Chapter summary: Every king wishes for an heir.
Hisashi Midoriya smiled softly at the sleeping boy. Reaching down into the crib, he cradled his son's face in the palm of his hand and lightly twisted a lock of Izuku's curly hair.
Hisashi pulled a lock of his own hair down in front of his eyes and laughed as it bounced back above his forehead.
"You have my hair, huh?"
Izuku mumbled in his sleep, pressing his face into the warmth of Hisashi's hand.
Hisashi brushed his thumb over Izuku's cheek, and lifted his hand, pulling at the bottom of his lip in thought, "So much potential in such a tiny body. I wonder who you'll take after."
The door behind him slid open, and Hisashi turned, grinning bashfully, "Aren't you supposed to be sleeping?"
Inko laughed and rubbed at the back of her head, "Thought I heard him crying, but I guess it was just a dream."
Hisashi's brow rose, "I finally got him to stop crying," he grinned and leaned against the crib, "Though I imagine he wore himself out first."
Inko chuckled and nodded, "Were you chatting with him?"
Hisashi hummed, "Something like that. Just wondering whose quirk he'll get."
"Well..." Inko's cheeks colored, and she mirrored his position, leaning against the doorframe, "He's just a baby, so it may take a while..."
Hisashi grinned and stepped closer, excitement fluttering in his chest despite his worries, "What do you think he'll get?"
"Hm..." Inko looked up into Hisashi's eyes with a wry grin, "A fire-breather would be a bit difficult."
"Ha-!" He flinched and slapped a hand over his mouth, glancing back at Izuku. Sidling up to Inko, he whispered, "And a baby who can pull any small object towards them wouldn't be?"
Intertwining their fingers, Hisashi pulled her close and grinned cheekily, "God forbid he's left alone in the kitchen! Imagine the mischief!"
Inko paled and jerked back, "Y-you don't think-! I didn't manifest mine until three, so there's time, but Hisashi oh dear what if he already has one! I need to baby proof the kitchen! Nothing sharp… Goodness! Our picture frames! No glass. He wouldn't know better. Hisashi- Wait! What if he gets the hiccups and has your quirk! What should we-?
"Why are you laughing?" Inko huffed, cheeks reddening, "This is serious."
He couldn't help it. Laughter bubbled up from his lips, and he struggled to contain himself. He doubled over, laughing silently as tears pricked his eyes.
He could hear the pout in her voice.
Gasping for breath, he looked up and grinned, "You're cute."
Inko spluttered and turned crimson, shying away from his gaze.
He chuckled, straightening up, and reached for her hand.
He felt something he hadn't in a long time.
"Who knows? He may surprise us," Hisashi said softly, pulling her closer and leaning down to kiss her brow, "He might not have either of ours…"
Hope bloomed hesitantly in his chest.
"Maybe something even better!"
"It's best to give up on that."
Izuku choked, sitting pale and rigid on the stool as his toy clattered to the floor.
Inko's heart clenched, "No! There must be some mistake?"
Her arm reached out in an attempt to steady her son, "The other kindergartners have all started showing signs, but…"
Hisashi, where are you? Work can't be more important...
Dr. Tsubasa hummed, "Pardon my asking, ma'am, but you're fourth generation, yes? As far as quirks, I mean…"
Inko stiffened, glancing away, "Yes, of course… I can pull small objects towards me," she said, demonstrating with Izuku's fallen All Might figure, "And my husband can breathe fire."
We both have quirks. She swallowed, looking to Izuku, who hadn't moved an inch, So why...?
"By the age of four," Dr. Tsubasa began, tapping the x-ray of Izuku's foot, "A child should manifest either one of his parent's quirks or a composite of the two. However, early quirk research discovered one important finding."
Inko's heart dropped.
Dr. Tsubasa continued, "It has to do with the presence or absence of the extra joint in the pinky toe. Know about this?"
"Humans have no need for parts they don't use, you see. And those without the joint represent the next stage of evolution.
Don't say it.
"Izuku here has two joints," Dr. Tsubasa leaned back in his chair, "It's becoming quite rare nowadays, but…"
"He possesses no quirk at all."
All for One slammed his fist into the wall.
Tile and drywall cracked and fell with a clatter.
Blood dripped from his knuckles as his shoulders heaved, his vision painted red.
He knew the chances. Failure after failure highlighted them clearly.
"It's simple genetics." the Doctor stated.
He had watched - watched and waited as doubt prickled at the back of his mind. The child had shown no signs.
He's still growing, a part of him had reasoned - hoped. Inheritance is tricky business.
He had stepped back, drowning himself in his work, distancing himself from the crippling disappointment of another failure. Inko could handle things alone for a while.
Out of sight out of mind as they say.
The Doctor snapped him from his thoughts, "Both you and the mother must have the recessive quirkless gene. In other words, a one in four chance of a quirkless child."
"With a 75% chance of a child with a quirk, yes I know!" He shot back, "This isn't my first time. That's exactly why this is so... Infuriating!"
He could laugh. This was not what he wanted.
"He's not the first child I-" His lips twisted with rage, "All of them, Doctor. Quirkless."
A weight in his chest left him hollow.
The Doctor regarded him quietly, careful with his next words, "... You could always give the child a quirk."
All for One grit his teeth, suppressing a shudder, "No."
Past failures haunted him - quirks too volatile for the new bodies they inhabited.
Incapable of rational thought.
He rubbed the divot centered in his palm, unable to forget, unable to halt the memories of his greatest success...
Their eyes, sharp and hateful, swearing their life away in order to stop him. A power honed to defeat him.
To kill him.
He would not, could not risk another.
Especially with the child's fixation on… All Might.
He straightened up, pulling at his sleeves despite the burning pain in his knuckles.
The damage was already done.
He couldn't give the boy a quirk.
He didn't need a lifeless child and a distraught mother clinging to his side.
Too much attention. It couldn't be his.
I need something untraceable.
A memory of a fluttering cape, dark hair, and a bright smile tugged at the back of his mind.
A quirk that took hold successfully...
A bloodied hand lying in a pool of gore.
A child with no connection to him.
"So nobody came to save you, huh, little one...?"
A flicker of satisfaction settled in his chest, and he pushed aside his worries, locking them away.
"I know that look of yours..." the Doctor hummed and canted his head to the side, "What are you planning this time?"
"Contact Kurogiri and pack your bags, Doctor," All for One turned his back to the man and stalked to his work station, "I've grown tired of playing house."
"Ah, your little investment. I do wonder how he's grown... But what of your current child?"
All for One regarded him with a blank stare, "Hisashi Midoriya never existed. I have no child."
"Right, right," the Doctor nodded, "I'll begin preparations. I have my own family to deal with."
All for One hummed noncommittally, and the Doctor departed with a harsh laugh.
Waiting two beats, he sighed and cradled his head in his hands, pressing at his eyes with a quiet groan.
He reached into his pocket.
A sudden promotion overseas.
You'll be taken care of.
Ignoring the fourteen missed calls and voice messages, Hisashi Midoriya dialed home for the last time.