The good planet looked just as beautiful as it had the last time Chi-Chi had seen it. The weather was perfect; it didn't seem to be as cool as spring nor as hot as somewhere, but somewhere in between. After being in Hell for so long, she should have been glad to be back --- yet whether she was in Heaven or Hell didn't matter to her anymore.
Chi-Chi had been on the planet for what seemed like several days. She hadn't bothered to try and find her mother again. She couldn't bring herself to tell her that she had failed. Instead, she retreated to a deserted, forested area on the planet, where she could be alone.
She was sitting on a thick branch of a tall tree, her knees drawn up to her chin. She had been in this position ever since she came here. It was odd --- she hadn't climbed a tree since she was a little girl… that seemed to have been a million years ago now.
Chi-Chi rubbed her eyes, which were red from crying. She had done a fair share of crying ever since she'd left Hell. She had known from experience what a broken heart felt like, and yet it hadn't prepared her for the whirlpool of grief, guilt, and gloom she was sinking into.
She felt so tired --- both emotionally and physically. All of the strength and energy she'd received from her newly rejuvenated body had drained away. Despite her youthful appearance, she felt as though she'd turned back to the lonely old woman that pined for her dead husband.
In life, she hadn't been able to keep Goku with her, and now, because of her, he no longer existed in the afterlife. Was it just bad luck, or was it her destiny to be alone? It was a ridiculous notion to entertain, but she'd been separated from Goku so many times that she couldn't help but think that there was some sort of conspiracy against her.
Perhaps it was fate's way of telling her that she was never meant to have him in the first place. If she hadn't come to the Martial Arts Tournament to remind him of his "promise," chances were that they never would have married…
And maybe he never would have gotten into this mess.
For the millionth time, Goku's features haunted her mind. The memories that Sita had shown her of his torment were too fresh to be forgotten. Every time she closed her eyes, she could still see Goku's heartbroken expression when he overheard her say that she hated him…
That was most painful thing she had to cope with: Goku still loved her, but he died thinking that she hated him.
The more she thought about her treatment of Goku before he died, the more she regretted it. She distanced herself from him so that it would be easier for her to let him go back to training Uub. She had been convinced that she was doing the best thing for the both of them. Only now did she realize that she'd unconsciously done what was best for her, not for him. She hadn't given a single thought as to how it would affect him.
How could I have let this happen? she thought miserably. I just wanted to protect myself from getting hurt. What good did it do? I still felt worse every time he left to train Uub. And worse, I hurt him too…
You didn't know that he overheard you, a voice in her head pointed out. Heshould have told you.
That's no excuse, she thought, shaking her head. I should have been honest with him from the beginning! Even if it wouldn't have stopped him from leaving, anything was better than letting him think that I hated him.
She shifted her sitting position slightly so that one of her legs dangled towards the ground. If only she had reached Sita sooner, she might have saved Goku…
But King Kai and Baba were right: there was nothing else she could have done. She had tried her best, only she hadn't been strong enough to save him. She was lucky to have even survived the battle with Sita. And she wouldn't have won, let alone found Sita's tower, if it hadn't been for Misai.
Whenever Chi-Chi hadn't thought of Goku --- rare as those moments were --- she thought of Misai, stuck back in Hell. It wasn't fair that she still had to be in Hell, in spite of being a decent person. She hoped that the ogres hadn't thrown her back in prison.
Misai was right,she thought miserably. We defeated her, but we still lost. Misai has to spend eternity in Hell…and I'll never see Goku again. How can I possibly spend eternity without the man I love?
At least Goku was at peace; he didn't have to feel pain anymore. She, on the other hand, would have to be alone forever…
Maybe…it would have been better if Sita killed me too…
She immediately felt ashamed of herself. How could she even think that? Goku sacrificed himself so that she could exist. Thinking that she should have died was dishonoring his sacrifice. She couldn't do that… not after everything else she had done to him.
It didn't matter though. Goku was never going to come back. As painful and difficult as it was, she had to accept that…
And yet she would have given anything for another chance.
Just then, she heard footsteps from nearby. She quickly lowered her head, drawing her long black hair around her face like a curtain. As long as she remained quiet and didn't move, no one would recognize her.
The footsteps drew nearer with every passing second. Suddenly, they stopped. Everything fell silent.
Chi-Chi was struck by the eerie sensation that someone was watching her... Had her mother or father found out she was there? Curious, she pushed her hair out of her face and looked at the ground below. Her insides froze.
