Chapter 10, Jellyfish In The Sky.
Some of the most taxing times, she's lived through in her life. She's first of all, the daughter of a ruler, and then she's the wife of a man who embarks on the most spontaneous of adventures. That being so, taxing times such as she's lived through, forced her to bend to a certain position, because if she didn't, she would've broken where she stood. Times, also, where she had to react in ways that no one would have expected of her. She can, with perfect certainty, say that she has never lived through a time such as now, when her body itched with an unholy speed, to answer a call at the door of her home.
As soon as the sturdy sound made it to her ears, she ran to the door with a determined and hopeful sort of rush, in the mind that only a few minutes passed since the tall blue man took him away from her. Running to the door, her mind automatically, without effort on her part, convinced her body that it could only be him knocking on the door. Her mind, however, though it prompted her to open the door in a drunken rush, didn't consider that in her optimistically desperate haste, her feet would fail to keep their balance, as both of her hands reached to pull the door open, resulting in her falling through the door.
She hears a panicked voice cry out, before she properly digests the fact that she's fallen through the now empty space, where the door had been covering, and that, what she feels just below her armpits, are firm hands. She immediately wants to assign the pair of hands to her husband, but her proper senses manifest themselves, reminding her that the cry out referred to her as a mother, not as a wife, and her heart… Her heart just recoils.
No, her heart weakly breathes.
No. She presses her eyes shut to maybe, just a little hope of maybe, be proved wrong once she opens her eyes again.
No, her mind resigns.
If there was ever a time to feel a deep ache for being called the one thing that she loves being the most, it's this moment.
'Mom, are you okay?'
She remains silent, not answering his call, only so that she can concentrate on gathering herself together, and enough for that matter, to establish the firmness of her feet on the ground, and then only push out of Gohan's hold.
'Mom,' Gohan calls for her again, 'are you okay?'
'Gohan, please…' silently leaves her mouth, her heart begging him to stop saying that word to her.
He can't have a way of knowing, and she doesn't expect him to, it's only that she can't keep hearing the that… Each time that he says it, she's not all too sure where exactly in the middle of her she feels disappointment, but it surfaces. Closely pressed against her middle, like a thick layer of fudge would coat ice-cream, the disappointment pastes itself within her.
'Are you okay?' he asks for the third time.
Why her? She wonders this as she lifts her eyes to Gohan. Why does it have to be her, who always goes through that, which no one else goes through? Why does it always have to be her, feeling sad, or like now, aching and disappointed? Besides, that's not important what Gohan is asking her. Even if she could manage to worry about herself, would that really be more important than being worried about her missing husband?
'Mom, answer me,' Gohan pushes for an answer, also reaching his hand out to touch her shoulder.
Feeling the soft contact, she frowns at being touched, when his touch is not the touch that she had been expecting to feel at all since opening the door.
'I'm fine,' she dismissively answers.
Gohan, although lifting his hand from her, looks at her in a way that speaks his scepticism quite clearly.
'Are you sure?' he presses. 'Because you answered the door like you needed to get out of here. Is Zamaku here?'
'Goku?' she asks, suddenly coming to full alert, expecting to see her husband standing outside, waiting to come in.
'Zamaku, Mom,' Gohan corrects her while shaking his head. 'Is he here?'
'He's not here,' she weakly responds.
She wishes that she didn't have to confirm Goku's absence to Gohan, who, by the look on his face, does not believe her. The way that his eyes secretly shift around, probably looking to find Goku concealed in the dark crevices of the home… She could really take offence in the idea that he thinks her able to lie about such a subject as that, but her mind is just not in that place, so Gohan must excuse her, for having no interest in assuring him that she has no reason to hide his father from him.
'Are you sure?' Gohan still insists with that. 'They… Um, Bulma told me that you brought him home, and then you sent Goten to sleep over there. She's worried that you might not be sa-'
Abruptly, as though he was about to fall off a cliff, he keeps the rest of that word, and sentence from coming out, however it was supposed to end. While she is a tiny bit curious to know why he suddenly stopped, she doesn't question him about it: she simply looks at him.
Whether he does it to prepare himself, or to tactfully disrupt the silence that suddenly sprung out between him, he clears his throat, steadily breathes next, and then says, 'She's worried that you might not be safe alone with him.'
