Chibi-Robo fled through the crack in the wall near the park, trying to get away from all the madness. John and Mary had their new dog over today, and it kept trying to use him as a chew toy. He was nothing like Tao, the Sanderson's old dog. Tao was always laid-back, knowing Chibi had feelings and knowing to leave him alone, but this dog was everywhere! He couldn't seem to hold still for a second!

He may have been small, but he was still massive compared to Chibi.

Telly had been doing his best to be encouraging, and kept the dog away for the most part, but Chibi simply couldn't take it anymore.

He looked all around him to make sure no one was watching before he sat down. He pulled a sharp tool from his head compartment; a steel razor. He'd stolen it from a pencil sharpener for this very purpose. It was just small enough to be comfortable in his hands.

He put on his Pajamas and lifted the sleeve from his arm. Tiny drops of sweat dripped from his forehead. He couldn't believe he was actually doing this.

He stuck the tip of the razor into his forearm, at the elbow, before slicing down to his wrist. It burned for a second, but then he felt such relief. He wanted to do it more.

He made more cuts in his metal casing, not deep enough to break the circuitry inside, but each one was deep enough to hurt. And it hurt a lot.

He loved the feeling.

"Chibi-Robo?"

Telly was coming. Chibi quickly replaced his sleeve and put the razor away. It rattled uncomfortably in his head.

What have I done!?

"Oh, there you are, Chibi-Robo." Telly dropped his gaze, "Are you okay?"

Chibi was shaking as he wiped the hot sweat from his face, I-I'm fine...j-just really stressed out...

"Ah." Telly nodded in understanding, "I get it. You just want to be away for awhile...um..." he noticed Chibi's erratic behavior, "Are you sure you're okay?"

Chibi's grip tightened around his still-burning arm beneath the sleeve of his pajama shirt, Y-yeah...don't worry about it...I'll be fine...

Telly seemed doubtful, but he didn't question it, "Do you mind if I stay here with you?"

Chibi could hear the dog barking outside the wall, making his processor spike, N-no...that's fine...

Telly moved to Chibi's side, nudging him gently. Just his presence beside him made Chibi just a little more relaxed, though the pressure on his CPU was still high.

Telly seemed to sense this tension, but he didn't mention it, "Hey...Chibi-Robo?"

Chibi tried to calm his nerves, Y-yeah?

"If something was really bothering you..." he began, "...you'd tell me, right?"

He's on to me...

Um, yeah...I would. Chibi replied uncertainly.

"And..." Telly continued, "You know I'd never judge you for anything, right?"

He's trying to play the guilt-trip card!

O-of course... Chibi rubbed his arms.

"So if you're ever afraid or in pain, you should tell me." Telly finished, "You got that?"

Chibi was actually close to spilling the beans. He wanted to let out his frustration and fear on someone else, but if Telly knew what Chibi had done to himself he'd have a heart attack! No, Chibi knew when to not be selfish, and this was one of those times.

However, Chibi couldn't choke down a sob. The adrenaline had worn off, and the raw pain in his arm was unbearable.

"Chibi-Robo?" Telly put his little arm on his best friend's shoulder, "I'm sorry...I know how stressed you've been recently...come here..."

Chibi took comfort in his friend's presence beside him. He was a bumbling mess. What had he turned into?

"It's okay..." Telly said, "...I'm here..."

Chibi felt the piece of metal in his storage compartment weigh him down like a pile of bricks. He decided he never wanted to use it again.

Ever.

ooo

Chibi was dying.

Well, not literally, but the shaking in his limbs was driving him insane. Nothing could have prepared him for the biting ache...the urge to get that same kick he'd craved just a week ago...the same that was now driving him away...

What had become of him?

He hid in a secluded spot, in a dark alley surrounded by snow. The chilling January wind was enough to break him more as he fiddled with the cap on his head, dragging the razor out of it and setting it to his arm. The wounds in his other arm had yet to be repaired, still carrying a lingering soreness that ate away at him, so instead of reopening those old cuts, he would make some new ones.

