What [i was] all of this? Clearly someone had been tracking something all over the city as a map was pinned in the middle of the cork board, the surface littered with pins while red string was connecting them all together. Whatever it was, this person had visited quite a bit of the city looking for an answer. A couple blueprints were pinned nearby, showing some kind of technology that Hiro hadn't seen before. Was this what the mysterious, unknown person had been tracking? A small hand reached out and touched the paper, the material still having some softness to it; it wasn't that old. Hiro imagined it was printed within the last five years.
Tadashi's voice pulled him out of his thoughts, Hiro turning to look over at his brother. Weren't they supposed to be sneaking around and quiet? For the older Hamada to forget that fact, he must be looking at something important. Hiro's sneakers tapped softly on the hard floor, echoing faintly in the large building, as he made his way over and eventually stopped at the side of the wheelchair. What he saw made him freeze.
These.....these were his microbots! But what were they doing down here? Large eyes examined the barrels and machinery, more bots being processed by whatever machinery was behind the frosted glass and dropped into the nearest barrel. Hiro reached in, scooping some up into his hands and watching as they fell through his fingers to rejoin their friends once more. The metal was cool, just as it was when he and Tadashi were producing them in the garage.
[+red "What in the hell...?"]
He allowed them to drop, shoving his hands into his hoodie pockets and looking over at Tadashi again. His face showed his confusion and surprise, the smaller Hamada not able to think on what else to say. For once, he didn't have a witty one-liner to add to the situation. All he had was shock.
Hiro was about to ask Tadashi what he thought was happening when the microbots began to shake, linking together and climbing out of the barrels. Chocolate eyes widened and he quickly grabbed Tadashi's chair and yanked him backwards before turning it around to begin pushing him out of the building. He didn't even bother to see what kind of shape they were forming, surviving was far more important.
Tadashi shook his head at his brother's words. [i Criminal? Barely. People broke into places all the time.] Which... really wasn’t a proper thought to be thinking as they moved further into the darkened warehouse.
It was very dank. Dimly lit only by the faded paned windows towards the very top of the facility. The door creaked closed with a small whine and left them in a nearly silent space. Neither of them said a word as they ventured forward, Tadashi gripping the sides of his wheelchair slightly tighter. And, to him, his actions seemed... out of place. Like he should be tip toeing in case they needed to make a quick escape. Such was the luck of being, well... [i like this].
The eldest Hamada pursed his lips, rolling himself ahead without the awareness of his brother. As he rounded a corner, he immediately caught sight of the glowing faded glass walls set up in the center. He could hear machines rumbles. Sounds he was so familiar with at the university that he knew the equipment being used was state of the art and expensive.
Tadashi could feel his heartbeat growing quicker in his chest, the eerie atmosphere elevating the suspense. Someone was doing something they probably weren’t supposed to be doing in a secluded warehouse away from the city and it was making HIro’s tech go active. He just wanted to know why.
Tadashi pushed closer to the frosted walls, slowly making out the shapes of moving machines working on a present project. He squinted his eyes, making out a conveyor belt with something tiny on them dropping into a rusted barrel at the end. His brain jumped to conclusions, eventually making it close enough that he could pick one right off the production line. Something familiar. His brothers microbots.
[#424ef4 “Hiro,”] he said, forgetting for a moment that they were supposed to be silent. This was not right. Who could be doing this? How did they even get the technology and blueprints for his invention? Why was it here? How could it-
Suddenly, there were small clicking sounds, a rattling of tins as the barrels behind the production line began to shake... like they were being activated.
The longer the smaller Hamada lingered in front of the large building, the more he wanted to get out of there. The fact that his little robot led them to such and dark and out-of-the-way location left a heavy feeling in his gut and it constantly told him that the two of them were in a place they shouldn't be. He wasn't one to run away from an opportunity, however, whether it was exciting nor not. It was one of Hiro's traits that got him in trouble quite often and led to Tadashi pulling him out of all kinds of situations.
