Disclaimer: I don't Toaru Majutsu no Index or anything in it. I don't think I could handle that responsibility. Not properly, anyways.


Stygian

The room is dark.

Well, of course it's going to be dark, the boy tells himself; there are no lights or windows.

It is a cold, empty, bare room, constructed from the strongest metals this city has to offer. On the other side of the door are multiple guards, all armed especially to take down the esper they are guarding - namely, him. Though, he knows that they know that if he really decides for it to be so, the weapons and the assorted metals - no matter how strong they are - will be useless.

The eight-year-old boy buries his face in his knees and frowns. He wants to stretch his legs, maybe run around a bit...

...But the room is too small and cramped. He can barely see his own hands. And, he knows that if he does so much as sigh, the guards will storm in and hassle him. Then the security around the room will triple.

'Yes, it's best to stay quiet...I'll be good this time...' he murmurs wordlessly.

How much longer will he have to be good "this time", though?

How long is "this time"?

This part of the Special Ability Institute is separate from the regular rooms of the other Child Errors.

Noises can be heard from outside; the guards' rambunctious laughter echoes off the walls, fills the room with a sound that causes him anxiety and anger. It isn't fair. Why is he locked up, treated as if he is inhumane, while the real inhumane people are free? He is as human as they are. So why...

"...'Why are they so loud?' says Misaka as Misaka voices a question," someone whispers.

The boy looks up and sees a girl sitting across from him. She looks about ten years old and has light brown shoulder-length hair. A large smile graces her face and she is wearing a sky blue polka-dotted dress. Her head rests on her hands. The most unusual thing about her is that she seems to be radiating some sort of light - not enough to light up the room, but enough so that he can make out her features.

Or maybe his eyes are simply accustomed to the dark, and he's just seeing things.

"How did you get in here...?" The words are stuck in his throat. He can barely get them out from days of not using his voice, never having been spoken to or needing to speak, but somehow they do leave his mouth, in a raspy whisper.

The girl doesn't answer his question directly. Instead, she looks at him and smiles even more. " 'You should ask them to let you play with the other kids. They sound like they're having fun!' says Misaka as Misaka tries giving a helpful suggestion."

Her so-called "helpful suggestion" only fills him with resentment, and he looks back down. "...I can't. They're keeping me in here on purpose."

In his peripheral vision, he sees her staring at him intently, like she expects him to keep going. So, he speaks a bit more: "Besides, what's the point? The other kids hate me. Even if they did let me out, I'd just be alone." Again.

She shrugs, and her expression grows serious. " 'Why are you in here in the first place? You seem as regular as the other kids out there,' says Misaka as Misaka speaks her observations. 'Sure, you're a little on the pale side...' " The boy wrinkles his nose in irritation. " '...but other than that, Misaka can see you and those kids having a good time together. All you have to do is ask,' says Misaka as Misaka tries persuasion."

He decides not to say anything, and she sighs.

"...'It's because of your ability, isn't it?' says Misaka as Misaka asks you gently." He looks up quickly and blinks, and in that instant she is right next to him, extending her hand.

" 'Part of the reason why you're complying with a condition like this is because you believe what they're telling you. That you are a monster because of your ability,' says Misaka as Misaka tries reasoning. 'Well, Misaka will prove that wrong right now,' says Misaka as Misaka makes a sincere promise." Before the boy can stop her, she takes his hand.

He braces himself for what will happen. Already, visions of her arm breaking, the small fingers of her hand twisting this way and that, fill his mind.

'Look what you've done...and you said you'd be good...'

And yet, his waiting is in vain.

Her hand and arm remain intact.

The girl smiles slightly at his shock, and says in a soothing voice, " 'See? You're not a monster. You're every bit as human as they are...' "

Her comforting tone has the right effect. The boy closes his eyes. The memories of the boy at the playground and his broken arm and the entire Anti-Skill army at his feet begin to fade. Maybe, just maybe, she's right.

" '...so don't be so hard on yourself...' "


"...Accelerator!' says Misaka as Misaka calls your name!"

Said teen opens his eyes to a pouting Last Order with her arms crossed over her chest.

" 'Uwoooh...! Misaka has been calling your name repeatedly now! Were you ignoring Misaka? Or were you really sleeping that hard?' says Misaka as Misaka feels irritated!" She suddenly smiles. " 'Yomikawa says dinner is ready!' says Misaka as Misaka drops off an important message!"

"..." Accelerator looks at her. "...Hey."

"?" She cocks her head to the side, her ahoge whipping back and forth.

"Come here, brat."

Her cheeks puff out. " 'Misaka is not a brat,' says Misaka as Misaka fumes!" But, she walks over and squats down in front of him. " 'What is it?' says Misaka as Misaka questions that odd expression on your face."

He doesn't respond, only reaches out and hugs her tightly.


So this is my first Toaru story - my take on the Special Ability Institute (under the loose assumption, as usual, that Accelerator was a Child Error...yeah yeah yeah) - and of course it'd have to be AxLO and sappy and mildly depressing because that's, unfortunately, how I roll. Yep.

I'm still getting the feel of these characters, so if you're reading this, congrats! You made it! And thanks for reading.

~Ayuzar