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Alexithymia

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“So, what are you going to do now?”

Inko brushes at her eyes, fingernails painted a healthy gloss and chipped around the edges. She cradles the teacup in her hands, thumbs brushing the golden swans dancing on the porcelain surface. She ponders the question as if it’s boarded on a timid rollercoaster, tracing the numerous possible answers she could give.

Her lips purse tightly, her grip loosening on the cup. It sits tentatively upon her lap, bunching the knitted fabric of her skirt. She blinks from staring ominously at the peeling paint on the wall, flashing a crooked, wavering smile towards the blonde woman across the coffee table.

“I really don’t know, Mitsuki.” Inko sighs shakily and sets her cup on the glass. Sunlight filters through the windows, warming her sleeves. Her eyes are heavy, swollen red around the rim. “He didn’t have to… just leave like this.”

Mitsuki’s grip tightens on the cup in her hands. She cards one hand through her wild blonde hair, the spiked ruffles fluffing at her touch. Her lips are as red as wine, figure clad in a sweater dress that extends to right above her knees, her legs long and lean and envied. She’d rushed here as soon as possible, her toddler keenly nibbling at her heels even after the moment she answered her missed call from Inko Midoriya.

“Inko, you’re such a dear friend to Masaru and I. We would gladly help in any way you’d want.”

Inko sniffs, releasing a small, trembling sigh. “You’re too kind. I just—I worry for Izuku. He’s only two years old, but… to think that he would have to go through those stages, to come to terms with his presenting at that age. A father is needed for that discussion, and I won’t be of any use to him. And if protective services come and take him away…” she trails off, hiccuping at the growing uncertainties building like cinderblocks in the back of her throat.

Mitsuki sets aside her teacup and comes to Inko’s side, her manicured fingers tenderly wrapping around Inko’s thin, starved wrists. She’s wafer-thin, starved to the bone, and Mitsuki can read the pain in her longtime friend’s eyes more clearly than anyone else.

“Those bastards would have to pry him out of all our cold, rotten, dead fingers before your baby is taken from you. God, I don’t even know what I’d do if some snobby asshole tried taking my bratty baby away from me.” Mitsuki shakes her head, nose scrunched up and eyes focused.

Inko holds back a laugh. “You always know what to say, Mitsuki.” She sniffs, her smile gentle and understanding as the blond nods and reclines on the couch. “This is going to be so hard, now, given that the laws keep changing. It’s hard, explaining, but I’m sure you understand, with you and Masaru being primarily alphas…”

Mitsuki hums in thought, dipping her head. “I was lucky to choose Masaru, back in high school. I wouldn’t worry too much about your kid, Inko. He may turn out to be an alpha like his father, or even beta, like you.” She bites her lip, pondering over her own words, and Inko’s glassy stare seem to shrivel her up even more, like water soaking up and crinkling a wad of newspaper. “I’m sorry that this happened now. I want to choke that bastard for leaving you high and dry like this.”

Inko sniffs, wiping at her nose. “Forgive me for crying so much—”

“Oh, shut up, Inko. You’re much too kind for your own good. Let yourself get angry once in a while, you angel-faced badass.” Mitsuki sighs, grabbing the tissue box on the coffee table and handing the entire container to the Midoriya mother. “And if Izuku does turn out to be… that, it’s such a rare tradition in the books. I doubt that such an uncommon marking would set him up for a cruel future like that. And you have so many years before you have to worry.”

Inko tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. Her tongue is dry as chalk, yet her eyes have felt wet and as heavy as cement for weeks, ever since the moment her husband became a silhouette at their doorstep, suitcase trailing behind him as he tipped his hat with not one uttered word left for his wife or son.

“I’ll be strong for him. I have to.” Inko dabs her eyelids, grimacing at the smudged makeup appearing in the wads of cloth. Beside her, Mitsuki lopes one arm around her, the protective instinctive cage that Inko craves from her friendship with this beautiful, powerful woman in her weakest moments.

“You already are,” whispers Mitsuki. “We’ll have weekly dinners, then. Or, just more get-togethers with you and good ol’ Masaru. You can bring your little Izuku, and I’ll make sure my own damn kid behaves before long. That little twerp has alpha written all over him—”

Inko laughs, though it’s a sound that rivals the chime of broken bells.

