A Certain Complex Feeling
Chapter 7 ~ Not Part of the Plan
"Let's watch this tonight! Misaka proposes as Misaka holds the printout in front of Accelerator's face!"
The albino Last Order was talking to opened his eyes from his nap. He shifted his comfortable position on the couch a little before he turned his head to said printout, only to shoot it a short glance before grumbling, "Huh?"
"This movie! Misaka repeats as Misaka points with her finger to the title to turn Accelerator's attention to it. Misaka wants to watch it with you tonight!"
Again, Accelerator turned his head, inspecting the flyer.
It read 'Young, Wild and Free' with the promising subtext 'When Hibiko and Katsumi flee from their conservative families to follow their hearts, a love story second to none unfolds.'
These two phrases were printed above the shadowy figures of two people dancing on a field in the rain with the dominant background colors of purple and pink.
If that's even half as crappy as it sounds, I'll heave up before the opening credits.
He looked up to Last Order, whose eyes were sparkling with eagerness.
"Like hell," the esper grunted and turned away, preparing himself for yet another nap. But he hadn't anticipated the girl's determination.
Before he had even rolled over completely, Last Order grabbed his shoulder and turned him back to face her.
"Misaka really wants to see this! Misaka insists as Misaka refuses to give up," she emphasized, waving the poster.
Accelerator mumbled something inaudible, but Last Order was sure it was something insulting.
"Misaka doesn't want to go alone, Misaka says as Misaka tries to appeal to Accelerator's sense of responsibility."
The albino shot her a fiery glance.
"Then go with one of your friends! You made many in your school, didn't you tell me that the other day? Or ask that Misaka. Or Yomikawa. Or Yoshikawa. Not me." He accentuated the last word heavily, but Last Order put on a pout.
"But Misaka wants to go with you! Besides, Misaka has already asked everyone, but none of them has time tonight, Misaka adds mumbling as Misaka feels disappointed by her friends."
"So I'm the fallback option?" Accelerator asked sarcastically without thinking. Just as he realized what Last Order would think he implied, the girl put her hands on his shoulders.
"That's not true! Misaka thought of you at first, but Misaka was sure you'd decline her offer, so Misaka had given up and asked her other friends, but now that no one can come with her, Misaka decided to give it a try nonetheless! You're Misaka's most important friend, Accelerator! Misaka adds as Misaka wants to brush away Accelerator's sad feelings."
"I'm not sad!" Accelerator snapped as he tried to push her hands away. "Sheesh, don't get the wrong idea."
Last Order nodded understanding, and Accelerator realized that no matter what he said, she would cling on to the belief that he actually cared whether he was her first choice or not, thought it really was quite the opposite: When it came to whom she wanted to watch cheesy love stories with, he highly hoped she would put him on the very bottom of the list – preferably keeping him out of that list completely.
The brunette smiled brightly, unaware of Accelerator's vexed thoughts.
"So, will you come with Misaka tonight? Misaka asks as Misaka already picks out an outfit in her head."
"I said I won't come!" The albino spat out angrily, but Last Order ignored his rejection. She pushed herself up from the couch and stretched her arms, then she let out an exhausted yawn.
"Misaka still has some homework to finish, so Misaka will go to her room now. Which leads Misaka to thinking..." She added recalling and leaned to Accelerator. "Misaka wants you to come to school with her one of these days."
"What?" Accelerator had just laid down snugly, ready to ignore Last Order's request, and now looked at her with only one eye open. This one eye, however, seemed displeased enough for two already.
"Misaka would love to have classes with you, so Misaka would be really happy if you came to school once in a while, Misaka explains as Misaka voices a wish she's been having ever since she started school."
"Going to school? Heck, isn't this movie tonight enough already?" Accelerator grumbled both galled and stunned.
Unexpectedly, a wide grin spread on Last Order's face. "So you're coming with Misaka tonight! Misaka triumphs as Misaka caught Accelerator agreeing to her invite!"
Accelerator had to blink a few times before he realized her point.
"What!? No, I didn't -" he started, but Last Order had already turned away, humming a happy melody.
Just before the girl arrived at the door to her room, she turned back to Accelerator with a jolly smile. "The movie starts tonight at nine pm, so let's get going at a quarter past eight, Misaka recommends as Misaka feels really happy Accelerator is going with her."
The albino sighed distressed. "Whatever," he waved with his hand before he finally laid down defeated.
At a quarter to nine, the two of them were part of a long line in front of the cinema.
All around were either couples holding hands, or girls with an obvious soft spot for cheesy stories.
If I use Deflection, I could crush my own head and die, Accelerator thought to himself aggravated. This was not the first thought of this kind that had occurred to him while waiting in line for the counter, but it was surely one of the most effective ones.
Or I could rip my heart out, he continued to muse as he shot a disgusted look to the posters set up around the cinema.
Seriously, who likes this crap!?"Misaka is so excited for this movie! Misaka says as Misaka crosses her fingers for getting a good seat."
Last Order had obviously put a lot of effort into her outfit and style for that evening, and when she turned her head to Accelerator to send him an excited smile, warmth grasped the albino's heart.
He sighed surrendering and Last Order tilted her head.
"What is wrong, Accelerator? Misaka asks as Misaka notices him sighing."
