Author`s Note: Guess who`s back... Back again... Sh33py`s back... Warn a friend...
Anywho, I know it`s been a while but I was really committed to only posting this one up after it was all completed but I figured it`d be mean and probably cause any readers to lose interest in the series if I didn`t update soon. Also, I hope none of the formatting is off, I seem to be having a few problems with HTMLing some stories... Ah well, read!
Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z.
Saturday, at exactly ten in the morning, on the dot. Normal teenagers could have, would have, and by all accounts should have been sleeping in extra late. Normal teenagers would`ve woken up around twelve or so, normal teenagers would`ve then gone out with their friends and had a day of laziness, fun and probably the occasional party here or there. A normal teenage girl in specific would`ve also been consumed with things like say... Fashion, or boys.
But then again, Videl Satan wasn`t a normal girl, was she? At the moment, she was hovering above a fairly windy field of grass, dotted by a crater or two. Her hair set in a messy bun atop the back of her head, a few strands poking out here and there. Dirt and bruises marred her at several points and that oversized white t-shirt she so favored wearing had obviously seen a few better days. It was a fairly good thing she wore a smaller pink t-shirt underneath it. Her spandex shorts were in reasonable conditions compared to the shirt, as were her boots. Her gloves were busted at the knuckles and said knuckles were each bruised at least partially.
Yes, a normal girl would`ve likely wasted time flirting with a boy she had a crush on. Videl prefered to simply beat the crap out of him instead.
"Where are you hiding..." She thought. For roughly three years now, give or take two months, she had been learning the arts of ki fighting from one of the prodigal masters. Throughout these few years, many things had taken place. Videl had learned to fit into the group, and surprisingly enough, so had her father, though she felt they probably just thought of him as the group fool to some extent or another. She`d also finally managed to stay over at the Son House, not once, but many times. She actually had her own guest bedroom there by now since she came over each weekend. She`d also managed to fit him into her little circle of friends, though he was considered the geek that nobody had the guts to mess with.
She had also spent a significant chunk of those weekends doing nothing but learning ki control. She`d also become quite proficient in it. Videl was probably the only female on Earth at present who could claim to know how to pull off a Kame Hame Ha, though she was still getting the hang of that one. At present though, her training wasn`t focused on things like how to blow up moons or anything like that, her training was focused on things like detecting energy. It was probably the only field she had tried at so far that she hadn`t gotten at least the rudiments of.
It was also the most frustrating given that Gohan was playing by a far different set of rules, moving just fast enough to keep out of her sight and appearing infrequently to fight her head on. She`d only gotten a few hits on him the entire time but she was slowly getting the hang of the pattern he was using.
And then he popped up beneath her instead of behind or in front of her. Videl twisted hard as his leg flew by her side and scythed through the air. She burst down though, kicking him squarely in the back of the head and causing him to falter down a bit. "Got you!" She shouted while pulling back and throwing a hard punch towards his chin.
But he just blurred out of the way with a grin, causing Videl to flip herself upright from her own momentum.
"I hate it when he does that," she grumbled in thought, trying in vain to follow the sounds of his movements with her ears. All she`d get was the occasional fluke whistle. Then she felt a subtle buzz in the back of her head, one that seemed to point around in various directions. At first it was hard to adapt to, but then, eventually, she managed to level herself off with it, shutting her eyes and tuning out the sound in the background.
"Yeah, he`s right..."
"There!" She shouted, flinging herself forward and shooting out a knee. Gohan blurred into sight once again immediately following what felt like her knee hitting a diamond, a slight bruise formed on his face as he faltered back ever so slightly. The look of surprise on his face was soon replaced by a smirk while he lowered himself gingerly to the ground. In the six years she had known him, Gohan had never changed his overall hairstyle, but he had changed in a good few other aspects. He was taller and certainly more limber now, and Erasa had a habit of staring at him half the time even during classes.
