The older Hamada did notice how Hiro moved closer to him which did give him a touch of comfort. He logically concluded it must have been due to his ‘delicate’ physical state and for that he was grateful even though hugs made him feel more healed then he was- but he had to be mindful. Baymax did warn him about tearing his body apart during the healing process. He definitely didn’t want to go back to the hospital.
That being thought, he still felt uneasy about admitting that things have gotten a little out his hand in his brain, chemically. Tadashi knew exactly what was going on and it only seemed fair that he let Hiro in on that knowledge too... despite his gut feeling. He had to get over this awkward heaviness if he wanted to be his old self again even though he knew that wasn’t possible.
[#424ef4 “A lot of things have been ‘triggering’ me,”] he said, looking away and using air quotes around the word trigger. [#424ef4 “You know how characters in movies are always having flashbacks, It’s a lot like that except it happens all the time. The tiniest detail seems to stop me from thinking straight and it’s like jumping from idea to idea except every time it’s the same damn idea over and over again.”] He tried not to go back to that mindset but it was so easy. Easy enough to just give in to those thoughts and overwhelm him. [#424ef4 “It’s frustrating to feel like... like I’m stuck in the same day and at the same time even though I know the clock is still turning and that people are still living.”]
It was like watching from the outside sometimes. Everyone was moving except for him. Tadashi could feel himself getting worked up and he had to calm down. Emotions going up and down. Up and down...
The urge to lean over and give Tadashi a comforting hug was overwhelming, especially when Hiro could see the inner turmoil he was facing. Fear that he may injure his brother more prevented him from doing so but he did step just a bit closer to him instead. He didn't have to touch Tadashi in order for him to understand that his little brother was there and willing to listen and help. Tadashi tried to be brave on the outside but Hiro could see past that, normally he had a pretty good poker face but it had been falling quite a bit since the accident. Despite that, despite the things that made his brother feel less than himself or even human, Hiro wanted to help him through it and figure it out.
Just like all the times Tadashi had done so for him.
[+red "I know that,"] Hiro answered softly, watching Tadashi through gentle chocolate eyes. The tap with the blossoms was soft, Hiro barely able to feel it through the sleeve of his hoodie. He could smell their faint aroma, though, a scent that Tadashi had more than likely grown to love. [+red "I'm not going to give up on you, either. I'll always be here for you, Tadashi, no matter what. It's what brothers and best friends do. If you want to talk about it, I'm willing to listen."]
For some reason, the longer he sat there, the more guilty he felt about trying to protect Hiro. He felt that his inner parental side was beginning to shove him in a corner and he had to face it, Tadashi wasn’t his father or his mother. He was his big brother and while he wanted to remain that role model, he really needed someone to talk to... especially after those two months in the hospital and how screwed up things were getting now that he was back at home. While everything was too artificial at the hospital, everything was too real now that he was released. So fucking complicated. He wished he never took those classes on psychology.
Tadashi sighed deeply, straightening his posture so he was looking less at the ground and more at the compassionate little human he was with. [#424ef4 “You know, a great man once said to me that nothing great ever comes without sacrifice and that courage doesn’t grow without fear.”] He imagined the room where he and Callaghan sat one afternoon, discussing a secret his mentor kept from the world. It was a day that really hammered in his line of work in medical robotics. [#424ef4 “There are times where I might not act like my... old self. Things are a bit warped in my perception.”]
Tadashi took a deep breath, his heart pounding in his ears again. [#424ef4 “I just hope you know that no matter what I say or what happens, that I’m always going to be there for you.”] He lifted his hand, tapping the blossom cluster against Hiro’s arm. [#424ef4 “I am not going to give up.”]
He marked his own words as he said them, hoping that in case things ever did get bad, that Hiro would keep him to it. Tadashi had read too many books and articles regarding cases like his that sometimes things just got to be overwhelming. [#424ef4 “If... you really want to know, I could really use the support...”] He felt weak just saying that. Selfish and rotten all a sudden. Asking his younger brother for help- he shouldn’t. He lowered his hand back to his lap.
More than anything Hiro wanted to wrap his arms around Tadashi and reassure him that everything would be alright, a move that had been done to him on more than one occasion. If he didn't fear the pain and damage it would do to his brother's healing form, he would have done just that. He could see that he needed some reassurance and love but Hiro's just wasn't doing it. Something was happening internally that he wasn't comfortable sharing with his little brother and Hiro didn't want to push it. Tadashi may have been more comfortable talking about it with his friends but he didn't want to unload that burden on him, either. He really wasn't sure what to do or how to handle the situation; Tadashi was the better problem solver when it came to human emotions.
