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I Won't Lose You, Too

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PROLOGUE

- Miguel -

 

You know I want you, it’s not a secret I try to hide…
I know you want me, so don’t keep saying our hands are tied…

I close my eyes and rest my head on the wall of the bus as the opening lyrics of Rewrite the Stars begins playing in my headphones.

You claim it’s not in the cards, and fate is pulling you miles away and out of reach from me…

But you’re here in my heart, so who can stop me if I decide that you’re my destiny?

There’s three hours left in the ride from Radiator Springs to San Fransokyo, and I’m exhausted. The total time for all the bus rides is around fourteen hours, meaning I’ve had to get on and off many buses today. I should arrive at my destination at around 1:00am.

I was accepted into the San Fransokyo State University, and I’m moving in with my roommate today. As a socially anxious introvert, I’m very nervous to meet my roommate. I originally wanted to get a dorm room alone, but nooooo . My mother insisted that I share a room with someone else because it will force me to be “social,” that fighting bitch.

What if we rewrite the stars, say you were made to be mine?

Nothing could keep us apart, you’d be the one I was meant to find

It’s up to you, and it’s up to me, no one can say what we get to be

So why don’t we rewrite the stars, changing the world to be ours tonight?

My phone buzzes with a text from an unsaved number. It’s probably my roommate. The university gave us our roommates’ contact information in one of the many papers we had to read when we enrolled.

I pull out the crinkled piece of paper with their phone number printed on it. Sure enough, it matches the one on my screen.

Unlocking my phone, I see their message.

[10:03] “hi this is your roommate, do you know when you’ll arrive at the dorms?

Of course they would clarify that they’re my roommate. I’m an idiot.

[10:03] “yeah...in three hours

They respond instantly:

[10:03] “holy shit, where do you live”

[10:04] “i lived in santa cecilia, so that was hours of flying yesterday...this morning I was in radiator springs and i’m taking a series of buses to san fransokyo :)

[10:04] “santa cecilia, mexico?

[10:04] “indeed

[10:05] “oh okay.

[10:05] “i’m hiro, btw

[10:05] “i’m miguel

[10:06] “nice to meet u”

[10:06] “ditto

He didn’t say much after that, and because I didn’t really know what to say, I decided to stop texting him too. I close my eyes again and focus on the music. Rewrite The Stars is ending.

You know I want you, it’s not a secret I try to hide…

But I can’t have you…

We’re bound to breaking, my hands are tied…

Looking down at my phone, I scroll through the large list of songs I have saved on Spotify. I really don’t have a music taste; if I like the way a song sounds, I’ll save it. My playlists range from Shakira to Skrillex to Ed Sheeran to Natalia Lafourcade. Spotify must have the hardest time making my Discover Weekly.

I decide to just hit “Shuffle” on my Relaxation and Sleep playlist and try to get some shut-eye, knowing that I desperately need it.

- 3 Hours Later -

The bus comes to an extremely abrupt stop, snapping me out of my sleep. I look out the window, and see the campus of the San Fransokyo State University in front of me.

I take a deep breath, knowing very well that these next few years could be the craziest years of my life.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER ONE

 - Hiro -

My phone buzzes with a text from my new roommate, Miguel.

[1:02] “I just arrived on campus, i’ll be at our dorm soon

[1:02] “ okay, sounds good

I get up and pause the movie I was watching and begin to tidy up the living room. I had already thoroughly cleaned the rest of the dorm hours before so I wasn’t rushing to get it done while I was already sleepy.

I look around me, scanning the sofa and carpet to make sure that it didn’t look messy. It wasn’t pristine by any means, but it wasn’t a total mess. It was fine.

After about five minutes of double-checking the whole dorm, I hear a knock on the door.

I open it and see a beautiful, dark-skinned, brown-eyed boy smiling at me with a guitar slung around one shoulder.

His beauty takes me aback, but I mask my surprise. “Hi, you must be Miguel.”

“Yeah, and you’re Hiro?”

“Yup.”

I step aside from the door frame so he can enter. He walks in, taking noticeably large steps, suggesting he’s tired.

“I am exhausted,” he says while yawning. “I think I’ll just go straight to sleep and get my shit together later.”

“Aren’t you hungry? There’s still some pizza left,” I say.

He pauses. “Yeah, actually.”

We make our way over to the kitchen, and Miguel puts a few slices of pizza into the microwave. I don’t want it to be an extended awkward silence while he eats, so I try to start a conversation. This is normally really easy, but I struggle with sexy people.

“So, what’s your major?” I ask.

“I have a major in music and a minor in psychology. I want to be a music therapist and follow in my father’s footsteps,” Miguel responds.

“Oh, you’re a musician?” I say, genuinely interested.

“Yeah, I’ve sang and played guitar since I was like… five. Of course, as a child, I wasn’t very good, but I got better,” he laughs. As he smiles, I notice he has a single dimple on his left cheek. “I actually auditioned for American Idol a few years ago but I didn’t make it through Hollywood Week.”

“Seriously? That’s so cool! Did they air your audition?”

He cringes. “Yeah, and I’ve seen it in my YouTube Recommended, but I haven’t brought myself to watch it. I hate having to watch video footage of myself.”

I giggle. “Yeah, I’m the same way. You couldn’t be bad, though. You made it to Hollywood Week, after all.”

Miguel considers this for a moment. “I guess that’s true. But there have been some awful singers that have made it to the televised auditions,” he points out.

“That’s only because the producers thought it would be funny to include atrocious singers that have no talent,” I counter. “Didn’t you see Mary Roach or Ian Bernardo? They were both awful, but they made it to the televised auditions and denied a golden ticket for the entertainment of those who watch at home.

“And American Idol isn’t the only competition that does that,” I continue. “Competitions like America’s Got Talent and The X-Factor do the same thing.”

The dark-skinned boy ponders this idea for a short moment. “That makes sense.”

The microwave goes, Beep! Beep! Beep!, interrupting our conversation. Miguel takes the food out of the microwave and starts eating his meal at the table.

“I still can’t help but feel like my audition was lackluster,” Miguel says. “But a part of me is glad it didn’t work out. I feel like I would rather be a musical therapist. Performing in front of millions of people on live television sounds like a bloody nightmare for a socially anxious introvert like me.”

“Fair enough,” I say as I take a seat across from him. “I don’t think I would have a problem with that. I’m 82% extraverted, so I prefer to spend time with others. Of course, the only thing missing is a good singing voice. I can only play the piano.”

“Really?” he asks as he swallows a bite. “When did you start playing?”

“I’ve been playing piano ever since I can remember, but I never took it that seriously. I’m pretty good at it and can read sheet music like I can read English, but I consider it to be a hobby.”

“What sort of music do you play?”

“Anything I want, really. Sometimes I go on Musicnotes.com and browse, looking for something. Or sometimes I have a song I want to play in mind and I search it up. I never play classical music, I just find it annoying after a while.”

(A/N: Not sponsored by Musicnotes.com)

I pause to take a sip of water, then continue. “Would you like to see?”

“Sure,” he says as gets up out of his seat.

“The piano’s in my room,” I say, gesturing for him to follow me.

We enter, and I’m suddenly glad that I took the time to clean, because an image of what this room would’ve looked like if I didn’t crossed my mind. There would’ve been clothes scattered around the floor, unfinished bowls of gummy bears, blueprints of projects that I’ll never finish, flash drives that contain upgrades to Baymax with no practical use, et cetera.

I grab my sheet music binder and flip it open to my favorite song to play on the piano right now. “This song is from the Super Mario Odyssey soundtrack. I love this song because I’m a nerd, but I can’t remember what the actual title is. It doesn’t even say what it is on here.”

Sitting down at the piano, I analyze the notes, trying to remember what it sounds like. (My mind is kind of foggy at 1:00am.) Positioning my fingers at the correct keys, I begin to play.

This song is a jazzy, upbeat tune that sounds straight out of the 1920s. I would sing the lyrics, but I can’t sing for shit, so I decide to let the music speak for itself.

As I play the final few chords, I turn around to see Miguel staring at my fingers in astonishment. “You… you are really talented!”

I smile. “Thanks.”

Miguel clears his throat. “I guess it’s only fair for me to return the favor. Do you want to hear something from me?” he asks, picking up his guitar.

My face lights up. “Yeah, of course!” I excitedly plop on my bed and face him. He looks so handsome standing in front of me.

He takes the guitar out of the case and slings it over his shoulder. “Any requests?”

I think for a moment. “Do you know that song Remember Me ?”

He laughs. “Who doesn’t?”

Miguel takes his guitar pick and begins strumming the first few notes.

Nothing could’ve prepared me for the angelic voice I was about to hear.

Remember me, though I have to say goodbye, remember me, don’t let it make you cry…
For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart, I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart...”

My eyes widen. His voice is indescribably beautiful. It sends tingles down my spine, and relaxes me more effectively than anything else ever could.

Remember me, though I have to travel far, remember me, each time you hear a sad guitar…
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be, until you’re in my arms again…
Remember me!
Que nuestra cancion no deje de latir, solo con tu amor yo puedo existir…
Que nuestra cancion no deje de latir, solo con tu amor yo puedo existir…
Remember me.”

“Holy shit!” I exclaim when the song ends. “You are the greatest singer I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”

He laughs. “Thanks.”

“How the fuck did you not completely win American Idol? You should’ve totally obliterated the competition!”

He looks down, and says ‘thanks’ again. It might just be my imagination, but I think he’s blushing.

I glance over at the piano. “I have an idea.”

Miguel looks at me. “What?”

I open my music binder again and find the page for the lyrics to the Super Mario Odyssey song I played for him a few minutes ago. I open the binder rings, take out the sheets, and hand them to him. “You sing, and I play piano.”

He looks down again, and bashfully says, “I dunno. You sure?”

“Yes, of course! You’re the world’s best damn singer!”

He takes the sheets. “Okay.”

I sit down at the piano, excited. “Start singing at the tenth second,” I tell him, and begin playing the opening chords to the song.

He starts to sing after the song’s short intro.

Here we go, off the rails...don’t you know it’s time to raise our sails? It’s freedom like you never knew…
Don’t need bags, or a pass...Say the word, I’ll be there in a flash!
You could say my hat is off to you…
Ohhh, we could zoom all the way to the moon
From this great, wide, wacky world...Jump with me, grab coins with me, oh yeahhh!

It’s time to jump up in the air, jump up, don’t be scared!
Just jump up and your cares will soar awayyyy!
And if the dark clouds start to swirl, don’t fear, don’t shed a tear ‘cause I’ll be your 1-UP boy
So let’s all jump up super high! High up in the sky!
There’s no powerup like dancing!
You know that you’re my superstar, no one else can take me this far!
I’m flipping the switch, get ready for this!
Oh, let’s do the odyssey!

It feels amazing, to play piano with someone singing behind me. I’ve never done anything like this before, nor have I felt the music had so much meaning until just now.

As I play the last few chords, I turn to Miguel with the dorkiest smile on my face. “That was awesome,” I say.

“Yeah… I really enjoyed that,” he responds.

I look down at my watch. “Holy shit, it’s almost two a.m.!”

Miguel looks at me in shock, then scrambles to check his phone. “Whoa, really?”

“Yeah!”

He smiles. “I guess time files when you’re having fun.”

I chuckle. “Yeah.”

An awkward three seconds of silence passes before Miguel says, “Well, I should probably go finish my pizza.”

“Yeah, and I should really get some sleep. I haven’t slept in 48 hours.”

“Jesus, you need rest.”

“Yep, I’m glad tomorrow’s Saturday.”


 

I wake up the next morning covered in blankets and pillows, clutching my laptop close to my bare chest. Sitting upright in bed, I look down at my laptop’s webcam and wait for Windows Hello to recognize my face and log me in.

In a matter of two seconds, it scans my face and displays the “Welcome, Hiro!” message on my lockscreen before allowing me access to my desktop.

Yikes, I have ten browser tabs open. Two are AO3, four are Wattpad, one is Duolingo, and three are Musicnotes.com.

My typical 3am browsing schedule.

Memories of what I did last night come rushing back. I shouldn’t have used Duolingo at 3am. I know for a fact that my brain won’t retain anything I learned, but at least that green owl won’t be terrorizing my email inbox for the next few days.

Looking on Musicnotes.com, I see I was browsing a bunch of songs by Hector Rivera, that one famous Mexican celebrity that everyone loves.

Oh, right. I was browsing those so I could play them on piano and impress Miguel or something.

On Archive of our Own, I see I was reading a Billdip fanfiction (which I’m not proud of doing) and leaving positive comments on every chapter. On Wattpad, I see a draft of my Kataang fic opened. I save and close it, telling myself to revise it later; there’s no way that what I just wrote in there made any sense whatsoever.

Closing the Firefox browser, I stand up, stretch, and look at the time. It’s 11:00am.

I decide to pull on an A-shirt, some basketball shorts and socks and lazily make my way to the kitchen. Maybe I’ll have some Pop-Tarts for breakfast or something.

I abruptly stop when I smell something delicious coming from the kitchen, something I’m not used to experiencing when living alone. I look, and Miguel is at the stove, cooking something that smells like Italian food. He’s wearing sweatpants and a wrinkled white collar shirt.

He turns around when he hears my footsteps. “Morning, Hiro!”

Now that he’s facing me, I see that Miguel’s collar shirt is not buttoned, exposing his chest and abdomen. I can’t help but momentarily stare at his gorgeous muscles, trying not to let my surprise be too obvious.

“Hi,” I say after a moment. “You cook?”

“Yeah, my mother taught me everything I know. Sit down, I made us some Italian pasta and noodles with chicken.”

I eagerly take a seat at the table and wait for him to serve breakfast.

“How’d you sleep last night?” he asks.

“Good. I feel better and refreshed now,” I respond.

“That’s good,” he replies, not saying much afterwards.

A moment passes, and he sets the beauteous Italian dish in front of me. “I hope you like it,” Miguel says. “I got the recipe off of Google.”

I pick up my fork and take a bite. Almost immediately, I drop the fork out of shock.

A chorus of flavor explodes in my mouth, rendering me speechless.

“This...” I look down at my plate. “This is the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.”

His eyes widen. “Really?”

“Oh my God, it’s fantastic! Jesus Christ, how does food taste this good?!” I exclaim as I enthusiastically and quickly down multiple bites of the dish into my mouth.

“I’m so glad you like it,” Miguel says as he sits down to eat his own meal.

I look at Miguel as he eats his food. He’s the cutest, purest, most precious cinnamon roll of a human being I’ve ever met. I’m a hundred percent sure that’s true even though I’ve only known him for a few hours.

Something tells me I’m really going to enjoy having him live with me.

Chapter Text

- Miguel -

It’s been a week since I moved in with Hiro Hamada.

I’m head over heels in love.

I know I shouldn’t feel this way; it’s not healthy, I’ve only known him for a very short time, and he’s probably not even gay anyways. But I can’t help staring at him when he works on an essay on his laptop at the kitchen table, or sneaking peeks at his shirtless, toned figure when he finishes taking a shower and walks across the hallway to get to his room (is that creepy? I don’t care).

We have so many things in common: we both love The Greatest Showman, we love playing Super Mario Odyssey, we both love music, we both hate Republicans, we both love studying languages, and we both believe sleep is for the weak.

I love spending time with him. He brings an optimistic energy into the room that has been absent for my entire life. I find myself feeling emptier whenever he’s not around, and he never makes me feel like I’m bothering him. He appreciates me, and I’m not used to spending time with people that genuinely appreciate me.

This is all so new.

***

It’s 9:32 pm, and I’m hard at work preparing dinner for us. I told Hiro I could make empanadas, and since he apparently loves empanadas (he says that it’s his favorite Mexican food), he wanted to try mine.

While cooking the carne molida, I feel hands rest on my shoulders and Hiro’s head get dangerously close to mine, so close that if I turned around even a little bit I might be able to press my lips against his--

“I’m hungry,” Hiro whispers.

I fight down the blush rising on my cheeks, suddenly glad I have dark skin that can mask the shades of red on my face. “Hiro,” I laugh, reluctantly shrugging him away. “Be patient. You’ll get your Mexican food eventually.”

“But I’m hungry right now,” he continues.

I sigh. “There should be some gummy bears in the pantry. I went to Walmart today.”

Hiro excitedly opens the pantry and pulls out the bag of gummy bears that was kept next to the Cheez-Its. “Thanks,” he says as he plops down on the couch and begins watching some sitcom that sounds like Everybody Loves Raymond, but I can’t be too sure.

