San Fransokyo was actually a pretty cool place to live, there was no getting around that. The city had pretty much everything. A surplus of different cultures, rich, albeit partly tragic, history, countless events and sources of entertainment, beautiful landscapes and buildings of so many different kinds of architecture that it should all look horribly mismatched and yet came together so seamlessly that it looked amazing. Who knew a modern, American designed arcade could look so at home next to a Japanese styled Tea House?
The people were just as amazing. The city thrived with diversity. Every nationality, culture, you name it, it had representation throughout the city. A lot of them even had their own streets! You could peruse China Town, move on to Korea Street and then catch a train to an eternal Oktoberfest themed street that took over the huge park when it was time for the festival. The city was forever keen to celebrate every notable event the world over. There was always something to get excited about, the only question was what was next and how much of the city would end up involved and decorated for it.
At the moment, the answer to that question was obvious a mile away. Almost the entire city was decorated with rainbow flags and people in bright colours and glitter proudly walking the streets.
Even Big Hero 6 had been getting involved. Oh yeah, this town even came with its own team of superheroes! How does a place get more awesome than that?
As much as he complained beforehand about leaving his home, one of the city's newest residents loved his new home. As much as he loved his old, small hometown and missed all of his friends, the fourteen year old Jamie Bennett couldn't even compare it to this thriving city. His fascination with the mystical and folklore, which he had confirmed was true when he befriended Jack Frost of all people, had prevented him from realising just how sheltered his home really was. It was fine of course, it was and had always been home, but it didn't hold a candle to all the different people, cultures and stories San Fransokyo provided. I mean, forget his books, this place had entire clubs based on myths, one for each set. Jamie had already joined the Norse, Greek and general mythical creatures clubs. And, of course, he'd signed up for every fan site on Big Hero 6. There were rumours of a Big Hero 6 convention coming soon too. That'd be awesome.
But as unbelievably mind blowing as all that was, it was a city covered in rainbows that was drawing the bright smile from the boy right now.
"This is just...what words do you use?" He muttered to himself as he headed down the street, admiring the bright colours. "The parade's not even for another week and there's already been, like ten different types of large scale parties that I know of! You barely heard about the parades back home."
His smile grew warmer as he stared at his wrist, eyeing the rainbow glitter he'd wrapped around it. He never would have had the confidence to that back in Burgess. That town, while not hostile, didn't seem too thrilled with the concept of LGBT people. He did work up the guts to come out to his closest friends and family though, and none of them could have cared less. It was just something new to jibe him about to most of them. He was brought to tears when he blurted it out only for his friends to drag him off for rainbow ice cream, but he still didn't feel comfortable expressing that part of himself around town. Here however, was turning into a completely different story.
Although...did he really want to show it off right now?
As happy as he was before, Jamie couldn't help but stare at the glitter with a little trepidation as he approached the cafe on the corner. It really shouldn't be that big of a deal, after all, the Lucky Cat Cafe had proudly hung a large rainbow flag right over the front of the store and the owner was a very open, friendly person. Even if he admitted what he was here, he'd probably just get a 'good for you' and a grin in response. Maybe a hug too. He'd become a regular here and Cass was an affectionate person.
However, this was also the place where she lived with her nephew, Hiro Hamada. Who...Jamie might have developed a little, tiny, massive crush on the very first day he saw the boy. Which only grew more awkward and embarrassing for the poor boy because it was his first crush and he didn't have the first clue how to handle it. How could he not fall for the guy, Hiro was kind and adorably cute, both in appearance and in his own social awkwardness. When Cass sat the Asian down with him and introduced them in the cafe, Jamie spent the whole time with pink cheeks and sputtered everything he said. Fortunately, Hiro just took him for a shy guy, much to Jamie's relief.
That's what made Jamie become a regular at the cafe, hoping to see Hiro again, though he hoped the owners hadn't caught on to that. It was the only way he could see the guy, since there was no way they were going to school together. He was already taking classes at SFIT of all places! The guy was as much of a robotics geek as Jamie was a mythology one, something Jamie thought was amazing. When they weren't debating the existence of Big Foot and the Sandman anyway. The guy used science to try and disprove his claims. It was annoying. But still, the guy was so smart, sassy and friendly, once you got past his lack of experience talking to people his own age. Jamie fell a little more for him every time he saw Hiro and his awesome health robot, Baymax.
But he still didn't even know how Hiro felt about gays and he hadn't been keen to risk bringing it up. Not without a genuinely ideal situation anyway.
Like maybe a Pride Parade prepping to pass right by his front door.
"Come on Jamie, man up." He grunted to himself, slapping his cheeks as he came to a stop one store over from his target. "This is like, the perfect situation to scope out his opinion and it's not like a rainbow wrist is a coming out declaration right now either! The only thing it says is that I'm supportive. That's good. You're fine."
He stayed for a few minutes longer, taking a few deep, calming breaths as he checked his reflection in the window. This wasn't a big deal, but there was nothing wrong with making sure you look good, right? It's not like anyone had to know that he spent over an hour making sure his hair was styled just right and going through half his wardrobe making sure his outfit gave him just the right ratio of looking good and appealing, but casual. You know, besides Sophie, who'd walked on him repeatedly...who was he kidding? All of his friends would know and would be revving up to roast him by dinner. Damn that bunch, training his sister to spy on him for their twisted pleasure!
Well, at least he could hide behind the fact that this was still just a stop on his way home. There was nothing wrong with wanting to look nice at a fair. For people like him. Not just for Hiro. Right? Yeah, they'd never buy it.
"All well. Let's just make something come of this." Taking one last deep breath as he smoothed back a few windswept strands by his ear, he forced his body to relax and strolled as casually as he could to and through the door.
"Ah, hello Jamie. You seem to be right on time." Cass called, looking up from her latest customer as the door bell jingled, giving him a cheeky smile as she nodded her head toward the clock.
"Hi Miss Cass. I wasn't aware I had a scheduled time." Jamie smiled sheepishly, only growing more embarrassed as his blush started painting his cheeks again. "Am I really that predictable?"
"Yep. About three thirty on Tuesdays, Thursdays, sometimes Wednesdays, eleven in the morning on Saturdays and usually around four on Sundays. It's like clockwork. And it's just Cass, you know that." Cass winked, her amusement only further embarrassing the poor boy. "One chocolate shake and banana bread coming right up."
