The steady beeping sound from the monitor sounded, signaling the heartbeat of the tiny infant curled within the regeneration tank. Her black carapace was gleaming in the light, looking almost a haunting green because of the color of the fluid in the tank. The glass reflected another face. A feminine face with pale lavender skin, garnet eyes and dark feminine lips. Glistening atop that pale face was a bony purple and white skull structure with black horns jutting out on either side.
Frieza watched the child he had just named Onyx as she floated lifelessly in the regeneration tank. That idiot Sanquin had said she wouldn't survive the night, and yet her heartbeat hadn't weakened the slightest bit. With an irritable sigh, Frieza sank into the seat near the tank and closed his eyes for 'only a moment'. A moment that lasted until morning. Nobody dared to disturb him as he slept.
A sound awakened Frieza, and he looked to see the fluid draining from the tank. He looked up at Sanquin in irritation as a dangerous glint passed his eyes. "Is she gone?"
"No, Lord Frieza. She's well enough to leave the tank though." Sanquin commented nervously, his fishlike lips drooping as always.
"Go." Frieza ordered simply with a wave of his delicate hand. The fishlike man bowed quickly and departed, frightened. Frieza grinned wickedly at the idea that the good doctor was so frightened of him. He turned his head back to the frail black and white form as it slumped in the empty regeneration tank. "Onyx. Make up your mind. Life or death. Don't make me decide for you."
Onyx just slumped there, unable to hold her head up since she was just a little less than a day old. After all, when Frieza had found her, she was just under an hour old. A newborn.
Narrowing his eyes, Frieza walked to the tank, broke it open and lifted Onyx out by her tail. She dangled from his grasp like a ragdoll, motionless, and didn't move when he shook her.
"Fine then. I'll just put your out of your misery." Frieza said coldly, locking a hand around Onyx's throat and turning her right side up. He squeezed until he could feel the pulse in her neck as it throbbed under his thumb.
Onyx's large black eyes suddenly opened as the lack of oxygen seemed to bring her around. Frieza's eyes locked onto hers, and neither of them moved for a long time. The look on her face was so pitiful, so pained, so……innocent. A look that not even the mighty Frieza could resist. Before he even realized what was happening, Frieza felt his hand release Onyx's throat, allowing her to drop back onto the table. He put his hands flat on the edge and sighed, his tail twitching in agitation.
"This isn't fair! Why can't I kill you?!" The Icejin asked, as if he'd get an answer.
Onyx just lied there on the table, shivering with cold as she curled slowly into the ever-familiar fetal position.
What am I to do? I don't know how to raise a child!Frieza thought as he stared at Onyx on the table, a look of bewilderment crossing his feminine features when she managed to wrap her tiny mouth around his little finger and start sucking. He tried to pull his finger away, but ended up dragging her too. She was stronger than she looked. There may be hope for you yet, Onyx…
"WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! WAAAAHHHHH!!!! AAHHHWAAAAHHHHH!!!!"
Frieza cringed at the sound as he worked at his computer, a grimace stretching his girlish lips and showing a hint of his flawless teeth. Every time he sat down, Onyx would start crying. The sound annoyed him terribly, and there was no way he could possibly shut it out.
"Shut up!" Frieza shouted, managing to get Onyx to be quiet for a period of zero-point-one seconds. She started to cry again, louder than before. Frieza's nostrils flared and he sniffed the air slightly. The smell he picked up made his skin briefly turn a sickly shade of green, and his eyes crossed momentarily. "By Kami! How could something so small smell so horrendous?!" He growled as he lifted Onyx and put her down on the table by the cradle that was suspended from the ceiling by a cable. For some reason, swinging an Icejin child always soothed it to sleep.
Now how do I do this?Frieza wrinkled his nose, reached down and pulled Onyx's diaper off. His skin seemed to turn another shade of green as the smell increased. He tossed the diaper into the air, disintegrating it and it's contents with a ki blast. Then he cleaned Onyx off the best he could and struggled with the new diaper until he managed to get it on correctly.
