The forces of evil may have failed to destroy him today, but now the very city he’d saved was trying to finish the job.
Or at least, that’s what it felt like to Gold Lightan as he wobbled precariously through the air, trying his hardest not to get tangled up in power lines or bump into telephone poles that seemed to jump out towards him from the darkness at every conceivable angle, and only sometimes succeeding.
Today’s battle had been a long, grueling one. He’d lost count of the times the Mecha-Kaiju’s regenerative abilities had canceled out his attacks before Scope and IC were able to figure out that thing’s weakness. He was lucky enough to have gotten away with only superficial physical damage; by now it wasn’t clear whether the small scrapes and dents on his armor were a product of the monster attack or an encounter with a particularly murderous lamp post. Still, to say that the battle had taken its toll would be an understatement. Now that his systems finally had a chance to wind down from battle mode, Gold Lightan was painfully aware of the fact that he was quite literally running on fumes.
It felt sort of like sinking into liquid cement. The deep, gnawing exhaustion seeped into the joints of his limbs, oozed sluggishly through his fuel lines, permeated every last bolt and screw, weighing heavily on body and processor alike. His vision was a pixelated mess of system warnings and increasingly frequent visual glitches. And with every passing moment, the thought of just crawling into the nearest hole, curling up into his lighter mode and just recharging then and there seemed more and more enticing.
“No, no!” Gold Lightan thought to himself, dodging to the side in an attempt to avoid crashing into a mailbox - and instantly regretting his choice to leave behind something so dark and cozy. Wait, a mailbox? Since when had the altitude of his flight dropped so low? “I can’t recharge here! If I don’t come home, Hiro might think I died in battle with that monster! What kind of friend would I be if I were to put him through such anguish?!”
For a moment, he considered calling his teammates for help. If only they could spare him just a tiny bit of energy...Oh, who was he kidding? After fighting all day by his side, the Lightan Corps were surely just as worn out as Gold Lightan himself.
“There’s no way I’d do something so cruel and selfish! What kind of leader would I be if I were to drain my team of their last drops of energy?” Gold Lightan thought, and mentally slapped himself for entertaining such pitiful ideas. He was the strongest warrior of the Mecha Dimension, for crying out loud, (speaking of crying out loud, he may or may not have screamed a little bit then, just to psyche himself up) and he would make it home on his own, no matter what! Even if he had to crawl to get there!
Thankfully, he did not have to resort to such extremes. But the last leg of this very tiny, very sleepy robot’s journey home was arduous. So arduous, in fact, that as Gold Lightan finally touched down on the windowsill of Hiro’s house (bracing himself against the frame of the open window for support, but, miraculously, still on his feet), he was, in all seriousness (or rather, in as much seriousness as his half-awake processor was capable of) wondering whether a battle against Ivalda The Great himself could compare to the ordeal he’d just endured.
But now, it was all over. He’d made it home. At last, he could let go. At last, he could drag himself to Hiro’s room, to the little wooden drawer, worn but cozy and and never, ever dusty. The drawer where he dormed with a math workbook and a pencil sharpener whose heavy handle would sometimes creak softly at night, as though the old thing was trying to sing him a lullaby…
He could crawl into his bed, the bed that Hiro had so thoughtfully constructed for him out of matchsticks and toothpicks, pull the handkerchief-blanket over himself…And sleep, sleep, sleep…
...Wait a second!
What the actual heck was he doing?
That wasn’t his drawer! That wasn’t his bed! That was still the windowsill of Hiro’s house!
And he had just toppled over and fallen right off!
Oh crap oh crap oh crap! He was falling!
Thankfully, he seemed to be falling in , rather than out , but still…
He was going to crash into the floor! Tiny or not, he was still 100% made of metal! He was going to scratch Mr. and Mrs. Taikai’s beautiful new floorboards! And wake at least part of the family from their well-deserved rest!
...Not to mention this was probably gonna hurt.
Hoping against hope that he still had enough energy left, Gold Lightan desperately tried to engage his anti-gravitational system and regain control of the situation. But no such luck. His flying ability did activate...for the better part of a second. Though it ensured a much less...destructive landing, the Golden Warrior was still doomed to faceplant into the floor in a most uncool fashion.
Making peace with his fate, the tiny robot sighed and braced himself for impact.
The impact never came.
Instead, there was only softness and warmth .
The kind of tender softness and warmth that soothes all worries and reassures whoever feels it that, without any shred of doubt, they are loved, cherished and most definitely not alone.
Far too weary to care about where in the heck he’d fallen, Gold Lightan snuggled up against this soft and warm thing (which didn’t seem to object against being snuggled in the slightest, and even snuggled back), and finally slipped into much-needed recharge.
In the morning, Hiro was in for a surprise that almost made him melt into a puddle on the spot from how adorable it was.
On his way to the kitchen, he found Chibi snoozing on the living room floor, the puppy’s fluffy body snugly curled up into a ball around a small golden lighter. And when Hiro reached for the recharging Gold Lightan, Chibi only curled up more tightly.
Later, when he was done melting, Hiro would wonder how Chibi had ended up cuddling Gold Lightan. After all, he usually preferred only the softest toys. A hard, angular lighter seemed like the last choice of cuddle buddy.
But maybe, Hiro thought, Chibi didn’t see Gold Lightan as a toy after all. Maybe the puppy had somehow sensed the brave, noble and kind heart hidden behind that hard metallic exterior.
And so, Chibi had accepted Gold Lightan as his friend.
Hiro was right.