Disclaimer: Big Hero 6 is owned by Disney Animation. Remember, this story takes place before Season 2, so no passing mention of Liv Amara will be appearing here.
Chapter 5 – Honey Lemon & Fred Are In The Market
"So which one do you like more?"
Honey Lemon held up her arms, each fabric draped over her wrists. "This one (nodding to her right) is a little bit more durable, but it doesn't come in the color you requested. I can probably dye it darker to match this one (nodding to her left), but it'll take a little bit longer."
"Oh my goodness, I love that one! It's going to look great on me; I can already tell!"
The Latina bundled up the fabric, tossing it onto the table. "That's settled then. This mascot costume is going to be the best. It'll be so cute!"
"I'm just glad that my bosses said OK to the costume. Yggdrasil can be a little stingy when it comes to this sort of thing."
Honey Lemon was interrupted by a text coming onto her cell. She looked down at her phone, noticing who it was. "Sorry, I have to go. I'll give you an update on my progress in a couple of days, OK?"
"Sounds good! Talk to ya later!"
She ended the video call on her laptop and got up from the table. Fred was going to be here soon with food, so best to make sure the apartment door was unlocked.
It was always great to have someone enthusiastic to talk to when it came to arts and crafts. That's why she liked her online boutique so much: an opportunity to reach out to the masses and make things for them.
The money didn't hurt either.
The time was the problem.
Since being a superhero and a student at SFIT took up the vast majority of her time, she severely had to limit the amount of side projects she could take at her store. She still sold stickers by the dozen and other small tchotchkes here and there. The Big Hero 6 trinkets were a particularly good seller (and she suspected that a certain bio-tech genius was one of her frequent buyers), but her custom clothing options were limited. But now with Obake gone, and a drop in active crime, she opened her store e-mail for the first time in a while and found a very excited person seeking someone to make her a costume.
It was from a girl who worked for the local wildlife refuge, and she was looking for someone to get her some materials for a suit she wanted to make. She also gushed on and on about her other stuff for...
Honey Lemon glanced back at her laptop, checking the length again.
She was a very enthusiastic girl, OK?
The Latina had sent an e-mail to set up a meeting, and over the past couple of weeks, had been corresponding back and forth. The girl was very...forward. And excitable. And hyper. And other adjectives that were similar to that.
But it was nice to see the passion. It was something that she missed seeing.
A knock came from the door, her attention now broken by it. She hadn't realized he would be here so soon.
A loud thunk came from the other side. No doubt he was having trouble opening the door.
"Hold on! I'm coming."
Honey Lemon strode quickly over to the door and opened it. On the other side was Fred, his arms full of bags of food.
"Delivery man is here!"
She stepped out of the way as he came into the apartment. Through the crowd of white paper bags, his arm thrusted out in her direction with a black one. "I got your Ensalada Trabaja right here. Nicoise salad with a side of something that I'm not even going to try to pronounce."
"Thank you, Freddie," Honey Lemon said, taking the bag from him. "And it's pipirrana."
"I was going to say 'pepperoni', so thanks for the save." Fred walked off to the beanbag chair over by her desk and threw himself down, now semi-buried underneath his food. "I'll be over here if you need anything."
She took her bag back over to the table, setting it down to grab a fork from the drawer. "I'll let you eat first, but when you get a chance, can you go into the closet and grab my sewing machine? I'm going to try to work on some embroidery today for this costume."
"I'll just grab it now." He got up and walked over to the back door. "Trust me, you don't want these taco hands all over that thing."
Honey Lemon starting mixing her food together, turning her head back toward him. "Yeah, my abuela would be very upset if you damaged 'that thing'. So please be careful with it, OK?"
She watched as Fred's body careened back out of the closet, holding a very old sewing machine in his arms. He shimmied over to the table, panting heavily. "Where...do you...want this?"
"Right here." She grabbed her laptop and food to make way for his thunderous entrance to the coffee table, the legs creaking underneath the added weight. "I think that's all I need for know. Thanks, Freddie."
Honey Lemon watched him walk back to his beanbag chair, only breaking her gaze once he had flopped back down. It was almost a miracle that one of his chairs was even here at all; Go Go had been very adamant against the addition, but she and Fred had tag-teamed her into relenting. One, they didn't have anything over at that part of the apartment. Two, it fit with the aesthetic of the room.
Three, she put on the puppy-dog eyes. And not even Go Go couldn't resist the puppy-dog eyes.
He had wanted it there so he had someplace to sit when he was visiting. Honey Lemon appreciated the gesture; it was a sign of how close they had become.
