Author's Notes: First off, I'd like to apologize for the late submission of this final part. I was busy with other stuffs that cropped up and also due to following the horrifying earthquake that struck Japan, causing a massive disaster that left me with little appetite or mood to type the chapter.
I would like to encourage everyone to help with disaster relief efforts and by donating what you can to the relevant parties and help Japan tide over this crisis. I also pray that they will overcome this horrifying event and rise up stronger than before.
Exams have taken their toll, seriously. Not to mention my personal life is beginning to stress me out.
However, let's move on, with the final part of a Valentine's Day Special!
Part 5: A not so relevant conclusion
"Ngh…" Touma moaned unintelligibly as his eyes fluttered open to see an unfamiliar ceiling. He blinked, momentarily confused as to where he was or what had happened. Then, it hit him like a ton of bricks. Jerking to attention, Touma sat up even as a warm and gentle hand placed itself on his shoulder, softly easing him back.
"Don't move so suddenly, Touma," Kanzaki said softly from beside him as he turned to look at her.
"Kanzaki!" Touma exclaimed as he shifted uncomfortably, his eyes roving over Kanzaki's shapely figure, which was wrapped snugly in a form fitting kimono. Blushing, he looked away even as he berated himself for daring to look at the Saint that way. Well, he was a healthy young man, after all! Then, he remembered something. "Where's Itsuwa?"
"Oh, I asked her to leave us alone for a while. She was panicking when you fainted," Kanzaki answered serenely as she shifted slightly, dipping a towel into a basin of warm water, wrenching the excess water out and then, she moved closer towards Touma. Touma reached out to take the towel, but the Saint instead leaned forward.
"Uwah!" Touma blanched as his hands brushed the smooth cotton kimono covering her chest even as the towel touched his face. Bracing himself as he snapped his hand back, his eyes shut tight for the inevitable explosion, Touma paused as the towel moved over his face calmly. His eyes flew open to see Kanzaki's face, which was bright red but still stoically focused on the task of cleaning Touma's face.
"I'll do it myself," Touma stammered as he grabbed the towel hurriedly. Kanzaki in full-out caring mode was a danger to his peace of mind, which was already deviating to other ways that she could… 'care' for him.
"Was I too rough?" Kanzaki asked, her face becoming slightly dejected at how quickly the boy had rejected her efforts. She felt… upset somehow. It wasn't a matter whether he found her attractive; that had been affirmed during the incident where she had dressed in the fallen angel outfit but… what? Did she really have feelings for him?
"N-no, not at all," Touma assured her as her face became slightly gloomy, "I'm just not used to having someone wipe my face, that's all."
"Really?" Kanzaki felt oddly heartened to hear that response, "I'm sorry, it's just that it's the first time I'm caring for someone that I-" Kanzaki's stopped, her face reddening again as she realized what she had been about to say.
"That you?" Touma tilted his head quizzically.
"It's nothing!" Kanzaki denied as her eyes flitted downwards, "I mean… I…"
Touma had to resist telling her how cute she looked like that but a more important point came to mind, "Kanzaki… do you… like me or something?"
"WAH! W-w-what makes you that!" Kanzaki Kaori sputtered as she shrank back from his earnest eyes. Her eyes refused to meet his, darting all over the hotel room nervously as he seemed to peer into the depths of her soul.
"You're blushing, for one. Two, you're not saying this is to repay me for what I did with the Amakusa's and lastly… your chocolates are on the table," Touma pointed out blandly.
Kanzaki gulped. Was he usually this intuitive?
Touma sighed, "Well, normally I wouldn't have noticed this but with confessions coming in from 360 degrees, it's kinda difficult not to be suspicious. Fukou Da."
"What, are you saying me liking you is a bad thing!" the Saint demanded.
Touma blinked, "Well, that certainly was the most direct confession I've heard so far."
Kanzaki's face exploded with heat. "Well, I… I mean… I…"
"It's a first time for you too, right?" Touma guessed with a sheepish smile.
"I guess. I never really knew this feeling before. But ever since I met you… it's been nagging at me. It's different from the care I usually give to my church members. It's special, you know what I mean?" Kanzaki blabbered, her hands clenching and unclenching on the fabric of her kimono.
"I think I have an idea," Touma said softly, his eyes downcast.
"Eh?" Touma recoiled as the Saint shot him a piercing stare.
"You may not say it but I can tell you are hiding something. Ever since that incident, you've been acting slightly strange. And today just confirms it. Just what are you hiding from me… from us? Aren't we your friends?" Kanzaki asked.
"Friends huh? I know you guys care about me. And I'm grateful for that. But as I've told Itsuwa… I'm not ready for this yet. There's still so much I've yet to learn, yet to discover (yet to remember…)" Touma replied, "But I just want you guys to know that no matter what, Kamijou Touma will not burden his friends with things that will upset them."
Kanzaki gave a self-depreciating smile, "You idiot. You take on our burdens all the time and yet you refuse to share any with us."
Touma scratched his head, "Well, I guess that's me. Heheh."
The Saint smiled. It was a beautiful smile, Touma realized. He had never really seen her truly smile before in that fashion or had he? Well, for this Touma, it was the first time and the smile just seemed to light up her face.
"You should smile like that more often," Touma said without thinking.
"Uwah!" Touma clamped his hand over his mouth.
