Krillin answered the phone. He felt a sharp pain go through his side and quickly fade away. Dende had done a good job of healing his injuries from the run in with the Androids two days ago but some of his muscles were still strained. Being kicked repeatedly in the ribs could do that, even if you knew a Namekian healer like Dende.
"Hello?" he asked.
"Krillin? Is that you? It's me, Bulma."
"Hi Bulma, yeah it's me. What's up?"
"Trunks' birthday party! I wanted to invite you, Master Roshi, and Turtle. It's on Thursday at the house. Everyone from the gang is going to be invited. Except for... you know."
"Goku, yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if he used King Kai to say hi though. Gohan says he does that a lot, Chi-Chi's almost gotten used to it."
"That would be nice."
"Yeah. Okay, I'm in. I'll tell the others."
"Oh, hey. Is it okay if I bring someone?"
"Really? Sure. Oh, wait, it's not that Maroon girl is it?"
"Marron? No, I haven't got a clue what happened to her. Uh, actually it's Android 18."
"Android 18! Oh Krillin, I don't know."
"No, it's okay. She's changed, pretty much, I think. She won't be a threat, if that's what you're worried about. You just have to worry about what will happen when she gets in the same room as Vegita. He's strong enough now that he could seriously hurt her. Bulma... I really like her."
"Really? If you're willing to vouch for her I guess it's okay then. Don't worry about Vegita, I'll take care of him."
"Thanks Bulma."
"Hey, no problem. If I can't handle the third most powerful Saiyan in the universe what kind of..."
Very loudly in the background Krillin could hear Vegita start to shout. "Damn it woman! I am not the third most anything! I am prince..."
"I've got to go Krillin. See you Thursday."

"I'll meet you on top of the Guardian's fortress."
Android 18 hung up the phone and turned to her brother who was reading a book in the kitchen.
"What do you get the son of someone you beat up for their birthday."
"A juicer," Android 17 said, not looking up from his book.
"I'm serious."
Android 17 put his book down. "I don't know."
"You're a big help."
Android 17 shrugged and went back to reading.
Android 18 sighed to herself. Things would be a lot easier if she knew more people than just Krillin. Actually she did, but Krillin was the only one that didn't think of her as a mortal enemy. There was no alternative. She had to go shopping. The idea was rather appealing. She could pick something up for the kid and find something to wear to the party.
Of course she didn't have any money. Somehow she didn't think Krillin would approve if she just walked out of the stores with what she wanted.
She cursed herself. Since when did Krillin dictate how she ran her life?
Two days ago, she reminded herself. She remembered their kiss and smiled to herself.
So she couldn't steal. That left one alternative. She picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hello, is Krillin there?"
"Krillin? Yes, just wait a second," a voice on the other end said. It sounded old. Probably a grandfather or something.
Krillin's voice came on the line.
"Krillin, I need you to take me shopping."

"Let me get this straight," Android 18 said in her normally deadpan way. "The kid's mother is the richest woman on the planet and we have to buy him a gift."
"That's sounds about right," Krillin said.
They were in a toy store. Krillin was looking through the toddler stuff trying to find something not related to Hercule. It was a difficult task. The faker's face was adorned on everything from books to bicycles. There was even a Hercule plush toy.
"And the kid's father not only tried to take over the planet less than five years ago, but also killed most of the people that will be attending the party."
"He was responsible for their deaths. Most of them were killed by his henchmen," Krillin corrected. He looked over a ball with Cell's face on it and put it away with disgust.
"And I'm going to be the reason everyone feels awkward at this party?"
"Sounds weird doesn't it. I wouldn't worry about it. Almost everyone in the gang tried to kill Goku at some time or another, you should fit right in."
"Wait, everyone tried to kill Goku?" She emphasized the word "everyone".
"Oh yeah. First Yamcha, then Tien, kinda, then Picollo, then Vegita. Now we're all the greatest of friends. If you can count Vegita as a friend. What do you think of this?"
Krillin handed Android 18 a plush toy of a giant monkey.
Android 18 looked it over. "I don't get it."
"Bulma keeps Trunks' tail off so..." Krillin stopped and realized Android 18 was giving him a funny look. "Never mind," he mumbled.
"Did you try to kill Goku?"
"No, I just tried to take away his dinner."
"What?" Android 18 asked, amused.
"Hey, it was either him or me. What about this?"
It was a box that proclaimed it contained over 100 small metal puzzles. The kind where three shapes linked together and the challenge was to disassemble the interlocking parts.
"You want to get that for a kid less than two years old?"
"Trunks is a fast developer. He's already walking. You might be right though. Still, I like the idea of getting him something educational. Vegita's probably going to make him focus on fighting, it would be nice if he could exercise his mind. Last thing we need is a stupid super Saiyan."
"What about this then?" Android 18 picked up a large box from the shelf. It was covered in red and had no pictures of Hercules on it.
"Let me see that," Krillin said. Android 18 handed him the box. "Hey cool, it's a picture of Goku. 'Winner of the 90th Strongest Under the Heavens Tournament. Toddler's first jigsaw puzzle, fifty pieces, jumbo size, for ages 2 to 10.' That'll work. I didn't even know they made these."
They paid, or rather Krillin paid, for the puzzle and exited the store to the sun warmed streets of the plaza. The strings of high scale shops went on for a mile, at least. There were restaurants, a smattering of book stores, capsule shops, sporting good stores, and the occasional toy store. But most of all there were clothing stores.
"So where do you want to go to first?" Krillin asked.
Android 18 surveyed the shops, trying to find somewhere appropriate. So many stores and only a day to visit them.

