You know what other people are doing right now? Right now there are millions of people out in the world watching TV, doing homework, spending time with family and friends, getting new hobbies, or even watching paint dry. Sadly, none of those people happen to be Misaka Mikoto. No, the girl is instead unlucky enough to be the only person on the planet who is forced to be stranded beneath hundreds of tons of concrete and building foundation…with Accelerator.
"Why you inconsiderate-"
"Stop screaming at me!" Accelerator snaps at the girl. With a sigh, he leans his head against a semi-shattered clothing store window. With his feet, shoulders, and head all turned away from the Electromaster, his body language is screaming the obvious.
Not that she was pining for his company either.
Early that morning, Mikoto had decided she had enough time to make a hit and run in the Seventh Mist, before she was supposed to meet with Kuroko, Saten, and Uiharu that afternoon. Today was the day that the "Oh wow! Super Exclusive Luxury Gekota Bath Set" was coming out, and since the store would only have a limited quantity, the girl desperately wanted to get her hands on one. However, mid-way through her escapade, the shopping floor she was currently on suddenly disappeared, which caused the building to undergo an enormous structural collapse. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, the girl ended up caved in a women's clothing store with Accelerator.
At first, Mikoto's knee-jerk reaction was to claw her way out of the building by tossing the loose metal support beams around her, but common sense managed to sneak its way into her mental plans of action. Obviously she wasn't the only person trapped inside the mall. If she started recklessly throwing things around, someone could really get hurt. Besides that, if she removed one or two of the support beams, then it was more than likely she would get crushed by all the slabs of concrete precariously balancing over her head.
What on Earth happened? Why did the floor disappear? It's clear enough that this was the work of an esper…but where was the warning? What motive did the person have?
Mikoto tugs on her phone's Pyonko strap. Holding the device in her palm, she quietly flips it open with her thumb. Because of Academy City's incredible cell phone plans, it doesn't occur to her to check for a signal. Instead, she immediately calls Kuroko on speed dial.
"Sissy? Is something the matter? I'm a little busy right now," a strangely sweet voice trails out of the speaker of the girl's phone.
The girl laughs nervously, "Ah, well…about that. It looks like I'm trapped in the Seventh Mist. I was thinking if you could get me out, I would be able to help you guys find the other students stuck in here."
"You know I can't let you help with Judgment work, Sissy," Kuroko sighs. "Wait, what are you doing in there anyway? You said you were going to help Tsuchimikado with her grocery shopping!"
"Uh-ah-hmm…" Mikoto looks around the dimly lit store for inspiration. "Well, she said that she didn't need my help anymore, so I came by here to look around," the quiet sound of broken glass sliding around on the polished floor reaches her ears as she absently glides one of her shoes over the pieces. "Never mind that though. Just get me out of here, so I can lend you guys a hand. I'm thinking you'll need it."
A suspicious hum comes from Kuroko before she replies. "Sissy, I would love to work with you, and we do need more hands, but Judgment could get in serious trouble if they let an untrained, uncertified volunteer run around, especially if you get hurt."
"No whining. But if you want to, I wouldn't mind hearing you whine later, if you know what I mean," the teleporter giggles not-so-innocently at her own suggestion.
"Like hell I would!" Mikoto screams into her dead phone; it looks like her emotions got the better of her, and she accidentally fried the device. With a very un-lady like groan, the girl blows the smoke away from it before shoving the phone back into her shorts pocket.
"Thanks for that." A voice from the store window wafts over to the girl, from a person she was trying to ignore.
…Is going to ignore. He's not here at all. Mikoto is all alone.
Yep. Absolutely alone.
"Urrgh, thanks for what?" Eyes narrowed, Mikoto turns her head slightly, locking on to the albino ten feet away. She can tell he's trying not to smile the way he's pressing his lips together in a line. He continues to keep a hard gaze on the display stand full of scarves and accessories ahead of him.
Accelerator's eyes finally make their way to her. Even in the dark store she can see their awful color. "Nice ass you have there," he gestures vaguely with his chin. "I hear a lot of girls stick their phone in their bras. You might wanna try that that. Skip the shorts one day."
"What did you say to me?!" Sparks erupt in all directions as Mikoto roars.
The esper ignores her, opting instead to continue with a full smile on his face. "Well I guess that may not work, since you have such small breasts; the phone'll just fall straight through your shirt," he laughs.
Humiliated and angry beyond belief, the Ace of Tokiwadai sends a shower of small sparks in Accelerator's direction, causing him to frown and sway slightly, due to his electrode being forced to recalibrate. Standing back upright, Accelerator's eyes meet hers full force, packing a glare hotter than hell.
Mikoto's lets out a laugh while clutching her sides, "So how's your face feel? Can't smile while it's numb, can you? Geez, for a minute there I thought monsters didn't have nerve endings." She almost wishes she were laughing hard enough for a tear to come to her eye. It would feel really good to wipe it away. Unfortunately, there isn't anything about Accelerator that would give her that much enjoyment.
It takes Accelerator a few minutes of cheek massaging, eyebrow rising, and lip wiggling until he feels comfortable enough to respond. Strangely, it isn't with him turning on his electrode. "I really can't understand you, Railgun." His words come out like a few icy beads haphazardly strung together, if there is such a thing.
Wait, what did he say?
"What do you mean by that?" Mikoto crosses her arms, eyebrows pulling together toward the bridge of her nose.
Where does he get off saying something like that? What does Accelerator need to understand? In Mikoto's mind, there's nothing simpler than two people hating each other.
Accelerator leans his back against the broken window, so he can fully face the girl. "I mean what I said," he states dryly. It's only slight, but Mikoto can see him prodding his cheeks with his tongue, as if they were still bothering him.
