Hiro looked at the headline on his phone with malice.
Tadashi Hamada promises newest invention to be his best yet!
Hiro snorted before locking his phone and carelessly throwing it onto his couch. His apartment was simple enough. It had a living room that connected to the kitchen, making it all one giant room. The only way it could be differentiated was by the island/dining table in between the two rooms. Two hallways at the wall opposite to the kitchen led to the two master bedrooms. The two bedrooms were what sealed the deal on this apartment since his Aunt Cass could stay over whenever she wanted, though she has yet to actually come over. In fact, Gogo seemed to be the one who stayed over the most when they were working on their latest project. This place was great for two, but when Hiro was left alone, it was too empty for the young 19 year old.
That's probably why they call it 'living alone', he mused. He didn't want to move out, but he needed to. After his reputation started to grow, so did the amount of fans, paparazzi, and media officials that would stalk him. Eventually, it got so bad, he needed to leave home which left him in this empty apartment to wallow in his hatred and self-loathing.
I need a drink, he thought before he walked over to the kitchen. He stood right in front of his liquor cabinet on his tippy-toes, opened the cabinet door, and grabbed the first bottle his hand felt. Only when he brought his hand back down did he release a smile. His favorite brand of vodka.
He reached back up to take out five shot glasses before closing the door and setting his drink on the island. He sighed before uncapping the bottle and filling up each glass.
Stupid Tadashi, he growled in his head before dwelling deeper in his hatred for his rival. Hiro wasn't sure why Tadashi had even become his rival in the first place…
No. That wasn't right. He knew why Tadashi was his rival; the only thing he didn't know was why Tadashi wanted to be his rival, why he was dead set on upstaging Hiro in everything he did.
Whenever Hiro came up with a new theory in robotics, Tadashi had to disprove it. Whenever Hiro created a new law in science, Tadashi had to add something else to it. Whenever Hiro invented something, Tadashi had to invent something right afterwards that was revolutionary.
Such as this instance. Hiro had just finished his patent on a bike using Electro-Magnetic Suspension, something that had been under development for a while with the help of his friend Gogo, and no more than a week later, Tadashi had to go and announce his newest project: Baymax.
The worst part of it all, no one knows what Baymax does. Tadashi only gave a brief description saying, "He's a robot programmed with over 10 thousand medical procedures, but he's so much more than a robotic nurse."
"You'll just have to wait until my introduction presentation to see how he will revolutionize the world!" Hiro mockingly recited. And, just to add insult to injury, Tadashi had to announce his newest accomplishment during the night Hiro was being recognized for Best Achievement of the Year at this year's National Young Scientist Awards. He had beaten Tadashi, who was also nominated this year, but once again, Hiro was outshined by his arch-nemesis.
Taking his first shot, Hiro made a face before sighing harshly. It was a lot stronger than what he normally drank when celebrating, but tonight was hardly a celebration.
As he was grabbing the second shot, he heard knocking on his door and sighed frustratingly. Of course. The only time someone came to visit him is the same night he wanted to get shitface drunk.
Without setting his shot glass down, Hiro made his way to the front door. He grabbed the small stool near his door, stood on it, and peeked through the peephole. He almost fell when he saw the same person he'd just been thinking about.
Speak of the devil, Hiro thought. He audibly groaned but realized his mistake when Tadashi looked at the peephole. Hiro panicked before he remembered Tadashi couldn't see through. He almost relaxed until Tadashi spoke, "I know you're in there, Hiro."
Hiro then panicked. What should he do? He knows what he wants to do (ignore Tadashi and drink that whole bottle of vodka before drunk-dialing some of his friends and then passing out which makes him sleep in the next day with splitting headache that makes him cancel everything on his schedule that day), but he could hear Aunt Cass scolding him on how rude he would be leaving Tadashi outside, especially since Tadashi knows Hiro is there.
But it was Tadashi's cries of "You know, it was raining really bad outside, but I still came here to see you" and "I think I might actually catch a cold" that made Hiro unlock and open the door. He was met with a soaking, smirking Tadashi, still in his tux from tonight, who was practically radiating a 'Ha, I won' aura.
Of course he won, Hiro thought bitterly. He always wins.
Hiro glared at Tadashi. "What do you want?"
Tadashi raised an eyebrow before turning his attention to Hiro's apartment and back at him. Hiro understood what he meant, so he took the shot he was still holding on his hand and moved slightly out of the way to indicate Tadashi could come in.
Tadashi nodded politely before he mused, "Starting a bit early tonight, don't you think?"
Hiro scowled, instantly regretting letting him in. Damn Aunt Cass and her parenting ways. "Look at that, an adult is drinking shots. Someone call the cops," he sarcastically retorted, causing Tadashi to laugh.
Hiro's mood worsened. He didn't want Tadashi here. He didn't want him to laugh at what he says. He didn't want him in his apartment and violating his sense of privacy. He didn't want him here.
So then why did you let him in, idiot?
Hiro sighed. I don't know.
"What do you want?" He repeated, causing Tadashi's wandering gaze to go back to his short rival. Tadashi smiled.
"I couldn't drive in this weather, and you're apartment was the closest-"
"No," Hiro said while shaking his arms and head. "You are not staying here."
"Why not?" Tadashi asked, sadness present on his face. To anyone else, they would've caved into his cute puppy-dog eyes. Hiro, though, wasn't as heartwarming as everyone else.
"Because I don't like you!" Hiro exclaimed, causing Tadashi's façade to break and be replaced with an amused expression.
"Really?" He asked innocently, causing Hiro to scowl. "But I like you."
"Bullshit," Hiro immediately said afterwards, not even caring about what Aunt Cass would say about his language. "You know, this is not helping your case. In fact, I would love to kick you out right now."
Tadashi sighed. "I guess you can throw me back out into the rain and the flooding." His statement made Hiro laugh. "I'm serious. I really couldn't drive back in this weather."
"Yeah, sure," Hiro waved off. Tadashi just sighed again.
Tadashi went over to the window and opened the curtains just in time for a lightning to strike across the sky. Hiro's eyes widened, looking down at his window. The glass was a thick sheet of one-way plexiglass, so Hiro could look out but no one could look in. To be sure, though, he had hung a heavy brown curtain, so it was no wonder he couldn't see nor hear the storm outside. Still, Hiro couldn't believe how oblivious he was.
The rain was pounding against anything solid relentlessly with lightning (and he assumed thunder) crackling every now and then. The streets were flooding with a steady stream that went downhill throughout San Fransokyo. He saw Tadashi's car parked in the front of his building and how the water level had covered half of the tires.
He really couldn't drive in this weather. No one could.
Hiro closed the curtain and turned his attention back to Tadashi who was still soaked. His usually neatly combed hair was stuck to his face. What was once a structured jacket was now a limp weight draped on his body. The rest of his clothes were clinging onto his body like a second layer of skin.
Hiro cleared his throat. "You should probably shower. I might have some extra clothes that could fit you." Tadashi nodded before looking expectantly at Hiro. Hiro was confused for a minute before realizing Tadashi didn't know where to go. "Oh, umm, right. Follow me."
Hiro navigated to the guest bedroom with Tadashi following. Once there, he walked in, turned on the light, and looked at Tadashi.
"Um, so the restroom's there. There should be some toiletries. If not, just call me. Towels are in the closet, and I'll put some clothes on the bed," Hiro said. Tadashi nodded, and Hiro quickly turned and walked out.
Normally Hiro would question (or yell) at himself on his actions. Why did he let Tadashi in? Why did he let him stay? Why did he let him shower and stay in his guest bedroom for tonight?
Luckily, the two shots made him care less. He was nowhere near drunk, not even tipsy, but his usual quick, harsh, judgmental reasoning was nonexistent.
That, and he was distracted when his discarded phone started to ring on his couch. Sighing, he made his way over to the couch. He didn't really want to talk to anyone, but when he saw Aunt Cass's photo on his screen, he decided against pressing ignore.
"Hi, Aunt Cass," Hiro got out before he heard hysteric cries on the other end.
"HIRO!... are you... I heard... the storm outside... south... awards... staying out late... worried... you're safe... crash... drown... flooding... heart attack... lose you too..." He interrupted his Aunt at that point.
"I'm fine, Aunt Cass," he reassured, a small smile gracing his face. "I was at my apartment long before the storm started. In fact, I didn't even know there was a storm outside, but I guess that's what I get for renting a soundproof apartment."
He heard his Aunt sniffle. "I'm relieved," she confessed. "I turned on the news, and the first thing that comes up is the storm. It's raining up here, but apparently it's flooding down at your side?"
"Yeah, it's pretty bad," Hiro confirmed.
"Well apparently, it could've been worse if it wasn't for your idea to install the roadside tunnel system that leads to the purification center. Every station keeps on hailing your innovations as a life-saver," Aunt Cass said, making Hiro laugh.
"Any idiot could've come up with those ideas. It's just that I went through with it," Hiro elaborated, hearing a hum of agreement on the other line. "But hey, if it makes me seem even more of a genius and hero than what I really am, why deny it?" Both laughed for a good amount of time before it eventually died down. A loud crackle of lightning was heard, making Hiro jump.
"I heard that," Aunt Cass said. "I thought you said your apartment is soundproof?"
They stayed silent for a few seconds until his Aunt spoke, "I know you're not a knucklehead, but I don't want you going out tonight."
This made Hiro roll his eyes. "Really? I was actually just going to walk to the gas station a couple blocks down because I need milk," Hiro joked. "Like you said, I'm not a fucking idiot. Besides, after seeing how Hamada is right now, I don't think I-"
"Hamada?" Aunt Cass repeated making Hiro curse. "Hey language!"
"Sorry," he halfheartedly replied, hoping it would make her go off on a rant about the importance of expressing yourself without using profanity and how ungrateful he is towards the English language by using that type of bad slang, but it seemed as if nothing was going his way tonight.
"Hamada as in Tadashi Hamada?" She asked again, making Hiro sigh.
"Yes, Tadashi Hamada." Hiro sat down on his couch, looking at the ceiling. "He was on his way home from the Awards tonight when the storm hit. He couldn't drive home in these conditions and somehow, he knew I lived close by, so he stopped by." Hiro stopped in his story, letting his mind finally question something about this situation. How did Tadashi know where he lived?
Aunt Cass, though, took this pause as the end and said, "But I thought you didn't like him?"
"I don't," Hiro answered. "But it's not as if I could leave him outside in this weather. I'm not that heartless, despite what everyone believes."
He heard Aunt Cass make some sort of cooing noise. "I can't believe my little man is being polite and humane! I raised you well!"
Hiro chuckled. "Yes you did, which means I can blame you for having someone, my rival to be specific, invade my privacy."
"I know. Even I haven't been to your apartment." Hearing those words made the happiness in Hiro's face vanish.
"Hey," he started before he was interrupted.
"I know, I know," Aunt Cass said. "You left because you had to, but I can't help it. I miss my little man being here."
Hiro sighed. "I miss you too, but I can't go back. Still, your place is the only place I consider home," Hiro confessed. "I promise to visit more often."
"You better," she teased, throwing them back into laughter and distracting them from their sad predicament. "I have to go. The Frankenstein marathon is about to start, and Mochi is getting pretty restless about not being allowed to sit on my lap."
Hiro laughed. "Ok then. Tell Mochi I said hi and to stay out of my room."
"Will do. Bye, my little college man."
"Bye. I'll visit you soon," Hiro promised before hanging up. He let out a frustrated sigh, dropping his phone carelessly on the couch. It bounced off and fell to the floor. He didn't care, though. If there was any damage, he could always have it repaired or even buy a new one.
However, Hiro jumped when he heard a voice say, "You should really take better care of your things."
Hiro turned around to see Tadashi standing there at the mouth of the hallway. Hiro almost forgot about Tadashi and was about to go off on him until he saw Tadashi's clothes, or lack of.
Tadashi stood there, completely naked save for a towel wrapped around his waist. Hiro took one look at his physique and instantly craved another shot of vodka. Of course he'd look something like that. Here Tadashi was, a 6 foot tall, muscular, strong, tan man, whereas Hiro couldn't even reach the peephole on his own door.
Yet again, another thing Tadashi beat Hiro in.
A scowl reached Hiro's face. Just what exactly was Tadashi doing prancing around his place half-naked?
"Why are you..." Hiro started before he realized he was supposed to leave clothes on the bed for him. "Right! Clothes!" Hiro said before walking towards the side of the apartment Tadashi was at, going through the other hallway that lead to his room.
Hiro unlocked the door to his room with his fingerprint, walking straight to his closet. He opened the double doors and walked in. Although his closet wouldn't be considered a walk-in, Hiro's small stature made the size of the closet considerably bigger, big enough to be a walk-in. He scowled at that.
He opened a trunk that was buried in the back, rummaging through its contents without paying much attention to them. If he did, then Tadashi would probably have to wait another half-hour for clothes. How long had he been talking to Aunt Cass anyways?
Once Hiro found an adequate size of shirt and sweatpants, he walked out of the closet and tried to make his way to the living room until he ran into a wall that wasn't there before.
What the hell? Hiro thought, bracing himself for the ground until he was stopped. He opened his eyes to see Tadashi's sculpted naked chest and immediately pushed himself away, a shiver running down his spine. It's bad enough Tadashi is staying over at his place; he didn't need to get close and personal with him.
He practically forced the clothes into Tadashi, saying, "Here. Go change back at the other room."
Tadashi looked at him. "What if I want to change here?"
"Well I want to kill you right now, but we don't get to do what we want to," Hiro scowled. Tadashi just laughed which made Hiro scowl even more.
They made their way back to the living room and over to the other hallway. Throughout the way, Tadashi analyzed the clothes. It was until they made it back to the guest bedroom that Tadashi decided to question something odd about the clothes given to him.
"No underwear?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I don't have any," Hiro spoke dismissively. Tadashi just shrugged.
"Then why don't you just give me some of your own?" He asked as if it was the simplest thing on Earth. Hiro rolled his eyes.
"Because I don't own any," he clarified, annoyance dripping in his tone.
"Oh, so you go commando?" Tadashi said, giving Hiro a look he didn't like. Hiro just slammed the door in his face and stalked back to the living room, trying to ignore the triumphant laugh muffled in the guest bedroom.
He walked to his kitchen where he saw three shots remaining. He quickly sat back on the stool and downed the other two, one after the other. It burned horribly down his throat, but he couldn't lie and say it didn't feel good. He was able to slow down a bit and think about what was currently occurring at the moment.
Tadashi was changing into his clothes in Hiro's spare bedroom after showering and will probably spend the night over at his apartment. Hiro slammed his forehead against the island. This was probably going to be the worst night of his life.
He raised his head and let it fall on the countertop, eliciting a loud thump. Of course, Tadashi seemed to have impeccable timing and spoke, "Ouch, even I felt that."
Hiro didn't have the energy to show his disapproval. Instead, he just lifted his head enough and grabbed the last shot. Before he could down it, though, the shot glass somehow was forced out of his hand and into Tadashi's. He just smirked as he drank the shot himself, making a face soon after.
"Ugh," he cleared his throat roughly. Hiro felt a small sense of accomplishment at his discomfort. "How could you drink something that strong?"
Hiro just shrugged. "I was a rebellious kid."
Tadashi grimaced. "I never was a fan of vodka."
"Then why take the shot?" Hiro exasperatedly asked. "It's just a waste of good vodka."
"Well it's not fun to drink alone." With that said, Tadashi grabbed the opposite stool and sat across from Hiro, holding out his shot glass. Hiro just sighed, before filling both his and Tadashi's glass. Tadashi held up his glass in between them. "To successful nights," he offered. Hiro just looked at him and downed the shot, not bothering to recuperate the sentiment. Tadashi gave him a look Hiro couldn't describe before drinking his shot at a much slower and gentle way than Hiro.
Their shot glasses were set back on the island, and Hiro started to refill them. "So," Tadashi started, "how come you were a troubled kid?"
"I'm sorry," Hiro spit out, "but that isn't one of the approved conversational topics." He quickly took another shot and refilled his glass.
Tadashi's eyebrows furrowed. "I just want to get to know you a bit better." Hiro snorted. "I'm serious," Tadashi insisted. "We've never had a good conversation, even though we're in the same field of work. I don't know why you don't want to."
Hiro almost laughed. "You wanna know why I don't want to?" He asked. Without waiting for a reply, he continued, "Because I don't like you!"
"But, as I've said before, I like you," Tadashi replied, smiling at Hiro. "And I think if you give me a chance, you'll like me too." Hiro did laugh that time. In fact, it was probably the hardest he'd laugh in a long time, maybe in his entire life even, and Tadashi didn't like it one bit.
Tadashi looked at the glasses on the island and asked, "You know what?" He didn't wait to see if Hiro would respond or if he even listened. "You're too sober for me right now."
"You can say that again," Hiro agreed as he started to catch his breath.
Tadashi nodded. "So let's do something about it. Let's have a little contest."
The word contest made Hiro take the bait. "What kind of contest?" He asked carefully. Tadashi smirked in victory. Time to reel him in.
"We each take a shot. Whoever drinks it the fastest gets to ask the loser a question," Tadashi explained. "Deal?"
Hiro didn't have much to think on. He'd finally beat Tadashi in something and get to discover all of his weakness. Plus, it would all involve drinking. How could he not agree?
"Deal," he agreed, setting up the shots in between them two. He filled them with the vodka that was one-thirds finished by now. How he was not even the least bit tipsy slightly troubled Hiro. Oh well, Hiro thought. I'm sorry for this, liver. As compensation, Hiro took out bottles of water for each of them.
"Ready? Set?" Tadashi started. He dramatically paused before saying, "Go!"
It was over in not even a second. Hiro slammed the glass back and looked at Tadashi, who had barely finished his. Hiro couldn't keep the grin off his face.
"A deal's a deal," Tadashi said, taking the liberty of setting up the next round. "Ask away."
Hiro had a million and one things he wanted to ask him, but he started with the one that bothered him the most. "How do you know where I live?"
Tadashi raised an eyebrow. Out of all of the things he could've asked, he asked that? A deal's a deal, he reminded himself.
"I got connections, Hiro," he said, not actually answering the question. Reasonably, Hiro wasn't satisfied and sent Tadashi a look. "And you might have came up in a conversation or two with Professor Callaghan."
Hiro let out a groan of frustration. Of course it had to be his "mentor" who gave away this personal information to his rival. "I should've known. He can't shut up about me."
Tadashi smiled. "Well he has a right to brag about you." Hiro didn't know if he should take that as a compliment or an insult.
"Wait, why were you even talking about me?" Hiro asked, a little peeved at the thought of himself being a topic of conversation between the two people he hated the most.
Still, instead of giving him a serious answer, Tadashi said, "Sorry. Only one question per win. It's the rules."
Hiro scoffed. "Fine. I'll just beat you again."
Tadashi laughed. "What makes you so sure about it?"
"Even though you might beat me at almost everything else, drinking is definitely my forte," Hiro said, not exactly proud at the rather true statement, but if it meant bragging to Tadashi, then he'll take anything he can get.
Tadashi clicked his tongue at him. "You'll be an alcoholic at 18 and die from liver failure at 25 on the road you're going."
Hiro smirked. "Well I'm 19 now and have yet to become an alcoholic. What does that mean for me?" With the rhetorical question hanging in the air, Tadashi motioned to the glasses.
Hiro nodded. "Ready?" He asked. "Go!"
Tadashi barely raised the glass to his lips when he heard Hiro slam his glass back on the table. Damn, he thought. But that was okay. It was all going as planned.
"Why were you talking about me with Professor Callaghan?" Hiro asked. Tadashi already expected it.
"Like I said," he started, making eye contact with Hiro, "I like you, and I want to get to know you better." Hiro couldn't hide or distract Tadashi from the blush that rose slightly on his face; despite being famous, he still wasn't used to attention. When Tadashi raised an eyebrow and smiled, Hiro wanted nothing more than to strangle him.
"Come on. Another round," he demanded; Tadashi listened obediently. This was definitely going as plan.
While Hiro was too busy gloating in his victories, he was ignoring the bigger picture. Tadashi's plan was to get him so drunk, he'd just blabber on about anything Tadashi asked. Although it might be off topic at some point and extensively weird (as any conversation with a drunk person would be), Tadashi knew he'd get nowhere with a sober Hiro. Thus, this plan came to be. The shower truly is the best place to think.
However, Tadashi did not think this through enough.
Round Three ended in Hiro's favor.
"Where do you get all of the funding for your projects?" Hiro asked.
Tadashi took a sip of the water bottle that was offered to him not too long ago. "Alastair Krei donates everything I need."
Hiro cursed. "Of course he does." They were practically rivals in every way.
Round Four ended and of course, Hiro won. Tadashi apparently had taken too long for Hiro and took the shot away, drinking down the small amount that remained.
"What is the thing you hate most about being famous?" The question caught Tadashi off guard for a second. He certainly wasn't expecting that.
"No privacy," he replied. "I hate it when you see some reporter hiding in your bushes just to get an interview or people off the street practically wrestling each other just to take a picture with you." Tadashi could barely finish the sentence. He was tipsy, without a doubt. He wasn't slurring yet, but a couple more rounds and he'd be drunk. So how was Hiro staying to levelheaded?
This was something Tadashi had failed to realize in the shower. Hiro had experience with alcohol ever since he was a 12, almost 13. By now, his tolerance was so high, Tadashi couldn't even imagine how much he could drink.
He needed to flip the tables.
Round Five ended, and Hiro was completely shocked when he lost.
To be fair, Tadashi did cheat by accidentally blocking Hiro from getting his shot, but technically that wasn't a rule, as Tadashi argued. Hiro practically sulked.
"So whose clothes are these?" Tadashi asked. All the air was suddenly sucked out of Hiro's lungs. He froze, unsure on what to do or say.
After a while of silence, Hiro choked out, "What?"
Tadashi frowned. "Whose clothes are these?" He repeated, not understanding how much clothes could affect a person.
Hiro didn't answer. Instead, he stood up, grabbed the bottle of vodka and dumped the bit that remained in the sink. He carelessly threw it to the trash can next to him, but it only hit the rim of the can and smashed into the floor. "Shit," he cursed, getting up and stumbling his way to the broom and dust pan. He didn't exactly feel like cleaning, so he just dropped the dust pan loudly on the floor, swept up harshly whatever glass he could get into the pan, and kicked the pan to the edge of the wall. Whether there was still glass on the floor or not didn't matter to him.
"You still haven't asked my question," Tadashi pointed out. Hiro threw the broom to the wall.
"And I never will," he replied.
"But you have to," Tadashi argued. "It's the rules."
"Fuck the rules. There's no more vodka anyways, so no more games either." Hiro had enough. He probably would've answered any other question Tadashi asked, but instead he just had to ask that one.
"Hiro, you're not playing fair," Tadashi whined, finishing down his bottle of water. Tadashi wasn't much of a drinker. He was always the first to get drunk around his friends, so he knew he was fighting a losing battle, but he was desperate enough.
"You never said we needed to," Hiro said, always finding some loophole to get out of things. "Now come on, you need to sleep."
Hiro walked over to Tadashi and put his arm around him, holding him up. Tadashi was particularly heavy (probably from all of the muscles, Hiro bitterly thought), but Hiro stood his ground and carried him across the kitchen. He only made it to the living room before Tadashi dozed off on him. His weight was too much for Hiro, so he just laid him on the couch; on his side of course facing the living room. A little vomit is better than dying.
But he would get rid of Tadashi this way…
Hiro tossed the idea aside. No. I'm many things, but a murderer is not one of them.
He sat down on the sectional next to the couch to watch Tadashi. As soon as he settled in, the power went off. Hiro cursed.
He stumbled back to the kitchen to get candles. Hiro usually didn't keep candles around (they reminded him too much of funerals) but right now, he was glad he had some and knew where they were. He couldn't remember where he abandoned his phone, so he was left in the dark without a flashlight.
Hiro grabbed the island to guide his way in the darkness. He flinched when he felt at stray pebbles of glass dig into his foot. Thankfully, the vodka numbed his senses a bit.
He walked into his cabinets and hit his knee. After a moment of rubbing the pain away, he kneeled down and fished under the sink. Finally, he found a couple of candles and a lighter. He placed them on the counter and lit five candles. He grabbed two and moved to place them in the living room when he bumped into something. His heart stopped for a moment until he was caught from falling.
"You really need to stop bumping into me," Tadashi hoarsely whispered, the smell of vodka evident in his breath. Hiro scowled.
"You need to stop following me around," Hiro said loudly on purpose. He felt a small sense of accomplishment when Tadashi put his hands on his head in pain. Hiro put the candles down, grabbed another water bottle from the cabinet below him, and tossed it to Tadashi. "Here. You'll need it." Tadashi quickly thanked Hiro before chugging half of it down.
Meanwhile, Hiro walked to certain places in the room with the candles. He quickly calculated where he'd need to put the candles in order to slightly illuminate the entire room while keeping certain areas brighter than the others. Once the candles were put in place, Hiro sat back on the couch, sighing. He was exhausted, and he still hadn't bothered taking off his dressy shirt and pants.
Tadashi sat next to him, causing Hiro to flinch slightly. He was too close for comfort, so Hiro moved to the edge of the couch.
Tadashi frowned. "I'm just tipsy, not contagious."
