For once, there was a celebration at a certain cottage on Mount Paozu instead of Capsule Corporations in West City - and for good reason. The nearest neighbors were miles and miles away; so nobody besides the guests would be disturbed by the sound of Saiyans arguing over the remnants of Chi-Chi's cooking which was always followed by the sound of fists clashing into random body parts.
Strangely, the only one who didn't seem to be enjoying the celebration and pig-out was the scarred grandfather who had been looking forward to it ever since getting back to the lookout following Kid Buu's defeat.
Chi-Chi was the first to notice the sulking headbanded Saiyan slumped in a green lawn chair; not paying any attention to his wife and youngest grandson who were trying to capture fireflies in a jar in front of him. Instead, he was studying his navy blue wristband with a frown that caused Chi-Chi to approach him. Gently placing the freshly made apple pie on the ground - which was completely devoured by her husband seconds after - she closed the distance between them and reluctantly placed a hand on his Herculean shoulder.
"Alright, spill it!" her eyes narrowed when he grumbled at her touch, still not looking at her. "Everyone's here having a good time, and you're ruining the atmosphere! What's the deal?"
Bardock gently removed his daughter-in-law's hand off him, then proceeded to stand up to face her. Chi-Chi's frown deepened when she noticed his orbs looked deeply pained about something. "Do you think we can go inside for a moment and talk? I've got a bitch of a headache again."
"Language," she warned, earning an eye roll from Bardock. "...But sure. Come with me, you thug."
The duo looked at Gine and Goten to make sure they were too occupied with their bug catching to notice their escape, and then quickly made it inside the home as Chi-Chi slowly shut the door behind her. Before she could open her mouth to question the Saiyan in the living room some more, he silenced her with an awkward and surprising embrace.
"Uh.." she blinked, gently patting his back. "Are you going to tell me what's the matter, because the last time you did this the world disappeared."
Releasing her quickly, Bardock looked away while he spoke since he'd be too embarrassed to see her reaction. "Look, I've been thinking... Life isn't half bad now. I know it's kinda shitty that I still live with you," he chuckled darkly when she smacked his arm. "But with Gine and Kakarot back for good, it's pretty damn perfect. That's exactly why I feel like my curse is going to send me away again. I finished my job here; and maybe it's time to leave again."
Chi-Chi frowned, regretting the smack she gave him. Instead, she rubbed his shoulder and spoke gently. "You don't want to leave, do you?"
"Why in the hell would you ask me that!?" he snapped, removing her hand away and then lowering his voice with a deep sigh. "Of course I don't. This is where... I belong. It's home now."
Chi-Chi clasped her hands while her eyes reflected her excitement. "Gosh, do you really mean that, Bardock!?"
He held out a hand to silence her, causing the woman to scowl. "Don't get too excited; you act like it's because of you or something."
"Condescending jerk!" his daughter-in-law huffed, but her features soon grew soft when she watched Bardock grip onto his head and start to wince. "Hey... Is it another vision? Bardock? BARDOCK!"
"The Super Saiyan God was formed in response to the darkness in your fellow Saiyan comrades. It was a messiah of Saiyans with good morals, which was rare. This messiah quickly defeated the dark-hearted Saiyans with incredible strength, but he used up all his strength and returned to his normal mode... with a few Saiyans left. Later, Planet Vegeta became a place filled with evil Saiyans, and the savior vanished into legends. If five good-hearted Saiyans hold hands and transfer the light from their hearts to a Saiyan, that Saiyan will become the Super Saiyan God!"
The dragon known as Shenron made his announcement to the people of Earth; quickly disappearing shortly afterwards as to not anger the God of Destruction watching him with bored eyes. He tapped his long nails against the table of empty plates while they began to figure out which five Saiyans would be able to help Goku achieve the formation so Lord Beerus could have his long awaited fight.
"There are only five of us!" Prince Vegeta snarled, still slightly embarrassed over the fact everyone knew he had a good heart now. "How the hell are we going to do this!?"
"Don't you have a brother?" Bulma questioned, tipsy from all the wine she had been drinking on her birthday that Beerus had ruined. "Remember? The short one who came to visit us not too long ago?"
An irritated vein could be shown throbbing on the grumpy male's forehead. "Yes, but... I have no idea where he is."
"Should have gotten his number," Bulma muttered under her breath.
The purple cat-like God groaned, standing up to stretch and yawn. "Well, I think I've about had it. I'm going to go home and take a nap after I destroy this planet." When he began walking away, a woman with the bluest of eyes and growing black hair reached out to him.
"Wait, Lord Beerus! There is one more Saiyan here!"
The God of Destruction froze, glaring over his shoulder at the woman while Gohan looked at her stumped. "Videl..? What do you mean?"
The woman began to blush, holding her hands to her heart. "Well, he's not entirely Saiyan like Goku and Vegeta, but I know he has Saiyan blood and a righteous heart to go along with it!"
"Oh, honey!" Mr. Satan shook his head, stepping in the way. "You can stop beating around the bush! I know you all want me to beat Mr. Beerus, but I have no Saiyan blood! I'm only human-"
"IT'S NOT YOU!" Videl snapped through her hormones, reopening her mouth to apologize when Dende spoke for her.
"Videl is pregnant, you guys!" the guardian proudly announced, watching the faces of each individual beginning to change. "Growing inside of her is the pure Saiyan child of Gohan and herself, of course."
All eyes went immediately on Gohan, who nearly had tears brimming in his eyes as he ran towards his wife. He was donning his father's gi. "ARE YOU SERIOUS!? We're going to have a baby!?"
"I was going to tell you soon, but I guess now is reasonable-" her words were cut off by Gohan lifting her into the air and spinning her around while the others gathered next to them for congratulations.
"Are you going to bring me my Super Saiyan God now, or what?" Beerus responded, taking a sip of his soda. Gohan hurriedly placed Videl down as they ran to his father's side, who was mouthing 'congratulations' to him. The woman held hands tightly with Gohan, giving it a loving squeeze while Vegeta occupied her other. Beside him was the one transforming into the God, who was holding hands with young Trunks and Goten was there to complete it.
The men turned into Super Saiyans, and the golden aura began to dance and grow around them. When Vegeta began to feel the light emerging from his heart, he glanced down at Videl's pregnant stomach to see the same happening to here. All of them were giving the lights from their heart to Goku until he rose up into the sky with a bright blue light surrounding him.
Once the light had faded and the others were now longer blind to it, the Goku that Bardock knew wasn't there.
In his place was a Saiyan with red hair and eyes, generating a power even he could feel through his vision...
"If that's the future, where the hell is Gine!?" Bardock yelled, causing Chi-Chi to lean down beside him for support. "Where the hell was I!? What happened to us!?"
