Chapter 18--Later That Evening
"Man," you sighed, turning on the lights and yawning. "It's great to be back home."
Mr. Lacitier smiled as you smiled wearily at Hiro, who just put an arm around you tiredly. "I know," he murmured to you, closing his eyes briefly.
"Kids," he said, motioning you to the kitchen. "How about a quick cup of hot chocolate? I guess this calls for some celebration. After all, Hiro, you got your brother back, and Melanie got her sister back."
"I wish mom and dad were here," you said airily, looking out of the window to see a full moon high in the sky, several stars twinkling against a navy blue sky.
"They always will be," Hiro spoke up behind you, and you turned to him as he placed a hand over your heart, the same way you did to him back on the island. "They are always here with you."
You smiled as you laid your hand over Hiro's, closing your eyes for a brief moment. You knew. You knew that both of your parents have made great impacts on your life, despite the fact that their time with you were so short. But now you have new friends, friends so close to you you literally could call them brothers and sisters of yours. Even Mr. Lacitier started to become family to you, with his openness and willingness to show you how good of a guardian he could really be. And even as you spend time with them, you still have room for your parents, for the good things they have done with you, to you, all those years. And for the first time, you felt no regret making the decision to have Mr. Lacitier remain your guardian.
"You two really seem fitting as a couple," you heard Mr. Lacitier say, and you turned to him, smiling.
"Hiro told me you gave him full permission to make me his girlfriend, right?" you asked.
Mr. Lacitier nodded. "I called Ms. Hamada--or rather, Aunt Cass--but then I ended up having a chat with Hiro. He's a really nice kid, honestly, and I fully approve of your relationship with him. Well, that being said, you both took the plunge. And I'm glad you did."
You gazed at Mr. Lacitier. Perhaps at first glance the monocle and triangular face could be disturbing, but inside he had a kind heart. On the surface he looked like a suspicious villain, but you knew you can't just look on the outside to determine what kind of person he is. You have to look beyond that to see what he truly has to offer. And for that, you were grateful he took up the responsibility to take care of you.
Soon, the hot chocolates were ready. Mr. Lacitier set them down on the kitchen table for the both of you while he started to brew up some tea, and you and Hiro started to sip on it, the warmth seeping through the both of you, soothing you.
"Remember this was how we met the first time?" you asked Hiro, grinning. "You saw me soaked on my first day of work, and then Aunt Cass offered me hot chocolate and a blanket, and then we just started talking about things...?"
"Oh yeah, for sure," Hiro replied, smiling back. "How could I forget? That was the first day I opened up to you."
"And I you," you recalled. "It's funny, because I normally wouldn't tell people right off the bat about my dad...but the fact that you cared really touched me."
"I'm glad I stuck with you then," Hiro finally admitted, taking another sip from his hot chocolate. "Normally people won't take Tadashi's death like it was a big matter. But the fact that you did outside of his friends...I guess that was when I started to fall for you."
"The first moment your arms were around me, I knew," you smiled. "I knew there was someone out there who cared. I knew there was someone out there who was willing to help."
"(Y/N), no offense, but you're kind of sounding like my brother," Hiro stated. "I remember him saying, 'Someone has to help" before he ran in the fire..."
"Oh," you whispered, setting your hot chocolate down and, noticing Hiro's hand laid on the table, reached over and intertwined your fingers with his. "Sorry."
"That's fine," he said, waving the apology off. "I'm just glad he's still here. But yeah, for that time being, you helped me get a lot of burdens off my back too. And...hey, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you, so...thanks for not giving up on me."
You smiled back as you rubbed his thumb gently with your own, feeling sparks fly through your forearm as you did so.
Mr. Lacitier soon joined you with a mug of tea, sipping on it and sighing back in relaxation. "Ahhhhh. It's been quite a long day today, hasn't it."
You nodded. "So much has happened. I can't believe it."
Mr. Lacitier laughed. "I'll agree! I mean, seriously, look at the time!"
You glanced at the kitchen clock. It was almost 3 in the morning.
"Oh wow," you murmured. "I have never stayed up this late before."
"Neither have I," Hiro admitted, yawning.
Mr. Lacitier smiled at the both of you. "Okay kiddos. How about we finish our drinks, and maybe we can get to bed. (Y/N), I'll call and let the school know that you might not be able to come for classes. Hiro, I don't know about you and SFIT..."
But Hiro chuckled. "Mr. Lacitier, you're talking to a genius. Don't worry. I got a whole lot of projects done ahead of time."
"It's interesing, how you got into SFIT at such an early age," Mr. Lacitier marveled, nodding at Hiro. "A child prodigy, I presume?"
