It has taken me a long time to get up the courage to write this. For many reasons, I’ve delayed and postponed the publishing of this book. Mostly because of its subject matter: Inko Midoriya. I can easily imagine the reactions I’ve already gotten from that name alone.
Disgust. Admiration. Curses. Maybe even a bit of hero worship. Its a name that stirs up many feelings and even more names. Monster. Destroyer. Invader. Hero. Idealist. Wild Card. The number of pedestals that she’s been put on or forced into as some see it, is as numerous as they are vague.
I think the main problem people have with her is that she is not a clean subject. Not Black-and-White and can’t be slipped into a slot that perfectly wraps her entire being up in a little bow. Coming off the heels of massive characters like All Might and All For One, it was undoubtedly hard for her to be put into one camp or the other.
Was she a villain? No, she saved lives. Was she a Hero? No, she’s taken lives as well.
To me though, she was my mother.
So many people have gotten caught up in the results of her actions that they’ve forgotten that most of the things blamed on her were far out of her control. From the activation of our family genes to the incidents during my time a UA to our fights against the Villain Alliance to the rise of the JJE to HIM breaking out of prison, were not her fault. I know no matter what fame or infamy that these events gave her and I, my mother would’ve rather had a normal happy life. Would’ve rather had me have a normal happy life.
Instead, we both had to become strong to face what was ahead.
-Izuku Midoriya, My Mother The Warrior.
Seeing the scorched blown out front of the corner store, Yagi wondered if there was ever going to be a time in which he wouldn’t be shocked by the random acts of violence he had, would, and knew he’d continue to come across.
He sighed behind the smile he forced to make as genuine as possible for the cameras around which had been, before he’d arrived, trying to get a better look at the crime scene but were now squarely focused on him. Between the click-flash of photos being taken and the rush of questions from the news anchors trying to crowd around him, he was tempted to simply make a statement on how the situation was handled and exit as quickly as politeness would allow.
Hell, this wasn’t his scene. Heroic involvement had ended when the commission of the crime had and even more so now that the police were investigating but he wanted to offer a helping hand, especially considering who’s Hero Firm was involved. But he was here now and leaving as soon as he got here would cause an unnecessary media stir.
Giving the crowd a small wave of acknowledgment, he strode through the police cordon, and only barely managed to not completely halt when he got inside.
What he saw was enough to turn his stomach which was good, it meant that he wasn’t completely jaded but that was the only positive thing he could pull from the horrible sight before him.
The store was totally wrecked. Shelves of snacks and other things knocked over and scattered. Chunks of the cashier’s counter were smashed into pieces and in the very rear of the store, the refrigeration units were cracked with glass, warped by heat, scattered everywhere on the cracked floor glittering like little round diamonds among the debris.
It would almost be bearable to look at if it wasn’t for the bodies. Two boys, teens really, still dressed in their school uniforms were sprawled out over the shelves. With their closed eyes, Yagi could easily imagine that they were just asleep or out cold if it wasn’t for them being cut in half.
Cleanly sliced at the waist with a massive pool of blood under them.
With the shelves down, he got a clear view of the next victim who was... Male? Female? A body was all but planted into the far wall, clothes burned away and surrounded by scorch marks.
The last body was without a doubt the worst. The man was identifiable as a hero, his black and white checkerboard suit hanging loosely around his curled shriveled husk of a body. Yagi was grateful that it was a full body suit that covered even the face because he didn’t want another horrible sight etched into his memory to follow him to sleep.
He hadn’t known the young man well, he was a Member of the Rakka firm, One of Endeavor’s people CrossCheck. He didn’t know the young man’s actual name.
Endeavor, Japan’s Number 2 ranked hero, stood over the body with his usual scowl even fiercer that usual, and raised his head to look at him as he entered. Yagi wasn’t sure if it was his imagination, but it seemed that the flames that he wore dimmed slightly. The death of any hero was one the affected them all, even more so when you’re responsible for them and it was clear by his body language that he was just reining himself in. He wanted to lash out but had no target...at least until he showed up.
“What're you doing here?” He began as he stepped around the body, putting himself between Yagi and the rest of the store. “This is my scene and if you think-”
Yagi raised a hand to hold back the argument and was rather surprised that the Number 2 Hero actually stopped. “I’m just here to help. I was in the area when I heard the sirens.” He couldn’t help the second glance at CrossCheck and winced. “I’m sorry.”