"Well then explain what you said," Mikoto sighs, rolling her eyes. "And quit acting like you're so cool."
"Is that how you see me?" Accelerator smiles to himself, his eyes trailing toward the roof momentarily. "I'm not cool, just lethargic." The older boy moves to crack his neck. An audible pop can be heard from where Mikoto is standing, which causes her nose to scrunch up. "And to clarify…Well, I don't think I have to do that."
Mikoto shakes her head, having had her fill of the conversation. "Whatever, if you want to play cat and mouse, you can do that without me." She begins to make her way to one of the lowest piles of rubble in the corner of the store and starts calculating the fastest way she would be able to dig a hole into the floor above. It's really bothering her that she can't hear anyone yelling for help from where she is.
She can hear Accelerator click his tongue angrily behind her, but his mood really has nothing to do with her. It seems really childish for him to get mad because she won't play his stupid game.
The Electromaster begins to laugh quietly, feeling superior because Accelerator is the childish one between the two of them, but she stops short once a large cloud of dust and insulation particles wafts toward her face. Tears sting her eyes as she tries to ride through a coughing fit.
"You know there are scarves over here, you idiot," Accelerator interjects between bouts of coughing.
Mikoto takes a minute to catch her breath before examining the accessory shelf located next to the boy. Giving her eyes a final wipe, she looks at Accelerator seriously, "Is your choker on?" She asks.
Accelerator extends his neck, giving her a full view of the small, black box on his neck, "Not at all."
After hearing his affirmation, Mikoto cautiously walks toward the boy, making sure to keep an eye on the movements of his hands all the while. With one swift movement, she swipes a scarf from the rack and ties it over her mouth and nose. "What are you doing here anyway?" Her muffled voice directs itself toward Accelerator without taking a moment to spare a glance away from his hands. Slowly, she walks back toward the pile of rubble she was attempting to burrow through.
"I was going to buy a bath set."
"Really? Why's that?" Mikoto looks over her shoulder.
Accelerator gives her a combined look of amusement and confusion, "Railgun, you're absolutely strange."
The girl tosses a piece of concrete in his direction. "You're the weirdo here! That's what I was doing. Are you stalking me, or what?"
"Or what. I was getting a set Last Order wanted. Don't you think you're too old for all that Gekota stuff?" He asks.
"There's nothing wrong with it!" Mikoto fumes, "Besides, Gekota is timeless. Anybody can enjoy him."
The boy laughs, trying its best to damage the Electromaster's pride. "Yeah right, you just like watching Gekota get car sick, like all the Sisters do. I don't get it, that shit's not funny."
Mikoto throws a few more rocks in the boy's general area. "Gekota is adorable when he gets car sick, but that's not the reason I like him! And shut up about the Sisters. I hate that some of them talk to you."
"That's totally reasonable," Accelerator permits. "And in some ways, I agree with you."
The girl raises an eyebrow, "Then why do you talk to them?" She asks skeptically.
"Because it makes them happy," he shrugs. "If I can make them happy, then I'll play stupid board games and watch Gekota cartoons with them until the cows come home."
"You're fooling yourself," she feels herself seething. "Because of the Network, they don't fully understand what you did to them, and you're taking advantage of that. It's sick," she spits out.
It seems as if Mikoto's words were effective, because it takes Accelerator a moment to respond. "I know that they don't fully comprehend." He continues quietly, "But I'm not so much of a coward that I pray they never will. I hope they do someday, because they deserve to know what I did to them."
"You mean you deserve it," Mikoto corrects. "I don't care how many martyr speeches you give, but you'll never convince me that you're anything more than a masochist begging to be hated."
"Maybe that's what martyrs are at the end of the day," Accelerator concedes.
Mikoto shakes her head and continues with the task at hand. After awhile, she finds that she has moved all of the rubble she could reasonably move without hurting herself or causing even more of the building to cave in. Exhausted, she sits down on a foot stool nearby. She thought of checking her phone to see what time it was, but seeing its cracked screen reminds her of what she did to it.
"You could help, you know." Mikoto's eyes narrow toward Accelerator, tugging the scarf down at the same time. "Wait, don't you have a phone?" She suddenly asks, feeling like a huge idiot for forgetting something simple like that. "I still haven't told my friend what floor I'm on."
The esper shifts his weight from one foot to the other, apparently having no desire to sit down. "Yeah, I have a phone."
"Well why haven't you called anybody yet?" She yells.
Accelerator clears his throat, shifting his eyes to the caved in roof as if he were trying to avoid the question. "I was thinking…I could take this chance to apologize to you. I guess it seemed like a good opportunity."
"Well you're doing a bad job," Mikoto says humorlessly.
A harsh exhale comes from his mouth, "Yeah, I guess so."
The girl stares at Accelerator from across the room, "So are you going to?"
Accelerator glances away from the roof for a moment to look at her, clicking his tongue softly to himself. "I'm sorry," he says, returning his gaze to the roof.
"It's not okay," she replies. He stays silent, but the look on his face tells Mikoto that he's listening. "I may not ever reach a place where I'll think it's okay, but it is better now that you've said that. Thank you." She stays quiet for a moment, looking at the ground.
Eventually it's Accelerator who breaks the silence. The sound of his cane and glass scraping along the ground gets louder as he reaches Mikoto. She tries to stay on edge in case he attacks, but she finds that she's too tired to care at the moment. Accelerator softly tugs on the Pyonko strap hanging off of his phone to pull it out of his pocket, and he slowly places the device on the floor next to the girl. Taking a second to stand back up, he leans against the wall beside her.
Both of them sigh in the eerily quiet room.