What's past is prologue. - William Shakespeare
Life taught me countless lessons. It shaped who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I can name most of my lessons off the top of my head; however, one stands out above all the others.
All men are created evil.
When I was four years old, I learned that everyone alive is inherently selfish and evil, myself included. I guess that's why I didn't fight back that hard. Why bother? They're evil. I'm evil. I was just getting what I deserved. I killed my father after all, and what could atone for that? In the mind of a child, I saw myself guilty of an ultimate evil, so I simply looked forward to the day I die… The day I won't hurt anyone ever again.
However, that all changed when I met him, my hero and savior. They all think he saved me from torture, captivity, and so forth. No, Shota Aizawa saved me from myself. He was the first of many.
Shota Aizawa didn't believe in fate, and he would say the same if asked in the rare instances he talked with other heroes. Fate exists as something inherently illogical. To assume that things are meant to happen in a certain way seemed too easy. Admitting that fate exists meant he'd resign himself to the world's inclinations, and Aizawa had no intention of doing that. If he saw someone in trouble, he'd help instead of resigning it to fate. It's why he became a hero in the first place. Despite his melancholy exterior, the young man ranked helping others as his second favorite thing in life. His cats remained firmly entrenched in first place.
Aizawa pinched the bridge of his nose. If he believed in fate, maybe he'd just go along with Midnight's forced proposal. He could do a lot more good training the next group of heroes at Japan's top hero academy rather than fight the criminals himself. Of course, the help wouldn't be as direct and meant he'd be paid less, but selfishness is also illogical.
For some unexplainable reason, Midnight revealed to him Japan's best hero high school, U.A., hired her as part of the staff. While he has no idea why that principal decided to put the 18+ Only Hero: Midnight in a classroom full of youth, he even has less of a clue why she thought he'd make a good teacher. Why she recommended him anyway confounded the man.
Shota Aizawa was a few things. First, he fought for justice as Eraser Head, an underground hero. While most craved the spotlight, he preferred to work in the shadows. A less well-known face made life easier and more effective. While U.A. has a reputation for keeping the students and faculty's privacy, he still would be forced much more into the spotlight than he ever had been. Plus, none of the students will recognize him, unlike the other famous heroes employed there, meaning they may not like him. While Aizawa doesn't care about likability, he knows teachers need stable relationships with their students to be efficient.
Second, Aizawa has the personality of a soggy sponge. He doesn't smile. He doesn't show emotion in his voice. He guides his life using logic instead of other, unreliable methods. He also places high expectation on other heroes, but he finds that to be logical. He has even higher expectation on himself, pushing himself so hard that he often found himself sleeping any time he can manage. Criminals commit the most and the worst crimes at night after all, and most heroes prefer to operate by day. If it's day, more people could see their exploits which create more money, popularity, and other frivolous things.
The man nodded at himself, deciding he shouldn't be a teacher for U.A., at least not yet. Even though his almost perfect record as a hero would make him a prime candidate, other men and women could fulfill that role more effectively. Eraser Head operates best as an underground hero, one who mostly ambushes villains.
In fact, he now waited in an alley for that very reason. A certain drug named Trigger caused the deaths of dozens over the past month. It boosted Quirks' power significantly for a few minutes, making a villain a supervillain during that time. Three heroes had died fighting boosted villains, and the drug proved to be addictive. He concluded that this specific alley was used for dealings. Life a disease, Aizawa wanted to attack the cause rather than the symptoms; therefore, he shall apprehend the dealer.
He sat perched on a building's flat roof, occasionally checking for activity. Jumping down won't be a problem, and attacking from above remained one of his favorite options. Maybe he will wait for a few more minutes, maybe a few more days. It won't matter if he can make the world just a little safer. Another dealer will replace the captured one, but the drug won't be available in this region for at least a week. All he must do is wait for two people to arrive and make the deal.
He heard two pairs of footsteps, but he detected something off. While one sounded normal, if a little rushed, the other sounded too light. The irregular pattern of the latter suggested this person had been running and approached total exhaustion. In addition, the hour just passed three in the morning. The hero concluded that he most likely was hearing a child run away from something, probably the other set of footsteps. He knew the probability of a child in need just happening to run towards his direction at this time and place had next to no chance of happening, yet the situation happened. Logic dictates that even the near impossible can be possible in given enough time and chances.
No, this has nothing to do with fate at all.
From the left side of the alley, a figure dashed from the shadows. While the details were obscured by the night, he could tell the individual was a child's height and the frantic way that person ran further suggested she ran from a pursuer. He assumed the child was female due to her longer hair.
