That was the first thing that I saw.

Indistinct, shapeless blurs, nothing resolving into proper shapes.

Breathing hurts, it hurts so much.

Suddenly there was someone in my face, so close, smelling so foreign, whose face I couldn't make out through my blurry vision.

I cried and cried till I passed out, with no idea as to what had happened to me.

I kept passing in and out of consciousness, with something being pressed into my mouth at the times I felt so hungry, that I ended up crying out. Thankfully, it stopped hurting everytime I took a breath, but everything was so blurry, sounds didn't make sense, and my body didn't move the way I wanted it to, and I just couldn't stay awake.

My vision started to resolve pretty soon, and I was soon able to make out the faces of the people who seemed to delight in coming as close to me as possible while making weird sounds.

Then one day, I was finally able to lift my hand to where I could see it.

It was tiny. Wrong.

I cried out and soon passed out again.

It was months before I finally comprehended just what had happened to me, around the time I was able to start coordinating my muscles well enough to be able to walk again.

I was a baby.

I was reborn…and I had no clue how I had died.

Nothing around me initially made sense. The sounds, the colours, the sensations, nothing.

Well it at least confirmed that reincarnation was a thing.

I was just surprised I was human again.

And that I…..well remembered everything. That was not something I expected to have happened . Wasn't I supposed to forget everything?

That made being a baby excruciatingly hard, however. Nothing worked like it should, and had to be re-trained to work properly. I couldn't speak, I couldn't do much more than walk a few steps, and it was so damn hard to stay awake. All sounds seemed off, and the only thing that seemed to give me comfort was the presence of my mother, whom I couldn't even describe properly because of my wonky vision.

In short, I hated being a baby.

It took a little longer, maybe two weeks or so, before I was able to correlate all the colours properly again based on my knowledge as to what things were supposed to look like. The colors didn't look the same, not even close. It didn't look like any colour that I had known. It just was different and hard to describe.

I was finally able to describe the people around me, at least in the confines of my mind.

My mother was a soft looking woman, fair skinned, with light brown hair falling just past her shoulders. She had almond shaped eyes, and one of the softest smiles I had ever seen.

My father was a square-jawed man, always sporting a light stubble, with jet black, well combed hair. His eyes were narrower, lending him a more severe look than my mother.

I also finally managed to pick out sounds well enough that I was able to make out that the people around me were all speaking Japanese. And that my parents names were Touya and Shiina Kamijou, and that mine was Touma.

Well….that sucked. I could barely form the words of the language I knew perfectly well, forget about a language that I knew (Had known?) the bare bone basics of.

Still, it served as a new challenge for me, and one I started to attack with a gusto.

I really hated not being able to do the most basic stuff.

It was a week later that I was able to speak my first word.

"Okaa-san!" I said.

For some reason, both my mother and father both looked at me in astonishment.

I later learnt that that was because I has spoken my first words at the tender age of four months, barely three weeks before I had started walking abnormally early.

I continued to grow at a rapid rate (at least from other people's perspective. To me, I was taking far too long).

I was able to pick up the spoken Japanese extremely fast, helped along by the fact that everything was in Japanese, so I had no choice but to pick it up. It took me another year though, before I was able to speak in full sentences, much to my frustration.

One aspect of being a child that I had forgotten about was size.

I was so very, very small. It was humiliating, especially when I remembered myself as being just around a hundred eighty centimetres before.

People also, for very understandable reasons, tended to treat me like I couldn't understand anything, and because I wasn't all that confident with my voice, I tended to remain silent a lot.

My parents tried to set me up on play dates, but honestly speaking, I think they knew it was a lost cause too. They were literally babies, unable to form the most simple of sentences, whereas I was speaking more or less fluently already. I trained out all the baby sounds as fast as I could, and was, at the age of two, more eloquent than most ten year olds. Which was rather disappointing given that I had an entire life's worth of experience behind me. I blamed my lack of experience with Japanese for that.

By the time I was around two years old, I was able to very slowly start reading the many comics that belonged to my father and novels belonging to my mother lying around the house, with copious help from a dictionary, and my ever patient mother.

I found it rather funny that many of the comics I had been following when I had apparently died were still continuing in this time, about ten years after the last day that I remembered.

