Life With You
Part Thirty-Two: A New Life: Part One
Goku's second memorial happened at her father's kingdom. ChiChi wanted it to be lowkey but with her father nothing is lowkey. The memorial was held in the same room of the castle where she and Goku married. Everyone from the village attended. It was packed to where it was standing room only with the rest of the citizens outside her father's castle.
Unlike the memorial with Goku's friends, ChiChi felt welcomed. There were so many bows and kind words from her father's people. It was almost overwhelming. They all had such high praise for Goku and offered so much support. After the memorial, Gyu-Mao invited ChiChi and Gohan to stay at his castle for a few days to unwind and be pampered but ChiChi thought it was best she and Gohan go home. She wouldn't mind staying but Gohan was bothered. Gohan was grateful to the condolences from the villagers. He spent a lot of time with children who attended but something in the last hour bothered him. He was oddly close to her. He didn't want to leave her alone and ChiChi thought it was his way of saying he's tired and want to go home.
It was nightfall when they returned home. The house was eerily quiet. ChiChi and Gohan carried in food and meals prepared by the villagers. "With everything we brought back, we won't be hungry for meals for a while."
"Especially for rice," Gohan chimed as he carried a bag of rice that was almost his size.
"And produce." ChiChi opened the large box of vegetables one of the farmers gave her. "It'll save some money I would've spent at the store."
While ChiChi began putting items away, Gohan brought in the rest of the food. "This is the last box." Meat was stored in this one. "I'll put this in the freezer chest."
"Thank you, Gohan." Gohan's mood was brighter. It changed when they left her father's castle. Now they were home, ChiChi wanted to know why. "Was the memorial too hard on you, Gohan?" Gohan turned to her puzzled. "You didn't want to stay when Grandpa offered his castle for a few days." There was that frown again. Something did bother Gohan. "Is it Grandpa?"
"No." Gohan turned away and resume placing meat in the freezer chest.
"Then what is it?" She waited but Gohan didn't answer. "Gohan, please don't keep things from me. It's you and me now. We shouldn't keep things from each other."
"Gohan, what are you doing?! Finish it! FINISH OFF CELL!"
"Gohan! You're the only one who can finish it! Do it now! Don't let it get desperate! We don't know what it will do!"
Gohan shut his eyes at the painful memory. His mother could never know. He saw what she did to Krillin. What if she kicks him out of the house? What if she doesn't forgive him?
"Gohan?" ChiChi called again. "What is it? Please tell me."
He couldn't tell her about Cell but he could tell her what bothered him at the memorial. "Does Mr. Kaifun love you? Did he and Mrs. Niver hate Dad because you married him?"
The peppers in ChiChi's hands slipped back into the box. How did he know about that? "Where did you hear this?"
Last time Gohan saw Kaifun and Mrs. Niver, he was with his parents on his way to Grandpa's castle. Mrs. Niver said mean things about his father and slapped him. Dad had to hold Mom back from fighting the old woman. Gohan overheard talks from other adults that implied Kaifun and Mrs. Niver didn't like his parents. He didn't spend time with Mrs. Niver but Kaifun was always kind to him. Gohan figured the stress of the Cell Game caused them to react out of frustration and fear. Kaifun was so kind to him but since that incident, Gohan had suspicions about him.
Despite that, Gohan wanted to thank Kaifun for attending both memorials. He didn't have a chance after the first one since he left with the others to say goodbye to Trunks. After this memorial service ended, ChiChi was surrounded by villagers expressing condolences. Gohan spotted Kaifun and his grandmother leaving. Gohan didn't know if they were leaving to go home or if they were going to the ballroom where food will be served but he wanted to thank Kaifun for coming. He followed them.
"This place is dusty. When I worked here, there wasn't a speck of dust."
"Looks clean to me."
"Hmph. It wouldn't pass my wipe test."
"Just be glad ChiChi and King Gyu-Mao are too broken up by Goku's death they allowed me to invite you to the memorial, Grandma. They could've refused since you are still banned from the castle."
Mrs. Niver harrumph. "Well, if you married ChiChi like you should've I wouldn't have been banned. We wouldn't be having this ridiculous ceremony."
Kaifun sighed. "She didn't want me, Grandma. She wanted Goku. I loved her but she wanted Goku."
Mrs. Niver carried on not listening. "If you waited until Son Goku died, you could've made your move on ChiChi. She's finally free from that waste of sperm. A year or two from now, you could've been her husband and be the father Gohan deserves. You could've put another baby in her but you had to be impatient and settle down with that plain wife of yours."
"Grandma!" Kaifun scolded. "Stop talking bad about my wife. I love her."
"Not as much as ChiChi. I know you still love her. You deny it but I know the truth."
ChiChi had a hand over her chest. Gohan heard all that? What was those two thinking talking like that at Goku's memorial where anyone could've heard them?
"It's true." His mother's reaction confirmed it for Gohan. "Isn't it?"
ChiChi slid in a chair. If Gohan hadn't heard that, she wouldn't tell Gohan anything but now….. "Kaifun did confess being in love with me but he doesn't have those feelings anymore. Mrs. Niver," ChiChi sighed, "she never accepted Goku and wanted Kaifun to marry me."
"Why?" Gohan sat down, too. "Is there history between our families? If Mr. Kaifun loved you, then did you love him? Before Dad?"
"No," ChiChi shook her head. "I didn't love Kaifun but there is history between our families." ChiChi pondered how much to tell Gohan. He's seen so much in his young life. Gohan looked so insistent. He wanted to know and ChiChi knew it will be another shatter to his innocence. "You know Grandpa wasn't always a good person."
Gohan knew. "Yes. You told me how Grandpa's castle was cursed with fire because of the bad things he did. He wasn't a good king then."
"Yes. One of his people addressed Grandpa of his wicked ways. He cursed Grandma, too. Because of that, Grandpa cut off his head." Gohan's eyebrows rose. He wasn't expecting that. "That man was Mrs. Niver's husband."
"Oh," Gohan said after a long silence. "But that doesn't explain why she would be mad you married Dad. Wouldn't she hate you and Grandpa for what he did?"
It would make the most sense but no one suspected the old woman's motives for years. "When Grandpa changed his ways, Mrs. Niver was the first one to forgive him. She encouraged everyone to give Grandpa a second chance. Grandpa was so grateful, he hired Mrs. Niver to live and work in his castle."
Gohan thought carefully of this information and what he knew now of Mrs. Niver. He needed more information so he let his mother continue.
"I thought Mrs. Niver was so kind. So did Grandpa. She was how I imagined my grandmother would've been." Even now, it saddened ChiChi how all of that was a lie. "Kaifun visited a lot. We became friends. Mrs. Niver always hinted how Kaifun will be a good husband for me. When I was sixteen, Kaifun confessed his love for me. I refused him. I was promised to your Dad. Kaifun kept trying even though I always rejected him. Kaifun and Mrs. Niver were very insistent your Dad forgot about me and will not marry me."
Gohan heard enough. He wanted to share his theory. "Mrs. Niver pretended to be nice to you so you will marry Mr. Kaifun." When his mother didn't deny it, he asked, "Why?"
"Mrs. Niver thought for Grandpa to truly repent I must marry her grandson. With us married, we can share the kingdom. What sad is I don't think Kaifun knew of his grandmother's scheme. She used him and he genuinely developed feelings for me. It was a waste but I was too smitten with your Dad to look at another guy."
"When did you learn all this?"
"I was pregnant with you when I suspected Mrs. Niver true intentions. Mrs. Niver never accepted your Dad and never wasted a moment saying unflattering things about him. Kaifun, too. He hated your father."
"What did Dad think of this?"
"You know your Dad. He didn't care what anyone thought of him, but….." ChiChi recalled one incident she later realized was caused by the effects of the full moon. "One night, your Dad wasn't happy. It was a dinner Grandpa invited Mrs. Niver and Kaifun. He wanted to end this tension for me since I was pregnant. Your Dad was different. He was aggressive, protective and argumentative."
"Dad?" Gohan couldn't imagine his father being that way. Aggressive yes, but protective and argumentative?
"It was a surprise to me, too. Your father talked to Kaifun. I don't know what happened between them but Kaifun never openly spoke ill of your Dad again. Even though Kaifun is married with a child, your Dad still didn't trust him around me."
"Because Mrs. Niver is right about Mr. Kaifun?" Gohan guessed. "He's still in love with you?"
Oh, boy. It was bad Goku thought that. ChiChi wouldn't let her son think that, too. "That's words of an old woman who's angry her wicked scheme didn't work. Kaifun's not in love with me anymore, Gohan, so don't worry about him."
Mom believed Kaifun moved on but his father didn't, and if he didn't, Gohan knew he couldn't trust Kaifun around his mother either.
ChiChi awakened a third time that night. She couldn't sleep. Goku died two weeks ago and since his death, she found it difficult to sleep, cook and clean. She only cooked because Gohan needed to eat but she hardly ate herself.
This was so hard. When Goku died the first time, she took comfort in the fact she would see him in a year. Now, she won't see him until she died. That wouldn't be for a long time. If it were only her, she would kill herself to be with Goku but Gohan needed her. She didn't want her son to be an orphan. Goku can't be here anymore but she will be his eyes. She will see their son grow into a respectable young man, marry and give her grandbabies to spoil and tell all about their Grandfather Goku.
Restless, ChiChi got out of bed. Maybe drinking some chamomile tea will help her sleep. When ChiChi passed Gohan's room, she expected silence but she heard a voice. She opened the door and flipped on the lights. Gohan tossed and turned in his sleep.
"No, Dad. Come back. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
The nightmares. Gohan had them after his return from Namek. So lost in her own mourning she failed to consider how Gohan was coping. ChiChi rushed to Gohan's bed and gently shook her son awake. "Gohan. Wake up, Gohan."
"I will kill you, Cell! Kill you!"
The coldness of Gohan's voice chilled her bones. He sounded so venomous; like the person she saw on TV during the Cell Game.
"Gohan!" ChiChi shook Gohan even harder. "Wake up!"
Gohan's eyes snapped opened. His eyes darted in several directions before focusing. "Mom?" ChiChi saw fear in his eyes as Gohan pulled away. "Why are you here?"
"I heard you." ChiChi brushed back the damp hair matted to his sweaty face. "You were tossing in your sleep. I'm so lost in my own mourning I haven't thought of you. You're having nightmares like you did when you came back from Namek."
"It's different," Gohan wiped his eyes. "Dad sent me away to protect me."
"It's not so different," ChiChi told him gently. "He died to protect you."
No, he didn't. He died because I got too arrogant. I killed him.
"Why were you apologizing?" ChiChi asked him. "In your sleep, you were calling for your Dad and apologizing."
His mother looked so understanding and sympathetic but Gohan knew he couldn't tell her the truth. "I just thought I could do more."
ChiChi put an arm around Gohan and pulled him so his head rest on your shoulder. "You're a child. You already did enough. There was nothing else you could do to stop Cell or you would've done it."
That's not true, Mom. I didn't do enough. I could've but I didn't listen to Dad.
"Dad's gone," ChiChi went on, "It will be rough for a while, but we're gonna be okay." She squeezed Gohan against her. "We're gonna be okay."
Gohan nodded quietly. Maybe okay but never the same and Gohan blamed himself.
"I'm gonna go in the kitchen and drink some tea. Do you want a snack?"
"No," Gohan moved away from ChiChi to pick up a book on his nightstand. "I think I will read a little bit."
ChiChi knew reading wasn't what Gohan needed now. He needed sleep but he also needed to talk on what's bothering him. "You don't have to say that to make me happy."
"I'm not. I want to read. It calms me." It also kept his mind off his father.
"Okay," ChiChi gave in not believing him. She kissed his forehead, "But not for too long. You still have to get your rest."
"I will. Good night, Mom."
ChiChi hugged Gohan. "Good night, Gohan."
ChiChi left Gohan's room and went to the kitchen. She sat at the table thinking as hot water boiled in her tea kettle. She thought of Gohan's nightmares after Namek. That year was an emotional wreck on her family. They went from being reassured Goku will be wished back to reassuring themselves Goku will return one day. After that, ChiChi thought their lives will resume to normal.
For ChiChi, normal was her, Goku and Gohan and the life they had before Goku's past returned. After the mess with the Artificial Humans, Goku was going to work. It wasn't only so Goku do something besides fighting. It was a way for the family to resume normalcy again. It was also time for Goku to financially provide for the family as head of the household.
ChiChi relied on her father financially since Goku died the first time. She didn't borrow much when it was only her. With her and Gohan, her borrowing tripled. When Goku returned, ChiChi borrowed ten times as much.
With Goku gone, she won't have to borrow as much but that won't last. Gohan is still a growing boy. His appetite grew over the years and until he becomes an adult ready to move out, he'll eat almost as much as his father. One day, ChiChi decided, she will learn how much money her father has. With what she already spent, ChiChi knew the money wouldn't last a lifetime. Right now, she hoped it will be enough until Gohan is out of the house. Then, she could get a job and make enough money to support herself. Maybe she could live with Gohan and help him raise his babies with his wife.
No. Gohan needs to be alone with his wife like I needed to be alone with Goku when we started out.
The tea kettle whistling distracted ChiChi from her thoughts on money. She rose and took the kettle off the stove. A minute later, she was back in her chair waiting for the tea to finish brewing. She recalled this wasn't the first time she did this.
ChiChi couldn't sleep. It should be out of excitement and not out of fear. Besides her wedding, this so far had to be the happiest day of her life and also the scariest.
She was pregnant.
Goku was happy. She was happy. Her father, too. However, after the celebrations died and Goku and ChiChi settled in for the night, reality set in.
ChiChi was pregnant at nearly 19. She was married but only for a few months. She didn't expect to be pregnant so soon. They made loved often enough. There wasn't a week that didn't go by where she and Goku weren't intimate.
As often they made love, ChiChi wasn't sure Goku loves her. He never said it. He did say he love having sex. ChiChi knew it wouldn't be easy with Goku. He didn't know much outside fighting. He wasn't taught things. She knew it would take some time but she hoped he'd love her before she became pregnant.
Money was another issue.
Goku made enough for them but would it be enough with a child?
ChiChi worried about herself, too. Her mother died when she was a baby. She had no memories of her mother. She didn't want that for her child. She couldn't leave Goku with a child to care for.
"ChiChi, why are you up? Ain't you sleepy?"
ChiChi turned her head to see Goku standing in the kitchen entrance. "I couldn't sleep. Why are you up?"
Goku walked in and sat beside her. "Had to take a leak."
ChiChi frowned. "Goku, don't say that."
"But that's what I had to do," he whined.
She could argue with Goku on the proper wording but knew that will be a lost cause. There were some habits of Goku she could change but she couldn't change his crude language.
"So," Goku repeated, "why can't you sleep?"
ChiChi placed her hands on her stomach. "Just thinking about the baby and what it means for us."
"I thought you were happy about it."
"I am but I'm worried. Will we be good parents? Will we have enough money to provide for our child? Will I be alive?"
Goku reached into a fruit bowl and grabbed an apple. "Why wouldn't you be alive?"
"My mother died when I was a baby. I don't want that for our baby."
Goku smiled, "Ah, you won't die. I'll protect you and if you die, I'll bring you back with the Dragon Balls."
ChiChi caressed her flat stomach. "But Goku-"
"ChiChi, don't worry about things that won't happen. Everything will work out. I know it."
ChiChi leaned back in her seat as she sipped her tea. Goku was always the one to tell her to be positive when she worried. There was nothing to be positive about now. Goku was dead. It was only her and Gohan and somehow she will have to make it work.
Finished with her tea, ChiChi left. She stopped by Gohan's room. He sat in bed reading. She closed the door and continued to her room. How can she be positive when her son buried his emotions and she was so depressed she was sometimes suicidal? How can she piece their broken family back together?
The first step to moving on started with her room. ChiChi removed Goku's clothes from the closet, chest drawers and placed them in boxes. She held back sobs remembering each piece of clothing Goku wore. The hardest was storing Goku's gi. When she was done, ChiChi sat on the floor with a half empty closet and empty drawers. She clutched Goku's gi and cried into it.
This was how Gohan found her. He finished his schoolwork and wanted ChiChi to check it. He didn't expect to find his mother like this. He stepped in the room, looking at the boxes filled with his Dad's clothes. "Mom, what's going on?"
"Oh, Gohan." ChiChi wiped her tears. "I'm removing Dad's clothes. I have to start moving on."
