Note: What the hell.
Episode 2: Whilst Trying to Rid Yourself of a Roommate, Proper Tactic is Essential
Mikoto ran. Tiny drops of sweat were gathering on her brow, and her expression told anyone in her path to stay the hell away. Rather than asking the distressed middle schooler what her trouble was, people moved out of the way as she came running down the street. She dashed past a Greenmart and across an intersection at red light, cars honking in her wake.
Did I lose him? She glanced left and right, just in time to catch a flash of movement in the alley next to her. Her eyes widened and she turned at the corner, taking off down another street. Left, right, the street became an alley, and suddenly she faced a dead end. Shit! Academy City's back alleys were a labyrinth and she did not know them well enough to shake her pursuer.
"Misakaaaaaa~" His lecherous grin peered down her neck and she shuddered, tensing up. N-No way… you can't be scared!
"What the hell's wrong with you!?" She snapped, turning around with a fizzle of sparks leaping from her bangs. "Back off!"
The spiky-haired high school boy grinned even wider. "No can do." His fingers twitched, and Mikoto jerked, stepping back a notch.
"Get the hell away from me!" A spear of lightning shot out and struck the boy, but he merely launched forward, right arm outstretched.
"I'll break that virginity of yours, Misaka-saaaan!"
"Woah, what was that?" Kazari looked up, but there was no weather phenomenon ongoing that would explain the thunderous sound that just split the sky.
"Your ass?" Saten-san's voice barely rose to a mutter. Kazari sighed deeply, glancing at her miserable friend. Man was she hard to handle sometimes. Saten-san had like two default settings: High or low. When she wasn't high, she was down. Really down. It wasn't hard to tell either; she'd exchanged her colorful make-up for black lipstick, dark mascara and tits knew what else. Basically, her choice of color reflected her state of mind. It made no sense in Kazari's head. How did she manage if her mood switched midway through a day? And the simple answer was that she couldn't, of course.
In other words, Saten-san had decided to be in a shitty mood today.
"What's wrong with you?" Kazari asked. "Just the other day you were really ecstatic about Misaka-san and everything and now you're acting as if your shit went explosive this morning."
Saten-san sighed deeply and sunk back into the bench she was slouched on. They'd originally met with the intention to go shopping, but Saten-san was so pathetic that the only thing they'd managed to do all day was sit and mope outside the train station. Saten-san didn't want to do anything.
"She hasn't answered. Not a single one."
"Answered?" Kazari blinked. "Who?"
"It doesn't matter. I guess I'm just a fool. I'm not important enough for Misaka-san to bother with a reply, I know that." Saten-san seemed to sink deeper and deeper down onto the bench. "Yet I'd hoped that she, of all people, would recognize my potential."
Oh, so that's it. Kazari imagined Saten-san eagerly sending message after message to Misaka-san, excited about the replies, only to get none. Sure, that could probably break her.
"So how long ago did you send them? Misaka-san is probably pretty busy, you know."
"I sent one just now and she still hasn't answered!"
"Give her more than two seconds!" With a defeated sigh, Kazari turned away from her depressed friend, only to catch a flash of a familiar uniform. "Hm?"
It was Misaka-san. She was just stopping to catch her breath after having bolted out of the adjacent alleyway, just down the street from where they sat. What's she doing? She looked winded, and her clothes were all askew; she attempted to straighten them out, flicked her hair and pulled a deep breath. Then, the Ace of Tokiwadai slung her schoolbag over her shoulder in that mesmerizing manner which made Kazari's crotch itch – in a good way – and strolled off down the street.
"Saten-san, Saten-san!" She leaned forward and shook Saten-san by the shoulder. "Look, there she is!"
"So? I hate her." Saten-san grumbled, not even turning her head to look at Misaka-san's retreating back.
"Don't you want to find out why she hasn't answered?"
"I don't care."
"Oh, stop being such a pain in the ass. Come on, let's stalk Misaka-san!"
One month. Kuroko stared at the lines carved into the wall, before sighing deeply and placing her metal spike to the wooden surface. Riiiiiip. Each line represented one day; their numbers represented the total amount of days spent as Misaka Mikoto's roommate. One entire, god-awful month.