"Yeah, well I like my personal space," Hiro haughtily replied. Tadashi stayed quiet for a moment, and Hiro believed he won until Tadashi moved even closer to him and hugged him. Immediately, Hiro tried to fight his way out of Tadashi's hold but quickly found it futile. Still, it didn't stop him from trying.
"Dude, let go!" Hiro grunted. Tadashi was strong. Not only that, but his arms wrapped completely around his tiny frame, practically immobilizing him. Hiro, however, was never one to give up. He just tried to wiggle out of his grasp, but instead, they both went tumbling down to the floor. Hiro was too exhausted to try to recover. "Seriously, dude, what are you doing?"
"Hugging you," Tadashi said.
"Well no shit, but why?"
"Because I want you to get used to me," Tadashi answered. It was definitely not what Hiro expected.
With a renewed vigor, Hiro struggled once again out of his grip. "Dude, let me go!"
Tadashi held his ground. "I want you to get used to me because I promise you, we are going to be good friends."
It looked like Tadashi was winning until Hiro landed a sharp hit in his stomach. Tadashi immediately let go in pain, and Hiro took this opportunity to get out of the death grip and get back on the couch. Sure, he felt bad, especially since it was an accident and a low blow, but that was quickly replaced when he remembered how his personal space had been violated.
"I told you to let me go."
"I didn't think you'd hit me," Tadashi groaned.
"It was an accident." Hiro rolled his eyes. "Come on, you big baby. I barely even hit you."
Tadashi still remained on the floor, not moving or groaning any more but still in pain. "You owe me."
Hiro scoffed. "For what? Defending my personal privacy? You're lucky I didn't bite you."
Hiro was so close to kicking him again. Instead, he opted throwing a pillow, something less messy and more easier than trying to sneak a blow. Tadashi only laughed.
"Hiro, I promise you, you and I will be close," Tadashi promised. Hiro held back any snide remark that popped up in his head. "Better yet, we'll be best friends." Hiro did let out a laugh this time.
"Hamada, I can promise you, that'll never happen," Hiro reassured. "I hate you and you hate me. It's how it goes."
"Who said I hated you?" Tadashi asked, still on the floor.
Hiro looked at him. "I did. That's how it's supposed to go."
"Well, we both are known for breaking rules and laws, so that doesn't mean anything." Hiro was ready to pull out his hair.
"Why are you saying this now?" He asked. Tadashi stayed silent. "If this is your sick way of entertaining yourself, then please find someone else to preoccupy yourself with. I'm sure a member of your fan club would be happy to take my place."
"Hiro, I already told you I like you," Tadashi started. "A lot. More than you know. I just want to be your friend." It was Hiro's turn to remain silent, but his silence was soon broken.
"I don't believe you. And you know why I don't?" Hiro didn't wait for an answer. "Because we are rivals, Hamada, and rivals don't get along. Besides, I can guarantee you won't like me. I'm not exactly nice."
"Well, you're being nice right now."
"No. The only reason why I'm remotely pleasant with you right now is because I can't kick you out and have you fend off the storm yourself. Unfortunately, I was raised to not be an asshole. Don't confuse kindness with diplomacy." Hiro ranted. He practically wanted to punch the smile remaining on Tadashi's face.
"You like me, Hiro." Hiro was livid. "Or you'll end up liking me. And you wanna know why?" Tadashi asked, mocking Hiro. "Because I am a very charming person, and I plan to charm the living daylights out of you until you have no choice but to like me."
"I hate you."
"I like you."
Hiro had nothing else to say. Finding his phone in between the cushions on the couch, he checked the time and saw it was a little past two in the morning. Well, it looked like he'll just have to skip his plans of going to his lab tomorrow.
Without saying anything to Tadashi, Hiro grabbed the blanket he had at the edge of the couch and made himself comfortable, which was easy to do. The couch was more than big enough for Hiro's small frame. Despite not wanting to stay in the same room as Tadashi, Hiro couldn't trust he wouldn't do anything weird, so Hiro had to sleep on the couch. Tadashi could either sleep on the floor or on the sectional (although he doubt Tadashi would fit in it).
"Prepare yourself Hiro," Tadashi mumbled. He was getting sleepy.
"I could say the same to you, Hamada," Hiro replied. Oh yes, Tadashi better watch his back because this declaration of war will not be taken lightly by Hiro. He had a goal to dethrone the other Hamada, and it looked like now was the right time.
Hiro woke when the phone next to him started to ring. It took him awhile to gain consciousness, but when he did, he extended his arms without opening his eyes and blindly looked for his phone. When his hand touched the familiar feel of an iPhone, he pressed the volume button to silence the ring. He turned to his side with his phone near his chest. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a small voice nagged him for placing his phone so close to him, arguing something about waves and cancer. Hiro just ignored it. He was a robotics expert, not a doctor.
His phone rang twice more, and each time he silenced it. He was tempted to turn off the phone, but that would've required him to open his eyes and slide the power button which, in his opinion, was too much work.
Fortunately, his phone stopped ringing. Unfortunately, that was when his house phone started to ring.
His house phone was somewhere else in his apartment, so the ringing wasn't as annoying as it should've been. Hiro ignored the ringing and heard the familiar voice of his answering machine. He was just about to drift back to sleep when an angry voice suddenly filled his apartment.
"HIRO HAMADA! YOU BETTER GET YOUR ASS UP AND IN THE UNIVERSITY, OR SO HELP ME I WILL GO OVER TO YOUR APARTMENT AND DRAG YOU OVER HERE!" Hiro woke with a jolt, his heart pumping a million beats per minute. His head dashed to the left where Tadashi was on the floor, waking with a jolt from the yelling voice of Gogo.
"IF YOU DON'T ANSWER THIS PHONE IN THE NEXT TEN SECONDS, I WILL GET THAT TROPHY YOU WON YESTERDAY AND SHOVE IT RIGHT UP YOUR-"
"What do you want?" Hiro growled through the house phone which wasn't in another room but under the couch pillows on his sectional, muffling the obnoxious ringing.
"You need to sign a few more things on the patent forms," Gogo growled back, not intimidated by Hiro's obvious anger.
"And why can't you do it?" Hiro asked exasperatedly.
"How the fuck should I know? If I could sign them myself, I wouldn't have called you. Now get your hungover butt over here or so help me-"
"Yeah, yeah, I'll see you in a couple of minutes," Hiro interrupted before hanging up. He was not in the mood for any of Gogo's attitude today.
"Who was that?" Hiro cursed under his breath. He completely forgot about his guest.
"No one important," he spat out, a headache already pounding. "But like you heard, I need to go."
"To SFIT, right?" He asked. Hiro nodded. "Well I need to talk with Pro-"
"No," Hiro immediately said. "No. No. No. No. No. You are not going to the university with me."
"Why not?" Tadashi pouted.
"Because I don't like you!"
"I thought we went over this. I like you Hiro, and we're going to be best friends," Tadashi said softly. "Just give me a chance. Please?" Tadashi gave him a look, pleading to him with the same puppy dog eyes he tried to use on Hiro yesterday. He was good.
It didn't work on Hiro, though. "I'm heartless," he told Tadashi before shoving him away. He walked over to the closet near the entrance and opened it. He stripped off yesterday's shirt, tossed the shirt aside, grabbed a hoodie, and slipped it on. He didn't bother changing his pants. It wasn't until he looked back that he realized Tadashi was staring at him.
"What?" He asked Tadashi, causing him to snap out of his trance. He couldn't be sure, but Hiro thought he saw Tadashi blush. His apartment was pretty dark from the thick curtains covering his windows, so his eyes were probably playing tricks on him.
"Nothing. You just look really skinny." Ah, so that was it.
"Yeah, well sometimes I forget to eat. You know how it is," Hiro dismissed, tossing a spare sweatshirt over to Tadashi. He frowned, taking off his own shirt. Hiro looked at his sculpted body and felt his self esteem drop.
"No, I don't know how it is. I've never skipped a meal," Tadashi said, slipping on the sweatshirt. It felt a bit tight, but a reminder of Hiro's frail body made Tadashi understand why it felt so small.
"I can tell," Hiro murmured, garnering a look from Tadashi. "What? If you get to judge my body, I get to judge yours." Tadashi raised his arms in surrender.
Hiro grabbed his keys from the counter and opened his door, walking out of his dark apartment and into the lit-up hallway. Tadashi stayed inside the apartment confused until he hear Hiro yell, "You coming or what?"
Tadashi jogged after him, catching up before Hiro could change his mind. The door closed and locked itself behind him, and Tadashi barely made it in the elevator. He smiled at the scowling Hiro.
He was not happy. He was adorable, though.
The silent elevator ride ended after a few tense moments, the doors opening on the ground level. The landlord sprung up at Hiro's entrance.
"Hey, Hiro," she said, batting her eyes and puffing out her chest. Hiro nodded her direction, not paying any mind to her obvious flirting. Maybe Hiro was (or was pretending to be) oblivious, but Tadashi wasn't. He restrained himself from sending a disgusted glare at her direction.
Walking out, the two were greeted to a pouring sky. The rain was nothing like the storm last night, but it wasn't as if it was a great day either. Rain fell steadily, so they both pulled their hoodies over their heads and ran to Hiro's car. Once in, Hiro started the engine and drove the short, silent ride to SFIT. During one part of the ride, the radio was tuned to some talk show where the host kept on praising Hiro for his incredible innovations that saved many people from last night's flood. After maybe three minutes, Hiro shut it off, catching Tadashi's attention.
Still, neither said anything.
Hiro felt his heart pumping when he was walking to his lab. What would everyone think about him walking in with Tadashi, the rival he made sure to tell everyone he hated?
Apparently, it was his lucky day. No one was in the lab (most likely because of the storm last night) save for Gogo.
Gogo practically jumped on Hiro when he walked through the door. "I was just about to call you!" She saw Tadashi, nodded at him, then gave Hiro a look before shaking her head. "You took too long getting here."
"It's not my fault the sky suddenly decided to rain," Hiro shot back, following Gogo down the hall.
"But it is your fault that Abigail is up my ass about the faulty paperwork," Gogo growled, wanting to pull her hair out.
Abigail Callaghan was a woman with a... strong personality. When Hiro was 13 and started getting recognized in the scientific community, she appointed herself as Hiro's agent, handling anything that had to do with Hiro's inventions, such as advertising, promoting, and paperwork.
"Hiro Hamada!" She yelled as soon as she laid eyes on him. "You messed up on almost every paper you signed!"
Hiro sighed and looked behind him to tell Tadashi he should leave only to see Tadashi wasn't there. Of course he'd bail. Asshole.
Hiro braced himself.
Finally, after some hours, the situation was finally settled. Out of the hundreds of papers Hiro signed throughout the system, only three needed to be rewritten. Still, Abigail was not one for mediocre performances.
Hiro walked her to her car with a headache. Gogo had left a while ago, claiming she needed a smoke break. That was three hours ago, and he knew three hours was stretching it a bit, especially since Gogo quit smoking a few years back. Abigail didn't mind, though. Gogo wasn't her client, Hiro was, and Hiro was the famous one she was going to skyrocket into legendary status.
Unfortunately for Hiro, he was all that mattered to her.
He was just about to drive home when he reminded himself of his passenger. Hiro was tempted to just drive off and convince himself he forgot about Tadashi, but although Hiro liked to consider himself heartless, he wasn't a dick.
He loathed himself as he dragged himself back into SFIT to search for Tadashi. He said he was going to speak to Callaghan, so Hiro figured his office would be the most logical place to search.
The usually short walk to Callaghan's seemed to take ages with Hiro walking as slow as he was, but the unusual length wasn't exactly unwelcome. Once he got there, he had to convince himself for a good amount of time to knock on the door and an even greater amount to walk in. When he heard the professor say, "Speak of the Devil," Hiro felt a small bubble of anger rise in him.
Still, he tried to keep a nonchalant attitude. "Still talking about me, Professor?"
"Please Hiro, I have told you countless times. Call me Robert," he insisted. Hiro wanted to ring his neck. "And really, it was Tadashi who brought you up." Hiro raised an eyebrow at Tadashi, who was sitting at the opposite side of Callaghan's desk. Tadashi only smiled. "Seems you have quite the admirer, Hiro."
"Well, I do look up to him," Tadashi said. Hiro laughed pathetically at the situation he found himself in. What did he do to deserve being in the room with the two people he hated the most?
"My daughter was looking for you," Callaghan changed the subject.
Hiro nodded. "Yes, I know. We've finished up."
Tadashi perked up. "So we're leaving?"
Hiro nodded again. "Yeah, that's why I'm here."
Callaghan looked lost, so Tadashi filled him in, "We came together."
"Oh," he said, looking at Tadashi. "You did? How interesting."
Hiro had just about enough of this. His pounding headache only grew worse (maybe it'll turn into a migraine soon), his temper was about to burst, and he'd probably end up killing someone, which is something he didn't want to do.
Thankfully, Tadashi said, "Yes, so we really must be going." He got up from the chair and walked next to Hiro.
"Yes, well then you best be off," Callaghan replied. "Be careful on the roads, though. I do not want my star pupil getting hurt."
Tadashi laughed. Hiro forced a smile on his face. "Nothing will happen to him," Tadashi promised, placing an arm around Hiro's tense shoulder.
"I certainly hope not. I am very proud of him," Callaghan smiled warmly, looking at Hiro.
Hiro was done.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Professor," he said, not bothering to wait for his reply. He stalked out of the room, whether Tadashi was following or not was none of his concern. He just needed to get out of there.
He walked out of the institution and to his car. He was just about to open the driver's side when a hand placed itself on the door, effectively stopping Hiro. He didn't have the energy to fight.
"Let me drive," Tadashi said. Hiro didn't want to budge. "Hiro," Tadashi said more sternly, "let me drive. You're too upset."
Hiro backed away, bumping harshly into Tadashi. He walked to the other side, opened the door, sat down, and slammed the door closed. He stayed staring at the dashboard, his mind somewhere else. If he had been in his right mindset, he would've never let Tadashi drive his car. Never. But right now, he just needed to leave. He needed to take a break, and if it meant letting Tadashi drive, then so be it.
Hiro didn't pay attention to where they were going. He just closed his eyes and lean his head against the headrest. Tadashi had to buckle him in before driving off.
It took a while before everything came crashing down. Hiro jolted as the car came to a stop. He looked at Tadashi.
He just shrugged. "You look like you need a little pick me up, so I decided to take you to the place that always gets me happy," he said. Hiro was almost going to shoot his sentiment down and abandon him when he saw the café outside of the window. He laughed.
Tadashi made a little face. "I know it's weird, but trust me. I'm sure you'll love it."
"I'm sure I will," Hiro cryptically said. Rather than dwell on it, Tadashi put up his hoodie and got out of the car, running into the café. Hiro unbuckled himself and ran in after. He almost bumped into Tadashi.
Tadashi groaned. The café was packed, something Tadashi should've figured since it was rush hour.
"I don't think we'll find a table," Tadashi said. Hiro just smirked.
"Don't worry. I'll get us in," Hiro said which Tadashi took as bragging.
Tadashi laughed. "So you're using your fame for special treatment, huh?"
Hiro smiled, spotting the person he was looking for amongst the crowd. "Something like that." He left Tadashi at the entrance, walking over to the person. She was waiting on someone, and once she was done, she walked away from Hiro.
"Excuse me, Miss. Can I get a table?" He tapped on her shoulder and asked her. Her reaction brightened up Hiro's fowl day.
Her face was in shock, and she was close to tears. "Hiro! My little man!" She said, hugging him tightly. Hiro hugged her back with equal force. It had been too long since they've seen each other.
"Hi, Aunt Cass," Hiro said, smiling for the first time since the day started. Once they separated, Aunt Cass looked over Hiro's shoulder and caught the eyes of Tadashi.
"New friend?" She raised an eyebrow. Hiro sighed.
"Don't ask," he replied. Aunt Cass gave him a look. "I'll tell you about it later," he compromised. That seemed to please his aunt who looked at Tadashi and started to walk over.
"Hello," she said, shaking hands with Tadashi. "You're one of my regulars."
Tadashi smiled. "You do run a great shop. I just never knew you know Hiro."
Aunt Cass laughed. "It's more than just know. I raised him." Hiro walked behind his aunt, ready to stop her when she says too much. "I'm his aunt, Cass."
Tadashi, to say the least, was shocked. His face made Hiro laugh. "I'm sorry we're so packed, but you can take a seat upstairs, and I'll bring you something when things die down," she said, pointing to the stairs on the side. Tadashi nodded. He understood he was taking her from her customers, so he needed to get out of the way.
"Alright. We'll see you later, Aunt Cass," Hiro said, motioning Tadashi to follow him. With the wave of a hand, Hiro said bye to his aunt for the time being and went upstairs with Tadashi.
Hiro felt an inkling of regret run through him as they started to ascend to his home. Was he really going to let Tadashi into his home? He already went into his apartment, and now this? Well, it's too late for Hiro to kick him out, especially since Tadashi met Aunt Cass already and they took Hiro's car here, so he couldn't tell him to leave. But was he really going to spend time alone with Tadashi in his home?
Not if he can help it.
"I think I'm going to help my Aunt wait on tables," Hiro said, stopping halfway up the stairs. He turned to Tadashi. "Just keep going up. You'll eventually get to our living room. Take a seat wherever." Tadashi nodded.
Hiro squeezed passed Tadashi. He was unnaturally warm, but Hiro paid no mind. He just needed some space.
Tadashi continued up the stairs until eventually he reached the living room. It was small, but it wasn't suffocating. It was cozy and gave a family vibe. There was a really old television set, probably something from the 1990s or older. On the stand next to it was vintage black and white movies such as Frankenstein. Tadashi laughed. Who knew Hiro was a vintage-movie buff?
Tadashi didn't feel like sitting, so he walked around. The kitchen didn't necessarily call his attention, but he was interested in the other set of stairs, more noticeably the pictures. Tadashi walked over, seeing a picture of a cat in a costume of some sort.
So Hiro had a cat? Tadashi liked cats. And Hiro.
He continued walking up, seeing family photos of Hiro and Aunt Cass.
One was of a young Hiro with his robot and a trophy indicating he won something.
Another was one of Aunt Cass and young Hiro baking cookies.
There was another of toddler Hiro dressed up as a bumblebee for Halloween.
There was one where Hiro was smiling and holding up his letter of acceptance to SFIT.
Tadashi couldn't stop smiling when he looked at the pictures. Hiro looked so happy in all of them, completely different than the hostile Hiro Tadashi knows today.
He eventually reached the last picture at the top of the stairs. This picture was different than all of them. A baby was held by some woman Tadashi hadn't seen before in real life or in the other pictures. A man, who looked a little like Hiro, stood next to the woman. They were posed as if they were taking a family picture.
"What are you doing up here?" Hiro demanded. Tadashi jumped, a blush rising to his cheeks. Why was he embarrassed? It's not as if he did something wrong, although judging by the tone in Hiro's voice, it seemed like Tadashi did.
"I was just looking at the pictures," he said, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck. Hiro just sighed.
"You really don't know anything about privacy, do you?" Hiro asked. Tadashi didn't answer; he just smiled. "Come on," Hiro told him. They went back downstairs to the living room where Aunt Cass was. She was setting the dining table with several sandwiches and pieces of pies set up along with coffee.
They both sat down. Aunt Cass handed both of them a warm towel, one Tadashi graciously accepted. "I've closed my shop for a while."
Tadashi felt a little guilty. "Thank you for this."
"Oh please," Aunt Cass dismissed. "It's nothing. I'd do anything for my regulars and my little man," she said, pinching Hiro's cheeks. Hiro was noticeably embarrassed, but he humored her. It'd been so long since she'd been able to embarrass him, so Hiro let it slide.
Hiro and Tadashi grabbed their respective coffees. Tadashi immediately drank from his cup, practically singing as the bitter liquid registered in his taste buds. It was so warm and strong, something he needed after an eventful day.
Hiro, on the other hand, grabbed his coffee and poured almost half of the sugar available. He then proceeded to drown his coffee in creamer until the liquid almost overflowed past the cup. After stirring it for a few seconds, Hiro took one sip to test the taste then took one big gulp when it met his standards. Tadashi couldn't help but smile.
He liked Hiro. A lot.
Aunt Cass cleared his throat, drinking her own coffee while giving Tadashi a knowing look. Tadashi just smiled.
Hiro was lost. "What?" He asked.
"Nothing. I was just clearing my throat," Aunt Cass said, feigning innocence. Tadashi laughed. Hiro didn't like being out of the loop, not one bit, but he just let it slide. Instead, he opted to grab the chocolate ice-breaker pie in the center of the table that was calling his name.
Tadashi decided to reach for a sandwich, roast beef on pretzel bread. He always did have a liking for salty things. Hiro, on the other hand, couldn't stand pretzels. He didn't like things that were bitter or strong (unless you were talking about alcohol), and he absolutely detested anything salty.
Hiro made a face as Tadashi took a bite from the sandwich. Tadashi, on the other hand, looked as if he bit into heaven.
"This is absolutely delicious," He told Aunt Cass. She smiled.
"Thank you. At least someone thinks so," she said pointedly at Hiro. He just shrugged and grabbed a fork, biting into his pie. Now this is heaven, he thought. Tadashi made a face.
The pie was chocolate mousse on a chocolate crust with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream topped with sprinkles and chocolate chips. The pie itself was on top of a chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce drizzled over the entire thing. Tadashi felt sick just looking at it.
Aunt Cass had never been so amused in her life. Here were these two men, both changing the world in their own way. They were alike but completely different in every way. She could already hear all of the things Hiro will say about their new "blooming" friendship. No wonder they were rivals.
As they ate, light conversation flowed between them. Aunt Cass asked about Tadashi and his inventions. He revealed whatever he was comfortable talking about. It wasn't until Mochi came into the room that the nature of their conversation changed.
Tadashi practically fawned over the fat cat. Apparently, he was a cat person, and Mochi ate up all of the attention he was given. Tadashi pet, fed, and played with Mochi until he abandoned him and climbed up to Hiro's lap. Hiro groaned.
"What do you want, Mochi?" He asked. He had never been a fan of cats, but Mochi had been with Aunt Cass almost as long as Hiro had, so he had to deal with the cat. Mochi meowed, looking at Hiro's almost finished pie. "You can't eat this, Mochi. You'll die," he said bluntly. Tadashi laughed.
Tadashi grabbed a leftover piece of roast beef that was left on his plate and called Mochi over, handing the piece to him. Hiro just finished his pie and reached for a sandwich. Unfortunately for Tadashi, that sandwich was chocolate pudding with bananas on a croissant.
"You have an unnatural obsession with sweets," Tadashi said, reaching for a cinnamon apple pie with melting coconut ice cream.
Hiro shrugged. "You have an unnatural obsession with cats," he said, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
Tadashi had to agree. "I suppose I love animals, especially cats."
"You can keep him, then," Hiro suggested. That's when Aunt Cass interrupted.
"No he can't, Hiro," she scolded. She had yet to finished her own sandwich, a steak and cheese sub. She did, however, finish her coffee and moved onto orange juice.
Mochi finished eating and jumped onto Hiro's lap, placing himself under his hand. Hiro reluctantly petted him.
"Well he seems to adore you," Tadashi said, practically drooling over the cat. Hiro rolled his eyes.
"I don't know why."
"Well cats are a good judge of character," Tadashi said, earning a scoff from Hiro.
"Then I definitely don't know why he likes me." He finished his croissant. He placed Mochi to the floor and gathers his dishes, putting them in the dishwasher. Once he was done, he grabbed a water bottle from the refrigerator and sat back down.
The conversation continued, this time with Aunt Cass talking about the café. It was mindless talking (Mochi interrupting at times with selfish requests) but it brought Hiro back to a good mood. Today's bad day was long gone.
Hiro drove back to his apartment with his sunglasses on. The clouds had finally disappeared just in time for the sunset, signaling the end of the storm. Hiro was reluctant to leave Aunt Cass, but night was steadily approaching and Tadashi still needed to go back to the apartment for his car.
So here they are now, almost at Hiro's apartment. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata filled the car, a sound more soothing than the obnoxious host on the other station's talk show. He kept blabbing on about how the advancement of robotics would only lead to robots becoming smarter and eventually taking over the world like if they lived in a 21st Century sci-fi movie. The soft piano notes of the 1st movement were much more welcomed.
Once they arrived at Hiro's apartment, Tadashi stood at the sidewalk. "I parked a little farther down the sidewalk," he said, pointing in a particular direction. Hiro nodded. "I'll send you the clothes when I-"
"Keep them," Hiro said. "It's not like I need them back."
Tadashi nodded. He didn't want to go. He didn't want things to go back to how they were before. He had finally spent time with Hiro without him bashing his head in; there was no way Tadashi could go back.
"Let's hang out again," Tadashi said, trying not to let Hiro's scoff hurt him.
"Just because you charmed my aunt into adoring you doesn't mean I do," he said. "We're still rivals, and I still hate you."
"And I think I've said before, I'll get you to like me," Tadashi said. "We've spent an entire day together, so tell me, did you hate it?"