"Great, you even predict my orders." Jamie muttered, a strained grin crossing his face as he took a seat at the nearest table. He really was here too often. "Thanks m...Cass."
"No problem, honey." Cass smiled again, heading back toward the counter. Jamie smiled after her for a moment longer before dropping his head into his hands with a sigh, trying in vain to hide the blush that was definitely growing toward his ears. He hadn't realised that he had a routine! He just tended to head in after a club, or school. The place was on the way home after all. And had great food. And you know, it just so happened that those time periods were the best times to try and catch Hiro as he came home.
Ok, he has got to get better at being subtle.
"Here you are. It's even sweetened to teeth rotting, extra flavoured perfection for you." Cass smiled, setting a cup and plate down before him. Forcing himself to drop his hands, he gave her the most thankful smile he could managed as he grabbed his wallet. "Hmm, exact change, huh?" Cass grinned knowingly, not even bothering to count the cash in her hand, only making Jamie want to bury his head in the ground all over again. Cass just giggled for a moment, before finally deciding to take pity on the flustered young man and headed back toward the register.
Besides, the exchange had given her a new topic to play with. "That's a nice rainbow you've got there, Jamie." She called, pointing at the boy's wrist. "Very sparkly. I take it you got it from the fair down town?"
"Actually...I did it at home before going." Jamie admitted hesitantly, flickering his eyes over the area, only relaxing when he was sure the other customers weren't judging him. Old expectations were hard to break and even this city had its share of prejudice pigs.
"Oh, really? Impressive. You have a steady hand." Cass grinned, much more warmly than her previous, impish ones from before. "So how was the fair? A few customers have said it was amazing! I actually wanted to go, but I misread the date on it."
"It was...the second best day of my life." Jamie answered, feeling all the tension leaving him as he smiled back. It really was, the only day of his life that toppled it was when he was a kid playing with all five of the Guardians and watching Jack being made an official member. It wasn't a night filled with giant, lifelike, gold sand dinosaurs, flying dolphins and everything else you could think of lighting up an entire town filled with toys, yetis, fairies, snowball fights and the Easter Bunny, but it was a close second and just as flashy. "That sort of thing never happens back home, so it was really..."
"Joyful? Reassuring? Amazing?" Cass offered as he failed to find the word, quickly getting a shy nod in response.
"All of the above."
"So then...I take it that you are actually a member of the LGBT community? Not just an ally?" Cass asked, albeit a little more carefully than before.
"Um...yeah. I'm gay." Jamie admitted, using his shake to hide his face as he took a long gulp. He couldn't believe that he just admitted that! To Cass, the aunt and guardian of his crush, the woman who had noticed his persistent visits, of all people! Not that there was much use in lying, he'd given too much away already, but seriously? So much for subtly, he was one step away from admitting that he liked Hiro! What happened to leaving things to people's assumptions?
Cass looked like she was going to respond to that, but it was at that moment that another customer entered the store, making a beeline for the counter and forcing her to merely spare him another warm smile, a proud one too, if he wasn't misreading it. Honestly, that was fine with Jamie. His heart rate was going crazy and he could feel the intensifying heat in his face running down his neck and ears. He needed a breather from this, to collect himself. He'd told so few people and never in nearly that casual and public a setting before. He'd left everyone at the fair to their own suspicions, but that was as close as he'd ever gotten to admitting it publically. He felt...he wasn't really...
"Your red, heated skin, deep breathing and rapid heart palpitations suggest...embarrassment and distress." And now Jamie's heart had decided to freeze. He knew that soft, robotic voice anywhere and it was standing right next to him. And if there was any doubt, it was shattered the moment white, soft, inflated arms wrapped around him. "Hugs and reassurance are the best course of action. There, there."
"Baymax!" Jamie cried, whipping his head to the robot hugging him. "H-hi. How long have you been here?"
"About a minute, maybe?" Another voice answered for him, making Jamie's heart skip a beat. It took everything he had not to freak out as he turned to find Hiro staring down at him in concern. "Hey Jamie. Are you ok?"
"Yeah! I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?" Jamie replied, much too loudly to be believed, adamantly ignoring the curious and odd looks he'd drawn his way.
"Your symptoms suggests-"
"That I overdid it on a hot day." Jamie exclaimed, extricating himself from the robot. "I'm fine, really. How about you, how was your day?"
"Pretty chilled." Hiro replied, a confused smile crossing his face. "Video games and procrastinate is basically all I've done."
"Really? It's a beautiful day and you spent the whole thing in your room?" Jamie asked, fighting the urge roll his eyes. He could never understand that, he needed to be active. Catching Cass sighing in the corner of his eye, he was pretty sure she was a little exasperated by it too.
"And what would you suggest I do instead?" Hiro raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms as he stared down at the brunette challengingly.
"I don't know, there's a lot you could do in this city." Jamie responded, staring right back. That is, until an idea came to mind. "I went to the Pride Fair on today, it was fun. You could have gone there." He was biting his tongue before he'd even finished talking with that one, desperately hoping the medic bot didn't bring up his sudden increase in nerves. It was a bit risky, but it was also a good way to test the waters. After all, confirmation that Hiro wasn't homophobic was a good start.
"That was today?" Hiro gaped, his wide eyes turning to his aunt for confirmation, only to groan as she responded with a shrug and disappointed look of her own.
"How did both you and Cass get the date wrong?" Jamie asked, hiding his sudden bout of happiness behind a raised eyebrow. "You're both hopeless!"
"I never saw the date! Aunt Cass was going to have the day off, so I figured I'd know when the cafe was closed." Hiro cried defensively, throwing his hands in the air.
"That's just poor planning." Jamie retorted, a teasing grin slowly growing on his face. "Although," He added, feeling a little nervous again as the thought crossed his mind. "It shouldn't be over for another couple of hours. You could catch the end."