By the time I was three, I was a bit of a local celebrity in my locality, a district on the edge of the city of Sendai called Tomiya. My parents were fairly well off, living in a one of those small two story houses found in the Japanese suburbs.

A prodigy, they called me. It made sense from their point of view, given that I was reading and writing at the physical age of three (though my handwriting was terrible. I just didn't have the patience to practice for hours and hours. I much preferred to type).

My unnatural circumstances, however, lead to a world of loneliness. I couldn't tolerate children close to my age, and adults were decidedly uncomfortable with a child talking like an adult, and ended up being extremely patronizing when they did try to humour me. Even my parents, as understanding as they were, tended to be a unwittingly condescending. I thus turned to books, my default escape mechanism in my original life, except now turned up to eleven. While other children went out and played, I would ensconce myself in the local library, swallowing all the literature of a culture I had had zero access to in my earlier life. While before I used to read fiction, I started swallowing books on advanced physics and engineering, on biology, psychology, anything that would eat up the excess of time that I had on my hands with no one to interact meaningfully with. It didn't help that the only computer at home was my father's work laptop, which I wasn't allowed to use. I wasn't allowed the escape of the virtual world that computers offered, and thus turned almost entirely to physical books.

Around the age of four, my parents started to get truly worried about me. I didn't talk to anyone that wasn't them, and even then in single sentences, though I was fully capable of being exceptionally eloquent when I wanted to be. I was spending up to thirteen hours a day ensconced in books, fully abusing my mother's membership at the local public library, taking breaks only to eat and sleep. I frequently passed out while reading, waking up with atrocious headaches that left me bedridden for days. Because I avoided physical activity like the plague, I started to grow weaker, instead of being the bundle of energy that most four year olds were.

My parents started making trips to various doctors, who suggested tests. After the reports came out, they started suggesting psychiatrists. I tolerated the trips, but didn't take much note of them, my mind on what it was I wanted to read next. I treated the psychiatrists the same way I treated everyone else, with the intention of ending the interaction as soon as possible

Just before my fifth birthday, my parents organized a week long trip to a Hot Spring resort in Okinawa, called Tennenonsen. They were rather excited about it, as it was the first long vacation my dad was taking in a long time (in the four and a half years that I had spent aware in this world, he hadn't yet taken one). They kept gushing about it over dinner, while I read my books and more or less tuned them out, already planning the list of books that I would be bringing with me.

Thus, as usual, as soon as we were done with breakfast, I looked at my mother expectantly. We had made it our habit to go to the library in the mornings after breakfast, leaving the house with Dad as he left for work. Today was the last day on the set of books that I had borrowed, and I had to return them and get new ones for my trip.

However, My dad cleared his throat, bringing my attention back to him.

"Touma. I have a very important thing to tell you about our trip." he said.

"Yes?" I said, my mind still trying to decide what books I could bring with me.

"You are not allowed to bring any books with you." He said, his voice grave and serious.

My thought process screeched to a halt.

"What?" I asked. Maybe he just meant physical books because of weight restrictions. We were going by flight after all.

"There will be no books, physical or electronic on this vacation. This is going to be a family bonding time, and for you to get out a little" he said.

I gaped at him while he dropped his dishes in the sink.

"What do you mean?" I asked, completely lost. No books? How was that even possible?

What even was I supposed to do?!

"I mean, no books." he said, effectively ending the topic, turning to mom. "Make sure he returns all his books today. No Check outs" he said, uncharacteristically serious.

I wasn't able to say anything to my dad when he made the announcement because of just how shocked I was by it.

What parent doesn't want their child to read? Don't all parents want their children to read more?

By the time I got back from the library, my shock had turned to rage, and by the time my dad came home, I had a litany of arguments prepared.

He shut me down, saying "I am your dad, and I say No. Regardless of how smart you are, you are not going to spend your time with your nose in a book for two weeks while with just the two of us"

I, quite obviously, didn't take well to that, storming to my room and refusing to talk to either of them for the rest of the night.

I was still sulking the next day, while we made our way to the airport. While I was usually silent, this time I was doing my best to break the happy mood with comments designed to break any and all happy casual chatter that could form, both between me and my parents and between my parents not including me. I had decided that if I was going to be forced to be miserable, then everyone was going to be miserable with me.

We thus reached the airport in complete, tense silence.