Hiro was shocked when he didn't reply immediately. Of course he hated it. He completely hated today, with the exception of the time he spent at his home with Aunt Cass and…
No. No. No. He was not going to say it. He was not going to admit it. He hated Tadashi. Tadashi was his rival. Tadashi didn't want to be his friend; he just wanted to distract Hiro's goal of knocking Tadashi off his high horse. Tadashi was only looking after himself. This was a game, a bet, one that Hiro intended to win. Tadashi was not going to mess him up. Tadashi was not going to be his friend. Tadashi was not-
"I'll see you around, Hiro," Tadashi said with a little smug smile. Hiro scowled.
"Not if I can help it, Tadashi," Hiro spat back.
"Tadashi?" He asked. "What happened with Hamada?"
Hiro was ready to run Tadashi over.
Tadashi smirked. "What can I say? I always get what I want," he said, starting his way down the sidewalk and to his car. "Bye Hiro."
Hiro was furious, a little dark cloud forming over his head. He just had to brag. Hiro had been having such a great day today, and Tadashi just had to ruin it.
No, Hiro corrected himself, he didn't ruin it. He reminded me of how it's suppose to be.
With a renewed vigor, Hiro stalked back into his apartment.
"Hope you get hit by a bus."
It had been a few days since Hiro had seen Tadashi. He'd been busy getting up before dawn because Abigail suddenly felt everything was horribly unprepared for the grand introduction of Hiro and Gogo's newest invention. At first, there were just a few minor corrections, then those few things kept stacking up until eventually, it took Hiro all day to complete them. He'd arrive back at his apartment, maybe at nine or 10 at night and take a shower before passing out for the night. Rinse. Repeat.
Still, this didn't mean Tadashi didn't find a way to worm into his life.
Whenever Hiro would catch a break during Abigail's constant demands, he'd escape to his lab only to discover a box tied together by a bow with a little sticky note. He recognized the box from his Aunt's cafe whenever someone placed a special order (Hiro had spent countless days and nights packaging and wrapping the boxes when he was younger and would unwillingly help out in the shop). Every day, the message would be different, but it would always end with 'From the ever so charming Tadashi' with a smiley face drawn next to his name.
Every day, the contents of the box would be different. The first day was a miniature chocolate ice-breaker. The next was a small sweet-caramelized chocolate-covered apple. The day after, it was the famous bite-size chocolate fluff bars. Then, it was a couple of mini double chocolate chip cookies. It wasn't until today, when the box contained his all time favorite brownie bites with powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, that Tadashi hit a nerve. Those bites were a Christmas holiday special, so the fact that Aunt Cass made them for Tadashi in the middle of July irked Hiro.
He called the café. It was the middle of the day, and Hiro knew Aunt Cass wouldn't hear their house phone ring.
She picked up after the third ring. "Thank you for calling Lucky Cat Café. How can I help you?"
"You need to stop giving him these treats," Hiro immediately said, cutting to the chase.
He heard Aunt Cass chuckle through the phone. “Well hello to you too, Hiro," she teased. "How have you been these past days?"
"I'm serious. Stop. It's getting annoying," Hiro said frustratedly. The possibility that she and Tadashi were becoming friends left him disgusted.
Aunt Cass, though, just laughed at his discomfort. "Oh come on, Hiro. He just wants to leave a good impression on you."
"Too much has occurred for him to leave a good impression on me," Hiro growled. He didn't like this situation, not one bit. "I don't like him."
"Hiro, just give him a chance," Aunt Cass persisted. "You have no idea how much he cares about you."
"You have no idea how much I want to run him over with my car."
"HIRO!" Abigail yelled somewhere. Hiro groaned.
"Alright. Go on little man," Aunt Cass said, hearing Abigail's yell through the phone. It didn't take a genius to know he was needed. "But at least think about giving Tadashi a chance. I have a good feeling about him."
Hiro didn't comment. "Bye Aunt Cass," he said, waiting to hear her bidding before hanging up.
He took a deep breath, ate a brownie, walked out of his lab, and braced himself.
Despite the day's events being the same as any other day, there was something that went different.
Hiro walked into his apartment building a bit earlier than usual, precisely two hours, having been successful in escaping Abigail's relentless demands. This time, she had a bone to pick with the decorator, which luckily had nothing to do with Hiro. His landlord greeted him, and Hiro just nodded. He didn't have the energy to act friendly. He just went into the elevator and pressed the 18th button. The ride to his floor felt like it took forever, but as soon as he walked out into his floor, he immediately wished it did take forever.
Tadashi was sitting on the floor outside of his apartment. When Hiro came out, he turned his head to the elevator and smiled when they made eye contact. Hiro wanted to run back into the elevator and back to SFIT. Even Abigail's wrath was better than Tadashi's company.
"Hiro," Tadashi called, getting up and walking over to where Hiro was. Hiro felt his stomach drop.
"What do you want?" he managed to get out, a nonchalant aura surrounding him.
Tadashi still had that stupid smile on his face. "I was wondering if you would like to go out to dinner with me. My treat?" He asked, looking down at the shorter man in front of him. Hiro was scowling.
No. No he didn't want to go out with Tadashi. He didn't want to go out anywhere. All he wanted to do was take a quick shower and go to sleep. He didn't want to spend any more time in public. He was an introvert, so by nature, he hated crowds and people. Dinner at a restaurant (no matter what type of restaurant) just didn't appeal to him.
So then why wasn't he outright denying him?
"Come on," Tadashi begged, giving Hiro his famous puppy-dog eyes. Hiro was grateful they still had no effect on him. "Give me a chance."
Give him a chance? Give him a chance? What on Earth made him think he deserved a chance?
"Fine," Hiro found himself saying before he could stop himself. What. Fine? No. Tell him no. "Just give me a minute." Tadashi nodded, a stupid triumphant grin on his face. Hiro just walked past Tadashi and into his apartment. Only then did he fall to the floor, breathing heavily.
"What are you doing?" He whispered to himself. His heart was racing at a million miles per minute, completely terrified he was going out and with Tadashi out of all people. He hadn't been out with a friend since he was in 6th grade, before all of his friends thought Hiro was weird for being so smart. He was seven at the time. More than 12 years has passed since then, and Hiro had been hoping that time would only grow longer.
"You don't have to go," he told himself, and he didn't. He could just lock the door and ignore Tadashi for the rest of his life. He'll have to move, of course, but he could just move apartments and ask his landlord to keep his move a secret. Then again, Tadashi could just charm the living day lights out of his landlord and get Hiro's information. She was very receptive to attention.
Hiro's stomach growled. He cursed. He had forgotten to order groceries in the beginning of the week, so now, he was relying on the few TV dinners he buys in case he wants a quick and easy meal. Hiro could go for a hot, well-cooked, free meal. But still…
Should he really go?
His stomach growled in protest. Hiro sighed. Fine. I'll go, he relented.
Hiro grabbed his leather jacket from his coat closet and the cologne from his bathroom, spraying some on his body. He smelled too much of oil and burnt rubber (Gogo had been working on her new invention and was constantly asking Hiro for advice, something Abigail strongly disliked). He ran a hand through his messy hair in an attempt to keep it slightly controlled. Obviously, that was all in vain and ended in complete failure.
He walked out the door, instantly catching Tadashi's eyes. He smiled at Hiro, and Hiro felt like punching him in the face. Tadashi was always smiling, and it pissed him off. Hiro can count the amount of times he smiled on one hand.
"Ready?" Tadashi asked. Hiro bit back all the spiteful comebacks and instead just started walking ahead without Tadashi. It didn't take much for Tadashi to catch up to him, something Hiro scowled deeper at. They got into the elevator and pressed the first floor. The ride down was silent and tense, but Tadashi kept that goofy grin on his face, looking at Hiro at the entire time. Hiro found he didn't mind, though. He wasn't okay with it, but it didn't bother him as much as he thought it would.
Was he starting to warm up to Tadashi?
The elevator dinged and cut Hiro off from his thought. They both walked out together.
"Have a good evening, Mr. Hamada," his landlord sang, this time sporting a skin-tight dress. Hiro didn't even look her direction, and the look of disappointment on her face made Tadashi hold back a laugh.
Hiro stopped outside on the sidewalk, breathing in the fresh air. One of his favorite things after a storm was the crisp weather that followed. Suddenly, the smell of cinnamon interrupted the smell of rain. Hiro frowned.
Tadashi smelled good. Of course he did.
Hiro was hesitant to get into the car, but his grumbling stomach forced him to move. He was only doing this for the food. Nothing else.
The restaurant was surprising. It was a bit fancy, but not enough to make Hiro, who was dressed in simple black jeans, a white tee-shirt, and his leather jacket, feel uncomfortable. Tadashi was dressed slightly nicer in a button-down shirt and black jeans.
The menu was inexpensive, something Hiro was grateful for. Sure Tadashi was paying for him, but Hiro was raised better than ordering something expensive at the expense of someone else. He ended up choosing the Chicken Penne (which left his mouth watering). Tadashi ordered Chicken Parmesan (which looked equally as mouth watering). While eating, Tadashi took this as his chance to make conversation.
"So..." He started. Hiro looked up from his food. "Rebellious teenager, huh?"
It was an odd place to start conversation, but it nevertheless garnered a reaction of shame from Hiro. Slightly blushing, Hiro coughed and said, "Yeah. I was pretty wild."
"Really?" Hiro's choice of words caught Tadashi's attention. "How so?"
Hiro scoffed. "Well what do you think I did?"
Tadashi took a sip of his water. "Well, you obviously drank," he pointed out. Hiro nodded. "I'm thinking more along the lines of partying all night, promiscuous behavior, and experimenting."
Hiro raised an eyebrow. "Experimenting? On what?"
Tadashi shrugged. "Anything," he said, the suggestive tone in his voice making Hiro uncomfortable.
He just brushed it off and leaned back. He grabbed his water and took a sip for dramatic effect before clearing his throat and saying, "Bot fighting."
"Bot fighting?" Tadashi asked shocked, wondering if Hiro did actually bot fight.
Hiro was not one to lie, though, especially about his past. "Yep. I was pretty good at it, too."
"When did you start?"
"When I was 10. I stopped when I was 14 and enrolled in SFIT."
"You changed your life," Tadashi noted. "For what?"
Hiro poked at his pasta for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts.
"No particular reason," Hiro said. "Though, I have to say, being number one on hit-lists was a major reason." Tadashi's eyes widened. Hiro just shrugged. "When I said I was good, I wasn't being cocky."
Tadashi chuckled. "So, does that mean you were a rich teenager?"
Hiro nodded. "How do you think I fund my inventions?"
"I always assumed Robert just funded everything."
Hiro stabbed a piece of chicken particularly hard when Callaghan's name was mentioned. "I'd never accept any handouts from him," he said, counting to 10 in his head.
Tadashi didn't notice his change in demeanor, though. "So then how much did you make in dirty money?"
"Hey, I made that money fair and square," Hiro defended himself causing Tadashi to laugh. That felt good, making Tadashi laugh. "And as for how much I made, let's just say I'm pretty much set for the rest of my life."
Tadashi paused his movements. "You were that good?"
Hiro shrugged. "Told you I wasn't being cocky." Tadashi swallowed down the information and his food.
They continued eating and talking, something Hiro found surprisingly easy. It was incredible how easy it was to open up about things, how easy it was to grin. It was easy.
Eventually, it came to dessert. Tadashi ordered a raspberry cheesecake while Hiro ordered a chocolate mousse cake. Both cringed at the other's order.
If a stranger saw the two right now, they would've assumed Hiro and Tadashi were just friends eating dinner together. Maybe they were even brothers.
But they weren't. They were far from friends and were definitely not brothers. This was something the two understood, except both had different ideas.
Hiro hated Tadashi. Tadashi felt the opposite towards Hiro, and as Tadashi is looking at Hiro drool at his dessert, Tadashi felt it was the right time to make Hiro understand this.
Tadashi smirked. This time, it was Tadashi's turn to declare war of a different kind.
Hiro didn't see Tadashi until two weeks after, and he was grateful for that.
After their impromptu dinner, Tadashi drove Hiro home where the two argued about what type of music was better (Hiro preferred alternative while Tadashi argued for classical). As a result, time flew during the car ride. Once they got to the building, Hiro got out and was about to thank Tadashi for dinner until he turned off the car and got out also.
"What are you doing?" Hiro asked.
Tadashi just looked at him. "I'm walking you in," he said as if it was the simplest thing in the world, except to Hiro, it wasn't. Hiro agreed to dinner and that was it. Now that dinner was done, he was ready to say goodbye to Tadashi forever and never see him again, but of course, nothing ever went Hiro's way when Tadashi was in the picture.
"No, you're not," Hiro said, crossing his arms over his chest.
Tadashi laughed. "Hiro," he started, walking over to the sidewalk and standing in front of Hiro's apartment complex. "I'm not giving you a choice." The smile on Tadashi's face was what pissed Hiro off the most.
"Then I won't walk in," Hiro said, leaning against the building. Sure it was a childish response, and Hiro felt even more idiotic when Tadashi laughed at him, but it was the only thing he could do. Being stubborn was his forté.
Tadashi smirked. If Hiro wanted to play that game, then he'd only play it better. "Fine. Then I'll walk in by myself and wait for you in your apartment."
Hiro scoffed at his response. "You can't even get in."
"Well," Tadashi stalled, trying to find an answer to that problem. When he did, his eyes lit up, and with a smirk, he replied, “I'll just talk to your landlord.” Hiro frowned. “I'm known to be very charming. I'm sure she'll gladly let me in.”
Hiro stared at him for a minute. Tadashi didn't seem like a manipulator. Sure Hiro hated his guts, but that was because Tadashi was perfect, and perfect guys do not play women for their own personal gain. So then, was he bluffing?
Hiro didn't want to take that chance. Instead, he glared at Tadashi for a second and stomped his way into his apartment complex. He ignored his landlady, the reason why he caved into Tadashi’s request, and walked into the elevator. He was hoping the doors would close before Tadashi could walk in, but Hiro knew better. Just like he expected, Tadashi was right behind him. The elevator ride was tense and awkward, but only for Hiro. Tadashi ignored the atmosphere and hummed to the song playing. The doors opened a few seconds later, and Hiro practically ran to his door. He unlocked his door but still turned to Tadashi. He thanked him for the meal then promptly slammed the door in Tadashi’s face. It was awkward for Hiro, but for Tadashi, it seemed as if it was the most natural thing to do.
Two weeks passed, and today, Hiro was sweating in his tux. Gogo was next to him, wearing a pantsuit. Abigail wanted her to wear a dress ("It will look better in pictures!"), but even though Abigail was a woman with strong opinions, Gogo was someone you do not challenge.
She was scowling, the pain from the pins in her hair prompting a headache. They were both backstage, and Hiro didn't like it. The launch for their bike was too grand. It was a black tie event, even though Hiro specifically requested the event be a causal one open to the public. Abigail, however, opted for a grand event held in a grand hotel with government officials, "celebrities" of the scientific world, and the press. Hiro and Gogo did not like it one bit.
They stood side by side, preparing their introductions. On top of everything, they had to do a speech, something they both hated. Hiro could never get used to being stared at and Gogo couldn't control her language. And now here they were, in front of hundreds of distinguished guests while it was broadcasted nationally.
It was nothing to worry about, though. They were introduced, Hiro and Gogo went out (Gogo surprisingly didn't trip on her heels), they delivered their rehearsed speech flawlessly, unveiled the bike, and walked off the stage. They went around the giant room, talking with whoever they couldn't manage to get away from. It was an hour before they could excuse themselves from the event and walk to their hotel room. They rented one specifically for this reason, in case any of them needed a break from the night; they just didn't expect to use this room so soon.
"I am going to kill that Callaghan," Gogo growled, laying down on the bed and kicking off her heels. Hiro slumped down next to her.
"You have no idea how many times I've thought that sentence," Hiro confessed. "You hold her and I'll punch?"
Gogo laughed. "Hiro you are many things, but an accomplice to murder is not one of them."
"There are some exceptions."
Hiro trudged off his jacket and laid down, sighing at his popping bones. This was too much. Way too much.
"How long do you want to stay here?" Hiro asked.
Gogo scoffed. "As long as we can."
Hiro did the math. They could technically stay here forever, but Abigail would certainly notice their disappearance in about seven minutes, ten if they were lucky. The crowd would start talking at the thirty minute mark, unless the food was served already. Abigail opted to have the food served later on in the evening, after the speech and unveiling, in order to have everyone stay throughout the entire ceremony.
"We have maybe 22 minutes," Hiro said.
Gogo sighed. "Then let me take a 22-minute nap," she said, turning on her side.
"Just don't ruin your makeup or else Abigail will find out," Hiro told her and only got a garbled response. Hiro set an alarm on his phone and closed his eyes, deciding he should take a nap too. He had a long night to go, and the bed felt just too comfortable to pass up.
But just as he started to drift off, a knock on the door forced him back. He groaned silently, looking over at Gogo and making sure she didn't wake. When she stayed still, Hiro looked at the door.
Abigail. She found them. Now she'll take away their key and stick by them the entire night to make sure they don't escape again. She knocked again, this time more quickly and loudly. Hiro cursed. He could pretend they weren't there.
Another loud knock. Gogo started to stir, and Hiro cursed. He got up and walked over to the door silently. For some reason, he decided to look through the peephole, and thank God he did.
It wasn't Abigail. It was Tadashi.
What does he want? Hiro mentally groaned.
"I know you're in there," Tadashi said, displaying that knowing grin of his. A severe wave of déjà vu hit Hiro.
Oh well, at least he knew what to expect when he let Tadashi in.
Hiro turned the lock, moved the chain, and opened the door, trying to make little to no noise. He motioned him to enter quietly. Tadashi thought of taking off his shoes at the entrance but decided against it when he noticed Hiro still had his on.
"What do you want?” Hiro whispered, running a hand through his hair. He pulled his hair slightly, feeling some relief from his pounding headache.
"Nothing," Tadashi whispered back, still smiling. "I just wanted to make sure you're ok." He took a seat on the recliner placed next to the wall opposite of the bed.
Bed. The room only had one bed.
Tadashi's smile strained.
Hiro didn't take notice. Instead, he got back on the bed but refrained from laying down. Despite his dislike for Tadashi, Hiro was raised to be a respectful person, so he stayed upright, no matter how much he desperately wanted to lay down.
He looked over to Gogo and saw her arms being pressed together. This wasn't a problem, but Hiro knew her bracelets would leave indentions that Abigail would be sure to ask about. He moved her arms slightly and let her rest.
"You guys look great together," Tadashi said. Hiro raised an eyebrow.
"Thanks..." He drawled, putting his head on his hands again. He didn't want to do this anymore. He just wanted to go home.
"Are you guys going to spend the night here?" Tadashi asked.
Hiro shrugged. "Maybe. Depends on how we feel afterwards." Although, Hiro knew they would practically be dead at the end of the night. They definitely would be staying here tonight.
"Oh," Tadashi said, suddenly looking troubled about something. Hiro frowned.
This was not like Tadashi. At all. But why did he care? Hiro hated Tadashi, so that meant he didn't mean care about him. Didn't it?
Hiro groaned when the alarm rang. 22 minutes pass so quickly.
Gogo started to stir, making a noise of discomfort. Hiro blindly pressed the snooze button. Gogo let out a loud groan and got up, rubbing her head. She opened her eyes and was shocked to see Tadashi smiling back at her. She looked at Hiro who only shrugged.
"He followed us."
Gogo nodded and studied the man in front of her. Her shock was quickly replaced by amusement when she saw Tadashi's clenched fists and tense smile. Gogo stood up, making sure to hold on to Hiro most of the time.
"Oh well, you can be our alibi," she directed to Tadashi, who stayed smiling.
"I'd be glad to," he replied, causing Gogo to smirk. Hiro didn't pay attention and instead grabbed a couple of the complimentary chocolates on the bedside nightstand.
He looked at Gogo. "You need to fix your blush. You drooled a bit, and you can definitely see it."
Gogo groaned, then a thought came to her mind. "You fix it for me. I need to fix my hair."
Hiro groaned dramatically, earning a punch on his arm from Gogo. He got up and started rubbing her cheeks gently while she (unfortunately) tightened the hold of her pins.
Tadashi frowned, looking at them together. They were both stubborn, hotheaded, incredibly intelligent, strong-willed, and awe inspiring. His worst fears were confirmed: those two were perfect for each other.
Hiro stepped back to look at Gogo. Although her makeup seemed slightly unkempt, no one would be able to tell she fell asleep. He did good, or so Hiro thought. He was a guy, after all. He didn't know anything about makeup.
Hiro walked to put on his jacket. When he was putting it back on, he turned to see Tadashi staring at him, a rare frown gracing his face. Hiro frowned too, causing Tadashi to force a smile. Hiro sighed.
This night was turning out to be the worst for all of them.
Hiro fixed his tux and locked arms with Gogo. He placed his iPhone back into his pocket, nodded at Tadashi, and walked out of their hotel room.
"Gogo, put your heels on," Hiro said as they walked out into the hall. Gogo just flipped him off. "I'm serious. What if someone sees you like this?"
"Then I'll charm the living shit out of them."
"Well you're off to a good start," Hiro grumbled, earning a laugh from Tadashi. Hiro let out a small smile. He was able to get Tadashi to laugh even in his sour mood.
Not that it mattered, though.
"If anything happens, then just call me," Tadashi told Hiro. Hiro rolled his eyes. "I can come and save you from anything."
"Let's exchange numbers then," Gogo piped in. "In case we need saving," she ended with a wink. Hiro almost groaned. Great. First he had to deal with Tadashi, and now Gogo was hitting on him. Next thing he'll know, Gogo and Tadashi will begin dating and Hiro will have to see him 24/7.
Gogo laughed and sent a smug smile to Tadashi's direction.
Hiro didn't see Tadashi scowl.
They walked to the stairs and started down. They didn't take the elevator in case someone would recognize them and suspect something. Instead, they went up seven flights of stairs and are now walking down seven flights of stairs with Tadashi in tow.
They reached the bottom where Gogo did put on her heels. She stood next to Hiro while Tadashi stood on the other side of Hiro. They walked out, down the hallway and around the corner before spotting Abigail. She was waiting by the elevator. When her eyes landed on Hiro, she practically threw daggers.
"Where were you guys?!" She whispered fiercely.
"Tadashi wanted to talk to us in private," Hiro said nonchalantly. That's when Abigail decided to acknowledge Tadashi's presence. If looks could kill…
Tadashi just remained smiling, and Hiro realized the smugness in his expression was about to set of Abigail. Before Hiro could do anything, he walked over to her and asked, "Why were you looking for us?" Despite hating the event itself, everything had been going off without a hitch, and Hiro didn't want Abigail to be the only person with her name in the media about her tantrum.
Abigail looked at Hiro and pulled him with her. Hiro quickly grabbed Gogo's hand. "Yes, I need you because Governor..." Hiro didn't pay attention. It would be the same anyways. Some political figure would congratulate Hiro and Gogo on their success, ask Gogo on how she came up with the idea of the bike, ask Hiro about his future plans, and then slyly ask about the nature of their relationship.
When was this night going to end?
Eventually, the night did end, but at three in the morning. Hiro and Gogo were dead by the time they reached their hotel room. Their faces hurt from smiling too much, their hands hurt from all those gripping hand shakes, and their feet hurt from walking and standing too much. They collapsed on the bed.
"Oh shit, this dress is killing me," Gogo said, Hiro could only nod.
"Where is the bag of clothes?" Hiro asked, wanting nothing more than to get out of this tux that was three sizes too small.
Gogo looked at him. "I thought you had it," she told him. Hiro cursed. They left their extra clothes back in his apartment. "Just fucking great," Gogo continued, "screw it. I'm not going to drive all the way to the fucking apartment to get our stupid clothes." Hiro nodded.
Gogo got up and kicked off her heels. She all but ripped out of her dress, leaving her in her bra and panties. She held up her dress and heels. "I'm going to burn these.” Hiro let out a tired laugh. Once she made her point, she threw down the dreaded thing and crawled back on the bed.
Hiro unbuttoned his shirt and gave it to her. "Here," he said. She took it and put it on, leaving it unbuttoned. Hiro started to take off his pants. Although he usually went commando, the pants he wore today were tight around the crotch area, so Hiro needed to wear something or else he'd have to deal with a prominent bulge scratching against the rough fabric.
He laid back down with Gogo next to him. They said nothing as they fell to sleep.
His phone started to ring, effectively waking him up.
Well, it didn't necessarily ring, but it vibrated. Hiro had the notion to put his phone on vibrate the night before, but now he hated himself for not turning it off. It only woke him and not Gogo, something he was thankful for. To say Gogo was not a morning person would be an understatement.
Hiro slid his finger across the screen and put the phone to his ear. "Hello?" He mumbled.
"Hey, Hiro," Tadashi said and Hiro felt his stomach drop. Why didn't he look at the caller ID? "Where are you?" Hiro didn't say anything. He just hung up and looked at the time.
7:36 in the morning. Hiro was going to kill Tadashi when he saw him.
His phone started to vibrate. "What do you want?" He whispered as he answered the phone.
"I want to know where you are," Tadashi asked. Hiro could just imagine the smug look on his face. It made Hiro hang up. No less that five seconds later, his phone began to ring again, so Hiro ignored the call and turned it off. He laid back on the bed and sighed.