"Yeah, that could be..." Hiro started, his face lighting up in a way that always made Jamie's breath hitch, only to be cut off by a loud tune from his pocket. Pulling out his phone, he took one look at the screen before the look crashed into a deep frown and, if Jamie's hopeful imagination wasn't acting up again, a flicker of disappointment. "I guess that's not in the cards for me. Come on Baymax, Fred...is struggling with freaked out Wasabi." He finished, his voice growing a little high and forced at the end, before making a beeline for the door, leaving Jamie struggling not to sag sadly in his seat. "Sorry Jamie." Hiro sighed, turning back to the guy as his hand grabbed the handle, the other one burying itself into his messy hair. "I hate to just run out on you like this, but...Fred will probably only make things worse on his own. We'll talk later, yeah?"
"Oh, sure, don't worry about it." Jamie replied, shaking his head as he forced his smile to stay on his face. "I'm here like clockwork apparently, so any time." He can't believe he said that.
"I'll check your schedule then." Hiro snorted back, offering the guy a final grin before taking off like a rocket.
"Goodbye." Baymax waved as he followed him out.
"Bye Baymax." Jamie waved back, waiting just long enough for them to leave before sighing down at the table, only to tense as he realised just how loud and dramatically he did it right in front of number of nosey adults. Opting to ignore all of them and pray it wasn't too read into after his previous coming out, he forced his attention to his food and chowed down. 'It wouldn't matter anyway.' He reminded himself, savouring the taste on his tongue, taking his time. 'I probably won't see them again and if I do, they'll probably forget all about this. It's not like they're making a big deal about it now, I'm just a source of amusement. A five minute chuckle. It's fine.' He wasn't sure if that thought was reassuring or a shot at his self esteem, but whatever. It's not like he could change anything now.
"Hey, Jamie." The poor boy almost choked as that voice met his ears again. Struggling with all he had to not look anything other than calm, he raised his head to find Cass wiping a table right in front of him. Or pretending to anyway, she was paying a lot more attention to him as his hesitant eyes met her twinkling ones. Though if she noticed the sudden trepidation he was feeling from drawing her attention again, she didn't show it. "You know that the parade's actually coming down this street this year, right?"
"Yeah." Jamie nodded uncertainly, not sure where this was going.
"Just thought I'd remind you. You know, so you can watch it from here if you want." Cass smiled back, casually straightening herself up before heading for the counter once more. "You're usually here by the middle of it anyway, so why not watch it with your cheesecake and ice cream? Oh, and your blueberry, strawberry smoothie, of course."
"Oh. Ok, why not?" It was official, after today, his face was going to be eternally red. Giving her one last nod, he turned back to his food and finished it as fast as he could before almost charging for the door. He barely managed a goodbye to the host before it closed behind him and took off as fast as he could for home, only groaning to himself again and again as the last look Cass gave him burned itself into his mind. One that was far too knowing for his liking. There was a good chance that she'd figured him out. Not to mention all the customers who got a frontline seat to his theatrics and a the medbot that could spill far too much to Hiro at any time! In retrospect, he'd been about as subtle as bomb with his secret back there.
'This is too much for one day.' Rubbing his temples as he ran, Jamie didn't stop until he'd made it all the way home, charged into his room and ploughed his head into his pillow. 'Maybe if I try really hard, I'll wake up and not have busted my secret to the two people most likely to tell Hiro. Come on Sandy, tell me this was your doing.'
Yeah, who was he kidding? He was screwed.
“Dude! Why stop there! You might as well have declared it in neon.”
“Don’t forget the fireworks!”
“And the song and dance to top it off.”
He knew his friends would never let him live this down.
Groaning as loudly as he could, Jamie decided thumping his head repeatedly against the desk was the best idea he ever had. Maybe he could knock himself out. Pretend to have amnesia. Maybe that would make the problem go away.
“Jamie, stop that! You’re only going to hurt yourself.”
“No, let him go, Pippa! If he wants to turn himself into a unitard, it’ll make this whole ordeal even funnier.”
“Oh yeah, thanks so much for the support, Monty!” Jamie snapped, glaring at the screen, his red face expressing both embarrassment and betrayal. He knew he never should have opened Skype tonight. His sister had already informed all of his friends about his prep time and they were already geared up to hound and tease him, but after they found out just what went down, they cranked it up to an eleven. This had been going on for nearly ten minutes already and they were far from stopping.
They guys were anyway. Fortunately, the girls had gotten their amusement out of it and started taking pity on him.
“What’s done is done. There’s no use in pouting about it.” Cupcake butted in before Monty could respond. “So, instead of literally beating yourself up about it, maybe you should focus on what you’re going to do next, eh pretty boy?” Ok, maybe they weren’t quite over it yet. At least they were still trying to be helpful.
“I was thinking avoidance is best. As in, I stay away and hope they forget about it.” Jamie muttered, sinking dejectedly into his seat.
“Are you really that dumb? Boys!” Pippa exclaimed, shaking her head exasperatedly as all three boys shouted ‘coward’. “That’s the absolute worst option at this point. It would destroy any possibility of doubt and you’ll be left acting like a kicked puppy. You already are. At this point, honesty is your best bet.”
“Yeah dude, it’s too late for denial.” Claude nodded in agreement. “You’ve given far too much away for that. Now man up and tell him how you feel. Who knows, he might just like you back.”
"What makes you think that? Unless walking around with a big, marshmallow robot is a new sign of homosexuality, I haven't seen the first hint that he's even remotely interested in guys." Jamie cried. "So forgive me if I don't share your optimism in me making a fool of myself!"
“Dude, you’ve already made a fool out of yourself! You might as well see if you can get something out of it.” Caleb exclaimed, throwing up his arms. “Either he’ll like you back and you get your happily ever after or he’ll refuse your advance and you’ll be free to move on with your life knowing that at least you gave it a shot. Both beat the alternative known as the eternal ‘what if’.”
They were right, of course, as much as he loathed admitting it. If Hiro hadn’t figured him out already, he would real soon. It was best he dealt with this, before it got out of his control.
...He was going to absolutely hate this.
“So, how is it living in a city with its own super heroes?” Pippa asked, taking pity on him and deeming it the end of the roasting of his love life. “Have you seen them in person yet?"
“Yeah, how cool are they? Can they compete with Jack?”
“No one can compete with the great Jack Frost.” Jamie declared, smiling brightly as he looked back up at the screen. “But yeah, I’ve seen a couple of them nearby once and they do come as close as a mortal can get. Lizard Guy, or Fredzilla as he called himself, is hilarious. In an ‘are you nuts’ kind of way.”
