Dislcaimer: Now why would I wanna go and do a thing like that? Putting a disclaimer in here would be like admitting that I don't own DB/Z/GT! Oh... wait... I don't. *sigh* Nuts.
Goku Jr.'s Headband
There he is. The silent watcher followed the child's movement with his eyes, taking in everything the boy did, no matter how insignificant. It wasn't the first time the watcher had chosen this particular child to tag along with, unseen, unheard, unknown. Far from it! This boy, with his spiky hair and innocent smile, his exuberance for life and love of a good fight... he reminded the watcher of another child that he had watched over from infant to teenager to adult. Of course, it's only natural that they look alike, the watcher mused. They are related, after all. Let's see... he would be his... great great great great grandson? I think that's about right... Shrugging his shoulders, he dismissed the thought from his mind. It didn't really matter anyway.
Actually, he hadn't been able to watch over the first child as much as he had this one. Being in hell had kept him from seeing a large portion of the first boy's childhood, but he knew some of what he had missed thanks to the visions. After spending several years in hell, the watcher had eventually learned to change his ways and had been granted a few rights and privileges normally reserved for the more angelic occupants of Otherworld. Not that this meant he'd been allowed into heaven - he doubted he'd get that far for many years to come - but neither was he restricted solely to hell. The first chance he'd had, he'd taken up a position as guardian angel on the little blue planet known as Earth, and ever since then he had watched over the Earth's protectors and lent what strength he could when they battled against foes beyond their ability to defeat. Especially that boy.
But now that boy was gone, and had been for almost a hundred years. Even so, the watcher hadn't abandoned his post. The visions told him that even though the protectors of Earth had achieved peace for the time being, it would not last. Besides, the first child had left behind two children of his own, who in turn sired children of their own, and so forth until this very day. There was never any lack of a child to watch over. In fact, some of those children had especially needed a guardian angel, the little trouble magnets. Even though the trouble wasn't in the form of some powerful monster set on destroying this planet, the watcher still helped where he could. It wasn't much, given that even guardian angels weren't supposed to have too much power to affect the living world, but it helped make sure that there would be future generations.
In the mean time, he'd used the years wisely to learn every trick and nuance there was to being a guardian angel, knowing that a time would come where he'd need to bypass the restrictions set on guardian angels. He didn't intend to break the rules, per se... just bend them enough to do what needed to be done without being kicked back into hell. Besides which, he didn't think he was even capable of breaking the rules. It'd take a being with a lot more power than him to do that!
The guardian angel's lips quirked upwards in a smile as he watched his current charge try to steal some food from the table where his mother was preparing lunch. The Saiyan genes still run strong, despite the generations of human blood added to the mix. He's got the appetite of his forefathers. Unfortunately for the spiky haired kid, he didn't have the cunning or skill to get away with it when his mother was in the same room. One motherly hand descended and picked the child up by the back of his shirt, then unceremoniously tossed him out the front door with a mild scolding and an order not to come back inside until he was called.
Better luck next time, kid, the watcher thought to himself, chuckling at the child's forlorn expression. Normally he'd feel sorry for the young boy, but right now he wanted his charge to be alone. The fewer distractions he had, the easier it would be to do what he was about to do. At least, he hoped that was the case, because after all the years spent watching and waiting, it was finally time to act. Though the visions were often vague and fragmented, he was certain that the nameless threat he'd foreseen all those years ago was almost here. The protectors of Earth had drifted away from each other, their children growing up without ever even meeting each other, and many of them not even knowing the power they possessed. They needed to be gathered again and start training to face their new enemy.
And the person to do that gathering, the watcher had decided, was this boy. With his ancestor's ability to make friends with anyone and everyone, he would serve as the binding glue of a new set of "Z Warriors", just as his great great great great grandfather had done before him. This boy would seek out the other children of the protectors of Earth and would work with them to prepare for the battle to come.
But that would only happen if the watcher could successfully bend a few rules and tell the boy that he and his world were in danger.
