People say you don’t remember the first few years of your life that you are too young and your brain is still developing that it can’t store memories. Maybe that was why he couldn’t remember his parents as hard as he tried, as much as he desperately wanted to. He has seen their faces in pictures, had been told stories from both his brother and his aunt, but that was all they were to him. Stories and pictures, virtual strangers who only shared DNA with him. It was cold to think that way, to admit to himself that his parents were nothing more than the people who brought him in to the world, but that really was all they were and that was all they ever could be.
He had no memories of them, even though there were enough times his brother had told him how their mother used to rock him to sleep or how their father would help him learn his ABC’s. Tadashi would laugh and smile as he recalled all the times they had cheered and been so proud of both of them, how they could hardly believe that not one, but both of their kids were genius prodigies. But all Hiro could do was nod, staring at his brother with a far-off glassy look, and try as hard as he could to remember the smallest sliver of information. Desperately he wanted to know what it was like to have a mother who would tuck him in and tell him stories, or a father who had been by his side while he was in preschool, apparently graduating at the mere age of two. He wanted to know the warmth of his mother’s hand running through his hair, the tight hug his father gave him on his first day of school. But he had been too young. He might have been a child genius, he might have been able to read and do basic math at an age other toddlers were just learning to walk and talk, but he couldn’t remember a thing about his parents. The way they looked… the sound of their voice… they were just faceless people…
The earliest memory he could recall was when Aunt Cass had picked him and Tadashi up, taking the orphaned boys into her home with open, albeit awkward, arms. It wasn’t much of a memory, the only thing Hiro could recall being the heavy weight on his chest, how painful it was to breath, how he felt lost and confused… like he would never feel right again, but how he also knew exactly where he was and what was going on. There was no way for him to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation, to understand that this stay at his Aunt’s house wasn’t a little vacation, but something more permanent. He might have been a child prodigy, might have been able to understand far more than a normal three year old could, but that didn’t mean he understood the finality of death.
His first complete memory was shortly after him and Tadashi moved in. The awkward air around the house hadn’t quite settled, and it seemed like maybe it never would. Tadashi wasn’t himself, he was quiet and sad… as was Aunt Cass, though she tried to smile more and liven things up in her weird way. Hiro couldn’t quite understand what was going on. Everyone around him was lethargic, walking around each other like they were stepping on eggshells. One night, a week or so after the funeral, they had all sat down for dinner. It was chicken nuggets, and for the first time Aunt Cass had made them in crudely cut, vague, dinosaur shapes. He remembered how excited he was to drown his stegosaurus in the lava ketchup pool… glad that Aunt Cass never enforced the ‘don’t play with your food rule’. But something seemed off. Him and Tadashi had never stayed this long with Aunt Cass, not that he didn’t like it cause she was his favorite! But it was about time for them to be picked up and brought home.
“Aunt Cass…” he chirped as he hopped into his seat, looking at the woman with childlike innocence. She looked over to him, plates in hand as she maneuvered the small kitchen. Over the past days she had gotten quite good at the whole dinner thing. She urged him to go on, looking momentarily to Tadashi as if he knew what was happening, but with a shrug from his brother she looked back. “Can you set plates for Mama and Papa?” the room suddenly grew quiet. The little sounds of tinkering in the kitchen halted and even the air settled into silence around them. Confusion took over his features, his brows furrowing as he looked from his stunned and silent aunt to his saddened brother who refused to make eye contact. The heavy feeling in his chest returned, the creeping, haunting feeling moving from the tips of his toes at a rapid speed. His heart rate increased and he felt like he couldn’t breath again, and he couldn’t understand why. “Mama and Papa never left me and Tada for this long. They’ll be really hungry when the come back!” he continued naively, realizing very slowly that what he was saying was hurting his aunt and brother. More confusion… more silence… he didn’t understand.
“Hiro… sweetie.” Her voice shook, and Hiro couldn’t figure out why. Had he said something wrong? Were his parents not coming to get them tonight? She looked frightened, the plates in her hands being set down as she moved to stand next to him. He looked up to her with big brown eyes, innocent and unaware. She felt her hand smooth over his messy hair, a tragically sad smile on her lips as she sighed. “Your mom and dad… they…” she got choked up and had to look away for a moment, her hand shaking as she gripped his shoulder gently.
