It's a New Year and I figured, why not post something different to celebrate? This has been mulling around in my mind for a while and figured now was the time to release it. It is only a one shot and I do not plan to make it any longer. The story is only for some insight into one pairing that has no effect on any of my other stories. I wanted to get that out of the way because there has been confusion in the past.
Disclaimer: Random people do not own Toaru Majutsu no Index or any of the characters.
Seiri Fukiyose's fist collided with the hanging punching bag.
It was a little over a week after the New Year and one of the Christmas gifts she had received was a three month paid membership to a gym that was within a short walking distance of her dorm. Funny enough, it was a gift from the Delta Force, a group of miscreants consisting of Touma Kamijou, Pierce Aogami, and Motoharu Tsuchimikado. Those three singlehandedly caused ninety-nine percent of all problems in her class and yet were able to occasionally act like decent human beings. The idea must have come from Touma, because he knew she liked to stay healthy and try out different diets. None of them had a lot of money, so it was nice they decided to pull their funds together and get her something. At the thought of those three, she gritted her teeth and punched the bag again.
Why can't they just behave themselves? Seiri thought angrily and continued to pummel the sand bag. Stupid idiots, completely oblivious…
"If you hit that bag any harder," a familiar voice commented. "It's going to spring a leak." Seiri jumped and spun around. The familiar blue haired boy stood in front of her, a rag in one hand.
"Aogami?" Seiri asked surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"I work here part time," Pierce explained with a chuckle. "Glad you are making use of our gift."
"I figured since you guys went out of the way to get it," Seiri commented. "I should at least make use of it. So, how long have you been working here?"
"Got hired shortly before Christmas," Pierce answered. "Gave them enough time to go over what duties I'm required to do before the rush of people show up. You know, everyone makes resolutions for the New Year, like getting out and exercising, and January is a really big month here."
"Makes sense," Seiri admitted. "Though they need to have discipline and follow through with their promise. Too many people make up excuses like bad luck and misfortune, so they can put off getting their life in order."
"Misfortune, huh?" Pierce asked and grinned. "Could you be thinking of anyone in particular?"
"No," Seiri snapped, but it was obviously a lie when her eyes shifted slightly to the left. "I was just speaking generically." She grabbed her towel and wiped her face. "I'm heading out anyways and you should go back to work, shouldn't you?"
"Actually," Pierce corrected her. "My shift ended once I finished wiping down the machines." He gestured to the rows of exercise equipment. "Can't say I like doing it after guys use them, but I can always recognize the sweet sweat of girls." Seiri scowled at him. "How about we leave together."
"You obviously have something on your mind," Pierce pointed out. "And, as class rep, I shouldn't leave until I offered my services."
"When have you ever held the position of class rep seriously?" Seiri demanded. "Without me, the class descends into chaos."
"It's my New Year's resolution," Pierce said and then put a hand over his heart. "And how could you accuse me of that? I'm hurt! Do you know how many after school meetings I have had to attend because of my position?"
"I suppose I don't have anything going on," Seiri relented. "As long as you hurry up. You better be ready when I finish changing, or I'm not waiting up."
"Understood, Fukiyose-sama!" Pierce responded with a snappy salute.
"Stop with that sama crap!" Seiri ordered and stormed off. She quickly changed in the locker room out of her shorts and t-shirt into long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. The snow had stopped outside two days ago, but the temperatures kept the ground covered in a white blanket. It was winter after all and Academy City wasn't a full bio dome. Seiri grabbed her coat and headed toward the front entrance of the gym. It was a little bit of a surprise to see Pierce there, waiting for her. She was sure he would be late. "Huh, you're on time."
"You make it sound like I'm some kind of deviant," Pierce laughed. "I'm rarely late for class."
"You're a deviant in other ways," Seiri sighed. Maybe I can talk some sense into him and get him to shape up in class.
"I'm just open with my interests," Pierce corrected her and she scoffed. They exited the gym and started walking down the salted sidewalk. "So… you were hitting that bag kind of aggressively. Any particular reason?"
"I was blowing off some steam," Seiri answered. "Figured no one was using the bag, so it was the perfect opportunity."
"I see," Pierce muttered. "You sure it's not because of a certain someone finally getting together with someone?"
Pierce knew he struck gold when Seiri stopped in her tracks.
