Hiro sat on his bed, deep chocolate eyes staring blankly at his desk. Even though two full weeks had passed and his brother pulled through the accident, he still felt himself rather lost without him around. He missed his sense of humor, his unique outlook on life...his energy. It was easier to be himself when Tadashi was around. Now, the room that they shared just seemed so...
This was a very easily solved problem, Tadashi was alive (and as far as he knew, rather conscious) and the hospital was within walking distance for Hiro. Aunt Cass had even been prodding him all of this time to make a visit to see the elder Hamada brother. Then why didn't he? In all honesty, Hiro felt guilty; if he didn't apply for the college and visit his brother's nerd lab, maybe Tadashi would be in school right now working on his robot. Maybe he would be saving Hiro from some trouble he usually got himself into. Besides, he was rather convinced (even though all the evidence he could think of was all in his head) that Tadashi was upset with him over this whole incident.
If the roles were reversed, he couldn't promise he wouldn't be holding a grudge.
After a few long hours, Hiro slowly pushed himself to his feet and moved to his desk to pick up his jacket from the back of the chair. After pulling it on, a pen found its way into his hand to write the room number of his brother on his hand. Against his better judgement, he decided to make at least a small visit. If Tadashi was, in fact, angry then perhaps he would get lucky and his brother would be unconscious...or highly medicated.
Highly medicated was much better.
Before he could talk himself out of it, he darted out of his room and downstairs, running out before Cass could stop him and headed down to the hospital. It was such a large building, Hiro's walking slowed a little as the chocolate eyes looked up at it. The automatic doors then opened, blasting the teenager with a heavy sanitized smell. It made his nose wrinkle, Hiro rather displeased with the smell. How anyone worked in such an environment was beyond his understanding. But that meant that his brother was in good hands then, right?
Quietly he made his way up to Tadashi's room, glancing at the number scrawled on his hand before looking up at the bold number beside the door he now stood in front of. The hall around him was quiet as was the room in front of him, but the door was rather intimidating. His heart began to race, threatening to burst from the petite chest and a dangerously large lump formed in his throat. Why was he so nervous? Tadashi couldn't hate him, right?
But what if he did?
Swallowing hard, Hiro pushed the door open slowly and quietly stepped in, looking around the brightly illuminated room. “Tadashi?” he announced himself quietly. Perhaps if he was quiet enough, no one would know he was here. “I...um...wanted to come see you.”
[i Someone has to help.]
He felt hot. Uncomfortable.
[i Someone has to help.]
His heartbeat quickened. He could feel the sweat rolling down the back of his neck. He was in the fire again, looking around but he could see no signs of Callaghan. No signs of anyone. The heat was intense and eyes were dry. He was frantic, turning in circles, calling his name. Time seemed so slow as he turned till everything lit up in a white light.
Tadashi Hamada gripped at the sheets as his eyes flew open. He tried his hardest to catch his breath, grinding his teeth, his heartbeat loud in his ears. [i It’s okay, It’s okay,] he repeated in his head but he knew it was never that easy.
He always felt so scared and the machines always beeped annoyingly in his room, increasing his anxiety. The nurses already knew what was happening. Tadashi knew. He’d studied the medical attributes of people who experience traumatic circumstances but that didn’t make anything easier.
Pain shot up through his body, weakening the man almost immediately. The burns, still sensitive after a couple weeks, weighed on him and made tears roll down his cheeks. It was pathetic, illogical, correct, annoying, obvious, frustrating and so god-damn predictable that he hated being in this bed, in this room, in this hospital, in this miserable body...
The morphine did it’s part as time ticked painfully by and Tadashi could almost feel calm and bearable again. His eyes moved to focus on something to keep him grounded to reality. The picture on the wall of a cherry blossom tree. He focused so hard on it, thinking about how nice the pink on the pedals were, how lovely the weather was, how they were in bloom this time of year, how they had those trees scattered all across the University estate... where the fire was- where the Science Fair got out of hand, where his brother was having his first presentation, where Callaghan died, where everything burned.
The voice took him by surprise that he almost pulled out the I.V.. His eyes landed on the small figure of his brother, peering in from the doorway. Tadashi’s logical mind raced, trying to manage the emotions that filled him. Relief, surprise, frustration, embarrassment, sadness. He felt hurt but he understood why it took Hiro so long to visit him. Two weeks felt like a lifetime in this white corner and he felt solely responsible for keeping Hiro from experiencing his dreams as an innovator of science.
If Tadashi hadn’t encouraged him, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe Hiro wouldn’t feel the guilt that he didn’t deserve. It was entirely Tadashi’s fault he was here.
There were no heroes in real life.
[#424ef4 “Hiro,”] he started, pretending to keep his composure, forcing a smile despite the pain, [#424ef4 “It’s nice to see you, buddy.”] He quickly wiped his face clean of tears and sweat, holding out his hand to Hiro. Only then did he remember how bad he must have looked to his younger brother. Wrapped in gauze and tape, his hands looked like they were wearing gloves. He imagined his hair a singed mess and his face blotched with red and purples. The doctors advised not looking at himself in the mirror. His trauma already impactful enough. Aunt Cass really tried to keep her despair to herself, but she was never good at hiding her emotions.
[#424ef4 “Don’t be afraid. Come here,”] he choked, hoping Hiro wouldn’t turn away from him.
Even though he was expecting it, his brother's consciousness still caught him off guard. He still wished Tadashi was asleep or so doped up on morphine that the smaller male's presence didn't register and he could sneak back out. It wasn't the case, the chocolate eyes that matched his own turning towards him, the deeper voice filling the room. It sounded better than what he was expecting, the first couple of days that Aunt Cass had been to see Tadashi she mentioned that his voice had suffered as much as his body did. The ash and smoke had seemed to clear from it, sounding just as normal as it used to. His appearance, though, had certainly undergone some major changes. It was difficult to tell what all of those changes were as there was still a considerable amount of gauze covering his brother's skin, but he could see some burns stretching over his neck and down into the collar of the hospital gown he wore. Tadashi's face was no longer one solid peach color but several, seeming to reach all ends of the color spectrum.
The guilt was overwhelming, especially after seeing his brother like this. A hard lump had formed in his throat, making it difficult to swallow and to breathe. He hated seeing Tadashi like this, if anyone deserved this the least, it was him. He was always so kind and strong, willing to help anyone that needed it, no matter what. He always knew the right things to say to make others feel better, especially Hiro, and always seemed to be happy. Seeing Tadashi reduced to a burned mass in a hospital bed nearly broke everything inside Hiro which made his guilt a bit worse.
If it weren't for him, Tadashi wouldn't be in this position.
Quietly he shut the door and moved further into the room, glancing at his surroundings before stopping next to the bed. Flowers and stuffed animals of all kinds filled the room, get well gifts from friends and Aunt Cass. Next to the bed on the small table sat a bear holding a vase of beautiful lilies, Hiro able to make out Honey Lemon's handwriting on the card. At least it seemed that his nerd friends visited frequently. Maybe it helped Tadashi deal with the fact that he had an awful brother.
A small hand reached out, lightly taking Tadashi's bandaged one in his own. He didn't use too much pressure or grip too hard as he didn't want to hurt him more than he already was. [+red "Does....does it hurt?"] he asked quietly, moving his eyes from their hands up to his face. [+red "Aunt Cass says they have you on the good stuff."]
This time it was pure relief when Hiro didn’t turn away. It was the one thing he needed but never knew. Not the gifts from his friends, not the drugs, not Aunt Cass- but the presence of someone he felt most important to him. He hadn’t seen him since the accident. The touch was soft, and for that he was grateful.
[i It hurts so much sometimes I wished it ended...]
Tadashi’s forced smile softened slightly. [#424ef4 “Yeah but like she said... it’s good ‘stuff’.”] He let his hand drop, already feeling tired. [#424ef4 “Tell me about you, Hiro.”] He shut his eyes, trying to ease the strain. [#424ef4 “Have you finished that registration?”]
Tadashi already knew the answers. Aunt Cass made sure to keep him updated due to his brother’s visiting absence. He just wanted Hiro to stay. Stay long enough before he was forced to be alone again. He couldn’t wait to get out of the white room. [#424ef4 “Have you been eating?”] he asked noticing how thin he was.
Hiro carefully moved his hand from Tadashi's as the other's dropped to the bed, not wanting to hurt him more than he already was. He couldn't be sure what his brother's pain levels really were, he knew Tadashi would never tell him anyway. From what he heard from their aunt, he was given a pretty good cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics that could probably knock out a horse. Hiro imagined that his brother was given this mix a bit ago as he still seemed somewhat lethargic but still uncomfortable. The small Hamada would give anything to ease that, to have his brother whole again. Unfortunately, he didn't know what any of that was.
Chocolate eyes examined the bed again before Hiro pulled himself up onto the edge of it, being careful not to jostle Tadashi's healing form, and sitting at his side. Seeing the older male quite tired gave him hope that, if Tadashi was still angry at him, that he wouldn't be able to reach out and fully throttle him. Flying objects were still a possibility but he was confident in his dodging skills.
[+red "It's finished, but I haven't sent it in yet,"] Hiro admitted quietly after a while, bringing his gaze up to Tadashi again. He didn't really feel like sending it in at this point as he wanted to focus on his brother's recuperation. He was only fourteen, college could wait a while. It was the least he could do after almost getting him killed. He began to wonder if he would always feel guilty and if Tadashi would hold this over his head for the rest of their lives. It wasn't like Hiro didn't deserve it.
Hiro straightened up a bit in order to remove his jacket, setting it at the foot of the bed afterwards while Tadashi spoke. Even under horse tranquilizers he was still observant. His appetite had been one of the first things to go when he went home with Aunt Cass after the accident and it still hadn't returned. Many meals went barely touched, a couple of bites taken before Hiro was full and didn't want to look at it anymore. His body was beginning to show signs of his negligence as his shorts needed to be secured with a belt to keep them from sliding off and his shirts seemed a size too big for him. This attitude, though, was just like his brother: always worrying about everyone but himself.
[+red "You sound like Aunt Cass,"] Hiro murmured quietly, leaning back a bit as he brought his gaze back to Tadashi. [+red "And you don't want to hear about me, nothing's changed. Except that Mochi has stolen your bed and I don't think you're getting it back without a fight."]
Hiro paused a bit as he observed Tadashi carefully. Everything seemed good, no signs of high blood pressure due to anger at the smaller Hamada. Perhaps he may just get out of here alive. [+red "Any word on when they're letting you out of here?"]
The bed creaked when Hiro sat. If Tadashi was still feeling innovative maybe he could fix that. Maybe he would fix everything in this room to make it more accomidable to guests. He doubted he’d feel so inspired after this.