A few moments of silence pass before Hiro says something again, “Hey, Miguel, I want you to come with me tonight to a place.”

A place. How vague. “What place?”

“There’s a meetup with my friends at the Lucky Cat Cafe tonight. I was wondering if you wanted to go with me.”

I abruptly stop. A meetup. With people that I was unfamiliar with.

This doesn’t sound great.

“Can you elaborate?” I ask.

He chuckles. “I know you’re an introvert and you’re socially anxious, but come on! I mean, we got along so well when we first met six days ago even though we literally knew nothing about each other.”

“That was entirely your doing,” I point out. “I was planning on go to bed and not say anything.”

“It’s not entirely my doing,” he counters. “Even though you may not see it, you are charismatic when others show you kindness. As soon as we started talking about your short time on American Idol, I felt like I’d known you for years. You reminded me of my older brother, Tadashi.”

I pause. “You have an older brother? I didn’t know that.”

Hiro hesitates. “Had,” he corrects.

Had. Ouch. A pang of pity stabs at my heart. I turn around and look at him. “Oh. I’m really sorry for your loss.”

“It’s okay.”

Pursing my lips, I ask, “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Sure, I don’t have a problem with talking.” He turns off the television.

I awkwardly turn around from the stove and sit down on the far right side of the couch. “When did he… pass on?”

“Eight years ago, this August. I was fourteen.”

“What happened?”

Hiro pauses for a noticeably long moment before explaining. “He had presented his new project that he was so proud of. It was a medical robotic nurse named Baymax. I was really proud of him, and we were so happy when we left. Tadashi was happy.”

He swallowed. “Our Aunt Cass said that she was going to make us all dinner, and our friends and her started heading back to the cafe, but Tadashi and I decided to take our precious fucking time to walk slowly. We were standing on the bridge, when we noticed in the distance that his school had begun going up in flames. We quickly ran back to the school, and a woman that was running out of the building said that Professor Callaghan, who would’ve been Tadashi’s robotics professor, was still in the building. He was about to go back in the school, but I tried to stop him. He said, ‘Callaghan’s still in there. Someone has to help.’”

He stayed silent for a solid thirty seconds before finishing bitterly, “Those were his last words. And it turns out that saving him wasn’t even worth it.”

It wasn’t worth it? “What? What do you mean?”

For a miniscule fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second, a look that can only be described as an amalgamation of panic and regret flash across his face, like that was something he shouldn’t have said.

“N—nothing,” he responds. “I—that’s a story for another time.”

Huh. Extremely vague. But I guess I shouldn’t pressure him into elaborating further if he doesn’t want to. I end the conversation with a simple “okay” and return to the stove to finish preparing our meal.

Maybe twenty minutes pass before Hiro pipes up again: “So, do you want to come with me?”

I turn around again and look at his beautiful brown eyes. At least it’s an excuse to spend time with him.

“Okay.”

***

Around twenty minutes later, we make it to the Lucky Cat Cafe. According to Hiro, this place is run by his aunt and it was also his childhood home. I take a deep breath as Hiro opens the front door.

“Hi, guys!” he exclaims as he enters the cafe, greeting and hugging his friends.

Hiro gestures towards me. “This is my roommate, Miguel.”

I gulp nervously and awkwardly wave at his friends while managing to choke out a “hi” as my social anxiety steadily increases.

A tall woman with blonde hair eagerly shakes my hand. “Nice to meet you! I’m Honey Lemon. This is Gogo, Wasabi, and Fred.”

“Nice to meet you all too,” I say, slightly startled by her energy.

The woman that Honey Lemon named as Gogo gives me a small wave while showing no discernible expression on her face while blowing a bubble with her gum and popping it. The other two, Fred and Wasabi, simply say hi.

I’m surviving this so far.

“Hiro!” an older woman exclaims excitedly as she emerges from the other side of the room. She bears a great resemblance to Hiro, except with slightly lighter hair and green eyes.

“Hi, Aunt Cass,” he says as he goes to hug her.

“I’m so glad you’re all here! Come on, I made dinner for all of you,” the woman says as she takes Hiro’s hand and leads everyone to the kitchen.

“Oh, actually, I already ate,” Hiro says. “My roommate Miguel made dinner.”

I internally roll my eyes at the thought of having to introduce myself again. “Hi,” I repeat as I wave.

“Hi, I’m Cass! It’s nice to meet you!” Hiro’s aunt says as she walks over by me.

“Hi, I’m Miguel.” Dammit, how many times have I said ‘hi’ in the past minute?

Thankfully, that was the end of the “hello” tour. As Hiro’s friends and his aunt went into the kitchen to grab their food, Hiro and I sat down at one of the tables.

“So, how difficult was that?” the dark-haired boy asks me when we sit down.

“It was difficult,” I say. “I wish I wasn’t so awkward.”

“Oh, come on. You’re not… that awkward.”

I look up at his adorable face. He’s very clearly trying to hide his awful lying skills with a cheesy smile. I raise a questioning eyebrow.

“Okay, so you’re pretty awkward, but I’ve seen worse!”

I laugh. “For someone who’s supposed to be a genius, you’re an awful liar.”

“I never learned how to lie correctly because… just between you and me, my aunt is so damn gullible. I guess it runs in the family or something, because Tadashi was the same way. So my lying skills—or lack thereof—worked for me during my childhood.”

“Lucky bastard,” I respond. “My mother always saw right through me.”

Hiro’s friends return with their food and sit down next to us. Him and his friends began a conversation about something that I really don’t relate to, and I didn’t think I could contribute very much to the conversation, so I started zoning out and playing Super Mario Run on my phone.

I’m snapped out of my trance when Honey Lemon mentions my name.

“What?” I ask as I look up.

“How long have you and Hiro lived together?” she repeats.

“Oh, about a week,” I respond.

I hope that’s the end of the interaction, but she keeps talking. “Hiro says you cook, too?”

I swallow. “Yeah, sometimes.”

Hiro stifles a laugh. I shoot him a subtle death glare.

“By sometimes, he means always. The night he arrived, we ate some pizza I ordered previously. The next morning he was cooking an extremely delicious Italian dish, and I haven’t ordered pizza since.”

Hiro subtly gave me a look as he sipped his water that said, ‘I’ll keep helping you if you stop looking at me like that.

I exhale. As much as I hate him right now for throwing me into the middle of a social interaction, I can’t keep internally screaming at him unless I want to survive.

“What else do you cook?” Wasabi asks.

I think for a moment. “Pretty much anything. I just need the recipe.”

“Have you ever made empanadas?” Fred asks, the curiosity evident in his voice.

“… Yeah.”

“They were amazing,” Hiro says.

“So what other talents do you have?” Gogo asks in a monotone. It’s the first time I’ve heard her talk.

Talents? Ha, that’s a fantasy. I can’t remember the last time someone told me I had talent. Maybe my mother always told me, but that’s her job. She’s my mother. I never heard it from anyone else.

Besides… cooking’s not a talent.

Right?

I stutter, struggling to come up with an answer. Half of me wants Hiro to butt in and answer for me, but half of me is worrying he’ll mention my—

“He’s an amazing musician!”

Fuck. Me.

Honey Lemon looks at me with interest in her facial expression. “Really? What instruments do you play? Do you sing?”

I cough. “Y—yeah, I sing… and play guitar.”

“He’s been doing it since he was five,” Hiro adds. “Why don’t you show them?”

My eyes turn as big as pie plates. I gesture at Hiro to stop helping me, making a subtle slashing motion across my neck, but it’s no use.

I clear my throat, realizing that I should probably say something. “Uh, I didn’t even bring my guitar with me.”

“Yes, you did. It’s in the trunk of my car.”

I bite my lip in hatred and anger. Why is he doing this to me?

“What? I don’t remember ever putting it there.”

“Of course you don’t. I did.”

Hiro’s friends are watching this whole thing unfold with amusement, whispering to each other and stifling laughs.

“Do you want me to go get it?” Hiro asks me, beginning to get up.

“No, that’s okay. You don’t need to do that,” I say, gritting my teeth, hoping he’ll receive the message.

He definitely received the message, but he’s not listening to it. “Nonoononononononono, I insist!” he says cheesily as he gets up out of his seat and begins walking towards the door. “Come with me.”

Reluctantly, I stand up and follow him outside.

“What the hell are you doing?” I exclaim once everyone’s out of earshot, slugging him in the arm.

He laughs, shrugging the punch away. “Don’t worry, dude. You’re very talented!”

“I don’t care what you think of my musical skills! I don’t want to play and sing right now!”

He gives me a surprised look, probably startled by the intensity of my statement. “Geez, dude, how nervous are you?”

“I’d rather have you start up that car and run over me,” I state. “Where are your keys? I’ll take the car out of park and lie down on the street!”

“Dude, calm down. I’m not going to run over you,” he says, opening the trunk and handing me my guitar. “Can you please just do this? They’re already expecting you to play something.”

I stare at him. If he weren’t so cute I’d kill him dead, right where he stands.

“Fine.” Snatching the guitar out of his hands, I turn back to reenter the cafe.

As Hiro and I enter, we see that his friends had just abruptly stopped some sort of hilarous banter that kept them all giggling, even until we returned. Honey had the biggest smile on her face. Wasabi and Fred were stifling laughs. Gogo was smirking.

“What’s so funny?” Hiro asks.

“Oh, nothing,” Wasabi says. But it’s clearly something.

I don’t want to say anything, so I just take my seat next to Honey and hope Hiro says something that will make them forget about me.

“No, something! Why are you all laughing?” Hiro asks again. God bless his soul.

“Really, it’s nothing,” Gogo says. “It was just… we’ll tell you later.”

Hiro analyzed their expressions, trying to see if they’re hiding something from him.

“Hm. Okay.” The Japanese boy takes a seat. “Miguel, why don’t you play Remember Me?”

I swallow. The same song I played for him. Cringing and swallowing my pride, I say, “No problem.”

Slinging the guitar over one shoulder, I hold my guitar pick in my right hand and prepare to play.

I open my mouth to begin singing and close my eyes.

Remember me, though I have to say goodbye, remember me.

Don’t let it make you cry, for even if I’m far away I hold you in my heart…
I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart…
Remember me, though I have to travel far, remember me, each time you hear a sad guitar…
Know that I’m with you the only way that I can be, so until you’re in my arms again…
Remember me! Que nuestra cancion no deje de latir, solo con tu amor yo puedo existir…
Que nuestra cancion no deje de latir, solo con tu amor yo puedo existir…
Remember me.”

Opening my eyes as I play the final chord, I see that they’re all staring at me in amazement with wide eyes.

“Told you he was good,” Hiro says.

“Dude, you’re the best singer I’ve ever heard!” Fred exclaims.

“Yeah, you’re so damn talented!” Wasabi agrees.

I laugh. “No, no—this, music, it’s really just a hobby—”

“He’s majoring in music and minoring in psychology. He wants to be a music therapist,” Hiro interrupts.

I shoot him another death glare. “Hiro. Could you maybe not?”

He bites his lip to keep from laughing. “Just tryna help you out, buddy.”

“Keep helping, and I’ll hit you where it hurts,” I mutter in Spanish.

Honey Lemon covers her mouth in surprise and amusement. “What did you just say?!” she exclaims.

I take a moment to put two and two together. “Wait… you speak Spanish?”

“It’s my first language,” she responds in perfect Spanish.

I swallow. “Oh.”

“What did he say?” Hiro asks.

“Nothing,” Honey instantly responds.

He looks at both of us with suspicious eyes. Squinting his eyes and leaning over the table, he asks Honey Lemon a question in a language I don’t understand. She responds in the same foreign language, and Hiro slumps back in his seat, with a disappointed look. I’m going to hope she didn’t say anything.

“How many languages do you speak?” I ask Honey.

“I’m fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese,” she responds. “I grew up learning all three.”

“Oh.”

Some time passes, and Hiro’s friends finish eating their meal in a semi-awkward silence. Hiro was doing most of the talking, and I started zoning out again and playing games on my phone.

- Hiro -

“Hiro? I need your help,” Aunt Cass says from across the room.

“Okay,” I say, going to help her. I see Miguel out of the corner of my eyes, giving me another death glare. That’s funny.

Once I’m in the kitchen, I ask her, “What is it?”

She looks like she’s holding back laughing as she closes the door and backs me into a corner. “You like him, don’t you?”

“Who? What?” I ask, one hundred percent sure that she’s talking about Miguel.

“I can see looks you’re giving your lil’ roommate there,” she giggles. “How long have you been dating?”

Dating?! “What?! No, we’re not boyfriends! We’ve only known each other for a week!”

“And you’re really good at making friends quickly,” Aunt Cass points out. “So you’re not dating?”

“No!”

She looks at me with a look of disappointment. “But you like him, don’t you? Come on, Hiro! He is very cute!”

I can’t fight the blush that’s appearing on my cheeks.

“Even Honey Lemon noticed that there’s chemistry between you two!” she adds.

Whoa. Wait. “Honey d—wait. Is that why they were laughing when we came back in?!”

Aunt Cass giggles again. “Yeah. We had a nice chat. She wants to set you two up!”

Oh sweet dear Lord in heaven, no. “No! Nonononononononono! I’m not into Miguel, okay! Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every cute guy I meet!”

“CUTE! You said cute! Does that mean you think Miguel is cute?!” she pressures.

I swallow. Damn, I shouldn’t have let that slip.

“U—uh, well, I—I mean…”

“Yes, you do! I’m not as gullible as you think I am, lil’ shit!”

Jesus, “little shit” is language I didn’t expect from my aunt. “Since when do you swear?! And I’m not little, I’m twenty-one!”

“That’s not important! Just try seducing him, okay? I know you’re good at that!”

I cringe so hard that my neck almost falls off. “Oh. My. God. I don’t like him like that! I barely even know him!”

“Come on! You’re good at swooning guys over with charming words of flattery! Even the straight ones!”

I cringe harder. Bad memories come rushing back. “I told you to forget about him.”

She laughs. “I never will.”

I sigh in frustration. “What do you and Honey want from me? You want me to date him?!”

“Yes,” she says matter-of-factly.

I purse my lips. “No.”

“Pleeeeeeasseeeeee?”

“No!”

Aunt Cass makes a pouty face at me.

“Puppy-dog eyes aren’t going to work, Aunt Cass. You’re 40.”

She sighs. “Do you at least think he’s good-looking?”

I bite my inner cheek. “Fine. Yes, I think he’s very attractive. But that’s it.”

She smiles. She’s always loved watching me lose my dignity.

“Yay! Thank you, Hiro.” Aunt Cass opens the door. “You can leave now.”

I step out of the door, shooting her death glares that would put Miguel’s to shame.

“Thanks for your help, Hiro!” she calls out as I make my way back to the table.

I shoot a fake smile and muster a sarcastic “no problem” as I sit back down.

Chapter Text

BOWLING

- Hiro -

Aside from the stressful and disturbing conversation I’d had with Aunt Cass, the rest of the night went well. When we arrived home, Miguel told me he’d liked my friends and would look forward to the next time he saw them. Everything went well.

It’s seven minutes past midnight, and Miguel and I are both tired as hell. As I pull of my shirt to get ready to go to sleep, my phone buzzes with a text from Honey Lemon.

[12:07] HIRO

[12:07] are you awake

I pick up my phone and type out a reply.

[12:07] yes

[12:07] good cause we all want to go bowling with u two tmr morning!

I cringe. I don’t know if it’s because they genuinely want to spend time with us or if it’s because Honey wants an excuse to talk to me about Miguel.

But Miguel doesn’t know about it…and he wants to see them again…

[12:08] sounds good. What time

[12:08] I can be there around 10:30?

[12:08] let me ask miguel

I put my phone in my pocket and knock on Miguel’s door. “Are you awake?”

He opens the door, eyelids heavy from tiredness. His hair is already messy and he’s wearing a white shirt with no sleeves.

He’s so damn cute.

“Yeah, why?”

“Honey Lemon texted me and said that they want us to go bowling with them at 10:30 tomorrow morning. Do you wanna go?”

“Sure,” he said in a monotone. I’m sure it wasn’t out of a lack of enthusiasm, he was just tired.

“Alright, cool,” I say. “Goodnight.”

“Night,” he says, closing the door again.

[12:11] he’s fine with that

[12:11] 10:30 it is ig

[12:11] great! See you then

[12:12] k gn

I put my phone on its wireless charging pad and close the door. I know I’m not getting any sleep tonight. The fact that Aunt Cass and Honey Lemon were talking about Miguel and I possibly starting a romantic relationship still weighs heavily on my mind.