"Shh, it's okay!" his daughter-in-law whispered, massaging his back until his breathing started coming back to normal. "What did you see?"
Through his pained eyes, Bardock finally looked at the exhausted housewife. His vision was that of something bittersweet; his grandson had created a child with the only person the teenager had ever felt a connection with and his son had reached a whole new level, a God level. But where was he? Where was Gine? What had happened to them to not have them in the future to see all of this occurring?
The scarred bit his tongue, deciding as usual to keep this one a secret at least for now. If this vision were to come true, it would mean that he wouldn't stay around forever and either something happened to his wife or she somehow went with him. Either way, it was a heartbreaking truth that the curse would ruin his life once more. "It was nothing important, Chi-Chi."
As he began to stand up straight again, Chi-Chi kept being her persistent self. "What do you mean!? You were practically screaming your head off just now!"
"It's nothing important, Chi-Chi." Bardock replied again, pushing her aside while wincing. "Do you think I can be alone for awhile? I need to think about some things."
The woman sighed, knowing there was nothing she could do to get him to talk. "How about you go relax in the hot tub in the back? Everyone is partying in the front yard, so I think you'll be okay. There's a pair of swim trunks that belong to Goku in the closet if that's what you decide to do..."
Wordlessly, Bardock brushed past her. A small smile grew across Chi-Chi's face when she saw him enter her room; and she began humming to herself as she put the dirty dishes in the sink. Unbeknownst to both of them, three pairs of eyes and ears were observing the entire thing through the kitchen window. The bodies all slumped down slowly, exchanging looks of helplessness and sadness.
"So Grandpa still has his curse?" Goten frowned, looking at his grandmother. "I thought it was gone since he's been here so long!"
"Yeah," Trunks mumbled, dragging his knees close to his chest. "How is that fair!? After everything we've been through he's just..he's just gonna go away!? Just like that?!"
Gine sighed heavily, pulling both the saddened boys closer to her with either arm. "I know... I know. I'm scared, too. I don't know what to do.."
Goten sat up straight suddenly, smiling after coming up with a quick plan. "Do you think we could pray for him to stay six more months until the Dragon Balls come back and then we can wish the curse to go away!?"
Trunks rolled his eyes. "Dummy, the grown ups want to use that wish to make everyone forget about Majin Buu. Besides, who would we pray to?"
"Anyone who will listen?" Gine suggested, getting on her knees while her grandson and a reluctant Trunks finally did, too. "I don't mean to sound selfish, but I think wishing for Bardock to stay with us forever is better than erasing the memory of Buu... They can wait a year after our wish, don't you think?"
"Hm, you've got a point," Trunks nodded, never the one to follow the rules, either. The trio folded their little hands together and closed their eyes tightly while Goten did the honors.
"Uhm, Dende or Supreme Kai or King Kai or whoever nice is up there listening," the little boy fumbled over his words, but felt encouraged when his grandmother and best friend didn't laugh at him. "Do you think that you could keep my grandpa Bardock with me for six more months until the Dragon Balls are back again? We really really need him around, and I love him. So, please... Thank you in advance. And uh, oh, amen!"
The trio opened their eyes quickly when they heard a loud splash coming from behind the house, followed by a familiar voice screaming, "KAKAROT WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU NAKED!?"
"Are we going to do this now?"
A trio composed of both the messy-haired adult Saiyans and the teenage hybrid were standing in the same open field where certain flying lessons were held before the World Martial Arts Tournament not too long ago. Goku placed one hand on his hip and the other behind his neck; laughing loudly. "Well, yeah, Dad. Chi-Chi is setting up everything for your surprise-"
"DAD!" Gohan warned, immediately silencing his father. The two looked at Bardock who had full on suspicion in his orbs. The teen placed a hand on his grandfather's back and gave it a good pat to match an awkward laugh. "Mom just wanted us out of the house so she can give it a good cleanin', ya know!?"
Bardock's eyes narrowed, but he decided to dismiss it. Two many weeks had gone by without any ounce of fighting and he was beginning to grow restless. It would also be a good stress reliever after his most recent vision; the one that didn't include himself or his wife. The scarred Saiyan looked up at the evening sky and took a deep sigh. "You said you wanted me to fight in the form you claim to have witnessed?"
"Mmhm!" Goku hummed, nudging his father. "It's only fair to Gohan."
"Fine," Bardock murmured, distancing himself from the two while a power ball began charging in his hand. "But it's not going to be pretty."
Gohan watched in amazement as his grandfather formed the synthetic moon in the sky; and his amazement only grew when Bardock transformed into a golden furred giant ape. The teen sweatdropped, glancing over his shoulder at Goku. "I-Is this suppose to happen?"
"Yup!" Goku laughed, and then proceeded to whistle loudly from his amusement. "Do you feel the power emerging from that beast!? Doesn't it feel familiar to the one you felt on Supreme Kai's planet?"
"Ah..." Gohan nodded, watching as his Oozaru grandfather began pounding his chest for dramatic effect. The poor teen couldn't imagine himself beating up a monkey; it would be too much like that one horror movie he watched with Goten the other night. "D-Do I have to fight him as this?"
"Just wait," Goku smirked while Bardock's eyes settled on the artificial moon in the sky. "This isn't it."
Before the teen could open his mouth to question his father again, Bardock began doubling over as his enormous size started to shrink. During the transformation, Gohan could see the golden fur start turning to red; along with his eyelids. The ape's large head began forming into that of a Saiyan's; complete with long black hair that stuck out in numerous directions.
Gohan couldn't place his finger on it; this definitely wasn't any sort of Super Saiyan transformation he knew. The screaming that always occurred when the new rush of power began to flow through the veins of those who could achieve it wasn't there; the golden hair along with the icy green eyes were absent, and instead of looking electrifying, Bardock was on fire.
His grandfather was unrecognizable if it weren't for the scar on his left cheek; for his armor was replaced by a simple pair of green pants. "Dad," Gohan blinked. "Is this who you saw?"
Goku nodded, and a smirk began to grow on his face when Bardock raised a hand in the air to motion Gohan over. "Yup, and he's ready for you, son. Don't hold back, I haven't seen a good fight in a long time!"
The teen hesitated for a moment, looking at the strange creature on the other side of the grassy meadow with a red tail swishing behind him. "And...you're absolutely positive that's Grandpa?"
"Oh for fuck's sake, would you hurry up!?" answered Gohan's question. The teen powered up quickly, taking a leap off the ground that his boot left a small crater in as he flew towards his grandfather until he teleported. Bardock's eyes closed so the crimson coloring of his eyelids were showing; hiding his golden orbs. The red furred Saiyan flung his fist backwards; feeling it clash against the flesh of his grandson's hand.