Accelerator looked down to her. For a moment, he felt like picking a fight, stressing once more that he was not looking forward to that movie and had already been considering killing himself instead of facing boredom and disgust for the next two hours. But her chestnut eyes had something special to them, so he just gave her a quick grunt.
"I'm tired from waiting in line," he lied, putting some of his annoyance into his statement to make it more believable.
"Misaka is really sorry for that. But Misaka told you we should have come sooner because it's the premiere and you -"
"Yeah yeah, I got it!" Accelerator interrupted her with a wave of his hand.
Finally, the two got to the counter.
"How can I help you?" The girl behind the glass asked with a friendly, though forced smile. After enduring already half an hour of excited teenagers, even her trained courtesy had run dry.
While Last Order asked for two tickets in the third row, Accelerator was caught up in yet another fantasy on how to escape this movie – by now, he could easily make a 'Top 20 ways I'd rather die than watching this crap' list.
"Oh no!" Last Order's voice pulled him out of his dark thoughts. He turned to her, to see her scrabbling through her bag.
"What's wrong, brat?"
Very slowly, the brunette lifted her head to Accelerator.
"M-Misaka has... Misaka has forgotten her purse back home, Misaka says as Misaka becomes a little teary-eyed," she sniffled both out of embarrassment and disappointment.
There were a few seconds of silence.
Great. Then that's it, Accelerator thought with relief. All there's left is some annoyed comment and I'm home in no time.
It was a tempting thought and he had already slightly opened his mouth, ready to spit out something dismissive. But then, his eyes were captured by Last Order's.
Why are you staring at me like that? He thought to himself as he withstood her saddened regard. Another sniffle escaped Last Order's lips, and a small pain struck through his chest.
Without a single word, he reached into his pocket and took out his wallet, earning him a thankful squeal from Last Order.
"Here you go," the vender handed their tickets over after she received the money from Accelerator.
The white-haired teenager almost sighed to himself.
Seriously, I'm getting soft, Accelerator thought disgusted.
He and Last Order had already turned away halfway when the saleslady saw them off by saying, "Have a nice date."
Accelerator stiffened up upon hearing these words.
Date!? He echoed in his mind and a wave of embarrassment and aggravation washed over him.
For a moment, the esper was torn between either completely ignoring that statement, or turning back to tear down the woman's booth. As if she could read his mind, Last Order placed one hand on Accelerator's shoulder.
"D-don't worry about it, Accelerator," she said with a red face. "W-we both know it is not a date. We're just here as friends, Misaka says as Misaka silently pities it's the truth."
"Huh?" The albino made at the last part of her sentence and Last Order's face flushed even brighter.
"T-there's no reason for you to be mad! Misaka's true wishes and hopes have nothing to do with us watching this movie as friends! It's only a date if we both agree on it, so it's not a date right now, Misaka finishes as Misaka is really ashamed she said all that just now and hopes for Accelerator to just ignore her stupid blabbering."
She avoided his eyes as she talked and Accelerator felt at least as hot as her red face looked.
Don't tell me that's one of these ass stupid girl-plans? He thought warily. Even though he had no experience on the topic of dating, all the movies and TV shows he had involuntarily watched with Last Order have given him a rather accurate insight on the ideas of teenage girls.
But if it was, she would have done it completely differently, he dismissed his previous idea, keeping in mind how Last Order was an upright, honest person.
Besides, there's no way she would...
Last Order's face was still glowing red and the albino had a hard time taking his eyes off her, but then, he sighed and almost gently brushed her hand away.
"Let's get it over with," he muttered and went ahead, mentally preparing himself for the probably most boring and disgusting two hours of his life.
"This was such an unexpected turn of events! Misaka wouldn't have thought that Hibiko would actually..."
Accelerator was tempted to use up some of his valuable esper mode time to block out Last Order's voice. Just a few minutes ago, they had left the cinema and he felt mentally violated by the movie he had just seen. The two protagonists had fit into the typical cliches he had already been dreading, and they had worn their hearts on their sleeves – to make it short, the characters couldn't have been more obnoxious to him.
"Hey Accelerator, are you even listening? Misaka asks as Misaka waves with her hand in front of his eyes."
Accelerator almost ran into her hand and he turned his head to send her a pissed glance.
The brunette pouted. "Geez, you weren't listening to Misaka at all. Misaka had just thanked you for accompanying her tonight, Misaka repeats herself as Misaka thinks about taking back those words at Accelerator's indifference."
The albino grumbled something she could not quite understand before he said, "Just leave it at that. That's enough going out for me this month."
"Eh!? But the month has only just started, Misaka argues as Misaka informs Accelerator of the fact that it's the tenth."
The esper did not even bother to comment on that complaint. He kept pushing himself forward with his cane when he suddenly heard some loud voices from afar.
Accelerator came to a stop, closing his eyes to concentrate on listening more attentively. He classified the voices as the loud shouts and harsh laughs of some drunken idiots, thus deeming them harmless – to Last Order, that is. He himself didn't even need to worry unless they were launching a nuke at him.
"Why did you stop? Misaka asks as Misaka wonders about Accelerator's behavior."