Gohan didn't like the idea of his mother moving on. Moving on meant forgetting Dad. It might mean Kaifun moving in. "What will you do with Dad's clothes?"
"Give them away to charity. They're in good condition."
"Even Dad's gi? No one can wear it but Dad."
"Some martial arts school will take them, Gohan."
"No!" Gohan yelled. "No one can wear them but Dad!" Gohan only raised his voice at his Mom once. It was in the hospital when he wanted to go to Namek. After his talk with his Dad, he promised not to do it again but Gohan felt he didn't have a choice. "I'm sorry," Gohan apologized, "but no one else can wear them."
"All right," ChiChi relented. It was surprising Gohan raised his voice but ChiChi suspected what caused this outburst. Gohan was still bothered about this morning. "I won't give them away but we can't keep them here."
"What about Great-Grandpa's home?"
"I hadn't thought about that."
"I'll put it there." Gohan picked up the box of Goku's gi. "Maybe we can put all of Dad's clothes there."
ChiChi shook her head. "No. Just those. The rest will go to charity. Gohan," ChiChi called him before he could leave. "Are you ready to talk about this morning when Dr. Sims visited? You were very upset."
Of course he was. He blamed himself even more for not killing Cell when he had the chance.
"His heart was damaged?"
ChiChi and Gohan sat at the kitchen table staring at the images on Dr. Sims' tablet. The doctor's visit was unexpected. After seeing Dr. Sims at the memorial, neither thought they will see him again. ChiChi heard Dr. Sims explain the images of Goku's heart twice. She wanted to deny it but the evidence was in front of her.
"I didn't want to mention this at the memorial but I knew I had to tell you about it."
ChiChi stared at the images of Goku's heart three months before the Artificial Humans arrived and the day Goku came out of the Room of Spirit and Time. "I told him. I begged him to see you. He just wouldn't do it."
Dr. Sims was sympathetic. "I understand why. He had a hard choice to make. I wish I knew what happened in that room to make Goku come see me."
Gohan gently pried the tablet from ChiChi's hands. "I know," Gohan enhanced the picture of the damage heart with his fingers. "After our first day, Dad slept a long time. I had trouble waking him up. Dad said he was doing too much too soon but he said it in a joking way."
"Did anything happen after that?" Dr. Sims asked.
Gohan shook his head. "No. I didn't see anything. Something could've happened when I went to bed. Dad trained by himself after I slept."
"I knew it," ChiChi murmured over and over. "He pushed himself too hard."
"At least too soon," Dr. Sims said. "If he waited a few weeks in that room, who knows. I would've like to have done an autopsy but…." the doctor shrugged.
As ChiChi and Dr. Sims theorized what Goku was thinking, Gohan thought about the time he spent in that room. 'Dad knew about his heart. That's why he knew he couldn't beat Cell. That's why he needed me to do it.'
"Why didn't I listen?!" Gohan cried. He slammed the tablet on the table. It broke in half. "Why couldn't I kill Cell sooner?!"
"Gohan!" ChiChi gasped at rage on his face, blonde hair and glowing body.
His mother and Dr. Sims shock startled Gohan. He saw the broken tablet and returned to his base form. "I'm sorry," Gohan apologized. "I didn't mean….."
ChiChi was on her feet and pulled Gohan into her arms. "It's okay. He knows you didn't mean it."
Gohan couldn't take his eyes off the broken device. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry," he murmured." Gohan wasn't sure if he was apologizing to Dr. Sims or his father.
"I'm fine. The news about Dad's heart took me by surprise."
"You were very angry suddenly and then you calmed down. Is it about Dad and that room?"
"No. No," Gohan denied the truth. "There are five phases when dealing with death. I'm still in the anger phase."
ChiChi didn't believe it and Gohan knew it. "I'm done with my schoolwork," Gohan changed the subject. "Can I visit Grandpa?"
ChiChi exhaled. If Gohan wouldn't talk to her, ChiChi hoped he would talk to her father. "Sure. Be back by dinner."
Gohan turned to leave when he passed the chest drawer. Mom kept the frame photos on top. The usual photos were on it but Gohan noticed for a few days one was missing. "Mom, what happened to that photo you kept here? It was before the Artificial Humans. Piccolo took the photo of the three of us."
"I don't know. I thought those monsters took it when they trashed our house but I could've sworn I saw it after we came back. I've looked for it, too. I can't find it." ChiChi pulled herself to her feet. "Maybe I will when I clean up. They say you find things you're not looking for when you clean up. Go on," ChiChi encouraged Gohan to leave. "Go see Grandpa."
"I knew Mom would be sad but I didn't think she'd take Dad's death this hard."
Gohan and Gyu-Mao strolled through Gyu-Mao's courtyard. Without his father, Grandpa was a comforting presence for Gohan. With Gyu-Mao, Gohan thought of the happy times with his family. Fighting never entered his mind.
"You probably didn't notice, Gohan, but your parents love each other deeply."
Outsiders, particularly his Dad's friends, questioned that love when his mother yelled at Dad. Gohan overheard words between Bulma and Krillin when they flew to Namek but Gohan knew better. He knew his parents love each other. How deeply his mother loves his Dad was something he questioned from time to time. It started after his father's first death. The way his mother ignored Dad while he recovered in the hospital had Gohan questioning her feelings. Even after Dad came back from Yardrat, she ignored him. His hitting her did have a lot to do with it but after Mom recovered, things got better between them. When his father was sick, Mom cared for him and never left his side. His parents' interactions at the picnic left Gohan reconsidering his feelings. Perhaps there were things he missed.
If Gohan thought about it, his parents had a good relationship. Things only changed when his Dad died the first time. Gohan knew what that year was like for him but he never thought what that year was like for his parents. Dad was in the afterlife training but what did Mom do? He felt guilty for now asking his Grandpa something he should've asked years ago.
"Grandpa, how did Mom take it when Dad died the first time and I was taken?" Grandpa didn't answer for several moments. Was it that bad? "Grandpa, I want to know. I need to know."
Gyu-Mao dreaded this conversation. "Gohan, you have to understand, you and your father were ChiChi's life. She dreamt of the day she will marry and have children. She was so happy cooking a new recipe and imagining Goku eating it. She spent nights reading baby books and making clothes for you. For years, she lived her dream. In one day, it was over. She couldn't eat and cried so many times. I don't know all she did in that year. She wouldn't tell me because she wasn't speaking to me."
This was news to Gohan. He thought Mom and Grandpa were in contact that entire year. "Why?"
"Master Roshi wasn't the only one who received a letter about your Dad when he was a baby."
"You mean you knew about Dad?"
"I didn't believe it," Gyu-Mao defended himself. "A child with a tail isn't shocking when you think what else lives on this planet. Gohan also said your father was a bad baby. I thought Goku was lonely and needed a companion. Your mother was a few months old….."
Gohan's eyes grew wide. "You mean Mom and Dad first met when they were babies?"
"So, when did you believe Dad was an alien?"
"When ChiChi was pregnant, there were complications. A lot of tests were done. They discovered Goku's blood type didn't match any blood type. When ChiChi was in labor, she almost died. Your Dad gave her some of his Ki so she had the strength to deliver you." To this day, Gyu-Mao regretted his silence. "If I told them, they could've been prepared. My silence almost killed you and ChiChi."
Gohan loved his Grandpa but these confessions were disturbing. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"I thought if I told ChiChi, she would want out of the marriage and being pregnant, I didn't think that would be a smart choice. If it was before—"
Gohan cut him off. "What do you mean 'before'? Before Mom was pregnant?"
Gyu-Mao didn't look at Gohan but he heard the anger in his voice. "Yes. You see, Gohan, I wasn't entirely for your parents' marriage. I was happy when ChiChi told me she and Goku will marry but as years passed, I changed. I wasn't good to ChiChi then. I was in love with my treasures more than what was best for my daughter. I sent ChiChi to find Master Roshi instead of doing it myself. She was eleven years old, didn't know how to fight, didn't know much about the world. That's how much I couldn't be away from my treasures. Anything could've happened to ChiChi."
"I hadn't thought about it like that." Gohan knew the story of how his parents met but his mother always spoke of happiness of meeting his father. She never talked of how it felt for her to be sent to find Master Roshi.
"I shouldn't have done that to her and I shouldn't have offered Goku to ChiChi like she's a piece of property. When Goku didn't return, I thought it was best ChiChi forget about Goku and settle with suitors from my village. There were fine men to make a suitable husband but ChiChi was determined to marry Goku. I had my doubts because Goku wasn't the ideal husband and it didn't seem the marriage was his idea and he was going along with it because it's what ChiChi wanted. I talked to Goku the morning of his wedding and told him if he didn't want to go through with it, he didn't have to."
"What did Dad say?"
Gyu-Mao smiled. "He wanted to marry your mother and he seemed annoyed I wanted to stop the wedding. It gave me hope my worries were for nothing but early in their marriage I feared I was right. Your Mom and Dad got into a huge fight. Goku said things he didn't mean and was kicked out. He didn't return for a few days. Your mother called me crying. I found Goku and told him to work it out or divorce ChiChi. They worked it out and a couple months later, your mother was pregnant with you. Despite resistance from others, your parents really did fall in love with each other and they were very happy."
"That's why Mom didn't want to speak to you." Two things Gohan knew deeply about his mother: she was passionate about his education and her family. "She was mad you kept the secret and thought she would feel differently about Dad if she knew he's an alien. She was upset you didn't have faith in her after all she and Dad have been through."
"You really are a smart child," Gyu-Mao complemented Gohan.
Smart and disturbed about these secrets within his family and the hardships his parents faced.
"Mommy has no idea what happened to you since you saw her a year ago."
"Gohan, your mother has been through a lot this year. There are things she went through I'm just now finding out about. And I'm not happy about it."
Now Gohan understood why his Dad said those things. It made Gohan guilty for his outburst when he wanted to go to Namek. Over the weeks since his father's death, Gohan learned more about the secrets in his family than in his nine years of living. Knowing what his mother faced with people like Kaifun and Mrs. Niver and his Dad's friends at the same time, left Gohan feeling very protective of his mother.
Mom's been through so much and carried it alone. Well, Dad knew so Mom leaned on him. Memories popped in Gohan's mind. Things he didn't think much on now had more meaning. The way Dad looked sometimes when he thought of Mom when they were in the Room of Spirit and Time. Things they said casually around Gohan had deeper meaning for them. Mom, Dad's not here for you to lean on but you can lean on me.
When Gohan returned home, ChiChi stepped out of the pantry carrying a large bag of rice half his body size. "Hi, Gohan. How was your visit with Grandpa?"
Gohan took the bag of rice from ChiChi. "I'll carry that."
"Gohan, I'm perfectly capable of carrying that bag. I carried it when I had you sleeping on my back as a baby. Oh," she gasped as Gohan suddenly hugged her. "What is this for?"
"I'm just happy you're my Mom."
ChiChi returned the hug. "I'm happy you're my son."
Goku peered out the airplane as it descended. This was a lot smoother and roomier than the car he rode in when he had to run Snake Way. "Wow." Goku awed at the planet that came into view. "It's huge!"
King Kai informed Goku, "Good people from all over the universe come here after they die."
Once the plane landed, King Kai and Goku stepped off. Goku followed King Kai as he led the way. He was nervous about this. When he told King Kai what he wanted to do, the Lord of the North took the appropriate steps to make this happen.
Instead of taking a vehicle, Goku and King Kai flew. "This planet is almost magical compared to Earth and other planets you've been to. It creates a familiar environment for those who live here. It makes the transition from living to the afterlife easier."
Flying over, Goku understood what King Kai meant. He saw a piece of land familiar to what he saw on Namek and many Namekians farming. He flew over land similar to Yardrat. If he had a beating heart, it would thump against his ribcage when he saw mountains similar to Mount Paouz coming into view.
"This…. this is home."
King Kai and Goku descended. Goku looked around the familiar terrain of the waterfalls, the mountains, the forests. He inhaled the air. It all looked so similar. This time Goku took the lead walking through forests he knew like the back of his hand. When he stepped from the trees, he couldn't contain his smile.
It was as it was when he was a child. His home with ChiChi and Gohan were nowhere around. It hurt to not see his home with ChiChi but it was comforting to see Grandpa's house, the well and even a stack of wood he always chopped.
"Go call him, Goku," King Kai told him. "He knows you're here."
"Grandpa?" Goku called. He couldn't believe how nervous he sounded. "Grandpa?" he worried when his Grandpa didn't step out of the house. His mind went back to that horrible day. What if King Kai's wrong? What if Grandpa isn't here? What if….
Gohan Sr. stepped out of his home. Goku's feet were cemented to the ground as he saw his beloved grandpa step to him. From his wrinkled face and snow-white mustache, he hadn't changed at all. Goku's eyes were blinded by tears as Gohan Sr. came closer. So many years have passed. So many times he thought of his grandpa.
Gohan Sr. looked Goku over. Pride shone in his eyes. "My, my, Goku, you really shot up! You're as tall as a tree."
"Grandpa!" Goku scooped the old man in a bear hug. "Grandpa, I missed you so much!"
"Can you miss me on the ground?" Gohan Sr. joked. "I like my feet there than in the air."
"Sorry, sorry," Goku gently placed Gohan Sr. on the ground. He wiped his tears but they kept flowing. "I'm so happy to see you, Grandpa." Goku turned to King Kai. "King Kai, this is….." King Kai was gone. "Where did King Kai go?"
"I think he's giving us our privacy. Come, boy. Tell me what you have been doing since I died and why are you here. You look too young to be dead."
"Well, I am." He shrugged. "It's just the way things are." Goku knelt before Gohan Sr. and hugged him again. "I'm sorry, Grandpa. I'm sorry I killed you. I know the truth and I'm sooooo sorry."
Gohan Sr. patted Goku's back. "Don't apologize for something that isn't your fault. I wasn't mad at you when I died. I forgave you. I wanted to tell you but you were still so young." His wrinkled hand wiped away Goku's tears. "Now stop crying and tell me what's happened with you. Last time we talked, you were still a short shrimp. A number of years must've passed since then."
"Over fifteen," Goku confirmed. There was so much to tell Grandpa, Goku didn't know where to start. So, he decided to show Grandpa the biggest change. He dug in his shirt and pulled out a photo. He carried it on him when he died and was happy it crossed over with him. "I guess this is the biggest thing that's happened."
Gohan Sr. held a photo of Goku with one arm around a woman and his other holding up a boy. Laughing, he slapped Goku's back. "Hot damn, my boy! You got a wife and son! Cute wife, too. I didn't think you would get married. Who is she?"
"Gyu-Mao's daughter, ChiChi."
"Gyu-Mao's?" Gohan Sr. laughed again. "That old dog got what he wanted, eh? He brought his daughter over when you two were babies. He talked of marrying you two off." He laughed nervously. "I was too nervous about that because you weren't a sweet baby then."
"Oh, I know," Goku told him. "I'm a Saiyan and I was sent to Earth as a baby to kill everyone."
From there, Goku shared some of his adventures: meeting Bulma, meeting ChiChi, being trained by Master Roshi, marrying ChiChi, finding out about his past and both his deaths. There was so much to tell so Goku kept it simple since he knew he will back here several times to tell his Grandpa about his life in detail.
When he told Gohan Sr. why he stayed dead, Goku felt a sharp whap on the back of his head. "Ow, Grandpa! That hurt!"
"Not as much as it hurt your wife staying dead!" Gohan Sr. hit Goku again and again.
"Ow! Ow! Grandpa, stop it!" Goku rubbed the back of his head. "I know ChiChi is hurt but King Kai wouldn't let me talk to her."
"It wouldn't do any good talking to her if you're gonna stay dead." Gohan Sr. smacked Goku's face.
"You agree with him?"
"He made the right choice but you did, too," Goku thought he was going to get hit again but Gohan Sr. only handed the precious photo back to Goku. "I know it wasn't an easy choice, but there is some good. Your family will be safe and I get to see my grandson again. Time is no limit here so tell me everything."
Goku rubbed his cheek. "You won't hit me anymore?"
"Not unless I have to."
Goku mentally prepared himself for numerous hits by his beloved grandpa.
Weeks past. Goku's death still weighed on their minds. ChiChi thought she and Gohan weren't in the stage of acceptance but they were getting there. Now it felt as if Goku was still on Yardrat. It'll be a tough day when she and Gohan fully accept Goku is dead but ChiChi knew she will get past it. Weeks ago she couldn't but now she felt stronger.