Hiro nodded. "I don't mean to brag, but I have graduated high school at age 13, and now I got into SFIT thanks to my brother--well, mostly. Some of the work I had to do was my credit. But it was my brother I have to thank for showing me around SFIT and helping me realize that 'nerd school' isn't as bad as I thought."
That brought a chuckle from Mr. Lacitier. "Nerd school? SFIT?"
Hiro nodded, not in the slightest bit ashamed. "But hey, that was a long time ago. I've changed."
"So you have," Mr. Lacitier smiled. "I know you have the heart of your brother. You were so willing to help (Y/N) and I know you'll go on to help so many others."
"My brother wanted to help a lot of people too," Hiro said. "I only did this in memory of him...you know, the superhero gang."
"That was definitely something worth seeing," you finally said, giving Hiro a wide grin.
"I wonder how Tadashi had the sense to upgrade you and Gisele," he murmured.
"I guess the news of Big Hero 6 just rolled around all over the news," you shrugged. "Though yes, I'll have to admit it, you do look like the main leader of Big Hero 6. Or are you?"
Hiro nodded. "I am." Then his eyes sparkled. "Hey, maybe we can add you, Melanie, Gisele, and Tadashi to the group! That won't hurt, right? Big Hero 10?"
"10 sounds like a pretty big number," you admitted. "But I guess that works. Big Hero 10...a fearless superhero group helping people around San Fransokyo...that sounds pretty cool."
"Yeah," Hiro agreed. "But we'll need to get you some better upgrades. Or not. It's up to you."
You couldn't help but yawn again. "We'll talk about that when we wake up."
"Alright, to bed with the both of you," Mr. Lacitier sang, and you two reluctantly finished your hot chocolate and trudged up the stairs, completely exhausted. "Hiro, would you like to sleep in one of the other rooms, or sleep with (Y/N)?"
"I don't mind sleeping with (Y/N)," Hiro answered. "And don't worry, we'll play safe."
Mr. Lacitier nodded. "Alright then. Good night, (Y/N). Hiro," he said, giving the both of you a big hug before disappearing in the spare room.
"Good night," you both called back, entering your room.
You decided to wait while Hiro changed back into a pair of gym shorts and the too-big t-shirt from your dad--the same clothes he first wore when he first stayed with you. Then you started changing into a nightgown, since you didn't know what else to wear for bed, what with Hiro being here and all.
"Wow, (Y/N)," Hiro breathed, the moment he was able to look at you. "You look...beautiful."
You smiled sheepishly as you held out the skirt flaring slightly from your waist, twirling around and around like a princess would, and Hiro caught you as you slightly overbalanced.
"Thanks," you said, blushing as Hiro picked you up, twirling you around as he looked into your eyes, clearly lost in them again. You couldn't help but stare at him too. Under the moonlight, he looked so handsome, so...attractive. It must have dawned on Hiro too, because next moment he pulled you in and kissed you passionately, densely, yet sweetly. You smiled in the kiss, unable to actually believe that this was happening. And as you closed your eyes, you felt him swing you back onto the bed, pulling away as he ran a hand over your cheek delicately, his eyes piercing right through you, and you chuckled.
"Whoa," you suddenly said, your smile completely wiped off from your face.
"What?" Hiro asked in a slight panic.
"It just occured to me," you whispered. "Just how many times we've kissed today."
Hiro looked wistful as he rested his hand on your cheek. "Well...did you like them?"
You froze. "Like what?"
"You know...the kisses," Hiro whispered, looking down.
You laid a hand on his cheek too now, smiling back at him reassuringly. "Of course I did. Who knew you could convey so many emotions in one single kiss? I have never experienced anything more real...I'll be honest."
Hiro smiled as he leaned in and kissed you one more time, lovingly, on the lips, then let go quickly before you followed up with another, and another, and another. The kisses were long, slow, and just with the right touch of sweetness and longing that made them just so much more memorable.
When you finally let go, you wrapped your arms around Hiro now, snuggling close into his chest. "Thanks for being here with me, every step of the way."
Hiro smiled as he wrapped his arms around you in return. "Hey, that was my promise, and be glad I kept it for you." He closed his eyes as fatigue overtook him. "I love you, (Y/N), and I always will, to the moon and back."
You closed your eyes too, feeling yourself relax as you listened to Hiro's gentle breathing, feeling his chest rise and fall with every breath he took, and in that moment you felt safe and protected. "I love you too, Hiro."
Then the two of you fell into a deep sleep, cuddling close to each other while the stars disappeared and the moon disappeared as well as the sun started to rise.