Lovefools - Part 1
Summary:A technicality gone wrong in a wish from the Z fighters leaves Android Seventeen in a coma, and with Dr Gero gone the only person who can save him is still a shaky ally. Without her twin, and with Android Sixteen gone Android Eighteen is left alone to put together the pieces of her past and the truth of her own being, with just one person left with faith in her.
Lovefools was an idea I originally thought of six years ago, but could never make it quite flower. The original version is still on my profile, but it no longer has much to do with this fic. I've wanted to write my own interpretation of the Seven Year Gap for some time now. After reading several other K/18 fics, I also realised I wanted to write an alternative to the common theme I see for this pairing, which is Krillin miraculously getting a higher power level than Eighteen, usually so that he can physically subdue her and be the dominant figure in their relationship. I believe this idea, aside from being obviously non-canon, greatly undermines Eighteen as a character, and does not do justice to the love that arose between the two. It's too simplistic (not to mention ridiculously sexist) to indicate that a relationship is only good when the male is physically stronger than the female. My fic relies on the canon premises that a) Eighteen is stronger than a super saiyan, and therefore the strongest woman on earth, as well as being stronger than Krillin, and b) she is not a murderous psychopath.
Part 1 of Lovefools not only deals with the relationship between Eighteen and Krillin, it is also about their development as individuals. So whilst this is a story about the Seven Year Gap, it is first and foremost a story, not just a fluff fic. So please, do read and see the Krillin/Eighteen love story as you've never seen it told before.
Disclaimer: Dragon Ball Z is owned by Akira Toriyama and TOEI Animation Ltd. No money is being made from this work.
Chapter One - Wish on a Dragon
As Eighteen flew down from Kami's Lookout, her head was buzzing with questions and great frustration. On top of everything else that'd happened, she'd somehow become Krillin's damsel in the eyes of his friends? And why on Earth was he taking responsibility for her as if she was already his? It was infuriating, but there were more important things to deal with just now. She had at last recollected herself from the shock and horror of Cell, stored it away to deal with later, and her calm was back in place. Her face was a mask once more, and it would take more than this shock to break a wall like hers. She was glad for it, for it meant things were back to normal.
On the ground, while the wish of the Eternal Dragon Shenlong had brought back the victims of Cell's holocaust, it could not restore the damaged land. Eighteen supposed whole countries would need to be remapped. It made path finding harder, especially as she had never been to Kami's lookout before, and had been unconscious all the way there. She did however, have her own navigational tools built into her system, and could not be confused easily. At least she knew where she was going. It was the only thing she felt she did know.
Her flight speed was incredible as she left the landscapes behind like pavement bricks. She could pass right over someone's head and be a speck in the horizon before they'd even realised she was there. Any normal fighter's ki shone brightly during flight, but Dr Gero's design made her own ki silent, so she was even less detectable than those few who could fly faster than she. Nonetheless, the distance she had to cover was vast, and it took her a good couple of hours to reach her goal. Two frustrating, thought-suppressing hours in which she forced down the million questions she could not answer for herself, and could not bring herself to ask anyone else just yet.
In the late afternoon, she came upon a broken series of islands. The sea around them was tumultuous, and the islands which had been sunk and destroyed by Cell had still not finished crumbling and reshaping themselves on the ocean floor. Most of the islands had disappeared since the last time she was here. It was a complete wreckage. Eighteen found herself wondering briefly what had become of the people who had lived on these islands. Her target however, was still clear despite the changing terrain. She flew slowly overhead until the was sure she had the precise position over the water, then dived like a falcon straight into the ocean.
She re-checked her bearings underwater. It would take quite some time before she would need to worry about air, and a tremendous amount of water pressure to affect her internal equilibrium. Deep in the ocean she'd be in trouble, but where a human's ears would be bleeding, the pressure in her head was completely comfortable. A few minutes of swimming deeper revealed that her target was somewhere at the bottom of one of the still collapsing islands. Growing alarmed, she sped towards it using ki, as it would get her there much faster than swimming.
