Because Without You…
He sat up straight from a dead, dreamless sleep as if something was wrong. At first he stared at the empty space beside him, but that wasn't an unusual sight as his wife often did her best work at night. Still, the Saiyan prince wondered, What in the world is that woman doing? He poked his head into several rooms (including those of their two children) before heading out to her lab. For once the room was empty with everything seemed to be very neatly put into place. That was the instant he knew something was seriously wrong.
"What's the matter, dad?" his daughter asked sleepily from the doorway. "You're usually quieter when you're up to something."
"Nothing's wrong. Just go back to sleep."
The girl shrugged and yawned. "All right. Later."
He waited a few moments to make sure she had really left, then went over to one of the shelves, which was filled with books. The copy of "The First Men in the Moon" was in the wrong place and he found that the time machine capsule was gone. Dammit! He quickly checked the other hiding places that Bulma had set up over the years and found all of them intact. After pocketing a majority of them he thought, This can't be good. Not at-
"You're too late." Vegeta whirled and saw a small, floating device with a familiar face on the screen. "You see, it took a while to get the information I needed, but I, Dr. Gero, have finally found the way to rid myself of the two people who have hindered my plans from the start."
"You were killed years ago! I saw it myself!"
"Fool! You of all people should know that timelines are easily manipulated. Now your timeline will be destroyed once and for all and there's no way for you to stop me."
"What have you-"
"I know better than to tell you what I've done and will do."
"Then I'll figure it out myself." With a small blast Vegeta shattered the device.
However, the thing didn't go dead and he caught a few words punctuated by static. "Typical…first time…Goku…the Dragon Balls…" The speaker began emitting a high-pitched tone and he crushed it.
"So, he's going to try and stop them from meeting. Lucky for me, I can find the exact date and get there first."
He spent the better part of the night preparing for his adventure, gathering all the information she had on the androids and having a backup plan that their two children could easily follow. It was still dark when he left the special capsules in his son's room and headed off into the past. He had never feared change or felt the need for status quo, but with those things about to be lost the Saiyan prince began to view things in a vastly different light.
To change the direction of the conversation, the blue-haired girl said, "Well, I suppose I could show you something, Goku. Ha!" From the small satchel on her belt she pulled out the two and five star Dragon Balls.
"What?! That's impossible!" the little, tailed boy yelped as he clutched the four star ball. "You must've gotten them from my grandfather."
"No, I found them. They're called Dragon Balls."
"Dragon Balls?" Goku asked skeptically.
She smiled. "Yes, that's right, Goku. There are supposed to be seven of them in all. And yours was just reacting to the two I brought with me. Here, set them on the table." She gently laid hers down and looked at the boy expectantly.
"Okay, if you say so." The four star ball clicked against the others and they all began to glow in synchronization.
"Pretty wild, huh?" Bulma was enjoying the surprise in Goku's eyes, but quickly went about explaining the meaning of the Dragon Balls. "You won't believe it, but these things are totally magical. If these things ever fell into the wrong hands it could mean the end of the world as you and I know it."
"No way, Bulma, really?" He still wasn't convinced of the girl's story, but he really had no reason to distrust her.
"Hmmm…" A second later, there were two explosions about five minutes apart. "What was that?"
"Huh? I don't…" She quickly pocketed the three Dragon Balls and grabbed Goku's hand. "Whatever it is it can't be good! Let's get going!"
"Wait! You can't just-"
"They're probably after the Dragon Balls, Goku!"
"Right. So you'd better stick with me if you want to be safe."
She gave him a dirty look, but couldn't argue the point. "Well, we can't stay here." Bulma grabbed a capsule and clicked it open. "Come on, let's go!"
"All right." He held onto her back as they shot off into the unknown.
