The first time Tadashi ends up sitting inside a soul bond specialist’s office is when he’s six years old and Hiro is still a tiny baby, curled up in his mother’s arms.
Tadashi doesn’t really know why he’s there but he sits and waits patiently while the adults talk, just like his mother told him to. He’s content to just sit there, swinging his legs beneath him, sitting by his mother and Hiro’s side.
He looks over at Hiro’s tiny face and can’t help but feel a burst of warmth in his chest. His little brother is sleeping so contently and he passes the time staring at Hiro’s relaxed face.
When it’s time to go, he tries to ask his mother what happened, but his mother just shushes him and tells him he’ll get his answers when he’s ready for it.
They get ice cream on the way home, and the entire thing is pushed to the back of Tadashi’s mind.
Tadashi doesn't end up getting his answers.
He figures out later that they were at a bond specialist and what soul bonds are but he never gets the opportunity to ask his mother why they were there. He’ll never get the opportunity to, either.
His parents pass away when Hiro is three years old and after that, Tadashi doesn’t have the time to spend worrying about soul bonds as the two of them become orphans.
Tadashi worries for Hiro, who’s so young that Tadashi doesn’t know if he understands the situation.
They meet Aunt Cass, who generously takes them in and lets them live with her in her cafe.
Tadashi’s always sure to be polite and well behaved just like his mother would’ve wanted him to be until Aunt Cass tells him that it’s okay, he can be comfortable around her.
Seeing Hiro cry, though, when Aunt Cass tries to explain that he can’t see his mother and father right now, and that no, he can’t see them later either, is one of the worst moments Tadashi has ever experienced.
Not being able to do anything to make Hiro stop crying, Tadashi can’t help but feel useless.
Hiro’s face is turning red with the amount that he’s crying and he won’t let Aunt Cass pick him up and soothe him. It’s up to Tadashi, he thinks, to make Hiro calm down.
He gently approaches his brother who, even though he pushed aside all of Aunt Cass’ attempts, lets him get into his space easily.
Tadashi wraps his arms around Hiro’s small shoulders and squeezes tightly.
“It’s okay,” he says. “Don’t cry, Hiro.”
Hiro’s cries being to go quieter but there are still big fat tears rolling down his face.
“We won’t be able to see mama and papa anymore,” Tadashi continues and Hiro’s about to burst out crying again, “but they’ll be able to see us!”
Hiro just looks at Tadashi, cheeks still wet from his tears.
“They’ll always be looking down on us and making sure we’re all fine,” Tadashi says, and he’s trying not to cry himself. “No matter what they’ll look out for us.”
Hiro’s completely stopped crying now and is just focused on Tadashi’s words.
“And no matter what,” Tadashi says, tears finally spilling down his cheeks, “they’re always be in here.” He points to Hiro’s heart and his own, and the tears he’s tried to stop and now flowing freely.
“Don’t cry,” Hiro says, attempting to wipe at Tadashi’s cheeks with his short, little fingers. “Don’t cry.”
Looking up at Aunt Cass, he can see her crying as well.
“We’re okay,” Tadashi says, “we’ll be okay.”
Keeping an arm around Hiro, he reaches an arm out to Aunt Cass too.
She kneels down besides them and envelops them into a hug. “We’re okay,” she says. “We’re together. We’ll always be together. And we’ll be okay.”
Surrounded by the warmth of his brother Hiro and Aunt Cass, for the first time since the accident, Tadashi can’t help but feel like they’ll be fine.
Middle school is different to what Tadashi expects and just when he’s finally getting used to it, he only has a year left before he has to go off to high school.
As Hiro was growing up, they found out that he was a genius. Tadashi always knew that Hiro was special and finding out that Hiro was special to everyone, not just to him, made him feel extremely proud and only a tiny bit jealous.
It was nice though, because now Tadashi had someone who he could build inventions with and test them out. Hiro was his best friend, and he wasn’t afraid or embarrassed for saying so.
Since Hiro was so intelligent though, he was able to skip a few— a lot of grades. He skipped enough grades that Tadashi often saw Hiro walking around the hall on the way between classes, so young compared to all the other middle schoolers.