"Nice shot," he called out, rubbing his cheek bemusedly. "Didn`t do more than bruise you," she pointed out sarcastically while floating down towards the ground. "Like that isn`t something to take pride in?" He mocked jokingly. Gohan didn`t have to guts to be an arrogant ass like Vegeta.
At about that time however, a new voice intruded on things, followed by a second. "Lunch is ready!" Goten eagerly chirped while running in between the two. He was going fast enough to register as a near blur to Videl`s eyes, followed soon by another near blur in the form of one Trunks Briefs, who was currently flailing around with a butterfly net that had seen far better days than this one. The six and seven year old boys had only become bigger pranksters with age, Videl could still remember the time they swapped the shampoo for chocolate syrup during one of her more recent stays.
"You can`t get me!" Goten shouted back at Trunks, skidding to a stop before backflipping over the other boy, who tried in vain to somehow catch him in the undersized butterfly net only to find that his efforts earned him a torn net and caused Goten to fall onto the ground with his feet tied up in what was left of that very net. "Got you!" Trunks cackled before smacking Goten on the side of the head and running away. Goten retained his balance for all of five seconds and fell over, grumbling under his breath.
"Some things never change," Videl observed as Goten sprang back up, tore loose of the net and burst into a sprint after Trunks, shouting out a few childish obscenities before vanishing into the undergrowth of trees and bushes. "Nope," Gohan replied before glancing in the general direction of his home. "Race?" He asked. "Sure," she replied.
The two teens soon vanished into the make of the terrain, blasting out of sight on foot while they raced towards the Son House.
Everyday is a new day
I'm thankful for every breath I take
I won't take it for granted
So I learn from my mistakes
Life goes on elsewhere from the Son House however. In specific, life goes on most commonly at the place known as Kame House. The home of an old would-be hermit named Muten Roshi and a moral extremist turtle named Umi Gama, the house had, over the years, come to play as home to one of the most diverse small family groups in the world today. A perverse old man, a talking turtle, a shape changing pig, an android, a noseless ex-monk, a little girl and at one time, a blue-green skinned alien woman.
Today, the aforementioned little girl was running along the shores of the ocean, carefully being watched by both of her parents, and that same moral extremist turtle. Roshi was being his usual self, pretending to read a porno magazine while in fact, he was asleep. Oolong was inside watching television, as usual. Krillin was idly sitting by on the front porch of the house, as was Juuhachigou. Today though, there was a guest.
Namely the blue-green skinned alien woman who had formerly lived at the Kame House. Zangya had been doing pretty well for herself over the years. She wasn`t the richest person around but heck, the woman had an uncanny knack when it came to investments and such.
"So, the next one`s going to be on May 11th then?" Krillin asked. Zangya only gave a nod. "Yep, should be about a month away," she replied after a moment. "Are you entering?" Juu asked, watching her daughter smack Umi over the head with a sand bucket a few times. "Probably, depends on the competition. So far it doesn`t look like very many people are going to show up since Videl`s dad retired in the last tournament. Not as much prestige when the only fighters who have any real track record anymore are the ones who can get shot with a tank round and not even blink."
"True," Krillin agreed. "Depends on if Gohan enters then," he mused. "How so?" Juu asked. "Simple, he enters, then Videl enters. Piccolo goes in as well because he wants to see if his student can really hold his own in a battle, and Cell Junior would probably show up because... Well, he`s a dick, what do you expect? Then after that, Tien pops up because he wants a challenge and some prize money, maybe that Suta guy shows up, then you have Trunks and Goten, who`ll maim and destroy the entire junior tournament by mid-day, then you have Dabura possibly showing up since he, like Cell Junior, is a dick, and then you have you entering just for the hell of it, Vegeta because he wants to prove his massive superiority due to an overblown little man complex an-" Zangya cut in. "We get the point."
"One thing though..."
