Till I'm Gone

Sora Matasuki

Chapter One


(I promise it gets better)


Tadashi was late. So late, that his dinner had probably started growing icicles. The sixteen year old slammed on the brakes as he directed the car to around the corner, the tires giving off that nasty squealing sound that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up to attention. The teen managed to regain control of the car and slowly drifted to the side of the road, his blinker blinking obnoxiously.

He turned the steering wheel and guided the car into the parking lot behind his Aunt's Bakery and Cafe that shared their home on the two floors above the restaurant. Putting it in park and taking out the key, Tadashi surged outwards, grabbing his bookbag in one smooth motion.

Shutting the door, the Japanese-American glanced over at the setting sun and then shook his head. So what if he was late, Hiro was fine with postponing watching that movie till another day, right?

The thought didn't ring as true as Tadashi would have liked but he shrugged the disquiet out of his mind. Hiro was fine. Even if at school he was rather reclusive, having his nose stuck in a book all the time…

Tadashi shook his head. Stop that! he scolded himself. With a shrug, the sixteen year old walked around the back and to the front of the shop. Exiting regulars stopped to say hello to him as he entered the restaurant and Tadashi found himself grinning to himself.

"Hey Aunt Cass." he called over the bustle of happy customers eating themselves into a food coma.

His grin faded as Cass leveled him with a stern Look. "Tadashi, you said you were going to be home by three. Where were you?" she questioned.

Tadashi winced. "I got held up." he said. Cass's frosty glare faded to a sad expression as she sighed.

"Hiro was so excited to go to that movie with you…" she said, then gestured towards the back where the stairs to their living quarters were with her head, "Hiro hasn't had dinner, I think he was taking a nap so didn't hear my call for him to come eat." Her soft look turned stern and made Tadashi look down at his shoes with a guilty flinch. "You two can sit down and have a meal like real brothers since I still need to deal with the dinner rush."

Tadashi nodded, still looking at his shoes as his cheeks heated up from embarrassment. "Yes Aunt Cass…" he murmured, starting to make his way up the stairs.

Cass nodded firmly before redirecting her attention to an old lady who patted Cass' hand with a fond expression.

Tadashi heard the old woman say kindly, "Don't worry dear, everything will sort itself out soon enough."

Aunt Cass' reply was cut off by the walls as Tadashi ascended into the darkened upper floors.

Tadashi entered the large room that both of them shared and noted that Hiro's screen saver was active, indicating that he'd been awake long enough after school to go trolling through the internet on his computer.

"Hiro?" Tadashi called, eyes scanning the darkness for his brother's sleeping form in his side of the shoji screen. "Hiro, it's time to wake up. Aunt Cass said it's time for dinner!"

There was silence and Tadashi let out a sigh as he walked over to where the light switch was. "Sorry Hiro but it's time for you to - Hiro?"

Hiro's bed was neat and tidy and completely void of it's owner, something Tadashi never saw. It took a combination of bribery, threats to his experiments and sweets to actually get him to tidy up his half of the room, and up when he was asleep. A sinking feeling was rising in Tadashi's chest.

Movement caught his eye and the elder teen again noticed that Hiro's computer was active. Walking over from the light switch, Tadashi moved the mouse and was relieved to find that it wasn't password protected.

That relief quickly faded as he scanned the open tabs.

One article read 'HOW TO KILL YOURSELF PAINLESSLY' and the rest held similar searches. A sick feeling started stirring in his gut as he clicked on his brother's internet history. Similar searches with keywords about 'safe places to cut', 'how many pills does it take to die', 'does death hurt', 'will it be better if I'm gone', dated back months. It was as if it started near the beginning of the school year.

Tadashi's vision swam as his breath caught in his throat. Where's Hiro? the thought dimly penetrated the fog clouding his mind. I have to find Hiro!

"HIRO!" he called, near the top of his lungs. "HIRO WHERE ARE YOU!"

There was only silence.

A litany of swears and pleas to a God Tadashi was unsure even existed tore through his mind, some slipping out of his mouth as he turned on his heel to run into the dark hallway. In comparison to when he had entered the floor, the darkness seemed harsh and oppressive where in the beginning, it had only been a sign that Hiro was tired enough to be asleep. But now, it was the threat of an eternal slumber that urged Tadashi to run through the hallway, calling for his little brother.

"Hiro!" he yelled, ducking his head into a bathroom that he knew held sleeping pills and nearly wept when he found Hiro wasn't on the ground, overdosed. But his joy at the find was only brief as he remembered that there were four more bathrooms in total in the living space they all lived in.

"C'mon, please be alright, please be okay!" Tadashi begged, unsure of who he was addressing as he checked on the third bathroom. Only two more left, both on the top floor. He stared at the darkness that the stairs led up to and swallowed back bile and tears.

"Please don't be… Please." with that final tear filled plea, Tadashi charged up the stairs, breath coming in gasps.

It was the first door on that floor that was locked and it felt like a blow to the gut. "Hiro!" Tadashi called, banging on the door. "Don't do this!" Please! Don't leave me!

The silence was deafening and Tadashi put his forehead against the wood even as his fist pounded relentlessly against it. "Hiro open up!" Please just say something. Something, anything, so I know you're still alive!

Eventually, Tadashi knew that he wasn't going to get a response and backed up. I'm sorry Hiro. I'm so sorry for not seeing this. And then he charged at the door in the darkness.

His body connected with a dull thud and felt his shoulder protest at the impact. But Tadashi didn't care. His little brother was in there, overdosed or bleeding to death. He didn't have time to think about how it would hurt.

"HIRO!" Tadashi yelled his little brother's name as he hit the door again and it jerked slightly on it's hinges. Emboldened, the sixteen year old backed up and lunged forwards again. "Don't worry, I'm getting you out of there, just hang on!"

With the groan of breaking wood, Tadashi broke down the door enough to gain access to the bathroom and turned on the light. He felt his knees grow weak as he let himself fall to his knees at the sight of blood pooling around his brother's red soaked wrist.

"Hiro, no…" he gasped through clenched hands, the tears he had been holding at bay ever since he found his brother's internet history streaming down his cheeks. "No, baby brother, my otouto… please… stay alive!"

Casting his watery eyes around the room, Tadashi found a towel and pressed it against the wound, gathering the still warm (still warm, his heart nearly stopped in joy at the thought!) body of his little brother close so as to better staunch the blood flow. Tadashi didn't know how long Hiro had been bleeding for.

He should have been home so much earlier! Curling up around his little brother's limp body, Tadashi cried, before lifting up his head and screaming for help, ignoring how his throat tore and he choked on tears and bile.

Hiro… why? Please stay alive! Don't be… Please don't be dead…

AN: So... I'm writing out a personal headcannon (that means it fits into cannon) for nanowrimo and just to let everyone know, this is just the beginning. There IS more to the story than just this scene. Please tell me what you guys think! (Just don't kill me, please!)