Taking a deep breath, the guardian angel silently prayed that he wouldn't be caught before his warning was passed on to his charge. He didn't know who he was praying to, because all the deities he knew would more likely toss his sorry behind into hell for a few dozen years before actively helping him, but he still prayed. Then he gathered his power and began using every ounce of knowledge and power he possessed to try to trick the laws of reality into obeying his will... just this once... despite heaven's rules.
After several minutes of nothing happening, the watcher let loose with a stream of decidedly unangelic words. "Aw, come on, damn it!" he shouted at nothing in particular. "Guardian angels are supposed to be able to take on physical form in dire circumstances that threaten the lives of both their charge and a significant number of other people! It says so right there in Heaven's Handbook for Guardian Angels!" He hurled said book away from him in a fit of temper. "Doesn't this count?! Okay, fine, so maybe they're not in immediate danger, but still-!"
Interrupted in mid tirade by his charge's yelp of pain, the guardian angel turned to see what had made the boy cry out like that. What he found was a spiky haired chibi rubbing his head in a perplexed manner, staring at something on the ground. The watcher's eyes traveled downward... and landed on the book he'd just thrown. He frowned. Why was his charge staring at something that, by all rights, he shouldn't even be able to see? The book was as ethereal as he was, so unless there was something else there being hidden from the watcher's eyes by the ghostly book, then his charge was simply staring at nothing.
Still rubbing his head, the boy suddenly stooped and, to the guardian angel's astonishment, picked the book up.
The spirit gaped. "What the-"
"What'd you do that for?" the child asked, looking directly at the not-quite-angel while wearing an absolutely injured expression on his face.
If he hadn't already been dead, the watcher was certain that he would have died from shock just then. "You can see me?!" he yelped.
"'Course I can," the boy sniffled. "It's not like you were hiding or anything. And it's not nice to throw books at people." He held the book out to the guardian angel, who accepted it warily, as though expecting it to disappear at any moment.
"Er... sorry about that," was the watcher's dazed reply. He frowned down at the book, his mind still trying to catch up with what had just happened. "I didn't mean to hit you." The book hit his head and didn't pass right through like it should have. He was able to see and pick up the book. That means the book is tangible in the living world. I can still touch the book, and he can see and hear me... Realization slowly dawned on him. Eyes wide, he suddenly thrust out his hand in the boy's direction, startling him with his urgency. "Quick! Touch my hand!"
The kid was now giving him the kind of look generally reserved for rabid dogs and the mentally unstable, but he lifted his hand anyway and cautiously touched the ghost's intangible hand... or what should have been an intangible hand. Instead of slipping right through the watcher's fingers, though, they connected solidly, warm flesh pressing against flesh just as warm. A broad grin blossomed on the guardian angel's face. "It worked!"
By this time the boy was thoroughly confused. "What worked? Who are you, anyway? You look familiar... Have we met before?" Taking advantage of his contact with the guardian angel's hand, he shook the older man's hand politely. "My name's Goku."
The guardian angel awkwardly shook the boy's hand, unused to this form of greeting. He'd seen it used a lot during his time protecting the Earth, but one doesn't exactly have much opportunity to practice shaking hands when one is dead. "I know who you are, Goku Jr.," he replied. Seeing Goku Jr. open his mouth to ask a question, he added, "My name is Bardock, and I've been watching you for a long time now."
Somewhere in Otherworld, a rather overworked ogre looked up from reading a report when an alarm bell somewhere went off. Getting up to investigate, the ogre walked over to the mail chute, where all assignments and reports came in each day. The alarm only ever went off when priority mail came through, so whatever it was that had just come in the chute must be pretty important.
Sure enough, sitting in the box that collected the mail was a stack of papers, all bound together with a large red clip that bore the word URGENT in bold black letters. The ogre unclipped the papers and flipped to the second page of the report to discover the gist on the problem. Skimming the page quickly, he groaned when he realized what it was about and clipped the papers back together.
"Stanley!" he yelled to a fellow worker across the room. "We've got a code three!"
"Really? You've been watching me? What for? An' how come I've never seen you?"
Bardock nearly laughed at the curious chibi's string of questions. After years of watching the boy he knew about Goku Jr.'s tendency to ask a lot of questions... but somehow knowing that and experiencing it himself were two completely different things. On top of that, it was an odd feeling to finally interact with one of the people he had been watching for so long. Speaking of which... I probably don't have a lot of time before someone realizes what I'm doing. I need to hurry this up.