He'd had just about enough of Tadashi. Tadashi was just so smug and needy and funny and charming and cute and-
Hiro shot up from the bed. What did I say?! He asked himself. His heart was racing so fast, he found it hard to breathe. No. No, I did not just say that. But he did. He did, and Hiro couldn't believe what passed through his head. What was wrong with him? Did he seriously just think that?
Well, Tadashi was smug. The man practically radiated confidence, and he was needy. For fuck's sake, he was calling Hiro right now at what Hiro considered as the middle of the night. Tadashi was always looking for him, trying to talk to him and hang out with him. As for funny, well, Hiro did laugh sometimes when Tadashi cracked a joke, but he laughed with almost everyone. He just laughed with Gogo last night. There's nothing special about Hiro laughing with Tadashi. And of course he was charming. That was self explanatory.
But cute? Cute in what sense? Hiro supposed Tadashi was handsome, and he had a fit body (one that any guy would be jealous of), but cute? Why did Hiro even think of cute? Sure sometimes Tadashi used those puppy-dog eyes to bend anyone to his will (though it never worked with Hiro), and everyone said he had a good smile (though Hiro found nothing special about it), and Tadashi had no idea what privacy is (though Hiro found that irritating rather than "cute"), but still…
Since when did Hiro even use the word cute?
Hiro realized he couldn't go back to sleep, so he decided to take a quick shower. The gel in his hair from last night was starting to make harden and crust off which left Hiro disgusted. But still, there was the problem of no clothes.
The hotel phone started to ring, causing Hiro to jump. It was so loud. So, so loud.
Hiro practically ran to pick it up. "Hello?" He whispered.
"So you are at the hotel," Tadashi replied over the phone.
"Fucking Tadashi," Hiro said to the phone, trying not to throw the phone. That would only break it, and Hiro didn't feel like paying for the damages.
"Yes?" Tadashi answered.
"What do you want?" Hiro growled through the phone.
"I just wanted to see you," Tadashi answered. Hiro rolled his eyes. Tadashi was so pathetic. "That's why I'm here knocking on the door of your apartment, but no one was answ-"
"You're at my apartment?" Hiro asked in disbelief.
"Yes I am, but you're not here."
"Why are you at my apartment?" Hiro demanded. Last time he checked, there was no storm that didn't allow Tadashi to go home.
"I wanted to see if you wanted breakfast."
"At seven in the morning?" Hiro asked deadpanned.
"Well technically, it's eight." Hiro looked at the digital clock next to the phone. He was right. It was eight now.
"I don't care if it's eight at night, it's still too early. Not all of us left early last night like you," Hiro bitterly said. Tadashi had been able to leave the event at 10 p.m. without the press so much as noticing. In fact, the only reason why Hiro knew was because Tadashi had sent him a message saying: 'I'm leaving, but have a good night. Good job on your invention, from the ever so charming, Tadashi *smiley face*'
Tadashi laughed. "Well I needed to get home. I had to pick up my parents from the airport." Hiro scowled at the word parents. "You know how it is."
"No I don't know how it is," Hiro spat out before he could stop himself. Tadashi didn't reply. "Don't you have something to do for that launch of your robot or something?" Hiro said, changing the subject. He didn't want to talk about his family. He didn't want to talk about his parents.
"Nope," Tadashi said, deciding against to venture on the touching subject. "My agent isn't as crazy as yours."
"Consider yourself lucky," Hiro grumbled. Right now, he couldn't even stand thinking about Abigail.
"So, how about breakfast?" Tadashi suggested. Hiro thought it through.
His first thought was no. Absolutely not. After all, he couldn't stand Tadashi. Why would he want to hang out with him again? But Hiro was smart. He needed something and Tadashi wanted something.
"Fine," Hiro agreed. "On one condition."
"I'm all ears."
"Can you get clothes from my apartment?" Hiro asked.
"Sure," Tadashi happily replied. Suddenly, Hiro realized he was getting the short end of the deal, but whatever. They needed clothes.
"Ok. There's going to be a button on the underside of the panel next to the doorknob on my door. Make sure no one's there before pressing it." Hiro stressed the last sentence. The last thing he wanted was some stranger knowing how to hack into his security system.
Although, wasn't Tadashi technically a stranger to Hiro?
"Ok. I pressed it," Tadashi told him. Hiro sighed. Oh well, too late to regret it now.
"Ok. A little keyboard popped out. You're going to have to type in guest, g-u-e-s-t, all lowercase, and place your thumb on the fingerprint reader. When you see a little light flashing red, tell me," Hiro instructs him.
Tadashi replied a second later. "Ok. I see the light."
"Alright. Now type in T-A-K-A-C-H-I-H-O." Hiro felt sick saying those letters.
"Ok, so your thumbprint can now unlock the bedrooms. I need you to get some clothes for me and Gogo."
There was a long pause. "Gogo?"
"Yeah, her clothes are in the spare bedroom, but I think there's some of her clothes in my room," Hiro told him.
"Your room?" Tadashi asked, causing Hiro to roll his eyes.
"Yes, my room," Hiro growled. "Just grab whatever, and then bring it to the hotel."
"Gogo's in your hotel room?" Tadashi asked. So much for him being intelligent.
"Yes, Einstein," Hiro sarcastically said. "Stop asking ridiculous questions and bring me the clothes."
"What's the magic word?" Tadashi teased. Unfortunately, Hiro was not in the mood.
"Um, 'do-it-or-else-I'll-lock-you-in-my-apartment-and-call-the-cops-on-you'?" He said, earning a laugh from Tadashi.
"Alright. I'll be there in a few minutes." Hiro could practically hear the smile in his voice. Instead of replying, he just hung up. He felt incredibly tired.
Hiro did the math. He fell asleep at about 3:15 am. Right now, it was 8:15 am. Only five freaking hours of sleep.
Hiro was going to strangle Tadashi when he got here.
Hiro hesitantly got off of the bed and put his phone to charge. He closed the bathroom door, took off his underwear (the only article of clothing he had on), and jumped into the shower. What was originally suppose to be a quick shower ended up taking him 20 minutes. He could've stayed longer if he didn't hear voices in the room. Hiro sighed. He hopped out, wrapped a towel around his waist, and walked out, his eyes immediately meeting a scowling Tadashi waiting by the door frame and a defensive half-naked Gogo blocking his way in. They both turned towards Hiro.
Gogo pointed at Tadashi. "He said you told him to come."
Hiro nodded. "I asked him to bring us clothes since he decided to call me at the crack of dawn."
"It was 7 a.m."
"Same shit," Hiro dismissed. "Let him in." Gogo did so, albeit hesitantly. She was practically seething when he waltzed in with a triumphant grin. Hiro noticed nothing, like always. Instead, he focused on the bag of clothes.
He held out his hand, and Tadashi handed him the bag. He started to dig through until he recognized a pair of khaki shorts and his old, worn out, long sleeved, red shirt with a robot. He noticed his favorite blue jacket on Tadashi's shoulder.
He started to walk back to the restroom. "Dude, I meant to say this last night but I was too tired, so I'll say it now," Gogo said. "You need to eat more."
"Well, you need to eat less," Hiro joked back. He could feel the oncoming punch from Gogo, so he ran and locked himself in the bathroom with his clothes, laughing.
"I swear I'll fucking kill you when you come out, Hiro!" She shouted, causing Hiro to laugh even louder. A small snort came from Tadashi, but he acted innocent when Gogo glared at him.
Tadashi couldn't help but feel hurt when he saw Hiro half-naked with a half-naked Gogo. She had a body most girls would kill for and guys would die to touch, but Tadashi only felt threatened. Gogo, a beautiful and sexy woman, shared a night with Hiro, the object of his affection.
Tadashi had another rival to overcome.
Gogo turned to glare at him. "I'll tell you straight up," Gogo started, "I don't like you. I don't like your stuck up 'oh look, I'm better than you' attitude, and I definitely don't like your weird obsession with Hiro."
"It's not an obsession," Tadashi defended.
"I don't give a shit what it is," Gogo countered. "I still don't like it, but whatever. I don't control your life choices, but I swear if you hurt him in any way, I will ruin you. I may not be as famous as you, but I do have connections, people who owe me favors, and people who are just scared of me. I can bring you down in every way possible way," she threatened, cornering Tadashi to the wall. "I will not hold back. Enough shit has happened to him already, and he doesn't need you fucking up the ducks he barely put in a row. Got it?"
Tadashi only smirked. "Got it," he confidently replied. That was what Hiro saw when he walked back out into the room.
Tall, 5'11 Tadashi Hamada, being pinned up against the wall by 5'0 Gogo Tomago who was only wearing undergarments and a white button down shirt. Hiro didn't know whether to laugh to barf. He could practically see the sexual tension.
"Please no making out while I'm here." Gogo's reaction did make Hiro laugh.
"Why don't I just kill myself instead?" Gogo offered, completely disgusted at Hiro's oblivious implication. Hiro was completely dense.
She started to look at the bag's content and fished out black leggings and her shirt. She cringed. "Oh shit, is this really mine?"
"I found it in the spare bedroom," Tadashi shrugged. Gogo did not like the fact that he rifled through her stuff, but she focus at the real problem.
The shirt was a halter top with a dragon breathing fire all done in sequin. It seemed to be two sizes too small for Gogo. The shirt was rough, stiff, and displeasing to her eye. Why did she even have this?
"Didn't Fred buy that for you when he visited China?" Hiro asked. That explained it.
"I'm sorry, but I cannot wear this," Gogo refused, glaring at the fabric in her hand. "I'll just borrow your shirt for the rest of the day."
Hiro shrugged. "Fine by me. You're going to go to my apartment anyways, right?" Gogo nodded. "Just leave it when you get there."
"Fine," Gogo agreed, shrugging her leggings on. "I'll take a shower at your apartment. You know how much I hate showering in hotels."
Hiro laughed. "Oh come on. That was one time."
"Hiro, a stranger walked in on me naked," Gogo said, almost shuddering as the memory came back.
"And I gave him a black eye for it."
"Well I don't want a repeat."
Throughout the interaction, Tadashi only watched in awe. Hiro was so different when he was around her. Maybe it's because they were close friends? Or maybe it's because they were something more? Maybe he saw her as something special?
"Alright, let's go," Hiro said to Tadashi. Tadashi raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you say you wanted to take me to breakfast? I'm not one to forget an offer of free food."
Tadashi laughed. "Yeah, am I driving you?"
"Yeah," Hiro said. "Gogo already left in the car, so you're stuck with me." More like I'm stuck with you, Hiro hissed in his mind.
Tadashi shrugged. "I don't mind."
"Trust me, you will," Hiro bitterly said, stalking out of the hotel room. Tadashi was rendered speechless. After all, what could he have said? One minute, Hiro was bragging about giving someone a black eye; the next, he put himself down. There were many layers to Hiro Hamada, more than Tadashi realized. It would take a long time peeling back those layers one at a time.
Not if I use a knife, Tadashi mused, grabbing his bag and following Hiro. He had to wait for the next elevator since Hiro had gone off without him, but that just allowed Tadashi to create a plan.
Operation Knife had commenced.
Tadashi cringed at the amount of syrup Hiro poured on his waffles. He practically drowned them which made Tadashi shudder at the possible effects this will have on Hiro's body.
"I can only imagine how many cavities you have," Tadashi said. Hiro just looked up and gave a toothy grin.
"Perfect teeth," he showed. Tadashi saw a row of pearly white, straight teeth but also a small gap between the two front teeth. He couldn't fight the smile off his face. "Besides, you're the exact same with all of that cinnamon," Hiro nodded at the cinnamon caked on Tadashi's French toast.
Tadashi shrugged. "You can't compare cinnamon with syrup."
"Yeah. Syrup actually tastes good." That triggered the war that lasted their entire breakfast. For an hour, the two debated on who had a better taste pallet, Hiro arguing for sweet while Tadashi arguing for anything else. The only reason they left was because other customers began to complain when some sections of their arguments became a little too loud. If not, Tadashi and Hiro could've spent their entire day in that small diner debating who's personal aesthetic was better.
They got back into Tadashi's car a little after noon, and Hiro couldn't help but smile. His brain had never been so stimulated and entertained in his life. Debates and arguing were his two favorite hobbies. It always made Hiro focus fully on winning, something he liked to do. Maybe that's why it wasn't until they were on the outskirts of San Fransokyo that Hiro actually noticed they weren't driving towards his apartment.
"Wait, where are we going?" Hiro asked, slightly panicking. He never liked being blindsided; he always had to know what was happening, how it happened, and why it happened. This strange mindset was why he was so knowledgeable and why he wanted to punch Tadashi right now.
But Tadashi didn't notice Hiro’s discomfort. He just smiled and kept his attention on the road. "I haven't repaid you for letting me stay at your apartment, so I've decided to let you in on a little secret."
Hiro said nothing. This “secret” Tadashi mentioned intrigued Hiro enough to humor Tadashi, but as they continued to drive and Hiro saw less signs of civilization, he started to doubt the value of the secret. Hiro looked at the time on his phone and noticed they had been driving for an hour already, and it had been 20 minutes since they passed a house. He sat through enough old horror movie marathons with Aunt Cass to know how these situations usually ended.
"You're going to kidnap me and murder me in the middle of nowhere, aren't you?" Hiro asked seriously. In his mind, he thought back to the movies and rewatched the scenes. The main character was driven by someone into the middle of nowhere so that someone could murder the protagonist without any fear of outside interference. No one could hear the protagonist if they screamed in pain or for help, and once the deed was done, the murderer could hide the body easily and efficiently. Hiro tried to remember how the main protagonist escaped, and modeled an escape plan based on the similarities if the occasion should rise; however, Tadashi’s laugh made him stop.
"Calm down, you're not that much of a threat to me,” he joked.
Tadashi laughed again before reaching across his seat and grabbing Hiro’s hand. "Just relax. I won't murder you as long as you won't murder me."
Hiro frowned before sharply pulling away his hand and looking out his window. "I am not a murderer,” he mumbled mostly to himself, but Tadashi heard. Tadashi was slightly bothered by the sudden change in the atmosphere, but he ignored it and put his rejected hand back on the steering wheel.
"Good, then just sit tight and enjoy the ride."
Hiro crossed his arms defiantly but leaned back in his chair and complied. "Fine."
For a couple of minutes, they fell into an awkward silence. Why it was awkward, Hiro had no idea, but he couldn't bare it. Hiro felt like he needed to say something, like he was obligated to, but what could he say? Small talk was never his forté; hell, just talking was a challenge for him. Hiro was the definition of antisocial. He only communicated with his three friends and his aunt. He didn't believe in acquaintances, but somehow, Tadashi was becoming one.
Hiro scowled at that revelation. Yes, he had to admit it. Tadashi had moved up from hated rival to acquaintance. And in such a short time! Well, almost a month had passed (23 days to be exact) since Tadashi came knocking on Hiro’s door, but Hiro thought about all the people he'd met throughout his career and realized he never kept in touch with them. He would meet people in events, have a polite and (mostly) pleasant conversation, then part ways with false promises of continued contact. He never meant for that to happen, but that was how it went. The only time that cycle broke was when he met Fred four years ago. Hiro had been at a charity gala in England, and of course, he felt out of place. Gogo and Wasabi were too busy to go with him, so Hiro was forced to socialize. He was halfway through the room when he saw Fred. It was hard not to notice him. Wearing a red tux in a sea of black, he stuck out like a sore thumb, and as Hiro walked towards him, he could see how stiff Fred was.
Their conversation started the same: a comment on how nice the gala was, the importance of the charity (Hiro couldn't even remember what cause they were raising for anymore), and any notable people who attended before they properly introduced themselves. Fred Lee, son of Stan Lee, the CEO of the most wealthy and successful company in the world. Hiro was impressed but not intimidated by Fred. Intimidation was long gone when Hiro shook hands with the Queen of some obscure country.
In fact, as Hiro shook hands with Fred, he wondered why he was invited to such a prestigious gala. Out of all the people Hiro had met so far, he had not seen one scientist. Sure Hiro had made leaps and bound in the scientific community, but he was nowhere near the same level as powerful businessmen, celebrities, or royalty.
Hiro had pushed that thought aside and introduced himself. Hiro Hamada, Robotics Scientist. Immediately, Fred’s eyes lit up, and the night took a turn for the better.
Soon, they were immersed in conversation about a mutual comic book they liked, and then Fred asked Hiro about the probability of creating a formula that could turn him into a fire-breathing dragon at will. Hiro had to continuously deny Fred throughout the night, even when the conversation changed topics. Hiro told Fred about his inventions, SFIT, and his friends. Fred told Hiro about his dad’s company, his family island, and again the dragon formula.
Soon, the gala ended, and they had to part ways. Fred mentioned the possibility about his family visiting San Fransokyo. Hiro told him to call if he were ever in town to hang out. A week later, Fred walked through the doors of SFIT. The rest was history.
Hiro looked over at Tadashi. These circumstances were nothing like how he met Fred. First, Hiro didn't hate Fred like he hated Tadashi. Second, Fred wasn't his rival. Third, Fred didn't make Hiro feel incredibly insignificant.
That was probably the main problem Hiro had with Tadashi. Tadashi always seemed to be better than Hiro. Tadashi made better inventions, discovered better laws, created better theories, but it wasn't only careers that Hiro compared. As a person, Tadashi was clearly better. He was kind, charming, sophisticated. He grew up with loving parents who are still involved with his life. He was also handsome. It killed Hiro to admit it, but Tadashi clearly won in every aspect. Hiro was bitter which was why he was so conflicted.
Apparently, Tadashi couldn't stand the silence either and turned on the radio. He mindlessly flipped through the stations, but when nothing appealed to him, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He handed it to Hiro.
“Can you connect it and play music?” Tadashi asked, eyes focused on the road. He always prided himself in being a safe driver.
Hiro looked at Tadashi in disgust. Really? He already hated tadashi, but now, Hiro felt a deeper form of disdain for him. Now, he despised Tadashi. "No,” he said, disgust present in his voice. “In fact, drop me off here. I'm not going anywhere with you."
"What?" Tadashi asked, snapping his head towards Hiro. He unconsciously stepped harder on the gas pedal. Screw the road, Tadashi had a bigger problem to worry about. "Why not?"
"You're an android,” Hiro spat, looking at the phone as if it was a pile of dog crap; though, to Hiro, it was. Tadashi was confused at first, but when he looked at Hiro’s hands, it all made sense. One held his black android, the other held Hiro’s white iPhone. "You just had to be an android." And Hiro just had to be an iPhone. "You know, I was actually warming up to you,” he had to admit he was, “but this,” he waved Tadashi’s phone between the two, “ruined all the progress you made.” Tadashi smiled then turned back to the road until finally he couldn't help but chuckle. Hiro was absolutely incredible. “Why do you have an android?"
Tadashi released the pressure on the pedal. "Because I like long battery life and a stronger, durable, more reliable phone. Why do you have an iPhone?"
"Because I have self-respect."
It turned out, they didn't need music to break the awkward silence. For the rest of the car ride, the two argued about the better company, comparing all products from phones to earphones. While Tadashi used evidence such as statistics and facts, Hiro stuck to rhetorical appeals like personal experiences of his own and his friends. Tadashi wasn't sure if anything Hiro said was true, but he did make valid points.
Overall, both made strong cases, but as they turned from pavement to dirt road, Tadashi was ready to accept defeat. There was no way he would win an argument on something Hiro took so personally.
But Tadashi was just as stubborn as Hiro. Instead of waving a white flag, he kept pushing Hiro's buttons, taking cheap shots until they reached a building. Tadashi parked the car, turned it off, and stepped out. Hiro slowly followed. He eyed the building cautiously. On the outside, it looked innocent enough. It was two stories high, but it wasn't so long. It looked abandoned which made Hiro think back at the horror movies, but as soon as the thought crossed his mind, Hiro dismissed it. He couldn't judge something based on its appearance. Look at Tadashi. Hiro thought he was an arrogant, selfish, conceited jerk who only cared about winning. And now?
And now, he realized Tadashi was much worse. After all, he owned an android. How could he trust an android user?
Hiro broke out of his thoughts when he saw Tadashi standing in front of the car. Hiro walked towards him. "Where are we?" He asked, observing their surroundings. They were far from the city and deep into the countryside. There were thick trees outlining the building, keeping it well hidden. Beyond the trees were fields of green grass and wildflowers. A breeze blew past them, carrying the scent of wet grass and mud. It was a welcomed change compared to the smoke and sweat from the industrialized city.
"We're at my lab,” Tadashi replied. Hiro looked away from the landscape and back to the building before frowning. Tadashi's lab was way bigger than his at SFIT.
"Dude, what for?"
Tadashi just smiled. "We're going to see Baymax."
Hiro was a nerd in almost every way. He had a hard time fitting in at his middle school because of how nerdy he was. An eighth grader knew about Hiro’s obsession with robotics and consistently teased him, each encounter getting more violent. The bully eventually graduated, but the damage was done; Hiro was an outcast. Since then, he hid his knowledge. It was because of this that Hiro hated his prodigal status. He felt so confined and suffocated, but he bared the burden for the chance to have a normal social life. The only outlet he had was botfighting, a habit he started around the seventh grade. Eventually, he hit the breaking point and revealed his intelligence. He skipped a few grades and graduated high school at 13, something he wasn't necessarily proud of. On one hand, he was finally free to increase his knowledge and pursue his ambitions; on the other, he abandoned his peers and his problems.
He wasn't sure on what he should do next, so Hiro took a year off and continued botfighting. It was there he saw Abigail Callaghan. They already met years back, but they lost contact after the incident happened. She forced herself back into his life, and soon, Hiro found himself applying to SFIT, and after Robert Callaghan wrote an unwanted letter of recommendation, Hiro was accepted.
The first day of classes, he talked to no one mostly because everyone avoided him. He could hear the whispers and comments about him. After all, a 14 year old was in a college lecture. How could they not talk about it? And it didn't help that Callaghan unnecessarily pointed Hiro out as the one to beat in his class. When Hiro’s day was over, he ran home and locked himself in his room.
He was a nerd in every way, but because of years of bullying, Hiro kept that side of him buried. But this lab was bringing out the worst in him.
There was no way to even describe the endless amount of equipment Tadashi had. All Hiro saw when he looked around was wires, tubes, buttons, colorful lights, blinking lights, jars, and machinery. Hiro felt like he was a kid in a candy factory. He walked around in nonchalance, but he couldn't keep an excited grin from spreading across his face. He walked the edge, pointing out equipment he had, equipment he wish he had, and, surprisingly, equipment he invented.
He walked over to the two poles and looked over at Tadashi. Tadashi shrugged. “It's helpful whenever I need an exact cut.”
Hiro looked back at his invention. Yes, that was the purpose of laser induced plasma. Actually, he got the idea from Wasabi. Two years ago, Wasabi was working on his final and threw tantrums when his cuts came out crooked or lopsided. His cuts weren't so bad, but Wasabi’s OCD told him otherwise, so Hiro decided to create a device to cut exact measurements, and two months later, he finished it. It was originally just going to be something for Wasabi, but when Abigail saw it, she swooped down like a hawk with patents and paperwork before Hiro could say no. And now, it's in Tadashi’s lab.
Hiro took at least half an hour to look around the lab. He would've taken longer too, but the reason why he was here was to see Baymax, not drool over Tadashi’s lab. He made it back to the entrance and kept walking, this time looking for Tadashi. He rounded the corner and saw a huge desk with a plethora of sketches. It interested Hiro, but he ignored it and kept walking. He had no right to look at Tadashi’s ideas. Finally, Hiro found Tadashi standing in the center of his lab.
He walked up to Tadashi. "So what's this revolutionizing robot you've been working on?" Tadashi just smiled before holding up a roll of Duct tape. Hiro clicked his tongue. "Duct tape? Hate to break to you, but it's already been invented,” he sarcastically said. Tadashi still said nothing. Instead, he cut a strip of Duct tape and placed it on Hiro's arm. "Hey what are y-" That was all Hiro said before Tadashi yanked the tape off. "Dude! Ow!" Hiro yanked his arm out of Tadashi’s grip and cradled it to his chest. He was ready to yell at Tadashi when he heard a ding.
Tadashi moved away just in time for Hiro to see something inflating from a red box. “This is what I've been working on,” he said, motioning towards the white balloon that… blinked?
The balloon stepped out of its box, and that's when Hiro realized it wasn't a balloon. It was a robot. It was Baymax.
Baymax took a few, short, choppy steps towards Hiro before running into a rolling chair. He looked down, blinked, grabbed the chair, looked to his right (which was cluttered with tools), looked to his right (which was completely empty), and placed the chair down before walking again and finally making it to Hiro.
Baymax held his hand up and waved. "Hello, I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion. I was alerted to your need of medical attention when you said ow." Hiro looked at Baymax before turning to Tadashi who was smiling. A robotic… nurse? "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?" Baymax’s stomach lit up, showcasing the meter of pain he was programed with through faces.
Hiro had never felt so amused in his life.
"Physical or emotional?" He asked deadpanned, glaring daggers at Tadashi. Hiro unconsciously rubbed his arm.
