, Matsuri," she mumbled as she sat down at the table, fighting the urge to nod off again. Much as she hated to admit it, Matsuri was probably right… after the night she'd had, she almost certainly did look terrible.
"You poor thing," said a gentle voice from the kitchen. Miki Hiiragi stepped gracefully over to her daughter and brushed her bangs aside, laying a cool hand on her forehead. "Did you stay up late studying again? I thought I've told you about pushing yourself too hard."
"I'll be fine, Mom," she lied. Her heartbeat quickened just slightly at h
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 8STARS ABOVE: Chapter 83 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 8: Be There Soon
"Uwaaa~!" Konata let out a gaping yawn and stretched her arms over her head. "Some weird day, huh?"
"Uh-huh," said Kagami.
"Mmm," said Tsukasa.
They were on the train again, another school day complete. Kagami had insisted that she was well enough to walk home, and surprisingly, Tsukasa hadn't objected. The train ride was unusually quiet save for the usual creaking and clacking; not as many people were travelling today.
"So Minegeshi-san and Kusakabe-san are both okay now, right?" said Konata. "I heard something about a fight between them before they passed out."
"Yeah," said Kagami.
"Uh-huh," said Tsukasa.
Konata's face wrinkled into a rare frown. Neither of the Hiiragis were paying attention. They weren't even looking at her; Kagami was staring out the window and Tsukasa was in some sort of a happy daydream, smiling at nothing in particular. It was time to step her game up.
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 7STARS ABOVE: Chapter 73 years ago in Romance More Like This
Author's Note: This chapter is a bit late due to a very stubborn illness. I apologize for the delay, and I hope it's worth the wait.
CHAPTER 7: Sorry for the Deception
Tokyo Univesity Dorms
"Ossu," said the young woman on the bed. Her nose was buried in a very thick and complicated law textbook, and didn't look to be surfacing any time soon. The book was propped up in front of her on the bed, and soft chewing sounds came from behind it as her mouth worked on a stick of her favorite chocolate pocky. She looked quite different from the girl who attended Ryouou High years ago; taller and fuller-bodied, perhaps a little heavier than she would like, due to a college student's diet. Her pigtails were gone, replaced by a ponytail tied halfway down her back. Lately she had taken to wearing reading glasses… not that she really needed them yet, but with the amount of small-printed text
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 5STARS ABOVE: Chapter 53 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 5: It's Not What It Looks Like
Kagami stared up at Homura, letting that information sink in. Neither of us killed it… you did. It should have had an effect on her, but she only felt numbness… her limbs felt like someone had replaced her muscles with lead. You did. That was impossible... she had been helpless in the grip of those hand creatures, barely even able to struggle, and on top of that she had blacked out after a few seconds. All she had been able to do to the Demon was-
Homura's eyes widened in concern as Kagami inexplicably started to laugh. "Hiiragi-san?"
"Ha ha ha… I'm fine," gasped Kagami, though even laughing was an effort. "Honestly, you should be thanking me. Turns out killing them is easy. You don't even need magic, you just have to hit them with school bags…"
She smiled. "Really, Homura, stop joking around and tell me what happ
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 10STARS ABOVE: Chapter 103 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 10: I Just Can't Stop Myself
Hiiragi household, Takanomiya
"Finished already? Let me see."
"'Kay." Tsukasa slid the paper across the table, then rubbed at her eyes.
Kagami scanned her writing and smiled. "This is really good… you're definitely improving."
"Thanks, onee-chan. Yuki-chan's been helping me a lot…"
"Mmm-hmm. There's just one thing here…" She smirked. "Her name's 'Lenore.'"
"Huh?" Tsukasa blinked and cocked her head.
"It's 'Dreaming of the lost Lenore,'", said Kagami, carefully sounding out the English words. "'Not 'Renoir', that's a French painter."
The younger twin's face slipped into an expression of panic. "B-But… I thought he was missing a valuable painting, like it had been stolen or something, and that was why he was so sad… Uwaaah!" she groaned, grinding her knuckles against her temple, "I'm such an idiot!"
Despite herself, Kagami laughed. "Ca
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 1STARS ABOVE: Chapter 13 years ago in Romance More Like This
By BHS and Forzare
A Lucky Star/Puella Magi Madoka Magica crossover
Note: All characters and settings belong to their respective creators and studios unless otherwise noted. No ownership is implied by the authors. Please don't sue us.
This story takes place at around the same time as the beginning of the Lucky Star anime, at the start of the cast's eleventh-grade year.
So that's them…
Yes, there's no question about it… they're exactly as Nico's information described. You can feel it too, can't you? The power they possess is incredible… and yet it's completely different than anything we've seen before.
With that much potential energy in one place, they're certain to be targeted.
We'll stop that from happening, no matter what it takes. I won't let it happen again.
You really have learned from your mistakes, haven't you?
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 4STARS ABOVE: Chapter 43 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 4: Why Can't I Do Anything?