Endeavor scoffed and looked away, his fists clenching even tighter and making the material of his gloves creak. “The idiot was supposed to be off duty. Don’t even know why he was here, damn it. He knew my rules and now...”
Yagi knew. While Endeavor called them ‘his’ rules, they were pretty universal for hero firms all across Japan. Interns were NEVER to patrol alone.
The other man looked back at him with a glare, his mouth working as if chewing on something unpleasant. He sighed and then pointed at a old man with white hair that Yagi had passed right by without noticing. The man was being questioned by the officers over at nearby ambulance, a blanket around his shoulders. “A robbery gone wrong or just gone violent. The cashier, Mitsuki, over there was ringing up a customer when a young man and a young woman in hoodies and facemasks came in and told everybody to get down on the floor.” He waved in the direction of the two teens that had been sliced in half. “Those two were unlucky. According to our witness the our murderer at large simply cut them down as soon as they'd entered. No warning or anything.”
Yagi felt his blood run cold. There weren’t many who could just kill like that. His surprise must’ve shown on his face because Endeavor nodded. “Yep. And if it wasn’t for th-”
“Uh, Sirs?” They both turned to look at a female officer, who crisply saluted them then waved over to the backroom of the store. “We’ve managed to pull footage from the cameras.”
Yagi turned back to Endeavor. “You mind if I stay?”
The man’s response was another snort as he spun on his heel and made his way to the indicated place.
Yagi motioned for the officer to lead and with a grateful nod, she paused as they reached the battered looking door. The smell of burnt everything from the body on the wall, while not gone, was still strong enough to unsettle the stomach. “Do we know who did this?” He asked, hoping to distract her.
She jumped at his question but shook her head. “Not yet, All Might sir.” She twitched her head in the direction of the burned body just enough to indicate it but keep it out of sight. “We know that is one the girl. We’ll have to use dental records to ID her. We have an APB out for the other but...”
She didn’t say more. She didn’t have to.
The male was in the wind...for now.
When they got to the backroom, she stepped aside for him to get a view of the computer that sat at a desk tucked into the corner of the room among the shelves of products. Two other police officers with Endeavor looming over the one who was working at the keyboard, gave him enough space to see clearly. “We’re going to start, at least two minutes before the robbery.”
“Play it.” Endeavor snapped and with the click of a mouse, the video began. The camera angle was perfect and gave them all a full view of the entrance, Cash register, and the store as a whole. The second camera was of the backroom they stood in now, with a view of the door the led into the store proper.
“-ou boys better be planning’ on buying what yer readin’.”
The slightly balding owner, Mitsuki, was pointing squarely at the two teenagers who, Yagi hated to remember, were dead on the floor in the next room. The two boys were standing by the magazine racks flipping through ones they had in their hands. The one closer to the door, shrugged, mumbled something and waved off the old man.
It looked like the man was getting ready to kick them out when two people entered the store. A woman and a boy who couldn’t be even ten years old. From their similar green hair and facial features, they were certainly mother and son. The woman held her son close, guiding him to the fridge section in the back, past the teens.
The microphone wasn’t clear but snatches of what she was saying painted enough of a picture, a picture that that was even more solid after the boy pointed at a frozen ice cream treat of some sort and she picked it up. The pair made their way over to the counter and it was at that time the two boys lost interest in whatever they’d been reading and, putting the magazines up in the wrong spots, made for the exit
By all rights, in Yagi’s opinion, that’s where it should’ve ended. The obvious school friends should’ve left, the mother should’ve been able to buy the treat for her son, which, now that the pair were closer to the camera than anyone he could see that the treat in question was his All Might Special. It made him think back for a moment about the commercial he’d done for it more than a year ago now. ‘Red, white, and blue-berry’ if he was remembering the line right.
Then his attention was grabbed by a fast shadow of movement by the entrance, in the far left corner of the video. No one saw it happen. The boys were fooling around like teens do on their way to the door, with roughhousing shoves and laughs and the man and woman were focused on the purchase as the little boy was just beginning to pull the wrapper off.
The doors were thrown open with such force that the glass cracked and a new pair filled the space. The noise was enough to make everyone jump. With bulky gray hoodies and fully matching outfits of loose jeans, Yagi had a hard time at first figuring out who was who until the smaller of the two raised her hand and shouted. “ALL YOU DOWN ON THE FLOOR!!! NOW!”