He knew that students could be ruthless, so he always kept an eye on Hiro and made sure that no one was causing him trouble.
One afternoon, Tadashi’s called back by his English teacher, asking him whether he can tutor a struggling student. Tadashi’s listening intently to his teacher’s words when out the door behind his teacher, he sees one of his friends jumping around trying to get his attention.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” his teacher is saying, “and of course you’ll get extra credit.”
Tadashi’s trying to figure out what his friend is trying to mouth at him, and when he finally realises Hiro’s in trouble, his teacher is passing him the tutoring sheet to fill out and bring back to him.
“Thank you, sir!” Tadashi says, eager to get out of the room. “I’ll definitely get back to you.”
He’s out the door before his teacher can say another word and going in the direction that his friend pointed him to.
He ends up behind the science building, running towards where there are three students surrounding Hiro.
One of them has his hand around Hiro’s neck while another has Hiro’s backpack and is unceremoniously emptying it out of the floor.
The leader of the group is just watching it all unfold.
Hiro’s glaring at the leader and Tadashi can feel his anger rising.
Then the student with his hand around Hiro’s neck tightens it and Tadashi can see Hiro’s face flinch in pain.
He can’t hear anything that they’re saying but he doesn't even care, he’s running at full speed and he’s just so angry.
“Hey!” he shouts out as he gets closer. “What do you think you’re doing?”
All the attention of the bullies are on Tadashi now. He can see the one holding Hiro tighten his grip.
He doesn’t even know what he’s doing anymore. These guys are so much taller and stronger compared to him but all he knows is that he has to get Hiro away from them.
In a fit of rage, he runs at full speed and tackles the leader to the ground. Tadashi punches him in the face but thats the only punch he lands as he’s pulled off by the other two guys.
They’re away from Hiro, though, so he can’t say he regrets it. He doesn’t regret it even as he’s held back by the two guys and the leader punches him again and again. The punch Tadashi landed had made the guy’s face bleed.
At least he has that to reassure himself as he’s punched repeatedly. He can hear Hiro calling out his name in the background but it’s secondary to the pain he’s feeling. It hurts so much.
All at once the punching stops and he’s dropped to the ground.
Looking up from his swollen eye he can see the friend who informed him of Hiro’s situation behind a teacher he doesn’t recognise.
Tadashi tries to get up but all he manages to do is raise himself to his elbows before he falls back down.
Hiro is by his side looking stricken.
His friend runs towards him and helps Tadashi get up and follow the teacher and the bullies.
“Thank you,” Tadashi says to his friend, right before he’s led into the principal’s office.
Clearing up the situation is easily enough due to Tadashi’s good record (and the fact he was the one getting beat up) and they’re let out while the bullies get their punishment. Waiting for Aunt Cass outside the office with a quiet and stoic Hiro, however, is not a moment he wants to relive.
Aunt Cass comes in frantically. There’s this white powder streaking her face which Tadashi thinks is flour and she looked like she just rushed straight out of the cafe.
She hugs the two of them and then pulls back to check them for damage.
Tadashi is worse off, he can feel the swelling on his face and he’s definitely going to get bruises. But when he looks over at Hiro too and sees the red handprint marking his neck, he feels another surge of anger.
They get home after Tadashi dismisses Aunt Cass’ attempts to take him to the hospital to get checked over, saying it’ll be fine after he puts some ice on it, and Hiro is still silent the entire way home.
Hiro stalks up to their room the moment he can and Tadashi can understand why Hiro’s upset but he hasn’t responded to any of Tadashi’s attempts to talk to him.
He follows Hiro up to their room.
“Hey,” Tadashi says.
Hiro just sits there on the desk chair and doesn’t reply. Tadashi walks up to him so that he’s leaning on the desk next to Hiro. He nudges Hiro and stays there quietly until Hiro looks at him.
Hiro looks angry with him. Tadashi’s a bit confused.
Before he’s able to ask though, Hiro speaks up. “You should’ve just stayed out of it,” Hiro bites out.
Tadashi’s speechless. “I could’ve handled it myself,” Hiro says.
“They had you against the wall, Hiro.” Tadashi says, patiently.
“They would’ve stopped.” Hiro says, “They usually stop.”
