Author's Note: Late, but this is my little Valentine's special for the fans of this series. For those of you who are anticipating a rehash of the Christmas special, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. I've decided to narrow my focus to two groups of characters to keep things simple this time.
Both stories are happening somewhat simultaneously, Mikoto feeling insecure about herself at the worst possible moment for Touma, while the boys from [GROUP] tailed a suspiciously normal dressed-up Awaki to reveal a shocking secret.
The theme song for this fic is Crystal Kay's "Konna ni Chikaku de", also the ending song for [Nodame Cantabile]. The first time I've heard that song was from a Touma/Mikoto AMV, from that instant I fell in love with that song and was dying to use it somewhere.
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration that celebrates love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards, known as "valentines". The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Even a student of Tokiwadai Middle School should know at least that much.
"Hey, Kuroko... Tell me something..."
"Hmm?" She looked up.
"Why am I receiving so many chocolate even though I'm a girl?"
In front of Misaka Mikoto was a mountain of chocolate being given to her by her fellow Tokiwadai students. Every inch of space had been cramped full of heart-shaped Valentine's day chocolate. Even as she speaks yet another bubbly under-classmate presented her with the sugary delight. Eventually it would get to the point where they would play a bizarre game of 'Jenga' as each girl tries to stack their offerings on top each other's while trying not to topple the titanic structure.
"Mah~ a lot of the girls here look up to you as a role model, besides your usual behavior, mannerism and attitude gives people the impression of a manly, heroic prince..." Kuroko pulled off a fake dreamy look.
"You've been reading too much shoujo manga..."
"I'm not the girl receiving chocolate on Valentine's Day."
"...I'll let you have that one."
Even though Misaka said that with an indignant look, she can't help but feel worried when the twentieth giggling girl put her Valentine chocolate on her desk.
Was she really that boy-ish? Was that how the people around her had perceive her character? Did she try too hard to conceal her 'special' interests so much that she inadvertently created this image of... Well, manliness?
Could that be the reason why that person never paid attention to her...?
Kuroko could probably guess what her best friend was being troubled by, and like any true friend she didn't hesitate to tease her about it.
"Sigh, that's why I've always try to get Onee-sama to wear something other than her boring shorts. Onee-sama should also try to grow your hair out more so that you can try out different styles and wear even more colourful hair pins. I'm sure even that ape would like to see you to wear cute frilly clothes speak all soft and gooey to him once in awhile- "C-Could you carry me on your back?" with your big teary eyes and all that moe stuff!"
Kuroko gave her worst 'damsel in distress' impression.
"Guys typically don't like a girl who's strong and proud right? Ohohoho...! Ouch!"
Mikoto threw the largest box she could find on her table at her.
"Tsundere character reactions are so overused at this day and age, Onee-sama..." Kuroko rubbed her bruised nose.
"S-Shut up! You're one to talk! Nobody uses the twintailed hair style anymore!"
"Buah! What are you saying Onee-sama? Twintails are Wintails!"
"WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?"
The two friends bickered pointlessly about tropes for the rest of lunch.
Later... Somewhere else in the 7th district...
"To say that the situation is ridiculous is a complete understatement..." Kamijou Touma lamented. "It's like a plot to a bad fanfiction story on Valentine's Day."
"Indeed Kami-yan, the setting is forced, the people are out of characters, and there's even some hint of plagiarism involved." Aogami agreed.
"Plus some of the more major issues haven't been addressed... In the first place Valentine's Day story should be about romance, why isn't this kind of things happening to some other main character that already have a canon romance partner?" Touma played along. "Why does it always have to be me?"
"OI! ARE YOU DONE YAPPING YET?"
Touma looked over at the person who interrupted his train of thoughts with an expression that he couldn't be bothered.
"This blond guy thought he just said something really odd with a somehow cool face..."
"Hahah, he's as pride-less as ever, isn't he?"
Rewind back the clock and the situation was like this- Kamijou Touma had made himself quite the reputation in 'A certain High school' as an unstoppable creature of darkness that attracted all manner of girls to him despite being dead broke, having a boring look on his face, and generally all round dull personality. It was unfathomable what girls even see in him, and apparently some ridiculous people bore a huge grudge against him for it. Touma himself couldn't care less what they thought of him as long as they don't bother him or his friends.
This led him to his current predicament.
Valentine's Day is a big day for Kamijou Touma, or so they told him, it's the day that he finds out just out popular he really is among the female population...
… As it turns out, not very.
The amount of chocolate he received was sizable, but nothing close to the legendary proportions that his friends and fellow classmates had predicted. He received one each from Himegami Aisa and Fukiyose Seiri, as well as a few from the remaining girls in his class that he was on neutral terms with. There were only one or two pieces that came from girls outside his class that he had never really gotten to know, and his desk certainly wasn't bending under the sheer weight of them like what a certain friend had predicted.
"Well... That was unexpected, I thought Kami-yan would have to make 3 trips to the dorm and back just to transport all the chocolate that would feed him for the rest of the month..." Aogami shook his head.
With Index, he would be surprise if they even last three days, but he wisely chose not to voice it out loud.
The champion for Valentine's Day, as it turns out, was not Touma but rather his 'best friend', Tsuchimikado Motoharu, who for some reason wasn't able to make it on this special day.
Maybe it was the blond hair.
Maybe it was the Police shades.