There was the expected moment of disbelief which was followed after by GREAT and unexpected violence. Even with preparation, even with seeing the bodies first hand, Yagi barely held back the jump of surprise as the male stepped in around her and sliced his hand right at the school kids even as the boys were in the process of raising their own. His fingers wreathed in energy of some sort, lightning from the look of it and it smacked both boys clean off their feet and sent them crashing into a shelf right behind them. When their bodies settled, they did in two pieces. Neither moved after that and Yagi hoped that the shock had knocked them out.
The streak of power continued like a wave, knocking over row after row of shelves and smashing the refrigeration units in the back of the store. There was no sound from the video, the microphone was unable to record all the noise for the moment.
However what he saw next amazed him. The mother scooped up her child in one arm, who was screaming when the sound came back, and with her other, grabbed for the store owner. He had been nearer to the end of the counter and was dragged along as she ran for the backroom.
It caught the criminals off guard as neither of them reacted until she was just getting to the door.
“Where you going?!” The male shouted, coming around the destruction her created with his hand cocked back like he was about the throw a pitch. Energy...no, it was electricity, wrapped around his hand and he flung it just as the woman had let go of the owner and grabbed for the door. She’d been so close, Yagi was certain that had the villain acted just a second of two later she would’ve made it. Hell, if she had been alone, he was certain she’d have made it.
But between her just putting her son down at the same time, she was reaching slowed her just enough. Plus, the little boy, like any child in this situation, clung to his mother and so was holding her hand as the ball hit her square in the back.
Again the sound cut though in time with the flash as she and her son were smacked down as if they’d been shoved, the concussion that followed sent the two rolling across the floor in different directions. This put the shop owner into action and he hurriedly threw the door shut and locked it. Not a moment too late, as another cracking blast crashed into it.
The man seemed to struggle, looking from the mother to the son as if not sure who to help first.
“Pause it.” Endeavor instructed. The video paused with the old man in mid-scramble, the male villain in mid throw and his partner barely having moved up to now except to get, what he guessed was, a better view.
“The woman and her son?” He asked. From the fact that their bodies weren’t still on the floor, it gave Yagi a little hope.
The one of the officer’s nodded though his face was grim. “I was here when they were taken to the hospital. The mother in particular was in critical condition, last I heard.”
The video continued and Yagi noticed right away that there wasn't a decibel of sound coming from the speakers. He found out later that the microphone had been blow out, the blast had been so close to it. The man charged for the door and the hero had to bite his tongue to keep from cursing. However, Endeavor growled his characteristic grumble. "Can't be 18, if a day." The criminal, in his rush for his victims, had not only closed in to the camera that gave them a better view but let his hoodie slip off his head. He was young enough to be a classmate of the students he killed but that's where any consideration of youth flew out the window. It was silent but Yagi could easily read the bellows and shouts from the way he blasted at the door, an expression of seething rage. When it was becoming clear that his Quirk alone wasn't getting through, he began to beat on it with his fists.
"Officer." Yagi said, putting a hand on the shoulder of the nearest police officer, a woman with a tight bun of hair pinned down. "Make sure to update the APB with this face before we leave."
If the other hero had a problem with him taking even this little bit of initiative, he didn't show it.
It was a movement near the counter that reminded the hero about his accomplice. The woman, possibly girl if the age of the male was any indication. She was leaning over the counter reaching for the cigarettes but froze, clearly seeing something that the camera and the man couldn't.
If there had been a warning, Yagi didn't know. But a form crashed through the glass window closest to the counter, and in one smooth movement landed and body checked the girl. Half-bent over a counter, she had no chance to defend herself and was knocked clean off her feet and into a shelf. CrossCheck, his hero costume perfectly fitting him, was aware enough to not look at the criminal he'd knocked over and spun to face the other one. His right hand snapped up, palm up and forward. A huge circle of energy sprang up in the air before him. A black disc-shaped shield. Not a moment too soon. The other villain's reactions were just as sharp. There was no hesitation or pause. He just swung around, arm leading and fired.
The power hit the shield, which held the ball against it for a brief moment, then the color flashed to white and the villain's own attack fired back at him. Much faster than when it had come at the hero. So much so that, the man had to throw himself to the floor in order to dodge. The ball of electricity splashed against the door in an shower of sparks, buckling it slightly.