"Oi, spit it out. What were you saying?" Kanzaki demanded as she grabbed his arm to pull it away from his mouth.
Touma gulped, "It was nothing, really!"
Kanzaki's face darkened slightly.
"Okok! I was just thinking how pretty you were when you smiled. You should smile like that more often," Touma blurted out.
The Saint's face suddenly became redder than a tomato. So much so that Touma began wondering if she was suffering from a fever, "Ano… are you ok?"
"Ok? O-of course I am!" Kanzaki stammered, "Warn a girl when you say such things! That was embarrassing."
"Well, it's the truth," Touma said, "A natural smile that just seems to make you glow, it'll be a shame if you don't smile more often, that is all."
"E-even so…" Kanzaki trailed off, before finally grabbing her chocolates that were lying on the table. "H-here…" she held them out, looking away from Touma nervously.
"Thank you," Touma accepted the chocolates with a sheepish grin as he realized exactly how nervous Kanzaki was. Well, despite how mature she looked, she was still only 18, after all. Not that she looked 18, mind you. She looked far older. Just his kind of age actually, though he would never tell her that. He valued his neck, thank you very much. "I'm sure they'll taste great."
"I didn't make them," Kanzaki admitted, her expression slightly upset, "it seems that I wasn't blessed with everything, huh?"
"Oi, oi, what are talking about?" Touma said with a surprised look, "It's the thought that counts, you know? Anyway, at least you made the effort, you know? This proves that you're not that perfect after all and that you have your own flaws. You may be a Saint but you're still only human."
The Saint stared at the boy. Yes, that was it. How could he answer her doubts so easily and be so direct at doing so? She had always wished to be normal, to fit in with those that were not Saints. But yet, a tiny flaw had made her lose sight of that. "Thank you," she said warmly.
"Hm?" Touma looked surprised at her sudden thanks.
"It seems that you're always reminding me of the things that I usually overlook," Kanzaki replied with her own sheepish smile, "Yeah, I've always wanted to be normal. And now when I meet difficulties, it seems to hurt my pride as a Saint. Odd, isn't it?"
"Um, I think it's more of a subconscious thing," Touma commented thoughtfully, "I mean, you've been a Saint all your life, right? It's easy for people to just see the perfect side of you so it eventually just becomes a part of you. There's nothing wrong with admitting weakness as long as we can learn from it."
"Hah, it's kind of weird hearing that from you," Kanzaki remarked with a grin, "you're always charging into battles where you could die and you never back down even if you said you know you can't win."
"Heheh," Touma scratched his head again, "Kamijou Touma never learns well, after all. By the way," Touma looked around the hotel room, "why are all of you back in Academy City? Agnese and her nuns, Lessar, Itsuwa, you… it's like everyone I know has taken an express flight back here!"
"The Archbishop said she would sponsor us a short vacation back here, so we did," Kanzaki said as she turned away, her cheeks burning again, "Almost all the females in the Necessarius dorm came back to Academy City for 3 days."
"What?" Touma groaned, "You've got to be kidding me… Hm?" he finally remembered yet another detail, "What happened to Agnese and the others?"
Kanzaki tilted her head in thoughtfully, "Well, from what I heard, her forces were decimated by a demon with twintails or something like that."
"Demon with… twintails?" Touma repeated disbelievingly.
"That's what Itsuwa said when she found their bodies littered around the area," Kanzaki explained, "I've no idea what she means but in any case, they are back in the hotel with Orsola treating their wounds."
"Demon with twintails… Wait…" Touma blanched as an image of biri biri's kouhai, Shirai Kuroko, suddenly appeared in his mind in a hulked up version, holding two nails to his throat. He gulped, pausing as he remembered that the fanatical girl was a member of Judgment. Surely she wouldn't have used lethal force…
*** About 1 hour ago.
"Where is he? Damn it, we've lost him," Agnese complained as the nuns spread out further in their search.
"Bad news," a voice came over the communications channel, which was powered by a simple piece of paper with a runic symbol on it, "it appears that Kanzaki Kaori has gotten to our target!"
Collected gasps of horror resounded throughout the channel.
"No, I refuse to believe it! Number 88, confirm that information!" Agnese demanded.
"Yes, I –YAAARGH! DEMON!" her voice abruptly cut off as a lone, bloodcurdling scream resonated throughout the district.
"Demon? Oi? Hello? What's going on?" Agnese yelled.
"Sister Agnese!" Angelene whimpered as she tugged at the nun's clothes frantically, "there's a horrible aura heading this way!"
"What?" Agnese turned to look. She gaped as she seemed to be a cloud of darkness forming a demonic head looming over the district. A split second later, members of her battalion flew past her as a force rippled through the streets.
"All of you… WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!" a voice screeched.
Agnese scowled as a girl with twintails suddenly appeared in front of them, her hair seemingly covering her eyes even as the black aura followed her. Angelene whimpered and hid further behind Agnese.
"And what do you think you are doing?" Agnese demanded as she prepared her Lotus Staff in anticipation.
"You block off the streets, interrupt business hours, ignore Judgement and Anti-Skill… and you have the cheek to ask me what I'm doing?" Kuroko hissed, "especially when it's Valentine's Day!"
"Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something?" Agnese asked pointedly, "Touma is our business. What we do is no concern of yours. We even have permission from the Director - eh?"
Kuroko ripped the document in half without even sparing a look at it. Her twintails were standing on end. "Did you say… Touma? Kamijou Touma?"
