What Could've Been

Chapter 15: Jealousy

"No Eighteen, so what if you and that other girl share the same childhood, the same tragic past? They don't justify what you've done."

"I can't...not then and certainly not now...I...I simply can't hang around someone whose hands are stained with my friends' blood and only stopped...NO! Made to stop from taking lives by a stronger fighter."

"Please, you need to leave. I'm...touched by your turn for the better but...it's too late for you,"

"For us...,"

Future Krillin's heavy words laden with untold suffering resonated in Future Eighteen's mind like a wrecking ball, destroying whatever pillars of hope she had left. What really shook the deceased killer to the deepest depths of her soul were the monk's unspoken reactions; however, as there was no shaking off his expression overflowing with what she could only describe as disappointment and betrayal. No amount of eye shutting and headshaking brought her any relief either, for those pale, lifeless orbs that should've been a heart-grabbing reddish brown seemed to have been permanently etched into her memory.

A trickle of hot tear threatened to drip down her cheek but the proud cyborg quickly wiped it off, revealing a pair of watery eyes that burned hot red even without the targeting system coming online.

Why...why did you hurt me so Krillin? Was it intentional? Do you want to punish me too? To see me suffer?

I gave you a chance didn't I? I treated you...kinder...so why this?

Her balled-up right fist was trembling in rage at this point, so much so she nearly smashed that artificial energy filled limb against the closest object, namely King Kai's residence. Stopping mere inches from the yellowish wall, she retrieved the unclenched hand now shaking for a completely different reason.

Reflecting off the curved window was the dark grimace of a murderess harboring not a trace of compassion. The arctic gaze and cheeks not flustered out of love but of hatred rendered the deceased killer unrecognizable even to herself or at least, nothing resembling the troubled cyborg girl on screen.

It's just like what Krillin said, I'm not her...I can never be her...

And no amount of repenting can bring back those innocent lives I've destroyed...

Certainly not Krillin's...

Feeling the last ounce of energy drained from her, Future Eighteen's legs gave out underneath incalculable grief and her unsupported body crumbled.

"Hey sis! What's gotten into you?" Future Seventeen, who had been calling for his twin non-stop ever since she had left or rather, lumbered away from that cursed human's meditation spot, yelled frantically seeing her free falling frame.

Temporarily unaware a soul couldn't be killed again, by overwhelming sorrow or otherwise, the panicking brother rushed forward in breakneck speed, arms extending forward and palms facing up. He felt his fingers brushed softly against her arm but still came up short as a loud thud followed by the audible friction of body sliding down concrete met his ears.

"Uhh sis? Sis? SIS!" The younger sibling's voice grew more urgent as did his shaking on her yet the elder sister remained catatonic as ever like an empty husk. Swallowing a nervous gulp, the fearless cyborg even considered brushing away those beautiful blonde strands currently curtaining off his twin's face, something his female counterpart had only ever done for herself, when a sob hit him.

Instinctively, his target system switched on that instant.

That noseless midget freak...I swear by Sixteen's name I'll drag him over here and force him to apologize to her...

And if I have to fight the entire planet then so be it!

"Bro...did I deserve this? Was I in the wrong?"

Manipulated by the single-minded urge to inflict harm, Future Seventeen almost missed his sister calling out to him. "Of course not sis! And I'll have that bastard correct his attitude in no time." He spat vehemently and took another heavy step that shook the tiny planet.

"E-even if we've slaughtered all his friends then him and millions of innocents?" Her voice bore a distinct hopeful tone.

He spun around with such force that a gust of wind flattened all grasses within eyesight. "I don't care what we've done," There was a brief pause during which his crazed eyes met her expecting ones, persuading him to soften up somewhat, "that scumbag's messed with you and he'll have to answer to me!"

Well said brother dearest, make that nobody pay...

And for what? Repeating the truth to me?

If Future Eighteen was still her old self, she would have most likely stood by and watched gleefully at the spectacle that was sure to unfold. Much to her own surprise; however, guilt of knowing she'll be the catalyst of a certain monk's torture was enough to prompt her to wrap both arms around him in an unbreakable grip.

"Sis?" He exclaimed bewilderedly, half his anger seemingly evaporated despite internal protests.

By Sixteen, have I grown so weak to the point I'd let someone get away from harming sister dearest?

"It's okay bro...I'm...in a forgiving mood today. Let's save that...midget freak's punishment for another day. Please...just stay with me now." She implored, teary face buried against his back.

Rigid due to unresolved issues at first, her partner in crime nevertheless gradually followed her lead. Both were soon cuddled together beside their host's dwelling, seeking solace in each other's warmth.

While they were locked in a trouble-freeing embrace, none of their uncharacteristic reactions escaped King Kai's keen senses. Stroking his antenna and evidently in deep thoughts, the Guardian of North Galaxy eventually let out a sigh as, albeit pained by the arduous journey his guests have to undergo, knew better than straying from duty.

Besides, there's no way they'd want to stop the viewing now, even if it only brings more suffering...

