A/N: Hey, so, no, this isn't the next chapter of Disharmony that I promised... a month ago or longer. To be fair, real life decided to get real and far too interesting as I rushed about attempting to get into a summer program to better my Japanese so I don't have to retake the entire first freaking year. Which, you know, would suck.
But, this is a thing and it wrote itself one day last week when I was supposed to be finishing a creative writing piece for my Lit class.
Attention: I have been accepted into a summer language emersion program. To ensure the participants work on their fluency in their language of choice, they are required to use that language for all forms of communication possible for the entire 8 week program. THIS MEANS I WILL NOT BE WRITING MUCH FANFICTION OR RESPONDING TO REVIEWS (unless you're totally ok with some barely semi-decent Japanese). This has been a PSA.
Disclaimer: If you think I own this... ... obviously you want Tadashi to be tortured more than I already have done so.
Warning: Depression, eating disorder, suicidal thoughts, suicide (read: this is NOT a happy fic)
With that taken care of, please, read on.
Tadashi doesn't rage like Hiro does, or bake up a storm and then eat it down like Aunt Cass. He's quiet and controlled. Nothing good ever happened when he lost his temper as a child…
("No, I don't want to go, it's stupid and boring and why do you even bother to take me! I'm too old to go with the kids, but none of the adults will actually talk to me they think I'm Hiro's age and much stupider!
"I hate going to these things! I wish something stopped the stupid dinner!" He flings a random remote at the wall, leaving a nickel-sized dent to emphasize his hatred. He's spent the day wishing for something to happen so he wouldn't have to do go to the stupid fancy dinner his parents are supposed to attend with him and his brother. Despite his prayers, nothing has happen to interrupt the plans.
"Tadashi-!" His mother is furious. But it doesn't make him wrong or his displeasure less relevent.
"Calm down," his father intervenes. "Honey, we can just leave Hiro and him home. Tadashi is nearly 12 and we're only going to the other side of town. Besides, the dinner started half an hour ago and we need to leave."
"Fine. Just." His mother turns and looks him in the eye. "Look out for your brother, Tadashi. We'll talk about this once we get back."
He glares sullenly at the wall. Yes, he's almost 12, but at the same time, this has been building since he was 9 and finally allowed away from the kids table to wander around the different venues some. Except, it's even worse than being at the kiddie table. None of the adults take his ideas seriously.
Mrs. Hamada sighs and places a quick kiss on his head, which he ducks from, and kisses Hiro on the nose before following her husband out the door.
Well, he got his wish...
Exactly three hours and 47 minutes later, he regrets making it.
"Hey, are you Tadashi Hamada?"
"Kid...we have some bad news..."
For years afterwards, Tadashi will avoid police officers like the plague, thinking they'll bring more bad news.)
…so Tadashi keeps it hidden. Down, under his skin, his anger lays in his bones, in the pockets within the marrow. It's deep and vicious and no matter how hard Hiro pushes him, he never lets it out.
Many would argue that it's not his fault that those people showed up and tried to carjack his parents' car with them in it, only to have them be killed when they refused to cooperate quickly enough.
He's never felt that way. (If he hadn't made them late, they never would have taken the alley short cut 30 minutes into the drive.) And even if he didn't, he never wanted his last words to a person be spoken in anger, ever again.
So every time Hiro gets in a fight, Tadashi purposely cools the rage in his heart, directs it elsewhere in his body and lets it lie there, undisturbed like pumice and obsidian and other volcanic rocks, cooled by the Earth's sighs.
Every time Hiro hijacks a project.
Every time Hiro nearly kills himself on some reckless stunt.
Every time, more recently, Hiro leaves for a bot battle, Tadashi keeps the anger banked under his skin and blood and muscles and leaves it for himself.
He locks away self-pity, his sadness, his jealousy, the worst parts of his frustration. All of the negative emotions that might cause him to explode at the wrong moment are buried in his bones and those that aren't are turned away from their external targets and aimed at the bulls-eyes inside his ribcage.
