The One with the Baby
The first story in a series of one-shots dealing with Juuhachigou and Krillin.
Juuhachigou was just there, materialized from seemingly nowhere and he nearly choked as pulled in another breath. The paint can next to him nearly toppled, as did the ladder. Her eyes were his nervous state, his sweaty grip made the ladder slippery. Below him, Master Roshi's house loomed. He glanced down even though he knew not to, to avoid her gaze. Her eyes had grown grimmer.
"You didn't listen to Chi-Chi and take out that life insurance policy, right?"
When he looked up from his shoes, she was gone.
A week later:
She was hanging outside the window, maybe half a foot from him, and he screamed. His socks fell from his loose hands. But she was right there, outside his window and he'd just awoken and had just suffered from a terrible nightmare. His sheets were still dampened with fear sweat.
It had involved a blonde woman who kept disappearing only to reappear a foot closer to him, and eventually she ate his face.
Her face were thoughtful.
Krillin waved. His smile was jittery. "Want to come in for breakfast?"
She appeared deep in thought, and the ex-monk doubted it was over whether or not toast would be served.
She was gone so quickly he hadn't even seen her disappear.
His girlfriend was very odd.
Maybe this was because of that one night. Or, alright, maybe the other night after that one. Or the one after that one.
It had been a rocky relationship so far. She would disappear for a month, then a week, then another month, only to appear before him: a blonde goddess in fashionable clothing who awoke him from a nice innocent dream by kicking him out of bed, wearing a stupid pair of pajamas that she'd quickly taken care of, him stuttering the entire way through it until she told him to shut up. Afterward, her rebuckling her belt, "So that's what that was about. Hm. Interesting." and "You'd look better with hair," and he wanted to say "But no true martial artist wouldn't shave their head," but he could not speak because he knew what she looked like naked. Then her flying away, seemingly forever.
Or curled up next to him, tucked under the covers, their legs entwined, peaceful-waking him up with a kiss, "So, Krillin, I owe you my life, don't I? I owe you a debt?" and "Can I persuade you, Krillin, to please not use your remote and kill me before Cell comes, please?" pulling his hair and then "I told you that you would look better with hair," while he lay blinded and half dead besides her.
Or attacking him on the beach, her laughing and digging him further into the sand, him trying to warn her that anyone could them, anyone, and then-"Convince me why I shouldn't kill you," she said casually, her hair hanging nearly into his face-it had taken days for him to get the sand out of his clothes.
Since then he hadn't seen her in about three months, until she showed up and nearly knocked him off the ladder.
Had they taken the physical part too quickly?
But didn't most couples do that sort of thing? Wasn't that an implied part of a relationship? Perhaps it had occurred too soon. And Oolong walking in on them that first night hadn't helped things, Krillin was sure. She'd nearly skinned him. Yet she had come back. And he certainly never instigated it, it was all her.
She had been the one to come to him and want all that. He would have been fine watching some movie on the couch and an evening free of physical contact. A nice dinner and maybe curling up before a fire. Looking at the stars on the beach and charming her with his knowledge of the constellations, which was the exact reason why he'd learned them.
Not that he was complaining, but...
He sat, and waited on the beach for her to arrive. There was a sense that she would come. Something in the air that told him to wait for her to arrive. Or maybe it was because he was starting to understand her, in some way. So he sat in a faded plastic beach chair bleached white in spots from the sun, and watched the waves come in and out.
Eventually, she returned to him.
She was dressed plainly, in a striped shirt and jeans. Her demeanor was wary and her eyes distant. Krillin felt like he was trying to lure a starved cat or dangerous tiger closer. He was very patient. He prepared himself for the worst. Had she finally tired of him, had she found someone else? It was too good to last. He'd known, deep down in the cold part of his heart, that she would not want to spend the rest of her life with him. She could never love him like he loved her.
"So, wanna talk?"
She remained silent.
"You know, you can talk to me. About anything."
"You don't have to hide anything."
Krillin smiled weakly. "Is there anything you want to say?"
"I should kill you. I should've killed you a long time ago."
Her hands were slim and dangerous and the fingers were locked together calmly. He felt like he was being let go from a job and would soon be given his pink slip as well as sent to the firing squad. "I should never have let you anywhere near me."
He could feel the blood draining from his face.
"That first night was a mistake. All the nights were a terrible mistake."
Even his hands and feet were cold.
Wait. What was that? "Juuhachigou? I can sense ki coming from you."
"I really should have broken all your bones and left you for dead."
"Why can I sense ki coming from you?"
"But it's too late now."
"Because...you've grown accustomed to my face?"
Her answer was simpler and lacked any musical references. "I'm pregnant."
Roshi had never seen Krillin look so smug, not even as when he'd arrived on his doorstep as an arrogant little toad of a teenager. His smirk should have been fined.
He paused after he took a step past the doorway. "Guess who's going to be a father?"
Oolong snorted into his cereal. "The sperm bank actually took your donation?"
Krillin gave the shape-shifting pig a flat look.
Oolong's spoon fell back into the bowl with a small splash. Even Roshi felt a little surprised. He'd expected an announcement of engagement, maybe that he was simply dating the blonde woman.
The mostly retired fighter remembered the first time he'd properly met her. He'd gone out to watch the tide, and seen her fly past him, to wait besides a covered window. Then she caught sight of him.
The android's hair blew slightly in the wind, and she'd worn the guiltiest expression he'd never thought he would ever see coming from the blank faced woman. She hadn't said anything, even as Roshi lit his pipe and watched the moon rise. "You know, Krillin's window is on the other side."
She looked surprised and became even stiller. Even her hair stopped moving.
The slim woman cleared her throat awkwardly. "The other side?"
"Yep. That's the bathroom window."
If she'd been standing on the ground, Roshi could imagine her scuffing a shoe on the sand. Her eyes were darting around wildly. "Thank you." The words were low, but unashamed.
Slowly, she flew over to the other side of the pink house.
He sucked at his pipe. "Thatta boy," he said, to himself.
Brought back to the now, as Krillin nearly danced around the room. Roshi patted his student on the back proudly.
The pig was looking at them in disbelief. "The little android?"
"The blonde one," he held his cupped hands up to his chest. "The one with the boobs?"
Krillin's look was flatter than the island. "Yes."
"Are you sure?"
"I mean, you two were in bed, but I thought you two were just cold. Or she was trying to kill you. Or you bribed her to let you even get close."
The fighter turned away from Oolong. "Can you believe it, Master Roshi? Isn't it amazing?" His eyes gleamed and he slammed a fist into a wall, making the entire house shake with his enthusiasm.
"I can't wait to tell everyone! They're going to be so shocked!" The dark-haired man laughed and threw another punch at the wall. Things began to fall off the shelves.
"I can't wait to see their faces!"
"I'm going to be a dad!"
The smile drained from his face. "Oh my god, I'm going to be a dad!"
"Oh my god, I'm going to be a dad! What the hell do I do?"
"What do I do? I don't know how to be a father!"
"Hey. I'm going to be a dad. This is amazing."
"I'm going to be a dad!"
Yamcha was staring deep into his cup of coffee. Tien was looking away, into the window, sucking air slowly into his mouth with a low hissing sound. Chi-Chi looked up into the ceiling, as though it contained the proper reaction. Bulma looked almost pleased.
Chi-Chi was the first to speak.
"Are you sure about this, Krillin?"
Krillin stayed silent, decided not to mention that the courtship had consisted of three nights that Juuhachigou regretted. He let their words just run over him. After all, a father had to learn to be patient.
"Are you sure you want Juuhachigou to be the mother of your child?"
"You can't say you know or trust her very much, can you?"
"We haven't even heard from the androids for over a year."
"I thought that they had gone deep into hiding, or had committed some sort of murder/suicide. Really, the only interaction we should be having with them is to decide which one was the murdered and which was the murderer."
