Chibi-Robo felt something odd and distorted fill his head before he could open his eyes. Something was ringing in his ear-chip, and his cameras couldn't focus at first. Finally, he recognized the pattern on the ceiling of the Chibi-House. The tell-tale rotor blade sounds was a sure sign that his friend was nearby.
Chibi didn't feel like getting up completely, but he did push himself up to a seated position. He spun his head so it was no longer crooked.
Chibi looked up at Telly, then he narrowed his eyes.
"Um...I guess you're still mad at me?"
"Well...um...listen, ok? I was trying to get help, really! I just got a little sidetracked! I wasn't gone that long, was I?"
Chibi reached out and hit Telly so that he was sent spinning.
"OK! OK!" Telly steadied himself, "Really, though, how long was I gone?"
Chibi leaned forward, hugging his knees.
Chibi felt something tug on the back of his cameras. It felt oddly cold.
"Are you ok?"
He closed his eyes. What was going on? Was something wrong with him?
Finally, his eyes opened wide and tears cascaded down in waterfalls. It even made a faucet sound, just like Telly's tears.
"Chibi-Robo!" Telly cried, "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"
Something inside Chibi snapped just then. He swung at Telly, driving him from the Chibi-House with the waterfall-tears still cascading down his face.
Telly hesitated right outside before heading off. Maybe he'd be alright later.
Chibi-Robo watched his friend leave before burying his face in his arms. He didn't even know he was capable of shedding so many tears!
"...and then...and then he drove me out!" Telly explained to everyone, "I've never in all my experience with Chibi-Robos seen any one of them so depressed before! I don't know what to do!"
"Oh no!" Mrs. Sanderson exclaimed, "I can't believe I forgot his cleaning bonus!"
"It's long overdue..." Telly agreed, "I would have reminded you, but I didn't realize myself until Chibi-Robo pointed it out..."
"Ribbit..." Jenny said sadly, "Chibi-Robo..."
"Don't you get it?" Telly asked, "He feels extremely unappreciated."
"Well, yeah..." Mr. Sanderson said, "His AI is extremely advanced. He has feelings, just like the rest of us."
"But that can't be it!" Mrs. Sanderson argued, "He had more going for him than my small cleaning bonus!"
"That's only part of the problem." Telly gestured towards Giga-Robo, "That guy has been getting all the attention!"
Giga-Robo looked surprised, then ashamed.
"You guys have been showering him with love, but you forgot about the little robot who made it all happen. You all forgot about Chibi-Robo! Although, I did get a little sidetracked while his battery leaked..."
"He just needs to feel loved again." Mrs. Sanderson realized, "I have an idea, but everyone needs a part in it..."
Chibi-Robo opened his eyes to the ceiling of the Chibi-House. He hadn't moved at all since he made Telly leave, but maybe that had been a bad idea, because without anyone to talk to for many hours, he was feeling terrible. He had been plugged in the outlet for the Chibi-House, so his ranking had readjusted.
It was now down to 10. No Happy points had been collected for the entire day.
It was an all-time low for him. He had never gone an entire day without collecting a single Happy point.
Chibi inwardly frowned, rolling onto his side so he'd be facing away from Telly.
"So...I take it you're still upset?"
Chibi-Robo glared at his friend, almost as if to say, What do you think? before turning away again.
"Um...heheh...well, we have a surprise for you, Chibi-Robo..."
Chibi wasn't sure about how great that would be. If it meant confetti, then maybe, but it didn't feel worth it to leave and then run into trouble again.
"There'll be confetti!" Telly promised, "And you miiight get a looot of Happy points!"
That got his attention. He swiveled around.
"Come on! Don't keep us waiting!"
Chibi didn't feel like getting up, but he did anyway, reluctantly hopping down the stairs of the Chibi-House and lazily following behind Telly. He didn't feel like doing anything, even though cleaning up was his favorite past time. It just felt so-!
"SURPRISE!" and then confetti.
Chibi was so surprised he fell backwards, nearly landing on his plug!
"See?" Telly beamed, "We're all here to apologize for everything! Now please stop being so sad! My heart can't take it!"
Chibi blinked several times. The whole family was gathered for this occasion, including Giga-Robo. Chibi nearly glared at him, but Giga was looking so...sad? Did he feel guilty for this?
Chibi looked a moment longer before standing. His little feet padded on the floor as he approached Giga curiously. Was he really apologizing? It wasn't like it was his fault or anything...
"Chibi-Robo...we were all to blame..." Telly explained, "I tried to stick by you, but then I fell into the same trap...I can't tell you how sorry I am..."
Chibi looked at the ground. He didn't know what to say.
"You do forgive me...don't you...?"
No hesitation, Yes!
"Whew...what a relief..."
Chibi was feeling better already. That was when he decided to try something. He got out his toothbrush and scrubbed a stain off the floor.
"Aw!" Mrs. Sanderson gushed, "Look at that! You're going back to work already?"
Telly's eyes widened, "Mrs. Sanderson just gave you five hundred Happy points! And you got three hundred Moolah!"
Chibi-Robo suddenly felt a burst of motivation. His almost-achyness was gone and he seemed to have new energy as he swiftly cleaned up all the messes he could see around him. It felt nice to get back to work!
"Ribbit?" Jenny asked.
Chibi was beaming inside. It had been days since he had felt like this! Happy to make others happy! He felt like he could work forever. He kept cleaning up messes, earning at least 20 Happy points per action while the others watched.
Mrs. Sanderson smiled as he worked, "I'm sorry I forgot about you."
"So are we." Mr. Sanderson added, "We're cool though, right?"
"Cool...your battery took quite a beating, though. I had to replace it."
Chibi didn't care. Not in the slightest. He was just glad to have his family back.
Just as he was putting his toothbrush away, Chibi noticed Giga-Robo again. He was looking away, both hands in his lap. It seemed that, just like the energy crisis, Giga blamed himself for the whole thing, even if it technically wasn't his fault. Chibi climbed up the side of the couch, standing up on the armrest. Giga was still trying to avoid eye-contact.
Chibi stepped to the edge of the couch, deciding to do something reckless.
He jumped off the edge.
"Chibi-Robo!" came everyone's response.
Almost automatically, Giga reached out and caught him. That was when Chibi finally caught his eye. Though, just as suddenly, Giga set him down and looked away again.
"Chibi-Robo!" Telly scolded, "You scared me to death! Don't ever do that again!"
But Chibi wasn't listening. He was still trying to communicate with Giga.
"Wait a minute..." Telly realized, "Oh! I get it!" he flew upwards so he was in front of Giga's eyes, "He's trying to get your attention!"
Chibi watched as Giga slowly spun his head to look at the smaller bot. Chibi's cameras curved upward, the equivalent of a smile.
"You forgive him, just like you forgave us!" Telly guessed, "Right Chibi-Robo?"
Chibi surprised everyone by responding with, No!
"What!?" Telly exclaimed, "H-How could you-!?"
Chibi displayed his No! sign again, deciding to explain. Chibi pointed upward at Giga-Robo, then at his own shoulder. Giga picked up on the action, carefully letting Chibi sit on his shoulder. Chibi then explained by pointing at everyone else, then at himself, and then at Giga.
It wasn't that he was still mad at Giga-Robo, but it really wasn't his fault. He wouldn't accept the apology, not because he wouldn't forgive him, but because he couldn't accept an apology that didn't need to be said.
Telly smiled slightly, hovering near Chibi, "You're amazing...you know that, Chibi-Robo?"
Chibi gave a modest nod. All he ever wanted was to make people happy.
Who could argue with that?
*** THE END ***