Maybe it was the six pack abs behind his Hawaiian shirt that he conveniently forgotten to button up every single time despite being detained by Judgment personnel for 'Indecent behavior in Public'.
"Tsuchimikado that bastard... All this time he was making fun of me- HE WAS THE ONE WHO GOT THE MOST CHOCOLATE!" Kamijou Touma roared as he kicked the bastard's table.
Once again misfortune strikes; it was at this moment that a self proclaim rival of Kamijou's class, you know the type, stormed into the class with vengeful fury.
"KAMIJOU TOUMA! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL!"
The rest of the class ignored him spectacularly.
"...What a retard."
"I can't believe he said something so embarrassing..."
"I'm out of here, I got a date..."
Kamijou Touma couldn't quite remember his name, and just called him 'Vengeful Fury' for simplicity sake.
It was only much, much later would they learn that Vengeful Fury had mistaken the mountain of chocolate on Tsuchimikado's desk to be Touma's, and that this could all be avoided... But for now everyone just went with the flow and twenty minutes later, Kamijou's classmates assembled at a make-shift badminton court in the park. Facing them on the other side of the net was the rival class of Vengeful Fury. For some inexplicable reason, both Himegami Aisa and Index were there as well.
"Himegami-san I, Kamijou Touma, am truly glad to see that you're such a sociable person," Himegami raised two fingers in a 'V' to symbolize her victory. "...But can you please explain to me why Index-san is here as well?"
"Touma! Touma! I heard that the winner of this life-or-death duel have the right to plunder the defeated of their Valentine's treasure!"
"SO YOU'RE MORE CONCERN ABOUT THE LOOT THAN MY LIFE RIGHT? RIGHT?" Touma cried miserably.
"Hah! Touma is the kind of person that can survive falling from a flying machine! A duel of this caliber is nothing!"
"WHAT KIND OF MONSTER DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? AND THE REASON I SURVIVED THAT FALL WAS BECAUSE OF A PARACHUTE!"
Touma didn't have time to argue, because at that moment his would-be opponent stepped forward to announce the terms of this battle.
"A 2v2 Badminton match?"
"If you win, we'll give you all of the chocolate from our class! If we win, you would have to do the same with yours!" Vengeful Fury threw down the gauntlet.
Kamijou Touma took a moment to weight the risk against the reward.
It didn't take him long to figure that it was a stupid proposition.
"Sigh, why do I have to keep fighting by your rules? Forget it, there's no reason for us to take part in this at all-"
Unfortunately for him, the rest of the boys from his class didn't agree with that assessment.
"Oh shut up Kamijou you inconsiderate bastard!"
"It doesn't matter for someone like you! But the rest of us barely had any chocolate!"
"Wait, we aren't even going to address the issue about him jumping off a plane?"
Kamijou collapsed on to the ground.
"BWAH? Are you guys really that desperate?"
Despite Touma's strenuous objections, the rest of the boys from class agreed to Vengeful Fury's conditions.
...That is, until he brought out his 'partner'. A massive giant that was towering at least six feet in height, muscular build, with a face of an American Sasquatch. His hard muscles were covered by a cheap jacket, but it looked like it was going to rip apart if he flexed them even slightly. He looked like an incarnation of destruction that could picked up a man and fit him into a very tiny box.
"This is my teammate!" He declared proudly.
"Like Hell he is!" Kamijou Touma cried foul. "That's clearly not a high school student!"
"It's questionable whether or not that can even be considered a human." Himegami added from the sidelines.
Misaka Mikoto walked through the park with an air of melancholy.
Kuroko's words still haunted her.
"Sigh... Am I really too boyish?" She pondered to herself, "Well, maybe a little bit, I don't wear the panties like Kuroko or Uiharu..."
According to this ojou-sama, that's the only example that came to her mind.
"But... Could that be the reason why he doesn't...? Maybe he really does prefer helpless girls... That white sister who's always around him is pretty much the definition of 'defenseless', plus he's only ever serious when it's to s-save m-m-m-me..." Mikoto blushed at the mere thought.
"Maybe if I get into some kind of trouble, he would-?"
Ah sorry, you look like you can take care of yourself just fine; I have no interest in girls who aren't really weak... Bye!
"ARGH! WHAT THE HELL! SORRY FOR NO BEING FRAIL AND HELPLESS!" Mikoto roared as she threw Ball Lightnings (Check it out, it's a real scientific term) at her [Touma-Illusion], earning her cautious looks from wary bystanders.
From a distance, the middle school girl could hear a loud commotion as well as a sizable gathering of high school students.
A familiar looking girl wearing a white nun habit caught her eye.
"What's going on here?"
"My name is Misaka Mikoto, what happen to your perfect memory? At least make the effort to remember the name's of people who had fed you!"
Whether the silver-haired sister didn't hear her or had chosen to ignore her, Mikoto wasn't sure.
"I came looking for Touma, but Aisa told me that a bunch of idiots took him out here for some stupid duel."
"Duel? We're not in the Edo period anymore you know…"
As usual, Mikoto found the spiky-haired boy in the middle of all the commotions. Across him on the other side of the net was a blond-hair teenager, with his pet... Sasquatch?
"Hurry up and choose your partner! Or else I will choose someone for you!" Vengeful Fury declared.
Oh crap, if he picks either Index or Himegami I'm screwed! Where the hell is Fukiyose when you need her?
Touma panicked as he quickly looked for a willing participant but everyone else avoided eye contact with him.