Of course, as soon as Frieza put Onyx back into her cradle, she started to cry again. "What do you want now!? Can't you see I'm busy!?" When she still didn't quiet down, he picked her up. She stopped crying instantly as Frieza held her at arm's length, her head slumping to the side as she gazed up at him with her huge dark eyes and wiggled her tiny wrinkled fingers. Frieza's expression softened for a moment before he sighed irritably and cradled her in one arm while he sat down to work at his computer console with his free hand. At least he could get SOME work done this way.
Frieza managed to get a little work done before Onyx started to cry again. He really wanted to fling the child across the room to shut her up, but for some odd reason, he just couldn't bring himself to do it. Onyx started trying to nurse off his fingers again, so it didn't take him long to figure out she was hungry. With an annoyed hiss, he stood up and walked back to the table where he'd changed her diaper before. There were a whole bunch of bottles there in different shapes and sizes. Frieza just grabbed one at random and dumped the formula that Sanquin had prescribed in.
"Here you go." Frieza held the bottle down and waited for Onyx to take it. She just stared at it hungrily with her huge, sleepy black eyes, her tiny fists opening and closing. He rolled his eyes and growled, "Must I do EVERYTHING for you!?" As he spoke, he held the bottle properly, watching as Onyx latch onto the nipple and start to nurse, the slurping noises taking on an odd rhythm in the quiet room. Her eyes, half closed in contentment, gazed up at him with complete trust while she suckled.
"And to think that my father had to go through two kids. How did he stay sane?" Frieza muttered. When he looked down and saw the way she was looking up at him, his expression softened for a few seconds, the faintest smile tugging at his black lips.
Onyx finished drinking from the bottle and interrupted Frieza's thoughts by burping and spitting up all over the front of his armor. Frieza just about leapt out of his skin in rage. "GRRR!!!" He put Onyx down, yanked off the messy armor before any of the spit up stuff could get onto his skin, tossed it into the cleaning device he had made personally for him and looked at the baby once again. Onyx was fast asleep, curled on her side where Frieza had put her down.
Sneering, Frieza picked her up and put her into her crib. "Sure, just fall asleep after you make me mad. You annoy me, Onyx." He sighed and sat down at his computer console so he could finish his work. It's not her fault…she's just a newborn after all… Wait, what am I thinking? Grr…
The sound of a familiar cry filled the entire ship. Frieza groaned as he got up and changed Onyx's diaper, then fed her and watched her go back to sleep after he was too wide awake to fall asleep again himself. He got his armor out of the cleaning device and slipped it on just as the chimes to the door sounded.
"What?!" Frieza snapped.
"Sorry, Lord Frieza. You asked me to make sure you were up and oh-four-hundred hours." Said the pretty looking man with a long green braid , slender eyebrows and pale blue-green skin.
"Whatever, Zarbon." Frieza groaned as Onyx woke up and started to cry. "When will that kid SHUT UP!? All she has done is cry, cry and CRY!"
"Sir…may I?" Zarbon took a step into the room. When Frieza just waved his hand like 'whatever', he walked over to the crib and picked Onyx up, cradling her gently in his arms. She stopped crying almost immediately, and Frieza blinked a few times.
"How did you do that?"
"I guess when you've been a father once before, you don't lose the 'touch'." Zarbon commented as he looked down at Onyx, who was fascinated by the baubles on his earrings. He sneered mentally after he said that, because he had been a father until Frieza came to his planet and conquered it.
"Humph. Fine then. She's quiet now, but just you wait…go ahead and take her for a few hours and see if you can take it." Frieza's delicate hands danced over the keyboard, and the computer screen reflected his face. Green numbers and symbols were scrolling up constantly, and he was reading them, highlighting or deleting the ones he didn't need.
"As you command." He turned with Onyx still in the crook of his arm and walked out with his braid swinging behind him. It was a short walk to his quarters, but by the time he got there, he was prying Onyx's hands off his earrings. "My earrings aren't toys, Onyx." When she pulled again, he became agitated, "Onyx!"
With a small shriek, Onyx jerked her hand away from the earring. Already, her empathic abilities were showing up, and the anger she had sensed frightened her. She put her thumb into her mouth and started to suck on it while Zarbon carried her over to his bed and settled her down on the soft mattress. Seconds later, she was presented with a small rattle, which she instantly became interested in.
