Handprint 06 – It's Not Jealousy (Not Even Close)

Human/Regular AU

(Baby!Hiro and College Student!Dashi)

Tadashi tugged at his hair, the strands unwashed and slightly greasy. It was nearing midterm, but he still had no idea what he was doing with his soft robotics project. So far, it wasn't going so well. Yeah it had a purpose, and sure it was sort-of-not-really working, but there was something that was missing. Something not right – something… lifeless about his project. It was just an arm meant to aid doctors in medical procedures, but it still felt as if it was deadweight – redundant in its purpose.

If Tadashi had expressed his problem with anyone else in his department, they would have scoffed. It's a robot, they would probably say, It's not supposed to have a life.

Tadashi saw it a bit differently.

"Burning the late night oil, Mr. Hamada?" A voice asked, along with a soft rap of knuckles on the glass door.

Tadashi spun in his desk chair and mustered up a smile for his robotics professor. "Professor Callaghan," he acknowledged, "are you heading home already?"

Callaghan laughed, hands slipping into his pockets. "I'm not as young as I used to be, Tadashi. I get tired easily. Better for me to head home early and get as much rest as I can, don't you agree?"

The professor eyed Tadashi's hair and slightly dishevelled appearance, silently indicating that the young adult head home for once and sleep. Abashedly, the elder Hamada rubbed the back of his neck and flushed red. "Ah, yeah. I should... probably do that too."

The robotics teacher nodded with a genial smile and turned to leave, his hand lifting in farewell. "Don't stay too late Mr. Hamada. We have families to get back to after all."

Tadashi looked up and watched the retreating figure of his professor. He was right; Tadashi should probably get home, before Aunt Cass got worried about him – and by extension, before Hiro started worrying about him too.

Stealing a last reproachful glance at his midterm robotics project, Tadashi set about gathering his things and mopily stuffing them into his messenger bag.

The ride home felt lethargic.

The first thing to catch Tadashi's attention the moment he stepped foot into his and Hiro's shared loft was the mess. There were crayons and markers littering every surface of their room: on the desk, the beds, the shelves, and the floor – all over the floor. "Nii-chan!" Hiro giggled, running up to Tadashi from somewhere out of the clutter. He was covered in marker lines, stripes of colour running across his poofy cheeks and over his clothes. Tadashi silently thanked whatever deity that was up there that those markers were washable.

"Look, look! I made a drawing!" the toddler laughed, tugging excitedly on Tadashi's sleeve and pointing with a green and yellow finger at the mess of paper and drawing utensils at the foot of the elder Hamada's bed. That spot seemed to be the epicentre of the entire mess, a chaos of colours spreading out from the highest point of concentration like rainbow scribbles exploding over every stainable surface in their shared bedroom.

Tadashi could only assume that that was Hiro's base of operations. The elder brother fought back a tired sigh that wanted to claw its way up his throat. He'd been staying late for the past week to work on his soft robotics medical arm, but it'd all been for naught. And now he had to clean up Hiro's mess on top of that. With a hidden grimace, Tadashi decided to leave the rainbow spillage until tomorrow – when he wasn't so exhausted.

Following his little brother across their room was trickier than he remembered. It was probably because he kept slipping on markers and loose sheets of paper. Hiro frowned after the fourth slip on the short way to his bed. "Nii-chan, what's wrong?"

The elder Hamada scrubbed a hand over his eyes. "I'm just a little tired, Hiro. I'm fine. Now what did you want to show me?"

The child genius didn't look convinced, but stayed quiet. Instead, he tugged Tadashi more vigorously over to his pile of papers and picked one up from the top of the stack. "Look!" Hiro grinned, holding the paper out in front of him proudly.

"What's this?" Tadashi asked, taking the picture from his little brother's hands and examining it more closely. The drawing was well done for Hiro's age, aside from the fact that it looked a bit like a misshapen marshmallow with arms, legs and a mouth connected to what looked like two eyes.

"Not what; who!" Hiro exclaimed, jumping up and down on the spot and dragging at Tadashi's cardigan to get him to kneel.

The elder Hamada complied. "Okay... Who's this?"


"Bay... Baymax?" Tadashi asked, tilting his head slightly to observe the soft curves of the drawing.

Hiro clapped his hands excitedly. "Yeah!"

"What do they do?" Tadashi asked curiously. Knowing his brother, everything had a purpose, whether he had purposely intended it to or had unconsciously projected it with a hidden meaning.

The toddler seemed to contemplate the question, his head tilting to the side and lips pursing in thought. "He's nice and friendly and always gives warm hugs!"

"I see," the elder Hamada chuckled, drawing his brother into his arms and leaning his head on top of Hiro's. So the thing had a gender too.