Yagi glanced over to Endeavor, the question obvious. The Number 2 Hero's ever present frown had etched deeper lines in his face at the appearance of one of those under him. "His Quirk is called Reflect. Any attack taken on his shield gets bounced back with twice as much force."
Nothing else was said nor did Yagi want anything to be said. The next minute of video led to the death of a hero in training. Even the police officers who were watching the video with them shared grim expressions.
CrossCheck was on the man before the sparks had touched to floor. His lunge carried him clear across the space between them. He not once lowered or dispersed the shield, instead using it at a battering ram to pin the criminal to the floor.
The blow was powerful and savage. Meant to take down right away before the criminal had a chance to adapt.
It had been working. Two more swings of the shield, the force of which was doubled as it changed color. The young man's face was bloody and there was a hazy unfocused look to it that anyone who'd ever really had their bell rung could recognize.
Then CrossCheck stiffened in the middle of cocking his arm back, half turned, and looked down. He shifted his leg as if he'd snagged his foot in the debris around him. It was only when the hero in training actually stumbled that Yagi noticed that a hand was wrapped around his ankle.
The girl. He saw her now. She'd crawled from where she'd been thrown and had grabbed him while he'd been focused. As CrossCheck began twitching and then shaking, it was apparent to everyone that this was the moment when everything went wrong. His arms went limp, his shield present but with his sudden forced paralysis, useless.
The state of that young man's body must have been from whatever her quirk was. And no doubt it was painful, to what degree Yagi didn't know. The only pain he was sure of was the sting in his chest as he watched. And he knew it had to be worse for his fellow crime fighter.
In the time that CrossCheck was held in place her partner, face dripping blood and beginnings of bruises starting to color his skin, began to stand.
He raised a hand and the biggest electric blast yet flew right at the Hero. Somehow instead of striking him, most likely because of the beating that he’d been on the receiving of Yagi supposed, the aim was off and it caught the very edge of the shield.
The shield that was hanging low.
The energy rolled along the edge of the shield in the same way a glass filled right to the rim would hold that little bit more before spilling.
The shield turned black just as the power curved down its edge.
Right into the other villain’s face.
The video cut then. The explosion that followed or the concussion that came with it too much for the kind of security camera that would be used by a convenience store.
“I’ll get the bastard.” Endeavor’s voice was the first roll of thunder before the hurricane makes land. All threat and menace. With a quick step, he marched for the exit but the stopped as if he forgot something. He turned a fierce gaze at Yagi and pointed. “He’s mine. If you find him, back off.”
He then left without another word. Yagi couldn’t blame the man for wanting revenge. A charge of his was killed but that wasn’t what worried the hero.
He took one last look at he blank screen, chewing at his bottom lip in thought. No, it was the condition of the villain still at large.
If he was somehow uninjured by that explosion, which he doubted then he was working himself up for nothing. Any criminal with any sense would find a place to lie low. Yet that face, the man’s expression twisted into such hatred, quickly shoved aside his hopes for a rational mind. Which made the more possible situation, that they were currently dealing with a desperate INJURED unbalanced murderer who was now doing God knows what.
It was that very idea that put an extra bit of speed into his step as he left the building to start patrolling the streets.
Darkness and cold. Drifting and weightlessness. No air to breathe or anything to hold.
That was all that Inko felt at first. A numb empty nothing that flowed across her being and clawed away at her rising consciousness. The more she became aware, the more information followed. Bit by bit, her senses came back. She felt gravity finally settle around her, her back pressed into the soft surface of a bed, a blanket over her. The chill on her exposed skin told of air conditioning and let her know that her arms were on top of the blanket, not under it like she normally slept. A tightness on the back of her skull and a pressure on her face was another warning that something was off.
A steady thrum from deep in her chest was matched by a noise that felt distant yet closer than she thought as if hearing through a long tunnel. Then someone somewhere turned up the volume and she was able to clearly make out what it was.
She moved to turn off what she thought at first was an alarm or rather...she tried. Barely had she worked her unbelievably tired muscles to move her body in the direction of the sound when pain lanced through her. White, hot, and pure, the darkness before her exploded into fireworks.
The pain made her open her eyes and, after laying still until the fire searing all the way to her bones cooled, it took her bewildered mind a long while to figure out that the white void before her eyes was a tiled ceiling.
