To quote the (in)famous Monty Python: "I'm not dead yet."
Well, I know people are still checking this story out because I see that the hits are continuing to rise and I still receive the occasional review despite my apparent abandonment of it. Yup, I'm back. Can you believe it?
I'm going to go ahead and assume that this is not the sort of update that people were hoping for, but it's what you're getting for now. I actually do intend to finish this, but I first intend to rewrite the entire thing because there are too many things that bother me about the old version to just leave it as it is.
The first update will be the first five chapters all at once, and after that I'll go to uploading it all chapter by chapter…again. Hopefully we'll get to the end this time.
I'm not sure if any of my original readership is still out there, hoping for me to finish, but if they are, I'm sorry it's taken me so long. You guys deserve an ending. You'll get it…eventually.
Slipping out of his bedroom and into the darkened hallway, Vegeta quietly made his way along the familiar path towards the training area. He stepped lightly over a creaky floorboard with the ease and familiarity of someone who'd done the same thing countless times before. It was more out of habit that he avoided it rather than out of any actual belief that someone would hear it and wake up. These people slept very soundly.
He passed quickly through the quiet house, pausing briefly and muttering a few irritated curses as he tripped over a pair of Trunks's shoes that lay carelessly discarded on the living room floor. For a brief moment he considered destroying the offending footwear, but he seemed to decide better of it after consideration. It wouldn't be worth listening to Bulma complain about once she discovered the scorched spot on the carpet and found that her son had lost his favorite pair of shoes. Sucking in a breath, he released it with another grumbled curse as he walked off again.
Reaching the gravity room, he opened the door, squinting for a moment as the lights automatically switched on in response to his entering. He blinked a couple of times as they adjusted to the brightness before beginning his early morning workout.
It was a few hours later when he re-emerged from the room, looking no worse for the wear. There was a faint smell of cooking food in the air that told him he'd come out just in time for breakfast. He grabbed a towel that hung by the door and began to wipe away the thin layer of sweat on his skin as he walked back into the main part of the house.
Walking into the kitchen, he noticed Trunks sitting at the table wearing a glazed, half-dead expression as he ate slowly from his plate of food. He frowned in silent disapproval, knowing that the boy had been awake late into the night playing video games. It was becoming an increasingly common occurrence as he grew more interested in the things that other boys his age enjoyed. Overall, Vegeta was rather mixed on how felt about it.
"Hurry up," said Bulma, leaning against the counter and lifting a steaming mug to her lips, the familiar bitter smell telling him that it was coffee. "You don't need to be late for school again."
"Waste of time," grunted Vegeta as he took a seat at the table. He quickly loaded his plate with food and began to eat.
"Education is not a waste of time," sniffed Bulma in an almost indignant tone of voice.
He frowned as he shoveled food into his mouth, pausing in his frightening pace just long enough to retort, "That wasn't what I was saying."
She frowned dubiously at him over the rim of her mug, but her curiosity got the better of her in the end. "What was it then?"
"The idea of school makes enough sense." He took a few more bites of his food before continuing. "Children need to be educated. There's no question about that, but I don't understand why you insist on sending him to this public institution when you have the resources to employ the world's brightest minds to instruct him privately. It seems like doing that would be a far more productive method of educating the boy."
"There's more to school than simply receiving an education. It's just as much a place for developing social skills as it is a place for developing minds," said Bulma, watching Trunks as he continued to mechanically consume his breakfast. She wondered how long it would be before she received a phone call about him falling asleep in class again.
Vegeta frowned thoughtfully, considering her words for a minute. "That seems like even more of a waste."
"You wouldn't understand," sighed Bulma dismissively.
"Why wouldn't I?" he asked defensively, eyes narrowing suspiciously as he tried to decide whether that comment was a veiled insult or not.
"You have no point for comparison," she answered with a casual shrug of her shoulders. "The world that you grew up in was completely different from this one. You can't judge the two in the same way. What would've been useless in to you at his age might be considered absolutely vital here."
As Vegeta grunted and went back to eating, Trunks rose from his seat, trudging out of the kitchen to finish getting ready for school. This conversation probably wasn't going to get any more interesting, which was unfortunate. It hadn't even been all that interesting to begin with.
"He's turning into a human," muttered Vegeta, scowling at the kitchen door his son had disappeared through. Stabbing his food a little more forcefully than necessary, he grimaced slightly as he heard the plate crack.
"He is human. Part of him is, at least," said Bulma, glancing down at the broken plate but saying nothing.
"And part of him is Saiya-jin, but he acts less and less like it every day." He picked up the pieces of what had been his mostly empty plate and dropped it into the trashcan while his fork went into the sink.
"It can't be helped. We live on a human world," she said, setting her empty mug down on the counter. As he walked past her towards the back door, she lightly grabbed onto his arm. He allowed himself to be halted by her. "Which one of us do you think the next one will be more like?"
"I don't know." His dark gaze settled for a moment on the slight bulge in her stomach before rising up to regard the smiling face. "Do you intend to name this one after underwear as well?"
The serious tone of his voice was too much, and she began to laugh. "Is it really that big of a deal to you?"
"I think it's absurd," he grumbled, obviously displeased at being laughed at.
"Well, it is a bit of a tradition in my family."
"My family has a naming tradition as well."
"Fine," she said with a theatrical sigh that earned an irritated glare from the Saiya-jin. "If it's a boy, we'll go with your tradition."
"What if it's a girl?"
"You're not naming a girl after yourself."
"I wasn't planning on doing that," he scoffed, pulling his arm gently out of her grasp. "There are female Saiya-jin names as well, you know."
Bulma sighed in mild relief, wondering why she hadn't considered that he might mean something like that. "You might get that one."
