The sakura blossoms were in full bloom, decorating the velvet green grass with a gentle, pastel pink sprinkle. The sun was high in the sky, yet partially shielded by enormous puffy clouds— the a perfect day for going outdoors.
… Unfortunately, Hiro and Tadashi Hamada were unable to enjoy this beautiful day.
It had been a day since the accident.
Thankfully, Doctor Honda had assured Tadashi that his little brother would be fine.
He would be administered a small dose of opioid — a relatively strong painkiller — to help relieve the burning sensation, and an IV drip had been attached to Hiro’s wrist to help him gain back the minerals and nutrients he had lost along with all that blood.
The side of his face was also bandaged up, along with his shoulder and arm. Doctor Honda had said they would take about two weeks to heal, if properly disinfected everyday and if anti-scarring cream were applied every fortnight.
Tadashi had stayed at the hospital at Hiro’s bedside throughout, only leaving for home to take a quick shower, grab his laptop and some doughnuts from Aunt Cass (who had to stay and man the shop but she promised to visit them today, nearly in tears herself but stayed strong for Tadashi’s sake).
He knew she felt just as scared as he did. Hospitals were never good news for the Hamada family. The only happy time in a hospital Tadashi could remember was when Hiro had been born.
Such a cute, warm squishy little bundle of giggles and curiosity.
Tadashi chuckled to himself and leaned on the side of Hiro’s sleeping figure (he had fallen asleep an hour ago after barely staying awake, blinking lazily at Tadashi and babbling baby talk— it was rather endearing).
He rested his chin on his palms and sighed.
“You’re unbelievable, little bro. You’ve only been in the lab for fifteen minutes and already landed yourself in the hospital. Only you, Hiro. Only you.”
That’s when Tadashi finally felt the tears come.
The acceptance of how close Hiro could have been to certain death— Fred’s comment rang clear in his mind. What if Hiro had fallen forwards instead of recoiling like he did?
Shit shit shit
Tadashi shivered as he imagined a world without his little brother. No bed-head to mess up (much to Hiro’s chagrin), nobody to snuggle with during cold nights watching cheesy romantic comedies with Aunt Cass, nobody to discuss the latest technological discoveries and scientific theories that were beyond wild.
This isn’t going to happen again. Not on my watch. And not on Baymax’s either.
He smiled through his tears as he remembered the reason he created Baymax. The thought had struck him back when they had been living with Aunt Cass for a little over a year.
Hiro had been outside playing rodeo samurai (with the broom and some abused-looking potted plants) when he had tripped and fell. Poor kid had scraped the skin on his left kneecap clean off, where it turned a pale snowy white and blood red in almost ten seconds.
It was really gross and Tadashi hadn’t known what to do. He had blinked, shocked, at Hiro’s face contorted in pain and fat tears rolling down his brother’s chubby cheeks. Only after Hiro began screaming did he think to call Aunt Cass for help.
It had taken them nearly half-an-hour to find the bandages and anti-septic medication required to disinfect the wound. By then, the blood had already begun to crust, the wound had gotten infected, and it left a scar on Hiro’s knee (a slightly darker patch of skin) even after it healed.
If they had been quick enough, his brother’s skin would still be unmarked. Which is what gave him the thought— what if there was a helper; a machine that could be on standby 24/7 and provide medical assistance whenever required?
And that was the beginning of the ideas that would eventually lead to Baymax’s creation.
Baymax would keep Hiro safe.
He didn’t know how he knew, but he did.
Tadashi wiped away his tears with his jacket sleeve and stood up from his chair, leaning over his brother’s still figure, gently resting his forehead on his.
The older Hamada closed his eyes, enjoying the moment of peace and closeness with his best friend and treasured person.
At least, until he heard a weak whine from below him.
“Nghhh… Tadashi, get off, you smell like vegetables!” Hiro whined, wrinkling his little nose. Tadashi jumped and flopped back into his chair.
“… Vegetables?” He asked curiously. “Well, I did have spinach casserole and bean salad for breakfast—”
“Hiro, it’s the hospital. And you’re going to be stuck eating this yucky hospital goo if you don’t hurry up and get better!” Tadashi warned (teasingly) as he waggled his eyebrows at his brother.
“What goo?” Came a voice from the door. They both looked up from their little banter and grinned as they saw who it was. “Aunt Cass! You’re here!” Hiro chirped happily. She smiled, walking over to their bedside and setting down two metal thermoses (one purple for Hiro, the other green for Tadashi) filled with hot chocolate.