"Juuhachigou would be the murderer. I mean. That's ridiculous." The short fighter wished he could explain her better. She was capable of both night and day, while Juunanagou was at best evening. He was the one that was anti-social and violent. But of course he didn't want to have them go after Juunanagou; he was Krillin's child's uncle. They were family now, and family did not sic violent friends on to their relatives.
"She wouldn't hurt anyone."
Yamcha sighed. "This is my fault. I take the blame for this one. If I had tried harder, had talked more girls into giving him a shot, none of this would have happened."
"Krillin, man, she's cute but...Listen, we'll hit the bars, we'll try that five-minute speed dating again. We'll put out new, better personal ads. With that hair, we can get you someone, now."
"Listen, damnit, Juuhachigou is carrying my child and you need to get that through your thick heads. I love her, and we're going to raise our child together." Krillin also decided to leave out the part where she'd dissapeared again after telling him the news and not telling him where she would be going and if she would ever return. She would, he was sure. She always came back.
The dark-haired man didn't understand quite why or how, but he felt that he had some sort of hold or pull that drove Juuhachigou back. In the back of his head, a little cackling voice said that she couldn't get enough of the Krillinator, then was immediately shut up. If she ever knew such a thought crossed his mind, she would murder him.
"And don't you ever mention that stuff to Juuhachigou." It was hard to be intimidating when you were under five feet. And being the strongest person in the room had much fewer effects than he would have thought. How did Vegeta pull this off? It was the thick hair standing on end. It had to be.
Yamcha looked more distressed than ever. "Listen, man, you don't have to be with her. Maybe you two can raise the kid together, but not together." The scarred ex-bandit ran a hand through his hair. "This is my fault. I really should have tried harder to save you."
"No," Chi-Chi shook her dark head. "This is from all the fighting. It had to have some effect. The punches to the head. All that dying."
The room at large was almost grave. Except for the blue-haired scientist.
"I knew it! That's why you grew your hair out. Ha! And she liked you back! Vegeta was totally wrong!"
"Guess who has to change Trunk's diaper for a month!" She gave Krillin a high-five that he responded to only because he knew she would slam her hand if not into his palm, then into his face. "Oh. And hey, good going with the android. She definitely won't be any trouble now with a kid."
"What? Trouble?" Krillin gave her a disturbed glance. "Is that why you and Vegeta-"
Her foot whacked firmly into his knee. It shouldn't have hurt. Especially as much as it did. "It's the blonde one, right?"
"The blonde android?"
"For god's sake, why does everyone keep asking that?"
"Well, send her down and I'll give her a checkup. It'll be interesting to see more than blueprints of these two."
"No, seriously, how would the black-haired one get pregnant. It's a guy, people."
"Well," Chi-Chi sighed. "If she makes you happy."
"I guess we can use the dragonballs to wish you back."
"Come on, there's a clear difference between them. You know, the gender and all."
"I guess Chi-Chi's right." Yamcha patted him on the back. Krillin lacked a nose, yet he thought he could still smell pity in the room.
"I thought they were dating instead of brother and sister, and I still knew that she was a girl and he was a boy."
"It'll be okay." Tien nodded. "Best of luck."
"He's got a scarf, and sounds like a guy. How can you confuse the two of them? He doesn't look like a girl! And she most definitely doesn't look like a guy!"
Bulma refilled her coffee cup as the room emptied. "Are you hoping on a girl or boy?"
Krillin glared at her.
"What? Oh, stop making that face. It's like being stared down by a teddy bear."
The lab did not resemble a doctor's office. For one thing, there were far too many tools scattered on the ground. Most doctors, even dentists, didn't tend to have buckets of oil hanging around to trip over.
Juuhachigou gave Krillin a long searching glare.
He shrugged. "Really, this is where she said to go."
It had been hard enough to talk Juuhachigou here. But eventually he'd worn her down. Mostly by pleading and looking at her with watery sad eyes. But she gave in, either through his attempts at logic (Where else was she supposed to go, after all?) or through his whining. That didn't mean she was happy however.
Krillin wished he could put his arm around her or ruffle her hair, comfort her, but she was too emotionally distant for him to even try.
"Hey, you guys." The scientist gave them the quickest glance before turning back to her papers. Krillin could see the blueprints of Juunanagou nearby, scattered underneath a pile of graphing paper. Then she did a double-take.
She took a long look at Juuhachigou, then at Krillin.
Bulma gave him another high-five.
"I take everything I ever said about you back."
"Because clearly I underestimated you."
"Or did you sneak behind my back and used the dragonballs?"
Juuhachigou was not amused. She made it clear that if Bulma attempted to give her a high-five, she would not walk away with all of her fingers still attached.
The scientist pulled out a pad of plain paper. The click of her pen echoed through the room. "So, I'm guessing you're pretty sure you're pregnant?"
"Took a pregnancy test?"
"Five of them."
Bulma wrote down the numeral, then looked back up again. "Five?"
Krillin glared at his old friend. The mother of his child was paranoid about being pregnant, what of it.
"And uh," Bulma nearly squirmed in discomfort. "How long have you been pregnant?"
Juuhachigou thought on it for a moment. "Maybe a-"
Krillin answered, "Three months. Or four. Or four months and two weeks."
The blue-haired scientist shuddered. "Too much information. Far too much."
Juuhachigou looked to be restraining herself from strangling him. Which he appreciated very much; it was after all for the baby. As everything would be from now on.
"Well. Well. Why don't we have a look at the baby?"
Krillin immediately felt his face break into a smile. "Can you see it yet?"
"Sure. Lemme find the stuff." She shuffled some stuff around, random metal parts and a rattle, and part of a burned crib. Juuhachigou's eyes followed it as Bulma shoved the twisted metal down a low flight of stairs and it landed on a pile of torn stuffed animals and what might have been a basinet had it not been splashed with acid.
He ignored that and hugged Juuhachigou. She gave a start in his enthusiastic arms. The android was carrying his baby, and yet they'd never hugged before. "Isn't this amazing."
When he looked into her perfect face, the face of an angel, light blonde hair falling straight to almost her shoulder, her teeth were bared in something that was very much not a smile. Those gorgeous pale blue eyes that most certainly looked dead, lifeless in any other face were hard and unaffectionate. She remained unmoving.
Bulma dropped what looked like part of a rusted radiator at the sight of her.
Krillin hugged tighter.
If she truly detested this, she would have shoved him through a wall.
She was just intimidated. Really. She was enthused, deep down.
He rested his head on her shoulder. "Our baby," he cooed. Their baby, that little life that was growing inside the woman he loved. A little baby with maybe her blue eyes (would they be blue, or what color Juuhachigou had actually been born with, what color eyes had she been born with anyway? Could he ask her that?) and blonde hair. Or would they have dark hair and his black eyes? Dark hair and her eyes? His black eyes and her light hair?
Juuhachigou's light tinkling laugh instead of his dorky chuckles and snorts. Her slim lovely form over his more muscular body, her average instead of his...less-than-average height, sharp features rather than roundish face, and her straight even hair as opposed to his hair that was always slightly rough and stood up everywhere without using a blow-dryer and brush.
If the baby had his hair and her eyes, it would look like Juunanagou, Krillin realized.
-Would the baby have a nose?
Bulma's mouth was moving but no words came out.
Juuhachigou nodded gravely. "We will be able to see the baby."
"Yeah." The scientist managed to drag some shiny new equipment out underneath a pile of rubble. "Okay, now lay on that table over there (go ahead and throw out that old ramen container) and lift up your shirt."
Krillin wanted to ask 'which ramen container?' because the metal table was littered with them, but then he saw Juuhachigou's face. "It's okay." He squeezed her hand. "It won't hurt."
She sneered at him. "I'm not afraid." But her hand didn't leave Krillin's, even as she shoved aside the Styrofoam bowls with one blow and lay down. She looked very young lying there, and her eyes were very wide as she stared at the contraption Bulma was dragging over.
