Skin Deep

The sun was shining, the birds were singing and even the flowers seemed happy as they showed off their array of colours. It was a beautiful clear day, nary a cloud in sight. Everything seemed to radiate with happiness, filling the air with a warm, fuzzy feeling of cheer.

Astro was in an attic, one that was surprisingly clean. There were sheets covering a few things, but nothing was dusty. The small robot was huddled in the farthest, darkest corner from the trapdoor leading into the attic. His knees were drawn right up to his chest and his arms were encircling his legs. His head was bowed, his chin leaning on his knees. He looked like a sad, scared child that had found a place to retreat to.

Which was almost exactly what he was.

The attic he was in was very big as the whole house was actually a mansion. This mansion, which was rather lavish, belonged to a lady named Barbie. Astro had woken up and found himself in Barbie's strange world, where everything was made of plastic. It was only his second day in this strange world, but Astro was more than ready to leave.

There were no real phones, so Astro had no way to contact anyone he knew. Barbie's world, which really only consisted of a small city, was surrounded by harsh desert lands on every side. Astro didn't like his chances if he flew off in any direction. He was scared of running out of energy before clearing the desert. He had discovered last night, to his horror, that he had no way to replenish his energy.

When Barbie had found the small robot boy in the middle of her city, she had taken him back to her house - er, mansion. Barbie had spent the rest of the day playing the hostess and being as accommodating as plastically possible. When night fell, which surprised Astro, Barbie had assumed a motherly role and bustled about making dinner.

Astro had asked her if there was somewhere he could recharge, but Barbie had stared at him blankly and said, "I'm making you dinner. Why, did you want to eat out somewhere?"

Realising that Barbie had no clue what he meant, Astro began to panic. He covered it well and asked if he could explore the mansion before dinner was ready. Barbie told him to have fun, as long as he was back in time. Astro readily agreed and ran upstairs. He ran into a random room and yanked the window open. Jumping out, he quickly activated his jets and flew up a fair distance before hovering in place. Astro activated his scanner and set it to search for any sources of electricity. The height he was hovering at enabled him to scan the entire city, but his scan revealed nothing.

Astro had politely refused dinner, a couple of plastic drumsticks and a side of plastic salad, and had retreated to the bedroom Barbie had given him. He had spent a restless night tossing and turning under his sheets which, along with Barbie's clothes, were actually made of cotton and polyester. Nightmares had plagued him all night, giving his mind no reprieve.

When Barbie had cheerfully strolled into his room and woken him up like a mother would do to her child, despair had sunk its dark, icy claws into the little robot and held fast. Barbie had seemed concerned when he told her he didn't feel like breakfast, but had let the matter go after telling him that she was here if he needed anything and that she would check on him later to see if he was feeling better.

As soon as Barbie had left the room, Astro had run into the attic in the hopes that she would not find him for a while. He had been there for a couple of hours, frantically trying to think of a way to get back to Metro City.

Astro sighed and closed his eyes.


Barbie was making her way from room to room, humming a merry tune as she fixed up anything that was out of place. Dust was quite rare, so Barbie only ever dusted once every month or so. Barbie's mind kept wandering back to her guest - the young boy named Astro.

'Astro… Such a strange name,' Barbie thought. It was not just his name that she found strange either. Having Astro around made Barbie feel odd; she felt an unexplainable attachment to him. When he had refused breakfast this morning, Barbie had become worried. He had refused dinner last night and Barbie wondered if he was feeling ill. She would have liked to take his temperature just to check, but he seemed a little skittish around her and she didn't want to frighten the poor boy.

Hoping that he would open up to her very soon, Barbie continued on her mission. Once she had been through every room in her mansion (which took a long time, there were so many!), she stopped underneath the attic's trapdoor. With a determined, yet happy, look, Barbie grabbed the pull rope and gave it a yank, stepping back as the stairs unfolded before her.