"I will scan you now,” Baymax announced. Scan? Baymax looked up and down, emitting a few noises. Hiro furrowed his eyebrows. "Scan complete. You have a slight epidermal abrasion on your forearm.” Now a silhouette of a human body with a red spot on its forearm appeared on Baymax’s stomach. “I suggest an anti-bacterial spray,” Baymax said before grabbing Hiro’s arm, but Hiro pulled it back and held his hand up.
"Woah, what's in the spray specifically?" Hiro asked with a smirk.
Baymax just blinked before answering, "The primary ingredient is Bacitracin." Then, a picture of the chemical composition of Bacitracin replaced the body.
Hiro clicked his tongue and snapped his fingers. "It's a bummer. I'm actually allergic to that."
Baymax blinked again and tilted his head. "You are not allergic to bacitracin. You do have a mild allergy to peanuts."
Hiro nodded. "Not bad,” he said before handing Baymax his arm. “You've done some serious coding on this thing."
"Like I said, I programed him with over 10,000 medical procedures.” Tadashi said, opening a small compartment on Baymax’s chest. “This chip is what makes Baymax, Baymax.” Hiro smiled and pressed on the green chip before circling Baymax.
“Vinyl?” he asked, poking the inflatable material
“Yeah,” Tadashi confirmed, “going for a non-threatening, huggable feel.”
“He looks like a walking marshmallow,” Hiro commented, quickly adding, “no offense.”
Tadashi opened his mouth, but Baymax spoke before he could. “I'm a robot. I cannot he offended.” Hiro smiled. Baymax was something else.
Hiro tiptoed, gaining as much height as he could, but when it wasn't enough, he grabbed Baymax’s head and brought it down to his level. He stared at Baymax’s eyes, tapped the surface, then asked, “Hyperspectral cameras?”
“Huh.” Hiro stepped back for a second before diving into Baymax’s stomach.
“Right! Even lighter,” Hiro said. He continued examining the skeleton until something caught his attention. “Killer actuators! Where did you get those?”
“Machined them right here.”
Tadashi smiled at Hiro’s excitement. “He could lift 1,000 pounds.”
“Shut up.” Hiro looked over at Tadashi with awe in his eyes, and Tadashi felt a warm sensation spread across his chest.
Yep. He had it bad.
"You've been a good boy. Have a lollipop," Baymax said, holding out a red lollipop. Hiro looked at Tadashi.
Tadashi shrugged. "I've mainly built him to help in children's hospitals. I guess he identifies you as a kid." Usually, a comment like that would be annoy Hiro, but he couldn't feel insulted when it was Baymax who said it. The robot was too naïve, too childlike. Besides, Hiro liked lollipops. They were sweet.
Hiro smiled and grabbed the lollipop. "Well, I'm not complaining." He unwrapped the candy and stuck it in his mouth.
"I guess I still need to work out a few kinks,” Tadashi said. Hiro nodded.
"I cannot deactivate until you say you are satisfied with your care,” Baymax explained, so Hiro removed the lollipop from his mouth and smiled again.
"Well then, I'm satisfied with my care." With that said, Baymax turned around, walked back to his box, and deflated. Hiro stared at the box. Tadashi stood next to Hiro, both of them sharing a moment of silence. “He's gonna help a lot of people,” Hiro commented, the lollipop rolling around in his mouth. Tadashi had never felt so jealous of a lollipop before.
“Tadashi!” A voice yelled, tearing Tadashi’s stare away from Hiro’s mouth. “Are you in here?”
Tadashi turned to where the entrance was and yelled, “Over here, Honey!”
Hiro looked at Tadashi. Honey? Tadashi had a girlfriend?
Then, a girl walked into the picture. She wore a yellow sundress with her hair down. She had round pink glasses that framed her face, but it wasn't until she looked up that Hiro could actually see her face, and a unpleasant feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.
Tadashi had a girlfriend. And it was Honey Lemon.
“Hey, I talked to the caterer, and he said…” then she trailed off when she realized there was someone else. An intruder. Hiro felt himself shrinking under her gaze, but then a smile spread across her face. “Oh my gosh! You must be Hiro!” She screamed before running over to him and suffocating him in a hug. “I've heard so much about you!” She gave him a kiss on his cheeks before releasing him and standing next to Tadashi. Hiro resisted the urge to wipe his cheek.
Tadashi smiled before placing an arm over Honey’s shoulder. “Hiro, this is Honey Lemon.” She held out a hand, and Hiro had to swallow every ounce of pride he had to take her hand and shake it.
“It's so nice to finally meet you,” she sincerely said.
“You too,” Hiro replied with a plastered smile on his face. He didn't mean it. Honey excused herself and took Tadashi away, discussing whatever she originally wanted to discuss.
Hiro stood alone in Tadashi’s workshop, but all he could focus on was the dark cloud settling over him. He felt his skin crawl, his stomach churn, and his throat dry. Thoughts raced in his head, fast enough to hurt. Five minutes hadn't even passed since they met, but Hiro knew one thing: he didn't like Honey.
Hiro sighed. He couldn't trust himself to dwell on these thoughts, so he took a deep breath and said, “Ow.” Baymax inflated from his box and stepped towards Hiro.
“Hello, I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion,” he said. “What seems to be the problem, Hiro?” So he remembered him? How incredible.
“Nothing Baymax. I’m fine,” Hiro told him. “I would just like to know more about you. What is your function?”
Baymax blinked. “I am programmed to asses everyone's healthcare needs. With a simple scan, I can detect vital stats, and, given a patient’s level of pain, can treat nearly any ailment.” His response was immediate. “I care. That is what I am designed to do.” Hiro couldn't help but smile, but bitterness settled in his mind.
Of course Tadashi would program him to care. He was a good person, so obviously he would create a good robot, and it wasn't fair. It was the only thing he could focus on, not on how incredibly sophisticated Baymax was but on how incredible Tadashi was. And it wasn't fair.
But this wasn't envy. No, Hiro knew what jealousy was. Whenever Hiro felt jealous, he would feel it in his core. His body temperature would literally rise from his seething anger until he made himself sick, and right now, Hiro wasn't feeling this. He didn't feel hatred; he just felt tired. Was his body always this heavy? Had he always had this much limb? Was the pull of gravity always this strong? If he had to sum it up in one word, Hiro would say he felt defeated.
Baymax tilted his head. “Your emotional state is unbalanced. Are you upset?” Hiro felt his stomach churn. Just how intelligent was this robot?
He sighed again. Yes, yes he was upset, but he couldn't say this out loud. He had too much pride to express his feelings freely. “Don't worry about it, Baymax.”
But Baymax persisted, “It is not healthy to keep feelings suppressed. It can lead to mood swings, low self-esteem, stress, and, in extreme cases, physical illness and depression.”
Hiro laughed with a bitter undertone. “A little too late to prevent those things, Baymax.”
Silence. Baymax didn't respond, but Hiro could hear small clicks. Baymax was thinking.
Hiro grimaced. He finally found a fault in Baymax, trumped him, but Hiro didn't feel victorious. No, instead, he felt frustrated.
But before Hiro could dwell on this feeling, Baymax said, “I need to update my knowledge on emotional stability.” It took a second for Hiro to realize Baymax wasn't looking at him but over his shoulder. Turning around, Hiro saw Tadashi next to Honey, both of them smiling at each other. Tadashi pinched her cheek, causing Honey to laugh and playfully shove him. Tadashi looked at Baymax for a second before making eye contact with Hiro. Tadashi’s smile widened, and something flashed in his eyes, something Hiro didn't see when Tadashi looked at Honey.
He had to swallow the lump in his throat.
“Okay buddy. Remind me to update you tomorrow.”
Hiro turned away. He could hear mismatched footsteps walking towards him, so he looked back up at Baymax. He could feel himself freaking out. His palms were sweating, his skin was prickly, and he had to work to keep his eyes open an amount that was casual and not at all like a woodland creature staring down an oncoming car. He was going for calm and collected, but it was difficult for some reason. He was trying his best to be normal, but he was suddenly sensitive to everything. Tadashi’s presence, Honey’s footsteps, Baymax’s sounds, hell, even Hiro’s own breath; Hiro was aware of everything, and it all required attention.
Then, he felt Tadashi standing next to him, and his mind went blank. He could feel the heat radiating from Tadashi, and Hiro had to stop himself from shuffling closer.
But that pull was understandable. It wasn't unnatural; it was gravity. Tadashi was bigger than Hiro, after all, so he had a greater gravitational pull, especially when he was standing so close. Gravity was really screwing with him today.
“You okay, Hiro?” Tadashi asked, playfully shoving Hiro with his shoulder. This type of contact was usually nothing for Hiro, but for some reason, he felt his shoulder burning. It traveled down his arm and spread to his chest in a matter of seconds. His skin started to crawl, and now, Hiro really felt sick.
What the fuck was wrong with him?
“Hiro, I discovered your body temperature is elevated and-”
“Alright, Baymax. I'm satisfied with my care!” Hiro said a little too loudly, bolting towards Baymax and eagerly pushing him into his box. The last thing Hiro wanted was for Tadashi to know just how bothered he was for no apparent reason.
Before Tadashi could comment on Hiro’s abruptness, Honey grabbed his arm and said, “I'm heading out, Tadashi. Remember we have a meeting with the board in three days.”
Tadashi smiled. “Got it.”
Then, Honey walked over to Hiro with open arms. “I hope we’ll meet again soon!” she squealed, but before she could force him into another hug, Hiro stuck one hand out.
“Likewise.” Honey’s wide smile fell, and Hiro wasn't surprised. He could taste the venom in his words, but he couldn't bring himself to regret them. Still, he liked to consider himself a decent person, so he plastered that smile that physically hurt back on his face. Honey hesitantly grasped his hand and offered a weak smile.
“Bye,” she said before walking away. She passed by Tadashi once more, kissed his cheek, and finally walked out.
But the damage was done. Hiro didn't like her, and he knew he never would.
It wasn't until he heard a door close that Hiro sighed. Since there weren't any free chairs, Hiro sunk to the floor and finally looked at Tadashi. He was still smiling.
“You never answered my question,” Tadashi said. Now, Hiro noticed the concern in Tadashi’s expression. It was well hidden, but it was there, and Hiro had no idea how he felt about it.
Even though Hiro wanted to lie, he found himself saying, “I'm feeling sick.” That was the last thing Hiro wanted Tadashi to know, but it was as if his mouth had no filter. And now, concern was the dominate expression on Tadashi’s face. Great.
“Sick? How?” Tadashi started to make his way to Hiro.
“I'm fine,” Hiro said, sliding back as inconspicuously as he could to gain back the distance lost between them. “I think it’s just motion sickness.”
Tadashi’s eyebrows furrowed. “You sure?”
Hiro nodded. “Pretty sure.”
Then, Tadashi just stared and stared and stared for the longest time. Maybe even forever? It felt like that for Hiro. Hiro had been scrutinized before (it's common when you're a person his age making leaps and bounds in the scientific community), and he always felt smug when it happened. It boosted his ego knowing people couldn't believe what he was accomplishing, but the way Tadashi was looking at him made him feel the exact opposite. Hiro wanted to jump out of his skin. He wanted the floor to open up and swallow him. He wanted to beat his own head against a wall.
He just felt so ashamed and embarrassed and small and insignificant and trivial and holy shit could Tadashi just stop staring at him and say something so that way they could get over this awkwardness and-
“Okay, if you're sure.”
Hiro took a deep breath. Finally.
“I am.” And just like that, the smile came back on Tadashi’s face. He stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels. There was a glint in his eyes, and Hiro didn't know what it was, but it was there, and it just added to Tadashi’s look.
He looked… cute.
Now Hiro was definitely going to be sick.
Thankfully, Tadashi had the notion to check the time on his phone. When he saw it was half past four, he realized he had spent enough time with Hiro. Although Tadashi could spend all day with him, he knew Hiro still needed to warm up to him, but Tadashi felt he made some progress. That's all he hoped for.
“I think it's time we go back,” Tadashi proposed. Hiro hoped he didn't nod too fast. “Alright then, let's go.” Tadashi walked over to Hiro and offered him a hand, and just like Honey’s, it took Hiro a lot to take it.
But it wasn't pride that was holding him back. It was something that settled in his gut, something sour. It twisted around, and Hiro was sure he would throw up, but a small voice in the back of his mind kept him together. It told Hiro to take Tadashi’s hand.
So he did.
And, strange enough, Hiro didn't burst into flames.
Hiro stood up, snatched his hand back, and followed Tadashi. Once they finally made it outside, Hiro sighed. He felt clear. There was no more frustration, disgust, or confusion; he just felt relaxed. He finally out of that stupid workshop, and he was going home where he could spend all night alone, eating takeout and watching a random movie.
Yeah, that sounded great.
On the ride back, they spent 45 minutes in silence before Hiro finally gives into his curiosity.
“I didn't know you had a girlfriend,” he says. He watched Tadashi’s expression and was annoyed to see amusement.
Although no names were mentioned, Tadashi knew who Hiro was talking about. “She's not my girlfriend,” Tadashi said with a faint laugh. “She's my best friend and temporary agent.”
And just like that, Hiro felt 100 percent lighter. It was a relief to him. He didn't know why (he would overthink this later), but Hiro relished on the feeling. He had never felt so liberated.
But that feeling left as soon as it came. Another thought fell in Hiro’s mind, and before he could dwell about it, Hiro spoke it. “She should be. You two look great together.” It was only after he said it that Hiro realized how insensitive that sounded. He didn't want to pry into Tadashi’s love life. It had nothing to do with him.
But Tadashi thought differently. To him, Hiro wasn't prying; Hiro was giving him an opportunity, an opportunity to come clean and tell Hiro his biggest secret.
And Tadashi was taking it.
“We do,” He said before pausing. He thought carefully about his next words and ultimately said, “but she's not my type.” And just like that, Tadashi opened a door. With that said, Hiro could either choose to walk through the door (and ultimately find out what Tadashi wanted to tell him) or close it. This was entirely up to fate and Hiro. It was a perfect statement.
What Tadashi didn't expect was Hiro snorting.
“What?” Tadashi asked, looking over at Hiro for a second. All Tadashi saw was a raised eyebrow before he turned back to the road. He could never look away from the road for more than three seconds when driving.
Meanwhile, Hiro tried to hold back any bitter laughter threatening to spill out. Of course Honey Lemon wouldn't be his type. Honey freaking Lemon, the same woman who created chemical metal embrittlement and, most recently, discovered new elements which were inducted into the Periodic Table of Elements, wasn't good enough for him. Honey freaking Lemon wasn't Tadashi fucking Hamada’s type.
“She's not your type?” He sarcastically questioned. "What adjective threw you off? Beautiful? Intelligent? Successful?”
With that said, Tadashi started to panic.
Is this really the right time to tell him? Do I even need to tell Hiro? Of course I need to tell Hiro, I like him so obviously I need to tell him, but can I actually tell him? Am I ready to tell him?
These thoughts rushed in and out of his head in a second before Tadashi blinked and replied, “Female.”
“You're gay?” Hiro asked. Now, Tadashi couldn't blame the road for not turning towards Hiro. Now, he was terrified.
Tadashi nodded before clearing his throat. “Does it bother you?” He asked in a slightly quieter voice than usual. It was a hardly noticeable difference, one Hiro completely missed.
He had no idea how difficult it was for Tadashi to come out to him or how much Hiro’s silence killed him or how anxious Tadashi was in getting a response or how relieved he was when Hiro replied, “Not really.”
And really, that was all Tadashi needed.
They once again fell into silence, both contemplating recent events but focusing on different aspects.
Tadashi thought about Hiro and everything about him. Tadashi knew he had a deep crush, but this was absolutely ridiculous. Everything he saw reminded him of the person sitting next to him. The road? It was the same dark shade as Hiro’s hair. That tree on the side was about the same height as Hiro. He was whipped, and Tadashi just wanted to laugh. He was pathetic, but shit, Hiro was definitely worth it.
Hiro thought about Baymax and that's it. He just focused on wires, programs, and chips, things he already knew. He refused to acknowledge the person sitting next to him; to do so would mean risking his sanity, and Hiro didn't trust his mind right now. It wasn't working properly, so he just focused on calculations, engineering, and robotics, things he loved. It was the safest thing to do until he was alone and could over analyze every aspect of this encounter.
They reached the outskirts when Hiro finally spoke again.
"Hey, what kind of battery does Baymax use?"
"You know, supercapacitors would charge way faster."
The next three days were hell for Hiro and all because of one person: Abigail.
Well, he had to deal with her every day, so that was nothing new, but he still couldn't get used to her… personality. She was already demanding Hiro to work on another project so she could start planning the events and getting the paperwork together and organizing the announcement and scheduling interviews and-!
Hiro groaned, spinning in his chair before rolling back to his desk and staring at a blank page in his journal. He was in a terrible mood, the worst he had ever been in, but that was to be expected at this time.
He always hated this grace period. Hiro wasn't the most confident person, but it was during this time, the time after the launch of a new invention but before he started working on his next project, that he felt completely insignificant.
What was next for him?
That question plagued him. No matter what he accomplished, no matter what invention he sent out to the world, he would never feel successful, especially when he knew other people (namely Tadashi) were currently working on ideas Hiro could never imagine.
But now Tadashi wasn't an enemy; he was an acquaintance. He was still a threat to Hiro’s ego and reputation, but Hiro no longer hated Tadashi. How could he when Tadashi was just so damn likeable? It wasn't fair! Tadashi had it all. Intelligence, good looks, personality, everything that mattered to succeed and go far in their field. Hiro only had intelligence in his favor. He could argue he was smarter than Tadashi, but what good what that do? What would that accomplish? Tadashi would still be the better person in every aspect.
And maybe that's what killed Hiro the most: Tadashi was a good person. It would've been easier if Tadashi was a dick, if he walked around standing on a pedestal, acting superior, and bossing everyone around. But no, Tadashi just had to be nice and respectful and kind and humane and...
Between the two, Hiro was the lesser, the weaker one. The villain. And tadashi was the knight in shining armor, the protagonist. The superhero destined to save the world.They both fulfilled the archetype. Hiro was the bitter one plagued by tragedies which resulted in his off-putting demeanor. Tadashi was the happy one which was why he had so many contacts and friends like...
Honey Lemon. That was another thing added to Hiro's plate. The longer her name swam in his head, the more his hatred grew. But what was he so angry about? Honey was a nice to him. She was intelligent, strong, and sophisticated. There was no reason for Hiro to hate her, but he did. In fact, he hated her more than he had ever hated Tadashi, and he just couldn't figure out why. She never did anything to him, and their first encounter was pleasant, so why did he feel like punching her?
Hiro stood up and paced in his room. He felt agitated, on edge. It was strange keeping these thoughts to himself. Usually, Gogo would be here, listening to him bitch about everything bothering him. She would crack jokes, poke at his insecurities, and ultimately tell him to suck it up and keep going. And somehow, that was Hiro needed. Tough love would snap him out if his funk and motivate him to invent something better.
Except she was ignoring him. Who knows why, but it seemed she was going out of her way to avoid him. When Hiro would enter the room, she would exit. When Hiro wanted to eat lunch, he would only go with Wasabi because Gogo had “already ate” (or so she claimed. Hiro watched her carefully one day and knew she hasn't eaten yet. She still rejected his offer). She wouldn't answer his calls or texts. She never came to his lab or apartment.
When Hiro mentioned it to Wasabi at lunch yesterday, the dark skinned man just shrugged and said, “Pretty sure you're just imagining it. Gogo would tell you if you screwed up.”
And she would. Gogo wasn't passive-aggressive. If she had a problem with someone, she would walk right up to that person's face and tell them, and she wasn't any different with Hiro. If anything, she was more vocal with him.
Except now. She wouldn't say anything. She wouldn't even look at him. She was just ignoring him.
So to sum up his life, Tadashi was screwing up his mind, Honey was his new enemy, Abigail and Callaghan were the only constants in his life (lucky him), and the only person he could confide in with this mess wasn't talking to him.
Hiro sighed. What’s going to happen next in his life? He didn't know. He was just waiting, and it was terrifying.
Hiro was pulled out of his thoughts when his stomach growled. During this golden era, Hiro decided to look after his health which meant getting enough sleep, not working too hard, and eating healthy. Well, more like actually eating something. He made sure he ate at least two meals a day, and he was doing fine until today. He forgot to eat breakfast today, and it was well past lunch. He could really go for pizza right now.
Hiro laughed. So much for being healthy. He couldn't even last two days with this new mindset. Oh well, he'd figure out what he'd do for dinner when he got home.
Meanwhile, on the other side of San Fransokyo, Tadashi sat in a room full of board officials. Honey stood next to him, pointing to a 3D hologram projected from the center of table. The hologram showed a model of the building where his launch for Baymax would take place. Every time Honey brought up an idea, its silhouette would pop up and everyone in the room turned their attention to it. Everyone except Tadashi.
He felt terrible. He knew he shouldn't be distracted. This event was everything. He worked and worked for years for this moment, and he was too close to screw this up.
But Honey had everything covered. He already approved the event details earlier this month with her, they discussed what changes he was comfortable with making, and she went over her strategy. And it was working. So far, the executives hadn't raised one concern (mostly because Honey wouldn't give them a chance), and things were moving smoothly. In fact, this meeting was ahead of schedule. They might end this early.
This was exactly how he hoped it would go. This was everything Tadashi wanted. This was important, no doubt about it, but something else occupied his mind.
He had three rivals to overcome.
There was that annoying landlord of Hiro's, but Tadashi didn't lose sleep over her. He knew Hiro, and he knew she had no chance, but he still had to acknowledge her presence. She liked Hiro, Tadashi liked Hiro, and therefore, she was a rival.
His biggest threat was Gogo, and he knew if he had to compete against her, Tadashi would definitely lose in that race. He’s heard about their friendship before. It was impossible to hear about Hiro and not hear about Gogo and vice versa. One came with the other, and that was what scared Tadashi. Their relationship was deep, one that took years to form, and Tadashi could never compete against that. What does he have, good looks and a charming personality? That was the exact opposite of Hiro, and that was another thing Tadashi feared. He and Hiro were like water and oil; meanwhile, Gogo, his best friend, was exactly like him. They were sarcastic, blunt, intelligent, and hell, they even looked similar. But the worst part was that Tadashi had no idea how Hiro felt about her. They were close, but did Hiro only see her as a friend? Or did he hope for something more?
Finally, there was the mystery caller from that night. Tadashi only heard a part of Hiro’s side of the conversation, but he heard enough. ‘I miss you’ and ‘your place is the only place I consider home’ are not phrases someone just says randomly, especially if Hiro, the man who's so repulsed by affection, said them. The unknown woman - or man? (Tadashi entertained the idea in his head before tossing it out; there's no way he could be so lucky) - on the other side of the conversation was someone special to Hiro if she could coax phrases like that out of his mouth.
And then this was just what Tadashi found out this month. There are still hundreds of chapters in Hiro's life, thousands of acquaintances, millions of people willing to be his love interest, and billions of scenarios. What if Hiro bumps into someone on campus and falls in love at first sight? What if he secretly has a girlfriend that he kept hidden from the public for privacy issues? What if he and his agent were secretly dating, and their attitudes towards each other were just a front for the public?
Tadashi sighed again, loud enough to catch every board member’s attention.
“Are you bored, Mr. Hamada?” One rudely asked. Tadashi froze for a moment before laughing and sighing again, this time in a more pleasant manner.
“No, of course not,” Tadashi countered. Then, he smiled and looked at each member with warm eyes before saying, “I am just so grateful to be in this position. I never dreamed I could have this much success, and I would like to thank you for your continued support.” There was a moment of stunned silence as Tadashi continued flashing his dazzling smile before Honey cleared her throat and focused everyone's attention to the table.
When all eyes left him, Tadashi ventured back to his thoughts, wallowing in his sense of accomplishment. Yes, it was so easy for him to manipulate anyone. It was incredible how earlier on, he would hate doing this. He hated "charming” another person to do what he said, but after a while, he learned manipulation was his best asset, and in this cut-throat industry, Tadashi needed to use any sort of leverage he had. He learned that the hard way.
That was why he was so frustrated about Hiro. Though, he wasn't frustrated at Hiro; he was frustrated at himself. He could seduce Hiro easily. Hiro, though legally a man, was just a little boy when it came to feelings and relationships. All Tadashi had to do was flirt; a wink here, a kiss there, and Hiro would be putty in his hands. But he didn't want that. He didn't want to confuse Hiro into liking him; he wanted Hiro to genuinely like him. He wanted an actual relationship, one that included more than just bodies. He wanted heart and soul, too, which was something completely different than what Tadashi seeked before.
No, he wasn't a slut, but he had to admit he was promiscuous in his college years. Tadashi came from a conforming, traditional Japanese household, one that was against things such as sex out of wedlock and homosexuality. He didn't even know why he rebelled against his family; Tadashi was not a rebellious kid. He listened well, did what he was told, and only raised concern on important matters. He was in no way troublesome, but somehow, that all changed in college. Tadashi was suddenly aware of his handsome looks, the gorgeously interested women, and his very active but neglected sex drive. He started off with women, but it was one drunk night that changed Tadashi. He woke up next to a man the next morning and saw his sexuality through a different perspective. He was bisexual for a while, but before he graduated college, he decided he was exclusively gay.
