Long Distance Communication

Chapter 24/Epilogue 3: Labors of Love

A pair of crystal blue eyes surveyed the frozen food section of a super market, the sapphire like orbs blinking a shade of warm and considering red every now and then as the person checked out the ingredients list with skepticism. Loud chatters of numerous shoppers resonated all around her but she didn't seemed to pay them any heed as if the only thing that mattered were the words in front of her.

I know those two said microwavable dishes are okay but are these really healthy? Can't they just eat the left over from the fridge? We are only going to be gone for the weekend...

After going over the nutrient table one more time and making sure there wasn't any preservatives, the blonde woman reluctantly put three boxes of frozen pizza into the shopping cart, but not before shaking her head in defeat.

At least we'll all get to enjoy some real home-made cuisine today...Sixteen in heavens knows I can't stand unnecessary artificial add-ons...

A hearty smile emerged on her stoic expression as she took note of the small hill of raw meat, seafood, and vegetable in the cart. The shoulder-lengthen female's mind was already conjuring up images of what she'll be cooking for her family and, more vital to her, the satisfying look they'll undoubtedly sport after tasting her dishes, even those belonging to a certain old man and pig who had voluntarily condemned themselves to eating barely edible stuff.

In a rather uncharacteristic display of human emotion, Artificial Human Number Eighteen's stomach began to emit a low growling that made her cheeks flush as light chuckles escaped her lips.

Since when did a self-sufficient cyborg killer such as yourself put so much thought into food Eighteen? Speaking of which...I'd better not forget about this again...

The cyborg woman made her way to the breakfast aisle, where overly exaggerated cartoon characters, all of which held a spoonful of cereal and milk, greeted her. Amongst the fictional entities were also caricatures of Mr. Satan, complete with his wide stupid grin and unimpressive muscles.

"Satan's Mighty Cereal. Eat up and become just like yours truly, Mr. Satan? Uhh...I don't think so...to be like the z-fighters is more like it but this clown?" Eighteen spat.

Striding toward the images of the man she deemed as a fraud with an afro that served no purpose other than demonstrating his ego, the blonde woman grabbed a neighboring box with illustration of a turtle stuffing his mouth with strawberry flavored corn flakes.

Seriously, just whose idea was it to make these animals eat cereals? I don't recall ever seeing our turtle eating cereal...maybe I should get him to try it one of these days...

A mischievous smirk crept up her angelic face but she quickly shook those thoughts away.

Anyhow, better grab a few boxes just to be safe. My darling Marron doesn't like going a day without her cereal...

While Eighteen was busy loading her cart with treats for her daughter, she heard tiny footsteps drawing closer then felt an impact against her legs. Turning around, she found an adorable small boy sitting on the floor, his tiny hands rubbing a pair of watery eyes. The cyborg woman's heart sank as she could tell the child was in pain and felt somewhat guilty for partially being the cause, even if he had bumped into her.

"Oh I'm so sorry miss. My son, he gets very excited when he's shopping for his cereal," it was the voice of a woman, whom Eighteen instantly recognized as the kid's mother due to them both sporting the same black hair and sharing other similar facial features.

"Hey it's alright, I don't mind," the cyborg said reassuringly then focused on the boy, "are you hurt kiddo?"

The small boy shook his head. "N-no miss, I'm okay. S-sorry I bumped into you,"

Eighteen mustered her maternal instincts and put on the most motherly smile, hoping to put the kid at ease seeing the same trick was all it took to brighten her Marron's day. "Don't sweat it kid. Now which cereal do you want?"

To her relief, the child's face lit up at the mentioning of the magical c word in the same manner as her adorable daughter. "I...may I get the Mr. Satan cereal ma'am?"

The cyborg woman arched an eyebrow but made no objections, instead handing him a Satan box gently. "There you go is there anything else you'd like?"

Her kind gesture was promptly rewarded by an innocent smile only a child was capable of.

"N-no miss. Thank you so much!"

"You are welcome kid!"

Eighteen watched with satisfaction as they waved their goodbyes and couldn't resist but to return with a small wave of her own. For some reason, the two reminded her of her spouse and daughter, and the cyborg could almost picture her family enjoying themselves on a shopping trip much like the mother and son duo, only in her mental image, Krillin had lifted up Marron with both hands, allowing the little girl to get the cereal herself.

Humans can be so odd...a simple gesture is all it takes to make them happy...Ah well who am I to judge? Didn't I just smile myself?

On her way to the checkout, the cyborg woman came across the magazine section and from the corner of her eyes; she could make out covers featuring skimpily dressed women, their curvatures and skins on full display. With a sigh, she took out a piece of paper in her pocket and sure enough, listed at the very bottom in crude font were the words "Adult Magazine".

"You've gotta be kidding me. There' no way I'm buying that even if those two offered me ten million zeni! What if Marron sees one of those lying around? Good thing my Krillin isn't a pervert!"

Therefore, the proud wife and mother pushed her cart behind the long line of other customers near the exit without laying a finger on those questionable materials, her hands already fishing around her wallet for the exact change.

"Marron? Where are you my little firefly? Oh papa's coming to get you!" Krillin called out playfully and if that wasn't enough to indicate his intentions, the loud creaking from old stairs of Kame House certainly did as he made his way upstairs. Rather than getting a standard reply though, he heard giggles coming from one of the rooms. "You need to do better than this young lady! Papa will find you in no time if you keep on making those noises!"