"Uh huh, what's it to you?"
"I think that was the wrong thing to say," Lucia said hurriedly as Kuroko began to radiate darkness. Intense, chilling darkness.
"KAMIJOU TOUMA! I WILL KILL YOU! YOU ALREADY HAVE SO MANY AND YET, YOU STILL GO AFTER ONEE-SAMA! DIE!" Kuroko bellowed as she went super saiy – wait, no, what was that aura around her? Her head tilted slightly, revealing her bloodshot and mindless eyes of rage.
It was as if a demon had risen from hell. Devastation swept through the district as an unstoppable Level 4 proceeded to defeat the Agnese forces in a no holds barred beatdown. It was, as they said, a massacre.
Kuroko punched, teleported, drop-kicked and pummelled her way past the entire Agnese forces, all the while cursing and rueing the day that her Onee-sama had met that ape known as Kamijou Touma.
It was a sad day for the Agnese forces. A total party defeat was the only appropriate word to describe it. Never had they lost so utterly that it would become a taboo for years to come. Mere mention of twintails was enough to send Angelene into a shivering mess while the trauma… it's best not to mention it.
Not one landed a scratch on Shirai Kuroko. Only Agnese was able to stand up to the raging berserker but Kuroko merely teleported the clothes and weapon away in a split second, securing her victory through sheer underhanded means.
This was why you don't piss off a teleporter. Especially a yandere one. Of course, the fact that half the forces were paralyzed from just looking at Shirai Kuroko 'hulk' up helped a great deal.
Itsuwa arrival was a godsend. Or a saint-send, since Kanzaki was the one who sent her to… clean up their mess.
*** End Flashback ***
"That's what happened?" Touma face met his palm in a spectacular motion. Truly, his life was just… "Fukou Da," was all he had to say for himself.
"Beats me," Kanzaki shrugged as Touma finally got to his feet. "You're leaving?"
"Yeah, gotta get home, revise and cook dinner. I'm still a student despite saving the world you know," he said with a grin.
Kanzaki nodded as Touma bent to retrieve his plastic bag, "Ok. But be careful, it can get dangerous."
"Thanks for your concern, Kanzaki," Touma responded sincerely as he opened the hotel door, "by the way… you look really good in that," he said without looking back as he shut the door so she wouldn't see his blushing face.
Of course, he wasn't the only one. Kanzaki was bright red even as a warm feeling spread through her as she glanced at the door. "He maybe dense but he can be charming sometimes too." She remarked warmly as she played with her long hair involuntarily. "Guess I'd better help Orsola with Agnese. Those girls sure had it rough."
*** Along the way
"Ara! Touma-san!" a familiar female voice called out.
Touma turned to see Orsola Aquinas, dressed casually in a white halter top and a long skirt. The top had a disconcerting effect of accentuating her well endowed body and Touma had to firmly remind himself that Orsola could punch really hard. That unpleasant memory immediately calmed his hormones down and he raised his hand in greeting.
"Yo, Orsola!" he called back as he came to a stop unwillingly. She wouldn't happen to be another one, would she? Nah, Orsola had never shown him even the slightest inkling that she would have a crush on him or something.
So why was she here?
"Why are you back in Academy City?" he asked curiously, hoping in his mind that it was not the reason Kanzaki and Lessar had.
"Oh, the Archbishop decided to treat us to a vacation here, so I tagged along," Orsola replied candidly as she took out a box of chocolates, "And since it's Valentine's Day, here, some chocolates specially made by me."
"Thanks. Man, for a second, I thought you were going to jump me like Lessar or Itsuwa. I've got girls confessing to me left and right," Touma rambled on without thinking as he accepted the chocolates. However, his senses that were rudely awakened by the mass confessions today, screamed in alarm as Orsola turned away with a slight red tinge on her cheeks.
Oh, no… Please, don't let it be so!
"I suppose that means my gift is not needed then?" Orsola asked with a tinge of anger and disappointment as she reached to take back her chocolates. "Then I suppose I should take it back then," she continued stiffly.
Immediately, Touma regretted his words and his paranoia. Orsola had never shown a hint of anything remotely like a crush anyway and he had just implied that he had too many gifts already.
"I'm sorry," he said, snapping his hand back, "I didn't mean it that way. It's just that today has been a very stressful day."
"And so?" she retorted sharply this time and Touma realized that he had somehow hurt her feelings too. Orsola was a great cook. Obviously she had put in effort into making them for him and with him dismissing her efforts so casually…
"Orsola, please accept this stupid Kamijou Touma's apologies!" Touma said as he bowed suddenly, catching Orsola off guard with his sudden movement, "I have neglected your feelings as well. There were plenty of people to give these chocolates to but yet you remembered me and actually gave it to me personally. For that, I'm grateful and ashamed that I dismissed your gift as something so trivial."
"I-I guess its ok," Orsola stammered as Touma straightened, his face wearing a sheepish smile as he scratched his head nervously, something that he seemed to be doing more often lately. "I actually wanted to thank you for helping me out back then."
"No need to thank me, I was just doing what was right," Touma replied heavily, "anyone would have done the same."
"Not everyone would have the courage to stare down over a hundred battle nuns with death over his head," Orsola reminded him gently with a rueful smile, "You're one in a million. Maybe more. If it wasn't for your right arm, I would say that you were very fortunate back then."