"Who the hell are you to say someone has a little man complex?" Zangya poked with a raised eyebrow. Krillin crashed out of his seat in a small dust cloud whilst Juu shrugged. "Alrighty then," Zangya said with a snicker, glancing towards Marron before getting up. "Suppose it`s time for me to go tell Gohan about the tournament, he probably knows but heck..."
"Torture `im for me, will ya?" Krillin asked while scraping himself up. "Will do. Any idea on how long it`ll take those two to get together?" Zangya asked. "When Hell freezes over," Juuhachigou answered sarcastically.
"Probably," Zangya remarked before taking off, exiting the small island in a blur.
It's beyond my control, sometimes it's best to let go
Whatever happens in this lifetime
So I trust in love
You have given me peace of mind
Bulma and Videl stared in half-disgust, half-bemusement at the sight of the four people eating. ChiChi was simply smiling proudly, as she always did at the sight of watching her family and guests eat. She had a slight complex about food, meaning she felt best about her cooking when there was nothing left to count as left-overs.
It was probably why she was so proud of her ability to cook in the first place when you consider how her family and some friends ate. At present though, Bulma had never quite adjusted and Videl found it easy to eat alone, away from the four of them. This was mainly due to the vaccum effect of Trunks and Vegeta. While Goten and Gohan had both managed to learn manners of sorts(such as not talking with food in their mouth, not spewing said food onto someone when they did, using utensils rather than trying to dump the bowl down their throats, etc), Trunks and Vegeta had both only recently learned the usage of things like forks, spoons and the occasional usage of chopsticks.
"Why can`t the elg`caress cook like your mother?" Vegeta asked, slipping into his native language for a single word as he sometimes did. Ever since that fight with Zangya at the last Tenkaichi Budoukai, he`d found it extremely amusing to use Saiyan cuss words when refering to everyone in an offensive fashion. Especially given those angry glares that ChiChi would give him, knowing she didn`t understand a single word he said.
And of course, no one replied. Gohan was too busy shoveling food into his mouth, Goten had finished in literal record timing and was staring off into no where while Trunks and Vegeta both continued dumping entire bowls down their throats.
In truth, Goten wasn`t really zoning out. He was just watching Jack, the same old imaginary friend he`d always had since birth. Everyone generally attributed it to the fact that Goten seemed to have a massive imagination. The boy had a good many talents, not the least of which was his ability to speak beyond his years, or his profound talents with fighting. If anything, he seemed to be a child genius on a level that surpassed Gohan or Trunks when they were his age. His abilities to adapt to situations seemed supernatural even for the second son of one of the greatest heroes ever known in history.
And the only one who actually noticed this outside of the positive aspects was Gohan. He had yet to forget the way the Mirai Goten he had encountered years earlier acted, and while he could chalk a lot of that up to that Goten`s potentially traumatic upbringing, it had never quite eased up on how he thought of his time`s Goten. It was a rather disconcerting experience really. He still knew Goten had talents he hadn`t accessed yet and he was actually afraid of what would come to pass if the boy ever did.
But for now... For now, life was good.
Gohan smiled to himself while he finished eating, leaning back and accidentally losing balance. The Gokuesque hair-do he wore on his head swept forward and flopped into his face as he fell from the bench, plopping onto the ground hard with a belch.
"Food... Coma... Can`t... Move..."
"Shut up brat," Vegeta grumbled.
"Gnnnn..." Gohan groaned, laying there with a content, drunken looking smile on his face.
"Saiyans," a new voice interrupted, the eyes of it`s owner rolling as it did so. "Oh look, it`s the great green bi-" "Vegeta!" "-tch," Vegeta pointed out, interrupted half-way by Bulma`s shout. "Love you too Veggie, really," she replied while tucking her hands into her pockets. "Hi Zan," Videl said with a half-wave. "Hey Aunt Zan!" Goten and Trunks both called out. They`d both pretty much adopted the woman as a mutual aunt over the years as it was, a stark contrast from how things could have been. "Hey everyone," she replied with the same kind of half-wave Videl had given her. "What brings you out here?" ChiChi asked.