Astro looked up in shock as he heard the trapdoor being opened. 'Oh no, has she realised I'm up here? I could quickly fly out the window before she reaches me, but she's the only lead I have to finding a way out of this crazy place…'

With the slightest creak of the stairs, Barbie went up them. She glanced around the attic, searching for anything out of place. Taking a few steps forward to make sure she checked the whole attic, Barbie was about to leave, satisfied with the room, when her eyes alighted upon a small form. As she walked closer to it, she discovered it to be Astro, who had decided to simply remain where he was.

"Oh, Astro, what are you doing up here all alone?" Barbie asked, rushing over to the despondent robot and kneeling beside him.

"Just thinking," Astro replied with a small shrug.

Frowning slightly in worry, Barbie took the opportunity presented to her and laid the back of her right hand against Astro's forehead, making him jump a bit at the unexpected contact. His temperature felt normal. Barbie let her hand drop into her lap and let her face show the worry she felt inside.

"What's wrong?" he couldn't stop himself from asking as he caught sight of her expression.

"Your temperature feels normal, but you haven't eaten anything since you've been here and I'm worried about you. You're not sick are you?" Barbie blurted out, clasping her hands together in front of her chest.

Astro blinked, taken aback by the genuine depth of her worry. "No, I'm not sick-"

A sudden musical chime echoing throughout the whole mansion interrupted Astro. Both of them looked down to where the front door was located, identifying the noise as a fancy doorbell. Astro was confused and hopeful at the same time, while Barbie's face lit up with a bright smile. Getting to her feet, Barbie held out a hand and pulled Astro up beside her as soon as he took it. Still holding his hand, she all but dragged him out of the attic and all the way down to the front door.

Finally letting his hand go, Barbie opened her front door with an unnecessary flourish.

A man was revealed to be standing on the tiny front porch. He was dressed in a slick black tuxedo that had the head of a red rose sticking out of the breast pocket, a white undershirt and shiny black shoes. The man had medium brown hair that appeared to be stiffly gelled and combed back, and he flashed a charming smile that showed off perfectly formed, white teeth beneath soft, sea-green eyes. He was holding a bouquet of beautiful red roses in front of his chest which he proudly presented to Barbie.

Barbie was a little flustered at the handsome man's appearance and his charming attitude, and happily accepted the bouquet after taking a moment to regain her composure. 'Oh, I like this new model of Ken; he's even more handsome and charming than the one before!'

"My dearest Barbie, seeing your radiant beauty is like looking upon a lush oasis in the middle of a barren desert; a secluded tropical island after being adrift at sea; a thornless rose of purest white among the blackest of thorny bracken…" the man said as he walked forward, clasped Barbie's free hand in both of his and dropped to one knee, staring at her in an obsessive, love-struck fashion the whole time.

Speech failed Barbie and she settled for blushing and giggling like a schoolgirl instead, fluttering her lashes outrageously when he kissed the captured hand.

Astro was trying very hard to stop his electronic brain from shutting down at the sight of the disgusting soap opera scene.

"Oh, Ken, you're finally here! I've been waiting so long!" Barbie exclaimed in a bubbly manner, throwing herself at Ken and wrapping her arms around him. When she finally detached herself from him, she took him by the hand and led him inside much the same way she had led Astro to the front door.

Once they were both inside, Barbie shut the door and nodded at Astro. "Ken, I'd like you to meet Astro. He arrived yesterday and will be staying here with us."

Ken stared at the little robot with a strange expression on his face that he was careful not to let Barbie see. "Astro, huh? Barbie, dear, would you mind if I had a small word with Astro? You know, get to know him a bit better; some quality male bonding time?"

"Oh, no, not at all, go right ahead!" Barbie chirped, pleased at the way things were going. Taking her cue, Barbie wandered off to find a vase for the roses, leaving Astro in the hallway with Ken.

As soon as Barbie was out of sight and earshot, Ken crouched down, bringing his face level with Astro's. An unwelcome sneer crossed Ken's face and Astro felt a sudden shiver flow down his metal spine. Astro unconsciously leaned back, though it didn't help as Ken leaned forward until the two were almost nose to nose.