Fred was a very...interesting person. He had bestowed her nickname almost immediately upon meeting her right before her first class at SFIT. Granted, he gave nicknames to several people, but the gesture was a kind one to someone overwhelmed with everything happening at the Institute.
Honey Lemon started her seam, thinking back to that day. Orientation went rather smoothly after her impromptu meeting with Fred and the subsequent meeting of the other newcomers, including Go Go, Wasabi, and Tadashi.
Her foot lifted off of the pedal, slowing down the movement of the needle. Her mind was starting to wander to that last person. She had gotten better over time with his passing, no thanks to keeping busy with school and heroics. But every once in a while, he would make his way back into her mind. Go Go tried her best to help her, but she just couldn't relate to her predicament.
No one could.
Honey Lemon stabbed her phone with her finger, desperately trying to get to her Music app. She had to distract herself. "Freddie, do you mind if I put on some music?"
"It's fine with me." Fred replied. "I'm just catching up on Captain Fancy over here."
She looked up from her phone to see Fred in his cushion, a stack of comics in front of him. The Yaki Taco bags were nowhere in sight. "What happened to your food?"
"I ate it?"
"Oh." Clearly she hadn't been paying attention. "OK."
"Did you want any of it?"
"Oh no!" She glanced down at her barely eaten salad. "I'm fine. I have my stuff here."
The music now at an acceptable level, Honey Lemon went back to her stitching. She managed to get through all of the material for the sleeves before she started hearing giggling coming from the other end of the room.
"What's so funny over there?"
Fred looked up as he finished his chuckling. "Captain Fancy is getting his butt kicked by this new guy! They gave him all of the good puns!"
Honey Lemon smiled. "Wanna show it to me? I could use some cheering up!"
Fred was already halfway across the room by the time she finished her statement. Her grin grew wider as he went into a long-winded explanation of comic physics, Captain Fancy, and a bunch of other things that she couldn't follow. She didn't really care though; hearing him speak passionately about something was exactly what she needed to distract her.
"And then he shows up on page 27 again, for a final confrontation with our hero. Look, Dohertz even makes it look like the pages are on fire!"
Honey Lemon looked down at the comic in his hand...and froze.
The full-page panel in front of her had the titular Captain Fancy fighting against some sort of mutant, flames coming out of his hands. Half of his body was heavily burned, the scars prevalent even in the drawing.
And his eyes were dark red…and the hair was jet black...
Her mind flashed back to her recurring nightmare of Tadashi, the sounds of Fred's explanations getting drowned out. The fire, the pain, the agony.
"You OK, Honey Lemon?"
She looked up at his face, his eyes staring at her with concern. She now noticed the nervous sweat coming down her forehead and got up from her chair. "Sorry. I...need a minute."
She walked off to the bathroom and shut the door in a huff. Fred just stood there, the comic still in his hand.
"Was it something I said?"
Honey Lemon splashed some water over her face, her glasses resting on the sink. She let the water run down her chin, a couple of drops hitting her bare toes on the tile.
Fred didn't do it on purpose. He wouldn't have known. He couldn't know.
Why did Tadashi continue to be on her mind? Why couldn't she just get over him? Can't he just get out?
She stared at herself in the mirror. The answer was obvious, of course. She was still in-
A soft knock came from the other side of the door. "Everything OK, HL?"
Honey Lemon straightened up and grabbed a washcloth to wipe her face. "Yeah. I'm fine."
"Did you eat something bad?"
"No, I..." She sighed heavily as she sat down on the toilet seat. "I'm fine, Freddie. Just give me a minute."
She felt the steps walk away from the door. Her reply had come out a little harsher than she wanted, but she would take that over outright yelling at him. Again, wasn't his fault.
The sounds of her sewing machine starting up again caught her attention, and she got up to press her ear to the door. Yup, it was definitely that. But what was he doing? He didn't have any experience with embroidery.
Case in point.
Honey Lemon grabbed her glasses and opened the door to see Fred hop out of the chair, holding his finger in pain. All she could do was shake her head.
Thirty seconds later…
Honey Lemon cut off the last of the gauze and wrapped it around his finger. She took a small cat sticker and put it down on the tip of his finger. "Keep that on there, OK? I don't want you to injure any other part of your hand, OK?"
The owner of the injured hand winced as she put pressure onto it. "I'll try. Who knew that sewing machines were so dangerous?"
She didn't respond as she finished her work. At least she could add Fred's injury to the multiple ones her grandmother had on it.
"I was just trying to help," he whispered.
"I know, Freddie." Honey Lemon absentmindedly stroked the bandaged finger, lost in thought. "I know."