"Probably out to whore herself to the plumber," Vegeta cut in. "No no shortie, that`d be you," she retorted sharply before walking towards the table. "Having a good nap I take it?" She asked , earning a grunt from Gohan. "I`ll take that as a yes then." And with that, Zangya casually leaned her elbow into Vegeta`s scalp, resting her weight there and grinding her elbow through the mass of hair on his head.
"As for what brings me here..." She paused before explaining. "The next Tenkaichi`s been announced to take place in exactly one month from today. Competition looks a little scarce but the prize money`s been jacked up into the low tens of millions this time around," she explained. "Low tens of millions?" ChiChi asked. Bulma didn`t show much interest though. Millions of zenni were like a drop in the bucket to one of the richest women on Earth. "Yep. Fifteen million for the winner, ten million for the runner-up, five million for fourth, two and a half million for fifth, and five hundred thousand for even making it into the quarter finals," she explained, watching the stars appear in ChiChi`s eyes.
"What`s the junior prize?" Goten asked. Zangya stopped to think briefly and then shrugged. "I think five hundred thousand to one million, don`t really remember," she replied. "It`s probably five hundred thousand, they don`t usually hand out huge amounts of money to children when they could be using that money to draw in more adult fighters," Videl answered. "Good point," Zangya replied. ChiChi didn`t hear any of them.
"Gohan and Goten are entering," she ordered more than suggested. "And so are Vegeta and Trunks," Bulma shot back with the same tone. "Guess I`m in too," Videl shrugged. "Then so am I," Zangya grinned. "I`ll go tell Piccolo and the others... Anyone have a clue where I can find Tien?" She asked. "Not really, but if you can find Chaozu he`ll probably be close by. Try the mountains east of North Capital," Gohan answered.
And that was about the time, as Zangya prepared to take off and leave for the Look Out, that something to be described only as magic took place.
Sunshine upon my face
A new song for me to sing
Tell the world how I feel inside
Even though it might cost me everything
"I`m going too!" A new voice cut into the scene. A surprisingly familiar one to about half of those present. "Kakarot?" Vegeta muttered out, shooting his gaze up from the rice he had been wolfing down. Gohan was surprisingly silent and Goten, Trunks, Videl and Zangya all bore mirroring looks of curiosity. "Goku?" ChiChi finally asked.
"Yep, it`s me! Long time no see everyone!" The voice shouted back. "How is it in the afterlife, Kakarot?" Vegeta asked in a surprisingly unthreatening tone of voice. "Pretty good actually, I`ve been training pretty hard with King Kaio. Even if it is the afterlife, I`ve been having a pretty good time these past few years," Goku answered. "... Dad?" Goten mumbled out, looking around for wherever the voice was coming from. "Wow," Gohan stated while picking himself up off the ground and glancing over at Goten. "So you`re going to be coming to the Budoukai?" He asked.
"Yep! I asked Baba to bring me back for a day since I`ve gotten a lot of good spiritual credit over all I`ve done in my life and since I`ve been dead... The day of the Budoukai!" He shouted back happily. "This should be interesting," Vegeta mumbled, warily glancing over at Gohan as he did so. "Surprised the brats aren`t ecstatic right now," he thought. "Is that my dad?" Goten whispered over at Trunks. "I think so," Trunks replied.
"Gohan and Vegeta are going too, right?" Goku asked. "Yes," ChiChi answered, choking up slightly. "Then I`ll definately be there!" Goku shouted, causing Zangya to place a hand over her left ear. "He sure does yell a lot," she grumbled below her breath. "This will be a contest to remember then... I`ve become quite strong over the past years," Vegeta bragged at the disembodied voice of Goku. "Great, so have I," Goku offered back, practically tasting the challenge in his old rival`s voice.