[+red "Because they're pretty,"] he commented softly, watching as the elder Hamada continued to stare and toy with the small bundle of foliage in his hands. He knew how much Tadashi loved those trees, he made a point to see them as much as possible every spring. He wasn't sure, though, if it was because of their beauty, their heritage and history, or both that made him so fond of them. A gentle breeze brought down another small shower of pink petals, Hiro smiling faintly as they landed on his brother's lap and shoulders. [+red "If this is too much for you, we can go back home,"] he offered softly. [+red "I don't want you putting yourself through too much too early."]
A faint vibration from his phone caught his attention, Hiro pulling it out of his pocket to look at it in case it was their aunt wanting a status update or to tell them to come home. Even better, it was the bot fight roster for the event he had signed up for to occur later that evening. Due to his new status in this particular venue he was participating later, towards the end, but he wasn't mad about that. In fact, it would give him ample time to make sure Tadashi would be okay for the night before sneaking out. He could already hear the lecture he would receive if his brother knew where he would be heading causing Hiro to wrinkle his nose lightly. Putting his phone back into his pocket, he gave Tadashi another small smile of encouragement to make him feel a bit better.
There was a pause of silence between the two, making the atmosphere heavy for Tadashi. He tried thinking of something to fill the silence until Hiro moved ahead, stopping by a cherry blossom tree that they were both very familiar with. He watched with pursed lips, curious to what his brother could be doing... until the other came down with a bundle of blossoms. He remembered the first time he did it, using it as a focal point during conversations Hiro had a tough time talking about. He nearly wanted to cry. His little brother was using his own tactics against him to try and spark up conversation.
Tadashi gripped the stems tightly as his gaze focused on the gift. It was too bad these trees reminded him of memories on two opposite ends of the spectrum. But did he want to talk? It would be nice if someone knew what he was going through but on the other hand did he want it to be his brother? He was only 14 and had experienced so many adult situations without Tadashi’s approval. This was one thing that was still in his power.
[#424ef4 “You want two tough conversations in one day?] he tried to joke, [#424ef4 “It’s alright, Hiro. You don’t need to carry all the burdens in the world.”] But the youngest Hamada did at least deserve some explanation for his awkwardness. [#424ef4 “You know how popular cherry blossom trees are in San Fransokyo. They put them everywhere. There was even some at the university...”] Tadashi stared at the bundle, hoping Hiro would get it without delving.
Hiro continued to study Tadashi quietly, noticing how his brother kept his gaze averted and absently picked at his bandages. It seemed like he was too afraid to look around, not wanting to see how others would view him, and extremely uncomfortable in his own skin. He could understand that, Tadashi had undergone some incredible trauma and it would take time to undo all of that damage. Still, he hated seeing his once-confident brother in this light, like a piece of his soul had been stolen from him. More than anything he wanted to put Tadashi back together but was unsure of how to do it. He didn't even know where to begin.
Too bad the one with the medical knowledge was the one suffering.
Chocolate eyes flickered up to the nearby tree, watching as the low branches swayed gently with a light wind. Hiro was just short enough that they were out of his reach but the petals could rain down on him. He moved away from Tadashi a bit to the tree, rolling his shoulders before pulling himself up the trunk a bit by a small foothold and making his way up a couple of branches. When he was secure and could lean against the tree a bit, he reached out and pulled a branch close to him in order to twist off a small bundle of blossoms. Just as carefully he made his way back down, jumping to the ground from the last branch, and carried the pink treasure back to his brother and gently set the flowers in his brother's bandaged hand. Hiro remembered years ago when he was having trouble in school with other kids and was becoming upset that Tadashi had taken him to this very tree and done the same thing for him, giving him a beautiful piece of the tree to give him something to focus on as they talked out his problems.
Tadashi was a wonderful problem solver.
[+red "Do you want to talk about it?"] Hiro asked quietly, shoving his hands into his hoodie pockets afterwards and watching his brother again. [+red "Maybe it'll help."]