“Why wouldn’t I be here? You’re such a brave little man,” She cooed, leaning down and showering his (bandaged) cheek with kisses while ruffling his hair. Tadashi watched, smiling, feeling the weight on his heart ease up.
Their little family was going to be okay.
Hiro was going to be okay.
It was just an accident—
Tadashi hesitated, remembering the way he had yelled and treated Wasabi. Although there was a part of him that was still angry at Wasabi for allowing this to happen, he knew this was partly his fault too, for not keeping an eye on his little brother.
Wasabi had yet to come apologise, or even call to see how Hiro was doing.
And neither did any of his friends, now that he thought about it.
“Oh, Tadashi! I almost forgot— one of your friends is here, he was loitering out in the hallway… I think his name was... Ginger something…”
Hiro froze (he didn't who Ginger was but he had a pretty good idea) as he eyeballed Tadashi, gauging his brother’s reaction.
Tadashi merely raised an eyebrow.
Well this was timely.
Wasabi jumped as he heard Aunt Cass declare his presence.
He had a bouquet of lilies in his other hand, which he had carefully harvested from his family’s greenhouse garden and wrapped in silver tissue paper. After telling his GranGran what happened (unable to take the guilt), she had prompted whacked him on the behind with her walking cane and demanded he go see the 'poor little fella' and apologise already, you goddamn ninny!
It was funny, hearing a British old lady cuss at him from her armchair.
The glare she shot him after was nothing but.
He had initially intended to purchase something more extravagant to make it up to Hiro, but Honey Lemon had suggested he go with a more verbal approach. They had an emergency group texting session (minus Tadashi, whom everyone agreed would not be happy to take part). Gogo mostly made comments about allowing Tadashi to beat the shit out of him and get it over with. Fred just sent pictures of funny cats.
“Besides,” She had added, after Fred was done spamming. “I doubt Hiro would be impressed easily by anything in our price range. He is a genius.”
It nice having friends.
“Wasabi?” A wary voice said.
Oh crap! Wasabi jumped as he turned around, Tadashi standing before him, arms crossed.
“… Hey, man.” Wasabi said, giving a little nervous smile. It was a sight, this tall and well-built man cowering before a smaller individual. GranGran and his family would have laughed at him. “I was uh, well, uh—“
Tadashi raised an eyebrow, unamused.
“… Are you here to see Hiro?”
“Y-Yeah.” Wasabi said tensely.
Actually, Wasabi had been intending to leave and come back later. He had apparently stumbled on the Hamada brothers at a very private time— the way Tadashi had cried (though very silently, like a man... he wished he could cry more like Tadashi did because he got stares when he sniffled loudly), the scene in general, was incredibly touching.
“He just woke up,” Tadashi said firmly, crossing his arms. “Why don’t you come back tomorrow?”
They continued to stare at each other, the atmosphere tense.
Meanwhile, from inside the ward:
This is so awkward, Hiro thought his forehead once again attached to his palm.
Tadashi really need to ease up on the bodyguard thing.
He remembered the time when he was five and he had gotten stared at by some old guy in the comic book store. Tadashi had immediately picked his little brother up and shoved him into his hoodie. Yes, literally shoved him in and forced him to stay there while he made his purchases (the cashier girl had cooed at them the whole time).
It turned out the guy was only staring because Hiro a Samurai Robo Fighter sticker stuck on his left butt-cheek.
“But Hiro’s fine, Tadashi!” Aunt Cass called, her tactlessness nearly on par with Fred’s. She was literally unable to sense social awkwardness in situations like this. Or at least, that's what it seemed like to a young, easily embarrassed teenager like him. “Stop scaring the poor guy and hogging Hiro all to yourself!”
Tadashi knew she was teasing, but he felt his eyebrow twitch. Hiro was his little brother. His baby brother who—
Maybe Aunt Cass was right about that brother complex thing.
“… Alright. But just for a little bit,” Tadashi stepped aside slowly, giving Wasabi unspoken permission to enter the room. “And don’t touch him.”
Definite brother complex.
But Hiro secretly liked the way Tadashi got all concerned over him, even if it was a little suffocating at times.
Wasabi nodded fearfully and seemed to shrink into his green sweater (was Tadashi going to body slam him into the ground and sell his organs to the yakuza? It seemed like it) and Aunt Cass burst into laughter, giving Wasabi a little wave.