Cowards! What happen to all that talk just moments ago!
"TIME'S UP! I'm going to pick your partner for you!"
Vengeful Fury dramatically pointed his finger at the target.
"And the weakest looking one in this group is... THAT GIRL!"
Everyone turned towards the direction of his finger.
It wasn't the defenseless looking sister in white...
It wasn't the soft spoken Himegami Aisa...
...It was Misaka Mikoto standing beside them.
"Eh?" She blinked.
"Look at her! She's obviously a middle school girl!" Vengeful Fury declared proudly for picking on a younger girl.
Kamijou's classmate whispered grimly behind him.
"Is that guy trying to lose?"
"Never thought anyone could be that stupid..."
"I'll be ashamed to even know him..."
Even an idiot could sense that something was wrong.
"Wait, what's with this sudden change in atmosphere? Don't tell me this middle schooler is actually very strong?" Vengeful Fury frowns in confusion.
Kamijou Touma, who had been quiet since the revelation, suddenly started grinning darkly.
"What are you talking about...? She's obviously a frail and helpless girl! Right everybody?" Touma cued his classmates.
"Of course she is!"
"Is he really that retarded?"
While Vengeful Fury was being distracted, Touma pulled Mikoto to one side.
"Misaka, I know what you're thinking, but please just go along with it!" Touma whispered to Mikoto, as he feared she would get angry when they called her weak, but to his surprise the girl seem to be deep in thought and just absentmindedly nodded.
YES! VICTORY IS ASSURED! Touma's eyes glittered with absolute confidence.
...He thinks of me as a frail and helpless girl! Mikoto's heart was about to burst with emotions.
Little did the Spiky-haired boy realize that he had just dug his own grave.
Two people carrying different thoughts in their hearts, enter a life-or-death duel over confectionaries...
...When Confidence and Delusion come together, the disaster will surely begin!
The setting couldn't be more unbelievable.
Not caring about one another, only concern with individual goals and priorities, that is how the organization of the underworld known as [GROUP] functions. Even if their members actively insult and threaten each other, nobody would spare any thought as long as the other does not hinder their objectives. Should any member show signs of weakness, the other would not hesitate to destroy him for their benefit. It's this hardcore wolf-pack mentality that has become the hallmark and strength of [GROUP]; pathetic words and ideas like 'teamwork' and 'friendship' are for the little girls and sissies of [Judgment].
But on this very special day, it has become more and more apparent that hell had freeze over.
"Maybe the higher-ups finally had her killed and replaced with a clone?" Unabara suggested.
"No it's definitely her nya, I saw the outline of the machines attached to her body..."
"This is ridiculous..."
"So you've said like fifty times already, but I don't see you leaving Accelerator..." The Aztec magician pointed out.
Flashback to thirty minutes before.
The boys of [GROUP] were chilling in the common room of their safe house doing their individual things when suddenly the fourth member- Musujime Awaki burst through the front door carrying some shopping bags, and ran into her room without a word. The three of them glanced at each other before shrugging it off, figuring that it's just another one of those girl things they are not suppose to know about.
After ten minutes Awaki stormed out of her room, again without speaking a word or even acknowledging their presence, went back out.
For a moment none of the guys had processed what just happened.
Suddenly like a bolt of lightning, it dawned upon the three of them what they had just saw but their minds couldn't quite processed.
This brings them to their current situation.
That onee-sama-like and huge-chested high school student girl only ever wears a piece of cloth wrapped over her bare breasts as inner-wear and a blazer that looked like it was part of a school uniform worn over her shoulders. That and her incredibly short skirt made it look like she was asking for something to happen. Even if it serves as a form of eye-catching distraction, there were other warmer alternatives.
For whatever reason, nobody can convince her that it was a very, VERY bad idea to keep wearing those around.
Unabara tried hinting that she's in the company of adolescent boys to her, but she doesn't get it.
Tsuchimikado tried talking reasons of modesty to her, but she wouldn't listen to his words.
Accelerator threatens to pound some sense in her, but they ended up nearly destroying the house.
In the end they just gave up and learnt to live with what they have been given.
But the Musujime Awaki that they are currently shadowing was not one that they had seen before.
Her twintailed hair style was gone, replaced by a long flowing hair. The ugly uniform blazer had metamorphosed into decent looking blouse that hides the ridiculous piece of cloth that wraps over her breasts. The incredible short skirt of hers had somehow grown longer and was accompanied with a pair of knee-length pants.
"When an exhibitionist like Musujime wears normal clothes, something is definitely wrong!"
Since when did you become the girl expert you useless Siscon?! Accelerator thought, but secretly admits that he was thinking along the same lines.
The phenomenon before him was too glaring for even Accelerator to ignore.
Given that she has taken the effort to dress up, it's highly unlikely that she would teleport and risk puking over it. But Awaki isn't stupid; she has taken measures to check if anyone's following her.
Normally when you're being watched, what you need is contrast, a background to make the surveillance stand out. The most operatives are middle age men in suits so if you're walking through a street with a crowd of students in school uniform, they would stick out like sore thumbs. Occasionally she would turn in alleys, speed up or stop suddenly to try and force any could-be tails to reveal themselves through her awkward actions.
Accelerator alone is plenty eye catching alone, so he's staying way back.