"So, we'll put this gel stuff on and then get a peak at what either Krillin Junior or Juuhachigou Junior look like. Hey, if it's a girl, you can name it J.J."
She shrugged at the android's glare. "Or you can always name it after the beautiful genius who helped saved the world from both the threat of Cell and those androids."
"Or at least," Bulma glared at Krillin. "Tried to."
"Really, Krillin, you wanna explain to me again what happened to that remote I gave you?"
He looked at her for a few moments. "You do know who Juuhachigou is, right?"
"Whatever. I still don't understand exactly." Then her eyes shifted to Juuhachigou and softened a little. Odd since the blonde woman looked ready to tear out her throat. "Okay, maybe a little. Since it worked." She flipped on the screen balanced precariously on the white machinery. Both Juuhachigou and Krillin ignored her last comment.
"Lemme put this gel on..."
Krillin tried to lift the bottom of her shirt was and winced as his hand was slapped aside. She dug an elbow into his side. "No."
Bulma spurted out some of the gel onto Juuhachigou's stomach, and looked impressed. "Usually people complain about how cold that stuff is." Juuhachigou shrugged.
"Let's see." The blue-haired woman ran a white device over her. Juuhachigou's eyes darted between the screen to the instrument and Krillin looked from her to the screen until he felt dizzy.
"There it is."
"That little grey thing right there. It's too soon to see the gender though."
Krillin's jaw fell until it hit his chest. There it was, Krillin Junior, or J.J. Just there, that little peanut thing that was made up of him and Juuhachigou. Wait, that was it, right? That squiggly thing? When he looked at her, she was transfixed on the screen and he squeezed her hand warmly. "Our baby," he cooed.
Her fingers dug into his side. They might have been playful, coming from someone else. "This is your fault."
Bulma laughed. "Wait until the hormones really kick in. You'll want to kill him, and then you'll be grateful you didn't."
Juuhachigou looked confused. Krillin shrugged again. He had a feeling that by the time the day was over, his shoulders would be very sore.
"Okay, so do you want a picture to remember this moment?"
"And how exactly do you plan on paying for this visit, Krillin?"
"Ha, just joking. Hey, what's this thing growing on the baby's skull?"
"Oh, calm down, Juu, I was kidding."
The Saiyan prince looked at him almost grimly. For a second, there was no mockery in his gaze, only the pity of a man who'd seen many awful things and done worse. It was the friendliest look Vegeta had ever given him.
He leaned against the wall, next to Krillin. "Get out." Vegeta whispered from the corner of his mouth. Lips barely moved, like something out of a spy movie.
"Get while you still can."
"Before you can't." He hissed.
"Vegeta! Where are you, why aren't you watching the baby?"
"He needs his diaper changed! VEGETA!"
"Hurry." Then he turned toward the doorway and began yelling. "Woman, why don't you change him?"
Trunks began to cry.
"You do it, I'm busy!"
"With something other than sitting around and watching soap operas damnit!"
Trunks would need to be toilet trained very quickly, for his own safety, Krillin realized. He and Juuhachigou would be better than that. He was sure. He would change the baby's diaper, every time if necessary and would do some without screaming at her. They would not be like Vegeta and Bulma. They would never come to the point where they would be throwing empty baby bottles at each other's heads.
Juuhachigou stepped out of the bathroom. Her expression was grey-tinged, but dignified.
"I told you that you might get morning sickness."
A bottle came within an inch of hitting her. Juuhachigou ran a hand down the front of her shirt, straightening it. "Let's get the hell out of here." Her hand pulling and dragging him by the shoulder was wonderful. Not only because it meant leaving the flying projectiles, but because it meant that Juuhachigou still wanted him near her.
About a month later, he was flipping through a parenting book and Juuhachigou was reading the instructions for another baby proofing device. "I will not have our child hitting their head and ending up like Goku," was all she said whenever someone in the house complained about the contraptions. They would stop yanking at the ridiculous baby proofing on the refrigerator, think about their dear friend and hero, and agree with her.
Having something clear to do besides gestate the baby seemed to help Juuhachigou. She looked much less panicked then on the day she'd told him she was carrying his child. In fact, in this small kitchen alone together, the android looked almost happy. Krillin was beginning to learn how single minded and determined she could be. If she was going to be a mother, she was going to be a mother.
Her moodswings were no crazed than they usually were, and her diet was unchanged. Except for the part where she actually ate something. But it wasn't like Chi-Chi, who would have cravings for french fries in the middle of the night, and who better to call up and ask for some than her husband's best friend?
Juuhachigou also didn't dissapear again, and spent every night at his house, avoiding the others miraculously, and repeating over and over again that she didn't actually live here. Then she would hide in a closet as someone came down the stairs. Despite that, it was wonderful to have her near him. She no longer flinched when he would hug her.
"Hm. You know, we should maybe clean up the attic more. Just in case they end up crawling up there."
Krillin nodded. This chapter about aliens and human raising a child together was making a lot of sense. It rang so true that Krillin wondered if the writer was one of his friends using a pseudonym. He had a brief image of Piccolo seated at a desk, typing away one fingered at a keyboard. "Mm, yeah."
Juuhachigou dropped the instructions.
"Oh shit, I forgot to tell my brother about the baby."
"It's been an entire month. You've spent all the nights here."
"I know…Look. You know how my brother is."
"No, I don't. I haven't really met the guy."
"And you aren't now. I'm not taking you there."
"Come on. He'll find out anyway. I might as well be there."
"Fine," she slapped the flimsy instruction manual down onto the table. "Fine."
As she went to dress herself in something better for fighting than a loose dress, Krillin swore she uttered the words 'like being glared at by a teddy bear.'
It was like something out of Juuhachigou's nightmares. Krillin couldn't see one thing that was not dangerous for a child to be around. Knives and guns everywhere. A half-gutted deer that had to be full of germs on the table. The rough walls that begged for a delicate hand to catch splinters. Shelves that looked loose. A towering plastic lumberjack in the corner that looked to be teetering. The elk heads on the wall even looked dangerous, at least they would work as nightmare fuel.
Krillin understood that from now on, instead of the nightmare where the baby broke apart in his hands, or was tossed around by Cell and those Junior Cells as they played a game of football, he would just imagine their child set loose in this house.
Juunanagou hopped onto the couch besides them, his large pig sticker of a knife flew out of its holster on his belt and missed Juuhachigou's stomach by an inch. If that.
"Oh, sorry." He laughed and drained a beer clutched in one hand. When he tossed it into a pile, it bounced off the wall and nearly hit Juuhachigou in the face.
"Maybe." One of her eyes was twitching. "Maybe it would be better if you removed all the weapons you have on you for a second."
He shrugged. "Alright. Whatever." When he unholstered the gun and set it down, it landed on another gun that went off and missed Krillin's head by just barely.
Juuhachigou stared at the hole in the wall for a while. Krillin waited until he had feeling left in his legs to speak.
"So. What's this all about? Why is he here?"
"Oh! You guys should totally see this television system I'm setting up. I have the wires and everything. I'm really starting to get a hang of this electricity stuff."
"And I'm digging a pool."
Krillin corrected himself. It was not just the elk heads; all of this was nightmare fuel.
As his friends procreated around him, he'd resigned himself to being an uncle figure. And there were only two real types of uncle, the fun one, and the creepy one that no one talked about and was never invited to family reunions. He had been determined to be the fun one and so far had been pretty successful. At least when his friends had a party, they invited him.
Now that he was a father, or nearly anyway, he realized that Juunanagou was definitely not falling into the fun-uncle category. They would have to lie and tell the baby that both he and Juuhachigou were only children. This man before them who looked so like the mother of his child was definitely not going to be asked to babysit. Roshi they would trust before this man. Oolong would be called to watch over the child before Juunanagou. The baby might come up to them and ask what a threesome was, but at least it could still walk.
