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Never quite gone away

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Midoriya is so much bigger than before.

Aizawa’s been loosely following his pro career – he does with all his former students – so he’s seen plenty of photos of Midoriya, from half-blurred shots of him hurtling through the air, to stiffly posed and bug-eyed next to the mayor, to awkwardly kneeling next to tiny elementary students with an enthusiastic smile.

It still doesn’t prepare him for Midoriya in front of him, slightly shorter than him but so broad he looks like he could engulf Aizawa in his embrace. Which he nearly does.

“Sensei!”

Aizawa barely manages to keep in a startled grunt as Midoriya squeezes him in a tight hug, though his bones do creak a little. It goes on long enough for him to realize he’ll have to hug back to escape. He gets his hands around Midoriya’s waist, and it’s surprising to feel how solid he is. Gone is the small, gangly body of a student, gone is the wildly inconsistent strength packed into a thin frame.

The shock transforms his voice from gruff to soft. “Midoriya.” They’re in a corridor at the Yamanashi prefecture office, and Aizawa has just spent the last hour alternating between apologizing and being berated, but he can’t imagine Midoriya’s here to do the same.

Well – he can, but he suspects he might be projecting. It’s a little awkward to come across a former student – a very well regarded by the public one at that – so soon after getting his head (deservedly) chewed off.

Midoriya finally releases him and draws back, his hands still on Aizawa’s shoulders. “Aizawa-sensei! It’s so good to see you! It’s been forever! I’ve been wanting to come to U.A. to visit, but, you know, first there’s the agency and then there’s promos and commercials and photography and signings and how are you?”

Aizawa blinks, not expecting a question at the end of that barrage. “I’m fine. How are you?” He asks pointedly, since Midoriya had been the one who’d had his arm broken by an A-level villain with impressive strength and stamina before capturing him, not even a month ago.

Midoriya smiles and lifts one gigantic arm up to flex it, fabric straining to hold its seams during the process. “I’m great! That was just a little break – ” no one but Midoriya would describe such a thing as little – “and no one was seriously injured!”

Aizawa nodded. He’d read the article, had seen Uraraka and Bakugou and several other former students had been there, too. It was good to see all his students alive and doing well. Aizawa likes to think that maybe they’d retained something from his teachings that had kept them safe. But maybe not enough, if Midoriya was collecting broken bones. “Good. Well done.”

Midoriya beams from the praise. “Where are you heading to?” They move out of someone’s way, and though Midoriya doesn’t seem to notice everyone’s staring him, the current number one pro hero (not for long – the big three tend to swap spots on a monthly basis), Aizawa does. He’s never liked that kind of attention.

Even now he feels small next to Midoriya, even a little overwhelmed. He’d never been a big man, but Midoriya has presence now.

“I’m not,” Aizawa says. “I’m leaving.” He tilts his head back at the room he’d just left. “Meeting with the city officials.”

“Trouble?” Midoriya asks, far too softly, and Aizawa doesn’t think he’s asking because he’ll throw his name around to help, or even help at all (though he would), but because he gets it. Midoriya’s got many responsibilities, not just for his agency but for the police department and the national government and who knows what else.

He really is grown up. He knows what it’s like for a hero to wear many hats, to be many things for many people and not all of them glamorous. It’s disconcerting, for some reason. Is he just getting old, or do all his former students affect him so much?

“Minor property damage,” Aizawa says, which is could mean any number of things but really means a brief incident with a student’s quirk getting out of control before he could use his own quirk to erase it.

Midoriya nods understandingly. He causes quite a bit of property damage himself, though not nearly as much as Todoroki and Bakugou. It's almost like it’s a competition between those two.

Aizawa changes the subject before he can ask another question. “I’ll be off, then.” He’s sure Midoriya isn’t loitering around the office in his civilian clothes for fun, but he’s also sure Midoriya can’t – won’t? – tell him, and anyways Aizawa’s ready to go home and get out of this suit and curl up with the cats. He gets one step around Midoriya before Midoriya crowds into him, their chests nearly bumping together.

“Wait,” he says, and Aizawa feels that same jolt of surprise he did earlier, and jerks back. Midoriya flails, a hand catching his elbow, though Aizawa’s in no danger of falling.

“Sorry. Er.” He releases Aizawa, his hand flapping like it doesn’t know where to go before curling back to scratch awkwardly at the short hair at the back of his neck. “Aizawa-sensei.”