Tadashi managed a small chuckle. Cats. Aunt Cass. He wished he was at home already. Pretending things were going to get back to normal. [#424ef4 “I honestly can’t wait to be back in my own bed. Anything is better than a flat twin sized plastic cot.”] He messed with the gauze between his fingers. Release dates were always a fickle thing with the Healthcare business.
[#424ef4 “It... doesn’t seem very soon yet but I have Go-Go and Honey Lemon already working out a compelling argument to get me out sooner.”] He smiled. [#424ef4 “It may just be a couple weeks more for strength reasons but we should be able to have me released into another travelling doctor’s hands- or, if I’m lucky, Baymax will be that doctor.”] He cringed. [#424ef4 “But I don’t want to get your hopes up, though Go-Go is one nasty debater.”]
If his friend’s followed his instructions to the ‘T’, then Baymax should be classified as a proper care giver. Who knew that Tadashi would be his first real patient?
Hiro couldn't help the faint smile that touched his lips as he heard his brother's chuckle. It was like, for a split second, everything was back to normal and Tadashi wasn't broken. He knew it would take a lot of work and time but he wanted to help his older brother gain some sense of normalcy back. He wanted to be there as Tadashi's support, especially since he basically abandoned him these past couple weeks, and wanted to give him something to focus on. Luckily, since he didn't have school, he could devote as much time as he needed towards that goal.
[+red "I don't think cardboard would be much improvement, so that shut down your argument,"] Hiro murmured, leaning back a bit more. His arms stretched out behind him to hold him up, one of them beside Tadashi's leg. His brother was right, though, it would be good to have him back home in his own bed. Hiro would be nearby in order to bring him anything he needed. After a few minutes, he reached out and lightly touched Tadashi's hand in order to stop him from picking at his bandages.
[+red "Keep that up and they'll need to be changed,"] he warned quietly, letting his hand move back into its supporting position shortly afterwards. [+red "I'm sure they'll get you out real soon; Baymax would be a great caregiver. Not to mention it would be an excellent beta test. Can I....do anything for you?"]
Hiro rightly stopped his fidgeting. Keeping his state as flawless as possible was the best way to continue his healing. Staying still was the hard part. [#424ef4 “Yeah. Let’s stay positive like that, buddy.”]
Tadashi scrunched up his features trying to think of what his brother could do. There wasn’t much anyone could when it was mostly a waiting game. An agonizingly long one. [#424ef4 “I want you to make sure everything is just as I left it when I get there. That means I want you to tear Mochi from my bed, make Aunt Cass put double chocolate muffins in the oven and have my favorite green socks out and fluffed for my aching feet.”] He poked Hiro with his toe from underneath the sheet. [#424ef4 “Trust me. These next two weeks will fly by as if I haven’t been gone for so long and everything will be okay.”]
He sort of felt like he was lying.
He was the big brother. He shouldn’t tell Hiro that things would stay the same. That wasn’t realistic... They were men of science after all.
Tadashi pressed his lips into a fine line. [#424ef4 “You should get going. My next medication dose is in a few minutes and that stuff really knocks me out. I don’t want you to see me drooling all over my pillow.”]
Hiro listened quietly as his brother gave him a list of things to do for his return, watching him. They were simple things (except for moving the fat cat, that one would take some effort) that gave Tadashi a taste of his old life. Aunt Cass would definitely jump on her task, they both knew how much the older male loved the muffins he requested. He even got them specially made for him on birthdays and other occasions that warranted sweets. Hiro knew that she'd start baking them now if it got Tadashi home any faster.
His heart sank a bit as his brother mentioned his medication, indicating the smaller Hamada should head home. He didn't want to, now that he was here and with his brother again, he didn't want to be anywhere else. Seeing him for such a short period of time just reminded Hiro just how much he missed him. He missed his laugh, his dumb and dorky jokes, but most importantly his presence. It just wasn't the same without him. He didn't want to go back to the empty room the two of them shared, not alone. Hiro complied, though, and slowly slid down from the side of the bed before grabbing his jacket and slipping it on. He reached over, carefully taking Tadashi's hand again, and giving him a faint smile. He could feel a tightness in his throat that threatened to choke him and tears beginning to form in the corners of his eyes. Leaving was just as painful as seeing his brother pulled from the wreckage two weeks ago. [+red "I'll come back tomorrow, okay?"] he promised him quietly. [+red "As soon as visiting hours start."]
Once he finished his goodbyes, he slowly exited the room and made his way back home.
Tadashi could see the disappointment across his brother’s face... Sliding off the cot and taking the jacket. He could feel his emotions weighing down on him again. He couldn’t let Hiro see them. He couldn’t let the younger Hamada see how much this fatigued the hell out of him.
And then he spotted those tears and that almost ripped him apart. How he so selfishly ran into that fire and could have never came back. He would have left Hiro all alone.
He bit his lip. [i Don’t you cry. Don’t you cry, Tadashi. Keep it together.]
[#424ef4 “Come back as much as you want.”] he replied, squeezing his hand lightly. With a smile, he watched Hiro leave, closing the door behind him. And he wept.
It took two weeks as expected for the hospital system of San Fransokyo to let Tadashi Hamada out of Room 324. The moment he stepped outside, he felt like he could actually breathe again. He felt stronger- he [i was] stronger but they wouldn’t allow him to walk for very long. Dormant muscles in his legs kept him from acting like a normal person.
Only when he was being rolled out into the parking lot did he realize how much he stood out. How people stared at him like they’ve never seen disconfigeration before. They acted so uneducated to the horrors that existed in this world. It made him want to sink further into the wheelchair.
Only a seven minute drive and they were parked outside of Aunt Cass’ iconic Lucky Cat Cafe. All his friends and, of course, his brother stood at the entrance, waving and shouting. It immediately lifted Tadashi’s spirits as Aunt Cass helped him out of the van and into the indie asian themed coffee shop.
For a couple hours things felt like they hadn’t changed. His friends were still goofy genius’s, the cat was still fat, the food was down-to-earth (just the way he liked it) and Baymax, in his beta mode, was standing in the background, holding a tray of double chocolate muffins. It was a wonderful welcome home and as much as he liked the attention, he wanted to go upstairs and feel the serenity of his bed.
Aunt Cass, sensing this need, ushered everyone to the exit for Tadashi’s much needed rest. Baymax easily lifted him out of the dining chair and aided him up the stairs.
When they reached the top of the landing, Tadashi ordered Baymax to stop. [#424ef4 “I can walk from here,”] he said.
[b “I will be right behind you,”] the robot answered.
When his green socked feet touched the wood floor, it felt like he was finally home. He placed his hand on the cold doorknob and glanced back, making sure Hiro had followed before opening. The sight of their bedroom took him back. Back to the morning before the big fair. Back to when he last stepped foot in here without knowing everything would change.
A tear rolled down his cheek, as he slowly made his way to his side of the bedroom. It took him longer than expected for such a small space. He pulled back the wooden divider and there, on his pillow, was his cap. The hat, he remembered, that didn’t burn along with the rest of him.
He felt his breath catch, already inside that burning building again.
[b “Tadashi,”] he Baymax say, [b “Your heart rate has elevated. You should lie down and rest before you collapse.”] It laid a soft plastic hand on his arm.
[#424ef4 “Hiro,”] he spoke, ignoring the robots precaution, [#424ef4 “Do you mind keeping that hat for me? It’ll look better somewhere else then on my pillow.”] He forced the smile again.
Two more weeks. Hiro was left with the empty bedroom for two more weeks, as Tadashi predicted. He was doing much better, though; Hiro came to see him every day and stayed until visiting hours were over (or until his brother booted him out early). He helped with Tadashi's physical therapy, encouraging him when he needed it and giving support. As his motor skills improved, Hiro brought in different games for them to play. He figured the older male could use a break from staring at the same four walls. Sometimes his friends were there and would play with them, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Honestly, he didn't like going home. It just seemed so....lonely....without his brother's presence in the house. Sure, he had his aunt and Mochi but it wasn't the same. They weren't Tadashi.
On the morning his brother was to be released, Hiro made sure everything was in order. He could smell the muffins in the oven already, Aunt Cass had gotten up early to make them fresh for Tadashi. She seemed delighted to have a job that she could do to help her nephew feel better upon his arrival, Hiro knew that she'd bake them every morning if Tadashi wanted it. His green socks were out and waiting for him. Mochi, though, still seemed to prefer the male's bed and hadn't budged. Hiro had successfully lured the cat off once with treats but he didn't fall for it again after. He decided not to bother with it until Tadashi came back and was ready to sleep, knowing Mochi would just jump back up the moment Hiro turned his back. The final touch to Tadashi's arrival was Baymax, the robot having been delivered the day before by Wasabi, and was charging in the corner.
Everything was ready.
The smaller Hamada followed their aunt as she drove to the hospital to pick up Tadashi and didn't leave his side once he saw him again. Even though he knew that his brother wouldn't be the same, he was still happy to have him back. Tadashi was really the only thing of importance to Hiro and he would do anything to make his life easier. He loved him. Once Cass ushered everyone out, he followed Baymax and his brother up the stairs. The robot was doing his job wonderfully, Tadashi having done an outstanding job on his coding. There didn't seem to be anything the white vinyl robot couldn't do.
Tadashi, though, seemed relieved to be home and back in his room. It was certainly better than the hospital: no random check ins, no other patients, and no uncomfortable bed. Here his brother could get the rest that he deserved. His gaze lifted as he heard the older male speak, looking over to see him holding his favorite hat. It was the only thing of Tadashi's that survived the fire that night, having fallen off outside of the building and preserving it. Hiro reached out and carefully took it, giving his brother a faint smile. [+red "Sure,"] he answered softly as he looked around the room for a safe place to put it. He decided on an unused corner of his desk, setting it beside the small bot he had used for bot fighting, in order to keep it safe.
He turned, ready to help Tadashi by turning down the blankets to his bed, and let out a heavy sigh as he saw the fat cat laying on the bed once again just under the pillow. For some reason, he had really taken to the male's empty bed. Hiro moved over to him, small hands wrapping around the cat's fat middle, and tried to pull him off the bed. [+red
"Come on, Mochi,"] Hiro grumbled, straining. [+red "Tadashi needs to rest and can't with your fat butt in the way."] He continued to try to pull Mochi off the bed, the animal not budging an inch. After a couple more tries he decided to pull a bit harder which caused Mochi to jump down, throwing the small teenager off balance and crashing into the wall. Hiro groaned as the back of his head hit the wall, glaring faintly at the cat as it waddled out of the room. [+red "Unbelievable."]