Sharing the exact same thought was none other than Future Krillin. Currently meditating under his favorite tree, eyes closed and breathing even, the deceased z-fighter had the outward appearance of someone whose conscious had left the confines of his incorporeal body but in reality, his inner peace was in turmoil.

Eighteen...and Seventeen...w-why can't you two see the evil in your ways earlier? Your fates...our fates could've been vastly different...

Even if you don't follow your other selves footsteps...I'll still be...content...

We can just be friends...

It took mustering all his resolves from running after the former killers, especially since the murderess's guilt-ridden expression wouldn't stop haunting him. This pitiable sight, when combined with identical visuals of the present cyborg girl, made distinguishing them near impossible.

Realizing his outlooks for the two artificial humans were merging, a very real possibility he couldn't allow to happen, the well trained warrior monk set out to free himself of lingering illusions. Inhaling then exhaling steadily, he recomposed a proper meditating posture and re-embarked on the spiritual journey.


By the time Future Seventeen and Eighteen re-entered King Kai's oval house, two cups of tea were already waiting by the table, its mind soothing aroma having a pleasant effect immediately.

Without a word, the duo took their seats and downed the liquid. The replay of their alternative selves' lives soon began, whisking them away to a familiar yet faraway world.

It was mostly dark save for a sea of dazzling light at a distance, a mesmerizing backdrop neither could expect from their own universe due to obvious reasons that they quickly brushed aside. Concentrating on the scene at hand, their enhanced visions gradually picked up outlines of two individuals leaning against trees and probably perched on elevated position.

"So uhh sis...," A male's curious voice rang softly, "ya sure this is what ya wanna do tonight, especially considering...ya know...what's happening tomorrow?"

There was a brief pause in which faint noises of the city below reigned, and then a female's determined words took over. "Of course little bro. Besides, why should we stop our routines just cause of the...," she halted akin to fussing over the right term before finally blurting out, "event tomorrow?"

"Oh I dunno. Maybe it's cause you might want to prepare for the said event?" The person now identified as Present Seventeen asked cheekily, dragging out his sister's carefully chosen expression.

"A-and why would I want to do that?" She retorted hastily.

"Cause you don't wanna disappoint you know who?" He replied, using code names no less and still sounding rather smug.

Yet another period of silence followed, one that saw a hardly noticeable blush occupying the blonde teen's barely illuminated cheeks. "I...I don't think he'll be disappointed, he just doesn't seem like that kind of guy...but...whatever, that's not important!" She yelled abruptly, causing her listener to jump from his spot. "We've wasted enough time here. Let's get going bro! We don't want to keep them waiting." She concluded resolutely, a sharp contrast to her wavering tone from earlier.

Clearly not waiting for or perhaps, not wanting to hear his reply, the elder twin quickly leapt off the cliff they stood on, leaving her raven-haired counterpart chuckling in amusement.

"Alright sister dearest, if you say so...ya love struck puppy."

As the present cyborgs flew across the unmistakable outskirts of North City in tranquil quietness, their future selves couldn't help but automatically contemplate on what they had heard, imaginations running wild thanks in no part to the inactivity.

Future Eighteen especially experienced a strange aching in her chest. It wasn't mere physical pain from fights or even death, nor emotional trauma conjured by viewing their childhood hardships or absorption by the bug monster who also must not be named. No, this felt strangely hollow, not to mention somewhat bitter and cold. It was a heavy burden the former terminatress had never experienced in her living and deceased times combined, one she immediately labelled as unwanted and undesirable amongst many other terms.

Is other me going out with Krillin? Is that what the event is?

As in a...a date?

B-but why? Why can she do it and not me?

As soon as these dark thoughts materialized from abstractions into concrete statements, another feeling, the all too familiar guilt surfaced.

And why not? She's a good girl and deserves happiness!

Cause unlike you, SHE'S NOT A KILLER!

Boiling tears were on the verge of cascading down those physically flawless cheeks yet again, or at least until a mood brightening prediction came along.

But wait a second, I haven't learned what that event is yet, maybe it's something else...yeah that's got to be it...she probably hasn't the courage to ask Krillin out...

Or perhaps she got rejected too!

Yes...just like me...there's no way Krillin would want to be with a non-human freak!

A devious grin had occupied her angelic face, wiping away any signs of her ongoing reformation before a strong desire for happiness swelled up from deep within. Shocked by polarizing mood swings, she bolted straight up, uncontrollable waterworks pouring from those widening orbs.

"Hey sis, don't overthink it alright?" Always the loyal companion, Future Seventeen had interjected, hands already resting on those stiff shoulders in a gesture guaranteed to draw her attention.

All Future Eighteen could do was nod in total silence.

The distant cluster of lights meanwhile had expanded into a nighttime cityscape, its illuminated windows and bustling traffic represented in the form of moving dots all within sight, symbolizing the sinless characters of the present cyborgs. Perched atop a skyscraper that granted them unobstructed view of their surroundings, they surveyed the activities below as a unit, combined vision forming a complete three sixty and eyes even flashing analytical yellow hues.