"Your senses have improved greatly, Gramps!" Gohan smirked, holding onto Bardock's fist. The older Saiyan turned his head slightly so he could look at him through his peripherals. "Much better than your first spar with Vegeta!"
A scowl crossed Bardock's features; and Gohan could see his brows knitted together in anger. Confused, the teen opened his mouth to ask his grandfather what was wrong but immediately regretted doing the action. His open mouth was full of grass; finding himself face down on the field with slight pain in his wrist. "Gramps," his voice was muffled. "You flipped me!"
Bardock crossed his arms over his chest and glared down at his fallen grandson, who was beginning to rise while spitting grass out of his mouth. "Are you implying I'm stronger than the prince?"
Dumbfounded, the teenager couldn't help but blink. "Uh... Well, I mean... I don't think Vegeta could look like you-" Gohan dodged the roundhouse kick that was meant for his neck, and then jumped back a few steps. "What the heck is wrong with you!? I know we're sparing, but you're acting like you want to kill me or something!"
"You know damn well if the prince, Kakarot, and especially you had your tails still, you would all look like me!" he snarled, teleporting in front of Gohan and raising the boy who was refusing to fight at the moment by the collar of his orange gi. With each word he said, he shook him harshly. "It's just not fair!" Bardock threw his grandson at Goku, who caught him by his under arms.
"You okay, son?"
"Yeah..." Gohan whispered, allowing himself to be pushed away from his father. His orbs had become hardened while looking at his angry grandfather, not understanding why he was acting this way. Cracking his knuckles and neck, the teen powered up even more. "I guess I just have to knock some sense into him."
Bardock was already flying towards Gohan as flew away from his father, already seeking his opportunity. He uppercut Bardock's revealed pectorals, causing the male to wheeze at the outrageous strength of it, and then teleported behind him to smack him all the way to the ground as hard as he could. Bardock went skidding across the meadow, digging up parts of it and using one yellow eye to watch the angry teen in the sky until he came to a stop.
This can't happen, kid. I'm not going to be here anymore.
Slowly getting to his feet, Bardock began charging the very attack that his opponent had taught him. At the first 'kame', Gohan started mimicking his movements. As their hands were cupped at their sides, they continued to glare at each other as the blue orb in both hands continued to grow and grow.
The teen began to feel uneasy, sensing the wave that would erupt from his grandfather would be more powerful. Trying to keep himself at ease, Gohan narrowed his eyes and continued to focus all of his energy into it.
The two had released their beams; while Goku admired it from a distance. Both his father and son were struggling, and it was making him happy to see. Bardock was kneeling down and thrusting his hands upward; trying to fight against the one that was coming from above. Both of them were grunting and screaming loud enough that Goku was thankful he had no neighbors in earshot.
Man, we gotta have more spars out here... Hm?
Goku watched as the beams suddenly became diverted; breaking off in the middle and going their own separate ways. Goku winced as either one destroyed two mountains, and the hero decided maybe blasts wouldn't be a part of it. Bardock came walking slowly back to him; Gohan already had levitated downwards. The two were glaring at each other and panting heavily.
"I'd say it looked pretty equal," Goku mused, a goofy grin on his face. "But one of you was holding back..."
The two accused ones looked at each other with raised eyebrows. "Was it you, Gramps?"
"Oh, shut the hell up! You know it was you!" moody Bardock snarled, crossing his arms over his chest and looking away in frustration. "But it doesn't matter anyway. You're not going to see this transformation for a long time."
"But I don't get it, Gramps!" Gohan pressed. "Why do you want to keep this hidden? Are you ashamed or what?"
The three began walking back to their home, deciding to waste time instead of using instant transmission to get there. Bardock sighed loudly, knowing that no matter what he said that they wouldn't understand. "Look, like I mentioned earlier, you would completely overpower me if you had a tail. My tail is an advantage, and that's all. It's not fair to have this strength when I've never ascended," he turned his head away, slightly fuming. "I just have a fucking tail..."
"Gramps, stop that!" Gohan yelled, standing in front of him now. "You ARE the legendary Super Saiyan! You deserve any kind of power you get, it's not just because you have a tail but because you have a heart that makes it come alive! You're a hero!"
Bardock raised his hand to silence his grandson; causing the teenager to frown but become silent out of respect. "Enough, kid. I've never claimed to have a heart or be a hero, did I?"
"No, sir.. But-"
"But nothing," Bardock shook his head while Goku sighed. "Your father and the rest of your family keep saying that, but that's not what I am. I don't want to hear that anymore, alright?"
"Well..." Goku sighed again, failing to understand his father's stubbornness. "What do you want to talk about, then?"
"I don't really think I have much time left," Bardock began. Goku was patiently waiting for him to get his words out to the best of his ability. "But... I'm sorry I haven't spent as much of my time with you as I should have. It's just-"
"Ah, say no more!" the messy-haired hero placed a strong arm over his father's shoulder as the two continued to walk side by side. "You took care of my sons and Chi-Chi. I couldn't have asked for anything more than that. Without you, Gotenks wouldn't have been as strong as he was and we would have struggled even more against Buu. Don't apologize for that!"
Bardock stopped in his tracks, causing his son to do the same. He looked at Gohan, motioning for him to move along. "We'll catch up to you at home, kid. I need to talk to your father."
After a respectful nod, Gohan disappeared quickly to give them their space. Goku was scratching the back of his head and looking at the suddenly serious Bardock with confusion. "What is it, Dad?"
"Kakarot, when the time is right, I want you to train me."
"Huh?" Goku blinked curiously, noticing that his father had his hands on his shoulders. "You want me to train you?"
"A year together in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber," Bardock nodded. "I want to be trained by you to achieve the next level of a Super Saiyan, but I want the others to be there, too. Gohan, Goten, Trunks, even the prince if you can convince him."
The hero placed his hand on top of his father's to comfort his strangely pained expression. "Sure, that sounds like a great idea. But... why all of us?"
"I can't say much because I don't want to mess anything up, but I had a vision about this purple cat god thing... I didn't see much, but I could tell he was stronger than all of you. I didn't see myself there, but maybe," Bardock struggled with his words again, not wanting to think about not being with them anymore. "But maybe something will change if I can become a Super Saiyan 2."
A huge giddy smile crossed Goku's face; obvious excitement over the idea of fighting an opponent stronger than himself. "Alright, sounds great, Pops!" he winked. "Maybe I'll find a new transformation myself, eh?"
Bardock bit his lower lip, trying hard to keep that amazing secret to himself. For a moment, he pictured his son with the red hair and orbs that he had seen in the vision... A Super Saiyan God. "Kid, you have no idea."
