Aizawa was exhausted. He'd just finished grading his final paper of the night, and the clock read 2:21 am. It was Kaminari's, and the report itself had impressed Aizawa, earning a 16/20. That, or the sleep deprivation had finally caught up to him, and he'd gotten lazy. Aizawa didn't care either way and figured the kid would be happy with the grade.
Aizawa rubbed his eyes and stretched, his back cracking after being hunched over for hours on end looking over his students' work. His students were probably fast asleep in their beds. At least they were supposed to be, but Aizawa had that nagging feeling in the back of his head that they were not. If Aizawa had a second quirk, it would determine when his students are about to do something stupid, and at the moment, he couldn't shake the feeling.
Ever since the dorms were put into place, Aizawa found himself dealing with conflicts and issues to resolve he hadn't ever needed to before in all his years of teaching. He'd caught multiple students trying to sneak off-grounds without permission, gone on last-minute chaperoned store trips because students ran out of certain hygiene products, and has even found himself forcing students to visit Recovery Girl with injuries they've hidden during days off.
He should consider himself lucky. Midnight told him the other day she had to deal with two students in their third year when the boy used his quirk to sneak into the girls’ dorm. Aizawa prayed to whatever higher power he would not need to deal with that with his class. Giving "the talk" to his students would be his breaking point.
Thankfully, none have them had. Yet.
Aizawa groaned, leaning his head back against the chair and staring up at his dark ceiling. The only source of light came from the glow of his computer screen.
His students were most likely safe, so he didn't have to get up, pay a visit to the dorms and make sure they weren't doing something stupid. As he leaned back, he turned his head to look at his capture weapon hanging on a hook beside the office door.
"Damnit," he groaned as he forced himself up. He grabbed his scarf and shut the door behind him.
As Aizawa walked across campus to the dorms, he decided he'd check on his students and not even bother going home to his apartment. He'd spent enough nights sleeping in his office that the school was practically a second home to him. The couch in his office was also more comfortable than it looked, and walking back beat the 20-minute commute back to his place.
Aizawa played a guessing game in his head as to what he might find when he got to the dorms. Whenever he'd been called because they'd broken something or a fight had broken out, it was almost always because of Kaminari and that group that hung around him. Kaminari tended to rope Sero into doing something, which in turn involved Ashido and Kirishima. Sometimes Bakugo was involved, but the kid was pretty timid when it came to becoming involved in activities that often got his students in trouble. Despite having anger issues, Bakugo was relatively well behaved and wasn't one of the main reasons Aizawa wanted to rip his hair out. This is, except with it involves Midoriya. He can’t leave those two in a room alone together or else half of Japan might go up in flames.
Aizawa wouldn't have to guess for long, however. He was about to take his first step onto the large building's stairs but halted when he heard running. Not frantic running, but more of a jog. Plus, he listened to the huffing and puffing of what sounded like a student. Aizawa relaxed. If a villain was chasing someone, they'd be screaming, and knowing his students, they'd have started fighting a long time ago.
Aizawa sighed and turned his body to the direction the person was running. He stood casually, hand in pockets, signature slouch as he waited. He was expecting maybe Midoryia on a late-night jog which he would have to give him a detention for; students aren't supposed to be out this late at night. Instead, when the person turned the corner, he saw a frenzy of pink.
Ashido wasn't looking forward. Her attention was down at her arms which were holding her stomach. When she finally did look up, she yelped and fell backward. Her hands were still wrapped around her stomach as she hit the ground.
"Ashido," Aizawa stated, voice low and threatening. "What are you doing out of bed at 2:30 am?"
Ashido whimpered, eyes wide like she was surprised to be caught. "I'm...um...I was," she stuttered. Aizawa raised an eyebrow.
"If you don't tell me I'll be giving you three weeks of detention instead of one," he threatened.
Ashido swallowed and then breathed outwardly as if preparing to do something audacious. She pulled one arm off her stomach and used it to hoist herself up. Aizawa's eyes tracked her the whole time, mostly to make sure she wasn't somehow injured. She walked the distance closer to her teacher, and Aizawa realized she wasn't holding her stomach; she was holding something to her stomach. Slowly, Ashido maneuvered her hands so whatever was in her arms was now held in her hands.
"Please don't be mad," she said. "But she wouldn't stop meowing outside my room and she was all alone!"
In Ashido's hands was a kitten. She was skinny and her fur was dirty, at least Aizawa thought it was. The cat was black except for all four of her paws and underbelly, which were white. Aizawa did his best not to react, but his eyes widened slightly.
"Ashido," he started when he also noticed her knees, where the skin was red and scraped off. "Did you jump out of your window to rescue this cat?"
Ashido bit her bottom lip. "Um, yeah?" she said like it was a question.
Aizawa sighed. He should be happy she wasn't sneaking out for a different reason, and part of him was proud, but mostly angry. He also realized by not leaving the building, she didn't trip any alarms, which would have woken up the whole dorm and made it so the entire staff would come.
"Please don't make me put her back! I was just going to bring her to my room and make her feel better! Maybe give her to Koda, I mean, she has no collar and is all alone and I couldn't just leave her-"
"Ashido." Aizawa's eyes went red for a moment. She stopped rambling immediately. Aizawa sighed again. "Follow me."