"So, Astro… Just what do you think you're doing spending the night with Barbie?" Ken asked in a low, threatening tone.

Astro, despite his young and innocent manufactured age, instantly caught onto what Ken was implying. "I slept in a room a floor above her that she said I could use," he answered bluntly and honestly with all the childlike innocence he could muster.

Ken frowned, but the sneer faded from his face. "As long as you're clear on where things stand. Just be sure to stay out of my way," he said coldly before smiling and clapping Astro on the shoulder like a father would to his son; all trace of unpleasantness gone.

Ken walked off after Barbie, leaving Astro to gape at the sudden one-eighty.

After almost a full minute, Astro shook his head, closed his mouth and cautiously walked after Ken, being so cautious he was almost tip-toeing. After traversing a fair length of the very long hallway, his ears picked up their voices. Sneaking over to a door that was slightly ajar, Astro peeked inside to discover that it was the kitchen. A large, ridiculously fancy kitchen with an equally ridiculous amount of kitchen related accessories all over the room.

Astro cringed away from the overabundance of décor. His small movement caused the door to squeak, and Barbie looked up from the bouquet she had put in a vase and was fussing with, rearranging them until their placement met with her satisfaction.

"Oh, Astro, come in," Barbie said warmly after spotting his fingers curled around the edge of the door.

Astro had no desire to be anywhere near Ken, but he didn't want to upset Barbie by refusing such a small thing; he already felt bad for upsetting her over the meals he never ate. Steeling himself, Astro slowly walked in, determined not to let his eyes flick to Ken. He kept his gaze fixed on the vase of roses as he walked over to the counter the vase was sitting on, on the opposite side of the counter from Ken and Barbie.

"They're very pretty," he commented. The roses were, of course, plastic, but they were individual ruby-coloured roses and Astro was examining them with curiosity. For being made of plastic, they were well crafted and were, as Astro had said, quite pretty.

"Why, thank you, Astro," Barbie said with a pleased smile. Moving one rose a millimetre to its right, Barbie gave a short nod and picked up the vase, putting it back down in the middle of the large, ornately carved table that stood in the exact centre of the clear floor space.

"It's too early for lunch yet, so why don't we all go out the back and hop in the pool?" Barbie asked, looking between the two males. "It's a lovely day; perfect weather to take a dip," she added as her convincing argument.

Astro shrugged and said, "Okay."

"What a wonderful idea," said Ken, sending Barbie a disarming smile.

"Well then, everybody into their swimmers," Barbie said with a brisk clap. Turning to Astro, she looked him over and said, "You should be fine with what you're wearing, just take your boots off." Without waiting for Astro to respond, Barbie walked off, presumably headed for her wardrobe or wherever she kept her swimmers.

Astro wandered away in search of a back door, simply deciding to go along with things for now.

Several minutes later, Barbie was standing by the poolside in a snug-fitting sky-blue bikini with a large, brightly coloured beach towel spread out behind her, just far enough away from the pool's edge to avoid getting wet if someone splashed about.

Ken was standing nearby in a pair of emerald-green board shorts with his own beach towel beside Barbie's.

Astro had found himself in this strange world with nothing but his basic clothing, so Barbie had lent him one of her beach towels. He could take off his green belt, black undies and red boots if he wanted to, but he always avoided doing so because it made him feel uncomfortable. Astro had nothing to hide, but he did know about modesty and he respected it. He was standing on Barbie's other side, using her as a sort of buffer between himself and Ken.

Taking the initiative, Barbie walked forward and dived headfirst, smoothly cutting into the water with barely a splash. She surfaced at the other end of the pool, raised a hand and beckoned the other two to join her in the water.

Ken needed no more invitation than that to join his beloved. Following her lead, Ken dived also, entering the water just as smoothly. He surfaced directly in front of Barbie and gave her a playful smile.

Astro had to clamp his mouth shut to keep himself from uttering the word 'show-off'. He was, in no sense of the word, jealous. Astro had simply taken a dislike to Ken.