Their moods were changing. They were no longer pretending to smile or laugh. The other day, ChiChi and Gohan laughed over a television program. It was a new routine ChiChi instilled in them. After dinner, they watched TV or play board games. ChiChi no longer required Gohan to read after dinner. She decided all his studies will be done before dinner and afterwards they engaged in family activities.
Since Goku's death, Gohan buried himself in his studies. As much as she loved Gohan resuming his studies, ChiChi realized studying isn't what Gohan should always focus on. He experienced so much in his young life and seeing how Gohan responded to the kids at her father's village, reminded ChiChi Gohan lacked a lot of social activity with kids his age. He didn't have friends his age. His friends were his father's friends and former enemies: grown adults. So, ChiChi brought Gohan to her father's village once a week and allowed him to spend time with kids his age. Many were into an anime encouraged Gohan to watch the anime they all love.
"It's almost time, Mom."
"I'm almost done." ChiChi added the final touches of her homemade ice cream for her and Gohan. Unlike his father, Gohan had a sweet tooth. He liked sprinkles, cookie crumbles and chocolate syrup on his ice cream. ChiChi carried the tray of ice cream bowls in the living room just as Gohan's favorite show started. It was amusing to see how enraptured Gohan was at the show's opening.
"Didn't he lose his powers in the last show?" ChiChi asked as she placed the tray on the coffee table next to the tray of snacks and glasses of milk.
"His key broke so he can't transform anymore," Gohan explained as he grabbed a bowl. "He's gonna get a new powerful transformation in this episode."
ChiChi grabbed a bowl and sat with Gohan. As she ate, the program recapped the last episode that ended on a cliffhanger. ChiChi grinned at the hero posing with declarations of fighting crime. "Does the new transformation include a new pose or speech?"
"I don't know but I hope not." He put a heaping spoonful of ice cream in his mouth. "I like his poses and speeches."
ChiChi stifled a laugh as she scooped a spoonful of ice cream. "You do?" ChiChi thought the poses were silly and speeches over the top. It's great he's heroic and was a good person but ChiChi thought the speeches were, as the kids say, 'lame'. Since Gohan liked it, ChiChi wouldn't criticize it. He needed something to believe in and be happy about.
When Gohan's show ended, ChiChi switched the channel to a program she liked. It was a mystery/comedy of a popular detective series. Gohan curled on the sofa as the program began. "I like this, Mom. I like watching TV together and talking about it."
ChiChi ruffled his head. "I like it, too." It was nice to have normalcy back for her family. Only thing missing was Goku sitting on the other end of the sofa.
"I like you're happy and eating again," Gohan added. "It makes me happy you're not so sad anymore."
ChiChi let the spoonful of ice cream slide down her throat. "I won't lie. It was hard to do simple things since your father died. I think last week was the first time I felt like cooking." When Gohan came out of his room for dinner, food was everywhere. ChiChi spent the entire afternoon humming and dancing as she put the meals together. She cooked so much, they had leftovers.
"You're getting your appetite back," Gohan commented. "I'm glad."
"Me, too. This ice cream is really good." ChiChi scooped the last of the sweet cream on her spoon. "I had two bowls tonight instead of my usual one."
Gohan chuckled. "Mom, you had four bowls."
"Hmm?" ChiChi questioned with the spoon in her mouth.
"You had four."
ChiChi pulled the spoon out of her mouth. "That's impossible. I made six bowls because you have your Dad's stomach. I know I got a second bowl but not four. Those were for you."
Gohan laughed again. ChiChi didn't understand what was so funny. "I had two bowls when you finished your third bowl. I wanted the last one but you grabbed it. I didn't say anything because it's good you're eating. You haven't been eating since Dad died."
That was true and maybe she was catching up on her eating but four bowls of ice cream? Six empty bowls stared at her but ChiChi only recalled eating two. She noticed the empty tray of snacks next to the bowls. Gohan must've eaten all that since she ate the ice cream. "Sorry I ate the ice cream but you got back at me eating the snacks. I only ate a handful of those."
Gohan shook his head grinning. "Mom, you ate the entire tray. I didn't get any."
"What?!" ChiChi's mouth fell open. "That's impossible! I wouldn't eat all the food before you ate."
"You did this time." Gohan giggled while ChiChi's face flushed with embarrassment. "It's okay, Mom. I'm happy you're eating again and I'm not hungry so don't worry."
Gohan was amused but ChiChi wasn't. She couldn't believe she was so selfish to eat all the food from Gohan. ChiChi stacked the empty trays and bowls on top of each other. ChiChi was embarrassed and confused. How did she eat four bowls of ice cream and a pan full of snacks and not remember that? How could she eat so much and leave her son so little? That wasn't like her.
I know I haven't eaten much since Goku died. I guess my appetite's returned but I don't remember eating everything. I can't believe I ate all that food and I'm still hungry. How can I still be hungry?!
As soon as ChiChi stood with the dishes, she dropped them as if a thunderbolt struck her.
Oh my God.
"Mom!" Gohan jumped from his seat. "Are you okay?" He bent to gather the dishes. Luckily, none were broken. Gohan looked up at his mother again. She appeared in a daze. "Mom!" Gohan called worriedly.
The second 'Mom' snapped ChiChi from her thoughts. "Oh, no," she cried seeing her mess.
"I can take of this," Gohan offered to clean up. "Are you all right?"
"I'm…. I'm fine," she stammered. "I'm just a little clumsy."
"Maybe it's because you ate so much food. It overwhelmed you." He stood with the dishes. "I'll put these in the kitchen and bring you some tea."
"Gohan, you don't….." On the other hand, the tea might calm her nerves. "Thank you."
Not trusting her legs, ChiChi sat down. Her heart raced and her skin felt warm. Numerous thoughts raced in her mind as she rubbed her stomach in disbelief. Could I be pregnant?
ChiChi laid on the exam table with her hand on her stomach nervous. She stared at the ceiling counting the dots on the tile.
"Relax, ChiChi," Dr. Barkley told her. "You're not the first woman to be pregnant after her husband died."
"No," ChiChi sighed, "but were they almost three months pregnant?" ChiChi couldn't believe how she missed this. "I know I missed my period but I thought it was stress with Goku dying. I haven't been eating much until recently. What if I am pregnant and I malnourished my baby?"
Dr. Barkley gently pushed aside ChiChi's hand to place cool clear gel on her stomach. "The fact you have been eating a lot lately signifies the child isn't malnourished."
"Maybe, but when I was six weeks with Gohan, I ate so much Goku noticed." ChiChi gripped her doctor's wrist gently as she gazed at her in wonder. "So, you know for certain?"
"We still have to wait on the urine and blood samples and that'll take another half hour but I think you are." She squeezed ChiChi's hand. "Your stomach is slightly distended and the child's heart would've developed now. How about we take a look in you and have a good listen?"
"Okay," ChiChi whispered.
"Do you want to call Gohan in here?"
"Maybe next time." ChiChi shifted. "Besides, he's at the park across from here. I told him I will meet him after my appointment."
Dr. Barkley rubbed the probe over ChiChi's gel stomach. Both watched the monitor carefully. ChiChi gazed at the screen hoping and praying there is a child in her and it's all right. Tears sprang from her eyes when she heard a loud swoosh.
"There it is," Dr. Barkley confirmed. "There's a baby and it's heart is strong. Isn't that heartbeat wonderful?"
ChiChi wept at the image of a fetus in her body. "Is it really all right?"
"Better than all right." Dr. Barkley moved the probe over ChiChi's stomach to follow the child's movements. "I don't see a tail but I can definitely tell the sex of the baby." ChiChi couldn't see but Dr. Barkley's expertise saw the fetus facing them and the visual was near perfect. "Do you want to know?"
"You can tell so soon?"
"Well, if you look close enough, he is letting you know who he is."
"A boy," ChiChi whispered at the fetus on the monitor. "Another boy." Tears blinded her eyes.
"Looks healthy. Heart sounds healthy. I want you back in another month to study his development but judging here and based on your last period I'd say you're between nine and eleven weeks." The fetus turned away from the screen. "You and Goku were intimate on May 11th."
"Yes," ChiChi confirmed. "The day before the Artificial Humans arrival and after he came out of that room with Gohan. That was May 16th." ChiChi could feel her cheeks warming up. She wasn't one to spill the days of intimacy with Goku but Dr. Barkley needed this information. "We were intimate a lot until the day of the Cell Game."
Dr. Barkley nodded as she continued observing the child. "Well, you're looking at the end of January or a first week of February birth." Dr. Barkley wryly added, "You're not the only one. We've had a flood of women coming in confirming pregnancies. All due the same time as you."
"Cell. He announced he will kill everyone on this planet in ten days. If you only have ten days left to live, what are you gonna do?" Dr. Barkley turned off the monitor. She grabbed a cloth and wiped ChiChi's gel stomach clean. "I can't begin to tell you of the number of teens, first time, one-night stand and affair pregnancies that have come in."
"Yup," Dr. Barkley shook her head. "A few women decided to have affairs with their bosses, neighbors, exes, friends…." She snorted. "I shouldn't laugh but doctors are calling it the 'Cell Boom.'"
Gohan sat on a park swing staring at the doors of the building that held Dr. Barkley's office. The morning started off well until his mother told him she needed to go to the doctor. He was assured it was a normal checkup but Gohan worried. Gohan knew his mother wasn't taking care of herself. He lost his Dad. He didn't want to lose his mother, too.
"Hey! Watch it!"
Gohan heard the yell but didn't think he was being warned until a baseball smacked against the left side of his face. "Ow!"
"Are you okay?" A girl asked as she approached. "Why didn't you move?"
Gohan rubbed his face at the dark-haired pig-tailed girl. "I didn't know you meant me."
The girl rolled her eyes. "You're the only one not looking around." She picked up the ball. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." His face stung but nothing harmful. Cell's punch was worse than this.
She looked him over. "You look skinny but you have a tough head."
"Skinny?" Gohan looked himself over. His arms were hidden under his long sleeve shirt but Gohan didn't think he was skinny. "I'm kinda of strong."
"Maybe you are strong," the girl confirmed with a nod. "Your head definitely is but you're not as strong as my Dad. He's the strongest person around."
His Dad was the strongest but Gohan suspected all kids thought their Dads were the strongest. I surpassed you to beat Cell, but Dad you will always be stronger than me.
"Hey," the girl noticed the weird boy looking sad. "Why are you sad?"
Gohan forced a smile. "Sorry. I was thinking about my Dad. He died recently."
"Sorry about that. Wanna play baseball?" the girl offered. "We can use another person."
Gohan didn't know how to play the game. He never had time for games. He was either training for a fight or studying. Besides, he needed to check on his mother. She was in Dr. Barkley's clinic for nearly two hours. That's too long for him. "Sorry. I don't know how to play and I have to check on my Mom."
"Don't know how to play baseball?" the girl remarked as Gohan jogged across the street to the clinic. "What a strange kid."
Videl turned. On the corner rest a long black limousine. "Gotta go!" Videl tossed the ball back to the group of kids now staring at the fancy, black vehicle.
"Hey, it's Mr. Satan!" a kid shouted when they saw the World Champion's head from the open window. Videl ran faster at that announcement. Soon, they will be surrounded by kids wanting a picture or autograph of her father. It was the new life she had to get used to. So far she liked it. Her Dad saved the world. He defeated Cell and because of that, they were living a new life. They recently moved into a big mansion with an indoor pool and gym. So many people wanted to talk to her Dad. They were also really nice to her. Anything she wanted, she got but more importantly, she was proud of her Dad.
The car door opened and Videl leapt inside. As soon as the door closed, the limo drove off.
"Had fun with the kids?"
"Yeah, but I could've stayed a bit longer, Dad."
"Sorry, Baby girl, but we have to catch a plane. We're meeting with the writer and director that's making a movie about me." Mr. Satan laughed boisterously. "Your Daddy is a big man now. I save the world from Cell."
"I know." Videl was very happy and proud of that. "Do you think I can be as strong as you, Dad? I want to be so strong and save the world one day like you!"
Mr. Satan chuckled. "You can but don't worry about that, Videl. Your Dad will always be around to defeat weak punks like Cell and anyone else who try to take over the world." When Videl talked about being strong, it usually led to her asking more questions about the Cell Game and he wanted to avoid that. He almost got caught in a lie the last time he retold the story. "So, who was that boy you were talking to?"
Videl shrugged. "A strange one. He never played baseball."
"Boys like him are wimpy and won't make good husbands. You stay away from boys like that."
"Don't worry, Dad." That strange boy was the farthest from Videl's mind. "Boys like him aren't my type."
Gohan couldn't wait anymore. He had to know what's going on with his mother. The elevator took longer than he wanted but he felt his mother's Ki come closer as the elevator count down to the first floor. The door opened and a group of people stepped out before ChiChi walked out last.
"Gohan. What are you doing here? I told you to wait in the park."
"Are you all right?" Gohan rushed out. "What did Dr. Barkley say?" He saw ChiChi's eyes were slightly red and her cheeks puffy. "Were you crying? Is it bad news?"
ChiChi shook her head smiling. She was touched how her son worried for her. She wanted to wait until they were home but now was the time. "No. It's wonderful news. Gohan, your Dad left me a wonderful gift. I'm pregnant. You're gonna be a big brother."
"Preg…." Gohan's eyes dropped to his mother's stomach. It didn't look big as shown in the books he read. He reached out to touch her stomach but hesitated.
"Go ahead," ChiChi encouraged. "Feel your baby brother."
"Brother?" Gohan was wonderous as he placed his hand on his mother's clothed stomach. He smiled feeling something. It was small but there was a strange Ki coming from here. "I feel it."
Tears dropped from ChiChi's eyes as she presented Gohan an ultrasound picture of the baby. "This is him. He looks healthy and his heart is strong. I'm so happy."
"Wow." Gohan stared at the photo of his baby brother. "That's my brother?"
ChiChi nodded. "Your brother. My son. Dad's son. Isn't it wonderful?"
Gohan embraced his mother. "It's great! It'll be three of us again, Mom! Can we go tell Grandpa now?"
That was on her mind, too.
Arm around her son, ChiChi and Gohan left the clinic happy and talking of their bright future with the new addition to the family.
"When you said we had to take a detour after practice, you didn't say we had to come to the sticks. What is this area? It looks like a world time forgotten."
It sometimes felt like that for Yamcha, too. Yamcha has only been here twice. Once to bring Goku home after the heart virus struck him and again at his memorial. Even with the modern capsule home Goku and his family lived in, it really did feel like he stepped back into time.
"We're almost there, Kenji. Have to see a friend's family. I haven't been by since his memorial."
"He's dead?" Kenji groaned. "Sorry about that. So, he has a family?"
"Wife and son." Yamcha eased his air car in for a landing. "I'm gonna check in and offer Gohan tickets to a baseball game. I bet he's been studying nonstop since his Dad died. He could use a break." Yamcha and Kenji stepped out of the car. "Where are you going?"
"Nowhere," Kenji leaned against the door. "But I've been in your car for an hour. I need to stretch my legs."
"Won't take long," Yamcha promised.
ChiChi stood on the stool in the bathroom as she attached the shower filter to the shower head. "In the bathroom, Gohan."
Gohan walked in and was immediately horrified at his mother. "Mom, what are you doing?"
ChiChi stepped down from her stool. "I was attaching the shower filter to the shower."
If his mother needed this done, she should've told him. "You should've called me to do that."
ChiChi bent to pick up the stool but Gohan grabbed it for her. "It wasn't hard, Gohan."
"It doesn't matter. You shouldn't have been standing like that. You could've slipped and hurt yourself."
"I'm pregnant but I'm not that advanced, Gohan. I'm hardly showing."
"Doesn't matter. It's Dad's baby. I don't want anything to happen to it."
ChiChi smiled wryly at Gohan. "Just Dad's?"
Gohan blushed. That was stupid to say. "Well, yours, too."
ChiChi placed her hand on her stomach. "This baby is precious to me, Gohan. I will not let anything happen to it."
"I know. I want you to have a good pregnancy." And feeling he was to blame for his father not being here, Gohan vowed to not let anything happen to his father's precious gift to his mother.
ChiChi shook her head amused. "You're like your Dad sometimes. He was protective when I was pregnant with you."
Gohan lit up. "He was?"
"Yup. Sometimes he'd come home from training to check on me. He said my Ki fluctuated a lot. He couldn't concentrate when it did that."