This time a loud gasp registered in his ears, which allowed the father to pinpoint his child's hiding spot. Still, he feigned ignorance and checked out the bathroom first, making sure to give away his own location by bringing his foot onto the floor extra hard.

"Are you here little Marron? Are you hiding inside the bathtub?" As the father said, he pushed opened the shower curtain, generating even more audio cues for his daughter. "Aww bummer, guess you aren't in the tub. But what about the sink? Are you hiding in the sink Marron?"

While Krillin kept up the façade of a clueless hunter, his acute hearing picked up tiny but frantic footsteps across the hallway, followed by the almost silent shutting of a door.

Now aren't you a sneaky little imp Marron? Too bad it would take more than that to fool your old man...

Still feigning stupidity, Krillin went into the second floor guest room that functioned more as extra space for the small family. He made sure to up the tension for his little one by pretending to search under the bedframe and bedsheet, all the while yelling out phrases such as "are you under the bed little one?" and "hiding underneath the blanket won't save you from me Marron!"

"Aww, I guess my little angle isn't in the guest room. Now where could she be? It's almost as if she's vanished," there was a long pause from the father deliberately letting those words sinking into Marron's mind. "I've searched the downstairs kitchen, the bathroom, and the guest room. Hmm...oh I know, I'll look for her in my room!" Krillin pondered loudly, almost breaking into an evil laughter as he imagined her tense expression.

The door to his and Eighteen's room creaked opened slowly and in walked the hunter looking for his prey. At first glance, there was no way of telling where the girl could be which made the retired warrior proud of his daughter's hiding skill, even if he could clearly sense her presence from the faint life aura.

She's very good at being stealthy, makes me wonder if she picked this up from me or Eighteen. I mean I did hide from Frieza's gang for quite a while and Eighteen was a thief who managed to spy on me at the post office...

"I see you Marron," Krillin announced even if there was no sight of his daughter, "you are hiding behind the bookshelf!" he darted toward his destination, creating a loud thud on the wooden floor. Marron was evidently trying her best at not being spotted; however, as no surprised yelp could be heard even with her father's close proximity.

Impressive...now I can always just home in on her energy signal but that would be too easy...oh, but this will definitely work...

"Marron, do you want to know the story behind the strangely orange colored wall on the kitchen wall?" The father announced loudly and took a seat on his double bed, "so years ago before you were born, papa was baking cake for grandpa Roshi's birthday when mama came downstairs and gave me a kiss,"

An audible gasp came a corner of the room and upon closer inspection; the seasoned fighter could tell the curtain for one of the windows was shaking slightly. Chuckling to himself, he crept toward his daughter's hiding spot and pulled the cloth away, revealing a platinum blonde girl of no more than three years old with hands covering her face as if such an act could shield her from the outside world.

"And papa got distracted by mama's kiss so much he accidentally set the kitchen wall on fire! But since we couldn't get the same colored paint, we painted it orange! So how do you like the story little angel?" As Krillin talked, he took his daughter into his arms in a firm hug and was reciprocated by the girl hugging him back.

The moment Marron moved her hands aside; she revealed her sparkling ocean-colored eyes as warm and clear as the seawater surrounding their island home. Peering into those two adorable orbs that almost shinned a bluish hue, the father found himself mesmerized by his spawn's beauty.

Her eyes looked so much like her mother's, except Marron's obviously inherited my eye-shape...Eighteen's eyes are very pretty indeed, almost enchanting and dare I say, exotic. Our daughter's eyes were cute and innocent though...

"I like the story papa, but you cheated!" Marron whined and bumped her small fists against her father's chest.

"I'm sorry firefly, but you are too good at hiding. Daddy has to use tricks to find you." Krillin consoled as he slowly rocked the object of affection in his arms back and forth.

"Really?" She chirped happily, seemingly proud of her skills.

"Of course little angel!" He gave her cheeks a kiss, earning him a giggle and a kiss on his cheeks. "Now what do you want to do next?"

His little girl wondered as she put a finger to her lips while her began blinking in a pondering manner. "I...want to draw something papa."

"Then draw something we shall!"

The duo made their way into the tiny yet well-decorated room full of cute drawings from Marron. The father couldn't help but to feel his heart flutter with pride at the scene, his mind meanwhile had went down the memory lane, a memory lane he could hardly believe his family had experienced together.

While the little girl was busy creating more artworks that will undoubtedly be hung on their walls later, the father gingerly reached out for an image of Marron held in her mother's arm and him behind them, his arms wrapped around their shoulders. In this particular scene, the entire family was dressed in explorers' uniform completed with hats, boots, and camera around their neck.

I remember this...we were out exploring the wildlife on a nearby island and Roshi had snapped the photo for us...I can't believe our little one is old enough to wear a mini-sized explorer's attire already...

"Papa, look Papa! I have something for you!" The father was pulled from his reminiscing by his daughter tugging at his sleeves. Turning around, he found his girl holding a colored drawing depicting their hide and seek game, showing him sneakily walking toward the curtain and her hiding behind her cover shivering. Although the figures were simplistic and lacked refinement, there was a certain charm to the bold use of line, not to mention the color scheme was vibrant and vivid.

"Do you like this papa?"

Krillin's emotional brown orbs were watery from a flux of emotion. "Y-yes I think so Marron. Why don't you tape this on the wall and we can show mama once he comes back?"