Krillin sat in the comfortable chair with the puzzle and a box holding a stylish pant suit. He wasn't so much exhausted as exasperated. They had been to ten different stores so far, and he was sure Android 18 wanted to go to more. Ten stores and they had already found something Android 18 liked, but she insisted on going to more.
It wasn't that shopping was expensive, Krillin had more than enough saved up to indulge whatever kind of splurges Android 18 might want. He had wisely invested his money from tournaments and Dragonball wishes. Bulma had given him some real sweet deals on Capsule Corp stock.
Now that he thought about it, shopping for clothes with Android 18 was sort of fun. Every time she tried on a new outfit she modeled it for him to get his opinion. If he showed the slightest bit of dislike she rejected it and tried something else on.
She came out wearing a low-cut blue evening gown that emphasized all the right parts while still being somewhat conservative. Krillin suddenly snapped aware once more.
"What do you think Krillin?
Krillin didn't move.
"Krillin? Krillin?!"
"Huh? I... Wow."
"It takes your boyfriend's breath away," the saleslady said happily.
"Yes it does," Android 18 said. "I'll take it."
"Excellent. Will that be cash or charge?"
"Don't ask me, ask him."
"Sir, will that be cash or charge?"
"Cash or charge, sir?"
"Uh... What?"
"Krillin, answer the woman."
"Charge," Krillin said absent mindedly and whipped out a card. The saleslady took it and left them alone.
"Krillin, do you know anywhere fancy I can wear a dress like this?"
"A couple places," Krillin said.
"We should go sometime soon."
Krillin nodded still entranced by the vision of Android 18 and the dress.
"I've been wondering. Where do you live?"
"In a house with my teacher. It's on an island in the tropics."
"Then I'm going to need a bathing suit."
Krillin imagined the process of picking one out and smiled.

They landed on the front lawn of the Brief's family home, a large dome in the middle of the city, after flying from the Guardian's platform. Most of the others had already gathered. Krillin noticed that everyone was mingling freely, even Picollo if his eyes were to be believed. When they touched the ground Gohan ran up to greet them.
"Hey Krillin!" the young half-Saiyan said happily.
"Hey Bro. How's your mother?"
"She's doing okay. Grandpa made her move in with Bulma until the baby comes so I'm living with him now. It's really cool."
"I'll bet. You're visiting her I hope."
"Every day."
"Good kid. You remember Android 18, don't you?"
"Oh wow! Are you two going to get married?"
"Gohan!" Krillin shouted, embarrassed. "Don't be silly!"
"Krillin, what have you been telling your friends?" Android 18 asked slyly.
"Nothing, I swear!" shouted Krillin.
"I don't get it, Krillin," Gohan said. "Is she your girlfriend?"
"Heh, heh, Gohan, that's quite an imagination you've got there. We've just started to go out, it's a little to early to decide something like that."
"So she's going to be your girlfriend?"
"Gohan! I don't think we should be talking about this now," Krillin yelled franticly. He could just imagine what was going through Android 18's mind right now. She probably thought him a little too eager to be with her. Man, he had just gotten over the rather large hurdle of getting her to like him, he didn't need a new one appearing so quickly.
"Oh I don't know, if you play your cards right who knows what will happen," Android 18 said wearing a devilish smile.
"Really?" Krillin asked excitedly.
"If you're lucky I might even agree to be your girlfriend."
"Really? You're not just toying with me here, I don't think I'd be able to take it."
"We'll see."
"Oh Krillin, I just remembered, my dad said to say Hi," Gohan said.
"You're dad?" Android 18 raised her eyebrow. "I thought he was dead."
"He is. But he talks with me sometimes with King Kai's help."
"Right," Android 18 said, clearly disbelieving.
"Did he say anything else?" Krillin asked.
"Not really."
"Okay, well tell him I said hi next time you talk to him."
"Okay. I got to go tell my mom. I'll see you later Krillin."
"Okay Bro."
When Gohan had run off Android 18 turned to Krillin.
"Does he really believe he talks to his dad. That's denial isn't it?"
"Oh no, Goku can communicate from the afterlife. He's done it a bunch of times. He needs King Kai's help though. Usually he uses it to help us out, but every now and then he just says hi," Krillin explained, trying to sound blase about the experience. Truth was it gave him the willies, but it was nice to talk to Goku, even if it was from the other dimension.
"Really, how quaint."
"I guess. Uh-oh, here comes Vegita."
Vegita looked as happy to be at the gathering as he could. In other words the prince of all Saiyans was in his normally foul mood. He was following Bulma as she greeted all the guests. He said little, taking time only to offer complaints, boasts, and insults. No one seemed off put by this, they were used to it. Bulma spotted Krillin and Android 18 and waved. Krillin waved back and watched as the mismatched pair of a genius heiress and surly alien warrior prince walked up the path to greet him.
"Krillin, I'm so glad you could make it! And I see you brought a date! She's beautiful."
"Thanks Bulma," Krillin said. He was taking cautious looks at Vegita to gauge his rage quotient. It looked to be on the low scale, but you could never tell with Vegita. "Bulma this is Android 18, Android 18 this is my friend Bulma. I think you already know Vegita."
Vegita snorted.
"Vegita," Bulma scolded. "You agreed not to make a scene. I don't care if you like Krillin's date or not, I think she's nice."
"The affairs of the shrimp are none of my concern. If he wants to waste his time with some artificial creature he can."
Bulma laughed awkwardly. "Don't mind Vegita, he's just not a people person."
"I remember," Android 18 said dryly.
"Oh that's right, you beat Vegita up once, didn't you," Bulma said.
"Damn it woman! I told you, that was a long time ago and I'm much stronger now. If you must incessantly bring that up I'll prove whose the strongest warrior on this planet!"
"Now Vegita, not in front of the guests," Bulma said cheerfully.
Vegita stormed off.
"Sorry about that," Bulma apologized. "I just like to get under Vegita's skin sometimes. It's nice to finally meet you. Krillin's told us all about you."
"Has he now?" Android 18 said with a slightly suspicious tone as she shook the offered hand.
Krillin sighed with relief.
"Well as much as he could. I've got to get Trunks, you two should mingle with the others," Bulma said.
"You're being rather blase about this," Android 18 said.
Bulma giggled. "I'm married to Vegita, so I'm the last person who should hold a grudge. I hope someday we can become friends."
"That would be nice," Android 18 said.
Krillin wasn't sure, but he thought she meant it. He realized just how far she had come from an unpredictable killing machine. That small bit of humanity he had sensed in her was growing.