An unquantifiable period measured only by the thinning of crowds from raging torrents to trickles had passed when at last; a lonesome vehicle cruised by a dodgier part of town then flashed its headlights in quick successions, one bright followed by three dims.

As if long awaiting for the signal, the surveillance team sprang into action sporting excited smiles. So speedy were the duo that the two summoners jumped in their seats, heads bumping into the headliner.

"La...I mean Seventeen and Eighteen! I'm so happy you guys can make it!" Black-haired, green-eyed Jade, whom Future Seventeen remembered vividly as having accidentally triggered his present self's self-destruct system with his human name, quickly corrected.

W-why is other me rendezvousing with someone who nearly killed him? This doesn't make any sense...

"Yeah, you wouldn't believe just how much sister is looking forward to seeing you two again! She can't wait to show off some of the tricks taught by Eighteen!" Garnet the redhead, whose eyes were the same fiery brown shade, chimed in, earning him a jab to the waist from his sibling.

"Quiet bro! That's supposed to be my surprise of the night!"

"Hey common sis, I'm just trying to help you out here."

"No you're not!"

Despite earlier misgivings, the deceased cyborg male couldn't help but chuckle warmly at the sibling banter as his mind drew similarities between themselves and the orphans. The older blonde on the other hand found her mind eased by the unfolding tale and willed that troubled mental state of hers to immerse into this cozy atmosphere brought upon by the familial interaction. Driven by subconscious desire to enhance the sole remaining sensation capable of bringing peace, those blood stained hands moved on their own, linking tightly with her brother's in an unbreakable bond.

"Hey, it's okay Jade, I'm sure your bro's just excited for you." The younger blonde meanwhile counseled as she stood in between the quarreling duo.

Evidently still upset yet not wanting to displease her mentor, Jade nodded, not without sticking a tongue out at Garnet that is.

"Wow, thanks Eighteen, you are such an understanding person!" Garnet beamed happily at his rescuer and was met with a gentle, near human smile.

"Tsk...if only you know how bossy sister dearest can be!" Present Seventeen had raised an eyebrow and muttered quietly, something his older counterpart couldn't agree more as he threw a dirty glance at his twin.

Seemingly unaware of her sibling's disapproving remark, Present Eighteen's attention was trained squarely on the orphan pair. "So, what's the target tonight?" she asked, eyes sparkling a familiar, gleeful glint.

"That is also a secret miss! Why don't we get into the car first?" Jade proclaimed cheekily before stealing a mischievous look at her brother then continued, "cause I'm sure bro's about to show you his well-honed driving skill!"

"Aww, now you've ruined my surprise sis!" It was Garnet's turn to whine, to which the sister once more made a face.

Show the cyborgs his driving skill Garnet did, as he cruised through the streets of North City effortlessly and was right by a heavily fortified building advertised as 'Lucky Jewels, The Largest in Northern Hemisphere' in no time. Perhaps wanting to prove a point, he had daringly sped past a police station, kicking dust all over the place and disappearing prior to any patrols managed to give chase.

W-wait...why are our other selves assisting with a break in to a...a jewelry store of all places? D-don't they know this was what caused them to be captured?

A flood of unpleasant memories invaded the two viewers, who shuddered at the thought of their imprisonment, assault by a vile Red Ribbon Army agent named Crimson, not to mention life-altering finale by the twisted mad scientist. This summoned a sense of foreboding and, despite knowing none of their past assailants posed the tiniest threat to them even if crawled up from the graves, still shifted uneasily in their seats.

"That was some nice driving indeed. I see you've taken my advices to heart!" Evidently impressed by Garnet's driving and, perhaps having no recollection of how robbing a similar establishment had been their downfall as pure humans, Present Seventeen, who had sat beside the young boy, gave him a high five upon arrival.

"Thank you Seventeen, and I'll have you know I learned from the best!" The fiery redhead declared proudly before taunting his sister, "now let's put your lock picking skill to the test Jade!"

"Gladly, and I won't take any unnecessary risks unlike you bro!" The black-haired female sporting a green dye job retorted then winked at her mentor, whose radiant smile brightened the girl's tense expression.

D-did we really have apprentices of our own? And from the same orphanage of all places?

Pleased albeit still nervous about what's to come, the future cyborgs watched in silence as the infiltrator in training worked her magic on the elaborative security system. Cautious step by step, she made her way into the store interior without conjuring any unnecessary sound. This drastic improvement hadn't gone unnoticed by the two viewers and, in spite of experiencing s strange heaviness in their chests, clapped in approval even when both knew neither recipients of such applauses could possibly hear them.

"W-wow! I don't believe this, I've really done it! W-with this much goods, we don't have to risk our lives for quite a while!" The lock specialist stammered as she marveled at the mountains of gemstones.

Present Eighteen was also visibly taken aback by the sheer size of the place but quickly regained her composure. Turning to the younger girl, she flashed her a genuine smile accompanied by stern words of "You've done well Jade, but we all know breaking in is only half the job."

"Oh of course, we have to get out in one piece right?" Jade asked, her emerald-colored eyes sparkling as they met the blonde's sapphire ones.