"Dammit!" He stared for a moment at the cracked and bloody control panel of the time machine. He let out a low, frustrated growl and stood up. "At least I still have the others so I won't be stuck here. Now, how far off was I…" The screen flickered to life for a moment showing that he was only a few minutes and miles off his estimated arrival time and destination. "Great, I can get there in no time. Too bad I don't know exactly what I'm up against, but given Dr. Gero it's-"
Just as he was about to step off the ship, a familiar voice yelled, "Now look you! If you're going to have contact with people you haven't met yet, you'll need these!" A small compartment came open revealing a small bottle of pills. "Make sure they take them before YOU leave!"
"Huh, she thought of everything." He grabbed the bottle, feeling something scan over his hand as it did. The feeling suddenly disappeared. A scanner? Good thinking… He slid the bottle into his pocket and collapsed the ship. Now, if I can just… Vegeta began searching for the two familiar ki. He knew they'd be weaker and somewhat different, but the signature would basically be the same. There! As he began to head for the two, an explosion came from directly behind him. He immediately recognized the ship as it was identical to his, even though it was thoroughly demolished. Shit! I wasn't expecting this so soon! If I go and warn them I'll just be leading him to them…but if I go head on with him… He risked everything on trying to find Bulma and Goku before the android did. It would be a simple task since he had the Dragon Radar and was still pretty fast on foot.
When Bulma and Goku stopped for the night, the android made its attack. "Hey!" the girl screamed as her motorbike was incinerated.
"That's not nice!"
Same Kakarot, Vegeta thought as he watched from the shadows.
"Don't worry," said the innocuous, brown-haired man. "This next shot will put you out of your misery."
"But I'm too young and pretty to die!"
He took the opportunity to gauge the android's power by sending up several energy attacks. One hit him dead-on, but had almost no effect. Dammit!
"What was that? What's going on?" The boy shrugged at the girl.
"Fool. Such simple attacks won't stop me."
It was worth a try. I might be able to take him head on… He blasted the android again and stepped out of the shadows. "So let's take it up a notch. Your fight is with me now."
"Really." The android began to search its data for information on this new target.
Vegeta turned to Bulma and Goku. "You two, get out of here now!"
A little freaked, the girl got out another capsule that turned into a car. "C'mon Goku, I think he's right." A few seconds later they blasted off into the night.
"Ah, there you are. This data must be a bit outdated; I hardly recognize you from your picture, Vegeta. However, let me introduce myself. I am Android 12, the one who's going to kill you."
"Don't hold back!" The Saiyan prince powered up, turning Super Saiyan. He confidentially made a full frontal assault which surprised the android. He made several highly efficient punches before Android 12 regained his composure. When he had, Vegeta was slammed into the line of trees.
"Perhaps I was wrong about you. This is just a waste of time."
Vegeta gave a chuckle as he wiped the blood from his mouth. "Oh, no…don't second guess yourself." His power rose sharply and he charged again.
"Idiot." Android 12 quickly moved from his spot, but he was thrown completely off guard when the Saiyan caught him by the arm. "How-"
"SHUT UP!" He began to spin, let his grip tighten as his momentum increased. With great effort the appendage finally snapped and sent the android directly into a mountain. Before Vegeta could completely regain himself, the mechanical monster got off an energy blast. The Saiyan dodged too late, receiving a severe burn on his right arm. Dammit! He quickly touched down, destroyed the severed arm, and lowered his ki. That should slow him down for a while…in the meantime, the control might be the only option… He stuck his hand in his pocket just to ensure they were still there, then look up at the sky. His right arm was almost completely numb by now. Man, I hate this.
About thirty miles from where the android had first attacked, Bulma and Goku had settled down for the night. The small boy had gone to sleep, but the teenager was more than a little concerned. "Oh, man. I never thought these little things would get me into so much trouble." She began batting one of the Dragon Balls back and forth between her hands. "And I can't believe Goku can sleep at a time like this! Man, ignorance really must be bliss." Bulma heard the sound of the door's alarm being disarmed which made her jump. "Huh? How-aaah!"
"Be quiet! I'm not going to hurt you." He made sure the door slammed shut behind him and reset the code.
