Aizawa Shouta valued his privacy above almost everything. As a consequence, he also valued his role as a low-profile hero. Sure, heroes like All Might inspired people in droves, but Aizawa never felt comfortable in that kind of position. He would much rather stay in the peripherals, help people without really being noticed, and then move on with no one the wiser. His quirk relied on his ability to go unnoticed. It was something he was good at. Which is why this latest turn of events was throwing him for quite the loop.
Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary when he left Yuuei's campus. A few brave students waved good-bye. Aizawa had nodded in response and continued on his way. No one had been there when he left through the back gates, and he had walked quickly to the train station for a jump farther into town. Maybe that was where he had picked them up? Although he felt sure he would have remembered seeing them, that hair color was distinctive for all that the rest of him wasn't. The fact that he wasn't sure unsettled him. After exiting his train there was only another short walk to his apartment complex, up a few flights of stairs, and down the hall to his door. Of course, it would have been a short walk if he didn't have to take round-about paths to trip up any followers. Privacy and all that. He was sure his little stalker hadn't gotten his room number from any of the building's staff. He had chosen the place specifically for their ability to keep their mouths shut and their noses out of other people's business. Which means that he had to have been followed, either from the school or from the station.
He had just put his bag of papers to grade down on the table and moved to throw himself near the closet comfortable surface for a quick nap when there was a soft hesitant knock at the door. Aizawa stopped, one of his cats coming to twine its way around his legs, but he didn't make to open the door. He hadn't been expecting guests, and anyone who knew the location of his apartment knew him well enough to know that he didn't appreciate unannounced guests. The knock came again, a little louder this time but just as hesitant.
Marlo looked up at him, tilting his head. Are you going to answer that? He seemed to ask, and then decided to make the decision for him by darting to the door and dragging his nails down the polished wood. With a heavy sigh, Aizawa moved his cat out of the way and opened the door. "Whatever you want, you have the wrong-" His voice cut off as he realized who was standing at the doorway.
A kid-probably no older than a second year in middle school-stood in front of him, looking up at Aizawa nervously. His green hair stood out in uncontrolled curls, freckles decorating the bridge of his nose. Everything about him from his appearance to the clothes he wore seemed ordinary. Plain. Average. Aizawa probably wouldn't have noticed him standing in a crowd, but with only a foot separating them in his apartment corridor, the look in the boy's eyes was unmistakable. Aizawa saw that same look in his students' faces every day.
"Um.. Er...Eraserhead-san" The boy stammered. Aizawa's eyes narrowed, watching his movements. This boy knew who he was. Not only that, but he knew about his apartment. Knew where to find him. Who was he?
"I think you're mistaken. Go home, kid." Aizawa could be intimidating to even some of the pro heroes, and from the boy's anxious demeanor he expected him to be no exception. He made to close the door again only to have a foot stuck hastily in the way. "Kid. I mean it."
The boy looked up to him, meeting his gaze with a steely determination that didn't match the nervous edge to his voice. "I know you're Eraserhead. I've spent weeks tracking you down." It was clear the kid wasn't leaving so, after a quick glance down the hallway to make sure they weren't overheard and another heavy sigh, Aizawa gestured for the boy to enter. The smile that lit up his face at not being turned away was almost too much.
"Your name." Aizawa grunted, leading him to the living room. His nap may have been interrupted, but he wasn't going to stand around while they talked. Marlo jumped into the boy's lap as soon as he sat. Damn cat.
"Mi-Midoriya Izuku." His name was as plain as his appearance.
"Well, get on with it." Aizawa leaned back in his airchair, keeping his eyes on the boy, Midoriya Izuku. He didn't get the impression that the kid was there to harm him, but one could never be too careful.
"Right. The reason I came here is.." Midoriya paused, brushing a hand along the cat's back. "I've wanted to be a hero for as long as I can remember-"
"I have nothing to do with admissions to Yuuei, kid." Aizawa cut him off. Maybe this wasn't going to be worth his time after all. "You want help getting in, you've come to the wrong place."
Midoriya looked insulted at the insinuation, but he continued without comment. "I've wanted to be a hero for as long as I can remember, but I'm quirkless."
Well. That had been unexpected. Aizawa raised an eyebrow. "And this has to do with you just showing up at my apartment because…"
"Because I want to be a hero even though I'm quirkless. And I thought that you would be the person to talk to." Midoriya continued to pet Marlo, but the look he set on Aizawa was hard.
"I have a quirk." He said.
"Yes, but erasing other people's quirk doesn't completely stop them. It's not like a physically manifested quirk that can be used for offense and defense. I've watch videos of your fights, the few of them that exist. You nullify people's quirks with your own, but everything else? The way you fight them? That's something that you had to learn. Something that you need in addition to your quirk, right? So you could technically say you fight them quirkless."
Midoriya had obviously put a lot of thought into this. Analyzing his approach, finding his apartment. Aizawa would almost be impressed with him if he wasn't getting the feeling this whole conversation was going to give him a long term headache. "That would be correct, I suppose."
The boy's smile got even brighter and god was he taking lessons from All Might because only the number one hero had a smile that hopeful. "Looking at it that way, it should be possible for me to still be a hero even without a quirk. I may not be able to erase people's quirks in the same way you can, but something I'm really good at is analyzing them. Breaking them down and understanding them." Midoriya reached into his backpack and spread ten well worn notebooks across Aizawa's coffee table, flipping one of them open so that Aizawa could see the notes that he had written. Even from a glance, he could tell they were well done. "If i can nullify people's quirks by figuring out how to counter them, then I can still be a hero right? All I need to do is get better at analyzing. And learn to fight. And that's where I thought you came in."
"You want me to train you?" His blunt words and flat tone caused Midoriya to flinch slightly, but he didn't break eye contact and for that Aizawa was a little grateful. It made his decision easier.
Midoriya fidgeted in his seat, Marlo pressing a paw against his hands to get him to stop moving. His words didn't betray his nerves though. "Yes. I want you to train me. I found you, after all. You can't say my potential is zero."
Aizawa stared at the boy, too young to know what he was really asking, for a long time without speaking. Midoriya squirmed in his spot again, but he still didn't look away from the intensity of the hero's gaze. "It's not going to be as easy as you think. You have a huge disadvantage you have to make up for, whether it's your fault or not." Midoriya started nodding excitedly. Aizawa continued before he could interrupt. "This will not be pleasant. It will not be fun. If I at any point decide you can't handle it, we stop and you don't bother me about it again. I don't make a habit of sending kids into danger I know they can't be prepared for. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Eraserhead-san! Understood!" Midoriya bowed low from his seat, and Marlo meowed loudly in protest before hopping down and running out of the room.
"My name is Aizawa. Use it."
Aizawa sighed again. A very long headache indeed.
AN: This is just the prologue. Chapter One will be out by Friday night. Crossposted on AO3 under the same username. Let me know what you thought?