"That's right, now let's get to work." Was the former master thief's assuring yet no-nonsense reply.

For the future cyborgs, the continued resemblance of this heist and their closing performance as orphan leaders was all too uncanny to offer any comfort. Lazuli or rather, Present Eighteen even supervised the robbery like old times, stripping the many glass containers clean of precious jewelries and leaving behind empty but non-shattered husks unlocked with greatest precision. Soon, loud clattering of metals rang from the previously weightless bag that was now beyond the lifting capacity of one; seeing Jade and Garnet had to work together just to haul it back.

Present Seventeen, who was examining the rundown vehicle sporting a frown, whistled at their bountiful loot. "So, is that all or are we waiting for more?" His asked in an amused tone.

"Y...yup, this...huff...this about does it!" His apprentice was only able to answer in between breathless pants after dropping the stuffed bag into the trunk, sinking the car visibly down, its tires creaking in protest.

"Wow, I'd say that more than does it!" The raven-haired cyborg exclaimed before raising both hands.

Not missing a beat, the two pure humans leapt up and high fived him mid-air. As they accelerated toward the ground in perhaps too high a speed, their bodies were wrapped in a warm embrace, drawing giggles and laughter amongst other jovial reactions.

If Future Eighteen was feeling under the roof prior to the viewing began, it was Future Seventeen's turn to experience the dire prospect of never on the receiving end such happiness. At the imagery of his present self holding the kids and spinning to resemble a merry-go-around, the deceased murderer was waging an internal conflict of wishing the still living youth the best and wanting his world to fall apart much like his own.

Is...is this how sister dearest felt when that scumbag monk rejected him?

A-and how will Jade and Garnet from my universe react to me? Will I be hated? Certainly not loved right?

As he descend deeper into this icy, suffocating wormhole, his trembling hand instinctively grabbed hold of his sister's tighter, which she reciprocated by taking him into a hug she hoped was no less heartwarming than one shown on screen.

It's okay bro...sister dearest's here...screw those bastards, we only need each other...

Right?

Unaware of his future self's plight, Present Seventeen wouldn't stop rotating like a top till the orphans started grunting and whimpering. This accidental infliction of discomfort brought forth a giddy chuckle from Future Seventeen, only for him to be silenced when his counterpart rubbed the kids' backs apologetically.

"It's okay Seventeen, I think we just had too much fun!" Jade beamed at the cyborg, her undiminished, almost idolizing smile striking deep into the deceased viewer's heart.

"Yeah, we are perfectly fine Seventeen." Garnet reassured, still stumbling but grinning wide nevertheless.

"Oh...okay...well if you two are sure, then I'll go check on sister dear!" The cybernetic enhanced teen blurted out sheepishly then, akin to a child caught in the act, promptly escaped into the jewelry store.

He discovered his partner in crime on the third floor holding several glistening items. So immersed in the task was his twin that she didn't notice him until he was standing mere inches away.

"Oh hey bro, help me out will you? According to your male aesthetic, which one of these looks the best on me?" She produced multiple necklaces, four of which featured gemstones of different colors while the last one a string of priceless pearls.

At her younger self's seemingly innocent question, the older blonde stiffened despite having already mentally prepared for such occasion.

W-why would she need bro's input? No...it can't be...

As per usual, Present Eighteen acted without considering her future self's feelings. Seeing how equally stunning the young girl appeared wearing pretty much anything and knowing just how impressed a certain noseless midget will be made the deceased woman's stomach turn.

Present Seventeen; however, was evidently rather impressed by his twin's choice and kept on nodding in approval. "I can't decide sis, cause you look great no matter what!"

"Really? You mean it?" The elder twin's voice was ladened with doubt, her hands shaking in complete different reason than the dead murderess's panic induced trembling.

"Of course sister dearest, besides, there's no way Krillin will say anything negative even if you don't look good. He's just not that kind of guy." The younger sibling reassured as if stating a fact.

At that moment, Future Eighteen's mind went blank and her heart stopped.

"Well, if you say so bro, but I think I'll keep them all just in case. Maybe Jade and Garnet can help me decide which one suits me the most!" Present Eighteen's rosy cheeks and dreamy words filled with hope was about as polar opposite to her viewer's frosty exterior as possible.

T-this is indeed life-changing development...blast these jewelry stores!

While they slowly drove away from the scene of the crime, the cyborg girl once more tried on those newly acquired necklaces, garnering more praises, not to mention reddened eyes from a certain individual.

"Wow Eighteen, you really are beautiful!" Jade remarked, sporting a blush visible despite inside the dim automobile interior.

"Thank you, so which one looks better on me?" The model inquired again, albeit with her quivering voice in check.

"And be extra careful with your choice girl, cause sister dearest is going out on a very important date with someone special tomorrow!" Her brother, who was riding shotgun beside his apprentice, interrupted abruptly.

The results were loud gasps and a car that nearly steered into nearby streetlight before Garnet regained control in the nick of time. Even Future Seventeen, who had been rather silent in the face of his sister's stormy mood, couldn't help but laugh aloud.