By now, the albino had started going forward again, just giving Last Order a slight wave of his hand to indicate that it was nothing.
The brunette frowned, but soon dismissed her doubts and sped up to catch up with him.
For a while, the two walked side by side without saying a word.
Accelerator was uncomfortably aware of Last Order's closeness. He could catch the scent of her flowery perfume and her arm had already brushed twice over his. He tried to escape her vicinity by making a step to the side, but while Last Order's attention seemed to be at a completely different place, she unknowingly took the same step to be right beside him again.
Accelerator drew a deep breath, both to calm his nerves and to prevent himself from snapping at her.
Last Order, who heard this inhale, looked up.
"Are you sure everything is alright with you, Accelerator? Misaka is pretty sure you're hiding something, Misaka adds as Misaka feels curious."
Last Order apparently hadn't realized she had leaned to Accelerator as she spoke – he, however, could not, not notice it.
He kept staring at her face while he felt a tingling in his stomach.
Not this crap again, he thought. As of lately, this weird feeling had been coming a lot more recently, and while he refused to believe that it was due to Last Order being close to him, it made him feel uneasy.
Out of nowhere, the albino was suddenly thrust back. Blinking in surprise, Accelerator held on to his hurting head, and as he looked to the front, he saw a giant street lamp in front of him – he had walked into it without noticing.
"Oh my, are you hurt Accelerator? Misaka asks as Misaka puts a hand on Accelerator's shoulder to stabilize him."
The albino turned his head to Last Order, his expression revealing his surprise. Suddenly, he felt his eyes burning.
For fuck's sake, I'm not crying from such shit, am I!? He thought in disbelief.
"Tch." He shoved off Last Order's hand, switched on his esper mode and with a kick, he struck the street lamp.
The lamp was torn out of the cement it had been buried in. With a splintering and cracking, it fell down heavily, and the ground shook as it hit it.
Somewhat pleased, Accelerator glared down on the immobile object. He quickly turned off his esper mode to prevent even more waste of his precious time.
He heard a sigh to his left side, and he turned his head to see Last Order shaking her head in disapproval.
"Seriously, Accelerator," she mumbled before she once more placed her hand on his shoulder. "Are you alright? Misaka asks as Misaka tries to forget about that unnecessary outburst to turn her attention to something much more important."
Heat sparked through his body at the touch of Last Order's hand. She wore such a caring expression, despite him just tearing down a street lamp for no real reason and his stomach felt as if it was on fire.
In an attempt to hide his revealing expression from her, he let out a snort
"Don't give me such stupid questions," he looked down on her. "Of course I'm fi-!"
Accelerator stopped himself when Last Order simply took him by the hand and dragged him to a nearby pharmacy. She completely ignored his complaints or tries to break free until she had bought a soothing spray as well as some band aids and tissues, then the girl proceeded to guide Accelerator to a bench where she pushed him down.
"And now, hold still so Misaka can put a band aid on your wound. And don't say it's nothing!" She increased her volume when Accelerator opened his mouth to protest. "There's blood running down your front, Misaka says as Misaka informs Accelerator."
Raising his hand to his front, he touched some warm liquid. Inspecting it, he could see that it was blood, which had already run down the bridge of his nose. Realizing that any further resistance would be futile, Accelerator only let out a grumble and allowed the girl to tend to his front.
"All done," Last Order finished off by placing the band aid on his wound. "Now let's go back home, Misaka proposes as Misaka takes Accelerator by the hand to pull him."
"Let go of me already!" The albino demanded with a voice more confused than actually angry.
Last Order ceased her walking and, without looking at him, she let her hand slide away.
"Sorry," she mumbled, more to herself before she turned back to him with a pout on her lips. "Will you come now? Misaka asks as Misaka is getting impatient."
Despite acting so determined, Accelerator could feel that something was off about Last Order's behavior. For a moment, his red eyes examined her posture, but then, he decided to ignore it and just started their way back home.
At first, Last Order kept her distance from Accelerator, and the albino almost regretted telling her off so harshly. But soon enough, she came closer to him again, and despite him feeling this irritating sensation again, Accelerator felt some sort of relief; a feeling which he was quick to shake off.
They walked down the long street in silence, and Accelerator's thoughts began to trail off.
Maybe there's a good horror movie tonight, he hoped to bury the impressions of the love story he had seen.
Unexpectedly, they heard a loud clanging and rattling from one of the sideways; a stray cat had jumped into a garbage tray to hunt for something edible.
Accelerator wouldn't have given it much thought after a quick, inspecting glance, but Last Order squealed so loud that he could not help but stop.
That, and the fact that she suddenly clung unto his arm.
Surprised, the esper turned his head and looked to the girl.
Last Order's eyes were wide in anxiety and she seemed utterly shocked.
No, not shocked, Accelerator corrected himself as he spotted the tears in her eyes. Rather scared shitless.
"Oi." He shook the arm Last Order was holding on to, but the brunette didn't let go.
"Misaka can't do this anymore!" She suddenly exclaimed and looked up to Accelerator with wide, scared eyes.
"Misaka has tried to conceal it up until now, but Misaka can't anymore! Misaka protests as Misaka feels like falling apart if she has to let go of Accelerator now."
