The Android's Tears by Aoi Kami Sarah
Chi-chi walked Goten and Marron to the door. "You're welcome anytime, dear."
"Thank you." The young woman bowed her head. "You've been so kind to me, Mrs. Son."
"You ready?" Goten opened the passenger side door of his air-car. She nodded and got in. They took off for the south.
The car settled into the parking space behind another car adjacent to the little house. It was a bright, sunny Saturday. Neighbors were out tending their lawns and playing with their kids. Marron trudged to the door, followed by her friend. She turned the lock nervously and entered.
The house was cool and quiet. The air was stagnant. She pouted lightly and opened the blinds. Sunlight streamed in and illuminated the dust flying in the atmosphere. Marron opened several windows.
"You know, I've never been to your house." Goten looked around with mild interest.
"You're not missing much." She walked from the living room to the kitchen. "You hungry?"
"Heh, I'm always hungry!" he grinned. She wasn't amused. "But, I don't want to inconvenience you."
"It's ok. I don't know what we have... let's see..." The cupboards were rather bare. Goten's stomach growled against his will. "There's some beans... ramen... I have no idea what this is.." she pulled some food out.
"Beans sound good."
"Kee doke." She looked for a clean dish. The house had been left in a hurry and no one had done the dishes. They were stacked up in the sink. She found a pair of clean coffee mugs, dumped the beans into them and popped them in the microwave.
Goten thanked her and did his best not to swallow them all in one gulp. She took a bite of hers and played with them, staring absently at the floor in front of him. She shook her head and sighed, coming out of her contemplation and saw that the half-Saiyan was staring at her mug. She smiled and handed it to him. "I'm not really hungry right now."
He thanked her again, made sure she was ok with it and consumed her half.
Marron wandered around and looked at things in her family's house as if she were seeing them for the first time.
"Hey, I remember this day!" Goten said of a picture on an end table. It was of Krillin, Eighteen and Marron as a baby in front of Capsule Corp. Goten and Trunks's heads could be seen poking into the frame making goofy faces. Otherwise it was a lovely portrait.
"Yeah, Dad really liked that one. He said it was serious and not at the same time. That was him, really. Even when the shit hit the fan, he had a joke or a funny insult to make everyone feel better." Marron turned away from him suddenly. "Oh Kami, I'm talking about him in the past tense!" She couldn't stop the tears.
Goten furrowed his brows and tried to think of something to say to console her. "I've been there."
Marron faced him and wiped the tears away. "Yeah. It sucks."
They stood there for a moment. Neither knowing what to say.
"I guess I better get back home."
Marron bit her lip.
"You gonna be ok?" He approached her and put his hand tentatively on her shoulder. That was all she needed.
"NO!" she sobbed and fell against his chest. He was surprised, but hugged her and rubbed her back. He whispered that he was there for her. She pulled back and met his eyes. He looked on her with sympathy. She knew then that he really cared. "I don't want to be alone."
"But, what about your mom?"
She had to laugh a little bit at the question. "I'd be surprised to see her next month much less tomorrow!"
"Why isn't she here with you now?" Goten was angered by Eighteen's inaction.
"Because she's taking it worse than I am."
The cave was well hidden by the over grown shrubbery but she knew its location intimately. Pushing the foliage aside gently so as not to disturb the excellent camouflage, she ducked in. It was pitch dark, but her irises expanded to let in what little light seeped through the entrance.
Water made a chorus of pinging sounds as it dripped from the ceiling onto the equipment. She walked over to the pods. Dusting one off revealed the number 18. The android sighed and closed her eyes.
"Beat ya here," a voice called out from the darkness. Eighteen was startled, but more angry than afraid of him.
"Seventeen..." she grumbled.
"Happy birthday, Sister."
She did not reply. She was the quiet one, so he was not upset at her silence. "Call me a human, but I have the feeling you're upset."
"You're correct. Kryllin is dead."
"I heard." Seventeen pouted. "No one asked ME if I wanted to fight..." He may have been almost thirty years old, but he would always be a teenager at heart. Even though a wish (to a very confused Eternal Dragon) several years back had granted him mortality.
"It's always about you, isn't it, Seven.
"Of course it is," he smirked. His sister was still stoic; more so than usual. "Honestly, Teena. I am concerned. In case you've forgotten, I have a woman of my own whom I can't imagine losing." He dumped some scrap parts off a table onto the floor of the cave and sat down. Eighteen stood where she was. "What happens now?"
"You're so lucky..." she whispered. "There is no wish to be made for me."
He made a face. "You're beginning to freak me out, Teena. What's going on?"
She looked to him finally. "I came here today for two reasons: for our 'birthday' and..." Her eyes closed and she turned away from his inevitable reaction. "To say good-bye."
"What, you want to kill yourself!?" Seventeen jumped off the table and stared at her.
"No! I just.. I don't know.. I just.. don't want to live forever..."
"Teena..." He understood. He had gone through the same trauma years ago, but had been too pig-headed to go to his sister for advice. He kicked himself now for not having done so. Maybe if he had, she would have wished herself mortal as he had... maybe.. Seventeen gritted his teeth. "So, what will you do?"
"I don't know. I haven't ruled out self-detonation, yet. Maybe someday I'll just... run out." She illustrated this by raising her hand and letting it fall. "Plop."