"And he takes care of you when you get boo-boos," Hiro gushed, wriggling happily in place. "He always says, 'On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?'"

Tadashi looked on in surprise – those were always the words he said to Hiro whenever he got hurt. Was this drawing based off of him? An inkling of an idea started to form in Tadashi's head. "Hey, Hiro," he started haltingly, unsure how to ask for something like this.

Hiro swivelled his head to meet his elder brother's unfocused gaze. "Yeah?"

"Can I… Can I have this picture?"

The child blinked at him in surprise. "Why?"

Tadashi grinned down at his sibling. "Just have a few plans for this guy," he answered ambiguously.

Hiro broke out into a large grin, not even bothering to question his sibling further. "Okay! Take good care of Baymax, alright?"

The elder smiled and nodded once. "I promise."

Hiro jumped off his lap and rushed over to his other drawings, Baymax already forgotten in Tadashi's hands. Tadashi sighed happily, a fond look passing over his face as he watched the toddler pick up the rest of his pictures to show his elder brother. After the show and tell was over and Tadashi gave him and Hiro a bath, the elder Hamada tucked them into bed. Hiro was asleep as fast as he usually was, and Tadashi tried not to jostle his brother with his laugh.

"I'll take good care of Baymax," he whispered, hand running through fluffy raven locks. "And in return, he'll take good care of you too, Hiro."

[Half a year later…]

He had brought this unto himself, Tadashi surmised. Maybe it had started before, or maybe it had started later, but nonetheless, he couldn't deny that it was there. That niggling emotion dyed a vibrant, attention-catching green.

From his imperious seat on the white marshmallow bot's lap, Hiro giggled, hands flying through the air in excited gestures as he rambled about 'the coolest bot in the universe'. They were familiar gestures, ones that Tadashi himself unconsciously did – and really, it was no surprise Hiro had picked them up from his older brother.

Tadashi's cell phone vibrated in his back pocket, and the young adult absentmindedly picked up while shooting his robotic nurse slightly envious glances.


'Tadashi?' It was Aunt Cass. 'When do you plan on coming home? Rush hour is over so I made cookies. Y'know, double chocolate chip, right out of the oven?'

Tadashi's stomach rumbled a bit at the thought. "Mmm, the soft chocolate chip ones that just melt in your mouth? Hiro's favourite?" he asked slyly.

'You know it, mister!' She crowed proudly through the speaker. 'Now hurry back, okay?'

"Yeah, Hiro and I will be home soon. We're leaving now. Bye."

With the click of the call dropping, Tadashi turned to his baby brother. "Hiro, don't you want to go home and have some of Aunt Cass' double chocolate chip cookies? She just called and said they were right out of the oven!" Tadashi sang from his spot at his work desk.

"No!" Hiro said, stubbornly crossing his arms over a small chest. "I want to stay with Baymax!"

A stab of an emotion Tadashi didn't want to name poked him between the ribs. He wasn't jealous. He wasn't. "Don't you like staying with Nii-san too?" he asked, more teasingly than anything.

Hiro seemed to pause at his words, face scrunching up in thought. A finger found its way into the toddler's mouth, and Tadashi got up from his chair with a resigned sigh. He walked over to crouch beside his brother. "Didn't we make a promise you would stop sucking on your thumb?"

With a slight nod, Hiro let the other gently pry his hand from his mouth. Wide, guileless eyes stared at the older Hamada. "I like Baymax…" Hiro started, and for a second, Tadashi held his breath. "But I like Nii-san more."

Tadashi smiled wide, picking up Hiro and lifting him into the air. "Well I like Hiro the best," the elder said, blowing a raspberry into his sibling's stomach; the toddler shrieked from the ticklish sensation, limbs pin wheeling in frantic circles. Chuckling, Tadashi settled his younger brother in the crook of his arm while grabbing his bag and slinging it over one shoulder. "Let's go home, okay? I'll bring you to see Baymax another time."

Hiro looked downtrodden, but nodded all the same. Tadashi grinned fondly at the expression before a mischievous glint entered the younger sibling's eyes. Blowing out his cheeks, Hiro pressed his entire face to Tadashi's and blew a giant, loud, wet raspberry.

"Ew, Hiro!" Tadashi nearly squealed, hurriedly wiping his face on a cardigan sleeve. Hiro's entire body shook with peals of delighted laughter and Tadashi couldn't help the feeling of fond warmth spreading out from where his brother clung to his side.

"Nii-san is Hiro's hero!" the toddler whooped happily, attempting to shower his brother with more raspberries.

Tadashi easily fended off his younger sibling with one arm. "And you're my number one," Tadashi said lovingly, batting away starfish hands and flailing limbs long enough to press a kiss to Hiro's nose. "Always."