[i It’s okay. The cap is gone.]
Tadashi watched with mild amusement has Hiro dragged Mochi off the bed, it’s fat rolls proving to be a small challenge. He moved beside the smaller Hamada and ruffled his hair. [#424ef4 “Thanks,”] he said before slowly sitting done on a sorely missing mattress.
Baymax did what he was programmed and preformed the nightly checks and medication distribution. If felt nice to feel the normalcy again. With the consistent therapy, Tadashi should be walking again in no time- but he was sure not to force it too fast.
Once Tadashi settled and Baymax deactivated back into his charging station, he decided he wanted to have the hard conversation with his little brother. He stared at his feet, covered underneath the blanket. [#424ef4 “Hey...”] he started, [#424ef4 “Can I ask you a couple questions... about that day?”]
It was something [i everyone] tended to not want to talk about. Along the lines of psychological distress but Tadashi was smarter than that. He just hoped that Hiro would be on his side about the matter. That Hiro would trust him.
The smaller Hamada lightly rubbed the back of his head where it collided with the wall, watching Tadashi as he got into bed to be sure he didn't need anything. Baymax was taking excellent care of him, being sure to administer any care he needed and bringing him things he wanted. Once his brother was safely in his bed and the white robot was giving him the proper medication and treatment he required, Hiro moved past the folding screen to his part of the room. He listened quietly as Baymax continued his routine, explaining what medications he would be using and how they would be administered, and pulled his pajamas down from the top of his dresser. He hated that Tadashi needed all of these things to recover, more than anything he wanted his brother to be whole and happy. He may never be whole again but his happiness could be worked on. Already he seemed to be in a bit of a better mood now that he returned home. Hopefully they could keep him on that track.
Hiro changed into his pajamas, setting his clothes in the hamper beside the door. It was at this time that he heard Tadashi, deep chocolate eyes flickering over to him. Baymax had finished his job by this point, having returned to his charging station and deactivated. His brother was now tucked gently into his bed for the night but it seemed sleeping wouldn't be the activity he participated in immediately after. Hiro's stomach dropped a bit at Tadashi's words, instantly being brought back to that day.
The day that everything changed.
He still felt knots in his stomach when he thought about it, the kind of uncomfortableness that made him want to do nothing but curl up in his bed. What would Tadashi want to know? [+red "Sure, Tadashi,"] Hiro answered quietly, making his way across the room. His small form slipped past the dividing screen, stopping at the foot of his bed. [+red "What do you want to know?"]
His eyes analyzed the little brother at the foot of the bed. He looked so fragile and innocent. His hair ruffled and messy, his pajamas hanging off his lean figure, showing that Hiro still hadn’t recovered his healthy diet just yet. It made Tadashi hesitate. Was this even the right thing to do? Obviously, Tadashi wasn’t the only one affected by the accident. He had left his brother all alone on those stone steps, watching and waiting. He had been so selfish.
The eldest took a deep breath, rolling the gauze between his fingers again, his chest heavy once more with anxiety. Hiro could handle it, right? He knew Aunt Cass wouldn’t have been fond with this idea of talking about it. [i Just ask. Stop overthinking it.]
[#424ef4 “How did that fire happen? Does anyone know how it started?”] Tadashi had been aching to know what or who to blame for ruining everything. Maybe it was a little vindictive of him but he had spent so much time being angry at himself that he wanted so bad to be angry at someone else.
A small hand ran through his dark and messy hair as Tadashi asked his questions, Hiro watching him quietly. He knew this wasn't easy for his older brother to ask, he could tell by the way he picked at the bandages. A lot of their friends wouldn't talk about it, changing the subject and suggesting that Tadashi focus on the future and getting better. Aunt Cass had even lectured the younger Hamada about it, warning that the information wasn't important and would cause Tadashi to focus less on healing and recuperation. He didn't really buy it but let it go, figuring it was just her way of dealing with things. She could be a bit off the wall and high strung but he knew it was just how she handled things. She still loved them no matter what.
[+red "Stop doing that,"] Hiro answered quietly, his gaze moving down to his brother's hands. He didn't want Tadashi to hurt himself accidentally by disturbing the bandage; Baymax was inactive for the night and Hiro wasn't sure he could do as good a job if he needed to re-wrap any bandages.
Hiro's warning was a slight stall, something to give him more time to think about what he was going to say. With so many people advising against it, it seemed to be the most logical thing to do. But that look on his brother's face...he found it hard to say no. It was something that would effect Tadashi for the rest of his life and he had a right to know.
The smaller male carefully sat down on the foot of the bed, being careful not to disturb his brother's battered form, and folded his arms loosely over his chest. [+red "They....um....they said that a butane tank blew...but that's the only thing the fire and police departments agree on,"] he answered quietly. He had dug into their files (not exactly legally but he wasn't on the straight and narrow path these days, anyway) and tried to find the root cause of the fire. Both departments had come up with something different on the start of it but agreed the explosion was most definitely caused by the exploding gas. [+red "The fire chief thinks that one of the robotics was sparking and something flammable was close to it while the police department says it could have been started by someone else. I tried to go and investigate for myself but that part of the college is still blocked off and pretty hard to get into."]
The older brother only paused at Hiro’s warning, too anxious to hear what story he had to tell to care so much as a simple rebandaging. He stopped for as long as as the little Hamada didn’t talk. [i Come on, buddy.]
He watched Hiro fiddle a little longer, eventually moving closer to sit on the edge of the bed, then slowly began his explanation. Of course. A butane tank. That made sense. It was one of the theories he had come up himself but if two departments couldn’t agree... there was a still a chance that the criminal could be out there. That is if there was one.
[#424ef4 “Well,”] he started, [#424ef4 “The police would know a criminal act when they see one. They shouldn’t just write it off as something as predictable as a chemical explosion if there is a chance it was an intentional objective.”]
Tadashi could feel that spark of energy lighting within him. That same energy like when he had a brilliant idea on how to improve Baymax’s capacities. [#424ef4 “We could find a way around boundaries. The Hamada’s were never known for backing down from a challenge.”] He could feel the bandages between his fingers starting to slip, giving a sharp raw feeling to the sensitive skin underneath.
[#424ef4 “Okay, did anything in that fair get salvaged? Like your micro-bots? And did they ever find Callaghan’s body?”] He leaned forward slightly, Tadashi’s interest spiked and focused.
There it was. Even if it would be short lived, Hiro was still glad to see it: the old Tadashi. The unmatched edges of this event seemed to spark a fire in his brother, giving him a new wave of energy and spirit. It brought a faint smile to Hiro's lips to see it and wanted to enjoy it as long as it lasted. This was the Tadashi that showed up in the nick of time to save him, the Tadashi that helped him see things from a new perspective. Even though he knew it wouldn't last, he hoped it would return at some point.
[+red "Not much survived, the explosion kind of took care of that,"] Hiro explained softly as his hand lifted to run through his messy hair again. He had tried multiple times to sneak into that section of campus but always got caught pretty early on. Hiro wasn't exactly on his "A" game, he could have tried harder, but security was still rather high. That didn't mean he didn't come out of it with nothing.
The small teen rose from his spot on the bed, moving past the divider and to his desk, rooting around on its surface. It was normally a bit messy due to his creative ideas but, after the accident, he kind of let it go and allowed things to accumulate on it. It made it a bit more challenging to find what he was looking for but had a good idea where to look. [+red "My micro-bots weren't recovered, I couldn't get any details about it,"] Hiro told his brother over a rustle of papers. [+red "Everyone's being pretty secretive."]
Hiro pulled out the papers he had been looking for, bringing them back to Tadashi's bed and setting them down. He sat down closer to the male, pulling his legs under him after doing so, and began to spread out the papers a bit. It was clear that he had done some homework on the subject, having every public record (and some illegally hacked and downloaded files) searching for an answer. In the piles were police reports, fire reports, statements from the college, and a map of that section of the building.
[+red "The fire department says it could have started here,"] Hiro explained softly as he pointed to a spot in the large auditorium. [+red "Apparently there was something set up that was using a lot of power, they said it could have sparked and hit something flammable. The police reports say that it could have started from here."] His other hand moved to the other side of the room, quite a long distance away. [+red "From looking at the virtual schematics and builds of the auditorium, it was a pretty closed-off section. It didn't seem like a lot of people would have been back there. Unfortunately the tank was in the middle of both points and the explosion of it destroyed a lot of evidence."]
Hiro leaned back a little bit, looking up at Tadashi and allowing him to look at his "homework" if he so chose to. He secretly prayed that Aunt Cass didn't decide to come up and check on her nephew, if she did her head may very well explode. The smaller Hamada had already received a stern lecture advising him against the very thing he was doing. He didn't want to be responsible for her ending up in the hospital, too.
[+red "As for Callaghan, the police recovered a body they think may be his,"] he answered a bit softer. It seemed like he was important to Tadashi and he knew the news would hurt a bit. [+red "They're still not one hundred percent sure, they're trying to confirm dental records. The report still isn't up yet but I'll let you know when it is."]
It honestly took him by surprise how much his little brother did know about the situation. He watched curiously as Hiro sorted through the mess on the desk, Tadashi vaguely remembering a much cleaner work space before the accident. He was presented with maps, forms, schematics, police and fire reports. Everything that had a ‘confidential’ watermark made his heart beat faster, for some reason making him nervous. Wasn’t he the one to tell Hiro not to do anything illegal? Did his lack of guidance leave his brother desperate?
If he was honest with himself, he would have done the same thing if it was Hiro...
The evidence was scattered however, as Hiro pointed out. Two possible points of cause and not enough salvaged to make a confident conclusion.
Tadashi lifted the map to further investigate the lowout of the auditorium as his brother continued, beginning to answer his last question. There were only two people left in that fire, as far as he knew, himself and Callaghan. Who else could the body possibly be? Tadashi didn’t save him. What was taking them so goddamn long to figure out?
The paper crinkled beneath his grip, his breath catching in his throat like it usually did when he thought about this. [#424ef4 “Yeah,”] he breathed, [#424ef4 “Let me know.”]
Tadashi gathered the papers into a stack, already feeling incredibly uncomfortable. He thought he was ready for this. He [i was] ready for this. The morning. He’ll check again in the morning. He must be just tired. His hands frustratingly were shaking as he pushed the stack across the bed.
Hamada looked up, meeting Hiro’s gaze, his heart dropping. How pathetic did he look in the younger brother’s eyes? Breaking down on the smallest of information? [#424ef4 “How about we call it a night? We can play detective tomorrow after physical therapy. Sound good?”] He forced, yet again, another smile for Hiro.