Tadashi nodded, concentrating on the conversation. [#424ef4 “Yeah, sure. I mean, they don’t bother me.”] Maybe he should tell Hiro the truth. They never kept secrets from each other before since Tadashi was really good at figuring things out. But... in these last 40 hours, his emotions having been roller coasting from stable to triggered in a matter of minutes. This was wrong. There was something wrong with him.
[#424ef4 “There’s nothing wrong with your shoes,”] he said, staring at the yellow laces, trying to keep his gaze fixed to the textures. [#424ef4 “I...”] He felt the anxiety build up again, threatening to close off his confidence. He shouldn’t be scared of pink of petals on trees. [#424ef4 “I just... have a lot on my mind.”]
Tadashi fiddled with the bandage between his fingers, feeling self-conscious. He slowly moved his gaze back to the environment, trying to gain his positivity back by trying to remember some silly memory but nothing came up. Why did talking about trauma have to be so fucking difficult? Making the body awkward and heavy. Hiro must have felt like this too. This is how families get pulled apart... but if he was telling his little brother that everything was going to be fine then he better at least pretend to be.
Hiro smiled as Tadashi defended the kale, a green he discovered that day that he didn't quite care for. There was just something about it that was off and didn't appeal to him but his brother seemed to love it. That wasn't the only occurrence he noticed him eating the strange greens but never made it for Hiro again, a fact he was thankful for. A change in the wind caused petals of pink to dance in the opposite direction, catching his eye and watching quietly as they drifted into new spaces. This park was special to him as it was a place Tadashi took him when he was having trouble with school kids or life's other challenges, bringing him here to get kakigōri and forget about life for a while.
Tadashi always knew how to make him feel better.
He was pulled from his thoughts as he heard his brother speak again, this time commenting on his shoes. Hiro looked down at the well-worn sneakers, examining them a bit before bringing his gaze up to Tadashi. [+red "Yeah, I guess,"] he responded softly. The laces were a bit newer than the converse, Hiro having discovered them in a nearby shop and had to have them. There was just something about the bright color that he liked, especially the way it contrasted with the darkness of his shoes. [+red "Why does it bother you? They're still good for at least another year."]
The moment he was outside, he felt tremendously better. He supposed he never realised how much of his life he spent walking the streets of San Fransokyo between here, school and his occasional odd jobs. Once they were out on the sidewalk, Tadashi took full control of his wheels and powered up towards the park. There was occasionally a stare of two that slightly bothered him but Hiro remained his vigilant protector till the cherry blossoms were in full sight. In all honesty, he was grateful since deep down it was intimidating.
Memories dawned on him once they found a secluded spot to hang for a while. He recalled plenty of times when he’d taken Hiro here when he was down or frustrated with the challenges of being a child genius. Tadashi knew all too well what being an outcast felt like, especially after the death of their parents. At eighteen, Tadashi was already in his third year at the university and wanted with every fiber of his being for Hiro to follow the same steps to success. Now it seemed it like they were both about to be stuck... for quite some time.
[i Don’t think about it. You’ll ruin the good mood.]
The older Hamada snapped out of his thoughts when Hiro broke the silence, smiling at the memory he shared. They did do that a lot too since Aunt Cass was often busy working. Someone had to look after Hiro. [#424ef4 “I do and kale’s not gross, it’s healthy but granted the dressing could have been better. You can blame Honey Lemon for that.”] He chuckled lightly recalling other pleasant times. [#424ef4 “It’s been a while since we’ve been out here together.”]
He remembered Wasabi’s first skateboard attempt and the time where Go Go ‘accidently’ kissed him after she had a little too much to drink. Tadashi felt his smile fade a little, thinking about how he hadn’t really talked too much with his friends after the fire. How they were all together, ready to go back to celebrate Hiro’s performance and how the cherry blossoms looked that night before the sky turned red.
Tadashi gripped the handles of the wheelchair, trying to ground himself back to reality before things escalated in his head any further. Stay in the moment. Grass. Pink petals. Hiro’s shoes. Yellow laces. Birds. People. Breathe. How long has Hiro had those shoes? Two years? Three?
[#424ef4 “You’ve had those shoes for three years right?”] Tadashi asked, hoping he wasn’t freaking out as much as he felt like he was. [#424ef4 “I don’t want to change the subject but it’s bothering me.”] [i Keep cool. Keep it together.]