"The lock! How did you get in here? Why are you following us? What's going on? What are you-"
"Asking questions will get you killed and fast, now shut up." He was trying to be nice through the pain, but even on a good day that was tough. The black-haired man waited for her to speak again like she always did,
She looked at him suspiciously, not quite certain if she should trust him or not. "So, you're not with that guy from before, right? And that means you're not after the Dragon Balls either? Are you-"
"If I was, I wouldn't have bothered saving you two. Now, where's that brat, K-Goku?"
"He's asleep, but how do you know his name? He said he's never seen you before and neither have I. So how-" Bulma suddenly noticed the wound on his arm. "Hey, you're hurt! Did that-"
"Never mind. Just…be…quiet." He had flinched a little with each word, but watched her as she stomped away. Great, I just pissed off the only person who can- He was smacked in the face with a washcloth.
"Look, I don't care how tough you act! You're not going to be able to do anything if you don't get that taken care of! Now sit down!" She noticed that something changed in his eyes and he nodded slightly as he sat. "See? Everything goes better when people listen to me. So, will you at least tell me what's going on? I mean it is my life that's on the line."
"I don't think you're going to believe me no matter what you say." The Saiyan prince flinched as the girl put more pressure on the wound than was absolutely necessary.
"Oh I think I can handle anything, especially since I've been spending the better part of the day with a boy with a tail! I can deal with whatever you have to tell me!"
After you freak out, he thought wearily. "That guy who attacked you and your little friend was an android who was trying to kill you."
"Because the two of you meeting is a catalyst for several important events in the future and certain people would rather that not happen. So they figure-"
"Whoa, no way. So that must mean…that guy…and you…that isn't possible! There's no way you can be from the future! There's no way to do that!"
"Believe what you want, but that android won't stop until you're both dead. Getting the Dragon Balls would just be a bonus." He was beginning to get feeling back in his arm since she finished dressing the burn.
"You keep saying 'android', so the guy's not human? Oh, great! Does that mean he can't be killed?"
"There's a way to destroy him, but not by force."
"What? You can't do it?" she asked.
Be nice, he kept repeating to himself. "Do you think I'd be here now if I could have already destroyed him? I'm not that stupid."
"I guess that's right, but what do I have to do with this? I mean, how can I help?"
He made a low sound and pulled out the blueprints. "This is what you can do. Take it."
She hesitantly took the paper. "Huh? Blueprints for an override controller? But if you had these then why-"
"I don't know anything about this kind of thing, that's why I needed to find someone who knows what they're doing because the original designer wasn't…" He stopped for a moment, his eye displaying a little tic. "Anyway, you're the next best thing to the designer."
"Oh no, I AM the best thing! Whoever wrote out these out was really specific! There's no way I could mess this up!"
Vegeta let himself relax for a second, the shadow of a smile flickering across his face. "So, you can build it? You can do this?"
"Sure, once I get all the parts. I don't have any here, but most of them I have at the lab."
"A couple of days, max."
"Fine, we're leaving first thing in the morning. No need to drag this out any longer than necessary."
"Sure." After gathering her first aid supplies she asked, "Are you going to be all right out here tonight?"
"Yes." He rested his head in his hands for a moment.
"Okay. Goodnight, uh…you never told me your name."
"And I'm not going to. Goodnight."
Her face turned red. "Fine, you jerk! Ugh!" The girl slammed the door behind her.
Some things don't change, he thought, smiling.
The next morning...
Bulma and Goku watched the man's sleeping figure as the sun began to rise. The girl whispered, "What's the matter, Goku? Did he try anything funny last night? Do you know something that I don't?"
"No, I just don't trust him. There's something really shady about this guy."
"Hm. He was acting like a jerk last night, but he did save us from that android. So he can't be all that bad, can he?"
"Well, no, but…hey Bulma, what's an android?" the boy asked.
Bulma sighed. "That guy yesterday was a robot-as in NOT human-and he was trying to kill us," she whispered harshly.
