Hiro's smile grew a bit at Tadashi's response, watching him from his relaxed position in his desk chair. The two had a rather playful and lighthearted nature which meant most of their time was spent pestering and teasing the other. It was something Hiro loved, he knew he could always goof around with his brother but he could come to him with problems, too. No matter what, Tadashi was there for him.
Chocolate eyes closed for a moment in order to rest them and hopefully get rid of some of the fatigue he was feeling before he heard his brother speak up again. Go out? To the Institute? Getting out of the house and adventuring was one thing but heading to the place that caused all of this mess was another thing. Hell, Tadashi could barely talk about it without having a nervous breakdown, what would happen when he finally faced the building that was more damaged than he was? Hiro opened his eyes again to look over at Tadashi who had his gaze averted. Did he think this wasn't a good idea as well or was he simply anticipating Hiro's answer?
[+red "Are you sure it's a good idea?"] Hiro asked quietly, remaining still in his chair as he watched his brother. [+red "Getting out isn't a bad idea, but I'm worried about what going there will do to you. Do you think you can handle it?"]
[#424ef4 “Much better,”] he agreed softly. The eldest completed the last of the routine, glad his knees didn’t lock up this time and watched as Hiro moved across the room. [#424ef4 “You make it sound as if pestering is a bad thing.”] He smiled, recalling more lively times between the two of them. He just wished he wasn’t so bed riden.
On the thought of what to do, Tadashi wondered how Hiro would react to leaving. Was it too sudden? If it were him, he’d probably say no but... He just wanted to get things accomplished. To maybe start using his brain for problem solving instead of overthinking vivid dreams and fragile mortality. For distraction, not that he would fully admit it.
Tadashi hunched over to massage his feet, breaking eye contact before vocalising his proposal, his anxiety already rising. [#424ef4 “So I was thinking, maybe he could go out.”] [i Don’t chicken out, Tadashi.] [#424ef4 “Maybe we could visit the San Fransokyo Institute and you don’t have to worry about me walking. I could move around in the wheelchair no problem.”]
He kept staring at his socks, almost to the point where he thought it was becoming disrespectful not to look at his younger brother. With a deep breath, he forced himself to raise his eyes to stare into Hiro’s, waiting impatiently for an answer.
Hiro finished the small glass of water and set it in the sink to be cleaned later. Even though his eating habits sucked at least he was getting in some fluids now and then. Truthfully, they were easier to stomach than solid food lately. Once he felt hydrated enough, he glanced around the corner to the cafe to check on Cass, wanting to make sure she wasn't in a corner somewhere eating her feelings again. It was a bad habit of hers when she was stressed or overwhelmed, junk food probably made her feel a little better. Luckily that wasn't the case today, his aunt happily filling a box with cupcakes for a customer. She may not have been the best parental figure but she did make pretty good food.
He headed up the stairs, going as quietly as he could in case Tadashi was still asleep. The wood creaked in certain places, Hiro trying his best to avoid them but a few small squeaks still sounded under his feet. He bit his lip faintly as he slowed his pace a bit, tiptoeing up the stairs. Just as quietly he pushed the door open and was greeted by and already awake Tadashi, the elder Hamada sitting upright in bed.
At least he didn't have to worry about waking his brother anymore.
Hiro smiled a bit, plopping down on his desk chair and leaning back into it. It slid a few inches across the floor with the force he dropped down into it with before it collided lightly with the edge of his desk. He turned it a bit more in order to see his brother as he leaned back into it, resting an elbow onto the arm rest and his head into his hand. [+red "You look like you're feeling better,"] he observed softly, watching as Tadashi finished the stretch from physical therapy he had been working on. It seemed the sleep had done him a world of good. He seemed more alert and able to tolerate whatever was thrown at him; Hiro was glad to see him doing so much better.
[+red "She's fine, keeping herself busy it seems,"] he responded after stifling a yawn. He didn't realize it until he sat down but Hiro was probably due for a nap. It had become regular for him to fall asleep a couple of times during the day to make up for what he was losing at night though often times he couldn't control where it happened. Sometimes it was on the couch, sometimes it was in the garage. He wanted to make sure Tadashi was better first before he allowed himself the luxury of sleep as that was the most important thing right now. Hiro could always sleep later but time spend with Tadashi could easily be taken away from him.
The fire reminded him of that important life lesson.
[+red "I ran all of her errands for the day so that means I get to stay here and pester you until bedtime,"] he teased with a smile. [+red "Hope you're prepared for that."]
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.”]
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.
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.
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..."]
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.
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...."]
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.]
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."]
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.
[+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.
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.
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?"]
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