Tsuchimikado and Unabara both take turns switching around so that not one of them becomes too obvious. Tsuchimikado's simple uniform is statistically the most common in Academy City, while Unabara's features are rather plain, making them hard to notice.
Doing this kind of nonsense is frustrating, but it also make things all the more intriguing; whatever big secret this is, they could not pass up the chance to use it as possible blackmail material somewhere in the future.
Further down was one of the shelters for Child Error; as she was walking by one of the boys accidentally bump into her.
Instead of getting angry or irritated, Awaki reached down helped him up with an angelic smile on her face.
In that instance, all three guys were thinking the exact same thing with slated eyes-
"I knew it..."
"I knew it..."
"I knew it..."
A few minutes later, Awaki finally stopped in front of a large compound.
"A school? Why would she be here?" Unabara asked.
"I don't know, but I can feel at something incredible is about to happen!" Tsuchimikado was practically drooling with excitement. "The atmosphere is thick here!"
"Are you sure that's not just you panting like a retard?" Accelerator pointed out.
Tsuchimikado ignored him.
"Even though this is bound to be one of those misunderstanding endings, let's see how this turns out anyway nya!"
This can get a little tricky; they cannot follow her through the main gate because it's too obvious, instead they went around the back and climbed over the fence. Not being a student, she wouldn't risk going into the building, chances are if this was as big a deal as Awaki made it out to be, she isn't going to be doing this out in the open, so the back area is the safest bet.
It didn't take long before something happened.
Awaki turned around.
"Ahh it's you... Takezaki..."
"My letter... Have you read it yet?"
This unknown individual that came out of no where has long fringes that obscured half of his face.
Comically hiding in the bushes behind them where the members of the elite wet job unit known as [Group], if you can imagine that.
"W-who's that mysterious new character?" Unabara asked.
"Hell if I know..." Accelerator mumbled.
"But since his eyes are covered by his hair, isn't he the protagonist character of a Gal game nya?" Tsuchimikado exclaimed.
"More importantly, this atmosphere is feeling very wrong..."
From where they were hiding, it looked like Protagonist-kun is about to say something earth-shattering.
"What's with this tense feeling and suggestive setting?"
"I've seen enough love-comedy series to know that this is an obvious misunderstanding nya!"
"Bah, with such an obvious situation, the scenario can't possibly be-"
"I LOVE YOU, MUSUJIME-SAN! PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME!"
Suddenly the world exploded.
On the Sun, the sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the corona causes a solar flare to erupt on the surface, releasing as much as a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second, at the same time it fires billions of charged particles streaming into space. The X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth's ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications. Direct radio emission at decimetric wavelengths may disturb operation of radars and other devices operating at these frequencies.
That was pretty much the figurative comparison of the feelings of the three members of [Group] in that space and time, as they heard those words.
"HOLY CRAP HOLY!"
"WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPEN?"
"DON'T SCREW WITH ME NYA! WHY IS SHE THE FIRST ONE TO GET A LOVE CONFESSION? I'M SOOOO PISSSSEEEDDD!"
Miraculously, Awaki herself was too shaken by those words that she didn't notice anything else.
"Whaaa? Wh-wh-wh-what do you-!" She stuttered. "Don't say things like that all of a sudden!"
"I'll say it as many times as I have to!" Protagonist-kun declared boldly.
"What is she behaving so doki-doki?"
"That's so freaking cheesy!" Accelerator fight hard to swallow his own vomit.
"The development is getting serious some how..."
Protagonist-kun continued with his love speech about how he cannot fight these feelings anymore, he can't remember what he was fighting for.
And that how being with her for the last three days had been the best time of his life-
He goes on about how love is all that he needs, and he found it there in her arms-
Continuing with how do he lives without her, he wants to know-
This is a private emotion, that he feels right now-
And finally he compares her to a kiss from a rose on the grey.
At this point it took all of Accelerator's willpower not to puke... Tsuchimikado and Unabara reminded him that they are still in the bush as well.
Everything was set up nicely just like those love confession scenes from those visual novel games, it's the kind of situation where you find that suddenly there are no one else in the world except for the two of them, if you look up you might see clouds forming heart shapes, or if you listen closely you might even hear piano acoustic of Rod Stewart's "Have I told you lately that I love you?" playing softly in the background.
And just when things are about to reach the climax-
"No, I'm afraid I can't accept your feelings."
The music stopped.
"These last three days... I get to live a life that I could have had thanks to you... It's just that for once... Even someone like me wants to experience what it's like to be a normal girl once in awhile... To be able to be with someone that don't know who I am or what I've done..."
"It's nothing personal... But that's just a pretty illusion, you can never be with me nor will I let you... Because someone from your world should never get involve with people like me, if you know who I truly am... You would definitely feel the same way..."
"I don't care about your past! I just want to be with Musujime-san!"
Awaki laughed softly.
"Hahah, yeah you do... You do care, you just don't know it yet... Even if you're not, I still wouldn't allow you to know me."
"There are still things that I need to do... Debts to pay, sins to atone, lives to repair... Things that can only be done in the shadows... So thanks for letting me play dress-up and pretend... But it's time..."
And just like that she was gone, leaving Protagonist-kun standing there alone in confusion.
It took awhile before anybody said a word.
"... Wow, that was something huh..." Unabara finally spoke.
"... It was stupid, that's what it is..." Accelerator scoffed.
"... Still, every one of us had thought what could have been our normal lives if things didn't turn out the way they did... If we had chosen differently..." Tsuchimikado looked up to the sky.
