One of the aspects of Puella Magi Madoka Magica that made it so bleak is that the Characters were all on their own and it becomes increasingly apparent that their sponsor for being Magical Girls actually cares very little for their well-being.
The Unlikely Ally is a fanfiction that asks what if one of the Drones/bodies in Kyubey's Hive Mind breaks away and decides to actively help the main characters. Originally, it's as straightforward as that. However, as the story goes on, things start happening that hint at a greater mystery and scope to the conflict than originally thought.
Originally published on December 29, 2018, The Unlikely Ally is a reboot of an older fanfiction (which can be found here) by fellow fanfic author InGodzHandz, who gave permission for author Jalaras to make a reboot using the concept of their original fic.
Currently, the Fic is ongoing.
It is crossposted on three different websites, links are here:
Archive of Our Own: https://archiveofourown.org/works/17728160/chapters/41823968
Jalaras has also produced some fanart for the story, which can be found in the same DeviantArt Folder as the fanfic chapters. Direct Link is here: https://www.deviantart.com/lordgodsservant/gallery/69107440/The-Unlikely-Ally
This page and story contains unmarked spoilers for the Anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica! It is highly recommended that you watch the show/movies before viewing either!
- Acid-Trip Dimension: The Witch's Labyrinths, as in canon.
- Homura and Key's encounter with Saya in chapter 3 doesn't do this per se, but her sheer otherworldy feel makes the hospital ward she's in evoke the same feel as a Witch's Labyrinth.
- Alternate Timeline: Obviously as the story appears to take place in one of the time loops that Homura went through, though with the difference in this one being that Key has joined her and is actively trying to help her.
- Awful Truth: Discussed in-universe as Key wants to tell the other characters the fate of Magical Girls as soon as possible to better prepare them. Homura however, having tried this tactic already and having it fail, is less enthusiastic.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Played With: Key only agreed to drain despair out of a Witch for the sole goal of gaining another Magical Girls contract. This however, resulted in his gaining individuality and the capacity to feel emotion. Its not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the word, but Subverted as he is extremely grateful it happened to him.
- Also possibly with Homura as she likely has wanted for a awhile for some element to give her an advantage and break the time loop. Key is near perfectly suited for this given his abilities and knowledge of Kyubey and Magical Girls in general. The main thing is, he's still and Incubator, the same kind of creature that is the source of all the suffering that she's endured. It's a bit of a bitter pill to swallow.
- Berserk Button: As of Chapter 3 Saya seems to hit Keys as she tries to eat Homura and he responds by throwing the equivalent of a fireball at her. His appears to be harming of anyone he considers close to him.
- Big Bad: Kyubey is in full form as the manipulative little weasel he was in canon.
- Big "NO!"!: Key gives a minor one when Sayaka attempts to get him to make a contract with her.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Due to its non-visual medium, the text at times gets a bit more detailed with the natural consequences of fighting than the anime did.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Played With as Kyubey is as eldritch as his canon self. However, Key is the same species as Kyubey, yet he managed to find a way to gaining emotions and considers Kyubey abhorrent.
- Being Good Sucks: Just because things are more hopeful in this story does not mean that its going to smooth sailing for the characters.
- Bizarre Alien Psychology: Kyubey's canon Hive Mind and lack of empathy is contrasted constantly against Key's individuality and ability to empathize.
- Cliffhanger: Chapter 3 ends with, despite their best efforts, Mami apparently succumbing to her Canon fate. The chapter cuts immediately after the act itself.
- Crossover: Saya and Fuminori from Saya no Uta briefly appear in Chapter 3.
- Cry Cute Used liberally in Chapter 4. Also, in Key's case, it is noted that he didn't physically have tear ducts before, so his ability to cry is an In-Universe mystery.
- Cute Is Evil: Kyubey as in canon, but subverted with Key who is a rogue drone from the Kyubey Hive Mind who's noted as looking far more emotional and relatable than Kyubey. The main feature is facial features that actually allow the expression of emotion rather than Kyubey's blank pupil eyes and static mouth.
- Deal with the Devil: Key refuses to make contracts anymore to avoid unintentionally doing this.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: In Chapter 4 Mami and Nagisa have a civilized and comforting conversation with something called Marethil, who is portrayed as an Eldritch Being with power likely outsripping all of the other characters. His conversation with Key in the flashback section is more get ahold of yourself but still ends on a nice note for those involved.