"An' you didn't answer my other questions. What worked and why do you look so familiar?" Goku Jr. chattered on obliviously. "I could swear I've seen you before somewhere..."
"Whoa, slow down and let me answer some of those questions before you start asking more," Bardock said dryly, putting one hand on the boy's shoulder. "First off, you couldn't see me because I'm dead. Notice the halo?" He used his other hand to point at the glowing circle of gold that floated above his head. Goku Jr.'s eyes widened dramatically at the sight and he opened his mouth, no doubt bursting with more questions. Bardock hastily continued, "To answer a second question, the reason I've been watching you is because I'm a guardian angel. It's what I do. Normally, I'm not allowed to speak with living people or be seen by them, but in rare cases that rule can be gotten around, like right now. That's what I was talking about when I said "it worked." Understand?" Goku Jr. nodded, staring at the man with an awed expression. Then, true to his character, he opened his mouth again to ask another load of questions, but Bardock quickly cut him off. "Last question, then need to talk about something important. You want to know why I look so familiar when obviously you've never seen me before?"
"Uh huh!" Goku Jr. eagerly replied. He was practically bouncing on his toes with curiosity, and he didn't protest when Bardock picked him up and started walking toward the house. He did, however, ask questions. "Where are we going? Are we going inside? 'Kaasan said to stay outside until she calls me. Has she seen you yet? Did she-"
"Shhh," Bardock hushed the boy, covering Goku Jr.'s mouth with a hand. He bent his head so his own mouth was close to the child's ear and whispered, "We need a mirror. There's one in your bathroom, which is where we're going, but your mother doesn't know about me and I'd like to keep it that way. The fewer people I have to talk to, the faster this will be, and I don't exactly have a lot of time." All while he spoke he tiptoed quietly through the halls of the house, cautiously peeking around corners to make sure Goku Jr.'s mother wasn't nearby.
"Oooh..." Goku Jr. made a muffled sound of understanding through Bardock's hand. Comprehending the need for silence, he was quiet the rest of the way there, although questions kept popping up into his head, like How does he know where the bathroom is? and Why do we need a mirror?
Fortunately for both of them they made it to the bathroom without mishap. Breathing a sigh of relief, Bardock set Goku Jr. down on the counter and turned him to face the mirror. "There. Does that answer your question about why I look so familiar?"
Goku Jr.'s mouth dropped open in surprise. He had been about to say something about how he wasn't allowed to sit on the counter, but the words died in his throat at the sight of the mirror. Staring back at him were two faces - one older, tanner, scarred, and wearing a headband the color of old blood, the other younger, paler, and more innocent - that, despite the differences, looked almost exactly the same. "Wow," he breathed, reaching out to hesitantly touch the mirror with his fingers. Turning his head to look back at Bardock, he exclaimed, "You look just like me!"
"Shhh! Not so loud!" Bardock hissed, casting a nervous glance at the door.
"Oops. Sorry," Goku Jr. apologized, dropping his voice back down to a near-whisper. "But how come you look like me? Are we related? Where'd you get that scar on your cheek? What-" The little demi-Saiyan once again found his questions cut off by Bardock's hand on his mouth.
"Wait until we're outside before you start interrogating me, Goku," the elder Saiyan ordered wryly. A faint smirk graced his lips as he added, "I don't want your mother to know I'm here." As soon as he received Goku Jr.'s obedient nod, Bardock picked him up again and started making his way back out of the house. It had been a risk to go inside, but he knew that trying to explain their physical similarities without the aid of a mirror would have been difficult at best. From watching Goku Jr. grow up, he knew that the child had a hard time understanding things he couldn't see directly. He'd be able to see Bardock and acknowledge that there was something familiar about him, but without seeing both of their reflections in a mirror at the same time, he wouldn't have made the connection between the memory of his own features and Bardock's face.