“Don’t cry Aunt Cass,” he said sweetly, looking to Tadashi for some sort of answer. But he still refused to look at him. He didn’t know what he had just done, what bomb he had just stepped on. The feeling of being lost and dazed returned, his head light and dizzy as the world spun around him. What was wrong?
“Sweetie, you’re living with me now.” she said, trying to smile, doing her best to be as gentle with news as she could. “Your mom and dad… Hiro… they won’t be back to get you.” Terror filled his body and he jumped down from his chair. His young, unsteady legs wobbled under his weight as he looked up to Cass, completely rattled. His eyes shifted from Aunt Cass to Tadashi and back, looking all around him for some sort of explanation, but none came. His breath grew fast and shallow and his body twitched, needing to move and find out just why his parents wouldn’t pick them up. Aunt Cass seemed just as startled as he was, and her other hand gently gripped his other shoulder. The simple gesture brought Hiro’s eyes to hers, and he looked up at her. “Hiro… oh sweetie… they’re…”[/b[her words got caught in her throat, but it didn’t stop her from pulling him in to a tight hug. Pulling back, she sighed.[b] “They’re gone Hiro. I’m so sorry sweetie. They’re not coming back.”
Even then he didn’t quite understand what she meant. He didn’t know why he felt so sad, why he suddenly was crying in her arms, staring at her with tear filled eyes. There was no rhyme or reason why his chest was tight, and he wanted to scream out into the kitchen. But his aunt Cass would never lie. His parents weren’t coming to pick him and Tadashi up. They weren’t going to be there for dino-nugget dinner that suddenly he wasn’t in the mood to eat. He wanted his mommy or his daddy… but all he got was another tight hug from his aunt. “Last hug” she whispered in his ear, a kiss on his cheek, her arms unmoving until his little body squirmed.
Two Bots Enter, One Bot Leaves
Preschool graduate at three, high school graduate at thirteen, Hiro went on about his life like any child prodigy would. At home his life was normal, Aunt Cass doing her best to treat him and his brother like any normal teenager with both their parents would. Except it was much more difficult with two incredibly smart kids. Tadashi applied himself, he went to college, he did more with his life. But Hiro, he saw no point in it. High school had been nothing but a joke to him, wasted time he spent sitting in a chair being lectured at about things he already knew. And to him, that was all college was going to be to. He had no idea what it could really be like, that there was even a place that could match him and his intellect. Besides, at the age of thirteen it wasn’t like a lot of places were wanting to take him. Not that he looked hard.
Sure he could apply at Tadashi’s nerd school, but why would he want to go there? It was just going to be boring and filled with nerds like his brother. And sure, while he was vastly intelligent, Hiro refused to bring himself to the level of nerd. He was much cooler than that. He fought with both his aunt and brother about it any time it was brought up. Tooth and nail. The whole ‘you could do more with yourself’ and ‘you should apply yourself more’ lectures had all been memorized and mocked each time they came up. He was too smart for college, he already knew everything there was to know, it just seemed Aunt Cass and Tadashi couldn’t see that. So why spend vast amounts of money that they didn’t have to send not only his brother there, which he enjoyed, but himself as well… where he would be bored out of his mind surrounded by geeks and nerds? No, he had a much better idea with what he could do with his time.
Bot fighting. He couldn’t remember how he had gotten in to the sport, a lot of it probably had to do with his love for robotics and creating things with Tada, but he loved it. The thrill! The risk! How everyone thought they could steal a little boy’s lunch money and then have their butts handed to them. Yeah. It was the good life. By day he worked in his little home made laboratory, fixing up his bot and getting ready for main events. But come night, he took to the streets and found where all the good fights were. No one believed a child capable of playing with the big boys, but the wads of money he had was enough to gain him entry. Maybe it wasn’t right to hustle all the big guys, to pretend like he didn’t know what he was doing, let them think they won a round with his incredibly unthreatening bot. But, after that, he wasn’t holding back. He always had enough money to go for a second round, enough to make it impossible to resist winning such an easy battle. But then, he would pull out all the stops. The crudely drawn on smiling face would flip around to an even more crudely drawn angry face, and the three parts of his bot would move around, ripping bigger bots apart piece by piece, until he could use their remains to finish them off.
