Android 17 sat up sweating and shaking. That dream… His hand shook violently as he reached up to brush back his raven black hair. Touching his face with cold fingertips, 17 was shocked to discover that he was crying. He wasn't even aware he could do such a thing, let alone be so weak as to allow it to happen.
"Have no fear, Mama's here..." the hauntingly beautiful voice echoed in his mind. He couldn't mistake that it, even though he could not recall ever hearing the voice at any moment other than this. His mother.
Android 20, Dr. Gero, had completely erased all memories of his life before, leaving him with no foundation save his twin. Since then, 18 had been the only one he knew who cared anything for the person that he was. But the dream, it was so real.
"Mama's here, hmm, hmm…" Beyond all reason, despite everything his artificial side was telling him, his human's heart knew what was true. For the first time since he awoken as a jinzouningen, he was remembering.
"Oh, 18," the harsh whisper echoed through the cave he'd taken shelter in. "18, where are you?"
Standing, he tried to walk off his agitation. A small stream of water trickled down the wall before forming a tiny waterfall as the water broke away. Making a cup of his hands, 17 splashed water on his face.
He detected a strange energy at the same time an unknown voice called out from the darkness behind him, "Who's there?"
"What business is it of yours?" Immediately hiding his emotions behind a mask of bored confidence, Android 17 stepped forward into the light spilling in through the roof of the cave. His blue eyes took in the lone form of the child. He relaxed; the kid did not look dangerous.
The boy, in his early teens, gasped and took a step back, gaping with unabashed astonishment. 17 gazed back, nonplused as to why he should cause such riveted attention. But the unblinking stare, and the way the boy's mouth moved without making sound, soon became annoying.
"What's the matter, boy?" he demanded, pushing back a strand of wet hair. He was tired and wanted to be alone.
"Your-your the other one! The second android!" the raven-headed newcomer finally choked out. 17's eyes narrowed and he studied the kid intently. His eyes flared as he realized just who this was.
"She said-and Dad told me..." running a hand through his freshly-shorn hair in a bewildered fashioned, Gohan gazed at the android. Even when he ground the heels of his hands into his eyes, the vision did not waver. "You are suppose to be dead. Cell absorbed you."
"You are Goku's son, are you not?" 17 demanded coolly, trying desperately not to show any excitement. He was probably building himself up for a disappointment. What chance was there that the boy he sought would appear there, late in the night, miles from his home? It couldn't possibly be-
"Yes, Goku was my father." There was a touch of sadness in Gohan's eyes as he unknowingly emphasized was. "I am Gohan."
"I need your help."
Android 18 cuddled up against Krillin, sighing softly. He reached over her and turned off the light, then settled back down. They lay in silence for several moments. He held her, sensing that she meant to tell him what had been bothering her for days.
"I think about him, sometimes," she admitted suddenly. Her voice was a bare whisper; it was hard for her to express her feelings to anyone, even Krillin. Angel that he was, her husband realized this, and allowed her to tell him whatever she felt comfortable with, when she was ready to.
"Your brother?" Krillin inquired gently, for he'd guessed this when 18 had murmured her brother's name in her sleep.
"Yes. Two days ago, I dreamt about him, and all day he was on my mind. I was so careful not to think of him after Cell...killed him. Last night, while I was singing to Marron, I remember something. From before everything, back when I was still human. It was a song that my mother sang to 17 and I."
Tears slipped unnoticed down her cheeks as she buried her face against Krillin's neck. He rubbed her back consolingly.
"I thought you couldn't remember anything about your life before."
"That's just it, Krillin! I am not suppose to. Gero wiped out our memories of our parents, and our life...there are few memories even of 17. But I was sitting there, rocking our daughter, and it just...came to me. I started to hum and the memory pieced itself together." More tears streaked her perfect cheeks.
"Krillin, I don't like these emotions! These feelings...they are so overwhelming, as though I am drowning." The words were sobs.
Krillin comforted her as best he could, his thoughts torn between the lost brother, the dead doctor and the woman lying in his arms.