Once outside, the guardian angel retreated into the forest with his small charge, putting a fair amount of distance between them and the house before setting Goku Jr. back down. "Okay, Goku, it's safe to talk now. However, I don't have a lot of time, so I need you to be quiet while I explain some things. Understand?" As soon as Goku Jr. nodded his head, Bardock carefully lowered himself to the ground, then indicated the spot in front of him. "Go ahead and sit down while I talk, Goku."
"Okay!" The boy happily plopped himself down in front of Bardock, mirroring the other man's cross legged position. Then he turned his head up to give Bardock his undivided attention, eagerly awaiting the promised explanation.
"All right, first things first," Bardock began. "You remember all those stories your parents told you about the first Goku? The one who fought all those bad guys like Frieza and Cell and Buu?" Smiling as Goku Jr.'s expression immediately perked up with interest at the mention of his famed ancestor, he reached a hand out to ruffle the boy's hair. I knew that'd get his attention, he silently chuckled. He practically idolizes Kakarot. So... let's see how he reacts to this. "I'm his father."
"What?! No way!" Goku Jr. exclaimed incredulously, eyes as wide as saucers. "You're his dad?! That means you knew him! You actually knew Goku! Wow!! What was he like? Did he really look like me? That's what 'tousan and 'kaasan say. Am I as strong as him? Did he hafta eat all his spinach, too?" The boy made a face at the mention of the hated vegetable.
Bardock winced slightly at this particular train of questions. Some of them hit a little closer to home than he would have liked. "I didn't actually know Goku when I was alive, Goku. You see, I died only a few days after he was born. I also wasn't exactly a... very good person when I was alive, so when I died I had to go to hell. I didn't get to be a guardian angel for several years. By the time I got out of hell, Goku was already grown up."
"Awww..." Goku Jr. moaned, looking slightly crestfallen. Then he perked up again. "But you still got to see him, right? Were you there when he fought all those battles? Did you get to help him fight?"
Bardock sighed. "Look, Goku, I know you want to hear all about the other Goku, but I really don't have a lot of time. How about this? Once I'm finished saying what I need to say to you, if I have any extra time, you can ask me anything you want. Deal?"
Goku Jr. grinned. "Deal!"
"Okay, fellas, we got ourselves a code three! Repeat, code three!" Stanley, the head ogre in the Angel Regulation Department, barked out to the group of Angel Law Enforcement ogres standing in front of him. "That's a rogue guardian angel acting to influence the mortal world without permission, for those of you who haven't read the Angel Law handbook." He paused here to glare around the room, daring any of the ogres to admit that they hadn't memorized the handbook cover to cover. When no one said anything, he nodded to an ogre standing off to the side who promptly started passing out sheets of paper to everyone in the room. "These papers have the information you'll need to apprehend the suspect, including his picture, Guardian Angel I.D., current assignment, and last known whereabouts. Your orders are to locate the suspect and bring him back to Angel Headquarters for questioning without disturbing the living world, if at all possible. You are authorized to use force if necessary, but be warned that the guardian angel in question is a Saiyan, a race known for its strength and fighting abilities. Exercise extreme caution when dealing with the suspect, but don't let him get away! All right, are there any questions?"
"Yeah!" someone piped up from the back of the room. "How'd a Saiyan get to be a guardian angel in the first place? I thought they had rules and standards to keep mass murderers out of their ranks!"
"That's what I'd like to know," Stanley grumbled under his breath. Rubbing his forehead right below the place where his single horn sprouted, he raised his voice so everyone could hear him. "Apparently there are a few exceptions to the stereotypical Saiyan. In fact, this particular Saiyan's family is well known for exceptions of this sort, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that he managed to work his way up from hell. If any of you have ever met or heard of Son Goku or any of his descendants, you'll know what I mean."
A low whistle and a few impressed murmurs greeted this news. "You mean the guardian angel we're looking for is related to Son Goku?!" the same ogre who'd voiced the question yelped.
"He's his father," Stanley confirmed grimly.
"And you expect us to be able to detain him?!" someone else asked incredulously, a sentiment that was echoed by several other Angel Law Enforcers. Few in the room had not heard about the legendary Earth-raised Saiyan.
