Twist of Fate

Disclaimer: I do not own a certain magical index, its character or it's elements


Chapter 68: Vacation Time

People were cranky after the hospital trip. They weren't much happier when they all arrived at the dorm. Yeah, the monsters had wrecked the place pretty thoroughly. Touma being the only one who lived in the dorm who wasn't hospitalized didn't help. He did what he could to fix everything but there was only so much he could do. He had called the right people to fix things but the entire city was pretty wrecked so they weren't a high priority. The Best Touma could do for the living room was put in a space heater and make sure no one got close to the giant tarp that took up the huge hole that leads to a rather long drop.

Misaki sighed, "I want to say it could be worse."

"Not by much though," Awaki muttered.

Yeah, the city was in a weird way. The story was that terrorist attacked the city using some high-end hallucinogens and until the border was on lockdown on both sides. Security was so tight that even the normal magicians couldn't get through, the Church was more the eager to get in and check on Heka's crew and Ammut and take any magical items left behind. But no one was leaving the city and no one was coming in unless absolutely necessary and the church couldn't bring any real reason why they would send anyone, well not publicly or urgently.

So, for the moment they were having some extra guests. Leep was a friend of Index so she was invited, as were Mitori and Dolly for Misaki. Then there were a few people like Mitsuari who didn't have any real place, well jail but Misaki had left that out. The detention centers were in Shambles and Misaki had already put her through enough, plus the girl was not really eager to leave Touma's side.

The number one esper left with Last Order the second he could leave that hospital.

ITEM having lost their apartment kinda moved in.

Kara couldn't go back to her hotel room, one because that place was wrecked and at least the glass window was her doing. Oriana let her stay with them.

Kurosawa just invited herself, she did offer to pay rent. They were more willing to accept her as she was willing to help.

And then there was ITEM, their place was good and wrecked by the monsters. The girls looked on annoyed as Hamazura brought in what they could salvage from their place. They had space so it's not like they could turn them away.

And then there was the final group of new roommates. Esther, Jane, Marie, and Mallybath made sure to leave before ambulances arrived. The coven didn't want to get caught considering they were in the city illegally and they had orders, Princess Carina was with them. She had no way how to explain how one of the princesses of England had suddenly shown up in Academy City. While the Queen was not opposed to revealing magic to the world the Princess didn't think revealing such a thing would work out well. That and she was a criminal that was supposed to be on house arrest and with a terrorist attack being the cover story if people saw her she might be assumed to be involved forcing everyone's hands.

It wasn't only fear that kept them there, the spells created by their monsters had lingered.

There was the dorm mother, Sherry Cromwell, and Vento was found nearby during the clean up after the fight. Unlike everyone else they didn't get up, at first they thought they were natural knocked out but the witches sensed dark magic on them. They moved away to try and help them and even Touma's hand seem to have to effect.

With Index there they hoped to find some sort of cure, Index looked over the women they had in a bed in back. "I'm not sure what I can do."

Carissa raised an eye brow, "You have every spell book in the world in your head."

Index closed her eyes and developed into her mind and the library there and found the battered old book. The pages flipped open and they were all empty.

Index opened her eyes, "I don't know anything, the spell book is empty. I don't remember anything about it."

Index couldn't recall anything after being possessed, which no one even thought it was possible for her to be possessed by a grimoire.

"Maybe for the best," Esther had to admit.

They had talked to Index before but she didn't even have a memory of what had happened. It was a strange feeling for Index, she was not used to having such empty spots in her memories.

Index tried to put something together what they told her and what she was seeing.

"Hm, from what I'm getting the magic the cult used was based on peoples negative emotions. Bring out the worst of people. A lot of people were having visions of negative experiences and experiencing terrible emotions. All while creating monsters of those emotions."

The magic users shuddered at the memories of those monsters, it was a thing that Index didn't mind not remembering. The things that came out of the fog sought only to kill and harm. Touma and Misaki even confirmed that there had beed at least one monster whose sole purpose was to torture people turning their physical bodies into literal weapons, all while keeping the people alive through the process.

From what Esther found afterwards it looked like the cult had sought to use maniacs and murders to get vicious weapons. Some rather notable murders that wouldn't be missed, though even Carissa thought that punishment was even too harsh for those people. There was a strange relief knowing that they had all been put out of their misery with the ritual meant to summon their god. What really unsettled them was that they would have put more innocent souls through that given time.