Before the duo could finish their current task, they heard the sound of their front door opening and closing, followed by the familiar voice of a woman admonishing someone named Roshi for watching his entertainment in broad daylight. This female's voice may be sharp and, to some even inhumanly cold at times, for the father and daughter, it was a source of comfort.

Marron immediately sprang up onto her feet and dashed for the door, chanting "Mama's back!" repeatedly as rapid tiny footsteps resonated through the hallway.

"Slow down princess, you don't want to trip and hurt yourself do you?" Krillin reminded sternly and, praise Dende high on the lookout as he would say, the energetic girl slowed to a walking pace.

By the time Krillin was downstairs, the younger blonde was already gathered in an older, equally adorable woman's embrace. Marron was recounting her many adventures that morning excitedly, her little mouth fluttering open and close nonstop spewing out sometimes-jumbled together words that were all but impossible to understand. Eighteen meanwhile had the look of a gentle mother with all the patience in the world, her gaze was tender and her head nodded every now and then, showing her daughter she was paying attention.

"And papa told me you kissed him on the cheeks when he was cooking, and he burned the kitchen wall!"

Krillin almost chuckled aloud at the sight of his wife's face paling. He could see the older blonde tried shooting him a frosty look but to the husband, her effort at appearing angry only gave him a blush that deepened the more she narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips.

Call me a masochist, but Eighteen's actually very cute when she's half-mad at me...

"Mama, why are you staring at daddy?" Marron asked innocently.

The two blue-eyed women shared a look then both turned to look at the man, who almost died of pride at the two pairs of jewel-like orbs radiating with beauty.

Yup, beautiful just like her mother's...only Eighteen's got alluring cat-like eyes and Marron has those round cute ones...

"Nothing Marron, I'm just checking out your father's noseless face and thanking Uncle Sixteen in heavens you are born with one." Eighteen teased, the corner of her lips stretching near her ears in a wide grin.

Krillin raised his hands as if to defend himself from the verbal attack. "Ouch sweetie! Do you have to be so mean to your dear husband?"

Eighteen shook her head at his childlike behavior. "Oh I'm sorry husband dear; here let me make it up to you!"

The cyborg woman stood up on her feet with her daughter still in her arms and began sauntering toward the shorter male, her piercing eyes glued onto his face the entire time. Once she was right next to him, she bent down and kissed him right on the spot where his nose should've been.

"Lacking a nose does make kissing you easier though. You know why Kril?"

"W-why's that babe?" Krillin was still a tad dazed from the show of affection.

"Cause at least you can't breath into my mouth when I'm kissing you!" Eighteen remarked as-a-matter-of-factly.

Marron followed her mother's example and gave her father a smooch on the same spot. "You look handsome without a nose daddy!"

Krillin scratched his mop of black-hair trying to control his rising temperature. "Thanks angel!"

The trio stood there in comfortable silence, too immersed in their little world to notice even those under the same roof. As fate would it though, this peaceful moment was quickly shattered by their neglected friends.

"Err...sorry to interrupt you guys, but some of us would like to have their lunch thank you." Oolong's stomach growled and Roshi quickly joined in on the growling club.

Eighteen spared the pig a disapproved glance but didn't bothered retaliating verbally. Krillin and Marron merely laughed lightly, already used to their housemates' antics. Turtle, who had decided to come into the house, could only raise his two frontal paws and shook his head.

Luckily for their hungry friends, it only took the couple half an hour to cook up meals for the entire household as they worked side-by-side, turning raw ingredients into steamy hot cuisines with their teamwork. Oolong, not wanting to be left behind, had rolled up his sleeves and prepared some of his trademark deserts. Little Marron tried offering her help too as she delivered wooden chopsticks and other non-breakable utensils to the dining table, where Master Roshi took and laid them out in orderly fashion.

"Thanks Grandpa Roshi!" The young girl chirped happily admiring her handy work then, with the assistance from turtle who let use his shell as a step, climbed onto her highchair.

"You are most welcome young one. Now just sit back and watch your daddy and mommy do their work okay?" The elderly martial arts master patted his granddaughter's head gently.

"Okay!" Marron replied, her hands already grasping a spoon and fork, her expectant eyes reflecting off the adults bringing plate after plate of food.

The extended family of six would spend their time leisurely enjoying the fruits of their labor all the while making small chitchats. For Krillin and Eighteen though, lunch was just another time to be around their daughter as the two sat on either side of her, helping the energetic little girl getting her desired dishes and, more importantly, making sure she wouldn't choke on them.

"Mama, why aren't you eating?" Marron finally asked, puzzled by her mother's constant gaze.

Eighteen paused briefly unsure how to respond while Krillin chuckled lightly, "Mama just likes to look at you Marron. You are her little angel after all."

The little angel furrowed her eyebrows at the comment, "But I want mama to eat too." As Marron pouted, she scooped up a spoonful of salad and pushed it toward her mother's direction in a demanding manner, "Here mama, eat!"

The cyborg woman knew from her daughter's serious expression refusal wasn't an option. Her husband seemed to agree with his defeated nod.

She can be just like me, stubborn and not taking no for an answer at times...

Marron was getting more impatient by the second, even to the point of slamming her tiny fist on her highchair. "If mama doesn't eat, then I won't eat!"

