Golden moments strung together, sweet and glowing in the light of every good memory Khun had. (more…)
Love wasn’t the kind of word that Accelerator said. It wasn’t because he didn’t care, though he tried not to. It was because he hadn’t known love in a very, very long time.
Sometimes he thought he could almost remember it, the feeling of parents who loved him, could almost remember his name if he reached back hard enough, thought long enough. He still knew the number of characters, remembered that it was ordinary. It had been easier to discard himself and any happiness he’d once expected to be his, once it was obvious he’d never be that innocent happy child again.
“Accelerator! Misaka Misaka admonishes you to pay attention to Misaka when she’s talking to you,” a different happy child bounced onto the couch, halfway landing on top of him. She waved her arms as if she didn’t have his complete attention at this point already.
He tumbled her over on the couch to her delighted squeals and picked up a pillow with his hands, not his esper power.
Maybe it was safe now to remember love.
It’s what you do.
Noise you don’t want to hear, fists thrown, bullets fired—all of it bounces back and strikes your attacker with the slightest bit of your attention, or even less.
They weren’t people, they’d told him over and over. They were windup dolls. They didn’t live.
Accelerator wasn’t supposed to defeat them. He was supposed to kill them, or none of this would actually work.
It made him be creative. He had to find something to enjoy in all this, solving a problem differently, in a new way, with a new application of his power. He hurt people who deserved it to find some taste for the damage he was going to inflict, leaned into the adrenaline rush each time.
He spoke to them before each experiment, tested the theory again, and time and again, they failed to respond because they weren’t people.
So this wasn’t cold-blooded murder.
She looked into those ugly eyes—all the pain and anger and fear that had built up in Kyo over years and years of knowing the truth about his own self—and saw him.
Not just the beautiful moments they’d managed to share. Not just his humanity lying over the top of this cat spirit. Not just the person and form that people loved, but the one they hated, the one that smelled and looked disgusting, even in the eyes of those who swore they loved him.
He saw it in her eyes that she saw him truly.
Technically, Ekos wasn’t lost.
Hurtling end over end, nose over thruster through the cold deep in the dying light of a riftspace tidal wave. He only hoped the wave of byte and digit and signal flares he’d worked it in passed all the intended checkpoints.
He felt lost.
He’d destroyed the solar system, shredded riftspace throughout, and left the enemy squadron in smatterings and pieces. His own hull was damaged, engines not firing, adrift wherever he’d fall or riftspace would take him.
Ekos had been alone too long already, but now—
It burned within him coldly, he wouldn’t be found.
Mikoto stood in the doorway to the bar, and Kusanagi just looked at him for a long moment before Mikoto shrugged and dropped onto his usual seat at the front.
It wasn’t his way to apologize. Kusanagi had been the one to tell him that ages ago.
“You’ve had that in your system for years,” Kusanagi commented. His voice was just slightly sharper than usual, more disappointed.
Mikoto leaned his head back. Kusanagi was too close to this, too close to Mikoto’s inability to protect Totsuka, and he’d be the first hit when Mikoto left him holding all the pieces. There wouldn’t have been comfort in Kusanagi’s bed.
Munakata should know this was the only warning he was going to get.
“Did you find the gun?” Mikoto asked.
Kusanagi studied him for a long moment, seeming to pack up his pain, his disappointment, his face and tone smoothing out to something both casual and dangerous. “Yes.”
For F and Y
I feel bruises
on my heart
that’s where you used to live
and where the fire started
just beneath the crest
buried in my flesh
just like my beating love for you
stronger than my heartbeat pulse
but every word you took to me
like knives and wounds you beat on me
bruised my heart
and now it cries
They count coup: confirmed kills, unverified kills—which covers the halo of supposed inhabitants or workers within a given area when they destroy en masse—and sometimes when the weight gets too heavy, they count things they aren’t required to.
“Five confirmed lives saved. Seventeen unverified.”
“Ten confirmed saved.”
They pass the tea back and forth, alcohol warm on throats too young to be drinking it, and it almost washes away the taste of blood in the backs of their mouths.
Because they don’t care about those numbers. They care about mission success rates, intelligence gathered, acceptable cost.
“Count me in.” Bridge leans forward.
Ice Queen swaps the coin in his hand for a jar of tea. “First kill?”
“Ah. I don’t remember that.”
“Most memorable then,” Arc substitutes with hard eyes. They count them all, adding them up like stones on their backs, in the backs of their minds.
Most memorable was “Saving Augment from that Baganechi over his back.”
Augment scowls, doubtless displeased at the reminder of being thrown from his horse at the caravan, at the old fashioned blade coming down for the kill. “It wasn’t even a planned raid.”
Planned by them.