Aizawa turned and began walking back towards the main building. He didn't look behind him but heard Ashido's pace quicken after a few strides.
Aizawa led her into the building, up to his office. For Ashido's sake, he turned on the light, making him squint as his eyes adjusted.
"Um...Mr. Aizawa?" Ashido questioned as he pulled something out from under his desk. It was a tiny cat bed, including one small blanket and a cat toy. He put it on the couch and took the kitten from Ashido's hands. The cat meowed a little in protest, obviously not liking being away from Ashido, but she calmed down once Aizawa wrapped her in the warm blanket, which must have been a nice change from the cold night air.
"Um, no judgment here sir, but why do you have that just laying around?" Ashido asked, looking over Aizawas's shoulder as he slowly pet the kitten.
Aizawa sighed for what felt like the tenth time that night. "I had a cat. It died a few months ago."
"Oh," Ashido said. "I'm sorry."
Aizawa shrugged, standing back up and facing Ashido. He looked down at her knees again.
"Sit." he said, gesturing towards the couch. Ashido sheepishly took a seat as Aizawa pulled out some antiseptic and large bandages he had stashed away in another drawer; he might as well fix it here.
Aizawa kneeled in front of Ashido as she pet the cat with one hand. She began purring under Ashido's hand. She winced as Aizawa applied the antiseptic spray to her first knee.
"So, what was your plan to get back in?" Aizawa asked, which seemed to surprise his student. He was genuinely curious. "It seems you were smart enough not to leave through the front door, or that would have ruined everyone's night.
Ashido laughed sheepishly, scratching her neck with the hand that wasn't petting the cat. "I was running towards the boys dorm. I was going to throw rocks at Sero's window and have him pull me up," she admitted. Aizawa tried not to grin as she told him her plan. It was stupid, but the reasoning was pure.
Aizawa had moved into the next knee when she asked him another question.
"So, how much trouble am I in?"
"Well, you didn't set off any alarms, and you didn't sneak out for any dangerous reason, but you can't do this again. If Sero or anyone else hadn't woken up, you would have been stuck outside all night."
Ashido bit her lip and scrunched up her face as Aizawa laid out, in detail, how her plan could have ended up. Aizawa could tell she felt terrible, but at the moment, as she pet the cat she rescued who otherwise may have died in the cold, he felt an odd sense of pride for his student.
"Three days of detention." Ashido perked up. She must have expected more. "But if you jump out your window again, it will be a week plus cleaning up the entire dorm by yourself for three days."
Ashido was beaming. "No more jumping out of windows. Promise!"
Aizawa finished patching up her knees after she made the promise that he prayed she would keep. Both stayed put, however, as their attention turned towards the sleeping cat.
"What about her?" Ashido asked. Her hand was still stroking her behind the ears.
What about her? Aizawa thought to himself. Could he keep her overnight and send her to the vet in the morning? He could even keep her himself. He considered that option, but after looking at how his student looked at the kitten, he'd almost feel bad for taking her away.
Once again that night, Aizawa sighed, hoping he wouldn't regret what he was about to say. "If you want, you can keep her."
Ashido looked like she might cry. "Really!?"
"I'd keep her in your room for a while at first, and after she's adjusted maybe she can roam the 1A dorm. Cat's are smart, once she gets used to the area she'll leave and always knows where to go. In the morning I'll stop by and give you some food for her, maybe Koda has something-"
A hug cut him off. Ashido leaned forward and quickly interrupted Aizawa mid-sentence.
"Uh" was all Aizawa could say, but he didn't make any effort to push his student away.
"Thank you thank you thank you I promise you won't regret this!" she said as she pulled back just as quickly, leaving Aizawa shocked. Delicately, she leaned over and picked up the bed with the sleeping kitten in it. She stirred only slightly but went back to sleep quickly.
The pair walked back towards the 1A dorm rooms; this time, Ashido was in front, happily walking as she held the cat in her hand. Aizawa thought about how this girl always seemed to be happy. She had the right attitude, and although her professional skills and quirk ability could use a lot of improvement, she always had a smile on her face. People liked her, and that would make her a good hero one day.
Aizawa wondered what it is that he’ll now allow his students to keep cats they find in the middle of the night. Maybe it's the excessive amount of time he spends trying to teach and guide them since the dorms were put into place. Maybe Aizawa has gone soft?
He tried not to think too hard about it.
Once they reached the front of the 1A dorms, Aizawa unlocked the door with the key only he and principal Nezu have. He heard the lock click and opened it wide for Ashido.
"I trust you can get to your room without jumping out any more windows?"
"Yes sir!" Ashido said as she walked past Aizawa. She paused halfway through the door, turning and looking up at her teacher. "I think I'm going to name her Socks."
Aizawa, very slightly, allowed himself to smile. "Because of her paws?"
Ashido smiled back. "Yep!"
She turned around and practically bounced her way back to her dorm room, leaving Aizawa behind as he locked the door. He tried to open it to make sure it was closed all the way. He turned around and began his short trek back to his office. He wouldn't admit it out loud, but he was proud of his students. All they needed was a little direction and, when it came to it, strong discipline.
Then again, there seemed to be moments in his students' actions under particular circumstances where he could let them off easy, but only a few times, a very few times. Ashido jumping out a window to save a kitten was one of those times.