"Haha, Kamijou Touma is never lucky," Touma snorted, "though I sorta hate myself for saying that…"
"Hehe, your luck seems to manifest in something else, Touma-san," Orsola remarked thoughtfully as she remembered the other package she was supposed to deliver. "Oh, that reminds me, here." She handed him a bag filled to the brim with chocolates, "these are from Agnese. They're in no condition to give it to you, so I brought them here."
"Demon with twintails, huh…" Touma commented with a shiver as he accepted the chocolates.
"Well, appreciate them, Touma. They spent all day making those," Orsola said, making Touma flinch as he remembered his thoughtless remarks from earlier.
"I'm really sorry Orsola. I'm sure they'll taste great. After all, all of them did their best," Touma said sincerely.
"You know, with that kind of tongue…" Orsola turned to walk away, "It's no wonder you've captured the hearts of so many ladies around you… including me. Well, I'm going to help Agnese's group with their injuries. Be careful out there!"
As Touma watched her retreating back, he had a niggling feeling in the back of his mind that he was forgetting something very important in her sentence. He froze as realization struck. "Wait… 'including myself'? Orsola?"
Touma hung his head in defeat, "I give up. Even Orsola… Fukou Da…"
*** Along the streets…
Touma inched around the streets carefully. He was not about to be jumped again by yet another girl. Of course, knowing his luck, this was probably not going to work out but maybe he could use up what good luck he had left for this? Hopefully, he would not run into yet another –
Touma blinked as his head bumped into something soft and bouncy. Two round things actually. Objects that resembled… breasts. Damn, already! I hate you, god. I honestly do, Touma ranted as he removed himself from the delightful mounds of flesh and braced himself for a slap.
"Kazakiri?" Touma's eyes went wide as he recognized the well endowed female in front of him. Well, technically, she was an Angel but that did not matter to him. On reflex, his right hand hid itself behind his back.
Being an artificial being created by a mass of AIM fields and given a conscious mind, she was a supernatural entity that could be instantly dispelled by his 'Imagine Breaker'. Thus, he always had to keep his hand out of reach so that he wouldn't erase her by accident.
"You materialized? Is there an enemy?" Touma asked, his body tense.
"Nono, I was engaging in some new activities," Kazakiri replied with a smile, apparently ignoring the fact that Touma had plastered his face against her breasts just a few seconds ago. "I was actually looking for you, so it's great that I ran into you here."
"Looking for me?" Touma blinked even as alarm bells went off in his head for the hundredth time today.
"Um, I wanted to deliver these to you personally," Kazakiri said shyly as she held out a box of chocolates, "and to thank you for everything."
"Thank you. You made these?" Touma asked, remembering that she had said something about engaging in certain activities.
Kazakiri nodded, blushing furiously, "I wanted to convey my thanks to you personally. You've done so much for me. I'm so useless at everything… but at the very least… I wanted to do something for you!"
Touma scratched his head as he pondered how best to approach this. In the end, as always, he followed his instincts. "Don't say that. We're friends aren't we? Friends help one another, no questions asked. Even if Index had not known you first, even if we had been strangers, I would have saved you and become your friend. So please don't talk about repaying me back or anything."
Touma accepted her chocolates carefully with his left hand, "No matter what you think of it, they will be sweet to me. After all, a friend made them for me."
Kazakiri Hyouka laughed even as she showed of a truly ecstatic smile, "I didn't think you were one to flirt, Touma. After all, you're the kind of guy who can talk to a naked woman with a straight face."
"You overestimate me," Touma muttered with a sigh.
"Tee-hee, that expression when you fought with that magician is something that will forever me etched in my memories, Touma," Hyouka giggled even as her face became serious, "I want to be like you, Touma."
"I want to protect people too, in my own way," Hyouka continued wistfully, "you called me an Angel, right? I want to be one that saves people, like you."
"Why?" Touma asked, not understanding why she would want to take on a burden like he had.
Kazakiri Hyouka turned to look at him with a determined expression, "I don't need a reason to save people, do I?"
Touma laughed, "That's true. No fair stealing my lines, though."
Hyouka smiled wistfully, "I admire your strength, Touma. You can charge into battle, believing that's why you're there in the first place. But me? I was created, an artificial being created for a purpose not known to myself. But I… I want to use this power I was given. If you can protect everyone with just that right arm… then I want to protect the people around me with the power of an 'Angel'."
"I believe in you, Kazakiri," Touma encouraged, returning her look with one of his own, "I protect people because I can't help but do it. But you… you chose this path. Only someone really strong can take on such a burden. While I do not wish for you to get involved, you've already set your mind on this. As your friend, I can't deny you from using your powers for something like this."
Hyouka blushed at Touma's compliment, "Thank you, Touma. I…"
"Eh? You're fading?" Touma said suddenly as he reached out with his right arm, only to lose colour as he remembered what would happen if he came into contact with her. "Kazakiri?"
Kazakiri looked down at her body sadly, "I guess it's time up for me," looking up, she looked into Touma's eyes warmly, "I hope to spend more time with you in the future, Touma. It was nice, talking to you like this. Maybe in the future I…"
With that, she vanished without a trace, presumably back to the Imaginary Number District.
Touma clenched his right fist angrily. He wanted desperately to help her in any way he could, to hold her hand and convince her that she was real but how could he? His 'Imagine Breaker' would erase her without question and there was nothing he could do about it.