Hiro even grinned at the guy to give him a little encouragement, despite the twanging feeling on his cheek as he did so. He also felt a little embarrassed about meeting one of Tadashi's older college friends in nothing but a hospital gown and bandages.
“Right! I’m going to get some food from the canteen,” Aunt Cass announced as Wasabi finally walked over to Hiro's bedside (keeping his gaze on the floor). “Why don’t you come with me, Tadashi?”
And much to the older Hamada’s chagrin, Aunt Cass’ manicured nails digging into his skin and began to forcefully yank him out of the room. Hiro and Wasabi watched, eyes wide. She was strong, Wasabi noted as he caught a glimpse of a tattoo on her left bicep.
"We can't just leave them," Tadashi began to protest.
"Would you- what was the word? Would you chillax for just one second and let them have some privacy?" She demanded, exasperated. Tadashi groaned and allowed himself to be dragged out.
“I’ll be right back!” He yelled, before they disappeared down the hallway.
Then there was silence.
They fidgeted, not really knowing what to do.
Wasabi looked up and gave Hiro an awkward smile. Hiro smiled back shyly, his tooth gap and bambi eyes making Wasabi want to ruffle his hair and pinch his cheeks (well, cheek seeing as the other one was out of commission).
Then he remembered that was his fault and nearly crushed the bouquet in his hand.
Hiro looked alarmed, his quick mind picking up the possible reason for Wasabi’s sudden distress. Seriously, this guy may be all muscle and look like one of those bouncers he'd seen when bot-fighting (the areas for rallies were usually in dark allies near to shady bars and clubs).
“Those are nice… Are they for me?” Hiro asked softly, gesturing to the chair Tadashi had previously been seated in.
Wasabi nodded, handing them over.
He did not take the seat- he wouldn’t, until he made his apology.
That… and he didn’t want Tadashi to come back and get even more protective and territorial.
“I know they aren’t much… but I’m truly really VERY sorry about what happened. I should have never left my invention unattended… I’m really... well, sorry…” He finished lamely, the more impressive-sounding apology he had rehearsed in the mirror suddenly sucked out from his brain.
Hiro sighed and shrugged, flopping back into his pillow, instantly relieving some of the awkwardness.
“Nah, it wasn’t your fault. I saw the warning tape, I should have known better than to pry around somebody else’s workspace. You should see how ruffled Tadashi gets when I invade his workshop while he’s working.”
They chuckled, both victims of getting accosted (very slightly) by the capped teen when they accidentally disturbed his tinkering. It was one of his many quirks that only the people closest to him picked up on.
Tadashi had been stressing over the schematics for his new project while he accidentally kicked a screwdriver, sending it rattling around their (his, Tadashi and an old classmate Neil, back in their freshman days) shared workshop. Tadashi had instantly (like a ninja) turned around and flung - no, more like pitched - a shoe. It hit home, leaving the Nikkeh logo imprinted on his forehead.
Now Hiro, on the other hand, had been bored and just wanted to hang out with his big bro. He had tip-toed into their garage and spotted Tadashi half-asleep in his desk chair. An naughty idea popped into his head as h e smirked and crept closer to his brother. He blew hotly on his brother’s ear, causing Tadashi to squeal "NO MA'AM" like a (very deep voiced) little girl and fling his glass of iced tea at the unsuspecting Hiro.
The younger Hamada had promptly stomped out of the garage and locked himself in the bathroom, with an apologetic Tadashi trailing behind him (even though it had technically been his fault).
They shared their stories, snickering and complaining mildly about Tadashi’s odd quirks (friendships grow fast when you're bitching), and fell into companionable silence as it ended.
Wasabi wrung his hands, though not as nervous as before, and eyed Hiro’s bandages.
“I… I hope you recover soon. And I really hope this doesn’t deter you from applying for the university! Accidents rarely happen, and I’m sure Tadashi and the gang would do an excellent job of taking care of you.”
Hiro wrinkled his nose. “Did Tadashi ask you to persuade me into joining SFIT?”
Wasabi blinked. “Um, no?”
“Good! And uh,” Hiro leaned closer, his voice a whisper. “Don’t tell him but I’ve already decided to join. It’s gonna be a surprise! That, and I don't want him to be all happy that he was right. ”
The taller grinned, giving the younger a thumbs-up. “You got it, little man.”
Hiro shuddered, giving Wasabi an unamused glare.