The fantasy wrote itself:
He saw a light-haired, dark eyed baby, gorgeous and perfect, with his goofy smile toddling up to Juunanagou on tiny pudgy legs. "Uncle! Uncle! Throw me!" And then Juunanagou doing so.
"Hey," shrugging casually as the distraught parents clutched what was left of their child. "The kid asked for it."
And this was only the first scenario to occur to him. What about when the child grew older, would Juunanagou want to take them hunting? Krillin imagined a dark-haired child, as old as Gohan, with Juuhachigou's blue eyes and small smile, standing next to Juunanagou and proudly holding his first gun that just barely fit in his small hands. He couldn't even picture the actual catastrophic event. All he saw was his baby laying in a coffin in a white suit while Juuhachigou literally shook her brother to death.
How about if the kid wanted to learn to fight? Who better to ask then one of the strongest fighters on the planet, a man who had nearly killed the defenders of said planet? This time their child had brown hair from a combination of their parents dark and light hair, and dark, dark blue eyes, a little older than Goten. "Sure, J.J. I'll teach you to fight. You have to learn to take a punch though."
Their child, blond and light eyed and grinning happily, walking onto stage to give their speech as they graduated from a top university. They opened their mouth, and Juunanagou walked in with a crossbow yelling, "Where's the genius!" and accidentally loosening an arrow into the child's chest. Why a crossbow, Krillin didn't know. He didn't need to. He knew instinctively that Juunanagou would do it.
His mouth was so dry Krillin ended up taking one of Juunanagou's offered beers. He would need it for the coming hour. Juuhachigou stared at him enviously.
Krillin decided to take a hit. "Hey. Juunanagou, do you like kids?"
"Kids?" His almost brother-in-law took a sip of his drink. "I guess. For dinner. Why?"
Juuhachigou looked at the two of them gravely. She took Krillin's beer and calmly poured it over his head. "This is your fault."
Spite and sticky clothes made the words easier. "Your sister's pregnant."
So Juuhachigou moved in with him.
It was not that her brother had thrown her out. He had not chased them around his cabin and taken shots at Krillin as they ran away into the forest, cables dangling from her fingers as revenge for the insults he'd hurdled at her child's father. "You'll get cable when you become sane!" They had not spent several hours huddling in trees or fleeing. He never felt quite touched that she'd stuck up for him even as they hid in a ditch and hoped that Juunanagou's shadow didn't fall upon them.
Krillin could not recall Juuhachigou screaming at her brother "Oh, come on, he's not that bad!" and "What the hell do you know about anything?" Like a mirror image of the meeting he'd had with his friends.
She had decided to move in with him. "It'll be good for the baby to have a solid home. Even if it's this one."
Of course, she didn't know what she was moving into. What she knew of Krillin's roommates was that they were a pig that could change form, a turtle, and a retired martial artist who'd training Goku and Krillin and had a penchant for pornography. This only scratched the surface.
He warned her. She scoffed and said she could handle herself.
Umigame met her politely and shook her hand nicely. "Congrats on the baby." Juuhachigou gave him a sour look afterward. "See."
"I have to clear you living here with Master Roshi."
"What? Don't look at me that way. It's his house."
"Fine. Let's get this over with. I'm sure everything will be fine." It wasn't often that he was the cynical one. At least this time he wouldn't have to try and go clam digging and almost be eaten by a giant eel. Yeah. There was that. He smiled at Juuhachigou.
"What? Stop staring at me like that Krillin. It makes me uneasy."
"I'm just so glad that I met you."
"Yes, well…why is this house painted pink anyway?"
"Prepare yourself. This is the least of it."
"I told you, I can't handle the situation."
Then she met Oolong and Roshi, who had were sitting at the breakfast table and had brought them...presents. Krillin asked if they were for the baby. They responded that if was for before the baby was born, and after. "We didn't know you're size, Juuhachigou, so we used our best guesses. You're like a 34B cup, right?" It was like something out of a horror movie.
He dived for her hands, but fell too short. His head hit the linoleum and Juuhachigou's yell filled the room as she opened the present. The first present.
Her face was actually beet red and he had never seen her look like that, not even when Cell was after them or she beat up his friends or when they had to flee into the woods to escape her axe-wielding brother.
"What do you perverts think you're doing?"
They were used to being yelled at by women, yet Juuhachigou could bring them to their knees. She could actually use ki and use it so well that she'd nearly killed Vegeta. Maybe he should have warned them about that? But it was hard to give them all the information when he'd only been able to call them from a filthy phone booth that stank of urine, and they'd only been able to find enough change between them for a twenty second call. The reception had been bad and Juuhachigou was paranoid that her brother would find them any second now, run, Krillin, get out of there before taking off running and leaving him behind.
In the end, she made them open the presents, one by one, weeping that they were sorry, so sorry. Her glare made them shudder and even Krillin, who was huddled on the floor for safety, was affected by it.
"We'll buy things for the baby, we swear."
"Good things, nice things."
She didn't need to lay a finger on them. She just pointed at the door and they scrambled out. It wasn't just her strength, but somehow her power could transcend something as simple as being able to kill them with one little finger. Her eyes could simply kill and could never be reasoned with. You could not explain to the rabid tiger why you'd decided to poke it in the eyes as it mauled you.
Krillin held his knees closer to his chest as he heard them leaving. He wished he could join them, where it was sunny and there was no yelling. She swept him off the floor with one hand. She was wearing a smile. "Now that those idiots are gone, how about we try out some of their gifts."
Juuhachigou inspected some of the clothing.
"Huh. They got the right size too."
Roshi had tears on his face. Krillin felt no sympathy. "This had to be done. At least, for awhile."
"But, did you have to burn them?"
"That was Juuhachigou. I was willing to let you bury them in a time capsule until the baby is eighteen. But she wouldn't allow it."
"Good job wearing the pants," Oolong snorted back tears. "Couldn't you have told your baby's momma to at least leave us the edible underwear?"
The cheery flames illuminated the beach. If it had been logs or driftwood burning, you might have imagined a nice night with a couple of friends exchanging stories. A guitar and a few smores wouldn't have looked out of place. When it was a pile of dirty magazines however, you...well, you probably wouldn't know what to think.
Juuhachigou was wearing a smile while Oolong and Roshi wept. "I've been meaning to do this for months." She tossed another movie into the flames. 'Blonde Bombshells on the Beach.' It had a vacantly smiling half-naked blonde on the cover. Krillin guessed she was so happy because she was topless and with other blonde women she could relate to. That was important to people, to be with others they had something in common with. If there was an island of short noseless guys, maybe he would be smiling happily too.
Or maybe the fumes of burning paint were getting to him.
"Especially that one."
"And this one." The hated twins' video was tossed underhand into the fire. "And this one."
The other hated twins' video.
She kicked a pile of specifically chosen movie and magazines that irritated her. Ones with blondes, ones that featured androids or cyborgs or robots of any kind, videos about twins that she spat on before throwing them into the flames, and some that boasted that they showed only short men with hot women. "I will not have your dignity stricken down like this. Not like this."
It would all burn, in time, but she wanted to savor the destruction of a select few. She threw them in, one by one, muttering things that he couldn't hear.
The anatomically correct and full-sized dolls looked disturbingly human-like as they burned. Krillin almost expected to hear them crying out, especially since their mouths were open so wide. But the only yelling was from his master and the shape-shifting pig.
When she threw it all into the fire, she came to him. She looked beautiful in the red glowing light, even as the bottles of spray-on underwear began to pop like fireworks. The smell of plastic was terrible, and the smell of burning hair was awful. Krillin wondered again why she'd tossed Roshi's wigs into the fire as well.