Deep brown eyes observed his brother silently as Tadashi examined the papers and maps. He could see the dark emotions beginning to build the longer he looked at Hiro's homework, causing the smaller Hamada to bite his lip. Maybe Aunt Cass was right. Maybe he shouldn't have told Tadashi any of this. He wasn't ready for this; the least he could have done was eased him into the situation. That look, though.....Tadashi just [i seemed] so prepared to handle the situation and any news that came along with it. He was, at that time, the Tadashi that could take on the world. Now here he was, hands shaking and probably on the verge of a panic attack, because Hiro didn't listen to his guardian's advice. His brother was trying hard to hold it all together, probably for Hiro's sake, but could see him slipping. It made him feel bad, feel guilty.
Again, Hiro felt he was the cause of all of this.
A small smile was giving to Tadashi, Hiro carefully picking up the stack and pulling it closer to him while looking up at his brother. [+red "You're right, you need to rest,"] Hiro agreed softly. Standing, he took the papers back to his desk and set them down quietly before moving to his side of the room and switching his small lamp on to see by. He then returned to his brother's bedside, carefully fixing the blanket over him.
[+red "If you need something, let me know,"] he told him, giving him another small smile. He felt that maybe if he worked hard and helped his brother get back on his feet, this feeling of guilt would finally wash away. He'd do anything at this point. [+red "Don't be afraid of waking me up. Goodnight, Tadashi."] He then reached up and switched the light off to allow the older Hamada to sleep. Hiro was glad he remembered to turn his light on first as he was certain he'd crash into everything in his path trying to make it back to his bed. Sleeping wasn't something he planned to do just yet, he doubted he'd even be able to sleep at all, and figured he could read for a while. Most of the other things he would work on to stave off his boredom would keep his brother awake and that was something he was trying to avoid. Besides, he liked reading. He pulled a rather thick book off of his nightstand and crawled into bed, turning the light onto a lower setting, and opened the book to where he had stopped before. Snuggling into his blankets, Hiro read until he lost track of time, eventually falling asleep near the early morning hours with the book laying open over his chest.
Hiro made the best of the situation, making everything seem like it was fine and okay. It helped Tadashi calm down, minimizing the shaking. The way his brother made sure that he was comfortable under the blanket and attentive to his needs. It made him feel like a child... or an invalid. No. He shouldn’t think of himself like that.
[#424ef4 “Alright. Goodnight, Hiro.”] The lamp was switched off, shrouding his half of the room in darkness. Tadashi listened as his brother crept over to his own bed, a soft glow from Hiro’s desk light spreading across the floor from the other side of the divider. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, the medicine making quick work to unconsciousness.
He was outside. Outside of the auditorium. Hiro was standing in front of him, his cap in his hands. [i “You ruined it,”] Hiro said. [i “You ruined everything.”]
But someone had to help. It had to be me. It was me.
Tadashi turned around, the fire immediately eating the oxygen out of the air. He started to hyperventilate, backing away from the flames, only to collide with a wall. Sweat coating his body, his chest heaving and coughing.
[i You ruined everything,] he heard, sliding down the wall into a crouching position. Then... everything lit up in that infamous white light.
Tadashi’s eyes shot open, his heart beat pounding in his ears. He tried to move but the bed sheets were tight around him, confining- suffocating him. His breath was quick as he worked to roll free of the blanket, tossing until he moved a sharp right, toppling down onto the floor with a loud thud. [#424ef4 “Ow,”] he winced, the pain shooting up his left arm, tears starting to pool in his eyes.
As designed, Baymax activated in front of the room. [b “Tadashi, you have fallen. Let me hel-”]
[#424ef4 “Baymax, don’t touch me,”] he snapped, bringing his knees up to his chest. [#424ef4 “Let me lay here a minute.”] He could see Hiro moving on his side of the divider. He closed his eyes, already bitter from the embarrassment. [#424ef4 “Hiro, I’m fine,”] he said sternly. Was this even the appropriate time to be prideful?
A loud thud caused Hiro to shoot awake from the sleep he had fallen into, sitting up quickly. The heavy piece of literature that had been laying on his chest tumbled to the floor and hit with a solid whack. How long had he been out? It was difficult to discern as he wasn't really sure what time he had fallen asleep. Hiro had fallen into the habit of sleeping wherever he had been doing something, whether it be his desk, his bed, or the garage. This appeared to have been one of those times, the words of his book lulling him into a light sleep.
But what woke him up? Nothing seemed out of place. In all honesty, Hiro had grown used to the silence in the room while his brother had been hospitalized for the month and had forgotten he had returned home. It had taken a long time to grow used to it, the smaller Hamada not even wanting to sleep in his room for the first few days and instead chose to sleep on the couch. Once he learned that Tadashi was, in fact, coming back home again, it made it easier to face the empty room. But now his brother was back for his first night home and Hiro had let it slip his mind until he heard Baymax activate and move to the male's aid.
Tadashi! Was he alright?! Hiro began to move to the foot of his bed until he heard his brother snap at Baymax, instructing him to leave him alone for the time being. That tone of voice caused the raven-haired boy to stop in his tracks and simply stare at the divider that separated the room. He had never heard Tadashi use that tone before, the shock of it really what kept Hiro still. Not long after he heard his brother speak again, this time directed towards him, and his voice still held that bite to it. Was everything really alright? He doubted it if Tadashi was using that tone, especially after a fall to the floor, but the bitterness and frustration it held made Hiro feel powerless to do anything. He didn't want to anger him more by helping when he didn't want it, but felt guilty doing nothing.
So what should he do?
Quietly he slipped from his bed, moving slowly over to the divider and peeking around it to gauge the situation. If he really needed help, Hiro would be there to give it. And, if not, perhaps he wouldn't notice the smaller Hamada and he could go back to bed.
Tadashi laid there for a couple minutes more as he tried to calm himself down, his breath returning to its normal rate. He thought the nightmares had gone away but being in one hospital bed and then into his own didn’t change a thing. Nothing had changed up there in that brain.
[#424ef4 “Alright,”] he sighed heavily. [#424ef4 “Help me up.”]
Baymax, the big marshmellow that he was, found it difficult to maneuver around the room between the divider and the bed. He chuckled, finally finding a flaw in his medical genius design. [#424ef4 “Baymax, just... just let HIro do it.”]
Tadashi tried to straighten his posture, feeling a stinging tear on the upper left bicep. Damn it. He should be more careful, especially when waking up from nightmares. He held out his hand, letting Hiro help him back up and into the bed, Baymax unrolling a new roll of gauze. Everything was sore, from his legs to his neck and then a headache.
[#424ef4 “Sorry about all this,”] he whispered to the younger Hamada. [#424ef4 “Sometimes I forget where I am.”] He lifted a hand to wipe his face clear of any betraying moisture.
His hiding place seemed to work okay, Tadashi not seeming to notice his smaller brother hiding behind it and observing his actions. Hiro wasn't able to see much except Baymax standing near the bed and Tadashi's feet once he relaxed his legs. Time on the ground and being left to his thoughts seemed to be the cure he needed for his temper, his voice softening in volume and intensity as he spoke to the large, white robot. Hiro was grateful for that as he didn't really wish to be on the receiving end of the male's stern voice and words. Getting a lecture was bad enough.
Watching the large, fluffy robot try to maneuver around the divider and the bed was a bit comical, Baymax only able to take small steps and not making much headway. It didn't take long before Tadashi changed his mind, choosing instead to have the smaller Hamada help. Hiro didn't mind at all as it was another chance to work off some of his guilt. He moved around the divider to Tadashi's side, taking the outstretched hand and planting his heels into the ground to counter his brother's weight. It was a bit difficult due to losing so much mass from the unexpected diet he had gone on but he didn't let it show. He focused his strength and kept his legs locked until Tadashi was off the ground and into his bed where he belonged.
It was difficult to see him this way, Hiro had to admit, but seeing him like this was better than never seeing him again. He had to tell himself that multiple times a day simply to prevent the guilt from eating him alive. He should have fought harder to keep Tadashi out of that fire. He should have been more forceful. He should have done something, [i anything] to keep him from running back into that building. Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done now except to help his brother heal and get himself back on his feet.
[+red "You don't have to apologize,"] Hiro answered quietly, giving him a small smile as he noticed Baymax unroll some gauze in order to change Tadashi's bandages. He moved aside a bit so the robotic nurse could do his job more effectively but still stayed within easy reach of his brother. [+red "It's my turn to take care of you for a change. Can I bring you anything before you rest again? There's still a couple hours before daybreak."]
Tadashi pressed his lips into a fine line, lowering his head. Hiro was so forgiving. He kept replaying the nightmare in his head feeling just guilty. Did his brother harbor any hate for corrupting his future?
[b “The abrasion should be handled with care,”] Baymax said, finishing his work. [b “Try not to toss in your sleep.”]
Tadashi rolled his eyes and pulled his arm back, cradling it to his chest. [#424ef4 “I don’t think I’m going back to sleep, Hiro. Can I look at your research again?”] He reached over to his side table, grabbing the tablet off its charger. [#424ef4 “I can do some of my own to pass the time.”] Not that he expected to find anything more then Hiro did.
Tadashi pushed himself back up against his headboard, relaxing his shoulders within the pillows. He glanced up at Baymax still standing and staring. [#424ef4 “I am satisfied with my care.”]
The robot deactivated as programmed and Tadashi let out a deep sigh. [#424ef4 “You know,”] he started, [#424ef4 “After being in an actual accident, I find myself questioning my design with him.”] He logged in quickly into the tablet, not looking up at his brother as he spoke. [#424ef4 “What do you think about it? He is an extraordinary piece of work but I still have so much to do before he’s actually ready.”] Ready to be out there in the world... in cities, in hospitals, in wars... This Baymax project was too big to think about especially now that he had a vendetta on bringing the fire starter to light.
Hiro had doubts that his brother would want to go back to sleep, especially after waking from a nightmare, so he decided not to push it. He would catch up on his missed sleep at some point during the day, he was sure, with a nap or simply resting. Now that the excitement and worries were mostly over, he could feel his own exhaustion creeping up on him from his late night of reading. Sleeping for Hiro was almost as difficult as eating, neither things happening in the capacity that they should. His crash diet was most apparent by the already small frame becoming tinier but his sleeping (or lackthereof) strike was a bit more difficult to see. He was aware that their aunt had an idea about it as the smaller Hamada would fall asleep at the strangest times in the most random places but she didn't say anything about it. Hopefully he could get it back on track before it became a much larger problem.