Index started to pace as she tried to dissect the curse.

"I think this might be something to target their minds." Index mused, "If it's already dug into their minds then there might not be anything to Touma to touch. It would explain why his hand wouldn't work. I think this must work by trapping a person in their mind. Judging by how everything else seemed to work, they are probably feeding off some negative experience or memory."

Marie dared to ask, "What does that mean?"

"I think this curse is meant to trap a person. I'm not sure to what effect. Maybe as another type of torture."

Sherry had fought off the torture technician so it might have been connected to that. Maybe it was a lingering trace of the power that was used that affected these three women. It left a lot of questions unanswered and didn't give them any clue to save them.

Jane sighed, "So if we don't know what exactly what to do we have to try everything."

Index mentally gathered every spell and counter curse they could try.

0000

Touma yawned as he started to wake up.

He wasn't sure how long he slept, he hadn't sleep all that lately. It always seemed that having so many people at the dorm meant there was always someone to wake him up. Also, he had started to notice how often it was someone hitting him awake. He'd hoped that having other people to make Index's breakfast meant that wouldn't happen as much. Who was he kidding Index would bit him if she thought he was involved with the lack of food.

Touma forced his eyes open, his back felt stiff. He stretched out bumping his hand against a wall. Wait his bed wasn't next to the wall.

"Good morning," A sweet honey like voice dripped into his ear.

He found Oriana Thompson sitting right next to him. He was sitting in a chair not in a bed. There were people sitting in chairs all around them. There was also a lot of noise.

He found himself next to a round window and decided to look though it, he quickly found ocean beneath them.

Oh god, they were on a plane.

"We're on a plane…" Touma muttered.

"Yes, I gave you the window seat." Oriana said casually as she flipped through a book.

"I don't remember getting on a plane!" Touma shouted.

People glanced their way annoyed and Oriana simply put a finger on her lips, "Quiet please, people are trying to relax."

"Sorry," Touma muttered quickly, "but what am I doing on a plane?"

"Oh!" Oriana chirped, "I got you out of bed and brought you on. I packed you a few things, we are going to a warmer climate so-

"Wait- Go back! Why?"

"I have a job in Mexico."

"Mexico? Job?"

"You see a few days ago a contact got in touch of me, there is a job in Mexico. It's a really very simple job, a new resort has opened and a cabal discovered that it was near an ancient ritual site. Its dangerous and are ask me to go there and destroy a few things before someone drunk tourist stumbles onto it. Simple smash job thats why I thought your hand might be useful here."

"No! I mean why did you just bring me here asleep?"

"What do you mean? Isn't that how you always travel?"

Touma paused and thought back to many journeys that started with someone knocking him out. That was mostly because of Tsuchimikado but still. In the back of his mind, he knew Oriana was just using that as an excuse to get him to think of something else, and it was working. He knew she probably dragged him away so he couldn't say no, he was already on a plane so it wasn't like he could turn back.

Touma blinked as he realized, "We're on a plane."

"Yes, we are." Oriana smiled at him.

"No, I mean, the city was on lock down. How did we get out?"

Oriana waved him off, "Touma, let big sis explain something to you. Anything is possible, especially if you are connected or rich. Academy City isn't letting anyone in or out of the city unless its important business like moving out supplies or if your are rich and connected. Most of the people on this place have connections to the board of directors and demanded to leave for one reason or another. Most of them are scared after what happened."

"Okay, but how did you get us on the plane?"

"Well, it wasn't full and I'm very beautiful if you haven't noticed."

"…Yeah, I noticed."

Oriana smile seemed to grow at that slip of the tongue. "Well, a bit of flirting and I got our names on the flight manifest."

Touma was about to argue against that, it couldn't be that easy but then again she was really very stunning. So he settled back into the chair and tried to relax.

"Just relax." Oriana leaned next to him, "We are getting out of the cold Japanese climate and going somewhere warm for a few days."

"Wait, few days?"

0000

Well, Touma wouldn't have to worry about his attendance record, it was already pretty shit.

Plus with the story about a wide scale terrorist attack, the schools were down for a bit.

As for what was happening at the dorm things were not anywhere near as calm.

Everyone was gathering around the table for breakfast.

Misaki was the first to notice, "Where's Touma? Whose turn was it to wake him?"

Sozty walked out, "He's not here." She held out a note, "It looks like he's been kidnaped… again."