But it shouldn’t.

Yes, he’s extremely hot. Yes, he laughs at all my dumb jokes. Yes, he genuinely appreciates me and makes me feel important. Yes, he is probably a better cook than Gordon Ramsay. Yes, he loves The Greatest Showman.

But that just means we’re good friends…

...Right?

I’m attracted to him. That’s it. I don’t even know if he’s gay or not. Starting a relationship is unrealistic at best. And besides, what if we broke up? It would be so awkward to live with your ex, especially because neither of us can afford a different room.

It’s not worth it to fall in love with Miguel. There’s too many risks, and there’s a relatively large chance that he isn’t even interested in me anyways.

Actually, there’s a shit-ton of reasons why I wouldn’t be a good boyfriend for him.

First, I look like a bent pasta noodle. Seriously. I hate the way I look. One of my eyes is bigger than the other, my lips are thin and my nose is so small it makes me look like a cartoon character.

And I still have this dumbass tooth gap! I’ve had it ever since I was a baby. It makes me look childish. I hate it.

People are always saying that now that I’m twenty-one, I look just like Tadashi. But, Tadashi wasn’t ugly. I knew that from the thousands of girlfriends he’d had in his short life. I remember once that Honey, Gogo and I were talking about this and Honey said that if I might look better if I got a haircut. But Gogo pointed out that if I got a haircut, I would look exactly like Tadashi. I didn’t believe them. Gogo even held up a photo of Tadashi and stood next to me and said to Honey, “Now imagine if Hiro got his hair cut.”

So that’s also why I don’t cut my hair.

My hair goes past my shoulders just a little bit. I don’t want it to grow too long, so when it does, I always trim it back up. Normally I just wear it in a ponytail or bun. But I still look like a pot-smoking pedophile escaped from jail.

Secondly, our personalities are totally different. I’m more self-confident in social situations than he is. I like spending time with friends and being outside with people rather than being cooped up inside an apartment all day. Miguel is the exact opposite, so we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a comfortable relationship because of that.

Third, and perhaps the biggest reason of all, is because I’m keeping a secret from Miguel that I don’t want him to know about. It takes up a lot of my time, and it’s the main reason why I wouldn’t be able to commit to a relationship.

My friends and I are superheroes.

***

(A/N: The next few paragraphs are basically just recounting the events of the movie, so you can skip ahead to the next A/N. Or read it if you want, I don’t care.)

The day that my brother died completely flipped my life around. I expected to continue my life as normal, but my life is anything but normal now.

The truth is, I graduated high school when I was twelve. And the San Fransokyo State University isn’t going to be my alma mater. I already have one: the San Fransokyo Insititue of Technology, or SFIT for short.

SFIT was my brother’s college. He attended this school with all of his friends (I’m sure you know who they are). I was really into bot fighting and intended to pursue that as a potential career path, much to Tadashi’s dismay because (1) it’s illegal, and (2) he said that I needed to “do something more with that big brain of yours.”

One night, he drove me to SFIT and showed me around. I met the robotics teacher, Professor Callaghan. He was a very nice man (at the time) and by the time we left, I desperately wanted to attend that school.

Desperately.

I told Tadashi this, and he said that there was a robotics showcase at the school next month. Callaghan chooses the best projects that were showcased and gives scholarships to the people who created them. A month passed, and with the help of Tadashi and his friends, I had created microbots.

Microbots were a collection of tiny robots controlled by a neurocranial transmitter that the user controlls telepathically. All you had to do was think about what you wanted them to do, and they’d do it. Callaghan was apparently impressed and gave me the scolarship. But Alistair Krei, a high-profile technology entrepreneur, was also impressed and offered to buy my microbots. Callaghan told me that selling my tech was a very bad idea, and I listened to him. We were leaving the building, getting ready to head back to the Lucky Cat Cafe but Tadashi and I decided we would take a different route.

We were standing on a small bridge a little ways away from the school. Tadashi was congratulating me on my scholarship when we heard screams behind us.

Turns out that the building had been lit on fire and everyone was forced to evacuate.

We approached the school, and a woman that had just escaped had told us that Professor Callaghan was still inside the building. Tadashi was about to run inside and try to save Callaghan, but I tried to stop him.

That’s when he said his final words: “Callaghan’s still in there. Someone has to help.”

Tadashi ran inside and the building exploded.

A short time later, I realized that Tadashi’s death wasn’t a freak accident like everyone said it was. In fact, Professor Callaghan was the one responsible for Tadashi’s death. I recruited Fred, Honey, Gogo and Wasabi to help me find Callaghan and get my revenge.

I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. All I knew is that I wanted to hurt him.

Badly.

Actually, I almost killed him once but Honey Lemon stopped me. That fighting bitch.

But the next day, Alistair Krei unveiled a new facility in the heart of San Fransokyo, and Callaghan… interrupted the opening ceremony, to say the least. Turns out that the only reason he wanted me in his school was so he could take advantage of my microbots and use them to destroy Krei’s life because he believes Krei is responsible for the death of his daughter.

But we stopped him.

(A/N: Start paying attention again.)

The next day, it was all over the news that six superheroes had managed to save Alistair Krei’s life, and the whole city—not to mention the internet—have been going crazy ever since. Conspiracy theories began to emerge, more and more people were interviewing Alistair, but he didn’t say anything. Everyone wants to know who we are.

But that can’t happen.

If that happens… serious consequences will follow.

I’m not exaggerating—our lives could be on the line. Because our enemies aren’t nice and friendly.

They kill people when they get the chance.

Nobody in our personal lives know that we’re superheroes—nobody. Not my Aunt Cass, not any of my other close friends, not Miguel, no one.

And the five of us intend to keep it that way.

I’m not an actual student at the San Fransokyo State University. When Miguel thinks I go to class, I’m actually meeting with my friends to discuss our plans for the next attack. All of my student paperwork and shit like that is fake. It took a long fucking time to get me a dorm in a school that I don’t even attend. And I am only staying in this dorm for the school year; Honey says that she knows a place we can all move into during the summer without raising suspicion.

A man who has to keep secrets to this extent should not be in an intimate romantic relationship right now. It wouldn’t benefit either of us.

It really hurts, because I desperately want to be able to tell him how I feel about him, but no good would come from that, even if he felt the same way (in an alternate universe).

I sigh and curl into a fetal position, letting the blankets completely cover my body, imagining that the warmth is coming from Miguel’s body and not another inanimate object.

***

“Are you ready?” Miguel’s voice asks me, the sound travelling across the hall to reach my room.

I’m taking one final look in the mirror to see if I’m happy with the way I look. Hair tied in a bun, white collar shirt with long sleeves rolled up to my upper arms, black jeans and tennis shoes and glasses. Normally I wear contact lenses because my vision’s so awful, but I decided to wear glasses today to see if Miguel likes the way I look in them. I know I shouldn’t do that. I know.

But I can’t help myself.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” I respond, walking out into the hallway and standing by his door, waiting for him to open it.

Miguel emerges from his bedroom. He’s wearing a black A-shirt with matching sweatpants and shoes with his large headphones resting around his neck. Extremely attractive.

“I didn’t know you had to wear glasses,” he says.

“Oh, yeah. I normally wear contact lenses, but—I can’t find them.” I chuckle awkwardly, trying to mask my fib.

“Oh. They look nice.”

“Thanks.”

Guess I’m wearing these forever now.

As we exit the building, we see Honey Lemon’s car parked out front. “Hiro!” I hear her voice eagerly call out.

I smile. “Hi, Honey Lemon,” I respond just as loudly. Miguel and I sit down in the backseat.

“How come you’re wearing your glasses today?” Gogo, who’s sitting in the passenger seat, asks.

“I lost my contacts,” I say.

She gives Honey a look that tells me that she doesn’t believe my claim, but her look only lasted for barely one second. But it still lasted long enough for me to notice it.

I hope Honey didn’t talk to Gogo about the non-existent relationship between Miguel and I.

After a few minutes, we arrived at the bowling alley. Wasabi and Fred were apparently already there.

We all walked up to the front desk to get our bowling shoes. One by one, the teenage girl behind the desk gave us our pairs of shoes. Miguel and I were the last two in the line.

When I reached the front, the girl asked me, “What size?”

“Eleven,” I respond, and she hands me my pair. I take a seat that’s very close to the front desk so I can put my shoes on.

I look over at Miguel and I notice that she’s taking a little longer than usual to get him his pair of shoes. When she finally does, though, I see that there’s a little piece of paper by his shoes,

and… she’s winking at him.

Oh hell no.

- Miguel -

Now that Hiro’s gotten his bowling shoes, I approach the young girl that’s standing behind her desk.

She flips her hair and gives me a mischievous smile. “What size are you?” she asks.

“Twelve,” I say monotonously, showing no emotion on my face. The girl begins searching for a pair of shoes, and takes the pair out of the box that they were kept in… but then reaches for a Post-It note and a pen and scribbles what looks like a few numbers on it.

She hands me my shoes with the paper she wrote on. “Call me,” she says with a wink.

I didn’t know it was possible for a human being to make another human so damn uncomfortable in such a short amount of time. I can’t really say “sorry, I’m gay” and give her the note back—that’d be weird.

Instead, I continue to show no discernible expression on my face as I shove the note into my pocket with the full intention of getting rid of it once I’m out of her line of vision.

Hiro catches up to me now that he has his bowling shoes on. I think he’s trying to sound amused, but his voice is strained behind the smiling and laughing. “Dude, was she trying to flirt with you?”

I match his façade. “I guess so. It was weird. Made me feel uncomfortable.”

“How come? Did she do anything that was, like…” He trails off, probably not wanting to end the sentence but his implications are clear.

I look down at the floor. “No, she didn’t. It’s just that…” I bite my lip, not sure how he’s going to take the news I’m about to deliver. I don’t know if he’s homophobic or not. “I—I don’t like girls, Hiro.”

Hiro didn’t seem to be expecting that answer. He looks a bit taken aback, but recovers quickly with a smile and whispers something in my ear that I didn’t see coming.

“It’s okay, neither do I.”

I look at him in surprise. “Wait, seriously? You don’t seem like the… gay type.”

He laughs. “I get that a lot, actually. When I came out in my junior year of high school, everyone was shocked.”

I smile, relieved. “I can understand their reaction.”

“Y’know, you really don’t give off a homosexual vibe either,” Hiro adds.

“I don’t? My sister says I do,” I say with amusement.

“Is she gay?” he asks.

“No,” I respond.

“Then she doesn’t know the actual signs of a gay person. There’s a lot more to it than the stereotypes would have you believe. We’re not all hyper-sexual drag queens that flaunt the LGBTQ flag everywhere they go and walk a certain way.”

I chuckle. “Actually, that’s why my sister thinks I’m gay. Because of my walk.”

Hiro looks down at my legs. “Now that I’m paying attention, I can see it, but it’s subtle. Most people don’t pay attention to the way someone else walks, so it’s not that noticeable.”

I grin. “Thanks for passing along your gay knowledge.”

He laughs, showing off his dorky tooth gap. “Anytime.”

We make it to our lane, where the others have been waiting for us.

“What took you guys so damn long?” Gogo asks.

“Sorry, we were having a conversation,” Hiro responds sarcastically as he approaches the front of our lane with his bowling ball, ready to play. Gogo rolls her eyes.

I take the yellow Post-It note out of my pocket and stare at it. That’s kind of flattering, that she thought I was attractive.

But she’s still a woman. And I’m not into women. Besides, I’ve got my eyes on another sexy, glasses-wearing Japanese snack that’s going bowling right now.

I rip the note in half and toss it into the recycling bin. I won’t be needing it anytime soon, or ever.

I look up and see Hiro has gotten a strike. Apparently I need to add ‘bowling’ to the infinite list of things that makes him sexy.

I take a seat next to Honey Lemon and pull out my smartphone as Wasabi gets ready to bowl next. I open Duolingo, remembering that I need to keep my eight-day streak alive.

“That was pretty impressive,” Honey says.

“What was?” I say, not looking up from my phone.

“Hiro’s strike.”

“Oh, yeah,” I respond, focusing more on translating the Japanese sentences than the sparkling conversation.

“You two would be cute together, don’t you think?”

Wow, okay. That question came out of nowhere, and it really brings up more questions about her.

I turn a little pink. “What?” I say, focus completely on Honey and not that green owl that’s going to guilt-trip me later.

(A/N: because points if you know what I mean)

“I think you and Hiro would be cute together!” she says. I glance over at Hiro, who’s definitely out of earshot, having a seemingly pleasant conversation with Fred on the other side of the lane.

I begin to sweat in nervousness. “Uh, I don’t...what?” I stammer, forgetting how to socialize again.

She giggles. “You like him, don’t you?”

I open my mouth to say something, but no sound comes out. I decide to just shake my head.

Honey makes a pouty face and sips her soda. “Oh, that’s a shame, because I heard from someone that he happens to think you’re pretty hot.”

I choke on my own spit. Hiro thinks I’m hot?! No, that’s impossible. Someone that’s as sexy as he is must have standards. There’s no way. There’s no way. There’s no fucking—

“Who did you hear it from?” I ask after a long pause, trying again to look disinterested, returning to the Duolingo exercises on my phone.

Honey leans closer, cupping her hand over my ear, whispering, “His aunt.”

I drop my phone and almost scream. Quickly realizing that I look insane, I try to calm down, pick my phone up and attempt to push my romantic feelings for him deep, deep down.

“You okay there, Miguel?” Hiro asks with amusement.

Oh my God, he saw that. My cheeks flush fire-truck red as I respond, “Yep, all good.”

Hiro goes back to his conversation. I look at Honey, who is smiling extremely wide.

“Remember when we were at the cafe, Aunt Cass called Hiro over for help?” Honey asks me, stifling a laugh.

I raise an eyebrow. “Yeah…?”

“She didn’t need any help.”

I want to die.

“Miguel, it’s your turn,” Wasabi says, handing me my bowling ball. Thank God.

“Thanks, Wasabi,” I say as I put my fingers in the holes, giving Honey a look before standing in front of the lane.

As I take one step back, ready to release the ball, I suddenly become hyper-aware that Hiro is probably watching me right now, and if I mess up, he’s most likely going to think I’m pathetic, seeing as bowling is such an easy concept. Knock down 10 pins with one ball. Easy, right?

Right?

I let go of the ball and watch it quickly make its way down the lane, knocking down eight pins with a satisfying clunking sound. I glance at the computer screen. It says “24.6 MPH.” Guess it was just the adrenaline.

The ball finally returns to me, and I knock down the two remaining pins. Hiro and Fred give me a high-five as I walk back to the seat, taking one next to Gogo instead of Honey Lemon to avoid talking to her again. Damn, that was weird, whether or not what she told me was true.

“Nice job,” Gogo says as she chews her gum and scrolls through Twitter on her phone, not looking at me.

“Oh, thanks,” I say, focused on Duolingo again.

The rest of the morning goes smoothly. I didn’t talk to Honey Lemon again, Gogo didn’t start a conversation, and I came in second place (Hiro won). No matter how much I tried to distract myself, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Honey said.

That’s a shame, because I heard from someone that he thinks you’re pretty hot.

No, that’s not true. There’s no way. There’s no possible way he could ever think about loving someone as gross as I am. I’m extremely attracted to him, yes, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever get to date him. There’s no way. There’s no way.

After bowling, we got lunch at the Lucky Cat Cafe, and another thought dawned on me:

How did she know I was gay?

I got her number from Hiro this morning. I pull out my phone under the table so Hiro doesn’t see, and type out a message:

[1:02] wait a minute

[1:02] how did you know I was gay

Honey looks down at her phone, and a few seconds later, I get her response:

[1:02] it’s evident in the way you walk, sweetie

I glare at her.

[1:02] that’s what hiro said >:(

[1:03] he’s gay, of course he would see that

[1:03] you’re sure you don’t like him?

I glance at Honey, then at Hiro, and type:

[1:03] there’s no point in lying anymore is there?

[1:04] nope

[1:04] fine

[1:04] I think he’s very hot

I refuse to make eye contact with Honey as I await her reply

[1:04] ASJDFASHGASHGKLASHFGLJS I KNEW IT

[1:04] heehehehehehehehehehehheheheh

[1:04] hey could you maybe not tell hiro

[1:04] I kind of live with him so if he knew it would be awkward

[1:04] NO IT WOULDN’T!!!1!!!!!11!! IT WOULD BE ROMANTIC

[1:05] I don’t believe that he feels the same way

[1:05] I’m not going to take your word for it. I want proof

A short moment passes before she answers:

[1:08] if I managed to record hiro saying that he likes you, would you believe me?