“You never fail to make me smile, Mitsuki.” She chuckles. “It must be the protective alpha in you. You’re always so headstrong about these things. I will be fine.” She bundles the cloth in her hands, clutching it tighter as she recalls her husband’s shadowed face, his parting words barely a whisper under his breath. “It’ll be okay, when the time comes… you’re right, I won’t have to worry about it for years.”

Yet, the concern swelling in her stomach is too distracting for her to not think about.

“Who knows,” says Mitsuki with a thin-lipped smile, “perhaps the laws will change again, and your little Izuku will have a good mate set up for him. Maybe the doctors won’t even be right about their diagnostics. Mistakes like that can happen all the time.”

Inko dips her head in acknowledgement, though she wears her concern as an obvious mask. She hums and giggles as her longtime friend continues reassuring her with stories and whimsical theories on her son’s future, and all the while she wonders if she’s truly thinking in the right place. Yet, as she draws her eyes forward to the opening in the kitchen and observes the two little boys stumbling onto the carpet, wrestling and mimicking each other’s actions as if they hadn’t met only two hours ago, she suspects she’s in good hands.

“He looks so much like you,” Inko says.

Mitsuki blinks and follows her gaze to the blond, aggressive toddler making animalistic groans in the corner of the room, pulling at the curly hair on his new companion’s head. Mitsuki stiffens at observing this, her eyes narrow as she scopes her son’s wary crimson eyes. The intelligence and knowing instinct behind such a glare petrifies her, for she’s experienced that same look many times before with other families.

“He takes mostly after me,” she says with a smirk, her eyes not leaving the two boys.

Upon observation, Mitsuki notices that Izuku undoubtedly resembles his mother, even at such an early age. He whines and bursts into tears at the simplest of interactions with the other boy, yet he’s almost always calm and collected around adult figures. The brightly colored shirts and pajama pants he wears as he crawls and wobbles around Inko’s cramped apartment complex scream his notable traces of unwavering innocence and frazzled attention span.

And her son, her blond toddler, despite his consistent poking, grabbing, yanking and unintelligibly screaming at the other child, is stuck to him like glue. His gaze never leaves Izuku as the black-haired toddler watches with shining, inspired eyes. The taller and stronger of the two maneuvers around the carpet, drawing circles and other shapes with broken crayons into paper and challenging the other to do the same.

Even when Izuku fails to follow the example, her son—Katsuki, named after her own grandfather—only grins with far too much snark for his age, and continues demonstrating his natural ability.

Mitsuki recognizes these actions, though the paling tone to her skin and the concern roaring in her blood seem to go unnoticed by her friend beside her.

Calm down, Mitsuki, she thinks, they’re too young to tell.

Yet from the numerous college courses she’d taken to become an expert in this exact area of study, she can read the subtly growing changes in the two boys from only an hour or so of interaction between them. She continues whispering soothing words to Inko and listening to her label her distresses about her despicable husband, yet Mitsuki’s glare never wavers from the toddlers.

She watches as Katsuki practically drags Izuku by his shirt across the carpet, displaying his masterpiece of popsicle sticks and plastic blocks. The wobbly towers are nothing to be impressed by, yet the sparkle in Izuku’s deep green eyes are enough to melt the insides of any passersby.

“Say, Inko,” says Mitsuki.

Inko blinks, tilting her head. “Is something wrong, Mitsuki? Oh, I’m not keeping you, am I?”

“No, no, not at all.” Mitsuki’s smile is genuine, laced through with a tenderness she has only reserved for a select few in her life. Inko Midoriya happens to be blessed with this special treatment with possibly the most fervor available. “How about Katsuki and I stay the night here? Or, better yet, you can stay with us for a while? Anything to help you get through this.”

Inko hesitates, bunching the cloth of her faded pink sweater. “I would hate to impose… and—I should really make sure that Izuku is taken care of here, since I still have to clean out Hisashi’s space…” she holds back a choked sob, scratching her neck.

Mitsuki frowns. “Inko, I insist. You know you’ll have to try harder for me to leave. And it seems like our boys are getting along just fine.”

Inko laughs, more like lavender in summer than the cracked church bells. Mitsuki would gradually take this version over the last, hoping that her protective urges subside long enough for her to understand and see clearly to handle the needy pheromones wafting from her friend. She wonders if Inko ever notices just how difficult it is for her alpha companions to withhold encaging her in a cloud of comfort.

