Inko Midoriya’s nose twitched nervously as she pulled her coat on. “Izuku!”
She couldn’t help but smile when her tiny baby skidded into the hallway, his ears upright with excitement as he bounced around. “What?”
Inko smiled back, and silently prayed that the joyous light shining in her son’s eyes would never fade. “Sweetie, we’re going to say hello to our new neighbors.”
Izuku blinked, and then slouched a little. “But…but weren’t we going to play Heroes today?”
“We’ll play when we get back. It’s just a short visit to give them some sweets, and then we’ll come right back.” Inko knelt down to help Izuku put his coat on without squishing his tail. “They have a little boy just your age! Maybe you’ll make a new friend!”
Izuku looked a little nervous, and he sneezed, his nose twitching; it seemed like he was picking up all of her habits so quickly. “A new friend?”
Inko smiled and smoothed his hair down. “I know you spend a lot of time with Kacchan, but it’s good to have other friends too, isn’t it?”
Izuku perked up a little bit at that. “Yeah!” he said cheerfully. “Kacchanhas lots of friends too! He’s the best!”
Inko got to her feet and reached down, taking Izuku’s hand in hers. Katsuki Bakugo was a problem for a different day.
She double checked to make sure the fruit basket was stored safely in her purse, and they walked out of the house, down the driveway, and up to their neighbor’s door.
Inko swallowed hard. Compared to their house, this house had been repainted recently, the lawn was properly trimmed and tastefully decorated, and there was a shiny nameplate attached to the door. She reminded herself not to judge people without meeting them, and she raised her hand pushed the doorbell.
Inko glanced down at Izuku, and smiled when she realized he wasn’t nervous at all. Instead, he was looking around, excitedly taking in his new surroundings.
A few moments later, the door opened slowly to reveal a wary-looking teenager with a lip piercing and a stud in his left ear. “Hello?”
“Hi!” Inko gave him her friendliest smile. “I’m Inko Midoriya from next door. I called the other day to let your mother know I was coming by.”
“Oh.” The boy relaxed and stepped away from the door, his mood brightening up in an instant. “Yeah, of course.”
There was the sound of running footsteps coming down the hallway behind them, and the teen gave them an awkward smile before disappearing into the hallway.
“Shouto!” A woman’s voice called, her voice half-laughing and half-scolding. “Wait for me!”
“Oi, squirt. Listen to mom,” the teenager said quietly. Inko smiled a little; if her instincts were right, that boy was probably a wonderful older brother.
A few seconds later, and a woman with silver hair appeared with a little boy clinging to her skirt. “Hello!” she beamed. “You must be Inko. I’m Rei, it’s so lovely to meet you.” They gave each other the customary greetings, and then Rei peered over Inko’s shoulder. “And who is this little one?”
Inko smiled and gently tugged Izuku to stand next to her. “Izuku, give your greetings.”
Izuku proudly drew himself up to his full height, his ears sticking straight up in the air. “My name is Izuku Midoriya! I’m four years old! It’s nice to meet you!”
Inko tried to hide her smile behind her free hand. Izuku looked so excited, his entire body was quivering with energy.
There was a pause where Rei looked down at her son, and then looked back at Izuku. “Shouto is a little shy,” she said gently. “This is my son, Todoroki Shouto. He’s four years old, just like you.” She crouched down so she could gently coax Shouto to stand in front of her.
Inko gave the little boy an encouraging smile. It seemed like he was a little wolf, with pointed ears and a bushy tail nervously twitching behind him.
“Shouto, can you greet Izuku?”
Shouto gave Rei an uncertain look and slowly turned to face Izuku. “H-hi…Zucchan…”
For a second, Rei looked absolutely mortified. Shouto looked back at her, and his lower lip started wobbling when he saw her expression. Without thinking, Inko reached out towards Rei. “It’s quite alright, Izuku doesn’t mind—“
“Zucchan?!” Izuku beamed, his face glowing. “Did you give me a nickname?”
Shouto stared at him, his ears twitching. Izuku bounded forward and grabbed Shouto’s hands, his face still glowing with happiness. “You gave me a nickname! Only best friends give each other nicknames!”
Shouto was staring at Izuku with huge eyes. “Best friends?”
“Yeah!” Izuku squeezed Shouto’s hands. “Your ears and tail look really soft! Can I pet them?”
Shouto blinked, his mismatched eyes sparkling prettily in the light. “Yeah,” he said shyly.
“You can pet mine too!” Izuku lifted their hands and set Shouto’s hands next to his ears. “See?”
Shouto hesitantly moved his hands. “Whoa,” he whispered.
“Isn’t it great?” Izuku beamed and grabbed one of Shouto’s hands again. “Let’s play heroes together!”
Shouto glanced back at his mother, and Rei smiled at him.
“Okay.” Shouto’s face lit up with a smile, and his tail started wagging behind himself again. He turned around and pulled Izuku further into the house. “Let’s play in the backyard.”
Suddenly they were gone, and Inko and Rei were alone in the hallway. Inko sighed with relief, and made eye contact with Rei whose mouth was twitching. A few seconds later, they were both giggling; Inko dug into her handbag and pulled out the little basket brimming with brownies.
“Welcome to the neighborhood, Rei.” Inko beamed. “It seems like we’ll be seeing a lot of each other in the future.”