Whoa. How far will she go with this?

[1:08] are you like a matchmaker or something

[1:08] yes

[1:08] i’ve caused up twenty relationships and five marriages

Five marriages? That’s… actually really impressive.

[1:09] wow

[1:09] sure

[1:09] okay!! give me one week

[1:09] are you serious

[1:09] YES

[1:09] you and hiro were made for each other!! I can see it!

[1:09] you know we’ve only known each other for barely two weeks right?

[1:10] do you think I give a damn

[1:10] i’m just saying, isn’t it too early to start an intimate relationship

[1:10] haven’t you ever heard of love at first sight

I roll my eyes.

[1:10] okay fine whatever

[1:10] :D

I put my phone down, steering my attention back to the conversation at our table.

Honey Lemon is crazy. For sure.

But a small part of me wants her plan to work.

Chapter Text

“Honey Lemon’s Plan”

- Honey Lemon –

I hold the phone up to my ear, waiting for Cass to pick up the phone. We agreed two days ago to talk about setting Hiro and Miguel up. I just hope she’s still awake at this hour.

After about five rings, Cass picks up. “Honey Lemon?”

I smile. “I’ve got some news.”

“What happened today?”

“I was able to get Miguel to admit his feelings. Over text.”

She gasps. “You’re kidding!”

“Nope. He said that Hiro is hot.”

Cass laughs. “So what are you going to do? Are you going to set ‘em up?”

“Miguel didn’t believe me when I told him that Hiro is attracted to him, so we agreed that if I got an audio clip of Hiro admitting his feelings, then he’d believe me.”

“You don’t have to!” Cass exclaims. “I already did!”

I gasp. “What?! Really? How?”

“Remember that day at the Lucky Cat Café, when I said I needed Hiro’s help? I was wearing a wire.”

“Oh my gosh! That’s making this so much easier! Can you send me the recording?”

“Of course! Give me a minute, I’ll send it right now!”

Not two minutes go by before my email inbox receives the audio recording. I open the .wav file and begin listening, and I cannot believe what’s playing back to me.

(A/N: Again, this is basically just the scene in the kitchen with Hiro and Cass copied and pasted. Skip ahead to the next author’s note if you want, there’s nothing new here.)

Cass: “Hiro? I need your help.”

Hiro: “Okay.”

Pause.

Hiro: “What is it?”

Cass: “You like him, don’t you?”

Hiro: “Who? What?”

Cass: “I can see looks you’re giving your lil’ roommate there. How long have you been dating?”

Hiro: “What?! No, we’re not boyfriends! We’ve only known each other for a week!”

Cass: “And you’re really good at making friends quickly! So you’re not dating?”

Hiro: “No!”

Cass: “But you like him, don’t you? Come on, Hiro! He is very cute!”

Pause.

Cass: “Even Honey Lemon noticed that there’s chemistry between you two!”

Pause.

Hiro: “Honey d—wait. Is that why they were laughing when we came back in?!”

Cass: “Yeah. We had a nice chat. She wants to set you two up!”

Hiro: “No! Nonononononononono! I’m not into Miguel, okay! Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every cute guy I meet!”

Cass: “CUTE! You said cute! Does that mean you think Miguel is cute?!”

Hiro: “U—uh, well, I—I mean…”

Cass: “Yes, you do! I’m not as gullible as you think I am, lil’ shit!”

Hiro: “Since when do you swear?! And I’m not little, I’m twenty-one!”

Cass: “That’s not important! Just try seducing him, okay? I know you’re good at that!”

Hiro: “Oh. My. God. I don’t like him like that! I barely even know him!”

Cass: “Come on! You’re good at swooning guys over with charming words of flattery! Even the straight ones!”

Hiro: “I told you to forget about him.”

Cass: “I never will.”

Hiro: “What do you and Honey want from me? You want me to date him?!”

Cass: “Yes.”

Hiro: Quick pause. “No.”

Cass: “Pleeeeeeasseeeeee?”

Hiro: “No!”

Pause.

Hiro: “Puppy-dog eyes aren’t going to work, Aunt Cass. You’re 40.”

Cass: Sigh. “Do you at least think he’s good-looking?”

Hiro: “Fine. Yes, I think he’s very attractive. But that’s it.”

Cass: “Yay! Thank you, Hiro. You can leave now.”

(A/N: Start paying attention again.)

I hold the phone up to my ear again. “Oh my God, that was amazing!”

Cass laughs again. “I know, right! I loved watching Hiro squirm!”

I scoff. “Geez, I never knew how evil you could be.”

“Girl, you should’ve seen me set up Tadashi with his girlfriend. This is nothing compared to what I put him through.”

“Thank you so much for this. I have to go now, so I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay, bye!”

I hit the “end call” button and set my phone down on the counter. The kitchen clock says 2:04 am. Miguel’s probably not awake at this hour, so it’ll have to wait until the sun rises.

I sit down at my TV with a bowl of Cheez-Its and watch “The Wonder Years.” But I’m not paying attention to the show.

Now that Miguel is going to know that Hiro has a crush on him, Hiro needs to know that Miguel has a crush on him, too. It can’t just be one-sided.

There’s got to be a way to get them together somehow to confess their feelings for each other. But that’s easier said than done.

Nevertheless, once the episode ends, I have a plan.

I pick up my phone again and call Gogo.

“Gogo?”

“What are you doing awake at this hour?” she asks tiredly.

“I need your help.”

***

- Miguel

Jesus Christ, that woman will stop at nothing.

Honey Lemon called me at 6 am this morning to tell me that she already has the recording of Hiro. What the fuck? How is that even possible?

When I asked her how, she told me that she’d “elaborate when I got there.” So here I am, driving to the café, anticipating her answers.

I enter the café, and both Cass, Gogo and Honey Lemon are sitting eagerly at a table with a laptop in between them.

“Hi,” I say awkwardly, taking a seat. “You said you have the recording? Already?”

Honey Lemon giggles. “Actually, it’s not my recording.”

“When I asked Hiro for help in the kitchen, I pinned him down and managed to get it out of him. I was wearing a wire!”

Holy shit. “I’m sorry, what?!”

“Listen!” Honey says eagerly, pressing the space bar on her computer.

A conversation between Hiro and Cass begins to play, and I find myself feeling lightheaded, heart pounding out of my chest.

I almost stop breathing when Hiro says, “Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every cute guy I meet” and Cass says, “CUTE! You said cute! Does that mean you think Miguel is cute?” and Hiro stammers nervously.

This can’t be happening.

“Dude, are you okay?” Gogo asks, looking very amused.

“What? Yeah, I’m fine, why?” I say, barely able to pull myself together.

“You’re a fucking tomato.”

“O—oh. I just, this is—”

I stop talking when the recording says, “Fine. Yes, I think he’s very attractive.”

I’m going to die.

Not long after, the audio ends. “Now do you believe me?” Honey Lemon says.

I swallow. “Was that really Hiro?”

Gogo groans. “Omigosh, yes! Why do you have such a hard time believing this? Hiro loves you, okay? What’s not to believe?! Miguel, you are a very handsome person and anyone who ends up with you would be super fucking lucky! Hasn’t anyone told you that before?!”

I’m extremely taken aback by what she’s saying. “No. Nobody has ever said that to me before. I’m not… used to people liking me. I’m not like Hiro.”

Gogo purses her lips, thinking about what I just told her. After a few moments, she says, “Well, now you’ve heard it from two people.”

I slump back in my chair, trying to process all the crazy things that just happened. There’s a recording of Hiro saying that he thinks I’m “very attractive” and Gogo just said the same thing to my face. But, there’s also the problem of what he said after that:

“…He said, ‘I think he’s very attractive…but that’s it.’ You realize that means he doesn’t want to date me, right?” I ask.

Gogo leans forward, looking straight into my eyes. “Miguel, look at me. Hiro wants to date you, okay? Trust me, I’ve seen the way he looks at you whenever you do anything at all. And he talks about you a lot to me in private.”

This seems to take not only me, but also Honey and Cass by surprise too. “What?” they say in unison.

“Hiro trusts me with a lot of things,” Gogo says simply before turning back to look at me again. “He truly thinks you’re an amazing person. The only reason he said ‘but that’s it’ on the recording is because he didn’t want his aunt to have total satisfaction. Jesus, you can hear his dignity crumble to pieces. He really loves you. And Hiro’s really slow to trust, too.”

“That’s true,” Honey and Cass say in unison.

“The fact that he’s fallen head-over-heels for you in less than two weeks is truly mind-fucking to all of us,” Gogo says, making me smile. “So that’s why we have a little surprise for you.”

I look at her, an eyebrow raised. “What?”

She pulls out a piece of fabric from her pocket. “Put this on. It’s a blindfold.”

I don’t protest as I tie the cloth around my head. “Don’t you dare peek,” Honey says as she takes my hand. I hear a few doors open, and a car start.

“Wait!” I say, shaking out of her grip. “Where are you taking me?”

“That’s the surprise part!” she says, grabbing my arm again. “Get in the car.”

Reluctantly, I step in, as my mind swims with all the different possibilities of where we could be possibly going.

And whether or not it involves Hiro.

***

- Hiro

Not long after Miguel left, Gogo texts me and says that she wants to meet at the Lucky Cat Café. A bit odd, because I would think that she would invite Miguel too. Honey Lemon said that she wanted to give Miguel a surprise, and that unsettled me a bit. But I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to give Miguel the idea that I liked him the way I do.

As I get in the car, I receive another text message from Gogo:

[9:42] wear something sexy

[9:42] like, formal

Um, what?

[9:42] wait what

[9:42] why

[9:42] where the hell are you taking me

[9:42] dude calm down

[9:42] just wear something nice

[9:43] DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MIGUEL

[9:43] that’s classified

[9:43] bitch if this is some sort of sick blind date I’m gonna kill you

[9:43] JUST PUT ON SOMETHING NICE

[9:44] NOT UNTIL YOU ASSURE ME THAT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MIGUEL

[9:44] I ASSURE YOU

[9:44] :|

[9:44] fine

I ended up putting on a black tie, a black button-down shirt, formal black pants and black shoes.

I look like I’m going to a funeral.

A funeral for my dignity.

Once I arrive at the café, I notice that Aunt Cass and Gogo are also wearing formal attire.

“What the hell is going on?” I ask as soon as I enter the building.

“Put this on,” Gogo says immediately, handing me a blindfold.

I glare at her. “What is this?! Where are you taking me?!”

“It’s a surprise! Stop whining, don’t be a pussy!” she exclaims as she wraps it around my head.

I shove her hands away in surprise. Gogo has always been one to curse, but her language was never that vulgar. “Whoa, language!” I scold.

She laughs in amusement. “Nobody gives a shit! Not even your Aunt Cass!” she says, gesturing towards her.

I look at Aunt Cass and see she’s stifling laughs.

“Now blindfold yourself and get in my car!” Gogo exclaims, handing me the cloth again.

“FINE!” I yell, taking the fabric and tying it around my head. I hold out my hands. “Take me to your car.”

She’s about to grab my wrists, but I quickly hide them behind my back. “On one condition,” I say.

She groans. “What?!”

“You play The Greatest Showman soundtrack in your car.”

Gogo sighs. “Fine! Just get in!”

***

When we reach our destination, Gogo leads me out, taking my forearm and slowly walking me through.

“Where are we?” I ask.

“You’ll see,” she says.

Gogo tells me to take a seat in a chair. As I sit down, I realize that I’m probably in a restaurant, judging by the formal attire I had to wear, and the talkative atmosphere…

Oh, no.

“Take off your blindfolds,” Gogo says.

I untie the cloth and find myself staring straight at Miguel, who’s also dressed formally.

In a restaurant.

This is a date.

Chapter Text

“The Date”

- Hiro -

“I’m gonna fucking kill you,” I exclaim at Gogo through clenched teeth.

“Look, I know this might seem a bit weird—”

“Weird?! Weird?! How about absolutely mortifying beyond belief?!”

“Oh Hiro, we’re just getting started,” I hear Honey Lemon’s voice behind me. “Strap yourself in, this is gonna be a long date.”

This can’t be happening. These two intrusive bitches set me up on a blind date with the love of my life Miguel!

“Why are you doing this? Are you trying to murder me via heart attack?!” I exclaim.

“Yeah, what the hell?” Miguel says.

“The both of you, calm down,” Honey Lemon says, sitting me back down and taking her seat as well. “We’re just trying to help you.”

“Oh, help? Help, like the guy who shaves your ankles before the electric chair?! Is that the kind of help you’re offering?! THAT sort of help?! WHAT DO I OWE YOU?!

(A/N: did you get the everybody loves Raymond reference or no)

Gogo laughs. “Glad we decided to get a private table. This one’s louder than an air horn.”

“Shut up!” I snap. “I can be as loud as I want! This is a free country!”

“For now,” Miguel quips.

Honey Lemon pulls out a bottle from her purse. “Do you want to take the edge off?” she asks. As I look closer, I notice it’s a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Without answering, I immediately unscrew the cap and down the whole thing within thirty seconds. If I’m getting through this, I’m going to be fucking hammered.

When I’m finished, I slam the bottle down on the table. “Do you happen to have another?”

Thank every god of every religion that she has another bottle of booze in her purse. Again, I consume all of it in less than a minute. When I’m done, I set it down again, heart pounding, breathing labored, head aching, and embarrassed.

Very, very embarrassed.

“Do you have one for me?” Miguel asks Honey Lemon, and just like magic, she pulls yet another bottle out of her purse. And he too, finishes the whole thing absurdly quickly.

“As I was saying…” Gogo continues, “this may seem a bit odd. But, I just want you to know…that this was not my idea.”

“Gogo!” Honey exclaims. “You agreed to help me, okay? If I’m going down, you’re going down with me.”

“No, I’m not,” Gogo responds. “Anyways…Honey Lemon wanted to do this because she believes that you two were a match made in heaven.”

I groan in embarrassment, hiding my face in my hands, scrunching up my knees to my chin. This can’t be happening. This can’t.

Kill me dead. Kill me please. Kill me now.

“Where the hell did you get this idea?!” I exclaim. “Where?!”

“Well,” Honey says, “for one thing, we know you both love each other.”

I look up at her, eyes twitching. “What…the fuck…do you mean…by that?” I ask, speech suddenly slowing down.

Honey starts to dig around in her purse. “Remember when your Aunt Cass called you into the kitchen for help?” she asks as she pulls out a small recording device with a memory card inserted. My brain slowly puts two and two together and—

Oh fuck no.

Honey Lemon presses play, and I hear my voice, loud and clear:

“Fine. Yes, I think he’s very attractive.”

I want to crawl under the table and die.

I open my mouth to ask how the hell that was recorded, but no sound comes out of me. Face burning red, I look over at Miguel, who…doesn’t seem all that surprised.

Gogo must’ve read my mind, because she says, “Miguel’s already heard the recording before.”

My heart drops. “What?”

“We played the whole thing for him before we kidnapped him and took him here,” Gogo explains.

My heart stops again, noticing three words that she very quickly said, as if they were unimportant.

“The whole thing?”

“Yeah, Cass recorded the entire conversation,” Honey says.

My entire body just went numb with embarrassment.

“Wanna hear it?”

“Oh, who gives a shit anymore,” I say dismissively.

“Honey Lemon, don’t play it,” I suddenly hear Miguel’s sweet voice say from across the table. “Can’t you see he’s dying?”

Honey analyzes me, undoubtedly noticing my wrinkled clothing, messy hair, twitching eyes, shaking hands, and red skin.

“Fine, I won’t,” she says in defeat, shoving the thing into her purse.

“Now, time for Miguel,” Gogo says.

Miguel looks up at her in panic. “What?”

“You admitted the same thing to Honey Lemon over text,” she says, looking at her as she starts to laugh hysterically.

“It was so easy,” Honey breathes through her laughs. She struggles to retrieve her phone from her pocket. “Open the messages and read what Miguel sent me.”

“NO!” Miguel yells, quickly lunging across the table to grab the phone and throw it across the room. Gogo was right, thank God we got a private room.

“Miguel, what the fuck?!” Honey exclaims in anger, no longer amused. “You could’ve shattered the screen!”

“It’s a OnePlus 6 with a rubber case that I made for you and plastic screen protector, it won’t crack. Calm down,” I say to her as she goes to pick it up.

Apparently, she didn’t hear me, looking very relieved when she sees her phone’s unscathed.