The realization came upon her suddenly and violently, not as a comforting revelation but a hollow horrific flash that yanked her sluggish mind up by the neck and throttled her. With it, all details that had been distant snapped vividly into place. The beeping was a heart monitor.
The hissing? A breathing machine.
The pressure on her face and head? The strap and warm plastic of a breathing mask.
The bed? A hospital one.
Opening her mouth, which felt dry and filled with too much of her tongue, she coughed. Doing so made her whole body throb and the sound that came out was raspy and scratchy.
“Oh my god.” The unexpected voice just next to her would’ve made her jump if she’d had the energy. Instead, she twitched as a familiar face came from her left to peer over her. Mitsuki Bakugo’s expression was a mix of things, shock mainly as her hand covered her mouth. It was around that moment that Inko realized the gasp she’d heard wasn’t her own.
“I’ll get the nurse.” Another voice, Masaru’s she realized, quickly said, followed by the sound of quick footsteps around her and of a door opening.
“Stay with us, Inko.” Mitsuki pleaded, her red eyes looking at her with more worry than Inko had ever seen from the woman in the years she’d known her. She felt the woman’s hand close around her own as if she needed to hold her in place to keep her here.
The open concern was a relief...
Then worry followed and it made her stomach twist into knots as it slowly hit her that she hadn’t really seen herself yet. She could barely turn her eyelids in any direction without pain coming in like a slap across the face and the numbness was fading so SO slowly. With a cold vice closing around her heart, she began to think of what she would do if the numbness went away but left something...lacking behind it. What could she do if something was missing?
What had happened to her? She wasn’t given time to search her memory before the footsteps came back followed by more than one set. For the next few minutes there was nothing but frantic activity around her. Too many voices, too many questions, too much to try to process. She squeezed her eyes shut and tired to block out the sound as her head began to throb. She just needed a moment to think about what happened. How did she get here? What time was it?
“Mrs. Midoriya?” This was a new voice. Male and tentative. The speaker leaned into view and judging from the lab coat, he was the doctor. A man with an obvious quirk, his ears were the shape of a stethoscope and his salt and pepper hair was combed over in just the right way to barely hint at a bald spot.
He also had what Inko had to assume was supposed to be a comforting smile on his lips. It wasn’t comforting at all and didn’t help the worry building in her stomach. “Ah, Mrs. Midoriya. Good. Good. I apologize for the disturbance but we are glad to see you’re awake.” He pulled a clipboard from under his arm. “I understand you probably have questions but first, can you speak?”
She tired to say ‘Yes’ but instead of words, a dry croak left her throat.
Luckily, that was all it took to communicate to the doctor that she couldn’t. “Okay, here’s what I’d like for you to do, Ma’am. I will ask you some simple Yes or No questions. Just blink once for Yes, Twice for No. Can you do that for me?”
“Good.” The Doctor said, writing something down on his clipboard. “My name is Dr. Shirokuro and you are in Musutafu General Hospital. Do you understand?”
Another mark. “Can you move?”
“Is it because of the pain?”
“Do you know what happened to you?”
Inko was about to blink twice, she hadn’t had time to mull over the blank spot in her memory, when the blank filled in. The store, the attack, the pain, IZUKU!!!
She sat straight up and the room began to tilt in response. Her vision flashed white as the pain savagely reminded her of its existence Her skin burned as every muscle and fiber and joint screamed protests but she grit her teeth and bore it.
Dr. Shirokuro jumped slightly, mouth dropping open. “Uh, Miss- Ma’am! You must lay back down! Your back-”
His frantic face paled as she snatched off the oxygen mask and spoke, her voice barely recognizable as her own. Her tongue felt like lead, thick and heavy but she forced her words out.“Wuh...Where i-is muh...my son?”
“Ma’am, you need to-ulp!” His words were ended with a yelp and splutter as Inko reached out and snatched the man by the collar and with strength that surprised both of them, she dragged him towards her until he was bent at the hips over the rail on the hospital bed and looked him dead in the eyes. He needed to understand that her bed could be about to fall of the edge of a cliff right now and it wouldn't matter if she fell or not until she got her answer “Whe-re is meh...my son?”