It seemed that Hiro's dorky sense of humor and hug seemed to be the medicine that Tadashi needed, the male beginning to perk up a bit. This wouldn't be an easy transition for him in the least but Hiro wanted to make it as smooth as possible. After all of the things Tadashi had done for him, it was the least he could do. Hiro didn't think his brother looked as bad as Tadashi was thinking he did, he still had his handsome features. They had a bit of scarring around them but the attractiveness was still there. Sometimes Hiro found himself wondering if he would grow up to share some of those traits or if he would always remain the nerdy little brother.
Only time would tell, he supposed.
The smaller Hamada headed down the stairs and positioned the wheelchair near the staircase for Tadashi to use and waited patiently for the big marshmallow to carry out his medical obligations. His brother seemed to become impatient as each moment passed, seemingly unwilling to deal with his creation's slow movements, which elicited a soft laugh from Hiro. He could be funny without knowing it, his fun personality making it all the more entertaining. Hiro watched as Baymax helped Tadashi to the wheelchair and grabbed he grabbed the handles obediently once he was requested to. Easily he guided the chair around tables to the door, taking notice of their aunt behind the counter as he turned around to back out of the doorway while pulling the chair.
[+red "We'll be back in a little bit, aunt Cass,"] Hiro called out as he began to move through the doorway. Seeing the two of them getting outside seemed to make her happy, giving them a smile and a wave as they made their way out. [b "Just be home by dinner, okay? And be careful, both of you."]
[+red "We will."]
Hiro pulled the chair out onto the sidewalk, pushing it until Tadashi decided to take over then moved up to his side. The city buzzed with life around them, everyone on their own little missions with destinations in mind. He kept an eye out for any obstacles that Tadashi could run into and made sure to voice them until they reached the park. It was beautiful this time of year as the vast trees turned into a sea of pink. It was like a completely different world in the spring. Hiro smiled faintly at the beautiful flowers, shoving his hands into his hoodie pockets as he remained beside Tadashi.
[+red "Do you remember when we used to picnic down here?"] he asked quietly, watching as some of the soft petals drifted down into a nearby fountain. [+red "You'd make sandwiches and that gross salad with the equally gross dressing, we'd sit under a tree and people watch."]
Tadashi smiled at his brothers sense of humor. Of course he should have known that. Hiro never let anything get in the way of things he knew he wanted. He supposed he just needed to hear it. Hear that it really didn’t matter so he could have the confidence in showing his new self to the unforgiving world. He had to be brave if he wanted to convince his Hiro to take him back to the university. Besides, he did love that park.
[#424ef4 “Baymax, activate.”] As programmed, the robot inflated as Tadashi slowly lifted himself to a stand.
[b “How can I be of assistance?”] it asked.
[#424ef4 “Please pass me that jacket on the back of the door.”] Once Tadashi had the lightweight raincoat over his shoulders, he glanced over at the hat on Hiro’s desk. He rarely went out without it before the accident but... for now he’d have to make due without it’s protective assurance. Their real father would understand.
Tadashi directed Baymax to help him down the stairs, since repeating the incident this morning didn’t sound terribly appealing, and allowed Hiro to move on ahead of them. Everything lately happened so slow. He missed being able to live life at his own pace, especially to be able to go down the stairs quickly.
The eldest let out an exaggerated sigh as Baymax took the appropriate programmed precautions towards the wheelchair waiting in the dining room. Grateful that his arms were adequate enough, lowered himself into the plastic covered fabric seat.
[b “Please be careful,”] the robot advised as Tadashi exercised his fingers around the wheel’s grips.
[#424ef4 “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine,”] he assured it. [#424ef4 “Guess we should let Aunt Cass know we’re going out. Do you mind, Hiro, guiding me out? The cafe has a lot of obstacles.”]
Hiro imagined that his brother would be more open to the park than the museum due to the cherry trees, a reason why he suggested it. The pair had gone ever since he was little to view the beautiful blossoms and sit under a shower of pink petals. He remembered when Tadashi would pack a lunch for them and a blanket, the two sitting under a tree and watching people as they walked their dogs and played nearby. They would stay there all day, well into sunset, before they would pack up and go home. It was one of his favorite memories and he hoped visiting a happy place in their lives would make Tadashi feel better.