Hisashi, you fucking bastard. Mitsuki’s throat rumbles with a growl. Thankfully, Inko is too distracted and gushing at their children to notice this. If you ever show your face around here again, I’ll rip off your dick and feed it to you.


 

 


Mitsuki Bakugou is, understandably, the first to notice the peculiar relationship between her son and Izuku Midoriya.

Inko finds herself arriving at the Bakugou household often, at least twice a week between her shifts at work. By the time it’s Katsuki’s sixth birthday, Inko is adamant that the two boys are put together as often as possible, claiming that the other children in preschool simply refuse to talk to Izuku or even acknowledge him.

“Oh! Izuku, sweetie, where’d this mark come from?”

Masaru glances up from his newspaper, squinting through his reading glasses as his wife bends down to the curly-haired boy’s level. Izuku regards her with a confused stare, impossibly wide green eyes glittering with summer’s warmth and the gentle current of birdsong. Even now, Masaru can read the beginnings of natural scent in the air, fragrant and resembling something more akin to some sort of spice. It’s faint, due to Izuku’s age, yet he can pinpoint his possible presentable gender years before puberty.

“A mark?” Izuku blinks, his lips curling into a pout.

Mitsuki’s smile is crooked and playful as she ruffles Izuku’s hair. “Yes, sweetheart. You have a bruise on your shoulder. I can see the edge of it from the couch.”

Izuku follows her stare and pulls back his short sleeve. Masaru’s eyes widen at the particular lines imprinted on freckled, tanned skin. It resembles a crown of teardrops, almost in the shapes of a blooming rose. Mitsuki maintains her optimistic expression, yet Masaru can detect the concern and secretive bliss simmering beneath her like an extra skin; he knows his wife and mate of ten years better than anyone.

“Oh! I don’t know what it is,” Izuku mutters, his cheeks staining pink. “Kacchan says that he doesn’t have one yet.”

Mitsuki nods. “Hm, well, maybe he’ll get one someday. But that’s very special, to have one! Think of it as a birthmark of some kind, but it’s a special one that no one can copy.”

Izuku’s jaw drops. “L-like a fingerprint?”

Mitsuki chuckles. “Yes, sweetie. Exactly like a fingerprint.” She scrunches her nose and lifts herself back up, placing her hands on her slender hips. “Now where is that little brat?”

“Kacchan told me to wait here.” Izuku sighs. “I don’t know why though…”

Mitsuki raises an eyebrow at this. “I’m sure he’ll be back soon.” She sighs at the thought of Katsuki tearing through their vegetable garden in the back, the little demon child often insisting that it was necessary to only pluck the correct cucumbers whenever she made a special salad for Inko and her son.

It would have been endearing, really, of any alpha mother noticing her naturally inclined child caring enough about a salad of all things to find the most pristine ingredients for his friend, yet the way Katsuki approaches gifts for Izuku teeter on borderline exhausting.

“Izuku, honey, are you ready to go to the park?”

Izuku perks up at the sound of his mother’s voice. Mitsuki smirks and waves at her friend, standing at the gateway to the living room from the kitchen. Inko is fresh-faced and smiling as if the world has finally lifted from her shoulders, her purse loose on her shoulder and blazer and pencil skirt releasing an image of new and professional.

“Mama!” Izuku chirps, rushing to his mother’s side and tackling her legs. She smiles warmly and ruffles his curls.

“Well you look hot, Ms. Midoriya!” Mitsuki says, fanning herself.

Inko blushes and rolls her eyes, yet her smile is genuine. “You’re too much, Mitsuki. And good afternoon, Masaru.” She dips her head, and the slender, kind man nods and smiles in greeting.

“It’s always good to see you, Inko. And you look great, as always.”

Inko laughs. “Oh, stop it. You’re too kind, just like your wife. I honestly am too blessed to have you both.”

Even now, Masaru’s demure behavior mirrors his beta instincts, stronger and more primal than the extremely uncommon omega gender, and Inko reacts to it with warmth and gratitude. He’s a grand example of a husband who lovingly supports his strong-willed, alpha wife and presumably alpha son while maintaining authority and respect in his own line of work.