“What do you mean?” Tadashi asks, bewildered. “Has this happened before?”
Hiro’s quiet but it’s enough of an answer for Tadashi.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tadashi asks, softly.
“What would you have done?” Hiro questions back.
Tadashi shakes his head. “I would’ve tried to stop them.”
“Like you did today?” Hiro scoffs.
“It worked, didn't it?” Tadashi says. “They stopped.”
Hiro glares at Tadashi. “Yeah, and they started punching you instead.”
“As long as it isn’t you, I don’t care what they do to me.”
Hiro stares at Tadashi, speechless. After a moment, he collects himself. “I’m a bit tired,” Hiro says. “I’m going to rest for a bit.”
Tadashi watches as Hiro gets up from his seat at the desk. When Tadashi thinks Hiro’s going to go towards his bed, Hiro quickly turns and gives Tadashi a hug.
“Thank you,” Hiro says quietly, against Tadashi’s chest. “But please, don’t do it again. I don't want to see you get hurt.”
Then Hiro’s gone and rushing to get under the bed covers.
Tadashi just smiles at the lump on Hiro’s bed, and goes downstairs to get some ice for his bruises and to help Aunt Cass with the cafe.
If there’s one thing Tadashi’s always been sure of his entire high school life, it’s that he’s going to go to university.
There’s so much to learn, so many things to invent, that not going wasn’t even an option for Tadashi. He’s willing to get a part time job to help with the finances, but his parents left both Hiro and himself enough money to go to college without hassle.
Still, when Tadashi gets a letter saying he has the opportunity to go to university on a full scholarship, he is more than happy.
The only downfall is that, the university is over 3 hours away by plane.
He originally didn’t plan to go there at all - it’s too far away from home and he gets this uneasy feeling in his stomach when he thinks about being far away from all he knows - but all his teachers urged him to and even Aunt Cass said that he should at least visit.
That’s how he ends up saying goodbye to Hiro and Aunt Cass at the airport.
“We’ll miss you.” Aunt Cass says, wrapping her arms tightly around Tadashi and squeezing him. “It won’t be the same without you.”
Tadashi chuckles as he escapes. “I’ll only be gone for three days,” he says, “I’m sure you’ll survive.”
Hiro is silent but when Tadashi looks at him, he manages to see Hiro try and smile. “Of course, since I’ll still be here.”
Tadashi ruffles Hiro’s hair and can’t help but feel fond.
Then the sound of an announcement calling out his flight number echoes across the airport terminal and he says his last goodbyes before he gets on the plane to leave.
The flight isn’t too long, but the further away Tadashi gets from San Fransokyo, the tighter his chest feels.
He assumes it’s because he’s not used to flying, and while he feels a bit better as he gets off the plane, the tightness in his chest is still palpable.
Stepping onto the university grounds for the first time feels amazing, and when he sees all the students milling about, Tadashi knows that this, this is his calling.
He joins a tour for prospective students and the other students he meets are great. When he sees the robotics sectors, his pulse beats faster and he feels like he’s in heaven. There’s a running feeling of excitement the entire time he’s there but the tightness in his chest doesn’t disappear.
It’s with him for the entire day, and when he goes to his hotel room to rest so he can be awake and ready for the next day’s activities, the uncomfortable feeling doesn’t cease.
Upholding a promise that he made to Aunt Cass, he calls her when he’s lying in bed.
Aunt Cass is excited to hear from him, and Tadashi updates her with everything that he’s done that day and how amazing the university is. His excitement must show because when he finishes a thought he realises that there’s silence on the other end and that he’s been talking about the university for the past half hour.
“You must really like it there,” Aunt Cass says fondly, when Tadashi doesn't say anything more. And truthfully, he does. He’s only been there a day but he gets along with the other students who’ve been offered a full scholarship and he really likes their robotics facilities and professors.
But then there’s the unease he feels. It feels so strong and he hasn’t gone a minute without noticing it. It’s like there’s an absence. There’s something missing and while everything else is amazing, the unmistaken loss of something pains him a little.
Tadashi mumbles his assent. “I guess so.” He doesn’t really want to delve into how he’s feeling at the moment so he changes the topic. “How’s Hiro?”
