Chapter 2, everybody! In which Obake realizes no, he's still in an episode of The Twilight Zone…also I'm thinking a Tuesday/Friday update schedule for this fic, especially since I'm almost done writing it out (success!).
Forgot to mention this last chapter, but since I quote it this chapter there's been at least some reference to The Iron Giant. Also Hiro quotes that one Three Muskateers movie that had Orlando Bloom as the villain plus Shrek 2, while Obake quotes Ratatouille and WoF: Darkstalker. In other news, pretty sure you can make breakfast potstickers the dough is just like, flour and water and if you can do ground pork and have it done in ten-ish minutes then you can have a full breakfast in it, same with egg rolls (I need to try this actually). Also, coming up with dishes for the Lucky Cat is fun.
From personal experience…there is no magic portal or entry exam for college the first two years of college felt like an extension of high school there is no magic stick that makes college people mature. Rather, shenanigans ensue. Tadashi's claim comes from a Zits comic strip, by the by. And yes Sonic the Hedgehog is cool so is Temtem Pokémon has been underperforming for at least a decade and thus we turn to their competitors. Also Kingdom Hearts is too complex for everyone, the people who make it included.
In current news…Google Earth is better at spying than balloons send tweet.
James the apple, thanks for the review! Glad to have you, and hope you enjoy the fic! :D
Big Hero 6 © 2014 Disney
Sun shining in his eyes dragged him out of the dredges of nightmares he had been swimming in all night, replaying the events up to his lair collapsing…finally crack his eyes open, groan and roll over—what, did he fumigate the lair and needed to hide elsewhere?...
In other news, no he was not lucky and no this wasn't all a bad dream, he was still somehow a teenager a year or so before his whole grandiose plan went sideways and no he had no idea how to move forward from here.
Stomach suggested that breakfast was an immediate need. Groan, struggle upright, limbs shaking…yes, food was an immediate necessity, go find some.
Freshen up, get a mouthful of tap water to give his stomach something to work on, root around for someplace he could have hidden some emergency funds, found none. Hmm, that could mean….
That could mean that he had already hit this place up and forgot to restock it because he was busy with his schemes. It could mean that yes he was in an alternate dimension where he didn't exist and it was just blessed good fortune that this place was still unoccupied. It could mean his mind was being unhelpful during this its nervous breakdown and not providing him with a means to take care of himself. Well done, brain, nice to know you hate me too.
Okay, no, think—just—find someplace to eat, some schmuck whose pockets you could pick—being here wasn't going to solve anything, get moving.
Grumble as he left the room and tromped downstairs, skipping the one step that termites had gotten to (had forgotten about it last night—now that was a fun surprise, not). Glance about the room as he headed for the back door—eventually, this would be the place where he lured Hiro to fight his robot double, distracting him from where he needed to be and later making him not immediately question his robot going against protocol.
For now, however, it'd serve as a place to crash. Probably quite literally.
Squint as he stepped out into the sun, still feeling exhausted and hungry and very, very real, which was a problem honestly because that still meant he was stuck like this no no no we were figuring this out without having the whole nervous breakdown get a grip and find someplace to eat—
Wait. Wait wait wait wasn't this hideout in the neighborhood of—
There, where his feet were taking him of their own volition: the Lucky Cat Café. Had been here only once physically, but considering how closely he had been monitoring the boy he felt he knew it by heart. Check the street before crossing, being careful not to be in view of the windows—
Ducked back when the door banged open and the elder brother hopped on his moped, calling that he was off to SCHOOL, HIRO—had to roll his eyes at that, amused—
But, this made the next decision very easy—a perfect opportunity fallen right into his lap—
Scowl a little as harsh reality wanted to make a comeback—yes he was aware of the insanity remind him afterwards give him something small to focus on and get his feet back under him—
Immediately slip sideways once he was in, the little bell on the door ringing cheerily—maneuver around carefully, make it look like he was heading for the counter to look at the menu but instead be scanning the place—there!
Slip along carefully, trailing after the boy who was less than a head shorter than him at the moment—get behind him, wait until he had put down the tray of dishes before commenting.