Goku was standing under the tree, looking up at her.
Tears filled her eyes. No… it couldn't be him. King Kai made it absolutely clear that a person couldn't come back after being destroyed in the afterlife. Her sorrow was causing her to see hallucinations, trying to lead her into thinking that he was alive. Yes, that had to be it.
But he looked so real…
He isn't real!she thought sternly, as though trying to convince herself. Kami, I can't keep doing this! I can't keep thinking that there's the faintest chance that he's alive!
She shut her eyes, willing it to stop haunting her and disappear. After a few moments, she opened them again.
Goku still stood there.
Chi-Chi felt as though she were about to have a heart attack. Could it possibly be him? She didn't know what to think. She was almost afraid to let herself believe… for it was a trick, the sorrow would become more than she could stand…
I saw him die!she thought frantically, unconsciously leaning forward to get a closer look. I felt the last of his spirit energy go into me! His halo was gone…and now it's back? There was no chance at all that he could have survived ---
Her thoughts broke off as she belatedly realized that she leaned out too far. She lost her balance and fell off the tree.
But instead of hitting the ground, a pair of strong arms caught her at the last second. Numb with shock, she turned her head to see her husband's face several inches from her own. He wouldn't have been able to do that if he wasn't real.
She stared at him, too stunned to say anything. He's back, was all that she could think. He's really back…
Goku quickly set her down. His face was a mask of uncertainty, as though he didn't know what to say to her. After a few moments, he finally broke the silence. "Are… are you all right?" he asked awkwardly.
Chi-Chi was unable to believe what she was hearing. Was she all right? Goku had spent the rest of his life thinking that his own family hated him, was killed by an evil sorceress and tortured in Hell for twenty-five years, almost faded into nonexistence permanently…
And he wanted to know if she was all right?
Without a word, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, long and hard, on the lips.
This caught Goku completely off guard. Apparently, he didn't know what kind of welcome to expect from his wife. After everything that had happened, it was understandable. Chi-Chi was almost afraid that he might pull away. She needn't have worried; soon enough, she felt him relax, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
The kiss was one of the most passionate and the most pure that they had ever shared. For it held all the longing and love Chi-Chi had held in her heart ever since he had died. It was like receiving water after a long trek in the desert. She no longer felt old; the emptiness and weariness had vanished, reviving her spirit. She felt --- there was no other word for it --- reborn.
How could she have tried to push him away? The old saying was right: absence really did make the heart grow fonder.
When they broke apart, Chi-Chi burst into tears, overwhelmed with happiness. It was a good thing that Goku was holding on to her, because her legs could no longer support her.
"Oh Goku!" Chi-Chi sobbed. "Goku, thank Kami, you're alive!"
"Um… not technically," Goku replied with a small laugh.
Half laughing, half crying, she buried her face into his shoulder. "I thought that I'd never see you again! I've missed you so much…"
"I missed you too," he whispered, running her fingers through her hair. "More than you'll ever know." She could feel something hot and wet soaking the top of her head, and she hugged him even tighter.
All too soon, Chi-Chi found herself reluctantly pulling away from him. There were so many things that she wanted to tell him… but the questions as to how this miracle could have happened drove them completely out of her mind.
"How could this have happened?" she asked shakily. "You were still dead when we escaped the tower!"
"I was," Goku explained, "but I guess breaking Sita's staff had a delayed effect on me. It gave me back all the spirit energy she took from me."
"How did you escape the tower? It collapsed!"
"Your friend, Misai, dug me out."
"Misai?" she repeated, bewildered. "How did she knew that you'd come back?"
"She didn't," Goku told her. "She said that she just went back to give my body a proper burial." He laughed. "You should have seen the look on her face…"
Chi-Chi was astonished. Why would Misai want to bury Goku? She hated men…
Then again, she did seem to have a change of heart about him the last time Chi-Chi had seen her. Still, it didn't seem likely that she would let go of her issues with men anytime soon.
"Anyway, I used Instant Transmission to get her and me to Snake Way," Goku continued. "King Yemma found out about how she helped you, so she was allowed to leave Hell. She's at the Grand Kai's planet right now."
"That's great!" Chi-Chi said enthusiastically. She was glad that Misai wasn't in Hell anymore; even though her life on Vishnu had been awful, at least she'd have the chance to be happy in the afterlife.
Her smile faded slightly as she realized what had to be done next. The excitement of Goku coming back had almost made her forget everything that had happened between them before Sita. Now was the time to tell him the truth.