He watched as Tadashi moved forward, pushing on the doors a bit to see how much give they had. The little bit they budged informed the two of them that they were locked. Hiro was about to ask his brother what other ideas he had when he watched Tadashi pull out his wallet and remove a small tool kit in order to pick the lock on the doors. Needless to say, it was quite surprising to see such a thing from Mr. "Stop Getting Involved In Criminal Activity", and Hiro couldn't stop his mouth falling open a bit.
[+red "Well, if it isn't the pot calling the kettle black,"] Hiro answered his brother once the lock was picked and he had a moment to compose himself. He moved up beside his brother, resting a hand on the doors before looking back at him with a faint smile. [+red "Never took you for one of the criminal element, though,"] he teased. Finally he began to push the doors open.
It took a little bit of force but he finally got them to move, wincing faintly at the loud groaning of metal. It would certainly alert anyone in the immediate area of their presence. Once he was certain no one was coming for them, he slowly stepped in and looked around. From here it looked like a perfectly normal warehouse, though it seemed pretty dim and empty. Hiro separated from his brother as something caught his eye, moving to the wall and looking over some posters and papers attached to it. Chocolate eyes narrowed a bit as he tried to piece all of these pieces of information together, blueprints and maps not making much sense from this standpoint.
It took him a few minutes but eventually Tadashi started to feel better being out in the fresh air. They passed many faces and strange expressions but the eldest used the same tactic as before... Follow closely, be assured of Hiro’s assistance and form of safety. He was not alone. He was in control.
Their compass route seemed... rather long. In fact, Tadashi was getting a little more concerned the farther they traveled almost out of the heart of the city. Closer to the docking bay of San Fransokyo. While his arms were starting to sore, he couldn’t help but let his curiosity get the best of him. He wanted to know where this mysterious signal might be coming from, that is, until Hiro stopped in front of their destination.
It was a large aged warehouse, hidden out of the main eye of the public. It felt abandoned but still unsafe. Tadashi couldn’t believe it but he found himself at a moral cross road. Turn away or investigate? His dark eyes landed on the microbot in the petri dish, fighting so hard to escape out of the plastic confinements like a magnetic pull.
[#424ef4 “A warehouse,”] he answered, examining the door as Hiro pocketed the bot. He reached a hand out and touched the surface of the metal door, testing it slightly despite his better nature to ‘mind his own business’. It was a curious situation... like the death of Callaghan, it didn’t make sense. Which... must have blazed his sudden intent.
Without giving Hiro much of a choice on what to do, Tadashi rolled himself closer to the lock of the door and pulled out his wallet. Inside was a compact tool kit. A nifty invention Wasabi had created in the cases where any genius would have the items he needed in case of a ‘scientific breakthrough!’ as he liked to put it. Tadashi mostly used it for on the go repairs or- in this case- picking a lock.
He could feel his heartbeat slowly begin to increase, knowing full well what this must have looked like. What Hiro must have been seeing in his older brother breaking and entering an unmarked warehouse on the east side of the shipping docks. It was something the younger Hamada might have done but to Tadashi it was new and slightly exciting. It wasn’t a challenge to figure out how to alter the mechanics of a lock and he wanted to know. He controlled his destiny- not some arsonist trying to sabotage a science exhibit.
Tadashi’s gaze lifted to the handle, barely catching the words Hiro was saying. [#424ef4 “It’s okay,”] he said, [#424ef4 “I don’t think anyone’s going to be here.”] He nodded to his brother to push open the door, surprisingly committed.
Hiro followed his brother down the stairs, keeping a few feet behind in order to not crowd him. Baymax seemed to be handling him quite well and he didn't wish to get in the way. He watched quietly as Tadashi lowered himself carefully into the waiting wheelchair, getting as comfortable as he could before making his way into the cafe and quickly grabbing a muffin. Hiro decided to skip breakfast once again, glad his brother was in ahead of him so he didn't have to see the disapproving stare he would most likely receive. He was well aware that Tadashi was only looking out for him and wanted him to get better but he needed to focus more on himself and his own healing right now. Hiro felt he could survive on one small meal a day, he had been the entire time Tadashi had been in the hospital.