“Miguel, you watched Hiro suffer, so now it’s your turn,” Gogo says in a monotone.

“I don’t want him to suffer,” I say. “Jesus, Gogo, you brought me on a blind date with the boy I’m in love with and trying to expose our secrets in front of us. Isn’t this punishment enough?”

She stares at me intently for a long moment, and after the silence, she opens her mouth and says, “No.”

“Fuck you,” I say instantly.

Honey giggles. “I think the alcohol is starting to work,” she remarks. “So will you read the texts?”

“No!” I exclaim. “There’s a good chance you probably faked them.”

Honey looks at me with an offended expression. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me. They’re probably staged,” I say.

“Hiro, they’re real,” she says.

“There’s no possible way they’re real!” I exclaim. “Do you actually think someone like him could ever love someone like me?! I mean, think about it! Miguel is talented, attractive, charismatic, funny, relatable, responsible, intelligent, and talented—”

“You already said talented,” Gogo points out.

“Whatever,” I slur. “My point is, he’s all these things and more, and I’m just not. I’m not like Miguel.”

Miguel laughs an empty laugh. “What a load of shit.”

I look at him in surprise. “What?”

He stands up, putting his fists on the table. “I’m talented, funny, responsible and charismatic?! Hiro, you and your friends were the first new people I even tried to talk to when I came to this country! I spend my free time fanboying over American Idol contestants and writing fanfictions! Do you think I know how to make friends?! Because no, I really don’t! The fact that you were able to talk to me the night I moved in was a fucking miracle because I wouldn’t have been able to even open my mouth to say something to a person that’s as beautiful as you are! I thought I was going to just go straight to bed and never talk to whoever the fuck my new roommate in a new country was going to be! But no, because it was you! You were the one that stopped me and offered me pizza! You were the one that was brave enough to talk about politics in front of me! You were the one who said, ‘Why don’t we watch The Greatest Showman together?’ You were the one that was responsible for all of those things! What the hell did I do? Sing a song and make you food?!”

The dark-skinned boy takes a deep breath and sits back down at the end of his little speech.

“The texts are real, Hiro. Read them if you want,” Miguel says before he pulls out a small container of Tic-Tacs and pours almost all of them into his mouth.

I open my mouth to say something, but I’m interrupted when Miguel abruptly stands up again, raising his voice. “And another thing! What the fuck do you mean, you’re not handsome? Jesus Christ, do you even own a mirror?!”

“What are you talking about? I look like a bent pasta noodle,” I say.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” he shouts. “You’re fucking perfect! Every square inch of you, your appearance is fucking flawless! Your face, hair, body, legs and ass are a perfect 10, and that’s not debatable! I love it whenever you smile, and I see your adorable tooth gap—”

“That tooth gap is atrocious!” I snap.

“IT’S CUTE!” he yells. “Doesn’t matter what you’re saying or doing or feeling, every second of every minute of every hour of every day, you just always look like a fucking model! You can’t see that?!”

I stare at him blankly. “No, I really can’t.”

Miguel sighs and sits back down, expression softening and voice lowering. “Maybe I shouldn’t be yelling,” he says in a normal tone of voice. “I can’t see what you see in me either.”

The four of us sit in an awkward silence for a short moment.

Honey Lemon slides her phone over to my plate, her conversation with Miguel open for me to read.

I pick up her phone and start reading.

(A/N: again, copied and pasted from a previous chapter. Skip ahead if desired)

[1:02] wait a minute

[1:02] how did you know I was gay

[1:02] it’s evident in the way you walk, sweetie

[1:02] that’s what hiro said >:(

[1:03] he’s gay, of course he would see that

[1:03] you’re sure you don’t like him?

[1:03] there’s no point in lying anymore is there?

[1:04] nope

[1:04] fine

[1:04] I think he’s very hot

[1:04] ASJDFASHGASHGKLASHFGLJS I KNEW IT

[1:04] heehehehehehehehehehehheheheh

[1:04] hey could you maybe not tell hiro

[1:04] I kind of live with him so if he knew it would be awkward

[1:04] NO IT WOULDN’T!!!1!!!!!11!! IT WOULD BE ROMANTIC

[1:05] I don’t believe that he feels the same way

[1:05] I’m not going to take your word for it. I want proof

[1:08] if I managed to record hiro saying that he likes you, would you believe me?

[1:08] are you like a matchmaker or something

[1:08] yes

[1:08] i’ve caused up twenty relationships and five marriages

[1:09] wow

[1:09] sure

[1:09] okay!! give me one week

[1:09] are you serious

[1:09] YES

[1:09] you and hiro were made for each other!! I can see it!

[1:09] you know we’ve only known each other for barely two weeks right?

[1:10] do you think I give a damn

[1:10] i’m just saying, isn’t it too early to start an intimate relationship

[1:10] haven’t you ever heard of love at first sight

I roll my eyes.

[1:10] okay fine whatever

[1:10] :D

I take a deep breath as I finish reading. “So it’s true?” I absentmindedly say.

“Yeah,” Miguel says.

Gogo looks at me, confused. “What? Aren’t you happy?”

“I would be if it weren’t for the fact that I wouldn’t have time to be a good boyfriend for him and also be a member of B--”

Honey Lemon abruptly covers my mouth, and I begin internally panicking when I realize what I was about to say.

Miguel looks at all of us, suspicion in his eyes. “What? You don’t have time to be a good boyfriend for me and also be a member of what?”

“Nothing,” the two girls say at the same time.

I move Honey Lemon’s hand away from my face. “Guys… I think he should know the truth.”

I bite my lip, making sure to keep my voice to a whisper. “Have you heard of the team of six people that keeps saving San Fransokyo’s ass when bad things happen? All the conspiracy theories, all the suspects of who they could be?”

“Yeah, who hasn’t?” he responds.

“Gogo, Honey, Wasabi, Fred and I… we--” I cut myself off, not sure how he’s going to react. “We’re them.”

Miguel looks taken aback, but doesn’t say anything.

“I’m not a student at the university,” I continue. “I graduated high school when I was twelve. My alma mater is actually the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, and I graduated when I was fifteen. After the… tragedy at Krei Tech which spawned all those conspiracies, we became a group of superheroes, and we’ve had to keep our identities secret ever since. If anyone finds out who we really are… the consequences…”

I trail off, not wanting to think about what could happen to me, or my friends…

Or Miguel.

“There could be lives at stake. When you think I go to classes every day, I’m… really not. We call ourselves Big Hero 6, Fred came up with the name.” I decide to finish my explanation with that.

Miguel says nothing for a long time, leaving us all tense with nervousness. Finally, he says, “Why is it Big Hero 6 if there’s only five of you?”

Oh, right.

I purse my lips. “Come with me,” I tell him, standing up and gesturing for him to follow me. “Thanks, Honey and Gogo, for… whatever the hell this was.”

We leave the restaurant, holding each other’s hands.

***

“You seem very in control of yourself for having downed two bottles of Jack Daniels in less than a minute,” Miguel says as we’re walking to a bus station.

“Oh,” I say. “Yeah… trauma does that to you.”

Miguel smiles. “I don’t know what the fuck just happened, honestly.”

I hum. “Maybe you will once you wake up tomorrow morning. If you’re not hungover.”

“I doubt I will be. I also had alcohol tonight, if you remember.”

“Oh, I remember. Tonight is going to be hard to forget.”

We get on a bus, which takes us back to our dorm. Once we’re inside, I lead him to my bedroom and grab a roll of tape.

“Give me your arm,” I tell him while ripping off a large piece of duct tape.

“Hiro, what are you--”

“Just do it, okay?”

Hesitantly, he holds out his arm. Immediately, I place the duct tape on his arm and quickly pull it off.

Miguel yells in pain. “Ow!! Hiro, what the fu--”

The sound of an airbag inflating interrupts him. Miguel turns to the left to see Baymax, a medical robot, standing there.

Baymax looks down at his tiny little legs and awkwardly waddles out of his red case and over to Miguel. “Hello. I am Baymax, your personal healthcare companion. I was alerted to the need for medical attention when you said ‘ow’.”

“This is the sixth member of the team,” I tell him.

“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?” Baymax asks, a chart of facial expressions ranging from happy to pained appear on his screen.

“Umm… one?” Miguel says, probably still confused.

“I will scan you now for injuries,” Baymax says. “Scan complete. You have a slight epidermal abrasion on your forearm. I suggest an anti-bacterial spray.”

Baymax gently takes Miguel’s arm and sprays the solution onto his forearm.

Still in awe, Miguel asks, “Did you create him?”

“My brother did,” I say. “He programmed him with over ten thousand medical procedures. Worked really hard. When he died, I… took over the project. Now he doubles as a crime-fighting machine.”

“That’s… really impressive,” he says.

“I cannot deactivate until you say you are satisfied with your care,” Baymax tells Miguel.

“I’m satisfied with my care,” Miguel says awkwardly, and Baymax waddles back into his little case.

“So… now that you know about… us,” I tell him, “you have to keep it a secret.”

“I will,” he says. “I promise.”

***

[ Several Hours Later ]

I bolt upright in bed, screaming. Tears stain my pillow and cheeks as the hairs on my neck stand straight up.

Clutching the blankets close to my chest, I try my best to stop the tears from coming, but it’s no use.

I miss him terribly.

My heart pounds and aches as my mind wanders to the few childhood memories I have of my brother. I think of the day that he introduced me to computer programming. I think of the day that he taught me how to ride a bike. I think of the day that I came home crying from school when I was five, and Tadashi lulled me to sleep.

I think of the day he ran into the burning building.

For seven years, the moment the school exploded, shattering him into pieces, replays in my mind. The sounds of the hysterical crying, the wails of the ambulance sirens, and my voice screaming his name over and over, for it was the only word in my vocabulary

 

all for a man who wanted to commit murder so he could be at peace with himself.

A sudden burst of rage and fury fills my brain and heart, and I feel like I want to hurt something. Anything. I want to destroy something. I want to inflict pain onto something so badly that it feels the same way that I did when I lost everything--

“Hiro! Are you okay? What happened?”

I look up at Miguel’s sweet face, worry etched into every bit of his expression. He’s wearing his signature white a-shirt with short-shorts, with tangled and messy hair. He’s holding a big bag of gummy bears. The sight of him instantly calms my hyperactive heart down, like a medicine or a tranquilizer dart.

Through my tears, I whisper the only words I can: “Nightmare. PTSD.”

Miguel sits down at my bedside, opening the bag of gummy bears and placing ten in my hands. “It was about your brother?”

I nod, unable to speak as I stuff the candies in my mouth.

Gently, Miguel wipes away the tears rolling down my cheeks. “It’s alright. Everything’s going to be okay.”

I stare at his adorable face. It’s very round; he has cheeks that make you want to squish them between your hands. His big brown eyes entrance you, making you want to drown in them forever. His laugh makes you want to cling to him until the end of time, not daring to let go.

Miguel is an angel.

“Thank you,” I whisper hoarsely as my hand rests on the back of his head, and I pull his lips to mine.

My heart starts racing as I wrap my arms around him and his lips part, allowing me to deepen the kiss. Miguel runs his hands through my disheveled hair and shuffles to get on top of me.

A good thirty seconds go by, and we break away for air.

I stare deep into his chocolate eyes. “I know earlier I said that I didn’t have time to be a good boyfriend for you… but I think… we might make it work,” I whisper softly, running my thumb across his rosy pink cheeks. “Do you want to try?”

He smiles as he plants a small kiss on the tip of my nose. “Of course.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

And then he’s kissing me again, sending electric waves through me, energizing and motivating me to do everything I can to give this little cinnamon roll everything. His lips taste like strawberries, encouraging me to steal another taste, and then another, and then another. His love is a drug; when I try to escape this feeling, it holds me tightly and pulls me back in, assuring me that everything’s going to be okay.

And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like maybe, just maybe, everything really will be okay.

Chapter Text

Suit Up

- Hiro –

I open my eyes to an unsettling feeling.

My skin is cold—no, it’s not just cold. I’m fucking shivering, craving warmth from the Mexican cinnamon roll I kissed last night that’s nowhere to be found.

The blankets are scattered across the bed in such a manner that would suggest someone got up in a hurry. The closet door is open, and Miguel’s scent lingers on the bedsheets.

I feel around my nightstand for my glasses and pick up my phone, relieved when I see a new message from my new boyfriend:

[7:28] forgot I had to go to the san Fransokyo school for disabled youth to volunteer again…if it were up to me we’d be in bed all day :* there are some empanadas in the Tupperware bin in the refrigerator in case you’re hungry love you and sorry

I sigh. That’s disappointing, but you got to do what you got to do.

I type out a reply:

[8:12] just woke up. Do you know when you’ll be back?

Not expecting an instant answer, I put my phone back in my pocket and pull on some clothes, figuring I should probably start the day.

I head to the kitchen and pull out the Tupperware bin that Miguel had mentioned and start to consume them quickly, not even bothering to heat them up as the events of last night keep replaying in my mind. I woke up screaming, Miguel gave me gummy bears, I kissed him, and now we’re dating. It isn’t until I finish the last empanada that a thought occurs to me:

Honey Lemon’s plan worked.

…I mean, right? The goal of the blind date was to get us to become boyfriends, and…that happened. Maybe it happened hours after the date, but it happened! All she really did was get us to tell each other how we feel, and…we did the rest.

That was exactly what Honey Lemon wanted.

I open the contacts app and call Honey Lemon. Holding up the phone to my ear, she picks up almost instantly.

Before she has a chance to say anything, I tell her, “Your plan worked.”

There’s a long pause. “What?” she exclaims after a while.

“I’m dating Miguel now,” I confirm, barely believing the words coming out of my mouth. “Your…sick plan…actually fucking worked.”

Honey Lemon lets out an ear-piercing scream, causing me to hold the phone away from my face. “Are you being serious?! Where’s Miguel?!”

“He’s not here right now. He had to go to that elementary school for disabled kids. And calm down. You sound like someone just asked you to marry ‘em.”

She giggles. “Sorry, it’s just…oh my God, my plan worked!”

I scoff. “Did you think it wasn’t going to?”

NO!” she yells. “Of course I didn’t!”

What the hell? “Then why did you try it?”

“Because I didn’t know what else to do! When you guys walked out of the restaurant, I thought I fucked up bad!”

I stay silent.

Honey gasps after a pause. “Wait, so…Miguel knows we’re…?”

Oh. Right. “Uh…yeah. He does. He knows about Baymax, too. He agreed to keep it a secret.”

Honey exhales. “Okay. Well…congratulations!”

I laugh. “Thanks. For everything.”

She makes no sound, but I can practically hear her smile.

“Well, I gotta go now,” she says. “See you and Miguel for lunch at 1?”

“Sure.”

“Okay, bye.”

“Bye.”

The call ends.

As I put the phone down on the kitchen counter, it buzzes with a text from Miguel:

[8:24] I should be back by 9 or 9:30

It’s around 8:30 right now, so he should come back in like an hour or so.

[8:24] sounds good. Love you!! <3

[8:25] love you too

I smile. Never thought someone would ever tell me that again.

***

Miguel –

My phone buzzes with another text from Hiro as I wash my hands.

[8:24] sounds good. Love you!! <3

I smile. I’ve never had a boyfriend or girlfriend before; I’ve never said ‘I love you’ to anyone except my family.

As I lather soap on my hands, I remember I can use the voice assistant to send a text.

I awkwardly lean closer to the phone and say “OK Google.”

The phone dings and the “Listening…” screen appears.

“Send a text message to Hiro saying, ‘love you too.’”

A moment later, the assistant says, “Got it. Do you want to send this text or change it?” The screen displays the simple text message “love you too” in the text field and Hiro’s name and cute picture in the recipient field.

“Send it,” I say.

“Okay,” the assistant says as I dry my hands with paper towels.  “Message sent.”

I pick up my phone and put it back in my pocket and head towards the door when suddenly, the lights go out, scaring the shit out of me. Trying to maintain my composure, I breathe and use my phone as a makeshift flashlight to find the door handle.

I grab onto it and pull, but nothing happens; the door remains closed. I mutter a curse under my breath.

I try knocking loudly and shouting, “Hello? The door’s locked!” to no avail.

Turning around, I see a figure in front of me that looks vaguely like a human. I point my phone screen at him and freeze.

He has a gun.

“Drop the phone,” the shadow says, pointing the firearm at my head and inching closer. “Now.”