Krillin had been taken aside by Picollo and Yamcha. From the loud laughs of the tall human Android 18 guessed they were ribbing Krillin about something, probably her. Well Yamcha probably was, the Namek displayed less emotions than Android 16. Even so, the nerve of anyone making fun of her relationship with Krillin was distressing.
If she had a relationship with Krillin. She still hadn't decided.
"You must be Android 18," a voice behind her said.
She spun around and saw an old man in sunglasses hunched over with a turtle shell on his back. He wasn't one of the Earth's special forces so she didn't recognize him. But if he knew who she was he had to be in the loop.
There was something disconcerting about him. He was looking up at her face, but she couldn't be certain where his eyes were roaming behind those dark sunglasses. She suspected he was checking out her body.
"Who are you, old man?"
"Name's Kame Sen'nin, maybe you've heard of me, the invincible turtle master."
"No," Android 18 said, bored.
The turtle master sighed. "I guess a reputation doesn't go as far as it used to. I'm a friend of Krillin's, used to be his teacher."
Android 18's interest was peaked. "Right, he mentioned you. You're his roommate."
"Sort of, the boy's been living under my roof since I started training him. We've got an extra room since Lunch moved out, if you want to move in. It'd be nice to have a woman around again."
Now she was certain he was checking out her body.
Android 18 leaned in, and in the most threatening voice she could muster said, "Don't even think about it."
The old man shrugged. "Not sure what you mean. Still, anyone that's taken a shine to Krillin is welcome at The Kame House. We were a little worried that would never happen again. Especially after the way he acted after Marron."
"Marron?" Android 18 asked, intrigued. "Who's that?"
"Nice girl, very busty. Wore the tightest clothes I've ever seen. Have you ever given any thought to..."
Eighteen glared at him.
"Yes, well, there's Oolong, if you'll excuse me."

"So Krillin, you getting any yet?"
"Yamcha!" Krillin shouted, shocked at his friend's forwardness, not to mention the very idea.
"Come on Krillin, it's a valid question. It's obvious there's something going on between you two."
"Not yet, we've only gone out once, and that was to shop for Trunks gift."
"That's it?" Yamcha asked, confused.
"Well, we did take a few hours to get her some clothes, but that was only because she didn't own anything of her own."
"Clothes shopping? You're in man!"
Picollo snorted.
"What's a matter Picollo, you don't think Krillin's doing well for himself?"
"He's doing fine for someone dating a girl that beat him up five days ago."
"What?" Yamcha screamed.
"That was just a misunderstanding," Krillin explained.
"Did she explain to you what it was really about?" Picollo asked.
"Well no, but..."
"You better watch out. Five months ago she was killing people because she felt like it, don't expect her to change overnight."
"Like you," Yamcha muttered.
"When Raditz came to Earth I was training to kill Goku. It wasn't until I got to know Gohan that I stopped wanting everyone dead."
"Really?" Krillin asked in astonishment. Picollo was revealing more about himself now than in the many years Krillin had known him. "Well, Eighteen seemed changed by her whole experience with Cell, she's reformed."
"What did you call her?" Yamcha asked.
"Android 18."
"No, you said Eighteen. I knew it! You've already got pet names for each other!"
"Hey, you said it, not me. Uh-oh."
"Your girlfriend's talking with Master Roshi. You better get to her before he ask to see her panties and she punches a hole in his chest."
"Yeah, you're right. See you guys."