Not for the first time since he lost his memories, Touma cursed the fact that he could not control Imagine Breaker.
*** Late Afternoon
Touma stood by a lake that overlooked much of the district, wondering what he would do with all these chocolates. And the affection that came with it. "Fukou Da," he sighed, remembering that there was still a 'White Day' for him to do something. But what exactly was White Day again?
"Penny for your thoughts?"
"Yeah, a penny would be – Biri Biri!" Touma yelped as he jumped to his feet to stare at the electromaster standing nonchalantly behind him, "What are doing here?" Delivering chocolates? I hope not…
"I was in the neighbourhood," she lied without batting an eyelash. Seriously, who would ever tell this guy that she was looking for him? She just happened to be walking by, that's all! With groceries that she picked up at a sale so that…
"Here, you missed the special 5pm sale, right?" Misaka said as she held out the bags to him, "Take them. You need your precious source of 'protein', hm?"
"You were looking for me," Touma deadpanned as he took the bags from her gingerly.
"No I wasn't," she crossed her arms and looked away with a huff. Touma noted that her cheeks were red. A bad sign. A very bad sign with today being today.
"Then explain why you were shopping for groceries and just happened to pass by near my school?" Touma asked with a pointed look.
"Hey, I bought extra, so I decided that a beggar like you needed some, so here I am," Misaka retorted.
"That's gotta be the lamest excuse I've heard," Touma muttered under his breath as he inspected the bags, "hm? Oh, it's my favourite brand of eggs. By the way… how did you know that I call these my precious source of protein?"
"You told me before when you were on your knees," Misaka replied, leaning on the tree, "you broke the eggs. And you were crying too, baka."
"And you remembered that? I think it was probably an offhand comment," Touma shot back dryly.
Misaka reddened again, "I remembered because you looked pathetic, you idiot."
"Well, I apologize for being pathetic," Touma retorted wryly as he handed her back the bags. "Here."
"What? Why are you returning them to me?" Misaka asked in confusion.
"I can't accept these. You obviously didn't go to the sale at all. Most of these goods may be my usual ones but the bags belong to a different chain of supermarkets and several of them are high end products." Touma said.
Misaka blanched at getting caught, "Well, I…"
"So I can't accept your charity. I appreciate the thought though," Touma finished as he prepared to leave.
"It isn't charity, baka. I just thought… you might need them," Misaka said through clenched teeth. The truth was hard to spit out, "After all, I just wanted to do something for you."
Touma stared, "You wanted to… you're weird, you know that? First you act like you hate my guts, chasing me all around the place, then now you're being nice to me. Does being amnesiac make you pity me or something? I don't need that."
"It's not pity!" Misaka yelled, gesticulating wildly, "I care about you, damnit! I don't want you to get hurt!" her face twisted as she realized what she had just blurted out and simultaneously flushed crimson.
Touma dropped his bags in shock, "You care about… me?" his mind whirled again. Misaka, always being hot and cold to him. Chasing him around, getting his phone number, getting angry at being him being with Index, always having time for him and kicking him around…
She could be so nice and yet so aloof. She was… wait, hold on.
"You're a tsundere!" he blurted out accusingly, pointing a finger at her in shock.
Misaka took a step back as she felt her face explode with heat, "W-ha? What kind of question is that?"
"Oh my god, how could I have not noticed it before? I'm such an idiot. You were so obviously a tsundere!" Touma moaned with a hand to his head.
"Like hell!" Misaka sputtered as she responded in the only way she knew how, an electric attack.
Touma dispelled the half-hearted attack with a flick of his Imagine Breaker, deciding to stop in case she decided to go for more drastic measures. And the reality set in again. Here, was yet another girl who liked him. Touma had a nasty feeling this was God's punishment for saying that he could negate his miracles.
"Don't go pushing labels onto people, baka!"
"Hai, hai, Biri biri," Touma replied with a sigh as he decided not to press the issue further. "So you like me, huh?"
"Don't say it like it's nothing special to you, baka!" she huffed.
"I've had an abnormal amount of confessions today, biri biri. Don't blame me if I'm numb to it," he muttered.
"A lot huh?" She clenched her fist as jealousy welled up within her but seeing his tired and strangely tortured expression stopped its flow.
"Yeah," he admitted, taking a sit by the tree. He gestured for her to sit down next to him."It's disconcerting, actually. Even you… I'm really misfortunate."
"So why do you look like someone's announced your death sentence?" she asked as she sat down beside him, marvelling at how warm he felt.
"Well, you know. My memories," he replied bluntly.
"Ah…" Misaka looked up at the darkening skies, "You still haven't told anyone else?"
"No. I don't want to worry anyone about this, especially not Index and the others. Index will probably blame herself for this," he said, "even though it isn't."
"Don't go making decisions on your own, you idiot. You're like a cripple and you still fight things out there that could kill you! Why won't you let us – let me share your burden? We – I can fight too!" Misaka declared as she looked at him straight in the eye, "Why won't you share your burden? You once said that a person should never do everything alone, didn't you?"
"Heh, another one that throws my words back in my face," he groused, "as to that, well… I don't want people to get involved Misaka. My life isn't worth much but at the very least, I can protect those around me."