Kuroko was currently ripping a new line into the wood between two of the posters overflowing the walls of their room; a kitten climbing a branch and two rabbits with top hats nibbling the same carrot. Behind her, the laptop was playing a range of children's songs, attempting to pierce the gloomy atmosphere of her soul. She'd turned the lights up, hoping to illuminate their new decorations as much as possible. Today, one month ago, was the day Kuroko had been assigned as Misaka-san's roommate, after that girl had exhausted her old one to the point where she became hospitalized. At this rate, Kuroko would soon follow.
But she had not lost hope yet.
It has only been one month. It felt like years. But today, it would all end. The last couple of weeks, she had spent every available moment observing Misaka-san. That's right; if the other girl knew, she'd probably smirk in self-satisfaction. But Kuroko had observed her not to admire, but to learn. She had pinpointed Misaka-san's weak point.
Kuroko sat up straight and pulled the zipper of her completely up. Black and white cotton patterns; fluffy ears; she was the very picture of cute. Everything was prepared. She could hear footsteps in the hallway, and clenched her hand around the spike, preparing herself. This is my double pincer attack. I will choke you with your greatest fear and humiliate your pride at one and the same time. It's time for "Onee-sama" to taste some of her own medicine. A hand on the door handle; she was returning. Kuroko's lips pulled up in a nervous triumphant grin as she turned towards the single uncovered poster by the side of the door. Today will be the day when Misaka-san throws me out!
The door opened and Kuroko made her move.
"Mimi-chaaaAAAAAAN!" She began with a squeal and ended with a roar as she threw her spike straight past Misaka-san's shoulder, only to embed itself into the abdomen of the Misaka Mikoto poster beside the door, joining several others in her mock game of darts.
"Hiyaaah!?" Someone shrieked in surprise, and Kuroko froze.
It was not Misaka-san. While standing there in a battle-like stance, Kuroko met the surprised stare of Uiharu, who stood stunned in the door opening.
"…eh?" Kuroko blinked.
"Eh?" Uiharu blinked as well, still holding the door handle. "Shirai-san, you're in?"
"You're the one who shouldn't be here!"
"No, it's not that." Uiharu said, blinking again. "Aren't you on duty today?"
Kuroko started. "Uh – well… something came up."
Uiharu looked her over and Kuroko was suddenly very self-conscious about the panda outfit she was wearing. Her partner's eyes continued to glance over the walls, where pictures of animals and anime figures hang over every single Mikoto picture available, covering them as well as she could manage; and finally Uiharu's eyes landed on the beds, where tons of plush animals had taken residence on the fine Tokiwadai covers.
"Um…" The girl didn't look like she knew exactly how to react.
Kuroko suddenly had the urge to defend herself. "It's not normally like this!"
"What the hell're you waiting for, Uiharu?" A voice behind Uiharu spoke up and someone shoved Uiharu inside. "Let's go on already. We came here for some juicy facts, didn't we? Oh hey, Shirai-san." The black-and-white face of Saten-san looked like it came right out of a horror movie.
"Wait—" Kuroko started, and froze upon seeing the third and final person appearing in the doorway.
"So you guys were tailing me." Her glare was deadly, though her lips quirked in a smirk. Kuroko stiffened entirely on her bed, having lost the momentum she'd been prepared to get from taking initiative from the get-go. Now, Misaka-san stepped into the room, smacked the door shut behind her, and they all paled at the click from the lock.
Misaka-san's eyes shifted from left to right, scanning the room. As every crawling turtle, yawning kitten and puppy-eyed duckling was taken in, her expression turned more and more horrified. Kuroko was filled with hope. It's working!
Then Misaka-san clenched her teeth. "Kuroko."
"What the—" Then her eyes found her bed and the countless plush animals stuffed into it. A visible tremor ran through her body as her eyes widened, and she suddenly backed off into the door. "The hell did you do to my bed!?"
Bingo! Kuroko would regain her upper hand in this instant. She put on her most adorable smile and cocked her head slightly. "I just thought our room would look good with some different decoration, Kuro-Kuro-Ku~"
Misaka-san's expression turned speechless, but then her hands curled into fists. Sparks began playing from her bangs and Kuroko faltered. She's not… running.