But the truth was- There were no choices.
It's nothing but a straight line, the illusion comes afterwards, when you ask "Why me?" and "What if?". When you look back and see the branches, like a pruned bonsai tree, or forked lightning. If you had done something differently, it wouldn't be you, it would be someone else looking back, asking a different set of questions.
Life knows two miseries; getting what you don't want and not getting what you want.
This is something that the members of [Group] know all too well.
But still, once in awhile, is it so bad to indulge in an illusion, a fantasy world of what could have been?
Every one of them had thought about it before... Had they not been born into this Fate... Should they try to change things... Would they succeed in keeping the ones that matter the most... Could they actually be allowed to be happy...
Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...
The images they sell are illusions and dreams...
...In other words- Dishonesty.
"Come on, the show's over..."
"Y...yeah... It's better that way..."
Accelerator didn't say anything.
His red eyes were trained on the guy.
There was something weighting down in his gut.
"Wait... Tsuchimikado, something's wrong..."
Accelerator knew that look on Takezaki's face; he had seen it before a thousand of times.
The dark feeling grew in his belly.
Takezaki checked his surroundings, when he was sure that nobody was around to listen, he pulled out his mobile and dialed a number.
"Yeah it's me... The whole thing's a failure, I've wasted a whole week on this crap and the stupid girl didn't even bite... Yeah, screw that- We'll grab her tonight... Yeah... Get Tetsuhara and the men ready for an assault... The location is-"
As the bastard barked out orders on his phone, the boys of Group stood that silently and listened.
When Takezaki was done he stormed off.
The three boys looked at each other for a whole minute, as if telepathically communicating with each other while saying nothing.
Together, they came to the same conclusion-
"None of our business nya."
"Got that right."
"Let her deal with her own crap."
With that said, the three of them went their separate ways, claiming to have other personal commitments to attend to.
It may seem heartless to anybody else, but that's how [Group] does things, kindness is seen as a form of weakness. And any show of weakness even among peers would no doubt lead to an early grave with your name on it.
The Valentine's Day Ultimate Love Hurricane Battle is about to begin!
...Someone deserve to get shot for coming up with that name... Touma facepalmed.
"Fine, I'm ready when you are! If you think you can win us just because of a little handicap, then let me break that pathetic illusion of yours first!"
Kamijou Touma was burning with passionate confidence that he never dared felt before.
His partner- Misaka Mikoto, was also burning up, but her fuel was another kind of passion.
"I'll crush you Kamijou Touma! For the happiness of all the lonely men that you have stolen because of your recklessness! TASTE MY VENGEFUL FURY!"
The blond-haired boy who had a habit of spouting embarrassing lines suddenly ordered his pet Sasquatch to jump up in the air and slam his racket against the shuttlecock.
Wait a minute Mikoto! That guy still considers me a frail girl that needs to protect... I need to do my best... To appear weak! If I do too well, he might think of me as a strong woman! So while he still hasn't changed his mind, I have to appear more cute and feminine!
"Misaka! Here it comes!" Touma exclaimed as the missile races towards the girl.
Mikoto dramatically tripped over thin air.
Time stopped at this moment.
"Owww..." She moaned in a fake monotonous voice.
Kamijou Touma dropped his racket as his mind was blown.
WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT.
Somewhere in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, a single anti-matter particle collided with a lonely matter particle, giving off an incredible amount of light and power. A perfect 100% conversation of energy that if occurred anywhere in Tokyo, would have wiped out Academy City in a blink of an eye.
That was pretty much the figurative comparison of the feelings of Kamijou Touma in that space and time, witnessing the badminton match.
"I couldn't get it..." Mikoto whimpered adorably.
What the hell is going on? Did someone replace Misaka Mikoto with a defected clone? Or was this a scheme from those Magician bastards to try to screw with me? Oh God, don't tell me my bad luck has began infecting other people? Touma began to sweat blood as he tried to wrap his head around the abnormal situation.
"Ummm...Eh... Misaka? What are you doing?" Touma approached her like a scientist approaches unstable Uranium.
"Ow ow ow... I don't know... I guess I'm just too weak a girl..." Mikoto sniffed cutely.
What the hell is with this level of dedication to role playing?
"Hey you, could you help me up to my feet?" She gave him the big dewy eyes.
DON'T SCREW WITH ME! Touma wanted to pull his hair out.
From the other side of the net, someone wasn't getting the feel of the situation.
Vengeful Fury declared his shamelessness to the world with a sense of misguided pride.
"HAHAH! Just as I've predicted! I could tell the second I saw her that she was a frail and helpless girl! Not only because she's a middle girl-"
"-But it was because of her ridiculous child like flat-chest!"
Somewhere in Switzerland, two particles traveling close to the speed of light, smashed into each other. The impact produced forces not seen since the Big Bang around 14 billion years ago.
That was pretty much the figurative comparison of the feelings of Misaka Mikoto in that space and time, as she heard those words.
"Those small breasts are clearly a sign of malnourishment!"
Th-Th-th-th-that Bastard! I'LL KILL HIM! I- No Mikoto, stay calm, breathe, breathe...
It was all Mikoto could do to force herself to remain calm.
"HAH! AN OPENING OF WEAKNESS!"
Vengeful Fury's pet Sasquatch blasted another projectile at her way while she was distracted.
"Misaka look out!"