I slowly set my phone on the ground and put my hands in the air. “What do you want from me?” I ask, trying to sound confident and sure of myself. I can’t let my anxiety get the best of me now.

The man keeps getting closer until I’m up against the cold wall, trying to keep my breathing steady as my heart beats out of my chest. He presses the pistol’s nuzzle against my temple and says, “Follow along quietly, or the children will be hurt.”

I bite my tongue and close my eyes. “You didn’t answer my question.” Fuck, my voice cracked.

The man presses the nuzzle against my head harder. “If I hear another word out of you, I’m pulling the trigger,” he whispers. “Do as I say.”

I swallow, realizing I have no options. I can’t fight, and I don’t want to die; I still have someone I want to live for.

The man takes my arms and pins them against my back, and I stifle a painful groan. He ties them together with rope, puts duct tape over my mouth and ties a blindfold around my head. I shouldn’t be standing here doing nothing; I’m handing them whatever they want on a silver platter. I’m a rug, and I’m letting them walk all over me; I’m useless, defenseless, pathetic—

My train of thought is interrupted when I’m violently shoved into…something, most likely a car—but I refuse to make noise or protest. There are children to protect, and I couldn’t live with myself if I knew that my fighting was the reason they didn’t make it.

Sweat beads on my forehead and legs trembling, I try to calm my mind down, trying to think of something relaxing, something that makes me happy, like Mexican food, or the sight of Hiro eating the food I prepared for him—

Oh.

Oh, shit.

Hiro.

They’re kidnapping me…because I’m dating him.

***

- Hiro –

I’m getting worried.

It’s 9:40am. He should’ve been home ten minutes ago.

But he’s not.

I decide to send a quick message to him:

[9:40] u ok? you’re not home yet, where are u?

Making sure the ringer is set to maximum volume, I shove the device back in my pocket and decide to keep watching Gravity Falls. Maybe he got held up at the elementary school, or he’s picking something up from a store…

An idea pops into my head. I open the Snapchat app and pinch inwards on my screen to open the Snap Map, a feature that lets you see your Snapchat friends’ locations. I zoom in on San Fransokyo and tap on Miguel’s Bitmoji. His status is 45 minutes ago at San Fransokyo School for Disabled Youth.

…What? Forty-five minutes ago, his last known location is the school? It’s definitely impossible that he forgot it; he always triple-checks to make sure he has his phone. He wouldn’t forget his phone, he just wouldn’t. It’s the only way he can keep in touch with me 24/7, and it’s the only way he can listen to music on the go. Leaving his phone behind just isn’t like him.

And apparently, his phone has been in the same location for forty-five minutes.

Something’s not right.

My fingers fumble as they try to open the phone app to call Gogo. It’s difficult to relax, because my hands are trembling, and the loud dial tones aren’t helping any.

Eventually, Gogo picks up. “What is it?”

Clearing my throat, I begin to speak. “Miguel hasn’t come home yet. He said he’d be home at 9:30…it’s ten minutes past that.”

She laughs. “Dude, calm down. He’s probably getting something from the grocery store.”

“No, I checked the Snap Map and it says that his last known location was 45 minutes ago at the school he volunteers at.”

A short pause. “Well, maybe he just left his pho—”

“He does not leave his phone behind, Gogo! He triple-checks to make sure he has it with him, he’ll never leave any place without it!” I exclaim, raising my voice a bit in frustration. “Leaving his phone behind…that’s not like him.”

Another short pause. “What are you saying?”

I groan. “I’m saying, I’m afraid there’s something wrong. He just doesn’t leave his phone places.”

Gogo sighs. “Well then, try going down to the school. Make sure everything’s cool.”

I take a deep breath to try and clear my head. “Okay. Yeah…okay. Thanks…see you later.”

Before I can hit the end call button, Gogo interrupts. “Wait just a minute. Did Honey’s plan work?”

I purse my lips. “…Yeah.”

I can hear Gogo blow a bubble with her gum and pop it. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks.”

And the call disconnects.

I pull on a coat and turn off the TV, deciding it would be best to follow Gogo’s advice.

***

As I drive to the school, I keep trying to calm myself down with thoughts like it’s fine, nothing’s going to happen to him, everything’s okay, he’s not hurt but it’s no use. My intuition is telling me there’s something very bad happening—

—and my heart gets caught in my throat when I turn onto the school’s street and see that the entire road is blocked by police cars and yellow crime scene tape.

Immediately, I yank the keys out of the ignition and jump out the car door, desperate to know more about what’s going on.

An officer approaches me. “Excuse me sir, you have to—”

“Officer, what’s happening?” I ask, the worry evident in my voice as I try to show respect.

“Sir, you need to stay back—”

I let out a frustrated sigh. “My boyfriend was in that building, he hasn’t been responding to my texts, I need to make sure that he’s alright!”

The officer bites his tongue. “What was your boyfriend’s name?”

“Miguel Rivera,” I respond instantly.

He inhales sharply. “We’ve been told that a 21-year old volunteer by that name has gone missing.”

No.

No, no, no, no, no.

This isn’t happening. It can’t be.

I hide my face in my hands as I walk slowly back to my car, hyperventilating as tears sting the corners of my eyes.

Dialing Gogo’s number, I hold the phone up to my ear and cough, choking on my own spit.

“What is it?”

I don’t want to believe the words coming out of my mouth. “Miguel’s missing.”

Almost instantaneously, she becomes more alert. “What? What do you mean?”

I gulp. “There’s…police cars and yellow crime scene tape around the school,” I manage to say. “An officer told me that…he’s missing.”

I hear her stand up. “Should we suit up?”

Pressing a hand against my forehead, the decision to form Big Hero 6 or not weighs heavily on my mind.

Eventually, I choke out a response: “What good would that do?”

“They’d probably let us onto the crime scene. We could rescue him faster,” she says.

I hop into the car and turn the keys in the ignition. “Okay then,” I say softly. “Suit up.”

Chapter Text

Nightmare

- Hiro –

A million emotions zap through me, generating electricity a mile a minute, making me bolt upright on my feet, alert and awake like never before. My heart is racing, and I’m sweating like a dog in a Chinese restaurant, but I don’t know why until I hear his voice.

HIRO! HIRO!

The terror in Miguel’s voice sends chills up my spine, and I bolt in the general direction of where the sound came from, determined to save him from whatever danger he’s defenseless against. Miguel keeps screaming my name, causing tears to sting at my eyes. This rat who’s hurting my love is going to die.

I can’t lose Miguel.

Adrenaline continues to pump through my veins as I bleed fury. My legs are screaming for me to take a break, but I could care less about myself. I need to save Miguel. I need to save Miguel. I need to save Miguel.

Losing Miguel would mean losing an entire future; decades of happiness as we dance together by the fireplace to our favorite songs. Years of hysterical laughter as we sit next to each other eating tamales, watching stand-up comedy on Netflix. Months of tears as we rewatch The Greatest Showman together. Weeks of studying languages by lamplight, quizzing each other with flashcards and fill-in-the-blank questions. Days of waking up every morning to the yellow sun, shining brightly as we hit snooze and hold each other close, not daring to let go. Hours of driving through the bright streets at night, having deep conversations about everything and anything. Minutes of screaming as we cling to each other, absolutely mortified, while watching horror movies with the lights out. Seconds of staring into each other’s eyes, as I admire every part of him, his face, his body, his personality, his talents, his voice, his soul.

I see my future with this dark-haired, chocolate-skinned musician. I see myself kissing him, losing myself in the taste of his lips. I see myself sculpting a diamond, one so precise and perfect it takes ten million tries to get it just right. I see myself getting down on one knee, holding the diamond, asking if he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I see myself raising beautiful children with him. I see myself growing old with him, spoiling the grandchildren and counting our blessings until the day we leave this cold, cruel world and spend eternity in paradise.

I continue to run at the speed of light as tears finally start rolling down my cheeks as the realization finally hits me.

I can’t live without Miguel Rivera.

HIRO! HELP ME, PLEASE!

My heart stops and sinks down to my oxygen-deprived legs as I finally see him, wrists and ankles tied up with rope, curled into a fetal position as a man wearing a kabuki mask physically abuses him, and I feel one thing and one thing only:
white, hot rage.

I start running again and raise my leg above my head to kick him in the neck, but the man catches my leg with one hand and twists it OW OW OW OW OW OW

I cry out in pain as he throws me against a wall and somehow I’m held there even though nothing is touching me anymore, some sort of invisible force is holding me at my neck, pinning me down on this wall
and I’m forced to watch
as the man in the kabuki
mask
takes a
gun
out
of
his
p o c k e t
and
puts a bullet through Miguel’s head

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

i’m SCREAMING i’m SCREAMING BEYOND THE TOP OF MY LUNGS I’M BLEEDING I CAN’T MOVE I CAN’T THINK I CAN’T DO ANYTHING BUT SCREAM AND PAIN PAIN PAIN ALL I FEEL IS PAIN ALL I CAN THINK IS PAIN I AM NOTHING BUT PAIN I CAN’T BREAK FREE I’M DEFENSELESS I CAN’T HELP HIM I CAN’T SAVE HIM I LOST HIM I LOST HIM I LOST HIM HE’S DEAD AND I AM PAIN I AM NOTHING BUT PAIN ALL I CAN DO IS SCREAM

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME

HE HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY FROM ME


“HIRO!”

I feel eight hands on my body; two on my left arm, two on my right arm, two on my shoulders, two on my legs. I see a face—a feminine face—a panicked feminine face staring down at me and her mouth is moving and it looks like she’s saying my name but I can’t tell because I’m SCREAMING

“HIRO! CALM DOWN!”

I freeze and let my vocal chords stop producing that horribly ear-piercing sound that could haunt anyone for the rest of their lives. My vision begins to clear, and I see the feminine face belongs to Honey Lemon, and her hands are on my knees, trying to stabilize me, and I realize the other pairs of hands must belong to Wasabi, Gogo and Fred and I breathe I breathe I breathe I try to calm down but that’s impossible because Miguel is dead he’s dead he’s dead he’s dead he’s dead

“HIRO! CAN YOU HEAR ME?”

I suddenly realize my cheeks are soaked with tears and I’m on a table with minimal clothing on—nothing but underwear and a pair of shorts exposing me to the cold air of whatever room I’m in and I open my mouth and I can only say two words the only two words on my mind the only two words I know to be true

He’s dead

He’s dead

“He’s dead.”

Honey’s eyes widen with panic panic panic panic panic panic panic “Who? Who’s dead?!”

Miguel

Miguel

“Miguel.”

The blonde shakes her head quickly. “No, no, no, no, no, he’s not dead—”

I start to scream again but this time it’s verbal not non-verbal and I don’t know what I’m screaming but I know I’m screaming I’m screaming I’m SCREAMING and I just want someone to save me from this HELL

Honey’s arms wrap around my body and she lets me sob into her shoulder and she’s saying words but I don’t know what those words are and I don’t know if they’re English or Spanish or Japanese but they’re words they’re human words they’re human words

And someone’s opening a door and now someone else is carrying me outside it’s probably wasabi because he’s the only one that’s heavier than me but I don’t care who it is as long as they’re going to carry me to my death because he’s dead he’s dead he’s dead

And I think I’m saying he’s dead? but I don’t know

and now I’m put on a chair and I look around and I think this is a classroom?

Honey lemon looks at me again and puts her hands on my cheeks and I stare into her eyes and she looks sad

So sad

and there’s one thing I say to her

“i want to die”

and the world goes black again


Damn, I have the worst fucking headache I have ever had in my life.

I groan in pain loudly as I sit upright, placing my hand on my forehead. I look around and realize I’m in a bed…but the pain is so strong I can’t be bothered to realize what room I’m in.

I decide to lie back down when the door busts open.

“Hiro?”

Fred’s voice enters the room, and I look to the left.

“Guys, he’s awake!”

Footsteps quickly follow, and the rest of Big Hero 6 enters the room and crowds around my bed.

“How are you feeling?” Gogo asks as she puts her hand on my forehead, then quickly pulls it back. “Fuck, he’s burning like a house fire!”

“I have a big-ass headache…and I’m hot,” I say slowly.

Honey Lemon grabs my left arm and pulls a plastic device out from my armpit and it occurs to me that it’s a thermometer. “Damn, one hundred and ten Fahrenheit,” she says, and looks down at me with a worried expression.

“Do you remember anything?” Wasabi asks. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

I close my eyes and try to retrace my steps. This morning—or, Monday morning, if it’s a new day—I slept in and Miguel was at the elementary school…then he went missing…then we suited up…and then he died.

Without thinking, I blurt, “He died.”

Honey Lemon gets closer to me. “Hiro, Miguel’s alive. I think you had a nightmare.”

“He shot Miguel…and I could only watch,” I think aloud.

“Hiro,” Honey says with more intensity. “You had a nightmare. Miguel is alive.”

I look her directly in her green eyes, wanting to believe her so badly. “How do you know?”

“Whoever kidnapped Miguel left a message behind at the school,” Gogo says as she hands me her phone turned down to minimal brightness. I take the large, black device in my hand and look at the vibrant screen. The wall has red markings on them…the same markings that I thought were blood…just before I blacked out.

I don’t realize I was saying what I was thinking out loud until Wasabi’s eyes widen. “Hiro, that was fake blood, intended to trick you. It wasn’t real!”

“Oh” is all I say. Relief washes over me.

“The kidnapper wouldn’t have left that message if Miguel was dead. And if he was dead, why would he take the corpse with him? His body wasn’t there,” Gogo says.

I look at the image again. “But…these are just random red markings. There’s no message here.”

The four exchange looks, and Honey Lemon says, “Hiro, you should probably get some rest.”

I give her a quizzical look, and ask a question I already know the answer to: “Why?”

“Normally, you would be able to decipher the markings in a heartbeat,” Wasabi says. “But you’re not thinking straight, you’re not healed yet.” He pauses. “You should get more rest.”

I swallow nervously. “But what if I have another nightmare?”

Honey Lemon caresses my face, making me feel like a little kid, reminding me of how she used to do that when I was fourteen. I would normally protest, but I’m in too much pain to care. “We’ll be here for you, Hiro.”

I sigh and decide there’s nothing else I can do to change their minds. It’s not worth arguing about. “…Okay. Thanks.”

She smiles and embraces me. “We love you, Hiro.”

I grin. “I love you all too.”

They turn away to leave the room, and I remember I have one last question. “Wait!”

All four turn around to look at me. “What?” they all ask in unison.

“Where am I?”

“Our underground hideout,” Fred responds enthusiastically. “Gogo brought over all the stuff she thought you’d need from your bedroom. It’s in that backpack.” He points to a backpack that I hadn’t noticed before, sitting directly next to the bed.

“Oh,” I say, suddenly recognizing the room and picking the backpack up. “Okay.”

And they’re gone.

I unzip the bag and start pulling out items that I’m not surprised to see. My laptop, my phone, two novels I’m in the middle of reading, The Greatest Showman DVD, my thick-ass notebook, my pencil case and a mini photo album.

The room is dark, so I can’t see if there’s anything left. I feel around the bottom of the bag, and my fingers land on a fabric that seems comfortingly familiar.

My heart races as I pull it out of the bag and I realize what it is.

Miguel’s sweater.

It’s extremely oversized, just the way he likes it. It’s black and has the Duolingo logo emblazoned across the chest area. I start to smile, remembering how much Miguel loves studying languages, especially on Duolingo. He always throws his hands up in the air triumphantly when he hits his point goal. His smile was so cute.

I start to cry as I roll the sweater up into a ball and stick my nose in it, craving his smell. He always smelled like chocolate.

I lie on my right side and curl up into a fetus, pulling the blankets over my head, yearning for the taste of his lips, the smell of his hair, the feeling of his hands running along my skin.

I want him so badly.

I need him.

Knowing he’s alive makes my heart soar, reassures me that everything might really be okay. It gives me confidence that my visions of the future are correct, that I might be able to spend the rest of my life with him.

“I love you,” I whisper and press a kiss to the sweater as if it were him.

Chapter Text

What Happened?

- Honey Lemon -

I’m booking it to SFIT as fast as I can now that I’m changed out of my super suit. I quickly arrive on the parking lot and begin heading for the back entrance. I swipe my card on the scanner, open the doors, and head into the nerd lab.

Hiro just fainted after he saw what he probably thought was Miguel’s blood. Wasabi and Fred are supposed to be back at the elementary school, taking care of Hiro and collecting evidence.