"Minegeshi!" Kagami's cry of horror was drowned out; a terrible noise was coming from the cube, a deafening moan that sounded just human enough to chill the blood of whoever heard it. Once again, she pushed against Homura's arm. She had to do something, get that thing away from Ayano and Misao…
"No," said Homura, barely audible over the sound. "You must stay here, Hiiragi-san. I'll stop it… and I'll do everything I can to save your friends. Kyubey, stay with her."
I understand, came the reply. The catlike creature was now sitting at Kagami's feet.
With that, Homura thrust her arm out into the black clouds that were rapidly engulfing the roof. The amethyst set into the silver ring on her finger began to glow, brighter and brighter, straining against the crushing dark. It sparked like a tiny violet star and moved itself into her outstretched palm, resolv
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 22STARS ABOVE: Chapter 222 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 22: Not Like This
The Seventh's Lair
Kagami stared in horror from her prone position on the fleshy ground. The Seventh's voice was coming from her sister's mouth. Its searchlights were shining from her eyes. It was inside her. "Tsukasa!"
"She's here," said the Seventh's scraping voice. "She's in here with me. She's trying to fight. Haaah… adorable…"Lurching to her feet, Tsukasa moved slowly toward Kagami, wearing that obscene leer, fixing her with the searchlights, blinding her. Even if she wanted to move to fight back, she couldn't. Her neck was bruised, the breath nearly driven from her lungs. She felt her sister's soft, delicate hands lift her up off the ground with unnatural strength, then slowly close around her aching neck. All she could see was that glaring white light.
"Kagami Hiiragi." The Seventh brought her close and whispered in her ear. "Your sister sealed away my body, but you
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 6STARS ABOVE: Chapter 63 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 6: Are You Still Watching?
"I can hardly believe it," said Konata with delight. Her chin was in her hands, her elbows resting on the bed. "Who would have thought? Our little Kagamin…"
Kagami gripped the blankets so hard she could have torn them to shreds. "Sh-shut up! I told you, it's not like that!"
"Really, I didn't think you were into romance at all, let alone with another girl… Never thought you would swing that way, Kagamin."
"I don't! And what is that supposed to mean? I like romance just fine!" Kagami shot her friend her most ferocious glare.
"I just didn't think that black, grouchy, shriveled-up heart of yours had the capacity to-" She was interrupted as Kagami flung a pillow into her face at high velocity.
"Onee-chan," said Tsukasa timidly, embarrassed even to be bringing up the subject. "If there is something going on, you can tell us…"
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 17STARS ABOVE: Chapter 173 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 17: If I Hold Onto You Like This…
The Sixth's Lair
Oh no. No. No, no, no, no, no. She's going to kill them.
She's going to burn them to death and make me watch.
I've got to stop her. Got to do something…
"Homura," she croaked, her throat constricted with panic. Wriggling in her bonds, Kagami tried to look over her shoulder. "Homura," she said again, managing it clearly this time. "Can you hear me?"
The only reply from behind her was a faint, muffled sob.
"If you can, then listen," said Kagami. "We don't have much time."
"I wouldn't waste your breath," said Desideria from her position on the stone altar. She sat on the corner with her legs crossed provocatively. Kagami dearly wished she would stop wearing her face and body, or at least wear some clothes… "She might still be in her afterglow, if she's not broken." The Second examined her nails. "You wouldn't know, Kagami-chan, but after that
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 2STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 22 years ago in Drama More Like This
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine
PART TWO: DEPRESSION
Kyoko couldn't taste her food.
Food was more than a means of survival, it was a comfort, occasionally even a luxury for the girl who never quite forgot the long nights when her late father hadn't been able to afford dinner for the family. The small mountain of brightly-colored packages surrounding her included all her favorites: melon bread, taiyaki, odango, instant cup ramen, gummy candy, freeze-dried ice cream bars, and of course, chocolate pocky. Discarded wrappers were quickly building up in piles around her. She was attacking the food as if she had a personal grudge against it, her teeth gnashing at one thing after another… but she couldn't taste any of it. It all turned to ashes in her mouth.
Just coming back to the apartment they had shared had been like a knife to the heart. It was silent and empty and it still smelled like
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 20STARS ABOVE: Chapter 202 years ago in Romance More Like This
***Authors' Note: Thanks to the nearly 14,000 of you who have read STARS ABOVE over the past year! Forz and I appreciate every one of your comments, questions, criticisms, and favorites. Keep the feedback coming! - BHS***
Lyrics excerpted from "Cosmic Love", written by Florence Welch and Isabella Summers, ©2010 Universal Music Publishing Group.
CHAPTER 20: In the Shadow of Your Heart
Nanatsuen Costume Boutique, Akihabara
Three Weeks Later
"You know," said Kagami, shifting on the small wooden bench that sat outside the dressing rooms, in a vain attempt to make herself more comfortable, "Somehow, I get the impression that you're not taking this whole thing seriously."
"What makes you say that?" asked Konata, tilting her head to one side.
