"The detective and his criminal wear versions of the same mask." - Jane Roberts
Crime has been on the rise ever since All Might; no, Toshinori Yagi retired from active hero duty. It was only a matter of time, to be honest.
The man couldn't hold the height of Japanese society on his shoulders, like Atlas in the flesh; injury or not, he would've had to step down eventually; be it health, age, or death. Thus, Aizawa gets called by the Hero System or the police department to help out with certain cases - like what transpired with the Eight Precepts of Death - or do the occasional patrol.
Today, after finishing his lecture with Class 3-A, he received a call from Tsukauchi, Yagi's detective friend. He requested for them to meet up at a safe coffee shop within walking distance of U.A., to privately discuss the details of a case he needs help with. The help and experience of an underground hero. He accepts; he may as well; he's done with all his grading and has nothing else to do. He's also a bit curious about what this case entails, if he's frank with himself. The Detective thanks him, and promises to call later to set a date and time. After informing Principal Nezu of this turn of events, the rodent (?) agreed.
So, there he is; at this quaint and practically bare coffee shop, on an Friday afternoon, sitting at his table, and waiting for the Detective to arrive.
He wonders what sort of case could be so important. The League of Villains?
"Good afternoon, Aizawa-san. Thank you for coming. I certainly hope I didn't make you wait too long," apologized Tsukauchi, taking off his hat, and taking the seat in front of him.
"It's fine," replied Aizawa. "Huh. Nice place you picked," he said taking a bored look around the almost empty coffee shop.
"Well, it's a very hole-in-the-wall kind of place. I figured we needed a place where we could safely discuss the issue at hand and have no need to worry about eavesdroppers."
"Fair point," Aizawa conceded, nodding to the man. They both kept quiet as they saw the waitress approaching their table.
"What can I get you, gentlemen?", asked the bubbly girl with a well practiced business smile.
"Just a cup of coffee, miss; black and two sugar spoonfuls," replied Tsukauchi.
"The same," replied Aizawa drily. With that, the girl left and they continued their discussion.
Aizawa crossed his arm, looking at Tsukauchi expectantly. "So, Detective, what's this 'issue at hand,' you speak of?"
He could tell the Detective looked uncomfortable. "Well, you see, the media is not covering it. We ordered them not to, as to not create mass panic among the public, but there's been a series of kidnappings. Of children," he said grimly.
Aizawa clenched his hands under table, and took a deep breath. Damn bastards, always going after the most helpless citizens; he shuddered at the though of this case becoming another incident like they had with little Eri. "So you want me to track down the kidnappers."
Tsukauchi drew a breath. "No, not quite, Eraserhead. All the children we were looking for were found, and are currently back with their families.
As for the men behind it, they're already in our custody."
Okay, now Aizawa was confused; it seemed he wasn't needed after all. "So what do you need me for? It seems this case of yours is solved."
Tsukauchi looked at him, a bit ashamed to admit what he was about to share. "We neither captured the men or found the kidnapped kids. Someone else did it, in the middle of the night."
Aizawa rubbed his chin, suddenly taking an interest; Tsukauchi's tone didn't make it sound like the rescuer had their qualifications to put a stop to those crimes. Or, in the very least, the hero who showed to the scene didn't report doing so. They could lose their license, albeit temporarily, if that was the case. Unless... "Oh? I take it that it wasn't a Pro Hero who did it, then."
"You are quite correct, Eraserhead; we don't know who this individual is or what their quirk is, but they're hunting them down and using excessive force on them, almost like--"
"A vigilante," Aizawa finished for him.
"Yes," Tsukauchi confirmed his suspicions.
He guessed it couldn't be helped. After All Might's downfall, and the subsequent rise of villainy because of it, people didn't feel safe enough with their heroes. Vigilantes started popping up to 'level the play field,' so to speak. A part of him kind of wanted to blame Yagi for it; for putting such irrational ideas of self-sacrifice and burdening yourself up with all of society's bullshit without ever asking for your colleagues' assistance into the impressionable youth's minds through his whole career as Pro Hero, but in the end, those people's actions were their own.
"Hmm. It may be worth looking into. But, if this person's Quirkless or not using their Quirk at all, you have to realize that we may not be able to do much," Aizawa sighed; these laws were written on a hurry to accommodate the sudden appearance of Quirks in society, and they're up the brim in loopholes as a result. That's why he couldn't arrest that Quirkless old man, Knuckle Duster, that one time. If they have a case like this, it would be out of the Heroes' jurisdiction. Tch.
Tsukauchi sighed. "Yes, I know."