Aunt Cass pauses for a moment and then sighs. “He’s been a bit down since you’ve left,” she confesses. “He’s been in his room the entire time. He hasn’t even gone down to eat.”
Tadashi’s chest feels tighter. “Can you put him on the phone, please?” He manages to get out.
He says his farewell to Aunt Cass and then the phone is passed along and all Tadashi can hear is the rustling as he assumes that Aunt Cass goes up to their room to find Hiro.
As soon as Tadashi hears the soft dulcet of Hiro’s voice, the tightness in his chest noticeably loosens.
“Hey,” Tadashi says, “how’ve you been?”
Hiro sounds a bit tired, like he usually does when he’s woken up from a long sleep, and they only get to talk a bit before Tadashi notices Hiro’s about to drop off again.
“So you really like it there?” Hiro’s saying, slowly. He yawns. “Are you gonna go there?”
Tadashi thinks he can hear a bit of sadness in Hiro’s voice but he likens it to his own wishful thinking.
“I’m not sure,” Tadashi says, honestly. “I like it here but there’s something missing.”
Tadashi hears Hiro stifle another yawn and then Hiro’s saying, “I’d miss you if you go.”
It makes Tadashi inexplicably happy and he doesn’t really know how to respond. He misses Hiro. That’s what’s missing, Tadashi thinks.
Before he gets to reply though, Hiro seems to have caught up to what he’s said because he’s trying to escape.
“Well I’m tired!” Hiro says, faking a yawn. He’s talking really fast and sounds a bit wired up. “Better go to bed!”
Tadashi’s trying to stop himself from laughing. “Goodnight,” Tadashi says. He’ll tease Hiro about this later. “Sleep well.”
“Goodnight,” Hiro says, and then the line’s dead.
Tadashi goes to sleep, better than he’s felt the entire day.
The next few days go about the same way. Tadashi is interested by the university but the feeling of unease is still there.
It isn’t until he’s walking off the plane back to San Fransokyo that Tadashi starts to feel better.
Aunt Cass and Hiro are waiting outside the gates and every step he takes towards them feels a little bit lighter.
When Hiro slams into him and gives him a hug, though, the entire feeling of unease is gone for good.
“I missed you,” Hiro says, and Tadashi can tell he’s still embarrassed by the way he refuses to show his face.
Even though Tadashi was planning to tease Hiro, all he says back is, “Missed you too.”
Tadashi squeezes Hiro tighter and if he sees the flash of the camera, probably from Aunt Cass taking a photo of them, he just ignores it and focuses all of himself on Hiro.
Later, if anyone asks Tadashi why he chose to go to the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology instead, he’ll say it was one of the universities he always wanted to go to and it has a killer robotics lab.
There’s no other reason besides that.
Saving Hiro is not a task that Tadashi enjoys.
Besides the fact that seeing Hiro surrounded by men at least three times his size makes him feel nauseous, he knows that Hiro can be doing more with his life than just bot fighting.
He’s reminded of this as he walks up the steps to what Hiro lovingly describes as the “nerd school”.
Hiro’s reluctant, but Tadashi wants the best for him and if that means tricking Hiro into seeing sense, so be it.
It goes as he expected. Hiro’s fascinated. It’s so evident in the way his eyes light up and how he’s so curious about all the inventions in the lab.
After Tadashi’s introduced Hiro to everyone, and Gogo, Honey Lemon, Wasabi and Fred go back to work, he finally leads Hiro into his own space and shows him Baymax.
It fills him with this sense of joy, seeing Hiro fawn over Baymax, and he knows his plan is slowly working.
Tadashi knows for sure though, when Hiro meets Professor Callaghan and practically sees the stars in his eyes.
It’s nice seeing Hiro work hard for something, and Tadashi’s incredibly proud as he watches Hiro on that stage, charming everyone in the audience.
When they begin to see the entrance of the university, the fire’s already full blown. There are people frantically running out of the building, everyone eager to get away from the dangers of the flame.
Tadashi keeps running forward. He can vaguely hear the footsteps of Hiro running after him but the need to help people and make sure everyone’s safe is at the forefront of his mind.
He helps a woman from the university who’s rushing away from the building.