With a sigh, she took his hand. "I owe you a nice long talk," she said quietly.
Together, they sat under the tree. "I know that you overheard me yelling about you to Goten that day," she began, getting right to the point. "I… I'm so sorry. I didn't mean it; it was just something that slipped out. I was so upset that you left again, just when I was convinced that you were home for good."
"Chi-Chi, about that, I'm sorry ---" Goku started to apologize, but Chi-Chi held up a hand to silence him.
"No, let me finish. When you came back, I wasn't as upset… only I was still hurt. I knew that you weren't going to stay for long, so I thought it would be easier to let you go if I wasn't so affectionate with you. That's why I acted the way I did…"
Goku looked troubled. "Why didn't you just tell me?"
"What was the point?" Chi-Chi asked wearily. "Even if I told you my feelings, would you have stopped training Uub?"
"No," he admitted, "but I would have listened. And I would have come home more often if you wanted."
She shook her head. "I thought I would have got in the way of Uub's training."
"No, you wouldn't have," he said gently. "I didn't want to leave. I asked for Buu to be reincarnated as a good person because with his power, he would have been able to protect the Earth from anything when Vegeta and I were gone. And I did want to spar with him to see who was stronger," he added truthfully.
"But when we fought at the tournament, I hadn't counted on him being so inexperienced. So I thought that training him was the right thing to do. Maybe I should have thought it out more before I left; I just assumed that you'd be all right with it.
"I really did miss all of you… but between hearing what you said, and everybody except Goten and Pan not talking to me, I thought that…"
"We hated you?" she finished. She shook her head vehemently. "None of us did. Everything Sita told you was a lie --- I never asked her to kill you!" she added on a sudden thought. "No matter what you thought, I never would have done anything like that to you!"
"I never believed that," he assured her.
She was very taken aback by this. "You didn't? Why?"
"Because I know you," he replied simply. "Even if you did hate me, I knew that you wouldn't hate me enough to want me dead. You never would have gone to someone as evil as Sita just to get back at me. You're a good, kind woman, and I never doubted that for a second."
Chi-Chi was so stunned by this that she could barely speak. "R-Really?" she stammered.
"Really," Goku nodded. "Who am I supposed to believe: a witch who tortured me for twenty-five years, or my wife?"
Chi-Chi smiled tearfully. In spite of the strange similarities, they were nothing like Rama and Sita.
He squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I didn't mean to hurt you. You and our family are just as important to me as Uub's training was."
Despite already knowing this, it felt better to hear it from him. "I know that," she replied. "It was hard for me to accept, but eventually, I understood. So did everyone else."
She took his face in her hands. "I could never hate you," she said tenderly. "I love you."
Goku smiled, and Chi-Chi remembered how much she had missed seeing his smile. "I love you too," he murmured, drawing her in his arms.
Chi-Chi closed her eyes, savoring his warmth. This was the moment she had been waiting for. She'd dreamed about it for so long, yet she felt that it had been better than of the dreams she had…
And to think, less than an hour ago, she was thought that it would never happen. How it was possible for someone to be so miserable one moment, and so happy the next?
"So what now?" Goku asked after a while.
"Actually, I was thinking that I'd stay with you on the Grand Kai's planet," Chi-Chi said thoughtfully, not bothering to open her eyes. "That's where you were going to go before Sita captured you… and that's where I was "
"Oh, I'm not going back there," Goku replied cheerfully.
"You're not?" Chi-Chi's eyes opened, staring at him in shock. She had to be hearing things. Goku loved being on the Grand Kai's planet; he talked about it all the time when he came back to life. Why would he pass up the opportunity to go back there?
"Well, at least not to stay there permanently," Goku clarified. He let go of her and stood up. "I have to take care of something really quick."
"What? But, Goku…" she started to protest, but was cut off by Goku giving her a quick kiss.
"Don't worry, I'll be right back," he promised. "I'll explain everything when I come back." With that, he put two fingers to his forehead and vanished.
What's keeping him? Misai wondered anxiously. She was still inside the Grand Kai's house, looking out the windows for any sign of Goku. It had been quite a while since he had left to go find Chi-Chi and she really wanted to know what was going on.
Misai bit her lip, remembering how desperate Chi-Chi had been to find her husband. She'd be happy to see him again, but her happiness would be short-lived when she found out that she couldn't join him on the Grand Kai's planet.
Some things never change, Misai thought bitterly. After everything Princess went through to save him, she's just going to have to contend with visiting her own husband!
