Chapter 68, everybody! Oh my gosh we made it! And on time too for once—we can thank me insisting on finishing the story before posting for once. XD
So I've gotten questions about a sequel and YES, I do have plans to tackle the other seasons—currently got about 160-ish pages and 12-13 consecutive chapters done on that, but it's going to be a while before its done. I mean, this one took me a year of solid writing once I finally got the groove going (had picked at it on and off for about a year before then) and that was the movie and Season 1—Season 2 had that weird half-season thing going on (which I never did finish watching, gotta fix that), so baseline for that is resolving those two into a singular, solid arc. Definitely don't anticipate it this year, I'll be spending the rest of the year working on other active fanfics and hopefully some short stories here and there. Do guarantee that I'll be posting snippets occasionally on my Tumblr page though (name is drkineildwicks there).
Back to the final chapter oh goodness…Hiro wants the shark gun from Arcane and apparently Aunt Cass intends to borrow it. Also reference to a Marvel Tumblr post I saw once—the maybe if I close my eyes it'll all go away was attributed to Hawkeye, who to be fair is the only non-superpowered hero alongside Black Widow, I think? So his wanting to disassociate at the end of the first Avengers film makes sense.
And then there's Granville…also a quote from James and the Giant Peach and Wild America. But yeah all of Granville's big story beats in Season 1 got compressed down to this scene this woman has been holding it in for a while and with Obake in front of her she gets to address some things. On that note…I've said multiple times over the years that I believe that Granville is the only person Obake fears and that was partially from his sour face at hearing what she told Hiro during the events of "Mini-Max." Also the reference to Ripley is about Ripley's Believe it or Not, not Alien.
So…real talk Fred's wait his name's BOB? moment in canon was my exact response to learning Obake's real name and honestly Hiro's reaction is a mood. Tadashi's reasoning is what Hiro did in canon and honestly I did the same—just kinda squinted at the name Bob Aken and went hold it. And one more title drop, for the road. :D
Juxshoa, thanks for the review! Yes it's all awkward now. XD And I do have plans to adapt the other seasons—already started, just need to work out the kinks and get typing. :D
Big Hero 6 © 2014 Disney
Going back to SFIT Monday morning took some convincing on multiple fronts.
"Are you sure?" Cass demanded of them, constantly fussing over them and taking Obake flinching away from that in stride. "Because you know, that makes twice now and—"
"And the guy is in jail, Aunt Cass we're fine," Hiro protested.
"I'd rather not," Obake said.
"No, you're coming, we need to work on the shark gun."
"We're not making a shark gun," Tadashi insisted.
"Like, a gun that shoots sharks?" Cass asked, confused.
"Like the shark gun at the end of Arcane."
"No shark guns," she told them. "Mostly because I'd be tempted to use it," she muttered.
"Okay fine shoo shoo shoo," she said, handing them lunches and hugging them. "He's still in jail, I checked this morning," she said when she hugged Obake, totally unaware of the problems with all of that. "You're fine."
"That's subjective," he told her honestly—she gave him one of those amused consternated looks and pushed him out the door after the brothers.
"So if we're being technical you're no longer the only one who hasn't been arrested," Tadashi said once they were on the trolley.
"Took you this long to figure that one out, did it?" Obake asked as they sat down, Baymax standing and sanitizing a handle before holding on.
"Look, certain things need a lot of processing time, okay? This is weird."
"Hence not saying anything, and if you felt that strongly about it you would have let me sleep on the couch."
"Listen, I fought long and hard to get you off of that couch, I refuse to lose ground there."
"Some things you just can't let go," Hiro said.
Obake made a sort of tch noise in the back of his throat and looked away and out the window—everything still felt tight and raw, but not as badly as it had at the beginning of the weekend. The Hamada brothers had decided to brute-force their way to normalizing this, apparently, stubbornly working their way through it by sheer force of will. He wasn't sure if it was the best way to go about it, but he was the first to admit that this was far too out in the Twilight Zone to have a proper way of approaching it. But still.
"But you do understand my reasoning behind preferring the couch," he tried.