"Cute apron," he said, leaning in to say it in Hiro's ear. "What, didn't have a frillier one?"
Got the joy of Hiro yelping and spinning around, him stepping back to avoid accidentally getting slapped in the face, smothered a cackle at Hiro's consternated expression. "You! What are you doing here?"
"Hmm, good question—definitely didn't come for the service."
"Hey," Hiro groused, started looking around with the obvious intent of smacking him in the face with something. "No seriously how did you know I was here?"
Because in the future or some alternate universe or whatever I know every single thing about you. Yeah no we weren't saying that. "Call it a happy accident. And I'm guessing you either live here or are related to someone who works here, since a fourteen-year-old can't be legally employed."
Hiro groused at him a moment before crossing his arms and huffily admitting "My aunt—the apron was her idea I would totally have a much cooler one if it was up to me."
"I'm sure," Obake said, trying to smother both his amusement and his interest in the food that was tantalizingly close and reminding him about how he hadn't eaten in an uncomfortably long time, worse if you thought fourth-dimensionally stop that—
"Hiro I thought you were doing the dishes," the proprietor of the café said, coming around with a tray and putting a hand to Hiro's shoulder. The aunt, Cass Hamada.
"Uhhh in a minute I was talking to my…friend," Hiro said, trailing off and giving Obake a pointed look. Cass looked at him too, bemused and a little surprised—might as well go for the existing scheme.
He uncrossed an arm enough to give a little wave. "Obake."
She blinked, and Hiro's little scowl told him he had been trying to fish for a 'real' name. HA—no. No he had abandoned that name a long time ago.
"Seriously?" Cass asked. And then, before he could come up with a response—"Oh wait have you eaten yet?"
Five minutes later he and Hiro were at a corner table, said piece of furniture groaning under the weight of enough foodstuffs to feed a small nation.
"Seriously?" he had to ask, eyebrows raised.
"So Aunt Cass is apparently excited that I know someone my age," Hiro said, sounding confused.
Aha, no. No not hardly Obake was at least twice his age the last time he checked and checking just made his mind run back in that spiral of abject panic and he was trying really hard to postpone that until he had a better explanation—managed to keep from asking am I being punished this feels like I'm being punished during his moment of silence before staring at this absolutely insurmountable pile of food who, precisely, did she think she was feeding?
Teenage boys, if he had to guess, watching Hiro eat a couple of potstickers—tear one in half to see that it had breakfast stuffs in it, was reminded of the fact that most breakfast food made him gag and that if he went too long without eating the idea of eating actually sickened him…find one that wasn't as offensive and start with that, maybe once his stomach had something to work on he'd be operating better who was he kidding this was insane it was insane it was—
"So," Hiro noised finally, dunking a potsticker into what smelled like maple syrup. "This is actually a first for me…."
"What, breakfast?" he asked, mostly to be obtuse.
The pink crawling up Hiro's neck told him that maybe being needling wouldn't work here. "To be fair it's a first for me too," he said, trying to figure out the one dish—if he had to guess, a breakfast-ified mochi with fruit cutouts on the outside. Cutesy and very much not like Momakase's fare (which also meant likely not poisonous).
"What, breakfast?" Hiro shot back—yes, appreciate the easy hit that had basically been handed to you on a silver platter.
"Being invited over to have a meal with quote-unquote 'friends,'" Obake clarified, not rising to the bite presented.
Hiro blinked at that. "Seriously?"
"Mostly I had better things to do."
"You sound skeptical."
"Well firstly I'm a little miffed at being a 'quote-unquote friend'—"
"We've known each other for less than twenty-four hours." If you didn't think fourth-dimensionally stop that—
"Okay fine, let's change that," Hiro said, jabbing chopsticks in his general direction. "How many friends have you had?"
"I've had acquaintances," he clarified, slicing an egg roll in half to examine the insides—wonder of wonders, it had actual egg, sausage, and some greenery he suspected was spinach in it. "No one I would call a friend." That was too much emotional energy spent on a useless endeavor, in his book.
"So actually you probably suck at the whole interpersonal relationship thing."