It however pissed me off just how stoically the two of them were taking it.

Almost like they were expecting it.

The fact that they expected this just made me even more sulky.

Six hours later, we checked into the hotel, with my still sulking about how I couldn't get any books with me, and was being forced to withdraw back into the real world with real people.

I ran out of steam halfway through the flight, instead choosing to sulk in silence. My parents were far too excited about the trip, it seemed, for my mood to put a damper on it.

While my dad went to finish the check in formalities, I sat down next to mom, trying to understand just what we would do.

"He worries about you, you know?" My mom suddenly interjected.

I didn't say anything. I was still angry after all.

She completely disregarded my silence.

"I remember when you were about two, and started quoting lines out of one of my older novels, and how you would love to debate about the obscure details about the world that book explored." she continued. "I had had no idea how to respond to that. I still don't in fact. How do you respond when your two year old child starts debating philosophy with you?"

Silence reigned for a few more moments.

"I don't know what happened, but you gradually started talking less, withdrawing into this shell, avoiding all interaction with us. It was like your teen years had come ten years early" she said. "Part of it, I suppose, was our fault. We had no idea how to deal with your intellect. We still don't. It is very hard for us to accept that our child is capable of understanding and absorbing so much so fast, and it is even harder for us to see you withdraw into this shell, using books as an escape just as much as some people use games or drugs to escape from reality. Especially when we see it directly affect your health."

I looked away, not willing to show that I had been a little moved by that speech, especially as she didn't seem to be treating me like a child to be humored.

A few moments later, my dad returned, and we all went to our room, the mood decidedly softer than it had been before.

While I was still not happy about not having books to read at all, I understood the spirit in which my parents had wrenched me away from it.

It still did not stop me from negotiating the purchase of an e-book reader as a birthday gift from my father for springing this upon me. And getting me my own Library Card.

The next five days were a blur of various small activities and baths in the hot springs, interspersed with moments where the three of us just sat together playing small, mindless games. The best part was when dad brought out three copies of The Count of Monte Cristo (translated to Japanese, of course), and dedicating an entire afternoon to the three of us just sitting and reading together.

Far too soon, we reached the end of the week, and we were set to check out the next day. Thus, my dad and me were taking advantage of the springs one last time, luxuriating in the feel of the hot water.

"So, Touma, did you enjoy this vacation?" Dad asked.

I just nodded, too spaced out in comfort for anything more.

My dad let out a sigh of relief.

"I wasn't quite sure you would. Especially since I just suddenly cut you off from your beloved books." he said, giving a nervous laugh when I shot him an evil look.

My father sighed again.

"Touma..the last psychiatrist we went to, she said some worrying things." he said.


"I know what she said isn't really true. I have seen you talk so much, it's why we were worried in the first place." he said.

"What did she say?" I asked, eyes narrowed

"She said you might be autistic."


"Shhhhhhhh" My father said, putting a finger on his lips. "Do you even know what that means?" He asked, surprised by my outburst.

"I read about it in one of the psychology books" I said, waving his surprise off, causing him to gape even more.

"Just what do you get upto in the library? I thought you were reading story books" he asked incredulously.

I just gave him a look, not wanting to get into how it was mostly an escape for me.

"Anyway, this trip just reassured me that you aren't actually autistic and can interact with people, if you choose to" he said. "So why don't you want to talk to people?" he asked, giving me an expectant look, his face serious.

I swallowed a couple of times, looking away, trying to decide whether I wanted to tell my father about this.

"If you can't be yourself with your family, whom can you be yourself with?" came an unbidden memory from the recesses of my mind.

It was from my previous life, something my first mother had told me when I was about eighteen. Those words had stuck with me for along time, and I thus decided to heed her advice.

"I just don't like people treating me like I am some dumb kid." I said, "I am smart, and I know what people are talking about. I hate people assuming that I won't know something basic about society in general just because I look young".

.My father let out a relieved laugh at that.

"Well son, I will try not to be one of those people." he said, fondly rubbing my head.

And thus, the vacation ended on a high note, and from that point on, while I still did read a lot, I didn't shut out the world as completely as I used to. It formed one of my fondest memories, and from that year, we made it a point to visit Tennenonsen at least once every year

Despite my (supposedly) prodigious intellect and due to Japan's education system, I couldn't actually skip the first few years of school, and had to enter school (like all other kids) at the age of six.

