I walked up to the Administrations Building. The street lights were the only source of light; they cast eerie shadows on the sidewalk and building. I walked up to the door and pressed the page button. Nothing. I pressed it again. Figures. Everyone would be in bed at this time of the morning. I started to turn away when the red light turned green. Someone had unlocked the door. I pulled open the glass door and walked inside the building. No signs of life at the Secretary's desk. Strange. I began walking towards it when the overhead speaker clicked on.
"Mr. Walker, I'm waiting for you in my office." the Principal's voice crackled over the speakers, before they clicked off. I frowned, glanced at the desk again, before walking over to the Principal's office.
She was seated at her desk, sorting through papers. I walked in and she glanced up.
"Good. I heard your conversation with Accelerator and Shokuhou-san. I'm afraid I can't let you participate in the Underground." She said, cutting right to the chase.
"I'm afraid not letting me isn't an option. Since you were watching, I assume you heard about Dante as well." I said in a low, level tone. Saying that name sent chills and bad feelings through my system.
"We both know that Judgement did a large-scale search of Academy City for your so-called Dante, and found nothing! The case reports only have two things; the pictures of the bodies and your statement as evidence. There were no signs that anyone else had been in that building. 'Dante' is a figment of your imagination, created to hide your own inner rage!" Her voice rose to a shout at the end, as she slammed a portfolio down in front of me. I read the words on it and looked up at her.
"Why...why did you bring this out in front of me?" I asked in a strangled tone. There, in the portfolio, were the psychologists' reports about my mental state after Case #773. They had, based on the evidence and my state, written me off as unfit for service and stripped me of my rank and job. They had even considered putting murder charges on me. I had pleaded with them to let me go, that I could find Dante. But they hadn't . They had left me in that padded cell for a month, until they declared me mentally stable. I still shivered as I remembered those uncaring eyes, the probing minds, and the hurtful words of those psychologists.
"Because I needed to see how well prepared you were to face the threats of the Underground. Had I not seen this folder or heard the name 'Dante', it wouldn't have changed my mind. What decided this was your reaction towards Shokuhou-san. There was no call for that. You didn't even acknowledge the pain and fear in her eyes as you strangled her. That's no way for a teacher to behave. Not even an uneducated boor should act that way." She muttered as she turned away from me.
I stood up and began walking towards the door. "Then I'll be turning in my resignation papers later this morning."
"You can't do that! It's just a piece of your past your mind created! It shouldn't play such a big role in your life!" The Principal's voice met me as I began opening the door.
I paused with the door partly open. "You don't understand. My past is what haunts my every living moment. I can barely live with what happened that day. You know how they found Mika-chan, right? Torn in half and beaten beyond recognition! I had to watch as they all died...you expect me to walk away when I have a chance to bring justice to my fallen comrades?"
"No. I suppose I don't. Fine. You'll be allowed to join in the Underground and remain here as a teacher. I only have one request." The Principal said.
"And that is?" I asked, still poised at the door.
"Don't hurt Ray or Misaka-san. They are both like daughters to me; I'd hate to see anything happen to them." She spoke, and a tinge of emotion touched the edge of her voice.
"I'll try not to. If they come between me and the prize...no guarantees." I muttered as I walked through the door.
I passed the secretary's desk and paused. Then I walked over and glanced over the edge. There was Sakura, sleeping soundly in a very tight pair of pajamas. I guessed they had been made for children her height, but the original design hadn't been intended to encompass a chest the size she had. I glanced away from her tight outfit and looked at the computer. On it was something strange. A camera file was copying to a different directory. I leaned over the desk and grabbed the mouse. The file suddenly was canceled by an outside source, but I already memorized the name. I opened the search program and typed in the name, then clicked search. It began sifting through the camera files, until it stopped with around ten hits. I started the first, and found myself watching a bunch of girls in a locker room. I slammed down on the close key, shutting down the file. I thought back to the appearance of the locker room. It seemed to float somewhere in my memory. Suddenly, it clicked. It couldn't be. I clicked the next file, ignoring the girls taking showers and looked closely at the locker room. Then it dawned on me and my worst nightmare was fulfilled; That had been the same locker room Accelerator and I had been in. I began opening the camera files one by one, closing the ones with only girls in them. I stopped when there was only one remaining. I could feel the sweat running down my back as I opened it. The video began playing, but no one was there. I began to sigh in relief when two people walked in. Accelerator and I. Oh crap. This was bad. Very bad. I took a deep breath and closed the file. Someone had been hacking the system. I started to move when something soft pressed down on my shoulder.
