Quirk Social Worker
Chapter 1: A Little Fear
The air was tinged with the smell smoke when the man appeared at the scene. Several cars were on the sidewalk and most bore signs of hitting one another before their owners left them. Unlike most scenes, there wasn't a large crowd gathered outside the police tape for him to have to wade through, thankfully. He pushed through the small wall of people to the tape and held a badge up to the officer holding the perimeter.
"My name is Brian Simmons. I'm from the Quirk Social Services. You called?"
The officer lifted the tape enough to grant him entrance and led him deeper into the scene. Once past the people, he could see a large section of road that was completely blocked out by a purple mist.
"We think it's a kid in there. Cameras showed a kid wandering around, crying, and he walked into the road. A car swerved to miss him, hit someone else, and apparently triggered an awakening event." The officer's report was quick and to the point. Done by the time they arrived at the internal perimeter, closer to the purple mist.
"Chief, here's the guy from QSS." The officer handed the newcomer off to a woman with faintly green skin, before he returned to his post.
"What do we know about the mist?" Brian asked her, looking around in the oddly quiet area.
"Anyone who breaths it in starts to hallucinate horrible things. We think it shows you your worst fear. I haven't sent anyone in yet. We are waiting for the hazmat team to arrive before neutralizing them."
Brian almost let out a biting retort, but instead went with, "They are a kid. There isn't going to be any "neutralizing" done to them. Let me talk to them. Do we have a name?"
She gave me a look that told me she wasn't keen on my request. Good thing she didn't have a say in the matter.
"No idea. Anybody who was close enough to the scene screamed themself hoarse or are are catatonic from the fear. At least three people suffered heart attacks and two others are currently being treated for panic attacks. You really should just let us put him to sleep and relocate him."
"Your suggestion is noted," Brian told her while moving his finger through the air. His quirk activated and left behind a small mist that stayed in one spot while creating an oval. Once the shape was complete, a reflective silver surface appeared in the middle of the mist and a second mirror appeared on the ground.
"That's my way out. Don't let anyone touch it. Wish me luck," Brian said with a faux-enthused tone. He placed the mirror in his left hand, making sure not to touch the silver surface, before passing beyond the tape. Murmuring from the police could be heard but was ignored so he could instead focus on the task at hand.
As he drew close, sniffling could be heard from inside the mist. He stopped before he came into contact with the mist before speaking.
"Hello in there?" Brian said gently. The sniffling stopped. A good sign.
"My name is Brian Simmons. I am from the Quirk Social Services. I'm here to help." He kept the same, gentle tone throughout. It was a tone he had used many times in the past.
"I promise that nobody is going to hurt you. You've had a really scary experience, and I'm here to make sure that nothing will scare you again. Can you tell me your name?"
He waited, posture relaxed and hands hanging at his sides, for the child's response.
"Al. I'm Al." The voice was young. Too soft to guess his age, though judging by the circumstance, Brian would put money down that he was somewhere in the four to six range. That is when children's quirks normally began to manifest.
"It's nice to meet you, Al. You've had what is called a Quirk Awakening Event. It's when kids find out what their quirk is. It's a really important event, one I'm going to help you with. Will you let me help you?"
The sniffling started up again, and he said, "Nobody wants to be around me. They just start being really really loud and start running away."
Brian winced. Not an Awakening event, it seems. This was something he had dealt with before.
"There are some quirks that affect people that way. I've got a friend who has a quirk that, if she says your name in a really scary way, makes you poop your pants."
A moment passed, then the laughter began. It was stuttered with sobs, but it was laughter nonetheless. The mist, which hadn't really changed until then, began to dissipate. Brian could see the little boy inside. His clothes were in a wretched state and it looked like he hadn't properly bathed in a while.
"Looks like you are feeling a little better. Need a tissue?" Brian produced some from his pocket, but didn't approach until the boy nodded. Brian passed the wad of tissues to Al before taking a seat a little ways away from him. The mist was mostly gone, but Brian had felt some unnatural panic start up when a little left over mist touched his skin. He knew that the little touch of mist was nothing like the cloud from before, and knew that he never wanted to experience being in that cloud if he could help it.
Do you know what causes the mist to come out?" Brian asked him. He needed to make sure that he wouldn't trigger another easily-avoidable episode.
"W-when I'm scared, it comes out on it's own. Am I in trouble?"
"Not at all," Brian told him gently. "These sort of events happen now and again, and as long as we work to make sure this doesn't happen again, you'll be A-Okay."
"Promise?" He held out his pinky towards Brian and Brian, with all the seriousness of swearing a binding oath, locked his own pinky with the boy's.
"Promise. Now you want to come with me so we can tell them," Brian pointed over his shoulder to the police line, "to relax?"
He leaned a little to look past Brian, then said, "Does he have a doggy head?"
Thrown for a loop by the question, Brian turned around and saw that there was one officer with a mutation quirk. It gave him the head of a dog and must have been who Al was talking about.
Brian stood and said, "Yup. Want to go meet him?"
"Yeah!" The enthusiasm he showed was muted for a kid his age, but welcome compared to how miserable he looked before.
Brian held out his hand and, with some hesitation, Al took it. Al stood and Brian let his concentration loosen, allowing his quirk's mirrors to vanish in a puff of hardly noticeable mist. Brian walked at Al's pace to the internal perimeter, glad to see men in hazmat suits only just beginning to pull in, out of Al's sight.
"Hey everyone, say hi to Al," Brian announced and, thankfully, at least a few of the officers actually went through with it. Al's face beamed with a big grin, and the tense air loosened.
"Can I meet the doggy-man?" Al asked and Brian waved to the officer with the mutation quirk, mouthing, 'Please?'
The officer was a good sport about it and bent down to let Al touch his ears and such. A few chuckles could be heard through the crowd, but no one gave the officer beef, nor crowded around the duo.
The chief approached Brian and spoke quietly.
"This is good and all, but what happens now? That kid caused a lot of damage with his quirk and might again."
Brian matched her volume, and told her, "You will leave that to me and the QSS. There are programs set up to help those injured by Activation Events and the law is very clear on these matters. Case closed." Brian made sure to inject enough steel in his tone so that it was clear that he was not messing around. He also lied about it being an Activation Event. It made paperwork so much less of a hassle.
Once Al had his fill of asking the "doggy-man" questions and touching his head, Brian used his quirk once more. This time, no second mirror appeared anywhere nearby.
"Hey Al, you ready to go?"
"Somewhere we can get you a bath. You kind of stink, little buddy," Brian teased him before lowering the mirror in his hand to Al's level. "All you need to do is touch the silver part. It'll feel like you're going really really fast for a moment, then you'll appear in front of a big building. I'll be there right after you, so go ahead."
He hesitated for a moment, then put his finger to the smooth surface. He froze, and his body turned completely silver. In an instant, he was sucked into the mirror and was gone.
Before Brian did the same, he told the chief to call if she needed answers. The world went black and Brian found himself next to Al a moment later.
"C'mon sport. I want to welcome you to the Quirk Social Services building. We've got a wing where you can get cleaned up and some new clothes." The building was similar to a mansion and purposely located outside the nearby city. It was a necessary precaution. They did house and care for civilians with extremely dangerous, usually life threatening, quirks after all.
I wrote all of this in about two hours after seeing a post by a Tumblr user by the name of Tenya and at the request of another user, Fabledwords. First thing I've written in nearly a year that isn't school related, so cheers parsing through this mess. I do plan to continue this, when I can.