It was difficult after that. Tadashi knew he wouldn't get anywhere if he was publicly out. While homosexuality wasn't taboo so to say, it wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms by everyone. There were some who were slightly more liberal with the idea and some who weren't as open-minded. There was much discrimination in this industry, so Tadashi knew he had to hide his sexual orientation if he wanted to succeed. He hid it from his family, Alistair Krei, and any other person he met.
The only person that really knew and supported him as the person he truly was all these years was Honey. They may have had a rocky start when they first met in college, but ultimately, their differences made them inseparable. Brothers and sisters. Best friends. Family. They accepted each other, faults and shortcomings (although, Tadashi had to admit, Honey had none).
And now Hiro knew. He didn't even bat an eye at Tadashi’s confession, as if it was something normal. This wasn't, not to Tadashi. Tadashi had only come out to Honey on graduation, and she told him she loved him no matter what. Hiro shrugged it off. Tadashi confessed to only two people, and both accepted him.
Hiro knew, and Tadashi had no idea where to go from there.
He had relationships before with men, but Hiro wasn't a man. Hell, Tadashi wasn't even sure Hiro was considered a human. Hiro was bizarre. He was by far the most intelligent person Tadashi had ever come across, but he was so critical of himself. Hiro was independent, but he valued other people’s opinions too much. Hiro was so confusing and complex and paradoxical.
And he loved that. Tadashi loved Hiro.
Tadashi felt blood rush to his face. He put a hand to his stomach and recoiled slightly as an unpleasant feeling settled. An involuntary gasp strangled out of his mouth. Honey only turned to him for a second before turning back, not faltering in her presentation. Tadashi took one quick glance around the room, and when he did not make eye contact with anyone, he decided it was safe enough to retreat back into his mind.
No. Holy shit no. He was not in love with Hiro. He liked Hiro (a lot) and had a (huge) crush on him, but he was not in love with Hiro. That was ridiculous! Sure, he has been hopelessly pining for someone, who would never like him back, for… shit, had it really been two years already? Well more than two years if he was being honest, but fuck, two years and several months was pathetic... but no, it wasn't love. While Tadashi liked to consider himself a hopeless romantic, he couldn't entertain that absurd idea.
He didn't love Hiro. He was sure. Still, why did it come to his mind?
Suddenly, everyone was standing. Tadashi had no idea what was happening, but then he saw hand shaking and heard “Congratulations!” and he caught on. He smiled, shook hands, gave thanks, and walked out with Honey leading the way.
They were alone in the elevator, so Honey of course spoke her mind. “Thanks for your help.”
Tadashi laughed. “You didn't need my help, Honey.”
Honey shrugged. “Maybe not, but you could've contributed something to the conversation.”
Honey shot him an evil look. “Yeah and that was incredibly helpful.” Tadashi laughed again. “The least you could've done was nod along and pretend you were listening.”
Honey huffed. “You're lucky I'm so amazing. I had enough presence to be both of us today.”
“And I appreciate that.” Even if he spoke in a teasing tone, Tadashi meant it, and Honey heard the sentiment. She smiled and hugged him.
“What were you thinking of anyways?” she asked when they parted. The elevator dinged, opened, and Tadashi just walked out without answering. That was all Honey needed. “Of course,” she mumbled under her breath. Tadashi still heard and laughed.
They walked to their cars in silence, enjoying one another’s presence. They reached Tadashi’s car first, but Tadashi ignored it and continued walking to Honey’s car. It's how Tadashi was raised. Besides, her car was only a few more spaces back. It wouldn't kill him to see his friend safe.
Once they reached her car, Honey turned and asked, “What are you gonna do?” Tadashi smiled. “Gross.”
“Get your head out of the gutter!” He playfully pushed her into her car and they laughed for a few seconds. Honey closed her door, started her car, and put her car into drive. Tadashi started to step back to let her drive out, but stopped when she put her car to park again. Tadashi walked back to her as she rolled down her window.
“He doesn't like me.”
Tadashi sighed. He was waiting for her to bring it up. “Don't let it faze you,” he told her, leaning against her car. “He didn't like me at first either.”
Honey rolled his eyes. “Huh, I wonder why.”
“I know. It's hard to believe.”
“How could someone not love you?”
Tadashi laughed as he remembered his train of thought earlier. “You didn't at first,” he reminded her. “You hated me.”
Honey smiled. “Yeah, well, I’m different.”
“So is Hiro.” Her phone dinged.
“Which is why you're in love with him.” Tadashi was grateful she was looking at her phone when she said that. He knew she was just teasing him, but that statement made him cringe.
No, I'm not.
Honey sighed and put her phone in one of her cupholders. “Just…” She hesitated. She took a deep breath and looked to Tadashi again. “Just be careful, okay?”
Tadashi was a bit concerned at her sudden change in demeanor but paid no attention to it and said, “I will.”
Honey nodded, and with that said, she placed her car back into drive. Tadashi backed away and watched as Honey got out of the parking space, out of the parking lot, and onto the road. Tadashi will see her tomorrow, but there was still a dull ache in seeing his best friend leave. He bounced back, though, as he walked to his car. He'll see her tomorrow.
Tadashi was grateful to be driving again. As a cautious driver, he focused on nothing but the road, so he was able to ignore any pressing issues he had for the half-hour it took to drive for him to get to Hiro apartment. Once he got out and saw Hiro’s landlord, though, every feeling came back tenfold.
He walked into the building, and at the sound of the door opening, the landlord looked up. She looked at Tadashi for a second, looked down, and then shot her head back up. In a second, her surprised expression turned seductive, and her body language shifted to show off her assets.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she purred, and Tadashi didn't know if he wanted to laugh or puke. Either way, he had to hold back his reaction. Instead, he looked at the clock behind her. It was almost six. He would consider it evening, not afternoon. “May I assist you,” she paused, looked Tadashi up and down, and continued, “in any way?”
Okay. Tadashi definitely wanted to puke.
He plastered a smile and said, “I'm here to see Hiro.”
“Oh!” Tadashi mentally groaned. He actually never had a conversation with her. All of the other times he came, she wasn't here (probably offering herself to some other rich guy, Tadashi thought bitterly), and when he walked with Hiro, Tadashi was spared her attention. Why did he had to deal with her now? “Hiro Hamada?” she practically moaned.
Tadashi clenched his teeth. No. You don't get to say his name like that.
“Yes, Hiro Hamada,” Tadashi forced out. He hated how her face seemed to light up.
Get it into your tiny brain. You won't gave Hiro or his success. He's smart enough to spot a gold digger from a mile away. You don't have a chance.
…and you do?
“Oh, well, go on ahead. I'm sure Hiro would love to have you as a guest,” she said before winking and finishing, “I know I would.” She laughed (holy shit, her laugh was worse than her voice), but her laughter died out when she realized he wasn't laughing with her.
“Thank you.” With that, Tadashi walked to the elevator. He pressed the button and the doors opened immediately. Thank God.
“Please tell Mr. Hamada I said hello!”
Ha. As if that would mean something to him.
Finally, the doors closed, and Tadashi groaned. Man, he really hated her. Not because he was jealous or threatened by her but because of how fucking annoying she was. Tadashi was in a good mood before this encounter, and now, he just felt like shit. He felt like he had woken up and he was still in college and it was his last year and it was finals week and he had made the stupid decision of partying the night before and he had gotten so drunk and now he was hungover and he was running late to class.
Yeah, exactly like that.
He clenched his sweaty palms, stuck them into his pocket, planted a smile on his face. The elevator dinged, the doors opened, Tadashi walked out, and his smile became real. There was Hiro at the end of the hallway. He had just unlocked his door and was walking in when he turned his attention to the elevator. Hiro groaned, walked into the apartment, and slammed the door shut. Tadashi couldn't help but laugh, but he was slightly hurt. Did Hiro really hate him that much?
Tadashi shook that thought out of his head. No, Hiro didn't hate him. Hiro disliked him, but that was far from hate. On a line segment, point A was hate, point C was love, and point B was dislike which was right in between the two points. Any action Tadashi made could move point B, so he had to be careful. He didn't want point B to become point A. He couldn't push Hiro too hard.
But he loved pushing Hiro’s buttons. He loved seeing what made Hiro tick, almost as much as he loved making Hiro laugh.
Tadashi sighed. He was so whipped. Not in love… just whipped.
He finally made it to Hiro’s door and knocked. When he got no answer, he knocked again, this time more loudly. No response, so he knocked again and yelled, “Hiro! I know you're in there! Open the door!”
Finally, a muffled voice behind the door said, “Go away.” Tadashi smiled. He was getting somewhere.
“No, I'm not.”
“Then I'm not opening the door.”
Tadashi smirked. Hiro really was fun. “Come on! I just want to hang out.”
“Hang out with your girlfriend.”
Tadashi’s eyebrows furrowed. He didn't even need clarification. He knew who Hiro was talking about. Why did he bring up Honey? “First of all, she's not my girlfriend,” he corrected, “and second, I don't want to hang out with Honey. I want to hang out with you.”
A long silence passed. Tadashi awkwardly stuck his hand back in his pocket and started rolling on his heels.
“Come on! I'll buy pizza!” he bargained but to no avail. Hiro still said nothing. “Hiro!” he whined. “Why don't you wanna hang out with me?”
Suddenly, all of his playfulness disappeared, and a sinking feeling took its place. What if Hiro didn't want to hang out with him because he felt uncomfortable around Tadashi?
Tadashi’s mind started to panic. No, Hiro said he didn't have a problem with Tadashi's sexuality. But wasn't that something you're supposed to say? Of course you can't outright say you didn't agree with someone's sexuality; that's socially wrong and just plain rude. Maybe Hiro just said he was fine with it just because he had to, and now, he was distancing himself from Tadashi.
Tadashi felt sick.
Just as he was about to visibly panic, the door opened. Right in the center of the doorway stood Hiro, and the only thing that separated them was Hiro’s outstretched hand and a thin house phone.
“I want Hawaiian,” Hiro said before pushing the phone into Tadashi’s chest and walking back into his apartment. He left the door open.
Tadashi barely caught the phone before it fell. He stared at the phone, looked at the open door, and smiled. His hands were shaking as he walked into the apartment and closed the door behind him.
So Hiro liked Hawaiian? Disgusting.
“But I want Meat Lovers."
“Too fucking bad.”
So it might be a while before upload the next chapter. Usually, I take about two weeks to a month to upload each chapter, but these next two weeks, I will be taking AP exams. I won't really have time to write since I'll be studying and panicking. Plus, this next chapter kinda has me in a funk. I have the basic dialogue but eh. I'm gonna need to edit the shit out of it.
But still, I'll try my hardest to upload as soon as I can. Thank you for your support!
Just a little A/N, I'm sorry this was posted so late. I just had some high school graduation and college stuff to worry about, but now that's all settled and I'll be posting regularly now. I hope y'all aren't too mad at me.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Somedays, Hiro would be in a position that would make him stop, look around, and question whether or not he was actually there experiencing that particular moment. That moment could be too traumatic to believe (which it usually was), too incredible to believe (which only happened once), or too hard to believe (which it was right now).
“He's a pretty cool guy, even if he has some questionable habits,” Wasabi said, and Hiro laughed. He actually laughed.
“He just licks his fingers, Wasabi. It’s not like he’s plotting world domination.”
“He might as well be.”
And Hiro laughed again.
In the back of his mind, a voice screamed at Hiro. This was too strange. It’s only been a month since Tadashi forced his way to his apartment, and somehow, he just kept worming into Hiro’s life, but that wasn't really the problem per se; the problem was how well Tadashi fit into his life. Hiro found his presence tolerable, Aunt Cass (and that stupid cat) adored him, and as of two days ago, Wasabi was a fan.
Pizzas had been ordered and delivered, and they had decided to put a movie. Hiro couldn’t even remember what movie they settled on because Wasabi stopped by and decided to join them. He went straight for Tadashi’s pizza, and Tadashi made the mistake of commenting, “I know. Pineapple does not go on pizza,” and the movie was long forgotten. It led to a debate that lasted all evening because damn it, pinapple does go on pizza. He was tired of the negative reputation pineapple had. It gave pizza a different flavor no other topping could, and because it was fruit, Hiro could convince himself it was healthy.
But Tadashi would not accept that as valid reasons. In fact, Hiro spent most of his time arguing with Tadashi while Wasabi was forced to be the mediator. Wasabi knew not to even think about this topic with Hiro in the room; he learned that the hard way when Hiro locked the doors to his lab and spent two hours making his case through a presentation about the history of pineapple complete with holograms, statistics, and diagrams (actually, now that Hiro thought about it, he might still have that presentation saved somewhere on his computer, and Tadashi needed to be enlightened). Hiro took this debate personally, and while Wasabi tried to steer away from it as much as he could, Tadashi drove right into it. Even if Wasabi had somehow successfully switched the topic to something more civilized, Tadashi would bring it up again just to push Hiro’s buttons.
Finally, Hiro forced a slice of Hawaiian pizza into Tadashi’s hands and down his throat. Tadashi had no trouble eating it, but he still refused to accept Hiro’s side. Instead, he used Hiro's efforts against him and brought up more faults in Hawaiian pizza, like how unnaturally sweet it tasted (even though Tadashi ate another slice after), how soggy the pizza was, and how dirty it left the consumer’s hands. He held up his own hand to prove his point, raised it to his mouth, and then...
So yes, Wasabi hated that habit, but that wasn’t a deal breaker. It was close to midnight when Tadashi had to leave. Hiro didn't like to think about it, but he couldn't pretend to be oblivious. He knew Tadashi would've stayed over if Wasabi didn't, if the guest bedroom wasn’t occupied, so he left. That was fine, though. Perfect even. Hiro didn’t want him to stay anyways, and he refused to dwell on that statement. He might actually change his perception about Tadashi.
Tadashi, the android-using, Hawaiian-hating rival of his.
But no, he was more than that, wasn’t he? Yes, Hiro acknowledged him as an acquaintance, but somehow, that label doesn’t sit right with him anymore. It swam uncomfortably in his mind, and it refused to stay put and do its fucking job of labeling. Instead, it just brought more words to swirl in his mind until he couldn't tell left from right.
And the dream he had that night didn't help either. Well, it wasn’t a dream, more like a nightmare, but Hiro hated technicalities. It was a dream, and shit, he remembered it so vividly, too. Whenever Hiro was busy these past two days, the dream would be forgotten, but when there was a moment of silence within his friends, or when he was alone in his lab with no ideas coming to his head, or when it was night and Hiro was in his bed, that's when it hit full force. Every sight, feeling, scent, taste, and sound; he would close his eyes, and there it was.
They were walking out of the café. It was dark and well past closing time, but they came out laughing with Aunt Cass waving them out the door. They told her goodbye once more, but instead of going their separate way, Hiro followed Tadashi into his car.
Then Hiro remembered driving down the highway, loud music blasting from the speakers. Tadashi didn’t like the band as much as Hiro did, but he still allowed Hiro to play them. Hiro would nod his head along to the beat, Tadashi would try to talk over the music in a quiet voice to give himself some sanity but not disturb Hiro’s enjoyment, and Hiro found it endearing (when did he ever use that word anyways?) Throughout the car ride, Tadashi had a hand on his knee the entire car ride, but even though Hiro was slightly uncomfortable, he placed his own hand over Tadashi’s and just left it there. They weren’t holding hands. Hiro’s hand just cupped Tadashi’s, but it was enough to bring a blush to Hiro’s cheeks, and that did not go unnoticed by Tadashi.
“Why are you blushing?”
Hiro shook his head. “Nothing. It’s just a hot night.”
And just like that, Tadashi’s paternal instincts kicked in. “Do you want me to turn on the air? Are you sure you’re not getting sick? It could be a summer fever, I heard that’s going around, but if you are, I shouldn’t turn on the air, right?”
He would’ve continued rambling if it wasn’t for Hiro laughing. “Tadashi, I’m fine. It’s just hot outside,” he reassured him, now grabbing Tadashi’s hand with both hands and raising it to his chest. The blush and the discomfort was still there, but it was easy to ignore when Tadashi looked over at him and smiled. Hiro easily returned it.
“Okay.” Hiro nodded, placed Tadashi’s hand back on his knee, and grabbed his phone.
What the fuck was he doing?
They reached their destination. Tadashi put the car in park, smiled at Hiro, and that's when Hiro woke up.
He wasn’t jolted awake like most nightmares he had. Instead, his eyes opened slowly, welcoming the light in the apartment. He sighed at how well-rested his body felt, and when he stretched, he groaned as his joints popped. He blissfully sighed once more before relaxing in his bed. His dream didn’t come back right away. It wasn’t until after he stared at the ceiling for five minutes that it all came flooding back. Café, car ride, hands, blushing, smiles… That’s when Hiro shot up from his bed, huffing and shaking. He threw himself out of the bed and ran out of the room. Thankfully, Wasabi wasn’t up yet, so Hiro was able to brood in his kitchen for a while.
What the hell was that?
Hiro could only remember small details at first, but after pacing in his kitchen for some time, it all came back and hit him like a hurricane. The worst part was, even though Hiro knew he should've been repulsed by the dream, he couldn’t bring himself to hate it. He should’ve felt sickened by it; instead, his body was humming. He felt tingles under his skin that made him feel alive, and despite every negative thought screaming in his mind, Hiro smiled.
What was this? Why did he feel like this? That was probably the worst dream he had in his entire life, even the ones he had after his parent’s death didn’t compare to this. What was happening? Although Hiro wanted nothing more than to just forget the dream ever happened, he forced himself to run through it again and analyze what everything meant. After all, he was excellent at analyzing, it’s what he did for a living, but after over-thinking every little action in that dream for 12 minutes, Hiro was still confused. What was it about this dream that made him smile? Well, he figured that out. It was the overall feeling, the mood of the dream. The moonlight, stars, laughter; everything was positive, but what was it specifically? Hope? Hope that Tadashi wouldn’t remain just an acquaintance ? Hope that they could become close friends? Hope that maybe, just maybe, Hiro wouldn’t be alone later on in his life?
So fuck no, Hiro did not want Tadashi to stay in his apartment that night or any other night for that matter, but he’s glad Wasabi likes him. Relieved even. Hiro was relieved his friends liked Tadashi.
A loud sigh broke their laughter.
Well… not all of his friends.
Wasabi and Hiro broke their conversation and turned to Gogo who was sitting at the far end of the couch, curled against the arm. It was strange. Usually, Gogo would jump on the couch and take up most of it, even though she was the smallest person amongst them, so seeing her take up half a cushion raised red flags in Hiro’s mind.
“What's your problem?” Hiro asked. He didn't mean to sound so hostile. He really was worried about Gogo’s change in behavior, but his tongue remembered they were still fighting. Gogo didn't answer. She just stared at him until the commercial break ended, and all their attention turned to Fred.
Things still weren't smooth between Hiro and Gogo, but Hiro was relieved they could put aside their differences to do this. It was a little ritual of theirs. After Fred first came to SFIT, he immediately became a member of their little group, and now, they support him any chance they got which included watching every interview he did and making fun of him afterwards.
He sat stiff and cold, and to them three, he looked like it physically hurt him to sit there and answer questions on international television. To those who didn't know better, though, Fred looked strong. He looked like a man who knew his way around a business.
Hiro frowned. Would Fred like Tadashi? Well Fred liked everyone, and (almost) everyone liked Tadashi, so in theory, Fred should like Tadashi, and that would mean two out of his three friends liked Tadashi. And Aunt Cass liked Tadashi, so that would mean Tadashi had a 75 percent approval rating from the people Hiro valued.
But Gogo didn’t like him. Gogo, Hiro’s best friend, didn’t like Tadashi, and even though they were arguing at this moment, Hiro still valued her opinion the most, more than Wasabi’s, more than Fred’s, and, in some cases, even more than Aunt Cass’s. He couldn’t continue this… whatever with Tadashi with a clear conscious if Gogo hated him.
“So…” Gogo trailed off. She was quiet, but her sharp words cut the tension like a knife. “Tadashi.”
Hiro raised his eyebrows at her. “What about him?”
“Nothing.” She shrugged. “I just didn't think you were friends.”
“We're not.” And it was true. ‘Acquaintance’ may not sit well, but ‘friend’ didn't either.
“So you hang out with strangers now over your friends? When did you become so outgoing?” Hiro frowned. She had a point. He had been hanging out with Tadashi, more than he did with his actual friends. Sure he saw Gogo and Wasabi more, but actually going out and eating and having fun, something Hiro doesn't do much with his friends let alone with a (stranger? acquaintance? friend?).
This time, Hiro didn't answer. He just turned to the television and waited impatiently for the commercials to end. Two minutes later, they did, and Fred was back on the screen.
“I still can't believe Fred's gonna take over his dad’s company soon,” Wasabi said. Hiro hummed in agreement. In less than five months, Fred’s father would retire and Fred would step up as CEO of Marvel Industries, the largest commercial entity in the world.
Gogo scoffed. “I still can't believe he doesn't live under a bridge.” Nothing else was said.
For all the crap they've given Fred before about his interviews, Hiro had to admit Fred was smart. He was not an inventor or a scientist like they were, but in the business world, he was the epitome of a businessman. He knew how to order people around, how to find the most efficient solution to any problem, and, most importantly, how to talk. The interviewer was asking Fred a question about investments, and Fred responded with statistics, the growth rate of their company, their trading surplus, and other terms Hiro could barely follow. He knew nothing about business. Abigail usually handled that for him.
Great. Now Hiro had a headache.
“We should make him a parting gift or something,” Hiro said, an attempt to shift his focus to something more pleasant. Inventing. Fred. Friendship.
Wasabi looked at him. “Like what?”
Hiro shrugged. “Don't know, but I'll think about it.” After all, what do you get for someone who has everything?
Then finally, it was the moment Hiro was waiting for. It was nearing the end of the interview when the host finally had the guts to say, “You are a successful man, without a doubt, but it must get quite lonely accomplishing all this by yourself.”
Fred smiled, and this was the first time he showed any expression in this interview. “I am not alone. I have my incredible parents whose guidance led me to my success, my wonderful friends who motivate me to achieve more, and our wonderful customers who not only buy our products but allow us to prosper. They have helped Marvel Industries reach all corners of the world and provide services that may not have been available if we weren't so prosperous. With all of this support, I can hardly consider myself lonely.”
“Fuck yeah, Fred,” Gogo said, and for the first time in four days, Hiro agreed with her. Fred destroyed that question.
The host’s smile fell slightly, but that was quickly covered up when he thanked Fred for his time and signed off. The show ended, and the next one, a gossip newscast, began. Wasabi reached for the remote, but before he could shut the television off, a picture of Tadashi and Honey came on. All Hiro saw was Tadashi’s arm over Honey’s shoulder before the screen went to black.
It was incredible how fast annoyance settled in Hiro’s body. He huffed. “They're not dating.”
“How do you know?” Wasabi asked.
Before Hiro could reply, Gogo spoke, “He's gay.”
Hiro stared at her. “How did you know?”
Gogo stared back and shrugged. “Girls know these things.”
“Huh,” Wasabi said with wide eyes. “Didn't see that coming.” He paused, looked back at the TV as if the picture would pop up again, then looked back at the two and continued, “It's just, I always pictured him as a family man. You know, husband of the year, an army of kids, cracking terrible dad jokes.”
Gogo scoffed. “He could still do that even if he's gay.”
Hiro rolled his eyes. “Why are we talking about Tadashi?” He winced when Gogo and Wasabi turned to him. He didn't mean to sound so harsh, really, but his mouth had a mind of its own.
“You're the one who started this conversation,” Wasabi said in confusion, and Hiro scowled. Wasabi had a point. He did mention Tadashi.
Gogo scoffed. “Alright. We won't talk about your best friend.”
“He's not my best friend,” Hiro snapped.
“Best friend, rival, who gives a shit Hiro.” Gogo waved him off, pulling out her phone and mindlessly fiddling with it. Hiro scowled. Screw this. He had enough of her bullshit.
“What's up with you?” He asked.
Without looking up, she replied, “I don't like him.”
“Neither do I.”
“SO!” Wasabi yelled. He knew exactly where this was heading, and he didn't feel like standing in the line of fire or cleaning up the mess in the end. And boy, was this going to end in a huge mess. This fight was going to make World War II look like the ice capades. “It's getting pretty late, and I should get going. I'll see you tomorrow!” In less than three seconds, Wasabi was gone.
Hiro looked over at Gogo, and he was suddenly aware of the sharp pain behind his eyes. The longer he looked, the more intense it got, spreading to his forehead and the back of his neck.
Hiro turned away and pulled out his phone. He was done fighting for tonight.
And apparently, so was she. Gogo stood from the couch and walked over to the coat closet. She swung the door open, roughly grabbing her jacket. The metal hanger fell to the ground with a loud this. Hiro flinched at the noise but refused to look up.
“Are you going to stay over?” He forced out. The question was redundant. He knew the answer to that, and the pleasant relief he felt made him feel guilty. He used to look forward to Gogo staying over. That usually meant a night of drinking and video games and bitching about all their problems, but he wasn’t up for any of that tonight. Well, except the drinking part. He was always down for drinking, but he wasn’t up for company. Gogo’s company at least; he wouldn’t mind Wasabi’s or Fred’s or...