Even when Bardock blew out the final candle, he wore a scowl. Gine had forced him to wear a party hat; and even though the string was cutting into his cheeks, nobody seemed to care. They all got amusement out of seeing the birthday boy looking like a small spoiled child who didn't get what he wanted this year.
"Say, Bardock?" Videl asked, ignoring his snarl. "How old are you, anyway?"
"Let's see," he murmured, counting his fingers and thinking. "I think thirty-six...?"
Goku spit his soda out while Chi-Chi and Gohan dropped the presents they were going to give him. The remnants of Goku's cola had splattered all over Bardock's face, and Gine began scrubbing it off his face as hard as Videl did to his dried blood at the World Martial Arts Tournament. While he was struggling against his wife's attack, Goku began blabbing. "WHAT!? DAD, YOU'RE THE SAME AGE AS ME!"
"WHAT!?" Videl was about to fall over from shock, but Gohan held her up just in time. The faces of the teenagers, Goten, Goku, and Chi-Chi had got into the face of Bardock, observing his features.
"Well, I mean, I guess he does look as young as you, Goku..." Chi-Chi blinked. "But it's still.. so weird!"
"Yeah..." Goku touched his nose and then other various parts of his father's face. "Weird... I guess time traveling has that effect..."
As his family began poking and prodding him, the male found himself actually wanting to travel away. At least until this day was over. He thought he had already been through the worst of it, but he was dead wrong.
After their amazement about his age had worn off, Gohan and Videl could barely contain their excitement as he began unwrapping the present they had given him. It was a tiny box; decorated with Capsule Corporations gift wrap. Bardock raised an eyebrow, and then slowly began peeling away at it. He flipped open the now naked box and blinked at the object inside.
"...What is it?"
Gohan and Videl looked at each other and shared a high pitch laugh, causing the male in the spotlight to sweatdrop. "It's a waaaaaatch," Gohan winked. "Just like mine!"
Cue eye twitching. "Oh God... No..."
"YES!" Videl cheered, raising a fist in the air. "We had Bulma make you a Saiyaman watch to go along with ours! We can fight crime together!"
"If you don't want it, I'll take it!" Gine chimed in, and Goten did the same. Those two were the only other ones in the world that found Gohan and Videl's little tag team adorable. Bardock was absolutely disgusted as he handed it back to them.
"Tell her to burn it..."
"What!? No way!" Gohan frowned, refusing to take it as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Come on! Just wear it once! Just once!"
"No! Hell no!" Bardock pushed his chair back and stood up abruptly, walking away from the disappointed family. He was making an escape to the outdoors before Gine stood in front of the door with an unlikely scowl on her face. "Get out of the way, pain in my ass!"
The curious family watched as she whispered something in his ear, causing him to turn bright red and begin stomping his foot hard enough that the house slightly shook. A smirk grew across Gine's face as the male came mumbling his way back over to the table, snatching the watch off the table and putting it on. "Alright, you little jackasses, but I'm only doing this once."
"Do it!" Videl cheered. "Press the button! I want to see your outfit!"
Muttering more profanity, Bardock pressed it. Once his custom made Saiyaman outfit was out on full display, Goku began laughing so loud that he fell out of his chair. Underneath the helmet, Bardock was fuming and glaring at his son. "What the fuck is so funny, Kakarot!?"
"Yeah, Dad!" Gohan defended him. "He looks great!"
"Go see for yourself, Pops!" Goku howled, earning a smack from Chi-Chi although she was stifling laughter herself. The Saiyaman-clad male looked at the others for reassurance, but realized it was no use. His wife and grandchildren had no fashion sense.
The messy-haired hero had disappeared for a moment to grab the full length mirror from his bedroom, still laughing as he placed it in front of his dad. "Alright, have a look, Great Saiyagrandfather!"
Reluctantly, Bardock turned around to look at himself. Gohan and Videl had already put on their outfits and quickly joined his side; the two of them loving the group of Saiyamen that they saw while Bardock grew wordless.
Much like the first Saiyaman he had encountered, Bardock was wearing the ridiculous helmet with antennae; only it was a god awful yellow. His tunic was brown; his undersuit was red and his cape was white. "...I look like a fucking bathroom accident!"
"Ah, what!? You look so cool!" Videl whined and pouted from underneath her blue shades. "The best one yet!"
"Fuck this! How did my hair even fit in this helmet?!"
"It's just this one time, Gramps!" Gohan frowned. "Come on! It's not like you're going to be fighting crime with us for a month or something!"
"He's coming through the streets.."
"Shut the hell up."
"He's coming to defeat..."
"If you value your life, you'll shut up now."
"Those who want to slaughter..."
"Gohan... I think he's serious."
"He's the one and only... SAIYA GRANDFATHER- OW!"
The Great Saiyaman was just backhanded by the Great Saiyagrandfather mid flight, causing Videl to laugh loudly. "Hey, Bardock, you're the one who agreed to this!"
"Only because you two wouldn't shut up!"
"...He's coming through the streets..."
"DAMN IT, GOHAN!"
"OH, CRAP!" Gohan sat straight up, his hair messy and signaling a good night's rest for the first time in weeks. He looked over at his alarm and screamed, seeing that it was crushed to pieces with no signs of the one who caused it around him. Quickly jumping out of bed, he changed into whatever outfit he could find and darted out of the room to see his grandfather sitting at the breakfast table with his father and brother; the women no where to be found.
"Gramps, how could you!?" the teen groaned, reaching out to the pancakes on his plate that was surprisingly untouched. "School starts in twenty minutes! Now I'm really going to have to jet!"
Bardock simply shrugged, never the one to understand why his grandson cared so much about that shithole was he flipped through the newspaper. Gohan raised an eyebrow; noticing he was looking at the classifieds. "Uh.. What's the deal? Are you trying to find a job or something?"
"Yup!" Goku grinned, looking at his son. "Your mother went to turn in my application to one of the farmers down town with Gine, and they warned him that if he didn't find a job by the time they got back he's going to be tilling the fields with me!"
Gohan had to stifle a laughter, while Goten freely did it, as Bardock looked at him with quiet desperation. "Well, I dunno if it's your type of thing, but my school is looking for a gym coach to finish up the remainder of the school year! A lot of people heard your voice when we were battling Buu, Gramps, and a lot of people already admire you. So I bet getting a job would be no sweat!"
Bardock placed the newspaper down to contemplate his options. He couldn't see himself being a truck driver; most definitely not a farmer. But torturing kids? "Where do I sign up?
"Just five more. I know, I kind of want to die right now, too, but let's just power through it."
