Sinking

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When Tadashi was little, Hiro was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Hiro was born when Tadashi was only four years old, and the moment he laid eyes on the newborn he fell in love. He thought having a little brother was the coolest thing to happen to a four year old kid, and when Tadashi was old enough to go to school, it was all he talked about with his friends. He told them about new words he said, or how he was learning to crawl, even the foods he liked to eat. He thought he had the perfect life back then.

But after their parents died, a new kind of heartbreak washed that feeling away just slightly. He felt completely broken, and he wouldn't be lying if he said he avoided holding Hiro for a good few months. Hiro only brought back memories of his mom and dad, and how much it hurt to know that they weren't around anymore to take care of them both.

So, sometimes Tadashi would get a little bit sad.

His aunt had clearly noticed, as she tried to get him out of bed in the mornings or take him to the park, but to no avail. He would simply sit on his bed and stare at the wall, his little brother's laughter echoing in the distance and causing a sharp pain to tear through his heart at the sound. Hiro was just an innocent toddler, he couldn't be expected to know this kind of heartbreak. But knowing that Hiro was laughing and enjoying himself while Tadashi was slowly withering away only dragged the seven-year-old boy deeper down the rabbit hole.

For some reason, nine years later, Tadashi could still hear that laughing.

Tadashi laid on his side, sinking deeper into his mattress as a heavy weight rested on his shoulders. His heart was beating slowly, the rhythmic beating nearly throwing him over the edge. There was a white noise ringing constantly in his head, and it was becoming harder and harder not to just close his eyes and try not to open them ever again.

"Tadashi?"

"Can we get you something?"

"Something to eat?"

Tadashi found himself physically unable to respond, fluttering his eyes shut and heaving a deep sigh as his friends stood by the foot of his bed, each one's face laced with concern and grief.

"Maybe we should leave him alone."

"You wanna leave this alone?"

"What else are we supposed to do? I don't think he wants the company."

"Hey, geniuses. He's sad, not deaf. He can hear you."

The friends then stood in silence, turning back to Tadashi and staring, seeing as there clearly wasn't anything else to do. Tadashi heard the sound of footsteps in the distance, and it didn't take him long to realize it was his aunt.

"Hey, guys," she said softly, and he could almost hear the heartbroken smile on her face. "We really appreciate you coming over, and everything you've done, but...maybe you guys should head home. I think he needs the rest. I'll call you if he gets up, alright? How's that sound?"

The group didn't respond, but Tadashi assumed they agreed as he heard the sound of their footsteps walking away. Before he could heave out another sigh, he froze, feeling Honey Lemon touch his shoulder and kiss his cheek before rounding the bed and walking down the stairs. He could feel his aunt's presence lingering in his shared bedroom, and another pain tore through his heart when he heard her sit on Hiro's bed.

"There's lunch downstairs," she started, and her tone was awkward and soft. "I was going to bring it up here to you, but...I—I figured it would do you some good to come down. Ms. Matsuda is down in the cafe, just talking it up."

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