The water sparkled invitingly, bright lights as dazzling as diamonds glinting off the top of any small ripples. Astro was mostly unaffected by water; salt water did his mechanics no good if he stayed in it too long and neither did the water of some hot springs, though he had no problem whatsoever with normal water. A quick analysis showed that the pool, like most backyard pools, contained chlorine. Astro had never spent any amount of time in chlorinated water and was unsure if it would affect him or not. He was very reluctant to chance it; it would make the time he had left, before his energy ran out, even worse.

Barbie saw the reluctance on his face and drew her own conclusion as to the reason why.

"Oh, Astro, can't you swim?" she asked, sympathy pouring out with every syllable.

Ken smirked at the little robot before turning to Barbie with an understanding expression. "Barbie, dearest, if the kid can't swim then we should let him be. It might actually be a lot safer if he were back in the house, well away from the pool. I wouldn't want him to fall in, even with both of us here to save him."

Barbie, oblivious as usual, did not pick up on the smug, superior undertone in Ken's voice. Astro, on the other hand, had no problem catching it. A small frown was all the annoyance he allowed to show externally. Inside, he was close to seething. This strange, 'perfect' world was really getting to Astro and it was beginning to take its toll.

"That's a bit extreme," Barbie said, gaining a thoughtful look. Wading over to where Astro was still standing by the pool's edge, Barbie held her arms out to him as a mother would to her child.

Astro flashed a look of incomprehension at her, not understanding what she wanted from him.

"Come here, sweetie, and I'll teach you how to swim," Barbie said, continuing to hold out her arms in offering.

Back where she had left him, Ken was outwardly seething; his perfect, white teeth grinding together so hard that Astro could hear it. 'How dare that midget brat take my beloved's attention away from me?!' he silently fumed.

Astro, despite being the whole length of the pool away, could almost see palpable waves of anger flow from Ken and he automatically took half a step back.

Barbie, mistaking his action for further reluctance, took a few more steps forward until her stomach was pressed against the pool's side and her arms were outstretched over the ground. Her fingers on both hands made a come-hither motion and she broadened her smile while giving him a tiny, encouraging nod.

An eerie feeling of impending doom kept Astro's feet glued to the spot, even as his manners nudged him to accept Barbie's kind offer. 'It's strange,' Astro thought suddenly, 'but I actually DON'T know how to swim… not properly at least. I just use my rockets to propel me through the water; I've never really needed to use any of the proper strokes. They're in my database… I haven't physically used them is all… Maybe I SHOULD practice?'

Barbie's eyes glittered with warmth as Astro stepped towards her, not altogether sure of what he was doing. She held still until his booted feet were right in front of her. 'If he's more comfortable learning with his boots on, then that's okay. I do wish he'd take them off though, they'll weigh him down a bit,' Barbie thought, mentally shrugging.

Ken watched through narrowed eyes as Barbie took Astro's hands in her own and stepped back once to allow Astro to sit down with his feet dangling in the water. He continued to watch as Barbie moved; her intent obviously to hug the boy. Ken could not stand anymore. He had warned the brat!

Wading swiftly, Ken stopped beside Barbie and right in front of his target. With an inhuman snarl of jealousy-fuelled rage, Ken knocked Barbie's arms aside as he roughly grabbed Astro's upper arms and pulled, dragging the startled robot into the water. Sliding his grip on Astro's right arm down until he had a hold of Astro's forearm, Ken twisted it behind Astro's back and pushed forward, forcing Astro underwater. As soon as the young robot was down, Ken leaned forward so that he didn't lose his grip on Astro's forearm and partially kneeled down, one of his knees digging into Astro's back as he put all his weight behind it. The whole thing had only taken a few seconds.

Astro was facedown in the water, all of his front pressed against the bottom of the pool. 'He's trying to drown me!' Astro thought indignantly. He would have found it a little funny if he wasn't worried about the fact that the water was chlorinated. 'I wonder if it'll bleach my circuits a different colour…'

Ken couldn't feel his captive struggling and wondered if the shock of suddenly being underwater had scared the brat silly. 'Oh well,' he thought, 'it just makes my job easier.'