The students groaned as they finished the remaining lumber jacks their new coach was forcing them to do. Sharpener gave a dirty look to Gohan as he wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead with his arm. "Why doesn't your lazy ass grandfather do them with us!?"
"N-Nothing, Coach Bardock!" Sharpener grinned nervously, and then dropped the act once the Saiyan looked away. Instead of looking at teacher's pet and goody toe shoes Gohan, he focused his attention on the blonde girl beside him. "What kind of workout gear is he wearing, anyway? I don't think I've seen anything like that my entire life. He's definitely not a professional. I don't know why the hired him!"
"Oh, hush!" Erasa giggled. "It's vintage! He totally looks like some kind of warrior from the past or something!"
Bardock blew his whistle loudly, silencing the gossiping teenagers. "Okay, time for some yoga poses. It's going to ache like a bastard until your hamstrings release, I'm not gonna lie."
"Like this, coach!?" numerous calls erupted throughout the gymnasium.
"Stretch a little deeper... it's okay to yell 'fuck' at this point. I won't tell anyone."
"So let me get this straight," Bulma had to stifle a laughter, looking down at the extremely nervous Goten. "You want me to make sleeping pills strong enough to knock out a Saiyan?"
Goten blushed, realizing how bad it sounded when spoken by someone else. "Y-Yes, ma'am. And a normal one for my Mama. I don't want her to die."
Bulma nodded, running a hand through her blue hair and smiling. "Of course, but there's something I need to know before I start. What are you planning on doing with these Saiyan proof pills?"
The child turned even more crimson, taking a look at his best friend for support but the lavender-haired child was looking away as if he didn't know anything. Sighing, Goten decided to put his trust into the blue-haired genius. "When the Dragon Balls come back in two months, I'm going to find them and wish for my grandpa to stay with us forever instead of the wish they wanted to do with Majin Buu... I need them to be asleep or else they'll stop me..."
"Please don't tell anyone, Mom..." Trunks murmured.
Bulma placed her coffee mug on the table and smiled sweetly at the nervous boys. The three were sitting in the kitchen of Capsule Corps; waiting for the maid to finish cooking breakfast after the messy-haired child spent the night playing video games with Trunks. "Alright, sure. I'll make your pills for you, but you have to talk to Majin Buu first and make sure it's okay with him."
Majin Buu listened to the plea of the children while rubbing his tummy. They were sitting in one of the fifty large rooms of Mr. Satan's mansion; the pink one sitting directly across from Goten and Trunks.
"Hmmm... okay! Buu do!"
"Really!?" the boys exclaimed, immediately high fiving each other until Buu cleared his throat.
"But Buu wants something!"
"Uhm," Trunks blinked. "S-Sure. What is it?"
"ICE CREAM!" he giggled, raising his fist in the air. "Buu wants boys to bring him ice cream since Buu can't leave Mr. Satan's home!"
The boys sighed in relief, happy that the request was reasonable. They hopped off the leather couch and shook hands with him, ready to leave the room when Mr. Satan and a certain Namek came barging in. Piccolo's green face turned red when he realized they were look right at him. "Wh-What are you two doing here!?"
"We should ask the same thing!" Trunks fired back, equally as crimson as the Namek. "What would you be doing hanging around Mr. Satan!?"
Hercule began laughing loudly in the only way he knew how to do. He was sweating profusely, trying to hide the fact Piccolo was training him on flying. "Little Goten! I have something to give you since your family helped me defeat the bad Buu!"
While they were distracted watching Mr. Satan dig through his closet, Piccolo managed to escape unnoticed. Goten's eyes widened as Hercule a briefcase at him. "What is it, Mr. Satan?"
"A hundred million zeni!" he proudly announced, placing his hands on his hips. "Don't spend it all in one place, ya hear!?"
"Is that a lot?" Goten whispered, causing Trunks to slap himself in the forehead.
"Of course, you dummy! You have to give it your mom!"
"Ohh," the Son boy nodded, holding the briefcase tightly against his chest with one arm while waving goodbye to Mr. Satan and Buu. "Thank you! And I'll see you at graduation, Mr. Satan!"
Before the officially left the room, Trunks glanced over his shoulder for a moment to see Hercule begin levitating up slowly while Buu cheered him on. The boy shook his head, realizing that he must have been crazy and shut the door behind him.
"WHO IN THE HECK WEARS A HEADBAND WITH A TUXEDO!?" Chi-Chi roared, raising her broom high in the air as Bardock dodged her proceeded swing. "You take that off right now!"
The Son family, along with the new addition of the Saiyan grandparents and Ox, were all crowded in the living room and waiting for Gohan to finish the money that Hercule had given Goten, Chi-Chi was able to get tailored outfits for the entire family. She had used Goten to trick Bardock into getting his measurements; claiming that wrapping the measuring tape around his body was some sort of game and if he refused he wouldn't get any lunch. Unfortunately for him, Gine had played along as well.
"Uh, Bardock?" Gine asked sweetly although there were some hints of frustration in her voice. "Have you ever told them why you were it? I think it's better than getting whacked every time."
Bardock rolled his eyes and brushed some of the bristles off his black collar. Luckily his shirt underneath the onyx coat was red; so he wasn't as completely mix matched as he was when he wore his son's gi. "It won't make a difference, dear," he sneered and then glared at the equally stubborn Chi-Chi. "This woman lives to make my life a living hell."
Before Chi-Chi could attack again, Gine placed herself in front of Bardock with an equally threatening pose. "And if you don't tell them why, I'll do the same!"
"You already do!"
The two were in each other's faces while Goku, Goten, and Ox were laughing loudly. Chi-Chi silently thanked Porunga for giving her another woman in the house to support her against the Saiyans, and turned around to put her broom away when she crashed into something. Blinking her eyes open slowly, she found herself facing a zipped up black graduation gown with a toned teenager underneath it. The mother immediately pushed herself away so she could get a good look of her son, and on cue began sobbing.
"Gohan..." she whispered, clasping her hands together and holding them against her pink dressed chest. "You... You're all grown up on me..."
"Ah geez, Mom," Gohan chuckled with a blush on his face. "It's just high school graduation. I have a lot more to do." He pulled her into a tight hug, placing his chin on her head while doing so and observing his family with a grateful smile. His grandparents ended their feuding to give him their nods of approval, while his father and brother flashed him a thumbs up.
Releasing his mother, Gohan walked over to Bardock and placed a finger on his headband. "I asked you months ago, Gramps, so get on with it. What's the big deal about that headband of yours?"
"Ugh," Bardock sighed deeply. "If I tell you, will you all shut the fuck up for once?"
They all nodded; Gohan keeping his finger pressed against the red material. "You bet!"
"It's my partner's blood."