"Maybe, but what about Marron?"
She made a face. "Yes. Marron. She's grown up. Christ, she looks older than me now. I've had strangers take me for her younger sister. She'll be fine without me." This last phrase choked her up so she fell silent. Seventeen didn't seem to notice.
"So this is good-bye then, Number Eighteen?"
"I'm afraid so. If not forever, for a long time. I need to think. There's so much about humanity I thought I understood which I know now I don't. I'm going to travel and experiment. Try to find some... meaning."
"When you think I can help answer any questions..." he extended his hand.
She nodded and took it. Seventeen was shocked to feel her pull him close to her and hug him, tightly.
"I will. Good-bye, Number Seventeen." She turned and walked slowly out through the overgrown entrance. He watched her go.
After going out to shop, Marron and Goten cooked a large dinner in the little house. They chatted about the past and shared stories their fathers had told them about things that happened before they were born. They turned on many lights and played music on the stereo. At last, the house was alive. Marron smiled at Goten and cleared the coffee mugs which had served their true purpose. She rinsed them out and sighed. It had been a long day.
"Do you still want me to say, Marron?" he asked from the swinging kitchen door.
"Yes, please!" she said a little too enthusiastically. "I... I don't know if I'm ready to handle this place on my own."
"No problem," he smiled sincerely. She thought to herself that his was the sweetest smile she had ever known. She blushed.
"Wanna watch a video? I have Monty Python on disc!"
"Oh, I watched some of that with Trunks once. Those are the British guys with the silly walks and dead parrots and stuff, right?"
"Yeah, that's the Flying Circus. Ever seen any of the movies?"
He thought for a second. "I don't think so."
"Wow," she skipped past him into the living room. "You're practically a virgin!"
"A Python Virgin! Check it, I got Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Jabberwocky..." she tossed the DVDs at him for his inspection.
"I heard the Grail one is good," he was amazed at her enthusiasm.
Marron set up the movie and turned out the lights. They settled in on the couch and vegetated. They started off sitting on opposite ends of the love seat, but as the film progressed and their laughter made them more comfortable, they inched closer together. By the time Lancelot took Swamp Castle, Goten took Marron. They made out in the dim flicker of the television long after it went to a blue screen then fell asleep, tangled awkwardly in each other's arms.
Eighteen entered through the back door sometime around dawn. She saw the car in the drive way and knew who had to be inside. She went about her task silently, sensing they were still asleep. Maybe she could do what she had to do and get out without waking them.
Teena went upstairs and took a box out of the closet. Inside it were dozens of photographs. She found the one she was looking for. She remembered that Yamcha had taken it the day before her wedding. He was the only person she knew of who still used black and white film for snap shots.
Kryllin was standing on the top step on the stoop at Kame House. Eighteen was below him, so he appeared to be taller than she. She put all the rest of the photos back where she had found them. The android put this in a bag along with some clothes. The last item she packed was a jacket, too heavy for the warm weather, but essential. The Red Ribbon army logo on the back was faded, but she liked that jacket enough to want to take it with her.
She came back down into kitchen and was aggravated to see Marron come through the swinging door, just as she was leaving.
"Mom!" her daughter cried and stood where she was.
"Marron," Eighteen replied. "Good morning."
The young woman positioned herself strategically in front of the door.
"You know very well you can't hide anything from me." Marron began to explain, but she cut her off. "You're old enough to be married, Marron. It's all right. And, good choice by the way. Goten's a good man. No money, of course, but as long as you're happy.."
"Thank you." Marron noticed the pack on her back. "Are you leaving again?"
"Yes. I'm going away for a while. I can't really explain it to you, it's just something I need to do, and I'd prefer it if you not question me about my decision."
Marron frowned. "You know I've never questioned you. I know why you're leaving. You're running away." She didn't hide her displeasure. "I did too, but I'm staying. Goten and I are staying here."
"Marron, what do I have to run from? This house? The memories? I will always have the memories, ten times more clear than you can imagine."
"How bout me, Mom!?" she raised her voice.
"You?" Teena's expression remained unchanged. "Marron, you have never needed me, and I don't mean that in a nasty way. You were your father's daughter. You have found a piece of him in that hunk out there on the couch. Soon, he will be enough to fill the void and you will be happy again."
Marron blinked dumbly at her. She couldn't remember her mother ever being so forward with her. She suddenly realized that Krillin's death had changed Eighteen, as well as her. She hung her head.
Eighteen approached her and took her hands. "Marron. You'll be fine. Of this I'm confident." Her daughter looked up with tears in her eyes. She smiled at her and squeezed her hands back.
"I'll miss you, Mom!"
"I'll miss you, too." She let her go and turned away before the tears spilled over onto her cheeks. She walked to the back door. "Perhaps we'll meet again." Without a sound, the android left. Marron stared out the door's little window until she was no longer in sight, then went back to her dozing man.
Next The Android's Wings: A Dragonball Z / Outlaw Star Cross Over Fic
This story is based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga and anime. I've also taken inspiration from "17 And In Between": a Seventeen saga by Crystaviel -http://westwood.fortunecity.com/italian/70/hosting/seventeen/sintro.html
Please read it! :)