Chapter Twelve: Broken

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"___, I'm just going to apologize one more time," Hiro says as he pushes the blue bin forward. You, Hiro, and Tadashi are leading the way to the stage. "I'm sorry."

You roll your eyes. "Hiro, stop. I'm over it. I've accepted the last twenty of your apologies. Now, I know that Tadashi put you up to apologizing every fifteen minutes-"

Tadashi holds up a finger. "The last two apologies were all him," he informs you.

Hiro gives you a nervous smile. "I just want you to know that I don't think badly of you. I was just really stressed yesterday."

"I totally get it," you assure him. You pull him off to the side. "Now you need to stop worrying about me and start focusing on what you're going to say up there. You can't make the same mistakes I did. Blow them away," you pause to smile, "I know that you can." Hiro raises his fist. You give him a fist bump.

"Videogames on Friday?" Hiro asks.

"I wouldn't miss it," you say. Tadashi steps up and places his hand on the small of your back. He smiles at you. The speaker calls Hiro's name. "That's your cue. You've got this, knucklehead." You smile at Hiro and step away to move the trashcan in it's place.

"Good luck, Hiro!" Honey Lemon says happily.

"Science, yeah!" Fred cheers enthusiastically.

You push your trashcan a few feet away from Honey's and Wasabi's. When they're perfectly in their spots, you join Tadashi and Aunt Cass in front of the stage. The crowd is pathetically small. Hiro begins to nervously talk. His microphone screeches in everyone's ears. You bite your lip nervously. He looks at you and Tadashi for help.

"Breathe," Tadashi mouths. You smile encouragingly.

Hiro takes a deep breath to calm himself and that's it. From that moment, his presentation goes amazingly easy. The crowd continually grows as they are impressed by what he can build out of those solid bots with just one thought. You're jumping with happiness. When Hiro's presentation is over, he climbs off of the stage. You and Tadashi run over to him. Tadashi gives him a fist bump and you wrap him up in a tight hug.

"I knew you could do it, Hiro!" you say.

Hiro slowly struggles out of your grasp. "Thanks, ___."

"They loved you! That was amazing!" Honey Lemon exclaims.

"Yes," a voice says. You and your friends all turn to see Alistair Krei. Ever since you were a kid, you were sure that he was a bad guy. He has always been guided by wanting money, not shaping the world. "With some development, your tech could be revolutionary."

"Alistair Krei," Hiro says in surprise.

"May I?" Krei asks, holding his hand out. Hiro hands him the bot. He admires it. "Extraordinary," he says. "I want your microbots at Krei Tech."

Your heart sinks. You look up at Tadashi, who is obviously not too happy about it, either. You take his hand and bite your lip to keep yourself for just speaking for Hiro. He knows what he's doing. He won't be stupid.

"Shut up!" Hiro gasps.

"Mr. Krei is right," a familiar voice says. You turn your head and see Professor Callaghan. "Your microbots are an inspired piece of tech. You can continue to develp them, or you can sell them to a man who is only guided by his own self interest."

"Robert," Krei says calmly, "I know how you feel about me. But it shouldn't affect-"

"This is your decision, Hiro," Callaghan interrupts. "But you should know that Mr. Krei has cut corners and ignored sound science to get where he is."

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