One such night when he went in to a club and entered a fight, Hiro hadn’t realized he had bitten off more than he could chew. Yamma and Little Yamma were reining champs… undefeated. But in a matter of seconds his bot had torn that over sized piece of junk to shreds. By that point the contestants were too stunned to realize what had happened and he could walk away with loaded pockets. But Big Yamma had a different idea. He didn’t take too well to being hustled, and after Little Yamma had gone down… he started a fight. Luckily for Hiro, Tadashi had his back. Just in the knick of time he had been swept off his feet onto his brother’s bike and was being whisked away to freedom, where he could later taste the sweet sweet flavor of the riches in his hand. Tadashi liked to think he was so smart, bringing up the point that Bot Fighting was illegal, but hey, it wasn’t! Betting on Bot Fighting was… which in the end, was how they both ended up in jail. Maybe he shouldn’t have been waving his earnings around like a chump… maybe then they wouldn’t have had to wait in confinement for their Aunt to pick them up.
Aunt Cass was always cool, always down to Earth and very forgiving, but that night she had given them both an earful. Hiro had thought he got away with it at first, when she pulled both him and his brother in a hug, but after that it was like she had snapped. The whole car ride had been a lecture on how she had taught them better, how she had done her best, and how they should know better than to get in trouble. She got side tracked a lot, and Hiro couldn’t help but snicker when she got so far from the point she lost herself, but he knew better than to do or say anything. Just nod and agree.
That night he got the lecture again, his brother upset and worried that he wasn’t doing anything with his life. It all went in one ear and out the other. Fingers had danced over the keys of his computer, seeking out another bot fight that he could make before it was too late. Hiro was tired of explaining himself, tired of hearing the same thing over and over again, tired of being pushed. He was doing well for a thirteen year old! The money in his pocket was enough evidence, and hell, he was having the time of his life. Why should it matter if he went to college or not? But Tadashi wasn’t having any of it.
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Mentally he had to remind himself that breathing was an essential part of life. You’d think a kid genius would remember such a thing. But in moments he felt like he couldn’t even remember how to walk let alone breath. Hundreds of man hours had been put in to this project, weeks of time spent getting it put together, a lot of blood sweat and tears went in to each miniscule little nano bot, and it was all potentially for nothing. God did he need this. There was nothing in the world that he wanted more than to win his science exhibition and get a scholarship into nerd school.
College had never been the right step for him, had never been something he wanted for himself. Sure, it was right for most people, his brother included, but not him. Hiro had been content living his life sharing his bedroom with his brother and sneaking out at odd hours to go to bot fights. He might have been considered a slacker, and sure he really mostly only spent his time designing new bots that were better and stronger, but he knew deep down that he was never the college type of kid. It just wasn’t his scene. But to hell with it all! Tadashi just couldn’t settle with no for an answer and had hijacked him to his nerd school. He played innocent, telling him that he needed to pick something up at the lab first, but when he got there it seemed very clear what he was trying to do. Who did he think he was fooling? Hiro had graduated High School already, he played mind games with the biggest and baddest of San Fransokyo, so he knew when he was being punked. But that didn’t stop Tadashi.
Nerd school took his breath away from the moment he stepped in the door. Never had he imagined something like college could be that this. He had thought it to be like a normal college. Lecture halls with boring drones of teachers, talking about theory but never letting you get your hands dirty. Of course he knew there would be some labs… but to this extent he had no idea. The experiments the other students were working on where… hella awesome! And Hiro even had to admit Tadashi’s nerd friends were pretty cool to. Everything they were all working on was astounding. Electro magnetic bikes? Laser induced plasma? Chemical metal embrittlement? It was tight! Hell, even the comic nerd mascot was pretty awesome. Connoisseur of science as he called himself. It was more than he could have expected… and after seeing Baymax, Tadashi’s robotics project, Hiro had to admit he was impressed. There was no hiding it. He had to get in.
Breathe in. Breathe out. He wasn’t nervous. He never got nervous. But… then again, he had never wanted something like this so much. Even with the support of his new friends, their playful teasing and their helpful jibes, he felt the waves of nervousness crash over him. There was no ifs, and, or buts about this. There was no ‘sorry buddy, try again next years’. This was it for him. If he didn’t get in this time, Hiro was sure there was no chance he’d get in at all. And that was saying something coming from the child prodigy. San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, or Nerd School as he would always know it, was all he wanted. He had the encouragement of all of his new friends, Honey and Gogo and Wasabi and even Fred. Cass was there, cheering him on. But most importantly, he had his brother by his side. Without him, without Tadashi’s support and help and urging him to find another angle, he never would have been there, standing on that stage. He couldn’t let them all down. So here goes nothing. “This is a Micro-bot.”