"I'm sure I could've taken him."
"Don't be a fool," Vegeta murmured in his sleep.
"If he couldn't beat him, how do you think you could've stood a chance? He seems to be pretty tough and you're just a kid."
"Because I'm a good guy and good always triumphs."
"You've got a lot to learn, kid. Now go get ready, we've got to get going soon. I'll wake him up."
Goku looked at her uncertainly. "Are you sure about this?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine."
"Right." He went off, watching carefully until he went into his room.
"Hey." She gently shook his shoulder. "It's morning. Huh?" She was more than a little surprised when he placed his hand over hers. This is really weird. Maybe this means we're friends in the future, but right now… "Good morning! Didn't you want to get going?"
"Wha-" He was suddenly fully aware of where he was and stood up away from her. "What are you doing?"
"Don't get all snippy with me! You're the one who wanted to leave early, but YOU were still asleep! Excuse me for bothering, you jerk!"
"Fine, whatever. Get ready to go." He watched her stomp off, wondering if he could deal with two or more days with her and Goku.
From deep in a crater within a mountain came a faint glow that quickly exploded into a light that envied the sun. As it burst forth, the crater opened into a gaping mouth in the mountainside. Android 12 floated out from the spot, eyes blank. The android had spent the better part of the night regenerating the arm that Vegeta had mercilessly destroyed. While the appendage looked fully restored, the mechanical man was still working on replacing the complex internal structures. Still, he was willing to take his time. He knew that Vegeta would be protecting his two targets, which made the task of finding them much easier as he had a more distinctive ki to trace. Android 12 knew that taking out the children could be easily taken care of at any time.
"Why do we have to go so fast? I think I'm gonna be sick!" the girl squeaked.
"Because we've got a schedule to keep."
"I don't like you," Goku stated for the hundredth time.
"The feeling's mutual."
"C'mon guys, there's no need to fight. There ISN'T, right?"
Vegeta continued to focus his attention on the road, their voices getting annoying. "I'm not going to tell you anything about the future! It'll only change things for the worse!"
"But you know us! Otherwise you wouldn't be here protecting us! Hey, I guess that means you and I stay friends, Goku!"
"Yeah, maybe, but I still don't trust this guy."
"That just means your instincts are working right, for now." Vegeta's stone expression broke into a slightly evil smirk. "Friends and enemies can be one and the same if you don't pay attention."
"I knew it!"
"Oh, don't worry about me for now, I'm quite enjoying my life as it is. Otherwise, I wouldn't be putting up with this nonsense." His cheeks tinted slightly.
"If that was true, you'd tell us who you are!"
"What part of 'changing the future' don't you understand?"
"I guess that would make sense, but we can't just keep calling you 'jerk' or 'you' now can we?" Bulma piped up.
She just won't let it go! He said in a low growl, "I don't care what you call me! Just figure something out, all right?"
"Yea!" Bulma began whispering to Goku.
He ignored them. It made the drive go a lot faster and they were soon at the Capsule Corporation. After he stopped, the two were still whispering to each other. He took a deep breath, and then turned to the girl and boy in his keep. "Hey, we're here."
"Okay, Akujii-san!" the girl said as she got out of the vehicle.
"You said we could figure something out and 'Akujii-san' seemed like a good fit for you," Bulma laughed. "What? Don't you think that it's an appropriate name? We could-"
"That's fine, but I'm not that old." His face tinted a little.
"Oh, you're no fun. I thought that would at least get a rise out of you."
"Do you want to live or should I just leave? It's your call."
She got off the motorcycle with Goku hanging onto her back. "Let's get going. That controller isn't going to build itself."
"I'm watching you, Akujii-san." The boy stuck his tongue out at him and the man rolled his eyes.