"Okay, hold on a sec," Gohan raised a hand. His expression had turned skeptical. "You want me to help you?"
"Yes." There was no emotion in his icy eyes as 17 tonelessly admitted this.
"What do you want?"
"I want to know what happened to my sister." Gohan looked relieved, causing 17 to wonder just what the boy had been thinking. He braced himself for what he was about to hear, but nothing could have prepared him for the words that Gohan spoke next.
"Well, that's easy enough. I am not sure on all the details, of course, but you could ask her."
"18 is alive?" 17 grabbed Gohan's wrist in an unbreakable grip. He gave no thought to how hard he held him in his unwilling excitement. "Don't you dare lie to me, boy."
Brushing away his hand as though brushing aside an insect, Gohan frowned. "Of course she's alive. How else are you supposed to talk to her?"
"Where? Where is my sister?" The cyborg didn't care anymore if he didn't look composed. All he wanted was to be with 18 again.
"Stay here." Stopping just in sight of Roshi's home, Gohan instructed 17 to stop. He glared at the boy for stalling once again. He'd wanted to leave immediately, but Gohan had insisted they wait for morning.
"But-" he started to protest. They were so close! He could feel it. 17 knew now where they were headed.
"Listen. You're supposed to be dead. Dead people just don't waltz in and expect to not cause a shock. So, let me go and tell Krillin that your here-" Gohan tried to explain.
"Krillin?" 17 interrupted, wondering why it should matter if the bald man knew he was there.
Gohan slapped his forehead. "I forgot to tell you! Krillin and 18 got married!"
This bit of news nearly caused 17 to fall out of the air.
"What?" His question was hoarse and whispered. The boy looked abashed.
"Sorry," he apologized, and then flew on towards Master Roshi's house, leaving behind a shaken man.
"Krillin!" Gohan called out, landing hard on the beach. "Krillin, where are you?" His friend stepped out the door, Marron held against his shoulder. He smiled to see Gohan.
"Gohan? Is something wrong?" Krillin asked, absently patting the baby's back. When she burped, he grinned at her, and then set her down on the sand. Sitting down, Marron put a thumb in her mouth, clutched her daddy's pants, and looked at Gohan curiously.
"Krillin, you are not going to believe this..." Gohan started, but his friend wasn't listening. Instead, he scooped up his child and stared behind Gohan. Bemused, the boy glanced back, then sighed with annoyance.
"Dead people," he grumbled. Turning to Krillin, he said, "He wanted to come here."
"Where is 18?" 17 demanded, not bothering with re-introductions and formality. The father shook his head in an attempt to clear it, rubbed his eyes. The android did not disappear.
Clearing his throat, Krillin squeakily called out, "18, get out here, Hun. Like, right now!"
"What is it, Krillin?" the cyborg asked in annoyance, dropping the knife she was preparing dinner with. Picking up her ceramic mug of tea, she headed towards the door.
Master Roshi looked up from his exercising women out the window and spit out his coffee. Rolling her eyes, 18 changed direction, walked to the window and glanced out. What she saw made her drop the mug and let out a pained whimper. She was losing her mind. God was tormenting her.
Running to the door, she flung it open, not even noticing when it flew off its hinges. Her heart was beating so hard it was painful. Blood rushed loudly in her ears, and her nails dug into the doorframe. She whispered her brother's name.
"17...Oh, God...Brother..." Launching herself forward, she moved with incredible speed, and was by her brother's side in an instant. Reaching out with an unsteady hand, she gently touched his cheek, afraid that he might disappear. 17 caught her hand and held it.
18 threw her arms around her brother with such force that he was knocked off his feet. Lifting into the air, he kept them from falling the ground. Hugging him as though she would never let go, 18 turned her face into his neck to hide her tears. As Krillin, Roshi and Gohan looked on happily, with little Marron crawling up to them to investigate, the two siblings embraced, crying out a lifetime of separation.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who read and review this. I know it isn't perfect, and I certainly don't have all the facts on DBZ, but I think that 17 is very cool, so I just had to put this up. ^_^ Your support was great!