"You… fucking… heh." In the midst of her seething anger, Misaka-san chuckled. Slowly, her power expanded and washed over the room, causing the hairs on their arms to stand on end. Papers fell from the walls, drifting to the floor, and one look was enough to tell Kuroko why. The tacks she'd used to hang up the countless pictures and cover Misaka-san's portraits, were slowly being twisted out of the wall by the electromagnetic power wielded by the Level 5. Hundreds of pictures, hundreds of tacks. Even the spikes she'd used to create her game of darts were pulled out of the wall with ease. Soon they all floated in the air around them, pointy metal tips glinting ominously.
"Kuroko, do you believe you have any control over what kind of decorations we'll have in my room?"
"Errrr…" Kuroko began to feel sweaty when every single pointy tip turned towards her. "Strictly speaking, it's my room as well, I believe…?"
"I'm going to hang you on the wall! Learn to appreciate what gifts your deity sends you!"
"Gaaaah!" The spikes and tacks all flew at her and swept her off the bed like an eagle grabbing a lamb. She slammed into the wall face first, pressed into the chest of a half-naked Mikoto poster.
At that point, Kazari regretted having stalked Misaka-san. Not that watching Misaka-san exercising such brute force upon Kazari's partner was a disturbing sight in the least, but more by the fact that now that Shirai-san had been dealt with, Misaka-san's attention was returned to them.
Luckily, rather than spearing them or shocking them unconscious, Misaka-san made Kazari and Saten-san clean up her bed and remove all of the cute animal pictures Shirai-san must have spent an eternity printing out. It was during this task that Kazari happened to spot a black box hidden beneath Misaka-san's bed.
"Hey Misaka-san, what is this box?" She asked and pulled it out, while Saten-san was gloomily shoving stuffed animals into the trash can. Misaka-san had sat down on her bed and opened a can of coconut cider.
"Oh, that's my photo album." She said.
"As opposed to your wall?" Saten-san snorted, only to have the stuffed animal in her hands burst into fire from a sudden spark. "Uwaaah!" She threw it to the floor and began stomping it, while Misaka-san sipped the cider.
"A photo album? So it's pictures from when you were little and such!?" Kazari's eyes suddenly glittered. She was holding a goldmine here! If she could sell pictures of Misaka-san's childhood online, it could start a whole new trend in the doujin community!
"You can look if you want." Misaka-san said, and Kazari eagerly opened the box.
"Wooooooaaaaaaaaah!" She could barely hold her voice from becoming a shriek of joy. The pictures revealed in front of her eyes were completely original! "I haven't seen these anywhere!" She picked up a picture of what looked like a Misaka-san at age six or seven. She was looking at the camera over her shoulder, carrying a skateboard under her arm while donning a smart pair of dungarees, a pink t-shirt and a cap stuck backwards on her head. And there were more. Misaka-san in all ages up through elementary, in different outfits, poses and themes. There was even some of her in animal suits!
"You're younger than the ones on the wall in all of these." Saten-san had come over as well, having successfully disposed of the burning teddy. She looked over Kazari's shoulder. "What's this?" She picked up a certain item and Kazari's eyes boggled.
"My elementary school panties. I used them during the photo shoots."
Kazari could hardly breathe for the drool in her mouth.
"There are several!" Saten-san said, digging deeper. Her enthusiasm seemed to be returning, but Kazari couldn't care less right now.
"I've got one from each year. Their smell gives such a nostalgic feeling—"
"WAIT!" Kazari shrieked, grabbing Saten-san's wrist. The longhaired girl had just uncovered something incredible in her digging. "N-n-n-no – no – no clothes!"
"Jeez Uiharu, you sound like you're going to faint." Saten-san sighed. "It's just nude pics. Hey, what's this?" She pulled up a piece of paper, and Misaka-san, who'd crossed her legs in a most satisfied position, provided them answers.
"A fan letter."
"'To the older me…' wait, it's from yourself!?" Saten-san's eyes widened, and Misaka-san's grin grew content.
"There are answers there as well."