"Okay we're going to have to start doing what Fred said and thinking fourth-dimensionally," Tadashi said, arms crossed. "Because all things considered I think we can agree you're stuck going through puberty again."
"Oi," Obake sighed, rubbing his face.
"Is it that bad?" Hiro asked, concerned. "Because Baymax was saying something about pubescent mood swings—"
"Puberty: is when you will begin flowering into adulthood," Baymax announced. "You may experience strange urges, and grow hair on your: face, armpits, and—"
"WOAH Baymax we don't discuss this sort of thing in public," Tadashi yelped, jumping up and frantically waving him off before covering the image on the robot's front.
"Puberty is a natural occurrence," Baymax persisted. "There is no need to be ashamed of it. There, there," he said, hugging Tadashi.
"Ha," Obake barked at him.
"So this isn't giving me much hope for the next several years," Hiro said, grimacing. "Hey—puberty has an end date, right?"
Obake was prevented from hanging back once they got off the trolley by Tadashi dragging him forward and planting him in front of Gogo.
"We've decided on the ride over that he's already been punished enough," Tadashi told her, pointing at Obake.
"Then we've reached the same conclusion," Gogo said. "That doesn't change the weird part."
"We're hoping if we ignore it it'll all go away."
"He's not succeeding," Hiro said.
"We're trying and that's the important thing."
"You can let go now," Obake said.
"No I know how you are."
"You might want to avoid Honey Lemon then, she's in a huggy mood," Gogo said—Honey Lemon tackled them in a hug. "Case in point."
"So I've been thinking about it and I can understand not wanting to talk about it," Honey Lemon said when she finally let go.
"Still weird," Gogo said.
"Let's try the not talking thing," Obake said.
"My dudes hey!" Fred greeted, coming over, Wasabi following. "Give any thought to that thing we discussed?"
"We're not discussing it," Gogo said. "Also you knew."
"So it wasn't my place to say," Fred said, a hand to his chest. "And considering everyone's reactions, I'm pretty sure there were reasons for not saying anything, not limited to you'd totally dismiss it out of hand if told."
"Yes, but still."
"And then there's Wasabi," Tadashi said, amused.
"I'm hoping if I just close my eyes it'll all go away," Wasabi said.
"It doesn't work, I've tried," Obake told him, trying very hard not to fidget dangit he was better than fidgeting he was a supervillain genius dangit—
"Well good news, we've decided to ignore it," Hiro said, grabbing Obake's wrist and dragging him to the labs. "Come on, we're making the shark gun before Tadashi stops us."
"Hiro no," Tadashi yelped, leaping after them—
"There you are."
Everyone froze at that, took a slow take over to Professor Granville standing there, giving them all an evaluating glare.
"I want to see you in my office," she said—Obake wilted internally when her attention settled on him. "All of you."
Granville's office was standing-room only with six kids, one healthcare robot, and one former adult in there with her, looking at a screen still replaying some of the action from Friday.
"Would I be correct in saying that the tech being used here is familiar?" she asked them, an eyebrow raised. There was a lot of shuffling and not looking at each other. "That is a question that requires an answer."
"Well someone did steal my microbots," Hiro started—stopped when she focused on him.
Tadashi stepped forward. "It was my idea, I pressured them into it, punish me."
Granville arched an eyebrow at everyone tripping over themselves arguing with Tadashi over that—no it was not Tadashi's idea don't take all the credit I helped too—Hiro glanced at Obake, shrinking back from Granville's attention, wondered why—
He hadn't been surprised to learn that Granville taught here twenty years ago—no wonder he had been trying to avoid her, she'd recognize him.
"Enough," Granville said, cutting through the arguments. "You are children. Whatever possessed you to involve yourselves?"
Hiro noticed the glances starting to sneak towards Obake—looked at him, steeled himself, turned to Granville.
"It was my fault," he said—ignored the protests, the hand grabbing his arm, shrugged Tadashi and Obake both off. "That guy stole my microbots and the energy amplifier I made. I…I messed up."