Accelerator frowned, not quite understanding what was going on in the girl's head, while he himself started to feel uncomfortable at Last Order's touch.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He asked, and even though he was partly annoyed by her senseless behavior, he was also slightly worried.
Last Order looked down with an embarrassed expression.
"You will surely laugh at Misaka, Misaka mumbles as Misaka doesn't want to talk about it."
The albino grumbled.
Fuck it, why is she always so complicated?
"I won't laugh, so hurry up and tell me already so we can move on," he reassured her with his typical harsh tone.
Last Order looked up with a doubtful face.
"Can you promise you won't laugh? Misaka asks as Misaka questions Accelerator's trustworthiness on this matter."
Only with force could Accelerator hold back an annoyed growl.
"Do I look like someone who laughs so easily?" He instead asked back and somehow, that comment eased Last Order up a little, though she still averted her eyes as she started to speak.
"Misaka is... Misaka is afraid of the dark, Misaka admits as Misaka confides to Accelerator."
Last Order looked up shyly, her eyes meeting a repeatedly blinking Accelerator.
Huh!? Afraid of the dark? Oh come on, you gotta be shitting me!
He was clever enough not to say these words aloud, though.
Instead, the albino let out a sigh.
"Stupid, there's nothing to be afraid of," he tried to calm her down. "Besides, I'm here."
The latter sentence struck him with surprise. Just a few weeks ago, it would have been impossible for him to say something along those lines without forcing it out after some hard thinking. But now, it had slipped him with a natural ease.
Before he could get caught up to much with these irritating thoughts, Accelerator concentrated on the girl in front of him and waited for her reaction to his words.
As he had hoped, Last Order relaxed a bit.
"Misaka knows. But that's the thing about irrational fears – they're irrational. Misaka knows there are no reasons to be afraid of the dark when you're around, but Misaka still feels uneasy, Misaka says as Misaka explains the nature of phobias to Accelerator who probably doesn't have any.
Misaka is glad you didn't laugh at her," Last Order went on with a smile. "Misaka knows she is being childish, but Misaka can't help it, Misaka says as Misaka tries to laugh a little."
Accelerator furrowed his brows for a second, then he shrugged.
"Whatever. Can we go now?" He already moved forward, but Last Order still held on to his arm.
Accelerator turned his head back questioningly.
"Is there still something?" He asked, withholding his annoyance.
Upon meeting his eyes, Last Order blushed. The brunette gulped and did her best to withstand his gaze as she spoke.
"Would it... would it be alright for Misaka to hold on to your hand until we are home? Misaka asks as Misaka voices a tiny wish."
Last Order gulped once more, her face flushing even redder.
"It really reassures Misaka to hold on to you," she stuttered embarrassed. "Please, allow Misaka to hold your hand, Misaka asks Accelerator as Misaka feels her heart beating hard in her chest."
As if it had waited for these words, Accelerator's own heart now started to beat heavily as well.
He looked at the brunette for a few seconds as he felt a blush, an actual blush creeping its way up to his cheeks.
Some thoughts started to occur to Accelerator, but as soon as he guessed their nature, he suppressed them with all his might.
What the heck is she thinking? He tried to occupy his mind otherwise, and as he looked at her embarrassed, yet hopeful face, he could not help but feel warmth rising inside him, a warmth which comfortably mixed with the heat sparking through his body.
"Whatever," he grumbled at her request with averted eyes, and Last Order let go of his arm. Instead, her fingers reached out for his and as they touched, Accelerator could not help but turn his head, his eyes immediately locking themselves to Last Order's.
A shiver went down his spine and without realizing it, he tightened his grasp, gently squeezing her hand.
Then, Accelerator abruptly turned away from Last Order and started pulling her.
While following him, the brunette held her free hand to her chest as her blush increased.
What is this wonderful feeling? Misaka wonders as Misaka feels overflowing with a happiness she had never felt before.
She looked at Accelerator's profile and his face looked so different and yet so familiar to her.
Could this be... love? Misaka thinks as Misaka feels her heart beating even faster while looking at Accelerator.
A few days later, Last Order was in the living room with Accelerator, partly watching a TV show while she packed her bag for the school trip she had been anticipating for the entire week.
It was a rather spontaneous trip; trip probably wasn't even the correct word for this short excursion to school district 10 to explore a nuclear research faculty. Last Order would, however, spend two nights at a small hotel in said district and she was looking forward to it as if it was a vacation at a sunny beach.
Right now, the brunette was happily humming a melody as she folded her clothes.
"Misaka can't wait for tomorrow to arrive, Misaka says as Misaka anticipates her trip! She had only been at her new school for a month and Misaka is already going on an excursion, Misaka adds as Misaka displays her happiness about such a quick and fun adventure"
Accelerator did not even budge. He held a book in front of his face and was studying it with a concentrated expression.
This concentrated face of his quickly turned surprised when Last Order grabbed the book to take a look at it herself.
"Oi, brat!" Accelerator complained angrily and sat himself up a bit, while Last Order read the title of his book with an interested expression.
"Plasma and its range of applications in Hard Science? Is that any fun? Misaka asks as Misaka browses through the pages."
Accelerator furrowed his brows. "It's not about fun. It's interesting. Now give it back!"