“Are you okay?” Tadashi asks her, over the loud beeping of the fire alarm and the screams of the people escaping.
“Yeah I’m okay,” she replies, out of breath, “b-but Professor Callaghan’s still in there.”
She runs away towards safety, and Tadashi knows that he has to get in there. He has to try and save Callaghan.
As he’s running towards the entrance, however, a hand grabs at his elbow effectively stopping him.
It’s Hiro. He’s out of breath, voice hoarse and looking at Tadashi pleadingly. Tadashi looks back towards the fire, still blazing fiercely, and then back at his brother.
“Callaghan’s in there.” Tadashi says. It hurts him to leave Hiro like this, but he knows it’s the right thing to do. “Someone has to help.”
He breaks free from Hiro’s grip and runs straight towards the building. He feels his cap fly off and when he looks back, he sees Hiro standing there. He slows down and is about to turn back when he’s hit with the deafening sound of an explosion. The force of blast pushes him backwards and he hits the ground hard.
Hiro is the last thing he sees.
There’s a pressure on his arm.
It’s the first thing Tadashi notices when he wakes up. He feels disorientated and there’s a dull pain in his neck. When he opens his eyes, it’s to a white ceiling he doesn’t recognise.
His eyes dart around the room and he realises he’s in a hospital. It’s late, and through the windows he can see the dark sky of the San Fransokyo night.
Even though the pain in his neck is starting to throb, Tadashi tries to turn a little to see what’s on his arm.
The first thing he notices is a dark mop of black spiky hair. Hiro’s sitting next to his bedside, leaned forward so that his forehead is resting on Tadashi’s arm. Hiro’s hand is curled in the open palm of Tadashi’s hand.
Tadashi can’t see Hiro’s face but he seems tired. He should let him rest but Hiro’s position doesn’t really look comfortable. He curls his fingers so they close over Hiro’s fist. Tadashi kind of hopes that Hiro will wake up. He’s tired and confused and he just wants to see his brother’s face to make everything feel alright.
As if his thoughts were heard, Hiro lifts his head slowly and looks into Tadashi’s eyes. He smiles sleepily at Tadashi.
“Hey, you’re awake,” Hiro says softly, still smiling at him.
Tadashi is awestruck at the sight. “Yeah,” Tadashi replies, fondly, “I am.”
It takes a second but then Hiro seems to wake up more completely. “You’re awake!” Hiro exclaims. “Oh my god! You’re awake!”
He full on grins at Tadashi and then Hiro’s rushing out the door, calling out to any nurse or doctor he sees.
The next thing he knows, Tadashi is surrounded by people in uniform fussing over him. He sees Aunt Cass standing at the doorway and smiles at her, and she smiles tiredly back as she pulls Hiro into a hug.
Then the moment is lost as a doctor steps into his line of sight, blocking his view of Aunt Cass and Hiro.
Tadashi isn’t allowed to leave the hospital for another three days.
It was lucky, the doctor tells him, that he was faced away from the building and that he was as far away as he was when the explosion occurred. If he was just a couple steps closer, the damage would’ve been more extensive. It could’ve even been life-threatening.
Hiro stays with him the entire time. He keeps quiet throughout the doctor’s explanation with his head hanging low and Tadashi sometimes wonders if Hiro’s even listening to anything. Somehow, though, Hiro’s hand finds its way into Tadashi’s own, and Hiro squeezes extra hard when the doctor mentions how bad his injuries could’ve been.
Aunt Cass comes by when she can. She still has to keep the cafe running, and she already closed the business for the two days he was still unconscious, so Tadashi doesn’t blame her. He accepts her tight hugs and sits quietly as she scolds him for his reckless behaviour.
“I’m sorry,” Tadashi says. He truly is. He feels terrible for worrying her and everyone else. For worrying Hiro.
“Don’t be,” she says. “I’m just glad you’re safe.”
Honey Lemon, GoGo, Fred and Wasabi all visit him at the hospital bringing him flowers and some food which is a nice reprieve from all the hospital food he’s been eating.
They’re nice company, and he’s glad to see them again but all he wants to do is go home. All of them seem to notice, however, the sudden change in Hiro. He’s more withdrawn now, and while he stays by Tadashi’s side he doesn’t seem to join their conversations.