"You even answer your own fan letters!?" Saten-san seemed stunned for a moment, and then crumpled the letter in her hand. Her expression turned dark, enough so to even miss the pissed off look entering Misaka-san's face. "And yet you…"
"S-Saten-san?" Kazari pulled back slightly, recognizing the signs of an outburst.
"And yet you won't even acknowledge the messages I've sent you!" Saten-san roared, standing up and throwing the letter aside. "You don't even care about your fans, do you!?"
"Messages?" Misaka-san cocked her head with a dangerous smirk. It was like she considered sparing their lives until they'd provided adequate entertainment. She really looks best in 2D though… "What messages?"
"And now you're pretending you never even got them!? Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" Saten-san pulled at her hair as if in great pain, but there was a sense of awe in her tone as well. It must be her appreciation of Misaka-san's bitchiness spilling forth again.
Misaka-san sighed. "I really doubt you sent me any though."
"I did! I found your number online and sent it to you! All these messages!" Saten-san pulled out her phone and showed off a string of messages, some of which Kazari hoped was meant to be saved for a private album instead.
"Online? Ah, I see." Misaka-san grinned. "You sent them to one of those cons."
Saten-san looked clueless. "Cons?"
"Fake numbers. Mine is obviously secret, you wouldn't find it online. If you searched for my name in an online number registry and got a hit, there was probably more than one too. Those are people finding it fun to use their data manipulation powers to register their number in my name. Your panty shots are in someone else's hands now."
"Eeeeeeeeeh?" Saten-san blanched. And then she suddenly chuckled. "Hah! Any publicity is good publicity! Enjoy the show, stranger!" She began laughing at her phone in a decidedly mad manner, and Kazari snatched the chance.
"Misaka-san, Misaka-san, I have a question for you." She glanced at the box with unveiled glee. "How much for all this!?"
An exasperated groan answered her. "Really, you think that's for sale? And to you?"
Kazari paled, the excitement quickly draining as Misaka-san stood up with a darkening glare.
"There is only one thing I hate more than those faking their names into mine. And that is people who think they can appreciate my treasures better than me." She slapped a hand to her chest with an immense ferocity. "Only I can truly embrace the value I bring into the world!"
…pling. A short sound interrupted the stunned silence.
"Yeah?" Misaka-san turned to the wall, where an electronic doorbell was located.
"Um, there's a delivery to room 207. Is there a Misaka Mikoto there?"
"That's me. What does the label say?"
"Um, it says 'Misaka Mikoto maid cosplay outfit'…"
At that moment, Kuroko twitched alive on the wall, drops of sweat appearing on her brow. "You didn't!"
"That's right, Kuroko. Get ready to change gears. No more panda outfits for you!"
It was too much for the teleporter. With a cry of desperation she vanished from the wall and appeared right in front of the doorbell.
"Please, take it away! Dear God, run from the premises right at this—"
SPAZZH. The doorbell whizzed and died right in front of her, and the crackles kept dancing from Misaka-san's bangs.
"What do you think you're doing, Kuroko?"
"Eh… I mean, you wouldn't treat someone who so kindly became your roommate in this manner, would you…?" She tried with a smile, but Misaka-san did not look convinced.
"You're the one who begged yourself into changing rooms, aren't you? You were sick and tired of watching your roommate do her homework and keeping up with her neat and tidy routines, isn't that right? So you wished for a roommate who'd do none of those things, and guess which bed happened to be free." Kuroko paled more and more, and Misaka-san stepped forward. "You're wearing that cosplay until I say otherwise!"
"Noooooooooo!" Kuroko bolted for the door, tears erupting from her eyes.
Lightning leapt off of Misaka-san behind her. "You're not getting away!"
CRAAASSH. The entire door to their room exploded outwards and Kuroko was thrown into the wall on the other side, too startled to even blink properly. An instant later Misaka-san was upon her, holding her down and crackles playing from her raised hand.
"I think we'll start by cutting off your hair, huh? That way it'll be easier to color!"
Kuroko wailed and fought, but her lazy way of life hadn't exactly favored her with a strong physique. Misaka-san, whose entire life revolved around good looks, had far more hours in the gym to draw from.
"Eeeeep! M-M-Misaka-san, Shirai-san! W-What are you doing?"