Spring came slowly to the mountains. There was still a bit of a chill in the air, and a good many of the mountains still had patches of snow on them. Lying on his back in the soft, new grass, Goku decided that this was probably the nicest time of year.
Closing his eyes and smiling, he listened contentedly to the sounds of the world around him. There were small chirping insects hidden in the grass, and lizards and other reptiles were beginning to scurry about as the slowly warmed in the sun's rays. Birds twittered lightly as they searched for food and built their nests in anticipation of this year's hatchlings. It was peaceful watching the world slowly come back to life.
Peace never seemed to last very long for him. There was always some new crisis popping that needed to be taken care of, but he didn't really mind. This was his home. As long as he had the power to do so, he would protect it.
Eyes snapped open as he sensed a familiar ki signature quickly approaching his position. His smile seemed to change slightly as he realized exactly who it was. It was more excited and intense, displaying a different kind of happiness that what he'd derived from the brief and rare peace he'd just been reveling in. As human as he behaved most of the time, he was still a Saiya-jin beneath it all. The love of battle was in his blood.
He rolled out of the way as a low-level ki blast shot down at him from the sky, scorching the ground where he'd been relaxing. Quickly he rose to his feet, looking in the direction the attack had come from. There was no sign of his attacker.
A second attack sped out towards him from amongst some trees, and he quickly extended one hand to counter the blast with one of his own. He was suddenly thrown forward as a surprise blow struck him in the back, sending him into the oncoming attack. There was a small explosion that sent up a cloud of smoke and dust, momentarily hiding the orange-clad man from view.
He flew out of it, throwing a punch at his attacker, who ducked to the side. The fist only barely grazed the other man's cheek. "You should've been able to dodge that completely, Vegeta," he said as he kicked at the smaller man, who easily jumped over it only to be struck a moment later by another fist.
Sneering back at Goku without any real sense of malice, he responded, "Don't criticize me when you couldn't even tell that I was coming up behind you." He leaned back to avoid a punch, snapping one of his legs up to catch the other man in the jaw.
Recovering quickly, Goku pushed forward with his attack again. "I knew the first one was a decoy."
Their fists collided as Vegeta grew tired of defending. "Sometimes I really do wonder how I lost to you that first time," he muttered dryly. They began to exchange rapid blows, landing a few superficial hits on each other. They weren't fighting at a high enough level to really injure each other, but they still tried to avoid taking hits if they could. It would be dangerous to get into the practice of allowing blows just because they knew it wouldn't hurt them. Real enemies wouldn't bother holding back.
"I got lucky," he said as he caught the smaller man's fist in his hand. Pulling him closer, Goku rammed his knee into Vegeta's stomach.
He gagged as his stomach threatened to eject all of its contents but quickly recovered. "Right. Luck," he grunted dubiously as he wrenched his hand out of the other Saiya-jin's grip and dodging a blow that was aimed for his head. He shot off a small ki blast that was easily swatted away, following it with a kick that dug painfully into his opponent's side.
The pair exchanged a few more blows, the power put into each successive strike slowly increasing as both men became more absorbed in the fight. It was familiar, like picking back up where they'd left off all those years ago when they'd first met. It was also very different from that battle. They no longer faced each other as enemies, throwing blows intended to maim or kill. Instead they were comrades—Vegeta would continue to deny that they were friends—fighting to maintain their skills and for the simple enjoyment. Many things had changed since that first time they'd fought.
Raising one arm to protect his head from a kick that would likely have beheaded a weaker man, Vegeta allowed a small smirk to settle on his lips. With his other hand, he grabbed Goku's ankle, and giving it a hard jerk, he swung the younger man over his head and slammed him into the ground. There was something immensely satisfying about seeing his opponent embedded in the rock. No matter how much of a "good" person he might've become, he would always enjoy doing that.
Lifting himself out of the shallow crater he'd created, Goku spat out a bit of soil and grass that had gotten into his mouth. "I think I swallowed a worm," he commented, spitting a couple more times as though trying to rid himself of a bad taste.
Vegeta's expression twisted into one of disgust. He knew that his dislike—he absolutely refused to acknowledge it as a fear—of worms and other squirmy creatures was irrational. It didn't matter. He just couldn't stand them, and no amount of logic had ever been able to change that.
Having finished trying to get rid of the grit in his mouth, Goku kicked out again, missing the smaller Saiya-jin as he stepped just beyond reach of the leg. Pushing himself up, he threw a small ki attack. When the other man dodged that as well, he had already moved so that he could intercept him. He swung his fist, finally landing a solid hit that sent Vegeta flying backwards across the clearing they fought in. Goku flew after him, shooting more attacks after him.
A blue aura suddenly burst to life around Vegeta's body as he regained control over his flight. The ki orbs racing towards him collided instead with the ground as he shot up into the sky. He threw a quick barrage of energy attacks down at his once foe, who was following him up into the air.
They collided with a ripple of energy that shook the ground below them for miles. They broke apart quickly, only to slam back together a moment later with another loud crash as their energies clashed. Again they separated, one sporting a split lip and the other nursing a bloody nose. Goku smiled; Vegeta smirked. For a third time they charged at each other, making the world tremble, but this time one of the men was sent diving back to the ground.
He ploughed roughly into the ground, creating a crater in the soil and rock as he used his ki to slightly cushion his landing. "Damn it," muttered Vegeta as he sat up, rubbing the side of his head where the blow had landed.
Looking back up into the sky where Goku was waiting for him, he frowned as his vision momentarily blurred and shimmer. He blinked a couple of times and shook his head to clear his vision. Maybe he'd taken that blow to the head a little harder than he'd thought. Rising back to his feet, he shot back up into the sky to continue the fight, but suddenly his vision blurred again, and suddenly the world around him faded to black.