"You know…you are kind of cute." Zarbon commented. He was rewarded with a coo from Onyx as she yawned, and a brief smile spread across his face. After watching her for a few moments, Zarbon walked to his console and went to work. Just as Frieza said, Onyx started to cry within twenty minutes. Zarbon didn't complain; he just got up, carried her with him to the console and continued working with her settled in the crook of his arm.
A few short hours later, Zarbon looked down at Onyx when she wrapped her tail around his arm. Her face was flushed, and within a few seconds, she was wailing again. Nothing that he did could calm her. He tried rocking her, even sang to her, but nothing worked.
"I guess you miss your 'father'…" Zarbon sighed, "I bet he misses you as well, and won't admit it." He turned his head momentarily towards a small hologram that showed the image of what looked to be a smaller version of himself with shorter hair. "I know how much I miss Aryzon…" His expression hardened again as he pushed the thoughts of his past aside.
Onyx continued to wail until she finally tired herself out and went to sleep. Deciding to take her back right then, while she was quiet, Zarbon quietly got up and left his quarters.
In his own quarters, Frieza was trying to work, but was realizing that he couldn't keep his mind on task. The cries that were supposed to interrupt him every hour or so weren't invading his ears, and the silence seemed deafening. Great…I can't work with her nearby and I can't think without her…is it possible that we've Bonded? No…that's impossible! I haven't even mated with another yet. So there's no way that eye contact could activate the chemical that triggers the father instinct. Unless…no…she can't be an empath…can she? That's the only logical explanation… Frieza thought long and hard, getting so lost that he never heard the chimes to his quarters sound.
"Master Frieza?" Zarbon spoke up, seeming to materialize out of thin air. When Frieza looked up, he continued, "Onyx is asleep, back in her cradle. I figured I should bring her back so she could sleep and because she missed you." Nodding absently, Frieza made a dismissive gesture and Zarbon promptly left. As soon as Zarbon was gone, Frieza hopped out of his seat and went over to the cradle where Onyx was sleeping.
Onyx was swathed in a black blanket, so only her little doll-like face and her hands were showing. She had her little white hands pressed together like she was praying, and her ebony lips smacked occasionally as she dreamed.
Frieza sighed, putting his elbow against the edge of the cradle and allowing his chin to rest on his palm as he watched Onyx with heavily-lidded eyes. He was studying her pudgy little baby features, and started to realize that she had promise of great beauty when she grew up. The beauty of a goddess.
Almost on its own accord, Frieza's free hand moved forward and came to rest on the top of Onyx's shiny head, his thumb gently stroking the bridge of her nose. Onyx awoke to the touch, yawned and wriggled slightly in the cloth she was wrapped in. Frieza felt a strange tingle go up and down his body, and knew right away that she was touching his emotions. That confirms it. She is an empath… He thought silently while still staring down at the little girl before him.
With her face flushing as an early-warning sign, Onyx balled up her fists, opened her little mouth and started to cry softly. Frieza picked her up and held her, rocking his weight from one leg to the other without really being aware that he was moving. He was too busy trying to figure out how this child could have such power over him so quickly, and why it didn't seem to bother him so much anymore.
"Don't cry, my little Goddess…we will figure this out somehow…" Frieza whispered to the sobbing infant in his arms.
A few months later…
Distressed cries of pain woke Frieza from a sound sleep, and he quickly climbed out of bed to see what could be causing Onyx to cry so loud. On the way to her cradle, he banged his knee on the edge of a table, and wound up hopping in place for a few seconds while holding his bruised kneecap. Muffled curses issued from between his black lips as he limped the rest of the way to Onyx's cradle and picked her up.
"What is it, Onyx?" Frieza asked after changing her diaper and trying to feed her. She would put her mouth on the nipple of the bottle, only to take it away again and continue crying. During one open-mouthed wail, Frieza was able to see that her gums were swollen and red. Hmm…she's getting her first teeth.