Eighteen was the only being in all the world who would have known there was even anything down there. There was no ki signal, no sign of life whatsoever. And yet her position was exactly correct. Her brother's design was a perfect match to her own, and their bionic components a very close DNA match as well. Such were their internal tracking systems that one would always be able to find the other. And sometimes, Eighteen felt that it wasn't just her mechanical systems that allowed her to be aware of her brother's presence. They were a set. Meant to be together. He would never be able to go where she couldn't find him, and that was a comfort.
She was relying more and more heavily on her mechanical senses as she went deeper however, as her vision was made nearly useless by both the depth she was at and all the mud clouding the water from the collapsing earth. Loose dirt that had been above ground for thousands of years was crashing into an ocean that wasn't used to it yet, and the result was chaos. On the plus side, at least it scared away the predators of the deep too.
As Eighteen soon discovered, loose soil wasn't all that was crumbling down from above. Huge chunks of compacted earth, trees and enormous boulders were sinking down around her ears, and she couldn't see a thing. She knew where she was heading, but couldn't see the obstacles in the way until one crashed right on top of her. A rock the size of a house had hurtled out of the underwater dust cloud, nearly knocking the wind out of her. Not enough to injure her, but it put her quite a way off course before she was able to turn around and vaporize it. Suddenly she realised what a dangerous mission this was going to be, and she tried to go more carefully after that. If she strained her vision she could just see obstacles falling around her in about a two foot radius. She stopped short just in time to miss another rock, and managed to swim to avoid a falling tree, but got hit by a chunk of earth so large it shadowed her entire vision. This one she was luckily able to punch and break in half before it threw her too far off. A few feet more and she hit something solid - the last of the island's foundation. She was near its base, so this part at least was still intact for the moment, though for how much longer she couldn't tell. All these islands which had once stood tall and mountainous above the ocean were levelling themselves out, making the very floor of the ocean higher and raising the sea level. She had no guarantee how long she had until she was buried under the weight of an entire island.
She knew she was close, but she couldn't see him - where was he? Her frustration was building. If only the water was clear she'd have had him out of there already! Growling in frustration she produced a sphere of ki around her and forced it to expand rapidly, momentarily clearing the water. There! It was barely visible under all the mud of the island's wall, but there was the dirt-covered end of her brother's orange scarf sticking out from under a mass of collapsed dirt of the ocean floor. She swooped down and grasped it, just as more falling dirt clouded her vision again. It didn't matter. She had him now, but in her rashness she had overlooked the damage her ki sphere had done to the already failing structure of the island Seventeen was buried under. It started to collapse in great earnest now, a deep and threatening rumbling began on the ocean floor as slowly the island's infrastructure fell apart.
Eighteen cursed through the water and worked as fast as she could to unearth her brother before she was buried too. Even her own supernatural lung capacity was beginning to weaken, and she knew she couldn't last much longer. She threw away the boulders and the trees which had settled in rapid fire, but unfortunately also sped up the collapsing process as she did. Finally in near panic she simply ki blasted her way through all the debris, leaving just a thin layer of dirt lying across her prone brother. The island was well and truly falling on top of her now, and with seconds left she shoved her way into the dirt and found Seventeen's arm. Yanking it, she hauled him clear of the ocean's bottom and used her ki full force to shoot her through the water away from the crumbling island base. She was going at such force that she actually punched both her own and Seventeen's way through several obstacles which she didn't even glance at long enough to register.
How far to the surface? A kilometre? Two? Her lungs were burning, and her life was now in danger, but her greatest worry was for Seventeen. He had been down there for hours, ever since the wish had been made. His bionic systems would have shut down long ago. How long until his cybernetic systems shut down as well and he could not be revived? How long did she have to still have a chance at saving her brother? There at last, the light was getting brighter through the murky water, and she knew the surface was close. She redoubled her efforts, closing, closing, and finally she exploded out of the water and into the sky, gasping.
