Izuku was having a bad day. Well, most of his days were differing levels of bad, but today was shaping up to be at the top of a very long list.
It started at school, where between the teacher singling him out and his friend, former friend , telling him to take a jump off the building made the day land in the top ten bad days. His newly scorched, water warped notebook would be a memento of those words coming from his once best friends mouth for years to come.
Bakugou's treatment made him leave later than normal and somehow he lived through drowning on dry land, gale force winds, and an impromptu flight over the city. The wind should have signaled his day turning around with the signature of his number one idol and hero, All Might, but the bad decision to grab onto his leg led to an intimate discovery and one more person telling him to give up.
Now he walked away from All Might saving Bakugou from the same slime villain that had taken him. It was probably his fault that they got away. He distracted All Might allowing the villain to escape.
"Stupid, stupid Deku." The words mumbled, the way everything he said lately was. "You couldn't have done anything anyway."
He really was stupid. He'd been seconds away from running into the scene, past the anxious Pros to do… something. Anything. Anything to stop the fear shining in those red eyes. Then All Might jumped forward and punched with enough force to change the weather. It was probably a good thing anyway. Bakugou wouldn't want help from him, the useless Deku.
Even if his muscles burned from unused adrenaline, and his heart ached to have just moved faster. To have gotten there at least one second earlier to help.
It was probably a good thing.
Well, the words would always sound a little hollow to his ears, no matter how true they may be to others. Some universe away he'd have had his chance to be a hero, just this once. He couldn't help but think it would have been better if he had been able to jump in before All Might saved the day again.
It was while he was walking past an alleyway just a block from his first villain encounter that the world decided it hadn't messed with Izuku enough today. Apparently having most of the hero's preoccupied with putting out Bakugou's fires meant a free-for-all on the helpless Deku.
The villain looked kind of lost as he grabbed Izuku by the collar to drag him deeper into the shadows. Izuku knew what competent villains looked like and this wasn't one. This was probably his first time attempting any crime larger than stealing snacks from the conbini.
A thin green mist appeared as the man perspired, obviously his quirk. The hand over Izuku's mouth gave him all the information he needed to know that although it worked similar to Pro Hero Midnight, it didn't have the same properties. The rancid smell was the first sign. The already dissipating cloud that was barely strong enough to overpower the slime smell from before was the second.
"Shit, shit! Wrong one. Why can't my fucking quirk work when I need it to," the man whispered loudly in his ear.
And now Izuku knew more. This man could create different types of vapors. It definitely depended on his emotional state though. The mist grew thicker and the scent stronger the more he panicked. Izuku was beginning to gag as his mouth filled with the lime colored haze.
Maybe this was how he died. Death by stench. That’d be one for the papers.
"Shit, okay listen up kid," he was still panicking but Izuku could hear him struggling with something besides the choking teen. "I'm going, I'm going to release you and you're going to take me to yo-"
Honestly, if the hand hadn't been gripping his face so tight he probably would have gotten away. But it didn't matter. Izuku's eyes widened as the vapor stopped before jumping to different corners of the alley. A glowing red caught his eye in one of the darker spots and as soon as he saw a flash of white heading their way he jerked his body down.
The shock worked in his favor as the capture weapon grabbed the man's wrist, allowing him to slip away. Izuku watched in awe as his favourite underground hero swung from a windowsill to land a harsh kick on the villains chest. Between the man's yell of shock and Izuku's own frantic movements the sound of metal dropping to the ground was unnoticed. But Izuku saw. His vision narrowed and he swore his heartbeat was loud enough for the hero to hear.
He could have died. Again. The knife was big enough to cause some serious damage and he could have died.
He was obviously panicking. Apparently he'd had enough near death encounters for the day. The ringing in his ears drowned out the fight and he couldn't tear his eyes away from the dull silver shine.
Except then he could.
The villains hand landed right next to the knife and Izuku could see the decision to pick it back up before it even happened. Just like with Bakugou, that need to do something, to help, filled him and before he knew it he was standing on the man's hand, inches from the knife.
It only lasted seconds. The man's scream of pain and frustration cut off by the capture weapon. Izuku himself was gently pushed off as Eraserhead needed the hand he was on top of.
"He has multiple vapors." The words slipped out as he saw the green mist rise again, only this time a dark purple joined it. "I think he can control it when he's calm, but I know the green means he's panicking. It sounded like he might have a dangerous one he was planning on using so you might want to be careful." The words sounded far away, like it wasn't him speaking them. Man, he was probably going into shock.
Izuku could feel the Pros eyes dissecting him before the hero nodded. Once again Izuku watched as the man's quirk was erased and the hero's hair floated.
Sirens could be heard as background to the scene in front of him. He kind of felt like he was watching through a window. The villain was tied to a dumpster near the edge of the alley. Eraserhead was writing a note to place in an evidence bag with the knife.
"Hey, Eraserhead," that startled the hero, "do you think someone quirkless like me can become a hero?"
Well he said that.
Probably not the best idea after the day he's had.
The hero stared again, this time more assessing. After an eternity of seconds his attention returned to the note in his hand.
"Listen kid. You need to stay here and talk to the police. They can't charge this guy without your testimony."
Of course. The villain was more important. Definitely more important than some quirkless kid.
Izuku nodded and drug a hand over his face, wincing when he felt the new bruises along his jaw. It was getting easier to ignore the burning behind his eyes today. Or maybe he was finally used to the disappointment of no one believing in him.
At least the hero hadn't said…
"Sorry kid, no. The quirkless can't be heroes."