"W-what nonsense are you spewing?!" Seiri demanded and her stuttering was barely noticeable, as it was being concealed by anger. Her right hand balled into a fist, but didn't move any further. Pierce looked at her and then continued on bravely.
"I'm just brainstorming," he said. "Who would have thought Kami-yan would finally get together with someone?" Seiri remained silent. "We only found out two days ago, but she actually made a move on December thirty-first. Shame about the curfew, or they might have been able to wait until midnight and k-…"
"Enough!" Seiri snapped and Pierce grinned at her. "What's this have to do with anything?!"
"I don't know," Pierce replied. "What's got you so defensive?" Seiri growled at him and then went silent. "It's pretty obvious and we call Kami-yan oblivious." He flinched under Seiri's piercing gaze.
I know what he's implying, Seiri fumed. But there is no way I would be so petty. It would not be an understatement that she had been surprised when she found out. Classes had just resumed when Motoharu and Pierce burst into the classroom, a couple minutes before the first bell, and declared Touma had finally gotten a girlfriend on New Year's. The class didn't believe them at first. Months of those two making outrageous declarations had numbed everyone to their random shenanigans. However, when Touma had entered, no one could resist interrogating him. The silence was palpable when he had rubbed the back of his neck, chuckled nervously, and confirmed the rumors. A few moments later, their class got in trouble for the noise. Seiri didn't remember most of that day after that, it passed by in a blur, but she vaguely remembered snapping several pencils over the course of the day. "I don't appreciate what you're implying," she answered through gritted teeth.
"I might be thinking out loud," Pierce commented and looked up at the sky. "But it seems to me, all that stress built up is just because the Iron Wall Girl never took the next step and asked a certain misfortunate friend of mine something important." He grinned. "Like about how much she wanted to da-…Ow!"
Seiri punched him in the shoulder.
"I'm getting tired of you guys saying that," Seiri told him. "He is a classmate who continues to blame something as superstitious as bad luck for his failures. It's just an excuse not to do his homework."
"Then why do you constantly push him?" Pierce prodded, while he rubbed his arm. "You must be tired, my bone doesn't feel like it's broken."
"Because as his friend and classmate," Seiri answered, emphasizing the word. "I want to help him grow as a person and prevent his lackluster attitude from affecting others. It's better for society if everyone works hard."
"Sure," Pierce said dismissively and waved his hand.
"Don't give me that tone. I make sure to correct you too when you start doing something stupid that risks affecting everyone else." Her corrections usually involved a fist crashing down upon the Delta Force.
"I still have the bruises to prove it," Pierce agreed. "Luckily, I enjoy being hit by an attractive girl, so I enjoy ruffling your feathers."
"Huh?!" His words disgusted her and embarrassed her simultaneously.
"But back to you and Kami-yan," Pierce continued. "Are you sure that stress of yours didn't appear until after you heard about his relationship?"
"No…? Maybe… it's just a coincidence."
"This reminds me of one of the Dating Sims I played," Pierce reminisced. "If you wait too long to ask a certain girl out, they find someone else and then you have two choices. You can hope they break up or you can move on. This seems like your position is reversed."
"I never said I liked him," Seiri pushed back.
"Whatever you say," Pierce chuckled. "Tsuchimikado and I always made fun of Kami-yan for being oblivious to the girls who liked him, but we figured you were always playing hard to get. That, or Kami-yan Disease didn't affect you." His eyes sparkled as they fell on her. "I see it was the first one."
"You are assuming a lot," Seiri mumbled.
"Are you going to correct me?" Pierce asked.
Seiri remained silent.
"And as we have demonstrated here!" Pierce announced. "There is not a single female capable of resisting the fearsome Kami-yan disease! The Iron Wall has been broken and now she's furious at him for moving on-… Ow! Seriously, what is with you and punching me today?!"
"I'm not mad at him," Seiri stated seriously and then scowled. "I am a little peeved at the way you phrase things, however."
"So what was with striking that bag back in the gym with your double barrel shotgun?" Pierce asked. Seiri flinched and she felt a slight sense of irritation well up at his words. She knew he meant her fists, but his words could be taken another way. For now, since he was willing to listen, Seiri was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Anything said here," Seiri told him. "Has to be kept secret. No telling anyone, including Tsuchimikado and especially Kamijou." The smirk on Pierce's face faded and he nodded.