"BRO!" Both Eighteens roared; one flustered resembling having a fever while the other freezing cold.

"Aww common sis, you want the best advice don't you?" Present Seventeen continued cheekily.

Before Present Eighteen could protest further, Jade had leaned in dangerously close and began a thorough examination. Large beads of sweats were visible on the cyborg girl's cheeks now as she sat there all rigid and obeying the fragile human's command of trying on different necklaces. It was an adorable sight that managed to penetrate the older cyborg woman's wintry exterior against all odds. Letting out a tender sigh, Future Eighteen felt her non-living heart began pounding faster as if she was the one being studied.

Finally, after what must've been an eternity, Jade straightened up and declared in a commanding yet dreamy tone befitting her age, "I think the sapphire necklace looks the best on you Eighteen. I'm sure your date will be beyond impressed!" she paused, cheeks flushing mad. Behaving extra shy all of the sudden, the girl swallowed a gulp then pressed on with teenage-like-curiously, "So ehh...mind telling us this man's name? You know, this gentleman who's lucky enough to win you over?"

Win me over? Yeah right...

Kril...No! No, no, NO! I don't want to hear his name again!

"N-no w-w-wait, K-Krillin didn't w-win me over!" Face redder than a neon sign and mind probably jumbled much like her future self, Present Eighteen stuttered uncontrollably, blurted out words all twisted together in a near incomprehensible way.

"Oh! So his name is Krillin!" Both orphans exclaimed in sheer delight, unknowingly hammering away at Future Eighteen's sanity.

"Well, I'm not sure about Krillin winning sis over already," Present Seventeen muttered in a pondering fashion, arms crossed in front of his chest and eyes skyward.

This reassuring statement brought a momentary relief for the rejected killer whilst her younger counterpart displayed a barely noticeable frown, until the cyborg boy blurted out the next part in a surprisingly sincere tone, "But believe it or not, Krillin had actually rescued us on multiple instances. Sis does have a good reason to fall for him."

By now, Jade was squealing like she's the one going out tomorrow while Garnet nodded in approval, their reactions seemingly galvanizing Present Seventeen, whose sincere look gave away to a mischievous ear-to-ear grin his viewers were all too familiar with.

"Oh and I'll let you two in on a little secret," The present cyborg youth had paused abruptly and waited till two pairs of expecting eyes were glued onto him before continuing, "sister dearest and Krillin have been exchanging letters for quite a while now. I kept on telling her she needs to see him in person but alas, she's just too shy."

Suffocating silence reigned as Jade merely gawked at her mentor, her mouth slightly opened and glint of her eyes displaying what could only be described as bewilderment. The future killers fared little better either, for Future Eighteen snorted aloud while her brother snickered, both chastising the younger blonde for using such human invention to communicate with a certain midget man.

"B-but why don't you simply visit him? Surely you know his address right?" The apprenticing thief pressed, depriving whatever little personal space the blushing cyborg girl had left.

"Yes she does, but sis isn't confident she can keep herself in check seeing Krillin in person." Present Seventeen answered after it was obvious they wouldn't get one from his window-facing twin.

Oh please, what's so difficult about talking to a worthless little man who rejected you...I meant me...

"Okay, but how about calling him, you do have his number right?" Even Garnet the driver took his glance momentarily off the road and threw the master thief a puzzled look.

"Actually, we don't have a phone at our place but let's just say even if we do, little sis doesn't trust her voice when she has to speak with Krillin." Once again, the self-proclaimed older brother had to explain when all his twin did was going even redder to the point of sweating profusely.

Pathetic, had it been me, I would've gave that trash a piece of my mind on the phone!

For saving me and purging my mind of...no darn it, her mind of the nightmares of the past?

"Wow! She really is shy!" The orphans on the other hand exclaimed, unbothered by the polarizing thoughts of a certain former killer who was having difficulties distinguishing the events of two timelines.

"That's right kids, so listen carefully, especially you Jade cause I don't want you to learn this bad habit from sister dearest okay?" Present Seventeen asked good humoredly.

"Okay Seventeen!"

"Make sure you are more forthcoming with the boy you like okay?"

"Don't worry I will! And good luck Eighteen with your date! I'm so happy for you! It must mean a lot for you to spend a day with this Krillin in person!"

The aforementioned cyborg girl pouted but nevertheless nodded sheepishly, face full-on tomato-red yet eyes sparkling of hope. As for the deceased murderess, her cheeks burned while skin remained frigid cold. The co-existing of extreme temperatures and complicated basis behind such reactions ate away at that limited reservoir of mental strength until a throbbing headache went off like a bomb and the surrounding world went blank.

Future Seventeen wasn't aware of his sister's plight at first as he merely assumed she had leaned in closer for comfort, only to realize she had went limp against him. A vengeful flame temporarily subdued but never extinguished flared up once more, one he hadn't bothered controlling the slightest.

Gently, albeit rather unnervingly given the deceased killer's foul mood, he rested his life-long partner's head on the table before dashing for the door without warning.