By that time, I had managed to catch myself up on everything up to the ninth grade in the universal subjects, and the fourth grade in subjects that were specific to my new country of birth (like History, and language), in my new native language.

Thus began the three most frustrating and boring years of my new life, where I spent six or so hours every day surrounded by children, whom I learnt were some of the most petty, irritating and thoughtless beings to ever exist, while teachers wasted time drilling in pointless bits of knowledge that I had internalized such a long time ago, that they had become a part of my permanent memory

I couldn't really blame the kids, they weren't all actually mean, they just didn't know any better yet. Even the actual bullies were less cruel and more thoughtless.

What made it worse was that, for some reason, I had the worst luck. If anything bad happened, and I was in the general vicinity, I tended to be the one most affected by it. For example, if someone dropped some marbles, I would be the first one to slip on it. Or if we were asked to pick a bunch of chits from a bowl, I somehow inevitably got the least popular draw.

While I hadn't been particularly lucky when it came to the small incidents in life before going to school, It hadn't been quite this bad.

It was completely vexing. It wasn't a natural string of bad luck, it seemed that somehow, I drew the worst lot in every situation where I was not the only participant. I even tested it, playing games of Solitaire using a deck of cards both alone and with others. While my luck was fine when alone, it completely skewed in the favour of my opponents when playing with others.

After about six months of trying to find a correlation between all my incidents of bad luck (which were almost all completely random), I gave up on trying to understand just why I was so unlucky, and instead became obsessed with keeping everything around me in order, so as to reduce the number of unpredictable circumstances around me.

It was during this period of my life that I developed a deep seated hatred of surprises.

The Japanese school system did not allow you to skip the early grades, giving a huge amount attention to behaviour rather than academics, something I found both interesting and exceptionally irritating, given that most adults had no clue how to handle me (That is, a child who behaved and thought, in many ways, like an adult), and I didn't like being treated as a child, leading to a lot of verbal explosions.

It also didn't help that my apparently screwed up luck did not allow me to get away with even the smallest infractions when it came to classroom behaviour most of the time.

It went without saying that my teachers didn't like me very much.

However, it was noted that I was exceptionally smart, and very importantly, exceptionally motivated. It was actually quite the head scratcher for my teachers, that the (apparently) least well behaved child was also the most academically inclined. They thus referred to a number of counsellors and psychiatrists, trying to figure out just what to do with me. I didn't fit in with children of my age, and adults were not very comfortable with me, given how I looked like a child, yet talked a lot like an adult. Thus, I had been visiting psychiatrists for over two years now, each one referring me to next, completely vexed as to what to do with me. Many diagnosed me as autistic, a diagnosis that neither me nor my parents accepted.

It was thus that, a few days after my seventh birthday that we went to another child psychiatrist, this one apparently specializing in child prodigies.

Psychiatrists still made me anxious. It was bloody hard to hide anything from them, so I tended to keep my conversations with them as short as possible.

It also helped that all the previous psychiatrists viewed me as a child, and treated me as such, making it easy to play of my fears as distrust of strangers.

The day found me waiting nervously in the small playroom that the psychiatrist, (A very oddly named Kareena Kihara) had. For some reason, the lady was holding a seminar of sorts for all the adults, which left me with all the children….of which only two were older than me.

Therefore, I sat myself in a corner, while the remaining children made a god awful racket, with the psychiatrist's understudy (A twenty-something woman who, for some reason, looked just a few years older than us. It was only when she had picked up the phone at the desk to answer a call rather seriously that I realized that she wasn't, in fact, a patient) unsuccessfully trying to manage them all, more often than not getting dragged into their games as well. In the meantime, I had found a relatively quiet corner and was trying to think through all possible scenarios with the psychiatrist, while I avoided all interaction in my efforts to reduce the amount of unpredictable in my life.

My concentration was broken by someone tugging on my pants.

"Ne, Onii-chan, Why don't you play with us?"

I looked up to see an adorably cute girl, brown hair and deep brown eyes, with rosy red cheeks, looking at me with disarmingly confused expression, like she couldn't quite fathom why I wouldn't play.

"Why aren't you playing with them?" I countered.