On the other hand, Goku said that she wasn't going to be alone, right before she left. What was he up to?
Just then, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She whirled around to see Goku standing behind her. "Hi, there!" he said brightly.
Misai leapt back, startled. "Geez, don't use that Instant Transmission thing to sneak up on me like that!" she hissed. And then: "Did you find her?"
"Yep," Goku nodded.
"Is she all right?" she demanded.
"She is now," he replied.
Misai stared at Goku suspiciously. He sounded too happy. Under normal circumstances, she wouldn't have minded; he had the right to be happy after suffering for so long. Yet a while ago, he'd been really upset about not being able to be with Chi-Chi. Why did he have the sudden change of mood?
"What's going to happen?" she asked impatiently, her hands on her hips. "Can she stay on the Grand Kai's planet or not?"
"She can't," he replied, "but it doesn't matter, because I'm going to stay on the good planet with her."
Misai's eyes widened with astonishment. She hadn't been expecting this. "You are?"
"Yeah!" Goku said, giving Misai an incredulous look. "After everything she went through, what did you think I was going to do? Tell her that I'm alive, then break it to her that Grand Kai won't let her stay with me, but she can visit whenever she wants?"
Misai felt a stab of guilt. Privately, she did think that Goku would do that, although she had to admit that she was beginning to like him.
"So anyway, you told me that you wanted to be a warrior, right?" he asked, changing the subject.
"Yes," she answered, unsure of where this was going.
"Well, now you have your chance. You can train with King Kai --- he's a good teacher, you'll learn a lot from him. There are a lot of warriors here you can spar with. They're very nice, even the men," he added, reading her look perfectly. "And there's a tournament held here about every one thousand years. The winner receives a lesson from the Grand Kai…"
"And you plan on competing?" Misai guessed.
Goku grinned. "You bet! But I can visit this planet any time before then, and I can take Chi-Chi with me. So in a few years, we can stop by to check on you."
Misai raised her eyebrows in confusion. "Why?"
"Well… I was kind of hoping that we could be friends," Goku said, scratching the back of his head. "After all, you're already Chi-Chi's friend, aren't you?"
It was more of a statement than a question that she didn't bother to deny it. "Well… yes, I suppose she is," she admitted, looking at the floor. In spite of herself, she added, rather shyly, "Maybe we could be friends too."
"I hope so," he replied sincerely. "I'd better go." He offered her his hand. "Save me a fight at the next tournament?"
"I will," she said, and without the slightest bit of hesitation, she shook his hand. I doubt I'd win, she thought wryly to herself. Still, it's worth a try.
"Okay, see you in a few years then!" He put two fingers up to his forehead and immediately vanished.
Misai stood there rather thoughtfully. I guess the Princess was right, she mused. He wasn't so bad, really…
She would never forget what Rhakishi and Amar did to her, but perhaps it was time to let go of the past. She had wasted plenty of centuries in Hell brooding over painful memories. Although her life had been terrible, she could still salvage her afterlife.
Besides, she would have to swallow her pride if she were going to train with the warriors --- from what she could see while watching them fight outside, most of the best fighters were men.
She smiled to herself. There was enough time to change that.
Chi-Chi waited patiently under the tree. She was a little bit annoyed about Goku leaving again so soon, but she wasn't mad. He said that he would be back, and she trusted him. Though she couldn't help wondering what exactly he was doing…
Sure enough, Goku reappeared in front of her. "What's going on?" she asked, standing up.
"I just went to say good-bye to Misai," Goku explained. "I told her that we'd come back to see her in a few years or so."
"But how come we aren't going to stay on the Grand Kai's planet?" Chi-Chi asked curiously. "I mean, it doesn't matter to me, only I thought you liked it on Grand Kai's planet."
"I do," Goku replied. "Actually, I wanted to take you there with me, but Grand Kai apparently doesn't allow people who weren't fighters to stay there."
"What?" Chi-Chi cried.
"Hey, it's all right," he said soothingly, putting his hands on her shoulders. "I already told you that I'm not going back. I'm going to stay here with you."
She blinked in surprise. "You do?"
"Sure!" he said. "This is a really nice place. There are lots of trees and plants… it kind of reminds me of the forest where we used to live. And there are a lot of people we knew who will come here someday…."
This should have made her happy, yet it didn't. "What about training?" she asked worriedly. "What about fighting? Goku, I don't want you to give up what you want to do just for me. I want to be with you more than anything, but I want you to be happy too!"
