Chapter Seventy-Seven: Eraser Head

"Miss Haru."

Aisla turned at the stern voice and caught sight of gleaming red eyes and a scowl so sharp it could slice through metal. She sunk into Katsuki's side as if that would help protect her from his rage, and felt an arm wrap around her shoulders. She offered up a nervous smile.

"H-hello, sir…" she stammered, toying with the ends of a curled strand. "How are you today? I am fine, except it's suddenly very cold out here and I think I might go inside—"

"What the hell do you think you're wearing, Miss Haru?" Mr. Aizawa demanded, cutting off her tangent.

Aisla tugged the strand a little too hard and winced at the sudden pain. "Um…my costume?" she answered sweetly.

His glare hardened. "Miss Haru," he hissed through clenched teeth. "What exactly is your costume?"

"Oh, I'm Eraser Head, sir!" she replied proudly. Honestly, she thought it was obvious who she was. From the tight-fitting black bodice to the short black skirt. Her pair of yellow Eraser Head goggles she'd borrowed from a costume she'd worn a few years ago were perched on her head, and black high-heeled boots made her taller than normal. She'd purchased a replica scarf from Rainforest Prime, and she'd even found some red contact lenses to make her eyes look like they were glowing. She would have dyed her hair black if she thought she could get away with it, but the black wig she wore was almost as good. As far as costumes went, Aisla thought hers was top-notch.

"And you look awesome!" came a new voice with just a touch of sarcasm. Aisla turned in Katsuki's hold. A grin stretched across her face the moment she caught sight of the boy standing behind her, decked out in a black jumpsuit with a white scarf around his neck. Yellow goggles rested on his head, and he'd actually made an effort to comb his violet hair down, which Aisla thought was funny since he looked more like Eraser Head when his hair stood up.

"God, not you, too!" Mr. Aizawa moaned painfully. "It's bad enough that I have to deal with your merch, Miss Haru, now I have to see a female version of my costume? Go change right now! You too, Shinso."

"Not a chance," Hitoshi refused with a smirk.

Aisla shook her head fiercely. "I'm not changing, either! I look cute!"

"Sexy," Katsuki murmured into her ear.

Mr. Aizawa scowled. "I heard that, Bakugo." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "The two of you drive me crazy."

"Really?" Hitoshi mused. "I thought we kept you young?"

His eyes gleamed. "Say that again, Shinso."

Hitoshi's smirk dropped immediately, replaced with a look of terror. "Uh, I think I hear someone calling my name!"

Mr. Aizawa caught him by the back of his collar before he could book it out of there. "Not so fast."

Aisla breathed a silent sigh in response.

"Ahoy, mateys!" called a loud voice. Aisla glanced over and grinned at the newcomer, who was waving dramatically at them with one hand and dragging a girl behind him with the other. He wore a pirate costume, complete with eye patch and a hat sporting a large feather.

"Wow, you look great, Togata!" Aisla praised when he stopped in front of them.

"H-hello…" murmured a small voice. A little white-haired girl poked her head out from behind Togata's leg. "Merry Christmas?"

Togata laughed boisterously and patted the girl on the head. "It's Halloween, Eri! Remember? What do you say on Halloween?"

Her little face scrunched up in thought. "…Happy Easter?"

"What is she wearing?" Mr. Aizawa asked in a low voice. His expression suggested he was barely holding back a scowl for Eri's sake, but he was having a hard time keeping it at bay.

"I'm Eraser Head!" Eri proclaimed with the same pride that Aisla had. She peeked up at her with a shy smile. Aisla winked in response. Eri had on a black leotard and a frilly black skirt with silver spider webs decorating the surface. A small white scarf was draped over her tiny shoulders, and a pair of yellow sunglasses sat on her eyes in place of goggles.

"That's it, I'm quitting," Mr. Aizawa grumbled as he turned to walk away.

"Was it something I said?" asked Eri with a pout.