"Don't say that!" she roared vehemently as she grabbed him by the shoulder, "Your life isn't worth much? You've girls confessing to you left and right and willing to share your pain but you continue to act like a hero. Damnit, why won't you take your own advice? We all care. I care!"
"Don't you get it? I don't want people to get hurt if they can!" Touma roared back, "I stepped into this world willingly. I knew the consequences and I'm willing to bear them! No one else should go through this pain! Yeah, I've lost my memories, but I'm still me. I still have memories within my heart. But not everyone is strong enough to deal with it!"
"You honestly think so?" Misaka hissed, "I know, Touma. I know. I've been through that stage. I know why you can't accept their feelings. You want a relationship to be built on trust. But right now, you're living in a lie. And until you come clean about it, there's no relationship to be had!"
Touma stared. How did she? It was as if she had just dug into his soul and dragged out the ugliness inside. He slumped, pushing her hands aside heavily. "You seem to have me all figured out, Biri Biri."
"No, I don't," Misaka said sincerely, "this is my own experience. My friends were there to help me when I needed them the most. People like Saten, Uiharu, Kuroko and… you. You save people because you want to, Touma. Why won't you let us – let me save you?"
"You know, I'm beginning to think to think it was bad idea to call you during that conflict," he remarked dryly.
"Don't change the topic," she warned, "the guy that I…" she blushed as she said the next words, "like would never run away like a coward."
"Yeah, yeah. It's surprising you can be so open it once you've confessed, being a tsundere and all," he teased.
Touma blocked the electric shock with Imagine Breaker with a silly grin. "You know, I feel a lot better now. Having someone that knows… it takes a load off my shoulders, somehow."
"Don't think flattery will get you anywhere," she growled even as her voice softened, "we're here for you, Touma. I'm here for you. Just remember, there are people who care about you. Don't make them sad by doing reckless things."
"Yeah. Thanks for reminding me. It means a lot to me. It's finally clear to me," and he meant it. "Thank you. I feel a lot better now."
"Geez, you can be so dense sometimes," Misaka shook her head with a hapless sigh.
"But about accepting your feelings, I-" Touma was cut off as Misaka held a finger to her lips to hint for him to be quiet.
"I know now isn't a good time. I'll give you till White Day, you hear? In any case, you say you can't accept these, right?" she pointed at the groceries.
"Well, I know how you can pay them off," Misaka said with a mysterious smile.
"Come on!" she tugged at his arms excitedly.
"But all these? I can't just carry them around like this, let me put them back at my place!" Touma protested.
"Hm, it'd take too long. Well, no worries, I've got just the place to drop them off!" Misaka suggested.
*** 10 minutes later
"Your idea of dropping off items is to rent a hotel room?" Touma gaped at the Level 5 incredulously, "Truly, the life and whims of an Ojou-sama is too much for a commoner like me to comprehend. And why are there clothes here? Do you own this hotel or something?"
"What?" Misaka looked up from her perusal of the articles of clothing strewn on the bed, "Oh, no. I just happen to have a VIP pass, so I booked this room for any emergency uses."
"You booked…" Touma sighed as he applied his palm to his face. Again. Rich people truly were something else entirely. "And the clothes?"
"Oh, I used these when I was blowing up stuff at the research centre. I had the cleaners wash them and leave it here though," she said offhandedly as she grabbed a pair of blue jeans and a pink shirt with a gekota mascot at the back.
"Blowing stuff up? I guess that makes sen – no sense at all!" he sputtered loudly.
"Oh, stop complaining. I'm going to change. No peeking!" she scowled as she ran into the bathroom and locked the door.
"Her idea of paying for these expensive groceries is a date," Touma scratched his head, "I'll never understand women. Fukou Da." He supposed that it was ok though. Misaka was one of the few who knew about his memory loss. And, despite his claims, he was actually glad that there was someone to share his burden with.
He just didn't want to involve her in the kind of situations he always found himself in.
"So, how I look?" she asked as she exited the restroom.
Touma glanced at her outfit, "Not bad," he said sincerely, "though I thought you would prefer not to blatantly advertise your love for Gekota to the general public."
"Urasai," she muttered as she dumped her Tokiwadai uniform on the bed, "I just thought you wouldn't mind, that's all."
"Oh no. I think it's cute that you're being honest with yourself for a change," he said without thinking.
Misaka flushed red again, "Well, excuse me," she huffed, "shall we go?"
"Where are we going exactly?" Touma asked.
"Hm, that's a good question."
"You mean you haven't even considered where you wanted to go?" Touma facepalmed again, "what was the point in dragging me here then?"
"Oh, be quiet, I wasn't thinking that far. Well, there's this movie I wanted to watch, so let's go," she suggested thoughtfully.
"If it's a movie, why not ask… er… Shirai Kuroko?" he pointed out.
Misaka blushed, "Eh, well. It's not exactly a movie that I would watch with any of my friends. But you don't mind, do you?"
"I think I won't," he said. I think I'm going to regret this, he thought privately.
*** District 6
"I knew it," he said under his breath with a shake of his head as he watched her laugh, giggle and tug his arm in the theatre release of 'Gekota Strikes Back'. Seriously, the name was stupid and the show wasn't much better.
Still, he had to admit it was odd watching her so… relaxed and cheerful around him. It was as if they really were a couple. Though he really couldn't imagine himself attached to her. Could he? She was pretty cute and she knew about his memory loss…
No, it wasn't a good idea at all.