"It figures," Gohan thought sourly, glancing off to the side rather than at Goten or anyone else. "See you all at the tournament, everyone!" Goku shouted before a pop rang through everyone`s ears.
"That... That was really Dad?" Goten finally asked loud enough to be heard by someone other than Trunks. "Yeah, that was him," Gohan answered. "Hey Zangya, I`ll go with you to tell everyone, deal?" Gohan asked, taking off before she could even answer.
"... Sure... I guess," she replied a few seconds later. "Bye everyone, see you soon," she offered at the group, then took off in a blaze after Gohan. Goten on the other hand was soon turning blue as ChiChi hugged him and rambled off about getting to meet his father again.
And that brought up an interesting question to Videl`s mind. While Goten seemed genuinely happy to meet with his father, Gohan barely even seemed phased by it. Given how highly people spoke of Goku, something didn`t fit right.
"I guess I`ll just have to figure it out later or ask him myself," she thought before asking another peculiar question. "Uhm... He`s coming back from the dead?"
Now that I know this, so beyond, I can't hold this
I can never turn my back away
Now that I've seen you
I can never look away
Given that Gohan hadn`t bothered powering up to the extremes she knew he was capable of, Zangya had no trouble catching up to him. It was almost like he had wanted someone to. And so she did, she flew right on up beside him and set herself in flight alongside the youth, glancing over at him before speaking. "What the heck was that all about?" She asked. Gohan shrugged. "What was what about?"
"Aren`t you in the least bit excited that he`s coming back?" Zangya questioned. "Not really, he did choose to stay dead," Gohan apathetically replied. "Your father`s been dead for six years and all you can offer back is that? Come on, there has to be something that would make you not really care..."
"He`s been dead to me for eleven," he replied with the same apathy as before. "Why is that?" Zangya asked. "You don`t know him like I did. No one did. Picture a combination of Vegeta with Goten`s attitude aged to around 32 or so, then toss in my height and shorten the sleeves of the undershirt," Gohan answered, summarizing his view on his father fairly simply. "That isn`t a very big help, you know. You get along with Vegeta and Goten just fine," she retorted. "Then let`s just say I had a few revelations about three years ago. And while we`re at it, let`s also just say I need a haircut," he exclaimed, catching Zangya off gaurd twice in a row.
"Why a haircut?"
"Goten looks exactly like my dad. Look at my hair and then look at Goten`s," he explained. "About time I got some individuality from them both anyway."
"So much for your good lunch, huh?" Zangya asked sarcastically. "You have no idea," Gohan answered as the two sped off towards the Look Out.
I feel so alive for the very first time
I can't deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly
"I can`t wait for this tournament to happen," Goku said with a grin. By all means, this was the happiest he`d been in close to sixteen or seventeen years. "It`ll be great to see how far everyone`s come and how the Earth`s doing..." He began, trailing off while King Kaio listened intently. "To see ChiChi again..." He said with a wistful expression. "And your son, and your rival, and your friends, and this, that, Mount Paozu," King Kaio jokingly interrupted his best student`s musings.
"You`re right King Kaio. It`ll be good to see Gohan again, I wonder how far he`s come since he took down Bojack?" Goku asked, settling back down against a random tree. His tattered orange training gi hung loosely on his frame, and across the grassy field that was now pockmarked with a few trenches and a crater or three, Pikkon was standing resolute, wiping sweat and blood from his face and cracking his knuckles. West Kaio was trying in vain to give him a pep talk.
"I take it you`re proud of him then, eh?" King Kaio asked. "Very. I know I wouldn`t have lasted half as long as I did at protecting the Earth if I was up against the kind of things he probably faced since Cell. I kinda feel like I missed out on being his father, really," he explained. "What happens, happens. Fate has it`s reasons with these things Goku, I`m sure he won`t hold it against you that you chose to stay dead. He has proven himself to be a worthwhile successor to you in defending the Earth, after all."