Each slice through the dull rusty metal brought a shock of clarity back to his senses, almost bringing a nullifying effect to the pain. So he was getting adrenaline and sanity coursing through his wires without the horrid pain from before. It was almost calming somehow...it was...almost scary...

"CHIBI-ROBO!?"

Chibi lost the calm immediately, T-Telly!? the razor slipped from his hands, clattering to the concrete.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Telly swept up the razor, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!?"

Chibi felt something creep up his spine, Telly, give it back.

"No way!" Telly seemed really hurt, "Why did you do that?"

Telly...

"Why did you hide this from me?" Telly's voice shook, "Why, Chibi-Robo?"

Chibi's heart broke at the sound of Telly's voice, Telly...

Telly shoved Chibi's sleeves back and gasped, "Chibi-Robo! These are awful!"

Chibi couldn't meet his eye.

"You destroyed yourself...And you didn't even tell me...?

Chibi felt the shame wash over him in waves. He hugged his knees and hid his face in his arms, watching as hot tears slid off his face and onto the icy pavement, I'm sorry...

Telly relaxed as he lowered the blade in his hand.

Chibi began to feel despair as Telly didn't respond, but then he saw him set the razor down as he took one of Chibi's arms, "Can I see them?"

Chibi relaxed as Telly examined the cuts, but he still averted his eyes, facing his head away while Telly cradled his arms in his own.

"...I...I knew it was bad..." Telly began, "...but I had no idea it was like this...were these all self-inflicted?"

Chibi couldn't answer.

He shivered as Telly ran his little arms over the scars, "Why did you do this? And why didn't you tell me?"

Chibi squeezed his eyes shut as light snow fell into their little pocket of air, ...I'm so sorry...

"It's okay, Chibi-Robo. I forgive you. I just want to understand." Telly explained, "Can you tell me please?"

The softness of his tone helped ease Chibi's nervousness. He kicked up his cooling system before responding;

I...I never wanted to do this... Chibi shuttered, ...that dog John and Mary got? Well...last week...he...he bit me... Chibi slid one of his arms out of Telly's grip to lift the hem of his shirt, exposing his torso and showing off the puncture wounds on his stomach and back, The pain and fear from being in a dog's mouth was all I could feel...

Telly frowned sadly, though Chibi didn't see since his gaze was still averted.

...the rush of adrenaline came soon after, as I was trying to escape...it was such a relieving feeling...I needed it again...I was going crazy without it... Chibi rubbed the fresh wounds on his arm absently, ...yeah, it hurt...but it also helped me think...It gave me clarity...

Chibi folded in on himself, I'm so sorry...I don't know what came over me...I-I know...it was stupid...

"No! It's fine, really!" Telly took both of Chibi's arms in his own, wrapping the cuts up tightly with bandages (Chibi never knew where he kept things like that), "I just wish you had told me when I asked! Or better yet, before you did this to yourself! We'll have to get Jonathan to check for chemical imbalances in your motherboard."

Chibi nodded, Mmhmm...

"One more thing." Telly clasped Chibi's hands in front of himself, "You didn't answer my second question yet."

Oh...right... Chibi leaned back into the building behind him, I didn't tell you because I knew you'd be broken from it...I was right...

"So you just kept it to yourself?"

He didn't answer.

"Do you really think so little of me?" Telly asked skeptically, "Sure it scared me, but you'd still be broken inside if I never knew! You'd just be suffering alone! That isn't fair, Chibi-Robo! Not to me, and certainly not to you!"

Chibi blinked, feeling much calmer than before, I know...you're right...

"How long have you been doing this?"

I-I just did it once last week, and once today. The dog almost bit me again. Chibi replied.

"Okay..." Telly helped his friend stand up, "Let's go. We need to fix up those wounds. I'll talk to John and Mary about their dog. I'm sure they'd understand."

Chibi felt that sense of comfort come back as he walked with Telly, his feet crunching in the thin layer of snow. Maybe this is what he'd really needed all along.

Help from a friend.

He smiled as he clinked his head against Telly, Thanks for understanding...

"Of course!" Telly replied cheerfully;

"That's what friends are for."