Her arm wrapped around Krillin's shoulder, affectionately. She ruffled his hair and pressed her nose into his temple. He understood what she wanted as the porn burned around them. The false, lying porn that had deceived him throughout his teenage years by telling him that beautiful girls were just waiting to throw their underwear off as soon as the cable man showed up. That all you had to do was show them a porno and they would fall to their knees and that even the ugliest hairiest guys could have sex with gorgeous women.
He thought back on those movies as he watched them turn to ash that Juuhachigou would cover with salt. Those absurd movies with their retarded plots and occasionally disturbingly large genitalia.
And now he sat on a lovely beach besides the most incredible woman that had ever existed, created by a mad scientist, and who wanted to have sex with him because of all this porn. If he wrote about this to one of the magazine being used as kindling, they would reject it and say it was overdone and too unrealistic to print. Their readers had standards, damnit.
It was all was very ironic.
She was biting his ear, playfully, her hand sneaking under his shirt. "Isn't it beautiful?"
They packed an overnight bag for her stay at the hospital. It started off as a small bag, but by the end, it was bigger than Krillin. "We don't need this."
"But we do need this."
"Okay, maybe we do need that."
They would take her to Capsule Corp when the time came. Bulma had cleared a specific place for the birth, a specific clean place, and she would be performing it along with her father. They had studied the blueprints and learned that she was mostly normal human ("Except for the lack of heart, ha, kidding, lighten up. It's your soul that's missing.") with some extra added parts that Krillin could neither pronounce nor spell.
"I guess we shouldn't have been calling you guys the androids. The cyborgs would have been more accurate." Juuhachigou hadn't laughed.
She still wasn't laughing, even now a week later. Part of it was the approaching birth, the other was Krillin. He knew that she needed some space, especially since she was pregnant and therefore a little bigger. She was still adjusting to life here, and with him, and sometimes wanted to be alone. But he couldn't leave her. He still had nightmares of their child being used for various sports equipment.
He'd wake up with his face pressed into her stomach and Juuhachigou looking at him with a mixture of amusement and unease. "Do you even remember doing that?"
He shook his head.
"Alright, then. Can you feel the baby?"
"Okay, well..." Her fingers played with his hair.
"Do you think we have some time before the perverts try peaking in?"
They now understood Bulma's comments about hormones.
And everything seemed okay. Sometimes when he was getting groceries he would feel daggers of eyes on his back and look behind him, and see nothing. But Juunanagou could look all he wanted. Maybe it was his way of checking in on things. But Krillin still wouldn't let him babysit. Not even if actually came up to the new father and actually said something.
He read more books on parenting. He was still sure the one about the mixed species parenting was from one of his friends, but when he would drop hints about it, Piccolo would only stare at him disturbed.
They'd collected plenty of baby stuff. Chi-Chi had given them an entire box of clothes, much of them either clothes Goten had outgrown, or ones that were for girls. She'd sighed, resigned, as she handed them over, and Krillin wondered if a girl or boy would be easier. Yamcha had flown over a bunch of diapers and a stroller, grinning nervously, and then throwing himself into a bush when he heard Juuhachigou's voice.
But they still didn't have a name. Or know what the gender was. "We want to be surprised." Krillin informed Bulma, and ignored her damn raised eyebrows. "I hope that works out well for you and the baby."
'Fuck you, you had a purple-haired kid and named him Trunks' was what Krillin longed to say, and what Juuhachigou actually said after the scientist tried proposing more names, most of which involved her.
"Fine, fine! God, why don't you just name them Marron."
"What?" was Juuhachigou's confused response.
"What?" was Krillin's less confused and more angry response.
"Marron. Chestnut." The blue-haired woman hissed out the words.
Juuhachigou looked thoughtful. Before Bulma left the room, she blew him a spite kiss.
"Marron could work."
And Krillin couldn't bring himself to say anything that was honest. "Sure. Maybe Marron would work." And for the first time, prayed that it was a boy.
They disagreed as to what it would be. Juuhachigou was convinced it was a boy, an angry little boy that wouldn't stop kicking her and making her have to go to the bathroom every five minutes. "And he'll look like my brother."
"If he does," Krillin sighed. "We'll still love him."
"We will Juuhachigou," he warned.
He knew it was a girl though. He just knew it instinctively. They were having a daughter.
"And what does this daughter of ours look like, Oh Great, All-Seeing, Krillin?" Her hair was in her face and she lay limply on the couch. She'd just thrown up for the second time in the past hour, this time because she'd taken a whiff of butter.
"Blonde hair and blue eyes."
"I bet he has your eyes."
"Do you...you know."
"Do you think she'll have your nose?"
"I guess." She pushed some of her hair out of her face and took a long look at Krillin. "Not this. Not again."
"If they don't have a nose, they'll still look fine. You look fine and you lack a nose." It was as close to a declaration of love as she'd ever said to him.
"But, the taunting-"
"The shame, how hard it is to find sunglasses that actually fit, you just don't understand."
Her snoring interrupted him and he found it too cute to stay angry. He pressed his face comfortingly into her stomach and wondered if the baby could feel or sense him. "Hey, little girl. How are you?"
"I hope we get along."
"And that your uncle stops being crazy."
"And I really, really hope you have a nose."
He stopped when Oolong walked into the room and gave him a weird look.
His friends got along with her well enough. Chi-Chi seemed to open up to Juuhachigou as soon she met her after flying Goten over for Krillin to babysit, and saw the gentle swell of her stomach. The black-haired woman seemed sympathetic toward them for some reason, maybe imagining the early years of her marriage. When Yamcha tried to bring up the androids nearly-mass-murder, she would hit him. She even treated Krillin nicer.
And Krillin got to see Goten more and Juuhachigou seemed to warm up to the boy, even if he looked startling like Goku. Gohan liked Juuhachigou and was sure that she and Krillin were meant to be together forever.
Bulma and Juuhachigou would share clothes and fashion tips and go shopping, and then end up taking swings at each other after Bulma said something about stripes. Then Juuhachigou would insult Vegeta, and Bulma would laugh and make fun of Krillin, and everything would be okay.
She and Vegeta were not exactly friends, but had developed a camaraderie that soldiers shared as they waited for certain death to reign down. Sometimes Bulma and Krillin would end up talking about the good old days, and Vegeta and Juuhachigou would make cracks about their stories, clearly jealous that about all they had missed out. That cool way that he had defeated that really smelly guy, the way Bulma had met Goku and hadn't even known what a girl was, and how she could make Oolong crap himself with just one word, what, why are you guys looking so horrified?
And briefly, they didn't want to kill each other. They were too horrified by what they had married or at least bred into.
"Disgusting, all of you."
Bulma and Krillin laughed together. "It's too late for that now."
"You're one of us."
"Oh, hey, want to hear about how Krillin convinced Roshi to train him? Do you still have that porn stash somewhere?"
Krillin's retort was perfect. "Want to hear about how Yamcha and Bulma met?"
Vegeta still insulted him for being so short and weak, and Krillin still made jokes about his hair and clothes. But after spending a few minutes with their women when they started fighting, they were eager to be far away, even if it was with each other. At least with each other, waiting for the barbeque to finish or just sitting on the couch and watching something stupid, they could just drink and be quiet and have silent breakdowns over the thought of their children.
And Trunks was good practice if Juuhachigou ended up being right about the baby.
She woke him up a month later, shaking his arm roughly until she nearly pulled it out of the socket. "What? What?"
"What?" He nearly fell out of bed reaching for the lamp. The sheets strangled him. "The baby?"
"Are you sure?"
Juuhachigou shook him again. "Yes, I'm sure. Now, unless you're prepared to perform the procedure right here, get me to Bulma's!" She shook him again before letting him go. Krillin tried to remember where the bag was. Here, no, here, or was it downstairs?
"Forget it." Her face was pale. She was having contractions and he tried to remind himself that it could be a false, that they had another month and where was the damn bag?