Last Order sat herself down on the edge of the couch, starting to read a random page from the book, her expression seeming just as concentrated as Accelerator's before.
The albino waited for a few seconds before he let out a grumble.
"You don't understand any of that, so give it back to me already," he ordered condescendingly.
"Plasma – from Greek πλάσμα, 'anything formed' - is one of the four fundamental states of matter.
When air or gas is ionized, plasma forms with similar conductive properties to that of metals. Plasma is the most abundant form of matter in the Universe, because most stars are in a plasma state, Misaka says as Misaka tries to show Accelerator she fully understands the topic," Last Order explained with a bland expression.
Accelerator's eyebrow twitched once, then he lunged forward to grab the book.
"Just rattling off stuff through your network doesn't count!" He decided with a growl.
"Are you trying to imply Misaka as an individual is not intelligent? Misaka asks as Misaka starts feeling a little underestimated."
"Tch." The albino didn't bother to react to her question and the girl pouted in disappointment.
"You're really rude! Misaka has a keen intellect just like you! Misaka says as Misaka grabs her bag and leaves the room to show Accelerator she is really annoyed."
With that, she closed the door to her room and left Accelerator to the soft murmuring of the television.
The albino briefly scratched his head.
"Sheesh, girls are so annoying," he mumbled to himself before he opened his book to continue to read.
While already having a proficient knowledge of plasma, he found the book interesting enough to read it until the late hours of the night. Once he had finished it, tiredness surprised him out of nowhere, and he lazily decided to just spend the night on the couch.
After several hours of his deep sleep, Accelerator awoke to an empty apartment.
He looked around in confusion a few times before his eyes were caught by a note on the table beside him.
Lifting it up, he saw Aiho's unruly handwriting.
I have a special Anti-Skill training for the next couple of days in district two. Forgot to mention it earlier, but the way I know you, that doesn't matter much.
Enjoy these two days of solitude and stay out of trouble."
Accelerator frowned at the last four words.
Seriously, why does she always write this at the bottom? Fucking annoying...
At a second glance, he felt disturbed by the word solitude, and he thought about Last Order.
Is that brat gone too? Would be too much luck, though...
Only when he took a coffee can out of the fridge did he faintly remember her blabbering about the trip, and he almost nodded to himself.
Ah right. Something in district ten. Nuclear crap. Seems like I really will have two days of seclusion. Lucky me.
Accelerator went to the panorama window of their living room, his eyes brushing over the skyline of Academy City. The silence around him was almost perfect and he closed his eyes to enjoy it.
Finally, he thought to himself as he took another sip of his black coffee. No blabbering brats or jersey-wearing 'guardians'.
After a deep, relaxing breath, the albino turned away from the window and turned on the TV. He mindlessly zipped through the channels, but nothing would catch his interest even in the slightest.
Looking back, it was a shame he had rushed through the book on plasma.
With a sigh, Accelerator laid down, his eyes fixated to the ceiling, as he realized that he had no idea how to spend this free day of his.
"Tch." You gotta be shitting me, he thought aggravated as he pushed himself up.
Accelerator roamed aimlessly through the apartment, taking out several books only to toss them back after a glance. Once more did he try his luck with the television, but he was disappointed by the lack of interesting programs again.
He still forced himself to keep watching a documentary and somehow, the day passed by, with the time running slowly like syrup.
Accelerator eventually fell asleep in the late hours of the night without having eaten a single meal the entire day or having gotten up from the couch once. Usually, this would give him the feeling of having accomplished a perfect day, but instead, he felt somewhat let down and bored.
This irritating feeling was the first and only thing to greet him as he woke up. Accelerator yawned, ignoring the grumbling in his stomach, before he slowly lifted himself up. He numbly walked to the kitchen, grabbed a can of coffee and downed it in one chug. His eyes brushed over the apartment with no interest before he decided to spend this day just like the one before, and he headed straight to the couch.
As the esper sat down, he felt something like a weight pressing down on him. More accurately, his ears felt numb and somewhat full, similar to the feeling of being in deep water. It was a highly uncomfortable feeling, causing the esper to shift nervously.
It took Accelerator a while to realize that it was the silence that bugged him so much.
His mind did not even manage to find the right words for the confusion he felt.
What the fuck is wrong with me? The silence never bothered me. Actually, I've been waiting for such a peaceful time ever since I picked up that brat! He thought irritated. But the pressure on his ears and mind wouldn't fade, and barely realizing his actions, Accelerator grabbed his crutch and left the apartment for a stroll in the city.
Whoever was met by the sight of his clearly annoyed and displeased expression quickly changed to the other side of the street, but the esper did not even notice it; his mind was occupied with gloomy thoughts, trying to deny the fact that he was actually bored.
Not like he had never been bored. There was a boredom he was used to: Sitting in his own, small apartment the entire day, listening to the faint mumbling of the television while drinking more coffee in a day than a family in a week and not thinking about anything – or anyone – at all. It had been a comfortable, numbing boredom, giving him some feeling of certainty.
But this kind of boredom was different to him. It had been nagging at him, disturbing him and it had also erected a feeling of emptiness he had never felt before.