That was what took up basically all of their time talking, debating the superior Big Hero 6 members, their accomplishments and how well they stack up to their friendly winter spirit, before pondering when they’d see Jack again and what excitement he may bring. They got so into it, that when he went to bed afterward, Jamie had almost forgotten his stress over Hiro. Well, at least until the morning.
If admitting his friends were right was painful, then actually trying to take their advice was torture. He did try, time and again in fact, but every attempt ended in failure and some level of awkwardness or embarrassment.
Though, more than once, he was still happy with how the attempts turned out, even if it wasn’t how he planned. A few occasions, the times he conceded to the losing battle before he could mortify himself, he actually managed to hold Hiro down for a good conversation. He’d learned a lot about the young genius, from his internship, to his friends. He’d even gotten to visit Hiro’s lab in his garage and marvel at the projects scattered around the place. His personal favourite was either the delivery bots he was designing or the electromagnetic disks that could rip a table off the ground with ease, he couldn’t decide which.
Another time, he got to hang out with Hiro and his friends too, which ended in a lot of laughs for the young brunette. Fred was dumb, but funnily so and very friendly, Gogo was sassy as hell, Wasabi was easily pulled out of his comfort zone and Honeylemon was ridiculously peppy. They were such a mismatched group that it left them in a crazy number of hilarious conversations and situations, which most of them were almost overly excited to tell him about. Especially if it was a story that made Hiro look sweet or foolish, much to the red faced Asian boy’s chagrin.
Those occasions truly were a boon. He’d learned so many new things about his crush and got to really enjoy some time with him. Hiro seemed just as keen and happy about it as he was, at least when his friends weren’t exposing his embarrassing moments, much to Jamie’s happiness. There were even some moments when he caught Hiro giving him looks he didn’t trust himself to identify when he thought something else had Jamie’s attention. He always seemed a little disappointed when he had to say goodbye too. It gave Jamie a little hope.
Which was why he decided that he’d finally do it. He’d man up and tell Hiro that he liked him, this time setting a date on the declaration. Namely, on the day of the parade.
It was the perfect day for it. He’d already accepted the invite to watch the parade from the cafe, and Hiro was sure to be there. He’d finally get to actually see how Hiro reacted to the gay world and the hype of the situation should help him blurt his confession out if nothing else, though he hoped he could do it a little more eloquently.
Heading down the street once more, Jamie took a deep breath and refused to let himself stop until he was right in front of the cafe and would have forced himself right in, if it weren't for the big, white robot carrying a table out drawing his attention.
"Hello, Jamie." Baymax greeted, shifting his head in the boy's direction before he could say a thing. "You are, notably, earlier than your usual routine today."
"Yeah well, I thought it might get a bit busy today." Jamie muttered, quickly growing more flustered as Hiro appeared from behind the currently troublesome medic bot. "Hi Hiro."
"Hey Jamie." Hiro replied, beaming excitedly as he moved in and pulled the blushing teen into a quick hug, before seemingly catching what he was doing and pulling away with a small blush of his own. "So, um, taking up Aunt Cass' offer, huh?"
"Yeah...why not?" Jamie nodded, a small, shy smile crossing his face. His skin was still tingling a little where Hiro's had touched it.
"Cool. Hey, if you're not doing anything else right now, wanna help me move a few more tables out? We're trying to make our customers a little more comfortable during the parade. I'll shout you whatever you want when we're done." Hiro offered with a wide, almost hopeful smile.
"Well, I can't say no to...free food." Jamie answered slowly, forcing a few less innocent requests from his head. Hiro's smile doubled in wattage at that before wrapping an arm around the brunette and guiding him inside. The boy in question only grew more flustered at that, but still smiled a little to himself when Hiro happily accepted him unconsciously pressing a little further into his side.
"Well, well, look who it is! Hi Jamie." Cass called, smiling far more excitedly than was normal from across the room.
"Hello Cass. Nice day for a parade, huh?" Jamie grinned, albeit a little forcefully. Cass' wide eyed smile was too similar to that of a cat that caught the canary.
"Jamie agreed to help me out." Hiro stated happily, though his grip tightened around the boy at the same time and a look Jamie didn't quite recognise passed through his eyes as he stared at Cass.
"Oh, how nice of you." Cass beamed, seemingly conceding to whatever Hiro was silently telling her as she turned her attention back to the oven. "Well then, let's get the lead out! Just take the two tables closest to the door and a few extra chairs. We don't want to take up too much space out there after all. Maybe take a to seater table and put it against the window too."
"No problem, Aunt Cass." Hiro nodded, giving her one more pointed look before guiding Jamie to the nearest table. "Baymax, why don't you start grabbing the chairs?"
"Certainly." Was Baymax' response before picking up the closest chair and wattling outside. Jamie could only sigh in relief at that, though he was still careful to keep it soft and away from Hiro's ears. This little plan would be tricky enough without the medic bot exposing his bodily responses. A little distance would be great.
It didn't take too long to set up, despite a funny moment when Hiro's poor planning left him stuck between table legs and the doorframe. Satisfied with their work, Hiro had Jamie claim the two seater before heading back in, returning a few moments later with a tray and, surprisingly, no Baymax.
"Blueberry, strawberry smoothie, cheesecake and ice cream, on the house. Did I get it right?" Hiro asked, a little nervous and red in the face as he placed the tray down between them.
"Yeah, that's right." Jamie nodded shyly, blushing himself as he dropped his head a little. "You know my...schedule too?"
"Not really. You eat a lot of things here. Aunt Cass suggested this. Strongly." Hiro replied, quickly growing a little uncomfortable as he turned his head away from the window as subtly as he could. Already suspicious, Jamie checked through the corner of his eye and had to stop himself from groaning into the table as he caught Cass and Baymax sending thumbs up their way before Cass caught on to him and scrambled away, dragging a confused Baymax with her.
"Cass is a very...upfront kind of person."
"Oh, you don't know the half of it." Hiro looked caught between fond and horribly irritated at that one. "Let's just say that she's all in or not at all. With everything. And so peppy, when I'm not reducing her to stress eating. Which she'll dive right into too."