"Sorry about that, the guys just wanted to talk to me about a few things," Krillin apologized.
"I'm sure."
"Hey no, it's not like that."
"Like what?"
"Uh... You know. Like... So I saw you talking to Master Roshi! Ha! He's a hoot isn't he. You shouldn't take anything he say too seriously. Really. Anything he said about your panties or your breasts was meant purely in jest."
"Why would he say anything about my panties or breasts?"
"Wha..? Uh, because that's his... Oh man."
Android 18 had to resist the urge to smile. Krillin looked kind of cute when he was squirming. Still, she thought she should let him off the hook before he got the wrong idea about her.
"It's okay, he just said hi." Android 18 put her hand on his shoulder. She noticed that more than a few people were trying to inconspicuously glance in their direction. She didn't think it prudent to say anything.
One of the people was a small woman sitting with Gohan and a large man wearing a horned hat. She looked like a fighter, but her clothing suggested otherwise. Her eyes though, they burned with fire.
"Who's that?" Android 18 asked.
"That's Chi-chi, Goku's wife," Krillin said, relieved to be talking about something else.
"Why is she so fat?"
"She's just pregnant."
Android 18 became lost in thought. "Pregnant? She's going to have a child?"
"Yup, any day now. It's going to be pretty hard for her, raising two kids by herself. Most of us have agreed to help out. Even Picollo and Vegita."
For the first time since her birth in Dr. Gero's lab Android 18 began thinking about having a child. It had never been a factor before, Androids couldn't reproduce. But whereas before it had just simply been a cold hard fact, now it was something to lament. She could never have a child. She really was just a machine, metal and wires.
Android 18 was vaguely aware of a life before Dr. Gero's experiments. The good doctor, if such a term could be thought of without inducing vomiting, had thoughtfully erased her memories. Her only link to the past was her brother. Without a child she could have no link to the future. There was only now, and that made Krillin even more important to her.
But what if he wanted to have a child? A machine like her couldn't give him one. Curse Dr. Gero.
Even more importantly, did she want one? A baby, the words touched something deep inside of her. A longing she couldn't explain. It wasn't an all encompassing desire, thank goodness, but it was there and to deny its existence was impossible.
She looked at Krillin and for a moment the longing was obscured by another. Well that was good to know, she thought darkly. At least there was a way to scratch the itch, even if she couldn't make it go away. Imagine if she couldn't even do that, how angry would it have made her. If humans annoyed her now, then without Krillin to sooth her she probably would have just gone insane.
She needed a drink. At least Dr. Gero had given her the ability to get drunk.

The party went well. Trunks was delighted by all his gifts, and in some cases the boxes the gifts came in. Vegita was more than a little annoyed by how many gifts bore Goku's image, but Bulma calmed him down, much to everyone's amazement.
For the most part Android 18 stayed silent. She spent the time standing next to Krillin and drinking. She did take a couple minutes away from Krillin to tell Bulma and Chi-Chi how lucky they were to have such wonderful children. The confused mothers thanked her and wondered how such a nice young lady could possibly have been the reason their husbands had trained so diligently for three years.
At the end of the night many of the guests said their good-byes and flew off. Gohan and Krillin stayed behind to help clean up. Android 18 had passed out around eleven o'clock so Krillin decided to let her rest. Soon everything was done and everyone was pretty worn out.
"Well now, it's pretty late, if you boys would like to stay overnight we can fix up the guest rooms," Dr. Briefs said to Krillin and Gohan.
"Thanks," Gohan yawned. "I should probably call grandpa and tell him where I am."
"Okay, I think you know where the phone is. Krillin?"
"No way," Vegita said. "If you think I'm going to sleep under the same roof as that tin can Shorty here calls a girlfriend you're mistaken. You can't trust her."

"I could say the same thing about you," Bulma muttered.
"That's okay," Krillin said. "I'm still wired from all the grape soda. I should be able to fly us home."
"You can use one of our cars if you'd like."
"No, that's okay. I can't drive."
"Very well then. Good night Krillin." And with that Dr. Brief's retired.
He found Android 18 still sleeping on a couch in the lobby. He poked her a couple of times but she showed no signs of stirring. He picked her up in his arms and hoped if she woke up she wouldn't think he was doing something lecherous.
Krillin was about halfway over the ocean when he realized that he had no idea where Android 18 lived.