Feeling so Hollow
The weight is unbearable, the pain enough to cripple. Something like this should never have happened. The rain was cold but he felt nothing, his body following the sea of black umbrellas aimlessly. Faceless people stood around him, gargled words going in one ear and out the other. It shouldn’t have been like this. The hollow, empty feeling took over, leaving him staring blankly out in front of him. Slowly the casket was lowered into the ground, a sad prayer meeting his ears in muffled hums. Shovel by shovel, the person who meant most to him was being put to rest, only a candle light vigil in his honor left glowing in remembrance.
His heart was heavy in his chest, a lethargic thumping the only evidence that the pain hadn’t taken him to meet the dark creator. He had suffered a loss before, had felt what it was like to lose someone who he cared about, but this time was different from back then. His parents had died when he was a child, had left him before he could really remember who they were. He had been sad and lonely, had cried out in the night for them to come and hold him, but the pain and suffering he felt back then was nothing like this.
He felt like he was suffocating now, like there would never be enough oxygen to fill his lungs and appease his body’s basic needs. Each breath of air burned his lungs, stung the back of his throat, and made the lump in his throat only grow in size. Each time he desperately tried to take a deep breath, to calm himself, he felt a new waves of sadness, of loneliness, wash over him and knock whatever wind he had from his lungs. Realization sunk in, claws griping at his flesh, leaving him gasping, wheezing for even the smallest, most shallow breath he could afford.
He felt like he was lost now, dazed and confused about the state of the world. It would never be the same without him, it would never be as bright or as vivid. He swore that the sun wouldn’t shine, that colors would dull and leave him in a world of black and white. That the very ground below his feet would crumble and swallow him whole—but that would have been welcomed. Even in his own home, he couldn’t figure out where he was… what he was doing. Everything was familiar, his body moving from muscle memory, but he recognized nothing. Everything was the same, but different at the same time.
But most of all, he felt hollow. It was overwhelming how fast it had happened, his body growing numb to everything around him. He was desensitized, a wandering shell with only a somewhat conscious mind. Overcome with grief and sadness, every ounce of light and happiness was drained from him, leaving him with a growing hole in his heart, darkness taking over his mind. Everything around him happened in slow motion, faceless people tried to comfort him and wordless words were spoken to ease his pain, but it meant nothing at all. No one could help ease the pain of loss, could mend the break in his heart, could replace the part of himself that died that day with Tadashi—going up in flames like the project he had worked so hard on. Even his friends couldn’t fill the void that Tadashi left. Nothing would make it better. The emptiness he felt would never go away. Slowly it would eat him up entirely, devour his mind and soul, and truly leave him just a shadow of who he once was. He had lost everything and quite nearly everyone he had left to live for. So what was the point?
There was none.
There was a certain amount of time allotted for grieving. There were no rules for how people processed death, no addendums on how to get over loss quicker, but it was an unspoken fact that mourning could only go on for so long. Life went on, with or without you, and it was agreed that the sooner you realized that, the sooner you could move past it. For Hiro, that obstacle seemed so far out of reach that he realized he would never get there. Aunt Cass was still clearly hurting, but after a while she had gotten back to her feet and gone back to work. She was a boulder in the shit storm that had become his life, sturdy and always there, unyielding. But sometimes, all she did was get in his way. She urged him to get on with his life, gentle nudges to register for classes and reminding him that Tadashi wouldn’t want him to live like he was. But it agitated him more than anything. He didn’t want the plates of food that she brought for him, or be reminded that he missed registration but hey! Considering the loss he suffered they’d make an exception and let him in. As if he would want to go to nerd school now, be reminded every day of Tadashi. See him in all of his friends, in all of the work around him. No. All he wanted was to be alone. All he wanted was to wallow, to sit in his pool of misery and stew. Couldn’t they see that?
For a moment he thought that maybe he could sneak out again and bot fight, that maybe he would find a shred of himself in those slums. But the thought was dashed when his old bot fell apart on his toe. Even more so, any hope of being alone was killed when the sound of Baymax inflating met his ears. He hadn’t realized that Tadashi’s project had been brought home and was sitting in his room. Seeing Baymax only made the pain swell in him, seeing all of Tadashi’s hard work standing in front of him, trying to make him feel better. All he Hiro wanted then was to deactivate the giant inflatable health companion, but everything he did only seemed to go right over the robot’s head, or make him more concerned. On a scale of one to ten… on a scale of one… on a scale of… on a scale… on a… on a… on a scale of one to ten how would you rate your pain? Zero… physically at least, but that was all Baymax cared about. There was no limit to his emotional pain. He seemed to pick up on that… and after a scan diagnosed him. Puberty! That was preposterous. He was depressed, no pubescent. Though that didn’t stop Baymax from continuing to pry. And eventually, he contacted everyone… You were supposed to be surrounded by friends and families after such a loss. Not isolated.