"You cause that often?" Jamie asked, taking a bite of his cake and ice cream and almost moaning at the taste. It was even better than usual.
"Not so much anymore." Hiro replied, bringing a muffin to his mouth, only to stop halfway and smile at the look crossing the brunette's face. "That good, huh?"
"Um, yeah." Jamie nodded, smiling shyly again as he went for more. "It's always good, but today...I don't know, it's just better. Good thing it's a bigger portion than usual too."
"Glad you like it." Hiro grinned, doing little more than staring as the delighted look crossed Jamie's face again, chuckling as the boy couldn't quite stop the moan this time.
The two continued mostly in that same fashion for a good while after. Conversations switched from relatives, to recent events, to simple jokes, both of them oblivious as more people gathered around the area. A fact that actually helped them a little, for it meant that Cass and Baymax's frequent...visits were not only cut short more often, but were also frequently cut out entirely by the crowd. Jamie was pretty sure a few photos were still taken though, particularly when Hiro gave him compliments. Still, that wasn't too bad. If things went well, he might even ask Cass for copies later.
And man, did things look like they were going well. The whole time he'd been there, he'd had Hiro's full attention. He didn't even spare Baymax more time than it took to get him to leave, a fact that was deemed miraculously rare all on its own. Not only that, but Jamie wasn't the only one blushing and spluttering on occasion. Hiro got red cheeked and gave goofy grins whenever Jamie made a compliment too. His favourite reaction was from when Jamie managed up enough guts to comment on his pretty eyes. The blush that ran right through his face and down his neck only made the wide, almond orbs stand out even more as he shrunk into his seat a little, a hand running through his hair and a small, lip biting grin spreading across his face.
“OOOH, how cute!” Jamie was apparently not the only one to think so. Honey Lemon had chosen that moment to appear out of nowhere, her hands clasped together under big, shining eyes and a huge smile. For a second, Jamie almost mistook her for Cass. “Don’t you two look so happy and cute together! What an adorable-”
“Hey, Honey Lemon. I thought you were busy today?” Hiro interrupted. It still sounded pleasant enough, but it was hard to miss the sharpened look in the boy’s eyes. It surprised Jamie a little, but he just shrugged it off. Hiro was probably just not happy being seen in such an embarrassed state.
That likelihood didn’t stop him from playing with the idea that he just didn’t want to share time with Jamie though.
“Oh, don’t worry Hiro, I’m only passing through.” Honey Lemon beamed as she fiddled with her bag. “I’m here to pick up that project you forgot to drop off and then I’m on my way. But...” She grinned, waiting just long enough for Hiro to relax. “SMILE BOYS!” Then, before they could even process what was going on, she whipped up her phone and snapped a picture. “Hmm, you both look a little dazed.” She mused, frowning a little before perking right back up. “I know! I’ll just caption it ‘in their own world’ and-”
“You’re not putting that-”
“Done! The others will love it!”
“Yep, it’s online.” Hiro moaned into his hand. Jamie just frowned and ran a hand through his hair at that, simply confused by the whole scene. Why was Hiro so flustered, wasn’t this normal for Honey Lemon? “My project’s in the garage, big box in the middle of the room, you can’t miss it. Bye Honey Lemon.”
“Bye Hiro, bye Jamie.” Honey Lemon smiled, turning back to the brunette as Hiro got up and started physically guiding her around the building. “Enjoy your d-day!” He might have given her a harder shove as they reached the corner.
“You too!” Jamie called back, grinning , but still raising an eyebrow as Hiro sat back down with a deep sigh.
“Don’t ask.” Hiro sighed, staring back imploringly. “Can we just chalk her up to ‘Aunt Cass Fever’ and move on?”
“You were the one acting out of the norm here, but ok.” Jamie conceded, snorting as Hiro visibly relaxed. “I am curious about that project though. Why would an upper year, Chemistry student need the work of a freshmen robotics student?”
“Oh, it’s not for school, it’s for...Fred.” Hiro answered quickly. “He wanted a Captain Cu...Fancy, Captain Fancy robot for his geek cave, so I made a body he could put a suit over.”
“So why isn’t he picking it up?” Jamie asked, frowning a little. Something seemed a little off here, the least of it being who was actually grabbing the thing. Hiro seemed off, nervous. And what was with that name slip?
“Have you met Fred?” Though his nerves all melted away with that line, his usual smirk and near smug tone returning. “Think for two seconds. Would you trust Fred, walking the busy streets alone with a ‘robot superhero’?”
“Ok, point taken.” Jamie conceded immediately with a nod. That was a very good point. The guy might even decide that the middle of the parade would be a great place for Captain Fancy and his Robo Kaiju to do a scene together. Jamie wouldn’t put anything past that guy. He was nice and funny, but he was still nuts.
“But anyway, speaking of projects, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Hiro said, rising to his feet. “The parade will start real soon and there’s just a couple of things I need to do before then that...I also kinda put off and forgot about.”
“To chill with me? I’m flattered.” Jamie responded teasingly, surprising even himself as he jokingly batted his eyelashes before snickering at Hiro’s best impression of a fish.
“Yeah, well, you’re worth it.” Hiro muttered as he scurried away. If he’d looked back for even a second, he would have deemed the look on Jamie’s face priceless. Maybe those annoying friends of his knew what they were talking about after all.
The parade turned out to be even more amazing than Jamie had ever imagined. The footpaths were overcrowded with the most overexcited people he’d ever seen, all of them laughing and cheering the seemingly eternal stream glamoured up people, floats and anything else they could splatter a rainbow on.
The outfits were very out there, some of them very revealing. All walks of life were represented, from the most tame to the most irregular, exotic or ‘fabulous’ as a number of the people nearby kept shouting. Honestly, Jamie found some cases a bit too weird, but he cheered them on anyway. If they liked it, and clearly plenty of the crowd did too, who was he to deny them? It wasn’t like they were asking him to dress in drag and do the hula and if doing it themselves brought a smile to their faces, then go for it. Besides, they were brave to express themselves like this so publically and they deserved recognition for that.
Many groups were putting on all different kinds of performances between marching groups, biker gangs and floats, mostly dances and gymnastic routines, while individuals were doing whatever they could to enhance the hype. And colours were exploding everywhere.