Sighing, Frieza carried Onyx to his hoverpod and sat down. The light played on the metallic dome of his head as he let the little infant gum his finger. "Shhhh…it will be OK, my little Goddess. Don't cry…"
Unfortunately, little Onyx didn't stay quiet for long. Her mouth was sore, she was tired and she was mad about it! "WAAAAHH!!! AHHHWAAAAHHH!!! AAAHHHAAAAWAAAHHH!!!!"
Looking down at the suffering child, Frieza started to hum softly to get the baby's attention. When she looked towards him, his started to put in the words and sang in an alto tone, "Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home…" he couldn't remember who once sang him that old tune, but he did remember a time when it had comforted him when he was very young and probably teething just like Onyx.
"I looked over Jordan and what did I see? Comin' for to carry me home. A band of angels comin' after me. Comin' for to carry me home…" He felt a small smile tug at his lips when Onyx's cries faded to a whimper; she was still crying, but not as loud as before, and her tail had wrapped itself around his arm.
Continuing to sing softly, Frieza swayed his arms gently, rocking the agitated child, "Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home…"
Onyx slowly stopped crying, probably because the softly singing voice and motion was taking importance over the pain in her gums. She continued to nibble on the finger she had trapped in her mouth, her eyes half-closing in a partial contentment. "If you get to heaven before I do. Comin' for to carry me home. Tell all my friends I'm comin' there too. Comin' for to carry me home…" His voice continued. "Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home…"
Frieza found himself smiling again as he brought one hand around to rest on the top of Onyx's tiny head. He brushed his thumb over the bridge of her tipped-up nose, "I'm sometimes up and sometimes down. Comin' for to carry me home. But still I know I'm heavenly bound. Comin' for to carry me home…"
Little Onyx had finally fallen asleep with her tail still wrapped around Frieza's arm. Frieza, surprisingly, didn't mind; he just kept singing to her, "Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home…" He could hear her breathing softly, and continued to sing to her a little softer, "If I get there before you do. Comin' for to carry me home. I'll cut a hole and pull you through. Comin' for to carry me home…"
The baby Icejin just murmured softly in her sleep, barely hearing the rest of the lullaby.
"Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home." Frieza's voice was barely a whisper when he finished the song. He looked down to find Onyx fast asleep and sighed. "Asleep at last…but now I can't move or you'll wake up."
The chimes to his quarters sounded, and he gritted his teeth in preparation for Onyx's wail. Onyx, however, managed to sleep through it, and Frieza unlocked his door via remote control so Zarbon could step in. Zarbon opened his mouth to talk, but Frieza glared a warning at him to speak as quietly as possible.
"I just came to let you know that the fools on planet Arlia have finally agreed to give up their resources." Zarbon spoke in a whisper. "Queen Lemlia was very…giving." He chuckled, "After half the planet's population was destroyed." A smirk drew itself across his face, because he knew he was going to get paid handsomely for this.
"Excellent." Frieza whispered simply, shifting slowly so he wouldn't wake Onyx.
"Sir? If I may ask, is she teething?"
He cocked his head, points of light dancing down the black horns jutting out on either side of his elaborate headgear, "How did you figure that one out?"
Zarbon kept his face carefully expressionless and didn't allow the slightest hint of anger or contempt show through his voice. "I know what a teething child sounds like, Master Frieza. You should prepare yourself, because she won't be too happy for the next couple of months."
"No matter. Carry on." Frieza made a dismissive gesture, wanting to be left alone again. After Zarbon left, he turned his attention to Onyx, carefully pulling her bottom lip down so he could see if she had any teeth yet. There was just one, right smack dab in the middle on the bottom.
Without really knowing why, Frieza found himself smiling. "It would appear that you're already starting to grow up, Onyx. And I think…I think I'm starting to like being your father. There is so much we can do together, so much for me to teach you…and so much to learn…" He closed his eyes for a moment as his smile grew a little warmer, "But for now, my Little Goddess…sleep well. We have our whole lives ahead of us."
Murmuring softly, Onyx slept on while under the watch of her adopted parent. In her dreams, she heard his words. Though unable to understand them, the little Icejin baby felt their meaning.
And she smiled.