Chapter 1, A Good Man.
A bout of nervous giggles follow the greeting, and Goku especially, among his circle of laughing and joking friends, sharply turns his head to find the source of the interruption. It's not a case of him wanting to find out who called his friend exactly, it's rather that he's always found the giggling sound annoying. He already knows that it's Bulma calling Yamcha, but why does she have to giggle, is what he wants to find out.
To his surprise, however, when his head turns and he comes face to face with the only girl standing close to their circle, he finds that it's not Bulma. Strange, he was sure it was Bulma who called Yamcha like that. From what he remembers, there had been times in the past when she called Yamcha in that strange way, in that strange low voice, in that same particularly strange tone…
And yet, the girl that he's looking at, is not Bulma.
The girl who apparently called Yamcha, is a tall one, with big black eyes and long black hair, which are a big difference from Bulma's. Confused, Goku takes a brief look at Yamcha, to see if he knows who the girl is, because he sure doesn't. She looks like a nice person, well, at least, her face looks like that of a nice person's, but he doesn't know who she is. Or how she knows Yamcha. And that makes him curious.
'Yamcha?' he calls, but turns his face back to the girl. 'Who is this?'
By nature, he's a curious guy, who always wants to know everything around him. That's unless something doesn't interest him, of course. If something doesn't interest him, he couldn't be bothered to really learn about it, but for the things that do manage to hold his interest long enough, he gets particularly curious. Right now, he's curious about the girl.
'Huh?' he hears Yamcha wonder.
That's when he decides to face Yamcha again. The usual confidence in his friend's tone didn't sound as it always does when he speaks. It's like Yamcha's voice faltered without faltering. He wonders if Yamcha's okay; he seemed fine just a second ago when they were talking about their preliminary opponents.
'Yamcha!' Goku says to him.
Only blinking at first, Yamcha looks from Goku, to the girl, and then back to Goku, and once again to the girl, keeping his eyes on her.
'Um…' he clears his throat, which doesn't do anything for his voice anyway (Goku notes). 'Are you talking to me?'
'Yes, silly,' she answers, giggling again, even making her eyelashes do something funny.
Goku wonders if she's got something stuck in her eyes, that's making her do that with her eyelashes. It would make sense if she does have something in her eyes, because he's never seen someone do that before.
'You're Yamcha, right?' the girl asks Yamcha, a small smile on her face.
'Uh,yeah,' Yamcha answers unsurely. 'But, uh, I don't- I don't know who you are.'
'Oh,' she blushes, casting her eyes down to the floor. 'I suppose I have grown up quite a bit since the last time that we met. I'm the Ox King's daughter, Chi-Chi, remember?'
'Chi-Chi?' Yamcha seems to choke out.
Just then, Goku sees her lift her face again to give Yamcha a small nod, the small smile on her face turning into a pleasant one.
She looks really different smiling like that, Goku thinks to himself. It's like she changed into someone else, without changing at all. How does she change with a smile, Goku peers at her carefully, how does she look different and exactly the same at the same time, all because of a smile?
'Chi-Chi… wow,' he marvels, moving closer to her, 'it really is you, Chi-Chi.'
When she said who she is, he instantly remembered her, but with the way that her smile changed her, he couldn't bring himself together enough to react to her introduction; his curiousity for her smile, won over acknowledging her.
Huh, he studies her face, she looks so different from when they were twelve and fifteen, but he's not complaining. Over the years, he's remembered her here and there, and he sometimes wondered what had become of her. Bulma didn't change all that much over the years, except for arranging her hair differently and putting on that red lipstick thing on her lips, but Chi-Chi… Chi-Chi looks so different.
Frowning, she sets her eyes on him to ask, 'Hmm?'
'It's me, Goku, remember?' he happily holds out his hand.
The truth is, now that he's stopped thinking about how different she looks, he's quite glad to see her. He'd been planning to go and look for her once he won the Tournament, but here she is. It seems that she came to look for him instead; he likes that. He likes that she didn't forget what he owes her.
'Goku?' she wonders thoughtfully, beginning to study his face. It takes a little over five seconds, but she seems to recognise him, because her eyes grow even bigger and she cries, 'You're little Goku?' in disbelief.
Mostly overjoyed that she does really remember him, Goku nods vigorously, but then he notices that he also feels shy all of a sudden. As he always does when he feels even a little embarrassed, he rubs his index finger under his nose to display it. He doesn't know, when Bulma and the others marveled at his growth and changes, he didn't do anything but laugh at their surprise. But now, coming from Chi-Chi, he feels a little shy to be called 'little'. She hadn't been much bigger than him at the time.
'Yeah,' he chuckles lightly, trying to ease his shyness away. 'I guess I changed as well, just like you. I remember you being so much smaller, and um…' he quickly looks her up and down, 'wearing almost nothing, not like now. I guess you didn't like to wear clothes back then.'
Either he said something wrong, he observes, or what he said doesn't in any way interest her, because she looks at him like she just took a sip of that horrid coffee drink and like she suffered a horrible distaste, before huffing and looking around to Yamcha.
'Anyway, Yamcha,' she says, 'I still remember what you told me, and I was wondering if you still feel the same?'
Hmm, why did she do that? Why did she look around to Yamcha? He doesn't necessarily appreciate that she did that. Or that she's talking to Yamcha instead of talking to him.
'Huh?' is apparently all Yamcha is able to say.
He, on the other hand, or rather, his curiousity is once again roused, to know what she's talking about. First he thought that she came to find him, but every second that she opens her mouth to say something, it makes it seem like she didn't come for him at all. The strange thing is… he thinks that he doesn't like to know that? He's not sure, though.
Deliberately moving to plant himself in a position where Yamcha would be blocked from her view, he tries to get her attention by asking, 'What did Yamcha say to you?'