Gohan's eyes widened at this information. "It does! Sometimes I can't concentrate on my books when it does that." Gohan put his hand on ChiChi's stomach to feel his brother growing. He was going to comment on the fetus when he detected a familiar Ki nearby. "Someone's here."
The doorbell rang just as Gohan spoke. Curious Gohan and ChiChi went to the door. ChiChi opened surprised to see Yamcha on the other end. "Hello, Yamcha."
"Hi, ChiChi. Hi, Gohan. I can't stay long but I wanted to come by and see how you two are…doing." his words broke off when he saw the small roundness around ChiChi's belly. He saw this with Bulma. Either ChiChi gained weight since Goku's death or….. "Are you….."
ChiChi confirmed with a smile and hand on her stomach. "Yes, I'm pregnant."
Silence followed as Yamcha struggle to find words to speak. "That's….. that's great but damn….." he cursed as the situation hit him. "Did Goku even…"
ChiChi shook her head. "No, he didn't know."
Yamcha rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know what to say."
"People usually say congratulations."
"Oh, yeah!" Yamcha laughed. "That! People do say that. Congratulations!"
"Who is that guy?" Gohan asked of the man standing by Yamcha's car. He was tall like Yamcha but dressed like a model in his grey pants and open black shirt. He lowered his sunglasses as he looked in their direction. He waved.
"That's Kenji. After me, he's the best player on the team. We got double dates but I wanted to check on you two and invite Gohan to a baseball game." He handed ChiChi a ticket. "I know you got Gohan studying but he's still a kid and should spend time away from the books." His eyes dropped to her stomach again. "But since you're pregnant, you probably shouldn't be alone. I can get a ticket for you."
"I don't know a lot about baseball," ChiChi said, "but Gohan, if you want to go….."
Both Yamcha and Gohan raised their eyebrows at ChiChi. "You really want me to go?"
"Yamcha is right. You are a kid. Your Dad would take you out of the house to play. You've been home all month. If you want, I won't stop you."
Gohan never had to make a decision like this before. He would go but he didn't know anything about baseball. Besides, that wasn't important. His responsibility was taking care of his mother and making sure she had a good pregnancy.
"Maybe another time," Gohan said. "I rather stay home."
"Oh….kay." Yamcha wasn't expecting the rejection to come from him. "Next time then."
When Yamcha walked away, Kenji got back in the car. As Yamcha turned on the car, Kenji looked at the woman and boy watching them fly off. "You should've gotten a ticket for the Mom, too. She's pretty hot."
"Back off, Kenji. She's a widow and she's pregnant."
"Pregant?!" Kenji looked back again as the car zoomed off. He was too far away now to get a second look. "You didn't say that."
"I just found out."
Kenji pondered that. "Still cute."
"You have a girlfriend, Kenji."
"I'm taken but I'm not dead."
Bulma laid in bed with her arms crossed. Maybe it was foolish to think Vegeta would wake up in bed with her. He never did that. Oh, he fell asleep in bed with her after sex but when she woke the next morning, Vegeta was gone. He locked himself in that damn gravity room.
Bulma thought this time would be different. She had a plan. It wasn't the most thought out plan but she had to think of something to get Vegeta to go out with her. Nothing she tried over the weeks worked.
Bulma sat on the edge of Vegeta's bed with her arms and legs crossed. She knew it was a bold move but it had to be done. She had enough with Vegeta ignoring her and their son. The fights were over so he had no excuse to use anymore.
The door opened. From the corner of an eye, Vegeta stood in the doorway watching her. He was naked with a towel rubbing his hair dry. He was annoyed at her sudden appearance. Too bad.
"What the hell are you doing in here?"
"You need new clothes so I'm taking you shopping." Bulma patted the black jeans and the pink Bad Man shirt beside her. "Get dress and let's go."
Vegeta dropped the towel and walked past Bulma to the closet. "I already did this 'shopping' task with you. I have clothes." He opened the closet. Empty. From top to bottom it was empty except for shoes. "What? Where are my clothes?" Turning, he demanded. "Where the hell are my clothes?!"
"I burnt them."
"What?!"His clothes were in the closet this morning. "What the fuck you burn my clothes for?!"
"Because you wear the same thing over and over. I'm tired of seeing it!" Bulma rolled her eyes. "It's such a shame Trunks has a fashion challenged father."
"You didn't burn my clothes." Vegeta refused to believe Bulma. "You hid them somewhere. Where are they?"
Bulma pointed to the window. "Look out the window if you don't believe me."
Vegeta stomped to the window. Outside were a couple robots surrounding a small fire in the yard. Vegeta saw one robot toss his clothes in the pile.
"You damn harpy! You took my clothes out while I showered?!"
Bulma gaped at him for several moments shocked before she jumped to her feet. "What the hell did you call me?!"
"You heard me! Harpy!" Vegeta exaggerated the offensive name. "How dare you burn my clothes?!"
Bulma slapped Vegeta. "Don't call me that! And I did it because it's time for a new wardrobe!" She took a moment to calm down. "Mom will watch Trunks while we shop. It'll be easier for us that way." She snapped her fingers when he didn't move. "Hurry up and let's go."
"Easier for what?" He crossed his arms. "What's your game?"
"No game. Seasons change and you need clothes." Bulma picked up his only piece of clothing and held them out for Vegeta. "Put them on and let's go." Vegeta only stared at her. Arms crossed and an eyebrow raised, Bulma knew Vegeta was trying to figure her out.
Vegeta smirked. Bulma didn't like that. It meant he was up to something or he knew what she was doing. He approached and grabbed the wrist that held his clothes. He squeezed until she dropped them. "You want to spend time with me."
Dammit. He figured it out. "What?"
"That's what this is about. Don't think I haven't noticed you these past months. You and your father have been dropping hints on what I should do next."
Since he put it out there…..
"You started going back in that training room after avoiding it for two months," Bulma pointed out. "You either stayed in your room or you flew off somewhere. You needed to do something instead of moping around."
"Yeah," his smirk deepened. "And there was something you obviously want done." He pushed Bulma on the bed. There was no chance to move before Vegeta was over her. His hand slid under her skirt and ripped off her underwear. "It has been a while, hasn't it?"
"Wait," Bulma protested though Vegeta's fingers were already working on moistening her for his entry. "We can do this later."
"We'll do it now." His other hand opened the buttons of her shirt. "And then we'll go shopping."
They did go shopping. Vegeta even modeled clothes for her. The first time they went shopping he grabbed clothes and made demands to her and the staff. It was so frustrating and embarrassing. This time Vegeta was cooperative. He didn't argue when shopping took all day and she treated him to dinner. Bulma did most of the talking as usual but Vegeta gave opinions from time to time. It gave Bulma some idea there was a chance for them but Vegeta was still so distant and out of reach. Even after they returned and he took her to bed again, it felt one sided. He had the upper hand and control. It frustrated her she couldn't figure him or at least get the upper hand at least once.
Rolling on her side, Bulma picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"Aw, geez, Bulma, it's seven in the morning. Can I sleep in at all?"
She would be annoyed with his attitude but she needed a friend now. "Can we meet up and get some coffee?"
She heard a heavy sigh, silence and finally…. "Is nine good?"
Bulma smiled though the other person on the other line could not see it. "Sure."
"So, he's still being an ass to you?"
Bulma sipped her coffee. "Pretty much. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother."
"Because you're hung up on him," Yamcha stated the obvious. "I'm almost envious."
Bulma nearly spat her coffee. "Envious?"
"Bulma, we were together for nearly half our lives. I've lost count of the number of guys you looked at while with me. I don't know how many you looked at behind my back. You never did that with Vegeta."
Bulma gripped her cup tightly. He didn't need to bring up she wasn't the perfect girlfriend to him. "Your point?"
"He got you to stop looking at other men. I couldn't do that. You had a kid with him and not me. That's proof we were not a good match but maybe you and Vegeta are. He doesn't tolerate your BS like I did. He does shit and you tolerate it. He stands up to you and you can't walk away. You would've dumped me if I went after Dr. Gero and not save you and Trunks. Face it," he grinned, "You met your match."
Bulma loosened her hold on her cup. She conceded Yamcha had a point. "All right. So, what should I do?"
"Get a girlfriend."
"You keep coming to me about your problems with Vegeta. It's great we're friends and we've moved on but I don't need this. I got my own girlfriend and I can't keep running to my ex when you have a problem. You need to talk to a woman. Talk to ChiChi."
"ChiChi?" After the memorial, Bulma thought she was the last person ChiChi wanted to see. Well, after Krillin of course. She didn't forget ChiChi throwing Krillin out of her home. She suspected ChiChi knew Goku didn't come back because of her words of bad guys always following him.
"Yes, Goku's wife," Yamcha repeated. "She was married to a Saiyan for ten years. She had a child with a Saiyan first, too. She's the go to person in understanding how they are. Give the woman credit, Bulma. Goku was always running around to the next adventure. With ChiChi, he stayed home. We didn't see him for five years. If you're trying to understand how to make a relationship with a Saiyan work, you need to see ChiChi."
Bulma conceded Yamcha was correct again as she drunk more coffee. "You have a point."
"Plus, she's pregnant. She could use a female friend, too."
"What?!" Bulma slammed down her cup so hard, her coffee spilled out. "How did that happen?" Yamcha's dry face had Bulma retracting her words. "I know how. I… it's just a surprise." She grabbed a few napkins and wiped her mess. "Wait. How did you know?"
"I stopped by her home last month. I wanted to check on ChiChi and Gohan. I'm the only, too." Yamcha sighed. "As Goku's friends, we gotta do better."
"After that memorial, we all thought it'd be safer to keep away from ChiChi."
"We?" Yamcha lightly chuckled. "Don't you mean you, Krillin and Master Roshi? I'm not the one who screwed things up five years ago. I'm not the one who's lover let Cell reach perfect form."
Bulma rolled her eyes. "That's not on me."
"I'm not the one who destroyed the remote."
"You made your point."
"I'm not the who told Goku bad guys follow him."
Bulma leapt from her seat and yelled, "I said you made your point!" All eyes turned to Bulma and Yamcha. She sat down. "Okay. We fucked up. Are you happy?"
Yamcha grinned as he finished his coffee. "Just happy seeing you finally acknowledge it."
He was enjoying this. Very rare Yamcha could gloat over her. "I have, Yamcha. It took years but I see where I… all of us were wrong. You know me, Yamcha. I'm not good at apologizing or admitting I'm wrong. It's hard. I want things to be better between me and ChiChi but I don't know how to reach her to show I'm truly sorry." Bulma thought of that moment at Master Roshi's home where she and ChiChi had an honest talk. "I acknowledge some things with her when Goku was sick….."
"But avoiding her since Goku's death won't bridge the gap. Go over there and talk to her. Maybe if you actually get to know ChiChi, you'll see why Goku dropped us for her and you'll like her, too."
"Maybe I should've called," Bulma told herself once she landed her car in front of the Son Family home. People stop by her home all the time but it was a place of work and home for her and her Dad. "Too late to go back now."
Bulma stepped out of the car with Trunks in a carrier. She knocked on the door and waited until ChiChi answered. It wasn't obvious but the small bump around her stomach signaled she was expecting.
"Hi," Bulma smiled. "It's been a while but I thought I'd see how you and Gohan are doing."
"Yamcha told you I'm pregnant."
So much for charming her. "You know."
ChiChi stepped aside to let Bulma in her home. "Yamcha stopped by. Since he found out, I knew it was a matter of time before the others did, too."
Others. That's how she described them?
"None of you have visited since Goku died so my pregnancy must be why you've come by."
Bulma followed ChiChi into the kitchen. "Where's Gohan?"
"Fishing with his grandpa." ChiChi poured tea into her cup. "Do you want any?"
"Sure." Trunks started crying as Bulma sat down. "He's been in his carrier for a while. Mind if I let him walk around?"
Bulma unhooked the carrier. Once freed, Trunks walked around the new room curious. ChiChi placed a plate of cookies, a teacup for her and Bulma on the table. ChiChi drunk her tea while Bulma nibbled on a cookie. The clock ticked as the women drank and ate quietly. The only sounds were Trunks endless babbling as he wandered.
ChiChi eyed the woman cautiously. She came to visit but has yet to say anything. ChiChi knew Bulma wanted something and was getting tired of waiting so she bluntly asked, "Why are you visiting me?"
Bulma nearly choked on her cookie at ChiChi's directness. Bulma was confident around everyone but this woman really made her nervous. "You're Goku's wife. He was my friend. I didn't come by the first time Goku died except to get the dragon balls." She looked at Trunks walking around. "I haven't been the best person to you and I want to change that. If we can't be friends, I hope we can be civil. Trunks can be a good playmate for your child and we can be each other's confidant in dealing with Saiyan children and having Saiyan partners."
"You still have your Saiyan partner," ChiChi reminded Bulma. At least I know why she's visiting. ChiChi placed a hand on her growing stomach. She's definitely an opportunist.
Bulma winced at her choice of words. "If you want to talk about Goku, I'm here to listen. I know there's stuff about Goku you want to talk about but can't with other women. They can't understand. They never bedded a Saiyan. We can form our own club. The Saiyan Wives Club."
"Wives?" ChiChi repeated.
"Women," Bulma corrected. She wasn't married to Vegeta. "SWC," she improvised. Too bad only she laughed. "ChiChi, you have so much experience with a Saiyan lover. I'm still trying to figure it out. Maybe you have advice for someone like me and being pregnant, you can definitely vent to me about carrying a Saiyan baby."
Definitely a charmer to get her way. Goku was right. ChiChi knew Bulma would keep coming over until she got her way. ChiChi accepted she had experience in dealing with a Saiyan but Goku and Vegeta were different people. ChiChi wasn't sure she could help Bulma but she'll try. "What do you want to know?"
"Was Goku ever aggressive sexually?" Bulma blurted.
ChiChi nearly slammed her teacup against the table. "What Goku and I did intimately is no one's business but our own!"
Bulma put her hands up lest ChiChi attack her. "I'm not trying to pry," Bulma said but ChiChi looked as if she didn't want Bulma to speak anymore. "But you're the only one I can talk to about this. You've been intimate with a Saiyan longer so you're knowledgeable on things." ChiChi still didn't speak. Desperate, Bulma admitted, "I don't know how to get the upper hand on Vegeta."
Still no response from ChiChi. She wasn't sure if she experienced it or if ChiChi will share but ChiChi's silence forced Bulma to continue, "Not that the sex is bad. It's great but Vegeta has all the control and I want some of that myself. I will need that if I want a relationship with Vegeta. I can't let him have all the power."
ChiChi munched on a cookie as she tried to understand Bulma. "So, you're not in a relationship?" ChiChi assumed with the child they were. "I thought with Trunks….."
Bulma grabbed a lemon cookie. At least ChiChi was talking. "It's complicated. Vegeta moved out when I was pregnant and only recently moved back in. He pissed me off when he did that but I guess he needed to concentrate for the Artificial Humans. That's over. I want more and I think he does, too, but he's a Saiyan and it's a headache dealing with them. I thought since you had a relationship with Goku-"
"My Goku isn't like Vegeta." ChiChi made that very clear.
"I know that, ChiChi, but he is a Saiyan and they both share things that only Saiyans experience. They look human but they're not human. Human men I can handle. I know how to deal with them. Saiyan men…" Bulma exhaled, "..they're something else."
ChiChi agreed with that. She didn't date other men but they were easier to figure out than Goku. Her only experience with men the way Bulma referred to was with a Saiyan but she certainly understood where Bulma was coming from in analyzing how different human and Saiyan men are.
From her talk with Yamcha, she had an idea how Vegeta and Bulma's relationship got started. Now, Bulma and Vegeta were trying to be a couple and Bulma looked for pointers from ChiChi on courtships with a Saiyan. ChiChi guessed she was the expert on the matter. She's the first human to marry a Saiyan and be intimate with one. She's the first one to have a Saiyan's child. Goku was raised on Earth and though he adopted habits from Earth, there were still traits of his personality that were alien.
Vegeta had a strong, arrogant personality. If he was anything like Goku in that way, he let Bulma know he's the only man she will think about. Yamcha never had that swagger about him. Perhaps it was the ways of a Saiyan being a lover. ChiChi knew Goku never had to worry about her loyalty but even if Goku had a shred of doubt, he knew how to let her know thinking about another man was never an option. ChiChi could still feel the effects of their lovemaking physically and emotionally for days. Oh, there might be a slight bruise here and there which ChiChi nicknamed Goku's love marks and some soreness but oh were they worth it.
