AN: Wow, another chappie! This will be the final prank chapter, and it's one I've been saving since I started this fic. I think it should be good. Then the Dragonball hunt—I think that might actually be two separate, slightly shorter chapters for the hunt. Then the wish, and the epilogue. So four chapters left after this one. But I'm very proud of this chapter, heehee. I don't own Dragonball Z.

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Chapter Thirty-One—The Prank, Part VI

It was the last day.

Tomorrow, it would be four months to the day that the wish had been made. Tomorrow, they would break out the good ol' Dragonball radar, split up into teams, and head off to the four corners of the Earth to retrieve the orange, star-spangled spheres (alliteration!), and Gohan would finally get back to his normal, tall self.

Which is why he was here now, around the circular table with the battery-powered candles set up everywhere. They had even gotten out the enormous robes, just for the occasion. The Order of the Prank was to have its final moment today—at least, that's what Trunks had reasoned. "Once you're grown up again," Trunks had reasoned, "you'll go back to being all boring and stuff."

Gohan still hadn't decided if he was insulted by that statement or not.

But either way, here they were, plotting. And this one was the best, an absolute doozy of a trick. All for Vegeta, of course. And if this worked, chances were that the results would be better than what the hidden cameras had picked up as a result of their trick on Hercule—that had been priceless.

"So," Gohan intoned, "are we ready for this? Our last fling?"

"Let's do it!" Goten chirped.

Trunks merely smirked, a mirror image of what Vegeta must have looked like in his youth, and held up a small brown bottle. This was so evil…so very evil…for the final time in Gohan's renewed childhood, Vegeta would feel his wrath.

Trunks led Gohan and Goten through the many hallways of Capsule Corporation. They were jabbering cheerfully, talking about this and that and some of that, too, and what would Gohan do when he was an adult again, and would he ask Videl out and kiss her, and would Trunks like to be buried or cremated because Gohan was going to brutally kill him.

They actually passed Vegeta in the hall. He looked at them suspiciously—whenever the three of them were together, he tended to be a tad paranoid, as they had managed to make a fool of him repeatedly. But there was absolutely nothing suspicious about the behavior of the children. They were simply walking along, talking about what it would be like when Gohan was back to normal. Apparently, the proud Saiyan decided that if they were acting like that, it was unlikely that they would be doing anything. Either that, or he was just figuring he'd keep a very close eye on them.

Whatever the case might be, he passed by them with a snort of acknowledgment and a brief, passing glance, and he continued on his way towards…well, towards wherever it was that he was going.

The three demon-children exchanged triumphant grins. Victory!

And on their way they went. They disappeared through a door into the room; a moment later, they re-emerged. On their way back down the hall, Trunks dropped a now-empty brown bottle in a trash can.

All was well.

Vegeta glanced around suspiciously. He couldn't sense any evil chibis nearby, and there appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary. Taking a deep breath, he stepped outside, muscles tensed to dodge any surprise attacks that might have been rigged.

Nothing.

He continued on, towards the Gravity Room, every single sense on fullest alert. But nothing manifested itself. The children's energy signals remained deep within the building, and there didn't seem to be any traps lying in his immediate path. But there was still to actually go into the Gravity Room…

He stopped outside the door. They'd gotten him a couple times in this very room, so he was leaving nothing to chance. Readying a small ki blast in his hand, he opened the door and leapt to the side. When nothing leapt out at him, he peered into the room.

Nothing.

Slowly, he walked in and took a good look around. There was nothing there.

And now he felt royally stupid for being so paranoid. So he simply gathered the scraps of his dignity—for his dignity had been reduced to scraps since Gohan's chibification—and closed the door to resume his training. And he was undisturbed.

the readers are all confused

After a while, he realized he was hungry. But Bulma had been getting quite irritated with him coming into the kitchen all sweaty and gross, and had issued an ultimatum: shower before coming to the kitchen, or starve. Not really much of a choice. Muttering something to himself about 'that damn woman,' the Saiyan Prince headed towards the nearest shower.