"Perhaps I've never found someone I wish to expend that energy on."
Hiro made a sort of grumbling noise as he nursed his drink—hmm, wait, he wanted to spin this so this went the way he wanted it to. "Oh I'm sure you know how it is," Obake told him. "Interests don't align, not on the same page, you talk about one thing, they talk about another, and you realize you're operating on two different levels and they expect you to stoop to theirs. Who needs the aggravation, honestly."
Hiro made another pensive noise, but this one seemed more positive. "Oh yeah, being the only eight-year-old in high school was super fun. Camp sucks too."
"Never seen the appeal."
"Take it from me, it sucks. Theoretically you're going there to meet up with kids your age who share your interests, but instead you end up being the poor kid whose bed got stuffed with poison ivy."
"I bet that was a fun month for you."
"It took forever for the itching to stop," Hiro said, shuddering. "And then there's Tadashi, who can't understand why I'm not in such a big huge honking hurry to go back to the rigamarole of school—I mean yeah college looks like it'd be better, but—"
"It's not," he told him. "There's no magical portal that high schoolers pass through on their way to becoming college freshmen that makes them behave any differently. Matter of fact, they behave worse because there's no supervision."
"You sound really sure."
Let's see, there were several crazy escapades he could list off the top of his head, not the least that one time Trevor Trengrove got duct-taped to the ceiling (that had been a good day) or that time that Wendy Wower singlehandedly recreated Hello, Dolly on the quad, but this would require explaining that he had attended a college twenty years ago when he didn't even look sixteen. This would be problematic.
So instead, he opted to say "The logic is sound. Or did you notice a big difference in your brother when he started going to college?"
"Honestly, Tadashi claims he gets more sleep now than he did in high school," Hiro said, considering. "And sometimes he acts like even MORE of a massive dork so…college is full of crazy people."
"It's cheaper than asylums and the inmates pay for the privilege."
"That is…not the explanation I would have expected, but okay."
"How are we doing over here?" Cass asked, checking in. "You kids need anything?"
A sanity check, firstly. "I'm good, thanks."
"We're good, Aunt Cass," Hiro said.
"Great—holler if you need anything—oh Hiro maybe you can show your friend one of your video games," Cass said as she ran off.
"She's onto you," Hiro said to Obake.
"Doubtful," Obake told him—mostly because if she had even an inkling she wouldn't be wanting him anywhere near this house. She did remind him of that one time he had been here in person, which prompted him to poke around in the breakfast pile for a scone. Probably not as offensive to his sensibilities, he remembered enjoying this—
First bite catapulted him back to that moment, reminding him that this was wrong, all wrong—
Hiro blinked at him dropping the scone, eyed him with concern as he forced himself to swallow and proceeded to try to wash out the taste with milk (apparently Cass didn't think teenagers needed coffee). "Are…you okay?"
"Fine," he muttered, wiping his mouth. "Just…taste didn't agree with me."
Hiro didn't seem convinced. "You don't like blueberries?"
"And you feel the need to pick this apart why?"
Hiro twitched a shoulder, still eyeing him. "Most people would be concerned by a reaction like that—at least normal people would be. Plus I'm filing that away, you gave away something about yourself, I win, mwahaha."
Okay what? "Excuse me?"
"You don't like blueberries."
Obake was actually kind of ambivalent about blueberries, as he was most foodstuffs after a while—food was fuel, he had better things to focus on, which was probably why Momakase's principal complaint upon first using his lair as a base was regarding the boxes of ramen and instant coffee next to the French press and hot plate. Yes fine in retrospect he should probably be having more rounded meals but scientific greatness took priority.
Right up until it all fell apart—
"Fine then," he said, waving Hiro off and putting the milk down—right now his stomach was doing something unpleasant which told him he needed to work back up to a full meal (if he ever decided to bother with one again, this wasn't the first time he had told himself that). "What do you want to know?"
"Last name? First name? Real name?" Hiro asked, raising an eyebrow and affecting a deadpan look.
"What, my name isn't enough for you?" Was about to ask him about his little friend club before reminding himself that Hiro had yet to meet them, most likely. "Ask me something else."