"Nope, he's just a grumpy old man!" said Togata. "Come on, Eri, want to go bob for apples? I bet we can find Midoriya, too!" He dragged her off in the opposite direction, leaving only Aisla, Katsuki, and Hitoshi. She glanced around them with a frown.

"Where did everyone else go?" she wondered.

Katsuki shrugged. "They probably ran away like cowards when Aizawa showed up to ruin the fun."

"He secretly loves it," Hitoshi declared with a smirk. "He's so popular right now. Maybe he even feels smug that more kids dressed up as Eraser Head than All Might this year."

"I'm pretty sure he just hates it," Aisla said with a giggle, then sighed as a sudden realization dawned on her. "Aw, but I guess that means I won't win the costume contest."

"What's the prize supposed to be anyway?" Hitoshi mused as he tugged on his scarf.

"Bragging rights," Katsuki mumbled under his breath.

"I think it's a trophy," Aisla said, ignoring Katsuki's comment, even though she kind of agreed with him. She thought her own costume was great and she'd definitely put a lot of work into it, but Katsuki's vampire costume was something else entirely. The authentic look of it was what really set him apart from the rest of them. The cape itself was made of a thick velvet, and the plastic fangs glued to his canines looked like real teeth. If anyone was going to win the costume contest, it would be Katsuki. She thought he deserved it, too. A lot had happened to Katsuki over the last year or so. From getting kidnapped by villains, losing out on getting his provisional license, to his breakup with Aisla, he'd had a lot of bad experiences. He deserved this small victory.

"Actually, it's a ticket for a free coffee and pastry at Café Monet!"

Their little group turned at the familiar voice and gaped down at the small bear/mouse thing that was their principal. Normally, he liked to dress in a suit and tie. Today…

"C-c-clown," Aisla sputtered, eyes wide as she backed up slowly from the demon that stared her down. His face was caked in white paint with black around his eyes and red staining his lips like blood. He wore a black jumpsuit with dark red stripes and a white ruffled collar dotted in blood. The red wig he wore hid his ears, adding to the terror of the whole costume. "G-get away from me!"

"Aisla!" Katsuki grabbed hold of her waist as she tried to flee. Didn't he understand? That thing was going to get her! She had to get away from there, they all did!

"Don't run, little girl~" he said in a menacing tone that did not belong to her principal. He was possessed, that was the only explanation. He'd been possessed by a clown demon and now he was out to murder them all!

"Aisla! You're fine!" Katsuki insisted, holding her firmly as she struggled to free herself.

"Let me go!" she shrieked as the terror built inside of her, making her body hot and her heart pound hard and fast. "We have to go!"

"It's only Nezu!" he reminded her, though Aisla couldn't hear him just then. She was too afraid to make sense of his words, even as a deeper part of her brain told her she was overreacting.

"I think she's afraid of clowns," Hitoshi observed. "Hey, Aisla!" he shouted, voice suddenly right in her ear. "Snap out of it! It's not a real clown; you're safe!"

"Fear me!" The clown growled and came at her, making her scream in terror.

"NEZU."

Suddenly, the clown stopped advancing on her and looked up at someone standing behind Aisla. She looked up too and saw Eraser Head standing there, eyes gleaming red and hair erect. His scarf shot out and captured the clown, wrapping his entire body up easily so that he could no longer be seen.

Aisla's heart was still thumping wildly inside her chest, but with the threat out of her sights, at least for the moment, she was able to calm down a little. She clutched a hand over her heart as strong arms held her tightly.

"Miss Haru," her teacher chastised, "stop screaming and go enjoy the rest of the festival before I forcibly remove you."

Her eyes widened. "S-sir! There was a—"

"A person in a costume," he finished. "Just like you are. Now get out of my sight."

"Come on, Aisla." Katsuki pulled her away from the scene, hand rubbing her arm gently as they walked. "Are you okay?"

Aisla thought about it for a moment while she caught her breath. "Yeah… Sorry about that. I know I was being dramatic, but…" She shivered as a memory suddenly resurfaced. "I'm really scared of clowns. One tried to kill me when I was a kid, you know!"