Chocolate eyes watched as Tadashi pulled his tablet off of its charger and began to log into it, requesting the homework that Hiro had done on the fire. He wasn't sure if this was such a good idea after the small meltdown his brother had experienced the last time he looked it over. He hesitated for a moment, thinking it over, before retreating to his desk to get the materials. While he was doing this, he heard Tadashi ask his thoughts on Baymax and his operating abilities.
[+red "He has trouble fitting into smaller spaces,"] Hiro admitted softly as small hands carried the items back to Tadashi. He carefully set them down near his legs within easy reach for him to look at when he so pleased. [+red "Other than that, he seems pretty stable. His medical coding is pretty phenomenal and the skeleton is quite strong."] Small arms folded loosely over his chest, Hiro stifling a yawn as he watched Tadashi go through his tablet.
The younger Hamada set the stack of papers close enough to reach and glanced at the top page, the first police report. [#424ef4 “Yeah,”] he agreed, [#424ef4 “Baymax has a reliable skeleton.”] He glanced up to see Hiro stifling a yawn and smiled. [#424ef4 “You should back to sleep. I’ll wake you if I need you. I promise.”]
Tadashi waited till Hiro made his way back over to his side of the divider before releasing a sigh. He closed his eyes, thinking about that gray vision of his brother from the nightmare. How much different he looked compared to now. Now he looked... sick.
There was a spark of hate that grew in his chest. The fact that there was even a hint that someone had started that catastrophe- He took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. The oldest Hamada reached over to switch on the lamp on his side table, giving him light to read the reports again within his own pace. Two places to start, no witnesses, no footage.
[i No footage? On a university campus?]
That was odd. He personally had seen their security systems when he and Callaghan took walks around the campus.
He opened up the google search bar and typed in ‘Robert Callaghan’. News stories of the University explosion were first to pop up followed by Callaghan’s obituary. Solemnly, he scrolled through the results, resurfacing memories from when he was alive. He was a good teacher and a personal hero to Tadashi. Losing Callaghan was like losing one of his closest friends... the father figure he never really had.
He paused, feeling guilty about the thought. It didn’t feel right. Losing two parents and now Callaghan? What would Hiro think of this? Would he have sympathy if he told him? Would he be mad or jealous? Was it selfish to risk his life by running into that fire for someone no one really knew he was close to?
Tadashi felt disgusting. He switched off the tablet and laid back, letting his brain go rampad with self defeating ideas. He really, really needed a hug but he dared not wake Hiro. The feeling might even pass if he just waited till day break.
It was around 7am when Tadashi decided he wanted to have breakfast. [#424ef4 “Hiro, are you awake?”
Even though he was tired and his body language showed it, he remained for a minute or two longer before taking his brother's advice and returning to his bed. He was still a bit unsure of whether or not he should leave his brother alone with the work he had done, worried about how Tadashi would handle it. The last time, he almost had a meltdown. The reassurance that he would be called if he was needed helped coerce him back to his bed as well. Once he was finally sure Tadashi would be okay on his own, he gave him a tired smile and moved back behind the divider again to his side of the room. The small lamp was still on from his late reading, giving off a soft glow to guide him back to his bed. He wasn't sure how long, exactly, he had been asleep but he knew it wasn't longer than a couple of hours. His body told him that. It ached as it typically did when he didn't get enough sleep and his eyes threatened to close and stay that way.
Hiro stopped beside the bed and picked up the discarded book, setting it down on the bedside table before turning off the lamp and dropping onto the bed. He didn't bother to crawl under the blankets and it just seemed to be too much effort and curled up a bit before falling asleep for a couple more hours.
The smaller Hamada's sleep had been fairly dreamless since the accident, once in a while having one that included Tadashi. Those ones never ended well. This was one of the former mentioned nights, Hiro's frame remaining still as his brain recovered a bit until he woke up on his own. He groaned faintly, wrapping his arms around the nearest pillow as large eyes opened a bit to see the time on his alarm clock: 6:50. When he did sleep, it typically wasn't for very long which caused him to take multiple, small naps throughout the day. He was hoping now that Tadashi had made it home that this cycle of sleep would end but apparently it would take some time. He lay there for a while, letting his eyes close again, and simply rested until he heard his brother's voice from the other side of the room.
[+red "I'm up,"] Hiro grumbled a bit into his pillow, slowly opening his eyes again and staring at the wall for a few moments. Once he finally felt more awake, he pushed himself to sit up and allowed himself to stretch. [+red "Is everything okay?"] he asked, his voice picking up a bit now that he had time to greet the day.
Hearing his brother’s voice was comforting after so much silence. He put his tablet to the side and the papers on top of that before moving his body closer to the edge of the bed. [#424ef4 “I’m fine,”] he said, trying to keep the emotion out of his voice, [#424ef4 “I’m ready for a good homemade breakfast. Aunt Cass makes great omelets.”]
Tadashi carefully pulled his legs over the edge and touched the cold floor, recalling the fall from earlier. It frustrated him that healing took so long. In this modern age, a genius by now should have created an advanced healing system by now. Maybe he should just do it... but that wasn’t his major.
He stretched his toes and ankles before attempting to stand. His balance needed work but otherwise everything seemed to be working. He reached a hand to stabilize himself using the divider, which wasn’t a very good support he’d admit, and managed to get to the opening to stretch.
Tadashi glanced at Baymax’s charging box and thought against activating his creation. Maybe he was being stubborn but he was itching to do everything again by himself.
When Hiro was close enough, he put a hand on his small shoulder, smiling gently. [#424ef4 “Hey... I just wanted you to know that I really missed being here and... I’m sorry.”]
[i I’m sorry for almost leaving you all alone.]
[+red "I'm sure she's up by now,"] Hiro responded, groaning a bit after stretching his arms. The bones popped rather loudly as his form shifted, his back falling suit after. [+red "Why she wakes up before the sun is beyond me."] He pulled a brush through his hair a couple of times before dropping it onto his dresser where it belonged and moving to the doorway. It was open here and gave him a better vantage point to keep an eye on his brother should he fall or need anything. It was hard to watch Tadashi struggle with everyday tasks and knew he should have activated Baymax for help but decided to keep his mouth shut for now. Tadashi was rather headstrong, a trait they both shared, and knew he wouldn't be swayed if his mind was really made up on it.
Still, there was the possibility that he would change his mind.
Hiro was about to pull open the door when he felt weight on his shoulder, causing him to turn around and look up at the male that stood over him. The gentle words and reassuring touch almost brought tears to his eyes as the feelings that he had tried so hard to shove back down were surfacing again. It was difficult not knowing whether he would be alone in this room temporarily or permanently, if Tadashi really could recover from this. The possibility of not having his brother around anymore nearly broke him which was what gave him the issues he was dealing with now. It was something he couldn't handle and he didn't know if he could have ever moved past it.
[+red "You're here now,"] Hiro answered softly, giving him a small smile as he forced those feelings back down where they belonged. [+red "Let's focus on getting you better and, when you are, you can make it up to me."]
He let Tadashi move ahead of him in order to take the stairs at his own pace, all the while keeping an eye on him. He had already fallen out of bed, the last thing he wanted was his brother to tumble down the stairs as well. Once the two of them made it to the bottom, Hiro moved ahead in order to see if Cass was in the process of cooking. The aroma from the kitchen confirmed this, Hiro turning the corner to see her at the stove with a turner in her hand and freshly baked muffins on the table. He smiled faintly, pulling out a chair for Tadashi to sit when he finally made it while pulling some orange juice out of the fridge. Things were beginning to return to normal.
Tadashi found himself frowning ever so slightly at his brother’s reply. Yeah... he was here now but that didn’t make the feeling go away. Focus on getting better so that- what? Everything could go back to normal? He tried not to think so much on it.
Hiro let him go first down the stairs which was... a lot more troublesome without Baymax. His calves stretched and knees locked randomly making him him sort of wobble down every step but Hiro was a good spotter and aided him when needed.
The smells of a home cooked morning breakfast reached his nostrils and made his stomach rumble. He used the walls to keep steady as he rounded into the kitchen and settled himself into a chair that Hiro already pulled out.
He sighed out deeply, relaxing his muscles that already felt like he had worked enough. He stretched his ankles underneath the table and reached for a warm muffin in the center. No sooner had he took his first bite that Aunt Cass set a coffee within his reach.
[b “Oh, it’s so good to have you back at my table,”] she said, ruffling his hair before going back to the stove.
[#424ef4 “Yeah,”] he said, meeting Hiro’s gaze from across the table. [#424ef4 “It’s been going well...”] Tadashi lowered his gaze back to the muffin. He wasn’t lying. [i Everything is fine. Everything is fine.]
Aunt Cass was just setting down their plates when the phone rang. She wiped her hands quickly on her apron and looked at the caller ID. [b “I’ll be just a minute,”] she told them before answering the call in the other room. With the house being so small, nowhere was really that private. They could hear the conversation she had about loans and dates. Financial burdens that Tadashi didn’t even think about.
He moved his eggs around the plate, listening. [#424ef4 “How’s money been?”] he asked Hiro.
Hiro had just set the carton back into the fridge when Tadashi reached the dining room and noticed that Cass had glanced over her shoulder at them. She moved away from the stove, grabbing a mug from the counter and setting it within Tadashi's reach. The smaller Hamada moved over to the table and set his glass in the spot across from Tadashi before pulling himself up into the chair. The smell of breakfast filled the dining room and gave it a warm feeling...a homey feeling. It almost made Hiro want to eat more than he usually did.
Being presented with a full plate, however, quickly made him change his mind as his stomach seemed to protest a bit already. It had gotten used to his hunger strike and shrank a bit in the process which made it difficult for him to eat as much as he used to. He was certain that his brain was still a bit chemically unbalanced which didn't help matters any. Hiro picked up his fork, however, and tried to give the appearance that he was at least making an effort to eat. A glance across the table saw Tadashi doing a similar thing, simply moving his breakfast around the porcelain, before he quietly asked his brother his question. His eyes lifted to meet Tadashi's for a minute before he let them fall back down to the table.
[+red "It's not the worst it's ever been,"] Hiro admitted to him quietly. It wasn't exactly in the best place it could be but they weren't about to be destitute in the immediate future. Still, he had been working on ways to help a bit, no matter how much Tadashi would frown upon it. Betting on bot fighting was still illegal in San Fransokyo but Hiro was good at it. He had built himself a bot that simply couldn't be beat. It was easy money for him, as long as he didn't get caught, and no one in the house needed to know exactly where it came from. [+red "I still have some money left from the last couple of bot fights I went to; Aunt Cass has a box under her bed with emergency cash and bank stuff that I've been adding to when she isn't paying attention. She hasn't noticed but it hasn't been too much, either. But I'm working on a plan to get some money together to help her out."]