When Android 18 woke up she was surprised to find that she didn't have a hang over. Maybe she owed Dr. Gero for more than she thought. Screw it, the bastard deserved to burn in hell.
Android 18 was in a bed. Or a futon, whatever. She wondered what happened last night. The last thing she remembered was telling Bulma how wonderful Trunks was. The memory was embarrassing, but at least she liked Bulma. If that was the worst thing that had happened she wouldn't have to kill herself.
She sat up on the bed and took in her surroundings. It wasn't the largest room she had ever seen, but since the only furniture was a bed, a lamp, and a dresser it hardly mattered. The decorations were almost as sparse. The walls painted in white were almost bare except for one. The wall opposite the bed was covered in photographs held up with thumbtacks so that it was the first thing a person saw upon waking up.
Android 18 got out of the bed to take a closer look. The photos all seemed to feature Krillin and his friends. There was a particularly interesting one with the entire gang and what must have been a few hundred Nameks. Actually, if you looked at the photographs in the proper order you could chart the history of Krillin's life. There he was as a child wearing a large turtle shell with Goku, his teacher, and some dark haired woman. In another he stood with a younger Bulma, Yamcha, Goku, a pig, some cat, and the old man. Then there was a group portrait of the Earth Special forces, except instead of Vegita there was a fat guy with a sword, oh wait, Goku was missing. She even spotted a group portrait that must have been from right before the Cell games.
One picture that she kept coming back to was one where Krillin was standing in front of Kame house with a beautiful young woman she hadn't seen at the party last night. The two had their arms around each other and looked incredibly happy. An ex-girlfriend, Android 18 told herself, must be.
She got up and walked out of the room. On the door the word "Krillin" was emblazoned on a small plate. She had spent the night in Krillin's room. God, what had happened last night?
Surely he didn't... No, Krillin wasn't like that. But why had she woken up in his bed? Could Krillin have taken advantage of her? She doubted it. If he did she would have to kill him. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Quietly she walked downstairs and was relieved to see Krillin asleep on the living room couch.
So this was where Krillin lived. Like his room it wasn't large, but it was spacious. She could hear the sea outside and decided to investigate.
Outside she was stunned to see the sun rising over the ocean. It was a beautiful sight to behold so she sat on a lounge chair and watched it travel over the waves and into the sky. This miniature beach was incredible and Android 18 found herself contemplating spending the rest of her life in such a beautiful environment.
A large sea turtle emerged from the ocean and made its way across the sand. It spotted her and changed directions. She watched it, fascinated by the way it slowly crawled towards her. She almost jumped out of her skin when it started to talk to her.
"Hello," it said slowly. "You must be the girl Krillin brought home last night."
"Yes," Android 18 said, gradually getting over her shock.
"Pleased to meet you. I'm called Turtle."
"Android 18."
"Oh yes, Krillin's mentioned you. It's nice to finally meet you. Are you Krillin's new girlfriend?"
Android 18 looked out at the endless waves and thought about the way Krillin looked in the picture. She wanted to see him like that with her.
"Yes I am."

For the next three months Krillin and Android 18 would spend almost every night, and quite a number of afternoons, together. Although to others Eighteen was still aloof and more than a little rude, Krillin rarely felt any sting from her words. She even started to form friendships with his friends. Some of them anyway.
In many ways it was the happiest time of Krillin's life. The time he spent with Android 18 was magical and he enjoyed even in the most mundane of tasks if he did them with her. He couldn't be certain but he suspected she felt the same way. She wasn't very open with her feelings, but he could sense her warming up to him.
He could sense something in their kisses, which to his delight became more frequent when they were in private. As a result they spent a lot of time on the island. Master Roshi didn't complain about their constant presence. That was in part to his own joy at seeing his pupil happy, but mostly because Android 18 liked to wear a red bikini on the beach. Just because it was for Krillin's benefit didn't mean the old man couldn't enjoy as well. He just had to make sure Android 18 was too preoccupied with Krillin too notice an old voyeur.
As time went on Krillin's friends became used to Android 18. It got to a point where it was surprising to see her and Krillin apart.