Barbie let loose a horrified gasp as her brain finally caught up with what was happening. "Ken, NO!" she shrieked, launching herself at her 'beloved'. She flung her arms around his neck and pulled, trying to yank him off Astro. Unfortunately for Barbie, Ken was bigger, heavier and stronger, making her efforts futile. Astro was only small and Barbie didn't think he would be able to hold his breath for very long. Getting desperate, she grabbed a fistful of his hair a savagely yanked backwards, leaving his partially exposed face open to attack from her other hand, which was outstretched with the fingers slightly curled, like a cat's paw with unsheathed claws.

Out of the corner of his eye, Ken saw Barbie's fingernails on a direct course with his eyes. He closed them instinctually and pulled his head forward, feeling several hairs part company with his scalp. Since his eyes were shut and Barbie was completely focused on inflicting pain upon him, neither of them noticed a bright spot of light under them.

Finally at the end of his tether, Astro decided that he would rather run out of energy and be as good as dead before living in this place with those two a minute longer. Mind made up, Astro's left forearm split apart, his arm and hand deconstructing and becoming compressed, most of it sliding into his upper arm into tiny grooves and niches designed for such a purpose. The rest of it swivelled down until it formed a small point, vaguely resembling a gun. A tiny sphere of bright, blue-white light formed at the tip as Astro willed his arm cannon to charge up. He didn't want to kill anyone, so he held back a lot of the charge. Deeming it enough, Astro moved his left arm until it faced directly upwards and released the energy.

A beam of blue-white energy, roughly a hand-span in diameter, shot straight up, melting Ken's nose off and singing his fringe. The beam became a thin column, tearing a hole in a poor unfortunate cloud before dissipating.

The burning agony of his deformed face made Ken open his eyes and stumble backwards a few steps as he clamped his hands over the place where his nose used to be.

Barbie was looking at Ken in horror. So much for handsome and charming, there was no way he was staying with her now!

Now free, Astro got his legs underneath his body and pushed against the pool bottom. Using the strength his gyros granted him, his leap took him well clear of the water. Angling himself, Astro landed on the ground a couple of feet from the pool's edge and spun around to see what all the screaming was about. He never caught more than a split-second glimpse at the two in the pool before he craned his neck up to stare at the sky.

The sky was still sunny and blue except for a spot right above the pool. A great tear, blacker than night, was there as though someone had cut a wound in the sky. Something pale seemed to be materialising out of the darkness, headed for all three below.

Barbie and even Ken had also looked up at this point. They too saw the pale thing headed towards them. All three let out a gasp as the pale thing reached beyond the tear at a fast rate. It was a hand almost as large as Ken was tall.

The hand descended further until it was right above Ken. The index and middle fingers lashed out and caught Ken around his head. The hand rose a bit, pulling Ken up with it, before it suddenly stopped. Dipping back down, the ring and pinkie fingers hooked under a startled Astro's arms. Now with both of its prizes, the hand swiftly retreated into the tear, leaving behind a completely baffled Barbie.


"There, he's fully recharged."

"I wonder why he smelled of chlorine when he was found in an old, abandoned building."

"I'm not sure, Yuko. That has me confused too."

"Is my big brother going to be okay?"

"Of course he is; nothing keeps Astro down!"

"Reno's right, Zoran. He was found completely depleted of energy; just give him some time for the new energy to fully circulate throughout his system."

"But Dr. O'Shay…"

Everything was dark, but he could hear sounds. They sounded odd, slow and slurred, and he was having trouble making sense of them. Once they filtered through to his brain, his processor sped them up and sorted them out.

The sounds were voices that belonged to Dr. O'Shay, Yuko, Zoran and Reno.