He leaned back in the chair, setting his fork against the edge of the plate and let out a quiet sigh. Hiro didn't want Tadashi to worry about money when there wasn't anything he could do about it. It would just add un-needed stress on him. He took a drink of the juice he had poured from himself, keeping his gaze averted from his brother's and down at the table. [+red "I mean....it's the least I can do....for causing all of this mess..."]
Tadashi was really good at seeing through his little brother’s lies after their parents died. Of course Hiro was bot fighting again. Why would he not be after everything that happened? Where else would Aunt Cass get the money? How has she not figured it out yet? They were going to get arrested again if someone found out.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose as Hiro continued, ending with an ominous line that made him freeze. [#424ef4 “Cause what mess..?”] Tadashi looked at Hiro’s tuff of black hair since he wouldn’t meet his gaze. [#424ef4 “You didn’t cause that fire. You didn’t do anything, Hiro.”]
He surprised even himself how serious he sounded. Tadashi would never think that his brother had a weight as heavy as his on his shoulders and before Hiro could even answer, Aunt Cass walked back in the kitchen.
[b “Man, those guys are so serious,”] she dismissed, taking her place at the table.
Tadashi sipped at his coffee, not feeling so hungry anymore. He wanted to talk but he felt Aunt Cass wouldn’t understand either side of this tragedy. He loved her so much but serious situations were not her forte. She couldn’t even talk to him about what happened that day and that frustrated him. He wasn’t a delicate flower.
Hiro didn't need to see his brother's disapproving gaze in order to feel it. He could bend the truth to a number of people, Cass included, but never to Tadashi. He was always found out. In his peripheral he could see his brother rubbing the bridge of his nose, a move Tadashi did when Hiro was about to receive the lecture of a lifetime or get into serious trouble. Most of his "parenting" came from the elder Hamada, at least the more weighty stuff, as their aunt didn't seem to be very skilled at it. He loved her just as much as Tadashi did but felt she was more of a guardian than a parent.
Tadashi filled that role perfectly.
He wanted to believe his brother's words, he wanted to more than anything. He wanted to believe that he wasn't responsible for the accident and that Tadashi wasn't in this mess because of him. Deep down though he knew it was the truth. If Hiro hadn't been there presenting, if he didn't want to go to that nerd school, none of this would have happened. Aunt Cass wouldn't be worrying about bills and loans and Tadashi would be in his lab perfecting Baymax with his nerd friends. He felt he was to blame for all of this.
It was one of the reasons he had picked up bot fighting again since he could essentially pay his brother's hospital bill on his own. He was able to win rather large amounts of money rather easily with his megabot and could also hit a few places a night. This was the only way he felt he could contribute to all the trouble he had caused no matter how much Tadashi disapproved of it or how much trouble it got him into.
His gaze shifted as Cass returned to the table, brushing off the phone call to make the situation less serious. Hiro was a bit grateful she returned when she did as it gave him a bit longer to think about what he wanted to admit to his brother. He knew he wouldn't get out of this conversation, not that his real feelings were admitted, but it was stalled for a little while. He finished the rest of his juice before pushing the plate aside while Cass frowned a little at the untouched breakfast. It was clear she was concerned about her nephews but wasn't sure how to fix it, especially since she had so much else to worry about. Hiro tried to keep her workload low during the past month for that very reason and gave her empty promises about how he would eat later and sleep better the next night. This was no different.
[+red "I'll put it in the fridge and eat it later,"] Hiro told her quietly, leaning back in the chair a bit as he looked over at her. This answer made her feel a little better, her face relaxing a bit. Honestly he used this at almost every meal he came down for and had quite a few covered plates in the fridge already. Hiro rose after a few minutes, taking the plate to the counter to cover and set into the large machine. Once he was finished, he made his way to the living room and dropped onto the couch next to Mochi in order to lightly pet the cat's ears. He seemed appreciative of this, Mochi curling up next to Hiro and purring loudly. At least he could do something right for once.
The longer he sat at the table, the more upset he became. Tadashi stared hard at his cold eggs as Hiro excused himself from eating by saying ‘he’ll eat them later’. It frustrated him how much had changed because of the accident and how he was only [i now] seeing the radical changes in his little brother. [i Aunt Cass, of course he’s not going to eat day old eggs and sausage.] Why wasn’t she being more assertive? Everything was okay now. Everything is fine!
Tadashi waited till Hiro had left before dropping his fork and looking at Aunt Cass. Her big eyes looked apologetic. [b “He’s been doing this ever since the accident,”] she said quietly to keep Hiro from hearing.
He pushed his plate away and leaned forward. [#424ef4 “You should make him eat. Look how thin he’s getting. It’s been two months.”]
Aunt Cass smiled sadly. [b “Honey, it’s not that easy. I’ve seen so much change- in the both of you. Healing takes time.”]
[i Healing takes time.] That’s all anyone had to say.
[#424ef4 “I’m done,”] he said, pushing back the chair. [#424ef4 “Don’t save it.”] He planted his feet and slowly lifted himself. He shook his head when Aunt Cass made to help him, persistent on staying independent. Eventually, he came to a stand and as fast as he could, made his way towards the stairs.
Tadashi could feel his body heating up, sweat building on his forehead as he used the strength in his arms to lift himself up the steps using the railing. What could he do to make things right? How could he help Hiro get out of that state of mind? That... depression? The more he moved, the harder it was to maintain his control. His legs were shaking, his stomach turning, his cheeks burning up. Dizzy...
Tadashi couldn’t recall when he fell but when he opened his eyes he was staring at the wood texture of the stairs. His anger and frustration peaked as he laid there, feeling heavy and hot. Why was this happening? Why was he here? He spent so much time wishing he’d never ran in that maybe he should have never come out.
He heard someone behind him but couldn’t make out what they were saying. His head was pounding and his skin was getting clammy. [i A fever,] he thought.
Mochi meowed quietly and snuggled closer to Hiro as the small hand continued to scratch the soft ears. He seemed content with his temporary head scratcher while the smaller Hamada quietly stared out the window. The low voices of his small family drifted into the room though he couldn't make out what they were saying, he was sure he wouldn't want to hear it anyway. If he had to put money on it, it was about his eating habits as of late. The damage he had done to his system was hard to reverse, especially since so much time had passed, and his appetite seemed to be unrecoverable. He just wasn't hungry. Hiro was a bright kid and knew that what he was doing wasn't good for him but it was hard to pull himself out of that behavior.
He hadn't forgotten about the conversation he was having with Tadashi before Cass had returned and was still trying to think of what to say to him. Of course it was his fault, how could it not be? If Hiro wasn't there, Tadashi wouldn't have been, either. If he wasn't presenting that night, instead of watching his brother being loaded into the back of an ambulance he would have been up in his room receiving another lecture about his actions. The cycle would have continued and they could have lived out the rest of their lives.
Now it was too late for that.
Hiro wasn't aware of how long he had spaced out, brown eyes staring unseeing out the window, before he heard a loud thud near the staircase. Quietly he pushed Mochi back so he could stand up, the large ball of fluff protesting with a quiet meow, and rose to his feet in order to investigate. He imagined it was Aunt Cass, probably having dropped the laundry basket down the stairs again and expected to see an explosion of clothes on the stairs and the landing. Instead when he turned the corner, he saw his brother lying on the floor. Hiro hurried over, kneeling down beside him and lightly touching his shoulder. He was warm, much warmer than he should have been. Tadashi needed to be laying down, preferably in bed, but there was no way he could carry his brother up those stairs. Hell, he couldn't even pick him up to help him stand. He didn't think Cass could do it either, she was too small as well. Quickly he rose to stand and dart up the stairs to their shared room to activate Baymax. The large white robot was still condensed into his charging station; Hiro squatted down and pushed one of the activating buttons on the station that alerted him that his patient needed him. Round eyes opened after a soft beep, Baymax taking a step out of his station and looking down at the smaller Hamada.
[b "I have been alerted that Tadashi is in need of medical attention."]
[+red "Come on, he's downstairs,"] Hiro answered him. He then quickly made his way back downstairs and knelt by Tadashi once more as Baymax made his way to them.
[+red "Baymax is coming,"] he told Tadashi quietly, though he wasn't sure if he could hear him. He looked pretty out of it. [+red "Just try to relax."]
There were muffled pitches and sounds as he laid there letting his body distribute the consequences that resulted from over exertion and utter stupidity. He was smart. He should have known better but these stupid emotions just made reason seem, well, unreasonable.
Time seemed to pass too slowly to really grasp how long it took for a wave of cool air to hit his face. He blinked beginning to focus on Baymax’s hand lifting his head off the floor to cool it gradually. He remembered installing that mechanism into the robots hand. What was it? Four years ago?
Baymax was saying something as something else was pushed against his cheek. Muffles. 104? Climbing? He couldn’t even climb the stairs. He wanted to laugh but left too sick to do so.
Tadashi tried to move his hands but his fingers felt numb. Disoriented, he wondered if Hiro was near and how much the eldest wished he wasn’t. This would make everything worse. Wasn’t Tadashi upset? Upset over what? All this heat. Was everything on fire?
He was no longer laying on the floor and his body was pressed against something soft and cool. He imagined he was leaning against a cloud. The eldest tried to take in the scenes around him but there was so much light and his temples were pounding. What was happening?
In glimpses, he dizzily recognised passing into the bathroom and quickly dropped into a tub of water. His body tingled at the sudden change in temperature, grinding his teeth as he bared through it. A few minutes and his senses seemed to return, sharpening his awareness of the situation and embarrassment. [i Please be alone. Please be alone.] [#424ef4 “Alone?”] he stuttered, his hand now gripping the side of the tub.
[b “Hiro is here,”] Baymax stated cooly before turning to look at his brother. [b “Can you please pass me a towel so that we may help Tadashi be dry again?”]
[i No. No. No. No. God damn it.]
Chocolate eyes lifted a bit as Baymax finally joined them, watching as a large and white hand slipped under Tadashi's head to lift it. A soft hum sounded, kind of like a small fan, before his other hand pressed lightly to his cheek.
[b "High temperature of 104 degrees detected. Immediate cooling is recommended."]
Hiro couldn't respond at first, only able to stare at his brother as he rested heavily against his creation. Seeing his brother like this made his guilt much worse, his stomach feeling as if it were going to reject the juice he had drank not even thirty minutes ago. Thin arms tightened around his matching frame as he watched Baymax carefully lift Tadashi and begin his ascension of the staircase, taking his brother to give him the help that Hiro couldn't. Feeling helpless was even worse...he felt like he was instantly transported back to the fire and only able to watch as Tadashi ran into those bright flames. Tears threatened to fill his eyes, his hands clenching the fabric of his pajama shirt, and he could feel his pulse beginning to quicken again...just like it did on that night.