Said feeling was commonly known as loneliness, but Accelerator had yet to realize that, for he hadn't actually felt it for a long time, and any traces of his former loneliness had been buried deep down like most of his emotions. Additionally, while he had been used to being lonely ever since his abilities had been discovered, and while he had certainly felt desperately lonely, he also hadn't really yearned for anyone's company in particular.
But now that Last Order, his main source of company, was gone, a different feeling of loneliness appeared, filled with the longing for someone else's presence.
Accelerator walked around the busy shopping districts, hoping that the meaningless chatter and laughter might ease the numb feeling in his ears. But while it gave some superficial satisfaction, Accelerator still felt that nagging empty feeling deep inside him.
Unnerved, he kicked away a lonely bottle, its rattling oddly satisfying him.
The albino jerked his head at the familiar voice and at the first glance, he felt some relief. But this feeling soon vanished as he recognized Mikoto standing a few feet away from him, a crepe in her hand.
It's not her, he thought disappointed, only for him to shake his head.
What the heck am I thinking!?
Mikoto interrupted his denying thoughts as she walked closer.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, trying to make some small talk.
The albino didn't know an answer to that, so he just jerked his head away and grunted, "None of your business, third rate."
Mikoto's eyebrows twitched while she tried to maintain her polite smile.
As soon as Last Order isn't around, he's back to calling me 'third rate', she thought annoyed. Speaking of which...
"Is Last Order with you?"
"No. She's on some school trip," Accelerator replied and even though he tried to hide it, the Railgun could hear some disappointment out of his voice and she blinked surprised.
Is that guy... lonely? Geez, I wouldn't even have thought that possible!
Mikoto took a few seconds to give that possibility some more thought, finding it highly unlikely, then she mentally shrugged her shoulders.
I couldn't care less about this guy being lonely.
But... Last Order would probably tell me to take care of him.
She examined Accelerator thoroughly and the albino sent her an aggravated glare.
"What are you staring at?" He grunted aggressively, causing Mikoto to sigh.
Seriously, I'm too nice for my own good.
"Where are you going?" Mikoto asked, earning an indecisive shrug from Accelerator.
"Well, if you've got nowhere in particular to go, then come along."
It was hard for her saying out these words, but she felt the need of being a good big sister – and in contrast to Accelerator, who only behaved when Last Order was around, Mikoto was determined to work on her attitude even when no one would praise her for it.
"Huh? Going with you? Like hell," Accelerator looked down on her.
Mikoto felt the electricity inside of her going wild and she barely managed to suppress it. With a forced expression, she leaned forward.
"Now listen..." Mikoto started but she noticed how Accelerator did not catch her words. Instead, he stared at the banana-chocolate crepe she was holding in her right hand.
Testing it out, Mikoto slightly waved the crepe and Accelerator's eyes followed the treat as if they were glued to it.
"... Are you hungry?" Mikoto asked surprised and while Accelerator already opened his mouth to deny her assumption, his stomach suddenly growled so loudly that even he realized that his denial wouldn't mean a thing.
Just a matter of minutes later had Mikoto managed to drag Accelerator to the next food stall and she pressed the freshly made crepe into his free hand.
"I told you not to buy me such crap," Accelerator protested with a condescending attitude, but his stomach started to hurt out of hunger, causing him to take a bite before Mikoto could even answer.
"Seriously," the Railgun sighed maturely. "How old are you, not taking care of yourself properly."
"Shuddup, dat's none of your buisi-" Accelerator started with a full mouth, but a part of the crepe went down the wrong way and the albino started to cough heavily.
Without a comment, Mikoto handed him some water and waited for his coughing fit to end.
"Don't speak with your mouth full. I'm sure you told Last Order that a dozen times already," the Railgun could not hold back and grinned cockily.
"Shut your trap, third rate," Accelerator grunted annoyed as he took another bite, slowly filling his empty stomach.
Mikoto watched while Accelerator ate.
As I thought, it's still uncomfortable being around him. But... it seems as if something has changed, the girl thought, unable to put her finger on what exactly had changed about him.
Besides, I have promised Last Order to get along with him, so how could I possibly ignore him after bumping into him like that?
After a final bite, Accelerator tossed the wrapping into the next tray, then he turned his head back to Mikoto.
The brunette forced up a smile and Accelerator noticed how it was completely different from Last Order's.
Aside from the fact that she's obviously forcing her smile, he thought as he watched her attempt at appearing friendly with a raised eyebrow. When Last Order smiles, it's like a sunrise in her face. Full of warmth and genuine happiness for everyone and everything.
Wait, what!? He thought as soon as he realized what he'd been thinking. Sheesh, being with that brat has softened me up so much, I feel like tearing something apart.
Mikoto noticed the change of mood in Accelerator's face, but before she could make a comment, her cell phone rang. She pulled out the gekota case and answered the call.
"Hello hello, Misaka Mikoto here?"
Naturally, Accelerator couldn't hear what was said on the other side, so he just kept looking at the Railgun, unsure whether he should try to take his chance and leave or stay a little longer.
"Saten-san," Mikoto said surprised with the hint of a smile.
"Something interesting? Uiharu and Kuroko are there as well? … Yes, I guess I understand... I think I could … Alright, I'll come right over. No, there's no need for Kuroko -!" The electromaster started protesting heavily, but it was already too late.