Android 18 flew toward the island. She and Krillin had plans to go see a movie about large lizard things attacking Hercule. The plan was to wait until Hercule got beaten up and reached his lowest point, then leave. The entire "Hercule conquers in the end" was too depressing for Krillin. Android 18 had suggested a pre-emptive strike on Hercule's mansion. Krillin laughed at the idea, but explained how the Earth Special Forces liked to keep a low profile.
Even without violence Android 18 was looking forward to the day. Something just felt different, as though something important was going to happen.
As she approached the island she became aware of some sort of disturbance. There were loud squeals coming from the house. Alarmed, Android 18 picked up the pace. The closer she got the more things became apparent. A woman was pounding on the doors to the Kame House, trying to get in. Android 18 recognized her as the woman in the photograph with Krillin.
"Let me in," the woman shouted in an annoyingly high pitched voice. "Krillin, it's your Marron!"
"Krillin's not here," Master Roshi said from the other side of the door.
"Oh, where could my poor Krillin be?"
"Not here," Master Roshi repeated.
"Oh no! And after I spent all this time to look good for him. Where could my Krillin be? I know, he's off buying me a gift! Isn't he?"
"Yeah sure, whatever. Now go away."
"Oh he's so sweet. He knew I was coming so he decided to surprise me with a present to show me how much he loves me."
"Yes, fine. Go away."
"I'm not leaving until Krillin gets back."
The door opened. "Fine, then come on in."
From inside the house Android 18 could hear Krillin shout.
"No don't let her in! Android 18 will be here any minute!"
"Krillin," the woman shouted gleefully. She ran inside. "I missed you so much."
Intrigued Android 18 landed and walked into the house.
Inside she found Krillin laying on the ground. The woman had her arms wrapped around his neck and was kissing him repeatedly. Krillin saw Android 18 walk in and screamed.
"Android 18! This isn't what it looks like."
"Is it now? Then what is it?" Android 18 asked.
The woman turned, her eyes were sparkling. "Hello. Are you a friend of Krillin's?"
"You could say that," Android 18 said. She didn't want to commit to anything until she knew why this woman was here.
"Hi, I'm Marron, Krillin's girlfriend!"
Android 18 had to struggle to steady herself. Krillin's girlfriend?! Not ex-girlfriend but girlfriend? Impossible. Even so, Android 18 felt like a piece of her heart, or whatever device Gero had placed where her heart used to be, had been torn away. She was in such a shock that she didn't even hear what Krillin said next.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'm sorry is something wrong?" asked the woman.
"You're Krillin's girlfriend? Since when?"
"Oh, for ages. He taught me what love really means."
"Sounds familiar," Android 18 said darkly. She tried to see what Krillin saw in this woman, but that was obvious. This Marron woman had on a dress more revealing than Android 18's bikini. And what she had on display she had an ample supply of. So this was the kind of girl Krillin liked? Stupid and slutty? Those were two assets Android 18 was glad not to possess. "Tell me more."
"We pledged our love for each other and were going to get married but then I went away for a while. My poor Krillin must have been so lonely." Marron playfully poked the area Krillin's nose should have been. "I hope you found some way to amuse yourself."
"He did," Android 18 said darkly.
"I'm glad. But now that I'm back we can finally get married! Won't that be wonderful."
Android 18 struggled to remain calm. "Krillin, since you obviously don't need me anymore I'll be on my way."
She didn't even wait to hear what Krillin said before she was out the door and flying away.
How could she have fallen for him? The bastard! His real girlfriend was on vacation so Krillin amused himself by making out with the machine. Oh, she bet he had a real good laugh about that with his friends. Why did she ever trust him? Of course he didn't love her, why should he when he had such a beautiful girlfriend already, a human girlfriend.
"Eighteen! Wait!"
Oh god, he was chasing after her! What did he want now, to keep her even though he was getting married? Hell why not, just shove her in the closet with all the other machines and then take her out when the wife was out of town. How could she have misjudged him so badly? A kind word and a kiss, that was all it took to fool Android 18 these days?
How could she have been so foolish?

The second Eighteen walked out the door Krillin was on her heels. He almost had to throw Marron off him. That silly girl had ruined everything he had spent months cultivating with Eighteen in less than ten minutes. He had to explain to Eighteen that it was all one huge misunderstanding. It had been almost four years since he had seen Marron, the girl meant as much to him as a rock.
Fortunately Eighteen only had a minute on him. He caught up to her over a series of islands a few dozen miles away. He overtook her and stopped directly in her path. She tried to shoot past him but he used his will to erect a crude force barrier, forcing her to slow down and go around.
"Eighteen, let me explain!"
"Leave me alone!"
"It's all a big misunderstanding!"
"I said leave me alone!" She threw a punch at him. He caught her fist.
"You don't understand! These past few months, they've been..."
Eighteen cut him off. "Look you've got your girlfriend now so why don't we just leave it at that. Now let me go."
"No! Not util I've explained."
"Explained what? That you were in a funk because Marron wasn't there so you decided to have some fun with the first girl that came along?"
"It wasn't like that!"
"First rule of cheating on your girlfriend, don't..."
"I wasn't cheating on anyone."
Krillin wasn't certain why, but that was the wrong thing to say. The look Eighteen gave him was so full of pain that it hurt him to see it. But he didn't turn away. Something was wrong here, she was hurt more than he knew.
When she spoke again it was as though something inside of her had died.
"What was I, A toy? Something you could have fun with without angering your girlfriend? Android 18 isn't real, so it's not really cheating, right? After all, I'm not a real girl!"
"Don't you ever say that," Krillin said. He was more serious than he had ever been in his life. Even if he lost her he couldn't let her think that. Everything else, even his own happiness, was inconsequential.
Eighteen could sense the conviction in his voice and was struck silent.
"I don't know if you're going to leave or not, but don't you ever think you were anything other than a real woman to me. The way you make me feel, no machine could ever do that."
After a long pause Eighteen looked him straight in the eye. "I don't believe you."
Krillin could sense it, she was trying to block him out of her life. And for some reason she was trying to deny the humanity she pretended not to have. She was trying to become an android once more, cold, uncaring, and without love.
He couldn't let that happen.
Unable to think of anything else he kissed her.