"Okay Marron, make sure you deliver it into mama's mouth okay?" Eighteen tugged some of her loose strands behind her ears and opened her mouth hesitantly.

Please don't be like that one time when she splashed spaghetti all over my face...

The rest of Kame House also eyed the encounter worriedly, save for Krillin who took out a camera and got his two girls into the frame.

Eighteen might act aloof at times, but she can never get mad at our little girl...even if Marron missed her mama's mouth...well, in either case I'll capture something good today...

Lucky for the older woman, her daughter managed to hit the mark so the mother played her part, acting like she was enjoying the best dish of her life, even as an audible click resonated through the room.

"That was delicious, thanks little angel." Eighteen flashed her daughter a fulfilling smile.

Marron nodded her head happily. "Marron's happy mama's enjoying lunch!"

Another click reached their ears and both turned to greet the zoomed in lenses pointing at them, their merry expressions captured by yet another press of the button.

"You girls looked great." Krillin exclaimed.

Marron gave her father an ear-to-ear grin, only to sour from some unknown thoughts.

"What's the matter Marron? Is something the matter?" Her father inquired worriedly while her mother chuckled knowingly, already guessing what's on her daughter's mind.

"Why's papa not eating his lunch? Here!" The young blonde demanded, extending a spoonful of food to her father.

The caught-red-handed parent had no choice other than opening his mouth obediently.

Cleaning dirty dishes afterwards was done with the same efficiency as lunch preparation, with Eighteen scrubbing food residuals clean before handing them to Krillin who placed them in neat stacks. Marron was held in her Grandpa Roshi's hands, who walked around the round table, allowing her granddaughter to swipe the stained surface clean with a wet cloth.

"So you guys will only be absent for the weekend right?" Oolong asked as he placed the last leftover inside the fridge, which was packed to the brim.

"No you pig, we'll be gone for the next month...of course we'll be back next week. Why hadn't we cooked enough to last the weekend?" Eighteen remarked sarcastically having already figured out what he meant behind those words.

"Probably...but you know, having something more to eat is always good," Oolong scratched his head sheepishly.

The blonde woman almost palmed her head in embarrassment, "Aren't you one of the cooks before I came here? Anyways I bought you the frozen pizza you ordered. It's in the bag."

"Oh great thanks Eighteen! You are the best!" The former Kame House cook dug into the plastic bag and took out a paper box carrying a sizzling pizza image.

Oolong's gleeful demeanor attracted little Marron's attention, who quickly scurried beside the pig wondering what the commotion was about, her curious orbs lighten up at the saliva inducing picture. "What is this? I want some of this too!"

"No Marron, you don't want to eat that! We have something more nutritious for you!" Eighteen quickly interjected as she picked up her daughter protectively.

"But mama...it looks so delicious," Marron furrowed her eyebrows and pouted, hoping it would change her mother's mind.

"No but Marron, that's not very healthy you understand? Don't let the image fool you. What's inside is completely different." The mother stated sternly, her own stubbornness on full display.

The blonde girl lowered her head at her parent's remark. Even at a young age, she knew better than talking back to her mother who had already put her foot down. "Sorry mama...I just want to try something new that's all."

Eighteen hugged her offspring tight, planting a kiss on her forehead in the process, "It's okay little angel. Mama understand. Hey you know what? You'll get to eat something new tonight when Uncle Seventeen cook you his famous barbecue," she cooed trying to lighten the mood.

It did the trick too seeing Marron's face lit up like never before. "Yay! Uncle Seventeen's barbecue!"

It was Oolong and Roshi's turn to drool at the sound of food. "Wow, ehh...can you bring some of that barbecue home for us Eighteen?" they asked in unison.

The cyborg woman narrowed her eyes but rather than freeze them with her deadpan glare, her mouth curved up into a devious smile. "Of course, I'll be sure to bring home all the pork I can carry!"

While the turtle hermit was still licking his lips, his companion's hopeful expression lost all its color that instant. "On second thought I'm good Eighteen, thanks for the offer though..." he muttered.

"B-but the juicy meat..." Roshi tried protesting.

"I said no Roshi, how would you like to eat roasted old man?" Oolong spat still wearing a horrified look.

Eighteen chuckled slightly finding their banter endearing. What's more important though, was that her husband and daughter enjoyed their oddity, with her Kril laughing so hard he had to hold onto his stomach while Marron waved her hands wildly as if watching a comedy.

"Don't worry Oolong, I'll eat all the pork so you don't have to!" The little girl cheered innocently.

"Whatever little one, you are too young to understand my pain." The pig sighed dejectedly.

Marron, still oblivious as to what the problem was, stared at the downtrodden animal but eventually relented, deciding to focus on the most important matter at hand as a certain raven-haired young man surfaced in her young mind, "So when do we leave for Uncle Seventeen's home?" she asked tugging at her mother's shirt.

Eighteen and Krillin shared a look then both turned to look at the clock which read one past noon. The sky outside was still bright and full of early afternoon energy typical of tropical island climate but they knew their mountainous destination can be a different story.

"Soon Marron, we'll leave right after packing up our stuff." Eighteen remarked.

"Yay!" Marron screamed.

The trio made a brief stop to an all too familiar looking post office where Krillin, along with his two ladies, made their way inside holding onto one another. Perhaps they looked too happy together, or perhaps it was for some other unknown reasons, but the small family caused several heads to turn their ways the moment they stepped through the automatic door.