I’m heading towards the lab on Gogo’s command; she told me that the stress levels Hiro’s experiencing will likely result in a mental breakdown, and she instructed me to go to the nerd lab and create a safe formula that can knock Hiro out cold if necessary through a syringe. I don’t know if Gogo’s theory is correct, but I’m not taking any chances. I want to make sure he’s alright.

As I bust the door to my office open, I suddenly realize I don’t need to make a solution—there already is a solution. In the storage closet, there should be some mini bottles of ether that can knock Hiro out cold in a heartbeat.

I head for the closet as quickly as I can, praying that there’s nobody else in the building to think my behavior is suspicious. Looking around, watching all possible directions, there doesn’t seem to be anyone watching me, and I let out a sigh of relief as I enter the closet and head for the “E” section. (Wasabi was the one who insisted the school should reorganize the closet at the school board meeting.)

I take the syringe in my hand and store it in my pocket, making a mental note to keep it away from hot things as much as possible. Ether is extremely flammable.

My phone buzzes. I look at it and see Wasabi has sent a message:

[10:02] the police are clearing out of the school. theyre gonna let us have it until midnight so we can collect evidence and information about the kidnapper. hiro’s still unconscious…he kind of looks like he’s having a nightmare

I keep running as I shakily type out a reply:

[10:03] what do you mean he looks like he’s having a nightmare?? what is he doing? And do you know if gogo is back yet?

I place the phone back in my pocket and dart back to the school without feeling another vibration in my pocket.

***

I finally arrive back at the school, exhausted. I spot Wasabi and Fred in a classroom with large windows, and I head inside.

“How’s he doing?” I ask immediately.

“He’s stirring a lot, his breathing is labored, he’s sweating profusely to the point his shirt was soaked—we had to take it off him—and he was crying a little. All while unconscious,” Wasabi tells me. “We put him in the art classroom because it’s dark and quiet there.”

I take a deep breath. “And where’s Gogo?”

“She sent a text saying she’s on her way,” Fred answers.

“Okay,” I breathe, heading out the door. “I’m going to go check on Hiro. I’ll text you if anything bad is happening.”

They say “okay” in unison, and I abruptly stop when I realize I don’t know where I’m going.

“Where’s the art classroom?” I ask.

“Two lefts and a right,” Fred says.
I nod.

***

I tentatively place my hand on the doorknob and slowly open the door. I see Hiro curled up in a ball, head in his hands, shuddering.

I leave the door open and slowly approach him, careful not to wake him up. As I get close, I see he’s drenched in beads of sweat, like Wasabi had said. He has tears falling from his eyes, and they’re still coming. He has a fear-stricken look across his face, as if someone is forcing him to watch something horrible.

He looks terrible, and I hate seeing him like this.

I pull out my phone and text Wasabi:

[12:24] Still asleep. Sweating, crying, shuddering.

I get an instant response:

[12:24] Okay. Gogo just got back, so we’re all headed there right now.

[12:24] Okay

I put my phone away and mere seconds later, the rest of the team enters the room quietly. Each of them takes turns observing Hiro. Gogo is adamant about her theory that a mental breakdown is imminent, and based on his condition and how easily he fainted, I’m starting to think that’s true.

“If he bolts awake screaming,” Gogo whispers to all of us, “grab his limbs and hold him down. He’s probably going to want to break something. Honey, you grab his legs, Wasabi and Fred, you grab his arms, and I’ll grab his—”

As if on cue, Hiro’s breathing suddenly increases at a scary rate. Wasabi, Gogo and Fred stand behind him, and I stand in front, ready to grab his limbs if he suddenly wakes up—
—and he does.

Hiro sits straight up, and holy shit his screams are so ear-piercing and mortifying that they distract me from my thoughts and make me want to cry. But I know I have to get my shit together—I put my hands down on his knees and try to get his attention by yelling his name.

“HIRO! HIRO, CALM DOWN!”

After a few attempts, he finally stops screaming and looks into my eyes. The sight is heartbreaking; he looks torn apart, completely broken, a fragile piece of glass shattered into itsy-bitsy tiny pieces beyond repair.

“He’s dead,” he whispers after a short silence.

I narrow my eyebrows; almost positive he’s talking about Miguel. I make a mental note to commend Gogo for her foresight. “Who? Who’s dead?”

Three seconds pass—

“Miguel.”

“No, no, no, no, no, he’s not dead—”

Hiro starts flailing his arms around and screaming again so quickly it’s comparable to an excellent jumpscare, and we’re suddenly all holding his body down again. He’s screaming short sentences like “he killed Miguel” and “I saw him” and “he shot him” and “I want to kill him, I’m going to kill him” and my heart cracks into a million little pieces. Hiro’s like my little brother, I can’t stand seeing him like this.

I’m glad Tadashi didn’t have to.

Instinctively, I wrap my arms around his body and try my best to exert all my love into this single hug, and I whisper, “It’s going to be okay. He’s not dead. He’s not dead. Everything’s going to be okay.” He sobs into my shoulder.

Gogo whispers something in Wasabi’s ear, and he picks him up and I let go. Fred opens the door, and now we’re following Wasabi into another classroom that’s not as dark. I take the ether syringe in my hand, acutely aware that I might need it soon.
Wasabi places Hiro in a chair and I stand in front of him, caressing his face, wishing he didn’t feel this way.
His tear-filled eyes look into mine and he whispers one sentence: “I want to die.”

I swallow a lump in my throat as I look up at Gogo for help. She mouths the words “knock him out.”

I take the syringe out of my pocket and inject the ether into his arm. And just like that, he’s out.

***

We’ve spent the entire rest of the day in our underground hideout, just below Fred’s house. We put Hiro in one of the spare bedrooms, and we’ve spent the last few hours mulling over the evidence we found at the elementary school. Audio and video recordings, fingerprints, Miguel’s phone, and of course, the biggest piece of evidence: a secret message left by the kidnapper.

We had Baymax scan the message, and it was written with fake blood from some Halloween costume kit. Most likely it was used to scare Hiro. If that was their goal, hot damn did it work.

Gogo recognized the red markings immediately as sloppily written hiragana. The hiragana she was able to read was “かぶき (kabuki)” which left a really bad taste in our mouths.

We associate the word “kabuki” with a certain man whose name we do not speak of.

I sit at the kitchen table with Wasabi, trying to figure out what to do.

“So…” he says quietly. “Callaghan kidnapped Miguel.”

I cringe. “We don’t say his name here—”

“I think we should set aside that rule for now, Honey Lemon,” he exclaims a bit angrily.

I sigh. “Okay. For now.”

Fred and Gogo enter the room. “How long has Hiro been asleep?”

“About two hours,” Wasabi says. “He seems to be doing better.”

Gogo smiles while popping a bubble made of gum. “He better be. I put Miguel’s sweater in his backpack.”

“You don’t think that would bring up bad memories?” Wasabi asks.

“No,” Gogo says. “I don’t think so.”

“So, what do we do now?” I put my hands in my lap.  “The code said kabuki. That tells us the identity of the kidnapper, and nothing else.”

“Not necessarily,” Wasabi says. “It might tell us where he is. He was released from jail two years ago, was he not?”

“Right,” I say.

“And when he was released from jail, he went to live with Abigail before moving into a house of his own.”

“Uh-huh.”

“So, the only logical thing would be to go to his house. What else are we supposed to do?”

“That’s too obvious,” Gogo mutters, staring off into space. “Hiro might be able to find an answer to this.”

“Is he awake?” Fred says.

“I can go check,” Gogo says as she stands up and opens the door. A smile emerges on her face. “Hiro?”

I hear a faint “hi” from the other side of the door.

“Do you still want to rest? How are you feeling?”

“I’m doing better,” he says. “Thanks.”

Gogo says nothing as she closes the door behind her.

“I think he’s doing good. For now.”

I sigh and stare at the floor. “What if we don’t find him? What if Hiro's heart remains broken?”

“We’re going to find him,” Gogo says confidently. “Stop being pessimistic. You’re scaring me.”

I grin. “Do you think it’s time we go to sleep too?”

“Yeah,” the others agree in unison, and we all get up to make our way to the other bedrooms.

Chapter Text

– Hiro –

I dream I’m with Miguel.

I dream his warm hands are running along my bare back as he presses soft yet hungry kisses to my neck.

“Hiro,” he whispers. “Save me.”

I close my eyes. “What?”

“Hiro,” he repeats. “Save me.”

I turn around to face Miguel. He has tears streaming down his face as he whispers, “Why didn’t you save me?”

A man wearing a mask suddenly appears in the doorway, holding a knife in his hand. The last thing I hear is his scream before the man puts the knife through his heart.

I jolt awake in bed, screaming. I wonder how many times I’ve done that this week.

I look around, and notice I’m in the same bed as I was the last time I woke up. Sunlight shines through the window, illuminating the room in a warm glow. I’m clutching Miguel’s Duolingo sweater close to my chest. There’s a backpack next to the bed. My phone is on the wireless charging pad.

I drop Miguel’s sweater and pick my phone up. The time is 9:20 am.

My hands wipe away the remaining tears on my cheeks. I don’t need to cry now. He’s not dead.

As I put in my earbuds, I decide to open up Spotify and hit Shuffle on a playlist titled “miguel’s favorites.” Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan begins to play. The familiar rhythm calms me down as happy memories of him dancing in the kitchen to this song come rushing back.

My legs idly take me to the kitchen. It’s been a while since I’ve been in our underground hideout—almost two months—but I remember the layout of it like it was yesterday.

“Hiro?”

I turn around and see Wasabi standing behind me.

“Oh, hi,” I mumble, rubbing my face. “Morning.”

“Are you doing okay? I heard screaming.”

I sigh and decide on a simple explanation. “Yeah. Nightmare.”

“Oh.”

An awkward moment of silence passes before he speaks up again. “We’re planning to leave the hideout by noon today. Fred and I got a bunch of evidence at the elementary school that we want to show you.”

He says this as I grab the box of Cheez-Its from the pantry and shove handfuls into my mouth. “Okay.”

“But there’s another problem.”

I abruptly stop chewing. Uneasiness settles in my stomach. “What?”

Wasabi clears his throat. “Your Aunt Cass knows.”

Without realizing, I drop the box of Cheez-Its. “Shit! How did she find out?”

“Gogo went to your room to get the stuff that she gave you in that backpack. Your aunt was home.”

I let out a frustrated sigh as I pick the Cheez-Its back up. “Dammit.”

“Guess you’ll have to talk to her about it today,” he says.

“Yeah.” I place the Cheez-Its back in the pantry and sit down on the couch, knees scrunched up to my chin.

 Honey Lemon walks into the room. “Good morning,” she says with a gentle smile on her face. She takes a seat on the sofa next to me. “You doing okay?”

“I’m fine,” I tell her with a minuscule note of irritation in my voice.

“Sounds like you had a nightmare?”

“Yeah, but I’m fine,” I respond without looking at her, trying to get it across that I really don’t want to talk about it right now.

She seems to get the message as she whispers “ok” and walks away.

I sigh. So much has happened in the past two days, and it’s hard to take it all in like this.

Gogo and Fred enter the room and ask me how I’m doing. Before I can say anything, Honey Lemon answers for me. “He’s fine.”

They exchange looks with each other and say nothing to me.

Mr. Saxobeat abruptly stops playing in my earbuds. Confused, I look down at my phone and tap the screen a few times but nothing happens. The power button doesn’t do anything either.

Did the battery die? No, it couldn’t have—I charged it overnight. I took it off the wireless charging pad this morning…and then I put in my earbuds—

Wasabi interrupts my thoughts. “This is so weird. My phone just shut off for no reason.”

“Mine did too,” I tell him, turning around to face him.

Honey Lemon takes her phone out of her pocket and fiddles with the power button for a few seconds. “Mine isn’t doing anything either!”

Gogo and Fred do the same, and their phones also fail to power on.

“Do you think the batteries are dead?” Fred suggests.

“No, I charged it this morning,” I say.

“So did I,” Gogo says.

Though nobody says it, we’re all thinking it.

The kidnapper did this.

“We need to get the hell out of here,” Wasabi says.

“Agreed.”

***

Within thirty minutes, we had all our stuff together and left the hideout. We agreed to meet at the Lucky Cat Cafe in two hours, which should give me enough time to figure out what happened to our phones.

Everyone gave me their phone and their charger so I could analyze it. My pockets are heavy from the weight of the five smartphones.

When I arrive at the café, I use the residential entrance. “Aunt Cass?” I ask loudly.

She appears almost instantly, pacing back and forth in the kitchen. “Hiro!” Aunt Cass immediately runs over to my side of the room and hugs me.

“Hi Aunt Cass,” I whisper. “So…”

“I know,” she mutters.

She pulls away from the embrace and I give her a nervous smile.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

I look at her in surprise. “That’s what you want to know?”

She looks at me like I’m the dumbest person alive. “Yeah, I do.”

I sigh. “Because I didn’t want you to worry. Big Hero 6 was formed when I was 14. If you found out I was a superhero at that age, you wouldn’t have ever let me leave the house again. Then I turned 18, but I still didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to worry about me. And besides…you’re not that good at keeping secrets.”

She bites her lip and looks down. “Yeah, you’re right.”

“So you have to promise you won’t tell anyone,” I say.

Aunt Cass nods. “Promise.”

I run a hand across my face. “Thanks.”

She puts her hand on my face. “Are you okay?”

An unidentified man kidnapped my boyfriend. PTSD is kicking in and giving me severe night terrors. I’ve spent the last twenty-two hours having a mental and emotional breakdown. Our phones will not power on. “I’m fine.”

“You’re really sure?”

I bite the inside of my cheek. “Just don’t want to talk about it right now.”

Aunt Cass nods wordlessly. I offer her a small smile.

“Gotta go up to my room,” I tell her, making my way up the stairs.

 

I step into my childhood bedroom. It’s the same as I left it the last time I entered this room.

I take all the devices and chargers out of my pockets and lay them down on my bed in front of me. Honey Lemon has a OnePlus 6, Wasabi has an LG V40, Gogo has an iPhone X, and Fred and I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 9. All of them refuse to turn on.

I run through a million different possibilities in my head. The problem isn’t isolated to Android devices—Gogo has an iPhone—so it’s not the operating system. It can’t be the battery, as we had all charged our devices the night before.

I analyze the charging cords. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. None of them are damaged in any way.

Then, it hits me like a brick: the Wi-Fi network.

My mind flashes back to a story I had read about Belkin routers containing a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to access devices connected to the Wi-Fi network. Once access is gained, they could do anything from remotely control the device to brick it with a single command line.

The hideout uses a Belkin router.

(A/N: This news story is fake. I made it up for the purposes of this fanfic. Don’t freak out if you use a Belkin router, you’re safe. [Or at least, you should be.])

“Shit!” I whisper under my breath. The kidnapper bricked our phones. “Shit, shit, shit!

Then, another problem hits me: my laptop.

“SHIT!” I yell, lunging for the backpack placed at the doorway containing my laptop. As I open it, a wave of intense relief washes over me as I see the lock screen appear and the words “Looking for you…” at the top. It quickly recognizes my face and opens the desktop.

My laptop never connected to the Wi-Fi network.

I close the device and place it back in my backpack, then quickly head back downstairs. “Aunt Cass?”

“Yes, Hiro?”

“I need to use your phone.”

She pulls the pink-cased device out of her apron pocket and hands it to me. I quickly find the phone app and place a call to Fred’s house.

Heathcliff’s familiar voice picks up. Without giving him a chance to say anything, I say, “I need to talk to Fred!”

Two-second pause. “Who is this?”

I groan in frustration. “It’s Hiro!”

Another two-second pause. “Master Frederick,” I hear. “It’s Hiro.”

Fred speaks. “Hiro, what’s up?”

“I found out what’s wrong,” I say. “Get the team in your house within an hour.”

“You can’t just tell me here?”

I bite my tongue. “Not safe.”

Fred says nothing before hanging up. I hand Aunt Cass’s phone back to her and leave the café as quickly as I can.

*          *          *

Not fifteen minutes have gone by before we’re all together in Fred’s bedroom. I hand everyone their phones and chargers back as I explain what I’ve found.

“All our phones were bricked,” I tell them, “because of the Wi-Fi network in our hideout just below this room.”

The color drains from all four of their faces, but they say nothing as if they want me to continue.

So I do. “Belkin Wi-Fi routers have a security flaw that allows hackers to gain complete access to any device connected to the Wi-Fi network. Whoever did this was able to render our phones completely useless with a single command. So that leaves us with one question.”

“Who did this?” Gogo says, finishing my sentence.

I take a seat on the sofa with the rest of them. “It was the kidnapper, wasn’t it?”

