PENULTIMATE

by tomorrow_4eva
Disclaimer: DBZ characters property of Akira Toriyama.

A warm breeze was wafting up the hill as he made his way down past tombstones and markers and marble angels. He reached his destination and knelt carefully, placing the handful of wildflowers he'd picked earlier for her carefully beside the small, soft-pink marble stone.

"I miss you, Chichi," Goku whispered to the stone and ground and air. He glanced over at Vejiita, who was sitting beside the neighbouring grave, allowing Goku his privacy. Goku sat down beside him, then lay back on the grass. Time had been kind to the last two Saiyajin, both men still excellent warriors, though they were perhaps a little bit slower, and perhaps took a little more damage where once they would have taken less. Goku had noticed slight signs of age in his face lately, and on cold mornings the chill lingered in his bones longer, although his hair was as dark as ever. There had been a time when his longer lifespan had made him feel, unconsciously, that he would live forever.

Mentally he shrugged. Vejiita used to say there were no old Saiyajin, but he had stopped talking about age when Bulma's hair began to pale. Death didn't scare Goku, it had only ever been an inconvenience. In fact, he was looking forward to it a little bit, because the next time it happened it would be as much a reunion as a parting. True, the majority of his family would still be alive, but all his old friends and Chichi, well, the grandchildren would never really be a part of that group. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Probably some great-great-grandchildren in there too. He didn't tend to think about the specifics of the relationships - all of his decedents (and sometimes his friends', too) he mentally classed as 'the children'. Thinking of them made Goku smile. He'd been training most of them over the years.

Vejiita shifted beside him, and Goku's thoughts switched to Vejiita's family - somewhat smaller but still growing. He started to run through their names in his head, but stopped when his mind came up with one of the smaller girls whose name just wouldn't come. The mental image was probably out of date, anyway.

"What are you frowning at?" Vejiita's voice slid through his thoughts, snapping them back to the present.

"Hmm?" Goku turned his head to look at the other Saiyajin. "Oh, I was trying to remember the name of... one of Bra's daughter's daughters. I can't remember which."

Vejiita snorted. "If they don't show up for training, who cares what they're called."

Goku grinned. "Nice try, but Bra boasts that you never miss a birthday."

"Hn," Vejiita frowned, staring out at the horizon.

Silence resumed, the breeze teasingly blowing tufts of grass, but doing nothing to dispel the warm, sleepy, time-less quality in the air. Goku stared up at the clouds meandering their way through the blue void. He felt slightly drowsy, as though he was just waking from a deep sleep. It was so peaceful. So beautiful. How wonderful it was to think that he had kept this place, this world, safe.

"Vejiita?"

"Hn."

"Do you have any regrets?"

"Regrets about what?"

"About... everything."

"About what I've done with my life now that I'm old and on the verge of death?" The words held a touch of malice and no small amount of sarcasm, but Goku, used to it, barely noticed.

"Yeah."

Vejiita eyed him, then looked out again. The clouds dawdled, clustering the sky, but never obscuring the sun. Eventually Goku returned his gaze there, Kinoten coming to mind. Idly he wondered who it belonged to now.

"I can't change the past, so I don't waste my time worrying about it," Vejiita declared finally.

Goku blinked, then remembered his question.

"Oh," was all he said.

"I've... sometimes wondered about events, but there's nothing to be gained from that," Vejiita said thoughtfully, although only knowing Vejiita for years allowed Goku to label his tone such. He felt his lips twitch, but didn't smile in case Vejiita decided to ruin the mood by attacking him. Right now the clouds were carelessly drifting and Goku was content to watch them. Training could be done after lunch, and lunchtime was never far off...

"Kakarotto," Vejiita stated, then waited for his acknowledgement.

"Yeah?"

"There's nothing to do here."

"Hmm?" Goku turned his head to look at his comrade.

"Chikyuu, Earth, it's safe, it's defended... it's so boring," Vejiita gestured around with one hand. "We've done everything we can do here. Even if the planet is attacked again, our children are strong enough, or at least numerous enough to defend it without us."

Goku pondered this, then nodded, waiting for Vejiita to continue. He wasn't disappointed.

"Let's take a spaceship and leave. Find another fight somewhere."

"Huh?" Goku blurted, startled.

Vejiita looked down at him. "Do you *want* to die here? Like *this*?" He asked haughtily. "Kakarotto, we're the last two Saiyajin. Ever! When we die, it's all over, and I am going to die like a Saiyajin, in battle and glory, not like a Human, old and frail. So, are you going to continue being a disgrace to your species, or are you going to come with me?"

"That's... just leave? Who'd be able to kill us in battle anyway?" Goku asked.

Vejiita smirked, amused at the honesty that was still in Goku's voice after so long. "It'll take us a few days to get a ship ready, you can use the time to say goodbye to everyone if that bothers you."

Goku sat up. "You really want to die?"