"Okay, I promise."
"Really?" Seiri was shocked at how easy he agreed.
"Just because I tend to see the beauty in all things," Pierce stated defensively. "Doesn't mean I don't know how to listen when things turn serious." Seiri always pegged him as a pervert and a slacker, along with the rest of the Delta Force, but she was pleasantly surprised he had a mature side.
"I'm… not angry at Kamijou," Seiri stated again, after a moment's pause. "I'm mad at myself."
"Why!?" Seiri asked rhetorically. "I suppose it's because I knew how oblivious that guy is. Sure, he blames bad luck for way too many things and discusses stupid things with you guys way too loudly, but he has a lot of good points too. I noticed him trying to his best to catch up if he misses class. He never thinks about blaming someone else when things go south. During the sports festival, he wanted to work extra hard to make sure sensei doesn't get embarrassed."
"Are you mad that you never got the chance to tell him that?" Pierce asked.
"I've mentioned it in passing a couple times," Seiri replied definitely and shook her head. "No, I'm mad at myself for not asking him out directly. I hoped he might have noticed… but I was just being stupid."
"It might have been partially our fault," Pierce offered. "Our teasing about Kami-yan Disease not affecting you might have made him miss the signals."
"Of course it did," Seiri snapped and then sighed. "Eh, I should have just asked. Now I'm frustrated and taking it out on you, even after you were willing to listen to me."
"I don't mind you taking it out on me," Pierce reassured her. "Even if you need to resort to physical blows." He puffed out his chest. "Though, stopping before you break bones would be appreciated."
"Don't get me involve in your sick perversions! I bet you would enjoy any girl hitting you."
"A little, sure," Pierce agreed and Seiri had to resist hitting him again. "But I don't offer to let girls hit me, like I am with you."
"Huh?" If Seiri wasn't confused before, she was now.
"I have to say among all types, the strict class rep is definitely in my top five," Pierce elaborated. "It's a great pleasure to get hit by you."
"Gross," Seiri said with a shudder and then thought of something. "Is this some kind of reverse psychology? Thinking if you make me believe you get off from me hitting you, I'll stop."
"Nah," Pierce corrected and waved his hand dismissively. "Nothing that complicated, but that defeats the purpose of enjoying intimate physical moments. It's a lot simpler than that… though, it's probably not really important." Seiri watched him out of the corner of her eye suspiciously, but he didn't elaborate. They walked in silence for a block until Pierce finally broke it. "You should have told him. There's no point in denying it."
"I know," Seiri snapped. "But how was I supposed to when my best friend in the class has a huge crush on him? Shoot, I've told her she needs to be more aggressive in her attempts."
"Pot calling kettle?"
"I know you're right," Seiri relented. "I'm not trying to blame you, but I'm a little on edge. It's going to take time to get over it." She sighed. "I keep thinking what would have happened if I actually told him what I really felt."
"I can see it now!" Pierce exclaimed and held his hands out in front of him. "You confess and he's going to take it as some kind of joke and react accordingly. Then you get mad and punch him before storming off…ow! Yeah, exactly like that!" He picked up his pace when Seiri began to walk off and leave him behind. When he grabbed her shoulder with his outstretched hand, she whirled around and faced him.
"It's all fun and games to you, isn't it?" Seiri demanded angrily. "You never waste an opportunity to make fun of someone, Kamijou, sensei, and now me! Maybe you should get your act together before you criticize others! I don't see you with a girlfriend!" She tried to keep walking forward, but Pierce held on.
"I don't have one by choice!" Pierce stated importantly. Seiri scoffed and he continued. "No, seriously. Sure, some girls may not appreciate my charm, but that's not the reason. It's just, I found the girl I liked and she likes someone else. I never found anyone as good as her, so rather than settling, I remained single."
"Huh?" Seiri asked in surprise and stopped in her tracks. "That's surprisingly… noble of you."
"I am a man of many talents and interests," Pierce replied and gave a short bow.
"So do I know this girl?" Seiri asked and there was still a trace of skepticism.
"Does she go to our school?"
"Can't tell you."
"Stop being stupid," Seiri demanded. "At least give me a hint."