Sighing to himself, he resigned himself to his fate.
He really should make a choice though. Having a harem would be disastrous. In more ways than one. But, if he chose one… Touma's lost all colour as he imagined an all out brawl for his affections. With the amount of people inside, it would probably devastate Academy City.
He moaned silently.
There was only one thing to say.
*** On the way back.
"Admit it, it was funny!" Misaka said.
"Maybe," Touma drawled.
"Meh, you're no fun," Misaka rolled her eyes, "Well, let's get back before someone spots us."
"Someone? Like her?" Touma said as he pointed at an approaching black cloud.
"Yes, someone like… Kuroko!" Misaka jumped as Kuroko suddenly teleported in front of her, her eyes white and wide with shock.
"Onee-sama… why are you with this ape? Why? It was supposed to be our day! This ape… already has a harem… and yet he still…" her murderous gaze latched on to Touma, who was now backing away from the sheer force of her killing intent. "I will avenge Onee-sama chastity!" she wailed.
"Oi, Kuroko," Misaka tried to talk sense into the quivering teleporter but the Level 4 was beyond reasoning as she staggered towards Touma.
"I WILL KILL YOU!" she exclaimed as she lunged forward.
Misaka dropkicked Kuroko hard. Kuroko hit the ground with a loud 'thud!' Kuroko twitched, "Why, Onee-sama… why are you with this ape! He will ravage you and take your chastity! Onee-sama, I must be the one to relieve you – YARGH!"
Misaka shocked her, her fist clenched in anger as she proceeded to deliver a jolt strong enough to knock her out. A charred Kuroko lay on the ground, twitching and convulsing in the aftermath.
Touma shivered, "Erm, will she be ok?"
"She'll be fine," Misaka said airily, "she's taken far worse. Come on. Let's get your stuff before she comes to and starts acting crazy again."
"Shirai-san a very interesting girl, isn't she?" he remarked as they took the elevator.
"Oh, you have no idea," Misaka replied darkly. "No idea at all."
"Still, I don't think I can take these," Touma protested as she shoved the groceries into his arms again upon entering the room and retrieving the goods while she changed back into her Tokiwadai uniform.
"Just take it," she ordered, "I can't use them, anyway. Just take it as payment for accompanying me to watch Gekota, ok?"
"Well, if you say so…" he said hesitatingly as she shoved him out of the room, "Maybe you should come over one day so I can treat you to my cooking sometime as thanks."
"Don't mention it," she waved off his thanks, "Be careful on the way home, ok?"
"Ok, you too, Biri Biri!" he called back as he proceeded to stagger home, bogged down by several plastic bags. "And thanks!"
"It's Misaka Mikoto, you dummy!" she shouted back, finally remembering to correct him, "Oh, and there's something in the red bag!"
A grunt was her only reply as he walked off. Sighing, she walked towards the unconscious Kuroko, wondering what she would do with her. "Oi, Kuroko," she shook the teleporter while delivering a mild charge to her.
Kuroko jerked into awareness, her eyes wild, "I WILL – eh? Onee-sama?"
"Man, just one shock and you were knocked out," Misaka said innocently.
"But I thought? Where is that ape!" she demanded, looking around fervently.
"What ape? We were walking together when you suddenly decided to try and kiss me and I knocked you out, remember?" Misaka said.
"Eh? But I thought?"
"Geez, that shock must have fried some of your brain cells. We were talking about getting ice cream to share too," Misaka continued on.
"But? I? HUH?" Kuroko was thoroughly bewildered now as Misaka continued to talk about activities that she had no recollection of.
"Anyway, the ice-cream store is still open, so we might as well get it now," Misaka finally finished as she grabbed Kuroko and began to drag the dazed teleporter in the direction of the famous ice-cream store.
"But? I? EH?" Kuroko just stared blankly at the sky.
"What's going on!" she wailed.
If she had bothered to turn around, she would have seen her Onee-sama smiling as she spotted Touma's struggling figure, as well as the luminescent blush on her cheeks.
Touma trudged to the door of his apartment, completely exhausted. Still he had a feeling that he was forgetting something important. Something… life-threatening… He shrugged, opening the red bag Misaka had told him about.
Inside, was his handkerchief that she had run off with the day before, wrapped snugly around a small box of chocolates. He smiled, shaking his head in wonder.
"She really is a tsundere," he laughed as he opened the door.
A loud and ominous growl greeted him.
He frowned. He didn't keep a dog, he kept a cat, didn't he? Why was there such a threatening growl?
Another growl reached his ears.
Something about it was… familiar…
Touma's face lost all colour as he realized the darkness he was staring at was not the darkened interior of his apartment.
No, it was the menacing aura of a nun who had been denied food. He gulped and stepped away from the door as a raspy voice came from the reaper within.
"Erm, Index… I can explain!" he stammered as he backed away while she rapidly advanced.
"You didn't come back all day…"
"I was being pursued…" he began.
"You didn't leave any food…"
"Chased around by crazy nuns…" he continued.
"And I even made chocolates for you and didn't eat them…"
"And got dragged on a date by biri – eh?" Touma blinked, "you made chocolates for me?"
Index bared her teeth as Touma last words sank in. "You went on a date? TOOOUMAAAA!" she bellowed as she leapt and chomped.
"ARGH! FUKOU DA!"