Kagami raised an eyebrow and jerked her head toward the growing stack of magical girl anime, manga, games, and merchandise that surrounded Konata on her side of the bench,
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 24STARS ABOVE: Chapter 242 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 24: It's All Your Fault
Hiiragi Household, Takanomiya
July 7th, 2007
Dread. Dread was the only word to describe the feeling of frigid arms that wrapped around Kagami and squeezed her tight as she sank to the floor, staring at the mark the phone had left in the floorboard when it fell. On the other end of the line, Minami Iwasaki was talking, saying more words that Kagami couldn't hear. All she could hear was the persistent ticking of her watch. It was cold, so very cold…
Of course, she thought numbly. It all made sense now; horrible, perverse sense. Miyuki and Tsukasa together, their relationship coming out of nowhere, suddenly having sex. Miyuki's bizarre, quiet acceptance of the truth about Homura and the Demons. Tsukasa's eagerness to do things with her friend that she never should have considered. Even the Second's uncanny ability to stay one step ahead of them at all times.
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 25STARS ABOVE: Chapter 252 years ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 25: When I Was Lost
The Eighth's Lair
July 7th, 2007
Volleys of pink and violet fire crisscrossed the ditch as it flickered through various settings like fragments of dreams. The only constants were the ditch's depth, the starless sky overhead, and the enormous black scaled roots that erupted from the below like javelins at irregular intervals. Everything else was prone to shift at a moment's notice; already Homura had seen the Lair change around her from a broken and shattered city block, to a fiery wasteland, to a rocky landscape dotted with pits of foul-smelling filth. The changes were disorienting her, but Madoka… the false Madoka, she reminded herself again… paid them no mind. She… it… attacked relentlessly no matter what the setting, slinging arrows the moment it caught sight of Homura. And when it wasn't in sight, whenever Homura ducked behind one of
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 4STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 42 years ago in Romance More Like This
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine
PART FOUR: BARGAINING AND ACCEPTANCE
Laughing shadows danced over the faces of the four girls gathered around the fire. Each of them was wrapped in a blanket, and huddled close to the flames for warmth. It was snowing outside; the flurries started without warning earlier that afternoon and quickly blanketed the school grounds in thick carpets of white. Everything was muffled and quiet… the only sounds were the intermittent pops and crackles from the firewood as it burned.
"I only got fed on once," said Kyoko softly without looking up at the other girls. The flames reflecting in her scarlet eyes made for an eerie effect. There was no emotion in her voice, only flat, dull weariness. "Just once, that first time, in the whole two weeks we were trapped there. Every other time, the Demon and its Spawn fed on Mami. I still don't know why."
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 3STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine, Part 32 years ago in Drama More Like This
STARS ABOVE SIDE STORY: My Sunshine
PART THREE: ANGER
She grinned around the pocky stick clenched in her teeth. It was not a happy grin. Come on. Come on.
Standing all alone in the middle of the broken, shattered street, at sundown, with the fog just starting to roll in… it was perfect, Kyoko thought. The only thing missing was the Demons, but they would come. There weren't many left in Mitakihara, but they would come, attracted to her like moths to a lantern. She wondered if they could already smell her. Come on, come on. I've got a nice, juicy Heart ready for you, all full of despair, just like you like it. Come on out.
This would be it, her final stand. And this was the perfect place, the perfect time for it.
Kyoko Sakura had made her decision. She was going to die tonight.
But damned if she wasn't going to go out fighting.
It was enough.
As the fog thickened into mia
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 28 (PART 2)STARS ABOVE: Chapter 28 (PART 2)1 year ago in Romance More Like This
CHAPTER 28: You Can't Trust Anyone
CONTINUED FROM PART 1...
From behind her there was a blaze of heat and light. A deep, honeyed voice let out a burbling scream. Kagami's body spasmed as all the accumulated energy she had expended to fight the Eighth's influence was turned loose at once, and she fell to the ice in a twitching heap, gasping for breath. The black scales fell from her hands and turned to ash, and she could feel others falling from her face and neck. She could move on her own again, but barely… mystified, she tried to lift her head to see what had happened.
The Eighth was on fire. Its bone-branches writhed and blackened as it wailed in its death throes. There was a huge, flaming hole through its neck, a meter wide, and a long streak of vermillion blood on the ice beneath it. As Kagami watched, the Ninth pointed its clawed fingers and fired two more cutting beams that sliced through the snake Demon's body like knives,
STARS ABOVE: Chapter 21STARS ABOVE: Chapter 212 years ago in Romance More Like This
***[Author's Note] To all my readers: I'm truly sorry for the long delay between this chapter and the last. I had just finished the most recent part of My Sunshine when a personal crisis struck out of the blue, one that's forced me to put my writing aside entirely for almost a month. It's not something I wish to discuss here, but you all should know that I'm slowly improving thanks to treatment and my family's support (not to mention all of yours). I think I've mostly succeeded in putting my life back together, but with these things, you never really know. The delays should be less often in the future, but they may still happen. Again, thanks for your patience. - BHS***
CHAPTER 21: I Wish
You are now ready.
Yes, I am.
You know what you must do? You understand your purpose?
And you know exactly what fulfilling that purpose means, do you not?
I do. I accept i