Quietly he followed the elder Hamada out onto the sidewalk, glancing around at the busy streets. It was typical for this time of the day, people weaving in and out of each other in order to get to their chosen destinations. Tadashi's voice grabbed his attention, chocolate eyes flickering over to him then to the small dish that sat on his lap. The small robot continued to hit the glass, making a small clink that was drowned out by the city life around them.
[+red "Sure,"] he answered softly, reaching over and carefully picking up the glass. Tadashi seemed okay but he wondered if that was really true. Was he putting up a front in order to keep his little brother from worrying? It would be typical if it was, Tadashi liked to view himself as Hiro's rock and protector. Like hell he was going to allow his little brother to worry about him. The deep brown eyes moved to the microbot still crashing into the wall of the dish repeatedly, beginning to move in a westward direction. It didn't take long for the small robot to change directions again, this time going northeast. Hiro continued to use it as a compass while moving slow enough for Tadashi to keep up before the brothers found themselves in front of a large building.
Hiro had no idea where they were as this location seemed pretty out-of-the-way. If the tiny robot wasn't moving in the direction of the door he would have though they were in the wrong place entirely. Slowly his gaze shifted from the building to his brother, carefully placing the dish into his pocket for safekeeping. [+red "Where are we?"] he asked quietly. [+red "It's pretty quiet, especially for a city."]
It didn’t take long for Tadashi to finish his routine with Baymax. Admittingly, it was becoming a little easier since he knew what to expect- but breakfast? Ha, this was one of those days he would have preferred to skip. He tried not to be annoyed by Hiro’s comments because he was right, of course, and just wanted to help him but... the earlier transaction still bothered him.
Once his shoes were on, he followed his brother out the bedroom door and made it down the stairs with the robot’s aid. Aunt Cass was up early as usual, getting ready to open up the cafe bustling around her kitchen. Tadashi quickly spoke, saying that he and Hiro were going out into the city and grabbed a fresh muffin off of one of her trays. He didn’t watch to see if the younger Hamada had taken anything, he wasn’t in the mood to deal with Hiro’s eating habits this morning.
[b “Stay safe you too!”] she called, watching them leave with a fond smile.
Tadashi gripped the rubber on the wheelchair and began pushing out the door and onto the sidewalk. He took in a deep breath, already feeling the self consciousness creep up on him. [i It was going to be okay. It was going to be okay.]
He looked down at the petri dish in his lap, watching the micro bot lean west... In the opposite direction of the university. Tadashi felt a bite of disappointment. He had secretly hoped the answer would be there but it seemed that Hiro’s theory would appear to be more valid. Maybe it was nothing and he was just finding an excuse to get out of the four wall room. Trying to find an excuse to go back.
[#424ef4 “Hey Hiro,”] he started, looking up at the thin teen, [#424ef4 “Do you want to hold it and lead the way? I can follow behind you better then navigating through the crowds myself.”] Tadashi hoped he didn’t give off any negative impressions to his little brother. He wanted this rift to heal as much as possible despite circumstances.
A wave of relief washed over the smaller Hamada once Tadashi spoke, choosing not to delve too deep into his brother's words. He wasn't one hundred percent sure his story was accepted as truth but it wasn't something that would be pursued in the immediate future. At least he could avoid one lecture for the morning. Hiro watched as Tadashi headed back to his own side of the room, activating Baymax so his robotic nurse could aid him with getting ready for the day.
Hiro moved to his own dresser, pulling out a pair of pants and a t-shirt. He didn't want his brother out on his own just yet, sure Tadashi was the older brother but he still was going through a lot. What if something were to happen and no one was there to help? Perhaps more time out of the apartment was good for both of them and would help repair the small rift they had in their relationship. He quickly changed his clothes and brushed his hair out, then grabbed his hoodie from the back of his desk chair and waited for Tadashi to finish.
[+red "Some more fresh air would probably be good for you,"] Hiro agreed softly, leaning against the wall beside their door as he waited patiently for Tadashi. [+red "But you should probably eat breakfast first, even if it's just toast or something. You're still recovering."]
The eldest watched Hiro carefully as he moved from the bed to the front of their full length mirror behind the bedroom door. He was slow as he inspected himself. It was curious- as if his brother didn’t feel the bruise at all until he mentioned it.