Yes, I was being mean. I was quite tired of having to associate with only children and having everything censored out for me, on top of all my horrible luck. The only ones who didn't patronize me were my parents, and it took the a few years of me withdrawing into my books for them to realize that. Thus, I was hoping if I was rude enough, she would go away.

This one didn't take the hint though, and just made a face.

"They don't like the games I suggested. They want to play booring stuff" she whined, apparently finding me interesting enough that she plopped herself down in the chair next to mine.

"Don't do that" I thought crossly. "I don't want to entertain you!"

I didn't say anything out loud though. I wasn't that rude yet. "What games do they want to play?" I asked instead, sighing internally

"They all want to play snakes and ladders, or ludo and all such boring games" she said, make a face.

"What would you like to play?" I asked, just to be polite (Though it was probably wasted on a girl who looked to be about five)

Her eyes lit up at the question.

"Pictionary!" She shouted out excitedly.

My eyebrows went up at that. "Isn't that in English?" I asked

She just looked at me confused. "Yes? It is?"

"So you know English?" I asked, looking at her in a new light. "How old are you?"

"I am five years old" she said proudly, showing me five upraised fingers.

I gave her a contemplative look.

"Eh, what the hell. Not like I am achieving anything useful right now. Could serve as the distraction I need" I thought.

"Sure, I will play with you. Think we can find a set?" I said, causing her to grin in the enthusiastic way that only children could.

"YES!" she shouted, before running off the pester the poor understudy for a set.

An hour of Pictionary later found me scratching my head at just how good the kid was at Pictionary.

I was (obviously) better than the kid, due to my massively larger vocabulary, but she was not as far behind me as I expected, A combination of both my luck, her frankly astonishingly large vocabulary in English, and my inability to draw.

"How are you so good at this!?" she exclaimed, her face a picture of defeat.

Just as I was about to respond, The phone at the desk rang, causing both me and her to look up.

It was then that I noticed just how much the crowd had thinned out. There were only five of us left, including the two older kids I had noted before (though they were just as childish as the rest).

"Kamijou Touma?" the woman-child called out. "You can join your parents in the Doctor's room" she said, a strained smile on her face, which just made her look like a kid about to burst into tears.

"But we aren't done!" The girl protested.

I couldn't help but melt a little at the pout on her face.

I patted her head, and said, "We will finish it the next time we meet kid. I never did ask, but what is your name?"

"I am Misaka Mikoto, and you had better not forget it! She said, pointing a finger at me, Standing up, legs akimbo. "I will win the next time we meet!"

I looked down at the board, with my piece significantly further along the board than hers, guessing that she counted it as a defeat.

"That wasn't all that bad" I thought as I walked into the doctor's room. "I could probably tolerate her. In small doses"

The Doctor was a rather pretty woman, looking to be in her early thirties, with obvious Indian Ancestry. She had nut brown skin, Long, curly jet black hair, and dark brown, almost black eyes. She was also dressed rather casually in a pair of blue jeans and white slacks, a departure from the stereotype I had of Psychiatrists. There was also a marked absence of the huge sofa-chair that was stereotypically associated with psychiatrists. It was instead laid out like a small living room, with plush sofas laid out in an L-shape, with the doctor sitting on the single sofa that formed the short arm of the L. My parents were sitting on the other sofa, with a spot left out on one side for me.

I plopped myself down on the seat, and turned to look at the doctor expectantly.

She gave me a smile in response.

"So I have been talking to your parents about the many problems you have had fitting in with your age group" she said, while pulling out a sheet of paper that I recognized as the aptitude test that my parents had had me fill online before we came here, "And your frankly incredible intellect".

I didn't say anything. It wasn't anything new to me.

"So I have been discussing with your parents another possibility" She continued, putting the sheaf of paper down.

"What have you heard of Academy City?"

The answer to the doctor's question was: Not much at all.

I had been far too focused on getting my body and language skills to an acceptable level (though I suspected that if I tried to speak English, I would have the most atrocious accent now), and hadn't kept up much with the news, instead catching up with the history of this time.

I did know that Academy City had been formed out of a portion of Tokyo about five years before I had been born and boasted a scientific output that far exceeded expectations of reality in my opinion.

I had also noted the slew of rhetoric from the more conservative regions of Europe, particularly from the Roman Catholic Church, following a few obviously atheistic comments from various members forming the Board of directors that ran the City.

