A/N: The long awaited sequel to "Kha'ir" is finally done! THANK you, rabid plot bunny! ^^
This fic was written after a streak of inspiration from Hoobastank's "Remember me". It describes Goku and Vegeta's relationship so well, except not the way I described it in the fic… I seriously recommend you download the song.
This fic continues from Kha'ir, so I seriously suggest you read it. Short summary of what was in Kha'ir: Vegeta thinks about the special bond that he and Goku share, and at the end he hints at who Goku's Khi'a is. It was written in Vegeta's POV, and this time this fic will be written in Goku's. Things in italic are from the Kha'ir fic and a squiggle star squiggle (~*~) denotes a flashback. Beware; this fic is quite a bit slashier than Kha'ir was…
Disclaimer: DragonBallZ belongs to Akira Toriyama.
He stares at his wrist. "I wonder who my Kha'ir is? I don't remember performing this ritual"
My wrist starts hurting really badly and I put my hand behind my back. He winces slightly and starts rubbing.
"Of course you don't, you baka. You lost every memory of your life that was before you bumped your head"
"Oh yeah" he grins sheepishly. He rubs his wrist. "Why does it hurt?"
I pause then turn to walk away. "That means that your Kha'ir is still alive and still cares" I say over my shoulder.
"Oh" he says and looks, puzzled, at his hand. I smirk.
"And, of course, only pureblood Saiyans can properly perform the Kha'ir ritual…" I say quietly then leave him to figure it out himself.
I stare at the retreating man then sit down on the grass.
Well. That was strange.
I don't understand. Is Vegeta okay? First he zones out, then he calls me something… Kaka-man, I think, then starts talking about Kha'ir…
My wrist still stings slightly. I absentmindedly rub it then stop. I move my blue wristband up a bit and stare at the spot where my wrist hurts. The vein bulges out, throbbing and slightly… red, like a scar.
I shake my head, confused. I… Something happened, when he called me that. Kaka-man. Why?
It just doesn't make sense. Why should I react at a name like that? And why did he call me that? It sounds so childish; sounded almost bizarre coming out of Vegeta's mouth, but I recognize it. I don't know… all I know is when he said it, my head started hurting. I… Images were running through my mind, images I don't even remember. Words flashed through my mind. Something about… a radish?
It's so strange… I remember when I was really young; sometimes I would feel that ache in my wrist. It was so slight that I simply ignored it; dismissed it as tiredness or something. Then when I got older it disappeared altogether and I forgot about it.
Then Vegeta and Nappa came. I remember coming down from training with King Kai. Nappa was about to kill my son; and I guess I was really lucky that Kinto'un was so fast; otherwise he wouldn't be alive today.
I glanced at everyone, and when I was in the sky, Vegeta and my eyes locked, just for a millisecond. The long-forgotten pain in my wrist came rocketing back at full force and I remember gasping slightly. I hated him so much then. Hated him for hurting my friends, for letting Nappa almost kill my son, for doing whatever evil he was doing to me to make my wrist hurt so much.
Of course, I didn't show it. Why would I? He was the enemy, wasn't he?
At the same moment, I started… remembering. Remembering things that I did that I didn't actually remember doing… if that's possible. I remembered… swimming. A small boy, innocent and shy, long hair standing up, bunched into impossibly sharp tips. And I remember, in that fleeting second, thinking 'Vegeta. What happened to you'. Then the thought passed away, and I focused my mind on Krillin and my son.
Funny that I can still remember that really, considering my tendency to forget things.
"You lost all memory of your life that was before you bumped your head"
I frown and rest my chin on my fist in thought. How was it that I knew who Vegeta was just at one glance?
It… was like… I knew him… before…
"C'mon Vegeta, stop worrying so much! It'll be fun!" the boy said cheerfully. His friend looked down apprehensively.
"I dunno Kakarott… I only learned how to swim yesterday…"
"And I'M the one who taught you!" the Saiyan said, folding his arms. "Don't you trust me?"
"Not that I don't trust you, but…"
"But what?" Kakarott challenged.