However, after the attack of his robots and the broken shelf, he did find something interesting. The Micro bots he thought had all been destroyed… it seemed one survived. It was going crazy in his hoody, trying to go somewhere, anywhere. At first Hiro had been intrigued, interested in something other than wallowing for the first time in weeks. But then the wall of pain hit him hard and he disregarded it, throwing the broken microbot in a petri dish. Baymax however couldn’t seem to be bothered to forget about it. He tried to brush it off, tell Baymax that it was broken and to leave it alone, but the bot insisted. Sarcastically, he agreed with Baymax that if he found out where the microbot wanted to go that it would make him feel better. And maybe, in a way it did.
He had never feared for his life as much as he had before that night. Never had he thought he would get so close to death than he did. No words could describe how alive he felt when he was so close to the edge, when there was a fine line separating him from living and from dying. He had wondered if this was how Tadashi felt when he sprinted into the burning building, heroically trying to save Professor Callaghan. Did he know he was going to die? Did he feel it as the adrenaline pumped through his veins? Did he fear the reaper? For the first time in months he had felt alive. The world seemed a bit brighter, everything seemed to have a bit more color, and he finally had something to live for.
Of course though, it couldn’t be so easy. His microbots had been stolen, and someone was using them to do more harm than they were good. He hadn’t meant to stumble upon the warehouse, to find the man in the kabuki mask mass producing the little buggers. And certainly he hadn’t gone in looking to take them back. He had been done with them… they died when his brother did. But regardless of his intentions, it seemed that it was his responsibility to stop the masked man. It was a crazy mission, trying to go about it alone. Even with Baymax’s new kung-fu martial arts programming and carbon fiber armor… there was no chance in hell he could win. But he had to try. He couldn’t let this man get away with it. It never even occurred to him that maybe Youkai had something to do with Tadashi’s death… that there was a connection. All Hiro saw was his invention being abused.
Luckily his friends had come in just in time to save his skin. He had tracked Youkai to the docks, following his singular microbot. Baymax was rearing and ready to go, and Hiro was ready for a fight. He was convinced he could take the masked man down, that he knew what he was up against. But when the gang showed up and tried to tell him what he was doing was insane, he realized that not only his life was in danger, but theirs were as well. How could he have possibly thought that a healthcare companion was equipped to take on hundreds of thousands of microbots! But blindly he ran in to battle and for a while he thought he could handle that. But he was kidding himself. He was lucky to have such good friends, though their faces only made him think of Tadashi, and he was grateful for their interference… even if he thought he didn’t need them.
His young life flashed before his eyes when the car sank in to the water, when all of Gogo’s hard work, talent and skill, left them flying through the sky and crashing to the frigid waters. They were going to make it she said, commanding the small space of the car as everyone fretted. They were going to make it. And they did. But simultaneously… they didn’t. Had it not been for Baymax, they surely would have all drowned, stuck in their flooded casket by the seatbelts they wore that should have saved their lives. Before then, Hiro didn’t realize how thankful he was that Tadashi designed Baymax to be inflatable. He couldn’t have foreseen this happening, but Tadashi did.
And that was the start of it all. Everyone—Honey Lemon, Gogo, Wasabi, even Fred was confused by this masked man. But more so, they wanted to stick by Hiro’s side. They had showed up because they had all cared about him, wanted him to know they were there for him in his time of need. Hiro had thought that maybe, they wouldn’t want to be friends with him anymore—they were Tadashi’s friends after all. But they came through. He wasn’t just their friend’s little brother; he was a part of the group. And that meant more to him than they could ever know. They were a team! And they would stop this masked villain if it was the last thing they did. They just needed to find a new angle.
Fire in the Belly
“My programming does not allow for me to harm another human being”
“Not anymore. Get him Baymax!”