Hiro felt like he was trapped in a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from.
The sound of the bathroom door hitting the wall as it was opened pulled him from his dark thoughts, Hiro heading up the staircase quickly. Baymax would need some help. He squeezed his small frame between the large, fluffy robot and the wall until he reached the bath tub and quickly turned the cold water on. Once it was filled enough, Baymax carefully set his patient into it in order to cool him down some. It was a dated practice to lower one's body temperature but it was the most effective. Within a few minutes he could see the effects of it beginning to work, Tadashi slowly became more conscious and aware of his surroundings while regaining a bit of movement. All he could do was lean against the wall for the time being while Tadashi recovered, his thoughts beginning the downward spiral with each passing minute. This fever wasn't his fault, too, was it?
Hiro glanced over as Baymax requested a towel in order to dry Tadashi, feeling that he had spent enough time in the cold water to help him. He moved across the hall to the linen closet, reaching up to the top shelf to pull down a clean towel. He would need another set of clothes as well seeing as how Baymax set him in the water fully clothed. He set the towel on the sink so one of them could grab it before going into their bedroom and over to his brother's dresser. He sorted through his clothes until he found a comfortable looking pair of pajama pants and a loose shirt, feeling these would work. Quietly he took them back to the bathroom for Tadashi to change into. Once the wet clothes were shed and he was changed, Hiro gathered up the wet clothes to take them down to the laundry basket.
[+red "You should be in bed, Tadashi,"] Hiro told his brother quietly. His eyes briefly lifted to meet his brother's before his guilt set in again and he had to look away. He wanted to tell his brother that he still loved him, no matter how responsible he felt for all of his discomfort and he wanted to reassure him that everything would turn out okay. His emotions threatened to choke out his voice, though, and prevented him from saying anything. Instead, he left the bathroom so Baymax could treat is patient while Hiro took the laundry down the stairs.
[b “102 degrees. 101.8...”]
Tadashi laid his head against the towel that the robot put around the base of his neck. The shakes were passing and now he was simply exhausted. The bathroom light bathed everything in a yellow tint, convincing him that he couldn’t be entirely sensible yet.
[b “Tadashi,”] the young man opened his eyes slowly. [b “Lean forward so I may help you out and dry.”] As instructed, he let Baymax help straighten his posture and pull him out of the water, the clothes heavy and his muscles weak.
Once he was safely on the floor, Baymax proceeded to aid him in stripping off the soaked garments, including all his bandages that were now destroyed. His heart sank as he gazed at all the scarred skin underneath. [#424ef4 “Baymax, what happened?”]
[b “You experienced overexertion through stress, muscle fatigue, and chemical imbalances. Your body did what it could to help itself by producing flu-like symptoms in order to stop you from inflicting further damage on yourself. Your immune system is weak from medicines thus making you more prone to infection.”]
[#424ef4 “Why the bathtub?”] He held out his arm for Baymax to rebandage.
[b “I am programmed to be empathic and aware of my patient and his family’s needs. If my patient could not afford the best care then I will provide the next best service.”]
Tadashi looked up into the robots blank eyes, the feelings of shame briefly lifting to feel pride. [#424ef4 “You do work,”] he breathed.
[b “My humblest thanks to my creator.”]
There were small steps and Tadashi looked up at his brother following the comment for rest. He could not bring himself to say anything further and left them alone. His chest was heavy again.
[b “While I do not have all the tools for complete comfort, I suggest you follow Hiro’s suggestion and rest. A pain reliever will be provided.”]
[#424ef4 “Alright.”] Baymax carried him out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom, where he was comforted by the sheets of his bed.
[b “Tadashi, I urge you to use caution,”] the robot stated after his work was done. [b “Any more damage to yourself may result in needing more professional attention where, in some cases, you may not be able to remain home.”]
He should have just stayed in bed. [#424ef4 “I’ll be more cautious.”] He should have just stayed away. He should have just stayed inside that auditorium.
[b “One last check. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?”]
He thought of Hiro at that moment. That day when he first introduced his little brother to his life’s work. [i Physically or emotionally?] [#424ef4 “Six, Baymax, it’s a six.”]
[b “We will continue treatment after you have rested.”]
[#424ef4 “Thanks. I am satisfied with my care.”] And with that Baymax waddled back over to his station and deactivated. Then he was alone.
Tadashi pushed his head into the pillow, trying so hard not to think of self hating thoughts. What was Hiro thinking? What was Aunt Cass thinking? Was he becoming this new burden? What if he never got better? What if he kept destroying out of impatience? He wasn’t a hero. Now he was a invalid.
The clothes dropped into the basket loudly due to the water they still held, the clear liquid beginning to seep from the fabric to the thick plastic under them. He thought about taking them to the laundromat down the street in order to clean and dry them but thought better about it after remembering Cass' extremely long lecture after he ruined some light colored clothes. How was he supposed to know you weren't supposed to put reds in there? He picked up the basket and set it on top of the laundry sorter for her to deal with later and slowly made his way to the staircase. The main living area was quiet, Hiro beginning to smell the warm aroma of various baked goods on the lower level. Aunt Cass was opening up shop for the day. He knew she wanted to take some time off to help with Tadashi but mentioned she only might be able to take a day or so as it was their only source of income. Hiro understood and imagined it would probably make his brother feel a bit better not having someone hovering over him at all hours of the day.
Instead of going up the stairs, he turned around and headed into the kitchen. After all of that, Tadashi could probably use some water. He dug around the cabinets until he found a pitcher he could fill with water and pulled an empty glass from the drainer. Hiro carried the items quietly upstairs and to their bedroom, stepping in just in time to see Baymax deactivate for the time being. Tadashi must have agreed to rest a bit, something he desperately needed. He gave his brother a small smile before filling the glass with cold water and setting the pitcher on the table. [+red "I thought you could use some water after that,"] Hiro informed him softly as he held out the glass to his brother. Once it was out of his hands, he sat on the edge of the bed and brought his gaze up to meet Tadashi's eyes. [+red "Are you feeling better?"]
There was a small thought that his brother wouldn’t come up but he should have known better. Hiro was much kinder than that and even then always thinking of him. Tadashi raised his gaze to look at the glass, the condensation dripping onto the blanket. He didn’t want to but he took the glass anyway, only allowing a small sip before setting it on the side table. The water did help his dry mouth but he didn’t feel ready to invite comfort just yet. Not even on Baymax’s warning. It made him feel rotten.
[#424ef4 “Yeah, Hiro. The fever is gone and I’m in bed once again.”] The eldest could feel himself getting upset again and he really, really didn’t want that to be misinterpreted with Hiro. How could he tell him? What was there to say without starting an argument on who’s fault was whos? Maybe they should get it out before things festered into something worse. Or maybe it wasn’t the right time? He was over thinking. [i Calm down. Calm down. Keep your temper.]
[#424ef4 “Is... is there something you want to say?”] He had no idea on how to start this- if Hiro even wanted to talk about it. Did he ask the right question? It sounded so rude. Tadashi rolled the gauze between his fingers, looking at the glass of water again.
[+cadetblue [i "Is there something you want to say?"]]
There was a lot he wanted to say but very little of it he could actually get out. He wanted to tell Tadashi that, no matter what, he would always be there for him. He wanted to tell him that he didn't blame the elder Hamada for what happened and that Tadashi should stop punishing himself. He wanted to admit that he was prepared to take full responsibility for why Tadashi was in the position that he was and he would do whatever he could to fix it.
But he couldn't. The words just wouldn't come out.
A small hand lifted to run through his messy, dark hair while his gaze averted again. He didn't want Tadashi to be angry anymore, at himself or at his little brother, and wasn't sure how to vocalize that in order to be effective. Hiro's throat tightened again as tears threatened to form the longer he sat in silence; more than anything he wished he could just lean over and hug his brother tightly. They both needed it.
Stuck again, just like before.
He let out a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment before quickly running his hand over them to dispel any tears that dared to form.
[+red "....you know.....you know that I love you.....right?"] he asked quietly, not daring to look at Tadashi again. If he did, he might not be able to speak.
The silence felt cold and agonizing. He could hear the slight ticking of the clock on Hiro’s desk and pace of his own breathing, building his impatience. Until he spoke.
This was a bad idea. He should have dropped it at the dining table. He should have kept it to himself. Maybe Aunt Cass was right.
Tadashi raised his eyes to look at the side of Hiro’s head, messy hair and shaky posture. Of course he knew that... which almost seemed to diffuse his anger like a popped balloon. [#424ef4 “Yeah, Hiro. I know that,”] he replied, [#424ef4 “And you know that I love you too, right?”]
He could feel that parental side of him rising up. The eldest always felt that he just grew up too fast. That sometimes he wasn’t teaching his younger brother the right things. It was a lot of responsibility that he second guessed often.
Hiro had always known that Tadashi loved him even if he didn't express it well. The two had a bond that not many siblings did which was probably what made this situation so hard. His brother was the most important thing in his life and the aspect of nearly loosing him almost broke Hiro. He couldn't imagine a world without Tadashi in it and wasn't sure if he could even move past it if the unthinkable were to become reality. The elder Hamada was one of the reasons Hiro had gotten this far in life and he would always be needed.
He nodded at his brother's words, Hiro dropping his gaze to the blanket that he sat on top of. Small hands gripped the fabric as tears stung the back of his eyes and he focused on keeping it all together. He didn't want to seem like a whiny and needy child in front of his brother when Tadashi was the one who needed attention. Still, Hiro couldn't shake the guilt that he felt deep down from his brother's condition and wished more than anything that he could make it better.
[+red "..I just..."] His words came out rather soft as he felt the knot forming in his throat again. It hurt, stung a bit even, and threatened to silence him once more. Hiro forced the words around it, it was something he needed to say and Tadashi needed to hear.
[+red "...I'm so sorry,"] he whispered quietly. The tears he had been holding back finally made themselves visible in the corners of his deep brown eyes, making the image of the room quite blurry. [+red "I'm....I'm sorry that I....got you hurt like this."]
This time he watched the reactions Hiro made from the small fists, shaking his head and holding back tears. Tadashi imagined this is what he must have looked like seeing him pulled out of the wreckage of the fire. Young and helpless. It was really his carelessness that caused the rift in the Hamada household and he wanted to do everything in his power to help Hiro feel like he wasn’t the bad guy here. That his brilliant brother deserved to be in that school.