"Hey! Get a hold of yourself Seventeen!" King Kai's command boomed from behind and, when the misbehaving guest refused to yield, literally teleported in front of him, arms stretched wide sealing off the exit.

"Get lost you blue-skinned bastard! That filth is mine!" Future Seventeen threatened, any lingering self-restraints long gone evident in those crimson flashing eyes.

"And you are mine brat! Take your seat or I'll make you!"

The guardian of North Galaxy's uncharacteristically solemnness stunned even himself, but clearly not the terminator who, after letting out a snort, charged at what he deemed as roadblock to his sister's salvation.

Just you wait sis! Once I have that scum beaten into a pulp and begging for forgiveness, you will be worry free!


"Hey you obese bastard! What have you done to my body?"

"You'd better relinquish your hold on me or else!"

Still in the process of regaining consciousness, Future Eighteen thought she'd heard Future Seventeen's frustrated, possibly even pained voice. An imagery of her twin, the last person willing to socialize with her, getting tortured by their host flooded in and a panic of self-preservation scale set in, prompting her to draw energies from every fiber of her being in an effort to get up, only to find she could barely control those wobbly limbs.

"K-King Kai, please, whatever my brother's done he doesn't mean it I'm sure so just let him go!" The formerly invincible terminatress asked no, pleaded regardless of having yet ascertaining the situation. When she finally set sight on the conflicting duo, a gasp left her quivering lips.

There he was, half-kneeling on the floor and engulfed in a strange aura emitted from King Kai's extended hands. Clearly struggling against whatever force the guardian had exerted, his entire body trembled violently while veins visibly protruded from underneath his fair skin.

"You can't keep me contained forever puny god! I'll break free in due time you'll see!" Future Seventeen snapped, eyes flashing murderous crimson, the telltale sign of activated targeting system.

"It's true if you are alive, there's little I can do. However, as a soul, I have full jurisdiction over your very being." The blue-skinned deity rebuked matter-of-factly before proclaiming in an equally displeased tone, "The reason I let you two go looking for Krillin is cause I thought you had matured enough to take rejections, to know things don't always go your way."

Taking a longer pause, the guardian turned his attention toward Future Eighteen, this time voice laced with disappointment, "As for you Eighteen, why are you so...livid just hearing your alternative self gets to date Krillin?"

"Well...I...," The deceased murderess hesitated. Despite aware of all the rationales, she simply couldn't bring herself to disclose them.

"Is it because you weren't wanted? That you might never win back the chance she has? Or perhaps you believe in what you can't have, others can't either?" Her host pressed on, rather uncharacteristic of his laid-back nature.

"N-no I'm not that...,"

Pitiable...

"Pitiable? Are you sure you aren't? Is this why you two slaughtered tens of millions? Since if you can't be human, neither can they?" Seemingly reading her mind, King Kai demanded.

"Hey leave sister dearest out of this okay? I'm the one breaching the boundary here so punish only me, not her!" Future Seventeen begged in a manner all too similar to that of his sibling's.

Unbeknownst to the fearful cyborgs, this display of unwavering affection for one another had caused the god's stern eyes to soften behind opaque glasses.

And yet they never stopped caring for each other...none of Gero's alterations could make them forget they are brother and sister...twins from the same womb...

Tempted to let his misbehaving guests off the hook but knowing better than cave in so easily, the Guardian of Northern Galaxy put on a fa├žade of displeasure as he paced back and forth his oval residence, arms behind straightened back and head inclined skyward akin to brainstorming for the proper punishment.

"Look King Kai, I won't act rash ever again I swear! Please let sister go!" Future Seventeen pleaded again.

"And I...I may be...bitter toward my other half, but I never meant her any harm!" It was half-truth Future Eighteen knew, but she nevertheless blurted it out in panic, her sibling's safety taking priority above all else.

Deciding he had unsettled them enough, King Kai halted with his back facing his guests then, letting out a deep sigh, turned slightly in a carefully orchestrated aloof acknowledgement. "Fine, I still have my doubts but," another nerve wrecking pause followed, "I'll believe your words this time but try not to forget those human qualities you've regained is that clear?"

"Yes, crystal!" The deceased cyborgs uttered simultaneously whilst minds sharing the same thoughts.

Isn't it human to be jealous of others, to seek retribution on the privileged?

It was something they dared not ask aloud, certainly not at the moment seeing how displeased their warden was anyways and so both took up seats obediently, hoping with enough time passage, they'll be granted more leeway.

B-but on the flip side, isn't it also human to experience joy with others?


The intangible screen showed a familiar yet nearly unrecognizable room, one canopied by scattered garments of all types ranging from stylish coats to plain shirts, decoratively ripped pants to fancy dresses. Standing amidst this rainbow-colored dump was, according to Future Eighteen, her overdressed younger self in a celeste-blue button-up shirt, navy blue jeans, and that same sapphire necklace from yesterday.

