Chapter Eleven: Nerd School

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For the next month of your life, you're mostly in Hiro and Tadashi's garage. You're there everyday from sun up to sun down. Hiro mostly uses you to go on his caffeine runs. When you would drink him back a large coffee or a few cans of soda, he would ask you for little advice.

It was bittersweet to see all of the pre-showcase excitement. It hurt to know that this was you just a while ago. The only difference? You let everyone down. You let yourself down. Hiro wouldn't. He's brilliant.

"Hey, ___," Tadashi greets happily. You lift your head to see him standing in the entrance to the garage, his satchel hanging on his shoulder. He sets it on the floor and takes a seat beside you on the sofa.

"Hey, sweetie," you say, kissing his lips quickly. "How were your classes today?"

"Easy but long," he says. "Everyone is pumped for the showcase tomorrow. Especially since a fourteen year old is presenting." He grins proudly. "Speaking of him, where is the knucklehead?"

"I think he went to the bathroom," you say. "He had been holding it since this morning."

Tadashi chuckles. Both of you look around at the alignment of garbage bins that fill the room. "He's been working hard," he says. "I'm really proud of him."

"Yeah," you reply, "me too."

Tadashi grabs your hand and squeezes it. "I'm really proud of you, too."

Your eyebrows pull together in confusion. "Why are you proud of me? I've literally done nothing since graduation. I have yet to find a job, I didn't get into my dream school. . . ugh! There is literally nothing to be proud of."

"___, you've stuck around. And don't tell me that it's because we're dating. It's because you care enough for Hiro to make sure that he has the support to keep going. You're an amazingly selfless person. You love Hiro."

"I love all of you guys," you say. "You're all my family."

Tadashi smiles at you. He drops his head until his forehead presses up against yours. "I'm glad that you're a part of our family," he whispers. He tilts his head and closes his eyes. You raise your arms and slowly wrap them around his neck to pull him close. Just as your lips meet his, Hiro jogs into the garage.

"Nope," he says. "No, no, no. There will be none of that." You and Tadashi hesitantly break away. "I need to focus completely on my project, and you two can't be kissing in the middle of it. Now. Tadashi. I need you to help me write the most awesome, crazy brilliant speech in the history of nerd speeches."

"Yes, sir," Tadashi answers. He lifts himself off of the couch and grabs a notepad and a pen. "Alright. Start out with an introduction."

Hiro nods. "I'm Hiro. I-"

"Not formal enough!" Tadashi exclaims. He begins to pace in front of his brother.

"Right, okay." He clears his throat. "My name is Hiro Hamada. I've invented these things called mi-"

"No, no," Tadashi interrupts. "What are these things, Hiro? What's a microbot? Details, dude. Details."

Hiro nervously twists a microbot in his hands. "Okay. I've been working on some pretty cool . . . robots. . . called microbots. I hope you. . . like them?"

"Come on, Hiro!" Tadashi says. "Where's your spark? Throw some feeling in there! Use that big brain of yours to think out a speech!"

Hiro groans. "Ugh! I'll never get it. And you're a horrible helper!"

Tadashi chuckles and tosses his notepad down on the desk. "Then ask ___ for help."

"No," Hiro says in an aggravated voice. "I wanted someone who's speech actually got them in to help me." You freeze at his choice of cruel words. Tadashi stops, too. He pales and glances from you to his brother. Hiro realizes his mistake. "Oh, no, ___. I- I'm sorry. I didn't mean it-"

You hold a hand up to stop his words. "Hey, it's okay. You're right. You need someone who got in to help you."

"No!" Hiro insists. The panic is clear in his voice. "I-just- uh-"

Tadashi shoves his brother towards the door. "I think it's time for you to rest some. Get out of here, knucklehead." Tadashi's eyes are filled with anger. Hiro nods and walks out. Once he's out of view, Tadashi turn to look at you. Your face is in your hands. He sighs and runs a hand through his hair. He takes a seat beside you. "He really didn't mean to hurt your feelings, ___."

"I know," you breathe. You wipe an escaped tear off of you cheek and smile. "I just wanted to be able to get in. To make you proud."

Tadashi takes your hand in his. "___, you make me proud every day. Don't you understand that? I will love you every day, no matter how broken our dreams are. We will never be broken."

You nod. "Promise?"

"Cross my heart."

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