- Divided We Fall: A major part of the story as of the first few chapters seems to be Key trying to get the main characters to avert this. This makes sense as in the show, they were competing for limited resources, but as of Chapter 4, it's revealed that Key's ability to purify Grief Seeds and Soul Gems negates this limitation altogether.
- Dramatic Irony: Kyubey spends his tenure when the girl's still trust him telling Mami, Madoka, and Sayaka that Key is mentally unstable and in need of treatment. As per Kyubey, he's not lying from his own perspective. He does succeed in coloring the girl's views of Homura and Key for awhile.
- Dream Intro: Used frequently. The Canon one with Madoka witnessing one of Homura's failed fights against Walpurgisnacht is used, but this time, all of the main girls (sans Homura who lived it) have the dream. Others are used at different points to possibly give foreshadowing.
- Freak Out!: Mami's canon one to finding out the truth behind Witches is a big motivator for Homura to keep the other girls in the dark, something she enforces on Key. She only agrees to tell them when it seems that there might be some mitigating factors to prevent it. Even then, she's shown to be ready at a moment's notice to stop Mami if she displays any sign of trying to Mercy Kill the others.
- From a Certain Point of View: Kyubey continuously talks about how Key is mentally ill and how much he wants to help him. Hes not lying since, from his perspective, Key is mentally ill and needs correction. Key disagrees . . . vehemently.
- Frozen Face: Key is a notable aversion as he has normal eyes and mouth that move in time with his emotions. It's noted as making him more relatable than Kyubey.
- Hive Mind: The Incubators as confirmed by Canon Word of God are explicitly show to be a Hive-Minded race. Specifically, Kyubey is shown to be the only individual consciousness in their entire race.
- Hurting Hero: The Canon Examples apply here, but Key is shown to be deeply regretful and troubled by his past as an Incubator Drone.
- Killer Rabbit: While Kyubey was deadly in how he made lopsided deals and Psychologically tortured the main characters, Key is more traditionally powerful. He actually takes part in fighting Witches and seems to have a certain amount of ability to manipulate energy.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As in canon, when Madoka talks about having a dream with Homura in it, Sayaka talks about them (Sayaka had the dream too in this story) being like Anime Characters. She then follows it up with several sarcastic quips that are things that actually happened in the original Anime.
- Leonine Contract: As it turns out, it was one of these turning out in an unexpected way that gave Key the ability to feel emotion.
- Also turns out that he was the drone that gave Mami her canon one of these.
- Made of Iron: Key offhandedly mentions that he modified his body to be this so he doesn't get torn to shreds whenever he fights.
- Meaningful Name: Key's name as it turns out. He wants to be the Key to Kyubey's defeat, and thus chose the appropriate name.
- Painting the Medium: When a characters voice is supposed to sound alien and Eldritch, the author will often bold the words and change random letters to capitals to reflect this. SomEThInG liKE tHis.
- Rogue Drone: Played With. The Incubators are less Hive Mind in the sense of "many minds fused together" and more "one mind, many bodies." Key's flashback does note that there is some autonomy when Kyubey is more focused on directly piloting specific bodies over others, but it's likened more to robots with extremely detailed and sophisticated programming than actual living creatures. Key qualifies for this by default as he has managed to gain his own personality and sapience outside of Kyubey's control. On the whole, mostly due to gaining a conscience along with individuality, he VASTLY prefers life outside of Kyubey's control.
- Protectorate: Aside from Madoka for Homura, Key appears to view those close to him as this.
- The Stations of the Canon: As of the first few chapters, in spite of the presence of Key, things have gone more or less the same for Madoka, Sayaka, and Mami. The writer's notes also acknowledge that Walpurgisnacht is a set event that will happen. The Writer's Notes also say that this will eventually be an averted trope.
- Chapter 4 aggressively starts the process of the Canon progression of events being averted, most notably, with Mami surviving and Nagisa being cured of being a Witch.
- Chapter 5 Zig-Zags the trope as it contains several of the beats of Puella Magi Oriko Magica but both blends it with The Extra Story as well as purposefully changing and averting a few of the events.
- Vagueness Is Coming: In Chapter 4 its said that things other than Kyubey and Walpurgisnacht are taking note of the main characters and may potentially become problems. Naturally, what these things are go unrevealed.
- Chapter 5 gives Oriko a vision of a bad-future like in canon, but while the events are clear to a point, its kept ambiguous how and why things might progress to that point.
- You Are Not Alone: Marethil affirms this in his goodbye to Mami in Chapter 4.
- Key does the same to Mami later on in the Chapter when she almost gives into despair after learning the source of Witches.