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In Bloom

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You were walking down the street, listening to music, focusing on the lyrics so you would forget how much of a bother your quirk was when you were in the middle of a crowd. The weather was fine and the day had been worth your efforts. But you were tired, a bit out of it even. And the music wasn’t really a helper. You started to slow down as you felt something weird. Something that wasn’t yours.

Fear.

No. Panic.

Instinctevely, you wanted to run. Fast. Though the panic was everywhere: before you, behind you, on your left, on your right. You took a deep breath. Sudden mass panic on the street in the middle of the day only meant some low villain was going rampage. The fact that you were surrounded only meant people were managing to run away from them. You took another deep breath. The trick was not to get overwhelmed by a panic that didn’t even belong to you. You were the most afraid person on that street right now. And the funny thing was you didn’t even know what you had to be afraid of yet. The irony. You took your headphones off. It wouldn’t ease the panic to hear them scream but perhaps you could manage to get some clues about the threat location. And walk away from it. Fast.

Panic. Panic. Panic.

Dread. Despair.

No hope, no relief, no nothing. Damn, you didn’t know where you should be going. You surely didn’t want to confront a bad guy, not even a low one. Because of your quirk, you were catching the others’ fear: if that villain were to show up, it’d be nasty… You couldn’t stay frozen on the spot! Come on! You slapped yourself on the cheeks to gain some composure and decided to keep going straight ahead. Perhaps the odds would be in your favor. You were about to take a step forward but here he was. The villain. So he had been that close all the time. That could explain why the panic was so intense right on the spot. You blinked. You focused.

Panic. Panic.

Anger. Hesitation. Fear.

The worst possible case scenario: unstable villains were most likely to hurt someone out of despair. He rushed in your direction and you quickly looked around. Fuck, there were still too much people there. He was hesitating, all right? Maybe you could talk him into reason. It was a dangerous option but at least it would buy them some time to flee. And luckily enough time for an actual hero to show up. They should have been warned by now, someone should be here soon. You gritted your teeth, you had to do something. Before an innocent got hurt. But with your stupid quirk…

“Hey you” you shouted with your hands raised in reddition “I know you’re afraid, you don’t have to do this” you looked at him, you were shaking “You haven’t damaged the city, you haven’t killed anyone…”

That was just bluff, no way you could know any of this after all. But…

Hesitation. Fear. Stress.

Hesitation. Hesitation.

That seemed to work.

“You can still stop here, it’s not too late…”

You couldn’t say the same about yourself. Even if you were focusing your quirk on the villain, you were feeling nauseous, your whole body trembling. You weren’t exactly reassured but the closest persons in range weren’t even believing in you. Of course, you didn’t exactly look like a savior, shaking like crazy… And that villain was the real deal: he had a metamorphosis quirk and his hands and forearms had turned into sharp blades, reminding you somehow of an insect. You, on the other hand, you had no weapon. And not even an offensive quirk. Truth be told you wouldn’t bet on yourself either.

Hesitation. Fear. Hesitation.

Resolve.

You dodged right on time. Good you were used to at least anticipate your enemy’s moves by their sudden change of emotion. Shit, so much for buying time. He was quick, delivering one blow after the other, a second too late and you’d die. If only you had a plan B… You just had to focus, wait for the moment you felt his resolve. And dodge. Again. And again. And again. But you were tired, a bit out of it even. And the surrounding panic wasn’t really a helper. Neither was trying to keep your quirk focused.

Anger. Fear. Anger. Fe…

No... Resolve.

Too late. You closed your eyes in reflex, protected yourself with your arms as if it’d make a difference. You knew it was coming, you could almost feel the villain’s blade enter your skin. Almost. Though what you felt was completely different.

Anger. Anxiety.

Concern. Urge to protect.

A hero? You dared to open your eyes to see the attack had been blocked by some strange grey scarf. And also the villain’s arms had returned to normal… for some reason? He wasn’t at cause, you surely were feeling his surprise. You glanced behind you. A man, obviously annoyed. Tall, long dark hair floating around, weird yellow goggles, he looked quite disheveled. Not to mention his outfit was something awfully plain, not exactly the hero type…

“What do you think you're doing?” he hissed between clenched teeth.

He wasn’t looking at you, his eyes focused on the villain, wrapping him up in that scarf-like weapon as if he was no big deal. Then two policemen came to dispose of him. That easily. Small fry, indeed. And you weren’t even able to stop him.

“Are you okay?”

You looked up. The hero’s hair had fallen back into place, he was no longer wearing his goggles but rubbing his eyes. He looked tired. Terribly tired. You nodded. But you weren’t feeling that well: people started to be relieved, and with relief came shock. You were cold and even more shaking than before. Just because of that stupid quirk… You were dizzy, your legs gave in but you never hit the ground.

“I’ve got you” the hero whispered as he caught you swiftly.

His grip was firm, you rested your head against his chest. He smelt good, like coffee, with a slight tinge of sweat. You heard him ask for an emergency blanket and a few seconds later you were wrapped up in silver paper, probably looking like a cheap christmas gift. You felt a little better though, less cold but still trembling. And nauseous as well, people’s anxiety was still within your range. If it weren’t for him you surely would have passed out. Of all the emotions, you never had been able to take in shock. The physical reactions were way too much to handle.

“You stay with me, okay? An ambulance is on its way.”

“I don’t want to go to the hospital” you muttered feably.

“Don’t be stupid, you’re in obvious shock.”

Yes, you were. Your heart was going crazy. You were cold and yet breaking out a sweat. So tensed your joints were hurting. But the hospital was out of the question: patients there were in constant pain. As if such environment would help you feel better!

“I want to go where people are happy, not to the hospital.”

“Where people are happy?”

Concern. Surprise. Doubt.

“My quirk…” you started.

You stopped as you heard sirens wailing in the distance and felt people’s relief increase. As shock went down. Tired, you sighed, closed your eyes.

“You did good” the hero said.