“Yes?” Aizawa says. He’s not easily flustered, though he will admit he’s feeling a tiny bit off balance at the moment. It’s been a while since he’s dealt with Midoriya’s particular brand of awkwardness.

“Do. Do you want to – um. Get a coffee? Or a tea. Or a drink, drinks are good too. With me, I mean? If you’re not busy, that is.” Midoriya’s hands are flailing again, like Iida’s, if they’d been more floppy noodle than robotic. “I just feel like it’s been forever sine we’ve talked! And I wanna, uh, know mo – um, catch up and see what’s happening? How’s Eri and, uh. The cats?”

Midoriya sees Eri at the middle school on a monthly (or more) basis, has even dropped her off at Aizawa’s place once. He’d been invited in for dinner, which he had promptly left when his agency called him in for some kind of villain business. That’d been way back when he’d first graduated, and he’s only grown busier since then, though he’s always made time to see Eri. Aizawa had always been grateful for that. He can’t imagine Midoriya has enough free time to spend it with him.

“Cats are fine,” Aizawa says slowly. “And Eri – ”

Midoriya looks gleamingly hopeful. His freckles have faded since school, but never quite gone away.

“ – is a teenager,” he finishes. Hesitates, uncharacteristically. “Don’t you have business here?”

“I did, but I – I’m done now,” Midoriya says.

Aizawa glances down the hallway. Just about everyone in the vicinity is staring. Midoriya attracts attention like a bright light, and people, like moths, flutter around him.

Apparently Aizawa is not immune to this charm, either.

“I saw you, and uh, I was thinking – you like coffee, right?”

Aizawa drowns in caffeine on a regular basis. Midoriya is standing so damn close to him. It looks like his nose has been broken. There’s a thin, pale scar that bisects his top lip. “No,” he says, jerking his eyes back up to see Midoriya looking crestfallen. “Drinks are fine.”

“Really!?” Midoriya looks like he just won the lottery, and Aizawa wants to correct him, wants to point out there’s nothing to be excited about. He’s just an old man – he’s his former teacher, is all. There’s no reason for Midoriya to be so excited.

He frowns. Is there?

“Later,” he says, to prevent Midoriya from rambling. Not that it works.

“Oh, right, right – you’ve got something to do. When would be good? I’m generally free in the afternoons – I’m doing night patrols at the moment, but I could also do mornings, if you want. Before school. I could – ”

“After we have dinner.” He shrugs. “Or during.”

“Right,” Midoriya confirms. “Wait, what?”

“It’s well after six,” Aizawa says. He’ll be a little late picking up Eri from Nemuri’s house, but he doesn’t think either of them will mind. Well, Eri’ll probably be mad she didn’t get to see Midoriya, but she’ll forgive him. “Aren’t you hungry?” If Aizawa is, Midoriya certainly must be too.

Midoriya’s mouth rounds into a silent oh. Then he straightens up, a brilliant smile crossing his face. “Yes! Absolutely!”

Aizawa has to blink. So much enthusiasm for dinner. Has Midoriya always been like this? “Let’s go.”

“Okay, sensei,” Midoriya says, pivoting to lead them down the hallway. People part to let him pass like waves rippling out from around him. Aizawa’s not sure Midoriya even knows he’s doing it. “I know a great place in Kōfu!”

“That’s two train stops away,” Aizawa says. “And stop calling me sensei. You graduated years ago.”

“Okay, sen – okay, uh, A-aizawa-san?” Midoriya’s turning red, for some reason. “I can look up somewhere closer.” He fumbles for his phone in his pocket.

“Fine,” Aizawa says, as they exit the building. He pulls out his own phone so he can text Nemuri that he’ll be later than usual, and then he texts Eri too, adding a little smiley cat face on the end.

“Here?” Midoriya holds the phone up for him to see, and Aizawa bends a little to see it. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Midoriya’s blush deepen.

“Sure,” Aizawa says, gruffer than normal. There’s probably some other reason behind Midoriya’s behavior. Maybe pro life is stressing him out. Aizawa searches his face for signs of exhaustion, but Midoriya is practically glowing, if a little sweaty.

“Aizawa-san?” He murmurs, eyes flicking all over Aizawa’s face. “Is something wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Aizawa says honestly. But that’s something he'll figure out by himself. “Ready?”

“Yes! Yes, of course,” Midoriya says, smiling. “Always.”