This's worked for years.
But, between Baymax not working, and offering ideas to Gogo, who's still working out the problems she was working on at the start of the semester and no closer to fixing the wheels despite her various attempts, and Aunt Cass needing help serving tables, and all the different people he's tutoring, and the regular homework, and papers, and tests he has to complete, and his constant worry about Hiro, and chasing after Hiro so he doesn't come out worse for the wear after his underground bot fights...
One day, Tadashi is so tired that he snaps at some poor kid he's tutoring who's been asking the same damn question all afternoon and, no matter which way Tadashi explains it, remains convinced that the correct answer can always be found by plugging random numbers he's pick out of the air into his calculator.
"Wallace, shut up!"
The kid, thankfully, shuts up. But his eyes are wide in shock and a little bit of fear because Holy robots, he must have been the first person ever to make Tadashi Hamada snap like that - he's going to die and go to Hell because everyone knows that Tadashi is a saint.
Tadashi sighs and runs a hand through his hair.
"Never mind, Wallace. We'll pick this up tomorrow. Just...go over some of the problems and tell me why you chose those numbers to solve the problem?"
Wallace nods and runs like the Furies are on his tail.
Tadashi places his head in his hands. He's so tired.
Instead of grabbing dinner and then heading to bed that night, Tadashi mumbles a greeting to Aunt Cass, ruffles Hiro's hair and face plants on the bed.
He doesn't stir until late the next morning.
It becomes something of a pattern. It doesn't matter if he's got ten minutes or ten hours, if Tadashi has a moment, he's taking a nap. So, he might skip dinner (and maybe lunch, he admits guiltily to himself) but it's a welcome change to actually be caught up on sleep for once.
His friends and family shrug and chalk it up to too many late nights for years on end and leave him be. Even Hiro stops sneaking out as much at night to fight bots in the city's alleyways, leaving Tadashi to manage multiple consecutive full nights of sleep.
(He doesn't tell his friends he's sleeping more because he's tired all the time and doesn't want to deal with the world. Skips meals because he's not hungry. Tadashi knows he's fine - he'll be fine. He always is...
Except he isn't.)
Sometimes, more recently now, Tadashi stares at himself in the mirror and wonders why he doesn't end it. It would be quiet, maybe not peaceful, but there'd be no lead in his limbs, no poison in his heart, nothing that could give him away to the world that he's not perfect.
He stares and stares and stares, sees the ever present shadows that linger below and in his eyes, how his skin is starting to resemble his inner state - always stretched taut and never released from that pressure he keeps it under because he can't stand to lose another person (any person) because of his anger and the ugliness he keeps in his bones. Tadashi fully acknowledges that he needs to take a break…except, it's so tempting to think of that in the permanent sense.
But, his mother told him to look after his brother, and he can't rescue Hiro from the other bot fighters, from Hiro's own recklessness, if he's not in this world.
So, he never does take the razor from its place beneath the sink, taped to the underside of the porcelain closest to the doors, near where the sink and cabinet meet. It's there, waiting for the day Hiro doesn't need him anymore (and maybe that's why Tadashi's so focused on getting Hiro to join SFIT - because he knows that his brother will be taken care of there, will have amazing professors and friends and now, Baymax to care for him, and won't need a big brother anymore so Tadashi can just...rest).
Nearly two and a half years later, Tadashi sees his opportunity after Hiro's guaranteed acceptance into SFIT, after Hiro's bonded with Tadashi's friends, who will make sure his brother doesn't do anything too stupid, after Hiro promises that he'll cut back on the bot, fighting to take his break (and maybe save a life while doing it).
Reviews are always welcome - even if you're yelling at me. That's totally ok for this fic.
Again, if you follow any of my other fics, I won't be updating until mid-August due to the language emersion program in which I'm participating this summer.