The next day…
Wow, this is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. There are way too many circuits that need to be disconnected at the same time. Still, there's no job too tough for me! She had been working all night, but didn't feel the need to stop even though Akujii-san had told her not to push it. After she had pretended to go to sleep she had snuck back out to the lab. I don't know why he's acting this way. It's a little weird to have someone around like that. But I suppose Goku's constant monitoring isn't helping the situation either-hey! That's it! Bulma went through and tested the circuits one more time. "All right! I rock!" She sealed the controller. She began to put away the spare parts, then better of it. I'd rather be safe than sorry, she thought as she started on a second controller. Shortly before sunrise the teenager fell asleep at her desk.
"Where the-" Vegeta stomped into the lab and found Bulma asleep amid the controller parts. Before he could say or do anything, Goku bumped into his leg. "Do you mind?"
"You'd better not do anything to Bulma or you'll pay for it."
He made a low, indistinct sound. "You have no idea what you're talking about."
"Ah!" She stretched and rubbed her eyes. "Oh, Goku, Akujii-san, what are you fighting about this time?"
"What are you doing out here? You were supposed to be getting some sleep so that-"
"Stop yelling at her!"
"Yeah, stop yelling at me! You can't expect a delicate flower like me to accomplish anything while receiving such negative energy. Who knows how this could affect the construction of the controller?"
The Saiyan prince sweatdropped, blushing a bit as he thought, D-delicate flower? She's got to be kidding! There's no one less-
"What? No snappy comeback?"
"Just get it done."
Goku laughed. "You're not so tough. You can't even-" Suddenly he was paralyzed, having been lifted up by the tail. "Ow! Ow! Ow!"
"That means you stay out of the way too."
"Wow, I've got to remember that," she mused as she snapped a picture. Neither of the males seemed to notice so she placed the camera and developing photo in the desk drawer.
He tossed the boy out of the lab. "Just let the brat know if you need anything."
"Hey, I'm not a servant!" called Goku's voice. "You can't make me-"
"I thought you didn't trust me around your friend."
"Boys, ugh. What good are they?" She thought this over as she went back to work.
"There." The android touched down outside the city limits and walked into town. He was certain that his targets were nearby, but he felt no need to rush or draw unneeded attention to himself. He fit in nicely and even helped a few people as he made his way to the Capsule Corporation. When he finally reached his destination, he scanned for the three ki. They're all here…now, to get them separated. The girl will be the easiest to dispense with, but I'll have to get rid of the boy and Vegeta first. An evil smile crossed his lips. "Well, let's get this started!" The android lifted off and fired a blast into the back of the Capsule Corporation.
Vegeta and Goku were quick to respond to the blast. Dammit! He found us sooner than I thought!
"He doesn't look so tough. Are you sure-"
"Shut up! Two nights ago I destroyed his arm and now he's got a new one. You may be strong, but this guy will take you apart."
"I'm not going to-"
"You're not fighting! Not yet, anyway. If you really want to help, you'll make sure your friend stays alive long enough to finish the controller!"
The boy gritted his teeth. "There's no way I-"
Vegeta kicked him out of the way as Android 12 shot an energy blast at him. "Get out of here!"
"Run while you can, Goku! I'll take care of you later."
"Right now, your fight is with me! Aaah!" He transformed into a Super Saiyan and started blasting. The android easily dodged each of the attacks, which he had expected. Dammit! What can I do?
"I was right before. You're not as powerful as you believe you are and I will make sure that you die knowing it!"
"Not a chance!" He took to the sky. You'd better appreciate what I'm doing, you two! The real fight began.
"Uh, Goku! What's going on?"
"The android's here! Are you almost done?"
The girl sweatdropped. "I-I can be done in a few minutes, but if-" An explosion came from outside and she fell to the floor. "If this keeps up the circuits could get crossed and we're dead!"
"Come on, Bulma. You can do it!"
"All right." She moved over to the table and began working again. Oh great, this is going to be my greatest accomplishment-if I live through it! After a few minutes she grabbed her tester and began going through the circuits. Before she could get properly started, Vegeta smashed through the lab wall. "Aaah! Oh, no! What-"
"Are you done yet?"