Vejiita's eyes flashed angrily. "No, *idiot*, of course not! But in case you hadn't noticed, Kakarotto, dying in a bed, too weak to move, is *not* the way a Saiyajin warrior should die! There has to be someone out there worthy of fighting. We'll be fighting two enemies, anyway, Kakarotto. Time and the other bastard. Even if we decimate the galaxy's warriors, we are not immortal."

Abruptly, Vejiita cut his tirade off, and growled, snapping his head forward to glare at the scenery.

Goku gave the back of his head a lopsided smile. "Go make sure there aren't any more crazy tyrants or destroyers out there to bother the kids, right? Give the galaxy a bit of housecleaning before we catch up with Chichi and Bulma?"

"Hn," was the curt reply.

"One last really big fight, with every ounce of power rushing through our blood... giving them all something to remember about the Saiyajin. Something for the galaxy to add to our children's legends about us. The powerful Super Saiyajin! Level 3!" Goku let himself fall backwards and put his hands behind his head.

Vejiita nodded, once.

Goku chuckled to himself and smiled up at the clouds. In the back of his mind he scanned the area for any familiar Ki. He detected three, and wondered whether the owners were flying for the thrill of it, or ignoring the beautiful day.

And he knew he was going to leave it, going to fight and then see Chichi.

Another thought occurred to him.

"Vejiita?"

"What?"

"Where do Saiyajin go when they die? The first time I died, King Yama said Raditsu had gone through before me, but I've never ever seen any Saiyajin around there. Not even in hell. Except you."

Vejiita shot him a glare. "Saiyajin," He began, "I've been told, if they are worthy warriors, go some place where there is always something to fight, kill or eat. Or all three."

"After hell, huh?" Goku couldn't help adding with a grin.

Vejiita didn't bother to reply.

"That sounds about right, I think. Where else would you put Saiyajin?" Goku became serious. "Vejiita, do you think they'd let humans in?"

"Huh?" Vejiita glanced at him blankly.

"I mean, Chichi might not like that place anyway, but..."

Understanding stole across Vejiita's face, and he straightened confidently. "Kakarotto, we are the two most powerful Saiyajin ever. If they refuse to let our mates in, we'll take over."

Goku smiled happily. "You give the orders and I'll stand around menacingly."

Vejiita gave him an odd look, but didn't say anything.

"After lunch, okay? We'll ask Trunks and Bra to get a ship together," Goku decided.

Vejiita nodded absently. "After lunch," He agreed.

The day was perfect, no clouds, the barest hint of wind. Maybe Dende had decided to develop a dramatic flair, clearing the heavens for the departure of Goku and Vejiita. Everyone had turned out, everyone even remotely connected to the Son and Brief families, and everyone had smiled, even if it was forced.

Ten minutes later, the crowd began to disperse, leaving only those closest to the warriors to remain, until only five still stood there, staring up.

Finally Gohan spoke. "They never said, but they're not coming back, are they?"

"No," Piccolo confirmed, "they're never coming back."

Bra sniffled slightly, before catching herself.

"They could have invited us along," Goten said, without conviction.

"No, we're just the brats," Trunks said, trying to sound nonchalant. "We weren't around at the beginning, so we'd be in the way at the end."

"Gohan was there," Bra said quietly.

Gohan shook his head. "I fought, but I never really became a warrior. I'd be in the way, too." He finished sorrowfully.

"Regrets?" Piccolo asked him.

"Yeah, a little bit," Gohan sighed, "but it's too late to change anything now. Besides, I think I would really rather stay here. It's just watching them leave... watching Father go off to fight without me..."

Bra turned quietly and left.

"Maybe we'll follow suit sometime, eh, Trunks?" Goten said, elbowing his friend gently.

"Yeah, maybe. We might as well leave today or we'll be too old." Trunks muttered.

"They just don't make hybrids like they used to," Goten shook his head as he and Trunks turned and left.

"I would get in the way, wouldn't I?" Gohan asked, after they were gone.

"Yeah, you aren't the kid who's shocking us with his power level anymore," Piccolo said. "When you stopped training as much, got a normal life and grew up, you changed a bit too much, Gohan. Even if you hadn't, I don't think they would have wanted you along."

Gohan nodded slowly. "And I'm physically older then them," He sighed. "Are you coming inside?" He asked.

"No," Piccolo replied. He didn't move as Gohan turned and walked towards the Capsule Corp. buildings.

Piccolo stared up at the sky. "This isn't really full circle, Goku, but I understand. Dende and I will watch over them, and I'll make sure there are always some of your kids training to protect the world. Vejiita, I'll make sure your kids keep the Saiyajin legacy of power and strength alive. I'll even tell them all our stories." The green man grinned, his fangs catching the light.

"I'll talk Dende into letting me visit you, and maybe someday I'll catch up. Fight well, friends!"

With that he levitated into the air, and flew off.

- Finis