The explanation took too long to come out and Tadashi was no idiot. The parental side of him stirred within him but... he was in no position to lecture if he couldn’t get information as efficiently as he’d like. Whatever the real reason was for the injury, he’d have to wait for Hiro to tell him in his own time. Despite his true urge to be protective, he instead chose to be nonchalant.
[#424ef4 “If you say so,”] he replied, pushing himself up using the desk as support, wobbling slightly. [#424ef4 “I think I’m going to investigate this micro-bot mystery. Give me an excuse to get out and ‘walk’ the city.”] He tapped the Baymax charging station with the petri dish and slumped back onto his own bed, feeling the ‘pins and needles’ run up his legs.
Tadashi really hoped they were passed this but evidently he couldn’t expect his brother to a responsible grown-up like child. That was unfair and he knew it. Hiro will just have to live with the consequences of dishonesty.
The robot maneuvered as programmed and began aiding him in preparation for the day. Dressing, re-applying bandages, distribution of medication... He glanced at his younger brother through the process, wondering what he was thinking in that big brain of his.
Granted, it was a bit strange that his remaining creation had sprung to life so suddenly. It had been designed in a manner that such an occurrence would be quite rare to avoid accidents when used in a constructive forum. New things were being invented all the time, perhaps something had been built that worked on the same wavelength. It was pretty difficult to think about at the moment since the smaller Hamada was so exhausted from his night out and vowed to look into it more when he was fully conscious.
Tired eyes watched as Tadashi slouched, seeming to give the subject some serious thought. Admittedly, Hiro always liked watching his brother when he worked and planned. He had certain traits that he found amusing and comforting, like the way his eyebrows knitted together when he was concentrating or how his form relaxed completely when he was doing light research. It was the things that made Tadashi....Tadashi.
His thoughts were pulled towards his brother when he spoke, using the petri dish with the still-moving microbot as a pointer. The curse word was what really made him focus as it wasn't Tadashi's usual manner. When words like that came out, even ones so light as that, it meant that the smaller Hamada was in some serious shit. He followed Tadashi's arm to where it was pointing, his right arm, and looked down at it. Nothing. Chocolate eyes moved up towards his shoulder, still not seeing anything unusual. Slowly he pulled himself up to his feet and walked the short distance to his mirror to stand in front of it and see what had Tadashi so alarmed. There it was, just below his neck and beginning to creep out from under his collar. His opposite hand reached up, stretching the collar out a bit to expose his collarbone and part of his shoulder which revealed the same color of bruising that expanded across the revealed areas. Where did that come from?!
Hiro suddenly remembered his night of bot fighting. About halfway through it, a small altercation had occurred which resulted in him being pinned to a wall by a man much larger than he was. Big burly dudes didn't appreciate being swindled by such a young boy and typically became angry but, most of the time, he was able to escape before anything physical happened. He wasn't quite paying attention which resulted in the multicolored skin Tadashi was now questioning him about. But what could he say? If he told his brother the truth his brother's head may very well explode and much worse words than the one he just used would surface. Not to mention he would be receiving the "I'm not mad, just disappointed" speech again. That was almost worse than being yelled at.
[+red "I tripped on the bottom stair yesterday from my shoelace,"] he lied quietly, fixing his shirt and rubbing at the discoloration. He didn't dare turn around yet nor make eye contact through the mirror, choosing to focus instead on the nearby window. [+red "I hit the door frame pretty hard."]
Tadashi slouched further into the rolling chair, thinking. Right... picking up signals from other nearby areas. While they did live in a technologically advanced city, they- Hiro calibrated those microbots to be unaffected by everyday signals to avoid construction or transportation castrophies. Granted the effort was simple and he aided Hiro enough to know. Basic stuff that his brother should figure out. Maybe... he didn’t want to know or just didn’t care...
Tadashi took the petri dish and watched as Hiro climbed back into bed, looking tremendously more tired in the bathing sunlight. What was he going to do with it? It wasn’t like he- He blinked, noticing the colors peeking out from underneath the cotton shirt. [#424ef4 “What the hell is that?”] he asked, using the petri dish as a pointer.