Suddenly afire with rage and anger Android 18 pushed him away. How dare he, after he betrayed her like that. She should have known. Her instincts about him had been right. He wasn't any different than any of these other miserable human freaks.
"I'm no one's play thing! Go back to your girlfriend and never talk to me again."
"No! Damn it, she's not my girlfriend. I don't love her! I love you!"
"Shut up! I hate you!"
Krillin grabbed her arms. "Listen to me, Marron means nothing! I haven't seen her in four years! I haven't even thought about her since I met you! You mean more to me than anyone."
"Stop lying to me!" Android 18 screamed, trying desperately to break free of his grip. Her eyes were shut as she struggled so that she wouldn't have to look at his face. She was able to get an arm free and began to punch him in rhythm to her cries. "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!"
His arm fell away from her side and she opened her eyes to see what had happened. Krillin wasn't there anymore. Confused, she looked around and spotted him falling towards the ground. He wasn't floating, he was just falling, as though he wasn't able to fly.
As though he had been hit one too many times and had blacked out.
"Oh my god," a suddenly frightened Android 18 whispered to herself. If he couldn't fly then a fall from this high up could kill him. She quickly plunged after him.
Let him be okay, she prayed. Please, he couldn't die, not now, not like this. Not because of her.
Android 18 was able to catch him before he crashed into the surface below. His body was limp.
"I'm sorry!" she screamed at him. She shook him gently, trying to wake him up. "Krillin?"
Her fears were confirmed, he was unconscious. If she hadn't gone after him he would have died. The thought of it sickened her. It didn't matter if he was marrying someone else or not, she just wanted him to be okay.
She flew back to Kame House with Krillin in her arms. When she arrived at the island the green haired girl was nowhere to be seen. Master Roshi and Turtle were lounging on the beach.
"Oh, thank goodness you're back," Turtle said. "We were afraid Krillin wouldn't get to you in time to explain."
"About that Marron."
"Yes, she's a beautiful girl," sighed Master Roshi. "Not the brightest girl in the world, but she makes up for it in other ways. Of course Krillin hasn't wanted anything to do with her since she left him four years ago."
"She ran off with another man," said Turtle.
"Really," Android 18 said. "Where is she now? Krillin needs... somebody."
"Her boyfriends came to pick her up," explained Master Roshi. "Same thing happened last time she tried to patch things up with Krillin. Of course he wasn't here then, he was off fighting the Androids. No offense."
"None taken."
"Hey, is he okay?" Master Roshi asked, pointing at Krillin.
She looked at Krillin's peaceful sleeping form in her arms. She had misjudged him again, both times it had almost cost Krillin his life, at her hands no less.
"I don't know," she said, worried.
"What happened?"
"I hit him, repeatedly.
"He's fine then. Boy took punches from Goku. If you survive that you can survive anything. I should know." Master Roshi went back to lounging. "Just put him in his room."
Android 18 carried Krillin through the house, up the stairs, being careful to avoid hitting Krillin's head against anything, and straight to Krillin's room. She lay him on the bed and pulled the sheets over him, gazing at him longingly.
She had almost killed him. Only a little while ago she had wanted him out of her life forever, now the prospect of losing him made her scared. What kind of hold did this man have on her? Why did she like it so much?
After a quiet moment of contemplation she locked the door to Krillin's bedroom. Then Android 18 got into the bed, wrapped her arms around Krillin, and fell asleep.

When Krillin woke up it was dark and he was trapped. At first he thought he was still trying to fight his way out of the darkness but then he realized that there was a faint light illuminating the world, moonlight. He began to recognize shapes, he was in his room. It didn't explain why he was trapped though.
He brought his arms up to the restraints around his chest and felt the warmth of someone's hands. Unable to break free of the hugging arms surrounding him he began to turn.
Please, he thought, don't let it be Marron.
His heart leapt for joy when he saw Eighteen's face inches from his own. Asleep she looked serene, her features free of the normally annoyed look she gave everyone. In fact her lips looked so full and inviting. He just wanted to lean forward and brush them with his own. To rejoice in how what they tasted as his tongue parted them and...
Eighteen's eyes shot open.
"Gah! I didn't try anything I swear!"
"That's a shame."
"Look, about Marron..."
She placed her fingers over his lips to shush him. "Shh. It's okay. I know she's not your girlfriend."
"Really? That's good."
"And I don't want to be either."
"Oh." Krillin was disappointed. He cursed Marron and he cursed his luck. He couldn't blame Eighteen though, she had been hurt, it wasn't easy to forget something like that.
"I love you," he said. He put everything he had behind it.
"I know," Eighteen said. "I love you too."
"But not enough be my girlfriend, right?" Krillin said sadly.
"Oh no, baby, I didn't mean it like that," she said, stroking the tears off his cheek. "I want us to get married. I don't want to be your girlfriend, I want to be your wife.
Eighteen smiled at him and Krillin smiled back. Then he leaned forward and rejoiced.