If he could hear their voices, then that would mean…

Astro forced his eyelids open. Light hit his eyes, but he refused to close them and squinted instead until his eyes adjusted. A large nose entered his field of vision followed by two tufts of white hair on both sides of a pair of worried yet relieved brown eyes.

"Astro! It's wonderful to have you back! You suddenly went missing about two days ago and we searched everywhere for you… We finally located you in the third floor from the top of an old, long-abandoned building near the outskirts of Metro City," O'Shay said, still looking worried. He was wondering if Astro had suffered any type of damage to his electronic brain, like amnesia.

Zoran sidled up to his side. "Are you okay, big brother?"

Sitting up, Astro looked at his little sister. "Yeah, Zoran, I'm fine," he answered gently and warmly.

"It's great to have you back, buddy," Reno said, walking over and clapping a hand on Astro's shoulder.

Yuko smiled in the background, sniffling as her eyes watered with unshed tears.

A wide smile split Astro's face as he took everything in. He was back home. Astro jumped off the examination table and leapt at O'Shay with his arms open. He collided with the scientist and instantly held on, hugging his foster father as though scared he was a mirage. Salty tears fell from his tightly shut eyes, marking clear tracks down his face. A sob choked its way out of his mouth as he felt O'Shay's arms wrap around his small form, firmly hugging him back. Only one thing went through Astro's mind.

'There's no place like home!'


And now, for your entertainment, I present my first ever omake! (If you don't know what an omake is, it's like a missing/deleted scene. You can find them in quite a few fanfics.)

OMAKE:

"Oh, Astro, what are you doing up here all alone?" Barbie asked, rushing over to the despondent robot and kneeling beside him.

"Just thinking," Astro replied with a small shrug.

Frowning slightly in worry, Barbie took the opportunity presented to her and laid the back of her right hand against Astro's forehead, making him jump a bit at the unexpected contact. His temperature felt normal. Barbie let her hand drop into her lap and let her face show the worry she felt inside.

His temperature seemed fine, but worry still nagged at Barbie. Unable to take it any longer, her hands flashed out and caught Astro around the middle, her arms quickly encircling him. She drew him to her in an awkward backwards kind of hug and stood up, still holding him in her steadfast grip. Before he could martial his thoughts to form some sort of protest, Barbie jogged off; across the attic, down the trapdoor stairs, and past many rooms before she stopped at one that appeared no different from the other fifty or so doors in the mansion.

Shifting her grip on Astro slightly, Barbie freed a hand just long enough to twist the doorknob. Once it opened, she nudged the door open with a foot and went inside, kicking the door shut behind her.

To Astro, it closed with an ominous click.

"Excuse me-" Astro started to say, though Barbie cut him off.

"Try not to talk," she said gently but firmly. She walked across the rather spacey room heading for a large bed; the kind of examination bed used by doctors, and sat him on it. Knowing how resistant boys his age were to doctors' visits, Barbie put her hands on his shoulders and softly pushed him back until he was lying down, making sure he swung his legs around so that he was lying properly.

Walking over to the door, Barbie took a long white coat off a hook and put it on, snatching something from a desk near the bed on her way back.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Astro managed to ask, attempting to sit up only to be pushed back down by a suddenly serious Barbie.

"Please don't say anything, it's better if you save your energy," Barbie said, her worried gaze lingering on Astro's face for several seconds.

Astro's heart almost caught in his throat. Well, figuratively anyway. 'Does she know I'm a robot? Is she trying to help me in some way?'

Barbie, oblivious to the thoughts rushing through Astro's mind, stuck a stethoscope in her ears; the one she had grabbed off the desk. Since Astro wasn't wearing anything other than his belt, undies and boots, Barbie didn't need to pull his shirt up. Placing the end on Astro's chest, right where a human's heart would be, Barbie listened.

Instead of the thump-thump she was expecting, all Barbie could hear was a soft electric hum and whirr. She continued to listen and the humming and whirring picked up speed as Astro became more and more nervous with each passing second.

"A-Astro…?" she asked slowly, her unsure gaze moving to his face though she did not remove the stethoscope.