"Now let's get one thing straight," the head Angel Regulation ogre growled, sensing the alarm that was quickly spreading among the ogres. "The suspect may be a Saiyan and he may have passed the guardian angel requirements, his son may very well be the strongest being to have existed for thousands of years or more, but he is not Son Goku. While he is considered fairly strong by average Saiyan standards, he doesn't possess even a fraction of his son's strength. I won't lie to you. He's probably stronger than anyone currently in this room, but," he added sharply before more protests could arise, "there are plenty of fighter angels under the Grand Kai's care that are stronger than the suspect who you can recruit. Strength is not the issue! However, the suspect is extremely cunning and intelligent. In order to apprehend him you'll have to outsmart him, which may be difficult, but it can be done! Now, are there any other questions?" When no one else spoke, Stanley nodded sharply. "Right, then. You all know what you're supposed to do, so go out there and get that angel!"
"Before I died, I had an encounter with an alien that left me with the ability to sometimes see the future," Bardock began, carefully editing the story to make it suitable for Goku Jr.'s young ears. "I don't have visions very often and I have no control over what I get to see. In fact, I often don't even understand what it is I'm seeing in time to do anything about it. However, before I even became a guardian angel, I had a vision that I was able to understand enough to figure out what I needed to do to try to change the future. That vision showed me that there is an enemy coming to this world who wants to destroy everything. In the future I saw there weren't any trained fighters here, so there was no one to stop this enemy when he showed up."
"But I'm a trained fighter!" Goku Jr. protested. "I'm strong! I was even gonna fight in the World Martial Arts Tournament this year!"
Bardock smirked at his young descendant. It was nice to see that the Saiyan pride and love of fighting still endured. Then the smirk was replaced by a more serious expression. "I know, but you're not strong enough to fight this enemy on your own. You'll need to train a lot more, and you'll need to find other strong fighters to train with you. That way when the enemy shows up, you'll be stronger and you'll have friends fighting at your side. The World Martial Arts Tournament is a good place to start looking for other fighters, but not every warrior will be there. My only suggestion is that you look for the other descendants of the Z Fighters. Ask your parents and relatives. Ask the fighters you meet at the tournament. You never know who might know something."
Resting his chin on his knees, which he was hugging to his chest, Goku Jr. pondered Bardock's words for several moments, looking more serious at that moment than at any other time since the guardian angel had showed up. "How strong is this enemy?" he finally asked. "And what does he look like?"
"I don't know," Bardock replied, shaking his head. "The visions never show me what he looks like. Just... just a feeling. I wasn't even sure until recently that you would be involved in this at all, that any of this would even be happening in your lifetime. The visions often aren't very reliable."
"Well, what did you see?" Goku Jr. asked curiously.
"The first vision wasn't really a vision. The only thing I saw was this planet, but I got a strong feeling of... dread, sorrow, pain... I don't really know how to describe it. I knew something bad was going to happen, just not what or when. That's when I decided to become a guardian angel and station myself here on Earth. I wanted to be here so I could do something to prevent... whatever it was I had seen... even though I didn't know how long it would be before it happened." The older Saiyan smiled a bit wistfully. "I also wanted to see my family and look after them." It was almost funny how, when he was alive, he hadn't really cared much about his children, but now that he was dead, family was one of the most important things to him. I guess being in hell has really changed my perspective...
"So how do you know that the bad guy is coming now?" the chibi interjected, bringing Bardock's thoughts back to the present. A spark of excitement gleamed in the boy's eyes. "Did you have another vision?"
Bardock grinned. "You're a smart boy, Goku. That's exactly what happened. Every so often I'd get the vision again, each time seeing just a little more. One time I saw a young boy fighting the enemy and, although I still couldn't see the enemy, I could see the boy. This was before you were born, so I didn't know it was you, but I knew that the boy I was seeing was related to me because he looked a lot like me. At the time there weren't any children of my lineage that looked like me, so I knew that there was still time before the enemy was due to arrive. Then one day you were born and, somehow, I just knew you were the one I'd seen in my vision. I've been waiting all this time for you to grow up so I could talk to you, Goku, and warn you about the enemy I saw in my vision."
"Wow..." Goku Jr. breathed, eyes wide with awe. "You really saw me before I was even born?" At Bardock's confirming a nod, a brilliant smile lit the spiky haired child's face. "That's so cool! Did you see anyone else? Where was I fighting the bad guy? Who was winning? Did you get t'see how the fight ended? How old was I?"