'They took him, Gohan,' she says somewhat flatly, and then moves to go and sit down at the table.
Only upon sitting down, does she realise what a mistake it was to take a seat, because the memory of Goku sitting there, eating his food, returns to her. Can she cry? She just wants to cry, so can she? With her eyes staring into space, and her heart tightening, she wonders if she can cry. She wonders if it will be-
'Who took him?' Gohan's voice speaks from behind her. 'And where did they take him?'
'I don't know where they took him.'
She rotates her head to look at him, thinking that if he and Vegeta have no idea where those two took Goku, then how would she? Don't they know that this whole Black thing has not gone on long enough for her to know the important parts? Goku didn't even get time to come home in between fights, to at least talk to her.
'The taller one came back to me,' she turns her back after seeing Gohan moving to the table. 'He said that he was doing me a favour by bringing Goku back to me, but he still took him away.'
As he takes a seat across from her, in a serious tone, he asks, 'Did he hurt you?'
'No,' she shakes her head. 'Him and the god took your father against my and his will, but they didn't do anything to me.'
'I'm talking about Zamaku.'
'Will you stop calling your father that!' she angrily cries.
And then, she glares at him as if he was a four year old who needed to be disciplined for doing something terribly wrong. She's had enough already. On top of everything else, she does not want to host this new wild and deep feeling of irritation. She just doesn't have the space for it.
'But he's not the same, Mom,' her son softly tries to explain.
Doesn't he dare say something like that!
If she felt in her heart that her husband was no longer the same, then she would not be coming apart like this. In front of Vegeta, she became as floppy as a vegetable, displaying a weakness, that she so often keeps buried beneath. And now, in front of her own son, she's behaving like a sea creature, flung out onto land, where it has no instincts of survival. She might as well be a jellyfish, soft, boneless, and out of place, floating about in the sky, where it does not belong. But even so, she will not allow anyone to get away with casting Goku so easily aside. No matter how hard they all try to, she will not believe anyone, who is not her own knowledge of her husband.
'I don't know why that merging happened,' she says, laying her hands down on the table, 'but I know my Goku. He is still the same. That other one also has your father's body, which is one and the same. No one can convince me that my husband is gone.'
'No,' she promptly denies, refusing to accept Gohan's doubt. 'He could have merged with you, Gohan, and he would still be the same.'
'Aah! What? No!' immediately leaves Gohan's mouth. 'I would never fuse with Dad,' he nervously continues to say. 'I love him, but that's a big sacrifice. I mean, I'm married, and he's married to you, and you're my mother… It would be…' he shakes his head at whatever image is in his head, to continue with, 'Besides, you should have seen him when he merged with Vegeta that time. He changed then, he wasn't the same.'
He wasn't the same.
He isn't the same.
Everyone keeps telling her the same thing! There's no one taking it into account that she knows better, that she knows Goku. And what no one is talking about, is that he must have had a reason to do what he did. She's had no support so far, not that she's used to having support, but even so… It would have been good to feel that she's not alone in this. As always.
'Goha-' she begins to say, when she hears him say, 'Hey,' feeling Gohan's hand on her hand on the table. 'Mom… It's not that I don't want to be fused with Dad… It's just… It would be uncomfortable. Very.'
'But he would be here,' she stresses, focusing on him to make him understand. 'No one would have taken him, like they have rights to him! Who are they to take him anyway? What do they know about him, that they overrule my authority over him as his wife? Just who do they think they are?'
She is starting to get quite upset about this, because talking to Gohan, makes her realise that she's no different from everyone else; she just allowed them to get away with what they have done.
'I understand, Mom,' he soothes. 'But you know that if it was up to Dad, he would be here. With you.'
Yes… She thinks, looking at Gohan, but not really seeing him. Yes, Goku would be home, if he had a choice in the matter. Also, since he did not have a choice in the matter, his friends, his fighter friends should've been on their feet, ready to get him back, ready to fight for him. Instead, they are all afraid of him, like they haven't been there with him from the beginning.
She refuses to be like any of them.
She simply refuses.
