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Fanfic / Between the Lines

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Between the Lines is an anthology of A Certain Magical Index oneshots written by MrQuestionMark that are intended to be light-hearted shorts.

It's separate from the author's other fanfic, A Certain Unknown Level 0.


  • Alternate Self: Alternate Selves: Touma, Accelerator, Shiage and Index meet themselves in Chapter 21. The alternates all have things the originals would like but do not have - Touma has (or rather, acknowledges the existence of) a harem, Accelerator is registered as family with Last Order / Misaka Worst, Shiage has stronger connections with Shizuri / Salai and Index is in a relationship with Touma.
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  • Anti-Magic: Touma's Imagine Breaker in his right hand, which nullifies magic and esper powers on contact.
  • Balanced Harem: A common feature in one-shots where Touma is involved (regardless of whether or not he knows about it).
  • Batter Up!: Mikoto references Saten having used baseball bats to attack people in the A Certain Scientific Railgun series:
    Mikoto: Bats are more Saten-san's field.
  • Brand Names Are Better: Subverted. In Chapter 1:
    "She may have been a high-class rich girl but even Shokuhou knew that there was no point going to buy the most expensive pencils and pens when there were cheaper options that lasted longer and were half the price."
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Touma is certainly this to the author, who is a self-confessed "Touma sadist".
    • Othinus (in her post-NT 10 doll body) is a literal example of this in Chapter 29.
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  • Clueless Chick Magnet: See Oblivious to Love.
  • Corpsing: Lancis does this in Chapter 8 when Lessar attempts to seduce an airline pilot in order to steal his ID card.
  • Crossover: Two of the Infinite Hells that Othinus creates put Touma in the Fate/Stay Night and Final Fantasy 7 worlds.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The overall story is basically a big collection of these. Touma notwithstanding, there are some characters (Othinus in particular) who feature heavily in more than one story.
    • Aisa gets one in Chapter 2, which takes place during the Daihaseisai. The fact she gets one at all shocks a certain protagonist:
  • Everyone Join the Party: In The Rumour, war breaks out in Academy City between espers, with various members of the Magic side joining in. All the combatants are girls seeking to confirm the rumour that Touma is looking for a girlfriend, and they fight because they cannot find him and want to prevent the others from doing so before them.
  • Eye Scream: Chapter 41: The Silent Screams:
    • Author's note:
    If at any point, you covered your eyes while looking at this, turned away, felt 'I really want to skip this bit' or just yelled "WHAT THE HELL!? HIS EYE?!"
    Actual Scene:
    'She' sank 'her' teeth into the boy's left eye.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After the defeat of Lola Stuart and Aleister Crowley, The Reveal of the existence of magic, and the ongoing reconstruction of Academy City, Touma Kamijou declares war on the entire world, by announcing that he will destroy both the Magic and Science sides, to prevent future suffering and despair caused by both sides from happening anymore.
  • Fallen Hero: Touma Kamijou in Chapter 59.
  • Flashback Echo: When Misaki is watching Mikoto practice hitting baseballs in a batting cage with baseball bats controlled through the Magnetism Manipulation, she flashes back to when Touma was trying to get her to be more athletic using batting practice. It was also prompted by being at the same batting cages where the events of flashback occurred, with the broken pitching machine still unreplaced.
  • Happy Flashback: The Flashback Echo to Misaki and Touma's batting practice is a happy memory for Misaki.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Chapter 41: The Silent Screams: Cannibalism was part of Othinus's Infinite Hells:
    [...] he had seen the world descend into nothing more than a cannibalistic hell where his own family had not been saved.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In Chapter 75, Academy City is a giant prison Escape from New York-style. Touma was sent there on false charges, but he is still The Paragon - even though nearly everyone in the city wants his head because he represents what they chose to reject: their basic humanity and ability to care for others.
  • Jerkass Realization: As a person who places the well-being of others above his own, the realization he has unknowingly strung along his many admirers (in Chapter 47) hits Touma hard:
    Touma: "Those girls, for whatever reason, have actually fallen for me. I was so bored in class that my mind naturally turned to the girls that I knew. Without realising it though, I came to note that I seriously knew a lot! I collected all of the memories I had of them and went through them during class, but as I came to look at what they said to me and how they interacted with me, the numbers only grew. At first, I thought it was just me overthinking things, but the fake dates? The blushing when we came into physical contact that seemed to be a bit too prolonged? Climbing into bed with me? The words that they used, the phrases and the honest feelings that were behind them? The happiness they got when I did small things? And I merely ignored all of that because of how I had other things going on? It came to me and hit me like a bus as I slowly deliberated it. After Komoe-sensei asked me to speak in class and I got up, everything just came at me in one go. The girls, what they've done, what they felt. A…And what did I do? I ignored it all. I fucking ignored it all, like some kind of dense asshole that played with girl's feelings. Oh God. Oh God."