It was almost dark when Eighteen finally made it back to the surface. Exhausted from having strained her lungs for so long, she immediately flew to the nearest stable island and landed on it, gently releasing her burden as she did so. She fell to her hands and knees, so disoriented and out of breath that she didn't trust herself to stand properly just yet. When at last her head stopped swirling, she made her way back over to her brother. He was lying completely still on his back, head rolled lifelessly to one side and body sprawled across the grass.
'Seventeen?' She called his name, somehow hoping he would just come back if she called him. 'Seventeen.' But there was no response. Eighteen knew it was hopeless, but she laid her head down onto his chest and watched his mouth. No breathing. No heartbeat. By human standards he was already dead, but Eighteen knew enough about her own internal workings to know that there were emergency cybernetic neurons in both their brains, which would keep Seventeen's electronic parts running for a time, and if directed correctly, could interfere with his biological neurons and order his body to work again. However, once his bio-systems stopped functioning, it was only a matter of time before his cyber-system ran out of ki-generated power and died as well. Eighteen knew all this, but she had neither the facilities nor the capabilities to perform the very exact surgery needed to help him. She was a well-designed android, but she was no brain surgeon.
She tried sending him a burst of ki energy directly to his heart. Once. Twice. Her hands shook. Three times and still no reaction. She didn't trust herself to try and do the same to his brain. That may have been where his cybernetic neurons were, but biological or cybernetic, the brain was a delicate, complicated place, and her ki blast could just as easily finish him as bring him back.
This was beyond frustration. It was beyond unfair. How could anyone so powerful as herself be so helpless to save her own little brother? How could anyone so powerful as her brother be in such desperate need of saving? This wasn't how it was supposed to be. She and Seventeen were supposed to be the universe's ultimate warriors - unstoppable and unchallenged, immortal and flawless and completely in control of their own destinies. She and Seventeen were finally free of the total subservience Dr Gero had demanded of them. Wasn't that what the death of the old scientist was all about? How did he still manage to get back at them through Cell, even from beyond the grave? Somehow he had sentenced them both to a fate worse than death, more terrifying than rape, more belittling than defeat. He had taken away everything that they were - their freedom, their choices, their lives, their very identity was simply absorbed into something else. It was the worst thing he could have done to them.
Yet somehow, somehow they had been brought back. Somehow they had been given another chance to live. What kind of sick sense of humour did fate have, if that second chance meant she had to watch her brother die again? She had found Seventeen at the exact coordinates at which he had been absorbed. What kind of horrible irony was it that Seventeen would be wished back to life, only to perish again because he was brought back in the same location - a location which was now underwater - in which he died? Eighteen gritted her teeth as her hands balled into tight fists. There she knelt beside her only friend and family, desperately trying to keep some control of her body, keeping the despair and exhaustion at bay. She breathed deeply. This was not going to help Seventeen. As long as his android brain was still functioning, he still had a chance, and Eighteen could not afford to waste it. She was alone in the middle of nowhere. She had no idea where she could find Sixteen or even if he could help if she could. She needed someone's help, and she didn't know where to turn to. The only person she knew for sure who could have helped Seventeen was lying in little pieces on the floor of the lab the twins were created in. That didn't help either.
Finally, a feasible idea came to her, when she remembered the state she herself had been in after being spat back out by Cell. Yes, it might work. Shaking just a little bit, Eighteen got to her feet, bent down and picked up her brother's body. Taking a moment to steady herself, she blasted back into the air at full speed towards her new destination, knowing this was her brother's last chance.
A/N:Welcome to end of the first chapter! Please leave behind any thoughts or constructive criticism you have to offer, it is much appreciated.
The Z warriors do comment on the difficultly of trying to wish Goku back after the Frieza Saga, because Planet Namek - where he died - no longer exists, so Goku would have been brought back into empty space and died again. Seventeen was killed on an island that got beaten around so badly that it collapsed later, and when he was brought back, he got dragged under into the rubble.