"I guess Touma will be Touma," she complained even as she swung to and fro on his head, "Always leaving me behind and even going on a DATE!"
"I was forced! Please stop biting me!" he pleaded as she finally relaxed her jaws.
"Hmph. Touma will be Touma," she said sulkily.
"Sorry, Index. I'll go make some food now, ok? Oh and erm… thanks for making chocolates for me, even if you didn't have to," Touma said sheepishly as he held a bandage to his bleeding head.
"Hmph," Index huffed as she spotted the large number of chocolates on his person, "Touma no baka. But…" her voice softened, "at least you came back."
"Yeah, I always do," he said with a gentle smile as he put on an apron and took out a cooking book from the drawer.
"But, how are you going to handle White Day like this?" she asked curiously as she rummaged through his bags, "There's got to be at least 20 to reciprocate!"
"What exactly do I have to do on White Day again?" Touma asked offhandedly as he perused the book.
"In Japan tradition, you have to return gifts that are twice or more valuable than the ones received on Valentine's Day. Not doing so would mean placing yourself as more superior than the female. Returning one of equal value means that you are cutting ties to the person," Index explained.
Touma dropped his book as the full implications of that explanation sank in. "EH? That's means I…" he stared at the mountain of chocolates as realization, then despair sank in. Facing such hopeless circumstances, he could only say:
"ARGH! FUKOU DA!"
"So why exactly did you feel obliged to drag every single one of Touma's female acquaintances back to Academy City?" Stiyl Magnus asked Tsuchimikado as he took a puff.
"Well, for fun and laughter, peace and joy," Tsuchimikado grinned, "Though I couldn't get hold of every one."
Stiyl paused. "You're a sadistic bastard, you know that? He'll be broke come White Day."
"Well, that's what he gets for being too popular, nya~" Tsuchimikado said with a smirk as he put on his shades, "Well, at least now Maika is safe from the Kami-yan influence. Time for a wonderful night, nyahaha!"
"Thank God you don't call yourself a Christian, you sis-con Sergeant," Stiyl intoned.
"Why, Stiyl. One must enjoy the earthly pleasures given to them. You should be more honest with yourself. After all, I hear you were too shy to give the chocolates you have to Index, no?" Tsuchimikado teased.
"… Do you have a death wish?"
"Thou shalt not kill," Tsuchimikado said solemnly as he sauntered off, "Take it easy, nya~"
"… God, please let him burn him."
*** EXTRA ***
"Accelerator, wake up!"
Accelerator jerked awake as Last Order yelled directly at his ear, almost deafening him as his ears rang numbly from her sudden scream, "What the hell was that for, brat?" he demanded loudly.
"Misaka has finally gathered the courage to give the chocolates, says Misaka as Misaka holds out the chocolates," Last Order says, almost shyly as she held out the chocolates.
"Well, that's a first," Accelerator commented as he stared down at the box of chocolates. Deciding that she couldn't possibly have messed it up enough to make it volatile, he took it. "Well, thanks," he said under his breath.
"Misaka can't hear, lies Misaka as Misaka leans closer hoping to hear Accelerator say it again," Last Order says.
"I said, thanks!" he barked as he turned away from her.
"Uwah! But Misaka wants to know how it tastes like! Misaka wants Accelerator to enjoy her chocolates!" Last Order begged.
"Tch, you're so annoying," Accelerator scowled as he ripped open the lousy packaging and paused. "It isn't poisoned, is it? Knowing how you screw things up, I'd be surprised if it wasn't…"
"WAH! Accelerator is so bad! Misaka is sad enough that Misaka wants to cry!"
"Tch, it was a joke. A joke," he muttered.
"Who are you and what have you done with Accelerator, Misaka demands as Misaka steps away from this imposter!"
"Tch," he shook his head and popped one into his mouth.
"So how was it?" Misaka asked eagerly.
"WAH! This cannot be! Misaka put Misaka's heart and soul into it! How can you say such a hurtful thing with that creepy smile! You're not joking again, are you?" Last Order asked hopefully.
"It's terrible," he said again with that grin on his face, "but it's also just the way I like it."
"How can it be terrible and yet suit your tastes?" Last Order asked with a confused look.
"Because you made it. That's all there is to it," he said gruffly.
Last Order's eyes glistened with happiness, "Misaka is so happy that Accelerator has finally -"
"Get out of my room," he deadpanned as he kicked her out unceremoniously.
"WAH! You're still a bully! Misaka wails as Misaka pounds on Accelerator's door, let Misaka in!" Last Order wailed.
"… You're noisy."
END AT LAST
A/N: So I've finally finished this five-shot. It's been a little arduous for me and I'm not really sure how well I've done for this particular task. I've never been good with romance and writing a Valentine's Day special has made me realize that I've still so much to learn and understand.
Another thing that I've been preoccupied with is… TVtropes. Oh, god. Tvtropes. I don't want to say more.
I hope to further improve in my writing as time goes on. I don't believe this is one of my better works but I hope that doing my best has at least made this an enjoyable read for all of you.
A White Day Special is on its way, with a probable conclusion on the one Touma may or may not choose. Once again, I'd like to apologize for the delay in the posting of this chapter.
As usual, reviews and constructive criticism is appreciated. I will look fondly back on this story and take heed from the lessons that I will learn as part of the writing process. I thank you all for enjoying/reading a Valentine's Day Special and hope to see you around in my other works.
Till next time,