"Always full of questions, aren't you, Goku?" Bardock chuckled. Goku Jr. ducked his head sheepishly, which only made the older warrior laugh. "It's all right. It's good for you to be curious about things, especially something as important as this. I don't know how old you were, although you weren't much older than you are now. It's sometimes hard to judge the age of young Saiyans because they don't grow much until they're about fifteen years old. From what I saw of the fight, it looked like you were losing pretty badly. There might have been a couple other people there, but I don't know who they were. I'm not familiar enough with the Earth to tell you exactly where this was all happening. Even if I did know the place, I probably wouldn't recognize it as the place in my visions. Fights between people with a lot of ki tend to rearrange the landscape rather dramatically." The last part was said with a dry smile and tone of voice.
"Are you my guardian angel?" the little Saiyan asked suddenly, surprising Bardock, who hadn't been expecting it.
Tilting his head to one side, the guardian angel peered intently at his charge, wondering where the question had come from. "Actually, yes I am," he answered honestly. "Why do you ask?"
Goku Jr. uncurled his legs from his chest and stood up, grinning as though he had just discovered something wonderful. "Because that means you're supposed to watch over me, right? So you'll be here to help me train, right? You'll help me fight the bad guy when he gets here, won't you? I know dead people can still fight 'cause Goku got to fight Majin Buu even though he was dead." The emphasis he gave his ancestor's name seemed almost unconscious, as though it was a habit he had formed to make sure people knew when he was talking about himself and when he was talking about his namesake.
Even though Goku Jr. had stood up, Bardock remained seated, squirming uncomfortably at this line of questions. "Well... I'm not really sure if I'll still be here, Goku. You see, I kind of... er... bent some rules so that I could talk to you," he admitted guiltily. "That's why I don't have much time. Once Angel Headquarters realizes what I'm up to, they'll probably start sending out people to arrest me. I might not be allowed to be a guardian angel anymore."
"But you were just trying to help people!" the child protested loudly. "Isn't that what guardian angels are supposed to do?!"
"It is," Bardock agreed soberly. "But there are certain rules in place to make sure that the dead don't interfere too much with the living world. It isn't fair to the people who are still alive if those who die can still affect the world they're supposed to have left behind. It makes life seem cheap and not as precious."
"Then how come Goku got to fight even though he was dead?" Goku Jr. demanded plaintively. "And Vegeta, too! He was dead and he still got to fight!"
"The entire universe was in danger, Goku," the older warrior tried to explain. "Left unchecked, Majin Buu would have destroyed the last of the four galaxies. When that much is at stake, heaven will make a few exceptions. There's a cycle to life that has to be maintained: birth, life, death, afterlife, and rebirth. If everyone is dead, no one gets born and the cycle is broken. Heaven and hell would be filled with souls that had nowhere else to go for the rest of eternity. When existence itself is at stake, not breaking any rules doesn't seem quite so important anymore, which is why my son and Vegeta were allowed back into the living world." It was a little more complicated than that, but Bardock didn't want to go into the details of the death magic that the witch, Baba, had used to help bring Goku Sr. and Vegeta to Earth.
Goku Jr.'s shoulders sagged. "But how will I know who the enemy is? If you're not here to tell me when he gets here, I might not realize it until it's too late!"
Rising to his feet and brushing off the leaves and twigs that stuck to his clothing, a green shirt and a loose pair of black, gi-like pants, Bardock reached one hand out and placed it on Goku Jr.'s shoulder. "You'll know, Goku," he said confidently, giving the boy's shoulder a gentle squeeze. "I have faith in you. Besides, in my vision you managed to figure out who the enemy was, even though in that future you didn't get any kind of advance warning. I wasn't worried that you wouldn't figure out that the world was in danger, just that you wouldn't be prepared for it when it came. With my warning, you know that you need to train extra hard and find other fighters to train with you so that, when the enemy comes, you won't be defeated."
