Who's Maron?

Krillin's friends all agree: this blond chick is way better than the last girl he dated.

He took her to Chi-Chi first.

Well, not first. The first ones to know had been Roshi and Oolong (and Turtle), naturally, and the pig and the pervert had approved solely on the basis that she was hot and not as weirdly proportioned as Maron. Honestly, that sort of thing was all right in a video or a magazine, but a real girl that you wanted a relationship with should be shaped like a human being, not a blow-up doll.

Eighteen had given them a flat stare at the mention of the blow-up doll, and they had gone quiet. Turtle had shaken his head and given them his quiet congratulations.

But they went to see Chi-Chi first. Oddly enough, it had been Eighteen's idea to get Krillin's friend's approval. It hadn't even crossed his mind to talk to them about it, but she felt uncomfortable with the idea of dating him without knowing that she had been forgiven by all the people he cared about, or at least that they were aware of the situation and could choose to give their blessing or withhold it. And the one with the most right to object was Goku, and since he was dead (and they both knew his approval could pretty much be assumed) the next best thing was his wife and son. Since Gohan was a little brat who didn't know when to shut up (they both agreed) he would get the news second, after his mother.

Chi-Chi pursed her lips as Krillin revealed to her exactly who the woman sitting beside him was.

Eighteen, who had stuck to the awkward manners she had picked up from television and several library books and been very polite to Chi-Chi during the first part of the introductions, laced her fingers around her knee and waited.

"You mean to tell me that you are going out with one of the androids that was programmed to kill my husband?" Chi-Chi growled. Krillin flinched.

"I was never interested in killing him, ma'am," Eighteen said in a soft voice that sounded nothing like her. Her shoulders were hunched, and she was staring intently at the hideous area rug under her feet. "We'd really like your approval, ma'am."

And that was the strange thing. She really did. Why she did, she wasn't certain, but if Krillin's little rescue fantasy was going to turn into a real relationship, then they had to do this the right way, and that meant not sneaking around, not lying to anyone, not acting like teenagers necking in the backseat of cars. She wanted to be an adult about this.

"My approval?" Chi-Chi repeated, incredulously. "Just what are your intentions, anyhow?"

"My—intentions?" Eighteen was startled into looking up into Chi-Chi's eyes. They were hard and focused, but, she suddenly thought, not eyes that hated.

"Yes. What are your intentions with Krillin, young lady?"

Eighteen fought the urge to laugh. Krillin looked horrified, and a quick search through her files told her that Krillin was a year older than Chi-Chi, which made her want to laugh more. She became aware that Chi-Chi was waiting for a response, arms folded and toes tapping.

"My intentions. With Krillin." Eighteen figured mentioning that little fantasy where she tied him up and then 'rescued' him would be a bad idea. "Uh, right now I just want to date him. Spend time with him. Uh."

She literally couldn't think of anything else to say, and she hoped that was just nerves. Chi-Chi continued staring at her with that hard look, but it eventually relaxed into something almost smug.

"Well," she said. "I'll say this, Krillin: I like her a lot better than Maron, that's for sure."

Eighteen frowned.

"Who's Maron?"

Krillin laughed nervously and pressed his index fingers together. Chi-Chi laughed too.

"Oops," she said. "Would you like to stay for dinner, dear?"

Gohan gave Krillin a very obvious grin when they told him, and waggled his eyebrows far too knowingly for an eleven year old boy. Krillin shoved him in the lake.

Yamcha freaked out a little, turning heads in the bar where they'd met up, but when Eighteen didn't disembowel him or do anything more horrible to him than glare, he calmed down.

"Dude, I didn't think you'd actually make it with her," he said. Krillin looked at him askance.

"Well, thanks a lot, pal. You were the one telling me I had a chance with her."

"Hey, hey, I was just trying to cheer you up. You looked so down. Plus, we'd just saved the world, that always makes me a little giddy, you know."

Many things made Yamcha giddy, but his easy acceptance of them as a couple allowed Krillin to forgive him just as readily.

"Anyway, she can't be any worse than Maron," Yamcha said through a mouthful of peanuts. Eighteen, who had accepted Krillin's vague explanation back at Chi-Chi's ("She's an ex-girlfriend.") only because she was going to pump him for information when they were alone, raised an eyebrow.

"Total bimbo," Yamcha explained. "Knock-dead gorgeous, but nothing going on up here, if you know what I mean. And a real flirt, too. Couldn't keep her hands off me."

"Hmm," Eighteen said, rather pleased at how nervous her thoughtful response seemed to make her boyfriend.

Bulma squealed and threw her arms around Krillin's neck.

"That's so great, you guys! I know you'll make a wonderful couple."

"Thanks, Bulma," Krillin said sincerely.

"Hey, Vegeta!" Bulma called, and Eighteen tensed. The man in question, shirtless and red-eyed, scowled at them blearily from the doorway.

"What," he growled, lifting the orange juice carton in his hand.

"Krillin and Eighteen are a couple! Isn't that great?"

Vegeta looked over the mouth of the carton and studied the two of them for a moment. Then he closed his eyes and tipped back his head, draining the carton before crumpling it and tossing it behind him onto the floor, accompanied by a disapproving noise from Bulma.

"Hn," he said, and the noise tended toward amusement. Then he left.

"Don't mind him," Bulma apologized, rescuing the carton from the floor, but Eighteen thought that had gone rather according to her best-case scenario. An orange juice carton on the floor was far better than rubble where Capsule Corp. used to be.

"I already like her better than the blue-haired chick," Korin said as Yajirobe rolled his eyes.

"I'm starting to think that's not much of a compliment," Eighteen said dryly, and Korin chuckled.

"It's not, really. But you seem alright anyway."

And that was enough of a compliment, coming from the wizened cat, that she actually smiled.