Touma jumped in front of her, but the projectile was to fast for him to hit- It barely glanced off from the side of his head, it wasn't anything serious but it still drew blood.
"Touma!" Index cried.
"Y-You...!" Mikoto eyes grew in shock.
Touma smiled weakly.
"I'm fine, are you okay Misaka?"
"IDIOT! Of course I'm okay! You're the one's who's bleeding!" Mikoto pulled him by the collar to inspect the wound.
"A shallow cut like this is fine, I'm more worried about you."
"You're not acting like yourself, is something the matter?" Touma suddenly had a very serious look on his face. "If there's something worrying you I'll help you with it, you just need to ask..."
Like a bullet boring its way through her body, Mikoto was tore from the inside.
It was my fault... He got hurt because I was being weak... But, he was worried about me...
If I was strong... He won't ever look my way... But, he wouldn't get hurt protecting me...
At some point, I would have to make a decision...
Do I want to be cared by you? To have you by my side...
Or do I want to care for you? To use my power to protect you...
...I just can't decide yet.
But for now at least, what I really want-
-Is to kick that guy's ass!
"HA! I saw my opportunity and took it! Cause that's what heroes do!" Vengeful Fury declared shamelessly. "Enough fooling around!"
The Sasquatch slammed the shuttlecock using his full power.
A thunderous explosion rang from the court, before anyone could gather their thoughts, the giant Sasquatch had collapsed onto the floor, clutching his stomach in agony.
"What the- Who are you?" Vengeful Fury demanded to know.
"Academy City's Number 3 Level 5 esper, the Electromaster, the Railgun, the Ace of Tokiwadai... Misaka Mikoto! No matter who it is! I'll crush those that stand in my way!"
She grinned menacingly.
"And you... Just happen to pissed me off!"
"Damnit! I won't admit defeat! Come on boys!" Out of nowhere, four other massive Sasquatches leaped forward onto the court, armed with badminton rackets.
"Bring it on!" Mikoto declared.
And the battle was on.
Standing on the side line was Index and Himegami Aisa.
"Hey Aisa, I don't really get what's going on, is badminton suppose to be a game where you kill all your opponents?" Index pondered.
"At this point, I could hardly call it a game anymore..." Himegami shook her head.
For the next minute the sound of thunderous explosion equal to those of Artillery raining fire down plagued the park and soon Anti-Skill had to be called in to break it up.
The Valentine's Day Ultimate Love Hurricane Battle was over.
Tsuchimikado drop himself off at a bus stop.
The 10th School District was just a little south of from his own dorm, which was in the 7th district, aside from various Reformatories and nuclear energy research facilities; it's also the location of the city's only cemetery.
Officially those are the facilities registered on the city's directory. Unofficially however, it's a living dump for drop-out students. The residential area were barely meeting the City's safety standard, various Skill-Out gangs prowl the streets at night looking for trouble, hardly any Anti-Skill presence could be found...
...Which was perfect for the double agent, as he needed to make a quick stop to pick up some supplies, he had hid a weapon cache somewhere in the area, in case of emergencies.
Normally Tsuchimikado does not advocate the use of excessive violence.
But today's a special circumstance.
It took awhile, but Accelerator was able to track down the location.
In front of him stood a massive steel door that guards an empty storage house.
Well, it used to be empty.
Judging from the ruckus coming from within, there were at least two dozen armed thugs waiting behind it.
The Albino boy checked his weapons, two USP tactical 9mm handguns. Each of them hold a magazine of 15 rounds, together that's a total of 30 shots before he needs to reload.
"That's more than enough."
With a flick of a switch on his choker the Strongest Level 5 had arise once more. He calmly walked up to the massive steel structure blocking his way and tapped it gently with his left foot.
The door was blasted off from it's hinges and flew 50 meters to the other side of the storage house. Inside, the men were taken completely by surprise and panicked.
The sadistic smile grew so wide that it threatens to split his face in half.
Accelerator had prepared a party for them.
His very own Valentine's Day massacre.
The man had both his wrist and ankles cable tied to a steel chair bolted to the ground.
A single overhead lamp was the only source of light as it swings to and fro.
Unabara flicked out his Karambit switch-blade and press the flat side of its cold steel against the cheek of his terrified victim.
"Now then," The magician smiled eerily. "Can you guess what the ancient Aztecs were infamous for?"
Unabara poked the tip of the hooked blade gently onto this face, just below the eye.
The man completely freaked out.
It was close to after curfew time when the three of them walked out of the Anti-Skill station after giving their individual statements. Misaka Mikoto had already finished her's and went ahead first.
As he left the station, Kamijou Touma had a lost look written all over his face.
Index noticed this as well.
"Touma! That Tanpatsu went through a lot of trouble to help us out today! Did you remember to say 'thank you' to her?" Index reprimanded him. "At the very least we must say thank you right? That was what you've taught me!"
"Er right, but-"
" I'll be fine, just go... And don't forget to buy dinner!"
"R-Right, sorry about this Index!" Touma apologized before running off.
Himegami Aisa watched until the boy ran out of sight before asking the sister beside her.
"...Is really that alright?"
Index blinked before smiling gently.
"...Of course! Once in awhile even an idiot like Touma should understand certain things... Beside, I'm not worried, Touma always comes back!"
Always comes back...?
Himegami didn't quite get what the girl had meant by those words but she could feel that they were sincere with their intentions.