A few seconds later, a man emerged from the shadows wearing a mask akin to a bird's beak. Aizawa recognized it as the Yakuza gang symbol, an illogical marker. While the gang had been in decline for decades, that mask meant this person had membership in a criminal organization. In other words, he can punch first and ask questions later.
"Stop running." It came out more as a growl, but the Yakuza member spoke loudly enough for Aizawa to hear.
The girl tripped and fell onto the dirty ground. Her dress seemed old and tattered. Perhaps she was a runaway? The bandages covering her arms and legs indicated someone much worse had been going on. She curled into a ball and cried, her sobbing reaching Aizawa. The stoic man had witnessed countless horrors during his lifetime, so it took a great deal to make his blood boil.
His blood boiled.
It was a logical reaction for humans to protect the young, especially from others.
He leapt from the roof to the Yakuza member. The man slowed down his pace, so judging his trajectory was easy. Eraser Head swooped through the air without a sound, his black and grey clothing camouflaging him in the darkness.
The villain noticed him anyway. The enemy raised his hand to touch the plummeting hero. Not knowing the man's quirk, he assumed it had something to do with his hands' contact, so Aizawa did the most logical thing possible. He stared at the man and did nothing to stop that hand.
The girl gasped as Eraser Head delivered the entirety of his blow to the man's left shoulder. The risk of kicking his head in hopes for a knockout remained too high, but crippling an arm had high chances. The villain's eyes opened wide, not in pain but surprise. So, he did expect to do something.
This was another reason why Shota operated underground and away from the public eye. His Quirk works best paired with the element of surprise. By looking at anyone, he can erase their quirk, the only caveat being they regain their power every time he blinks. That was also why he wore goggles. Dry eye proved to be a problem.
By using the villain's shoulder to take the brunt of the impact, Eraser Head landed on the ground without injury. On one side of him, he faced the Yakuza member; on the other side, the girl cried. It provided the highest chance of protecting the civilian from further harm.
"Damn you!" In total ignorance of his pain, his dislocated shoulder and a broken collar bone, the man used his left hand to slap the ground. Since Aizawa had yet to blink and the man had yet to realize his Quirk has no function, the only result on the hand slap was a flurry of curses emanating from the villain's mouth.
The villain screamed in agony when Eraser Head stomped on his hand, shattering bone. Before he could wrap the villain with his capturing weapon, the hero heard the girl running away again. He didn't blame her. The body contains the fight or flight mindset, and a child's best hope resided in flight. Nevertheless, this posed a new dilemma. The girl could hypothetically slip away. Considering the bandages, she could need immediate medical attention. On the other hand, the villain would escape if he chased after the girl. After working as a hero long enough, Aizawa found that villains always escaped if left alone. Knocked out, dismembered, or handcuffed. It didn't matter. Somehow, they escaped.
Considering he incapacitated this villain almost effortlessly and the girl could be in serious danger, Eraser Head knew what he had to do.
"I'm Overhaul! You'll regre-" Before the villain could monologue about getting revenge, he delivered a kick to the head which nocked the villain unconscious. It also let Aizawa blink again. He turned around and ran down the alley, searching for the girl who proved to be adept at hiding.
He heard a shriek quickly followed by the words murder and villain. Eraser Head sprinted, something he almost never had to do. His mind concluded that the villain named Overhaul wasn't the only Yakuza in the area, and the other member found that girl in public. All heroes failed, including Eraser Head. He concluded he failed to save fifty people during his career, and he memorized all their names by reciting them every night. Because of his shortfalls, the youngest civilian who died because of him perished four days after his fifteenth birthday. The girl couldn't have been older than eight.
Aizawa rushed out of the ally and saw a sobbing old man clutching a purse. Another onlooker stood frozen in terror. A woman leaned out her apartment window and continued to yell about a villain and murder. She pointed at a park, a common spot for delinquents and the reason drug dealings happened in an ally close by. A final pedestrian leaned out another window with a phone pressed to his ear, most likely calling the police. An anti-Quirk strike force should arrive in twenty minutes. A few police officers will be on the scene in minutes at most.
The hero has no time for waiting. He chased after the killer. While the old man seemed distraught, Eraser Head couldn't comfort. He fought.
The park was the size of a block, an idea by some well-intentioned designer. Why not give children a place to play? Unfortunately, they put the park in the slums, and the countless bushes attracted the attention of the wrong crowd. It also had a large tree, a tree that vanished in the blink of an eye. The hero concluded that the old man clutched the purse of his deceased wife, who disappeared in the same way as the tree.