Meanwhile…

"I can't wait to see the look on Vegeta's face!" Gohan cackled softly, not wanting anyone to hear. He wasn't quite sure why; they would be the primary suspects once the axe fell anyway, and everyone would know. But he felt like be conspiratorial.

"I know!" Trunks replied in an equally hushed voice. Goten just giggled.

"Hey!" Bulma's voice from the door made them jump and whirl around in a belated—and vain—attempt to look innocent. The blue-haired genius and mother wasn't fooled for an instant, and she simply said, "What are you three planning this time?"

"Nothing!" Goten said, turning on the Bambi eyes.

Once again, Bulma wasn't convinced. She sighed and shook her head; she didn't really have time for this. She'd just been going from the shower to her room when she'd heard the soft murmur of a whispered conversation. Immediately suspicious, she felt the need to stop and at least perform a cursory check to protect her mate's already-tattered honor. She put one hand to her head to make sure the towel was still wrapped around her head, and shot her son a glare. "Behave, you hear me?"

The three nodded, the appropriate terror instilled in them. Well, maybe 'terror' wasn't quite the right word. 'Unholy Fear of God' was more like it. They waited until Bulma left, her bathrobe billowing behind her like some king's cloak, before they let out pent-up breaths of relief.

They hung out for a while, then decided to go check on the results of their prank. They darted back down towards the scene of the crime, as it were. To their surprise, Vegeta was coming out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist. This, of course, was an improvement over the old days, when he saw no need for such cover-ups; it had taken a great battle before he had agreed to adorn himself with the towel when walking to and from the bath.

And to their even bigger surprise, Vegeta was holding an empty plastic bottle in his hand, and muttering something about the woman picking something up at the store. And the bottle was…

Gohan's heart dropped into his stomach. If Vegeta hadn't used it, then…

A glass-shattering shriek nearly broke the Saiyan eardrums; even Vegeta cringed and put his hands to his ears, dropping the bottle. The Saiyan Prince looked around in bewilderment. "What the hell—"

In response, Bulma came hurtling towards them, a nuclear missile, fully loaded and ready to explode, turning her targets into tiny little shreds of half-Saiyan, floating to the ground amidst a shower of blood. "GOHAN! GOTEN! TRUNKS!" she bellowed. Even Vegeta paled, and inched back into the bathroom to hide. That was the scariest thing he had ever seen in his life.

Just before he closed the door, he saw why she was so enraged.

And for the first time in his life, Vegeta felt a twinge of pity for his son. Of course, that was immediately replaced by the thought that what had happened had been intended for him. Which meant he would have to beat the boy.

Oh, rats.

Gohan, Goten, and Trunks were unable to sit for several hours afterwards, as the most brilliant of their pranks had backfired in a way none of them had ever imagined it would. They were in severe pain for quite some time, and all three were sworn never to do anything like that ever again. By sworn, I mean they had to sign a contract in their own blood before Bulma was satisfied.

Still, in a strange, sadistic way, Gohan thought it was kind of worth it.

After all, in addition to all the pain, he had managed to walk away from it with a very special picture that would forever immortalize the results of that infamous practical joke. The day Bulma had used the bottle of rigged hair conditioner, and ended up with her hair dyed a bright, brilliant, fire-engine red.

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AN: Thus end the pranks. I've been waiting and waiting to write this one, but I wanted to end on that. I figure that once Bulma fell victim to something like that, there would be no more pranks. Simple as that. I hope you enjoyed it. Next chapter, the Dragonball hunt begins! Like I said before, that'll take a full two chapters, and then we'll be onto the wish.

Oh, and I'm still working on A Very Chibi Christmas. I'm having a few issues with the first chapter, but ideally I'll have the first part of it up soon. The second chapter should be easier,  hopefully. Laters, all!