There must have been something in her eyes because Shirokuro, rallied his mouth. "Your son is-"
Inko, so focused on listening, she didn't hear the short commotion in the hall but the doctor did and glanced to it. A flash emotion washed over the woman. She was so close, not even a full sentence away but this...this idiot couldn't even complete the sentence without getting distracted. Even with her so close that she was right in his face? Demanding it?!
The bundle of feelings in her mind uncoiled into...something she didn't recognize and even as frantic as she was she didn't like. Yet, they came upon her in that moment like a tidal wave and washed away at her hesitation. Hands trembling against the collar, she settled into the foreign yet somehow familiar thoughts as if she'd suddenly gained a new perspective on some idea she'd known all her life. This man wasn't taking her seriously. When someone demanded an answer, did anyone with the slightest bit of respect for the one asking answer the question halfway? No. She just needed to-
“Mommy!” The door slammed open and in that moment, not only did those thoughts flee but she let go of the man's collar.
Izuku, small hospital gown fluttering, sprinted in so quickly, she barely had time to react as he clambered up onto the bed and threw his little arms around her. The blooming pain in her back from the jostling had nothing to do with the tears building in her eyes as she hugged her son back. Her little boy was alright! She couldn’t help but see the red zigzag-ing lines on his left hand going halfway up his bare arm but he was up and talking and ALIVE.
Her little boy was alright. Inko couldn't stop the tears spilling down her face not that she would've tried. Her eyes burned, her body ached in ways that warned her to stop what she was doing but she ignored the way her muscles twinged and pulled her son closer into a hug.
He pulled back from her with tears running down his round face and soaking into his own hospital gown. Her little boy was alright. That was good...great...yes. Now that the fear was gone, things were becoming just a little fuzzy. The bed began slowly turning under her. She tried to tell whoever was pushing the bed to stop but her mouth suddenly wasn’t working at all.
“T-they told me you weren’t waking up and-and-and...” Inko wasn't quite able to read his expression as he looked up at her but that didn’t matter. “M-Mom-my?” Her little boy was alright. He was walking and talking so that meant...
“Nurse! Get him ou… f here-”
Izuku's wails tore at Mitsuki’s heart. The boy was wailing, inconsolable as a her and a nurse had to pull him from Inko's arms. What made it even worse was the woman, her friend, was slumping over so slowly. Her face which had been so sharp and then so happy to see her son, was going slack as if deflating. The doctor with the help of a few other nurses he was calling in rushed to her side and helped lay her down and my god, Mitsuki had never seen Inko look so small. So fragile. All the while, Izuku hadn't stopped crying, struggling and pulling with all his might against them to get to his mother. To her and probably the nurse's shock, he was actually gaining a little ground, little bare feet somehow gaining traction on a tile floor with two full grown women holding each arm. Had he always been his strong?
It was Masaru who'd been the deciding factor though. He swept Izuku up into his arms and carried him out. The boy's cries reached a new pitch of desperation Mituski knew in her soul no child should ever make. It took the work of two other nurses, her husband, and her to get him back to his room in the pediatric ward. Somehow, Izuku had managed to not only get out of his room but find his way to Inko's room near the ICU, another surprise to her since she'd never have found her way to his without the staff guiding the way.
Luckily, and Mitsuki felt a pang of self-loathing at the thought, Inko's boy had cried himself out. She sat with her husband on a pair of overstuffed yet somehow still very uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room that was near between both rooms. Masaru had his head in his hands, glasses pinched in his fingers and she was near to tears. This couldn't have happened to two people who deserved it less. There were no updates about Inko and a horrible thought came to her, one that brought back another bit of loathing for even considering it and a pang of sadness so great that she caught herself clutching at her chest. Would she make it? People had survived worse, she knew of many stories of people surviving falls from high places, bullet wounds through the head, or any number of things. What those stories rarely covered though was the life of the victim after. If Inko did pull through, would she even be able to live normally?
"It's been two days."
That comment put the brakes on her grim thoughts. Mitsuki looked at her husband who was still bent into his palms as if it was some kind of prayer.
It had been two days since the attack. The first she'd been made aware of it was on the TV that day, a day which had turned surreal as a call from the hospital informed her that her Best Friend and her son were in Urgent care, the former in critical condition. They'd come as soon as they could but were directed away when they first arrived, and now this afternoon with it's roller coaster of events happened. Now here was her husband stating the time that had passed as if she hadn't been here for it. She was about to say so when he raised himself up from his hands, a coolness in his eyes she'd never seen before. It wasn't for her, not even when he turned to meet her eyes. No, her husband was clearly angry...but not at her.