There was no way to describe the rage that had taken over, just that all of a sudden it was there. At first he had hoped that he was seeing a ghost, that the face staring back at him was just a haunting image. But it wasn’t. His mind wasn’t playing tricks on him, if anything it was as right as it used to be before grief and loss wrought havoc upon his mind. Pain had blinded him, suffering had desensitized him, and now… rage was bringing it all back into perspective. He just started to find the happiness in his life again damnit! He was just starting to feel what it was like to not be sad all of the time. The weight on his chest was lessening each day he spent with his friends, upgrading their suits, training with them, hanging out as they should have been doing all along. But it all came crashing down; his world, his defenses, the ground beneath his feet… all of it. His body quivered with fury as he stared at the man’s familiar face, his heart sinking to the pit of his stomach as he started to grow violently ill.
HE TRUSTED YOU! TADASHI GAVE UP HIS LIFE TO SAVE YOU! He wanted to shout, to scream viciously at him. But all he could get out was a short sentence, before Callaghan discredited him, calling Tadashi foolish. That was the last straw. He had thought in those seconds of realization that he would never be able to fight the man he had once looked up to, a man he had trusted and was so excited to learn from. But he called Tadashi a fool, practically spat on his dead body that had gone up in flames because of him. It was his fault! ALL HIS FAULT! And all he could see was red.
If it hadn’t been for Callaghan stealing his microbots, had he not set the building on fire, maybe… maybe Tadashi would still be alive. Maybe there wouldn’t be a gaping hole in his heart… bleeding from a wound that he had thought at least scabbed over thanks to the love of his friends. But it was open, throbbing with new pain, releasing all the hate his small body could muster. He couldn’t possibly forgive Callaghan for what he had done, what he had said! And there was only one thing that he could think to do. Callaghan had taken Tadashi’s life, had been the reason he had lost his brother and had suffered in painful silence and isolation for as long as he had. So naturally, it only seemed fitting for him to pay with his own life. It wouldn’t bring Tadashi back, but at least Hiro could rest knowing his soul was avenged.
“GET HIM BAYMAX! GET HIM!” The chip Tadashi had installed in Baymax had been removed, the chip that made Baymax what he was, leaving him with only Hiro’s chip of destruction. The kind robot that was meant to help people turned dark and sinister, much like what Hiro felt in his chest, and immediately took off on a rampage. Callaghan deserved this, NO MERCY! He needed to pay for what he had done, what he had taken from him. Tadashi had done nothing to him to deserve the fate he had been given. He had so mucht o live for, so many good things to do, people to help. But it was all taken away! No… ripped away from him.
Hiro followed Baymax through the destroyed lab, calling for Baymax to get him, to end him. He could hear the shouts from his friends, telling him that this was a bad idea, that this wasn’t how they had planned this to go down, but he didn’t care. All he saw was red, his body vibrating with wrath as he tried to get Baymax to take the shot and bring down Callaghan. HE WAS RIGHT THERE! RIGHT THERE! But he escaped. For a long moment he stared at the spot he had escaped from, his eyes wide with shock as the rage drained from him. Lost. His opportunity was lost. There was a perfect moment to put a stop to everything… and it slipped through his fingers. The hollow feeling returned, an emptiness settling in his stomach as he let the fear take over. What if he never got another chance? What if Callaghan got away with it and Tadashi would never be avenged! He had wronged them all! Had lied to everyone! Killed their friend! Yet they protected him. And the rage returned.
Hiro turned his back to his friends, anger, loathing and contempt filling him from the tip of his toes to his nose. They let him get away and then have the gall to tell him this wasn’t what they signed up for? Excuse you! They had super suits and trained for this moment! This was exactly what they signed up for! Callaghan was going to hurt hundreds of people and needed to be ended… and yet they still stood by his side like obedient lap dogs. Couldn’t they see what they had just done. They let him get away with murder, basically said that Tadashi’s memory wasn’t worth preserving! And who knew how many more countless people he would kill in his desire to seek his own revenge on Krei. No. This was unforgivable. He wasn’t going to take this from his brother’s supposed friends. So he yelled at them. They were good for nothing anyway. He thought he could trust them… but it seemed like when he needed them most… they couldn’t even muster the courage to be there for him.