“Ugh, dude, don’t call me that! It’s what Aunt Cass calls me to make me feel like a kid!”
“Well, I’m sure that wasn’t her intention— but how would you like me to address you?”
Hiro paused, and for a moment Wasabi was afraid the kid was gonna say something like Daddy or My Hero just for kicks. But after all the horror stories from Tadashi about his brother's excellent schemes from their little sibling squabbles sometimes, who could blame him? The way geniuses 'fought' were on a whole new level.
“Hiro. Just Hiro.” Wasabi smiled, relieved he wouldn't have to embarrass himself every time he called Hiro.
“Well then, Hiro. My name is Wasabi no Ginger,” Hiro felt his jaw drop; Wasabi no Ginger? So Aunt Cass hadn’t been confused when she was remembering Wasabi’s name! “I hope we’ll be good friends when you do join the university!”
A smack was heard as someone dropped a plastic container on the polished floor.
“YOU’RE GOING TO APPLY FOR COLLEGE?!” Aunt Cass screamed, her sudden appearance (ninjas, all of them, Wasabi swore) scaring the both of them shitless. She dashed over to shower Hiro with a second round of kisses, making him whine in annoyance. “I knew it I knew it I knew it! I’m so proud of you Hiro, you’ll get in for sure! My little man’s going to college~” She sang happily, ignoring his protests of her messing up his (already messy) hair.
Tadashi stood by the doorway, his expression one of pleasant surprise.
“Really, Hiro?” He asked, stunned.
Hiro face-palmed and threw Wasabi an unamused glance.
The latter smiled apologetically.
“I’m not really good at keeping secrets.”
“Yeah, no kidding!”
Then Tadashi broke into a huge grin, running over and slinging an arm around Hiro’s neck (gently).
“I knew you’d take to college! I’m so happy for you Hiro! You're finally going to do something useful with that brain of yours!”
"Gee, thanks bro."
Wasabi smiled as he noted how Hiro preened with pride, even though he tried to hide it.
After two minutes of continued squealing and over-affectionate smooching and hair-ruffling:
“Aw, c’mon guys, get off!” Hiro whined, trying and failing to get both his overenthusiastic Aunt and overprotective brother off him. “I’m a patient! Be gentle with the patient!”
Aunt Cass and Tadashi exchanged smirks as they began patting Hiro gently on the head and the uninjured side of his face. Hiro's expression was one of embarrassed disbelief.
"UNBELIEVABLE!" He screamed into his palms, cupping his face in his hands. He resisted to urge to swat them all away with his pillow (and possibly risk the IV needle being ripped clean off) and shriek into it like the girls he saw on TV did. Now he understood.
“There, there.” Tadashi said, the smirk evident in his voice.
Suddenly and very subtly, the older Hamada turned to Wasabi and gave him a subtle nod.
No words, no smile, but a nod.
Wasabi blinked— and then he burst into a smile, knowing that his friend accepted his apology towards his younger brother, but probably too prideful to admit it infront of Aunt Cass (who would tease him more).
He must have overheard our conversation, Wasabi thought. It’s a good thing Hiro is so friendly and forgiving. It made things a lot easier.
Wasabi made it a note to tell the gang about what happened, and another note to watch over Hiro when he did get into SFIT.
And it wouldn’t just be Tadashi looking after his little bro now...
... It would be all of them.
Fred would accept anyone into the gang as long as they were friendly and had a passion for science.
He knew Gogo already acknowledged the kid’s genius when he had so curiously examined her electromagnet wheels— plus, she liked taking care of innocent, unsuspecting kids (like them, she often joked).
Honey Lemon had already been taken by Hiro’s cuteness the moment Tadashi showed them a picture of Hiro just waking up (his bed head was adorable).
Times ahead would be difficult for the kid (
though really, Wasabi had no idea how difficult)— he’d probably be teased about his age and preyed on by rats who liked to steal ideas… Being fourteen in college was going to be no summer breeze.
Some people weren't mature enough to understand that anyone should be allowed to enter as long as they had their passion in the right place, and met the academic requirements.
Nothing else should matter.
But no matter!
Wasabi straightened up, looking fondly at the Hamada family (Hiro had taken to trying to reach the emergency button to call the doctor to “get his insane family out of here”)... they were truly one of a kind.
Broken pieces patched together into a new, stronger whole.
And Wasabi really respected that.
He looked forward to more good times with Tadashi and Hiro in SFIT.
Little did he know, everything was about to go very, very wrong.