In front of the supermodel wrapped in fashion her older self considered outdated by her timeline was Present Seventeen. Perched atop a cardboard box, the only vacant spot, the crammed cyborg male sported a strained expression. It was a sight his deceased counterpart could sympathize with all too well except now, knowing who his sister's other self was trying to impress, irritated him further.

"Well bro? How do I look now?" The ostensibly clothed female asked in an unsure tone, even her hands were fidgeting.

"You look nice sis." Her companion's words came out somewhat impatient, albeit not sounding angry unlike how his future counterpart would've.

His target listener's blonde eyebrows furrowed. "Just nice? Can't you think of other descriptions?"

This time he let out a defeated groan. "Common sister dearest, you can't expect me to analyze literally hundreds of clothing in detail right? You look nic-I meant great no matter what you wear and I'm certain Krillin won't be disappointed." He implored, palms pointing toward her in an imploring manner.

"But...," She tried to protest.

"Oh fine sis, if I am to nitpick something about your choice, it's you are too blue. Like, not gloomy blue, although sometimes you certainly act too serious. Yeah, you just might scare away your prince charming...," He wondered aloud, lips curved up in an amused grin, evidently sinking into a reverie despite under pressure.

"SEVENTEEN!"

"Anyhow, you should try out another color scheme for a change least you infect him with how blue you are!" He relented, throwing his hands up in the air,

A grateful smile occupied Present Eighteen's face, but as she opened her mouth in what the older blonde deemed as about to thank her brother, a doorbell rang.

"Oh great, that must be Krillin! I'll go get him!" Present Seventeen exclaimed, sounding as if freed from heavy burden and prompting both versions of his sister to flush in embarrassment but otherwise didn't complain.

Was I...really this annoying? To the point I get under baby bro's skin?

A quick glance at her loyal companion's sour expression was all it took to confirm Future Eighteen's worries, but the whisper coming out of him next greatly alleviated her guilt.

"Don't worry sis, you aren't anywhere as annoying as her. At least I don't have to see you try on clothes for that midget man!"

R-right...thank Sixteen I...haven't done that...

Since coming here anyways...

It was another great relief for the viewers too when the camera panned away from the lovesick girl and instead followed her twin downstairs. Upon opening the door; however, Future Seventeen visibly cringed whilst Future Eighteen gasped in, to her horror upon reflection a while later, delight swelling from deep within.

T-that's Krillin? But he's never worn anything for me other than his...

Training gi...his standard combat uniform...

Standing by the doorframe was an impeccably dressed Krillin in a plain white suit completed with same-colored top hat, red tie, and shinning black leather shoes. So unusual was the monk in full-body formal wear not only were the future cyborgs blinking in confusion, wondering if there'd been a mistake in footage, but even Present Seventeen appeared taken aback as he mumbled all dumbfounded, "Wow...he's overkilling this just like sister dearest."

Obviously not hearing the speaker correctly, the little clown, as Future Seventeen silently referred to, flashed the younger cyborg male a toothy grin then said in a relieved voice. "So Seventeen, I see you like my style."

"No, I was about to say you dress like a mob boss with that sleazy suit and tie. In fact, if you have one of those black limousines, I'd say you can star in one of those drive by shooting scenes."

So callous was the delivery it made Krillin swallow a gulp in addition to having cold sweats drenching his oval face. Future Seventeen by now was roaring and clapping his hands in unconcealed celebration and although Future Eighteen hadn't displayed the same level of glee, her mind was gradually overtaken by thoughts of just retribution, the old habit of siphoning pleasure out of others' suffering reignited in full force.

"Y-you uhh...you mean it Seventeen? You don't think Eighteen will like this suit?" Krillin stammered without any of the confidence from earlier, head lowered and shoulder slumped.

That's right you scum, there's no way sis will welcome someone who's rejected her previously...

While Future Seventeen's volatile conscious was blurring events from two timelines together, his younger self strolled toward Present Krillin sporting a smug smirk no different than one he wore shortly after crushing a certain mad scientist's head. It was all too perfect for the deceased killer, who slumped back against his chair, eagerly awaiting for another roasting if not more.

Except his alternative self's sinister expression quickly gave away to an amused smile as he nudged the pure human's shoulder.

"By Sixteen, you...you are just as easy to fool as sister dearest." Present Seventeen said in between hearty laughter.

"So...," Krillin asked, looking rather hopeful.

"Well, I'm not sis and never really gets her sense of style, but I don't think she'll dislike it." Came the cyborg boy's matter-of-factly statement. Despite not much of a reassurance, it was enough for the warrior monk to let out weak chuckles while scratching his head.

Excuse me, you'd let this midget off the hook that easily?

"Hey bro, you haven't been picking on Krillin have you?"

If Future Seventeen was disappointed at the lack of confrontation, now his stomach flipped and turned at the scene that followed. Krillin's jaw had literally dropped to the ground upon seeing Present Eighteen emerging in a yellow sweater over her blue shirt. How the alternative version of his sister blushed feverously didn't alleviate his anger either, and soon he was trembling in rage at the shy little spin she put on that gave the aghast midget a 360 view of her dress.