Out of nowhere, the teleporter appeared – unfortunately directly above Accelerator.
"Get off of me, you freak!" Accelerator barked angrily as he shoved the girl off his lap.
"Oh my, this hasn't happened in a long time, I'm really sorry," Kuroko apologized, straightening her uniform. Only then did she seem to recognize Accelerator and she made a jump back.
"You're with this man again!? First that ape, and now this albino – Onee-sama, you're so cruel! I have to show you some of my Kuroko-love to get you back to the right path!" The girl with the pig tails decided possessively and lunged towards Mikoto, only to being sent back by a high electric shock.
"O-onee-sama," the Judgment member whispered as she twitched in pain, but Mikoto only let out a sigh.
"That's what you get for jumping to conclusions so quickly – or at me, to begin with," she added with an annoyed expression before she turned to Accelerator and shot him a somewhat apologetic smile.
"I'll be off. Say hi to Last Order for me once she's back."
Accelerator made a movement with his head that could be interpreted as a nod; it was enough for Mikoto to smile satisfied before she squatted down to her hurt friend.
"Now hurry up and teleport us to Saten-san and Uiharu."
"Y-yes, Onee-sama," Kuroko mumbled and at the touch of her hand, both girls disappeared into thin air.
Accelerator stared at the place where their bodies had been at for a while longer before he lifted himself up.
The nagging feeling that had been slightly suppressed by Mikoto's presence rose up again almost immediately. After all, she wasn't the one whose company he sought.
The esper sighed to himself and he decided to make his way back home after buying some more coffee cans.
The apartment greeted him with absolute silence.
Accelerator immediately turned on the television to have some random chatter as background noise, but just as the day before, it didn't help much. On the way to his room to grab a change of clothes – Mikoto had accidentally smeared some chocolate on his shirt after handing him his crepe – he stopped by Last Order's door.
He had only once entered the room, not so long ago in order to search for her, and he had never deemed it necessary to go in again.
Has it undergone some changes, now that she's a teenager? Accelerator wondered, finding it hard to believe she stuck to the pink walls, glowing stars and stuffed animals. He laid his hand on the door handle when his reason stopped him.
What the heck am I doing? There's nothing in her room that would be of interest to me, he lectured himself and was about to turn away. But the empty feeling inside him would bug him even harder, the further he turned away, and in his loneliness, Accelerator gave in and entered Last Order's room once more.
His assumption had been partly correct. The room had been painted in more mature colors – brown and white – and there were no puzzles lying all over the place anymore.
However, he could still spot her countless stuffed animals. They had been lined up neatly and were distributed evenly in her room, but they haven't been removed and the glowing stars were still glued to the ceiling as well.
As if to fill the empty space left by the puzzles, numerous books were spread out, and by looking at their titles, one could tell that Last Order's interests were numerous and seemingly random. Books about animals, technical topics, fictitious novels and other were all present.
Accelerator had little eye for these minor details, though. He had closed his eyes and inhaled Last Order's so familiar scent. It wasn't only her flowery perfume she had started using ever since her transformation. It was her very own, feminine and clean smell this room was drenched with and upon smelling it, the feeling of loneliness inside of Accelerator seemed to disappear and a sense of longing took its place at the same time.
The esper barely realized how he stepped into the room, his fingers brushing over Last Order's table, her stuffed animals and the tidy blankets on her bed. Her scent completely enclosed his mind and his loneliness partly faded because her presence seemed to be so close. At the same time, he felt even more longing for her company, now that he could smell, but not see, hear nor feel her.
His stomach was tickling with a pleasant, yet nervous sensation and only when he squeezed one of Last Order's pillows did Accelerator realize what he did.
What the fuck!?
He jumped up almost immediately, but lacked the willpower to leave her room as his reason had planned.
He missed her. It was a sudden realization and it struck him hard.
He missed her constant blabbering, her pouting, her overly excited attitude, her bright smile, and he missed all of it so much that it almost made his heart ache.
For a second, Accelerator imagined the thought of Last Order being gone. Not just for a trip for a day or two, but truly gone, taken by death. The thought was more painful than he had thought it would be.
I don't think I could handle it, he thought, allowing himself to being honest at least towards himself.
If it hurts this much even thinking about it... I should really try...
But that was his limit. He already felt sick to the point of vomiting. In that moment, Accelerator felt so vulnerable that he would probably kill anyone on sight to prevent them from seeing through him. The esper took a deep, controlled breath before returning to the living room, tightly shutting Last Order's door.
Just what the fuck is wrong with me lately!? This is creeping me out, the albino shook his head in denial and disgust.
Accelerator let himself fall onto the couch, absent-mindedly watching the airing program. He buried his previous realization as deeply as he could, but once the train of thought had started, it seemed to refuse to be stopped. While he managed to ban these thoughts in his mind, his heart would not and could not forgot his feelings.
It was an irritating, sickening feeling, almost realizing what he truly felt for Last Order, and not only because it made him so vulnerable. His impression of himself not being good enough for her was still present, even reinforced by the comments Kugimiya had made the other day.
Another wave of sickness rushed over him and Accelerator forcefully closed his eyes, burying his thoughts as deeply as he could.