"I guess I could," Pierce relented. "Let's see, she's a hard worker. Very attractive, but acts like she doesn't know it. She encourages people to improve, though she sometimes goes overboard. Not that I mind, it's pretty hot. Responsible and intelligent, would look great in a bunny suit. Shame she fell for Kami-yan disease." Seiri froze and Pierce continued to walk, albeit much slower, and he continued to speak louder. "Thought she was supposed to be immune. We even gave her a nickname." Seiri suddenly grew red faced, but it was of anger, not embarrassment. She ran forward to catch up, grabbed his shoulder, and spun him around on the spot.
"Quit it!" Seiri yelled at him. "There's no way you like me. This is just one of your sick jokes."
"No!" Pierce told her firmly and grabbed her hand with his. "This is not a joke. I've liked you shortly after we first met."
"W-w-wha…!" Seiri's face was still red, but the anger was quickly fading away.
"Remember when I put my moves on you at the beginning of the year?" Pierce asked. Seiri flushed in embarrassment and irritation when she did. His moves consisted on him complimenting her forehead and chest with weird innuendos then asking her to spend their life together. "But you turned me down. I figured you were just embarrassed and didn't recognize my charms at the time."
"Damn right I was embarrassed!" exclaimed Seiri. "You tried to propose in front of the class!" She sighed and collected herself. "Besides, everyone knows you are a deviant. We all assumed it was a joke."
"It wasn't really a joke," Pierce corrected her. "Though, the deviant part is just a label by those who don't understand 2D love."
"Then why did you just give up?" Seiri asked. "I doubt you realized I liked Kamijou that long ago."
"We knew you liked him before we called you the Iron Wall," Pierce explained. "And I never really did give up. I saw that you liked someone else and it would make me a terrible person to try to stand in your way of happiness. I can accept the title of Pervert, but I won't be someone who breaks up lovers. In fact, Tsuchimikado and I came up with your nickname to help you."
"Help me?" Seiri asked incredulously. "How?"
"First," Pierce elaborated and held up a single finger. "It would get Kami-yan's attention when we constantly point you out to him. Second," he held up another finger. "It would antagonize you. You are not the kind of person to make the first move when it relates to love. We were sure getting you angry would cause you to slip and say something that would cause Kami-yan to take note. We even acted up in class around you and dragged him in to give you opportunities to talk." Seiri stared at him. His logic was so stupid, it made her head hurt, but the fact he did that for her was… well sweet.
"I still find it hard to believe if you had… feelings for me," Seiri stated. "That you would be okay with me going out with Kamijou."
"I wasn't okay with it," Pierce corrected her again. "But you had feelings for him, so badgering you to go out with me would amount to a pity date, if anything. I hoped that if you got with him and were happy, I could move on." He rubbed his head. "There were times I wanted to strangle Kami-yan for being so oblivious and times I wanted to yell at you to just ask him." He chuckled. "I did manage to beat him up several times for random reasons, so there's that."
"I feel bad for hitting you all those times now," Seiri muttered.
"Like I said," Pierce pointed out. "I don't mind if it's you. Keep it up if you want."
"That almost sounds like a date," Seiri laughed and then held up a fist.
"Nah," Pierce said and shook his head. "Right now, you are down after Kami-yan found another. If we started dating, it's just on the rebound and those kinds of relationships rarely last." He grabbed his head in frustration. "I had to start so many games over in my Dating Sims, because you don't find out that route is a trap until way later! I lost so many precious girls that way! It seems like the right path at first, but then she gets mad at you and her charm disappears-…!"
"I get it!" Seiri yelled and punched him in the arm. "Don't explain it to me." A combination of the force hitting Pierce's side and stepping in a patch of ice caused him to slip and fall into a pile of snow.
"I see your monstrous strength is returning," Pierce laughed and pushed himself up.
"Here," Seiri said and held out her hand to help him up. He took it and grinned at her. "I'm not apologizing for hitting you, you deserved it there, but I'm sorry my punch knocked you into the snow."
"Apology accepted if you let me walk you back to your dorm."
"I… would like that."
The two of them traveled the rest of the way in silence, not even bothering to let go of each other's hand.
Hope you all enjoyed this one shot of Seiri Fukiyose and Pierce Aogami. Nice little heartwarming story is a great way to start off the New Year. This obviously wasn't written to trigger someone specific and there is no way I worked with anyone else in some sort of conspiracy.