"My father already got really mad about the frogs prank… if I go back to the palace with my clothes shredded…"
"Who said your clothes were going to get shredded?" the boy demanded. "And besides, aren't you the PRINCE? You can ORDER someone to make you new clothes really fast, and your dad won't know a THING"
Vegeta looked down again at the large rushing waterfall at the end of the river. The river sure looked… rough. And the waterfall did NOT look good. "Are you sure… what if I drown?" he asked nervously. The other boy laughed.
"What, are you SCARED?" he mocked. THAT got him.
"No!" he said defensively.
"Then let's GO already!" the other boy said impatiently. He pushed the log into the water.
"Come on, get on!" Kakarott said. Vegeta looked doubtful, then got onto the back of the swaying log. With a wild whoop Kakarott jumped on, almost jerking Vegeta right off. The Saiyan prince held onto the log in terror, yelling. "KAKAROTT! I could have fallen off!"
"That's the FUN of it!" the boy shouted back happily. "Hold on, this part gets rough!"
The small prince gulped and –to the other boy's surprise- grabbed onto his friend's waist. The log lurched forward and started to gain speed, jerking up and down, left and right.
"YEAHOOOOOO!" Kakarott whooped in joy, standing up slightly –locking the log tightly between his knees and pushing himself up- and waving his arms in the air. "This is more LIKE it! Isn't this GREAT Vegeta?"
"Mmm" Vegeta said, holding on even tighter. In truth he was terrified out of his mind, but some part of him told him that it was fun.
The log suddenly lurched downwards into the water, submerging Kakarott up to his elbows in the salty seawater, then bumped hard on a rock, causing the log to jerk up and fly right over, also causing Vegeta to lose his grip. He scrabbled, panicking, and held on tightly to a branch sticking out of the log.
"YEAHHHHHHHH!" the prince's friend screamed in ecstasy. Then suddenly Vegeta found himself face to face with the boy, his already messy hair wind tossed all over his face, wild dancing eyes sparkling with excitement and exultation and a wide, happy grin on his face. A grin that froze and changed to shock when he realized that Vegeta was still holding onto the log.
"VEGETAAAAA!" he yelled as the prince went down the waterfall.
The boy looked down in shock. When he had seen the end of the river leading to the waterfall he had let go of the log and pushed himself into the air. He hadn't realized that the last jerk had shaken Vegeta's grip off him; that Vegeta was still holding onto the log. He thought that Vegeta would have let go.
Oh no… he thought, panicking as he swooped down.
"VEGETA! VEGETA!" he hollered as loudly as he could, scanning the waters hurriedly. "Please, Vegeta! This isn't funny…" he stopped as the implications of what had just happened just hit him.
Oh please, don't be… he couldn't even bring himself to think the word.
"VEGETA! WHERE ARE YOU?" he shouted in desperation. How was he going to explain it to… Kakarott gulped, King Vegeta? He certainly wouldn't take it well that his only heir was… was…
"No! Vegeta, you can't be dead, understand? You're the Saiyan PRINCE! You're supposed to be strong… please don't be dead…" Kakarott pleaded. After searching for minutes he started to get really scared.
He saw a flash of navy blue drifting in the water and he shot to it immediately and yanked it out.
"Vegeta…" he said in horror as he realized his friend wasn't breathing.
He shook his friend hard by the shoulders. "Vegeta, wake up!" he shouted. "WAKE UP!" he shouted, louder then swore in Saiyago.
What do I do what do I do…
He suddenly remembered an incident when he was younger. He and his brother Radditz had gone fishing, when his brother had fallen in. When his father had taken him out of the river he had, like Vegeta, been half drowned.
The small boy flew to land and set the prince down gently.
Now what did dad do… he wondered, thinking hard. Come on, come on… think…
He remembered. And shuddered.
But… he looked at Vegeta. He kneeled down beside his prince and closed his eyes, trying not to think about it.
This is to save his life, he thought sternly to himself.
"Vegeta, please live…" he begged softly then pressed his lips to the prince's. And breathed out. He leaned back and looked at Vegeta. No reaction. He did it again. Again, nothing.
"Please, Vegeta…" he whispered and tried again. No reaction.
He didn't know what to do. When it had happened to Radditz it had only taken his father two breaths to make him okay again.