"I can still train here," he pointed out. "Besides, I went to Grand Kai before I left to find you. He said that I go there to visit, and to participate in the next tournament. That way, I can bring you with me."
"Are you sure?" she asked, still troubled. "Because it's all right with me if you want to stay ---"
"Chi-Chi, I'm dead," he said firmly, stilling her protest. "I've got all the time in the world to train. But I don't want to spend my afterlife without you. There's no one else I want to spend eternity with."
Needless to say, Chi-Chi was very moved by his words. "There's no one else I want to be with either," she said warmly, embracing him. She was about to kiss him when she suddenly remembered something. "Hey, Goku, guess what?"
"What?" Goku inquired.
"I met my mother!" she told him excitedly. "She's here on the good planet with my dad. I told her all about you… and she'd really like to meet you."
"Wow!" he exclaimed, amazed. "Do you want to go see her now?"
She thought for a moment. "Maybe later," she said, smiling rather slyly. "Like you said, we've got all the time in the world…" She gave him another passionate kiss.
For the first time since she had died, Chi-Chi was finally at peace. She was with Goku now, and though it had taken a long, perilous journey to find him, she felt that it had been worthwhile. As long as she was with him, she knew, deep down, that everything would be all right from now on.
A/N: I really hope that the ending wasn't too corny; I'm not that good with romance. Anyway, thanks for reading the fic everyone!
Chocobo Andy: Here's your update.
Nisha: I thought that reviewers would be curious to see how Goku felt about everything that had happened. I wasn't sure if it was in character because he's not a character who shows a lot of angst in the anime or manga as far as I can remember. But I did think he'd be sad after that much time of torture, not to mention the fact that he thought his whole family hated him. He's better now though :)
Super Saiyan 4 Chichi: If you think about it, it wasn't that evil, especially compared to the other cliffhangers in the story.
Sakura123: I don't really like the Grand Kai either. It's weird, you'd think the Grand Kai would be really strong, but in the episodes with the Other World Tournament, he was so lazy that he used the fact that both Pikkon and Goku touched the ceiling to disqualify them, therefore postponing their lesson for another thousand years. As for Misai, the key thing to remember is that she didn't know him. She just assumed he was terrible because he was a man, and the fact that he left his family to train a child didn't change her opinion. But after she saw him sacrifice his spirit energy for Chi-Chi and met him herself, she decided to let the good things outweigh the bad.
Moon girl 16: Yes, he's going to stay with Chi-Chi.
Caryl Mc: Ironic, isn't it? LOL! Luckily, Goku had an easier time looking for Chi-Chi.
Misao: Yes, it's good that Goku's alive; I didn't really want this story to have an unhappy ending.
Woman of the Dunedain: Glad to see that you're happy! I'm a big Goku fan too.
Fan: Oh, I think he handled it rather well.
Kakkabrat: Sorry, I had to let Goku find out the truth about what happened first. You didn't want him to see Chi-Chi again with the wrong idea, did you?
Jessica C: Yes, this is the conclusion. ::sigh:: It took me forever to finish this, but it was a lot of fun to write.
Candy: In the Majin Buu saga, Chi-Chi was sent to the good planet after she was killed. Even though she still is strong, she was only a warrior for the first half of her life, but after she married Goku, she gave up fighting to be a wife and a mother, which is the reason why she wasn't allowed to stay on the Grand Kai's planet. Training Goten didn't necessarily count as being a fighter.
Clarobell: You're right! Ten points to you!
Goki-chan: Oh, how I hate GT. It's so inconsistent with DB and DBZ, not to mention it got the characters all wrong. I'd go on, but enough space has been wasted on that topic.
I won't tell: Goku had to find out the truth before he reunited with Chi-Chi. He got his big hug and kiss though! :)
Z-Man: Thanks, that was something I had to keep working on until I thought it made sense.
Annyong: Thank you!
Lady Athena X: Sorry for the wait, but I was really busy with summer classes. They're over now, but it was a lot of fun. Once Misai actually got to know Goku, she thought he was an okay guy. She, Goku, and Chi-Chi are going to be all right now, as you can see.
Sandrilene fa Toren: Nice name! LOL, calm down, I updated!
Kioko: No offense, but I like Harry Potter as much as DBZ. Thank you for all of your compliments.
Dakforest: It took me a while to write this chapter, but it's done. Was "Dragons of Tribeta-sei" the one where Goten's guardian angel takes him to another world or something like that? Because I think I've read it, and it's really good!