"If this isn't Krillin and Eighteen! And of course their lovely daughter! How have you guys been?" A brown-haired clerk greeted happily as if talking to old friends.

The former warrior monk couldn't help but to grin smugly at the praise about his family. Beside him, Eighteen wore a faint but pleasant smile while Marron acted as if she was about to sprint to the counter, only held back by her parents' grips.

"Is there anything from Uncle Seventeen?" Marron chirped like a little bird, her urgent voice reaching the counter even before her body did.

The clerk smiled at the girl's eagerness, "Uncle Seventeen you say?"

"Uh-huh," Marron sang, her small hands resting on the counter supporting her small figure off the ground.

"Uncle Seventeen...Uncle Seventeen...well what do you know, here's your letter from Uncle Seventeen young one!" The brown haired woman said handing Marron an envelope a bearing her uncle's playful signature, making her dance in joy.

As Marron gawked at the gift in her hands, the clerk took the opportunity to study this round faced blonde closer, "She's grown quite a lot since the last time I saw her."

"That she certainly has." Krillin chuckled at the sight of his daughter's energetic high jumps.

"She's like the perfect mixture of you and Eighteen too. She's got her mother's attractive hair and eye color but inherited your cuteness Krillin." The brunette added blushing slightly, her eyes lingering on the haired former monk perhaps a tad longer than should.

Although the father and husband couldn't be prouder at the comment, going as far as getting all red on his face, the wife apparently had something to say as she wrapped her arms tightly around his shoulder that made her spouse gasp in shock. Krillin felt like he was in heavens from both the verbal and physical show of affection, until he noticed the arctic gaze from Eighteen, which reminded him her grip around him was perhaps a bit too firm.

"Yes I agree my husband is very cute and what's more, he's all mine!"

Both Krillin and the brown-head tensed up at the jealousy-laden remark.

"Ah...of course Mrs. Chestnut. Hey, you know I'm happy for you both right?" The Clerk added hastily.

The cyborg wife loosened her tense expression, even grinning slightly at the Mrs. Chestnut comment that made her felt slightly possessive. "Yeah I know. You've always been very patient with my Kril so thank you I guess."

"Y-you mean it?"

"Uh-huh, as long as you stop making a pass at Mr. Chestnut," Eighteen mouthed those words in a mixture of playfulness and threatening manner.

"Will do Eighteen Chestnut!"

They left with smiles on their faces. Marron had now opened the envelope and was now reading what her Uncle Seventeen had written for them, her observant orbs glued onto the words trying to make out what they meant.

"D-dear Sis?" The little girl glanced up at her mother who nodded.

"Yes Marron, dear sis. Uncle Seventeen is talking about your dear mother." Krillin answered as he climbed back onto the driver's seat while the two Chestnut females took up their seat beside him, with Marron making herself comfortable on her mother's laps. Soon the vehicle roared into life, causing the blonde girl to squeal as she felt her head sank into her mother's shirt.

"Dear Sis, it's been what? Almost half a year since the last time we've seen each other hasn't it? I hope you aren't missing your brother dearest too much!" Eighteen began reading at a slow pace; her finger pointing at each individual words, letting her daughter knew how to pronounce them.

"So how's your adorable little family doing? Is my brother-in-law doing alright? Is my lovely niece growing up well? Can't wait to see you three."

Marron giggled as did Krillin while Eighteen raised an eyebrow.

"I may be late for our reunion unfortunately. Our little one can be quite a handful and loves to keep both Carly and me up all night. No, she doesn't cry as much but still loves to cause us some trouble so do expect some noises this weekend. Was Marron the same way? I can't believe you never complained to your brother before!" The mother read with a knowing grin, her eyes drifted lower to look at her no-longer infant of a daughter and her heart fluttered as memories of Marron's growth flooded back to her.

Yes brother, Marron's just like that when she was born, keeping both me and Krillin up all night but you know what little bro? You'll come to miss your child's infancy after it had passed...just like how I'm going to miss little Marron once she becomes big Marron...

"Mama...mama...why did you stopped reading?" Her daughter's adorable voice awakened the cyborg mother whose distant look turned sheepish.

"Your mommy's just walking down the memory lane that's all Marron. You were and still are quite a handful young one!" Krillin said softly to which Eighteen could only nod in agreement.

"I'll see you lovely three on Friday night. Don't forget to bring some good food. We are staying at our old place for the weekend after all. Stay strong sis! Your Dearest Brother Seventeen!"

After finishing the letter with a smile, the cyborg twin kept it unfolded so her daughter could reread the message to her heart's content. The little girl still had trouble pronouncing some of the words but after several arduous tries, she succeeded in reading from start to finish without assistance from her mother.

The proud parents couldn't help themselves but clap at their offspring's achievement. Their child was growing and learning fast, and that was all the adults could ask for.

Outside the window, the scenery was beginning to transform from vast sparkling ocean and archipelagoes to bigger landmasses, all of which were absorbed by Marron who cheered gleefully at the change in geography. The little girl kept on pointing at different places with her chubby finger, asking her mother incessantly what they were and challenging her knowledge to its full extent. Occasionally Krillin would swerve their aircraft around particular points of interest, such as large cities and mountain peaks, to give her a closer look.

"Mama mama! What is that city? It looks so huge?" Marron screamed at a large metropolis at a distance, its many skyscrapers and sky bridges visible even at a distance.