The struggle Hiro went through the utter those words made Tadashi want to crawl into a hole and punish every fiber in his being for putting his own life in danger. [i Look what you did Tadashi. You made your own little brother think it was his fault. What kind of older brother does that? What kind of man stops his whole life in the spur of one moment?] He had been so conflicted about it that he truly didn’t know how to start.
Tadashi had become such a cry baby ever since that horrible experience and those words just destroyed his composure. He failed, Despite the pain in his muscles, despite the tear in his arm, despite every fucking thing that screamed for him not to touch the innocent Hamada, he moved across the bed and grabbed Hiro into a more then uncomfortable embrace.
His legs were on either side of Hiro and his arms around that very thin body. He couldn’t even begin to describe how awful he felt. [#424ef4 “It wasn’t your fault, Hiro. You have to know that,”] he stuttered, letting his tears soak into his brothers shirt. [#424ef4 “The fire wasn’t you- wasn’t me. It was someone or something else...”] He took a sharp breath, his tone serious. [#424ef4 “But you don’t determine my actions, Hiro. I do. Do you understand?”] He tried to keep his fingers from shaking, but the grip only seemed to get more tense. [i Calm down. Calm down. Everything is okay. You’re okay.]
The smaller Hamada wasn't expecting the sudden embrace from his brother, his form jumping when he felt those scarred but strong arms around his frame. Tadashi was more than twice his size now and effectively able to wrap his arms completely around Hiro's abdomen if he chose to and still touch his own wrists. It was a bit embarrassing how thin he had allowed himself to become and that his brother was there to witness it. It was clear that this behavior wasn't approved of by Tadashi but he seemed more focused on soothing his brother's fears than condemn his new eating habits.
At least for now.
Hiro couldn't hold back the tears once he fell into Tadashi's broad chest, hiding his face in the soft fabric of the shirt. One hand had wrapped lightly around the older male's waist while the other gripped the hem of the shirt in a tight fist. His tears fell freely now that they couldn't be seen while the small frame shook a bit with intense feeling. Of course it was Hiro's fault, how could it not be? Just because he didn't start the fire or push Tadashi into that building didn't mean he didn't hold responsibility. If Hiro hadn't been presenting then Tadashi wouldn't have been anywhere near that room on that day. They both knew that.
[+red "If...if it wasn't for me....this wouldn't have happened,"] Hiro choked out quietly between heavy sniffles. His grip tightened on Tadashi's shirt, trying hard to stop the tears that continued to flow. It seemed that now that the floodgates had been opened, there was no closing them. [+red "I might....might not have done it....but...It's still my fault...."]
He wanted to shake that thin body of all the self guilt his brother harbored. It frustrated him that Hiro just thought existing in a certain place at a certain time made him the one responsible for everything. As rational as Tadashi’s mind worked, he knew exactly that there was no way to prevent the inevitable. This accident would have happened with or without the pair of them. His decision was what got him here in the first place.
Tadashi could feel exhaustion gripping his body, aching from the fall and headache pounding from emotion. He concluded that training Hiro to forgive the past that wasn’t even in his power to change was going to take a lot longer than ten minutes.
[i Just don’t get upset with him. Calm down. Calm down.]
[#424ef4 “Hiro,”] Tadashi sighed, holding his little brother steady to his chest and taking a deep breath. [#424ef4 “If you want to argue who’s fault is whos it might as well go all the way back to me bringing you to my stupid nerd lab that night I picked you up out of that bot fight.”] He paused to let it sink in. [#424ef4 “You want me to not encourage you to be the best you can be? You want to be the smartest kid in the city but only use those brains for easy money?”] If he wanted regret, fine. He could have it.
Hiro could feel the warmth emanating from his brother's chest and arms as he continued to hold the small teenager, the smaller Hamada's grip remaining tight on his shirt. Tears continued to fall, Hiro powerless to stop them, and kept his head against Tadashi's chest as they soaked into the cotton fabric. He was quiet, the only sounds made for a while soft sniffles. The part of his brain that processed logic knew that he was right, that the two of them partaking in the activities that they did prior to the fire wasn't what caused all of this to happen. His heart, though, hurt to see his brother like this and felt he was the source of it.
Tadashi was right. And he knew it.
His head lifted a bit, the hand gripping his shirt releasing to wipe at his eyes. Hiro's form still shook a little from the strain he had put on his emotions and his body not having enough sustenance to support it but it had lessened. He was still upset but Tadashi was right; he wanted his brother's continued support and encouragement...especially when he was doing something stupid. His brother was his rock, the only reason he had gotten to where he was now. He needed him.
[+red "....No..."] Hiro whispered quietly, wiping tears away again after a loud sniffle. [+red "I...I don't want that."] What he really wanted was a time machine to fix their situation. Unfortunately it wasn't a viable option at the moment. It might be, though, if Hiro worked on it hard enough. He had to admit that he missed being this close to his brother, having physical contact with him after two months was reassuring. It was almost like things were slowly returning back to normal. He knew better but the thought was nice.
[+red "I just....I missed you, Tadashi..."]
Thankfully, Tadashi felt his temper diffuse at Hiro’s response. He really needed to work on balancing his new emotional status. From trauma, medications, stress, pain... He was just thankful that Hiro had such a complicated nature and really hoped he would never see any of these changes.
[#424ef4 “I missed being here.”] He wanted to repeat his apologies over and over again but it wouldn’t do any good. Hiro had heard his initial atonement this morning- still it didn’t feel right. It didn’t really feel fixed. The eldest sat there for a few minutes more, letting his younger brother calm into a more comfortable state before patting his back lightly. [#424ef4 “It’s going to be okay and... for now, let’s plan to head back to the University to solve this mystery. Maybe we can put this incident behind us.”]
Tadashi wiped the last of the tears from his eyes and tried to stifle a yawn. He honestly felt like he was about to pass out. The headache needed another pain killer and his eyes were fighting his will to stay awake. [#424ef4 “I think... maybe I should rest,”] he confided.
Nothing had felt better in these few months than being in his brother's embrace again. It was something Hiro sorely missed and needed; it was amazing what a single, long hug could do for his emotions. It were almost as if the world was righting itself and everything would be alright; it was almost like old times. He remembered when he was younger and would run to Tadashi for everything, the older Hamada would scoop him up in his arms similar to this and tell him all the words that he needed to hear. No matter what the situation was, he could always make Hiro feel better.
Once his emotions had calmed down a bit and he was beginning to feel better, he felt a few gentle pats to his back before hearing those reassuring words again. Tadashi still hadn't lost his touch. He remained in those long arms for a few more moments before he straightened up again, sniffling once more, and looking up at his brother. He looked sore and tired, his eyes barely able to hold themselves open. It seemed that the morning's excitement was beginning to set it. Hiro pulled himself away at Tadashi's final statement, giving him a small smile and wiping any remnants of tears from his face. [+red "Get some sleep, Tadashi,"] he responded quietly, crawling off of the bed and running his hand through his hair. [+red "I promised Aunt Cass I'd pick up a few things for her so I probably won't be back until the afternoon. Just take it easy, okay?"]
Once Tadashi seemed to be settled, Hiro walked quietly over to his side of the room and changed from his pajamas. As he picked up the blue hoodie from the back of his desk chair, he stole a glance over at his brother to see him nearly passed out under his blankets. He smiled faintly at this as it was reassuring to see him resting. Hiro pulled it on as he headed down the stairs and into the cafe, making his way over to Cass who stood behind the glass counter and was arranging some cupcakes inside.
[+red "I can go pick up your orders now, if you want,"] he informed her softly. She turned and gave him a gentle smile before straightening up and pulling an envelope from her apron and handing it to her nephew. [b "It isn't much but it is a bit of walking,"] she informed him. Hiro didn't mind walking, it gave him an opportunity to get out of the apartment for a bit and organize his thoughts. Besides, the longer he was away and the apartment was quiet, the longer Tadashi could rest and recover. [b "There should be a little bit of cash left when you finish, you can use it to get yourself a treat before you come back."]
Hiro pocketed the envelope, giving her a small smile before heading out the door and onto the busy San Fransokyo sidewalk. He didn't need to look at the list just yet as he remembered the stores from yesterday when is aunt told him, he was gifted with an excellent memory and wouldn't need to look at it until he was getting money out to see what the bill would be. Already he had a route planned which would be the most efficient; it was better to start four blocks away and make a large circle. So that's what he did.
As predicted, he didn't return until mid afternoon. Hiro carried the requested items into the cafe and set them down on an empty table then pulled the envelope with the remaining cash from his pocket. He handed it to Cass before disappearing into the kitchen to get a glass of water. He wondered how his brother was doing, if he had time to rest and relax like he desperately needed.
Once the younger Hamada gave him the go for rest, he gladly leaned himself back into the blankets and nuzzled into the pillow. An instant rush of relief enveloped him as he let his heavy eyes close into the restful sleep he desperately needed. As he waited for unconsciousness, he wondered if he’d feel the same when he awoke. If things would be better now that he and Hiro talked...
It was night and the university grounds were quiet save for the crickets. He was alone on the wooden bridge just outside the auditorium where it felt he and Hiro were just talking. But there was empty space beside him. Nobody around. He wondered, as he stood staring at the water below, if this was what it was like to be dead. Was it always lonely? Being in a world of your creation without anyone to share it with? Were his parents here? Wishing this was finally it?
Tadashi opened his eyes and gripped his blankets tightly, disturbed by his own morbidity. The philosophy of dreams was still a phenomenon that most humans couldn’t describe reasons for- but to think of something so final was so... fucked up. He laid there for a few minutes more, shaking off the cold feeling in his chest, before pulling himself to a seating position.
He grabbed his cellphone from behind the tablet and looked at the time. 2:36pm. He’d been out for almost 8 hours. He supposed it made up for not getting too much of a sleep after the fall early this morning. He lifted his arm, checking the status of his bandages. Everything seemed fine. He must not have tossed too much in his rest. Baymax would be pleased.
The room was quiet save for a small hum of activity in the cafe downstairs... which almost scared him. It was a quiet hum at the hospital too. Tadashi took one deep and long breath, trying to center himself in the moment. No need to lose it. They just got done with his most recent meltdown. He didn’t want to cause anymore unnecessary stress, especially if he was promising everything was going to be peachy from now on.
Tadashi thought about doing more research but disregarded the idea knowing that Callaghan was still open on his tablet, which, again, seemed to darken his mood. Instead, he practiced his physical therapy stretches minding his own pain until he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. To his relief, it was his little brother. [#424ef4 “Hey, long time, no see.”] He personally hoped he looked better then he felt. Mentally and physically. [#424ef4 “I hope Aunt Cass isn’t overworking herself down there.”]
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