Aizawa is more than exhausted when he finally returns home. He unlocks the door to his apartment and stumbles inside, and his cat Whiskers greets him by meowing morosely about her food bowl having a too-large empty space in what was otherwise a full dish.
Snatch at least greets Aizawa by practically tripping him from her winding between his ankles and purring loudly.
“At least someone cares if I’m gone.” Aizawa mutters as he pets both cats and simply shakes their dishes so that they are “full” again.
He makes a mental note to thank Yamada for taking care of the cats. A gift card to that one coffee place he likes should do.
Tossing his cellphone onto the coffee table, Aizawa sighs heavily as he collapses on the couch, not bothering to change clothes. He has pillows and a blanket ready to snuggle into. He’ll shower when he’s more rested.
He’d been on a several-months long case pursuing a gang of criminals who had been distributing drugs; helping the police gather information and arrest the guilty parties where he could. The criminals were smart; always moving and giving incorrect information to those who thought they were higher up the ladder than they actually were.
They’d finally gotten a legitimate lead, and had to act fast. The past 72 hours had been hectic. It’d been filled with police chases, Quirk battles, and finally arresting the sons of bitches who had been selling drugs to teenagers.
It was a relief when the people responsible were finally behind bars.
Aizawa hadn’t bothered to stay behind for the inevitable celebration a few fellow heroes and the police would be having. He’s exhausted enough as it is. Having to stay and socialize while answering far too many unnecessary questions about how he fought the drug traffickers was beyond his limit.
Aizawa isn’t sure how long he’d been asleep when his house phone rang. He glared at the offending device on the counter before blinking and glaring at the clock on the wall. 5:46 pm. Wow. A whole four hours.
A part of Aizawa considers chucking the phone across the room. But that would mean having to leave his cocoon.
The phone stops ringing, and he figures it can just go to voice mail. But the person didn’t bother leaving one. Instead, they call again minutes later.
Ignoring it simply isn’t an option. Dammit. Aizawa slouches off of the couch and doesn’t bother unwrapping his blanket. He glares at the caller ID and is further irritated by the fact he doesn’t recognize the phone number.
If they aren’t bothering to leave a voice mail and are calling back, it must be important enough to figure out who’s calling and why.
Grumbling under his breath about being woken up and having to talk to a stranger, Aizawa gruffly answers, “Hello?”
The voice of a woman answers him, “Oh, you answered! I’m so – so relieved!”
The crack in her voice causes Aizawa to instinctively stand up straighter.
“I didn’t think you would answer if I called during normal working hours, so I called in the evening and hoped for the best. I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.”
Genuinely confused from the woman’s rambling, all Aizawa can say is, “What?”
“Oh! I didn’t introduce myself…I’m Tomari – Kirito Mari…”
He hadn’t seen or heard from Kotone in well over a decade, so obviously he has no idea who this woman is.
“I’m so sorry, to be the one to tell you this, but – I mean, I didn’t think it was proper to just tell a person this over voice mail.“ Tomari’s voice chokes, and somehow, Aizawa has a sinking feeling he isn’t going to like whatever news this woman is sharing with him. “I didn’t want you to read this in the newspaper or something…Kotone and Taro…they both died in an accident…I thought…”
The woman sniffles, and is clearly trying to hold back emotions. “Anyway, Kotone’s funeral is on Thursday, at 3…”
Tomari leaves an address and wishes him well, she looks forward to seeing him, again she apologizes…she hangs up and Aizawa is left confused and unsure how he should feel.
The last time Aizawa had seen Kotone, he had been a child; only seven or eight years old. His hair had been an embarrassing bowl cut his mother had decided to do on her own because she didn’t think she should have to pay for a service they could easily do themselves.
So she sat Aizawa down on a stool with a sheet around his neck, clippers in one hand; scissors in the other. The bowl that their mother had picked unfortunately was a bit on the small side, and their mom ended up moving the bowl around a bit so she could cut his hair.
Kotone had taken one look at Aizawa’s hair and told their mother not to come anywhere near her with the intention of cutting hair.
“Wow, poor kid…this is a hairstyle you will totally regret having when you’re an adult.” Kotone laughed as she ran her fingers through his hair. “Burn all evidence it even existed sort of thing.”
Their mom had insisted on taking a few pictures of the results of her hard work; showing off the butchering of his hair to prove a point. A neighbor politely described his hair as being cut with a weed whacker blindfolded – to his mother’s face. His mother didn’t appreciate the comment.