Goku did not marry a weak woman. When did she suddenly become a woman who allows hopelessness and disappointment prevent her from living? Somewhere between the years, did she stop being who she's always been at heart? No, she never stopped being strong. She may not have the strength of a real fight, but she's always been able to fight for her family.
It's time –and this, she thinks while pulling her hands away from Gohan's reach, and away from the table- that she tucks her emotions inside a storage, for a time when she can use them appropriately, but as for now, they will not help her. Neither will they help her missing husband, taken against his will, to only the gods, the inconsiderate gods know where.
'Thank you for saying that, Gohan,' she genuinely appreciates as she gets up from the table, 'but I've made up my mind.'
Following her example, Gohan gets up too, asking, 'About what?'
'I'm going to get my husband back.'
There, plain and simple. She's decided. No hesitation, no rethinking, she's really going to do whatever it takes to get her husband back. If she had been taken against her will, Goku would do the same for her. He would not be falling apart and hoping that someone would bring her back to him. He would be riding high on his abilities to get her back. There's also the detail that upon returning, Goku would be hurt inside, to know that the people who he would move heaven and earth to protect, are so easily able to turn their backs on him, all because he may, or may not be a little different.
'What do you mean, get him back?' Gohan asks behind her, but she is already marching to her bedroom.
If he wants to follow her, he can, but all she knows is that she will pack a sufficient knapsack with a spare change of clothes for herself and Goku, and then add to the bag, the simplest instant meals that she can find in her kitchen. She'll take off her home uniform, of course, and put any type of attire that represents the warrior that being Goku's wife has taught her to be. It has to be something different from the red and blue that she wore before she got married, because, well, that had been a time when she was still innocent to the truth of life as Goku's wife… So she cannot put that on. Not that it would fit anyway, not after two births.
What she has to do, is go through her closet and look for something appropriate to put on. Something to show that she is a wife, fighting for her husband, and looking the part perfectly, while she's at it. Something not outdated. Something to make her look not weak or frail. But something to accentuate her as the woman that Goku married; strong and able.
She is able.
No matter what, and this is a promise with no puncture, she is able.
If she could portray this mindset in the way that the shows on TV (which she sometimes watches with Goten) show an important, or defining moment in a character's life, she would choose for mildly escalating music, starting off soft, but still with promise of battle formation within the beating of drums occurring once or twice, per seven violin and piano notes. She would stand with her head held high with determination, nicely tuning her body not to be left behind by the beat of music sheltering her decisive moment that, she will get her husband back. She would be using her-
Together with the call, the polite knock on the door disrupts her mental motivation, making her turn to look at her son standing unsurely in the doorway of her bedroom.
'May I come in?' he asks, to which she nods her answer.
He walks to her, in five long steps, leaving a good amount of space between them. She just looks at him, however, silently expecting him to once again ask her what she's going to do. He does not ask her that, instead, he pushes his glasses further up the start of his nose, which allows her to see the deliberate measured closing of his eyes.
'You can't do that, Mom,' he says, his eyes still closed.
'I'm getting him back, Gohan,' she states.
It's already decided. He can't convince her otherwise, and if he does not that by now, after all the years that she mothered him inside this house, she doesn't know what to say to that.
'I need to,' she says again, the sentence coming from the deepest part of her heart.
Gohan must understand that, since he opens his eyes, and looks at her with something sad in his eyes. She must look so pathetic to him, she thinks. She must look like a desperate and disturbed woman, who isn't in her right mind to make the right decisions.
'You don't understand,' he softly tries. 'The people who have him are very strong people. And you don't know where he is. You said you don't know where they took him.'
'I'll find him,' she assures him.
'No,' he sighs. 'I will find him for you. I'll ask Piccolo and Krillin to help me. Vegeta might know where they took him.'
Immediately liking the prospect, she moves closer to Gohan, taking both of his hands into his and looking into his eyes with overwhelming gratitude.
'Thank you, my son. That means everything to me, but I still want to go with you.'
'Oh, Mom,' he seems pacify, before softly releasing his hands from her hold, to pull her into a comforting hug.
'I want to go with you,' she repeats in his hold, just in case he didn't believe her the first time.
And then, nothing after that.
Chapter 11, King Of Anything.