“Likewise, Inko. And we’re always glad to have your son over. He behaves just a bit better than our firecracker,” Masaru says with a calm, complacent laugh.

Mitsuki snorts. “Oh, that’s an understatement. I don’t even know where the little brat is—”

“Deku! Where’d you go, loser?!”

Inko blinks and looks up as a familiar younger boy wanders into the area. The blond is covered head to toe in filth and grime, his shorts mudded at the ends and his shoes caked in soil. He’s at least three inches taller than Izuku, already building natural athletic ability and girth that come naturally to one specific category of the secondary genders, though to think that he would take after Mitsuki even now…

“Kacchan!” Izuku beams, and then stops at the state of dress his friend currently appears. “K-Kacchan, you’re all muddy! Are you okay?”

Katsuki marches over to him, glaring sharply towards Inko with a furrowed brow.

She weakly smiles, though the tremble in her knees is mostly instinctive. She’s seen this primal glare before, and the familiarity behind it chills her blood to ice.

“You’re not supposed to leave yet, Deku,” growls Katsuki, though there’s hardly bite to his words. He looks tempted to stomp on his sneakers and cause havoc in his house, his fists tightly clenched around wads of mangled flowers.

“I wasn’t gonna leave until I saw you, Kacchan,” says Izuku, his smile weak and far too disarming for Katsuki to resist. Despite the tenseness in the blond’s thin shoulders, he seems satisfied with this answer, glancing feverishly between every single adult eyeing him as if he’s grown another head.

Mitsuki blinks, too distracted by the numerous flowers grasped in her young son’s fists to notice the muddied footprints trailing her carpet. “Hey, you little brat! You’re filthy as hell! Were you stealing from the neighbor’s garden again? What the—?”

“Now, now, dear,” Masaru says, sighing as he sets down his newspaper and sits up from his chair. “Katsuki, we talked about this, little man. You can’t steal flowers from the garden.”

Katsuki snorts. “We don’t have the right ones!”

Izuku frowns. “Kacchan, stealing is bad…”

“Whatever, Deku.” The blond thrusts the flowers into Izuku’s face—the petals a bright, rich red striped in sunburst yellow. Mitsuki’s brow furrows at noticing these particular colors, watching as Izuku brightens at the display and hesitantly takes the flowers, as if insure. “Stupid Deku, you’re supposed to smell them first!”

“They’re so pretty, Kacchan!” Izuku’s smile is broad. Relentless.

Katsuki, for once, only grins and nods, quite pleased with himself.

Mitsuki’s jaw drops.

Inko’s eyes find hers, and the silent word the blonde woman communicates hardly goes unnoticed with the simmering tension between their own young children.

Shit


 

 

 


“Are you sure that we should do this?”

Inko steadies her hands on the table.

“If you’re right about your son, then this may be the best option. But, I don’t want to sign anything without knowing for sure.”

She glances over to her son, the freckled boy gradually meddling with the plastic action figures and matching masks he shares with his inseparable companion, Katsuki Bakugou. It’s the fourth day in a row that Katsuki has requested to stay at their apartment complex after preschool hours, mostly with him quietly observing the black-haired, freckled boy mumbling incoherent phrases about his television icon, All Might.

Inko is optimistic, but not foolish. She has paid more attention to the careful behaviors displayed between her oblivious son and the child of her longtime friend.

In five years, they would reach the point of their young lives where they would present their secondary genders. A rush of heat waves would plummet into their bodies and command their attention, along with countless new senses that changed and differed depending on the personality and intelligence factors. Katsuki was one of the most brilliant young boys Inko had ever met, taken directly after both of his parents in his relentless knowledge of his surroundings and astute awareness that was far more focused than her own scatterbrained son.

Izuku, to Inko’s lack of surprise, adores Katsuki.

“I have little doubt at this point… and we still have a few years.”

Inko rubs her eyes, glancing over the two Bakugous sitting beside her. Masaru is pouring over the paperwork in front of them, his pencil tapping the tablecloth with an inquisitive expression pouring through his glasses.