In that instant, an angel's voice cut through the abuse to come. Misaka-san paused, and Kuroko looked up with teary eyes.
The woman with rectangular glasses carried a tray in her hands, looking startled where she stood just meters away from the mess they'd created. Her eyes were huge. "Are you two fighting again? Oh no, this isn't good at all. What will the principal say?" Her eyes began quivering, and Kuroko's heart trembled.
"Aaaah, whatever." Misaka-san sighed and miraculously stood up, stepping away from Kuroko.
"Dorm mistress!" Kuroko dragged herself forward, pleading at the woman in front of her. "Surely you can see… that we do not work as roommates! Please, dorm mistress! You have to – break us up!"
The dorm mistress still looked startled, and then suddenly smiled. "Oh, nonsense. You guys are always creating so much life around here! I even brought you tea for your guests, see?" She held out the tray where indeed, four porcelain cups and a steaming pot sat waiting. She was the one who'd let them in, wasn't she?
"Hm. Kuroko seems to think we're not fit as roommates, dorm mistress." Misaka-san said, and this time, her voice was entirely different; pleasing and friendly, she addressed the dorm mistress in an entirely different way than anyone else. Kuroko recognized this tone. It's her flatter attack!
"No, dorm mistress, don't listen to her!" She cried, but the woman already looked thoughtful.
"Hmm, that's no good, is it?" Then she beamed. "I have an idea!"
"How come a 'bonding activity' became something like this…?" Kuroko grumbled, making a half-hearted attempt at swabbing her mop on the empty pool floor. Her shoulders hunched high as the sweat poured down her brow in streams. "And how is this 'bonding' anyway!? Damn it, Mimi-chan!"
She turned and glared up at the person who'd benched herself in on a sunbed by the edge of the pool, sunglasses on and a tiny bikini the size of grapes covering her chest. She even had a parasol and a small table with a fresh lemonade on it, directly ordered from the school cafeteria. She's so spoiled it's sickening!
"You say something, Kuroko?" The Laze of Tokiwadai didn't even look her way. Grrrrrrrr!
"You're not even touching the mop!"
"You're hardly either. Going at this speed it'll take you two full days to reach the halfway mark. And let's be honest, this workout is great for your diet." Mikoto smirked down at her, enjoying the look of frustration building on her roommate's face. "I wouldn't take this opportunity away from you. Keep working."
The girl in the maid outfit fumed, and Mikoto smirked. Though Kuroko's hair was still sticking out beneath the wig, it was like watching a long-haired version of her maid self doing housework. Not bad, not bad~ A shorter, frailer look might reach a new fanbase… She was appreciating her own appeal with a new look, rather than Kuroko's.
"You're the one who put this idea into the dormsie's head." Kuroko grumbled down there. "With all your 'working is great for making friends and for exercise as well' bullshit…"
Mikoto adjusted her sunglasses. "I hear something squeaking again."
"Maybe you should have your ears checked!"
"Heh." She grinned and grabbed the lemonade from the table beside her, taking a long sip. Down in the pool, Kuroko clenched the mop tighter, and her shoulders began trembling.
"It's so unfair…" she sniffed. "Everything I do end up like this! I'm just trying to get out of your room, dammit! I don't want to be your roommate, and I know you don't want it either! Why won't you let me leave? I'm trying to get along, but it's just not working…" she hiccupped, tears running down her cheeks despite her best efforts to dry them off. "I don't know what else to doooooooooo!"
For a while her crying was the only sound, and Mikoto slowly pulled the straw out of her mouth. Then she grinned.
"Why don't you fill out the paperwork then?"
"Gh—!" Kuroko's shoulders twitched.
"I'm not stopping you. Go ahead, fill it, get transferred. Maybe I'd finally be able to get a single room too. I'd like to use the extra space for my figure collection."
Kuroko shuddered at the idea of what kind of collection that was. "If you want it that badly, just make them throw me out! It'd take less time than the paperwork mill!"
"I kinda enjoy your company though."
"You just want a punching bag!" Kuroko sounded annoyed, and then her 'Hm?' ceased the current discussion. Two shadows fell across Mikoto's face seconds later.