A moment or two passed in silence as Goku Jr. absorbed Bardock's words. Then, on impulse, the little boy leaned forward and wrapped his arms around the older man's waist. "I'm really glad I got to meet you, Grandpa Bardock."
Surprised by both the hug and the title he had just been bestowed, it took Bardock a moment to respond. Picking up the child he had watched over for all these years, he smiled and returned the hug. "I'm glad I got to meet you, too, Goku." Setting the boy back on the ground, he reached up to his head and untied the red headband he was wearing. "Here," he said, holding the piece of cloth out to Goku Jr. "I want you to have this, so you won't forget me."
"I'd never forget you, Grandpa Bardock!" Goku Jr. protested. Nevertheless, he accepted the headband from Bardock and immediately tied it around his head. "Is this special?" The chibi blushed at his own words. "I mean, is it special to you? It's special to me 'cause you gave it to me, but is it more special than that?"
"Hai," Bardock replied with a smile at the boy's self conscious babbling. "It used to belong to a friend of mine. His name was Toma. I know you've heard some stories about Frieza, so you know he was an evil creature. Our people used to serve him, but then he betrayed us and killed all but a handful of our race. Toma and the other members of my team, Totepo, Panboukin, and Celipa, were the first to die, killed by some of Frieza's lackeys. Toma lived just long enough to tell me what happened, and I promised him that I would avenge him and our other teammates. That headband, stained with their blood, was my way of keeping my friends with me even though they were gone, and it helped remind me what I was fighting for."
Reaching a hand out to pat Bardock's arm, Goku Jr. said sadly, "I'm sorry your friends died. Did you 'venge them like you promised?"
The guardian angel sighed and shook his head. "No. I tried to, but I died in my fight against Frieza. I wasn't anywhere near as strong as him and I was fighting alone, so I didn't really have a chance."
"I'm sure your friends understand," Goku Jr. said consolingly. "You tried your best and that's all that matters."
Bardock smiled. "Thank you, Goku. Now," he said, leaning back against a tree, "I promised to answer any questions you had once I finished talking. Well, I'm finished, so is there anything you want to-"
"Freeze, angel scum!"
Glancing briefly at the person who had just appeared, the rogue guardian angel snorted derisively and turned back to the confused Goku Jr. "That would be Angel Law Enforcement," he explained, jerking his head in the nervous ogre's direction. "They're the only ones who would call me something as stupid as 'angel scum'. Sorry, Goku, but it looks like I have to go now."
"You're not going anywhere, you... you... law breaker!" the A.L.E. ogre spluttered indignantly. "I'm warning you! I'm armed!"
Bardock stared incredulously at the blue skinned being. "Armed? You're holding a harp, you idiot!" It was true. The ogre, dressed in what passed for an A.L.E. uniform these days - slacks, white shirt, striped tie, and a shiny badge - was brandishing a small harp in one hand as though it was some kind of weapon. The other hand was holding a clip board with several papers attached to it - no doubt Bardock's arrest warrant and a copy of any pages from the Angel Law handbook that the A.L.E. ogre thought he might need for this mission. The A.L.E. ogres were notorious for leaving the required reading until the last minute.
"Ha!" the ogre laughed, putting on a show of false bravado. "That just goes to show what you know! If you were any kind of angel, you'd know that the harp is the deadliest weapon in the Angel Law Enforcement arsenal!" He gave the harp an extra wave for emphasis.
"Which is why no one's scared of Angel Law Enforcement," Bardock muttered under his breath.
"What was that?!"
Rolling his eyes at the stupidity of it all, the Saiyan angel raised his voice so the ogre could hear him clearly. "You and I both know that harps only work on full fledged angels. I'm just a guardian angel. I haven't even been admitted to heaven on a full time basis yet!" It really was rather ridiculous. Angel Law Enforcement dealt primarily with maintaining the peace among angels, so their efforts often fell short whenever they tried to use the same tactics on non-angels. But heaven forbid they do something smart, like ask Demon Law Enforcement for help. It just wouldn't look good for either division if it got out that demons and angels were actually working together! So in cases like Bardock's, A.L.E. usually ended up resorting to recruiting a fighter of dubious intelligence from the fighting ranks on Grand Kai's planet. Speaking of which... "Oh, and you can tell your friend with the orange skin that he can come out of hiding. I caught sight of him about the same time you started yelling your head off." Bardock shook his head sadly. Pathetic. He probably didn't even think about the color of the vegetation when he picked this fighter. Intelligence in Angel Law Enforcement's really starting to decline these days.
