OMG. OMG. What's this? Is it.. it IS! It's an actual chapter, and it's only taken seven months! O_O
Really, I'm sorry for how long this took. I had some... things... happen at the start of the year that kinda drove all thoughts of writing from my mind, and by the time I thought about writing again, I'd totally forgotten where I was actually going with this. I'm still trying to grab hold of all the little ideas I had for this, I know they're floating around in my head somewhere.
So I hope this chapter is okay, and I'll try to be more consistent from now on. It's just going to take a little while to get back into the swing of it. I actually have the ending for this fic written already, it's just all the bits in between that I have to fill in. :P
I also hope people still want to read this... xD
A few days her... foot.
She'd been here two weeks now.
Every time Eighteen thought she should probably leave, she ended up deciding against it. She still didn't have anywhere else to go. And it was quite nice having a bed to sleep in. She didn't really need to sleep – her mechanical parts gave her endless energy, after all, and rendered sleep quite unnecessary – but it certainly got boring being awake all the time, and it was pleasant to have somewhere she could just crash for a few hours if she felt like it. It was the same with food. She didn't need it, but she could still eat if she wanted to, and enjoyed the taste of some food. What foods she actually liked, however, were a mystery to her – she hadn't eaten since she had been activated, and as she could remember nothing of her life before becoming an android, she had no clue what she used to enjoy eating. When she had said this to Krillin, on the first morning she had stayed here, he seemed to take it as a personal challenge to help her rediscover all her favourite foods.
"So, I was wondering, what would you like for breakfast?"
"What?" His offer had taken Eighteen aback.
"Well, we're cooking breakfast, so I thought I'd come and see what you'd like. Do you just want some cereal, or toast? Or something a bit more filling? I could do you some eggs if you like. How do you like your eggs, by the way?"
Eighteen stared at him, dumbfounded. Krillin began to look confused, and then a little worried, in case he'd somehow said something wrong – although he wasn't sure how eggs could have offended her.
"I... don't know."
"I don't know how I like my eggs. I don't even know if I like eggs. I don't know any foods I like. I can't remember."
"Oh." Krillin's face brightened suddenly. "Well, tell you what, I'll do all kinds. And I'll do some other stuff too, so you can try a bunch of stuff and find out what you do like. Sound good?"
"Um... I guess."
"Okay then, I'll go and get started. Come down whenever you're ready." He turned to leave.
And so every day, Krillin made sure she had some new foods to try, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It turned out she liked her eggs hard boiled. She also liked most meats, and fajitas, and pasta. It soon transpired that she did not, however, like tomatoes, having spat one out so forcefully upon trying one that it got stuck to the back of Master Roshi's head.
It was... quite fun, actually, rediscovering all these foods. Krillin was always trying to think of new things to give her, and laughed at her reaction to foods she really didn't like, but he always made sure never to give them to her again.
She was actually quite enjoying staying here. Master Roshi had initially looked apprehensive when Krillin announced she would be staying – no doubt he had believed her to be an evil, murderous android - but he had gradually started to loosen up. Krillin was right, though, he was grabby, and persistent, too. It didn't matter how many times Eighteen punched him through a wall, he still came back for more, accidentally on purpose tripping over and landing in her chest. He wasn't as feeble as she had thought he'd be, either – although she had no doubt that she'd still be able to snap him like a twig.
The room she had wasn't so bad, either. The bed was comfortable, and there was actually a wardrobe. So she finally had somewhere to store new clothes, and Eighteen wasted no time in filling it up. Thankfully, neither Krillin nor Roshi had asked how she was paying for all her little shopping trips. If they had, she'd likely reply with a raised eyebrow and an amused "... Paying?"
And somehow she doubted they'd approve of that.
Aside from that, though, there really wasn't much to do around here. She'd tried watching TV a few times, but Roshi was usually there already, and the old man had some disturbing taste in shows. It was either vomit-inducing soap operas, or scantily clad women jumping up and down. Eighteen had little desire to watch either, and even less desire to watch Roshi drooling, wrinkled face a few inches from the screen.