“Oh man, this is crazy!” Jamie cried, laughing as he pointed to the next marchers. “Where would you ever go dressed like that?”
“The guys with the leather shortage? Probably a BDSM bar.” Hiro replied, albeit a little distracted as his thumb swiped back and forth over his phone. Not that that was anything new, Jamie had noted that he’d been doing it ever since the parade started. It was weird, but Hiro didn’t seem to be paying it much attention, so Jamie just wrote it off as a habit. Now was one of the few times he was giving it serious looks.
“Well, I was including everything from the women in sparkly gogo suits to the guy running around in red briefs and paint with a devil tail and horns, but ok, let’s focus on the domination tribe.” Jamie laughed. “That something you’re into?”
“Wait, what? NO!” Hiro cried, whipping around to the boy beside him so fast that he almost threw the phone, looking absolutely mortified. “I don’t...that’s not...ok, maybe dabbling in a little small stuff one day might be fun, but...I don’t wanna...or be...GAH! There are so many things I’d much rather do with...a partner.” He finished, catching himself at the end.
“Partner?” Jamie asked as his laughter died down. Amusement could wait, he might have just hit something important here.
“Yeah,...partner.” Hiro nodded, frowning a little warily under Jamie’s stare. “You know, a girlfriend or a boyfriend? I’m open to both, so partner’s the best singular term.”
“You never mentioned that you were bi.” Jamie noted, struggling to merely sound curious and not squeal like a girl. Could you blame him if he did? He just got solid confirmation that he did have a chance, at least from a sexual point of view.
“And you still haven’t told me what you are.” Hiro stated pointedly. “It’s not always something you want to just casually throw out there.”
“Oh, right, you weren’t there when I was talking to Cass the other day.” He muttered, offering a sheepish smile. “I’m...gay.”
"Cool." Hiro grinned back. Actually, he almost looked...relieved? Happier? Was Jamie's confirmation really worth that much?
"Yeah. So..." Jamie started, rubbing his arm as he struggled with his nerves. Now seemed like the best time to ask, right? Hiro admitted that guys were on the table for him and there had been plenty of hints that he was interested today, right? He didn't think he was misinterpreting anything. No, he was sure. This was the best time to say it, he'd never get a moment this good again. Now if he could just get the damn words out of his mouth!
Noting the look on the brunette's face, Hiro turned his attention away from the rainbow coated dogs taking their turn down the street and focused it completely on Jamie. "Something on your mind?" He asked, smiling patiently but still silently coaxing him on. He looked...almost hopeful.
"Yeah, actually, there is." Jamie nodded, gulping as he forced himself to look up into Hiro's eyes. His whole body was shaking. He felt both sick to his stomach from what he was about to do and like he was floating on a cloud as he stared into those large, keen, almond orbs. “I...you see, I...for a while now, I’ve...” Damn it, this was hard! Growling in frustration, he turned his head away from Hiro’s growing smile, focused on the next group of performers in colourful costumes dancing down the street and took a deep breath before giving it one last try. “I like you!”
Well, it came out a lot more forcefully than he’d intended, but at least he managed to actually say it.
However, now he couldn’t force himself to look at Hiro and the guy was unusually quiet. That wasn’t exactly the most comforting response to a confession. Taking a few deep, slow breaths as his shaking doubled, he contemplated running for it and was only seconds away from it before freezing as gentle fingers touched his chin, gently turning it toward his crush.
“OH MY GOD! THERE THEY ARE!” However, before their eyes could meet, the crowd went nuts, their cheers doubling in volume as they clambered closer to the street, jostling the two apart.
“AHH!” Stumbling as more bodies pressed in on him, Jamie flung his arms out and pushed as hard as he could, squirming his way through and expanding any gap he could find. It took a lot more effort than he expected before he finally managed to burst out of the back of the mob, gasping deeply as he got his bearings. He couldn’t stop himself from glaring at them all. He actually confessed, damn it! And if Hiro’s touch was anything to go by, this might have actually ended really well! What the hell was so spectacular that it could send these crazy people...
“I can’t believe that they’re in the parade! This is so awesome!”
“They’re so cool! I LOVE YOU ALL!”
“CAN I GET AN AUTOGRAPH?”
“YOU’RE AWESOME, BIG HERO 6!”
...Big Hero 6?
"Are you for real?" His irritation immediately overwhelmed by his excitement, Jamie forewent trying to rejoin the crowd and leapt right onto the table he and Hiro had been sitting at before, completely oblivious to the disgruntled couple sitting at it. His wide eyes practically sparkled as he looked over everyone's head and, sure enough, found the city's superhero team riding a team themed float.
"Hiro, can you see this? It's so awesome!" Jamie was actually bouncing as he took it all in, all previous thoughts forgotten and barely noticing Hiro staring at him as he still struggled to get out of the crowd through the corner of his eye. This was just too amazing to pass up.
"Hey San Fransokyo! Way ta represent!" Fredzilla, the most verbal, was also the most active. He never stopped moving, jumping and flipping all over the float, frequently shooting flames into the sky while airborne.
"Hi! Happy Pride!" Though he was careful enough to avoid the pink girl as she tossed chemical balls into the air, where they collided and exploded into rainbows. She and the green guy frequently moved from side to side too, giving big smiles and waving to the crowd, the latter showing off his plasma blades. The yellow speedster was mostly just doing circles, waving lazily to the crowd. That was expected, Jamie had noticed that she was a lot less peppy than the others before. Though, she did occasionally throw her disks at Fredzilla for him to fancily fling back. The big guy, definitely a robot, simply stood in the center, on the pedestal shaped into a BH6, slowly waving one hand after the other. Jamie thought he heard it say hello once or twice, but the noise around him was far too great to be sure.
Though, Jamie did frown a little as his eyes focused on the purple one standing near the back. He seemed a little off. For a start, looked stiff. For another, he seemed completely immobile and Jamie wasn't entirely sure, he'd only seen any of them on the news or quickly from a distance before, but was he...taller?
"Do they look as awesome as you thought they were?" Hiro called over the noise, finally ripping himself from the mass of bodies and reuniting with Jamie, smiling apologetically at the still disgruntled couple sitting beneath there as he slowly climbed up the table himself. He ended up leaning into Jamie's side, most likely for stability and to avoid coffee mugs, not that Jamie minded at all.