He knocked over the dresser on the way out. She nearly shoved him down the stairs. The rest of the house awoke and wandered out to watch them struggling and fighting as they made it to the car. "This is your fault, Krillin." The door slammed shut.
After they showed up and had been taken to the room set aside for the birth, he realized that they were still wearing their pajamas. But they were awake and about to have the baby, and they were completely prepared. They gave Juuhachigou a flimsy hospital gown while he ignored the judgmental looks about his bright shirt and sweatpants.
Juuhachigou was breathing in and out, a thing she had originally considered stupid since she hardly needed to breathe at all. He wanted to hold her hand, but he wanted a non-mangled hand a little more. All he could do was tell her to breathe and dodge her blows and scream at Bulma to hurry up, for someone to give Juuhachigou medication. Please. Please.
She threw a stirrup at him.
But the baby wasn't ready to come out and because of Juuhachigou's strange biology they were not going to risk giving her pain meds and have her possible lose consciousness or concentration. So he listened to her screaming for hours and hours and it never stopped having an effect on him.
He'd never seen her in so much pain. Never. He would not have even thought it possible.
"Oh god, Bulma!'
"AHHHHHHHHHH-KRILLIN, MAKE IT STOP!"
He brushed back the fine hair from her pain filled eyes. She looked so afraid; he felt tears welling in his own eyes. Desperately, he wished he could take her hand with her ripping it off. "It'll be okay, Juu."
Bulma rushed in with a crew of doctors. They all looked very hurried and busy and he hated them without knowing exactly why. Maybe because they had been torn away from golfing and the mother of his child was writhing in agony and there was nothing he could do to help her. "Krillin, get out of here!"
"I'm not leaving her." He rushed to her side, taking her forearm in his hand. Bulma looked at him closely.
"Do I have to call security?"
Juuhachigou stroked his fingers, and he could see sweat rolling off her forehead and the veins on her neck sticking out. "Don't leave." Her voice was young and frightened. He pressed his forehead into hers.
"I won't leave."
"Krillin, this won't be pretty."
"I don't care," he said, defiantly.
"I'm not leaving her side!"
Hours, perhaps days later, Krillin no longer wondered when the baby was going to come out. It never was. They were stuck in perjury and this was going to go on for all of eternity.
Now, he wondered how anyone could go through this. Juuhachigou hadn't had much of a choice in the matter, and hadn't known that it was going to be this painful. But Chi-Chi, she'd had two children and understood how terrible this birthing business was. How could she do this twice?
He'd stopped counting the hours long ago. But somehow he's managed to throw a television at Vegeta and then had been chased around by the Saiyan, had babysat Trunks at least twice and taught him to count, his alphabet, and the word 'shit', had helped Bulma's father discover a new quantum something on string something theory, decorate a triple-layer cake with Bulma's mother, and had gotten into a fist fight with Bulma three times.
He learned the rough rudimentary of a second language, and cut the talons of both dinosaur and parrot talons. All while running in to check on Juuhachigou every two minutes. His monotonous crying broke up the time until he learned to base things on that:
Juuhachigou pledged to have him murdered, Bulma threw a wrench at him, then he wept, and therefore sixteen hours had passed.
He did another round around the domed building and wondering if Trunks was too young to get started on algebra (and for that matter, if he himself was too old).
Juuhachigou had been screaming for nearly five minutes straight. You could hear her outside the buildings, even when you ran into the backyards and into other people's homes and the nearby shops. He was surprised that her throat hadn't given out.
Krillin ducked back inside, was soon back to ducking blows and hoping she couldn't concentrate long enough to use any ki blasts. She broke another pair of stirrups.
The stupidest things left his mouth, "The baby still in there?"
Her eyes actually turned red.
"I'm going to get more ice chips." The short man threw himself out the doors.
Vegeta looked up from a magazine from a grease stained couch in the hallway.
"Isn't she done yet?" He seemed aggravated. Then he heard Juuhachigou screaming through the heavy, heavy doors. It was her loudest scream yet. Vegeta looked impressed.
The shorter man wanted more than anything to be with her, but it was terrifying and he wore afraid that something would happen specifically when he was there. Yet, he would head back in, no matter how much he wished he could ask the Saiyan to pretend to drag him out of there so he could save face.
Krillin looked over his shoulders nervously. "It might take awhile. Sometimes days."
Vegeta offered no support. The bonds of fatherhood were weak with this one. Krillin headed back inside. He wished for the thousandth time since Goku had died that he was here with him. The Sons were due to arrive soon though and hopefully they would know what to do. He went back inside the room that now resembled a dungeon.
She started to sob, but it was in anger. Juuhachigou's face was flushed red. "Make this stop."
"Push, damnit, Juuhachigou. I can see a head."
She was still sobbing, tearless. "NO! IT'S TRYING TO KILL ME!"
Krillin rubbed at his face, feeling tears growing in his eyes and starting to run down his cheeks. He was going to lose both of them, he knew it. The baby was stuck and was going to die and so was Juuhachigou. Never again would he see her smile and he would never get to hold his child, let alone watch them grow up.
He would go back to Roshi's home, and take up wearing a shell and watching porn all day and become like all the other bachelors on that island. Juunanagou would hunt him down and kill him slowly, and that would be a mercy.
He remembered their time together: coughing and spitting out a cough drop onto a sleeping woman's lap and how hard Juuhachigou had laughed, just because the woman had been rude to them. He remembered holding her after she'd been spat out by Cell. He remembered her kissing him for the first time and the set of reactions that event had sent off. He remembered the way the controller had crunched under his foot and the dreams that followed of a blonde angel in his bed that leaned over him and whispered 'was I worth your best friend's life?' He remembered holding her for the first time in their bed, how her unyielding body had slowly become warmed up beneath underneath his. He remembered the nights spent talking about their baby's future.
Bulma looked ready to slap someone. Krillin prepared himself to dodge two women's' blows. "Push!"
"NO! IF IT WANTS OUT IT CAN FIND ANOTHER WAY!"
Bulma was pressing against her pelvis. "This baby. This baby will come out." She sounded like a god giving a command. Juuhachigou was pushing and screaming, "Goddamnit, GET OUT OF ME!"
"JUST GET OUT!"
It was contagious, and Krillin felt himself yelling at Juuhachigou, at the baby, at Bulma and the doctors, at the world. "JUST STOP BEING TERRIBLE FOR ME!"
And the baby listened.
It popped right out.
Screaming nearly as loud as its mother, covered in mucus and blood. Hideous and gorgeous. It was a little girl, Krillin saw, before a doctor whiskered her off to be cleaned. He felt almost robbed, empty and could barely rub at his wet face. How must Juuhachigou have felt? They were taking her to the little nursery they'd set up in the corner of the room. Juuhachigou was asking over and over again "Is it okay, is it okay?"
Krillin nearly flew to her side, and took her hand. "It's okay, the baby is okay. It's a girl. J.J. She's perfect."
Bulma popped up with a needle. "This'll help." And injected her with it.
Juuhachigou's hand was growing loose in his, and he wondered if she even knew she'd given birth anymore, her eyes were so glassy.
He caught sight of the baby lying in some plastic bin that probably really expensive and exotic. She was wrapped in a pink towel. Huge dark eyes and fluffy blonde hair. Perfect, even without the nose. She seemed to be taking it all in, probably wondering who that barely conscious blonde woman was and who was this weirdo who was cooing and poking at her, and what was with this room and all these people in white coats?
"Hey, baby," he poked her stomach lightly. He pulled a ridiculous face that he'd seen Bulma doing with Trunks. She looked appalled. Juuhachigou's appalled.
"Hey, there little girl."
"Do you know me, your Daddy?"
"Are you ready to party kiddo? Are you ready to rock?"
She was gazing up at him. Krillin picked her up, noticing how she weighted nothing. She was looking at him with a big pair of black eyes and he nearly melted. He literally couldn't express how much he loved her. There were no words. The only way he could attempt to describe it was that he would rip his own arm off to make this tiny thing happy.