"Kha'ir… please…" he said softly, tears of fear and loss running down his face. He held the prince's forehead back with his right hand, putting his left hand on Vegeta's chest, then touched the prince's lips with his again. His tears ran down to his mouth, moistened his lips then passed into Vegeta's. He felt his wrist sting and his lips tingled as he breathed out slowly, carefully into the Saiyan prince's mouth. He frowned as he breathed out.
Vegeta jerked up suddenly, causing Kakarott to lose his balance and fall on his chest. The prince hacked out water painfully, his lungs feeling like they were going to explode. He scowled furiously at the boy now on his stomach and was about to yell at him when the boy suddenly launched himself at Vegeta. The prince froze in shock as he was hugged tightly around the chest.
"Vegeta, I'm so happy you're alive… I'm so sorry I forced you to go down that stupid waterfall… I could have killed you, I'm so sorry…" the boy cried, leaning his chin on Vegeta's shoulder.
Vegeta leaned back and looked at his friend, who sniffed and brushed a hand quickly across his eyes.
"Kakarott? Are you crying?"
"No I'm not you baka" the boy sniffed then hugged Vegeta again. "I'm just so happy you're not dead… I'm never gonna force you to do anything you don't want to ever again, I promise…"
Vegeta hesitated then smiled and stroked the distressed boy's hair reassuringly, knowing that it would probably be the only time he would ever do that in his life. "Heh. So the 'wild child' does have feelings. I was beginning to think that all you thought about was what crazy thing to do next" he said.
"I'm not a wild child" Kakarott said, leaning back and grinning at his friend. "And besides, you just rode down a waterfall. You're calling ME crazy?"
"By the way," he added, "how was it like?"
Vegeta grinned a rare grin. "Fun"
"Kha'ir is when two people… they have a bond of friendship… it's a very strong bond, more a bond where they are past being even siblings and love and respect each other so much"
I jerk back. I… I remember…
I shake my head. How is that possible? I don't even remember performing the Kha'ir ritual, whatever it was.
But… I remember…
I hold my throbbing head in my hands. It's too much to take at once. That memory… was it even a memory? It seems so distant, so faint… almost like a dream.
I remember the fear. I remember the exhilaration. I remember the relief.
You don't experience emotions that strong in a dream. So that means…
"And, of course, only pureblood Saiyans can properly perform the Kha'ir ritual…"
I scramble up to my feet and run into the building. Vegeta is toweling off the sweat and dirt stuck to his skin.
"Vegeta!" I call. He freezes.
"What do you want Kakarott?" he snaps. For some reason, the sound of my Saiyan name starts my wrist tingling again.
"I…" I stop. What was I going to ask him? How was I going to ask him?
He looks at me and I almost jump back. He looks expectant, his dark eyes searching, piercing holes right through me.
"Yes?" he asks, his voice unexpectedly gentle. I feel compelled to just hug this man. Which only makes me want to run away. Hug Vegeta? What am I thinking?
"I…" I lower my eyes. "Never mind. I forgot"
Vegeta looks disappointed, then disgusted. "Obviously" he spits. "You can't remember ANY-thing, can you? Stupid third class baka"
My wrist starts hurting immensely and from the slight twitch on Vegeta's face I know he felt it too. He pauses, hesitant, then snarls and hurls the wet towel onto the floor and storms off.
"Kha'ir" I say softly. He freezes completely.
"Kha'ir" I repeat, walking up to him. I take him by both his shoulders and spin him around to face me. "You said that the Kha'ir ritual can only be performed by two full-blooded Saiyans. You said my Kha'ir is still alive. My Kha'ir… is you, isn't he? Vegeta?"
Vegeta shakes slightly and looks away. "Yes" he mumbles.
"Vegeta…" I pause, wondering how to phrase my next words. "You said that my Kha'ir still cares for me. Do you care for me?"
He looks away even further then scowls and struggles.
"Let go of me Kakarott!" he shouts. I ignore him; hold him tightly by the shoulders. He stops and tenses up.
"Do you?" I repeat. He looks at the floor.
"Yes" I hear him whisper. I release him.
I'm speechless. I don't know what I was expecting from
that question, but I wasn't expecting...