"Awesome's not a strong enough word for it." Jamie cried, cheering as Fredzilla blasted one of pinky's chem balls and causing a sparkling mist to blow through the air. "But does the little guy seem a little off to you? He seems kind of...not all there?" He added, frowning a little. The guy still wasn't moving at all.
"Maybe he's..." Hiro started, only for his voice to fade out. Not that Jamie really noticed, his curiosity had just mixed with his excitement. He was basically lost to the world. That is, until he felt a hand slowly, hesitantly, wrapping around his waist. "Distracted?"
The shock surging right though his body as fingers passed over his lower back was more than enough to bring him crashing back to the present as he turned his head to face Hiro. The boy he had just admitted to crushing on not five minutes ago. A boy who was looking at him so hesitantly, so nervously and yet so...adoringly?
And just like that, it was Big Hero 6 that slipped into the background. The crowd and their near illegal vocal levels disappeared entirely. All he could focus on was the face before him, the body he was leaning into and the hand resting on his hip. Time seemed to slow and he had to keep reminding himself to breathe as he waited for happened next, a warm feeling spreading from his belly and through his entire being.
Hiro seemed to be in the same state that he was, staring unblinkingly into Jamie's eyes, his slow, deep breaths tickling Jamie's face. Raising his free hand, the one still holding his phone, he slowly brought it to Jamie's face, extending his thumb toward Jamie's cheek.
However, it was at that moment that a few things happened. The first was that the yellow speedster seemed to have noticed her purple teammate's inactivity and swung herself right next to it before her unusually loud 'SNAP OUT OF IT' to somehow reach Jamie's ears, despite the crowd screaming around him.
"AAHHH!" And right as she shouted, Hiro screamed, his whole body jolting as if he'd been struck by lightning before flailing as he lost his balance and his grip on his phone. Fortunately, Jamie's reflexes were well honed, mostly thanks to Jack Frost's snowball fights, and he managed to restabilise the guy before he fell and cracked his head, leaving Hiro's attention free to floundering over his phone, his fingers sliding all over the screen as it repeatedly fumbled through them.
Meanwhile, back on the float, the purple hero had seemingly come back to life and did so quite dramatically. The first thing he did was fling his arms out and smack his yellow ally before running drunkenly all over the float, his arms still flying in all directions. Within seconds, he'd tripped the green guy, forced the pink girl to dive for cover from a clotheslining and...
"BWAHH! OW! OW! OW!" Headbutted Fredzilla mid-flip and flinging him from the float, resulting in him bouncing head over tail down the street.
Then, for his grand finale, he had rocket boosters burst from his back, ignited them and flew just as sporadically through the air. Needless to say, it elicited a lot of shocked and scared screams as the crowd realised this was not part of the show.
"Since when can he even fly on his own?" Jamie cried, watching on incredulously as the body flailed, hard swung dove through the sky. "I definitely do not remember that being part of his power set and clearly, he should leave the aerial manoeuvres to the robot. Is he high or something?"
"Oh no!" Well, that level of dread wasn't exactly the response Jamie was expecting. Turning a confused look back to Hiro, he had about two seconds to note how pale the boy had gotten and how erratically his fingers were dancing over his phone, an action his eyes duplicated as he stared back and forth from the phone to AWOL hero, before he leapt from the table sprinted off in the direction the purple mass was falling.
"Hiro" Jamie cried, stunned still as the guy disappeared into the crowd. "Now's probably not the time to get a selfie with the cray-cray superhero!"
For a moment, all Jamie could manage to do was stare after him. He had no clue what just happened! A quick glance was all it took to know that the rest of Big Hero 6 weren't going to be much use for the next few minutes. Those who weren't stunned were stuck in the masses surrounding the parade, trying to calm them. That meant that, potentially, Hiro was the only one taking off for Captain Fly Off The Handle.
And that thought was all it took to set him into motion. Practically flying off the table, he burst through the crowd at top speed, making a beeline for the alley the purple hero hand had seemed to dive into. After all, Hiro was possibly in over his head and his curiosity about...well this whole situation had been peaked. You couldn't pay him enough to keep him away.
Besides, Hiro was NOT getting out of giving Jamie a verbal response to his confession.
Sorry for the delay. I meant to have this done quick, but life happened and kept happening. You also might have noticed that there will be three chapters now. That's partly because it got big again and because the last part works best in Hiro's POV, so an extra chapter was best. It's already written, just needs editing, so it should be up in a day or two. Until then all.
'Well, this turned out terrific!' Hiro kicked himself as he headed off for the alley. Fortunately, he'd managed to bring the exosuit down less than a block from his home, but as he turned the corner, he could only groan at the state it was in. Clearly, he'd been too hasty in his panic to bring it down, for there were obvious signs of it crashing and sliding against the wall, damaging the bricks and ripping out one of its arms, which now lay a good five feet from the rest of its smoking body. Quickly checking to make sure no one was paying him any mind before stepping into the alley, Hiro snatched up the robot and every loose part he could find before hurrying back out, groaning under the weight as he made his way to his garage.
"Guys, I found it." He grunted, shifting the load and stumbling as he almost dropped it, as he reached for his ear piece. "But I don't think we'll be seeing it again today. It's a bit of a mess."
"So's everything here!" Gogo retorted, the irritation oozing from her voice promising retribution later. "Do you realise how much covering up we have to do now?"
"Seriously, dude, you had one job! Make robo you wave! And all it required of you was finger swiping a screen." Wasabi exclaimed.
"I know, I'm sorry! I got...distracted. And then startled." Hiro sighed, glad his friends weren't there to see the mix of regret and goofy happiness fight for dominance on his face. It'd be one more thing they'd never let him hear the end of.
"Distracted? Oh, was it the good kind? What happened, Hiro?" Honey Lemon butted in excitedly.
"Yeah, who cracked first? The hero or the love interest?" Fred jumped in right after, right before 'super jump' and 'I'm on fire!' filled his ear. If the background cheers were anything to go by, it seemed they were doing a good job of restoring the peace.
"A confession? Ooh, what did you say? What did he say?" Wasabi squealed in delight, his previous irritation completely forgotten.