I've had enough of this crap already! If only some fucktards on the street would try jumping at me again, he thought, though he did not truly wish for it. But in that moment, he was content with anything that would distract him from Last Order.
The rest of his final free day passed by slowly but surely, with him doing nothing but lying on the couch. Occasionally, Last Order's image would appear in his mind, or the feeling inside him would make him feel so lonely he'd curl up even tighter, but whenever either of those happened, the esper clenched his teeth and concentrated on the television.
Finally, night came, and just like the night before, Accelerator decided to sleep on the couch, too lazy to get up after hours of barely watching TV.
Accelerator felt slightly nervous, and if he would have allowed himself to think about it, he would have realized that it was because of anticipation for Last Order's arrival. He surely knew it somewhere at the back of his head, but he refused to fully accept it. With a grunt, he buried his head into the cushion of the couch, and soon, his usual deep sleep embraced him, mercifully not paining him with any confusing dreams.
"Misaka is home! Misaka says as Misaka energetically enters and swings her arms around!"
The brunette stopped herself mid-swing when she saw the sleeping Accelerator. A warm smile spread on her face, and she tiptoed to her room, got one of her blankets, and snuck back to Accelerator.
The albino was still fast asleep, breathing deeply and peacefully.
For a few moments, Last Order got lost in the pleasure of watching his sleep. The feelings she used to have as a child when watching him rest seemed to be amplified. Her heart felt as if it was about to explode in her chest and the warmth that grasped her heart made Last Order smile even brighter.
Misaka... really loves you, Misaka admits to herself as Misaka decides not to run away from it any longer.
This honesty towards herself made Last Order shiver, but at the same time, it relaxed her. Her heart throbbed heavily in her chest upon watching Accelerator, but she tried to enjoy the feeling, rather than being embarrassed about it.
Misaka has been missing you so much during her trip and has been thinking about you the entire time. This just has to be love. Misaka wouldn't know any other word for it. And as a grown up, Misaka should accept that, Misaka talks to herself in her heart as Misaka allows her feelings to flow freely.
After a few seconds, Last Order sat down next to Accelerator, carefully laying the blanket on top of him, tucking it under at his sides and chin to make sure he was fully covered.
"Misaka... can finally admit it towards herself," the girl started mumbling with a soft expression. "Misaka's feelings for you are so big, Accelerator. Knowing that you don't feel the same is really hurtful, so Misaka has been trying to run away from the truth, but in the end, Misaka can't lie to herself that much, Misaka says as Misaka talks to herself because she does not dare to confess to Accelerator just yet." Some tears built in Last Order's eyes and she brushed them away with a slight chuckle.
"Misaka doesn't know whether the pain will be too much for her in the end, but Misaka doesn't want to deny herself. Misaka will try hard to work up the courage to confess so she can be honest towards both herself and you, Misaka says as Misaka presents her plans to the sleeping Accelerator."
Suddenly, Accelerator started shifting in his sleep and after a soft murmuring, he opened his eyes. As he recognized Last Order sitting beneath him, an unconscious smile spread on his face.
"You're back," he mumbled and his voice, although a bit sleepy, showed his genuine happiness for her return.
Last Order blushed in surprise, then she nodded with a smile.
But maybe Misaka should try working hard right now. Or else, Misaka won't ever have the courage necessary to confess, Misaka realizes as Misaka decides to be as honest towards Accelerator as she currently can.
"Yes, Misaka is home. Did you miss Misaka? Misaka asks as Misaka hopes Accelerator missed her as much as she missed him!"
"Huh?" Accelerator grumbled, lacking the energy to snap at her so early in the day. He had only realized the first part of her sentence; after living with her so long, he occasionally ignored the explanatory part of her phrases.
"Sheesh, stop mumbling such stupid stuff, brat," he told her off with a yawn, but Last Order only kept smiling, not showing the quiet pain striking through her chest.
"Well, Misaka wasn't hoping for an honest reply," she smiled seemingly carefree and got up. "But despite greatly enjoying the trip with her classmates, Misaka is really happy to being back home, Misaka says as Misaka goes to her room to unpack her stuff."
Accelerator looked after the brunette with a puzzled expression as his brain finally and fully processed Last Order's words.
She missed me? He echoed in his mind and the mere thought made his heart race.
Just in that moment, Last Order stopped at her door. She turned her head back and sent the albino a bright, cheerful smile before she entered her room, not knowing that her smile caused his heart rate to rocket through the roof, and a faint smile formed on Accelerator's face.
As soon as he noticed it, the albino eased his facial muscles up, making place for an irritated frown.
Just what is happening to me? He wondered nervously.
All these creepy feelings welling up... It's almost as if I...
The esper violently shook his head, but with every day passing by, he lost more of the strength necessary to deny his emotions, and he had come far enough to guess what caused his racing heart and involuntary smiles.
It couldn't possibly be, he still tried denying himself. I've got no idea of such feelings.
Raising his head, his eyes brushed over Last Order's door, and another smile appeared on his face.
This feeling... It's not too bad, he thought, just to be overwhelmed by a splurge of irritation and cold.
With an exhausted sigh, Accelerator ran his fingers through his hair.
Seriously, I'm not cut out for this stuff.