A small whisper entered my ear. "I was worried when you started watching the video feeds, but figured out what you were looking for after a while. See anything you like?"
I almost died from shock as Sakura bit my ear. I had thought she was asleep, but here she was, leaning on my shoulder. She let go of my ear and kissed my cheek. I tried to make my rapidly beating heart slow down, as Sakura whispered. "Want to have some fun? It's only 4:30; we could be 'finished' before 6AM." She breathed on my neck, which made me shiver. I realized I smelled, only so faintly, the scent of alcohol. So that was it.
"I'm sorry; I have to go get ready for my classes. Maybe later?" I slid out from under Sakura's arm with a weary smile. She frowned at me as I walked towards the door slowly. She waved goodbye when I did the same.
I left through the door, leaving that detrimental situation behind. I mean, she was nice on the eyes...and extremely soft on the skin; but, had the Principal walked in, I would be kissing this job goodbye. Not worth an hour of happy times, for sure. I shook my head as I headed back towards the dorm. As I began walking inside, I realized I still had my glasses on. I glanced up and found myself facing a group of girls getting dressed for early jogging. This last assumption was based solely on their outfits. They looked at me, standing there, as I looked at them. One of the girls finally spoke.
"Sensei, what do you need?" She asked in a curious tone.
"Ah...I need to speak to Misaka-san. Would you call her down here for me?" I asked in what I hoped was an official voice.
The girls all began chattering as the girl I had asked ran back into the dorms. They were sneaking looks at me and whispering as well. The girl came back down, followed by a very disoriented and ruffled Misaka, still dressed in fuzzy pajamas. I gave her attire the once-over and commented.
"Nice. Get it from the kids' department?"
"Wha-what?! You told me it was important, but didn't say who!" Misaka shouted at the girl, who ducked her head with a mischievous smile. The girls headed out for their jog, as Misaka led me inside. She pulled me into the kitchen and made me sit down. Then she left to change. I stood up and fixed a pot of coffee. I was lightly sipping a hot mug of coffee when she made her second appearance. This time she was dressed in her uniform. She sat down across from me and took a deep breath.
"What did you need, Luke?" She asked in a level tone.
"Do you want me to be honest?" I asked in an equally level tone.
"Are you hiding anything from me?" I asked, changing gears. I hoped she would confess about the Underground participation. But what I heard next startled me.
"I-I told Ray not to do it, but she's adamant about going with him." Misaka stuttered as she glanced away from me. Now, this was news to me.
"I see. She's going with who now?" I asked in an icy tone as I leaned forward in my chair.
"Ah...crap." Misaka mumbled, realizing she had spoken of something I hadn't known. She looked at me and then behind me. She paled as she slid her chair back. "She's going...with him." She pointed at someone behind me, and I could feel a chill wash over me. But it was a familiar chill, one that I felt whenever around that 'guy'.
I turned in my chair, still holding my mug of coffee, to face Accelerator. "So, you're already engaging in 'flirtatious' activity with the students, Mr. Accelerator?" I asked.
"I can't recall signing any papers that forbid me from talking to students and tutoring them, Luke. But if you wanna take us there, why are you here, alone, with a student at this hour of the morning. Just 'chatting'?" Accelerator stepped past me, heading towards the coffee. I watched his back as he poured his cup of coffee. He turned back towards me and took a long sip. "Ah, that's good coffee. Now, where were we?"
"Where are you taking Ray?" I spoke coldly, setting my coffee down on the counter as I stood up.
"I'm not honor-bound to tell you, am I?" Accelerator said in his annoying, scratchy voice.