The time had come for Trunks' third birthday. Krillin and Eighteen landed on the front lawn of the Brief's residence. Krillin was carrying Master Roshi and Eighteen was carrying Turtle. Bulma ran up to greet them.
"Hey you guys, you're the last ones to make it, everybody else is inside."
Krillin put his passenger down.
"Inside?" Master Roshi asked. "We're not holding the festivities outside again?"
"No, Dad wanted to show off his new environmental control device so we're holding the party in the big dining room."
"Makes sense, I guess," Master Roshi conceded.
"Yeah, come on."
They all followed Bulma's lead. Eighteen held onto the normally slow Turtle.
"So why're you guys so late? It's not really like you."
"The kids wanted to take care of some things before we left."
"Really? You two weren't doing anything inappropriate, were you?" Bulma teased.
"Not really, no," Krillin said.
Master Roshi snorted. "You should hear them Bulma, some nights I can't get to sleep."
"They're not that loud," Turtle said.
"You're just saying that because you sleep outside. I'm two bedrooms down, trust me, it's noisy."
To say Bulma was shocked would be an understatement.
"Krillin! You and Eighteen are... I don't believe it."
"You better believe it," Master Roshi muttered. "You'd think after the first couple of months they'd start to pace themselves. I'm beginning to regret the day she moved in."
"You don't complain when I cook the meals," Eighteen countered.
"Did I miss something?" Bulma asked. "When did Eighteen move into the Kame house?"
"What're you talkin..." Master Roshi started then tapered off. "Oh right. They wanted to keep it a secret."
"No point in keeping it a secret any longer," Krillin sighed.
"Whatever," Eighteen shrugged.
"Secret? What secret?" Bulma asked.
"Eighteen and I are married."
"What?! Impossible."
"Typical," Eighteen said.
"Why didn't you tell anyone? How long?"
"Seven months. The only ones we told were Master Roshi and Seventeen. We kinda wanted to keep it under wraps. I mean people still aren't used to Eighteen yet."
"You obviously are."
"That's different. We're in love."
"Really? Congratulations. Don't worry, I'll keep your secret."
They walked into the dining room, which had been cleared of its normal furniture for the party, and were greeted by stares. The room was silent except for baby Goten's shrieks of laughter.
"Uh, hey guys," Krillin offered weakly.
"They know," Eighteen said.
"What? How?"
Dende coughed and pointed at his ears. "Sorry guys, I overheard and accidentally repeated some of it in surprise. Please don't be mad."
"Wonderful," Eighteen said dryly.

Three Years Later

"Are you okay?" Krillin asked through the bathroom door.
"Fine!" Eighteen shouted from the other side.
"Are you sure?"
"Ye... Oh God!"
Krillin listened as for what seemed like the fiftieth time that morning his wife threw up. Despite his wife's assurances Krillin was worried.
"Honey, I think we should take you to a doctor."
"Like any doctor's going to understand how my body work... Aack!"
"Okay, what about Bulma? She's really good with robotics. And she designed that remote to activate your self-destruct device. When you still had one."
"I don't need to see... Not again!"
"Call Bulma."

After Bulma ran her tests she asked to talk to Krillin alone. Eighteen told him to go, she would be fine, so he followed Bulma to an adjoining lab.
"Okay Bulma, give it to me straight, what's wrong?"
"She's pregnant."
"What?! How? I know she's only part robot, but how?!"
Bulma rolled a large set of blueprints onto the table. It looked like the building plans for a robot, an android. Over the diagram for the head Eighteen's face had been lightly traced over the plans.
"Well you know how Cell was an android grown from cells? So he was an android, but an organic one. Doctor Gero must have used 17 and 18 as test subjects to create Cell. They're bodies have been modified, stronger skin, unbreakable skeleton, denser muscles, but all the modifications are organic. She's even got manufactured hormonal systems that work more efficiently. It's really very fascinating.
"As far as I can tell Gero didn't want any screw ups so all he did was modify the pre-existing template of her body. From what he learned doing that he designed Cell. Except for a couple patches of metal and plastic everything in 18's body is organic, including her reproductive system. In fact, from what I can tell, that's the only part of her body Gero didn't monkey with.
"I think the reason Shenlong couldn't make 17 and 18 human is, because for all intents and purposes, they are human. Only they're humans that could take out entire planets without working up a sweat."
"Yeah, well these days that would apply to Tien and me."
"I guess it would. Good thing you're both good guys. So do you want to give her the good news or should I?"
"I think you should do it. I'm not sure she'd believe me."
Bulma shrugged. "Okay."

"Okay," Bulma said. "Krillin asked me to give you the diagnosis, are you ready?"
"Wait," Android 18 said. She took Krillin's hand in hers and squeezed it tight. "Okay."
"You're pregnant."
"I'm what?"
"That's impossible."
"Honey, Bulma explained it to me. It's very possible."
Android 18 looked down at her abdomen in wonder. Dare she believe it? It was a miracle, no more than that, it was a sign, the ultimate sign. It meant she really wasn't a machine. Krillin, it was all Krillin's doing, he had shown her the truth, first by loving her and now by giving her this gift.
She turned to her husband, tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.
"You did this to me," she said.
"You did this to me," she repeated. "Thank you."
"I... I love you." He kissed her hand.
"Let's name it Marron," she said.
Krillin stared at her. "What?!"
"Let's name it Marron. If it wasn't for her we might never have married."
"Okay, I'm missing something. We're talking about my ex-girlfriend, the insane and stupid one?"
"Yes. Don't you remember? That's the day you told me I was real."
"You are real."
Android 18 nodded. "Thanks to you."


On To Part 3 ~~~>