GoGo complains about being thirsty and forces Fred, Wasabi and Hiro to get everyone drinks from the vending machine.
When they’re gone, she and Honey Lemon turn to Tadashi.
“Don’t worry about Hiro too much,” Honey Lemon says. “He’s better now than he was when you were still unconscious.”
Tadashi opens his mouth to ask a question but GoGo cuts him off. “He didn’t eat. He wouldn’t go home. It was unhealthy.”
Honey Lemon gives GoGo a look. “What we’re trying to say,” Honey Lemon continues gently, “is that Hiro will be fine in the end.”
She hesitates though, and Tadashi can’t help but feel like he’s missing the bigger picture.
“We were thinking that maybe—“
“You guys should see a bond specialist.” GoGo states bluntly, cutting Honey Lemon off.
Tadashi feels a bit baffled. A bond specialist?
“A bond specialist?” he asks, voicing his thoughts. “Aren’t soul bonds for people romantically involved?”
“That’s a misconception.” GoGo says, looking bored.
“Soul bonds aren’t uncommon between siblings,” Honey Lemon elaborates. “They can happen platonically between members of the same family, relatives, or even close friends. They’re not just for romantic relationships.”
Tadashi’s still a bit confused. “Why do you want me and Hiro to go to a bond specialist?”
Honey Lemon and GoGo share a look that Tadashi doesn’t understand. Honey Lemon’s the one who speaks up.
“We think that it could help explain things to Hiro,” she says. “When you were unconscious, we were really worried by his behaviour. We got him to talk to us a bit, and what he was feeling isn’t uncommon for bonded partners to experience when their partner is experiencing pain. We spoke to him about seeing a bond specialist. He didn’t say no. Even for low level bonds, what you guys went through can cause some side effects.”
“We just think it could help,” GoGo says, and she sounds sincere.
In the distance, they can hear loud chattering and footsteps approaching.
“Just think about it,” Honey Lemon says. “No matter what happens, you have our support.”
GoGo nods her assent.
The sounds are outside the door now.
“I will,” Tadashi says. “Thank you. Both of you.”
Not a minute later, Hiro, Fred and Wasabi open the door and enter carrying all their drinks. Well, Wasabi carrying all the drinks with Fred and Hiro just walking beside him.
“This wasn’t even a three person job,” Wasabi says, passing out the drinks.
Fred says something and everyone starts chattering but Tadashi ignores it in favour of looking at Hiro who approaches him and passes him a drink.
Hiro looks at Tadashi questioningly, and Tadashi assumes he must be looking a bit off centre because of that conversation, but he just smiles, shakes his head at Hiro and thanks him for the drink.
The first night back at the house, he feels more comfortable out of the sterile, cold walls of the hospital and back in the familiarity of his room.
He can’t seem to fall asleep though, because of the rustling coming from Hiro tossing and turning in his bed.
“Hiro?” Tadashi whispers. “Are you awake?”
The rustling stops. He waits but there’s no reply and it’s been long enough that Tadashi thinks Hiro finally fell asleep, when he feels a tug at his blanket.
Hiro’s standing next to his bad, the bags of his eyes more evident in the pale moonlight. “I can’t sleep,” he says, tugging on the blanket purposely.
It’s been years since they’ve shared the same bed but they’ve been through a lot these past few days, so Tadashi pulls the blanket covers up and lets Hiro climb into his bed.
Hiro settles onto his side, facing away from Tadashi.
After a moment, when Tadashi’s about to drift off into sleep, Hiro speaks up. “I was so worried,” Hiro says, quietly. “I saw you run towards the fire— I couldn’t— I couldn’t do anything.”
“It’s alright,” Tadashi says, turning over and wrapping an arm around Hiro’s waist. “I’m here now. We got out just fine. We’re alright.”
Hiro turns over too so his head rests under Tadashi’s chin. “I was so scared though. I was about to run in after you—“ at this Tadashi squeezes Hiro tighter, pulling Hiro closer towards him “—and then I saw the explosion and you were on the ground.”