My patience snapped and I started to go for my glasses as Accelerator began setting his coffee down.
A sudden, trembling voice stopped both of us. We both glanced at Misaka, but she was silent in her chair. "Senseis...please stop."
I suddenly recognized the voice: Kiburashi-san. I turned around and faced her.
"Kiburashi-san, good morning! Accelerator-san and I were having a bit of a harsh morning, and-" I began speaking, but the girl spoke over me.
"I'm sorry, Sensei, but you and Accelerator-san need to take your arguments and coffee to the Teacher's Lounge. This dormitory is only opened to teachers at 6:00am, and it's currently 4:45am. Please leave now." Kiburashi said in a small, trembling voice as she pointed at the door.
Accelerator and I stood there in shock until he chuckled, a short, disturbing sound.
"Never thought I'd be ordered out by the most timid girl in Advanced Math. Great job, Kiburashi." Accelerator said as he walked out. I followed him and glanced back. Kiburashi collapsed against the edge of the kitchen doorway, trembling. Misaka ran over to help her. Good. I walked outside and glanced around. Accelerator was gone. That was strange. I began walking down the sidewalk when he struck.
If Accelerator told me he had never had martial arts lessons, I would've have called him a liar...and bastard, for good measure. He suddenly appeared in front of me, using some sort of move to teleport forward. He lashed out with a punch, driving it into my gut. If it had been his muscle alone driving the punch home, I would've remained standing. But include his vectors and his strength triples exponentially. I flew backwards, striking the brick wall. I felt dust come off the bricks around me and rain down from above as I fell away from the wall. I coughed and struggled to catch my breath as he knelt next to me.
"So, Luke, what were your plans?" He asked in an off-tone.
I went for my glasses, but already his foot was smashing into my side. I smashed into the wall sideways and collapsed onto the pavement. Here, now, I was powerless. I looked up through bleary eyes as Accelerator walked towards me. I forced myself to stand and move, but my steps were shaky and my balance all but gone. I managed to run fourteen feet before falling to the ground. He walked up behind me and grabbed my shirt.
"Well, gaijin, what was your brilliant plan?!" He shouted, as he threw me backwards. I hit the ground, rolling and crashing to a stop fifteen feet away. My entire body was on fire now. I closed my eyes shut as pain ran through my entire body. I finally opened them up, in time to see a foot flying towards my face. When that hit...it was over. I closed my eyes, cursing my luck. His foot hit my glasses, causing them to crack and slip off as his foot ground into my face...and then time froze.
I realized that I was still very much alive as I opened my eyes. The impact from the slight tap has slid me another four feet away, but it hadn't done too much damage. The thing that had been hurt the worst were my glasses. Hanging suspended in the air, the glass inside the lenses had been cracked and spider-webbed out. It could have been worse as I forced myself to stand and retrieve them. I touched the glasses gingerly. The lenses didn't crumble into dust, but that was little reassurance to me. I folded them into my pocket as I walked towards the dormitories. I walked inside, headed towards a certain room, and, inside that room, a certain item. I walked back outside, now holding the old push-broom. By now my pain had subsided a little, and Accelerator was still kicking thin-air. I suppressed my powers and he completed his kick, stumbling forward. He glanced around, puzzled, then turned.
"You bastard." He hissed as he saw the broom. He ran forward, using his vectors to increase the speed of the run. I let my powers flow back slightly and he slowed down tremendously. I ran forward, sliding the broom down to ankle height. He hit it and tripped slowly through the air. I let my powers flow back, as he crashed into the ground and rolled once. He stood up and glared at me. "You have a problem with Ray and I, you'll face me about it. Don't go playing a hero; your turn has come and gone, Luke." He muttered, as I glared at him. He turned and walked towards the Teaching Halls. I walked over to the fountain and looked at myself. I had a bloody nose and my chin was slightly bruised. I guessed it would take around fourteen hours for the bruise to fade away. I let my powers snap back into place as I headed back to the Dormitories.