Eighteen peered at the vibrant scene miles away, even going as far as zooming closer with her cybernetic vision. Eventually her eyes settled on a large mansion she had seem umpteenth times on the television housing a so-called world savior. It was a place she had avoided during her many trips back and forth Kame House all those years ago, not exactly because of the fraud living there per say, but she simply enjoyed scenic and tranquil flightpaths.

"That's Satan city Marron. It's one of the largest city in the world home to several million people. Rumor has it even the King himself once considered relocating his palace here." The cyborg explained patiently trying to sound enthusiastic even if she couldn't care less.

Marron squealed delightfully at the combination of her mother's description and the impressive sight. "Wow! I want to visit there someday. Can we mama papa?"

"Maybe if you are a good girl Marron." Krillin beat his spouse to the comment, knowing how little she viewed the guy Satan city was named after.

Eventually, Marron's near endless reserve of energy petered out and the girl began yawning as her eyelids grew heavier. She snuggled closer against her mother's chest, trying to find the most comfortable spot for a nap.

Her observant parents noticed their daughter's change in behavior too. Reaching inside her bag, Eighteen pulled out a small blanket reserved solely for this occasion and covered her child with it. The cyborg became a makeshift bed for her child, her arms encasing Marron's small frame in a protective embrace while her soft skin allowed the girl to rest against comfortably. If that wasn't enough, soothing heat poured out of her skin like an electric blanket and the girl snuggled even closer against the source of warmth. For Krillin's part, he avoided any sharp turns or sudden accelerations that would normally excite the little one and instead opted for smooth driving. It wasn't long before Marron drifted into a deep slumber as adorable snores filled the tiny compartment.

The rest of the journey passed on in tranquil silence with neither Krillin nor Eighteen uttering a sound, their attention focused on the trip ahead and their daughter's comfort. So concerned were the two retired fighters for the young life entrusted to them that their breathing became in-sync with the sleeping toddler and three hearts beat as one.

When they finally landed beside a wooden hut up on a hill, the entire world around them had seemingly transformed into an entirely different entity. The sky had ditched its shiny golden appearance for a dim purple orange shade that was made all the more atmospheric by cries of nocturnal creatures rarely heard on Kame House. Their surrounding was quite different too, with brownish leaves blanketed the forest floor while thin layers of snow covered distant mountain ranges.

Krillin turned off the car engine and looked over at his daughter still fast sleep in those protective arms, obviously hesitant on waking their child.

"Marron! Wake up little angel!" Eighteen shook her daughter gently.

"Mmm..." Marron muttered in her sleep, her grips against her mother's shirt tightened.

Both her parents chuckled at the adorable sight.

"Marron! Wakey wakey you sleepy head!" Krillin tried but only succeeded in his daughter rubbing her blonde head against the smooth skin she's resting on.

"Marron, Uncle Seventeen's barbeque is waiting for you!" The father whispered into her ears and was greeted with two pools of ocean blue opening underneath heavy eyelids.

"U-uncle Seventeen's barbeque? Where?" She said in between yawns.

Krillin burst into a hearty laughter and Eighteen had to hold a hand over her mouth to prevent herself from cracking up too much.

"Uncle Seventeen will be here shortly but first we need to get into the cabin." The father said stroking her blonde locks.

Marron sat herself straight on her mother's laps and peered through the window, her dim blue eyes glued at the uninviting house warily, "What is this place? It looked haunted..."

Eighteen clasped her hands on her daughter's shoulder in an assured manner, "It's mama's home before I moved into Kame House little angel and no, it's not haunted, it's full of many wonderful things."

"R-really?" The girl's crystal clear orbs almost sparkled at the comment.

"Really Marron dear, it's got everything Kame House has."

They trudged through thick layers of brown, red, and yellow, their shoes cutting a swatch through bristle leaves, creating snapping noises that excited the young girl as she jumped up and down generating even more sound. It was as if this tropical island dweller had forgotten all about her preconceived notions of the haunted house during her exploration of the foreign environment.

The interior of the cabin would prove to be no less enchanting to little Marron who gasped at the many animal hides and furs hanging all over the place.

"Wow! I haven't been to this place in ages and yet it's surprisingly well kept." Krillin remarked strolling across the mostly dust-free floor.

"Of course Kril, Seventeen and I took turns doing maintenance on our second home for occasions like this. If he did as agreed, this place was cleaned just three months ago and everything should be functioning," Eighteen turned on the light switch and sure enough, a warm orange glow lit up the surroundings, "now watch over Marron okay Kril? I'm going to dust this place off."

"Sure thing sweetie!"

The cyborg woman started making rounds around the house with a cleaning cloth, briefly turning into a blonde blur much to the delight of her spectators. Everywhere she went, lights of different types turned on and illuminated the cabin in all sorts of colors.

Little Marron started clapping as she observed the devices she had never seem in her young life, "Mama! Why's that light flickering?" she pointed at the fire dancing inside a glass tube.

Eighteen brought the ancient device toward her girl, "This Marron is an oil lamp. Mama and Uncle Seventeen used these before we have electric lights. In fact mama has one in her studies."

Before the mother could do any more introductions though, she felt a spark going off in her head akin to a psychic link. Her observant husband also took note of those beautiful eyes fluttering wider briefly accompanied by her mouth slightly agape.

I don't sense any ki or sound, but then again if Eighteen's acting like this, then he has got to be nearby...