He could feel that fire lighting in his chest again, already forming a dozen conclusions and theories.
Hiro continued to watch the small robot clink against the glass, being bounced back and able to repeat the process until it busted through its prison or until whatever was sending it a signal finally died off. He didn't understand what could have caused it to activate in the first place, everything he had built had been destroyed in the fire. The administration said so.
[+red "I think I would remember building another transmitter,"] Hiro answered quietly but still allowed his tone to have a faint sarcastic bite to it. That was a language both he and Tadashi spoke pretty well, especially to each other. [+red "Besides, why would I build one when I don't have anything to use it with? Maybe it's picking up a signal from something else in the area, I mean it happens with robotics pretty often."]
He shrugged his shoulders and reached over, setting the dish back into his brother's hand and sat back down on his bed. Stranger things had happened which was why he wasn't so quick to dismiss it as a possibility. The light movements had caused the thick fabric of the hoodie to slip off his shoulders to gather around his arms and back, Hiro too tired to fix it. A dark shade of purple and blue just peeked out from under his shirt collar, the smaller Hamada unaware of its existence at the moment or he would have thought to cover it. Chocolate eyes lifted to Tadashi's face while his hand lifted to run though his hair in an attempt to smooth some of it. It was good to see his brother picking up other interests, getting his life back together piece by piece.
[+red "What are you going to do with it?"]
It took him a few minutes to get his brother conscious enough to have a conversation and even then only looked half alive. Being as perceptive as he was, the eldest took in Hiro’s disheveled appearance. Matted hair, still in his clothes from last night. It looked like he had barely gotten any sleep. Despite his growing curiosity, he kept his opinion to himself figuring it wasn’t the right time.
[#424ef4 “I’m no expert with your particular inventions,”] Tadashi started, [#424ef4 “But these things only work with a functioning transmitter. Have you built one lately and left it somewhere for it to act that way?”] He doubted it. From what Aunt Cass had been telling him whilst he was at the hospital, Hiro had taken no interest in rebuilding his winning creation. While it initially took lots of work, he would have no problem continuing at the University.
But he was very well aware why he wasn’t.
It took a couple of tries from the elder Hamada to awaken his little brother, Hiro in a pretty deep sleep. It was probably the best sleep he had gotten in quite a while as he more or less took a few naps during his sleeping and waking hours, he couldn't really remember the last time after the fire that he had slept peacefully all night long. If he had remained home all night he was certain he would have continued that vicious cycle but his excursion across the city wore him out.
A quiet groan sounded at Tadashi's final attempt to wake his brother, Hiro curling up a little bit more before slowly opening his eyes. He was still pretty tired, a glance at his alarm clock informing him that it had only been a few hours since he returned home. For one morning couldn't Tadashi sleep in? Another groan sounded as Hiro pushed himself to sit up, a large yawn following, and he ran a hand through his hair as he looked around the room. His tired gaze finally stopped on his brother at his desk, something he found a bit peculiar, but crawled over to the edge of his bed anyway.
[+red "What are you doing over there?"] he asked quietly, fixing his crooked hoodie a bit before allowing his form to slouch a bit. He had fallen asleep in his clothes, not even bothering to have the energy to change out of them when he got home. It took a couple of minutes for Hiro to finally realize what Tadashi was holding, his eyebrows narrowing as he reached out to carefully take the dish. He had forgotten that this lone microbot had been in his pocket and, after the accident, had put it in a dish to deal with later. Now, it was moving, the metal clinking softly against the glass as it tried to roll away to its new destination.
[+red "I had forgotten about it,"] he admitted quietly, keeping his gaze on it as it continued its constant clinking against the glass wall. He didn't understand why it was moving, however, as it should have no way to. The transmitter that had given it life was destroyed with the rest of its friends.
The room was dark, almost completely covered in blackness. From the shapes, Tadashi recognised that he was in his lab, sitting in the roll away chair near his desk. He looked around, the silence off putting and making him anxious. His wandering gaze landed on a figure in the doorway. It stood there... still and utterly quiet.