After laying in bed for around ten days in my time, I finally sat up and glanced at the clock. 5:30am. Goddammit. I was starving and the cafeteria still wasn't open for breakfast. My bruise had healed; only a small scar remained where I had been cut. I sighed and tried something different. If I could slow down my perception of time...why couldn't I speed it up? I focused on reversing my powers, but nothing happened. Of course it wouldn't work! I laughed at myself inside as I glanced at the clock. 6:15am. What the hell? I stared at the clock, then looked outside. The sun was coming up. It hadn't been just a couple seconds ago. What?! I jumped out of bed, changing my clothes to something clean. I slowed down time and ran downstairs. I sat down on the water fountain out by the dormitories and took a deep breath. Time to see if it really did work...I focused on reversing my powers, but this time left my eyes open. As I watched the doors to the dormitories, girls began racing out. It was ridiculous how fast they were moving. Then I realized: I had slowed down myself. I stood up and began walking towards the cafeteria, pulling out my shattered glasses and putting them on. They still worked, thank god. I walked inside the cafeteria and went to the line of girls waiting for breakfast. Most were chatting happily with their neighbors as they waited in line. I sighed and decided to 'speed up' the line.
I walked back from the cafeteria, full and ready to work. I took off my glasses and walked into the Dorms. Girls who were late getting up had been rushing around, though now they were frozen. I passed them and headed upstairs. I gathered my lesson plans and headed to the Teaching Hall. I glanced at the clock as I passed; 6:45. I had an hour and fifteen minutes before classes started. I slowly started to smile as I headed towards the door. I had time to plan my 'assault'.
I walked into my classroom and set my brief-case down. I walked back into the hallway and looked around. None of the other girls were here yet. I walked back into my classroom and began sorting through the papers. I picked out the assignments from my first class period that were graded and put them in a stack at the corner of my desk. I set all the other papers to the side before starting to leaf through the stack. I pulled out two particular papers. I glanced at the names twice; Misaka Mikoto and Magnifying Ray. Ugh, Ray's full name still bothered me. I wished a long time that she would get a normal name like the rest of society. But she was a free spirit. I wrote a small note on the edge of both girls' assignments and set them with the rest of the class's papers. I sighed again and lay down on my desk. It was getting harder the longer I waited; I could feel Dante's death at my fingertips but I was unable to skip my duties here. Otherwise I'd just fast-forward time like I had previously. I heard a shuffle from the door and glanced up. Two girls were stepping inside, chatting happily. I smiled and stood up.
"Good morning, Rika-chan and Eri-chan." I said as I walked over.
"Greetings, Sensei!" both girls said as they bowed slightly.
I nodded towards them in a show of respect before walking past them back out into the hallway. I watched as girls began filtering in from outside, heading towards their classes and going about their lives. As I watched, a small pang began to grow inside. I shook my head and turned back towards my class.
There are few things more awkward than being in a classroom surrounded by middle school girls without the defense of having to teach. My 'students' managed to force me into conversation, most of which was about what kind of girls I like. I tried to make it as vague as possible, but there were a few girls in the group that knew how to take a joke too far. They began listing names, trying to coax a confession out of me. I tried stalling for time, but it was a strategy doomed to fail.
My last couple students walked in as I began muttering a name.
"Well, if you need a name, maybe...Misaka!" I exclaimed as I noticed the Railgun headed for her desk. There was a collective gasp around me as I walked towards her. "We need to talk."
"Sensei's already going for it!" exclaimed Eri, the cheerful brunette who was a level 4 telepath.
"No, idiot! I'm just talking to her about something else!" I glared at the brunette before setting Misaka's paper on her desk. She glanced at the message written in the corner of the paper and paled visibly. She tore it off and crumpled it in her palm as she looked at me.
"So, was that what 'this' morning was really supposed to be about?" Misaka muttered.
I nodded as I walked back to my desk. A bunch of girls jumped on Misaka, trying to coax a confession out of her. I shook my head and sighed. That was when the door was shoved open with enough force to cause it to bang. I glanced up and saw the source of mine and Accelerator's problems: Ray. She began walking towards her desk as the bell rang, signaling the start of class.