Ayu Mitsuari burst out, "What? Someone just took him?!"

Misaki on her rolled her eyes, "Again?" She let out a sigh, "I supposed we should get the tracker and find out who did it this time."

Kurosawa blinked, "Does this happen a lot?"

Seria groaned, "Yes, it does." She took out the tracker.

Sozty looked over a note, "It was Oriana Thompson, she left a note," she started to read from it, "just borrowing Touma for a few days. We have to go out of town and we will try to be back soon. Bye-bye Oriana Thompson."

There was a group wide groan, the new comers to the dorm where shock how flippant everyone was about someone taking Touma.

But Hamazura understood it to some degree, after all, he'd actually lost track of how many times he'd been taken.

Maria continued serving breakfast as she heard all this. She was maid after all and she did have her duty, though she planned to tease her sister about this when she was given a chance. But looking around she did seem to find something that might amuse her a bit.

Maria looked over to Saflee, "Excuse me but isn't it your job to make sure things like this don't happen."

Saflee eyes bulged, officially she was one of the dorm mother for the dorm and so she should be keeping an eye on everyone and their comings and goings. But unofficially she was Touma's body guard and she literally let someone take his sleeping body away, it didn't matter if she was someone with some trust she shouldn't let it happen.

Seria was glaring at her realizing that fact.

Frenda looked around confused, "Wait, is it that Big Breasted Chick?" I woke up in the middle of the night hearing some noise, I stuck my head out of the door to see her dragging the spiky haired guy out."

"Why didn't you say something?" Mitsuari asked, she was doing her best not curse in front of Dolly.

Frenda just shrugged, "I was half-asleep, I kinda thought I was dreaming and if I wasn't I don't know what kinda stuff he's into. Basically, he's like dating most of the people here! I don't think I want to know what he's into."

Frenda continued her breakfast, she wondered if anyone else noticed. She'd ask Mugino but she woke up when she wanted to wake up and no one was going to try and snap her out. They were missing a few people maybe a few had been woken up in the middle of the night and were still sleeping to make up the time.

0000

They arrived at the airport with little incident, Oriana made sure to grab Touma's passport. They found their luggage quickly and quickly boarded a shuttle to their hotel. The only thing that seemed off was that some angry lady ended up yelling at someone after they boarded the bus. Traveling just made some people to go nuts.

Touma who'd been wearing his winter clothes for so long felt almost overwhelmed with heat as they reached the hotel. It was March and it still felt like winter in Japan but in Mexico, it was nice and warm. It really struck Touma when he noticed Oriana remove her coat, she'd been pretty covered up but now she was wearing that very revealing top of hers. Then it truly struck him that he was alone with Oriana for the next few days and he just knew that the other back home would be upset with him.

They arrived at the resort hotel, everything was new and everyone looked happy and eager to help. Honestly, this would have made a wonderful vacation. There posters and announcements about all sorts of fun activities that people could do. The issues was that Touma couldn't focus on any of that, he was wondering about what he would tell the girls.

Since Touma couldn't speak the language he let Oriana to handle the room stuff. From what he could tell the hotel hand't been open for too long, so things were going pretty slow with so many people coming in. He sat on the couch in the lobby and stared at his phone while he thought up what to say.

0000

"I'm going to kill him!" Cendrillion yelled out fury entering her voice.

"Hello Cindy!" Thor sat on the couch in the middle of the living room greeting her playfully. That entrance had brought everyone out.

"I hate it when you call me that!" Cendrillion started to spit out some French curses.

Shinobu covered the twin's ears, they didn't speak French but she didn't want them to pick anything up.

Thor had come in without announcing himself, by jumping through the tarp that covered the hole in the wall and just sitting down.

"Thor," Carissa growled, her reports on GREMLIN told her a lot about him almost none of it good.

Most of the people there had some knowledge of Thor, those who didn't had an uneasy feeling about him and how casually he showed up.

"How did you get in here? It's the 16th floor?" Himegami pointed out.

"I just climbed up here, I thought it might be good exercise." Thor said casually.

Some of them knew about how Thor had sought to fight Touma, and they were hoping he'd leave without any issue. They didn't want any problems especially since they had three innocent people unconscious and a few small children.

Seria decided to be honest, "Touma isn't here, you will just have to go."

"Really?" Thor raised an eye brow.

Saffle cracked her knuckles, "Would you like to see the note they left? They'll be gone for a while."