"Seriously. Next question."
"Seriously. Next question."
"Oh come on, like your age is a big deal."
Oh you sweet summer child. "Next. Question."
Hiro huffed, flopped back in his chair with his arms crossed. "Fine. Where're you from?"
That one was easy enough. "San Fransokyo."
"And you're asking me something you can confirm with your eyes because?"
Hiro arched an eyebrow. "I wanted to see if you could actually tell the truth."
Oh, clever lad, thank you for reminding him why he had bothered in the first place. "Do keep in mind where we met." Took note of the way his eyes flicked at Cass. "I suppose that isn't a talking point here."
"Er…it's calmer around here if you don't bring that up."
"I've just thought of a way to make the twenty questions stop."
Obake already had his hand up when Hiro launched out of the chair, grabbed his wrist, and dragged him along. "Okay so let's go look at that video game now breakfast was great Aunt Cass love you!"
"Uh, okay, love you too!" she called after him.
Obake waited until they were stationary in the living room to comment. "Absolutely. No. Chill."
"Yeah, that was your fault," Hiro shot at him. "Seriously?"
"Personal things, I prefer to keep to myself," Obake said, tugging his wrist free. At least until I can come up with a lie you'll believe that I can keep consistent.
"Yeah, whatever," Hiro said, throwing his hands up as he stalked over to the TV.
Obake watched him work a moment, decided to comment finally. "So you keep that a secret to avoid trouble—where, then, do you work on your bots?"
Hiro turned around to squint at him. "Seriously?"
"Well I understand you wanting to keep a low profile after last night's stunt," Obake pointed out, leaning on the back of the couch. "But I do find it more interesting than…whatever this is going to be."
"Hey Sonic the Hedgehog is cool and Temtem is WAY better than Pokémon anymore," Hiro huffed, not speaking any recognizable language that Obake could tell. Glance at the game cases again, sorting through them. "Besides, we have to space out sneaking off to bot-fight—geez, I thought you were smarter."
"I was never proposing we left," he countered, not rising to the obvious bait. "I was just curious about your workshop. Or, perhaps, you were overselling yourself all this time. Suppose I shouldn't have let myself be impressed."
Hiro was looking at him, eyes narrow…take the bait, take it, it would be a lot easier if he had this to work with….
"You know what, fine," Hiro said, putting a game case aside as he stood up. "But only because the plot of Kingdom Hearts is too complex for someone like you."
"Undoubtedly," he said drily, not giving two whits about whatever that was. Follow Hiro into the garage, watch as he grabbed a folding stepladder and flipped it open.
"Tadashi hid Megabot, but I already figured out all his hiding spots years ago," Hiro explained, climbing up and reaching behind the runner of the garage door. "Don't tell Tadashi."
"Of course not."
Hiro nodded, tossed Megabot to him, put away the folding stepladder as Obake turned the robot over. Simple, used the magnetic servos Professor Callaghan had developed in a way that made it difficult to destroy or counter, would eventually be the inspiration for the microbots (a pity those had been lost during the fight with Callaghan, would have made so many things easier).
"So," Hiro said, taking Megabot away. "Megabot is actually pretty straightforward once you understand the design for Callaghan's servos—"
Obake watched, nodding as Hiro explained the robot, taking it apart and putting it back together again as he maintenanced it.
"And there you go," Hiro said, tugging a controller out—toyed with it, causing the robot to roll off and then around the garage. "Super-easy—you know, if you're a genius."
"Think highly of ourselves, don't we?" Obake asked, smirking.
"Well I understand wanting to challenge my superiority, but seeing as how you don't have a robot—"
"Give me a minute—maybe you'll learn something."
Hiro watched as he cast around the garage, assembling a counter with Hiro occasionally handing tools over—had one to put across from Hiro's Megabot in about five minutes. Give him a break, he was rusty, disoriented still, and working with what he had.
"So that was more than a minute," Hiro observed, looking at the literal tin can on wheels. "Sure that'll counter Megabot?"
"What say we play and find out? Winner gets to pick the next activity."