Granville's expression was inscrutable. "Why did you make an energy amplifier?"
"I got an e-mail—it looked like it came from the school, saying it would be an extra-credit assignment." Sag a little, face burning. "It was a scam and I fell for it." Felt a hand tap his arm again, knew Obake felt guilty about that even though by severest technicalities he didn't do that—
He did the first time around, a small corner of him that was still kind of angry at Obake hissed.
Granville's eyebrow snaked up at Obake's actions, suggesting she knew or suspected more than she let on. "Twenty years ago a student tried to make such a device," she said. "It exploded, destroying the lab—the boy barely survived." Hiro could feel Obake shrinking back again. "SFIT would not approve another such device. I wouldn't approve of another such device."
"I didn't know," Hiro said in a small voice.
"I wouldn't have expected you to. I would have expected you to tell someone else. Where is the device now?"
"We destroyed it," Tadashi said—it had been a rare moment when he and Obake had agreed on something.
"At least there's that," she said coolly. "Anything else you'd like to say in defense of yourselves?"
Everyone shuffled their feet, looked at each other—Hiro steeled himself.
"I don't regret it," he told her, making the others stop. "I'd do it again. Someone had to help." Felt Tadashi's hands on his shoulders, squeezing slightly.
"People would have died if we hadn't done anything," Tadashi said. "That's more important than…than failing grades or expulsion."
"Saying that, I'd like to not be expelled," Wasabi said, a hand half-raised.
Granville looked them all over, looked at the screen…back at them. "I suppose this warrants passing grades," she said finally. "And expulsion would be a poor reward for saving the city. However," she added sternly. "I want it to be clear that this behavior will be dealt with if it persists. Am I clear?" Everyone nodded frantically. "Then you are dismissed. Not you."
Hiro glanced back, saw Obake stiff and wide-eyed, frozen in the act of following them out—exchanged a desperate look with Hiro before slowly turning to face Granville.
"Yes, you," she said. "We have things to discuss." Look up at the rest of them. "I said you were dismissed. Close the door on your way out."
One last desperate glance—door slid shut. Press his ear against it…didn't hear anything.
Was aware that he wasn't the only one straining to hear. "Are they talking?" Wasabi asked quietly. "I don't hear anything."
"I wonder what's going on," Honey Lemon said.
"He's dead," Tadashi guessed. "Professor Granville killed him."
He was dead, he was so dead, Professor Granville was going to kill him.
No stop be rational—there was no way she would buy what had happened to him, Fred of all people was the one who had figured it out…she'd still kill him, but it wouldn't be over that.
"Sit," she ordered—he tried very hard not to wilt under her look, minced over, sat down gingerly. Oh come on he had faced off against his own stupid self he had stared down a monster he could handle a teacher.
Except in all honesty, Granville was really the only one he had ever feared, and for good reason—she could cut right through him.
"I've heard much about you," she said. "Not all of it good, I'm afraid. And your name—I imagine your last name is Aken, is it not?"
Nod, not trusting himself to respond—Professor Granville it's me. Yeah, that'd go over well.
"I just wanted to thank you—if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have become the man I am today."
He had thrown that in her face, before, arrogant in the face of what he had thought was assured victory, enjoying watching her crumble—glancing up at her now, he could see she had already gone through that, was rebuilding herself in the face of a familiar student.
He flinched at those two words, at the impossibility she was demanding of him….
"I can't." It was the truth—it was the truth she could handle, the rest of it was too far-fetched to believe.
Eyes narrowed. "I suggest you try very hard before I start making calls."
Winced at that threat, tried to parse through what he could tell her, what he could bend around enough into a truth she'd believe—never that he was the selfsame man who only a few days ago had confronted her to taunt her with the thought of crushing her spirit before destroying her with the rest of the city, dismissing the thought of sparing her after thinking her defanged—
Glowering at the screen as he listened to her regret, to her reasoning for imposing limits, that dirty, dirty word that fettered great minds—well, he'd get the boy out from under her and then—
Grit his teeth, lower his head, stare at long thin fingers folded in his lap.