There was only a light pressure in his chest that reminded him of holding Juuhachigou for the first time. All he could do was not burst into sobs over how precious she was. The axis of the entire universe shifted to her. Someone snapped a picture. "Hey, wanna see your mom?"
Juuhachigou's face was nearly waxy and she was just barely there. He'd never seen her look so out of it, even when Cell had spat her comatose body out. Just like that moment, however, she was still incredible.
"Is that the baby?" Juuhachigou slurred.
"Yes, here she is." Carefully, Krillin lowered her into Juuhachigou's arms. "And it's a girl, and she lacks a nose. Look how right I was."
She was smiling. "Well, she's still beautiful, so I still win."
Then she started to cry, her hair hanging in face as she turned away from him to hide the tears. Krillin pressed his face against her shoulder near the baby. She, Marron, Krillin guessed, was looking up at them, amazed. "It's okay. It's okay." 'These people who cry more than me are my parents?' Krillin imagined the baby thinking.
The doctors were leaving the room. Bulma was pulling off her gloves and beaming. "That went well, don't you think?"
His head pressed into the side of the bed, and everything was dark for a long time.
The paperwork was spread out before them. Juuhachigou had barely glanced at it; she couldn't take her eyes from the baby. They could not take their eyes from each other. And Krillin couldn't take his eyes from them. His family.
"Now, what do you want to call her?"
He glanced at the new mother. "Marron. Right?" Juuhachigou nodded, still not moving her eyes from the baby's.
Bulma nodded happily and began filling things out. Krillin signed where he was told, feeling like a responsible parent. A father signing things for his child. He felt disbelief that he could do such a thing, that he had done such a thing. He had a daughter.
Juuhachigou signed everything one handed and sloppily since she couldn't look at the papers.
"Look at her fingers," she sounded shocked. "Look at how tiny her fingers are."
Krillin laughed and stroked the baby's velvet hair. "My god, she's so perfect."
"And her feet. Those tiny feet."
"And those eyes. She has your eyes." Juuhachigou kissed his fingers resting on her shoulder. Her gaze was still intently focused on the child.
Krillin kissed her forehead. "She has your hair."
"She's so small." She seemed impressed by Marron's small size and yet how healthy she was. When the baby grinned up at her, she smiled back. Her long white fingers touched the baby's soft hair.
"When can we take her home?" Krillin asked Bulma.
"Pretty soon. We just need to do some tests on her to make sure everything's fine."
Gohan entered the room. Chi-Chi followed, carrying little Goten. "Is that the baby?"
Juuhachigou gave them a small smile. "It's a girl."
They both cooed over it. Even Goten looked at her with interest. Krillin imagined them playing together, just being normal kids for once, him tailed and with an alien father who'd died twice and her with her android mother and noseless father and all.
By the end of the day, nearly everyone had seen the baby. Bulma awwed over her, but Trunks didn't look very interested and only waved at the baby.
Even Tien and Chaotzu stopped by, tracking in pine needles and melting snow. They nodded with an awkward formality, then filled the room with ballons and stuffed animals.
Yamcha came in, flinching a little and trying to hide behind a giant stuffed bear whenever Juuhachigou looked at him. The scarred ex-bandit didn't quite know how to reconcile his image of the blonde woman as a cold hearted machine who was just a step above her brother on the sociopath scale, and this woman here who thanked him kindly for the stuffed animal. When she held Marron, smiling sweetly and looking like any other new mother, Yamcha looked amazed.
Piccolo stopped by shortly, and consented to holding the child, though briefly. The sight of the tiny infant in his huge arms was so adorable Krillin had to take a picture and then run around the room clutching the camera close as Piccolo threatened to dismember him.
Vegeta looked at her for a few moments, standing above her cradle so quickly that it took Krillin a few seconds to realize what he was seeing. Then said that he hoped for the brat's sake that she looked less like Krillin when she grew older before walking off. But he nodded to Juuhachigou before he left, as though commiserating another part of their new found humanity that a child brought.
Juunanagou came in one afternoon, when the sun was setting and light the color of blood and ki flooded through the windows. His blue oversized jacket was ridiculous and his clothes were smeared with sap. Krillin assumed that either a telekinetic twin bond had told him that his sister had given birth, or perhaps a wise magical deer had informed him. He sneered at Krillin, then stopped dead, catching sight of the baby. His face became amazed. "Is that it?"
'No, it's the other newborn,' Krillin wished he could say. But he was full of too much goodness just being around the baby. She was a tiny beam of light and he could only smile around her. He nearly hugged Juunanagou, which might have resulted in bloodshed. Or not. The baby had a miraculous way of making everything better.
Slices of the purest blue met each other. The temperature dropped twenty degrees. A family reunion.
"I see you've become one of them."
Juuhachigou stared at him warily. It had been a struggle for her to let go of the baby with people whom she trusted. But, she sighed and willing let her brother hold her. "Just don't wave a gun around her."
"What's she called?"
"Marron's her name."
"She's so tiny." He was smiling gently. Krillin could see the resemblance between the twins again. "She looks okay though, considering."
"Hi, Marron." And then Krillin was willing to invite Juunanagou to their home on the holidays again.
His eyes were red, Krillin could sense. Even without a mirror he knew they were bloodshot and unfocused. Next to him, Juuhachigou snored contently. She'd stolen the blankets again, Krillin noticed, displeased.
He blinked, slowly, nearly feeling his dry eyes rasping. The clock on the bedside table read 3:13 in burning red colors that bleared into the darkness. A minute passed. His eyes grew heavy. The baby began to cry.
So did Juuhachigou. She had a unique way of crying. Her eyes would snap shut and her hands would ball up to cover her eyes, and her forehead would crinkle and become full of furrows. The pale face would go red and her mouth would set in a hard line. She cried like a child just beginning to discover shame in their tears.
It would make him cry just watching her.
Krillin's own tears came forth without a pause. Like a faucet being turned on. And he had a hard time stopping the flow. His face would hardly flush and his vision would become blurry and his mouth would be open and loose. He was hardly ashamed of his emotions for the most part, although sometimes he thought he should be more closed as his friends were. But then, look at how they'd turned out.
Usually, when one of them was in tears in bed, it was a compliment to the other. It had been a long time since they'd complimented each other.
From somewhere else in the house, he heard yelling.
They were too tired to fight. With them, there was no pushing off of duties. They were both martyrs.
"I'll get her," Krillin whispered.
She rubbed at her eyes. "Thank you."
So Krillin got back up again.
It was becoming just them against the baby. Friends that had once come by to visit came down with mysterious flues that only occurred after the new parents dialed their numbers.
Juunanagou no longer stopped by. "He's avoiding my calls." Juuhachigou said grimly, dropping the phone.
"He's avoiding having to babysit again."
On the bright side:
Juuhachigou found a new weapon to use against the perverts on the island. They couldn't ask them to leave because without Krillin, who would get the groceries? So the blonde android could bargain with them. "We'll take her to Chi-Chi's tomorrow, but only if you leave us alone this Saturday."
And when Juuhachigou was pissed, all you had to do was direct her attention to the baby and you could escape.
Although, it was odd to listen to her hissing curses and threats as she spoke sweetly to the infant.
"I'll chain you up and leave your body for your damn turtles to feed off of," her voice would then turn to velvet instead of razors. "Oh, look at her smiling."
She would hold the baby and her voice was sweet and motherly as she would describe what she would do to after she caught you looking through the keyhole, and where she would leave parts of your body.
"Your skull I'll nail above the door to warn others, sweetie, are you hungry?"
Then her gaze would go soft slowly, and you would flee.
Or, if you were Roshi or Oolong or just plain stupid, you would stay and attempt to catch of glimpse of her breastfeeding.
And the baby was nice too. Very cuddly and adorable, although her taste in television and movies was questionable at best and she couldn't hold a decent conversation at all. And the changing of diapers was not exactly a pleasant duty.