"EW!" Gohan immediately brought his finger back to his side, while Chi-Chi ran to get some sanitizing wipes. "Gramps, that's sick!"
"Are you a vampire?" Goten questioned, tilting his head. "I always thought you were a vampire."
"I think he is," Gine whispered. "He's so moody because he hasn't got his fill for months."
While Bardock stood stunned in his dumbfounded state, Goku's eyes were bulging out of his head while he gripped his mom's shoulders. "Are you serious, Ma!?"
"NO!" the one in question finally roared, stamping his foot on the ground like a petulant child. "That pink fatass Dedoria murdered him, so I used his white headband to soak up his blood and I wear it to remind me what I'm fighting for!"
"Ohhhhhhhh!" they all said in relief, while Gine winked knowing the truth the whole time.
"Say Dad," Goku chimed in, nudging his angered father. "If I was murdered, would you soak up my blood and wear it, too? Or do only friends qualify for that?"
"What about me!" Goten whined, pulling on his grandpa's pant leg. Bardock's eye began twitching rapidly, at a loss for words while Gohan opened his mouth after cleaning his finger off.
"Of course he would, Goten!" Big Brother came to rescue, placing his hands on his hips and giving his twitching grandfather a giant grin. "Why, I bet if we were all killed tomorrow, he would combine our blood and use it as a driving force to smite his enemies!"
"YOU GUYS ARE ALL PSYCHOTIC!" Bardock growled. "Let's just get the hell out of here, already!"
"You're the one who soaks up blood in the first place," Gine murmured, ignoring the deadly look her husband was giving her. "But you're right. The faculty has to get there a bit earlier, don't they?"
Bardock clenched and unclenched his fists multiple times, trying not to lose his composure as he was quickly gaining the stereotype of angry grandfather. He looked Gine up and down, realizing that he didn't have a moment to admire her beforehand due to Chi-Chi's attack. The dress that Chi-Chi had made for her fit her perfectly; a modest long sleeved red one that ended just below her knees. Although looks were never the forte for Saiyans when they chose a mate - the strong connections they felt were the reason - it didn't hurt having something that looked so good.
"Yeah," he mumbled, pulling her close to his side. "We do, unfortunately. Where the hell are you guys going to sit?"
"In the far back if we don't hurry!" Chi-Chi warned, taking a look at herself in the mirror and groaning when she noticed parts of her once neat bun had become loose after struggling with her father-in-law. "Great, just great! I'm going to look like a mess when we take pictures later!"
"Why don't you wear it down, Mama?" Goten suggested, a sly look on his face while he noticed his father's ears had perked up a bit. "You look real pretty when you do!"
"You think?" she questioned with a blush, looking at the only other woman in the room for confirmation. When her mother-in-law nodded sweetly, Chi-Chi sighed and released her long black hair. The wife looked at her wide-eyed husband, not sure what he was thinking. "...Goku? Is it bad?"
"No! No, no, no!" the messy-haired Saiyan laughed, quickly and unnecessarily teleporting to her side to lift her up by the waist. "It only reminds me that I made the right choice of staying home for good! Wow!"
Goten and Gohan began laughing as their father spun their lovely mother around; almost looking like they were dancing while Goten spoke to his older brother. "Maybe now we'll get another brother!"
"WHAT!?" Gohan nearly choked on air, turning crimson while pointing a finger at his younger brother. "How-How do you know about that stuff!? I didn't learn until my eighteenth birthday!" The teenager ignored the scoff from his grandfather, keeping his helpless eyes locked on the newly confused Goten.
"It's not that hard to figure out, silly!" the child laughed, smacking his brother's leg. "Grandpa was telling me the other day-"
Gohan looked immediately at Ox, who was raising his hands in front of him in defense to let him know he wasn't the culprit. That only left the bad grandpa, of course. The one who was snickering and trying not look at the infuriated graduate. "Gramps! What did you tell him!?"
"YEAH!" Chi-Chi had escaped her momentary hold with her husband to begin reaching for her deadly frying pan, causing Bardock's eyes to widen. "WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU TELL HIM!?"
The scarred warrior looked desperately at his son, who quickly gathered everyone together against their will. "Well, it's time to go!"
Instant transmission saved Bardock's ass.
At least for now.
Although the family feud had cost them time, Chi-Chi was relieved to see that her friends were already reserving five seats. With Piccolo, Krillin's family, Yamcha, Roshi with his animal gang of misfits, Tien and Chiaotzu, and of course the Briefs, an entire row was filled to cheer up Gohan. Goku waved obnoxiously, causing Vegeta to scowl although the messy-haired Saiyan's eyes were on the Namek.
"Piccolo!" he called. "Hey, Piccolo! I can't believe you're here!"
"What!?" the Namek smirked. "You act as if I would miss this!"
Goku chuckled, always being reminded of his relationship with his oldest son. As Goku followed Goten, they were approaching Trunks who had been at the start of the empty seats. Before he sat down, the hero noticed Vegeta was glaring at him. "Huh? What's wrong?"
"Why aren't you surprised I'm here!?" he snarled. "You asked the Namek, but you didn't ask me."
"Well," he blinked. "It's simple. You love Gohan."
"Oh, hush!" Bulma warned, sitting on the side that wasn't occupied with Trunks as she smacked his shoulder. "You guys can have your little argument later."
While the flame-haired Saiyan continued to grumble about how life was unfair, Chi-Chi looked around and noticed someone was missing. "Hey, where's Hercule? Didn't he come here for Videl?"
With an eyeroll, Bulma gestured to a section where Mr. Satan and all of his fan girls were holding up pictures of Videl's face on sticks. "Honestly..it's for the best."
This time, Chi-Chi gestured to the faculty section where another messy-haired Saiyan was sitting in between two blonde women and looking absolutely miserable. The row began laughing loudly, earning a middle finger from Bardock which only caused them to laugh harder. It looked like he was about to say something to them, when the principal had stepped up to the podium.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen. The time is now six o'clock, and our evening shall begin with a speech from our valedictorian, Son Gohan!"
"YAY! YAY! YAY! THAT'S MY BROTHER! MYYYY BROTHER!"
"MOMMY LOVES YOU GOHAN!"
"SO DOES GRANDMA!"
"YEAH! LOOKIN' GOOD, SON!"
The auditorium had grown silent as Gohan stepped up to the podium. He wiped his sweaty hands on his gown, and used the sleeves to get rid of the sweat on his forehead. All eyes were on him; the spotlight was on him, and his speech had been forgotten at home to cause his anxiety to grow even more. He gulped as quietly as he could so the audience couldn't tell he was screaming internally. "H-Hello, everyone..."