"Yes?" he replied steadily, moving his head until it was partially sideways so that he could see her better.

Upon seeing Astro move and speak, despite the distinct lack of a heartbeat and the equally distinct lack of any noise indicating oxygen passing through lungs, Barbie's tiny mind went on strike and she fell over backwards in a dead faint.

Astro sat up and blinked at the comatose figure on the floor. "I didn't know plastic could faint..."


A/N: Aww… I almost cried writing that last bit when Astro was home… (I had to stop myself or I wouldn't have been able to see the keyboard!)

I wrote this because I felt awful leaving poor Astro with Barbie at the end of Phones, Trees and Astro! Oh, My! By the way, did you notice the last line is from The Wizard of Oz? The same movie I based the title of the first one-shot from? "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" I'm sure most of you know that rather famous line. Now, to address a few things:

-They always seemed to be bringing out new models of 'Ken' for Barbie. So, I incorporated that into my fic.

-The kitchen scene addresses the fact that there are so many accessories and things you can buy for Barbie it's not funny.

-Before any of you ask: YES, ASTRO CAN TAKE HIS CLOTHES OFF! I know many people wonder about it. Are they grafted to him; part of his artificial skin? No, they're separate. In episode #122 of the original 1963 series, of which only 104 episodes were dubbed into English, a monster with tentacles pulls Astro's undies down, smacks his bottom, pulls them back up and makes Astro do an Indian War Dance. (Yes, Astro has butt cheeks in that if any of you were wondering.)

In the 1982 series, Astro has no boots to start off with and a girl named Kathy gives them to him for luck in the second episode. I don't know why part of the boots disappear with his feet when he flies. Also in this series, Uran, Astro's little sister, steals a pair of his undies (black briefs with a green 'belt') and puts them on after stripping to fool someone into thinking that she's Astro. (She actually does this twice, and I think Astro lends her his boots the second time.)

-As for the hand… Well, who else controls a Barbie's world but a human?

-Now… Can Astro cry? Who knows. He throws a tantrum in the 1963 version. He also sobs and whatnot about the fact that he's a robot and has no parents. (Dr. Elefun fixed that though. He has a mother, father, little sister and big brother in the 1963 version.) In the 1982 series, Astro is most upset when his dog, Jump, is dying. In the 2003 version, Zoran starts bawling after Astro saves her from the inside of a giant robot pterodactyl. There are unshed tears in her eyes. You also catch Astro sobbing and sniffling after robots are given equal rights. When his friends find him, he wipes his arm across his eyes. In the 2009 movie, you see Astro with unshed tears in his eyes after Tenma gets mad and orders 'Toby' to go to his room. In light of all this, I'm going to say, "Yes, I think Astro can cry."

If you like my Astro Boy one-shots then here's a note for you: I am writing a third, but it will not be posted on my account. It will be posted as the second 'chapter' of a story called Cracked by Renegade Bladesman.

The moral of this story: Nothing is perfect. Everything has flaws, even if you can't see them. It is these flaws that help create personality and define things. Don't frown upon flaws. Rather, look at them as what gives everything a unique touch. Always look further than skin deep.

And now for another treat! My friend, who reviewed Spark of the Soul as Time Lord Ash, wrote a song after I told him that 'plastically' was a real word after I wrote this: Barbie had spent the rest of the day playing the hostess and being as accommodating as plastically possible. He then invented 'The Plastically Song'! So here it is:

Have you heard the new word?

The greatest word you've ever heard?

Some say it's brilliant,

Others say "absurd"!

It............is...........

Plastically! Plastically!

P-L-A S-T-I-C and add an ally!

It's a wonderful word,

It's fantastic!

A brand new adjective meaning "of or pertaining to plastic"!

Plastically! Plastically!

P-L-A S-T-I-C and add an ally!

So, if you want a new word, just take it from me!

The word you need is PLA...........STI..........CAL.........LYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Please review and let me know what you think! (And sorry for the long Author's Note!)

~Fantomo