“No,” she said. Hiro almost sighed in relief. “When was Fred coming back?”
“Next week on Monday.” Gogo nodded and walked herself to the door. Hiro stayed sitting in the couch, fiddling with his phone. He had seven emails, and they were all from Abigail. He groaned and opened the first one, the only one that wasn't written in all caps.
“Tadashi...” Hiro turned to the door and saw Gogo standing there with her arms crossed. She had a neutral expression, but it still made Hiro’s stomach turn.
“What?” Although he was worried, his voice remained hard. They were still fighting. He couldn’t forget that.
She shifted her weight from her left foot to her right. Now that he actually looked at her, he saw her entire body tight. Her jaw was clenched, her fists were balled up, and her arms were pressing into her sides. Hiro’s eyebrows furrowed. He knew what she was doing. She was debating whether she should say something or not, and during the five years Hiro knew her, she never held her tongue. Something was wrong.
Hiro felt his resolve crumbling. What perfect timing. This was the first time Hiro had ever noticed a problem Gogo had. This was the one time she actually had a dilemma, and Hiro, her best friend, couldn't help. Hiro knew he could be the bigger person and raise a white flag, but damn it, he didn't want to be the first one to break, especially when he didn't even do anything wrong.
Eventually, Gogo sighed and said, “Nothing. Bye.” Then she punched the code, swung open the door, and stalked out.
What the hell was wrong with her?
I'm not exactly proud of this chapter. It's not terrible, but it's not my best either. This chapter is funky to me, but I can't tell what it is. If any of y'all see any something (like a continuity error or a major difference in my writing style) please tell me. I'd like to fix this chapter.
Thank you all so much!!
Hey guys! I know, this is long overdue, but I am a college freshman and it took me a while to adjust to the new environment. I actually just finished my midterms, so I was able to have some down time and look back at this story. I know there's no excuse, but just know that I'm adjusted and I'm going to start posting regularly again.
On another note, this time away allowed me to look at the last chapter with new eyes, and I know what's wrong with it. It's just some wording errors, nothing big. There's no continuity errors or anything. I'll eventually get to editing it. Eventually. In the distant future.
Thank you for your continued support! Happy reading!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
One thing Hiro admitted was his weakness was his bad habit of bottling things up. Emotions, opinions, suggestions; nothing was off limits, and according to his old therapist, that was self-destructive. Apparently, Hiro was a private person (who knew?), so that meant he kept most of his thoughts… wait for it… private. Mind-blowing. It was a revolutionizing breakthrough for Hiro in his middle school years. Definitely worth the three-hundred dollars an hour. Stupid court-mandated therapy sessions. Anyways, Hiro kept everything to himself, and like that overpriced therapist said, it would sometimes get too much to handle. Hiro was a glass, his thoughts were water, and the more he had, the more his glass filled up. If Hiro didn’t “drink” any of the water, then the water would overflow, and it would just spill out. Again, mind-blowing.
It was a bad habit he never could overcome, so now, he just lived with it. He would always have that problem, and he accepted it. He just never realized Gogo was the same.
He didn't even know Gogo kept secrets. Sure, she was discreet and just downright suspicious sometimes, but she never kept anything to herself. Gogo was a private person. Not as bad as Hiro, but still private. If anyone would tell her something, she wouldn’t print it on a magazine; she would respect that person’s privacy and tell no one. The obvious exception, however, was Hiro. Hiro knew everything going on in Gogo’s life, and Gogo knew mostly everything going on in Hiro’s life. They were best friends. That’s just how best friends function.
But the past two weeks, they haven’t been best friends. They were friends, sure, but they weren’t inseparable like they used to be. If Hiro had to guess, he would say they spoke only 100 words directly to each other. They didn’t text each other anymore. They still hung out, but that was only because Wasabi invited both of them. They maybe spent 30 minutes alone in total.
Hiro could tell she was different. She was still all sarcasm and wit, but every sentence she spoke was laced with hesitation. She was restless, constantly moving and shifting. It was like she was a glass being filled with water, except she had a lid on. It didn’t matter if she was full; the water just kept coming and coming. Eventually, the top would burst off and the water would come pouring out, and this was exactly what happened.
“What?” Hiro asked after a tense moment of silence.
Gogo didn’t even blink. “Tadashi likes you.”
Hiro stared at her then looked over at Wasabi. He looked just as confused. “Come on, Gogo.”
“Yeah, that's not funny,” Wasabi added.
“I'm not trying to be funny, you idiot,” she spat. “I'm serious.”
Her words floated in the air. He liked him. Tadashi liked Hiro. Tadashi Hamada liked Hiro Hamada. Tadashi Hamada had a crush on Hiro Hamada. Tadashi Hamada, the posterboy of sunshine and puppies and all things good in the world, was crushing on Hiro Hamada, the polar opposite. Hiro Hamada, a cynical monster, was the object of Tadashi Hamada’s affection. No matter how he spinned it, that statement did not sound believable. It kept bouncing back and forth in Hiro’s head, twisting and transfiguring and transforming into different words, but he could not process it.
“No,” Hiro shook his head. “Tadashi doesn't like me.”
“Yeah, there's no way he can,” Wasabi agreed, a flabbergasted expression on his face, an exact replica of Hiro’s.
“No way?” Gogo asked, placing her hands on her hips.
Even though her question was directed to Hiro, Wasabi responded, “Yeah, a guy like him has to have some standards.” After a pause, Wasabi looked over at Hiro. “No offense.”
Hiro raised his hands. “No, I agree. I'm terrible. There's no way he could like me.” Wasabi nodded.
Gogo kept her stare on Hiro, so he turned his head to the floor. Tadashi couldn’t like Hiro. In what world would that ever make sense? Not even in an alternate universe could that happen. Hell, Hiro barely liked himself. How could another human being? Well, that human being was inarguably the most heartfelt person in the world. If they ever met, Tadashi would’ve probably sympathized with Genghis Khan. Hiro didn’t have a high self-esteem, but he liked to think he was slightly more humane than Genghis Khan.
The point was Tadashi liked anyone he met. That’s just the type of person he was, so Gogo’s statement wasn’t entirely improbable. Unless she didn’t mean it in that sense of the word. Maybe she meant ‘like’ as in respected? No, this was Gogo. If she meant respected, she would’ve said ‘Tadashi respects the shit out of you.’ She used the word ‘like’ for a reason.
But it just couldn’t be for the most obvious reason.
Hiro’s head shot up to meet Gogo’s gaze. “What? No!”
“Because I just can't outright say ‘hey, Gogo said you like me. Is it true?’”
“Because I just can't!”
“Because it's embarrassing!”
“Gogo, will you sto-”
“Because you know I'm right.” A silence falls between them. Gogo now had her hands crossed over her chest. Hiro had his balled up into fists in his pockets. “You know Tadashi has a crush on you.”
“He doesn't like me!”
“Yes he does, and you're leading him on.”
“No I'm not!” Now Hiro was pissed.
In the beginning, he had no problems with Gogo’s delusion. If she wanted to be crazy and live in her own world where apparently Tadashi liked Hiro, that’s fine. Hiro had no problems with her fantasies. But when she characterized Hiro as a person who not only knew of Tadashi’s (supposed) feelings but also played around with them, well, Hiro took that personally.
“And why do you give a shit anyway? Why are you protecting him?”
Gogo’s eyebrows furrowed. “I'm not.”
“Are you worried about him getting rejected? Is he your best friend now?”
“No, you are,” she clarified through clenched teeth.
“Or are you just jealous?” Another pause. “Is that it? Is it just because you're jealous that I'm hanging out with him more than you?” When there was no response, Hiro scoffed and continued, “Or are you jealous he's hanging out with me and not you? Honestly Gogo, I knew you were a bitch, but I didn't think you were this petty.” Suddenly, Hiro was on the floor, his cheek throbbing in pain. “What the fuck!”
“I am not petty,” she sneered down at him. Her eyes were hard, her voice cold and clipped. “I’m telling you this for your sake because I know how this is going to end. Either you reject him and end up isolating yourself because holy shit someone actually thought you were pleasant and that gave you mixed feelings, or you date him out of pity and make yourself miserable because you were not ready for that type of relationship and end up damaging Tadashi and yourself. Since I don't want any of that to happen, I've been trying to protect you, but you've been taking my protection and shitting on it, and you know what? I don't give a shit about what you do anymore. Go ahead and keep your head in your ass, just don't come to me with anymore of your shit.” She stalked across the living room to the front door. She flung it open and called over her shoulder, “and you know what, you're kind of right. I am looking out for Tadashi. I don't want him to stay hooked on a selfish, pathetic, self-loathing asshole like you when there are plenty of other, better people who deserve a guy like him.” With that, she slammed the door. A picture of Aunt Cass Hiro had hanging next to his door fell. The sound of glass breaking was the last thing they heard.
It was incredibly tense between Hiro and Wasabi. They stood in shock in Hiro's living room for the longest time until Wasabi's phone rang. It was a text from Fred, saying he would be landing in an hour so Wasabi better start making his way to the airport. That forced them to move. They walked out of Hiro's apartment, stepped in and out of the elevator, and got into Wasabi's car. Hiro knew he had to bring it up. He couldn't stand this awkward silence for another minute, let alone another hour (or maybe more knowing how Wasabi drove).
“You don't think he-”
“Of course not, Hiro,” Wasabi answer. “A guy like Tadashi isn't exactly looking for a guy like you.”
Hiro knew he didn't mean it that way, but for some reason, Wasabi’s words struck a nerve in Hiro. It was a mystery why. It's not like Wasabi said something Hiro didn't already know. A person like Tadashi didn't belong with someone like Hiro. Guys liked Tadashi looked for their complement, someone who perfected them. Hiro was not that person. He was not a person who would complete anyone. If anything, Hiro would only tear him down. It was plain as day that Tadashi wasn’t looking for a guy like him, but it still hurt hearing it. Why? Hiro didn’t know, and fuck did he want to, but his mind went blank. For some reason, Hiro couldn't overthink anything right now, not when Gogo just went off on him and Wasabi’s trying to ease Hiro’s mind and Fred’s waiting at the airport and Tadashi apparently had a crush on him.
“I don't know what's up with Gogo, but you two always have fights like this. You'll just get over it and go back to the way you were before. Don't dwell on it.”
It's true. That was their routine, but at this moment, Hiro couldn't wrap his mind around it. All he could think about was Tadashi and his hypothetical hidden feelings. Before Hiro could venture any deeper into his thoughts, his phone vibrated. Hiro reached into his pocket.
Hey. Damn, Tadashi seemed to have incredible timing.
Hiro sighed, argued with his mind for a minute, then ultimately replied, Hey.
He had just locked his phone when it vibrated again. What are you doing right now?
Hiro held back a groan. That was an unfair question. It’s almost as if fate was setting him up, conspiring against him, making sure he had the most confusing day he ever had.
What was he doing right now? Thinking of ways he could kill Gogo and make it look like an accident? Forcing himself to sit still and not throw himself out of a moving car? Looking over at a struggling Wasabi who was figuring out how to sort out this mess? Focusing on the plans he and Fred made tonight? Trying to sort out all of this confusion without making himself sick?
The fourth option seemed the safest.
Wasabi and I are picking up a friend from the airport. Hiro didn't bother locking his phone; he was certain Tadashi would reply soon. And sure enough, not even a second later, his phone vibrated.
No Gogo? Her name was more than enough to intensify the feelings within Hiro. Anger stood out the most for obvious reasons. Then there was sadness because fuck, Hiro might have just lost his best friend. Then there was embarrassment, and that bothered Hiro. What did he have to be embarrassed about? And then there was one last emotion Hiro refused to acknowledge because it was silly and stupid and completely random. Why would he be feeling that in the first place? Then his mind jumped back to the dream he had a week ago. Hiro sighed. Okay, so he was subconsciously feeling that. Alright, he recognized that, but what did he have to be hopeful about?
Hiro looked back down at his phone and realized he hadn't replied yet. He sighed again.
Couldn't make it
Okay. Just checking in. Text me if you can.
A knot formed in Hiro’s throat. It'd been awhile since someone “checked in” on him, and he forgot how that felt. It felt like a blanket of warmth that covered him from his head to his toes, that sunk under his skin and raised goosebumps, that went even deeper and made his heart skip a few beats, that made his breath hitch and his body shiver.
Hiro was relieved when they finally pulled up to the private runway. The jet was there with its door open and stairs extended, but Fred had yet to come off.
Hiro sighed again. “Hey, I'm gonna make a call,” he told Wasabi. Wasabi nodded, so Hiro turned around and walked away from the car. He took his phone out, and without much thought, he called the first person that popped into his head.
It took six rings before she picked up. “Thank you for calling Lucky Cat Café. How can I help you?” Hiro took a deep breath. It felt like forever since he last heard her voice.
“Hey, Aunt Cass.”
“Hiro!” She squealed into the phone. Hiro laughed. She still had the same reaction every time he called. “My little man, how are you?”
“I'm doing alright, Aunt Cass,” he said, not sure if he was lying or not, but nevermind that. He didn't call her just to talk about his problems. “How are you doing?”
“I'm doing wonderful!” She sang over the loud bustle of the café. Hiro felt an ache in his heart. He missed that. “This call is so unexpected. What happened?”
Hiro chuckled. “Nothing. I was just... checking in. What, I can't do that?”
“Absolutely not, Hiro. You are hindering my work.” Cass laughed. Hiro knew it was a joke, but he didn't laugh nor could he bring himself to fake one. Her sarcasm was rejected by Hiro’s ear, and her words stabbed him. “Hiro, are you okay?”
Hiro took a deep breath, counted to five, then released it and replied, “I'm doing okay, Aunt Cass. I just really needed to hear your voice.”
There was a short pause, and Hiro knew she was thinking about what to say. He needed to tell her. He needed to tell someone about this, but he wanted it to be Aunt Cass. “Hiro, I'm still here for you at any time,” she reassured him. “You can come visit me whenever you want for whatever reason, okay?”
“Okay, Aunt Cass.”
Less than a minute later, Aunt Cass had to hang up to service her customers and left Hiro standing alone with his phone still at his ear. He felt heavy, almost like he did back in Tadashi’s lab, but this was different. Back then, it felt like gravity was pulling him down, trying to keep him grounded; now, he felt like he was weighing himself down, trying to pull himself below the ground to be buried alive.
Fred and Wasabi’s laughter floated behind him and broke his concentration. Hiro turned his attention to his friends, ignoring the dark thoughts swirling in his head. Gogo wasn't here, so Hiro had to go through this on his own. He would be fine. He would be fine.
“Hiro!” Fred yelled at him from the car. Hiro took one more deep breath, smiled, waved, and walked back to the car. He was fine.
Notes to self: one, visit Aunt Cass soon. Two, do not text Tadashi back.
Side note: I'm not bashing therapy in the beginning. I'm just bashing this therapist I had that focused more on the money my parents were paying rather than my mental health. Thankfully, that therapist got his license revoked, I got a refund, and I got a new therapist. I did receive the help I needed. Unfortunately, there are greedy people like that in the world.
I love every single one of you. Thank you, and this is just a reminder to focus on your (physical, mental, and emotional) health before anything else.
Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!!
Hiro didn't text Tadashi back, and if Hiro had his way, that would’ve been the end of it. They wouldn’t text, Hiro would do his very best to avoid Tadashi, and their weird whatever-relationship-they-had would effectively die out. Hiro wasn’t comfortable with Tadashi, especially if Tadashi actually had feelings.
But. Tadashi. Wouldn’t. Stop. Texting. Him.
Did he even sleep? Hiro did. He liked sleeping. Especially while he’s still in his golden era of peace, sleep came easy to him, but with Tadashi messaging him about some stupid movie he’s watching that night or where he and Honey are going to or what animal he’s rescued, Hiro couldn’t sleep in peace.
He supposed that was his fault. He knew they had to talk, but just like anything that required some emotional aspect, Hiro avoided it. Hiro was a procrastinator by nature. Aunt Cass used to tell him about his father’s inability to write papers (and his talent of manipulating professors into giving him an extension) and his mother’s motto (“Diamonds are born under pressure!”), so if Hiro had absolutely no understanding of genetics, he would blame his parents. But he does, and because he understood more than just genetics, he also knew this wasn’t procrastination. This was just Hiro.
But this situation wasn’t just Hiro. It was about Gogo and Tadashi and Honey. If he didn’t settle whatever this was, then he’d lose Gogo, and if he were being honest, that’s all he cared about…
No. That didn’t sound right to him, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to let Tadashi screw up years of friendship between him and Gogo.
So that’s how six days later he found himself in Tadashi’s car, driving back to Hiro’s apartment. They spent the entire day doing who knows what. They initially went out for lunch around noon, then they somehow ended up at a museum, then they somehow ended up at a park, then they saw a movie, then they left early when they realized the movie was shit, and then they spent the rest of the day at SFIT walking from lab to lab, fiddling with different contraptions, and ending up in Hiro’s personal lab. Gogo wasn’t there, thankfully, so Hiro didn’t face any judgment (not from anyone that mattered, anyways).
However, throughout the day, Hiro did not let his guard down. If anything, he more aware of Tadashi’s actions. He would study any movement Tadashi made, analyze the meaning behind it, and try to find any evidence that proved Gogo was right, but there was nothing. Tadashi kept his distance, physically and emotionally. He never forced Hiro into doing something he didn’t want to do (mayo tasted horrible and nothing would ever convince him otherwise), and when the conversation died down, he never tried to force it away. Instead, they wallowed in the silence, and for once, it wasn’t awkward. They would both be lost in their thoughts, and somehow, they knew when the silence should be broken. There were times Hiro would catch Tadashi looking at him, but instead of blushing and turning away, Tadashi would just smile and start a conversation. Now, Hiro had no experience in this department. He never had a crush on someone and no one ever had a crush on him, but these actions were not something a person with a crush typically would do.
So was Gogo wrong? Somehow, that didn’t sit right with Hiro. Gogo was never wrong, but neither was Hiro. He always drew the right conclusion from whatever evidence he was presented with, and this evidence stacked against Gogo. That’s why he spent the day with Tadashi. The purpose was to see for himself if Tadashi truly harbored any feelings, and Hiro succeeded in his task.
But there was one drawback of this day: Hiro was starting to get used to it. Everything. Tadashi, his presence, his attention. Especially his attention. All the attention Hiro received was addicting. It made him feel safe, comfortable, wanted, something he hadn’t experienced in a while. He was deprived of human affection, and this day hit him like a bullet. He was getting a fix from Tadashi. Was it always going to be like this? But maybe it was like this because Tadashi had feelings for him. Maybe. Then again, Tadashi was overly affectionate with Honey. This could be just how he acted with his friends. Maybe. So then maybe it would always be like this? Maybe if Hiro just accepted his friendship, he’d receive more affection. But then what if Tadashi only acted like this because he liked Hiro? Then it would seem like Hiro was responding because he had mutual feelings, and that would be leading Tadashi on.
Hiro sighed, his right hand pinching the bridge of his nose. If only Gogo hadn't said anything. Then none of this would've happened and nothing would've been ruined.
“What's wrong?” He felt Tadashi glance over at him. Hiro was so aware of him now.
“Don't worry about it.”
“Okay.” Hiro smiled at his one-word response, the correct response in Hiro’s opinion. Instead of prying, Tadashi accepted the answer and moved on. Tadashi was willing to give Hiro the privacy he wanted, and if that wasn’t correct , then Hiro had no idea what was.
Was correct enough, though? Tadashi was trustworthy, and Hiro wanted to talk to someone. He wanted to vent about what was going on. The obvious choice was Aunt Cass. She was the only person Hiro knew that had no part in this. She would be an unbiased third party, but Hiro wasn’t going to see Aunt Cass for another four days. That was too long for him. There was too much going on, too much information to process to wait four whole days.
Then maybe he didn’t have to tell Tadashi everything .
Tadashi was trustworthy. He had no part in Hiro and Gogo’s fight. Hell, he didn’t even know about it, so maybe if Hiro maneuvered around some aspects in the story…
Hiro cleared his throat. “Gogo and I are fighting.”
Tadashi looked over at him. “About?” He asked. Hiro stayed silent. “Okay, so how long have you been fighting?”
Hiro sighed. “About three weeks.”
“So you guys argue or yell or you don't talk to each other or...?” Tadashi trailed off.
Hiro snorted. “All of the above. I mean, we fight all the time. The longest we've fought was four months.”
“Yeah, I don't even remember what it was about, but we always get over it.”
“But not this time?” Tadashi asked. Hiro shook his head. “What are you fighting about, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Yes, yes he did mind because this was exactly what he needed to maneuver around.
Fuck, this was a mistake. This was a huge mistake. This was the worst mistake he ever made. He should’ve never opened this can of worms, walked down this path, or whatever other cliché this fell under. All the alarms and sirens rang in his head. Red flags raised. His mind was yelling at him to abort, end the conversation, close whatever door he tried to open.
Hiro swallowed the lump in his throat. He pushed back all the doubts. If he wanted to fix his friendship with Gogo, then he just needed to face this head-on. No more procrastinating.
“You,” he finally answered. “She told me something.”
“What?” They slowed down to a stop, and when Hiro looked out his window, he saw his apartment building. He felt somewhat disappointed (he’d analyze that feeling later), but he mostly felt relieved. He’d have an easy escape if things went badly.
Hiro turned to the driver’s side. “Tadashi,” he started. Tadashi just sat there, nodding with a smile on his face. “Do you like me?”
“Of course I do, Hiro.”
And just like that, Hiro knew what the answer was. “That's not what I meant.” His hands were shaking. “I mean,” he paused, trying to catch the breath rapidly leaving his lungs, “do you have a crush on me?” He sounded so calm, and he had no idea how he was able to do so. By some miracle, Hiro’s phone vibrated, so he was able to look down just before he could see Tadashi’s reaction.
“Did Gogo tell you that?” Hiro nodded. He got a text from Fred. He opened it and read- “She's right.” -and stopped.
“She is?” His heart was pounding in his ears.
“Yeah,” Tadashi breathed, “so I suggest you call her and tell her you're sorry. She's just looking out for you, Hiro.” His name was what made Hiro look up. Tadashi was still there smiling, but there was a shift in his demeanor. His body was stiff, his face was tight, and his eyes weren’t cheerful. It was as if he knew things wouldn’t be the same after this.
And they wouldn’t.
“Okay.” Hiro unbuckled his seatbelt and stepped out the car. He closed the door carefully, paused, and looked at Tadashi again. “Thanks,” he said. Tadashi weakly nodded.
Hiro turned around and walked calmly into his building. When the door closed behind him, Hiro huffed. He nodded at his landlord and stalked into the elevator. There was another man already on it, and he pressed the same level Hiro needed to go to, so Hiro nodded at the man and stared at the doors. He used every ounce of physical and mental strength he possessed to stop himself from screaming, but the higher he got, the less control he had. Just as he was about to snap, the elevator dinged. Hiro released a shaky breath and practically ran out. He didn't care what the man thought anymore; he just needed to get into his apartment. He finally made it to his door, but it took him three times to punch his code in correctly. His hands couldn't stop shaking. When the tiny light finally flashed green, Hiro kicked the door open and slammed it closed. His back collided with the door and he sunk to the floor. He was huffing, shaking, and, before he knew it, crying.
Now , everything was ruined.
Yep. Two chapters in one day! The last chapter was pretty short, and this one is too, so I figured I should post these two together. After all, I haven't posted in a while, and finals are coming up, so I have no idea when I'll be able to write again.
Either way, I hope you enjoy these chapters! Thank you, and happy reading!
“It's all ruined.”
Honey sighed. “No it isn't, Tadashi.” Tadashi groaned in response, but Honey ignored him and continued sifting through mountains of papers. The lease had to be here somewhere.
It would be ten times easier if Tadashi actually helped out. That’s why Honey called him in the first place. After all, this was Tadashi’s invention, and they did lease an entire building for the unveiling of Baymax, and it was Tadashi’s investors demanding proof where all their money was going to, right down to the cent. So yes, Tadashi should help, and yes, it would be at least ten times easier if Tadashi actually helped out, but fate just had to throw this curveball at him.
She understood the gist of it. Gogo told Hiro of Tadashi’s crush, and because Hiro knows, he’s been avoiding Tadashi. Well, this only happened a few hours ago, so Tadashi couldn’t know for sure Hiro hated him. Still, that didn’t stop Tadashi’s thoughts from running wild. That was always a bad habit of his, one Honey particularly despised. Another one was that Tadashi wore his heart on his sleeve. For being one of the smartest people in the world, she found it ironic he wasn't influenced by his head. He never saw the logic in a situation. Every decision was made based on what he felt like doing, and while Honey hated how impulsive he was, she had to admire it. Honey was emotional, but most of the time, she listened to her head. She could never be as reckless as he was. She was sensitive but headstrong. He was just a ball of pure emotion.
And Hiro was the exact opposite. He wasn’t neutral like Honey; he was just an extreme, something that disrupted their means. It was almost impossible for Tadashi to just ignore Hiro, and Honey knew that. After all, that was Hiro’s appeal. He was so reserved and closed-off it was almost alluring. In fact, if Hiro had been a few years older and a foot taller, Honey might’ve had a crush on him too, so she understood where Tadashi’s feelings came from. She just never thought Tadashi would fall for Hiro, but he did. Hard. And as far as Honey knew, Tadashi had never been in love before, so if Hiro was his first love… and if it was all “ruined” now…
So okay, fine, she supposed he had a right to be heartbroken.