His footsteps were heavy as he stumbled to his daughter's room.
It hadn't always been like this.
The first few weeks it had been peaceful. Juuhachigou and him and even felt superior. Their friends had warned them that they wouldn't be able to have a full night's sleep for the next five years, but clearly they'd been wrong. Marron, she was ahead of the curve. They preened at each other as they awoke at a reasonable hour after having a full night's sleep.
Then she began crying.
It wasn't a sickness, any ear infection or wet diaper. She would just cry and want her parents to cater to her every whim, even if she couldn't yet express or know what exactly those were. Even when they let the baby sleep between them in bed, she would still be up all night. Juuhachigou would sometimes stare at Master Roshi's liquor, at Marron's bottle, then look away guiltily.
Once, she'd bounced the baby on her lap for three hours, and not once did Marron tire. Juuhachigou was exhausted before the giggling child showed any sign of being bored.
Krillin took her for car rides, truck rides, flew with her, took her to a Ferris wheel after bribing a worker there. The baby would only laugh at his defeated face.
They were slaves to her, on threat of lack of sleep. Neither could stand listening to her cry, even if she wasn't in discomfort.
He opened the door slowly.
Marron looked at him, the fetal squint completely gone. She smiled.
No. She smirked. Juunanagou's smirk.
"You know exactly what you're doing, don't you?" Krillin asked her casually. He half expected a deep maniacal voice to answer from the depths of the pink crib.
She looked up at him, big dark eyes.
Marron was a human sack of flour. Yet, Krillin still had a feeling that she was quite aware. In this hour, anything was possible. Happy animals leered at him from the wallpaper. He remembered putting them up on a happier day, the sun shining and Juuhachigou purposely dripping adhesives and strips of wallpaper onto his head. "You're just doing this because grounding you would be pointless."
There was a long pause as Krillin stared deep into the black of the hallway.
"Come here," he tried to keep his voice convincing. "I think she's hungry."
Juuhachigou was a firm believer of the disease-preventing mother's milk. Chi-Chi had scared it into her. "Oh, but you have to breastfeed!" After taking a look at Gohan and remembering all he'd survived, then what Goten would roll around in without consequences, the blonde woman believe her completely.
"...give her formula."
The baby began to weep. "You see? She wants her mommy!"
A horrible hiss echoed down the house. If he wasn't so used to it, and so sleep deprived, it might have sent him cowering. "You be the mommy, goddamnit."
Misery loved company. If he was up, so would Juuhachigou. The entire world would be awoken. "I'm sick of being the mommy! At least feed her!"
"She's not even hungry, you liar." She sounded again like the woman who had been created to destroy all life from the planet. Krillin rolled his bloodshot eyes.
Marron continued to cry.
"Damnit, I swear if you two keep this up, I'm going to start charging rent!"
Krillin raised a bottle high and nearly let it fly when he realized what he was doing. Aghast, he let it drop and then fell to his knees. The baby gurgled and laughed at his broken expression. Against everything, he found himself smiling back at her.
She had his eyes and her hair, his goofy smile, and was darling. He felt all that anger falling away. "Hey, Juu, look at her, she's trying to grab her feet!"
Her mother immediately ran into the room with the camera. "Is she doing it?"
"There she goes."
They 'awwed' together.
And then everything was okay again.
He even found a way to escape, even though it was another way of exhausting his precious reserves. Goten was experiencing his first sickness, and Chi-Chi needed help. Gohan ended up catching something and Krillin had to haul himself over to their house to help out. Piccolo was trying to help, but Chi-Chi kept throwing things at him and yelling at him. Currently, the former monk was on speed dial and Chi-Chi could hit the numbers quicker than her sons' could throw up.
Juuhachigou was jealous. Not that she disliked the Sons, or even missed Krillin. She just wanted a buffer.
"That's right." She sat on a rocking chair, the baby in her arms. "Go on to your other family. While we wait here, alone."
"We know who you care about more. Don't we baby?"
Marron giggled and reached for her mother. The blonde mother's expression turned soft, and Krillin slipped out to help Chi-Chi.
His respect for the widowed woman had increased since the baby had been born. She seemed to know all the tricks of the trade, although she had a tendency to think she was always right, and kept bringing up making 'Juuhachigou an honest woman.' He'd give her a vage reply, deciding not to tell her that once he'd gotten down on his knees, tore his heart open by telling her how much he loved and adored her, and asked for her hand in marriage. Juuhachigou had yelled at him to get up and hand her another diaper because Marron had completely destroyed the one she had been wearing.
He immediately was up and sliding a fresh diaper onto his daughter. She giggled instead of fought, and Juuhachigou gave him a sour look. "You don't want to get married then?"
"I don't see the point. We have a child, we don't pay taxes and there's no property to divide. If one of us is hurt, we have Dende heal us, so no need for the hospital and spousal privileges."
It was remarkable, how bloodlessly she'd taken apart his romantic image of marriage. "What about a wedding."
"I don't want one of those. Having to wear a ridiculous dress and stand there while your friends stare on and ruin an entire buffet. I think I'll skip that for once. Bad enough I have to see it every time we visit your little friends."
"Oh, come on, we don't need to be married." Then she touched his shoulder, gently, moving up to stroke his chin. "How about this, I'll say yes if you agree to change all the diapers from now on."
Marriage was overrated. They didn't need a piece of paper to show their love. No rings would truly show how much they loved each other as their daughter did.
The house was dark as he returned. Everyone appeared asleep.
He crept into the house, carefully closing the door. It was sweet, sweet silence inside.
Krillin hung his coat up neatly. A pen, one of Gohan's, fell from his pocket.
Marron began crying.
He crawled halfway into the nursery.
Juuhachigou was holding the baby, and he nearly wept in relief. She was humming to her, and he'd never seen anything so wonderful. Only the tears rolling down her face ruined the beautiful scene.
"What kind of mother am I Krillin?"
He ran to her. "A great one."
"I wasn't created to be a mother. When I found out, I was pregnant I didn't believe it. And then I did, finally when I felt her ki. I wanted to blow everything I saw apart. I wanted to kill you. I thought that the baby would die, that there was no way I could even carry her. But then, she lived."
"I can't do any of this."
Krillin pulled back, confused.
"I just love you two so much. And I have no idea how to do this."
He touched her shoulder, gently. "Neither do I."
"What if I hurt one of you? I can't do any of this. You know how to be human." Juuhachigou pulled away. "How can I be a mother to her when I'm not even human?"
"You are human."
"I'm not." She turned away. "You wished away a bomb that was implanted in me away, for God's sake."
"Even if you weren't human...Vegeta's not human."
Her voice cracked as she laughed dryly. "That makes me feel so much better."
"He's not. But he still loves his son. Humanity doesn't have anything to do with blood."
"That's easy for you to say."
He touched Marron's head gently. She burbled at him, and smiled. "If you weren't human, do you think you could have given birth to her?"
Juuhachigou looked closely at Marron for a long time. "She has your eyes," she said, eventually.
The blonde woman held Marron close. Her blue irises were milky in the streaming moonlight. "I think I'll stay up a little longer. Just in case she gets hungry."
Krillin kissed her cheek. "Alright." He paused at the doorway. "You know...you know..." The short man plucked at the light switch.
Juuhachigou was smiling and looking straight into his face. He felt incredibly vulnerable, and knew she felt the same.
"I love you too."
Her eyes never left his. "I know."
"Alright then." He turned around, not wanting her to see the tears, or his grin.
"Krillin? There's something I have to ask you."
The dark-haired man glanced over his shoulder. "Hmm?"
"Was this all because of that stupid kiss I gave you on that highway?"
He shrugged. "Maybe."
"I guess it doesn't matter."
"Nope. Love you, babe."
He could hear the smile in her voice. "Love you too."