Kotone had been right; the haircut was something he had banished into the darkest corners of his memory. Only Yamada and Kayama knew about the haircut, and both of them were nearly intolerable for weeks. Thank whatever deity it is that Ms. Joke has never gotten hold of such sensitive information.
The next morning, Aizawa approaches his mother’s apartment building. Aizawa Yui is a landlord with the standards of an army general. She is a person that takes no shit and is able to dish it out in frightening amounts. She’s had people threaten her for evicting them for not paying rent.
But at the same time, she’s willing to help people get back on their feet; if they are licensed in a profession that can help her run her apartments (and don’t threaten physical violence) she’s willing to take costs off of their rent for a time.
There are quite a few people who help with cleaning and general maintenance who live in her building.
Aizawa braces himself, because Kotone is – was a sore subject for Yui.
Kotone was far too much like Yui; possibly even more stubborn with the temper to match. Kotone was more like her father, or at least that was what Yui claimed. Aizawa wouldn’t know, as he’d never met the man.
But Kotone had gotten her impressive stubbornness from somewhere, and Yui’s own stubbornness caused them to butt heads in crazy attempts to out-stubborn the other.
The shouting matches between the two Aizawa women were certainly impressive.
Aizawa approaches his mother’s apartment, and simply uses his key to enter as he announces himself.
“Out here,” Yui calls from her patio.
She’s smoking a cigarette, and her pepper-gray hair is pulled back into a messy bun. She looks as tired as Aizawa feels. Yui takes one look at Aizawa and needlessly comments, “You look awful.”
“Didn’t get much sleep.” Aizawa doesn’t need to elaborate more than that. The members of the Aizawa family aren’t exactly known for keeping consistent sleep schedules.
“Hm.” Yui extinguishes her cigarette only to light another one up moments later.
Aizawa isn’t really sure how to give Yui the news, but he’s never been known for having tact.
“I got a call from someone named Mari…Kotone and her husband died.”
Yui coughs and turns to Aizawa. “What? Kotone? She’s…dead? And she was married?”
“Her husband’s name was Taro.”
Something flashes across Yui’s expression. “She actually married that boy, huh.”
Aizawa had some vague recollection of one of Yui and Kotone’s fights involving a boy she was seeing. He vaguely remembers Taro; a tall, gangly teenager who fit right in with the family because of his tired eyes.
He can’t remember Yui’s reasoning for why Kotone could no longer see the kid. Yui just hadn’t liked him. Aizawa honestly isn’t even sure if Yui ever explained her reasoning.
“The funeral’s going to be tomorrow, so I’ll be on the bullet train this afternoon…” Aizawa pauses. “Do you want me to buy you a ticket too?”
Yui turns her face away. She takes a deep drag before loudly exhaling and answers, “I’m not going.”
Everyone’s reasons are their own, Aizawa figures.
“She was your daughter.”
Kotone was as much as a daughter to Yui as she was a sister to him. Simply related by sharing genetics with a parent. Beyond that, they didn’t have a relationship. They were complete strangers at this point.
“She wouldn’t want me there.” Yui says. “She didn’t want me in her life, so I’ll continue respecting that wish in her death.”
“Alright, then.” Aizawa doesn’t bother trying to convince her. It would more than likely turn into an argument that he’d much rather avoid. He should at least still give her the opportunity. He’s going more out of obligation than sentimentalism. “I’m off. I’m going to be on the 3:00 train, so let me know around two-thirty if you change your mind…we’ll walk to the station together.”
Yui doesn’t really respond beyond a flat, “Have fun.”
Aizawa leaves, knowing that he’s going to be attending the funeral alone.
As predicted, his mother hasn’t even texted him, and Aizawa boards the bullet train by himself. Good thing he didn't bother with buying a second ticket.
He does get a text from Yamada, though, which he elects to ignore.
Aizawa does check his texts an hour later, to see that Yamada is inviting him out for lunch “to get him out of the house and eat real food”.
** ‘Can’t come. Going to funeral’ **
Yamada responds impressively fast.
** ‘WHAT!!! WHO DIED?!!’ **
Aizawa responds simply with,
** ‘My sister and her husband. Will be back Fri’ **
** ‘Oh. See you then. Have a safe trip’ **
Yamada isn’t aware of all of Aizawa’s family drama; just that he and his mother have a relationship where they occupy the same space every once in a while due to some sort of familial obligation.
Yamada and Kayama both know better than to ask questions when it comes to Aizawa’s family.