I did remember being awed and mildly sceptical of a display on the TV of a boy seemingly reflecting bullets of off him with no visible aids or even armour. His face had been blurred out, and his power hadn't been expanded upon, but it was still a most impressive display.

What I hadn't known was that the boy was a part of a much larger esper development program, in which Academy City offered premier education and scholarships to students who participated in their program, with a lot of programs that seemed to be tailor-made for those who were more academically inclined than others.

The rest of the hour with the Psychiatrist had been spent discussing exactly what Academy city had to offer me, and how I could get in.

The sad part was, because I had already started my primary education, I had to wait for another year before I could start applying to study in an Academy City school. You got into Academy City before you started school, or after you finished Primary school, thanks to Japan's system.

I was quite sure my teachers would be heartbroken when they heard that they would have to put up with me for another two years at the very least.

Thus, I was quite eagerly reading the sheaf of documents Ms. Kihara had given me regarding the various programs that different Academies in the City offered (Many of which, very pointedly, did not have an age factor). I was salivating at the thought of skipping past all those irrelevant grades and directly jumping into high school.

In my excitement, I had quite neglected to pay close as attention to my surroundings as I usually did (which was usually bordering on paranoia), and bumped into something hard.

"OOF!", both of us grunted, with me sticking out my right hand to stabilize myself, the sheaf of papers flying off in all directions.

My right hand somehow struck the other person's chest. Hard.

There was a sound of something shattering, like breaking glass.

I quickly withdrew my hand, falling over on my butt as I completely lost balance.

"I-I am sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going" I said, looking up to apologise to the person I had bumped into, hoping I hadn't broken anything.

I forgot what I was going to say next though, shocked into silence by the man's eccentric ensemble.

He was dressed in bright, neon green. green shirt, green pants, green hair, green belt, green shoes, even green-tinted shades, which had fallen off due to our impact.

His hairstyle was equally eccentric, being shaped into uneven spikes, especially here in Japan with its subdued culture (barring anime conventions and such, none of which were nearby).

The only thing not green about him were his eyes, which were a rather ordinary shade of brown.

I somehow felt simultaneously relieved and disappointed by that.

While I was parsing his incredibly loud appearance, the man had, in the meanwhile, started letting out a stream of swears in English that made me honestly glad that my parent didn't know much in the way of that particular language.

"You. The Kid. What are you? Are you a magician who has been set after me?" He asked, in English.

I just looked at him, completely perplexed.

"Is he Cosplaying or something?" I thought, still sitting on the pavement.

The man mistook my confused expression for a lack of understanding rather than surprise.

"You have no English?" he asked, switching to Japanese, completely butchering the grammar, making me cringe, and breaking me out of my shock.

Rather than attempting to speak English for the first time since my rebirth, I said "No, I don't know to speak English" I said, while getting to my feet "I apologise for bumping into you, it wasn't my intention" I continued, holding out a hand, deciding to ignore the eccentric appearance and nonsensical words.

I had enough to deal with in life than to try to decipher the reason behind a stranger's weird actions.

The man just gave me a look of suspicion, and, rather rudely, turned on his heel, walking away, leaving me standing with my hand held out, looking rather stupid.

"What a rude man!" My mother commented, as she started to attempt to gather the sheets that has fallen because of my little accident, glaring at man's back.

I frowned at the man's retreating back, irritated with his rude behaviour, and then shrugged it off.

"Not like a stranger's rudeness could really affect me" I thought as I knelt down to help my mother gather the loose sheets of paper.

Hoo boy.

So, This was the result of me trying to rewrite To aru Majutsu no Yogeh, the gamer!Touma fic. It ended up being completely different so I made it into another story.

So yes, it's another SI. No, he doesnt have any meta, in-universe knowledge. And no, There is no gamer or any gaming elements as such

Regarding the gamer fic...I actually have the next three arcs planned out, but am finding it difficult to actually write it up with the gamer format. I read the earlier chapters and I cringe at just how badly i had retconned The Name of the Game into the To aru verse

Also, I now have a beta! Many thanks to MemeDevil, for his amazing work.

(He actually agreed to beta the gamer fic, and read through all of it, despite not liking it much at all. So bro, thanks)

A second shout out to Maderfole for his insights for this chapter