There's a pause then he lifts his head to look at me. "Do you?" he asks.
"Do you... care? For me?"
I don't know how to respond. It's... it's too fast, I don't know what to do... do I care? I suddenly feel a strange feeling in my heart.
His eyes pierce into my soul, hopeful, then smolder and cloud in fury.
"Why do I even bother with you?" he says angrily, wrenching himself around. "I don't know what I expected from you" he spits then walks away. I stand and watch him go, rubbing my stinging wrist.
The pebble skips four times.
Five times. Six times.
It stops and sinks under the water. I sigh and pick up another pebble.
He cares for me.
I toss it.
I frown. He asked me whether I cared.
How was I supposed to respond to that? How did he expect me to respond?
How does ANYONE respond to that sort of question?
I think about Chichi; my wife, Gohan and Goten; my sons. My family.
Do I care?
I don't understand. What kind of 'care' does he mean? As simply two people who know each other? As allies? As friends? Brothers? Or… even deeper?
The pebble skips five times then sinks. I take another one.
Life is weird. Here he is, the man who almost killed me and everyone I loved. He scared me when I first saw him; I admit it. Just standing there, so calm and composed while all around him lay nothing but devastation. Just stood there with a smirk on his face as he watched Nappa place his foot on my son's face, like he didn't care at all. I was scared. Millions of thought were going through my mind; what kind of people were these, these people who managed to bring so much destruction in a matter of hours, these people who didn't care about killing even a little boy; how these people could even be SLIGHTLY related to me, what I was. What I was supposed to be. And of course, my confusion as to how I knew his name instantly and why my wrist after so many years had started hurting again. I let him go. Krillin was going to kill him, and I told him to let him go. I didn't know what I was thinking when I said that and afterwards I thought about it a lot of times. I don't know… there was this feeling I had… just screaming at me, telling me not to kill him, to spare him, even though he had caused so much trouble. Here this man is, this cold, unfeeling man, practically a symbol of death; and he's my Kha'ir.
I remember earlier, remember the expression on his face, one I had never seen before and had never expected to see.
That feeling of… what? Hope? Longing?
It was the look of someone… a child… looking for something he had lost. The look of a child turned adult. The sad hope, sad longing, to get that possession back.
… It's a very strong bond, more a bond where they are past being even siblings and love
And respect each other so much.
Respect. I respect Vegeta; I know I do. His will to fight and keep fighting no matter what the odds, his ambitions pushing him further and further, his strength, his pride in himself and his son. His strong belief in him being the prince of Vegeta-sei, even though it no longer existed. I respect Vegeta.
I stare at the pebble in my hand.
Love is a really vague word. It can be fake or real; it can be paternal or fraternal. There are so many levels and types; affection, adoration, casual, romantic, empty.
Vague… and complicated. I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to marry Chichi, so long ago. Sometimes I regret it. Sometimes I wonder, if I actually knew what I was agreeing to, would I have still said yes?
I sit here and wonder now. Chichi. My wife. We took those wedding vows, to love each other in health, sickness and death. We have two sons –Gohan and Goten- and I am so proud and love them so much. But Chichi… do we actually love each other?
I remember all the times she yelled at me, all the times she got mad, all the times she even kicked me out of the house for angering her. No, no, that's not good… think of some of the good things.
There was the day we took Goten and Trunks to the zoo…
And she screamed at me for letting Goten run into the lion cage.
The day we took Gohan to buy his first car…
She didn't talk to me for weeks for embarrassing her in front of the car dealer.
Goten's birthday party…
She wasn't there. She got sick so I took him myself.
It hits me with a sickening feeling. Chichi doesn't love me.
Not deeply anyway. We shared some nice moments, but… they were so few…
I know I annoy her a lot of times. She yells at me for getting the boys into trouble, for always fighting even in peaceful times, for eating so much… we're so different.
What would have happened if we never met? She probably would have found a better man, one who would look after her better. I would probably be alone.
I look at the pebble in my hand. Do I love Vegeta?
He yells at me, calling me stupid. He's always treating me like I'm a nobody, like he's so much better because he's 'prince'. He's almost killed me, numerous times. He smiles so rarely at his own child, even more rarely at me.