ChiChi loved how Goku made her feel and she always reciprocated what he gave her. She loved to please him, whether it was submitting to a position he wanted or loving him orally. She never found the act degrading but saw it as showing her love for her husband and secretly she loved the power she had over him.
If Vegeta made love to Bulma in a similar way, no way would she think of anyone else again and receiving that type of Saiyan love Bulma would want to give it back. It took multiple times before ChiChi figured out how to get the upper hand. It was easier for ChiChi since she's very physical. Bulma was slim but not athletic. There were things she can and can't do.
"Bulma, if you want to get the upper hand on a sexually aggressive Saiyan, his tail stub is his weakness."
"Tail stub?" Bulma knew Vegeta had one but never thought of it as a weapon. "But I thought with the tail remove it didn't weaken Saiyans."
"The tail stub, Bulma," ChiChi repeated as she sipped her tea. "You can figure it out."
Bulma accepted ChiChi's advice. If ChiChi figured it out, so can she.
"Maybe I should've done the baseball thing like Yamcha," Krillin groaned as he peeled open the top of ramen. "It's more money but it doesn't afford privacy." He propped his foot on the security panel and slurped his noodles.
When Goku left to marry ChiChi, everyone went their separate ways. Krillin moved back in with Master Roshi. He thought it would be the same as before he died but Lunch left them to pursue Tien and Master Roshi had rules for Krillin. If he was going to live with him, he had to contribute. Until then, Master Roshi paid for everything. Now Krillin was near twenty years old and free loading was over.
"If Goku can get himself a wife, you can get yourself a job and pay rent," Master Roshi told him.
Krillin didn't know what he could do for a job. He didn't have a high school diploma so jobs were limited. Krillin took whatever was offered. He worked in restaurants as a dishwasher, a janitor and did construction through Master Roshi's connections but in his spare time did go back to school and completed his G.E.D. With a diploma, Krillin got better jobs. One of them was freelance security.
Until five years ago, Krillin was a regular fill in. Goku died and Krillin quit to train for the Saiyans. He went back to work after the Namek ordeal but quit again to prepare for the Artificial Humans. Now three years later, Krillin hoped to get his job back. A new staff was in charge at the security agency and no one knew him but his record gave him a second chance.
His only chance. The new staff appeared strict and not lenient. If he did bad at this job, he'll have to start over for lucrative work with his limited skills.
Krillin scanned the monitors looking for any suspicious character that might steal at this department store. One hour left in his eight-hour shift and Krillin thought of home. It was his turn to provide dinner so he thought of food at his favorite take out place. Near thirty and this was his life. Freelance security and going home to an old man. No girlfriend to spend time with. His Saturday night will consist of him watching movies with his teacher, cleaning up after him and going to sleep with the help of magazines to ease his frustrations.
In his twenties, Krillin didn't mind this single life. As an adult and with Lunch out of the house, Master Roshi treated him differently. He was allowed to drink, stay up all night and have access to Master Roshi's collection of movies and books. It was fun until the reunion. When Goku arrived with Gohan that momentous day, it hit him how much of life he was missing. If Goku can marry and have a kid, what was he doing? Surely, there was a woman out there for him.
Five years that include out of planet travel, a death and training for another fight, Krillin was still searching. He was so lonely for a companion he became infatuated with 18 after a kiss. She wasn't a full human but an Artificial Human created to kill. She and her brother were going to kill Goku. They kicked everyone's ass but all he thought about was her kiss. Yamcha was right. He was a virgin and had limited experience in a lot of ways. His first kiss was in a bar but he was so drunk thanks to Master Roshi, he didn't know who kissed him. He went back to that bar every weekend hoping to see the mystery woman or hope she approach him but it never happened. When Krillin was down on his luck in love, he thought of Goku. Sure, he was married but Krillin never imagined Goku doing anything with his wife. He couldn't see that. Goku didn't seem the type to kiss or have sex with anyone.
Goku proved him wrong showing up with Gohan in his arms. It blew Krillin's mind the child was actually Goku's and four years old. Four! That meant Goku had sex immediately after he married. Krillin couldn't believe the luck of Goku. He gets a wife and child easily while he has to struggle to get a woman to look at him. The only one that seem interested in him was-
Krillin nearly dropped his cup of ramen as he took his feet off the panel. His eyes darted over the monitors at the blonde walking through the store. It's been months since he last saw her. Krillin never thought to see her again. Was this fate?
Krillin looked at the clock. He had another hour. He looked back at the viewing screens. 18 sift through a clothing rack. She was here now but how long will she stay? Maybe she'll talk to him. Krillin looked at the clock again. He can't leave this room unless someone is trying to steal or his partner comes back from his lunch break. Krillin sweated as 18 grabbed a few clothes and entered the fitting room. He might not get this chance to see her again. It could mean his job if he leaves. It's been slow all day and he only had an hour left.
Decision made, Krillin left.
18 stepped out of her changing room with an armful of clothes. There was only one outfit she wanted but couldn't afford. She'll just have to steal it. She handed all the clothes to the girl working the fitting room except the one she will steal. Security was relaxed in this store. She'll just walk out with the dress. If anyone chases her, she'll fly away. Let them try to get her then. 18 stepped out of the fitting room with the intention of going to shoe section to find shoes to match her dress when she froze.
Ahead of her was the short man again. He destroyed the remote that would've deactivated her. He protected her when Cell spat her out. He got the bomb removed from her. Why is he here?
18 noticed the clothes he wore. He's security? Perfect.
"So," 18 said coolly as he approached. Guess she'll have trouble stealing this dress after all. "Come to arrest me?"
Krillin stared at her blankly before chuckling, "Oh, this? I'm working security part time. I saw you through the cameras and thought I should say hello." He noticed the dress in her hand. His smile faded. "Wait. You're not stealing, are you? You're paying for that, right?"
Krillin reached for the dress but 18 pulled it away. "And what if I'm not? Are you gonna stop me? You're not stronger than me."
True but Krillin thought he could plead with her. "But after everything with Cell, don't you want to live life differently? Don't you want to walk in public without worrying if someone's trying to arrest you? Is petty crimes all you want to do with yourself?"
His pleading only angered her. "What makes you think you know what I want?! Maybe I like stealing!"
Eyes from coworkers and patrons turned 18 and Krillin's way.
While 18 eyed the people staring, Krillin plucked the dress from her hand. "She's just kidding, folks. Just kidding." Krillin hung the dress on a rack before facing an irate 18. "There are too many eyes here. Let's go somewhere and talk."
"I don't want to talk to you." 18 was infuriated Krillin prevented her from stealing her dress. "I don't want anything to do with you! Get out of my way or I'll make you."
She looked ready to smack him and break every bone in his body but Krillin wouldn't move. "No."
18 regarded Krillin with surprise. She expected him to move out of the way. Not stand defiantly. People moved when she wanted. Those that didn't were hurt. It was that simple. Only this time she didn't want to do that.
"There's a café near here," Krillin offered a compromise. "Give me five minutes to convince you turning to crime isn't the way. Five minutes and I won't bother you again. Even if I see you, I won't come near you."
Again 18 was speechless. She wasn't sure what to say.
"Krillin!" 18 looked behind her at a heavyset mustached man in a suit approaching. 18 noticed Krillin demeanor changed from confidence to panicked fear. Even Krillin could handle this weakling. 18 wondered why he feared him.
"Oh, uh, hi, Mr. Wilding."
"I came by the security office and it was empty. Why did you leave?" He looked over Krillin at 18. "Is this woman stealing?"
"Her?" Krillin shook his head. "Oh, no. She's just a friend. I haven't seen in a while. I wanted to say hi."
"Hi?" Mr. Wilding bristled. "You're not being paid to say hi to friends. You're being paid to do a job and you failed. While you're talking to your friend, a sales associate contacted me after you didn't answer calls from the Juniors section. Two teens ran off with a bunch of clothes."
Oh, damn. "I know that looks bad for me, Mr. Wilding-"
"I took a chance giving your job back after a three-year absence….."
"I know and I'm grateful…."
"When we called in you the past, you never answered and you suddenly show up wanting to work….."
"I know I didn't deserve it but I'm glad you gave me a chance—"
"…..that was a mistake."
Oh, boy. This was going from bad to worst. "Oh, no. You can't mean-"
"Leave your uniform at the office. You can pick up your final check next week."
Mr. Wilding stomped off while Krillin gaped speechless. He dropped his arms and lowered his head. "Great. Just great."
Fired in front of 18. How embarrassing! 18 walked off without a word. That wasn't the lasting impression he wanted to leave with her. He changed out of his security clothes into jeans, a shirt and bomber jacket. He was so depressed he didn't feel like going to his favorite restaurant for dinner. He wanted to go home, drink beer and forget today ever happened.
He stepped out of the sliding doors, mentally prepared to walk into an alley and fly home. Outside with her arms crossed and waiting for him was 18.
"18," he walked to her in disbelief. "I….. what are you….."
18 flipped her blonde hair. "You said you wanted to take me to a café." She walked off. "You have five minutes."
Krillin and 18 sat across each other in a booth of a half empty café. Krillin had a sandwich and a glass of soda while 18 sipped tea. She narrowed her eyes at him as he stared.
"I didn't know you eat."
"I don't have to eat or drink anything but I can if I want. Five minutes."
She was timing him now?! Walking here and ordering their meals took longer than that. He didn't know if he could convince her but he'll try.
"Is this what you and your brother have been doing since the Cell Game? Being a criminal isn't the way to live."
"Some people can make it lucrative. Isn't Mr. Satan making money after what Goku and Gohan did?"
"Being a fraudulent jackass isn't a crime. It probably should be but…. are you and your brother having trouble adjusting to life now?" 18 raised an eyebrow. "I know your history with Dr. Gero wasn't a good one. He probably didn't give you real names." He noticed 18's grip on her cup tighten. "If he wasn't cruel to you and your brother, I don't think you would commit crime. He's gone now. You can have a good life."
18 stared at the liquid in her cup. A good life. How can that be possible? Why was he saying this to her? Why was he so nice to her? "Why are you doing these things?"
"You destroyed the remote. You protected me when Cell spat me out. You wished for the bomb to be removed. You lost your job because of me. You don't know me. You don't love me so why are you doing this?!"
Again her raised voice caused a few patrons to look at them. Krillin felt on the spot. Why was he doing all this? He stared at his food as he was too afraid to look in her eyes. "Maybe I'm being lonely and reaching for the first affection I've felt in a very long time. I don't have a lot to offer. I'm short. Women don't look at guy unless they are a certain height. I'm not rich. I don't have a full-time job." He laughed ruefully. "I couldn't hold down the first job I've had in three years and I live with an old guy who rubs off to magazines and watch dirty movies. He has his faults but he's been a Dad to me."
There. He put it all out there. He couldn't believe he was so blunt about himself to such a beautiful woman. Any moment now, he expected 18 to laugh at him and agree to everything he said. He never stood a chance with her.
"You have a bad way of selling yourself."
Krillin raised his face. 18 smiled at him. Him! Maybe it wasn't all in his mind. Feeling confident, he asked, "Why did you kiss me? Am I being foolish to hope you feel something for me, too?"
Now it was 18's turn to stare at her cup. Why did she kiss him? 18 couldn't answer that question herself and it was something she thought about over the weeks. "You were standing there so afraid 17 and I were going to beat you up next. I don't know why I did it. Just felt like it." Krillin grinned. He looked so happy. "Don't read more into it." She lowered her eyes again to her cup. "I was going to steal that dress because I wanted something nice. Trunks destroyed the home we've known for years. It's a shop full of horrors but it was our home. My brother never saw what you and everyone's else did since Cell absorbed us. I have. I get it. He doesn't." Krillin could see 18 was troubled but didn't press her. He listened. "We can't stay in places too long without bringing attention. We try but 17….." 18 stopped again. "All I wanted is a nice dress to forget for a moment." Her blue eyes were stormy, full of pain and frustration. All Krillin wanted to do is help her. When 18 raised her eyes to his again, he smiled. She scowled and got out of the booth. "Your five minutes is up."
"Stay with me," Krillin blurted. She didn't turn to him but she didn't walk away either. "Please?"
"I don't want your charity," she replied stiffly.
"It's not charity. I'm offering someone who wants a second chance a place to stay."
18 turned. Her eyes weren't trusting. "And what do you want in return? Do you expect me to be your girlfriend? Am I to do some sexual favor for you?"
"No. No. I don't want that. You're a person and you've gotten a rotten deal in life that people think you're bad or beyond saving." Krillin smiled. "People at the temple I grew up in didn't give me a chance either but I proved them wrong. You can prove everyone wrong, too."
His smile was oddly comforting. "You see me as a person? "Not a machine? Not an android? Or a monster?"
"No," Krillin shook his head. "I don't see that all. I see a person."
"That you love," 18 remarked bitter. "Or claim to love according to Gohan."
Oh, boy. She remembered that. Gohan was just like his father at times with his mouth. "I do like you but if you just want to be friends I'm okay with that. I just want to give you a second chance."
He looked sincere; sounded sincere but 18 wasn't sure she could trust him.
Master Roshi settled in front of the TV hungry. Krillin was late coming home. He should've been home hours ago with dinner. He popped opened a can of beer when he heard the door open. "Krillin! What kept you? I'm hungry!" His beer slipped from his hand when he saw Krillin walking in with 18. "What the…?"
Krillin rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Master Roshi, you remember 18, don't you? She's gonna be living with us."
"I invited her to stay."
"To kill us?"
"No. No." Krillin frantically shook his hands. "But, uh…. do you mind having another roommate? She doesn't have a place to go."
Master Roshi wasn't one to turn a cute girl away. Even if she can kill him without breaking a sweat. "Can she cook?"
"No," 18 answered.
Master Roshi adjusted his sunglasses. He stared at 18's voluptuous body. He wouldn't mind burying his face in those perfect boobs. Master Roshi made gestures with his hands. "Does she mind if I…?"
"Touch me and you're dead."
Master Roshi shrank in his seat. Krillin held up a bag of food. "I brought dinner. Eat while I get 18 settled in her room."
"Her room?" Master Roshi questioned as he took the food.
"I'm giving her mine," Krillin explained. "I'm gonna sleep on the sofa." He gestured 18 to follow him. "Come on, 18."
18 stared at Master Roshi suspiciously before following Krillin upstairs. "You've come to stay with us at the right time. If it was ten years ago, it might've been a problem."
"This place used to have one bedroom but Bulma gave Master Roshi a huge diamond we found in an underwater cave. Master Roshi used part of that money to get another capsule home like this but with two bedrooms." Krillin stepped in his room. "Excuse the mess." Krillin picked up clothes scattered on the floor. He stuffed them in his closet. He grabbed new bedsheets from the top shelf.
18 looked around as Krillin change the bedsheets. "It's an old mattress. I've been meaning to replace it but it's comfortable to sleep on." He leapt over the bed when he saw 18 open the drawer from the nightstand. He slammed it shut. "Just old magazines. I have to get rid of them."
"I see," was all 18 said while Krillin's face turned red as a tomato.
"Bed is ready for you." 18 sat down and felt the mattress. It was comfortable. Krillin held a key to her. "My key. It's the only one I have. Master Roshi can 'sleepwalk' sometimes so just lock it if you want." 18 took the key. "So, uh, I'll see you in the morning."
18 stared at the key in her hand and back at the door. It was a little unnerving for someone to be so kind to her. She never experienced that.
"I get it! Krillin! You're in love with her!"
18 gripped the key. Does he really or is he lying? Can I really trust him?
Krillin returned with breakfast late the next morning. He meant to wake earlier and cook but he stayed up late convincing Master Roshi it was safe for them to allow 18 to live with them. He spent part of the morning cleaning up the empty cans of beer and food boxes. When he prepared to make breakfast, he noticed the refrigerator empty. Master Roshi did say they were running low on food.
Krillin left to shop for food and other things and stayed away until almost 11. "Master Roshi," Krillin placed bags of food on the counter. "Where's 18? Has she come down?"
"Nope." Master Roshi turned a page of his newspaper.
"Really?" Krillin went upstairs. Krillin knew 18 had a lot to think about but he thought she'd be downstairs now. Krillin knocked. "18? Are you awake?" Nothing. Krillin turned the knob. The door was unlocked. "18? I'm coming in." Krillin slowly opened the door. The room was empty and it didn't look as if 18 slept in bed. Krillin saw his key on the nightstand.
Disappointed, Krillin's head hung low as he closed the door and returned downstairs. "She left."