"How about I get to finish that conversation before the people who interrupted it ask questions?" Hiro grunted moodily as he made it to his garage, setting the robot down to fumble with the lock. "You can try to mortify me to death later. I'm gonna go now, bye!" With that, he shut the ear piece down and ripped it out right as the door lock clicked open, letting him throw it open and...
"Hiro? What the heck?" Get caught right as he bent over his damaged doppelganger.
"Jamie!" Flinging himself straight up, he quickly moved to step in front of his downed robot, but it was already far too late. Jamie only took that as an extra incentive to look down at the black and purple metal and exposed wires. "It's...it's not what it looks like?" Well, that didn't come out right. Or in any way that could be considered convincing.
"It looks like a robot charading as a member of Big Hero 6." Jamie replied slowly, his face looking both confused and slightly accusing as he looked back up at the young, sweating genius. "One that was placed with five genuine members of the team before it had a fit. At the same time you spasmed."
"Did it? At the same time? Really?" Hiro asked. His voice and smile couldn't have come out more strained as he tried to push the exosuit inside with his foot. Following the action, Jamie let his eyes travel over the garage, taking in all the machines as he slowly walked in, disregarding Hiro's panic entirely as he picked up the suit's main body and dragged it in. Trying to gulp as his heart attempted to burst up his throat, Hiro could only grab the arm and follow, quickly closing the door again behind them. He had no idea how he was going to explain this away.
"It's a robot. You're a robotics prodigy. You knew exactly where it was going to land." Jamie muttered as moved dangerously close to Hiro's fabricator. Which may still be holding a spare fist for Baymax. A fact he forgot to be nervous about as Jamie turned calculating eyes on Hiro. That look was intense, terrifying and...something Hiro refused to admit right now, but all of it left him rigid and struggling to breathe. "I think...you're phone! The robot went nuts when you almost dropped it. And when the thing took off skyward, you were focusing on your phone more than the robot and you definitely weren't using your camera. You were controlling it the whole time."
"What? That's crazy." Hiro laughed, waving his hand through the air. It might have been a bit more convincing if it didn't come out so squeaky. "It was with Big Hero 6! To even think I had anything to do with it would suggest that-"
"You know them personally." Well, that was much less a finishing of Hiro's sentence and much more a declaration than Hiro liked. He could only stand there, completely frozen as he watched as Jamie slowly approached him, his eyes drilling into his, connecting every dot with absolute certainty.
"You're the real little guy from Big Hero 6, aren't you?" Hiro could only stare back at that. All his words died on his tongue, his lungs had stopped working entirely. The intensity of the young man's stare put even Gogo's to shame. He was caught. Absolutely defenceless. His brain couldn't work up a single thought under that gaze, much less a believable lie. All he could do was slowly nod his head.
"Yeah, I am..."
"HOW did I not SEE THAT!" Ok, that wasn’t the reaction he was expecting. Rather than a fanboy scream or a happy dance, the young God of intensity and intimidation had smacked himself in the face in sheer disbelief...at his own obliviousness?
"You go everywhere with a big, self aware robot!"
"Well, yeah, but-"
"I've seen your friend, Honey Lemon, playing with the pink girl's chemical bag!"
"Wasabi's always going on about plasma experiments! In between the germophobia stuff anyway!"
"He doesn't always-"
"And the lizard guy is always shouting the name Fredzilla and screaming out his attacks like an anime superhero, while talking about life like it's a comic book! And you have a comic geek, man child for a friend named Fred!"
"Yeah, but...I got nothing." Hiro sighed, slumping his shoulders. There was no denying anything at this point.
"How is it that no one knows who you are? How did I not notice? It's so obvious!"
"Hey, it can't that bad! I mean...Camie never noticed! And she saw me up close in my gear!" Hiro tried, though even he knew it was a weak and useless attempt.
"You mean that girl in love with 'Captain Cutey', but sneers up close in your face? How are all of us that ridiculously oblivious?" Jamie scoffed, rolling his eyes skyward.
"You know, you're really hitting me in my pride right now. Aren't people usually nice when they're admitting they like someone?" Hiro retorted with an annoyed, raised eyebrow, crossing his arms. He never was one to take criticism too well. Especially when it was accurate.
"Well duh, from what I've seen, that's usually required if you wanna get a date...oh." Well, that shut him up. Though, Hiro couldn’t find it in his to stay annoyed or get any satisfaction out of it as he watched the shy, sheepish blush crossing Jamie’s face as realisation hit him. "I'm sorry, I just...I was interested in your team and you for so long and...I never once thought...how did I not notice something-"
"You're slipping into insults again."
"No, no, I'm not! I was going to say how did I not notice that...the guy that I was...crushing on...was one of the heroes I thought were so amazing? I've looked through so much stuff on you guys. You're face is right there in the middle of it, but I still didn't realise...you really are amazing." Oh. Well, how could he possibly stay mad at that? Jamie was looking at him so...endearingly. He looked so vulnerable and yet so hopeful. Before he even realised it, Hiro was smiling back.
“So, you really do like me, huh?” Hiro asked, looking right into Jamie’s eyes as he took a step forward before slowly, shyly, taking the brunette’s hand in his own. “Good. Because I’ve wanted to ask you out for weeks.”
“Really?” Jamie cried, his eyes wide, his hand tightening around Hiro’s as the young genius nodded, no doubt assuring himself this was real.
“Really.” Hiro nodded. “So, would this be a good time to ask you for a date tomorrow night? We could go see a movie?”
“Sure. On one condition.” Jamie grinned, altering and tightening his grip on Hiro’s hand.
“What’s that? An autograph from your very own ‘Captain Cutey’?” Hiro asked, blushing as Jamie laughed.
“No. I just want to see how the rest of our current date turns out.”
“I’ve kinda been thinking of today as a date for a while.” Jamie admitted, his own face reddening once again. “And the parade’s still going, so...”
“Yeah. Let’s go.” Hiro beamed, squeezing his hand back as he made a big display of setting his phone down before leaving the garage, his exosuit completely ignored. The world can go without the purple hero for the day. For the rest of the day, he was just Jamie’s. And if the kiss on the cheek and the sweet smile he got for it as he closed the door behind them was the kind of reward he got for that, then it was going to be the case a lot more often.
That's all folks. Hope you enjoyed it.