Realizing that he'd been found out, the creature whose fluorescent orange skin stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the dark green foliage around them stepped out of "hiding". The A.L.E. ogre appeared rather flustered at having his back-up discovered, but quickly covered it with a confident smirk. "That's my partner, Aiyasor. He trains on the planet of the Grand Kai himself, and I've been assured that he's far stronger than you, you perpetrator of evil! You should just give yourself up now, before you get hurt!"
"Gee, that's nice." Bardock shrugged casually. "If you were a fighter, you'd know that strength isn't everything. Not that it matters in this case. I never had any intention of resisting arrest anyway." The Saiyan warrior nearly laughed out loud at the dumbfounded expression on the A.L.E. ogre's face. "What? Did you think that just because I'm a Saiyan that I'd go out of my way to make things difficult? I don't suppose it ever occurred to you that fighting isn't the only thing Saiyans ever do." The sheepish expression on the ogre's blue face was confirmation enough. Bardock snorted. "Thought so." He quirked an eyebrow in the orange alien's direction. "You don't talk much, do you?"
The other fighter shrugged, looking extremely bored. "I'm just the hired muscle. I'm not here to make conversation." Casting a pointed look in the guardian angel's direction, he added, "Not that that means I'm stupid."
"The thought never crossed my mind," Bardock responded blandly. Turning back to the A.L.E. ogre, he said, "Just give me a minute to say goodbye and I'll go with you without any trouble."
"Goodbye?" the ogre asked suspiciously. "To whom?"
A bead of sweat rolled down the back of Bardock's head. Just what the hell is Angel Law Enforcement thinking, hiring oafs like this guy?! "Try maybe my some-odd-great grandson standing right next to me." He pointed at Goku Jr., who had hadn't said a word the whole time the ogre had been there. The boy who was normally filled with questions had remained silent as he tried to absorb what was going on while staring wide-eyed at the two strangers. He'd never seen aliens before, so it was only natural that he'd find their appearance fascinating. "Goku?"
Goku Jr. blinked at suddenly finding himself being addressed. "Huh?"
"I've got to go now, Goku," Bardock stated gently, crouching down so he was eye level with the child. "If we're lucky, maybe I'll see you again before you die. In the mean time, you be good and remember what I told you. The world's counting on you."
"I won't forget, Grandpa," Goku Jr. said solemnly. Throwing his arms around his ancestor's neck, he gave Bardock a second and final hug, one which Bardock tenderly returned. "Thank you for the headband! I promise, I won't let you down!"
"Good luck," the guardian angel whispered as he released the small boy. He stood up and nodded to the Angel Law Enforcement ogre and the orange fighter, indicating that he was ready to go. The two stepped forward and immediately took the Saiyan by the arms. Smirking, Bardock easily shook off the A.L.E. ogre's grip, much to the other man's annoyance, and waved back to his great, great, great, great, great grandson. "Goodbye, Goku!"
"Goodbye, Grandpa!" shouted the youngest living demi-Saiyan, waving his arm wildly in the air. Goku Jr. watched with a mixture of happiness and sadness as the blue skinned guy grabbed his grandfather's arm again and all three of them disappeared as though they had never existed. He lifted one hand to his forehead and gently touched his new headband, proof that it hadn't been a dream. Thinking back to everything that he had just learned and the man he had gotten to meet, the boy's eyes shone with the light of one who has found a new hero. "We'll meet again, Grandpa," he whispered with conviction. "Just you wait!"
This really feels like the prologue to a larger story, but at this point I have no intention of writing a sequel. Maybe after I finish a few of my other big stories I'll consider writing a sequel/continuation, but don't expect anything anytime soon.
This is an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for quite some time now, but it took coming down with the flu to have enough free time to write it out. Couldn't muster the concentration required to work on any of my larger, more complicated stories, so I decided to work on a one-shot instead. Hope you all enjoyed it!