Tadashi feels a deep ache in his chest knowing that Hiro had to experience all that. Hiro, who was currently trembling in his arms. “I’m sorry,” Tadashi says, leaning down and pressing a kiss to Hiro’s forehead, “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Hiro says lifting his head and looking at Tadashi with his watery eyes. Hiro lifts his hand so he touches the healing cut on Tadashi’s chin from when he was thrown on the ground by the explosion. “You’re safe now. That’s all that matters.”
He lowers his head back down at fits himself more comfortably against Tadashi’s chest.
“What did you tell GoGo and Honey Lemon?” Tadashi asks before he can stop himself. He wasn't sure if he was supposed to mention it, but he’s curious and needs to know.
Hiro’s getting tired, and Tadashi can tell by the way he sleepily says, “Wha?”
Tadashi stiffles a chuckle. “When I was unconscious, they said they spoke to you?”
“Oh right,” Hiro says, with a yawn. “They just asked me how I was feeling, you know.”
“What’d you say?”
Hiro nudges closer, and it’s really endearing. Tadashi misses this. “I don’t know… Can’t really remember. I missed you. Didn’t know what I’d do if you didn’t wake up.”
Tadashi tightens his arms around Hiro. “What do you mean?”
Hiro yawns again, “I don’t know how I’d survive without you.”
He says it like it’s nothing, but it makes Tadashi tense up. He doesn’t know what context Hiro’s talking about, but it makes him feel anxious and there’s a sharp bolt of pain in his chest.
Hiro must notice because he stiffens slightly too, and says softly and sounding much more awake, “Did I say something wrong?”
Tadashi forces himself to relax. “No, you didn’t.” Tadashi says, and Hiro relaxes back into his chest.
He waits a few moments thinking, and says softly, “Do you want to go see a bond specialist?”
There’s a moment of silence before Hiro mumbles, “Sure.” He seems tired now so Tadashi just leaves it.
“Okay,” he says, pressing another kiss to Hiro’s forehead. “We’ll talk about it in the morning with Aunt Cass. Let’s go to sleep.”
It doesn’t take long before Tadashi can hear Hiro’s breath even out but it takes him a while longer to fall asleep himself.
In the morning, Tadashi wakes up to Hiro pressed up unto his front, tucked under his arm with their legs tangled together.
He hears the sound of a flash going off and looks up to find Aunt Cass holding a camera and snapping pictures.
“Uhh, good morning?” Tadashi says, softly so not to wake Hiro up.
“Good morning!” Aunt Cass says brightly, taking another photo. “Rise and shine!”
Tadashi spends a few moments waiting for his Aunt to stop taking photos and when she does, she realises Tadashi was giving her a judgemental look.
“It was too cute of an opportunity to miss,” she says, shrugging unapologetically.
Tadashi flops back down onto his bed and groans.
Hiro seems to stir at that and slowly opens his eyes. “Good morning,” Hiro says, before snuggling back into Tadashi’s chest.
Tadashi can feel a soft smile forming on his face and he can’t help it. “Good morning,” he replies, fondly.
There’s another flash in the background.
He looks up to see Aunt Cass mouthing “sorry” and then looking as if she’s about to leave.
“Wait!” Tadashi says, remembering the previous night’s conversation. “Actually, there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
There’s a knowing look in Aunt Cass’ eyes and then she agrees to talk to the both of them when they’re more awake.
Just like Honey Lemon and GoGo said, it isn’t uncommon, he’s told, for a soul bond to form between siblings.
He’s in the office of a bond specialist while Hiro’s in another room talking to a different specialist. It wasn’t hard to convince Aunt Cass to let them go, especially since she already seemed to know what they were going to ask. Hiro’s mind didn’t change overnight, so they booked an appointment.
“They’re usually low level bonds,” the specialist is saying, “similar to the bonds between close friends. Often times they are insignificant enough that most people don’t realise they have it and the bonds are left unidentified.”
The office he’s in looks familiar, even though he can’t really place why.
“I can assure you that if you and your brother, Hiro, have this type of should bond, it won’t have a large impact on your life.”
He isn’t sure why this reassurance does nothing to quell the confused feeling in his chest and only makes it worse.
“What if the bond is a higher level?” Tadashi asks, curious. He thinks it might be weird, since they’re brothers but he’s heard of stories where some high level soul bonds aren’t romantically connected so it seems fine. Though those stories are far and in between.