"Come on Aisa! It's time to loot the corpses of our fallen enemies!"
That other statement however was not so pure of heart.
Takezaki was riding in a large vehicle, surrounding him were two armed mercenaries and the driver up front. He was in a convoy of four vehicles, each of them were armored like a light tank with Titanium alloy plates and bullet-resistant glass.
As they turned a corner into the main road, the driver in the lead vehicle spotted something in the distance.
It was a blond-haired teenage boy standing in the middle of the street.
"Who the hell is-?"
And then he saw what was in his hands.
The short barrel and large revolving chambers was impossible to miss.
The Milkor M32 Multiple Grenade Launcher.
Tsuchimikado lifted up the 5.3kg boomstick with one hand and pressed the stock firmly against his shoulder.
The MGL is a multiple-shot weapon, intended to significantly increase a small squad's firepower when compared to traditional single-shot grenade launchers like the M203. The MGL is designed to be simple, rugged, and reliable. It uses the well-proven revolver principle to achieve a high rate of accurate fire which can be rapidly brought to bear on a target. At a maximum range of 400 meters, it can fire a variety of rounds such as HE, HEAT, anti-riot baton, irritant, and pyrotechnic. It can be loaded and fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled; the cylinder can be loaded or unloaded rapidly to maintain a high rate of fire.
At 50 meters, Tsuchimikado line his sights with the lead vehicle as he calmly strolled forward towards them.
He smirked as the trigger was pulled.
A solid 'Thunk!' could be heard as the projectile, a 40mm grenade, was launched from the tube at 75m/s and exploded at the base of the vehicle, destroying its front wheels and disabling the engine.
The vehicle grinds to a halt while the second one behind it tried to swirl to the left to avoid colliding into it, but gazed the side of the vehicle.
Tsuchimikado fired another round which once again finds itself under the vehicle, destroying all the tires while knocking out the passengers.
The next round smashed head on with the engine of the third, killing the vehicle immediately, but not before swirling into a lamppost.
Takezaki was in the last vehicle.
Tsuchimikado reached into his sling bag and pulled out a special round; it's an anti-riot grenade with CS gas and loads it into a chamber.
He adjusted the angle by tilting it higher then shot off the round which crashed through the windshield before release a cloud of CS gas inside the vehicle.
Its chemical name is [2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile], but it's commonly known as [Tear Gas]. A less-than-lethal chemical compound that stimulates the corneal nerves in the eyes to cause tearing, pain, and even blindness. You'll never forget your first exposure, it feels like your skin and eyes are on fire while you drown from the inside by your own fluids. There's a reason why nothing induces panic like a gas attack, and why it's so effective at dispersing an angry mob; Five seconds of this stuff and even the most determined rioter would call it a day.
Immediately the three passengers in the back seat stumbled out of the smoking vehicle made a mad dash down a back alley.
They ran for two whole blocks before they felt safe enough to catch their breath.
"Who the hell was that psycho?" Mucus was flowing uncontrollably from the gas. "I'm calling Tetsuhara! We need to find out what's going on!"
Takezaki whipped out his mobile phone.
The dial tone rang for seven seconds before someone picked it up.
"Tetsuhara listen we-"
"Gah! Hey, you! Wai-…Ksshhshshhshshhh!"
Takezaki reeled back from the sudden scream.
In the background was the unmistakable sound of gunfire, explosions and cries of the wounded.
Amidst the chaos and single laughter could be heard.
It was a horrible sound.
Like a baby in a blender.
" Come on! Come on! Come on! Is that all? This is fun! Hey, it's freaking wonderland here for me! I'm really crazy now ya shitty bastards! Come on! Squirm for me to see! I want to hear you SCCREEAAAMMM!"
A quick succession of gunshots pierced Takezaki's ears.
Then the phone died.
"God damnit! What's going on? Why are we under attack? Don't tell me Anti-Skill has-!"
"Oh nonono, Anti-Skills are care bears..." spoke a soft male voice with a hint of amusement. "We're more like... Intensive care bears... For lower than hell scumbags who needs special treatment."
It was a voice he had never heard before.
Takezaki turned around and saw one of his subordinates lying motionless on the ground.
The other, was wielding a Karambit with his index finger was in the finger guard. He twirls it menacingly as he approaches Takezaki with a smile.
"Oh that guy? Don't worry, I'm sure Anti-Skill would have found what's left of him by now, I'm just borrowing his face."
The description was intentionally vague to paint a gruesome picture of a man with his face skinned off by a psychopath.
"Who are you?"
The 'mysterious' assailant grabs him by the tie and threw him against the wall.
"Who am I isn't important, what we want however- You should paid attention- It seems that we have a mutual acquaintance- Musujime Awaki?"
"What! How do you-! Wait.. What do you mean 'we'?"
"We, as in the guy would just blow up your little convoy on the streets... We, as in the guy who's making Swiss cheese out of your men... We, as in me who's going to cut you into little pieces and feed you to the fishes!"
He twirled the Karambit again with his finger.
"Well what is it that you want? I have nothing to do with that girl! I swear it! I'm just some guy they hired to get close to her! I got no beef with you people!"
"Musujime was OUR target! Because of that stupid stunt you pulled, security around her had tighten up so much that we couldn't carry out our plan to wack her! And cause me a lot of money! The entire city is on high alert! There's no way we can get to her now while you're still here!"
He pulled out a plane ticket for Academy City's airport threw it down.