"Do you like it?" The trace of uncertainty was clear as day in her voice to all onlookers, including Future Eighteen who, despite still troubled by mixed feelings, congratulated the younger blonde silently for impressing the nearly drooling man.

"I...you...I m-mean...wow!" Stammering harder than he had earlier, the only achievement Krillin accomplished was fixing his gaping mouth as sounds of dislocated jaw bones reattaching resonated throughout King Kai's house.

"So you like it then?" Present Eighteen asked with perhaps too much urgency.

"Oh common sis, can't you tell he's awed by your look? Isn't that right Krillin?" Present Seventeen shook his head as he nudged the flabbergasted man again.

"Y-yeah, you look great, no sorry that's not right, I meant amazing! I just like how your jeans and shirt matches your eyes and that sweater, it goes along with your hair perfectly! I mean wow, you sure know how to dress Eighteen! And...," Like a floodgate lifted, compliments upon compliments poured out of Krillin in rapid succession, any sliver of doubt long gone and replaced by confidence as if he's merely reciting gospel truth.

Visibly touched if not slowly overwhelmed by the flood of lavish praises, Present Eighteen's cheeks had gone from rosy pink to an increasingly vibrant tomato red while those dim orbs turned tropical ocean blue. The same could somewhat be said of Future Eighteen, as she found herself torn between imagining the Krillin from her universe showering her with the same kind words in conjunction with fuming over his actual response. Part of the former world tormentor had craved the z-fighter to just shut up or better yet, treat her younger self with unquestionable scorn so she may hate him whole heartedly. Instead, hot tears swelled up in her boiling eyes, especially when the blonde on screen walked over to her appreciator and silenced him with a finger to his mouth.

"Thanks Krillin, I understand how much you like my clothes," Present Eighteen paused akin to gathering up courage before saying the next part loud and clear for all to hear, "and that's quite a fancy suit you have there, I like it!"

At that moment, Future Eighteen couldn't hate herself anymore as the look of pure bliss on Krillin's adorable round face was the polar opposite of that anguish-filled expression greeting her in person earlier.

"It's too late for you...for us...,"

"Hey sis, what's gotten into you? Hey King Kai, mind stopping this viewing for Eighteen's sake? She's not handling this too well!" Future Seventeen, alarmed by the silent yet pouring waterworks, pleaded, only to be quieted by the familiar warmth of his sibling's hand on his.

"Sis?"

"It's okay Seventeen, believe it or not, I'm actually quite...alright." She withheld her true feeling at the last second whilst eyes sparkled beneath layers of salty liquids that have since cascaded down her mouth, giving the deceased murderess a literal taste of her own mountainous regret.

Temporarily caught off guard by this transition in mindset, Future Seventeen gazed at his lifelong companion as if she's gone mad but the steely determination in her expression was enough to keep him remain seated.

On screen, Present Krillin had produced a hover car seemingly out of thin air, garnering him bewildered looks from both present twins and a proclamation from Present Seventeen of "My my, he really has a car, one fitting of a mob drama!"

"Well Eighteen, shall we?" The warrior monk had courteously opened the door for his date, even offering a hand and guiding her into the shotgun seat.

"Thank you." The cyborg girl replied, her blush, although lessened, never completely subsided.

"Anything for you Eighteen." Krillin said with such sincerity that Future Eighteen's heart both fluttered and ached in unfathomable degrees.

As the duo were ready to take off, Present Seventeen, who had been watching in amusement on the sideline, suddenly strode forward and placed a hand on Krillin's open-window door, grounding the vehicle.

"Yes Seventeen?" The pure human asked tentatively.

"I am entrusting my sister dearest with you Krillin, so treat her kindly will you?" The cyborg boy asked in an uncharacteristic serious manner. Despite his words phrased as a question, it came across more as an order combined with elements of pleading.

Yeah you no good midget man, you'd better take care of sis or else I'll make you regret it!

To Future Seventeen's bewilderment, Present Krillin's response was a firm nod followed by grasping his younger self's hand tightly in a handshake of promise. If that wasn't enough to alter his outlook, the guarantee made next forced him to reconsider any notions formulated of the little human.

"Don't worry Seventeen, I'll see to it your sister is treated with all the respect she deserves." There wasn't a trace of deception nor insincerity, just plain truthful words that resonated deep within his vengeful heart.


A/N: Thank you and I mean thank you for such a long wait. A bit more than three months is the longest break I've taken from this story I believe, but quite honestly, the burn out this time is real.

Originally, I was planning on publishing this chapter with the K18 date chapter and combine them together to have a thorough depiction of the future cyborg's resentment and jealousy. As I brainstormed the date chapter though, I began to realize just how long the K18 date will be, not to mention I also plan on introducing other elements so in the end, I've decided to publish the two chapters separately.

At the moment, I can't guarantee when I'll publish Chapter 15 as it's still in its infancy. This is not to mention I'm still suffering from a major writer's block. All I can say is thanks for the patience but it may take quite a while to update this.

Anyhow, thanks for everyone's support, I'll try to make sure that I finish another chapter in a reasonable amount of time.