Hiro smirked, pulled Megabot's controllers out to their full extent, causing the robot's angry face to snap to the fore. "Fine then—Megabot, destroy."
Obake smirked as the robot zipped forward, wrapping around the tin can and crushing it—
And then collapsing in an inert heap.
"What?" Hiro looked at his controllers, tried fiddling with them before having to concede defeat. "Hey! How—"
"Magnetic servos," Obake explained, waving a finger around. "With a small magnetic field that, when it wrapped around my robot, completed a circuit which electrified the metal exterior and fried Megabot's controls. Better luck next time."
Hiro glared at him. "That's cheating."
"How do you figure?"
"That's not even a robot!"
"The wheels move—to qualify as a robot, it needs at least one moving part." Watch Hiro splutter—"To be fair, you did show me how to beat you."
Hiro glowered at him.
"Fine, fine," he said, waving him off. "I'll make an actual one this time while you fix yours—sound fair?"
"Yeah, sure," Hiro said, collecting Megabot. "But you stay on that side of the garage."
"Fair enough." And that still left him with plenty to work with.
The second one actually resembled a robot this time and required a controller.
"This one isn't going to zap Megabot, is it?" Hiro asked, eyes narrowed. "Because that was totally cheating."
"Now now, you never stipulated that that needed to be in the parameters," Obake countered. "And besides, there is no fighting dirty, there's fighting to win. That's. It."
Hiro glared at him for a moment—
Finally retrieved a hula hoop to act as a ring and plopped down across from him.
Hiro didn't go charging straight in this time, which held promise—did actually keep him on the ropes, necessitated him revealing his hand less than a minute in.
"Wha—hey!" Hiro barked. "No flying robots!"
"Again, you need to outline these stipulations beforehand," Obake said, firing a little laser that scrambled Megabot's control chip again, making it once again crumple to a heap. "I do believe I'm two for two." Okay yes he was beating a child and this was ragingly petty but he wanted at least a little revenge before going into his scheme properly—
No wait no we are not scheming right now we don't even know what THIS is—
Hiro was cut off in his retort by footsteps, was scrambling seconds later. "Ahhh Aunt Cass abort abort—"
The aunt stuck her head in a few moments later. "What are you guys doing out here?"
"Uhhhh," Hiro noised, looking around—pointed at the hula hoop. "Trying to figure out how to get that to work."
Oh brother that was a horrible cover story and judging by the aunt's expression she thought so too. "Actually, Hiro mentioned that he and his brother did technical work out here and I expressed interest," he said. Indicate the hula hoop. "I think that was the start of a prank for said brother that he had forgotten about."
Expression was still disapproval, but it had shifted to a more boys will be boys mentality. "Well I brought snacks."
Hiro gave him an odd look once she left, after admonishing them to behave and don't blow the house up—already she had him pegged. "Seriously? No one talks like that."
"I talk like that," Obake countered. "And she bought my story."
Hiro huffed, had a moment of silence before biting into an egg roll (Obake was still managing to keep is this a punishment out of his but he was getting close), considered him.
"So we can't have another round because Aunt Cass will be suspicious now," he said. "So now what?"
Obake considered, drumming his fingers. "Well we could make something."
Hiro sat down in the other chair, toeing it closer. "Like what? Can't look too much like a battlebot, she'd flip a lid."
"Bold of you to assume that's all I know how to make," he said, poking at the computers. Let's see, what could he do with this. "Although while we're on the topic, why are you out there competing with no sense of your opponents?"
"How do you figure?"
"Well from what I saw last night, you didn't seem to—you're supposed to start taunting after you have the prize and a viable exit. As it is, you're empty-handed."
"Yeah," Hiro groused, flopping backwards in his chair with his arms crossed. "That sucked."
Hmm, but it gave him an idea. "Well, since we can't go out and get it…what say you to finagling a way to get your earnings back?"
Hiro blinked at him. "Er…how?"
"I'll show you."
What followed was a very enjoyable experience, from Obake's perspective.