"I didn't want that anymore," he said finally, quietly. "I wanted something else, a life I didn't deserve. I thought I could run away from past errors…but I was wrong." Look up at her, impassive and expressionless as stone. "Taking them to stop the star machine was my idea. I…I couldn't do it alone." None of it—in trying to stop it on his own he had nearly lost it all, heart squeezing at the thought of how much the brothers' stubbornness actually meant to him—"Please, I'm sorry—I don't want to go away again." Not now, not now that he had finally realized what life actually meant to him, when it was full instead of the emptiness he had inflicted upon himself.
She searched his face, looking for some deceit…exhaled, closing her eyes. Opened them again to regard him evenly.
"I taught your father," she said, making him blink. "I thought him brilliant, thought he would work best without limits, and in my ignorance I nearly killed him. I did him a disservice, then." Picked up what looked like a letter, handed it to him. "I will not be repeating that mistake."
Take the letter, dumbfounded—of course she would come to the same conclusion that Cass had. The truth was too strange for even Ripley to believe, let alone her. Look at the letter, turning it over, reflecting that apologizing was pointless when she didn't realize who he was truly—
Blinked at his chosen name, looked up at her. "What is this?"
"I've heard enough about you," she said. "And I think helping to save the city is a proper entrance exam."
Stare at her, confused, not comprehending…."I don't deserve this."
"It may surprise you to learn that others feel differently," she told him. "And your performance will tell soon enough." Shuffle some papers. "You can start right away or wait until the new term, but understand that if you do the former you'll have quite a bit of catching up to do. And I'll be needing a last name to put on record as well."
He looked at the singular name on the letter. "You already know my last name."
"I know the name you were born with," she confirmed. "But I also know of your familial experiences. I can think of at least two people who would contest that name if I were to put it down."
Aha, no on all counts…well under severest technicalities she was right about the first, but the second…she must think him a runaway, like Cass did. And if the brothers thought that way before, they certainly didn't now.
And yet he couldn't bear to pick up his old name again.
"I…I'll have to think about it," he conceded finally, looking away.
She nodded. "Let me know what you decide. And Mr. Aken?" she added, making him pause and look back. "It's a pleasure to meet you finally."
Nod, throat tight, start for the door…slow when something occurred to him.
"You know they won't listen to you." Look back, saw her with an eyebrow arched questioningly. "They'll go out and do it again. I know—wanting to help people, it's in their coding."
She nodded. "I'm aware."
Squint at her, confusion still pulling at his eyebrows and around his eyes. "Then why did you tell them that?"
"Because as I told you, I'm not making the mistake of letting my students act unsupervised," she said. "I'm sure you've heard otherwise, but you do need limits."
He had heard otherwise—from her, actually. But he could see it, in the way she looked at him—that pain was still there, still raw, the pain of failure, of having everything blow up in her face—he knew that pain intimately.
He saw something else too, realized she had cared for him, could almost see her reasoning that if she couldn't save the father she could at least save the son.
And he, at least, could meet her halfway.
"We'll see," he conceded, inclining his head slightly—turned and opened the door—
Fred, Wasabi and Tadashi fell in, making him jump back, Hiro tumbling in on top of them, Honey Lemon looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Gogo arched an eyebrow, Baymax blinked. "Oh no."
Slow turn to arch an eyebrow at Granville. "You were saying?"
"As I said, you're in need of supervision," she said. "Again, you all are dismissed."
"So what happened?"
Obake handed Hiro the letter without comment—Hiro blinked, eyes widening at it, obviously recognizing the resemblance to his own acceptance letter—ripped it open and read through it.
"Why is your last name just 'name here'?" Hiro asked, looking at him—currently he was sitting crosslegged on one of the lab couches, Obake slouching next to him and staring at nothing.
"She seems to be operating under the impression that my name is up for debate," he said.
"Well seeing as you never tell anyone your last name—oh wait technically the other guy is you what is his name—"
"Give me that," Obake said, snatching Hiro's phone away—
Tadashi had been operating on the same realization and succeeded, if his bark was any indication. "Bob Aken!" he called over.