"Seventeen? Is that you?" Krillin asked before their visitor could even rang the doorbell.

"Wha...since when did you learned how to sense my presence Krillin?" A bewildered tone replied.

"Oh common darling, he's your in-law," A female's voice corrected.

"U-uncle Seventeen? Auntie Carly?" Marron's ears perked up as she hopped down from her father's side and ran toward the door, her hands latching onto the doorknob that was still much taller than she was. She tried turning the round object as she dangled in mid-air briefly until finally, two adults, a bird perched on the man's shoulder, and a toddler carried in the woman's arms appeared through the opening door.

The raven-haired male in all mountaineering clothing bent down and picked up the little girl, his eyes beaming with pride, "Wow, did you opened the door all by yourself Marron?"

A pair of near identical sapphire-like orbs beamed back at him, "Yes Uncle Seventeen, I want to see you so badly I can't wait."

The cyborg male ruffled her niece's hair playfully, "Now aren't you a big girl? Isn't that right little bird? You also think Marron's all grown up now don't you?"

The eagle, now a seasoned bird of prey, checked out the much younger girl akin to a senior gentleman studying youngsters before letting out an agreeable shriek.

"What does little bird say Uncle Seventeen?"

"Oh, he says he likes you and thinks you are a big girl." Seventeen's words were warm and contained rare traces of disbelief as he held his niece in his arms.

That she has certainly grown...last time I saw Marron she was just a toddler wrapped up in blankets...

"Makes me wonder when will my own daughter grow to your size Marron. You are almost indistinguishable compared to when you were several months ago...," The cyborg father muttered reminiscently, his brain conjuring up perfectly preserved images of infant Marron and juxtaposing it alongside his tiny offspring.

"Be a bit more patient little bro, little Fille will be standing on her feet before you know," Eighteen said having made her way beside her brother's family along with Krillin.

"Hello Eighteen and Krillin and of course, hi little Marron. It's been a while!" The woman beside Seventeen with flaming red hair slightly longer than Eighteen's greeted, her bright smile in combination with the wild locks almost lit up her surrounding area.

"Glad you and Seventeen can make it here Carly. And wow, Fille has grown quite a bit since the las time I saw her." Krillin peered down at the toddler several sizes larger than he had remembered.

"That she certainly has. Fille can actually crawl pretty good now. Isn't that right Fille? You love to crawl around the floor giving your daddy and mommy trouble don't you?"

The redhead's teasing earned her an excited yelp from her daughter and the adults surrounding her burst into laughter.

Intrigued by the comments, Marron tried to get a glimpse of the one called Fille and her uncle gladly raised her to the same height as her cousin. The older child studied the baby's facial features, noting the few strands of flaming red hair and cat-like blue eyes.

"Mama papa, Fille's got Auntie Carly's hair and Uncle Seventeen's eyes!" She exclaimed akin to someone making a grand discovery.

"That she certainly does darling, just like how you have your mama's color and papa's expression!" Carly responded.

After initial pleasantries were exchanged, the cyborg twins pulled each other aside with Eighteen crossing her arms in front of her while Seventeen's hands rested on his hips. Although their distant gestures may say otherwise, the siblings knew from the look embodying comradeship and family warmth this was just a regular checkup, their mind harboring the same thought.

We've both changed so much...thanks to our families no doubt...

"You look well bro. Looks like Fille isn't as much of a trouble as you said in your letter." Eighteen was the first one to speak, her male counterpart's familiar frame reflected in her eyes.

"Thanks sis, and you look...hmm...what's the word?" Seventeen put a hand on his chin as he scrutinized his blonde twin.

Eighteen arched an eyebrow but otherwise refused to show other signs of unease, knowing this mischievous twin of hers enjoyed getting a reaction out of her, "Yes baby bro what is it? Just how do I look?" she challenged haughtily.

Her younger brother's grin only grew more devilish, "Mmm...I was about to say you looked gentler and much softer. Yeah that's it, am I glad your Kril and Marron can bring out another side in you."

The elder sister was strangely touched by those taunts but she kept up her poker face, "At least I've changed dumbass. You were just as brattish as all those years ago."

They eyed one another before letting go of their façade, both ending up in each other's arms that wrapped tightly around bodies that had been around since their existence.

"Missed you Seventeen. You got yourself a good family. Proud of you!" Eighteen rested her head on her twin's broader shoulder.

"I'm even prouder of you sis! I didn't know it's possible, but Krillin is even happier than at your wedding day or when Marron was born." Seventeen hugged her back even tighter pouring all his emotion into the embrace.

No longer by their lonesome selves, the cyborg twins and their families transformed the desolated house into a lively party, the two story wooden hut filled with undiluted laughter.

Eighteen had taken her daughter and husband to her old room, completed with a desk, oil lamp, and dim electric bulb on top. The sky outside had darkened entirely by now, it's cool bluish hue a sharp contrast to the warm glow coming from her sanction of a room.

Marron's exploration mode was on full throttle as she crawled on top of the wooden surface full of scratches, her finger tracing each mark as if trying to figure out their cause like a little archeologist examining evidence much older than she was.

"Mama, this feels warm just like papa's study room desk."

"That it is Marron. I guess mama's written too many letters for your papa hasn't she?" Krillin sat in front of the old desk feeling all the energies stored inside its wooden surface for himself.