He breathed heavily as he got up, chuckling a little bit. "You're really pushing it, woman. Get it done! Hah!" He powered up to Super Saiyan and blasted out through the hole he came in from.
Wow, he looks so…different. She shook her head and started testing the circuits. Her heart began to race as each one was positive. Almost…almost…
Another wall came down as the older Saiyan once again crashed into the lab, favoring his right side. "Hurry up!"
The android smashed in and saw the controller. "How did-"
"Gallic gun!" The sneak attack knocked the android into one of the remaining walls, but it didn't stop him from blasting the Saiyan as he did. "Ugh!"
"Use it!" He watched her point the controller at the android, who suddenly realized his danger and tried to dodge. Before Vegeta could react to the mechanized demon's move a small hand grabbed Android 12's ankle from the nearby rubble. Bulma pushed the button down.
"N-" The android's eyes went blank and he slid lifelessly down the wall.
"That hurt!" Goku popped out of the rubble with a huge bump on his head and tears in his eyes. "Is this over?"
Vegeta shot an energy blast that nearly took off the boy's nose, but completely destroyed the android. "It is now."
Bulma laughed nervously and fell to her knees. "That…was…too close."
"But it's over. Come on."
"Huh? Where are we going? Is there something else that's going to happen?"
"Yeah, come on."
"But my head still hurts…and I'm hungry," Goku whined.
Bulma piped up, "I can pack some extra capsules and there'll be plenty to eat, okay?"
"I'll go get things ready!" She left the ruins of the lab with Goku close behind her.
Vegeta went over to the abandoned remote and blasted it into dust. Good job. He pulled a rag off the table and roughly jammed it under the left side of his shirt. Two days…that ought to do it.
"Hey, Akujii-san! You're the one who knows where we're going, so if you want to leave-"
"All right!" He tucked the shirt back in and went outside.
The next day…
"Why are we here at my grandpa's house? Is something going to happen here?"
"Akujii-san, you look a little pale. Are you sure you're all right?"
He gave a little chuckle. "Yeah, I'm fine." Once inside the little house, Vegeta made tea for them all but added something special in the cups he provided for the other two. "You'll be fine."
The boy gulped down the tea. "Wha-" Goku fell asleep quite suddenly, banging his head on the table.
"You put something in the…"
"Because you can't remember this. You'll wake up and go after the rest of the Dragon Balls."
"What about you?" She fought against the pill's effect. "Will I see you again?"
"Yeah, but you won't like it. Just go to sleep, okay?"
"No. I want you to tell me-"
"You don't have to be this stubborn. Let it go, all right? Go to sleep and forget about this."
"Have you always been such a jerk?"
He gently pushed her head down on the table. "It works for me."
"Yeah, it does…but don't push it." She closed her eyes.
He was feeling pretty lousy as he shot back through time. The blood had already soaked through the rag he had taken from the lab, through his pants. He wasn't certain that he wanted to go back, to try to face what he had to. Of course, Vegeta wasn't quite sure he would actually make it back. What the hell? he thought bitterly as he pressed the only bright red button in the ship. Being a selfish jerk has always worked for me. He sat back and closed his eyes.
He sat up straight from a dead, dreamless sleep as if something was wrong. At first he stared at the empty space beside him, but that wasn't an unusual sight as his wife often did her best work at night. The spot was still warm so he went to see if she was indeed in her lab. A sense of relief filled him when he saw her tinkering at her table. "Couldn't sleep?"
"No, I had to finish something. You didn't need to check up on me."
"But I wanted to." He noticed the incinerator burning at full force. "Getting rid of something?"
"Yep…something that needed to be gotten rid of a long time ago." She turned and looked at him expectantly.
"Are you going to be here all night?"
"Just until I'm sure that it's done. It won't be too long. You can go back to sleep."
"I'll wait for you." He kissed her before leaving her to her work.
"Okay." She watched him leave, then pulled out an old picture. After she wiped off the rest of the dust, she wrote his name on the bottom. Some things don't change…