His next words had made it clear just who he was angry at though. "So where the hell is he?"
It was said like the curse it was and Masaru’s out of character near swear had the effect of stirring a little heat in her chest. If she were honest with herself, it had been a thought she’d been avoiding.
The ‘He’ was Inko’s husband. Wherever he was, whatever he was doing, it wasn’t where he should’ve been doing what he needed to be doing like being here for his family. Mitsuki didn’t know what Inko’s husband did for a living. ‘Working abroad’ was all that Inko had ever disclosed and she’d never pressed the woman for more details. It was clear that the man was providing for his family at a great sacrifice. Until today, she’d actually admired the man for his dedication. To be so far away, all to be a good man of the house.
Now, however she was wishing she’d had. It had better be something damn important because this situation was inexcusable.
There was no way the man was unaware, between everyone who had his contact information which included calls from the police and the hospital. She had no doubt that calls had been made to the company he worked for too. The only fucking way anyone could do any better in getting the man’s attention was to carve a message into the goddamn moon.
And at this point, she was starting to doubt if that would even get his ass in gear. If it were her and she ever got a phone call like the one she’d made to his phone, her ass would be in a plane seat so fast it the friction would light it on fire.
His absence was now was like salt in the wound. “I don’t know.” If Inko recovered, Mitsuki wasn’t even sure if she should tell her or let her figure it out by herself. No, she’d tell her. A realization like that shouldn’t be suffered without friends around. And Izuku...Oh, god. How would Inko even begin to explain that to him? She imagined trying to even broach the subject with Bakugo and she had to physically shake the idea off, it was so depressing.
If she didn’t make it though...
That thought lingered with her even as visiting hours closed out and the two of them were courteously shown the way out.
It must’ve followed Masaru as well because when they picked up their son from daycare, he gave an extra long, extra big hug and then on the way home, between the two of them picking their words carefully, they began to explain where they had been going for the last two days and why when he saw Izuku he’d have to be extra nice since he’s had a hard time.
Either way this went...they’d at least be there for the Midoriya family, no matter if only one member walked out of that hospital.
There was no gentle floating this time. There was only the sensation of falling, a void of black speeding past her as she tumbled through an empty nothing. The only way she was even able to recognize that she moving was the streaks of white lines that passed before her eyes in chaotic swirling curves. She flailed her arms wildly in a vain hope to catch herself. Nothing happened as she tried to call for help. Her voice was silent even though she knew she should've been screaming at the top of her voice. Then...the white lines began to shrink, resolving into dots and the sinking sensation of plummeting stopped.
However, the decelerating descent became a peripheral concern when the realization hit her that the dots surrounding her were stars.
But that was insignificant compared to the massive orb that loomed above her. Even as she looked at it, she knew that it was a planet but it was unlike any she'd ever seen in a textbook. It was so crimson that if it hadn't been for the streaks of yellow that she could only guess were clouds or land or something, it would look more like a giant ball of blood hanging in the void of space.
That's where she was, it had to be.
She felt the heat before she saw the flash, it was as if someone had shined a light directly into her eyes while walking into an oven. What had just happened...what-
There was no slow pull out of the light closing in around her, just a snap to alertness as the pain and wooziness broke away like a hangnail. She straightened, half-sitting up and was just recognizing the sensation against her cheek as lips, which pulled away as she flinched awake.
“Looks like I got here none to late, dear. Looked like you were having a nightmare.”
Still trying to adjust to the sudden explosion of clarity, Inko slowly looked to the voice next to her hospital bed. “Huh?” The question tumbled from her mouth as she registered who it was. She knew this hero, a name big enough that even she knew her name
The elderly woman looked down at her through a visor attached to a pink helmet, a white lab coat open to slightly show a more colorful outfit underneath.
“Good morning.” The woman greeted kindly. “A little confusion is expected after what you’ve gone through, dear.” She began, leaning her slight weight into her syringe-shaped cane. “Sorry for being late.”
“Sorry?” While she was now alert, her brain was still trying hard to catch up with her mouth.
“I should’ve been here yesterday but things have been hectic for the last week.”
