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?
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.
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.
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 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."]
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.
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 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."]
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.
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?"]
[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.
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 . 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."]
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 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.
Hiro listened quietly as his brother gave him a list of things to do for his return, watching him. They were simple things 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.
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 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?"]
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?
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