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death's toll on us all

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V. Wasabi

He cries twice.

Once during the funeral. It’s when Aunt Cass had stepped up to give the eulogy that he sheds his tears. They’re silent tears and the only signs that indicate he was even crying are the slight tremble of his shoulders and the slight hitch of his breath. Beside him, Honey Lemon is weeping and Fred and GoGo are consoling her.

He throws himself back into his work because it’s the only thing that stops him from thinking about it. It doesn’t work quite as well as he hoped because every now and then he’ll stop and a stray thought will flicker through his mind and he has to set his tools down. His teeth clench and his hands grip the edge of his tool cart until his knuckles turn white and he draws in deep breathes to calm himself down enough to get back to work.

The only one other time he cries is in the shower where one can’t tell if it’s the water or if it’s tears and the sound of the beating water drowns out his hiccups. It’s the longest shower he’s ever taken and he steps out feeling more weary than before but the weight that was in him before has been eased somewhat.

-.-

IV. Fred

He doesn’t visit the lab for a couple of days because it’s just not the same without Tadashi.

Instead, he holes himself in his room and plays action movies on reruns. He doesn’t cry, but he does sit there sort of listlessly, dead eyes staring at the screen as the heroes whiz by and fight the villains. Honey Lemon calls once or twice to check up, but he simply lets it go to voice mail.

He sits and thinks and lets everything wash over him. He leans back against the couch and tilts his head back, breathing steady breathes, eyes focused on nothing in particular. The movie continues playing in the background.

From the corner of his eye, he catches sight of the mascot suit he used to don and easing off the couch he heads over. Upon reaching it, he stares at it and contemplates pulling it one once more. But it just brings back memories he’d rather not think about and instead finds a blank sheet of paper and scrawls out “Fred, don’t touch. – Fred” before taping it to the costume.

He returns to the lab the next day and helps Honey Lemon in keeping the atmosphere upbeat.

-.-

III. Honey Lemon

She cries openly at his funeral.

She is inconsolable, with tears streaming down her face and she clings to Wasabi as she bawls her eyes out. GoGo rubs circles against her back and Fred wraps his arms around her and she sniffles and smiles a watery smile at her friends. But one look at the dead looks in their eyes sets her off again.

Honey cries all day and all night until she can’t anymore. She cries until there are no more tears to shed.

She is the first of the four to pull herself together. She gets back to work almost immediately and smiles and tries to cheer them up because there’s no point in being sad forever, right? Tadashi may not be with them any longer, but he’ll always be a part of them.

She doesn’t cry anymore, but there’s always a sense of something missing and it saddens her but she simply draws in a deep breathe, plasters a smile to her face, and bustles around to make sure that GoGo or Fred or Wasabi are okay. Because someone has to be strong enough for them when they break because no matter how strong they think they are, they can’t hold in all that grief for long. And Honey Lemon resolves to be the shoulder for them as they were for her.

-.-

II. GoGo Tomago

Classes are canceled as people mourn Tadashi and Professor Callaghan’s deaths. She takes her bike out for a spin because just sitting at home unable to do anything reminds her of things she’d rather forget. She rides and she rides and she rides and she bites back the lump in her throat and the tears that sting her eyes.

The first day back is hard because they have to pass by Tadashi’s studio and she half expects him to pop out to greet them, but his room remains dark and empty. There are no sounds of him tinkering with Baymax or even him singing incredibly off tune to some old record he found lying around. It’s quiet and still and very unnerving.

GoGo works on improving her bike and she’s about to ask Tadashi on his opinion when she remembers he’s no longer there. The space where he used to lean in just as empty as his studio and GoGo doesn’t like it one bit. She grabs the rear wheel off her bike and tosses it harshly at the bins before replacing it with another. Fred tries to talk to her but she bites back something and just yanks on her helmet, pulls down her bike, and shoots out of the room.

She refuses to cry.

She lasts two weeks.

She’s managed to keep herself collected every day walking past his studio and making videos to Hiro to help cheer him up. But it’s the stray thought that there’s no teasing comment about how she can’t reach the top shelf that ultimately gets to her. It brings the lump back in her throat and the stinging tears and she can’t choke them back. She drops her head into her hands and cries silently.

Honey Lemon finds her like that later and instead of saying anything, she simply pulls GoGo into a hug and lets the shorter girl cry into her shoulder.

-.-

I. Aunt Cass

The shop remains closed the day after his funeral. She can’t even stress eat, because she’s not stressed. Instead, she bakes and cooks and cleans and does everything she can to keep her mind off the fact that Tadashi is dead. It doesn’t work.

Hiro’s holed himself up in their – his, now – room and Cass doesn’t blame him for it. When her sister had died those eleven years ago, she did the exact same thing and she understands what he’s going through and so she lets him be.

The table’s empty save for her when dinner rolls around. She’s accidentally made too much, a plate for Hiro and a plate for Tadashi. It’s almost second nature and she stares blankly at the set up before moving rather mechanically to dispose of Tadashi’s plate. But she finds that she can’t.

Everything catches up to her at that point and she collapses to her knees as the tears stream to her face and she cries the tears she didn’t allow herself to cry during the funeral. She cries and hiccups and there are snot and tears streaming down her face and when she goes to hug Mochi, he meows and moves away from her wet and sticky hands.

Hiccupping, she collects herself, mentally berating herself. She has to be strong. Strong enough for herself, and strong enough for Hiro. Shakily, she makes her way to her feet again and tosses away Tadashi’s plate of food before bringing Hiro his.

This happens again the next day, and the next, until she catches herself making an extra plate of mashed potatoes a week after the funeral and instead of tossing it like she would have normally done, she sits down and eats it and cries once more because it’s finally sinking in that Tadashi is gone. He’s gone and she’s never going to see her nephew again.

It takes another week for her to even be able to really smile again, but it’s still not the same. And she knows it won’t ever be.