"Some people live, and some people die- There is one way you get to live- You run, right here right now, there's a plane leaving in one hour at the airport, you get on that plane and you never come back ever again you hear me?"
"What! I can't just leave-!"
The 'mysterious' assailant frowned.
"Did I sound like a used car salesmen?" He kicked him hard in the gut with his knee three times and slammed him against the wall, pressing the sharp tip of the Karambit against his jugular. "This is not a negotiation!"
"No wait! P-Please, please... You can't..."
"No... I could... I really could...You have no idea how... Easy you're making this for me..."
Takezaki looked like he was about to wet himself as the metallic blade scraps his neck.
"O-kkay listen, you win alright? I'll run! Please just let me run! Just let me run..."
The blade scrap along the side of his neck till it reaches the Adam's apple; the tip of the weapon pushed a millimeter deep into the skin.
Time froze for an eternity, before Etzali breathed one word-
(Crystal Kay - "Konna ni Chikaku de")
Running at full speed, it didn't take all for Kamijou Touma to catch up with her.
The brown haired girl stopped.
"You... What do you want...?"
Kamijou Touma hunched over while he tried to catch his breath.
Uncharacteristically, Misaka Mikoto waited for him.
Love is a sad thing...
I realized it the night you were beside me.
Cause better than anybody else,
I know you too well.
"Sigh... I'll just come out and say it- Are you alright?"
Instinctively Touma stretched out his right arm the moment he finished that sentence.
"...What are you doing?"
"Er... Nothing I guess..."
"Listen, I'm tired and-"
"I want to thank you for helping me today!" Touma bowed his head. "Even though it was nothing but a ridiculous, troublesome mess, you really help me out of a pinch! I'm not sure what has been bothering you, or why you weren't being yourself but thinking about it, I honestly don't mind at all!"
"Because you are Misaka Mikoto- A strong but frail girl, a weak but brave girl, who wants to help people and needs people to help her at the same time. Both side are you, there was never a need to be one or the other! Whether you're strong or you're weak, I'll still come to help you next time! Kamijou Touma is not the kind of person that would let a person's strength get in his way of helping them! I don't need lame excuses like that!"
After saying those words, Touma stepped forward and looked into her eyes.
"The Misaka Mikoto I know is not the kind of girl that has a need for illusions at all!"
Even your simple kindness,
Will make my chest... So painful!
It was February 14th.
The wind was cold, the night was dark, and the streets were empty.
Save for one boy and one girl.
Do I want to be cared by you?
Or do I want to care for you?
Maybe choice was an illusion all along...
"It's been awhile since you've said those kinds of things to me.." She mumbled.
"Hmm, it's nothing," Mikoto shook her head, her shoulders were now relaxed, the illusion of the weight she had been carrying had been destroyed by that boy. Not by the power of his hand, but by the conviction of his words.
Suddenly she thought of an idea.
"Oh I almost forgot..."
The Ace of Tokiwadai reached into her bag and pulled out a heart-shaped chocolate, wrapped in white paper and tied with a golden ribbon.
"Those under-classmates of mine gave me too much chocolate, could you help me finish some?"
"...Aren't you a girl as well?"
"...Do you want to try dying?"
"Er no... But that aside, are you sure?" Touma felt a sense of awkwardness. "They make it especially for you..."
"Its fine, I have more waiting for me anyway..." Mikoto assured him.
"Okay if you say so..."
The spiky-haired boy picked up the chocolate offered to him, unwrap it, and took a small bite.
"How... Was it?"
"...Pretty good actually; this girl must have put in alot of effort for you..."
"...I see, that's good." Mikoto flashed a genuine smile.
"But it's a shame; don't you want to try some?"
"Wah? Nono! Its okay I-"
Touma stealthy insert the part of the chocolate that he had bitten from into her open mouth.
"How was it?"
Mikoto's overly flustered face closely melted the chocolate.
She nodded meekly like a shy kitten.
This is... This is so close I'm watching you
Why is it... Why is it we are only friends?
No matter how, no matter how strong my feelings are
If they don't reach you, You won't understand
I'm so in love with you!
It was late when the three male members of [Group] returned.
"Where the hell did you three go?"
As soon as that was said, Accelerator, Tsuchimikado Motoharu and Unabara Mitsuki instantly directed their sight on the one that spoke – Musujime Awaki, who went back to wearing those ridiculous clothes again.
As one – completely as one – All three indicated it'll take too long to explain while each one of them gave the other two the slightest of nod that was the universal man signal;
Guy pact, this never happened.
If I confess that "I love you",
I probably won't be able to smile again.
But to continue as friends, with fake smiles...
I can't stand it any longer...!
"WELCOME BACK ONEE-SAMA!"
"By the way, I had taken care of those chocolate from the girls, it should be of manageable quantity for you now..."
If Kuroko had heard about her run in with Anti-Skill earlier just now, she must have chosen not to bring it up. Mikoto herself was too exhausted by her experience today and just collapsed onto her bed.
Kuroko began to dig through Misaka's bag, looking for something...
"Uh? Onee-sama? What happen to the heart-shaped chocolate that you made? The one with the white wrapping and gold coloured ribbon? Where did you put it?"
The truth is... The truth is, I always loved you
I'll always... I'll always keep loving you
Only to you... Only to you, I want to send these feelings...
I whisper them to the blue sky...
I'm so in love with you!