“Yes, it is.” But that didn’t mean he could be pathetic. “I don't even know what to do.”
Honey huffed, feeling her eyes water. The papers started to blur together, everything turning into one jumbled mess of white and ink and numbers and letters. She clenched her eyes and placed her head in her hands. She was desperate for some relief.
“Do you want to make this public?” She asked him through her hands.
Honey groaned, moving her hands to her temples. “I mean blast him. We could leak this story to the press but alter some things. We could say Hiro led you on in a way to manipulate you into calling off Baymax and ruin your career. I have some contacts, so I could email them tonight and by the morning ru-”
“No!” Honey jumped and turned to Tadashi. He had never yelled like that before to anyone.
She smiled. “Okay, great. You still have some rationality in your head,” she joked, but when she realized Tadashi was still glaring at her, she dropped her smile. “You know I was kidding, right? I would never do that to Hiro.”
It was as if Tadashi needed to hear that reassurance. As soon as the words left her lips, Tadashi’s frown returned. “Even though he’s never going to talk to me ever again?”
Honey pursed her lips. “Well that’s your fault.” There was a comical quality in Tadashi’s expression, a combination of horror and disbelief that rivaled a cartoon character who realized it stepped off a cliff and had about three seconds of suspension before gravity worked again, and if Honey had no composure, she would’ve laughed, but instead, she continued, “Tadashi, I know you like Hiro, but you couldn't realistically expect him to like you so quickly. You barely knew each other for two months. He completely hated you for years before that. He's straight. Did you honestly think now was the right time?”
“I wasn't going to tell him now!”
“So it was Gogo’s fault?” He didn’t immediately respond. Instead, his eyes wandered from hers to the papers spread across the floor. Honey followed his gaze, trying to see what he saw, but when she realized it was futile, she sighed again. This time, it was one of sympathy, and it was exactly what Tadashi needed to snap out of his thoughts.
“No,” he mumbled. “No. She was just looking out for him.”
“Then what do you want me to say?” Honey asked, placing one hand on Tadashi’s shoulder. “I tried blaming it on Hiro and it didn't work. I tried blaming it on you and it didn't work. I tried blaming it on Gogo and it didn’t work. Who else am I supposed to blame?”
There was a long pause before Tadashi sighed and answered, “No one.” He closed his eyes and laid back on the floor. “It’s no one’s fault.”
Honey bit her lip. She really needed to find that lease. She had a meeting with their investors tomorrow after lunch. That was the only document missing, and the investor who granted them funding for the building was an asshole. There was no way Honey could weasel out of showing him the lease without a confrontation. She was good, but she wasn’t a miracle worker.
She heard a shudder.
Honey stood and made her way to her kitchen. She opened one of the cabinets and grabbed two glasses. She looked at the bottles sitting next to the glasses. She contemplated for a moment before deciding this was a scotch-kind-of night. She opened the bottle, poured a generous amount in the two glasses, and walked back her living room. Tadashi had his hands over his eyes, so Honey lightly kicked him. He quickly rubbed his eyes, but it didn’t matter. Honey knew he was close to crying. At least now, he could blame his tears on the alcohol.
“I’m sorry, Tadashi, but things happen,” she offered.
Tadashi took the glass. “So I should just forget this?”
“You could.” Honey took a sip, felt the scotch burn down her throat, let it settle in her stomach, and continued, “You could just forget about what happened, forget about Hiro, forget about what Gogo did, but do you want to?”
Tadashi stared down at his glass. “No.” She figured that much.
“Then you just need to move on.”
He scoffed. “That's easier said than done.”
“I know.” She smiled. “Believe it or not, Tadashi, I am a human being with human emotions. I've been in love before.”
Tadashi stiffened. “I'm not in love with him,” he said, staring straight into her eyes.
Honey hummed, swirling the glass in her hand. “That's what I told myself, and… well… you know how that ended.”
Tadashi chuckled. “Was that supposed to be motivational?”
“Nope. That's your reality check. How were you supposed to get him to like you if you didn't even know your own feelings?” Tadashi frowned, looking back at his glass before downing the entire drink. He grimaced, cleared his throat, then motioned to his empty glass. Honey pointed to the kitchen where she left the bottle. Tadashi nodded before standing up and walking to the kitchen. Honey stayed in her place, sipping at her drink and staring at where Tadashi sat.
Huh. Well, look at that. Tadashi was sitting on the lease.
I know. I took my sweet-ass time writing this, and for that I sincerely apologize. This chapter was also funky for me, and honestly, I had a hard time writing this. I’m not sure why, but I finally did it (two months later).
Well, without further ado, here’s the long-overdue chapter!
Hiro was not hiding. He wasn’t that childish. He wasn’t even good at hiding. Growing up, he never played hide and seek (mostly because he didn’t have any friends, and playing hide and seek with your Aunt was too lame even for him), so he never grew that habit of hiding away. Running away was more his forte, but he was not doing that either.
He wasn't hiding; he was organizing himself, compartmentalizing his life.
It was a pure coincidence that he decided to do so while he closed up the cafe. His mind had been great at burying the topic for days, but now as he was here organizing the shop, his brain decided to shoot every thought and insecurity at him.
But honestly, it was the perfect time to do this. Sure he might've dropped a chair when Tadashi popped into his mind, but other than that sudden introduction, this was the best opportunity for him to really slow down and think about it. Four days have passed since the car ride, an adequate amount of time for the incident to age. Aunt Cass was upstairs fixing dinner, so he was alone closing up the café. And no matter what comes out of this soul searching, Hiro would have days afterwards to prepare himself for whatever may come. This was perfect.
His phone vibrated, so Hiro reached into his pocket. Where are you? Are you hiding from Gogo cause she's not here
Oh, for fuck’s sake, he's not hiding!
Hiro may have pressed a little to hard on the screen when he typed his reply to Wasabi. I'm with Aunt Cass, he sent. Then, just to satisfy his bitter side, he sent a second later, NOT hiding.
Wasabi’s reply came a few moments later. Okay good cause I lied. Gogo’s here and she was worried, even if she says she isn't.
Hiro stared at the screen for a while, trying to think of an appropriate response. That was another thing he needed to figure out. He knew what he needed to do: he needed to apologize to Gogo. That much he was sure. It was the first and only thing he could set his mind on after he stopped crying in his apartment. Gogo was right, Hiro was wrong, and he was a dick about it. Gogo might've been a little too aggressive (to say the least), but Hiro might’ve been a little too defensive. But besides all the little details, it was the principle that mattered: Gogo was right, Hiro was wrong, and he needed to apologize for that.
Hiro sighed before typing, I'm alright. Not hiding, just catching up with Aunt Cass. Probably be here for a couple more days.
Hiro’s phone dinged a second after. Alright tell her we said hi.
And with that said, Hiro put his phone in his pocket, but after a second, he pulled it back out and turned it off. Wasabi knew where he was and Gogo was with him so he would probably tell her, and one of them would definitely tell Fred, so no one should be trying to reach him. No one. It's not that big of a difference, really. Hiro and Tadashi never texted, unless Tadashi just wanted to bother him.
He regretted turning off his phone because now all he wanted to do was look back at their texts with a new perspective. From what he could remember, the way he texted Tadashi was different than how he texted Gogo or Fred or Wasabi. With Tadashi, Hiro was always clipped, replying with one-word answers - in the beginning, at least. He wouldn’t contribute to the conversation, allowing it to suffer and die so he could finally get back to doing whatever he was doing before Tadashi interrupted, but recently, that approach changed. Hiro was a bit more receptive, shifting onto definitive answers. Sometimes, he would ask Tadashi questions on whatever topic they talked about. Their topics changed, too. Before, they would just talk about science, robotics, and events. But Hiro remembered that the last thing they talked about was Tadashi’s confrontation with some old lady in the grocery store who blamed him for inspiring her granddaughter to move out and attend a robotics school on the other side of the country. And Hiro remembered some of his replies, not because they were short enough to remember but because they were clever jabs insulting Tadashi. They were bantering . They reached that point for fuck’s sake. Hiro was comfortable doing something with him that he usually didn’t do with just anyone.
But that was days ago. Tadashi hasn’t texted him, and Hiro definitely wasn’t going to text him first, if at all.
“Hiro! Dinner is ready!” Aunt Cass called from upstairs. Hiro jumped out of his thoughts and quickly finished wiping down the remaining tables. He set the chairs upside down on the tables and shot up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He knew better than to leave Aunt Cass waiting. “Hot wings!”
Hiro sat down at the table, eyeing the wings carefully. They were an angry shade of red, dripping and steaming. “We're definitely feeling these tomorrow,” he said, but he still grabbed one and took a bite.
An hour, twenty-four wings, six cups of water, a trashcan full of dirty napkins, and a shit-load of tears later, Hiro found himself popping in a VHS of Frankenstein. Luckily, they’ve watched this movie so many times that turning on the TV and setting the channel was second nature to him. He didn’t need to focus on what he was doing, so his mind was able to drift back to the problem at hand.
Just how long was Tadashi going to keep it a secret? In fact, was he ever going to tell Hiro? If Gogo hadn’t said anything, Hiro could’ve gone his whole life oblivious, and maybe that was what Tadashi had been hoping for. Really, Hiro couldn’t judge him for that because that’s exactly what he would’ve done if he were in Tadashi’s shoes. Maybe Tadashi was hoping his feelings would fade over time. But that didn’t make any sense considering just how much time Tadashi spent with Hiro. If he was trying to ignore and get over his feelings, then why would he continue to hang out with Hiro? Why didn’t he just keep their relationship as rivals? Why built something more? But then again, Hiro had no idea when Tadashi actually started liking him. It could’ve been after that night he literally banged on his door in the pouring rain, or maybe even the first dinner or the second or the third.
Well, actually, now that Hiro thought about it, every time they hung out - the all-day outtings where they did nothing - could be considered dates, right? And those little treats Tadashi brought Hiro the week before the unveiling, was that flirting? As a matter of fact, was every conversation they ever had flirting? Did Hiro mistake it as friendly banter? Did he actually lead Tadashi on?
Fuck. Hiro was too sober for this.
Hiro plopped on the seat after a few minutes, sighing as the overly-dramatic theme music forced its way out of old speakers. He chewed on the inside of his cheek, trying to distract himself from the huge can of worms he just opened. It worked, and Frankenstein had never seemed so appealing before.
But of course, he just couldn’t catch a break. Right as the title frame showed on the screen, Aunt Cass pried the remote out of his hands and turned the TV off. Before Hiro could complain, she said, “Are you ready to talk?”
Fuck . “But the movie-” Hiro tried, but of course, Aunt Cass just dismissed it with the wave of her hand.
“I've seen Frankenstein 100 times. I've never helped you out with a personal problem before.” And Hiro would’ve liked to keep it that way. Yes, he wanted to talk to his aunt four days ago, but that was when he was worried about Gogo. Now, the subject of his concerns was Tadashi, and this wasn’t as simple as a fight. This was, frankly, more embarrassing and something he couldn’t tell anyone , let alone his aunt. There was no way they were having this conversation.
He had his mind made up on the issue, but it only took one sigh, and doubts flooded in. “And I get it. It's weird talking to your Aunt Cass about it, but I feel like I've missed out on so much of your life.” She moved her hand from her lap to his head, gently running her fingers through his hair. “Now that you're gone, I never see you unless you're on TV. I miss my little man.” She moved her hand down, cupping his neck and combing at the ends of his hair. Her eyebrows were furrowed, framing watery eyes. She had a sad smile, and Hiro cursed at the heartstrings it tugged at. She was almost convincing.
“Are you trying to guilt me?”
“Well it worked.”
Hiro groaned, rubbing his face with both hands. He lost this battle. He had to tell her, and it was easier for him to rip the bandaid off. Now or never. “I just found out Tadashi has a crush on me.” The words felt like bile and he could feel his cheeks flushing, but he had to admit, it felt great saying it.
And he refused to dwell on that any further.
“ And Tadashi has a crush on me!” Hiro repeated with more animosity, trying to spur a different reaction from Aunt Cass, but all he got was a nod, and he couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Don't tell me you knew, too.”
He paused. “Gogo knew about it before I did.”
“What can I say?” She shrugged. “Girls know these things.”
“She said that, too,” Hiro said, leaning his head back and closing his eyes. Great. So was it obvious that Tadashi liked him? Wasabi didn’t see it, and neither did Hiro, but maybe it was women’s intuition or something.
Huh. So that’s why Aunt Cass was willing to bake those little treats for Tadashi.
“How long did you know?” he asked, hoping the answer would shed some light on the foggy timeline.
Unfortunately, Aunt Cass just shook her head. “Nevermind that, Hiro. That’s not what matters.” It did matter, but Hiro knew better than to contradict her. He never won those arguments. “So what's wrong with Tadashi having a crush on you?”
“Okay, let me rephrase that,” she said, shifting her body so she was sitting with her legs crossed underneath her and her back rested against the arm rest. She was fully facing Hiro, and he was surprised at the difference her posture made. It made this a thousand times more embarrassing. “Why does this bother you?” Hiro opened his mouth, but when no words came out, he closed it and grimaced. Nothing immediately popped into his mind. Should he be concerned about that? “Is it that he's a guy?”
Hiro thought about it for a second. “No,” he said, shaking his head. He was pretty sure if it had been a girl who confessed, he would’ve freaked out too.
Aunt Cass nodded. “Is it because he’s your rival? Or was, at least?”
Hiro shook his head again, this time a little more forcefully. “No, that doesn’t sound right.”
“Then what it is, Hiro?”
“I don’t know,” he groaned, throwing his head back to avoid her sympathetic expression. He didn’t want sympathy. He wanted answers. “I really don’t know, Aunt Cass, and it’s frustrating.”
He stared at the ceiling, finding any patterns he could in the random print. It was what his mind did, after all. If he ever felt lost in some aspect other than math, then his mind reverted back to numbers, to rules, to anything logical that didn't require much thought on his part. It was probably the only way he could ground himself. Knowledge never confused him.
He didn't even bother to turn his head when he felt the cushions tip slightly nor when he heard footsteps walking away from him. He did sit up straight, however, when Aunt Cass came back, holding a tray with two mugs, milk and sugar, and some leftover cookies from today’s business.
Hiro grabbed the mug she handed to him, looking down at the drink. Hot chocolate for him, of course. He knew there was a slim chance Aunt Cass would let him drink coffee this late, but the hope was still there. “I’ve never been like this,” he confessed, swirling the mug. “I’ve never had to go through this before, and it’s not fair. To me or to Tadashi.” He took a sip, ignoring the scalding heat. He definitely burned his tongue, but the drink felt incredible going down his throat. He reached for a cookie.
“What do you mean?”
Hiro stared at his cookie, crumbling a piece in his lap. “I’m not good at this, Aunt Cass. Emotions and feelings and all that shit, I’m not good at it.” He looked up for a moment, waiting for some sort of interruption on her part (“Language, mister.”) but she only nodded, so Hiro continued, “And Tadashi’s a good person, too good.” He raised a piece of cookie to his mouth, nibbling at the dough. He never liked macadamia nuts, but when he ate around them, the cookie itself tasted good. “It’s like Gogo said.”
“What did she say?”
He shrugged. “She said Tadashi deserved better than me, that I was…” He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t even think of her words without his throat closing in, without flashbacks of his middle school years clawing their way into his mind, without remembering all the people who told him he wasn't good enough.
There was a loud clank of the tray hitting the living room table. Hiro’s head snapped to his aunt, his heart pounding in his chest, but she effectively got him to focus on her. “Hiro, I’m going to say this not because I’m your aunt and I’m morally obligated to say it but because I really believe it,” she paused, and when Hiro tentatively nodded, she continued, “you deserve the world, Hiro. Just because you’re introverted does not mean you’re not good enough. I know a lot of people have told you that. I’m pretty sure they still do, and I know it hurt hearing it from Gogo, but trust me when I say she didn’t mean it. She loves you, Hiro, and so do I and Wasabi and Fred. Okay?” Hiro nodded again. “And Hiro? You need to stop telling yourself otherwise.”
“I’m not-” Hiro tried but stopped when Aunt Cass sat down right next to him instead of the opposite side of the couch like she had before. She wrapped her arms around his waist, laying her head on his shoulder. Hiro didn't hesitate to return the hug, carefully resting his arms across her shoulders. He didn't even bother setting the mug down.
“I know you are, Hiro, and that’s okay.” He sighed, closing his eyes and relishing in the moment. He forgot just how much he missed his aunt’s hugs. “You know, I have my off days, too,” she confessed. “Sometimes, I think about your parents and what I could’ve done. Other times, I think I should’ve bought a book on parenting because I have no idea what to do in situations like this. At times, I think I was the wrong person to raise you.”
“That’s not true, Aunt Cass!”
“I know, but I can’t help think about it, so it’s okay for those thoughts to pass through the mind, but that’s the thing: they have to pass. They can’t stay cultivating in that big brain of yours.”
If he had a nickel for every time someone told him to stop overthinking…
But the longer he thought about it, the longer it made sense. There was nothing wrong with Tadashi liking Hiro, but there was everything wrong with Tadashi liking Hiro . Tadashi could do better. He deserved someone like Honey Lemon, a person who is just as intelligent, driven, and successful as he is. Someone who didn’t have so many social or self issues, someone who couldn’t possibly bring him down.
Hiro didn’t like Tadashi, not in that sense, but even if he did, there was no way he would date Tadashi. It would defy all social order. Hiro was already a freak of nature. He was too intelligent for his age, and he literally broke the laws of science almost every day. There was no need for him to add any more chaos into the world, and dating Tadashi would be a prime example of Murphy’s Law.
“I think she’s right, though,” Hiro said with a piece of cookie in his mouth. “I don’t deserve Tadashi.”
“And what makes you say that?”
Hiro scoffed. “Come on, Aunt Cass. You’ve met him. He’s a freaking ball of sunshine.”
That earned him a giggle. “Yes, I have met him, and I’ve also met you, and I think you are a ball of sunshine.”
“That’s because you’re biased.”
“I suppose,” she hummed, “but maybe Tadashi sees what I see. A ball of sunshine.”
That made blood pound in Hiro’s ears.
“Hiro, have you ever thought of you being with Tadashi?”
He had. He had thought about it. He thought about it the moment he stopped crying in his apartment, the moment he was able to control his emotions and allow logic to take over. He focused all his mental strength into conjuring pictures of what should happen if he and Tadashi actually did end up dating, but in the end, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t see Tadashi holding his hand in public, ignoring the cameras capturing their every movement. He couldn’t see them going to an award ceremony, not as two separate nominees but as one couple. He couldn’t see himself at Tadashi’s unveiling, standing in the crowd as the proud boyfriend.
Instead, he could only think of the way they both acted and saw the fine line drawn between them – because while Tadashi was calm and patient, willing to work through whatever obstacle, Hiro leapt into situations, blazing a self-destructive path and burning whatever bridges laid in his way.
And that’s exactly what he’s going to do. He’s going to burn whatever bridge he allowed himself to build with Tadashi.
Hey guys, long time no post! Ain’t that the understatement of the century.
So I know I haven’t posted in months, but this chapter really just sucks. I considered putting this fic on hiatus, but then I realized that I hadn’t posted in six months; that was a hiatus. Nevertheless, I have not abandoned this fic, and I think I’ll be able to work on it more now that I’ve gotten through this chapter.
I hope you guys like it and thank you for sticking with this story!
If there was one thing Gogo understood, it was entropy.
The second law of thermodynamics requires that, in general, the total entropy of any system can't decrease other than by increasing the entropy of some other system. Hence, in a system isolated from its environment, the entropy of that system tends not to decrease.
It’s something she’s remembered since she was old enough to read, and since Gogo didn’t believe in coincidences, she found it funny that the first book she chose to read by herself as a child was an encyclopedia that she happened to open to the page that had the long definition of the second law of thermodynamics.
And as the years passed, that moment changed from funny to fitting.
Total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time.
While she never considered herself isolated, it all just seemed to fit. She was private and quiet – antisocial as her family liked to call her, completely-done-with-everyone’s-bullshit as she liked to call herself. It wasn’t until middle school that she learned she was just introverted, something completely normal. Other people were too, but even then, she didn’t find anyone that she connected with. She knew it existed, though. She knew from pictures on social media that other introverts grouped together to go to the library or a hole-in-the-wall cafe or some field of flowers and trees that definitely didn’t exist here in San Fransokyo.
Gogo never wanted any of that. She just wanted to stay in her room surrounded by the books and toy motorcycles she loved breaking apart.
The total entropy can remain constant in ideal cases where the system is in a steady state of equilibrium or is undergoing a reversible process.
Constant was the word, one her brain somehow translated to apathetic. She grew up uncaring. Not of other people (because if there’s one thing about Gogo it’s that she always wanted to help people) but of her relationship with other people. She spent high school walking in the middle of the halls, alone, with everyone else standing off to the side. She could part a crowd faster than the stereotypical mean-girl head-cheerleader whose name Gogo cannot remember could because if there was something worse than fear, it was fear of the unknown. Everyone knew what would happen if preppy blonde head-cheerleader would run into you: bye bye social status (as if it mattered). No one knew what would happen if it was Gogo who always wore too much leather, and frankly, no one wanted to know. Gogo knew, though. She knew nothing would happen. She didn’t care enough to make something happen, but by not doing anything, she inadvertently did something.
Gogo did consider herself to be the manifestation of entropy. Not in a hateful, I-am-chaos-and-no-one-loves-me mindset, but in acceptance. She’s experienced enough to know how chaotic her life has been in comparison to others, and she’s smart enough to connect the dots. She’s not spiteful. She didn’t curse fate or destiny or whatever else melodramatic young adults did. She liked her life and the actions that led up to it, and if those actions were entropic or the direct aftermath of entropy, then so be it. It’s not something she could control, not like she ever wanted to.
Until now at least. She wanted to control it so badly, to contain whatever mess she caused, but she knew it was impossible.
In all spontaneous processes, the total entropy always increases and the process is irreversible.
And that incident was spontaneous. Even though she was a bitch and didn’t like Tadashi, she hadn’t planned on telling Hiro about Tadashi’s feelings. She didn’t have to like someone to respect them (and Tadashi was someone who deserved every ounce of respect earned), but respect flew right out the fucking window and died as it hit the sidewalk a few weeks back, back when a night that was supposed to be about hanging out and supporting Fred was replaced by Tadashi.
She was fine with him at first. A lot of people had a crush on Hiro and crowded around him. Hiro, oblivious as ever, acted as standoff-ish as he was, and normally, after a few days of realizing how futile their efforts were, they left Hiro alone. Tadashi was supposed to be just another unsuccessful notch (one Gogo loved to tease), but then months passed, and not only was he still here but Hiro was tolerating him. He wormed his way into Hiro’s apartment, university, home, social life, life in general, and that would’ve been fine if there wasn’t something completely off about that guy.
She didn’t know specifically what it was, but Gogo recognized entropy when she saw it. She knew Tadashi came from the same background she did, and if there was something she knew about her years of friendship with Hiro, it was that Gogo and Hiro do not belong together. Even after having their relationship analyzed in every media outlet, Gogo knew they would never cross that line because of how entropic they both wore. The only difference was who was affected. Gogo would destroy buildings and burn highways with her actions; Hiro would only hurt himself. Even then, they somehow became best friends. He was the first introvert she connected with where they would get together to go to the library at SFIT or the hole-in-the-wall Lucky Cat Cafe or some field of flowers and trees that apparently did exist here in San Fransokyo. Hiro and Gogo are different, but the same.
And never in a million years did she expect to have less in common with Hiro than with Tadashi. There were the obvious things like their naturally dark skin and short black hair, but it wasn’t until they met at the hotel room that she realized just how similar they were. Always keeping their true thoughts to themselves, hiding behind a different persona (Gogo: apathetic mystery, Tadashi: kind-hearted superhero), taking advantage of any weakness they found in their enemies, and being equal pieces of shit to whomever they considered threatening.
Tadashi and Gogo are the same, but different, and if Gogo didn’t belong with Hiro, then some knockoff version of her didn’t belong with Hiro either. She knew Tadashi was going to hurt Hiro in some way. Maybe not now, but someday Gogo’s going to have to sit by Hiro on the floor of one of their apartments, hold a half-empty bottle of something, and make sure he didn’t kill himself by alcohol poisoning.
Or, actually, maybe now as Hiro’s locked himself in his lab because, apparently, that’s the sanest thing to do when you find out someone has a crush on you.
For being one of the smartest people on the planet, he was just fucking stupid sometimes, but Gogo couldn’t complain. She caused this, and now, she needed to deal with the chaos she added to this situation which meant making sure Hiro didn’t kill himself by starvation either.
With Wasabi trying to coax Hiro out of the lab and Fred off somewhere doing something that was in no way helpful, Gogo needed to do something quickly and effectively. And, as much as she hated to admit it, sometimes a knockoff works better than a name-brand.
She sighed before pulling out her phone. Sometimes, desperate times called for desperate measures.