Thor scratched his head, "I was hoping to get a rematch with him since I found myself in the city. After fighting that strange guy with the hammer I'm really eager for a fight."

Thor remained unshaken by the monster that plagued the city. They all just hoped he wouldn't ask to stay.

"I barely just got out of the hospital." Thor continued, "And I don't have a place to stay."

"Well, you can't stay here," Hamazura told him looking at the huge hole, " we're pretty full up here and there are a lot of repairs needed."

"Yeah, I should get going." Thor agreed as he got up. "So, hey you're all dating Touma?"

"What?" Hamazura shouted.

"Not us!" Frenda told him motioning to the member of ITEM.

"Really? Not sure whose in his Harem," Thor shrugged, "here i thought he wasn't that kinda of guy. I've tried to keep up with that podcast but I have a back log. I don't remember the princess of England joining it."

Carissa's eyes twitched as she looked at the magician.

Thor rolled his shoulder as if to stretch a little, "Maybe if Touma isn't here I should see with those he's picked as partners do in fights." Thor grinned, "After you should be able to stand as his equal."

A phone was heard ringing.

0000

Touma looked at his phone but after a few rings noticed that no one was answering, "Are they really that upset? My rotten luck."

Oriana sat down besides him, "Okay, so good news and bad news."

"Of course there is." Touma groaned realizing his luck could never be that good. "What happened? They lost our reservation and we don't have a place to stay."

"No, of course, we do." Oriana smiled to reassure him, "Just there was an accident earlier, and it's taking them more time to get out room ready. They checked in our bags and we just have to come in later. I have to gather more information."

"Wait, I thought you were hired by the people who made the ritual."

"I was but it would be more accurate to say that it I was hired by their ancestors. Look, for various reasons sometimes rituals or artifacts are put aside and forgotten. They have some notes about it but centuries later the landmarks have changed. They have a general area but not sure where everything is. That's why I said it would take a few days. "

"I guess that makes sense," Touma shook his head, "still, I can't believe I'm stuck here for a few days."

"Oh poo!" Oriana moved closer to Touma and wrapped her arm around him, "Are you really complaining about getting to spend a few days with your girlfriend at a tropical resort."

Touma gulped he really wasn't used to being so close to Oriana.

"Besides you haven't gotten a chance to see me in a swim suit."

"…Swim suit?"

"Well, if we are going to be here for a while I don't see why we can't get a chance to spend some time at the beach."

"Wait, are you just messing with me?"

"Well, that is fun I Don't see why we couldn't find sometime for some fun. I doubt anyone will stumble on the rituals so soon, if they remained hidden for centuries and through all the construction I doubt someone will find them now. Besides, we really haven't had time to spend together just us. Is that anyway to treat your girlfriend." A smile grew on her face, "Let's get something to eat, I think I saw this place on our way here."

0000

The Twins, Dolly, Index, The unconscious women and the maid Maria were all teleported into the panic room.

Awaki teleported back to Seria's side, "Why didn't mention the panic room earlier?"

"I would have," Seria admitted, "but when real monsters showed up and filled the dorm we didn't have much time to try and get there. Plus if I had we'd be trapped and found out."

Another explosion erupted in the dorm as Thor was shot out through the hole he came in.

Seria sent her sister to watch over the others and those who could fight stayed to try to drive off the battle obsessed fool.

Index did leave them a nice piece of advice before she was moved, that the belt he wore protected him a great deal. The monsters that fought him in the fog put him through enough damage to kill an army so they would actually have to work hard just to knock him out.

Shutaura had used her power a few times and a few explosions to the face weren't slowing him down.

He'd crash on the ground and rush back up.

Shinobu frowned, "That is the third time he's let that happen. He's testing the attacks. He'll have enough data now, he'll change attacks and try something new."

She did have a knack for figuring how people's minds worked.

Nephtyst was messing with her hair, "Ah, yes, the magician is powerful and dangerous. Possibly the second strongest member of Gremlin. If we let him get serious he will teleport around any dangerous and find the best place to attack."

Carissa agreed, "We need to fight as one, anything less than a unified front he will tear us apart."

Seria sighed and turned to Misaki and Mitsuari, "I hate asking this…can you two link our minds for this?"

Thor was already up and climbing up the building with a fury.