"Ey, look. They put shrimp in our tub."
"Isn't that Shirai-san from our class?"
She glanced up to see a couple of athletic girls crossing their arms above her and looking down at Kuroko in the pool. Mikoto's expression turned sour. While one had long, black hair and the other curly brown, the two girls who'd approached her had one thing in common; muscle. Beneath the Tokiwadai swimsuit a set of four-pack abs sat on them both, and their arms were bulked and defined. Swimmers? Mikoto felt a chill down her spine. And these guys are first-years?
Two sets of eyes met hers, and the girls smirked down at her. "Oh hey, Awatsuki-san. Isn't this the darn Ace an' all?"
"She looks comf'rtable, Awatsuki-san. Wanna do somethin' about that?"
Mikoto didn't react fast enough. The black-haired girl suddenly grabbed the edge of her sunbed and sent it flipping through the air. Mikoto landed harshly on the ground and before she could gather her bearings, the brown-haired girls snapped her fingers and the lemonade floated into the air right above her head. Then it splashed onto her face.
"Ooooops. So sorry about that."
Kuroko was thunderstruck, staring at the scene in terror, while Mikoto sat up, soaked with lemonade, and slowly began chuckling. She got to her feet, pulled a hand through her hair, and glared at the two first-years. Tiny charges began leaping from her bangs.
"Who the hell do you think you are?"
No no no no, Kuroko despaired while clenching the mop, considering throwing it right at that stupid Level 5's head to shut her up. If this escalated, it would turn into an all-out fight, and Misaka-san wasn't known to hold back against her opponents.
Her suicide plans became obsolete by the arrival of a third person in the school swimsuit. She was a tall and slender blonde, with an athletic build only rivaled by Misaka-san, and a cheerful grin the size of a swizz cheese. She was the star of the swim club, having won the latest contest with a mere breast length, and the sweetest celebrity in all of Tokiwadai. She was the school's second Level 5, Shokuhou Misaki.
"Did you already start cleaning the pool? I'll help you out!" Shokuhou-san beamed, and Misaka-san hissed and backed off with a decidedly uncertain expression. Yes, it was this fact that had led Kuroko to use stuffed animals and cute posters as her weapon yesterday. Misaka-san despised cute things, Shokuhou-san included.
"Oh, Misaka-san! I had no idea you'd volunteered to help us out as well!" The girl nicknamed Mental Out stopped in front of Misaka-san with a cheerful beam, while the two first-years smirked behind her. "You're such a sweetie, Misaka-san! Thank you very much for helping!" She bowed, and Misaka-san withdrew like a vampire exposed to the burn of sunlight.
"Now that's a sight to behold." Kuroko muttered.
"Oh, Shirai-san too?" Shokuhou-san noticed her then, and immediately looked surprised. "My, that outfit looks awfully chest constricting! You sure have much dedication ability to your work, Shirai-san!"
"Well, you know…" Kuroko muttered, only to be interrupted when Shokuhou-san whipped out the bag she carried on her back.
"I brought vegetable juice for everyone! Let's all put our chest ability in to clean the pool together, and we'll be done in no time!"
Led by an enthusiastic blonde with way too high energy levels, the two of them ended up scrubbing the pool together after all. Although Kuroko was almost dying from overheating and Mikoto was as pale as a ghost, the job got done at speeds which would have been impossible with just the two of them.
"My arms are… melting…" Kuroko whined, only to be picked up by her two classmates.
"We'll help you out, Shirai-san!" They swung her back and forth like she was the mop, and meanwhile, Shokuhou-san chattered with Mikoto as if they were the world's best friends.
"Oh, I still need more training. I keep trying, but my breasts still slow me down!"
Mikoto was barely able to restrain her desire of shocking every single person in the pool.
As Shokuhou-san, Awatsuki-san and Wannai-san left them afterwards, Mikoto looked ready to murder.
"Kuroko. If you ever plot a stupid escape plan like that again…" her glare drove daggers into Kuroko and she gulped quickly, "…I'll make sure you end up as her roommate instead!"
"—! The enthusiasm would be lethal!"
There was no pity in those killer eyes.
As such, their days as roommates continue on.