"Did it have a squeaky red nose and oversized shoes?" asked Hitoshi.

She turned to him with wide eyes. "Yeah! How'd you know?!"

He laughed. "Because everyone has seen a clown like that, Aisla," he said with an eye roll.

She shivered again and rubbed her arms with her hands. "Well, this one was evil."

"What did he do?" Hitoshi challenged.

Aisla fidgeted in place and played with the ends of her hair. "Well…he had a creepy voice and a creepy face…"

Hitoshi snorted. "Aisla, clowns are not scary. I promise you that Nezu the Clown won't hurt you, okay?"

Aisla scowled and looked away as embarrassment burned her cheeks. "Well, I thought it was scary…" she muttered.

Katsuki leaned close to her ear and whispered, "I think you were very brave."

Her eyes lit up. "Really?!" He nodded. "Aw, thanks! Wait…" She lifted onto her toes to see over the crowd. "Is that Shoto?" she asked in surprise. His hair was very distinctive with its dual shade, but the fact that his arm was around a girl was what stopped Aisla short. She knew he'd been talking with a girl for a few months now, but he'd made no indication that they had started officially dating. "Wow, look at him! Let's go say hi." She started walking in his direction, eager to see her best friend finally taking that next step in his relationship.

She heard the clomping of boots behind her as she made her way over to Shoto. He stood with his back to her as he and Akina stood in line to get food, but he turned at her approach and offered her a friendly smile.

"I wondered when I'd see you tonight," he said, then his eyes scanned over her costume and a slight frown creased his eyebrows. "Nice costume, Ru."

She huffed at his dry tone. "It's a great costume, thank you!" she insisted. Shoto wore what looked like a Catholic priest's outfit that somehow suited him more than she thought it should have. He even held a Bible against his chest with his free arm.

His lips twitched in amusement. "Of course, it is." He turned his attention to the black-haired girl at his side. She'd only met her a handful of times and didn't know much about her, but she could tell right away that Akina was the type of girl who liked to go with the flow. Whereas Aisla was emotional and tended to be a little bit on the sensitive side, Akina seemed a lot more down to earth and calm. At least, that was the impression Aisla got. For this event, Akina wore a fair adaptation of Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family. Her complexion was almost as pale as Aisla's but she'd made the look even more dramatic with white face makeup.

"Akina," Shoto said, catching her gaze with his own and offering her a soft smile. "I want to properly introduce you to my friends, if that's okay with you?"

"We're not friends," Katsuki muttered irritably. Aisla looked over and saw his lip jutted out in a pout and had the sudden urge to capture it between her teeth right there in front of everyone. He must have seen something in her eyes just then because his gaze suddenly darkened. For just a second, she forgot all about the festival and the people around them. For just a second, it was only her and Katsuki.

"Aisla." Shoto's voice calling her brought her attention back to the present. "This is Akina Kobayashi. She's my girlfriend." His smile was a little forced as if he was nervous about the admission, but his eyes were steady and proud. He was happy to be with Akina, but a part of him still sought approval. From Aisla? She wasn't sure, but regardless, she liked seeing him finally allowing himself to be happy. "Akina, these are my friends, Aisla Haru and Katsuki Bakugo."

Katsuki made a dismissive sound, but Aisla ignored him and offered Akina a smile. "Nice to see you again. How've you been?"

The other girl smiled warmly. "Never better! I like your costume. It's Eraser Head, right?"

Aisla stood up tall and proud. "That's right!"

"Isn't he your homeroom teacher?" she asked with a small frown.

Aisla nodded emphatically. "He's also my mentor!"

Akina's expression suggested she wasn't as impressed as she should have been with this news. "Oh, well…"

"It's our turn," Shoto interjected. He gave Aisla a smile and a nod of farewell as he led Akina up to the counter to order. He offered to meet up later in the evening if everyone was still around, but Aisla could tell he was just trying to be polite. She didn't think he really wanted to hang out with her tonight, which was fine by her. She could see Shoto at school on Monday. For now, she would be happy spending the evening with her boyfriend.