"I suppose you`re right," Goku conceded, glancing up at the Otherworld that the Grand Kaio`s planet orbited like a moon. "I`m always right Goku, remember that," King Kaio exclaimed. "Heh..."
"Then why do I feel like the biggest deadbeat dad in history?" He asked himself. Despite common conceptions, Goku - the legend that he was in his own lifetime - was not without issues with which he held angst about.He had anxiety over how he had killed his grandfather, anxiety over how many times he had accidentally knocked ChiChi unconcious when they were first married, anxiety over whether or not the Earth could truly last without him protecting it. Most of all, he had anxiety over his abilities as a parent. Goku had only been around for Gohan for a total of seven and a half years. Four and a half first, three once he`d returned from space. It was less than half of his son`s life.
He solved his problems in a typically Saiyan fashion: Beat through them. He`d spent the past years of being dead doing little more than training. He rarely even ate anymore, hunger seemed to truly fade when you`d been dead for over a half a decade. Nothing but endless training, sometimes violent hands on spars with Olibu, Pikkon or his own father. He had met Bardock numerous times in the past years, mainly during the yearly Tournament of the Dead, held every Halloween. It was the only time of year when the lines between some of the Hells and Heaven blurred out of existence and some of Hell`s best warriors were allowed to participate as the Damned Kaio`s representatives.
He`d probably won that tournament every time since he started fighting in it, but he`d also gone to Hell as well. He knew both of his parents, though he refused to refer to them as such. Sometimes he wondered if Gohan would do that when he met him again, and what would ChiChi do? He knew she was probably crushed when he didn`t return that day, but what about everyone else too?
Was he still the same old Goku, or had all of the years of fighting finally taken their toll on the once overly cheerful, all too naive boy that became one of the biggest legends of history?
"Ready to start again?" Pikkon asked, casting his heavy hat aside and following a moment later with his even heavier overcoat and belt. Goku shrugged and got back up to his feet, a rare uncertainty marring his voice.
"As I`ll ever be..."
Now that I know you
I could never turn my back away
Now that I see you
I could never look away
Now that I know you
I could never turn my back away
Now that I see you
I believe no matter what they say
Goku and Pikkon charged at each other in the usual fashion, locking hands as they always did before Goku flared up into Super Saiyan and began pushing Pikkon back, gouging foot sized trenches into the ground beneath the green warrior`s feet.
I feel so alive for the very first time
I can't deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly
And elsewhere that night, a certain demi-saiyan prodigy lay quietly in the bedroom he sometimes shared with his elder brother. He slept on the floor tonight, since he`d come in while Gohan was already asleep. It had actually unnerved him just a bit that his brother had left with the same sort of overall style he himself wore and came back with a different haircut altogether. He actually had a bit of trouble identifying him!
But now... Now he was lying peacefully in his sleeping back, a teddy bear he sometimes refused to acknowledge the existence of held to his side while he stared out of the window of brother`s bedroom. Gohan lay in bed still, sleeping. His douji was laying in a basket at the foot of his bed and his pajamas were worn as if he`d thrown them on while already half-asleep. His hair had changed a bit alright, it was now a good deal shorter than the foot long masses of black that had once been his hairstyle. The same general style remained though, just far shorter, to saner lengths.
It still unnerved Goten. He wasn`t used to very much change in his life and he probably never would be.
"Worried about what Daddy`ll think o` ya?" Jack asked. "Uh-huh," Goten replied, glancing from the window to the tiny figure only he could see, that of an action figure-sized man with flowing red hair and ghostly pale skin, which rested on the foot of Gohan`s bed. "Isn`t that cute," the figure spat.
"Shut up Jack," Goten grumbled before yanking the sleeping back up over his head and zipping it shut from the inside. Kids did weird things like that, after all.
"Heh..." Jack smirked, glancing up the bed and watching Gohan sleep like a hawk watches it`s prey.