His face turned crimson, losing all the words he had worked so hard on and cursing himself for being so careless as to forget such an important piece of paper on such an important day. Murmurs began to rise, causing his heart rate to skyrocket as he fiddled his nervous fingers against the podium. Desperately, his eyes began scanning the crowd to find the one person he knew that could ease his worries.
Gohan found her in the student section; shining like an angel even in her black gown. Once those encouraging blue eyes of hers dug into his from a distant, the teen gained a confidence he hadn't felt since Elder Kai unleashed his hidden power.
Miss Videl Satan had that effect on him, and it only seemed to keep growing with time.
I love you.
"Hello everyone; my family, my teachers, my class. I wish that I could stand up here and tell you that I've been through all these painful years of schooling by your side, but that would make me a liar." Gohan's voice was much louder now; nobody in the audience had to strain to hear him and there was no trace of anxiety on him. His eyes looked away from the beaming Videl to focus on his crying mother. "You see, I was home schooled up until my senior year, even coming in just months before graduation. If you personally know me, you know I'm not the type to brag. But I've got a pretty awesome mother to have gotten me that far this quickly."
Bardock looked away from his grinning grandson to over his shoulder at where his daughter-in-law was sitting. Goku had his arm wrapped around Chi-Chi, who was clenching a handkerchief tightly against her chest with one hand while Gine was holding the other. Goten could barely contain himself; jumping up and down in his seat and whispering to Trunks how cool his big brother was. The lavender haired child tugged on his mother's shoulder, asking when he would get a sibling and earned a backhand from his father to silence him. A painful feeling began swelling in his chest despite the small grin on his face as Bardock reluctantly turned away. It had been a miracle that he wasn't in another timeline yet, but the thought of leaving them all behind kept beating him down in the back of his mind.
It would hurt like hell to lose a life that was so damn perfect now.
People began to laugh as Gohan told corny jokes and memories of moments he shared at Orange Star High with the faculty and students, and then gripped onto the podium as his voice became more serious. "Anyway, the message I really want to get across to you guys tonight was something I learned from both my father and grandfather, the latter of which you'll recognize as Coach Bardock." Cheers erupted from the student section as the teacher beside Bardock nudged him. Goten could be heard screaming wildly until it was obvious Chi-Chi silenced him. Gohan gave his blushing grandfather a wink before continuing. "You see, both of these men are my heroes but for very different reasons. My father has taught me since I was four years old to use my heart to stand up for those who can't, and be a beacon of light for those who lives have become dark... like my grandfather's was."
Goku's grip tightened on Chi-Chi more as his eyes slowly moved away from his son to look at the back of his father's head. He seemed to be frozen in place; the teachers on either side of him whispering to him but it looked like he wasn't responding. "Where do you think he's going with this?" the messy-haired hero whispered, not to anyone in particular.
"I don't know," Gine responded in a quieter whisper. "But it's got the whole crowd dead silent."
Those closest to the stage could see tears beginning to brim in Gohan's eyes as he cleared his throat; trying to keep them at bay. "You see, my father has always been a hero while my grandfather never was. But you see, Coach Bardock never pretended to be anything other than what he is. I can't really tell you what that exactly is, because he's still trying to figure it out himself. Just like all of us are, as we will soon be entering into the 'real world'. But he has constantly reminded me that you don't need to follow someone else's script, that you don't need to do what is expected or avoid discomfort. Because, trust me, I'm pretty sure we've all made him uncomfortable here."
An eruption of laughter filled the room while Bardock's name was being whistled by numerous people in the audience. Still, the scarred former warrior couldn't take his eyes off his grandson as the pain in his chest grew stronger and stronger.
"So to finish this and begin the only part of the ceremony we actually care about," more laughter. "The one thing I want you all to take away from this speech and from my grandfather is to take the road less traveled. Look at what you have done for the moment, and use it as fuel to venture forth and write your own story. If it's anything like the hero I now see before me, amazing things are going to happen. Congratulations, my friends, and I hope to see you all on opposite paths towards greatness."
Gohan bowed while rows and rows in the auditorium had people getting on their feet to applaud him. The teen rubbed the back of his neck nervously at the sight, quickly waving to his family before the principal came to motion him back to his seat. On his way there, it seemed like everyone was calling his name while the principal tried to silence them all to the best of his ability. The valedictorian took a look over at the faculty section before taking his seat beside Videl, locking his orbs on Bardock who was the only one remaining standing up. He wasn't applauding; but there was a look on his face that caused Gohan to freeze for a moment.
It was a smile of a million wordless thanks and sentiments he could never manage to say but it was so desperately on the tip of his tongue.
Goten waited patiently and quietly until one by one the members of his family who consumed the laced soup began dropping their heads on the table. After Gine gave him the signal, Trunks came sliding through the window and three placed the four sleeping bodies on their beds.
"Did you bring it?"
"Oh, yeah. I brought it." Trunks dug out the Dragon Radar from underneath his gi as the sneaky three began chuckling evilly. "How long did my mom say the sleeping pills are going to last?"
"About five hours," Gine replied, setting the timer on the watch she was burrowing from her daughter-in-law. "Will that give us enough time to collect them all?"
The lavender haired child gave the woman a two finger salute. "More than enough! Who do you think we are; amateurs!?"
In their own personal record time of three hours (would have been two and a half if they didn't stop to play in the snow in one of the mountain regions), the trio placed all seven glowing Dragon Balls together and held hands tightly while they summoned Shenron together. Within seconds, the eternal green dragon had risen from the Earth's core and looked down at those who had brought him there.
"State your wish."
Goten gulped, looking up at his grandmother for reassurance. When she squeezed his hand tighter, the boy cleared his throat to begin. "Shenron! My grandfather Bardock was cursed many decades ago. I wish for his curse to be lifted!"
"...What you wish is no easy task..."
"...But it shall be done."
"Really!?" they all exclaimed in unison, and began jumping up and down together. Gine lifted the two boys up with either arm and held them closely to her while they all shed tears of joy.
Their beloved Saiyan was going to stay with them forever.
"The one you call Bardock is now free from his curse."
Still in farmer uniform, Goku had used instant transmission after a short encounter at Capsule Corps to stand in the center of his kitchen with a frown on his face. Chi-Chi and Gine were in the middle of scrubbing the dishes while Bardock and Gohan were in the middle of arm wrestling; all stopping to look at the confused Saiyan.
"Goku?" Chi-Chi blinked, dropping a dish in the sink before she placed a hand on his shoulder. "What's wrong? You couldn't have possibly gotten those Dragon Balls that quickly."
Goten froze with a red crayon raised above the picture of the apple he was trying to color in; beginning to turn the same shade as he held the coloring book up to hide his face.
