Their company is not even two years old, seemingly just one of many small tech companies in the Bay Area, but Alistair knows that it’s destined for big things.
Nominally, he’s co-founder and CEO, the most important person in their tiny twenty person company, which is why he’s the only one with a proper office with an actual door as opposed to just having a desk in the bull pen. What that just means is that he’s always the last person to get news.
So when, suddenly, cheering can be heard outside his door, he expects the ten minute wait until Shizuka enters. With the door open the chattering of their employees becomes more audible, then with its closing the sound becomes muffled.
Nominally, Shizuka is co-founder and… well, everything from Alistair’s PA to head of HR to CFO. Alistair’s pretty sure Shizuka has more responsibilities then he does, but he’s the one stuck in an office by himself. Whenever he points out that it’s not fair, Shizuka just flashes that infuriatingly polite smile and responds, “You’re the CEO, it would be inappropriate.” As if the rest of the company hadn’t already seen him drunkenly dancing on a table during the New Year’s party. As if Shizuka hadn’t once had to fish him out of SFIT’s campus stream during their junior year.
The point is, it doesn’t make any sense that the CEO is the last to know about things and the… whatever Shizuka is… is always the first to know.
“Stop pouting, I always tell you anyway,” Shizuka scolds, but it’s teasing and not even partially convincing to Alistair who can see how Shizuka is practically vibrating with joy.
“Is it good? Tell me, it’s good right? Did Ananya’s VR tech make it through the second round of testing? Has Min-jun’s boyfriend brought cupcakes?” Considering how small their company is, and new besides, informality really does make sense. Added to the fact that Alistair and Shizuka graduated with many of them, and the fact that the eldest–Belinda, 31 years old and working on bio-fueled prosthetics in her spare time–well… it would be weird not to call them by their first names.
Shizuka’s head shakes minutely, which is alarming because those are the only two major things he can think of that would cause this much fanfare. But that smile is still present so…
“It’s Stark Industries. They want to meet with us.”
He can feel a grin spreading on his own face, the kind that Shizuka says makes him look kind of dopey.
Three weeks later, Alistair is grateful to Shizuka for making him wear his itchy nice suit because at least it’s distracting him from calling bullshit on this whole farce of a meeting and punching Obadiah Stane in the face.
It’s not like he really thought they would be meeting with Tony Stark (though a tiny fanboy part of him really hoped they would) and the fact that they’re meeting with Stane is impressive in and of itself. There are hundreds of tiny startups with the same hopeful dreams as Krei Tech, who would possibly literally kill him for this opportunity. But he doesn’t want this.
This being Stane with his patronizing smile and his oily words and his overt snubbing of Shizuka right in front of him. Stane with his offer to buy out Krei Tech. Not invest. Assimilate.
And it doesn’t help that, for the past forty minutes, Shizuka has been looking more and more distressed by a constantly vibrating cell-phone which is being reluctantly ignored in a white-knuckled hand under the table. Alistair knows that Shizuka doesn’t believe in interrupting business for personal matters, but he also knows that there are only so many people who have that phone number and except for their employees who are also their friends and who also all know what’s happening right this second… it’s family.
And Shizuka only has two family members to speak of.
“Why don’t we take a break? Give us some time to discuss this amongst ourselves,” Alistair says, smile more of a grimace or baring of teeth.
Stane agrees, and swaggers victoriously to the part of the conference room where the rest of the Stark contingent of lawyers and whatever have set up, because he thinks he’s got this acquisition in the bag. Yeah, right.
But at least it leaves just Alistair and Shizuka at the table, though he quickly pulls the both of them out to the hallway for more privacy.
“Shizuka, what is it?” He asks, but Shizuka is already pulling up the voicemails and listening to them on speaker.
“Hello, is this Shizuka Hinokage? This is Officer Kline of the SFPD, there’s been an accident involving Maemi Takachiho…” the recording drones in an exhausted sounding voice. It’s only 2:30.
“Oh no,” Shizuka breathes out.
“… I’m sorry to inform you that she didn’t make it…”
Alistair’s stomach is dropping, he can’t imagine what this is like for Shizuka.
“… We have her son, Hiro, here along with social services. You need to come to the station and get him…” The voicemail continues on with little details, but it’s not really registering, it’s not important.
“I–I need to–Hiro’s waiting for me… But the meeting–” Shizuka stammers, more disjointed than Alistair has ever seen.
“The meeting is over. It’s not important,” Alistair says with the conviction of someone with the truth behind him. “I’ll give you a ride,”
Stane sneers disdainfully at the two of them when Alistair pops in just long enough to reject their offer. But, again, not important.
What’s some shitty “merger” compared to Shizuka’s family? Nothing.
A/N: Because I always have a soft spot for minor characters and Alistair Krei and nameless assistant deserve more. Buuut to be strictly honest I guess this is sort of the prequel to a BH6 non-related!sort-of-but-not-really-HS!aged-up-Hiro!AU Hidashi fic which I will hopefully be writing more of. God that’s a really long description.
I’m unsure what gender nameless assistant was supposed to be, but luckily Shizuka can be either a boy or girl’s name. Also, I kind of like the idea of Shizuka just being non-gendered anyway. So…
Hinokage Shizuka is cousin/sibling to Takachiho Maemi aka Takachiho Hiro’s mother. Seeing as how Hiro’s father already died when he was younger Shizuka is now his closest relative/newest guardian.
You can find more of my brainstorming for this on my lj under my Big Hero 6 tag.