Well fine, if they wanted to be like that, then he didn’t need them. So he left. Baymax’s scanner needed fixing and he wasn’t about to let the trail on Callaghan go cold. The lot of them… well they were dead to him. They could find their own way back to San Fransokyo. All that mattered was getting what he needed. His body shook as he flew with Baymax, refusing to acknowledge the robot as he tried to analyze the situation. There would be time for talk later, time to explain to Baymax what was going on later. If he stopped to talk now he would lose the adrenaline, he would lose the anger that was fueling him. He couldn’t get distracted now. Not until he avenged his brother, not until Callaghan was put to an end.
His distraction though, the great determination to stew in anger and malice had blinded him from the oncoming storm. The sky grew dark all of a sudden, and the winds picked up to a dangerous speed. Baymax had tried to alert him to the dangers they faced flying in to the storm, but Hiro urged him on. It didn’t matter if he got hurt, all that mattered was the mission. And it was that course of thinking that got him separated from the only friend he had left in the world. The magnets in his hero suit weren’t nearly as strong as they should have, and one strong gust, the bone chilling cry of an undetermined black beast, had him falling through the sky, separated from his companion.
Days turned in to weeks, weeks into months, and before long… months turned into years. Time had a way of meshing together, had a way of becoming one big lump of upset and failure that never seemed to end. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another, piling on top of the weight already resting on his shoulders. Every time it happened he wondered if that would e the straw that broke his back, if that would be the piece that made him buckle and would drag him down. But he was stronger than he appeared, and with anger in his heart driving him forward, he had no choice but to not give in.
New York had become a second home to him, but it would never be San Fransokyo. The small apartment he lived in by himself, practically a hole in the wall but better than anything the complex gave him, would never be like Aunt Cass’s home. Nothing would ever be the same again, and he had begun to realize that. But it changed nothing in his mind. The time away from San Fransokyo was the mental break he needed, regardless of how much he refused to believe it. The complex had assigned him a grief counselor when they first found him, injured to the point of immobility and completely inconsolable, and as much as he hated her she had at least showed him the light. He needed to take a step back from the situation, and as Tadashi would have told him—find a new angle.
He had found some solace, as small as it might have been, and while he would never give up the hunt on Callaghan, he realized there were other things he had to do first. As much as that bastard deserved to die, deserved to pay for what he had done with his own life, Hiro knew that the situation had changed due to the darkness that had hit. He was alone now, and the weight of that burden was almost unbearable. He had lost Baymax in the attack, and he could only wonder if he was okay… if he had survived or if the last shred of Tadashi had died because of his selfish, raging ambition. The guilt piled on from there. He had abandoned his friends on that island, yelled at them, told them he didn’t need them and flew away. And while he would never forgive them for stopping Baymax, for letting Callaghan get away, he would also never forgive himself for leaving them. If they died too… it was his fault. And that… that made him just as bad as Callaghan.
He had to keep himself busy, he couldn’t just sit and mope around the complex fighting tooth and nail with his grief counselor. Of course, his injuries kept him immobile for quite some time, but he was stubborn and refused to let it keep him down. The nurses said he was lucky to be alive, that a fall like he had should have killed him, but regardless of his luck he absolutely refused to stay down and out. The complex recommended he apply for school, and he went through the same roundabout fight he did with Aunt Cass and Tadashi. Columbia was nothing like San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. It wasn’t Nerd School! He wouldn’t be able to waltz into the lab and see Gogo working on her bike! He didn’t want to go somewhere that he would be lectured about things he already knew about. But reluctantly, he applied. At least he would get some lab time. At least we would get the chance to work on his new bots, on new ideas that would help him find his friends if they were even still alive. But more importantly, something he could use to get Callaghan for everything he had done. He even decided to take some programming classes, just to work on the perfect chip for Baymax…
But he was right. Columbia was as boring and mundane as he feared college would be. The professors didn’t respect his knowledge and insisted that he paid attention. Regardless of how he aced all his tests, how he knew all the answers, even to questions the professor couldn’t answer, he was treated like a kid. He was bored, it was a waste of time and he didn’t want to do it. But it meant it gave him lab time… But he needed to do more with his life. School was too boring… took too much of his time… he needed an outlet. And then it dawned on him. Bot fighting. It was fun, easy for him, and above all… lucrative. He needed more money to buy better supplies for his lab projects. He needed more money period to do anything in the city. And most importantly, it was fun. Getting the handle of the gambling scene in New York was difficult, getting a bot fighting ring started was so much harder than it looked. But at least in the mean time he could use in brain to win and save the money he needed. No one needed to know that he counted cards, or used statistics to get the chips to land in his behavior. It was only illegal if you got caught.