The cyborg woman blushed at her family's comments, her mind drifting back to that fateful stormy night when she had chosen to make the trip across boundless oceans just to let her daughter's papa knew that she, despite having shouted at him, who was just a short bald warrior nearing retirement, cared.

In her endless reminiscing, she had forgotten her daughter was looking at her puzzled, "Papa papa! Mama's looking weird!"

"Does she, maybe mama just need some loving!"

Before the cyborg woman could object, her husband had grasped her hand and pulled her onto his laps, coercing a loud gasp from her lips.

"There babe, does this make you feel better?" Krillin planted a kiss on the back of her neck, his hands encircling her waist refusing to let her escape.

Little Marron squealed at her mother being flustered and leapt onto her mother's arms. The family of three sat awkwardly on top of one another in yet another group embrace, their bodies surrounded by residuals of artificial energy a certain blonde cyborg girl had left all those years ago. For outsiders, the trio appeared so comfortable and could fall asleep anytime, that was until the man at the bottom complained.

"Heh...my legs are feeling kinda weird. C-can you girls move off me for just a second?"

"Hey, this was your smart idea Kril, so why are you complaining now?" Eighteen's words were biting cold but her response was anything but, seeing her bottom rubbing against her spouse's legs in a playful massage kind of way before getting off his laps.

Later that night, the two families were treated to an old school Seventeen's barbecue as the cyborg male cooked up meat not just from around the house, but also from thousands of miles away underneath the calm surfaces of Southern ocean waves brought by his sister dearest. The combination of forest wildlife meat and seafood reduced all present into lazy sacks of meat as all collapsed on the dining room table, too stuffed to move a muscle.

Until a certain cyborg male suggested that they go out for some fresh air that was.

"Are you sure Seventeen? It's quite chilly outside. Marron and Fille can get cold." Eighteen's words were laden with worry.

"Common sis, our kids can always wear more and besides, don't you know the reason why I summoned all of us back here this weekend?"

The young wife and mother shook her head, "No, I just don't want the girls to get sick."

Krillin was also laboring his brain trying to guess what his in-law wasn't telling them, "Don't tell me there's some kind of celestial phenomenon."

Seventeen nodded smugly. "Exactly, as expected from my sister dearest's husband."

They climbed their way up the roof and made themselves comfortable, with soft blankets underneath their bodies and thicker sheet over those needing them. Seventeen was holding his wife and daughter in his arms, his finger gently caressing two of the three women of his life lovingly. The park ranger's eagle companion had made itself comfortable too as it rested against its human friend's side. Right beside them was Eighteen who had now rested her head on her Kril's shoulder, their daughter sitting in between them as the girl snuggled against her parents' warmth. Together, the expanded cyborg family behold the beautiful night sky that could be so impossibly vast and even unfeelingly cold but on its flipside a wonder to behold, especially when viewed alongside loved ones.

"Wow! I'm seeing stars I don't see back at home!" Marron wondered aloud.

"Of course little one, we are in the Northern Hemisphere now! The sky is a bit different." Eighteen said, not lifting her head from the broad shoulder she now claimed as her pillow.

The stars up ahead continued to blink and shine like they had done eons ago, mesmerizing the small clan below. What really made the spectators drop their jaws in awe; however, was the gradual appearance of streaks of light across the starry sky.

"Papa mama, what's going on? It looks like the stars are falling down from the sky!" Marron asked innocently, her voice more curious than scared.

Eighteen stroked her daughter's head gently, "It's a meteor shower Marron,"

"Which is basically a bunch of shooting stars," Krillin added, his muscular arms wrapping tighter onto his loved ones, "why don't you make a wish young lady? I'm sure whatever you wish for it will come true!"

The cultured former monk's words drew a light chuckle from his cyborg wife but their little girl seemed to buy into it whole heartedly, her eyes closing and her hands held together in a prayer like pose she had seem her father do at times during his meditation.

All eyes became glued on the adorable pig-tailed girl.

"Is little darling Marron making a wish? How cute!" Carly said.

"So what's your wish Marron? Tell us!" Seventeen chimed in while little Fille groaned happily wrapped in layers of blanket.

Marron looked at her parents and both gave her an approved nod, and so she began.

"I want little Fille to grow up well, I want Uncle Seventeen and Auntie Carly to be happy, and..." The offspring of Artificial Human Number Eighteen and Krillin the z-fighter paused briefly as if gathering energy in her tiny body before continuing, "and I want mama and papa to always love each other!"

Her parents couldn't help but to gather their little girl in a tight embrace. While their labor of love chirped happily latching onto the married couple, the husband and wife shared a loving, tender look as crystal blue orbs met emotional rich brown ones that drew them irresistibly closer. That night underneath the celestial fireworks that seemed to celebrate this unlikely reunion, the lovebirds shared a passionate kiss, their hope for the future clear as the heavenly bodies watching over them.

A/N: This is it folks. I'm calling this story done. There won't be any more epilogues as I have nothing more to add to this series, which is more than completed by this point. Thanks for all the support during this long journey. When I started this story, I just want to write a K18 get together piece that all K18 fans have written throughout the years. Little did I know I would write this many chapters in a little over a year.

For those wishing for a continuation about this specific plotline, feel free to read up on Adventure of the Chestnut Clan, as I considered many of the one shots there linked to this piece.

I'll also be starting to work on another long series that's very different in tone but somewhat related to this piece. Until next time.