But when he does…
The image of Vegeta, smiling flickers in my mind.
It's like the sun comes out. It's like… like he's a completely different person. When he stops frowning, when he smiles, genuinely smiles, it's like he's a different person. His eyes go soft, the mask falls and there stands a completely new person, someone who cares, feels…
I stare at the pebble in my hand.
Do I love Vegeta?
I skip the pebble, then stand up and smile.
I love you.
I do love him.
I follow Vegeta's ki and find him sitting –of all places- in a tree, hugging his knees to his chest, chin resting on them. He doesn't notice me as I hover down to the ground.
"Vegeta!" I call. He starts and immediately falls off the branch. I catch him quickly in my arms. He looks at me, startled, and for just that instant his eyes look hopeful and intense, like they did before, then turn cold and the mask comes on, flushing.
"What the hell do YOU want" he snarls, jumping out of my arms, still blushing furiously. My hearts seems to beat a hundred times faster yet stop at the same time.
What do I say what do I say…
"You never let me answer earlier" I say softly. He starts again, taking a step back, obviously surprised by the tone of my voice. The red on his cheeks disappears.
"Answer… what?" he asks cautiously.
"You asked" I say, moving closer slowly, "if I cared about you"
He looks up at me and flushes a slight red. "And?" he asks coarsely, but his eyes tell me differently. I lift my right hand up slowly and take his chin gently. He flinches but stands his ground. Softly, I caress his face. His skin is surprisingly soft for one who fights so hard.
"You're my Kha'ir" I murmur. "We took the vow as children, didn't we? Must have been; there's no other time it could have been done. We didn't know what we were doing, did we?"
"No. We didn't" he says quietly.
"Why did we do it, Vegeta?" I ask, my hand running over his face, tracing out the stubborn jaw, the strong cheekbones, my thumb running across his cheek to his ear to the back of his skull where his hair meets his neck.
"You wanted to" he whispers. My hand stops and falls down to my side. I look down silently.
What now? I ask myself.
My wrist hurts.
My eyes meet his, so full of feeling, burning, intense.
I suddenly burst into a wide grin.
"YOU actually did what I wanted?" I ask, grinning. He looks surprised. A flash of disappointment then his eyes cloud over with anger.
"Just typical of you to take this so-" he starts. I don't let him finish.
I bend down and kiss
him, muffling out his words. He stiffens, surprised, then relaxes. I wrap my
arms around his waist, pinning his arms by his sides. Our eyes lock for a
second, his surprisingly soft, then he closes them. I feel something warm, wet
on my lips.
Slowly, gently he persuades my lips open, seeking entrance. At the same moment his hands trail up my stomach, my chest, to wrap themselves around my neck, at the bottom of my hair. Pushing my head towards his he deepens the kiss, his tongue exploring every part of my mouth.
The intensity of the kiss… it's like nothing I've ever felt before. Not with anyone, not even Chichi. My mouth is on fire and on ice, and my heart is pumping a hundred, a thousand times faster. I hold him tighter to me, my left hand running up his back, and at the same time he pushes my head closer to his, our mouths pressing tightly together with a bone-crushing strength.
It hurts. But surprisingly… I don't care.
I suddenly realize Vegeta's body is leaning towards me more on the right. At the same time I realize my left wrist has gone up to meet with his right.
I smile as his left hand starts to stroke the bottom of my hair. Strange that we both made the link on opposite wrists.
This… it feels right. It doesn't make sense, but… it does, somehow…
Funny how things turn out sometimes.
Funny how things can happen so quickly.
Funny- my lungs are burning.
As I pull away I glimpse a small blue charge, almost like electricity, running between our lips. I break away with a small gasp and breathe deeply and quickly to fill my lungs with the much needed air. At the same time he bends over and pants for breath, then straightens up. We look at each other then turns different shades of red.
He's the one who speaks first.
"Well. That was… interesting" he comments. I feel the heat in my cheeks rise. I'm probably redder than a tomato right now.
"You know, you still haven't answered my question," he says. I look at him, then grin and cock my head.
"Really? I kinda thought I just did," I say, scratching the back of my head. He stares at me then bursts out laughing.