Master Roshi lowered the newspaper. "I'm sorry, Krillin, but maybe it's better this way."
Krillin sat on the bottom of the steps. "I guess she really didn't want to change."
18 suddenly walked in with a small box. Krillin gaped at her and Master Roshi raised his sunglasses off his face. "What?"
"You're back!" Krillin jumped to his and went to her. "I went upstairs but you weren't there. Where did you go?"
18 shifted the box on her hip. "I needed to talk to my brother. I wanted him to know where I am so he didn't worry."
"Do we have to worry about him coming to kill us?"
18 refrained from answering Master Roshi. She thought it was better to let the old man sweat with fear. Krillin handed a bag to her. "I'm glad you came back. I can give this to you now."
18 took the shopping bag from Krillin as he took the box from her. The shopping bag had the department store's logo on it. She pulled out the dress she wanted to steal. She looked at Krillin for an explanation.
Krillin's face turned a light shade of pink. "Everyone deserves something nice after a bad day."
18 couldn't resist smiling. Her brother told her she's crazy to do this but 18 thought it was the right decision.
Vegeta was agitated when he left the gravity room. He tried concentrating on his exercises but his mind was on Bulma and that move she pulled on him last night. When they had sex, he always had the upper hand. He always had Bulma squirming and crying out under him. Last night, she got the jump on him and he was at her mercy.
How the hell did she do that? She's not even strong but she got me. I didn't know I was sensitive there.
It bothered Vegeta so much he couldn't finish his exercise for the day. Grumpy, Vegeta stormed the hall. He passed the kitchen but stepped back when he saw Bulma sitting at the kitchen island talking on the phone.
"It completely worked!" Bulma giggled. "He was so helpless! I wished I talked to you sooner. You would've saved me a lot of headaches." Bulma reached for a grape and popped a few in her mouth. "And he was with me this morning."
Vegeta stepped away from the doorway so Bulma didn't see him. Who was she talking to? "No, we didn't talk but the fact he was still there is progress. Big progress."
Vegeta gritted his teeth. Bulma was talking about him and last night. Who the fuck is she talking to about me?
"I'm gonna pick you up tomorrow. I'm taking you to lunch at this great restaurant in West City. I went there a lot when I had cravings with Trunks. You can share me more Saiyan secrets."
Saiyan? She's talking to Kakarrot's wife?!
Vegeta was aware of Bulma visiting ChiChi once but from the sounds of it they have been in frequent contact and…. Saiyan secrets. Is Kakarrot's wife sharing with Bulma what she did to Kakarrot and Bulma is….. oh HELL no!
Vegeta entered. He was going to nip this. Bulma ended the phone call. Good. She knows she's wrong for what she did. "Why are you suddenly spending time with Kakarrot's wife as if you are best friends?"
Bulma popped another grape in her mouth. "I'm allowed to broaden my friendship circle."
Vegeta wasn't buying it. "You've known Kakarrot's wife for years and never spoke to her unless you had to; not even when you were pregnant so spare me the bullshit of expanding your friendship circle and tell me what the hell is going on!"
It was no secret there was tension between Bulma and ChiChi and this growing communication between them raised eyebrows. "Trunks could use a playmate and what better one to have than the child ChiChi's carrying." It was reasonable but Vegeta only crossed his arms. He didn't believe that's all there was. "I owe it to Goku to be friends with her. Krillin, Master Roshi and I kept ChiChi out of the loop on things deliberately. When Goku died the first time, we let a day go by before telling ChiChi Goku's dead and Piccolo kidnapped Gohan."
"Kidnapped?" Vegeta repeated. "When did that happen?"
"After Raditz was killed. Piccolo and Goku were still enemies. After Goku died, Piccolo took Gohan because he saw his potential in fighting you and Nappa. He took Gohan and left us to tell ChiChi."
Even though he's been on Earth for four years, Vegeta didn't investigate Goku's time here or the relationship he has with everyone. From what Bulma voluntary spoke of, Vegeta surmised they were all friends. This new information was enlightening and surprising. "Pathetic. A warrior dies and none of you had the guts to tell his wife. You let his son be kidnapped. Why?"
"None of us had the strength to stop Piccolo. As for not telling ChiChi," Bulma shrugged. "Scared? I didn't know her but she had to be tough to prevent Goku from training Gohan. Anyone who has control over the strongest person in the world is pretty intimidating."
"What do you mean you didn't know her? You were friends with Kakarrot. You said you went on adventures together."
"I met ChiChi the same time Goku did but I didn't talk to her. Goku did. After that one time, we didn't see ChiChi until years later when she reminded Goku of his promise to marry her." Bulma wondered how that happened. Goku couldn't tell the difference between a girl and a boy without patting them. Why would he propose to one? "After Goku defeated Piccolo, he left to begin his life with ChiChi. We didn't see Goku for five years."
"And?" Vegeta pried.
"And what?" Bulma questioned.
"What else happened? What did Kakarrot's wife do to make you not tell her what happened to Kakarrot and Gohan? Did she do something to you when she met Kakarrot again?"
"No. I didn't talk to her then either. I wanted to talk to Goku about marrying ChiChi but he left with ChiChi so fast, we couldn't talk."
"And why did you need to do that?" Bulma's silence gave Vegeta the opportunity to figure it out himself. "Were you planning to talk him out of marriage?"
It was as if Vegeta could read her mind. "He was my friend and I wanted to make sure Goku knew what he was doing." Bulma saw 'bullshit' on Vegeta's face. "It was a long time ago. It would've been wrong for me to talk to Goku then. What I felt then, I don't feel now."
Vegeta rolled his eyes. Maybe it was true but it still pissed him off. Instead of thinking of the past, Vegeta focused on what he knew now. No one knew ChiChi but for unexplained reasons thought it was wise to not tell the woman her husband died and her son was kidnapped. "You didn't tell Kakarrot's wife because you didn't like her. Fucking cowards. All three of you."
He didn't have to be so blunt. "Trust me I feel guilty about that. If that happened to you and Trunks, I would've reacted the same way she did. Everyone was busy training for your and Nappa's arrival. I didn't have that excuse. It didn't help we let ChiChi think Goku knew Gohan was taken by Piccolo before he died." Vegeta didn't understand. "After his fight with you, Goku's body was completely broken but ChiChi was very angry with Goku. She ignored him and blamed him for Gohan fighting when that wasn't true."
"How the hell did that happen?"
"When ChiChi asked if Goku knew Piccolo was going to take Gohan, we didn't tell her Goku was already dead and he died thinking Gohan would be returned to her." Vegeta turned throwing his hands up. "We didn't want her yelling at us! We figured if ChiChi thought Goku was okay with it, we'd be in the clear."
"You put everything on Kakarrot to save yourselves from a verbal lashing." Vegeta laughed. "Is that human that intimidating or are you all so pathetic?"
This put down was getting irritating. "Like I said, we didn't treat her right. I want to make up for it now."
"No wonder she yelled at you when your father picked us up." Vegeta laughed. "You deserved it."
Bulma tried to be patient but she was getting tired of Vegeta's remarks to her. "Oh, shut up and stop looking so damn smug!"
"I will when you stop being a harpy."
Vegeta walked off as Bulma called out outrage. "What did you call me?!"
Vegeta flew in the direction of Goku's house. He couldn't outright ask without answering questions so he was discrete acquiring this information He accessed the ship Bulma traveled in when she attended Goku's memorial. He knew enough science to get old recorded flight plans and found Goku's address. It would've been easier to accept Bulma's invitation to attend Goku's memorial but that wasn't how Saiyans mourn.
He flew to Goku's house four times over the past two weeks but Gohan was home. This was the first time he couldn't detect Gohan's Ki.
Vegeta landed in the front yard of Goku's home. It wasn't like his home with Bulma. This place was very small in comparison. It was in the middle of nowhere, away from the lights, noise and smell of the city. This place seemed suitable for him. He wasn't sure how much time he had before Gohan returned so he went about his business. He knocked on the door.
ChiChi was so hungry. This was one thing she didn't miss being pregnant the first time. Endless hunger. Good thing she could whip up something. Goku help her hunger pains by hunting a lot. It was during her pregnancy with Gohan, ChiChi ate bear and tiger for the first time. Normally, she refused but she was so hungry and craved so many things she didn't care.
She frowned in annoyance at the knock. She didn't mind visitors but did they have to come when it's time to eat? It was probably Goku's friends. After her pregnancy was revealed, Bulma would call or visit a lot. Krillin and Yamcha came by. It was very different from when Goku died the first time. No one visited her except her father.
The knock came again. ChiChi had a good mind to let the person on the other end think she wasn't home but she knew better. Goku's friends knew Ki. They knew she was inside. She opened the door but did not expect to see Vegeta.
ChiChi only saw Vegeta less than a handful times and that was three years ago. After their confrontation when Goku refused Porunga's wish, the two didn't speak to each other. Vegeta wasn't around when the Namek dragon was summoned a second time. Vegeta didn't come to Goku's memorial so ChiChi wondered why he is here.
"Gohan isn't here."
"I didn't come to see him." ChiChi's hands instantly went to her stomach. "Oh, come, Woman. You think I will harm your child? It's a Saiyan. The last thing I will do is kill what little of my race is left."
ChiChi lowered her hands puzzled. "I don't understand why you came to see me."
"Kakarrot. Is that enough?"
Vegeta sat at the kitchen table and watch ChiChi fix herself several plates. When Bulma was pregnant, he didn't spend enough time around her to notice her appetite. He stayed in the training room, spent days away from her home and later at the Brief's vacation home while he trained for the Artificial Humans.
The aromas from the plates of appealing food were tempting. He wasn't hungry but he was a Saiyan and though he had more control that Goku, looking at the food made him want to eat.
"I don't understand how you Saiyans like having stomach that are endless pits." ChiChi placed three plates next to the six at her seat and went back to fix three more. "I have myself on an eating schedule."
When ChiChi returned to the table, Vegeta was stunned ChiChi placed three plates before him. She returned with an extra pitcher of ice water, a tall glass, and chopsticks for Vegeta.
Vegeta looked at ChiChi warily. "I didn't ask for your food."
"You're a Saiyan. Just looking at food makes you hungry. Besides, I wouldn't feel right eating and offering you none." ChiChi poured Vegeta a glass of water. "Every day for three years, Piccolo sat at the table. If I can have him at my table without vomiting, I can with you."
Vegeta picked up his chopsticks. Before he took a bite, ChiChi punched the back of his head. Vegeta lurched forward barely missing his face smashing into the plate of food. "What the hell was that for?!"
"I know you let Cell reach his perfect form." She glared daring Vegeta to say anything. He smartly didn't. ChiChi sat down. "Now you may eat."
His hostess was rude to him but the food was very, very good. Vegeta noticed how quickly ChiChi ate. It was like a Saiyan. He wondered if Bulma ate like that when pregnant with Trunks.
ChiChi pushed aside an empty plate and grabbed another. "So, why do you want to talk about Goku? You didn't come to the memorial."
She was blunt and to the point. He liked that. "I had no interest coming to an event where you share a rose-colored version of Kakarrot. I wouldn't get the facts or things I need that only you can answer."
ChiChi was suspicious. What did Vegeta want to know about her husband and why did he expect her to tell him? "What do you mean?"
"I've never met a Saiyan like Kakarrot. He's not bloodthirsty or violent. He's soft. The only trait he has from Saiyans are the fighting prowess."
"Whatever programming Goku had was wiped when he hit his head. He started life with a clean slate."
Vegeta snorted. Did everyone really believe that fool Raditz? "That damn Raditz misunderstood and confused you all. The hit on Kakarrot's head scrambled the programming but it didn't squelch his desire for fighting? If the environment was different there's a good chance Kakarrot would've recalled his mission and killed everyone."
"Are you saying if Goku was under the care of someone violent, he would've remembered his mission?"
"Violent person or place would've triggered it," Vegeta guessed as he ate a roll. "But since he lived in peace for so long, it didn't happen. All I know is the planet made him soft. Maybe if he left sooner he wouldn't have been so soft and gullible in trusting people."
"Goku told me what his brother, King Kai and you said. Freeza and his father were the reason babies like my Goku were sent to Earth." ChiChi reached for another plate. "If they never ruled the Saiyans, do you know what kind of life he would've had?"
"It's not your business."
"It is if you want to tell you about Goku."
Earth women. They were all annoying with their bargaining. "He wouldn't have been soft," Vegeta wanted to make that clear. "I don't know much about the Saiyan way of life before Freeza's family took over. Nappa didn't share what he knew."
"Harsh but needed. It's foolish to think of things that will not happen. Thinking so weakly makes one-"
"Soft," ChiChi finished for him. "There's nothing wrong with hope of a better life. It's what got me through tough times as a little girl. It's what led me to meeting Goku. It changed my life for the better." Vegeta wondered what that meant but she wasn't going to tell him. It was amusing to ChiChi. She never thought she and Vegeta would have something in common.
To answer ChiChi's question, Vegeta said, "Who knows what Kakarrot would've done. His power level would've been measured at birth and he would be considered weak. It's fitting since Kakarrot-"
"Comes from a line of third-class warriors," ChiChi finished. "I've heard that before."
Vegeta half rolled his eyes. Of course she would know. "Gohan might have been different. He may have been in a higher class and not a scholar as you want."
ChiChi's eyes thinned. "If you have a problem with Gohan's career, say it."
Vegeta snorted. "Gohan has the skills to be a warrior. He can have his head in the books sometimes. I was educated but I balanced that with a warrior's training. Having his head in the books all the time is a waste of talent and an insult to his Saiyan lineage. If he doesn't keep up with his training, he will grow soft and weak when a formidable opponent challenges him."
"The world's at peace now Cell is gone."
"Times of peace is the best time for a warrior to strengthen their skills! What happened in that alternate timeline with Trunks is proof peace isn't guaranteed. Kakarrot died before those Artificial Humans arrived. Did his death prevent Trunks' world from becoming a living hell? Did it prevent me, your son and everyone else in that timeline from dying?"
He had a point. Sometimes ChiChi did wonder how she in that alternate timeline handled Gohan's choice to fight. If there was an argument, she would've lost it as she lost the fight to not allow Gohan to train for three years.
"I haven't forced Gohan to study since his father died," ChiChi confessed. "He's done that on his own."
"And you won't stop him," Vegeta pointed out.
"Shouldn't that please you?" ChiChi asked with a sly smirk. "Perhaps Gohan 'slacking off' will allow you to catch up with him. He's far above you like my husband."
Vegeta gripped his chopsticks tightly. "I see your tongue is as sharp as ever." Perhaps It's better this way. With Gohan not training anymore, it will allow Trunks to easily catch up to him. Trunks will be stronger than Gohan and the child she's carrying. I will make sure of it.
ChiChi reached for another plate. She wanted to change the subject. The conversation between them have been civil and it was providing a chance to learn about her husband's Saiyan lineage and answer questions she and Goku wondered. "You told me Goku's Saiyan instincts were alive when he chose me as his mate. What did you mean by Saiyan instincts and how do you know about this if only you, Nappa and Goku's brother were the only Saiyans around after Freeza killed everyone?"
The price of excavating information for his purposes Vegeta thought grimly. ChiChi was a sharp one. "Nappa told me. Some Saiyans mate for temporary partnerships. Others mate for life. If we are attracted to a female, we mate with them. Usually it's the male that initiate things but when a female does, it's even more enthralling. When the male responds, he lets her know how he appreciates her initiation."
ChiChi's cheeks burned. She knew exactly what he meant about that. She knew what happened the days before they married. Goku responded to her scent. He didn't know it but it meant he physically accepted her courtship.
"It's a wasted question. Kakarrot wouldn't be with you all this time if he didn't respond to your courtship."
"I just wanted assurance."
"You're carrying his second child!" He scolded her. "Wasn't it enough he kick your own son out to spend the remaining days leading up to the Cell Game with you?!"
"How did you know?"
"I was on Kami's Temple. I was there when Kakarrot returned with the dragon balls and told Gohan he can stay there until the Cell Game. It doesn't take a genius to know what Kakarrot was doing with you."
The meatball in her chopstick plopped back on her plate. If Vegeta figured it out, then the others….
"I told you not to give a damn what Kakarrot friends thought!"
It wasn't often she was yelled at. She never liked it. She only accepted it if it came from Goku. "You should take your own advice, Vegeta. You're giving a damn about the ghosts of your past. You fear living a different life from what you're used to will make you soft and gullible like you think it has with Goku. You wonder if you settle with a family if you fall in the same trap."