Aizawa rushed forward. This villain had a lethal Quirk, one which apparently disintegrated objects in an instant. Those were the type of Quirks which led to mass killings and the deaths of heroes. In other words, Eraser Head and his Erasing Quirk were probably one of the few counters to the villain's Quirk in all of Japan.
Again, fate had nothing to do with this, just coincidence.
When he heard a child scream, he recognized the voice. It matched the little girl when she sobbed, but there was one difference. This time, the screaming had no semblance of sanity. It sounded as if her body sucked in air before pushing it out with the sole purpose of making a bloodcurdling wail.
He followed the sound of that voice in hopes of saving her in time but stopped in front of a bush. All he saw was the girl. In the pale moonlight, her hair seemed like a mixture between blue and white. Her eyes were red. Her arms and legs carried scars, mostly from needles. On the right side of her forehead, a horn protruded from her flesh. Her white dress had strains from filth and blood. She clutched her legs in the fetal position and screamed after every breath. By chance, her hand grazed against the bush, and it vanished that instant.
Eraser Head reclassified the situation. Only one villain, Overhaul, chased after the girl. She was the one who killed, most likely an old lady. Old ladies take pity on small children, and this child seems to destroy with a touch.
This little girl has an uncontrollable Quirk. Since unauthorized public use of Quirks remained illegal, the anti-Quirk task forces arrested countless children every year. While authorities wanted to rehabilitate those users and give them control over their powers, this girl killed someone. She will have jail time. Death sentences normally were not given to minors, most of the time.
She noticed Aizawa standing over her. She looked terrified at the sight. While his stem demeanor did scare children, this girl seemed for terrified for him rather than of him.
"S-Stay away!" she pleaded. "I'll kill you too!"
He decided to classify the girl as a victim rather than a villain. The zero-tolerance policy of the government was illogical. The child held no intent to harm others; therefore, he activated his Quirk. The girl gasped, and her horn shrunk to the size of a stub.
He knelt in front of her. "Until I blink, you have no Quirk."
She shook her head. "You'll die! I didn't wanna make the lady disappear! I…" She squeezed her legs. "Why can't I make myself disappear? I've tried so many times but can't."
He held her small, cold hand in his, and she quivered in fear. "I don't fear you." He said those words without passion or embellishment. It was akin to mentioning the weather or accounting how many bills he must pay this week, since he viewed it that way. He stared at a little girl, and little girls did not scare the man.
"W-Who are you?" Her eyes lit up, like dumping gasoline on a smoldering fire. Somehow, he awoke something in the girl that she hadn't experienced in years. Hope. "I… I'm Eri."
The telltale ring of sirens approached from the north and the east. They came to arrest someone who illegally used her Quirk in public and killed someone. The law doesn't care if the death resulted from an accident.
Aizawa blinked to test a theory. Since he finished blinking, he proved himself correct. The girl's powers became more powerful, more uncontrollable, or both due to heightened negative emotions. In other words, she had a defense mechanism.
To answer her question, he took off his goggles. "I'm Eraser Head."
She titled her head to the right. "Is that a real name?"
How isolated did the Yakuza keep this girl? "That's my hero name." One of the police cars stopped. He had little time left to save this victim. "I'll protect you. Hold on." He scooped her up in his arms. She felt too light for someone her size, but he ensured he didn't grab any of her bandages.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed. Her tears soaked his scarf, but worrying about something like that seemed illogical. He dashed out of the park and into the shadows, detected by no one. While even the police knew little about him, his reputation for slinking away spread to most cities. The police will assume he captured the criminal, and the officers will go about their merry lives.
This girl needed medical attention, but he also wanted this girl… Eri… to be as hidden from the public eye as possible. He had a nagging feeling her parents were either dead or didn't care. It just happened that this city had a hero who ranked among the best healers in the world. That hero also happened to work at a school who specialized in helping students train their Quirks. U.A. would be horrible if its heroes couldn't control themselves. Lastly, it was just a coincidence that Midnight recommended him to the principal recently.
Fate had nothing to do with this.
"Where are we going?" Her voice came out as a whisper. Her arms squeezed tighter around his neck; however, her Quirk had yet to do anything.
"Somewhere safe." He carried her all the way to U.A. Even then, she refused to let go of the hero, the only person in her short life that ever showed her kindness. Not once did he consider the irony of the situation.
Shota Aizawa didn't believe in fate, but fate believed in Shota Aizawa.