Entering the portal was probably one of the strangest moments of his life.
There was a moment when sound muted around him, an electrified pressure damping down. Every hair that wasn't pressed down by his helmet and suit immediately stood on end. All at once, sound returned, along with a supersaturated world that honestly blew his mind.
The vibrancy of the color was uncomfortable, like neon, highlighter-bright colored paper that only the most enthusiastic of middle-schoolers enjoyed. Clouds made of shifting, clashing colors faintly glowed from their own light, illuminated brighter from the white-blue crackle of the open portal behind him.
Sound came back to him in a quiet stutter, crunching and smashing of metal and glass overlaid by the hum of Baymax's propulsion and a teeth-grinding whine that tickled on the edge of his perceptions.
"Careful, there's debris everywhere."
He reminded Baymax, leaning to help the robot to bank out of the way. It didn't seem to help, and Hiro noticed the robot moving a bit differently. There didn't appear to be wind resistance, or gravity - though the latter might have been obvious by the floating bits of building spinning around his head.
His heart stuttered when he realized a long panel of windows was approaching, set on cutting his torso off. Hiro detached from the magnet pads, stumbling as he sprinted along the glass.
He could see the red armor of his robot through the surfaces, and an opening that he could jump down through.
He put on an extra burst of speed, just as something caught his attention from the corner of his eye.
Another metal panel, some sort of support for the sweeping curves of the building, was headed on a collision course with him.
With too little time to make it through the gap, Hiro leapt upward instead, barely missing the crackle of glass shattering under his feet. The lack of gravity sent him further than anticipated, but he tried to remain calm as Baymax flared his thrusters to turn around and retrieve him.
Still, there was nothing left to do but drift upward, propelled by his own momentum.
"That was a close…"
A crackle of sound and a strange staticky feeling ran across his shoulders.
Hiro twisted around, and wished that he hadn't.
One of the candy-colored clouds had shifted toward him, pale lightning arching between the glowing threads of something otherworldly.
He'd never been quite so terrified of purple, before.
Hiro turned back towards the red-armored robot, reaching his arm out.
He cried out, as the pink and blue mist billowed up to swallow him in. Light faded quickly, and he could feel dizziness clamping down around his head, and stirring up his stomach into an unhappy twist.
He could no longer see anything, and the nausea intensified until he couldn't take it anymore.
He blacked out.
Awareness crept up on him slowly, darkness blanketing him in a warm embrace.
Where was he?
He could vaguely hear his voice being called, from a vast distance away. Head pounding, he shifted to grab it. Cloth was under him, a familiar smell reaching him as well. Where had his helmet gone?
The last thing he remembered, was the space beyond the portal - strange gravity, neon storms and snapping lightning.
His knees curled up slightly, shoulders hunching. He knew that voice, tickling on the edge of his hearing when his brain was half asleep.
With a deep breath, he cracked an eye open, stomach already dropping at the sight of familiar posters. He was in his room - somehow, he had made it out of the portal. That voice must have been part of a dream - it always was.
It was probably Aunt Cass calling him down for breakfast, or his friends trying to get him to go to class, from a message on his computer. His eyes drifted down - as alarming as it was to wake up with no recollection of getting back to his room, the initial internal diagnosis of 'Concussion - need sleep to heal brain' was enough to put him back down.
"Hiro, wake up."
A jolt shot through him, terrifying and painfully hopeful. He whipped his head around, eyes darting to the source of the noise.
He was standing at the top of the staircase, acting all the world like it was a normal thing.
"Good Morning, sleepyhead."
That was definitely not a voice in his head!
"Better get dressed, school starts soon."
Like a crescendo, the name clambered through his chest and swallowing up his brain.
"What, no 'Good Morning' to your big brother? After all that work I did?"
Tadashi smoothed back his dark hair, nestling his cap into place.
Hiro lay motionless, eyes tracking the young man's progress through the room. The colors were bright, and he didn't feel disconnected from reality.
There was no way...
A quick check of the clock, and he could read the numbers just fine - in order and crystal clear.
Hiro slid off the bed, heart racing. What if it was an hallucination brought on by a head wound? What if he had dreamed the last nine months? (but it had felt so real ?)
His hands trembled as he reached out for his brother - still half convinced it was a mirage or a dream, and would vanish into smoke at any moment.
Tadashi turned to him, the good-natured smile falling away into concern.
"Hey, are you okay?"
Fingertips met warm fabric, and curled into it.
He was real.
Oh god, he was real.
Hiro bowed his head, pressing his forehead into his brother's ribs. He could feel the startled inhale, muscles and bones moving just as they were supposed to.
Was it all really a dream? All of that inventing and time with his friends, the murderous rage when he found out what Callahan had done... He could recall most of it still, but the doubt had already cast a dreamlike quality on it all.
He felt a warm hand lay down over the back of his head, thumb ruffling the perpetually messy hair.
Tears seemed to well up out of their own accord, throat tightening like an archer's string.
Whatever had happened, this was reality. It couldn't be a dream. He could count the stitches in Tadashi's clothes, smell home and the faint aroma of spiced meat from downstairs. There were too many details for it to be a hallucination.
"You-." He paused, swallowing to try and level out his voice. His brother's name, his smell, the warmth of him was thundering through Hiro's brain, quickly eating up every other thought.
"You're real, right?"
An arm pulled him closer, until he could wrap his arms around Tadashi's waist and cling like a limpet. Hot tears were sliding down his face, jaw hurting from how hard he was clenching it.
"Oh, Hiro, Of course I'm real."
Those words echoed through his skull, and he couldn't help but holding his brother tighter.