His chopsticks snapped with a loud crack. "How did you….?"
"You kept calling Goku soft; this planet makes him soft." ChiChi reached for another plate. "You two have more in common than you think. Besides, I've seen this before in Goku."
His snarl and grumbling amused ChiChi. "Goku didn't worry about being soft and gullible but he did have an identity crisis after we married." She pushed spare chopsticks to Vegeta. "For the first time in years, Goku didn't have a fight to prepare for. He won the tournament and became the strongest in the world. He was happy he won but wasn't ready for life after that. He resisted change. It created some issues but Goku and I worked it out and we made a happy family together.
"I won't imagine everything you've been through but you do have things in common with my Goku. He was alone, too. All he knew was fighting. He was never exposed to another way of life until we married. It was an adjustment for him. It didn't make him soft and gullible and it won't happen to you either. It will make you stronger."
"Goku enjoyed fighting a strong opponent but having someone to protect gave him that extra motivation to not give up. Imagine what it will do for you."
Vegeta tapped his chopsticks against his plate pondering ChiChi's words. Kakarrot's ingenuity. His way of being one step ahead. Did he really get that way because of his wife and son? Is it worth giving that life a chance?
"If you tell anyone, especially Bulma about our talk, I'll kill you."
"What talk?" ChiChi smiled as she reached for another plate of food.
A rare smile curved Vegeta's face as grabbed another plate.
Bulma perused the clothes in her walk-in closet. She told Vegeta he needs a new wardrobe. She needed one, too. The clothes were nice but she were getting bored with it. Perhaps, she'll leave Trunks with her mother and go on a shopping trip.
Strange rattling from her bedroom caused Bulma to step out of her closet. Vegeta pushed her dresser from the wall. "Vegeta….." her eyes followed Vegeta as he pushed her furniture to the bed, "what are you doing?" He leapt removing some framed photos from the wall and tossed them on her bed. "I said what are you doing?"
Vegeta ignored her as he walked in her closet. Bulma followed Vegeta. The room was quite large. It was a walk-in closet but it was big enough for one's personal office. "This will do." Vegeta grabbed clothes off one side and tossed it to the floor.
"Hey!" Now Bulma was angry. "What the hell are you doing?!" All her clothes from one side were tossed on the floor. She angrily followed Vegeta out her closet. "What the hell was that about? Are you gonna burn my clothes?"
Vegeta returned to the empty wall in her bedroom. Dr. Briefs walked in. "Dad, what's going on?"
"Vegeta," Dr. Briefs spoke aware of what Vegeta wanted. "I can get the robots to measure and accurately-" he never finished when Vegeta punch the empty wall. It crumbled. Dr. Briefs looked at his daughter who was ready to blow up. "I'll let you talk." He quickly made his escape.
"Vegeta!" Bulma screamed. "What the hell did you do?! Why did you knock down my wall?!"
"It was in the way." Vegeta stepped over the rubble into the empty room. "This is better."
"What is better?!" Bulma demanded as she marched to him. "Why did you throw my clothes on the floor and why did you demolish my wall?!"
"The closet is fine but this rooms needs to be a little bigger if I'm gonna be in it."
"You….." Her anger dissipated as a wonderous smile grew on her face. "You want to share my room?"
"It's not your room anymore," he corrected her.
"Our," she corrected herself. She wrapped an arm around him and laid her head on his shoulder. Saiyans. They just weren't like human men. They made it so much harder but also so much fun. "You could've just told me."
Vegeta felt a tiny urge to shove Bulma off him but since they were alone, he allowed it. He would never verbally say it but it was nice.
"I see the possibilities," Bulma murmured.
"I look at this extra space we have to expand on our room and I see us….. the possibilities of our future. We have a second chance compared to ourselves in our son's alternate future. You're dead and I'm beautiful but lonely with a lot of regrets. Our future is unwritten. We can make it what we want. Let's do that and live for those who can't."
Bulma saw their future but Vegeta saw an empty room. He wasn't trying to be heartless and emotionless. He wasn't bred to think that way. Since childhood, all he did was fight to kill, fight to show his strength and dominance to those beneath him. He was a slave to Freeza's regime but he was treated differently than others. He was educated, granted privileges others weren't because he was a prince. He killed families; killed relationships. Raising and taking part in one wasn't what he was taught.
My past is what made me. I can't forget my past. He looked down at the woman leaning on him. But maybe I shouldn't let it hold me back from my future.
Feeling eyes on her, Bulma turned her head up to Vegeta's. Vegeta touched her chin and tilt it up as he brought his lips down upon hers.
"I want you and Gohan to move in with me."
Gyu-Mao said this when Goku hadn't returned from space. Then, her father came from a place of anger. He was angry with Goku and thought he abandoned his family. ChiChi resisted as she didn't agree with him. This time was different. ChiChi knew her father was coming from a place of love and protection.
"This is my home, Dad. Goku and I built our life here."
"I know, but Goku's gone. You and Gohan shouldn't live out here alone."
"Gohan and I can take care of ourselves."
"It's so isolating out here. You know I wanted you to stay with me when you and Goku married. My castle has enough rooms. It's so big I can go days without seeing you. You would've had enough privacy, but I allowed you to move out and live on your own. You wanted to prove something. You did. You don't have to do that anymore. Move back in. Gohan won't have to share it with the baby."
"Gohan wants to share his room with his brother."
"For now but when Gohan gets to be a teenager, he's going to need his own room. He'll want his own space. ChiChi, this is the perfect time for you, Gohan and the baby to have a fresh start. It's what Gohan needs, too."
"What do you mean?"
"I've talked with him. He's very upbeat but there are times Gohan gets very quiet. Something is bothering him. I've waited for Gohan to come around. I've tried to approach the subject of Goku dying but Gohan clams up or he'll change the subject. This place holds too many memories. It's stifling Gohan from mourning properly. Move in with me so Gohan can deal with whatever turmoil is going on. Let the baby growing in you have a life not tied to the past."
ChiChi sat at the table long Gyu-Mao left. This place held a lot of memories for her. She remembered Goku walking in with baby Gohan in his arms; remember Gohan crawling on the kitchen floor while she cooked; Goku doing pushups while Gohan napped on his back; the family sitting together playing games.
The memories were welcoming but there were days the memories were too hard to deal with.
"Maybe a fresh start is what we need."
"Gohan, what are you doing?! Finish it! FINISH OFF CELL!"
"Already?" Gohan scoffed. Stop now? He was getting started. "Heh. Sorry, Dad. It deserves to suffer more."
"Gohan! You're the only one who can finish it! Do it now! Don't let it get desperate! We don't know what it will do!"
"Gohan. Gohan. Gohan."
"No!" Gohan jolted awake. He took a few heavy breaths before realizing he's in his room and his mother shook him awake.
"Are you all right?"
He was lying. ChiChi witnessed Gohan breakdown after Namek. He was in bed for a week. He only ate and slept. With her and her father, Gohan got better. He eventually came out of his room and had meals with her. In three months, Gohan was functioning like a normal child. After Goku's death, Gohan went back to studying immediately. He walked with his Grandpa every day. He also took care of her.
After Goku died, she lost it. She needed coaxing out of bed. She needed encouragement to cook. She was depressed for a very long time. It was her pregnancy that got ChiChi out of it. In her depression, she noticed some things different with Gohan like his outbursts but never considered it was a release of an undermining issues that's festered for months.
Oh, no. I didn't see it. I was so lost in my grief I didn't consider Gohan. He was so strong and mature but he was pretending. Oh, Gohan. Maybe my father was right.
"Is everything all right, Mom?" Gohan was worried for her. "Do I need to get you anything?"
"No." ChiChi shook her head.
"Here, Mom." Gohan was on his feet helping ChiChi sit down. "Sit down. Rest your feet."
ChiChi eased herself on Gohan's bed. "I want to talk to you."
"It was only bad dream," Gohan told her. "Nothing to worry about."
It was something for ChiChi to worry about. It was a cry for help. "Grandpa suggested something to me I think we should consider. He wants us to live with him."
"Why? We have a home here."
"Grandpa's home is so much bigger. You'll have so much space and room for your books, your telescope, and chemistry set. You won't have to share your room with your brother."
"But I want to share my room with him." Gohan went over to one side of the room where his bookcase stood. "I cleared this bottom shelf for his books and toys." He went to the closet and opened it. "I already made space for his clothes and I'm gonna give him one of the drawers to my chest."
"That's kind of you but you don't need to do that at Grandpa's. He'll have his own space like you. When you get older, you're going to need it. Teenagers have their own rooms."
"I won't need it," Gohan insisted. "I can share my room with my brother. This is Dad's home. How can you think of leaving and not letting my brother know about it?"
ChiChi winced as a sharp kicked hit her ribcage. She put a hand on her stomach to soothe her baby. Maybe baby brother agreed with Gohan. "It's not like that. This home holds a lot of memories. Wonderful memories but also difficult memories. Grandpa's home will give us a fresh start. We can make more memories. Happier ones."
"You want to forget Dad," Gohan accused her. "How can you want to forget Dad after all he's done for us?"
"No. I don't want to forget Dad. We'll never forget him, but it has been hard on both of us living here since Dad died. I'm better now, but you're still having nightmares."
"It has nothing to do with this house!"
While Gohan's anger rose, ChiChi kept her cool. "Not intentionally but the memories of Dad are strong here."
"I'm sad Dad's gone but I'm mourning. I want to stay here. This is Dad's home. We can't leave this place. It'll be like forgetting Dad and the baby needs to be here. He needs to know about Dad."
"He will, Gohan. We'll tell the baby about Dad all the time but we don't need to be here."
"NO!" Gohan flared as he turned into a Super Saiyan. "We do! We can't leave this place! This is Dad's home! I won't abandoned it!" In his anger, tears glistened around his eyes. "We can't. You didn't want to leave when Grandpa wanted you three years ago!"
"That was different."
"It's the same! Leaving means moving on and forgetting about Dad and I can't do that. Please, Mom!" Gohan begged. "We can't abandon the home Dad built for us."
Gohan's tears were hard on ChiChi. It broke any resistance she had. "Okay," she gave in. ChiChi pushed herself to her feet and waddled to her son. "We won't go. We'll stay here." Gohan's arms enclosed around her.
ChiChi's eyes glistened with tears. Your father's death hit you harder than you want people to see, Gohan. You're holding something from me. I know it. I pray you'll tell me.
Piccolo and Vegeta sat at the decorated table arms crossed and upset with everyone. Well, Piccolo's arms were crossed. Vegeta stuffed his mouth with food. It was the only thing getting him through this miserable event.
"How did we get pulled into this?" Vegeta growled.
"I was tricked," Piccolo eyed his deceiver. "Gohan told me ChiChi wanted me to come to dinner."
"You're Namekian. You don't eat."
"I know that," Piccolo gritted his teeth. "But I've eaten some food because of her. ChiChi's a good cook."
"Agree," Vegeta put down his empty plate and reached for another. While munching a drumstick, he confessed, "Bulma shut down the gravity room." He glared at Bulma laughing with ChiChi. He squeezed the drumstick so hard it snapped in his fingers. "If she doesn't turn it on when we get back….."
Piccolo felt something tug his pants legs. He looked down to see a little girl in pig tails staring at Piccolo. "You're green," the child giggled.
Piccolo rolled his eyes. Aki's eldest daughter, Kala, was almost five now. "I know. Go back to your mother." Piccolo turned the child away from him and gave her a shove.
Kala didn't move. She giggled. "Mama!" Kala pointed at Piccolo. "He's green." Then she pointed at Vegeta. "He has a big head!"
Gohan grabbed the child's hand and pulled her away. "Sorry," he apologized. "Go back to the toys, Kala, and I'll bring you a slice of cake." The child giggled and went back to the toys arranged for the children to play with while the adults took part in the baby shower. Gohan was a victim in one of the baby shower games. The diaper game. Bulma and Reia, Aki's wife, dressed Gohan and Kala in a diaper in the most creative way using toilet paper. Bulma was the victor dressing Gohan in a diaper, mittens and hat made out of toilet paper in the fastest time. Gohan thought it was fun but Vegeta shook his head in disgust and Piccolo drummed his fingers against the table wondering how much longer he had to endure this madness.
"A baby shower, Gohan?" Piccolo growled. "Why did you think I'd want to come to a baby shower?"
"You said you will stop by one day but you haven't since Dad's memorial." Gohan honestly thought the baby shower would be fun to Piccolo. "You've played games when you lived with us. Remember Monopoly? Uno?"
Piccolo's sharp nails scraped against the tablecloth. "This isn't those games, Gohan."
Maybe not but it was fun. He noticed Vegeta wearing the same grumpy frown. "You had fun, too, Vegeta. You enjoyed 'Guess the Baby Food' game." He gestured to the empty baby jars on the table. "You ate everything in those jars."
"I only ate because I was hungry. I wasn't playing a game!"
That was a lie. The game was set up for Gohan and Vegeta to guess the food in the baby jars. As soon as Gohan guessed two jars correctly over Vegeta, he became aggressive, angry, and extremely competitive. Gohan imagined his father watching them and laughing at Vegeta's determination to win.
"It's been almost two hours. Can I go now?"
"Sure, Piccolo, but say goodbye to Mom."
Piccolo smirked at Vegeta who will be stuck here while he escapes to freedom. He stepped over the paper wrappings and gift boxes that cluttered the floor. He nearly tripped when a walking Trunks and Aki's crawling second daughter passed him.
ChiChi sat on the sofa opening a gift when Piccolo approached. Bulma and Reia sat on both sides of her. All three women looked at him expectantly. "I came. I ate cake. I'm going."
ChiChi sensed Piccolo's frustration since his arrival. She was amazed he stayed this long. "Thanks for coming, Piccolo. Oooo," ChiChi placed a hand on her stomach. "My son is saying thanks for coming, too." Piccolo rolled his eyes. "Feel."
"Put your hand on my stomach and feel Goku's son."
Gohan handed Kala a slice of cake as promised. "He feels funny when he moves in Mom."
"No thanks. I don't need to feel that child. I can sense his Ki from here."
"Don't be grumpy." ChiChi waved him closer. "Put your hand on my stomach and feel my baby."
"Oh, feel the baby. It's cute." Bulma grabbed Piccolo's hand but he snatched it away.
"It really is a nice feeling," Reia tried to coax Piccolo.
"I said no!" Piccolo refused.
"Put your hand on my stomach," ChiChi kindly repeated.
"NO!" Piccolo yelled. "How many times do I have to say no before you accept that?!"
"DO IT!" ChiChi, Bulma and Reia screamed.
"FINE!" Piccolo roared. These women! He put his hand on ChiChi's swollen stomach. He felt a flutter of movement. "I feel the child," his voice was dry, cheeks turned a dark shade of purple as his sharp ears picked up Vegeta snickering at him. "Goku's son is strong. Can I take my hand off now?"
ChiChi smiled sweetly at Piccolo. "Yes. Thank you."
"That's all you had to do, Piccolo." Bulma shook her head frustrated. "Alien or not all men are the same. Always whiny and difficult."
"I'll have to take your word for it," Reia giggled. "My man's the only one that's human."
Piccolo turned away from the women giggling at him. As he walked off, he saw Vegeta smirking.
"Pussy," he heard Vegeta whispered under his breath.
Piccolo folded his hands into tight fists. If only they weren't in Goku's house…. If only he could fight Vegeta without damaging this house and not anger ChiChi or Bulma in the process. Instead, Piccolo left but vowing payback later.
ChiChi opened Reia's gift. She awed at the set of onesies. "Oh, these are so adorable."
"I'll make a hole for the baby's tail," Reia offered.
"Oh, you don't have to do that. I had another ultrasound and the baby doesn't have a tail."
"No tail? But Gohan had one."
"Trunks didn't have one either," Bulma refilled her wine glass. "I think it's luck. I didn't have to explain my son having a tail. ChiChi got lucky this time, too."
"I don't think it's luck, Bulma." Though he was occupied keeping the babies entertained, Gohan heard the women's conversation. "I read a chapter about genetics. I read if someone with brown eyes has a child with someone will blue eyes, then it's likely the child will have brown eyes because that's the dominant trait."
"Dominant traits." Bulma whistled. "You're taking me back to my biology classes in high school and college, Gohan."
"Gohan came up with a fascinating theory about Saiyan tails and their genes." ChiChi encouraged Gohan to share, "Tell her."