"Katsuki," she said sweetly a moment later. She slid her arms around his neck and batted her eyelashes at him. She'd worn false lashes tonight as well as glittery eye shadow, which made the red color of her contacts pop.

"…Yes?" he asked carefully, suspicion lacing his tone.

"You love me, right?"

"Of course," he answered without hesitation. "I love you, Aisla."

"What would you do to show me that you love me?"

He arched an eyebrow. "Show you?" She nodded. He thought for a moment before responding with, "Anything, Aisla. I'd do anything for you."

She smiled victoriously. "Then…would you buy me a funnel cake?"

He stared blankly for a long moment, then snorted and shook his head. "Aisla, Aisla… You really are something else."

"Is that a yes?" she asked hopefully.

He chuckled and took her hand in his. "Yes, I'll get you a funnel cake. For the record, I was already planning on getting you one."

"You're so good to me," she sighed happily.

They spent the next few hours eating funnel cake and playing games. There weren't many to choose from and they were all equally as simple as the last, but it was still fun. Aisla loved spending time with Katsuki, but it was also nice to have all of her friends around as well.

She played a ring toss game with Mina, who was surprisingly good and out-tossed Aisla easily. Ochaco and Midoriya joined them in a game of tug of war. Aisla and Katsuki won, then the boys challenged each other while Aisla and Ochaco got hot tea from Midnight, who was sitting behind a booth with Present Mic. They didn't wait to see who won, but by the time the boys found them, half an hour had gone by and they were both sweaty and exhausted.

Katsuki and Kirishima spent ten minutes knocking down metal bottles until Katsuki finally lost and stomped away angrily. After that, she followed him down a short path into the woods and they sat on the ground for a long time not saying anything. The moon was full and illuminated the space around them, turning the blades of grass beneath them silver. Aisla liked the full moon, and it seemed fitting on a night like tonight.

"I'm having fun tonight," Katsuki murmured after a long silence. Aisla turned to him, but he was still staring straight ahead, at the moon over the trees.

"Really?" she said. She thought he'd been enjoying himself, but after he spent time with Midoriya, she wasn't so sure anymore.

He nodded. "Yeah. I love Halloween. This is awesome."

Aisla turned so she could face him, making sure she kept her legs closed so she didn't show off her panties. "I didn't know that about you."

He finally offered her a grin. "It's my favorite holiday. Halloween is a lot of fun. I used to dress up every year as a kid. Sometimes we'd buy a costume, but most of the time my dad made one himself."

Aisla smiled at his enthusiasm. He was so animated just then, eyes alight as he talked about his childhood and some of the experiences he went through. She'd thought she knew everything there was to know about Katsuki Bakugo, but she supposed there would always be something new and exciting to learn about her favorite person.

"And then one year in middle school," he was saying, "I dressed up as All Might in his Silver Age costume, and someone actually thought I was his son!" His eyes widened dramatically, and his voice rose as he told the story. "No joke, Aisla. Someone said I look just like him, right in front of my dad! He thought it was hilarious, of course, and even went so far as to tell the guy, 'Yeah, maybe you do look like All Might' in the most ridiculous voice. It was awesome." He took a deep breath, then looked sheepishly over at her. "Sorry, that was a lot."

"No, I love it when you talk about yourself!" she assured him. "I love hearing about your life. I want to get to know you, and I want to know the things that make you happy…and the things that make you sad." She moved closer and rested her head against his shoulder. "I want to know everything about you, Katsuki."

"Thanks, Aisla." They sat like that for a while longer, until Present Mic's voice boomed over the speakers, letting everyone know that it was time for the costume contest. Katsuki perked up at that, and the two of them made their way back to the festival to join the others.

They found Shoto near the center of the gathered students, next to Kirishima and his girlfriend, Ochaco and Midoriya, and Mina with her boyfriend, who looked like he'd rather be anywhere else right now. Aisla wondered if Mina had dragged him here against his will, or if he'd come just to appease her.