This—this here, this right here, was what he had wanted when he offered Hiro that opportunity. The boy at his elbow as he explained the finer workings of what he was doing, Hiro nodding and offering moments of cleverness, handing tools over and questioning his way through why they were going this way over this way, seemed very impressed at the end when there was one of his tripod drones sitting in front of them.
"Now, the coding should…maybe scoot back a little, the blades will be sharp," he said, glancing at Hiro as he scootched over to the computer.
"Think we should have put guards on them?" Hiro asked, obliging.
"Perhaps, but this gives us options if we happen to run into something that needs cutting."
"I thought that was what the laser was for."
"That's one reason. We need something to test the claw on."
Hiro grabbed a shoe that most likely belonged to the elder brother, put it where Obake could test the drone's capabilities—worked well, claw worked well, had no doubt, at least that hadn't been scrambled. Hiro held up the hula hoop, Obake obliged by flying the drone through it—
And out the door.
"And now we check the range," he said as Hiro scooted back over in the chair, watching the screen as he navigated the drone. "Let's see, map…here we go."
"Where'd you get the map of the neighborhood?" Hiro asked.
"Google Earth." Found Good Luck Alley, navigated down to where he knew Yama lived, pulled up schematics—
"And where'd you get those?"
Okay that one involved hacking. "Let's just say now we're in the neighborhood of betting on bot-fighting."
"Do you want your money back or not?"
Hiro sulked a little at that, but still watched with interest as Obake carved a circle out of the window with the laser, catching the disc of glass with the claw, gently setting it by the window before sending the drone in.
"Yama would most likely keep a safe in his office," he said, remembering that he had to pretend not to know the man's schematics already. Test. "Which of those rooms look likely?"
Hiro scanned through the different rooms—"This one. Top floor, a few rooms over from where you are."
Perfect—navigate the drone through, switching to infrared to check for anyone present—there were a few people, body positions suggesting they were sleeping….
Including Yama, snoring in a room behind his office.
"Well this makes it convenient," he said, grinning at Hiro. "From the sounds of that he'd sleep through an explosion."
"We're not blowing anything up, are we?" Hiro asked, looking concerned.
"No need." Fly up to the painting, use the claw to take it off the wall—
"How'd you guess?" Hiro asked, eyebrows up at the sight of the safe.
"It was obvious," he pointed out. Used the laser to fry the mechanisms of the safe, tug it open with the claw…hmm, that was a lot more than could be conceivably carried with the claw. "We need something to carry that with."
"I didn't make that much," Hiro pointed out.
"Consider it hazard pay for nearly getting killed." Also he needed funds desperately. Scan the room, drift into Yama's room, scan it…empty pillowcase would work.
"What?" he asked, glancing at Hiro as he used the claw to carefully shake the pillow free of the casing. "Nervous?"
Hiro had been sitting with his head resting on his crossed arms, lifted it and surprised him with a smile that promised shenanigans in the near future. "Hey—let's shave him."
"Or draw on his face, I'm flexible."
Hmm…consider, it was juvenile…but it could conceivably throw Yama and goons off their trail, he was feeling petty, and it would be a good test of the claw.
Plus, it was doing precisely what he wanted: getting Hiro enamored with this life, with being clever and cunning, with taking what you wanted instead of waiting around for a good turn that had no guarantee of coming.
"Let's get the money first," he said, taking the pillowcase back into the other room. "Then we can look for a Sharpie."
Yama was not happy when he woke up from his nap to find that he had been robbed.
How had they figured out the safe was behind the painting how had they cracked it how had they even gotten in!? Nobody guarding the building had seen anything, and they didn't get a clue until much later when a round of glass blew off a sill and crashed near one of his men.
Plus there was the fact that whoever it was, they were cheeky enough to draw on his face with a magic marker while they were robbing him.
Needless to say, he was planning murder when he got in the elevator.
Those plans were derailed when the elevator stopped dead between floors.
"What?" he squawked—jabbed a meaty finger against several buttons, trying to prompt a response—don't tell him the stupid thing was broken—
The screen fizzed—
Suddenly shifted to a sickly green, a snarling red decal featured on it.
"Hello," a cold voice said. "You and I are about to have a little chat."