The first time Inko had ever gotten the distinct premonition that something was wrong was a week after reassuring her son that being quirkless did not mean he was powerless. That he could become a hero, and with her help, he most definitely would.
But her baby, a week after that declaration, came home with his face downcast. He was just cradling his left hand and staring at the ground. Immediately, Inko felt an alarm go off in her head and fearing the worst, she dropped to her knees and grabbed the cradled hand, looking for any sign of injury.
There was nothing. The skin( freckled and tan, like his father’s ) was clear— not redness or bruising, not cuts or splinters. Nothing.
And yet her baby was cradling it as if it had been smashed into a hundred pieces. Like it was porcelain that had been dropped on hard ground.
“Izuku?” She asked gently, rubbing the back of his hand.
He blinked as if he were coming out of a daze.
Inko smiled, “Are you alright, honey?”
“Y-Yeah!” He tried laughing it off, tugging his hand away, “Not hurt at all!”
She held back the words that tried to escape.
That you didn’t have to be hurt to not be alright.
That it was okay if he wasn’t alright.
That he could tell her anything, anything at all.
No 4-year-old boy wants to hear that.
So instead, she smiles and brings him further inside.
“Why don’t you choose the dessert tonight?” You don’t have to talk about it.
“Eh? Can I?!” Thank you.
The feeling gets worse over the next few months. Her son keeps coming home so softly, getting quieter and quieter. The dread that sits in her chest is heavy. Heavier than anything she’s ever felt, and she once carried a child in her body.
She calls Hisashi. He tells her to let it be. Let boys be boys. They’ll roughhouse, he tells her. They’re just playing, he says.
But Inko doesn’t see playful scratches and matching bruises. She only sees her son, who is bruised and dirty and downcast in comparison to Mitsuki’s son, who has nary a scratch. No cuts. No bruises.
No, she thinks. I don’t think they’re “just playing”.
One day her son comes home and is entirely silent.
The dread builds and crashes. It shatters like a dropped glass in a quiet kitchen.
And Inko can’t do anything but stand and stare.
Her son. Her beloved, bright son, the one who creates her entire world. Her flesh and blood, her pride and joy. Her one love, her one greatest love.
He trembles so quietly. But his knuckles are white against his All-Might backpack, the one she had given him at the beginning of preschool, and his curls are dropping into his eyes like dark tears.
“Oh, my baby,” She murmurs, kneeling. She opens her arms.
And her son rushes in.
She holds him as he cries, as he sobs, as he whimpers. In her arms, the only place where he feels safe anymore, he confesses to the unmatched bruises, the bleeding cuts, the dirty school supplies.
And in the place where her dread used to sit, heavy like stone, a fire sparks to life. Burning hotter than hellfire, ready to burn everything it touches to complete ash.
"Law they require, let Law then show her face;
They could not be content to look on Grace,
Her hinder parts, but with a daring eye
To tempt the terror of her front and die."
- John Dryden, "Absalom and Achitophel"