His hands gripped the side of the arm chairs, tears at the edges of his eyes. He knew who it was... and he was dead.
Tadashi took in a sharp breath as he opened his eyes, glaring up at the sunlight spread across the ceiling. He quickly wiped the moisture from his eyes and slowly sat himself up to regain his reality. At least it wasn’t a dream about the fire...
He pulled away the sheet and started to stretch, hearing Hiro’s soft snores from beyond the paper divider. [i Poor kid must have been needing that full rest,] he mused as he rotated his ankles.
Tadashi had only been half way through his therapy routine when he heard a faint tapping sound. His listened carefully, identifying that it was coming from Hiro’s side of the room. He maneuvered himself around to a steady stand, slightly shaky on his feet, and peeked around the divider. The tapping was barely louder, seeming to be coming from somewhere on his brother’s desk, buried underneath the disorganized mess.
Cautiously, the older Hamada krept over, leaning on the chair and pulled away the debri. There he found the source of the tapping. A single microbot twitching inside a petri dish.
[#424ef4 “Wow,”] he breathed. Tadashi was sure all of Hiro’s creations were destroyed in that fire but it piqued his interest to know that it still functioned.
He grabbed a discarded crumpled piece of paper from off the desk and tossed it at the younger Hamada’s mess of hair. [#424ef4 “Hey, Hiro wake up,”] he said, letting himself fall into the desk chair with a slight grunt. [#424ef4 “Look what I found.”]
The familiar shadows danced across the divider as Baymax helped Tadashi prepare for the night, changing bandages and giving out much needed medication. This was becoming the new nightly routine, Hiro simply watching as he wasn't much help. Baymax had it all covered. Reaching over to his nightstand, he turned on the small lamp before picking up his book. Another glance to the paper divider told him that Tadashi was now in bed, the soft glow on the other side of the room from the tablet filling some of the void. He liked to think that he knew his older brother quite well and was beginning to pick up on his new habits and routines. If he was right, Tadashi would be calling it a night within the next hour and falling asleep shortly after that. Until then, Hiro would simply read and relax.
The medication worked like a charm.
Just as Hiro predicted, the soft glow died after nearly forty-five minutes and a soft creak of the bed sounded as Tadashi adjusted his position. Not long after that most noises stopped on the far side of the room. He reached over and switched off his light, remaining still for a few minutes to see if Tadashi would have a reaction to it. When he didn't, he carefully got up from his bed and crept over to the divider in order to peek around it. Just as he suspected, his brother was deep into sleep at that point.
Grabbing his hoodie from his desk chair and megabot from his desk nearby, Hiro moved quietly from the room and down the stairs. He could hear the tv set from the family room, telling him that their aunt was relaxing for the night. Another few quiet steps and he was out the door. Sneaking out was always so easy, especially while Tadashi was away, as Cass was too tired from her day of work to hear all the small creaks and groans from the house as Hiro moved through it. His small stature helped with that as well as he didn't weigh enough to make a lot of noise. Hiro pulled out his cellphone, pulling up the page that had his schedule on it, and looked over the words and numbers carefully. He had already missed one but it wasn't a big deal. Most of the higher paying fights occurred later in the night. The next one was a good hour walk away, he would have to hurry if he was going to make it on time. He smiled faintly, putting his phone away and pulling the hood over his head before jogging down the sidewalk to begin his busy night.
Hiro didn't return until the early morning hours, shortly before sunrise. Signs of his wear and tear during the night were pretty evident, he could barely keep his eyes open and his hair was a disheveled mess. He felt as tired as he looked, if not more, and couldn't wait to crawl into bed. With any luck, Tadashi would still be asleep. The smaller Hamada stopped at the door, reaching into his pocket to pull out the key, and unlocked it as quietly as he could. He listened carefully as he slowly pushed the door open for signs of life but thankfully the house was quiet. Closing the door, he crept up the staircase and into the shared bedroom. He stopped at his desk, quietly pulling his hoodie off and setting it and his robot on the chair before glancing at Tadashi's side of the room. He didn't see any indication of wakefulness; Hiro moved over to his bed and dropped down on top of it where he instantly fell asleep. It was certainly a long night.
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