Honey Lemon’s eyes dart in my direction. “We know better than that, actually.”

I raise an eyebrow. “What? What do you mean?”

Honey purses her lips and exchanges a look of hesitation with Wasabi as if she’s unsure of whether or not she should be telling me this information, which only makes me more curious. “Do you know who kidnapped—” My throat suddenly becomes very dry at the thought of his name. The “m” sound dies on my throat and I swallow.

 “Come with me,” Honey Lemon says, and she takes my hand and we leave Fred’s house.

 

“Where are we going?” I only bother to ask this question once we’re actually in her car.

“The elementary school.” Three words that cut slits down my spine, yet I stay quiet and stare out the window.

She seems to notice my discomfort and takes my hand in hers. “Hey. It’s gonna be okay.”

I clear my throat. “Yeah. I—I know. Just… a lot of bad memories.”

“What do you remember from the day you fainted?”

I slump back in my seat, realizing I hadn’t exactly taken the time to reflect on that. Thinking out loud, I tell her, “Well, Miguel went missing for ten minutes, then I went to the elementary school and was told Miguel was missing, then we suited up, then we entered the school and I saw fake blood and fainted.”

“Okay,” she says. “What else?”

“When I fainted, I had a nightmare, but I didn’t realize it was a nightmare because it felt so real.”

“Tell me about it.”

I take a deep breath. “I woke up, and I think I was in some sort of warehouse…and I was super energetic. Adrenaline was rushing through me, and I heard Miguel screaming for help. So I started running like I never ran before, and I felt like I was running forever. My legs hurt so much but I refused to stop so I kept running. Eventually, I finally found Miguel, and there was a guy wearing a mask that shot him in the head.”

“Is that it?”

“Everything’s really foggy after that,” I say. “I remember someone saying ‘he’s dead’ and I’m pretty sure that was me, and I was talking about Miguel. Then I remember blacking out again, and then I was in the hideout bedroom.”

Honey Lemon appears deep in thought.

“What really happened?” I ask.

“After you fainted, the police gave us the entire school until midnight so we could collect information. Wasabi and Fred took care of you, Gogo went to the café to get your stuff in the backpack, and I went to SFIT to get a syringe of ether.”

“Ether?”

“It knocks you out. Gogo said that you were headed for a mental breakdown and she told me to get something from the lab that can knock you unconscious if needed.”

I stare down at my lap. “Oh.”

“So, I got back to the elementary school, and you were in the art classroom, on a table, shivering and crying. Then everyone else came in, and shortly after, you woke up screaming at the top of your lungs. We had to pin you down to the table, and that’s when you kept saying “he’s dead.” Eventually, we had to knock you out again because you wouldn’t calm down. We spent the rest of the day analyzing the crime scene, and we headed back to the hideout around 9 pm.”

“Oh,” I say again, unsure of what else to say.

We arrive at the elementary school shortly after the conversation ends. I take deep breaths and close my eyes as we walk down the hallways, eventually reaching the area where I fainted a few days ago. Honey Lemon continues to hold my hand as we walk.

“Here we are,” she says softly, and I find myself staring at the wall with the red markings.

It’s not real it’s not real it’s not real it’s not real it’s not real it’s not real

I rub my eyes and look at the red markings again, and suddenly realize they look familiar. My heart stops when I recognize three Hiragana characters:

Ka – bu – ki

“Kabuki.”

Anger, confusion, sadness—too many emotions course through me at the same time and I stop breathing.

Honey Lemon squeezes my hand. “Are you okay?” But her words don’t register.

I let go of her hand and turn around, wordlessly leaving the building, not daring to look back.

Chapter Text

10 | Abigail

- Hiro -

If Person A murders Person B because Person B kidnapped Person A’s lover, does that make it right? If a superhero murders their opponent to avenge their boyfriend, is that okay? If someone uses a Ouija board to contact their dead brother for advice, will that make using a Ouija board excusable?

These are the questions I contemplate as I sit down on a park bench, frozen solid. I can’t do anything. I can’t blink. I can’t walk. I can’t scream. I can’t cry.

All I can do is think, and I’m thinking about murder.

Hiro!” I hear Honey Lemon’s voice calling my name behind me, but I don’t turn around. I already know what she’s going to say, so I keep staring out into space, hoping that the universe can take me now instead of putting me through another day of this hell, a world where Miguel has been taken away from me--

Hiro!” Honey finally reaches the bench I’m sitting on and breathlessly takes a seat next to me, putting her hand on my shoulder. I resist the urge to shrug her off me. “Hiro, listen--”

“I’m done listening.” To my surprise, I’m able to speak. “I want to do something.”

Honey, still catching her breath, asks between pants, “What? What do you want to do?”

The two syllables that leave my mouth sound dry. “Murder.”

Honey’s eyes go as big as pie plates. “No, no, Hiro, we can’t kill Callaghan--”

“Why not?” I insist, turning my head slightly so I can look her in the eye. “What else do you think would work? Five years in jail wasn’t enough. Saving his daughter’s life didn’t do it. What other plans do you have for me? What else can we possibly do that will stop him from taking away everyone I love?”

The blonde opens her mouth to say something, but no sound comes out. She closes it and stares at the ground for a while, as if, for once in her life, she has nothing to say.

“That’s what I thought,” I say coldly as I turn my head away and begin staring into nothingness once again.

Many moments pass before Honey speaks again. “You’re scaring me, Hiro,” she tells me, voice cracking. “You really are. I don’t want you to think about killing someone--even if he did kidnap your boyfriend--”

“And kill my brother,” I add, voice still monotonous.

She sniffs. “And kill your brother,” she agrees. “You should never want to end someone’s life. This isn’t like you. You’re not thinking straight. You’re not okay.”

“Oh, you’re picking up on that?” I say sarcastically, my voice gradually rising in anger. “Of course, I’m not fucking okay! Look at what’s happened to us over the past week!”

She sighs in frustration and runs a hand across her face, staying silent. When she says nothing for two minutes, I ask, “Do you know where he is?”

“No,” she responds without hesitation. “None of us have any clue.”

I stare at Honey Lemon’s face a for a few short seconds until I tell her, “I might know someone who does.”


 I’ve never used a phonebook to contact someone in my life.

We’ve returned to the cafe. My finger runs down my aunt’s yellow pages, scanning the surnames starting with “C” until I reach “Callaghan, Abigail.” Her ten-digit phone number is printed in tiny text next to her name.

“Do you have the pencil and paper ready?” I ask Honey Lemon, who’s standing behind me.

Honey sighs. “Hiro, I want to make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons.”

I turn my head around to look at her and raise an eyebrow. “Is saving my boyfriend’s life not the right reason?”

“You know damn well what I mean, smart-ass.”

“Okay, geez ,” I say, holding up two hands in defense. “Stop cursing so much. You usually don’t.”

The blonde rolls her eyes and looks at the paper in front of her again. “I wouldn’t be cursing so much if I wasn’t so pissed at you,” she points out. “Okay, what’s Abigail’s number?”

I look at the phonebook again and slowly read off each digit, one-by-one. Honey hands me the paper when she’s finished writing the phone number.

“Hiro, promise me one thing.”

“What is it?”

“That you won’t kill Callaghan.”

I purse my lips and avert my eyes for a good three seconds. “I’ll try not to” is the only thing I tell her before turning around and heading towards Aunt Cass.

“Aunt Cass?”

“Yes, Hiro?”

“I need to borrow your phone again.”

“What happened to yours?”

“Long story.”

She hands me her phone again and I pull the piece of paper with Abigail’s number out of my pocket, dialing the digits and pressing the green call button.

My hands shake as I hold the phone up to my ear, listening to the phone ring four times until

“Hello?”

Suddenly, I want to cry.

I clear my throat. “Abigail?”

“Who is this?”

“It’s Hiro Hamada,” I say, voice breaking. “I need to know where your father is.”


 - Honey Lemon -

I bite my tongue to keep the tears from spilling all over my face as I walk back to Fred’s house. I’ve never been more scared for Hiro’s mental health.

I’m petrified he’ll do something awful.

As I arrive at Fred’s front door, I’m one breath away from breaking down into sobs. I ring the doorbell, pinching myself, trying to hold myself together. But as soon as Fred opens the door, I can’t continue the façade any longer and I shatter into a million pieces. The stress, worries, anxiety and fear all bottled up from the past few days has finally caught up with me.

Fred leads me back to his bedroom and I take a seat on the sofa, still unable to regain control of myself.

“What happened?” Wasabi asks.

I try to clear my throat and five choked words leave my mouth. “He wants to kill Callaghan.” I rapidly blink and dart my eyes around the room in an attempt to prevent more tears streaming down my face.

“This is exactly what happened when Tadashi died in the fire,” Gogo points out, surprisingly calm. “He almost killed him. But you put Baymax’s healthcare chip back inside him before he could launch his rocket fist.”

“It just scares me,” I add once I finally have my breathing under control. “He’s calling Abigail right now to find Callaghan.”

Gogo narrows her eyebrows and stares into my soul as if she’s deep in thought. “I’ll talk him out of it.” Without waiting for a response, she shoves her useless phone and charger in her sweater pockets and begins to leave. “Anyone is welcome to come along.”

“I’ll go with you, Gogo,” Wasabi says.

“I’ll come, too,” I add.

“I gotta talk to my parents about the internet,” Fred says. “See you guys later.”

We catch up to Gogo, who’s already out the door, headed for his aunt’s cafe.


 “Cass?”

Gogo wastes no time searching for Hiro’s aunt as soon as we enter the building. The alarm in her voice alerts Cass, who whirls around in confusion before her eyes settle on us.

“Gogo, hi!”

“Where’s Hiro?”

“Not sure,” he responds. “He left a short while ago.”

Gogo frustratedly mutters a curse under her breath. “Okay, thanks,” she says as she turns around to head out the door.

“Guys, wait!” Cass’ voice stops us before we can leave. “What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” Wasabi asks.

“Why is Hiro so...depressed?”

I sigh. “The past few days have been...pretty rough, to put it lightly.”

Gogo rolls her eyes and groans. “ Ugh , don’t sugarcoat it.” She casually takes a seat at one of the tables and proceeds recalls the horrifying week we’ve all had. “After Hiro and Miguel left the date we set up for them, they started dating. Next morning, Miguel went to that disabled kids’ elementary school to volunteer again, and then he was kidnapped. We all went to the school, and then Hiro fainted. Then he woke up and had an emotional breakdown. Then all our phones broke because the kidnapper hacked into Fred’s Wi-Fi network. Then Honey Lemon told Hiro that Callaghan kidnapped Miguel and now we don’t know where he is.”

It disturbs me, how casually and coolly she delivers this information. It’s like she doesn’t feel any emotion at all. I make a mental note to talk to her about that later.

Cass looks taken aback at Gogo’s words. Her jaw has dropped to the floor and her eyes are wide. She takes a deep breath, as if still trying to process everything. After a moment, she talks. “So Miguel’s missing?”

“Yep,” Gogo confirms in a matter-of-fact tone.

“And you don’t know where he is?”

“No, we don’t,” Gogo says. “We thought he was with you. That’s why we’re here.”

Cass takes a deep breath, and exhales. “When did you last see him?”

“A little while ago,” I tell her. “We found Abigail Callaghan’s phone number, he used your phone to call her, and then I left.”

The brunette woman opens her mouth to say something, but is interrupted by the sound of a jingling bell coming from the door. “Hi, guys.”

I whirl around in relief, recognizing his voice. “Hiro!” we all exclaim in unison, standing up.

“Where the hell did you go?” I ask, unafraid to express my frustration.


 - Hiro -

“Who is this?”

“It’s Hiro Hamada,” I say, voice breaking. “I need to know where your father is.”

Five seconds pass before all I hear is Abigail saying, “Dah... di, di, dit. Di, dah... dit. Di, dit. Dah... di, dit. Dah... dah... dit. Dit.” Then the call ends.

What the hell? She must’ve meant to send me some sort of message by making those noises. Dah, di, di, dit. Di, dah, dit. Di, dit. Dah, di, dit. Dah, dah, dit. Dit. I tap the rhythm on my leg, hoping an idea will come to me.

I continue tapping the weird dah-di-dit song on my leg when it occurs to me that each “dah” is followed by a pause that was just a beat too long before the next sound is said, as if it’s supposed to last for a moment longer.

Then, the answer suddenly slaps me across the face and everything clicks: Morse code.

The ‘dah’s, ‘dit’s and ‘di’s are vocal representations of long beeps and short beeps. I read the Wikipedia article about morse code during one of my 4am fever-dream-phases. I begin tapping the rhythm on my leg, paying close attention and attempting to recall the morse code chart I saw on the article.

Dah, di, di, dit . B.

Di, dah, dit . R.

Di, dit . I.

Dah, di, dit. D.

Dah, dah, dit. G.

Dit. E.

B-R-I-D-G-E.

Abigail wants me to meet her at the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Honey!” I exclaim, scanning the room for her, but she’s nowhere to be found. Weird.

I decide to head out the door without her, grabbing my car keys out of my jeans’ pocket so I can drive to the Golden Gate Bridge.

As I drive on the road headed for the Golden Gate Bridge, I see a woman waving her hands at me. Even though it’s been seven years, I recognize her face instantly. She hasn’t aged at all. I pull over to the side of the road and step out of the car.

“Okay,” I say, unwilling to waste time on casual conversation. “Why did you want to meet here?”

“In case my phone was tapped or something,” she responds without hesitating. “I’m a paranoid person.”

I sigh. “So then you know why I want to talk to you?”

She nods. “You think my father is responsible for the kidnapping of your boyfriend. Miguel, right?”

“Yeah. Am I correct?”

Abigail pauses. “Yes.”

“And how do you know this?”

“My father periodically visits my house from time to time. Normally we have coffee and watch a movie. When he left, a USB drive had slipped out of his pocket.” She pulls said flash drive out of her coat pocket, handing it to me. “He still doesn't know I have it.”

I examine the tiny green device. “What's stored on here?”

“All the data that was on Big Hero 6’s phones,” she says, “and all the audio files and videos they took of you six without your knowledge.”

The hairs on my neck rise. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“He was spying on you. All of it is on there. Y'know, that blind date Honey and Gogo set up for you two was kind of a miracle for my father. He got all the information he could've possibly asked for. It was like it was handed to him on a silver platter. You said Honey Lemon’s phone was a One Plus 6, which made it easy for them to hijack it, especially because it was connected to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi network. They were able to access all her photos, videos, messages, calls, all of it.”

I run a hand across my face, disbelieving and disgusted. “Unbelievable.”

“And your phone was connected to the network, too,” Abigail says. “So he was able to get into your texts, too. And he found a message that Miguel sent you shortly after he moved in that included the location of the elementary school he volunteers at. And here’s the thing--when he hijacked your phones, their access to your information doesn’t end when you disconnect from the Wi-Fi network. Once your data’s been accessed, you can’t hide it again. So he was able to see that text message that Miguel sent you the next morning explaining why he left early. It was easy to find where he was.”

As she talks, a deeply disturbing thought crosses my mind. “Wait,” I say. “You said he hijacked our phones because they were connected to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi network?”

Abigail nods.

“...So he was in the restaurant, with us --?”

“Yes,” Abigail says. “He was in the restaurant while you were on the blind date.”

I think I’m going to be sick.

Abigail looks around her as if someone’s watching. “I should go,” she says. “It’s only a matter of time before my father sees us here.”

I begin to internally panic. “Your dad can see us?”

She shakes her head. “I don't know that for sure, but you should be prepared for anything. If you need any more information, call me again.”

I nod as my head begins to ache. “Okay. Thanks.”

I head back to my car, trying to hide the pain I'm in. As I climb into the driver's seat, I bite my lip and blink tears away. A lump forms in my throat as I turn the keys in the ignition, and by the time I’m on the road again, the tears are freely streaming down my face.


As I enter the cafe, crying now ceased, I see Wasabi, Gogo, Honey, and Aunt Cass talking about something at a table. Aunt Cass has a shocked expression on her face as if someone just delivered terrible news. When I open the door, the bells jingle, alerting them to my arrival. “Hi guys,” I say awkwardly, hoping no one can hear the tears in my voice.

Honey Lemon spins around and breathes an angry sigh of relief. “Hiro! Where the hell did you go?”

“I went to see Abigail,” I tell them. “We might be able to find Callaghan.”

“How?” Gogo asks.

I nod towards the stairs. “Come with me. I’ve got a lot of things I want you to see.”