"WELCOME, UA STUDENTS!" boomed Present Mic when they were all gathered around the makeshift stage. "WHO'S READY FOR THE CONTEST WINNER?!" They all cheered in response. "AWWWLRIGHT THEN! BRING UP THE ENVELOPE CONTAINING THE WINNER'S NAME!" They all waited with bated breath as Present Mic made a big show of opening the envelope and reading the name. "ALRIGHT, KIDS! THE WINNER OF UA'S FIRST COSTUME CONTEST IS… ERASER HEAD?!" His voice rose an octave higher as he read the name aloud, then he scanned the crowd for the aforementioned pro, who was currently standing at the back of the crowd and visibly trying to sink into his scarf. "GET UP HERE, SHOTA, AND CLAIM YOUR PRIZE!"

Mr. Aizawa glared with glowing red eyes. "Is this some kind of joke?" he snarled when someone placed a microphone in front of him. "I'm not even a student; I'm not a part of this contest."

"WHAT'S THAT?" Present Mic asked when someone whispered into his ear. "OH, OKAY!" he turned back to the mic in front of him, not that he needed it with his quirk. "EVERYONE LISTEN UP! ERASER HEAD IS NOT THE WINNER OF THIS CONTEST!"

"Then, who is?" someone asked from the front.

"THE WINNER, OR SHOULD I SAY WINNERS, ARE THOSE WHO DRESSED UP AS ERASER HEAD!" he concluded with gusto. "EVERYONE WHO WORE AN ERASER HEAD COSPLAY THIS EVENING, STEP UP TO THE STAGE!"

Now Aisla wanted to sink into her scarf. She quickly peeked a glance over at her teacher, who was looking right at her in either accusation or horror, she couldn't tell. Either way, he wasn't any more pleased by this outcome than he was with the last.

"Go on, Aisla," Katsuki murmured into her ear before giving her a gentle push toward the stage. He smiled at her when she turned a shocked gaze his way. "You earned this. You deserve this."

With his words of encouragement, Aisla was able to walk toward the stage and ascend the steps. She stood beside Eri and Hitoshi, who looked equally as uncomfortable as Aisla felt.

"CONGRATULATIONS ON HAVING THE MOST VOTED FOR COSTUMES AT THE FESTIVAL!" Present Mic declared. "LET'S HEAR IT FOR OUR WINNERS!"

After an eternity of standing onstage, Aisla was given a coupon for a free coffee and pastry at Café Monet, which she was really excited to use. If she remembered correctly, that was the same café that Katsuki sometimes brought her coffee and muffins from. She'd been eager to go there herself, and now was the perfect opportunity to do so.

When the excitement finally died down, the students all started to slowly make their way back to their dorms. They'd been allowed to stay up past curfew tonight, but it was getting late and everyone was ready to retire for the night.

"I can't believe I got beat by my girlfriend wearing my teacher's merch," Katsuki mused with a shake of his head as they walked back to the dorm. "What are the chances of that?"

"Hey, it'll pay off for you, too!" she reminded him. "I'll share!"

He grinned down at her. She'd taken off the boots after the costume contest and now carried them in one hand as they walked. She was shorter than him again, but that was okay. She kind of liked being able to look up at him. "Did you have a good time?"

She nodded through a yawn. "Yeah, it was fun! Thank you for spending time with me."

"Anytime, my love."

She let out a blissful sigh. "Let's go back to my room now."

"Your room?" he asked in surprise.

She pulled him to a stop and met his gaze, eyes burning with intention. "Yes," she answered softly, hoping he'd read the hidden meaning in her gaze. "Please come back to my room with me, Katsuki. I want to spend the night with you."

His eyes sparkled with understanding. "Are you sure?"

"I miss you," she whispered in response. "I want to."

He nodded slowly. "Okay, Aisla. If that's what you really want. Let's spend the night together."