Fred's fingers closed around her palm. "I did something wrong, didn't I?"
"No. You didn't. I just..."
Honey Lemon paused again. This conversation wasn't going to end well. It was bad enough that Go Go knew about her problems with Tadashi (although that was her own fault); she didn't want to burden anyone else with them.
"Freddie, do you believe in fate?"
She looked over his shoulder and to the night sky. "Yeah. Predetermined fates, outcomes can't be changed, the crushing weight of events being inevitable. That sort of thing."
Fred squinted his eyes, taking his time to come up with a response. This was different from the impulsive person that he normally was, but it was a nice change of pace.
"I used to."
Her gaze went back to him, her interest piqued. "What changed?"
She breathed in sharply at the mention of his name.
"I mean, he was part of the reason, but I think the thing that changed my mind the most was my comics." Seeing Honey Lemon's look of confusion, he nodded to the comic still on the table. "Like in that issue, Captain Fancy manages to convince Franklin Flame to turn good. Flame had thought that because he was made in a secret underground facility that he had to be bad. But nobody has to be anything. You chose who you want to be."
Honey Lemon inched closer to him, still grasping his hand. She found herself in the rare situation of looking up at him; the heels she normally wore were next to the door, so he had a good couple of inches on her.
"Was that the answer you were looking for?"
She didn't reply to his question, instead opting to squeeze his hand further. She put her best smile, the one that he knew he liked. "Thank you, Freddie."
"I...don't know what I did, but you're welcome."
Her face crept closer to his, now only an inch apart.
"Honey Lemon?" Fred said, his voice barely audible.
The sound of a key entering the doorknob knocked both Honey Lemon and Fred back down to Earth. To her horror, she realized that their hands were still locked together, her other one on his shoulder. If she walked in and saw them...they would never hear the end of it.
Three seconds later, the door swung open, revealing the second paying occupant of the living space.
"Hey, guys. What's-"
Go Go looked around the apartment. Between Fred burying his head into a comic book on his stupid beanbag chair and Honey Lemon staring hard at her sewing machine work, something was definitely up. She just didn't know what. She felt like she just missed something.
"Hi, Go Go!" Honey Lemon waved to her. "How was the gym?"
"...Fine." The Korean closed the door behind her, setting her boxing gloves down on the dresser. "How goes the sewing?"
"Good! I even got some help from Freddie!"
Go Go turned to him, who sheepishly held up his bandaged finger. "I tried to, anyway."
Yup, she most definitely missed something.
"I'm going to go grab some soda from the machine downstairs." Fred suddenly jolted up from his sitting position, fishing around his pocket for spare change. "You two want anything?"
"I'll take orange, if they have it."
She stared for a long moment at Fred, still trying to read him. Whatever she was thinking about, Honey Lemon thought, couldn't mean anything good. "Make it two."
"Sweet! Be right back."
Fred walked out the open door, and Go Go stepped aside to shut it behind him. As soon as it stopped moving, the Latina returned her attention to her machine, because she knew that if she looked up, it would be like looking into the belly of the beast.
Nope. Not looking up.
"Honey Lemon, I know something happened. You can make this easy and just tell me, or we can do this the hard way."
She finished her last basting stitch and turned the knob on the machine, subbing in the black thread with brown.
"OK. Hard way it is, then."
She felt something slide across the table and looked down. A crisp five dollar bill was now in front of her, two of Go Go's fingers laying upon it.
"We got a deal?" Go Go smirked.
Honey Lemon took the bill off the table and fiddled with it for a few moments. After a bit, an origami crane was slapped into her roommate's hand, its wings large and majestic.
"Sorry, Go Go."
She finally looked up at her face, a wry smile growing on her own. "I'm not buying what you're selling."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Let's see if people can figure out the final cameo I put in this series. It's...really not that hard.
I find it a little weird that not that many people ship Honey Lemon/Fred. I always thought it was kind of obvious with the way they interact with each other.
To be fair, I think it would take a rather long time for anything of substance to happen between those two, especially with Honey Lemon still being hung up on Tadashi. But it goes to show that maybe living in the past is not the right thing to do. Live in the present.
And for the love of God, be careful around sewing machines. Take it from eighth-grade me who had to learn how to use one during Home Ec Class.
As always, I appreciate everyone who has left reviews, likes, favorites, and kudos for this story. The viewership tailed off a bit for the last two chapters (understandable, due to the break halfway to write Continuity), but hey. Can't win them all.
Read and review, if you like. Also read and review the prologue of Fathom, which will be posted the same day as this. It's my new story, and I am very excited to share it with you guys.
Until next time.