It was a month before the letter came.

Krillin watched worriedly as his wife drew further into herself with each day that passed. This was worse for her than when she'd believed her brother dead, for then their separation had been without his consent. But this was different. 17 had cut her off without warning and left her alone again. By choice.

Though it caused a strain in the recently repaired relationship between herself and Krillin, 18's dejectedness only tightened the bond with her child. She began to adopt the habit of flying over the mainland with Marron at during the evening as the sun sank beyond the western horizon.

After one such excursion, the pair returned home to find the Kame house dark and seemingly empty. A vice gripped the android's heart, and the sudden thought of being along buckled her knees. Barely remembering to put her child in the house, 18 sought sanctuary on the roof. Curling up there, she closed her eyes and focused her power, channeling her emotions in the way that came easiest to her.

The water exploded upward like a fountain, more than twenty stories high, when her ki blast struck. Listening to the rain-like patter and feeling the misty spray as the water fell back into the ocean, she lost herself in the practiced moves, all exhaustion and hurt draining through her fingertips in the form of energy.

As she jump kicked in the air, using her abilities to keep her poised at the right height, 18 became aware of another presence.

It was Krillin.

Catching her foot, the little monk spun in a tight circle and released, sending her flying a few feet until she stiffened her limbs and halted herself. Not missing a beat, she moved, leaving a shimmering after-image and attempting to attack Krillin from behind. He was ready, and raised an arm to block her attack.

No words passed between them, for none were necessary. Krillin had known, long before his proposal in front of all the Z fighters and their families, that loving someone like 18 would be challenge more difficult than any battled he'd ever fight. She in turn had recognized his patient acceptance of her unique character.18 had even recognized his fears of her brother, the only person who'd meant anything to her since the beginning of her life as a half-human machine. But his seeming death had made it something she'd thankfully not had to face.

By the time the exercise was over, they were both panting for breath on the roof, exchanging sweet kisses and watching the moon rise above the water.

"This came for you today," whispered the former Z warrior, reaching into his gi and drawing out a slightly creased envelope. 18 knew who had sent the missive without having to glance at the familiar, perfect handwriting.

Instead of moving away as Krillin might have expected, 18 cuddled closer. Her fingers were steady and precise as she opened the envelope. The mechanical side of her nature had once again reasserted itself, lending her much needed practicality.

A smile curled her lips when she read her brother's message. It was curt and to the point, just as 17 was.

18-

I was on the verge of destroying your bald companion, so I took the liberty of finding myself a place. I'll stop by around Marron's birthday.

-17

No expressions of love or a real explanation to his sudden disappearance. She knew that the time had come for them to go separate ways. Just the comforting promise of a future was enough.

"Is it time for you to come home?" Krillin asked softly, taking her hand. She gave it a squeeze and nodded.

"I think it is." Still holding hands, the couple floated to the sand and walked into the house, their past finally put to rest.