Gohan blushed. He always got flustered when the attention was on him to share his book knowledge. "Saiyans and humans have dominant and recessive traits but when a human and Saiyan make a child, Saiyans traits are shown to be more recessive."
Reia laughed nervously. This was going over her head. "You lost me, Gohan."
"Trunks and my brother won't have tails. I'm the only half Saiyan to have one. I think that means tails are recessive traits. A full blooded Saiyan hairstyle doesn't change from birth. Human hair grows and can be different styles. Dad's hair never grew. Mine does. Mom and Dad have black hair so I have black hair. Vegeta's hair is black and he said Saiyans only have black hair." The women looked at Vegeta, scrutinized him and looked down at Trunks on Gohan's lap. "Trunks' hair isn't black."
"Ohh!" Bulma's eyes lit up as she understood. "So, my human genes are dominant over Saiyan genes which are recess—"
"Like hell they are!" Vegeta leapt to his feet. Vegeta didn't fully understand everything Gohan said but it sounded like an insult to Saiyans. His hair turned blonde and veins popped on his forehead. "Saiyans aren't recessive to anyone! We are dominant over everything!"
"You weren't dominant last night," Bulma retorted with a sly smile.
Reia raised her glass to hide her smile while ChiChi put a hand over her mouth to stifle her laugh.
"And turn off the Super Saiyan," Bulma went on drinking more wine. "You're not scaring anyone."
From the women laughing at him to the children staring at him curiously, Vegeta had enough. Four years ago, he would've killed everyone in this room. The feeling was tempting now but four of these people had ties to a Saiyan. One of them could kick his ass. Instead of releasing another tantrum he only said, "Get the child and let's go."
Bulma crossed her legs and sipped her glass. "I'm not done."
"Oh, yes, you are." Vegeta yanked Bulma to her feet. The glass spilled from her hand and fell on the floor. "You've had too much to drink. Your lips are loose."
"I'll leave when I'm ready and I'm not ready."
Vegeta yanked her forward. His dark angry eyes bore into hers. "You're ready."
Bulma stared into Vegeta's eyes. His eyes were stormy. His nose flared as his chest rose and fell angrily. Yamcha never reacted this way when she was defiant. He never displayed this raw magnetic will. He didn't fear she could keep the gravity room shut down for the next month for his outburst. He wasn't intimidated by her at all.
"All right." Bulma pulled herself from Vegeta's grasp. "It's been fun, ChiChi, but it is a while back to West City."
"Thank you for coming," ChiChi saw what passed between Bulma and Vegeta. She experienced that with Goku. If Goku had enough of her moods and defiant behavior, he let her know it. He knew what tone and volume to raise his voice to get her to listen. Perhaps it was a dominant Saiyan trait.
Gohan cleaned up the spill while Bulma picked up Trunks and left with Vegeta. Once the three left, Reia stretched her arms over her head. "I think we both know who will be dominant tonight."
Weeks past and seasons changed. This long tumultuous year was days from coming to an end. It started off bright. In January, Goku had a doctor's appointment. His heart was very strong and there were no signs of issues. Dr. Sims proudly reminded them the time for Goku to catch the virus passed. Goku was supposed to be dead six months before the Artificial Humans arrival but in January he was alive a month pass that death date.
It gave ChiChi hope Goku wouldn't get the virus. Unfortunately, Goku did at the worse time. He recovered but still died. ChiChi felt fate conspired against her. Goku's death cast a dark pall on her family in the second half of the year. Things didn't brighten until the discovery of her pregnancy. It brought ChiChi out of her depression and made ChiChi more aware of Gohan's troubles.
Gohan kept his spirits up around her but it took too long for ChiChi to realize he was doing that to hide his feelings. He buried himself in his books. He helped around the house. He behaved like a model son but something was wrong. She felt it in her bones.
ChiChi groaned as she shut the kitchen light off. This second child was an energetic one. He kicked more than Gohan. His moving around ached her lower back. She could use Goku's massage right now. He knew where to touch her to make the aches go away. ChiChi was happy for the pregnancy but it was a lonely one. Gohan always helped. She appreciated it but sometimes felt he was overcompensating.
ChiChi spotted the hall bathroom open with the light on. She peeked in and saw Gohan examining his hair. She noticed the scissors and comb on the sink. Gohan used to let his hair grow. He had a fondness for long hair. He was so happy his hair grew out after his adventures on Namek but since Goku's death, Gohan was determined to keep it short. As soon as it grew down his neck, he insisted to get it cut.
"Want me to help you?" ChiChi asked stepping in.
"I've been trying to cut it on my own."
"You don't need to do that." ChiChi grabbed a comb and carefully comb through his tresses and tangles. "You used to let your hair grow out. It would be halfway down your back before you allowed me to cut it."
"I like it shorter now."
ChiChi clipped his hair carefully. "Because of Dad?" She caught Gohan's expression in the mirror. "He cut your hair in that room."
"Yeah. It's one of the last happy memories I have of Dad. Maybe I'll let my hair grow but for now, I want to keep it short."
"All right." It wasn't a big deal but it was concerning that was Gohan's reason to keep his hair short. Snip. Snip. Snip. More hair fell onto the sink and floor. "I think the short hair looks good but it makes you look more mature though should be. You're still a kid." ChiChi pressed a kiss on the back of his head. "Don't grow up too fast."
Gohan laughed ruefully. "Too late for that," he murmured.
Snip. Snip. Snip. More hair fell. "You did grow up faster than you should've." Since Gohan's refusal to move in with Gyu-Mao, ChiChi observed Gohan closely over the months. Gohan spent most of his time in his room studying. He came out when it's time to eat, when his grandpa visited, when he hunted for meat or chop wood for them. Every few weeks, he visited= Piccolo but after learning of her pregnancy, Gohan spent a lot of time at home.
But he never trained. Oh, he exercised to maintain his shape but didn't extend that like Goku.
Vegeta's words about Gohan's lack of training and peace had ChiChi thinking about her unborn son. Gohan was the strongest in the universe now. If there was a threat, it would be up to Gohan to save everyone. The world's at peace. The recent threats were tied to Goku. He stayed dead so we can live in peace.
ChiChi felt her child move in her. What if there was a chance Goku was wrong? What if another threat came? She paused in her cutting to caress her stomach. This child had to be protected.
"Mom? Are you okay?" From the mirror, Gohan saw his mother looking worriedly at her stomach. "Is the baby okay?"
"We're fine." ChiChi clipped more strands. "I'm happy you're studying and you're focused on catching up on the three years you missed."
"I still studied over the years."
"Not as much." ChiChi parted his hair carefully. "You haven't trained since the Cell Game."
"I trained to protect Earth. Everything's peaceful again. I have more time to do things I want."
Three years ago, ChiChi would be proud to hear that from Gohan. Now, she wasn't sure if that is the best mindset to have. "Your father would want you to."
Gohan flinched. It almost caused ChiChi to cut too much. Why would Mom say that? She hates training. "I'm studying like you want, Mom. Training gets in the way and I have three years to catch up on."
That was scary. Gohan was sounding like her. ChiChi argued about training. She worried Gohan would get far behind after three years but she knew that wouldn't happen. Gohan was always ahead of kids his age. He was enlightened so young, ChiChi didn't want to see that talent wasted but Goku told her, Gohan needed fun and time away from the books, too.
It took his death for ChiChi to see he was right.
ChiChi put down the scissors, the comb and brushed the strands of hair off Gohan's shirt. "You're so smart and balanced. Your father's been gone for seven months and you've done nothing but study. You haven't studied in three years but you're two grades ahead of kids your age." Gohan examined his new hair cut in the mirror as ChiChi wrapped her arms around him. "I'm proud of you. I know you've been studying so much to please me but I won't stop you if you want to include training from time to time."
Gohan stared at his reflection. Mom styled his hair the same way Dad did. Gohan saw his father reflecting back at him. He was a Super Saiyan wearing the Saiyan armor just like he did when he cut his hair. The happy reflection changed to his father at the Cell Game yelling at him to finish Cell.
"Gohan, what are you doing?! Finish it! FINISH OFF CELL!"
"Already?" Gohan scoffed. Stop now? He was getting started. "Heh. Sorry, Dad. It deserves to suffer more."
"Gohan! You're the only one who can finish it! Do it now! Don't let it get desperate! We don't know what it will do!"
"I'm going to self-destruct in sixty seconds."
"I'll explode the instant I'm hit. You'll be just as dead—only sooner!"
"You did well, Gohan. I'm proud of you."
"No, I didn't, Dad," Gohan whispered. Tears formed around his eyes. "I failed you. I killed you."
"Gohan, you didn't kill your father. That was Cell."
"No," he stubbornly shook his head. "No, Mom. It's my fault! Dad's not here because of me."
The air was too thick for Gohan. He tried to leave but ChiChi pulled him back in. She clasped her hands on his face and made him look at her. "No! Don't think that. You were too young to fight, Gohan. I know you wish you could've saved your Dad but there was nothing you could do. It's all Cell's fault."
"No!" Gohan exploded in rage. His hair turned blonde and the aura around him was strong but not enough to push ChiChi back. She still held onto him. "It's my fault! I could've killed Cell and I didn't! Dad told me to kill Cell and I didn't do it!"
Shock reverberated through ChiChi as she released Gohan. "What?"
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry," Gohan repeated over and over.
ChiChi took a step back from Gohan. She must've misheard. "You said Cell was going to blow itself up and Goku took it away."
"He did but before that, I had Cell beaten. Cell was so weak it lost its perfect form. I could've killed it but I got arrogant. I taunted Cell. Dad told me to kill Cell but I wouldn't do it."
"I wanted Cell to suffer. It killed a lot people and I felt he didn't pay enough. Dad kept telling me to kill it but I wouldn't listen. Just when I thought Cell suffered enough it ballooned in size and said it will self-destruct in one minute."
"And that's when Goku left?" ChiChi legs gave away as she crumpled to the floor. Goku could be alive right now if Gohan listened. He could be here feeling our baby. Vegeta let Cell reach its perfect form. Krillin destroyed the remote that could've deactivated 18. Gohan….. you didn't listen to your father. How could you? Oh, Gohan….. how could you?
Tears spilled from her eyes like lava from a volcano. ChiChi felt her heart breaking all over again as she was brought back to that horrific day she lost Goku.
Why, Gohan? Why?
"Mom!" Gohan dropped to his knees before ChiChi. "I'm so sorry. Please forgive me. Please don't hate me. I'll do whatever you want. I'll be a scholar like you want. I'll do anything. Please."
ChiChi didn't hear her son's pleas. Her mind only contemplated there was another reason Goku wasn't with her. Not only were Goku's friends and allies to blame but his own son! She was too shellshocked to respond until Gohan touched her.
"No…." ChiChi pulled away. She didn't want him touching her. She didn't want to look or speak to him. ChiChi pulled herself to stand. "I need… I need to be alone."
ChiChi put a shaking hand up warning Gohan to stay back. "I can't….. I can't deal with this right now."
"Mom…." Gohan called after ChiChi again but she was near running from him as quickly her pregnant body would allow her.
Near eleven that night and ChiChi still couldn't sleep. Her eyes were red and cheeks puffy from all the crying. She cried losing Goku all over again. She pounded her pillow frustrated at all the people who made mistakes that cost Goku his life. Vegeta and Krillin she could be angry with but Gohan broke her heart again.
Her sweet baby boy. Why didn't he listen to Goku? What happened? As she ached for the loss of her husband, she ached for her son. She ached for the guilt he has felt all this time; how he kept it in instead of telling her.
Oh, the fear Gohan must've felt in telling me. The guilt. It's not your fault Gohan. I know you didn't mean to get arrogant…. but why didn't you listen to your father?
She remembered the fear and panic in Gohan's eyes when she pulled away from him. What was he thinking now? Her poor baby probably felt even worse now. She needed to talk to him; at least reassure she didn't hate him. She never could do that. No matter what mistakes he made, ChiChi will always love her son.
A sharp pain struck ChiChi once she got out of bed. It overwhelmed her so deeply, she grabbed the railing at the foot of the bed to stay upright. She rubbed her stomach. Where did that pain come from? She released two heavy breaths.
The pain was gone. She walked….. slowly. As soon as she touched the doorknob, pain stung from her stomach again. This time ChiChi couldn't stay upright. She slid to the floor. Her eyes squeezed shut at the pain shooting in her.
"No, no, no," she repeated. "It can't be. It's too soon." The pain was too familiar. She only felt like this once in her life. "Gohan!" ChiChi called for her son. I need to get to the hospital. I need to save my baby. "Go…. Han!" she screamed as the pain stabbed her again.
In and out she breathed. In and out. She wasn't sure if Gohan heard her.
Mustering her strength, ChiChi pulled the door open. Her legs were too weak to stand; her knees not strong to hold her, so ChiChi slid across the floor. "Gohan." Only a few feet, ChiChi told herself. Only a few feet. "Gohan!" She kept pulling herself. Almost there. Almost there.
A foot from his room, Gohan's door opened. "Mom!"
ChiChi felt Gohan's arms around her. "Mom, what's wrong? What's going on?"
"It's the baby. I think I'm in labor but it's too soon." She wailed as more pain shuddered through her body. She felt Gohan pick her up. "I can't lose him, Gohan. I can't lose my baby. It's Goku's gift to us."
"Don't worry, Mom." Gohan flared as he turned into a Super Saiyan. "You won't lose him. I couldn't save Dad but I won't let my you or my baby brother die!"
With no more words, Gohan flew out of his house, creating sonic booms as he flew to the nearest hospital.
Part Thirty-Three: A New Life Part Two
AN: I never understood in stories why people wrote ChiChi as incompetent in the bedroom or needing the advice of Bulma other than writers projecting their dislike on ChiChi but to me ChiChi would have a lot of experience in understanding a Saiyan in ways of intimacy. She slept with one first, she had a baby by one first, she's been in a relationship longer so I think she will be the one to give Bulma advice. Bulma has experience with Yamcha sleeping with a human and Saiyan probably aren't the same.
I always wanted to write an exploration on what the other characters did in those seven years. I won't spend chapters focusing on Vegeta and Bulma and Krillin and 18 but I want to touch on their developments from time to time throughout those years like how did Krillin and 18 meet again; when did Vegeta started giving a relationship with Bulma and Trunks a chance. I still have to keep in mind the sad truth Majin Vegeta revealed and go about this change slow because it wasn't a quick process for them.
I also think besides people projecting their dislike of ChiChi that ChiChi and Vegeta have a better relationship than many actually think and have things in common. With the exception of 18, Vegeta never had issues with women. In his own way, he was aloof and sort of respectful. He only acted short tempered when pushed i.e. Bulma but even then it wasn't coming from a place of true hate and yeah, he would use that word with her because she is the most quick-tempered woman he's mostly around. He's hardly around ChiChi and sadly that word came in fics because of the people not liking her character.
I also had to rewrite a little of Chapter 25 and 26 a bit. I made some changes about Goku and ChiChi's house. Initially I wrote them getting a new capsule house because of Goku's fight with Gyumao but I changed it that the house was damage and repairs needed to be made but it wasn't completely destroyed because there are things I will reflect on in later chapters.
There are so many changes between the afterlife in the manga and anime. People have bodies. People don't. I added my own twist to it.
Thank you for the reviews and I'm open to listening to suggestions as a few have given me but keep in mind this is a pro Goku and ChiChi and Son Family story. If you don't like them, don't expect me to write bashing GoChi stories or breaking them up because you can't see them as a couple.
Mairuchan18: I agree. I don't think anyone saw ChiChi's true suffering. Her collapsing on the floor spoke volumes. Sad thing is I don't think Goku's friends really noticed. I know the English speaking audience didn't. There's sadly many misinterpretations of her character in the Western audience.
GoChi2: Thank you. I tried going in some depth with Gohan and ChiChi's mourning and explore the lives of other characters. Goten will appear in the next chapter.
Yash Jacob: Thank you for the suggestion. I hadn't thought about that. That's an interesting idea with Bulma helping Gohan get into that school! It had to be some reason. Surely there are schools much closer to Gohan but Orange Star being prestigious is a good idea. I wish I could turn it into book. Would be nice. Not sure if many would buy it.
1: Bulma is starting to mature. It continue to grow over the years. She'll make mistakes but she's human. Unfortunately, King Kai couldn't because you know Goku would've hound him on it and it wouldn't be right to always break the rules for him and not anyone else. Ah, Kaifun. Kaifun. Kaifun. That guy. LOL!