It's weird. I've never heard him laugh before. At least, not happy sort of laugh. Most of the time when he laughs it's before he kills someone.
It's warm. It's different.
I like it.
And I join in.
Later I sit inside the house, eating a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Vegeta comes out of the bathroom in a simple white shirt and jeans, his hair still a bit damp from the shower.
"Nice to see you helped yourself without me" he comments dryly. I grin apologetically.
"You were taking too long. I was hungry!"
"Huh. I'll bet," he says, going to the kitchen to get a bowl himself. We sit together on the sofa munching and sucking on the sweet, cold food in our mouth, saying nothing. I finish first then suddenly realize something.
"My wrist's not hurting," I say. Vegeta looks up at me, his mouth smeared a sticky brown.
"Normally it stings a bit… this time not at all"
"Hn" he says, his attention fully focused on the ice cream.
"Why?" I ask. He finally finishes and puts the bowl on the table, wiping his mouth carelessly with his sleeve. He licks the inside of his mouth with his tongue slowly, like he's wondering what to say and how to say it.
"I'm not sure," he finally admits. "I think maybe it's because the bond is complete"
He licks his mouth again, turning a light shade of pink. "Well, I did say one of the parts of the bond was… love…"
"Oh" I say, feeling heat rush to my cheeks. "So you uh… love… uh…"
"The bond is normally actually performed between a couple" he says, interrupting me.
"As opposed to between a pair of children"
"Yes, as opposed to a pair of children" he says.
"But if the ritual's so… important, and the bond's so strong, why could we do it? Shouldn't it be so that children can't do it, because it's too difficult or something…"
He looks thoughtful. "If I remember correctly, children can't do it. It just doesn't work"
"But it worked for us"
He says nothing.
"Why?" I pressure. He says nothing, staring at the empty ice cream bowl, then suddenly turns around and smiles one of his rare, genuine smiles at me.
"I never wanted to fall in love, did you know that?" he says with a faraway look in his eyes. "I believed it made people weak. I believed it held people back from reaching their full power"
"Then I came to Earth," he continues. "Everything was so different, so complex. On Vegeta-sei all one had to do was mate with the one he or she wanted, that was all. There wasn't as much emotion behind it as like on Earth"
"It irritated me at first" he says. "I didn't understand why everything had to be so unnecessarily complicated. But then after a while, I started to see. And then I realized… it was complicated, to avoid complications. One in every two couples on Vegeta-sei would divorce. People could have been divorced by the age of fourteen"
"FOUTEEN?" I say incredulously, interrupting him. "People… mated, that young?"
He looks mildly irritated. "Some younger"
I guess I looked horrified, because he sighed in slight frustration and continued. "The Saiyan way of 'falling in love' was a lot more simple. A child could easily mistake a simple crush as love, and that would be it"
"Is that why you agreed to the bond so quickly then?" I ask with a mischievous grin.
"Kakarrot! We were SIX!" he says, horrified, turning red.
Trust him to take it seriously. "Vegeta. I was JOKING"
He opens his mouth to say something then closes it.
"You enjoy doing that don't you?" he asks.
I shrug. "Watching the almighty Prince gape like a fish? Why not?" I grin.
For a second he looks like he wants to launch himself at me and throttle me to death. It's a look I (unfortunately) seem to see a lot. Then he relaxes.
"If we didn't already I would have now. For that reason too" he says calmly.
He breaks into a rare grin, one that reminds me of when we were younger. "Kakarrot. I was JOKING" he says, mimicking me.
Now it's my turn to gape. I fold my arms.
"That wasn't a very good joke"
He sits silently, not bothering to reply.
"When we did the bond as children, all I wanted was a true friend" he finally says. I wait for him to continue but he doesn't.
"Then when I got older, all I wanted was to find my friend again"
"Then when I met you, I wanted to kill you"
"That's nice" I say a little cynically.
"You know, I never knew what I really wanted until just now" he says after a pause.
"What did you want?" I ask softly, now serious. He says nothing then stands up. He strokes his wrist as a I feel a ticklish tingle go through mine.
"I never wanted to fall in love" he says softly. "I just wanted you… to remember me."