"You're right Chi-Chi," his father's voice rang through his ears. "I asked Bulma for the Dragon Radar, but there wasn't any signal. Someone else must have used them before I got the chance."
"What!?" Gohan asked, and then yelped when his grandfather slammed his arm down after becoming distracted. Rubbing his bicep with a pout, the teen looked at his father with knitted brows. "Who else could've found them that fast!?"
"That's what I'm wondering! It's so strange!"
Bardock looked away from his frustrated son to see Goten completely hidden behind his book; absolutely looking like the definition of guilt. "Hey, Kakarot. I think the little leech has something to say."
"Eep!" Goten peered over his book with frightened eyes, and then quickly hid again. Bardock reached his arm over and smacked it out of his hands; revealing the sniffling child who did a rugged sigh. "Fine... I-I'll tell you... Just don't be mad!"
Gine and Chi-Chi exchanged looks with each other, and with Goku, they all sat at the table and waited patiently for Goten to talk. Goku placed his large hand on top of his tiny one and smiled. "Hey, nobody is going to be mad at you. Just tell us what you wished for."
Goten took another deep breath, convincing himself that maybe his father was telling the truth. Still, he didn't dare look Bardock in the eyes as he spoke. "While you guys were sleeping, me and Trunks and Grandma went out to get the Dragon Balls and we summoned Shenron and-and-..."
Goku raised an eyebrow, looking at the now crimson Gine for getting busted but tightened his hold on Goten's hand for comfort. "It's okay, little guy. Tell me what you wished for."
The child started crying when he finally met the confused eyes of his grandfather; still not believing the wish had come true and was overcome with a mixture of happiness and anxiety. He pointed a finger on his free at Bardock. "We wished for Shenron to get rid of your curse so you can stay with us forever," he lowered his head. "And... And it worked. Please, don't be mad. I didn't want you to leave... And Majin Buu said it was okay as long as we bring him ice cream..."
A silence had fallen; all eyes on Bardock now, who was frozen in his seat. Chi-Chi was the first to speak, moving past Gine and placing her hands on her little boy's shoulders. "You mean... Bardock is going to stay with us? Forever? As a complete family?"
Smiles began to get shared around the table, and it soon erupted into loud cheers. They were all hovering over Goten now, giving him kisses and gentle punches for what he had done for his grandfather. But neither the child or Bardock were smiling; their eyes were locked on each other. "Grandpa?"
"Kid," Bardock finally cleared his throat and stood up, causing the family to look at him as his chair scratched against the kitchen tiles. "Come with me." Without saying anything else, the grandfather began heading to the room that they shared. Goten once more looked at his family for reassurance, and when they all gave him nods of approval, he finally followed.
Cheers began filling the room as he left once more, and then it was blocked out as Goten shut the door behind him. Bardock was sitting on the bed; looking at his hands and the navy blue wristband opposite his red one. Goten took a ragged breath, and sat down beside him. "Grandpa, I'm sorry... I overheard you talking to Mama and I thought that's what you wanted..."
His words had ended when he felt two strong arms pull him in. Goten was now blinking into an armored chest, and heard it rumble when Bardock finally spoke. "I need to ask you something, kid."
Goten pushed himself away to look at his grandfather curiously; having never heard him speak so quietly before. "Sure, Grandpa. What is it?"
There was that strange sensation, the one that had been rising on and off inside his chest ever since Bardock had been thanked by Ipana and Berry of Planet Plant. It got continuously worse since he encountered Gohan; feeling absolutely consumed by it when Chi-Chi looked him in the eyes and when Goten held his hand for the first time. It was present when he finally met Kakarot, during the time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber with Gotenks, and absolutely trying to take over every last bit of darkness he had inside of him when his eyes rested on his wife after being separated for so long.
He would never have to go through it again, all because of the child looking into his eyes.
"Tell me..." he spoke as if he was holding back years of torture and denial. "What's the word you guys tell me all the time? Loofah or something like that?"
"Love?" Goten giggled. "You mean love?"
"Y-Yes," Bardock winced. "Love. What do you feel inside of you to make you say that?"
Goten's eyes rolled to the back of his head while he was thinking; bringing his orbs back to his grandfather within moments with his trademark grin on his face. "Well, I don't really know! I guess I feel really, really happy when you're around! And when I think about losing you, I have to stop myself because it hurts so much and I don't ever want that to happen! Besides Trunks, you're my best friend!"
Bardock's heart was drowning. "Is that really how you feel?"
"Yes, Grandpa! I love you!"
The Saiyan closed his eyes, finally understanding the feeling inside of him and accepting it once and for all. When he reopened them, he noticed Goten was watching him with anxious eyes. "Then I.. love you, too."
Bardock allowed the tiny arms to wrap around his neck, never feeling so vulnerable in his life yet knowing it was right. He held onto Goten tightly; and the two remained in an emotional embrace until Chi-Chi stuck her head inside.
"Is..." she couldn't hide her smile seeing the two holding onto one another. "Is everything alright?"
"Grandpa?" the child whispered.
"Do you love Mama, too?"
"Eh," he shrugged and pulled Goten away to give him a wink. "It's more of a gray area, there..."
"HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!" Chi-Chi snapped, causing the two to jump. Goten quickly abandoned his grandfather and hid behind his dresser, afraid that his mother was mad at him. Luckily, her rage was directed towards the now scowling Bardock. "YOU WERE TELLING HIM MORE DIRTY THINGS, WEREN'T YOU!?" Not giving him a chance to speak, she charged towards him.
The male rolled his eyes, flinging her over his shoulder before she could try anything. She began smacking his back and kicking her legs in the air, trying to get free but Bardock wasn't having it. Surprisingly being louder than Chi-Chi, the Saiyan spoke to the little one coming out of hiding. "Come on, kid. We're all going to meet Vegeta and Trunks at the doors of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber."
Goten couldn't believe his luck as he watched Bardock carry his mother away. Not only had he received a father, but he earned a loving grandma and the best man in the world as a grandpa. After seven years of believing all he needed was his mama and Gohan, a cold hearted warrior turned good man had come crashing from the sky and brought to him like it was fate.
Although Bardock would never admit it, he was a hero.
At least in the eyes of a small, messy-haired child who would wear the red wristband given to him proudly every single day; picturing himself each time he looked in the mirror as the man who had brought out the full potential inside of him that he didn't intend on wasting.
"Hurry up, ya little leech! We're heading to the lookout!"
"I'm a'comin'!" he shouted, taking one last look in the mirror. As he imagined a scar that spread along his left cheek and a bloodied bandanna that rested against his forehead, a smile grew across his face. He looked like a mini-Bardock. "Awesome..."