The waitress came back with their orders. "Here you go. Enjoy your coffee!"
After she left, they pondered what to do now.
"Do you know anything more about them?"
"Not much, but some officers in my department have been calling them 'The Specter,'" said Tsukauchi.
"'The Specter,' huh?" 'What a lame name...'
"No one has ever seen them. He or she always manages to leave the scene before the Pro Heroes, EMTs, officers, or even the media arrives," he explained. "We don't have photographic evidence, or even camera footage of their exploits; what little we could get our hands on is grainy and blurry."
"Maybe it has something to do with a Quirk; like teleportation or some troublesome crap like that?", theorized Aizawa.
"Hmm... Could be," said Tsukauchi while rubbing his chin. "Oh, that's right! I almost forgot. Several medical practitioners have been found beat up, and their files stolen around this area. We have reason to believe it's the same person."
'Huh, okay, that's... peculiar.'
"Okay, I kinda understand the guy wanting to beat up scum such as those child kidnappers, but the fuck does he have against doctors? It doesn't really add up, Tsukauchi-san."
"It would make my job way easier if I knew their motivations for their actions," he sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I'm on a timeline here, Eraserhead," he said, pleadingly. "They... my superiors are looking to have the case shutdown."
"Why?", Aizawa asked.
"To put it simply, lack of evidence. We can't prove the two cases are related; those attacks are being dismissed as nothing more than muggings and home invasions done by a common thug."
"And what do you think, Detective?" asked Aizawa, taking a sip of his coffee.
"I do not think it was a common thug; all the victims work on the medical field. I think it's either the same person like I suspect, or we're dealing with two different vigilantes at the same time," he grimaced, hoping that wasn't the case. "The attack to the kidnappers happened a week before the attack to those doctors. It can't be a coincidence."
"I'll see what I can do," said Aizawa. "But you, as well as me, know there just has to be something more to this case. I don't know; it's just... weird."
"Yes, I have a bad feeling myself..." Tsukauchi admitted. "But I thank you for your help in this case. Truly," he smiled, getting up and putting his hat back on.
"I'll send you all we have about the individual to your e-mail. Have a good day, Eraserhead."
They paid for their coffee and parted ways.
By reading those reports, he can tell that this is one hell of a sneaky vigilante; he can at least give them that much. Could he, perhaps, be that Knuckle Duster guy? Nah, that guy is huge and noisy, like a certain someone; not subtle or stealthy at all to avoid being seen. It has to be someone smaller. He guessed The Cruller could be sneaky and fast with his Quirk, but he just doesn't seem like the type to go around beating people up in such a manner, and the All Might hoodie he has for a costume makes him stand out either way. Chances are this guy is a new vigilante; one who's not afraid to beat up their targets. 'Perfect, fucking perfect.' He rubbed his forehead.
"Are you alright, Aizawa-kun? You seem somewhat tired," Yagi's voiced provided.
'Really, Yagi? Like you didn't seem tired, too!' "I'm fine, All Might."
"You sure? You look stressed and--"
"I am fine," he reiterated.
"Ah, I-I see," Yagi stammered and awkwardly rubbed his neck, and then sat down to grade.
"HEY, SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUTA; IT'S FRIDAY NIGHT! LET'S GO DRINKING WITH NEMURI!," Present Mic yelled into the teacher's lounge.
'Ugh, another one. When will I read this thrice damned report in peace?'
"No, go away. I'm busy, Mic," he said as went back to the digital reports the Detective send him.
"Aw, come on, don't be a party pooper, man!" He took notice of the PDF file on Shouta's screen. Of course. "Hey, whatcha reading, Sho?" Eagerly, Hizashi leaned towards the monitor to peek.
Aizawa elbowed him. "Back off, Hizashi; this is from a police case."
Hizashi landed on his ass. "HEY, RUDE!", he yelled as he got up from the floor. "You know, Shouta, if you don't want us digging into your underground hero shit, don't leave it out in the open. Or are you hiding some dirt from us, your pals and coworkers?", he exclaimed with a huge grin on his face.
Yagi couldn't help to chuckle at those dumb puns from his desk. The bastard even had the gall to try to hide it with a cough when he noticed Aizawa scowling at his direction; come on, 'O former Symbol of Peace, hide it better. Then he smiled as he thought about something to get rid of them both. He turned towards Hizashi.
"Hey, 'Zashi, I'm really, really busy tonight. But why don't you and Nemuri take Yagi tonight? I heard he had no plans."
He's going to remember Yagi's look of betrayal for a while. And damn, it was worth it.
Now back to reading these reports from hell.