She'd tried reading, too, but decent books seemed to be a little thin on the ground. She made a mental note to "purchase" some on her next visit to the city.
So for the past few days, she'd taken to just sitting outside on the sand, watching the waves, and thinking about what her next step should be. And it was while she was doing this that she heard footsteps behind her, and Krillin's voice.
"Hey. Uh... mind if I join you?"
She shrugged, and Krillin lowered himself to the ground next to her. Neither of them said anything for a while. Krillin just fidgeted, idly tracing in the sand with his foot. It was Eighteen who broke the silence, wanting an answer to a question she had been pondering for a while now.
"Hey," she started, and Krillin looked surprised that she had decided to talk. "I've been wondering..."
Krillin blinked. He hadn't really been expecting that. "... huh?" Eighteen turned to face him, raising an eyebrow.
"Sixteen? You know. Big guy. Red hair. Doesn't talk much." she said, smirking.
"Yeah, I know who you mean, but..."
"I haven't seen him, not since he was trying to protect me from Cell. What happened to him?"
Krillin looked down at the ground, eyes sad. "I'm sorry, Eighteen, but... he's gone. Cell destroyed him."
"So?" Krillin looked at her, slightly shocked. Eighteen thought she better elaborate. "Well, you said that the dragon bought back everyone who Cell killed. And if he was killed by Cell, he should be back too, right? Do you know where he is?"
Krillin looked sad again. "Eighteen... he... didn't come back."
"Why not? If everyone killed by-"
"No, you don't understand. The dragon... he can only bring back people. Living things. Sixteen... well... he wasn't human. So the dragon... couldn't bring him back."
Eighteen just stared at him. "That doesn't make any sense. I'm not human, and neither is Seventeen, but the dragon bought him back, so..." she trailed off, as Krillin was shaking his head.
"No... you are humans. Or you were. You were just... modified a little. That's why Seventeen was bought back. But Sixteen... he was never a human. Dr. Gero built him entirely himself, right? So... he can't be wished back. He was... well... a machine."
Eighteen was silent for a while, before saying quietly, "He was not."
"He wasn't just a machine. He wasn't. He tried to protect me. He... he liked birds. And animals. And he was kind. He had a hell of a lot more humanity than some of the humans I've seen."
Krillin nodded. "Hey, I agree with you. He was a good guy. I didn't think of him as just a machine, either, but..." he stopped, not really knowing how to describe it. "He fought with us. With Goku, even though he was programmed to kill him, he... chose to ignore that, at least for a while. He had free will, and in my book, that made him pretty damn human." When Eighteen didn't say anything, he carried on. "He died... trying to take Cell down, you know. Said there was too much good in the world to let Cell destroy it. We all knew he was a good guy. Everyone was shocked when Cell killed him, even Vegeta. And we tried to see if there was anything we could do for him. Me and Yamcha, we went back to the battlefield, picked up all the bits of him we could find, and took them to our friend, Bulma. She repaired him when he was damaged before, and I was kind of hoping that she could do it again, but... she said there... wasn't enough left to fix him." He sighed sadly. "I'm... really sorry, Eighteen. I really wanted him to come back, too."
Eighteen remained silent, staring out into the ocean. "I just... wanted to thank him, was all," she said finally. "For helping me. He... he was a friend." Krillin nodded, studying her face carefully. She didn't look any different than before, didn't look all that sad, but he supposed it'd be hard to tell, anyway. She wasn't the type to wear her emotions on her sleeve. When it became clear that she had done talking, he stood up.
"Well, I'll... leave you alone for a while. Give me a shout if you want anything, okay?" he said quietly, turning back towards the house.
"Krillin." He turned back at the sound of her voice. She had turned her head to the side, but wasn't looking at him. "... Thanks."
"For trying to help Sixteen. For talking about him... like a person."
She turned back to the sea, drawing her knees up to her chest and Krillin smiled sadly, leaving her to her thoughts.