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: Chapters 22 and 43 are based on Touma's adventures 10 years after his pre-Academy City memory loss (which makes him 26 years old).
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: One of the abilities of the Mental Out power is to alter people's memories, like making her gym teacher forget to call on her and setting Misaka to be called on last when she normally would be called earlier.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: Misaka uses her Electromaster power to magnetically lift and control metal baseball bats to hit baseballs with.
  • Oblivious to Love: Touma, natch.
    • Played straight and averted in Chapter 21. The three main Index protagonists (and Index) come face-to-face with Alternate Universe versions of themselves, upon which Hilarity Ensues. The original Touma retains his standard traits, whereas the alternate Touma mentions 6 women by namenote  and claims they make up less than 0.001% of his harem.note 
    • Chapter 43 demonstrates a heartbreaking version of this trope. As a Kid Hero All Grown Up, Touma is "married" to many of his female friends and acquaintances - however, the fact their declarations of love were (at least initially) made during life-threatening situations means he interprets them as asking to be saved by means of marriage-induced soul-sharing, whilst completely missing the romantic context. Consequently, he comes to incorrectly believe that no-one will ever truly love him.
    • Averted in Chapter 47. The very notion that he has a harem whose feelings have gone unacknowledged for some time sends him into despair.
  • Older Than They Look:Touma Kamijou.
  • Overprotective Dad: In Chapter 84, Mikoto's father decides to kidnap Touma because he thinks he's dating Mikoto after his wife decided to prank him by having Touma as "Future Son-In-Law" and wants to test whether he's worthy of Mikoto by taking him to a conflict in Palestine to see if he can help stop it like he stopped World War 3. Unfortunately for the man, his wife and daughter are smart enough to track, find and board his plane mid-flight - and they are not happy at all.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Touma is quite adamant on not learning why his parents have a straitjacket in Chapter 80.
  • Playboy Bunny: In Chapter 8 Lessar and Lancis are dressed in bunny suits for an infiltration mission.
  • Reincarnation: In Chapter 44, Touma is killed protecting Seiri from the Elements, only to wake up in an unfamiliar forest and come face-to-face with a deity who claims to be God. Said deity informs him that he has been shifted to a parallel reality by Imagine Breaker - this is because the time he spent suffering billions of deaths at Othinus' hands eventually led to Imagine Breaker fusing with his soul; therefore his soul was rejected by the underworld and he respawned with the body he had when facing Othinus. Subsequent deaths will lead to the same outcome.
  • Serious Business: What could cause Misaka Mikoto, Misaki Shokuhou, Leivinia Birdway, Index, the Sisters, Kaori Kanzaki, Itsuwa and what is implied to be pretty much every powerful girl in Academy City and the Magic Side to engage in a war that turns the streets of Academy City into a post-apocalyptic ruin? Trying to be the first to find Touma to ask him if the rumor that he is looking for a girlfriend is correct.
  • Swapped Roles: In Chapters 38 and 39, Shiage spends a day in A Certain High School and Touma spends a day with the rest of ITEM. Naturally, Hilarity Ensues where Touma is concerned.
  • Tomboy Angst: Chapter 42:
    In reality though, the gender of the #1 Level 5 esper was hardly male despite what their appearance might indicate.
    The constant confusion that people made about her gender pissed her off however she felt as though she would drop dead from embarrassment if someone saw her, regardless of whether they were a stranger or not in a dress or something girly. She wore those types of clothes from time to time however only on days where she did not expect to go out into the City.
  • Transferable Memory: Chapters 9 & 18 take place during the Daihaseisai and are about Saten's and Misaka Imouto's respective uses of Indian Poker cards, which contain 'the best-selling dream among females of ALL ages in Academy City'. Said dream happens to be a date with Touma, which ends as they are about to kiss.note  Afterward, they approach Touma and tell him to 'take responsibility' (as did over one hundred other women and some men); true to character, Touma is baffled by said declarations and gets a beating after Saten's declaration.
  • Which Me?: The following conversation is held between Touma and his Alternate Self shortly after they meet in Chapter 21:
    Touma: [...] And who are you, me? You can't be me! I'm me!
    A!Touma: On the contrary, how can you be me…when I am me? You are you and I am me.
    Touma: But you're me! You can't be you when you're me!
    A!Touma: How can I be me when I'm you?
    Touma: That doesn't make any sense!
    A!Touma: In the sense it makes no sense, it makes sense.
    Touma: …Such misfortune.

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