“Besides,” she continues, “I would want my Izuku to be in good hands when the time comes. If he… if he really presents as omega, I would much rather he be arranged with someone I can trust, before an alpha marks him that none of us would know about. And, I know that this is your decision too. I wouldn’t want to impose, or make it harder for you. And Katsuki…”

She trails off, watching at the corner of her eye as the blond child sits beside Izuku in front of the television screen. Izuku is unable to keep still, singing along to the loud, colorful theme song as Katsuki pretends to punch the screen. Katsuki is leaning back on his hands, and Izuku is tentatively bunching the blanket draped across the both of their laps, yet the protective hand sliding around Izuku’s back is subconscious and undoubtedly territorial.

None of this is surprising to her, yet the concerned weight in her chest grows.

“Inko.” Mitsuki sighs. “Izuku… he already has a mark. The mark. Only omegas have those.”

Inko places one hand over the other, suppressing the nervous shiver in her body. Masaru sends her a pitying, understanding glance across the length of the table. It’s strange, having all of them in her apartment at this late hour, talking about their children’s futures without them being aware, yet she knows that she will think of this decision for years to come.

“I know.” She holds back the desperate sob breaking into her throat. The thought of her little boy being forcefully handed off to a greedy alpha family who would react to his scent and nothing more made her ill. “It’s a lovely mark, too. His preschool teacher pointed it out, was almost in disbelief that he could have one so early.”

She, ultimately, was not surprised at Katsuki’s closeness to Izuku. She and Mitsuki had bonded almost instantly in their high school years, trading phone numbers in the first two hours and becoming inseparable in the years that followed.

She and Mitsuki collectively received countless phone calls from preschool teachers, each one almost always claiming that Katsuki was shoving, pushing or even recklessly tackling and hitting other children for going near Izuku. Mitsuki was not at all surprised, brushing it off as typical territorial alpha behavior, though Katsuki’s mannerisms with Izuku were greatly amplified.

Inko could hardly pet Izuku’s head in her own home before earning a snarl from Katsuki. The little boy was far too aware for his own good, yet a personality as temperamental and angry as his would have to slowly adjust to the realization of his own actions past the point of presenting himself as the next of many Bakugou alphas.

“We’ll talk about it more,” says Mitsuki, soft and strong, like silk billowing in winter winds. “We know our kids, Inko. The time will come when it comes, and if Izuku presents as omega, maybe he will end up being Katsuki’s choice, anyway.”

Inko can barely stomach the thought of her child being subjected to such a ridiculous law in the first place, and primal alphas were so rare to come by in these modern times. Yet, Mitsuki had always held a territorial, naturally predatory air about her, and Katsuki undoubtedly reflected those mannerisms with not only his family, but her own son.

“Let’s have a few nights to mull this over.” Masaru reaches out a hand, tenderly placing it over his wife’s.

Mitsuki turns to him, eyes focused and shining with admirable warmth for her husband and mate. Inko almost smiles at the vulnerable display, subconsciously wondering if her son would ever be able to experience this relationship with any type of alpha once he became of age for presenting.

“Does that sound alright to you, Inko?” Mitsuki asks.

“Of course. This is… a lot to take in.” Inko bites her lip. “I never thought I would have to worry about this. But, if Izuku’s mark is already there, I guess there’s no room for questioning.” She hesitates, rubbing the back of her neck. She grimaces at the fresh sheen of sweat caking the nape. “It will be hard, talking to him about this, and how much harder it will be for him to get into the schools he wants. Being an omega in this day and age is so hard…”

“No worries, Inko,” says Mitsuki, “we’re here for you. And even though that hellish brat can’t stand you or us, damn, he would give his life for your son. I can see it now.”

Inko blinks away the tears and smiles softly. “Thank you, Mitsuki.” She nods to both of the Bakugous, so sincere and so kind. I’m so lucky. “And you too, Masaru. For everything.”

It takes more than half an hour for Mitsuki to successfully drag her kicking, screaming son away from Izuku, the two of them having fallen asleep in front of the television screen. Inko is content leaving her little boy bundled in his blankets, murmuring the name of the blond child who’d been dragged out the door against his will only minutes prior.

The following morning, Inko stumbles into the living room where Izuku sleeps, drooling into the couch cushions with his curled hair wild and untamed. She drops her coffee mug at the sight of the fresh, toothy bite mark ingrained in his neck.

She cries silently in the privacy of her bedroom, her husband’s name loose between her fingers.