Misaki pondered the request, "Its possible, my abilities have gotten greater as of late but focus with such range would be difficult. I'm not sure if I could muster it."

Mitsuari was still a little uneasy about this, "If you allow me to help you maintain it we might be able to manage it. You focus on the range while I work on focusing to the individuals."

Misaki was hesitant after all the last time they met she did try to drown her. Misaki took a long sigh, "Touma would want me to trust you, to try and see the best in you. If he can trust Accelerator then I should be able to trust you."

"Get to it then!" Shutaura was looking over the edge and Thor was rushing towards him." She pulled out her gun and fired to his face. It was barely making him flinch.

Both Psychic espers turned to one another Mitsuari placing her finger tips on Misaki's forehead.

Thor jumped back into the dorm room and looked on confused as several eyes turned towards him all at once and each had stars.

0000

They were actually having a nice little lunch, it was a bit of a late lunch, he was still trying to get used to it. Back in Japan, it was the previous day and still morning, late morning but still.

They had been chatting when Oriana went quiet.

"Is something wrong?" Touma asked her.

She snapped at her trance and shook her head, "No, no, I'm fine."

Touma could tell she was lying, she was a better liar but at the moment she couldn't muster anything better. The fog brought out monsters and it looked like it was bringing something out of her too, something she wanted to hide from herself.

"Oriana, if you don't want to talk thats fine. But something is troubling you, and I don't think it's nothing not the way you're staring at that bus stop. I might not be able to help, but maybe I can still listen and maybe that can help. Isn't that what a boyfriend should do?"

Oriana chuckled and turned to him and touma saw tears in her eyes, "Calling yourself my boyfriend to try and drag it out of me. That's very sneaky."

"I'm sorry."

"No, don't be. I liked hearing you call yourself that." Keeping it inside felt like it was crushing her, "Okay, I'll tell you."

Oriana stared in the distance as she brushed a hair out of her eyes, "You know we are more alike than you'd guess. Since I was a little girl I thought people should try and help people, even strangers. I thought that's how the world should work. That's how God would want us to treat each other, that if everyone could act like that the world would be a much better place, maybe even a perfect place. I didn't think I could change the world but I could at least do my part, I could be the person I wanted to be."

There was a catch in a throat and she stopped talking, Touma placed a hand on her hand to try and calm her, to silently let her know she wasn't alone.

Steeling herself to talk, "That's why I became a nun."

"Wait, your a nun?!"

Oriana glared at him, "Why does everyone ask that? Is it so surprising?"

"….I mean, Uh, please continue." Yeah, I don't think anyone would assume Oriana was a nun.

I was a nun, for the Roman Catholic church. I thought it was my calling, to help where I could."

Touma gave her hand a squeeze, "What happened?"

"I was tested and failed." Oriana said trying not to cry, "There was an elderly old woman once…when I was young I helped this old woman…. I never got her name…I helped her get on her bus. She was this sweet old lady who smiled and thanked me. She thanked me."

"Oriana?"

"There was an explosion, she died on that very bus. She thanked me after I lead her to her death. I got her killed and she thanks me."

"It wasn't your fault, you couldn't have known."

"No, that's what the other nuns told me, that was God's will and it was a test of my strength and… I couldn't pass it… I couldn't take it… and I left and started to study magic." She let out a long tired laugh, "Magic, that's the issue now. Since that fog I can't forget the woman, I just keep replaying it over and over in my head."

Touma moved his right hand to her head.

"You see." Oriana forced a smile," No sounds, no change. The magic fog reminded me of it but it's my own guilt that keeps me remembering." She lowered her head as the tears flowed freely. "I- I can't stop thinking about it. I know it's not my fault but I still feel guilty for it. It feels like I killed her." Quietly she said, "…I killed her…."

The words hung there softly but struck them like it were a brick, the guilt behind them dripped off and lingered. Oriana was doing her best to hold back a sob and even just talking about it felt like the grief would consume her as she pictured the woman's face once again.

There was nothing Touma could say to make her feel better so he pulled her close and held her.


Author's Notes: Hey *puts hands on the shoulder*

Okay so finished this up in the middle of the night. Honestly, after Oriana's moment it felt like that was the place to break the story up. Yeah, after a revelation like that I couldn't even think of what to add. So what do you guys think. I'm trying to get into a normal and more frequent update schedule so wish me luck. Leave a review telling me what you think and I gotta get to sleep I've been doing my taxes and that is draining.