Small hands adjusted the jacket around his frame as he headed for the door but his brother's words caused him to pause. Was he having second thoughts about leaving? Hiro knew it would be a difficult transition as people weren't exactly the best at hiding what they were feeling, particularly strangers. Many people would stop and stare, not something Tadashi needed to boost his confidence. Chocolate eyes looked back at him as he turned a bit, looking over his frame. Bandages still peeked out from under his clothes while harsh scarring covered a good bit of his skin. Tadashi's self-consciousness showed, at least in his eyes, but the longer he stayed shut away from the world the harder it would be for him to leave.
[+red "You should realize by now that I don't care what other people think,"] Hiro responded softly. The opinions of others had long stopped influencing or bothering him, mainly because he was so smart. Kids could be cruel and he had been called almost every name in the book as he skipped grades and completed school much earlier than his peers. He liked to think of it as an immunity he had built up to a strain of viruses, it made it easier to deal with. Now it was Tadashi's turn to begin building up those antibodies in order to fight his own virus. [+red "Even if I did, I'd still do this with you. You're my brother and what matters most, not other people's opinions."]
He moved closer to Tadashi, giving him a light and careful hug as he didn't want to disturb any healing burns or cause him any more pain. [+red "Besides, the assumptions other people make can't be any worse than what I've been blaming myself for. If they start acting like jerks, I'll make a mental image of their face and build a robot to pound them into the ground at a later date."]
Tadashi took hold of the jeans gratefully. As impatient as he was, he really needed to take everything in slowly and Hiro was a good reminder of that. Maybe a touch of fresh city air will make him feel better. It took him a few minutes, honestly struggling with lifting his knees into each pant leg, but eventually he was able to zip and button up.
He ran a hand through his messy hair, wondering what the hell it looked like after all this time. [#424ef4 “The park sounds great,”] he assured his brother. [#424ef4 “Cherry blossoms were always my favorite type of foliage.”] Using his toes, he pulled out his slip on sandals from underneath the bed used them to compensate for real shoes. There was no way he was attempting to tie shoelaces.
Tadashi glanced down at his arms, aware of all the bandages showing and thought again about not going out at all. [#424ef4 “Hey,”] he started softly, [#424ef4 “Are you sure you don’t want to wait longer? I mean, people will see you with me... like this.”] He gestured to his face, knowing that it no longer fit it normally within the crowd. [#424ef4 “I don’t want people to assume things about us. Mainly about you, Hiro.”]
Even though Tadashi tried hard to hide it, Hiro could see the swirl of emotions in his eyes. Clearly he had wanted to go to try to get some closure on this chapter of his life and discover what, exactly had gone so wrong during the presentations but Hiro didn't think it to be a wise choice just yet. Tadashi was just released from the hospital and still had trouble talking about it; he couldn't imagine the meltdown he could possibly have once he laid eyes on the blown out section of the building. The area still looked catastrophic and a lot of work would need to be done to make it accessible again.
Maybe once Tadashi began to feel better Hiro would be more open to it.
He rose from the chair, tired bones cracking with the light work, and headed over to his brother's dresser. He knew where Tadashi kept each type of clothing as he had seen him put his clothes away multiple times and pulled open the appropriate drawer. Brown eyes scanned over the perfectly folded jeans, a small hand pulling out a pair before closing the drawer and bringing them to Tadashi.
[+red "We can go to the park,"] Hiro suggested, sitting on the corner of the bed and averting his gaze so his brother could properly dress himself. [+red "The cherry blossoms are blooming. Or we can go to the museum."] Once Tadashi stopped moving and seemed to be dressed, Hiro lifted his gaze to meet his face. He wasn't sure if the elder Hamada would be pleased with either of those ideas but it was the best he could think of.
He lowered his eyes back to his socks, his jaw tight with frustration at his brother’s answer. Sure, he could probably make an excuse to go by himself but he didn’t trust the outside world with this new handicap just yet. Handicap... But Hiro asked the right questions. Could he handle it? Probably not. It was a stupid suggestion. The urge to go was simply that. Just an urge.
Tadashi decided not to answer directly and instead said, [#424ef4 “Yeah, going outside is good enough.”] Maybe another time but he wasn’t sure when that would be- if it ever would be. Technically Tadashi was still going to school in their program, using the robotics lab. It definitely wouldn’t be the same without Callaghan but there was always ‘the crew’ as well.
He threw his feet over the side of the bed and realized for the first time how far his closet and dresser were. Already a little antsy, he sighed and gestured to his brother. [#424ef4 “Hiro, do you mind passing me a pair of jeans, please?”]
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