"Yesterday?" If Recovery Girl was irritated by her echoing, she didn't show it. In fact, she gave her a gentle smile. "Don't worry about that. I'm here now and I suspect you're quite thirsty." The woman nodded, only now noticing that her tongue was dryer than she’d ever remembered and a the small pressure in the small of her back.
The hero moved to the side table next to the bed and picked up a cup. Coming back to over to her, she hesitated for a moment. "I must ask this so please don't take offence but do you need help to drink?" Inko shook her head, gingerly reaching out for the cup, taking it from the woman's hands and being care not to spill it as she sipped. The water was lukewarm, she noted but to her parched throat it might as well have been the spring runoff from the snow melt it was so refreshing.
The hero's smile brightened, as Inko set the now empty cup down. “Good. You’re able to hold down water.” She took a seat on the doctor's stool nearby, all good cheer and almost motherly presence. "So first things first? Any lingering pain?"
With her tongue moistened and brain finally catching up, Inko took a moment to check herself. She moved robotically, first flexing one hand then another, and then moved her arms. It was when she began moving her left shoulder that a sting shot across it and, as if the nerves were following a road-map, ran a path down her back to her left hip and ending at the meat of her left thigh.
Her wince must of shown because she got another nod from the hero but her smile was less cheerful. "Well, that is good. Pain is a good sign." Standing up, she went over to the foot of the bed and picked up a clipboard. "Dr. Shirokuro, who I should mention I'm very annoyed with that he started questioning you when you were in such a state, informed that you remembered what happened. Do you still remember?"
She did. It wasn't hard. "There was a robbery. The details are a bit fuzzy though."
"Take you time, dear." Recovery Girl soothed, flipping a few pages. "I'm not here to take a statement, that is a job for the police. I just want to make sure that you can recall." Her lips pressed into a line which tightened the wrinkles on her face as she stared on what was on the page. It was enough to make Inko nervous. "The reason why the pain is good is because you and your son were on the receiving end of a massive electrical attack. I checked in on him first and neither of you haven’t suffered any nerve damage which is a good sign for injuries like these.”
As she said this, she flipped the clipboard around so that what had removed the smiled from her face could been seen. Inko's jaw dropped.
It was a set of two pictures. One of what she knew was her back and another of her thigh. The angry crimson scar on it stood out, an angry inflamed red. Like a bolt of lighting mixed with frost, it started as a central splash right at the top of her shoulder that spread in cracks and branches some of which ended in red tendrils so thin that the could’ve been drawn with a pen. It curved along her hip and to her side which ended at her thigh. The picture of her back didn’t have a good angle on it but the other one did. The jagged shape was stamped there, tiny cuts and scrapes having opened up tiny wounds. It took her awhile to find her words and when they came she couldn't hide the waver in her voice. "How did that happen?"
"I won't mince words. Your cell phone saved you life." She began, lowering the pictures to the sheets. "The shock was dispersed and your cellphone took the brunt of it. It exploded which is why you have cuts on your thigh. By all accounts, if you hadn't had it, all that charge would've passed through you heart or some other major organ."
Inko glanced at the pictures again, not liking the idea of some as simple as a cellphone having been the only thing that kept her alive. A shiver ran up her back. Nope, she didn't like that idea at all. She continued to look and something caught her eye about the photo.
"Unfortunately, I can't help with wounds that are deep, Mrs. Midoriya. Some I can completely heal but even so there are remnants of it left." The hero continued speaking and Inko was listening but...she picked up the picture of her back and peered hard at it.
Something was on her, a brown strip lay flat across her right hip, in her initial shock she'd passed it off as a piece of cloth but it just didn't look right.
"...seems like you can handle some visitors." The hero's voice came back into focus and Inko twitched in surprise. Looking up, she saw the woman had the smile again. "Someone has been quite frantic to see you."
Recovery Girl made her way over to the door and opened it just enough to stick her head out. “You can come in now.”
She stepped aside and Izuku shuffled quietly in with a nurse in tow, looking more nervous than she’d ever seen him. His green eyes looked to her the to Recovery Girl as if asking for permission, his hands working at each other. The hero gave him an encouraging nod and Izuku inched closer, clearly afraid of doing something wrong.
Inko helped her son up as he got to the bed and held him in her arms. This time there were no words from him, she could feel his little body trembling against her, hear the muffled sobs, she could feel the same pain.
“I’m awake now, “ She soothed, patting his head. “And I’m not going anywhere.”