"BOB!?" Hiro squawked, laughing so hard that he fell off the couch. "Your real name is BOB!?"
"Now you know why I changed my name," Obake said, aiming a kick at Hiro.
"You didn't even do that," Tadashi said. "You just knocked the first and last letters off your name and called it a day."
"Seriously?" Gogo asked, looking up from her station.
"I'm not having this conversation," Obake groused. "And you—shut up," he growled, aiming another halfhearted kick at Hiro.
"I'm so trying I swear," Hiro giggled.
"My dudes respect the naming," Fred said, leaning on the back of the couch. "Also, now that we're not in danger of being expelled, we should revisit the superhero thing."
"Fred, you don't even go here," Gogo said.
"True, but I'd lose my school mascot privileges, and that'd be a problem."
Obake and Gogo exchanged aggrieved glances before Gogo recalled she was still mad at him—fair enough.
"But this is good though," Honey Lemon said, picking up the letter Hiro had dropped. "We'll all be attending together!"
Obake watched her a beat before commenting. "You're adopting the brothers' approach of skating straight over everything, aren't you?"
"My reasoning is we already know each other and this puts a lot of things into perspective."
"My plan is to just ignore it until it goes away," Wasabi said.
"I like Wasabi's plan," Obake said.
"But back to the superhero thing," Fred said.
"You do realize Granville already expects you to do this."
"See? We can't disappoint her like that."
"That doesn't mean do the thing, Fred," Wasabi said.
"Actually I kind of like the idea," Tadashi said. "Helping people, making a difference…."
"You have exactly one experience with this sort of thing," Gogo told him. "It's not conclusive."
Tadashi glanced over at Obake and Hiro before commenting. "Actually that's like the second time—remember Abigail Callaghan? We were the ones to get her out."
"It seemed the thing to do."
"BRO that's AWESOME!" Fred exploded.
"Do that somewhere else," Obake groused.
"Hey wait a minute," Hiro said, kicking Obake in the shin. "I totally kept that secret so see? I'm capable."
"What was this even in regards to?"
"You being all sulky and stuff."
"You still wouldn't have believed me."
"So when do you start?" Honey Lemon asked, handing him the letter.
"As soon as possible, I've got my suit primed and everything," Fred said, hands clamped on the back of the couch.
"I was actually talking about Obake's letter, but okay."
"Whenever I bother to give Granville a last name," Obake said.
"Well here that's easy," Hiro said, snatching the letter away and scribbling something down. "See? She's happy."
Oh good grief "Do you mind?" Try to snatch it away, Hiro planting a foot in his chest and holding the paper away. "Did you have to write whatever in permanent ink?"
"Yes," Hiro said smugly.
"So that's one decision down," Fred said. "As for our other one?"
Tadashi looked everyone over. "All those in favor?"
This was not the life Obake had planned for himself. His plans, once upon a time, had been grandiose in nature and utterly self-serving, with thoughts to revenge over a world he thought against him.
Now…now perhaps he could see differently, see that he was not so hated by life itself. Very few people got a second chance at life, at love, at belonging, at being startled by people's affection and startling them when showing that care back. His schemes, his plans, his anger…he was willing to let it all drown in the bay again for one family.
Although, he thought, looking over his freshly machined helmet, he might have finally found his limits.
"Come on, it'll be fun," Hiro said, elbowing him.
"You and I have very different definitions of the word fun," Obake told him.
"Yeah," Hiro said, grinning as he tugged on his own helmet. "This is still going to be fun though."
Huff, look away when Hiro made that face at him…finally sigh and tug his helmet on. "Still have opinions on this little hero club."
"You can have them while we're being awesome and flying around," Hiro said, jostling him a little before running over to Baymax. Look over the longstanding thorns in his side, the unfamiliar sight of Tadashi with them….
Deep breath, walk forward and into a new life.
This whole thing was strange from start to finish, but he was willing to work with it now. Going out, giving it everything he had—
Final word count: 194,893 words
Final page count: 456 pages