The specialist doesn’t even falter. “That, of course, is a possibility. It is quite rare for that to occur, but if that’s the case it’s even better that the two of you came in to get tested. While identified low level bonds can bring a sense of peacefulness and tranquility to the bonded partners lives, an unidentified high level bond can be harmful to both parties if not handled correctly.”
Tadashi’s heard of situations like that too. Situations where people had high level bonds, high enough that most of the romantic novels and films are about bonds that high, but they didn’t know how to handle it and it almost always ended tragically.
“A soul bond is a unique occurrence and not everyone has the privilege to be bonded to someone. The nature of your relationship,” the specialist says, “is entirely up to the two of you to discuss.”
Something about the way she says that, and what Tadashi thinks she’s implying makes his heart beat a little bit faster.
She then begins to explain the nature of the tests that they’ll be running on both Tadashi and Hiro.
Tadashi is eager to get the tests over and done with, wanting to check on Hiro who seemed nervous on the way to the office. Luckily, the bond specialist is efficient and so he sits complacently while she runs the initial procedures. It’s only when she starts to take a blood sample that he gets a bit uneasy even though he usually has no qualms with it.
For one of the final tests, the specialist gets him to sit back in his chair, close his eyes and relax. He’s bursting with the need to get out of the office but he knows the quickest way to do that is to listen to the specialist’s instructions.
“I want you to try and reach out to Hiro,” she says from somewhere to Tadashi’s right. He can hear the scratching of her pen on her clipboard but he blocks it out and tries to find a link to Hiro. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing but still he searches. “Once you’ve found a connection, I want you to tell me how Hiro’s feeling right now.”
Tadashi has no idea how he’s going to manage that without making something up and his nerves are making him feel twitchy. He feels a bit scared, which is weird since he feels safe in this office, even if he’s dying to get out of it.
“I think he’s feeling scared,” Tadashi says. “He’s nervous and wants the tests to be over with.”
The more he speaks the clearer he can feel Hiro’s emotions and soon it gets easier to understand what feelings are not his own. He answers a few more questions, and the specialists writes a few things down while he talks.
After what feels like forever, the tests are over and he’s allowed to leave.
“We’ll finish running the rest of the tests and we’ll call you when the results of your bond analysis come in,” the specialist says as she walks Tadashi to the door. “If you have any questions, feel free to call me.”
“Thank you,” Tadashi says before leaving the room and walking down the hallway to where Hiro is sitting, waiting for him.
The relief that flood over Tadashi when he sees Hiro is overwhelming and he can’t help but smile when Hiro jumps up and walks over to him.
“How’d it go?” Tadashi asks, draping an arm over Hiro’s shoulders.
Hiro just shrugs.
“Come on,” Tadashi says, “let’s go get some gummy bears on the way home.”
They’re told that results of the tests aren’t going to come in for a couple of weeks, so he spends that time with Hiro and his friends.
Hiro enrols into San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and they work together on new inventions, seeing more of each other than they usually do.
With the help of Hiro, Tadashi finally completes Baymax and watches with joy as he putters around the hospital, helping people.
Tadashi nearly forgets about the results all together, until he spots the large package in the mail with both his and Hiro’s name on it.
Wanting to open it with Hiro, Tadashi goes up to their shared room and waits for Hiro to get back from working in the lab.
There’s this surge of nervousness he feels, as he sits on his bed with the heavy weight of the package in his hands.
There’s no telling what the results could be. All Tadashi knows is that his day brightens whenever he looks at Hiro, and he can’t imagine spending so much time with anyone but him.
So when Hiro comes bursting into the room a little while later, rambling on about something that he must’ve done in the lab only to pause in his tracks and stare at Tadashi and the package in his hands, Tadashi isn’t worried.
“Is that it?” Hiro asks, breathlessly. “The results?”
Tadashi nods. “Yeah, let’s open it together,” he says, smiling.
And when Hiro walks up to him slowly, cautiously, Tadashi can’t help but pull Hiro towards him in a hug and kiss the top of his head.
Nestled in each other’s embrace, Tadashi isn’t worried. Whatever the results are, no matter what, they’ll be okay.