Again, like she actually swallowed that coffee drink, she turns her face to him distastefully.
'If you must know,' she starts to tell him, a small frown developing on her forehead, 'he once told me that he was in love with me, and so I came here to find out if he would like for us to get married yet,' she finishes.
The thing is, he gets the feeling that she didn't want to tell him all that, but did it to make him stop talking to her. His suspicion is confirmed when she takes a step top her right, his left and puts on a glowing smile on her face to speak to Yamcha.
'My father already gave me his blessing, Yamcha. We can get married after the Tournament if you like.'
That smile again, he frowns. Okay, this one is a lot more different than that other one, but it still makes her look different, the good kind of different. But wait… so really she came here to find Yamcha, not him? He thought that she came here for him, to find him, so that he could keep the promise that he made.
In his earlier years, Goku didn't know what marriage was, but two years after training with Mr. Popo and staying in a village with a certain girl and her mother, he learned what marriage is, and what a wife is. Sure, he still doesn't get the whole gist of marriage and the like, but hearing that, made him remember his promise to the Ox King and his daughter.
'What?' he hears Yamcha let out hoarsely.
'But,' he spurts at the same time, only, he goes further than one word, 'your father promised me that I could marry you, if I found you. And I did find you, and then we went to Master Roshi's together, remember?'
Maybe she forgot, he reasons, maybe she doesn't remember that promise, but that doesn't change the fact that he does remember it, and that he did make it.
'Goku…' she sighs as though she doesn't have energy.
'And oh,' he says animatedly, 'I remember, there was that time I was supposed to stay so we could get married, but I was in a hurry…'
Yeah, he probably should've stayed that day, but he really was in a hurry and he couldn't have stayed even if he wanted to. After finding out what marriage was, he's thought back to that day and wondered if he should've gotten married and made Chi-Chi his wife.
'I remember, Goku, but listen,' she tells him after another sigh, 'Yamcha once loved me, and… I'm sorry, Goku, I forgot you a while ago.'
'But…' he tries to protest, but again, she steps to her right again.
'So Yamcha, what do you say?' she asks his friend.
'It's about time for the first preminarily match,' the commentator loudly announces, bringing all of them to a halt, 'so get comfortable in your seats ladies and gentlemen, because up next, will be Tien Shinhan and Mercenary Tao.'
Following the announcement, is a little silence that gives Goku just enough time to turn around and face Yamcha, while having a good eye on Chi-Chi next to him.
'Hey, Yamcha,' Krillin seems to remember, breaking the silence, 'aren't you with Bulma?'
'Shut up, Krillin,' Yamcha says through gritted teeth and a forced smile Chi-Chi's way.
'Oh, yeah,' Goku takes the opportunity, 'Yamcha's going to marry Bulma, so he can't marry you. And besides, I never break my promises, I am going to marry you.'
Not once in his life, has he ever gone back on his word. His grandfather always told him that a man who honours his word, is a good man, and since then, he's never been able to break from anything that he said.
'Are you serious?' Chi-Chi pulls a face, giving him a look that he can only describe as funny.
Even though he doesn't understand what her look means, he still nods for an answer, 'Uh-huh.'
'You want to marry me, because of a promise you made as a child?' she asks.
'Yes, I told you,' he answers, 'I always keep my promises. I was going to find you after the Tournament, so we can get married.'
And he really was going to find her. Sometimes, he forgets some things, but as soon as he remembers what he's supposed to do, he does everything in his power to fulfill his word. This isn't going to be any different, and besides, he never forgot that he promised to marry her, it's only that he's been busy all the while, that he never returned to her like he was supposed to.
'People marry for love, Goku,' she tells him, sounding a little annoyed, 'not to keep promises. You can't marry me if you don't love me.'
What? No one told him about that. Of course he doesn't love her. She hasn't been in his life as much as his friends have been, so she can't expect him to love her like he loves his friends. Still, though, a promise is a promise and if it takes loving her to keep his promise, then that's what he'll do.
'Oh, okay,' he relents, shrugging carelessly, 'then I promise to love you, and then I can marry you.'
For a second, Chi-Chi closes her eyes and pulls in a long breath. When she lets out the breath, she opens her eyes, following it with, 'You're impossible, Goku. Don't make promises you can't keep, because that's not how it works.'
He's heard that tone before, more often as a child than in his later years. That tone says that she doubts him, that she doubts his word. He's had so many people doubt him when he said that he would defeat them, and in the end, he defeated them all just like he said he would. He's accustomed to people doubting him, however, with Chi-Chi, coming from her, having her use that tone of doubt on him is… he doesn't even know really.
'I learn really fast,' he tries, 'so you can tell me how it works.'
'Forget it, Goku,' she waves him away, now sounding sad. 'I came here hoping to find Yamcha and start a family with him, but he already loves someone else. I should've expected that. I'm sorry,' she finishes with an apology.
Goku can't tell if the apology is for him, or for Yamcha, or even for herself, for apparently being disappointed, but he knows that he doesn't like that she's disappointed. He never likes it when people don't get what they want.
'No, wait… Chi-Chi,' Yamcha tries to appeal to her, but she shakes her head and begins to leave them.
Goku watches her leave for a few seconds, and then it hits him that he's not one to break his promises. Not only did he give his word that he would marry her, he just now promised to love her. If he lets her walk away, he'll be breaking both of his promises and that will disappoint his grandfather in heaven. It would make him feel bad about himself too, he adds as he continues to follow her with his eyes.
And then it hits him again, if he's going to love her like he loves his friends, she's going to have to stick around him for a while, and go on adventures with him. Also, she has a fight with him after Tien and Tao, so… he starts off after her. He can't just let her leave.
Chapter 2, Broken Vow.