Dreams and old memories still weighing on his mind, Danny took the long way around the city. Cars passed in endless undulating waves of steel and electric humming, the passengers within only faintly registered as real. Pedestrians passed around him, parting briefly without even thinking before sliding back together in an uneven river. Ahead, he spotted the bright blue of a Hero's outfit.
He fingered the plastic card in his pocket, wondering how he should go about something like this. It was an experiment, so… he should have a control, right?
As soon as the Hero was in reasonable eyeshot, he stepped forward, clipping his shoulder against someone and stumbled. Expecting it, he reached out and stopped the other person from falling, quickly apologizing and ducking down to pick up a book that had dropped out of her arms. He kept half an eye on the Hero, but the muscled man didn't even pause to look.
The woman walked off, seemingly unbothered, and Danny planned the next round.
Down a side street this time, he waited for the Hero to approach before walking out, lining his steps up just right so he stepped through a casually dressed man. Danny spun around as he heard the yelp, but the man only shivered, turning to look at him with a startled expression.
"I'm sorry, sir, I didn't mean to - I wasn't watching where I was going, and-"
As if he'd been summoned, the blue-bedecked man was by their side. Even as Danny opened his mouth, the other man cut in for him.
"No, it seemed to be an accident. No harm done. Be careful, young man."
Danny nodded, rubbing the back of his neck as the the guy waved and headed back on his way.
Before he could assume the interaction was over, he felt a large hand settle on his shoulder. There we go.
"Using your Quirk for personal reasons is illegal."
"I know! I know, sorry. It was automatic, I just didn't want to crash into him, so I phased through him instead…"
Danny peeked up through his bangs, taking advantage of the fact he still looked like a skinny teenager, for all that he'd chronologically existed for much longer than that.
The Hero sighed, shaking his head. He patted Danny on the shoulder, and let go.
"Don't do it again, son."
Danny nodded rapidly, stuffing his hands in his pockets and walking quickly away. He glanced over his shoulder, finding that the man had watched for a while before finally turning away.
Illegal, but people still had discretion. At least around accidents… or people his age? But what about…
Danny wandered around town, watching the ebb and flow of people going about their daily commute. It always surprised him how many people just walked around the city instead of driving. Almost as much as it surprised him to see how many stores had little signs in their windows, offering discounts to heroes or heroes-in-training.
He tapped his nail against the library card, taking advantage of a store's offer with a flash of the card and sheepish lie that he had misplaced his ID on campus. They still gave him the discount, and Danny walked out, thoughtfully munching an apple.
He paused for a few minutes in front of a storefront, a wall of televisions showing a horde of reporters in front of U.A., talking about some sort of infiltration. Some sort of attack.
A monsterous being appeared on screen, with brains spilling out from an open skull, bulging eyes rolling in its sockets as it was led cautiously by a group of police. A list of other apprehended people slowly scrolled over the screen, and police sketches of suspected criminals involved with the attack quickly followed, and Danny paused, teeth halfway peircing the green fruit.
Blue eyes and black hair stared back at him, his own face painstakingly sketched and colored. The reporter said he was suspected to be in league with the "League of villains" that had broken into the school and attacked the students, leaving several with severe injuries.
An infiltration to gauge the security of the school, the reporter said - an informant to people who wanted to kill.
Ice slid over his skin as his visibility slid away, leaving only the floating apple being slowly crunched down. A sucking horror yanked on the area below his heart, a twisting in his gut making his steps heavy as he stepped away from the televisions.
Several people walked through him, shivering as the feeling of his intangibility swept over them like a winter pond.
Danny had enough frame of mind to sidestep a young boy and his mom, knowing children tended to feel the ghostly effect of his powers bit more potently.
Another gasp, and a woman walked through him, shivering and looking about.
She noticed the apple, and confusion turned into a glare.
"Excuse me!" She began. "If you're going to eat, don't stand in the way of people."
He gave her a blank stare, knowing she couldn't see him. His mind was too caught up in the news story to really care. The hand holding his apple slowly fell, fruit only barely clinging in his grasp, and someone's shoulder glanced through his elbow.
"I'm not hurting anyone." He said, voice distant as he strained his ears, trying to find out more from the television's muffled sound.
Her glare sharpened, and she pulled a phone from her purse. Danny heard the beep of a number being dialed, and he shot her a frustrated look, turning on his heel and stalking away.
He listened to her describe what had happened, adding embellishments about how rude he'd been, how he'd insulted her and carried on before Danny finally got fed up enough to phase through the side of a building.
Tennis shoes scuffed the pavement as he wandered down a side street, admiring the bits of houses he could see over the tall fence. Neat homes stood in elegant rows, japanese building aesthetics lacing otherwise modern homes. Whims led him up a series of low walls, easy jumps landing him atop a wall that looked like it'd been re-built recently - part of the bricks clearly newer than the rest of them. Danny plopped down, nibbling the apple core's last bit of meat.
They seriously thought he was a part of that? He would never…
A man hopped down to the wall beside him, and Danny nearly leapt out of his skin. As it was, the apple core bounced to the ground, and he scrabbled sideways away from a wooden mask and faintly glowing eyes.
"It's illegal to use your abilities in public."
Danny almost laughed, hand reaching up to rake through his hair, not expecting the reproachful tone of voice.
Of course a hero wouldn't recognize him - he was invisible! Why would they bother arresting someone they couldn't see? Part of him considered whipping out the U.A. library card - a 'Get out of Jail Free' card, as it were. But- no. He couldn't. Not when his face would be recognizable.
"S-sorry about all that. I wasn't hurting anyone." He felt the need to defend himself, despite the rattled chill holding on in his chest.
The mask tilted slightly, limbs moving in quick, precise movements that reminded him too much of a spider. As if he could either move 100% or 0%, and no smooth in-between leading into motions.
As weird as it sounded, and as many ghosts as he'd met in his past, it still struck him as eerie.
"The law is meant to keep the peace." The voice seemed to soften a little. "Even if you're not hurting someone, it's unfair to others if it's not applied evenly."
For a moment, Danny considered trying to use the forged library card to get out of trouble, but the memory of his face on the screen still shook him. He really didn't want to be apprehended for real. The playful 'Turning himself in' seemed leagues away now.
"I can't stop being invisible." he lied, but the masked man seemed to buy it.
"You sound pretty young." Oh, that's why he was being soft. "So I'll let you off with a warning. If you can, try to find a way to be visible, or just… try not to walk through people, yeah?"
The hero seemed to hesitate, head tilting in a way that Danny somehow knew meant he was trying to remember something.
"Thanks for the advice." He muttered, hopping off the wall and taking flight, leaving the masked man to continue pondering whatever it was he was trying to remember.
The crowds of people in Tokyo shifted around, the murmur of conversation and steady stream of cars lending the city the appearance of a never-ending colony of ants. A complex swarm of individuals somehow moving together as one.
Danny had forgotten the 'test' he had been trying to do, still sick to his stomach. Even as he portaled back to the space in the Ghost Zone, and Emily greeted him cheerfully, the feeling remained.